This week on the War Rocket Ajax, we're celebrating our 150th episode with a star-studded extravaganza! ComicsAlliance editor Andy Khouri and Let's Be Friends Again artist Chris Haley join us at the top of the show for a discussion of artist credits, and then our good friend Matt Fraction joins us to celebrate our anniversary with some listener questions.
That might sound like a normal episode, but believe me when I tell you folks: this is a weird one.
War Rocket Ajax #150: Curse of the Dubwitch with Chris Haley, Andy Khouri and Matt Fraction
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
You can also stream the show using the player above, or download it in MP3 format from WarRocketAjax.com.
This week, we dispense with the comics reviews and go straight for a two-hour special! At the top of the show, Andy Khouri brings up some interesting ideas about artist credits and how comics are presented to their readers by talking about Trigger Girl 6:
Above the title, at the top of the cover, it says "Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. Phil Noto's name is down, literally at the bottom of the cover, almost at the border, under the character's elbow, and it says "Artwork by Phil Noto." So it says "Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray" like they're the movie stars, it doesn't say "by" them, or "written by" them. That turned me off at first, because I'm a big Phil Noto fan. I don't dislike Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray by any stretch, don't get me wrong, but I see that he's been sort of marginalized in the credit department, despite the fact that his art is what attracts you to the cover in the first place.
I open the book, and there's more credits -- the book was designed, incidentally, by a guy named Bill Tortolini -- and it says "Created by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto." But in the copyright area, it says "copyright Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray." I'm not really up to speed on these arcane details of copyright, but I presume they own it, and that Phil Noto does not. I'm not ascribing any sort of ethics to that or any of it, I'm sure they all sorted something out that they're very comfortable with, but as a reader, these are the things that this presentation and all these things I'm seeing are saying to me.
I start flipping through the book, and I came to the end. There's an afterword from Palmiotti and Gray, in which Phil Noto is not mentioned at all. I'm not trying to say anything about anybody personally, but the way that we present things, especially in comics, where artists in mainstream comics have taken a back seat despite their enormous contribution. This book came from something called "Creator-Owned Heroes," where the artist is a hired gun, doesn't own it, and isn't mentioned in the afterword where the writers talk about all their inspirations for doing it. The back of the book has a bunch of ads for other stuff they've done. I didn't even get to the actual contents of the book. I was just turned off by the presentation.
Don't let this discussion of credit and presentation fool you: the rest of the episode is full of stuff like this:
"Were you guys maybe at HeroesCon in a rush to get to the Bojangles up on the mezzanine, did you maybe encounter someone who might've been a witch? A Dubwitch? In town for the Dub convention?"
Follow Matt Fraction on Twitter and Tumblr! Read his comics. They're great.
Follow Chris Haley on Twitter and Tumblr! Read his comics. They're great.
Follow Andy Khouri on Twitter and Tumblr (NSFW)! Read his comics website. It's great.
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