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
















November 30, 2010


Go, Look: Facebook Art Round-Up

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Brendan McCarthy outtake from Solo

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Steve Lieber draws Dr. Strange

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Drew Friedman's Will Elder for the Elder family
 
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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 make that decision according to the dreams I keep inside my pillow.

*****

DEC090037 ACHEWOOD HC VOL 03 HOME FOR SCARED PEOPLE $16.99
A new book featuring the consistently excellent on-line comics giant.

OCT100017 BALTIMORE PLAGUE SHIPS #5 $3.50
This is this week's contribution from the Mignola-verse, the whatever luxury car isn't from a bankrupt manufacturer of today's current serial-to-trade comics offerings.

JUN100020 CHRONICLES OF CONAN TP VOL 20 NIGHT OF WOLF $18.99
JUN100045 CREEPY ARCHIVES HC VOL 08 $49.99
I don't follow either of these reprint programs enough to comment on their quality, but I like the idea of each series.

OCT100206 BRIGHTEST DAY #15 $2.99
AUG100197 BRIGHTEST DAY HC VOL 01 $29.99
Backseat driving comics companies about which I know very little #1: it seems weird to me that you'd have collections coming out at the same time an event series is ongoing, kind of like being asked to buy DVDs of earlier rounds of a sporting playoff before the championship match. This is probably a ridiculous concern, but it just seems like you'd want to make that shift in collection strategies a bit later on.

JUN100657 CIVIL WAR HC SPIDER-MAN $39.99
Backseat driving comics companies about which I know very little #2: on the other hand, it also seems odd if this is a first-time offering, like getting a DVD of the 2007 divisional playoffs in late 2010.

OCT100643 WOLVERINE BEST THERE IS #1 $3.99
And what he does is maintain his popularity as a title-launcher despite being decades past his initial rise to popularity. Actually, maybe Batman is the best there is. Good thing that this potential obvious candidate for a key role in superhero over-publishing jenga is being offered at that lower price point. Oh, wait.

OCT100550 WOMEN OF MARVEL #2 (OF 2) $3.99
Well, they got to two issues.

SEP100464 IMAGE COMICS 2010 SDCC YEARBOOK HC $29.99
It is no way the tiniest bit of commentary on anything within this pin-up book's covers to suggest that its buyers are grade-A comics customers, and if there were any way to upgrade them to first class, we should.

MAY100481 KING CITY #12 (MR) $2.99
Brandon Graham's series, that could have been on the stands in 1984 even though it combined influences that didn't begin to be felt until years after, concludes. Good show.

MAY100989 BURMA CHRONICLES GN (MR) $16.95
This is a timely re-offer considering events in that world. I enjoyed this book quite a bit.

AUG101178 TEZUKA AYAKO GN (MR)(C: 0-1-2) $26.95
I'm not sure what those extra letters mean (MR is mature readers), but this is Vertical's latest book from Osamu Tezuka's fertile 1970s period where he worked in all sorts of adult formats, kind of like if Walt Disney took a few years there to make studio versions of Mean Streets and Cockfighter starring Dean Jones and Angelea Lansbury.

AUG101068 AKIRA KODANSHA ED GN VOL 04 (MR) $27.99
The latest reprinting of the classic sci-fi adventure series, a foundational tome for a wide-ranging comics library.

OCT101030 TRICKSTER NATIVE AMERICAN TALES GN ANTHOLOGY $22.95
A fine idea for an anthology series, discussed and previewed here. This is the kind of book that in a healthy comics system would be on store shelves for years and years, constantly replaced.

AUG100914 RASL #9 (MR) $3.50
It's amazing to me that Jeff Smith's mash-up of true science and science fiction nears its 10th issue, but I enjoy the crap out of this series and I'm heading to a comics shop to pick it up.

*****

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 a tender and callow fellow.

*****

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Go, Read: Other People Exist

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Editorial Cartoonist Drew Sheneman Accepts Buyout From The Star-Ledger

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Rob Tornoe has a fine interview up with Drew Sheneman, the still very young editorial cartoonist of at the The Star-Ledger on the occasion of his taking a buyout of his staffed editorial cartooning position. The 35-year-old New Jersey native has been winning awards since college, where he was practically endorsed in 1996 as a future full-time staffer by the Scripps Howard Foundation when they gave him its Charles Schulz Award. It is precisely because he can't see himself retiring in such a position that he took the buyout now, Sheneman told Tornoe.

When Sheneman was hired by The Start Ledger in 1998 following a pair of brief internships elsewhere, he became the youngest full-time editorial cartoonist working in newspapers. His work has appeared in top-flight publications including the New York Times and the Washington Post. He won the 2004 Vic Canone Editorial Cartoon Award from the NYC chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) for a cartoon on the impending Iraq War called "Cowboy." Sheneman also won the 1995 John Locher Memorial Award, which is the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists' college award.

Sheneman talks very sweetly about being a part of the newsroom in his Tornoe interview, noting the excitement of being part of a newspaper's fury when it's pursuing a story and the celebration when a story is later recognized.

He is syndicated by Tribune Media Services, work that plans to continue.
 
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Go, Look: Rare Harvey Kurtzman

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John D'Agostino, 1929-2010

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According to a post made by writer and comics historian Mark Evanier, the artist, letterer and colorist John D'Agostino, who also worked as Jon D'Agostino and John Dee, died early November 29 at his home in Connecticut. He was 81 years old. D'Agostino was one of those backbone creators in the North American comics industry, working in a variety of styles on every aspect of comics production, fitting comfortably into both lead and support roles.

D'Agostino was born in Italy. His family moved to the United States when D'Agostino was a child, and he attended the Industrial School of Art in Los Angeles. As a young man, D'Agostino found employment in the comics field as a colorist for Martin Goodman's comics line, during one of that company's relative flush periods in the late 1940s. He became that company's head colorist soon after, working on a variety of books.

imageD'Agostino provided inking and pencil art to a variety of projects in the early 1950s, for minor publishers Story Comics and Master Publications. Like many prolific, self-starting artists, D'Agostino eventually found a home as a freelancer at Charlton, known for its inventory policies that kept many cartoonists active and productive according to their own pace. D'Agostino would work in a variety of genres for Charlton, including funny animal, romance and humor.

D'Agostino was the credited letterer on the first three issues of Marvel's landmark Amazing Spider-Man series.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, D'Agostino egan to find work at Gold Key and Archie in addition to his freelance work for Marvel. He became more and more valuable as an inker, and as a talent who could finish work from a wide variety of artists no matter the project. He was one of a number of industry veterans employed by Marvel's kids imprint Star Comics in the 1980s. After that project flamed out, and with Charlton's closure in 1985, D'Agostino began working exclusively for Archie on projects ranging from Jughead's Time Police to Sonic The Hedgehog. He continued to receive credits at Archie through this year.

Mark Evanier notes that D'Agostino is often confused with John Duffy, another 1960s-era inker, and the artist Tony D'Agostino.

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Go, Look: Target Comics Vol. 3 #3

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Your 2010 About.com Continuing Manga Series Award Winners

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Deb Aoki at About.com manga has released that site's year-end awards for manga that are in continuing series right now. They are:

* Best Manga Series: Pluto, Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
* Best Manga Series (runner-up): Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Fumi Yoshinaga (Viz)
* Best Shonen Manga Series: One Piece, Eiichiro Oda (Viz)
* Best Shonen Manga Series (runner-up): Cat Paradise, Yuji Iwahara (Yen Press)
* Best Shojo Manga Series: Sand Chronicles, Hinako Ashihara (Viz)
* Best Shojo Manga Series (runner-up): Gakuen Alice, Tachibana Higuchi (TokyoPop)
* Best Seinen/Josei Manga Series: Action: Vagabond Takehiko Inoue (Viz)
* Best Seinen/Josei Manga Series: Drama: Suppli, Mari Okazaki (TokyoPop)
* Best Seinen/Josei Manga Series: Comedy: Moyasimon, Masayuki Ishikawa (Del Rey)
* Best All-Ages Manga Series: Yotsuba&!, Kiyohiko Azuma (Yen Press)
* Best Edition of Reprinted Material: Card Captor Sakura, CLAMP (Dark Horse)
* Best International Manga Series: Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)* Best Art Book: Cosplay In America, Ejen Chuang (OpikNerve)
* Best Illustrated Novel: Shinjuku, mink and Yoshitaka Amano (Dark Horse)
* Best Underappreciated Gem: New: Deadman Wonderland, Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou (TokyoPop)
* Best Underappreciated Gem: Shojo: Itazura na Kiss, Kaoru Tada (Digital Manga Publishing)
* Best Underappreciated Gem: Shonen: Case Closed, Gosho Aoyama (Viz)
* Best Notable Newcomer: F*X*T Magazine, Various (F*X*T Magazine)
* Biggest Disappointment: Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim (Yen Press)
* Worst Excuse for Manga (tie) : Red Hot Chili Samurai, Yoshitsugu Katagiri (TokyoPop); Ugly Duckling's Love Revolution, Yuuki Fujinari (Yen Press).
 
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Go, Look: Glam Thanksgiving

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Glyph Awards Announce 2011 Judges Slate; Opens Its Nomination Process

imageAccording to a press release from Glyph Comics Awards administrator Rich Watson relayed on several comics sites as in this post at Robot 6, that program, devoted to black-themed material, has set its judges and opened up its nomination process for the 2011 edition. The panel of judges is Jennifer Contino, Martha Cornog, Joseph Phillip Illidge, J. Caleb Mozzocco and Chad Nevett. Those wishing to submit their work for consideration according to the standards described in the linked-to article are encouraged to contract Watson at rich.watson@gmail.com. Submissions will close on January 31. The awards were founded in 2005, and are named after Watson's long-time, similarly focused blog.
 
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Go, Look: More ERB Fanzine Work

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Go, Look: More Early John Byrne

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Go, Look: More SEP Cartoons

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Go, Look: More Whack #2

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Go, Look: Classic Pete Morisi

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a lovely post by Bhob Stewart about Martin Landau's cartooning career.

image* the cartoonist and caricaturist Richard Thompson talks about his long-time US News & World Report gig, on the occasion of that publication mostly leaving the newsstand.

* the mighty Paul Gravett continues his survey of great British comics of the right here and right now.

* it's hard to imagine a blog more fun post by post than Brandon Graham's.

* funnybook professor Chris Mautner takes you to Comics College via his 100-level course in Tintin. I like the idea of imagining these are actual comics courses, because I bet people would avoid some and embrace others.

* Secret Acres describes their current goings-on, including their plans for the forthcoming Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival.

* Dash Shaw contributed to a 'zine about fraternity parties?

* in stuff that I've seen around the Internet that might make good holiday presents news: here's a lovely print for Cardinals fans by Dan Zettwoch; here's a cute t-shirt by Dustin Harbin; here's a sale from Rob Ullman.

* this Jesse Moynihan page is batshit insane, although if you don't like to see people depicted as being involved in dramatic, bloody fistfights with animals, it's certainly not for you.

* finally, a visit to Batman City: where everyone is Batman.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Chris Claremont!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Keith Giffen!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Brian Basset!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Brian Pulido!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Johnny Ryan!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Ruben Bolling!

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Quick hits
Craft
Tools
Murder
Snowflake
Murderbullets
You Burn With Us
Daredevil & Elektra
Love For That Big Colon
Have You Seen This Girl?

History
Re-Reading Elfquest
Superman's Cleveland
Calm Down, Superman

Industry
Fantagraphics' Catalog Now Available

Interviews/Profiles
Interview With Bill Amend
Robot 6: David Steinberger

Not Comics
Shopping The Warren Ellis Way
Congratulations To The New Parents

Publishing
Supergod #5 Preview
New Project For Guy Delisle
Secret Avengers #7 Previewed
Who Is The New BPRD Member?
Mike Sterling Looks At The Comics
What All Those Teasers Were About
Kickstarter Campaign For Steve Lafler

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Dave Ferraro: Various
Tucker Stone: Flash #6
Richard Bruton: 100 Months
Matthew Brady: Weathercraft
Colin Panetta: The Maximortal
Alex Carr: Northlanders Vol. 4
Sean T. Collins: Chance In Hell
Todd Klein: Dodgem Logic #1-2
Sean Gaffney: Maid-sama! Vol. 7
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Greg McElhatton: xxxHolic Vol. 16
Robert Greenberger: Superfuckers
Johanna Draper Carlson: Celadore
Michael C. Lorah: Nipper: 1963-1964
Rob Clough: Dungeon Monstres Vol. 3
Andrew Wheeler: The Book Of Genesis
Bill Sherman: Miss Don't Touch Me Vol. 2
Daniel Von Egidy: Detective Comics #871
Nathan Wilson: Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods
Andrew Wheeler: Love And Rockets: New Stories #3
Johanna Draper Carlson: Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy
 

 
November 29, 2010


Go, Read: Laura Miller At Salon.com On New, Noteworthy Graphic Novels

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A pretty wide-ranging list, given slideshow treatment.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Destructor Comics

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Go, Read: LAT Profiles Joyce Farmer

imageIt's hard to be an unquestioning fan of big-media entity artist profiles. Many depend on formula, while others may prove over-attentive to the PR opportunities embodied by such pieces. This one of Joyce Farmer over on the LA Times deserves a pass. It's difficult to maintain one's general media cynicism when hearing about and from a 71-year-old underground legend landing back into comics consciousness based on the power and appeal of a work she was driven to do for deeply personal reasons long after there was any expectation for her to create such a work. The decline and death of elderly parents is an important issue, too, one that comics may be uniquely effective in exploring due to its twin skills of representing idiosyncratic detail and creating avenues for readers to project themselves into someone else's story.
 
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Go, Look: Basil Wolverton Sci-Fi

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the Hindi news organization Zee News has published a two-part blog post they say is created from the testimony provided Indian officials by would-be Jylland-Posten blower upper and Mumbai Massacre scout David Coleman Headley: part one, part two. As with all things Headley-related I urge extreme caution, a skeptical eye and patience when coming to conclusions until after some issues of provenance are settled. Fun read, though.

* noted British anti-cartoons protester Omar Khayam is going to jail on drug charges. The entire British narrative concerning the cartoons and the protests and the authorities' relationship to the communities doing the protesting and those leading it, all of that deserves its own book.

* using one of the Danish Cartoons as your Facebook icon may come back to haunt you, if only in a profile that will make readers roll their eyes.
 
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Go, Read: 1929 Denys Wortman Profile

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A Quick Pair Of News Updates

* Chris Pitzer of AdHouse wrote in to say that their impromptu book drive on behalf of Josh Cotter raised almost $500 in funds, which was dispersed to the cartoonist over the weekend. Cotter recently suffered an economic setback due to a fire in a neighboring apartment, both damage and dislocation related. The very talented cartoonist is attending the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival this weekend, and if you're in attendance I urge you to consider buying anything on a table between him and you.

* CR relayed news last week that the artist Jasper Friend is facing serious charges after an arrest in White River Junction, Vermont. The linked-to story mentioned that Friend had a four-year relationship since terminated with that town's Center For Cartoon Studies, which didn't sound right considering that CCS is a two-year institution. Apparently, Friend matriculated in 2008 as part of the school's third class -- one that I'm supposing would have graduated last Spring -- but left after one year. It's believed the Boston-based artist and a girlfriend maintained their White River Junction residence.
 
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Go, Look: American Visuals Books

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More On Comics, Piracy, Entitlement

If you're tracking the issue of comics piracy as put on the front burner by this Colleen Doran essay as published at The Hill, there are few follow-ups you might be interested in pursuing. There are about eight pages of comments on the original article. There were 124 comments from readers of Heidi MacDonald's mostly-comics site The Beat. A site called Techdirt wrote about it. Longtime writer about comics Johanna Draper Carlson wrote about it here. Draper Carlson's article has fostered its own discussion, including several fierce slams like this one from Shaenon Garrity.

I think they're all worth a dispassionate read. I agree with very little of the follow-up outside of Garrity's blunt and truthful comments, but it's worth reading the arguments made. As I've written before, I think the rhetoric surrounding this issue is deeply screwed up to the point where I'm not certain rational discussion is possible without a lot of work, work that may by itself diminish the effectiveness of the discussion. One big barrier made clear with this latest round of argumentation is that like most business issues the tendency/desire/requirement is to ground these arguments in a bottom line. While I understand the reason this is done, the problems with this become manifold. No one can really measure these figures with certainty. The figures may change drastically according to individual example and idiosyncratic context -- context that may even depend on the argument not evolving. Worst of all, discussing figures and the accompanying value of gain/loss allows those that wish to rationalize or legitimize certain practices the ability to make a best-interests argument. Not only should someone almost never be allowed to make a best-interests argument for another person, the arguments in this arena are usually based on those aforementioned assertions of nebulous figures or isolated, potentially non-replicable examples. It's a mess.

Another barrier, at least from my perspective, is that I find some of the argumentation about the inevitability of piracy to be a bit leaky. For one thing, it seems to me if you insist on seeing piracy as a cohering reality without moral agency -- something that just "is," like it or lump it -- you have to make a much better argument than exists to refuse various counter-moves the right to that same amoral standing. A vaguely pressed, underlying assertion that one set of beliefs and actions is of the people and the embodiment of younger virtues or the future and another set is of or equivalent to the workings of corporations and uncool/old/fearful/greedy people, that just doesn't cut it outside of the virtual high fives of commentary threads. It's unearned, it's loaded, and it's potentially hostile to those that exist out of the asserted paradigm, like artists. A second problem is that an inevitability stance too easily and too thoroughly conflates mechanisms of economic change with the outcomes of personal choice, which leads to easy rationalization of all sorts of scary behavior and oversimplifies the actual mechanisms by which such things function. A third problem is that I think these discussions underplay the ability of this culture -- any culture -- to change its mind in a meaningful way. For instance, I think there's a decent argument to be made that the wholesale swiping of by-lined text on-line progressed through stages where at one point those of us that work in that medium were told with pompous certainty many of the same things those that make other kinds of art -- art that is only now technologically as easy to re-distribute and consume as text was early on -- are being told today. I know my attitude and practices have changed in areas where I'm solely a consumer, in some cases multiple times and almost never where I'm told I'm going to end up. I bet that's the case for many of you. I know from talking to young people when I've been able to about their consumption habits concerning manga that many evince different attitudes about such issues in their mid-20s than they did in their late-teens. Does the monolith exist and do we really know its nature? I'd say no and hell no.

Let me repeat my strong belief that digital piracy be seen as a creator's rights issue, and that doing so avoids much of the morass detailed above. A creator should have the right to plot the basic economic course of what they make. That doesn't mean they have the right to a desired outcome, only that they should get to choose the process by which they want to make that work available to the consumer. We should all do a better job of respecting those rights throughout our conduct with comics. I have some work to do in this area myself. These personal decisions are important, and given enough of them, they matter. I would argue that such choices are far more important than the skillful wrangling of a conjectural future designed to flatter our sense of personal place within it.
 
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Go, Look: The Orc Don't Fit

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George F. Will On Comics Censorship

imageI've learned to distrust George Will on everything that isn't the designated hitter rule, so I'm wary of reading too much into this brand-new essay about videogame censorship that invokes the 1950s anti-comics crusade. As Will notes, novel and popular forms of cultural expression invariably attract the censorious-minded folks, although I'm not certain I share his assertion that this attraction is limited to those on one side of the spectrum. It's worth keeping in mind, though, as a form of cyclical popular history. As I recall, the comic book censorship of the 1950s has an immediate precedent that Will doesn't mention: comic-strip censorship during the teens and '20s. It's also interesting to note that there was brief, secondary flash of such concerns in the late 1980s/early 1990s, in that video games are hardly new. Anyway, I think there may be a point or two worth taking away from Will's piece about the general phenomenon, even though it reads like one of those essays where certain points are slipped by to maintain the stinging quality of the rhetoric without getting anything mired down in details.
 
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Go, Look: Wonder Wart-Hog In Heaven

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Go, Look: Earl Norem Covers

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Go, Look: Two-Dimensional Tor

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Go, Look: Green Hornet #1

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Go, Look: Evergeen Review Comics

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Alan Moore provides an example for the rest of us to follow.

* numbers fans can rejoice as John Jackson Miller gets closer to restoring information about the days when the market shattered into multiple major distributors with exclusives and very particular ways of doing things.

image* Devlin Thompson wrote in after this site extolled the virtues of the cover to My Favorite Martian #1 that pretty much all the My Favorite Martian covers are awesome in some way or another. It's difficult to disagree with Mr. Thompson.

* Richard Burton follows some Cerebus-related art around the Internet.

* on Thanksgiving, David Welsh selected a number of 2010 books for which he is grateful. Me, I'm grateful for this hissing ball of nutbaggery.

* the cartoonist Craig Thompson makes pattern and page numbers.

* that's a very cute cover for Axe Cop.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco digs up the comics from the Big Two (Marvel, DC) that sold worse than the recently canceled Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

* Pete and Alice go to Powell's.

* if you're doing some comics-related Christmas shopping this year, be sure to keep an eye out for sudden, personal sales offered by a variety of cartoonists on their personal web sites, such as this extended Black Friday book and art sale from Julia Wertz.

* Dash Shaw enthuses over Osamu Tezuka and his secrets of creation.

* not comics: my brother and I were seeking a comedy series to watch during spare moments together -- just say no to network football halftime shows -- and decided to finally take the plunge on this. Not perfect and not for everybody but genuinely funny and skillfully performed. I'm curious as to why it's never been talked up over here the way some of its other comedy show peers have been.

* for some reason, I always derive a bit of pleasure from articles about rich comics dudes translated, however roughly, into real world terms. In fact, I always wonder when they give Uncle Scrooge's financial breakdown if they aren't underplaying the "sentient duck" angle to his potential, real-world fortune. That's got to be worth something on a speaking tour.

* finally, Mike Zeck shows off a handful of his original art from celebrated Filipino artists.
 
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Happy 68th Birthday, Maggie Thompson!

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Happy 24th Birthday, Oli Smith!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sniff
El Nine
Toolbug
Dash Shaw Draws
Thanksgiving Seating Chart

Exhibits/Events
A Graphic Cosmogony

History
On Gasoline Alley
Golden Age = History
This Made My Head Hurt
Norman Rockwell Parodies
On Spider-Man's New Status Quo

Interviews/Profiles
io9: Tommy Kovac
Comic Attack: Alan Martin
Sequential: Robin McConnell
NPR: Inverna Lockpez, Dean Haspiel

Not Comics
Scenes From South Beloit
Frank Santoro Lands In New Mexico

Publishing
Happy Fifth To Banal Pig
On Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali
Five Comics Cool Kids Might Read

Reviews
Todd Klein: The Unknown
Sean Kleefeld: Bakuman Vol. 2
Shannon Smith: Enquirer Dharbin
Todd Klein: Nexus Archives Vol. 11
Richard Bruton: The Stool Pigeon #29
Sean Kleefeld: Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale
Lauren Davis: The Adventures Of Superhero Girl
 

 
November 28, 2010


CR Sunday Interview: Rina Ayuyang

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*****

imageBorn and raised in Pittsburgh long before it became a hub for regional cartoonists and a Bay Area transplant by way of San Francisco State University long after that region had established itself as one of the world's great cartooning locales, Rina Ayuyang may be familiar to you as she was to me as a intermittently prolific cartoonist behind such small-press and handmade efforts as her series Namby Pamby and, more recently, as a co-host with fellow cartoonist Thien Pham of the comics podcast The Comix Claptrap. You may or may not share my experience reading her new collection Whirlwind Wonderland: a slow but insistent rediscovery of a comics talent with a unique voice and a broad array of skills as writer and artist to employ on its behalf. I'm delighted she took the time to speak with me about the Sparkplug/Tugboat book, which offered several of my favorite comics moments all year. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: I read a profile of you in a Pittsburgh newspaper, and you spoke about the influence of having grown up in Pittsburgh. You mentioned the Pittsburgh sports fan element and about the context in which living in Pittsburgh placed your Filipino heritage. I'm sort of fascinated by that whole Pittsburgh region, and I wondered if there are elements beyond that you ascribe to being raised there. Also, given the fair number of cartoonists in Pittsburgh, do you feel any camaraderie with that area as an artist?

RINA AYUYANG: Pittsburgh is a great town. It has that unshakable reputation of being a city with smoke stacks, steel mills, and-soot covered buildings but it's truly a beautiful, idyllic place. Just the various neighborhoods, the landscape, the history -- the city itself is inspiring. Pittsburgh has this interesting community of hard-working, passionate people who do not put up with a lot of bullshit. Though they value family, love their sports and are practical-minded, they also take time to celebrate and nurture creativity and the Arts. There were always places for me to see and do art in Pittsburgh. I spent a lot of my time roaming around with my sisters in Oakland, hanging out in the Carnegie Art Museum and the Frick Museum, going to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Warhol Museum, staring at art and architecture downtown.

When I left Pittsburgh, I wasn't thinking of the burgeoning comics scene at the time at all. My brother was living in San Francisco then, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to leave for a couple of years, go to college, and figure out my art career.

Years later, when I started making comics in San Francisco, I finally found out about the huge comics and zine community in Pittsburgh. I recently did a reading at ToonSeum and got to meet cartoonists Ed Piskor, Rachel Masilamani, Pat Lewis, Jim Rugg, and Bill Boichel who runs Copacetic Comics. I felt so at home. They are really nice people, and are all forces in the comics world in their own right. But, there is definitely a serious comradery in general, among people around the world who are from Pittsburgh. We are like veterans who rap nostalgic about the war or something. There is real pride for the city and for the people who live or have lived there and have become successful through hard work and determination.

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SPURGEON: Brian Heater suggested in something he wrote that a way to read your work is that a story ostensibly about one thing is really about another -- that your Pittsburgh Steelers story is less about the Steelers than it is about relationships. Do you feel that's true, and if so, is that intentional? Do you create with some sort of area of exploration in mind, or do those things suggest themselves as you make your comics?

AYUYANG: That story, the "Miracle Season" was for the Friends of Lulu: Girls Guide to Guys Stuff anthology. It was in keeping with the anthology's theme of gender roles. In the story, the traditional view of gender roles was flipped, as I was the one who liked sports and football while my husband enjoyed books and Scrabble.

I think it is true that there's more than meets the eye in what I write. Sometimes it's intentional from the start, especially with the one-pager comics/sketches that I draw for my blog. Other times it just happens as the story evolves like the "Crack O'Dawn" or "Regulars" stories in the book. I always feel that even though I'm writing a series of ordinary events that not everyone may care about it, like daydreaming in the bus to work or eating in an old favorite diner, I owe it to the reader to deliver some story or some experience that's meaningful to them or at least worth the ride.

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SPURGEON: In your interview in Asian Journal, you talk about discovering comics from people like Dan Clowes and Lynda Barry. How did that happen, and do you remember what it was about the works you were reading that inspired you to make your own? Because with Namby Pamby it seems like you knew right away the kind of experience you wanted to engage in comics form.

AYUYANG: Well, stuff by Dan Clowes and Lynda Barry told me that comics wasn't just the Sunday funnies and newspaper strips, or just about superheroes or detectives. There were other worlds and ideas that you could explore through comics. I did know early on that I wanted to write about things I cared about, things that not everyone would be interested in, or things that weren't too out of the ordinary I think it was John Porcellino, Chester Brown's autobio, and Adrian Tomine's short stories that told me it was okay to make comics about subtle and quiet things. I was totally motivated to just try because of those cartoonists, and so I drew my first mini-comic Namby Pamby.

SPURGEON: Is there anyone you feel is an influence on your work that might not be obvious to someone reading it, even someone generally comics-informed? You had such a broad range of influences as a kid I wondered if you latched onto anyone when you were older in the same fashion.

AYUYANG: I was inspired first and foremost by the humor in comics like Peanuts, Nancy and MAD Magazine, but I pretty much liked looking at all kinds of comics and artists' work when I was a kid. I think my work isn't pinned down to one particular style because of that. I'd scrutinize illustrations in children's books and architecture books. I was drawn to and am still influenced a lot by the realism I found in those books, as well as old detective and adventure comic strips, like Milt Caniff or Alex Raymond's stuff. I love the draftsmanship and the details in the background of those comics. They taught me to be a good observer of buildings and objects in space.

My style is influenced by a mishmash of different artists and cartoonists. You know, when I see this awesome page by Jaime Hernandez, it makes me think more about the line against the white space of the page, or when I look at Joann Sfar's work or Hinker Blutch, I want to make looser and brushier marks on the page. I'm not saying that I'm in any way successful at doing these things with my own work, but it makes me think of different approaches. One time I saw a Bruce Conner exhibit, I think, at the San Jose Museum, and I was just floored by how different his styles were and all the different type of mediums he used. He would do mandala art, collages, and then video art -- all of them had a different approach, and it was hard finding a unifying theme or a stylistic expression that could define who he was as an artist. I liked that about him, and it told me that I didn't have to be tied down to one type of style or medium.

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SPURGEON: Where did the Comix Claptrap impulse come from? I enjoy the podcasts, but they also have a really loose energy to them. How much of a learning curve was involved for you? Is there a particular moment from those podcasts you've enjoyed?

AYUYANG: There were all of these comics podcasts that I was listening to at the time. I thought it would be interesting to do one with cartoonists talking to other cartoonists about the craft, industry controversies, and experiences that we could all relate to, like self-publishing mini-comics or dealing with printers. I was driving from a comics reading or something, and had shared this idea with my husband, Ken and cartoonist, Jason Shiga. Jason barked from the backseat that Thien Pham and I should do a show together. When I asked Thien, he was all into it as you can imagine, so we just went from there. We had fellow cartoonist Josh Frankel pretend to be reporting from the Comic Relief store in Berkeley, but that premise died pretty quickly, though of course we still have Josh talking about new comics, but in the comfort of his own home.

I always wanted to produce a podcast in general. Seriously, anyone can do it. I mean obviously anyone can if Thien and I do it because we have no real journalistic or communications background and no formal training which shows a lot. It was like starting a cable access TV program. We felt we could do and say anything because we never really believed anyone would be noticing besides family or cartoonist friends who knew us personally. I think that's where the "loose energy" comes from. However, when I was attending APE one year, all of these people would come up to us and talk about how they loved the show, or how they disliked one of Thien's comments, or that we were like Regis and Kelly (which was horrible). So we realized that it was bigger than we thought. I was at first kind of embarrassed by the attention and thought that we needed to act and make the show more professional, but strangely enough more and more cartoonists were saying yes to being interviewed by us which amazes me to this day. Thien is great at speaking his mind and keeps it entertaining, while I on the other hand stutter a lot and have a horrible radio voice, but I do ask the pertinent questions. Anyway, we try to tape regularly, but we still regard it as a side project to our day jobs or our comics projects. So sometimes we'll have a long break in between.

I think the moments I really love when the cartoonists let down their guard and say funny things that you never thought they would say like the one with Renee French talking about Spock, the one when Dan Clowes speaks in Pittsburghese, or Jaime Hernandez talking about the Rose Bowl Parade.

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SPURGEON: I think of you as part of the Bay Area cartooning community, and you've talked in the past about how moving from Pittsburgh to San Francisco was empowering because of the different communities involved. As an artist, as a cartoonist, how important is a sense of community in terms of what you do. The necessity of community is a subject of endless debate among cartoonists, so as someone cognizant of the advantages and disadvantages of same I wonder what you thought about the creative community within comics.

AYUYANG: Yeah, it was totally empowering for me to move to San Francisco from Pittsburgh because it was right after high school, a time when I was just happy to get out and do my own thing. However, when I was starting out in comics, I didn't go out and meet with a lot of Bay Area cartoonists. It was because of my own hang-ups. I'm pretty shy in big groups, and also I didn't think I was good enough of a cartoonist to hang around any cartoonist. Before I had the guts to meet anyone in person, I would trade my comics with zinesters and cartoonists via mail, and correspond with cartoonists by email or the message boards. It was safer for me. If they criticized my work, I could just sob into my pillow rather than have to deal with it for another hour at a bar.

Finally after a couple of years even after I "met" these people online, I gained more confidence and finally went to a comics jam in Berkeley. I remember Jesse Reklaw, Joey Sayers, Josh Frankel and Fred Noland were there. Jesse said something like, "Geez, it sure took you a long time!" So I do think community is important whether you find it online, through the mail, or in the same city with one other person or hundreds. It's good to get another perspective about your work, about comics and the industry in general. It's very easy to be isolated as an artist. You're always lost in your own art and your own ideas and opinions. You're thinking about those things all the time, and it's easy to forget the world and people around you. With that said I've learned as with any relationship that it's nice when the company is positive and upbeat. I mean, debate and differing opinions are great, but when it's mainly negative and divisive, then it's just not fun anymore.

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SPURGEON: You posted a one-pager on your blog last month that fascinated me, where you kind of answered once and for all the question of why you do autobiographical comics: that you need them as a reminder of certain moments in your life that might be lost to the sound and fury of everyday existence. Where did that comic come from; moreover, can you talk about how that rationale occurred to you?

AYUYANG: A lot of those one-page doodles that I post on my blog are my most personal work. That one in particular was something I drew just to remind myself why I do the kind of comics that I do and that it was okay to do them. All of these different things were happening all at once, and it was hard to stop and to savor each one as an individual moment. I guess the stuff on my blog is a way to take a snapshot of each of these moments. I was also thinking about the recent strips I was putting up on my blog. I haven't been posting a lot of them since my son was born, but the ones I was posting seemed redundant to me, like it was always about me being tired or driven insane by being a new mother. And I was wondering if I should make the reader go through this whole process of, I guess, self-discovery with me.

When I make comics, I try to keep the reader in mind, like how much of myself do I want to reveal to them and how can I share my thoughts in a way that they can digest without it being preachy or too cryptic. But what I realized is that as much as I want to make the reader happy, my comics-making is a completely personal and cathartic experience for me. So, as corny as it sounds, ultimately I have to do it for me and be okay with it. So, the strip was really a question or maybe even a challenge directed to myself, and not so much an answer to the people ranting on the Internet about how bad and unnecessary all autobio comics are. Ha.

SPURGEON: I'm not sure that I've ever talked to anyone about working with Dylan and Sparkplug. How was that experience? How was the book conceived, and how were they as a partner in seeing it to fruition?

AYUYANG: I had known about Dylan Williams as a cartoonist first with his self-published comic series Reporter. I never got to talk to him but was a fan of his comic. It was only until maybe 2005 or '06, that I met him and started bothering him in person. He began selling some of my minis through Sparkplug's distro. The same with Greg Means, I knew him as Clutch, and I met him at SF Zine Fest around this time, too. After my mini-comic doodle daze came out, we all sat down one day at a vegan restaurant (because of Dylan, of course), and they told me that they were going to start publishing a couple of books together, much like the efforts with their free comics Nerd Burglar and Bird Hurdler (which was also co-published with Tim Goodyear and Dinosaur Teenage). At first, I proposed to them a book like doodle daze with more spontaneous drawings from my blog, but I was also working on the fifth issue of Namby Pamby at the time, and they were really interested in that as well as making it a collection of older stories. They were hoping to get it out by the end of 2008, but plans were delayed because I became pregnant with my son.

Dylan is a very mellow, positive guy. So is Greg. They have different tastes in comics. I think Dylan is more interested in the wild art comics, while Greg is very interested in humorous, playful storytelling, which complements each other very well They were both very supportive and so easy to work with. They both pretty much let me do whatever I wanted with Whirlwind Wonderland. They just told me the page count and let me do my thing! And, they were very patient with my slow progress and everything that was happening in my life at the time. We got things done fairly quickly once all the art was complete. I'm pretty honored to have been published by those two. They are both enthusiastic champions of cartoonists, especially those that have flown under the radar.

imageSPURGEON: This is a terrible question, but does having a book out change how you feel about your work, or how people treat you in terms of your work? I find that people that may not understand much about publishing or creative work understand the idea of doing a book, and I also know that sometimes seeing one's work between two covers can lead to a scramble for meaning, or at least some introspection.

AYUYANG: This is something I think about a lot of the time, actually. Sometimes I look at my work in Whirlwind Wonderland and ask myself if it was really worthy of being published by someone. I think with self-publishing there is less pressure to have success with a book. Luckily, I didn't feel a lot of pressure from Dylan or Greg. They print the book and then send it on its way, and whatever happens -- happens.

I think I put more pressure on myself to get out there and promote it, more so than I would a new mini-comic. In general, when one of my stories is published, I can't read it right away. It's like when you cook a big meal and you can't sit down to enjoy it and you lose your appetite instead. However, I read Whirlwind on the bus a couple months after the release, and I enjoyed it. So, at least I like it if no one else does. I think my family likes it, too, so that's good. Ultimately, I think it was a good first book for me to manage. I mean people were excited to see it, but I think there weren't huge expectations for it.

SPURGEON: The Murder She Wrote story is one I'd heard about before reading it -- this may be an impossibly broad question, but can you talk a bit in what you wanted to accomplish through the tone of that story? On the one hand it's this totally sincere tribute to the television show, but it's also self-aware as to its limitations and dependency on formula. Is there a broader point that you think people can take out of that one?

Also, seriously: she kills all those people herself, right?

AYUYANG: Yeah, she totally kills them and then they are reborn in episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. No, well, the comic was a tribute to the show in all its formulaic beauty. I love that show, seriously. I love the campiness and predictability of it. It's comfort food for me. I also loved how these geriatric TV shows were pitted against the NBC "Must See TV" shows like Friends that were aimed at a younger and hipper audience. So, it was an ode to all the so-called quirky unhip shows that were being replaced or being canceled. At the time I did this comic, I was watching Murder She Wrote on syndication where it was also starting to be replaced by shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter or LA Ink or something.

SPURGEON: One of my favorite stories in the book is "Lapog." Can you talk about how you created that piece, in particular how you designed the pages? Two things I found interesting: one was that you switch back and forth from first person to these affecting, kind of wide-angle shots that encompass everyone in the room; another is that I thought the story was very dense, you accommodated a great deal of text.

AYUYANG: Oh thanks! I did that piece for one of Stripburger's travel-themed issues, and I thought about a trip I took to the Philippines for the first time ever in my life. It was a bittersweet trip because on one hand, it was a vacation and I got to meet my paternal grandmother for the first time ever which was exciting; but on the other hand, the trip was for a funeral, which of course was heart-breaking and depressing.

The wide-angle views and the tight panels were a way to take in the entire spectacle I was witnessing first hand. There was a lot to cover in not too many pages which I guess kind of matched how I felt at the time. I mean, it was a whirlwind trip, you know. It took two days to travel there, and we only had three days to really do anything. Well actually two days for the funeral and one day to do tourist stuff. The text acted pretty much like a journal entry of my time there. My stories in general, though, tend to be text-heavy. I'm trying to get away from a lot of voiceover in my current work, and let the art just tell the story. I'm not sure how well that's going though.

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SPURGEON: The color pages were very pretty; why are there so few of them? Were you happy with the way they looked?

AYUYANG: Yeah, I like how they came out, too. In the beginning, we didn't think we could include any of them in the book, but there was some room in the budget to include 10 pages or so of these drawings. So, I selected a few that seemed to work and didn't ruin the flow between the old and new stories. I'm glad that we were able to include them somehow. These were pages that I drew and posted on my blog. I drew them in an old datebook that had Van Gogh reproductions in it that my mother gave me one year. I can never stay organized and manage a datebook. It's a nice datebook though. I didn't want to throw it away so I decided to draw in it instead.

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SPURGEON: The story about attending twin family functions… I think one reason it works is because you really settle into it and give it a ton of breathing space, it just kind of moseys along. What made you decide to do the story at that pace as opposed to something more summarily told or something in a single scene or two? What were you trying to capture by making that encompass such a lengthy set of experiences?

AYUYANG: Well, I had been doing short stories for a while, and a lot of them were four pages or even just one page long. I always noticed that the ending of these stories were so abrupt, like they stopped before anything really happened. I think I did this mainly because I had no clue how the story was going to end, so I just ended it. For example, this story that I did in Namby Pamby 2 called, "Bunny Ears" was four pages of this little girl crying because of this pathetic outfit she had to put together for Halloween, and at the end, the girl is still crying. What was the point? There was no closure! I felt like I was tricking the reader or mocking them. So, I wanted to really take it one step at a time with "Death Anniversary" because it had a big cast of characters who kind of all resembled each other.

I also wanted the reader to fully understand the contrast in relationships between me and my immediate family, and me and my extended family by depicting details of my interactions with all of them. The title "Death Anniversary" wasn't just describing the first event, but it was a play on the experience of having to go through these family functions every year, like that Sondheim song, it's "...A Little Death" every time. Of course, I am kind of exaggerating here. Actually, there were going to be three parts to this story. I think the third part was going to be either a wedding or funeral reception scene, but that it seemed too similar to the second function, Lola's birthday celebration. So I pitched the third part altogether.

SPURGEON: I think my favorite scene in the whole book is when Ruth rifles through his giant backpack and pulls out a bag of funyons. I thought it was perfectly pitched and very funny. You've talked a bit in some of your other interviews about finding smaller moments of interest; is that true of humor as well? What do you find funny?

AYUYANG: I like that funyon scene. too. I wanted to show some of the quirks that Ruth had; he was aloof about a lot of things, but he was very safe and comfortable in his own routine with his huge backpack that carried his huge box of Kleenex (because of his allergy issues) and a big bag of funyons, if ever he got hungry.

Again, I really love the humor from comics. The humor in Peanuts is so subtle, and it's timed so perfectly. It's like a wink, you know. I also love the screwball comedy in Merrie Melodies cartoons and old movies like in The Thin Man, when all this craziness ensues, and then all of a sudden there's a slow-motion sequence of Asta the dog jumping up in the air. That's hysterical! And Mel Brooks movies! Man, I love those. And yeah, tiny things in daily life are hysterical, like the awkwardness between people in a carpool. It's the little nuances, the little bump that makes something not as serious as it could be.

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SPURGEON: "Arroz Caldo" is extremely sophisticated in a lot of ways. You have these tight-tight-tightly structured dialogue pages with you and your father, you have scenes where there's narration over a complementary action (your father shoveling the snow) rather than a straight depiction, and you intersperse past and present. Was that one as difficult to execute as it seemed?

AYUYANG: I always wanted to do one story about my dad, about our relationship and how it had evolved. Now as an adult and a parent, I understood where he was coming from, and what kind of mindset he was in while he was raising my siblings and me. He had just arrived in the U.S., had to put his career aside, and take on this new role as a dad all of a sudden, something that he had no real training for or real role model to learn from. I also wanted to write a story about our views of the past, how we dwell on the negative moments more than the positive ones and how that shapes how we characterize a person. So, there were a lot of things I wanted to cover, and I broke them down through design elements, like the childhood memories were these one-pagers with beveled panels, while the pages with voice-over narrative presented the present and future with my dad doing his daily chores. Then, there was the phone dialogue between my sisters, my mom, my dad and myself. The pages with the tight layout of my dad and I talking on the phone were from a previous story called "This is the Day," that I eventually included in this other mini "Overwhelming Wot-Not," which explored my bouts with artist/writer's block. In one part, I finally get desperate and ask my dad for a pep talk. I liked the overwhelming and overlapping word balloons and my dad's different expressions in those pages.

I really liked how it all came together. Everything was tied up so easily, which rarely happens for me.

imageSPURGEON: What's next for you, comics-wise? Is there a longer work forthcoming?

AYUYANG: I am in this group art show called "Party Crashers" at the Arlington Art Center in Virginia. It's going to exhibit comics by Gabrielle Bell, Warren Craghead, Jeffrey Brown, Jim Rugg, Dash Shaw and other great artists. To be honest, I have no idea why I'm in this show. It's up until January 2011.

As for comic books, there is a longer book that I have been working on forever, since the "Acacia" story that I did for the SPX 2005 anthology. It's this book called Heirloom, which will cover stories that my dad and mom have told me about their life in the Philippines through the years, as well as more stories of my experiences growing up in Pittsburgh. It's some of the same type of stories that you've already seen in Whirlwind Wonderland. Also, there's this crazy detective comic that I've been dabbling with called Bobot in San Francisco. The first issue of that might be ready for upcoming Stumptown Festival. We'll see, though.

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* cover to the new book
* sketchbook self-portrait
* page from Pittsburgh-related story in WW
* random panel I liked from WW
* Team Comix Claptrap, swiped from the Facebook page
* from the collection
* the sketchbook page about autobio mentioned in the interview
* panel from a bus-related comic
* one of those color pages
* crowd scene from the laconically-pace story about twin celebrations
* one of the tightly-constructed conversations, daughter/father
* from Bobot
* a drawing from the sketchbook that I liked (below)

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* Whirlwind Wonderland, Rina Ayuyang, Sparkplug Comic Books/Tugboat Press, 128 pages, 2010, $15

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Go, Look: Andi Watson Blog

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Not Comics: Midnight Oil

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Go, Look: Out Our Way With Worry Wart

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for some reason, this got lost in my bookmarks
 
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Go, Look: John Malloy's Blog

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Go, Bookmark: Katy Wu

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Go, Read: Steve Bell On David Cameron

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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 London, I'd Go To This

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Happy 55th Birthday, Francois Boucq!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jerry Ordway!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Tomi Ungerer!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Mark A. Nelson!

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


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November 27, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 20 to November 26, 2010:

1. Denmark expects additional terrorism related to Danish Cartoons Controversy targets.

2. Bad weather causes UPS delays in at least one key NW comics market during busiest shopping weekend of the year.

3. Internet law that could have drastic effect on comics piracy may be delayed, ultimate goal being more precise version of same.

Winner Of The Week
Matt Wuerker

Loser Of The Week
The firm hired to run CCI 2011's ticket purchasing.

Quote Of The Week
"Lynda! Barry! Everything! Finally!" -- Tom Devlin

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

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

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Happy 48th Birthday, Paul Guinan!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Jonathan Rosenberg!

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November 26, 2010


Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide '10

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Today is Black Friday 2010. Black Friday is the traditional first day of the hectic holiday shopping season.

Following are several suggestions for comics-related gift shopping. They are intended to help you along if you've decided that sequential narrative presents and things related to sequential narratives are to be on Santa's list this year.

As I have little chance of actually selecting something for your friend or loved one, please use this as a starting point only. It's unlikely I'll have discovered just the thing. More likely what follows will give you an idea as to what's out there, or spark some brainstorming that leads to an idea for something specifically suited to your loved one.

I'm also quite certain I'm forgetting a list of items and ideas equally as long as the one that follows. That list is almost certainly filled with quality works and books. I apologize profusely for their absence here. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and anyone that thinks such a list is even possible these days may be a fool.

Have fun today and the weeks ahead, and please remember a few simple rules about comics gift-giving:
1. When it comes to gifts, comics are best for people that already like them as opposed to people that may like them someday.

2. The bigger the comics fan, the more likely that person is to be very specific about what it is they want. Be careful!

3. Comics don't have the retail saturation of, say, DVDs, and some of the best things are carried by specific vendors or involve an element of handcraft, so make sure you have enough time to receive the thing it is you want to buy.
All that said: gifts are gifts. It's difficult to do anything wrong when giving someone a gift. Happy shopping, and here's to a fulfilling and safe holiday season.

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THE COMICS REPORTER BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2010
or
230 REASONS TO SPEND YOUR SHOPPING MONEY ON COMICS THIS YEAR

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"GIFTY"-SEEMING COMICS GIFTS FOR THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
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1. 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, Garry Trudeau (Andrews McMeel)
I think this is the gift-type comics work of the year, a massive chunk of Garry Trudeau's great strip and a bunch of solid supporting material. It's nice to see people coming around to a greater recognition of Trudeau's achievements, and I'm glad Trudeau participated through events like the release of this book.

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2. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Box Set, Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press)
One of the iconic comics series of the new century, now all in one place.

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3. Picture This!, Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
Lynda Barry's follow-up to her blazing return to comics' consciousness What It Is looks squarely at the questions of why we draw and why we stop drawing. I can't imagine a person with even the tiniest creative spark within them not learning at least a little something from Barry's insights.

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4. Lynd Ward: Six Novels In Woodcuts Lynd Ward (Library of America)
Art Spiegelman helped curate this collection of woodcut novels but one of the handful of great talents to work in that arena of storytelling. The moment I saw the collection it seemed obvious to me how nicely this would look under someone's Christmas tree.

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5. 75 Years Of DC Comics, Paul Levitz (Taschen)
There's a big want-to-see element with this gigantic, handsome book, but I can't imagine it not being of interest to a wide swathe of people even beyond the already-considerable, built-in, fan-of-DC audience.

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6. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali Deluxe Edition, Denny O'Neil And Neal Adams (DC Comics)
I've been by a couple of friends in comics shops over that this is one of a handful of books given an extra nudge by DC for the holiday season. I may be skeptical about the gift qualities of this deluxe edition -- that's for the individual buyer to decide -- but I quite like the fun, funny, energetic superhero story inside. If this had come out from Marvel in the 1990s, breakout character Ali would have been appearing all over everyone else's comics like Ghost Rider, Punisher and Wolverine did.

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7. Vampire Knight Box Set, Matsuri Hino (Viz)
I'm also been told by a few members of that same small group of retailers that Viz is pushing versions of this popular series' box set as a holiday pick-up. I'm not familiar with the content at all, but I'm sort of attracted despite myself to the thought of these specially-cased entire-series purchases.

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8. Archie Firsts, Various (Dark Horse)
This collection of first-appearances by iconic members of the Archie gang screams "wrap me," and in fact could be a gift that extends far beyond the parameters of the devoted comics fan.

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9. Genius, Isolated, Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (IDW)
Dean Mullaney has been consistently slugging it hard up to plate with his massive series of comic book collections; he and Bruce Canwell's latest covers the life and career of Alex Toth, one of the few cartoonists of the 20th Century that continues to fascinate on both the public and private level. Update: I'm told this one might be delayed; if that's true, maybe consider their fine reprinting of another comics master's work: the first part Al Williamson's run with Archie Goodwin on Secret Agent X-9.

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10. Shazam! The Golden Age Of The World's Mightiest Mortal, Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear (Abrams)
Nearly every one of Chip Kidd's explorations of comics and comics-related material has been the kind of thing that makes a fantastic and fun holiday gift, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing this effort focusing on the Captain Marvel milieu.

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11. MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones Sergio Aragones and Patrick McDonnell (Running Press)
I mean, come on: it's Sergio. If comics had Q ratings, they'd be measured in percentages of how Sergio Aragones scored.

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12. Something special from Usagi Yojimbo: the stand-alone Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai, or the new Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition.
One of the great joys in comics the last three decades are has been those works featuring characters that are the brainchild of a single cartoonist or small team of creators, creative people that work on that one character for an extended period of time. Nothing better exemplifies that corner of the comics world than Stan Sakai and his Usagi Yojimbo, the comic book I most want to travel back to being 10 years old so that I can read it with those eyes. While the ongoing series and trades are a perennial on this list, it's worth noting there are two deluxe works out right now: a stand-alone color work featuring bunches of demons from current publisher Dark Horse; a repackaging of early material from original publisher Fantagraphics.

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*****
SEASONAL GIFTS
*****


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13. The Great Treasury Of Christmas Comic Book Stories, Edited By Craig Yoe (IDW)
Craig Yoe's latest is an honest-to-goodness timely release of some fine, classic Christmas stories, made back when hitting the widest possible audience with things they might actually like was the comic book mandate.

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14-16. HarperCollins' X-Mas Short-Story Adaptations
It doesn't get more Christmas-y than this triptych of stand-alone works from HC: The Gift Of The Magi, The Fir-Tree, A Kidnapped Santa Claus. I liked the Alex Robinson one best.

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17. Hellboy Ornament
Which one of your frightened, crying children will get to hang this lovely piece of comics-related merchandise? A Spurgeon family tradition for more than a half-decade now.

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18. Classic Christmas-Related Comics
These are great novelty gifts for people that collect Christmas items of for someone that like X-property but didn't know they did a Christmas comic. Or you can just buy them the above issue of Justice League Of America, which scared the crap out of little kid me.

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19. The Economist Year-Ahead Calendar, From KAL
This is mostly a premium for Economist subscribers, but I have one on my desk and I just got the new one in the mail. It's old-school in the best way, page after page stuffed with date-related jokes drawn with KAL's classic line. If I were a kid and my dad had one in his office, every time I'd visit I'd run over and look at it, if you know what I mean.

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20. Joseph Lambert's 2011 AdHouse Books Calendar
I have this up on my refrigerator. If we had any kids in the family young enough that as a result we'd all do stockings, this would be one nice stocking-stuffer for a fellow comics-loving adult. Joseph Lambert talks about making this here.

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21. Jim Flora Woodcut Calendar
Not exactly comics, but something this attractive, it's hard to care.

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*****
BARGAIN GIFT IDEAS FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF RECESSION
*****


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22. Something via AbeBooks
This is the interface I use to access used bookstores. One thing that such stores tend to have that comic shops don't is classic "cartoon books" from artists like Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Pat Oliphant, B. Kliban and so on. But you can frequently find all sorts of comics and comics-related books for cheaper than the standard, going price. It's worth checking.

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23. Crafts
Like most men in their early forties, I like to make coasters out of old comic book pages. I prefer the take old coasters and fasten laminated comics imagery onto the top of them technique, but I've also used old CDs and cork to assemble a set or two pancake-style. The important thing is to get good lamination and to be careful as you attach the art. Comics art offers a lot of opportunities for such handmade gifts if you're inclined to go that way. Be creative.

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24. Various Calvin and Hobbes Books -- or Something Similar -- at Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble carries a lot of the classic Calvin & Hobbes collections at a reduced rate. That's a tricky buy for someone right now as many older fans will certainly have this material while a lot of younger fans may not know Calvin from Hobbes. But if you have someone for whom it's appropriate, those are good deals. I have to imagine a lot of work from recent years gets processed into the discount sections of such stores -- I've seen a few Peanuts books there, and some MAD material -- so it might pay to look around in those areas.

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25. Amazon.com's Used Books Options
Most comics in trade collections or in original graphic novel form come with an ISBN. In most of those cases, that means used copies can be sold on Amazon. I don't believe in selling review copies, but from the number of used books that pop up in the listings every single time there's a new comics release, I'm guessing most folks disagree with me.

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26. Non-Mint, Not Super-Popular, Older Comic Books From A Shop Or On-Line Store
Most comic book stores sell discounted comics in some fashion. Ebay has given price-point noogies to many a store owner who once upon a time held onto comic books no one wanted for 15 years or more because they were certain that a dollar's worth of desire out there would someday and somehow compound itself up to $7.50. With a little effort, you can snag readable runs of unpretentious adventure comics ranging from Master of Kung Fu to Power Man and Iron Fist to Thriller to Camelot 3000 to The Intimates for less than $1.50 an issue. Try reliable on-line retailers like Mile High and MyComicShop.com (especially during their sales); try eBay for things like Chicago Comics' manga sales; try Google Maps or the Comic Shop Locator service to find a store near you.

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*****
WAYS TO FACILITATE THEIR DOING THE SHOPPING FOR YOU
*****


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27. Gift Certificate From Amazon.com
Here's one way to let people buy comics for themselves, a gift certificate/gift card to the bookstore Amazon.com, which of course by virtue of comics' journey into the world of book sales is a prominent -- maybe the prominent -- comics retailer.

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28. Gift Card From Barnes and Noble
There's an advantage with a Barnes and Noble gift card that you don't get with one from Amazon: you can use it in the brick and mortar locations of the chain.

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29. Gift Certificate From Mile High Comics
I've purchased these before and had no complaints.

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30. Gift Certificate From Your Local Comic Book Shop
Your shop may not do this, but it never hurts to ask. I imagine there are several that would take money from you and apply it to store credit even if there's not an official certificate in the offing or they have to make one with a backing board and a sharpie.

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31. Something From Someone's Amazon.com Wish List
I used to have an Amazon.com Wish List solely devoted to Marvel's Essentials and DC's Showcase reprint series, but I'm a nerd. Most comics fans have a few comics on their regular Wish Lists waiting for you to purchase them.

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32. Something From A Want List Someone Made At Their Local Shop
Many comic shops will let their customers leave a list of comics they want their friends and family members to buy them. If your store doesn't have a program like this, they might be convinced to do it for someone that asks nicely. This has the advantage of keeping your comics fan's local store in the purchasing loop. Many comics readers are devoted to their local shop.

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*****
SUBSCRIPTIONS, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
*****


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33. Subscription to an Archie Publication
It's like having a little piece of supermarket checkout right there in your home.

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34. Subscription to a DC Comic Book
This could make a nice nostalgia gift for a one-time weekly comic shop visitor. I'm not as familiar with these titles as I used to be, but I always like whatever Grant Morrison is working on, I've liked what little Paul Cornell I've read, and Geoff Johns is fairly burrowed in at the publisher.

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35. Subscription to a Marvel Comic Book
Where once this was maybe the best way to guarantee getting a comic book, it's now an equally nice way to have a recurring gift that the reader might not otherwise pick up. I can recommend whatever books Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are working on, but really Marvel has a shortbus full of writers that are fun to read, from Paul Tobin to Jeff Parker to Jonathan Hickman and so on.

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36. Subscription to a TwoMorrows Magazines
There are certainly enough of the TwoMorrows magazines that one of them at least should be worthy of your attention. You can't go on buying them at conventions forever, you know.

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37. Subscription to Shonen Jump
I've had a gift subscription a few times, and always enjoyed getting the publication in the mail -- they're undergoing a revamp with next year's volume, so it might be time to give it some extra consideration.

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38. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited Subscription
Marvel's first serious step into the world of digital comics may not last forever as the iPad-related stuff ramps up, but I have a fondness for this program as a way to facilitate reading a bunch of Marvel stuff I'd never see otherwise.

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39. DailyInk.com Subscription
Still going strong is DailyInk.com from King Features, a site that features old and new material at a size that actually rewards your reading it on a computer screen. A nice gift for that friend of yours who knows which strips run on the Houston Chronicle web site as opposed to which run on the Seattle P-I's.

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40. Subscription To John Porcellino's King-Cat Comics And Other Stories
The greatest of all mini-comics and a national treasure, King-Cat can be purchased in subscription form which the cartoonist will faithfully service over the next few years. A recent move to Florida has re-energized cartoonist John Porcellino.

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41. Subscription To The New Yorker
A number of first-rate cartoonists like Ivan Brunetti and Chris Ware appear on the covers, and growing number of young cartoonists from the webcomics and small-press worlds have work on the insides, too. I'm told the articles are pretty good.

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*****
SUGGESTIONS FOCUSED ON YOUNG PERSON-FRIENDLY GNS, COMICS AND/OR KIDS BOOKS WITH CARTOONIST HOOKS
*****


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42. A Kids Book From Toon Books
The comics-for-kids line spearheaded by Francoise Mouly employs a staggering number of talents generally familiar to longtime comics readers, from Frank Cammuso to Eleanor Davis to Art Spiegelman to Dean Haspiel to great friend of CR Jeff Smith. They've settled in now with a new distribution partner.

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43. The Smurf Series From Papercutz, Peyo (Papercutz)
Peyo's Smurf books are effective, enjoyable comics and an obvious long-time kids favorite. This series of books may strain a few parents' eyeballs, but having this material out there on the stands right now is a definite blessing.

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44. One of the Kids-Focused Books From First Second
A number of the graphic novels in the First Second line are aimed at kids at a range of ages, including the Tiny Tyrant successful Sardine series (up to six volumes for the latter, I think) for very young kids and the award-winning Laika for slightly older ones. They've actually made doing comics for kids and teens a greater focus for the company recently, I think, so there's a lot of material here to look over.

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45. A Kids Book From A Favorite Cartoonist
There's a lot to choose from here, such as the Bow-Wow books Mark Newgarden works on, the classic little kids books of Richard McGuire and the gorgeous painted books Lorenzo Mattotti did once upon a time. If you have a favorite comics artist, look up their sites or check out abebooks.com for their kids book work.

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46. All-Ages Superhero Comics Efforts
Both Marvel and DC Comics have comics they publish aimed at younger readers, and many of them are quite a bit more fun to read by readers of all ages than a lot of today's continuity-obsessive, clenched-sphincter, standard comic books and collections. Marvel's actually between lines here, as I recall, but they seem a little bit more aggressive than DC is right now in terms of kids books that tie into their movies.

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47. Various Kids Comics, James Kochalka
James does a lot of comics for kids, all of which have an undeniable power similar to his work intended for adults.

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48. The John Stanley Library, John Stanley et al (D&Q)
D&Q has begun a super nice-looking series of Seth-designed reprints of comics from the great John Stanley. They'll probably be among those books of your kids you'd rather they not color in, but I know parents whose kids have taken to these in a big way.

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49. Various Books, Edward Gorey
Although I've focused mostly on current books for kids, I can't let the comics-related books I loved most as a child go without mention. There are stand-alone Edward Gorey books that are perfect for slipping into a stocking, and there are four fine anthologies -- Amphigorey, Amphigorey Again, Amphigorey Too and Amphigorey Also -- that are easy to track down.

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50. Hybrids And Picture Books
There are a lot of books in the bookstores that function as hybrids -- offering comics/cartoons and prose -- or as straight-up picture books. The Wimpy Kid series is one of a few super-successful kids series in the hybrid corner of the market. Two of my favorites in this category that some may not think of for their comics properties are The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, which breaks up its prose with lovely silent comics sequences, and the books of Shaun Tan, particularly The Arrival.

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51. Tintin, Herge
Any comics list for kids also need this classic series, just waiting out there for kids to discover. There may be a smaller window for kids to enjoy these comics the way kids have for a few generation now, but it's still there. These should be making a market comeback in anticipation of the Jackson/Spielberg film adaptation.

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52. Various Manga Series Out There For Kids
A ton of manga out there is certainly suitable for kids, just as a ton of it may not be depending on the household rules that apply. Of series out there that I would have liked as a kid, Naruto, Yotsuba&!, Dr. Slump, Slam Dunk and Hikaru No Go all spring to mind as stuff I might have obsessed over in one way or another. For older kids and teenagers, this list becomes something 200 titles long.

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53. Kids-Oriented Comics From Boom! (Boom!)
It seems to me that kids does a lot of book that may be good for kids -- some obviously so, some with maybe a flip-through by the responsible adult in the equation. There's a point in my life I would have given up burning ants with a magnifying class for two solid years if I could have had a Muppet Show comic book series.

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54. Little Lulu Digest Series, John Stanley (Dark Horse)
I don't have tactile familiarity with this series, but these are some of the best comics in the world and color is usually a very nice thing.

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55-57. Hope Larson's Books
I like all of Hope Larson's books; more to the point, I know people that can't drive yet that like Hope Larson's books.

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58. The Amulet Series, Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix)

While this series has taken up space either outside or under the radar of traditional comic book talking poins, it has sold scads of copies in the book market.

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59-60. Two Picture Books From Tove Jansson: The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle? (D&Q Enfant)
These books are beautiful-looking efforts from Drawn and Quarterly's still-burgeoning kids' book line, and are gorgeous. Can be paired with the other Jansson efforts at the company such as the strip reprints or enjoyed on their own.

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61-65. Andy Runton's Owly Books, Andy Runton (Top Shelf)
One of the few outright indy-comics debut hits of the past decade. A nice thing about it is that Runton has stuck around to do several books rather than just one and done. Kids love their series.

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66. The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly and Jon Scieszka (Abrams)
The nasty thing people always say about children's anthologies is that they feel like a bunch of kids' comics that adults would like to read. That doesn't seem to be the case with this amazing compendium, if multiple reviews from my friends with kids are any indication -- adults surely loving this material is the dessert here, not the main course.

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67. The Secret Science Alliance Vol. 1, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury USA)
Another very promising cartoonist, working in full-color and really going to town. I thought this book was really, really cute -- in a good way, I swear.

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68. Smile, Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/Graphix)
This was a very popular book this year for its target audience, a story of adolescence told through the prism of teeth trouble that many kids experience. Actually, pretty much all kids experience the adolescence stuff.

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69. The Unsinkable Walker Bean, Aaron Renier, First Second
I wanted to give this one a special shout-out: Aaron Renier's tale of sea monsters and soldier ships is like the best 1970s Wide World Of Disney live-action episode provided with 2015 cgi. As opposed to a run of books for kids and early teens that seem to embrace formula as if making a comic where you can always tell what's going to happen ten pages later will add years to your life, Renier's work retains its indy-comics funk, hitting all the traditional high points in slightly left-field but still very logical fashion. It's also stuffed with detail, a key to a later re-read.

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*****
BOOKS MY 68-YEAR-OLD MOTHER LIKES
*****


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70. Bone (One-Volume), Jeff Smith
My mom's a longtime prose fantasy fiction fiend, and she took great pleasure in this lengthy blending of the Carl Barks and JRR Tolkien traditions. The ongoing color volumes from Scholastic have been a hit, too, to the point that she read a color book recently and wondered if she had a whole new book. Granted, she does that a lot, but she really enjoyed both.

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71. Persepolis: One Volume Edition, Marjane Satrapi
My mom had fun with this peek into another culture through the eyes of Marjane Satrapi, first as a child and then a teen, in the cartoonist's award-winning and reputation-making work. For Mom, the relative simplicity of Satrapi's drawing was a bonus rather than a hindrance: it made the book much easier for her to read, and she could impress upon it a vision of revolution-era Iran that might have been impossible for any artist to do justice. She liked the movie, too, but not as much.

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72. Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits, Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd
Mom has fond memories of buying Police Comics on the stands. This is an at-times melancholy book cut heavily with the energy of Cole's work in a way that comments on the text in a fashion missing from the prose when it appeared as an essay in the New Yorker. My mom was unfamiliar with the lives of of some of the poorly-treated cartoonists out there, so she liked that aspect of it as well.

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73-74. Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds
My mother really, really, really enjoyed both of Posy Simmonds' breezy, sort-of adaptations of literary classics put in modern dress.

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75. Little Orphan Annie, Harold Gray
My mom's fond of Little Orphan Annie, and followed her adventures as a young girl in the late 1940s. I'm crazy for Annie myself. This is a great reprint series.

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76-78. Aya, Aya of Yop City and Aya: The Secrets Come Out, Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
Mom enjoyed the visual sumptuousness of the stories and the consistent insight into life as lived in a little-known part of the world (the Ivory Coast) at a little-discussed time (about 30 years ago).

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79-80. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, David Petersen (Archaia Studios Press)
These are nice-looking books in a kind of classic all-ages vein. My mom took to them very quickly. They have a very stately pace. There's a new book of stories set in the universe told by other cartoonists called Mouse Guard Legends Of The Guard, but Mom hasn't read it yet.

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81. The Color Trilogy, Kim Dong Hwa (First Second)
I didn't care for these as much as Mom seemed to. She enjoyed the laconic pacing and the curious intimacy between mother and daughter on display throughout.

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*****
WAYS TO GIVE BY GIVING BACK
*****


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82. A Donation in Someone's Name to The Cartoon Art Museum
Of all comics' donation destination, CAM may be the least appreciated and also, as it turns out, one of the stronger performers in terms of routinely fulfilling their mandate.

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83. A Donation in Someone's Name to the scholarship fund at The Center For Cartoon Studies
Help keep tuition low at James Sturm's institute of higher comics learning.

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84. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)
The CBLDF continues its advocacy work on behalf of free speech issues in comics, having expanded its mandate in the past few years .

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85. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Hero Initiative
These good folks focus their attention on older comics creators in need.

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86. A Donation To Child's Play
This charity started by the team of folks behind Penny Arcade, they focus on fulfilling wish lists from kids at their networks of hospitals.

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87. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)
You've maybe gone to their art festival, and you can certainly see the advantages of having such a group in New York City.

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88. Buying Items Or Services Related To One Of These Charities
Each one of the above charities at times may offer premiums or items as an inducement for you to donate, or as a flat-out sales mechanism in order to generate cash. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site has a very elaborate store set-up, such as the print depicted above.

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NOT-COMICS IDEAS THAT AREN'T A PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICE OR BAKED GOODS
*****


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89. Jimbo, The Doll; Herbie, The Doll
A pair of vinyl figures for people who don't really "get" vinyl figures.

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90. Manga-related Toys
I'm not a toy person, but anyone with rudimentary googling skills should be able to find toys related to their favorite big-name series if they are out there to be purchased. Sometimes they are listed as "anime toys" in deference to the more popular of the two media here in the US. Every Death Note toy I've ever seen has been adorable.

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91. Toys From Jim Woodring
Everything you can find in Jim Woodring's store is fantastic.

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92. Merchandise From PictureBox, Inc.
Dan Nadel has really fine taste in t-shirts, CDs and DVDs from the artists he supports.

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93. A Moleskine Journal
I haven't spent any time talking about art supplies, and I'm not really qualified to do so, but one thing writers and artists all seem to like are the legendary notebooks made by Moleskine. By the way, a place to get really cheap notebooks -- not moleskine -- is at those big box bookstores; I've been picking up notebooks for $3-$4 a pop there for most of this calendar year.

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94. Prose Works By Your Favorite Comics People
Peter David, Mike Carey, Alan Moore and Warren Ellis are among those well-known comic book writers with prose works out there to track down and devour. Don't forget Neil Gaiman.

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95. Something From Debbie Drechsler's Store
The on-line store from the cartoonist Debbie Drechsler is almost entirely made up of card offerings. They look snazzy.

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96. Something From Souther Salazar's Etsy Store
Souther Salazar hasn't made a new comic in a while, but he still offers some of those he has made along with other items at his Etsy store.

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97. A Comic Wallet From The Comic Wallet Guy
I can't remember the first person that sent me a link to a page where a guy makes wallets out of comics material like Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 there, but I'm grateful. I keep all of my money stuffed into live fruit I hang around my neck, but this wallet idea sounds interesting.

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98. A Place To Put The Change That Won't Go In Your Comic Wallet
Seriously, there's about 18 billion pieces of comics-related merchandise out there if you just plug in a publisher or character's name and the item you're looking to buy.

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99. T-Shirts And Other Stuff From Your Favorite Artists
Make sure to check around the various artists sites for either merchandise listings or links to merchandise listings. Here's four I was able to come up with in 45 seconds of google, all of which look promising to awesome: Richard Thompson's Uh-Oh Baby clothing, rotating Warren Ellis-related t-shirt and merchandise designs, a new Tony Millionaire t-shirt, a new Usagi Yojimbo t-shirt.

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100. Something From A Syndicate Store
I know two of the syndicates have stores where you can go buy mugs and t-shirts from the business partners of some of your favorite cartoonists, as opposed to a cartoonist themselves: Universal and King Features.

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101. Webcartoonists With Merchandise Options
Your favorite probably offers something. I've purchased stuff for other folks from Achewood's dedicated store and from the portions of this company's site devoted to Ryan North and Kate Beaton. I've been staring at this page featuring Goats-related material far too frequently to be healthy. R Stevens has a first-class set-up. Just look around.

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102. Dame Darcy's Store
I usually catch wind of what the alt-comics veteran has for sale by seeing updates on her blog. The "Palm Reading" option is a stone-cold classic.

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103. Paul Hornschmeier's T-Shirt Store
I'm way too lumpen to wear any of them, but I admire the consistency of Paul's t-shirt offerings.

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104. Mutts: 30 Postcards
I haven't seen this particular set, but this is on my Christmas list for this year -- McDonnell is a fine designer and works with them when he's not doing the actual designing, so these should look nice.

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105. The Cutest Sneeze In The World
This is a postcard set from the cat portion of Jeffrey Brown's cartooning career; I sure do love me postcard sets.

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106. Postcard Sets From Fantagraphics
Fantagraphics quietly offers a bunch of handsome-looking postcard sets from their sites: Vintage Devil Postcards, Eightball, Frankenstein, Hate, The Devil In Design and Wolvertoons.

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107. 12 Postcards, Tom Gauld
Tom Gauld's one-page comics are perfect at postcard size. I've received dozens of compliments over the years for using Gauld's work in the course of business, and I'm sure that will continue wit the new set. Also, you can just buy them and keep them as a set of twelve funny comics on super-fancy paper.

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WAYS TO ENGAGE GIFT-BUYING POSSIBILITIES IN MANGA
*****


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108. Something From Osaumu Tezuka
I believe 2006's Ode to Kirihito to be a fevered masterpiece of craft on a level with films like The Wild Bunch or White Dog; there is also much of interest craft-wise and story-wise and because it's Tezuka history-wise in 2007's MW and Apollo's Song. Vertical's also done a terrific job with the Dororo, Black Jack and Buddha series. Buddha is an all-time classic, Black Jack is a big hit book, and Dororo is the rare gift of something not obviously one of those first two things getting the deluxe treatment.

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109. Non-Tezuka Manga From Vertical
Vertical has always offered more than just Tezuka; with series like Twin Spica, Chi's Sweet Home and 7 Billion Needles, those offerings taken as a group seem like a stronger part of their catalog than ever before.

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110. Various Volumes From Ongoing Series At A Major Publisher
I realize this is advice that covers a ridiculous amount of material. Like saying "Buy Food From A Grocery Store." Please remember: manga can be a difficult buy as a present because a) a bunch of it comes in long series of individual books and b) many of its readers have highly idiosyncratic taste. A manga fan is probably already following the series they like best, in some form or another. It's a good crowd for whom to buy gift certificates and the like, purchases aimed at allowing them to continue on the path they're on. That being said, the link takes you to Shaenon Garrity's great list covering "overlooked" manga. Among the many, many series I could argue are openly appealing and addictive are Fumi Yoshinaga's Antique Bakery, Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba's Death Note, Ai Yazawa's Nana, Kazuo Koike's Lone Wolf And Cub, Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Takehiko Inoue's Slam Dunk and Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&!.

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111. Manga From Drawn And Quarterly
Manga cartoonists publishing English language editions of powerful manga through D&Q include: Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Imiri Sakabashira, Susumu Katsumata and Seiichi Hayashi. That's quickly shaping up to be a significant imprint within the imprint.

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112. PictureBox Inc. Manga
PictureBox offers work from artists like Takashi Nemeto, Yuichi Yokoyama, Ken Kagami and Hanakuma. Not a stinker in the bunch.

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113. Fantagraphics Manga
Fantagraphics is just now gearing up its manga offerings, but you couldn't do much better than a collection from Moto Hagio as a first book out of the gate, and a smaller work by Tori Miki as a preview of what's to come.

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114. Last Gasp Manga
Last Gasp published Yusaku Hankuma's Tokyo Zombie in Fall 2008, and we're all waiting for their edition of The Strange Tale Of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, a much-anticipated book for sophisticated manga fans across the board. They also carry a ton of work in their role as a distributor. Don't forget they're around.

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115. Ax: A Collection Of Alternative Manga Vol. 1, Edited By Sean Michael Wilson (Top Shelf)
There's a certain kind of person for whom you can purchase comics slightly off the beaten path from the comics they'd usually desire, but if you have one in your family and they're a manga fan, this anthology of alt-manga works might engender a voyage of discovery.

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WAYS TO GET YOUR HANDS ON HANDMADE BOOKS
*****


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116. Mini-Comics from Global Hobo
A number of talented artists work through this classic comics collective.

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117. Mini-Comics From Little House Comics
No pair of artists has put out more quality mini-comics of a wide variety the last five years than Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing. This entry reminds us that it's worth tracking down artists' sites directly for the latest minis they might be offering. I know that's why I check out John P.'s site, for instance.

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118. Mini-Comics From Partyka
Always well-crafted.

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119. Homemade Books From PictureBox, Inc.
PictureBox carries some higher-end homemade comics from the artists with which it works.

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120. Mini-Comics From Poopsheet Foundation
This is the best source for a wide variety of mini-comics out there right now, and maybe the only one in terms of being able to track down historically important mini-comics. Rick Bradford is a swell guy, and I'm sure he'd be willing to work with anyone intimidated by the number of titles and artists represented if you were to contact him directly.

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121. Comics From Bird In The Hand 'Zine Shop
I don't know anything about Australia's mini-comics scene, but I'd sure like to find out.

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122. Comics From Quimby's
Chicago's longtime home for handmade comics work may offer a wider selection of work than ever before, but comics is still a strength.

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123. Comics From Profanity Hill
It's hard to imagine a better guide to today's NW mini-comics scene than cartoonist and comics editor Jason T. Miles.

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124. Comics From The Secret Acres Store
Everything in their store is at least good if not great work of its kind; plus they seem like swell guys.

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COMICS-RELATED ART BOOKS I LIKE AND OWN, AND ARE WITHIN FIVE FEET OF MY DESK AS I TYPE THIS
*****


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125. The Art Of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets Of Life And Death
My favorite new art book, and one that I look at at least three times a week. Jaime Hernandez is magic.

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126. Gary Panter, Gary Panter (PictureBox)
I keep going back to this ambitious and exquisitely-priced PictureBox effort from a couple of years back, which is a huge positive for art books of this type. Plus it looks intimidating on my shelf.

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127. The Art Of S. Clay Wilson (Random House)
The living, breathing id of American comics and far more important than that for which he's frequently given credit.

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128. The Wonder, Tony Fitzapatrick (Last Gasp/La Luz De Jesus)
Fitzpatrick and those who read his work as comics may disagree on whether or not this boxed set qualifies as a kind of sprawling graphic novel about memory and cityscapes, but we can all agree it's an art book with a lot of arresting visuals in it.

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129. Bat-Manga!, Chip Kidd (Pantheon)
This is from a couple of years back, but I think remains a strong, appealing and very gift-like book for the right person.

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130. The Art of Bone, Jeff Smith
I thought this was a super-solid book that fairly came and went on its first appearance. Also, there simply aren't as many major Bone-related books left to buy at this point as there used to be.

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131. The Art Of Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind Watercolor Impressions, Hayao Miyazaki
There's a whole world of manga-related art books, mostly I think related to series in the way this one is.

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132. The Art Of Tony Millionaire (Dark Horse)
I'm cheating a bit here: I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm dying to. I can't imagine this not being gorgeous.

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133. The ACME Novelty Datebook Series, Chris Ware
I love these books, and I think they're just as important a presence in terms of the visual diary comic form as Ware's formally-conscious comics stories are in the realm of art comics.

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134. Postcards From Brussels, Dave McKean (Allen Spiegel Fine Arts)
There are more than one of these, I think, and I very much like McKean's work in vein. This is actually not near me when I write this, but I wanted to list it because this is the kind of book that can be purchased through Stuart Ng Books, along with a lot of limited edition sketchbooks and projects from various artists you love. I have Stuart Ng listed as a place to get old cartoon books somewhere below, but they're probably more valuable to me as a place to pick up art books.

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135. Driven By Lemons, Josh Cotter (Adhouse)
Josh Cotter's sketchbook comic and a virtuoso arts performance generally.

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WAYS TO GIVE THE GIFT OF ART
*****


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136. A Drew Friedman Print
This may be the only entry were I don't have to say anything.

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137. Custom Art From Gary Panter
The great Gary Panter continues to offer up custom art, drawn according to words that you provide him. Forget friends and any and all members of your family, this is what you should get me.

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138. A Piece Of Art From The Comic Art Collective
This is a great site/service, where a lot of alt-comics talent has been allowed to upload art offerings for free. They don't have an agent selling for them, but they do get to keep more of what they sell that way. I've bought maybe ten pieces through this site over the years. One thing it's quite good for is the illustration work that a lot of these folks do that never gets seen but is sometimes more frameable and hangable than straight-up comics art.

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139. Custom Art From Johnny Ryan
I have purchased two pieces of custom art from Johnny. The results in each case, one being Judge Dredd here, were phenomenal.

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140. Original Art From Albert Moy
I've never purchased art through this site, so I can't endorse them, but the number of artists represented seems pretty staggering to me, and they're certainly a first-rate looking outfit in terms of their web presence.

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141. Original Art From Comicartfans.com
I'm not familiar with this site, and can't vouch for it, either, but it seems to be a place where comics fans and a few professionals put up galleries of original art they own, including a large "classifieds" section of art for sale. I would imagine that many of the ads on the site might be helpful as well.

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142. Original Art From Denis Kitchen Art Agency
Denis doesn't have as many clients as some people, but they're all heavy hitters like Frank Stack. Kitchen has a long enough track record in the industry I can certainly endorse him, too.

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143. Original Art From Fanfare Sports and Entertainment
I don't know a thing about this company except that they strip their name into their jpegs. Looks like a fine line-up of comics talent, though, and it looks like they may more aggressively price to sell.

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144. Original Art From Mike Burkey
Again, I have no personal experience beyond knowing they've been around for a while.

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145. Original Art From The Artist's Choice
Over 60 artists represented at the site, including many of the finer practitioners of mainstream superhero comics art.

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146. Original Art From The Beguiling's Art Store
Retailer Peter Birkemoe is a classy guy who runs a classy comics business, and I hear he does very well by his client artists. Just a staggering line-up of cartoonists with work available here, including Farel Dalrymple.

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147. A Poster Or Print From The Beguiling's New Store Section
This is a new section for their store, so I wanted to give it some extra-emphasis this year. The selection is small but everything is super-attractive and affordable.

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148. Posters And Prints From PictureBox, Inc.
I haven't seen any of these up close, but PictureBox has been a first-class outfit so far in terms of its comics publications, so I would imagine their prints and posters are of similarly high quality.

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149. Prints From Brusel
I have a beautiful Dupuy & Berberian print from these guys. I'm not sure what it's like to order from them, but I bet they have a different suite of artists than most American companies working this part of the market.

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150. Prints From Dynamic Forces
I have no idea what their prints are like, but I know they certainly take a different, maybe more aggressive approach than most of the companies here in terms of who they're putting out there.

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151. A Print From Todd Klein
The above -- obscured to the image can't be knocked off for piracy purposes, I'm guessing -- is "Comic Book Dreams," one of a series of reasonably recent prints done by letterer Todd Klein.

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152. A Print From Mike Bertino
I think Mike's been killing it lately; I'm particularly fond of the assault of colors his work in single images tends to bring.

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153. Art From Jim Blanchard
And all-time favorite print and portrait maker, and ink-slinger for the ages. Blanchard's print of Redd Foxx should go into whatever museum you'd put things like prints of Redd Foxx.

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154. Tom Gauld's Epic Tales Print
Tom Gauld is one of my favorites and his work lends itself extremely well to prints and cards and other items.

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155. A Print From Jordan Crane
Always gorgeous-looking; usually slightly disturbing.

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156. Theo Ellsworth Limited Edition Print From Secret Acres
I think Theo Ellsworth is one of the more compelling image-maker to hit comics in quite some time. I'm not sure if this is the only work of this type he has out there, but it's a good one, at a great price.

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157. Print Of A King Features Comic Strip
When we were doing Wildwood, we'd give friends inkjet-made "prints" of good strips. This looks much more legal.

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OLD STUFF
*****


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158. Old Comic Books From Ebay
Ebay is the great marketplace of old comics just like it is with most entertainment objects anymore; if you've bought a comic book for cheap recently, you likely have on-line auction sites to thank. All the usual warnings apply, but I've purchased some great books this way.

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159. Old Comic Books From Mile High Comics
A lot of people bag on Mile High Comics, but I order a couple hundred dollars of stuff from them a year and as long as you avoid some of their more peculiarly priced items -- double-check every price you're given -- I've found them to be quite serviceable. I usually buy lower-grade reading copies from them during sales when you can get extra money off.

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160. Old Comic Books From MyComicShop.com
Buddy Saunders' on-line shop is probably the comic shop in North America where year in and year out I drop the most money. A wide selection, half-way reasonably priced -- or so it seems to me.

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161. Old Comic Books From Your Local Comic Book Shop
Most comic shops have an array of back issues ranging from stuff under glass to a quarter box or two of bargains. All sorts of comics and combinations of books can make fine gifts. Plus you just shopped local.

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162. An Old Cartoon Book via Stuart Ng Books
I try to visit Stuart Ng Books every time I'm in southern California. They have a big of high-end art, and cartoon books that kind of run the gamut, price-wise.

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GENERAL PUBLISHING INITIATIVES FROM WHICH A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF COMICS-RELATED PURCHASES CAN BE MADE

*****

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163. A Book (or More) From DC's Absolute Series
DC offers several of its more successful recent titles in deluxe, oversized editions that are generally quite nice-looking and gift-worthy. Some, like Absolute DC: The New Frontier above, are the really only suitable gift collection of that material. Others, like the line's take on the Promethea series, may change the way you look at the original comics.

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164. Image's New Deluxe Hardcovers
Image Comics has been testing the waters on a few high-end hardcover collections of material, for titles like Invincible, Walking Dead, Silver Star and Casanova.

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165. A Book (or More) From DC's Showcase Series
A cheaper, black and white series collecting lots and lots of material in progressive, issue-to-issue form, these books are generally a lot of fun.

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166. A Book (or More) From Marvel's Essential Series
Marvel's huge series of giant books collected old material in cheap, black and white editions, there are more than enough books of this type to please any fan who remembers these titles and to launch a lot of jokes out of the meaning of the word "essential."

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167. Archival Comics From Fantagraphics
Fantagraphics offers a ton of one-shots, modern-masters and obscurities in addition to its murderer's row of Charles Schulz, George Herriman, EC Segar, Hal Foster, Hank Ketcham, Roy Crane and Bill Griffith.

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168. Archival Comics From Drawn & Quarterly
Drawn and Quarterly's collection-series big guns are fewer, but bow to no one: Tove Jansson, Frank King and Doug Wright.

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169. The Library Of American Comics, IDW

IDW's mighty publishing arm of gigantic gorgeous strip collection lists their publications by property -- they sometimes choose runs that aren't by the original creators -- so we will, too: Archie, Blondie, Bloom County, Bringing Up Father, Dick Tracy, Family Circus, King Aroo, Li'l Abner, Little Orphan Annie, Polly And Her Pals, Rip Kirby, Scorchy Smith, Terry And The Pirates and X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan. That first Polly And Her Pals book is stunning-looking.

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170. The Yoe Books Line, Currently At IDW
Craig Yoe's books are criticized by some for the design choices involved and the selective nature of some of the projects, but in terms of gift-giving I can't see that being all that much of problem. I like the Barney Google book best, as I'm awfully fond of Barney Google.

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171. Dark Horse's Webcomics Line
Dark Horse has carved out maybe the best mini-line of print collections featuring material from prominent webcomics cartoonists. Features involved include Achewood, Wondermark, Perry Bible Fellowship, Sinfest, and the alt-weekly/webcomic Smell Of Steve. In fact, Dark Horse has a bunch of archival lines, including efforts on behalf of Little Lulu, various Warren publications, various Harvey publications, and Conan.

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172. NBM's Forever Nuts Line
This line from NBM focuses on selective collections from older features as opposed to extensive archival work from strips with a greater modern audience: when you're offering work from Opper, McManus and Fisher, you can do whatever you want.

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SINGLE VOLUMES AND SLIPCASED COLLECTIONS OF RECENT AND/OR ENDURING INTEREST
*****


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173. The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb, Robert Crumb (WW Norton)
A drawing showcase for the underground comix master and certainly a vital lion-in-winter offering for one of the greatest cartoonists ever.

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174. Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell
Eddie Campbell's long run of autobiographically informed comics are about as dear and necessary as any comics made over the last 30 years. Last year's book of the year.

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175. Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years Of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson (Fantagraphics)
This career retrospective is massive and beautiful and I think a lot of people are going to be so happy to have all this work in one place.

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176. Footnotes In Gaza: Joe Sacco (Metropolitan)
My likely choice for book of the year, it's cartoonist/journalist Joe Sacco at the absolute height of comics-making powers walking us through an elaborate investigation into a pair of past atrocities and then, in a heartbreaking coda, gently questioning the entire enterprise in a way that pulls a second, just-as-compelling narrative out of the book like a spine and rib bones being lifted from whitefish.

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177. Zot!: The Complete Black and White Comics, 1987-1991, Scott McCloud
I think this is one of the medium's really good stories for young people, and a nostalgic look back for those of raised in slightly boring neighborhoods with nuclear holocaust hanging over our heads who thought we could imagine ourselves away from both.

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178. Hicksville, Dylan Horrocks, Black Eye, 1998.
There's a newer edition out from Drawn and Quarterly that's still in print, and that's where the link takes you, and an even newer edition than that due I believe sometime next year. If you don't have this book, you need this book.

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179-180. One (or both) of those giant Andrews McMeel comic strip collections.
Although an extended series of such books seems like a no-go at this point, Andrews McMeel's giant collections of The Far Side (Gary Larson, 2003) and Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson, 2005) are still in print at deeper than ever discounts if you look around a bit.

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181. Tales of the Bizarro World, Jerry Siegel and various, DC Comics, 2000
I've given this book as a gift more than any other comic book. If, like me, you laugh every time you see that stupid square planet hanging in the sky, this book is for you or your similarly-inclined friend.

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182. Curses, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn and Quarterly, 2006
Kevin Huizenga may be the most important cartoonist to emerge this decade. This is his best collection-to-date. 'Nuff said.

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183. Abe: Wrong For All The Right Reasons, Glenn Dakin, Top Shelf, 2002
I've given this book about a half-dozen times as a Christmas gift: it's a nice, sturdy read.

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184. Most Outrageous, Bob Levin (Fantagraphics)
The best book about comics and cartooning written to date: an almost impossibly sad and bewildering look at the life and eventual fate of Hustler cartoonist Dwaine Tinsley. So few people have read this -- and I understand the subject material is ruthless -- that it makes my soul hurt. It's the only prose work about comics where the next con I attended it spilled out of us as a topic of conversation, so good and so raw we couldn't help ourselves.

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185. What It Is, Lynda Barry (D&Q)
Lynda Barry's celebration of the creative process and inquiry as to its effect on her life would be a welcome gift any year.

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186. Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)
I can't imagine too many more enjoyable journeys in comics than to follow a fine cartoonist to the places he wants to take you.

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187. Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia (Fantagraphics)
Al Columbia's haunting set of almost-complete drawings invoke a world where the very act of creativity summons evil. Haunting, and burned into my memory.

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BOOK SERIES COMPLETED OR LIKELY COMPLETED
*****


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188. Dan Nadel's Comics Anthologies: Art Out Of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969, and Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940-1980.
One of the best anthologies of this decade, Dan Nadel's look at how outsider art was folded into comics' mainstream before there were other outlets feels like it was built to last.

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189. One Of The Fletcher Hanks Books, Fletcher Hanks (Fantagraphics)
An unforgettable look back at one of Golden Age Comics' greatest and most unlikely talents.

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190. The Beasts! Series, Various, Edited and Designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
These are old-fashioned look and wonder books featuring many of the best artists of the current, still-emerging generation. I'm very happy to own them.

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BOOK SERIES IN PROGRESS
*****


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191. RASL, Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith's return to comics post-Bone put out its first collection late last year, a lovely, oversized volume collecting the first three issues. I think RASL has been a blast, skewing much older than Bone while featuring the same kind of genre mash-up at the heart of Smith's more well-known fantasy. Available in multiple formats including -- god bless Smith -- the serial comic book.

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192. The Hunter, Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
Darwyn Cooke's career-changing adaptation of the first Richard Stark Parker book just looks like something I'd give my dad, were he still with us. It would look great under the tree between a bar of soap-on-a-rope and a tie with little Santa heads.

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193-194. Cul De Sac Book Series, Richard Thompson (Andrews McMeel)
My favorite strip cartoonist right now. The above covers actually represent two-tracks right now: while I buy both, I don't expect everyone to.

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195. West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
The second-best thing about this new Tardi initiative at Fantagraphics has been reading and listening to Kim Thompson enthuse about the great cartoonist. The first-best thing is that we get books like this lean thriller.

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196-198. The Little Nothings Series, Lewis Trondheim (NBM)
Nothing brings me more outright pleasure than this series of funny, wry autobiographical works from the great Lewis Trondheim. I'll be giving the three of them as a gift this year.

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199-200. Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Series
These books are great, and despite their frequently violent, foul content -- or maybe because of it -- I can see them being a gift for a wide swathe of comics fans, from those who like superhero smash-'em ups to devotees of alt-manga.

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201. Books From The Ignatz Series
It's a sign of comics' great wealth right now that a series of volumes that would have crushed our hearts with their awesomeness back in the 1990s is merely another great vein of riches today. One great thing about the series is that some of the initially-launched titles are wrapping up.

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202. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 3 Books From Top Shelf
One out now, one on the way, and a third after that -- these are a lot of fun, plus you sort of get to stick it to the man by buying them from new publisher Top Shelf.

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203. Love and Rockets: The Latest Reprinting
These books are so good and so perfectly priced that a couple of years ago I not only got a set for a friend but I dumped my much-beloved albums in their favor.

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204. The Dungeon Books, Lewis Trondheim And Joann Sfar And A Cast Of Dozens (NBM)
An interlocking, time-lost series of fantasy adventures centered on a classic monster-filled dungeon and its characters, I'm frequently a little bit lost as to where in the saga any individual book I might read is, but I'm almost always having too much fun to care.

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TO WRAP THINGS UP HERE ARE SEVERAL APPEALING NEWER COMICS OFFERINGS IN THE POPULAR BOOK FORMAT AND RANDOM BOOKS/ITEMS/OFFERINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE GONE IN A CATEGORY UP ABOVE, REPRESENTING A SMALL AND COMPLETELY INADEQUATE SAMPLING OF SUCH VOLUMES OUT THERE RIGHT NOW SO SHUT UP I TRIED
*****


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205. Copper, Kazu Kibuishi, Scholastic
In an alternate universe, newspaper all over America bumped Blondie in favor of Kazu Kibuishi's ode to the simplest of comics joys: watching expressive characters march through attractively-depicted landscapes. In this universe, it's a fun webcomic and a book that slipped out to little fanfare.

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206. Wilson, Dan Clowes (Drawn And Quarterly)
A strong book of the year candidate and one of the outright funniest comics in recent memory. For some reason, in my mind's eye, Wilson is being played by a young Walter Matthau.

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207. Duncan The Wonder Dog, Adam Hines, AdHouse Books
The debut book of Fall 2010, a massive -- and, page-to-page, complex -- treatment of the old saw about animals developing intelligence and how that might change (might change) everything. Promised as one book of many. Where Adam Hines came from I have no idea, but I hope there are more. Actually, I don't, that would be greedy.

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208. The Best Of FoxTrot, Bill Amend, (Andrew McMeel)
FoxTrot remains sneaky-popular even in its current Sunday-only iteration, and it's difficult not to have some admiration for maybe the only cartoonist of the last 20 years able to regularly comment on elements of popular and not sound completely out of the loop while doing so.

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209. This American Life Marvel Poster
Are there 2000 fans of This American Life and X-Men comic books out there? NPR hopes so. That's a cute image, though, and the price ($22) isn't deadly.

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210. Crumb: The Criterion Collection
The best movie about comics or cartooning ever made now has a definitive edition, where both the quality of the transfer and the completeness of the extras beg you to own it. I've only ever seen it once, in Seattle, at the screening all the broke cartoonists attended.

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211. God's Cartoonist
If Robert Crumb swings a little too mainstream and safe for you, maybe try this enjoyable documentary film about the reclusive minister-through-comics. Lots of Dan Raeburn.

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212. Drinking At The Movies, Julia Wertz (Three Rivers Press)
This is (I believe) a slight re-purposing of Wertz's on-line comics work to encompass/engage the broader issue of how one lives in New York as a young person. As that was never my experience, I found the documentary-style details fascinating. Plus Wertz is consistently funny.

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213. Denys Wortman's New York, Denys Wortman (The Center For Cartoon Studies/Drawn And Quarterly)
A very different view of New York, this is a stuffed collection of the long-since-passed artist's series of drawings of New York life. I've stared at this book for hours, and I'm not even from New York. One of the recent miracles of comics' archival revolution.

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214. The Adventures Of Unemployed Man, Erich Origen and Gan Golan and a Cast Of Dozens (Little, Brown)
I haven't read the book to know how it works as comics, and I'm a little wary of blunt, broad satire, but the idea of it certainly works and there are some sublime comics veterans involved in its execution. I'm not sure how you get this for an unemployed person and not get punched in the face, though.

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215. Whirlwind Wonderland, Rina Ayuyang (Sparkplug/Tugboat)
This collection of Rina Ayuyang's work from her own Namby Pamby and a bunch of different anthologies does something that alt-comics used to do more frequently: provide a look into someone's personal universe. Extremely charming.

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216. H Day, Renee French (PictureBox, Inc.)
Renee French is one of the great cartoonists of her generation. This book not only acts like an art book, the connecting elements and the way French assemble the work make it a fascinating read. I can't imagine not having every one of her books.

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217. You'll Never Know Book Two: Collateral Damage, Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)
The collected version of this book will be all we talk about when it finally comes out, but don't deny yourself the pleasure of the serialized volumes of Carol Tyler's exploration of her father's harrowing World War II experience and how it echoes down the generations. She places one of the five great comics short-stories of the 20th Century into her narrative and somehow makes it more resonant for the new context.

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218. If-n-Oof, Brian Chippendale (PictureBox, Inc.)
Chippendale is one of the great cartoonists of right now, and I think you'd want to see everything he produces right now. This would be true ten times over of any massive, entertaining books he manages to release -- this is such a book.

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219. ACME Novelty Library #20, Chris Ware (Drawn And Quarterly)
A stand-alone work by the great Chris Ware, his first in a couple of years. What are you waiting for?

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220. Temperance, Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)
I'm terrified that this is going to be this year's big, really admirable work that slips into obscurity. I never saw one, but I admire Malkasian's first book (Percy Gloom) so much if Temperance is 1/3 as good it's worth owning. And I've heard this one may be better.

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221. Berlin And That, Oliver East (Blank Slate)
This is the third and I believe potential the final volume in East's trilogy of oblique travelogues along rail line and into abandoned places on either side. A very unique voice in comics and something that I wish I could have shown my trains-in-all-forms loving father.

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222. A Painting From Farel Dalrymple's Etsy Store
I know that I talked about Etsy stores in general in one of the graphs above, but I ran across the super-stylish artist Farel Dalrymple's store and liked the number of works on sale there at a reasonable price.

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223. The Playwright, Daren White And Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
I hope White and Campbell won't hate me for saying this, but reading this reminded me of how we occasionally hear from various mid-20th Century authors and how they almost made comics. If those kinds of writers made the best comics they could, it might read an awful lot like The Playwright.

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224. The Secret History Omnibus Vol. 1, Jean-Pierre Pécau and Igor Kordey and Leo Pilipovic and Goran Sudzuka and Carole Beau and Manchu and Olivier Vatine (Archaia)
This is a collection of my favorite mainstream comics series, the extremely well-drawn yet appealingly super-loopy adventures of four unpleasant immortals and how they've manipulated every important historical era since weapons became metal rather than stone.

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225. Elmer, Gerry Alanguilan (SLG)
I'm a long-time fan of Gerry Alanguilan's unsettling story of chickens come to consciousness, now in North American published form from SLG.

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226. The Wrong Place, Brecht Evens (Drawn And Quarterly)
My current obsession, and a very singular book, best described here.

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227. Set To Sea, Drew Weing (Fantagraphics)
What is it about ocean-faring stories and the current generation of under-40 cartoonists? Not that I'm complaining when the results are this pretty and involving.

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228. The Kim Deitch Files From La Mano Press
Pencil work from the sketchbook of one of the greatest living cartoonists hand assembled by Zak Sally's super-admirable boutique publishing effort. I can't imagine any Kim Deitch fan not wanting this.

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229. Artichoke Tales, Megan Kelso (Fantagraphics)
A searing exploration of relationships, generational politics and environmental determinism from one of the best cartoonists going.

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230. How To Understand Israel In Sixty Days Or Less, Sarah Glidden (DC/Vertigo)
One of the best book-length debuts in a year of such releases, this is a smart and warmly drawn book about the author's birthright trip through Israel and how travel and experiences and keeping our minds open challenge our preconceptions, no matter how closely they're held. A super-classy release.

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*****

Okay, I think that's it. My goodness, there's a lot of material out there.

*****

If I didn't list your book, item, art or project, it's likely because you've been bad this year. Actually, I probably just forgot. I'm sorry. Please don't be upset. I am definitely going to add a few books and ideas to the final grouping as it pleases me to do so, by which I mean whenever I wake up in the middle of the night soaked with guilt over excluding something obvious. Please don't send me an e-mail lecture about how I should have included your book; I find that kind of thing super-distasteful. If you send me news of a broken link so I can fix it, I'll be happy! Happy Holidays to one and all.

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

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Happy 57th Birthday, Pat Broderick!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Doug Rice!

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November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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Please Consider Buying Something From Evan Dorkin In Support Of His Sick Cat

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D+Q To Publish Complete Lynda Barry

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"consisting primarily of her Ernie Pook's Comeek strip but not limited to just that, oh no!"
 
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Go, Look: Strange Windows

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Go, Look: New Yorker Thanksgivings

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Go, Look: NC Wyeth, Don Martin

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* in the most serious cartoonist-related news you're likely to hear today: a new video from an extremist group threatens Lars Vilks by name. Vilks is an artist (not in any way a cartoonist in the way we usually define such things) who made a cartoon-like drawing of Muhammed's head on the body of a dog, which hasn't gone over well with people deeply offended by that kind of imagery and those that seek political gain through that genuine upset.

image* Vanessa Davis' Make Me A Woman garners the attention of TCJ heavy-lifter Rob Clough, and is part of a group of five fine books recommended by NPR to get you through your turkey coma. I'm confused by any Thanksgiving tradition that doesn't include way too much football, but cartoonists are good company, too.

* the Madagascarian cartoonist William Rasoanaivo has won the drawing category of this year's RFI press freedom awards for a cartoon celebrating 40 years of African self-rule. It appeared in L'Express Dimanche. I'm not super-familiar with Rasoanaivo, but here's an interview from about six, seven years ago.

* Gary Varvel finds much to be thankful for, including having a cartooning job when some of his friends and peers are losing theirs.

* this Film Threat interview with Martin Landau has a couple of nuggets of news of which I wasn't aware. First, Film Threat is still around. Second, Landau nearly landed a long-term gig at the New York Daily News as their theatrical caricaturist. Now that is a road not taken.

* the writer Jason Aaron has a nice column up about keeping the pounds off as you slide into a professional career of being hunched over a drawing board or in front of a computer screen for 12 hours a day. I couldn't figure out the formatting at first and somehow thought it was Kelly Sue DeConnick and not Jeff Lemire that was playing hockey, but that's my fault, not CBR's.

image* according to a brief post at the French-language industry news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com the Association des Critiques et Journaliste de la Bande Dessinée has named the final five for its critics' prize, including two books that were critical-praise monsters in their English-language comics. They are Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli (Casterman); Chateau de sable, Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Lévy (Atrabile); Gaza 1956: en marge de l'histoire Joe Sacco (Futuropolis); La Mort de Staline Volume One: Agonie, Thierry Robin and Fabien Nury (Dargaud); Page noire, Ralph Meyer and Frank Giroud and Denis Lapière (Futuropolis).

* this episode of "Send Us Your Shelf Porn" includes a door to a secret room. That's one slide-able batpole and a dedicated phone from the local funnybook shop away from being the perfect comics-holding room.

* this will get a mention in next week's "Festival" column, but since there isn't one today I'll note briefly that WonderCon has announced its initial battery of guests, with Seth leading the alt-comics contingent. Tickets for the show go on sale starting December 1. With the increasing difficulty of attending national shows, the people of the Bay Area are lucky to have a solid, big-tent show on a slightly reduced scale like this one to attend. I went last year on their dime and enjoyed the crap out of it. If I were rich I'd go back every year just to buy old comic books.

* the Funky Winkerbean one makes this feature for me.

* finally, there's so much to be thankful for and so many lists out there that say it eloquently in words, like this one from Gil Roth. I remain perpetually grateful for the opportunity to write about comics every day, and for the precious gift of your time and attention. Thank you.
 
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This One Should Get More Consideration For Greatest Comic Book Cover Ever

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Go, Look: Even More Smokey Stover

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Go, Look: Classic Kurtzman

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Go, Bookmark: Carol Tyler's Blog

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Go, Look: Silver Age Back-Ups

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Go, Look: Dan Wright On Facebook

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Go, Look: Zeke Clough

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Go, Look: Benedikt Rugar

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November 24, 2010


Go, Bookmark: Reviving Muktuk

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Terry LaBan is bringing back his characters as a webcomic he's doing for a master's thesis
 
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Bad NW Weather Hits Comics Shops?

imageIt looks like in Portland at least the combination of cold, snow and an entire region not exactly used to cold and snow are keeping UPS from delivering comics to local shops. Delivery looks to resume Monday. Anyone in the cold parts of the US who has a favorite store may want to show them some extra love for not having material ready during the Everyone Goes Crazy For Shopping weekend. Heck, your store may not get many people inside their walls period if it's really cold out. You may even see some insta-sales like this one at Floating World, so keep an eye out.
 
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Jeff Lemire's Essex County Trilogy Makes Canada Reads 2011 Top Five

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Ip Man Asks: So Where Are All The Great Superhero Comic Book Fight Scenes?

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I recently watched Wilson Yip's movies Ip Man and Ip Man 2 over the space of a couple of weekends. If you're not aware of them, they're Hong Kong movies, Disney-style biographies dipping into the event-filled life of Bruce Lee's teacher. They're not all that much to watch as movies, even of the sweet and wholesome kind. The natural charm of actors like Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and Simon Yam is given a lot of room in the same way that Secretariat depends on the crowd-pleasing appeal of -- on completely different grounds, granted -- John Malkovich and Diane Lane. But as appealing as those actors can be their interactions aren't enough I'd want to watch a whole movie assembled out of such scenes. The key to the Yip films is that they're vehicles for fights. The fight scenes all contain a narrative element, they're all well-shot in a way that communicates the physical activity and what exactly is at risk in each situation, they build upon one another, and they are all vigorously performed.

imageIs it weird that I can't think of a single superhero comic that functions this way? By sheer number of pages devoted to them since 1938, one could suggest that physical encounters are the driving force in the superhero genre. Fight scenes in comics have been compared to music in musicals, and tend to play such a central role in the dramas of that genre that playing against them -- say resolving an important narrative through something other than a fistfight -- is still generally considered a bold and noteworthy creative choice. Yet it's hard for me to think of more than few really satisfying fight scenes, the show-stopper that might make an anthology sole devoted to those scenes with comics, a sequence you might show someone just for that sequence. I am a relative child when it comes to reading manga and it's much, much easier for me to think of satisfying, stand-alone fight scenes in that tradition than it is for me to think of superhero equivalents.

So what are the great superhero fight scenes? I can think of a few memorable ones, such as Wolverine ripping into the Hellfire Club guards back in the late 1970s Uncanny X-Men comics or the Scott McCloud escalating parody fight in Destroy!!. I'm fond of the Wally Wood-drawn Namor and Daredevil fight, the Hulk/Thing battle that preceded that first Avengers/Fantastic Four crossover and that first Thor/Hercules major fistfight in terms of classic Marvel tussles. But I'm not coming up with a whole lot considering how many fight scenes there are. Even this article by Troy Brownfield seems to me to mention three or four fights that were satisfying more as plot points (Batman takes down an army of Martian supermen because he's Batman) than as thrilling scenes (I can't remember a single panel).

On a holiday weekend with no Five For Friday forthcoming, let me leave it in your hands: What are your favorites? Which are the great ones? Where would you send someone if they wanted to see a quality superhero throwdown? I'm dying to know.

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Go, Look: More Jean-Pierre Gibrat

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* over on Facebook, Tom Hart offers a first look at the forthcoming Hutch Owen collection Let's Get Furious. That was once announced for 2010 but now looks like a Spring 2011 release.

image* the talented Cliff Chiang has a panel up from a Lady Gaga one-pager he illustrated for December's GQ.

* Matt Dembicki is looking for submissions for a new comics project.

* Blank Slate is starting a new line of books called Chalk Marks, modeled somewhat on the Ignatz line shared by Coconino Press and Fantagraphics.

* Dynamite sent out a press release last Friday that they've secured the Warehouse 13 comics license. Warehouse 13 is a popular Syfy television show starring Saul Rubinek, for whom I've been a mark since Ticket To Heaven. I imagine its objects-driven high concept -- it's basically a TV show based on the final scene of Raiders Of The Lost Ark -- would lend itself to comic book supplementary stories rather easily.

* missed this one the first time around, but ANN had a brief piece up last week about multiple spin-offs from multiple manga features starting in December.

* the fact that Jason Shiga has a book out from Abrams and this is either the first I've heard about it or I've completely forgotten it was coming is exhibit A in why this site has to do much better job in 2011 and beyond. Self-drama aside, new Jason Shiga!

* I'm probably just old enough that the eminently logical phrasing surprised me a bit, but when I read this piece about Marvel's reviving its Marvel Greatest Comics program of cheap, single-comic on-ramp points for potential DM Customer, it jumped out at me -- only a little bit -- that the comics are designed to lead people to collections instead of ongoing series. That makes perfect sense, actually, but I still took notice of it.

* Marvel is doing an adaptation of Emma, one guesses primarily for the bookstore market. I've been told by a half-dozen folks these books do well for Marvel in that market.

* I've enjoyed every single interaction I've ever had with Larry Young and Jimmy Palmiotti, but this interview with Jason Netter about their Kickstart Comics project makes me wonder if this isn't another well-funded project seeking a middle-ground audience for a certain kind of genre comic, an audience that probably has to be developed rather than simply sold to. Getting into Wal-Mart is great, and there's a chance the work might connect with people there just because the work connects with people, but no one goes to Wal-Mart for comics and you can't just assume they'll start.

* the Washington Post Writers Group will be continuing the recent resurgent tradition of new-feature launches with Donna A. Lewis' Reply All in late February 2011. It has a slightly different look, which is perfectly appropriate for a syndicate like WPWG.

* first of all, I do this all the time. Second, this is the first time I've read -- well, that I've read and it's stuck -- that Julia Wertz is going to distance herself a bit from the Fart Party brand name.

* Sean T. Collins caught mention that totally passed me by of new Marc Bell book coming out in 2011.

* here's a bit of good news: Fantagraphics will be publishing Leslie Stein in 2011. Stein's comics have a real verve to them, and I think she could be good.

* finally, the writer Glen Brunswick of Killing Girl and Jersey Gods has started a blog in support of a new project, Dead Girlfriend. It's going to be one of the initial offerings on the slightly-delayed Comics Pipeline site.

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Go, Look: Huge Denys Wortman Site

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Danish intelligence has released word through the international press community that foreign operative may be planning to commit terrorist acts within Denmark, and that targets of said attack might include sites and people related to the Danish Cartoons Controversy.

* it's possible these arrests could be directly related to those concerns.

* the lingering attempt to pass a UN resolution that includes the censure of speech on religious subjects, a bill believed to have gained momentum from the long fall-out over the Danish cartoons, has now mostly broken down into Muslim Vs. The West camps and along typical argumentation lines, meaning it's likely not going to happen.
 
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Not Comics: Cory Godbey Blog

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La Mano Announces Kim Deitch Files

imageZak Sally's boutique publishing effort La Mano 21 has announced a major project well-worth pulling out of "Bundled" and giving its own post -- The Kim Deitch Files, a portfolio-style presentation of the pencil sketchbook/workbook pages from one of the great cartoonists of this age. They will debut it at BCGF and at a Seattle's Fantagraphics bookstore during their 4th anniversary party, and promise two different editions which they break down into great detail at the site's top article (I can't find a permanent link). Basically hand-assembled by Sally, I think these fall into "beautiful object" territory just by nature of the work they represent and if you find yourself wanting one after reading Sally's post, this is a sign that we can be friends.
 
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Go, Look: More Louie

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Go, Watch: Garry Trudeau On BBC News

There's a pretty good seven-minute interview with Garry Trudeau over at the Newsnight site, including the most bizarre choice for Zonker Harris' voice I can imagine and odd, potentially insulting gifts supplied at the end. I haven't seen a lot of video interviews with Trudeau, so it's always interesting to see him on his feet -- he's actually sitting in an American-style diner -- and talking about his work. Because of the relative lack of familiarity with Trudeau's work by the Newsnight audience, it's a pretty basic 101 interview, things like Hunter Thompson and Donald Trump hating their depictions within the strip and whether or not President Obama could conceivably be represented by a half-full, half-empty glass of water.
 
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Go, Look: Brief Lives

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Law 360: Four Of Five Counterclaims In Kirby Action Tossed By Federal Judge

Well, at least that's what this says. I'm a little perplexed as to which counterclaims they mean -- the only number I remember in relation to this case was the number of reversions of rights sought, which I think was in the 40s -- and I'm currently unable to access the full article. I assume this will come out via another source (perhaps one that's made aware of it here) and I can immediately update then. Doesn't sound good for the Kirby family, but these cases are such tightly-wound balls of argumentation + PR it's hard to pass judgment on any measure between initial and final because different sides will claim different meanings.
 
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Go, Look: Graham Annable Parodies The Walking Dead Television Show

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nice catch by CA; I didn't even know Annable had a flickr stream
 
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Go, Look: Captured By The Amazons

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Go, Look: Richie Rich #54

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Go, Look: First Men In The Moon

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Go, Look: Homer K. Beagle

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Bill Amend guests on XKCD?

* the CBLDF could use your volunteer help next week.

image* one thing I'll be catching up on in the dim hours of tomorrow morning before the cooking starts is David Brothers' massive article on digital comics. The Friday after Thanksgiving I always reserve for catching up with on-line strips in great gulps, like the magnificent Achewood.

* I like the way this interview is pitched in its opening paragraph: both as a piece about the specific artist, Reilly Brown, but the task of working on comics that are supposed to fit into an array of books adding up to one mega-story.

* to everyone that wrote me asking: this one.

* I like posts that are both a sweet sentiment and a giant "you're all a bunch of entitled dicks" to a massive segment of comics fans, myself included. Several families out there will use nothing but that mode of speech for the next three days.

* today's recipient of my new "make an Internet post that seems designed to speak specifically to my interests and obsessions" mind-ray power is Jeet Heer, who quickly foisted up something on used bookstores as a precursor to comics shops. My first local comic book store (1981 to 1986) was such a shop even in the formal sense that they had pull lists and weekly new comics. They just put that part of their business in the portion of the building that stretched east from the cash register while the used book part of the business stretched west. (In fact, I have a physical sense memory remaining of walking into that story and walking around that desk and into comics-land that I'll retain until I pass away.) Anyway, once you include bookstores that did business with used comics, you get into hundreds of establishments, I bet.

* not comics: it took me a while, but I think the insanity of the Spider-Man musical is what finally has me rooting for it to stay open until I get to New York to see it. At that point, however, I'd like it to close immediately and never be performed again, swinging off into show business legend.

* finally, a Paper Radio reunion.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Tony Fitzpatrick!

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Quick hits
Craft
Nice, Simple Superhero Design

History
What Superheroes Can't Do

Industry
Things To Be Grateful For

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jeff Kinney
4thletter!: Paul Cornell
CBR: Jonathan Hickman
Newsarama: Kurt Busiek
A Week In Dan Nadel's Life

Not Comics
American Things Popular Overseas

Reviews
Christopher Allen: Elmer
Bill Sherman: Love Hurts
Greg McElhatton: Fogtown
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Curt Purcell: Biomega Vol. 4
Sean Gaffney: Soul Eater Vol. 4
Michael C. Lorah: American Vampire #6-8
Sean T. Collins: Love & Rockets Vol. 2 #20
Johanna Draper Carlson: Drinking At The Movies
Andrew Wheeler: Top Shelf Asks The Big Questions
Grant Goggans: Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 2
 

 
November 23, 2010


Go, Read: Jack Kirby In The Valley

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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 make that decision according to the evidence at hand.

*****

SEP100166 BATMAN AND ROBIN #17 $2.99
SEP100009 KULL THE HATE WITCH #1 (OF 4) TOM FLEMING CVR $3.50
SEP100107 USAGI YOJIMBO #133 TAIKO PT 2 (OF 2) $3.50
SEP100611 CAPTAIN AMERICA #612 $3.99
SEP100500 WALKING DEAD #79 (MR) $2.99
SEP100545 ASTONISHING THOR #1 (OF 5) $3.99
SEP100646 THOR MIGHTY AVENGER #6 $2.99
SEP100170 BATMAN ODYSSEY #5 (OF 13) $3.99
These are the serial comic books that caught my attention, and not always for the reason that I think one should buy them. The Kull comic is up there because I think at the time of my life I was buying barbarian comic books there's no way I would have bought one with the word "witch" in the title. The Batman books are kind of interesting: that's the first post-Grant Morrison issue of Batman And Robin -- yeah, that doesn't make sense to me, either -- and the latest issue of that weird Hairy-Chested Batman Adventures that Neal Adams is doing. It's somehow appropriate that another Thor comic comes out at the same time that the now-canceled Thor The Mighty Avenger has its first post-announcement issue hit the stands. Walking Dead, Captain America and Usagi Yojimbo are about as reliable a trio of series as exists right now in genre comics.

JUL100194 BOY COMMANDOS BY JOE SIMON AND JACK KIRBY HC $49.99
I have almost no familiarity with this seminal Golden Age work by the Simon/Kirby team, but they made comics that are almost always worth poring over.

SEP100479 SWORD COMPLETE COLL DLX HC (MR) $99.99
I greatly enjoyed this in serial comic book form. As the Luna Brothers didn't move right into another project, I assume they're taking time away or looking into solo work for a while.

AUG101177 7 BILLION NEEDLES GN VOL 02 $10.95
This is the one manga title that jumped out at me this week, although I could have completely overlooked something. This is Nobuaki Tadano's mainstream science-fiction thriller.

SEP100998 ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY HC #20 (MR) $23.95
Book of the week and on the short list for book of the year.

AUG101093 MISS DONT TOUCH ME GN VOL 01 (O/A) $14.95
AUG101092 MISS DONT TOUCH ME GN VOL 02 $14.99
The adventures of a brothel-employee virgin's life, interactions and occasional adventures: the new one, book two, has less of a thriller feel to it than the first, I think to its credit.

JUN101002 SPECIAL EXITS HC $26.99
Joyce Farmer's new book about seeing to elderly parents. This book's appearance speaks well to comics' ability to rediscover certain voices and give their best work a publishing platform no matter when in life that best work comes. As long as there's some ability for a cartoonist to walk into a publisher with a big stack of page and walk out with a book contract, comics is going to be okay.

AUG100727 SALIMBA GN $9.99
Older work by the late writer Stephen Perry and the still very active Paul Chadwick, with part of the proceeds going to Hero Initiative.

*****

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 pertinacious.

*****

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Maybe NYC Does Have The Best Scene

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* the New York Observer kicks in with a bouncy article on the recent improvisational cartooning "Fisticuffs" event. The article manages to make the event sound like a fun time without diminishing the participants in any way, which is harder than it looks.

* the New York Times profiles the opening of the recent Denys Wortman show with a comprehensive article both on that show and the life and career of its subject. The best thing about the piece is how it deftly handles some pretty comics-specific ideas without having to over-explain or contextualize things. The article notes that when Wortman died the commercial pull of Peanuts and other gag-cartooning style strips had already changed the comics page forever; it also pushes through the show's multiple parents with equanimity and aplomb. If you've never seen Wortman's art up close and personal, and you're in New York, tried to get to this show.

* one advantage to living in one of the big cities like New York is that when an on-line magazine does a profile, they can use a photographer in order to help build their article, like this piece with Julia Wertz.
 
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Go, Look: Sindre Goksøyr

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Des Hommes Dans La Guerre d'Algérie Wins 2010 Prix De La Presse Des Jeunes

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The French-language industry news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com notes that Casterman's Des hommes dans la guerre d'Algérie by Isabelle Bournier and Jacques Ferrandez will receive the main prize given out at the Salon du Livre et de la Press Jeunesse taking place near Paris the first six days in December. The award was announced last Thursday. Also to be honored is a series of educational-sounding books called Français d’ailleurs.

European comics ramps up to the end-of-January Angouleme Festival in part through a series of awards announcements and festival prizes, building momentum for the big show and trading in on the general attention paid comics during this period.
 
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Go, Look: Classic Steve Ditko

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Artist/Cartoonist Arrested In White River

imageThe Rutland Herald is reporting in a fire-walled article that artist/cartoonist Jasper Friend pleaded innocent yesterday to two felony charges related to possession of cocaine and heroin. According to the article, Friend was arrested on Sunday night after being found by a police officer passed out behind the wheel of his parked truck in White River Junction, with a number of narcotics and prescription pills, some within plain view. Friend's lawyer told the court that he had been attending the Center For Cartoon Studies but had recently stopped for financial reasons.

The charges facing Friend carry with them a maximum sentence of 10 years and $200,000 in fines.

I don't know anything at this early hour except what's in that report, so I'm asking you to consider this a post saying that the Herald is reporting this rather than an endorsement of the report. For one thing, the Herald has Friend attending the two-year school for four years, which hopefully someone can clear up. I also feel the private travails of cartoonists are more a heartbreaking series of circumstances as opposed to real news that needs to be endlessly discussed, and I hope that whatever happened the artist is able to sort things out.
 
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Go, Look: More Gilfeather

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Politico's Matt Wuerker Wins Berryman

imageMatt Wuerker of Politico has won this year's Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for editorial cartooning, it was announced Monday by the National Press Foundation. As Michael Cavna points out in his piece, Wuerker won the Herblock prize earlier this year, and was on the Pulitzer short list both this year and last. Like many awards, the Berryman announces their award but gives it out at a function some months later -- Wuerker will formally receive the award, and one imagines the $2500 cash prize, at the NPF dinner next Spring.

Tom Toles, Daryl Cagle and Jimmy Margulies were honorable mentions. Past winners include Mike Keefe, Nate Beeler and Steve Sack. You can see Wuerker's cartoon entries here.
 
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Go, Read: John Stanley's Soundscape

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Go, Look: Death Ship Of Three Wars

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Not Comics: Brit Illustration Show

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Go, Look: Classic Klaus Nordling

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Go, Look: Ziff-Davis Insanity

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's the must-read of the day: Gary Tyrrell directs us to a sizable analysis of webcomics economics, including the data set used.

image* this D+Q post examines a crazy, supposedly but not really bootlegged edition of the new Charles Burns book, which you'll then almost immediately forget because the photos of the crowd at the gallery opening are amazing.

* I'm not actually surprised that only 13 percent of a subset of comics have women working on them, except maybe I'm surprised it's double digits. One problem with turning that around and bringing in more talent and more voices is that I think there's a pretty good argument that real change has to be brought to bear gradually and insistently over time, and the very nature of such a solution brings with it the risk of extending the problem.

* Matt Madden has posted a bunch of his students' constraint-based comics and introduces the group of them here.

* Don MacPherson looks into how and why a solo credit was given to Paul Levitz for creating the Huntress character on a recent DC-related cartoon, when the best evidence seems to suggest that it should be a shared creator credit. It sounds more curious than nefarious, and the other creators don't sound bothered, but it's something to keep an eye on. I'm not sure why DC couldn't just say.

* Brendan Wright has a fine post up on the recent digital piracy issues, looking at the recent relayed experiences of Steve Lieber and Colleen Doran as the structural basis for the mini-essay. He avoids a lot of hyperbole, and makes several points while keeping the notion out there that these are limited examples of a broader story in extended development.

* not comics: well, that's a creepy-looking bugger.

image* hard not to fall at least a little bit in love with Dill's Winter hat.

* the cartoonist Dustin Harbin talks web-discussion etiquette. I agree with most of it, but I do think there are times when someone is right and someone is wrong. Definitely not all the times the participants in a discussion think that this is the case, but definitely some arguments break down that way. It's kind of amazing to me that people won't use their real names 16 years into widespread comics discussion on the Internet.

* it's two months away, but it's hard not to be jealous of those attending Angouleme when you read this report on the opening press conference.

* Bob Temuka takes the long view on all things X-Men. I think if you're going to stay in one kind of storytelling mode for 35 years, with only Grant Morrison's time representing a significant break from a lot of the old structures (and even then in the form of an homage to the core comics), you're going to get a book that functions exactly like a TV soap opera in a lot of ways, including eventually burning through older readers.

* Simon Gane draws Lemmy. Good to know my mind-control powers are still effective when I want them to be.

* finally, Brigid Alverson makes a good point that any analysis of digital piracy of manga needs to keep in mind the core fan and how they approach the entire issue, as opposed to adults and certainly opposed to adults talking in abstractions. I'm not sure it changes the issue a ton -- for one, I think it's a bit of a fallacy that one's orientation towards an issue needs to be based on the probable success of one's proposed correctives -- but it should inform those discussions for sure.
 
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Happy 39th Birthday, Jonah Weiland!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 49th Birthday, Masamune Shirow!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Keith Richards
Common Types Of Men
On A Powr Mastrs Panel
Epilogue Or No Epilogue?
Rob Ullman Prepares A Print
On Breaking The Fourth Wall
Tintin And The Call Of Cthulu

Exhibits/Events
Yokoyama In Tokyo
Comics And The Library
Thought Bubble Was Brilliant
Even Mark Evanier Can't Help You
Portland Comic Book Show Report

History
I Want You
Love Those Q&As
On Howard Chaykin's The Shadow

Industry
Appreciate Your Comics
So What's Brendan McCarthy Up To?
What If The Next Paper Had No Comics?

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Emi Lenox
When Worlds Collide: Matt Seneca

Not Comics
That's A Lot Of Lead
Fred Noland Illustration
Appreciation For A Review Box
That's How We Felt At The Time

Publishing
Lewis & Clark Trailer
Catching Up With Comics
New Johnny Ryan At Vice
Batman And Robin #17 Preview
Conan: Road Of Kings #1 Preview
Advice From A Cartoonist, One Year In
This Doesn't Seem Like It Will End Well

Reviews
Deb Aoki: Ayako
Rob Clough: Various
Rich Kreiner: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Colin Panetta: Bodyworld
Greg McElhatton: Emitown
Win Wiacek: MOME Vol. 20
Sean T. Collins: High Soft Lisp
RC Harvey: Freshly Squeezed
Richard Bruton: Paper Science #3
Matthias Wivel: Kramers Ergot Vol. 4
Nick Smith: Dungeons And Dragons #1
Andrew Wheeler: Dungeon: Monstres Vol. 3
Sean Gaffney: The Story Of Saiunkoku Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: Transformers: The IDW Collection Vol. 1
 

 
November 22, 2010


Go, Look: Panorama

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Your 2010 Association Des Critiques And Journalistes Prix Nominees

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The French-language comics critics' group l'Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée (ACBD) has released its nominee list for the 2010 edition of their prix annuel de la critique. In addition to a solid line-up of continental superstars, three North American authors made the list with latest works: David Mazzucchelli, Joe Sacco and Charles Burns. The winner will be named on December 10.

* Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Éditions Casterman)
* Blast Volume One: Grasse carcasse by Manu Larcenet (Éditions Dargaud)
* Château de sable by Frederik Peeters and Pierre Oscar Lévy (Éditions Atrabile)
* Coney Island Baby by Nine Antico (Éditions L'Association)
* Fais péter les basses, Bruno! by Baru (Éditions Futuropolis)
* Gaza 1956: en marge de l'histoire by Joe Sacco (Éditions Futuropolis)
* Les Gens honnêtes Vol. 2 by Christian Durieux and Jean-Pierre Gibrat (Éditions Dupuis)
* Lydie by Jordi Lafebre and Zidrou (Éditions Dargaud Bénélux)
* Milady de Winter Vol. 1 by Agnès Maupré (Éditions Ankama)
* Le Montespan by Philippe Bertrand d'après Jean Teulé (Éditions Delcourt)
* La Mort de Staline Volume One: Agonie by Thierry Robin and Fabien Nury (Éditions Dargaud)
* Page noire by Ralph Meyer, Frank Giroud and Denis Lapière (Éditions Futuropolis)
* Quai d'Orsay: chroniques diplomatiques Vol. 1 by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Éditions Dargaud)
* Toxic by Charles Burns (éditions Cornélius)
* Trois christs by Denis Bajram, Fabrice Neaud and Valérie Mangin (Éditions Quadrants/Soleil)
 
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Go, Read: History Of The Ukulele

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Media Analysis Site Slams Joe Sacco

imageI don't really take the criticism made here of Joe Sacco as anything more than the usual grind of facile political talk generated to produce unhappy people that can be more easily separated from their money, but I guess it's sort of interesting that Sacco would be the target of such an attack. Mainstream acceptance at last! Less intriguing is that the criticism so badly suffers from the approach it's ostensibly attacking. It's also always weird for me to see Nerd Court principles applied in some place other than a musty comics forum, in this case the supposition that there's a more rigorous truth out there to be learned by placing in stone non-contextualized, selective comments someone makes at a symposium over the statements they make in the actual work, or, when applicable, the statements they make through the actual work. Then again, I realize that's the way of the media world right now.

Sacco failed to mention all the kids this lady knows able to pull up their pants with both hands
 
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OTBP: Tainted

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posted 7:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: David Rees' Pencil-Sharpening Enterprise Goes International

The Guardian takes notice of David Rees' pencil-sharpening business with one of those slightly-baffled, freelance, I'll-be-your-straight-man profiles that only the British media seems able to pull off. This response of Rees cracked me up. "The LA Times ran a piece recently and the reaction, the many comments, were split completely along the lines of what it means to be an American now. Half of them celebrated the fact that, in their words, anyone could have the inventiveness to make a go of anything, and thus they should abolish the welfare state. The other half professed despair that there are people rich enough to spend 12 bucks getting their pencil sharpened." This may not be the best cartoonist day-job ever, but it's got to be up there.
 
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Go, Look: Skull Comics Array

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Oregon Senator Vows To Delay COICA Until It Requires Re-Submission

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I didn't expect my pointing towards the very real plight felt by artists like Colleen Doran as a tacit endorsement of the bill that's put those issues into the spotlight: the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. For one thing, I felt that it would have been unfair to Doran, as my memory is the essay in question didn't mention a specific piece of legislation. I think the broader issue is more interesting than the specific one, too, at least in comics, and hold out hope for an eventual sub-cultural changing-of-minds, or enough minds, an overall easing of the issue's press on commercial concerns that we've been repeatedly told won't happen.

It's an overall good, I think, to see that Ron Wyden is going to take steps to delay the bill long enough it has to be resubmitted. It sounds like bad legislation to me in a lot of ways: too broad in places (among other factors, this site could conceivably be a target), it allows for a shutdown with little more than a heads-up before it cracks you in the nose, and I would imagine -- I don't know, this could be ridiculous -- that it could lead to a series of moves by proponents of these activities that could make for a greater and much less structured process by which the same thing would be accomplished. At the same time, the fact that the bill shot through Congress like a greased pig tossed down a Slip 'n' Slide hopefully adds force to the search for more precise remedies. Or people could just stop being presumptuous buttheads. Just saying.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Rainy Day Recess

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Your 2010 Blois Festival Honorees

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This article at ActuaBD.com detailing the winners of the festival prizes from this year's BD Boum festival at Blois makes a case for those awards and that festival as an important precursor to January's traditional, internationally-renowned festival at Angouleme -- both in that it serves as a meeting of various French-language comics personalities a couple of months before the bigger show and, at least according to one cartoonist, that the group that meets to pick the next Grand Prix winner at the January show pays attention to the prize winner at Blois. This is good news for Jean-Pierre Gibrat, the veteran industry presence and artist that replaced Emmanuel Guibert as the festival's big-name winner.

It's also worth noting that the prizes seemed to come with cash awards, which I swear we need to look into in North America (a few awards do have cash prizes, but not most of them).

* Le Grand Boum: Jean-Pierre Gibrat
* Prix citoyen Région Centre (new comic reaching Blois citizens): Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Julie Maroh (Glénat)
* Prix Nouvelle République (comic within reach of local daily): La Parenthèse, Élodie Durand (Delcourt)
* Prix Spécial Nouvelle République: Mes années bêtes et méchantes, Daniel Fuchs, Joub & Micoby (Drugstore)
* Prix de la Ligue de l'enseignement (six to nine year olds): Souvenirs de Mamette, Nob (Glénat)
* Prix Jacques Lob: Hervé Bourhis
* Prix du Conseil Général du Loir et Cher (10 to 14 year olds): Petits bonheurs, H. Tonton, (Vents d'Ouest)

Medals of chocolate were awarded to those deemed extra-supportive of the show.
 
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Go, Look: 1947 Spirit Art

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Your 2010 Comics Category Winner In The Colden Blog Awards

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I'm not familiar with the awards program at all, nor the winner, but I thought it worth noting that a comics-driven blog by a student named Hugo Ruyant has won the appropriate comics-related category in something called the Golden Blog Awards, for his Le Blog d'Hugo. The recipient has been blogging since 14 years old, and is apparently part of a small, comics-related blogosphere over there -- although I think there may be some specific designations being made there that might not apply to a U.S. equivalent, I'm not sure. Anyway: fun poking around.
 
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Go, Look: Mr. Toad's Sex Life

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Your 2011 Texas Library Association Maverick Graphic Novel List

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I'm not exactly sure what the TLA Maverick Graphic Novel list is beyond what I can read here or if it's brand new or something months old that's just now sifting to the top on end of they year write-ups, but I'm all for lists of comics sorted out by other people and this one seems to have a bunch of pretty good comics on it, so here you go.

Grade 6-8
Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, Amelia Rules! The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Popular, Calamity Jack, City of Spies, Ender's Game: Battle School, Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation, Lola, Meanwhile, Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher, Robot City Adventures: City in Peril.
imageGrade 6-12
Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess, Atomic Robo, Vol. 2: Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War, Atomic Robo, Vol. 3: Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time, Atomic Robo, Vol. 4: Other Strangeness, Bayou, Vol. 1 , Brain Camp, Chimpanzee Complex, Vol. 1: The Paradox, Crogan's March, Foiled, Ghostopolis, Invincible Iron Man, Vol. 2: World's Most Wanted, Karakuri Odette, Vol. 1, Mercury, Mr. Stuffins, Odyssey, Orbital, Vol. 1: Scars, Otomen, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer, Prime Baby, Resistance Book 1, Silverfin: A James Bond Adventure, Smile, Stiches: A Memoir, Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans, Trickster: Native American Tales, Wonderful Wizard of Oz, X-Men Misfits, Vol. 1, X-Men: Magneto , Zeus: King of the Gods
Young Adult
3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost, Beasts of Burden, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, City of Spies, Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale, Grandville, Honey Hunt, How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story, Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness
Young Adult/Adult
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Batwoman: Elegy, BB Wolf and the 3 Lp's, Big Kahn, Cuba My Revolution, Groom Lake, Hexed, Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks


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Go, Look: Early Crazy Parody

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CCI Tickets Again On Sale This Morning; Again Canceled By CCI After Snafus

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They should go on sale at 9 AM ET/6 AM PT, or about 30 minutes after this post rolls out. Head over here to get what will soon be a sold-out ticket -- no matter which configuration you desire. The previous attempt to sell tickets fell prey to a computer snafu.

And it's already blown up; they'll try again soon.
 
posted 2:29 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Les Derniers Jours d'un Immortel Picks Up Science Fiction Festival Comics Prize

imageAccording to a brief posting at the French-language news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com, Les Derniers Jours d'un immortel won the "prix de la meilleure bande dessinée de science fiction de l'année" at the science fiction convention Utopiales, held in Nantes. The Futuropolis book, by Gwen de Bonneval and Fabien Vehlmann, was also part of the Angouleme Festival's official selection announcement that same week. The French industry offers up a number of awards in the weeks leading up to the late-January festival, both for comics within non-comics awards program and programs targeting comics specifically. The jury at Utopiales was presided over by Philippe Druillet.
 
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If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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Go, Read: Child Of Tomorrow!

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Go, Look: The Kilroys

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Go, Look: Diana Annual (1975)

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Go, Look: UFO Flying Saucers #4

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* missed this key twist in an ongoing, important news story: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is resubmitting a bill about the sexual depictions of youth, a bill that could ostensibly have a drastic effect on manga and anime. What seems key is that the language has been tweaked to counter arguments that the previous iteration of the bill contained language that was way too broad.

image* also missed this Brigid Alverson post at Robot 6 on "What Makes A Kids-Friendly Comics Shop?" focusing on Diamond's resources for consumers to find such places. It's a fairly compelling, brief read, in that all the usual problems are on display: qualifiers that may not match what one thinks of when one things of comics for kids, a standard that measures only in merchandise purchased, the fact that some comics stores feel outright hostile to some children. I still believe that there's a potential for continuing reform and a greater toe-hold for certain kinds of markets within that general avenue of sales.

* which cartoonists making which letters will create the ultimate comics font?

* I'm still a sucker for this.

* this week's desktop background. I rarely link to Manu Larcenet's blog, but the art there is almost always nice. Speaking of consistently wonderful imagery, I don't remember when or why I started linking to it, but I can't imagine there are a handful of sketch blogs out there as consistently rewarding as Mattias Inks.

* not comics: what kind of movie world do we live in where the same guy plays Leonard H. McCoy and Judge Dredd and this doesn't seem to be odd in any way?

* hey, it's a Charles Burns interview. And over here is a review of X'ed Out by Ben Schwartz.

* I've never been a comics proselytizer beyond liking them myself and being able to talk someone's ear off if asked, so this advice makes some general sense.

image* like many collectors with impulse-control issues and a widely desirous heart, I tell myself I don't need any more original art because it makes me feel better about not having extra money to spend on original art right now. Still, it's hard to maintain a straight, non-greedy face when Derek Kirk Kim is putting all that great art up for sale. Alan David Doane is also selling a lot of material on eBay, mostly I believe high-end books from his collection.

* today's article most likely to be lightly rewritten and then used pretty much wholesale by the various mainstream comics-focused sites and bloggers is this one about people playing dress-up in Seattle to participate in the crime-reduction process. It's not that I don't understand civilians taking back the night -- I participate in my neighborhood watch groups, and my hometown dallied with the Guardian Angels at one point when I was a teen -- as much as it is I don't quite understand the costume impulse in any context. Although I guess if you're in for an inch, you're in for a mile. It does make a significant amount of sense this kind of thing would be happening in various locations right now, in that I imagine in the bigger picture there are economic forces at work. Heck, I bet Seattle's milder weather plays a role in that it makes it easier to be "on patrol" year-round. The article acknowledges there's a thin line between interacting with criminals and spending months in jail yourself, even when you don't put on body armor and go and seek this stuff out, so that's worth noting.

* never play dueling covers with Jack Kirby. While we're laying down some basic rules, never read Italian horror comics after lunch.

* finally, some not comics: check out this cool birthday card to Rich Tommaso from Jessica Johnson.
 
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Happy 70th Birthday, Terry Gilliam!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Ethan Persoff!

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Happy 70th Birthday, Roy Thomas!

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Happy 60th Birthday, David Wenzel!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Ron Randall!

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Quick hits
Craft
Ew
Yow
Wildcat
Alan Moore
Oooh, Pretty
Sweet Smell Of Success
I Like The Nguyens Best
Colleen Coover Sketches
Todd Klein Cleans His Pens
Lucy Knisley Draws Cast Of Glee

Exhibits/Events
Go See Ulli Lust
Evan Dorkin Pimps The BCGF
Emmanuel Guibert's Festival Poster
Packed Charles Burns Opening At Galarie Martel

History
Bat Dates
Ask Chris Sims
Missing Batman
This Made Me Laugh
A Top 25 Single Panel
That's A Lot Of Ramen
On Action Comics #606
Stone Soup Passes 15th
This Made Me Laugh, Too, And I Felt Better About It

Industry
Mike Sterling Is Difficult

Interviews/Profiles
TCJ: Oliver East
CBR: Greg Capullo
Inkstuds: Matt Dembicki
WiltonPatch: Matt Davies
Graphic Novels: Lisa Schöttler
Panel Borders: JH Williams III

Not Comics
Krampus!
Thank God
Hey, He'd Know
I'm With Evanier
Really? Medphyll?
It's X-Mas In November!
A Wacky Race Book Profiled
Bhob Stewart Interviews Stephen King
Strangest Fictional Commercial Endorsement Ever?

Publishing
On Osborn #1
On Spandex #3
Comic Book Counseling
Excited For Paying For It
On Terry And The Pirates
On Killing Spider-Man (The Ultimate Version)
Somebody Please Collect This Awesome Comic
What's The Best Avengers Comic Being Published Right Now?

Reviews
AV Club: Various
Kate Dacey: Various
Matt Seneca: Various
Don MacPherson: Various
Matthew Brady: The Boys
Greg McElhatton: X'ed Out
Todd Klein: The Viking Prince
Doug Zawisza: Spider-Girl #1
Andrew Wheeler: Hey Princess
Dave Ferraro: Batman, Inc. #1
Collin David: Carmine Infantino
Gabe Bullard: Undeleted Scenes
Chris Murphy: The Sixth Gun #6
The Invisibles: Entropy In The UK
Gabe Bullard: Beetle Bailey: 1965
Rob Clough: Al Burian Goes To Hell
Richard Bruton: The Scorpion Vol. 4
Sarah Boslaugh: Hotwire: Deep Cut #2
Sean T. Collins: Luba: Three Daughters
Deb Aoki: The Story Of Saiunkoku Vol. 1
Nina Stone: Spider-Man Vs. Vampires #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Bakuman Vol. 2
Kate Dacey: Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali
Michael C. Lorah: A Sickness In The Family
Sean Gaffney: Fairy Navigator Runa Vol. 2
Bill Sherman: Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali
Johanna Draper Carlson: Miss Don't Touch Me Vol. 2
Jason Thompson: Saint Seiya: Knights Of The Zodiac
Mykal: The Great Treasury Of Christmas Comic Book Stories
 

 
November 21, 2010


Go, Read: Brecht Evans Interview

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Go, Read: Roger Langridge Interview

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Go, Listen: Brian Chippendale Interview

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posted 6:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: Orc Stain Blog

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Go, Look: A Few Pieces Of Art From A Paul Pope Kamandi Pitch

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1, 2, 3
 
posted 5:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Firouzeh Mozaffari Profile

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Go, Look: Cavalcade Of Xmas Creeps

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Go, Look: Yellow Paper Series

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Go, Look: Rediscovering Elizabeth's Smile

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a remarkable post; thx, Paul Karasik
 
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Go, Read: Dan Zettwoch: Mini King

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Go, Look: Zack Soto's The Library

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explained here
 
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Go, Look: Joelle Jones Sketches

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Go, Look: A Literary Thanksgiving

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Go, Look: A Proposition

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Go, Look: Her 20 Fave Comics Females

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Go, Look: Leonardo Manco's Sgt. Fury

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Go, Bookmark: The Gem Theater

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via
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gary Dunaier's Doug Bratton Book Release At MoCCA Photo Set

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

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

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

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

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 32nd Birthday, Karl Stevens!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Rich Tommaso!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Greg Theakston!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Larry Welz!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Rich Johnston!

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i'm guessing via the facebook page
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #236 -- 2011

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics Or Comics-Related Projects That Aren't Movies You're Looking Forward To Seeing In 2011." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Man Who Grew His Beard, Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
2. Congress Of The Animals, Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
3. Small Favors Omnibus, Colleen Coover And Paul Tobin (Top Shelf)
4. The Cardboard Valise, Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
5. Paying For It, Chester Brown (D+Q)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Jack Kirby, Mark Evanier (Abrams)
2. Yotsuba&! vol. 9, Kiyohiko Azuma (Yen)
3. Magnus, Robot Fighter, Russ Manning, et al (Dark Horse)
4. Small Favors Omnibus, Colleen Coover (Top Shelf)
5. Scott Pilgrim 6-inch Action Figure Set, Bryan Lee O'Malley (Mezco Toyz)

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Mickey Mouse vol. 1, Floyd Gottfredson (Fantagraphics)
2. Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (D & Q)
3. The Comics Journal #301, ed. by Groth & Valenti (Fantagraphics)
4. Berlin #18-24, Jason Lutes (D + Q)
5. Stray Bullets #41, David Lapham (El Capitan) (I hope/wish)

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Red Tide, Jim Steranko (Dark Horse)
2. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969, Alan Moore & Kevin O-Neill (Knockabout/Top Shelf)
3. Mister Wonderful: A Love Story, Dan Clowes (Pantheon)
4. Captain America Omnibus, Jack Kirby (Marvel)
5. Stigmata, Lorenzo Mattotti & Claudio Piersanti (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Jeet Heer

* The Klondik by Zach Worton
* Mid-Life by Joe Ollmann
* Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: "Race to Death Valley" (Volume 1) by Floyd Gottfredson
* Congress of Animals by Jim Woodring.

*****

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Mike Lynch

1. Polly and Her Pals: Complete Sunday Comics 1925-1927, Cliff Sterrett (IDW Publishing)
2. Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips 1936-1937 Volume 2, Roy Crane (Fantagraphics)
3. Walt and Skeezix: Book Five: 1929-1930, Frank King (Drawn & Quarterly)
4. Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer: The War in the Pacific, Roy Crane (Fantagraphics)
5. Paying For It, Chester Brown (D+Q)

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. The new series of Flesh by Pat Mills and James McKay (2000 AD)
2. The new series of Indigo Prime by John Smith and Edmund Bagwell (2000 AD)
3. Pogo reprints (Fantagraphics)
4. Proper, sequential reprints of Hellblazer at last (DC)
5. Whatever D&Q are doing next in The John Stanley Library

*****

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Deb Aoki

* The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo / Edogawa Rampo from Last Gasp (pushed to 2011 release) gorgeous and grotesque horror!
* Wandering Son by Takako Shimura from Fantagraphics - quite possibly the first manga about a transgendered boy and his friendship with a transgendered girl that is fanservice free.
* NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki from Drawn and Quarterly - From Japan's master of yokai manga comes an semi-autobiographical story about an old woman who told him ghost stories when he was a child.
* Cigarette Girl by Masahiko Matsumoto from Top Shelf - the first work published in English by a gekiga master mentioned in A Drifting Life. Also an Angouleme award nominee for 2011.
* No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya from Vertical - a young man from a good family heads down a road to destruction. based on a novel that is about as popular and influential in Japan as Catcher in the Rye is for N. American readers

*****

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Rodrigo Baeza

* Vapor, Max (Fantagraphics)
* The Raven, Lou Reed & Lorenzo Mattotti (Fantagraphics)
* Howard Chaykin: Conversations, Brannon Costello (editor) (University Press of Mississippi)
* Nuts, Gahan Wilson (Fantagraphics)
* Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley, Floyd Gottfredson (Fantagraphics)

*****

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John Vest

1. Love From The Shadows, Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
2. Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921: "A Kind, Benevolent and Amiable Brick", George Herriman (Fantagraphics)
3. The Comics Journal #301, Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
4. Mineshaft #26, Everett Rand and Gioia Palmieri (Everett Rand and Gioia Palmieri)
5. Freeway, Mark Kalesniko (Fantagraphics)

*****

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David Welsh

* The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, by Suehiro Maruo and Ranpo Edogwa, Last Gasp
* La Quinta Camera, by Natsume Ono, Viz
* Cigarette Girl, by Masahiko Matsumoto, Top Shelf
* Lychee Light Club, by Usumaru Furuya, Vertical
* Wandering Son, by Takako Shimura, Fantagraphics

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Cold Heat 9/10, Frank Santoro (PictureBox)
2. King-Cat Comics & Stories #72, John Porcellino (Spit and a Half)
3. The Hidden, Richard Sala (Fantagraphics)
4. anything from Gabrielle Bell
5. Wind Hater, Lynda Barry (D+Q)

*****

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Joe Keatinge

1. The Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse Collection (Fantagraphics)
2. Immortal Sergeant, JM Ken Niimura and Joe Kelly (Image Comics)
3. The Manara Library (Dark Horse)
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century Part 2: 1969, Kevin O'Neill and Alan Moore, (Top Shelf)
5. Witchdoctor, Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner (Image Comics)

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Whatever is going to be here (Paul Grist)
2. Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth (IDW)
3. Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot (Fantagraphics)
4. Roy Crane's Buz Sawyer: The War in the Pacific (Fantagraphics)
5. Daytripper paperback (Vertigo/DC)

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


ALTERNATIVE PRESS EXPO 2010 from chris anthony diaz on Vimeo.


via


via


via






Naif Al-Mutawa, Creator of The 99 comics from Americas Business Council on Vimeo.
via
 
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November 20, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 13 to November 19, 2010:

1. Much-admired longtime OSU comics library and holdings director Lucy Caswell to retire.

2. Angouleme announces its three groups of official selections.

3. Ruling clears way for depositions in Siegels/Superman case.

Winner Of The Week
Stidy

Losers Of The Week
All those comics-collection tossing Moms of the lost generation.

Quote Of The Week
"I stopped using the '40 yr olds who live in their mother's basement' slam after I realized it also applies to Batman." -- Mark Waid

*****

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

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In Gardena, 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 Blois, 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 Leeds, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 41st Birthday, Stephanie Gladden!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Jill Thompson!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Guy Davis!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Rian Hughes!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Ryan Estrada!

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November 19, 2010


Friday Distraction: Michael Sloan

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Go, Bookmark: Joyteeth Comics

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Not Comics: Life Is Beautiful

It's not news, not really, but the lengthy, confessional blog post is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and this one is comics-related with tons of guest stars: Ivy Ratafia's account of the sometimes-wonderful, sometimes-harrowing trip by the Family McCloud to New Orleans in order to help celebrate the 50th birthday of Neil Gaiman. I would kill for more passionate, highly personalized writing of this quality in and around comics and comics-related events so I could just sit back and point people in their direction, but I imagine it's going to be mostly character-limited expressions from here on out. And, of course, we join everyone in the world of comics in wishing only the best for Mr. McCloud's continued good health.
 
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Go, Look: Warwick Johnson Cadwell

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The Witness' Stidy Wins Vodacom Cartoonist Of The Year Award

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Longest-running newspaper in South Africa The Witness profiles its first -- and I believe only -- full-time editorial cartoonist Anthony Stidolph, who works under the name Stidy. Their occasion for doing so is the self-taught artist's win of the Vodacom Cartoonist Of The Year award, given out during a ceremony in Johannesburg on November 12. Vodacom is a massive mobile communications company serving several countries in southern Africa, and gives out a variety of regional and national journalism awards. Zapiro is a past winner of one of their cartoonist awards.

Stidolph emigrated to South Africa in 1984 from Rhodesia and worked at a pair of magazines before being hired into his current position. He has recently made the news for joining with other journalists and cartoonists in solidarity against legislation they believe will severely restrict press freedoms.

A massive set of recent cartoons may be found here.
 
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Go, Look: More Jordi Bernet

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Reginald Pitt, 1929-2010

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According to a full and vigorous obituary written by Mark Juddery for the Sydney Morning-Herald which is by far the most important repository of information on its subject matter, Reginald Pitt, an Australian cartoonist best known for his collaborations with his late brother Stanley in the tradition of classic adventure comic strips, has died.

imageBorn to a family of 11 in a suburb of Sydney in 1929, Pitt grew up making comics with his older brother Stanley John Pitt. They began their collaborations at almost exactly the same time the government banned foreign comic books in a way that kickstarted what was for a time a very successful domestic industry. Pitt's first professional work was drawing backgrounds and contributing written material to his brother's strip Silver Starr In The Flame World. In 1949 the brothers Pitt created the comic book character Yarmak for Young's Merchandising. The younger brother was responsible for co-writing the feature (with Frank Ashley), lettering and panel layouts, while the older brother provided the dynamic figure work in the style of Alex Raymond that distinguished the work at the time and continues to drive fan interest.

The Pitts continued their collaboration even after the elder began to solicit work from North America and the younger began to take on graphic design assignments. Mark Juddery notes a full-page comic strip from the early 1960s based on the science fiction classic The Stars My Destination that fell prey to legal snafus, communication difficulties and formatting issues, becoming one of the great "lost" works in strip history (the pages were printed in a 2001 collection). Its full story is told here, including Reginald's involvement in the writing, design and background drawing of the feature, and how the brothers' work was delayed and then partly funded by an accident Reginald had in a taxi cab and the compensation he then received from same. In the 1970s, Reginald joined his older brother in overseas work for DC and Gold Key. His credits include Witching Hour, Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery and Twilight Zone.

Pitt retired in the 1990s. He suffered a quadruple bypass four years ago and lived out the remainder of his days in a convalescent community.

He is survived by a daughter, a sister and a brother. Stanley Pitt preceded his brother in death, passing away in 2002.

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Go, Look: Byrne Avengers Splashes

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Kirkus Reviews' Best GNs For Teens '10

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Kirkus, a books-focused source for comics review when few of those things exists, has named a best-of 2010 graphic novels list focused on work for teens. Their selections are:

* Mercury, Hope Larson (Atheneum)
* Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush, Luis Alberto Urrea and Christopher Cardinale (Cinco Puntos)
* Smile, Raina Telgemeier (Bantam Discovery)
* The Odyssey, Gareth Hinds (Candlewick)
* Trickster, Matt Dembicki (Fulcrum)
* Yummy, G. Neri and Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low)

Individual links take you directly to the respective Kirkus review, which are festooned with information that should lead you to the book if you want to buy one.
 
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Go, Look: More Saturday Evening Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Top Notch Comics #1

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Go, Look: Mystery Comics Digest #18

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Go, Look: Early Sidney Smith

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Smith never gets credit for his fun cartooning
 
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Go, Look: Bert And Sue

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Graphic NYC kicks in with a lengthy, fully-illustrated profile of Art Spiegelman.

* I can't recall seeing a bunch of interviews with Jiro Taniguchi, so this one might be worth a run through some on-line translation device if you're a fan. He has a movie coming out, and he's very positive about the results. (The embedded video is the trailer, not the interview.)

* not comics: I'm not really a film guy, but this sounds like a potentially nice project, and I'm glad when a cartoonist like Clowes is rewarded with a kind of work he clearly likes to do. Might I suggest a talented unknown for the lead?

* Bully pulls up some old Ray-O-Vac ads, noting the dangerous comic-book circumstances in which they insert their batteries.

* from Matt Seneca comes "Liveblogging Deadpool Max #2 In An Altered State Of Consciousness." Sounds good to me.

* Kim Thompson talks about publishing David B., which Fantagraphics is doing with the brand-new The Littlest Pirate King. The only thing better than reading Kim Thompson on comics generally is reading Kim Thompson on an admirable European cartoonist specifically.

* this is good advice from Jeet Heer until the last paragraph, where he clearly loses his mind. (Thanks, Jeet.)

image* Jason Wood take the cancellation of Thor: The Mighty Avenger to ask the question on a lot of folks' minds: "Can the Direct Market sell all-ages books?" He pulls in some industry folks for their answers as well. My hunch is that the DM can sell all-ages work but usually doesn't, just as it doesn't sell significant numbers of most books of any kind and tends to focus its (relative) hit-making powers on a specific category. I think there's also a structural problem in that more and more quality kids' work is going to be published in the collected form, while comics stores tend historically to do really well with books that are serialized in comics form first. Also: there's a lot of material coming out. I think a certain amount of over-publishing makes it hard to build a specific aspect of a retail business. Now, all that said, I genuinely think there's potential for growth there, in part because I imagine some retailers do well with that kind of material and the work being published continues to improve across the board. I'm also a little bit dubious that TTMA really functioned as an all-ages book in the way that term is usually employed, but that's a post for another time.

* there's a fine line between comics companies that constantly surprise me and those that just sort of confuse me, but I have to admit I was amused by this. This set of superhero photos isn't from a comics company, but I was still sort of confused.

* finally, Dan Zettwoch talks us through his hippopotamus phase, including one of his great cutaways.
 
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Happy 51st Birthday, Steve Lightle!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Jesse Fuchs!

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Quick hits
Craft
Deadlock
Hellblazer
Obviously Talking To A Man
Video-Driven Look At Comics Technique

History
Krampus!
Batman Is Better Than He Is

Industry
Aiee!

Interviews/Profiles
Boston Phoenix: Al Jaffee

Not Comics
Visiting The Den
Whoa, Time Machine
Walking Dead Merchandise
Spider-Man Gets Hired Or Something
Filipino Band Downloads From Gerry Alanguilan

Publishing
On Solipsistic Pop
On DC In February
Tracking Dustin Harbin
Uncanny X-Force #3 Previewed
Invincible Iron Man #32 Previewed

Reviews
Joe: Night Salad
RC Harvey: Various
Andrew Wheeler: Miki Falls Vol. 4
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Conor Kilpatrick: Batman, Inc. #1
Vom Marlowe: Hyperbole And A Half
Michael C. Lorah: The Green Woman
Jeff Klingman: ACME Novelty Library #20
E. Peterman: Reignbow And Diva: Fierce!
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Hunting Of The Snark
J. Caleb Mozzocco: DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book
 

 
November 18, 2010


Go, Watch: Eddie Campbell On Jennifer Byrne Presents: Graphic Novels

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Fantagraphics Store Powers Past Fourth Anniversary, Larry Reid Still Hilarious

A few folks have sent me a link to this Seattle University student newspaper profile of Fantagraphics' brick-and-mortar location on the near south side of Seattle, which means someone out there likely posted it first: my apologies. It's probably worth noting that the effort moved past its fourth anniversary a few weeks back is currently operating in the beginning days of year five. The venerable alt-comics publisher opening a store was sort of controversial back when it opened, but it seems like it's gone pretty smoothly, doing so according to the parameters initially set for it. As a store it serves a tourist-book audience, a devoted Fantagraphics fan-following and general consumers without a restrictive sense of store fealty; as a performance space it serves as the natural home for alt-comics events that the city hasn't had for years, if ever. As far as I know, no Seattle comics store has gone out of a business as the result of Fantagraphics opening that location. In fact, I think the retail scene in the Emerald City is richer than the one from when I moved away.

The thing that I like about the idea of the Fanta store -- I haven't been; I've barely visited Seattle since it opened -- other than the fact that I enjoy manager/curator Larry Reid more than I enjoy most human beings is that it, and also things like D+Q's flagship store, are kind of old-fashioned ideas that are made to work on the companies' behalf. I think comics sometimes focuses on new ideas to the detriment of the old. It's a lesson to keep in mind. Four years thus far seems to me a pretty good run for any such endeavor.
 
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Go, Read: Lisa Hanawalt Interview

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Stay Lifted In Siegels/Superman Case; Depositions Of Key Players Begin

imageThere's little to say beyond the information in the headline, but the movement forward should be noted. I have a feeling this is all headed towards being interpreted as a game of "who's the bigger publicly-perceived jerk?" rather than anything based on the legal issues or the moral issues involved. I'm not saying I'm immune; I know that my own teeth were set on edge by the assuredly innocent phrasing of Warners getting to depose certain people after the delay caused by their challenge of a legal ruling. I pray for the most just resolution in all the courts that matter.
 
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Go, Read: On Big Numbers And Eddie Campbell's Telling Of Its Backstory

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Go, Read: Calvin Reid On Humanoids

imageI almost missed this one from a couple of days ago: Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly profiles the latest iteration of Les Humanoides Associes to try and gain a foothold in the US market: this time as a stand-alone book and specialty publications publisher called Humanoids, Inc. Bunch of interesting stuff in the details, some of which I would have loved Reid to follow up on -- they're going to ape the Dark Horse Manara cover design with their own Manara books in order to better serve the fans? -- but the bigger issue is the general viability of such an outfit, especially since past attempts in partnership with other publishers failed. On the one hand, the market seems way overstuffed right now. That, and the mostly lousy performance many European comics efforts have had in the U.S. over the years, would seem to provide ample reason to doubt the success of the venture. On the other hand, the company's plans seem relatively modest, in terms of the size of the office (four people) and print runs. The company plans a mix of almost micro-publishing numbers along with a high-end collector's edition of each publication. I'm all for different models being tried, and look forward to seeing what happens with this one.
 
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Go, Look: Richard Sala's Psychorama

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About.com's Best New Manga Of 2010

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Deb Aoki of About.com manga has posted her list of the Best of 2010 in translated manga. She's broken them down into various categories, mostly by perceived audiences. Those books are:

* Best New Manga: A Drunken Dream, Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
* Best New Manga (runner-up): Chi's Sweet Home, Konami Konata (Vertical)
* Best New Shonen Manga: Cross Game, Mitsuru Adachi (Viz)
* Best New Shonen Manga (runners-up): Genkaku Picasso, Usumaru Furuya (Viz); Bakuman, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (Viz)
* Best New Shojo Manga: Arisa, Natsumi Ando (Del Rey Manga)
* Best New Shojo Manga (runners-up): Kamisama Kiss, Julietta Suzuki (Viz); Seiho Boys' High School, Kaneyoshi Izumi (Viz)
* Best New Seinen/Josei Manga: Action: Biomega, Tsutomu Nihei (Viz)
* Best New Seinen/Josei Manga: Drama: Ayako, Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
* Best New Seinen/Josei Manga: Comedy: Hetalia: Axis Powers, Hidekaz Himaruya (Tokyopop)
* Best New Seinen/Josei Manga: Slice of Life: Bunny Drop, Yumi Unita (Yen Press)
* Best New All-Ages Manga: Twin Spica, Kou Yaginuma (Vertical)
* Best New All-Ages Manga (runner-up): Megaman Megamix, Hitoshi Ariga (Udon)
* Best New One-Shot Manga: All My Darling Daughters, Fumi Yoshinaga (Viz)
* Best New One-Shot Manga (runner-up): Ristorante Paradiso, Natsume Ono (Viz)
* Best New Edition of Classic Manga: Black Blizzard, Yoshihiro Tastsumi (D+Q)
* Best New Yaoi/BL Manga: The Tyrant Falls in Love, Hinako Takanaga (DMP)
* Best New International Manga: Peepo Choo, Felipe Smith (Vertical)
* Best New Manga Anthology: AX: Alternative Manga, Various (Top Shelf)
* Best New Korean Manhwa: Korea by 12 Creators, Various (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
 
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Go, Look: Emelie Östergren

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* today the Leeds Sequential Arts Festival starts in one would assume Leeds, with its "Thought Bubble" convention on Saturday. FPI has been covering the crap out of that event, with posts like this one. There is also a convention in Blois this weekend, another one in a suburb of Toulouse, a modest-sounding show in Virginia and smaller, collector-driven shows in places like Milwaukee.

* there will definitely be a comics component at the Miami Book Fair, ranging from Vanessa Davis to Jimmy Palmiotti. Maybe poke around?

* I updated the 2011 events calendar last weekend. Still a couple of months away, the only things listed that far in advance tend to be major conventions. There isn't a lot in 2011 that compel from a "Battle Of Conventions" standpoint, and neither one has anything to do with Wizard's Big Apple show Vs. New York Comic-Con, which wouldn't be a fight held at the same time in the same building. Now that CCI has apparently changed the dates on APE to October 22-23, and away from New York Comic-Con's date -- I don't get a press release on this, David? -- the schedule is mostly conflict-free.

The only weekend I'd say to think about in terms of con vs. con is March 18-20. Reed's C2E2 is a much bigger concern than Wizard World's Toronto effort or SPACE and should by every conceivable scenario dominate that weekend. Still, C2E2 is in a crucial second year where it really, really needs to hit attendance goals. Any bleed-off, even measured in dozens of people or a handful of pros, could become a factor in this happening. In fact, C2E2's second year and what it means for that show's continuing viability is the biggest convention issue heading into 2011.

There are also some potential proximate battles, such as that APE vs. NYCC thing on different dates in mid-October and Stumptown vs. MoCCA separated by five weekdays in mid-April. Certain professionals might have to choose one show over the other in both cases.

(thanks, Jackie Estrada)

* whoa, check out the programming for the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, maybe the best one-day, single-room slate I've ever seen:
* 1:00 -- Lynda Barry and Charles Burns In Conversation (Barry, Burns)
* 2:00 -- The Art Of Editing (Mouly, Harkham)
* 3:00 -- Taking Inventory: The Story Of Things (French, McShane, Roh, Shapton)
* 4:00 -- Irwin Hasen: When Comic Books Were New (Hasen, Dorkin, Pope, Nadel)
* 5:00 -- Anders Nilsen Q+A (Nilsen)
* 6:00 -- How Nancy Is: The Semiotics Of The Gag (Griffith, Newgarden, Ryan)
* 7:00 -- Chaos And Pattern (Chippendale, Crane, Jones, Stamaty)
You can read about satellite events, related exhibitions and descriptions of the above here.

* finally, it's worth looking in on Heroes Con every now and then to see how that showcase regional show is moving towards its next event in June 2011. They've recently added such returning heavy-hitters as Richard Thompson, Mike Mignola, local-writer-made-good Matt Fraction and the great Don Rosa, which I think speaks well of the event.
 
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Go, Look: Male Call

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Your 2010 City Of Andenne Prize Winner

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The French-language comics industry news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com reports that the Festival de la BD et du livre pour enfant d'Andenne awards its grand prize to the cartoonist and illustrator Alain Mauricet. Mauricet is the author of a long list of successful serials, mostly it seems aimed at younger readers such as Bamboo's Basket Dunk series. I'm a sucker for sports comics. Mauricet is likely one of the few successful European cartoonists whose resume includes work for Image, DC and Crossgen.

Other awards went to the late André Geerts for Mamy Blues (this was an award from the presiding organization that usually goes to a cartoonist with a work out for the show) and to Julien Lambert (a "Young Hope" prize).
 
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Go, Look: Ivan Brun Blog

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Go, Read: John Jackson Miller On X-Men #1 And Record-Setting Sales Figures

imageNumbers guru John Jackson Miller uses the occasion of the listing of Marvel's X-Men #1 in the Guinness Book Of World Records to look at different sales records across format and how much cultural stock we might wish to place in each one. The only disappointment I had reading that artice is that Miller didn't engage Asterix, which has I think about 325 million in sales worldwide and offers both a cumulative sales figure and the millions of sales that come with new volumes for comparison purposes. I'm not saying Asterix leads any sales category, but it's up there and it's ongoing.

As for those comics that Miller does examine, I think X-Men #1 is actually a more fascinating object for the divorce of its sales from one-to-one desire to consume that work. For one thing, it's like a film box office record-holder where the number of tickets bought by people who wanted empty seats all around them were a significant factor. It's also fascinating to note that the fact many of these books were sold to a box isn't all that important for people that are really excited about all those copies being sold. Also, can you imagine owning 5000 of any one thing? The mind boggles.
 
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Go, Look: Great Frank Robbins Ads

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Go, Read: Follow-Up Article On Man Who Entered Guilty Plea For Owning Filthy Simpsons Imagery

Sean Michael Robinson digs into the Steve Kutzner case, including contact with prosecutor Jim Peters. I personally don't take any comfort in the distinctions made by Peters and by the article generally that note, correctly, that Kutzner was charged with a specific thing, that context matters, and that Kutzner's plea is a partial indicator that the law was applied in a just way here and probably wouldn't if someone went after me for owning a copy of Lost Girls. I'm also not willing to cut Kutzner loose just because what he did doesn't by reasonable measure apply to what I do, or perhaps because his guilty plea supports that they "right" person was prosecuted in this case. I think it's crappy law no matter how applied, no matter what the outcome. Kutzner's case didn't just make me worry about me; it also made me worry about Kutzner.

I also believe more people think this is crappy law than is otherwise assumed. Back when it broke I related the story to a friend of mine who's deeply and profoundly religious, someone I expected to recoil at the thought of this material even existing. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "You shouldn't go to jail for an idea, even an abhorrent one." And you shouldn't.
 
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Go, Look: Wrightson + Chaykin

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Go, Read: Colleen Doran On Digital Piracy At The Hill's Congress Blog

imageThe cartoonist and artist Colleen Doran has written a lengthy and impassioned post for The Hill about her experience with on-line piracy. I imagine that the tenor of the time is such that the response will be to dismiss the piece or shout it down rather than engage with the ideas as expressed or the reality of Doran's experiences -- a reality that does not conform to that which some assert applies to everyone.

For me, this remains a fundamental issue of creators' rights. If someone doesn't want their work republished and says so unequivocally, the argument's finished forever. They probably shouldn't have had to say so, but if they do, game over. You don't get to decide how someone conducts their personal business. That's true even if you've convinced yourself the outcome is beneficial to that person. Even if you're right and Colleen Doran is wrong on the issue of Colleen Doran, it's her prerogative to be wrong. There are definitely gray areas in a few cases. Many folks, including myself, probably benefit a bit too much from those gray areas. But there's nothing Gray about a cartoonist like Doran saying she doesn't want this to happen and then it happening to her anyway. I can't imagine how extra-galling it must be to cartoonists like Doran that sacrificed in their careers to carve out a place for themselves and a certain kind of work so that they might have a creator's measure of control over it, to then have that taken away and told they're wrong to object.

I also refuse to believe that there can't be a paradigm shift in this area, because we've already seen one in the once-common practice of re-posting prose articles, a practice that was widespread in the mid-'90s and came with nearly all of the same rhetorical ploys. In fact, my hunch is one reason we haven't already seen a massive shift in attitudes regarding digital piracy is because we are starting to see entrenched financial interests involved.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Blunder Agents!

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Go, Look: Star Trek #36

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poor Scotty
 
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Go, Look: Dagar The Invincible #5

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Go, Look: Sarge Steel #6

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the many, oddly-marked graves of Jean Grey.

image* Richard Thompson talks about his wonderful, weird, supporting character Ernesto. His description of Ernesto as a James Bond Villain in the first grade still cracks me up.

* for some reason, this post from Kyle Baker about the delight he feels in the stuff he's getting away with drawing in his current gig at Marvel cracks me up.

* holy guacamole, the first panel in this week's Maakies is crazy-looking beautiful.

* although selling t-shirts was not all that great a business for Fantagraphics back in the day, I'm surprised they don't partner with someone that specializes in that stuff now. I have to imagine there's at least some market out there for stuff like this. I'd buy a Cathy Malkasian t-shirt, and I'm really, really old.

* I've always enjoyed Rian Hughes' work, and I'm looking forward to both this interview and the new book of Hughes' it discusses.

* can you help Ryan Holmberg by answering his questions about Koike Kazuo?

* I think if I lost an election to someone named Gypo-Bax, I'd go full-bore super-villain, too.

* finally, Ryan Haupt over at iFanboy picks five mainstream comics writers that write science well. I wish he could have gone a little bit wider and wrangled in Jim Ottaviani and maybe one or two other guys, but hey! Not my article!
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Alan Moore!

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I've also read 58
 
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Quick hits
Craft
Skull Bug
Pretty Batman
Special Edition
Poison The Cure Pin-Up
More Joseph Lambert Lettering

Exhibits/Events
Go See D+Q

History
Brendan Wright's Locas Binge

Industry
Tony Millionaire Photoshop Winners
Jason Aaron Continues To Dispense Advice
Auction For First Page Of Watchmen To Conclude

Interviews/Profiles
PW: Paul Levitz
CBR: Jeff Parker
CBR: Jason Netter
iFanboy: Mike Carey
iFanboy: Tyler Weaver
Comixology: Carl Horn
Newsarama: Judd Winick
No One Better Than Lynda
Wicked Local: Mort Walker
Comic Vine: Kelly Sue DeConnick
CBR: Amanda Cohen, Ryan Dunlavey
The Daily Blam!: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Not Comics
Juke Box Bank
Russell Westbrook Is Having A Great Year

Publishing
All About Elmer
New Ray Fenwick
The Flash #6 Preview
On Marvel In February
Batman, Inc. #1 Annotated
New Avenger #7 Previewed
A Note For My Boyfriend Thor
Please Buy My Awesome Comics
Batman: The Return #1 Annotated

Reviews
RC Harvey: Dustin
Rob Clough: Various
Gorga: Superman: Earth One
Sean Gaffney: Twin Spica Vol. 4
Sean Kleefeld: Missing Pieces #1
Nathan Wilson: Parker: The Outfit
John Seven: The Night Bookmobile
Win Wiacek: Blue Beetle: Boundaries
Christopher Allen: Powr Mastrs Vol. 1
Greg McElhatton: Super Crazy Cat Dance
Andrew Wheeler: 7 Billion Needles Vol. 2
Sean T. Collins: Luba: The Book Of Ofelia
Doug Zawisza: Return Of The Dapper Men
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Art Of Failing Buddhism
Chris Reilly: The Amazing Screw-On Head And Other Curious Objects
 

 
November 17, 2010


Go, Read: Sean Witzke And Matt Seneca Discuss Anything/Everything Steranko

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Your Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (Angoulême) 2011 Selections

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sélection officielle

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sélection patrimonie

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sélection jeunesse
 
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Five Quick Thoughts On The Cancellation Of Marvel's Thor: The Mighty Avenger

image1. Nearly everyone that read it seemed to like Thor: The Mighty Avenger. Apparently, not a lot of people read it.

2. All of the creators involved distinguished themselves on the title, and should continue to find work in part because how well the Thor book turned out. I think it speaks well to comics that facile sales analysis isn't the sole, deciding factor in who gets a job and who doesn't. You and I and they may all disagree on the particulars, but it's clear that making really good comics still matters to this generation of comic book executives and editors in a way that might have been unfathomable -- or certainly more widely open to interpretation -- a couple of generations ago.

3. One thing I hope doesn't happen with the series' cancellation is it becoming fuel for one of comics' cliché engines, such as "This shows the Internet crowd is completely out of touch with the actual buying audience!" or "All-ages comic books will never sell!" or "Comic shops just don't get it!" or "No one knows how to market comic books!" (Marketing being defined as any and all publicity efforts on behalf of a work that sells well.)

Hey, don't get me wrong. Each of those things could be true. It's just that none of them are true simply because someone capitalizes the first letter of every word in a sentence or accompanies the presentation of their theory with clever put-downs and/or multiple exclamation points. There's a limit to what we can know about why something catches on or doesn't, and very often it's multiple factors that drive an industry circumstance. It's worth keeping both of those things in mind when we think about what happened here.

image4. I do hope people think about it. Although I respect where people are coming from when they criticize the chicken-little aspect of obsessing over mainstream comics news stories, I think asking questions serves the overall good.

I have three questions here. The first is that I wonder if low-selling mainstream comic book titles represent a trend that's just now snowballing into a major concern across the board: the Stretch Armstronging of mainstream comics sales. A scant 16 years ago, the thought that any mainstream comic book -- even one with Thor on the cover -- would sell under a certain point of profitability was unheard-of. It took a series of bankruptcies and business closures and strategic shenanigans of legendary quality for mainstream comics lingering on the other end of the sales charts to become a rare possibility. Today things have progressed to the point that a series failure has become a legitimate one with nearly every single comic book out there, no matter the face on the cover or the hands that guide its creation. How does that change what gets green-lit and what doesn't? Is canceling low-selling titles preferable to publishing titles at a loss because of limits in shelf space? Can the Direct Market be made more responsive to the desires of a mainstream comic book company regarding specific titles, or is that a thing of the past? Would we even want that?

The second question I have is I wonder if there's anything a company like Marvel feels like it can do on behalf of certain comic books that fall under a certain sales point. The thrust of how this decision was mourned even by Marvel folks makes me think they can't do much for certain titles. I know I can't think of any applicable strategies with a relative or logical chance for success, which makes me further suspect there aren't any out there that can be employed. That's not a statement with an accusatory element to it, I swear: it's just that I'm interested in the ramifications if we have a Direct Market that's more ruthless and bottom-line than maybe past markets were.

The third question I have is I wonder if it was ever a consideration to take this series on-line? I know that's a pretty handy fan's reaction to anything that gets canceled, and you're more than likely to see people ask this question of this specific comic if there hasn't been a rush of folks doing so already. In the case of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, there are specific factors that would seem to uniquely support such a move. There's a movie coming out next year. Thor's not a character with which a lot of people are familiar. The comic in question recalls but does not emulate/endorse the movie version, so if the project fails it's not a reflection on the film. You have eight issues in the can that apparently very few people have seen. It's a good-looking, charming comic book. The comic shops can't argue you're taking customers away as they've already rejected the book. So why not put Thor: The Mighty Avengers on-line in a Freakangels type set-up (five-page increments, say, and an e-mail blast to Marvel's humongous mailing list whenever a new episode goes up) right smack on the Marvel home page for as many people to read as possible, from the first issue through the originally planned twelfth, and see if there's a positive outcome? I don't say this an accusatory way; I'm sure there are reasons why this is a terrible idea. I'd just love to hear someone run through the whys and why-nots.

5. Lest we forget, most comics fail. Be thankful for the ones you like while you have them.

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Go, Look: Emily Carroll's Fan Art

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Drawn & Quarterly announces that Big Questions #15 will be the last in that series and that the issue should be ready for debut at the forthcoming Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. If you go and buy one, you can celebrate the end of one of the last alt-comics pamphlet series, and the era when the debut of milestone issues in such series were a big deal about attending alt-comics cons. Plus you get to read the comic.

* that same posts mentions a collection of the 600-page story is due next Spring.

image* Sean Collins uncovers a cover image for Crickets #3.

* Viz has apparently picked up the Tenjho Tenge license, which I guess has been out there waiting for a new publishing partner since the dissolution of CMX. You may recall that Tenjho Tenge was the series that CMX published in a safe-for-network-television way, which infuriated its natural readership.

* I think I'm going to stop reading posts about serial comics month-to-month from DC Comics looking for a sign that anything's going to happen in a grand, editorial sense. In fact, I'm not even sure why I thought this would happen. It's looking more and more like they're just staying the course set out over the last few years, except maybe for the broad changes at various Batman and Green Lantern comics driven by their two powerful writers, in itself is a continuation of recent DC publishing policy. I'm not saying that's a bad set of choices -- what the hell do I really know about publishing superhero comics? -- just that for whatever reason I'd convinced myself there'd be a lot more discernible activity there, if only of the "let's do for Wonder Woman what we did for Green Lantern" variety.

* the french-language industry news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com has an article up profiling a new entry into the kids' comics market: Saikyo Jump.

* Dynamite is ending its Lone Ranger series with issue #25.

* the artist Dale Eaglesham on a Hulk comic makes perfect sense to me.

* the writers Brian Bendis and Mark Millar are teaming up to I guess kill the Spider-Man character in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book. On the one hand, I guess that's too bad because that's been a nice iteration of the character and a fine vehicle for what Bendis does well; on the other hand, this is comics, where death is an ailment rather than, well, death, and in general it's edifyng to see creators do whatever the heck they want to do with a line where doing whatever you want to do with the characters is supposed to be the driving principle. The post also mentions that the first volume of that series as collected has sold over 1 million copies for the publisher, further bolstering news that came out earlier this Fall that the Ultimate line is the company's best performer in bookstores.

* Mike Dawson launches into the final run of work on his Troop 142 story. Nothing little-kid sadder than the last day of camp.

* Paul Montgomery over at iFanboy discusses the latest X-Men within-series event, an alternate future story of a world without an X-Men team written by Mike Carey. As far as story ideas go, that one sounds serviceable to me.

* Brendan McCarthy is contributing art to a two-part Judge Dredd story, starting in 2000 AD next week.

* Tony Murphy is ending It's All About You roughly three years into syndication. It never quite caught on. That same post at Daily Cartoonist mentions that Murphy is still working on his Coffee Talk publication.

* King Features' Daily Ink service is raising its prices by 33 percent, although if you like reading comic strips on your computer I can't imagine that specific price jump will be a barrier. They're preparing to alter the service so that it may be more easily accessed from mobile devices.

* finally, Dan Zettwoch talks process on the just-out Tel-Tales #1, which is OTBP enough I think it's fair for me to mention it here. It's a collaboration with his dad, and looks great.

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Go, Look: Photos Of Lisa Hanwalt's Window Displays At Desert Island

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Not Comics: Rick Edmonds On Broad Issues Facing Newspapers' Viability

I thought this was a fine check-in-on-the-issue piece on the almost impossibly broad issue of newspapers and their continuing viability. There are some issues that I think are important that are dealt with in Edmonds' piece, such as the changes that technology has brought to the newsroom and how this has an impact on the bottom line or the idea that newspapers in different regions face far different issues, but what's there seems judiciously explained. Somehow Edmonds makes all of this bad news sound hopeful, or at least in line with the minority view that newspapers in 2008-2009 were facing a long-overdue readjustment to new realities that had been put off by their monopoly on display advertising as much as they were entering into an unavoidable Armageddon with an inevitable final result.
 
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Go, Look: Corben At Warren

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Go, Read: All About Tentacle Porn

I have no idea to what extent this Cecil Adams article on tentacle porn may or may not be an accurate description of the curious phenomenon; I just like the fact that this is a burning question for someone out there. Also, I adore the idea of thoughtful newspaper readers at various genteel locations around the country getting the local softball tournament scores, seeing how much the next royal wedding will cost, checking the daily lottery numbers, taking in the latest episode of Pluggers, reading the minutes of the local school board meeting and learning all about tentacle porn.
 
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Go, Look: Sam Henderson's T Party

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Go, Read: Your 2010 YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens Nominations

I never quite get where in the process the YALSA Great Grapic Novels For Teens Nominations List exists, or, really what truly distinguishes the final list from this one made earlier in the process or what standards are employed in creating this one from a list of published, qualifying works. I also flat-out think some of these comics are bad comics, which you might expect from a list this relatively huge. Still, it's a mostly fun bunch of recent comics works in an area of expression that many of us sometimes forget to consider, and therefore a valuable resource for any critic to keep in the bookmarks until their personal best-of 2010 is published.
 
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Go, Look: Walt Kelly's Sinbad

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

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

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Go, Look: Toll Gate Lawman

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Go, Look: The Asteroid Witch

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Go, Look: Submarine Attack #43

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Go, Look: Walt Simonson Draws The Old Battlestar Galactica TV Show

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's odd to me to think that people still seem to be writing entire articles about what looks like a series of ad placement for comics, let alone that this would be of interest to anyone in the French-language industry, but here you go.

image* somehow I missed word of a Theo Ellsworth show at the Giant Robot in Los Angeles: if you're in LA and this is a place you occasionally go, you shouldn't make the same mistake. Another couple of pieces on display can be seen here, and the show page itself with prices and everything is here.

* this Mike Sterling post about how he's organizing his Superman comic books isn't for anyone, but for those of us still sharing living space with a lot of comic books for whatever reason, you may laugh and cringe. What a strange hobby.

* Sean Collins asks if there were a Netflix Watch Instantly feature, but for comics rather than for movies, what would you have in your queue? That entire question doesn't make a lick of sense to me, as I tend to only watch movies in the theater and then when they show up on TNT three years later while I'm waiting for Charles Barkley to come on. I admit that the movie-watching habits of both of my brother and most of my friends all have that particular Netflix feature as its primary facilitator, however, if not in exactly the way that Collins supposes. Here's my point: it could be that the comics companies that are trying out digital strategies should focus on that kind of comics reading as opposed to replicating in digital form the current comics-reading experience.

* Collins also has video up -- and a link to the host -- on an odd interview with Charles Burns.

* the linebacker and comics fan Lance Briggs is holding a comics drive in Chicago.

* I think Graeme McMillan too easily conflates news with publicity in this article, but he's right that a lot of publishers and creators have a hard time performing the basic function of getting the word out about what they're doing. I imagine there's a bunch of factors involved, including a kind of too-easy group consensus about what is news in comics, and a lack of resources generally in providing that kind of coverage. I'm doing the CR holiday gift-guide off and on this week, and the amount of material out there is staggering. Just covering all of it for one day is killing me. But I can do better, and hope to.

* Gary Tyrrell processes through the recent comiXology announcement of self-authoring tools for publishing comics on-line.

* not comics: Augie de Blieck Jr. has the first Walking Dead TV show review I've seen that cites In Bruges.

* David Brothers talks stories and wordplay. He suggests something early on that doesn't get mentioned a whole lot but makes a certain amount of sense: comics assist reading because of the forceful way they contextualize unfamiliar words. I know I learned the word "nascent" in an X-Men comic.

* Gina Gagliano discusses why book trailers are difficult. I'm probably not the audience for a discussion on the difficulty of book trailers because if all of them went away the next time I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk -- the longtime avenue for my family-harming magic powers -- I wouldn't even think about them being gone.

image* here's a page of script and related thumbnails from The Invincible Iron Man #500. You rarely see thumbnail drawings for comics like these until well after the fact, if at all. I enjoy those Iron Man comics whenever I'm near a comics shop to buy a couple.

* at moments like these I kick things off by asking, "When was the last time you cried?"

* not comics: this is probably the dumbest related example ever, but whenever I see these giant bookstores closing, I think of how grocery stores in my hometown started to dominate according to a high-end, multiple delis, shopping-experience model, followed by those same stores being absolutely crushed when stores opened on the giant warehouse, slashed-prices model. Anyway, fewer retailers overall is a bad thing for books and comics because it's one fewer way for a person to buy comics and the culture that surrounds good retail can encourage an even greater enjoyment of such works -- unlike food, you can reduce an area's consumption of books to 10 percent of what it was five years earlier and no one dies.

* Tom Richmond has begun a long write-up on a recent cartoonists rip to Afghanistan.

* Alice Otterloop in panel four is every field trip I had until about the third grade.

* finally, Ben Morse found the ending to the last issue of Thanos Imperative very satisfying. I find it odd that there was a comic book called Thanos Imperative.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Ed Brubaker!

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Happy 49th Birthday, José Villarrubia!

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Quick hits
Craft
Red Eyes
Batshit Crazy
Colleen Coover Sketches
On A David Mazzucchelli Panel
Covers United By Subtle Visual Element

Exhibits/Events
On Komikon
Exhibiting In Tokyo
Go See Simon Gane
Boing Being In Venice

History
Satyr Masters From Abyss
Peter David's Friends Of Ellison Essay (1994) Part 01
Peter David's Friends Of Ellison Essay (1994) Part 02

Industry
Ask Manga Mom
Japanese Working Women Sound Off On One Piece

Interviews/Profiles
iFanboy: Jeff Parker
Scribblehound: Ellen Lindner
Down The Tubes: Bryan Talbot
iFanboy: JK Woodward, Peter David
Talking Comics With Tim: Jason Horn

Not Comics
Love For Jim Flora
Larry Marder's Year Made
Congratulations, Bob Foster
I'm More Of An Imbalance Guy

Publishing
Ted Benoit Has A Blog
Zatanna #7 Previewed
Preview Of New Usagi SE
Please Consider Buying My Comic
Please Consider Buying My Comic
Another Bastien Vives Static Image Comic

Reviews
Ben Towle: Various
R. Fiore: Too Soon?
Kate Dacey: Various
Todd Klein: Revolver
Richard Bruton: Kani #2
Jog: The Littlest Pirate King
Rob Clough: Fear Of Failure
Ng Suat Tong: Genkaku Picasso
Sean Gaffney: Fairy Tail Vol. 12
Richard Bruton: Solipsistic Pop #3
Thomas Thorhauge: The Dark Knight Strikes Again
RC Harvey: The Fabulous Furry Freak Brother Omnibus
 

 
Go, Look: Kristoffer Kjolberg

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November 16, 2010


Go, Plan To Attend: Floating World Announces Mantlo Tribute SpaceNite 2

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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 explode through the doors and engage in a vicious spree of serial comic buying.

*****

SEP100037 HELLBOY DOUBLE FEATURE OF EVIL ONE SHOT #1 MIKE MIGNOLA CVR $3.50
Another week, another welcome volley from the Mignola-verse.

JUL100036 SAVAGE SWORD OF KULL TP VOL 01 $19.99
At some point in the next half-decade, I want to transform my collection from one of proximity/utility -- having most of the comics I think I might need to perform the writing for this site -- to one of stupidity/folly, by which I mean pick some weird comics category and run with it. I've been thinking about a really good alt-comics collection 1980-2000, but I'm also considering an all-barbarian comics collection.

AUG100143 BATMAN THE RETURN #1 $4.99
As someone who doesn't buy these books except in big chunks from the dollar bin, I'm a bit confused as to why you have mini-series that need to be bridged by expensive one-shots. On the other hand, the people that are enjoy the various Batman books engineered by Grant Morrison hardly seem to care how they're coming out as long as they get a chance to read them.

AUG100380 ROCKETEER COMPLETE COLLECTION DLX ED HC VOL 01 (O/A) $75.00
I've greatly enjoyed the special Rocketeer editions that IDW has done. I think what I like best is that the late Dave Stevens' career output on the character was a self-contained burst of expression around which multiple formats can be anchored.

MAR100393 ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #25 $4.99
This is I believe the last issue of the Robert Kirkman Image series that didn't quite get over the way Walking Dead and Invincible have. I don't think it's anywhere near as good a comic, but what was interesting to me about the series is the subject mater explored is so odd and specific: that time during the 1970s where horror icons became superheroes. Anyway, I predict this issue will see some character with a bloody mouth and bloody claws.

SEP100715 FANTASTIC FOUR BY JONATHAN HICKMAN TP VOL 02 $15.99
A second volume of material featuring work by writer Jonathan Hickman, the most successful in a long time in imprinting his own brand of ideas and presentational structures on Marvel's 50-year-old superhero team.

JUL101044 BEST AMERICAN COMICS HC 2010 $23.00
I thought this was a super-solid effort, and I'm glad to own it. I can't imagine a world where as a teen I could goof off for a couple of hours reading a book like this one. It would have changed my life much earlier than it was eventually changed.

SEP101022 CASTLE WAITING HC VOL 02 $29.99
You know how some comics seem to be collective community efforts, in that they traffic in styles and ideas that are on the minds and coming out of the fingertips of the art form's chattering class? Linda Medley's quiet, humane fantasy is the opposite of that, a creation wholly her own. I know three people that hardly read any comics at all that will be totally psyched to get an e-mail from me 30 seconds after I post this.

AUG101014 LITTLE MAAKIES PRAIRIE HC $19.99
I think Tony Millionaire may be in that slightly-taken-for-granted phase of his career right now, and that's not fair. Sometimes it is, just not with Tony. I can't imagine not owning all of these, even if the rest of my collection is barbarian comics.

JUL101045 LITTLE PRINCE GN $19.99
Longtime publisher of all things Little Prince HMH printed 50,000 copies of the English-language version of Joann Sfar's well-received 2007 adaptation of the kids-lit classic, so you might have an easier time finding it in the bookstore than in the comics shop. No matter where you want to look for it, it has to be worth at least a look. We're a couple generations removed from the one that flipped out over this book in illustrated prose form, but it can still pack a punch, and Sfar is a fine, fine cartooning talent.

AUG101018 LITTLEST PIRATE KING HC $16.99
David B., one of comics' mightiest visual talents, with an adaptation of an all-ages tale full of dream logic and creepy things. How could you walk by and not at the very least hold it in your hands for a time?

SEP101197 SOPHIE CRUMB EVOLUTION OF A CRAZY ARTIST HC $27.95
You're seen some of the ramp-up publicity, at least if you've been reading this blog for the last couple of weeks: now buy the book.

JUL101018 WHAT I DID HC $24.99
The comics here are pretty great, although I greatly prefer the individual books to these omnibus collections. They're first class and everything, but I think those individual Jason book are about as perfect as they come production-wise. Still: Jason, and the comics that put him on the North American alt-comics map.

*****

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 obdurant.

*****

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Go, Look: Russell Brockbank

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Kurt Westergaard wants his old identity back, which is additionally poignant in that of all the cartoonists that provided Muhammad cartoons to Jyllands-Posten back in 2005, Westergaard was by far the most aggressive in negotiating his new status publicly.

* here's a photo of Westergaard and his publisher at a public presentation for Westergaard's autobiography The Man Behind The Line.

* this article only mentions the Danish cartoons in passing, but it makes an interesting point: the nature of all future such controversies with a significant on-line component will be shaped by the number of people in developing countries that are slowly but surely gaining access to the Internet.

* the Danish cartoons continue to cast a shadow over all would-be satirists and provocateurs.

* two Chicago Tribune writers use David Coleman Headley as an entry point to explore terrorism in the Windy City.
 
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Go, Read: PFS

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Fred Ray: The Quintessential Gentleman

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Chris Mautner wrote a nice article for Harrisburg's Patriot-News about Jerry Robinson selling the cover art to Superman #14. Mautner focuses on the local hook: the art on that cover, one of two Robinson put up for sale, is by Fred Ray. Ray was a central Pennsylvania native and lived in the area both before and after his time in comics -- and probably during, as he actually worked until the early 1960s. I like the piece because it's a reminder that so many artists, art directors and other creative people that weren't people like Gena Rowlands or Martin Landau worked in comics during the flush of its Golden Age, the same way that a lot of musicians and creative people worked for a time in places like Austin or Seattle in more recent decades. Ray's also interesting to me because I thought that he was very effective in capturing elements of Joe Shuster's vigorous art and applying a designer's sense to the covers and pages he did in that approximation of the Superman co-creator's style. If nothing else, you should go look at the giant scan of the cover being sold.
 
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Every Day Should Be Sergio Day

imageThe Onion's AV Club has a fun interview up with Sergio Aragonés to coincide with the release of MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragonés -- Five Decades of His Finest Works. There's something life-affirming about Sergio, the passion and good humor and skill that he brings to his various projects, and the wholly endearing way he treats the artists and cartoonists he respects and admires. If you're feeling the beginnings of comics' traditional winter funk, a few minutes of time spent in the cartoonist's presence should knock the crud from your soul. In a fun, related post at Warren Peace Sings The Blues, Matthew Brady pores over the new book for signs of Groo.
 
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Go, Look: Dork Nyte

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Go, Read: Chicago Tribune On Nicole Hollander And Her New Blog

imageMary Schmich has penned an article for the Chicago Tribune on Nicole Hollander and Sylvia. I had been aware that Sylvia was in danger of being dropped by the Tribune, but didn't notice when it happened. Like a lot of a cartoonists, Hollander has taken to the Internet to connect with readers in a way that acts as a substitute for the connection felt between a cartoonist and their hometown paper audience. The story's mostly interesting to me in an abstract way, in the notion that there isn't a place for a comic strip like Hollander's in a newspaper but there is one for her on-line, that on-line is where you go to build connections between a fan base and a cartoonist. It's also worth thinking about how a cartoonist can use 30 years of work by re-contextualizing it, which seems to me a more efficient re-employment than simply tossing all those comics up on a clumsy syndicate site. The new blog is here, by the way.
 
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Go, Look: Vintage Sheldon Mayer

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Go, Look: Adventures Into Terror #11

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Go, Look: New Funnies #123

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Go, Look: Yang #1

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Go, Look: Early Starlin Marvel Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* one of the best things in all of comics, the charity Child's Play, has started up for the holiday season.

image* I can't imagine a single person that's read the work didn't flash to Burma Chronicles during the related news of the last week. Guy Delisle noted it himself on his blog.

* the prominent writer about comics George Gene Gustines provides you and New York Times readers with a holiday shopping list. It's a pretty good list; I'd second recommendations for about 2/3 of the books he lists.

* the Webcomics List Awards are open for nominations from now until December 20.

* I very much need to get super, super high and go see this.

* the writer Paul Tobin invites you to read an on-line comic he's doing in conjunction with the television show Falling Skies.

* this may be the weirdest recurring joke in the history of North American comic strips.

image* Craig Thompson draws the Muppets -- well, sort of. It's part of a parody for his friends in the band Menomena.

* the retailer and blogger Mike Sterling looks at an odd book featuring the Peanuts characters.

* this was an excellent report on King Con.

* in a world of screen addicts... the cool people read comics. There was a time when North American comics industry observers endlessly debated the exact make-up of a "comics = cool" campaign. I like the looks of this one.

* finally, Chris Butcher's right: that's a lovely Doug Wright strip.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Jim Ottaviani!

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Quick hits
Craft
Mini Rubies
Catch Of The Day
Sketchbook Dump

Exhibits/Events
Bill Griffith At Atomic Books
Andrea Tsurumi On King Con
Go See Theo Ellsworth Exhibition

History
Hamburger-Related Covers

Industry
She Likes Meetings
Searching For Cathy's Successor

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Chip Kidd
CBS News: Garry Trudeau
Baltimore Sun: Matt Groening
Japan Times: Sean Michael Wilson
Girls Gone Geek: The Sidebar Nation Crew

Not Comics
The Wolverine
Tess Mercer = Red Tornado
This Is Pretty Amazing: Mark Waid, Crimebuster

Publishing
Adele Blanc-Sec Vol. 1 Previewed
The Astounding Wolf-Man #25 Previewed

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Rob Clough: Nicaragua
Greg McElhatton: Ax Vol. 1
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Alex Carr: Palooka-Ville #20
Sean T. Collins: Fear Of Comics
Sean T. Collins: Luba In America
Richard Bruton: Parker: The Outfit
Derik A. Badman: The Zabime Sisters
Andrew Wheeler: Jack Of Fables Vol. 7
Michael C. Lorah: Who Will Comfort Toffle?
Johanna Draper Carlson: Twin Spica Vol. 4
Sean Gaffney: Hayate X Blade Omnibus Vol. 1
Andrew Wheeler: The Sweeter Side Of R. Crumb
Johanna Draper Carlson: How To Draw Shojo Manga
Rob Clough: How To Understand Israel In Sixty Days Or Less
Andrew Wheeler: The Cartoon History Of The Modern World Vol. 2
 

 
November 15, 2010


Frank Santoro Names A Best Of 2010

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The cartoonist, artist and critic Frank Santoro has named his top comics for 2010, 2010 for Santoro being the 12 months between SPX 2009 and SPX 2010. They are:

*****

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Quasi-Auto-Bio-Alt-Comics category
1. L.A. Diary by Gabrielle Bell
2. "Lost -- Spiritual Dad" fold-out in Believer by Jesse Moynihan and Dash Shaw
3. Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis

*****

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Purposefully-Raw-Art-Comics category
1. City Hunter Magazine no. 1 by CF
2. Young Lions by Blaise Larmee
3. Monster anthology

*****

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Professionally-Polished-Fusion-Comics category
1. King City by Brandon Graham
2. Bulletproof Coffin by Hine and Kane
3. Lose by Michael DeForge

*****

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New-Regime-Old-Man-In-The-Mountain (post-Crumb) category
1. Wilson by Daniel Clowes
2. Acme #20 by Chris Ware
3. Jimbo mini-comic by Gary Panter

*****

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Curly Howard Lifetime Achievement Award
* The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb

*****

Mr. Santoro requests the honor of your commentary.
 
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Go, Look: Christie's Catalog For Forthcoming Art-Centric Playboy Auction

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Thanks to all that sent a link. This is the forthcoming Christie's auction of Playboy related items, mostly art, including a ton of cartoons. There are big clusters of cartoon-related art on pages 24-25 and 44-45 if you or your employer happen to be naked-lady averse.
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's autobiography is selling briskly.

* among David Coleman Headley's various suspicious activities was making his kids go through military maneuvers in a Chicago area park. Headley is a total media star if you can hang an entire article on something like that. Another sign: Headley's relationship to Ilyas Kashmiri has bolstered his reputation on Dick Clark's Top 40 Of Evil or however those things get measured.

* a couple more pieces on Headley. Interesting that this profile of Headley states that his one-time co-defendant Tahawar Rana remains something of a mystery. Also, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper claims that Headley was planning to attack their offices and a variety of other Copehagen targets.
 
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Go, Look: Joost Swarte Draws Leonardo

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Diamond Takes A Pass On Trondheim Set

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I don't actually blame Diamond for apparently taking a pass on a discounted Lewis Trondheim three-book set as an application of their long-standing policy not to offer books and items that may not justify their space in Previews via the number of orders they receive. Unless I hear from a half-dozen or so retailers saying they and their peers could sell the crap out of these sets, I doubt there's a substantial market for the offer, no matter how excellent the work is -- and the Trondheim books are a blast. I would imagine that in terms of a strict market judgment, one could suggest with a lot of support from reasonable people that most Trondheim fans have a) already purchased the books individually or b) wouldn't be inclined to do their discount shopping through comics shops in the first place. I get it.

I still wish it was being offered. I find troublesome that any such policy is being aimed in the direction of NBM. I would argue that at this point there should be no backseat driving of longstanding publishers like NBM on anything reasonable they'd like to try in the Direct Market, barring the manipulation of offers in a way that may be systemically damaging. Additionally, I think that Diamond will over time be better off not aiming this policy at significant re-offers and new material because doing so further weakens a core comics shop value of their being the place that has all the comics. In other words, comics shops should be the first place you go to for obscure comics and ambitious re-packagings of same, not the last.

I don't make a lot of commentary on the avalanche of soul-destroying egestion that Diamond offers in the back pages of Previews. I don't like second-guessing how people want to set up their shops, or how/why people buy the stuff they want to buy. I do think that in offering so much material of that kind, and so much material of any kind according to certain outdated, lingering, industry-harmful contracts, it's in the industry's best interest to offer and encourage as much quality comics material as possible, in whatever form anyone with some measure of stature in the industry would like to try. This is not that.
 
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Read: Donald Of The Coast Patrol

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Wife Of Suspended Cartoonist: Disciplinary Actions Vs. Husband Unfair; May Be Liberal Appeasement

Colleen Rustad, the wife of Steve Rustad, a freelance cartoonist that suffered a suspension from his gig at the Argus-Courier in Petaluma because of work he did on a political campaign, has fired back at the newspaper and its policy, declaring it unfair on a variety of levels and suggesting that Rustad's suspension was politically motivated. It seems to me not the most compelling set of arguments for a variety of reasons, starting with the totemic employment of liberal-values bogeyman New York Times (which apparently has so little going on that as a collective hive mind they can make decisions to mess with freelancer Steve Rustad) and then working your way downward to about 18 other things. (Arguing the majority of the assertions made affords them substance they haven't earned on their own, so I'll pass unless challenged.) I do think she has a point that the policy is broad and dangerously open to interpretation. Unfortunately, I think that providing work to a political campaign of rough equivalency with the work you provide a newspaper covering that campaign would be way out of bounds even if the strictest definitions were employed. It's also news worth noting that the paper suspended Rustad's blog platform in addition to not using his cartoons for a undetermined length of time.
 
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Go, Read: Bhob Stewart Talks Ditko

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Your Prix Littéraires Handi-Livres Winner

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The French-language comics news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com reports that Paul Samanos' May 2009 humor effort Fauteuils en état de siège won the BD category in an awards program, Prix littéraires Handi-livres, designed to call attention to quality work featuring disabled protagonists or related issues of interest. The awards program has been in place since 2005.

The French-language comics industry offers up a wide variety of awards from multiple sources in the two or three months leading up to Angouleme's FIBD in late January.
 
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Go, Read: One Step At A Time

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Ernest Guanlo, 19XX-2010

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Details are sketchy, but Gerry Alanguilan has posted word from a Filipino comics blog that artist Ernie Guanlo passed away on November 10. Guanlo worked in both the Filipino and North American comics industries before moving into a career in North American animation in the mid-1980s. In the Philippines, Guanlo provided art for the Joelad Santos-written stories Kapag Nagalaw ang Pugad ng Isang Ibon and Gumamela.

Guanlo's stay in North American comics seem focused on the DC horror line, with credits on Ghosts, Secrets Of Haunted House, The Witching Hour and The Unexpected. He also worked on a Beatles-related comic for an outfit called Pendulum Press in the late 1970s. He then enjoyed a stint in the late 1980s working on at least a couple of titles from minor mainstream-oriented comics hourse: The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen for Tony Caputo's NOW, and Code Name Ninja for Gary Brodsky's Solson. By that time, Guanlo was working in animation, where he built up a lengthy CV working on classic 1980s cartoon franchises such as G.I. Joe and Transformers. His most recent work in that field came about five years ago on American Dragon: Jake Long.
 
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Go, Look: I Am The Gorilla-Man

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Molly McIsaac's Top Manga For 2010

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A writer at iFanboy, Molly McIsaac took the appearance of Top of 2010 lists at places like PW as a sign she should put together her own list of best manga for the year winding down. They are:

* Bakuman, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
* The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, Suehiro Maruo
* Chi's Sweet Home, Kanata Konami
* Arisa, Natsumi Ando
* My Girlfriend's a Geek, Rize Shinbu from the prose work by Pentabu
* Ristorante Paradiso, Natsume Ono
* Deadman Wonderland, Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou
 
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Lucy Caswell Retiring From OSU's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist has hold of a letter indicating that Lucy Caswell, the founder and curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, will be retiring at the end of this year. She then plans a return in the position of Curator for Special Projects. Jenny Robb, the current Associate Curator, will take over Caswell's position running the massive library holdings and the attendant museum.

Caswell has overseen the growth of OSU's comics holdings from boxes of material sent to the school by 1930 graduate Milton Caniff to a massive, multiple-holding collection of world-class variety. Since coming on board with a temporary assignment in the 1970s when the material was housed by the school's journalism department, Caswell has processed massive donations into the collection through the judicious application of time and money, made the collection available to scholars and fans of such material through its museum interface, constantly kept the library's holding up to date in terms of library databases, and generally support both the art form (through events such as every-other-year Festival Of Cartoon Art) and the industry (filling in blanks on publishing projects).

It's fitting that Caswell's move into a new position and Robb's ascension into her old role would come smoothly, as institutional continuity has always been a stated goal of Caswell's, the hope that access to and use of the holdings would continue past her own primary role in making those things possible.
 
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Not Comics: More Donn P. Crane

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

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Go, Look: More Melvin Monster

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Go, Look: Early Carmine Infantino

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Go, Look: Star-Spangled War Stories #123

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Go, Look: Dynamic Comics #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Dez Skinn is apparently writing a great deal of material about early UK conventions and the fandom that supported them.

image* the writer and reviewer Matthew Brady reminds us all that Colleen Frakes is doing another entire graphic novel for the month, running on a path parallel to all the writers out there attempting to do a prose novel in 30 days' time.

* in a lovely, lengthy post, Dan Nadel talks about Moebius and the act of musing on Moebius. He talks about this web site, which I suggest you join me in bookmarking.

* best Kirk Vs. The Gorn drawing ever.

* "This shit just doesn't do it for me": a fan (I think) of modern serial superhero comics reads Crisis On Infinite Earths.

* not comics: today's article that will make you want to kill yourself -- or at least retire to an island somewhere where you can imagine enterprises like this don't exist -- is this take on James Frey's fiction factory and the terrible contracts that all-but-demand the average person describe the effort in terms of product manufacturing. I decided Frey's big book wasn't anything that interested me before the extended public display of nincompoopism that followed, so it's hard for me to care one way or another how this ties into that guy's personal story. The strange thing is, while there are obvious lessons in this whole affair in terms of comparing this endeavor to the outright predatory nature of the comics business right now, what reading about Frey really reminds me of is a lot of similar, narcissistic, successful comics figures out there -- the kind that delight in being called "controversial" -- and their own desperate ploys to draw as much attention towards themselves as possible. Life's too short to play ball with people like that, on any level, mostly because the one thing that unites people of that kind across all media is that their art tends to be super, super boring.

* speaking of super-classy projects, no surprise to learn that the Cowboys & Aliens film effort has antecedents and the whole thing has to go to arbitration for final credits.

* start here for a series of short interviews with various cartoonists shot during this year's Reubens weekend. Included but in now way constituting the entirety of the effort are Michael Fry, Mark Tatulli and Bob Mankoff. Via Scoop Thompson.

* you should never read a comic you're ashamed of, but Chris Mautner suggests a half-dozen porno comics that you might like to read and probably wouldn't have to defend reading to someone nearby that was upset by it. Although I like a lot of sex comics, for the purposes of this list I think I might only suggest the works of Molly Kiely; she would make the most natural fit for the approach Mautner chooses.

* Sean T. Collins puts together one of those lists that suggests an order in which you might read a series of recent serial superhero comics in order to draw out a wider but still coherent plotline. I don't have the gene required to enjoy something like that, but I'm not critical of those who do: I'm jealous.

* not comics: advance footage doesn't mean anything -- Pixar would be batting about .200 if it did -- but the random images in this Green Lantern footage being employed by Entertainment Tonight do allow me to imagine a final version of this movie failing, which wasn't something I thought possible before of "Space Cop With A Magic Ring." Not that you can read too much into the quality of the images. For one thing, I can't imagine at this point any of the important special effects shots are anywhere near completion.

* finally, Graphic Novel interviews the typographer Friedrich Forssmann. That may be a little out there, but they ask the question I always wanted to ask a typographer about the way comics are done.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Ariel Olivetti!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Renée French!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Jessica Abel!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Gus Mastrapa!

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Quick hits
Craft
Lettering Samples
Sketchbook Dump
More Zombie Craft
Colleen Coover Sketches
Sean Phillips Draws From Life
Darwyn Cooke Evokes Carmine Infantino

Exhibits/Events
At Thought Bubble
Plan To See Lisa, Kate, Mike
New Stuff At Thought Bubble
Eating Brunch With Neil Gaiman

History
Yow
This Is Great
Batman Is Old
Alternative Comics Revisited
Let Wonder Woman Be Wonder Woman

Industry
Consider Looking At Evan Dorkin's eBay Offerings

Interviews/Profiles
IGN: Grant Morrison
Lynda Barry On NPR
MTV.com: Jeff Kinney
Warren Ellis: Warren Ellis
Paul Gravett: John Russell

Not Comics
I Had One Of These, Too
Batgirl Fights For Equal Pay
Toronto As Super Mario World
Dustin Harbin Selling Sketches
This Is Indeed Pretty Awesome
Daniel Radcliffe Sings Tom Lehrer

Publishing
On Crime Comics
A One-Pager From Paul Salvi
Heroes For Hire #1 Previewed
The Smith Brown Jones Instant Blues Kit

Reviews
Matt Seneca: Various
Bill Sherman: Abattoir
Rich Kreiner: Trickster
Sean Kleefeld: Various
Andrew Wheeler: Superfuckers
Greg McElhatton: Ozma Of Oz #1
Ryan K. Lindsay: New Avengers #6
Sarah Boslaugh: Odd Is On Our Side
Shaenon Garrity: Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6
Dave Ferraro: ACME Novelty Library #20
Michael C. Lorah: American Vampire Vol. 1
Colin Panetta: BPRD: Hell on Earth: New World #4
Erin Jameson: The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain't Dead
Don MacPherson: The Oddly Compelling Art Of Denis Kitchen
 

 
November 14, 2010


Go, Look: Fred Allen's Donut Cartoons

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thx, Devlin Thompson
 
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Go, Look: Xavier Pick War Images Gallery And Slideshow At BBC Site

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Go, Look: Liza Donnelly At MoCCA

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Go, Look: Chris Haley's Take On Recent Dramatic Reveal In Batman Comics

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Go, Read: "I Am The Jimi Hendrix Of Sketchbooking"

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thx, Brian Moore
 
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Go, Read: 17 Panels About Neil Gaiman (9 Of Which Are True)

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Go, Look: Joseph Lambert Tribute

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Go, Look: Massive Skip Williamson Cartoon Gallery On Facebook

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

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

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Edd Vick!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Anders Nilsen!

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FFF Results Post #235 -- Calamity

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics, Comics Art Or Comics-Related Publications Of Yours You'd Save If You Could Only Save Five Of Your Comics." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. A copy of TCJ #200
2. My dad's copy of Sick, Sick, Sick
3. The Early Morning Milk-Train
4. Galley Copy of Stan Lee
5. Dan Wright Original Art

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Help! #13 w/ "Goodman Goes Playboy" (1960s)
2. Breakdowns: From Maus to Now, An Anthology of Strips (1970s)
3. Stray Toasters (1980s)
4. The Acme Novelty Datebook #1 (1990s)
5. Kabuki: the Alchemy (2000s)

*****

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Tom Neely

* first edition of Dunt Esk by Milt Gross
* first edition of God's Man by Lynd Ward
* original artwork by Gary Panter, Kim Deitch and Zak Sally (they're all hanging together next to the door, so i say they count as one)
* huge box of mini-comics collected from the last 12 years of conventions (they are all in one big box -- Yeah I know I'm cheating)
* Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics given to me by my grandmother when I was six yrs old

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus
2. From Hell HC
3. Eightball #22
4. X-Men #53
5. James Kochalka Comics Journal cover art recreation/commission

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Bill and Ted's original art page inked by David Mazzucchelli
2. Jamie Hewlett original cover art
3. Jill Thompson original art page from the first Beasts of Burden story
4. Jaime Hernandez original art page from "Tear it Up, Terry Downe"
5. Our daughter Emily's Little Golden Book sketchbooks w/art by Clowes, Woodring, Gahan Wilson, et al. There's only two and they're small, can I include them both at #5? Jesus, Tom, she's only 5, and they're in the same bag, have a heart, fer chrissakes, we're talking Octoshark, here!

*****

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Scott Dunbier

* Weird Science boxed set (part of the complete EC Library, published by Russ Cochran)
* Wally Wood Spirit In Outer Space two-page sequence
* Walter Simonson Manhunter pin-up
* Neal Adams Green Arrow pencil page
* Jack Kirby Captain America sketch

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge McDuck: His Life and Times
2. Mike Marek's Hercules Amongst the North Americans
3. Life in Hell box set
4. Fantastic Four #48
5. Blab! #7

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) A hi-res PDF of the last short comic I've made
2) A copy of Fatalysia #3
3) A copy of the Fragments anthology
4) Vol. 1 of the Mexican Edition of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
5) The folder where I keep most of the Xerox fanzines I made back in the '90s

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. All the masters & back-up digital files of my own comics projects: Serenity and Hits & Misses
2. Cerebus (might take 2 trips)
3. Deadbone Erotica by Vaughn Bode' (incredibly rare accidentally pulped Bantam edition)
4. Bob Kline's original ink drawing of 2 dinos fighting (more properly, a t. rex eating a hadrosaur)
5. My framed 13-cent overseas royalty check for writing for Tiny Toons Adventures

*****

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Douglas Mullins

1. New Gods #3
2. Jimbo in Paradise
3. Locas I / Human Diastrophism (Please God Don't Make Me Choose -- They're Brothers!)
4. Tekkon Kinkreet
5. If 'n' Oof (I'm only halfway through)

*****

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Tom Mason

* James Childress Conchy original
* Personal letter from Bill Watterson
* Malibu Comics photo album
* Dinosaurs For Hire rights reversion letter
* Sergio Aragones' original birthday drawing (for my birthday)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. My first comic: a now-coverless Batman #237 signed by Dick Giordano
2. Original art: Fantastic Four #33, page 2 by Salvador Larroca
3. The Smith Brown Jones "Instant Blues Kit" that I received from Jon Hastings. Consists of a half-sheet page of directions and a small, plastic harmonica.
4. Dr. Seuss' autograph (in red crayon) on Cat in the Hat stationery
5. Fantastic Four #500 Director's Cut signed by Mark Waid and Tom Brevoort

*****

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Isaac Cates

1.) My robot sketchbook.
2.) My monkey sketchbook.
3.) Original art by Dylan Horrocks (a page of Hicksville).
4.) My inscribed copy of Eisner's Graphic Storytelling.
5.) The original art for my mini-comics.

*****

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Max Fischer

1. Thirteen (Going on Eighteen) by John Stanley, as designed by Seth
2. Captain Easy: Soldier of Fortune by Roy Crane
3. Space Spells by Jesse Tise (the only self-published comic I have to my name)
4. WRAB: Pirate Television by Matt Howarth
5. Kramers Ergot 7

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Fun With Milk And Cheese. With my world falling apart, a little comics mayhem will perk me up.
2. Throwing Muses Limbo T-shirt with Gilbert Hernandez art. If all I've got left is the shirt on my back, it should at least be a cool shirt.
3. Rubber Blanket #1. I'll need quick cash so this goes on ebay.
4. The Wolverton Bible for spiritual comfort in my time of woe.
5. Little Orphan Annie 1931 (Fantagraphics edition). To remind me that no matter how much I've lost, I don't need any of it to get by, I don't. I just need a plucky never-say-die spirit and the opportunity to work hard. And of course, no hand-outs 'cause those are for lazy people!

*****

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Lane Milburn

1. Moebius The Airtight Garage Marvel Epic graphic novel
2. Japanese edition of Kamui-den with fancy dustjacket.
3. Old Garo issue.
4. Berserk volumes.
5. Raw vol.2 no.3

*****

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David Paccia

* The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus
* MAD's Greatest Artists: The Completely MAD Don Martin
* Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice
* Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures (either Volume 1 or 2...or both if I can get away with it)
* Walt Disney's Mickey And The Gang: Classic Stories In Verse (Vintage magazine art 1934 - 1944)

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Sketchbook with original four-panel strips by many amazing artists
2. "Watching Television" minicomic
3. Battered paperback copy of Asterix the Gladiator that was my Rosetta Stone for several languages
4. Signed Alan Moore script for Big Numbers #3
5. "Crime Bible" Moleskine

*****

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John Platt

1. My signed, sketched, first-printing copy of Bone #1, which I bought for 25 cents long before Jeff Smith drew on it for me.
2. My ancient, ratty, war-torn copy of Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, which blew my 7-year-old mind when it first came out, and which continues to blow my mind today.
3. My even more tattered Limited Collectors' Edition Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, which my brother and I terribly defaced with young-boy scribblings, but which smells like childhood.
4. My one piece of original Will Eisner art, which is really just some inked bricks around a photostat of the Spirit logo, but which is still pretty damn cool.
5. My copy of Muzzlers, Guzzlers and Good Yegs, which Joe Coleman not only signed, but in which he drew a tiny little portrait of me.

*****

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Chad Nevett

1. Avengers West Coast #102
2. Absolute Authority vol. 1
3. Come in Alone, signed by Warren Ellis
4. Codeflesh, signed by Joe Casey
5. The Art of Jim Starlin since I just got it and it's what I'm obsessed with at the moment

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. My Russ Cochran Mad Archives set that Harvey Kurtzman signed
2. My pages of Finals original art by Jill Thompson
3. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's Flex Mentallo mini-series
4. Wonder Warthog and the Nurds of November
5. The shoebox full of "Frog" comic books I drew as a kid

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. My dog-eared copy of Kramers Ergot 4
2. My first edition of James Thurber's Men, Women and Dogs
3. My autographed copy of Jim Woodring's The Portable Frank
4. Lynda Barry Original Art (titled "The Winter Visit of The Near Sighted Monkey")
5. George Carlson Original Art (circa 1927 ink illustration of "The General" Locomotive)

*****

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Alistair Robb

1. From Hell -- Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell
2. Watchmen -- Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons & John Higgins
3. Astro City: Family Album -- Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson
4. Love and Rockets: Chelo's Burden -- Los Bros Hernandez
5. Buddy Does Seattle -- Collected Hate Vol. 1 (#1 - #15)

*****

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Matt Silvie

* Rare self-published Altergott Doofus mini
* Original Altergott drawing of Ween
* Original Woodring pencil drawing sketch for Frank volume 2 cover art
* Original Jim Blanchard drawing of this woman with an afro and one giant boob
* Charles Burns Stone Lithograph: Beyond Recognition, Signed and Numbered

*****

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Nat Gertler

1. The GMP's According to Peanuts (a Peanuts storybooklet teaching folks at Coke bottling plants about the then-new food processing regulations.)
2. My Doonesbury original
3. The original art for It's a Municipal Holiday, Charlie Brown (Mike Bannon, working from a Derek McCulloch script)
4. Vic, The Viking Penguin -- Paul Smith original art, never reproduced
5. George Perez/Jim Mooney page from the unpublished Sgt. Pepper's movie adaptation

*****

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Rich Tommaso

1. My Original Artwork
2. My R.Crumb German Sketchbook from 1983-87
3. Jimbo In Paradise
4. Sundays With Walt And Skeezix
5. Abandon The Old In Tokyo

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Overstreet's Price Guide 1977 (Porky Pig cover, Barks profile) -- this book blew my pre-adolescent mind: you mean there have been that many comics published!? And -- so that's who did the Duck comics! A gift from my mother, who bought it at a seedy head shop in "the big city" (Regina, Saskatchewan)
2. Fantastic Four #30 -- a gift from my Uncle Dave, who said he picked it from the "comic book tree" out by his garage (I was about 5 at the time). A pretty fun comic, besides.
3. A Dell comic featuring Porky Pig of the Mounties -- given to me by my friend Stephen King (no, not that one) from his wife's father's collection; date stamped with the name of the long-gone drug store in my home town -- the one where I first bought comics.
4. The Louis Riel graphic novel -- inscribed with a sketch by Chester Brown of Louis Riel himself saying "hello, Trevor", purchased at a signing at Comics Readers bookstore, Regina.
5. Le Portrait by Edmond Baudoin -- one of my favourite comics stories of all time; a fascinating examination of a relationship between an artist and his model.

*****

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Philip Smith

1. Jaime Hernandez convention sketch
2. Evan Dorkin storyboard art
3. Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #141
4. Wonder Woman #178 (vol. 1)
5. Songs and Stories about the Justice League of America LP

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons
2. Bear Alley Books' Cursitor Doom collection
3. Action: The Story of a Violent Comic by Martin Barker
4. Thrill-Power Overload by David Bishop
5. original artwork of Sam and Samantha Slade by Fred Hembeck

*****

Y'all are a bunch of cheaters; a lot of you, anyway. I allowed it because of the nature of the subject plus I can imagine being consumed by the invading octo-sharks because you grabbed too much stuff. Just don't be shocked if in some future week I delete your e-mail.

*****
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade



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via

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via

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Writer Denny O'Neil's Road to New York and Marvel Comics from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Denny O'Neil talks about working for Stan Lee in the Silver Age from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Denny O'Neil talks about Batman in the 70's with Neal Adams from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Denny O'Neil describes his job as an Editor from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Denny O'Neil talks about working for Giordano at Charlton Comics from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

When Denny O'Neil met Julie Schwartz from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

*****


via

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November 13, 2010


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 6 to November 12, 2010:

1. Taking into account the lower end of the sales charts brings potential changes in our view of the Direct Market and its health.

2. Two prominent editorial cartoonists confirmed laid off in wake of recent elections.

3. Jim Davis apologizes for accident of "National Stupid Day" cartoon running on Veterans Day.

Winner Of The Week
Ali Farzat

Losers Of The Week
The law enforcement officials in charge of processing witnesses in the Barbara George murder case.

Quote Of The Week
"I had a close friend in high school who killed 17 people." -- Derf

*****

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

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If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 39th Birthday, Sara Ryan!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Doug Murray!

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November 12, 2010


Friday Distraction: Sophie Crumb Gallery At DCKT Contemporary

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Missed It: Stephen Collins Wins 2010 Comica/Observer/Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Contest

imageThe cartoonist Stephen Collins has won this year's Comica/Observer/Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Contest with his "Room 208," according to an announcement made in the paper and on the contest's web site last weekend. Rachel Cooke has the article/profile in the Guardian. You can see Collins' story in full here. The runner-up was a story called "Square Eyes" by Anna Mills and Luke Jones.

The contest marked its fourth year this year, and offered up its usual high-powered, murderer's row of celebrity judges. This year's judges were: Audrey Niffenegger, David Hughes, Rachel Cooke, Dan Franklin, Paul Gravett and Suzanne Dean.
 
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Go, Look: Gabby's Playhouse

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Cartoonist Suspended From California Newspaper For Violating Ethics Policy

imageAccording to area news media, cartoonist Steve Rustad's work has been suspended for an undetermined period starting yesterday by the Argus-Courier because Rustad provided a campaign against a local politician with art/cartoon materials. The publisher called it a clear violation of the newspaper's ethics policy; it also violated the ethics policies of the paper's owner, the New York Times Co. The policies extend to freelancers like Rustad that work with the paper. Rustad said he was unaware of the policy.
 
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Go, Read: The Idiot Time-Traveler

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Missed It: The Remainder Of Your 2010 Stanley Awards Winners

imageDavid Pope's win as Cartoonist of the Year at the 26th Annual Stanley Awards hit the wires the day after; you had to pay close attention to comics-centric sites like The Comics Journal for the rest of the awards given out that night.

Cartoonist: David Pope (Canberra Times)
Caricaturist: David Rowe (Australian Financial Review)
Single Gag Cartoonist: Matt Golding
Graphic Media Artist: Geoff Richardson (Sydney Morning Herald)
Comic Strip Artist: Tony Lopes (Insanity Streak)
Comic Book Artist: Dave Gaskill
Illustrator: Anton Emdin
Editorial/Political Cartoonist: Mark Knight (Herald Sun)
The Jim Russell Award For Outstanding Contribution To Austrlia Cartooning: Steve Panozzo

The ceremony was held November 6 in Melbourne. It's hosted by the Australian Cartoonists Association.

an illustration by Anton Emdin
 
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Go, Look: Oskar Männikkö's Blog

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Go, Read: Two Cartoonists Profiles

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These kind of snuck out today in a way that would make linking to them next week a disservice, I think:

* "Lynda Barry is a happiness bomb. There's no other way to put it, because the cartoonist, teacher, artist and bestselling author is at once an aura of calm and an invigorating, entertaining presence. She's equal parts Dalai Lama and Gilda Radner, alternately wise and cracking wise like a Zen vaudeville act." -- The National Post On Lynda Barry

* "Lulu's still fighting the fight, in there with the sloth and the drinking and the belly fat. Except now she appears to be married, which I hope to God is not some kind of terrible Cathy parallel." -- Emily Flake of Lulu Eightball in an interview with AV Club.

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Gaze Upon The Face Of Tim Boo Ba

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Calgary Store Closes Campus Location

According to an article in the University of Calgary student newspaper The Gauntlet, a comics shop called Words and Pictures is closing a location in the university's student center that it held for 20 years in order to consolidate stock and resources at its downtown location. In other news, CR has just learned that a comic shop called Words and Pictures actually had a comics shop right in a university's student center for 20 years, which is something I'd never heard of before. The fact that this is an astounding place to have a comics shop -- when this place opened, I was going to school in the Blue Ridge Mountains 85 minutes from a comics store -- makes extra distressing the news communicated in the article that economic woes and general disinterest by the on-line focused college crowd are contributing factors to the move. Although, now that I think of it, this not only makes some logical sense but actually buttresses something I've been hearing in anecdotal from comic shop owners the last few years, that for some of them there is no longer as noticeable a bounce in retail traffic when the local university is in session.
 
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Go, Look: Great War Comics Covers

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Random Comics' Generous Heart Update

image* Zak Sally is auctioning off a piece of Low-related art to benefit the Andy Kotowicz fund. He talks about it here.

* apparently Steve Rude has sent along a note to his mailing list thanking everyone for their support in his recent foreclosure sale and noting that the home itself has been saved. He actually noted this back around October 23 on his Facebook account, but good news is worth hearing twice, I guess.

* I have to imagine Josh Cotter could still use some help, if you're in a mood to buy some really fine comics for a good cause, such as owning fine comics.

* finally, these bids for Stephen DeStefano's kitty-related eBay auctions seem quite encouraging to me.
 
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Go, Look: DC Annuals, 1960-1965

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If I Were In Austin, 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: Straight Arrow #1

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Go, Look: Extended Lucky Preview

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Go, Look: Twilight Zone #37

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Go, Look: From Here To Insanity #11

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the photos taken by Todd Klein at Neil Gaiman's 50th birthday party look quite lovely. Also: please feel better, Scott McCloud.

* not comics: Stan Lee will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in early January.

image* Sean Phillips' version of the Avengers for a Hero Initiative-related project is a lot of fun, and I think I'd say that if he weren't doing a Roy Thomas-type line-up as opposed to one of the newer groupings. I still think someone could revive that Vision character; that has to be the least-utilized character relative to his one-time popularity of all the characters in Marvel's entire stable. Vision phasing through someone's body was the "snikt" of the first half of the 1970s.

* more on that unfortunate dating/context thing by Jim Davis and Garfield.

* not comics: Tim Hodler unpacks the comics-related resume of the late Dino De Laurentiis.

* David Brothers breaks down the story of writer J. Michael Straczynski leaving his ongoing series gigs at DC for a stand-alone OGN sequel to his Superman: Earth One in light of that writer's general lateness issues. I learned a lot in that piece.

* speaking of JMS' departure, some folks picked up on an idea I expressed yesterday that that news and the way the announcement came out struck me as a vote of no confidence in serial comics. A few agreed, a few did not. I stand by my reasoning: a prominent writer leaving two high-profile serial comics gigs and stating "these other kinds of comics over there, they're the future" on his way out the door, that's not a good day for serial comics. That certainly does not mean it represents some sort of crippling blow to a kind of comics publishing I adore. That would be nuts. Nor is it a sign of things to come: JMS isn't a typical comics professional. I just thought that the action and how it was presented constituted a weird and potentially troubling message to put out there, especially in tenuous times.

image* someone asked me yesterday if Bill Mauldin is the only cartoonist ever to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. My hunch is that this is indeed the case, even though they once profiled Charles Schulz at length. Special middle-of-the-century cultural icon props to Mr. Mauldin for the cigarette.

* Abhay Khosla discusses a whole mess of books.

* Dirk Deppey explains the conventional wisdom as to why some comics benefit from a movie/TV series and some don't: there needs to be a convenient and easy-to-understand jumping-on point. I think a discrete unit also helps, so it will be interesting to see how the Walking Dead comics due in that regard.

* no one ever mentions Neil The Horse on these comics-as-TV-shows lists. I would watch the crap out of a Neil The Horse TV show. You could run it right after that Glee.

* the artist, cartoonist and illustrator Paul Pope analyzes some work by Paul Rivoche on Mister X.

* I suspect that he's doing it to get a jump on the series of books he does that include such commentary in addition to giving his site some additional focus, but Richard Thompson's annotated versions of his Cul De Sac are a blast.

* not comics: Warren Ellis talks tools. I second his recommendation of Dropbox, or something similar if you can find something similar that you like better. Just having your words away from the items of your writing life that can have water thrown on them is very much a relief.

* finally, looks like I jumped the gun on that Gilbert Hernandez OGN cover.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Carl Potts!

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Quick hits
Craft
Nice Cover
Krypto Spider
Paper On Canvas
I Agree With This Assessment
On Make Me A Woman's Cover
Steve Bissette Draws Michael Reeves

Exhibits/Events
Go See The Comics Forum
Remembering Veterans Day
Another Set Of Insights On NEWW 2
More From Gary Tyrrell On NEWW 2

History
On Tim Drake And Sex
The Captain Britain That Might Have Been

Industry
Repurposing Publishers

Not Comics
Pocky Day?
Television Bank
Captain America Fights Hydras
Brigid And Her iPad, Sitting In A Tree
Make Usagi Yojimbo Your Desktop Background
Kiel Phegley Profiles Courageous Young Aidan Reed

Publishing
Hulk #27 Previewed
The Avengers #7 Previewed
Chaos Wars: Dead Avengers #1
On The Adventures Of Simon Pegg

Reviews
Ben Towle: Various
Chris Murphy: Various
Win Wiacek: Sanctuary
Johnny Bacardi: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Don MacPherson: Scarlet #3
Brian Warmoth: Beetle Bailey
Brian Warmoth: Superboy #1
Andrew Wheeler: Fingerprints
Paul Montgomery: Batgirl #15
Sean T. Collins: Amor Y Cohetes
Sean Kleefeld: Lords Of Death And Life
Paul Montgomery: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1
Christopher Allen: DC 1st Issue Special #3-4
Chad Nevett: The Return Of Bruce Wayne #6
Michael C. Lorah: How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less
 

 
November 11, 2010


Jim Davis Apologizes For Running National Stupid Day Cartoon On Veterans Day; Total Coincidence

imageVeteran cartoonist Jim Davis experienced one of the occasional nightmares that can beset even the most successful syndicated cartoonist: a comic strip posted to a date long in advance rolls out in a context that could be seen as insulting to some group or event or individuals the author would never think of insulting. Such is the case with today's cartoon, which could be taken to suggest that Davis believe that Veteran's Day is a stupid holiday celebrated for meaningless reasons. In an e-mail sent to inquiring parties and posted on Garfield.com and in the comments section of the syndicate site, Davis wrote the following:
In what has to be the worst timing ever, the strip that runs in today's paper seems to be making a statement about Veterans. It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance.

Regarding today's Garfield comic strip , it was written almost a year ago and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today -- of all days. I do not use a calendar that lists holidays and other notable days so when this strip was put in the queue, I had no idea it would run on Veterans Day. What are the odds? You can bet I'll have a calendar that lists everything by my side in the future.

My brother Dave served in Vietnam. My son James is a Marine who has had two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. You'd have to go a long way to find someone who was more proud and grateful for what our Veterans have done for all of us.

Please accept my apologies for any offense today's Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable.
Of secondary interest might be that Davis has the strip written almost a year ahead, which isn't a common thing anymore but seems perfectly suited to his gag-heavy strip.

submitted by Scoop Thompson
 
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Go, Read: Yeast Hoist #6

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Not Comics: Proposed Design For San Diego Convention Center Cheaper Than Expected; Includes Park

A pair of wire stories popping up since yesterday indicate that the city of San Diego has selected architect Curt Fentress' $700 million design proposal as a way to expand the city's convention center, the home for several regional and national trade conventions and the current headquarters of Comic-Con International. The property would expand east towards the new Hilton, and the additions would include a rooftop space that would open up the convention to the waterfront and provide a concert venue, perfect for my hobbling-around-the-show-being-grumpy, complaining-about-the-old-days years. The expansion plans for the facility are a key to Comic-Con's future relationship with the city, as the show has been and will in the near future continue to be operating with a cap on its attendance. No mechanism is in place to pay for the additions, and a figure that suggests $17 million in yearly revenues and, therefore, a 45-year recovery period for the outlay may seem odd to some folks.

Fentress is probably best known for designing Denver International Airport, an ambitious facility whose reputation has strongly rebounded since initial, boondoggle-type criticisms.
 
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Go, Read: Godel x Uzumeri On Early Issues Of Uncanny X-Men

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the Olga Korbut confusion will make many of you feel old, but I can't recall a pair of readers with more experience in the modern iterations of the Marvel mutant team looking at these older comics, and I found it intriguing for things like how they treat the art of Dave Cockrum
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* I'm not sure there's any major North American show beyond the Wizard thing in Austin. I usually don't count the Wizard shows, but Texas is one of the holdovers from the days these shows were all top 10 events and I love Austin. Plus: nothing else going on. Which means there's probably something huge I'm missing, but that's a story for another day.

* internationally, the sixth annual Komikon is this weekend. Someone grab me that Manny Pacquiao comic. There's also a small publishers fair in London, but that's not comic-centric.

* your Comica event of the week is the Solipsistic Pop opening, which takes place tomorrow.

* here's a fun post by Gary Tyrrell about the New England Webcomics Weekend (there will probably be a companion by the time this post rolls out in its usual Thursday slot) that not only displays his genuine enthusiasm for the event but suggests that there's life in events that focus on creators and their creations rather than industry-type announcements. It'd be nice if someone tried a looser confederacy of shows around these principles to combat the perception of Wizard's string of strange genre celebrity shows with a comics component.

* finally, is one day at Comic-Con International better than another?
 
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Go, Look: Zap Comix Scans

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$600 For E Simms Campbell Original Art Sounds Like A Bargain To Me

There have been a ton of articles about a forthcoming sale of Playboy-related art, but very little on the specifics of the cartoon-related portions of that sale. In fact, if someone can use their google-fu to find a complete list, I'd love to link to it in a parenthetical aside after this sentence. Anyway, one thing that is being offered is a slew of E. Simms Campbell originals. I have no idea if that means Campbell work for Playboy or just Campbell work generally -- I think of him as an Esquire cartoonist more than a Playboy one, although he definitely did a bunch of work for Playboy -- but that provides an excuse to spend a few minutes checking out this Campbell gallery.
 
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Go, Look: Early Hank Ketcham

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Portentapalooza: One Publishing News Story On One Mainstream Comics Writer And What It Might Mean

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Compelling story hitting the mainstream comics news sites after an announcement via official means about popular writer J. Michael Straczynski working on a sequel to the Superman: Earth One graphic novel effort. Those sources were pretty quick to pick up on the writer announcing that he would be transitioning from active writer to a kind of producer role on his all but brand new, high-profile serial comics writing gigs with the Wonder Woman and Superman characters. Phil Hester and Chris Roberson will take up the day-in, day-out writing chores on those respective assignments.

I'm not exactly the most insightful watcher of mainstream comics, but this story fascinated me for the variety of things it suggested about the state of DC publishing right now and through it a rather broad window of insight into mainstream comics generally.

One thing that pops for me is that this highly-publicized stand-alone books initiative seems not to have had the confidence of a second volume until sales figures turned DC around on the matter. That strikes me as odd -- who launches a line of anything thinking they'll be done-in-one? -- but also in line with some of the things I noticed (not without argument) about the way that book was launched. Another thing that interests me is that it seems to me that losing a high-profile writer on two high-profile, mega-character gigs doesn't speak well to overall editorial consistency right now at the publisher. There's a certain trust that exists between publisher and buyer that sudden moves, particularly of the progressive or backtracking variety, weaken. I like Roberson and Hester and I think each will do a fine job, but I'm not sure that I'd see it the same way if I'd hopped on board with those titles as the kind of serial comics reader I was 25 years ago, lured to a series by a big-name writer doing big-name writer things. The move also points out the relative lack of big names at that company, or even the sense of talents-in-waiting that come with an active talent development component. This isn't a distinction that matters to me personally on any level, but seems to me again something worth noting in terms of how these companies operate. The final notion is that Straczynski basically indicates that the future is stand-alone works and short runs, which strikes me as a terrible vote of no-confidence in terms of such a company's -- an industry's! -- bread and butter. If JMS doesn't want to write continuing series, doesn't that suggest that fans might want to reconsider reading them?

Update: About a half-dozen of you have written in to suggest that another factor in play here could always be one of an array of personal issues of the kind that can weigh on such vocational decisions, that the release might not actually tell the whole story. That's something I definitely don't follow mainstream comics closely enough to know -- not even the rumors. Still, that kind of thing does happen, so it is a possibility, and if that's the case here I apologize for any insensitivity that may have resulted.
 
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Go, Look: Laura Galbraith

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Matt Davies Laid Off By Gannett Paper

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Michael Cavna offers a stellar write-up on a pair of post-election editorial cartoon firings, including the news that hit the affected cartoonist's Facebook blog yesterday and then crackled through watchful blogs that Matt Davies of the Journal News, a community super-paper that serves the Lower Hudson Valley region in New York and is owned by Gannett, was let go. Davies is one of the anchor talents right now in classic North American editorial cartooning: a rock-solid, amusing writer and an expressive artist who won the 2004 Pulitzer for a series of cartoons including the above effort. Davies also won the Herblock prize that year, and was the AAEC president in 2004-2005.

imageCavna rightly pulls out that this seems to be part of an effort to trim positions across the company's various holdings. Cavna also discusses the idea that cartoonists like Davies are let go after elections because their work is too important to a newspaper's election coverage to see them fired beforehand or during. That's a lovely idea, but while I like Davies cartoons generally -- this one's very funny -- his election-period cartoons seem on a first glance more like value-added, broad commentary than work that got right down there and mixed in with the rest of the coverage and was particularly vital in that way. That New York offered one of the few nationally-recognized clownish races in its governorship contest probably didn't provide a lot of points of purchase for ruthless, attentive cartooning of a type that can be seen as additional journalistic coverage. That's not a criticism of Davies, because I'd want my editorial cartoonist working the same way, just a note that I don't find the assertion of coverage hypocrisies that compelling an argument in his case. In fact, Davies' light touch is something that seems to me would be a significant asset in what is likely to be a contentious next two years politically; I think they'll miss him more then than they would have for the last few months if he had been let go in July.

Davies is distributed by Tribune Media Services and on Daryl Cagle's site; his work was made available to other Gannett papers through an in-company syndication service. You can read reaction from Daily Cartoonist readers here. You can look at recent Davies cartoons through a devote newspaper blog here. I wish this talented cartoonist luck in finding his version 2.0.
 
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Go, Look: Alan Davis' From The Studio Of Frank Bellamy Gallery

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Michael George's Attorneys File For Evidentiary Hearing On Reported Interview Of Key Trial Witness

The Detroit Free-Press offers up a succinct article on a key filing by attorneys for former prominent retailer and convention organizer Michael George, currently awaiting a new trial on murder charges related to the death of his then-wife when they lived in central Michigan. George was convicted of charges related to the murder in what became a high-profile case because of the lurid comic-shop atmosphere involved and the fact that he was being tried years and years after the fact; he was then ordered a new trial in part based on the dispensation of information about certain witnesses from prosecutor to defense team.

Thus the fact that the new filing is related to a witness causes everyone in the vicinity of the trial and everyone that's been following it to perk up a bit. The basic charge is that a book on the case suggests an interview was done with a witness that the defense attorneys were not made privy to, which could be a potentially powerful charge given the context. The defense team suggests in the article that if it's not true, and no such interview took place, that this could be used against the ability of the witness to separate fantasy from reality. Further filings press after other asserted discrepancies in testimony.

The hearing on this filings will be November 29. It was expected in some corners that a trial would start in 2010, although I have to think that such legal maneuvers make that less likely than were they not being made.
 
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Go, Look: DeZuniga Inking Buscema

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A Special Happy Veterans Day Thank You To All The Cartoonists That Served

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Amazingly, this TCJ message board thread is probably the single best one-stop location for a discussion of those cartoonists that served in the military. My friend Dan Wright is another excellent cartoonist that's also a veteran. Here's the Cagle gallery of Veterans Day-related editorial cartoons.
 
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If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

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

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Not Comics: Donn P. Crane

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Go, Look: Space 1999 #1

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Go, Read: Don O' The Drums

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Go, Look: More Smokey Stover

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Go, Look: Princess Pantha

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jeet Heer draws attention to Karen Green's recently-expressed thoughts on comics in libraries. He also talks about Seth and Stuart McLean.

image* a magazine called QunoSpotter has a video interview up with Oliver East of Trains Are... Mint fame, giving me the excuse to run some Oliver East art in this post.

* it's hard not to share this level of bafflement at some of the sequences in Batman: Odyssey.

* can't read the language, but I have to say I kind of like the look of this.

* this video of people at APE by Chris Diaz is roaring around the Internet, mostly because it's adorable and everyone looks nice.

* Jerry Robinson is selling a couple of pieces of original art from his collection. Since it's Jerry Robinson, the pieces are iconic Golden Age superhero comics covers. That Fred Ray Superman/Eagle piece is one of the really memorable covers of that entire era.

* the latest One Piece volume sold two million copies in four days. That's a pretty good four days.

* not comics: oh, my goodness; this is awful. My condolences to family and friends and best of luck in establishing that fund.

* the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund profiles Neil Gaiman and his work with that organization on the writer's 50th birthday. I think Gaiman's work on behalf of free speech advocacy has been consistent and admirable, especially since he enjoys a fan base that may or may not be able to easily process the nuances of certain expressions of those issues.

* not comics: I, too, knew at least two kids with whips; it was an Indiana Jones thing.

* the always-thoughtful Scott McCloud talks about comics' real future, and instant markets.

* finally, it seems like there's a decent amount of writing on the wind-down of the Brand New Day effort with Marvel's Spider-Man character, like this longish post that seeks to place the move in a broader narrative context. One reason I find this kind of thing fascinating is that there's so much material devoted to these characters that it seems to me like it compresses the life span of the general narratives. It not only seems like there's ten years of Brand New Day material as opposed to three, in 1978 publishing terms there really is ten years worth of material.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Derek M. Ballard!

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Happy 41st Birthday, James Owen!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Lewis Trondheim!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Steve Ekstrom!

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Quick hits
Craft
Urgh
Now In Technicolor
Ben Towle Sketches
What Fuels The Work?
Colleen Coover Sketches
Rocketeer Carrying Something Heavy

Exhibits/Events
King Con Report
Go See JM DeMatteis
Give The Gift Of Peter David

History
Praise For Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali

Industry
Manga In Hong Kong
Alison Bechdel On Lulu Honor

Interviews/Profiles
TCJ: Milt Gross
CBR: Mike Carey
ICv2.com: Joel Enos
CBR: Sean McKeever
BBC4: Charles Schulz
Newsarama: Kurt Busiek
iFanboy: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning

Not Comics
Spider-Girl Is Tweeting
Groovy Galactus T-Shirt
You'll Agree With The Headline
I Figured This Just Reading Reviews
Colin Panetta On The Walking Dead 1.1

Publishing
What's Up With Jim Rugg?
The Comics He's Purchased
Love For Make Me A Woman
Paul Gravett On January 2011
Love For Various PictureBox Stuff

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Christopher Allen: Various
Bill Sherman: Beetle Bailey
Vom Marlowe: Bayou Vol. 1
Jason Thompson: Impact City
Richard Bruton: Petra Etcetera
Michael C. Lorah: Superboy #1
Ed Sizemore: A Drunken Dream
Andrew Wheeler: Miki Falls Vol. 3
Sean Gaffney: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1
Nina Stone: Baltimore: The Plague Ships
Greg McElhatton: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1
Kent Worcester: The Horror! The Horror!

 

 
November 10, 2010


Eat It, Spider-Man Musical: Hazel Coming To Broadway To Fluff Pillows, Crack Wise, Rule Box Office

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My only fear is that Hollywood does such a fantastic job placing middle-age actresses into a variety of satisfying movie roles that no one will be free to play the lead.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Stumbling Towards Damascus

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article tells the unlikely publishing story behind the new Occupation Outbursts: 1945-46 book and that work's 92-year-old creator.

* it's similarly wonderful to note the imminent publication of Joyce Farmer's Special Exits. It speaks well to comics as an art form that there's a prominent place for powerful work from an older cartoonist that may have more to offer in terms of underground cred than in a modern marketplace track record. Great endorsement from Crumb, too.

image* Brigid Alverson and Spike endorse Hans Rickheit's Ectopiary, now about 50 pages in.

* I would imagine that the biggest story of the week from a publishing news perspective is DC's announcement earlier today they're opening up a dedicated storefront/site for digital comics purchased. It's fundamentally a tweaking of their previous, similarly comixology-powered digital platform, but some tweaks are more important than others: the symbolism of DC opening up a place splashed with the publisher's brand and the opportunity it gives them to roll out various series and one-shots (the first wave of which they describe in the first linked-to piece) could make this a potentially substantial move. The flip side is that this is another announcement where the outside observer may be scratching their heads that there wasn't something like already, which I think is going to be the gut feeling for next several months with a lot of announcements.

* the collective Clamp is turning one of its one-shots into a series.

* not comics: Gary Tyrrell discusses a documentary about the tumultuous shifts comics is undergoing right now, and what it's like on the ground, in the works from David Kellett and Fred Schroeder.

* the reviewer and industry advocate Johanna Draper Carlson sifts through the current state of Tokyopop's digital publishing program.

* Robot 6 has details of the deluxe 100th issue of the Bill Willingham-written Fables series. The big takeaway is that Willingham, a prominent 1980s and 1990s alt-cartoonist, will be providing some art for the issue. I'm happy for the creators that have enjoyed success with that book. One thing I wonder is why we haven't seen Willingham given room and encouragement to try and launch another tent-pole franchise; he strikes me as the kind of writer that might have five or six on the back-burner at any time.

* also from Robot 6 comes word that cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks has brought on-line a regional print publication strip called The Adventures Of Superhero Girl. Also, Jamie Hewlett adapts a Pulp song into comics form. Excuse me, the Pulp song.

* the St. Louis Rams won't put in a waiver claim on wide receiver Randy Moss, but the Avengers will sign up that crazy-looking Red Hulk? It's almost like one of these two things exists in a total fantasy world.

* the small publisher Grimalkin Press has a variety of announcements up in this post, including that they're doing a book with Box Brown.

* if you thought last week's news of a return to print for Comics Interview was a welcome blast from the past, you may be equally thrilled to hear about the return of FA. Okay, okay, one's a reprinting project and one's a bunch of new stuff under a cherished, older name -- you try writing 52 of these columns a year.

* Fantagraphics has one of those preview videos up for the next book in their series reprinting old Steve Ditko comics.

* did you know that there was a Sense and Sensibility series from Marvel, now collected in hardcover? I did know and I didn't know, if that makes any sense. Like I can remember knowing, but I can't remember the actual fact.

* finally, Dave Ferraro snagged a cover image for Gilbert Hernandez's next pulp OGN: Love From The Shadows.

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Go, Read: On Alex Toth And Horror

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Marshall Ramsey Moves To Part-Time Position With Full-Time Positivity

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Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist caught that the Clarion-Ledger dropped editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey from full-time to part-time status as part of a wave of personnel changes that encompassed 15 members of the newspaper's staff. It was the second such move by the paper in two years.

Gardner contacted Ramsey for more details, and while there are few the political cartoonist can report he confirmed the news and how many cartoons he'll contribute in a week under the new arrangement (four to five). Gardner also picked up on Ramsey's admirable, positive attitude, and noted the re-posting of this message on a professional blog generally soaked in affirmation. One can't help but admire Ramsey's take on things, and wish him all the best in any new opportunities. He continues to be syndicated by Creators.
 
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Go, Look: Those Black Kiss Covers

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Missed It: Leiji Matsumoto Awarded Order Of The Rising Sun Honor

imageThe Japanese government announced on November 3 that it was awarding manga and anime creator Leiji Matsumoto with its Order Of The Rising Sun decoration, specifically the Gold Rays with Rosette honor. You can read about the honor here, which informs us that the general order is generally the highest such honor someone not directly involved in governance can receive, and that this specific class is the one that was afforded Tommy Lasorda, George Takei and Frederik Schodt. Among the various, popular manga and anime franchises linked to Matsumoto are his Galaxy Express 999 series and the Space Battleship Yamato cartoon that was a hit in the West under the name Star Blazers.

The same post notes that Shigeru Mizuki was among 17 people named Persons Of Cultural Merit this year.
 
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Go, Look: Carnivore

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Not Comics: The Paradigm Shift That Gets Much Less Attention

It may be difficult to read this profile of Slate without rolling your eyes a bit if you happen to operate in a world where the standards of success/failure fail to include making the requisite number millions in business income to cover your vaguely-defined expenses, whether or not your devoted offices are properly decorated, some of your non-related and shoot-for-the-stars spin-offs of your core business not all working, paying your half of a fabulous New York City flat and throwing the occasional lavish launch party. There is a valuable message that comes from this piece on the on-line media veteran that's distinct from the standards involved, and it's one that may be wholly applicable to comics: as much time as folks fret/mull/muse over the decline of print vs. the rise of on-line media, the shift on the Internet from resource-based on-line access points to socially-driven, participatory-heavy and multiple platform content streams may be just as important if not more so in terms of establishing long-term economic viability.
thx, Gil Roth

Update: The subject of the profile says the general thrust of it isn't true in Slate's specific case. That's nice, although I'm more interested in the general idea than its ability to describe the specific example.
 
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Go, Look: Adorable Flash Drawing

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Please Consider Helping Artist Stephen DeStefano Defray Medical Costs Accrued By His Beloved Kitty

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He's selling animation-related artwork on behalf of Lola, who looks to be suffering from pancreatic cancer. Original plea here. Fantagraphics blog pick-up here. Listings here.
 
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Go, Look: Tony DeZuniga Western Art

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

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Go, Look: All-Star Western #1-3

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Go, Look: Classic Jack Davis

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Go, Look: Ponytail

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Go, Look: Coo Coo Comics #45

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is a better-than-average interview with Adam Hines, the creator of Duncan The Wonder Dog. My goodness, I thought the statement that Hines' humongous book was merely one of an eventual nine volumes was a misprint or a joke. It's interesting to see that one gather momentum just because people are gobsmacked by it.

image* the cartoonist Jillian Tamaki offers up a fun series of sketch-illustrated observations on her recent Skim-related trip across Europe.

* if I'm reading the post correctly, a free symposium on the socio-economic state of illustration and comics-making is being held in Belgium. I can't even imagine such a thing happening over here with the reluctance people have to speak on the subject of what people make.

* at the risk of taking work away from people I know and like, I think expanding the Marvel series Strange Tales to include groups like children's book illustrators is a fine idea.

* the Marvel editor Tom Brevoort has advice for aspiring writers, basically to scale back the pyrotechnics and tell involving stories about character, which has long been the Marvel mantra in terms of what it's looking for from writers. I have so got to send him my Razorback script. Danny McBride needs a superhero movie, too!

* the writer and critic Graeme McMillan points out that the primary purpose of DC's Brightest Day crossover is to return certain characters to viability in terms of holding their own franchise down, which is fascinating on a lot of levels least of which is that I think it's really hard to force that kind of thing. Over at his regular CBR opinion-analysis gig, McMillan discusses the recent slew of bizarre Image trailers in terms of not know what's going on being a good thing.

* the writer Kurt Busiek answers the living crap out of his mail.

* not comics: please consider helping Stephen DeStefano's sick kitty.

* according to these astounding photos and the brief report on top of them, Guy Delisle and Joe Dog were among the guests at a recent comics event in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

* the cartoonist Box Brown discusses the comics-related album covers he found on an album covers site, including the work of amateur cartoonist Cat Stevens.

* the cartoonist Richard Thompson notes what is likely an inventory burn-off of his first Cul De Sac collection at Amazon.com. That is one fine book at any price.

* finally, the writer Craig Fischer goes old-school blogging style with a long and completely personalized post about cartoon books he's purchased at a bookstore in the town where his in-laws reside. Great town that Dekalb.
 
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Happy 36th Birthday, Chris Bolton!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Neil Gaiman!

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Happy 40th Birthday, James Sime!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Bruce Chrislip!

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Quick hits
Craft
Hammo Time
High Fructose
It's Full Of Bugs
Sean Phillips Inks
Hellen Jo Art Gallery
On A Bruce Timm Panel
Colleen Coover Sketches
Gina Gagliano's Cover Talk
Joseph Lambert Makes An Ad

Exhibits/Events
Heurich Mansion Gala
D+Q At The New York Art Book Fair

History
Rogue's Mom Is Hot
Beautiful-Looking Dick Tracy Card Game
Steve Bissette Shares An Early, Early Work

Industry
ALA's Graphic Novel Webinar
Ben Towle Would Like To Sell You Things

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Tim Seeley
Pop Candy: Renee French
Metro: Bryan Lee O'Malley
CBR: Marjorie Liu, Daniel Way
Talking Comics With Tim: Janet K. Lee

Not Comics
R. Fiore On Bukowski
These Are Lovely-Looking
That's A Cute Baby Costume
Sean Kleefeld Wants You To Read
That's A Cute Pair Of Adult Costumes
Never Thought Of The Blackhawks For Halloween
Paul Cornell Wants To Hear About Your Fan Fiction

Publishing
On Ectopiary
Dean Haspiel's NSFW Motion Comic Profiled

Reviews
Richard Bruton: Various
Sean T. Collins: Birdland
John Lucas: Two Generals
Don MacPherson: Various
Grant Goggans: Century 21 Vol. 3
Todd Klein: Locke & Key: Head Games
Colin Panetta: Strange Tales Vol. 2 #2
Josh Flanagan: Return Of The Dapper Men
Michael C. Lorah: House Of Mystery Annual #2
Andrew Wheeler: Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives Vol. 3
 

 
November 9, 2010


Go, Look: The Death Of Jose Arcadio

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Analysts: October 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 October 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.

Fascinating month. I would in fact defer much of my analysis to the second ICv2.com link and the second Comics Chronicles link, which if you have any interest in the shape and thrust of that particular comics business are must-reads. What's happened as far as I can parse it is that 1) it was a pretty good month, 2) Diamond has for whatever reason released numbers indicative of the entire range of items they offer, which means a better picture of the entirety of sales rather than estimates based on a top 300. John Jackson Miller indicates in his report certain areas where the new numbers give us more and better information, including a line of analysis that support his contention that increased sales on the lower end of the charts somewhat ameliorate the loss of sales in the top 300. ICv2.com in their analysis seem to be arguing this isn't significant over time.

I know that the Internet rewards certainty, and throws in a bonus if you State It With Capital Letters, but I'll be honest: I don't know what I think yet. The main thing I can't figure out is what effect this perceived shift might have out on the ground in the various retail establishments, whether or not there's an advantage being enjoyed by shops that are big enough to carry a huge range of product or whether there's a level of dissonance between the major players' perceived strategy -- an emphasis on hit books -- and the market they've actually created, and how that might potentially play itself out in terms of missed opportunities. One thing I did notice is that they sold 7500 of the new Parker book into the DM, which is about 3000 more copies than they took of the heavily-promoted first volume. Also, DC had half of the top 10 and nine of the top 20, which even at the reduced numbers for top books has to be worthy of note as badly as they've been slaughtered up there at times over the last five years.
 
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Go, Look: Kitty Pryde Idea Letter

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thx, Devlin Thompson
 
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Frequently Scrutinized Syrian Cartoonist Ali Farzat Opens A Gallery In Damascus

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There's a great line near the end of this CBS News piece on the opening of a new Damascus gallery owned by cartoonist Ali Farzat, where Farzat himself flat-out admits that he has no idea why he's been allowed to do this. Such is the life of a cartoonist and artist where those things aren't always valued. Farzat has long been the target of repressive forces within his own country and across the Middle East for his striking, powerful cartoons satirizing heartbreakingly common and wholly insidious abuses of power. As the article notes, his highest-profile tussle with his own government came when during a loosening-up period in the early 2000s he was allowed to found a satirical newspaper called Addomari, which was then shut down two years later for reasons almost certainly relating to its content despite the claims of officials that the publication circumvented legal stricture.

The Ali Farzat Gallery is not only decorated with art that was criticized when released via print media, Farzat will be selling items for Syrian homes with his work on them, leading to what Google tells me is the only time the phrase "satirical home furnishings" has ever appeared on the Internet. "I am seeking to turn our homes into carriers of ideas and content," Farzat told CBS News, in what has to be the most ambitious statement regarding merchandising in the history of cartooning.

A new Syrian Minister of Culture visited the gallery and praised Ferzat. If you have a second, poke around the article and Farzat's web site for photos of the place and some stronger examples of his cartoons. One can't help but hope this endeavor goes as well as possible for him.
 
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Go, Look: On Alex Schomburg's Covers

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thanks to Paul Tobin for a fun series
 
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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 invoke my rights as a citizen of Planet Awesome to spend my days picking up and putting down the following.

*****

SEP100044 BPRD HELL ON EARTH NEW WORLD #4 (OF 5) $3.50
It seems that not a week goes by without something from the Mignola-verse on the stands, which I bet is a big reason why these books do well despite being left mostly to themselves.

JUN100035 GRANDVILLE MON AMOUR HC $19.99
This is a sequel to Bryan Talbot's anthropomorphic steampunk fantasy, coming out almost exactly one year after the first book's release. That's a first-class offering of its type of comic, even if that's a type of comic you don't necessarily read.

JUL100144 BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #6 (OF 6) $3.99
I was going to write "Finally" but since it's DC I'm guessing there's probably a one-shot or two after this supposed last issue. That "JUL" can't be a good sign considering how tightly these various series are coordinated time-wise, either.

SEP100305 CONSTANTINE HELLBLAZER CITY OF DEMONS #3 (OF 5) (MR) $2.99
I have to say, I don't really get the spin-off series from a mid-level performer strategy as it relates to anything other than goosing market share a tiny bit.

JUL100231 NORTH 40 TP $17.99
This is the collection of one of the better-reviewed late-period Wildstorm books, a horror-fantasy set in a small town that seems to have touched on all the familiar aspects of that kind of literature without boring its fans. It's one of those book that I probably wouldn't buy, but I'd sure love to look over in a shop. You know, if I had one. Thanks, Marvelution.

APR100224 SUPERMAN VS MUHAMMAD ALI DELUXE HC $19.99
APR100223 SUPERMAN VS MUHAMMAD ALI FACSIMILE EDITION HC $39.99
The strange thing is that as recently as five years ago you could still easily find the original of this powerful item of '70s kitsch for less than $10. I know, because I had to buy one. It's a pretty good comic, and its underlying craft strengths are a big part of what has kept it alive over the years.

AUG100441 MAGE HC VOL 01 THE HERO DISCOVERED (NEW PTG) $39.99
It'd be fascinating to see what this one looks like on high-end paper and given the general, deluxe treatment. My memory of the comics -- and I still have them all -- is very much wrapped up in their being comics.

SEP100342 DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS #1 $3.99
What the Internet is to comics in the 2010s, the bookstore to comics in the 2000s, and the music store to comics in the 1990s, the gaming shop was to comics in the 1980s -- a natural ally whose longevity will depend on factors that have nothing to do with comics at all. I have to imagine that boiled down to one or two comics and given to a writer with a light touch, a Dungeons and Dragons comic book could do okay.

JUL100439 COWBOY NINJA VIKING #10 (MR) $3.99
This is a deeply weird adventure comic book series, about agents grafted with multiple personae in order to best fulfill their jobs of asskickery and related functions. While I can't imagine running out to see it I hope a recently announced movie version does well for them. It has that rare comics virtue (Thriller, later Giffen Legion Of Super-Heroes) of not giving a moist crap whether you understand what the hell is going on.

SEP100596 ANT-MAN & WASP #1 (OF 3) $3.99
Here's a question. Are they collecting three-issue mini-series now? I liked the characters as they appeared in that Roger Langridge Thor comic, but every character that appears in that comic ends up being super-appealing. I kind of like the fact that Hank Pym has long been the Bob Meusel of the Lee/Kirby era, and there's likely something that can be done with that.

SEP101196 ADV PROF THINTWHISTLE INCREDIBLE AETHER FLYER GN $14.99
One of comics' most beautiful Lost Children, a whimsical science fiction story that ran in the Ted White Heavy Metal. This age of reprints demanded its re-publication. If you saw it in one of its earlier iterations, it may have burnt a place in your memory that make re-reading it now a voyage of re-discovery, a visit to a time when comics -- the whole magilla -- seemed to be barely holding on.

SEP100744 ELMER GN (MR) $12.95
I've enjoyed Gerry Alanguilan's surprisingly personal story of emotional fallout in the world talking chickens in every form I've read it, and I hope it does well in this iteration.

AUG100760 MOUSE GUARD LEGENDS O/T GUARD HC $19.95
This is Archaia's companion piece to its successful work with David Petersen's Mouse Guard franchise; I have yet to read it, but I think Mouse Guard and Archaia are on principle worth more of our collective attention.

SEP101084 SMURFS GN VOL 03 SMURF KING $5.99
SEP101083 SMURFS HC VOL 03 SMURF KING $10.99
I know a four-year old that's going to be happy about this. I think a lot of parents will be happy, too, as the series starts to stretch its legs and bit and get more Jay Ward-like in its ability to please the younger set and those that are reading to them.

SEP100737 GLAMOURPUSS #16 $3.00
I think you'd be surprised for how many people this is their favorite serial comic book right now.

SEP101143 TONOHARU GN PART 2 (MR) $19.95
One of the few self-published alternative book series of note (it's distributed by Top Shelf but published by the cartoonist), I enjoyed Lars Martinson's low-key soap opera set in the barest bones of an English-speaking community in a rural Japan (a place where Martinson himself taught) much more in this second volume than I did in the first.

JUL101177 VAGABOND VIZBIG ED GN VOL 09 (MR) $19.99
AUG101179 TWIN SPICA GN VOL 04 $10.95
Your mainstream manga series offerings of the week, one a well-executed adventure story the other a quirkily-told coming-of-age drama set in a school for astronauts.

JUN100999 EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC SEC HC VOL 01 $24.99
Fantagraphics' Tardi roll-out reaches new heights with this first in a series of books translating Tardi's fun and of course beautiful-looking turn-of-century adventure series. There's also a soon-to-be "Watch Instantly" favorite directed by Luc Besson out there, just waiting.

AUG101019 TOYS I/T BASEMENT HC $14.99
AUG101076 TWO GENERALS GN $24.95
Two graphic novels that are more slipping out than arriving on the stands with fanfare, both from quality cartoonists (Stephane Blanquet, Scott Chantler) with impressive creative pedigrees. I look forward to reading them both.

AUG100917 INKSTUDS SC $20.00
I'm enjoying dragging this one around the house to various sofas and easy chairs and catching a piece here or there -- it's as good a snapshot of comics right now as you're likely to read now that TCJ is gone in that monthly sense where it gave you a window into the world of comics just by engaging with so much of it. I'm in this book, but I'm avoiding that section; I don't remember really distinguishing myself in that particular interview. But the rest of it's pretty good.

SEP101256 WILL EISNER DREAMERS LIFE IN COMICS HC $28.00
I'm still not all the way certain why another Will Eisner biography was necessarily called for just a few years after Bob Andelman's under-publicized take on the master cartoonist, but I suppose that means I can hope in that it's a wildly divergent take. Nobody ruin it for me.

*****

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 retrenching my overall strategies regarding this site following a poor showing in the midterms.

*****

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Go, Look: Linda Cavallini's Blog

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Derf Avoids Jury Duty By Citing HS Friendship With Jeffrey Dahmer

The problem is, this only works for Derf.
 
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Go, Read: A John Stanley Top Ten 02

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Jeff Lemire's Essex County Named A Top 10 Canadian Novel Of Decade

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Congratulations to Mr. Lemire and to his publisher, Top Shelf. This is part of the "Canada Reads" promotion that the CBC does, although I'm not sure why this year it has a "decade" focus. In the general spirit of the promotion I hope that a lot of readers discover the EC trilogy through its making this list.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Darryl Cunningham's Uncle Bob And The Martian Invasion

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Go, Read: Garry Wills On Doonesbury

imageGarry Wills' review of 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective in the New York Review Of Books benefits greatly from Wills' skill as a conversational writer and an historian. Wills nails the multiple contexts in which Garry Trudeau's remarkable newspaper strip was born, and he's close enough (they share a syndicate, and sound friendly) to Trudeau that he has personal anecdotes he employs judiciously. In fact, it's hard to think of something better in those specific areas being published. It's also the kind of piece that may send you scrambling after thoughts of your own. For instance, it's hard not to see the tight interrelationships depicted in the strip as a mirror held up to the mostly closed world of American elite politics of the kind Wills describes up top, where a man whose roommate will be president is blocking on the football field for a man whose future wife's roommate will be secretary of state. That said, I'm not certain everyone will agree with the thrust and sweep and concluding focus of Wills' critical appraisal of the strip. I know I don't, and I'm someone that shares his feelings about its overall greatness. Still: formidable article, and one I'm thankful he wrote.
 
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Go, Look: Jon J Muth's M Covers

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Restructuring At ComicsPro To Include A New Position For Amanda Emmert

The hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a short piece up that the retailer organization ComicsPro has made a couple of structural adjustments. Longtime key ComicsPro member Amanda Emmert of Muse Comics in Missoula will now hold the position of Executive Director. Emmert was an active founding member of the advocacy group and has served as both its Communications Coordinator and as the Secretary/Treasurer on the board. The Secretary/Treasurer duties will be folded into the new position's responsibilities.

ICv2.com also says the current board will be reduced to seven members which they identify as:
* Joe Field (Flying Colors Comics, Concord, CA), President
* Gary Dills (Laughing Ogre, Fairfax, VA and Columbus, OH), Vice President
* Carr D'Angelo (Earth 2 Comics, Sherman Oaks & Northridge, CA), Recording Secretary
* Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience, San Francisco, CA)
* Calum Johnston (Strange Adventures, Halifax, Nova Scotia)
* Eric Kirsammer (Chicago Comics, Chicago, IL)
* Rick Lowell (Casablanca Comics, Portland, ME)
Those seven and Emmert constitute a really fine group of retailers; however they wish to organize themselves to best serve their stated goals and existing membership sounds great to me.
 
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Go, Look: Vintage Bill Everett

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is Zach Quinto really that busy?
 
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Go, Look: Al Hartley's Patsy And Hedy Meet The Rawhide Kid

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Go, Look: Gordon Robinson

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Go, Look: Creepy Things #1

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Go, Look: Final Trash #1 Take-Out

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer Chris Mautner muses about the state of DC's Vertigo imprint in the post-synergy world as a way of getting into an old-fashioned line review. I would think that a line review would tell you little about the state of things as these books would have been planned long before the latest round of DC restructuring and related corporate tweaking; what they have planned for next summer is probably going to be key.

image* Bill Griffith offers up a rare and awesome-looking cover he did for a literary publication in the early '70s.

* Chris Butcher asks you to vote for two graphic novel options in the Canada Reads promotion.

* Nicole Rudick quickly and deftly describes the abuse that Lynd Ward received from contemporary literary critics and Ward's elegant, pro-comics response in a Caldecott Award acceptance speech.

* USA Today profiles Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Incognito, which just launched a second series.

* the writer Peter David re-runs a column from the days when he used to go toe-to-toe with my former employer, The Comics Journal. I started working there about a half-year after that and temperature had not cooled.

* I've never taken all-the-way seriously the extremes to which the esteemed comics historian RC Harvey argues his visual-verbal blend theory -- it doesn't seem to me arguable for half a second that a well-executed comic of serious intent and humane sensibility would kick the shit out of some silly, clumsy trifle that embodies the blending principle in every measure of art that should matter -- but I appreciate his consistency and the force with which he argues it. He's at it again.

* Josh Flanagan on the Nerd Pride thing. Is there an age component to those kinds of issues? I find myself increasingly baffled by articles like these, unable to find purchase on any of the sides they describe. I couldn't even remember what Big Bang Theory was until the photo loaded.

* not comics: "hey, what's your name?" -- Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds and his Eightball t-shirt at a peaceful political protest, 1992.

* Graeme McMillan reviews an issue of a Spider-Man comic book that he says serves as sort of a finale to the past few years of changing the baseline story and set-up on that character. He liked the issue, and liked the lengthy retrenching even more.

* Johnny Ryan on those prints he did for the Walking Dead series; it's very entertaining.

* the writer Timothy Hodler digs into Beetle Bailey like nobody's business, and because it's that particular industry-shaping juggernaut a lot of what he says resonates in terms of the entire newspaper strip medium over the last 50 years.

* genial TCJ veteran Rich Kreiner looks at more comics by Joseph Lambert, which is exactly the same course of action I took after I saw my first Joseph Lambert comic.

* Charlie Brown in the comic books was just like the Charlie Brown in the comic strips, except seedier.

* D+Q's Tom Devlin provides his own list of favorite D+Q titles, in part to bring attention to books he thinks didn't receive enough attention in last Friday's "Five For Friday" spotlighting the company's works.

* finally, if you're going to read one longer on-line piece today, make it Matthias Wivel's discussion of the Finnish comics scene, utilizing observations made by watching one of its societies make use of their space and time at the Helsinki Book Fair. I would love to see the same kind of forward-thinking made by North American groups at some of their shows.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Bill Mantlo!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mort Todd!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Peter Birkemoe!

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Quick hits
Craft
Gator Bait
The Family Crest
Colleen Coover Sketches
Sean Phillips Draws From Life

Exhibits/Events
NEWW Rocked

History
On Kurt Schaffenberger

Industry
Indeed A Bargain
Comics On Your Cereal Box

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Chris Roberson
CBR: Louise Simonson
Daily Blam: Charlie Adlard
Haaretz.com: Sarah Glidden
Ink Panthers: Sarah Glidden

Not Comics
Dick Tracy Suspenders
Osamu Tezuka Fire Safety Posters
Press Invited To Help Promote DC On-Line Game

Publishing
I Laughed
Dreaming Of Kick-Ass 2
Image Books Previewed
Spider-Girl #2 Previewed
Knight And Squire #2 Previewed
Dustin Nguyen On Batgirl Previewed

Reviews
Win Wiacek: Fires
Deb Aoki: Various
Ben Towle: Various
Kate Dacey: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Andrew Wheeler: Mister I
Daniel von Egidy: Various
Richard Bruton: XIII Vol. 3
Rob Clough: Life Of Vice #3
Cameron Woodhead: Hamlet
Curt Purcell: Gantz Vols. 1-13
Sean Gaffney: Gin Tama Vol. 20
Sean T. Collins: Beyond Palomar
Greg McElhatton: Generation Hope #1
Don MacPherson: Superman: Earth One
Johanna Draper Carlson: I Am Here Vol. 1
Christopher Allen: OMAC: One Man Army Corps
Todd Klein: Jerry Robinson: Ambassador Of Comics
Brian Warmoth: Captain America: Man Out Of Time #1
Andrew Wheeler: Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love
 

 
November 8, 2010


Comic-Con Registration Retrenches After Glitches Cause Initial Delays, To Launch Again On 11-22

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Details here.
 
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Go, Look: On LB Cole's Covers

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USN&WR Ending Its Print Iteration

U.S. News And World Report, a magazine that once sold over two million copies an issue on the stands and that has been the home of cartoonists and illustrators ranging from Ranan Lurie to Tom Toles to Richard Thompson, has announced an aggressive move into digital. They will end their subscription business by the end of the year, focus their newsstand presence even more explicitly on its college rankings issues, and continue to grow its digital presence.

This is sort of shocking to me because I wasn't even aware it was no longer a print newsweekly; it's been monthly for a while now. Furthermore, USN&WR always seemed one of those magazines that very much knew it was a magazine, taking full advantage of its weekly presence and the forced brevity of its format to provide consistently useful summary information on news stories, information that communicated both below and above the sophistication of its prose. If I were to think of one magazine where my memory of reading it seemed most like the kind of experience I have accessing web sites today, it would be USN&WR.

image"I worked for them for years, going back to the late '80s, doing spots and caricatures and at least two covers," Richard Thompson told CR. In the mid '90s I started drawing for them every week, illustrating a column in the front of the book called 'Washington Whispers' that featured a string of inside-baseball political reporting."

Thompson describes a situation that reflected both the drop-dead deadlines of the print era and the pressure to be timely and weekly -- an era in illustration all but lost now. "The deal was they'd give me the subject or situation on Thursday around 4 and the final was due on Friday around 11 (which often stretched into the afternoon). This is when Thursday nights first turned into all-nighters for me, a habit I'm still trying to shake. Over the next few weeks I got into the job's rhythm; get a call from Michele, do a sketch and fax it over by five or six, ink the sketch onto watercolor paper with a lightbox and stretch the paper and watercolor it, interspersed with periods of dawdling and fretting. Then call them on Friday and a courier would show up, usually Shawn, to pick the finished drawing up. I did this for 9 years, about 50 times a year, and i learned more about watercolor and the limits of human patience than i ever would've otherwise."

Thompson noted that the front section with his cartoon also ran an editorial cartoon, and that for a time Tom Toles was drawing for the publication a cartoon he would then re-use in the Buffalo News. They also, he says, ran syndicated editorial cartoonists and used any number of illustrators. He ended hsi run in 2004, and compares the decline of such publications in print to that currently being experienced by the newspapers that buy Cul De Sac. "DC is a huge center of publishing, with the government and all the various associations with magazines and newsletters and such," Thompson said. "USNWR and National Geographic are the only two big national publications around here, though. It's sad to see USNWR disappear from the actual newsstand, a place whose shelves seem to get more barren all the time."

According to the linked-to article, USNWR still had over one million paid subscribers in the first half of 2010, although this was down more than 20 percent from the first half of 2009. Their site had 1.5 million unique visitors in September, about an eighth that of Time.com. They do have a cartoon presence on-line -- on the opinion page of the web site, in by-topic clusters findable through the opinion pages, and I believe they're also part of the weekly digital offering, although I can't be certain. I believe all of these may be syndicated cartoons, although again I can't quite tell if that's true or not.

Employees received a memo on Thursday detailing the plans; no immediate firings are expected.
 
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Go, Read: Barney Google And The Aesthetics Of The Bigfoot Style

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the story of one-time Mumbai plotter and wannabe attacker of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper David Coleman Headley got more complicated during President Obama's trip to India: the New York Times reports that the DEA employed Headley to Pakistan after 2011 under some vague notion that he was about to bring them some major arrests -- it is during that trip, on the United States' dime, that he may have initially made contacts with the Pakistani terrorists that later attacked Mumbai. President Obama discussed the continuing US squeeze of information out of Headley with Indian officials, including accusations that it was known Headley had terrorist leanings but that he was used anyway.

* by the way, that's the first time I've read any legitimate source -- "the president" sounds legitimate to me -- recognize Headley as someone that was employed/utilized by an agency of the US Government once upon a time. Whenever I've read that rumor before it was a) noted as a possibility in more legit articles, b) the fulcrum for conspiracy in not-so-legit articles. I've followed the story pretty closely.

* just to underline how strident political writers are going to use the Danish Cartoons Controversy for whatever political round hole into which they can shove its star-shaped peg, facts be damned: here's a think-piece that claims western newspapers' failure to run the cartoons back in early 2006 was a capitulation to Sharia law, as opposed to American newspapers just being chicken-shit, while here's one that claims cartoonist-in-hiding Molly Norris organized Everybody Draw Muhammed Day, which while her cartoon inspired the stunt her actual contributions to the event were limited to trying to disassociate herself from it and begging it not be done.
 
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Go, Look: Classic Al Williamson

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David Pope Named An Australian Cartooning Association's Cartoonist Of The Year

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According to various Australian new sources, the Canberra-based cartoonist David Pope has won the 2010 Cartoonist Of The Year Award. The award, from the Australia Cartoonists' Association, was given out during a program in Melbourne on Saturday night. Pope was one of six finalists. He has been with The Canberra Times since 2008 and has been drawing for Australia's alternative press for more more than two decades. Australia has as rich a tradition of editorial cartooning as any country, and seems to highly value its unique contribution to the newspaper page and the historical trends and attitudes the form embodies.

Pope thanked his predecessor at the Times, the longtime editorial cartoonist Geoff Pryor. Pryor had in fact recruited Pope to the paper as an illustrator, and endorses his successor here.
 
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Go, Look: More '60s Esquire Cartoons

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Your 2010 PW Best Comics List

As part of their yearly coverage of a range of books released into the various publishing market, Publishers Weekly has released the following selection of books onto its "best comics" list. It's decent list, but not a particularly laudatory one, to my eyes. I wouldn't sign off on a list that leaves off Wilson and Picture This! but includes Yummy, but nobody asked me to.

As expected, the list hits a range of publishers as the PW list tends to. It might be worth noting that three same-cartoonist sequels to books on last year's PW list failed to make this one: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, Parker: The Outfit, and You'll Never Know: Collateral Damage. It may also be useful to acknowledge that while last year's list contained I believe a couple of works that had yet to come out, this one does not, which may point to a pretty dim end-of-year rush.

PW's choices are:

*****

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* Acme Novelty Library #20, Chris Ware (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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* AX: Alternative Manga, Edited by Sean Michael Wilson and Mitsuhiru Asakawa (Top Shelf)

*****

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* Batwoman: Elegy, Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams (DC)

*****

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* Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

*****

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* Bodyworld, Dash Shaw (Pantheon)

*****

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* Duncan the Wonder Dog, Adam Hines (AdHouse Books)

*****

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* How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Sarah Glidden (Vertigo)

*****

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* Weathercraft: A Frank Comic, Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)

*****

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* X'Ed Out, Charles Burns (Pantheon)

*****

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* Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, G. Neri and Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low)

*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Classic Jordi Bernet Torpedo

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Your Amazon Top 10 Comics Of 2010 -- Their Customers' Favorites Edition

I missed this left to my own devices, but multiple bloggers that also had last week's editors' picks selection from on-line bookseller Amazon.com also linked to this list of best-sellers from 2010. It's an interesting and slightly distressing list, the latter in that it's impossible to argue that a media tie-in doesn't drive sales at the top of book trade charts. In other words, it'd be nice to have a few publishing-phenomenon type hits in there, although some of these books count as that at one time in their development.

*****

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1. Scott Pilgrim Volume Six: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Oni Press, $11.99

*****

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2. Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 (The Twilight Saga), Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim, Yen Press, $19.99

*****

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3. The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel, Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen, Del Rey, $25

*****

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4. Kick-Ass, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Marvel, $24.99

*****

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5. Troublemaker Book One: Alex Barnaby Series Three, Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich and Joelle Jones, Dark Horse, $17.99

*****

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6. The Walking Dead Volume Eleven: Fear The Hunters, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Image, $14.99

*****

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7. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight Volume Six: Retreat, Jane Espenson and Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens and Jo Chen, Dark Horse, $15.99

*****

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8. Walking Dead Volume Twelve: Life Among Them, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Image Comics, 14.99

*****

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9. Blackest Night, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, DC Comics, $29.99

*****

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10. Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead, Stephen King and Peter David and Robin Furth and Richard Isanove, Marvel, $24.99

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Giant Scans Of Those Beautiful V For Vendetta Covers

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Mo Willems Places Two On PW Children's Books List, Including Collaboration With Jon J Muth

imagePW released its best-books and best children's books lists earlier today -- I assume the comics one is imminent -- and illustrator/author Mo Willems, whose work is very often cited in comics circles as work that straddles comics and illustrated prose forms, placed two works on the latter list's picture books sub-section: Knuffle Bunny Free and City Dog, Country Frog. The latter is a collaboration with Jon J. Muth, an increasingly known quantity in that field and of course a comics favorite for years. I took a quick peek at the rest of the list, and only Edwin Fotheringham registers as an illustrator frequently of interest to comics people. Again, I would assume if the comics list isn't out already, it's about to drop.
 
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Go, Look: Four-Color Comics #423

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I bought this one at a Heroes Con
 
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Go, Look: Gold Key's Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea #2

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Go, Look: Crude, Lovely TNT Todd

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Not Comics: Remembering Roger Hane

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* why not kick off the week with a viewing of a fun video of Ann Telnaes at Mike Lynch's place?

image* you should go look at the Comics Alliance pin-ups and consider participation in the charity portion of the effort.

* the cartoonist and comics historian RC Harvey walks through such recent astonishing sights on the newspaper comics page as a pair of one-panel Blondies.

* here's a short piece on comic-book stand-ins, although I'm not sure that what these publishers are doing with groups Hydra as stand-in Nazis or Glorious Godfrey and evangelists is exactly the same as what they've done with things like Roxxon (with they mention) or The Maggia (for the mafia) and the Sons Of The Serpent (the Klan), which they don't.

* Frank Santoro takes his grid-laden analysis to Jaime Hernandez's "Browntown."

* I bet this particular ass-whipping never gets mentioned when the bad guys sit around and drink brews.

* not comics: what a Tony Millionaire album cover would look like covering one wall of your home.

* Ben Towle uses a children's book to explore how CMYK printing works. Dustin Harbin, for his part, pulls out his Ames Lettering Guide.

* this is 100 percent true.

* not comics: it makes perfect sense that a Dan Zettwoch Halloween costume would look something like this.

* I'm not exactly sure what this photo is that's just sort of sitting in my bookmarks. I'm thinking that's either a photo of the young artists that worked with Paul Pope in that mentoring/retreat thing he was talking about months ago, or Pope's leading a team of young, super-powered mutants.

* we used to drink Little Kings beer when we were in middle school, but I don't think that was comics-related like this is.

* that's some cover.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco discusses a Chick tract he found in a kid's Halloween candy haul, and wonders out loud if this is appropriate material for anyone to be giving children.

* Matt Seneca wants to introduce you to the Hokusai Grids.

* the writer Tucker Stone talks about how a skillful comic book can underwhelm/outright fail according to the bare minimum, general expectations a reader might bring to such an experience. I like the orientation Stone has towards this material maybe more than the actual observation -- I'm not feeling him as to why this couldn't work on the page, even if it's boring and static, the same way an episode of a sitcom that uses a fixed camera point or drops the set could still be pretty enjoyable. Then again, Stone is dealing with an actual comic book and I'm engaging with the vague idea of potential comics, so I'm going to win that argument every time.

* the longtime writer-about-comics Ng Suat Tong revisits a pair of pages from Human Diastrophism.

* finally, Robot 6 has an embedded, short fan-film of How I Learned To Stop Worry And Love John Byrne.
 
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Happy 39th Birthday, Cheese Hasselberger!

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Happy 69th Birthday, Tony DeZuniga!

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Quick hits
Craft
Zombie Cat
Sean Phillips Inks
Jim Campbell Has A Blog
Colleen Coover Sketches
The Long Arm Of The Law
Cliff Chiang Drawns Pretty Girls
Rob Ullman Tailgates With The Clemson Tiger

Exhibits/Events
MCM London Expo Round-Up
PictureBox At New York Art Fair

History
Daredevil Drives A Car
On Action Comics Weekly #605
Commissioner Gordon's Feelings
X-Men Character Lifted From Akira?

Industry
Yen Press Launches Talent Search
How Do You Deal With A Bad Review?
ADD Wants To Sell You Some Comics
Getting New Books In Is Indeed Great
Publishers Aren't Seeking Out Manga-Style

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: David Hine
NPR: Maira Kalman
NPR: Sophie Crumb
Newsarama: Fred Van Lente
Queens Tribune: Stan Goldberg
CBR: Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso
Graphic Novel Reporter: Audrey Niffenegger

Not Comics
Holy Rutland After-Party
Realistic Superhero Funeral
Kaz Is Animating A Ton Of Stuff Now
Ed Sizemore On Detroit Metal City Movie
Please Something Non-Tragic Kill This Thing

Publishing
Bulletproof Coffin #1
Verity Fair #2 Previewed

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Bill Sherman: North 40
E. Peterman: Superboy #1
Andrew Wheeler: Revolver
Charles Yoakum: True Loves
Sean Gaffney: Otomen Vol. 8
Todd Klein: A God Somewhere
James Hunt: Generation Hope #1
Matthias Wivel: Safe Area Gorazde
Tina Vasquez: The Night Bookmobile
Glen Weldon: Six Novels In Woodcuts
Graeme McMillan On Paul Levitz's Legion Work
Sean Kleefeld: Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
Johanna Draper Carlson: Questionable Content Vol. 1
 

 
November 7, 2010


CR Sunday Interview: Sarah Glidden

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How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less is the book of the moment: a stand-alone graphic novel by a more-or-less first-time author (small-press cartoonist Sarah Glidden, a former Maisie Kukoc Award Winner) from a major comics publisher (DC's Vertigo imprint) with a fascinating narrative structure (a birthright visit) performed in warm, easy-on-the-eyes colors.

As Glidden explains below, her book is less about the trip itself and more about the attempts we all make to come to some sort of understanding regarding complicated issues despite being bombarded by information from multiple sources and having to process everything from deep within our own preexisting biases and assumptions. In refusing to provide easy answers to the multiple questions raised, Glidden spreads her personal experiences both good and bad right out in front of readers in a way they either have to bring some sort of reason and analysis of their own to bear on the issues or close the book not having tried to understand a thing. It's a mature choice, and speaks well of both this effort and to the future possibility of more like it. I'm grateful for Sarah Glidden's time in what must be an extremely busy few weeks. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: One thing that comes out of reading Understanding Israel is that there's no sense -- none that I noticed, anyway -- of you working on the project while having the experiences that facilitated the project. We don't see you draw or take notes or take photos for the comic book to come. When did this become something you wanted to put into comics form, and when you decided that, what kind of work did you have to do to capture this experience as faithfully as possible?

SARAH GLIDDEN: I knew I was going to make a comic about this before I went and I was pretty transparent about that at the time too. I even talked to the director of Israel Experts (the tour provider) and let them know about what I was doing. Actually, I do have a handful of scenes in the book that show me taking notes and photos but the fact that you didn't notice them I guess says something about how I didn't make a point of showing that process.

In real life I had this thick gray sketchbook that was glued to my hand the whole time. I brought it thinking that I was going to be doing a lot of sketching from life but I ended up just writing constantly. I wanted to get down everything that everyone was saying, especially the different speakers we went to see. Most of the monologues delivered by people in the book are pretty much verbatim (though edited) because I was jotting it down while they were talking. It was my way of getting my thoughts down on paper, working through confusion and emotions. The sketchbook also had all these notes I had taken before I left and other stuff so I could consult it as we went along. I pasted the Balfour declaration in there, and UN Resolution 242, and a pocket in the back with maps and Xeroxed passages from Josephus. Basically, I was the weird nerd in the group and everyone knew it. But I don't think it would have added anything to the story if I had always drawn myself with a notebook in hand, writing. My character already comes off as kind of annoyingly over-eager and geeky; I think revealing more of the process might have made me unbearable. It would have taken the readers attention away from what the book is actually about.

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SPURGEON:To sort of focus in on one aspect of that as a follow-up question, can you describe what you hoped to accomplish by turning this into a comics narrative? Is it important to you to get your personal experience down on paper, do you want to instigate discussion along the same lines of what you're thinking about during your visit, is there something about birthright visitation specifically that you're hoping to capture?

GLIDDEN: When I decided to go on the trip I thought it was going to be a comic about Birthright and about how they would try to represent Israel to me. I had envisioned it as a sort of extended journal comic that I would just draw what happened and what we saw. That's the way I had approached comics up to that point: by making daily journal comics. But then the trip ended up being more intense on a personal level than I thought it was going to be.

It took me a few months of stewing after I got home to realize that this wasn't going to be a book about Birthright, it was a story about someone trying to learn how to think for them about something complicated. I hadn't realized that a lot of my opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were actually someone else's opinions that I had read somewhere and decided I agreed with because I trusted them to tell me the right way to feel. About halfway through the trip, I came to the conclusion that I couldn't trust anyone 100%, that no one was going to tell me what was the correct way to think about this situation that is so complex. That's a really terrifying realization and it made me feel incredibly isolated.

People talk about "keeping an open mind" as if it's some blissed-out path of least resistance, but I think sometimes, when you think you already know how you feel about an issue, it can be very painful and disruptive to open up to other possibilities. You have to admit that you might have been wrong about some things. But also, I had to weigh all of this against this fear that I was being manipulated.

I guess I wanted that to be relatable in some way. That kind of inner conflict can apply to anything. In the end I wanted to show that it's OK to be confused and no one is forcing you to choose a side. On the other hand, you can't really expect everyone to support your stance of confusion.

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SPURGEON: Do you think your memory of this experience, or how you perceive it, is different now for your having turned it into art?

GLIDDEN: Probably. The fact is that I've been spending the past three years reliving two weeks. It was an important experience in the first place, but spending so much time thinking about it and writing about it has inflated it to the point where it's taken a pretty central role in my life. It's become less about the disparate things that happened and more about, well, what I think are the themes of the book. Maybe the actual experience has been entirely subsumed by the book version of it, which can never be a completely accurate retelling of the events as they occurred.

The way memory works, as I understand it, is that you are actually re-creating the experience every single time you reflect on it. It keeps morphing. But I wonder how writing memoir about a piece of your past changes that process. I haven't really thought about that. It could be really positive or maybe its kind of unhealthy. I'm not sure.

Anyway, there's something kind of indulgent and nice about being able to spend such a long period of time thinking about one thing, but I'm really glad I can move on now.

imageSPURGEON:I seem to remember that this started as a self-published project. Can you talk about how the book ended up at Vertigo?

GLIDDEN: I was really surprised when Vertigo approached me and told me they were interested in publishing the book. I had been serializing the chapters as mini-comics, writing and drawing them one by one without having planned out the complete narrative. I had completed two chapters and was selling them at the MoCCA fest at a table I was sharing with a bunch of other Brooklyn cartoonists when this guy with a DC badge that said "Jon Vankin" walked over and picked them up and asked what they were about. If I had actually thought that DC might be interested in my work, I probably would have been a nervous wreck, but after he bought the comics and walked away one of my friends came back to the table and said, "Who was that?" and I was like "Meh, just some guy from DC," and didn't think about it anymore. [Spurgeon laughs] Then a few days later I got the e-mail that he was an editor at Vertigo and that they wanted to publish the book and I was totally bowled over.

SPURGEON: I know very few people that have done a stand-alone work with Vertigo; what was the experience like of making this book with their involvement? Was there a rigorous editorial process? Was there fruitful back and forth?

GLIDDEN: There's this assumption that if you go with a "big publisher" you're going to have to compromise your work, and I was worried about that at first with Vertigo. It was still too good to be true that someone was going to publish my book and actually pay me for it and that the trade-off would be my integrity or something. But that ended up being really off base. Jon gave me what felt like total freedom to shape the book the way I wanted while at the same time giving me great suggestions.

I think a good editor is someone who doesn't say, "I think you should change this" or "you have to cut this scene"; it's more like they help you step outside your own head long enough to see how what you're writing will come across to someone who isn't you. Then you know what you need to do to make the narrative better. Most of all, just knowing that he trusted me to make this whole book when I had never done anything longer than 25 pages made me feel like maybe I could actually pull it off. Because I really didn't know if I could.

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SPURGEON: One of the best things about the book, I thought, was the coloring. Can you talk a bit about making this a full-color book, how you approached capturing the range of colors you did on the page, what was important to you in how that came out?

GLIDDEN: I hadn't ever made comics in color before. Jon and Karen Berger at Vertigo actually suggested that I color the whole thing. I said, "But I don't know how to color comics" and they said, "Sure you do, you made those stickers. Just do it like that." They were referring to these stickers I had made for the covers of the mini-comics which were just panels that I had colored in Photoshop. But coloring one panel to liven up your mini-comic's book design is really different than coloring a 200-page book.

So I just said, "Sure, I can do that" and decided that I would figure it out later. I had some time because I decided to pencil the whole thing first and at that point I also had the whole script to write so the coloring stage was over a year away.

As that time got closer I tried to learn more about computer coloring and started doing tests with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop but it just wasn't working. I hated everything about coloring that way and I wasn't good at it either. I was asking other cartoonists for help on the internet and Renee French asked why I wasn't trying watercolors. I hadn't considered this because watercolors have a reputation for being really difficult and unforgiving and I had only tried using them a few times with not so great results. But I got a lot of advice from the community and gave it another try.

What changed everything for me was using tube watercolors instead of the little brick kind. It was kind of a "duh" moment because honestly up until that point I had kind of forgotten that I was a painting major in art school. I had stopped painting pretty abruptly, turning to photography instead, and I think I had so successfully convinced myself that I was never going to paint again that it hadn't seemed like an option.

It had been about eight years since I picked up a brush, and applying watercolor is different than painting with oils, so I had a rocky start. But mixing colors on a palette was like getting back on a bike. I probably used the same seven colors to mix colors for this book that I had used in oils for painting landscapes and still-lives back in school and all that color theory stuff came back to me, too. Once I figured out my process, coloring the book became really relaxing and fun. I remembered that I used to love painting and that I had missed it.

imageSPURGEON: If you'll forgive me another craft question, did you hand letter the book? I really liked the quality of the lettering, how it was both attractive in a surface way but also seemed well suited to capture the succession of dialogues in the work.

GLIDDEN: I didn't actually letter the book. [Spurgeon laughs] Well, not directly, anyway. Vertigo wanted to get a letterer for the book -- which I actually didn't think was a bad idea. My lettering in the mini-comics was pretty cramped and not always legible and there's a lot of text in the book, so it was important that people actually be able to read it. But I really didn't want the lettering to look computery, either. Luckily, the letterer that they chose to work on the book, Clem Robins, was really good. He made a font out of my handwriting by having me write all the characters five times and used a program that randomized them so the same "a" wouldn't appear twice in one word balloon. The human brain can pick up on patterns like that, but the way he did it you can't really tell its not hand-lettered. I was really happy with how it came out. He did the word balloons, too.

imageSPURGEON: One thing I thought was admirable in the book is how you put your doubts about your ability to process what you were seeing and learning right out there for us to see: a few times you suggest that you'd be better able to understand the issues involved if you'd seen a movie about them, you talk about misjudging certain people on the trip and you make a point of mentioning when you had a hard time connecting with certain people. How much anxiety did you feel about your ability to take in what you were seeing and communicate that to someone else? Did that ever get in the way of your making comics about it?

GLIDDEN: That difficulty processing things, misjudging people, trying to figure out whether I could trust what people were telling me, all of that was kind of what the book is about for me. There was just so much information being thrown at us at all times and at the same time I was comparing that to my previous knowledge, checking that against my notes and somehow at the same time trying to synthesize everything into something resembling a coherent point of view. I think at that point in the middle where I have a little nervous breakdown it was because I just got overloaded.

When it came to making comics about it, the difficult part was trying to get back into that place of confusion. I wanted to write it from the perspective of that moment, not from a place of hindsight and understanding. After a year or more of reflecting on the trip it was easier to understand why I was perplexed or why I had an emotional breakdown, but I really wanted the whole book to exist in the extreme present. My narrator isn't reflecting; she's reacting. So while writing about it I had to try hard to empathize with my past-self enough to write her experience.

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SPURGEON: How do you think your relatively cosmopolitan set of experiences -- you've traveled, and we even see some of that late in the book, I take it you're educated, you're generally politically aware, and you're not uncomfortable simply being outside your everyday world -- had an effect on how you felt during this experience and then in making art about it? I'm not sure that I can express this as clearly as would be helpful, but I never got the feeling that I do with many travelogues that these were foreign experiences, that the novelty of what you were seeing or doing interfered with how you felt or what you saw.

GLIDDEN: I think that novelty of being in a new place actually helps me focus on what I'm seeing and experiencing. This is maybe why I'll take any chance I can get to travel, and not just abroad but anywhere. You can learn almost as much by taking a day trip to the flea market in southern New Jersey as you can by going halfway across the world. It's really a cliché to say this but you learn the most about yourself when you travel. Alain De Botton talks about this kind of thing in The Art of Travel, saying that there's something about being in your everyday world that makes you more resistant to change. The furniture in your apartment doesn't change, so neither can you. Being in a strange place opens you up to things. You're not bound to your identity as much.

I don't think that having done a lot of travel makes me feel blasé about being in a new place. I'm still always really excited to see what things are different and what things are the same as my world at home. But with that excitement comes this very special brand of loneliness. It used to really bum me out to feel like I don't belong someplace. You're walking around, seeing groups of friends laughing and feeling comfortable in their surroundings and you feel so excluded from their happiness. Over time, though, I've come to understand that this loneliness is inevitable and not something to really feel badly about. So maybe the fact that I don't dwell on that anymore allows me to focus more on everything else I'm seeing or feeling.

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SPURGEON: Why did you feel it was important to end the book you did, with a full chapter on your post-birthright trip experiences? What do you think -- or hope -- comes through by having that material included that might not have formed into shape had you ended the book a bit earlier?

GLIDDEN: This book for me was about so much more than just the Birthright trip, it was about trying to come to terms with how I felt about Israel and how I tied that to my own identity. And once the tour was over, it was even harder to try and wrestle with what that meant. During the tour, I had no choice where we went or even who I talked to, so all I had to do was take in whatever came my way and process that. That was difficult enough as it was, but once the tour was over I suddenly had to make decisions about how to continue exploring the issue outside of a set framework. That was frustrating and scary!

But of course, that's how life works. You have to choose what you're going to look at, where you are going to go, what risks you think are worth taking. I had an opportunity to go into the West Bank and I let myself get talked out of it because someone told me it was too risky. I really ended up regretting that. But being afraid and doing things you regret are a part of life and part of understanding your own approach to the world. So I guess I wanted to show that as much as things were difficult for me to come to terms with in the framework of a guided tour, that's just the start of it. Real freedom to explore yourself and your world is much scarier and doesn't have an end point.

*****

* How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less, Sarah Glidden, Vertigo, hardcover, 9781401222338 (ISBN13), 1401222331 (ISBN10), 208 pages, 2010, $24.99.

*****

* all art from the book being discussed except the fourth image, which is one of her mini-comics that kick-started that book

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Go, Read: Short Interview With Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez About His Work On Charlton Romance Comics

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Go, Look: Tucson Comic Con Photos

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Go, Look: High Point University

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Go, Look: Charles Burns Signing

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Go, Look: Ken Avidor's Sketches Of People -- A Facebook-Only Feature

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Go, Create: Article On Six Free Sites For Creating Your Own Comics

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I'm not familiar with any of these, so I can't endorse any of the options; I just thought it remarkable that there were apparently so many sites of this type
 
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Missed It: The King & The Beast

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Go, Look: Aviv Itzcovitz

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

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

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

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Dave Cooper!

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Happy 24th Birthday, Lizz Hickey!

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FFF Results Post #234 -- D&Q

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Favorite Drawn And Quarterly Series/Books Not By Chris Ware, Seth, Chester Brown Or Joe Matt." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Aya Series, Abouet and Oubrerie
2. The Moomin Series, Tove Jansson
3. Berlin, Jason Lutes
4. What It Is, Lynda Barry
5. Get A Life, Dupuy and Berberian

*****

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Gary Sassaman

1. White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet
2. Picture This by Lynda Barry
3. The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm
4. Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine
5. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan

*****

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Aaron Costain

1. The Paul books, by Michel Rabagliati
2. Berlin, by Jason Lutes
3. Eden, by Pablo Holmberg
4. Ojingogo, by Matt Forsythe
5. The gekiga collections of Yoshihiro Tatsumi

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. The Fixer, Joe Sacco
2. Gentleman Jim, Raymond Briggs
3. My New York Diary, Julie Doucet
4. Berlin, Jason Lutes
5. 32 Stories, Adrian Tomine

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1) Dirty Plotte (Julie Doucet)
2) Awake Field (Ron Rege Jr.)
3) The Box Man (Imiri Sakabashira)
4) Vellevision (Maurice Vellekoop)
5) The Envelope Manufacturer (Chris Oliveros) (he's never going to finish that thing, is he?)

*****

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Daniel Boyd

1. Road to America -- Baru
2. Hicksville -- Dylan Horrocks
3. Berlin -- Jason Lutes
4. Crickets -- Sammy Harkham
5. 5 is the Perfect Number -- Igort

*****

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Karl Stevens

1. Dirty Plotte: Julie Doucet
2. Atlas/Hicksville (though of course it was originally published by Black Eye): Dylan Horrocks
3. Moomin collections: Tove Jansson
4. Vellevision: A cocktail of comics and pictures: Maurice Vellekoop
5. Make Me A Woman: Vanessa Davis

*****

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Michael Grabowski

* Drawn & Quarterly Volumes 1 - 5
* Or Else, Kevin Huizenga
* Crickets, Sammy Harkham
* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen
* Lucky Volumes 1 & 2, Gabrielle Bell

*****

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Joe Keatinge

1. Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks
2. The Walt and Skeezix series by Frank King
3. Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak
4. A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
5. Wilson by Daniel Clowes

*****

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Tim Clary

* Berlin -- Jason Lutes
* Dogs & Water -- Anders Nilsen
* The Golem's Mighty Swing -- James Sturm
* Or Else -- Kevin Huizenga
* A Drifting Life -- Yoshihiro Tatsumi


*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. Pyongyang, Guy Delisle
2. Optic Nerve, Adrian Tomine
3. Or Else, Kevin Huizenga
4. Big Questions, Anders Nilsen
5. The ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Cecil and Jordan in New York Stories, Gabrielle Bell (the silver endpapers KILLS me)
2. Tubby, John Stanley (best Seth cover ever?)
3. King-Cat Classix, John Porcellino (I will be buried with my copy)
4. Dirty Plotte #1, Julie Doucet (she still has this issue's cover for sale on her website for a mere $5,000; anyone wanna buy one of my kidneys?)
5. Drawn & Quarterly 4, Chris Oliveros, editor (the issue with the amazing Herge bio-comic and the luscious Gasoline Alley Sundays)

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak
2. What It Is by Lynda Barry
3. Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
4. James Sturm's America
5. Vellevision by Maurice Vellekoop

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. D&Q Showcase (especially vol. 4 by Dan Zettwoch, Gabrielle Bell and Martin Cendreda)
2. Exit Wounds, Rutu Modan
3. The Push Man and Other Stories, Yoshihiro Tatsumi
4. Optic Nerve, Adrian Tomine
5. Market Day, James Sturm

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Or Else, Kevin Huizenga
2. The Walt & Skeezix series, Frank King
3. Against Pain, Ron Regé Jr.
4. Big Questions, Anders Nilsen
5. Cecil & Jordan in New York: Stories, Gabrielle Bell

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Drawn and Quarterly anthologies -- var
2. Market Day -- James Sturm
3. Moomin: Complete Tove Jannson
4. Walt and Skeezix -- Frank King
5. The John Stanley Library

*****

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Jeet Heer

* Portraits from Life -- David Collier
* Lucky -- Gabrielle Bell
* My New York Diary -- Julie Doucet
* Thirteen Going On Eighteen -- John Stanley
* The Envelope Manufacturer -- Chris Oliveros

*****

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John Vest

1. Dirty Plotte, Julie Doucet
2. Nowhere, Debbie Drechsler
3. Indoor Voice, Jillian Tamaki
4. The Push Man and Other Stories, Yoshihiro Tatsumi
5. Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine

*****

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John Platt

1. King Cat Classix, John Porcellino
2. Melvin Monster, John Stanley
3. Walt & Skeezix series, Frank King
4. Map of My Heart, John P again
5. The Golem's Mighty Swing, James Sturm

*****

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Mark Mayerson

* Market Day by James Sturm
* Get a Life by Dupuy and Berberian
* The Collected Doug Wright Vol. 1
* A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
* Thirteen Going on Eighteen by John Stanley

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
2. 13 Going On 18 by John Stanley
3. The Push Man & Other Stories by Yoshiro Tatsumi
4. The Summer Of Love by Debbie Dreschler
5. Wilson by Daniel Clowes

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Paul in the Country -- Michel Rabagliati
2. Paul Has A Summer Job -- Michel Rabagliati
3. Paul Moves Out -- Michel Rabagliati
4. Paul Goes Fishing -- Michel Rabagliati
5. Pickle/Hicksville -- Dylan Horrocks

*****

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David P. Welsh

1. Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata
2. A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi
3. Aya, Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
4. Moomin, Tove Jansson
5. Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine

*****
*****
 
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November 6, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade




Vanessa Davis on layering watercolor from Sequential Artists Workshop on Vimeo.












via








via


 
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from October 30 to November 5, 2010:

1. Oral arguments heard at the Supreme Court on crucial videogame free-speech matters.

2. Murder charges a possibility and federal buying/selling charges definite in July comic book murder case.

3. Patrick McDonnell-backed puppy mill law passes in Missouri.

Winner Of The Week
Bob Schreck

Loser Of The Week
Malaysian Authorities

Quote Of The Week 01
"It just went against everything I felt that I didn't want to do for a comic book convention." -- Mike Olivares

Quote Of The Week 02
"Hank told me this morning that he has two wishes: That there were more superheros and that it would be Halloween every day." -- some nice lady from my hometown on Facebook.

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 39th Birthday, Gregory Mardon!

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November 5, 2010


Your Amazon Top 10 Comics Of 2010

The editors at the influential comics sales channel Amazon.com are the first (I think) to release a top 10 of the year for the year 2010. D&Q had three different books represented, while DC Comics had two. It's a fine list of quality productions, which is nice because you can avoid probing into how they were selected and who exactly voted and just sort of enjoy the list for what it has to offer. The top 10 are:

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1. The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death, Jaime Hernandez and Todd Hignite, Abrams ComicArts, $40

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2. Batwoman: Elegy, Greg Rucka and JH Williams III, DC Comics, $24.99

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3. X'ed Out, Charles Burns, Pantheon, $19.95

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4. Market Day, James Sturm, Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95

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5. King of the Flies: Hallorave (Vol. 1), Mezzo and Pirus, Fantagraphics, $18.99

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6. 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective, GB Trudeau, Andrews McMeel, $100

*****

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7. Hellboy Volume Nine: The Wild Hunt, Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart, Dark Horse, $19.99

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8. ACME Novelty Library #20, Chris Ware, Drawn & Quarterly, $23.95

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9. Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book, Lynda Barry, Drawn & Quarterly, $29.95

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10. Wednesday Comics, Various, DC Comics, $49.99

*****
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Friday Distraction: Natsume Ono

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Go, Look: Fellow Artists Wish George O'Connor A Happy Birthday

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Does Stan Lee Have Storage Units Full Of Original Silver Age Artwork?

So claims an auction house owner who says that what he was told this by someone in the Lee camp.

Great, great catch. I have to say, though, this isn't a "treasure trove" story. Not primarily. It's a "provenance of that art and possibility of missing art from Jack Kirby and other Silver Agers being there -- granted that may be deeply unfair to go to that place, but given the history involved it has to be asked" story. Someone who hasn't written a book about Stan Lee and can get a call returned please track the accuracy and meaning of this admittedly second- or third-hand claim. Trust me, I want to feel silly about saying this out loud, so someone please slap my face with some facts here.
 
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Go, Look: On Jack Kirby's Covers

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Patrick McDonnell-Backed Prop B Measure Wins Passage In Missouri

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I forgot to check up on it, but it looks like Missouri's Prop B was passed in Tuesday's election. That was the puppy-mill law that establishes minimum expectations of care in that state's commercial breeding facilities -- you may recall, as I do, seeing such places profiled on the television program Random Show I Caught That Made Me Want To Kill Myself.

It's mentioned here because the measure had the open support of cartoonist and noted animal advocate Patrick McDonnell, still in the midst of a series of dailies about puppy mills in his strip Mutts. The recent Sunday that called out Missouri by name can be read here. The measure was unpopular in the rural communities where such facilities tend to propagate, and any proposition measure that passes with a fight can be expect challenges on down the line, but for now it's the cartoonist's view that's won the day.
 
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Go, Look: Drew Friedman's 1993 Ed Wood Players Card Set Art

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"The Offenders Seriously Lack A Sense Of Guilt" -- Japanese Man Arrested For One Piece File-Sharing

I missed this notice yesterday that authorities announced the arrest of a 35-year-old Asahikawa resident named Koichi Okumura for violating the Copyright Law. The allegations charge that he distributed data from four comic books in August, including a volume of One Piece. He has apparently told authorities the allegations are true. It is only the second arrest of its kind. The arrest apparently has the support of a group called the Japan Book Publishers Association, quoted