I am extremely against censorship, I speak about that more often on my personal blog, but it is can sometimes be a real issue with comic books. Within this interview I mention the panel about the Comics Code and it certainly was harmful to the industry. It is at least partially responsible for the fact that we’re just now getting back to where we were in the 50s in terms of comic book genres. But I wondered, with the Internet around and (in the USA) unregulated, what does the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund need to do? So I spoke with Charles Bronstein about it.
This is an absolutely huge topic that I could have spoken to Charles for at least an hour, if not more, about. Important takeaways from the interview:
If your school district is banning comics, read and distribute this pamphlet and consider talking to the CBLDF about getting some visibility on the banning. As Bronstein said in the panel, as a parent it’s your right not to have your child read something you find objectionable, but it’s not your right to ban everyone else’s child from reading it!
Don’t take freedom of speech on the Internet for granted (even in America!) CBLDF had to fight for your right to have uncensored comics online. Free speech is a never-ending fight!
Comics ratings are OK as long as they’re used as a marketing tool, not imposed from above or used to ban books from being sold
Just like when I spoke with Mark Waid two years ago, he is a VERY busy man at this convention. He is on nearly every panel and is incredibly popular with attendees seeking to speak with him and get his signature. So, first of all, a huge thanks to Mark for taking 5 minutes to talk with me. The conversation focused on the present and future of digital comics this time:
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Tales from the Code
There are lots of great books to read about the comics code and why it came into being. I recommend The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. The neat thing about this panel was having Jim Starlin talk about how it did or, often, didn’t affect his writing. It appears that he took the stance that he’d write what he wanted to write and it was up to the editors to tell him to change something because of the comics code. Continue reading →
I attended three great panels on the first day and brought back some not-so-great audio. At least on the first two, I forgot to change the settings from “They’re right here” to “They’re over there” so I had to amplify it and, in the process, amplify noise of anything around like me fidgeting. Still, I think there was a lot of good info in these panels.
Mark Waid who runs Thrillbent as well as writing for Thrillbent (in addition to what he does for Dynamite, Marvel, etc) was there with other artists and writers from Thrillbent to give a crash course on the publisher in addition to introducing a number of their stories. When I spoke to Mark 2 years ago, the site was just trying to stand back up after a DDOS attack. Insufferable was being published, but other than The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood, nothing else had been announced. Now there are tons of comics running, including the amazing-sounding Empire, as well as kids comics Everstar and Albert the Alien. The biggest change is that Thrillbent has gone from everything being completely free to being available for $3 for an all-you-can-read buffet like Netflix. The good news is that there are still DRM-free files that can be had (creator-dependent) and that they still have a partnership with Comixology if you like their platform.
Sexy or Sexualized
A huge panel was there for this talk about when characters are “sexy” and when they’re being “sexualized”. The bad part was that, with such a large panel, we didn’t get to hear from everyone often enough. The good thing is that, within an hour we got very good questions from the audience and a good definition of sexy essentially being OK if it was true to the character and the character was a person with a personality, not just something to look at. This tied in perfectly with Gail Simone’s response to my question about her work on Red Sonja. Also, great comments from Dave Gibbons that a lot of the art people complain about (like Hawkeye Initiative or Escher Girls) is just lazy, bad art.
Social Issues SuperMOOC
Christy Blanch spoke about her second SuperMOOC. I really enjoyed how much she engaged the audience – her teacher skills in full show.