THE PRIVATE EYE: Leaving Comics Publishers Behind
Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin have released the first instalment of a new comics serial as pay-what-you-want digital downloads. It comes in PDF and two standard comics-reader formats, in English, Spanish and Catalan versions. The page size appears to approximate half of a European comics-album format page. That gives the landscape orientation you see in the image above, falling in with what seems to be the new standard in a certain wing of digital comic. I wrote a bit about that last year.
They’ve set up shop at Panel Syndicate, with the strong suggestion that, should this first episode go over well (and five minutes after I tweeted the link this morning, their PayPal back end seized up from transaction velocity, so I’m guessing they’re okay), they’ll be doing more projects through this portal.
There is no reason why any number of comics companies could not have been funding, facilitating and producing this kind of original creator-owned comics work on the net two, three, five years ago. There is no reason why any of them could not have been absolutely bullish about driving this –- except that they just didn’t want to. So it remains something that happens in fits and starts, done DIY by the creators.
Brian would tell you that he is absolutely not leaving comics publishers behind, I’m sure. And, you know, he’s clearly not. Except that any of the publishers he works with should have come to him with this distribution idea two years ago, because it’s that fucking obvious. And because they didn’t, he and Marco had to do it themselves.
Brian and Marco suggest 99 American cents for this first, substantial episode of THE PRIVATE EYE – a social science fiction story about privacy, with a classical detective-fiction engine. But pay what you want, if you like the sound of it. (I gave them a fiver.)
Io l’ho appena comprato (EN, PDF).
Dr Fredric Wertham Lied And Lied And Lied About Comics
The Illinois News Bureau reports, (with the most condescending and predictable headline you can imagine, even for Bleeding Cool) that Dr Fredric Wertham, author of Seduction Of The Innocent, the book that inspired government hearings about the content of comic books, saw sales plummet from the bad publicity, and eventually leading to the establishment of the Comics Code – was made up. Or at least large chunks of his supporting data was. University of Illinois assistant professor Carol L. Tilley submitted to the Information and Culture: A Journal of History;
Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics(383-413).
Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent serve as historical and cultural touchstones of the anti-comics movement in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. Although there have been persistent concerns about the clinical evidence Wertham used as the basis for Seduction, his sources were made widely available only in 2010. This paper documents specific examples of how Wertham manipulated, overstated, compromised, and fabricated evidence—especially that evidence he attributed to personal clinical research with young people—for rhetorical gain.
The Bureau reports;
“Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence in arguing against comics, but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”
For example, in “Seduction,” Wertham links “Batman” comic books to the case of a 13-year-old boy on probation and receiving counseling for sexual abuse of another boy: “Like many other homo-erotically inclined children, he was a special devotee of Batman: ‘Sometimes I read them over and over again. … It could be that Batman did something with Robin like I did with the younger boy.’ ”
What Tilley found in Wertham’s notes, however, was that the boy preferred “Superman,” “Crime Does Not Pay” and “war comics” over “Batman,” and that he had previously been sexually assaulted by the other boy – all information that Wertham left out.
He had an extensive case file on a 15-year-old boy named Carlisle, whom he was counseling for truancy, petty thievery and gang membership. Carlisle brought three comic books to one counseling session, and the transcript in Wertham’s file shows that Carlisle said one of the comic books, called “Crime Must Pay the Penalty,” was instructive on ways to commit burglaries and holdups. However, in “Seduction,” Carlisle’s quotes appear to come from five different boys, ranging in age from 13 to 15, in different settings and contexts.
And Tilley found one quote from Carlisle’s transcripts that Wertham chose not to use, in which the boy described learning about robbery “in the movies. Movies help a lot.”
Tilley’s article also cites the case of Dorothy, a 13-year-old whose chronic truancy Wertham ascribed to her admiration for the comic book heroine Sheena and “crime comics,” omitting any mention of other factors listed in her case notes, such as her low intelligence, her reading disability, her gang membership, her sexual activity and her status as a runaway. Wertham also didn’t reveal that he never personally met or observed Dorothy; she was the patient of his associate, Dr. Hilde Mosse.
And she’s also heading in a rather intriguing direction;
Her research turned up a few other surprises: about 30 letters written to Wertham and another 200 or so sent to the Senate subcommittee by children trying to save their access to comic books. Other researchers have mentioned the missives sent to the subcommittee, but Tilley decided the young writers’ arguments deserved more attention. “Some of them talked about fairy tales and folk tales, Poe and Shakespeare, and said this stuff has murder and sex and traumatic events too, but you call that good literature,” Tilley said. She is in the process of locating as many of these letter-writers as she can find, for her research on how kids related to comics over time. “For most of them, my contact is the first acknowledgement they’ve had in 60 years that anybody read their letter.”
Anyone fancy adapting those into comics, Duplex Planet Illustrated style?
«Today in “No s**t”», mi viene da dire.
The Thick Of It gave us “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off”
Raging Bull gave you “You listening, your mother sucks fucking big fucking elephant dicks, you got that?”
And next week, The Walking Dead, courtesy of Negan gives you…