Catchup LinkBlogging

It’s the end of an era, and no one noticed: there are no more telegrams as of a week ago. Another technology relegated only to the movies.

Heidi covers another round of Groth vs. Ellison (link no longer available). Seems Ellison didn’t know that his interview would be included in the recent Comics Journal: The Writers collection, and he says so on his website, threatening to sue and tossing insults. (I’ve always found it odd that someone who takes personal offense so easily and who talks about himself at such length would hate the internet, since it seems a perfect match.) Heidi mentions that an interview conducted by her is also in the book and she also wasn’t informed ahead of time. Odd behavior for a magazine that likes to champion creator rights.

The Fantagraphics blog (link no longer available) points out that “Seattle Reads”, one of those “let’s everyone in the city read the same book and discuss” programs, has selected Persepolis as its latest title. That’s a milestone, that a public literacy program would support a graphic novel, and it’s a good choice, since the book is informative, timely, easy to read, and entertaining.

Lyle at Crocodile Caucus posts his month of movies list (link no longer available). His picks are much more timely and widespread than mine (I mostly watch old films), although he needs to watch the original To Be or Not to Be, with the luminous Carole Lombard instead of an attractive but aging Anne Bancroft.

ICV2 is reporting that the company that did Muppet action figures has gone out of business with its assets acquired by Limited by CAS.

17 Responses to “Catchup LinkBlogging”

  1. Dan Coyle Says:

    The impression I get from Ellison’s statements, and others, regarding computers and the Internet is that he’s simply too damn lazy to learn how to operate a computer.

  2. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Johanna, I missed the news about the end of the telegraph era too. A little more of romantic past is gone. 145 years was a pretty good run for a piece of technology. Makes me wish I could have sent a telegraph just once before the end.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Dan, I don’t think that’s a fair conclusion to jump to.

    Ed, I know, but now it’s back there with all-white penthouse apartments with grand pianos. :)

  4. Eddie Mitchell Says:

    Aren’t magazine interviews work-for-hire? It seems to me they would be. Comparing TCJ’s stance on creator rights and this situation seems to me to be like apples and oranges. It would be different if we were talking about an original piece of fiction or something like that, but I have a hard time seeing an interview in that light.

    Eddie Mitchell

  5. Lyle Says:

    My spouse (who is quite knowledgable about classic movies but gave me an odd look when I suggested that he might enjoy Turner Classic Movies as much as I enjoy Trio as justification for spending an extra $5 a month for the “Digital Premiere” package) tells me the original To Be or Not to Be is much funnier. I worry that I’ll get distracted and obsess over what the movie tells us about movie goers at the time (I understand this was made during WWII when we weren’t fully aware of what was going on inside the occupied countries) but it’s something I’d like to catch when it becomes available to me. (I take forever to watch rentals nowadays, so my movie watching tends to be limited to what’s available through my cable provider.)

  6. hcduvall Says:

    I don’t know much about the backstory, but I was surprised about the blurb Heidi mentioned in her post on book’s cover (Harlan Ellison is a “famous comics dilletante”). That’s just…tacky. At best.

    Eddie, I think everyone is aware about work-for-hire and all that entails, but may’be some notice or heads up to the people involved might’ve been nice.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Yes, it’s likely that those interviews were work-for-hire… but so were the comics that creators championed by TCJ worked on (or so the companies asserted, anyway). It just would have been nice for them to have notified the participants, is all. I know of at least one case where a book of comic interviews was changed between solicit and publication due to an interview subject kicking up a fuss.

    Lyle, definitely get TCM. They just showed the original TBONTB recently, and it’s showing again on February 17.

    HCD — assuming that they wanted to point out why Ellison was being covered in a book of comic writer interviews, what should they have credited him with?

  8. Eddie Mitchell Says:

    Well I wasn’t thinking that anyone was unaware of work-for-hire. And I agree that it might have been a courtesy to have notified folks about the re-use of their work, but I don’t see that TCJ did really anything that could be classified as “odd behavior for a magazine that likes to champion creator rights.”

    Just to change topics a bit, the only telegram I’ve ever seen was the one my father sent my grandparents the morning I was born. He was stationed in Germany at the time and my mother remembers that the phone service wasn’t always the best, so they sent a telegram instead. It’s odd to realize that in my lifetime (41 years to date), that what was once considered a dependable source of communication became obselete.

    Eddie Mitchell

  9. hcduvall Says:

    Hmm…the ibooks reprint of Vic and Blood is the most recently published item I can think of, but mainly I just think that the word dilettante (this time, with me spelling it properly) is unnecessarily suggestive, and on the cover. I think something along the lines of “Author and critic” would have been enough.

  10. Lyle Says:

    They just showed the original TBONTB recently, and it’s showing again on February 17.

    Oooh, I’ll be setting the DVR. Thanks for the heads-up.

  11. Eddie Mitchell Says:

    Johanna I just don’t see a parallel between the situations of the comics creators and what TCJ did with this book. I agree with you that it would have been nice if they had notified folks (and would have been a little more professional), but I can understand why they didn’t. Your “odd behavior” strikes me as a mild way of pointing out hypocrisy on TCJ’s part, and I just don’t see their actions that way. That’s all I’m saying.

    Speaking of TCM, I’ve recently become a real fan. The Miyazaki film festival they did last month was real cool, and that’s gotten me into checking their listings when I’m setting the DVR.

    Eddie Mitchell

  12. Rob Staeger Says:

    Another good thing about the selection of Perseopolis? People returning to where comics are sold to buy Perseopolis II.

  13. Johanna Says:

    Rob, let’s hope. (Even though I found 2 a letdown compared to 1, unfocused and scattered.) Let’s also hope that comic shops promote that and have good staff onhand to make suggestions and help new readers.

    HCD, I’d forgotten about that … but I don’t agree that having your prose adapted for comics makes you a comic creator.

    I went and looked up “dilettante”, and the most common synonym was “dabbler”. I think that’s fair when it comes specifically to Ellison’s work in comics. I know it has negative connotations, though, and that’s what he’s reacting to, and I suspect Groth would be aware of that. (The second meaning was “sophisticate”, which I don’t think is wrong or bad in this case.)

    Eddie, it’s ok that we disagree on the implications of this, especially when it’s only a snarky comment.

  14. Dan Coyle Says:

    “Dan, I don’t think that’s a fair conclusion to jump to.”

    Uh… in nearly every book in the web site listings, Ellison announces he does not own a computer, has no plans to and that he “percieves all this electronic crap as the twilight of the word.” When he worked on the I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream game he refused to even look at a computer, just worked on his parts on a typewriter. He just doesn’t want anything to do with computers.

  15. Johanna Says:

    That’s different from what you originally said, when you called him lazy. That jump to conclusion is what I thought was unfair.

  16. hcduvall Says:

    Oh, I know, and I wouldn’t call him a comic creator either. He’s the odd man out in the group, for that having written specifically for comics- anything substantial anyway. That’s why I was having trouble with a clear description for him. May’be the Journal should have titled the books “Writers” instead of “The Writers”, but I’m feeling like I’m splitting hairs now.

    I know dilettante has perfectly innocuous meanings, but you know, its the TCJ. I could just be reading in too much.

  17. Johanna Says:

    You’re right, he doesn’t really belong in the book, yet if I had to guess, I bet his interview would drive sales more than any other, because it’s so infamous. I’m curious to see if there’s any followup beyond what we’ve seen so far. All I’ve seen so far is a message board thread where Kim Thompson brushes off the complaints.




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