Category Archives: The New York Times

The New York Times Declares Graphic Novels to be ‘Summer Reveries.’ Huh?

Panel excerpt from Fatale Deluxe Edition: Volume I, one of the titles on Dana Jennings' summer comics reading list.

Panel excerpt from Fatale Deluxe Edition: Volume I, one of the titles on Dana Jennings’ summer comics reading list in The New York Times.

I love to read The New York Times. I like the idea of The New York Times and I actually enjoy reading it. No problem. It can be quite pretentious but I’ve had delightfully pretentious friends over the years. I may still have a few. So, what’s my problem? Okay, here’s the thing, The New York Times offers up the backpage to its Friday arts section (read it here) to the subject of comics and graphic novels. We are told that there’s nothing quite like a graphic novel on a long summer’s day. And then we get a hodgepodge random list of ten books. They’re all labeled as “graphic novels” while three are actually collections of comic strips. Have at it, folks, enjoy your funny books.

This piece was written by Dana Jennings. He is bravely representing the comics geek at the office (at the dentist’s, wherever, you decide) that we’re not supposed to quite understand. And we’re not supposed to understand him (or possibly her but the stereotype would be “he”) because, as The New York Times implies by this ever so brief offering, graphic novels remain something of a curiosity. Sure, The New York Times includes a category for graphic novel bestsellers but that was inevitable.

So, if The New York Times is really serious about graphic novels, and the comics medium in general, then they need to treat the subject with the respect it deserves.

Again, I love The New York Times. I’m sure they have it in them to provide far more accurate and in depth coverage of the leading art form of the day. Seriously, I’d be happy to work with them in this noble endeavor.

Quite seriously, I believe it’s outdated to need to introduce the world of comics as if it’s an oddball relative. Would you relegate the world of contemporary painting to an arts backpage and then highlight ten works from various times and places and offer it up as a quick look at some “summer reveries”? No, you wouldn’t.

It’s not the comics medium that is this curious little creature. It’s articles like this one that are quite curious indeed.


Filed under Art, comic books, Comics, graphic novels, The New York Times

Has Hollywood Soured on Comic-Con?

In a now famous piece in The New York Times last month, the focus has been on the major pull back from Hollywood to this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. That would seem understandable during the Great Recession. Not at the party in any significant way this year: Warner Brothers, Disney, Dreamworks, The Weinstein Company and Marvel Entertainment. No panels for “Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” or “Hunger Games.”

However, as expressed in a nice piece from CNN, at the end of the day, with 120,000 attendees and all the media coverage, Comic-Con has hardly been abandoned by Hollywood. A draw down by Hollywood is relative. Should any studio spend over $60 million on a movie like, “Scott Pilgrim v. The World,” that common sense would tell you will likely make about $30 million? The thing is, $30 million is a lot of money. Did Universal expect to make $100 million? Come on, it is a quirky offbeat comedy. Maybe Universal should have followed what Sony did with “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and make a movie for $10 million and earn $30 million. That’s $20 million profit, not bad. Instead, they took a genuine and fun story by cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley and turned it into a bloated monster, with a poster that covered the whole side of the Hilton nearby Comic-Con last year, that did not earn but lost money. Is that Comic-Con’s fault somehow? This year, that same Hilton has another poster, this time it’s for “Cowboys and Aliens” and it’s smaller.

Hollywood can, or should, learn how to be more resourceful, just like the cartoonists and various geeks that are at the heart of what Comic-Con is truly about. There is supposed to be some sort of strong presence on the convention floor for “Hunger Games.” And there are viral campaigns for “Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” That sounds resourceful.

Sony rolls out the first footage of “The Amazing Spider-Man” at this year’s Comic-Con. Of course, “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” is in Hall H. “Cowboys and Aliens” premieres at Comic-Con. “Captain America,” “Fright Night” and “Attack the Block” all have screenings too.  It is hardly a cold shoulder from Hollywood. It is more of a sensible approach. With any luck, it will save money, maybe enough money to support yet another quirky offbeat comedy based on a genuine and fun comic book.

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Filed under CNN, Comic-Con, Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, The New York Times