Daily Archives: January 8, 2009
Nintendo bestowed upon us mortals a veritable Gift From Mt. Olympus when they released the Super Smash Brothers series. Not necessarily because it’s a great fighting game. I mean, the game itself is alright, but I find myself oftentimes irritated by the zoom out features which render the characters like pinpoints upon an admittedly lush battlefield. Eventually, my bloodlust takes over and I begin to long for the simple face-punching, body-slamming of the Tekken games.
No, the greatest achievement of the Smash Brothers series is that it’s now totally legit for budding story writers to have all Nintendo characters and some prominent hanger-ons interacting with the camaraderie of junior high classmates. It’s like the Grand Unified Theory for characters, canonizing all sorts of absurdity, the likes of which have not been seen since Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny did the tandem skydive in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I expect that, somewhere, an intrepid young writer has penned a story where Princess Zelda rebuffs the romantic advances of Sonic the Hedgehog in order to travel the universe with her one, true love, Pikachu. And the scenario itself is completely plausible! It isn’t just some fevered, candy-induced dream like “The Smurfs meet the cast of How I Met Your Mother!” These crossover shenanigans are best portrayed in Awkward Zombie (reviewed here, yet Ms. Tiedrich’s comic is hardly the only one that celebrates Smash Brothers‘ oddball diversity.
You know who gets unfairly shunned by webcomic writers, though? A tubby, bubble-gum pink spheroid with a bottomless appetite that we all know and love as Kirby. This seems terribly unfair. Three of the fighters — Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Kirby himself — from 2008′s Super Smash Brothers Brawl are characters from Kirby’s world. Yet Kirby-centric works are infinitesimal compared to the sheer volume of material devoted to chronicling the dysfunctional love lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. (Note: this does not reflect how Kirby fiction fares in Japan, as the little guy is friggin’ Elvis over there.)
Fortunately, Matthew Taranto has come to the rescue with Brawl in the Family. It’s a strip about Kirby, Kirby, and Kirby. It also stars other folks from Super Smash Brothers Brawl, which is to be expected by the title. (And in the unlikely case you were wondering… no, at no point in the comic does Kirby meets Archie Bunker. Come to think of it, there aren’t any families, either, so I have no idea what that title’s referring to.)
WEBCOMICS AMONG TOP STORIES OF 2008, PART TROIS
Part III of PW Beat’s Annual Year End Survey went up. Regarding webcomics, the responses aren’t as indepth as they were for Part II. However, Ms. McDonald begins this list with this interesting note: “For once, in my five years of doing this, there was consensus on both last year’s big story and next year’s: economy and digital.”
Here are the parsed responses, as usual.
Rantz A. Hoseley, cartoonist, editor
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Biggest story? Pick ONE?… Yeesh.
Ok, it was surprising that the launch and story of Final Crisis seemed to be so disorganized, so ill-planned, given the creators involved. Especially when compared to the machine-like precision that Marvel pulled off with Secret Invasion. On a different note, it warms the cockles of my black, cynical heart to see so many “indy” creators not only working on comics for Marvel and DC, but most importantly, not changing their style of storytelling or the visual signatures that makes their work distinctively THEIRS. Five years ago, that’d be unheard of. It was also the year that publishers, across the board, recognized and admitted that there needs to be a viable digital option for comics. Again, five years ago, getting an consensus on that would be unheard of.
The creator that had the most impact? Matt Fraction. Whether head-fucking the readers with Casanova, rebooting disco-era B-list characters in a way that satisfied fans ‘perceived memories’ of how good they really were, or making properties like Iron Man and the X-Men compelling and relevant again, he’s the creator who many of us admire and were excited to see become a powerhouse this year.
My favorite book of the year, in a year where there were a surprising number of good ones? Patsy Walker: Hellcat. Brilliant and hysterical writing, combined with lively, fun, kinetic art. Comics… especially mainstream comics, need more books like this.
Also, we have a certified comic book loving Star Trek geek headed to the White House in a few weeks. Honestly, that’s a day I thought would never come. Let us just hope that (since he’s an admitted Spider-Man fan) he’s taken the credo “With great power comes great responsibility” to heart.
Mike Dawson, cartoonist
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Well, it’s clear that there’s going to be some rocky times ahead for traditional book publishers. All that news about those New York publishing houses putting a moratorium on new acquisitions isn’t good, and neither are all the job losses. I have a good feeling about the more established comics companies, like Fantagraphics, D&Q, and Top Shelf, though.
I would say that online comics would be part of the biggest story of 2009, but webcomics have been happening for years now, and will just keep on growing. I do think that more and more respectable cartoonists are going to take their work online, and that webcomics will continue to gain more respect.
Nick Barucci, publisher Dynamite
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Well, the obvious one is that this summer will be the summer of SCI FI and Comic movies. The less obvious will depend on how fans start accepting digital comics, and whether or not digital will start replacing the so called waiting for the TPB syndrum that we keep hearing.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Continuing the road we’re on. There’s honestly no greater business than comics. It’s the greatest business in the world.
Jeff Newelt, AKA Jahfurry
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The biggest story in comics in ‘09 will be Paul Pope’s BATTLING BOY selling over a million copies; the re-release of Rick Veitch’s BRATPACK (before Authority, before The Boys, before Wanted, etc BRATPACK brought on the twisted heros); and the online debut of an independent comics master. Cannot be named yet but a certain great will be offering new free online comics in ‘09.
Also, three of the releases I’m most looking forward to, and that i think will make a huge splash are A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge the graphic novel documentary by Josh Neufeld that started as a webcomc on SMITH and will be released by Pantheon in August augmented and expanded; an original BEANWORLD graphic novel “Remember Here When You Are There!” by Larry Marder. and Grandville, an anthropomorphic steampunk graphic novel by the always outrageous Bryan Talbot.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Reading WarrenEllis.com every single day, perhaps the only blog I’ve looked at every single day for the past 2 years. The man is a leader.
Alex Cox, retailer
2009 Projects: Continuing to run ROCKETSHIP, plus various webcomics not worth mentioning.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? I would say it was a tie between the release and subsequent reception of two books: WHAT IT IS, and THE GREAT OUTDOOR FIGHT.
WHAT IT IS was a lovely book, with wide crossover appeal among several markets, and a tour that brought out as broad a range of fans as you could hope for. It reminded everyone that Lynda Barry is something of a modern master, and expanded our scope of how “comics” can look, and how they can interact with the reader. Seeing people experience that book for the first time was really amazing, and it was a terrific affirmation of why we do what we do.
THE GREAT OUTDOOR FIGHT was much the same, but with the added bonus of reminding us that it’s not the delivery method (web comic), or format (hardcover reprint) that matters, it’s Content above all else that makes people love comics. This was a funny story, well-told, about engaging characters, and none of the details of publishing ultimately make a difference. People respond to the content, and we saw droves of fans show up at every stop on Onstad’s tour to prove that.
Chip Mosher, marketing director
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Digital distribution of comics coming to the fore coming hand-in-hand with increased sales of floppies and trades.
Dan Goldman, cartoonist
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The head-smacking realization in the mainstream that digital comics can, in fact, be a more lucrative model than print.
DO WEBCOMIC ARTISTS DREAM ELECTRONIC SHEEP?
Also, here’s something that I wouldn’t have been aware of if my car wasn’t in the shop getting some bolts tightened and some rather pricey engine parts replaced. There was a copy of the Seattle PI lying around in the customer-waiting lounge, and something in The Arts section caught my fancy.
If you happen to be in the Seattle area be sure to check out Comixtravaganza, a free event sponsored by and held at the Seattle Public Libraries. It’s aimed at teens, though I understand visitors from all ages tend to drop by. There’s workshops where you can meet with local artists, talks, and, most importantly, free food. It’s also a good excuse to check out the Central Library (for the last day, Jan. 31, only), which looks like a building straight out of Blade Runner.
DIDN’T THIS SITE USE TO DO WEBCOMIC REVIEWS?
Check in later today for a brand-spankin’ new Webcomic Overlook review! Meanwhile, I got a really busy day ahead. The wife and I are taking in a nice new golden labrador home with us, so I foresee a long day to catering to his canine needs.