Despite the dire employment conditions of higher education, young people continue to enrol in graduate school. Detractors roll their eyes: Why would a young person spend years earning a degree of questionable value? Why not “go get a job”? To which the 20-something laughs, having graduated into an economy where peers spend years vainly looking for a job, finding only unpaid internships or low-wage contingency labour, often while living at home. A funded graduate programme, with health insurance, seems a welcome escape.
"But it is not just about your current earnings," the detractor continues, "It is about the wages you lose while in the programme." To which the 30-something, having spent their adult life in an economy of stagnant wages and eroding opportunities, takes the 20-something aside, and explains that this is a maxim they, too, were told, but from which they never benefitted. They tell the 20-something what they already know: It is hard to plan for what is already gone.
Thomas, who would go on to found 2K Marin with LeBreton, where he directed BioShock 2, remembers the sense of elation when a design fell into place. One night he was working on the area of the game for which he was responsible, Fort Frolic, where an insane artist, Sander Cohen, holds the player captive. “Chris Kline, lead programmer at the time, was there at 2am with me, and would give me a first read on new content. I was trying to show him Cohen’s big final entrance scene, and had been tinkering with it for several days, with the savvy assistance of JP LeBreton.
"That night, though, some minor bug fouled it up. Chris left to go home." Thomas remained at his desk and, after some time, solved the issue. "In the scene Cohen descends - applauding himself. There’s canned cheering and the music swells… but the only people there to observe his work are you, his prisoner, and the dead. Oblivious in my pride I stood to my feet, arms thrown up, and bellowed: ‘IT IS DONE!’ to a completely empty building. As Cohen sat there in his looping poses, admiring his masterpiece, I realised that, in a way, I had become him."
'Storytelling and historical authenticity in a visual medium: the comics series Three' Roundtable discussion with comic book writer Kieron Gillen and Sparta expert Professor Stephen Hodkinson at the Classical Association annual conference 2014. Tuesday 15 April, The University of Nottingham.
This isn’t their problem, guys. It’s ours. We have to solve it.
Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just “happens.” It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.
It’s on us.
How do we fight this war? We stop enabling. We check ourselves and, when necessary, wreck ourselves. Do you know a guy who’s hate-following women on Twitter just to troll them? You check him. Do you know a guy who’s writing disgusting screeds to women journalists because they don’t like the same things he likes? You check him. Do you know a professional whose discourse with women in his field is loaded with gender-specific language and condescension that could enable further abuse? You check him. Are your Twitter followers identifying you as a sympathetic ear for their sexist views? You check yourself. Is your website’s message board a cesspool of ignorance and hate? You check it like you actually give a damn. Do you know a guy who’s sending rape threats to women for any reason? Oh, you report that guy.
Let me make it plain:
A woman objecting to the content of a comic book — even if you think she’s dead wrong — does not rise to the occasion of vicious name calling and rape threats.
”—Andy Khouri writes at Comics Alliance. Read the whole thing - the motif is Fake Geek Guys, noting that the superhero fans who act in such an abusive, unethical way are 100% against the genre they claim to love - but I pull this part out of context.
For the time I was writing somewhat regularly about comics, I was discouraged from writing about “uncomfortable” topics like sexism or feminism. This wasn’t for all the sites I wrote for. But I did get the feeling I was allowed to hang out in the special tree house with the boys as long as I acted like one of the boys and didn’t turn into one of those uppity feminists. And I get wanting to keep the focus on comics and the great things about them. Trust me, I would love to go back to the days of unabashedly adoring comics.
But that’s not enough anymore.
It’s easy to say women should be able to do everything a man can do: they can be astronauts and writers and scientists and the President of the United States if they work for it, they should be paid the same wages as their male counterparts, they should have the right to vote and drive a car and do everyday people things without hinderance, etc.
But that’s not where gender equality ends. People should be allowed to express a dissenting opinion on the internet without being threatened with rape; people should be allowed to have consensual sex without being labeled a whore; people should be allowed to wear whatever they want without being groped or demeaned; people should be allowed to express themselves in ways that do not conform to narrow, antiquated definitions of “gender” without being disrespected or physically attacked. And come on, people. This is obvious stuff.
So when someone gets catcalled or threatened or browbeaten, you have to stand up and say NO. And look, I get that’s uncomfortable and confrontational and hard, honestly hard, to do. I’m guilty of not saying anything, of plowing along with my head in the sand and just gushing over my funny pages. But like I said, that’s not enough anymore. We need to have this conversation; we need to call this bullshit behavior out.
Because ignoring the harassment is condoning it. It undermines the severity of the situation. It tells the victims that we care more about their attackers than we do about them. Not to mention, the instances when people flat out tell victims of harassment that they’re exaggerating the facts, or “that’s not what he meant” or “get over it and stop being so emotional.”
And that is fucked up. Seriously fucked up. We need to do better, people. We need to do a lot better.
Ali is the. best. And she makes a lot of very valid points here.
Disclaimer: I have been trying to write this for almost a year and I’m tremendously dissatisfied with the result. It is three and a half thousand words long and has been drafted and revised so many times that I give up and release it from this endless, painful gestation.
I have never owned a table.
Sure, the place I live in has a table. It’s a glass table and it’s considerably better than the slightly wobbly wooden table in the previous place I lived in but, being glass, I’m perpetually terrified it will break and then I’ll have to pay for it. Then I’ll have paid for a table and still never have actually owned one.
I couldn’t tell you how much a table costs, but I did buy the cheapest and most basic desk for £50 once. I have a feeling I’d be charged a lot more than that if this table broke.
That philosophy extends to everything around me where I live, where I have lived: I don’t own it, but I will be paying for it if something goes wrong. There is a special sort of added excitement to this, since most of the places I’ve lived in have had all sorts of things wrong with them already, things from faulty electrics to ill-fitting windows to no doors that will close properly anywhere, that are never addressed. I’ve feared these things as well because I’ve wondered if I’m going to be the tenant who is deemed to be responsible for them, particularly because landladies and landlords seem to be curiously divorced from the properties they own. They always live far away, or they’re out of town or they’re overseas again. One landlady looked around a flat I was renting from her with surprise and awe and bafflement, failing to recognise many of its features.
Sorry if you've answered this before, but this has been bugging me a bit: What the hell did the Patrinot do to Tommy in that warehouse? Because the Patrinot is MEANT to be one of the heroes of the future, and Tommy came back apparently unharmed, and yet Tommy was clearly terrified for his life just by standing near the thing - why was he so scared, and why did Patrinot bother scaring him like that when it's apparently a good guy (and, if he IS David from the future, a friend)?
You’re making the assumption it chose to scare Tommy.
Sorry: I’m not explaining YA for a while, so pointing out jumps in logic is all I can give you. I don’t believe I’ve answered it before though, to spare you a trip through the archives.
Something I've been puzzling over - Is Journey Into Mystery, in your opinion, a modernist or post-modernist text? I know the answer is probably "neither," but when studying them, I thought JiM had enough elements of both that I think it count count as one of them (I keep comparing Loki from that and YA to Jorge Luis Borges' "The Circular Ruins," which might explain where I'm coming from with this), and I was curious to see how you saw it?
I think JIM is pretty heavily in the tradition of post-modernist fantasy. It has a lot of critique of the mores of Post-modernist fantasy - it’s biggest influence is obviously Sandman, but that’s also what it needles most - but I don’t think that removes it from that part of the genre any more than (say) Watchmen’s tactics removes itself from being a superhero comic.
(Not that JIM is anywhere near in the same league as Watchmen. It’s not even in the same sport. I just wanted a reference that was understandable)
That said, there’s a bunch of modernist influences in there as well. The dance between the two is important to me.
Outstanding Comic Book: Young Avengers, written by Kieron Gillen (Marvel Comics)
And drawn by Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Mike Norton, Kris Anka, Stephen Thompson, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Joe Quinones, coloured by Matthew Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Maris Wicks,Matthew Wilson and Lee Loughridge, lettered by Clayton Cowles and edited by Lauren Sankovitch, Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan. And bearing the fingerprint of others too, I dare say.
More than a little overwhelming. Incredibly honoured.
It was. Informed by a lot of what Anderson has done before, but put together with a lot of joy. I mean, it’s the closest I’ve seen him do to a romp outside of stop-motion. Fun, funny and very beautiful.
Hey Kieron, I was wondering if you could quickly brief over your journey of how you got into Marvel and started making books for them
I’m going to be doing a length podcast interview on this very topic quite shortly, actually. It’s also something I’ve talked about in quite a few interviews, so it’s google-able if you want more.
In short: small press self-published comics lead to doing PHONOGRAM at Image, and getting lots of attention. Warren Ellis picks writers for spin-offs to his NEW UNIVERSAL, and picks me for one. That issue shows I can write Superhero comics (which as much as people like PG, that doesn’t exactly show) and several editors ask me to do more stuff. I do it, they like it, they give me bigger jobs. Repeat last step until I’m writing Uncanny X-men.
In short, I did work people responded to, people liked it and it lead to breaks.
Hi! I was wondering if you would be willing to give me some recommendations for any good British/European comics that most wouldn't see in the states. I'm asking because I'm looking to expand my horizons in terms of the stuff that is out there as well as build my collection heh.
Heh. This has been sitting in my box for a while, and I’m going to take a quick shot. This will be off the top of my head, so apologies. And I’m going to limit to comics that were published primarily and originally in the UK. So - say - we’d get a British creator’s work for 2000AD but not their work for a US publisher.
(It’s one of the jokes that go around is that RUE BRITANNIA, arguably the most British comic published in the last ten years couldn’t get nominated for the British comic awards. But still - that’s the way I’ll be framing these)
Also worth noting my European Comics knowledge isn’t the best in the entire world. I’ll be talking about stuff I just dig.
2000AD STUFF The archetypal modern Brit-comic anthology. Around since the late 70s, and has all manner of great stuff by people you probably get in US comics. Random faves off the top of my head…
Any NEMESIS THE WARLOCK (Inc TORQUEMADA THE GOD) - any time anyone asks me what artist I want on a project, I always say “Kevin O’Neill. From the early 80s.” This is why. NEMESIS is what I gave to Fraction, by way to explain why Brit creators tend to be wired the way they are. This is what kids comics were in the UK. ABC WARRIORS: THE BLACK HOLE - approximately 60% of how I write team books is entirely lifted from this. HEWLIGAN’S HAIRCUT ZOMBO BAD COMPANY - And the other 40% from this. ZENITH CRADLEGRAVE THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES BUTTON MAN MAZEWORLD LEVIATHAN SHAKO - which I tributed lovingly in the first issue of ORIGIN II SLAINE: THE HORNED GOD
And a lot more, obv. I haven’t even mentioned any DREDD, y’know?
Assorted other anthology-based stories I dig…
CHARLEY’S WAR - if you like Ennis, this is basically the Rosetta Stone. It’s the single biggest influence on my UBER as well. HOOKJAW: Basically Shako, but even less ethical. Astounding. JOHNNY NEMO
Let’s move off that, as it’s easy to get hung up on the Brit anthology stuff, as it’s the pulp pop end, and that’s arguably similar to the US end of things. The sort of pick-up of 2000AD by the current wave of critics seems to remind me of the 90s love of Hong Kong action cinema, if you see what I mean.
I mean, if you’re looking for another tradition - the actual mainstream cultural thing - go look at WHEN THE WIND BLOWS and GEMMA BOVERY.
If you want to look at the British 80s indie underground, start with Eddie Campbell’s ALEC books, which have been collected in the enormous and essential ALEC: THE YEARS HAVE PANTS. Go onto stuff like ABE: WRONG FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.
Oh - HUGO TATE, which is also just been put in a nice collection.
Paul Grist? You know Paul Grist? He’s published via IMAGE recently, but his background is here. KANE is fantastic, but JACK STAFF is wonderful too. Also his collaboration with Grant Morrison SAINT SWITHEN’S DAY is one of my favourite single issue things ever.
(And is probably going to be pastiched in THE WICKED + THE DIVINE at some point.)
Oh - LUTHER ARKWRIGHT is another founding text of what you’ll think of the 80s British invasion. I’ve ripped off the first volume several times.
And TANK GIRL, obv.
THE NAO OF BROWN - Ludicrously good looking. THE PHOENIX - one of the best kids comics in the world, sez I. SELF-MADE HERO are publishing really interesting work, and is worth browsing their entire catalogue. I’m always interested to see the adaption work they publish, and their THE MAN WHO LAUGHS by Hine/Stafford is a real tour de force. NO BROW are also doing great and beautiful stuff. You can start anywhere, but the Luke Pearson stuff would be my suggestion.
Worth noting that while they’re both British publishers, not all their work is British.
Quick fire stuff!
SOLIPSISTIC POP SOPPY CHOLE NOONAN BLOOD BLOKES Anything by LIZZ LUNNEY AFTERLIFE INC THE LENGTHS
Oh - and they’re bringing back STRANGEHAVEN which makes it a great time to catch up with its slow-slow-slow Prisoner in the North of England vibe. First comic I ever bought at a British Comic con, for the record.
Late addition! If you want a single volume overview of a lot of British talent from a lot of generations, NELSON is a great project. Basically an exquisite corpse story, passing between creators, telling the story of one woman’s life.
Okay - that’s longer than I wanted it to be, and not as long as I’d like. Sorry for all my faves I’ve missed, but this will get you going.
And as it’s so long, I’m going to boil all of Europe down to THE METABARONS and go and have more tea.
(Not that the Metabarons is actually created by French people, of course. TANKING-U PENDANTS.)
It was good, actually. Lots of stuff got done and exciting stuff ahead. Always nice to see a bunch of people I don’t see often enough, being the only Brit in the place.
Always an odd time for me though. I often think if the Summit was Community, I’d be Abed, perpetually confused at what’s actually going on and only capable of expressing myself in references. Except to 90s 7” B-sides no-one else has listened to.
Battleship-class Uber question: How fast can they travel? We've only seen them use vehicles to reach destinations that are far away, yet it was implied Siegfried managed to somehow reach Japan in a very short amount of time by himself. Is this perhaps a tactic used to preserve energy for combat?
They can travel about as fast as a vehicle. Generally speaking, that’s a bad use of their energies. As “fatigue” is an issue, it’s better for them to drive on one of their heavy bikes to not waste their strength. We’ll be seeing the speed of an Uber explored a little more relatively shortly.
And that wasn’t Siegfried. That’s actually someone else. Who exactly he is and how he got there is a mystery.
(I may tweak the dialogue in the trade to stress that, actually.)
" It’s a very special kind of skill; if you’re too loyal to the photo, it swallows you up. If, for instance, in the middle of a whole page of “personal” drawings, there is suddenly a drawing that is too… It’s as if there’s a sudden hole in the page. You have to take the elements from the photo that you need, and retranscribe them through your personal computer, in order to get a personal vision. The same rule applies to drawing from nature. It’s very difficult, but it’s what enables the artist to bring his vision to a work. Otherwise he’s nothing but a parrot, or an ape. [pp. 86-87]
—Jean Giraud (Moebius)
Moebius on drawing from photo reference. Eloquently put.
Hey, Brian. I'm an aspiring writer, and I have this complex about being a person of color trying to break into comics. I know I'm probably making a bigger deal out of this than I should, but it's kind of disheartening to see gatherings of creators and to notice the lack of color. Am I worrying for nothing? I tend to over analyze things, so this has been bugging me more than it probably should. I apologize in advance if this question is stupid, annoying, or has been asked before.
I am not a person of color but I am the father of a multiracial household and I’m Hypery aware of the world we live in in this regard. but I truly believe that there is nothing standing in your way of making your dreams as a creative person come true. It’s between you and your talent.
truthfully most of us don’t even know each other looks like. all anybody cares about is the quality of each other’s work.
do not put things in front of you to stop yourself from making your dreams come true. do not. people do this all the time and I truly believe it’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail.
stop rejecting yourself before the rejection comes. and if rejection comes, and it will, don’t make it about anything but your work.