I realize that Canadian Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I haven’t been well and there’s still too much seasonal poultry in my blood to feel normal. So, I’m declaring this a free day. Now, put your heads on your desks and sit quietly until the bell rings.
We’ll have an entry/update next week.
Comic books aren’t impervious to work seasons, but back when I still collected them, they seemed fairly resilient. This is evident in my memories of trudging through snow and slush just to pick up the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men or as I dried out in Summer heat so I could have my copy of Spectacular Spiderman. Comic books seldom have a lull or a break season (at least the permanent running series) so it’s easy to forget that every issue takes a formidable amount of work.
However, it always feels like an end when Fall starts to roll around, the crisp smell in the air is overpowered by the sharp smell of poly bags and the rustle of leaves is the perfect harmony for the score of swishes from turning pages made of newsprint in comic books.
It’s been years since I collected comic books, but the turning of season makes me feel nostalgic for those days past.
As I’ve stated before, I grew up reading comic books, both of the “mainstream” and “alternative” variety. The heroes I grew up with include a roster of famous Marvel superheroes like Spiderman, Wolverine and Thor. Those who read Marvel comics are starting to notice a new trend emerging. Marvel is now focusing on female protagonists to try and draw in female readers.
We here at Fancy Tuna Comics are delighted to see this. We endorse equal rights and privileges on all fronts, be it based on age, gender, race or religion. I like to consider myself an “equalist”, avoiding any specific nomenclature and their connotations. The only doubt I have about Marvel’s new movement is if they are doing things right. You see, the big comic book guys (Marvel and DC) run things differently than independent studios do. For example, here at FTC we have two writers and a single artist. Marvel employs dozens of in house artists, writers and editors, then go as far as to hire freelance contracts to add new story arcs or revamp a series. So where we try to keep up with two or three titles with everything we’ve got, Marvel will pick and choose from their staff and assign their talent depending on what title needs the most work.
This is where things get a little murky. Marvel is putting focus on female leads, so they’ll use their most talented to work on titles like Spider Woman, the new Ms. Marvel and the recently gender polarized Thor. As good as that idea sounds in the, now defunct Marvel Bullpen, the transition of focus seems to have missed the mark. For example, Marvel hired Milo Manara to make the alternative cover of Spider Woman #1. He chose to illustrate her in the classic (and anatomically incorrect) Spiderman wall crouch pose, where Spiderman is crouching on hands and knees against a wall or ledge. Unfortunately, due to fundamental physical differences between men and women that will never go away and how Spider Woman’s physique is portrayed, it made the pose look bizarre (as always) and overtly sexual. This put Marvel right in the center of controversy. They have since apologized for the cover.
Now, I usually have an opinion and ram it down your throats, but today, I don’t. On one hand I love the fact that the big companies are embracing a group usually ignored by the industry and written about by the indy comics (Like us), but I’m also a bit wary about where this is coming from and how it’s being handled. What do you think? Is Marvel doing a good job changing itself and moving forward, are their hearts in the right place with a lot left to be desired in execution or is this a cynically half baked idea to bring in more readers during lean times that’s being handled in a ham fisted manner?
In either case, let’s hope women are depicted in a much more respectful manner than they have been in the past by the comic industry and we see less air headed sexually starved minor characters that are just in the frames for the big muscly man to sweep up in his arms. (insert terrible Super Girl movie references here).
Okay, let’s put it out there. I love Apple products. I work on a mac, I take calls and post updates from my iPhone, I check script revisions on my iPad, I look at springboards on a large screen using an Apple TV and Perfume and Primer Caps is produced on an exclusively Macintosh network. Why do I love Apple products so much? Well, I’m at a point in my life where simplicity outweighs features and price. I prefer to turn on a product out of the box and be using it to fulfill my immediate needs over digging through menus or playing around with plugins to get the customized experience many people look for and I don’t mind spending a few extra dollars for that convenience. This may be the reason why I prefer console gaming over PC gaming, or why I use simple text editors and Apple word processors over signing up for a subscription for MS Word for my manuscripts. Not to mention that I enjoy the esthetic of Apple products. Everything from the Mac Pro cylinder to the iPhone aluminum casing, Apple has a way of making their products the prettiest consumer electronics on the market. For example, Apple just announced two new products. The iPhone 6 (alongside iPhone 6 plus) and the new Apple Watch. These are some of the most gorgeous gadgets I’ve ever seen. Polished steel, glass and gold all make up shiny expensive looking (and plain expensive) devices.
There are many out there who would call me a fanboy. I’ve always seen that as bizarre nomenclature. Fanaticism towards a corporation doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, I’d call myself a Scorsese fanboy, a director who has directed a more good films than bad, unlike many of his contemporaries (Eat your heart out, Spielberg). I’d even call myself a Spiderman fanboy (I don’t care what anybody says, Spiderman would kick Batman’s ass in a proper fight). Do I buy Apple products; Yes, I buy a lot of them. Would I buy Apple products under any circumstance; No, I’m not buying products that wouldn’t fit in my life any way, shape or form, like the Apple Watch. What I have is brand loyalty. It’s the same reason why your best friend won’t buy any television but a Sony, or why your dad insisted on buying Ford cars his entire life. I bought an Apple product for a particular reason, it fulfilled my needs and now when I buy products, I tend to buy products from the same company. I find those calling me a fanboy are people who show signs of fanaticism themselves, over competing products.
Besides, being a fanboy for a company that makes disposable “things” doesn’t make any sense. It makes more sense to show that flag waving for cultural icons and pieces of art that will last a decades or centuries within its first and final iteration. So, save the fanaticism for the culturally relevant. Like Perfume and Primer Caps, which currently has two volumes available in The Fancy Tuna Comics Store right now. You can click on the link using any type of browsing device you might own, be it Apple, Google, Blackberry or Microsoft.
On August 31 2014 the Comic Industry lost a master of the art. Stan Goldberg, the artist that brought us the Antics of Archie and a bunch of fun loving Teenagers from Riverdale and who has lent his brush to such characters as Spiderman, The Fantastic Four and The Punisher, has died.
Born in 1932, Goldberg stood shoulder to shoulder with Industry giants such as Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Archie comics became an institution and paradigm in sequential art. I grew up with Archie and his friends, I aged and became wiser as the kids from Riverdale High stayed eternally youthful and optimistic, but that doesn’t change how Archie comics taught me important life lessons and how to laugh.
One of my fondest memories of Archie and the gang was a hot Summer in 1993. I bought an entire box of old Archie comics digests at a garage sale and sat in front of my parents’ living room air conditioner as I read every little book front to back. Oddball characters like Dilton, Mr. Weatherbee, Moose and Ethel falsely informed me of what to expect from high school only a year away. Betty and Veronica filled me with delusions of pre-pubescent desire and Archie showed me what it meant to be a best friend as he forgave Jughead’s lethargy and all around idiocy. Even near the end of its circulation, Archie comics affected its readers with life lessons and the craving for the ideal, as we saw when Archie died saving his friend Kevin in issue 36 of Life With Archie.
I guess it is only fitting to see the death of a great comic creator within the same year of the death of his creation, but poetry seldom ever eases grief. Fancy Tuna Comics lends our hearts to Stan’s family and those who were close to him. And without any ambiguity, Stan… We’ve always loved you.