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














August 31, 2009


Go, Look: Craig Yoe Launches His New Blog With Kirby Portrait Of Mickey Mouse

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I hope no one steals Craig's art outright to post, even in service of a link.
 
posted 7:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
On Any Other Day This Leads: Kodansha To Let Tokyopop Licenses Lapse

Official statement here. Brigid Alverson makes a good point that there's a perception that Tokyopop has turned the corner in terms of any recent problems, which makes the decision a bit more surprising. thanks, David
 
posted 7:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Best Of Decade List At Comicopia First One Posted?

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Matt Davies' EC Position Revived

Matt Davies, who made headlines a couple of weeks ago when he declared himself among those whose positions were eliminated during cost-cutting maneuvers for the Gannett paper the Journal News in White Plains, New York, will keep his job after all. According to published reports, the job will be shifted a bit to include some work for Gannett's Content One platform. The paper's publisher Mike Fisch told E&P that Davies will do the same amount of work and that his salary would come from a "blend of compensation," refusing to answer if this would chance the overall level of expected compensation.

Still, Davies sounds pleased and rightly. This is good news because as a recent Pulitzer winner, as one of the most respected cartoonists both under the Gannett umbrella, and as one of the highest profile cartoonists working in a non big-name newspaper, Davies' departure came across as a particularly ugly, depressing blow for the profession in harsh times. That there was no work for him through Content One -- a mechanism similar to the one through which David Horsey's position had been sustained when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went on-line -- seemed additionally dire. This would seem a big, positive news story with which to start the Fall.
 
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Go, Look: Summer Pickle Recipe

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posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Marty Murphy, RIP

Marty Murphy, a popular fixture in west coast cartooning circles, a frequent contributor to Playboy, and a cartoonist whose style was used as the visual template for the television cartoon What 'Til Your Father Gets Home, passed away August 26 in his home. He held a number of jobs on various high-profile cartoon efforts of the 1960s through early 1990s in addition to his magazine work.

Not a lot of biographical information exists for Murphy, nor is there a lot of his work on-line. You can see what I think is page of a comic here, and a nice sketch here.

According to a message board posting from Scott Shaw!, a memorial service for the late cartoonist will be held tonight in Los Angeles, with a funeral mass on Tuesday.
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Who Knocked Captain Marvel Down?

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Cross-Complaint Against Racism In Tintin Au Congo To Be Filed In French Court

Le Parisien is among the French-language news services to note that Mbutu Mondondo is planning on a cross-complaint in French courts to his Belgium court complaint against the publisher Moulinsart for what he characterizes as insurmountable anti-Congolese racism of Herge's controversial Tintin au Congo. The article talks about the depictions in mostly ameliorative terms, talking about changes made to the text, Herge's own statements regarding the time in which his distressing depictions were drawn, and the notion that looking at a book from 1931 as if it's some sort of fresh or ongoing assault on racial identity, without at least some conception of other cultural factors whether or not this extends to forgiveness, is intellectually dishonest.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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Missed It: Ben Sargent Blog

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I wasn't aware he'd found a new platform yet; thanks to Robert Boyd
 
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Go, Look: Jon Adams' JJJ

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Go, Look: Star Trek: Voyager

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via
 
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Go, Look: Some Of The Art Available In Anders Nilsen's 46 Million Art Auction

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the great cartoonist Eddie Campbell supplies a killer post on PS Magazine, with a side trip into cutaway imagery generally.

image* it's only for comic book characters, so Giles' Grandma definitely isn't on the list, but random pieces of art from that character being violent always crack me up so I thought I'd run one next to a link to this mostly depressing in the usual ways Top Ten Women Comic Book Characters list. (via)

* how Craig Thompson spent his summer vacation.

* the writer and critic Graeme McMillan is working his way through the modern X-Men comics and makes a good point here about the early Chris Claremont/John Byrne comics -- they established the standard formula for that series really, really quickly. One thing that I think helped in addition to the move to John Byrne as the artist collaborator is they got to jettison the space stuff for a while and focus on the other standard narrative arcs: X-Men at home, X-Men on the run, X-Men considered dead, X-Men over-matched, X-Men dealing with their own. The space opera elements were the weakest parts of the Claremont/Cockrum run -- just seeing Eric the Red depresses me 30 years later -- and were better off put in the corner for a while.

* not comics: the cartoonist Richard Thompson sums up how a lot of folks feel about Twitter. Killer background art, though.

* this is interesting: an interview with Leo McGovern, the comic book collector that was one of the people whose story was told in Josh Neufeld's AD.

* not comics: the writer Chris Allen asks if a) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would have appreciated a joke about "The Final Solution," and b) if the average Marvel Comics editor would even get the reference.

* finally, the cartoonist Evan Dorkin has received word that the Plastic Man substitute strip he and Stephen DeStefano worked on for Wednesday Comics will not be needed after all. That's an impressive reflection on Wednesday Comics, come to think of it.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Rick Parker!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Remake-Remodel
Tom Neely Draws The Inhumans

Exhibits/Events
Comics At Cheltenham Literary Festival

History
On Vertigo
On Original Art

Interviews/Profiles
On Joann Sfar
CBR: Larry Smith

Not Comics
Again, That's A Handsome Bag

Publishing
Webcomics Of The Month
Please Publish This Awesome Comic
Bizenghast Is The Last OEL Manga Standing

Reviews
Rob Clough: AD
Byron Kerman: AD
Chris Allen: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Ed Sizemore: Various
Tyler Curtain: Various
Shannon Smith: Side B
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Gabe Bullard: Syncopated
Snow Wildsmith: Wonderland
Andy Frisk: Unknown Soldier #11
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: The Deformitory
Leroy Douresseaux: Bleach Vol. 28
Richard Bruton: Green Manor Vols. 1-2
Rob Clough: Windy Corner Magazine #3
Leroy Douresseaux: St. Dragon Girl Vol. 4
Greg McElhatton: 20th Century Boys Vol. 4
Johanna Draper Carlson: CSI: Intern At Your Own Risk
Andy Frisk: Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #1
 

 
August 30, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: Let's Refine Last Week's Best Of 2000s Comics List

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I have a number of hopes with the list I'm creating of potentially great comics of the 2000s. The first is that people will find the list useful in finding new comics for themselves -- I've linked up the on-line comics list for your perusing and discovery pleasure. The second is to get people thinking about these great comics and many others. A third is that people will find this list useful as a starting point if they get roped into a best-of-decade list-making exercise at some point. I certainly don't see this as a nominees list, or a list from which everyone's choices of a top 10 or top 100 must come. I'm trying to refine the list and add too it -- for instance, as many great comics as have been suggested no one, no one including me managed to remember Get Your War On, a potential top five iconic strip of this decade, for sure. I just added Copper. I have nothing by Jason Shiga.

So while I think we're out of laundry list territory, I hope you might go over what follows and start to hold it accountable, particularly for any three or four comics/strips you think need to be there and on which we've totally gaped so far. The worse you make me feel with your e-mail, the better service you'll be providing the list.

(And thank you to everyone that helped out this week -- it was difficult at times when the formatting was so different than that which I'm attempting here, so I apologize if I somehow dropped one or more of your suggestions, but it was all appreciated.)

I'm going to be working on this list off and on all day, refining it and adding in certain books when I see a gap, gardening the crap out of this list and I hope if you're so inclined if you might take a few minutes and join me.

*****

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Anthologies
* Abstract Comics, Fantagraphics, (2009)
* Act-i-Vate, on-line magazine, LiveJournal.com
* An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, series, Edited by Ivan Brunetti, Yale University Press (2008)
* Arf, series, Edited by Craig Yoe, Fantagraphics
* Art Out Of Time, Edited By Dan Nadel, Harry N. Abrams (2006)
* Best American Comics, series, various editors, Houghton Mifflin
* Bizarro Comics, DC (2003)
* Bizarro World, DC (2006)
* Book of Boy Trouble, series, Edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly, Green Candy Press
* Canicola, series, Canicola
* Daily Ink, King Features Syndicate
* Dirty Stories, series, Edited by Eric Reynolds. Fantagraphics
* Drawn & Quarterly Showcase, series, Drawn and Quarterly
* Drawn & Quarterly, series, Edited by Chris Oliveros, Drawn & Quarterly
* Expo, series, Small Press Expo
* Flight, series, Edited By Kazu Kibuishi, Image/Ballantine
* Hotwire Comics, series, Edited by Glenn Head, Fantagraphics
* Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (2006)
* Kramers Ergot, series, Edited by Sammy Harkham, Self-Published/Buenaventura Press
* Little Lit, series, Edited by Art Spiegelman and Francois Mouly, Various Publishers
* McSweeney's Quarterly Concern Vol. 13, Edited by Chris Ware, McSweeney's
* Meathaus, series, Meathaus
* Mineshaft, series, Edited by Everett Rand and Gioia Palmieri, Mineshaft
* Modern Tales, on-line magazine, Joey Manley
* MOME, series, Edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics
* Nickelodeon Magazine, series, Edited By Christopher Duffy, Nickelodeon
* NON, series, Edited by Jordan Crane
* Orchid, Sparkplug (2002)
* Paper Rodeo, series
* Project: Romantic, Edited by Chris Pitzer, AdHouse (2006)
* Project: Superior, Edited by Chris Pitzer, AdHouse (2005)
* Rosetta, series, Alternative Comics
* Scheherazade: Stories of Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters, Edited By Megan Kelso, Soft Skull Press (2005)
* Secret Comics Japan: Underground Comics Now, Chikao Shiratori, Viz (2000)
* Serializer, on-line magazine, Joey Manley
* Shojo Beat Magazine, magazine, Viz
* Shonen Jump, magazine, Viz
* Sleazy Slice, Edited by Robin Bougie, Self Published
* The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, Black Dog (2006)
* The Funny Pages, magazine, New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Times
* The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, Edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, Abrams (2009)
* Wednesday Comics, DC (2009)

*****

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Archival Editions and Re-Releases
* Absolute Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, DC (2005)
* Alex, Mark Kalesniko, Fantagraphics
* Amy and Jordan, Mark Beyer, Pantheon (2004)
* A Small Killing, Alan Moore, Oscar Zarate, Avatar Press (2003)
* B. Krigstein Comics, edited by Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2004)
* Black Kiss, Howard Chaykin, Fantagraphics/Eros Comics (2002)
* Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin, Fantagraphics (2009)
* Bloody Streets Of Paris, Jacques Tardi, ibooks
* Bone, series, Jeff Smith, Steve Hamaker, Scholastic
* Boody!, Boody Rogers, Fantagraphics (2009)
* Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch, Pantheon (2002)
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Art Spiegelman
* Chaland Anthology, series, Yves Chaland, Humanoids
* Charley's War, series, Pat Mills, Joe Colquhoun, Titan
* Classic Dan Dare, series, Frank Hampson, et al, Titan
* Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings Craig Yoe, Last Gasp (2007)
* Comanche Moon, Jack Jackson, Reed Press (2003)
* Complete Crumb, series, R Crumb, Fantagraphics
* Complete Dennis The Menace, series, Hank Ketcham, Fantagraphics
* Complete Dick Tracy, series, Chester Gould, IDW
* Complete Little Orphan Annie, series, Harold Gray, IDW
* Complete Peanuts, series, Charles Schulz, Fantagraphics
* Concrete, series, Paul Chadwick, Dark Horse
* DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories, Various, DC (2005)
* Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years, series, Gaylord DuBois, Jesse Marsh, Dark Horse
* Explainers, Jules Feiffer, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Fred the Clown, Roger Langridge, Fantagraphics (2004)
* Heartburst And Other Pleasures, Rick Veitch, King Hell Press (2008)
* Heavy Liquid, Paul Pope, DC (2008)
* Herbie Archives, series, Ogden Whitney, Shane O'Shea, Dark Horse
* Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman, et al, Fantagraphics (2009)
* Innocence and Seduction, Dan DeCarlo, Fantagraphics (2006)
* Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, series, Jack Kirby, et al, DC
* Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files, series, John Wanger, et al, Rebellion
* Krazy and Ignatz, series, George Herriman, Fantagraphics
* Krazy Kat Dailies, series, George Herriman Pacific Comics Club
* Krazy & Ignatz Dailies Vol 1 (1918-1919), Stinging Monkey Books
* Little Lulu, series, John Stanley, Irving Tripp, Dark Horse
* MAD Archives, series, The Usual Gang of Idiots, DC
* Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A.D, series, Russ Manning, et al, Dark Horse
* Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, Paul Gravett, Running Press (2008)
* Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes, series, Bill Everett, et al, Marvel
* Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon, series, Milton Caniff, Checker Book Publishing Group
* Moomin, series, Tove Jansson, Drawn & Quarterly
* Out Our Way Sampler, J.R. Williams, Algrove (2005)
* Passionella, Jules Feiffer, Fantagraphics (2006)
* Plastic Man Archives, series, Jack Cole, DC
* Playboy's Little Annie Fannie, series, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Dark Horse
* Popeye, series, EC Segar, Fantagraphics
* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles, Edited by Dean Mullaney, IDW (2008)
* Silver Star, Jack Kirby, Image (2007)
* Slaine, series, Pat Mills, Mick McMahon, et al, Rebellion
* Son Of The Gun, series, Alexandro Jodorowsky, et al, Humanoids
* Splendid Sundays, series, Winsor McCay, Sunday Press
* Strontium Dog: Search/Destroy Agency Files, series, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, et al, Rebellion
* Sundays With Walt & Skeezix, Frank King, Sunday Press (2007)
* Supermen, Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2009)
* The Book Of Leviathan, Peter Blegvad, Overlook Press (2001)
* The Classic Pin-Up Art Of Jack Cole, Alex Chun, Fantagraphics (2009)
* The Collected Doug Wright, Doug Wright, Drawn & Quarterly (2009)
* The Comics Journal, magazine, Edited By Gary Groth
* The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, Andrews McMeel (2005)
* The Complete Dick Tracy, series, Chester Gould, IDW
* The Complete Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend, Winsor McCay, Ulrich Merkyl (2007)
* The Complete Far Side: 1980-1994, Gary Larson, Andrews McMeel (2003)
* The Complete Future Shocks, Alan Moore, Brendan McCarthy, et al, Rebellion (2006)
* The Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty, Buenaventura Press (2009)
* The Completely MAD Don Martin, Don Martin, Running Press (2007)
* The Complete Nemesis The Warlock, series Pat Mills, Kevin O'Neill, et al Rebellion
* The Complete Terry and the Pirates, series, Milton Caniff, IDW
* The Monster of Frankenstein, Dick Briefer, Idea Men (2006)
* The New Adventures of Jesus: The Second Coming, Frank Stack, Fantagraphics (2006)
* The Nikopol Trilogy, Enki Bilal, Humanoids (2004)
* The Spirit Archives, series, Will Eisner, DC
* Tijuana Bibles, Bob Adelman, Erotic Print Society (2006)
* Walt & Skeezix, series, Frank King, Drawn & Quarterly
* Where Demented Wented, Rory Hayes, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Will Elder: Mad Playboy Of Art, Gary Groth & Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2003)
* Willie & Joe: The WWII Years, Bill Mauldin, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Zot! The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Scott McCloud, HarperCollins (2008)
* The New Love and Rockets Books, massive volumes, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics
* The New Love and Rockets Books, digest volumes, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics

*****

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Original Long-Form Comics/Translated/Definitive Collection
* 365 Days, Julie Doucet, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* A Disease of Language, Alan Moore, Eddie Cambell, Knockabout/Palmano Bennett (2008)
* A Land of Make Believe, Josh Simmons, self-published
* A Treasury of Victorian Murder, series, Rick Geary, NBM
* A.L.I.E.E.N., Lewis Trondheim, First Second (2006)
* Abandoned Cars, Tim Lane, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Abraxas And The Earthman, Rick Veitch, King Hell Press (2006)
* Against Pain, Ron Rege, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Alan's War, Emmanuel Guibert, First Second (2008)
* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell, Top Shelf (2009)
* Alias the Cat, Kim Deitch, Pantheon (2007)
* Alice in Sunderland, Bryan Talbot, Dark Horse (2007)
* American Born Chinese, Gene Yang, First Second (2008)
* Art d'Ecco, Roger Langridge, Fantagraphics (2000)
* Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon (2009)
* Asthma, John Hankiewicz, Sparkplug (2007)
* Batman Year 100, Paul Pope, DC (2006)
* Beauty Supply District, Ben Katchor, Pantheon (2000)
* Black Hole, Charles Burns, Pantheon (2005)
* Blankets, Craig Thompson, Top Shelf (2003)
* Bluefuzz the Hero, Jesse Reklaw (2007)
* Blue Pills Frederik Peeters, Houghton Mifflin (2008)
* Bottomless Belly Button, Dash Shaw, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Box Office Poison, Alex Robinson, Top Shelf (2001)
* Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman, Pantheon (2008)
* Brodo di Niente, Andrea Bruno, Canicola (2007)
* Burma Chronicles, Guy Deslisle, Drawn & Quarterly (2008)
* Cairo G. Willow Wilson, MK Perker, DC (2008)
* Can't Get No, Rick Veitch, DC (2006)
* Capacity, Theo Ellsworth, Secret Acres (2008)
* Carnet de Voyage, Craig Thompson, Top Shelf (2004)
* Cavalcade of Boys, Tim Fish, (2006)
* Cecil and Jordan in New York, Gabrielle Bell, Drawn and Quarterly (2009)
* Chance In Hell, Gilbert Hernandez, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Chloe, Hans Rickheit, self-published, (2002)
* Clumsy, Jeffrey Brown, Top Shelf (2003)
* Cockbone, Josh Simmons, self-published
* Cola Madnes, Gary Panter, Funny Garbage (2001)
* Curses, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn & Quarterly (2006)
* David Boring, Dan Clowes, Pantheon (2002)
* Deogratias, JP Stassen, First Second (2006)
* Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, John Porcellino, La Mano (2005)
* Doctor Thirteen: Architecture and Mortality, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, DC (2007)
* Dogs and Water, Anders Nilsen, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* Domin-8 Me! , Sessyu Takemura, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, Anders Nilsen, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* Earthboy Jacobus, Doug Tennapel
* Elvis Road, Xavier Robel, Helge Reumann, Buenaventura Press (2007)
* Enemy Ace, Garth Ennis, DC (2003)
* Epileptic, David B., Pantheon (2006)
* Exit Wounds Rutu Modan, Drawn & Quarterly (2007)
* Fancy Froglin's Sexy Forest, James Kochalka, Alternative Comics (2003)
* Fluffy, Simone Lia, Jonathan Cape
* Fox Bunny Funny, Andy Hartzell, Top Shelf (2007)
* Fun Home, Alison Bechdel, Houghton Mifflin (2006)
* Garage Band, Gipi, First Second (2007)
* Get a Life, Philippe Dupuy, Charles Berberian, Drawn & Quarterly
* Girl Stories, Lauren Weinstein, Henry Holt (2006)
* Gongwanadon, Thomas Herpich, Alternative (2004)
* Good-Bye, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Gray Horses, Hope Larson, Oni Press (2006)
* Gus, Christophe Blain, First Second (2008)
* Hamlet, Neil Babra, Sparknotes (2002)
* Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor Volume Two, Harlan Ellison, et al, Dark Horse (2007)
* Hey, Wait... , Jason, Fantagraphics (2001)
* House, Josh Simmons, Fantagraphics (2007)
* How To Be Everywhere, Warren Craghead (2007)
* Hunter & Painter, Tom Gauld, Buenaventura (2007)
* I Die at Midnight, Kyle Baker, DC (2000)
* I Killed Adolf Hitler, Jason, Fantagraphics (2007)
* I Live Here, Various, Pantheon (2008)
* I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, Fletcher Hanks, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Ice Haven, Dan Clowes, Pantheon (2005)
* Incognegro, Mat Johnson, Warren Pleece, DC (2008)
* In The Shadow Of No Towers, Art Spiegelman, Viking (2004)
* Inkweed, Chris Wright, Sparkplug (2008)
* James Sturm's America, James Sturm (2007)
* Jessica Farm, Josh Simmons, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware, Pantheon (2000)
* Kampung Boy, Lat, First Second (2006)
* King-Cat Classix, John Porcellino, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* Klezmer, Joann Sfar, First Second (2006)
* Laika, Nick Abadzis, First Second (2007)
* Late Bloomer, Carol Tyler, Fantagraphics (2005)
* Life Sucks Jessica Abel, et al First Second (2008)
* LOEG: The Black Dossier, Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, DC (2007)
* Look Out!! Monsters, Geoff Grogan, self-published (2009)
* Lost at Sea, Brian Lee O'Malley, Oni Press (2006)
* Lost Girls, Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie, Top Shelf (2006)
* Maggots, Brian Chippendale, HWB (2007)
* Mail Order Bride, Mark Kalesniko, Fantagraphics
* Mesmo Delivery, Rafael Grampa, AdHouse
* Mister O, Lewis Trondheim, NBM (2004)
* Mon Fiston, Oliver Schrauwen, Bries (2006)
* Mother Come Home, Paul Hornschemeier (2009)
* Multiforce, Mat Brinkman, PictureBox (2009)
* Murder Mysteries, Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Dark Horse (2002)
* Musical Legends, Justin Green, Last Gasp (2004)
* Nat Turner, Kyle Baker, Abrams (2008)
* nEuROTIC, John Cuneo, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Night Fisher, R. Kikuo Johnson, Fantagraphics
* Ninja, Brian Chippendale, PictureBox (2006)
* Nocturnal Conspiracies, David B., NBM (2008)
* Notes On A War Story, Gipi, First Second (2007)
* Odds & Ends, R Crumb, Bloomsbury Publishing
* One Hundred Demons, Lynda Barry, Sasquatch (2005)
* Paper Rad BJ and Da Dogs, Ben Jones/Paper Rad, PictureBox
* Parker: The Hunter, Darwyn Cooke, IDW (2009)
* Percy Gloom, Cathy Malkasian, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Pride of Baghdad, Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon, DC (2008)
* Princes of Time, Jon Vermilyea, Self-Published (2007)
* Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, Derf, SLG (2008)
* Pyongyang, Guy Delisle, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* Quimby the Mouse, Chris Ware, Jonathan Cape (2003)
* RabbitHead, Rebecca Dart, Alternative (2004)
* Rapunzel's Revenge Shannon Hale, Bloomsbury (2008)
* Red Eye, Black Eye, K. Thor Jensen (2007)
* Safe Area Gorazde, Joe Sacco, Fantagraphics (2000)
* Salamander Dream, Hope Larson, AdHouse (2005)
* Same Difference and Other Stories, Derek Kirk Kim, Top Shelf (2004)
* Scurvy Dogs, Andrew Boyd, AiT/Planet Lar (2005)
* Shadowland, Kim Deitch, Fantagraphics (2006)
* Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine, Drawn & Quarterly (2007)
* Shrimpy and Paul and Friends, Marc Bell, HWB (2003)
* Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer, Killoffer, Typocrat (2005)
* Skibber Bee Bye, Ron Rege Jr., Highwater/Drawn & Quarterly (2006)
* Skim, Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki, Groundwood Books (2008)
* Sloth Gilbert Hernandez, DC (2006)
* Smoke, Alex DeCampi, Igor Kordey, IDW (2005)
* Storeyville, Frank Santoro (2007)
* Summer Blonde, Adrian Tomine, Drawn and Quarterly (2003)
* Superheroes & Seamonsters, Scott Mills, SLG (2005)
* Super Spy, Matt Kindt, Top Shelf (2007)
* Swallow Me Whole, Nate Powell, Top Shelf (2008)
* Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds (2007)
* Temporary, Damon Hurd, Origin Comics (2005)
* Teratoid Heights, Mat Brinkman, HWB (2003)
* The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware, Pantheon (2005)
* The Amazing Remarkable Mr Leotard, Eddie Campbell, First Second (2008)
* The Arrival, Shaun Tan, Arthur A. Levine Books (2007)
* The Black Diamond Detective Agency, Eddie Campbell, First Second (2007)
* The Blackest Gnome, Malcy Duff, Missing Twin Publishing (2007
* The Blot, Tom Neely, I Will Destroy You Comics (2007)
* The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi, Pantheon (2007)
* The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Phoebe Gloeckner, Frog Press (2002)
* The Fate of the Artist, Eddie Campbell, First Second (20060
* The Fixer, Joe Sacco, Drawn & Quarterly (2003)
* The Frank Book, Jim Woodring, Fantagraphics (2003)
* The Freebooters, Barry Windsor Smith, Fantagraphics
* The Goddess of War, Lauren Weinstein, PictureBox (2008)
* The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick, Scholastic (2007)
* The Last Lonely Saturday, Jordan Crane, Red Ink/Fantagraphics (2006)
* The Originals, Dave Gibbons, DC (2004)
* The Plot, Will Eisner, WW Norton (2006)
* The Red Snake, Hideshi Hino, DHP (2004)
* The Salon, Nick Bertozzi, St. Martin's (2007)
* The Ticking, Renee French, Top Shelf (2006)
* The Tourist, Brian Wood, Toby Cypress, Image (2006)
* The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City, Tony Fitzpatrick, Last Gasp (2008)
* Things Just Get Away from You, Walt Holcombe, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Thoreau at Walden, John Porcellino, Hyperion (2008)
* Three Shadows, Cyril Pedrosa, First Second (2008)
* Tits, Ass & Real Estate, Eve Gilbert, Fantagraphics (2003)
* Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Alex Robinson, Top Shelf (2008)
* Town Boy, Lat, First Second (2007)
* Travel, Yuichi Yokohoma, PictureBox (2008)
* Tricked, Alex Robinson, Top Shelf (2005)
* Uncle Gabby, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse (2004)
* Unlikely, Jeffrey Brown, Top Shelf (2003)
* Utility Sketchbook, Keith McCulloch, PictureBox (2007)
* Vampire Loves, Joann Sfar, First Second (2006)
* We All Die Alone, Mark Newgarden (2006)
* West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi, Fantagraphics (2009)
* What It Is, Lynda Barry, Drawn & Quarterly (2008)
* Why Are You Doing This? , Jason, Fantagraphics
* Will and Abe's Guide to the Universe, Matt Groening (2007)
* Wimbledon Green, Seth, Drawn & Quarterly (2005)
* Yesterday's Tomorrow's, Rian Hughes, Knockabout (2008)
* Young Gods and Friends, Barry Windsor Smith, Fantagraphics
* You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, Fletcher Hanks, Fantagraphics (2009)
* You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler, Fantagraphics (2009)

*****

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Comic Book Series
* 100 Bullets, Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, DC
* 100%, Paul Pope, DC
* 1-800-MICE, Matthew Thurber, PictureBox
* 52 Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, JG Jones et al, DC
* ACME Novelty Datebook, Chris Ware, Drawn and Quarterly
* ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware, Fantagraphics/Self-Published
* Action Comics, Geoff Johns et al, DC
* Age of Bronze, Eric Shanower, Image
* Alias, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Marvel
* All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, DC
* All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, DC
* Amulet Kazu Kibuishi, Scholastic
* Apocalypse Nerd, Peter Bagge, Dark Horse
* Army@Love, Rick Veitch, DC
* Astonishing X-Men, Joss Whedon, John Cassaday, Marvel
* Automatic Kafka, Joe Casey, Ashley Wood, DC
* Aya, Clement Oubrerie, Marguerite Abouet, Drawn and Quarterly
* Babymouse, Jennifer Holm, Matthew Holm, Random House
* Blacksad, Juan Dias, Juanjo Guarnido, et al, Dargaud
* B.P.R.D. , Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, Dark Horse
* BPRD: 1946, Josh Dysart, Paul Azaceta, Dark Horse
* Berlin, Jason Lutes, Drawn & Quarterly
* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen, Drawn & Quarterly
* Boy's Club, Matt Furie, Buenaventura
* Captain America, Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Mike Perkins et al, Marvel
* Casanova, Matt Faction, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Image
* Castle Waiting, Linda Medley, Fantagraphics
* Cerebus, Dave Sim, Gerhard, Aardvark-Vanaheim
* Cold Heat, Ben Jones, Frank Santoro, PictureBox
* Conan, Kurt Busiek et al, Dark Horse
* Concrete: The Human Dilemma, Paul Chadwick, Dark Horse
* Crecy, Warren Ellis, Raulo Caceres, Avatar Press
* Criminal, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Marvel/Icon
* Cryptic Wit, Gerald Jablonski, Self-Published
* Daredevil, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Marvel
* Delphine, Richard Sala, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* Demo, Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, AiT/Planet Lar
* DMZ, Brian Wood, Ricardo Burchielli, et al, DC
* Dork, Evan Dorkin, SLG
* Dungeon, Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, et al, NBM
* Eightball, series, Daniel Clowes, Fantagraphics
* Empowered, Adam Warren, Dark Horse
* Essex County, Jeff Lemire, Top Shelf
* Ex Machina, Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, DC
* Fables, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al., DC
* Fell, Warren Ellis, Ben Templesmith, Image
* Final Crisis, Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Doug Mahnke et al, DC
* Finder, Carla Speed McNeil, Lightspeed Press
* Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville, Ted Stearn, Fantagraphics
* Ganges, Kevin Huizenga, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* Global Frequency, Warren Ellis, et al, DC
* Godland, Joe Casey, Tom Scioli, Image
* Gotham Central Greg Rucka et al, DC
* Green Lantern, Geoff Johns et al, DC
* Gyakushu, Dan Hipp, Tokyopop
* Hawaiian Dick, B. Clay Moore, et al, Image
* Hellblazer, Various, DC
* Hellboy/BPRD, Mike Mignola et al, Dark Horse
* HERO, Will Pfeifer, DC
* Herobear and the Kid, Mike Kunkel, Astonish Comics
* Human Target, Peter Milligan, et al, DC
* Immortal Iron Fist, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Marvel
* Injury, Ted May, Buenaventura Press
* Invincible, Robert Kirkman et al, Image
* Isaac the Pirate, Christophe Blain, NBM
* Jimbo, book series, Gary Panter, Fantagraphics
* Jonah Hex, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti et al, DC
* Journey, Bill Messner-Loebs, IDW
* Kabuki, David Mack, Image/Icon
* King City, Brandon Graham, Tokyopop/Image
* King-Cat Comics and Stories, John Porcellino, Spit and a Half
* Leviathan, Ian Edginton, D'isreli, 2000 AD
* Little Nothings, Lewis Trondheim, NBM
* Livewires, Adam Warren, Rick Mays, Marvel
* Local, Brian Wood, Ryan Kelly, Oni
* Lone Wolf & Cub, Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, Dark Horse
* Losers, Andy Diggle, Jock, DC
* Louis Riel, Chester Brown, Drawn & Quarterly
* Love & Rockets Vol. 2, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics
* Love & Rockets Vol. 3 Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics
* Madman Atomic Comics, Mike Allred, Image
* Meat Cake, Dame Darcy, Fantagraphics
* Metabarons. Alexandro Jodorowsky, Juan Gimenez, Humanoids
* Midnight Nation, J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, Top Cow
* Mourning Star, Kaz Strzepek, Bodega
* My Faith In Frankie, Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, et al, DC
* Mystic Funnies, R. Crumb, Fantagraphics
* New Frontier, Darwyn Cooke, DC
* New Tales of Old Palomar, Gilbert Hernandez , Fantagraphics/Coconino
* New X-Men, Grant Morrsion, Frank Quitely, et al, Marvel
* Nextwave Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, Marvel
* Northlanders, Brian Wood, Davide Gianfelice, et al., DC
* Omega: The Unknown, Jonathan Lethem, Karl Rusnak, Farel Dalrymple, Paul Hornschemeier, Gary Panter, Marvel
* Ordinary Victories, Manu Larcenet, NBM
* Or Else, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn & Quarterly
* Owly, Andy Runyon, Top Shelf
* Palooka-Ville, Seth, Drawn & Quarterly
* Paris, Andi Watson, Simon Gane, SLG
* Paul, Michel Rabagliati, Drawn and Quarterly
* Peepshow, Joe Matt, D&Q
* Phonogram, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, et al, Image
* Planetary, Warren Ellis, John Cassaday, DC
* Plastic Man, Kyle Baker, DC
* Pogostick, Al Columbia, Ethan Persoff, Fantagraphics
* Polly and the Pirates, Ted Naifeh, Oni
* Powers, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming, Image/Icon/Marvel
* Powr Mastrs, C.F., PictureBox
* Promethea, Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III, DC
* Punisher Garth Ennis, et al, Marvel
* Queen & Country, Greg Rucka, et al, Oni
* Rainbow Orchid, Garen Ewing, BAM! Magazine
* Rapunzel's Revenge, Shannon Hale, Bloomsbury USA
* RASL, Jeff Smith, Cartoon Books
* Runaways, Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, Marvel
* Reich, Elijah Brubaker, Sparkplug
* Sammy the Mouse, Zak Sally, Fantagraphics
* Sandman: Dream Hunters, Neil Gaiman, et al, DC
* Scalped, Jason Aaron, RM Guera, DC
* Scarlet Traces, Ian Edginton, D'Israeli, Judge Dredd Magazine/Dark Horse
* Scarlet Traces: The Great Game, Ian Edginton, D'Israeli, Dark Horse
* Schizo #4, Ivan Brunetti, Fantagraphics
* Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Oni Press
* Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye, Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart, DC
* Seaguy, Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart, DC
* Seven Soldiers of Victory, Grant Morrison, et al, DC
* Shaolin Cowboy, Geoff Darrow, Dark Horse
* Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, Jeff Smith, DC
* Silverfish, David Lapham, DC
* Skyscrapers of the Midwest, Josh Cotter, AdHouse
* Sleeper, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, DC
* Smax, Alan Moore, Zander Cannon, DC
* Sock Monkey, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse
* Solo, various, DC
* Speak Of The Devil, Gilbert Hernandez, Dark Horse
* Spider-Girl, Tom DeFalco, et al, Marvel
* Street Angel, Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca, SLG
* Stuff of Dreams, Kim Deitch, Fantagraphics
* Superman: Red Son, Mark Millar et al, DC
* Superman: Secret Identity, Kurt Busiek et al, DC
* Swarm, Patrick Conlon, NBM/Eurotica
* Tales Designed To Thrizzle, Michael Kupperman, Fantagraphics
* Teenagers From Mars, Rick Spears, Gigantic Graphic Novels
* The Abandoned, Ross Campbell, Tokyopop
* The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Mark Andrew Smith, Dan Hipp, Image
* The Amazing Spider-Girl, Tom DeFalco, et al, Marvel
* The Boys, Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, DC/Dynamite Entertainment
* The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Frank Miller, Lynn Varley, DC
* The End, Anders Nilsen, Fantagraphics/Coconino Press
* The Fairer Sex, John Ira Thomas, Jeremy Smith, Candle Light Press
* The Filth, Grant Morrison, Chris Weston, DC
* The Goon, Eric Powell, Dark Horse
* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, DC/Top Shelf
* The Middleman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Les McClaine, Viper
* The Milkmen Murders, Joe Casey, et al, Dark Horse
* The Nimrod, Lewis Trondheim, Fantagraphics
* The P. Craig Russell Library Of Opera Adaptations, P. Craig Russell, NBM
* The Pulse, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Marvel
* The Rabbi's Cat, Joann Sfar, Pantheon
* The Spirit, Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone, DC
* The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, Dark Horse
* The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, et al, Image
* The Winter Men Brett Lewis, John Paul Leon , Dave Stewart
* Times of Botchan, Natsuo Sekikawa, Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Top 10, Alan Moore, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon, et al, DC
* Trains are Mint, Oliver East, Self-Published
* True Story Swear To God, Tom Beland, Image
* U.S. War Machine, Chuck Austen, Marvel
* Ultimate Spider-Man, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, Marvel Comics
* Unstable Molecules, James Sturm, Guy Davis, Marvel
* Uptight, Jordan Crane, Fantagraphics
* Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, Dark Horse
* Vimanamarama, Grant Morrison, Phillip Bond, DC
* Wasteland, Antony Johnston, Christopher Mitten, Oni
* We3, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, DC
* Weasel, Dave Cooper, Fantagraphics
* Wet Moon, Ross Campbell, Oni
* WildCATS 3.0, Joe Casey, DC
* Wish You Were Here, Gipi, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* Worn Tuff Elbow, Marc Bell, Fantagraphics
* X-Force/X-Statix, Peter Milligan, Mike Allred, Marvel
* Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Guerra et al, Vertigo
* Young Avengers, Allen Heinberg & Jim Cheung, Marvel
* Young Liars, David Lapham, DC
* The Seven Soliders Omni-Series, Grant Morrison and a Cast Of Dozens, DC

*****

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Manga (Translated)
* 20th Century Boys, series, Naoki Urasawa, Viz
* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2009)
* Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2006)
* Apocalypse Meow, series, Motofumi Kobayashi, ADV Manga
* Apollo's Song, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical (2007)
* Azumanga Daioh, omnibus edition, Kiyohiko Azuma, ADV (2007)
* Black Jack, series, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Bleach, series, Tite Kubo
* Blue Spring, series, Taiyo Matsumoto
* Buddha, series, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Chikyu Misaki, series, Yuji Iwahara, CMX
* Children of the Sea, series, Daisuke Igarashi, VIZ
* Clover, series, CLAMP, Tokyopop/Dark Horse
* Cromartie High School, series, Eiji Nonaka, ADV
* Death Note, series, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, Viz
* Disappearance Diary, Hideo Azuma, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (2008)
* Dororo, series, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Dragon Head, series, Minetaro Mochizuki, Tokyopop
* Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President, series, Kaiji Kawaguchi, VIZ
* Emma, series, Kaoru Mori, CMX
* Flower of Life, series, Fumi Yoshinaga, DMP
* Fruits Basket, series, Natsuki Takaya, Tokyopop
* Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa
* Future Lovers, Saika Kunieda, Deux
* Genshiken, Kio Shimoku, Del Rey
* Gon, series, Masashi Tanaka, CMX
* Good-Bye, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Gyo, series, Junji Ito, Viz
* Honey and Clover, series, Chika Umino, Viz
* Kekkaishi, series, Yellow Tenabe, Viz
* Lone Wolf & Cub, Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, Dark Horse
* Love Roma, Minoru Toyoda, Del Rey
* Midara, Yumisuke Kotoyoshi, Icarus Publishing
* Monokuro Kinderbook, series, Kan Takahama, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, Takashi Nemoto, PictureBox (2008)
* Monster, Naoki Urasawa, Viz
* Mushishi, Yuki Urushibara, Del Rey
* MW, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical (2007)
* NANA, series, Ai Yazawa, Viz
* Naruto, series, Masashi Kishimoto, Viz
* Ode To Kirihito, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical (2006)
* Ooku: The Inner Chambers, series, Fumi Yoshinaga, Viz
* Paradise Kiss, Ai Yazawa, Tokyopop
* Parasyte, Hitoshi Iwaaki, Del Rey
* Path of the Assassin, series, Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, Dark Horse
* Phoenix, series, Osamu Tezuka, Viz
* Planetes, series, Makoto Yukimura, Tokyopop
* Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, series, Naoki Urasawa, Viz
* Real, series, Takehiko Inoue, VIZ
* Red-Colored Elegy, Seiichi Hayashi, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Sand Chronicles, series, Hinako Ashihara, Viz
* Scarlet Desire, series, Tohru Nishimaki, Icarus Publishing
* "Screw Style," Yoshiharu Tsuge, The Comics Journal #250, Fantagraphics (2003)
* Sexy Voice and Robo, series, Ion Kouda, VIZ
* Slam Dunk, series, Viz, Takehiko Inoue
* Slave Contract, Gorou Horikawa, Icarus Publishing
* Solanin, Inio Asano, Viz (2008)
* Sundome, series, Kazuto Okada, Yen Press
* Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Matsumoto, Viz (2007)
* The Drifting Classroom, series, Kazuo Umezu, Viz
* The Ice Wanderer, Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (2008)
* The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, series, Eiji Otsuka, Housui Yamazaki, Dark Horse
* The Push Man and Other Stories, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2005)
* The Red Snake, Hideshi Hino, DHP (2004)
* The Walking Man, Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon (2006)
* To Terra, series, Keiko Takemiya, Vertical
* Tokyo Zombie, Yusaku Hanakuma, Last Gasp (2008)
* Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, Fumiyo Kuono, Last Gasp (2007)
* Uzumaki, series, Junji Ito, Viz
* Vagabond, series, Takehiko Inoue, VIZ
* Yotsuba&!, series, Kiyohiko Azuma, ADV/Yen

*****

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Newspaper Comics
* Cul-De-Sac, Richard Thompson
* Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau
* Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
* Ernie Pook's Comeek, Lynda Barry
* Fair Game, Stephanie Piro
* Fleep, Jason Shiga, East Asian Week
* Franklin Fibbs, Hollis Brown, Wes Hargis
* Ink Pen, Phil Dunlap
* Life in Hell, Matt Groening
* Lio, Mark Tatulli
* Maakies, Tony Millionaire
* Mike Luckovich's Editorial Cartoons, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
* Monkeyhouse, Pat Byrnes, LATS
* Mutts, Patrick McDonnell
* Non Sequitur, Wiley Miller
* Opus, Berke Breathed
* Pat Oliphant's Editorial Cartoons, syndicated
* Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis
* Pooch Cafe, Paul Gilligan
* Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, Neil Swaab
* Rocky, Martin Kellerman
* Speed Bump, Dave Coverly
* Steve Bell cartoons in the Guardian
* The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder
* The Pain: When Will It End?, Tim Kreider
* This Modern World, Tom Tomorrow
* Tom The Dancing Bug, Ruben Bolling
* Tom Toles' Editorial Cartoons, Washington Post
* Zippy, Bill Griffith
* Zombies Take Toronto, Chester Brown, NOW

*****

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On-Line Comics
* A Battle Between Light and Dark, Jason Loo
* A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible, Dale Beran, David Hellman
* A Softer World, Joey Comeau, Emily Horne
* Achewood, Chris Onstad
* American Elf, James Kochalka
* Bee Comix, Jason Little
* Blecky Yuckerella, Johnny Ryan
* Bodyworld, Dash Shaw
* Copper, Kazu Kibuishi
* Cyanide and Happiness, Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin and Dave McElfatrick
* Daybreak, Brian Ralph
* Dicebox, Jenn Manley Lee
* Diesel Sweeties, R Stevens
* Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North
* Flickr/Sketchbook Comics, Laura Park
* FreakAngels, Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield
* George Sprott, 1895-1975, Seth, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Get Your War On, David Rees
* Girl Genius, Studio Foglio
* Girls With Slingshots, Danielle Corsetto
* Goats, Jonathan Rosenberg
* Hutch Owen Daily, Tom Hart
* Jesus and Mo, Mohammed Jones
* Lackadaisy Cats, Tracy Butler
* Kate Beaton's On-Line Comics
* La Maggie LaLoca, Jaime Hernandez, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Leisure Town, Tristan Farnon
* Low Moon, Jason, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Lucy Knisley's online comics
* Minus, Ryan Armand
* Mister Wonderful, Daniel Clowes, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Narbonic, Shaenon Garrity
* One Hundred Demons, Lynda Barry
* Overcompensating, Jeffrey Rowland
* Penny Arcade, Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins
* Perry Bible Fellowship, Nicholas Gurewitch
* Pictures for Sad Children, John Campbell
* Pup, Drew Weing
* Scary-Go-Round, John Allison
* PvP, Scott Kurtz
* Reggie-12, Brian Ralph
* Sinfest, Tatsuya Ishida
* Templar, Arizona Spike
* The Dreamland Chronicles, Scott Christian Sava, Astonish Comics/Blue Dream Studios
* The Fart Party, Julia Wertz
* The Spiders Patrick Farley
* ThingPart, Joey Alison Sayers
* Trunktown Tom Hart, Shaenon Garrity, Webcomics Nation
* Truth Serum, Jon Adams
* Vanessa Davis's on-line comics, Tablet
* Watergate Sue, Megan Kelso, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* When I Am King, Demian 5
* Wigu, Jeffrey Rowland
* Wondermark, David Malki
* xkcd, Randall Munroe

*****

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Works On The Subject Of Comics
* A Comics Studies Reader, Jeet Heer, Kent Worcester, UPM (2008)
* Alex Raymond: His Life & Art, Tom Roberts, Adventure House (2007)
* Alter Ego, magazine, Edited By Roy Thomas
* Alternative Comics, Charles Hatfield, UPM (2005)
* Arguing Comics, Jeet Heer, Kent Worcester, UPM (2005)
* Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, Todd DePastino, WW Norton (2008)
* B. Krigstein Vol. 1, Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2002)
* Cartooning Philosophy and Practice, Ivan Brunetti, Buenaventura Press (2007)
* Charles Addams, Linda Davis, Random House (2006)
* Chris Allen On-Line, Chris Allen
* Come in Alone, Warren Ellis, AiT/PlanetLar (2001)
* Comic Art, magazine, Edited by Todd Hignite, Comic Art/Buenaventura Press
* Comic Book Resources, magazine, Jonah Weiland
* Comic Wars: Marvel's Battle For Survival, Dan Raviv, Broadway (2002)
* Comics Comics, magazine, Dan Nadel, Tim Hodler, Frank Santoro
* Erotic Comics Vol 1: A Graphic History From Tijuana Bibles To Underground Comix, Tim Pilcher, Gene Kannenberg, Abrams (2008)
* Erotic Comics Vol 2: A Graphic History From The Liberated '70s To The Internet, Tim Pilcher, Gene Kannenberg, Abrams (2009)
* Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Toppfer, Edited by David Kunzle, University Press of Mississippi (2007)
* Forbidden Planet International Blog Log, Forbidden Planet
* Frederic Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture, Bart Beaty, UPM (2005)
* Give Our Regards To The Atomsmashers!, Edited by Sean Howe, Pantheon (2004)
* Great British Comics, Paul Gravett, Peter Stanbury, Aurum Press
* Indy Magazine, Bill Kartalopoulos
* Jack Cole and Plastic Man, Art Spiegelman, Chip Kidd, Chronicle Books (2001)
* Jack Kirby Collector, Edited By John Morrow
, magazine, Twomorrows
* Jog The Blog, Joe McCulloch
* Journalista! , Dirk Deppey, TCJ.com
* Kirby, Mark Evanier, Abrams (2008)
* Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics, Paul Gravett, Harper Design (2004)
* Meanwhile... A Biography of Milton Caniff, RC Harvey (2007)
* Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones, Basic Books (2005)
* Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Newsarama, magazine, Matt Brady
* Original Art of Basil Wolverton, Glenn Bray, Last Gasp (2007)
* Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers and Pirates, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2005)
* PWCW, magazine, Calvin Reid, Heidi MacDonald, Publishers Weekly
* Reading Comics, Douglas Wolk, Da Capo (2007)
* Reading the Funnies, Donald Phelps, Fantagraphics (2001)
* Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, Patrick Rosenkranz, Fantagraphics (2003)
* In The Studio, Edited by Todd Hignite, Yale University Press (2007)
* Rodolphe Topffer: The Complete Comic Strips, Edited by David Kunzle, University Press of Mississippi (2007)
* Schulz and Peanuts, David Michaelis, Harper (2007)
* Secret Identity, Craig Yoe, Abrams (2009)
* Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Blake Bell, Fantagraphics (2008)
* The 10-Cent Plague David Hajdu, FSG (2008)
* The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics Denis Kitchen, Paul Buhle, Harry Shearer, Abrams (2009)
* The Beat, Heidi MacDonald, Publishers Weekly
* The Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams, and Saul Steinberg, Iain Topliss, JHU Press (2007)
* The Comics Curmudgeon, Josh Fruhlinger
* The Comics Journal, magazine, Edited by Gary Groth, Fantagraphics
* The Comics Journal Library, series, Edited by Gary Groth, Fantagraphics
* The Comics Journal Special Edition, series, Edited by Gary Groth, Fantagraphics
* The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, George Khoury, et al, TwoMorrows (2002)
* The Ganzfeld, magazine, Edited by Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler, PictureBox
* The Imp, series, Edited By Dan Raeburn
* The Pirates and the Mouse, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2003)
* The Tarquin Engine, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey (2005)
* The Various POV collections, Mark Evanier, TwoMorrows
* Unpopular Culture, Bart Beaty, University of Toronto Press (2007)
* Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, Bob Andelman, M Press (2005)
* Will Elder: Mad Playboy Of Art, Gary Groth & Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2003)
* You Call This Art? A Greg Irons Retrospective, Greg Irons, Patrick Rosenkranz, Fantagraphics (2008)

*****

Participants: Tom Spurgeon, Rob Clough, Katherine Dacey, Jamie Coville, Sandy Jarrell, Douglas Wolk, Lynn Nguyen, David Welsh, Ralf Haring, Jon Ward, Bill Jennings, Alan David Doane, Jarrett Duncan, Michael J. Grabowski, Sean Rogers, Sean T. Collins, Leroy Douresseaux, John Vest, Jeremy Powell, Cole Moore Odell, Pablo Holmberg, Johnny Bacardi, Gabriel Roth, Kieran Clarkin, Amy Boese, Matthew J. Brady, Rainer Patzke, Anthony Ha, Douglas Noble, Jason Michelitch, Muriel Niederle, Patrick Brown, Craig Fisher, Mickey McLaurin, Randall Kirby. Thank you all.

*****
*****
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
It Seems Silly To Have An Interview Up When There's A Two-Part 1996 Ben Katchor Interview Up To Read

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posted 3:55 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Ojai, I'd Go To This

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posted 3:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Sollies-Ville, I'd Go To This

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posted 3:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #178 -- King

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Of Your Favorite Specific Jack Kirby Standard-Format Comic Books." Here is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Fantastic Four #51
2. Kamandi #10
3. Kamandi #6
4. Mister Miracle #16
5. Thor #130

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Fantastic Four #3
2. Strange Tales #104
3. First Issue Special #5
4. New Gods #3
5. Jimmy Olsen #139

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
2. Avengers #4 (March 1964)
3. 2001 #8 (July 1977)
4. X-Men #4 (March 1964)
5. Destroyer Duck #1 (May 1982)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Fantastic Four #77
2. New Gods #7
3. Captain America's Bicentennial Battles
4. Jimmy Olsen #141
5. Thor #121

*****

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John Vest

1. Fantastic Four Annual #1
2. Fantastic Four #27
3. Tales Of Suspense #81
4. Thor #154
5. Fantastic Four #2

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Fantastic Four #48
2. Fantastic Four #49
3. Fantastic Four #50
4. Strange Tales #89 (first Fin Fang Foom feature)
5. Destroyer Duck #3

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Fantastic Four #45
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey #5
3. New Gods #6
4. Captain America #212
5. Forever People #4

*****

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Shannon Smith

* Fantastic Four Annual #2
* Challengers of the Unknown #4
* Kamandi #15
* Fantastic Four #29
* Fantastic Four #40

*****

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Ben Ostrander

1. The Eternals #10
2. The Losers #157
3. The Demon #1
4. Fantastic Four #50
5. Thor #155

*****

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Andy Kunka

1. OMAC #2
2. New Gods #8
3. Devil Dinosaur 1
4. The Demon #7
5. Bulls Eye #2

*****

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Frank Santoro

5. New Gods #7
4. Tales to Astonish #82
3. FF #5
2. 2001 #6
1. 2001 #5

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Journey Into Mystery #125
2. Fantastic Four #51
3. Mister Miracle #3
4. Our Fighting Forces #160
5. OMAC # 1

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Fantastic Four #12
* Journey Into Mystery #103
* Fantastic Four #29
* Avengers #6
* Avengers #7

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Fantastic Four #35
2. Mister Miracle #8
3. Journey into Mystery #107
4. X-Men #9
5. New Gods #8

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Kamandi #1
2. Kamandi #2
3. Kamandi #3
4. Kamandi #4
5. Kamandi #5

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Fantastic Four #49
2. New Gods #1
3. Avengers #4
4. Destroyer Duck #1
5. Captain America #100

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. Eternals Annual #1
2. Captain America Annual #3
3. Mister Miracle #9
4. Thor #131
5. Boy Commandos #1 (1973)

*****

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Fred Hembeck

* Fantastic Four #34
* Avengers #4
* Fantastic Four #4
* Sgt. Fury #7
* Fantastic Four #10

*****

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Steve Thompson

1. The Fly #1
2. Fantastic Four #7
3. Fantastic Four #61
4. Journey Into Mystery Annual #1
5. Forever People #1

*****

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Mauricio Matamoros

1. The Demon #1
2. 2001 A Space Odyssey #1
3. Black Magic (DC reprints) #1
4. New Gods #8
5. OMAC #1

*****

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Scott Dunbier

* Kamandi #6
* Kamandi #12
* Fantastic Four #4
* Fantastic Four Annual #1
* Sgt. Fury #13

*****
*****
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Ken Bruzenak!

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Happy 66th Birthday, R. Crumb!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Jacques Tardi!

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First Thought Of The Day

Thanks to Dennis Worden, I read "FTW" as "Fuck the World" rather than "For the Win"... it still works 98 percent of the time.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
August 29, 2009


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


via Mike Lynch


via Mike Lynch


via Mike Lynch


via Mike Lynch


 
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Some Weekends You Just Want To Post An Old Photograph Of Buster Keaton

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Next Week In Comics-Related Events

August 30
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 22 to August 28, 2009:

1. Political cartoon magazine raided in Maylaysia.

2. Yale University Press decision to not re-run Muhammad cartoons devolves into open accusations they're doing to suck up to Muslim world sources of endowment fundage, while it's also revealed the author basically approved of the decision.

3. Judge orders another round of mediation in Siegels vs. DC/TW.

Winner Of The Week
The late Senator Ted Kennedy, whose legacy was for the most part treated kindly by North American editorial cartoonists.

Losers Of The Week
Comics creators that don't immediately come with the hits in an increasingly competitive and unforgiving and numbers-driven comics market, perhaps?

Quote Of The Week
"One of the phenomena where I think we're in transition: comics were a very forgiving medium for its creators." -- Paul Levitz

*****

today's cover is from one of the great publications of the underground comix era

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In Sollies-Ville, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mark Heath!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Anders Nilsen On His 46 Million Art Auction Effort (PR) (8/28/09)
* Meltdown Comics On Their Pete Wentz Comic Book Signing (PR) (8/27/09)
* Michael Dean on Siegels, Shusters, Public Domain (8/25/09)
* Matthew Wave On FFF Results Post #177 -- Sing (8/24/09)
* Tim O'Shea On Siegels, Shusters, Copyrights, And Wishing Opinions Away (8/24/09)
* Robert Sato On Magazine Interview And Forthcoming Show In Lancaster, PA (PR) (8/23/09)
* Jason Fischer On Dame Darcy Performance and Dame Darcy/Tim Root Show in Portland (PR) (8/22/09)
* Hervé St-Louis On Copyright, Public Domain And What I Would Prefer (8/22/09)
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
August 28, 2009


Jack Kirby, The King of Comics, Would Have Been 92 Years Old Today

Jack Kirby, the mighty heart of the American comic book industry, would have been 92 years old today. Below is a tiny, even insignificant sample of his awesome image-making power, many of which were culled from around the Internet, for your ruminative and reflective pleasure. Long live the King.

*****

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posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this Wizard article on webcomics featuring various on-line all-stars contains more useful information than these kinds of article tend to offer, including traffic figures and hosting costs.

image* the cartoonist Anders Nilsen has arranged for a massive art and other stuff auction featuring various comics all-stars to raise money for commercials to aid in the passage of health reform. You can read about it and find everything you need link-wise to buy or simply stare at what's being offered here.

* there's a really nice article in the Chicago Reader about Scott Stantis taking the Chicago Tribune job. Basically, he's been after the job for so long it's a very different job now. Stantis starts September 1.

* the ASIFA site continues to offer free Eugene Zimmerman-related downloads to bring attention to the group's newly-published textbooks.

* somebody's planning a new on-line comics magazine.

* everyone's pal Frank Santoro directs you to a link of How To Read Nancy, something that should be on every comics fan's "To Do" list.

* the artist D'Israeli uses an upcoming convention event as a opportunity to muse on digital art.

* the ASIFA folks have also tossed up this range of links showing off the core strengths of their site. It's quite something, and I recommend it to you as this week's unofficial Friday Distraction.

* finally, we may not live in the future I imagined as a 10-year-old, but it's certainly a world kinder to that imagination. (I couldn't bring myself to steal a photo for my own use, but #21 is the best one.)
 
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Sollies-Ville, I'd Go To This

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

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

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posted 8:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Benoit Peeters!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Elijah Brubaker!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Joann Sfar!

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Quick hits
Craft
Charles Yoakum On Process

History
Good Advice From Milton Caniff
Richard Bruton's Favorite Marvel Panel

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Arvid Nelson
CBR: Matt Fraction
Galleycat: Josh Neufeld
Newsarama: Patton Oswalt
Newsarama: Declan Shalvey

Not Comics
Go See Monte Schulz On Tour

Publishing
Avatar Profiled
All Hail King City

Reviews
Sam Thielman: Various
Zack Smith: The Hunter
David Welsh: Nightschool
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
John Hogan: Abstract Comics
Avril Brown: West Coast Blues
John Hogan: Giraffes In My Hair
Chris Allen: Fantastic Four #570
Ica Wahbeh: A Child In Palestine
Chad Nevett: Batman and Robin #3
Leroy Douresseaux: DNAngel Vol. 12
Richard Bruton: Everyday Collection #1-3
Elizabeth Hewitt: Some New Kind Of Slaughter
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Do Not Build A Frankenstein
Leroy Douresseaux: Chaos Campus Sorority Girls Vs. Zombies #3

 

 
August 27, 2009


Did You Know There Was A Sword Of Shannara Newspaper Comic Strip?

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Because I sure didn't. Gray Morrow!
(thanks, Devlin Thompson)
 
posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Kennedy Report: Mostly Plaudits

Daryl Cagle has his devoted section of Kennedy cartoons up, and it's worth a look if, like me, you're interested in how editorial cartoonists process specific events. I suggested yesterday that Kennedy pose a specific problem in that 1) there's a dichotomy between his Senatorial accomplishments and the incident by which he's best known, Chappaquiddick, 2) it's hard to put into cartoon terms a lifetime of legislative accomplishment and advocacy, 3) you also have his death as the end of that Kennedy generation.

It looks like most of them have remained soft and laudatory, several using a lion image that is either generic ("lion in winter"/"lion of the senate") or is a specific Ted Kennedy appellation with which I'm unfamiliar. I think Steve Greenberg communicated the same idea as the symbols much more effectively with his cartoon. Only one in the group brought up Chappaquiddick specifically. One cartoonist actually did use the Kennedy brothers playing football idea. I also liked Pat Oliphant's, which was odd and sad.
 
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Go, Look: PS Magazine Archives

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posted 4:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Gerhard Speaks On His Settlement

I wasn't aware there was anything at issue, but the artist Gerhard speaks about his settlement upon leaving his partnership with cartoonist Dave Sim, I guess in response to other statements being made. It seems like a pretty definitive statement, and it's rare to hear from the artist, who provided modeling and background art for the bulk of the publication of Cerebus. Again, I'm lacking context on this and I'm unfamiliar with the message board in question so I can't endorse anything beyond saying "there it is," but I know there are some of you for whom a development in an iconic comics business model would be worth keeping track of. (via The Beat)
 
posted 4:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two By Richard Thompson

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posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Borders' Second Quarter Horror Show

The major chain bookseller Borders Group apparently saw accelerated sales decline and restructuring costs on top of that during a brutal 2Q 2009 that ended in a $45.6 million loss, notes comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com. Borders is not only a valuable business to comics by simple virtue of being a major bookselling chain, it has its own purchasing and shelving strategies that might benefit certain companies above the general loss of bookstores, if that makes any sense. Still, it's been a long time since this company has seen good news, and it's long been to the point where customers tell me they feel a difference because of these hard times in the stores themselves.
 
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Go, Look: The Block!

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Casterman Printing Feeling Recession?

The language here seems a little baroque to me -- plus it's in French -- but if I'm reading this post correctly it's merely stating that Casterman Printing, which has been separate from the similarly-named publishing operations for about a decade, is beginning to feel the pressure of the worldwide recession and the use of Asian printers by comics companies that might typically bring them their business. At least they feel the pressure enough to complete some sort of paperwork that may eventually see them seeking help. I'm not sure there's a lot here as a story, but I've heard so little about any recent economic impact on French-language comics that it caught my attention.
 
posted 4:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: GoblinMirror

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PSA: Harvey Awards Ballots Due

imageIt's feels weird to boost participation in an awards whose time I think has come and gone, but while it's still there any industry awards with a degree of legitimacy deserves your professional attention. The final ballots are due tomorrow. I'd recommend a specific vote or two but while there are a lot of fine nominees -- and some strange ones -- nothing really jumps out at me in that "wow, great nominee; I hope it goes on to win that award way." I guess it would be nice if Gus and His Gang won an award. That was an underrated book from the nominations period, and I'd love to see more of his work translated so any type of awards movement would help. Anyway, please consider voting if you're eligible.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Marvelous Coma

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Missed It: Platinum Divests Itself From Wowio... Basically, Sort Of, Kind Of

For the entire week, I've had Johanna Draper Carlson's catch of an interview mention that a switch in ownership has been brought to digital distribution service Wowio in my bookmarks and just haven't discussed it. Brian Altounian, the president and CEO of the much-maligned comics property holding company and occasional publisher, formed a holding company that purchased Wowio back in July 1. Wowio is a noteworthy company in that for whatever reason -- and this is debated out the wazoo, as well -- it was at one time a very profitable service for its users and simply stopped being so at some point. This resulted in a company that owed folks money and was without current cash flow to pay those debts, stretching back to 2Q 2008. One would think that the basic responsibility of someone purchasing a company for its benefits would be to pay its debts, but apparently that has yet to happen, either with Platinum or, from what anyone's heard, the new holding company. The suspicion is that the re-purchase might have something to do with further non-payment, although of course you're getting into speculation at that point, understandable given the general discouragement those creators must feel.
 
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Go, Look: Chameleon City

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Go, Look: Important Comics

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Go, Read: On Howard Chaykin 02

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Go, Look: '08 Anna Sommer Show

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* let's all join Daryl Cagle in wishing Mike Lane a speedy and full recovery.

image* this is nice: the fine-looking Capcom tribute Scott Pilgrim poster mentioned here yesterday will be only $5 at the Oni Press booth at the PAX Expo with all proceeds going to the Child's Play charity. I hope they sell a kabillion.

* the writer Warren Ellis has a column over at Rich Johnston's site and it's beginning to cook -- his take on Archie Goodwin is, I think, dead-on. I think it's a better column if you sit back and take it in rather than see every declarative statement as some sort of nerd-thrown gauntlet you're being asked to honor or argue.

* this Karen Berger interview reads like there's a checklist of current and forthcoming Vertigo projects on the table between interviewer and interviewee, but I thought it interesting they went right to Fables as the current flagship. Makes sense, though.

* Evan Dorkin appraises the career of Roy Thomas.

* people always think I'm kidding when I express admiration for the Luna Brothers, but I think their comics are completely nuts in a good way, like a movie you plan to watch on HBO for ten minutes before heading to bed but it's just odd enough and funny enough you end up watching the whole thing. Like Torque, maybe. They're also hard to pigeonhole. Their second major book featured a small town beset by hot alien naked chick cannibals, but their first and third have admirably heroic female characters as leads -- one motivated by the desire to do the right thing, the other driven by white-hot rage. I can't always speak to the page to page quality of their books, and I think given the choice I'd probably rather read Japanese comics that scratch this same itch, but it's nice that there are creators working in North American comics that have this kind of pulpy, straight-ahead exuberance. Here's an interview.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 31st Birthday, Matt Wiegle!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Denis Kitchen!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Phil Hester!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
All That SPX Art
In Praise Of J Bone
Fish That Repeats On You
Sean Phillips Draws The Spirit

Exhibits/Events
Go See Crumb In Richmond

Industry
Guessing The Ignatzes

Interviews/Profiles
Graphic NYC: Michel Fiffe
CBR: Jonathan Rosenberg
CBR: Brian Michael Bendis
Sandra Bell Lundy: Stephanie Piro
Blog@Newsarama: Tony DiGerolamo

Not Comics
Harvey Pekar Tweets
Jimbo Needs Company
I, For One, Never Tire Of It
CR Hero Mary Morris Lawrence, RIP
Now That's A Birthday Card To Receive
How Has This Movie Not Been Remade Yet?

Publishing
Brigid Alverson On Site Design
Into What Context Will You Publish?
Announcing Doris And The Monsters

Reviews
Chris Mautner: AD
KC Carlson: 3XSVS
Rob Clough: Various
Brian Hibbs: Archie #600
Greg McElhatton: Big Kahn
Matthew J. Brady: Remake
Brian Heater: Prison Pit Vol. 1
Richard Bruton: Glister: House Hunt
Matthew Brady: Fantastic Four #570
Leroy Douresseaux: Steal Moon Vol. 2
Ed Sizemore: 20th Century Boys Vol. 4
Rev OJ Flow: Blackest Night: Superman #1
KC Carlson: Looking For Calvin and Hobbes
Michael C. Lorah: Superman/Batman: Saga Of The Super Sons
Sean T. Collins: All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder Vol. 1
 

 
August 26, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Penguin Books India, perhaps the biggest English-language publisher in that giant country full of English-language reading people who many feel would love to read some great comics if more could be provided them, is going to publish some comics works aimed at kids. It's a start.

image* I'm not sure how I managed to miss this, but in the comments to the latest mental illness-related comic posted to Darryl Cunningham's site, he reveals that these will be published by Blank Slate Press in February 2010. That's great news, and I look forward to the book.

* here's something you don't see anymore: a massively long, comic strip storyline intended for The Phantom. That's a lot of walking, even for a ghost.

* otbp: Emberley Galaxy, a tribute book to the illustrator featuring both comics and artwork by many of your favorite alt-comix talents, has finally been published.

* a new hardcover edition of the award-winning and extremely handsome-looking Le Sommet des Dieux will hit French-language markets from Kana in December.

image* the illustrator and one-time strip cartoonist John Kovaleski has an all-ages book out, Great Scott: A Day In The Life.

* I take it from this announcement that there is a Liberty Comics #2 in the planning stages. That's the Image Comics book to benefit the CBLDF. I don't know if this was widely known or not -- not widely known between my ears, anyway.

* this press release for Harvey Pekar's webcomic initiative at Smith, to be called The Pekar Project, does no one any favors by comparing the artists involved to all-time jazz greats, but I look forward to seeing what the significant comics writer will do with the immediacy of on-line media and a regular ongoing gig like this one.

* the anthology Funny Aminals will debut at SPX next month.

* the good folks at L'Association are doing a limited run of an all-in-one La Guerre d'Alan with the lovely cover shown at top.

* finally, that DC is trying to re-launch the Red Circle superhero characters is hardly news: that's been out there since May or so I think? While I don't really trawl the DC news blogs, I have noticed that Red Circle related PR is a part of their daily grind now. The thing I don't get is why there's an expectation that any of this stuff will succeed? I mean, I guess it could, I don't know anything about publishing superhero comics and DC Comics does, but what I'm not seeing is some sort of general theory as to how they expect success to find this project. And you usually see that. If anyone knows of a "we did very well with X, so our first thought was that there was room to do more comics like that and so pursued Y" statement out there, let me know. In the meantime, enjoy some cool-looking superhero designs in action, I guess.

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posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Creative Loafing Goes To Hedge Fund For Five Million Dollar Bid

I wanted to get a link up to this story about alt-weekly chain Creative Loafing's change in ownership, although I'm not sure what to say other than "there it is." Creative Loafing's financial difficulties -- note how much they were able to borrow in 2007 to add to the line against what the whole lot of them went for Tuesday -- are a headline-generating part of a nationwide collapse of newspapers of all kind, but particularly those that house the often creatively fertile group of alt-weekly strips.

I may re-post this in the 10 AM slot tomorrow if I can figure out another way to approach it.
 
posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Graham Wade, 1931-2009

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Graham Wade, the cartoonist and filmmaker known best for illustrating the Christian series Jungle Doctor, recently died in Sydney. He was 78 years old.

Wade was born in June, New South Wales in 1931. He won a national comics competition during World War II, and would later describe a childhood filled with comics, both from the United States and England.

imageWade initially worked in an Sydney advertising agency out of school in 1949. working with Paul White on Jungle Doctor magazine strips related to his popular autobiography. After illustrating many books in a subsequent series intended for younger readers for several years beginning in 1953, he was commissioned in the 1970s to turn some of those works into comics.

Jungle Doctor was a popular anchor for worldwide Christian entertainment in the '50s and '60s, but particularly in Australia, where individual issues of the comic may have sold up to a half million copies each. These weren't his only comics -- Wade had taken various commissions from Christian groups for a variety of other comics, according to his biography at Christian Comics International. This included the "Polar Parable" series. He also remained an active advertising and media illustrator, for both Christian and civic organization.

In the 1960s Wade was a primary mover in establishing Pilgrim, a non-profit advertising agency -- actually converted from his former employer -- that served Christian groups and organizations. He served as its CEO for several years. It remains in existence not as a functioning agency but as a group that gives out a yearly Christian media prize. Wade spent his later years on the boards of charitable agency and doing evangelical work -- the latter with a sketchbook. He also brought Nate Butler's COMIX35 Christian Comics Training Course to Sydney twice, in 1998 and 2006.

He is survived by a second wife, Ilda and is preceded in death by a first wife, Gwen. He and Gwen had three children.
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Hellatoons

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Political Cartoon Magazine Seized In Kuala Lumpur; Offices Raided

Home ministry officials in Malaysia entered the Kuala Lampur offices of political cartoon magazine Gedung Kartun Tuesday, confiscating 408 copies of the publication.

imageThis has quickly settled into a dispute over the reasons for the raid and seizure. The regional chief enforcement officer of the home ministry declared that the magazine did not have an official permit. The magazine's editor, the cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar), a veteran cartoonist who has worked in Malaysian media for nearly 25 years, told the The New Strait Times that their permit was approved two weeks ago and they were given a serial number.

Critics have pointed to a cover image that showed Prime Minister Najib Razak on the cover and a cartoon in the interior, seen here, concerning a 2006 murder case in which he's repeatedly denied any involvement to suggest a harassment motive. Centre for Independent Journalism and Writers Alliance for Media Independence quickly condemned the raid and confiscation in a joint statement.
 
posted 4:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Manga Kamishibai

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posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Ted Kennedy Cartoon Dilemma

With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, you can expect to see the same dilemma played out that was on display after Michael Jackson died. Only this time it's Chappaquiddick and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne versus Kennedy's distinguished Senatorial career as opposed to Thriller versus the possibility Jackson was a serial diddler of children. You can probably catch it best here at Darryl Cagle's page -- some individual cartoons will start to show up immediately, usually portraiture, and eventually Cagle will put them all under their own heading. I suspect the fact it's hard to draw a laudatory Senatorial career will work in Kennedy's favor as many may therefore go "non-direct" for their cartoon -- the obvious one being the depiction of a touch football game in heaven now that all the Kennedy boys are reunited, or something like that.
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Little Iodine

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posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Chris Ware T-Shirt For Michigan Group Soon To Sell Out

It's for charity. I can't remember a whole lot of Chris Ware t-shirts.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Dracula 04 And 05

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Go, Look: More Pop Gun War 2

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Johnny Ryan Gives Voice To Critics

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Go, Look: The Case Of The Counterfeit Cigarettes

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer Garth Ennis celebrates 2000 AD, the most under-appreciated of all the great serial comics in the history of the medium.

image* the writer Sean Collins continues his series of interviews with alternative comics creators working for Marvel in a chat with comedic genius Michael Kupperman, who if nothing else should clearly do all the backgrounds of panels in all Marvel's comics from now on. Also, Marvel people shouldn't be mad at me for using this Namor panel because now you know it would make a great t-shirt.

* I don't really have a place for something like this in quick hits, so: Sean Kleefeld's Comics Manifesto

* speaking of whom, Mr. Kleefeld makes the case that comics journalism is social media. I personally consider CR a social event, it's just more the kind of party where a bunch of enthusiastic people show up on the doorstep of a completely darkened house and a grouchy old man in pajamas and bathrobe puts on his slippers and drives them home, lecturing them about life between bursts of static and Art Bell.

* you know, if they can publish Galactica 1980 comics, you'd think my Q.E.D. pitch would at least merit a response.

* finally, if you're interested in the history of superhero comics and how a changing industry can dictate content to an astonishing degree, click on the Curt Purcell links available at this Sean Collins post and have yourself a long read. The hook is a comparison of latest Green Lantern ringapalooza Blackest Night to the old Legion of Super-Heroes Darkseid plotline "The Great Darkness Saga," but I think it works better as a more general argument about how books in different eras were/are expected to work.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Chris Butcher On Manga At Kinokuniya's Flagship Store In Shinjuku

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Me Wanty
Death Gallery
Movie Review In Comics Form
Nice-Looking Scott Pilgrim Cast Poster

Exhibits/Events
Make Plans For Brooklyn
Go To The Traverse City Con

History
All His Favorite Hulks
The Joy Of Collecting
You'll Wish You'd Thought Of It

Industry
Fun With Evan Dorkin Contest
Catastrophe Shop Working Again
How To Win A Jeff Parker Contest

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Erika Moen
Newsarama: Dan DiDio
CBR: Daniel Way, Marjorie Lu
Eye On Comics: Brandon Graham
Talking With Tim: Molly Crabapple
Uncharted Territory: Kaz Strzepek
Interview With Brant Parker's Widow

Not Comics
Hell No
Paper Toy Tintin
Tom Neely On Mix Tapes
Larry Marder Loves His Fans
Eddie Campbell On Pubic Hair

Publishing
Sean Kleefeld's Birthday Loot
Please Translate This Awesome Comic

Reviews
Nina Stone: Batgirl #1
Andy Frisk: Daredevil #500
Sean Kleefeld: Hatter M Vol. 2
Noah Berlatsky: Empowered #2
Jared Gardner: Ball Peen Hammer
Leroy Douresseaux: Zone-OO Vol. 1
KC Carlson: Captain Britain Omnibus
Shannon Smith: Wednesday Comics #5
Rachel Rollson: Pim and Francie: The Golden Bear Days
 

 
August 25, 2009


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

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick them up and hide some throughout the shop for purchase during this December's No Comics Wednesday.

*****

JUN090324 KING CITY #1 $2.99
The first issue of Brandon Graham's comic as reclaimed from its Tokyopop-induced limbo, and a fine check-me-out issue if you've wondered after him as a cartoonist.

JUL090986 LITTLE FLUFFY GIGOLO PELU TP VOL 01 (A) $17.95
I have no idea of the background on this one, but I think it's Junko Mizuno and that's good enough for me.

JUN090910 COLOR EARTH GN VOL 03 COLOR OF HEAVEN $16.99
The last of Dong Hwa Kim trilogy of stories about a young girl becoming a woman, the intimacy of the relationship she shares with her mother, and how flat-out naughty everything in nature is.

MAY090750 MUPPET SHOW TP $9.99
JUN090788 MUPPET SHOW TREASURE OF PEG LEG WILSON #2 (OF 4) $2.99
That's a consumer-friendly price point for a collection of the first four Roger Langridge Muppets comic, and you can also follow along with the current serialization if you want. Win-win.

FEB090061 GANTZ TP VOL 06 (MR) $12.95
The only manga series I've heard of with a new volume out this week.

JUN090667 CEREBUS ARCHIVE #3 $3.00
This is like digging through Dave Sim's studio desk drawers.

JUN090146 BATMAN AND ROBIN #3 $2.99
Morrison and Quitely, rhymes with delight-ly; to be Morrison and a talented artist whose name I can't remember as of next issue.

JUN090143 BATMAN WIDENING GYRE #1 (OF 6) $3.99
This was going to be called Batman: We've Run Out Of Titles until the weekly scrabble game in Paul Levitz's office.

JUN098460 WEDNESDAY COMICS #1 (OF 12) 2ND PTG $3.99
JUN098461 WEDNESDAY COMICS #2 (OF 12) 2ND PTG $3.99
JUN090142 WEDNESDAY COMICS #8 (OF 12) $3.99
Still not sure I'm ready to make a $50 commitment, but it's nice to know I'll have that option.

JUN090039 USAGI YOJIMBO #122 $3.50
JUN098217 CAPTAIN AMERICA #601 2ND PTG COLAN VAR $3.99
JUN090539 INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133 $2.99
Random mainstream or sort-of mainstream series issues, of at least reasonably high repute.

*****

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

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

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

If I didn't list your comic, it's because I was busy planning my two week vacation away from comic books in late December/early January.

*****

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Go, Read: Dash Shaw Speaks To Hope Larson About Editing In Comics

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Meth Pipeline Was Using Collectible Comics To Front For Drug Profits

Unsealed records indicate a massive methamphetamine network bringing the drug into Colorado from Phoenix that was busted on August 14 used collectible comic books as a way to launder the money. Two ringleader brothers and thirty-nine others were indicted; all but one are currently in custody. The group was also accused of using various local women as drug mules in an operation that may have operated somewhere between $500,000 and $2,000,000 a in total business a month bringing the drug into an area where police had been successful in dismantling local production. As for the comics angle, the police reported a half-million "at least" in comic books were seized, although how they arrived at that figure I have no idea. I'm also not sure how laundering works, but collectibles are largely a cash industry and the value in comic books can vary wildly -- both factors I would think has to help. It's unclear whether any comics had been sold, or what will happen to the seized books.
 
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Go, Look: Jan Balet

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The Comics Industry's Unsexiest Issue

Here's a great example about how the network of direct market comic book stores may be on the thin side and why this is a concern. A Lewiston, Maine pop culture retailer seems to have picked up comics because the small city's comic book store has apparently closed down. Great news, of course, except that someone had to have stepped in or residents of the second biggest city in the state would have to drive an hour a more to look at comics. One also has no idea as to the depth and breadth of the new store's commitment to the product line, which one supposes by all logical standards is modest -- I wouldn't dare prescribe otherwise. If like me you believe in the comic book model as one of many effective ways to sell comics to people, the thought of such stores continuing to blink off of a US big board should cause some concern. Is enough being done to ensure basic coverage? We know that comics can survive off the newsstands, but will comics survive off the newsstands and off of Main Street?
 
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Go, Look: Spirit En Francais

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Your 2009 Ignatz Award Nominees

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They were announced earlier today. Winners will be awarded at next month's Small Press Expo.

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Outstanding Artist
* Tim Hensley, Mome (Fantagraphics), Kramer's Ergot #7 (Buenaventura)
* Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
* Richard Sala, Delphine (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Josh Simmons, Mome (Fantagraphics)
* Carol Tyler, You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Outstanding Anthology or Collection
* Abandoned Cars, Tim Lane (Fantagraphics)
* Against Pain, Ron Rege Jr. (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 5, T. Edward Bak, Anneli Furmark, Amanda Vahamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Fuzz and Pluck: Splitsville by Ted Stearn (Fantagraphics)
* Kramer's Ergot 7, ed. Sammy Harkham (Buenaventura)

*****

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Outstanding Graphic Novel
* Acme Novelty Library #19, Chris Ware (Self-Published)
* Disappearance Diary, Hideo Azuma (Fanfare/Potent Mon)
* Drop-In, Dave Lapp (Conundrum)
* Nicolas, Pascal Girard (Drawn & Quarterly)
* You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man, Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Outstanding Story
* The Carnival, Mome #14, Lilli Carre (Fantagraphics)
* Disappearance Diary, Hideo Azuma (Fanfare/Potent Mon)
* Seeing Eye Dogs of Mars, Acme Novelty Library #19, Chris Ware (Self-Published)
* Untitled, Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 5, Amanda Vahamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Willy, Papercutter #10, Damien Jay (Tugboat)

*****

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Promising New Talent
* T. Edward Bak, Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 5 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Colleen Frakes, Woman King (self-published)
* Hellen Jo, Jin & Jam #1 (Sparkplug), Diamond Heights, Papercutter #9 (Tugboat)
* Ed Luce, Wuvable Oaf (self-published)
* Amanda Vahamaki, Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 5 (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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Outstanding Series
* Danny Dutch, David King (Sparkplug)
* Delphine, Richard Sala (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Interiorae, Gabriella Giandelli (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Reich, Elijah Brubaker (Sparkplug)
* Uptight, Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Outstanding Comic
* Danny Dutch #1, David King (Sparkplug)
* Dead Ringer, Jason T. Miles (La Mano)
* Interiorae #3, Gabriella Giandelli (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Reich #6, Elijah Brubaker (Sparkplug)
* Uptight #3, Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Outstanding Mini-Comic
* Claptrap #2, Onsmith
* Just So You Know #1, Joey Alison Sayers
* Stay Away From Other People, Lisa Hanawalt
* Stewbrew, Kelly Froh & Max Clotfelter
* Xoc, Matt Dembicki

*****

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Outstanding Online Comic
* Bodyworld, Dash Shaw
* Danny Dutch, David King
* Thingpart, Joey Alison Sayers
* Vanessa Davis's comics for Tablet
* Year of the Rat, Cayetano Garza

*****

The 2009 Ignatz Jury was Lilli Carre, Vanessa Davis, Robert Kirby, Scott Mills and Laura Park. As it's a subject that's come up in the past with the Ignatzes, it may be worth noting that two of the judges were nominated for awards: Carre, Davis. It's my understanding the judging is currently done in isolation and judges aren't allowed to vote for themselves, and as such I'm assured that nothing odd or unsavory took place as far as the mechanics go. Judges simply felt the work of those cartoonists were nomination-worthy. In the incident that makes this noteworthy, involving Frank Cho, this was not the case and a judge did advocate on his own behalf. Having judges nominated at all is still deeply weird-looking, leads to bad publicity in that the subject seem to come up every time it happens and I think the awards would be better off just making that simple exclusion of not being eligible the year you're judging. It's not like this idea hasn't been presented to them in the past, though.

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

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Go, Look: Slapstick

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Go, Look: Céline Guichard

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Go, Look: Men In Black

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Go, Look: Chicago Tribune Cartoonists

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this seems like it will be really cool, although I haven't had the time to watch it all the way through yet.

image* do some comics fans really call Captain America, Thor and Iron Man "the Trinity" with a straight face? I guess so. Huh. Well, I hope if they come back they do so as hectoring dickweeds, the way they were initially put together as a group in the still underrated Thomas/Buscema/Palmer era. (I think those were aliens, anyway.)

* speaking of old Marvel Comics, this group of iconic panels is a pretty good one. There are a couple of shrugged-shoulder ones, but I guess that's to be expected. I'd suggest that the Incredible Hulk panel they really want is the one of Bruce Banner screaming that comes right after the one they use of Bruce Banner saving Rick Jones. I haven't looked at it, but I would imagine there has to be a panel from the Jack Kirby-drawn Hercules/Thor battle that could be used -- that's an iconic issue of old Marvel Comics. The panel of Daredevil holding onto Sub-Mariner's ankle from that Wally Wood-drawn issue pops to mind, and I'd swap Wolverine's first appearance for his busting out of Mesmero's freak show chains early in Byrne's run. Also, how about the panel with all the dead Avengers in the living room of the suburban house owned by Korvac? It'd be nice to have Gene Colan, but the panel I and every comics fan over 40 most remember by Colan is of the Black Widow drying her hair after taking a shower. More than any of those, Howard the Duck walking out of the bushes is the true must-have.

* not comics: in writing about the gaming industry event Gen Con just past, the writer Kenneth Hite turns a nice phrase about the feeling of returning to a convention you've been to many times over the years: "Fan or pro, there's the moment of reorientation into ritual space -- the Indianapolis Outside Time, where it's always mid-August, and you can't quite remember where you left the Omni."

* missed it: August 19 was the ten year anniversary of Ted Rall filing suit against Danny Hellman. I don't go to the TCJ message board any longer, and I'm certain they talked about it over there somewhere.

* this article on Prince Valiant in the Philadelphia Inquirer turns into a meditation on the state of the comic strip. You know, there was a time when I was a kid when Prince Valiant was considered the highest achievement in comics by a lot of people. It's not, at least not for me, but Valiant is a surprisingly entertaining read and certainly still easy on the eyes. I sort of think that a whole kind of story represented by Prince Valiant is fading from popularity, not just a delivery form.

* finally, I really, really like the idea of calling December 30 "No Comic Book Day," and I'm not sure I can even explain why.
 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, Michael Kaluta!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks

Exhibits/Events
Get Over There
Edinburgh Book Fest Report

History
It's Jack Kirby Week!
Chris Allen On Someday Funnies
Love For Older Wonder Woman Comics

Not Comics
Yes. Please.
Peter Straub's Superhero Story
Great Disney-Related Re-Run At ASIFA

Publishing
Supergod Previewed
We Don't Even Hear About All The Books Now

Reviews
Andy Frisk: Poe #2
24-Hour Blogathon
Richard Bruton: Path
Paul O'Brien: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Sarah Morean: Undertow
Andy Frisk: Supergirl #44
J. Caleb Mozzocco: 3X SvS
Andy Frisk: Daredevil #500
Sean T. Collins: West Coast Blues
Andy Frisk: Superman Annual #14
Leroy Douresseaux: Starstruck #1
Chris Allen: The Lone Ranger Vol. 2
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Days Missing #1
Sean T. Collins: Blackest Night #0-2
Greg McElhatton: Barefoot Gen Vol. 1
Leroy Douresseaux: Slam Dunk Vol. 5
Mark Allen: Conan The Barbarian #1-24
Vanja: Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1-4
Leroy Douresseaux: Four-Eyed Prince Vol. 1
J. Caleb Mozzocco: MySpace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 3
 

 
August 24, 2009


Judge Orders Another Round Of Settlement Mediation In Siegels vs. DC/TW Case

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It says so right here. If nothing happens, an appearance in court in late September sets up the next round of hearings.
 
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Comics' Greatest Contribution To Western Culture: The Terrifying, Completely Idiotic Nazi War Wheel

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I would follow it around like Jimmy Buffet
 
posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Wichita Retailer Sees Assets Seized

According to a local media report, the personal and corporate assets of Tim Warren, owner of Wichita, Kansas retailer Agents of Comics/Agents Comics and Games, has been seized by revenue department for various back taxes. The shop's web site suggests the store is being moved and invites customers and retailers to a meeting about various matters tomorrow night.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Ben Katchor Interview

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only the first part instead of the whole interview, but still: super-rare
 
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Paul Levitz's ICv2.com Interview: We Turn Our Eyes To John Jackson Miller

Paul Levitz has one of his every-year interviews up with the comics business and news analysis site ICv2.com (one, two, three). It's the usual broad marketing-speak and thus worth reading only for the speaker's pedigree relative to, say, someone on one of DC's blogs saying the same thing -- that DC owns rights to characters that might be of interest to whatever develops as far as a mobile platform delivery service, motion comics or whatever, isn't exactly breaking news. Mr. Levitz does sound a bit feistier than usual this year, to my mind. The big story that people are no doubt picking up on on the other sites is Levitz' claim that bookstore sales' downturn are manga related and that he can actually track Watchmen fans as they head back to the store. I'm hoping that one of the comics number people out there -- like Mr. Miller -- can look at one or both of those claims and see if there's a whiff of evidence in recent numbers of either phenomenon. Did Maus really enjoy a sales bump on either side of the Watchmen movie?
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Evan Dorkin Draws The Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants

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I miss bad guy teams a) with "evil" in their name, b) not made up of a videogame-style collection of effective powers but merely a group of grumpy-looking jerks.
 
posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* CR favorite Matthias Wivel weighs in on the Yale University Press/censorship matter with a fine post here.

* the writer Diana West -- with whom I'm completely unfamiliar, so if her work has a context that's obvious to everyone but me, I apologize -- pens a longish piece on the potential that Yale's decision may have something to do with making a play for various sources of endowment fundage within the Muslim world as opposed to what's been claimed by the school. (I really hate that just getting into this stuff puts me on the side of dudes who wear bowties.)

* finally, I suspected as much despite the spin of the first news announcement: author Jytte Klausen supports the decision.
 
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Go, Look: The Shortest Interval Preview

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Go, Look: Super Powers Mini-Comics

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Go, Bookmark: Ensign Smurf

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Go, Look: Kiddie Kapers #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's how comic book legend Marie Severin enjoyed her 80th birthday.

image* when I was a younger man, I was pop culture savvy to the point that a mini-trend could develop and I could spew forth some reasonably convincing theory as to why that was. Now that I'm no longer that young, things happen like a sudden, nostalgic interest in Bill Watterson, and I have no idea why they've developed.

* I think you can judge the quality of a comic strip storyline by how completely nuts people sound when they're talking about it.

* Johanna Draper Carlson asks an interesting question about unresolved plotlines in comic books. I find the topic compelling because it means different things according to different comics -- the 1970s Omega The Unknown had a conclusion, just not the one intended for it by its creators, while a lot of independent comics merely go away. The real treasure in such a conversation would seem to me not to point out comics that ended but how these sprawling storylines have a push-pull aspect to them: some of them are dumb and made up without any ending in mind and then go away, many are then rescued by writers who liked the storyline as a reader and/or are looking for a bit of narrative juice by resolving an old bit of business.

* I love the name "Penny Kenny" and I love the thought of making "dark and edgy" into "dark and edgy and skeevy" from now on.

* please God, let my life go well enough that one day I have this chair.

* that is an astonishing number of trades for a comic book I've never read before despite being one of the nerd elite.

* the best Wolverine Vs. Hulk comic ever?

* not comics: the retailer and prominent blogger Mike Sterling runs back into the room to start kicking the prone corpse of the under-performing Watchmen film.

* finally, there's a large twitter-based discussion on the nature of comic book journalism here. I don't think a whole lot about these sort of issues anymore because a) I don't care, b) I just want to write more effectively and to the point -- how that reflects back on me isn't up to me and I'm old enough now that comics constant parade of self-regard seems boring rather than invigorating, c) elements of these discussions always aggravate me (like the overly-simplistic conflation of journalism and sourced investigative journalism), d) as one of the reasons I'm not attracted to comics industry gossip is because it's relentlessly lame, it's hard for me to claim I've been tempted.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 68th Birthday, Jim Scancarelli!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Keith Knight!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
This Made Me Laugh
Tom Neely Sketches
Daryl Cagle Sketches
Charles Yoakum Sketches
Eddie Campbell On Graphic Novels
Never Saw This Bone/Shazam Art Before

Exhibits/Events
Go See Bob Sikoryak
Go See Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson

History
On Osamu Tezuka
Colossus Hates Porn
Just Wait Until He Sees Roy Crane

Industry
This Made Me Laugh
Evan Dorkin Contest

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Rick Veitch
Newsarama: Gail Simone
A Nickel's Worth: Dan Piraro
Comics Alliance: Greg Rucka
Comixology: Shigeyuki-Fukumitsu

Not Comics
This Looks Nice
The Future Is Now
The Worst Article Ever
Jog: Inglorious Basterds
Other Than Making Me Barf In My Mouth?

Publishing
Fall Fashion Trends
Terry Dodson On-Line
Or You Could Just Dive In
Free Magazine About Comics Art
Please Make These Awesome Comics
Long Essay On Dr. Strange, Inhumans

Reviews
Chris Sims: Various
Matt: Pluto Vols. 1-2
Bob Greenberger: Likewise
Jog: A Distant Neighborhood
No Way In God I'm Typing This Out
Bart Croonenborghs: Asterios Polyp
Greg McElhatton: Curse Pirate Girl #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: X-Men: Misfits
Johanna Draper Carlson: Samurai 7 Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Unknown #4
Rob Clough: The Complete Peanuts: 1973-1974
Seriously, Does She Review Every Long-Title Effort?
 

 
August 23, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: Let's Start Making A List -- Works To Consider For Best Of Decade, 2000-2009

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It was suggested to me earlier this week that naming the top 100 comics for the years 2000-2009 is going to be more difficult than naming the top 100 comics for the 20th Century was ten years ago. To that end, I've begun compiling a list of potential comics to include: for use in making such a list, to eventually encourage others who wish to make such a list, and because it's fun to make lists of really good comics.

I'll use as many as I can. Feel free to suggest, one, two or 20. It all helps. This is a list of those comics a reasonable person might consider for a top 100 list, not a first draft of a top 100 list, so you don't have to make a specific case for anything you'd like to see included. On the other hand, I have a pretty good nose for sniffing out information dumps on behalf of one's self, one's friends or one's company. I hope that we'll get some genuine gut reactions. There's been so much good work out there and I hope you'll want to share that with others.

(I've broken it down into Anthologies, Archival Editions, Original Long-Forms and Definitive Collections, Comic Books, Manga, Newspaper, On-Line, and Works About -- there's not particular argument being made, it's just to keep any one list from being too humongous!)

*****

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Anthologies
* Abstract Comics, Fantagraphics
* An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, series, Edited by Ivan Brunetti, Yale University Press
* Arf, series, Edited by Craig Yoe, Fantagraphics
* Art Out Of Time, Edited By Dan Nadel, Harry N. Abrams (2006)
* Best American Comics, series, various editors, Houghton Mifflin
* Bizarro Comics/Bizarro World, DC Comics
* Book of Boy Trouble, series, Edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly
* Canicola, series, Canicola
* Dirty Stories, Edited by Eric Reynolds. Fantagraphics
* Drawn & Quarterly Showcase, Drawn and Quarterly
* Drawn & Quarterly, Edited by Chris Oliveros, Drawn & Quarterly
* Flight, series, Edited By Kazu Kibuishi, Image/Ballantine
* Hotwire Comics, Edited by Glenn Head, Fantagraphics
* Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Kramers Ergot, Edited by Sammy Harkham, Self-Published/Buenaventura Press
* Little Lit, Edited by Art Spiegelman and Francois Mouly
* McSweeney's Quarterly Concern Vol. 13, Edited by Chris Ware, McSweeney's
* Meathaus
* Mineshaft
* MOME, Edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics
* Nickelodeon Magazine, Edited By Christopher Duffy, Nickelodeon
* NON, series, Edited by Jordan Crane
* Orchid, Sparkplug (2002)
* Paper Rodeo
* Project: Romantic, Edited by Chris Pitzer, AdHouse
* Project: Superior, Edited by Chris Pitzer, AdHouse
* Rosetta, Alternative Comics
* Scheherazade: Stories of Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters, Edited By Megan Kelso, Soft Skull Press (2005)
* Secret Comics Japan: Underground Comics Now, Viz
* Shojo Beat Magazine, Viz
* Shonen Jump, magazine, Viz
* Sleazy Slice, Edited by Robin Bougie, Self Published
* The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, Conde Nast
* The Funny Pages, New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Times
* The Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, Edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, Abrams
* Wednesday Comics, DC Comics (2009)

*****

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Archival Editions and Re-Releases
* Absolute Watchmen, Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, DC Comics (2005)
* Amy and Jordan, Mark Beyer, Pantheon
* B. Krigstein Comics, edited by Greg Sadowski
* Black Kiss, Howard Chaykin, Fantagraphics/Eros Comics
* Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin, Fantagraphics
* Bone, series, Jeff Smith, Steve Hamaker, Scholastic
* Boody!, Boody Rogers, Fantagraphics
* Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Kim Deitch, Pantheon
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Art Spiegelman
* Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings Craig Yoe, Last Gasp
* Comanche Moon, Jack Jackson
* Complete Crumb, R Crumb, Fantagraphics
* Complete Dennis The Menace, Hank Ketcham, Fantagraphics
* Complete Dick Tracy, Chester Gould, IDW
* Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty, Buenaventura Press
* Complete Peanuts, Charles Schulz, Fantagraphics
* Concrete, digests, Paul Chadwick, Dark Horse
* DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories, Various, DC
* Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years, Gaylord DuBois & Jesse Marsh, Dark Horse
* Explainers, Jules Feiffer, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Heartburst And Other Pleasures, Rick Veitch, King Hell Press
* Herbie Archives, Ogden Whitney & Shane O’Shea, Dark Horse
* Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman etc, Fantagraphics*
* Innocence and Seduction, Dan DeCarlo
* Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, series, DC Comics
* Krazy and Ignatz, series, George Herriman, Fantagraphics
* Krazy Kat DailiesVolumes 1,2,3 (1921-1923), Pacific Comics Club
* Krazy & Ignatz Dailies Vol 1 (1918-1919), Stinging Monkey Books
* Little Lulu, John Stanley and Irving Tripp, Dark Horse
* Little Orphan Annie, series, Harold Gray, IDW (2008)
* MAD Archives Volume Two, The Usual Gang of Idiots, DC
* Magnus Archives, Russ Manning
* Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, Paul Gravett, Running Press
* Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Vol. 3 (1950s Sub-Mariner by Everett)
* Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon, Checker Book Publishing Group
* Moomin, series, Tove Jansson, Drawn & Quarterly
* Out Our Way Sampler, J.R. Williams, Algrove
* Passionella, Jules Feiffer Fantagraphics
* Plastic Man Archives, Jack Cole, DC Comics
* Playboy's Little Annie Fannie, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Dark Horse
* Popeye, series, EC Segar, Fantagraphics
* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles, Edited by Dean Mullaney, IDW (2008)
* Splendid Sundays, series, Winsor McCay, Sunday Press
* Sundays With Walt & Skeezix, Frank King, Sunday Press
* Supermen, Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics
* The Book Of Leviathan, Peter Blegvad, Overlook Press (2001)
* The Classic Pin-Up Art Of Jack Cole, Alex Chun, Fantagraphics
* The Collected Doug Wright, Doug Wright, Drawn & Quarterly
* The Comics Journal, Edited By Gary Groth
* The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, Andrews McMeel (2005)
* The Complete Dick Tracy, Chester Gould, IDW (Starting with Vol 7) (2009)
* The Complete Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend, Winsor McCay, Ulrich Merkyl (2007)
* The Complete Far Side: 1980-1994, Gary Larson, Andrews McMeel (2003)
* The Complete Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman et al, Fantagraphics
* The Completely MAD Don Martin, Don Martin, Running Press
* The Complete Terry and the Pirates, series, Milton Caniff, IDW
* The Monster of Frankenstein, Dick Briefer, Idea Men*
* The Silver Star, Jack Kirby, Image
* The Spirit Archives, series, Will Eisner, DC Comics
* Tijuana Bibles, Bob Adelman, Simon & Schuster
* Walt & Skeezix, series, Frank King, Drawn & Quarterly
* Where Demented Wented, Rory Hayes, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Will Elder: Mad Playboy Of Art, Gary Groth & Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2003)
* Willie & Joe: The WWII Years, Bill Mauldin, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Zot! The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Scott McCloud, HarperCollins (2008)
* The New Love and Rockets Books, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics

*****

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Original Long-Form Comics/Translated/Definitive Collection
* 365 Days, Julie Doucet, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* A Land of Make Believe, Josh Simmons, self-published
* A Treasury of Victorian Murder, series, Rick Geary, NBM
* A.L.I.E.E.N., Lewis Trondheim
* Abandoned Cars, Tim Lane, Fantagraphics
* Abraxas And The Earthman, Rick Veitch, King Hell Press
* ACME Novelty Datebook, series, Chris Ware
* Against Pain, Ron Rege
* Alan's War, Emmanuel Guibert, First Second (2008)
* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell, Top Shelf (2009)
* Alias the Cat, Kim Deitch, Pantheon (2007)
* Alice in Sunderland, Bryan Talbot
* American Born Chinese, Gene Yang
* Amulet Kazu Kibuishi
* Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon (2009)
* Asthma, John Hankiewicz, Sparkplug (2007)
* Aya, series, Clement Oubrerie and Marguerite Abouet (2007)
* Babymouse, series, Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
* Batman Year 100, Paul Pope DC Comics
* Beauty Supply District, Ben Katchor
* Black Hole, Charles Burns, Pantheon
* Blankets, Craig Thompson, Top Shelf (2003)
* Bluefuzz the Hero, Jesse Reklaw (2007)
* Blue Pills Frederik Peeters
* Bottomless Belly Button, Dash Shaw, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Box Office Poison, Alex Robinson
* Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman, Pantheon (2008)
* Brodo di Niente, Andrea Bruno, Canicola (2007)
* Burma Chronicles, Guy Deslisle, Drawn & Quarterly (2008)
* Cairo G. Willow Wilson, DC
* Can't Get No, Rick Veitch
* Capacity, Theo Ellsworth, Secret Acres (2008)
* Carnet de Voyage, Craig Thompson, Top Shelf
* Cavalcade of Boys, Tim Fish, (2006)
* Cave-In, Brian Ralph, Highwater
* Cecil and Jordan in New York, Gabrielle Bell
* Chance In Hell, Gilbert Hernandez, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Chloe, Hans Rickheit, self-published
* Clumsy, Jeffrey Brown, Top Shelf
* Cockbone, Josh Simmons, self-published
* Cola Madnes, Gary Panter
* Curses, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn & Quarterly
* David Boring, Dan Clowes
* Daybreak, Brian Ralph, Bodega
* Deogratias, JP Stasse, First Second (2006)
* Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, John Porcellino, La Mano
* Dogs and Water, Anders Nilsen
* Domin-8 Me! , Sessyu Takemura, Fantagraphics/Eros Comics
* Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, Anders Nilsen, Fantagraphics
* Dungeon, multiple series, Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar, NBM
* Earthboy Jacobus, Doug Tennapel
* Elvis Road, Xavier Robel, Helge Reumann, Buenaventura Press (2007)
* Empowered, Adam Warren, Dark Horse
* Enemy Ace, Garth Ennis, DC
* Epileptic, David B., Pantheon (2006)
* Exit Wounds Rutu Modan, Drawn & Quarterly (2007)
* Fox Bunny Funny, Andy Hartzell, Top Shelf
* Fun Home, Alison Bechdel, Houghton Mifflin (2006)
* Garage Band, Gipi, First Second
* George Sprott, Seth
* Get a Life, Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian, Drawn & Quarterly
* Girl Genius, Studio Foglio
* Girl Stories, Lauren Weinstein
* Gongwanadon, Thomas Herpich
* Good-Bye, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Grey Horses, Hope Larson, Oni Press
* Gus, Christophe Blain, First Second (2008)
* Gyakushu, Dan Hipp
* Hamlet, Neil Babra, Sparknotes
* Hey, Wait... , Jason, Fantagraphics
* House, Josh Simmons, Fantagraphics
* How To Be Everywhere, Warren Craghead (2007)
* Hunter & Painter, Tom Gauld, Buenaventura
* I Killed Adolf Hitler, Jason, Fantagraphics
* I Live Here, Various, Pantheon (2008
* I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, Fletcher Hanks, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Ice Haven, Dan Clowes, Pantheon (2005)
* Incognegro, Mat Johnson, Warren Pleece, DC
* In The Shadow Of No Towers, Art Spiegelman, Viking (2004)
* Inkweed, Chris Wright
* Isaac the Pirate, Christophe Blain, NBM
* James Sturm's America, James Sturm (2007)
* Jessica Farm, Josh Simmons, Fantagraphics
* Jimbo in Purgatory, Gary Panter
* Jimbo's Inferno, Gary Panter
* Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware
* Journey Vols. 1-2, Bill Messner-Loebs, IDW
* Kampung Boy, Lat, First Second (2006)
* King-Cat Classix, John Porcellino, Drawn and Quarterly (2007)
* Klezmer, Joann Sfar, First Second
* Laika, Nick Abadzis, First Second (2007)
* Late Bloomer, Carol Tyler, Fantagraphics
* Life Sucks Jessica Abel, et al First Second
* Little Nothings, series, Lewis Trondheim, NBM
* LOEG: The Black Dossier, Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill,
* Lone Wolf & Cub, series, Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, Dark Horse
* Look Out!! Monsters, Geoff Grogan, self-published
* Lost at Sea, Brian Lee O'Malley
* Lost Girls, Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie, Top Shelf
* Maggots, Brian Chippendale, PictureBox (2007)
* Mesmo Delivery, Rafael Grampa, AdHouse
* Metabarons
* Mister O, Lewis Trondheim, NBM
* Mon Fiston, Oliver Schrauwen, Bries
* Mother Come Home, Paul Hornschemeier
* Multiforce, Mat Brinkman, PictureBox
* Musical Legends, Justin Green, Last Gasp
* Nat Turner, Kyle Baker
* nEuROTIC, John Cuneo, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Night Fisher, R. Kikuo Johnson, Fantagraphics
* Ninja, Brian Chippendale, PictureBox
* Nocturnal Conspiracies, David B., NBM
* Notes On A War Story, Gipi, First Second
* One Hundred Demons, Lynda Barry
* Owly, series, Andy Runyon, Top Shelf
* Paper Rad BJ and Da Dogs, Ben Jones/Paper Rad, PictureBox
* Paul, series, Michel Rabagliati, Drawn and Quarterly
* Percy Gloom, Cathy Malkasian, Fantagraphics (2007)
* Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi, Pantheon
* Pictures of Sad Children, John Campbell
* Powr Mastrs, series, C.F., PictureBox
* Pride of Baghdad, Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
* Princes of Time, Jon Vermilyea (2007)
* Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, Derf, SLG (2008)
* Pyongyang, Guy Delisle, First Second
* Quimby the Mouse, Chris Ware, Fantagraphics
* RabbitHead, Rebecca Dart
* Rapunzel's Revenge Shannon Hale
* Red Eye, Black Eye, K. Thor Jensen (2007)
* Safe Area Gorazde, Joe Sacco, Fantagraphics (2000)
* Salamander Dream, Hope Larson, AdHouse
* Same Difference and Other Stories, Derek Kirk Kim
* Scott Pilgrim, series, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Oni
* Scurvy Dogs, Andrew Boyd
* Shadowland, Kim Deitch
* Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine, Drawn & Quarterly (2007)
* Shrimpy and Paul and Friends, Marc Bell, Highwater
* Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer, Killoffer, Typocrat
* Skibber Bee Bye, Ron Rege Jr., Highwater/Drawn & Quarterly
* Skim, Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
* Sloth Gilbert Hernandez, DC (2006)
* Smoke, Alex DeCampi
* Storeyville, Frank Santoro (2007)
* Summer Blonde, Adrian Tomine
* Superheroes & Seamonsters, Scott Mills
* Super Spy, Matt Kindt, Top Shelf (2007)
* Swallow Me Whole, Nate Powell, Top Shelf (2008)
* Swarm, series, Patrick Conlon, NBM/Eurotica
* Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds (2007)
* Temporary, Damon Hurd
* Teratoid Heights, Mat Brinkman, PictureBox
* The Abandoned, Ross Campbell
* The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware, Pantheon
* The Amazing Remarkable Mr Leotard, Eddie Campbell, First Second
* The Arrival, Shaun Tan (2007)
* The Black Diamond Detective Agency, Eddie Campbell
* The Blot, Tom Neely (2007)
* The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Phoebe Gloeckner, Frog Press (2002)
* The Fate of the Artist, Eddie Campbell, First Second
* The Fixer, Joe Sacco, Drawn & Quarterly (2003)
* The Frank Book, Jim Woodring, Fantagraphics (2003)
* The Goddess of War, Lauren Weinstein, PictureBox
* The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick, Scholastic (2007)
* The Last Lonely Saturday, Jordan Crane, Red Ink/Fantagraphics
* The Mythology of an Abandoned City, Jon J Muth, Tundra Publishing
* The Rabbi's Cat, series, Joann Sfar, Pantheon
* The Red Snake, Hideshi Hino, DHP (2004)
* The Salon, Nick Bertozzi (2007)
* The Ticking, Renee French, Top Shelf
* The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City Volumes 1-3 Collected, Tony Fitzpatrick, Last Gasp)
* Things Just Get Away from You, Walt Holcombe, Fantagraphics
* Thoreau at Walden, John Porcellino, Hyperion (2008)
* Three Shadows, Cyril Pedrosa, First Second (2008)
* Times of Botchan, series, Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Tits, Ass & Real Estate, Eve Gilbert, Fantagraphics
* Too Cool To Be Forgotte, Alex Robinson, Top Shelf (2008)
* Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Alex Robinson
* Town Boy, Lat (2007)
* Travel, Yuichi Yokohoma, PictureBox (2008)
* Tricked, Alex Robinson
* Uncle Gabby, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse (2004)
* Unlikely, Jeffrey Brown, Top Shelf
* Utility Sketchbook, Keith McCulloch, PictureBox (2007)
* Vampire Loves, Joann Sfar, First Second
* We All Die Alone, Mark Newgarden
* West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi, Fantagraphics
* Wet Moon, Ross Campbell, Oni
* What It Is, Lynda Barry, Drawn & Quarterly (2008)
* Why Are You Doing This? , Jason, Fantagraphics
* Will and Abe's Guide to the Universe, Matt Groening (2007)
* Wimbledon Green, Seth, Drawn & Quarterly (2005)
* Wish You Were Here, Gipi, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, Fletcher Hanks, Fantagraphics (2009)
* You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler, Fantagraphics (2009)

*****

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Comic Book Series
* 100 Bullets, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, DC
* 100%, Paul Pope, DC/Vertigo
* 1-800-MICE, Matthew Thurber, PictureBox
* 52 Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, JG Jones et al, DC
* Acme Novelty Library, Chris Ware, Fantagraphics/Self-Published
* Action Comics, Geoff Johns et al, DC Comics
* Age of Bronze, Eric Shanower, Image
* Alias, Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, Marvel
* All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Frank Miller and Jim Lee, DC Comics
* All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, DC Comics
* Apocalypse Nerd, Peter Bagge
* Army@Love, Rick Veitch, DC Comics
* Automatic Kafka, Joe Casey and Ashley Wood
* B.P.R.D. , Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis, Dark Horse
* BPRD: 1946, Josh Dysart, Paul Azaceta, Dark Horse
* Berlin, Jason Lutes, Drawn & Quarterly
* Between Four Walls/The Room, Lorenzo Mattotti
* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen, Drawn & Quarterly
* Boy's Club, Matt Furie, Buenaventura
* Captain America, Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Mike Perkins et al, Marvel
* Casanova, Matt Faction, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Image
* Castle Waiting, Linda Medley, Fantagraphics
* Cerebus, Dave Sim and Gerhard, Aardvark-Vanaheim
* Cold Heat, Ben Jones and Frank Santoro, PictureBox
* Conan, Kurt Busiek et al, Dark Horse
* Concrete: The Human Dilemma, Paul Chadwick, Dark Horse
* Criminal, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Marvel/Icon
* Cryptic Wit, Gerald Jablonski, Self-Published
* Daredevil, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Marvel
* Delphine, Richard Sala, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* Demo, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan
* DMZ, Brian Wood, Ricardo Burchielli, et al.
* Dork, Evan Dorkin, SLG
* Dr. 13
* Eightball, series, Daniel Clowes, Fantagraphics
* Ex Machina, Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, DC
* Fables, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al., DC
* Fell, Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith
* Final Crisis, Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Doug Mahnke et al, DC Comics
* Finder, Carla Speed McNeil, Lightspeed Press
* Fuzz & Pluck: Splitsville, Ted Stearn, Fantagraphics
* Ganges, Kevin Huizenga, Fantagraphics/Coconino
* Global Frequency, Warren Ellis
* Godland, Joe Casey, Tom Scioli, Image
* Gotham Central Greg Rucka et al, DC
* Green Lantern, Geoff Johns et al, DC Comics
* Hawaiian Dick, B. Clay Moore, et al
* Hellblazer, DC Comics
* Hellboy/BPRD, Mike Mignola et al, Dark Horse
* HERO, Will Pfeifer, DC
* Herobear and the Kid, Mike Kunkel, Astonish Comics
* Human Target
* Immortal Iron Fist, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Marvel
* Injury, Ted May, Buenaventura Press
* Invincible, Robert Kirkman et al, Image
* Jonah Hex, Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti et al, DC
* Kabuki, David Mack, Image/Icon
* King City, Brandon Graham
* King-Cat Comics and Stories, John Porcellino, Spit and a Half
* Livewires, Adam Warren and Rick Mays, Marvel
* Local, Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly
* Losers, Andy Diggle, Jock, DC
* Louis Riel, Chester Brown, Drawn & Quarterly
* Love & Rockets Vol. 2, Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics
* Love & Rockets Vol. 3 Los Bros Hernandez, Fantagraphics
* Madman Atomic Comics, Mike Allred
* Meat Cake, Dame Darcy, Fantagraphics
* Midnight Nation, J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, Top Cow
* My Faith In Frankie, Mike Carey
* Mystic Funnies, R. Crumb
* New Frontier, Darwyn Cooke, DC
* New Tales of Old Palomar, Gilbert Hernandez , Fantagraphics/Coconino
* New X-Men, Frank Morrsion, Frank Quitely, et al, Marvel
* Nextwave Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, Marvel
* Northlanders, Brian Wood, Davide Gianfelice, et al.
* Omega: The Unknown, Jonathan Lethem and Karl Rusnak and Farel Dalrymple and Paul Hornschemeier and Gary Panter, Marvel
* Or Else, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn & Quarterly
* Palooka-Ville, Seth, Drawn & Quarterly
* Paris, Andi Watson and Simon Gane, SLG
* Peepshow, Joe Matt, D&Q
* Planetary, Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, DC
* Plastic Man, Kyle Baker
* Pogostick, Al Columbia, Ethan Persoff, Fantagraphics
* Polly and the Pirates, Ted Naifeh, Oni
* Powers, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, Image/Icon/Marvel
* Promethea, Alan Moore & J.H. Williams III, America's Best
* Punisher Garth Ennis et al, Marvel
* Queen & Country, Greg Rucka et al, Oni
* Rapunzel's Revenge, Shannon Hale
* RASL, Jeff Smith, Cartoon Books
* Runaways, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Marvel
* Reich, Elijah Brubaker, Sparkplug
* Sammy the Mouse, Zak Sally, Fantagraphics
* Sandman: Dream Hunters, Neil Gaiman et al
* Scalped, Jason Aaron, RM Guera, DC
* Schizo #4, Ivan Brunetti, Fantagraphics
* Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye, Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart, DC
* Seaguy, Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart, DC
* Seven Soldiers of Victory, Grant Morrison et al, DC Comics
* Shaolin Cowboy, Geoff Darrow, Dark Horse
* Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, Jeff Smith, DC
* Shouldn't You Be Working?, Johnny Ryan
* Silverfish, David Lapham
* Skyscrapers of the Midwest, Josh Cotter, AdHouse
* Sleeper, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, DC
* Sock Monkey, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse
* Solo, various, DC Comics
* Speak Of The Devil, Gilbert Hernandez, Dark Horse
* Spider-Girl, Tom DeFalco, et al, Marvel
* Street Angel, Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca, SLG
* Stuff of Dreams, Kim Deitch, Fantagraphics
* Superman: Red Son, Mark Millar et al, DC
* Superman: Secret Identity, Kurt Busiek et al, DC
* Tales Designed To Thrizzle, Michael Kupperman, Fantagraphics
* Teenagers From Mars, Rick Spears
* The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Mark Andrew Smith and Dan Hipp
* The Amazing Spider-Girl, Tom DeFalco, et al, Marvel
* The Boys, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, DC Comics/Dynamite Entertainment
* The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, DC Comics
* The End, Anders Nilsen, Fantagraphics/Coconino Press
* The Fairer Sex, John Ira Thomas, Jeremy Smith
* The Filth, Grant Morrison and Chris Weston, D
* The Goon, Eric Powell, Dark Horse
* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, America's Best/Top Shelf
* The Middleman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine
* The Milkmen Murders, Joe Casey
* The Nimrod, Lewis Trondheim, Fantagraphics
* The Originals, Dave Gibbons
* The Pulse, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, Marvel
* The Spirit, Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, DC Comics
* The Tourist, Brian Wood
* The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, Dark Horse
* The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Various, Image
* The Winter Men Brett Lewis, John Paul Leon , Dave Stewart
* True Story Swear To God, Tom Beland, Image
* U.S. War Machine, Chuck Austen, Marvel
* Ultimate Spider-Man, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, and Stuart Immonen, Marvel Comics
* Unstable Molecules, James Sturm and Guy Davis, Marvel
* Uptight, Jordan Crane, Fantagraphics
* Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, Dark Horse
* Wasteland, Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten
* We3, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, DC
* Weasel, Dave Cooper, Fantagraphics
* WildCATS 3.0, Joe Casey, DC
* Worn Tuff Elbow, Marc Bell
* X-Force/X-Statix, Peter Milligan, Mike Allred, Marvel
* Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Guerra et al., Vertigo
* Young Avengers, Allen Heinberg & Jim Cheung, Marvel
* Young Liars, David Lapham
* The Seven Soliders Omni-Series, Grant Morrison and A Cast Of Dozens, DC

*****

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Manga (Translated)
* 20th Century Boys, series, Naoki Urasawa, Viz
* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2009)
* Abandon the Old in Tokyo, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2006)
* Apocalypse Meow, series, Motofumi Kobayashi, ADV Manga
* Apollo's Song, Osamu Tezuka
* Azumanga Daioh, series, Kiyohiko Azuma, ADV/Yen
* Black Jack, series, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Bleach, Tite Kubo
* Blue Spring, Taiyo Matsumoto
* Buddha, series, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Chikyu Misaki, Yuji Iwahara, CMX
* Children of the Sea, series, Daisuke Igarashi, VIZ
* Clover, series, CLAMP, Tokyopop/Dark Horse
* Cromartie High School, series, Eiji Nonaka, ADV
* Death Note, series, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, Viz
* Disappearance Diary, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Dororo, series Osamu Tezuka, Vertical
* Dragon Head, series, Minetaro Mochizuki, Tokyopop
* Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President, series, Kaiji Kawaguchi, VIZ
* Emma, series, Kaoru Mori, CMX
* Flower of Life, series, Fumi Yoshinaga, DMP
* Fruits Basket, series, Natsuki Takaya, Tokyopop
* Fullmetal Alchemist
* Future Lovers, Saika Kunieda, Deux
* Genshiken, Kio Shimoku, Del Rey
* Gon, series, Masashi Tanaka, CMX
* Good-Bye, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2008)
* Gyo, Junji Ito
* Honey and Clover, series, Chika Umino, Viz
* Kekkaishi, Yellow Tenabe
* Lone Wolf & Cub, Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima, Dark Horse (2000-2002)
* Love Roma, Minoru Toyoda, Del Rey
* Midara, Yumisuke Kotoyoshi, Icarus Publishing
* Monokuro Kinderbook, series, Kan Takahama, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, Takashi Nemoto, PictureBox (2008)
* Monster, Naoki Urasawa, Viz
* Mushishi, Yuki Urushibara, Del Rey
* MW, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical (2007)
* NANA, series, Ai Yazawa, Viz
* Naruto, series, Masashi Kishimoto, Viz
* Ode To Kirihito, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical (2006)
* Ooku: The Inner Chambers, series, Fumi Yoshinaga, Viz
* Paradise Kiss, Ai Yazawa, Tokyopop
* Parasyte, Hitoshi Iwaaki, Del Rey
* Path of the Assassin
* Phoenix, series, Osamu Tezuka, Viz
* Planetes, series, Makoto Yukimura, Tokyopop
* Pluto
* Real, series, Takehiko Inoue, VIZ
* Red-Colored Elegy
* Sand Chronicles, Hinako Ashihara, Viz
* Scarlet Desire, Tohru Nishimaki, Icarus Publishing
* "Screw Style," Tsuge in TCJ 250
* Sexy Voice and Robo, series, Ion Kouda, VIZ
* Slam Dunk, Takehiko Inoue
* Slave Contract, Gorou Horikawa, Icarus Publishing
* Solanin, Inio Asano
* Sundome, Kazuto Okada, Yen Press
* Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Matsumoto, Viz
* The Drifting Classroom, series, Kazuo Umezu, Viz
* The Ice Wanderer, Jiro Taniguchi
* The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki, Dark Horse
* The Push Man and Other Stories, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn and Quarterly (2005)
* The Red Snake, Hideshi Hino, DHP (2004)
* The Walking Man, Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon
* To Terra, series, Keiko Takemiya, Vertical, Inc.
* Tokyo Zombie
* Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, Fumiyo Kuono, Last Gasp
* Uzumaki, Junji Ito, Viz
* Vagabond, series, Takehiko Inoue, VIZ
* Yotsuba&!, series, Kiyohiko Azuma, ADV/Yen

*****

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Newspaper Comics
* Cul-De-Sac, Richard Thompson
* Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau
* Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel
* Ernie Pook's Comeek, Lynda Barry
* Fair Game, Stephanie Piro
* Franklin Fibbs, Hollis Brown and Wes Hargis
* Life in Hell, Matt Groening
* Lio, Mark Tatulli
* Maakies, Tony Millionaire
* Mike Luckovich's Editorial Cartoons, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
* Monkeyhouse, Pat Byrnes, LATS
* Mutts, Patrick McDonnell
* Opus, Berke Breathed
* Pat Oliphant's Editorial Cartoons, syndicated
* Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis
* Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, Neil Swaab
* Rocky, Martin Kellerman
* Speed Bump, Dave Coverly
* Steve Bell cartoons in the Guardian
* The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder
* The Pain: When Will It End?, Tim Kreider
* Tom The Dancing Bug, Ruben Bolling
* Tom Toles' Editorial Cartoons, Washington Post
* Zippy, Bill Griffith
* Zombies in Toronto, Chester Brown

*****

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On-Line Comics
* A Battle Between Light and Dark, Jason Loo
* A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible, Dale Beran, David Hellman
* A Softer World, Joey Comeau, Emily Horne
* Achewood, Chris Onstad
* American Elf, James Kochalka
* Bee Comix, Jason Little
* Blecky Yuckerella, Johnny Ryan
* Bodyworld, Dash Shaw
* Copper, Kazu Kibuishi
* Cyanide and Happiness, Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin and Dave McElfatrick
* Daybreak, Brian Ralph
* Dicebox, Jenn Manley Lee
* Diesel Sweeties, R Stevens
* Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North
* Flickr/Sketchbook Comics, Laura Park
* FreakAngels, Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield
* George Sprott, 1895-1975, Seth, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Get Your War On, David Rees
* Girls With Slingshots, Danielle Corsetto
* Goats, Jonathan Rosenberg
* Hutch Owen Daily, Tom Hart
* Jesus and Mo, Mohammed Jones
* Kate Beaton's On-Line Comics
* La Maggie LaLoca, Jaime Hernandez, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Leisure Town, Tristan Farnon
* Low Moon, Jason, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Lucy Knisley's online comics
* Minus, Ryan Armand
* Mister Wonderful, Daniel Clowes, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* Narbonic, Shaenon Garrity
* One Hundred Demons, Lynda Barry
* Penny Arcade, Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins
* Perry Bible Fellowship, Nicholas Gurewitch
* Pup, Drew Weing
* PvP, Scott Kurtz
* Reggie-12, Brian Ralph
* Sinfest, Tatsuya Ishida
* Templar, Arizona Spike
* The Dreamland Chronicles, Scott Christian Sava, Astonish Comics/Blue Dream Studios
* The Fart Party, Julia Wertz
* The Spiders Patrick Farley
* ThingPart, Joey Alison Sayers
* Truth Serum, Jon Adams
* Vanessa Davis's on-line comics, Tablet
* Watergate Sue, Megan Kelso, New York Times Sunday Magazine
* When I Am King, Demian 5
* Wondermark, David Malki
* xkcd, Randall Munroe

*****

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Works On The Subject Of Comics
* A Comics Studies Reader, Jeet Heer, Kent Worcester
* Alex Raymond: His Life & Art, Tom Roberts, Adventure House (2007)
* Alternative Comics, Charles Hatfield
* Arguing Comics, Jeet Heer, Kent Worcester
* B. Krigstein Vol. 1, Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics
* Cartooning Philosophy and Practice, Ivan Brunetti, Buenaventura Press
* Charles Addams, Linda Davis
* Comic Art, magazine, Todd Hignite
* Comic Book Resources, magazine, Jonah Weiland
* Comic Wars: Marvel's Battle For Survival, Dan Raviv
* Comics Comics, Dan Nadel, Tim Hodler, Frank Santoro
* Erotic Comics Vol 1: A Graphic History From Tijuana Bibles To Underground Comix, Tim Pilcher, Abrams
* Erotic Comics Vol 2: A Graphic History From The Liberated '70s To The Internet, Tim Pilcher, Abrams
* Father of the Comic Strip: Rodolphe Toppfer, Edited by David Kunzle, University Press of Mississippi (2007)
* Frederic Wertham, Bart Beaty
* Give Our Regards To The Atomsmashers!, Edited by Sean Howe
* Indy Magazine, Bill Kartalopoulos
* Jack Cole and Plastic Man, Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd, Chronicle Books
* Jog The Blog, Joe McCulloch
* Journalista! , Dirk Deppey, TCJ.com
* Kirby, Mark Evanier
* Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics, Paul Gravett, Harper Design
* Meanwhile... A Biography of Milton Caniff, RC Harvey (2007)
* Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones
* Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2008)
* Newsarama, magazine, Matt Brady
* Original Art of Basil Wolverton, Glenn Bray, Last Gasp
* Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers and Pirates, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2005)
* Reading Comics, Douglas Wolk (2007)
* Reading the Funnies, Donald Phelps
* Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, Patrick Rosenkranz, Fantagraphics
* In The Studio, Edited by Todd Hignite
* Rodolphe Topffer: The Complete Comic Strips, Edited by David Kunzle, University Press of Mississippi (2007)
* Schulz and Peanuts, David Michaelis
* Secret Identity, Craig Yoe, Abrams (2009)
* Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Blake Bell
* The 10-Cent Plague David Hajdu
* The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics Denis Kitchen, Paul Buhle, Harry Shearer, Abrams
* The Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams, and Saul Steinberg, Topliss
* The Comics Curmudgeon, Josh Fruhlinger
* The Comics Journal, magazine, Edited by Gary Groth, Fantagraphics
* The Ganzfeld, magazine, Edited by Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler, PictureBox
* The Imp, series, Edited By Dan Raeburn
* The Pirates and the Mouse, Bob Levin, Fantagraphics (2003)
* Unpopular Culture, Bart Beaty
* Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, Bob Andelman
* Will Elder: Mad Playboy Of Art, Gary Groth & Greg Sadowski, Fantagraphics (2003)
* You Call This Art? A Greg Irons Retrospective, Greg Irons and Patrick Rosenkranz, Fantagraphics

*****

Participants: Tom Spurgeon, Rob Clough, Katherine Dacey, Jamie Coville, Sandy Jarrell, Douglas Wolk, Lynn Nguyen, David Welsh, Ralf Haring, Jon Ward, Bill Jennings, Alan David Doane, Jarrett Duncan, Michael J. Grabowski, Sean Rogers, Sean T. Collins, Leroy Douresseaux, John Vest, Jeremy Powell, Cole Moore Odell, Pablo Holmberg, Johnny Bacardi, Gabriel Roth, Kieran Clarkin, Amy Boese, Matthew J. Brady, Rainer Patzke

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

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

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FFF Results Post #177 -- Sing

On Friday, I asked CR readers to "Name Five Songs You'd Like to See Turned into Comic Stories and Your Artist of Choice." This is how they responded.

*****

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Mark Coale

1. "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," The Kinks -- Chynna Clugston-Flores
2. "Up the Junction," Squeeze -- Jamie Rich/Joelle Jones
3. "Enola Gay," OMD -- Russ Heath
4. "Tessie," Dropkick Murphys -- Kurt Busiek/Mark Bagley
5. "Mr. Garfield," Johnny Cash -- John Cassaday

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. "Breakfast In Bed," Dusty Springfield -- Carol Tyler
2. "Singring and the Glass Guitar," Utopia -- Kaz Strzepek
3. "Just One Of Those Things," Cole Porter -- Darwyn Cooke
4. "The Piano Has Been Drinking," Tom Waits -- Doug Allen
5. "Under The Cherry Moon," Prince -- Walt Holcombe

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. "It's The End Of The World As We Know It," REM -- Gary Panter
2. "Fingertips," They Might Be Giants -- Ron Rege, Jr.
3. "Let's Pretend We're Married," Prince -- Gilbert Hernandez
4. "DMSR," Prince -- Jaime Hernandez
5. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," The Proclaimers -- James Kochalka

*****

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Mark McMurray

1. "Holland, 1945," Neutral Milk Hotel -- Steve Ditko
2. "Gene Autry," Beulah -- David Mazzucchelli
3. "New Cobweb Summer," Lambchop -- Chester Brown
4. "Package Thief," Superchunk -- Steve Bissette
5. "California," Joni Mitchell -- R. Crumb

*****

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Michael May

1. "Take on Me," a-ha -- Tatsuo Yoshida
2. "Voices Carry," 'Til Tuesday -- Colleen Coover
3. "Sixteen Tons," Tennessee Ernie Ford -- Eric Powell
4. "The Wanderer," U2 featuring Johnny Cash -- Darwyn Cooke
5. "One Night in Bangkok," Murray Head -- Mike Mignola

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. "Two-Headed Boy," Neutral Milk Hotel -- D'Israeli
2. "A Song for Europe," Roxy Music -- John Wagner/Alan Grant/Ian Gibson
3. "Spies Like Us," Paul McCartney -- Fred Hembeck
4. "Tiny Feet," The Heart Throbs -- Seth
5. "International Rescue," Fuzzbox -- Akira Toriyama

*****

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Gary Usher

1. "I Ain't the One," Jessi Colter/Waylon Jennings -- Jessica Abel/Matt Madden
2. "Luchenbach, TX," Waylon -- Jaime Hernandez
3. "How Far To Little Rock?" The Stanley Brothers -- Johnny Ryan
4. "Superman," Donna Fargo -- Fred Hembeck
5 "I Got the Hoss," Mel Tillis -- Bob Boze Bell

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. "Raspberry Beret," Prince -- Vaughn Bode'
2. "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)," Meatloaf -- Frank Miller
3. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," Fess Parker -- Frank Frazetta
4. "I Kissed A Girl," Jill Sobule -- Erika Moen
5. "Nessun Dorma," Luciano Pavarotti -- Jack Kirby

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. "Cygnus X-1," Rush -- John Severin
2. "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," (entire album), Genesis -- Steve Ditko
3. "Locomotive Breath," Jethro Tull -- Ben Templesmith
4. "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," They Might Be Giants -- Roger Langridge
5. "Existential Blues," Tom Stankus -- Kevin Cannon

*****

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Fabio Antibas

1. "The KKK Took My Baby Away," The Ramones -- Peter Bagge
2. "We Suck Young Blood," Radiohead -- Gabrielle Bell
3. "Gouge Away," Pixies -- Simon Bisley
4. "Set the Controls to The Heart of The Sun," Pink Floyd -- Jack Kirby
5. "Fairies Wear Boots," Black Sabbath -- Sam Kieth

*****

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Ben Towle

1. "Cocaine Blues," W. A. Nichol's Western Aces -- Jack Jackson
2. "Tom Joad," Woodie Guthrie -- James Sturm
3. The rap from "Rapture," Blondie -- Jim Woodring
4. "Only Skin," Joanna Newsom -- Dame Darcy
5. "Shut Down," The Beach Boys -- Peter Bagge

*****

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Mark Mayerson

1. "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance," Gene Pitney -- Jack Kirby
2. "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," Gene Autry -- Walt Kelly
3. "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa," Napoleon XIV -- Steve Ditko
4. "The Monster Mash," Bobby Pickett -- Dick Briefer
5. "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," Brian Hyland -- Owen Fitzgerald

*****

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Douglas Mullins

1. "Spillane." John Zorn -- Al Columbia
2. "Girl/Boy Song," Aphex Twin -- Tom K
3. "Bassism," Sun Ra -- Frank Santoro
4. "Murder in the Red Barn," Tom Waits -- Richard Corben
5. "I against I," Bad Brains -- Jaime Hernandez

*****

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Adam Casey

1. "Kentucky Rain" Elvis Presley -- Jeff Lemire
2. "Harper Valley PTA" Jeanie C. Riley -- Gilbert Hernandez
3. "Racing In The Streets" Bruce Springsteen -- Sean Phillips
4. "White Lightning" George Jones -- Darwyn Cooke
5. "Fight for Your Right" Beastie Boys -- Johnny Ryan

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. "Race for the Prize," The Flaming Lips -- Chris Ware
2. "Iron Man," Black Sabbath -- 4th World Era Jack Kirby
3. "Kerosene," The Bottle Rockets -- Gilbert Hernandez
4. "Midnight Rider," The Allman Brothers -- Jean Giraud
5. "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," Public Enemy -- Steve Ditko

*****

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Ben Ostrander

1. "Streets of Laredo," Marty Robbins -- Jordi Bernet
2. "Closing Time," Leonard Cohen -- Moebius
3. "You Can Call Me Al," Paul Simon -- Crumb
4. "The Boxer," Simon & Garfunkel -- Hugo Pratt
5. "A Boy Named Sue," Johnny Cash -- Frank Miller

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. "Wolverton Mountain," Claude King -- Basil Wolverton
2. "Jackson," Johnny Cash & June Carter -- Jack Jackson
3. "King of the Road," Roger Miller -- Frank King
4. "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight," Hank Snow -- Chris Ware
5. "The Box it Came In," Wanda Jackson -- Jack Kamen

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. "Me And My Monkey," Robbie Williams -- Carmine Infantino/Joe Giella
2. "Timothy," The Buoys -- Johnny Craig
3. "Pleasant Valley Sunday," The Monkees -- Al Wiseman
4. "Rocky Racoon," The Beatles -- Nick Cardy
5. "Charlie Brown," The Coasters -- Charles Schulz

*****

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Wayne Blackledge

1. ''Mothership Connection," Parliament -- Jack Kirby
2. "Mack The Knife" (any version) -- Chester Gould
3. "Mongoloid," Devo -- Charles Burns
4. "Wichita Lineman," Glen Campbell -- Joe Kubert
5. "King Bee," Slim Harpo -- Will Elder

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. "Daydreamin' ," Lupe Fiasco -- Paul Pope
2. "Teenage Dirtbag," Wheatus -- Shawn Kerri
3. "Wichita Lineman," Glen Cambell -- John Porcellino (have sneaking suspicion this has already happened)
4. "Chelsea Dagger," The Fratellis -- Fawn Gehweiler
5. "Time To Pretend," MGMT -- Bill Sienkiewicz

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," Beatles -- Winsor McCay
2. "Hurricane," Bob Dylan -- Chris Ware
3. "Warm Beer and Cold Women," Tom Waits -- Sean Phillips
4. "Karma Police," Radiohead -- Paul Pope
5. "Mojo Pin," Jeff Buckley -- Dave McKean

*****

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Wesley Osam

1. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," Bob Dylan -- Jim Woodring
2. "Fish & Bird," Tom Waits -- Tony Millionaire
3. "American Without Tears," Elvis Costello -- Carol Tyler
4. "The Rake's Song," The Decemberists -- Edward Gorey
5. "Oh! You Pretty Things," David Bowie -- Jack Kirby

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. "Fancy (Don't Let Me Down)," Reba McIntyre -- Maurice Vellekoop
2. "Destination: Venus," The Rezillos -- Jaime Hernandez
3. "Marie Provost," Nick Lowe -- Rick Geary
4. "The Great Big Dog," Laurie Berkner -- Karl Kerschl
5. "Just a Friend," Biz Markie -- Laura Park

*****

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Kristy Valenti

1. "Doris Daytheearthstoodstill," Future Bible Heroes -- Jack Kamen
2. "Leather and Lace," Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood -- Matt Baker
3. "Calculator," Micachu and the Shapes -- Jason Shiga
4. "Pollen," Mirah -- Colleen Coover
5. "No Guilt," The Waitresses -- Jaime Hernandez

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. "Living on a Prayer," Bon Jovi -- Jack Kirby
2. "Walking on Sunshine," Katrina and the Waves -- Brian Lee O'Malley
3. "Something Cool," Anita O'Day -- Dupuy/Berberian
4. "The Streak," Ray Stevens -- Roger Langridge
5. "Outskirts," James McMurtry -- Bill Sienkewicz

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. "Chimes of Freedom," Bob Dylan -- Darryl Cunningham
2. "I Know," Fiona Apple -- John Porcellino
3. "These Arms of Mine," Otis Redding -- Lynda Barry
4. "No Aloha," The Breeders -- Lilli Carre
5. "The Last Time I Saw Richard," Joni Mitchell -- Seth

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. "Down Down," Stauts Quo -- Dean Haspiel
2. "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," Slade -- Hunt Emerson
3. "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," Meat Loaf -- Chip Zdarsky
4. "Theme From Spider-Man," Paul Francis Webster & Robert "Bob" Harris -- Jim Mahfood
5. "Flash," Queen -- Tony Millionaire

*****

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Skipper Pickle

1. "Tapestry," Carole King -- Charles Vess
2. "Horrendous Disc," Daniel Amos -- Gabriel Ba
3. "Red Barchetta," Rush -- Bruce Timm
4. "Telegraph Road," Dire Straits -- Cameron Stewart
5. "And Dream of Sheep," Kate Bush -- Linda Medley

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. "Silent Shout," The Knife -- Charles Burns
2. "Juanita/Kiteless/To Dream of Love," Underworld -- Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely
3. "Strawberry Fields Forever," The Beatles -- Jim Woodring
4. "Search and Destroy," Iggy & the Stooges -- Jaime Hernandez
5. "Duel of the Iron Mic," GZA/Genius -- Rafael Grampa

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. "He Came Back," Mighty Mighty Bosstones -- Evan Dorkin
2. "Big Iron," Marty Robbins -- Tim Truman
3. "Creeping Death," Metallica -- Simon Bisley
4. "California Girls," Beach Boys -- Jaime Hernandez
5. "Me and My Monkey," Robbie Williams -- Philip Bond

*****



Frank Santoro

1. "New York," Sex Pistols -- Kaz
2. "Forming," The Germs -- Gary Panter
3. "Knowledge," Operation Ivy -- Bobby Madness
4. "Ugly," Fishbone -- Kyle Baker
5. "Rat Race," Specials -- Evan Dorkin

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. "Thunder Road," Bruce Springsteen -- Ennis/Dillion
2. "You Can't Do That," Beatles -- Bryan Lee O'Malley
3. "Indiana Wants Me," R. Dean Taylor -- Brubaker/Epting
4. "Hollywood Nights," Bob Seger -- Darywn Cooke
5. "Hey, Hey What Can I Do," Led Zeppelin -- Cameron Stewart

*****

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Michael DeForge

1. "Excuse Me, But I've Got Someone to Kill," Johnny Paycheck -- Jose Munoz
2. "She Brakes for Rainbows," The B'52s -- Jay Stephens
3. "There Stands the Glass," Webb Pierce -- Drew Friedman
4. "Sandy," The Country Teasers -- Tim Lane
5. "Nobody Loves You When You're Old and Gay," Dead Fingers Talk -- Ivan Brunetti

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. "All This Useless Beauty," Elvis Costello & the Attractions -- Matt Wagner
2. "Happiest Girl," Depeche Mode -- Ross Campbell
3. "Somebody Got Murdered," The Clash -- Naoki Urasawa
4. "Twilight," Antony & the Johnsons -- Craig Thompson
5. "Tea for the Tillerman," Cat Stevens -- Joelle Jones

*****

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John Burgess

1. "I Wish I Had A Girl That Walked Like That," Henry Lee Summer -- Rob Liefeld
2. "Ballad Of The Green Berets," Barry Sadler -- Tony Millionaire
3. "We Are The World," Lots Of People -- Henriette Valium
4. "Pfft, You Was Gone" Archie Campbell And Dan Tapp -- Dupuy/Berberian
5. "Summer Lovin'," John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John -- Mark Beyer

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1. "Aces High," Iron Maiden -- Garth Ennis/Alex Toth
2. "Caboose," Johnny Dowd -- R. Crumb
3. "Kaw-Liga," Hank Williams -- Theo Ellsworth
4. "Altar of Sacrifice," Slayer -- Tom Neely
5. "Werewolves of London," Warren Zevon -- Lisa Hanawalt

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. "Kiko and the Lavender Moon," Los Lobos -- Jaime Hernandez
2. "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)," Blue Oyster Cult -- Mike Allred
3. "Northern Sky," Nick Drake -- Paul Pope
4. "Life Itself," George Harrison -- Brendan McCarthy
5. "Queen of the Hours," Electric Light Orchestra -- Mike Kaluta

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," The Tokens -- Bill Sienkiewicz
2) "Sweat," Oingo Boingo -- Kristian Donaldson
3) "Alone, Jealous and Stoned," Secret Machines -- Jhonen Vasquez
4) "Hyper-Ballad," Bjork -- Sonny Liew
5) "25 Minutes To Go." Johnny Cash -- Francesco Francavilla

*****

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Andrew Horton

1. "Batman Theme," Neil Hefti -- Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely
2. "Spiderman Theme," Paul Webster/Robert Harris -- Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
3. "Everything's Archie," Neil Brian Goldberg -- Don DeCarlo
4. "Spread Your Evil Wings And Fly," James Kochalka -- Alan Moore
5. "March of the Sinister Ducks," Alan Moore -- James Kochalka

*****

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Rob Clough

1. "Mothership Connection," by Parliament -- Kyle Baker
2. "Sympathy For the Devil," by the Rolling Stones -- Joe Sacco
3. "Don't Worry (If There's Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go)," by Curtis Mayfield -- David B
4. "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," by Bob Dylan -- Chris Blain
5. "Thankful 'N Thoughtful," by Sly & The Family Stone -- Dean Haspiel

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. "One for My Baby (And One More For The Road)," Frank Sinatra -- Seth
2. "City of New Orleans," Arlo Guthrie -- Harold Gray
3. "Crossroads," Robert Johnson -- Robert Crumb
4. "Puff the Magic Dragon," Peter, Paul & Mary -- Walt Kelly
5. "Raised on Robbery," Joni Mitchell -- Jessica Abel

*****

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Jeffrey Meyer

1. "Strange Fruit," Billie Holiday -- Johnny Ryan
2. "Nazi Rock," Serge Gainsbourg -- Art Spiegelman
3. "Hot Fudge," Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell -- Jeffrey Brown
4. "Baby Baby Please (Just a Little More Head)," 2 Live Crew -- Adrian Tomine
5. "Somebody Come and Play (Sesame Street)," Joe Raposo -- Al Columbia

*****

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Sam Humphries

1. "Robot Rock," Daft Punk -- Moebius
2. "She's Your Lover Now," Bob Dylan -- Jeffrey Brown
3. "White Light Generation," Ladytron -- Ai Yakazawa
4. "Can't Hardly Wait," The Replacements -- Julie Doucet
5. "Love Will Tear Us Apart," Joy Division -- Walter Simonson

*****

topic suggested by Mark Coale

*****
*****
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Terry Austin!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Chris Bachalo!

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First Thought Of The Day

Part projection from Sesame Street clips, part Roger Langridge's fault, part the way my own mind processes dreams: I'm now remembering details from multiple episodes of The Muppet Show that do not exist, like the one where Miss Piggy locks Anne Hathaway in the theater basement.
 
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August 22, 2009


The Comics Reporter Video Parade



The Sanctuary Promo #1 from Andrew Perrine on Vimeo.










 
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Next Week In Comics-Related Events

August 23
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August 25
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August 28
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August 29
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August 30
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 15 to August 21, 2009:

1. Chicago Tribune hires Scott Stantis.

2. Brooklyn library restricts access to Tintin In The Congo for its insensitive depiction of Africans.

3. Diamond announces there will be a new comics skip week between Christmas and New Year's.

Winners Of The Week
Those Evil Black Lanterns

Loser Of The Week
Yale University Press

Quote Of The Week
"dead pol columnist robert novak always looked like how i imagined reggie van york of archie comics would look in his senior years" -- John Siuntres

*****

today's cover is from one of the great publications of the underground comix era

*****
*****
 
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If I Were Near Ojai, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This

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Happy 45th Birthday, DG Chichester!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Will Shetterly!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Jimmie Robinson!

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Happy 29th Birthday, James McShane!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Shannon Smith On Shawn Hoke And Mini-Comics Right Now (8/21/09)
* Karl Ruben Weseth On CR's Informal Fall Preview (8/20/09)
* James Vance On Siegel and Shuster and Superman (8/20/09)
* Ron Evry On Siegel and Shuster and Superman (8/20/09)
* Alex Ness On Siegel and Shuster and Superman (8/20/09)
* Adam Casey On Siegel and Shuster and Superman and The Fan's Place In All Of That (8/20/09)
* Robert Boyd On Jacq Cohen Moving From Dark Horse To Fantagraphics (8/20/09)
* Matt Maxwell On Diamond's Post-Christmas Skip Week (8/20/09)
* Morgan Kroll On Crumb Genesis Exhibit At Hammer Museum (PR) (8/20/09)
* Matthew Dube On Vouching For The AAUP (8/20/09)
* David Parsons On The Passing Of BN Duncan (8/20/09)
* Roger Bilheimer On C2E2's New Round Of Guests Of Honor (PR) (8/18/09)
* Ted Rall On Behalf Of The AAEC On Chicago Tribune Hiring Scott Stantis (PR) (8/18/09)
 
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August 21, 2009


Friday Distraction: Krigstein, Illustrator

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Go, Look: Tom Gauld On Flickr

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* here's a fine round-up of links pertaining to the decision by Yale University Press not to run the Danish Muhammad Cartoons or any other illustrations of Muhammad in Jytte Klausen's new book The Cartoons That Shook The World. It's pretty much all there: statements that are alarmist and even outright false, statements that run counter to the arguments made in the book they're publishing, the negative commentary that's out there from various columnists, the fact that Klausen seems to have been sort of kept in the dark about details of this strange vetting process. It's worth a read, but what a depressing mess.

* I still wonder how much a bad book contract plays into this -- it's hard for me to think that any author with a good contract as to what they'll be allowed to do can have a book and not be granted something as fundamental as showing the cartoons. I mean, even our dopey contract for the Stan Lee book wouldn't have put us in a position of not being able to run a photo of Stan Lee. Maybe there are different standards with an academic press, I don't know.

* on the other hand, the publicity is such this book might do very well -- at least in terms of academic books -- because of these actions, and that's maybe something to keep in mind as a second wave of opinions develop.

* one thing I hope for is that the lack of illustrations will be front and center when and if people decide on the ultimate value of this book. It sounds like a respectable, well-researched book, but I hope reviewers don't fall for that trap where the book is judged as if these publishing decisions were beyond anyone's control. The lack of cartoons is a choice on the same level as anything in the book's selection of interview subjects or the scope of the studies involved: it should have a definite impact on how the work is viewed.

* here's a statement by one of the experts contacted by the Press, and while at least this person's views don't seem to run totally counter to the press release, which is an improvement, I'm not sure the specifics of the statements match up. There's a big difference between declaring something a gratuitous publication -- a judgment with which I disagree -- and noting past actions and making an argument for a likelihood of violence, which is what seems to have been claimed by the Press.

* I'm not sure how legitimate this is, and any road paved in part with rhetoric where the notion of Saudi money gets bandied about in just those terms is usually a road with at least one exit to wackadoodle-land, but the general idea that if an academic press is going to be swayed by general political predictions they could also be swayed by specific financial interests doesn't sound like it should be completely off the table.

* finally, it's not like Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stopped having to answer questions about the whole affair. It's hard to imagine this helps him in his current position; whether it hurts, I can't tell.
 
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Go, Look: Lizz Lunney's One Comic A Day For The Month Of August

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On-Line Comics News Round-Up

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* from Bart Beaty comes word that Bludzee, the available-in-multiple-languages strip for the iPhone that the great Lewis Trondheim spoke of during his spotlight panel at CCI, will make its debut in 9+ days. Here's an article; here's the official site with sample strips and a countdown clock. The article notes that the character resembles the Angouleme Festival mascot and that Trondheim is using this opportunity to scratch his longstanding itch to do an American newspaper strip. It will cost 8 Euros a year.

* the writer Kevin Church looks at his own comics on the Kindle DX and likes what he sees and what he can imagine in terms of freed shelf-space and an easier carry-around future. There are certainly comics out there being offered that way -- Armageddonquest is a book that's been recently promoted in terms of a Kindle edition.

* Sony announced that Marvel, Image, Archie and IDW comics would be available for download via the Playstation store and that titles would continue to be added. Or they announced a couple of those publishers and others piped up subsequently, I'm not sure. Here's a fine rundown of what should soon be available and from what deals/channels.

image* the Spider-Woman motion comic featuring work by Alex Maleev and Brian Michael Bendis has apparently done well downloads-wise during its initial few days available on iTunes. I know this because after a long night drinking with a really mean genie last April, every time someone out there types the words "motion comic" I barf a little bit into my mouth. If I remember correctly, Marvel's been pushing this thing since NYCC, so I'm not exactly sure where this fits into their overall release schedule for the effort, or even if there's a non-motion version of it. If I'm halfway understanding how this works -- a big "if" -- I guess it could reflect the tenor of the time: launch work and keep launching it in various platforms and see what clicks.

* the long roll-out for the Longbox project now includes impressive-looking video. I would break from that post's writer and suggest "Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang" by Monte Video and the Cassettes as appropriate background music, but that's always my suggestion for appropriate background music.

* does this even sound like a comic?

* the audience and media coverage for that Persepolis 2.0 effort continues to grow.

* finally, Brigid Alverson has a nice post up here about Tokyopop finally getting some of its once-canceled series and paid-for efforts up on the Internet to be finished, I think as part of a more general Internet initiative. It's weird to see this material treated in a semi-cavalier fashion, and it may suggest there's just way more content out there than readers for that content -- not to mention it's really depressing to call art "content."

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Go, Look: More Kirby Kardz

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John Jackson Miller Still Exists

Here's a funny post by writer and numbers guru John Jackson Miller on being one of the people who had at least some information they provided mangled by famed one-man journalistic train wreck Jayson Blair back, before this blog was an ongoing affair. I hadn't known the comics connection with Blair, although it's not exactly a badge of honor. Apparently he didn't do a baseline good job of that, either.
 
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If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This

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OTBP: Big Funny

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OTBP: Will Eisner and P.S. Magazine

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OTBP: Le Sketch #08

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OTBP: The Invincible Gene Colan

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i'm hoping that in mentioning it here my involvement will be canceled out by the charitable nature of the project
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's the Tom The Dancing Bug strip that features product placement.

image* the cartoonist Jon Adams made a Spider-Man and it looks swell.

* Publishers Weekly still loves Fletcher Hanks.

* more and more people are participating in that 70th Anniversary Marvel cover thing.

* Pam Noles sent in this link to a listing for a UCLA series of Spoken Word lectures/presentations/interviews dominated by comics people, and I totally missed posting it until now. Sorry, Pam! Speaking of that list, how have none of the big book companies put together a graphic novel version of Santaland Diaries?

* not comics: news about as bad expected for 2009Q2 at Barnes & Noble. And then there's worse news.

* the cartoonist, editor and writer about comics Shaenon Garrity taps recent experience for an article on self-publishing advice.

* missed it: the first review of the English-language publication of Naji al-Ali's work.
 
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Happy 80th Birthday, Marie Severin!

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Quick hits
Craft
How To Break Into Comic Book Writing
Warren Ellis Recommends Nate Simpson

Exhibits/Events
Vocal Comics Fans Should Crash
Stan Lee To Cut Long Beach Ribbon

History
Comics For Hugo Voters
Comics Enriched John Updike's Life

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Rick Remender
CBR: Jimmie Robinson
SF Examiner: Andy Hartzell
Newsarama: Bryan Q. Miller
Newsarama: Amanda Conner
Times-Picayune: Josh Neufeld
The New Gay: Steve MacIsaac
Wild River Review: Neil Gaiman
BestOfNewOrleans: Josh Neufeld

Not Comics
Eddie Campbell Enjoys Boston Legal

Publishing
TCJ #299 Recommended
Looking Forward To 2016
Abadzis & Grist Make Torchwood Comics

Reviews
Chris Mautner: Various
Erik Weems: The Joker
Don MacPherson: Various
Whitney Matheson: Various
Grant Goggans: Kidnapped
Eric Burns-White: Achewood
Sarah Boxer: Fahrenheit 451
Dan Royer: In The Head Please
Grant Goggans: Tank Girl Vol. 1
Andrew Wheeler: Famous Players
Andy Frisk: Superman Annual #14
Grant Goggans: Ranma 1/2 Vol. 10
Paul Di Filippo: Prince Valiant Vol. 1
Leroy Douresseaux: Slam Dunk Vol. 5
Grant Goggans: Shakara: The Avenger
Grant Goggans: Bring On The Bad Guys
Noah Berlatsky: Scud, The Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang
 

 
August 20, 2009


Go, Look: Bipolar Disorder

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Brooklyn Library Restricts Access To Tintin In The Congo

The only thing that strikes me about this move is that I wonder if there isn't a step between having the book and its distressing, ugly portrayal of Africans on the shelves and totally unavailable unless you ask the librarians to see it via special access. I mean, it's been a long time since I was going to the kids room at the Muncie Public Library downtown branch, but it seems there were certain books that I had to have permission from my parents to access but I could still access them once I secured that permission, like a piece of yellow paper related to that book I had to take home and have signed? I don't know. Gotta be tough to be a librarian. This is probably where I should make a joke about A Separate Peace being kept out of the hands of children so as not to expose them to it sucking, but these stories drain the energy right out of me. I don't have an answer; I don't even have a clever stand.

As noted, this is the same book that Borders moved from the kids section to the adult section a couple of years back, causing a similar number of nervous looks and fingers being worked under collars in response.
 
posted 4:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two On Bob Lubbers

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* Paul Gravett in 2003
* Eddie Campbell commenting on that article's re-posting and adding art and commentary of his own
 
posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Shawn Nyland-Hoke Puts Minis-Focused Size Matters Review Blog On Hiatus

The writer Shawn Nyland-Hoke appears to be indefinitely suspending his Size Matters mini-comics review blog, citing basic issues of life getting in the way of the once thriving, still surviving small press resource. The blog will stay on-line as an archival resource, and Nyland-Hoke does not rule out returning to it in some form in the future. Still, this sounds to me like the end, and I wanted to thank the writer for paying such close attention to a worthy and maybe even fading element of comics expression when fewer and fewer people are doing so. I wish him luck in all future endeavors. The linked-to post contains a short list of similarly-focused sites compiled by Nyland-Hoke. I would have no way of knowing if The Comics Journal still has a minimalism column, but I'm guessing maybe not.
 
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Go, Read: On Howard Chaykin 01

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posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Festivals Look The Same Everywhere In The World...

... except for the national political figures sitting behind the table being caricatured. I keep imagining asking her if she knows when Jason Little is going to be back at his table and if he brought any minis. Another difference is that the North Bethesda Marriott isn't likely to be bombed between shows. Interesting article.
 
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Go, Look: HM Bateman

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: John Porcellino's Small Press Expo 2009 Badge Designs

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Dash Shaw Appreciates Tim Hensley

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Comic Book Mystery

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a nice article on the French version of the Comics Code. This could be all made up and I wouldn't know.

* the LA Times profiles Firas Alkhateeb, the artist who did the Obama as Joker Photoshop manipulations that led to one of those 16-hour periods of strident, talk-radio style idiocy a couple of weeks ago.

image* the designer and author Chip Kidd talks about the DC Comics cover templates and logos he's done for some sort of column at the New York Times. One of the things I thought was a shame about there being so many Crisis on Whatever crossovers and covers over the last year is at least in the three shops I visited, the books became their own separated-out ghetto rather than be allowed to pop out against a backdrop of all the current comic books.

* the publisher has won French language publishing rights to Joe Sacco's forthcoming Footnotes In Gaza, and will put out their edition in January.

* in who gives a crap but it's pretty high up on my google searches news, an article at the Huffington Post notes that both Chicago dailies have conservative cartoonists now. I guess this united could mean Mayor Daley might only serve 80 years instead of 100.

* here's a detailed synopsis of the Jeph Loeb presentation from the Comics and Media thing that ICv2.com had the Wednesday before Comic-Con International last month.

* the Drawn and Quarterly boys went to visit Michel Choquette and saw some of the art discussed in this week's cover feature on The Comics Journal #299.

* not comics: Matt Wiegle draws 1984.

* finally, I missed this list of influential mainstream American comics industry comics writers by Justin Zyduck. His list is:
1. Stan Lee, 2. Alan Moore, 3. Chris Claremont, 4. Neil Gaiman, 5. Jerry Siegel, 6. Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, 7. Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein, 8. Harvey Pekar, 9. Warren Ellis, 10. Gardner Fox, 11. Mort Weisinger, 12. Len Wein, 13. Grant Morrison, 14. Brian Michael Bendis, 15. J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen, 16. Roy Thomas, 17. Steve Gerber, 18. Denny O'Neil, 19. Frank Miller, 20. Carl Barks, and 21. Geoff Johns.
Off the top of my head, my list would go:
1. Stan Lee, 2. Alan Moore, 3. Chris Claremont, 4. Charles Biro, 5. Jerry Siegel, 6. Bill Finger, 7. Harvey Kurtzman, 8. Don McGregor, 9. Warren Ellis, 10. Gardner Fox, 11. Steve Englehart, 12. Len Wein, 13. Grant Morrison, 14. Will Eisner, 15. Mark Waid, 16. Roy Thomas, 17. Steve Gerber, 18. Denny O'Neil, 19. Frank Miller, 20. Archie Goodwin and 21. Jim Shooter.
Man, that's kind of hard. It's not like these are all the makers of my favorite comics, but for instance with Mark Waid his focus on memorable storytelling moments over broader definitions of narrative in superhero comics was a huge thing for those kinds of comics -- Grant Morrison responded to it in a big way, for one. With someone like Steve Gerber, he wasn't a direct influence -- I wish he were; I'd love more comics like that -- as much as he re-set certain boundaries for certain kinds of comics and allowed people more room to express themselves in a certain way. And so on.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, Daniel Torres!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 37th Birthday, Sean Kleefeld!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Tony Millionaire Covers Moby Dick

Exhibits/Events
Sergio Exhibit Report
Laura Park SPX Poster
Gahan Wilson SPX Poster
Kupperman At The Strand
Go See Jeff Parker In Orlando
Reminder: This Is A Comic Book...

History
In Praise Of Bob Powell

Industry
I Would Have Gone To This On A Different Date

Interviews/Profiles
Marvel.com: John Leavitt
Newsarama: Geoff Johns
Newsarama: Matt Fraction
CBR: Brian Michael Bendis

Not Comics
Nice Bags
Mike Seeger, RIP
Cleveland's Batman
Manga Make-Up Debuts
More From Chris Allen On Expectations

Publishing
Kleefeld to Profile Funky Flashman

Reviews
David Welsh: AD
Richard Bruton: Various
Greg McElhatton: Stuffed!
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Alex Boney: Blackest Night
Andy Frisk: Blackest Night: Superman #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Rosario+Vampire Vol. 8
Andy Frisk: Justice League: Cry For Justice #2
 

 
August 19, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the webcomics-focused blogger Gary Tyrrell notes that the last episode of Scary Go Round is schedule for September 11 with the new feature by John Allison ready to that next Monday.

image* the cartoonist Paul Rainey's webcomic The Book Of Lists will have a print edition.

* the first guest on the first War Rocket Ajax podcast is Matt Fraction. I want as many high-quality podcasts as possible to launch until I lose the compulsion to launch one of my own, so get to it, everybody.

* I'm not sure this is all-the-way new news, but DC will be reprinting Stuck Rubber Baby in 2010, with an introduction by Alison Bechdel. (The current edition has one I believe by Tony Kushner.) SRB was part of the 1994-1995 mini-explosion of substantial graphic novels that was in my opinion a flat-out preview to the publishing landscape we enjoy now on an almost month-to-month basis. It was also I believe finished with the help of Howard Cruse selling original pages as he went along instead of merely enjoying the fat advance he would no doubt enjoy were it being published for the first time today.

* the writer about comics Bill Baker is in the process of moving all of his on-line activities to his Bill Baker Presents... site.

* the Hero Initiative's next comics-related covers project will feature Wolverine.

* finally, this column by J. Caleb Mozzocco on Previews listings for DC Comics notes that any long time ago initial plans that suggested their current Blackest Night event series would remain mostly or entirely self-contained obviously changed, and there seem to be a fine number of crossovers of that event into various titles and mini-series. Maybe not a crisis-number of crossovers, but plenty.

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posted 9:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Forward Passes On Chimp Cartoon

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I'm not sure what to make of this, but I guess it's a cartoon satirizing Zionist education that the magazine Forward declined to run. Extended chimp metaphors go over well with just about no one, it seems. (thanks, Robert Boyd)
 
posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the writer Christopher Hitchens weighs in on the matter of Yale University Press deciding not to run any images of Muhammad in a book about the use of cartoon images of Muhammad that eventually led to a spate of riots, protests, political turmoil and deaths. Although what he says it true, I think I would come at it from a different angle than Hitchens does, that the pursuit of the full truth outweighs any reasonable consideration of risk in this case and any unreasonable ones as well. No one's quite pointed out how weird it is for the Press to be publishing a book that says the violence that erupted was not a cultural flashpoint but the result of a series of political manuevers, while treating the book as the potential agent for a cultural flashpoint.

* here's the official statement that the Press is distributing:
Yale University Press will publish The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen, this November. The Press hopes that her excellent scholarly treatment of the Danish cartoon controversy will be read by those seeking deeper understanding of its causes and consequences.

After careful consideration, the Press has declined to reproduce the September 30, 2005 Jyllands-Posten newspaper page that included the cartoons, as well as other depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that the author proposed to include.

The original publication in 2005 of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad led to a series of violent incidents, and repeated violent acts have followed republication as recently as June 2008, when a car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing eight people and injuring at least thirty. The next day Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling it revenge for the "insulting drawings."

Republication of the cartoons -- not just the original printing of them in Denmark -- has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world. More than two hundred lives have been lost, and hundreds more have been injured. It is noteworthy that, at the time of the initial crisis over the cartoons in 2005–2006, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe declined to print them, as did every major newspaper in the United Kingdom.

The publishing of the book raised the obvious question of whether there remains a serious threat of violence if the cartoons were reprinted in the context of a book about the controversy. The Press asked the University for assistance on this question.

The University consulted both domestic and international experts on behalf of the Press. Among those consulted were counterterrorism officials in the United States and in the United Kingdom, U.S. diplomats who had served as ambassadors in the Middle East, foreign ambassadors from Muslim countries, the top Muslim official at the United Nations, and senior scholars in Islamic studies. The experts with the most insight about the threats of violence repeatedly expressed serious concerns about violence occurring following publication of either the cartoons or other images of the Prophet Muhammad in a book about the cartoons.

Ibrahim Gambari, under-secretary-general of the United Nations and senior adviser to the secretary-general, the highest ranking Muslim at the United Nations, stated, "You can count on violence if any illustration of the Prophet is published. It will cause riots I predict from Indonesia to Nigeria."

Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, dean of the Under-Secretaries-general, under-secretary-general of the United Nations, and special adviser to the secretary-general, informed us, "These images of Muhammad could and would be used as a convenient excuse for inciting violent anti-American actions."

Marcia Inhorn, professor of anthropology and international affairs and chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale, said, "I agree completely with the other expert opinions Yale has received. If Yale publishes this book with any of the proposed illustrations, it is likely to provoke a violent outcry."

Given the quantity and quality of the expert advice Yale received, the author consented, with reluctance, to publish the book without any of these visual images.

Yale and Yale University Press are deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression, so the issues raised here were difficult. The University has no speech code, and the response to "hate speech" on campus has always been the assertion that the appropriate response to hate speech is not suppression but more speech, leading to a full airing of views. The Press would never have reached the decision it did on the grounds that some might be offended by portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad. Indeed, Yale University Press has printed books in the past that included images of the Prophet. The decision rested solely on the experts' assessments that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims.
I hope I'm allowed to do that, but will take it down if I'm not.

* I'm still curious as to how the author is locked into publishing this version and can't take it elsewhere.

* the American Association of University Professors was quick to condemn the decision, although this would impress me more if I had ever heard of them before.

* finally, some good news: authorities in the Netherlands have apparently declined to prosecute Geert Wilders for showing the cartoons on television, nor will they prosecute the television station.
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Hellen Jo Interview

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
DCD To Skip Shipments After X-Mas

Retailer and blogger Chris Butcher unearthed in his latest dealings with Direct Market giant Diamond Comics Distributors that they won't be shipping comics on the week of December 28. They've cited the way that the holidays fall this year that any retailers receiving their shipments via 3-Day UPS would be squeezed during Christmas week in order to get the packages done and then squeezed again during New Year's week in terms of having them delivered, so that all of those stores wouldn't get their material until early January. So they'll skip a week.

I don't know that it really means all that much, but thinking about it for a second a few things come to mind. First, it's sort of creepy to have services interrupted, the same way the first time you see a former all-night diner closed you think there's something wrong with the universe. Second, New Comics Day is a spur to get people into the shops and on the Wednesday after Christmas I remember my brother and I being flush with cash from various aunts and uncles and grandparents and spending a bit more than usual. Third, it's not hard to imagine some comics run so up against the edge of disaster that doing without the weekly cash infusion of new comics could be a hardship. Fourth, some stores may resent the fact that they're able to pay for one-day delivery and others aren't and why do they get to decide when the comics are shipped. Fifth, some stores may resent having to rack two weeks worth of comics that next Wednesday, and the loss of business when customers try to match their one week's worth of budget to that two-week shipment. So not an earth-shaking thing, but one to note.
 
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Go, Look: Bob Bolling Profile

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posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Jacq Cohen Moves From Dark Horse To Fantagraphics As New Publicist

Jacq Cohen, who held the title of publicity coordinator at Dark Horse Comics in Portland is apparently moving to Fantagraphics in Seattle to join their efforts as a publicist. I learned about this here, but it looks like PW also ran a news brief yesterday that mentioned the hire. At Comic-Con International in July, Fantagraphics announced an earlier promotion of longtime publicity and marketing guru Eric Reynolds to an associate publisher position. I do know that not all of the Dark Horse talent with whom Cohen was working knew of the imminent departure, although that seems normal for something just-announced.

Eric Reynolds was nice enough to take a few second and comment on the brand-new news as much as he was able to: "Yes, Jacq Cohen has been hired. Her start date is October 1, and the hire was just finalized this week, so it's still very new and some details are still to be hammered out," he wrote CR. "Essentially, though, Jacq will become our new publicist. I will still handle certain promotional responsiblities, but Jacq will take on even more. Her hiring will allow me to focus more on bigger projects and key releases. I think all of our books and authors will be better served by having both of us around to shoulder the load. We're excited, and I know she is, too."
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Bernie Mireault's Re-Colored Comics At The CO2 Comics Site

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Mireault is re-coloring these, not just representing them
 
posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Bill Wyman On Newspaper Failure & Why Reasons Aren't Discussed

I've been meaning to say so for a few days, but I thought this was a pretty good article from someone named Bill Wyman on the decline of newspapers. I don't agree with all of Wyman's assumptions (or would state them differently) nor do I feel the proposed solutions always work (it's my understanding certain newspapers saw gains in the '70s not by ignoring world issues but by consistently tying them into local concerns, an approach that seems wholly worthwhile), and I still think there are reasons left unexplored. For instance, Wyman cites slow technological change in newsrooms, but I'd say an even more worrisome trend is that when technological change has come to many newsrooms it has rarely come with an adjustment in expectations or workload. Wyman gets at this a bit when he notes that a big newspaper could essentially fire all of their culture writers and install dueling columnists to cover through original reporting what used to be the beat for eight or maybe even ten people including a lot of wire service material. Anyway, it's an aggressive piece and full of food for thought.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Dan Brand And Tipi

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Go, Look: Buck Ryan

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Go, Look: Harry Mace Cartoons

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Go, Bookmark: Derek Kirk Kim Blog

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I either totally missed out on this springing to life or just haven't visited in a long, long time; either way, I'm the jerk
 
posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* one of the least talked-bout issues in DM sales is coverage, and this news report highlights the fact that there seems to be four stores serving Oahu now, down from what it used to be a decade or more ago and perhaps bound to go down again in the future.

image* this article spotlighting some horrific moments from the DC Omega Men series notes that getting a narrative charge out of shocking turns of violence didn't start with the more famous comics of Alan Moore and Frank Miller. (via)

* the writer Sean T. Collins suggests that this month's sales chart is fuel for his theory that all things being roughly equal, Marvel event comics are going to do better than DC event comics.

* it's kind of hard to understand what's going on in this article, but my guess is that iconic comic shop They Walk Among Us is closing, the owners are keeping the web site and the name, and then either they or perhaps a chain is opening up something called Ace Comics in early October. Beats me, though.

* wait a minute: that "Archie marries Veronica" press a few weeks back was for a comic just now coming out? That's odd.

* not comics: Jeet Heer pens a poignant and -- for those us not customers, this is nice -- concise tribute to the independent bookstore Pages Books & Magazine.

* not comics: Robert Novak, a Goldwater-era political reporter turned Bush II-era political tool and a man whose increasingly fierce visage served as sort of a Dorian Gray's portrait for modern conservatism, is dead at age 78.

* people keep e-mailing me this article about book sales' relationship to movies, but I'm not sure why I want to stick around for parts two and three when in fact some movies have driven readers to books: Ghost World (exponentially more sales post-movie), Watchmen (anticipatory, but who cares when you're selling that many books?) and I believe Hellboy (which casts doubt on the "one movie to one book" theory) are all titles that have done well with exposure in movie form.

* there's a nine-page preview from cartoonist Brandon Graham's King City #1 here.

* not comics: this is a lovely quote about the people that attend Comic-Con International from the director Park Chan Wook: "Perhaps these people in their ordinary lives are friends and neighbors and we look at them and think they’re a strange bunch. But for four days of the year they have the opportunity to be the mainstream, to be on the main stage. They have the opportunity to find an outlet for their enthusiasm and their passion. It was a moving thing, to see this."

* finally, there's a lot to pull out of Chris Butcher's massive post on the New People cultural center, much of it related to comics. Even the distinctions being made about type of retail space and type of customer is worth noting, I think.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 65th Birthday, Skip Williamson!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Stefano Gaudiano!

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I *think* Stefano inked this...
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Gene Ha!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Josh Cotter!

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Quick hits
Craft
Tom Neely Sketches
Is This Charles Burns? (No.)

Exhibits/Events
New People Opening
Brett Warnock's Spring '09 Stockholm Trip Report

History
Vision In A Sweater

Interviews/Profiles
Graphic NYC: Kevin Colden
Graphic Novel Reporter: Kazu Kibuishi
Austin American-Statesman: Josh Neufeld
Talking With Tim: Jeff Parker, Steve Lieber

Not Comics
Cute
Chris Allen On Fandom
Cataloging Your Comics
Adrian Tomine Covers The New Yorker

Publishing
OTBP: FTL #2

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Greg Burgas: Various
Nina Stone: Asterios Polyp
John Hogan: Amulet Vol. 2
Richard Bruton: Harker #6
Andrew Wright: Amulet Vol. 2
Xaviar Xerexes: Amulet Vol. 2
Koppy McFad: Blackest Night #2
Noah Berlatsky: Metamorpho Year One
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Big Kahn
Leroy Douresseaux: Love Control Vol. 2
Patrick Bérubé: Les naufragés d'Ythaq Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Vol. 1
Don MacPherson: Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow?
Brian Fies Responds To Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? Review
 

 
August 18, 2009


This Is Clearly One Of THOSE Days

* late-in-the-day potential story one
* late-in-the-day potential story two

I blame Brett Favre...
 
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Another Employee Lay-Off At Wizard?

I'm hearing from the usual sources that Benji DeJohn, who had been moved from west coast sales representative to running the Chicago and Philadelphia shows earlier this year, has been let go. I have no information other than that, although one of the folks suggested it wasn't related to anything in terms of finance-related personnel moves, as many believe many of the moves over the last few years have been. Those sources haven't been wrong yet, but Tiger Woods was 14-0 going into final rounds of majors with leads on Sunday morning, too, so I guess anything's possible.
 
posted 8:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick them up and surreptitiously mop my brow.

*****

APR090829 COMICS JOURNAL #299 $11.99
Massive Bob Levin article about Quixotic 1970s comics anthology = must-buy.

JUN090261 AIR #12 (MR) $2.99
I would have lost any bet I could have possibly made on this comic lasting twelve issues, so allow me to tip my cap in respect.

JUN091048 AD NEW ORLEANS AFTER DELUGE GN $24.95
Josh Neufeld and Pantheon launch this book about Katrina survivors in time for the anniversary tie-in coverage and in a part of the year which guarantees little in the way of high-profile feature story competition comics-wise.

MAY091061 NAOKI URASAWA 20TH CENTURY BOYS GN VOL 04 $12.99
MAY091062 OOKU INNER CHAMBERS GN VOL 01 $12.99
Your well-regarded manga series of the week. I'm guessing with the latter one, but it's sure hotly anticipated and the manga fans usually aren't that wrong about something.

JUN090382 INVINCIBLE #65 $2.99
JUN090394 VIKING #3 (MR) $2.99
JUN090528 DAREDEVIL #500 $4.99
Your well-regarded comic book series issues of the week. Five hundred issues of Daredevil kind of freaks me out.

JUN091035 WET MOON GN VOL 05 (MR) $14.95
We're between 11 to 23 months before the inevitable Ross Campbell reconsideration, so if you want to be cool this time Christmas 2010 start getting these volumes now.

*****

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

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

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

If I didn't list your comic, it's because I was busy cleaning my automatic weapon for tonight's town hall meeting.

*****

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posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Chicago Tribune Hires Scott Stantis

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Standing against a trend of wave after wave of editorial cartoonist position eliminations, the Chicago Tribune, one of the country's leading newspapers and a publication without a full-time editorial cartoonist since Jeff MacNelly passed away in 2000, has announced its hiring of Scott Stantis of the Birmingham News. Stantis is one of the few cartoonists -- maybe the only cartoonist -- to be widely praised as working in the same general territory as the much-respected MacNelly: a mostly conservative cartoonist capable of self-criticism better known for working to a high standard than for his political views.

Like MacNelly, Stantis is also a syndicated comic strip creator, having launched Prickly City in the summer of 2004. I believe that the Tribune dropped Prickly City at one point -- I don't remember why -- although I also think Stantis has been a constant presence on the Tribune on-line collection of work by various prominent editorial cartoonists.

The press release issued by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists -- a group for which Stantis is past president -- tie Stantis' hiring into the Tribune's public effort to become a crusading newspaper and add value to the print edition in tough times for all such publications.

In more good news, the Birmingham News has announced its intention to replace Stantis with another full-time staffer.
 
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Go, Look: Nancy Sketchbook

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Analysts: July 2009 DM Estimates

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com offers their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops, this time for July 2009.

image* Overview
* Analysis
* Top 300 Comic Books
* Top 300 Graphic Novels

John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has begun his analysis of July 2009 right here. He continues it here and here.

The big news to my eye would be the flood of summer-related extra product that entered the market from the comic book side -- the Green Lantern-related stuff for that Blackest Night superhero zombie multiple ring attack thingamaroo DC has going on, a double-up on one of the the Spider-Man titles going into an issue number-related anniversary, issues of something called Dark Reign Marvel is doing (I think this is Norman Osborn taking over the government apparatus part of the Marvel superhero universe; it sounds like a really depressing Homecoming Dance theme), and the "Captain America is coming back" stuff. There's even an issue of a Final Crisis-related mini-series in the top 30, the Legion of Super-Heroes one that didn't have near-enough arms being pulled off to suit me. In fact, reading that comic kind of underlined the whole swappable nature of those events, in that despite lurching into view from last year's non-Green Lantern, time-bending tomfoolery it didn't feel super-dated as much as generically-based, at least to my eye. Any crisis in a storm; Armageddon as background noise.

Anyhow, I think ICv2.com's view on this is that it was a good month for sell-in on comic books, both in terms of overall sales (the first two-month uptick since last Fall) and where the sales are coming from (they note the difference in sales at position #300). I can't help but wonder how much real health is there, though. That's a lot of extra product for a not very huge gain, some of the most important stuff was tricked out in sales incentives out the wazoo and if you look at the two issues of a Spider-Man comic on sale there's such a huge jump between the more regularly-titled issue and the one with a couple of zeroes in it you have to wonder after the audience. I remain impressed at the ability of these companies to find tens of thousands in extra sales on individual event titles and a few thousand here and there as things go, but I think I'd feel better for that market if I received more indication that the audience were growing over time in this New Golden Age of Comics instead of what seems like a mostly-existing audience being engaged differently month-to-month: a New Aging Of Comics.

Also, it seems that the price point is now $3.99 on a majority of top 25 titles -- that probably happened earlier and I'm just now noticing -- and I'm even dumber when it comes to figuring out anything to say about the graphic novels chart. I guess it's nice they moved a few thousand The Hunter books in that market (it's worth noting that many of the best shops for that book are the ones more likely to buy from other sources; ditto Asterios Polyp), and that there's still a market for Preacher collections.
 
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Go, Look: Jani Leinonen

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another new Internet classic; no idea how I ended up roaming around here
 
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Go, Read: Twin Obituaries For Longtime Tintin Translator Michael Turner

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Michael Turner, a member of the longtime translation team for the English-language versions of the Tintin series, died in early July at age 80. There are two fine obituaries for Turner at Bear Alley and at the Telegraph that would fairly dwarf anything I could put together independently of the information featured there. If you have the time and even half the inclination I encourage you to read one of them.

It's a great story. If I have it correctly, he and partner-in-translation Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper were junior employees at Methuen who offered their services for free in order to get Tintin into English through a proper book publisher as opposed to abortive attempts to push the feature through youth-oriented comics magazine. Getting the first couple of works into print allowed for a gushing review of the kind that used to occasionally change popular arts history. What's even more fascinating is the leeway they were given to make the subsequent translation friendlier to the British cultural experience, while at the same time there were hard and fast rules around certain phrases. Anyway, text translation is a severely undervalued skill when it comes to comics, and Turner was clearly one of the more important players in that sub-field in comics history.
 
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Go, Look: Warwick Urquhart

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Multiple Pros Answer: What's Your Opinion Of The Term "Graphic Novel"?

Right here -- this should be as widely linked-to as any stand-alone article this week. I don't have a dog in this fight: I think it's a useful term for describing a general format, and increasingly irrelevant for describing a certain sensibility of or ambition for comics. This year doing a "graphic novel" panel at Comic-Con was the first time I had no pre-nervousness about the term being difficult or unaccepted or hard to figure out or worth spending time debating, and it only rattled around a bit for one question within the panel itself. Anyway, there's that. That Neil Gaiman answer is funny, too.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Read: Selling Comics Outside

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Go, Look: Oswald Vs. Woody

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Go, Look: Betty Fraser Illustration

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Go, Read: VT Hamlin Profile

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer Don MacPherson gets real figures on how much security and traffic control costs Comic-Con International.

image* the critic and cultural historian Jeet Heer kicks off a discussion of influential mainstream comics artists at Comics Comics, using the AV Club article from a while back as a springboard.

* the cartoonist Kate Beaton will be on Inkstuds this Thursday at 2 PM Pacific Time, and they will be set up to take your phoned-in questions live and on the air. As always, CR reminds that "Why are you awesome?" is not a real question.

* a cartoonist with four strips and six places to post them reduces his workload by consolidating the on-line portion of his collective venues. This is one of those stories where the real story was the craziness that was going on before as opposed to the change being made.

* you know, there's really no good way to write a link to an article about tents being pitched.

* we all miss letters column -- those of us of a certain age, anyway -- but only Mark and Sergio are doing something about it. Actually, I'm sure other people are, too. Well, crap. Hey, all these link presentations can't be winners.

* that Maxim "Oral History Of Marvel Comics" article is on-line for a limited time.

* let it be known that Read Comics All Day... Day is October 3. Don't expect t-shirts or anything, but you are encouraged to drink beer and eat pizza.

* finally, the Couscous Collective has launched a new store and is offering new volumes of Skin Horse to make that launch go go go.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Kevin Church!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Brian Michael Bendis!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Chris Allen!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Jenni Rope!

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Happy 26th Birthday, Lilli Carré!

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Quick hits
Craft
No Pretty Girls
This Meme Looks Really Cool

Exhibits/Events
Inkwads Show Reviewed
Plan To See Jill Thompson, Evan Dorkin

History
On Bat Lash
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Bully Is Crazy Now
He's Right: That Panel Is Weird

Industry
Education Media & Publishing Group Refinances

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Neil Kleid
Newsarama: Rick Geary
Art Seek: Esther Pearl Watson

Not Comics
People Warren Ellis Knows
He Has A Very Big Forehead, For One Thing

Publishing
Hey, Tracy's Back
A Gallery Of Vertigo Covers
Go, Look: Squirrel Machine Prototype

Reviews
Jog: The Nobody
Various: Various
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Paul O'Brien: Various
Jared Gardner: The Hunter
Chris Allen: Wednesday Comics
Sean T. Collins: Red Riding Hood Redux
Richard Bruton: Glister: The Haunted Teapot
Greg McElhatton: Ooku: The Inner Chambers
The Best Review Of Watchmen Eddie Campbell's Read
 

 
August 17, 2009


Thrilling, Scary... Comiket Hits 560K

Comiket 76, the latest edition of the twice-yearly, doujinshi-focused comics fair, hit the 560,000 attendance figure for the weekend, at least one site has reported. That's a big enough number it's terrifying no matter how it's counted. In fact, I'm scared of those crowds and I will surely never go. Just their existence frightens me. (thanks, Paul Di Filippo)
 
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CR Wishes The Great Gene Colan A Safe Trip Home And An Extensive Recovery

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Percy Carey Resigns From Mayhem Team, Citing Factors During Roll-Out

Comic Book Resources has the PR and the reaction from Image Comics on Percy Carey's late-last-week press release announcing that he was stepping down as the marketing director on Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem, the Image Comics title spearheaded by the actor Tyrese Gibson. That title had enjoyed a measure of recent controversy for the aggressive promotional tactics involved in getting the book out there, many of which involve new media. At least one of those efforts, and it looks to be the tone of certain interactions during the fallout of a brief debate between Gibson's team and Direct Market retailer Brian Hibbs over the books and marketing tactics generally, appears to have convinced Carey to end his association with the new book.

Carey also resigned his position as a Sr. Vice President with the book's official parent company, Arch-Enemy Entertainment. The co-creator (with artist Ronald Wimberley) of 2007's highly regarded Sentences plans to continue his entertainment career in a variety of capacities.

Brian Hibbs discussed some of the circumstances mentioned in Carey's press release in his column at CBR.
 
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Go, Look: Remembering Elvis

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one of the great new comics perennials
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

Follow-up coverage in The Guardian of the decision by Yale University Press not to re-run the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammad that were the core of an eventual extended series of riots as well as no other illustration featuring Muhammad in the book The Cartoons That Shook The World seems to indicate something less than the universal expert recommendation to pull all images that some feel was what was conveyed in the initial New York Times editorial.

The Guardian found one of the advisers contacted by the Press about the book -- Sheila Blair, co-author of Islamic Art -- who has apparently written a letter to the Times suggesting that she at least was for publication of certain images, if not all of them. The lines between the cartoon images and the supporting illustrations and what group of people were asked what and when and then what was said about each group seems to me blurry enough no one's going to be able to accuse anyone of distorting the truth even though some may try. It does seem to me there was less than total agreement on all subjects, and I bet there's a bit more digging to do.

Again, I think it's wrong not to publish these images in the pursuit of knowledge as what they look like is crucial to our understanding of what happened, no matter whether doing so delights or distresses us.
 
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Go, Look: Hellen Jo At Vice

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Missed It: Salman Abed Resurfaces

imageI sort of assumed that Iraqi cartoonist Salman Abed was back at work after running afoul of security forces in Iraq back in April. This article sums up some of the back and forth that had taken place, starting with some of the cartoonist's cartoons being confiscated at a street fair. My understanding is that he went into hiding for a brief time and that his home was ransacked, although I quickly lost track. This story indicates that Abed is still drawing and still speaking out about the importance of an Iraqi free press, which is happy news on a Monday, expected or not.

Here is the original Abed story from last Spring.
 
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Vanessa Davis Continues To Kill Me

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Popa Matumula Decries Lack Of Seriousness Regarding Cartoonists

imageI noted with some interest this puff piece on the Pan-African Festival of Culture in Algiers because deep in its body there are a couple of graphs from Tanzania's Popa Matumula, one of the very best of this generation of African cartoonist, saying that cartoonists in general are disrespected by the leaders of African society. This is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. First, this runs counter to conventional wisdom no doubt formed by updates on whatever Zapiro is doing and some awful thing happening to a press or newspaper in Africa that would seem to say that cartoonists are taken very seriously in Africa. The second is that I trust Matumula to have an interesting and worth-hearingt perspective on this, as if I remember correctly from reading a very good interview with him earlier this year, he not only is the current standard-bearer for cartooning as a political commentary tool in the Tanzanian press, his career basically encompasses the entire history of private press in that country. He would likely be keenly aware of how he's perceived, and others like him. Anyway, one to note.
 
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Some Days You Discover Old Bookmarks And You Question Your Life's Direction

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not safe for life
 
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Go, Look: Vanish

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also a reminder to myself when people complain about comics like these that there really are comics like these
 
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Go, Look: Lee Elias' Flash

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Go, Look: Forever Dead

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer and editor Gil Roth is publishing a run of his Comics Journal articles and reviews from the late 1990s, starting with this piece on a Ben Katchor lecture/slideshow.

image* the as-of-late prolific writer about comics Frank Santoro writes an appreciation of Tom Kaczynski.

* not comics: that's a pretty cool obscurity.

* the French comics journalist Didier Pasamonik pays Fantagraphics a compliment by suggesting that Dupuis' new Gil Jourdan reprints combine a certain kind of presentation with high-quality contextual material in a manner that resemble the beautiful editions of Fantagraphics. Or it could be something about a goat -- I did poorly in French. But I think it's the first one, and that's not a bad thing to be known for in shorthand.

* not comics: the great Gerald Scarfe on taking long cruises. I can sympathize with the progression in logic on display: "That's for old people/Hey, I'm an old person."

* well, I had absolutely no idea there was a new five-page American Flagg! comic in Hero Comics.

* the outspoken retailer Brian Hibbs talks preorders, returnability and discounts.

* not comics: it seems pretty clear to me that the strong first weekend box-office performance of District 9 may intensify the plans of major studios to employ Comic-Con International as a launching point for film publicity. And now I see the fine folks at ICv2.com thought the same thing.

* finally, please go here and read Hervé St-Louis' response to my post on Friday about his article on the Siegel and Shuster families' legal tussle with DC Comics and Time Warner.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, John Romita Jr.!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Andrew Helfer!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Tom McLean!

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Quick hits
Craft
Marigold
Dan Zettwoch Sketches
More Buisek/McCloud Fan Art

History
Hercules' Fashion Choices
Captain Marvel: Book Editor
What's Bruce Wayne Reading?
The Unseen Scarecrow Of Don Perlin
Mike Catron Corrects Another Entitled Superman Fan

Industry
Go Buy Stuff From Evan Dorkin

Interviews/Profiles
Marvel.com: Molly Crabapple
A Nickel's Worth: Scott Hillburn
TwoMorrows Tune-In: John Morrow

Not Comics
Awesome
Gil Thorp Is Kind Of A Dick

Publishing
New Scott Pilgrim Site
Frankenstein's Womb Preview
Please Publish This Awesome Comic
Teaching Baby Paranoia Hits 500 Mark

Reviews
Chris Allen: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Chris Allen: Hero Comics
Jeff VanderMeer: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Ed Sizemore: Hell Girl Vol. 5
Greg McElhatton: Starstruck #1
Patrick Berube: Jungle Tales #1
Jared Gardner: The Photographer
Leroy Douresseaux: Gestalt Vol. 2
Richard Bruton: Tripwire Annual 2009
Chris Allen: The Stuff Of Legend Vol. 1
Graeme McMillan, Jeff Lester: Blackest Night
Zak Edwards: Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1
Andy Frisk: Ghost Riders: Heavens On Fire #1
Zak Edwards: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Chaos Campus Sorority Girls Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Manga Guide To Databases
 

 
August 16, 2009


CR Sunday Interview: Josh Neufeld

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*****

imageI've known Josh Neufeld for quite a while now. I believe we met while I was taking his picture at one of the Dying Chicago Cons, a few years before Wizard Entertainment took that show over, in the middle- to late-1990s. The fact that I can't quite remember exactly when I met him speaks to how long I've been aware of Neufeld's presence and his comics. Neufeld is equally well-known for his autobiographical travel comics and for his satires of financial world royalty and their excesses. At one point this was in publishing partnership with the popular and well-connected cartoonist Dean Haspiel, but both have been solo acts for so long it's almost strange to bring it up. He has more recently worked as one of the artists on Harvey Pekar's American Splendor.

A series of prose journal entries Neufeld put on-line about volunteering with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina led the Brooklyn-based artist to take on what is by far the biggest project of his career -- a treatment in comics form of the stories of various New Orleans-based survivors of that natural disaster and its immediate aftermath. It was initially published on-line by Smith; a print edition from Pantheon is imminent. I spoke to Neufeld in early July on the subject of AD, New Orleans After The Deluge, because I'm not certain I would have been able to get him on the phone if I waited. The book drops this Tuesday with all the press you'd expect for this kind of big-publisher effort proximate to an event anniversary as a hook. Neufeld will also do a several-city book tour in its support. I hope he's enjoying the experience. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: When I told a few people I was going to interview you, a couple of them expressed a bit of confusion about your book's development. As I recall, you had done a story about working with volunteers in Mississippi, which led to the opportunity to do the serialized work, which led to the book.

JOSH NEUFELD: Yeah, that's pretty much it. I was a Red Cross volunteer first. I worked in Mississippi, about 90 miles outside New Orleans. I blogged about it while it was happening, and ended up putting a book together of all the blog posts -- with the comments included -- and sending it to the people that were part of the conversation. I just put that out myself.

It got written up in USA Today in Whitney Matheson's column, "Pop Candy." Then I got all these orders for it -- hundreds of orders from people I didn't know. I had to print up more of them and it became more of a widely-known thing. It wasn't a comic; it was just words. That book got into the hands of Jeff Newelt, the comics editor of Smith. Editor Larry Smith saw it and he wanted to do a comic to follow up The Shooting War, the graphic novel that Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman had serialized on Smith, and that's how AD came about.

SPURGEON: So there was never a comic version of what happened in Mississippi?

NEUFELD: No, I never did anything about my personal experiences. It just didn't seem appropriate to do something about being a volunteer. That's such a peripheral event in the story of Katrina. It just didn't seem right.

SPURGEON: Was there a part of volunteering, an orientation, say, that you think had an effect on AD in the sense that you might have created a different work if you hadn't gone to Mississippi?

NEUFELD: Yeah. It gave so much context. I think if I hadn't been down there to see what the hurricane did, and developed a spiritual relationship, I guess, with New Orleans and the people that went through the hurricane, I wouldn't have known where to start. Or that I was the right person. First it gave me that context. It also started me down the road to meeting the people who become characters in the book. The character Leo, the comic book collector guy, I actually did meet on-line when I was in Biloxi with the Red Cross. He told me his whole story, and when I finally figured out that I wanted to tell this story through the voices of people in New Orleans, I knew I wanted to make him one of the characters.

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SPURGEON: I'm interested with how you settled on the scope and focus of AD. Why only New Orleans? Why that specific kaleidoscope of characters? Why a focus on the events of the flood itself?

NEUFELD: I give a lot of credit to Larry Smith. Once we agreed in principle that I was going to do a serialized comic book about Katrina, I was still stuck on the autobiographical element of it. That's what my previous work has primarily been. I started realizing that that wasn't appropriate for reasons I was talking about before: I didn't want to put myself in the center of a story of this magnitude, that affected people from a totally different part of the country, people primarily from different racial and class backgrounds than me.

So I was struggling with that. I thought maybe I could make it about the people in Biloxi, or the volunteers I met through the Red Cross, that are more connected culturally to the experience. I was wrangling with all of this, and Larry finally said, "You know what? I think we need to focus just on New Orleans, because that's the place that most people think of when they think of Katrina. Getting into all this other stuff about these other areas in the Gulf Coast will dilute the issue. New Orleans is a big city, and it has a very specific story as relates to Katrina."

imageOnce he said that, it started to click for me. Let's make it about a group of people and their different experiences. A visceral image come to my mind, a swirling hurricane with many strands of clouds that formed that funnel. Each of those strands is one person's story, and as the storm gets closer and closer the storms converge until they become in a sense the same story. That got me really excited. I could get out of the whole autobiographical thing; just shut that down. And instead get into the idea of being a reporter, being a collaborator with these people.

It was a relief. There were expectations from friends of mine, Dean Haspiel and guys from ACT-I-VATE. "So when are you going to make your comic about this? When is the Josh-in-New-Orleans thing happening?" Everyone was assuming that that was what I was going to do. It was causing me a lot of internal stress. Like I was supposed to produce. It reminded me of being back in my post-college days, when I was still drawing superhero comics because I didn't know independent comics even existed. I was totally disengaged with the idea of genre comics, but it was all I knew how to do. So when Larry said, "Let's do it about real people, and let's focus on New Orleans," there was a great sense of relief. [claps hands] "Let's go. Let's do that."

I'm a huge fan of Joe Sacco, obviously. I have everything he's done. So I immediately had a model for how to do that. Safe Area Gorazde was an inspiration for me because of the way he told that story through the voices of all these different characters from one city, their experience during the Bosnian War. There were definitely models out there. I took to it really easily. Just on a purely boring comics nerd sort of thing, I had been looking for a way as a cartoonist to get away from using narrative captions. I was overusing them, essentially. When I was doing autobio stuff, I was doing a lot of "This is how I felt at the time," and explaining a lot of things, and using captions to cut from scene to scene and not do a lot of in-scene moments. I thought this would be a great way to try out this new writing style. It would be an action story with a lot of stuff happening minute by minute rather than week by week. I could really get into a different kind of storytelling.

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SPURGEON: Was there any sort of tone or goal that you established as you began to tell your story? I wondered if there was something you had in mind in terms of the commonality of the experience, maybe another element to those stories you feel hadn't been expressed and needed to get out there. Did you have goals at the outset?

NEUFELD: Very good question. There are two points to your question. One is that I did want to find a theme. One of the first things when Larry gave me parameters -- "let's do it about New Orleans; let's find a cross-section of people with a range of experiences" -- is that he felt we needed to have someone from the music scene and someone in their teens. I think his background as an editor and as a journalist for many years was this is how you do these kinds of stories. If you're going to do snapshots of people sharing one experience, you want to have this demographic range, and age range, and class range, and all that. Standard journalistic measures.

Once we started to get people together, I said to Larry, "I need to find the thing that holds this all together." What I was doing was not only journalism, but also art. I feel like I'm telling a novelistic story in addition to a journalistic one. I feel that there's something that's larger than these stories in the end. What we realized together is that these stories are about loss. Which is a very cliched thing, but with Katrina I feel that there are so many ways that loss is felt and expressed: on a personal level, on a community level, on a entire-city level, and even a national level when you think about what New Orleans means to us as a country. That was an important guiding principle for me. It helped me think about how I wanted to structure the story, which characters I wanted to use and how I wanted to focus on them.

imageGetting to the part of your question about the story that needed to be told. To me the two main characters are Leo and Denise. Denise is the one that was stuck at the Convention Center for three days. I came across her story on the radio program This American Life, in an episode that they did pretty soon after the hurricane. She talked about her experiences and they were so different about what the media was reporting about what happened at the Convention Center, basically turned it on its head. The stories around the Convention Center were that there had been these roving gangs and that they had been raping and killing people, and that they had raped a 13-year-old girl. That they stole people's water. That it was chaos, like a zombie movie or something. I guess maybe a month down the line those stories finally got corrected, and people started to talk about what had really happened, and how it really wasn't like that at all, and how it was about the authorities not being there and not providing any of the services they promised when they sent people there.

Denise specifically rebutted all of these things. She talked about how the gangbangers were actually a calming presence there. As scary and as crazy as those kids can be, they were organizing parties where they would go out and loot and bring stuff back for people. The gangs there made peace with each other and, in the interest of protecting people, agreed not to battle each other as they would usually have. They made sure that when evacuation buses came women and children would get on the buses first and there wasn't a mad rush or chaos. They took control in the absence of authority. The other stuff about people getting raped and all that, Denise insisted that was all hyperbole and typical racist fear-mongering, essentially.

I felt someone had to tell that side of the story. And it wasn't me doing that, but someone speaking in her own voice. You know I've always had certain politics, a sense that comics can speak to political realities and social realities -- that's part of my mission as a cartoonist. I didn't want to overstate that myself, but to have someone else do it was perfect.

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SPURGEON: When you have a story that runs counter to an already-established narrative, even when it's a narrative in which you might have serious doubts, do you do due diligence on that new story, or do you feel it's more important to present your subject's story unadorned? I'm not trying to cast aspersions because I thought she was credible, but I'm interested in the process and how you approach that kind of thing.

NEUFELD: I think by the time I talked to Denise and got in touch with her after I heard that radio piece, the news reports were starting to even out a bit. News outlets were printing corrections or retracting some of the things they said. Specifically they were saying they didn't think anyone was killed at the Convention Center. Certainly people died, but that was due to exposure and neglect, not anyone killing them. Actually, one person was shot by the cops, but that's another story. So yeah, things were starting to even out in the overall coverage by then.

Plus, Denise was so credible. She's so smart and articulate and with it, a rightfully angry person. She never told me anything that sounded one-sided. To be fair, if I were an actual journalist I might practice more due diligence, but I think I get a pass being somewhere between a journalist and an artist. Also, one other really important thing was each chapter of AD on the Smith site included embedded links to other on-line sources that supplemented the story. I found raw video feed of people talking to MSNBC at the Convention Center. They were all saying the same things Denise had. That made me feel much better.

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SPURGEON: Was there any temptation to profile any of the authority figures? The doctor comes somewhat close to being one of those kinds of figures, with access to resources others might not have. Was there any temptation to talk to, say, one of the soldiers or one of the government officials?

NEUFELD: I know it was something we talked about at one point. I think maybe Larry put in a couple of phone calls, or e-mails, and really thought about it, but nobody came forward. It's interesting because there was one element of the book that I was originally going to do but then I decided not to, a chapter that we were calling a frozen moment -- breaking out of this narrative and freezing the story on August 29 when everything was flooding, and cut to showing what Governor Blanco was doing, what Mayor Nagin was doing, what George Bush was doing, what Michael Brown was doing, how they were responding -- or not, as the case may be. Even the national guard soldiers from New Orleans that were in Iraq. There was a lot of interesting stuff I could have done.

Ultimately, I didn't want to insert much more of an editorial view on what I was already doing. I can see how that could have been an interesting perspective. This book Nine Lives, by Dan Baum, is in many ways is similar to my book, nine people's experiences during Katrina. One of the people he chose was a county coroner and another was a cop. It was interesting to read about people that have some authority, or that are supposed to, and how it worked -- or failed miserably -- from their end. Ultimately, there are only so many stories you can tell, and I chose to tell the stories of people who had no control over what happened.

SPURGEON: How far ahead did you work on the serialization?

NEUFELD: [laughs] I was never ahead, not even for a second. I think we started serializing it in January of 2007. In January of 2007 I was down in New Orleans with Larry meeting with many of the characters for the first time while I was posting this first chapter, these overhead shots of the hurricane coming to hit New Orleans. It didn't have to have any of the characters in it. I was literally posting a new chapter at the beginning of the month, then writing the material that would go in the next chapter in the first week after the last one was posted, and then drawing it over the least two and a half weeks, and then posting it as I finished the very last panel. And then same process over again. I was never ahead of it. Until, of course, when the web portion of it ended, and I had all of last Fall to work on expanding and revising the book for its print edition.

SPURGEON: Did that process have an effect on the work?

NEUFELD: Larry wanted me to post a new chapter every week. [laughter] Ultimately we would have gotten more traffic and more attention if we had done it more quickly, which is the way Shooting War was done. But there was no realistic way it could have been done in a week. I figured Larry knew my work before he hired me, and knew how much detail I put into every drawing.

Theoretically maybe we could have posted episodes every two weeks or have had shorter chapters with me skimping on backgrounds, and have those going up every two weeks. But I've never been able to work that way. [pause] It's professional pride. I don't know how to cut corners. I don't know what it would look like. Where would I draw something quickly and badly to make it work? I wouldn't want something like that up there under my name. You know? I was anticipating how much misery it would be if we turned it into a book, having to go back and re-draw stuff. I think that we found a compromise that worked out in the end.

SPURGEON: Were you getting feedback during serialization?

NEUFELD: We got great responses every time we put something up there. Those were really important to me from a creative standpoint, to have that kind of affirmation, a good response from people there. My first worry was that New Orleanians or people from the Gulf Coast were going to say, "Who is this Brooklyn guy having the balls to tell our story?" But right off the bat people from New Orleans were into it and so supportive. They were even acting as bulk fact-checkers for me. There were some things I had in the initial chapters where my initial time-line was off, the stuff about the advance of the hurricane and people preparing for it. Some of the responders pointed out some of those inaccuracies. I was able to fix a few specific panels and re-post them on-line without too much trouble. I was happy to get that criticism so quickly.

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SPURGEON: Was there anything that surprised you feedback-wise, either something you hadn't thought about or the degree to which one thing or another set people off or excited people?

NEUFELD: There's one scene where Denise is suffering through the hurricane at her apartment and things are totally going haywire and the ceiling is falling down all around her. She runs into the hallway and jumps on her bed and says, "I'm going to die in this bitch!" [laughs] That's a great line I would never in a hundred years have thought of myself. I'm not even sure I know exactly what it means. I remember Dean Haspiel posted on the comments board that "I didn't like that line where she said that. It made me feel that she was all ghetto. I didn't relate to that character anymore." I was like, "Well, that's what she told me she said." Denise was reading it on-line as well, she's very present on-line. She wrote back, "I am that woman. That's exactly what I was thinking and saying at that moment." What can you say at that point?

Someone else posted something like "I like this bitch." It got be a whole "bitch" thread, which is good.

In terms of surprise... I was just so gratified. I can't think of any meaningful complaints or negative comments that anybody had. It was so much about people being so into it and responding on such a personal level. As a cartoonist who works on these kinds of topics, to have that kind of response is like never having been kissed before. I was just thrilled that people were accepting this thing and taking it into their hearts and embracing it and sharing it with other people, and saying "this is our story and you're telling it." Wow. That's why I'm doing this.

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SPURGEON: That grid you're working with, which I assume is something that will look good up on screen. Was that different for you as opposed to a standard comics page?

NEUFELD: Yeah.

SPURGEON: You seemed more confident with it at the end than you were at the beginning.

NEUFELD: It did take time to get used to. You have copies of the book galley, so you can see there are times when I "explode" certain panels out into two-page spreads. There are other points in the book where I got out of the requirements of the on-line grid, which was a nice break after two years of drawing in that same space. Yeah, I would say I never grew to love that format. [Spurgeon laughs] But I understood why it works on-line, and I like how Smith set up that whole site, where you can click through each thing and there are also links and material around it, but you never have to scroll down. For a web-viewing experience, I think it is one of the better things I've seen on-line for reading comics. I'm of two minds. I'm really an old-fashioned cartoonist who still draws on paper with ink and doesn't use a computer for any element except scanning and very basic color stuff.

SPURGEON: You're comics Amish.

NEUFELD: [laughs] Maybe Mennonite.

At the same time, I realize there's a whole potential audience for comics on the web, and that's where a lot of comics will naturally go. There's something very organic to that process. Then there's the whole Scott McCloud question if it's still "comics" -- what about the gutters and the spaces between the panels and the gestalt page? It was like a constraint I had to work with, so I tried to enjoy it and make the most out of it. There's a part of me that like to have a constraint. I think comics themselves are a lot about being creative within tons and tons of constraints. The formalist side of me enjoys having those restrictions and then finding ways to be creative within them. I'm not a formalist in the sense that a lot of the visual experimenters are, but I think about it a lot. So it was a mixed blessing. It was nice to not have to worry too much about crazy layouts and doing all sorts of stuff like that when I was doing it on-line. But when I got to the book, it was really fun and challenging to take everything I had already done and see where I wanted to expand things, and what panels I wanted to feature and where that left holes in the narrative I had to fill. Then the writing and the art had to bounce off each other. It was a fun part of the process, for sure.

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SPURGEON: You mentioned Joe Sacco and Safe Area Gorazde earlier. One of the remarkable things about Sacco's book is the way he gets a sense of texture both out of the way he draws the place and by repeating visual motifs -- chopping and preparing wood is one of the things that's constantly in the background and provides context to what we're seeing. How did you develop the visual world in AD? For instance, I was taken with how you depict water.

NEUFELD: Joe Sacco is so brilliant, and as you say texture is so important to him as an artist. His ability to use cross-hatching and patterning is so beyond me. There was a point years ago where I tried to do some of the same things, and it just didn't jump off the page like his work does -- it made me appreciate it that much more. The style that I'm comfortable in now is much more stripped-down and streamlined, and it's about taking away detail as much as adding it. That was a challenge, because as you say New Orleans is a very specific place with its own visual character. Specific environmental elements were huge factors in the story, all the way through. You mentioned how I did water...?

SPURGEON: There's a malevolence to it. It's very dark and things cut across it in a way that makes the water still and heavy in a way that feels awful.

NEUFELD: That's what I wanted to do with the water more than anything else. The idea of always making the water black was a huge breakthrough for me. I was so happy at that moment. "That's it." I can't draw the water in a way that Joe Sacco might, to convey all the brackishness of it, or the way another artist who works in a "realistic" mode might. But if I make it black, who knows what's underneath there? It becomes this huge force that's everywhere. To get back to your original question, about narrative texture, I thought of the black water as something that tied all the characters' disparate stories together.

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SPURGEON: Another visual motif I thought was interesting was the way you drew crowds.

NEUFELD: I was trying to be very sensitive in my drawings. I didn't want to create stereotypical images of "scared black faces" or "angry black faces" or anything like that. There's such a history in comics of stereotypical presentations of black people. I used a lot of reference, photos of real people from the convention center and the Superdome. I tried to find individual people and put them into the comic. At the same time, I was having fun with the basics of comics storytelling, going back to my mainstream cartoonist past, or the exaggerated art of Tintin. I think there are times I get a little more cartoony in AD. I'm trying to do that for dramatic effect, because most of the time my work is pretty understated -- people having everyday emotions rather than extreme emotions. I wanted to convey to the reader with certain scenes that this is nothing like you've experienced.

imageSPURGEON: I want to discuss the end of the book, where you check back in with certain people as to their experience since the books' major events. First of all, I'd like to know why you did that section. Second, I'd like to know why you went with such a tight storytelling approach there.

NEUFELD: Did it work for you?

SPURGEON: Yeah, it did for the most part. I like the ones with the kid the most. I thought they added a lot to his story.

NEUFELD: That was my wife's input, her telling me we needed more of Kwame. I always thought of his character and the doctor character as standing in for a lot of people's experiences but they weren't so specific that I needed to visit with them a lot. Throughout the course of the book I would try to have certain character's experiences standing in for the rest of the characters' experiences. In terms of losing all your possessions or something, I thought it would be tiresome to go through a litany of all that was lost by all of these characters. So I tried to find the one whose story of lost possessions was the most interesting and imply the other characters had similar experiences.

With the stories that happened afterwards, again that was something that was important to Larry from the beginning. "Let's remember," he said, "this isn't a story only about the hurricane but about the whole city and life goes on and these stories continue. These people's lives shouldn't be marked just by their experiences by three days in August 2005." But how do you pick up your life after these experiences? Plus I grew to know all of these people so well by talking to them all the time and reading their blogs and their journals and telling their stories and getting to know their loved ones. I wanted to tell more about them, show they were not just victims. They're real people like you and me that just continued on with their lives.

SPURGEON: Why do you think there's been a dearth of material about this experience? You mentioned a blog book, but one would think that there would be a lot of books out there like yours. What is the nature of the reluctance to talk about that series of events? I remember visiting New Orleans a few months after the hurricane, and it was amazing how jacked up the city still was. It was like visiting a friend that you sort of knew went through a bad time and you visit them way later and expect them to have bounced back but they're still limping and puffy-faced. It seems there was a vacuum of testimony about the lingering effects.

NEUFELD: It's interesting that you say that, because I think that's true for most people, that there's not been enough interest and follow-up. I guess because I've been deep into it for four years now I feel like I've read a lot of books and articles, and seen a lot of documentaries, and heard a lot of NPR reports. But I'm totally aware that's not true for most of the population, that unless you're making a concerted effort you're not aware as to what's been going on.

This is why the book is coming out when it is, because around August 29th there's going to be a lot of coverage of New Orleans and the hurricane and where things are at now in the gulf coast. There will be a week of that and then it will disappear again. That's just the nature of the news cycle.

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SPURGEON: Do you feel more pressure to provide a document of that time period?

NEUFELD: I did on a personal level, almost a self-glorifying level. "I am now a documenter. I am a chronicler." [Spurgeon laughs] It gives you a bit of a good feeling about yourself, that you have a purpose beyond having a really good story and getting the chance to tell it. It really hit home to me two years ago around this time when I appeared on the syndicated NPR show News and Notes. I did it on Katrina's second anniversary, along with two of the characters, Denise and Leo. It was an existential moment. I was talking about AD, and they were telling their stories. I'm not sure exactly what she said, but Denise said something that made me realize how much she had invested in AD, how she trusted me with this story. She was now a character in this story and she trusted me to tell this all the way through.

That was a profound moment for me. This isn't bullshit. This really means something. This isn't just an artist playing with himself at home in his studio anymore. Now I have people that have trusted me with their stories, that believe I'm going to do right by them. That was sobering and a source of inspiration going forward. Even if it's just those five people. But I've found it to be many more. When I've appeared in New Orleans for publicity, people have come up and told me that they're following AD and thanking me for telling their story -- even though it's not their specific story. It's a new experience for me, let's just put it that way. After toiling in obscurity, this is a whole new thing.

*****

* AD, New Orleans After The Deluge, Josh Neufeld, Pantheon, 208 pages, 9780307378149, August 2009, $24.95

*****

* all images save one taken from the work; photograph by me at a MoCCA Festival.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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FFF Results Post #176 -- Avoidance

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics Characters You Would Cross The Street To Avoid." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Young, Thuggish Denny Eichhorn
2. Young, Thuggish Harvey Pekar
3. The Rhino
4. Lisa Leavenworth
5. Wimpy

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Swarm
2) Arseface
3) Turner D. Century
4) Arm-Fall-Off Boy
5) Any Walking Dead zombie

*****

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Ben Schwartz

1) any "mutie" -- I HATE muties;
2) Charlie Brown -- he's a bummer;
3) Muhammad cartoons -- they start fights!
4) Johnny Ryan characters -- they tend to defecate without warning;
5) DC-owned Superman characters, but not Siegel-owned (on general principle).

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Dirty Frank
2. Fat Freddie
3. Mr. Gloves
4. Golgo 13
5. Torquetto "T.J." Jubbli

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Hell Baby
2. Reid Fleming
3. Doofus
4. The Heap
5. Needledick the Bugfucker

I almost put down The Vanisher.

*****

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Frank Santoro

5. Jesse "Street Angel" Sanchez
4. Bruce Banner
3. Reid Fleming
2. The Tarantula (how does he walk in those shoes?)
1. Milk and Cheese

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Johnny Craig's EC psycho in a Santa suit
2. Oona Goosepimple's adversaries, The Yo-Yos
3. The Comedian
4. The Asp
5. Brother Voodoo (mainly cuz he'd probably be none too happy with how I may've, um, portrayed him over the years--sorry, Bro...)

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Ernesto
2. Simple J. Malarkey
3. Red Robot #C-63
4. Blecky Yuckerella
5. Etrigan

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. Pogeybait
2. Gorgo
3. Spider Jerusalem
4. Brother Power the Geek
5. Death

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. R. Crumb
2. Lucy Van Pelt
3. Gary Groth
4. and 5. Amy & Jordan

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Miss Misery (from Sleeper)
2. The Polecat (LSH reject)
3. Porcupine Pete (Legion of Substitute Heroes)
4. The Cacti (from Steven)
5. Man-Thing

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Joe Btfsplk (Lil Abner)
2. Clonezone (Nexus)
3. Infectious Lass (Legion of Substitute Heroes)
4. Simple J. Malarkey (Pogo)
5. The Snoid (Zap)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Joe Btfsplk
2. Earthquake McGoon
3. Evil Eye Fleegle
4. Romeo Scragg
5. Moonbeam McSwine

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Frank Castle
2. Morgan Edge
3. Granny Goodness
4. Dr. Psycho
5. Terry Long

*****

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Andrew Horton

* Milk & Cheese (they're bound to find SOME reason to glass me in the face with a gin bottle)
* Frankie from "The Goon" (Same reason)
* Cable (I'm not sure I'd be able to walk all the way around his shoulder pads)
* Doctor Light (Holidy Fun-Time Rape Version)
* Willie Lumpkin (Those ears. Those horrible, wiggling ears)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. The Juggernaut
2. The Joker
3. Woozy Winks
4. Joe Btfsplk
5. Pig Pen

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. The Ringmaster
2. Lobo (except that crossing the street is the best way to get him to notice you...)
3. Mr. O'Malley
4. Harry Osborne (needy!)
5. Judy Junior

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Gorilla Grodd
2. Darkseid
3. Galactus
4. The Blob
5. Pig Pen

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Devil Girl
2) Chemo
3) Kingpin
4) Pigpen
5) The Mekon

*****

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Skipper Pickle

1. P'Gell (i'm weak)
3. Susie Derkins (wotta nag)
2. Daimon Hellstrom (wotta boor--"MY dad can beat up YOUR dad" ad nauseum)
4. 9-Jack-9 (not that it would do any good)
5. Death

*****

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Richard Pachter

1. Man-Thing (Giant-sized or otherwise)
2. Cat Grant
3. Brainiac
4. Young Marvelman
5. Etta Candy

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Reggie (from Archie)
2. Random Wilder (from Ice Haven)
3. Devil Girl
4. Bullseye
5. Dr Destiny

*****

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Brandon Graham

1. Young, Thuggish M.o.d.o.k.
2. Young, Thuggish Darkseid.
3. Willy Pete.
4. Spider Jerusalem carrying his Bowel disruptor.
5. Namor.

*****

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Justin J. Major

1) Hank Pym (Avengers)
2) The Lockhorns (The Lockhorns)
3) Gnort (Green Lantern)
4) Uncle Duke (Doonesbury)
5) Cathy (Cathy)

*****

topic suggested by David Welsh

*****
*****
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
First Thought Of The Day

I'm not ready to admit I've wasted my life, but I did spend 40 minutes last night trying to convert the Decline of Doctor Strange/Ascendancy of Brother Voodoo thing into a halfway decent healthcare reform joke.
 
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August 15, 2009


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


explained here










 
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Next Week In Comics-Related Events

August 18
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August 19
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August 22
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August 23
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 8 to August 14, 2009:

1. A decision by a judge in the Siegel/Shuster vs. DC Comics/Time Warner legal tussle awards more of the overall Superman myth to the former group.

2. Yale University Press declines to publish the Danish Muhammad Cartoons over wishes of author who wrote book on controversy.

3. Recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Matt Davies let go by Gannett.

Winners Of The Week
The Siegel and Shuster Families.

Loser Of The Week
The Washington Post.

Quote Of The Week
"Now will Superman's spiritual mother please come forward and let go of her shreds of Superman to the other alleged father/mother, so the baby is salvageable for the people that really care for the characters, the comic book readers that have made the Siegels, the Schusters [sic], DC Comics and Warner Brothers rich?" -- Hervé St-Louis

*****

today's cover is from one of the great publications of the underground comix era

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

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

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posted 8:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Paul Gulacy!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Jim Kingman On Green Lantern, Blackest Night And How The Comics World Is Ordered (8/14/09)
* John Vest On Happy 70th Birthday, Marvel Comics (8/13/09)
* Mimi Cruz On Upcoming Chris Claremont Appareances (PR) (8/12/09)
* James Langdell On What Graphic Novel To Give People (8/12/09)
* John Vest On CR Sunday Feature and Daredevil Omnibus Volume Two (8/9/09)
* William Baker On Barron Storey Signing In LA On August 15 (PR) (8/8/09)
 
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August 14, 2009


Friday Distraction: Kirby Kardz

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posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Truth, Justice And Superman Is Totally Ours, You Stinky, Greedy Siegel Family

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This may be the most wrong-headed comics editorial I've ever read. It reminds me of how fans think, and it underlines all the way the greatest art form in the world has been stunted by the tacit collaboration of such fans with greedy, rapacious assholes who play to their worst qualities. Let me count the ways I dislike this essay.
1) No matter how many times it's asserted in moral terms, fans do not own anything because they're fans of something, even if they feel entitled to that ownership. This is the same kind of ownership a three-year-old feels playing with another kid's toys while the moms sit and visit, combined perhaps with the lovely impulse of an angry drunk bellowing out the hit song's name from the audience when a band is playing their newest stuff and a sprinkle of one of those jerks writing an article that starts with them pulling into JD Salinger's driveway. Just stop.

2) It's "Shuster." Nitpicking? Maybe, but how often do you see "Julius Shwartz?"

3) The Siegel and Shuster families were almost certainly not made rich by any reasonable standard by which most people think of being made wealthy, were not made wealthy by the relative standards in which people servicing the copyright can still today be rewarded, were not made wealthy in comparison to the way the people on the other side of the editor's desk were made wealthy. The director Bryan Singer almost certainly made more money directing one of five Superman films, a film that was not a hit, a film that some people have a hard time even remembering in detail, a film consisting almost entirely of Superman lifting a progression of heavier things, than the Siegel and Shuster families have made their entire lives combined.

4) You don't get to decide how much someone else feels they should be rewarded anyway.

5) Acknowledging the frequently dubious motivations of the corporations doesn't excuse equating how those corporations have acted across their long, recorded histories with one or two actions of a bunch of people with no history at all just because you've convinced yourself those one or two actions fail to meet your approval, nor does it allow you to assign a motivation to them.

6) We're beyond questions of motivation. This isn't a family asking for a stipend or a copyright to be returned or a handout or a kindness or what's right. This is people using the law the exact same way the law was once used against them. If you need to be mad at someone, be mad at the law that has somehow threatened your supply of Superman comic books.

7) It seems to me that there are plenty of goddamn Superman comic books shooting out at all times from every crevice of DC's spongy body, and I haven't seen a single credible person suggest it's likely they will be stopped. It seems to me largely an imaginary argument, as DC has been shown to be a fine custodian of the character in terms of generating moolah -- it's largely agreed upon that who that moolah's gone to is what is in question.

8) If there aren't already enough goddamn Superman comic books, movies, TV shows and licensed material in existence to keep you happy from this moment on until the day you die a 167-year-old man, you are a fucked-up individual. Don't get me wrong: enjoy whatever it is you like, as much of it as you like. But that specific tidal wave of product ending for some reason and leaving you to make do with a pile of material the size of Youngstown, Ohio? That's a top three finisher on A&E's new special "The Top 25 Least Significant Tragedies," starring Bill Kurtis.
I've had personal encounters on-line with Hervé St-Louis, and he's always been very cordial and nice, and I'm sure that these beliefs come from a nice place where people would better value their customers and be grateful for what they have. But as written, this editorial is so wrongheaded it makes my teeth hurt. These ideas shouldn't even exist at this point given what we know about the exploitation rampant in the comics industry and the misery visited upon those so exploited, let alone be trumpeted as a challenge to conventional wisdom. I hate these ideas, and I hate this editorial, and I want these ideas out of comics. The entitlement and underlying nastiness that 95 percent of these people would never dare apply to their own creations and their own families, it simply has to go.

I'll be happy to publish any response, but anything I receive on this matter is being published if I want it published. I'm not interested in a private debate.

Updated: I changed the spelling on "Herve St. Louis" to "Hervé St-Louis" and apologize for the error.
 
posted 5:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Siegels Win Back Krypton And Kal-El?

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Rodrigo Baeza thinks so in his analysis of the recent decision that restored more comics pages and strips to the Siegel Family.
 
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Your 2009 Science Idol Winner

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Editorial Cartoonist Update: Markstein Takes Buyout; Davies Speaks

* Gary Markstein has taken a buyout offered to members of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, says Daryl Cagle at his high-traffic editorial cartooning blog. As the article explains, the also-syndicated strip cartoonist was actually in the design department of that paper, which should allow a smooth transition to the full-time freelance world.

* Alan Gardner of The Daily Cartoonist talks to a still slightly stunned-sounding Matt Davies about the Pulitzer Prize-winner's future plans and the nature and shape of his being let go from his Gannett paper job. Gardner asks a great question that wouldn't have occurred to me: if there was any chance Davies might be hired by the parent corporation as a cartoonist for all its papers, the same way that Hearst hired David Horsey when the Seattle PI was shuttered. The answer is straightforward and kind of heartbreaking for it.
 
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Go, Look: Rekyyli

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I Have Seen The Future And It Kind Of Made Me Shudder

Here. Not comics, but I can totally see this happening in comics, like, tomorrow, and in some ways I'm sure it happens all the time. The main problem I have with this stunt -- beyond the unpleasantness that is basically offering the awesomeness of being associated with someone as a payment when other actors on that same project are taking money rather than awesomeness showers as a reward -- is the same problem I have with a lot of on-line culture projects that use "free," including those in comics: its ultimate success depends on leveraging future paying work from a market that can't help but be diminished by the aggregation of such ploys. This seems very, very different to me than putting one's dues in or simply working a free job or a job that doesn't pay very well, things freelancers routinely do.
 
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Go, Look: The Roots Of Mandrake

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posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Josette Baujot, 1921/1922-2009

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Josette Baujot, the one-time chief colorist at Studios Herge, has died. This is according to a statement by Gilles Ratier of the Association des Critiques et des journalistes de Bande Dessinee that has since become widely circulate on a ton of French-language, comics-focused web sites.

Unfortunately, I know very little about Baujot, let alone what exactly she might have been responsible for doing and that might have meant in contrast with the earlier days of Tintin's production. The sites carrying the statement mention that a character based on her appeared in the last Tintin album and that she either married or was at least the companion to former studiomate the cartoonist Jo-El Azara, but very little beyond that. I am also the opposite of a Tintin scholar. But it occurs to me that if she was responsible for any of the color on any of the albums at all, she at least likely influenced the dreams of millions of children.

(Even the art above is a guess -- it comes from Flight 714 which was later in the series run, but I have no idea of the length of Baujot's term of service there or what exactly she was responsible for doing.)

She was 87 years old.
 
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If I Were In Utah, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Sugar Diet #1 (1984)

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Go, Look: Jeff Lemire's Justice League

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Go, Look: Dracula Part Three

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Mort Meskin Paints

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I haven't been to the Meskin site in years; I think it's the same one
 
posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* not comics: great post from Jeffrey Brown about his encounters with the late director and film writer John Hughes. I assume it's 100 percent true, but maybe it's not. On reflection, I don't care.

* someone please correct me if I have this wrong, but I think this says that Joe Sacco will speak during the Comica Festival in support of his forthcoming Footnotes In Gaza.

image* I love it when Evan Dorkin talks comics of any kind, and here he is talking about the ugliness and overall stupidity of the early X-Men villain The Vanisher, complete with drawing.

* the money raised for writer John Ostrander in order that he may afford surgery to help keep his eyesight has passed the $31,000 mark. Please consider giving.

* it's like it's raining Dan Clowes interviews. I have no idea if that's new, but people are e-mailing it to me like it is.

* not comics: defender of traditional marriages and facilitator of late night standing around and drinking hoping to get a job in comics Doug Manchester is divorcing his wife after 43 years. (via)

* not comics: I remember trying to do this when I was a kid.

* this probably means I'm an elitist jerk, but I read Mike Sterling all the time and I know what comic stores are like and I know how popular the plotline has been and it still seems weird to me to read that everyone that shops at Sterling's store is into the latest Green Lantern saga. Not weird in that I think about it and I want to criticize that subset of readers, because to each his own, but weird in that it just doesn't seem to me how the world is ordered. But it is ordered that way, right?

* not comics: our condolences to Mike Manley.

* you know, as much as I've always been confident in newspapers' ability to survive the loss of their display advertising monopoly, it seems to me they should be ten years past that many publications needing what looks to be fundamental help with their on-line operations. Great idea for a business, though.

* let the healing begin.

* finally, Ruben Bolling continues to kill me.
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, John Costanza!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Gary Larson!

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Quick hits
Craft
Nick Abadzis Sketches

Exhibits/Events
Go See Brian Fies In 2010

History
Colin Panetta On The Bridge Is Over
I'm Happy To Report I Can Name Zero

Industry
The Best Comic Stores In The Twin Cities

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Dean Haspiel
FPI Blog: Mike Allwood
About.com: NaRae Lee
Newsarama: Karl Kerschl
Jazma Online: Paul Guinan
Exquisite Things: Antony Johnston

Not Comics
More On Pynchon And Comics
Great ASIFA Re-Run On Clair Weeks

Publishing
Nate Neal Book Previewed
Zak Sally Collection Previewed

Reviews
Chris Allen: Various
Richard Pachter: Various
David Welsh: Asterios Polyp
Charles Yoakum: The Hunter
Rob Clough: Masterpiece Comics
Francis Bergese: Buck Danny Vol. 1
Snow Wildsmith: Cirque du Freak Vol. 1
Don MacPherson: Adventure Comics #1
Andy Frisk: Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Q
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Big Skinny
Richard Bruton: The Banal Pig Landscape Anthology
 

 
August 13, 2009


Go, Look: Once More, With Feeling

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an early, early, early collaboration between Scott McCloud and Kurt Busiek. well, part of one, anyway. it's a lot more sophisticated than my same-age comic book: "liquor bottles, heavy metal band logos and naked pictures of girls who won't talk to me"
 
posted 4:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

I believe the initial publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons in Jyllands-Posten was an irresponsible free speech stunt by an organization acting less like a fount for journalism than as a participatory member of the broad-sense political community. At best you can say they hoped to instigate a dialogue, a dialogue that somehow got away from them so badly the whole matter ended in boycotts and riots and political turmoil and the death of 200 people.

However, as strongly as I'll always criticize that initial action, once the cartoons became news I think it was on every journalistic source in the world to re-run them and show their readers this crucial information of what these objects causing riots and death actually looked like. Dispensing that knowledge best served the duty journalism calls us to embrace in terms of informing and educating our readerships, no matter how big or how small, no matter how heavy it makes our hearts in doing so, no matter how scared we might be.

Therefore you can imagine how I feel about Yale University Press' decision to not run the cartoons in a book on the affair. I think it's ludicrous. I think it's ten thousand dirty-word qualifiers dumb, an abdication of responsibility and I condemn it with all the force I can muster.

thank you, Robert Boyd
 
posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
So Exactly Which Comic Arts Art Gallery Did George Lucas Own In The '70s?

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"I own a comic gallery, an art gallery in New York that sells comic art and stuff; the guy that runs the art gallery also runs a comic store and we do a lot of business in France." -- George Lucas, Rolling Stone, 1977

I feel like I should know this but I don't.

Update: The answer is Supersnipe Comic Art Emporium.

thanks, Gabe Carras

 
posted 4:32 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Discovery of Russell Keaton Script And Blog Mention Of Same Leads To Favorable Siegel Family Ruling

Jeff Trexler's fine reportage on the ongoing Siegel Family vs. Time Warner case regarding their re-established rights to Superman and his world continues with the acknowledgment of a recent ruling that gives the Siegels more of the Superman landscape than they had before. The key was a blog posting by Denis Kitchen about material found in the possession of Russell Keaton's widow that indicates certain parts of the early Superman comics were written in a fashion different than that necessary to make them clear product of a work for hire relationship. Trexler links to that decision in PDF form here.
 
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Go, Read: Batman Via Howard Chaykin

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posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Matt Davies Let Go From Journal-News

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Just five years off of an awards season where he took home both the Pulitzer Prize and the first Herblock Prize, Matt Davies has become a casualty of job eliminations at newspaper giant Gannett. He worked for the Journal News in Westchester, New York, and has held that position since 1993. Davies apparently made the announcement via his Facebook page. He will leave his job on August 28. He has been distributed by Tribune Media Services; it's unclear whether or not he'll continue to do cartoons for syndication in the immediate future.

Darryl Cagle's blog posting also notes that Davies won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Award and he's a past president of the longtime editorial cartooning advocacy group the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

That a very recent Pulitzer winner can be eliminated without much if anything in the way of shock, outrage or dismay shows both the general state of newspaper decline and the specific toll it has taken on the editorial cartooning vocation. I believe there were just over 20 positions lost in 2008, and it seems to me the number of staffed positions has to be somewhere in the middle double-digits rather than the high double-digits as it's often still claimed.
 
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Go, Look: Crimeboss Gallery

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How NYCC Stays Viable Until '10

Okay, they really don't need to stay viable as pretty much everyone knows what a comics convention is by now and it's not like that knowledge will slip away as NYCC moves its show from Spring to Fall in 2010. But it should be interesting to note how Reed will keep the New York Comic Con name out there. The latest via PR is that they will have a significant presence at Brooklyn Book Festival, which should also give them a chance to publicize their forthcoming New York Anime Festival. Heidi MacDonald has the full PR up here, and some commentary from Brooklyn-based cartoonists surprised by the announcement.

I know this is fairly press-releasey, too, but I think it's interesting to see how NYCC seeks to bolster its identity by offering up comics-related services and programming in other venues.
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: 2007 Le Dernier Cri Exhibit

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I don't think I ever saw these photos
 
posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Specific Kind Of Article You Don't Seem To See As Much As You Used To

I haven't seen one of these articles in a while, and it used to feel like they were pretty common: a profile of a suspected murderer that includes likes and dislikes that extend into specifics of the comics world. I'm not sure that there's anything noteworthy about such an article in and of itself -- everybody has to be into something, even people whose lives have taken an awful turn -- but the matter of fact way in which certain facts are rattled off and placed in context seems slightly different now with comics sort-of increased exposure. Or at least it does to me.
 
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If I Were In Utah, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Bagnall's Retreat

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Go, Look: The Desert Rat!

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scroll down
 
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Go, Look: Dudley & The Dumb Belles!

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Go, Look: Multiforce Drawings

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via
 
posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* according to my e-mail inbox, which I tend to believe on the majority of non-financial, non-Platinum and non-penile matters, Marc Mason will be doing PR for NBM now. Good. I like Marc Mason.

* the writer Gail Simone provides an update on efforts to assist John Ostrander in getting surgery for a degenerative eye problem, and may god bless her.

image* the critic Jeet Heer looks at the dark side of Carl Barks, and tries to convince you that you always knew it was there.

* the Jessica Abel, Jason Little and Matthew Thurber Conversational Comics event has audio up here.

* let's hope this continues: Chris Allen takes initial steps to fold his old Breakdowns effort into his current blog.

* prominent blogger Don MacPherson speculates the crap out of what might be in a forthcoming Joe Kubert volume coming from DC. Could it be Wednesday Comics related? What else is there left to publish from Kubert's long DC career?

* writer and cartoonist Jeff Parker takes a moment to remember the late artist Mike Wieringo two years after his passing.

* Brian Heater profiles Top Shelf for AppScout.

* not comics: I thought this a nifty piece of bloggery.

* not comics: the Spider-Man musical may be dead. I already don't miss it. No confirmation that the planned villain was The Boondoggle. New York theater fans may have to console themselves with James Bond Vs. Wolverine, whom I believe are playing the most ruggedly handsome, least body-fat sporting Chicago police officers ever.

* the always-valuable Mike Lynch has a lengthy post up about the cartooning business from his valuable perspective. They're taken from questions sent in, I think.

* finally, I guess there's some newsworthiness in Playboy doing an excerpt from Inglorious Basterds in comics form, although to call the final result a "graphic novel" seems odd to me and the whole thing smacks of "help us promote our stuff -- now!" so I'm glad I have this option. The interesting part to me isn't Tarantino's involvement or what looks to be a snappy old-school magazine approach from artist RM Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco, but that according to PR this is the third time the magazine has done this. They're not trend-hopping with the comics: it's a revival of something they did in the early '70s for Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) (1972) and Young Frankenstein (1974), so in essence it's probably the least-mentioned of all Playboy's many contributions to comics. As having cartoons of any kind in Playboy seems to be in some danger these days, being reminded of all the different ways that publication has used comics in the past becomes sort of poignant. The print magazine with the excerpt is out this Friday, and probably features some young celebrity woman they don't have posing naked inside or a once-famous lady in her 40s that they do.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Donna Barr!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Shannon Wheeler!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Bret Blevins!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Makes A Cover
Nick Gazin Draws Johnny Ryan

Exhibits/Events
LACMA Wants Your Comics Stuff

History
On Eugene Zimmerman
Comics Enriched Their Lives: George Lucas

Industry
Looking At Tate's
Comic Design Competition
New Stuff In The Bone Store
The Worst Post Mike Sterling Ever Made
What The Amazon Sales Rankings Mean

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Marcus To
Talking With Dan Clowes
Marvel.com: Junko Mizuno

Not Comics
To Meet Women?

Publishing
On Big Funny
Wait, What? 4.1
Cat Burglar Black Previewed
Years Of The Elephant Previewed
More Images From The Playwright
The Next Jim Woodring Is Apparently Awesome

Reviews
Jog: Prison Pit Vol. 1
Brian Heater: The Nobody
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Zak Edwards: Ultimatum #5
El Santo: AD, After The Deluge
David Welsh: Detective Comics
Johanna Draper Carlson: Marvel Divas #2
Michael C. Lorah: Batman: Ego and Other Tails
 

 
August 12, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I've heard that both The Hunter from IDW and Asterios Polyp from Pantheon are headed into second printings, good news for the late-summer, early-fall comics market and for those two books and their publishers individually. The IDW news (which I think they've confirmed) is noteworthy in that that company generously overprinted on the first time around, and doesn't have a lot of experience with books tailored to that end of the market. This would be important from Pantheon's perspective (and if true, as they haven't confirmed) in part because it's been at least a little while since that imprint has had a solid sales performer. And they're both fine books. I hope retailer orders can be re-filled with as little interruption as possible.

* missed it: Geoff Grogan of Look Out! Monsters and Kevin Mutch of Blurred Vision have started a blog called Next Issue!, which they hope will facilitate polite discussions of comics and related popular arts.

image* the talented mainstream comics writer (and too-infrequent indy cartoonist) Jeff Parker will take over Marvel's Thunderbolts comic book and talked about it at last weekend's Chicago convention. He's really settled into place at that company, it seems. I always liked the idea of the Thunderbolts comic even though I don't think I've ever read more than ten pages of one. Having a title devoted to revitalizing bad guys is such a Marvel Right Now thing. Why should that half of the intellectual property not be refurbished at every opportunity? It used to be you didn't see a lot of Marvel villains again until Mark Gruenwald rounded them up to be slaughtered in a bar or you needed two new members of the Circus of Crime.

* it's all very out-there-already information about imminent books, but last Sunday's CR Feature on some of Fall 2009's best books may intrigue some of you that come here looking for forthcoming titles.

* "Tokyopop To Publish More Benjamin": I don't know the comics, but I like the cover. It's pretty. That's an old one from the same artist/studio I've slotted below.

* I've already mentioned this elsewhere, but there are some future plans at Fantagraphics items poking out of this interview with Eric Reynolds at Publishers Weekly. For instance, MOME is at the point it's spinning off its first few collections: Tim Hensley and Dash Shaw books at Fantagraphics, and a Paul Hornschemeier book at Villard.

* finally, here's the full PR for Fantagraphics' move into publishing Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. I forgot to link to it last week. A couple of interesting things: they'll be doing this in a kind of enhanced softcover editions rather than hardcovers it sounds like, and they'll be doing volume two first because of archival concerns.

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posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Gene Colan Taken To Hospital Monday; Expected Back Home Soon

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The Hero Initiative has a short report and a place you can send cards and other greetings-type things. We add our voice to the chorus of those wishing the classy mainstream comics iconoclast a full and rapid recovery.

This may not be the place to say it, but it'd sure be nice if Marvel would think about cutting some of its greatest contributing artists a bigger slice of that 70th Anniversary cake. I think a way could be found to do this without exposing anyone on any side to a great deal of risk.
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bob Muirhead, 1942/43-2009

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The Salmon Arm Observer reports that their cartoonist of 20 years, Bob Muirhead, died on Sunday in his home. Muirhead was a school counselor as a day job but managed to become a prolific editorial cartoonist on the side, providing 20 years worth of weekly cartoons to the newspaper and participating in several regional and small paper contests along the way (the above is a 2005 contest winner). Muirhead was also syndicated, which allowed the cartoonist to comment on matters outside of the small town. Muirhead moved to Salmon Arm from Vancouver, where he had worked for that city's school system. The memorial article notes Muirhead's struggle to return to the drawing board after a stroke a few years ago. He was 66 years old.
 
posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: Ink Mountain

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thanks, Robin McConnell
 
posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
France 24 Explores Cartoon Reaction To The Conviction Of Aung San Suu Kyi

It's here. The anchors don't seem all the way comfortable, but using cartoons to enter into an issue and kind of explore the political territory involved is a practice that stretches back to elementary schools, and I don't see any reason it can't be employed on a regular basis for those of us not exactly up on news from places not our home countries.
 
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Go, Look: Top Ten Superman Villains

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Submissions Now Open For Isotope Award For Excellence In Mini-Comics

imageJames Sime has announced his store's seventh annual contest to name the best mini-comic out there. Other than the fact that they'll clearly let anyone judge the awards, I think this kind of contest and opportunity for exposure and feedback is a good thing and encourage anyone that has a chance to accept the award from Sime and Company during APE to submit. The most prominent past winner in terms of classic alt-comics circles is probably Josh Cotter of Skyscrapers Of The Midwest.

It is also the comics award that you'd choose to employ a weapon, were this required.
 
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If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: This Day In History

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Go, Look: Jose Feitor

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Go, Look: Nelson Harding

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Go, Look: Dennis Worden Site

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posted 3:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* if only Mr. Yellow Hat had come out against health insurance being made more widely available in comics instead of Rob Liefeld's drawing ability.

image* the cultural historian and critic Jeet Heer takes on the subject of Felix the Cat and black face.

* there's a nice exchange between the writer Gil Roth and the cartoonist Richard Sala regarding some ten-year-old review and interview stuff here.

* not comics: Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead is headed to AMC with director Frank Darabont spearheading the adaptation of the comic book into prestige series form. That seems like a good fit for a very effective and consistently well-done mainstream comic book -- one of the important comics of this decade.

* I can't remember from whom I initially bookmarked this, so I apologize to that person, and I haven't read it yet, but it's apparently part of a feature on Rob Liefeld killed by Wizard...?

* the New York Times talks sales and success via Unknown Soldier.

* a friend of mine gave me some e-mail grief over my joking my way through the question of what graphic novel you give someone who hasn't read one before. I wasn't kidding for the sake of kidding; I just don't have a serious answer for that question. I don't generally suggest reading material to my friends, first of all. If I did I guess I'd suggest something in a genre they like or on a topic they find interesting. My Mom liked Persepolis; a lot of my friends growing up enjoyed Bob Burden's stuff; Matt Groening's books were on every beat-up coffee table in every ramshackle house with a bad nickname I shared during college; I had a hard time keeping Fun Home in the house. Some of the people I know would rather vomit something bright yellow on my outstretched, funnybook-bearing arm than ever read a comic. Everyone's different.

* although now that I think of it, there is a comics collection I've given out more times than any other trade paperback as a gift -- maybe 12 to 15 times now -- and no one's complained. It's probably not what you think. Great book, though.

* the recently-unretired Bill Schorr discusses his return to editorial cartooning.

* I think we can all agree that Silverton, Oregon's "Homer Davenport Days" may be the most awesome thing named after a cartoonist that's not a wildlife refuge.

* anything I write here will be construed as something I didn't intend to say.

* finally, there's a fun interview with Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds at PW here. Reynolds talks about how Fantagraphics changed his life and some of the forthcoming books from that company in which he's perhaps more directly involved.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 27th Birthday, Chris Sims!

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at least I think it's 27; I may have just assigned him an age
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
CCI In Pictures (Friday)
ICv2.com General CCC Report
How The Beguiling Celebrated Marvel's 70th

History
Timeless Heroes
The Days Of Real Pants
The History Of Irish Comics 01
Great Peter David Anecdote In Opener
Larry Marder Wishes Marvel A Happy 70th

Industry
Advice For Young'uns

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Peter David
Vice: Johnny Ryan
Marvel.com: Jason
CBR: Brian Michael Bendis

Not Comics
Apartment 3-G Furniture

Publishing
Incognito Is Done
SLG Is All Phoned Up Now
Evan Dorkin On Daily Dose Of Fun

Reviews
Jon: Locas Vol. 2
Sean T. Collins: Various
Rob Clough: Talking Lines
Richard Bruton: Orbital Vol. 2
Katherine Dacey: Bayou Vol. 1
Leroy Douresseaux: Black Lagoon Vol. 7
Johanna Draper Carlson: Hikaru no Go Vol. 16
Greg McElhatton: Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Vol. 1
 

 
August 11, 2009


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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick them up and fan myself.

*****

JUN090468 ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #1 $3.99
JUN090471 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1 $3.99
The re-launch of Marvel's not quite our regular comics comics series; I'm not sure exactly how they differentiate these books from the rest of them anymore.

JUN090755 OLD MAN WINTER & OTHER SORDID TALES GN (MR) $6.95
Xeric winner, plus a very persistent young persons who always seems worried that I've lost the copy I was sent.

JUN090602 DOMINIC FORTUNE #1 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99
JUN090953 STARSTRUCK #1 $3.99
Return of the overgrounds! The more compelling title to me is the Starstruck stuff; I'm not sure exactly what this is and what's in any individual issues, but I'm interested in finding out.

MAY090050 MARQUIS TP VOL 01 INFERNO $24.95
This is Guy Davis' solo project finally all collected, maybe?

JUN090051 BPRD 1947 #2 (OF 5) $2.99
JUN090053 HELLBOY WILD HUNT #5 (OF 8) $2.99

There's a time in my life that I would have been doing handsprings and cartwheels at having so many high-quality books being directed by such a fine and idiosyncratic creator. Okay, maybe not handsprings and cartwheels, because I could never do those things, but I would have waved a fork around with a chicken nugget on it or something. But seriously: these seem like solid, entertaining mainstream books to me.

APR090060 EERIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 02 $49.95
That price point is death for me, but I'd love to take a look at this stuff and see what's in there.

APR090212 SANDMAN BY JOE SIMON AND JACK KIRBY HC $39.99
I have no idea if this stuff is any good, but it's Kirby, so I'm looking at it.

JUN090140 WEDNESDAY COMICS #6 (OF 12) $3.99
I love the idea of this, but I have to be honest that I had a chance to buy a couple of copies in Burbank the other week and I ended up taking a pass.

MAY090320 INVINCIBLE TP VOL 11 HAPPY DAYS $16.99
JUN090332 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 10 WHAT WE BECOME $14.99
Am I crazy to think that these two popular Robert Kirkman trade series should have spaced out a little more scheduling wise?

JUN090538 INCREDIBLE HERCULES #132 $2.99
What all the kids that don't read superhero comics while still totally reading superhero comics are into these days.

MAY090988 BIG KAHN GN $13.95
I heard that if you don't like this tale of a rabbi's family recovering after finding out the patriarch wasn't even born Jewish and sure isn't a rabbi, Calvin Reid will personally send you an e-mail saying he's sorry. I just read it and I like it just fine.

*****

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

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

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

If I didn't list your comic, please take consolation in the fact I'm lonely and alone.

*****

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posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 70th Birthday, Marvel Comics!

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Ironically, I can't go to my local comic shop to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Martin Goodman's comic book company because Marvel policies from the 1990s closed down my local comic shop.

Here's a good way to celebrate Marvel's anniversary.
 
posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Post Passes On McNamara Cartoon

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Kudos to Michael Cavna at Comic Riffs for reporting that the mothership Washington Post has decided, again, to avoid any hint of turmoil and complaint that might come from reprinting a strip, a judgment made according to a nose so sensitive it should be employed to dig up the controversy equivalent to truffles. In other words, the Post made another of their depressing decisions not to let a veteran cartoonist have their platform when that cartoonist seems to be simply following their muse, all because someone out there might get upset by it. Cavna makes a strong argument that a cartoon with more clarity might have been more amenable to the Post editors, but I'm having a hard time seeing how the broad version could be misinterpreted by an angry reader in a way that a more specific version would keep them from hating it. You can see the full cartoon here.
 
posted 4:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Are The Same The World Over

Well, comics people are much the same, apparently. In a move that actually made Le Soir and through it international wire reports, Moulinsart has shut down the blog of its president Nick Rodwell after Rodwell used it to go after journalists that had been critical of him in the past. In the part of its statement reprinted at ActuaBD.com, Moulinsart seems to imply that negative reaction filled the comments of the blog that frequently had little to do with the content of the specific blog post. Sounds lovely, and it's not difficult to see something similar happen here except maybe the part about gigantic newspapers picking up on it.
 
posted 4:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Recent Cartoonists In Retirement News

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Kyle Storey at the Prince George Citizen notes the recent farewell party for the Vancouver Sun's longtime cartoonist Roy Peterson, and notes in very strong terms what the culture loses when an opinion-maker as formidable as Peterson is shunted to the side.

*****

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Daryl Cagle at Cagle Cartoons notes the welcome return of longtime editorial cartooning fixture Bill Schorr to the ranks of active opinion-makers. He had announced an abrupt retirement in March. Schorr is probably best known for a long stay at the Kansas City Star during which he was widely syndicated. He is a former NCS division award winner for editorial cartooning.
 
posted 4:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Zapiro: Zuma's Showerhead Nearby

It's easy to make too much of something like this, but I still find remarkable that articles about the first 100 days in Jacob Zuma's South African presidency go so quickly to cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro as a reference point. This underlines Zapiro's stature and his close to the point of intimacy political relationship with President Zuma.
 
posted 4:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Kevin Huizenga Calls For A Read Comics All Day Event; Join The Cause

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Okay, it's not really a cause, nor is he quite calling for an event, but a "Read Comics All Day" events sure sounds good too me.
 
posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Good Questions Dept.: Can The Chicago Show Just Past Be A Comic-Con?

ICv2.com correctly points out that Wizard's strategies of re-branding its shows without the name "Wizard" seems to count on the use of the term "Comic-Con," and that the folks that run Comic-Con International have that term trademarked. They uncover that the Wizard-related group's application for a "Chicago Comic-Con" trademark was denied, which I did not know, and that they ran with it anyway. They've also run a statement or two from the San Diego-based group's David Glanzer that they remain concerned. One interesting aspect the article also mentions is that CCI has let groups like Baltimore Comic-Con use the term without pursuing their right to it, to which Glanzer responds by asserting a difference between non-competitive shows and potentially competitive ones. Good article, and I hope that the San Diego group goes after what's theirs -- I think people will confuse them when making decisions about which area show to go to. Maybe Reed can pick up their court costs.
 
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If I Were In NYC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland Or Seattle, I'd Go To This

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Go Look: Missouri Float Trip Origins

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Go Look: Werewolf Of Washington Square

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Go Look: Dudley Fisher

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Go Look: Arrowhead

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this review by Dan Nadel of Darwyn Cooke's The Hunter is the first negative review of the book that anyone I know knows about.

image* the prominent blogger and retailer Chris Butcher is apparently going to spend a year or so running gags from Evan Dorkin at his widely-read Comics212.net.

* the comics world is reminded via firm application of press material that Batton Lash celebrates not one but two comics anniversaries this year.

* not comics: Stuart Immonen posts a memorable John Hughes movie snippet. This is the first memorial to Hughes where I haven't found myself instantly familiar with the excerpt employed, which is somehow gratifying to me in that I paid no attention to Hughes' work when he was alive and am fairly freaked out how much I remember of his work now that he's gone. The movie moment gets a little silly, but I like the idea -- there is no better Chicago experience than going to the Art Institute to stare at that painting for a while, except maybe going to one of the paintings nearby and kissing Mia Sara.

* birthday boy plus one day Eddie Campbell reminds us that a big under-one-cover edition of his Bacchus material will follow up the Alec omnibus that's coming out this Fall. The Alec book continues its march through the printing process.

* finally, Brett Warnock walks us all through his San Diego comics pick-ups. I regret not doing one of these myself, because that kind of feature is an easy way to focus on the work being published and under the spotlight at such a show as opposed to endless talk about fan culture or whatever. It would also have helped if I had collected my San Diego comics haul like an adult rather than stuffed into various suitcase pockets like a seven-year-old kid.
 
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Happy 45th Birthday, Jim Lee!

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posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Really Great Jim Lee Con Sketch

Exhibits/Events
Inkwads Opening Reports

History
Your Daily Dose Of Fun
Thomas Dangerfield Writes A Letter
Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones, 1972

Industry
Jeff Koterba's Editorial Cartooning Presentation From CCI

Interviews/Profiles
Artforum: Andrei Molotiu
LAT: Sergio Aragones 01
LAT: Sergio Aragones 02
Marvel.com: Peter Bagge
Marvel.com: Johnny Ryan
CBR: Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber

Not Comics
It's The Writing, Stupid
J. Caleb Mozzocco Was Robbed!
Jog On GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
Mike Sterling On GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

Publishing
Strange Times Up For Free
Warren Ellis Introduces James Stokoe
Don't Forget The Streets Of San Diablo
Craig Thompson Re-Writing In Ballpoint Pen

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Vanja: Johnny Monster #1-3
Richard Bruton: Secret Identity
Ed Sizemore: Minima! Vols. 2-3
Greg McElhatton: Doom Patrol #1
Sean T. Collins: Squadron Supreme
Kristin Fletcher-Spear: Bloody Kiss Vol. 1
Nina Stone: Buffy The Vampire Slayer #27
Johanna Draper Carlson: Festering Romance
Leroy Douresseaux: Makoto Tateno's Angelic Runes Vol. 1
 

 
August 10, 2009


Debating The Legacy Of Harry Horse

There was a nice piece at The Scotsman over the weekend about a new play featuring the work and life of the late cartoonist Harry Horse and how the attention given that show might be employed by Horse's family to argue aspects of his legacy. That's to be expected: an artistic effort tends to do that, but then you may remember that the item #1 up for debate concerning Horse's legacy is how he died: a murder-suicide implemented by knife that included his Multiple Sclerosis-suffering, wheelchair-bound wife Mandy. You get the Horse family's side of things here, and it's heartbreaking to hear someone having to make such stark distinctions within an event that's so generally tragic.
 
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Your '09 Best Graphic Story Hugo Winner

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The first "Best Graphic Story" category winner being named was among the highlights of this weekend's Hugo Awards results. That winner was Girl Genius, Volume Eight: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, from the writing team of Kaja & Phil Foglio, Phil Foglio on the art and Cheyenne Wright on Colors from their own web/print company Airship Entertainment. The Hugo Awards are a science fiction awards with a 50-plus year history, and were held this year at Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, concluding today in Montreal.
 
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Disrespectful Actions Taken By H.A. Rey Character Towards Rob Liefeld Enrages Professional Community

Although to be fair, "Man With Yellow Hat's Third-Favorite Nephew Overly-Entitled Comic Book Fan With Yellow Cap" has always been one of the classic children's series' least popular characters, having only appeared in 1996's "Curious George Meets Hart Fisher" and 2007's underrated "Curious George Throws Feces At Random Actors From The Stargate Franchise."
 
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Go, Look: CDS Pool Cartoon

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Now And For Always: It's Crack Whore

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The AV Club asks what graphic novel you lend to a first-time reader, and the Forbidden Planet International blog wants to know a little bit more about that person before they make that recommendation. I've made my feelings on this subject quite clear.
 
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Go, Look: Site Devoted To Floating World's Second Bill Mantlo Benefit

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It totally escaped my attention that Floating World was doing a second benefit for Bill Mantlo in the form of contributed ROM: Spaceknight art, but the December show already has its own devoted web site. I think most of what's up there might be from the first show.

thanks, David Lasky
 
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The Best American Comics 2009 Line-Up

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Here's the line-up of stories from the soon-to-be-published The Best American Comics, edited by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden with this time's super-special guest-star editor Charles Burns. I don't suppose they're a big secret or anything, but I thought many of you might be interested:

* "Shh!" Tim Hensley, MOME
* "Justin M. Damiano," Daniel Clowes, The Book Of Other People
* "Artist Vs. Artisan," Peter Bagge, Apocalypse Nerd
* Various Strips, Kaz, Underworld
* "Hillbillys 'R' Dumb," Doug Allen, Hotwire
* "Why I Only Write About Myself," Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Comic Art
* "Our Beloved Tape Dispenser," Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, The New Yorker
* "Indian Spirit Twain & Einstein," Michael Kupperman, Tales Designed To Thrizzle
* "Spirit Duplicator," Dan Zettwoch, Comic Art
* "The Company," Matt Broersma, excerpted from Insomnia
* "Shortcomings," Adrian Tomine, excerpted from Shortcomings
* "Over Easy," Mimi Pond, excerpted from www.mimipond.com
* "Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@#*!!," Art Spiegelman, Virginia Quarterly Review
* "Cruddy," Ron Rege Jr., Against Pain
* "When I Was Eleven," Gabrielle Bell, Lucky
* "Gropius in 'Ring Tones'," Tim Hensley, MOME
* "Dal Tokyo," Gary Panter, Riddim
* Various Shorts, Ben Katchor, Metropolis
* Various Shorts, Jerry Moriarty, Comic Art
* "Mosfet Warlock and the Mechlin Men," CF, Powr Mastrs
* Various Shorts, David Sandlin, Hotwire
* "The Galactic Funnels," Dash Shaw, MOME
* "Berlin," Jason Lutes, excerpted from Berlin
* Various Strips, Tony Millionaire, Maakies With The Wrinkled Knees
* "Black Death," Sammy Harkham, Crickets
* "Jordan W. Lint," Chris Ware, Virginia Quarterly Review
* "Fuzz & Pluck In Splitsville," Ted Stearn, excerpted from Fuzz & Pluck in Splitsville
* "Freaks," Laura Park, Superior Showcase
* "Skim," Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, excerpted from Skim
* "Antoinette," Koren Shadmi, Blurred Vision
* "Glenn Ganges In Pulverize," Kevin Huizenga, Ganges
* "Jillian In The Argument," Tim Hensley, MOME
* "5:45 AM," Al Columbia, MOME
* "Papa," Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets
* excerpt from "The Hand That Feeds," Anders Nilsen, Big Questions
* "Hope Gropius," Tim Hensley, MOME

That sounds like a good line-up, and when you think of this one and the one done recently by Lynda Barry, it speaks well to what Abel and Madden have been able to do since taking over the reigns.
 
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The Only Question About CCC Is If There Was Enough Energy There To Generate Some PR Spin

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The Great Lowered Expectations Con, aka Chicago Comic-Con, the show previously known as Wizardworld Chicago, took place over the weekend. (You may have seen reports and photos at places other than Wizard's own site.) Other than the overwhelming positive that is money raised for John Ostrander and his struggle to avoid blindness, the shape of the rest of the news will likely form over the next few days. This is one of those shows where the show itself and its relative level success is the news over anything that might have been reported at the show.

The stakes are reasonably high: a struggling Wizard brand is trying to find its way in the post easy-display-advertising-sales and print-publication-sales-out-the-wazoo era. Part of that reboot seems like it will involve conventions not bearing the Wizard name. Of the Wizard branded conventions that could make the transition the one that seems most salvageable and transferable is the Chicago show, traditionally and even recently North America's #2 comic book show. Thus the name change. Wizard must continue to run a successful Chicago with increasingly limited resources and now under pressure of some level of assault from convention giant Reed, whose Chicago show launches next April.

I strongly suspect without looking at anything other than the headlines at CBR to find an Ostrander article that we'll hear about surprisingly good and perhaps even enthusiastic crowds -- Chicago-area mainstream comics fans are awesome to behold -- and fun had by people looking for the general joys of convention-going: various celebrities ranging from D-list to A-minus signing autographs, top-of-the-line mainstream comics pros doing the same and selling art, shaking the hand of the man that once drew the Taskmaster or whatever, laidback panels, dressing up in costume. Still, no one on earth will really believe a 75,000 attendance figure if one surfaces. As for the future, who can say? The seams will have shown enough for enough people to question the continued viability of the show, but expectations will also have been low enough that it seems more likely than it did a month ago that the show will remain a factor on the convention calendar. It seems to me from an initial impression that Wizard's performance was equivalent to Tom Cruise's box office referendum via Valkyrie: it was good enough boosters could argue it as a non-failure. Since that's more than some predicted, there's a chance there for them to keep going with some version of the show if they can take care of very real business trauma elsewhere in their empire. Admittedly, there's a huge difference between putting on one lowered-expectations show and making a run out of them, but things look better for Wizard than they before the show. I wouldn't be surprised by any outcome.

So now a region of comics fans adjusts their big shoulder and casts their eyes on C2E2. Reed has the advantage of a much better relationship with big-time comics companies and a much greater holding bag of professional resources. But it should be noted that Wizard has a few advantages over the Reed show that may yet come to bear: those lowered expectations against the much, much higher standards that will exist for the Reed show's debut; the out-of-city location for Wizard which is convenient for not only suburbanites who sometimes grumble about coming into Chicago proper but also allows easy access for fans of the region; a name that seems to me easier to sell locally; and a calendar date that may make it easier for out-of-towners to schedule a trip and builds on habits from previous years. It should be fun to watch what happens.
 
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Go, Look: More Free Beasts Of Burden

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Go, Look: A Don Orehek Short Story From Yankee Doodle Dandies

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Go, Look: The Hangman

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Go, Look: Secret Files Of Dr. Drew

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the town where Doug Wright lived the last 17 years of his life has named a street and park after the cartoonist.

* dear PR people: why it may be very exciting for you to have a book hit one of the still-new New York Times chart for comics and graphic novels, since there are 30 books so honored books every times the charts come out I need a little more than your excitement for me to be able to do anything with it.

image* I very much like it when writers about comics interrupt what they usually do to enthuse over the content of a comic, in this case Gary Tyrrell and recent developments in Achewood.

* the great Eddie Campbell talks about movie pitches and comics.

* not comics: there is probably a good article to be written about the hyper-infantilization of entertainment product, but this isn't quite it. There's something there, though. I remain fascinated by people who are disinterested in certain kinds of entertainment product but either brood about or even experience them relentlessly -- Scott's essay gets me thinking about those people, I don't consider it an example -- and wonder if the idea of viewing movies as this kind of general cultural imperative the way it's presented to us in articles like this isn't a big part of why our biggest entertainments tend to be so dumb. I also suspect that money plays a bigger role than we think: movies like Public Enemies and the Pelham remake are starting to work with audiences according to the same expectations as a giant robot movie because they're made according to the dictates of the same culture of economic excess. The Hurt Locker stuff in Scott's essay is pretty fascinating, however, how this simply can't be viewed as a hit movie coming out of the gate. An even better example was brought up recently by I think Adam Corolla and Bill Simmons of all people where you compare the trailer to Fame and its forthcoming remake and the earlier movie looks less like the mainstream entertainment it was 25 years ago and more like some super-hardcore indy film. Comics has something similar -- in shops 30 years ago you could routinely find early indies like Love and Rockets and Elfquest on the stands, and now stores like my local consider something like Marvel's Hellcat mini-series from last year a bit too out there to stock.

* the writer Kevin Church discusses superheroes with guns as a way to talk himself out of a new Ultimate Avengers reboot. It's interesting to me primarily because Church looks at it -- at least in part -- from the perspective that guns seem ridiculous given the general power levels of the character. I think he's right. My memory is that back when characters like The Punisher were introduced, guns seemed like a Gordian Knot-type solution mostly because the power levels weren't quite that extreme. Guns were more extreme than Spider-Man. So "just shoot them; brilliant" has become "just try and shoot them, dumbass" in the 35 years, since. I'm not sure which way is better.

* the prominent blogger J. Caleb Mozzocco writes at some length about the This Is A Comic Book exhibit.

* I'm coming to this really late, and I haven't had a chance to delve into the specifics, but the TCJ Message Board is hosting a conversation about the best superhero comics of the decade. They frequently do a good job with those kinds of discussions.

* you should add The Daily Cross Hatch into your press releases about shows and the like so that they can update their calendars.

* finally, I'm always a little uncomfortable making supplementary references to stuff generated on this site, but damned if I'll ever look at Jim Starlin's Dreadstar character again and not think of him being played by Roy Scheider to some Bob Fosse choreography. Thanks for nothing, Five For Friday #175.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Eddie Campbell!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks

Exhibits/Events
Go See Ware, Trondheim, Spiegelman...

History
On Rita Farr 01
On Rita Farr 02
All About Hangman
Is The X-Men Franchise Girl Friendly?
How Frequently Do You Talk About Comics?

Industry
People Will Complain About Anything
Andi Watson's Haunted Teapot Contest

Interviews/Profiles
National Post: Seth
PWCW: Kurt Hassler
FPI Blog: Garen Ewing
Comics Alliance: Geoff Johns
CBR: Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak

Not Comics
Dave Was George
Darryl Cunningham Takes Photos
On Some Days You Stop At The Headline

Publishing
Marvel Releases Free Prisoner Comic
Please Publish This Awesome Comic Book

Reviews
Sean T. Collins: Ho!
Rob Clough: Various
Frank Santoro: Delphine
Kinukitty: Yakuza In Love
Evan Volin: Cat Burglar Black
Richard Bruton: Spark O'Hare
Koppy McFad: The Hangman #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Kimi Ni Todoke
Marc-Oliver Frisch: Greek Street #1
Graeme McMillan: Wednesday Comics
Matt: Phonogram: The Singles Club #1-3
Koppy McFad: Justice Society Of America #29
Andy Frisk: Iron Man And The Armor Wars #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Manga Math Mysteries
Andy Frisk: Superman: World Of New Krypton #6
 

 
August 9, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: Asterios Polyp -- A Reader's Guide (And Some Thoughts)

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Special To The Comics Reporter By Ng Suat Tong

This isn't a review of Asterios Polyp but a guide to some of the material on-line that might help a reader better appreciate David Mazzucchelli's comic.

That Asterios Polyp should be bought and read is to me indisputable. It is also true that this article will be of limited use to a person who has not read the book. There are a host of reviews on-line praising this book, but far less pointing out any perceived deficiencies. Careful consideration of both these viewpoints will lead to a greater understanding of what Mazzucchelli has achieved in this work.

Mazzucchelli's work has close links to the European tradition in comics where a certain subset of artists have long produced comics replete with symbolism and metaphor. For example, there are the works of François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters on Les Cités Obscures, Miguelanxo Prado's Streak of Chalk and David B.'s L'Ascension du haut mal. Most readers would have recognized the ingenious allegories in a number of the Les Cités Obscures titles; less will have identified the Arcadian metaphors in Streak of Chalk if only because of its more realistic setting. Readers of Asterios Polyp will often find a tension that doesn't always sit well between the more realistic, emotional pages and those that are focused on ideas, symbols and metaphors. It may be useful to compare the work at hand with Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, a novel of ideas that more skilfully hides its exact purpose.

Criticism doesn't exist in a vacuum and even in these early days there have been a number of useful articles written about Mazzucchelli's opus.

A good introduction to the work can be found in Douglas Wolk's review for The New York Times. Wolk proclaims the book "a satirical comedy of remarriage, a treatise on aesthetics and design and ontology, a late-life Künstlerroman, a Novel of Ideas with two capital letters." Later in his review he highlights a central characteristic of the book: "In one early chapter, that introductory image is a grid of 16 line drawings of an apple. The first interesting thing about those apples is that they're rendered in 16 distinct visual styles... The second is that the two colors on the page are solid purple -- which he uses rather than black throughout the book -- and cyan, neither of which are the color of actual apples. The point is clear: even while he's telling a story through representation, every line Mazzucchelli draws carries symbolic freight, and its iconic value may even outweigh its literal meaning."

Another reasonably detailed look at the book can be found at The Savage Critic. Apart from the regular review bits summarizing the story at hand, Sean T. Collins tries to link some of the character designs to the long history of cartooning and has some comments on the use of colors in the book as metaphor. Collins also highlights a key section of the book that encapsulates Asterios' memories of his life with Hana. Over the course of seven pages, Mazzucchelli gradually increases the number of panels on each page -- from four to eight to 11 to 16 to 38 panels in a double page splash (which is suggested by panels that traverse the central fold of the book) and finally back to four panels -- all in an effort to mimic a flood of memories. The central narrative seen through the center of each page is denoted by the color cyan showing Asterios' most cherished moment with Hana as he plucks a loose cotton bud from her ear.

Further, Collins mentions the use of color, line and text to build up emotional tension during a pivotal argument between Asterios and Hana, the panel placements in the sequence here increasing the urgency of the narrative flow.

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Scott McCloud's short appreciation of Asterios Polyp can be found at his website. Here the use of color as language, to mark time and emotion as well as its use in depicting the perceptions of the characters, their sense of isolation and their effect on their surroundings are discussed.

On the same note, one might do well to pay attention to the distinct yet harmonious colors at certain junctures in the story, such as when Asterios and Hana meet for the first time. One might also consider why Giotto's St. Francis Preaching to the Birds is colored in such "depth" in contrast to the more distinct color separations at that point in the narrative.

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It's not surprising that McCloud should be so enamored of Mazzucchelli's book since a somewhat similar proliferation of styles and symbols populate McCloud's Understanding Comics. There is a superficial resemblance between the books in terms of formal "tricks" applied -- something that can be better appreciated by placing both books beside each other. Both are clearly works of artists who have thought long and hard about their chosen medium and Asterios Polyp presents itself as an excellent practical textbook despite being superficially at least fiction as opposed to treatise.

McCloud brings up Mazzucchelli's use of space between panels but doesn't really explain what this space does to the narrative time. You can find McCloud's take on the gutter space between the panels in chapter three of Understanding Comics, but the discussion there has more to do with panel transitions than the actual aesthetic effect of varying the space between the panels. How this affects the reading experience of Asterios Polyp is less easily explained. It's obvious that the liberal use of space supports the compositional beauty of the pages as well as the pacing and readability of the book -- but what beyond that?

McCloud and a few other commentators also mention Mazzucchelli's use of symbolism in relation to the objects Asterios brings with him after his apartment fire: a lighter belonging to his father, a watch symbolizing his youth and a Swiss Army knife found by Hana, his wife. At key points in the book, Asterios dispenses with the first two of these objects. In fact his choice of three keepsakes instead of two in itself represents the first part of his journey -- consider this conversation Asterios has with Hana before his baptism of fire:

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The individualized lettering and word balloons used by Mazzucchelli also come up for mention in various articles. Like a number of other devices in Asterios Polyp, this is primarily a tool in aid of clarity (though it clearly has symbolic use particularly towards the end of the book where the tails of these balloons begin to intertwine). For example, it helps Mazzucchelli get away with panels like this:

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Consider the final word balloon which would normally be attributed to Asterios but which actually belongs to Hana.

Another site that seeks to provide some interpretive knowledge to readers is Stumptown Notes, which has reasonably detailed annotations of the book.

The writer here brings up some similarities to certain sections of James Joyce's Ulysses. Mazzucchelli himself admits to taking inspiration from The Odyssey in his public interview with Dan Nadel, which can be found at Comics Comics.

Consider this page where a length of knitting substitutes for the waves of an ocean (Asterios has his base at a university in Ithaca which, at the risk of stating the obvious, is also the name of Odysseus' home):

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A number of allusions to The Odyssey (and by implication, The Iliad) are identified in the Stumptown annotations. I'll mention another obvious one: Willy Ilium (the Latin word for Troy) and therefore a sign-posted antagonist. Mazzucchelli uses this somewhat antagonistic symbiosis between the cultures of the Greeks and Romans to give expression to the duality in Asterios' life -- a point that is further driven home by the fact that Asterios is the product of a Greek father and an Italian mother. In addition, Asterios has a name of Greek derivation while his brother Ignazio's is possibly derived from Latin.

Mazzucchelli hammers home the duality present in Asterios' life and thinking with great persistence, particularly in the first half of the book. The annotator at Stumptown is equally assiduous in bringing these to light. For instance, he mentions "the ordered pairs" of Asterios' childhood -- namely the white and black chess pieces, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Romulus and Remus, and the novels The Prince and the Pauper and The Man in the Iron Mask.

Also coming up for mention is Asterios' birth date of June 22, 1950, "the first day of the second half of the century, thus missing out on the first half." In relation to this, I'll add another point: when one considers the designer furniture in Asterios' apartment (an Eileen Gray table, a Petit Loveseat by Le Corbusier, a Barcelona chair and Exposition coffee table by Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair, an Eames Plywood Dining Chair and Lounge chair, a Prouve Gueridon dining table and a Bialetti Moka Express among others), it might be interesting to see how many of these design classics were created before 1950.

Here's another obvious example of Mazzucchelli's dualistic imagery: the Janusian imagery of a primped-up Asterios on an early right facing page and a somewhat bedraggled image of Asterios several years later as he looks upon his apartment burning down -- the figures separated by the turn of a page which itself denotes the passage of time. A more recognizable image of Janus is shown later in the book. On the other hand, the primary image of one of the characters upon whom Asterios turns, Ursa Major, is multifaceted and asymmetrical:

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The Stumptown annotator goes into some detail about the etymology of the various character names, some of which may be disputed. Similarly, Wolk in his NYT review presents his own take concerning Asterios' surname, "Polyp":
"That name would have to have been Polyphemus, as in the Cyclops. Asterios himself is a metaphorical cyclops, lacking the ability to perceive emotional depth. Even his head is drawn as a two-dimensional construct: half a perfect circle, interrupted by two equally proportioned curves."
There is less discussion, however, about how useful or aesthetically pleasing it is to have so many characters in the book thus named. While having one of the major female characters named after the Great Bear (with all its mythological import and physical descriptiveness) has its uses, it also removes the reader from any sense of reality. As such, Sean T. Collins' comparison of Mazzucchelli's work to those of Woody Allen and Philip Roth comes up short if only because of these instances of artifice and their ramifications. It's clear that the atmosphere in Asterios Polyp falls pretty far from the slightly exaggerated realism in both these authors' works, with the characters in Mazzuccheli's book representing ideas and types rather than fully fleshed out persons. In the eyes of certain readers, this heavy-handedness may be perceived as a failure on the part of the book.

Herein lies the tension mentioned at the start of this article.

There is every reason to believe that Mazzucchelli himself recognizes this, for he has Asterios emphasize the apparent differences between the factual (and honest) and fictional (illusory) early in his book. Later, in Asterios' first visit to Hana's studio, these dichotomies, as presented by the protagonist, are highlighted with a certain derision. Mazzucchelli's book is a manifestation of this tension, in its intellectual and narrative content as well as its physical presentation. Consider how the color separations on the dust jacket (as well as the cyan and magenta inside covers) give way to grey boards and purple binding. The cut away dust jacket is not mere affectation but a suggestion by the artist that one should look beneath the surface. Following Asterios' Orphic descent into the underworld -- which is a kind of resolution -- the narrative follows a more traditional narrative path with fewer digressions into theory.

Mazzucchelli's themes may be laid out in unsubtle terms but the grand statements are mixed with some humor such as the mating of spermatozoan and egg as comic panels with Asterios' parents portraits therein.

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It is the gentle humor here and in other sections of the book -- such as Asterios' skewering of his architecture students or his wit and sarcasm in relation to Hana and her acquaintances -- the help to ameliorate the frequently didactic nature of the script.

The ease with which this comic is read can be placed down to the author's focus on clarity of communication. Because of the book's density of ideas, Mazzucchelli has chosen, in a sense, to the lead the reader by the hand. For instance, a mosquito shown on the first page after a chapter break...

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... leads the reader to focus on two similar episodes separated by a number of pages:

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Nor have the lessons in storytelling learnt while working on his mainstream titles (like Batman: Year One) been set aside. The full-page bleeds mixed with panel inserts are liberally strewn about the current work as they were in his DC book (something which he eschewed in Born Again) negating any sense of intellectual claustrophobia.

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All this is now mixed with a more subliminal form of storytelling. Consider this almost symmetrical page (which follows the above one) where most of the panels are rectangular but the final one circular -- the Swiss army knife being Hana's totem in the book (NB. Hana uses round word balloons):

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Asterios Polyp is a treasure trove of cartooning ideas, just as Dave McKean's Cages seemed at the time a robust dissertation on drawing, painting and art, and Chris Ware's recent works push the boundaries of representing time and space on the comics page. These technical achievements, however, only form part of the equation. The real worth of a work can only be properly gauged when one assesses how these tools have been employed in the aid of the story and how the narrative moves the reader both emotionally and intellectually. The marvel of Ware's work is how, for all its technical inventiveness, it remains an emotionally satisfying experience. The denouement of Asterios Polyp is beautiful and lyrical but it is less certain to what extent the main body of the work has benefited from Mazzucchelli's immense talent for comics.

*****

the art used to illustrate this article has been posted at a larger size for your potential viewing ease here

*****
*****
 
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CR Sunday Feature: A Potentially Astounding Fall 2009 In The Works

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail last week in which he bemoaned the fact that the next issue of Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library may not be out until late 2010. Having ACME or something Ware-related the last few late Falls has been a wonderful thing to count on, don't get me wrong. But my friend's lament got me thinking about some of the books that are likely to come out between roughly September 1 and January 1. I gave myself 30 minutes, and this is what I came up as far as books I'm personally looking forward to reading.

You have to understand a few things about making a list with such haste and featuring a strong focus on books with a spine:

That means I would clearly miss some books, because I'm not that good at finding stuff that quickly -- so maybe there's third again what I have listed here? I know there have to be a few I've totally missed.

That means skipping the serial newspaper comics collections I read that are deep into their runs, like Peanuts and Walt & Skeezix, because that seemed like loading the list in unfair fashion.

imageThat means that for the most part I skipped serial comic books and the comics I read that way, like RASL, Big Questions, the Muppet Show stuff Roger Langridge has been doing and The Walking Dead. There are a few on here, but not many.

That means I skipped comics that seem as yet more rumor than reality, although I'm sure they'll come out eventually and maybe even sooner than that, like Brendan McCarthy's no doubt stupendous-looking Spider-Man/Dr. Strange mini-series Paul Gravett thrilled us all by talking about here.

That means skipping books from some cartoonists and publishers that publish more according to feel than on a strict advance schedule (and simply guessing on which Fanfare/Ponent Mon books might be out between Labor Day and New Year's Day).

That means skipping newspaper comics I read in serial form, like Cul De Sac, unless they have a book coming out, and editorial cartoonists I track, like Tom Toles. (Toles never has a book coming out. I wish Fantagraphics would do an every-other-year series with Toles.)

That means none of the webcomics I read unless they're doing a print collection.

And yet, with all of that material either off the table or teetering near the edge I was still able to produce in quick fashion what I think is an intriguing list of books, nearly three dozen strong. This is certainly way more comics than works I'm looking forward to consuming in prose, theater, movies, TV or music. Probably combined. A strong Fall after a summer that gave us Asterios Polyp, The Hunter, Multiforce and a 600-page Jaime Hernandez collection? This is a very good time to be reading comics.

*****

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* The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb, R. Crumb, WW Norton, 9780393061024, October, $24.95
The big one in terms of potential payoff and heightened curiosity leading up to its drop date. I'm dying to read it.

*****

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* Footnotes In Gaza, Joe Sacco, Metropolitan, 97800805073478, December, $29.95
There's not been a better or more consistent comics artist this decade than Joe Sacco, and his return to a subject through which he's displayed great passion and sensitivity is a welcome one.

*****

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* Map Of My Heart, John Porcellino, D&Q, 9781897299937, October, $24.95 US
The great maker of elegant, simplified comics and comics about ordinary living, the graceful memory of which can make me want to punch any of those dinks that talks about autobiographical comics in broad terms as a bunch of whining losers who haven't done anything, John Porcellino is going to tour in support of this new collection the old-fashioned way. It'd be nice to see him have a modest hit with this one.

*****

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* The Monster Society Of Evil, Otto Binder and CC Beck, DC Comics, 9781401225179, December, $39.99
One of the best superhero comics runs of all time and maybe the quirkiest entry into the proto-graphic novel debate. I derive great pleasure out of reading this story.

*****

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* Continuation of Yotsuba&!, Kiyohiko Azuma, Yen Press, 978031607325, December, $10.99
I have no idea how this going to happen -- I think there may be a release of ADV volumes followed by a new Yen Press book -- but sometime this Fall we should see more Yotsuba&!. I'm quite fond of these stories both as comedy and as a window into the world of young people with limited resources for understanding things they encounter, let alone doing anything about them.

*****

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* Don Rosa Library, Don Rosa, Gemstone, 9781603600644, December, $39.99
This has been delayed a bunch, too, and a December date on a much-delayed book practically screams another push-back, but maybe we'll see it. Rosa is a very good cartoonist and a great comics writer, so I always have a lot of fun reading his work.

*****

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* Korea As Viewed By 12 Creators, Various, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, 9788496427488, December, $24
I thought this was out a year ago; it was on my list of books with which I would catch up eventually. I can't find a review, though, and there it is listed on Amazon as coming out in the next few months. I always feel like I'm playing hide and seek with this publisher's books.

*****

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* Bringing Up Father: From Sea To Shining Sea, George McManus, IDW, 9781600105081, November, $49.99
One of the more popular and iconic runs of a comic strip: the Bringing Up Father cross-country tour of 1939-1940 seems to me a great way to have another big chunk of this material without having another complete serialization out there marching on.

*****

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* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell, Top Shelf, 9781603090254, October, $35
One of my all-favorite comics works before Campbell took the time to add a bunch of new comics. This would likely top this list if it were one book long.

*****

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* Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai, Stan Sakai, Dark Horse, 9781595823625, November, $14.95
This is Stan Sakai's one-shot in celebration of his 25th year publishing his samurai rabbit stories, almost to the week of that first comic book story's publication back in '84. I believe this is painted, and I know it's monster-stuffed.

*****

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* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years Of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson, Fantagraphics, 978106992982, October, $125
This is a great bookend to Fantagraphics' publication of the complete Humbug earlier this year; equally unexpected and thrilling.

*****

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* Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia, Fantagraphics, 9781606993040, November, $28.99
This should be lovely.

*****

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* Crossing The Empty Quarter, Carol Swain, Dark Horse, 9781595823885, December, $24.95
Carol Swain did some of the great comics short stories of the 1990s (including the best Denny Eichhorn); I'm not sure exactly what's in this collection, but she's a necessary cartoonist, and criminally under-appreciated.

*****

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* Dread & Superficiality, Stuart Hample, Abrams, 9780810957428 (ISBN13), November, $35
Abrams ComicArts has been known to switch up the schedule a bit, but I think we're still on track for this greatest hits selection of one of the odder efforts in comics history, the Woody Allen newspaper comic strip. I don't remember it being the best strip ever made, but it certainly stood out against a backdrop of gag cartoonists doing high-concept work of the kind you saw all over the place at the time. I welcome this book.

*****

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* The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., Dash Shaw, Fantagraphics, 9781606993071, November, $19.99
More has been made about the fact that this will accompany an animated version that will appear on IFC, but I'm looking forward to the book in and of itself.

*****

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* The Essential Sub-Mariner Vol. 1, Various, Marvel, 9780785130758, September, $19.99
I have most of these in comic book form, so I may not be inclined to pick up the volume. Still, I'm always fascinated by Bill Everett's signature creation, the way he fits and more frequently doesn't fit into the Marvel Universe. There are also a ton of creators at work here that need to be understood for a complete snapshot of prime-time Marvel Comics. As the Sub-Mariner stuff is the least exploited material in the Marvel canon, you'll likely get to see their talents on display without the memory of a watered-down version somewhere up the line.

*****

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* continuation of The Times Of Botchan, Jiro Taniguchi and Natsuo Sekikawa, 9788496427495, November $19.99
I'm not sure if we're going to see this, either, but I hope we do. I think it's one of the great comics of the last quarter-century, although previous volumes have been among the more lightly-praised Fanfare/Ponent Mon efforts.

*****

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* The Rocketeer: The Complete Collection, Dave Stevens, IDW, 9781600105388, October, $29.99
This should be freakishly lovely, and I'm dying to look at it to see if I want to give up my comic books for this edition.

*****

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* Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter, Fantagraphics, 9781560978862, October, $29.95
This has been delayed a couple of years, primarily so Panter could get other projects out of the way before returning to work on it. But this is one of the strongest, most evocative comic strip efforts ever, and I'd wait ten more years if it means it gets the treatment it deserves.

*****

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* The Fir-Tree, Lilli Carre, It Books, 9780061782367, November, $14.99
I think this is one of several similar adaptations from the HarperCollins imprint, but I'm most interested in seeing Carre's. She really built up a strong early resume in terms of different styles and approaches.

*****

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* Aya: The Secrets Come Out Clement Oubrerie and Marguerite Abouet, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299791, September, $19.95
I am very, very fond of the first two books of the series. They aren't just lovely in execution but it's an idea I wish I'd had -- a look back at a certain time in one's personal history and in the history of the region under the tone-perfect influence of popular entertainment of the time.

*****

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* Criminal: The Deluxe Edition, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Marvel, 9780785142294, December, $49.99
Most people I know in comics feel this is Ed Brubaker's best work, and is right up there in terms of Phillips' consistent career.

*****

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* The Box Man, Imiri Sakabashira, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299913, September, $21.95
Imiri Sakabashira is one of those rare world comics talents that I have no idea what this book is about and I don't care: it's more Sakabashira. I believe I had a previous book from a Japanese publisher on my top 100 of the 20th Century list.

*****

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* Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata, Drawn and Quarterly, 9781897299869, September, $24.95
I'm going to get this one on faith, as I'm not vary familiar with the artist beyond the fact that he passed away and that this late-career collection of short stories was a prize-winner in its original publication.

*****

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* Trotsky, Andrew Helfer and Rick Geary, Hill & Wang, 9780809095087, September, $16.95
I'll buy anything Rick Geary does right now. He's in a drawing zone.

*****

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* Achewood: Worst Song, Played On Ugliest Guitar, Chris Onstad, Dark Horse, 9781595822390, September, $15.95
Achewood is probably one of the 10 important comics of the last decade and should be bought, read and studied at every opportunity. Exactly what's in this collection is more of a mystery to me than the Great Outdoor Fight provided, and I sometimes wonder that doing print editions of Onstad's work isn't a lot harder than one might think, but I'm great looking forward to having another book of his to loan out.

*****

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* The Big Kahn, Neil Kleid and Nicolas Cinquegrani, NBM, 9781561635610, October, $13.95
This is the one book that probably benefited most from word of mouth in San Diego, and I know very little about it except that the pedigree of those speaking on its behalf make me want to check it out. The press copy indicates it's about the shockwaves when a prominent rabbi near the end of his life admits that he was living a lie and isn't even Jewish. That's a very appealing narrative hook.

*****

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* The Art Of Tony Millionaire, Tony Millionaire, Dark Horse, 9781595821584, September, $39.95
I love Tony Millionaire's work and all the people close to me love Tony Millionaire's work. One of the greatly appealing things about his comics is the quality of the visual aspect, so even though a lot here depends on execution an art book could be really, really good.

*****

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* Children At Play: A Cul-De-Sac Collection, Richard Thompson, Andrews McMeel, 9780740789878, October, $12.99
My favorite current comic strip and one I think that has a chance to be great. I'm encouraged that there's not only a second book but that it begins where the last one ends, which may indicate a long book publishing relationship.

*****

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* Ganges #3, Kevin Huizenga, Fantagraphics/Coconino Press, September, price unknown
I don't know of a current cartoonist more intriguing than Huizenga in terms of my wanting to see every single damn thing he does right now. Two of his best career efforts were previous volumes of this Ignatz-sized series.

*****

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* The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, Eleanor Davis, Bloomsbury USA, 9781599903965, September, $10.99
This is more of a straight-up commercial gig than many of the books on here, but Davis is young enough I sort of just want her to draw anything and everything she wants or that fits into her career aspirations. As she ramps up to speed with her considerable talent, I'll be happy to meet her anywhere she tells me to be.

*****

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* Cat Burglar Black, Richard Sala, First Second Books, 9781596431447, September, $16.99
Sala draws like a dream right now.

*****

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* Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years, Charles Schulz, Andrews McMeel, 9780740785481, October, $75
I'm not sure what this will be like, so I definitely want to look at it before I buy, but there could be enough interesting supplementary material here to make it worth picking up.

*****

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* Bart Simpson's Treehouse Of Horror #15, Edited By Sammy Harkham, Bongo Comics, October, $4.99
I'm not certain that I'm looking forward to this as comics as much I might be anticipating some of the other works on this list, but it should be a ton of fun to see the cartoonists involved in this very commercial context.

*****

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* Daredevil Omnibus Vol. 2, Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, Marvel, 9780785138136, December, $99.99
Someone mentioned in an e-mail to me about 10 days ago that there's a degree of backlash against this comic for being ridiculously grim and over the top and way too self-serious. It's true that it's not really about deconstructing the superhero, but I enjoyed the Bendis/Maleev run on Marvel's Daredevil comic for the reason I like the 1960s Marvel comic books. I thought it was appealingly modest in scope and smashingly well-executed. This is the second half of the big bookification of that run.

*****

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* I Want You #1, Lisa Hanawalt, Buenaventura Press, September, Various Price Points
A rare Fall comic book release with enough gravity to it to draw attention to itself as a stand-alone publishing event, Buenaventura Press' emerging crusade to reinvigorate the alternative comic book format should start being reflected in stores by the end of September. Much of the work offered, like the first issue of I Want You, will have already been seen by some folks, at places like San Diego's Comic-Con International (sales were apparently fine to brisk). As a group, the books appear generally strong -- Ted May, Eric Haven, Matt Furie, -- but Hanawalt's striking debut in comic book format may be the big attention-getter.

*****

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* Rip Kirby Vol. 1, Alex Raymond, IDW, 9781600104848, September, $49.99
Solving crimes through his incredible handsomeness, both as a strip and as a character. It's being sold for its ahead-of-its-time detective stories, but I'll still think of it first as extremely attractive-looking comics by one of the all-time visual masters.

*****

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* Afrodisiac, Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, AdHouse, 9781935233060, December, $14.95
This should be fun and have a lot of energy. That's one saucy cover.

*****

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* The Complete Torpedo, Jordi Bernet and Enrique Sanchez Abuli and Alex Toth and Jimmy Palmiotti, IDW, 9781600104541, September, $24.99.
I think executing these books is tougher than it looks in that fans are becoming increasingly spoiled about presentation and the contextual work involved in reprint projects, but I'm delighted to have this one even if it's put together by rabid, semi-sentient beagles. Some of the most incredibly good-looking comics ever.

*****

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* Grandville, Bryan Talbot, Dark Horse, 9781595823977, October, $17.95
Bryan Talbot is a top comics talent with a proclivity towards employing a variety of styles, each according to the needs of the project. This seems like a mainstream BD-type volume, but more than attractive enough visually to get the job done.

*****

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* Walking The Dog, David Hughes, Jonathan Cape, 9780224082297, November, $65
I'm not sure what this is and why I might be expected to pay $65 for it, but I love the idea of esteemed, established artists doing literary graphic novels as a kind of balance to the rush of comics works post-Persepolis that seem designed to hit certain popular-book expectations no matter how poorly done.

*****

My apologies to everyone I missed, and I'm sure there are a ton. But isn't that a solid list? I'm looking forward to the rest of 2009.

*****

Seriously, I'm sorry I forgot your book.

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

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FFF Results Post #175 -- Overture

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comic Properties That Should Be Adapted Into Broadway Musicals." This is how they responded.

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David P. Welsh

1. Antique Bakery
2. Polly and the Pirates
3. 10, 20, 30
4. Palomar
5. Dragon Head

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Skin
2. The Invisibles
3. Cromartie High School ("Cromartie High School Musical")
4. The King Canute Crowd
5. The Great Outdoor Fight

*****

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Aaron White

1. Ranma 1/2
2. Kraven's Last Hunt
3. 1-800 MICE
4. Kill of the Spider Women
5. How To Be An Artist

*****

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Ryan Kirk

1. Wally Gropius
2. Batman: Mad Love
3. Herbie
4. Bone
5. Red Rocket 7

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. George Sprott (dancing eskimos)
2. Little Lulu
3. Mechanics
4. Fables
5. Ghost World

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. Promethea - Moore/Williams III/Elfman
2. Youngblood - Liefeld/Flea
3. Groo The Wanderer - Aragonés/Evanier/Gershwin
4. Dinosaur Comics - North/Starr
5. Phonogram - Gillen/McKelvie/One Very Rich Licensing Lawyer

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Prez
2. Why I Hate Saturn
3. Cherry Poptart
4. Vampirella
5. King Cat

*****

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Scott Dunbier

Zot
Reid Fleming
Silver Surfer
Gasoline Alley
Terry & the Pirates

*****

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Mark Coale

1. The Inferior Five
2. American Flagg
3. Sebastian O
4. Stig's Inferno
5. Black Panther

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Phonogram
2) NextWave, Agents of H.A.T.E.
3) Prez
4) Sandman ("Three Septembers and a January" - the Emperor Norton issue)
5) Marvel's Thor

*****

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Chris Mautner

1) Bone
2) Wimbledon Green
3) Uzumaki
4) Calvin and Hobbes
5) Jack Kirby's Fourth World Saga

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Cromarte High School (oh, Hellzapoppin' YEAH!)
2. James Bond (using John Barry's scores as a basis; yeah, yeah, I know technically this is a movie reference but the books and films were adapted as comics so that's my excuse)
3. Modesty Blaise (her big number would be "The Nailer")
4. The Archies (perfect set-up for a musical + a dynamite range of characters)
5. Sandman (an embarassment of riches; one could turn this into a multi-part "Der Ring des Nibelungen" operatic epic)

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Robo-Hunter in "Play it Again, Sam"
2. "The Lethal Laziness of Lobelia Loam"
3. That "War That Time Forgot" story with the hundred-foot tall Nazi super-robot
4. The Actress and the Bishop in "The Thing in the Shed" (there will be so many auditions, and I'm afraid I'll have to attend them all, to find the perfect actress for the role of The Actress)
5. Marvel/Miracleman - not an adaptation, but an original work based around the characters of Anglo, Moore, Skinn, Gaiman, MacFarlane and everybody else arguing about who owns what and why, in song.

*****

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Richard Pachter

1. Zenith
2. Heart of Empire
3. Superman Beyond
4. Omaha The Cat Dancer
5. Zot!

*****

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Michael Grabowski

* Krazy Kat
* Boulevard of Broken Dreams
* The Desert Peach
* The Locas stories from the Hopey-on-tour period (L&R V.1 #20-30 or so)
* Nothing Eve

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Zippy the Pinhead
2. Groo (featuring/starring The Minstrel)
3. Zot!
4. Girl Genius
5. Thor (Lee/Kirby version)

*****

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Brandon Graham

1. Black Metal
2. Martian Manhunter
3. Wendy Pini's masque of the red death
4. The part of Batman a death in the family where the Joker becomes the Iranian ambasador to the U.N.
5. bill willingham's Ironwood

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Little Lulu
2. Anpanman
3. The Legion of Superheroes
4. Gasoline Alley
5. Dreadstar

*****

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Richard Barker

1. The Dark Horse Madman stories
2. Mr Punch
3. Eddy Current

and a couple which should have always been overblown musical extravaganzas instead of movies:

4. Howard the Duck
5. Sin City

*****

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Tom Cherry

1. Neil the Horse
2. 'Mazing Man (Written by Billy Joel)
3. Archie (Maybe TPTB can snag the people behind HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL for that one)
4. Herbie
5. Calvin and Hobbes (Sondheim's final musical!)

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Madman
2) Watchmen
3) Calvin & Hobbes
4) Akira
5) Rio Veneno

*****

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Ben Ostrander

1. Marshal Law
2. Luba
3. Barry Ween
4. Camelot 3000
5. Secret of San Saba or Dead in the West (both by Jack Jackson)

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Lynda Barry's 100 Demons (music by Dolly Parton)
2. Jerry Moriarty's Jack Survives (music by George Crumb)
3. Neil Gaiman, et al., The Sandman (music by Andrew Lloyd Webber)
4. Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy (music by Carole King)
5. Osamu Tezuka's Dororo (music by Shonen Knife)

*****

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Indigo Kelleigh

1. Bloom County
2. Swamp Thing (something akin to Phantom of the Opera)
3. Berlin
4. Pogo
5. Ambush Bug

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Street Angel
2. The Death of Speedy
3. Laura Parks's "Freaks" from Superior Showcase
4. Bluesman
5. Dan Clowes's "Mr. Wonderful" From the NY Times.

*****

topic suggested by David Welsh

*****
*****
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Posy Simmonds!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Bob McLeod!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Rick Leonardi!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Ted Stearn!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Josh Neufeld!

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First Thought Of The Day

By the time he was my age, John Hughes had stopped directing films.
 
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Kudos To Gail Simone And CCC Art Auction Attendees For Raising Over $13K For Writer John Ostrander

Details here. Please consider giving.
 
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August 8, 2009


The Comics Reporter Video Parade
















 
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Next Week In Comics-Related Events

August 9
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August 11
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August 15
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 1 to August 7, 2009:

1. A significant number of Iranian cartoonists plan to skip an important cartooning competition in solidarity with those mistreated for protesting election results.

2. Joe Simon objects to Fighting American project at new Kirbyverse home Dynamite; Kirby Family says that's okay with them and ends plans for project.

3. The convention previously known as Wizardworld Chicago gets underway as the former second-place North American show faces the pressure of a beleaguered organizer, new competition in the city, new competition generally, a changing industry. They still have that awesome Midwestern comics audience, though, to themselves for now, so don't count them out.

Winners Of The Week
Lynda Barry fans.

Loser Of The Week
Anyone who lost IQ points to this idiotic debate.

Quote Of The Week
"The bridge is over." -- Frank Santoro

*****

today's cover is from one of the great publications of the underground comix era

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In NC, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 40th Birthday, Alex Robinson!

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Happy 85th Birthday, Gene Deitch!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Jackie Estrada On The 2009 Eisner Awards (PR) (8/7/09)
* Dave Kender On Boston Comics Roundtable Event August 20 in Somerville (PR) (8/7/09)
* Ben Schwartz On Heidi MacDonald's CCI Essay (8/7/09)
* Vanguard On Vanguard Winning Famous Monsters Of Filmland-Related Case Over Jim Warren (PR) (8/6/09)
* Tim O'Shea On Five For Friday #174: Comics Were Clearly Better When I Was A Kid (8/3/09)
* Rob Clough On CR Sunday Interview: Lilli Carre (8/2/09)
 
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August 7, 2009


Friday Distraction: Elaine Bogan

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Reed/C2E2 Launches Frontrunner For Best Press Release Of 2009 As Wizardworld Chicago Clanks To Life

Intentional or not, the press release dropped Wednesday by Reed Exhibitions about all of the awesome, big-name comic book vendors lining up to be in their C2E2 show at Chicago's McCormick Place/Lakeside Center in Spring 2010 will no doubt be seen by many comics insiders as an across-the-bow shot at Chicago convention incumbent Wizard Entertainment. Reed's PR burbles to life as Gareb Shamus' flagship show Wizardworld Chicago, now and forever (forever in comic book terms) Chicago Comicon, once thought a genuine challenger to Comic-Con International, lurches to life bereft of many of these comic book show anchor participants.

C2E2exhibitorrelease.FINAL.8.5.09.doc

As has been widely reported, Wizard World's shows in 2009 have been beset by dozens of problems: the perception that the sponsoring company is deeply troubled via massive corporate downsizing and a noticeable slide in their display advertising, a credentialing issue in Philadelphia that led some to comment that processing personal grudges about the downsizing were more important than putting a best face forward, the perceived success of independent show Heroes Con going up against that Philadelphia show a scan pair of years after the though of a not-established show going up against Heroes was an outright act of bullying, other Wizard World shows being either canceled outright or indefinitely postponed (I can't tell the difference, but I think one of those fates befell Dallas and the other Los Angeles) and Gareb Shamus picking up conventions in his own name rather than in the name of his potentially beleaguered company. This includes an Anaheim-based show announced for the same weekend as C2E2, and this show's rebranding.

The Chicago's show arrival has been the subject of a swirl of rumors and the instigating factor of some face-saving PR, such as this hard-to-listen-to interview with Gareb Shamus on Word Balloon where part of the Wizard founder seems stuck in the early '90s and another part seems to be grasping for the right words to start to negotiate in advance whatever might happen with the Chicago show. (I expect it to do pretty well, incidentally. Chicago is a great comics town, and the just-outside-of-Chicago setting allows for accessible car traffic from a circle of 500 or so miles and that remains a strength for the target audience.) For one thing, I understand there's a criticism of CCI either in that interview or elsewhere where Chicago is more about the comics than the admittedly film-stuffed CCI, only this renamed Chicago Comicon has very few comics companies and seems to have increased its dependency on the actors-signing-things circuit (god bless them).

In this article, much of the spin seems fine -- when I was a kid heading to Chicago in the summer I wanted dealers and comics professionals and would have been happy for them -- except you have a claim by Shamus that they'll break attendance records. I thus figure we're in for a weekend of people saying attendance is really light followed by Wizard's claim to have shattered those attendance records. Who does that help? It seems to me that Shamus and his crew are staying in the convention business because even smaller conventions can be run in a profitable way, and it further seems to me that a genuine strategy for dealing with C2E2 -- which will be held during the school year, and is taking place downtown where there are some access issues (or at least perceived issues) when compared to Rosemont -- would be playing the accessibility and tradition cards. Lowering expectations against a big-money opponent. Boasting about a result that probably won't match what anyone in attendance sees seems to run counter to implementing such a strategy. Then again, I've never had a successful businesses of this type, so maybe we should wait and see how things play out.
 
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Go, Look: Link-Driven Profile Of Aya

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I liked this; someone should do one of these a week
 
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Hide The Neighborhood Cats

Mark Tatulli has announced a Lio lookalike contest.
 
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Go, Look: Manu Larcenet's Blog

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Mary Robinson's Cartoon Stand A Part Of Medal Of Freedom Debate

This is one of those things that's footnote-ish but still interesting. Mary Robinson, whose husband Nick Robinson is a political journalist that sometimes cartoons (and does origami), is currently up for the Medal Of Freedom. This has led to conservative criticism of the selection by suggesting that Robinson isn't pro-Israel enough. One of the anecdotes brought up in her defense on such matters in this article and others like it is her open criticism of a booklet of anti-Semitic cartoons passed around during a key meeting and published by the Arab Lawyers' Union.
 
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If I Were Near Ojai, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Pogo #8

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Go, Look: Gate Features House Ad

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Go, Look: Fred Meagher

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Go, Look: Search For Evil

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* our congratulations and best wishes for a healthy next several months to Jennifer de Guzman.

* apparently, the trade paperback know in the lead-up to its publication as "Marvel Bromance" is no longer being released with anything like that name, formally or informally. Chris Butcher raises an eyebrow.

image* it's like Eddie Campbell was born to blog things just for me.

* the cartoonist and Mike Lynch discusses his recent teaching of comics classes to kids.

* celebrate the magic of Woodstock by reading graphic novels -- not as muddy, and the photographic evidence is less likely to make you cringe in future years. I may kid articles like these that hook comics content into news articles, but I also checked Alex Robinson's blog this morning to see if the Too Cool To Be Forgotten author had written anything about the late John Hughes. Plus it occurs to me I'd pay $125 for a comics biography of Sha Na Na by Rick Altergott. Why am I not running a comics imprint for a major publishing house again?

* speaking of Hughes, this is cute. Please God no one draw them dancing. Also, John Kapelos would make an interesting Alfred.

* wasn't there a less-stereotyped Muslim character in the Captain Britain and the UK Super-Friends thing that Paul Cornell wrote?

* I want to do something in my life just once the way Jaime Hernandez draws all the damn time.

* a cartoon print by Lalo Alcaraz has been a part of some of the coverage of the Senate confirmation of new Supreme Court member Sonia Sotomayor.

* finally, the writer Jeet Heer is a fine comics linkblogger, too, and I would like to ask him that he stop doing it immediately so as not to show me up. Go back to writing your extremely insightful, high-profile, historical essays, Heer.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Sasa Rakezic!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Paul Dini!

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Johanna Draper Carlson: The Manga Guide To Physics
 

 
August 6, 2009


Vanguard Proclaims Victory In Basil Gogos Case Over Warren Publishing; Will File For Court Costs

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at least that's what their press release says
 
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ICv2.com: Manga Takes 13 Of 20 Slots In July's Bookscan Comics Numbers

imageThe Bookscan numbers tend to be unreliable in numerical form -- too many publishers are able to provide another, more convincing number that has little to do with the Bookscan number -- but there's always some usefulness or at least fun to be had in checking out the charts and musing on certain trends of one kind or another. I look at this chart and I see a lot of different things. Manga dominates. Naruto dominates the manga. Only three manga series with a volume number in the single digits makes this chart. DC has a strong enough book program that everything you'd expect to chart charts. Marvel continues to lope along seemingly without much of an effective and organized program and why they continue to leak pus from this area of comics is beyond me. Asterios Polyp did well but didn't kill, although 1) it's exactly the kind of book Bookscan seems to have trouble tracking and 2) I imagine sales should be generally strong for that one through the rest of the year and stronger than expected through premiere DM accounts. It's nothing that would surprise the average informed comics fan.

By the way, if you're never read Naruto, make that your next stop in the bookstore when you have twenty minutes to blow and are looking to spend it in a poofy chair not exactly buying something. It's a remarkable comic in some ways, one of the ten important comics of this decade, and I think it's building one of those "massive hit without quite being a huge mainstream hit of the kind my mom recognizes" reputations that should extend its life for a decade or two past whenever the series concludes. You probably won't get the specifics of characterization and pacing diving right in, but pay close attention to how action is portrayed -- I think that's its genius.
 
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Go, Look: Matt Furie In Vice

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Comics-Related Awards Round-Up

The Friends Of Lulu have announced judges and new categories for the 2009 Lulu Awards. This year's judges are Brigid Alverson, Jennifer Babcock, Abby Denson, Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Chris Eberle, Karen Green and Robert Randle. The two new categories are 1) the Leah Adezio Award for Best Kid-Friendly Work and 2) Best Female Character.

The nominations process begins now and will end September 14 -- publishers are urged to submit electronic copies and can start that process by e-mailing info@friends-lulu.org. A public vote will follow from September 14 to October 1. A ceremony honoring the winners will be held in October.

*****

The 2009 Crimespree Awards, posted to the Crimespree site on Monday, included a favorite comics writer award. The nominees were and winner was:

* Brian Azzarello (Winner)
* Tim Broderick
* B. Clay Moore
* Ed Brubaker
* Jason Aaron

Crimespree Magazine will apparently have a presence at Wizard's Chicago comics show, including signings by many of the above.

thanks for this to Tim Broderick, who says it's an honor to be nominated with that crew
 
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Go, Look: Cut Comics '88

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Eddie Campbell comments
 
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If You Respond To Their E-Mails, You Can Help Marvel Market Their Books

So Marvel's been sending sites various pages from their forthcoming Strange Tales project for posting in a way that I assume helps them market the series. I like looking at comics pages -- I have a standing offer to most publishers out there that if they'll send me pages I'll run them, but almost no one takes me up on it -- so I'm happy to provide these pages sent to me from Marvel. You can click here to see the pages at the sizes they were sent to me, which are all over the place but should be easier to see and have greater clarity image to image.

I asked for Nick Gurewitch, but was told none were available. What follows is Johnny Ryan, Junko Mizuno, Nick Bertozzi and Dash Shaw doing their versions of Marvel characters. I haven't been paying enough attention to know if these have already appeared elsewhere, but I think I was told one of these would be for me and only me. And again, bigger versions here. Strange Tales begins publication next month through Marvel's MAX imprint, and I will certainly be buying it. It looks like fun.

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Using R. Crumb To Make A Point

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I don't pay much attention to people that seem to me to predict imminent doom and then keeping pushing this date further and further towards the horizon -- one can always be potentially right someday, especially when speaking from the safety of broad historical inevitability -- but I found this post about the use of R Crumb's "A Short History of America" and subsequent artwork by Ken Avidor and I think Crumb himself to be fairly compelling. I'm not exactly sure what's going on there, and what art was created for what use, but I'm guessing it at least provides a lesson in how certain kinds of cartoon imagery can be appropriated to make a political point.
 
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If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Nova Scotia, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: The Little Green Men

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Go, Look: They'll Do It Every Time

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Go, Look: Fairies And Aliens

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Go, Look: Campin' Sketches

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the retailer Brian Hibbs looks at Marvel's Marvelman announcement and decides a) it doesn't seem to automatically include the material anyone's interested in, and b) the material that people are interested in doesn't really hold up 25 years later the way people think it might.

image* there is still a lot of cheap art left for sale from Giant Robot New York's Dime Bag 3 show, including (as I post this) this piece by Ray Fenwick.

* our own David Welsh warns that the recent PW interview with David Small should come with a spoiler warning.

* happy 85th birthday (one day late), Annie.

* a very fine Dan Clowes interview has either re-surfaced or appeared, no one seems able to tell.

* I'm not sure how I go there but here are photos of people making giant Corto Maltese wall art.

* Jeff Smith writes a summer travelogue, stuffed with photos.

* finally, a not very good editorial by the usually reliable Steven Grant on comics publishers at San Diego here. I sympathize with the thrust of what he seems to be saying, which is that CCI is a different beast now that can no longer be marketed to in a fans marketing to other fans way and that it's the industry that's changed, not the show. I'm not with him on the details, though.

Some of what he says is flat wrong or severely misapplied. 1) Eric Reynolds has gone out of his way to emphasize Fantagraphics is not throwing in the towel. 2) Most of the comics publisher booths have changed a great deal since '99 -- as much as booths can conceivably change. I can think of a dozen examples. 3) Many of those changes reflect strategies designed to better pursue the business one can do at a CCI, something Steven asserts the publishers have failed to do. 4) Companies like D&Q and Fantagraphics and NBM have grown their overall audiences since '94, not seen them shrink, so they shouldn't suffer from their not being enough fans overall since the '94 implosion. 5) Steven blows off two very specific complaints out there -- that the pattern of ticket buying penalizes art-comics readers and that book distributors and retailers no longer buy product from publishers on the floor -- in a way that flatters his arguments.

Much of the rest of it seems ungenerous to me. San Diego has changed greatly in recent years. It's changed enough in recent years that publishers on the floor less than five years bent my ear on how different it was and how they were planning to adapt. CCI's context as one show among many has also changed: there are new New York and Chicago shows in addition to BEA and library shows and a growing number of arts festivals. I suspect publishers will reorient themselves with what CCI is now in a matter-of-fact, modest way, and this will involve more than grumping after folks to be more professional. In fact, the complaints Steven criticizes are exactly what he should be calling for -- out-loud realizations from key figures that changes need to be considered.

I also don't buy that CCI is in some post-fannish mode. That's not BEA and that's certainly not a health care products convention, not the four-day fan wallow I just saw. There's a lot more costumes, a lot more kids sleeping outside, and a lot more freaking out over personalities and freebies. This doesn't indicate a move past CCI's fannish roots. I'd suggest it points to a greater embrace of fandom overall. That makes things tricky for comics professionals. We only have Steven's word for it that there are these people roaming around the convention floor who would love a Locas book if only it were sold to them by a real sales professional acting professionally, or that whatever salty shenanigans Darkseid has going on today is as exhausted to the people that go to these events as they might be to Steven and his dinner companions. It seems to me Steven has it exactly reversed. I feel that there are more professional, effective marketers in comics than ever and that there are a lot more fans of whatever at CCI than post-fan consumers. When the people that have been selling Locas comics for 28 years say it's increasingly not their crowd, and that this may be the case for X, Y and Z reason, I believe them more than I believe Steven Grant.

It's a new era. New strategies are indeed in order, in and out of conventions. I expect the pros involved to take their best shot. I predict we'll see more tightly focused exhibition/sales efforts, more BEA-type giveaway/outreach endeavors, more creative programming. Comics people have always been methodical in reacting to CCI, but they have made changes. Even the people who have left the show behind did so after coming to a firm decision about how effective the show can be for what it is they do: not very! Chris Pitzer of AdHouse says he had his best CCI ever by not exhibiting. Should he have dug in and gone after those wandering Locas buyers by making a slick presentation video for Skyscrapers of the Midwest? I doubt it. Chris is the best judge of his own time, and he had no complaints. Other publishers may make a similar decision -- and who's to say they're wrong? Those that remain will adjust and try to find a better place for themselves and their books. That may mean a massive change in orientation, or it may simply mean doing what they do in a more effective way. Likely it will mean a mix of strategies and outcomes. Fans complain and then get back in line, keep watching, keep buying that comic. Companies serving readers including fans of all stripes complain and then set about doing something about it. I bet we'll see more of the latter than the former, and I bet it's already started.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Alexander Grecian!

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Quick hits
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Leroy Douresseaux: Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Vol. 1
Sean T. Collins: Whiskey Jack And Kid Coyote Meet The King Of Stink
Greg McElhatton: Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In The Service Of Angels #1
 

 
August 5, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Kevin Huizenga posts a random image and what looks like maybe a cover for the forthcoming Ganges #3. The first two issues were both top five comics of the year on a lot of lists the years they came out, so just the hint that something with that recent pedigree is coming seems to me grand news.

* IDW is set to publish a print anthology from the ACT-I-VATE webcomics collective.

image* one project that's completely escaped my attention is a reprinting of Howard Chaykin's Blackhawk mini-series, the place many in my generation of comics readers first saw a discreet depiction of a comic book blowjob. I'm kidding; I remember enjoying the series very much. Here's a write-up on the collection from Pretty Fakes.

* Frederik Stromberg has converted his site into English.

* here's a cover image for the first John Campbell book.

* Oscar Grillo's The World Is Round is due to be reprinted.

* Titan is gearing up for the assumption of the Lenore publishing reins, starting in October.

* Dash Shaw and Tom Kaczynski are collaborating on a comic.

* I thought this had been announced much, much earlier, but I'm not comfortable saying that with 100 percent certainty so here you go: Archie is going to do one-shot specials bringing back their superhero characters, all of which are to be written by Michael Uslan.

* the arrival of Hans Rickheit's Squirrel Machine is imminent.

* David Welsh finds two manga titles a-comin' that make him happy enough to do the Snoopy dance.

* SLG is planning to publish a comic book series about Sarah Winchester, a deserving historical figure that may or may not be served by a story in which the villain is Harry Houdini's ghost.

* finally, our pal Rich Tommaso wrote in to say that La Cupula is publishing a version of his The Horror Of Collier County in Spain and that Ca et La will publish a book version of his latest project Miriam (image at bottom) that will include the entirety of Alternative's issue #1 and the yet to be placed with a US publisher issue #2.

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Iranian Cartoonists Skipping Biennial

Michael Cavna at the wholly necessary Comic Riffs blog has a brief report up that says Nikahang Kowsar and other Iranian cartoonists are passing the word about a planned boycott by over 100 cartoonists of Iran's Ninth Tehran International Cartoon Biennial. That event is scheduled for late October. Iranians take their cartooning competitions and exhibits very, very seriously and that one maybe most of all. The reason for the boycott is both the disputed election results and their accompanying street-level fallout and suppression.
 
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Missed It: Another Tim Kreider Editorial In The New York Times

This time on happiness:

image"I didn't always enjoy being a cartoonist. During the 12 years of my career, if I can call it that, I bored my friends and colleagues by complaining bitterly about the insulting pay, the lack of recognition, the short half-life of political cartoons as art. And yet, if I'm allowed any final accounting of my days, I may find, to my surprise, that I reckon those Fridays when I woke up without an idea in my head and only started drawing around noon, calling friends at work for emergency humor consultations, doing frantic Google image searches for 'Scott McClellan' or 'chacmool', eating whatever crud was in the fridge, laughing out loud at my own jokes, and somehow ended up getting a finished cartoon in by deadline, feeling like an evil genius, to have been among my best."

I used to be opposed to artists who also write prose better than I do, and then I realized that was most of them so I'm cool with it now.
 
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Obama Joker Cartoon Spawns Incredibly Stupid Political Debate

This is barely comics, but apparently somebody's cartoon depicting President Obama as the Joker character from last year's Dark Knight movie has taken one of the current slots of something we as a nation talk about instead of talking about something that matters. What's (barely) interesting is that there has apparently been some left-of-center reaction to the cartoon that this is somehow a hate crime -- I didn't think the movie was all that great, and it was really long, but I'm not sure I'd go all the way to hate crime -- which has further led to a conservative backlash that President Bush was depicted in demeaning ways, including the same Heath Ledger Joker last year by the great Drew Friedman, and none of those darn liberals complained then.

This is true on the face of it, that there wasn't a one-on-one reaction to the Bush cartoon similar to this one. And that this is a hate crime is a ridiculous claim. But if you back off the thought that everything everyone does needs to be schoolyard fair before they do it, it's understandable why you get the reaction you're getting now when you didn't get a similar reaction then. More people are more protective of right-now President Obama than they are of late-second term President Bush. It seems to me pretty obvious that more people have a greater amount of affection for President Obama in the present moment, both in immediate terms and for the symbolism of his presidency in the greater American Story, than they did for Bush as he limped to the end of his second term.

But the further implication of overall imbalance, the suggestion that there wasn't a heaping pile of aggressive dumbassery by people instigated by cartoon depictions of Bush? That's ridiculous. Off the top of my head: Michael Ramirez was apparently investigated for a potential death threat against President Bush for a cartoon he did. A cartoonist on LiveJournal somewhere between the coasts was if I remember correctly physically assaulted by a group of pro-Bush conservative citizens for an anti-Bush cartoon in 2003 or 2004 or thereabouts. I believe Dennis Draughon had an anti-Bush cartoon killed by his employers at one point for the simple fact of certain imagery being out of bounds. The notoriously conservative Chicago Tribune killed an anti-Bush Boondocks in 2005, one of many incidents that helped give Aaron McGruder a second career as an on-campus speaker. None of these are people complaining that Drew Friedman drew President Bush as the Joker; all of these are much, much worse. Not understanding or valuing free speech isn't a signature of either American political party; it's something shared by strident, self-interested morons on both sides of the aisle.
 
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Missed It: Bud Plant Blogs Now

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Marvel Publishing Revenues For 2Q '09 Flat, Year-End Guidance Raised

The headline pretty much tells the story. Publishing revenues fell slightly, but only so slightly that with everything else going on the low-end of their year-end guidance was raised. One thing that might be interesting to note is that Marvel openly cites the decline in print ad revenue as a contributing cause. This seems pretty clear if you ever pick up a Marvel comic, but it's little discussed in a wide-open debate of publishing strategies, quality control and price points. You can listen to Marvel's earnings conference call here.

If Marvel can negotiate this year with its lack of hometeam-produced movies and the general tricky economy, they should be set up pretty well for the next few years, or at least set up to have the success or failure of the individual movies decide whether things at the company are merely awesome or super awesome.
 
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Collective Memory: CCI 2009

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Go, Read: Jog On DM Event Comics

In response to Frank Santoro's declaration that the Direct Market's ability to combine comics traditions has ceased to exist, and various responses to that post including my own, the critic Jog presents a long essay from 2005 about the DM's greatest achievement: the market-bending crossover event comic book series.

One peculiar about this discussion as it spirals outward is I think some people assume that comics shies away from structural change as this might represent. I actually think the opposite is true, and that comics history is one of jumping on bandwagons and trends and new ways of doing things with severe commitment to the point that the costs aren't always processed before doing so.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Hip Knox

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Go, Look: The Man Who Steals Gravestones! vs. The Man Who Sold His Soul!

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Go, Look: Willow Dawson

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it's Dawson's birthday today, but I couldn't find a year of birth
 
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Go, Look: The Basket

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* in a rare good-news item -- or close enough to it -- for the newspaper comics page, the Newark Star-Ledger was apparently hammered with complaints when it dropped six comics from its comics page. The size of the hammer is 1200 complaints. Two strips will come back. There aren't a dozen papers that take as much time and care with their comics page as the Star-Ledger, so this is doubly interesting to watch.

image* I guess it's nice to have graphic novels of serious import like Asterios Polyp included with prose novels in lighthearted literary round-ups, although it'd be even nicer if the comics history part of it was right. Does anyone know if the "worked all his life for Marvel and DC" goodbye-to-Rubber Blanket angle could have come from PR or another writer's article that's out there? I'm not looking to bust heads, I'm just interested.

* once again, Ruben Bolling kills me.

* this may the best post ever from someone tangentially involved in a terrible movie that made like three dollars as the box office.

* not comics: I notice they've recently made Spaced available through Hulu.com. Or maybe I just didn't notice before, I'm not sure. Anyway, Spaced was a comics- and geek-culture cognizant show that introduced a lot of folks to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I remember liking it just fine, and thinking it was cute and endearing.

* the Comic-Con crowd is very well-behaved, reports Don MacPherson.

* I greatly enjoyed this Eddie Campbell piece on a classmate of his that also drew comics, Mike Docherty.

* it's hard for me to believe that this page of superhero comics about everyone thinking Green Lantern is awesome because he had a three-way isn't a parody page.

* another Comics Comics winner: on Internet comics scans.

* this is a lot like my original 1970s Spider-Man art. I mean, I guess it's technically true.

* finally, comics consumer advocate Johanna Draper Carlson notes that Marvel has returned full-bore to the practice of making variant covers, goosing sales for comics by targeting collectors that might buy two copies of something to have a complete collection or some other goal I don't understand. This is an long-term bad thing for the comics market, although I suppose someone out there might argue that anything Marvel can do to improve the bottom line right now shouldn't be dismissed. Mostly, though, it's a horrible way to orient your company.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Steve Mitchell!

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Daily Cross Hatch: The Mythbusters Guys

Publishing
Weird Fishes To SLG

Reviews
Ceri: Local
Ceri: Demo
Erik Hinton: 32 Stories
Andy Frisk: Superman #690
Rob Clough: Wizzywig Vol. 2
Vanja: Captain Britain #10-15
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Leroy Douresseaux: Ikigami Vol. 2
Richard Burton: Tales From Outer Suburbia
Johanna Draper Carlson: Crimson Hero Vol. 11
Leroy Douresseaux: Nick Simmons' Incarnate #1
Nina Stone: Muppet Show: Treasure Of Peg Leg Wilson #1
 

 
August 4, 2009


D+Q Signs Two-Book Deal With Lynda Barry; Deal Includes Rare Prose Project For Publisher

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CR has learned that Drawn and Quarterly will extend its recent publishing relationship with cartoonist, author and lecturer Lynda Barry to include a pair of new works. They will publish two new Barry books: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book: Picture This, featuring her well-regarded portraits of monkeys, and a prose novel called Birdis. Birdis may be D+Q's first prose novel since Bannock Beans and Black Tea, and will be Barry's first since the well-reviewed Cruddy (2000).

The Montreal-based alternative comics and art book publisher enjoyed a great deal of success with Barry's What It Is, an extended meditation on the creative process both generally and in the award-winning cartoonist's life. Barry, who came to prominence on the iconic alt-weekly feature Ernie Pook's Comeek and its spin-off book collections recently won an Eisner for the 2008 effort with Drawn and Quarterly.

The Near-Sighted Monkey Book: Picture This will be released in Fall 2010 while Birdis should hit bookstore shelves at some point in 2011. D+Q acquired worldwide publishing rights, which means distribution in the US by FSG, in Canada by Raincoast, and worldwide representation by Transatlantic Literary Agency.

I would assume there will be an announcement up at D+Q soon with a bit more information presented with greater clarity. I look forward to both books, and thought Barry and D+Q were a great fit on What It Is.

my thanks to Sammy Harkham
 
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Go, Look: Self-Harming

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Missed It: NYT On Cell Phone Manga

I think this is one of those articles where the meat is in the actual news rather than whatever portentous meaning applied to it: sales of manga to be read on cell phones surged in 2008 to nearly $350 million and includes a significant female readership. I'm a backer of all comics platforms, so this seems to me interesting news, and I think most comics publishers here are pursuing digital initiatives to the extent that if this is a long-term market they should be able to serve it.
 
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Go, Look: Bram Stoker's Dracula 02

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Fighting American Project At Dynamite Off After Co-Creator Joe Simon Objects

It seems to me this one is pretty much as it sounds, and well-covered by Newsarama. Joe Simon condemned the announcement of a Fighting American project among many Kirby-related projects announced by Dynamite. The Kirby Family is respecting his wishes by deciding not to pursue that specific project, reiterates its support for Dynamite and its deal with the publisher, and through a statement by their lawyer disputes that Simon only found out about the project as announced at Comic-Con International through a report at the comics news site CBR.
 
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Collective Memory: CCI 2009

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archived, but
 
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Go, Read: Heidi MacDonald's Massive, Always-Entertaining CCI Report

Veteran comics reporter Heidi MacDonald has her massive post-CCI essay up at her site, which is always a great read. Heidi's experience is very different than my own, both in the specifics (I had no problems with security this year even though I heard stories, and her article is the first time I even thought about the oppressiveness of giveaway bags) and in the general orientation. I feel there's a good comic-con to be had at San Diego that has nothing to do with whatever people who like that one vampire movie that didn't make as much money as Kung Fu Panda made. Or whatever the next version of that thing will be. Just literally nothing to do with that stuff. It's possible to ignore 99 percent of the bullshit that's down there if you want, or even to dabble in it without anything sticking to you if that's your thing. I'm sure there are tons of Hollywood douchebags roaming the halls, but few if any of them are in the Darwyn Cooke spotlight panel or in line to meet Pat Oliphant, you know? I'm glad there are increasingly exclusive parties and glamorous suites to entertain those people and keep them away from me.

imageI think the core problem -- problem being "how could this be a better comics show," which isn't all that big a problem in the wider picture -- is that comics companies don't know quite what to do with Comic-Con anymore. Heidi cites USA Today blogger Whitney Matheson's meet-up as a successful event, which is worth noting because it's a simple event. Matheson has carved out a little space for herself using the resources on hand, arranged it in smart fashion, and it works. Ditto Boom! and their Hyatt drink-up. Most entities in comics don't even try to do this much, and although there are plenty of parties and traditions and dinners, there could be way, way more. I've been arguing for the possibility of aggressive off-site retrenchment for years now, but I'm convinced now that unless it's officially endorsed this kind of thing has zero chance of happening just because there's no money or desire to do much of anything outside of trying to ride the basic model. This happens on the smaller scale, too. There's no reason at all the younger indie cartoonists of today couldn't have their own version of the late-night beach party, they just don't. The older generation can't even find a bar they like. More and more varied nighttime programming -- a trend that I personally haven't seen anyone discuss, although I'm sure folks have -- is actually a positive step here, but mostly I think we're talking about a lot of opportunity that will either be seized or left alone.

CCI as a sales opportunity is going to be in flux as the industry changes -- fewer people go to a comic-con because they couldn't find stuff otherwise the way they did 20 years ago, Chuck Rozanski himself runs an aggressive Internet sale offer during the show, the make-up of the show's attendees is changing -- and that should eventually settle. CCI as a PR platform is an intriguing topic. I hold out no hopes that Eric Reynolds being made Associate Publisher at Fantagraphics is going to knock the Iron Man 2 presentation out of top slot at Yahoo news, but I would imagine a first step is that the comics news sources do a stronger job of covering this stuff thoroughly and with passion. It would be nice if Richard Thompson -- who just announced he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's, making him a walking feature story in addition to his being the best strip cartoonist working -- could make as many comics industry generated articles as Lost or whatever. I could do a much better job, too, with the show, and I have some ideas about next year.

I think of CCI the same way I do a lot of comics-related things with a life on the Internet in that it has a number of hooks that make it interesting, that make it a spinning ball of topic generation, but in the end I'm not sure it's as important as it feels. Still, that doesn't mean the experience can't be improved, and I look forward to everyone involved outside-in doing something to make the event a better one. Because they can.
 
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Go, Look: Len Norris

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Go, Look: Little King

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Go, Look: Anonymous Cookbook Art

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OTBP: The Imposter's Daughter

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* fresh eyes department: I watched The Cartoonist on Sunday with my younger brother, on his best day a casual comics fan. When they showed footage from an OSU signing that Jeff Smith had done a couple of years ago, he exclaimed out loud, "Wow. There are actually kids there."

image* I couldn't possibly tell you if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but if the inordinately serious 11-year-old me had ever read a comic book where Wonder Woman's ass is described as her "rumpus mcgoo," I'm pretty sure it would have been the end of my reading them.

* there's a giant post here by Paul Gravett about the act of reading comics with varying and at time difficult applications of comics craft. This kind of thing is why Paul Gravett was created, as far as I'm concerned.

* Warren Ellis' Patsy Walker dream.

* not comics: it's nearly always fun to read Evan Dorkin on films he's been watching, and this time around he discusses the 1937 Artists and Models, which featured guest appearances by cartoonists of the day.

* Dan Zettwoch channels Will Elder.

* finally, the Comics Comics guys continue their recent, frenzied posting, with topics ranging from the relative number of female colorists to the Origins of the Comics Journal.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Franco Saudelli!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Rick Norwood!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Mike Gold!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Charlie Adlard!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Robert Pope!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, K. Thor Jensen!

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Quick hits
Craft
On Style
Sean Phillips Inks
Coloring Like Kirby
Working The Pantoum
Benjamin Marra Illustrates

Exhibits/Events
Vince Moore On CCI's Black Panel

History
That Is Indeed Beautiful

Industry
Black Jack Contest At The Manga Critic

Interviews/Profiles
FPI Blog: Tony Lee
Bookslut: Shaun Tan
Vegansaurus: Minty Lewis
CWRtv: Marc Mason + Paul Horn
Daily Cross Hatch: R. Sikoryak 01
Daily Cross Hatch: R. Sikoryak 02
Daily Cross Hatch: R. Sikoryak 03
CWRtv: Marc Mason + Steve Lieber

Comics Waiting Room: Neil Kleid

Not Comics
Sort-Of Comics Humor

Publishing
What's Your Favorite Sigikki Manga Series?
Warren Ellis' Sitegoers Recommend Webcomics

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Alex Carr: The Nobody
Ken Parille: I Want You
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Andy Frisk: Supergirl #43
Chris Mautner: Asterios Polyp
Don MacPherson: Incarnate #1
George Gene Gustines: Various
Adam Stephanides: Billy Bat Vol. 1
Matthew Brady: 100 Bullets Vol. 13
Leroy Douresseaux: Vampire Knight Vol. 7
Scott Cederlund: Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow?
 

 
August 3, 2009


Go, Look: Jack Kirby Superman Card Puzzle Images On Flickr

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thanks, Mark Anderson
 
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Steve Fiorilla, 1961-2009

imageAccording to a blog post from the esteemed writer about comics Bhob Stewart and confirmed through the artist's own web presence, Steve Fiorilla died on July 29 in his adopted hometown of Buffalo, New York, in one of that area's hospitals. He was 48 years old.

Fiorilla worked in a variety of media, favoring an EC Comics-informed grotesque style for a lot of his higher-profile projects. He placed work in Heavy Metal, High Times and a variety of smaller and more specialty productions including mini-comics. He also worked for Ed Roth on a variety of illustrations and design projects. He may be best known for his film work, creating masks and creatures for a variety of projects. His "Guillotine" animated logo for MTV was one of the more popular and recognizable bumpers used by that network.

Fiorilla also wrote film reviews utilizing the Sam Fuller-flavored nom de plume Jacques Coredor.

The Stewart post linked-to at the start of this article provides any number of avenues by which one may see Fiorilla's work on-line. A number of images copyrighted to the late artist's estate may be found here, including the sketchbook image utilized in this post.
 
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Go, Look: Paul Maybury's Conan

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Webcomics News Mini-Roundup

* I don't understand how a publication, even a web publication, can technically return if it never really went all the way away, but there's certainly a new editor at the mighty, traditional webcomics collecting point Girlamatic and they're certainly changing their basic model. A "soft re-launch," maybe?

* the great webcomics-focused blogger Gary Tyrrell has a short interview up with Holly Post of TopatoCo, a merchandising agent for any number of webcomics offerings.

* Paws Inc. veteran and general workhorse dynamo David Reddick has brought his Legend Of Bill webcomic to Blank Label Comics.
 
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Collective Memory: CCI 2009

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archived, but still accepting any and all links
 
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Go, Read: The Bridge Is Over

The artist, cartoonist and comics enthusiast Frank Santoro writes about comics conventions, the status of the mainstream/alternative split and artistic traditions. It's an effective piece in that there's a lot of to grab onto, although it's at once so broad in its implications and specific in its examples it's hard to muster a counter-argument or know if one should.

imageA couple of things spring to mind, though. Here's one: I still think of the Direct Market as a potential home for alternative and independent work because a) it's the place where the short-form delivery systems work best and I still believe in short-form delivery systems, b) I still believe that power of a weekly interaction with wide-ranging slices of art is as powerful and evocative an experience for fans of an art form as an experience gorging on, say, Green Lantern comics and nothing but, and c) certain kinds of work being driven out isn't the result of a natural progression in tastes by the audience but is largely the result of artificial pressures by companies obsessed with maximizing short-term profit and winning market share in order to better position themselves as a corporate entity. This is all hugely complicated by various economic factors, such as the comic book becoming about as appealing a package these days as paying full-ticket price every time you want to watch 10 minutes of a movie on your phone, but I think the principles are worth advocating even as the bottom line shifts. Comics are small enough that they really can't afford to embrace any one thing and give another the finger, leave any potential avenue for expression behind. There is something honorable in not leaving a party where you know you belong until you're outright asked to go. That's true of comics shops, where the presence of such art is a large factor in what has made them unique and allowed them to live longer than many similar systems of retail, and it's true of comics conventions, where works and artists like these add some substance to what might a pretty lightweight experience otherwise for thousands of comics' most passionate readers. I hope they stick it out.

Another discussion engendered by this essay is that the split between alternative/mainstream or various traditions and the like isn't for me as pronounced on the ground of a large convention or even in a comics shop as an older one between comics as personal expression and comics as marketing implement, Hollywood ballast and (slightly) cynical profit-generator. At the Comic-Con just past, I didn't feel any significant shift between visiting the table with Los Bros and the table with Darwyn Cooke, or between talking to my friends about Criminal and talking to them about George Sprott. I did feel largely alienated from and not interested at all in, for example, the Image panel I've since heard described to me, despite the presence of "founders" and the engaging banter and high-spirited goofery of so many successful, working pros. I even feel a kinship with the passion of other fandoms as they connect to the substance of what they love even as I'm confused by such fans' ability to live on a diet of being flattered, dressing to match and watching commercials everyone else will see a week from now.

Santoro tells an amusing story about a young artist being confronted with a good piece of Spider-Man art and emphasizing in response that it's Spider-Man, no matter how beautiful the piece in technical terms or even its ability to evoke and inspire. That's a great attitude for an artist to have, and there are choices every creator has to make in terms of meaning and significance that will allow them to create or perhaps even fight them doing so. Not all of us are artists, however. While I can't speak to the importance of connecting the first generation of alternative comics artists to various mainstream comics traditions, I can testify that knowing this may help me understand what I'm seeing as such art is placed in front of me. I don't know if being Spider-Man makes a piece of art less interesting, but I do know that there were Spider-Man comics with a flash of pulp and pop genius to them, a turbulent meditation on negotiating the world of adults and taking responsibility for everything you bring to the table -- with lots of hitting, wisecracks, babes, the greatest arm sling in literary history and a guy in a Rhino jammy. The reason I can tell that Spider-Man from all the rest is that I read the other kinds of comics, too. I'd be lost without comics' heady mix.
 
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That's A Lovely Panel: Brian Moore Suggests One From Family Man

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Go, Read: Maligning Richard Sala

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Go, Look: Warren Tufts

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Go, Look: The Changing World

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Random Comics New Story Round-Up

* the cartoonist Steve Bissette tends to be one of the more searingly honest interview subjects out there, so I am looking forward to reading this AV Club piece when I get settled in at work today.

* I totally missed this Mark Coale interview with Jamie Rich.

image* I'm a huge fiend for Rowland Emett, although I prefer the cartoons to the kinetic sculptures which means I get more joy out of the throwaway graphs in most articles on the artist. Eddie Campbell discusses a new exhibit here.

* speaking of Eddie Campbell, he notes in typically smart fashion here that Woody Gelman's collections of comics should get some credit for the rough and problematic set of ideas that is the graphic novel simply because of the bookshelf ready standards of those publications.

* also, he comments in smart and pointed fashion about the Bissette interview linked to above. Is there anything Blogging Eddie Campbell cannot do?

* Superman supports health care reform. If you don't, you are an enemy of Superman.

* Johanna Draper Carlson takes a look at one of the longstanding marketing truisms: Marvel's book trade program fairly sucks.

* little Rich Thompson makes a guest appearance in a Sunday Lio.

* there's still some cool San Diego Con-related stuff out there. (CR's collective memory has migrated to the archives, but if you have some.) Rob Ullman has a funny comic up at Richmond, Jamie Coville has a bunch of MP3s up for your downloading pleasure and Whitney Matheson at Pop Candy provides the only photo array you'll need to convince (fool) a costume-phobic person you know to attend the show with you next year. It's a nice bunch of photos, generally, too. I had no idea Jennifer Daydreamer was there.

* this is just never going to work.

* finally, Jeremy Duncan will turn 16 in Zits. When I was 16 I wrecked my first car, got drunk and was grounded, got drunk and avoided being grounded, was generally surly and unhelpful, obsessed over a girl, obsessed over all girls, gained 80 pounds, lost a close friend to gun violence and thought a lot about whether my own death was to be my own hand, someone's else hand or via a nuclear Armageddon instigated by the Blue Turban-wearing Antichrist spoken of in prophecy by Nostradamus. Zits is about to get awesome.
 
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Quick hits
Craft
Scary Kid
Scary Moomins
On Coloring Kirby
Nick Abadzis Draws
The Gender Of Coloring
Array Of From Hell Cover Designs
Ivan Brunetti Covers Patton Oswalt

Exhibits/Events
Go See Eddie Campbell
Huge List Of SDCC Manga Giveaways

History
10 Comic Book Cities
Jim Balent Meets Lita Ford
Gardner Rea's 1966 Obituary
Uncovering Some Forgotten Campbell
Red Tornado Is Not Happy To See You

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Matt Fraction
ICv2.com: Stan Lee
ICv2.com: Hiroyuki Takei
Graphic NYC: Josh Neufeld
Biff Bam Pop: Charlie Huston
Down The Tubes: Rufus Dayglo

Not Comics
I Liked This Story
The Eyes Of Vader
Adventures In Parenting

Publishing
Mobile Manga: For The Ladies
Please Publish This Awesome Comic
The Art Of Publishing A Comic Book Web Site

Reviews
Sandy Bilus: Stitches
Tucker Stone: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Scott McCloud: Various
Sean T. Collins: Show Off
Paul Di Filippo: The Hunter
Jared Gardner: Syncopated
David P. Welsh: Tea For Two
Rob Clough: You'll Never Know
Greg McElhatton: Photographer
Greg McElhatton: Popeye Vol. 1
Koppy McFad: JSA Vs. Kobra #2
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Bayou Vol. 1
Andy Frisk: Unknown Soldier #10
Richard Bruton: Garden Funnies #2
Sean T. Collins: Two By Lisa Hanawalt
Sean T. Collins: Immortal Weapons #1
Jillian Steinhauer: A Mess Of Everything
Chris Allen: Star Trek: Assignment Earth
Robert Stanley Martin: Swallow Me Whole
Sean T. Collins: Chrome Fetus Comics #7
Sarah Morean: Ten Thousand Things To Do #1-4
Rod Lott: You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation
Johanna Draper Carlson: Children Of The Sea Vol. 1
Sean T. Collins: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
Leroy Douresseaux: Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Vol. 12
 

 
August 2, 2009


CR Sunday Interview: Lilli Carre

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*****
imageI've greatly enjoyed Chicago-based cartoonist, artist and animator Lilli Carré's first few forays into the world of comics. Longer works such as Tales of Woodsman Pete and especially The Lagoon were stuffed with undeniably interesting formal techniques even if you cared not one whit for the comics themselves. There's a soulful element to Carré's writing that helps greatly to involve the reader in the surface narratives, one that's put to good use in her latest, Nine Ways To Disappear. While I look forward to seeing what Carré does next and far into the future, I don't want anyone to miss what she's accomplished in this latest work, which I thought slipped out largely and unfairly unnoticed. Carré paid great attention to the following; it's the longest I've ever waited for answers to come back, but I think it's worth it. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Lilli, I know very little about you other than what I've read in a pair of interviews. What kind of art did you enjoy and pursue before you began to discover comics while in art school? What qualities to your current art remain, do you think, from that early exploration of art?

LILLI CARRÉ: When I moved to Chicago I was certain that I wanted to be a sound artist, but once I started classes I began to leap from department to department. The way the school is set up is rather amoebic, and you don't have to define a major or anything, so you can slide around wherever you want. I ended up becoming very interested in creative writing, film, and printmaking. I think that working in all of those different areas informed the way I make and think about comics, much more so than if I had stuck in one area, or had strictly worked on comics at the time. Crafting new stories every week for creative writing classes and reading my own words in front of an audience was horrifying for me at first, but I grew to like it. I enjoyed hearing what popped out of everyone else's head, as well as reading my stuff out loud. Doing this made it a lot easier for me to trust my own stories and also gauge what seemed to resonate with people and what didn't. Around this time I started reading some short story writers that have inspired me very much, especially Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar.

While at the school, I got a job working in the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection. It was fantastic, best job of my life so far! I got to look through hundreds of artists' books, and pull them by theme for classes and people that came to visit the collection. There were editioned art objects and little books made of mirrors, cast chocolate butt holes (really), lots of odd die-cut and accordion books, all of the big RAW magazines... I drool just thinking about it. Being around all this got me even more excited about the possibilities of bookmaking, and influenced the forms of some of the book/comic projects I was printing in the offset class at school.

Also, while studying film and animation, I got to see lots of experimental films and animations that are stylistically very influential to me, especially the work of Chris Sullivan, Lewis Klahr, Janie Geiser, and Larry Jordan. Having to figure out through animation how to create a world, characters, and a mood from scratch translates pretty directly to doing the same in comics, which is one thing I like so much about the two. You start from nothing, a blank piece of paper, and have absolute freedom and control over what you want to build from there. I think my animation sensibilities have seeped into my comics-- perhaps the inclination to make more open-ended stories, or to want to make something feel slow or very fast when necessary, and the desire to want to feel lots of space and have the story feel immersive and experiential rather than trying to move it along as efficiently as possible. The mood of a piece is something I like to play with a lot, and is usually an integral part of whatever I'm working on. Anyhow, studying all of these things contributed quite a bit to the way I make and think about comics.

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SPURGEON: I was wondering after your initial creative process, because it seems like you develop very firm ideas as to what you want to explore in a certain work. How do your ideas develop into specific projects? Do you keep a notebook, a sketchbook, do you free associate and build on certain notions? When does a project really click into place for you?

CARRÉ: A project usually clicks into place once I feel fired up about a particular incident or moment that I want to flesh out. I do keep a sketchbook, and will write ideas down as I get them. I'll look through my scribbles and see if I can link things or build anything from there. Often the impetus to start writing a story will be one little incident or observation from my life. One example is the idea for "Dorado Park." It came about while I was passing through a large park here where it's very easy to get disoriented and a little lost, and I was drawn to the idea of wandering a public park forever in loops and getting older. Another is with "Wide Eyes," which was sparked from having seen this girl around town that has some very wide-set eyes, and I kept going back forth between whether I thought she was quite seriously beautiful, or sort of spooky looking, it was a really thin line. I still haven't made up my mind. I began sculpting other details of the story from there, and usually the completed story ends up being about something quite different or larger than the particular incident that sparked the idea, which often ends up as a little detail. I usually just use one little grain of a story from real life to then build upon in my imagination. After I think of the general theme, I'll start writing down other ideas for it, and I'll often thumbnail it out and then start drawing.

SPURGEON: Nine Ways To Disappear seems like a curious project in formal terms following your first two books. I'm not familiar with Little Otsu -- can you talk about the practicalities of getting this one off the ground?

CARRÉ: I had worked on some illustration projects for Little Otsu back when they mostly put out paper goods. They share a storefront/office space with McSweeney's in San Francisco, which I believe inspired Little Otsu as they were beginning their own publishing efforts. A while back they asked me if I wanted to put out a book of my comics with them, to which I said "Yes!" They had been nice to work with on the other projects, and the things they print always end up looking really sharp. I thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment with a new book project, hoping to work looser than I had with the previous books. I think this is the fourth book Little Otsu has published so far, and I believe they have some more coming up, not necessarily comics though.

SPURGEON: Why a book of panel-per-page comics? That's a very specific and I think underutilized way of telling a story, one that makes people think of Edward Gorey or Dr. Seuss more than comics. Creatively, how did the project develop?

CARRÉ: I was very slow to figure out what I wanted to do for my Little Otsu book until I decided on the theme of disappearance and a one-panel-per-page square format. Once I set those parameters for myself, it was much easier to work on the book. I don't know what initially drew me to this format... I liked the idea of giving each panel a lot of attention, and having it read more like a storybook. Making every image the same size and on its own page gave the stories a certain pace that I liked, and every image had equal weight in that sense. Hmm, what else... I worked on it mostly all while out in parks and coffee shops for a change. It was refreshing to think-up the stories quickly as they popped into my head, having an idea of the main direction I wanted them to go in and then seeing how they evolved once I started them.

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SPURGEON: How different was it for you to work with single-panel imagery after building pages in The Lagoon? Were you able to draw on your animation work, which has a similar "single window" into what we're seeing?

CARRÉ: I do like composing a page of multiple panels, and in The Lagoon it was something I had specifically tried to play with. The pacing from panel to panel was important for the mood of the story and I tried to have sounds threading through the panels and pages to connect them. In any case, working with just one panel was a nice and simple change, and I liked the focus on one image. Some of the stories seem to me particularly animation-like, within the one-panel style. "What am I going to do," "The Sun" and "Wait" seem sort of like key frames for an animation, with one thing morphing gradually into something else. I'd like to try making more work in that style. With on image per page this style works well I think, and with that singular window given to each image, there's more control over the reader's surprise with turning the page, there is a beat to the way it reads.

SPURGEON: This is probably a goofy question, but can you talk about the way the pages were framed, the decorative flourishes that surround each panel? They seem fairly representative of visual elements within the story, but it occurs to me I may be reading too much into that. Also, in the first story, they change, but they remain static in the rest. The book has a lot of those decorative elements, and also I wonder if that was simply fun to do?

CARRÉ: Well, the first story I wrote for the book was "Dorado Park", and I drew different borders around each image; I'm not entirely sure why, other than my love of borders (I just really like they way they look) and that it was indeed simply fun to do. I wanted the rest of the comics in my book to be consistent with "Dorado Park,: so I continued to use borders for all of them, but instead made one border to use with each story that would be vaguely related to the one it housed, either aesthetically or with a tiny nod to the content.

SPURGEON: In general design terms, how much are you involved with the overall look of your books? What are your some of your influences in that arena? I'm interested in maybe you talking about some of the choices with this book design-wise: the cover, the ink on the pages, the size of the book…

CARRÉ: The covers of my three books -- and often my mini comics as well -- have all ended up being fairly similar, design-wise; I always seem to go with a centered image, usually a character's big head smack dab in the center, surrounded by a border. I'm a little border-crazy; I can't help myself. I spent a lot of time with a Pantone book in my lap trying to pick out colors. Initially the pages were going to be two-color and the cover full-color, but we pared it down to a two-color cover, one-color inside cover and one-color for the interior pages. We did this to keep the cost of the book down, since LO prints everything they do on recycled paper with soy inks, which is a little more pricey to print. Sorry, this is some wildly unexciting stuff to hear about... [Spurgeon laughs] Anyway, LO picked the papers and the thickness, and I designed it and chose the colors and size and such. I really enjoy this part of working on a book.

I considered the design and feel of my book as an object before I started working on it, rather than after, and planned on it being small, chubby, and ornate. As far as other books that have a similar format and/or influenced the style of Nine Ways: I really like Sammy Harkham's Poor Sailor book, which uses this format; the pacing is perfect with one panel per page, it works beautifully for that story, and it's nice as its own small little book. Also last year I found a book at a seaside bookshop called Millions of Cats, a picture book by Wanda Gag, which is very charming and the drawings are also kind of dense and ornate. I liked the breathing room for each image paired with the density of her mark-making, and I tried to have that same feel in my book as well.

SPURGEON: I thought your lettering was attractive in the book, too. How much thought do you put into how the words are going to look on the page? In "The Sun" and "What Am I Going To Do?" you play with the lettering as a visual effect -- did you accomplish what you set out to do with the lettering in those stories?

CARRÉ: In this book I wanted the text in the boxes below the images to be pretty personality-less, just sounding like a regular voice in your head as you read. In the stories you listed, however, the text does enter the main image and plays a part in the action of the story, and this text I treated as part of the drawing. In "What Am I Going To Do," I tried to make that text feel like it was heavy in the air, and as if it was a character itself, which it actually quite literally turns out to be in that little story.

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SPURGEON: I wanted to ask you about some of your creative choices. In "Wide Eyes," you depict the female character with an increasingly larger head and body in a way that portrays both the change in perception the male character has but also her growing discomfort. Why such a blunt physical metaphor there?

CARRÉ: I wanted her to physically appear increasingly a little more monstrous, the part of her that appeared to the male character as "alienesque" becoming more and more so. The problem grows literally out of proportion. I also wanted his entire body and head to fit between her eyes, there was something about the physical comedy of that that I couldn't shake, hammy or no.

SPURGEON: In the first story, I love the physicality of the vines. Were you being conscious about reinforcing those patterns in the floor, and in the protagonist's hair and in the speech of the man at the road? Are their specific visual elements appealing to you?

CARRÉ: I just like the look of that snaky line. I've been asked a lot if my drawings were made as woodcuts, which is a cool idea, but the reality of having made all of these as woodcuts seems crazy. I do really like the look of woodcuts and I think that my drawings in this book, specifically this story and the parts you mentioned, have that kind of gouged look, which is a style I'm drawn to. It wasn't a conscious decision to connect all of those patterns, it was just the way I felt like drawing them.

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SPURGEON: I don't want to ask a whole lot of questions like this, because I think it ruins a lot of the discovery process with a comic like this, but I was taken with the drain comic as an idea. Where did that initial idea come from?

CARRÉ: Hmm, I'm not sure I have a satisfying answer for that one... Nowhere in particular. I began writing and it spilled out, that story especially quickly. I just started with the line about being a fish, but maybe it was raining that night and I was possibly distracted by thinking of storm drains…? I guess I'm not too good at picking apart where these story ideas come from, but this one is my favorite of the stories I made for the book, and the one I've heard the most reactions to.

SPURGEON: Lilli, was there a conscious attempt on your part to develop theme in a way that connected the stories here? Do you see anything in it now that you might not have originally intended, or do you exert more control over your work than that?

CARRÉ: I usually start rather open-ended and see where the stories go, but as I write them I like to connect things, especially with a batch of short stories like this. After deciding, "alright then, a general theme of disappearance, start!", I began with Dorado Park, and once I wrote the piece about the storm drain, the themes of those two stories steered the rest, about all these people and things that slip between the cracks, and odd forms of temptation that leave you in the middle of nowhere, or with nothing. I intend for a certain amount of connectedness, but there are certainly plenty of things in there that I don't realize until I read them later or as a whole collection. That may be the most interesting part for me; coming across patterns in my stories that I didn't set out to make, but that are clear as day when you step back and look at them.

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SPURGEON: I thought there was a sweetness to the book that was reinforced by its measured pace, and I left it with a feeling that while life can be arbitrary and unfair it can also be full of rich experiences and that most of them can be coped with. Do you have an opinion about the underlying value of these stories? Do you think your work to date has been a reflection of your general point of view? Do you recognize yourself in your comics?

CARRÉ: I think it would be hard to keep one's views from seeping into his or her comics. I really like what you came away with after reading the book. As I wrote the stories I didn't have the intention of that being the overall theme of the book, but I think that a lot of my comics end up with that kind of feeling. I've tried to write more peppy things, but they always get a little twisted into themselves and end up like this, with something like this general feeling. They're all little bits of my head; I can recognize myself in the storm drain, the button, the sleepwalker, the upstairs neighbor, the girl on the chair, the bad joke writer, all of 'em.

SPURGEON: As a younger cartoonist that's emerging in this kind of book publishing-focused comics world, I wonder how you thought about the vocation of comics. Do you have a sense, when you look at the opportunities and venues that might be available to you, that you can make comics a part of your artistic life? Do you want to, long-term?

CARRÉ: I hope to always be able to make comics. I don't know if I'd count on it as a main job, plus I feel like I need to do something else to counter the solitude that I need while working on comics. But yes, I hope there continue to be venues for putting more comics out into the world and that I get the opportunity to do so.

SPURGEON: Do you like the promotional aspects of comics? How do you find the process of talking about your work in the hopes that people will buy it?

CARRÉ: I'm not so great with the promotional aspects of comics. I find it hard to be a salesman of my work, and frankly I'm no good with such things anyway. I do enjoy going to comic conventions, though -- I like being around and indulging in so many new comics, and getting to meet and talk to other cartoonists. I can be a bit of an over-stimulated blushing wreck, but I have fun. Otherwise I am just happy to have some work out there for people to stumble upon.

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SPURGEON: Tell me about the The Fir Tree project you recently featured on your blog. What are your interests in picture-making and narrative beyond comics?

CARRÉ: I've never really worked with someone else's narrative, let alone one as deeply, punch-in-the-gut sad as Hans Christian Andersen's The Fir-Tree. So that was a new way of working for me. I was invited to work on this project of adapting the story with illustration, and it was refreshing to work on something narrative and not feel the pressure of building my own story, but rather getting to embellish this pre-existing one. I liked breaking up the text into different pages, and figuring out what imagery that would compliment it well. I had to think about what talking sunlight or a pompous rat might look like, etc. Also there was the challenge of anthropomorphizing a tree without giving it a face or anything, as I thought a tree with a face might look very stupid, so I tried to make it look devastated through the arrangement of its branches and such, and by allowing it to be a tree that sweats. This project yanked me out of my tendencies to draw things I normally might, like water or leaves or wild women, so that was good. I definitely prefer crafting my own stories and making up my own scenarios to just illustrating those of others', but it is fun once in a while to have the chance to work on something that would never come out of my own head, and to flex strange muscles in doing so.

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SPURGEON: What is it about Chicago that makes it a good city for artists?

CARRÉ: I like Chicago because it's got a lot of character as a city, it's cheap to live here, and it's crawling with amazing cartoonists. The winter is so miserable that it makes you stay indoors and get work done. I think I may move to a new city sometime soon, just for a change of pace and avoiding the aforementioned winter of misery (I've got this sissy west coast blood!), but I think Chicago is a great place to live as an artist, especially as a cartoonist.

SPURGEON: Where will we see your work next?

CARRÉ: More stories for MOME, and another animation, someday soon!

*****

* Nine Ways To Disappear, Lilli Carré, Little Otsu, softcover, 192 pages, 2009, $12.95

*****

* cover to book
* image from animation
* image from MOME #14
* image from The Lagoon
* drain image from Nine Ways
* another single image from Nine Ways
* two images from The Fir Tree
* two videos from the artist (below)

*****

Water Man Loop-dee-loo from Lilli Carré on Vimeo.



How She Slept At Night from Lilli Carré on Vimeo.



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

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FFF Results Post #174 -- Clearly Comics Were Better When I Was A Kid

On Friday, CR Readers were asked to "Name Five Things About Comics From The Year Before You Were 18 That Could And Should Inform The Way Comic Books Are Done Now." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Make comics for everybody, even girlie-girls.
2. Sell comics where people can buy them.
3. Put gorillas on the covers if that works.
4. Anthologies are great for developing relationships with talent.
5. Letters pages of some sort are good.

*****

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Scott O. Brown

1) A multitude of distributors.
2) Newstand availability.
3) Priced under a buck.
4) Cheap paper for the serials, nice paper for the trades.
5) New William Messner-Loebs writing and/or art on a monthly basis.

*****

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Tony Collett

1. Superheroes aren't the only genre.
2. A page devoted to company identity (Bullpen Bulletins, Daily Planet, Archie Club, etc) makes your readers feel like a club and that they belong to something.
3. Good things come in bigger packages (treasury editions, 100 page spectaculars, Dollar Comics, giant size/annuals, etc)
4. Selling comics 3 in a bag isn't a good thing. You might have at least one, don't want at least one, and it's hard to determine which comic is in the middle.
5. Superheroes aren't the only genre*.

*I felt so strongly about this I wanted to make it 1,3, and 5 on my list, but I had other thoughts that made the list.

*****

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Aaron White

1. Ads in comics should focus on muscle building schemes, kung-fu lessons, and absurd products like erasers "for smart people."
2. Brunettes should have blue highlights.
3. All role playing game-based comics should be third-party knockoffs rather than licensed.
4. I was a kid during the black & white comics glut and thought it was awesome to have thousands of totally idiosyncratic (if mostly crappy) comics. More gluts please.
5. Two words: Spider. Buggy.

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Use footnotes to back issues by editors with nifty nicknames
2. Distribute selected books to newsstands, pharmacies, convenience stores, and supermarkets
3. Sell digests! (This seems a no-brainer now, especially if they go to a manga-sized format)
4. Hire dependable writers/artists who can consistently put books out on time, or a whip-cracking editor who runs a tight ship
5. Not have Wolverine or Batman in every other book coming out

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Top-tier comics artists produced more than four to six issues a year.
2) Comics conventions were actually comics conventions rather than pop-culture expos.
3) There was no monopoly in comics distribution.
4) Cheaper paper and stronger ad revenue kept comics prices down.
5) Gimmick covers didn't exist (or were at least incredibly rare).

*****

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Nat Gertler

1. The default assumption should be that an issue has a complete story.
2. Third person narrative can move events forward and give you more story in the space provided.
3. Writers taking superhero writing seriously should construct, not just deconstruct.
4. Covers images and cover text can make one curious about what's going on, rather than just conveying the information that Spider-Man swings from buildings.
5. Hostess snack products can stop the most powerful villains. Why mess with the cosmic cube when you have cupcakes?

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Adult oriented material in black and white comics
2. More magazines carried comic strips/serials in their pages
3. More artist/publisher collectives ala underground comix
4. Far more sports/automotive oriented titles
5. Better quality of fandom

*****

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BrainAllGone

1. Lettercolumns and editorial pages which read more like parts of a conversation than platforms for one side
2. Competing distributors, to at least try to hold off the dangers of a monopolistic system
3. More emphasis on building readerships for ongoing titles than on goosing sales with miniseries and events
4. More diversity of genre, especially in the major publishers' main lines
5. Strict adherence to a ship-week-based schedule, so readers don't have to guess when the next issue will be published

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Make covers with shiny metal inks or holograms,just to show that comics ain't cheap literature
2) After killing an iconic character, create some suspense by creating four new characters supposed to be him
3) Adaptations of cable animated series
4) Let the market be flooded with speculators until your city finally have comic book shops of its own
5) Dare to publish silly stuff like a Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley one-shot just for the sake of fun

*****

adapted from a suggestion by Christopher Duffy

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*****
 
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Happy 45th Birthday, Danny Hellman!

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First Thought Of The Day

The only heavenly bed of which I'm aware is the one at home with me in it until noon.
 
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August 1, 2009


The Comics Reporter Video Parade










 
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Next Week In Comics-Related Events

August 2
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August 6
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August 7
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August 8
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from July 25 to July 31, 2009:

1. Comic-Con 2009 comes and goes with as many different experiences as there were lines to stand in.

2. Marvel throws its hat into the Marvelman ring of craziness.

3. Fantagraphics announces a complete reprinting of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy, one of the half-dozen or so remaining gems in the strip-reprint trade.

Winners Of The Week
Your 2009 Eisner Award Winners.

Loser Of The Week
Graphic Novel Sales

Quote Of The Week
"When, during his signing, someone asked Trondheim if he was enjoying the show, he answered, simply, 'no', without a smile." -- The Daily Cross Hatch

*****

today's cover is from one of the great publications of the underground comix era

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

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

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Danny Fingeroth On Gathering Of NYC Graphic Novel Luminaries August 19 (PR) (7/31/09)
* Johnny Bacardi On Thriller As An Undeveloped Cross-Media Property (7/31/09)
* Ben Schwartz On The Difficulties Of Attending CCI (7/31/09)
* Buzz Dixon On The CAC's Embarrassing Incident At Comic-Con (7/31/09)
* Someone At The Library Of Congress On Herblock 100 Exhibit (7/31/09)
* Chris Arrant On His SDCC Thoughts (7/31/09)
* Tim Broderick On Being Really Excited For The Chicago Comics Show (7/31/09)
* Gabe Fowler On Raising Money For Smoke Signals Newspaper (PR) (7/31/09)
* Chris Duffy On Reprints (7/30/09)
* Andrew Mansell On Why People Don't Read The Bungle Family (7/29/09)
* Louis Wysocki On Creating A Complete Strip Archive (7/29/09)
* Steve MacIsaac On My Use Of The Word Refreshing To Talk About Some Asshole's Use Of A Chick Tract (7/20/09)
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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