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

December 18, 2014

Guy Delisle Makes Statement About Pyongyang Movie Development Ending Post-Sony Hack

imageThere's a really great statement by Guy Delisle here about his Pyongyang having his development deal ended in the wake of the Sony hack and the subsequent terrorist threats against the North Korean-set The Interview.

It sounds like Delisle was really far along -- they had a shooting-start date, and he had been contacted by the director after not hearing from anyone for a couple of years after the deal had been made. His regret seems real, and he claims to have liked what he heard about the direction of the project.

Delisle also tells a great story about the original publication of the book, a phantom clause in his work contract, and a wonderful statement of support at the time from L'Association and JC Menu where they basically decided the work was worth getting sued if that's what happened. Not a lot of publishers like that.
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Go, Look: Fernando Calvi Mini-Gallery

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Go, Read: Article On French Changes In Author/Publisher Law With A Potential Effect On Cartoonists

Articles like this one are difficult for me to read in French even going back and forth with a computer-assisted translation because of the looping tone and some of the language choices involved, but a meeting of French authors more generally, publishers and Ministry Of Culture representatives seems to have had an effect that may be felt by cartoonist in terms of clear expectations for contracts including worldwide right and digital platforms, and an opportunity for French authors to get out of contracts when information isn't provided or these arrangements aren't followed. It also looks like no serious discussion of what to do about the income levels of authors long-term given their commitment to contributing to their own retirement.

I don't know how much any French solution could provide a model for North American cartoonists, but I like the idea of these issues being discussed in serious fashion and another comics culture taking a crack at solving some of them.
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Go, Look: Kentaro Miura's Berserk Images

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Two Prominent Cartoons In My Inbox/On My Facebook Feed

imageHere are a couple of cartoons I noticed were being discussed by people I don't necessarily think of as comics people, for whatever that's worth.

* Jen Sorensen's cartoon about torture is the one I'm seeing touted as the slam-dunk, done-in-one response. That's not everything political cartoons do, but it's one of the more effective roles they play. The scary thing is I think unlike a generation ago, a lot of folks will confess to being perfectly happy with two standards.

* Kate Beaton has the Google Doodle today, which I guess is its own feature now, and tied into regional representations of the site -- I'm sure everyone knew that but me. Hers is on Henrietta Edwards. (The art pictured is an alternative design.)
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Go, Look: Falling For Beginners

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Your Shit Comics Best Of Comics List For 2014


It's here, and well worth reading in full for the commentary involved and for the alternative choices. I think it's a very intereresting, very good list. The choices are:

* 911 Police State, Noel Freibert
* Arsene Schrauwen, Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
* Cities And Spaces And, Rebekka Dunlap
* Dear Amanda, Cathy G. Johnson
* Ebbits, Michael Litven
* Elsa, Sarah Ferrick
* Future Shock 7, Lala Albert
* Hypermaze, Brian Blomerth
* Kill My Mother, Jules Feiffer (Liveright)
* Li'l Debbie In The Favor, Dane Martin
* Megg Mogg And Owl (This One Specifically)
* Missy 2, Daryl Seitchik
* Mould Map 3, CF (Landfill Editions And Famicon)
* On Hiatus, Pete Toms
* Pretty Smart, Andy Burkholder
* QCHQ, Jordan Speer
* Rudy, Mark Connery
* Sex Fantasy 4, Sophia Foster-Dimino
* Spark, Emely Barroso
* The Philosopher, Alex Degen
* Transdimensional Brain Chip, Thorsby
* Weapons Of Mass Diplomacy, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Abrams)
* Well Come, Erik Nebel (Yeti Press)

I've changed the order because I have low-level anxieties that make me alphabetize things. I suspect the order might be important, so you really should make use of that original list.
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Go, Look: Strange Adventures #53-54

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All Best Wishes To The Artist Norm Breyfogle

imageRich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool has caught a Facebook post that says the longtime artist Norm Breyfogle has suffered a stroke. He expects a full recovery. Breyfogle's in his mid-fifties, and is still probably best known for an affiliation with the Batman character, particularly those he did in partnership with the writer Alan Grant.

My memory -- I can't get to load right this minute -- is that most of higher-profile work recently has been with Archie, but I'm not sure how much total work that means.

We wish the artist the best in his rest and in any therapy that might be required. If there's any need or desire the family and friends have to reach out to Breyfogle's fans in the months ahead, I'm sure all of the comics industry-cognizant sites would be willing to help in some way.
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Go, Look/Bookmark: Pool Problems

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


By Tom Spurgeon

* you can a decent idea of the year ahead by looking at this site's forthcoming attractions page -- it's not perfect, but it has the skeleton in place. We are starting to see a lot of overlap on certain dates, and it's only going to get uglier in the years ahead. Also, the sheer number of shows is astonishing. It's not even all mainstream/pop culture shows, there are a number of comics art shows now.

* Zainab Akhtar provides a semi-lengthy write-up on the forthcoming Black Comix Art Festival in San Francisco. That one takes place next month.

* this is the first time I've seen a show bill itself as a 24-hour event. That could be interesting. I don't have any grasp on some of the wider fan cultures that feed through comic-con frameworks to know if there are a bunch of people looking for that kind of space on a con weekend. I also have very limited experience with the idea of going to a show to socialize, as opposed to the expectation that I'll work-socialize (well, I think they're different things).

* here's the exhibits line-up for Angouleme. There are four-five real crowd-pleasers in that crew.

* finally, I guess the poster below is the final poster for CAKE 2015, which is confusing in that I thought I'd already run the final poster. I guess that one was just special guests; this one includes comics characters and the like. That should be a fun show, and I hope to attend.

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Go, Look: One Person's Favorite Batman Covers

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through January 2015



December 19
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

December 20
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

December 21
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This

December 28
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This

December 29
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This

December 30
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This


January 1
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

January 7
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

January 9
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)

January 10
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)
* If I Were Near Doncaster, I'd Go To This (Digi-Con)

January 11
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)
* If I Were Near Doncaster, I'd Go To This (Digi-Con)

January 18
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

January 19
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

January 29
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 30
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 31
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (Charlotte Mini-Con)


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Go, Look: Typhoon 99 Chapter 9

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Chris Ware doesn't do a ton of writing about comics, so it's worth noting when he does something like this piece on Here.

image* Percy Brown, Jr. talks to Jimmy Swinnerton. Andy Yates talks to Josh Cotter.

* Sean Gaffney on SHOWA 1944-1953: A History Of Japan. Henry Chamberlain on The Valiant #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Spell Of Desire Vol. 2. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Secret Six #1. Jerry Smith on Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 1.

* not comics: even well-liked sites may have something screwed up in their rights and rewards DNA.

* Kurt Busiek has some ideas on how he'd like to write Wonder Woman.

* Sonia Harris in praise of the new geeks.

* finally, it's hard not to love this photo of Seth, from TCAF 2014.
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Happy 61st Birthday, Richard Krauss!

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December 17, 2014

Go, Look: Ville Kallio

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Not Comics: Threats Related To Sony Hacking Incident Lead To Development Killed On Pyongyang Movie


This isn't my world or even anything in which I'm terribly, terribly interested, but the recent Sony hacking flap and its massive overtones of potential North Korean government involvement because of the movie The Interview has led to a threat being made against theaters showing the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie (which was due to open Christmas Day), which led to theater chains saying "no thank you" to running the movie, which lead to Sony cancelling the movie's release. There's all sorts of points at which the story could be running on a fuel of pure bullshit, but even if everything were fully legitimate that would still be a depressing story. Still, one might remember that nearly ever major media company failed to either run or otherwise seek to make available in a responsible way the Jylland-Posten editorial cartoons despite the absolute newsworthiness and necessity of the public knowing what those cartoons looked like once the controversy kicked into high gear. This kind of straight-up push-shove commercial decision seem almost a slam dunk if you're willing to kick first principles to the curb.

One piece of intriguing fallout: a conception of the Pyongyang graphic novel attached to Steve Carell is apparently not going to be developed now, due to what the article claims is its sensitive subject matter. That's a bunch of horseshit, too. I imagine people will focus on the description which makes Pyongyang sound like a spy movie, but 1) I'm not sure if that's an accurate description of what was to be a loose adaptation featuring such elements or if it was simply entertainment media shorthand for a project that might be more difficult to describe otherwise, 2) even if they were going to do a version that concentrated on the North Korean city's S&M scene, the decision to defund art because of political persuasion one through a calculator would still be a horrible, depressing outcome.

You should read the book, if you haven't. It's really good. If nothing else, it might help when it comes to understanding our new Hays board.
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OTBP: A Is For Zebra

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Go, Read: Discussion About Malaise By Working Alt-Comics Pros

It's a companion piece to the Mike Dawson essay from a couple of months ago. Participating are T. Edward Bak, Molly Kiely, Roberta Gregory and Ted Stearn, among others. 2015 could be a big year in terms of people working out some really basic issues in terms of how much they want to give to the comics medium and the culture that surrounds that medium.
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OTBP: Tiny Masters

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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market



Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.


SEP141386 EARTHLING GN (MR) $19.95
There's not a bunch that falls into my natural area of interest this week, which is good because I've been buying everyone local butcher gift certificates this year and meat is freaking expensive. It's a big week for Drawn and Quarterly, though, which is a pleasant surprise. I love this Anouk Ricard comics, both this series and the stand-alone office book Benson's Cuckoos. I'll read anything that she has published. The Pippi material has been much strong than I feared, and the Earthling book will hit my desk highly recommended by those who caught an earlier-release -- or at least hung out with the cartoonist -- at this Fall's shows.

imageOCT140580 RUMBLE #1 (MR) $3.50
SEP140883 MS MARVEL #10 $2.99
OCT140011 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #126 $3.50
OCT140779 WYTCHES #3 (MR) $2.99
This strikes me as an odd week for serial genre comics, too. The Rumble book is James Harren, one of the bets of younger talents to work on the Mignola-verse material, so I'm happy to at least look up anything he does. The Ms. Marvel book looks like it may stick around for a while, a rarer fate than you'd hope for off-beat, well-crafted mainstream material. There's this week's Mignola-related title; I buy them all, but I'm not quite caught up. The Wytches and the Archie books are two that have a significant number of self-proclaimed savvy buyers of the kind that make their opinions known on-line, but that should stop anyone from wanting to keep track of those efforts and those talents.

AUG140082 TRILOGY USA HC $19.99
This is a short anthology of works featuring the great artist Hermann working with the writer Yves H. These are connected by their setting: America.

This is a bunch of Al Feldstein work for Fox that they're promoting on the basis of Feldstein's significant influence to the field entire and for the salacious aspects as a kind of overheated Archie set-up. Either one would get me to look, and so I shall.

OCT140644 SAGA TP VOL 04 (MR) $14.99
Not a lot in the way of stand-along graphic novel works in the alt-/art realm, but these strike me as solid players in terms of genre series. I think for a lot of people, trades are purchased and collected like serial comics used to be, so I can imagine stores that have that kind of customer will also have book sections that are fairly lively.

AUG140029 DREAM LOGIC HC $34.99
Here's a perfect comic book thing: a bunch of different projects by the artist David Mack, emphasizing his visual imagination, all things individually I either barely remember or never heard of. This is why comic shops are the best.


The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.



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Not Comics: John Bauer

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Go, Read: Whit Taylor's Favorite 20 Graphic Novels For 2014


Whit Taylor, a cartoonist and frequent writer about comics, has posted a list of favorite comics this year at her site. She emphasizes the favorites part of this kind of exercise, in a way familiar to anyone who reads a lot of writers-about-comics at the end of a calendar year . I always think these lists are more interesting when writers just go ahead and seize on the opportunity to put together an outright best list, but that's just me. I realize the conversation has moved past that specific element of things. It's a fun list, though, with plenty to argue and discuss.

1) Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe, Yumi Sakugawa (Adams Media)
2) Distance Mover, Patrick Kyle (Koyama Press)
3) Ant Colony, Michael DeForge (Drawn & Quarterly)
4) Megahex, Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)
5) Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
6) White Cube, Brecht Vandenbroucke (Drawn & Quarterly)
7) Get Over It!, Corinne Mucha (Secret Acres)
8) The Amateurs, Conor Stechshulte (Fantagraphics)
9) Unlovable Vol. 3, Esther Pearl Watson (Fantagraphics)
10) The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
11) Petty Theft, Pascal Girard (Drawn & Quarterly)
12) Antennas Everywhere, Julie Delporte (Drawn & Quarterly)
13) Safari Honeymoon, Jesse Jacobs (Koyama Press)
14) Facility Integrity, Nick Maandag (Pigeon Press)
15) How To Be Happy, Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)
16) Shattered with Curve of Horn, Max Miller Dowdle (self-published)
17) Basewood, Alec Longstreth (self-published)
18) The Hospital Suite, John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly)
19) Tomboy, Liz Prince (Zest Books)
20) Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories, MariNaomi (2D Cloud)

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