Where IS Miss Match?

$20k Stretch Goal

We're quickly closing in on the next Stretch Goal โ€” and that's pretty exciting. Currently, everyone whose reward includes a physical copy of the new book gets a free upgrade to hardcover. That's a $10 value right off the bat. If our Kickstarter reaches $20k, all those folks are getting a beautifully printed hardcover artbook added, too!

In other words, since the artbook will sell for $35, a $25 pledge will get you $70 in books. And as the pledges go up, so do the rewards! JOIN US NOW โ€” and let's make these books happen!

The Future of the American Comic Strip

The LA Times has an excellent story about the future of the comic strip, as seen by the likes of Berke Breathed, Cathy Guisewite, and Wiley Miller. They are appearing at a panel discussion in LA on Sunday.

I can’t say it better than Mr. Breathed: “ ‘I don’t think you’ll ever see another ‘Calvin & Hobbes,’ ‘Bloom County’ or ‘Doonesbury’ again,’ says Breathed, 48, who received the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987. ‘The popularity of those strips was built on a young audience great comic strips are not built on the backs of aging readers.’

“Part of the problem, Breathed and other cartoonists say, is that newspapers, when choosing their comic strip lineup, put too much emphasis on the opinions of aging readers. As a result, stalwart strips such as ‘Peanuts,’ which continues to run as a reprint since the death of Charles M. Schulz in 2000, and ‘Blondie,’ which was created in 1930 by Chic Young, tend to remain entrenched on comics pages.

“As middle-of-the-road as ‘Blondie’ is, it’s surprising to learn that it has come to represent a divisive topic in the comic strip community. Young passed away in 1973, and since then ‘Blondie’ has been carried on by his son, Dean, and is known as an example of a ‘legacy’ strip.

“‘As an art form, comics are threatened by legacy strips,’ Breathed says. ‘The fact that papers are running [legacy strips] throughout the country is a sign that they’re desperate to cling to the readers they think they need, and they’re afraid to take risks and find the new talent.’

To complete the vicious cycle, syndicates gauge the timidity of newspaper editors, and as a result, choose only the blandest offerings to syndicate.

That means even the bravest newspaper editor has a watered-down selection to choose from if he or she actually wants to find some new talent for the comics page.

In response, Denise Joyce, president of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, “says that while comics are not the huge player they used to be 20 or 30 years ago, they are definitely on the minds of features editors.”

“Regarding legacy strips, Joyce admits it’s difficult to replace them without making their fans angry. As a compromise, Joyce says her paper is running some comics online and Web-linking to others.

Of course, once their newspaper readers discover comics published on the Web, they’re bound to discover a much wider world of comics that aren’t available in their newspapers, aren’t they? Comics that are neither watered-down nor timid.

So, in a way, people like me are indebted to the myopia of people like Ms. Joyce.

You keep sending them, Ms. Joyce, and I’ll keep keeping them.

Read the whole story.

Plastic Man cancelled

DC is ending the Plastic Man title, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker, with issue 20. I have mixed emotions about this. Plas is my favorite super-hero. Numero Uno. I agree with Batman’s assertion that he is the one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe (if not the most powerful).

And the most poorly handed character in modern comics. Bar none.

I was overjoyed to see Plas get his own title. I was even prepared to give the overly cartoony approach a fair shot. I devoured the first three issues. But each issue after that seemed more phoned-in than that. It’s not that I have a problem with digital art — far from it — but I can only stomache so many cloned images in a product like this.

And before you misinterpret that, let me make it clear, I’m not slamming digital artists, but the difference between Baker’s work in Plastic Man and, say, Greg Dean’s work in Real Life is tremendous. Dean uses his computer to push boundaries. Baker used his to push deadlines.

It was this kind of lack of effort that lead to the demise of the title. And that’s a real shame. It’s a shame because Ty Templeton, a writer who really gets Plas, as evidenced in 1999’s JLA Presents Plastic Man, could have made that title soar. Go to your comic shop’s quarter bins and check it out. Look at the gorgeous illustrations by Aaron Lopresti and Richard Pace. No copy-and-paste crap here, fanboys and fangirls… these guys made the effort.

These guys love Plastic Man the way I love Plastic Man.

And it’s a crying freaking shame that they never got the chance to take the reigns of the title as it became evident that Baker had long since lost interest.

Hall of Heroes, Cherry Hill Mall, NJ

I have a new comic store. And they just made me a loyal customer.

See, here’s the deal, I fell for the whole Countdown to Infinite Crisis hook like a hypnotized lemur. I put them all on my reserve file at my old comic book shop.

I checked back in a while later. I had issues 1 and 3 from one title. Only issue 2 from another. Only issue 3 from a third… it was pretty pathetic. So, I wandered into Hall of Heroes in Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey and ended up talking to the guy behind the counter. He helped me plug most of the holes in all four series… even going to the back room to find some. He pointed out some great titles I’d forgotten to look for (Like “The Defenders”) and was an all-around likeable comic-shop guy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Before I knew it, I’d started a new reserve list there and left with plans to cancel my reserve at the old place.

Good enough, right?

Well, first a little backstory…

I’m still sore about the OMAC project series. Issue #3 leaves off and says you have to read three other titles to fill in the gap between OMAC #3 and OMAC #4. I hate that. And I didn’t read it until I already had OMAC #4 in my hands, saying, “Wha–? When did that ha–? What’s going on h–?!”

So I go in to pick up my reserves today, and I get the OMAC #5 and a bunch of other titles.

It’s not till I get home when I find a little something that they threw in for me: The issue of Wonder Woman that was one of the three you needed to read to understand the OMAC gap. A wonderful ish. An ish not in my reserve list, but one I wanted very much.

The guy behind the counter (a different guy) had asked me to check them over to make sure they were the ones I wanted — and I didn, kinda — but I kinda thought it was a formality.

Anyway… Whoever was thoughtful enough to throw that WW issue into my file won over a loyal customer for a long time… and a little plug. If they had a Web site, I’d link it. But suffice it to say, stop in to Hall of Heroes in the Cherry Hill mall. It’s a really swank store with books, T-shirts, figurines, Godzilla stuff… kind of a comic con in a can.