Dare Comics takes an ad gamble

Dare Comics has taken an interesting advertorial step, the comic book publisher has put the world’s first perpetual ad up on eBay. The ad will be a full-page interactive spread ion all of Dare’s current and future online publications, has the potential to run forever and the buyer can change it’s content up to 12 times a year.

With a starting bid of £10,001 this could be a lucrative deal for the publishers, but an ad offering so much security for such a small amount of money could potentially prove to be a bargain for the investor too. Shame no one has bid yet. But the listing doesn’t end until July 12 so you never know. Either way, it’s a good way for the publishers to do a little advertising of their own.

Alan Moore and Mike Patton – a heavenly comic creation

Groundbreaking comic book creator Alan Moore has a new project in the pipeline, and reports have it that rock musicians such as Mike Patton of Faith No More will be collaborating – awesome!

The semi-autobiographical multimedia work by Moore is expected to feature an audiobook and soundtrack featuring Patton, as well as Andrew Broder from Fog and Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick.

Lex Records, a british Independent label, said it would be releasing a deluxe version of the tentatively titled “Unearthling” which will include a photographic novel, art prints, a two-hour audiobook and a musical soundtrack on vinyl. Billboard reports that it’s expected to arrive in 2010.

Nice to see a little good news, after this depressing manga-court-case-result earlier in the week. I don’t know the full details of the case (obviously!) but this sounds frankly terrifying. Books are books, comic are comics and art is art – to me “possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material” is something else entirely. The last thing anyone needs is a hamper to creativity, sometimes it seems like there’s little enough of it in the world already.

Questioning Catcher in the Rye sequel

So today I saw a story saying that a sequel to Catcher in the Rye has been published. What’s this, I thought to myself, Saligner has dragged himself from his self-imposed isolation to rock the literary fiction scene? But turns out no such thing is on the cards. Instead the book has been penned by first time novelist John David California and published by the very small Windupbird Publishing.

Ok, I can just about get with the idea of sequels being written by someone else if the author of the original tale dies unexpectedly – and then only if it’s done with great sensitivity – but to take someone else’s character and transplant then 60 years on? I don’t like it. Maybe the book itself, titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, is a work of genius but for me that will never make up for the fact that it’s not California’s creation.

While many of the world’s most popular characters have specific hallmarks or patterns of speech that make them instantly recognisable, to me a character in a novel is a very personal thing – and an absolute understanding of one is not something that can be assumed.

But maybe I’m just being snobby – and maybe it’s something of a genre issue I’m having. After all TV series are written by teams of people normally, as are many films, while comic’s most iconic figures generally pass through the hands of scores of writers – each of whom is welcome to put their own slant on the character. But in the comic industry it’s expected as an integral part of the genre, and one that allows for a very different experience to that of conventional novels and in that respect I can’t get my head around it.

I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye in a long while, but Holden holds a special place in my teenage heart. I honestly don’t want to think of him being strong-armed into growing up – whether he’s been created as a genuine expression of admiration or not.

Comic creators fight censorship

The UK government is proposing a Coroners and Justice Bill that has ignited fears in the hearts of many law abiding, comic-book-creating citizens. Why? All because of some rather vague and circumspect wording.

The trouble is that the sections of the Bill that cover child abuse are unfortunately written in such a way that they appear open to interpretation – and the argument is that open interpretation in the hands of people who don’t necessarily understand an art form is just asking for trouble. According to Politics.co.uk, GM Jordan, editor of Comic Shop Voice, says that sections 49 (6) and 52 (3) are the ones striking fear into the hearts of UK – and worldwide – comic fans.

They specify that images cannot depict a child’s genitals, an act of intercourse with an animal or an ‘indecent pseudo-photograph of a child’ – and when you are specifically thinking about porn this makes sense, when you are thinking of ground breaking comic books, not so much. Basically this linguistic looseness means that it’s possible that a large number of comic publications, artists, writers and collectors could unwittingly fall foul to a literal translation of the law.

Censorship is a dirty word these days, and so it should be, and although artists and creators understand the dangers and responsibilities or creating art that deals with contentious issues – especially those such as pornography in relation to children – they also understand that art should be beyond certain restraints. Obviously this means walking the finest of fine lines sometimes and that’s when the responsibility firmly lands on the heads of the creators for better or for worse.

There’s a good reason for this Bill, it’s designed to combat the growing problem of cartoon porn that’s available on the net, but the way it’s been handled has ensured that fears that artistic expression will be stifled are rife.

There are plenty of books out there that I find abhorrent, and probably plenty of comic books too, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Banning subject matters from artistic spheres is a dangerous road to take even one step down – as I’m sure many people agree.

Luckily plenty of people from the comic book industry aren’t taking this possible threat lying down – not when books that have won high acclaim in the industry could be at risk. Leah Moore, daughter of now legendary Alan Moore, has set up an organisation called the Comic Book Alliance. An alliance that hopes to ensure that only the correct, indecent images and publications are targeted under the Bill, not artistic erotica – and it’s already gathered the support of prominent comic writers like Neil Gaiman, John Reppion and Bryan Talbot.

Good luck to them I say, no one wants to see art ‘accidentally’ curtailed. So now I’m off to sign their petition.