Pixel Scroll 7/12/17 All The King’s Centaurs

(1) TOP COMICS. NPR asked followers the name their favorite comics and graphic novels. Here are the results: “Let’s Get Graphic: 100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels”.

We assembled an amazing team of critics and creators to help winnow down more than 7,000 nominations to this final list of 100 great comics for all ages and tastes, from early readers to adults-only.

This isn’t meant as a comprehensive list of the “best” or “most important” or “most influential” comics, of course. It’s a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that, because we asked folks to name the comics they loved. That means you’ll find enormously popular mainstays like Maus and Fun Home jostling for space alongside newer work that’s awaiting a wider audience (Check Please, anyone?).

Lots of good stuff on this list. Here’s an absolutely chosen-at-random example:

Astro City

by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson

At once a sprawling adventure anthology and a witty metariff on the long, whimsical history of the superhero genre, Astro City offers a bracingly bright rejoinder to “grim-and-gritty” superhero storytelling. Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson — with Alex Ross supplying character designs and painted covers — don’t merely people their fictional metropolis with analogues of notable heroes, though there are plenty of those on hand. The universe they’ve created pays loving homage to familiar characters and storylines even as it digs deep to continually invent new stories and feature new perspectives. Astro City is a hopeful place that dares to believe in heroes, sincerely and unabashedly; reading it, you will too.

(2) LAST YEAR’S HARDEST SF SHORT FICTION. Rocket Stack Rank has a new post surveying “Hard SF in 2016”.

Greg Hullender explains, “We’d have done this earlier in the year, but we were experimenting with new features like place and time, and we ended up gradually going back through all 814 stories annotating them. Still, I think the result is of interest.

It has been eighteen months since we explored the Health of Hard Science Fiction in 2015 (Short Fiction), so we’re overdue to take a look at 2016. This report divides into three sections:

(3) TZ REBOOT. Can this writer bring The Twilight Zone back to life? “Christine Lavaf to Pen ‘The Twilight Zone’ Reboot”.

Screenwriter Christine Lavaf is working on a reboot of The Twilight Zone.

Warner Bros has been trying to develop the new movie version of the hit horror since 2009 and a number of directors were lined up to helm the production, but each left the project before shooting could begin.

However, Warner Bros has now announced Christine will be working on the script despite a director having not yet been found to oversee the production, according to Variety.

The original plan for the movie was for it to be inspired by the 1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie horror, which was produced by Steven Spielberg and John Landis and had four segments each with a different director. But the new movie will reportedly follow just one story, which will include elements of The Twilight Zone universe.

(4) DRAWING A BLANK. Australian artist Nick Stathopoulos told his Facebook readers “No Archibald joy this year.”

Last year his painting of Deng Adut was a runner-up for the Archibald Prize for portraits — awarded annually to the best portrait, “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia” – and the winner of the Archibald Prize People’s Choice award.

Stathopoulos is a long-time fan, 10-time winner of the Australian NatCon’s Ditmar Award, and a past Hugo and Chesley Award nominee. He is frequently in contention for the annual Archibald awards.

(5) ARTISTS AT WORK. The Meow Wolf “art collective” in Santa Fe got their start with a $3.5 million investment from George R.R. Martin, and many of their “immersive installations” are sf related. Natalie Eggert’s article “This 140-Person Art Collective Is Pursuing An Alternative Model For Artists to Make A Living” for Artsy talks about how Meow Wolf has created 140 jobs with income coming from people who pay $20 to look at their “immersive installations.”

Since the Santa Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf opened its permanent installation, the House of Eternal Return, in March 2016, the project has been an unmitigated success in terms of viewership and profits. Housed in a 20,000-square-foot former bowling alley, the sprawling interactive artwork welcomed 400,000 visitors in its first year—nearly four times as many as expected—and brought in $6 million in revenue for the collective’s more than 100 members.

One of the most popular attractions in Santa Fe, the House of Eternal Return invites visitors into an elaborate Victorian house that is experiencing rifts in space-time. Open up the refrigerator or a closet door and get swept away into a new environment, each one designed by different artists of the Meow Wolf collective. There is no set route to follow and you can climb on, crawl through, and touch everything in sight. Tickets to enter the fun-house-like installation cost $20 for adults (on par with admission to a New York museum), with discounted rates available for New Mexico residents, children, senior citizens, and the military.

The installation’s sci-fi narrative, lawless abandon, and production quality have captured the imaginations of viewers, while its success has caught the art world’s attention. Could this be a sustainable, alternative avenue for artists to collaborate and make a living outside of traditional art world models?

(6) SENDAK BOOK MS. REDISCOVERED. Atlas Obscura reports: “Found: An Unpublished Manuscript by Maurice Sendak”.

Since the beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak died in 2012, the foundation set up in his name has been working to collect and sort through his artwork and the records of his life. While working through some old files, Lynn Caponera, the president of the foundation, found the typewritten manuscript for a book. When she looked more closely at it, she realized it was story she didn’t remember, reports Publishers Weekly.

What she had found was the story for Presto and Zesto in Limboland, a work that Sendak and collaborator Arthur Yorinks had worked on in the 1990s and never published. “In all honesty, we just forgot it,” Yorinks told Publishers Weekly.


  • July 12, 2013  — Pacific Rim debuted.


  • Born July 12, 1912 — Artist Joseph Mungaini, who illustrated the 1962 Oscar-nominated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright based on Ray Bradbury’s story.

(9) LUCY LIU. Rebecca Rubin in Variety says that Lucy Liu will direct the first episode of season 2 of Luke Cage coming in 2018.  She previously directed four episodes of Elementary.

(10) STAND BY FOR A NEW THEORY. NPR’s Glen Weldon says new Spider-Man wins because we see learning rather than origin: “Origin-al Sin: What Hollywood Must Learn From ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming'”.

Spider-Man: Homecoming dispenses with his origin story completely, which is, at this point, a wise move. Given Spidey’s status as Marvel’s flagship character and his concurrent cultural saturation, it’s perhaps even inevitable, because: We know.

We get it. Spider-bite, spider powers, great responsibility. We’ve, all of us, been there.

And yet! Even without seeing precisely how and why Peter Parker gets from the here of normal life to the there of fantastic, thwippy powers, Tom Holland is eminently, achingly relatable. His Peter is someone in whom we easily see ourselves at our most excited and anxious. Which is the whole secret.

(11) THIS SUCKS. Using ROVs to scoop up invasive species: “Can a robot help solve the Atlantic’s lionfish problem?”. There’s a video report at the link.

Robots in Service of the Environment has designed an underwater robot to combat a growing problem in the Atlantic Ocean: the invasive lionfish.

(12) MAJOR DEVELOPMENT. A league of their own? Overwatch starts city-based videogaming league: “Overwatch: Bigger than the Premier League?”

Its developer Activision Blizzard has just announced the first seven team owners for a forthcoming league. It believes, in time, the tournament could prove more lucrative than the UK’s Premier League – football’s highest-earning competition.

Several of the successful bidders have made their mark with traditional sports teams, and the buy-in price has not been cheap.

The BBC understands the rights cost $20m (£15.5m) per squad. For that, owners get the promise of a 50% revenue split with the Overwatch League itself for future earnings.

The fast-paced cartoon-like shooter was designed to appeal to both players and spectators. It’s low on gore and features a racial mix of male and female heroes, including a gay character – a relative rarity in gaming.

(13) THEY’RE PINK. Adweek covers a parody of female-targeted products: “‘Cards Against Humanity for Her’ Is the Same Game, but the Box Is Pink and It Costs $5 More”.

In a savage parody of women-targeted products like Bic for Her pens, and Cosmo and Seat’s car for women, Cards Against Humanity has released Cards Against Humanity for Her. It’s the exact same game as the original, but comes in a pink box and costs $5 more.

The press release is a gold mine of hilarity.

“We crunched the numbers, and to our surprise, we found that women buy more than 50 percent of games,” said Cards Against Humanity community director Jenn Bane. “We decided that hey, it’s 2017, it’s time for women to have a spot at the table, and nevertheless, she persisted. That’s why we made Cards Against Humanity for Her. It’s trendy, stylish, and easy to understand. And it’s pink.”

Bane added: “Women love the color pink.”

The game is available for $30 on CardsAgainstHumanityForHer.com, which has all sorts of ridiculous photos and GIFs. The limited-edition version “is expected to sell out,” the brand said.

From the FAQ (where it’s in pink text).

When I inevitably purchase this without reading carefully and then find out it’s the same cards as the original Cards Against Humanity, can I return it and get my money back? That color looks great on you! No.

(14) SHARKE REPELLENT. Mark-kitteh sent these links (and the headline) to the latest posts by the Shadow Clarke jury. He adds, “Only two of these, but the Becky Chambers roundtable is likely to provide enough rises in blood-pressure on its own.”

The inclusion of A Closed and Common Orbit on this year’s Clarke shortlist follows hard on the heels of Chambers’s 2016 shortlisting for her debut novel, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. In a very short time, Chambers’s books have proven extraordinarily popular and drawn an enthusiastic fan response. Unsurprisingly, ACACO has also been shortlisted for the 2017 Hugo. The novel has also drawn praise from reviewers, such as Adam Roberts in the Guardian. However, despite the shadow Clarke jury being split fifty-fifty between those who found ACACO to be a compulsive read and those who struggled to find any interest in it whatsoever, this is also the novel that has come closest to unifying what is often a more diverse body of opinion than it might appear from the outside. We are unanimous in thinking that ACACO is not one of the six best SF novels of the year and, in contrast to the other five works on the list, there is nobody among us who would make any kind of case for its inclusion on the Clarke shortlist.

I am possibly not the right audience for this novel. I have read a number of stories by Yoon Ha Lee before this without being particularly impressed by any of them. The novel, Ninefox Gambit crystallized some of those discontents. In no particular order:

1: Yoon Ha Lee has read too much Iain M. Banks. The influence is everywhere and inescapable: the grotesque deaths, the over-elaborate weapons (including one I couldn’t help identifying as the Lazy Gun from Against a Dark Background), and, of course, the central conceit in which the mind of an ancient general is implanted in a younger person on a suicide mission is a straight lift from Look to Windward. But Banks’s humanity is missing. With Banks you always knew where the author stood, ethically and emotionally; not so with Lee, this is a cold book.

(15) FROM PERKY TO UNBEATABLE. Lesley Goldberg of The Hollywood Reporter, in “Marvel’s New Warriors Sets Its Cast–Including Squirrel Girl”, says that the cast of this ten-episode series on Freeform has been set, and Milana Vayntrub, best known as the Perky Salesperson in 5,271,009 AT&T commercials, has been cast as Squirrel Girl.

Milana Vayntrub (This Is Us) has landed the breakout role of Squirrel Girl, while Baby Daddy grad Derek Theler will stay in business with Freeform after landing the role of Mister Immortal in Marvel’s first live-action scripted comedy.

The duo lead the ensemble cast in the 10-episode series about six young people learning to cope with their abilities in a world where bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates. Joining Vayntrub and Theler are Jeremy Tardy as Night Thrasher, Calum Worthy as Speedball, Matthew Moy as Microbe and Kate Comer as Debrii.

(16) ETCHED IN STONE. It’s been awhile since I checked in on Declan Finn, and I found one of his posts on Superversive SF that could lead to lively discussion.

In “Pius Rules for Writers”, Declan Finn’s advice comes from his viewpoint as a reader.

I was recently asked what rules, as I reader, I wish writers would follow. I came up with a few.

Rule #1: Don’t preach at me. Tell the damn story…

I think this is self explanatory. Heck, even Star Trek IV, which is straight up “save the whales,” did a fairly good job of this. It was mostly a character driven comedy: let’s take all of our characters as fish and through them so far out of the water they’re in a different planet, and watch the fun start. Even the whales that must be saved for the sake of all of Earth are little more than MacGuffin devices, there for the story to happen.

But 2012? Or The Day After Tomorrow? Or Avatar? Kill me now.

Serious, I went out of my way to make A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller about the history of a Church, complete with philosophy, and it somehow still managed to be less preachy than any of these “climate change” films.

(17) NEWMAN’S NEXT. Joel Cunningham of the B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog has great news for Planetfall fans (and a cover reveal) in “Return to Emma Newman’s Planetfall Universe in Before Mars.

I still remember the feeling of closing the cover on a early, bound manuscript copy of Emma Newman’s Planetfall in 2015, sure I had read one of the finest science fiction novels of the year—even though it was only April (I wasn’t wrong).

Considering it’s a complete work, I was surprised—and very pleased—at the arrival of After Atlas, a standalone companion novel set in the same world—another book that, incidentally, turned out to rank with the best of its year (but don’t just take our word for it).

I just can quit being fascinated by this setting—a near future in which 3D printing technology has made resources plentiful, but post-scarcity living has not been evenly distributed, where missions to the stars only expose the dark secrets within the human heart—and it seems Newman can’t quite break away from it either: she’s writing at least two more books in the Planetfall series, and today,we’re showing off the cover of the third, Before Mars, arriving in April 2018 from Ace Books….

(18) NOT YOUR TYPICAL POLICE SHOOTING. Consenting cosplayers suffered a tragic interruption: “Police Shoot People Dressed As The Joker And Harley Quinn”.

Australian police shot a man and a woman dressed as comic book characters while they performed a sexual act at a nightclub early Saturday morning, news.com.au reported. The man and the woman were dressed as the Joker and Harley Quinn.

Dale Ewins, 35, was shot in the stomach by police. Authorities said they shot him because he pointed his toy gun at them and they believed it was a real weapon. However, club security said Ewins did not aim the gun at them.

Zita Sukys, 37, was shot in the leg. Both were attending the Saints & Sinners Ball, described as a party “for Australian swingers and those who are just curious.” Promotions for the party also said it has “a well-earned reputation as Australia’s, if not the world’s, raunchiest party.”

(19) FAN FASHION. The Dublin in 2019 bidders think you would look great in their logo shirt. Half-off sale!

(20 TOON FASHION. Why Cartoon Characters Wear Gloves is a video from Vox which goes back to 1900 to answer this question.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Greg Hullender, Chip Hitchcock, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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187 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/12/17 All The King’s Centaurs

  1. @PhilRM – it may be a couple of the Sharkes in particular who are… difficult for me to read. Megan AM (who is shockingly pretentious, possibly enough so to smear the whole Shadow attempt with her grime) and that guy who got really upset that Glyer keeps linking to his words and considers it bullying.

    One thing, though, that is somewhat obvious if you read the ACaCO round table – it seems at least a couple of them hadn’t actually read it, but were rather referring to TLWtaSAP in their criticism. If they’re going to take such an authoritative tone, they should do their homework.

  2. If they’re going to take such an authoritative tone, they should do their homework.

    Heh. Reminds me of my high school English teacher who told us not to bother reading Tom Sawyer, that it was crap, and the only Twain we should be concerned about reading is Huck Finn. A classmate asked her if she’d actually read Tom Sawyer and she turned bright red and admitted she hadn’t. Strangely, I ignored her opinions from there on out and only paid attention to what was clearly coming from the supporting reading. Not my first run-in with stupid authority, but certainly one of the most memorable. At least she made her students feel smart. Compared to her.

  3. StephenfromOttawa: I don’t think anyone said nobody should like the Chambers book, just that it shouldn’t be on the Clarke shortlist.

    Except that a lot of their stated reasons for that just don’t ring true. As I pointed out, their criticisms of ACaCO could be applied just as equally to Nina Allan’s Hugo-nominated story “The Art of Space Travel” (which I really liked), or some of the books which they said they loved and thought should be on the Clarke shortlist. I have a really hard time imagining Allan — or any of the other Sharkes — admitting that her story is not the sort of work which should appear on the Clarke shortlist.

    Even Sharke defender Allan Lloyd, while he was busy implying that as an American, I’m just too stupid and dense to appreciate Priest’s “highly original takes… [on] questions of identity and personal interpretations of the world in most of his work”, uses a description which can be just as well applied to ACaCO.

    And as numerous people have pointed out in this thread, the Sharke criticism of that book 1) being lightweight is not at all true, and 2) in at least some cases, seems to be based on the first book and not the actual book being discussed (I suspect those judges assumed that it was a sequel rather than a same-universe book, and thought they could comment on it even though they didn’t actually read it).

    And seriously… “We need to talk about COCOA” is the sort of immature belittling I expect to see from grade-schoolers, not so-called adults who claim to be serious literary critics.

  4. I’m happy that the Sharkes are committed to reviewing books from their perspective – after all, more viewpoints is better – but I do wish that they’d lean a little less hard on the popular vs literary schtick. It sets up a false dichotomy that’s annoying, inaccurate, and vaguely insulting whoever does it and from whatever angle of approach.

    However, I really don’t think it’s at all reasonable to accuse people who dislike ACaCO (or like it but don’t consider it award-worthy) of being cold or joyless people, in the same way it was unreasonable for one of them to suggest that liking Wayfarer’s is a sign of a shallow understanding of social justice.


    I also wonder if the Sharkes have even read the book? “Everybody is white”- Uhm, no, actually every human is some shade of brown, as The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit exhaustively explain.

    Pepper is described as being pale pink, but in general you’re entirely correct, to the point that Sidra’s body is a shade of brown in order to make her stand out less. Anyway, Pepper is an exception to a lot of things.

    @Ann Leckie

    Excellent comment.

    @Cat Eldridge

    Unless I’m missing another connection: Relic Hunter was Tia Carrere of Wayne’s World fame, not Lucy Liu, and although Liu does indeed act very well in Elementary, I meant the episodes she directed. 🙂

    @World Weary

    I agree with you about the nature of ACaCO’s resolution.


    that guy who got really upset that Glyer keeps linking to his words and considers it bullying

    Wait, seriously? Link?

  5. 1)
    If the list had been labeled as a list of the 100 best American comics and graphic novels, I think no one would have objected. But it’s labeled as a list of the 100 best comics and graphic novels period (and actually contains quite a few Japanese comics), so omitting an entire tradition of comics (or several, since there is a notable difference betweem British, French-Belgian-Dutch and Italian comics, let alone German, Spanish or Scandinavian ones) is rather glaring.

    Coincidentally, my reaction would have been the same (and indeed has been the same) if I saw a similar list of 100 best comics and graphic novels posted by a European site that contained no American comics at all apart from Fun Home, Maus and something by Joe Sacco.

    Regarding the Sharkes, I agree with the observation that even though they couldn’t be further apart politically, the Sharkes often seem like the mirror image of the puppies. And though Puppies and Sharkes would probably never agree on what makes a good book, they sometimes seem eerily united with regard to books they dislike. Coincidentally, this is not the first time I’ve observed this dynamic. Though while the Puppies are actively malicious, the Sharkes confine themselves to grumbling at great length about books they dislike, which is a big point in their favour.

    Like kathodus, I also have a problem with the tone of some of the Sharkes, probably the same two they have a problem with. Nina Allan’s recent comments grated as well, though I liked “The Art of Space Travel” quite a bit in spite of it being rather light on SFnal content.

  6. But it’s labeled as a list of the 100 best comics and graphic novels period

    No, it’s not.

    It’s labeled as “100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels.”

    They even make it clear: This isn’t meant as a comprehensive list of the “best” or “most important” or “most influential” comics, of course. It’s a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that, because we asked folks to name the comics they loved.

    Not “best.” Not “most important.” 100 of their audience’s favorites.

    Not even their audience’s 100 favorites, but 100 of their audience’s favorites.

    This is like all these arguments that the Hugos are supposed to represent the opinions of all SF fandom, rather than what the Hugos actually and explicitly are.

    The NPR list is explicitly not a “best” list. It’s not labeled as one, and it isn’t one. There’s even a subsequent article about influential newspaper strips, on the grounds that the approach they took to the favorites list left lots of important strips out.

    Coincidentally, my reaction would have been the same (and indeed has been the same) if I saw a similar list of 100 best comics and graphic novels posted by a European site that contained no American comics at all apart from Fun Home, Maus and something by Joe Sacco.

    On the other hand, if CASSANDRE HORSCHAMP published a list of 100 of their readership’s favorite comics, as chosen by a survey and winnowed down by a judging panel, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if it didn’t include a lot of American comics.

  7. To add another comment on the NPR “Favorite Comics” list —

    If it was intended as a “best” list, even if it skewed American, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t have any comics on it by Jack Kirby.

    But it doesn’t.

    No Kirby, no Ditko, no Toth, no Caniff, no Tezuka, no Takahashi, no Herge, no Jansson, no Tardi.

    It’s just not that kind of list. It’s not trying to be.

  8. La la la la la la la la la la la la…

    (I think that if you post something publicly online, you can’t complain if your post gets linked. That doesn’t change if you’re a nobody, which the complainant claims to be. But when the complainant is a critic who writes for websites & magazines, that’s not being a nobody is it? That’s a bit hypocritical isn’t it?

    There are a number of ways to keep conversations/posts online private if you don’t want them linked to. The ways of keeping your conversations/posts private do not include making public tweets or posting publicly to your website.)

  9. @Kurt Busiek
    Yes, they’re missing a lot of American comics, too. Kirby and Dittko, so many classic newspaper strips that they had to make an additional post, Carl Barks, etc… It’s an oddly skewed list in general.

    Coincidentally, I have criticised arte or 3sat for similar skewed selections whenever they deigned to notice that comics exist. Though arte at least acknowledged the existence of Lee and Kirby in their series about the history of comics several years ago.

  10. Soon Lee: I think that if you post something publicly online, you can’t complain if your post gets linked. That doesn’t change if you’re a nobody, which the complainant claims to be.

    Yeah, like that guy the other day who came here and whined about the negative remarks after Mike linked to his blog post ranking Hugo-nominated novellas, most of which he had only sampled — the blog post he’d promoted on Twitter, despite insisting that he wasn’t blogging to get attention. 🙄

    People need to figure out that if they’re going to post publicly in the hope of getting attention, they don’t get to choose what sort of attention it will be.

  11. Yes, they’re missing a lot of American comics, too. Kirby and Dittko, so many classic newspaper strips that they had to make an additional post, Carl Barks, etc… It’s an oddly skewed list in general.

    That’s because it’s not a “best” list. Honest.

  12. He didn’t get called an asshole until after he announced his flounce.

    The very first quote in the comments is

    “Shadow Clarkies really digging in on the whole joyless pretentious asshole thing there.”

    Is not calling him personally an asshole, but, well… It sort of sets the tone.
    I still fail to understand why these personal attacks have to be inserted. The shadow jury certainly gives enough possibilities to attack their work. In the beginning I liked reading them, but they kept re-iterating the same and my tastes are not alioned and I also have the feeling that they raised the ante during the time- what started as minor quibbles were overblown to major failures. But still I dont see any reason to call them names. An argument certainly doesnt go stronger if its presented with an insult.

    (Im reading here for fun. Would be a shame if it starts becoming uncomfortable)

  13. @Meredith – JJ provided the links, so I’ll let that answer, as I’m not sure if he may search for his name and get upset.

    I have some empathy for how he feels, in a way, in that when File770 links to something that will annoy or upset Filers, we tend to talk about it, and that can probably feel like being ganged up on. There are times when I post something, all flush with pride and sure of myself, here or elsewhere on the internet, and then the next morning avoid that venue because I don’t have the mental capacity at the moment to deal with the consequences of my speech. But he’s publishing this stuff, not just posting comments on a blog, or to his friends list on a social media site, so his reaction seems a little overwrought to me. Or, basically, what Soon Lee said.

    Re skin color/race in the Wayfarers series – the summary of the Sharkes round table discussion does qualify the everyone is white thing:

    ‘This brings us back to the ongoing problem of writing multiculturalism in sf,’ said Maureen, ‘We really have not got over the cantina in Star Wars.’ ‘For a novel that is supposedly about diversity, COCOA is oddly undiverse,’ Paul commented. ‘Every alien is human in character and attitude, every human is white and western.’ Megan noted that ‘I think Chambers and her fans would argue that we’re assuming they’re white’, before adding, ‘but I think the characters are supposed to be variations of a melting pot ethnicity – which is also problematic and probably feels western dominant to most readers.’

    Hugo Reading-wise – Finished Two Serpents Rise (yes, I’m terribly behind in my series reading, outside the series I’ve already read). I was intrigued by the way religion and gods were nasty things, but what replaced it (basically, spiritual capitalism) is arguably just as bad or worse.

    Also read Altar, by Philip Fracassi, a horror novelette that hearkens back to 70s/80s horror but is ultimately just a nice snack.

    Grabbed Infinite Ground, inspired by the Sharkes’ description of Jeff Vandermeer’s description. May go for the Southern Reach trilogy next (picked it up way back in the days of active Puppy-yipping, at Filers’ recommendations, but haven’t got around to it yet.

  14. One comic I really miss that I haven’t seen anyone mention is Spirou. Is it because it was never any widespread in US? It was hugely popular in Sweden.

  15. SPIROU has never had much of a profile in the US. Only one volume was translated and published here prior to 2009, and since then there’ve been a number of translations but they’re from a fairly small publisher.

    European albums have a tough time in the US in general, because for some dumb reason we’ve been commercially resistant to the European album size, and work done for that format doesn’t take reduction well.

  16. Oh, that’s a lot of good stuff being lost out then. :/

    Hmmm. Think I will try to make my own top 100 list. Will be quite different and most likely more older stuff.

  17. @Kurt is completely right; it’s a list of favorites, not best, entirely by an unscientific poll of random Americans. Those are the ones that, for whatever idiosyncratic reason, were near and dear to the responders’ hearts. There are related articles naming “worthy” stuff that didn’t make the list for whatever reason. Many of the things named would have been read by children in the 50’s-70’s, when your average 12 year old American had no access to imported comics. Just like your average European child didn’t get the joy of reading “Pogo” in their daily newspaper.

  18. ” Just like your average European child didn’t get the joy of reading “Pogo” in their daily newspaper.”

    Pogo is an interesting example. Swedish dailys have always been full of american strips and american comics have been everywhere (as has french and belgian). Pogo, though, was deemed as too hard to translate. Political references, language puns based on dialects. I think there was only two translations of small parts ever done, one in 1971 and one in 1988.

    Otherwise, I think most of the good stuff has been translated in one form or the other. I recognize all the stuff Kurt has mentioned from swedish translations.

  19. On the Sharkes.

    @PhilRM I think they’ve made reasonably clear what constitutes award-worthy SF for them

    Well to be strictly clear it is what constitutes Clarke-Award worthy SF for them. This is somewhat different. Although all awards say “best” what that means in reality differs from award to award, and necessarily jury to jury. However there is a commonality of history, of expectation, about what books are likely to do well at the Clarkes.

    It is also clear that for the Sharkes SF trappings are of far lesser importance than quite a few other aspects of a novel. That is also an aspect to the Clarkes themselves (we quite often see books published outside the genre reaching the shortlist).

    Like a lot of the Sharkes I am surprised that Becky Chambers has reached the shortlist again. I don’t think her books are Clarke Award type books. There have been other complete outliers over the years where many have questioned why the book even got close to the shortlist (sometimes on the grounds of insufficient SF content, sometimes on the grounds of quality). So in that respect it is business as usual. However the Clarkes is a juried award, and all it takes is (at least) one jury member to stick their necks out (with a decent reason) for a book for it to end up on the shortlist I suspect.

  20. @andyl

    (we quite often see books published outside the genre reaching the shortlist).

    Ah, you’ve reminded me that that is a point the Sharkes have made with at least some clarity – that looking outside genre imprints more would be beneficial. I think it’s quite a good point to make about a juried award, who can go searching for “best” in more obscure places, although I suspect the Clarke would answer that they’re already doing that.

  21. I think there’s something in SPIROU that doesn’t translate well, culturally. TINTIN, ASTERIX and LES SCHTROUMPHS were all big among FSL readers in Canada, but SPIROU never seemed to catch on.

  22. @andyl: Well to be strictly clear it is what constitutes Clarke-Award worthy SF for them. This is somewhat different.
    Yes – that’s an important qualification that I should not have omitted. And even for a juried award, the Clarke has a long tradition of arguing with itself about its history and what constitutes SF (let alone Clarke Award-worthy SF).

  23. @Karl-Johan Norén:

    if they had comics experts to do the final selection, I really hope they would be familiar with European comics, just as I hope European comics experts are familiar with American comics.

    The experts reduced an existing list; if that list had no European material in it, I’m not sure what they could do.
    (cf Kurt Busiek on July 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm)

    even older things like MAD, Elfquest (which started in the 70s), Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, or Peanuts. These are the American peers to Asterix, Tintin, or Lucky Luke.

    This is just wrong. C&H and Bloom County were in the 1980’s, not earlier, and Peanuts ran (by its creator) into 2000; Wikipedia tells me Tintin originals ended in 1983, and Asterix’s writer died in 1977.

    @JJ: the gut-punch was not the ending, but the “Chinese” magician. And you’re still being vague about the ending; I do not see how it is not science fiction. Details?

  24. This is just wrong. C&H and Bloom County were in the 1980’s, not earlier, and Peanuts ran (by its creator) into 2000; Wikipedia tells me Tintin originals ended in 1983, and Asterix’s writer died in 1977.

    Asterix albums are still being published, even though most fans agree that the one written by Rene Goscinny were superior to the latter ones. The last Asterix album came out in 2015 and there is one scheduled for this year.

    There probably would still be new Tintin albums, too, if Hergè hadn’t explicitly forbidden other creators from continuing the series.

  25. The experts reduced an existing list; if that list had no European material in it, I’m not sure what they could do.

    Just as a reminder: There are three European titles on the list.

    They may not be the European comics people want to be favorites of NPR’s audience, but they’re there.

  26. @Karl-Johan Norén: When you say that the only British creators you found on the NPR list were Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, did you not notice Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Quitely?

  27. @P J Evans: “I am glaring at the publisher. Bought through Kobo: they’re responsible.”

    Kobo’s the store, not the publisher. They have roughly as much control over an ebook’s metadata as your local chain bookstore has over an error on the spine of the latest Baen book. Case in point, although it involves a different (now defunct) e-bookstore…

    Several years ago, Orbit finally digitized Tom Holt’s backlist and put them up for sale as ebooks through the usual channels. One store decided to put them on sale for one-third off list price – yeah, it was back in those days – and I scarfed ’em all up. Well, I tried, anyway. I think five of the books were munged, although the details are fuzzy with time. I do recall that three of them purported to be You Don’t Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But it Helps, and that there were other fun issues such as identical ISBNs on different works, mistaken titles/descriptions, and… well, it was a big mess.

    Naturally, I contacted the store to get the issues resolved, and it took a lot of tries and considerable patience to iron everything out. They ultimately had to contact Orbit directly, because that’s where the books came from – along with the metadata. That’s actually a big part of what got me interested in learning how EPUB metadata worked, because I was able to correct some of the issues on my end by fixing it. (“Oh, this one’s actually My Hero – let’s rename that.”)

    At no point did I blame the store, though. They were just selling what they had. The publisher’s the entity that got it wrong. Even to the extent that Kobo does their own custom KEPUB repackaging, that still relies on the publisher-provided metadata.

  28. @JJ and kathodus

    Thanks for the links.

    I’m trying to get my head around the idea that linking to Puppies is sucking up to them but linking to him is bullying. 🙂 (When really, I think the Puppies feel exactly the same as he does about File770 linking to them.)

    My withdrawal from contentious online interactions is more typically motivated by “I am angry enough that I am behaving in a way that I don’t like” than avoiding backlash, but I can certainly understand why other people feel differently. Sometimes energy is a factor, of course: At present there aren’t many arguments that are likely to reach spoon-spending importance, since I don’t have very many of them and writing is still quite difficult after my health-enforced break.

    I’ve noticed that it only really takes one Filer reacting impatiently for some people to characterise the whole of File770dom as doing so, which would inflate the feeling of being attacked.

  29. Rev. Bob on July 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm said:
    I’m going to continue to blame them because it’s so easy for them to check and fix – and if the famous authors are getting misnamed, then others will be also. (Not just Le Guin. but also Le Carre.)

  30. PJ Evans:
    You want the sales channel to modify the product supplied by the producer?
    That could go wrong in so many ways.
    And it isn’t easy to check at the volume of titles involved. The publishers should provide easy ways to flag issues like this to them. Amazon has a way to complain I think, but I don’t know if this gets useful info to the publisher, or gets the title yanked if there are enough complaints.

  31. @PJ:

    First, what Errolwi said. Second, the lack of effort publishers put into ebooks – especially backlist, and even big names – is truly astonishing. My go-to example for that is Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew, which was obviously the result of an optical scan that was barely looked at (if that) before going out. Italics were dropped all over the place, one character’s easily mis-scanned name got rendered three different ways in “The Raft,” and that’s just the beginning. I wound up using a cheap used paperback to fix my copy, and it took forever. Then there’s the e-copy of It that has the wrong copyright page… from an edition of The Stand, if I remember right.

    And that’s Stephen King. These are not obscure books by a midlist author.


    From what I know, Amazon’s complaint button can result in the title getting yanked, and at least in indie cases the publisher/author gets some degree of feedback. I don’t know how granular it is, though.

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