Monday, March 26, 2012

Link roundup

1. Interesting interview about comics today, especially dealing with artists more concerned with selling original art than telling good stories. For example:

There’s a new guy, a collector from Indonesia, some billionaire real estate guy. He’s just buying up everything. Like Lee Bermejo’s Noel . . . He bought the whole book, from start to finish. 96-page graphic novel. Batman. I have no idea. He probably paid $100,000 for it at least.
But here's a rebuttal.

2. You might have heard that Newt Gingrich's campaign was basically single-handedly kept alive by a rich backer named Sheldon Adelson. Forbes has two good articles about Adelson and Steve Wynn competing to make big money on gambling in Asia. Sample:
Wynn is excited. Yes, the billionaire CEO of Wynn Resorts has serious jet lag—emerging from his office in Macao 90 minutes after he flew in from Las Vegas, he greets me in rumpled jeans instead of the usual custom-tailored suit—but he’s energized by news that his quartet of Qing dynasty vases have arrived safely. Wynn won them at auction in London in July, paying $12.7 million, ten times their preauction estimate.

As Wynn demonstrated in Las Vegas, where he made Picasso and Van Gogh into marquee attractions, overpaying for art can be a shrewd business practice. Wynn has publicly promised to repatriate cultural treasures to Macao and China. As he’s welcoming me, carpenters, riggers and electricians industriously erect a sumptuous altar for the vases in the lobby of the Wynn Macau, complete with a clashing-but-somehow-congruous Louis XIV Beauvais chinoiserie tapestry, “The Emperor on a Journey.” “These vases have been out of the country since the 18th century, and now they’re back where they belong,” says Wynn, who wanted them put on display immediately.
3. From Businessweek, the chilling story of how an executive discovered massive corruption at Olympus. The start:
The constable behind the counter at the Belgravia Police Station in central London raised his eyebrows in bemusement at the well-spoken middle-aged Englishman, wearing a suit and tie and overcoat, standing before him on a mid-October afternoon. The gentleman had short, receding black hair, close-set eyes, and a generous round chin. He mumbled darkly about Japanese organized crime—the Yakuza—and a corporate scandal he had uncovered in Tokyo. He claimed he had been the president and chief executive officer of a global corporation, had discovered that a fortune had gone missing, and then had been fired. He now had reason to believe, based on what he’d heard from journalists and fellow businessmen, that he might be killed.

The constable nodded, tried not to smile, and thought: This gent may be the biggest nutter we see all day. Most of those who showed up on the other side of the Plexiglas in the public room of the station and claimed to be targets of murder plots tended to be either deranged or exaggerating a petty money squabble. Still, the Metropolitan Police officers are trained to take seriously all such claims, and so the gentleman was shown into a private interview room, an 8-by-6-foot chamber with a desk and two chairs. He sat down across from the constable.

“Just Google my name,” the man insisted, “Michael Woodford. W-o-o-d-f-o-r-d.”