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Here are this week's links to what I've had published recently...

Patreon: MTV Geek Classic: Kleefeld On Webcomics #79: Talkin' 'Bout Manga

FreakSugar: Webcomics Wednesday: Where Are the Anthologies?

Patreon: MTV Geek Classic: Kleefeld On Webcomics #80: What's In A Name?

Here are this week's links to what I've had published recently...

Kleefeld on Comics: On Hiatus!

FreakSugar: Fanthropology: No Geek Card Needed

Patreon: MTV Geek Classic: Kleefeld On Webcomics #77: Education For Cartoonists

FreakSugar: Webcomics Wednesday: Subscription or No?

Patreon: MTV Geek Classic: Kleefeld On Webcomics #78: Body Image

Comics Alternative: Webcomics: Reviews of Everblue, Handrava, and Warning Label

As of today, I'm going to be putting this blog on hiatus for a while. I've been running it since 2006(!) and I've been doing regular, consistent updates since 2013 so I've been hesitant to pause things here, but I'm running against a workload issue. I don't think I've mentioned this recently here, if at all, but in 2017, I secured a contract with a significant publisher to write a book about webcomics. I'm really jazzed about the opportunity, but I simply have not been able to put in the time that I think I should so far. My deadline is still far enough out that I'm not concerned about it yet, but I also don't want to push my luck by throwing some hack crap together at the last minute.

Back in 2009, I did manage to write Comic Book Fanthropology and keep my blog going. However, I've since added any number of things -- both personal and professional -- on my plate which do take up a significant amount of the time that I had originally used to write that. I've looked at everything I've got going on and, unfortunately, this is what's got to give.

While I do spend the next however long working on this book about webcomics, I'll still be doing my other various comics related gigs. I'm still doing my Fanthropology and Webcomics columns over at FreakSugar. I'm still doing the webcomics podcast over at Comics Alternative. I'm still doing my Incidental Iconography column for The Jack Kirby Collector. I'm still running my old MTV Geek columns over at my Patreon. It's just the Kleefeld on Comics blog that's being put on hiatus. And even then, since I'm still doing that other stuff, I'll continue posting my Weekly Recaps if you want a single location to link to all that.

At this point, I don't know how long this hiatus will last, but I'll definitely post an announcement of some kind whenever I have a better idea of when things will ramp up again. In the meantime, thanks for reading for as long or as short as you have, and be sure to hit my up on social media if you have some burning desire to get my opinion on whatever the latest comics news is.
Here are this week's links to what I've had published recently...

Kleefeld on Comics: On Business: "Ahead of our Modeling"

Kleefeld on Comics: On History: Whither Jungle Action Redux

Patreon: MTV Geek Classics: Kleefeld On Webcomics #75: Interview with Derek Kirk Kim, Part 2

Kleefeld on Comics: Weekly Black Panther Links

FreakSugar: Webcomics Wednesday: A Life in Webcomics

Kleefeld on Comics: On -isms: Black Panther Wrap-Up

Patreon: MTV Geek Classic: Kleefeld On Webcomics #76: A New Lease

Kleefeld on Comics: On Strips: Messick Tells the Truth

In May 1960, Dale Messick, creator of Brenda Starr, was a contestant on To Tell the Truth. I've referenced the show before, but this is the earliest episode I've yet seen which featured a prominent cartoonist... although there's a perennial comic connection caveat that host Bud Collyer was the original voice of Superman for the radio show and Fleischer cartoons.

There's not a whole lot they get into about Brenda Starr here, but will the real Dale Messick please stand up?
Every day for the last month, all my blog posts here have centered around Black Panther. My way of celebrating the Black Panther movie. It's a little far afield for my typical posts here in that I generally try to keep things centered on comics and not pop culture in general, but this Black Panther was different.

When I first met my wife, she had written off comic books as a medium pretty exclusively for cishet white men. And it wasn't an opinion that was easy to refute; it was (and is) spot-on in many respects. At the time, I acknowledged what she had seen as valid and, over the first few years of our relationship, showed by example that it wasn't ALL like that. At the time, I was already largely avoiding the superhero genre to focus on smaller, independent works so that wasn't difficult. She's seen enough of the different stuff I read now to know that there's a wide variety material out there, and she's even picked up a few books for herself.

But it's been Black Panther that's really captured her attention. Beyond just seeing the movie multiple times and watching interviews with the cast. Even before the movie came out, she had dove into the Black Panther comics (mostly the Ta-Nehisi Coates ones). She spent a lot of time reading character back-stories on Wikipedia and watching YouTube videos discussing various character arcs. She's gone deep enough into the lore that she's schooled devoted Marvel fans on obscure aspects of Klaw's history and how that might be interpreted in future movies.

She still doesn't care about superheroes. But she does care about celebrating a culture that's frequently shunned by those in power. I try to do that by looking for comics by minority voices generally. But frankly, that means that I run across a lot of crap; however well-intentioned it might be, it's just not executed very well. That doesn't usually bother me since A) I figure I'm helping out some struggling artist -- most artists don't produce brilliant works right when they start; it takes a lot of time and practice to cultivate their craft -- and B) because my interest comes from the medium itself first, instead of the message, I can generally still find interesting ideas and experiments in the craft, regardless of how well-realized they are.

My wife, though, she's here for the celebration of being Black. If that takes the form of a movie or a comic book or whatever, if it's done well and isn't distorted by going through so many white lenses, she will happily partake. And that strikes me as a business model worth pursuing. It's not for everybody, certainly, but there's an audience of people out there who, like my wife, are down for a good celebration with other people like them. Black Panther was a predominantly Black film, but it wasn't exclusively Black. White people weren't barred from working on it, by any means. But there were enough Black folks in positions of authority to make the movie authentically Black. Without those white lenses. That's why so many Black people turned out for the movie and it's already in the top 20 highest grossing films of all time. That's not "highest grossing superhero films" -- that's "highest grossing films." All movies. Ever.

Most superhero movies are just superhero movies. And that's partially why they don't draw movie-going audiences into comics -- you're celebrating a genre that's been celebrated in many ways for generations. The movies are fun, but not uniquely special. Black Panther isn't really a superhero movie. Presented without the Marvel Cinematic Universe context, it would easily pass as a general fantasy/sci-fi flick. And even then, it's not about the celebration of the genre, but using the genre to celebrate something that is rarely celebrated in American culture: being Black. That's not only long overdue, but clearly a good recipe for financial success.

I can't wait to see more people realize that.
It's the last official day of Black Panther Month, and we've still got plenty of links to share...