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
















July 31, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

Outside Reading

What two recent articles about book publishing have to say about comics.

Collective Memory: Jim Aparo

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Links to articles about the life and passing of the American comic book stalwart.

The Comics Reporter At The Pulse
Rumors of Anaheim as CCI's future home dispelled by the San Diego convention's official, but they did talk to them.

The Comics Reporter At The Pulse
Wizard has yet to lock down dates for controversially scheduled 2006 Atlanta show; rumors indicate they may abandon that date altogether, perhaps in favor of a weekend in 2007. But, as of right now, they key words remain "rumor" and "perhaps".

Go, Read: Size Matters
Shawn Hoke has launched a review blog focused on mini-comics, which seems to me an appropriately flexible, front-lines response to that end of the medium's output. There are so few outlets for this kind of material, I thought I'd mention it here. Go Pacers!
 
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July 30, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, July 23 to July 29, 2005:

1. Relatively minor editorial incident regarding the use of the phrase "Turd Blossom" in the comic strip Doonesbury takes some interesting turns: The event is publicized far out of proportion to the actual level of complaints, Garry Trudeau slams editors who edited his strip, Wiley Miller criticizes the coverage of this and like events, and finally, the use of a similar phrase in Prickly City shows that it was likely the political application of the phrase that bothered the small number of editors.

2. Legendary Dutch cartoonist Marten Toonder dies at the age of 93.

3. WizardWorld only penciled in at Atlanta's Cobb Centre, although definitely on dates accused, meaning it would hit on Heroes Con weekend; rumors indicate controversial con will be moved onto a different date although nothing official yet and the length of time without an announcement indicates decisions may have already reversed more than once.

Winners of the Week
Fans of the comics art form in Chicago this Fall, as Ivan Brunetti curates what promises to be one heck of a modern comics-dominated show.

Losers of the Week
Those of us still in completely unserved areas of the country as promising new comics shops begin to open.

Quote of the Week
"Our experience has always been that comic book fans embrace ultimately what the mass market embraces as well."" -- A clearly delusional Bill Jemas stares down comics publishing history since 1961 in beginning the hype cycle on his company's new book Advent Rising.

I believe this art is by Toonder; it certainly features his characters.
 
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July 29, 2005


Prickly City's Poo Okay With Editors?

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Dave Astor wrote a whole article about something that occurred to me last night: considering a few editors complained about the phraase "turd blossom" in Doonesbury did anyone do the same thing when Scott Stantis used "poo" in Wednesday's Prickly City? Also, cartoonist Wiley Miller goes after specifics of the coverage.
 
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Editorial Cartoons Continue to Incite

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The OC Weekly pulls out a really big stick to take a swat at the above effort, while this cartoon from Michigan has upset enough people it made the local news here in New Mexico.
 
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Tokyopop Announces Two New Execs

Tokyopop has named Cary Tan the company's VP & Controller and Cathy Liu as Group Finance & Administration Director. According to the press release Tan secured "a significant increase in bank credit facility" for his employers in his last position. Liu's experience comes in international business development. Tan will work in the Los Angeles office; Liu will work in Japan.

I think these are worth mentioning lest we forget that Tokyopop's success over the last half-decade has come with a lot of corporate and at times even editorial filling-out to do.
 
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Two Weeks Later/Two Big CCI Reports

For a show at which nothing really happened, the coverage of this year's San Diego Con has been ambitious and complete. Two major ones for observers of American comic book culture dropped recently: Heidi MacDonald's "What Does It All Mean?" summation, which is interesting because she has a general viewpoint 180 degrees from my own (I barely noticed the movie stuff this year), and Mike Manley's oddly affecting and generally funny silent w/music imovie about the show, which I found worth the download time although I've received an e-mail or two that others just found it sort of dull. In fact, a few people just plain hated it -- I feel a need to mention that here because of the download time involved.
 
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Marvel Profits Go Down in 2Q

imageFor an idea of how relatively volatile the big-time licensing game can be on a quarter to quarter basis, look towards ICv2.com's measured article on a drop for Marvel as they moved from a Spider-Man 2 to a Fantastic Four emphasis in their pushes between last year and this. If you don't think this kind of thing can make a differece in press coverage, check this piece out from the Guardian with a decidedly less measured headline.
 
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Quick hits
New Detective Stories from Jacques Tardi?
Read About Patrick McDonnell's New Jersey
Buy CulturePulp Prints to Help Timber Jim's Family
Kevin Smith Finishes Series Scripts
Tokyopop's Increased Presence in Magazines
Meeting Dave Sim's Cousin
Derek Kirk Kim Poster for Stumptown Fest
Euro-Comics "Hot Properties"
The Business of WebComics
 

 
July 28, 2005


Canadian Cartoonists Back Chit Swe

The story includes an update on the situation facing the 65-year-old Burmese cartoonist.
 
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More on the Passing of Marten Toonder

imageThe Dutch comics legend Marten Toonder, who died yesterday at the age of 93, was remembered in a proper obituary about 12 to 18 hours after his death. In addition to a wonderful biography page at Lambiek, I'd also suggest Lambiek's piece on Dutch comics during World War II and the portion of their Dutch Comics history that focuses on Toonder. You can find out how French BD fans looked at Toonder through a series of short pieces, read a timeline of Toonder's career, take in a profile of one of his best-loved characters, and devour a fine article about his life filed a few years ago. I'd read all of these articles for their reproductions of Toonder's art, which could be both lively and lovely.
 
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The Shops These Days...

You can talk about big-company shenanigans all you want, but one thing that takes a Direct Market resurgence off the boards before it can even be discussed is the relative lack of additions to the comic book shop ranks now that the worst years are over. Not only did the last decade or so leave several regions of the country completely without retail service, but new shops can sometimes better reflect current market possiblities because they lack the preconceptions that may come with a history serving a specific customer base.

It's good to hear about one new and seemingly full-service comic shop opening up; news of two becomes worthy of note. Both RIOT in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
and Brooklyn's Rocketship sound like potential commercial anchors for their respective customer areas. The window display on Rocketship, which I believe will be run by St. Mark's alums and serve alternative and arts comics fans in particular, looks like a comic shop in some sort of art student dreamworld... If these shops are local or even regional to you in any way, check each retailer's blog for opening night and general shopping information.
 
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Atomic Books Publishing Lulu Eightball

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Although I'm not very familiar with the artist or her strip, I find it interesting that Baltimore's Atomic Books is publishing now.
 
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In Appreciation of Hinako Sugiura

This piece on the late cartoonist turned essayist and lecturer Hinako Sugiura mentions an award I hadn't heard about before. It also links her comics work to a deep and abiding appreciation for the aesthetics of the past, a connection between lost culture and the comics art form that should be familiar to fans of North American alternative cartoonists.
 
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Love Manga Breaks Down Sales Charts

As they don't have numbers, what they're really going after here is, it seems, a rough measure of market presence, but this is still quite fun to read.
 
posted 11:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Peter David is Writing a Book About Writing Comics
McDonnell Continues Animal Charity Work
Yeah, That Sounds About Right...
Money Raised to Save ConnectiCon
Canadians Cool With "Turd Blossom" Phrasing
 

 
July 27, 2005


Marten Toonder, 1912-2005

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Doonesburys on Rove Altered/Pulled

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Approximately a dozen complaints and an as-yet unconfirmed number of pulled or altered strips greeted a brief Doonesbury run yesterday and today about the ongoing controversy surrounding presidential advisor Karl Rove. The reason was ostensibly Trudeau's use of the nickname "Turd Blossom," a slightly potty-mouthed alias that Trudeau did not make up but a term that has been employed in White House circles for Rove in the past. Trudeau's blistering response about the unacceptability of being edited through alteration appeared soon after in Editor and Publisher.
 
posted 3:43 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Greatest Comics Art Show Ever?

Cartoonist and teacher Ivan Brunetti will curate a show called "The Cartoonist's Eye" for the A+D Gallery at Chicago's Columbia College, it was announced yesterday. Seth will present his slideshow "Brief Stories About Cartooning" at the opening September 8. Brunetti will give a curator's talk on October 19.

The show is a preview of work featured in Brunetti's forthcoming Yale University Press book of the same name. The exhibit will be free and open to the public.

imageAmong the staggering number of esteemed artists confirmed for the show include Seth, Chris Ware, Robert Crumb, Dan Clowes, Art Spiegelman, Mark Beyer, Julie Doucet, Gary Panter, Jim Woodring, Karl Wirsum, Marc Bell, Peter Bagge, Sam Henderson, Mark Newgarden, Rob Sikoryak, James Kochalka, Kaz, Tony Millionaire, Lynda Barry, Ron Rege Jr., Richard Sala, Bill Griffith, Ben Katchor, Mat Brinkman, Wayne White, J. Bradley Johnson, John Porcellino, Richard McGuire, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Jason Lutes, James Sturm, Archer Prewitt, David Mazzucchelli, Adrian Tomine, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Justin Green, Phoebe Gloeckner, Debbie Dreschler, Jeffrey Brown, David Heatley, Lauren Weinstein, Michael Dougan, Carol Tyler, David Collier, Ivan Brunetti, Kevin Huizenga, Walt Holcombe, Charles Schulz, Ernie Bushmiller, Bud Fisher, Frank King, George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Otto Soglow, Virgil Partch, Basil Wolverton, Rory Hayes, Harvey Kurtzman, Gene Deitch, Sammy Harkham, and Jonathan Bennett.

Representative example of Virgil Partch's work not likely to be the one featured in the show.

 
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Go, Read: Guardian Profiles Dan Clowes

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Cochran, Gemstone Plan Picto-Fiction

imageMark Evanier notes that Russ Cochran and Gemstone will be collecting the EC Picto-Ficton magazine line, failed newsstand publications that were attempted after the establishment of the Comics Code. If you are as largely unfamiliar with these publications as I am, it seems there is a site dedicated to these magazines located here. Evanier notes that some of the material offered will be unpublished work, and even more rare for comics, work from legitimately scarce publications.

In other publishing featuring huge names, ICv2.com notes the sum total of Disney publishing graphic novel projects, whch hints at a grander investment in the form and format than many industry observers might have realized. I'm just glad to see that one agented proposal from the Wisconsin artist that made buzz when it was signed my finally be published.
 
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Go, Read: The Smythes in Hogan's Alley

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Brought to my attention by the great Egon Labs site.
 
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Quick hits
One Paper's Search For Cartooning Balance
Interview With Mikhaela B. Reid
IDW to Launch Newsprint Horror Magazine
Elderberries Hits 75-Paper Mark
Tokyopop to Release 5 Mitsukazu Mihara Titles
 

 
July 26, 2005


Hinako Sugiura, 1958-2005

imageHinako Sugiura, a cartoonist who later became a popular author of books on the Edo Period and a talk-show celebrity, passed away on July 22 in a hospital in Kashiwa, Chiba, of complications due to throat cancer. She was 46 years old.

Born to a family of kimono makers and later a student of the cultural historian Shisei Inagaki, Sugiura made her comics debut in 1980 with the short story "Tsugen Muro No Ume" in the magazine Garo. According to her entry at Lambiek.net, Sugiura was known for occasionally working in the ukyo-e woodcut style. She won the Japan Cartoonists Association Award in 1984 for her comic short story, "Gassou" and received the Bunshun Manga Award in 1988. Her work was featured in the groundbreaking English-language survey on manga, Dreamland Japan. In 1993 she retired and began a second career as a well-known essay writer and speaker on her historical period of choice.
 
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Hip-Hop and Black Images in Manga

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Without being immersed enough in the culture to be able to provide my own perspective, this seems like a fairly controlled survey of various type of black imagery in manga and wider Japanese culture. If nothing else, it might provide a better context for understanding the romance and power which many have ascribed to Santa Inoue's Tokyo Tribes (scene from the translated volume one above).
 
posted 3:23 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Right-Wing History of the Comics Page

imageHere's something you don't see every day: a survey of current conservative cartoonists complete with a comic strip history that favors strips that fall under this mode of political expression. This is a strange way of looking at the comics page not for orientation but for degree of invective. Everything is viewed almost solely in terms of friends and enemies, and returning political fire is a greater good than doing so in an artistically satisfying manner. Where it gets kind of loopy is in the presumption that no one might really prefer Prickly City to Mallard Fillmore for anything other than a (demonstrably false) perception of easier to grapple with politics, and that's saying something in an article that treats Al Capp's later work as political awakening rather than a slow deterioration. But it's no stretch to concede that a lot of people think in these cultural war terms all the time, even when parsing the funnies.

1931 Little Orphan Annie panel from Harold Gray, the patron saint of conservative comics
 
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Go, Look: Don Heck's Nascar Pages

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Link swiped in magnificently lazy fashion from the Mercury Studio blog. There's a lot of other art to look at adjacent to the Heck stuff by jiggling the various buttons.
 
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Quick hits
Johnston Politely Edits WW Atlanta Column (see comments, too)
Richard Kelly GNs Get 1Q '06 Release Date
Go, Read: Longish Paul Chadwick Interview
Painter and Illustrator Hal Just, 1925-2005
It's Kobra Week at Dave's Longbox
Yet Another Exclusive: Janson to Marvel
Local Cartoonist Profile: M Mohandas
Local Cartoonist Profile: Mo Willems
Local Cartoonist Profile: Lisa Benson
Cancellations at Kandora?
 

 
July 25, 2005


ICv2.com Sales Report: June Surge

imageThe business analysis site ICv2.com notes that a double-dip of the Marvel mini-series House of M drove an increase in comic book sales for June, while a balanced graphic novel attack including Fruits Basket and Life of Scrooge McDuck lit up an active graphic novel sales category. The combination meant overall gains. If there was any bad news, it was that comics from heavily hyped mini-series made up 6 of the top 11 titles, indicating a continued reliance on such events in the near future, and perhaps that comics fell under 20,000 in sales pretty quickly once you leave the top 100. Whether or not the comics side of the equation is living up to the broader possibilities of GN sales to make a solid platform for future DM sales may be the flipside of discovering that the market can still process a quarter-million of the right book.

In notes concerning things we've looked at in the past, it looks like six of the top 100 comic book somehow failed to be DC or Marvel books, while the top-selling book of the month from the Alias line came in at #214.
 
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Tokyopop Germany Gets Shueisha Books

Most times when I try to track worldwide rights stories I end up sobbing, but here's another one -- Tokyopop Germany getting the rights to Shueisha Books, which the writer points out is ironic considering how many properties have been kept away from Tokyopop in America because of Shueisha's emergence. (Via MangaNews.net) I'm beginning to think the only thing manga companies have in common with American comic book companies is that period where DC distributed Marvel.
 
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Not If They're Coming Back But When

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You know you've wondered...
 
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Burns-Devlin Production Debuts

Our congratulations to alt-comix royalty Peggy Burns and Tom Devlin on the birth of their first child.
 
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Go, Read: In Support of Memin Pinguin

This has to be the most impassioned defense of the Memin Pinguin character and stamp appearance to appear in a U.S. Newspaper.
 
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Quick hits
Vittorio Giardino Project Update
Rick Spence Credits Reed Richards
BD Montreal Report
So I Guess There's a New Pink Panther Strip
Visiting Writer Profile: Neil Gaiman
Mike Peters: In Praise of Blondie
Pat Moriarty Speaks on Fischer Film
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

Happy 70th Birthday, Pat Oliphant!

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One of the great living cartoonists, there's any number of fine cartoons to peruse through the link in the picture to his Library of Congress exhibit. In addition, you can find current work here, a wikipedia entry here, and a lambiek entry here.

Not Comics: Fantastic Four Reviewed

imageOkay, I didn't really review it, but it's not like a lot of effort was expended on their end, either. One good thing: by virtue of going two weeks after everyone else, I've learned from my peers and have safely avoided the trap of looking creepy by commenting on any aspect Jessica Alba's physical appearance.

I'm serious about those chairs.

What Does "No Buzz" Really Mean?

I'm not totally sure myself, but just because everyone wasn't talking about the same thing in a convention hall 10 days ago in Southern California doesn't mean there weren't things worth talking about. Since I was unable to sort this stuff in my head, I do it onscreen.

Go, Look: The Eisners, Sketched

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The artist Jesse Hamm has uploaded a bunch of sketches and suggested I might link to them out of last week's Eisner Awards diary, which I will definitely make happen. Because many of you have read that already, I thought you might like a chance to see a big chunk of Hamm's work without going through that now-archived story. A big part of sitting at the Eisners is watching the artists at your table doing sketches, but I don't think I've ever seen this many!

Arnold Drake
Brian Vaughan
Darwyn Cooke
Dave Gibbons
Denis Kitchen
Eric Reynolds
The Ex Machina Crew
Gerard Jones
Jackie Estrada
Jerry Robinson
Jill Thompson
Kyle Baker
Scott McCloud
Sergio Aragones

I'll put Jesse's letter up in the letters section as a indication that I've linked to his art from the diary.

Also, if you wanted to see Arnold Drake sing his San Diego song, Mike Catron has made it available here. He writes: "It's a large (approx. 10 Mb) file, so have patience with the download. This is a video in .mp4 format, viewable with Quicktime 7 (and at least some versions of Quicktime 6). (www.apple.com/quicktime for Macs and PCs). Hope it brings a smile to your face."

that's Jesse Hamm's sketch of Maggie Thompson
 
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July 23, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, July 16 to July 22, 2005:

1. Joe Quesada receives a contract extension and an additional title from Marvel, locking into place the players behind the next few rounds of DC Vs. Marvel market share battles.

2. Convention Madness! Wizard Entertainment's announcement of a late June/early July date in conflict with the Charlotte-based Heroes Con causes angry comics pros to pledge support to the popular independent show. Meanwhile, Comic-Con International, the American comic book industry's primary trade show and product pageant, concludes Sunday evening with rumors of six-figure attendance and a relative calm in terms of business developments that suggests a new status quo is here, like it or lump it.

3. Cartoonist among those rounded up in politically-motivated arrests in Burma.

Winners of the Week
Casual fans of the European comics industry, who with the emergence of a new Futuropolis imprint get to chew on issues so broadly defined even those of us who get a little lost in the imprints and publishers can figure them out.

Loser of the Week
Will it be Heroes Con in Charlotte, who may have to deal with a juggernaut Wizardworld convention in regionally proximate Atlanta the same weekend as its 2006 offering, or will it be Wizard Entertainment, who might just blink after being made to look like giant, predatory shitheels by muscling in on a date already selected by the popular independent con and its well-liked organizers? The next 144 hours should tell. I would expect a formal statement and possible backing off from Wizard early next week.

Quote of the Week
"Oh my god, Cooke's turning into Brandford Marsalis." -- BeaucoupKevin, upon hearing that artist Darwyn Cooke is doing a new edition of Will Eisner's The Spirit, kicking off an essay about the talented cartoonist's past and future projects.

art by Darwyn Cooke
 
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This Week's Reviews

The Brontes: Infernal Angria
Tales Designed to Thrizzle #1
 
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July 22, 2005


The London Street Shooting of Artist Naji Salim Al-Ali, 18 Years Ago Today

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Paul Lynde Would Have Been Good, Too

I'm not sure why I find it amusing that Whoopi Goldberg is doing the introduction for the fifth Complete Peanuts book, but 1) that's a great choice after Jonathan Franzen in terms of balance, and 2) it sort of cracks me up to think of any project that could somehow involve Whoopi, Seth, and Sparky Schulz.

I bet there's twenty minutes of pretty good dinner conversation to be had about how these essays are being put together.
 
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Go, Read: Nicholas Gurewitch Profile

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This magazine cover profile of Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch seems to indicate he might not be long working exclusively in the comics world.
 
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Jessa Crispin on Writing About Comics

This article contains a lot in the way of solid advice for writers tackling the art form, although in a way it boils down to suggesting that editors should at least think of hiring writers who know their stuff. That makes sense. You don't see writers who have never covered opera sent out to do two or three in a week for a feature, or at least you don't see it very often. I can imagine this will serve as a nice reminder that we're at a point where at least some of the readership demands more out of coverage than to see the word "comic book" in print.

I would disagree that not having been exposed to comics automatically invalidates someone's opinion. There's a lot of good writing by 20th Century public intellectuals you'd have to throw out the window were that the case, and there are more than a few book and film reviewers whose opinion I'd be interested in reading on certain comics, newbies though they may be. Having a stupid opinion is generally what invalidates one's opinion, and I think we all know increased exposure fails to guarantee a sophisticated or interesting outlook.

Also, it seems odd to me that in an article calling for informed opinions and the avoidance of broad stereotypes, Crispin dismisses the industry-generated writing she encountered in the Gaiman/Sandman era as minutiae-fests and lengthy disquisitions on superhero plotlines. But maybe I'm just being cranky.
 
posted 10:39 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Alanguilan on Gaiman Visit

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It may be relatively comics-light in terms of what usually gets run here, but I enjoyed reading this lengthy diary entry and photo essay on a Neil Gaiman signing from cartoonist Gerry Alanguilan.
 
posted 10:33 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Paul Buhle Speaks on People's History
Hometown Cartoonist Profile: Jerry Barnett
Peter Paul Settles SEC Charges
Another Artist, Another Use of Comics Iconography
Mr. Evanier Unpacks His Eisner Award Thoughts
Abduction Comic Goes on Sale
New UFS Strip Springs From Divorce (PDF)
 

 
July 21, 2005


Wizard Announces Atlanta Show

imageThis story as reported by the business and analysis site ICv2.com has been rumored in comics for so long I think hotels were already offering discounts. If this is a go, it looks like the only items of suspense were when they would try to hold such a show (June 30-July 2) and if Reed's announced plans for doing a comic book trade show in New York would make a NYC-area Wizard show a great enough priority to jump in front of the planning-stage line (I guess not). One imagines that a full summer press of Wizard shows might take a bit more of Comic-Con International's ablity to break Big Two publishing news, as Marvel was really blunt about stuff "not being ready to announce" until, one imagines, Chicago. Again, it's funny to see Wizard potentially benefit for perhaps being a better fit for a specific aspect of a comic book company's needs given how much film and outside-industry stuff you can find in the magazine.
 
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Go, Read: SD Portfolio Review Lines

Perhaps it just hit me in a very specific way, but this may be the most brutal piece I've ever read on the San Diego convention, and I've read my share of downer articles and on-line posts about the San Diego convention.
 
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Go, Look: Christophe Blain

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Teen Gets Four Years For Comics Theft

Insert exploited Big Two comics creator joke here.
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Go, Read: How Disney's Strike Changed Comics
Evan Dorkin Reviews Comics
Le Festival Tintin Kicks Off in Brussels
Newsday on the Late Jim Aparo
Whatever Happened to Little Max?
George Caragonne's Suicide 10 Years Later
CJ Yesudasan Expo Planned
Missed It: Acclaim Characters Figure
 

 
July 20, 2005


Chit Swee Arrrested in Burma

This is so blunt and wrong that there's little to add.

According to the Reporters Sans Frontiere report, which admittedly isn't going to put the best picture on things, 65-year-old cartoonist Chit Swee, a part-time democratic party officer, was picked up in a crackdown of political opponents and opposition figures. He will hear charges on the 25th, and could be sentenced to prison. Even if freed, his cartoons would likely be banned or restricted by the country's Censorship Bureau. Swee's cartoons describe socio-economic issues and are generally run in a pair of Burmese financial magazines. The article says that Swee is being forced to sleep on a concrete floor and sickness is keeping him from eating properly.

This story is part of a distressing upswing for intolerence of political cartoons as expression both domestically and abroad, where arrests and punitive legal decisions are becoming more common.
 
posted 3:55 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Mike Diana: A Different On the Boards

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How I missed this, I have no idea. The Mike Diana case was one of the two or three most dramatic in the history of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

What I found fascinating back then was how tenuous the support was in terms of the comics industry really being able to get behind Mike Diana. Some people just didn't get that you fight bad laws when the cases present themselves; you aren't allowed to screen the cases until you find someone perfectly amenable to everyone's aesthetc priorities. For some reason even people fully in support of Mike's case would make sure people knew they didn't like the art, bringing up their displeasure even when it wasn't at issue.

The other odd thing I remember about the Diana case was that I like some of his art, and I thought it was really clear his work in general had obvious artistic value. I found a great deal of it funny, a lot of it effectively horrifying and bleak and thus communicative of a fatalistic worldview common to artists, and the work on the title Superfly visually appealing.

It's hard to believe that this all went down ten-eleven years ago. The Gordon Lee case and the reaction in comics to it today reminds us that some of these biases remain, so perhaps this play and any success it has can serve as a reminder of the potential for harm inherent in not separating our own opinions about art and morality from what I hope is a united front for free expression and the right of adults to enjoy same.

Another thing: if this Mike Diana play makes it to movie form, it should at least be easier to watch than the last time most of us saw Diana on videotape.
 
posted 3:47 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Microsoft & Marvel Deal

This story kind of slipped out in its birth sac last week without getting cut open and examined. It's always worth noting how effectively Marvel has built its licensing partnerships over the last three or four years. In addition, Reader Chris Mautner points out that the important thing to remember about this deal is that it seems to puts Marvel onto roughly the same playing field as the City of Heroes game. This could potentially explain the timing of their recent lawsuit against those folks. Even if it doesn't, this new deal represents a development many have long thought a certainty for the character-driven company.
 
posted 3:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Stan Lee at the Learning Annex

imageIt's always fascinating to watch Stan Lee do the kind of public speaking and enjoy the personal interaction that helped build his celebrity persona. I find it even more compelling in recent years as his relationship to Marvel has changed and at least a portion of the audience has become more sophisticated about the topics upon which Lee converses. It makes perfect sense that he would join up with the Learning Annex folks at some point; if anyone sees this, I'd love to hear what it's like.
 
posted 3:31 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Stevens Album Art Issue Resolved

The Sufjan Stevens Illinoise cover art story has resolved itself with a pretty reasonable agreement amenable to both sides. The first releases will go out with Superman; future releases will not. It looks like DC Comics also wants to make it pretty clear that they did not file against the release of the original album. The "effective cease and desist" came from the label's lawyers stopping the action in fear of DC's reaction were they to be interested; turns out they very much were.
 
posted 3:26 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Neal Kirby Story Hits Newswires
Steadman to Do Hunter Thompson
California Retailer on a Month of Manga
Toronto Retailer's Outlook and Response
Greg Pak Exclusively "Not DC," I Guess
Your Japanese Top 10

 

 
July 19, 2005


Jim Aparo, 1932-2005

Jim Aparo, a respected Silver Age artist perhaps best known for his work on the Batman character, has passed away, according to a press release offered to reporters on the family's behalf. In addition to work with the big-name character that made his dramatic style one of the mmost recognizable of the 1970s and 1980s, Aparo enjoyed significant runs with the Aquaman and Phantom Stranger characters, was the co-creator of the Batman and the Outsiders title, and was the penciler on the infamous "Death in the Family" storyline. He worked at Charlton before heading to DC in the late 1960s.
 
posted 7:52 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Special Report: Bart Beaty on Futuropolis

"Imagine Fantagraphics folding and Mark Alessi buying the name and relaunching it, and you begin to get some sense of how this is playing."

In his Conversational Euro-Comics area, Bart Beaty explains the controversy in the French-language comics market surrounding the new Futuropolis imprint.
 
posted 5:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
2005 Eisner Awards Show Diary

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Starring Arnold Drake: Hero of the Con.
 
posted 3:43 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Joe Quesada Reaffirmed at Marvel

This press release from Marvel talking about a contract renewal for Joe Quesada and an additional position for the man will probably be unpacked via an interview at Newsarama or another site that has a direct relationship with Marvel's editorial point man. For my part, I'll tell you I think it's a good idea and the announcement at a good time. Marvel is being hit by the first wave in what should be a sustained assault of 24-36 months on its traditional direct market dominance by rival DC Comics; it makes sense for the top spot to be secure in order to better negotiate choppy waters ahead, and I've never sensed that the mainstream creative community has lost any desire to work with Quesada.

I'm playing fast and loose with publication times here, please forgive me.
 
posted 3:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Scholastic's Bone Sells 80,000 So Far

imageIn a report about the expanding Scholastic graphic novel line at ICv2.com comes a nugget that with two volumes out so far the color Bone that kicked off Scholastic's effort has moved 80,000 units. That sounds pretty solid to me, particularly if you consider the black and white version had six-figure market penetration so in many ways this is likely driven almost entirely by newer readers. I'm not sure if anything in the rest of the report is particularly new, or in one case, of interest to comics readers.
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The New DC Logo Really Sucks

I didn't say it; these people did. I love the DC logo, and hope the Whammos win this year's National Ultimate Frisbee League championship.
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Wired Profile Leads With Saliva Story

imageThis Wired profile on the state of webcomics using this year's San Diego Con as a springboard kicks off with an incident whereby someone reacted to a comic by spitting on Scott Kurtz. Kurtz disagrees with how it was emphasized in the reporting in today's top entry at the cartoonist's weblog. Otherwise, the Wired thing a pretty standard profile with quotes from Scott McCloud and Shaenon Garrity. It's nice to hear that in webcomics, much like regular comics, there's a pretty strong network that will get the word out on a new, top-level work.
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
"To Rule Latveria With Only a Pimp Cup at My Side"
Retiring Cartoonist Profile: Bob Dix
New Licenses Report From Love Manga
Manga Kissa Serve Japan's Restless Youth
Go, Read: Fisher and Field Talk ComicsPRO
 

 
July 18, 2005


Thoughts on CCI Begin to Surface

A few initial summary thoughts on the San Diego Con are starting to spring up. Mark Evanier ponders the role of the comic book in all of this, a thought echoed in Chuck Rozanski's latest newsletter, which I don't think is on-line anywhere. Meanwhile ICv2.com suggests attendance figures might break 100,000. At least from my experience, it felt like 100,000 folks only near TV and film programming lines and in the media and toy company portions of the exhibition floor, not in the smaller comics publisher or comics retailer areas. In fact, this was a great year to shop for comics, it seemed.

Also, Newsarama handily summarizes their extensive panel and news coverage here.
 
posted 9:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Vaughn Bode, 30 Years Later

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If it weren't for this lengthy appreciation at ActuaBD.com, the anniversary of Bode's death would have passed way under my radar. In the links section, they send readers the same place I would: Mark Bode's Vaughn page. I would also totally recommend Bob Levin's profile of Bode in the recent Comics Journal Special featuring manga.
 
posted 8:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: VoA Celebrates Schulz

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There's something about how the radio profile reads and what's emphasized (like the work ethic) that's fascinating to me, although I can't put my finger on it.

Note: Mr. Sean Collins suggests I might be reacting to "Special English."
 
posted 8:48 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
San Diego Update (Final)

1. It felt like four days of preview night.

2. Preview night, on the other hand, felt like a Friday morning.

3. Steve Lieber reported great sales in artist's alley, where the "crowds come in waves" but "when the waves come they really come."

4. A train stopped on the tracks in front of the convention center made it that much more difficult to get to the show. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but an extra barrier on Sunday when a lot of people are beginning to question the wisdom of descending into the abyss one last time could be sort of a big deal.

5. A lot of people were chilly in the hall. I saw a lot of thin sweaters on a lot of thin ladies.

6. Whenever I saw someone I knew, I asked them what they liked and what was worth seeing. Most people said, "Gee, I don't know" and maybe thought about it for a moment before suggesting something. Calvin Reid of Publisher's Weekly, on the other hand, immediately shouted out a title I'd never heard of, and then explained why he liked it while holding a copy of it from his bag in front of me as a display model. That's why he's Calvin Reid.

7. I then promptly forgot the title, which is why I'm only The Comics Reporter.

8. I saw the cartoonist and animator Paul Sloboda looking at Shogun Warriors art, which made me think his life is going either really great or really not great. He swears it's the former.

9. In addition to Paul, I also saw another person I always see but only at San Diego: Joel Meadows. I did, however, miss seeing the third person in that category, artist Gus Norman.

10. My theory is that Joe Casey went to a super tight Lords of Discipline buzz-cut as karmic balance so that Zander Cannon could grow his intimidating Christopher Makepeace 'do.

11. I know that's two posts about guys' hair. It was that kind of show.

12. Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon are not related, they swear.

13. Scott McCloud explained that part of the lack of energy at the show may be that the new generation is so interconnected that if a single group of people decides to skip a show, a much bigger number than you might expect may follow.

14. There should be a rule at the con where people with video monitors have to have them a certain amount of distance from the edge of their space to accomodate portly gentlemen in Captain America t-shirts who want to watch it, so they won't stand in the aisle. Either that, or I should have the guy from Ong Bak leading me around to drop crunchng elbows on the heads of any people in my way.

15. Joe Rybandt wants your vote.

16. I still prefer "Nerd Vegas" to "Nerd Prom." What the hell kind of weird proms did you people go to?

17. For the record, the books I heard talked about without my prompting the conversation: Hee, the Krazy Kat hardcover, Mort Grim, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Or Else #3, and Yotsuba&!

18. My thanks to Marc Mason for giving me a pen when I lost mine.

19. It was the Year of No Buzz.

20. No offense to Buzz.

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

RSS Feed
Web Page Format
 
posted 9:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Dreamwave Properties Up For Bid August 2
In Praise of Blondie
Visiting Cartoonist Profile: Mark Pett
Local Cartoonist Profile: Correy Harris
Rall and MacGruder Are Screwing Up America
 

 
July 17, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With James Kochalka

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San Diego Update

1. I'd never been to a superhero panel before, but I did two yesterday: Image's and Joe Quesada's. That was sort of interesting -- kind of hardline publishing news mixed right in with previews and a lot of guy humor.

2. Gary Panter, David B., David Lapham, Kyle Baker, Kim Thompson, and Jordan Crane are all very patient, understanding people.

3. Sammy Harkham is planning to do a comic book-comic book, something I didn't know. The D&Q Showcase Volume 3 failed to show up for the con, but hopefully will make it to LA for Harkham's reception Monday at Meltdown.

4. I'm not sure how Mark Evanier moderates 14 panels at a con, but having a busy schedule sure makes the day fly by.

5. I've only seen three Klingons in three days. I've seen more people dressed from Naruto.

6. Everyone was still talking about Arnold Drake's instantly legendary singing performance at the Eisner Awards. If Mr. Drake ever wants to go drinking with young North American cartoonists, many are on the record about wanting to do so.

7. Cabbies in San Diego don't know where anything is.

8. Bonus! I got to meet two writers I really like: Brian Doherty and Abhay Khosla (whom I may have met briefly before), and got to see another writer whose work I very much enjoy who's working on a slightly surprising but nod-your-head-in-agreement-that-would-work adaptation for television/film.

9. The longest line at Fantagraphics' signings the weekend thus far has been for the Hernandez Brothers.

10. The Image panel only had 37 people in it when I stopped by.

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

RSS Feed
Web Page Format
 
posted 1:01 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
July 16, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, July 9 to July 15, 2005:

1. Byron Preiss dies in Long Island auto accident. Company he founded to continue on.

2. Comic-Con International, the American comic book industry's strange mix of pageant, strip mall and trade show, kicks off in San Diego.

3. The 2005 Eisner Awards remember Will Eisner.

Winner of the Week
Either Fruits Basket, Full Metal Alchemist, manga in general or Tokyopop; all four could lay claim to winner status based on this week's bookstore figures.

Loser of the Week
The Evil that is Comic Sans. (Thanks, Josh Fouts.)
.
Quote of the Week
"When I was young, monsters were my friends." -- David B., at his San Diego panel.

art from Whit Spurgeon
 
posted 3:19 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
San Diego Update

1. Most people I talked in the most scientifically inaccurate way possible felt that Friday sales were "fine" to "down". One person wondered out loud if enough money would be made to pay for the booth.

2. Fantagraphics co-owner Kim Thompson noted that this was the first time in five years his company didn't have to sell a certain amount just to make it back to the office and make deposits so that checks didn't bounce.

3. Patrick McDonnell sported a very clean-shaven face.

4. I was lucky enough to get to interview Gary Panter on a panel, and that was the most fun I ever had interviewing someone on a panel.

5. I ran into Jay Kennedy, and we talked about King Features' new strip "Franklin Fibbs." It sounds like it's in that netherworld between doing okay and doing really well, but it sounds like Kennedy is really, really behind that feature. He also seems really fond of their latest strip acquistion, the one about a lawyer, a doctor, and a cop (forgive me not being able to look it up) which featured Kennedy's first non-North American cartoonist hire.

6. I went to the Eisners last night, and they were actually pretty well done compared to previous year's editions. I will try to do a minute-by-minute write-up when I get home, but the themes of the evening were sincerity and brevity. It was still abominably long, but the awards themselves fairly clipped along. There's just a lot of stuff there.

7. As for the awards themselves, Michael Chabon said, "Have you seen the McSweeney's?" when his Escapist anthology won, which pretty much sums up my feelings on a lot of awards. It's not that what I feel is the best book as a critic never wins Eisners, but it's more like it seems that the Eisners are always given to whatever comic brings the most pleasure in any way as opposed to the one that reaches excellence, which is a perfectly fine standard to have as a reader and kind of a sad one to project as an industry.

8. Best scene of the night came early on as Arnold Drake sang his made-up Comic-Con song. He has a voice just like Henry Fonda's father in "The Lady Eve," and the song carried this hilarious out of left field slam about Stan Lee taking credit for stuff he didn't do.

9. I note that Jeff Smith is probably one of three cartoonist who can start jogging for the stage and not have everyone worried for him.

10. I've already lost the one piece of original art I bought. I usually avoid buying these things here for that reason -- it's hard for me to keep track of everything and I end up putting something down for a second and just losing it. I feel awful.

11. Ivan Brunetti promises that Schizo #4 will come out very soon.

12. Three people communicated to me variations of "Johnny Ryan is surprisingly normal!"

13. Congratulations to the Lulus of the year.

14. There's a Henson/Tokyopop/Gaiaman deal worth tracking down through the feed below or other news sites if you're a publishing news junkie.

15. Tony Millionaire is working on an adventure story somewhere between Maakies and Sock Monkey in tone. It shoudl be 100-plus pages long. He did very well with the original art sales.

16. I saw the new Calvin and Hobbes book. They look very nice -- I like it better than the Far Side set. There's a lengthy written piece by Bill Watterson in the first volume. The Andrews and McMeel representative told me they're considering a few other properties for a similar book treatment, but damned if I can figure out what might be a viable candidate. Of course, after selling this Calvin and Hobbes things, maybe they can make a list in solid gold ink on diamond tablets.

17. Steven Weissman says he's going to work with his set of characters in a way that's less narrative-driven and more gag driven.

18. What happened to all the Klingons? The Lord of the Rings costumes were a passing fad, too. Star Wars endures. Manga is rising.

19. Mario and Gilbert Hernandez are collaborating again.

20. What was up with George Perez having his Bob Clampett award received by some guy with two floor models? It was a weird, not-amusing and slightly depressing way to start winding down the awards program. The women were also included in the publicity picture taken of winners left of stage right after they're awarded.

21. Hey, I found the art!

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

RSS Feed
Web Page Format
 
posted 2:23 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
July 15, 2005


San Diego Update

1. The crowds were pretty heavy for a Thursday, although I'm not sure if people don't just automatically say that anymore. I talked to a few guys in booths and in the small press area who felt they had done well, but I heard from a couple of alternative publishers and artist's alley folk that indicated business had been kind of slow.

2. A potential breakout book of the show for alt-folks, for being new (both in terms of the artist and the book) and just generally sharp-looking: Douglas Fraser's Mort Grim, from AdHouse Books. There was a really nice piece of James Sturm art at one booth, but the booth sold out of all of its Dan Clowes pages by 3:00 pm.

3. Although I said I wouldn't buy comics, I bought some 1970s Kirby comics from a spinner rack utilized by Lee's Comics. Damn you, appealing and nostalgic manner of presenting comic books!

4. The comics weblog panel was odd, even though I very much appreciate being invited as I probably have the smallest readership of anyone on the panel. A few of the exchanges -- about the personal-diary nature of blogs, about the use of political statements to excite or agitate readers, and about times the blog has been used to help their creators find information or rally support -- were so outside the realm of my experience that I felt bad I was taking up the space!

5. If Eddie Campbell's book from First Second is any indication, that line will sport some really lovely-looking work.

6. The David B. panel was really laidback but extremely interesting, with an audience that seemed engaged with the artist's Epileptic, and asked question about metaphor and visual language. There were 45-50 people in attendance.

7. It's funny to hear people from Europe talking about the Transformers where "the Transformers" is the only English phrase they're using.

8. I guess the big publishing news of the show is that DC will be reviving Will Eisner's The Spirit in some sort of new adventure comics. Personally, I'm not too excited about that; I think we have the perfect number of Spirit comics already. I'm sure some of them will be good, and some of them will suck. Mr. Eisner's life will be celebrated in several points at tonight's Eisner Awards, with some videotaped testimony in hopefully an upbeat manner. Marvel and Microsoft signed a development deal intended, I think, for the Xbox.

9. Harry Potter bought a large group of comics folk free food and drinks from waiters at a restaurant location rented by Scholastic atop Horton Plaza, in a repeat of last year's Bone launch with a lot of the same people. The CBLDF function at the Westgate featured a very nice balcony location, and a seemingly large number of people, even late. I had it pointed out to me how astonishing it is for a movie studio to use the Fund as a way to reach people at the show. At the Fund's event I saw Zander Cannon, and after I stopped being frightened by his hair we recalled meeting at either a CBLDF or Fantagraphics party from 7-8 years ago in a parking lot you had to step over sleeping bums to reach -- all of that neighborhood seems to be condos now. There were six cranes viewable from Petco Park -- it looked like War of the Worlds.

10. The special issue of Variety throwing a spotlight on the show quote Mike Richardson as saying that Dark Horse moved 180,000 Sin City books in one week around the time of the movie's release.

11. Jeffrey Brown will be doing some comics about a Transformers parody called The Changebots. Dean Haspiel is illustrating a Harvey Pekar story for The Escapist about a suicide attempt during the filming of American Splendor. He said that drawing Harvey Pekar was sort of like drawing DC's mega-baddie Darkseid.

12. I saw no actor-people except two guys from Reno 911, and I had to have those guys pointed out to me.

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

RSS Feed
Web Page Format
 
posted 2:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Barkis

image
 
posted 10:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Futuropolis Line-Up Announced?

For some reason, Didier Pasmonik's recent article was even more difficult than usual for me to read. But I think what it's doing is hitting the highlights of the first catalog from the new and controversial (although I don't exactly remember why; maybe a conflict between a past editor and the new editor they selected) formulation of the Futuropolis imprint.

* New editions of Jacques Tardi's seminal work for the imprint's previous incarnation.
* New works from Blutch and David B.
* A series of for books co-published with the Louvre Museum by Nicolas de Crecy, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Emmanuel Guibert and Bernard Yslaire.
*An album by Bruscwhig and Hirn


Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

 
posted 9:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Yet Another Comic Book Line Launched
Aline on Urbaniak in American Splendor
Suffering Shad: Sub-Mariner Profiled
Ted Vincent Explains Memin Penguin
 

 
July 14, 2005


San Diego Update

A Few Brief Observations From the Floor

1. I spent exactly two hours and fifteen minutes in the professional registration line, and I arrived much earlier than most people. By the time I had made it through to the end the line was twice as long. This is baffling to me because I spent exactly 31 seconds doing the business required to pick up my badges. About three quarters of the people, it seemed, were at a booth for seven to 10 minutes. For what, I have no idea.

2. I'm still not sure why these badges aren't sent to people at their homes and then confirmed with an ID like an airline. It would be quicker, it would be simpler, and it would even be more secure. It would probably cost more, though.

3. Funniest quote heard in line: "I've been in the industry for 25 years, and I just walked this line, there's not a single person I recognized. These aren't professionals." -- a slightly peeved well-known cartoonist.

4. People generally seem way more mellow than past stress-fests.

5. Drawn & Quarterly is putting out a LOT of books these days; I'm way behind on them.

6. I received the best explanation ever from a really friendly retailer from Houston named Richard whose name I can't remember but will link to later about the swing in popularlity for lesser known Golden Age comics at shows like these, something I'd noticed in years past. First, the Internet has created a market for such comics by putting them in front of peoples' faces for the first time. Second, the collectibles busieness has consolidated so that fewers dealers have more comics. This makes it possible for entire collections, or at least sizeable ones, to be displayed, which increases their appeal.

7. I spoke to Rory Root of Comic Relief, who loves his new store location.

8. There were a ton of people there for a Wednesday night, or so it seemed.

9. The best-looking book I've seen so far was the fancier, limited edition of some of the Krazy Kats from Fantagraphics.

10. I left the show early.

For those interested in following the avalanche of publishing news coming from San Diego via panels and related announcements, I would recommend the special San Diego Con News Feed from Jeffrey Stevenson.

RSS Feed
Web Page Format
 
posted 2:23 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Cliff Sterret Sundays

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posted 10:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Byron Preiss Remembered

What follows is a selection of news articles, discussions, personal remembrances and sites related to the digital and graphic novel publishing pioneer Byron Preiss, who passed away on July 9 after an auto accident in East Hampton, New York. He was 52 years old, and is survived by a wife and two children.

Memorials, Remembrances and Obituaries
Bill Crider
BookNews.net
Chris Gumprich
Christopher Priest
EN World
Evan Dorkin
Fanboy Rampage
Fred Hembeck
ICv2.com
Jog -- The Blog
Johnny Bacardi
Komikwerks
KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
Millarworld
Nalo Hopkinson
Newsarama
New York Times
New York Times Wire Service in Miami Herald
Open Mouth, Insert Foot
Publishers Lunch at AmbivaBlog
Roger L. Simon
Rough Edges
Steve Hoffman Forums
Supergee
The Beat
The Beat (personal remembrance)
The Book Standard
The Comics Journal Message Board
The Pulse (Jim Steranko and Message Board)
The Wolf's Den
Truefen.net
William Stout


Resources
Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Inc.
iBooks
Interview With Jazma On-Line
Interview With World Famous Comics
Komikwerks
Wikipedia Entry


Please if you have suggestions for links to additional entries.
 
posted 9:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Missed It: New King-Cat Out
Glenat Buys Share of TeleGrenoble
Go, Look: Cheli's Romance Comics Blog
Editorial Cartoonists Who Do Kids Books
 

 
July 13, 2005


Comic Art Magazine to Buenaventura Press; "In the Studio" Book Planned

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M. Todd Hignite, editor of the highly esteemed Comic Art magazine, wrote this site to announce his suspended magazine's return and a related project. The Harvey- and Eisner-nominated publication, which has quickly made a name for itself for extremely luxurious production values and a devotion to high-end comics and cartooning, will resume publishing in Summer 2006. Hignite writes:
"I also wanted to let you know that I've decided to change both the format and publishing schedule of Comic Art, which has been on hold for the last few months while I complete the book. It will now be approximately 150-180 pages per issue, perfect bound, with the same (if not better) production values as the first seven issues, and published annually, with the next issue being released in summer 2006."

Hignite says the focus of the magazine will change slightly to emphasize the history of the art form, both undiscovered work and work that the magazine will call to be appreciated in new ways. In perhaps the biggest change, Buenaventura Press will be the magazine's new publisher. Buenaventura Press is a highly regarded printmaker that turned comics publisher early this year. Hignite previously published the magazine himself.

In related news, Hignite announced a book version of one of the magazine's most popular features: the studio visits. In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists will feature nine cartoonists -- Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Jaime Hernandez, Gary Panter, Seth, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware -- with each feature expanded since its publication in Comic Art. Hignite says the book, to be published by Yale University Press, will be around 200 pages and in full-color, with never before seen artwork. He plans to finish the volume this summer.

The next Comic Art issue to appear will be #8.
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sinnott FF Gallery

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posted 11:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Conversational Euro-Comics

Bart Beaty writes about the rare publishing circumstance that is a cartoonist's first book from L'Association.
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Let the Quills Nomination Process Begin!
Thorn on Faculty of School's New Manga Dept
Big Time Attic Begins A'Bloggin'
Isotope Announces Opening Event
 

 
July 12, 2005


Strangest Comics Article of the Year

imageThis article in USA Today about the super-duper Blondie crossover that is appearing in newspapers to celebrate the strip's 75th anniversary as the world's most baffling entertainment success story provides the creepies on a lot of levels. First of all, comparing Blondie to Paris Hilton does nothing to further the appeal of the strip but might once and for all bring the Tijuana Bible into 1930s comic strip continuity. Second, the picture of Dagwood and Blondie included is way more scary than it is tender, with Dagwood's strange leer and Exorcist-style neck twisting, not to mention Blondie's odd collapse away from her husband. It looks like a scene from Born to Kill. Finally, you have dueling bizarre quotes from Mort Walker ("Reading 'Blondie' is like breathing.") and Dean Young (on father Chic: "He was a cartoonist kind of guy.")

The moral: we must have comic strip crossovers more often.
 
posted 2:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
David Rees Joins Campus Effort

I'm not sure which has me more worried about the state of progressive politics on campus: that a national advocacy group might name a cartoonist, even a talented and funny one, on its initial list of luminaries, or that I can't come up with a single joke about NBA basketball player, Colgate graduate, and noted book club sponsor Adonal Foyle.
 
posted 2:14 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
India Choking on Western Heroes

imageThis blog has run maybe a dozen stories about the popularity of English-language comics and characters in India; this story explains what happened to more traditional Indian heroes during this onslaught. Not only does it quote some of the more popular cartoonists of the last 35 years, it's pretty blunt about shifting tastes and the effects a well-funded promotional campaign can have when it comes to attracting readers.

It's Harry Potter and Spider-Man's world; Chacha Chaudhary only lives in it.
 
posted 2:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Scott Kurtz to Leave Ironman Contest?

Comixpedia expects Scott Kurtz to drop from the Daily Grind Ironman web cartooning contest with some guest strips during San Diego week. That makes this as good a time as any to check back in with this oddball promotion, a consecutive-updates battle among various cartoonists working on-line. When Kurtz announced his participation, some folks complained that the successful cartoonist's status earning his income from his strip made him the obvious man to beat. But it's always the quiet kid who has no particular reason to show up every day who takes home the Perfect Attendance award.
 
posted 2:07 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Never Choose Your Own Comics Again!
Local Cartoonist Profile: Bill Landis
Anti-Semitic Cartoon Leads to Fine
Andrew Arnold on Gasoline Alley Vol 1
 

 
July 11, 2005


Gordon Lee Case Gets Trial Date

CBLDF announces September trial date for Rome, Georgia retailer; emphasizes the importance of this summer's fundraising.
 
posted 5:57 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Rowland B. Wilson 1930-2005

imageRowland B. Wilson, a popular and talented magazine cartoonist best known for his watercolors who later turned to animation, passed away on June 28th in Encinitas, California. His work graced the pages of Playboy (where he won the cartoonist of the year award), The New Yorker and TV Guide (as I recall, he did several well-received caricatures for that magazine). He was a stalwart of the second successful wave of Disney animaton, working on Little Mermaid, Hercules, and Tarzan. He also did stints with Don Bluth and Richard Williams, and was awarded a daytime Emmy for his work on the Schoolhouse Rock series.

A native of Dallas, Wilson came to New York and found work as an art director for Young & Rubicam. The Whites of Their Eyes, a book collecting his cartoons, was published in 1962.

I found the news here, but I think it first showed up here. Since there is almost none of Wilson's work on-line, the above is the New York Times' selection through which I encourage you to access their well-written piece on Wilson's life and accomplishments.

caption: "You'll not get a proper trophy that way, Bassington!"
 
posted 5:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Fruits Basket, Manga Dominates

imageManga's success in bookstores has been a story for so long now, one is always grateful for a twist on the story. The runaway hit series Fruits Basket complies with its impersonaton of the Hydra of greek myth, as one volume makes way for another at the top of the bookstore sales charts. Manga in general continues its impersonation of the Hydra of late 1960s Steranko comics by appearing throughout the list, in 23 of 25 slots. The comics business analysis site ICv2.com has a succinct report, including a note about Batman books and Tokyopop's recent performance.
 
posted 5:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
More on Byron Preiss

The New York Times obituary for the late editor, author and publisher can be found here, while Heidi MacDonald provides news of a funeral service and the family's desires concerning donations.
 
posted 5:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Good Weekend For Jack Kirby

imageWhile it may be that Marvel executives are high-fiving everyone they see from bed to desk this morning, it occurs to me that the combination of a critical drubbing followed by much better than feared box office results for the film Fantastic Four may have specifically benefited the legacy of Jack Kirby. The way in which several critics bemoaned the sense of purpose, wonder and spectacle in this weekend's #1 movie indicates an appreciation for Kirby's specific accomplishments may be gaining a foothoold in the mind of cultural tastemakers. That audiences didn't give a crap and enjoyed the movie anyway for its good humor and appealing characters gives supporters and family members a better platform on which to build public awareness for the American mainstream comics and pop culture giant. So expect a flurry of Kirby news for a while, such as this interview with Neal Kirby and Mark Evanier's mini-essay on fake Kirby art.
 
posted 4:56 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
2005 WCCA Awards Announced

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This year's Web Cartoonists Choice Awards results are available through the art above in a humorous comics ceremony, and through this link as a simple list. As I recall, the WCCAs are one of the most fluid and therefore frequently surprising awards programs in comics.
 
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Bruce Tinley: Daily Show Deception

I've been sitting here for 20 minutes with the thinking cap on -- a Golden Age Flash helmet -- and I think I just don't have anything to the now widely-traveled story that the cartoonist behind Mallard Fillmore seems to be accusing the creators of a parody of his work of deceiving readers that this was an actual contribution by Tinley. Or something like that. This link leads you to a better summation and some of the cartoons in question.
 
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Quick hits
Warren Ellis Does Desolation Jones Commentary
Middling But Fun Trumps Able Yet Dour?
The Latest Launch From King Features
Help Me Find Some Writers
TJS George Wins Koya Journalism Award
Visiting Cartoonist Profile: Neil Gaiman
 

 
July 10, 2005


Byron Preiss, 1953-2005

According to a heartfelt remembrance by cartoonist and historian Jim Steranko, the publisher, author, editor and packager Byron Preiss died following a fatal July 9 auto accident.
 
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CR Sunday Magazine

Meet Gary Groth and Kim Thompson!

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Shake hands with the Fantagraphics co-owners and many other comics and related geek-culture luminaries at this week's Comic-Con International in beautiful downtown San Diego, California. You may want to take one more peek at this site's Comic-Con By The Numbers travel guide, particularly if you booked your hotel through Travel Planners (the tip is the last item in the second to last group). If you've ever wanted to feel better about how much you sweat, these are the panels in which I'm participating. If you'd like, you can then compare me with someone who knows what he's doing.

Heidi MacDonald worked really hard compiling various panel schedules so I don't have to.

Dark Horse Schedule
DC Comics Schedule
Devil's Due Schedule
Drawn & Quarterly Schedule
Fantagraphics Schedule
Image Schedule
Komikwerks Schedule
NBM Schedule
Slave Labor Schedule
Speakeasy Schedule

This Comics Journal message board thread has a few worthy items, including what cartoonist Johnny Ryan will have for sale, what the artist Coop will be wearing and where Keith Knight will be. That's mostly on page two. Big news for alt-comics geeks is that Buenaventura Press will be moving from some location in the retail-burbs to booth 1945.

I kid because I love... for one thing, my former full-time employers are Chaykinishly young-seeming.

Not Exactly Comics: Don't Pick On Me

imageCartoonist Tom Neely's music video for a song from the band The Muffs is currently up on their site. After clicking through the picture here, you'll still have to hit the "Muffs Media" and then the "Video" button, before finding the right icon to hit for the song. I liked it; I'm a sucker for that old-timey cartoon look, and I think the character designs are appealing.
 
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July 9, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, July 2 to July 8, 2005:

1. Seattle Times wins court decision that may doom comics-friendly Seattle Post-Intelligencer and cause almost two newspapers' worth of strips a major client.

2. Jack Kirby Museum announced.

3. Ex-baseball player Warren Cromartie sues producers of Cromartie High School live-action film.

Winner of the Week
The legacy of Jack Kirby, with the museum being announced and an undercurrent of film reviews of Fantastic Four bemoaning the lack of Kirby's grandeur.

Losers of the Week
Fans caught short by a change in format to the print series version of James Kochalka's American Elf on-line effort.

Quote of the Week
"There's a Matt Groening cartoon where a fan comes up to him wearing a Simpsons T-shirt and says, 'Mr. Groening, I'm your biggest fan, I've bought everything you've ever done!' Matt offers him a Life In Hell book and the fan says, 'What's that?'" -- Fantagraphics co-owner Kim Thompson tells a classic tale that never grows old.

art from by Jim Rugg. Like many artists in the comic book field, Mr. Rugg is preparing materials to sell at next week's Comic-Con International.
 
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This Week's Reviews

Street Angel Volume One
Mome Volume One
Sea of Red #3
Tommysaurus Rex
Enmusu Volume One
 
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July 8, 2005


Missed It: Avent to Market DC Comics

Just to build on my theory that at some point last year, everyone with a marketing position related to DC Comics was sucked into a black hole to concoct marketing plans against a team of evil alien marketing people on a far-off planet at the behest of a curious, near-omnipotent being made mostly of light, it seems former MGM division head Lisa Avent has been named to the corporate marketing position that encompasses the DC Comics and Looney Tunes brands.
 
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Summer Chat: How to Be Contrary

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On the Subject of Movies

They bring up Fantastic Four as an example of a summer comics-related movie...
... you bring up manga adaptation Initial D, crushing the competition in Asia this summer.

On the Subject of Big Event Comics

They bring up the forthcoming Infinite Crisis as the crossover to end all crossovers...
... you bring up Blondie's forthcoming wedding anniversary plotline, which includes crossovers from George W. Bush and Garfield.

On the Subject of Superhero Music

They bring up bands jockeying for their songs to be in Superman Returns...
... you bring up Sufjan Stevens' use of Superman in his latest album that led to returns in this Comics Reporter at The Pulse story.
 
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Go, Read: Chat with Scott McCloud

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It's done in a kind of approximation of comic book form, and McCloud lays down one of those weird charts that encompasses all of comics into various tribes that either makes you thankful he's alive to spark conversation or makes you want to throw your half-chewed bubblegum at him.
 
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Naoki Urasawa On Our Minds

Christopher Butcher provides a helpful update on the release of Naoki Urasawa's comics projects, while Comics Journal Managing Editor Dirk Deppey does his Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller impersonation trying to get a conversation about Urasawa's Pluto going here.
 
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Go, Bid: Charity Snowflakes

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Working Cartoonist Profile: Rob Harrell

There's nothing about the content of this profile of Rob Harrell that drags it out of the quick hits section, but I find it interesting that Universal is doing a nicely-formatted release about a cartoonist at this stage in his career and even includes a photo. This stands as something of a break from the usual syndicate strategy of an announcement of a strip's start with no art included in the release followed seven years and 1400 papers later by a story about charity involvement. Let's hope this begins a new era of press attention focused on growing strips that could benefit.
 
posted 12:48 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
The Secret Origin of CCI, by Scott Shaw!
Freakish Fanboys Foul Film's Fate
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jerry Oxborough
Nelson Mandela: Comic Strip Hero
What It's Like to Be Scott Kurtz
 

 
July 7, 2005


India: Syndication Percentages Hiked?

I'm not sure I totally understand this story, but potential good news for English-language content providers is so rare I thought I'd note this possible change in outside syndication percentages allowed in comics' last great market.
 
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Paul Deliege, 1931-2005

imageVeteran artist-writer Paul Deliege passed away the evening of July 6-7. He was a prominent Belgium-born artist and writer was considered a peer of Peyo and Roba as a fellow member of the "Ecole de Charleroi." and was one of the foundational talents for Spirou. His most prolific era seems to have come in doing a number of recurring short features for Spirou, including Bobo, a character he created with Maurice Rosy. Bobo would continue to appear in the magazine and in albums until Deliege's retirement in 1996. There is a French-language biography and bibliography for Deliege here, and his entry at Lambiek seems very complete and should give you a picture of his career accomplishments.
 
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CBLDF Sets Event For San Diego

imageThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced a Mirrormask Welcome Party will be held for its benefit by a consortium of entertainment companies on the Thursday evening of Comic-Con International weekend. Details on where and when exactly to be had by following the link.

The party wil be open to members and to non-members who pay a sliding fee. I know that the CBLDF could use as many members as possible, and I urge all of you who are interested and involved in comics to consider joining in the very near future. The Gordon Lee case in Georgia and the much-needed move to New York City could logically be putting a slight strain on the Fund's reserves. With a smart Executive Director and an active, engaged board, the Fund is making every dollar count by fighting not just those cases with the broad support of every faction of the wider comics commuity, but noxious laws and applicaton of those laws wherever they pop up. I would think money given to the CBLDF right this moment would be better spent for greater good than at any time in the organization's history.
 
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Go, Read: Anime Expo Round-Up

The incredibly useful Irresponsible Pictures blog provides a short summary of licensing and publishing news from last weekend's Anime Expo. If you're like me, not only is this much news kind of fascinating to read but it reminds how much more we need to apply ourselves to understand and track changes in this market.
 
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Jack Kirby Museum Announced

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Mark Evanier has the full announcement. I hope they take it slow and steady, building momentum, and allow that momentum to dictate how much is done and when. A successful Jack Kirby museum would be a great and wonderful thing. More than that, it would be deserved.
 
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IFC Wants Your CCI Road Films

Alan David Doane has their advertisement here. If you win, please use your new-found influence to ask IFC to please stop playing that creepy Philip Seymour Hoffman film about the gas huffer.
 
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Quick hits
Seth's Art and Mode of Dress Reviewed
Go, Look: Jaime Draws Aquaman, Namor
Good Fit: IDW and Clive Barker Sign Deal
Bring Back the Mighty Crusaders, Please
This Guy Sure Does Hate Batman
Bookslut (Hearts) Oni Press
DC Comics Ceases and Desists Cover Art
Bookslut on Comic Book Gateways
 

 
July 6, 2005


Selby Kelly, 1917-2005

News that Selby Kelly, the third wife and widow of the great Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly and an extremely talented cartoonist herself, had recently passed away was disseminated over the July 4th weekend, according to family friend Mark Evanier. Through her supervisory and artistic contributions, Kelly helped keep the Pogo legacy alive after her husband's death in 1973, helping Pogo seize its rightful place as one of comics' most esteemed and well-archived newspaper strips. She worked for several major animation studios over the course of nearly four decades.
 
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Pat Oliphant Wins Excellence Award

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The great editorial cartoonist Pat Oliphant will apparently receive a Governor's Award for Excellence from New Mexico's Bill Richardson in Santa Fe this September. The article describes New Mexico as Oliphant's home state even though the cartoonist was born in Australia. Oliphant used to split time between Santa Fe and Washington, DC, but I have no idea if that's still true.
 
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Go, Read: Coville Talks to Dave Sim

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Jamie Coville's interview with Dave Sim at Collector Times proves to be interesting because of its focus on publishing news stories throughout the self-published comic's run rather than debating ideological details of the story's content. If nothing else, reports of the 31-year-old artist Gene Day having a heart attack sure reads differently in your thirties than it does in your late teens.

Sim lets drop that they're planning new editions of the Cerebus books for Christmas 2006, which is also something I didn't know.
 
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Please Shoot The Dog Already

imageThis New York Times article on the bad dinner theater in Florida days of the once vital National Lampoon empire doesn't have much of anything to do with National Lampoon magazine as a sometimes forgotten and generally underappreciated home for great cartooning. It is, however, a really depressing and concise breakdown of how a brand name can be polluted through use for shortsighted reasons of profit over long-range, content-driven plans that might pay off in exponentially greater fashion. It also, for you news buffs out there, contains a hint at an electronic edition release of the older magazines at some point.

As a side note, and speaking of National Lampoon's comics, I always thought that Trots and Bonnie would be one of the beneficiaries of the new interest in comics material by mainstream book publishers. In fact, it was my understanding that this was the kind of deal Shary Flenniken was holding out for in years past. Of all the books I know are coming out from all the book publishers, this one would leap to the top three or four.
 
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Quick hits
Mark Alessi's Post-CrossGen Job
When Titans Meet: Tokyopop and Cosmo
Wired on Fantastic Four's March to Film
Local Cartoonist Profile: Eric Lindgren
All Aboard The Nostalgia Shuttle
Giacomo Gates Appears in Milford
A Touching Al Capp Story
 

 
July 5, 2005


We Were Comics Once, And Young

imageMark Evanier hints that there may be more news than usual to report from this year's Jack Kirby panel in San Diego. One suspects this may be due to the growing pressure provided by Kirby family members in terms of garnering respect for the late co-author and creative force behind the Marvel Comics superhero genre revolution of the 1960s. My stance -- basically depression and horror that a supporting player on Will and Grace receives more respect as a contributor to that television show's success from its owners than Marvel's board of directors pay to the legacy of the man whose fire fueled the visual engine that has made each of them untold millions -- is such I'd be quite satisfied with any movement in the direction of more esteem for Kirby and his work, no matter how it comes about.

It makes sense that this would be tied into the Fantastic Four film, although my suspicion is that the movie will pay tribute to Kirby's work in an unintentional way. I just can't imagine that it will come within a country mile of the furious display of visual dynamism and raw cartooning power, refined by Joe Sinnott's inks and Stan Lee's wry dialogue work, that puts the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four on best comics works of the 20th Century lists. You can send Jessica Alba onto as many talk shows as you want to chat about dysfunctional families, but much of Fantastic Four is conceptual lunacy, which is why so much of it can be seemingly jettisoned by the filmmakers (European armor-plated super-despot) while still keeping elements that make almost no sense at all ("Bring me a funky green jammy and cape"). I don't really have a point here, but it's amusing to note that maybe the one comics artist who is most often cited as someone whose appeal has been supplanted by big-screen spectacle in a way hasn't been touched yet.

Here's an article that talks about the Fantastic Four as a period piece, another that speaks of the comic as a potentially untranslatable work, another that tracks the cartoon and big-screen versions pretty well if you're into that kind of thing.
 
posted 3:37 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Sketchbook Series Changing Formats

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James Kochalka talks frankly about the sales woes that are leading to a format change on the print version of his on-line diaries, from two books of one year (Sketchbook Diaries) and five years (American Elf) to a single series of books spanning two years of the strip. It's worth noting that while the alt-comics has seen its fair share of hits in the latest bookstore and library-driven interest in comics, that this hasn't been something that's extended down to everyone working in the category, even in proportion to the big sellers. With Marvel and DC scrambling harder than ever to lock in as much market share as possible in their ppv-ready Dumbass Short-Term Goals Death Match, a lot of books are going to struggle that much more to find an audience.
 
posted 3:28 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Delcourt Picks Up Spawn

One of those brief news items worth picking up for what it potentially reveals about the shape of a market I know so little about, it looks like Delcourt will be doing Spawn now for the French-speaking market in a publication that provides two stories involving the superhero and one with the spin-off characters Sam & Twitch.
 
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Go, Look: More Dunc & Loo

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Quick hits
How Angouleme's Monies Serve Local Economy
IGN on Death of Comic Book
Review of Hamlin Documentary Premiere
Mexicans Flock to Buy Controversial Stamps
Sixto Valencia Burgos Defends Memin Pinguin
Local Cartoonist Profile: Pat Brady
 

 
July 4, 2005


Children Cry: "Say It Ain't So, Cro"

imageVia Irresponsible Pictures comes word of this wire story about Japanese baseball legend Warren Cromartie suing the producers of the film version of the manga Cromartie High School over use of his name. A parody of teen fighting manga and a potential word of mouth buzz book for American publisher ADV Manga, creator Eiji Nonaka's system of high schools all sport names from North American baseball players who played in Japan, of which the former Montreal Expo is one of the most famous. In the manga, corresponding anime and one would imagine the live-action picture in question, Cromartie High School is filled almost entirely with moronic thugs who talk about fighting one another as well as inexplicable maybe-students like the one pictured, adding up to a clearly humorous take that seems to have been lost on the former Yomiuri Giants outfielder.
 
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Jack Kirby and the Marvel Movies

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This short piece by Alex Chun on the late Jack Kirby's relationship to current Marvel movies ably demonstrates the feelings of disappointment by surviving family members. I would think a few more of these types of article are likely to appear this week. More cool Jack Kirby art on-line this week is probably a sure thing.

In a side note, I notice that Chun uses the $10 million figure widely reported for Stan Lee's recent settlement with Marvel. That is the figure we have, but there are reasons to be slightly doubtful concerning that number despite its wide currency. The figure comes from a Marvel assignment made near the time of the settlement, but the settlement could also include, for example, monies Marvel had earlier set aside to take care of the case. It could well be Stan Lee got more than what's been reported.
 
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Seattle Times Wins Court Support

The Seattle Times has received court support for its position that it has lost money under a joint operating agreement with rival Seattle Post-Intelligencer. As the article points out, this could put the Post-Intelligencer in real danger of not surviving. It's worth mentioning here because Seattle is one of the last few legitimate two newspaper towns in terms of how content is treated. The Post-Intelligencer features the very loyal David Horsey, one of the most lauded editorial cartoonists currently working. More importantly, having two newspapers serving the same market means that the P-I and the Times compete for syndicated strips. When two newspapers compete like that, it's a boon for cartoonnists as very often a paper will buy content it doesn't have room for just to keep the competition from latching onto it. So not only would the P-I closure mean two full pages of daily newspaper strips and a significant number of Sunday strips would lose a high-paying client, but that you would also lose sales on strips not yet running from both newspapers. The P-I has also been aggressive in buying strips for on-line publication.
 
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Manga Licensing News I Sort of Get

The top entry at this site indicates that through program listings from Comic-Con International that it looks as if DC's CMX line has acquire licenses for the Appleseed and Kikaider Code 02 properties, which indicates plans to keep moving forward after being slammed by dedicated fans in the Tenjho Tenge editing/censorship controversy. That could be an interesting panel. Also, Tokyopop has announced titles for something called the Boys Love Line (BLU), which strikes me as the kind of news you only get from American manga companies.
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Profile on Andrews McMeel

imageAndrews McMeel is one of the five most important comics publishers of the last 25 years, but very little about the Kansas City-based company is known to the bulk of comics fans. This article could rectify that a bit; I found it pretty thorough and smart for this kind of loose profile.
 
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Quick hits
ICv2.com Reminds of New Free Manga Mags
Coop Establishes New Religion
New Relief Location Hosts Mizuno: Mizuno_Release.doc
Visiting Cartoonist Profile: Neil Gaiman
Not Comics: Gaiman Wins Locus Award
Mark Evanier on Checkered DC Covers
Tokyopop Announces Rising Stars #6
Kids Making Comic Books
 

 
July 3, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Larry Young

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San Diego Con Preview Night in 10 Days

You can visit the constantly updated Comic-Con International guide by clicking here, visit three older reports here, here and here, and see where I'll be for the show right here.

If I were still looking for a room at this point, I'd be thinking of renting a car and getting something a bit up north, within 30 minutes, like this place.

Go, Look: Wilfred Santiago's New Site

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July 2, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, June 25 to July 1, 2005:

1. Ali Dilem officially appeals his six-month sentence in Algeria, providing a focus on the growing issue of world cartoonists being charged for defamation for making commentary on political leaders.

2. Tweaks and fine tuning at two big companies: Bill Rosemann won't move over into marketing full-time at DC Comics; Don Lane retires from the Eastern corridor sales slot at United.

3. Three Korean comics publishers band together to facilitate assault on English-language market.

Winner of the Week
Cartoonist Charley Parker, for celebrating 10 years with his trailblazing on-line strip Argon Zark.

Losers of the Week
People scanning comics -- a few scanlation sites broke up this week, and the Supreme Court decision about music downloading liability injects an element of doubt about the long-term future of people who uses those services to disseminate scans of comic books.

Quote of the Week
"I tell you what. If this doesn't work out with the comics shop, and say, five years from now I have to close down -- hopefully not -- but I think I would become a bum or something. There is no way I can go back to the grind and work for the man. No way."

-- Retailer Jason Pierce of Alter-Ego in my hometown of Muncie, Indiana, at the six-month point.

art by Ali Dilem unrelated to the current case
 
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Site Re-Formatting Part One

One of the first things we wanted to do to tweak the site according to your suggestions is make the file categories relatable solely by type of articles rather than where they came from (we had made the distinction between stuff generated for this site and stuff generated for other gigs). The first step was making the former "Longbox" section a news and obituary archive, while the interviews get their own section away from commentary and features.

We're not anywhere near up to speed getting my older interviews into the mix, but there's enough here that's old and new ("new" meaning it went up in the last eight months on this site) that if you're like me and spending some downtime between events on a long July 4th weekend, there might be someone in the new section to interest you.

A Short Interview With Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester (6/26/05)
A Short Interview With Douglas Fraser (6/18/05)
A Short Interview With Jim Ottaviani (6/12/05)
An Interview With Ted Slampyak (6/5/05)
Special: An Interview With Kyle Baker (5/1/05)
A Short Interview With Mark Heath (3/25/05)
A Short Interview With Matt Fraction (3/25/05)
A Short Interview With Nadia Katz-Wise (3/24/05)
A Short Interview With Johnny Ryan (3/24/05)
A Short Interview With James Kimball (3/22/05)
A Short Interview With Scott Mills (3/22/05)
A Short Interview With Peter Bagge (3/21/05)
A Short Interview With Alvin Buenaventura (1/9/05)
A Roundtable Interview With Prominent Cartoonists About Mini-Comics (12/31/04)
A Short Interview With John Pham (3/30/04)
A Short Interview with Kevin Huizenga (3/30/04)
An Interview with Drew Weing (3/30/04)
A Short Interview With Tony Shenton (12/31/03)
A Short Interview with Jesse Reklaw (11/30/03)
A Profile of Ben Jones (10/30/03)
A Profile of Christopher "C.F." Forgues (10/30/03)
A Short Interview With Gary Panter on Fort Thunder (10/30/03)
An Interview with Brian Ralph (10/30/03)
A Short Interview With Dan Zettwoch (10/23/03)
A Short Interview With Warren Craghead (10/20/03)
An Interview With Steve Rude (10/31/02)
An Interview With Dylan Horrocks (5/31/02)
An Interview With John Romita (3/22/02)
A Short Interview With Souther Salazar (12/31/01)
A Short Interview with Gary Groth and Kim Thompson (12/31/99)
A Short Interview with Jim Woodring (12/31/99)
A Short Interview with Peter Bagge (12/31/99)
A Short Interview With Megan Kelso (12/31/99)
A Short Interview With Jeff Smith (12/31/99)
 
posted 9:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 1, 2005


Some Say The Market Ends In Fire...

imageCalvin Reid checks in with a report on three Korean manwha publishers joining together for a Viz-like effort called Studio ICE with an eye on selling translated works to an America audience. It's a nicely written, concise article and I'd be doing Reid a disservice by simply repeating his points here and then saying I'm blogging about it. An element that Reid doesn't bring up is that a devoted manwha publisher might provide an entry point for pre-existing comics reading audiences of all types, not just the bigger, harder to define audience that has been driving manga sales. Admittedly, that's probably not enough of an audience to sustain such an effort.
 
posted 5:42 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Marvel: Take the Long View

One of the more interesting public relations spectacles of the year has to be how Marvel executives and those interested in Marvel have dealt and are dealing with the possibility that the Fantastic Four movie might under-perform. On the one hand, you don't want to harm the film; on the other, you don't want to be unprepared for an underperformance that might color future projects.

This analysis from one of the Motley Fool fellahs is fun to read if you precede every rejoinder to a previous argument with a "Nuh-uh!" Mostly it seems to say that you have to take the long view with various Marvel movie projects, particularly as some of the modest ones are brought under Marvel's control. I would say the long view with Marvel does look pretty healthy as long as publishing remains a dependable engine and Marvel can hedge the severity of any losses with a stinkaroo film by pre-licensing it. Marvel's relationship as a publisher to all these films doesn't seem a particularly dangerous one, at least not anymore. There is a fun-house mirror thing between the two divisions in terms of projects pursued, I guess, but mostly it seems that any gigantic fall-out from a string of cruddy flicks would be seen in the bonuses of board members rather than at the comic shop. If someone disagrees with that, I'd love to in the letters.

thanks to Alex Buchet for the link
 
posted 5:33 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Getaway Friday Soft News Bonanza

It's the Friday before a holiday, which this year has seen the full unleashing of feature articles and the like concerning comics. Here's a sampling:

image* The cream of the crop is a short but sweet interview with Joe Sacco at Mother Jones, in support of War's End. Sacco may be the cartoonist for whose new works I apply the shortest buy-to-read time; he's really in the prime of his career, and everything he does is a must-read.

* Douglas Wolk continues with his new column at Salon with a look at the Alan Moore-written comic Promethea.

* Newsweek profiles Stephen Pastis of Pearls Before Swine, a newspaper strip hovering right around breakout status.

* A Hooters takes revenge on Thien Pham's newspaper review of one of their fine establishments, taking umbrage being one of those things you'd think one gives up the moment you embrace the name "Hooters."

image* Bil Keane reacts to Pastis' most recent parody of Family Circus here.

* Finally, the successful mainstream comic book writer Mark Millar and his on-line community have launched the first issue of their magazine, which you can access (or maybe not) through a re-vamped web site. One person interviewed is Stan Lee, although darned if I can get to it. Wait! Here it is, thanks to an e-mailer.
 
posted 5:16 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Memin Pinguin Stamp Controversy

imageApparently, the cartoon iconography on an old Mexican comic book character that has gained wider currency through a stamp release does not please some people.

For some reason I find such stories dull: someone's obviously going to find this kind of depiction upsetting, while others are obviusly going to argue that we can view something like this as an icon of an aspect of social history without endorsing it as if it were created today in the same way. It amused me that someone shot back with a "Speedy Gonzalez" comment, as the "Slowpoke Rodriguez" episode of that show is an amazing thing. Heidi runs a long explanation of the Memin Pinguin character from a smart reader here.
 
posted 5:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Scott Saavedra on Submitting to Companies
Go, Look: New Site for Bries
Rob Clough Covers the Crap Out of MoCCA Festival
Go, Look: Mark Evanier Posts No-Prize Envelope
Go, Look: 1980s Comic Book Ads
Go, Look: Seth's Art Exhibit Opening
I Didn't Even Know There Was a BC Open
 

 
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