Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

















August 26, 2016


Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Maggie Vicknair on Unsounded.

* it should probably be mentioned that the closing of Robot 6 is part of a bigger presentational shake-up at CBR that likely bears watching. Right now they're getting pounded a bit for a headline style that doesn't allow for publication of everything in the headlines, which isn't a great look. I assume they'll rally. It reminds me of the SI.com changeover when everything got made to look like it needs to to maximize reading on phones, which is the direction of on-line content more generally. I think comics and on-like culture share a faith in new delivery systems that doesn't always match up to the reality of new delivery system, with comics generally more tethered than it needs to be as a counterweight to those arguments. I'll miss the blog format for that material, but god help any digital strategy that has my consumption at the point of its spear.

* here are a few people paying tribute to Robot 6: Caleb Goellner, Chris Butcher, Chris Pitzer, Scott Kurtz. The reason this doesn't feel like a bigger deal is because nothing is a big deal right now; the comics industry is numb from the jawline down.

* finally, speaking of Scott Kurtz, PVP has started a storyline revolving around Jim Davis and Garfield. Okay, that's not really hard news, but I'm from Muncie, and someone who catches up with PVP in big gulps, so I noticed it. BTW, the cider thing is a real thing.
 
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If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2016

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*****

August 27
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (BOUND)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Safari Festival)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

August 28
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)

*****

September 1
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)

September 2
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 3
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 4
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Zine Fest)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 5
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 8
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

September 9
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

September 10
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)
* If I Were In KC, I'd Go This (KC Zine Con)

September 11
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)

September 15
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)

September 16
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)

September 17
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 18
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)

September 19
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

September 21
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

September 22
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)
* If I Were In Boston, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)

September 24
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPE)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)

September 25
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPE)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)

September 26
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For October 2016 Onward Listed Here

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Real Life Comics #58

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Wonder Woman #2.

* finally, Team Trouble With Comics members name their favorite things in comics. That is a late '90s kind of on-line article right there.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Francis Manapul!

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August 25, 2016


Go, Look: Get Kissed Properly!

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Assembled Extra: Robot 6, RIP

imageSo it looks like the Robot 6 group blog that ran under the Comic Book Resources umbrella has been killed in a site-wide blog purge and redesign. The content that ran on the news and commentary blog will apparently be mainstreamed into the CBR site proper, but that immediately sounds problematic: it wouldn't make any sense to give unprofitable content a bigger platform. We'll see.

Even if CBR publishes more work of interest under this new arrangement, the shift in presentation will be jarring. The nice thing about Robot 6 was that it was a bunch of stuff related to comics that comics-interested adults might want to see all in one place (or pull from in one go, or access via one feed, etc.). There were also a lot of good writers there over the years: Brigid Alverson's news round-ups were invaluable; all of her work for that site was good. There were a ton of others.

I have no idea what this means for comics in general. I would assume this is a choice by CBR's new owners to focus more on broader, more popular content to try and make the site maximally profitable. There's also something to these sources moving towards a focus on phone interaction at the loss of some of the crunchier aspects of sites that I like; this has certainly greatly reduced by consumption of sports-related content, not that they'll miss my old ass. The loss of Robot 6 in this form strikes me as a wider story for comics in that a lot of the standard industry tools are starting to go away. There's a point at which I think that becomes a problem for everyone.

I hope all of those writers are able to write about comics as they desire to write about comics and as close as they can come to being properly rewarded for their work. I am grateful for the writing they did, and for their engagement with the comics form. RIP.
 
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Go, Look: The Three-Foot Sleuth!

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Go, Look: Mike Pence Was Once A Not-Accomplished Cartoonist

Here. They're ruthlessly ordinary, but it's nice to see some sort of artistic glimmer in any politician's eyes. I guess. I don't know. This whole year has been so weird it's hard for me to make any commentary at all. These could be a fake, there could be alarming ones, it's hard to see any of it making a dent in our understanding.
 
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Go, Look: A Wretch Like Me: Sad/Black/Ugly/Queer

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's a straight-faced retelling of last weekend's Wizard show in Chicago, without any mention of the gun seller exhibitor and a lot of play given the Captain American shields they give out to local heroes at every show. I held one of those shields in Columbus from some nice man that wanted people to hold it. It was very sturdy. That show is moving to even later in the summer next year, August 24-27.

* seemed like there were a bunch of stories out there about comics shows I haven't been tracking. Fort Collins. Frome, Somerset. Columbia.

* Palm Springs I've heard of. Maybe not both of them but at least one of them. That seems like you could have a pretty good convention there if someone pumped money into it.

* you can spend a few weeks this Fall learning about Daniel Clowes from the Mitchell & Webb of modern cartooning, Dave Lasky and Greg Stump. Someday I will take one of their classes...

* think I'll take a little break tomorrow from organizing a con and play this game about organizing a con.

* Marc Bernardin has some words of wisdom for what to do after you've hit a con and used it to seek work. That's always a great idea for an article. Even if you don't have work to do, I always feel like comics people zone out a bit until after New York Comic-Con.

* finally, Tom Gauld did a nice-looking program cover for thise year's Small Press Expo (SPX). That's it below.

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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Three Commissions By Gene Colan

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Vol. 19.

* French bookstores are suffering from tourism losses due to widely-publicized acts of violent terrorism. Although for most comics readers the idea of going to Paris and having money to drop in a lot of bookstores is some sort of dream-life far away from present reality, I hope no one alters their travel for anything except direct, imminent, certain danger. Derf comments here.

* this is a sort-of fascinating encapsulation of Internet rhetoric in terms of how discussions over the value of art are shifted and folded and manipulated and apologized for and explained rather than than simply argued. Let me suggest it's okay to keep on disliking something when the popular pushback position presents itself. My hunch is you're very likely forming the bulk of your opinions about that thing on its merits because most people don't have the time to build a lattice-work of minor-key misassumptions when they process art and entertainment. Positioning should never matter to you when you react to art. It's okay just to react.

* the great question is asked. The answer is, "Batman was co-created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane."

* Chris Sims pulls out a two-issue run of the ha-ha Justice League comic book series for examination. I remember that comic book in question mostly for how much it profited due to a massive tonal shift from what had come before. That's something you really can't get anymore when the tonal shifts come all the time and are marked by new series numbering.

* not comics: I've been voting to shut down any and all comments that aren't personally vetted since 2000 or so, based on my experiences with TCJ's messageboard when a threshold had been passed so that there were enough goofballs out there willing to spend hours fucking with other people that TCJ attracted its first serious batch. The fact that almost no one writes letters when given that option indicates this was always about performance, not dialogue.

* finally, Nick Hanover talks to James Romberger.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, MW Kaluta!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Andrew Aydin!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Steve Conley!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Antony Johnston!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Chris Roberson!

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August 24, 2016


Go, Look: Alive

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Sandman: Overture Wins Best Graphic Story Hugo Award

imageI read about it here, although I'm certain there are several entertaining wrap-ups focused on the cultural skirmish that dominated this year's awards as it did last year's awards. The tally there is that only two awards were given the No Award designation meaning that the bulk of the voters couldn't find anything in those categories they wanted to reward enough for it to win the category. Last year five categories saw that happen.

I'm less interested in the nature of the controversy and the pack of idiots seeking to manipulate an awards program for some sort of strained, dumbass point as I am in a community finding a way out of the traps set before them by folks manipulating the spirit of a rules set. I'm happy for the program and the people for whom it's meaningful if they've managed to stem the tide of this particular stupidity. If there are cultural battles out there worth fighting, and this isn't one of them, it's not at the awards-show level. That's like fighting inflation at a screening of The Price Is Right.

The other nominees as seen here were Invisible Republic Vol 1, The Divine, Full Frontal Nerdity and Erin Dies alone. CR extends a hearty congratulations to all the contributors to a nominated work, both in this category and the categories we skipped over to get to this one -- even if you were one of the weird ones.

The win for the collected Neil Gaiman/JH Williams III/Todd Klein comic books serie may remind people that a previous Sandman stand-alone project, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters was nominated for a Hugo back in 2000. That was back when this kind of thing was still enough of a rarity it was worth noting for the novelty of the occasion, not just the righteousness of the acknowledgment. I believe that was a broader category-nod, too, with this particular category being added in 2009. Those with longer memories may remember that a World Fantasy Award win in the early '90s for an issue of the original series helped put the title on the cultural map.
 
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Go, Look: Ode To Crumb

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Go, Read: JR Williams Talks To Peter Bagge

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There's a lot of fun and idiosyncratic detail in this Peter Bagge interview with cartoonist JR Williams, in support of the Neat Stuff collection recently published by Fantagraphics. That's a mighty tome. Bagge is a significant figure in American comics and American comedy.

Some of the fun details include the two cartoonists in a shared apartment in Redmond, Washington, shouting out to each other during the workday. Also, Bagge seemed to collect a high number of death threats, and you can tell they amused him not at all.

Anyway, sign me up for a Peter Bagge appreciation movement. Tell me where to push. Comics and I think a lot of media would be very different if he had chosen to do something else, and I'm grateful for the breadth of his career as shown in Neat Stuff in particular.
 
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