Weekend Pattering for October 9th, 2015--- Give Me Moebius or Give Me Death!

** Let's start by catching up on the pattering we've been doing for the past couple of weeks.

** Bill Kartalopoulos reveals what comics will be highlighted in the Jonathan Lethem-edited Best American Comics 2015 collection and it's a fine selection that showcases some great comics published between September 2013 and August 2014.  He also includes an exemplary list of notable comics from this time as well which includes our own alumnus Whit Taylor's The Anthropologist from Sparkplug Comic Books. 

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** At The Tearoom of Despair, the venerable Bob Temuka writes about 8 no-no's of film criticism.  Even though he's claiming to focus on film criticism, let's be honest and admit that it can be applied to all kinds of criticism, including comics.  
But people are still saying that David Lynch films are a bit weird, as if that's a new observation, and it's become a cliché to say it in reviews of Grant Morrison's comic, almost as predictable as “Pow! Zap!” headlines in mainstream publications. Nothing new there.
And yes, maybe I did post this picture just to have a picture of Laura Palmer here.

** The Beat has Dark Horse's announcement that they'll be publishing the comics of the late and great Moebius soon.  There's not really a lot of information about this yet like format or publishing timeline.  Hopefully it goes better than it did the last time Dark Horse had publishing rights to some Moebius books and produced digest sized collections that just didn't really do his artwork justice.

And hopefully this new line will be able to get all of the past just republishing in English all of the Moebius comics that Marvel and Dark Horse have already collected in the past and move into a lot of the untranslated work that Moebius produced in the 1990s and 2000s.

 ** And we can't speak of Dark Horse without acknowledging the story from last week about DH editor Scott Allie's horrible and abusive behavior at this year's SDCC as well as many past incidents.  You need to start at Graphic Policy for Janelle Asselin's article that brought this issue to light and then head over to the Comics Reporter where Tom Spurgeon has a rundown of the articles that you need to read about this story.  I haven't seen any major updates on this in the last week so Tom's collection of links still appears to be the most relevant collection.

As someone who doesn't really socialize among a comics crowd in real life, hearing these accusations and questionable responses and apologies just makes me sad.  I work in a female-oriented industry and I can't imagine being in the work environment I hear about comics' "boys' club" although I'm sure it happens in my profession and probably even my office.  And yet these are the working conditions that all kinds of people aspire to.

Word Balloon's John Suintres has a great recent discussion with Kelly Sue DeConnick (and all of his interviews with Kelly Sue are usually rip-roaring) that I'm imagining was recorded before the allegations about Allie's actions.  I believe Allie is the editor who brought DeConnick into Dark Horse to head up their recent Alien/Predator/Prometheus crossover.  About halfway through that podcast, DeConnick and Suintres get into a pretty heated discussion about women in the industry and their representation at the Big Two.  DeConnick has lived through being one of the girls in the boy's club of Marvel and I have no idea how she did it.

Comics can be better than this, can't they?

** Speaking of podcasts and comics being better than they are, Grantland's Andy Greenwald interviewed Marvel's Editor In Chief Axel Alonso last week.  The interview is fascinating because Alonso gives all the credit to Marvel's writers for the popularity and success that they have and barely mentions that they have honest-to-goodness artists drawing these comics until the very end when it's time to plug some comics.  He only names artists when he's trying to sell some books that will be out sometime in 2016.

It's a really disheartening interview to listen to because you can easily see why the discussion of mainstream comics is so heavily focused and credited to the writers because even the Editor in Chief of one of those major publishing houses doesn't seem to think or acknowledge that the art might have something to do with it their domination of the comic scene.  The way he sings the praises of Jonathan Hickman's Secret Wars would make you think that Hickman is drawing the whole thing as well.  Poor Esad Ribic.  Alonso talks about the editorial retreats and you can hear about how much the editors and writers direct the momentum of comics.

Greenwald sounds like he's an on-again/off-again comic book fan and he goes along with everything that Alonso says, never really throwing Alonso anything more than slow pitches.  At worst, Greenwald sounds like the everyfanboy who's getting to talk to the man who now occupies the position that Stan Lee made famous for comic fans.

More than anything, the Alonso interview just makes me sad to listen to what he's celebrating.  Now I'm not expecting him to tackle any hard questions or industry issues in what's essentially a PR interview right before NYCC but Alonso's answers sound like a microcosm of the comics world right now, just highlighting (or erroring through omission) everything that's wrong and bad about comics in 2015.

It's hard to fault fans of comics for not being able to talk about comics in a holistic way when the Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics is given a pulpit and expresses as myopic of view of comics as most people on the internet do.