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September 30, 2010


Comic-Con Chooses San Diego

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According to a press release dropped earlier this evening, Comic-Con International has decided to extend its relationship with the city of San Diego and the San Diego convention center, ending an extensive process during which the city was heavily wooed by convention officials from Anaheim and Los Angeles.

According to the official press release, the con will stay in San Diego through 2015. "We are grateful for the tireless efforts all three cities put into to their proposals," CCI Director of Marketing and Publication Relations David Glanzer was quoted as saying in the press release."In the end, we feel this decision is the best for all those who attend Comic-Con and for the organization itself. We are happy that the community has worked with us to ensure that we remain here"

The press release cited the self-imposed attendance limit in 2007-2010, the last three of which were capped at 125,000 people, as the reason they looked to other cities.

The convention was founded in 1970 in San Diego by area fans, and from those beginnings, where the entire show was focused on a single hotel's available space, has become a city-wide event, jamming area hotel rooms and putting more than 125,000 people into the expansive convention center. Over the last decade the swell of fantasy franchise movies and television shows has fueled Hollywood's interest in the show to the point where Comic-Con has become a major entertainment industry event to rival any role it's ever played for the comics world. Debates rage among fans over where those Hollywood interests have pulled the show away from its comics roots or, alternatively, if the comics core of the show remains as strong as ever and the show is merely pursuing its traditional interests across media. A move to entertainment industry capital Los Angeles or Disney-dominant Anaheim might have exacerbated the claims of the former camp.

*****

I spoke to CCI spokesperson David Glanzer upon hearing news of their decision.

TOM SPURGEON: David, congratulations on finalizing your choice. Can you paint the picture of the moment when you came to the decision -- was it a meeting, was it a conference call? And to follow up slightly, what was the mood in the room once the decision was made? Is there a sense of relief to having all of this over with?

DAVID GLANZER: It wasn't really a particular moment per se. We made no secret of the fact that we would, in a perfect world, love to stay in San Diego. We just had to be sure that whatever decision we made would really have to have more pluses than minuses. In the end I think we came to a good decision. As for a sense of relief, yes, I think there is to a small degree. But there's going to be a tremendous amount of work ahead of us and we're all very aware of that.

SPURGEON: It's been two full months now since the decision was tabled. I don't know if you'll care to, but could you share what it was that you were considering in these last few weeks, what factors drove that extra consideration? What were you looking at?

GLANZER: I don't know that the decision was really tabled. There were just a lot of things to look at. With three different proposals, there were additions, changes, things that each city thought might mitigate some of our concerns. So, in the end, it really took much longer than I think anyone on this end ever thought it would.

SPURGEON: How much did the operation of this year’s convention play into the final decision; is there anything that worked well that you found particularly encouraging?

GLANZER: Well, the addition of the hotels meeting space really has helped us. Last year we utilized the Bayfront Hilton to much success and this year we added the Marriott Marina. The fact that attendees didn't mind going off-site so much was, I feel, a good indicator that things could work if we stayed.

imageSPURGEON: I'm not sure I'm totally correct about the primacy of these issues, but I wanted to ask you about how Comic-Con feels the situation stands right now on a couple of key issues. What do you have from San Diego in terms of the hotel situation that makes you comfortable that will be a smoother issue going forward? Are there more rooms? Did you get caps on certain price points regarding rooms?

GLANZER: Well, we've received assurances that we will have access to more rooms for our room bloc. This gives us the possibility of doubling the amount of rooms available to our attendees. Rates are always an issue, and the hotels fully understand this. This agreement will hopefully keep hotel rates competitive.

SPURGEON: The second issue is the convention center itself. How confident are you that the convention center and San Diego can handle this very popular show in the years ahead? Do you see or know about expansion in the future? Are there plans that you have worked out concerning outside facilities being employed?

GLANZER: We reached a self-imposed attendance limit several years ago and our deliberations on the proposals never really considered the expansion because we knew any expansion wouldn't even be complete until after 2015. So while we are faced with flat income, the center has worked with us in allowing signage and the like at the center which helps us defray costs. You know we've been in San Diego for 40 years, and at this facility since '91. We haven't had major sponsorship signage in the past because there was a lack of desire from exhibitors and others, it was just something we never felt we had to do. But of course, times change.

Being able to utilize hotels ballroom space, city park space and the like makes staying in San Diego possible.

SPURGEON: What can you do now that you have this decision made that you were maybe putting on hold until you decided? What is the next step to making this new relationship work?

GLANZER: Well, to be honest, not much. We always had a two-level approach to this. One was the ongoing deliberations on the proposals, the other was making sure that Comic-Con, WonderCon and APE continued without any interruption or hindrance. This decision allows us to now focus all of our time on each of our shows. And for that I can tell you I am personally grateful.

*****

While industry reaction should be all over the comics Internet tomorrow and throughout the weekend, not to mention the raw feed that you get via twitter and through those who use blogs, and with assurances we'll definitely cover some of that at CR as it develops, I first wanted to check in with one of my personal go-tos on Comic-Con related issues, Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds. Reynolds has been attending or exhibiting at the show for more than half of his life, and as an employee of a comics company has come to represent for me the kind of comics-focused point of view of the show that some folks have insinuated isn't the show's primary concern any longer. I wondered how he saw this particular decision, or if it mattered too him at all.

image"My initial thought when I read your email was, 'Wow, great!' Which, honestly, is not necessarily what I would have assumed my reaction would be," Reynolds told CR. "I really haven't had a horse in this race and have never had a strong opinion on what I wanted them to do. What do I know? I know that part of me liked the idea of an expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas every summer, even though I don't rationally believe Vegas would be a good fit; I just like to gamble. I think I was more opposed to the show moving to Los Angeles/Anaheim than I was in favor of it staying in SD or going anywhere else. I'm not even sure why I was opposed to it, because I love visiting L.A. But it would just feel like we let the terrorists win at that point. Yes, I just compared Hollywood to Al-Qaeda. At least it wasn't Hitler."

"Really, though, I've been going to Comic-Con since I was about 12. Almost 30 years. And there's something to be said for the continuity that Comicon has established in San Diego. So I think I'm quite pleased by the decision. Now if they would just build a walking bridge over Harbor Drive we'll really be in business!"

The official announcement can be found here: CCI_SD_Announcement_f.pdf

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* so this weekend the biggest show I see on a calendar is one from Poland where Alex Robinson is in attendance. That Highwater Books exhibit opens up, too. That's a pretty big deal.

* the only reports I've seen from con action last weekend is the occasional blog write-up on Seattle's Jet City show, which sounds like it was moderately successful at least for those that bothered to write reports. Here's a few photos.

* I think for the most part, the bulk of comics people focused on conventions have aimed the prow of their ship at the blinking lights of New York Comic-Con. Here's my shot at separating the comics-related programming from the longer, more elaborately formatted list. I think there's going to be enough for most people to do. A lot of professionals like going to this show because they get to go to New York, so it's a well-attended show from a mainstream comics talent perspective. It's always been my understanding that they do relatively well with British talent coming over because it's only the ocean that separates them, not the ocean and a continent.

* as far as that programming goes, I'm talking to the legendary Mort Walker, the Rall/Kurtz print vs. internet battle should be pretty good, the Dash Shaw/Chip Kidd conversation is sure to be fascinating despite its relatively late hour, and I hope to God I'm able to wake up in time for the Kodansha USA panel Sunday morning. Beyond that I'm going to go everything with the word "digital" in it and I hope I leave the weekend less stupid on that subject. There are also some panels without any of the participants named, not even two weeks out when the list went up, which makes me wonder if things are going to go off as planned.

* APE is coming up fast, too, the weekend after NYCC. One cool-sounding thing they've just announced is a programming track to encourage writers and artists meeting and showing each other work: speed dating for comics collaboration. I'm not sure how much collaboration artists that show at or attend APE are seeking, but I'm all for innovative programming and it's not like having it at APE means they won't do it at other shows.

* finally, I've never been to one of Italy's supposedly excellent comics festivals; Rich Johnston reports from one.
 
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Go, Look: Nervous Rex #5

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Five Thoughts On The Danish Cartoons On Their Five-Year Anniversary

These are my thoughts on the fifth anniversary of the original publication of 12 caricatures of Muhammed in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

1. I still think the original publication was a cheap and unnecessary stunt, that doing so in the context of that particular political climate was provocative, that this was known, that provocation was intended, and that in many ways many people who reacted poorly to the cartoons have responded less to some legally strict notion of depicting Muhammed than to the haughty, withering contempt clearly fueling that particular stunt. That doesn't mean that stunts aren't protected free speech or that anyone deserves anything that follows. It's just that it galls a bit to see the publication of those images assume a glow of righteousness it doesn't deserve. It didn't have to be done. When people claim that the original publication was meant to instigate a dialogue, I can only suggest that when people end up dying and there are five-plus years of political and intermittent economic heartache that result, you've really lost control of that conversation. If you ever had it in the first place. If you ever cared to own it at all.

2. That said, the imams and activists that pressed this action as a political point, many lying about the nature of the cartoons (as in the fake pig photoshop cartoon), and using it as a spur to drive violence and misunderstanding and to weaken their own press, these are some of the worst kind of people and their actions should always be viewed as abominable and intolerable. Anyone driven to violent reprisal of any kind -- intimidation, rioting, allowing/encouraging honest press people to be jailed -- even from the most honest sense of outrage, those people are also responsible for their actions, and those actions were in no way laudatory or excusable.

3. The greatest disappointment is that once this became a story of physical violence and economic trial, when millions of average citizens could have used access to the imagery because the nature of that imagery was at question, hundreds of media outlets all over the world abandoned their core missions to inform and educate. Worse, many did so because they were scared. Even worse than that, many did so because they were scared but wrapped themselves in rhetoric that they did not wish to further the offense, which, even if genuine, I'd argue is not a reason to abdicate core values but to have a heavy heart and an eyes-open sympathy for others while fulfilling them. I'm convinced a major reason this remains an issue today is because the world press failed to do its job in early 2006.

4. 139 people died.

5. That this remains an issue in the news speaks to the broad, bland immaturity of the modern political world and the obvious, sad fact that nothing was learned. In fact, learning was resisted. Almost no one's conduct during that time was challenged or questioned, no matter how self-serving the subsequent spin. Yale University Press hands in its right to be taken seriously as a custodian for academic freedom by not allowing the images to be reprinted in an academic study of the images. Kurt Westergaard suffers the most for bravely stepping forward and owning his work, the most provocative image of the twelve. Scarier still, in most cases the cartoons function as a kind of pre-packaged totem, an in for publicity and press coverage that has nothing to do with the issue beyond the call and response of how we perceive such repeat instances should be handled. That's the Molly Norris lesson -- nearly everything that's happened to her existed in a political climate addicted to mayhem and gossip and assumed truths more than it does the flesh and blood world. A Norris cartoon becomes a temporary political and pr football used by another wave of free speech stuntmen and stuntwomen against her expressed wishes. A death threat by an imam is heard only for breathless press coverage attracted to that many google-ready keywords. The worry for Norris' physical safety isn't that an actual political attack will be made but that some nut-job reading all the press coverage will see harming Norris as an invitation to enjoy the praise of allies, the scorn of enemies and the attention of everyone.

I don't see this particular hangover ending any time soon.
 
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Go, Look: A Barbara Canepa Girls Gallery And Appreciation

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A Comics Anniversary I Almost Forgot

imageIt occurred to me while doing some research on another project that September 2010 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Creator's Bill Of Rights. I believe they were written in late 1988, but didn't make it to publication until September 1990 as part of a special issue of The Comics Journal. Comics was only about four or five years away from a no-turning-back number of professionals and devoted fans migrating on-line and having their spats and discussions in real time, but in 1990 I think it was safe to say that a huge number of comics-interested folk only encountered comics industry issues as they heard about them in Comics Buyer's Guide or read about them in the Journal. Even if you got to read them earlier than that -- I bet Dave Sim published them in his rollicking Cerebus letters pages -- this was a time when a lot of folks still counted on TCJ or CBG as a place to work through such issues. It was that way for me.

For an important current generation of comics makers and industry folk, those in the 35-45 age range, many would have learned about these issues right between the ages of the middle of high school to the end of graduate school (or its workplace equivalent), although it's tough to discern that the document itself is influential to a significant degree. I think a common, blunt criticism of the Bill's influence has some merit: the more economic factors were resolved to include royalties and a variety of different ownership/copyright options were put out there in order to compete for the best talent, the less anyone cared about any of the even slightly more abstract principles involved, real-world implications or not. That these ideas weren't fundamental rights but raised concerns that could then be negotiated project to project, even to be given back for the right price or under the right circumstance, ended up being the Bill's biggest weakness.

Still, It's nice to think of a time when these things were a great concern to pros, though, that this was so important some of them actually traveled to sit down together and hash things out. I have respect for all those that sacrificed immediate personal gain for principle that might only have benefited those operating on down the line, me included. We may never see that generation's like again.

Scott McCloud discusses it here; Al Nickerson has a series of rolling interviews here.
 
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Go, Look: Death-Day Part One

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Vertigo Loses Three Key Editors

I'm coming terribly late to all of this, about four geologic eras in Internet time, but apparently DC's meetings have concluded and there's been one firm set of announcements: that Vertigo editors Joan Hilty, Pornsak Pichetshote and Jonathan Vankin have all been laid off. On the one hand, the outside observer might be surprised that the line had that many editors to fire, and the imprint's success with stand-alone graphic novels has certainly been hit and miss, and some of the biggest misses seems to have had a more direct and controlling editorial hand. I couldn't tell you a single name of one of their crime books, and I cover comic books for a living.

On the other hand, is it my imagination, or hasn't Vertigo had a pretty good year since the naming of Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee as the publishing house's executive-level Cerberus? A DC mainstream universe comic generating the good will of The Unwritten or the sales oomph of that Stephen King vampire thing fails to spring to mind. If the new publishing paradigm is about building relationships with IP-generators, I think a lot of them would want to do work for a vigorous Vertigo imprint. WildStorm's departure seems to open up more such opportunities for that imprint rather than less. And while you can't always trust those "rising star" rumors, Pichetsote was even to my tin ear regarded as someone with bright career prospects in general and DC in particular, a place that doesn't have a whole lot of star editors in key positions past the top tier right now. One might be forgiven hoping that Bob Harras' purported skills at working with younger talent and nailing down core concepts is something he can employ on the editorial side of things as well.

I also wonder if the line is still supported at DC. If the two panels I saw at WonderCon were any indication, those books were completely cut out of the DCU baseball cap backwards direct sales push made at public events, except for a cursory mention when someone from the audience brought something up. There are also the long-term implications involved in how a company like DC wants to shape the industry as opposed to just responding to it. If the publisher's goal is to have more stores like Brian Hibbs' fine San Francisco shop Comix Experience out there in the future, those stores are the ones that are going to do well with Vertigo books. So I'm confused. I know that there's certainly a negative picture that can be painted of Vertigo, and if you gave me five minutes, I could probably come up with a dire portrait of my own. But again, with the absence of a positive message about that imprint from here on out, these dismissals just sound like a big thumbs-down for that corner of DC's operations.
 
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Go, Look: Phil Hester's 00s Gallery

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three intriguing pieces of original art
 
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Not Comics: The Ed Gorey House

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don't know who had this first; it was sitting in my bookmarks
 
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If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: 1961 Mort Meskin Art

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Go, Look: Classic Mark Trail

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Go, Look: Cutie Pie

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Not Comics: Virgil Finlay Set

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm saving this new Tommi Musturi interview for a quarter-hour of uninterrupted office time. It looks really good.

* Peggy Burns lauds Highwater Books for the late comic company's sensitivity. Over on his blog, the writer Kurt Busiek talks about encountering that publisher's landmark Coober Skeber #2, and even posts the pencils to Seth's cover.

image* missed it: a profile of some of the best female cartoonists working right now. The nice thing about an article such as that one is that it's a good thing if you object, because that means there are more cartoonists than can easily fit on such a list. There's a part two coming up, but I barely found the part one and will probably miss it.

* Tucker Stone addresses the comics industry journalism question.

* Daryl Cagle's advice for cartoonists.

* you can read some Melissa Mendes comics through this post.

* I checked to see if Guy Delisle was going to comment, even just casually, on the naming of a North Korean leadership successor. He did.

* I do a round-up every morning of things to go look at, so I know how hard it is to put together as impressive and cool-looking list of art links as Mike Baehr does here, concentrating solely on Fantagraphics-related talent.

* I wish I had come up with the phrase "an excess of narrative concision."

* everything's coming up Vanessa Davis.

* Chris Sims picks the 10 oddest Jimmy Olsen moments. The great thing about this subject is that you could randomly plug in one of about 100 different comics and come up with a great list every time. Quality and quantity; that's our man Jim O.

* not comics: I hope this is performance art, because it's hard for me to imagine I share a planet with this big of an entitled douchebag. My goodness.

* finally, this headline cracks me up, but I can't imagine it's true. My eyeballs and anecdotal evidence actually suggests I am in the upper five percent of older people at comics shows, even in the comics-reading parts of that show, and I've got a few years to reach 65. Also, if this were true I'm pretty sure there would be an NCIS comic by now.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Deni Loubert!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, David Baillie!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mahendra Singh!

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Quick hits
Craft
Power Trio
Ben Towle Designs
Sean Phillips Sketches
Colleen Coover Sketches
Nice Commissioner Gordon Art
An Audrey Hepburn Sketchbook
Chris Samnee Draws Wonder Woman
Brandon Graham Draws The Terminator

Exhibits/Events
Gary Tyrrell Recommends NYCC Events

History
On Cages
On Newsboy Legion
What A Great Panel
On Welcome To Tranquility
Never Get Possessive About Characters You Don't Own

Industry
Annoying Me For Two Full Years Now

Interviews/Profiles
Fuel: Ming Doyle
Robot 6: Kieron Gillen
Newsarama: Bryan JL Glass
Washington City Paper: Jeff Smith

Not Comics
I Just Like Saying Cat Shit One
Warren Ellis Keeps His Promises

Publishing
Shocker
Vivian Vagicorn?
New Leon Beyond
This Made Me Laugh
Casanova #3 Previewed
First Second Adds A Season
Please Give Ted Naifeh His Batman Shot

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Various
Andrew Wheeler: Lucky
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Suihelibe!
Matt Seneca: The Question #1
Sean Gaffney: Bamboo Blade Vol. 6
Nevin Martell: Krazy & Ignatz In Tiger Tea
Jeet Heer: Love & Rockets: New Stories #3
Mike Gold: The Simon And Kirby Superheroes
Richard Bruton: Dance By The Light Of The Moon
Johanna Draper Carlson: Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites
Michael C. Lorah: Excalibur Visionaries: Alan Davis Vol. 1
Sean T. Collins: Batman: Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat
Greg McElhatton: Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1
 

 
September 29, 2010


Go, Look: Drew Friedman Covers The Voice With Crazy White People

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Jerry Grandenetti, 1927-2010

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According to multiple comics historians, the artist Jerry Grandenetti passed away on February 19. An under-appreciated mainstream comic book industry workhorse and innovator, Grandenetti moved through a variety of styles that eventually put him at odds with the strict conventions of the field at a fallow time in its commercial and creative history. He was also one of the many comics industry artists that found purchase in advertising when work in comic books became less frequent.

Grandenetti was born in 1927 in Bronxville in Eastchester, New York. (Sources differ on date of birth; both 1925 and 1926 have been suggested as alternatives. As Grandenetti himself seemed to prefer 1927, I'll let him have it.) Although he admired illustrators such as Noel Sickles and Austin Briggs, Grandenetti focused on architectural drawing in school, which included a stint at New York's Pratt Institute. His experience in drafting led him to specialized service in the Navy during World War II, the apparent monotony of which drove him to doing cartoons for the base publication where he was assigned and gave him an appetite for attempting that kind of work full-time. As he explained to an interviewer in 2006:
"I spent time with a company called C. C. Combs Landscape Architects and so the Navy gave me a special X rating and I ended up in the administration building doing these silly architectural corrections on porches and handball courts. With that special X rating I told the guy there, I forget his name, he was running the base paper and I wanted to do some drawings, so I started drawing for the base paper and that gave me the desire to want to draw for a living rather than doing this silly architectural stuff with triangles and T-squares and logarithms and all this other mathematical stuff that was boring as hell."
Seeking work in the fertile post-World War II comics industry, he eventually became an assistant to Will Eisner on The Spirit. Grandenetti helped ink The Spirit early on and eventually became its full ghost artist, providing pencils as well as sharing inks. He also concurrently began work in comic books. After a few freelance assignments including one for Eisner's own Baseball Comics, Grandenetti scored his first series, "The Secret Files Of Dr. Drew," that ran in Avon's Ranger Comics from 1949 to 1951. He also picked up work on the "Senorita Rio" feature from the same publisher.

imageStarting in the 1950s, Grandenetti split time between a variety of publishers -- Gleason, Media, ACG, Prize -- before settling into a long run at DC Comics where he worked on a number of their popular western, crime, science fiction and war books: Action, Gang Busters, Mr. District Attorney, All Star Western, Strange Adventures, GI Combat, Our Fighting Forces and Star Spangled War Stories among them. He became an extremely valuable freelancer for longtime editor/writer Bob Kanigher, who appreciated the grittiness of his art and his displayed skill with both arresting cover imagery and executing them in a lovely-looking wash technique. It is believed that Grandenetti was the first to do that kind of art in commercial comic books, starting in 1956. The best of his interiors could be found in the "Gunner and Sarge" feature. Kanigher and Grandenetti co-created the character Mlle. Marie for SSWS in 1959, another feature on which Grandenetti provided memorable interior art.

Perhaps the artist's most memorable drawing for DC gained fame through an alternative channel. Roy Lichtenstein's used an image from Grandenetti's 1962 cover for All American Men Of War #89 as the basis for his 1962 painting "Jet Pilot."

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After a mid-1960s dalliance with a number of publishers including Tower, Marvel and Charlton, Grandenetti settled into the surging Warren Publishing and its black-and-white magazines as a gig to supplement the still-steady DC assignments. He started at Warren in 1966 ghosting for Joe Orlando, but soon moved to his fully credited stories that ran through 1972. The loose style that he developed for Warren's unique brand of stories and that was a natural extension of some his mainstream genre comics wash work was the envy of several other working artists, and is the source of admiration for many of his fans among comics historians. It was also extremely gratifying for the artist, according to the 2006 interview: image
"... I began to realize what I liked was that the free rein [Jim Warren] gave all artists and that was when I really began to enjoy the comic book work that I was doing because prior to that I was kind of locked in because I got into the industry late and I was influenced by all these other great talents. Guys that were my age or maybe even younger and here I am trying to do a decent job and so when I was able to work with Jim Warren on his Creepy and Eerie books and having that freedom was what I enjoyed mostly. As I began to experiment and I began to do some of my best stuff."
While many see Grandenetti's experimentation as an extension of his work with and admiration for Will Eisner, it's also possible to see him as a forebear for the first generation of alternative comics cartoonist, who embraced the values of the best mainstream comic book art work and sought to employ those techniques for personal expression.

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Continuing his work for DC, Grandenetti became valuable to that company reviving and extending the appeal of some of its supernatural characters such as The Phantom Stranger. He co-created another minor character during that run, the sword and sorcery hero Nightmaster in 1969. In the early 1970s, Grandenetti co-created a trio of concepts with Joe Simon. The most memorable was the bizarre, youth-as-president fantasy Prez, which slipped into oblivion after only a few issues. The character has since made a few strange but well-received cameos and single appearances in the DC line. Grandenetti also provided art to The Outsiders and The Green Team: Boy Millionaires projects, which each ran for a single issue of 1st Issue Special.

Grandenetti would fulfill occasional freelance duties for DC through the mid-1980s. In 1990, Grandenetti found work as an art director at Young & Rubicam, springing into that second career based on decades of sideline business building a portfolio of illustrations for small agencies. Although he remained a favorite of those who enjoyed Silver Age comics art and the best of the Warren stable, and a surge of interest in Will Eisner's work included recognition for assistants like Grandenetti, the artist faded from view for many in comics. A web site, since shut down, featuring Grandenetti's art popped up in early 2009 (and may have been slightly older than that). His passing early this year went unnoticed until a daughter named Jennifer contacted the comics historian Bryan Stroud at the Silver Lantern web site about potential interest in her father's art. Word was passed along through a mailing list for those interested in that period of comics history until it came to the attention of comics industry news sources.

If born in 1927, Granedetti would have been 82 years old at the time of his passing.

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Go, Bookmark: The Magic Pen

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Dylan Horrocks is on a roll
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* shocker of the week: two new issues of comic serials believed potentially lost to the Buenaventura Press closure will be appearing at APE under the name of Pigeon Press: Boys Club #4 and I Want You #2 Please everybody buy these comics, multiple times if you can stand it, to coax Pigeon Press into doing more books. Full announcement here. A write-up with more context can be found here.

* less shocking, but perhaps bigger news in the overall scheme of things when we know a little bit more: Del Rey doesn't seem to have any manga due for publication... until 2013.

image* I forget to do an OTBP entry for this short comic by Lucy Knisley when it was a brand-new concern, but I wanted to draw attention to it here because a cartoonist with a constant web presence like Knisley offering up a special comic at a modest price in addition to her commercial and on-line work feels like the future to me.

* IDW is collecting the Kurt Busiek/Stuart Immonen effort Shockrockets, and the writer enthuses over the cover.

* I missed this publishing announcement from a while back, probably because I didn't recognize any of the proper nouns: Sea Lion is adapting a series known as Dark Swan into comics form.

* Charles Vess is apparently doing some illustrations for a new edition (an e-edition?) of the Wheel Before Time mega-series.

* Robin McConnell is waiting for the first printed copies of the Inkstuds book, and is going on tour to support it.

* the Dalai Lama biographical manga Penguin is releasing here in translated form should be imminent.

* here's an article about a press conference phone call announcing the latest, overriding direction of Marvel's Spider-Man character. It's sort of fascinating how it's presented even if you're not interested in what's being presented. In fact, I'm not certain I know what the heck they're announcing past Spider-Man getting a job. Last I knew, all the Avengers heroes draw a paycheck from one of the Stark Foundations, so I'm not sure I even understand that. Spider-Man!

* the cartoonist and animator Dash Shaw explains why he's been adapting Blind Date episodes.

image* Andrea Tsurumi is making 13 witches for Halloween.

* First Second announces two: Zita The Spacegirl, Lewis & Clark. Brigid Alverson writes it up.

* Julia Wertz is selling a bunch of stuff related to and including her new book Drinking At The Movies. Anything you can buy from the artist is an obvious direct benefit to that artist, although there are many schools of thought on the long-term effects of such sales.

* Ryan Sands unearths a bunch of previews from the cutting edge manga publisher Seirinkogeisha, which he describes as a smaller house not unlike North America's Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics.

* site favorite Darryl Cunningham is putting finishing touches on the US version of his Psychiatric Tales, due in February, and reminds us that there will be an Uncle Bob book next year as well.

* the writer Warren Ellis recommends a Liam Sharp art book.

* there is a book of essays on the writer Grant Morrison coming out in Italy, just begging to be translated into English by one of you enterprising about-comics publishers.

* finally, Arne Bellstorf's Die Suche has concluded and the whole thing is on-line starting here.

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Go, Read: Unbearable Sovreignty

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the Danish daily Politiken reports that three men were arrested yesterday and that one of them has confessed that they were hoping to carry out attacks on the Jyllands Posten newspaper offices (that publication published the original Danish Muhammed cartoons) and some of its principal actors such as the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

* Flemming Rose's The Tyranny Of Silence hits shelves today. That book contains a full reprinting of the Muhammad imagery that started the whole Danish Cartoons Controversy cycle of events. Denmark's foreign minister is taking a proactive approach this time around.

* distressing news that around twenty newspapers have asked for replacements for a Wiley Miller Non Sequitur strip that mentioned the name Muhammed. This is particularly ironic/depressing since the strip apparently touched on the issue of the blinding fear that people have about the use of signifying elements that are not depictions of the Prophet at all. Miller tells Alan Gardner that the terrorists have won.
 
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Go, Look: Two From Same Hat!

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Your Prolonged Mainstream Comics Legal Battle Updates Of The Day

* the LA Times on Marvel Vs. The Kirby Family, which makes a matter-of-fact case for some of the basic moral issues involved, but does so in a very gentle way.

* an update on the heated legal back-and-forth between Warner Bros. and the Siegel Family's representatives. Comics industry context here.
 
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Go, Buy: Squirrel Machine Art Sale

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Missed It: Purdue Cartoon Scandal

imageAlan Gardner caught this over at Daily Cartoonist, for which I'm glad because it totally escaped my attention: the Purdue University newspaper The Exponent ran a cartoon on September 17th in its "Sex Position Of The Week" feature that called for a male to switch with another male on the same female partner without her knowing. Sex without consent, of course, is the only definition of rape I've been taught and one that's shared by most people. While it's unclear if the cartoon actually advocated such a ruse or was simply using its lurid, forbidden nature as part of some wider point or joke, the newspaper was flooded with complaints that this wasn't funny no matter the intent. The editor apologized the week of the 20th, and the fast clip at which the entire process moved drew praise.

There's something remarkable about a story with a feature called "Sex Position Of The Week" at its core. You can't really blast a student body for being overly prudish when that's one of their weekly cartoon features. You also have to make the Yikes face (a smiley Yikes or frowny Yikes is up to you) a little more expressively when you realize that this is a joke that violated the good taste that everyone on that campus had come to expect from "Sex Position Of The Week." The closest we got to such a feature at my student newspaper a couple of decades back was the occasional story about student fees going up.
 
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Go, Look: Classic Steve Rude

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what fun characters
 
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Daryl Cagle On American Cartoonists Vs. International Cartoonist Redux

The objections here and here to Daryl Cagle's recent essay on the differences between American cartoons and those in the rest of the world made me go back and re-read it to see what I missed. What I remembered was being grateful that someone mentioned these cartooning contests and placed them in a professional context, which I'd never read anyone doing before and had left me wondering if people in different countries simply just liked contests. On a second read, I don't really see the exclusion of UK cartoonists as any big deal except in a Nerd Court way: I think most people would understand the broad distinction Cagle was making and not nail him down on objectionable particulars. On the other hand, there is more a derisive tone about the world cartoonists that I didn't see the first time I plowed through -- the "actually" in "actually making a living" and the added description of wordless, broader-point cartoons as "daisies in the gun barrels" cartoons. The biggest weakness I see with the essay is that it conflates the idea that different cultures focus on different issues with the perhaps uniquely American appetite for a certain kind of declarative lack of ambiguity. I think those are two completely different things, and neither one of the flattering to cartooning as practiced in the U.S.
 
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Go, Look: Frank Miller Parodies

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Go, Read: Four Color Fear

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Go, Look: Classic Rich Corben

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Go, Look: Cat-Man Origin

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Go, Look: Wonderful Mac Raboy

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the artist Skottie Young argues that kids love comics, that there are comics out there for kids, and that there's a disconnect between this desire and parents being able to find comics and get them to the kids. I think that's generally true. In fact, I think most adults like comics as well, but they have a different disconnect when it comes to buying and enjoying them.

* Tom Mason profiles Leslie Turner.

* Chuck O'Donnell profiles Dean Haspiel.

image* my suspicion is that most papers are going to make this decision internally or wait to run their "what replaces Cathy?" contests until they can get a free few weeks of content from the syndicates hoping to make that sale, but my local paper, the Silver City Sun-News, ran their contest the old-school way: on a separate page, in enough time they could move right into the new strip offering without an interruption in service. For what it's worth -- and this is a smaller paper, with a single page of strips and features -- Pearls Before Swine won handily, followed closely by Baby Blues. In his editorial on the matter, Jim Lawitz claims that additional contestants Luann, Pooch Cafe, Stone Soup and the brand-new Thata Baby "barely moved the needle." The nice thing is that because of the strong response, the paper is finding a place for Baby Blues as well. It's worth noting that one thing that's changed in the last 15 years is that papers have an array of reasonably successful strips to choose from when one goes down, it's no longer a matter of only adding new features.

* this discussion of Bob Harras and the clone saga at prominent blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic site quickly moves into a discussion of what drove various former mainstream comics readers out of mainstream comics reading. It's fascinating.

* speaking of the clone saga, does anyone else think it's funny that it's thematically appropriate, poor, put-upon Spider-Man that seems to get saddled with the dopiest mega-plots. I've been reading comics since 1973 and I didn't understand one word of that quote from Quesada.

* Steve Duin profiles that comics night at the Portland Opera.

* a black hole of sadness may open up in Los Angeles this Saturday.

* here's some pages that Evan Dorkin drew back in the 1980s.

* not comics: this site's photographer and my brother Whit Spurgeon is in this forthcoming horror short. That's him on the far left in still #4.

* finally, Andrew Wheeler talks about the lack of prominent Asian characters in mainstream superhero comic books.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Nicolas de Crecy!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Jennifer Daydreamer!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Tim Vigil!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Russ Heath!

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Quick hits
Craft
All That Jazz
On John Workman
Steve Bissette Draws
Sean Phillips Sketches
Jamie McKelvie's Gen 13
Colleen Coover Sketches
B. Clay Moore's Timely Sketchbook
Howard Chaykin Makes A Star Wars Cover

Exhibits/Events
Chris Ware Show Report
1st Cebu Comics Convention
Really Cool Slovenie Exhibition Photos

History
On Mr. Philander Phat
On Wonder Girl's Costume
Who Invented The Long Box?
Who Doesn't Want To Know More About Maelstrom?

Industry
This Made Me Laugh

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: Joe Field
PW: Francois Mouly
Robot 6: JH Williams
Digital Spy: David Steinberger
Comics Alliance: Dave Stewart
Washington City Paper: Ted Rall
The Comic Archive: Simon Fraser
Talking Comics With Tim: Jeff Parker
Guttersnipe News: Patrick Rosenkranz
Newsarama: Eric Shanower, Skottie Young
Collected Comics Library Podcast: Dean Mullaney

Not Comics
Four Comics That Could Be TV Series
He's Giving Away Some Comics, Magazines, Books

Publishing
New Ink Panthers
New Leon Beyond
On Heart Of The City
Chew #14 Previewed
Too Soon? Previewed
Black Widow #7 Previewed
Adele Blanc-Sec Previewed
Star-Spangled War Stories #1
Incognito: Bad Influences #1 Previewed

Reviews
Richard Cook: Various
TCJ.com: Julia Gfrorer
Grant Goggans: Chew #1
Deb Aoki: A Drunken Dream
Xaviar Xerexes: Amulet Vol. 3
Bill Sherman: Baseball Heaven
Kate Dacey: Demon Sacred Vols. 1-2
Johanna Draper Carlson: Black Comix
Sean Gaffney: After School Nightmare Vol. 1
 

 
September 28, 2010


Go, Look: Evan Shaner's Popeye

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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 no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would walk inside and demand the comics that read like the comics they're supposed to be.

*****

FEB100232 ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA HC VOL 02 $99.99
If this marriage of super-pretty superhero comics essay art and DC's best format for showing off the work of their best illustrative talent had a wedding, I would sneak in and sit in the back and look at all the gorgeous everything. I think there's a third to come.

MAY100405 BARNEY GOOGLE HC $39.99
Barney Google is a soft area in my comics reading, as I've flipped through one stack of Xeroxed tear-sheets and whatever Bill Blackbeard's provided over the years. It's a wonderfully drawn strip, and certainly appealed to the readership of its day, so I'm looking forward to diving in.

JUL101243 AL JAFFEE MAD LIFE SC $27.99
After you finish reading it the first time, don't forget to fold this new autobiography into joined thirds to reveal all the dirt on Jaffee's life. Okay, not really.

JUN100454 CHEW #14 (MR) $2.99
JUL100563 CAPTAIN AMERICA #610 $3.99
JUL100653 CASANOVA #3 (MR) $3.99
Three well-liked mainstream comics efforts, including surprise hit of the last 18 months, Chew. I haven't seen the Casanova reprints yet, but the full-color pages I've seen here and there sure look attractive.

AUG101041 ALLEN GINSBERG HOWL GN $19.99
Eric Drooker and Allen Ginsberg is an underrated comics writer/artist team-up.

JUL100862 DIE HARD YEAR ONE TP VOL 01 $12.99
A softcover of the Howard Chaykin-written tales of Bruce Willis' terrorist-shooting lawman in his uniformed-cop days. I know nothing about it, but I'd sure pick this one up to look at it if I were in a comics shop today.

JUL101130 HETALIA AXIS POWERS GN VOL 01 (OF 3) (MR) $10.99
JUN101148 7 BILLION NEEDLES GN VOL 01 $10.95
The high-concept, super-publicized new manga series and another solid and slightly quirky effort from the reinvigorated Vertical. I wouldn't possibly dare tell you which one you should be reading.

AUG100739 HEREVILLE HOW MIRKA GOT HER SWORD HC $15.95
There aren't a ton of higher-end independent comics aimed at kids, but this one looks pretty good.

JUL101012 YOULL NEVER KNOW HC VOL 02 COLLATERAL DAMAGE $24.99
Your book of the week. I still think this is something that will read 10X better in one volume as opposed to these three serialized books, but wanting to get a book out when its subjects can still read and enjoy it is of course an admirable thing. Plus I'm disenfranchised when it comes to that particular vote. The scary thing is, these books are already stupendous. This new Carol Tyler supposedly has within its pages one of the 100 best comics of the 20th Century, and I practically guarantee you it won't be out of place.

JUN100080 BETTIE PAGE GIRL NEXT DOOR STAR LUCKY CHARM $22.99
JUN100083 BETTIE PAGE GIRLE REVUE WOMENS T/S LG $24.99
JUN100082 BETTIE PAGE GIRLE REVUE WOMENS T/S MED $24.99
JUN100081 BETTIE PAGE GIRLE REVUE WOMENS T/S SM $24.99
JUN100084 BETTIE PAGE GIRLE REVUE WOMENS T/S XL $24.99
MAY100064 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD BELT BUCKLE $19.99
MAY100065 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
MAY100074 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD KEYCHAIN $12.00
MAY100071 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD MENS T/S LG $21.99
MAY100070 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD MENS T/S MED $21.99
MAY100072 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD MENS T/S XL $21.99
MAY100073 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD MENS T/S XXL $22.99
MAY100075 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD PERSONAL CASE $27.99
MAY100068 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD WOMENS T/S LG $24.99
MAY100067 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD WOMENS T/S MED $24.99
MAY100066 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD WOMENS T/S SM $24.99
MAY100069 BETTIE PAGE GREEN LEOPARD WOMENS T/S XL $24.99
MAY100076 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
MAY100077 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT HEART COMPACT $19.99
MAY100078 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT KEYCHAIN $12.00
MAY100085 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT MENS T/S LG $21.99
MAY100084 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT MENS T/S MED $21.99
MAY100087 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT MENS T/S XXL $22.99
MAY100079 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT SMALL CASE $22.99
MAY100082 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT WOMENS T/S LG $24.99
MAY100081 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT WOMENS T/S MED $24.99
MAY100080 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT WOMENS T/S SM $24.99
MAY100083 BETTIE PAGE JUNGLE NIGHT WOMENS T/S XL $24.99
JUN100085 BETTIE PAGE LOVE BETTIE CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
JUN100086 BETTIE PAGE LOVE BETTIE HEART COMPACT $19.99
JUN100087 BETTIE PAGE LOVE BETTIE HEART LUCKY CHARM $22.99
JUN100088 BETTIE PAGE LOVE BETTIE TABLET NECKLACE $22.99
JUN100089 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
JUN100094 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO HEART COMPACT $19.99
JUN100095 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO HEART LUCKY CHARM $22.99
JUN100098 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO HEART REVUE FRAME $29.99
JUN100096 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO KEYCHAIN $12.00
JUN100097 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO PERSONAL CASE $27.99
JUN100099 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO SMALL CASE $22.99
JUN100100 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO TABLET NECKLACE $22.99
JUN100092 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO WOMENS T/S LG $24.99
JUN100091 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO WOMENS T/S MED $24.99
JUN100090 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO WOMENS T/S SM $24.99
JUN100093 BETTIE PAGE PEEK A BOO WOMENS T/S XL $24.99
JUN100101 BETTIE PAGE PEEP SHOW CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
MAY100088 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS CIGARETTE CASE $29.99
MAY100097 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS HEART COMPACT $19.99
MAY100098 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS KEYCHAIN $12.00
MAY100094 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS MENS T/S LG $21.99
MAY100093 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS MENS T/S MED $21.99
MAY100096 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS MENS T/S XXL $22.99
MAY100099 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS SMALL CASE $22.99
MAY100090 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS WOMENS T/S MED $24.99
MAY100089 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS WOMENS T/S SM $24.99
MAY100092 BETTIE PAGE SAHARA SANDS WOMENS T/S XL $24.99
It's comics, Jake.

*****

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 here, that's because I was too distracted thinking of old friends.

*****

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Missed It: Al Williamson Profiled

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RFI: Zunar Goes Into Hiding

An article going up today at Radio France International indicates that the Malaysian cartoonist Zulfiklee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, has gone into hiding rather than be available for easy arrest under the country's Internal Security Act. Zunar was arrested on Friday and released Saturday, charged with violations under the Sedition Act, although he was not told which of his drawings constituted a seditious statement. A planned book release party of a book seized by police at the same time they arrested the cartoonist went on with the cartoonist's wife presiding. The arrest was excoriated by major international rights groups and local non-governmental organizations on Monday.

Zunar has publicly mocked past attempts by the government to paint his cartoons, which frequently address politically sensitive subjects, even going so far as to ask where are all the riots his work has supposedly caused? The work in question appeared on a popular Malaysian on-line news portal without objection by the government -- the latest a range of work from 2009-2010. We wish Zunar all the best in seeing this episode through, and we add our small voice to the chorus condemning these ridiculous acts against creative expression and calling for their end.
 
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Go, Look: Bootleg Batman

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Robert Kirkman Says He's Soon Going Same-Day Digital On Everything

imageThe writer Robert Kirkman, who recently made news because his Walking Dead is hitting all digital platforms on the same day as his print comic is released, tells CBR in an interview rolling out today that he plans to do it with all of his titles. This is important because the Walking Dead move was tied into the approaching TV series adaptation -- the thought being that with a big TV show, you want to have the comic books as widely and uniformly available as possible. But this seems like something different, a calculation on the successful comics writer's part that these are two different sales tracks and that one won't cannibalize the other in a way that greatly harms one or the other. I'm actually all for this: I'm for making firm decisions of this type and then seeing what happens, whether you go delayed release or same-day doesn't matter to me as much as making that commitment and then attempt to build on that commitment. I've always been sort of baffled that this wasn't done by most companies two or three years ago, starting with those with almost no serial presence in the comics shops.
 
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Go, Look: A Banned Books Week Thought In Snazzy Vintage Poster Form

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thanks, Devlin Thompson
 
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Go, Look: Great Nick Fury Covers

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Go, Look: Historical Plops

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Go, Look: Cartoon Laughs Part One

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Go, Look: More War Battles

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Go, Look: Planet Comics #20

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Go, Look: Never Enough Iron Jaw

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Boom! and the Hero Initiative would like you to know that the Hero Initiative can be your community charity of choice, receiving incremental kickbacks on your grocery bill, although you have to live in a state with a certain set of grocery stores. It sounds like a no-brainer good thing to me, although I could have sworn this was already announced.

image* Vintage Sleaze presents the mystery of the Gene Bilbrew/Charles Mingus record sleeve art team-up.

* Mike Rhode's impatience is to our benefit.

* here's a combined Moto Hagio CCI photo gallery and a preview gallery for her Fantagraphics collection.

* the gentlemen at FPI blog present a barfaroo-looking superhero comics cover and would like to know if DC remembers what it's like to publish comics for kids -- or comics that you could at least sell kids without an 80 percent chance you're going to see a parent in front of your register 24 hours later giving you the stinkeye. I think it's sort of fascinating that after all the silly gory stuff they've done with superheroes the last few years our first reaction to something like that cover is that it's wrong, or at least noteworthy. Although in this case, that would be kind of gross no matter who it was.

* Timothy Callahan takes his shot at the 20 best WildStorm series.

* I think I passed a lifetime milestone with Sean T. Collins' review of Dark Reign: Zodiac. I had to look a second time to see which company's generically-named minor crossover event was called "Dark Reign." The next decade is going to get ugly around here.

* if there's anything more fun in life than a highly-detailed Dan Zettwoch illustration, it's a highly-detailed Dan Zettwoch illustration with a mini-essay about its creation.

image* Bill Kartalopoulos profiles Kim Deitch for the Comics College feature at Robot 6. That's a fun feature, although if I were to write every installment would be "God, I don't know. Just read a bunch of their stuff and either something will click into place or something won't."

* comics' living magnet-hair novelty toys meet.

* JM DeMatteis on how Kraven's Last Hunt was written.

* here's an intriguing concept for a blog post: a former serial comic book collector now weaning himself from such purchases going series to series and figuring out how many more issues he's in on.

* here's something that a lot of fun to read if you're interested in the material: a bunch of manga-focused comics critics go at the AX anthology via twitter.

* not comics: I'm not exactly sure why there needs to be another film version of True Grit, but this one looks classy and if it means someone takes a look at my script for Masters Of Atlantis, I'll be extremely happy.

* finally, it was only 14 years ago that Ed Brubaker was best known in comics circles as a cartoonist that did pieces like this one.
 
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Go, Look: Four By Richard Thompson

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Quick hits
Craft
Dachsund
Sean Phillips Inks
Steve Bissette Draws
On A Paul Pope Panel
Derik A Badman On Style
Collen Coover Sketches A Princess

Exhibits/Events
Photos From The Festival In Hamburg

History
The Other Penguin
I Applaud Mike Sterling's Map Fixation

Industry
Ban It To Boost It

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Ben Templesmith
Illustration: James Kochalka
Bleeding Cool: Gordon McAlpin
War Rocket Ajax: Colleen Coover
About.com Manga: David Steinberger

Not Comics
Jim Woodring Is Cool
Gail Simone Retires A Phrase
Always Happy To Make James Vance Laugh

Publishing
Excerpt From Karl Wirsum Catalog
Solomon Kane Volume 2 Previewed
New Grimalkin Press Books On Etsy

Reviews
John Seven: Various
Rob Clough: El Vocho
Steve Duin: Set To Sea
Ng Suat Tong: Blacksad
Rich Kreiner: Fail Wolves
Craig Fischer: Fandancer
Matthew Brady: CLiNT #1
Sean Kleefeld: The Whale
Michael C. Lorah: Various
John Seven: Forget Sorrow
Andrew Wheeler: The Playboy
Greg McElhatton: Smurfs Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: X-Ray
Richard Bruton: Vern And Lettuce
Sean Gaffney: Urusei Yatsura Vol. 2
Andrew Wheeler: Miss Don't Touch Me
Sean Kleefeld: Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965
Andrew Wheeler: 7 Billion Needles Vol. 1
John Seven: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Johanna Draper Carlson: Bunny Drop Vol. 2
Johanna Draper Carlson: After School Nightmare Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #3
 

 
September 27, 2010


Not Comics: Classic Disney Posters

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Bob Harras Named DC Editor In Chief

DC has named comics industry veteran Bob Harras to the position of Editor In Chief, VP DC Comics it was announced today. Harras has been the Group Editor for Collected Editions at the company. PR here.

While the position of Editor In Chief at DC was last held by Jenette Kahn, it's probably safe to say that Harras will find his own role within the company more than that he will take on a Kahn-like role at the mainstream comics publisher. The PR has his initial job description as "Harras will oversee editorial for DC Comics, DC Universe, MAD Magazine and Vertigo and will be based in New York City, reporting directly to the Co-Publishers." There's no reason they couldn't name other people to other positions as they work their way through the decision-making process and what to do with individual employees, but at least one hire of this size and scope was expected.

Harras was Editor-In-Chief at Marvel Comics from 1995 to 2000, when the company was wracked with problems and liabilities owing to a financial crunch caused by the purchase of affiliate companies at price points beyond anything they could safely maintain, straight-out lifting money away from the company, and a distribution crisis caused in great part by Marvel's decision in 1994 to exclusively distribute through regional business Heroes World. Since leaving Marvel he worked briefly as a freelance editor at WildStorm and then at his current position at DC. That current position would make him familiar with every aspect of the line and hands-on experience with the people working in each group, so it seems like that would be a potentially effective stepping-stone to a supervisory position. Harras was also involved with the "Who's Who"-type efforts DC was doing, which would make him up to date in terms of the IP the company has available to it.

If I remember my Marvel editors correctly, and I may not, Harras ascended to the Editor-In-Chief position after the unsuccessful, Balkanized group-editor phase. His big claim to fame within Marvel at the time was as the group editor for the X-Men titles during their "sell 18 billion copies" run as clear market leaders within that industry, with an undercurrent of industry reputation that 1) he was not afraid to move away from that title's first generation of creators in favor of a newer, younger group, and 2) a bit later than that, he managed to keep the sales momentum of those titles going even with the Image talent drain. Harras is also a writer, having done a long stint on The Avengers title back before assuming the Marvel EiC role. If I remember right, his Marvel books as Editor-In-Chief favored interesting, younger writers on some of the secondary titles, which is a traditional way mainstream comics companies build relationships with talent.

The writer Warren Ellis speaks well of him here. There's an old, longish interview with Harras here, which makes me wonder if he was the first person to hold writer's conferences for specific groups of mainstream comic books. Probably not.
 
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Go, Look: Dupuy/Berberian Prints

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I can't afford them, but I can look at them -- the one print of theirs I have is exquisite-looking
 
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Zunar Released Saturday After Friday's Arrest, Charged With Sedition; Could Face A 3-Year Jail Term

Wire stories and official journalistic and rights organization surged with news today of the wild weekend enjoyed by the Malaysian cartoonist Zulkifli Awar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar. Zunar was arrested on sedition charges hours before a planned book release party on Friday in support of Cartoon-O-Phobia. This was after 10 police officers raided the popular cartoonist's offices and seized material they found there. Zunar was released on Saturday, but could face three years as a first-time offender under the Sedition Act.

Zunar told international press representatives that the government did not identify which cartoons they considered seditious under the terms of that act. Moreover, the vast majority if not all of the cartoons were previously published through the cartoonist's platform at the web site Malasiakini -- owned by the same group publishing the new book. Zunar has been at odds with the Malaysian government for a few years now regarding his books and magazine article, especially those that touch on politically sensitive issues. Friday's arrest, however, seems to take the confrontation of cartoonist and government to a whole new level.

Zunar's wife bravely conducted the book launch on Friday that Zunar promised would go off even as his office was being searched. She related a text messgae from the incarcerated cartoonist that the Committee to Protect Journalists described as saying that the authorities could imprison his body but not his mind.
 
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Go, Look: From Beyond The Unknown

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Bado Cartoon Draws Ire, Defense

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A cartoon in the September 20th issue of Le Droit by the editorial cartoonist Bado entitled "Parliament Returns" was attacked by Canadian B'Nai Brith on the day of its release for the Star of David symbol in the clock face of the parliament building, which the organization claimed insinuated that Jews controlled the Canadian government. The story then diverged in two directions mostly unique to such mini-controversies. The first is that the cartoonist claimed it wasn't a difference in interpretation but his attempt to draw a symbol that actually exists in that clock face. The second is that another advocacy group, the Canadian Jewish Congress, says they believe the cartoonist.

These kinds of stories tend to work like flash paper rather than a slow burning coal fire, except in rare circumstances, but I thought this one a bit different than most of them for those two developments.
 
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OTBP: Heads, 44

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Go, Bookmark: Highwater History

imageThe Comics Comics site is going to be reprinting some of the oral history from the catalog related to the imminent Highwater Books retrospective show. What's available through that initial link are stories about Coober Skeber 2, the infamous "Marvel Benefit Issue," which was the introduction for a lot of folks to several in that group of artists. My hunch is to disagree with the notion floated in the testimonies that Devlin was a brand-new or unknown quantity; my memory of that book is that it came out of a certain context, if only a "oh yeah, that guy" context. It wasn't something that was all brand new and seemed to come from Mars. I even remember wanting to see how some of the artists did their stories.

It was quite the scene, though. One of my favorite personal memories from that show is a prominent Direct Market retailer gushing about the Seth cover and how Seth should be convinced to do superhero work all the time and my looking at this man's face very carefully to see if he was kidding, because I figured he had to be kidding. He wasn't. Also, I think this proves we should all give Tom Devlin credit for inventing the free model of doing comics, as he really did run around that show giving away copies of that lovely little book.
 
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Not Comics: Gray Morrow Paperbacks

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Go, Read: Bob Levin On Greg Irons

imageI can't imagine anything better to start off a Monday than an article from the best writer about comics out there, Bob Levin, this time on the career of the late Greg Irons as chronicled in Patrick Rosenkranz's 2006 biography/art book You Call This Art?! Like Irons, Levin has roughly hippie-era connections to the greater Philadelphia area and San Francisco, and... well, that's about where the similarities end. It's a short and straight-forward piece, crisply written and perhaps a bit more cursory and to the point than some of Levin's longer, astonishing, divergence-filled epics, but in the end a sturdy summation of a compelling artist's life story, told with matter-of-fact sympathy. Such an article is especially welcome after the masturbatory scrum on the state of writing about comics that slipped into the final hours of last week's DC Comics-driven news cycle.
 
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Go, Look: Killer Angelo Torres Panel

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wonderful
 
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Go, Look: Dell One-Shot #85

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Go, Look: Mighty Samson Day

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Go, Look: More Esquire Gags, 1972

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Go, Look: Classic Jay Disbrow

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Paul Gravett writes at length in positive fashion about manga. I hope I had you at "Gravett."

* Bhob Stewart has a couple of images from that massive Wally Wood exhibition over in Spain.

image* the artist Warren Craghead has a blog devoted to his forthcoming "lo-fi arts publishing" show. That's maybe not exactly comics, not 100 percent, but Craghead is always worth reading, and the pictures look lovely, too.

* David Lasky names 15 of the many artists that inspired him. Joe Matt does the same with cartoonists, twice.

* I love that this Daryl Cagle article about the culture gap between North American editorial cartooning and similar communities in the rest of the world engages with the idea of all those international cartoon competitions, because I've never heard anyone explain exactly how they worked before.

* the on-line publication Graphic Novels Reporter has their Fall Reading List up.

* not comics: this just seems to me matter of fact and obvious, that Lucas swiped some things from Jack Kirby the same way he took a few things from Hidden Fortress. Why not? That's not saying that the entire Star Wars saga is a knock-off of Kirby's Fourth World, because that would be sort of crazy. But some of the visual elements, some narrative conflicts, that was pretty much Lucas' modus operandi, right?

* Gary Tyrrell recommends webcomicstweets.

* not comics: does anyone else think Robert Kirkman's Keaton-like stone-face is underrated? It kills me every time.

* there's probably a lesson for comic book stores in this article about the relative success enjoyed by some independent movie/rental retailers as chains that provide that service fade from; there are also probably reasons, both structural and cultural, why these lessons aren't necessarily important ones.

* I'm guessing Isaac Perlmutter made 1500 times as much money in 16 years with Marvel Comics than Jack Kirby made in a quarter-century or so with the company. I suck at math: it may only be 850 or so. I know that's the way the world works, but it doesn't mean I can't think it's sort of weird.

image* here's a roundtable discussion on the beginning of the Matt Fraction/Pascual Ferry run on Thor one of the more hotly anticipated mainstream comics run among those that anticipate mainstream comics runs.

* not comics: I'm glad I just started taking money and don't have to worry about such issues anymore.

* Dustin Harbin enthuses over Gus And His Gang.

* The FPI Blog jumps on some pages of Wilfred Santiago's forthcoming Roberto Clemente biography.

* the comics scholar Ana Merino talks about comics and childhood in broad terms. Could be "talked," as it looks like this might be a translated article. I can't tell.

* finally, could Cathy Guisewite depart the funnybook business with any more class? I think giving an original to everyone that works for your syndicate is a lovely gesture. Good for her.
 
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Happy 83rd Birthday, Jack Katz!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Matthias Schultheiss!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Jim Shooter!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Mattt Konture!

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Quick hits
Craft
Green
A Bunch Of Evan Dorkin Craft Notes
Super, Super-Attractive Matt Wiegle Art
It's Not As Funny Once You Explain It, Mike

Exhibits/Events
On MadCon 20
Where's Chris Butcher
Manga Out Loud Roundtable On SPX
Where Sean Gaffney's Going At NYCC

History
SPX '97 Comic
On Rand Holmes
Sean Phillips Covers Look-In
The Dreams Of Wally Lombego

Industry
Sergio On Sale
Showing Your LCS Some Love
We Are Indeed Amazingly Parochial

Interviews/Profiles
War Rocket Ajax: Phil Hester
Charlotte Observer: Dustin Harbin
Inkstuds: Jason Ciocci, David Wightman
Panel Borders: Paul Cornell, David Hine
The Long And Shortbox Of It: Shawn Martinbrough

Not Comics
PAD Asks A Toy Question
Who Didn't Know Comics Fans Could Racist?
Has Anyone Out There Played This? Is It Fun?

Publishing
This Made Me Laugh
New Turok Previewed
Mike Dawson Steals My Memoirs Title

Reviews
Chris Reilly: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Doug Zawisza: Hulk #25
Brendan Wright: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: Various
Sean T. Collins: The Whale
Jason Green: The Troll King
Matt Seneca: Showcase #91
Sarah Morean: Future Space
Michael C. Lorah: Anne Frank
Jared Gardner: Artichoke Tales
Shawn Daughhetee: Set To Sea
Johanna Draper Carlson: Love Buzz
Mykal Banta: The Art Of Steve Ditko
Rob Clough: How I Made It To Eighteen
Andrew Wheeler: Ice Cream And Sadness
Shaenon Garrity: Qwaser Of Stigmata Vol. 1
Paul Montgomery: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
Matthew Brady: Love & Rockets: New Stories #3
Bill Sherman: Modesty Blaise: Death In Slow Motion
Robert Greenberger: Jerry Robinson: Ambassador Of Comics
Grant Goggans: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol. 15
 

 
September 26, 2010


What They'll Be Talking About Tomorrow: Ward Sutton's Tea Party Strips For The Boston Globe

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And Then There Are Mornings You Just Want To Revisit Some Classic High-Quality Non-Comics Shelf Porn

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one of the best; via my pal Gil
 
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Missed It: August Hoarding Article

It was always my attention to write a short post on this article that ran late last summer in the LA Weekly. That's a cute hook and tag line, and while I haven't seen any of the hoarding shows I can imagine they're compelling television and that the situations presented are affecting and uniquely bizarre. The focus on the movie business doesn't really interest me all that much, either. I think there was a much worse year for the idea of building on earlier film experiences -- 2007 -- and one of the things film people mentioned to me at San Diego was that the box office performance of Inception and the then-expected strong showing by Eat, Pray, Love were good signs for original projects or one-off projects in the overall popular film landscape even if Scott Pilgrim didn't perform to expectations (sadly, it didn't).

This article seems interesting to me primarily for the fact it addresses general pop culture consumption habits, something I'm not tied into as much as I could be comics-wise because of the fact I get a bunch of them for free. Still, when one's first thought on the death of the alternative comic book essay by Seth, not to mention this week's WildStorm closure, is that these are closed sets now that can be collected and curated with an end goal in mind, as mine was, it's clear that there's a push-against the iPad-ization of one's physical belongings, a desire to fully own the partly ephemeral that likely has a gigantic impact on comics purchasing. It's worth thinking about, for sure.
 
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Go, Look: Gus Bofa

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Comics-Focused NYCC Events/Programs

The New York Comic Con released its full programming slate late last week. For my own purposes I winnowed down what sounded like comics-focused programming into its own list -- hopefully I got them all. Human error probably means I didn't, plus not all of these panels have descriptions where deciding what they were about was possible. For instance, there's a panel called "Diversify!" which doesn't really have a description at all. I also couldn't tell you all the panels worth seeking out until I know a bit more. I figure the Shaw/Kidd will be good, as well as the Rall/Kurtz, but there are no political cartoonists named in the political cartoonist panel description and that would make a difference. I hope this still might give you a chance to orient yourself to the weekend.

imageOne thing I find bizarre is how late some of the programming was scheduled. There is programming at the convention that goes later than some of the evening events planned in conjunction with the con weekend by outside organizations. Because this is going up just a few weeks out and I'd never considered the possibility of a Dash Shaw panel that might end at 9:15 PM, I'm probably not alone having already-made plans that now stand in conflict; I'd also hate to be anyone commuting in from New Jersey or Long Island. That's not a complaint made with gritted teeth -- it's a funnybook show! -- just an observation of something that seemed different to me. Every con that can seems to be spreading out these programming events, although maybe a difference with NYCC is that the Javitz center isn't really near anything. It's hard for me to fathom getting a bite to eat and then heading back for one more panel.

Also, I should probably mention that I'm participating on a panel. I'm speaking to Mort Walker on Saturday at 1 PM. I think that will be a memorable panel, I was honored to be asked, and I hope if you're going to the convention you'll consider attending.

Anyway, here you are.

Friday, October 8

* 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Marketing Your Graphic Novels Collection to Fans
* 11:15 am - 12:15 pm: The Other Side of the Table: Lessons from Creators
* 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: Why Graphic Novels Should Be In Your Library
* 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: The Evolution of Graphic Novel Publishing: What Publishers Need to Consider in Order to Grow the Market from Here
* 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: MARVEL: What's Next -- Welcome to the Digital House of Ideas
* 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Will Eisner's New York
* 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Spotlight on Geoff Johns
* 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Writing Action Packed and Character Driven Stories
* 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: DC Talent Search
* 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm: Rationalizing Comics and Sequential Art in the Classroom
* 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm: MAD About MAD!
* 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm: Archie Comics Means Business!
* 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm: DC Comics: 75th Anniversary Books
* 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: MARVEL: Welcome to The X-MEN
* 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible
* 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Archaia Comics
* 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm: Extending Conversations about Graphic Novels
* 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Image Comics: The Writers
* 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Remembering Harvey Pekar
* 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Breaking Into Comics the MARVEL Way
* 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm: Disney Publishing Worldwide Preview
* 5:15 pm - 6:15 pm: Graphic Novels as Young Adult Literature
* 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm: Editors on Editing Comics
* 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm: MARVEL: T&A Presents
* 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm: IDW - Sneak Peek at 2011
* 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm: Dark Horse
* 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: DC Nation
* 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Drawing Comics
* 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: The Digital Age of Comics
* 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm: Getting Graphic Novels Considered for Publication
* 8:15 pm - 9:15 pm: Dash Shaw and Chip Kidd in Conversation
* 8:45 pm - 9:45 pm: Graphic.ly
* 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm: Building a World in Comics

*****

Saturday, October 9

* 10:30 am - 11:30 am: DC Talent Search Orientation
* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: Archaia All Access
* 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Comics and Graphic Novels in the Secondary English/Language Arts Classroom
* 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga for Kids
* 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm: Comics, Hollywood -- What Creators Need to Know
* 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Mort Walker and Beetle Bailey
* 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: The Image Comics Show
* 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga for Teens
* 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: MARVEL Avengers Assemble!
* 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Stan Lee @ BOOM!
* 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm: Jim Lee and Titan Books
* 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm: Spotlight On Dean Haspiel
* 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga for Adults
* 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Vertigo: On the Edge
* 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Advance Screening! Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics
* 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Special Topics in Graphic Novel Librarianship: A Roundtable
* 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: MARVEL: Cup O Joe
* 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Getting Paid for Your Work: A Legal Overview
* 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Comic Events that Really Work
* 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Darwyn Cooke Spotlight
* 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: AOL's ComicsAlliance Presents: ASK COMICSALLIANCE
* 5:15 pm - 6:15 pm: Green Lantern: Emerald Empire
* 5:15 pm - 6:15 pm: Political Cartoonists
* 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm: Vertical, Inc.
* 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Yoshiki and Stan Lee
* 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Graphic Novels from Publishing to Hollywood
* 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: LGBT Comics, Creators, and Characters
* 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Kurtz v. Rall: The Print/Web Debate
* 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Indie Cred: Why Indie Comics Matter
* 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm: Kubert School Spotlight and Art Demo with Joe and Adam Kubert
* 8:45 pm - 9:45 pm: Graphic Novel Roundtable

*****

Sunday, October 10

* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: DC Nation: Town Hall Meeting
* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: MARVEL: The Women of MARVEL
* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: Comixology
* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: Good Comics for Kids: Building a Graphic Novel Collection for Young Readers
* 10:45 am - 11:45 am: A Day in the Studio
* 10:45 am - 12:45 pm: Webcomics Bootcamp with Brad Guigar and Scott Kurtz
* 10:45 am - 12:45 pm: Kodansha USA
* 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: The Sons of Liberty, a Graphic Novel: The New World of Historical Fiction*
* 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Avatar Comics
* 11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Writing Comics
* 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Archie Creators Tell All
* 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Archaia All Ages
* 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Creating Comics the Image Comics Way
* 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: The Fandom Advisory Network and GEM Present 40 Years of Overstreet
* 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm: Grant Morrison Documentary -- Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods
* 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: MARVEL: Next Big Thing
* 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: Oni Press
* 1:15 pm - 2:15 pm: BOOM! Studios/BOOM Kids!
* 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: DC Focus: J. Michael Straczynski
* 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm: How to Fail In Comic Books
* 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm: Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist
* 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm: Culinary Manga
* 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Dark Horse
* 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Artist Showcase: Drawing DC
* 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: DC Digital
* 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm: Comics Storytelling
* 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Comicbook Artist Guild Presents the Annual CAG Awards (The Hallers)
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Tom Veitch!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Louise Simonson!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Stephen Weiner!

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FFF Results Post #228 -- Books

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Books You've Enjoyed About Comics." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules Feiffer
2. Reading The Funnies, Donald Phelps
3. Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers And Pirates, Bob Levin
4. The Pirates And The Mouse, Bob Levin
5. Forty Cartoon Books Of Interest, Seth

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. The Art of Herge, Inventor of Tintin by Goddin (as translated by Farr)
2. Encyclopedia Of Comicbook Heroes Volume One: Batman (or, really, the version my public library had in the early 90s when I was a kid -- can't find what it was called) by Fleischer
3. Comic Books and Other Necessities of Life by Evanier
4. The Golden Age of Comic Fandom by Schelly
5. Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics edited by Blackbeard

*****

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Gary Usher

1. Focus On Jack Cole, Ron Goulart
2. The New Comics, Gary Groth/Robert Fiore
3. The Comic Book Makers, Joe Simon/Jim Simon
4. The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, Phil Jimenez/John Wells
5. Reading The Funnies, Donald Phelps

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. The Comic Book Heroes, Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs
2. The Comics Journal Library: Jack Kirby, edited by Milo George
3. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
4. Reading Comics, Douglas Wolk
5. Man Of Rock: A Biography Of Joe Kubert, Bill Schelly

*****

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Des Devlin

* Comix (A History of Comic Books in America), by Les Daniels
* The MAD World of William M. Gaines, by Frank Jacobs
* The Ungentlemanly Art (A History of American Political Cartoons), by Stephen Hess & Milton Kaplan
* All in Color for a Dime, by Dick Lupoff & Don Thompson
* Tintin and the World of Herge, by Benoit Peeters

*****

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Tom Mason

* Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones
* All In Color For A Dime, Richard Lupoff and Don Thompson
* The Steranko History of Comics 1 & 2, Jim Steranko
* The Adventurous Decade, Ron Goulart
* Backstage At The Strips, Mort Walker

*****

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Joe Schwind

1. Classics Illustrated, A Cultural History with Illustrations, William Jones, Jr.
2. Foul Play! The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!, Grant Geissman
3. The Imp: The Holy Book of CHICK with Apocrypha and Dictionary-Concordance, Daniel Raeburn
4. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, Gerard Jones
5. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud

*****

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Michael Grabowski

* Comics: The Complete Collection, Brian Walker
* The Comics Journal Special Edition Vol. 4, Winter 2004 (Four Generations of Cartoonists)
* Mostly Outrageous, Bob Levin
* Comic Books As History, Joseph Witek
* Collected Letters, Vol. 1, Dave Sim

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga, Frederik L. Schodt
2. The First One Hundred Years of Philippine Komiks and Cartoons, John A. Lent
3. Adult Comics: An Introduction, Roger Sabin
4. The Art of The Comic Book, An Aesthetic History, Robert C. Harvey
5. Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Stan Lee & John Buscema
2. The Great Comic Book Artists, Ron Goulart
3. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
4. Comic Creators on the Fantastic Four, Tom DeFalco
5. Kirby: King of Comics, Mark Evanier

*****

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Ryan Kirk

1. Innocence and Seduction -- The Art of Dan DeCarlo by Bill Morrison
2. Brush with Passion: The Art & Life of Dave Stevens edited by Arnie Fenner and Cathy Fenner
3. Most Outrageous: The Trials and Trespasses of Dwaine Tinsley and Chester the Molester by Bob Levin
4. Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators by Brian M. Kane
5. Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed! by Brian Cronin

*****

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Art Baxter

1. The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art, Jerry Robinson
2. Backstage at the Strips. Mort Walker
3. Comix: A History of Comic Books in America, Les Daniels
4. All in Color for a Dime, Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson
5. Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, Frederik L. Schodt

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Meanwhile... A Biography of Milt Caniff by R.C. Harvey
2. Steve Rude: Artist in Motion
3. Winsor McCay His Life and Art by Jonathan Canemaker
4. Kirby King of Comics by Mark Evanier
5. B. Krigstein Vol. 1 by Sadowski

*****

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Isaac Cates

* Charles Hatfield, Alternative Comics: an Emerging Literature
* Todd Hignite, In the Studio
* Dan Raeburn, Chris Ware (also his Imp work; are those "books"?)
* Ball & Kuhlman, The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing Is a Way of Thinking
* Dylan Horrocks, Hicksville

*****

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Randall Kirby

1. All in Color for a Dime -- Dick Lupoff, Don Thompson
2. Women in the Comics -- Maurice Horn
3. Comics, Comix and Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art -- Roger Sabin
4. The Steranko History of Comics -- Jim Steranko
5. Collecting Comic Books -- Marcia Leiter

*****

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Paul Stock

1) Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Strips (OK, not comic books per se, but still...)
2) All In Color For A Dime (Richard Lupoff?)
3) Comix: A History of Comics in America (undergrounds)
4) The Great Comic Book Heroes (Jules Feiffer)
5) I've forgotten the title -- it was by Gerard Jones, around 1995 -- short bios of just about everyone in the business

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Men of Tomorrow -- Gerard Jones
2. Steranko History of Comics -- Steranko
3. Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman -- McDonnell, O'Connell, DeHavenon
4. Focus on Jack Cole -- Ron Goulart
5. Funny Papers -- Tom DeHaven (you didn't say it had to be non-fiction)

*****

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John Platt

1. Steranko's History of Comics
2. Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones
3. Underground Classics, Denis Kitchen & James Danky
4. Comic Book Rebels, Stanley Wiater & Stephen Bissette
5. The Super Comics, Dennis O'Neil

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. 10 Cent Plague by David Hajdu. A fantastic look at the comic book censorship.
2. Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones. A riveting examination of the birth of the comic book newsstand industry.
3. Seal of Approval by Amy Kiste Nyborg. Another great look at comic book censorship, from a slightly different angle.
4. Comic Wars by Dan Raviv. An entertainingly written chronicle of Marvel Boardroom battles of the 90s.
5. Comics: Between the Panels by Steve Duin and Mike Richardson. A Comics Encyclopedia with many 'take it with a grain of salt' shocking, behind the scenes stories. It's not always good history, but it's fun reading.

*****

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Kiel Phegley

1. How to Read Superhero Comics and Why, Geoff Klock
2. Carl Barks: Conversations, Donald Ault (editor)
3. Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, Douglas Wolk
4. DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Les Daniels
5. Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975, Patrick Rosenkranz

*****

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John Vest

1. Comix: A History of Comic Books in America, Les Daniels
2. Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!: Writers on Comics, edited by Sean Howe
3. In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, Todd Hignite
4. The Steranko History of Comics, Volume 1, Jim Steranko
5. Origins of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin -- Steven Brower with Philip and Peter Meskin
2. Fire and Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics -- Blake Bell
3. The Warren Companion -- Jon B. Cooke, David A. Roach
4. Understanding Comics -- Scott McCloud
5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay -- Michael Chabon

*****

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Domingos Isabelinho

1. Avanies et Mascarade, Bruno Lecigne
2. Fac simile, Bruno Lecigne, Jean-Pierre Tamine
3. El domicilio de la aventurav, Juan Sasturain
4. Case, planche, recit, Benoit Peeters
5. Reading Bande Dessinee, Ann Miller

*****

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Jeffrey A. Goodman

* Seduction of The Innocent -- Fred Wertham
* Parade Of Pleasure -- Geoffrey Wagner
* Sex In Comics Vols. 1-4 -- Donald Gilmore PhD.
* Rebel Visions -- Patrick Rosenkranz
* The Art Of Richard W. Sprang -- Bob Koppany

*****

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Robert Stanley Martin

* R.C. Harvey, The Art of the Funnies
* Blake Bell, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko
* Pierre Couperie & Maurice Horn, A History of the Comic Strip
* Eddie Campbell, How to Be an Artist
* Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts: A Golden Celebration

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. All In Color For A Dime, Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson, eds.
2. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
3. The New Comics, Gary Groth & R. Fiore, eds.
4. McSweeney's Issue #13, Chris Ware, ed.
5. Cartooning Philosophy and Practice, Ivan Brunetti

*****

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Ben Ostrander

1. The Ten-Cent Plague -- David Hadju
2. Comic Books as History -- Joseph Witek
3. Shop Talk -- Will Eisner
4. Understanding Comics -- Scott McCloud
5. Of Comics and Men -- Jean-Paul Gabilliet

*****

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Brian Fies

1. The Comics: An Illustrated History by Jerry Robinson
2. Backstage at the Strips by Mort Walker
3. Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics by Bill Blackbeard
4. The Great Comic Book Heroes by Jules Feiffer
5. The Penguin Book of Comics by George Perry

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. All In Color For A Dime, Richard Lupoff
2. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
3. Manga!, Fred Schodt
4. Men Of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones
5. The Great Comic Book Heroes, Jules Feiffer

*****

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Jeet Heer

* Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book by Mike Barrier
* The Adventurous Decade by Ronald Goulart
* In the Studio by Todd Hignite
* Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature by Charles Hatfield
* Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel by Annalisa Di Liddo.

*****

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James Langdell

1. Comix: A History of Comics In America, Les Daniels & John "The Mad Peck" Peck
2. Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones
3. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
4. Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics
5. Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz, Rheta Grimsley Johnson

*****

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Ali T. Kokmen

1. The Comic Book Heroes Gerard Jones & Will Jacobs
2. Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know (a.k.a. Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life) by Paul Gravett
3. All in Color for a Dime, Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson
4. The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu
5. Foul Play: The Art & Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics, Grant Geissman

*****

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Roger Langrdige

1. All in Color For a Dime (various) -- mainly because of the Bill Blackbeard piece on Thimble Theatre
2. The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History (R.C. Harvey)
3. A Very Funny Business (Leo Baxendale)
4. The Funnies: 100 Years of American Comic Strips (Ron Goulart)
5. Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book (Michael Barrier)

*****

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Joe Keatinge

1. Swimini Purpose, Brendan McCarthy
2. Kaba, Katsuhiro Otomo
3. The Studio, Jeff Jones, Bernie Wrightson, Michael Kaluta & Barry Windsor-Smith
4. Toth by Design, Alex Toth and Darrell McNeil
5. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, Bill Blackbeard

*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


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Karl Wirsum on Drawings 1967-1970 from Dan Nadel on Vimeo.
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via Devlin Thompson; thanks, Devlin


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The emergence of the British Small Press Comics scene in the early 1980s from Pete Ashton on Vimeo.
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September 25, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from September 18 to September 24, 2010:

1. DC Comics may fire or relocate up to 80 of its 250 employees in a bi-coastal re-alignment. Two imprints to be shuttered.

2. Zunar arrested.

3. Kamal Sharaf released.

Winner Of The Week
Matt Fraction

Loser Of The Week
WildStorm

Quote Of The Week
"I can't talk right now. They are about to arrest me." -- Zunar

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

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

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If I Were In Hamburg, 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 Toronto, 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 Mesa, I'd Go To This

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Happy 34th Birthday, Josh Latta!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Massimo Mattioli!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Bob Layton!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Kim Thompson!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Paul Pope!

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September 24, 2010


Friday Distraction: Mari Ahokoivu

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A Few Notes On Molly Norris' Situation

* first of all, I don't know any decent person that doesn't support Molly Norris, that doesn't feel terrible about her situation, that actually think it's a good thing that she's worried about being harmed and is being intimidated into hiding because she made a cartoon about the portrayal of Muhammed. Suggesting that someone out there does feel that away, let alone that a lot of people do, just seems like cheap, low-level sensationalism.

* second, shame on any journalistic organization, employer or public official within Norris' district that does not extend her the additional support those relationships and their resources call for and bring.

* third, I think it's pretty clear that the vast majority of those who might wish Norris harm or to intimidate her are working a political point more than they operating out of some incredibly wrongheaded and intolerable religious idea.

* fourth, can we be put a moratorium on saying Norris has been threatened "by Muslims"? That's like saying someone's been threatened "by left-handed people." They're just not organized that way. Norris was put on a specific, highly-publicized list by a specific imam named Anwar al-Awlaki.

* fifth, the main threat posed by her being on that list isn't some planned commando operation directed by al-Awlaki, but that some moron out there will take it upon himself to fulfill the mandates of the imam's list for some disturbed reason related to religious belief or for simply wanting to get some of that sweet, sweet publicity for themselves. Cut the FBI enough slack here.

* sixth, we should all be clear that it's almost certain that Norris made the imam's list not for this expression of her ideas but because folks turned her expression into a Facebook campaign that garnered a lot of attention despite Norris wishing to be disassociated from it. Nice job, you dumbasses.

* seventh, I don't feel compelled to do so, but if anyone out there would like to do something other than write a post or a column complaining about lack of support and provide Norris some of that support via, say, raising money for her,

I wish Molly Norris an uneventful and creatively fulfilling life filled to the brim with feelings of security and safety. I'm sorry this happened to you.
 
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Go, Look: Yeast Hoist #4

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Malaysian Police Raid Zunar's Office; Cartoonist Escorted To Police HQ

In a distressing report hitting the wires this morning, police in Kuala Lumpur have raided the Cartoon Kafe offices owned by Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaq, better known as Zunar. They seized copies of the Cartoon-O-Phobia book scheduled for release tonight and arrested the cartoonist, escorting him to the district's police headquarters. Ten officers were involved in the effort.

Zunar had made headlines for the banning of his work by the government, which he is challenging in court. (Zunar's extreme disdain for the idea that his work could cause potential riots led him to the world-class funny and heartbreaking response that he would like to be shown some of this civil unrest his past works have caused.) In addition to the challenges, Zunar has spoken openly that his latest work is sharper than the old one, promising engagement with a laundry list of sensitive issues. The work draws from on-line cartoons appearing in the Malasiakini news portal in 2009 and 2010.

An even launching Cartoon-O-Phobia is scheduled this evening; the cartoonist has apparently told the press the launch will still happen. Our thoughts are with the cartoonist in this particular circumstance and his ongoing struggle to be heard without government interference.

Zunar maintains a significant web presence here.

Update: Subsequent news reports say that the cartoonist has been charged with sedition.
 
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Go, Look: Mickey Mouse Covers

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Quick! To The Beerbohm Signal!

imageFrom Mark Mayerson comes the kind of blog post I have no ability to endorse or disprove, but point out here for all of those in comics-land that are much more interested than I am in potential first comics and proto-comics: a story from 1493 told in sequential form with speech balloons. The gentleman that posted it even provides solicitation copy:
The duchy of Gelria (Gelre), in what is now part of the Dutch province of Gelderland, saw the return of the young Duke Charles (Karel) from captivity in the Burgundian France in 1492. Count Van Meurs remained in captivity in Charles' place in France, so Charles could settle his French ransom. It is Van Meurs who in this document of 1493 complains that Charles has not kept his promises...
Like I said, I can't vouch for something like this, let alone suggest that crews of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria swapped longboxes at various points on their long journey, but my hunch is to agree with the statement that this indicates that there was a certain kind of picture storytelling popular in the area and time from which it comes.
 
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Go, Look: Sketchbook At Mattias Ink

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Collective Memory: Changes At DC Comics September 2010

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this article has been archived; click through the picture for a direct link
 
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Go, Look: Wallace Tripp

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Summer Of '55

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Go, Look: Marvel Family #20

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Go, Look: Out Of The Night #4

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Go, Look: Whip Wilson #1

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Go, Look: Archie Super Hero Comics Digest Magazine #2 (Whew!)

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there is an incredible number of single properties with multiple comics titles right now. For some reason, this strikes me as nuts.

image* I didn't know until just now that Garry Trudeau provided the cover for this month's Baby Boomer-focused issue of The Atlantic. Makes sense, though.

* you know, I agree with what Brian Bendis says about comics industry journalism here. There should be more long-form journalism by now, and that's as much my fault as anyone. The only thing I can say is that I think it's coming, and I'm not sure I thought that 18-24 months ago. I don't think it's a lack of wanting to do it -- well, I think that's a part of it for some folks -- but that it's more of an institutional development thing. The 'zine press that on-line industry press replaced didn't develop any kind of long-form journalism for years. It takes time to be able to devote resources that way in a consistent fashion. You can leapfrog this stage with dogged effort, but to have a publication settle into that role takes a bit longer. I do think we're on track again.

* when longtime Seattle retailer Perry Plush says "This isn't a library," his customers listen.

* Michael Dooley waxes rhapsodic on editorial cartoons, past and present.

* every so often I catch Marvel or DC making something that's obviously just for 12-year-old me, and I smile.

* not comics: this will probably make you laugh if you've ever written a blog for any length of time.

* I forget who sent me this, but this advice from Erika Moen on living in Portland cracked me up. Takeaway? There are no jobs in Portland.

* the great R. Fiore explains to me what he meant by his analysis of DC Comics To West Coast rumors. I disagree with much of what he says. I think DC has enough gravity to have transferred everything it needed to Los Angeles. I think that infrastructure issues aren't as important these days -- there are massive amounts of comics processed for publication in places like Kansas City, Portland and Orlando. I think LA has as much potential talent for a variety of things DC does as New York might, and likely more talent for the key, desired practice of developing IP that can work across media. Any gains that Marvel would make in having access to leftover locals in NYC would have been offset by DC having unfettered access to all the LA talent, as much as that matters (not very). And so on. Mostly, though, I wanted to point out that it wasn't just a rumor that formulated without basis or the way that rumors formulate: DC considered such a move, and the rumor seems to have had a basis in that reality, not some sort of formulation model (it didn't change; it was sudden and pervasive). Obviously, he disagrees. I was happy to change my characterization of his aim in writing the original blog entry, though.

* David Brothers writes on the importance of video game law to comics.

* finally, the writer Warren Ellis talks about publishing on-line. Ellis has a significant project -- Freakangels -- available that way. I used to love Freakangels because when it started Ellis would send out an e-mail reminder every week when it came out, which was sort of like getting yelled at to take out the recycling. It was the webcomic for people too lazy to keep up with webcomics.
 
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Quick hits
Craft
Cute Bagge Cover
Hypodermic Needle
Becky Cloonan Draws Grant Morrison
I'm Enjoying These Steve Bissette Drawings

Exhibits/Events
Go See Fabio And Gabriel

History
Don't Believe Those Crackpot Lies

Industry
All About Wirsum

Interviews/Profiles
FPI Blog: Sarah McIntyre
Ink Panthers: Vanessa Davis
CBR: Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen
Talking With Tim: Dean Haspiel
Washington City Paper: Nick Crawford
Newsarama: Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen

Not Comics
Seen In An Antique Shop
All Star Superman Trailer

Publishing
Free Issue Of The Perhapanauts
Captain America #610 Previewed

Reviews
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Chad Nevett: Thor #615
Grant Goggans: Emitown
Andrew Wheeler: Various
Nina Stone: Amulet Vol. 1
Kate Dacey: Magical Mates
Tim Hodler: Reading Comics
Bill Sherman: The Broadcast
Ed Sizemore: Moyasimon Vol. 2
Sean Gaffney: Bunny Drop Vol. 2
Adam Stephanides: Billy Bat Vols. 3-4
Lori Henderson: Yen Plus (September 2010)
Sean Kleefeld: The Royal Historian Of Oz #1
Paul Montgomery: The Marvelous Land Of Oz
Dave Ferraro: Love & Rockets: New Stories #3
 

 
Twelve Initial Questions I Have About DC's Publishing Moves Announcements

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Tuesday's rolling set of announcements and revelations -- that mainstream comics giant/smart, creative kid in the back of the Time Warner classroom DC Comics would be moving everything but its print publishing line to Los Angeles, that the WildStorm and Zuda imprints would be shut down, and that the company was embarking on a process of discussing the future with individual employees and that layoffs would likely be part of that series of discussions -- was processed through the modern, loosely-assembled juggernaut of social media, newspapers and multiple web sites with enough force and big-name access that the story for the majority of industry on-lookers may be all but over even as you finish reading this ridiculous, run-on sentence. One can imagine an announcement here and there about some folks being let go, others being re-assigned, interns and temp workers being brought on full-time and maybe even an Executive Editor being named. But the event part of it, the announcement that came after months of speculation over what kind of moves would be made and when, a lot of that energy dissipated about 6 PM on the 21st. Welcome to entertainment news in the modern media world.

I think the story may be more complicated than a day or two's worth of close attention. It could be a lot more complicated. I can't remember a big story like this one where I was left with so many questions, and not just the ones of the "To Be Continued" variety -- and there were plenty of those, too. I sought out direct answers when I thought that would be fruitful, and David Hyde and Diane Nelson at DC were nice enough to accommodate my inquiries even with their heavy press schedules over the last 72 hours. I will continue to get answers and refine the ones I have.

In the meantime, I present you with the 12 questions I had after DC's big Tuesday.

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1. Why Are They Leaving The Publishing Business in New York City Again?
I thought it curious that the one thing lacking from Tuesday's initial burst of press was a solid, direct answer as to why publishing is staying in New York City. You know: the basic answer to the basic question raised by the first announcement made that day. When asked the question more or less directly, the template being used either consciously or sub-consciously by DC executives seemed to first reiterate the need for DC to work within the wider Time Warner structure. Here's what I got from Diane Nelson earlier today.

"We looked painstakingly at many different criteria that necessarily weigh in to our operations moving in part or in whole. We determined that the optimal organization for DCE acknowledges the close proximity to NY and East Coast operational, talent and business resources.

"We took this evaluation and analysis very seriously, along with the personal considerations of our many valued employees and their families."

That's an interesting answer -- and that's what I was given after I told them that the answers they'd already given weren't all that convincing. Focusing on the core result explains why the whole question of moving was considered. That kind of synthesis and exploitation of DC properties and talents is very important to Warners, and thus it's very important to DC. Yet coming back with that kind of reason first, and not really giving a subsequent reason why this specific arrangement works best to facilitate that goal, suggests to me that maybe there was a lot to say about moving the whole kit and kaboodle under one roof. So with a good answer in place for why they'd go West, what you'd ostensibly need is a better answer for print publishing staying put.

I didn't hear one. Did you?

In fact, I only read two independent reasons for keeping publishing out east in any of what's come out since Tuesday morning.

The first reason is that in keeping things where they've been for the last 75 years, DC would be preserving the legacy of comics publishing in New York. That's a lovely thought, and it makes a swell third line in a wire story, but it sure doesn't sound convincing -- even as it's been articulated by DC! I'm not sure I know what preserving the legacy of comics publishing even means in practical terms. I certainly haven't detected a loss of the legacy aspects of the business that can be traced to the wider comics industry spreading out to cities like Seattle and Portland and Kansas City. Moreover, I'm dubious that a modern super-corporation would make a decision on that basis. If it were so important as to be a crucial factor, you think someone at the company could make the case in more than cursory terms. When someone sacrifices policy and/or profit for principle, they tend to be able to talk your ear off about the principle. I didn't get any of that here. It seems the issues of DC's legacy was in many ways an abstract thing even to the people who supposedly made a major decision based on that issue.

The second reason floated where I could see it is that there's some sort of intrinsic value in the current DC structure and the people that service it. I take it that means a collective, positive appraisal of the people currently in the company, the people in the local/regional pool of talent that could be brought into the company, and certain ways of doing business as established in New York.

Now, this sounds valid to me as a possible idea. I can conceive of it. It just doesn't sound convincing in this particular circumstance.

In broad terms, my hunch is that very little that a New York setting or talent pool offers couldn't be approximated or possibly exceeded in Los Angeles -- even more so given the stated goals of the company regarding the division and its place in relation to other entertainment media. DC wasn't considering a move to Indianapolis or Albuquerque; they were thinking of Burbank. If DC's decision-makers disagree with me that LA could have offered what NYC can, I'd love to have heard them say so. Further, it's nearly impossible to believe that in this economy, in this wider publishing industry, and that this being comics in the first place where a high-paying job is rarer than Gold Kryptonite, that the vast majority of key personnel wouldn't follow the company into an assault on the pass at Thermopylae. As much as I've heard about people worried to death about what would happen at DC this week, it was always because they were either going to be fired or have to move. It was never because they'd have to make a career change.

But more than that, given the length of the process by which DC's brain trust came to this decision and the supposed thoroughness with which they looked at all options, shouldn't there be much more than a vague impression they might lose some people? I've been involved in two massive firings/restructurings in my professional life. In both cases I -- a nobody -- was approached and asked direct questions about things like if I would move offices or if I could do another person's job if need be. And in each case, the time frame to make this decision was greatly compressed. According to what they've stated, it feels like DC is staying in New York because of a hunch, not because of what they learned from a thorough process of information-gathering. Again: baffled.

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2. Could There Be an Unnamed Reason They're Leaving the Business in New York City?
Because those answers are unconvincing, it forces me to wonder if DC isn't staying in New York because of a reason no one has discussed yet. I'm terrible at this kind of brainstorming and the world as it reveals itself to me is a carnival midway of wonders because of how little I can predict in advance. But Tuesday even had me scratching my head. One thing that comes to mind is I wonder if there could be intellectual property concerns that make keeping an office in New York more attractive. I've always heard that New York is a better place to defend your IP than California. Jeff Trexler, who writes about legal issues and comics for Blog@Newsarama, notes that while all sorts of factors go into what gets filed and where, there's an attraction to New York for IP holders.

"The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which reviews cases heard in the Southern District of New York, has well-developed IP jurisprudence that is generally regarded as owner friendly. The Ninth Circuit, which includes California, is commonly seen as somewhat less predictable and more plaintiff friendly in regard to IP," Trexler wrote in respond to my inquiry. "Playing the odds, an IP owner would be inclined to try to file in New York--especially the IP & business savvy Southern District, which includes NYC -- while someone trying to challenge an IP owner would more often than not try to go elsewhere, such as the Ninth Circuit, which, deserved or no, has a reputation for being more liberal and less corporate. For example, one could make a decent argument that the Siegels would have been far less likely to win the Superman case had they filed in New York -- as illustrated by the previous rulings against Siegel & Shuster in the Second Circuit, an outcome favoring the Siegel heirs was not a slam dunk."

Here's another possibility, just related to me 10 minutes after my initial posting. California apparently has extremely tricky laws for work for hire that may force a company located there to treat a contractor working under such an agreement as an employee rather than as an independent contractor. One freelancer assures me this includes collecting unemployment if you're let go from a long-term assignment. I imagine that such differences in law could add a great deal of cost, project to project, to any publisher, like DC, that depends on work for hire agreements.

Now is each of these things a stab in the dark? For sure. But they are no less convincing reasons than preserving legacies or maybe/perhaps some people leaving the company. The thing is, I'm open to most possibilities right now.

3. Why Was the News Announced in Rolling Fashion?
One thing that was odd about Tuesday's news day is that the bi-coastal split of DC Entertainment and DC Comics got the first release, WildStorm and Zuda got their own release in the form of an open letter from Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, and the potential for layoffs and in-house restructuring was left to being revealed -- in controversial fashion -- in one of the follow-up interviews. A lot of people, myself included, almost dismissed the story when the first release hit only to return in a panic and refocus our coverage when we learned that WildStorm and Zuda were being closed and a reporter in a follow-up interview with Diane Nelson had claimed a 20 percent workforce reduction was coming.

Was the tiered release planned to get a blast of positive PR out there before the negative? I don't mean that in a bad way. I might split the announcement if that were my job. People always seem to remember a first thing more than a second, and it's not like they were hiding anything. An even odder possibility is that DC as currently constituted may on some level considers its ability to maximize its characters a more important story than the immediate fate of an unknown percentage of those working at the publishing company or the closure of two of its imprints. I also don't mean that in a bad way, although it sounds horrible, just in a corporate-emphasis way. As several folks have pointed out, it's not out of the question that many folks following the story -- both professionally and as fans -- agreed that the impact on the characters was a more important story than an in-house restructuring of jobs in a rough economy.

4. Why Was the News Announced at All?
One reason it's been difficult to comment on this story is that DC hasn't finished making moves. According to information gleaned through Tuesday's follow-up interviews, DC will embark on an in-house process of talking to its employees and doing some realignment work throughout their divisions. This seems bound to be an awful experience, and will almost certain involve NDAs for anyone that can sign one. It's not clear who's doing what, although Jim Lee was apparently in La Jolla yesterday and today to communicate DC's plans to those working at the announced-for-closure WildStorm office.

This makes me wonder: why wouldn't you wait until after that process to make a full and even more dramatic announcement to the press and the comics community in general? It seems like the story was still developing on Tuesday, to the point that when a few people wondered out loud if there wouldn't be a reversal of some sort, it was difficult to tell them there was absolutely no chance of it.

image5. How Many People Will Be Let Go?
The LAT writer Ben Fritz stated in a blog posting driven primarily by the fruits of his discussion with DC President Diane Nelson that 20 percent of DC's 250 employees were to lose their jobs. Everyone's clear on one thing: That statement did not come from Nelson. Some subsequent sources unfortunately reported that it did based on little more than its proximity to Nelson's actual statements; my own language wasn't as clear as it should have been. Also, that statement did not indicate that any jobs cut would come from a specific division or place within DC. Again, at least one source jumped to a conclusion that it was DC proper that would suffer that number of job losses as opposed to this being a number that might include jobs lost from the closure of WildStorm and Zuda. On the other hand, no one's officially denied the number. Nor has anyone officially endorsed it. It was a very strong and certain statement, not the kind of thing open to a lot of interpretation.

I e-mailed Ben Fritz on Wednesday. He wrote back that he stands behind his reporting and the figure named. He declined to reveal the provenance of that information. The comics industry site Bleeding Cool claims -- without making clear the origins their own, contrary, information -- that this statement by Fritz was wrong; they even suggest it was made up. Johnston claims in a follow-up e-mail that the interview in that blog post was taken from other sources, and Fritz had no direct interaction with Nelson at all. DC's response was to point out that the figure given in the article did not come from Nelson, and doesn't have her endorsement. Asked for further comment by CR, Diane Nelson said, "No comment."

So who knows? Twenty percent is a lot of people, and no matter what you may think about the necessity or wisdom of reorganizing the company in a way that involves such layoffs, those are all people that will likely suffer because of those moves. Our hearts should go out to them. We should feel sympathy even if it's only half as many people let go. Or one person. It should be a main focus of coverage from here on out because job-loss is a true, measurable result of these moves, and if it's end up being twenty percent or anything close to it, that should dwarf any other story.

6. What Is The Status Of DC Direct?
Again, there was no announcement of what's going on with this part of DC's business and nothing in the follow-up statements. The fate of DC Direct is important here because it's exactly the kind of business one would think would get moved to California if the general theory of "print publishing to the east coast"/"everything else to the west coast"" holds. It seems odd that there's no firm answer available at the time of the announcement. I've been told that this is one of those moves that will wait until after the in-house employee evaluations, which again confuses me as to why the whole thing couldn't wait.

image7. How Horrible Must It Have Been To Be A DC Comics Employee This Week -- Heck, This Year?
One thing that's been to my mind under-reported is how the lengthy period preceding Tuesday's announcements must have had an effect on those that now must deal with the collective outcome of those decisions. Despite R. Fiore's post-announcement assertion that the rumors of a total west coast move were only that because such a move made no sense, Diane Nelson has clearly acknowledged that such a move was on the table and considered, and the pervasiveness and certainty of the rumor was as ingrained in the day to day reality of its believers as any I've ever seen in comics. This was not a case of a few bloggers running around screaming things just to be heard.

So, if you're a DC employee, it's possible you just spent several months thinking you might lose your job -- a comics job! -- in a shitty economy or have to move to California and away from your friends with an unknown incentive package, or none at all, as the basis for making this possible. This was followed by a couple of weeks just past where you were told that an announcement was imminent. This may have been followed by a moment of relief -- that's how it was described to me -- when the New York publishing offices were announced as staying open. And yet this was followed by word that divisions are being closed, which was followed by further news that everyone is being evaluated -- with firings on the table.

Now, I don't know if that's a fully accurate view of the timeline, but if half of that stuff happened to me, if I rode on the first two plunges of that particular roller coaster, my morale would be at the sub-basement level. One can argue that DC Comics isn't exactly a healthy culture to begin with; one can further argue that it's been a particularly difficult place to work for the last few years. I can't imagine what an injection of real drama might do to that group's collective ability to function at the high level required of them by current industry circumstance.

8. Is There Really A Baby In All That Bathwater?
One thing I've been confused by in the aftermath of DC recent announcements is this certainty evinced that a lot of what the publishing company has been doing has been right. This notion is often expressed as a defense of not making as radical a move as expected -- that you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and you want to build on all the positives of DC's current publishing practices.

Now I know that a publisher like DC is bound to do a lot of things well. Their book program has evinced renewed vigor since their distributor switch, and they seem to place titles into the top 30 slots on the Diamond serial comics list, such as it is, with slightly greater frequency than they used to when Marvel was throttling the market. I'm not exactly King Expert Of Mainstream Comics, either. But the special enthusiasm that seems to be encouraging DC into a strategy of staying the course feels to me vague and unearned.

What exactly are they doing to inspire such confidence? They don't seem to know any more than their rivals known concerning how to get serial comics out of a slow spiral of declining sales and general apathy. Some of their creative decisions have been howled at by long-term fans. They don't seem to have much in the way of perceived -- perceived -- no-question, dependable A-list talent past Morrison and Johns and maybe Straczynski. They seem at times to overwork people -- by which I mean creators, not Batman, although he's got to be tired, too -- and thus disrupt the momentum of some of their key serial comics via scheduling issues. Their ability to keep books in print in a minimally logical fashion is a criticism they face all the time. Even the fabled people skills of the new executive team -- an all-time A-list talent handler and three veteran industry new executives, two of which are working pros -- seem to have been employed in a way that's only riled further one of their most profitable, long-time authors and not exactly sent scores of creators scrambling from another company towards a seat in the Hall Of Justice. There's also Tuesday's news. Shutting down imprints may make sense from an organizational standpoint and may make the future a brighter one, but it also seems to be an implicit criticism of how things are being done right now. It should go without saying, but no imprint gets closed because it's awesome and it performs wonderfully. So what am I missing? What is the reason for any enthusiasm in staying this particular course, even its roughest outline?

image9. Where Is Patrick Caldon?
I really don't care where Patrick Caldon is -- I'm sure he's fine -- but it was curious to some folks that wrote in to point out that he was nowhere near any of the follow-up press for the announcement, given that he was the fifth major member of the new Team DC. Mostly I put this in here because once you think about the presence of someone like Caldon, you realize that you don't know what you usually know with this kind of story: the parameters of the decision-making process. I have no idea who was in on it and who wasn't. Do you? For all I know, some creators were consulted (not all of them, clearly). Or maybe it was just Nelson, Lee, Johns and DiDio. Actually, I've since been informed that Patrick Caldon was a vital part of the team in terms of assessing its operational utility and its role as a cultural institution. But I had to ask.

It's strange that this whole process wasn't made a bit more transparent. There's no reason for it not to be if it's as foundational a moment as the press releases would have us think. One possibility is that all of these elements were too hard to track, that there wasn't clear decision-making, and that everything at DC is kind of moving forward in an organic and maybe even sometimes improvisational way. Another is that few want to fully own the majority of the decisions being made, at least not immediately. Or it could be a communication thing, that someone simply doesn't think this kind of thing important or worth describing. It'd be nice to know how they came to such important decisions, though, other than assurances that the process was thorough and everyone made suggestions. If we can know that DC employees are headed into evaluation meetings, why couldn't we know who was involved in the decision to send them there?

10. How Big Of A Train Wreck, Start To Finish, Was DC's Purchase Of WildStorm?
There's an article at Bleeding Cool that points out some of what I might write here. I disagree with one or two of their particulars, but I think the thrust of that article has it right. DC's stewardship of WildStorm was an almost Tundra Comics-sized fiasco, despite the best intentions and hard work of many of those at the company or working for it in a creative role, as well as the continued ascendancy within the greater company of founder Jim Lee.

imageThere was a point at which WildStorm seemed poised to become a more potent marketplace version of Vertigo -- a Vertigo without the specific horror and related genre elements hanging over it, a company with a tighter spiritual relationship to the industry's core superhero values. It seemed ready to become one of those few, reliable companies that provided a home for creator-owned work with a popular, mainstream element to it -- that you could take a project to WildStorm without having to take a step back in your industry ambitions for it. From a consumer's standpoint, it could offer a line of books that gave certain readers series to follow that were slightly more sophisticated and thematically challenging than works in those genres offered through the Big Two, and thus it gave stores a tool to keep those readers. WildStorm even enjoyed the fruits of solid core books, driven by a halfway-decent, sturdy central concept and buttressed at key points by the work of talented writers like Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Ed Brubaker and James Robinson.

Rather than moving to the next level with the DC purchase, becoming a prestige imprint at a comics company backed by one of the biggest media empires in the world, WildStorm sputtered with some major successes, some minor achievements, and more and more advancements that seemed marked by corresponding setbacks. As the Bleeding Cool article describes, it became known rightly or wrongly as a place for editorial meddling that drove key creators away (or further away) from the parent company. It later garnered a reputation for a certain kind of callow albeit popular licensed book, and for its constant attention to replicating certain effects of previous successful efforts -- the kind of relaunch and reconfigure and rehash grind that slowly drives readers away. WildStorm could have been a contender. Its closure didn't even merit its own press release.

image11. Is There Any Reason To Believe Assurances Regarding Various Properties?
A few of you have e-mailed me to make fun of statements like this one from Ed Brubaker that now's the time to buy some of the books he did for WildStorm because they could go out of print. I think there's some skepticism on your part that this could happen. In fact, the idea that WildStorm books would go out of print because of there being no WildStorm was met by wave-of-hand denials from Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, with the assurance that books that continue to sell will continue to be sold.

Creators like Ed are onto something, I think. As Brubaker pointed out to me in a follow-up e-mail, properties like his Sleeper at WildStorm never sold that well in the first place. Without the attention that comes through a devoted company with an interest in keeping a variety of projects out there on the shelves in some way, left to the capricious whims of however that work and those properties are employed by a company with plenty of properties and books to worry after, it's perfectly logical that a number of solid works could fade from view. Moreover, as the creators at WildStorm that have properties of their own seem to have found out about the company's closure on twitter, rather than being contacted personally, no one really knows if they will remain important or vital to DC, even in the short term.

12. What Is The Long-Term Impact On DC Publishing?
Finally, I was surprised in all that was announced that there wasn't more attention paid to how this has an effect on DC Comics as a print publishing company, in addition to what it will mean for Warners. In fact, if you read the follow-up stories today about the changes at Warner, it's as if these properties in some sort of independent idea space that has nothing to do with paper and ink (or pixels and computer screens). That the first follow-up story came through entertainment media rather than comics industry media indicates that our main takeaway may be that everything that's important about DC is going to Hollywood, that print is now on an island, by itself, and the only thing that matters is if Green Lantern really is a tentpole franchise, not if he can sell twice as many comic books. As one industry friend put it, if this were a gangster movie, DC Comics is the poor dope left running things in Atlantic City after all of the other characters have left for Vegas.

Maybe that's the next round of discussions. Maybe there is a second set of publishing announcements on the way. Maybe this is merely prologue to what DC comics does from here on out as a print and digital publishing business. Maybe DC will get an exciting Executive Editor. I sort of doubt it, but it could happen. The great thing about comics is that print publishing is a niche industry and digital publishing is likely to be one, too. You don't need to change the minds of 10,000,000 people in the space of one weekend in order to revolutionize the comics field; you can transform the business by quietly recruiting 100,000 devoted new readers over a half-decade's time. Hollywood creates franchises; comics creates universes. I think you're getting close to the heart of it when you realize that it's only comics people, and a certain kind at that, that were made uncomfortable by Tuesday's announcements. What seems unsatisfying from a comics perspective was likely everything the Hollywood view of things needed to hear. The latter trumps the former, five scissors to one paper, five papers to one rock.

For right now, with all the questions I have, maybe the only thing I'm certain of is that there seems less of a comics industry than ever, if there's a comics industry at all. The second shoe dropping wasn't the WildStorm/Zuda closure after DC's bi-coastal realignment announcement. The second shoe dropping is this whole slew of odd, unclear, in-development measures and earnest but talking-point answers that seem to focus on everything but a core publishing mission, the first major industry move after a Comic-Con with a similar focus on everything but publishing. Maybe a renewed comics focus is on its way. I don't know. Maybe that's the something that needs to cost multiple employees their jobs to get us to a place where that happens. I couldn't possibly say. Maybe for most people they'd gladly see every last DC employee fired if it meant they got a decent Emma Stone Wonder Woman movie in 2014. I have my suspicions. I do know that there's honor in an industry that supports the greatest art form in the world, and that any new comic book reality will be better off in the long run keeping that in mind. It doesn't matter where the industry keeps its various offices if its orientation and mindset are going to be someplace else from now on. Let's hope this was a step to a better industry, and not an initial affirmation of a new, unfocused status quo.

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September 23, 2010


Not Comics: Mercer Mayer

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend it's MICE, a show in Hamburg and a one-day event in Seattle.

image* the big news of the week con-wise was probably the announcement of a second Brooklyn Comics and Graphic Festival, to be held this year on December 4 at 275 N. 8th Street. Their special guest list is Lynda Barry, Gabrielle Bell, Charles Burns, Jordan Crane, Evan Dorkin, Renee French, Bill Griffith, Sammy Harkham, Irwin Hasen, Anders Nilsen, Paul Pope, Johnny Ryan, Leanne Shapton, Mark Alan Stamaty, Jillian Tamaki and Adrian Tomine. Any three of those people should be enough to get you out of head. Also, everyone should be nice to Irwin Hasen for joining all those young people in a celebration of comics -- you should get a print/drawing from him if you can -- and everyone should rush Mark Alan Stamaty's table in order to jump start a long-overdue reconsideration of Mark Alan Stamaty. I can't imagine a nicer room of interesting artists, which is why of course I won't be going. There will likely be killer programming. And it's free. Why wouldn't you go?

* if you get the chance, go here and study the BCGF poster up close. It's fun.

* in what may be the biggest week for con announcements in Brooklyn history, the new King Con -- a more standard comics show -- was also announced for the borough, this one in early November.

* the next big-big event on the convention calendar is the New York Comic Con. Still no programming up at the main site, although I think M. Night Shyamalan may be coming to the show to apologize for Unbreakable and give us our money back, which is nice. Don't quote me on that, though. Also it looks like IDW is going to be making the second Parker book its point of emphasis for the show which is nice because there aren't a lot of ads with comics in them on that front page.
 
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Go, Look: New Persoff-Curated Comics

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Four Belgian Men Arrested Late Last Week In Death Note Murder Case

Through Anime News Network and Le Soir we learn a murder investigation that made headlines for its grisly nature (a torso and two human thighs were found by hikers) and its tangential relationship to the manga Death Note (a nearby note with a bungled translation of the phrase "Watashi wa Kira desu," relating to an alias in and famous phrase within the series) moved into its final stages late last week, culminating with the arrest of four men for the crime. According to that report, three men were arrested by members of Belgium's Federal Police force for murder and two of them have since confessed. The fourth was charged with not seeking to assist the murder victim. A police photograph of the notes that relate to the manga can be found here. The cause of death was apparently an argument between roommates that led to physical blows and the victim's subsequent death. The manga reference through the note and a symbol made from rice was apparently a throw-in by the arrested men, manga fans.
 
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Go, Look: Summer's End Doodle Dump

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Kamal Sharaf Released By Yemeni Court

Kamal Sharaf, the Yemeni cartoonist who was taken into custody August 16 after his home was raided along with those of two journalism colleagues, was released earlier today by something called the Special Penal Court. The prosecution has appealed. Sharaf's co-defendant, a fellow journalist, was not released. During the first day of the trial yesterday the prosecution asked that the cartoonist be held for an extra 45 days to continue their investigation into Sharaf's activities. His family was not allowed to see him for a full month after he was taken into custody, and both the family and advocacy groups were generally concerned about his health. The advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontieres has repeatedly called for his release.
 
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Go, Look: Two By Dik Browne

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Hi And Lois run

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Florida Times-Union Lets Ed Gamble Go

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Ed Gamble, a widely-syndicated editorial cartoonist who was in the middle of his 25th year as the staff cartoonist for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, was let go by the paper in a staff-cutting measure. Gamble, who had already been working part-time for the paper in addition to his syndication through King Features, was one of 22 staffers let go. Gamble comes from a newspaper family and is one of the few cartoonists of whom I'm aware with a degree in political science. As part of his severance package, Gamble was to receive a week's pay for each year worked at the publication. The Times-Union is owned by Morris Publishing Group. A series of Gamble's cartoons can be accessed here.
 
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Go, Look: WildStorm Sketches

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

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

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Go, Look: Fun Jim Starlin Art

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Go, Look: Set Of Woody Woodpeckers

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Go, Look: Smokey Stover

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Go, Look: The Shadow Vol. 6 #3

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com profiles the latest anti-piracy bill gaining bi-partisan support with our elected, national officials.

image* this isn't the first time I've read Shaenon Garrity enthusing over Atagoul, but I'm certainly not tired of it. That stuff is weird-looking.

* when I was a kid we just called this "being an asshole."

* Bully would like to remind those campaigning for Stan Lee to appear on Saturday Night Live that he's already hosted the show. That is a great, long, self-indulgent Bully post.

* Jeet Heer and the gang at Comics Comics discuss Douglas Wolk, Reading Comics, the possibility a series of critical profile books for comics, theory and hacks.

* not comics: hey, I just realized the new Spider-Man played the reporter who got beat up a lot in the first Red Riding movie. He was pretty good, as I recall, and I think that's a Netflix "watch instantly" selection for those of you who like the British crime stuff.

* Kristy Valenti profiles Otto Soglow, focusing on the symbolism in his arch character designs.

* not comics: Peter David is right about the pettiness of national media.

* Paul Levitz is apparently bringing back one of the sweeter mainstream comics fan participation elements of ages past: the election of the leader of the Legion Of Super-Heroes, which was done by fans writing in and then used as a story point in the title. The thing I remember about that as a kid was that the numbers weren't all that spectacular. Most of my comics reading was extremely isolated from other people in my middle-school years, and seeing the vote results got me thinking about the other people reading comics in a serious way for the first time. Not that that's a serious subject or anything, but it did make me think about how the audience broke down, and it didn't occur to me before just how small in some ways that audience was, and how that was an opportunity for me to make an impact in that world if I applied myself.

* Sean Kleefeld tries again.

* this cover is adorable.

* finally, the writer Jason Aaron points out that not sucking is helpful if you want to break into a creative endeavor. I think this is a piece of advice that a lot of us forget about, the fact that our own efforts and the efforts of things we like may suffer less from a conspiracy of market forces and gatekeepers and more from just not being good enough. There's also that thing where something/someone is arguably good enough but not overwhelmingly and obviously good enough, and thus presents a trap for those arguing over its ultimate fate.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Dan Day!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Stan Lynde!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Jean-Claude Mezieres!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Paul Ryan!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Peter David!

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Quick hits
Craft
I Want To Know What This Is
Holy Crap! Kamagurka!
Jillian Tamaki Illustrates
Colleen Coover Sketches
Creepy Cave
Craftmaster Bob Sikoryak In GQ
I Think They Colored The Hulk Wrong

Exhibits/Events
Thank You, Portland Opera

History
We Were Young Once

Industry
Jessica Misses Amy
Shake Of The Head, Wag Of The Finger

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Craig Yoe
CBR: Victor Gischler
CBR: Joshua Williamson
CBR: Kieron Gillen
For Love Of Words: Steve Malley

Not Comics
Gail Simone Misses RPG
Maybe Jason Statham Could Do A Popeye Movie
Janice Headley Recommends Family Portrait

Publishing
Submissions Open For Smut Peddler
On Sam Hiti's Death-Day
At A Second Glance, That's An Awesome Headline
Avengers Vs. Pet Avengers #1 Previewed

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Various
Rob Clough: The Axe-Man Of New Orleans
Michael C. Lorah: The Bloom County Library Vol. 1
Sean Gaffney: Itazura Na Kiss Vol. 3
 

 
September 22, 2010


I Haven't Forgotten You, DC Comics

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I have a longer piece about DC Comics' various moves from yesterday that I thought was going to go up today. It will go up tomorrow. I fully realize that each post about a future post earns a blogger a thousand extra years in a specific corner of Hell, but I wanted to mention this here because there's a tendency in this day and age to blow through media events as quickly as one can process the basic facts. It may earn a publication the ire of those who are watching the watchmen, but sometimes it takes a couple of days to get your thoughts together, let alone responses to those thoughts from those involved, let alone a coherent article of more than a couple hundred words. It's an even bigger problem when much of the story contains within it unresolved elements. At any rate, I apologize for the delay.

In the meantime, anyone interested in the major news announcements from yesterday -- the potential loss of jobs, the closure of two imprints, the decision to basically split DC publishing into East Coast (print) and West Coast (on-line) divisions and the announcement of in-house meetings to further realign the venerable publishing company -- should read Kevin Melrose's recap at Robot 6, which I thought was the best of today's summary articles.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the great Peter Bagge shows off his cover for the next Hate Annual. It's weird that we're almost into double-digits on those. Also: yikes.

* Dark Horse is apparently doing a bunch of one-shots for the Felicia Day-written The Guild. I don't know that series or its other-media predecessor at all, but the subject matter seems like it could be a rich one and it's certainly built for a certain, passionate, potential readership.

image* the Library Journal previews a bunch of early 2011 comics projects, including a new edition of a late-'90s Lorenzo Mattotti project. New Lorenzo Mattotti anything is always welcome news.

* Jeffrey Brown has a new cat-related book out (via Sean T. Collins, I think).

* Bill Radford ends The Comics Fan.

* Jeremy Tinder and Aidan Koch are the newest cartoonists to join the revolving cast of MOME.

* Julia Wertz has posted a few pages from her latest book as an inducement to get you to consider buying it.

* there have been one million copies of Scott Pilgrim books printed. That should be more important to comics people than how much of the production budget the North American cinema release of the movie version made, but of course it isn't.

* the team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning will be writing the forthcoming Heroes For Hire comic; they're the writers that have been doing those well-received Marvel space books for a few years now. The weird thing about Heroes For Hire is that all those people look like terrible employees.

* okay, at first upon reading this I thought that Grant Morrison was adapting the Michael Keaton film Multiplicity, which is probably the only entry point by which his doing the Charlton heroes in a vaguely, Watchman-y way doesn't seem so weird.

* yeah.

* I always knew that David Low was on a list of potential hanging victims were Germany to take Great Britain, and hadn't even heard of this sort-of funny, sort-of dark planted rumor featuring him being joined on that list by some cartoon editors, a rumor now debunked.

* the new Leon book is in.

* not comics: the writer Matt Fraction notes that Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, a history of National Lampoon, is out. I know next to nothing about one of the great fountainheads of American comedy the last half-century, including one of the top 10 magazine homes for cartooning in the same period, so I'll definitely make a beeline for that one next time I'm in a bookstore.

* one-time Legion Of Super-Heroes super-team Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen are once again working together with those characters.

* the writer Greg Rucka returns to superhero comics.

* the fact that Paul Trap's Thatababy was being offered as a potential replacement for Cathy in my hometown newspaper meant with 99 percent certainty that someone out there had signed the Amazon.com contest participant to a syndication deal. Turns out it was Universal. I think that one could potentially launch very well.

* finally, Amazon has spit out a release date for Pantheon's collection of Dan Clowes' Mister Wonderful: April 2011. (thanks, Brad Mackay)

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Go, Look: Dicky Short's Cat Comics

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Go, Look: Roy Crane In Mexico

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Missed It: CBLDF Celebrates Appeals Court Decision Against Oregon Statutes

imageThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund posted a long, celebratory message on their news feed in support of a decision of the Ninth Circuit court of appeals that deemed unconstitutional two Oregon statutes regarding the distribution of sex education and certain non-obscene material. While the state tried to arge that the statutes only applied to hardcore pornography, the court found they applied to a variety of artistic material including the manga Berserk and specific Judy Blume novels. The CBLDF, Powell's Books and Dark Horse Comics were part of the group challenging those statutes.

Click through the initial link for more information including access to a PDF of the decision itself.

In other CBLDF goings-on, new President Larry Marder (pictured) writes passionately about an brief filed by the Fund on behalf of another medium's industry.
 
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Go, Look: Beautiful Carl Barks

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* for some reason, the CNN wire is only picking up today that the there are plans to republish the original Danish Muhammed cartoons in Flemming Rose's forth coming book.

* the Chicago court case facing Tahawwur Hussain Rana will begin on October 11, with the prosecution presenting its evidence. Rana was arrested in conjunction with David Coleman Headley for a variety of terrorist activities and plans for same. Headley entereed a guilty plea, and is now talking to US and Indian intelligence where it's his role in scouting for the Mumbai terror attacks, not his plans to blow up the Jyllands-Posten newspaper office, that has garnered the most interest.

* a top Saudi advisory body has decided not to endorse a pact between Saudi Arabia and Denmark, in part because of the 2005 cartoons.

* charges have been dropped against Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot for posting anti-Islam cartoon on his web site. He was arrested back in 2005 for the offense.
 
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America's 10 Greatest Comic And Graphic Novel Stores According To Flavorwire.com

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Go, Look: Howard The Duck #1

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

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

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Go, Look: Savage Combat Tales #1

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Go, Look: Boy Illustories #68

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Go, Look: Red Panther's Danger

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Go, Look: Caricatour #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's funny because it's true.

image* Tucker Stone and Michel Fiffe talk at length about Love & Rockets: New Stories #3. I haven't read it the post yet, it's very long and loosely edited, but Jaime's story may be the best of his distinguished career so I'm interested to hear what they have to say about it.

* I highly recommend Brigid Alverson's remembrance of Stuart Hample.

* the only superhero in which the morbidly depressing Funky Winkerbean has any interest these days.

* everything's coming up Lafler!

* Editor & Publisher has a profile up on Ted Rall, using the occasion of his return from Afghanistan as a springboard.

* and for no particular reason, here's Alan Moore's parody of Frank Miller's Daredevil.

* Gary Tyrrell brings new information that Wowio may be trying to distribute folks' comics, and reminds us of the old news that there's still a 14-month window from which they owe people money.

* finally, the writer Graeme McMillan talks about wallowing in nostalgia, except not really, because it's somebody else's nostalgia. The concept of community memory is an interesting one for comics because right now it spans about three decades but before that it barely spanned three years at any one time. A lot of what's shaped comics in the last quarter-century has to do with the comics we take around with us inside our heads.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Peter Kuper!

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Quick hits
Craft
I Like This Cover
Sean Phillips Inks
Best X-Men Cover Ever?
Colleen Coover Sketches
Steve Lieber Draws Wonder Woman

Exhibits/Events
Brooklyn Book Festival Report
Leeds Alternative Comics Fair Report

History
Why Not, Indeed
Peanuts/Hellboy Mash-Up
Her Favorite DC Superheroines
People Sure Love Calvin & Hobbes

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Mick Foley
CBR: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Talking Comics With Tim: Paul Levitz
The Daily Cartoonist Mick And Mason Mastroianni

Not Comics
These Look Nice
Peter David Tells A Naughty

Publishing
From DC In December
Scott Pilgrim Books Cheap
I Hate Him Even More Now
New Avengers #5 Previewed
There's A Comic Called Daken Now?

Reviews
KC Carlson: Various
Kate Dacey: Various
Dave Ferraro: Gente
Richard Cook: Various
Sean Gaffney: Excel Saga Vol. 17
Andrew Wheeler: Mikansei No. 1 Vol. 1
Lori Henderson: Shonen Jump Vol. 8 #10
Kent Worcester: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Richard Bruton: Sherlock Holmes Vs. Skeletor
Tim Gebhart: The Best American Comics 2010
Ng Suat Tong: It Was The War Of The Trenches
Kristian Williams: I Thought You Would Be Funnier
 

 
DC To Cut Existing Workforce; Publishing To Remain In NYC; Digital To LA; WS And Zuda Lines Killed

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Read the press release here. I'm going to sit back a day on this and see what people say in reaction. I'm enough of a comics purist focus-wise that I wonder if this isn't a total non-starter for me a story, anyway.

My first thought -- and I'm not saying it's a smart one, but it was first -- is that it's another curious half-decision from a company that seemed to promise bold new directions a year ago when Diane Nelson was brought in. My second thought was that this likely saves a bunch of existing jobs. I didn't have a third thought. My fourth thought was about Batgirl.

Update: A second, separate announcement brings news that they're closing the vastly under-performing WildStorm imprint, closing that office in La Jolla and moving some of the editorial into the west coast digital team, and also closing the Zuda imprint that some people believed was already closed but had really just shifted emphases. So much for first impressions. I'm going to assume that the WildStorm closure comes with some job-loss.

Update 02: They're going to cut about 50 of 250 jobs overall, according to an interview with Diane Nelson. I'm not sure why something that big is trickling out, but okay. Also, as much as I love Howard the Duck, I'll now make this entry sticky and put it top of blog until further notice.

Update 03: It looks like writer Kurt Busiek didn't know the WildStorm closure was coming, which may indicate that talent wasn't contacted ahead of the press releases.

Update 04: First major interview I've seen with Diane Nelson talking to an industry journalist. Oddly, the answer about making sure that publishing works with wider Warners entertainment divisions is more convincing than the answer about keeping the publishing culture intact -- if I didn't know before I read it publishing was staying East, I might be confused. Also, talks about plans for the properties to extend until end of year. Most importantly, they're doing a massive in-house personnel review position by position -- some relocation, some promotions, many layoffs. Next few days should be tough.

Update 05: Let's change the headline. It was formerly "Rumors Only Half-Right: DC Comics Remains In DC, DC Entertainment (Digital, Multi-Media) To L.A." I think the staff cuts need to lead here.
 
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September 21, 2010


40 Years In, Internet Justifies Itself

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count me in
 
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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 no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would boldly walk inside and flourish my cape.

*****

APR100045 DAVE MCKEAN CAGES TP (RES) $29.99
If you don't have one, you should probably get one. I can't decide if the fact that McKean never did another book like it changes our perspective on Cages or not.

MAY100525 ASTONISHING X-MEN XENOGENESIS #3 (OF 5) $3.99
With just about every issue of every X-Men series selling over 200,000 copies an issue, it's no surprise that they'd want to do as many mini-series as possible. Excuse me? They sell how many copies now? Really? That's all? Huh. Well, that makes no sense then.

JUL100458 WALKING DEAD #77 (MR) $2.99
JUL100855 BART SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #16 $4.99
JUL100895 MUPPET SHOW #10 $2.99
JUL108108 CASANOVA #2 2ND PTG BA VAR (MR) (PP #934) $3.99
The cream of the crop of this week's "buy them in serial form" comic book. I've lost track of what's going on in Walking Dead, but I bet it's not cheery. I'll catch up, though -- I'm an honest-to-God consumer of that one in serial form. The Bart Simpson comic is the special with the yearly rotation of guest artists. This could include work that they solicited and then held onto to publish the Sammy Harkham-edited issue, I'm not certain. But that's always a reasonably solid buy. Matt Fraction's Casanova is his best work to date, and it looks like they're doing a nice job with these re-issues/re-workings production wise. And as has been his job for a bit of time now, Roger Langridge plays the music, lights the lights.

MAY101155 ART OF NEAL ADAMS HC $39.95
I'm not sure I'd want it once I had it in my hands, but I sure want to look at it.

APR101069 BEETLE BAILEY HC DAILIES & SUNDAYS 1965-1966 $19.95
This, on the other hand, I'm doing to read just to see what it would be like to read that much Mort Walker all at once.

JUN101000 FIRE WATER BILL EVERETT BIRTH OF MARVEL HC $39.99
Bill Everett is one of my top three all-time mainstream comics industry figures, if not number one, and I can't wait to dig into this book. Although that price point made me go "Sufferin' Shad!"

JUN100985 JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY TUBBY HC VOL 01 $29.95
Book of the week.

JUL101016 ZIPPY GN DING DONG DADDY $19.99
As long as Zippy is being published in some forms, comics will always be at least all right.

MAR100949 FOUR COLOR FEAR FORGOTTEN HORROR COMICS OF THE 1950S TP $29.99
Again, this collection of smaller-house scary comics from the glorious, mainstream past is something I'd want to have in my hands before buying, especially as it seems whenever a collection of this type gets published it's one of three versions from three different publishers.

JUN101067 SMURFS GN VOL 01 THE PURPLE SMURF $5.99
JUN101068 SMURFS GN VOL 02 THE MAGIC FLUTE $5.99
These are fun stories, and I like the production values for the most part. It's one time I don't have kids to read them, too, though, because the typesetting is really small.

JUL101215 WITH THE LIGHT RAISING AUTISTIC CHILD GN VOL 07 $14.99
I don't know anything about this series first-hand -- not past the first volume anyway. This has to be near the end of translatable material, given its creator's death.

JUN100243 WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 YEAR ONE TP $24.99
Solid, thematically quirky superhero comic book stories. Part of a run that may be writer Joe Casey's best work.

FEB101092 SWEDISH COMICS HISTORY SC (MR) $19.95
I like how they're just publishing entire books now related to idle thoughts one has cruising the comics Internet.

*****

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 here, that's because I threw my computer into the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium.

*****

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Go, Look: Charles Berberian's Homage To Caniff's Terry And The Pirates

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Go, Look: Comics In Esquire, 1972

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat asks after last week's "Molly Norris in hiding" stories, which I think makes this officially the most high-profile decision to go low-profile ever, although it's not like Norris had any control over that, either. Westneat spills more thorough details as to what Norris was actually advised, notes that Norris is still around town, and suggests that that an alternative strategy could have involved regional politicians and community leaders weighing in. I think they should have weighed in anyway, I don't understand how one of your constituents is threatened you don't have any response at all, but in the end the danger seems to be some independent wackjob taking it upon themselves to do something and there's not much protection for anyone against that.

* Sheila Musaji asks if the American Muslim community can do something to protect Norris. It's linked out pretty spectacularly to important articles and opinion pieces on the story as it developed, if you want to catch up.

* here's a piece on the Seattle Islamic community's reaction.

* if you want to put a name to the impulse coming from Al Qaeda to bomb the Jyllands-Posten building, it's Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri.
 
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Go, Look: Hulk Pin-Up Gallery

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Zunar Plans New Cartoon Book Launch Despite Ban On Previous Works

imageIn an article driven more by its potential political news content than for its publishing news power, the cartoonist Zulkiflee SM Anwar Ulhaq, aka Zunar, has announced the release for his new book Cartoon-O-Phobia this Friday evening at a place carrying the impressive name of the Kuala Lumpur-Selango Chinese Assembly Hall. The title is a play on a claim made during the banning of his books 1 Funny Malaysia, Isu Dalam Kartun and Perak Darul Kartun in June. In banning the works, the government proclaimed they were detrimental to public order and their satirical content could lead people to riot against authorities, a claim Zunar has savagely ridiculed in the media since then.

The book will feature cartoons from Zunar's space on the Malaysiakini on-line news portal from December 2009 to September 2010. If you're not able to make it down to the Assembly Hall, the book may be purchased online at www.cartoonkafe.com, where you can also buy Zunar-related t-shirts.
 
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10 Autobiographical Comics To Read

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a pretty good list -- although Contract With God is autobiographically informed rather than autobiography, at least for the most part
 
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Syndicates Again Launching New Strips

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Alan Gardner notices something I did not: that the major and semi-major newspaper syndicates are releasing three times as many comic strips this year as in 2009. That sounds like a lot, although it's really one comic strip for most of them and two for King Features and Creators. The syndicates doing two seem to have selected pairs that complement one another rather than compete for the same audience, even. I would love to see some thinning of the number of comic strips out there as I think so many strips hanging on at a certain point, particularly legacy strips, stifles up-and-comers, but it's hard to hate on more up-and-comers being added to the mix even if it's maybe a second step that's happened first.
 
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Go, Look: Funky Steve Mellor Art

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Giles Statue Returns To Ipswich

As this site bows to no news organization in the world in its attention to comics-related statuary, it is our pleasure to bring word to you of this article detailing the return of the Giles statue, also known as "Giles' statue," to the town square which now has a general, Giles-related theme. This represents a move from its previous position in relation to the window of the studio where the beloved artists worked for years and years on his cartoons. The statue was made in 1993.
 
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Off-The-Cuff CulturePulp Photos Of Portland Opera/Cartoonists Thing

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

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Go, Look: An Alex Toth Page

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Go, Look: Band Wagon #3

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Go, Look: The Moon Monster

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been there
 
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Go, Look: Startling Comics #6

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Robert Kirkman talks to The Atlantic. My first thought is that there aren't a lot of mainstream press articles that look at the industry though the views of guys like Kirkman, even though there are 18 billion such comics press articles, so it's kind of interesting to read about his broader view of the industry.

image* damn, Jim Woodring is cool.

* Archie Comics confirms that Sarah Palin is the leader of the Republican Party. As Archie Andrews is the living embodiment of the undecided voter and Jughead the face of modern libertarianism, this is more important than you might think. There's probably a joke in here somewhere about keeping Reggie away from Bristol Palin, but that would be completely out of order.

* another adorable Evan Dorkin commission piece.

* I don't really understand this essay by Sean Kleefeld. Worse, I can't find much beyond strident assertions and rebuttals to arguments I've never read anyone make to have something to grasp onto in a way that I can formulate a solid response. Let me try, though. First, it doesn't seem to me that yet another iteration of the content argument, which is the comics Internet equivalent of a new Batman book, is somehow fresher as a way of analyzing what's going on right now than choosing to react to a specific and still-ongoing price shift. Second, no one to my knowledge has ever suggested that content doesn't play a role. It always does. It always has. Third, it's also hard for me to fathom how the industry shrinking to 2000 levels, a time when things were so bad that publishers were basically holding bake sales to stay afloat, is anything other than a scary thing, especially considering all the relative structural advantages comics enjoys right now: more sophisticated, powerful and receptive PR opportunities; more ownership groups with significant resources; greater access to more marketplaces; more elite stores than ever before and much more publisher talent development in evidence than in 2000. I have other objections, but even this much feels like I'm trying to hit smoke with a wiffleball bat.

* RC Harvey gets to the bottom of why Dennis is being flanked by two odd-looking children in a Dennis The Menace panel. It's kind of jarring.

* they sent me this as PR rather than as a link, but I guess Dean Mullaney is getting at least part of the band back together, announcing Beau Smith as the new Director of Marketing at IDW Publishing's Library of American Comics Director of Marketing. Smith and Mullaney worked in the 1980s at Eclipse Comics. I'm not sure if this is the first imprint at a company to have its own marketing director -- I sort of doubt it, actually -- but it's not a common occurrence. The PR sent out asked that all "retailers, librarians, professors, and teachers" contact Smith at beau@loacomics.com or 304-453-6565.

* draw some monsters for a good cause.

* Brendan Wright on Alan Moore and DC.

* the artist and blogger Gerry Alanguilan looks at a pair of attempts to revive Philippine comics through legislation, in anticipation that they might be revived or that there are more on the way.

* some companies drop titles from their ongoing sales; D+Q adds them.

* Gary Tyrrell is tracking reaction to DJ Coffman's new e-book.

* not comics: Superman has a history of bringing characters from its media spin-offs back to the comics going back to the radio show days, so that they would bring on the Chloe Sullivan character from Smallville shouldn't be a surprise except in how long it's taken. Then again, everything about Smallville has taken longer than anticipated, including Smallville.

* finally, Doom wept.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Craig Thompson!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Drew Friedman!

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Quick hits
Craft
Up Close
Cartolina Da Pittsburgh
On A Panel From Rozz Tox #3
Tommi Musturi Makes A Poster

Exhibits/Events
Did You See This Camera At SPX?
Mat Brinkman Show Recommendation

History
There Be Pirates Here
On Monark Starstalker
More Wacky TV Show Comics

Industry
These Reviewers Get Us
Andy Khouri Makes Sacrifices For His Writing

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Stan Sakai
PS Print: Jeffrey Brown
Suicide Girls: Gail Simone
Bleeding Cool: Brad Rader
TFAW.com: Richard Starkings
The Long And Shortbox Of It: Fred Van Lente

Not Comics
A Visit To The Birthplace Of Superman

Publishing
X-Men #4 Previewed
BTVS #37 Previewed
Sex With Michael Kupperman
On Multiplex: Enjoy Your Show

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Matthew Brady: Various
Rich Kreiner: Werewolf!
Bill Sherman: The Dreaming
Greg McElhatton: Thunderbolts #148
Deb Aoki: Hetalia: Axis Powers Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: The Thin Black Line
Kate Dacey: Hetalia: Axis Powers Vol. 1
Sean T. Collins: ACME Novelty Library #20
Paul Montgomery: The Amazing Screw-On Head
Noah Berlatsky: It Was The War Of The Trenches
Andrew Wheeler: Star Craft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1
Rob Clough: Indestructible Universe Quarterly #4-5
Sean Gaffney: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 11
 

 
Mainstream Publisher On The Move

No, not that one. This one.
 
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September 20, 2010


Matt Fraction Wins 2010 Pen Literary Award For Outstanding Body Of Work

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A deluge of e-mails informs me that the writer Matt Fraction has been named a winner in the 2010 PEN USA Literary Awards, taking home a special award in "Graphic Literature" for "His Outstanding Body Of Work." Fraction is widely considered one of the best writers working in mainstream at this moment of time, and his projects include a variety of well-regarded series such as Casanova, Invincible Iron Man, Uncanny X-Men and Thor. He is also known for independent press projects such as Last Of The Independents and Five Fists Of Science. I am completely not familiar with literary awards, but this looks like the awards component of a Beverly Hills-headquartered literary advocacy organization. The awards will be presented to Fraction and other winners during a ceremony linked to the group's mid-November festival.
 
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Go, Look: Thomas Ott Gallery

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Stuart Hample, 1926-2010

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Stuart Hample, a children's book author, theater performer, television entertainer, ad man, cartoonist, writer and illustrator perhaps best known in comics circle for his noteworthy run on the newspaper comic strip Inside Woody Allen, passed away on September 19 from complications due to cancer. He was 84 years old.

Hample was born in Binghamton, New York. He served in the U.S. Navy straight out of high school during the second half of the Second World War as a member of the Submarine Service. He attended college after the War, graduating in 1950 with a degree from the University of Buffalo, a time during which he also worked, first in advertising, then as a writer and star on a pair of television shows in Buffalo, New York. He substituted on the NBC network show Birthday House when they needed an artist, and would go on to fulfill that role on the CBS television show Captain Kangaroo in the 1950s.

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He was briefly an assistant for Al Capp in the mid-'50s, and in the early 1960s began his initial run as a children's book author employing the pseudonym Stoo Hample with 1961's The Silly Book, under the legendary Ursula Nordstrom at Harper & Row's juvenile decision. Hample's book was successful enough to spawn an LP follow-up, and the author created a total of seven books during that decade. In 1967, Hample took over writing chores on Bob Lubbers' cult classic comic strip Robin Malone from Paul S. Newman and may have kept that job until the strip's conclusion in 1970.

Hample was in the midst of a return stint in advertising when he had the opportunity to try another comic strip, Rich And Famous. Signed to an exclusivity agreement on that strip, he had the idea of doing a strip with Woody Allen as its lead, drawing on the comedian's signature comedic persona which had by this time widespread recognition through his movies. Allen agreed, gave Hample a bunch of his joke books for adaptation, and would receive a share of the monies earned. Hample tried to continue with Rich and Famous by using the pseudonym Joe Marthen, but the earlier strip soon came to an end and he put his own name on the newer feature one year in. Inside Woody Allen launched in 1976 and would run until 1984, giving a second life to many of Allen's jokes and providing him with an audience that may have been older than those heading to the multiplex to see Sleeper and Annie Hall.

Although never a breakout hit, Inside Woody Allen had a large enough client list to be a profitable venture and to draw attention to syndication warhorse King Features for its modern, more youthful appeal. One could also argue that by drawing directly from Allen's source material, it was, with the possible exception of Doonesbury, the strip that engaged a wide variety of adult subjects in the most direct fashion. According to a profile at PW, Hample eventually grew less excited about the strip, and when he started writing for the television show Kate & Allie he was in a position to end the trip.

Like his friend and fellow cartoonist Jules Feiffer, Hample was also a prolific playwright. He was both published and produced, starting with Alms For The Middle Class and running through the course of his life. Seven plays, including an adaptation of one of his children's books, are listed here. He reinvigorated his authorship of children's books during the Woody Allen run, and also kept that career track alive for the remainder of his days through new books and select re-issues. In 2009, Abrams published a collection of Hample's best work on the Woody Allen feature, Dread & Superficiality, a book that included a lavishly illustrated section about its creation and modest but well-remembered run.

Robin McConnell interviewed Hample during the publicity tour for Dread and Superficiality and remembers a genial raconteur. "Stu had a genuine old school charm that grabbed your right away. During the interview, Stu was constantly throwing zingers at me, like a polite version of Evan Dorkin. He had a true love for comics, from his time working under Al Capp, to his years with Woody Allen. He was as proud of his friendships with Jack Davis and Jules Fieffer as any part of his storied career. I was struck by charismatic charm and being able to recall the most obscure details from his career, including a great yarn about Al Capp and an awkward date. These stores are the gems that interviewers want, and Stu had an endless supply."

Hample was working on a graphic novel aimed at a teenaged girl audience. It is unknown if it was completed or will be published.

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Go, Look: Simon Gane Sketches

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* much more was revealed about a letter-bomber arrested after such a bomb went off in his Copenhagen hotel room, some of it dire: he's a one-legged Chechnyan in his early 20s named Lors Dukayev, he has the same kind of international background that a lot of the more recent detainees and suspects have had (he was living in Belgium), and yes, officials now feel safe saying Dukayev had made the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, original publishers of the Danish Muhammed Cartoons in 2005, the target of a terrorist bombing attack using the same letter-bomb technology that failed him in his hotel room.

In light of the new accusations and evidence, a Danish court has extended Dukayev's detention by two weeks. His lawyer did not express surprise over the move in an impromptu press conference held after the decision. He has so far been charged with possessing explosives and putting those around him in danger. Terrorism charges seem a likely future step. The detention is now scheduled to end October 4.

* the writer and journalist Ezra Levant, who was treated horribly unfairly for re-publishing the cartoons, talks about the recent Koran burnings and decisions to do/not do the same. I'm with him on the issues generally, with the possible exception that one isn't free from criticism because they are exercising a right. I'd also hesitate to describe the Danish Cartoons as leading to murders as opposed to their leading to deaths via riots.

* it's not like seriously talking about matters related to the Danish cartoons is a skill anyone seems to have, if this comments thread on Molly Norris' fade from public life is any indication. Extremist groups and individual wack-jobs who threaten people are extremist groups and individual wack-jobs; they're not representatives of some broader conception of a religious sports team for whom score is then kept. Like many journalists in a similar position, I've been threatened for content posted to this site, but the only category I feel safe lumping those people into is "assholes."

* the New York Times looks at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent keynote speech at an awards ceremony that honored Danish Muhammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in terms of changing European attitudes towards Muslim communities within their borders.
 
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Go, Look: Two Kubert Birthday Posts

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classic Ragman story

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beautiful TOTGB Sundays
 
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Ramon Marcelino, 1928/1929-2010

Ramon Marcelino, a longtime comics writer and prominent comics editor who also wrote a history of Filipino Comix, died early September 18 from a heart attack. He was 81 years old.

Marcelino began his career in 1951 reportedly recently out of high school -- his age as provided by his family indicates that he may have been in his early 20s -- when he became an assistant of Extra Komiks editor Edilberto Tablan. He followed the publication after its sale to a larger publisher and became its editor. He helped found the Association Of Publishers And Editors Of Philippine Comics Magazines in 1958. This was a group that with the aid of a Catholic community charity active in the country sought to practice self-censorship by creating only wholesome and edifying comics material, making the organization's code country's equivalent to the Comics Code Authority.

imageMarcelino helped found not one, not two but three different comic book publishers. In 1962, following the collapse of Ace Publications in the wake of a labor strike, Marcelino was one of three comics-makers approached by Don Ramon Roces to start a new company -- both filling the void left by the departed company and continuing the family tradition. Graphic Arts Services, Incorporated (GASI) was founded on August 1, 1962, with Marcelino as its editor. They had offices and a printing press in Manila, and their first publication (Kislap Komiks) hit the market in September 1962. By one year into operation they were publishing five magazines.

In 1968, Marcelino resigned from GASI during a major overhaul, and organized Ace Publications, this time working with Dona Carmen Roces-Davila. He stayed with that company for approximately 10 years, resigning in the late 1970s to pursue freelance opportunities. In 1978 he founded his third Roces-financed company, the Islas Filipinas Publishing Company. He would later become a production manager at the Manila Times

Marcelino remained a writer throughout. An I believe crowd-sourced entry on Filipino culture cites the comic serial Dirty Politician, Sumpain Ka! as one of his most popular works. His character "Cleopakwak" was adapted into a movie in 1968. That same source notes that Marcelino was the author of a serial prose novel appearing in the publication Liwayway called Si Piolo at si Lorelei. Perhaps his most famous piece of writing was a history of Filipino comics, A History Of Komiks Of The Philippines And Other Companies, which came out from Islas Filipinas in 1985. He also wrote a history of the Roces family and material in various formats about comics scriptwriting, and wrote the screenplay for at least one movie.

Although no date of graduation is provided, Marcelino studied journalism at and graduated from Manuel L. Quezon Institute in the Quiapo district of Manila. It is now Manuel L. Quezon University, which indicates that Marcelino graduated before 1958.

thanks, Gerry Alanguilan
 
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Go, Look: Carol Tyler Signing

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Missed It: Your 2010 Le prix Ouest-France-Quai des Bulles Nominees

imageThe FPI blog caught something that just blew by me: the shortlist for the 2010 Ouest-France-Quai des Bulles prize, one of the first signs I've seen that the super-crowded French-language awards season is about to gear up. It's also a very typically French award in that it's run by a group of mainstream newspaper publications, the final prize will be selected via the participation of its readership, and the winner will get not one but two awards in addition to the honor itself: a little over $2500 (USD) in a cash prize and a promotional effort in the publishing group's publications.

The nominees are as follows. The list includes the French-language version of Joe Sacco's powerful Footnotes In Gaza, what I think was the best new work published in the English language in 2009.

* Cinq mille kilometres par seconde, Manuele Fior (Atrabile)
* Coucou tristesse, Sergio Salma and Baron Brumaire (Drugstore)
* Gaza 1956, Joe Sacco (Futuropolis)
* J'ai pas tue de Gaulle mais ca a bien failli, Bruno Heitz (Bayou)
* Junk Volume Two: Pay Back, Bruno and Pothier (Treize Étrange)
* Le Montespan, Jean Teule and Philippe Bertrand (Delcourt)
* Lydie, Lafebre and Zidrou (Dargaud)
* Page noire, Giroud, Lapiere and Ralph Meyer (Futuropolis)
* Toute la poussiere du chemin, Jaime Martin and Wander Antunes (Dupuis)
* Une vie chinoise Two: Le temps du parti, P.Otie and Li Kunwu (Kana)
 
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Missed It: Robert Boyd Writes About His Comic Art Collection

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Go, Look: Four-Color Comics #131

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Go, Look: More You've Got Me...

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Go, Look: Man With The X-Ray Eyes

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Go, Look: Sub-Zero

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the CBLDF has filed a brief in support of affirming the unconstitutionality of a ban on video game rentals to minors in a high-profile California case

image* Nick Abadzis' take on Wonder Woman for next month's art auction named for the character is pretty awesome.

* not comics: that I laughed at this is basically the reason I can't participate in discussions about what people make in comics where there's an assumption that X, Y, Z amount is too little/just right.

* Tim Hodler strongly recommends a Ray Davis essay.

* Fantagraphics has pictures and video of a Moebius strip comic Jim Woodring did as part of their weekly round-up of webcomics.

* this is kind of cool, if you follow the references: the Batman, Inc. storyline featuring a "Batman Of Japan" will apparently use a Jiro Kuwata villain.

* who among us couldn't have used this book at one time?

* not comics: Mike Dawson, Freddie Mercury expert.

* I liked this Evan Dorkin commission. I would think Evan Dorkin would be a good person from whom to get a commission, because I can't imagine him not doing his best on something like that.

* it's easy to get depressed or at least slightly befuddled when you look at bizarrely-targeted comics and think about who they're targeting, but the way around that is to remember that for the most part comics is a niche market not a mass market, so it's really just one niche being favored in addition to or a tiny bit over another, and that the emphasis can shift pretty severely without having to change the minds of a giant, mainstream audience.

* this is what I think Grant Morrison is like in real life.

* not comics: Graeme McMillan points out that maybe Warners is turning to its DC Comics properties too late to make the proper use of them.

* finally, is it a longer shot that a 47th iteration of Heroes For Hire get over, or that Paladin would be a part of anything that gets over?
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Steve Ringgenberg!

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Quick hits
Craft
Bastien Vives Makes A Comic
Flip The Gender And Redesign
Collen Coover Sketches A Robot
Churning Not The Best Word For Quality Art

Exhibits/Events
BKBF Comics Panel Report
On Mat Brinkman's New York Show

History
On Amalgam
On Green Lantern

Industry
Thank You, Dan Vado
Kurt Busiek Answers Letters
Rob Ullman Has A New Shop
Tips For Aspiring Comics Retailers

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jeff Katz
FPI Blog: Terry Wiley
CBR: Shaenon Garrity
Robot 6: Aaron Renier
Inkstuds: Sarah Leavitt
Paul Gravett: Adam Dant
Bleeding Cool: Erika Moen
Blog@Newsarama: Mike Carey
American Profile: Brad Anderson
Fanboy Radio: Rick Marshall, Rich Johnston

Not Comics
AHH! My Eyes!
On Leonard Weisgard
I Didn't Know Claude Chabrol Died
I'm A Sucker For Personalized T-Shirts

Publishing
Some VerityFair
Full Paying For It PR
Cosmic Slaughter For Kids
Hooded Utilitarian Is Looking For Writers
More Standing Around Talking Imminent
Insert Clever Tag Line Using Phrase What If

Reviews
Bill Sherman: Dorohedro
Gary Tyrrell: Amulet Vol. 3
Erin Jameson: Koko Be Good
David Brothers: Empowered #6
Chris Murphy: The Unwritten #17
Sarah Boslaugh: Boneyard Vol. 7
Rob Clough: Walt & Skeezix Vol. 4
Bart Croonenborghs: A Bed Of Roses
Sean Collins: Incredible Hulks #612-613
Lori Henderson: You're So Cool Vols. 5-6
Jason Green: Fairy Navigator Runa Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Twin Spica Vol. 3
Johanna Draper Carlson: Neko Ramen Vol. 2
Elizabeth Schweitzer: The Art Of Drew Struzan
Sean Gaffney: Alice In The Country Of Hearts Vol. 4
Richard Bruton: There's No Time Like The Present #13
Andrew Wheeler: Alice In The Country Of Hearts Vol. 1
Bob Greenberger: Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide

 

 
September 19, 2010


Where's My TV Show Comic, Publishers?













I am available to write all of these
 
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Go, Look: Eleanor Davis Illustrations For An Organic Farming Newsletter

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via Brian Moore and Drew Weing's tweet
 
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Go, Look: The Wholly Underrated, Never Thoroughly Debated Doctor Pym

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Go, Look: Dapper Men Gallery

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Go, Look: Gary Northfield Cartoons, Illustrations For National Geographic

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Hopes Are Smashed But That Aint Much

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Devlin Thompson tells me that this comments thread at Bleeding Cool about Alan Moore's recent interview with Adi Tantimedh, a thread still active through Friday, is pretty much the ground zero of everything you've ever imagined about certain attitudes towards creators, comics, and the industry they share, up to and including why someone not giving permission to do a line of action figures is a personal attack on the person that wants that line of action figures.

I'm way too terrified to wade in, but I know some of you are braver than I am and might want the opportunity. Good luck and God speed.
 
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Go, Look: Knock-Off Batman Art

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via
 
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Go, Look: Drunken Inkstuds Photos

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You've Been Reading Way Too Many Comics When You Think, "Cool, Rich Tommaso Is Rockin' The Fandral"

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sorry, Rich; sorry, Fandral; sorry, people who cringed that I actually still think in terms of the word "rockin'"
 
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Go, Look: Frank Stack's Newspaper Strip Image Facebook Gallery

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If I Were Near This, I'd Go To It

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

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Happy 49th Birthday, Cynthia Martin!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Sarah Oleksyk!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Chris Wright!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Garry Leach!

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FFF Results Post #227 -- Fanta

On Friday CR readers were asked to "Name Five Favorite Projects/Books From Fantagraphics Not By Charles Schulz, Los Bros, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes Or Peter Bagge." This is how they responded.

*****

please note that while I was nice this week, I have no problem deleting entries with non-answer answers, or answers that strain against the parameters that everyone else is following, and will usually do so. Also, you have to have your answers in on Friday; I wish I had the time to constantly update posts with stragglers, but I don't. Sorry!

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Angry Youth Comix, Johnny Ryan
2. Fuzz & Pluck, Ted Stearn
3. Maakies, Tony Millionaire
4. The Cereal Killings, James Sturm
5. Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Amazing Heroes no. 132
2. In My Darkest Hour by Wilfred Santiago
3. Itchy Planet no. 1
4. Pogostick no. 2 by Al Columbia and Ethan Persoff
5. S.O.S by Mark Kalesniko

*****

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Dustin Harbin

1) Popeye
2) Bottomless Belly Button
3) Hey Wait
4) Mome
5) Prison Pit

*****

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Paul Dwyer

1. Krazy Kat collections by George Herriman
2. Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips by Jules Feiffer
3. Tantrum by Jules Feiffer
4. Zippy The Pinhead collections by Bill Griffith
5. Abstract Comics: The Anthology edited by Andrei Molotiu

*****

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Richard Barker

1. Black Hole by Charles Burns
2. West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi
3. Frederick and Eloise by Brian Biggs
4. The Fixer by Joe Sacco
5. Cinema Panopticum by Thomas Ott

*****

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Bill Doughty

1. Usagi Yojimbo
2. Pogo
3. I Killed Adolph Hitler
4. The Doomsday Squad
5. Amazing Heroes

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. An Accidental Death, Ed Brubaker and Eric Shanower
2. Dalgoda, Jan Strnad and Dennis Fujitake
3. A Mess of Everything, Miss Lasko-Gross
4. Fred the Clown, Roger Langridge
5. You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler

*****

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Michael Grabowski

* Palestine, Joe Sacco
* The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye, E.C. Segar (old & new editions)
* The Comics Journal Library Volume One: Jack Kirby, Milo George, ed.
* Mome Vol. 19, Eric Reynolds, ed.
* Hey, Wait..., Jason

*****

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Mike Sterling

* Adventures of Captain Jack, Mike Kazaleh
* Crap, J.R. Williams
* Eye of Mongombo, Doug Gray
* Jim, Jim Woodring
* Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Michael Kupperman

*****

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Michael May

1. Delphine, Richard Sala
2. Interiorae, Gabriella Giandelli
3. Black Hole, Charles Burns
4. Almost Silent, Jason
5. Castle Waiting, Linda Medley

*****

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Mark Mayerson

* Blackmark by Gil Kane
* The Explainers by Jules Feiffer
* Humbug by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.
* B. Krigstein by Greg Sadowski
* From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin by Steve Brodner

*****

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Chris Keels

* Hollywoodland (I could have picked any Kim Deitch, but this was my first)
* JIM
* Late Bloomer
* Real Stuff
* Romance without Tears

*****

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MZA

1. Pixy, Max Andersson
2. Safe Area Gorazde, Joe Sacco
3. Ganges, Kevin Huizenga
4. He Done Her Wrong, Milt Gross
5. The Book of Jim, Jim Woodring

*****

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Lou Copeland

1. Will Elder: The Mad Playboy Of Art (Groth & Sadowski, Editors)
2. The Cat On A Hot Thin Groove, Gene Deitch (Gary Groth, Editor)
3. Daydreams & Nightmares: The Fantastic Visions Of Winsor McCay (Richard Marschall, Editor)
4. Where Demented Wented: The Art And Comics Of Rory Hayes (Nadel and Bray, Editors)
5. Any Similarity To Persons Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincidental, Drew and Josh Alan Friedman

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Tales Designed To Thrizzle, Michael Kupperman.
2. I Killed Adolf Hitler, Jason.
3. Artichoke Tales, Megan Kelso.
4. You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler.
5. Safe Area Gorazde, Joe Sacco.

*****

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John McCorkle

1. King of the Flies Trilogy, Mezzo & Pirus.
2. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, Jacques Tardi
3. Cinema Panopticum, Thomas Ott
4. The Survivors (a.k.a. Jeremiah), Hermann
5. Upcoming please let it be true Franquin reprints, Franquin

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Harum Scarum, Lewis Trondheim
2. The Left Bank Gang, Jason
3. You Are There, Jacques Tardi
4. El Borbah, Charles Burns
5. Willie & Joe, Bill Mauldin

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. The Frank Book -- Jim Woodring
2. Popeye -- Segar
3. Will Elder: The MAD Playboy of Art
4. Fred The Clown -- Roger Langridge
5. Nemo: The Classic Comics Library

*****

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Rich Tommaso

1. Raisin Pie, Rick Altergott and Ariel Bordeaux
2. Nurture The Devil, Jeff Johnson
3. Biologic Show Al Columbia
4. Zero Zero, various -- edited by Kim Thompson
5. Minimum Wage, Bob Fingerman

*****

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Jeff Goodman

* The Complete Crumb Comics -- R. Crumb
* You Call This Art!? -- Patrick Rosenkranz
* Rebel Visions -- Patrick Rosenkranz
* The Complete Humbug -- Harvey Kurtzman, et al.
* Will Elder: Mad Playboy Of Art -- Will Elder

*****

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Chris Mautner

1) Schizo by Ivan Brunetti
2) The Biological Show by Al Columbia
3) Prison Pit by Johnny Ryan
4) Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco
5) Ganges by Kevin Huizenga

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Drew and Josh Alan Friedman's Warts and All
2. Jim Woodring's Jim
3. Roberta Gregory's Naughty Bits
4. Tim Kreider's The Pain: When Will It End?
5. Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. The Comics Journal -- almost too influential to list as a single item
2. Burleque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialities and Costumes
3. Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art
4. Daydreams and Nightmares: The Fantastic Visions of Windsor McCay
5. Supermen: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes

*****

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Jonathan Baylis

* Sinner -- Munoz/Sampayo
* The Nimrod -- Lewis Trondheim
* Angry Youth -- Johnny Ryan
* It Was The War of the Trenches -- Tardi
* Shhh! -- Jason

*****

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Mike Everleth

1. Zero Zero
2. Critters
3. Eye of Mogambo
4. The Adventures of Captain Jack
5. The Best Comics of the Decade, 1980-1990, Vols. 1-2

*****

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Max Fischer

1. Captain Easy, by Roy Crane
2. Prison Pit, by Johnny Ryan
3. The Complete Crumb Comics, by R. Crumb
4. Harum Scarum, by Lewis Trondheim
5. Popeye, by Elzie Crisler Segar

*****

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Robert Stanley Martin

1. The Comics Journal (What else could be #1?)
2. Winsor McCay, Daydreams and Nightmares
3. Charles Burns, Black Hole
4. Munoz & Sampayo, Sinner
5. William Messner-Loebs, Journey

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Krazy And Ignatz (Bill Blackbeard, editor)
* The Classic Pin-Up Art of Jack Cole (Alex Chun, editor)
* The Wolverton Bible (Monte Wolverton, editor)
* Ongoing Zippy collections by Bill Griffith
* Forthcoming Pogo collections by Walt Kelly

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Ganges by Kevin Huizenga
2. Captain Easy by Roy Crane
3. Fred the Clown by Roger Langridge
4. Set to Sea by Drew Weing
5. Why Are You Doing This? by Jason

*****

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Jeet Heer

* The early issues of Collier (before D&Q took over the title).
* Beyond the Pale by Kim Deitch (or any of his other books).
* Late Bloomer by Carol Tyler.
* Schizo by Ivan Brunetti.
* The Left Bank Gang by Jason (or any of his other books).

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Amazing Heroes 91 (post crisis issue)
2. The Comics Journal #127 (Watterson interview)
3. Usagi Yojimbo
4. Palestine
5. Castle Waiting

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. Pim and Francie, Al Columbia
2. Ripple, Dave Cooper
3. Artichoke Tales, Megan Kelso
4. MOME, edited by Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth
5. Black Hole, Charles Burns

*****

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John Platt

1. The Krazy Kat reprint line
2. Craig Yoe's Arf books
3. Critters (especially Ty Templeton's Teddy Payne and the Blue Bears)
4. Fieffer: The Collected Works
5. The Iron Wagon by Jason

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Doofus, Rick Altergott
2. Cheech Wizard, Vaughn Bode
3. I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets, Fletcher Hanks
4. The Book of Jim, Jim Woodring
5. Popeye, Segar

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Pictopia (Anthology)
2. Babel (David B)
3. Mome (Anthology)
4. Pixy (Max Andersson)
5. The Biologic Show (Al Columbia)

*****

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Robert Boyd

1) The 30-odd-year project of publishing alternative comics despite the obvious insanity of doing so.
2) The Comics Journal
3) Pictopia (not because I think it was the best anthology FBI did, but because I loved working on it)
4) Best Comics of the Decade/Misfit Lit (ditto)
5) Popeye (both incarnations)

*****

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William Burns

* Joe Sacco, Palestine
* Dame Darcy, Meat Cake
* Ed Brubaker, An Accidental Death
* Bob Fingerman, Beg the Question
* Bill Maudlin, Willie and Joe

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Lust, Ellen Forney
2. You'll Never Know, C. Tyler
3. Art d'Ecco, Andrew and Roger Langridge
4. I Killed Adolf Hitler, Jason
5. The Book on the Edge of Forever, Christopher Priest

*****

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Robin McConnell

1. Dave Cooper's Weasel
2. Charles Bukowski's A Couple of Winos
3. Charles Burns' Black Hole in issue format
4. Jacques Tardi's You Are There
5. Gary Panter's Jimbo in Purgatory

*****

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John Vest

1. Gil Kane's Savage, Gil Kane
2. A Couple Of Winos, Charles Bukowski & Matthias Schultheiss
3. Steve Ditko's Strange Avenging Tales, Steve Ditko
4. Journey, William Messner-Loebs
5. Dalgoda, Jan Strnad & Dennis Fujitake

*****

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J. Colussy-Estes

1. Art d'Ecco (Roger and Andrew Langridge)
2. Nurture the Devil (Jeff Johnson)
3. Cartoons of the Roaring '20s Vols. 1-2 (Charles Dana Gibson? c'mon!)
4. Peculia? No! Chuckling Whatsit! No...maybe 13 O'Clock? How about the catalog of Richard Sala...
5. The Nimrod (Lewis Trondheim)

*****

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Matt Silvie

1. Doofus, Rick Altergott
2. Frank, Jim Woodring
3. Underworld, Kaz
4. Maakies, Tony Millionaire
5. The Comics Journal by various

*****

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Karl Stevens

* Naughty Bits by Roberta Gregory
* Schizo by Ivan Brunetti
* The Pain collections by Tim Kreider
* The Complete Crumb Comics by R. Crumb
* Steven by Doug Allen

*****

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Jude Killory

1. Jim Woodring -- Frank
2. Jessica Abel -- Artbabe
3. Charles Burns -- Black Hole
4. Rory Hayes -- Where Demented Wented
5. Donald Phelps -- Reading the Funnies

*****

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Gabriel Roth

* I Killed Adolph Hitler
* Unsupervised Existence
* Real Stuff
* Journey
* Jim

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

* Evil Eye -- Richard Sala
* Meat Cake -- Dame Darcy
* Doofus -- Rick Altergott
* Dalgoda -- Jan Strnad and Denis Fujitake
* Journey -- William Messner-Loebs

*****

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Michel Fiffe

* Chimera by Lorenzo Mattotti
* Prison Pit by Johnny Ryan
* Gil Kane's Savage!
* Schizo by Ivan Brunetti
* Bernie Krigstein Comics

*****

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Jason Versaggi

* Willie & Joe
* "Jason" books
* The Chuckling Whatsit
* Fred the Clown
* Harry the Rat

*****

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Bryan Munn

1. The Complete Crumb Comics, Robert Crumb
2. Jim, Jim Woodring
3. Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental, Los Bros Friedman
4. Popeye, E.C. Segar
5. Deitch's Pictorama, Los Bros Deitch

*****

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Frank Juliano

1) B. Krigstein Vol. 1, edited by Greg Sadowski
2) Most Outrageous: The Trials & Trespasses Of Dwaine Tinsley & Chester The Molester, by Bob Levin
3) Ganges, by Kevin Huizenga
4) Palestine, by Joe Sacco
5) Willie & Joe: The WWII Years, by Bill Mauldin

*****
*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade








Small Press Expo - Canon 7D from Steven Greenstreet on Vimeo.










via
 
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September 18, 2010


Trophies Of War, Ribbons Of Euphoria

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not comics: jimi hendrix gone 40 years; art swiped from Jeremy Eaton
 
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from September 11 to September 17, 2010:

1. Molly Norris goes into hiding.

2. Kamal Sharaf transferred.

3. A newspaper in China known for its degree of independence from the line offered by state-run publications demotes an editor for making a cartoon about a censured reporter and putting it on his personal web site.

Winners Of The Week
Your 2020 Ignatz Award Winners

Loser Of The Week
Hope

Quote Of The Week
"I learned I'm really kind of a hopeless douche." -- Paul Salvi

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

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If I Were In Missouri, 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 Near Leeds, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In ABQ, 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 Portland, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Houston, 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 Leeds, I'd Go To This

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Robin Brenner!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, John Porcellino!

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Happy 19th Birthday, Brian Ralph!

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Happy 61st Birthday, William Stout!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Chris Radtke!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Gary Groth!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Joe Kubert!

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September 17, 2010


Long-Rumored Chester Brown Graphic Memoir Officially Announced By D+Q For Spring 2011: Paying For It

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Following months of flashes and brief mentions that Chester Brown was working on a comics memoir about his experiences as a customer for prostitution, Drawn & Quarterly announced today that the book in question will come out in Spring 2011 and will be called Paying For It. Its publisher promising a mix of the personal and the polemical combining the issues explored in 1992's The Playboy with the political awareness suffusing 2003's Louis Riel, Paying For It will be Brown's first major stand-alone graphic novel, published without the benefit of serialization in a comic book series.

The fact that we're getting the announcement now indicates Paying For It will also continue the publisher's tradition of making a big-name arts comics cartoonist work they hold in high regard (What It Is, Wilson) and building their calendar year if not around such a work than with that work being a fundamental component of their overall efforts. Given that much of the media attention that the recent Craigslist Adult Services Section drop received that didn't focus on child exploitation seemed to take the form of examinations of/ruminations on the state of modern sex work, I can't imagine this not garnering significant publicity interest. It should go without saying on this site that Brown is a massively talented and influential cartoonist whose every work but especially the major ones have our full attention.
 
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Friday Distraction: Clara Bessijelle

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Go, Look: The Barefoot Nocountessa

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Cartoonist Punished For Cartoon Depicting Journalist Under Restrictions

imageAccording to various wire reports that look like they're derived from this initial article, the editorial committee for China's Southern Metropolis Daily has fined and demoted cartoon editor Kuang Biao for this cartoon depicting the fate of journalist Chang Ping. Ping, a former editor at SMD, was recently barred from writing for it or a publication called Southern Weekend.

The article says the committee charged Kuang Biao with making a cartoon based on hearsay which reflected poorly on the organization, ironically ensuring that dozens of on-line media sources around the world would re-publish the cartoon at the earliest opportunity. The cartoon was on the artist's personal blog.

This is a very distressing article, and I challenge you not to freak out just a tiny bit inside when the phrase "violated propaganda discipline" is casually tossed out there.

The amount of the fine was approximately $225 USD. The Southern family of newspapers looks is based in Guangzhou.
 
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Go, Look: Unpublished Frank Robbins?

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Warners Set To Announce Multiple-Platform Use Of DC Properties; Move To West Coast Imminent?

I don't think this has a huge effect on publishing, not the way DC's set up and being run right now. Still, if you've ever wanted to know just how important it is for these companies to have what they used to call tent-pole franchises of the kind that a DC comics can conceivably provide, consider an article where Seinfeld's legendarily not-crowdpleasing series finale and the subsequent slow decline of NBC's Thursday night television dominance talk of that show's departure implies is invoked without irony, and where the news of the Harry Potter juggernaut leaving the film market is followed a couple of lines later by big plans for the Harold & Kumar property.

Something that might interest entertainment industry observers generally when they do make this planned multiple-property announcement is what properties they choose. There's a certain amount of conventional wisdom out there that DC may have a shallow bench despite having those three obvious superstars at the top of the line-up -- kind of the Miami Heat of copyright holders, with Wonder Woman as Chris Bosh -- and certain potential break-outs in their second-tier that may or may not excite folks. I don't think that's necessarily true, in fact I think it's demonstrably untrue, although DC could benefit greatly perception-wise were Red to become a hit.

Another thing is that this moves rumors of DC's relocation to the West Coast into white-hot territory, as Heidi MacDonald unpacks here. I don't have any kind of interaction with DC people or the kind of industry people that talk about such matters except when I'm at conventions and everybody's drunk, so while I was more than happy to report that at the last con I encountered multiple people with something seemingly at stake talking about a DC relocation as if it were a 100 percent done deal, I haven't heard a lick about it since then except a few random e-mails characterizing the still-thought-to-be-inevitable move in increasingly dire terms.

It should be kept in mind that as much as such an announcement would have symbolic resonance in terms of the company's future and the legacy of New York comics publishing, there are going to be a few compelling real-world issues put into play if it happens. First, it's going to be important to find out if they're going to incentivize having employees move to the west coast with the company, and if so, how many and to what extent. A comics company in this economy could conceivably keep more of its employees than a related company might in fiscally positive times. A job is a job, and a comics job is a rare job, indeed, and not one hugely in demand in other, diminishing endeavors. At the same time, logic says a corporation doesn't move a company from one coast to another with the intention of keeping it 100 percent intact, even if that's how you play it to the media. There's also everything we don't know about department-to-department realities that may have worked in the Paul Levitz era that might look confusing, indulgent or old-fashioned to an outside interest. Another issue that might not start to reveal itself for a few years is the potential for a culture change at DC, the most traditional of comics companies, a change that could come immediately or very, very slowly. Just as one example: a job opening at a publishing company in New York City and a job opening at a publishing company attached with pride of place to a huge movie-making studio in Los Angeles seem likely to attract very different applicants.

So who knows? At one point people expected the company to name a new publisher with a digital entertainment or movies business background, and Warners instead went with the comics people already in-house. I suppose anything's possible. Luckily, it's not the announcement as much as the ramifications that are important, and that story only starts when a declaration is made.
 
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Not Comics: Mike Kaluta Draws REH

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Go, Look: Enemy Ace Gallery

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Go, Look: Classic Early Ditko

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Go, Look: Are You A Detective?

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Go, Look: All-Top Comics #8

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Go, Look: Picture This!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a Delhi high court denies an Archie lawsuit because the publisher does not have an office in India.

image* I'm not sure exactly from where 2010's appreciation and re-appraisal of Jim Woodring and his comics came, but I'm happy for it and agree with the general sentiment expressed in this article.

* so is USA Today still a newspaper?

* this interview with Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson has four or five bits of trivia that I either never knew or had forgotten. Also, Dark Horse has 140 employees.

* not comics: someone doing a Will Elder documentary is trying to raise the remaining funds needed through Kickstarter.

* veteran cartoonist Rob Ullman has opened a new store at his web site.

* my friend Gil waxes rhapsodic about the transporting qualities new Jaime Hernandez story in Love and Rockets: New Stories Vol. 3. I think it's the best story he's ever done, and is right up there among my favorite stories of his, too.

* I'm certain there's ageism in comics, but my hunch is that there's a lot less ageism in comics than in other art forms. The phenomenon that Valerie D'Orazio talks about here is less ageism than the results of an industry that burns through talent and at times doesn't pay its rank and file enough money to make for a safe, comfortable life. In some of these case, the industry simply can't pay these people. In other cases, they won't.

* Ryan Sands went to the Big Ax Festival and took the pictures to prove it. Love that Hanakuma picture.

* not comics: here's a picture of Kurt Busiek back in the day, ready to head down to M Street and pick up a slice at Acropolis.

* Happy 100th issue, Strapazin.

* Comics Alliance talks to five prominent Direct Market retailers about the $3.99 serial mainstream comic book price point.

* it's like that Facebook movie with more turned-around baseball caps.

* finally, the writer Warren Ellis thinks out loud about the age of digital comics that is right there over the horizon that's like 100 feet away, and may have accidentally established the initial default format.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Roger Stern!

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Quick hits
Craft
Yikes
Making Cabins
Colleen Coover Sketches
Brian Ching Two-Page Spread
Tommi Musturi Makes A Poster
Gilbert Hernandez Makes A Cover

Exhibits/Events
Party At Manchester FPI
Declan Shalvey Signing Report
Recontres Chaland To Honor Swarte

History
On Force Works
Seriously: Force Works
He's Thinking About Batman

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: David Liss
CBR: Kim Krizan
CBR: Charlie Huston
SFGate.com: Jean Schulz
Suicide Girls: Dame Darcy
Suicide Girls: Dan Goldman
The Brooklyn Paper: Josh Neufeld
Speakeasy: Inverna Lockpez, Dean Haspiel

Not Comics
Brrr!
These Sound Cool

Publishing
On Kaput & Zosky
First Trade Of Beasts Of Burden Sells Out

Reviews
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Matt Seneca: Monster Truck
Andrew Wheeler: PvP Vol. 6
Chad Nevett: Prison Pit Vol. 2
Glen Weldon: A Drunken Dream
Todd Klein: Green Lantern Corps #47
Lori Henderson: You're So Cool Vols. 5-6
Jason Thompson: The Drifting Classroom
Vom Marlowe: How To Draw And Paint Anatomy
Sean Gaffney: Hayate The Combat Butler Vol. 16
Kate Dacey: Toto! The Wonderful Adventure Vols. 1-5
Dave Ferraro: Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis Vol. 1
 

 
September 16, 2010


Go, Look: Dream Life

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Salgood Sam's on-line effort slipped past the 50-page mark early this month without my noticing; I haven't looked at it yet so this note is to remind me to do just that
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* SPX was last weekend. Nearly everyone had a really good time, and of the few people I asked directly, four of the five had a great sales weekend as well. Collective Memory here. Ignatz Awards results here.

* Alan Gardner notes that by the time this column goes up next week, the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists will have begun their Fall meeting in Hamilton, Ontario. Gardner also caught that OSU's Festival of Cartoon Art will be taking place the weekend after the New York Comic-Con, and tickets are going quickly.

* I'm not aware of anything con-wise this weekend other than a mainstream convention in Maryland Heights, Missouri -- this probably means I'm missing some huge event somewhere, but hey, this column's still sort of new. You can't expect me to be perfect the first, um, 36 times out.

* all of that made me guilty enough to go check: there's a one-day show in Cincinnati, something called "Graphic Novel Day" in Houston, and the freakin' Leeds Alternative Comics Fayre, which I've been meaning to add to my schedule for weeks now.

* this is the hole where the panels and screening schedule for NYCC will go. I thought it would be up by now, but I know these things take time. NYCC is the next big-big show, and for some people the final weekend of a long convention season.

* this is the bullet-point graph where I'll pop back on-line and swap this sentence out for some talk about Comic-Con still not having a location for 2013 and beyond, if one of two people get back to me. It's been I think seven or eight weeks since the decision was tabled, and it seemed semi-imminent at the time. I'd like to think of the CCI office as being drowned in fruit baskets and free swag, but I know the extra delay is probably just a reflection of the final decision's complexity. As long as they don't take their talents to South Beach...
 
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Go, Bookmark: The New Brighton Archeological Society Now On-Line

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* in one of the more horrible developments not involving someone's death, the cartoonist Molly Norris, whose "Everybody Draw Muhammed Day" cartoon was taken up by free speech enthusiasts and used against her will for a public event resulting in her making the hit list of an influential imam, has on advice from FBI contacts with whom she was working since the thread dropped from public view. On her own dime. At the very least this means the termination of her public cartooning career, and it's actually through her client Seattle Weekly that the news was first made known. That news has neither been denied nor confirmed by publications contacting the FBI, beyond a blanket denial that they are in the advice-giving business as opposed to helping someone secure such advice. I can't imagine anything fitting to drive us into the forthcoming five-year anniversary than something idiotic and unnecessary running into some asshole's despicable political agenda with an innocent victim suffering as a result. Good job, everybody. Safe journey, Ms. Norris.

* David Coleman Headley, the one-time wannabe bomber of the Danish cartoon publishing Jyllands-Posten newspaper office, continues to make news by supplying political intelligence to Indian officials about the scout work he did in preparation for the Mumbai mass shootings in 2008. Why he seems to be taken at his word with every motive to cause as much trouble as possible, I'm not exactly sure.

* various folks continue to make political opinion hay of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's keynote speech at an awards ceremony that gave one of its recognitions to Danish Cartoons artist Kurt Westergaard.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Jillian Tamaki's Super Mutant Magic Academy Series

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Analysts: August 2010 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 2010.

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

John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has begun his analysis of the month here.

The big story is obvious: sales are significantly down in both graphic novels and comic books. Comics went down 17 percent and graphic novels down 21 percent. This is an August which should offer something to shops that do heavy summertime sales and to those that count on a returning college population. It is also on or near one-year anniversaries for Marvel and DC's dueling major announcements last year about ownership/management changes. It is also to the best of my knowledge more than a year away from the GN chart distortion caused by Watchmen. In other words, there are a lot of reasons to believe that this should have been a good month for the companies. If we were at the track, a lot of Daily Racing Forms would be crumpled and tossed to the ground.

The two questions that arise -- especially in the Doomapocalypticageddon mindset of today's distressed and discouraged comics industry -- are what happened and what does it mean? A reasonable guess as to what happened might center on the lack of a few right-now heavy-hitters from the major companies just by a confluence of circumstances, although the possibility that the market might be that dependent on the haphazard scheduling of the major mainstream companies to this extent may seem fairly alarming all by itself. You could also cite advance buying and scheduling to fit Comic-Con. A more upsetting notion may be that the growing presence of the $3.99 comic book has altered buying habits in a variety of ways, such as people shifting to other buying strategies or abandoning the hobby altogether. Some might cite a potential exhaustion with certain kinds of comic books, comic books that have the greatest ease of access to the market place and the attention of the most fans. We also may be in a dead period between summer convention season and holiday shopping season (October-December).

The range of ideas as to how bad things might get run the gamut as well. I've had two prominent comics publishing veterans write me in the last week to give ETAs on traditional comics' collapse (2013 and 2014; put your money down). And yet there are people like John Jackson Miller in the link above, or the writer Stuart Moore in various comments threads, that think this is just another round of bad times in comics' ever-continuing cycle of them. The one thing I would point out is that the numbers are such in comics that a significant rally could be had without heaven and earth having to be moved. A modest boost for any other art form would be considered great times for comics. If Marvel, say, were to find the right way to do a line-wide event around Spider-Man rather than some of the other characters they used to anchor such series, that might be just the thing that's needed to make this particular, fussy, compacted market configuration work, even if it's then equally alarming that many of the structural problems would remain in the medium- to long-term.

As far as individual books that jumped out at me, it's nice that comics shops did well by the Scott Pilgrim series, and it's always good to see one of those classy Jeff Smith Scholastic book slip into single-digit rankings on a sales chart.
 
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Go, Read: Anything But Retail

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Creator Rob Vollmar Makes Pre-Orders Plea For His Book Inanna's Tears

imageThe creator Rob Vollmar is asking that anyone wanting to see the trade version of Inanna's Tears do them the tremendous favor of pre-ordering it through their comic book store in order to facilitate its Direct Market release:
We need anyone and everyone who has an interest in seeing this book make it to print to contact their local comics store and place a pre-order for it. If we can increase pre-orders in the Direct Market alone by, say, 100 copies, it may well be the difference between seeing print and not. In order to succesfully place said preorder, simply go to the comics shop and tell them that you would like to preorder the Inanna's Tears HC and tell them it can be ordered using the Diamond code (MAY100751). If they are super-competent, they may tell you that the book is late and that they aren't sure when or if it is coming out. Please assure them that they can order it with confidence for you and that your pre-order is part of the program to make sure it eventually makes it to market.
This kind of plea isn't new, but I haven't seen exactly this angle in a while. In addition, I'm not totally familiar with the work in question, but a) I thought some of you might be and b) I wanted to call attention to this as an example of the state of the market for a certain kind of book. Our best wishes to the creators.
 
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Go, Look: Strange Worlds #4

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Collective Memory: SPX 2010

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this article has been archived; click through the above image for the archived post
 
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Go, Look: A Joe Kubert Batman

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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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If I Were In Toronto, 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 Dublin, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Sensation Mystery #110

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Go, Look: Young Brides #17

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Go, Look: Gorgo #20

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Not Comics: More Roy Krenkel REH

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jason Aaron walks readers through his work week. It's strange, I don't know Aaron, but I have every confidence that his CBR column will be the one that has all that "what it's actually like" information I would have killed for at 17 years old that other, similar columns have danced around. Maybe it's the beard.

image* the writer Graeme McMillan makes a case for a very specific sub-genre of comic that he doesn't name or even strongly define but you'll know what he's talking about.

* I'm not entirely convinced this is a good idea. I think I'd be more convinced in some undefinable way that this kind of thing would work if there were one or two Batman books instead of 18,050 of them.

* I forget where I got this from, but this page sure has a lot of reasonably-priced Johnny Ryan art.

* the great Jeff Wong draws Bob Fingerman.

* if I were in adventure story, I would say stupid stuff like this all the time.

* It could have been worse. It could have been Ambush Bug.

* Jeet Heer provides some notes on Wilson. I'm still at the "I thought it was funny" stage, although I think I mentioned a few months ago I have found it odd when people have said Wilson is totally unsympathetic because it made me realize I found him terribly so.

* the beautiful cursive handwriting of Prince Namor.

image* good to have The One True Shirtless Batman back.

* not comics: isn't it weird how the infantalization of our culture means that a Superman in his late 20s doesn't really seem like an adult at all AND that we wouldn't want to see some old dude playing him, either?

* the writer JM DeMatteis would like you to know he's not playing comic book publishing media mogul any time soon.

* Evan Dorkin would like you to vote for Jill Thompson at the Scream Awards.

* finally, some interesting old issues of the maybe never digitally archived The Comics Journal are for sale after a "warehouse find," including two really good issues: Todd McFarlane and (especially) Jules Feiffer. That period when the Feiffer interview came out was the Journal's best 10- or 15-issue run -- Groth was killing it in the interviews, and that one is no exception.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Kip Manley!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Kurt Busiek!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Mike Mignola!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Amanda Emmert!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Seth!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Tom Kaczynski!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks
Colleen Coover Sketches
Matt Seneca Makes A Spot Illo
These Are Kind Of Cool-Looking
A Hackneyed Joke Pretty Well Played

Exhibits/Events
Helsinki Comics Festival Photos
Go Learn From Patrick Rosenkranz

History
She's Obsessed With Pirates

Industry
They Really Love Their Interns
Modern Comics' Ideal Customer?

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Dean Haspiel
CBR: Adam Beechen
CBR: Howard Chaykin

Not Comics
Huh
I Am Old

Publishing
On Dodgem Logic #6
On Castration Epidemic
Wolverine #2 Previewed
This Does Look Adorable
Bob Greenberger On New Atlas Line

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Rob McMonigal: Xoc #1-3
Mykal Banta: Felix The Cat
Richard Bruton: Monkey Nuts
Todd Klein: Green Lantern #53
Sean Gaffney: Twin Spica Vol. 3
Bill Sherman: Vampire Hunter D
Jay Brooks: Brewmaster's Castle
Todd Klein: Batman: Odyssey #2
Dave Ferraro: Atomic Robo Vol. 1
Colin Panetta: The Troublemakers
Grant Goggans: The Invisibles Vol. 1
Jeffrey Burandt: Cuba: My Revolution
Sean T. Collins: Batman And Robin #14
Michael C. Lorah: Ratchet And Clank #1
Richard Bruton: Jerry Robinson: Ambassador Of Comics
 

 
September 15, 2010


Bundled Extra: Cartoonist Craig Thompson Declares He's Finished Habibi

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it seems silly to wait another week for this; congratulations to Craig on getting this far, and best of luck in the rewrite/redraw phase
 
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Go, Look: Yeast Hoist #3

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Missed It: Heeb's Best Of 5770

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* veteran webcomics cartoonist David Willis launched his Dumbing Of Age last week, for which Gary Tyrrell provides brief context here.

* via a major press announcement, Marvel to release downloadable comics across a variety of platforms. ICv2.com explains, although I think that it's sort of obvious that this is a potentially major move. The key with all of these stories isn't going to be just "Company makes move A, B, C" but the follow-up story "Sizable audiences embrace company's move A, B, C." We're still waiting on that one.

* speaking of major press announcements, I can't imagine anything more horrible-looking than the samples provided, and the people actually clamoring for an Atlas Comics revival probably couldn't fill the dozen or so tables at a small community's pancake breakfast fundraiser, but it's nice to have a Goodman around in comics again. I'll consider changing my mind on the potential for the comics themselves if they hire Johnny Ryan to write IronJaw.

image* someone please hire Colleen Coover to draw a Nero Wolfe adaptation. If it helps, I'll write it for free, or beat up someone talented until they do it. I'll also dress up like him at conventions. No fat man has ever put on a canary yellow shirt and not thought of himself as the great detective. Plus Archie Goodwin could look like Archie Goodwin.

* done anyone know if anything came of this feature?

* Robot 6 unearths a free Dave Kiersh on-line comic.

* one thing I found out looking around for SPX reports is that Pat Lewis finished his long-in-gestation Cragmore in early August, which means the book once planned for Summer 2010 should come out at some point in 2011.

* I'm not sure what the advantage of doing something like this might be, beyond the fact that people like me will talk about the comic briefly, but Marvel is going to shoehorn its Black Panther character into the neighborhood protector role traditionally held by its superhero Daredevil and make it as if the character is taking over Daredevil's comic as well. Again, this would probably more impressive if Marvel's publishing strategies weren't so fluid these days, but I guess it sort of worked for Marvel in finding a slightly higher profile for its Hercules character when he "took over" a Hulk comic.

* Vanguard and Dark Horse have split custody on White Indian books, Vanguard taking the Frazetta material and Dark Horse the post-Frazetta material. So I guess get ready for some White Indian.

* the writer Kieron Gillen is joining Matt Fraction as a co-writer on the Uncanny X-Men book. Marvel does this every once in a while. One of the things it can mean is that Gillen might at some point take over the title if and when Fraction becomes ready to move on at some point. Can mean, not does mean.

* the cartoonist Jerry Van Amerongen is retiring the Sunday iteration of his Ballard Street panel, freeing up time for other artistic pursuits.

* I imagine it's a good thing that editors at mainstream comics companies occasionally check out how their moves are being perceived by their targeted customers, although it's hard not to smile a bit at what's being double-checked here: if the new Marvel policy of smaller, more contained event series is being interpreted as Marvel moving into all-events, all-the-time.

* this is more of a piece on new comics than an article about publishing news, but it provides a first look for some folks (me included) of a trio of new Vertigo books derived from and hewing closely to real-world experiences. I didn't even know about the Simon Gane until like three days ago.

* finally, Alex Cahill wrote in to say that Team Poison The Cure is posting an image per day on Cahill's web site in anticipation of a Kickstarter fundraising effort. The book coming out would be the third in the series.

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OTBP: Lynd Ward: Six Novels In Woodcuts (The Library Of America)

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I hate the three-quarter angled book photos, but this is a nice-looking set and something I wasn't quite prepared to see in person.
 
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Joe Gross On Comic Book Prices, Douglas Wolk's Article About Comic Book Prices, And The Lifer's View

Joe Gross is an Austin-based writer about many things pop culture oriented including comics, so when he sent in the following letter about Douglas Wolk's recent column on comic book pricing. I wanted to call attention to it. Plus he wrote in a larger than usual font, manifesto-style, which always impresses me. Anyway, I think Gross represents a certain kind of super-knowledgeable fan for whom increased serial comic book pricing has resulted in a period of discombobulation in how he approaches all of is comics buying. I'll let Joe explain it.

*****

From Joe Gross

I just wanted to add a few things to Wolk's excellent piece.

1. I can't really find any evidence for the 20 years ago/75-cent thing. By '88 or '89, virtually all mainstream books were a buck. But this is no biggie, compared to....

image2. ... the idea that the balance of comic book buyers were spending $20/week. I turned 16 in 1990, I bought as many comics as I could possibly afford and there's no way I was averaging $20/week. And I had a part time job. At most, I was spending about $10 and those were weeks where I wasn't buying a CD (about $10-$13 where I was in 1990, with a employee discount) or going on a date or something.

3. Look, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there were scores of comics fans laying out $20/week in 1989, the ones who didn't like music or go on dates. But I didn't know any of them. What was great about comics in 1989 is that you could get out of a store with a decent haul for less than the cost of a movie. Now, a matinee is the same price as two Marvel or DC comics.

4. Let's do some quick inflation index calculation. In 1962, comics were 12 cents. Using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, that had the same buying power as 87 cents now. Oops.

5. Well, creators made slave wages then, right? OK, let's jump to, say, 1995. Comics were $1.25 to $1.50 then. Plug those numbers in and you get... $1.79 to $2.15. Oops again.

6. I'm not even factoring in page counts, which dropped like a rock as cover prices rose.

7. I'm not even talking about massive narrative decompression stretching what was once a one or two issue reading experience into six.

8. Which is of course what we're all talking about: Value for money.

9. I fell out of buying monthly mainstream books from about 1992 to 1999. When I left, they were about $1.25. When I returned they were about $1.99. This didn't seem so bad. And the writing was across the board stronger than when I left. I dug in.

10. Since I returned to comics buying in 1999, they've gone from $1.99 to $3.99 in 11 years. The price has quite literally doubled. Movies haven't even gone up that much in that amount of time. I can't think of anything else that has risen like that. Gas, perhaps. But that's it.

11. I am 36 now. I am in the "fanman/fanwoman" age, more or less.

12. Here has what's happened in that 12 years: I got married and had two kids.

13. No effin' way I can justify a $3.99 comic book with a wife and two children. Impossible. And my wife likes comics. And I'd love for my kids to like 'em. I'm a lifer who would be perfectly happy making more lifers.

14. I suspect this is happening with fanmen and fanwomen all over. It was tight at $2.99, but for creators we wanted to support, we made it work.

15. But raise the price a buck overnight? Um, no.

16. These days, I look at quarter and dollar bins and used book stores and wait until titles end up there. I refuse to buy any book that's $3.99. I just can't afford it.

17. And I'm the core audience. I'm the lifer. Something is really wrong here.

*****

Thanks, Joe. I gave my own two cents about Douglas Wolk's article here. The main point I wanted to make in my post and want to buttress by publishing Joe's letter in the body of the blog is that there's an alchemical element to a certain kind of comics buying that 1) has nothing to do with whether or not someone loves comics and 2) can't be predicted in straight-up economic give-and-take.

(I can also vouch for Joe's point #2 with my own example in 1990, when I know that as a student I was pretty rigidly spending less than $12 a week on comics. This meant a couple of alt-comics or a Comics Journal depending on what was out -- Eightball was $2 -- plus three or four other titles.)
 
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Go, Stare: Early Chris Ware Original

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a jam with Bart Farrar, 1988
 
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Go, Bookmark: Sonny Liew Blog

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

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

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Go, Look: Skeeter Skunk

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Go, Look: Blondie Topper Colonel Potterby And The Duchess

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not familiar with this one at all
 
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Not Comics: Franklin Booth

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Go, Look: Teen-Age Romances #34

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this New York Times article about an exhibition of legal- and lawyer-related comic book offerings at Yale University rare books library discusses both Mr. District Attorney and Wolff & Byrd. I look forward to the comics shows and exhibitions getting stranger and more specific as the years slide by.

* Michael Cavna checks in with cartoonists previously spurned by Apple's app rule just to make sure they had problems with what seemed like obviously ridiculous clarifications in submission rules made recently.

image* Mark Evanier has a report from the Comic Art Professional Society celebration honoring Russ Heath, including an anecdote about Heath basically squatting at the Chicago version of the Playboy Mansion for a long time after he no longer had any business being there.

* Gary Tyrrell notes that NYCC is rounding into shape, and the panel schedule should be released today.

* Nicole Rudick takes a quick look at A Drunken Dream, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

* Jeff Parker is putting together a final letters column for his long run on Marvel's 1950s characters. Speaking of Parker, Craig Fischer looks at the cartoonist/writer, both the idea of him and the reality, including that page in his recent Steve Lieber collaboration Underground that made me want to cry I was so uncomfortable by the idea presented. You don't see as many of those "look at this one creator across a few works" reviews as you used to ten years ago.

* Diamond's throwing a breakfast party and only retailers are invited.

* Nick Mullins writes in general support of Geoff Grogan's recent piece on having expectations too high for a convention to experience to satisfy, discussing his own experience as a long-time exhibitor at APE.

* finally, he just really doesn't like the costume.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Salgood Sam!

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Happy 41st Birthday, John Ira Thomas!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Carol Lay!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Scott Dunbier!

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Quick hits
Craft
Kyle Baker Draws Mark Cuban
Frank Santoro Draws The Silver Surfer

Exhibits/Events
Bumbershoot 2010 Photos
Birmingham Zine Fest Report
Sydney Manga/Anime Show Report

History
Speed Dating In The Marvel Universe

Industry
Defending Mort Walker's Honor

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Fred Van Lente
Comics Alliance: Nate Cosby
Talking Comics With Tim: Jason

Not Comics
Green Lantern's Balls
Weird-Looking Superhero Cards
Walking Dead Teasers For Everyone
Mainstream-Oriented Comic Book Prose Thingamaroo

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Ed Sizemore: Various
Greg Burgas: Temperance
Sean Gaffney: Toriko Vol. 2
Andrew Wheeler: Elephant Man #1
Lori Henderson: Kaze Hikaru Vol. 18
David Brothers: One Moment In Time
Sean Kleefeld: Destiny's Hand Omnibus
Todd Klein: The Complete Peanuts: 1977-1978
Grant Goggans: Seven Soldiers Of Victory Vol. 1
 

 
September 14, 2010


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 no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would wonder how I got there because the nearest one is three hours away.

*****

JUL100013 ARCHIE & FRIENDS HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100014 BOOM TOY STORY HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100016 CARTOON BOOKS BONE HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100015 DARK HORSE HOT STUFF HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100020 HALLOWEEN MINI COMICS MEGA BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100017 JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY HA HA HA HALLOWEEN TREAT BUNDLE PI
JUL100019 NBM SMURFS HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
JUL100018 TOYS BASEMENT PIRATE KING HALLOWEEN MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2010 PI
I don't know what these are like in terms of being art or even how this works as an executable promotional idea, but little bundles of minis to give out on Halloween is one of those things where you see it and you go, "Hey, that's something a not-dysfunctional industry might do."

JAN100137 HARVEY COMICS CLASSICS TREASURY TP VOL 01 CASPER $14.99
This looks like a conceptual do-over for Dark Horse's attempt to get the Harvey material over with a new reading audience -- a slightly different format and focus are in effect. This is the kind of thing I'd love to have in my local comics shop because I'd want to check it out and compare it to my existing copies before considering a purchase.

MAR100089 KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE TP VOL 11 (MR) $11.99
Your high-pedigree manga series release of the week.

JUL101157 PEEPO CHOO GN VOL 02 (MR) $12.95
The second of three planned releases in Vertical's demented series, part of the expansion of their manga and manga-related efforts past the more dignified classic offerings one might ascribe to the publisher.

MAY100276 JOE THE BARBARIAN #7 (OF 8) (MR) $2.99
So did this Grant Morrison spin on a classic fantasy story trope end up being any good? There's been like one percent of the talk about the series since it's come out as there was in the build-up to its first issue.

JUN100455 COWBOY NINJA VIKING #9 (MR) $3.99
This is a deeply weird mainstream adventure comic book series that I won't try to describe except that it seems to involve multiple cartoonish personalities ingrained in secret agents to make them able to perform unique duties. While that suite of iconic characters makes sense, it seems like one of the other agents has personae that include a roadie. I say "seems" because I haven't sat down to read the comics yet and the series admirably does little to allow for scanning them to be enough to get by, kind of snapping its fingers and demanding you catch up. I've been putting them aside to read in one go.

JUL100713 DAREDEVIL BY BENDIS & MALEEV TP ULT COLL BOOK 02 $34.99
JUL100672 OZ MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ HC $29.99
Two successful Marvel comic book efforts: another collection of a big chunk of Brian Bendis' and Alex Maleev's Daredevil work, which is right now in that limbo between "excited because it's new" and "excited because it's been rediscovered." The other is a collection of its Eisner-winning Oz comics, by the team of Shanower and Young, which sounds like an accounting firm hired to process an awards show voting results.

JUL101075 BARBARIAN CHICKS AND DEMONS GN VOL 01 (O/A) (A) $10.95
JUL101076 BARBARIAN CHICKS AND DEMONS GN VOL 02 (O/A) (A) $11.95
Somewhere in comics it's always the summer of 1978.

JUN101163 DETROIT METAL CITY GN VOL 06 (MR) $12.99
Abandoned as I was by Cromartie High School I've been having a hard time committing to another comedic manga series. I've been flirting with this one, though, and I think it could happen.

JUL101072 DUNGEON MONSTRES GN VOL 01 CRYING GIANT (O/A) $12.95
JUL101073 DUNGEON MONSTRES GN VOL 02 DARK LORD (O/A) $12.95
Mainstream comics in the French manner.

JUL101010 KOKO BE GOOD GN $18.99
A lengthy First Second book that if I recall correctly was about negotiating those life decisions in your early 20s that suddenly arrive where it dawns on you that they're way more serious and for keeps than almost anything you've engaged up until that point.

APR100963 LUCKY IN LOVE A POOR MANS HISTORY HC (MR) $19.99
A hardcover memoir set in early 1940s Hoboken and starring the evocative art of natural-born cartoonist Stephen DeStefano working from a script by George Chieffet. I can't wait to see it.

*****

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 here, that's because I didn't maintain control in a way that the NFL recognizes as a catch.

*****

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Go, Look: Two By Wiseman And Toole

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Kamal Sharaf Transferred To Second Yemeni Prison; May Be In Poor Health

Kamal Sharaf, the Yemeni cartoonist taken from his home on August 16 and held in prison without charges being filed since, has been transferred along with another journalist seized from a prison run by the National Security Bureau to a prison run by the Political Security Organization. The good news is that such a transfer may come before a prisoner is released. The bad news is that Sharaf is apparently in bad health, and material comforts offered to the prison from the family have been refused. Sharaf is described as an award-winning cartoonist that makes work at times critical of the government and its attending parties and agencies. He is also known for his comparatively progressive stands on certain issues such as women's rights. Sharaf works for the newspaper Aljomhooria and the news site Barakish.net. With no reason given for his seizure, family and activist groups have pounded the government in a call for an end to such abusive practices, to no response.
 
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Go, Look: Jack Davis Album Covers

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So What Are Conventions For, Anyway?

A few of you have e-mailed me links to this post by the cartoonist Geoff Grogan, whose time not at SPX led him to dissect the entire convention-going experience both in terms of its positives (feeling as if one belongs, having a deadline for which to prepare material) and its negatives (no hopes of making the money back; encountering cliques). It's a pretty good piece, and I think honest, and from the number of you that passed it along to me I would guess it struck a chord. It's also appropriate, I think. If you read some of the pieces in the Collective Memory below, SPX seems to lead the way in descriptions from attendees that have nothing to do with traditional convention functions like commerce, or the sharing of ideas about industry and art form, or even a build from personal relationship to a solidarity that might affect meaningful change on one's artistic milieu. It's almost less of a convention than a big ol' hangout in the form of a convention.

I have no answers for the questions Grogan asks or for those that arise naturally from observing conventions. It's hard to run around saying negative things about people finding joy in each others' company. When you add in the fact that for some artists the positive feedback and feeling of belonging they receive from their peers and a certain kind of engaged customer is such a significant portion of the overall good they can expect to receive back for their outpouring of art and craft and personal expression and sheer effort, it's almost monstrous to suggest anything other than that this is totally awesome and to run one's own pictures of one's friends with arms around each other, standing in front of a handmade sign or random hotel furniture. Still, it's worth taking a step back and seeing this from someone else's eyes every once in a while, even if your experience is outstanding, and question whether a sub-economy consisting of "I like your comic" as the basic monetary unit is the best we can do for the 40 or so weekends a year when there isn't this kind of gathering, and all the days in between. It's okay to be dissatisfied. It's perfectly fine to want more.
 
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Go, Look: Our Army At War #63

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D+Q Is Having A Big Sale As Well

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This makes me kind of feel bad I spent so much time yesterday using the Top Shelf sale as a springboard for talking about the richness of comics as a consumer's experience right now. Drawn and Quarterly is a constant contender for comics publisher of the year and is yet another advertiser on this site, so if I were to skip mentioning their sale entirely it would seem like I'm being mean. And as much as you can assemble a mighty reading pile from Top Shelf's offerings, since everything at D+Q is on sale it's obvious you can do the same there. I can't imagine a better Christmas gift for the right person than three Aya volumes for under $30, or a bunch of Moomin books for a similarly discounted price. It's hard to conceive of a more noble pursuit than pursuing the under-appreciated David Collier's work into various nooks and crannies throughout the catalog. And so on.

The thing that struck me, though, looking at the catalog, is how many comic books there are. Although D+Q has been moving away from classic-format comic books for years, it was hard not to see Seth's recent, mournful, opening essay in the new yearbook version of Palookaville as the actual moment when comics became not a diminishing option for the publisher but part of its past, with maybe one or two exceptions proving the rule. I miss them already. Not only did D+Q start out publishing a lot of great comic books, including the last several issues of one of the five all-time great underground/alt-comics series, Yummy Fur, its run of comic books even as fans started to move away from them were as beautifully designed and as perfect a little suite of pop culture packages as there has been made available in the last quarter century. Is there a better-looking little comic book than that re-run of Ed The Happy Clown? Holy crap. I would have bought that comic book if reading the interior pages sprayed acid onto my fingers. Also, and I'm a bad person for mentioning this, but a company moving away from a format with such an apparent degree of finality means that what they did publish has become something of a complete set for the collector in you to go out and snag. That's my long way around of saying that I looked at every comic book offered in their sale and came up with about $135 getting you every available D+Q infantryman in what ended up being a doomed war.

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Go, Look: A Joe Kubert Superman

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Go, Look: One Page Romances

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Go, Look: More PT Bimbo

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Go, Look: Jungle #2

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Go, Look: Splashy George Perez

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Go, Look: Smash Comics #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I don't really know what this is a preview of, but someone liked it enough to send me the link.

image* RC Harvey writes at length and with some measure of passion on the late Paul Conrad.

* John Romita Jr. draws Judge Dredd.

* not comics: I don't know where I picked up this link, I think it might have been sent to me, and I guess to say it's a cautionary tale for a lot of creative types working in the more working-class arts neighborhoods is a bit easy, but there it is.

* Ben Morse talks about DC's Dick Grayson character, probably one of the more likable people in their stable and the beneficiary of several quality runs of mainstream superhero comics (and a few odd ones). It's weird that that Scott McDaniel/Rodolfo Damaggio take on stylized superhero art didn't establish itself more firmly; I thought theirs were generally interesting comics to look through when they came in with the DC box when I worked at The Comics Journal oh so many years ago.

* Sean Collins introduces Marvel web site visitors to Frank Santoro, a great favorite of this site, on the occasion of his doing a Silver Surfer comic for the Strange Tales Vol. 2 project.

* Deb Aoki writes up and comments upon the spotlight panel presentation with Moto Hagio from this summer's Comic-Con, which turned into a career retrospective of obvious, considerable interest.

* the very smart and always thorough Brigid Alverson writes about the problems with review Shojo manga. It's probably not what you think.

* he's right: you should be reading the Same Hat! tumblr.

* this is nice: the AAEC talks up a pair of long-time contributors to that organization.

* I am both very much looking forward to this, and sort of not looking forward to this. I think you'll understand where I'm coming from.

* Ty Templeton picks the seven best gay characters in comics, and actually extends himself into more than one kind of comic. Although he forgot Batman.

* finally, this story of futility and first class, sustained griping is one of the more amusing things about mainstream comics you'll likely read this year, cooked to just the right temperature by Kevin Melrose.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Mary Fleener!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Tom Dougherty!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks
On Visual Metaphors
On An Alex Toth Panel

Exhibits/Events
Birmingham Zine Fest In Pictures

History
Mark Evanier On Jerry Grandenetti

Industry
Nostalgia & Comics Looks Great
Someone Give That Man A Shirt

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Paul Guinan
CBR: Jonathan Maberry
Whatever: Brett Warnock
CBR: Felicia D. Henderson
Newsarama: Marc Guggenheim

Not Comics
I'd Buy One
Dashiell Hammett Wrote There

Publishing
Coming In November
On Phoenix Without Ashes
Piggy Brown, The Piglet Detective
Howard Stern Exhibits Good Taste

Reviews
Rich Kreiner: Various
Colin Panetta: Various
Ng Suat Tong: Red Flowers
Bill Sherman: Ides Of Blood
Sean Kleefeld: Amulet Vol. 3
Rob Clough: Nymphonomena
J. Caleb Mozzocco: The Order
Chad Nevett: Greek Street #15
Andrew Wheeler: Koko Be Good
Dave Ferraro: A Drunken Dream
Ryan K. Lindsay: Daredevil #510
Graeme McMillan: Daytripper #10
Sean T. Collins: Bound & Gagged
Sean Gaffney: Butterflies, Flowers Vol. 4
Colin Panetta: The Education of Hopey Glass
Paul Montgomery: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Johanna Draper Carlson: Stepping On Roses Vol. 3
Kate Dacey: The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
Colin Panetta: Curse Of The Mutants: Storm And Gambit #1
 

 
September 13, 2010


Joe Gross On Douglas Wolk And Comics Pricing

I just wanted to add a few things to Wolk's excellent piece.


1. I can't really find any evidence for the 20 years ago/ 75 cent thing. By '88 or '89, virtually all mainstream books were a buck. But this is no biggie, compared to…

2. The idea that the balance of comic book buyers were spending $20/week. I turned 16 in 1990, I bought as many comics as I could possibly afford and there's no way I was averaging $20/week. And I had a part time job. At most, I was spending about $10 and those were weeks where I wasn't buying a CD (about $10-$13 where I was in 1990, with a employee discount) or going on a date or something.

3. Look, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there were scores of comics fans laying out $20/week in 1989, the ones who didn't like music or go on dates. But I didn't know any of them. What was great about comics in 1989 is that you could get out of a store with a decent haul for less than the cost of a movie. Now, a matinee is the same price as two Marvel or DC comics.

4. Let's do some quick inflation index calculation. In 1962, comics were 12 cents. Using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, that had the same buying power as 87 cents now. Oops.

5. Well, creators made slave wages then, right? OK, let's jump to, say, 1995. Comics were $1.25 to $1.50 then. Plug those numbers in and you get…$1.79 to $2.15. Oops again.

6. I'm not even factoring in page counts, which dropped like a rock as cover prices rose.

7. I'm not even talking about massive narrative decompression stretching what was once a one or two issue reading experience into six.

8. Which is of course what we're all talking about: Value for money.

9. I fell out of buying monthly mainstream books from about 1992 to 1999. When I left, they were about $1.25. When I returned they were about $1.99. This didn't seem so bad. And the writing was across the board stronger than when I left. I dug in.

10. Since I returned to comics buying in 1999, they've gone from $1.99 to $3.99 in 11 years. The price has quite literally doubled. Movies haven't even gone up that much in that amount of time. I can't think of anything else that has risen like that. Gas, perhaps. But that's it.

11. I am 36 now. I am in the "fanman/fanwoman" age, more or less.

12. Here has what's happened in that 12 years: I got married and had two kids.

13. No effin way I can justify a $3.99 comic book with a wife and two children. Impossible. And my wife likes comics. And I'd love for my kids to like 'em. I'm a lifer who would be perfectly happy making more lifers.

14. I suspect this is happening with fanmen and fanwomen all over. It was tight at $2.99, but for creators we wanted to support, we made it work.

15. But raise the price a buck overnight? Um, no.

16. These days, I look at quarter and dollar bins and used book stores and wait until titles end up there. I refuse to buy any book that's $3.99. I just can't afford it.

17. And I'm the core audience. I'm the lifer. Something is really wrong here.
 
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Comics Industry Picking Up Its Own 2012ish Doomapocalyptigeddon Vibe

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I'm not meaning to throw down the gauntlet Nerd Court style and say that 100 percent every article out there suggests bad times ahead, let alone that I endorse any specific view of said future, but it feels to me that in several places we're starting to see the three-pronged notion that a) something may be broken about the way standard mainstream comic books get from creators into the hands of readers, most notably the price point b) this could have industry-changing ramifications down the line, c) if nothing else, the inevitability of on-line serial comic books will put these changes into play sooner rather than later.

Keeping that in mind, there were two pretty good posts of general industry analysis over the weekend. The first is Douglas Wolk's article about the high price of comic book in his column at Techland. I think he's fudging the $.75 price point by a couple of years (I'm pretty sure most were a dollar by 1988) and I think he makes too much of the $20 price point, but a lot of the rest of it he gets right, I think. He notes that a lot of comics buyers are used to paying a set amount for a comics reading experience instead of paying whatever is necessary for a specific set of comics, so a price change that distorts how many comics you can by for X dollars distorts the way people buy. If you're a $10 a week buyer and the comics you choose from go from $3 to $4, you're more likely to go from buying three books for $9 to two books for $8 than you are to chase a title up past $10. This is also why any significant change -- say a move from being able to get six comics for $20 to five comics -- can make people reconsider the entire experience of buying comics as an activity. Wolk also suggests that comics companies may be pushing the price point on purpose to pave the way for online serialized comics, which I think gives a little too much credit to the nefariousness of mainstream comic book companies, but I guess you never know.

Sounding more concerned is retailer Brian Hibbs in his latest column at CBR. I think much of what Hibbs is saying about the way the mainstream companies are self-sabotaging a profitable and pleasurable way of doing business is dead-on, although he comes dangerously close to implying several times that the current system is awesome in part because of the way it manipulates readers into making purchases past their better judgment. I don't think you have to suggest comics serialization has to maximize profits in order to be a system worth keeping, let alone maximize them through a targeted audience -- I think it's enough to point out that there are particular joys and specific value to be had from that kind of experience that should be taken care of rather than pushed and pulled and manipulated and tossed aside to jump on something new. Also worth digging into is the comments thread at Hibbs' own site in a post announcing the article, particularly Stuart Moore's comment that sales don't reflect the kind of anecdotal evidence we're seeing out there, and Abhay Khosla's fantastic point that the explosion of comics out there has fractured buying habits to the point where it's become hugely difficult for retailers to make smart decisions based on their customers' buying choices.

I bet we're going to see a lot of this kind of theorizing between now and the end of the year.
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* reports are ripping through the wires concerning rumors that a man who caused an explosion in a Copenhagen hotel was on his way to cause destructive chaos at the Jyllands-Posten newspaper building housing the publication that published the initial Danish cartoons. As you may or may not recall, when David Coleman Headley made himself available to help commit certain terrorist acts the organizations he contacted were adamant that the newspaper building be blown up as opposed to some other less extreme and less ridiculously hard-to-pull-off act against the publisher.

* a Danish grocery store chain won't carry Danish cartoons cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's biography when it comes out in November, they decided to announce ahead of time for some odd reason. The Monster & Critics post that started it all passes along false information that the bomb-in-turban Muhammad cartoon for which Westergaard is best known will be on the cover of that book; the publisher has denied that strongly, and the cover they've released has nothing of the kind on it.

* I can't remember the time someone in the traditional comics blogosphere commented on the Danish Cartoons, so I was happy to see Sean T. Collins engage a related issue or two at the bottom of this post.

* finally, as one might have expected, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel has been slammed for both providing the keynote speech at an awards ceremony in Potsdam that honored Kurt Westergaard, and for the free-speech elements of that address.
 
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Not Comics: Roy Krenkel Does ERB

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How To Spend $100 At A Funnybook Sale In Less Than A Minute

imageI know sales aren't really news, and that it's dubious as hell to take time out of the news day to talk about the attempt to sell comics published by one of your advertisers, but I hope you'll indulge me here. I turned on the computer yesterday to get football scores because the networks provide fantasy football information now and it takes them about 14 minutes to grind through the entire schedule. In doing so, I see the announcement note from Chris Staros for this sale.

You always pay attention to sales from Chris Staros because Top Shelf had the most important publisher sale of the last 25 years -- their initial one to save the company, which became a model for such efforts and was a practical symposium on the state of the market at that time. This one is nothing like that. As far as I know, and that's reasonably far, there are no dire consequences attached to this attempt by the publisher to move some books. Still, like any publisher that has to manage cash flow and warehouse space, and for any agency that works in comics where there's such a scattered disconnect between comics and comics readers that every effort to sell something might be the only way you get something in the hands of that particular reader, all such endeavors have their place of importance.

What struck me enough to want to write about it, though, is how much good stuff could be scooped up for a modest (in comics-buying terms) investment. I rifled through the list quickly to see how I could spend $100 and this is what I came up with after about 45 seconds and then a tiny bit of pruning. It's only a sample list, but... well, you'll see.

*****

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Alec: The Years Have Pants -- HARDCOVER $49.95 $25.00 (US)
This was my book of the year (archival/collection division) from 2009, and I think within its pages are some of the best comics of all time. I can't imagine any adult comics reader not wanting this in your personal comics library unless Eddie Campbell is that one cartoonist you're allergic to like kids are to broccoli (we all get one gimme like that) or you'd get mad reading it waiting for him and Danny Grey to change into their costumes already. I mean, maybe you wouldn't like it as much as I would, but $25 for all those comics is just stunning.

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Far Arden $19.95 $10.00 (US)
A surprisingly affecting adventure comic book that for the improvisational method of its creation has a strange, furtive rhythm unlike anything you'll read a year on either side. Plus the creator's name is Kevin Cannon, which is one of those names that only cartoonists seem to have.

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The Ticking $19.95 $10.00 (US)
Micrographica $10.00 $3.00 (US)
Two by the great Renee French. The Ticking was a huge step forward in the always-amazing image maker's ability to use that visual power in an extended narrative. Micrographica is more of a lark -- it's French drawing really, really small -- but the important words there are "it's French drawing." She's one of the few cartoonists I'll buy anything she does sight unseen.

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Carnet de Voyage $14.95 $10.00 (US)
This isn't as much of a discount on this book of Craig Thompson's travel journal as some of the other selections, but I know a lot of people that for whatever reasons never got around to buying it. At the same time, I know a lot of young cartoonists who bought it in a hurry after being floored by Blankets, and I think it's one of those surreptitiously influential comics of the last several years.

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Super Spy (Vol 2): The Lost Dossiers $12.95 $5.00 (US)
Matt Kindt is a unique talent, and a thoughtful author. I think he's also at the point in his career where everything he does should at least be read and considered and mulled over.

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #1 $7.95 $5.00 (US)
Well, if you're buying $100 in comic books you're going to want some pulp in there between the art books and the autobiography, and this is one of the best series in comics right now for just that purpose. Plus I find Mina Harker super-funny.

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Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 1) $7.95 $3.00 (US)
Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 2) $7.95 $3.00 (US)
Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 3) $7.95 $3.00 (US)
Sketchbook Diaries (Vol 4) $7.95 $3.00 (US)
I like these oversized comic book collections of James' work, although it's available in a fancier format and, of course, on-line. That's a nice chunk of his diary work for $12.

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Please Release $5.00 $3.00 (US)
Not the punch in the face that Swallow Me Whole was a for a lot of readers, but a fine pick-up if you left that one wanting more. I remember being taken with some of the formal flourishes here.

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Tales of Woodsman Pete $7.00 $3.00 (US)
Lilli Carre is a potentially significant talent and this is a solid book in and of itself, not just for its place in what one hopes will be a long career.

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Regards From Serbia $19.95 $3.00 (US)
Aleksandr Zograf's comics aren't for everybody, as his work can be difficult for certain readers to engage, but I'd pay $3 to have him sit and a bar and tell me stories, so this collection at this price is kind of a no-brainer.

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Hutch Owen (Vol 1): The Collected $14.95 $3.00 (US)
Hutch Owen (Vol 2): Unmarketable $14.95 $3.00 (US)
I genuinely love Tom Hart's Hutch Owen comics, to the point I'll read pages out loud. There was a time back in 1994-1996 when I believed everyone else would one day join me. To have this many pages of it for that price, yow.

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Dear Julia, $12.95 $3.00 (US)
A very pretty comic from the illustrator Brian Biggs, one of those creators that never quite found purchase in the barren late 1990s alt-comics landscape. I actually like the comic books more than I did the collection, but it's hard to look past that price point.

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The Man Who Loved Breasts $4.00 $1.00 (US)
Jack's Luck Runs Out $3.50 $1.00 (US)
Two comic books, because you should always buy comic books if you can. It is worth owning Robert Goodin's comic book just to have it on your coffee table where your friends will laugh when they see it. And who wouldn't want to stare at multiple pages of crazy-ass color work from Jason Little?

*****

So that's that. A huge pile of fascinating funnybooks, including one of the great works in comics, for the price of about nine weeks of following a mainstream superhero "event" comic. The thing is, you could definitely go a number of different ways here -- you could easily swap out Essex County for The Years Have Pants and Jeffrey Brown for James Kochalka, and then go apeshit on Owly collections and have a fine set of books in no time. All of the European stuff they've been doing is up there. There's an Actus book I totally blew by on my initial run-through for like 85 percent off!

And that's my point. You have to admit we live in a pretty amazing era for comics when even the discount sales hold holy treasures and multiple ways to climb the mountain. Spend $100, spend nothing at all: this is one more reminder of how great it is to be reading this art form at this time.
 
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Go, Look: John Stanley Gag Strips

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Missed It: Richard Thompson Pays Tribute To Blondie On Its 80th

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Go, Look: Linda Lark #1

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Go, Look: Believe It Or Not! #1

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Go, Look: Emulating Batman

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Go, Look: Dark Mysteries #4

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* some odd chain e-mail purporting to be about semi-censored Australian cartoonists turns out to be an even odder fake chain e-mail that uses not-censored-at-all North American cartoonists.

image* Jason T. Miles really digs into Seven Miles A Second. I think it's interesting how works like that have a second life with readers that discover them a while later, or for whom they really work in weird and astonishing ways.

* Ben Morse lists a bunch of characters that should work but don't right now at the current mainstream comics companies. The problem isn't lack of creators willing to pull these characters apart to find something that works, it's that the industry has shifted to a point where this kind of effort has moved from barely but consistantly rewarding in a publishing sense (a shot in the arm to a company's monthly sales profile across a line) to long-shot of being potentially rewarding but likely not at all (a concept or take that can be moved into one of the five or six books with which these companies are primarily concerned; a movie-friendly refashioning).

* if you want to know when everything went to shit, Marc Arsenault has a 10-day period he'd like to suggest.

* one of my favorite subjects: the circus comics of Josh Simmons.

* let me assure everyone that we're all equally not cool.

* not comics: goodbye, you stupid, annoying show.

* if you are a nice person and an old-time mainstream comics fan, you will likely take seriously this request to perhaps send Joe Sinnott a card or letter.

* finally, I don't know that I've said so, but I like this feature that Bully does where he compares original covers with re-done covers for a future collection or a reprint series, something that's interested me since I looked at a few of the weird ones Gil Kane did for X-Men during its hiatus period. I can't imagine a better way to track some of the artistic and cultural quirks that settle into the day-to-day view of those companies at different times in their history.
 
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Happy 51st Birthday, Kent Worcester!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Drew Weing!

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Happy 27th Birthday, Matt Bors!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Gary Kwapisz!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Mike Grell!

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Quick hits
Craft
Collen Coover Sketches
Robin Costumes By Fans
Debbie Drechsler Draws A Night Heron

Exhibits/Events
Girls Gone Geek At Dragon*Con 01
Girls Gone Geek At Dragon*Con 02

History
A 1986 Primer
Doodles By Ding
Sean Collins On Alan Moore

Not Comics
On Satoshi Kon
The Other Watchmen Movie

Publishing
On Hetalia
Liberty Comics PR
Images Of The Outfit Surface
I Did Not Know That CBR Had Hubs
Thor, The Mighty Avenger #5 Previewed

Reviews
Todd Klein: Cover Run
Dave Ferraro: Lucid #1
Matthew Brady: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Matthew Brady: Brain Camp
Sarah Boslaugh: Buddha Vol. 1
Sarah Boslaugh: Time Bomb #2
Rob Clough: Go For The Gold #3
Andrew Wheeler: Beasts Of Burden
Matt Seneca: Various Horror Comics
Grant Goggans: Essential Defenders Vols. 1-4
Sean Gaffney: Library Wars: Love And War Vol. 2
 

 
September 12, 2010


Your 2010 Ignatz Award Winners

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Winners of the 2010 Ignatz Awards were named last night in a casual ceremony held in conjunction with Small Press Expo (SPX) weekend. They are noted below in bold:

*****

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OUTSTANDING ARTIST
* Eddie Campbell, Alec: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Sized Omnibus) (Top Shelf Productions)
* Al Columbia, Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Fantagraphics Books)
* Mike Dawson, Troop 142 (self-published & http://troop142.mikedawsoncomics.com)
* John Pham, Sublife #2 (Fantagraphics Books)
* Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)

*****

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OUTSTANDING ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
* The Hipless Boy, Sully (Conundrum Press)
* Lemon Styles, David King (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* Masterpiece Comics, R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Ten Thousand Things to Do, Jesse Reklaw (self-published)

*****

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OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVEL
* The Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty (Buentaventura Press)
* Market Day, James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia (Fantagraphics Books)
* Summit of the Gods Vol. 1, Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Years of the Elephant, Willy Linthout (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

*****

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OUTSTANDING STORY
* John Wesley Harding, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, Joe Daly (Fantagraphics Books)
* Market Day, James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Monsters, Ken Dahl (Secret Acres)
* Turd Place, The Hipless Boy, Sully (Conundrum Press)
* Untitled, Mome Vol. 16, Laura Park (Fantagraphics Books)

*****

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PROMISING NEW TALENT
* Rina Ayuyang, Whirlwind Wonderland, (Sparkplug Comic Books & Tugboat Press)
* Rami Efal, Never Forget, Never Forgive (Studio Namu)
* Blaise Larmee, Young Lions (self-published)
* Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)
* Matt Wiegle, The Orphan Baiter, Papercutter #13 (Tugboat Press)

*****

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OUTSTANDING SERIES
* Ganges, Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics Books)
* King-Cat Comics & Stories, John Porcellino (self-published)
* Sublife, John Pham (Fantagraphics Books)
* Summit of the Gods, Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson (self-published)

*****

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OUTSTANDING COMIC
* Blammo #6, Noah Van Sciver (Kilgore Books)
* Eschew #2, Robert Sergel (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* Flesh and Bone, Julia Gfrörer (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* I Want You, Lisa Hanawalt (Buenaventura Press)
* Sublife #2, John Pham (Fantagraphics Books)

*****

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OUTSTANDING MINI-COMIC
* Don't Drink from the Sea, Lille Carre
* Rambo 3.5, Jim Rugg
* Stories by... Vol. 1, Martin Cendreda
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson
* Water Column #3, Josh Frankel

*****

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OUTSTANDING ONLINE COMIC
* Callahan Online, John Callahan
* I Think You're Sauceome, Sarah Becan
* The Lesttrygonians, Stephen Gilpin
* Reliable Comics, David King
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson

This year's panel of nominating judges were Anders Nilsen, David Kelly, Rob G, Josh Cotter and Trevor Alixopulos. The awards are voted on by attendees of the Expo. This was the fourteenth presentation of the awards.

*****
*****
 
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Has Jerry Grandenetti Passed Away?

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I've heard a couple of times this year that the artist Jerry Grandenetti passed away last winter, but I've never been able to find confirmation. I'm hearing it again. Can anyone point me towards confirmation?
 
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Go, Look: Matthew Thurber Site

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CR Sunday Feature: Which Current Mainstream Comic Book Writers Are Which 1970s Heavyweight Boxers?

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Because nobody demanded it and because I (fecklessly) threatened Kurt Busiek with it, here are my closely-researched, by which I mean not at all, comparisons between two Golden Ages of pop culture makers -- 1970s heavyweight boxers and 2000s/2010s mainstream comic book writers:

Muhammad Ali -- Alan Moore
Oscar Bonavena -- Jason Aaron
Joe Bugner -- Ivan Brandon
George Chuvalo -- Jimmy Palmiotti
Randall Cobb -- Matt Fraction
Jimmy Ellis -- Robert Kirkman
George Foreman -- John Wagner
Mac Foster -- James Robinson
Joe Frazier -- Neil Gaiman
Larry Holmes -- Brian Bendis
Scott LeDoux -- Gail Simone
Ron Lyle -- Greg Rucka
Ken Norton -- Mark Millar
Floyd Patterson -- Kurt Busiek
Jerry Quarry -- Andy Diggle
Earnie Shavers -- Ed Brubaker
Leon Spinks -- Jonathan Hickman
Ron Stander -- Kieron Gillen
Teofilo Stevenson -- Grant Morrison
John Tate -- Geoff Johns
Chuck Wepner -- Ron Marz
Jimmy Young -- Tony Bedard

I'm not sure these make a lick of sense, but I'm proud of about a half-dozen of them and will defend them all to the death. Wait, that's not right. "I will internet defend them all to the death." Okay, that's more like it. It's also all meant in good fun, which is why I avoided doing the joke of putting one middleweight in there. So don't bother looking.

I apologize to any and all writers I left out. Despite the 1970s heavyweight boxers splitting between themselves millions of dollars and the writers splitting between themselves 57 cents and first shot at the extra canvas bags table at select funnybook shows, there are strangely far more mainstream comics writers of note than there were 1970s heavyweight boxers. I promise to include you in my next hit sport/comics crossover article "Which People At The 2011 Comic-Con Are Like Which Winning America's Cup Captains?" which is pretty much a must-do if only for the super-obvious Jeff Parker/Nathanael Herreshoff comparison.

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

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

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If I Were In The UK, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Bethesda, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Santa Fe, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 46th Birthday, Chip Kidd!

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FFF Results Post #226 -- Wilderness

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Areas From Comics You'd Like To Explore." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Trondheim and Sfar's Dungeon
2. Hicksville
3. The Streets Of Marvel's Doomstadt, Latveria
4. Tarzan's Jungle As Drawn By Joe Kubert
5. DC's Skartaris

*****

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Brandon Graham

1. the used food stands from Matt Howarths Bugtown (savage henry. post bros --)
2. Masamune shirow's Olympus (appleseed)
3. Moebius' Pharagonesia (Frapp your Koks!)
4. the spokecities of the Hub from Zooniverse by Fil Barlow
5. Sorrows end From Elfquest

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Ahern's 1930s boarding house.
2. DeBeck's 1930s Hootin' Holler.
3. Fox's 1930s Toonerville.
4. Hamlin's 1930s Moo.
5. Herriman's 1930s Coconino County.

*****

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Michael May

1. DC's undersea kingdoms (Atlantis, Lemuria, etc.)
2. Marvel's Savage Land
3. Bone's Valley
4. The world of Kazu Kibuishi's Copper
5. Conan's world as drawn by John Buscema

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Tintin's Lake Pollishoff in Syldavia
2) Necropolis in DC's New Genesis
3) Astroboy's Tokyo
4) DC's Bizarro World
5) Tibetan temples where everyone seems able to get either mystic powers or martial arts skills

*****

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Danny Fingeroth

* Kandor
* Harvey Pekar's Cleveland
* The Micro-World of Doctor Doom
* The End of the Universe (from the Lee/Ditko story of that title in Tales of Suspense #41)
* New Genesis

*****

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Mark Mayerson

* Walt Kelly's Okefenokee Swamp
* Duckburg
* New Genesis
* Kandor
* Bizarro World

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Julius Knipl's New York City
2. El Borbah's city
3. Europa (Girl Genius)
4. Pa Perkins' town (Polly and Her Pals)
5. Chaykin's Time Squared

*****

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Tuck!

1. Skartaris
2. the Watcher's house
3. Asgard
4. Barsoom
5. Estarcion

*****

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Ben Towle

* Sweethaven
* Mega-City One
* Wherever the heck "Maakies" takes place
* Neo Tokyo
* Ice Haven

*****

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Brian Fies

1. Wakanda
2. Kandor
3. Asgard
4. Prince Valiant's Olde England
5. Wacky Ditko Magical Universes from Dr. Strange

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Steve Gerber's never-seen Duckworld
2. DC's Bizarro World, particularly the corners
3. DC's Library of The Dreaming
4. That back-issue case file library from the law firm in Marvel's She-Hulk
5. Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Reuben flagg's chicago
2. Central city
3. Opal city
4. Blue area of the moon
5. Pogo's swamp

*****

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Bill Matheny

1) King Aroo's Myopia
2) Bizarro World
3) Snoopy's Doghouse
4) Kamandi's Kirby-centric post-apocalyptic world
5) Reid Fleming's delivery route

*****

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Jamie Cosley

1. Town of Grimy Gulch
2. Boneville
3. King Aroo's Myopia
4. Beanworld
5. Anywhere that Groo has just paid a visit

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Attilan, home of the Inhumans
2. Astro City
3. Hicksville
4. Danny The Street (from Morrison's Doom Patrol)
5. Ice Haven

*****

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Mike Lynch

1. Magnus' North Am as drawn by Russ Manning
2. Bizarro World from Superman
3. The unnamed hall where the Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men's Chowder & Marching Society meets
4. The G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) clubhouse
5. Snoopy's dog house interior

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Mansion tour of suburban Gotham City
2. The Dreaming
3. Marvel's Asgard
4. Doonesbury's Walden University
5. New Genesis

*****

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Scott Cederlund

1. Moebius' Gardens of Aedena
2. Frank Miller's Sin City
3. DC's Thanagar (as seen in Tim Truman's Hawkworld miniseries)
4. Jack Kirby's New Genesis
5. DC's Opal City

*****

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Chad Nevett

1. The City (from Transmetropolitan)
2. Marvel's Asgard
3. The world inside the Soul Gem
4. Mogo
5. Astro City

*****

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Tom Mason

* Terry & The Pirates' China
* Krazy Kat's Coconino County
* Little Nemo's Slumberland
* Shield's Helicarrier
* Charlie Brown's hometown

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. The adult-free world of Peanuts
2. Pogo's Okefenokee Swamp
3. The Legion of Superheroes 30th Century
4. Springfield of The Simpsons
5. Astro City

*****

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Adrian Kinnaird

1. Duckburg (from Donald Duck)
2. Metropolis (from Superman)
3. Opal City (from Starman)
4. Apokolips (from New Gods)
5. Moomin Valley (from Moomins)

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Tralla La
2. Poseidonis
3. Paradise Island
4. Gorilla City
5. Asgard

*****

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Tim Franzak

1. New Genesis (Kirby version)
2. The Supercontext (Invisibles)
3. The Lands Beyond the Suburbs of Glendale as depicted by Joe Daly (Dungeon Quest)
4. Midgetville (Kim Deitch's Alias the Cat!)
5. The world of Frank (Jim Woodring)

*****

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Gil Roth

* Glenn Ganges' neighborhood
* Jaime's Huerta
* Beto's Palomar (and environs)
* Kirby-era Wakanda
* And of course... Hicksville

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Sam Glanzman's Monster Isle
2. Vaughn Bode's Deadbone
3. Carl Barks' Duckburg
4. Dave Sim's Iest
5. Montana/DeCarlo/Goldberg et al's Riverdale

*****

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Richard Melendez

1. Marvel's Blue Area of the Moon
2. DC/Vertigo's The Dreaming
3. Marvel's Manhattan
4. The future Earth depicted in DC's Kamandi
5. Marvel's Asgard

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. The Headquarters of the Legion of Substitute-Heroes
2. Fantastic Four Headquarters
3. Ylum from Nexus
4. Walden (puddle included) circa 1972 (Doonesbury)
5. The Bat cave (you know the one-- the two page cut-a-way from early '60s)

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. The Unifactor from Jim Woodring's "Frank" comics
2. Asterix's village
3. Anvard from "Finder"
4. The Immateria from "Promethea"
5. The Library of Dream from "Sandman"

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) The Bottle City of Kandor
2) The Vision (Like Antman in Avengers #93)
3) Kamandi's Earth (Jack Kirby only, please)
4) Dick Sprang's Batcave
5) Nemo's Submarine by Kevin O'Neill

*****

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Lane Milburn

1. The underground carnival in Multiforce
2. King City
3. Boney Borough
4. New Genesis
5. Coconino County

*****

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Kenny Penman

1. Palomar
2. Kirby's Negative Zone
3. Ditko's Doctor Strange World's
4. Jason Lutes' Berlin
5. London of Alan Moore's League (LOEG)

*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade




Ken Akamatsu's schedule - mastersofmanga.com from Masters of Manga on Vimeo.
via


via


via


via




via


 
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September 11, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from September 4 to September 10, 2010:

1. Paul Conrad dies.

2. Peanuts to switch to Universal from United Features.

3. Kurt Westergaard receives award.

Winner Of The Week
Alan Moore

Loser Of The Week
Alan Moore

Quote Of The Week
"I think if you scratch any figurative artist -- you might find a failed cartoonist -- it is certainly what I wanted to be -- I loved comics -- the early Spiderman ones -- the ones drawn by Steve Ditko -- amazed me -- as did the story -- the misfortune that Peter Parker's gift is born of -- the idea that the extraordinary human is born in the suffering child was something new to Comics -- Marvel was full of mutants and wounded psyches -- the dented-can people became heroes." -- Tony Fitzpatrick

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

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

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

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If I Were In The UK, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Bethesda, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Lausanne, 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 NJ, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 28th Birthday, Adam Grano!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, David King!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Rod Whigham!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Ben Towle!

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September 10, 2010


Go, Look: Pretty John Bolton Art

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If I Were In Helsinki, 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 DC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In The UK, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Bethesda, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Love And Marriage #8

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Go, Look: Lou Fine's Adam Ames

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Go, Look: Ripley's Believe It Or Not!: True War Stories

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Go, Look: Gil Kane In Space

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I totally missed this: Universal has a new corporate web site.

image* note to self: the next time a Peanuts image is required, avoid any and all images of Charlie Brown that are so disturbing and sad they might keep you up all night.

* I am shocked to hear that Marvel's Daredevil will be coming back to the comics line so soon after his title and story ended. If there's going to be a mystery as to who the new Daredevil is, I hope that the person writing this will please consider former Captain America Roscoe.

* not comics: Robot 6 takes a look at Lisa Hanawalt's SPX badges.

* David Welsh provides an interesting analysis on why works like A Drunken Dream may get less respect than they deserve, even when well-meaning critics are involved.

* Alan Gardner caught that Daryl Cagle showed up on CNN to talk about his Mexican flag cartoon and the controversy it caused.

* not comics: Sean Collins is right: these costumes are incredibly impressive.

* finally, the funny part is the $10 CDN for shipping.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Jackie Estrada!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Gerry Conway!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Steven Gilbert!

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wherever you are...
 
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Quick hits
Craft
RC Harvey On Zits
Colleen Coover Digitally Sketches
Homages In Captain America Titles
Tony Millionaire Makes Music-Related Art

Exhibits/Events
Go See Dustin Harbin At SPX

History
On Action Comics #604
The Best Blondie Tribute Out There
The Greatest Idiotic Line In Comics Scripting History?

Industry
What They Did Yesterday
Webcomics Haiku Corner
I Never Get Invited To These Things
Brett Warnock Endorses Isotope Minis Award
Sean Kleefeld On Bethesda's Big Planet Comics

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Majorie Liu
CBR: Kieron Gillen
Newsarama: JH Williams
Bleeding Cool: Terry Wiley
FPI Blog: Brendan McCarthy
Prism Comics: Steve MacIsaac
Graphic Novel Reporter: Cathy Malkasian

Not Comics
Sigh
I Don't Dare Take This Quiz
Thank God I Only Watch Porn
The Downside Is Every Card's Job Title Is Loser

Publishing
Bomb Queen Returns
Five Reasons To Read AX
Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3 Previewed

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Various
Richard Bruton: Slog's Dad
Kate Dacey: Black Blizzard
Richa Kreiner: Essex County
Ben Towle: Captain Easy Vol. 1
Chad Nevett: New Avengers #4
Glen Weldon: Stuck Rubber Baby
Lori Henderson: Jack Frost Vol. 3
Brian Heater: Drawing On Yourself
Richard Bruton: Heart Of Darkness
Sean Gaffney: Oh My Goddess! Vol. 15
Michael C. Lorah: Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 24
Brian Warmoth: Injury Comics Vol. 1 #2
Chad Nevett: Ultimate Comics Avengers #3
 

 
September 9, 2010


Peanuts To Switch From United Features To Universal In February 2011

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the classic package still has over 2000 clients, I believe
 
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Fantagraphics Publishing William Burroughs/Malcolm McNeill GN

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it's the project that was briefly serialized as "The Unspeakable Mr. Hart" 40 years ago and because of Burroughs' involvement has been an infrequent Internet did-you-know post of great interest; 10,000 cool points to the publisher from Seattle
 
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Go, Look: Hidden Richard Sala

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* first of all, the Angouleme site finally has dates up, January 27-30, 2011. Maybe Bart Beaty and I are just dumb, but as recently as a week ago neither one of us could find exact, confirmed dates for the Festival anywhere. I have no idea why this might have been the case, as the biggest and most important comics show in Europe usually announces firm dates right after the previous show. And again, maybe I just missed it.

* this is an amazingly crowded convention weekend.

* first in the minds and hearts of many people reading this site is the best comics convention to arise from the ashes of a Dave Sim-led self-publishers' tour, the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland. There's at least 25 creators that I'd want to see if I were in town, including all of the guests of honor.

* okay, now that I think of it, three SPX-related things come to mind that I would do if I were there. I want the new Monster very badly, and would attend the panel about Fort Thunder and follow Brian Ralph like a stalker if that's what got me one. The days are gone when you could buy an original Cul De Sac as priced by Richard Thompson as if he were getting some used socks ready to sell quickly at his family's yard sale, but they're still pretty cheap, and you should pretend to be able to afford one just to get a closer look at them -- they're beautiful. I'd also like to go to the critics' panel just to mark the changes of expression on Tim Hodler's face.

* over in Rockville is the Intervention convention, which has a huge if not primary webcomics component. It looks like you can inquire about the other nearby show while you're registering for the one you intend to visit first for some potential free-pass action. There was some smack talk early on from the Intervention folks depicting SPX as an old-man con and the Intervention con as one big rubber-laced dance party brought to life straight from Warren Ellis' id. Given that I'm not even going and that scared the crap out of me probably proves this smack talk was pretty much dead-on.

* there are European shows in Helsinki and Lausanne and Montreal, too. And you can look at 'zines, many with a likely comics component, in Birmingham (UK). It's crazy.

* finally, the only big con from last weekend was Dragon*Con. It's not really on the list of big shows in terms of the comics industry involvement, even though there are certainly a lot of comics folk there, so it doesn't really get covered in by industry-focused media. It is, however, maybe the most notorious convention of the year in terms of people letting every flag they own fly as high as they can without being tossed from proper society altogether, which for you and me far away means magnificent homemade costume galleries and smart local journalists grabbing onto something like Craigslist "missed connection" items related to the show -- you can access a taste of both via this Creative Loafing article.
 
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OTBP: A Tribute To Bad Lyrics

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Kurt Westergaard Criticizes Florida Koran Burning; German Chancellor Recognizes Artist In Keynote

There's more heat than fire in wire reports covering last night's presentation of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium international media conference's 2010 prize to Danish Cartoons cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, but it's pretty good heat. In an interview published by the daily Die Welt, Westergaard drew a distinction between actions like drawing satirical cartoons and burning copies of the Koran, noting that satire is the sort of provocation that leads to reflection and enlightenment and the act of burning holy books really doesn't move you in that direction. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, criticized by some for giving the night's keynote speech, also slammed the book-burning but declared that Europe is the kind of place where cartoonists should be allowed to draw things satirically, and that freedom of belief and respect for belief were not mutually exclusive principles.

Westergaard called the award the greatest recognition he has yet received. In addition to his role in the 2005 publication of the cartoons, Westergaard has been vocal and public in his defense of same, drawing criticism and the attention of those who would do him violence. Most of the wire reports note he remains under some sort of police protection.
 
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Go, Look: Promethea Page Analysis

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thx, david roel
 
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Apple Establishes Semi-Clear App Policies On Naughty Parts, Being Mean

With Mark Fiore's Pulitzer/post-Pulitzer tussle and reversal with Apple over making cartoons available through Apple device that might hurt some public figure's feelings firmly in mind, Joshua Benton takes a look at the latest policy statements from Apple over what they'll allow and not allow. Clearly it's a post-Fiore policy, although there is a lot of wiggle room and a potentially distressing distinction between professional and amateur news gather that could be problematic on down the line.
 
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Go, Read: Petit Paul

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it's more that I want you to see how Bastien Vives puts comics on his site than I want you to see that specific comic
 
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Toon Partners Up With Candlewick

imageA press release dropped yesterday announced the Toon Books, the high-end comics for kids imprint that brought to bear the design and editorial talents of founder Francoise Mouly, the comics-for-kids proclivities of talented cartoonists like Jeff Smith and Eleanor Davis, and a process that brought on board the input of educators as to what kids might read and when and with what difficulty, will partner with Candlewick Press. The imprint will continue to publish four or five books a year, but now they'll have Candlewick's resources including its sales team and existing distribution relationship with Random House. As has likely been noted by everyone re-posting the PR, Mouly originally sought a home with an established kids' book publisher only to be turned away for the potential difficulties the books presented in how they broke with traditional kids' book expectations, so to have that option and interest now at a time when one imagines the thus-far successful line could use greater resources certainly represents a victory for Toon.
 
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Go, Read: Harvest Time 2010

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via
 
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Money Money Money Money Money

Heidi MacDonald points towards and allows further commentary on a post by Glenn Hauman about the cost of making comic books using the current mainstream comics-making formula.

imageIt's hard for me to comment on such issues. One is because the values we all bring to money are so very different that it's hard to find any agreement on which to make the kind of instant assumptions Hauman brings to the subject matter -- and which others read into it before commenting. For example, one bandied-about figure of $42,000 a year means vastly different things to different people. There are people that see that amount of money and see no way to get by and there are people that see that amount of money as 3X or 5X the amount of money they make from their art or perhaps even their art and day-job combined right now. There's also that subset of arguments that questions whether or not if you want a specific career, or to pursue a specific desire, you should assume that it comes with the ability to provide you with a certain standard of living -- whether that's expressed in the ability to support a family of four, or to live where you want, or to maintain that career if you're catastrophically sick, or by a certain perceived amount of money. Two, I'm deeply uncomfortable with the assertion made that money issues force people like arts comics cartoonists away from this kind of professional set-up, which I think gives a way of making comics that was actually refined to maximize production and thus profit way too much weight as some sort of creative ideal. While there are a few cartoonists out there that might hire an inker or a letterer if they were rolling in the dough -- certainly Dave Sim was able to work with Gerhard on Cerebus because that project made money -- I don't think Will Eisner sat around wishing that his personal comics made four times the money so he could hire four other professionals to take on various tasks, and I doubt many others working in his same general neighborhood think quite that same way, either. It's not that I take exception as much as I think it gives too much primacy to a way of doing comics that is itself a creation of circumstance. Three, it seems sort of obvious to me that a system established when no one could conceive of mainstream comics selling under a certain level is going to start having problems when sales fall below that level. It's not even surprising that it's happened, when keeping the sale of comics above that level has never been a value maintained by the biggest players in that market. Additionally, it shouldn't be a shocker that people have a distorted view of what comics people make when no one talks about these issues in a forthright fashion and in fact a lot of energy is spent in the other direction, in making you believe that the guy who borrowed money from his sister to go to Comic-Con and is sleeping seven to a room is doing awesome because he's about to sign a movie deal. I got more alarmed e-mail from about a dozen people when the brilliant Kevin Huizenga made a casual admission as to what he was making from comics than I got on just about anything else in the last two years.

Mostly, though, what pops for me is that a couple of things that get discussed here with some frequency. The move to digital comics and their smaller or even non-existent cover price may mean that any potential shortcomings in overall profits from publishing itself will result in a smaller piece of the pie for a specific class of comics professionals. It's the kind of paradigm shift that would allow the deck to be reshuffled, for one thing. The other is that it's more important than ever that people sign non-exploitative contracts and consider keeping control of material for themselves. If whatever profit to be had from comics is going to be take place somewhere else than in making the comics, or is going to move out of the middle-class living area entirely, creators deserve to have a piece of any money made somewhere else and to have a fair portion of what relatively little is made in traditional venues. Every day I grow more suspicious that this particular game hasn't already been lost, and that the comics industry has completed its transformation into an industry that has given up on every modest means of making money independently for the dubious honor of generating the occasional flash flood of money for others, hundreds of people sustained by the hope, no matter how impractical, that they will be one of the lucky, tiny few allowed to benefit.
 
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Go, Look: Weird CB Radio Cards

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

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

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Go, Look: What A Guy

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Go, Look: Hip Knox

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Go, Look: B&W Frank Brunner

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Go, Look: This Magazine Is Haunted

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the CBLDF is hiring.

image* I prefer classic Captain Marvel to Marvel's Captain Marvel by a wide margin, and I would have loved to have seen a movie version of the Big Red Cheese with The Rock playing Black Adam and Bruce Campbell playing a CGI Mr. Tawky Tawny and Joe Paterno playing Dr. Sivana before that got scotched, but this article on why the Marvel version of Captain Marvel should work will get no argument from me.

* the writer Jason Aaron talks about how he broke into comics. The real story.

* my local paper, the Silver City Sun-News, has already launched its "replace Cathy" poll. The strips the small paper (with a small comics section) is considering, and placing on their own half-page with instruction to clip and vote, are: Baby Blues, Luann, Pearls Before Swine, Pooch Cafe, Stone Soup and Thata Baby. The only surprise may be that last one, which I remember from the Amazon contest and wasn't aware it was being syndicated. A couple of observations: First, as expected, none of those candidates makes you go "Oh yeah, that's the one." Second, I think it's to the Sun-News' credit that they're doing their poll now and on a separate page where their readers can directly compare the offerings as opposed to running them end to end in the Cathy slot and getting six weeks of free strips in the old slot out of the syndicates.

* naked Skip Williamson.

* speaking of newspaper strips, here's another rollicking argument at Daily Cartoonist between a Scott Kurtz/Ted Rall-led faction and the site's core comments-thread participants. This time it's on finding praise for Blondie as an ongoing concern as part of praising its 80th anniversary. I think Blondie is the most inexplicable success in the history of comics, and have a hard time admiring even its best features, but I also think using the harmful-to-the-industry-in-the-long-term argument is pretty riskily applied to a feature with that kind of huge subscriber base. To put it plainly, 1800 papers seems to indicate some sort of appetite out there for what Blondie does even if that appetite is for factors that have nothing to do with art. Suggesting that the strip is keeping other strips from their full commercial potential is much better argument for the web of poor-performing strips that haunt the 20-40 client range on momentum and tradition alone, as there's much less cause to believe that there's some sort of unique, displayed appeal with those strips. I think that argument can also inform our acknowledgment of what Cathy Guisewite is doing by walking away and leaving all those slots open.

* Evan Dorkin asks you to imaginary hire Drew Friedman -- who would you have him draw?

* not comics: I'm not sure what to make of the newspaper advertising revenue figures provided in this post at Editor & Publisher. On the one hand, they're super-depressing. On the other hand, I would think the slow-down in declining figures is more important than whether or not revenues have gone back to 1983 levels. For one thing, 1983 levels in the newspaper industry would seem to me to come from an entirely different world, just in terms of there being way more newspapers. But mostly I don't understand why the newspaper industry refuses to look at their monopoly of display advertising days as the anomaly and a portion of this decline as a correction.

* crazy convention stories.

* it's probably not a good sign that every time I read this column, I think, "You know what? I think I'd buy food."

* finally, Bully helps you matriculate for the Fall Semester at Empire State University.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Kevin Maguire!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Paul Grist!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Dan Vado!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks
Ben Towle Sketches Hair
Colleen Coover Draws The Wasp
Connor Willumsen Makes Posters
The Oddest Dick Tracy Strip Ever

Exhibits/Events
Go See D+Q At SPX
Go See Mike Dawson At SPX

History
This Post Made Me Laugh
This Post Also Made Me Laugh

Interviews/Profiles
Burlington Free Press: Clan Kochalka
CBR: David Tischman, Mariah Huehner

Publishing
Dave Chooses Kirby/Simon
Why Do You Read Birds Of Prey?
Batman and Robin #14 Previewed
I Guess They Make Comic Book Trailers Now

Reviews
Sean T. Collins: Kaspar
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Andrew Wheeler: The Nobody
Nathan Wilson: Scalped #39-40
Todd Klein: The Devil's Handshake
Grant Goggans: Rogue Trooper Vol. 1
Sean Gaffney: Portrait Of M & N Vol. 3
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Critical Millennium: The Dark Frontier #1
 

 
September 8, 2010


Go, Look: Save Their Store

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That's a facebook page; I imagine it will migrate to their web site sooner or later.
 
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Happy 80th Anniversary, Blondie!

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the strip is 80, not the Bumsteads' marriage; I still think it's weird when I pick up a newspaper Sunday comics section and the top strip above the fold ISN'T Blondie
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the Kuti Kuti empire has added a bunch of I believe brand-new solo books to its publication list, including works by Roope Eronen, Tommi Musturi and Benjamin Bergman.

* Boom! is bringing back the Rescue Rangers. Life is so much less annoying when they stop bringing back the stuff from your childhood and start cannibalizing the dim, sweet memories of the younger set.

image* speaking of which, Matt Murray has launched a dedicated Smurfs blog.

* Top Cow is reviving its indy-comics oriented imprint Minotaur Press according to a PR push this week. This was talked about openly in San Diego to the point that I'm sort of surprised it hadn't been formally announced yet.

* the Comic Book Resources group blog Robot 6 spit out something like a half-dozen, straight-up publishing stories in a row at one point this week. I've lost a couple to other starred items in this post and to other posts entirely, but here's what remained in my links folder. Joe Lansdale and Sam Kieth are doing a 30 Days Of Night comic. Dark Horse is resuming publication on two manga series that I guess had been on hiatus. The Webcomics Factory is launching a new offering. An on-line magazine for young manga-style artists is profiled. A few Grant Morrison books have been delayed; the writer of the post suspects that the writers workload is a contributing factor.

* the great Tony Millionaire notes that the softcover release of the first Strange Tales volume is out, with lots of comics featuring Marvel superheroes by the alt-comics set. Being Tony Millionaire he manages to bring his balls into it, but the information itself is solid.

* a few on-line comics coverage/commentary notes: 1) Greg McElhatton is taking a brief hiatus away from Read About Comics. 2) the writer Jason Aaron is starting a new column at CBR this week. Love the icon. 3) First Second has tweaked its web site enough it's almost a soft (re-)launch.

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com digs into the various Harvey Pekar-related projects in the hopper and suggests what might come out soon and what might be a while featuring work by the late writer.

* a new Amazing Facts... and Beyond! is apparently imminent.

* finally, I either did not know or had to be reminded that Kim Thompson is translating Milo Manara for new editions of his major works from Dark Horse.

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Not Comics: The Ruined Cast

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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 no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. But if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would detect the possibility of fun inside, and I would make me way indoors.

*****

JUN100282 TRANSMETROPOLITAN TP VOL 08 DIRGE (MR) $14.99
I wasn't the audience for this classic Vertigo series, but I'm glad to see DC make the effort to keep it in print, because I still occasionally hear from people buying it for the first time.

JUL100428 WALKING DEAD 2011 CALENDAR $14.99
I had the 2009 calendar, and it was very handsome. Plus, nothing about my office set-up that entire year screamed "I have a ridiculous job" more loudly and more clearly to anyone that visited.

JUL100588 INVADERS NOW #1 (OF 5) $3.99
One creative flourish of mainstream comics that's always stuck me as strange is the desire to connect not just its "modern" superheroes to modern times but to make those heroes tied into World War II have a presence in modern times, too. Can you imagine a world where Jimmy Doolittle and Audie Murphy were running around having adventures in Afghanistan?

JUL100599 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #30 $2.99
JUL100070 BPRD HELL ON EARTH NEW WORLD #2 (OF 5) $3.50
The latest from two reliably entertaining mainstream comics efforts.

JUL100246 DAYTRIPPER #10 (OF 10) (MR) $2.99
JUL100354 STARSTRUCK #13 (OF 13) $3.99

Some folks complain about the lack of comic-book comics to pick up at the comic book store, but I have to imagine if I had a store anywhere nearby that would carry such things, I would have enjoyed picking up issues of both of these series. Because I don't, it's like they don't exist. Coverage: not just your parents' comics industry issue.

JUL100724 GLAMOURPUSS #15 $3.00
This is another one that would make total sense as a comic store purchase -- for one thing, it would extend your reading experience about three comics' worth just because Sim's approach to comics is so dense and word-heavy -- and without one nearby tends to fade into the background.

MAR100942 HOT MOMS #10 (O/A) (A) $4.95
You know what I miss the most about the 1990 comics porn explosion? The titles. They always had the best titles.

JUL100985 LOUIS RIEL A COMIC STRIP BIOGRAPHY TP (NEW PTG) $17.95
JUL100983 BERLIN TP BOOK 01 NEW PTG $22.95
Two reprints from the D+Q library that should be in your library.

APR101071 SIMON & KIRBY SUPERHEROES HC $49.95
MAY101012 FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT GN MORT MESKIN $39.99
JUN101099 COMPLETE HARLEM HEROES TP $25.50
MAY100403 X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN TP VOL 01 $49.99
MAY100028 CONAN NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC VOL 01 $34.99
FEB100059 CREEPY ARCHIVES HC VOL 07 $49.99
APR100048 MIGHTY SAMSON ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $49.99
It should be obvious where the strength of this week's new releases lies -- the past! There's everything from curated anthologies (the Simon & Kirby book) to lavishly illustrated and sampled history (the Mort Meskin book -- that guy was the only Golden Age artist other than Lou Fine to make a specific impression on me before I was a teen), to complete I-can't-believe-they're-publishing-it semi-obscurities (Conan, the Harlem Heroes book), to strip collections targeting a specific run of material (the Corrigan, which is the Goodwin/Williamson run) to books for which I've run out of descriptives (the latest Creepy; the Mighty Samson). Oh, to be rich.

JUL100703 SPIDER-MAN FEVER TP $14.99
Brendan McCarthy's Spider-Man/Doctor Strange story, which people seemed 4.5 percent less excited about with every image that was released. I'll be getting one eventually.

JUN101151 TWIN SPICA GN VOL 03 $10.95
I still hope the author will find something as original to do with the classroom drama as the mystical and space culture aspects of this series about students in a pre-astronaut educational program, but I have to admit that the second volume was 50 percent more interesting than the first and I'll be picking this one up.

MAY100133 BATMAN AND ROBIN #14 $2.99
JUL100140 BATMAN ODYSSEY #3 (OF 13) $3.99
Two Batman projects I'd probably be buying if I had a shop nearby, although I'd be buying them for very, very different reasons.

*****

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 here, that's because I'm sad I'm not going to SPX.

*****

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Go, Read: Dog And Cat

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Tomas Rafael Rodriguez Zayas, 1949-2010

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The Cuban cartoonist Tomas Rafael Rodriguez Zayas, better known by the pseudonym Tomy, has passed away, according to Cuban journalist and on-line Cuban news portal editor M.H. Lagarde. The cause of death was complications from heat disease. This article suggests he may have died on September 6. His birth date suggests Tomy was 61 years old, although his age at passing has been reported as 60.

imageTomy was born in 1949 in Barajagua, in the northeastern province of Holguin, and never stopped presenting himself to colleagues and friends in part as a kind of enthusiastic, unaffected country peasant engaging the wider world. He was a self-taught artist, and studied agronomy in school. He joined the Cuban press as a cartoonist in 1968, and soon became one of his country's most lauded and loved humorists. He was published widely in national and international magazines. He was a member of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association (UNEAC), and the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC). He was president of the Cuban Humorists Association and directed the humor supplement of the Juventud Rebelde newspaper, Dedete, through which he made his name as an artist during a recognized "golden period" for the publication.

Tomy's work was widely exhibited, not just in Cuba and not just in conjunction with other cartoonists in Cuba's rich cartooning community but in solo shows as far aways as Angola, Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, France, Nicaragua, Korea, Turkey and Venezuela. A major exhibition of his work in 1980 in Havana solidified his already lofty reputation in his country, while a 1996 exhibition curated by the cartoonist traveled across Cuba. He was a presence from the mid-1970s on at Cuba's humor biennial, and his work was included in important international shows in Mexico (1993) and Brazil (2001).

He won the Juan Gualberto Gomez National Journalism Award and the Felix Elmuza Order from UPEC. His first major prize may have been a second-place showing for General Humor at the Humor Salon in Havana in 1970. He also won major prizes in Brazil (1999) and Spain (2000).

In later years, Tomy pursued opportunities in other art forms: design, painting, mural-making. In the 1990s, he illustrated news articles as well as working in humor and in caricature. In the new century Tomy became the cartoon editor for the Cubasi news portal and contributed to the Cambios en Cuba blog, keeping both avenues for work open right until the recent diagnosis of his heart condition.

Tomy was buried in the town of his birth. One of the reminiscences mentions that the artist was married at one point, although no survivors are listed.

A testimonial video can be found here.

click through the top cartoon for a post that translates it

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OTBP: Business Day

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Kurt Westergaard Wins Freedom Award

Kurt Westergaard, the best-known of the Danish cartoonists who contributed caricatures of Muhammed to the publication Jyllands-Posten in 2005, setting off worldwide protests and lingering political turmoil, will be given the M100 Sanssouci Media Award in Potsdam later today for both his symbolic and real-world defense of free speech.

The theme of tonight's M100 dinner is "Freedome Of The Press In Europe," and the keynote speaker will be German chancellor Angela Merkel. The linked-to article notes that the award stands in harsh contrast to a decision by German TV station ZDF earlier this year where they canceled an interview with Westergaard. They claimed security reasons.
 
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Go, Look: PT Bimbo

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"Legs Akimbo" still makes me laugh
 
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Unearthed: 1960s Article In The New Guard About Marvel As Right-Wing

imageI don't think I've ever seen the New Guard article found by Sean Howe and the text reprinted here from Libertarian Party pioneer David Nolan. I'm also not sure its central thesis convinces. Its praise of a right-wing subtext in prime-time 1960s Marvel Comics comes down to what he terms a refreshing willingness to call the good guys good guys (and have one of them be an arms dealer) and the bad guys communists. I think it's safe to say that this was more about genre correction and distinguishing the Marvel books against the competition than an act of political activism, but the specific effect of that kind of expression on the books is something rarely considered and probably should be.

The article is also -- and maybe more importantly -- a near-perfect example of how Marvel could be read and enjoyed by young adults of that time (Nolan graduated MIT that year), entering into their well-executed core adventure-book values through the lighthearted tone and humor that was largely but certainly not solely provided by Stan Lee. Reading Marvel Comics isn't an act of proto-hipsterism for Nolan as much as the healthy embrace of a throwaway pleasure -- the guy in the business suit buying and enjoying the crap out of a dirty-water hot dog. Anyway, I can't imagine a more perfectly formulated entry point into that particular phenomenon with the Marvel books, and I'm thankful Howe dug this one up.
 
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Go, Look: You've Got Me... And How!

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If I Were In Joshua Tree, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: A Tiger Walks

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Go, Look: Bride's Secrets #8

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Go, Look: Tomb Of Terror #16

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Go, Read: Two From Nicola Cuti

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's a comic and a beer. How Tony Millioniare didn't do this first, nobody knows.

image* I'm saving up this discussion between critics Jog and Matt Seneca about movie adaptations focused on Steranko's version of Outland and Kirby's take on 2001 for a long coffee break. I can't imagine it not being at least pretty good.

* after I finish that, it's onto this list of 50 essential manga for libraries.

* not comics: you'll get no argument from me.

* Fantagraphics reports there may be slight shipping delays to their moving their warehouse/shipping center.

* Tim Kreider on Cathy. Tim Kreider's writing about comics is always very welcome.

* not comics: another look at how box office flops are made, a subject that applies to a lot of comics-related films this year.

* not comics: I'm not sure what's sadder, the fact that I spent a bunch of time reading an interview with the wrestler Kane about libertarianism when I had other things I should have been doing, or that I initially thought he made up the phrase "Austrian economics." Okay, you're right, it's definitely the latter. Bodyslammed by Kane!

* Cliff Chiang talks about other artists.

* Charles Hatfield remembers the great and difficult Paul Conrad.

* fun comics scan find at Robot 6 concerning Steve Ditko.

* finally, Mark Millar is auctioning off another character's name for charity, this time the lead in what sounds like some slight spin on Superman that will immediately be sold to a movie producer. It's hard to be too snarky about it when PR and charity meet and make a little press-ready baby, though.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Jordan Crane!

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Quick hits
Craft
J. Bone Draws From Life
Colleen Coover Sketches
The Wrestler Is The Mask
Terry Moore Makes A Cover
Sean Phillips Makes A Cover

Exhibits/Events
Go See AdHouse At SPX
Go See Fantagraphics At SPX

History
On Fantastic Four #50
Top 10 Negima Moments
More On Hulk's Broken Leg
Comic Riffs On Paul Conrad
12 Crazy Archie/Spire Moments
What One Piece Owes Dragon Ball
Vague Energy Mutants Was My College Band

Industry
A Tale Of Two Comics Shops

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Mark Millar
CBR: Andy Kubert
CBR: Michel Gagne
TCJ.com: Johan Wanloo
Comic Riffs: Mike Krahulik
Bleeding Cool: Kris Dresen
Newsarama: Marc Guggenheim
Comics Worth Reading: Colleen Doran
Talking Comics With Tim: Joe Henderson
Washington City Paper: Onezumi Hartstein
Tales From The Parents Basement: JH Williams

Not Comics
More Evanier On Creative People And Work

Publishing
On Wild Kingdom
Manga In November
Empowered Vol. 6 Previewed
Green Lantern #57 Previewed

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Ng Suat Tong: House
Rich Kreiner: Various
Chad Nevett: Clint #1
Sean T. Collins: Nicolas
Alex Boney: Girl Comics
Seth Peagler: Daytripper
Michelle Smith: Bakuman Vol. 1
Andrew Wheeler: All And Sundry
Andrew Wheeler: Boneyard Vol. 7
Dave Ferraro: Dengeki Daisy Vol. 1
Chris Butcher: Kingyo Used Books Vol. 1
Andrew Wheeler: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Johanna Draper Carlson: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 2
Andrew Wheeler: The Terrible Axe Man Of New Orleans
 

 
OTBP: Rare Words

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September 7, 2010


Go, Look: Oilfurnace -- A Dwarf Fortress Tale By Tim Denee

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there's another one here; Derrick Schisler sent these in. Thanks, Derrick. I never thought about it before, but illustrated play-throughs of games are a natural comics source because of the mostly linear narrative combined with comics' ability to handle explanatory digressions.
 
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Paul Conrad, 1924-2010

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Paul Conrad, the fiercely liberal, long-time editorial cartoonist at the Los Angeles Times and one of his profession's premier talents in the latter half of the 20th Century, passed away early on Saturday in Rancho Palos Verdes surrounded by family, from natural causes. He was 86 years old.

Conrad was born in Cedar Rapid, Iowa, along with a twin brother. He was encouraged to pursue the arts at an early age, in a modest railroad-industry household. Conrad went to college first at Iowa State and then at the University of Iowa but did not receive a B.A. until 1950, having served in World War II with the Army Corps of Engineers after a brief, post-secondary school sojourn to Alaska with his twin. He was raised Catholic, which along with the death and mutilation he saw in the Pacific Theater became a foundational building block to his character that helped drive the confrontational and socially aware style of cartooning he brought to the newspaper page.

imageA gig making cartoons for the Daily Iowan pointed an until-then directionless Conrad toward the career he would hold for the majority of his adult life. Conrad initially worked for the Denver Post for 14 years. It was at the Post under an encouraging that Conrad developed a spare, to-the-point style that counted on but did not flaunt his skills as a draftsman. In much the same way a professional athlete might combine fluidity and grace and an economy of movement into a memorable career the envy of a flashier, perhaps more gifted player with greater individual skills, so did Conrad forge a way of making cartoons elegantly designed to get the reader right to the point. Combined with a righteous anger on a slew of subjects -- although the cartoonist did change his mind on a few issues over the years -- Conrad's cartoons could be outright lacerating, lightning strikes on the editorial page that admirers and critics learned to honor with daily fealty. The conception of a political cartoonist as an essentialist, the person that gets to the heart of the matter, may not have started with Conrad but certainly found one of its greatest champions in his remarkable career.

Conrad was hired by the Times in 1964, and would remain their primary editorial cartoonist for the next three decades. His hire perhaps more than any other signified the paper's rise to become an important national paper, and its move away from a conservative publication in most meanings of that word. In addition to the tremendous platform afforded Conrad on one of the nation's largest newspaper and arguably the most important opinion-maker on the West Coast, he was also widely syndicated. While at the paper, he won multiple Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning: in the transitional year of 1964, in 1971 and again during 1984. Other awards on Conrad's mantle were the 1970 and 1981 Overseas Press Club awards and multiple Distinguished Service Awards from the journalists' society Sigma Delta Chi (1963, 1968, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988). He held the Richard Nixon Chair at Whittier College in 1977-78 -- an honor he once described as his favorite irony -- and won four Robert F. Kennedy Journalism awards for editorial cartooning (1985, 1990, 1992, 1993).

Conrad's best-remembered work might have been on Richard Nixon and his Watergate-related fall from power. He was named to Nixon's famous enemies list in 1973, a move that Conrad treated as a high honor. Conrad's most famous cartoon of the period was likely one that depicted the embattled president nailing himself to a cross, but it was the sustained fury of his assault and the certainty of the depiction behind it that linger today. Conrad was also the co-author of one of the better attempts to put the disgraced ex-president into immediately historical perspective, with The King And Us, a Bill Mauldin-style mix of prose and cartoon although in this case the prose was the Watergate transcripts.

Conrad was also a particularly nettlesome critic for Ronald Reagan, hammering him several times through his time as California governor and into the rise to national prominence that saw the former actor enter the White House in 1981. Because Conrad had been on Reagan's trail for decades, his critical cartoons in the early days of the presidency took on an even sharper critical profile -- Conrad showed others where the weak points might be. Some might argue that the perception of President Reagan as a buffoon and of the First Lady as an uncaring ice queen originated with no one other than the Reagans, certainly Conrad was at least significantly influential in propagating those views.

According to a lengthy obituary in the Times, Conrad's work brought two high-profile libel lawsuits: one from then-Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty in 1968 about a cartoon that questioned his mental stability, and one from Union Oil President Fred Hartley in 1974 about a cartoon Hartley believed cruelly criticized a decision over which he had no control. The first case was dismissed and a jury in the second case found for Conrad 11 to 1.

Conrad took a buyout from the Times in 1993, and continued to create work for syndication and pursue other artistic interests -- his bronze sculptures featuring various political leaders have been shown in multiple galleries and museums. An inspiration to numerous younger cartoonists entering the profession, including those that got to see him everyday while they were growing up in the Los Angeles area, Conrad is described by some of them who sought his advice as counsel as direct and to the point and as usually dead-on in that role as with any cartoon. A 2006 documentary on the PBS show Independent Lens called Paul Conrad: Drawing Fire celebrated the cartoonist's skill, the way he conducted himself in an opinionated but not blindly partisan fashion, and as a symbol of the declining state of editorial cartooning.

His many books included the aforementioned The King And Us; When In The Course Of Human Events (that same year, 1973); a widely-read trio of books published when Conrad was at his most influential, Pro and Conrad (1979), Drawn and Quartered (1985) and CONartist (1993); and a book published by his longtime employer the Los Angeles Times, Drawing The Line (1999).

Conrad is survived by a wife, two sons, two daughters and one grandchild. A photo gallery can be found here.

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Store Owner Kills Second Burglar Seven Years After Similar Incident?

A message board thread claim about this news brief concerning a shop owner that shot at two men in his business at 3:30 AM September 1 with the intent of robbing it, killing one, connected the story to the Lancaster, California retailer Bases, Cards and Comics. What makes this even more compelling than usual -- and it is compelling; you not only have the human drama but like many small business owners I would imagine it's possible for comic shop owners to debate the wisdom and morality of waiting on a suspected future criminal act with gun at one's side from now until the end of time -- is that if these connections prove solid going forward the owner of the named business shot and killed a 40-year-old man in a similar circumstance in 2003, after which no charges were pressed.

There are a number of additional potential complications, story points and items of note, even in the rudimentary reporting thus far. While the 2003 victim seemed to come to Lancaster from a different community, the 28-year-old killed last week seems to have friends and even family -- including a daughter -- in the area. Some of the LA-based blogs reported the crime as happening at 3:30 in the afternoon, which would be an odd time for a comic book store to be closed, and one guesses could potentially lead to confusion and even suspicion from the victim's family and friends that information is being kept or altered. One suspect is apparently still at large, with, one guesses, their own story to tell. Also, it looks like the deceased suspect was found outside of the store with wounds in the back of the head as opposed to dying within the store in a fashion that would more conventionally resemble the 2003 incident where the victim reportedly brandished a tire iron. I don't mean to imply anything with that last sentence other than to note the potential difference in public narratives, and would imagine any information which pertains to the matter in any way that actually counts will get processed by investigators on the scene.
 
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Go, Look: Berni Wrightson Portfolio

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10,000 Copies of Graphic Novel Designed To Warn Youth About Extremism To Be Distributed In Indonesia

imageOne of the more interesting feature stories about a graphic novel project to hit the international wires in quite some time did so over Labor Day weekend: the publication and distribution of Ketika Nurani Bicara, translated in English as When the Conscience Speaks. The book's story of surviving Bali resort hotel bombing terrorist Ali Imron from young Muslim to extremist recruit to perpetrator of the sprawling country's deadliest-ever terrorist attack in October 2002 (killing 202 people) to life-sentence recipient will initially see 10,000 copies distributed to libraries and schools. The not-for-profit behind the book, Lasuardi Birru, hopes that the book will fulfill a desperate need to engage young people targeted for recruitment by the kinds of organizations likely to engage in terrorist acts, and thus act as a complement to a hit-and-miss strategy since that resort bombing of severe counter-measures.

While many of the articles are going with the terrorist-as-subject lead-in and then ironically nudging the article into the direction of the project's true aims, Imron was already well-known for expressing doubt and remorse at his trial, avoiding the death penalty because of it and his cooperation. Apparently, between Imron's initial reluctance and the bureaucracy that surrounds working with such a high-profile prisoner, the book took longer than expected to produce.
 
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Go, Read: Tubbs & Easy, Ctd.

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Your 2010 Hugo Award Best Graphic Story Category Winner

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The Hugo Awards, celebrating the best in science fiction and fantasy "works and achievements" since they were first given out in 1955, announced the 2010 winners at Melbourne's AussieCon 4 over the last weekend.

The winner in the Best Graphic Story category was, as listed by the awards, Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm. The Hugo recognized the work as being written by Kaja and Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright, and the book coming out from the Foglios' self-publishing imprint Airship Entertainment. It won a category consisting of itself, Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, Captain Britain And MI13. Volume 3: Vampire State, Fables Vol 12: The Dark Ages, and Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse. Unlike awards where it just seems that way, the genre-focus of the awards was reflected in the nominees.

A previous volume in the Girl Genius series won the 2009 award as well.

The one comics-related winner in another category was illustrator and visual storyteller Shaun Tan, who won in the best professional artist category. Tan's latest book is The Bird King And Other Sketches, although the award was ostensibly for 2009 work.

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Go, Read: A Dragon*Con Report

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

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Go, Look: Top Notch #42

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Go, Look: Four-Color Comics #54

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Go, Look: Jerry Lewis #124

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Go, Look: Smooth Mort Meskin

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there is a facebook page designed to foster support for adding Oh, Brother! to artist Jay Stephens' hometown newspaper (via Bryan Munn)

* RC Harvey wishes Beetle Bailey a 60th birthday.

image* the cartoonist Mark Kalesniko sketches and draws an old Pacer in anticipation of its role in the forthcoming graphic novel Freeway. Surely this is the mightiest of all cars.

* not comics: I knew that Mark Gruenwald was a forward-thinker in a lot of ways, but this seems to indicate he was ahead of the curve right up until the end and a little bit past it.

* the writer Chris Allen reflects on his relationship to comics ten years ago and now, through the anniversary recently celebrated by the Comic Book Galaxy family of web efforts. There's always that moment when you engage with an art form for as long as Allen has that you suddenly stop and look at where your interests were when you first started, and in most cases there's usually a surprise or two in that examination.

* and then, suddenly, there was apparently no other news anywhere in the world.

* the cartoonist Evan Dorkin takes a survey of his recent comics-reading habits, and muses on the appeal that serial entertainment of even the shoddy kind has over him.

* a timeline of Joe Quesada's 10-year run at Editor-In-Chief at Marvel.

* not comics: smell like the Hulk.

* not comics: a New York Times editorial writer offers up the unsurprising observation that watching Paris Hilton videos on the Internet can mess with your hard-won feelings of off-the-grid serenity.

* finally: Chris Arrant talks about themed convention sketchbooks through one of the most well-known: the Royal Tennenbaums one owned by James Lucas Jones.
 
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Go, Look: Five By Richard Thompson

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks
He Liked That Dress
Steve Bissette Sketches
Moon And Ba Self-Portrait
Flash Running Color Guide
He's Thinking About Inking
Darwyn Cooke Makes A Cover
James Turner Makes Some Posters

Exhibits/Events
Go See NBM At SPX
Go See Chris And Rob At SPX

History
Hulk Breaks A Leg
Looking Back At JLI
On J. Jonah Jameson
15 Manga About Manga
On The Family Foursome
Mike Lynch On Paul Conrad
He's Becoming Steven Tyler
Rest In Peace, Betty Banner
The Definitive HERBIE Article
Mummy, How I Love Ya How I Love Ya

Industry
In The Bleachers At 15 Years
Paul Gravett On Hypercomics

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: Paul Pope
CBR: Tom Brevoort
CBR: Christos Gage
CBR: Kim Thompson
Robot 6: Dean Haspiel
FPI Blog: Gerry Alanguilan
Comics Alliance: Eric Canete
Kleefeld On Comics: Peter B. Lewis
Dimes For Nickels: Shaenon Garrity

Not Comics
It Goes To 11: Sean T. Collins
These Star Wars Prints Are Clever

Publishing
On Starstruck #8-10
Marvel In November
Out In November 2010
Chaos War #1 Previewed
On Wolverine Going To Hell
Comical Animals Previewed

Reviews
Alex Boney: Buzzard
Rob Clough: Set To Sea
Andrew Wheeler: Various
Richard Bruton: The Selves
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Sean T. Collins: Fallen Angel
Ng Suat Tong: The Playwright
Sean Gaffney: Happy Cafe Vol. 4
Chris Mautner: A Drunken Dream
Jason Green: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1
Sarah Boslaugh: Tank Girl: Skidmarks
Derik A Badman: Trains Are... Mint #7
Dave Ferraro: X-Men: Smoke And Blood #1
Michael C. Lorah: Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story
 

 
CR Holiday Post #14: Go Listen To The Jack Kirby Hour 25 Interview With Commentary

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part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six

We hope that you have been refreshed by today's light, holiday offerings, and we look forward to a return to regular service tomorrow.
 
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CR Holiday Post #13 -- A Final Farewell To 711 N B St #4

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I won't miss the studio unit where CR was born except in that nostalgic way I end missing everything sooner or later, but I already miss the view and the mixed-income, mostly working-class neighborhood. It was fun to sit on the porch and take things in while musing over the work of the day.

by the way, stop sending stuff here
 
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CR Holiday Post #12: Derek Van Gieson

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CR Holiday Post #11: Shudder In Horror, Shake With Glee At The 2011 CCI Placeholder Post Unveiling!

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CR Holiday Post #10: Read About The Great David Collier Making A Comic Story For Luke Doucet

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September 6, 2010


CR Holiday Post #9: Go Explore And/Or Bookmark The Tamer Of Istanbul

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CR Holiday Post #8: WhatifKirby.com

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CR Holiday Post #7: The Late Paul Conrad's Program On Independent Lens

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CR Holiday Post #6: Warren Ellis In Wired UK On The Last Folks To Buy Physical Items

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CR Holiday Post #5: A Happy 36th Birthday To Cartoonist, Retired Convention Organizer Dustin Harbin!

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CR Holiday Post #4: Happy 65th Birthday To The Great Go Nagai!

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CR Holiday Post #3: Happy 31st Birthday To Cartoonist/Editor Jason T. Miles!

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CR Holiday Post #2: Happy 73rd Birthday To The Great Sergio Aragones!

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CR Holiday Post #1: Download Jim Rugg's Rambo 3.5 Mini-Comic For Free

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September 5, 2010


Paul Conrad, RIP

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Go, Read: New Trains Are... Mint (#7)

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The One Thing You Can Never Rewrite Into Mainstream Comics Continuity Is A Sense Of Proportion

There was a semi-fascinating sprawl of arguments around the comics Internet over the last week or so, generated by the video snippet at right featuring Darwyn Cooke. I believe it was pushed along mostly by this essay and subsequent conversation at 4thletter!, at which point it was whisked off to dozens of places dark and mysterious to be mulled over and clucked at. There was a lot of dork court legal action going on here -- by which I mean taking what someone said/wrote, setting it in stone as if it were a brief filed somewhere of that person's absolute belief, presuming that ever sub-argument and digression informs that belief, and then picking at the whole thing with 10,000 tiny hammers. No one comes across well when that happens.

Honestly, though, I think if you step back and take a look at what Cooke's saying, it's almost 100 percent of a piece with one of his long-standing talking points: that a way to honor the original creators of corporate superhero product -- these unfortunately and maybe against-their-will absentee fathers and mothers -- is to hew as closely as possible to the intent and feel of their creations as initially established. Two points, then. First, my strong suspicion is that Cooke's not coming at that idea as a nostalgic fanboy with an emotional connection to the characters as he first encountered them as much as he sees himself as a fellow creator in an invisible fraternity attached to an industry in a way that makes him deeply sympathetic to past creators and thus sees working with their characters in a do-unto-others fashion. Second, I further suspect that as much as the content of what breaks with the conception of those original characters may be important to you or me, the how they're different, it's not the nature of the break with the original character but its severity and degree of difference that concerns Cooke.

Maybe the most fascinating thing about the mainstream comic book portion of the comics industry as a leviathan of creative enterprise is its relationship to formula and innovation. Fans of that material desire something that's new and specifically relevant to their conception of art and reality, and yet they also want to mine every last bit of pleasure out of something that works, all the way out to the last, faintest echo of how the original element hit with them. Let me suggest that this kind of phenomenon may be deeply compelling only if your face is right up against the glass and staring at this stuff with those folks, fully invested and unlikely to stop being so any time soon. If you take a step back, if you allow yourself several steps back -- away from the glass, over by the stair, maybe even the other end of the hall -- you start to wonder if it isn't just easier, less problematic and in the end much more fulfilling to move on to something all the way new, noting as you make up your mind that there are dozens if not hundreds of opportunities for doing so.
 
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Go, Look: This Weekend's Maakies Hits Just About The Right Spot

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People Keep Sending Me Space Photos

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your guess is as good as mine
 
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If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 60th Birthday, Cathy Guisewite!

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FFF Results Post #225 -- Game Show

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Three Comics-Related Categories On Which You'd Likely Do Well On A Quiz Show, And Two Where You Might Be In Trouble." This how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. 1970s comics (well)
2. Alternative comics (well)
3. Independent comics (well)
4. Warren comics (trouble)
5. Star Wars comics (trouble)

*****

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Jude Killory

1. 80's/90's Alternative Comics (Well)
2. Formal Aspects (Well)
3. Historical Figures (Well)
4. Image Comics (Trouble)
5. Calvin & Hobbes (Trouble)

*****

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John Vest

1. Independent comics (well)
2. Undergrounds (well)
3. Marvel comics from the 60's-70's (well)
4. Image comics (trouble)
5. Manga (trouble)

*****

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Ryan Kirk

1. Comic Strip History (well)
2. X-Men Comics (well)
3. Alternative Comics (well)
4. Shojo Manga (poor)
5. Crossgen Comics (poor)

*****

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Chad Nevett

1. Superhero Before and After (well)
2. Avengers (well)
3. Vertigo Comics (well)
4. Mini-Comics (trouble)
5. Golden Key Comics (trouble)

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. Kids comics of the Golden Age (well)
2. DC hero reboots of the 80s (well)
3. Don Glut's Gold Key mini-comics universe (well)
4. Underground-era cartoonists who aren't Crumb or Deitch (trouble)
5. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (big trouble)

*****

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Joe Field

1. WonderCon: The First 15 Years (well)
2. Comics Retail (well)
3. '60s Marvel (well)
4. Underground comics (trouble)
5. Manga (trouble)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Newspaper Strips (well)
2. Jack Kirby (well)
3. DC Earth II (well)
4. Post Crisis (trouble)
5. Deadpool Comics (BIG, BIG trouble)

*****

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Nat Gertler

1. Black and White Explosion (well)
2. Imprints (well)
3. Charles Schulz (well)
4. The Undergrounds (trouble)
5. Alternate Covers (trouble)

*****

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Steven Thompson

1. Comics Drawn by Wally Wood (well)
2. Silver Age Humor Comics (well)
3. Earth II (well)
4. Image Comics Art (trouble)
5. Charlton Westerns (trouble)

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. The Legion of Super-Heroes (well)
2. Secret Origins (well)
3. Comic Book Lawsuits (well)
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle clones (trouble)
5. 21st Century Comics (trouble)

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. 1980's Comics (well)
2. Alternative Comics (well)
3. Silver Age Marvel Villains (well)
4. Image Comics (trouble)
5. Understanding Comics (serious trouble)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Movies based on comics (well)
2. Disney comics (well)
3. Underground comics (well)
4. Image comics (trouble)
5. 1990s comics (trouble)

*****

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Tom Mason

* Comic Book Movies (well)
* 1980s Comics (well)
* Comic Strips (well)
* EC Comics (trouble)
* Webcomics (trouble)

*****

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Adam Casey

1. Unfinished series (well)
2. Direct Market history (well)
3. 1940s comics production shops (well)
4. 1990s comics (trouble)
5. Dell Four Color comics (trouble)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. 1970s DC comics (well)
2. 1980s DC comics (well)
3. Silver Age Marvel Villains (well)
4. alternative comics (trouble)
5. underground comics (trouble)

*****

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Michael May

1. Alpha Flight (well)
2. Horror comics (well)
3. Image comics (well)
4. Underground comix (trouble)
5. European comics (trouble)

*****

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Diana Tamblyn

1) 1960s Superman comics (well)
2) Alternative comics (well)
3) Teen Titans comics (any era)
4) Legion of Super-Heroes comics (trouble)
5) Almost any manga (trouble)

*****

I deleted a few entries that didn't fulfill the request to keep to the above format. It's nothing personal, I didn't even look at the names before hitting the delete button. It's a holiday weekend, I have guests, and I don't have the time I'd need for re-formatting or processing complaints from those that wanted to add commentary because you got to. That's why I made the requests I did. Sorry about that, I'm usually much more lenient, hopefully no bad feelings, and I hope you'll play next time.

*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


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A TRIBUTE TO CALVIN & HOBBES COMICS from Urban Breznik on Vimeo.
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September 4, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 28 to September 3, 2010:

1. Diamond to offer Tuesday delivery of comics for Wednesday sale.

2. Mark Waid ignites heated conversation of digital publishing issues with Harvey Awards keynote speech.

3. Bluewater served with cease-and-desist order.

Winners Of The Week
Your 2009 Harvey Awards winners

Loser Of The Week
Malaysia. Come on.

Quote Of The Week
"I paid $47 for an electronic book and all I got was one-on-one counseling with a man who lost the rights to his own IP." -- Dave Shabet

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today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

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

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

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

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Happy 57th Birthday, Paul Smith!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Scott Shaw!

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September 3, 2010


Friday Distraction: Convention Sketches Flickr Set From Tim Clary

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Safe Journey And Best Of Luck To Longtime D+Q Staffer Rebecca Rosen

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Rosen was an early -- the early -- hire at Drawn and Quarterly and a key in that publisher's transformation into a small but potent boutique publisher. A very sweetly-written tribute to her and her time at D+Q can be found here.
 
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South Bend Tribune Lays Off Full-Time Staffer Ron Rogers; Last Cartoon Today

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Longtime newspaper industry magazine of record Editor & Publisher reports via the ever-vigilant Rob Tornoe the South Bend Tribune has ended the employment of full-time editorial cartoonist Ron Rogers.

The article notes that Rogers is believed to be the sole African-American cartoonist working as a traditional, full-time staffer on a daily newspaper. Moreover, he was one of those editorial cartoonists to work in a variety of roles at his publication outside of providing the traditional cartoon, including reporting on live events. Rogers had begun freelancing for the paper in 2002, and became full-time at the publication in 2005, approximately 18 months to three years before a distressing surge of financial turmoil at newspapers and the elimination of several editorial cartooning jobs nationwide.

According to the Tornoe article, Rogers plans to continue cartooning, going so far as to not do a farewell cartoon for the Tribune because of the way that might reflect on the state of his career. Rogers has more than two decades of freelance experience starting in his native Virginia in the early 1980s.

an example of Tornoe's sketchbook work for the Tribune can be found here
 
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Go, Look: Line Hoven

imagethis looks like it was abandoned this year; a lot of nice art, though
 
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Darryl Cagle Cartoon Initiates Objections

imageI love that when someone in an e-mail casually mentioned a mini-furor surrounding a Daryl Cagle cartoon, I was immediately 99 percent certain the most thorough discussion of it on-line would be done by Cagle himself. According to a cartoonist, a cartoon he made appearing on yesterday's front page of Reforma decrying the recent, horrific waves of violence by showing violence against the flag itself, has instigated a formal letter of protest from the Mexican embassy in the U.S. to Cagle's MSNBC employer. A potential complication beyond the visceral reaction some are having to the cartoon is that there may be a law against parodies involving the flag, although that would fall at the newspaper's feet rather than Cagle's. Cagle also provides a number of intriguing links -- one to the reader response when the cartoon went up on his own blog, others to Mexican media sources discussing the cartoon and at least one other like it.
 
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Go, Look: Barbara Yelin Site

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Your 2010 Scream Award Comics And Comics-Related Category Nominees

The nominees for Spike's Scream Awards were announced in the last 100 hours or so via the extravagant web site encouraging you to vote. The film-dominated awards offers three comics categories. The ceremony will be taped on October 16 for an October 19 broadcast. I'm rooting for Asterios Polyp.

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Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel

* Asterios Polyp
* Blackest Night
* The Boys
* Chew
* Parker: The Hunter
* Scalped
* The Walking Dead

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Best Comic Book Writer

* Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X)
* Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter)
* Garth Ennis (Battlefields, The Boys, Crossed)
* Geoff Johns (Blackest Night, Brightest Day, The Flash, Green Lantern)
* Robert Kirkman (The Astounding Wolf-Man, Invincible, The Walking Dead)
* Mike Mignola (B.P.R.D.: 1947, Hellboy in Mexico, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels)

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Best Comic Book Artist

* Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)
* Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter)
* Fabio Moon (B.P.R.D.: 1947, Sugarshock)
* Frank Quitely (Batman and Robin)
* Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden)
* J.H. Williams III (Detective Comics, Batwoman: Elegy)

*****

There is also a comics-related category, "Best Comic Book Movie," made up of The Losers, Kick-Ass and Iron Man 2. I think these awards may be going into their fourth or fifth year at this point...?

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Go, Look: Beautiful Alex Nino

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Collective Memory: BCC 2010

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Go, Look: Dark Shadows #9

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

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

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Go, Look: A Bat Masterson Run

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Go, Look: Egbert #6

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Go, Look: A Lovely Joe Kubert Panel

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Go, Look: Wacky Album Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the world can spend Labor Day weekend cooking out, watching college football, and squeezing in the last moments of summer safe in the knowledge that Jim Woodring is going to build himself a giant pen. Here's how it will work.

image* not comics: whoa, check out these nice children's book illustrations over at Guy Delisle's site.

* pursuing their larger mandate as is their custom over the last three or four years, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is joining in a challenge to a bad Alaskan law.

* I always wondered why Marvel has never been able to do anything with couldn't do more with Giant-Man, who apparently went away for a while and could be coming back. I'm cognizant of the character's shortcomings as developed over the years, but growing really large is one of the abiding metaphors that superhero comics provides, almost up there with flying and turning invisible, and you'd think there's something that could be done with that.

* the writer and cartoonist Shaenon Garrity's choice of obscure yet meaningful comic is a great one this time out.

* not comics: I had no idea there was a Hooked On Comix Vol. 3.

* finally, I am about as far removed from the target audience for this book featuring a new take on Superman as you can get in comics, but it looks sort of awful to me.
 
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Happy 87th Birthday, Mort Walker!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Paul Chadwick!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Victor Cayro!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Joe Matt!

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