COMIC-CON VERSUS THE SHARK:
It feels like every year the San Diego Comic-Con is followed with some kind of discussion of if the event has outgrown San Diego, gotten too big for its own good or just generally jumped the shark. (This year’s Nerd Prom certainly has drawn some complaints.) Graeme McMillan compiles the gripes, including complaints from the mainstream press sent to cover it, celebrities unable to get to their parties due to the huge crowds, comics publisher IDW talking about puling back and more press complains about too little comics at the Comic-Con.
What, Paris Hilton‘s appearance only gets mentioned in a quote? I thought she and Kim Kardashian were supposed to represent the end of Comic-Con’s geek cool?
It’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to get myself to Comic-Con (I am going through such withdrawal, I could mug someone for a Cafe 222 waffle … if people were in the habit of carrying a hot breakfast on them) but I’ve long said that there’s so much going on that Comic-Con that Comic-Con is what you make of it. You can focus on the indie comics, the manga publishers, the capes and cowls or just be there for the TV/film coverage without getting to bogged down in other aspects. Has that changed in the past two years of growth?
However, I’ve said for a few years now that the TV and film studios are overlooking the potential of Comic-Con by focusing on male-skewing titles. After all, thanks to the rise of publishers like Viz and Oni, Comic-Con attendees includes the fans of Nana, The Wallflower and Hopeless Savages and I can see those fans getting excited over an Ugly Betty panel. I’m disappointed that, so far, that audience keeps getting overlooked.
This was the news I was expecting/dreading when the news of Tokyopop’s financial troubles first came out. Jen Lee Quick recently revealed that her incredibly likable (and adorably quirky) boy-meets-boy title Off*Beat won’t see an ending anytime soon:
"as some of you probably heard Tokyopop is doing a lot of restructuring in the company. many of the OEL projects got affected. Off*beat got put on "hiatus". what does that mean exactly? i’m not entirely certain myself. i apologize for not sharing the news earlier but i was hoping to learn more information about the future of the project. all i can say still at this moment is that i have expressed deep concern to my former editor that i wanted a means to finish the story and give my readers closure. i’m trying not to say too much because i want to keep my options and relations as good as possible. i was given a kind of vague response quite some time ago that things were still being re-organized on their end and they were looking in to options for allowing their creators to finish their stories.
in short, tokyopop put the freeze on off*beat and there’s nothing i can do about it until i hear otherwise…which maybe never."
The quirky and endearing Off*Beat
I’m not surprised, as I noted earlier, since the series has been behind schedule for a while. Still, it’s disappointing to hear that the story won’t be completed anytime soon; Off*Beat was a charming story that I would have loved even if it were a traditional opposite-sex romance. Fingers crossed that something happens to let us see the how Christopher and Colin’s courtship wraps up.
IT’S NEVER JUST ONE THING:
Well, sadly, it’s never one thing. A week before I heard about Tokyopop’s problems, YAOI publisher DramaQueen had also hit troubled waters and now the Boys Next Door Blog is reporting that DramaQueen’s anthology Rush looks like it won’t be putting out any more issues, another hint that the publisher might not make it survive these troubles. Rush was DramaQueen’s attempt to put out new material with western creators and, it seems, those creators have found their efforts frustrated by business troubles.
"Night and Day"’s Adder (by Akira Atsushi, left) and "Roulette"’s Riley (by Tina Anderson, right):
Rush was one of many titles that I never got around to sampling, so I can’t say much about it. Are there any Rush readers out there who will be missing the series?
YAOI may be one of the few genres of manga still seen as having plenty of growth potential but with Iris, DramaQueen and Tokyopop hitting hard times, that seems to leave YAOI Press as the last healthy publisher creating new male romance comics.
Treasure by Studio Kawaii
I’m wondering: do we have any followers of YAOI Press out there? At last year’s YAOI-Con, I ended up picking up period pirate romance Treasure! and mostly found it to be a fun bit of escapism (plus I liked how the story set up the naval setting as a way for the protagonists to try to escape the homophobia of the era).
SIMS AND THE ZEITGEIST:
Yesterday, the fine folks at Lesbian Gamers drew my attention to a February 2003 report on The Sims (the original version). While the report has some interesting observations, the opening page has me pondering the future of the franchise:
The original Sims talked around gay relationships by letting opposite-sex couples get married while same-sex couples could only ask the other to "move in". Societal views of gay couples had advanced by the time of The Sims 2, however and while things weren’t equal for gay and straight couples, gays could get "joined" while the "move in" option is a more platonic option available to friends. Well, society has changed a little bit more since then and gays can marry in California, Massachusetts, New York (essentially) as well as Canada. With The Sims 3 coming out at the end of the year, will the game finally get rid of any difference between how same and opposite sex couples marry?
The post at Lesbian Gamers suggests that video games should be a category in the GLAAD Media Awards and, frankly, I can see that being a worthwhile category, especially with where the industry has been headed of late. A couple years ago, I could probably give you a short list of gay-inclusive video games from memory but recently we’ve seen queer inclusiveness in Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto IV with more to come this year in Fable 2, The Sims 3 and (hopefully) Fallout 3. (As a side note, whatever happened to the rumored gay inclusiveness on Pirates of the Burning Sea? I wasn’t able to find hints of it when I sampled the game and I’ve heard little about the game since it came out.) There’s certainly enough material to discuss, though I imagine coordinating a panel for something as complicated as video games would be quite a challenge.
A while back we heard about Eternity’s Child, a platform game being developed for the Wii Ware that would feature a gay lead character. Well, it turns out that there was also a PC version in the works and it’s now for sale on the downloading service Steam.
The PC version sounds pretty feature-heavy with a level editor, exclusive levels and free additional installments promised later.
So far the few comments I’ve heard about Eternity’s Child focused on the gameplay but I’m also curious to how the lead character’s history is fleshed out. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more comments about it.
SO SUPER UBIQUITOUS:
Brian Anderson and his comics certainly have been hard to miss lately. His main title So Super Duper was the topic of a haiku contest at Fanboys of the Universe. More recently, gay comics blog Pink Kryptonite turned their eye towards Andersen’s latest project, superhero duo book, Reignbow and Dee-Va.
I got to take a peek at Reignbow and Dee-Va (a title Andersen described as "the comic booky Will & Grace, only with oodles of Vampires and lots of Kung Fu action!") myself and if I were to sum up the series in one visual, I’d pick this moment:
Yes, Dee-Va wears false eyelashes that can double as weapons. Top that, Alison Blair!