Thursday News: Glommable, comics on phones, book recs, and new migration theory
S&S Launches Pop Culture Site – Simon & Schuster has joined the ranks of publishers who curate websites aimed at engaging readers beyond books (e.g. Macmillan’s Heroes and Heartbreakers). I clicked briefly on glommable and, among other things, there’s a quiz that tells you which independent press you are, favorite links, and “mean girl summer reads.” Not sure how it’s going to set itself apart from the buzzfeed/flavorwire/reddit/gawker type of sites out there already, but it doesn’t look horrible, either.
The site rolls out with an interview with Allie Brosh, author of the bestseller Hyperbole and a Half, and Felicia Day, author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet [Almost]. Recurring features include highlighting the work of a favorite web creator), an Internet personality’s confession of the pop culture media he or she digests), and “Lit Wiz,” a weekly rotation of literary polls, quizzes, and book battles. –Publishers Weekly
Reading comics on cell phones changes the way the medium works – Noel Murray turns to Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics, discussing some of McCloud’s 2000 predictions to the current state of comics, both in production and consumption. In particular he focuses on reading comics on a smartphone, which allows for a different experience than on, say, the iPad or even the print page. It’s a really interesting look at how the medium can shape the message and its communication.
It’s how well comics work on a phone that has caught me completely by surprise. I migrated toward doing most of my reading on my phone a while back, because it’s more convenient to carry and consult than an iPad. Then one day I decided to try out some of my comics apps on the phone, curious to see just how in the hell a comic book could be readable on such a tiny screen.
Here’s how in the hell it can: through a featured called Guided View, which fills the screen with one to three panels at a time, effectively converting a comic book page into a series of comic strips. In theory, this sounds awful—a careless butchery of the artist’s intent. And sometimes that’s exactly so. An elaborate Neil Adams page-construction is all but incomprehensible in guided view, for example. But more often than I would’ve expected, using Guided View prompts me to pay attention to individual drawings in ways that I’d almost forgotten how to do, after decades of reading comics in the same way. –AV Club
The Best Books of 2015 (So Far) – Vulture’s current vote for the best books of the year includes Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, John Keene’s Counternarratives, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Nell Zink’s Mislaid:
Zink’s comedy of race and sexuality in Virginia has an antic pulse, a Shakespearean finale, and a hard-core disdain for American niceties. She claims to draft her books in three weeks’ time, and rumor has it more are soon on the way, deadpan bombs tossed on the homeland from an expatriate in Germany. We have entered the age of Zink. –Vulture
A DNA Search for the First Americans Links Amazon Groups to Indigenous Australians – Great piece on new research that suggests that the first nations of the Americas likely did not arrive in a single migratory move, or at least not in a homogenous group, but perhaps in two separate migrations, or at least in separate and distinct groups at the same time.
The prevailing theory is that the first Americans arrived in a single wave, and all Native American populations today descend from this one group of adventurous founders. But now there’s a kink in that theory. The latest genetic analyses back up skeletal studies suggesting that some groups in the Amazon share a common ancestor with indigenous Australians and New Guineans. The find hints at the possibility that not one but two groups migrated across these continents to give rise to the first Americans.
“Our results suggest this working model that we had is not correct. There’s another early population that founded modern Native American populations,” says study coauthor David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard University. –Smithsonian Magazine