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March 31, 2011


CR Opening Day Of Baseball Interview: Wilfred Santiago

imageWilfred Santiago's challenging and frequently breathtaking In My Darkest Hour was one of the most under-discussed, significant comics works of the last decade. With his long-awaited follow-up 21: The Story Of Roberto Clemente hitting the stands for the opening of the 2011 baseball season, it will be difficult for the immediate future not to discuss the Chicago-based cartoonist and his work. 21 can more than handle the attention. Santiago brings the same playful complexity to the story of the Puerto Rican baseball slugger and humanitarian that he's put on thrilling display in previous comics. Many of the pages are to die-for gorgeous, and Santiago routinely finds compelling visual solutions to communicating the physicality and grace of a player whose heyday was long enough ago we have more stories than film to go by. The insights into the man's personal life are perhaps even more engagingly portrayed. As biography, 21 is admirably restrained and leaves a lot to the reader's interpretation of what they’re seeing on the page. It is a book bristling with intelligence that will bear re-reading in the same way that Roberto Clemente continues to invite our regard and admiration for his accomplishments on and off the field.

Santiago wrote in before this interview was published to say that Jacob Covey is responsible for the cover design, working from Santiago's art, and that he was worried that Covey hadn't received full credit for his contribution. -- Tom Spurgeon

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TOM SPURGEON: I thought we might have seen this book a couple of years ago. I don't mention that to get after you, but after seeing the size and scope of the book -- it's huge, and the storytelling at times is incredibly dense and textured -- I wondered if it might have changed as a project as you went along. Is there a reason we're seeing it now as opposed to a couple of years ago?

WILFRED SANTIAGO: Well, there are things in 21 that were a little bit more complex than I expected, for instance the baseball aspect of it. Baseball is very detailed, and there's a lot of data. That was a complication, but I don't think it was a main reason. It took a few years to finish. There wasn't one main reason, and frankly I don't think I'd remember all the reasons why I've been delayed at some point. When I embark on a project, you can say there's a lot of fun, right? And I guess at some point the fun for 21 ran a little short. [laughter] There was time to do other, side projects.

It was difficult to work full time on 21. I began 21 in a very high resolution, and then I found out in the middle of it that the computer I owned, it was very hard for it to handle the files. It wasn't until I was able to upgrade to a better system that I could really pick up on it. I could do the same amount of work in a fraction of the time. It sounds kind of stupid to be talking about it, but a lot of the research was on-line, and not having the right technology, the right hardware, made it very hard to keep the pace. So that was one of the reasons. Sometimes there were editorial reasons, like if something wasn't working in terms of the story and a new page had to be made. Something needed to be fixed, or a panel needs to be altered. So you understand, all this starts adding up, and it ends up being five or six years. There were a lot of people -- I don't want to say upset, but not too happy -- "Dude, I'm still waiting for it." I did feel that pressure, but at the end of the day it wasn't ready until it was ready.

SPURGEON: From what I recall from past interviews, is it safe to say that you work intuitively, that page to page you might not know which strategies you'll employ as opposed to sticking to a decision you might make at the beginning of the book?

SANTIAGO: It all changes. When I was working in mainstream comics, there's a certain procedure on how you do a monthly comic, right? I'm sure you're familiar with how it works: the writer, then the penciller, etc. etc., and then you get a monthly book. Technically. The point is that it's totally different than In My Darkest Hour. That was a stream of consciousness sort of thing. I had a vague outline in terms of the narrative of the storyline, but I wrote it as I illustrated it. So the artwork and the script, it wasn't one thing first and then the other one. That was the idea, anyway. It's a fictional story. But when it comes to 21, the story of Clemente, that was a little different. Each project is different in the way it's approached. The advantages and disadvantages and the shortcomings become part of the process of how you're going to approach that project.

In the case of 21, there's the fact that it's a biography, so you have to take care of that angle. At the same time, you want to tell the story in a way that's not a textbook. Right? Not something you're studying. The story can be emotionally engaging at the same time you look at the records and it's totally accurate.

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SPURGEON: You mentioned your research, and you publish a bibliography in the book. Clemente was such a revered figure, and it was certainly a much different culture when he played in terms of the attention we paid to athletes. Was the research difficult at all in terms of getting a grasp on him from these outside sources working in, or were you pleased with the material you were able to find?

SANTIAGO: Well, Tom, there were kind of two different kinds of research. There were the personal Clemente facts, his personal experiences. Then there was the baseball aspect of it. All of those are related to Clemente personally. You also have to consider when you do a biography, the context of the living years of the person. In this case, Clemente's life was from the '40s into the early '70s. You have to do a lot of research in terms of the context of where that figure is going to be, whether it's the country, or the culture where he's from. I tried to pay as much attention to the details about Clemente. I thought it was important to a biography to provide that context. There were those two sides.

When it came to Clemente, it was difficult to find information. The baseball part, there was a lot of data, but when it came to the visual aspect, a lot has to be constructed from accounts in newspapers or books. In general, it took time, but it wasn't hard to find this kind of research and data.

SPURGEON: Did you feel that you had to reckon with the high regard that many have for him? Was there a legend’s aspect to his story that ever interfered with his personal story? Was it difficult that he was so admired?

SANTIAGO: No. Once 21 went from an idea -- a book about him -- and has a deadline, it becomes a product. Once a project becomes a product it's important that I keep looking at it that way. This is meant for a reader, and some consumers want to get bang for their buck. It's important that I keep opinions I have about the man or any other aspect I touch on in 21 and concentrate more on some of the goals that are established in the creation of the graphic novel.

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SPURGEON: One of the most striking things in the book is how pleasing and inventive the baseball scenes are. They pop, and are fun to read. I wondered how you approached those scenes to make them as lively as they are. I think in past baseball works in comics, there's a tendency to focus on the deliberate aspects of the game, or maybe its human aspects, whereas yours really jump, even tipping towards fantasy at some point. What kind of effect were you going for?

SANTIAGO: There are these old Warner Brothers cartoons. They're baseball things, and it's the same shit, you know? [laughter] A guy goes to the plate, he's dressed crazy or he walks funny. A slow ball is a slow ball.

Part of the narrative is a person who witnesses him as a teenager. There's a certain fantastical aspect to it I wanted to have. When you go to a baseball game when you're a kid, everything's bigger than life. Everything's larger than life. That's part of the idea of doing these pretty much Looney Tunes things.

imageSPURGEON: Is it fair to say that in contrast to In My Darkest Hour that 21 provides a strong contrast to the inward storytelling you employed in that first work? We see Clemente through the world's eyes, and the in the previous work, we're seeing the world subjectively through the narrator's eyes.

SANTIAGO: Well, Darkest Hour has that first-person narrative, right? That in itself makes a big difference. The purpose of the first-person narrative is in saying that this person may have some mental issues, and that this kind of person has a very first-person approach. There's a very narcissistic aspect. That's why Darkest Hour is in the first person. It's very speculative: I never establish that he's this or he's that. When it comes to Clemente, the main narrator is a teenage girl in the 1972 game where he finally did his 3000th hit. So yeah, there's an outside look.

Clemente would not have been the same figure had he lived in different times. It's important to understand that when he spoke about social injustice or on behalf of some of his fellow baseball players, it has to be understood in the context of what it is. I have to -- not have to -- but there's a certain from the outside look he has to have because a lot of the problems Clemente has to deal with is because he was perceived as an African-American. Kind of weird for him. At the same time, he was perceived as a little odd from the outside.

It could have been Clemente narrating the story, but that's just the way it was constructed.

SPURGEON: Did you consider going that direction?

SANTIAGO: No, the only way something like that could be done would be that I suddenly have access to his family and his wife and I could ask all sorts of personal details. That wasn't the approach; that wasn't even possible, either. I think it's more interesting, again, to highlight some of the other things. Part of the reason for moving from In My Darkest Hour into biography was pretty much that it was the opposite. Right? [laughs] It's not in first person; it's a completely different project. That's one of the things that I was looking forward to work on.

SPURGEON: Was it gratifying?

SANTIAGO: Honestly? It was a lot of fun. In terms of research, not just the historic -- the pop culture -- but I got to research about baseball, it was very pleasing from a personal point of view. There were things that were pleasing to me, but it didn't advance the story and they had to be left out. 21 is a product, right? And I have to make sure that it is the right way to present it, and not let personal, emotional feelings about the subject interfere.

imageSPURGEON: There was an interesting scene where we see a holiday celebration and Puerto Rican independence options were discussed... how much did you relate to what he was going through at the time, those cultural experiences, and his unique experiences as a man of two worlds?

SANTIAGO: The Puerto Rico scenes, his childhood scenes... one thing you have to ask of anyone that is the subject of a biography is what makes this person what he is. A lot of people have different thoughts about how that happens. Some people that your early experiences pretty much mold your personality, the way you approach problems, the way you solve them, the way you treat others. Although there were some details on Clemente's early life, some of it was speculative. You might know that they were having dinner but not know what they were having for dinner. I felt very confident because I'm Puerto Rican, too. So I'm familiar with at least the context of where he's coming from.

SPURGEON: Is it that you feel there are certain aspects to Clemente that you feel are uniquely Puerto Rican?

SANTIAGO: In the sense of what he might be eating.

There are things that are universal. He could be an asshole, he could be a nice guy, whether he's Puerto Rican or not. If he's a nice guy, you sort of have to speculate as to why he's a nice guy. You try to work around with the few facts that you have about his childhood, his parents, his brothers, the way people remember him. Now, you might not necessarily personally know the character A that talks about Clemente. But you might know the kind of person he is. It's a regional thing, right? If you're from New Jersey, I'm sure you can spot somebody from New Jersey, regardless if he's an asshole or a nice guy. I'm not saying anything about New Jersey people. [Spurgeon laughs]

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SPURGEON: I really liked the stuff with the family with whom he's boarding. I thought those scenes were funny, and provided a major contrast between athletes then and now. Did you enjoy depicting the day-to-day aspects of his life in Pittsburgh?

SANTIAGO: Pittsburgh is a place that's boring to me, I've never been in it. I've seen Rocky and stuff like that -- is Rocky in Pittsburgh? No, it's not.

To me, it was strange to see some of the era, the reaction to him. There's an ironic part of it, that he's not African-America. When somebody calls him, I don't know, a nigger, it had nothing to do with him being a Puerto Rican, it was about him being dark on the outside. There's a surreal aspect to it. A young person now placed in the context of Clemente, it would be surreal. Why is it that a black person can't go into a restaurant, but a dog can? He never had to deal with institutionalized racism. His relationships with other black people were different than those with people from Cuba or a country like Puerto Rico, other places where you had multiple colored people.

SPURGEON: In one of the final sequences in the book, you get into how Clemente courted his wife and their getting married. Why spend so much time with that? Certainly there seemed to be an exuberance to the pages of comics you provide after that, something that indicates he was a more grounded person for having that relationship. Why focus on that part of his life?

SANTIAGO: To an extent, that's Clemente. Clemente didn't waste much time. Everything was urgent to him. The pace of the book tried to capture that sort of non-pause, that sort of way of going forward without slowing down. He does have what you just said -- exuberance -- and that's such an important part of his life. So you approach it the same way. When you think about it, that's exactly the way he died, too. He could have slowed down.

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SPURGEON: I thought the coloring was beautiful throughout the book, I thought it very sumptuous for the kind of coloring techniques employed. Was there an effect you were hoping for?

SANTIAGO: In My Darkest Hour was made in two layers with two different colors. In 21, I took the same approach. There's two colors: yellow and a very dark blue. As soon as 21 was to be the book to work on, automatically I thought about the Pirates' color scheme, which is inspired by the colors of the city. With these two colors I was able to get a bigger range, right? I was able to do blacks, and very mild blues and yellows. These two colors worked great together. That was a great advantage. Sometimes they differentiate things like Puerto Rico from the baseball scenes -- at least the attempt was to help the reader be more engaged. In terms of balloons, the balloons in yellow are in English and the balloons in white are in English. Although there were limitations: there are just two colors and you have to play around with those colors and the white of the paper. It was a nice challenge with such a small palette, but I think it was enough.

SPURGEON: This book has a potentially different audience than a lot of graphic novels. Are you looking forward to putting it in front of sports fans that may not be comics fans? Are you looking forward to seeing how people react to it?

SANTIAGO: Although the book is not about baseball, it's important that people that are baseball fans, people that know about Clemente and all facets of baseball, it was important that they be able to read it and not cringe, for one. They won't see realism, but they will hopefully see veracity. I'm not sure I'm using the word right. But every scene or game depicted in the book, you can look it up and hopefully I got it right.

So far, the reception from sports fans and baseball fans has been very good. So I think I have half of it done. Now I have to see how comic book people think about it.

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SPURGEON: Something you wrote for the Robot 6 blog I thought was interesting, where you were talking about John Buscema and having to separate his art from some of the writing that accompanied it. You're a very accomplished artist. How difficult is it for you to make sure that your scripting holds its own? Has that ever been a worry of yours, integrating those skills, considering you're such a good artist?

SANTIAGO: [slight pause] I don't know.

SPURGEON: Do you feel as comfortable as a writer as you do an artist? Do you even consider writing and art two different disciplines when making comics?

SANTIAGO: I'm good. [laughs] There's not much to say. I'm fine.

I don't see myself at this point as a writer or an artist. I did start as an illustrator. But I always wrote. For a long time, perhaps, especially while doing My Darkest Hour, I did question what I was doing and why. It's hard work, to improve your writing skills, especially if your background is more that of an illustrator.

I still don't see myself as either. Sometimes the art is made before the writing, sometimes the writing is made before the art and sometimes they are made at the same time. I don't have to explain to the writer what I want as an artist.

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* 21: The Story Of Roberto Clemente, Wilfred Santiago, Fantagraphics, hardcover, 200 pages, 1560978929 (ISBN10), 9781560978923 (ISBN13), April 2011, $22.99

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* all imagery selected from 21

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Go, Look: The Sellout

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend is WonderCon, a fine and sizable show in the wonderful city of San Francisco. I went last year and enjoyed it quite a bit. This is probably the last show on the calendar that can be construed as a "beginning" of the calendar year for a lot of folks, and is by any measure one of the half-dozen biggies in the North American year. I had a blast at 2010's show just sort of walking around and seeing small panels and eating out and sleeping in and shopping for funnybooks.

* as for what to do at the show, please pay special attention to publisher and distributor Last Gasp -- their presence and any social activities they have planned. They think I shortchanged their efforts in my show reports last year, and it's entirely possible I did. If you need an excuse to hit their table, maybe track down any and all issues of the anthology Papercutter they have on hand -- that's a fun series, and I know it's one they distribute. Also remember that San Francisco a great walking city but there are hills involved once you move in any direction out of the immediate range of the convention. More advice: 1) eat well, including one high-end meal if you can afford it, 2) visit cartoonist and con warrior Keith Knight's booth and buy something if you can, 3) Seth is a really good con guest, so go see anything he's doing, 4) ditto Sergio Aragones, 5) support CAM, perhaps by hitting their Saturday night party.

* as always, please visit the CBLDF. If you have time outside of the show, or on either end, there are bunch of stores in San Francisco worth visiting. I can attest to the fact that Comix Experience and Isotope are within walking distance. Long walking distance, but still.

* I keep forgetting to mention it, but famed NYC bookstore The Strand is holding a comics event on April 8 called The Strandicon. I'm guessing it's important in a couple of ways. First, it looks like a fine event, with a lot to offer art-comics fans, including the first public appearance together of The Comics Journal's generations Now and Prime. Second, like the ICv2.com conferences held in front of the Reed and CCI shows, it's something being done in close physical and temporal proximity to an anchor event -- in this case, the well-liked MoCCA Festival. That's something I think is going to become a bigger and bigger trend over the next few years if conventions remain as viable as they seem to be right now.

* another thing I keep forgetting to do is post a link to this article about the expansion of Leeds Thought Bubble.

* last weekend was MegaCon, and I think it's part of that show's particular virtues that there's very little fuss, muss and/or drama about its latest iteration. Its strengths should be obvious: a place where comics and genre-media people already live/a place where comics and genre-media people wouldn't mind visiting.

* while I got the Jim Woodring part of this from a second source, it's worth noting that the Small Press Expo is beginning to fill out its guest list for the September show: Ann Telnaes and Jim Rugg are fine additions.

* linking to almost 20 separate posts for a single con report is a bit beyond my "Four-Color Festival" time allotment this week, but if you go through the "older posts" buttons here you'll eventually find a bunch of comments and posts from Steve Willis on this year's SPACE.

* finally, TCAF has added another alt-comics heavy hitter to its line-up: the Flemish cartoonist Brecht Evens, whose remarkable Night Animals and The Wrong Place have wowed North American audiences in their English-language versions.
 
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Go, Read: Un Calligramme

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Missed It: An Eddie Campbell Roundtable

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Not Comics: A Roy Krenkel Illustration Assignment

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Go, Look: More Of Skywald's Butterfly

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Go, Look: Deal To Die

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's been a while since I've seen any columnist take the "these gol-durn comics cost too much" approach.

image* the cartoonist Dave Lapp sent along this nice photo of Chester Brown having received an advance copy of his forthcoming, much-anticipated Paying For It. Thanks, Dave.

* not comics: Chris Cilla offers up an audio mix, I guess in support of The Heavy Hand.

* as part of an ongoing attempt to try and get a handle on a vast pile of unused, bookmarked links, let me post a link to this interview with Eric Reynolds from December about various digital initiatives at Fantagraphics. The TCJ questions have since answered themselves, but it looked to me then and still does now that the alt-publisher are a long way off from doing anything in the digital realm.

* here's another one: a no-doubt occurring near Angouleme Festival-generated article about Quai d'Orsay.

* heck, let's do a few more. Here's a link-post to a bunch of videos from the Society Of Illustrators. Some really promising-sounding stuff in there. I have still bookmarked both Garry Wills fine essay on Garry Trudeau and Dan Nadel's piece on Wally Wood. I forgot to post Tom Batiuk's response to a satirical site that was commenting on his work, which is interesting in and of itself and interesting just in terms of on-line humorous material. Finally, this store didn't seem so bad to me, but that may be because I'm happy to shop in a lot worse that do me the favor of simply existing in this part of the country. Granted, there could be something I'm not getting.

* not comics, exactly: is Barry Eisler's decision to self-publish his next book a big deal or not?

* sign up for comics class.

* finally, I've never rushed off from something happening right in front of me to go blog about it, but I think I might if the super-provocation were goofy enough.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Steven T. Seagle!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Dave Lapp!

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Quick hits
25 Reviews Of Comics From Inky Fingers' 100 Comics To Read Before You Die List
* Enigma
* Uzumaki
* Yotsuba&!
* Death Note
* Lost At Sea
* Bookhunter
* Midnighter #7
* Killer Princesses
* Scary Go Round
* I Killed Adolf Hitler
* Calvin And Hobbes
* The Left Bank Gang
* Action Philosophers!
* Disappearance Diary
* 30 Days Of Night: Juarez
* Seven Soldiers Of Victory
* The Perry Bible Fellowship
* Dungeon: The Early Years
* Li'l Abner & The Bald Iggle
* The New Adventures Of Hitler
* The World Of Charles Addams
* Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book
* The Fixer: A Story From Sarajevo
* Pyongyang: A Journey In North Korea
* Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth

++ Full List

 

 
Still Loving These Frank Robbins Batman Comics

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CR Fundraiser Day 4: The Jester & Pharley Phund

imageThe Comics Reporter is proud to host a week-long fundraising drive for one of our favorite charitable organizations, The Jester & Pharley Phund.

The Phund is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer and other illnesses and to improving literacy rates among school-age children. They do so by both selling and donating copies of the illustrated children's book The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and related merchandise. They sell the book and merchandise to raise money. They donate the book and merchandise to reach sick children. For inspiring stories about how this organization helps sick children deal with the difficulties of their illnesses, please read the testimonies on their site.

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle was written and illustrated by Yale student David Saltzman as his senior project. He died a year and a half later from Hodgkin's disease. David was 22 years old. Since that time, The Phund has donated more than 150,000 copies of David's book and Jester dolls to hospitals, shelters, and low-income schools. They have also enlisted schools in Jester Read-a-Thons to help sick children, to the tune of 26 million pages read.

imagePlease consider joining CR in helping The Phund.

You can order a Jester book, doll, or other item here. For every item ordered, The Phund will donate a like item to a sick child.

You can donate money directly to The Phund through the Paypal link on the site's home page, to provide funding for their continued good works.

The Comics Reporter will match the first $500 raised from CR readers.

We know that times are tough, that there parts of the world in significant need and that there are any number of comics-related causes to which this site directs your attention. The very specific opportunity of helping kids in the hospital, hopefully increasing the literacy of other children along the way, was too much for us to resist. We hope that you'll consider lending a hand, and thank you for any and all time spent in consideration of this request.

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March 30, 2011


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: A Publishing News Column

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Francois Vigneault wrote in to confirm that the second issue of Elfworld will be out for the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland. Contributors included Daria Tessler, Dylan Horrocks, Jeremy Tinder, Matthew Reidsma, Marek Bennett, Eve Englezos, Josh Moutray, and Vigneault. If you go here and pre-order, you'll get a small discount and the satisfaction of knowing you helped cover printing costs.

* I completely screwed up and didn't post a link to the big news that there will be a reintroduction of Sailor Moon and its preceding story into the comics market. Sailor Moon was either a key or the key manga in terms of the broadening of the market that took place making possible this last decade-long rush of enthusiasm for manga.

* this is big, big news in the book world and still pretty big news as it crosses over into the world of cartooning: unearthed Dr. Seuss.

* the critic David Brothers urges support for a few new and worthy comics, including The Comic Book Guide To The Mission.

* the prolific Sean Phillips is working on a science fiction album for Delcourt.

* did I remember to mention that Marshal Law apparently finally ended up at DC Comics? My bookmarks say, "No, no you did not." I have all of those comics, but a book collection would be nice, too.

* a report on C2E2 from about ten days ago focuses on plans at DC's Vertigo imprint. It provides some insight as to how they do series development right now. Brigid Alverson was nice enough to gather together some news of various projects that intrigue her and put them in a single post.

* speaking of big companies and their tendency to announce news of future publishing initiatives at cons, I'm not sure there's a lot of material that was announced at MegaCon, but I guess an announcement of a new Aquaman series qualifies. Aquaman seems to me one of those characters like Flash that's had a dozen or so series starts and stops, to the character's detriment, and with new series launches being up there with "killing somebody" in a limited toolbox to bump up a character's sales I'm not sure how they stop this trend of constant re-launches or if it's even possible for one of these new takes to catch on.

* here are covers to a few DFC Library books due this Fall.

* Sam Henderson extolls the virtues -- and the contributors list -- of the Kuti Kuti/Smoke Signal crossover from the Desert Island end of things.

* totally missed it: Michael Oeming and Warren Ellis are working together on a project. Speaking of Ellis, it looks like the Kickstarter campaign for a film about the writer has more than met its goals.

* and while we're on the subject of successful Kickstarter fundraisers, Mark Martin's was, so we can look forward to the result. This one called The Baku totally went over its suggested total, too.

* there is apparently an article on Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library #20 in The Point "a nonprofit magazine devoted to accessible intellectual discourse operated by graduate students on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago."

* this is coming to me right before I post this, so I can't give it as much attention as other sites, but Shannon Wheeler has signed a three-book deal with BOOM! That's a good match in that it provides Wheeler a more sophisticated entry into the Direct Market and gives BOOM! an anchor for their alt-comics pursuits.

* somehow I missed out on the fact that Grant Morrison has written a gigantic tome about superheroes. Luckily, this site has readers like Jay Babcock to pick up after it.

* finally, this interview at Comic Riffs with Matt Wuerker covers the editorial cartoonist signing with Universal as the primary syndicate for his editorial cartoon work. I don't have any sense if the recent Universal/United deal had any effect on editorial cartoonists or not, but this seems like a deal that exists in stand-alone fashion from recent goings-on. Wuerker's primary outlet is Politico.

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Go, Look: Babble Comics

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Tom Tomorrow Joins Daily Kos As Comics Editor

imageTom Tomorrow of This Modern World announced on his blog yesterday that he will be the new comics editor at the site Daily Kos, ending an association with Salon that lasted 10 billion years in Internet time. His post provides all the context necessary as to why this is an important story: the end of Salon's original run of alt-weekly cartoonists, the fact that at one time comics seemed a much more attractive option for such sites than you might guess from what's out there right now, the precarious market for alt-weekly cartoonists in the present market. It should be interesting to see what comics he brings to the new space, and how they might function within the site given all the different ways people get at sites that have developed since the older days of the comics Internet Tomorrow nobly represents.

Last This Modern World at Salon here.
 
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Go, Look: A Sampler Of Beatniks In Comics

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Charges Filed Against Anwar Ibrahim Comic Book

According to a brief post at an English-language news portal, the daughter of prominent politician Awar Ibrahim is seeking charges against the makers of a comic book showing her father in a variety of sexual positions. This seems like a curious basis from which to file a summary news story like that until you recall that Anwar Ibrahim is the politician once convicted on sodomy charges, and currently facing them again from an aide. I can't even imagine beginning to sort that out, even for my own edification, but there it is.
 
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Go, Look: A 1972 Interview With Henry Martin

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

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: From Our Gang #49-50

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Go, Look: Odd Tom Luth Fantasy Comic Book Coloring

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Missed It: Wonder Woman, Amazon Baby-Sitter

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Go, Look: More Dave Cockrum X-Men Splash Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a longish interview with Todd McFarlane, covering general ground.

image* so Gary Dunaier went to MoCCA's opening reception for their Will Eisner's New York exhibit early in March, and took a bunch of cool photos. Speaking of photos, look at the blow-up of this one. Did Eisner work that relatively small? Cushlamochree.

* not comics: the moral of this story told by Gil Roth is doubly true for comics, where it's even less likely that there's some value to be had in being acquainted with something you personally don't care for but has wider cultural purchase. I guess one benefit of the mainstream companies aggressively over-publishing within narrow parameters -- doing 11 X-Men books if one X-Men book is selling -- is that it may ironically help batter as many fans away from a specific kind of devoted buying of material they don't enjoy as it does rope them into buying the entire group. The pattern still exists with several readers, though.

* not comics: reading a bunch of articles the other day about the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan made me wonder if I ever ran a link that John Platt was nice enough to send along about Ann Nocenti's work in Haiti after their devastating earthquake.

* the writer and critic Sean Collins suggests that you take advantage of a sale offered up by the talented cartoonist Lane Milburn. I like Milburn, too.

* there's a fascinating article here -- part of what sounds like it will be a really welcome series -- on the coloring of Jack Kirby's comics at Hillman. Dan Nadel's warning that the article goes "Deep Santoro" is apt and funny.

* Michael Cavna has a bit more on Lloyd Dangle's post-Troubletown plans at Comic Riffs.

* this post about Russ Maheras taking Stan Lee up on his Secrets Of The Comics appraisal of work offer 25 years after that book's publication is pretty entertaining.

* finally, dueling marshmallows.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Forg!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Gary Chaloner!

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Quick hits
Craft
Angelic
Marjane Satrapi's Elaborate Simplicity

History
On Big Numbers
American Panther?
How To Be A Retronaut

Industry
Congratulations To Pajama Diaries

Interviews/Profiles
FA: Junji Ito
Mondo: Jeff Parker
Lovefool: Rich Johnston
Newsarama: Dean Mullaney
Suicide Girls: Camilla d'Errico
Inkstuds: Darryl Cunningham
Fighting Words: Michael Netzer
Flying Colors: Viktor Kalvachev
Washington City Paper: Christopher Cardinale

Not Comics
How To Respond To A Critique Of Your Writing (Non-Violently)

Publishing
On Kiss
Jonathan Hickman's New Creator-Owned Project
Animators Illustrate Colleague's Earthquake Story

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Team Page 45: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
John Anderson: Stigmata
Team Manga Bookshelf: Various
Sean Gaffney: Excel Saga Vol. 20
Don MacPherson: Batman Inc. #4
Greg McElhatton: Gingerbread Girl
Chris Marshall: The Sixth Gun Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: The Arctic Marauder
Grant Goggans: Starman Omnibus Vol. 6
David P. Welsh: Kingyo Used Books Vol. 3
Johanna Draper Carlson: Psychiatric Tales
Kelly Thompson: Wolverine And Jubilee #3
Jen Sorensen: How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less
 

 
Go, Look: On That Wonderful Kirby Dingbats Cover

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Fundraiser Day 3: The Jester & Pharley Phund

imageThe Comics Reporter is proud to host a week-long fundraising drive for one of our favorite charitable organizations, The Jester & Pharley Phund.

The Phund is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer and other illnesses and to improving literacy rates among school-age children. They do so by both selling and donating copies of the illustrated children's book The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and related merchandise. They sell the book and merchandise to raise money. They donate the book and merchandise to reach sick children. For inspiring stories about how this organization helps sick children deal with the difficulties of their illnesses, please read the testimonies on their site.

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle was written and illustrated by Yale student David Saltzman as his senior project. He died a year and a half later from Hodgkin's disease. David was 22 years old. Since that time, The Phund has donated more than 150,000 copies of David's book and Jester dolls to hospitals, shelters, and low-income schools. They have also enlisted schools in Jester Read-a-Thons to help sick children, to the tune of 26 million pages read.

imagePlease consider joining CR in helping The Phund.

You can order a Jester book, doll, or other item here. For every item ordered, The Phund will donate a like item to a sick child.

You can donate money directly to The Phund through the Paypal link on the site's home page, to provide funding for their continued good works.

The Comics Reporter will match the first $500 raised from CR readers.

We know that times are tough, that there parts of the world in significant need and that there are any number of comics-related causes to which this site directs your attention. The very specific opportunity of helping kids in the hospital, hopefully increasing the literacy of other children along the way, was too much for us to resist. We hope that you'll consider lending a hand, and thank you for any and all time spent in consideration of this request.

image
 
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March 29, 2011


Go, Look: Chicago Zine Fest Photo Gallery

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Shaun Tan Wins Astrid Lingren Memorial Award

The cartoonist and visual artist Shaun Tan has won the 2011 Astrid Lingren Memorial Award, according to a posting at the program's web site. The award, which bills itself as "the world's largest prize for children's and young adult literature" is administered by the Sweden Arts Council, goes to a creator for their entire career's worth of work, and involves a cash prize of approximately $750K USD. It's named for author and children's rights advocate Astrid Lindgren, who passed away in 2002. Maurice Sendak is a past winner. This year's award will be presented in Stockholm in May.

Tan's pictorial narrative The Arrival is among those works cited by the awards jury as part of the author's reinvention of "the picture book by creating visually spectacular pictorial narratives with a constant human presence." The citation also noted Tan's use of multiple media in bringing his art to life.

thanks, Markus Pedersen
 
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Go, Look: Bizarre, Amazing-Looking Pat Boone Comic

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

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

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

*****

JAN111080 CHIMO GN (MR) $17.00
Dave Collier is a natural-born cartoonist and one whose every comic is worth buying.

JAN110287 ACTION COMICS #899 $2.99
That's a lot of Action Comics.

JAN110544 BEST OF DICK TRACY TP VOL 01 (RES) (NOTE PRICE) $19.99
NOV100393 TORPEDO HC VOL 03 (MR) $24.99
DEC100426 X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN HC VOL 02 $49.99
Your classic comics collections of the week, all from artists of power and impact, whether recognized as such, recognized solely as such, or sometimes not always recognized for that part of their work. I want them all.

JAN110632 WALKING DEAD #83 (MR) $2.99
I'm sure there are other serial comics worth buying this week, but it's also probably worth noting that on my first pass through the list this is the only one of its type to stand out. I have to imagine that for a certain type of buyer, this is the anchor comic book series, and has importance above and beyond its own reliably healthy numbers.

DEC100961 21 STORY OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE HC $22.99
Wilfred Santiago's beautiful, intricately-told biography of the Pittsburgh Pirates icon manages to come out just in time for major league baseball's opening day. I think this is a work that people can return to a few times, meaning that if it's a novelty gift for someone -- something you buy for a baseball fan in your life that may not read a lot of comics, say -- it represents an enormous amount of value for that kind of book.

DEC100963 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 15 1979-1980 $28.99
One thing that may be lost as we pore over this volume and the next few looking for a shift in tone or approach is that these books are deeply pleasurable and Schulz became in the golden afternoon of his career a highly confident and supremely reliable cartoonist.

JAN111260 ISAAC THE PIRATE GN VOL 02 CAPITAL (O/A) $14.95
This one's been out for a long time, I think, years in fact, but if it's a new comic for you you'll find Christophe Blain's work as enjoyable as any of the masters that have work out this week.

NOV100920 MOME GN VOL 21 $14.99
It's been a while since the book was previewed, but I remember the Sara Edward-Corbett cover-featured work being particularly strong, and I'm a fiend for what Josh Simmons is doing right now.

JAN111195 RIP HC BEST OF 1985 2004 $28.99
This is one strong week for compelling comics visual makers! Bart Beaty reviewed the L'Association version of this book here.

FEB111072 YEHUDA MOON & KICKSTAND CYCLERY TP VOL 01 $14.95
Go take a look at the site for this collection, here -- one of comics' more idiosyncratic ongoing works, and thus hard to describe in a couple of sentences.

*****

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

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

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

If I failed to list your comic, that's on me. I apologize.

*****

image

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Tales Of Asgard Splash Pages

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posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Mike Peters Repeats As National Headliner Winner

Michael Cavna of Comic Riffs talks to this year's cartoonists recognized in the Editorial Cartoons category of the National Headline Awards. Mike Peters of the Dayton Daily News (and Mother Goose & Grimm strip notoriety) took home the award for 2011, repeating an honor he received in 2010. Stuart Carlson was the runner-up; the Buffalo News' Adam Zyglis came in third place. As Cavna points out, it's an intriguing group: Peters the established veteran in the lion-in-winter phase of a distinguished career, Carlson the former staff cartoonist at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel whose position was eliminated for financial reasons, and Zyglis the visually strident young cartoonist ensconced at a paper with a long tradition of first-rate cartooning efforts.

The National Headline Awards program is run by Atlantic City's Press Club and is one of the traditional, broad-based awards given out to a variety of expressions in media.
 
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Missed It: Letters From Uncle Marce

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US Denies Help To Turkish Prosecutor Over Cartoons

The Istanbul-based publication Today's Zaman, the younger of Turkey's two English-language publications, has an article up today that the prosecutor's office in Trabzon was denied help by the US Department of Justice in gaining the IP numbers to a g-mail address used to distribute cartoons that depicted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a pig. The cartoons were distributed around Karadeniz Technical University in 2010. The appropriate US DOJ sub-office, the Office Of International Affairs, cited freedom of expression concerns over a relationship between the two countries in terms of extraditing suspected criminals and other matters of legal assistance.

Criticism of the Prime Minister in cartoon form, particularly his depiction in animal form, has been a concern of the nation's prosecutors for years now, with the approval of the politicians involved including Erdogan. Those prosecutions have become a matter of some concern between Turkey and various Western countries that more wholly support free expression, including such satirical efforts.
 
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Somehow I've Missed Out On Maggie Thompson's Blog

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Go, Look: Adventures Into Weird Worlds #25

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Go, Look: Men's Adventure #24

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Go, Look: The Origin Of The Fox

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Go, Look: Ralph Reese And Larry Hama Together

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Ng Suat Tong on the comics of Stella So.

image* J. Chris Campbell is super fired up for convention season. I tagged the post for its enthusiasm -- and the fact that convention season is definitely here. I only wish I were smart enough to run posts just so I could have access to a snappy image, but I'll take that opportunity when presented to me for sure. One reason conventions are fun is because you get to check in with artists like Campbell.

* well, of course they would: Brides profiles Scenes From An Impending Marriage.

* an early Warren Ellis story. Ellis ramped up to speed really quickly.

* not comics: these Ivan Brunetti and Jordan Crane book covers look swell.

* here's the ComicsPro post about what incentives retailers respond to that's been discussed here and elsewhere over the last several days.

* I read comic books and know what a vorpal sword is, but even I find the thought of what Berke Breathed comics might look like in an alternate universe featured on the TV show Fringe to be super, super nerdy.

* not comics: not even sure I know how to describe this. The actual article does the trick, I guess.

* the cartoonist Frank Santoro continues his always-interesting talk about panel grid layouts and how they have an impact on our comics-reading. Plus this installment he provides pretty examples from his own art pile. While you're over at TCJ, make a point of checking out Brandon Graham in the cartoonist diary role. If you have more than a few minutes, settle in with this archived Tom Sutton interview. Sutton was an original cartoonist, thinker and artist, and this interview captures a bit of what talking to him was like.

* I'd recommend more things from the TCJ site, but they have Tom De Haven writing reviews of Gilbert Hernandez books and I'm too intensely jealous to do anything more than flop my hands around and wail.

* yes, you should give Mutuk a try.

* there's been very little new taking place in that small area of intersection between the calamity in northern Japan and the world of comics, but there are a few things out there if you look around, such as this effort by members of Portland's Periscope Studios to raise money by selling art depicting things from Japanese pop and comics culture.

* finally, I totally missed this audio piece with the very articulate and talented David Chelsea.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Marc Silvestri!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Jack Elrod!

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Happy 82nd Birthday, Mort Drucker!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Val Mayerik!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Kevin Huizenga!

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posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Weekly Process Round-Up
NC Wyeth Magazine Covers

History
A Fabulous Spread (via)
That Is One Green Octopus
Potential Fantastic Four Antecedents
What Comics Conventions Looked Like 23 Years Ago
On Why Stan Lee's Writing Might Be On A Comics Page

Industry
New York Times Manga List

Not Comics
Bill Willingham, Butler
Diana Wynne Jones, RIP
Whoa, The Hanuka Brothers

Publishing
Elmer Took A Toll
Paul Gravett On May 2011 Comics

Reviews
Dave Ferraro: FF #1
Yan Basque: Various
Lauren Davis: Love Me Nice
Jeremy Briggs: Crusade: Qa'Dj
Chris Marshall: The Sixth Gun Vol. 1
Robert Stanley Martin: Speak Of The Devil
Robert Stanley Martin: The Arctic Marauder
Johanna Draper Carlson: Cowboys And Aliens
 

 
Go, Look: Threanuts

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
March 28, 2011


CR Fundraiser Day 2: The Jester & Pharley Phund

imageThe Comics Reporter is proud to host a week-long fundraising drive for one of our favorite charitable organizations, The Jester & Pharley Phund.

The Phund is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer and other illnesses and to improving literacy rates among school-age children. They do so by both selling and donating copies of the illustrated children's book The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and related merchandise. They sell the book and merchandise to raise money. They donate the book and merchandise to reach sick children. For inspiring stories about how this organization helps sick children deal with the difficulties of their illnesses, please read the testimonies on their site.

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle was written and illustrated by Yale student David Saltzman as his senior project. He died a year and a half later from Hodgkin's disease. David was 22 years old. Since that time, The Phund has donated more than 150,000 copies of David's book and Jester dolls to hospitals, shelters, and low-income schools. They have also enlisted schools in Jester Read-a-Thons to help sick children, to the tune of 26 million pages read.

imagePlease consider joining CR in helping The Phund.

You can order a Jester book, doll, or other item here. For every item ordered, The Phund will donate a like item to a sick child.

You can donate money directly to The Phund through the Paypal link on the site's home page, to provide funding for their continued good works.

The Comics Reporter will match the first $500 raised from CR readers.

We know that times are tough, that there parts of the world in significant need and that there are any number of comics-related causes to which this site directs your attention. The very specific opportunity of helping kids in the hospital, hopefully increasing the literacy of other children along the way, was too much for us to resist. We hope that you'll consider lending a hand, and thank you for any and all time spent in consideration of this request.

image
 
posted 9:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Lloyd Dangle Closing Down Troubletown After 22 Years

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The cartoonist Lloyd Dangle just sent out an e-mail announcing the retirement of his longtime alt-weekly strip Troubletown. The e-mail says, in part:
"That's right folks, after twenty-two years I've decided to retire my comic strip. It's been an agonizing decision but I've come to the conclusion that the time is right. I'll be doing my last strip at the end of April so there's still some time for me to do a few last cartoons, at least one of which will be self-aggrandizing. I want to thank all you newspapers for your longtime support, and you readers who made it all worthwhile. Finally I'd like to thank GOD, even though I'm an atheist."
Dangle is a much admired cartoonist and creators' rights advocate. Troubletown was started in 1988 in the San Francisco Bay Guardian and was one of better-known, syndicated alt-strips of the 1990s. Dangle turns 50 in May. He has been published by Drawn And Quarterly, Cat-Head, Manic D Press, Random House and his own imprint, Troubletown Books. He is a prolific illustrator as well.
 
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Go, Look: Crockett Johnson's First Comic Strip

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Please Read: Joanne Siegel's 2010 Letter To Time Warner

The entertainment journalist Nikki Finke has obtained and run copy from a December 2010 to Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeffrey Bewkes from the widow of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. Although the temptation is to run it in its entirety, you should read it at Finke's site (the notion of "borrowing" this text from Finke should have undeniably ironic overtones given the general subject matter). Please do.

It's mind-boggling that given the money involved that an honorable arrangement could haven't been worked out at some point over the years. I used to be able to say "the money involved and the bad publicity that could result," when making that statement, but the vast majority of folks with an interest in the matter have shown themselves to either not care at all or, depressingly, to be bizarrely hostile to the families of creators when asserting their rights -- partly it seems out of fear that their access to their beloved characters be cut off.

Our industry's continuing shame is that its artists perpetually fail to be rewarded to the degree that those who exploit them, or those who perhaps without guile are simply the beneficiaries of time and legal advantage, gain and gain mightily. Many of these agencies and individuals have gone so far as to make a commodity out of a pursuit of justice and moral outcome that they turn around and diligently ignore. I hope for the best possible outcome for the Siegel and Shuster families, and for every family like them. More than that, I hope for a different ethos for the comics creative community and the industries that should serve it, not the other way around.
 
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Go, Look: Exposition Alack de Jose Muñoz

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Jason Chatfield Gets Back To Work After Taxi Incident

imageA few of you were nice enough to write in asking after Jason Chatfield, the stand-up comedian and Ginger Meggs cartoonist whose drawing ability was put into danger after being dragged down a Melbourne street by a taxicab early March 20. His drawing hand and right arm were injured. It sounds like things are going okay. You can read the progression of posts at his tumblr-based site but the gist is that a) he hasn't found the offending driver yet, b) he's in rehab for his arm, c) he's able to draw. So thank goodness for that. A couple of the more interesting posts were his discovery that Dan Piraro watched a loved one go through a similar incident as recently as December, and his discussion here about how he didn't have some sort of broad agenda against cab drivers.

That's a drawing Chatfield made on March 22.
 
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Go, Look: From Basically Strange #1

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Missing Sri Lankan Cartoonist In Context Of Wider Abuses

This article from a human rights group puts last year's pre-election disappearance of cartoonist/journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda in the context of wider abuses aimed at the journalistic organization for which he works. The latest is the burning of the publication's offices over the winter, and its subsequent decampment to a new location, the criticism they've received for the political nature of that new location, the arrests for the arson that did not seem to match up to the available evidence and the potential that the newsgatherers themselves are to be charged. It certainly sounds like an assault on a wider scale than one missing man.
 
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Go, Look: Cartoons From March 1962 Issue Of Esquire

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Kodansha To Put Manga Magazines On-Line Post-Quake

imageA post at Anime News Network notes that Kodansha is going to put Weekly Shonen Magazine, Young Magazine, Morning, Evening, Be-Love and Kiss on-line for free because of the norther Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami. This follows a similar, more limited move by Shueisha, and news reported in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that dozens of children shared a single available issue of Weekly Shonen Jump at a store in Sendai -- ANN says this is that story.

Readers of comics history might remember that comics -- low-tech, portable, diverting -- were an extremely popular form of entertainment in devastated and otherwise politically discombobulated regions in both Japan and Europe following World War II.

The shape and focus of the program has yet to be decided, and sounds like it might include some direct delivery of paper publications, too.

Several publishers have announced delays in publications due to resource and distribution issues following the devastating natural disaster, although I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate major disruptions or losses of any kind in that key Japanese business' infrastructure or with its creative class.
 
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Go, Read: Gilda Radner Is The Young Woman Of The Month

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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Not Comics: Comics Magazine Predecessor Chums

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Go, Look: A Smattering Of Ziff-Davis Comic Books

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Go, Look: Jack Kirby As Comics Character

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Go, Look: Sam Lomax, NYPD

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the cartoonist Scott Kurtz talks through his desire to join the NCS.

* not comics: I'm not all that movie-savvy, but it seems to me worth noting that the latest movie made from Jeff Kinney's hybrid-cartooned book series Diary Of A Wimpy Kid won the weekend box office, making back its production budget while doing so. I imagine that its success speaks to the appeal of those books in a significant way, as well as the role that the home rental cycle plays in building a potential theater-going audience for sequels. Nice story.

image* bunch of new stuff over Daniel Clowes' blog, including the previously unpublished portrait of Bill Murray, a portion of which touches this starred entry (I was tempted just to run the whole thing, but I figure you should go see it on his site). Clowes announces an eight-city promotional tour in support of Mister Wonderful here, links to a preview of that work here, and shows off his Stussy t-shirts here.

* here's a post by Esther Inglis-Arkell that's a kind of sideways review of a recent Marvel book about a bad-guy but maybe not all the way bad guy character called Daken, a name which for some reason always cracks me up. Anyway, if you're interested in the way Marvel does certain kinds of stories, seeing Marvel as this grab-bag of impulses, creative space-making and market goals, you'll want to give this one a peek.

* sitting around, reading Hitman.

image* not comics: Jillian Tamaki takes a first stab at the current President Of The United States.

* the Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe entries are the latest up in Bully's year-long reprinting of Thor supporting characters the "Warriors Three." One of the odder things about those books -- made up of page after page gamer-style entries on characters and concepts -- is that they came at a point in Marvel's history where things are just a little overripe, so you have these inane-sounding, largely unreconstructed plotlines making their presence felt in the final few sentences in a way that's slightly baffling to old-school and new-school comics fans.

* finally, it's fun to read about 1970s mainstream comics' stabs at soap opera because as story moments they're so, so awkward, particularly the DC material. Not that they're smooth now, but back then there was a sweet, oddball quality to it.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Thomas Scioli!

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Quick hits
Craft
Breaking And Entering
The Evolution Of An Artist

Exhibits/Events
Go See Team kus! In Vienna
Go See Team iFanboy At WonderCon

History
On Fatal Attractions
What Side Are You On?
One More On Ongoing Series

Industry
From 1337 To One To None
A Follow-Up Conversation On Essex County In Canada Reads

Interviews/Profiles
AV Club: Lilli Carré
Inkstuds: Aaron Renier
Comics Riffs: Matt Wuerker
SotoColor.com: Kurt Busiek
Mad Art Lab: Darryl Cunningham

Not Comics
The Artocracy Project
Peter David Recommends Paul
I'd Rather See A Bulworth Comic
It's Not The Networks, It's The Producers
I'm Hoping For Carrot Top And George Will
English-Language Version Of Adele Film Raises Head
These Days I'd Skip Dinner And Head Right For The Nap

Publishing
How To Read Frank Miller
Please, I Beg You, Leave Mr. Tawny Be

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Martin Skidmore: FF #1
Doug Zawisza: Hulk #31
Sarah Boslaugh: Stigmata
Kelly Thompson: 5 Ronin #4
Todd Klein: Green Lantern #61
Kelly Thompson: New Mutants #23
Johanna Draper Carlson: Demo Vol. 2
Ryan K. Lindsay: Power Man And Iron Fist #3
Ryan Parker: Fear Itself: The Book Of The Skull
Ryan K. Lindsay: Captain America And Batroc #1
 

 
March 27, 2011


CR Fundraiser: The Jester & Pharley Phund

imageThe Comics Reporter is proud to host a week-long fundraising drive for one of our favorite charitable organizations, The Jester & Pharley Phund.

The Phund is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer and other illnesses and to improving literacy rates among school-age children. They do so by both selling and donating copies of the illustrated children's book The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and related merchandise. They sell the book and merchandise to raise money. They donate the book and merchandise to reach sick children. For inspiring stories about how this organization helps sick children deal with the difficulties of their illnesses, please read the testimonies on their site.

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle was written and illustrated by Yale student David Saltzman as his senior project. He died a year and a half later from Hodgkin's disease. David was 22 years old. Since that time, The Phund has donated more than 150,000 copies of David's book and Jester dolls to hospitals, shelters, and low-income schools. They have also enlisted schools in Jester Read-a-Thons to help sick children, to the tune of 26 million pages read.

imagePlease consider joining CR in helping The Phund.

You can order a Jester book, doll, or other item here. For every item ordered, The Phund will donate a like item to a sick child.

You can donate money directly to The Phund through the Paypal link on the site's home page, to provide funding for their continued good works.

The Comics Reporter will match the first $500 raised from CR readers.

We know that times are tough, that there parts of the world in significant need and that there are any number of comics-related causes to which this site directs your attention. The very specific opportunity of helping kids in the hospital, hopefully increasing the literacy of other children along the way, was too much for us to resist. We hope that you'll consider lending a hand, and thank you for any and all time spent in consideration of this request.

image
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: I Hadn't Realized David Markson Passed Away

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David Markson was one of the many fine writers at one time employed by the men's magazine portion of the Martin Goodman publishing empire -- perhaps the finest writer employed there -- and was nice enough once upon a time to help me with one or two questions regarding something about that place and that period. He was vastly, almost cruelly under-appreciated.
 
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Go, Read: Ty Templeton's Rob Granito Funnies

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thx, Michel Fiffe
 
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Missed It: Charles Schulz At The Movies

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If I Were In Overland Park, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 84th Birthday, Hy Eisman!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Mike Friedrich!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Ivan Brandon!

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FFF Results Post #249 -- Titles Above The Names

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Standard, Used-Multiple-Times Comics Logos You Like." Here is how they responded.

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Paul Karasik

1. Fantastic Comics
2. Crack Comics
3. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen
4. Big Shot Comics
5. Kutzman's MAD

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Michael Buntag

1. Zot!
2. Hellboy
3. Crisis on Infinite Earths
4. Bone
5. Concrete

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Nat Gertler

1. Avengers logo with the arrow in the A.
2. Thor logo circa the Simonson run.
3. Nexus
4. Plop
5. Marvels

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Matt Maxwell

* The Fantastic Four original logo
* The Uncanny X-Men, slanted version (designed by Neal Adams, if memory serves)
* Weird Science, 'cause "science" is written in lightning
* Hellboy
* King City

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Marc Arsenault

1. Tiny Titans crayon logo
2. Mad the original
3. Hit Comics
4. Avengers arrow logo
5. Metal Hurlant

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James Langdell

1. Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2. Bacchus
3. Nexus
4. Tales of the Unexpected
5. Pep

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Frank Young

1. Frankenstein (1940s-50s, Prize Comics Group)
2. Action Comics (and other Ira Schnapp-drawn '30s/'40s DC logos)
3. Tales of Suspense (the bean-shaped logo used circa 1963)
4. Fantastic Four (the original logo used on the first 13 issues)
5. Carl Barks' "Donald Duck" logo used on late '40s and early '50s stories

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Mighty Thor
2. The slanty X-Men logo
3. Crime Patrol
4. National Lampoon
5. Pickle

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1. The Lone Ranger comics with the mask logo
2. M.D. (and really any of those late EC, post-code books, but this, with the caduceus, is the best)
3. Late run Incredible Hercules
4. Batwoman (does it count if they planned to have more than one out by now? And the zero issue and the trade share a logo?)
5. Sandman (it did a great job vying for attention with those fantastic Dave McKean covers)

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Randall Kirby

1. The Invisibles
2.The Maze Agency
3. The Demon
4. [She's] Josie
5. Scary Godmother

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Michael May

1. Batman (from around #608 - 675)
2. Black Widow (2010 series)
3. Hellboy
4. Hawaiian Dick
5. Rocketo

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Cole Moore Odell

1) the 1970s Superboy logo
2) the early '60s Thor logo
(mostly used on interior splashes, with "The Mighty" inside the T)
3) the 1970 Batman logo
4) Doc Stearn... Mr. Monster
5) G.I. Combat

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Jamil Thomas

* Batman and Robin
* Heavy Metal
* Doom Patrol (Morrison era #27-49)
* Machine Man (1984)
* Kamandi The Last Boy on Earth!

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Tom Bondurant

1. New Teen Titans
2. Amazing Spider-Man (original/current)
3. Infantino-era Batman
4. '70s Avengers
5. Slanty Incredible Hulk

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Stergios Botzakis

1. The Avengers (with the arrow in the A)
2. The Amazing Spider-Man (classic version)
3. Animal Man (with the claw marks)
4. Hate
5. Mr. Monster

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Mark Coale

1. American Flagg
2. Justice League of America (silver age)
3. Avengers (80s)
4. Ambush Bug
5. Mister X (vortexx)

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Andrew Mansell

1. Steve Canyon
2. Timberland Tales
3. X-Ray Specs (the see through skirt counts as part of the logo!) *
4 Prince Valiant
5. Dennis the Menace (comic books)

*****

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Max Fischer

1. (Are You Prepared For) OMAC: One Man Army(?)
2. original Wonder Woman
3. Orc Stain
4. Multiforce (the one on the book cover)
5. Heavy Metal

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David Jones

1. Chip Kidd's 90's Detective Comics logo
2. Thriller
3. The Phantom Stranger (I bet I traced it a thousand times as a teenager, drawing my own Phantom Stranger comic covers)
4. The Spectre (60's)
5. The Avengers (mid-60's Colan-era hourglass shaped)

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Buzz Dixon

1. Mad
2. Superman
3. Cherry Poptart (2 counts as multiple, right?)
4. Sin City
5. Any DC checks logo

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topic suggested by Paul Karasik

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March 26, 2011


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


KAL On The Magic And Power Of Caricature


Comix Experience 21st Anniversary (2010) from Seven Summits Productions on Vimeo.
Comix Experience Anniversary Video From 2010
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Andy Danton From The Dandy Draws George Vs. Dragon
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John Porcellino-Animated Movie Trailer
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Archaia Editor Stephen Christy on 'Tale of Sand,' a Graphic Novel Based on a Jim Henson Screenplay: MyFoxCHICAGO.com


via


Rob Smith, Jr. Is A Cartoonist-At-Large


Candorville Cartoonist Darrin Bell Appears On The Conan O'Brien Show


Interview With Cartoonist Bill Amend Conducted At PAX East 2011


Cartoonist Scott Kurtz On Comics In The Digital Age


Roz Chast On Tour With The Crossword People
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Occasionally Filthy Hamster-Oriented Anime Short Ryan Cecil Smith Had Posted (Not Safe For Life)
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Peanuts-Related Animation Tests, Set To Music
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Behind The Scenes Of A Tatsumi Animation
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Jim Henson-Produced Footage From 1969 Wizard Of Id TV Show Try
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The Paper Rad Cartoon That Was Up Last December When I Was Interviewing Everyone
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from March 19 to March 25, 2011:

1. More than five years later, you'd think that all uses and employments of the cultural construct aspect of the Danish Muhammad cartoons had been exhausted. You'd be wrong, but you'd probably think that.

2. The ReedPOP show C2E2 avoids the sophomore slump with the show it needed to have: greater attendance and more widespread approbation in a way that makes it look like it will be around for a while.

3. Hard-working comics publisher Archaia secures significant investment, which they'll use to target brand development and digital publishing.

Winner Of The Week
Mike Thompson

Losers Of The Week
Achewood fans

Quote Of The Week
"She had obtained them after a marital dispute that was widely covered in the newspapers and also involved frogs." -- The New York Times on the mid-20th century dispensation of Mutt and Jeff. That "also involved frogs" line is great and, moreover, it kind of knows it's great, which is why it's weird to see it tossed out there in a NYT obit.

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today's cover is from the great comic book series Four-Color

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

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

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

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If I Were In Overland Park, I'd Go To This

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Happy 55th Birthday, Mark Verheiden!

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Happy 58th Birthday, David Boswell?

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I have February 26, too/not sure which one is right, although if it were up to me, every damn day would be David Boswell's birthday
 
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Happy 63rd Birthday, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Brian Bolland!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Mitch O'Connell!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Bill Kartalopoulos!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Greg McElhatton!

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March 25, 2011


Friday Distraction: Photos Of Cartoonists Published By Life Magazine

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Go, Read: One Person's Quirky Internet Fraud Story Is Another Person's "That's This Guy I Know"

Here.
 
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Go, Bookmark: SuperMutant Magic Academy On Tumblr

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Go, Look: Brigid Alverson Peeks at DHC iPad App

imageBrigid Alverson has a post up at Robot 6 worth reading on a sneak peek she received of Dark Horse's forthcoming iPad app. Two things about its development, which sound like it was much more in-house than some of what's going on with other companies. The first is that developing this on their own allows for quirks and offerings unique to this particular product, new options in an era where as many options as can be gathered on the table before things become standardized could be a huge advantage. The other is that it sounds like their desired price point may have been waylaid by the way things are set up from the most popular downloads store, so that's something on which to keep an eye if you weren't already -- a structural disparity between a natural comics price point and what can be offered could be an industry-altering thing.

I don't have a feel for digital comics, although I suspect that there's a bit of extra drama to comics' move in that direction due to the cultural storyline of "saving comics," comics' natural, heartbreaking tendency to seek and embrace exploitation and a definite fracturing in terms of who needs to profit from what element of comics and why. I also think too much intellectual capital is afforded projections of success rather than processing through actual successes and failures. A major company with a different way of doing things seems worth tracking from the start; it may be the only thing worth tracking.
 
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Go, Read: On Scott Adams & Men's Rights Activism Issues

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Anti-Piracy Policies: Groping Around In The Dark

imageThis ICv2.com article basically reminds us that just about any suggestion of cause and effect in the implementation of anti-piracy policy, even a serious one with numbers in tow, remains just that: a suggestion. Despite elements of on-line culture so absolutely convinced of exactly how things work and the standards by which they should be processed that its self-appointed bright lights can state with shout-others-down certainty the success or failure of each and every policy, sometimes with the cherry on top of guaranteed complete industry destruction/salvation, basically no one can tell anything about result sets because the combination of a complex suite of behaviors, changing technology and shifts in culture make things way too complicated to pin down.

So while the death of a popular file-sharing site might have led to a decline in downloading pirated material, it could be something as simple that fewer people wanted pirated material whether by rejection of the current material being offered over that of the model time period or the fact that their hard drives are already mostly full. Or any other 1000 things. Similarly, the prosecution of individuals may be a discredited policy or one that's out of fashion or one that's irrelevant either way. No one really knows. One small advantage to viewing piracy as a creators' rights issue is that you're not projecting a win/fail overlay on the matter, or opening up the bottom line for adjudication by the Grim Virtual Jury Of Really Certain People. But numbers are difficult to process no matter where your heart lies.
 
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Don't Look: Worst Comics Of All-Time

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On The Final Fate Of Comic Relief

The retailer and industry advocate Brian Hibbs writes about his friend Rory Root and Root's long-time national anchor comics store Comic Relief. Comic Relief closed a couple of years after its owner's death. Its back stock will live on in one store opening up in the same general Berkeley area; the final physical location of Comic Relief may or may not see the opening of a comics store operated by an ex-employee of the place.

I agree with Hibbs wholeheartedly that most single-proprietor retail locations like comic shops are run on the backs and personality quirks of those individuals, and that the first generation of comics shop owners are getting old enough that the dispensation of their funnybook empires is an issue of increasing importance. I would hope that an organization like ComicsPro would make estate planning a priority, and would suggest that every single person in comics that has ever created anything at all give the issue of what happens to it when you die some thought after tax season. It might be worth noting that in many cases there may not be an empire worth transferring, and that in a retailer's case something like a retirement-boosting stock sale to an enterprising young retailer with their own name and store conception in mind might be the avenue best pursued. The key, I think, is that thought is given; not that a certain outcome is pursued.
 
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Go, Look: Basil Wolverton's The Monster On Mars

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Collective Memory: C2E2 2011

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning C2E2, held March 18 to March 20, 2011 at McCormick Place in the city of Chicago.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

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Institutional
* Convention
* Convention Center
* Host City

Audio
* Comics Slumber Party #13
* Word Balloon Podcast 01
* Word Balloon Podcast 02

Blog Entries
* Articulate Nerd

* CBLDF
* Comic Verso 01
* Comic Verso 02

* Freestyle Komics

* Giant Fire Breathing Robot

* Inside Pulse

* One Year In Indiana

* Robot 6 Indexed
* Robot 6 Summary

* Sean D. Francis

* Warren Peace
* Warren Peace 02

Miscellaneous
* C2E2 Dance Party Video

News Stories and Columns
* American Libraries
* Anime News Network Index

* CBR Index
* Comics Alliance 01
* Comics Alliance 02
* Comics Alliance 03

* Graphic Novel Reporter

* PW
* PW 02

Photos
* ICv2.com 01
* ICv2.com 02

* The Beat

Random Ben Hecht Quote
"Yes, we are all lost and wandering in the thick mists. We have no destinations. The city is without outlines. And the drift of figures is a meaningless thing. Figures that are going nowhere and coming from nowhere. A swarm of supernumeraries who are not in the play. Who saunter, dash, scurry, hesitate in search of a part in the play." -- 1001 Afternoons In Chicago

Twitter
* #c2e2

Video
* albizarroraven23
* AnimeReaction

* Batshit
* bluedepth

* CabalAgent26
* Chitowntink2000
* Ckarath
* CoolBleeding 01
* CoolBleeding 02
* CoolBleeding 03

* Dead Characters Returning To Comics

* Firekracker44
* Food And Comics 01
* Food And Comics 02

* Ken Drab
* kilroyart

* may3079
* Molly McIsaac And Kate

* neiu20001

* Patton Oswalt Performance 01
* Patton Oswalt Performance 02
* Patton Oswalt Performance 03
* Patton Oswalt Performance 04
* Patton Oswalt Performance 05
* Paul Cornell

* Real Life Sucks

* TheBatmanUniverse (Multiple Interviews)
* thhor
* Tour Of The Archaia Booth

* ZackMonkey (Index)

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Go, Look: Early '70s Alex Toth DC Work

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Some Comics From Spoof #3

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Go, Look: Torpedoman Comics

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Go, Read: GUTS: A Young Adult Television Fiasco

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Go, Look: Tiger Girl Doesn't Mess Around

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Brad Bankston and Austin Books & Comics on being named the Small Business Of The Month by that great city's mayor's office. According to the press release, that store has been around since 1977. They get their award today at the store.

image* several of you have sent me a link to this interview with Emily Flake, which I think speaks well of Emily Flake.

* the writer Paul Di Filippo takes a look at the latest Ben Katchor release, The Cardboard Valise.

* over at Robot 6, Sean T. Collins uses an outcome of the way certain links are compressed to provide some potential numbers on the recent Wizard digital initiative. They don't exactly match the rhetoric behind those efforts.

* the artist Stuart Immonen sketches American Idol.

* I'd say Ryan Holmberg's articles on the birth of alternative manga have pretty much been the darling of the early days of the new TCJ. Miss them and have one less thing to talk about over dinner during convention season. Speaking of TCJ, Amy Poodle also continues her look at Grant Morrison's The Invisibles.

* Jason Wood looks at the practice of shipping titles that usually ship 12 times a year more than once a month. I'd say this is a bad idea until the foundation of that market is a lot stronger.

* a short preview of "Rescue Pet," which is apparently being serialized at Maisonneuve. That one looks good.

* Chris Arrant caught something I totally missed: the results of a ComicsPro survey that indicates that alternative covers for certain issues aren't as effect an inducement to order as simply discounting large orders on select issues. What's unknown is how many people participated in the poll, and I suppose there's a criticism that ComicsPro members might not be a representative sampling of retailers -- I'm not making that argument, Brian, I'm suggesting it may be out there -- but I think that's an interesting notion. Hell, ComicsPro members tend to be good retailers, so I'd argue companies should go with the information derived from their polls and surveys raw data unseen.

* a short essay on John Byrne's polar bear in a snowstorm technique.

* finally, Cake Wrecks looks at superhero and related genre cakes. (thx, Robert)
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Rob Clough!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Angel Medina!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Matthew Brady!

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Quick hits
Craft
Insignificance
Laura Terry Sketches
Big-Headed Alien Green Bug

Exhibits/Events
Go See Josh Kramer At MoCCA

History
Jim Shooter On Returning To Marvel

Industry
Ron Marz On Pitches

Not Comics
Buy A Print From Jill Thompson
I'd Go With Brian Wilson As A Mutant, Sure

Publishing
Peter Laird Splitting His Blogs
Happy About Sailor Moon's Return

Reviews
On Aria Vols. 1-2
Sean T. Collins: R.I.P.
David Brothers: Dorohedoro
Yan Basque: Neonomicon #4
Jason Thompson: Hinako Takanaga
Greg McElhatton: Green Lantern #64
J. Caleb Mozzocco: The Smurfs Vol. 4
Todd Klein: Legion Of Super-Heroes Annual #1
 

 
March 24, 2011


Go, Look: Caroline, Concluded

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Missed It: Eli Valley's Jews And Superheroes

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thx, Ethan
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* the Minneapolis Indie Xpo sold out of exhibitor space really, really quickly. That one's held in November.

* to my eye, which was employed in every way possible afforded to those not attending a show, C2E2 did everything it needed to do in its second year. It needed slightly-higher attendance (it couldn't just hold serve because the first year was disappointing in that regard); it needed to go major-gripe or fiasco free; it needed to show off Chicago as an avenue for fun things in order that creators and professionals will want to go there when it's the third, fourth, fifth show and maybe they're not a special guest; it needed to dominate Toronto's Wizard show and SPACE news-wise; it needed to establish itself as a place for mainstream comics publishing news announcements; it needed to not have its pop-culture aspects dominate; it needed to reassure key players in Chicago that it was a growing, vital show. Now they have to build on it, which brings with it a whole new set of expectations/benchmarks. For now, it's very, very worth noting that the major story that would have been a 17,000-person show or other obvious sign of decline was assiduously avoided.

* I've never thought about conventions trying to set Guinness-style world records, and I should probably write a bunch of joke records that could be set, but mostly I was amused that someone thought of this as a PR wedge.

* WonderCon has its programming schedule up, here. They do a solid mainstream-oriented programming slate, but there are a number of creator-driven panels of interest all over the comics map, including panels with Robert Kirkman, Jason Aaron, Seth, Hope Larson, Carla Speed McNeill, Paul Levitz and Sergio Aragones.

* Fantagraphics has a quick rat-a-tat of convention-related announcements up: Jim Woodring is going to SPX; Megan Kelso is making the drive down to Olympia; the Mattotti/Reed book will debut at TCAF.

* Stumptown has announced its final guest list. Sounds like a talent-packed show.

* finally, Chris Butcher has a write-up on the British comics and cartoonists being featured at this year's TCAF, including Blank Slate, Nobrow and featured guest Mawil.
 
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Go, Read: Harvey Kurtzman Strikes Back

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Not Comics: Richard Prince Loses Fair Use Lawsuit

I had a different article in mind for the news that last Friday a Manhattan judge ruled against the artist Richard Prince and the hosting gallery for an exhibition using Prince works derived from images created by French artist Patrick Cariou, but I think Dan Nadel is right in that this is the best one to read. Fair use is at the heart of a some of what comics creators do and/or suffer through, and is an issue of deep importance to those covering the field, particularly when they may occasionally act outside the specific interests of the publicity machine driving certain projects. I don't think I'd be alone in claiming to be someone who believes very liberally in fair use principles that when seeing the artworks in question in this case reacted strongly and poorly to them.
 
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Go, Look: Walt Simonson Working In Black And White

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Go, Read: Dan Nadel On Bungle Family Originals

There's a nice, short piece here from TCJ co-editor Dan Nadel on a trip to St. Louis where he got to go look at a bunch of originals from Harry Tuthill's The Bungle Family. You know, people sometimes accuse the cartoonist, writer and editor Art Spiegelman of wielding undue influence in comics circles and the basis of that influence being a combination of controlling who gets gigs and political maneuvering. But as I recall, it's Spiegelman that brought attention to The Bungle Family by mentioning them in one of those Smithsonian underrated/overrated polls, and people seem to have had a rich, rewarding time rediscovering that material ever since. That doesn't sound like schmoozing and influence-peddling to me as much it indicates a sharp eye and a knowledge of how to make a case for something that's going to get others involved. Just a thought.
 
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Go, Look: Alien Worlds Cover Mini-Gallery

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update: Accusation Jumps Gun

The claims made by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi that Denmark was leading a western European anti-Islamic faction against his country is not only mired in reality-straining conspiracies that rope in the Danish Cartoons controversy, it's also not even technically true as asserted, this article reports. I guess they jumped the gun in terms of what actions took place by what actors and when. It's nice to see reporting that thorough, although it's also worth noting that the claims were super-goofy to begin with, so there's likely some danger in over-arguing the relationship between the country's involvement and a more general desire to get at nations significantly influenced by Islam.
 
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Go, Look: Desperate Little Cat

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Not Comics: A Few Sexton Blake Covers

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If I Were In Winter Park, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Washington D.C., I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Saint Paul, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Gang Busters #51

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Go, Look: Nightmare And Sleepy

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Go, Look: Alley Oop Sundays

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Missed It: A Jack Kirby Conan Sketch

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* so Barnes and Noble may be taking itself off the market. The good news is that such a move should end some projected uncertainty about what a new owner could mean to the massive bookseller chain and the brick and mortar retail avenue its relative health is helping hold together in largely dicey times; the bad news is that the company seems to be taking itself off of the market because the initial reaction from buyers involved a yuck face.

image* here's a much linked-to review in Book Forum where William T. Vollmann tackles the Lynd Ward box set. In the impossibly nerdy review war that is Ward vs. Masereel, he comes down solidly for Ward, which isn't an opinion I've read expressed in some time.

* I haven't found a ton of SPACE coverage out there -- that's the small press show in Columbus that went up against Wizard's Toronto event and C2E2 last weekend -- but here's a straight-forward piece on Candy Or Medicine worth taking in if the subject intrigues you. Bruce Chrislip photo!

* this Tardi-related weekend at the Fantagraphics store looks like a blast, and of course there are few as-worthy subjects.

* Wizard adds an Internet industry veteran to its board of directors as chairman. In the world in which Wizard now operates, this is a major move.

* a couple of articles about etiquette in comics shops and payment methods kicks off an interesting conversation at Johanna Draper Carlson's site (I think you can find everything you need through that link). I've never thought about there being an actual layer of consideration in my interactions with retailers, but I've never had an involved relationship with any of those businesses, like a subscription pile. Or I haven't since age 15. I'm also not certain any retail establishment's opinion on how I pay or what kind of card I use would ever register with me long enough to consider it.

* everything Zook and Cryll. Everything recent and background-appearance related, anyway.

* not comics: you know you're of another era when both your major obituary writer (Mel Gussow) and the primary witness to your talent employed by many obituaries (Paul Newman) are both dead. There's a funny post by Liz Baillie here, and a lovely Facebook gallery cartoon-art portrait of the deceased actress here.

* "This American Life Contributors Explore The Arctic"

* go, bookmark: Fantagraphics opens up a media resources center on their site.

* finally, Ryan Sands is still dismayed by events in Japan a week or so after they became international news, and provides some photos and art as an expression of those feelings. I'm sure everyone reading this shares those feelings.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Ludo Borecki!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Helmut Nickel!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Mohamed Aouamri!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Pascual Ferry!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Gabrielle Bell!

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Quick hits
Craft
Matt Seneca On A BodyWorld Sequence

History
Giant-Size Man-Thing
Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Worker Bees?

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Christos Gage
ICv2.com: Alex Ross
Inkstuds: Aidan Koch
CBR: James Robinson

Not Comics
An Internet Classic
That Does Sort Of Look Fun
Also The Secret Of Blogging
Nice Gig For James Kochalka

Publishing
In May 2011
Marvel In June 2011
Secret Avengers #12
Cagle's Cartoons On Libya
Fantagraphics' FCBD Cover
The Mighty Thor #1 Previewed

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Don MacPherson: FF #1
Andrew Wheeler: Various
Sean Gaffney: K-On! Vol. 2
Chris Mautner: A Single Match
Greg McElhatton: Hellraiser #1
Snow Wildsmith: Butterfly Vol. 1
Michael Buntag: Peepo Choo Vol. 1
David P. Welsh: Blue Exorcist Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: Kirby, King Of Comics
Erica Friedman: Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi Vol. 2
 

 
March 23, 2011


Go, Look: Conundrum Press At Wizard World Toronto

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I'm pretty sure Dave Collier is the only person I know who's met Lat and R2D2. (thx, Joe Ollmann)
 
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It Took Qaddafi Four Days To Mention The Danish Cartoons

His comments are linked to Danish involvement in the military entry into the rapidly escalating Libyan conflict. The dictator points out that since Denmark is the home of the famous Muhammed cartoon makers, this is proof of a anti-Islamist conspiracy at work. I'm not certain how that is supposed to be any more convincing than, I don't know, the multiple invasions of countries with significant Islamic populations, but it's unclear if Qaddafi has made any sense on any subject since about 1979.

I had six days in the pool.

thx, gil
 
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Go, Read: Gary Groth's 2002 Interview With Victor Moscoso

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Marvel Comics Joining Starbucks' Wi-Fi Network

imageStarbucks has added a bunch of premium American on-line consumption brand-bearing folks to its wi-fi network, according to an announcement hitting the wires today. Joining such luminaries as The Economist, Mediabistro.com and ESPN is The House That Jack Built: Marvel Comics. Those using the network while sipping on whatever it is people sip on at Starbucks will get access to those services at an upper "subscription" level, which in Marvel's case means they'll get to browse free comics.

I'm not sure this deal all by itself has a drastic impact, mostly because we're talking about subsets of subsets. As the articled linked-to above points out, the network offering is a value-added thing rather than the primary destination of that percentage of the coffee chain's customers that fire up a computer in the joint. It's further unclear how attractive the comics offerings will be in terms of the wide array of material offered. I love comics, I enjoy reading Marvel Comics, and I'd still probably go read ESPN's "Insider" stuff before downloading the latest Punisher or whatever.

On the other hand, I think it's good at this point for all of the companies to try all of the on-line strategies that are available to them. For some reason, reporting on digital comics strategies seem to depend largely on being able to predict the future. I'm sure I'm not alone in being mostly baffled by digital comics as it exists right this very moment, let alone being able to trumpet with great certainty what exactly is going catch on with people at some unnamed future date. Until they find the maximal outcome for on-line strategies, I suspect as many ways as these companies can try to see what works is going to benefit them. This sounds like a good one, with interesting aspects to it. I could also just be wrong about its direct impact.
 
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Go, Listen: Scott Edelman's 1975 Interview With Steve Gerber


 
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Duncan The Wonder Dog Wins Inaugural Lynd Ward Prize

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AdHouse Books sent out a press release earlier today announcing that their Duncan The Wonder Dog, from cartoonist Adam Hines, has won the first Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize. That's an award going to a single graphic novel from the previous year, administered by the Pennsylvania Center For The Book, which is affiliated with both the Penn State library system and Library of Congress' Center For The Book. Hines' book -- his major debut and part of a longer series of graphic novels -- has been well-received within comics, hitting several end-of-year lists; I imagine this would be its biggest award to date.

You can read reactions from Hines and AdHouse publisher Chris Pitzer here. A second printing of the sold-out book is due this Spring.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Chris Wright's The Broken Nib

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love his Elric
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: A Publishing News Column

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* I can't imagine any better news than that the publication of Up All Night in Washington City Paper means that feature's return on-line, one such home being the Fantagraphics web site. That's one of the best alt-weekly comics -- and probably the most underrated one -- ever.

* wait, this might beat it: this profile of David Boswell reveals that he is apparently creating a final two chapters for his Reid Fleming character. Luckily, it's not a contest, and we can enjoy all the comics.

* Colleen Doran has an actual-to-god information-stuffed title announcement over at A Distant Soil for her Fall 2011 collaboration with Barry Lyga Mangaman.

* the cartoonist Tom Neely has unveiled a multiple-pronged effort of art and print sales to support the publication of his next book. His stuff is attractive close-up and in person, so I can't imagine going wrong with one of these purchases -- and for a good cause.

* class act Matt Maxwell is going to be serializing his Strangeways as a webcomic.

* one of the most fun publishing news stories for the year is the issuance of a one-volume Bone in full color. It's amazing to me how well a book that works in black-and-white holds color -- it's almost unfair, really. You can order your copy now.

* this interview with Shannon Wheeler at the Fantagraphics site provides a first look at his forthcoming project with the writer Steve Duin, Oil & Water.

* a previously unpublished 1981 Steve Ditko Marvel comic is soon to see the light of day.

* I believe I mentioned this one in a Random News update, but not in this column: the cartoonist Terry Moore has announced and provided details about a new project to be called Rachel Rising.

* it's not comics, but somewhere out there exists a book called Andy Capp Variations.

* Drew Weing has a one-page preview of his work in the next Papercutter, a collaboration with MK Reed.

image* Johanna Draper Carlson has some back story on the forthcoming Andi Watson/Tommy Ohtsuka Marvel effort 15 Love, which I guess is eight years in the making!? I'll take more Andi Watson any way I can get it, and for a project to survive that long from conception to publication at any of the mainstream companies is pretty amazing.

* I don't know that much about how mainstream comics works, but it seems weird to me that DC keeps launching and re-launching the Flash series like so many Paula Marshall sitcoms. I wonder after this kind of thing generally, in that it seems like it was a lot easier for me to be a Thor fan when I was a kid and there was a comic book named Thor to buy, which I could be pretty sure would have a comic about a dude named "Thor," than it is to be a Flash fan now when there are multiple characters and multiple titles with that name. I also wonder that it doesn't make the character look second rate, and that it doesn't make it a lot easier for fans to jump off and stay off a title that functions like that as opposed to a slow-and-steady performer. It may not be for me to say, but I do remember hoping that this new era of corporate attention to these storylines would reduce the number of short-term performance peculiarities with such titles. I'm likely reading too much into it.

* if you're near a magazine rack anytime soon, you might pick up the latest Harper's for its multiple-page article on Lynd Ward. If you're a subscriber, you not only already have the magazine but you can access it on-line here.

* there was a bunch of mainstream comics announcements -- series and creative teams, basically -- at the just-passed C2E2. It's important for a show like that to become a place for those kinds of publishing announcements, because it distinguishes them against calendar-proximate and geograpy-proximate rivals. Anyway, you can head to the Collective Memory and read through the news section. One good example summary article is this one about various forthcoming Marvel moves. Individual moves worth noting include writer Greg Rucka doing Punisher, writer Brian Bendis and artist Mark Bagley on an Icon project and Mark Waid writing Marvel's Daredevil character.

* Metropolitan has announced an English-language edition of Egyptian cartoonist Magdy El Shafee's crime book Metro.

* finally, we're about to see the release of a Kuti Kuti/Smoke Signal crossover. How great is that?

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Stephan Pastis Sketch-Cartoon Posts

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1, 2, 3
 
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Please Consider Supporting Portland's Reading Frenzy

imageVia this extended post by Wow Cool's Marc Arsenault comes word of this announcement by Portland's 'zine-centric bookstore Reading Frenzy that they could use whatever patronage you can afford right now. My trips to Reading Frenzy were always much looked forward to when I lived in the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s because it was there I most thoroughly accessed the 'zine continents of the comics making world, and 'zines themselves more widely, at a time when there was I think a much greater connection between those two expressions (it's hard to imagine the few 'zine-centric news stories that made it into TCJ back then being news stories now, even with the variety of sites out there).

Anyway, what's nice about this plea is they're aiming for broad support rather than a few, perhaps worn down patrons; and they have a huge list of possible choices if you're in. That Aaron Renier print sampled in this post is lovely, and I can't imagine if you have a pal in Portland they couldn't put to use a gift certificate. Even if you don't have any money you might be able to spread the word or friend them up on Facebook. We need every outlet we can for comics and related forms of expressions moving forward.
 
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Go, Look: I'll Be Damned #2-3

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Please Consider Supporting Hans Rickheit

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Via an article at Robot 6 comes word of this post where the cartoonist Hans Rickheit lets us know that he recently lost his job and this has put a strain both on his beautiful web comic Ectopiary and on life in general.

Rickheit's one of those cartoonists at that key place in their careers where they should be making comics as frequently as possible but may have to do so without the audience that many of us are certain will one day fall in love with his work. We're at an historical place in comics' development where this step isn't as funded even in the modest way it used to be. That's where you and I get to flex our patronage muscles, receiving tremendous value in return in the shape of original art or books from the cartoonist. It's one of the best things about being a fan of this art form at this time, and I'll hope you'll consider delving into Rickheit's work a bit and maybe doing something if the mood strikes you.
 
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Go, Look: An Extended Dave Kiersh Sequence

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via
 
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Go, Look: Hugo Pratt's Leggende Indiane

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Metropolitan To Publish Magdy El Shafee's Metro In English

I thought this brief story was worth pulling out of this week's "Bundled" column because an English translation of Egyptian cartoonist Magdy El Shaffee's crime story Metro has news interest outside of its arrival in the English language as a publishing event. Metro was banned and its creator and publisher convicted three years ago of making art that disturbed the public morals, which isn't an uncommon tack for government officials to take against art even when it's hard to define or find these apparent disruptions. El Shaffee has appealed to a new ministry of culture in his rapidly-changing country so that there might eventually be another Egyptian edition. As pointed out earlier during the political crisis in that country, Metro was an interesting piece of art because its crime plot was instigated and shaped by the same kind of deep distrust of and frustration with society that many of the political reformers say they felt. Its Italian edition received special attention during the last days of Hosni Mubarak's rule. Metropolitan snapped up the book.
 
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Elizabeth Taylor, RIP

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

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

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Go, Look: Henri Arnold's This Man's Army

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Go, Look: Weird-Looking Dead End Kids Comic

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No One Ever Beat Up Batman Like Ernie Chua

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Go, Look: Four-Color Comics #148

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Sean O'Reilly of Arcana Studios talks about how the battery of troubles at the bookstore chain Borders has had an effect on the company.

image* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a pair of interviews up with Mark Siegel about First Second's publishing slate and selling comics in the current market. I always enjoy hearing from Mark Siegel.

* editorial cartoons are subversive.

* iFanboy shares an unsuccessful pitch for an all-ages Lois Lane comic book.

* I'm always a little bit surprised when I hear about potential scheduling problems with big-time comic books, but then I remember there's really no direct, negative effect to these kinds of things, even as much as some folks including myself suspect that there are long-term indirect effects.

* this article by Ben Morse about potential match-ups of superheroes and super-villains that haven't been overplayed in the last 50 years is a lot of fun -- it's like one of the Amazing Heroes articles I liked back in the day. Hard to believe that Kraven and The Black Panther haven't had their issues. Sean Collins is correct here when he suggests that this was a fun aspect of the earlier Marvel books when the State Of The Brand wasn't at issue when bad guys went outside their usual funnybook appearance to fight other superheroes. In addition the Magneto vs. Thor battle he describes, Magneto also had fun tussles with the Inhumans (in Amazing Adventures, I think) and Captain America (in a crazy, Kirby-drawn Annual) before he became too important to the X-Men franchise to do a guest-star turn like that.

* Abhay Khosla and Mark Sable have a long discussion up over at Savage Critics about Secret Avengers #1-5.

* the critic and artist Matt Seneca wants to rub some of his charmed life in your face, with a review of Made In France: Eight Artists And The Graphic Novel. It's like he's making up books to review now.

* Ghost World[s] and Non-Places.

* finally, Sean T. Collins talks about the great Phoebe Gloeckner as a way of taking you to an interview where the cartoonist and artist speaks for herself in her usual smart, forceful fashion.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Shelton Drum!

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Happy 56th Birthday, KAL!

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Quick hits
Craft
Frog
Joe Quesada Makes A Cover
That's One Handsome Splash
What Brian Ralph Original Pages Look Like

Exhibits/Events
Go See Mark Evanier
Moebius Exhibit Reviewed
Chris Oliveros Can't Escape Comics

Industry
Embracing The All-Ages Market

Interviews/Profiles
PictureBox: Wonder Fair
Mr. Media: Chris Browne
Breakfast With The Wimpy Kid
Washington City Paper: Mike Shapiro
Talking Comics With Tim: Alex Segura

Not Comics
I Saw This Movie On Christmas Day 1994

Publishing
Cobra Civil War?
Happy Birthday To Twitter
Where iZombie Came From

Reviews
On I Kill Giants
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Todd Klein: The Flash #8
Sean Gaffney: Aqua Vol. 1
Sammy Harkham: The Heavy Hand
Jason Overby: ACME Novelty Library #20
Dave Ferraro: Goon: The Royal Palace Vol. 1
Grant Goggans: The Many Worlds Of Tesla Strong
 

 
Avatar Press Switches Its Book Business From Diamond To Simon & Schuster Via Relationship With Boom!

Here.
 
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March 22, 2011


Go, Look: Sammy Harkham Guests On Leon Beyond

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Absolute Best Wishes To Chris Onstad On His Hiatus

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So Chris Onstad, the talented creator behind one of the half-dozen iconic comics of last decade, has apparently put his mighty Achewood on indefinite hiatus while he pursues other opportunities including some prose writing. Good for him; congratulations and thank you to Mr. Onstad for years and years of frequently updated, excellent, one-of-a-kind, totally free comics. Anyone who doesn't wish someone like that as much success and happiness as is possible in every endeavor is just being churlish. I hope to benefit half as much from all future projects as much as I have Achewood, but even if I don't, I'm just really grateful for Achewood as it exists up and through the present.
 
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Go, Look: Images From Lined In Lead Show

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Missed It: A Brief Post From A DM Retailer On Sell-Through

I can't endorse any individual point made in this post by retailer Kendall Swafford as they're coming directly from Swafford's own number-gathering, but I think the general message is worth considering. Swafford cautions against the casual employment of sell-in numbers as sell-through numbers, even in minor cases like supposing that a drop in numbers month to month is about losing customers rather than, say, a number of stores cutting down on excess book ordering with a certain series. With the number pared down on an individual book basis, these kinds of considerations are more important than ever.
 
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Go, Look: What Does A Failing School Look Like?

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Pierre de Beaumont, 1915-2010

imageVia the New York Times comes news that the owner of mall and catalog gadget retailer Brookstone, Pierre de Beaumont, died last December. He was 95 years old. There are over 300 Brookstone locations in various shopping centers across North America; the article goes a bit into its history, divulging that the name came from the de Beaumont farm and the original focus was hard-to-find tools sold through a catalog.

The obituary also reveals that the trained engineer son of the French Count de Beaumont -- born in America when his mother visited there while her husband was off fighting the war that killed him -- was the owner of the Mutt & Jeff property. His mother married cartoonist Bud Fisher in 1925. They separated for maybe the greatest recorded reason in the history of marriage, what the article describes as the cruelty from Fisher to Countess of "permitting her permitting her to be neglected by his servants while they looked after a number of live frogs he maintained in their former apartment on Riverside Drive." The Fishers didn't divorce, however, and when the cartoonist died in 1954, the rights moved to the Countess, and, later, her son. The strip is apparently still in syndication, although exactly what is being offered and who's creating it isn't immediately clear; the strip is credited to the late mega-retailer, who retired in 1980s after selling off Brookstone.

thanks to everyone that sent the link
 
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Go, Look: New Ariel Schrag Comic at AfterEllen.com

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

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

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

*****

DEC100420 STARSTRUCK HC DLX ED $49.99
This thing is very, very, very pretty-looking, and for many comics readers contains a bunch of really well-crafted comics with which they have little to no experience, the same way that certain folks only come to certain award-winning cable TV series when they're finally out in some sort of complete collection. Definitely one you'll want to take a peek at in the store.

DEC100192 BATMAN INCORPORATED #4 $2.99
JAN110420 FABLES #103 (MR) $2.99
JAN110429 NEW YORK FIVE #3 (OF 4) (MR) $2.99
AUG100480 INVINCIBLE #78 $2.99
Here's an almost certainly less-than-comprehensive smattering of old-fashioned, well-regarded serial comic books from the mainstream companies. Comics still offers this experience, but it's really mainstream comics-focused.

NOV100042 FINDER LIBRARY TP VOL 01 $24.99
DEC100459 INVINCIBLE HC 06 ULTIMATE COLL $34.99
DEC108232 JACK STAFF TP VOL 01 EVERYTHING USED TO BE B & W (NEW PTG) $19.99
DEC101021 STUMPTOWN HC VOL 01 $29.99
That weekly serial comic book experience has been replaced by a trades-driven one, equivalent smattering of those kinds of books above. I doubt very much that as many people routinely buy as many different kinds of books if they're working mostly through trades, although you never know.

SEP100408 JEFFREY JONES A LIFE IN ART S/N LTD ED $79.99
I'm not the natural audience for this, but if it were in my comic shop, I'd definitely want to take a look.

JAN110748 FF #1 $3.99
This is the new Fantastic Four minus the Human Torch comic book, at Marvel's now-preferred price point. One hopes that the storyline maneuvers allow this one to sell at a higher level than might have been possible without them.

JAN110702 CAPTAIN AMERICA #615 POINT ONE $2.99
JAN110708 CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BATROC #1 $3.99
JAN110720 CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 70TH ANNIV ED $4.99
JAN110711 CAPTAIN AMERICA MAN OUT OF TIME #5 (OF 5) $3.99
JAN110766 CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN MGC #1 $1.00
JAN110870 ESSENTIAL CAPTAIN AMERICA TP VOL 06 $19.99
This seems like a lot of Captain America to me, given that the character seems right now a modest success as opposed to a runaway one, and even the potentially perception-changing movie is months off. I'm sure I'd enjoy most of these comics on some level, and have certainly had fun with the vast majority of what I've read on the character from writer Ed Brubaker over the last few years. It just strikes me as odd, and potentially unhealthy.

imageJAN111311 HEAVY HAND GN (MR) $14.00
This is one of the more memorable books in recent memory, something I've read three time all the way through without quite comfortably picking up on what Chris Cilla is doing, and why. It's hard not to love books that can do that.

DEC100962 ARCTIC MARAUDER HC (MR) $16.99
Another gorgeous book, this time from Fantagraphics' continued and sustained exploration into Jacques Tardi's album-making career.

JAN111314 BOOKHUNTER GN (O/A) (MR) $15.00
Jason Shiga has quietly become one of those cartoonists where more and more people are just purchasing everything he does, sight unseen.

DEC101027 CARDBOARD VALISE GN $25.95
I don't want to live in a world where a new Ben Katchor release isn't a major event, even if as a world it has to be a subset of the wider comics world. This is work from I think about 10 years ago -- the work he was serializing the last time Katchor had a book out -- touched up and perhaps even tightened by the talented cartoonist. If you had to make a wager for a book of the year candidate from a long, raw list of cartoonists and their projects, this would be your safest bet.

DEC100960 DUNGEON QUEST GN VOL 02 $12.99
Joe Daly's wildly odd series of archly-told adventure comics continues. What a great initial run of books we've seen from South Africa's Daly, and this one may feature his most potent cartooning yet.

JAN111285 NEW CHARACTER PARADE GN (MR) $12.00
Johnny Ryan's densely-packed comedy book, a must for fans of humor comics generally and certainly for Ryan fans specifically.

DEC101009 SKY OVER THE LOUVRE HC $19.99
I take it this is another of NBM's English-language publication of a series of graphic albums revolving around the museum in the title.

JAN111435 DODGEM LOGIC MAGAZINE #7 (MR) $7.00
Alan Moore's magazine seems always worth one's attention, although I have to admit if there's one publication my friends tell me they're buying in order to read later on, it's this publication. I'm not sure what that says, and in my world, that's not a criticism, but it's intriguing.

*****

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

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

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

If I failed to list your comic, that's on me. I apologize.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Matt Dembicki's Photos From SPACE 2011

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I haven't decided if I want to do a collective memory on last weekend's SPACE small-press event in Columbus, Ohio, but this photo set by Matt Dembicki is pretty great -- in the photo above you can see handmade comics champions Sean Bieri, Colin Upton and Matt Feazell sitting shoulder to shoulder.
 
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Cartoonist Mohamed al-Amin Still Missing In Libya

The well-covered freeing of four New York Times journalists -- Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks -- and their subsequent border crossing into Tunisia has provided a window for the Committee To Protect Journalists to remind world media that several Libyan journalists have been missing since late February. Most are believed to have been critical of the regime and practices of the current Libyan government, a few are believed to have been detained not for their own work but for appearing on al-Jazeera television in a critical role. You can read a running tally of actions taken against journalists in the conflict here. I know nothing about al-Amin except that he's from Benghazi.
 
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Go, Look: Twisted Tales Cover Art

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Ginger Meggs Cartoonist Injures Hand In Freak Accident

imageMike Lynch uncovered a news link that indicates Ginger Meggs cartoonist Jason Chatfield injured his drawing hand after being caught in a taxi door and dragged for several yards early on Sunday morning. Lynch direct readers to Chatfield's blog for the harrowing details here. They're looking for the cabbie and with a call to a cab company instigating the action it sounds like they have a good chance of finding him. If you've ever been around cartoonists long enough, you know how protective they are of their drawing hand, so I wish Chatfield a quick and speedy recovery in whatever way he might feel the effects, and I'm happy to hear he's up and around and being proactive. Chatfield took over on the iconic and modestly syndicated Australian strip four years ago.
 
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Go, Look: Supermoon!

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Go, Look: Joe Field's WonderCon Video Postings


you can see these and more like them through Joe Field's Flying Colors Facebook page or through Field's YouTube account
 
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Go, Look: Alan Mandel's The War Eagle

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Go, Look: One Last Peek At Panic #12

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Go, Look: Eleanor Davis Practicing Watercolor

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Go, Look: Children Of The New Forest

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* still-reeling bookstore chain Borders is closing 28 more stores. That gives them approximately 400 remaining stores if they work out all their lease issues, maybe 325-340 if they don't. I'm not sure what the number of stores they can run in this economy at this stage in the progression of the publishing business, but I can see people looking at them differently if they dip well under 300.

image* not comics: it's maybe not the first comic in which most folks would see a stage adaptation struggling to break free, but it's certainly one that would be fascinating to see up on its feet. That's a Columbus-area theater company, and you can read the blog posts about the production here. Thank you to Mr. Slaybaugh for sending in the link; everybody break a leg.

* a child's garden of mini-comics.

* not comics: Peggy Burns endorses a Clara Ware review of Tiny Tim's work.

* I love Jack Kirby like little kids love candy, but "To sword! Let us quickly dispatch yon rotund oaf!" sounds a bit more like Lee than it does something Kirby wrote in the margins, and is very funny besides. Someone needs to do a really long piece on Lee's dialogue work, and that someone is not me.

* speaking of Stan the Man, he apparently came up with the name of the concept of the Man-Thing character. Mike Sterling feels sort of bad for not knowing this, although it's difficult to think of that one coming up a lot with Mr. Lee.

* Paul Gravett on XIII. There's a smart comparison of Jean Van Hamme's super-popular series of graphic albums to modern, addictive television serials like Lost. That would explain some things about how that series works with its audience.

* it should be clear to everyone reading this site that "Beethoven Bunagan" wins forever the subject of "names of comics people," and that it's to the industry's everlasting shame that he was apparently lost to comedy.

* here's an early review for the English-language version of Arne Bellstorf's comic about Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr -- a bunch of people were interested in that one when a link to some German pages made the rounds.

* whatever you do, don't interpret this Avengers Family Tree as entirely based on sexual relationships or you will get confused really quickly.

* finally, the Sequential Artists Workshop has announced its initial fundraiser, for April 24. That's the effort to put a cartooning school in Gainesville spearheaded by Tom Hart and Leela Corman.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Jay Stephens!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Spain!

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Quick hits
Craft
Just Sitting
Unicorn Zombie
Adorable Curmudgeon
Old New York Sketched
Sean Phillips Sketches Spider-Man
Joseph Lambert's Watercolor Sketch
Missed It: Kyle Baker Draws A Ninja Turtle

Exhibits/Events
Some Group Of Kids Had Fun

Industry
You Lie/No, You Lie
Perhaps The First Ever Of Its Kind

Interviews/Profiles
Washington City Paper: Shawn Belschwender

Not Comics
A Mike Lynch Book Cover
Buy A Percy Gloom T-Shirt
Depends On The Five Second Rule

Publishing
Don't Text While Driving
Avengers #12.1 Previewed
On Marvel's Golden Age Project

Reviews
Todd Klein: Legacies #8
Bart Croonenborghs: Che
Richard Bruton: Hicksville
Batman Inc. #4 Previewed
Greg McElhatton: Xombi #1
Greg McElhatton: Astonishing X-Men #36
Johanna Draper Carlson: Hikaru No Go Vol. 23
 

 
March 21, 2011


Eddie Campbell: "There's Only One Vampire I Have Time For And That's The Count On Sesame Street"

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One of comics' best is interviewed here.
 
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Was Mrs. Waitaminnit George Herriman's First Daily Strip?

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Seriously, someone will need to tell me because I have no idea.
 
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Mike Thompson Wins 2011 Scripps Howard Award

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According to a long article posted to the web site of newspaper industry bible Editor & Publisher, Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press has won this year's Editorial Cartooning category in the Scripps Howard Foundation journalism awards. Thompson will receive $10,000, and the listing notes he won for both traditional cartoons and for animation. The other finalists were Ted Rall and Steve Breen.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Joann Sfar's Little World

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via
 
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All The Awards I've Recently Missed (And That's A Lot)

There are number of awards, nominations and honors that have gone to comics and cartoonists recently, which for some reason I've been completely unable to process into posts here as each as them deserve. Congratulations and my apologies to the following creators, titles, publishers.

image* Chica Umino's Sangatsu no Lion (although I'm also seeing "Gatsu no Lion") has won this year's Manga Taisho award. That awards is decided on by bookstore employees responsible for a manga section, and is weighted in a way that the honor falls to a new work or an early work in a series.

* How Mirka Got Her Sword, from Barry Deutsch, was one of three category winners of the Sydney Taylor Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Sydney Taylor awards goes to creators of books for young people that authentically portray the Jewish experience.

* working as an illustrator, the cartoonist Kevin Cannon shared in a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award nomination with writer Andrew Sherburne for their collaboration Ben And Lucy Play Pond Hockey.

* the writer Peter David announced on his blog that his X-Factor work was the winner of this year's GLAAD media award in the comics category. (My non-comics reading brother sent this along to me. He was delighted that each mutant mentioned as having a part in the winning storyline had their own wikipedia page, as it had never occurred to him that any character less famous than Batman would have its own wikipedia page.) Those awards have been criticized within some comics circles for their near-maniacal devotion to recognizing plot lines in superhero comics at the exclusion of other expressions in comics, but it's not like the nominees have any say in that. It's also worth noting that I believe David received a dump truck full of goofy, unnecessary bullshit for the plot line being honored, so it's nice in that way to see the work appreciated.

* the cartoonist Abby Denson's Dolltopia received a Bronze in Taro Aso's International Manga Awards for this year.

* Steven Brower's greatly under-discussed From Shadow To Light: The Art And Life Of Mort Meskin was named a finalist in the Art category of the ForeWord Reviews Book Of The Year Awards.

* finally, walking through the 2011 About.com Manga Readers' Choice Awards is a fine way to spend some downtime; you're bound to be exposed to something you haven't read yet, and Deb Aoki has everything nicely linked up.
 
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Go, Read: Dissecting Dick Briefer

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John Vestevich Wins 2011 Charles M. Schulz Award

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Alan Gardner at The Daily Cartoonist reports that this year's Charles M. Schulz award for best student cartoonist went to John Vestevich of Ferris State University. Vestevich won over a finalist field consisting of himself, Mike Diliberto of Webster Univeristy and David Zaleski of Loyola Marymount. He will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Past winners of the award, sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation, including Frank Cho, Steve Breen and Nick Anderson. It's probably also worth noting that Gardner himself was once a finalist for the honor. Finalists over the years have included Lucy Knisley and I believe Greg Stump.
 
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Go, Read: Nice Run Of Romance Comics

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Catching Up With Comics Compulsion Christchurch

imageComics Compulsion, the Christchurch-based comics store that found itself under a tottering, vastly unsafe larger building in the aftermath of February 22's massive earthquake, has built on its near-immediate Facebook web presence by opening a temporary brick-and-mortar store, with Monday to Friday hours. They've been open I think just around two weeks now, and from the looks of that Facebook account are dealing with their specific situation with a lot of grace and humor. If you are in any position to lend them a hand, please consider contacting them through that account.
 
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Missed It: Oloshino

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Archaia Secures Capital From Chicago-Based Investors

imageThe hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a short piece up indicating that Archaia Comics will receive a capital investment from a group of Chicago-area investors, and that this money will be put into brand development and on-line publishing. Archaia's comics aren't always comics intended for my personal audience profile, but it seems to me they've done a fine job of staking out a publishing niche, producing high-quality works to fulfill that mandate, and maintaining a level of consistency across the board that I imagine has garnered them a lot of fans. Plus they publish the English translation of The Secret History, which I think is a gas.
 
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Go, Look: From A 1959 Issue Of Esquire

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Go, Read: Mattotti/McKean Event Report

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Jimmy Thompson's Snappy-Looking Robotman

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Go, Look: Waitin' For Satan

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Go, Look: John Buscema And George Klein

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Go, Look: Dave Cockrum's X-Men Splash Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Michael Cavna writes about the new site launched by the Iranian cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar, who left his homeland for North America in 2003.

image* Benjamin Marra previews a page of a Savage Dragon story he's working on.

* not comics: I will have next to zero interest in a David E. Kelley Wonder Woman TV show until I'm guaranteed Dancing Wonder Tot, but this headline amused me.

* Don MacPherson meditates on original art.

* Carlos Latuff on President Obama's trip to South America.

* I'm really enjoying these Frank Santoro articles about page sizes and proportions; they're like literal translations of a one-side and unforgettable comics-related dinner conversation.

* I like a few things about this list of favorite storytelling moments at a blog called The Tearoom Of Despair. The first is that I like making lists of storytelling moments, and think it's an appropriate exercise for an era sick with memorable instances like the ones described. The second is that this blogger has a much different reading profile than I do, so I'm only barely familiar with the bulk of moments selected. The third is that for half a second my tired brain believed that Grant Morrsion wrote a Buddy Bradley comic, which would be really, really weird.

* don't forget the ongoing Giant Robot show in Los Angeles to benefit charities supporting Japan.

* I took the information down about the tour so I cold relay it in individual bits on CR, but in doing so I filled to link to this preview page from Chester Brown's Paying For It.

image* my most fervent hope at this early hour -- I believe in starting with something modest, hope-wise -- is that I can extend this installment of "Random" to the point I can insert a sample of Evan Dorkin's unfinished comics character drawings. The sketches can be found here and here.

* not comics: Tony Millionaire describes how he used to sell art back when he lived in Rome, and provides photo evidence.

* at some point I'm going to go back and re-buy some of the stranger Defenders runs from my childhood. Until then, I'm going to find myself slightly lost in the middle of articles like this one. I am sympathetic to the notion that the 1970s saw a stew of weird-ass Marvel comics that eventually gave way to the more tightly-controlled franchise building of the Jim Shooter era.

* not comics: mini-profiles of the men that played Superman. I'm glad they included the voice actor that played the Action Ace in his Super Friends iteration, because that performance is very memorable -- if you hear that actor doing dialogue, you think "Superman."

* Mike Bertino knows the Portland I love.

* the cartoonist Richard Sala draws Wonder Woman. Sala makes her a total babe, as befits maybe the most underrated comics artist when it comes to drawing pretty girls and dreamy boys.

* Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Yuichi Yokoyama are among the artists asked to contribute tsunami-related art to the NYT op-ed page. I'm sending you to other blog posts rather than the NYT because I'm afraid it will start charging me if I head over there. They're lovely images, though.

* not comics: The March Of The Sinister Ducks.

* finally, my goodness just look at these samples of Simon Gane art. Considering that his last big project was a period romance set in the French art world, I think it's safe to say he's going to continue an artist worth watching for a long, long time. I only hope the industry uses him well.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Don Markstein!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Jeff Lemire!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Marek Bennett!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mark Waid!

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Quick hits
Craft
On Style In David Boring
Neat-Looking Pat Boyette Page

Exhibits/Events
Andrew Wheeler On Lunacon
Sequential At Wizard World Toronto 01
Sequential At Wizard World Toronto 02
Sequential At Wizard World Toronto 03

History
No, No, No, No, No

Interviews/Profiles
Awoko: Zapiro
Toronto Star: Joe Sacco
Newsarama: Greg Rucka
Washington City Paper: David Malki

Not Comics
Chip Kidd Designs For Bret Easton Ellis

Publishing
On Dick Tracy's New Start
Mainstream Comic Event Book Predictions

Reviews
El Santo: Ectopiary
Paul O'Brien: Various
Josh Jackson: Various
Bill Sherman: Xombi #1
Michael C. Lorah: Freeway
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Chris Marshall: The Creeper
Sean Gaffney: Excel Saga Vol. 19
Chris Mautner: The Arctic Marauder
Johanna Draper Carlson: Bunny Drop Vol. 3
Ryan Parker: Fear Itself: The Book Of The Skull
Johanna Draper Carlson: Possessions: The Ghost Table
 

 
March 20, 2011


Please Consider Voting Bill Blackbeard For The Eisner Hall Of Fame

imageI know less about Bill Blackbeard than I do any of the other dozen or so men that have had a similarly drastic impact on my life. I know that he was born in Indiana and raised in California. I know that he was in the Army during World War II, and served with honor in the European Theater. I know that the year I was born he established the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, a non-profit devoted to collecting and organizing newsprint, a practically prophetic endeavor given the coming microfiche and Internet revolutions. I also know that in the 1970s he co-authored The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics, and in doing so changed the direction of the art form and the direction of many lives in interaction with it. That includes my own.

Like most kids for whom the Smithsonian Collection had a totemic quality, I could go on and on about returning to it multiple times to unearth some new treasure or re-read an old favorite, how it provided the baseline knowledge for just about everything I came to value in one of the great flowerings of the comics art form. Its place in my personal mythology runs so deep that I can still remember the loud snap that came with its removal from a side table's under shelf, a piece of summer furniture with too many coats of paint, its special place of pride in our living room to which the giant paperback would always slightly stick. Its historical significance is undeniable. What old strips have come to prominence and wider appreciation without a section of that lovely book as its initial calling card? What percentage of those working the wonderful and rich side of comics didn't originally whet their appetites lost in its pages? Of course, a wonderful thing about the Smithsonian Collection is that one doesn't have to weave too many words about its stand-alone nature because the book is still there to be read and enjoyed, the Gottfredson and the Crane and the Johnson all within pages of each other, that intoxicating combination of popular art rewarded but never all the way respected.

Although it may be the most important work of its kind, the Smithsonian Collection is only one of over 200 books to which Blackbeard has contributed. During my brief time assembling such archival volumes, deep dismay was felt whenever, for whatever reason, a strip book might have to move into production without a Blackbeard suite of originals as its north star. Publishing decisions have for decades now been made or altered according to a single, friendly phone call Blackbeard's way. His is the quarry from which an entire subset of the comics industry has mined.

That Blackbeard established his Academy in 1968 means that each of the significant artistic flowerings of the comics art form came in conjunction with important steps taken in his curatorial and advocacy work: the undergrounds, and with it Blackbeard's collection and protection of thousands of pages of print; the 1980s, and some of the eye-popping collections of classic strip work drawn from his holdings; the 2000s, and its elaborate and beautiful book volumes, some with direct contributions by Blackbeard and others featuring those inspired and educated by him.

Bill Blackbeard is the embodiment of the impulse to see comics as more than that thing that is right before our eyes, more than that which is here and gone. He is comics' Prester John. So much of what we value and enjoy in comics today and so much of what our grandsons and granddaughters and their progeny will enjoy 100 years from now owes its rescue from oblivion to his hard work and discerning eye.

Bill Blackbeard is up for the Eisner Hall Of Fame this year. Voting on-line ends this Friday. There are so many deserving creators in line for this honor, but I hope that if you're voting you'll consider making one of those votes Blackbeard's. If he were to be removed from comics' history, the art form and the industry would look different in ways that are nearly impossible to imagine. He deserves in whatever ways we can provide the spotlight he's given so many others.
 
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Go, Read: Noise Pop 2011 Comics

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thanks, Susie Cagle
 
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Go, Look: Vanessa Davis Interviewed At From The Desk Of...

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Go, Read: Buzz Dixon On Swiping Across The Centuries

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

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Happy 86th Birthday, Bill Lignante!

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FFF Results Post #248 -- How Do You Do?

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Of Your Favorite Comics/GN Introductions." This is how they responded.

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Kristy Valenti

* Alan Moore in Bread and Wine
* Walter Cronkite in The Complete Peanuts
* Whoopi Goldberg in The Complete Peanuts
* John Waters in The Complete Peanuts
* Tori Amos in Death, The High Cost of Living

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Jeet Heer in Walt & Skeezix 1923-1924
* Alex Chun in The Classic Pin-Up Art of Jack Cole
* Alan Moore in The House on the Borderland
* Thierry Smolderen in Stuff and Nonsense
* Stephen Bissette in Prehistoric Peeps -- The Lost Art of E.T. Reed

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Dylan Horrocks in Hicksville
2. Stan Lee in The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus
3. Shizuo Ishii in Cola Madnes
4. Michael Chabon in The Escapists
5. Hugh M. Hefner in Playboy's Little Annie Fanny

*****

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Ramon de Veyra

* Alan Moore in the original Dark Knight Returns TPB
* Chris Ware in Storeyville
* Michael Chabon in The Escapists
* Lynda Barry in The Best American Comics
* Peter Milligan in The Invisibles: Say You Want A Revolution

*****

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Michael Grabowski

* Lynda Barry in Best American Comics 2008
* art spiegelman in Breakdowns (2008)
* R. Crumb in Bob & Harv's Comics
* Harvey Pekar in Bob & Harv's Comics
* C. Ware in Quimby The Mouse

*****

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John Vest

1. Robert Crumb in Tits, Ass, & Real Estate
2. R. Crumb in A Child's Life And Other Stories
3. Gary Groth in Love & Rockets #1
4. Neil Gaiman in Dori Stories
5. Susie Bright in SHE Comics: An Anthology Of Big Bitch

*****

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Sean Witzke

1. Alan Moore in the Comico edition of Grendel: Devil By the Deed
2. Cory Lewis' "Dear Comics," letter in Sharknife
3. Mike Allred's own intro to the Kitchen Sink collection of Madman Adventures
4. Paul Pope's own intro to THB Circus
5. David Linder in Escalator

*****

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Danny Ceballos

* Dorothy Parker in Men, Women and Dogs
* Arthur Steig in The Agony in the Kindergarten
* e.e. cummings in Krazy Kat
* Art Spiegelman in Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book
* Harvey Pekar in Ed The Happy Clown

*****

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Jeet Heer

* Donald Phelps, Popeye
* Art Spiegelman, Polly and Her Pals
* Dan Nadel, Prince Valiant
* Robert Crumb, American Splendour
* Seth, Thirteen Going on Eighteen

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topic provided by Kristy Valenti; thanks, Kristy!

*****
*****
 
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A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I'm realistic as to what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 19, 2011


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


COURTNEY CRUMRIN live w/ Ted Naifeh & This Can't End Well from theisotope on Vimeo
via

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Com.X - Cardiff Comics Expo 2011 from Wales Animation Movement on Vimeo.
via

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Ted Rall's Latest Animated Effort

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Graham Annable's The Smartest Dog In The World
via

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Video Trailer For Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning Philosophy And Practice
via

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Video Preview For Pood Vol. 3
via

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Stuart Immonen Sketching
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Some Sort Of Trailer For Some Sort Of Gatchaman Movie, Whether Real Or What I Couldn't Possibly Tell You
via; I think they may have officially depleted the once-rich resource of all the crap I woke up early to watch on TV between 4 AM and 6 AM on schooldays

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Sleepy Kitty Live
not comics, although Evan Sult worked as an art director at Fantagraphics and I think Devil's Due; I just think that song is catchy
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from March 12 to March 18, 2011:

1. Not one but two newspapers apologize for glib, tsunami-related editorial cartoons. The majority of responses were more encouraging, some literally, as major fund-raising efforts gear up across comics' various creative communities.

2. C2E2 opens with a lot riding on the sophomore effort. Convention has stayed mostly quiet with national press and focused on local/regional, which seems like an excellent way to approach such a show.

3. Washington City Paper basks in the feel-good glow of returning a page of alt-strips to its publication. This one's important because the several-year trend has been in the exact opposite direction.

Winner Of The Week
Gary Varvel; there were a lot of comics award nominee slates announced, too.

Losers Of The Week
Those of us not likely to visit the D.C. area anytime soon.

Quote Of The Week
"All the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame makes me think of is how much everyone sucks." -- Peter Bagge

*****

today's cover is from the great comic book series Four-Color

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*****
 
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If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 59th Birthday, Willie Schubert!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Michael Jantze!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Sergio Ponchione!

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A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 18, 2011


Go, Read: Various Comics Folk On First Favorites

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image from writer Matt Fraction's; click here for mine
 
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Friday Distraction: Slapstick #1

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Go, Look: Comic Book Ads With Cartoon Art

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So I'm Guessing The Reason I Couldn't Find Anything About L'Association's March 5 General Meeting...

... is because that meeting has been postponed until April 11.
 
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Go, Look: Paddy Mortsworth

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Go, Look: Selection Of Pop -- A Complete History!

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Your 2011 NCS Division Awards Nominees

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The nominees for the National Cartoonists Society's division awards for its Reuben Awards program were announced yesterday. The awards are given out during a black-tie awards program held over Memorial Day weekend at the NCS yearly meeting. Among those nominated in the now-thriving comic book and graphic novel categories are Stan Sakai, Darwyn Cooke, Joyce Farmer and Jill Thompson. The nominees are:

*****

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Television Animation
* Dave Filoni -- Supervising Director / Production Designer, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
* Dan Krall -- Art Director, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
* Scott Wills -- Art Director, Sym-Bionic Titan

*****

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Feature Animation
* Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, Directors, How to Train Your Dragon
* Glen Keane, Animation Director, Tangled
* Nicolas Marlet, Character Designer, How to Train Your Dragon

*****

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Newspaper Illustration
* Sean Kelly
* Michael McParlane
* Dave Whamond

*****

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Gag Cartoons
* Bob Eckstein
* Zachary Kanin
* Gary McCoy

*****

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Greeting Cards
* Jim Benton
* Dan Collins
* Teresa Roberts Logan

*****

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Newspaper Comic Strips
* Brian Basset Red and Rover
* Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley Dustin
* Richard Thompson Cul de Sac

*****

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Newspaper Panel Cartoons
* Doug Bratton Pop Culture Therapy
* Chad Carpenter -- Tundra
* Glenn McCoy Flying McCoys

*****

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Magazine Feature/Magazine Illustration
* Lou Brooks
* Anton Emdin
* Tom Richmond

*****

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Book Illustration
* Sandra Boynton Amazing Cows
* Jared Lee The 3 Wise Guys
* Mike Lester The Butt Book

*****

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Editorial Cartoons
* Bob Gorrell
* Mike Lester
* Gary Varvel

*****

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Advertising Illustration
* Anton Emdin
* Jack Pittman
* Dave Whamond

*****

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Comic Books
* Stan Sakai -- Usagi Yojimbo
* Chris Samnee -- Thor the Mighty Avenger
* Jill Thompson -- Beasts of Burden

*****

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Graphic Novels
* Darwyn Cooke -- The Outfit
* Joyce Farmer -- Special Exits
* James Sturm -- Market Day

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The outstanding cartoonist category -- the only award really known as "The Reuben" was previously revealed to be Glen Keane, Stephan Pastis and Richard Thompson. I think. I guess maybe that hasn't been officially confirmed or denied? I'm not certain.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Wally Wood's Return To MAD Altar Ego

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Politicians Condemn Hard-Hitting Steve Bell Cartoon

imageA cartoon published yesterday from award-winner Steve Bell has drawn an initial volley of mostly attacks, including its condemnation by high-level politicians from both the Conservative and Labour parties. The cartoon savages the Queen's renaming of the town Wootton Bassett "Royal Wootton Bassett" in recognition of its silent street-side tributes to the bodies of soldiers returned from the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. In a cartoon more proudly going after political double-speak, Bell calls the town "Royal Wootton Deathfest." While what would seem to be the point of the cartoons has been supported by some respondents, there wouldn't be a blog post like this one if there wasn't a bunch of response in the negative. Whether you like or detest the actual cartoon, it's nice to see a paper and a cartoonist being subjected to criticism that doesn't lead to an instantaneous retraction and apology.
 
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Go, Look: Timely's Two Gun Western #10

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Library Of Congress Opens Graphic Arts Galleries Today

imageI sort of missed this, by which I mean I totally missed this, but apparently the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library Of Congress is today opening up two of three planned Graphic Arts Galleries it has for the year 2011. A third will open in September. Opening today are a gallery devoted to the works and life of the great editorial cartoonist Herb Block. That gallery will apparently have a rotating display of 10 original Herblocks; with a 55-year career, finding a new set of cartoons twice a year shouldn't be a problem until maybe the launch party for Spaceship Herblock from Diet Coke Presents Mars Base sometime in late 2842. The second gallery will feature a range of items from the Swann Foundation's collection. (The as-yet unopened gallery will feature work from the Library's own graphics holdings.)

The new Swann Gallery will replace the former gallery of the same name that was located in the James Madison Building and then the Thomas Jefferson Building through 2004. The galleries are free to the public and will be open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM six days a week (excluding Sundays).

that cartoon is about a horrible subject, but it's still pretty damn funny some 150 years later; click through to read
 
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Go, Look: Designing The Cartoonist Laureate Seal

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

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

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Go, Look: Reed Crandall And George Evans Together

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Go, Look: Nicola Cuti And Joe Staton Together

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Go, Look: Skywald's Butterfly

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Go, Look: Even More From Panic #12

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund would like you to know of the potential dangers in crossing international borders with comics art.

image* as if solely to delight me, Scott Edelman has a couple of posts up about 1970s rejection letters, featuring 1970s rejection letters.

* I always liked the re-introduction of Banshee into the Marvel Universe in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Professor X is recruiting new mutants to fight a sentient island and somehow happens to catch most of the new team at some relatively dramatic high point in each of their lives. Banshee he finds watching the Grand Ole Opry. Being freed up to watch live music shows would be one of the best things about being a superhero, let's face it.

* Daryl Cagle walks readers through his tsunami cartoons.

* DC Comics cracks down on the comments section in one of their blogs. This is news only in that DC seems to be searching for that workable social media solution in terms of streamlining that stuff into their more general publicity efforts.

* not comics: Reginald's Death.

* Ben Morse on the 1980s Teen Titans characters: "The former New Teen Titans have in large part become the super hero equivalent of the townies that graduate high school and then rather than go to college or move on, just hang around their old haunts trying to relive their glory days but often just coming off desperate; they've become Matthew McConnaghy in Dazed and Confused or Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, but unfortunately not always as cool." That's a funny line, although I wish more people remembered the name David Wooderson, because even that character's name was funny. Also, it seems to me that Speedy as Riggins/Wooderson is sort of apt.

* Vanessa Davis joins the guest-artist crew at Slow Wave this month.

* Mark Evanier talks about the Eisner Hall Of Fame and suggests a couple of ways you might want to vote. I may do something similar later today, but Mark's suggestions are solid.

* the prolific Rina Piccolo suggests that if your sketchbook intimidates you, it may be wise to change your thinking about what that sketchbook represents.

* finally, a look at the modest achievement of the Ultimate Universe.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Shea Anton Pensa!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Bill Reinhold!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Michael J. Vassallo!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Farel Dalrymple!

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Quick hits
Craft
Market Place
A Coloring Job
Sean Phillips Paints
The Yellow Wallpaper
Gary Panter Show Flyer
Re-Designing Fantastic Four #1

Exhibits/Events
Erica Friedman's Lecture Post-Mortem
Stephan Pastis Lecture/Sighting Sells Out
Hey, Wizard's Toronto Event Is This Weekend

History
Lex Luthor, Cake-Taker

Industry
Comics For Small People

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Scott Snyder
Inkstuds: Bill Everett
Washington City Paper: Derf
CBR: Matt Kindt, Cullen Bunn
Vermont Public Radio: Ed Koren

Not Comics
I'll Miss You, NYT
No Pressure, Tintin
Nuclear Boy's Poop
He Hates Those Airline Peanuts

Publishing
Captain America #615.1 Previewed
DH's Finder Collection Series Coming Up On Good One

Reviews
Jason Thompson: Emma
Don MacPherson: Various
Page 45 Review Round-Up
Johanna Draper Carlson: Ivy
Greice Schneider: David Boring
Doug Zawisza: Brightest Day #22
David P. Welsh: Dengeki Daisy Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Comic Book Comics #5
Sean Kleefeld: Yo Gabba Gabba: Comic Book Time
Sean Gaffney: Higurashi: When They Cry Vols. 9-10
 

 
A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 17, 2011


Go, Look: Forthcoming Project Previews

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* Gone To Amerikay, Derek McCulloch and Colleen Doran

*****

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* Anya's Ghost, Vera Brosgol
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* and here we are at C2E2, the key comics event of 2011 at least in terms of the general ebb and flow and newsworthiness of such events in and of themselves. What's crucial to watch is that this is the sophomore year for that show, and the show has to show signs of catching on without the artificial boost that comes with the novelty of a first time out. The show itself is important because Chicago is a great comics city and ReedPOP is doing battle for its convention business -- at least perception-wise -- with the summer's traditional show, owned by Wizard. That would also give them shows in Chicago and New York on which to build their pop-culture convention business. So all eyes on the Windy City. I'm pulling for them.

* two things to look for. 1) The crowds generally. The slightly lighter-than-expected number of attendees is of course a primary issues, and just looking at how crowded things are is easier than figuring out which of the potential infrastructure problems -- people in Chicago are sometimes less than willing to come downtown, for instance -- may be in ascendancy. 2) The number of mainstream comics company announcements of the storyline and creative team variety. There is no better way for a mainstream comics publisher to show its fealty to a show than to make it an occasion for announcing a forthcoming storyline or creative team.

* if you're in Chicago, I always suggest eating out as much as possible. It's not the nation's greatest food city, I don't think, but it's close. And it's clearly the most democratic, with an unparalleled range of great options up and down every imaginable price range. Chicago's not-so-secret strength especially in those neighborhoods closer to downtown (and extending out to those neighborhoods that house Chicago Comics and Quimby's) is Mexican. But it's hard to go wrong. Let a local drag you somewhere, if you know a local, but sometimes guessing yields the best results.

* I'm not kidding about the value of the random restaurant guess. Anyone who tells you they know all the good places in Chicago is a liar, and ungenerous to book. Besides, it seems like every food location in Chicago has a weird and glorious history, whether or not you can actually recommend the restaurant. In some cases, this is based on the quality of food dispensed over years and years (the stalwart sit-down Everest), in others some set of indelible cultural quirks expressed for the first time in a major Midwestern city (the cook-on-your-table Ron Of Japan), in still others a forgotten food experience (take a break from shopping at the Walnut Room at Macy's) or perhaps purely on location (the multi-generational hipster-ubiquitous Clarkes On Belmont). If you get to Miller's Pub (next to the Palmer House), remember to lift a beer to the signed photo of Dick the Bruiser. If you're near an Ann Sather's, get a cinnamon roll. If you end up in legendary, long-ago scoot-off-the-highway pilgrimage burrito joint Arturo's, use the jukebox. It's hard to eat poorly in Chicago, although some of the deep-dish pizza places cut it pretty close. (If forced, try the original Uno's location or Bella Bacinos.)

* Chicago has a bunch of great comics stores, but since I'm old I still visit Quimby's and Chicago Comics when I'm in town. Within their chosen areas of expertise they're both great neighborhood shops and destination shops, which isn't as easy a marriage as you'd think.

* here's the big CBLDF-related event for the weekend. I encourage you to go, if you can. I would imagine that as a new show and with it being headquartered far away from one of the traditional neighborhoods that there's a still a hotel-bar feel to the nightly goings-on, but I could be wrong.

* it's sad to think that this weekend's SPACE goes this far down the page, but C2E2 version 2.0 is that crucial of a show. I can't imagine anything better if you're local for a creator-focused show in your hometown.

* the writer Brian Bendis talks about maybe not doing conventions for a while. That seems to me eminently logical, to take off huge chunks of times between flurries of doing shows. You could do nothing but attend conventions if you said yes to everyone.

* I did not participate, but I'm hearing in anecdotal fashion that the Comic-Con International hotel lottery went reasonably smoothly and well, at least for enough people that there wasn't a groundswell of complaints. I'm sure someone out there got screwed. If I didn't know the Comic-Con people to be honorable, I would have suggested a long while ago they probably could have solved the bulk of the hassle with complaints by red-flagging about 20 key professional/press hotel requests and making sure they were taken care of, even if everyone else struggled. But this seems like it just actually worked, at least for a number of people.

* we're closing in on the final day to send in Harvey Awards ballots. That awards program announces its winners at the Baltimore Comic-Con.

* finally, good news: Craig Thompson is planning to appear in San Diego.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Over The Surface

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Zapiro Not Certain Of Status Of 2006 Lawsuit

You know you're either doing something horribly right or horribly wrong when you can state you have no idea as to the exact status of legal actions against your cartoons, actions brought by your country's now-president, Jacob Zuma. I'm going to vote right, although a look around the Internet yields just a bit of the dissonance that Zapiro must be facing. The legal actions were launched in 2006 against a variety of sources for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the cartoons that Zapiro did during the politician's rape trial. In 2009 they seem to have been given the stamp of approval to continue, but I can't find much of anything else. What I take to be a separate legal action seems to have been engendered late last year by Zuma against a subsequent Zapiro cartoon, the infamous Rape Of Justice piece, which gained some power in part due to a visual construction of Zuma with a showerhead on his head that goes back to the rape-trial cartoons. There are even human rights commissions articles that show up in multiple years. I'm not certain that the nebulous aspect of such legal actions would make them less or more daunting to negotiate in one's daily life, although no matter how they're strung together they're all sort of shameful, doubly so being perpetuated by a sitting president.
 
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Go, Read: Caroline, Part Two

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Thailand Newspaper Apologizes For Tsunami Cartoon

imageBangkok's The Nation, an English-language publication focused on business issues affecting middle- and upper-class Thais, has issued an apology for a cartoon they from ran from Stephane "Sherff" Peray. Peray writes about the cartoon here. This follows on the decision earlier this week by the Malaysian paper Berita Harian to apologize for a cartoon of their own for roughly the same reason: it took too lightly a major, international tragedy. A few things jump out at me. One is that this seems less wacky than the Malaysian cartoon, but that's personal preference. Two, I'm not sure I saw this stated directly, but I'm inferring from what's been written that Peray did his initial cartoon very early on in the news cycle and it was used later, after more sympathetic cartoons done in the interim. That makes it kind of a structural problem as opposed to Peray being up for "least sensitive human being" award, as might have been the case had he made it on the day it was published. Three, these things are happening instantly, which almost certainly underlines the role of social media technology in the way papers interact with their readership.
 
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Not Comics: Edd Cartier Illustrations In Astounding

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

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

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Go, Read: The Thomas/DeZuniga Gladiator Adaptation

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Go, Look: Vintage Joe Kubert

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Some Day I'll Start A Wulf The Barbarian Blog

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Go, Look: CURB

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* ReedPop's Lance Fensterman talks to Erin Jameson in advance of this weekend's big C2E2.

image* a review of Everyone Loves You When You're Dead brings out the cheeky caricaturist in Ward Sutton.

* hey, it's an interview with Ben Katchor at The Long And The Shortbox Of It! As someone who failed to get Katchor to interview with The Comics Journal 50 times back in the day (I expect he'll do one there soon), I'm jealous! Katchor, of course, is one of the great cartoonists of our time.

* why some characters don't work.

* the always formidable Brigid Alverson has comics-related Japan disaster updates at Robot 6 and on her own blog.

* DC makes clear its intentions on a book that serves as a tribute to the industry's loss of writer and animation producer Dwayne McDuffie without directly benefiting his family or something similar, which has caused some creators to balk. This kind of awkward weirdness may be, sadly, a more appropriate tribute to McDuffie's career than something that had gone over more smoothly.

* saving for later: Todd McFarlane interviews Stan Lee.

* I'm not that familiar with the writing at 4thletter! by Esther Inglis-Arkell, but this longish meditation on a forthcoming DC event series was interesting to me because it suggests that one enters into such a series with DC from the basis of their characters, which seems to me what they're going for a bit more than Marvel does.

* when Sean Kleefeld noticed the twitter account, the 99 apparently had more members than followers.

* I would read a Doc Savage comic by Chris Schweizer.

* the site Weekly Crisis catches writer Nick Spencer claiming a initial print run sell-out on the first trade for his popular Morning Glories book, and compares it to the public numbers for the book.

* Davids Brothers and Uzumeri discuss Joe The Barbarian, a series that seemed to loom large in previews and then burrowed away from sight as the comic books came out.

* I don't know if it's more shocking that Batman went to Yale or that he occasionally weeps uncontrollably.

* finally, the retailer and industry advocate Brian Hibbs talks about Xombi #1, and mentions what happens when a retailer gets behind a book -- they recommend the shit out of it to all of their customers. This is the primary, important transaction of the Direct Market, the sponsored buy based on a relationship between seller and buyer -- it's one that can't really be duplicated elsewhere. I'm not a serial comics buyer -- I couldn't be if I wanted to be, unless I learned to teleport -- but I have been one in the past and it's powerful when you're a weekly consumer to have someone take something off the stands and stick it onto your little buy pile.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Richard Pachter!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Patrick McDonnell!

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Quick hits
Craft
Learning From Guido Crepax
Eric Skillman On Designing TCJ #301

Exhibits/Events
Go See Van Jensen
Cutest Post Of The Day
Go Support The CBLDF This Weekend

History
That Is One Ugly Critter
Spider-Man Costume Critique
Seven Seas, Seven Superheroes

Industry
And I Will Celebrate By Drinking Beer
Ty Templeton Sends Al Jaffee A Birthday Card

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Robert Kirkman
Sequential: Joe Sacco
Flog!: Shannon Wheeler
Broken Frontier: Matt Kindt

Not Comics
Well, Yeah
All Those Orange Rocks Can't Be Pleasant To Think About

Publishing
On DC In June
A 15 Love Preview
The Next Terry Moore Project
Steven Hall Intro To Unwritten Collection
Preview Of Dash Shaw Story In Forthcoming MOME

Reviews
Dan Nadel: Chimo
Rob Clough: Various
Nina Stone: Venom #1
Greg McElhatton: Yotsuba&!
Erica Friedman: Octave Vol. 6
Grant Goggans: One Or Double
Michael C. Lorah: Prince Valiant Vol. 3
Don MacPherson: Vertigo Resurrected: Finals #1
Robert Greenberger: The Comics: The Complete Collection
 

 
A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 16, 2011


Your 2011 Doug Wright Awards Nominees

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The Doug Wright Awards, established in 2004 to "recognize the best in English-language comics (or translations of French) by Canadians living at home and abroad," has announced its 2011 nominees slate. They are:

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Best Book

* Bigfoot by Pascal Girard (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Chimo by David Collier (Conundrum Press)
* Lose #2 by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
* Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen (Top Shelf Productions)
* Streakers by Nick Maandag

*****

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Best Emerging Talent

* Aaron Costain, Entropy #5
* Alex Fellows, Spain and Morocco
* Keith Jones, Catland Empire (Drawn and Quarterly)
* James Stokoe, Orc Stain Vol. 1 (Image)
* Tin Can Forest (aka Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk), Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press)

*****

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Pigskin Peters Award
(Non-Traditional And Avant-Garde Comics)

* Indoor Voice by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Stooge Pile by Seth Scriver (Drawn and Quarterly)
* So I've Been Told by Maryanna Hardy (Conundrum Press)
* Spotting Deer by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
* Wowee Zonk #3 edited by Patrick Kyle, Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma (Koyama Press)

*****

The DWAs have also announced that they'll be naming the legendary alt-comics creator David Boswell to their "The Giants of the North" hall of fame. I couldn't be happier to hear that. Boswell also created the related one-off Heartbreak Comics, one of the greatest single-issue comics of all time.

The nominees were selected by a committee of Chester Brown, Seth, Jerry Ciccoritti, Bryan Munn and Sean Rogers.

The winners will be decided by a committee of Sara Quin, Michael Redhill, Anita Kunz, Marc Bell and Mark Medley.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony held Saturday night of TCAF 2011.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Wally Wood Animal Sketches

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: A Publishing News Column

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Nate Powell has not one but two projects in the can: Any Empire will be out in July/August from Top Shelf; The Silence Of Our Friends will be out from First Second in early 2012. This post at Powell's web site gives the status on a bunch of a different projects.

* the Frazer Irving art in this extended Xombi preview looks quite lovely. No surprise there, of course.

* Groundwood Books and First Second have acquired Canadian/U.S. rights to a second graphic novel by the Skim team of Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki: Awago Beach Babies. It may be a while before we see it, but it sounds good.

* Comic-ish launches.

* here's one I bookmarked then promptly lost: a short publishing-news piece that indicates DC sees that first Superman: Earth One book -- the stand-alone graphic novel with Clark Kent in a hoodie -- as a success and a future publishing priority.

* the least surprising headline of the last 10 days or so. The negative aspects of this are all on the publisher, I think, or at least anything anyone sees are all on the publisher. As usual, there's more to this kind of thing than meets the eye.

* Kurt Busiek endorse Neil Vokes' Eagle.

* hey, there's a Vanessa Davis comic in the March/April edition of Psychology Today. Remember magazines?

* Brigid Alverson has a brief preview of another fantasy/pulp book from Dark Horse, with the usual sterling pedigree. I'm not certain how big an audience there is for work like that, but I tend to enjoy projects like that one when I get to read them.

* what the talented artist Sean Murphy is working on.

* DC has apparently announced its next sort-of big deal overriding comic storyline, and once again it sounds like an extended meditation on how awesome the DC superhero characters are.

* in case you missed it, Jim Shooter is blogging.

* another one I missed is here: the updated contributors' page at Tribune Media Service for the creators on their Dick Tracy strip: Mike Curtis and Joe Staton. Speaking of strips, here's a one-paper effort that's making the move to national syndication.

* finally Theo Ellsworth reminds us that he's hard at work on a comic called The Understanding Monster. Joseph Lambert has a work-related post up here on what various young cartoonists are doing.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Something Eleanor Davis Is Working On

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egad
 
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Your 2011 Prix Bédéis Causa Nominees

The Festival de la bande dessinée francophone de Québec has announced the 2011 nominees for its Prix Bédéis Causa awards program, given out during that Spring festival since its inception in 1988. David Mazzucchelli, Darwyn Cooke and Jimmy Beaulieu are among those names with familiarity to North American English-language comics fans. The nominees are:

*****

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Prix Réal-Fillion
(to a Quebec author that worked on their first professional album)

* Sylvain Lemay, Pour en finir avec novembre (Les 400 coups)
* émilie Villeneuve and Julie Rocheleau, La fille invisible (Glénat Québec)
* Samuel Leblanc, Parfum de lilas (Les 400 coups)

*****

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Grand prix de la ville de Québec
(to the best French language graphic album published in Quebec)

* Chroniques Sauvages, by François Lapierre (Glénat Québec)
* La Fille Invisible, by émilie Villeneuve and Julie Rocheleau (Glénat Québec)
* Apnée, by Zviane (Pow Pow)

*****

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Prix Albéric-Bourgeois
(to the best french-language graphic novel by a foreign publisher)

* Luck, by Michel Falardeau (Dargaud)
* Comédie Sentimentale Pornographique, by Jimmy Beaulieu (Delcourt)
* Aspic Volume One: La Naine Aux Ectoplasmes, by Jacques Lamontagne and Thierry Gloris (Soleil)

*****

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Prix Maurice-Petitdidier
(to the jury choice for a French graphic novel published elsewhere)

* La Mort De Staline, by Fabien Nury et Thierry Robin (Dargaud)
* Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli (Casterman)
* Parker Volume One: Le Chasseur, by Richard Stark and Darwyn Cooke (Dargaud)

*****

The ceremony will also see the awarding of the Prix Albert-Chartier, which goes to an individual that has made an impact on the world of French comics in Quebec.

This year's jury was Pierre Blais, Mathieu Forget, Marco Duchesne, David Kelly and Patrick Marleau. The festival is scheduled for April 13-17, with the award winners being named on April 15.

*****
*****
 
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I'm A Total Fiend For Frank Robbins These Days

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Charges Against Irwan Abdul Rahman Dropped

Regional media sources are reporting that charges facing cartoonist and blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman for a satirical blog post last Fall have been discharged after the accused man's counsel asked that they be dropped.

Irwan -- also a prominent newspaper editor in Malaysia -- was cited last Fall for an Onion-like post about the nation's largest utility published in March 2010 called "TNB to sue WWF over earth hour." A complaint was filed by Tenaga Nasional Bhd corporate communications manager Ismail Abd Rahman on April 2, suggesting this was a malicious action. Irwan removed the post and apologized later that month. The case had been scheduled for a hearing November 24 but I believe that was either moved, or a subsequent hearing scheduled, for late February. It is believed that in petitioning the prosecutor's office, Irwan's representatives noted that there is an exception for satire in Malaysian law concerning such matters.

Irwan thanked the court and the agency that bailed him out after his arrest, vowing to continue his satirical ways but to be more careful in doing so.
 
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Not Comics: Virgil Finlay In Weird Tales

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A Few Comics-Related Japan Crisis Updates

* I totally forgot the cartoonist Ryan Cecil Smith is in Japan. He's fine.

image* Keith Knight's cartoon on the whole matter is here.

* while Internet rumors indicating that Satoshi Tajiri was a victim of the earthquake/tsunami were authoritatively denied in several quarters, they persist for other creators, notably Yuko Shimizu and Aoyama Gosho. I would definitely definitely definitely describe this a story about the nature of Internet rumor-mongering until some actual news gets reported, but their nature -- why Tajiri, exactly? -- fascinates.

* the cartoonist Lars Martinson is donating proceeds from direct sale of his Japan-focused graphic novels to related charities.

* the CBR group blog Robot 6 notes Los Angeles manga/anime participation in a fund-raising effort. Here's an update on a charitable effort facilitated at least in part through the All About Manga site. Here's a round-up of related efforts at Daily Cross Hatch.

* major kudos to Tokyopop's Stuart Levy for lending a hand on the ground in the affected area.

* the news clearinghouse Anime News Network has a list up of delayed or otherwise-affected manga and anime releases. That same site has two valuable, continue-to-be-updated posts: an industry check-ins list, and a canceled events/exhibitions list.

* a stand-alone article at ANN discusses the cancellation of two sort-of competing events, including the Tokyo International Anime Fair, due to damage to the facility and restrictions on air travel.

* finally, a few of you sent in links to the official Viz statement from Monday.
 
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Go, Look: Even More Wulf The Barbarian

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Go, Look: Harvey Eisenberg Vs. Harvey Eisenberg

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Needed: More Arch-Villains That Ride Bicycles

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Go, Look: Chuck Clayton And Archie

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Go, Look: Jann Of The Jungle #17

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* an excellent slideshow of cartooning and caricature as being used on the ground in Libya.

image* Rob Clough interviews Mari Naomi for the still-new TCJ. I'm glad they're using Clough. That guy does the work.

* this has already made the rounds, but in case you haven't seen it: Batman 1935.

* the cartoonist Terry LaBan writes about some of the on-line marketing involved in launching his Muktuk Wolfsbreath webcomic.

* here's a bunch of digital stories I've missed: IDW is pressing a stand-alone app strategy, this time focused on its Infestation crossover series; Viz is offering one of its comics ahead of the print release date and continues its push for 99 cents comics. Brigid Alverson's piece here on kids and comics is also worth reading here for its matter-of-fact tone regarding digital comics. Finally, David Brothers has written a nice "where we are right this minute" piece here.

* not comics: what Nicholas Gurewitch is up to right now.

* not only that, but he attended as "Brian Dowling."

* so Borders is probably going to close more stores based on what they hear back on rent concessions from the various landlords involved. This lines up with what most people thought about the initial "final collapse" announcement, that there probably wasn't enough collapsing involved. This is all very bad news for the fabric of comics reading, although most companies have seen this coming for so long from so far away that every possible steeling-self move has been made.

* here are some numbers regarding the number of women holding various positions within comics.

* once again, I've read that comic book. It was pretty good, but it sure wasn't worth $150,000.

* finally, RC Harvey salutes Dick Locher's long run on Dick Tracy. Those are always difficult comics to grasp -- the ones that aren't popular to satisfy all the critics but definitely had fans and kept the property alive in some way or another. Harvey's the man I'd send into that rhetorical burning building every time.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Todd McFarlane!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Steve Lafler!

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Quick hits
Craft
Archer
Beautiful Art For Auction
Infestation Sketchbook Art
A Rejected New Yorker Cover
Sketches Of Pizza Island Studio

Exhibits/Events
See Chris Samnee This Weekend

History
Please Let One Be Willie Lumpkin
On Attending Cons Back In The Day
Dennis The Menace Will Be 60 This Year
Look Who's Dressed Like Barnabas Collins
What Mike Sterling Bought Himself For His Birthday

Industry
Oh, No
Japan Yahtzees
You Really Should

Interviews/Profiles
CBLDF: Terry Moore
Newsarama: Chris Yost
Comic Riffs: Team Kill Shakespeare

Not Comics
John P Goes To The Library
Hear The Marvel World Of Icarus
More On The Cancellation Of Eisner
Poor-Performing Stop-Motion Capture Movie Kills All Others Of Kind

Publishing
Nuclear Crisis Cartoons
Secret Prison #4 Contributors

Reviews
Jog: Weapons Of The Metabaron
Sean Gaffney: Butterflies, Flowers Vol. 6
 

 
A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 15, 2011


I Might Pay $17K For A Decent-Sized JPEG Of This Crumb Stuff

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It could be that at some point in the next 40 or so years that there are only a few big names that occasion any interest at all in 20th Century comics art.

Update: I owe Troy Williams $17,000.

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Even bigger here.
 
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Your 2011 Stumptown Comic Arts Awards Nominees

Portland's Stumptown Comics Fest has announced its finalists list for this year's Stumptown Comic Arts Awards. They are:

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Best Artist

* Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
* Roman Muradov, "Etc", A Cave
* Stuart Immonen, Moving Pictures
* Brian Hurtt, The Sixth Gun
* Brecht Evens, Night Animals

*****

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Best Writer

* Carla Speed McNeil, Finder: Voice
* Cullen Bunn, The Sixth Gun
* Greg Rucka, Stumptown
* Aaron Renier, The Unsinkable Walker Bean
* Ben Marra, Benjamin Marra's The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd (A Work of Satire and Fiction)

*****

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Best Cartoonist

* Carla Speed McNeil, Finder: Voice
* Johnny Ryan, Prison Pit Vol. 2
* Sarah Glidden, How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less
* Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
* Adam Hines, Duncan the Wonder Dog

*****

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Best Letterer

* Johnny Ryan, Prison Pit Vol. 2
* Madeline Flores, The Girl and the Gorilla
* Carla Speed McNeil, Finder: Voice
* Aaron Renier, The Unsinkable Walker Bean
* Brittney Sabo, Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny, Vol. 1

*****

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Best Colorist

* Brecht Evens, Night Animals
* Emily Carroll, His Face All Red
* Alec Longstreth, The Unsinkable Walker Bean
* Ben Costa, Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk
* Sarah Glidden, How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less

*****

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Best Publication Design

* Zack Soto, StudyGroup12 #4
* Brecht Evens, Night Animals
* Michael DeForge, Spotting Deer
* Jason Little, Motel Art Improvement Service
* Elizabeth M. Pusack, Pretty Ugly

*****

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Best Anthology

* StudyGroup12 #4, edited by Zack Soto
* Gazeta: Comics from Bangkok to Belgrade, edited by Lisa Magnum and Maria Sputnik
* Elfworld v.2 #1, edited by Francois Vigneault
* AX: A Collection of Alternative Manga, edited by Sean Michael Wilson
* Nix Comics Quarterly, Edited by Ken Eppstein

*****

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Best Small Press

* I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt
* Green Monk by Brandon Dayton
* The Whale by Aidan Koch
* Flesh and Bone by Julia Gfrörer
* Layered Jacket by Corey Lewis

*****

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Best New Talent

* Michael DeForge
* Adam Hines
* Emi Lenox
* Sarah Oleksyk
* Julia Gfrörer

*****

Vote here.

There will also be a "Reader's Choice" award whereby voters will select three of their favorite comics between April 2010 and April 2011, any format, and the winner will be compiled from those votes. Judges were Michael Allred, Brandon Graham, Laura Hudson, Michael Ring and Jason Leivian. The festival is scheduled for April 16-17.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Excellent Dan Clowes Collection Photos

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Webcomic Jeepers Concludes Seven-Year Run

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Andre Richard has concluded the webcomic Jeepers, which I believe was one of the original features at the multiple-strip publishing platform Girlamatic. The feature ran for about seven years. Comics available on-line is a notion that remains in its relative early years: a strip concluding after a long run, one more feature no longer updating, these change the overall balance of things far more than the loss of a comparably prominent newspaper strip has an effect on that field. Also, congratulations on the long run.
 
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Go, Read: America's Next Top Model By Johnny Ryan

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

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

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

*****

JAN111081 SUDDENLY SOMETHING HAPPENED GN (MR) $20.00
I wasn't all the way enamored of this well-regarded, award-winning work, but its visual sophistication puts it in a different class than most of what you'll see on your comic shop's rack and I think a lot of readers out there will feel strongly about this work if they give it a chance.

NOV100040 YOUR HIGHNESS TP $7.99
I did not know there was a comics prequel to the forthcoming action-comedy, let alone that it was drawn by Sean Phillips.

JAN110808 CASANOVA GULA #3 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99
I'm not seeing a whole bunch of stuff in the serial comic book format this week, but I quite enjoyed the copies of these I saw in digital form, frequently. The coloring works and I'm not certain it would, and Matt Fraction's overlapping narratives and the generally dense visual strategies employed by the entire team reward second, third, fourth readings. If you want something more punchy/kicky, there's new Iron Man, a Captain Americaverse spin-off featuring Crossbones, and probably something by the reliable Jeff Parker. Nothing jumps out at me from the DC stuff.

JAN110885 JOHNNY CASH I SEE A DARKNESS GN $17.95
This is the one I'd be dying to hold in my hands this week, Reinhard Kleist's graphic novel about the original Man In Black. I'm aware that the work is out there, but I don't think I've read a single word on whether it's any good or not. So to have it in my hands would be wonderful.

JAN111287 KLASSIC KOMICS KLUB HC (O/A) (MR) $14.95
I wonder if Johnny Ryan's lacerating and prodigious humor work is getting a second look because of how great the cartooning is in Prison Pit. I mean, I hope so, but it's not like Ryan's humor work fails to stand on its own.

DEC100964 KRAZY & IGNATZ TP 1919 1921 BENEVOLENT BRICK $24.99
Hey, it's a book featuring page after page of the best comic ever. Krazy Kat is so good that if you don't get it, it's better for you in the long run that you do whatever is necessary to change yourself until you do get it.

JAN110893 DOWNSIZED GN $6.95
Indie comics legend Matt Howarth springs an original graphic novel on the world of funnybooks. This is one of those projects where the idea of it makes me happy, above and beyond the value of the comic itself. I hate to says this too frequently, because it loses powers, but comics is distinguished by the length of career enjoyed by its most faithful practitioners.

*****

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

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

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

If I failed to list your comic, that's on me. I apologize.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: A Bit More From Panic #12

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Manga Creators Respond To Disaster With Encouraging Art

imageThere's a smattering of links up around the Internet pushing attention and eyeballs towards the art created by prominent manga-industry cartoonists in response to the disastrous earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown traumas of the last few days. Anime News Network was up early and quickly with a mirror gallery in English featuring a number of great creators aligned with the Morning and Evening publications. Brigid Alverson Robot 6 has an excellent breakdown of what's out there more generally, including a heartbreaking series of Takehiko Inoue portraits distributed via Twitter. Here's that Inoue link directly, and another mention of the effort, this time in the Bangkok Post.

Anime News Network has a giant list of "I'm well" updates from a host of creators related to the manga and anime industries here. As is usually the case with this kind of thing anymore, at least one prominent creative personality was the subject of a death hoax carried out through social networking sites.
 
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Go, Read: A Rob Ullman Hockey Story

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Your 2011 Eagle Awards Nominees

The Eagle Awards, a British-based fan awards program that's been functioning -- I believe off and on -- since 1976 (American fans of a certain age will remember when the designation showed up on copies of Uncanny X-Men) have announced their 2011 nominees through publication of their final voting survey at the link above. Congratulations to all of the nominees. Everyone go vote. The winners will be announced in May.

*****

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Favorite Newcomer Writer

* Al Ewing
* Paul Cornell
* Bryan Lee O'Malley
* Scott Snyder
* Nick Spencer

*****

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Favorite Newcomer Artist

* Bryan Lee O'Malley
* Rafael Albuquerque
* Sara Pichelli
* Sean Murphy
* Fiona Staples

*****

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Favorite Writer

* Grant Morrison
* John Wagner
* Warren Ellis
* Ed Brubaker
* Robert Kirkman

*****

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Favorite Writer/Artist

* Gabriel Ba with Fabio Moon
* Darwyn Cooke
* Bryan Lee O'Malley
* Jeff Lemire
* Mike Mignola

*****

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Favorite Artist: Pencils

* J. H. Williams III
* Dave Ryan
* Carlos Ezquerra
* Mike Mignola
* Becky Cloonan

*****

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Favorite Artist: Inks

* Gary Erskine
* Carlos Ezquerra
* Bill Sienkiewicz
* Becky Cloonan
* Mike Mignola

*****

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Favorite Artist: Fully-Painted Artwork

* Ben Templesmith
* Jock
* Alex Ross
* J. H. Williams III
* D'Israeli

*****

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Favorite Colorist

* Len O'Grady
* Jeff Balke
* Dave Stewart
* Laura Allred
* Laura Martin

*****

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Favorite Letterer

* Richard Starkings
* Chris Eliopoulos
* Annie Parkhouse
* Jim Campbell
* Russ Wooton

*****

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Favorite Editor

* Tom Brevoort
* Matt Smith/Tharg
* Steve Wacker
* Scott Allie
* Todd McFarlane

*****

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Favorite Publisher

* Image Comics (inc Top Cow)
* Dark Horse
* DC Comics/Vertigo/WildStorm
* IDW
* Marvel

*****

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Favorite American Comicbook: Colour

* Doctor Who by Tony Lee plus Various (IDW Publishing)
* Hellboy by Mike Mignola plus Various (Dark Horse)
* Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison plus Various (DC Comics)
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight by Various (Dark Horse)
* Amazing Spider-Man by Various (Marvel)

*****

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Favorite American Comicbook: Black and White

* Demo Vol.2 by Brain Wood and Becky Cloonan (DC Comics)
* Echo by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
* Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower (Image Comics)
* The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
* RASL by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Comics)

*****

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Favorite British Comicbook: Color

* Torchwood by Various (Titan Books)
* Dandy by Various (DC Thomson)
* 2000AD by Various (Rebellion)
* The Man of Glass by Martin Flink (Accent UK)
* Doctor Who Magazine by Various (Panini Comics)

*****

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Favorite British Comicbook: Black and White

* Commando by Various (DC Thomson)
* Futurequake by Various (Futurequake Publishing)
* Zarjaz by Various (Futurequake Publishing)
* Dogbreath by Various (Futurequake Publishing)
* Paragon by Various (David Cavendish)

*****

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Favorite New Comicbook

* Alan Moore's Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows (Avatar Press)
* War of the Independents by Dave Ryan (Red Anvil Comics)
* American Vampire by Stephen King, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque (DC Comics/Vertigo)
* Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (DC Comics/Vertigo)
* S.H.I.E.L.D by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver (Marvel)

*****

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Favorite Manga

* One Piece by Eiirchiro Oda (Shueisha/Viz Media)
* Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (Square Enix/Viz Media)
* Berserk by Kenatro Miura (Hakusensha/ Dark Horse Comics)
* Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto (Shueisha/Viz Media)
* Bleach by Tite Kubo (Shueisha/Viz Media)

*****

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Favorite European Comicbook

* Sky Doll by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa (Soleil/Marvel)
* L'Histoire Secrete by Edward Gauvin and Jean-Pierre Pecau (Delcourt/Archaia Studio Press)
* Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Darguad/Dark Horse Comics)
* Requiem: Vampire Knight by Pat Mills and Olivier Ledroit (Nickel Editions/Panini Comics)
* The Scorpion by Desberg Desberg and Enrico Marini (Dargaud/Cinebook ltd)

*****

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Favorite Web-Based Comic

* xkcd.com by Randall Munroe
* Freak Angels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
* Hark! A Vagrant! By Kate Beaton
* Axe Cop by Malachai and Ethan Nicolle
* Questionable Content by Jeph Jaques

*****

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Favorite Single Story

* A Cat Named Haiku by Mark Poulton and Dexter Weeks (Arcana Studio)
* Legends: The Enchanted #0 by Nick Percival (Radical Comics)
* Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark by Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard (Image Comics)
* Daytripper #8 by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (DC Comics/Vertigo)
* Amazing Spider-Man #625: Endanger Species by Joseph Kelly and Max Fuimara (Marvel)

*****

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Favorite Continued Story

* The Walking Dead #73-79: Too Far Gone by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
* Hellboy #47-49: The Storm by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse)
* 2000AD #1650-1693: Judge Dredd: Tour of Duty (Rebellion)
* Invincible #71-continuing: The Viltrumite War by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley (Image Comics)
* Fables #94-98: Rose Red by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (DC Comics/Vertigo)

*****

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Favorite 2010 Cover

* Batwoman #0 by J.H. Williams III
* Daytripper #2 by Gabriel Ba
* Axe Cop: Vol 1 by Ethan Nicolle
* War of the Independents by Dave Ryan
* 2000AD Prog 1700 by Jonathan Davis Hunt

*****

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Favorite 2010 Original Graphic Novel

* Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke
* Hellblazer: Pandemonium by Jamie Delano and Jock
* At The Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft and Ian Culbard (SELFMADE HERO)
* Superman: Earth One by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis (DC Comics)
* Scott Pilgrim Vol 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Fourth Estate)

*****

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Favorite Reprint Compilation

* Doctor Who: Fugitive by Tony Lee, Al Davison and Matthew Smith (IDW Publishing)
* Absolute All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly (DC Comics)
* Charley's War: Great Mutiny by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun (Titan Books ltd)
* Batwoman: Elegy by Gregg Rucker and J.H. Williams III (DC Comics)
* The Walking Dead: Volume 13 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn (Image Comics)

*****

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Favorite Comics-Related Book

* Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee by Jim Lee and Bill Baker (Titan Books ltd)
* 75 Years of DC Comics by Paul Levitz (Taschen GmBH)
* The Horror, The Horror: Comic Books The Government Didn't Want You To Read by Jim Trombetta and R. Spiel (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)
* Cover Run: The DC Comic Art of Adam Hughes by Adam Hughes (DC Comics)
* Mega-City One Archives by August Hann and Aaron Dembski-Bowden (Mongoose Publishing)

*****

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Favorite Comics-Related Movie or TV Show

* Scott Pilgrim Vs the World
* Iron Man 2
* Kick Ass
* The Walking Dead
* The Big Bang Theory

*****

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Favorite Comics-Related Website

* Girls Read Comics Too
* Newsarama.com
* Comic Book Resources
* Bleeding Cool
* Comic Attack
* Comics Alliance

*****

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Favorite Magazine about Comics

* Wizard (Wizard)
* Alter Ego (TwoMorrows)
* Back Issue (TwoMorrows)
* Comic Heroes (Future Publishing)
* Tripwire (Tripwire)

*****

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Roll of Honor

* Carlos Ezquerra
* John Byrne
* David Mazzuchelli
* Bryan Lee O'Malley
* Dave Gibbons

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Dustin Harbin's Prints

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Go, Watch: Profile Of Algerian Political Cartooning

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An English-language segment provided by the multi-lingual news service France24 (starts at about 8:37) throws the spotlight on a joint exhibition featuring work by Ali Dilem and Jean Plantu (maybe the only exhibition of its type I can remember seeing being held outside), moves over to a few words from Dilem (he's not thanking the ruling elites for his right to expression because he does not derive those rights from them) and then sidles over to the young cartoonists' collective 12-Tours for a discussion of the practical limits of that expression (you can make a graphic novel, but you can't show nudity). I don't know about you, but just seeing an Algerian young cartoonists collective is somehow touching and amazing -- it looks like any other cartoonists' shared space, and of course it should. There's also this great moment early on in the segment where two guy check out a cartoon and crack up -- the look on their face isn't just amusement, it's that spark of recognition that here's someone getting at a truth.
 
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Not Comics: Art From Amazing Stories #1-2

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

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Ger Apeldoorn!

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of George Wunder

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Go, Look: Marvey Mystery Comics #55

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Go, Look: Vintage George Evans

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So Wolverine And Hercules Walk Into A Bar...

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Newsarama profiles the troubles facing comic book legend Russ Heath.

image* Alex Deuben does the great work of introducing Richard Thompson and his mighty Cul De Sac to Comic Book Resources readers who might never have seen those comics before.

* the critic Matt Seneca writes a long piece about comics on-line and what that means from a variety of perspectives.

* the High Five anthology is available here in PDF form.

* the Fantastic Four were once his neighbors.

* Bob Temuka writes about the appeal and occasional disappointment of licensed comics. Speaking of which, Dynamite picks up the licensing rights to the Voltron franchise. The main thing I remember about Voltron is that it seemed to be one of those shows that you got mad at for not being a better show. I'm certain it was someone's favorite, though. I'll repeat my offer to anyone out there: I'll write your QED comic book for free. Also I think someone should license SCTV or something related and do an anthology with all the humor cartoonists.

* the hardest working man in the writing about comics business, Jeet Heer, writes on racism in old comics as a stylistic choice.

* if you're a fan of newspapers, make a mental not where you were when you read the claim made in this post.

* the writer J.M. DeMatteis muses on his first published comics story, recently re-published on-line.

* Kelly Sue DeConnick and ChrisCross on Supergirl, for a time.

* finally, you can sort of read a battle between TCJ 1.0 vs. TCJ 2.0 here; I'm not certain if anyone won but I feel like I lost. Speaking of which, that post led me to this tribute from Andrei Molotiu about the now-defunct message board. I still don't miss it.
 
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Happy 74th Birthday, Dan Adkins!

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Happy 47th Birthday, John Nee!

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Quick hits
Craft
A Panel Of Jack Staff
A Page Of Sarnath Banerjee

Interviews/Profiles
Speech Balloons: Garen Ewing
Washington City Paper: Josh Eiserike
Talking Comics With Tim Gabriel Hardman

Not Comics
Things One Finds On Gary Groth's Desk
That Is Indeed A Clever-Looking Costume

Publishing
Eisner Canceled

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Sean Gaffney: Toriko Vol. 4
Bill Sherman: Portrait Of M&N
Greg McElhatton: iZombie #11
Michael C. Lorah: iZombie Vol. 1
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various Strip Installments
Naomi Fry: The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980
Chris Marshall: Johnny Red: Falcon's First Flight
 

 
A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 14, 2011


Congratulations To Julia Wertz On A Great Run At FartParty.org

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The talented cartoonist has moved camp to JuliaWertz.com.
 
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No More Letting Her Wake Up Surrounded By Longboxes

Microsoft patents a dating site system whereby secrets shames can be hidden until later but still factor into the matching. Like comic books.
 
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Missed It: Ruben Bolling On Teachers + Schools

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I Do Whatever Paul Karasik Tells Me To Do: Don't Miss Seth's Deconstruction Of Ben Katchor

I linked to the review, but Paul Karasik notes correctly that the belle of that particular Seth-written ball is this brief but enlightening theory/craft dissection of Katchor's work.
 
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Go, Look: Nicely-Scanned Richard Corben Gallery

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Malaysian Cartoon About Earthquake/Tsunami Criticized

imageA cartoon by Mohamad Zohri Sukimi that ran in the Malay-language publication Berita Harian showing Ultraman running away from a object-laden tsunami wave drew immediate criticism from readers of the publication and others that learned about it through social media. An on-line petition aimed at the publication quickly garnered signatures from hundreds of readers. Rather than digging in or pretending that the Facebook-driven outrage ran on a different track than the publication and its mission, editors at Berita Harian ran an almost immediate and full apology through their own Facebook presence. A six-paragraph apology was run on the front page of the print newspaper earlier today. That last linked-to piece discusses a related media gaffe, a television station rushing to sell advertising on its extended coverage of the disaster. I think this may be the original apology here.

Berita Harian is headquarted in Kuala Lampur and has a daily readership of approximately 150,000 people.
 
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Go, Look: Brecht Evens' Pinokkio

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Missed It: Washington City Paper Brings Back Alt-Strips

Michael Cavna at Comic Riffs has the press release up from Washington City Paper whereby that publication is celebrating the return of a comics page. Starting with the issue coming out late last week, WCP is running a page with The City (Derf), Clown Time (Shawn Belschwender), Wondermark (David Malki) and Up All Night (Michael Kupperman). They will continue to run Ben Klaasen's Dirt Farm in its own location within the paper.

As the press release explains, the publication's comics were the victim of cost-cutting moves when the publication was purchased by alt-paper giant Creative Loafing. What's funny about that explanation is that the PR seems to be saying that the cuts were more easy than wise. The addition of the comics page is part of an overall redesign at the publication. Once a thriving home for off-kilter comic strips from a variety of skilled practitioners such as Matt Groening, Lynda Barry and Tony Millionaire, the alt-weekly has declined sharply simply in number of slots given over for the cartoonists working that specific field, driving several cartoonists from the field or to readjust what they do for different audiences and more modern expectations. The pillow to the head that was this extended development was one of the more important and least talked-about developments in art comics publishing over the last decade, and it's good to see a paper move in the other direction.
 
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Go, Read: Lengthy Post On Golden Age Cover Design

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if you can only read one post today, this would be a pretty good one
 
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Gary Varvel Wins Cartooning With A Conscience Award

imageAlan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist has been all over Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel's series of award-winning, community-focused cartoons, so I'll defer to his publication of the press release indicating that series of works has won Varvel the 2010 Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning With a Conscience. Varvel has been working in Indianapolis media for three decades, and is one of the few long-running, veteran editorial cartoonists working from a basically conservative political point of view.

Varvel's "Path Of Hope" ran I think bi-weekly during the summer of 2010 (July to October), and focused on the lives of economically disadvantaged people in Indianapolis -- a former jewel of the rust belt and with the recent recessionary economy hampering the city's ongoing transformation into more of a modern, multiple-industry metropolis, Indianapolis has plenty of poor communities from which to choose. The Star published his cartoons on a full-color page in the newspaper and in slideshow form on the web site. It seems the model of expanding on the presence of a staff cartoonist within one's print pages. Tom Tomorrow, Steve Brodner, Art Spiegelman, Jules Feiffer and Ted Rall are past winners of the award, which has been given out since 1999 and adopted its current name last year. Varvel will travel to New York at the end of the month to accept his award and discuss the winning work.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Millie The Model In London

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Ben Schwartz Joins LA Review Of Books As Comics Editor

The write Ben Schwartz has joined The Los Angeles Review Of Books as its first Comics Editor, according to a note Schwartz released to as many comics people on his e-mail contact list as qualified.

The to-be-launched literary magazine will cover the field of publishing from a literary perspective in similar fashion to The New York Review Of Books. Schwartz has written about comics and cartoonists for a battery of national publications, and edited Fantagraphics' 2010 effort The Best American Comics Criticism.

Publishers interested in putting Schwartz and his publication on his mailing list are encouraged to
 
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Go, Look: Popeye #23

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of The DeCarlo Yardbirds Stuff

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Go, Look: Dugan's Leather Joker

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Go, Look: All About Jim Engel

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Go, Look: Space Pirates Of Xarpot

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Joe Sacco is not only one of the best cartoonists but one of the most articulate, so I'm saving up this interview with the cartoonist at Inkstuds like it's treasure, because it is.

image* there's a bit of stuff around the Internet as it relates to cartooning the earthquake/tsunami crisis being experience in Japan. Michael Cavna and Daryl Cagle have round-ups of cartoons on the matter. Chris Butcher asks that you consider joining him with a donation to one of the charities, suggesting Doctors Without Borders. Scott Morse is auctioning off a limited print of this fine looking samurai/Totoro image, proceeds to go to the Red Cross.

* S. Clay Wilson is always worth one's time.

* I hadn't seen this when I first got up, but I guess the super-talented art director Jacob Covey and his family were made temporarily homeless on their Hawaii trip because of the tsunami, with damage coming near but not actually on the place they're staying. Still: a night in the car. He updated on his Facebook account to let everyone know they're safe and sound.

* a look at the walls in Mike Dawson's studio.

* things are going to continue to be weird for a while as people drop prices on certain projects and not on others and both other individuals and companies will look at the sales results and try to figure out if they mean anything for their specific situation.

* it's always fun to look at cartoonists' thumbnails. Here's a set from Eleanor Davis.

* Stephan Pastis is a frighteningly effective blogger.

* speaking of people with skills away from the drawing table, it's been proven over and over that the cartoonist Seth is an excellent writer about comics. Here he reviews Ben Katchor's latest.

* don't like a mainstream comics plotline? Create your own!

* this headline made me laugh. This title makes me laugh, but there's a slight edge to it.

* finally, despite what this headline suggests, it seems to me that while Hawkman's origin seems more confusing now, it was never all that clear. I do love that weird visual with the birds and the man-heads, though.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Tom Batiuk!

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Happy 45th Birthday, JP Stassen!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Simon Fraser!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Steve Bissette!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Brian Walker!

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Quick hits
Craft
Five Images
Batman: Hobo
Everlasting Boy
Godzilla: The Process
Evan Dorkin Work In Progress
Saturday Sketch Swap Special
Inner Focalization In ACME #20
Kill Your Boyfriend Originals For Sale

Exhibits/Events
STAPLE Report

History
It's A Man Thing
The Rube Under The Bed
Why So Few Jewish Characters In Mainstream Comics?

Interviews/Profiles
Seattlest: Larry Reid
Fantagraphics: Joe Daly
Taddle Creek: Dave Lapp
ReadyMade: Gabe Fowler
Paul Gravett: Javier Mariscal
Communication Arts: Jillian Tamaki

Not Comics
Danny Stiles, RIP
Goodbye You Crummy Casino
Tom The Dancing Bug T-Shirts

Publishing
Or Not To Blog
On Scalped #50
Sam Henderson's Posting Strategies

Reviews
Evan Dorkin: Various
Don MacPherson: Ivy
BK Munn: Book Of Hours
Grant Goggans: Chopper: Surf's Up
Greg McElhatton: Shadoweyes Vol. 1
Michelle Smith: Wandering Son Vol. 1
Matt Seneca: City-Hunter Magazine #1
Michael C. Lorah: Secret Agent Corrigan Vol. 1
Sean Gaffney: Library Wars: Love & War Vol. 4
Erin Jameson: Che Guevara: A Manga Biography
Chris Marshall: Fantastic Four: The Resurrection Of Galactus
 

 
A Few Items Off The Shelves Put Up On eBay

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I have a few doubles up on eBay in the hopes that they'll find a nice home. Clicking through the image should take you there. They're comics that my dad owned, that I never quite sorted out of the collection and for which I have very little room. I'd love to see them sell but I know what today's second-sales are like. Anything that does go, that money will go right back into the creation of CR.
 
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March 13, 2011


Go, Look: Hooded Utilitarian Enjoys Re-Design

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Go, Read: Frank Santoro On Page Sizes, Proportions

Here.
 
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Go, Look: BilBOLBul 2011 Facebook Gallery

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Go, Look: Great Scans Of 1953's Menace #8

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Go, Look: Frank Frazetta Eerie Covers

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Go, Look: John Severin At Atlas

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Go, Download: Dave Lasky's Earthquake Preparedness Comic

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it couldn't hurt if you're in one of the areas at risk
 
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Facebook Justifies Itself By Letting Me See This Picture

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Mike Sterling!

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

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

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Marc Sumerak!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Andrew Weiss!

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Happy 90th Birthday, Al Jaffee!

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Happy 58th Birthday, RA Jones!

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FFF Results Post #247 -- The Five Seasons

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Imagine You Live In A World Where Seasonal Change Is Defined By The Visual Nature Of Reality Assuming A Different Cartoonist/Comic Artist's Style. Name Five Artists. Assign One Of Four To Each Season, And Assign A Fifth To A Strange, Off-Kilter Unseasonal Period That Rolls Around Once Every Several Years Unexpectedly." This is how they responded.

*****

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Jason Michelitch

1. Carla Speed McNeil (Spring)
2. Dan DeCarlo (Summer)
3. Charles Schulz (Fall)
4. Moebius (Winter)
5. Roger Langridge (Off-kilter season)

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Ethel Hays (spring)
2. J.R. Williams (summer)
3. Frank King (fall)
4. Al Capp (winter)
5. George Herriman (off-kilter season)

*****

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Jamie Coville

* Spring: Warren Kremer and the Harvey Comics Crew
* Summer: Steve Rude
* Fall: Seth
* Winter: John Buscema
* Off Kilter: Paul Pope

*****

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Aaron Costain

* Anders Nilsen (Spring)
* Carl Barks (Summer)
* David B (Fall)
* Jon McNaught (Winter)
* Jim Woodring (Off-Kilter Season)

*****

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Jamil Thomas

* Jeff Smith -- Winter
* Fabio Moon -- Spring
* Brandon Graham -- Summer
* Mike Mignola -- Autumn
* Frazer Irving -- Strange/Off-Kilter/Unseasonal

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Vanessa Davis (Spring)
2. Jaime Hernandez (Summer)
3. Seth (Fall)
4. Chris Ware (Winter)
5. Mary Fleener (Off-Kilter Eternal Summer)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Spring -- linda medley
2. Summer -- frank cho
3. Autumn -- charles addams
4. Winter -- bill watterson
5. Lucha season -- jamie hernandez

*****

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Richard Baez

1. Phillip Bond (Spring)
2. Gilbert Hernandez (Summer)
3. Guy Davis (Autumn)
4. Herge (Winter)
5. George Herriman (x season, obviously)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. John Cassaday (Spring)
2. George Perez (Summer)
3. David Mazzucchelli (Fall)
4. Bryan Lee O'Malley (Winter)
5. Jack Kirby (Wildcard)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Charles Schulz (Spring)
2. Bill Williams (Summer)
3. Debbie Drechsler (Fall)
4. Jeff Smith (winter)
5. Brendan McCarthy (wild card)

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Harold Gray (Spring) (silver linings and crisp white light)
2. John Stanley (Summer) (Thinking of his sublime beach stories)
3. Lynda Barry (Fall) (Rust colors and childhood mixed with blood)
4. Frank Santoro (Winter) (Based on his schematics and palette, like snowflakes)
5. George Herriman (Off-kilter season) (Perhaps a perpetual night, a twilight realm?)

*****

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Kenneth Graves

* Paul Pope (spring)
* Scott McCloud, Zot color period (summer)
* Hope Larson (fall)
* Jeff Nicholson (winter)
* Junko Mizuno (strange overripe season)

*****

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The MZA

1. Tove Jansson winter (This is perfect for pseudo-hibernating w/ 100 cups of tea.)
2. Brecht Evens spring (His comix put me in mind of fertility.)
3. Xaime summer (Bikinis -- 'nuff said.)
4. Kevin Huizenga fall (Everyone's walking and thinking.)
5. George Herriman (season out of time)

*****

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John Platt

1. John Totleben (Spring)
2. P. Craig Russell (Summer)
3. Scott McCloud (Fall)
4. Stan Sakai (Winter)
5. Matt Howarth (Off-kilter season)

*****

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Shirley Clarke

1. john allison (Spring)
2. sarah macintyre (Summer)
3. tom gauld (Fall)
4. woodrow phoenix (Winter)
5. daryl cunningham (Off-kilter season)

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Richard Thompson (spring)
2. Steig (summer)
3. Gipi (fall)
4. Jacques Tardi (winter)
5. Renee French (off-kilter)

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Gilbert Hernandez (Summer)
2. Patrick McDonnell (Autumn)
3. Kevin Huizenga (Winter)
4. Larry Marder (Spring)
5. Victor Moscoso (off-kilter season)

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Jaime Hernandez (Spring)
2. Jill Thompson (Summer)
3. Kaz (Fall)
4. Charles Burns (Winter)
5. Basil Wolverton (Silly Season)

*****

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Matt Silvie

* Barry Windsor-Smith (spring)
* Milo Manara (summer)
* Richard Sala (fall)
* Al Hirscheld (winter)
* Renee French (off kilter season)

*****

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Leigh Walton

* Bwana Spoons (Spring)
* Jaime Hernandez (Summer)
* Jamie McKelvie (Fall)
* Bill Watterson (Winter)
* Jim Steranko (Weird)

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Walt Kelly (spring)
2. Jimmy Swinnerton (summer)
3. Frank King (fall)
4. Basil Wolverton (winter)
5. Jack Kent (off-kilter)

*****

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Des Devlin

* Spring: Patrick McDonnell
* Summer: Michael Rabagliati
* Fall: Hermann Mejia
* Winter: Charles Addams
* A Man for All Seasons: Happy 90th birthday, Al Jaffee!

*****

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Matt Seneca

* Doug Wright (winter)
* Winsor McCay (spring)
* Guido Crepax (summer)
* Garrett Price (fall)
* Yuichi Yokoyama (off-kilter season)

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Rumiko Takahashi (Spring)
2. Amanda Connor (Summer)
3. Sean Gordon Murphy (Fall)
4. Seth (Winter)
5. Bernie Mireault (Off-Kilter)

*****

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Josh Fitzpatrick

* Jaime Hernandez (Spring)
* Kevin Maguire (Summer)
* Mike Mignola (Fall)
* Seth (Winter)
* Gary Panter (Off-Kilter)

*****

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Greg McElhatton

1. Charles Vess (spring)
2. Jaime Hernandez (summer)
3. Sarah Oleksyk (autumn)
4. Jeff Smith (winter)
5. Takehiko Inoue (monsoon)

*****

topic suggested and initial answers provided by Jason Michelitch; thanks, Jason

*****
*****
 
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Today's Forgotten Comic I Saw Sorting My Funnybooks

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I was actually going to go with Jeremy Eaton's "A World Of Trouble" but I couldn't find an image to swipe.
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


via


via
























 
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March 12, 2011


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from March 5 to March 11, 2011:

1. Zunar will have his day in court, as a date is set for the efforts of his publisher to lift the ban on the cartoonist's books.

2. Direct Market figures for February suggest that the really lousy numbers for the overall health of that market as reported in January are likely aberrant, but also show that the numbers at the top of the periodicals segment of that key market are way, way down. What this means to you probably depends on what you think that market's strengths and weaknesses are.

3. Regime change at venerable comics magazine The Comics Journal, with Comics Comics' Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler taking the reins of TCJ's web iteration and refashioning it with an emphasis on magazine-style articles and an aggressive archives program.

Winner Of The Week
On most weeks I'd go with Emerald City Comicon: much enjoyed by the pros and exhibitors, much-lauded for their structural/organizational tweaks and well-attended by the fans. This week, however, it's hard to argue against Ronald Searle.

Losers Of The Week
Fans of the comics work published in Arthur.

Quote Of The Week
"We've been pretty patient with the name-calling. Now, knock it off with the childish epithets. No one is personally attacking you, so we ask the same courtesy when commenting here. Thanks." -- Dan Nadel, spoiling it for those of us who had over a week before someone went the straight-up insult route on the new TCJ commenting system and had to be Kim Thompsoned. You can take the board off of the site; you can't take the site all the way off the board.

*****

today's cover is from the great comic book series Four-Color

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 31st Birthday, Nathan Schreiber!

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Happy 83nd Birthday, Sy Barry!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Graham Nolan!

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Every Time I Sort My Comics I Stop And Read The Flames Of Gyro

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March 11, 2011


Go, Bookmark: Friendship Town

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Changes In North Africa Aid Expression Across Region

An article by David E. Miller in Menassat suggests something other recent pieces on cartoon expression in the post-Bouazizi world either hinted at or got to in a way that it didn't quite register with me: the softening of censorious clamps on certain kinds of speech have been felt across the region, no matter the state of protests or turmoil within the individual country. Even better, the cartoonists involved -- well, at least those interviewed -- aren't satisfied with fewer restriction in terms of subject matter; they want the freedom to comment on whatever and whomever they please. Given the years of distressing restrictions on editorial cartoons in the region including the use of the courts to punish those who dare comment on something involving an elected official or royal family member, this has to be seen as a positive sign.
 
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Go, Look: Well-Scanned Steranko Cover Mini-Gallery

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Analysts: February 2011 Direct Market Estimates

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has offered up 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 February 2011.

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

My favorite numbers cruncher John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has begun his analysis of the month here and especially here.

Two things leap out. The first is that the top-selling comic book sold a tad over 70,000 copies, which is a really, really low number. The second is that no one's rioting, which indicates there is news to ameliorate that dismal top-of-charts number. And there is: the overall market isn't as bad as those top figures, and they indicate that last month's more dire overall numbers were the anomaly that John Jackson Miller though they were.

I'm still not sure what to do with those top of market figures, or exactly what they mean. My hunch -- and it's only a hunch, and not a very informed one at that -- is that they indicate conservative buying habits due to general disenchantment with/lack of excitement over the top of the line offerings at both mainstream companies. So there's a likelihood that could change with Marvel's upcoming event and whatever DC has planned to coincide with its Green Lantern movie. No matter what the strength is indicated on down the line at each major publisher I can't see these figures as good news. I would hope that this meant that there was enough concern at these companies to ensure good behavior of the kind that might lead to another slow build; recent history tells me that it won't engender much of anything except late-night bar talk about outside gigs in case the whole thing goes even further south.

Not a lot of individual comics pop out to me. That's a fine chart placement and raw number for the Morning Glories, DMZ and Daytripper titles over on the graphic novels chart. It's nice that Adrian Tomine can sell a couple of thousand books into that market -- likely to be more because some of the retailers will buy Scenes From An Impending Marriage from their book distributor.
 
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Go, Look: Drew Weing Draws Lots And Lots Of Cats

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Collective Memory: Emerald City Comicon 2011

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning Emerald City Comicon (ECCC), held March 4 to March 6, 2011 at the Washington State Convention Center in the city of Seattle.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

*****

Institutional
* Convention
* Convention Center
* Host City

Audio
* Comic Geek Speak 01
* Comic Geek Speak 02
* Deconstructing Comics
* Deconstructing Comics 02
* The David Boze Show

Blog Entries
* Brandon Graham

* Chris Samnee
* Christian Without The Pulpit
* Coregeek

* Downtown Seattle 01
* Downtown Seattle 02
* Downtown Seattle 03

* Erika Moen

* Ice Cream Is Going To Save The Day
* Inkstuds

* Keith Knight

* Off The Written Path

* Periscope Studios
* PING! Mother Box PING!

* Robot 6

* Same Bat Panel
* Seattle P-I
* Seattlest 01
* Seattlest 02
* Sequential Review
* Slog 01
* Slog 02
* Stan!

* The Short Box
* Thunder Echo

* West Seattle Blog
* Wordpress Index

Miscellaneous

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* Bleeding Cool 03
* Bleeding Cool 04
* Bleeding Cool 05

* ComicBookMovie.com
* Comic Book Resources Index
* Comics Alliance Index
* Comics Waiting Room 01
* Comics Waiting Room 02
* Comics Waiting Room 03

* Digital Spy

* Everett Herald
* Examiner.com

* Greg Hatcher

* Kristy Valenti At Comixology

* MTV Geek Index

* Pop Culture Zoo (Index)

* Seattle Met
* Seattle Times

* Tacoma News-Tribune

* West Seattle Herald

Photos
* annbee1985

* CBR
* Coregeek

* Detsuh

* Fantagraphics

* Inkstuds

* rezombiekiller 01
* rezombiekiller 02

* Seattle P-I
* Seattle Times 01
* Seattle Times 02
* stewickie

* The Best Photo Not In A Set
* Tim Young's Facebook Gallery

Twitter
* #eccc
* Emerald City Comicon Search

Video
* Artist's Alley Tour

* Birghita13
* Blue Sunset Design
* Busted Pixel Dance Party

* Comics Alliance Panel
* Comics In Hollywood Panel

* Dark Horse Panel
* DC Nation Panel
* Diego And Rafa Enjoy The Monorail

* imaginessence

* Live Coverage At TFAW

* Promotional Video For The Show

* RyanOfSeattle

* Seattle Times

* Tara's ECCC 2011 Wrap-Up

* white245 set

*****



*****

special thanks to Isaac Alexander

*****

image

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: The Cafe Oop Zoo

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

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

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Go, Look: Kin Platt Draws Captain Future

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Go, Look: Frolicky Fables

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Go, Look: More From Panic #12

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Go, Look: More Wulf The Barbarian

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* wait, whoa, what? Ronald Searle mini-comics?

image* please do whatever is necessary to help convince Darryl Cunningham to start selling prints of his work, including his great cityscapes. I've seen some prototypes of what this kind of thing might look like, and they're very nice. In fact, I'd love to see Cunningham get commissioned to do this kind of thing for certain town or even various comic conventions.

* a nice honor to the writer Pat Mills.

* Jimmy Beaulieu makes an appearance over at Inkstuds. Suddenly Something Happened was one of the two or three most ignored comics that came out last year, with visual flair to burn.

* not comics: Van Halen seems like the hardest of all the rock bands to figure out in terms of some basic historical legacy, some go-to conception of what they did and what of them a fan today might be asked to carry around. They're the most disposable of all the really popular rock bands, and the most active in altering their trajectory in a way that causes a real break from the work that made them really popular and the work they made once they got there. Fun shows when you were a kid, though.

* nice to see the CBLDF interview one of comics most passionate volunteers, Pam Noles.

* a bunch of Bill Everett work goes up at Blake Bell's place.

* I like the looks of this cover for a Marvel mega-event tie-in starring Howard the Duck.

* Peggy Burns fully endorses the new Comics Journal. As does Christopher Allen.

* Alan Gardner notes that Team Cul De Sac art is beginning to roll in. In cased you missed it, Team Cul De Sac is the Richard Thompson-related effort to raise money to fight Parkinson's Disease.

* the prolific cartoonist Rina Piccolo offers up a "Dear Disgruntled Reader" letter template for your commentary.

* this is fun: on the occasion of artist Guy Davis' departure from the B.P.R.D. books, Sean Collins pulls out seven memorable moments from the comics Davis did.

* finally, this list of comics stores owned by publishers is fun even though it misses Librairie D+Q.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Lea Hernandez!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Simon Pierre Mbumbo!

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Quick hits
Craft
Striking Viking Cover
Consider The McCarthy Dredd

Exhibits/Events
Tiny Festival Report

History
On The Moore And Bolland Joker

Industry
Bottles Up For The Hero Initiative
Top 10 Manga From Which To Learn History

Interviews/Profiles
TCJ: Blaise Larmee
Newsarama: Sean McKeever

Not Comics
Snow Moomin
Bully Is Going To Gotham City!
Peter Laird Takes Photos Of Ice
History Of Science Fiction Mindmap
Nice-Looking Christophe Blain CD Cover
Great Gig For The Talented Mister Gaiman
You Can Also Just Do This With Old Atlas Comics

Publishing
On Yuri's Day
A Short List Of Steampunk Comics

Reviews
Chris Murphy: Venom #1
Sean Kleefeld: Lewis & Clark
Sarah Boslaugh: Lewis And Clark
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Night Animals
Sean Howe: The Art Of Jim Starlin
Richard Bruton: Lucky Luke Vol. 26
Richard Bruton: In The Beginning...
Richard Bruton: Vertigo Resurrected
David Welsh: House Of Leaves Vol. 2
Erica Friedman: Sasamekikoto, Vol. 8
Richard Bruton: Astonishing X-Men: Exogenetic
Johanna Draper Carlson: BPRD: Hell On Earth: Gods #3
 

 
March 10, 2011


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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* judging from the enthusiasm of exhibitors and fans, the comfort with which the publishers are beginning to settle in, and size of the crowds visible in photographs, last weekend's Emerald City Comicon looks like it was a success. Of particular note is that I believe this is the first year the show had gone to three days. Moving off of a weekend into a weekday is the kind of move that can have a greater effect on the overall feel of the show than it has in terms of being able to judge that day a success in and of itself.

* it's not an overnight success, though -- next year's March 30 to April 1 effort will be the 10th anniversary version of ECCC. Still, that's a great comics city and one worth visiting and a city of regional proximity to a lot of funnybook fans, so I have to imagine that like Heroes Con in Charlotte, it's in for the duration.

* the Comic-Con's hotel reservation day seemed to go as well as possible. Although we'll likely hear another round of complaints as room confirmations are sent, the frustrations seem to me more about the basic quandary -- there are fewer hotel rooms than people who want them at the price being offered -- and less about things like the inability of fans to get onto the site or get through on the phones. I also imagine that as more and more people who remember the way the show used to be gain access to thing like publishers' rooms and apartment rental mechanisms, or just stop going, the pain in getting a hotel room will no longer be the unpleasant surprise it is for older fans and seem more and more like the cost of doing business.

* TCAF gains some and loses some.

* PAX East 2011 is this weekend. If you didn't know that, you ain't going. The London Comic And Small Press Expo is this weekend as well.

* Matthew Brady takes a look at C2E2 programming and asks the question that has to have occurred to anyone even halfway thinking about the show.

* finally, now that we're in convention season Douglas Wolk has a short list of suggestions for how to approach things as someone in attendance. It's good advice.
 
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Go, Read: Joe Decie Interview

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Court Challenge To Zunar Book Ban Moved To April 27

imageA challenge to a ban on books created by the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has been moved to April 27, seemingly to facilitate some legal business that needs to be done before that petition can be properly heard. This is the publisher's petition on behalf of 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun, which challenges the government's assertion that these are dangerous tomes that lead to civic unrest in part by pointing out that these were on-line for a long time before print publication without anyone rioting or destroying property. I think that while no one's saying this out loud, and this is mostly a guess on my part, the thinking in some circles may be that the government wasn't seriously interested in the ban for any reason other than harming Zunar's ability to conduct business by disrupting the book's print publication. There's a parallel petition that the article mentions, one that covers another Zunar work, although it's difficult to ascertain its progress.
 
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Go, Pledge: Andrew Farago's Berke Breathed-Related Project

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this ends today; Farago and CAM wouldn't ask if they couldn't put it good use *and* reward the donors
 
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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On Recent Publishing Efforts

imageI was intrigued by this piece from the retailer and industry advocate Brian Hibbs. While I'm not sure "series that not only kick your ass, but then makes a fluffy pillow from the remains, snuggles you tight, then rekicks that ass" is an achievable goal for mainstream comics publishers serving a still very profitable periodicals market, there's something in the litany of oddball choices that Hibbs describes that makes you feel for his position and that of his fellow retailers. One could argue that the corporate investment that was made in both Marvel and DC some months ago now should, if nothing else, reduce the manic, ad hoc qualities of the way the lines are cobbled together, that the votes of confidence in the existing editorial teams (or their natural succession) that have come since 2009 should carry with them the expectation that publishing moves be routinely executed with solid, professional aplomb. In a time of seismic shifts in the way we consume, consistently hamstringing traditional strengths seems an odd strategy.
 
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Go, Look: Another Beautiful Peter Wheat Comic

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The Escapist Eyes March 16 Opening In New Location

imageA local business news article on the Berkeleyside site indicates that the store The Escapist is looking at a March 16 opening date. This is the store that purchased back stock after the closure of the legendary Comic Relief. In addition to that day and date news, the story indicates that new store's owners declined to continue in the same location -- the nature of the deal offered The Escapist is in some small dispute, it seems -- and that the store will now open on Claremont Avenue.

Update: A place holder site is up from which we grabbed the graphic employed in this post. The location's street address is given.
 
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Not Comics: Wally Wood Travel Posters

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Go, Look: Dave Cockrum Black And White Work

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Go, Look: Paul Norris Draws Brick Bradford

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Go, Look: The Social Significance Of Valerie Smith

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Go, Look: Weird Stuff From Ha Ha Comics #4

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Go, Look: Caroline

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Scott Edelman finds a memo that provides Stan Lee's view of panels at 1970s conventions: include artists, employ engaging moderators, no use of the word "horror."

image* the cartoonist Roger Langridge posts some orphaned pages from his work on the Muppet franchise completed before that license and others under the Disney umbrella were switched from BOOM! to Marvel.

* the writer Jason Aaron talks about good days and bad.

* this well-traveled Squidface And The Meddler link takes you about as pretty an interview as I've ever seen, with the artist/cartoonist Jesse Jacobs.

* whenever I see cartoons about gas prices, I'm always reminded of that great Tom Toles cartoon where a group of people are expressing all sorts of moderate opinions about the USA's involvement in the middle east when the question suddenly becomes something like "how many non-US citizens are you willing to see die for cheap gas" and the answer suddenly becomes "all of them." I'm probably not remembering that all the way correctly, though.

* I always liked this P. Craig Russell piece.

* buy an entire issue's worth of flats from The Comics Journal. That red stuff is called rubylith, incidentally.

* not comics: Newsarama talks to filmmaker Maria Cabardo about her documentary film on Jeffrey Jones.

* could more DC book cancellations be imminent? Applying the First Wave standard to the entire line, Chris Arrant asks the question.

* The Center For Cartoon Studies has launched a blog devoted to visiting cartoonists.

* finally, I hate to say it, but I've read Amazing Fantasy #15. It's pretty good, but maybe not million-dollar good.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Randy Chang!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Troy Hickman!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Jason McNamara!

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Quick hits
Craft
Bakuman Fan Art Contest
I Hope This Doesn't Get Anyone Fired

Exhibits/Events
Chris Schweizer Happy To Be Invited To Dragon*Con

History
What Art Will Last?
Yay 4 Meat Yum Yum
Deathlok: Not An A-Lister
A Brief History Of ROM: Spaceknight
An Extended Meditation On Scott Pilgrim
In Praise Of The Comic Book Advertisement

Industry
The Decision To Buy
Archie 2010 Sales Figures
Cartoon Movement Makes App Available

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jeff Lemire
CBR: Steve Niles
CBR: Rick Remender
Robot 6: Yuichi Yokoyama
Meathaus: Chris McDonnell

Not Comics
Awww...
Leopard Women Of Venus
Spider-Man Musical In For Rehab; Taymor Role Reduced

Publishing
Candy Or Medicine Vol. 13 Previewed
Whatever Happened To Magical Pokemon Journey?

Reviews
Ken Parille: Bianca
Brian Hibbs: Various
Kate Dacey: Wounded Man
Christopher Allen: Cover Run
Dave Ferraro: Annihilators #1
Greg McElhatton: A Friendly Game
Chris Mautner: Bakuman Vols. 1-3
Michael C. Lorah: Cross Game Vol. 2
David P. Welsh: Dorohedoro Vols. 1-3
Johanna Draper Carlson: Honey West #3
Bill Sherman: Locke & Key: Head Games
Nina Stone: Ultimate Captain America #3
 

 
March 9, 2011


Go, Look: Ward Sutton's Spidey Super Theater Stories


 
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Go, Bookmark: Muktuk Wolfsbreath, Hard Boiled Shaman

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Go, Read: Connor Willumsen's Blackhold

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: A Publishing News Column

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

*****

* AdHouse Books has a nice-looking PDF preview available of its forthcoming Jesse Jacobs book Even The Giants. I'm not familiar with the cartoonist, but there's certainly a lot that's visual appealing in the previewed pages.

* congratulations to the cartoonist Tom Neely for finishing art chores on his next graphic novel.

* it's old news at this point, but of the publishing-news article on the re-launch of The Comics Journal, I think I liked this one at Sequential best. Speaking of publishing news stories squarely in the rear view mirror, here's Christopher Allen on the cancellation of various First Wave titles.

* wow.

* check out the Chris Ware design on that Tank Takuro manga collection from Presspop. I am greatly looking forward to that one.

* the talented cartoonist Joseph Lambert has posted a photo of an I Will Bite You cover for you to stare at.

* the writer Nick Spencer has signed an exclusive with Marvel, although since he'll be continuing his independent comics, I would assume the primary purpose of the agreement is to keep him working for Marvel over DC. [Begin Update] Whoa, total failure of reading comprehension! Spencer is also going to be allowed to continue his gig on DC's THUNDER Agents property. I would imagine there could be some gamesmanship involved with this, or it could simply be he wanted to honor that gig and follow his muse the rest of the way out to exhaustion with his work on that title. Pretty interesting, though. Thanks to the dozen or so of you that pointed out my lousy blogging. [End Update] This seems to me a bit more noteworthy than usual, although only a bit, in that Marvel is believed by many of the folks of my acquaintance who pay attention to mainstream comics to be leading the talent development game over their direct competitor.

* in related news, Garth Ennis' return to Marvel seems close.

* the writer Robert Kirkman and the cartoonist Rob Liefeld will be doing a comic book together, something with time-travel and someone recruiting a younger version of himself to fight something-or-other. I hope the humor inherent in someone going back in time to access a second set of his own talents is explored a bit.

* I, Kurt Busiek, and many, many others will no doubt be glad to hear that longtime CR figure of obsessive linking Tom Gauld has a new book coming out from D+Q later this year called Goliath.

* I'm sure to spend a significant amount of time in hell diagramming sentences like that last one.

* finally, the artist Guy Davis is leaving the B.P.R.D. run of mini-series. Davis has anchored the primary Hellboy spin-off and is as responsible as anyone out there for that bunch of books carving out a marketplace niche, doubly notable because there aren't a whole lot of comics kind of serving that classic independent-comics audience. I know of people whose primary and nearly sole connection to a comics shop is picking up these comics. Davis' work has not only been well-received by Hellboy readers, it is generally well-regarded for the craft skills on display and for Davis' inventiveness with design. I agree with Sean T. Collins' appraisal here.

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update: Ramirez Pleads Guilty

* Jamie Paulin Ramirez pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Philadelphia district court to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, in relation to an attempt by individual in the US and abroad to kill the Swedish artist Lars Vilks for his cartoon putting the head of Muhammed on the body of a dog -- not one of the Danish cartoons, but a doodle made by the artist in the context of the upset caused by those original cartoons. Ramirez was part of a group that included Colleen "Jihad Jane" LaRose that conspired on the Internet to support the murder of Wilks and to receive training themselves for the purpose of carrying out various planned-on, nefarious activities. LaRose entered a guilty plea on related charges in early February. Ramirez could receive up to 15 years in prison. The evidence against Ramirez apparently included e-mail correspondence and a trip to Ireland where she met with other co-conspirators.

* Ibn Warraq writes about the complicated and at time stuffed with assumptions issue of whether or not the depiction of Muhammed has been banned, but how he gets there may be of more interest: describing a 1955 public art incident in New York that engaged many of the same issues.

* an arrest in Glasgow related to the Stockholm bomb blasts on Christmas reminds that the Lars Wilks cartoon was a reason publicly cited for the terrorist incident.
 
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Go, Read: The Outer Space Spirit

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Culture Fund Pays $1.4 Million For Ronald Searle Drawings

The Wilhelm Busch Museum Of Caricature And Drawing in Hanover, Germany announced early today that they've paid over $1 million for a massive repository of cartoons, illustrations and lithographs. The collection includes the original for perhaps his most famous work, his coverage of Adolf Eichmann's trial for Life. The announcement was made in advance of a Searle exhibit opening later this month, and the money came from something called (approximately, as it doesn't show up via a google search in English with this exact phrasing) the Lower Saxony state culture fund.

The 91-year-old artist continues to draw from his home in France. The British Museum also apparently has some Searle work in its collection.
 
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Go, Look: A Snootful Of Cosmo

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Go, Look: He's Coming For Me!

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Go, Look: More Star Wars From Pizzazz

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That's One Chat-Heavy Golden Age Comic Book

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Go, Look: Joe Kubert's Irresistible Tor Art

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Go, Look: Wulf The Barbarian #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* if it's before Noon ET when you're reading this, they open up the San Diego hotel reservation later today. If it's ten minutes after Noon ET, sorry, they're all sold out.

image* well, at least my dog isn't dead: I totally missed while linking to it yesterday that the profile of the great Sam Gross at The Comics Journal was actually an interview with the very funny cartoonist.

* not comics: R. Fiore reviews The Illusionist.

* two hints about that hotel reservation thing. 1) Go through that first link, find the hotel list and make a list 1-20 of the hotels you'd like to stay in -- that's what you'll be asked to do once in the process. 2) download explorer if you don't use it. I'm sure it's become better but for years the travel agency CCI has used had a hard time with many of the browsers out there. It's probably changed, but why risk it? Also remember that they're supposedly taking one day's deposit immediately, so reserve more than one room at your own wallet-related risk.

* in the continuing quest to find a price point of maximum effectiveness, Viz drops prices on digital editions for March.

* Chris Sims profiles the Red Hulk comics being done by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman. As is usually the case, Chris is right: making the character's arch-enemy the Watcher is pretty damn funny.

* Ryan Cecil Smith is hard at work.

* here's a not-comics treat: John Porcellino walks around Denver and shows us the sights via photograph and prose. Denver fascinates me because we used to go into the train station when I was a kid and the town was like a zombie-movie set, just with bums instead of zombies. Now it's one of those modern, revived downtowns.

* finally, enjoy this handy beginners' guide to the craziness that is Batman: Odyssey, the "are you reading this?" e-mail generator of the year.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Ivan Grubanov!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Pier Nicola Gallo!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mike Kazaleh!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Rick Burchett!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Brian Biggs

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Happy 88th Birthday, Paul Fung Jr.!

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Quick hits
Craft
Flower

History
On The Invisibles

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: Mike Bullock

Not Comics
Sam Bosma's Illustrations
Bootleg Superhero Merchandise
Go Buy Some Lucy Knisley Prints

Publishing
Jog On This Week's Comics
Batman, Inc. #3 Previewed
Zombies Vs. Robots Returns
Forthcoming DC Comics Previewed

Reviews
Richard Pachter: Various
Don MacPherson: Various
Sean Gaffney: Toradora Vol. 1
Sean Rogers: New Character Parade
Johanna Draper Carlson: Age Called Blue
Tucker Stone: Johnny Red: Falcons' First Flight
Johanna Draper Carlson: Creating Comics From Start To Finish
 

 
March 8, 2011


Go, Read: Ponytail

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Go, Look: Richard Sala's Bambi Bembenek Comic

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

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

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

*****

OCT101012 FREEWAY GN (RES) $28.99
In a week dominated by republished works and more recent books once again offered through Diamond, cartoonist Mark Kalesniko gets a prize for releasing a gaint book of brand new work. It's an extended meditation on changes in the way we live and work, structured around an excruciating commute.

JAN111259 ISAAC THE PIRATE GN VOL 01 TO EXOTIC LANDS (O/A) $14.95
JAN111339 NIGHT ANIMALS (ONE SHOT) (MR) $7.95
JAN110317 VERTIGO RESURRECTED FINALS #1 (MR) $7.99
NOV100043 COMICS ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF COMIC STRIP ART HC $39.99
Here's four such projects with a previous-publishing pedigree, all of which I'd like to own. You can't do too much better in terms of interesting-looking comics than those first two, the third is awfully cute and that fourth is the Jerry Robinson history book. I'm sure I've missed one or two. You could have a good week at the comics shop just picking up older work.

SEP100110 SUPERSIZED STRANGE TALES FROM FAST FOOD CULTURE GN (RES) $12.99
I know almost nothing about this comics spin-off from maybe the most famous of this still-ongoing cycle of food culture critical films, so I would definitely pick it up and take a look at it even though it's hard for me to imagine it a book I'd be dying to have.

JAN110089 BPRD HELL ON EARTH GODS #3 (OF 3) $3.50
NOV100164 BATMAN INCORPORATED #3 $2.99
DEC100958 COMIC BOOK COMICS #5 (RES) $3.95
DEC100494 WALKING DEAD #82 (MR) $2.99
A light week in terms of lauded, traditional comic book offerings. The BPRD machine marches on, a model for all publishers to follow. The Batman Incorporated book is the latest Grant Morrison pajamas date with the Cape Crusader. And Walking Dead has just added an extra dose of zombies for your reading pleasure.

JAN110271 BATMAN AND ROBIN #21 $2.99
This is one of the former Grant Morrison Batman titles. I'm sure this could be very good work, but it can't be a good thing marketing-wise for the basic branding here to be "no longer the Grant Morrison comic."

JAN110855 GIRL COMICS TP $15.99
JAN110840 THOR MIGHTY AVENGER GN TP VOL 02 $14.99
Two from Marvel I'd check out in the store, although I have to say that if I wanted to purchase these I'd almost certainly scrounge the individual back-issues up in a back-issues bin. I have almost no idea what's in Girl Comics at all.

DEC101076 DETROIT METAL CITY GN VOL 08 (MR) $12.99
JAN111387 TWIN SPICA GN VOL 06 $10.95
Two solid manga series offerings, about as far removed one from the other as you can imagine. I've lost track of both, which might mean more in the case of the latter as much distance as that series traveled in volumes one through three. And while I'm still sore about Cromartie fading away before its last few volumes could be published, DMC is as close to that experience as comics offers right now.

DEC100934 JOHN STANLEY MELVIN MONSTER HC VOL 03 $24.95
NOV100922 PRINCE VALIANT HC VOL 03 1941-1942 $29.99
Let's face it, these nuke just about every other comic you're going to buy at the store this year, so having them both come out on the same week is kind of silly. I was greatly surprised by how entertaining the Prince Valiant was.

*****

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

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

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

If I failed to list your comic, that's on me. I apologize.

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Off The Beaten Path: Carton

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Go, Read: Arab Cartooning In Revolutionary Times

Michael Cavna has a nice, summary article up that seems to combine elements from a bunch of different previous pieces on the role of cartooning in the political turmoil now facing various northern African countries. You get a big of information on that Martin Luther King, Jr. comic that was distributed in Egypt; what it's like to be able to draw a political figure where doing so before could have meant injury, disappearance or death; what it's like to make cartoons about affairs like this in your region when you're facing a very different scene at home, and so. I am always a little confused when people talk about the rich cartooning tradition in some of these countries, because I'm not exactly sure what that means, but overall I greatly enjoyed the piece.
 
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Go, Look: Bhob Stewart/Art Spiegelman Jam Comic

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IFJ Supports Ekneligoda Court Filing; Objections Also Filed

The International Federation Of Journalists has come out in support of the family of missing Sri Lankan cartoonist/journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda filing a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the family patriarch, missing since January 2010. According to the article, the writ will be considered May 26 rather than later this month, and may have been initially filed as long ago as August 2010 -- although I wonder if there's some confusion with the petition delivered by the family to the United Nations or another such filing. Objection to the position have been filed, and the family has been encouraged to file counter-objections. Ekneligoda's disappearance has become an international issue because of the notion that political forces might seek to silence any sort of journalist speaking out or creating work in ways that don't fit those forces' various goals.
 
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Go, Look: Post #200 At Frank Young's Stanley Stories

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Go, Look: Comics From Panic #12

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Go, Look: Laffy-Daffy Comics #1

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Go, Look: Tom Sutton Drawing Werewolves

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dude drew great monsters
 
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Go, Look: Startling Comics Cover Gallery

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Go, Look: Beautiful, Evocative Frank Robbins Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Scott Edelman has a Marvel memo that indicates Jim Shooter resigned from Marvel at a mid-'70s time that I take it from what he writes that no one who knows that era can immediately remember his resigning from Marvel.

image* one thing that I hope didn't go unnoticed with the TCJ.com re-launch is that several quality articles have gone up. The primary object of my attention yesterday was the great Bob Levin's article on the Frazetta art imbroglio, which provides a sharp contrast between the vigor of the late artist's most famous painting and how adding mortality to the equation changes the way we look at them. The completely under-utilized resource Patrick Rosenkranz writes about autobiographical comics here. Don't ignore the first entry in Vanessa Davis' diary, which is every bit as funny as some of her comics.

* not comics: I'm not sure anyone has answered whether it's Cary Elwes or Fat Cary Elwes that's joined the Wonder Woman TV show cast. I figure the former; hope for the latter. I love Fat Cary Elwes.

* another episode of Super-Critic Team-Up with Sean Witzke and Matt Seneca, this time with a focus on Elektra: Assassin.

* Tom Richmond talks about his NCS poster with Michael Cavna. Richard Thompson -- featured in the image -- talks about that same poster.

* Chris Oliveros congratulates R.O. Blechman on the occasion of his being named this year's Caniff Award winner by the National Cartoonists Society.

* Ben Towle remembers the TCJ Message Board with kinder words than I was able to muster. I would imagine that distance from the board and the times spent there will cast the whole thing into a kinder light for many folks. For me, for now, just thinking about that places brings on a headache.

* Paul Gravett profiles Milo Manara.

* Tom Gammill at CCS.

* finally, here's a nice-looking IWW poster by Eric Drooker. Not comics, but certainly of the time.
 
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Happy 39th Birthday, Paul Sloboda!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Eric Powell!

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Quick hits
Craft
Yuki Party
Ceremony
Color Proofs Galore
Sea Witch, Revisited

Exhibits/Events
Go See Chris Butcher
Carol Tyler, Visiting Artist

History
On WildCATS 3.0
Blueprint Comics
On Fatal Attractions
Concrete In Playboy
Golden Age Art Alert
Comics At School, Late 1970s

Industry
On CCS And Marketing
Go Buy Things From Sean Phillips

Interviews/Profiles
TCJ: Sam Gross
CBR: Mike Carey
Abrams: Lela Lee
Cagle.com: Thomdean
Robot 6: Rob Woodrum
The Source: Eric Wallace
Comicdom: Jim Woodring
Newsarama: Christos Gage
When Words Collide: Cody Walker
Washington City Paper: Daniel Boris
Talking Comics With Tim: Bryan Q. Miller
Deconstructing Comics: Writer's Old Fashioned

Not Comics
Muad'Dib Is A Kill Word

Publishing
On Dar!
College Is Precious
On Comic-Con Annual 2011
Tastes Like Comics Launches
The Great Northern Brotherhood Of Canadian Cartoonists Previewed

Reviews
Jeet Heer: Mid-Life
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Chris Mautner: Daytripper
Greg McElhatton: Green Monk
Mick Martin: The Mighty Vol. 1
Sean Gaffney: Toradora Vol. 1
Todd Klein: Green Lantern #60
Kelly Thompson: X-Factor #216
Matt Seneca: Buz Sawyer Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: Popeye Vol. 5
Todd Klein: Batman: Odyssey #5
Sean Rogers: New Character Parade
Todd Klein: Green Lantern Corps #54
Sean T. Collins: The Cardboard Valise
Jon Gorga: Power Man And Iron Fist #1
Christopher Allen: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2
 

 
March 7, 2011


Missed It: Aaron Renier On Roald Dahl's Matilda

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CR Newsmaker Interview: Dan Nadel, Tim Hodler Of TCJ

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*****

It's my understanding that venerable industry news and criticism magazine The Comics Journal let the world know today that Tim Hodler and Dan Nadel will be taking over the magazine's web iteration. Hodler and Nadel are best known as an editorial team in terms of their work on the magazines The Ganzfeld and Comics Comics. Nadel has also written two lauded books for Abrams collecting artists that worked in mainstream comics that might have been alternative creators in modern times, and is the driving force behind the art comics publisher PictureBox. Tim and Dan are among my favorite writers about comics and favorite comics people generally. I look forward to what they bring to the Journal, and I greatly look forward to their long overdue attention to a proper on-line archive.

I was happy the very busy pair agreed to talk to me on the occasion of their re-launch. I wish Tim and Dan all the luck in the world, will be surprised if they need it, and look forward to being a beneficiary of the great writing about comics they are going to help facilitate. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

imageTOM SPURGEON: Can you tell me how the deal came together? Whose idea was it, and what were some of the talking points getting from idea too goal? When did the deal become finalized? Was the departure of Dirk Deppey part of the plans to move in this direction? For that matter, why keep it a secret?

TIM HODLER AND DAN NADEL: Okay, we'll answer parts of this in the third person, for convenience's sake. Gary Groth sent Dan an email last October and asked if he wanted to take over the Comics Journal site. Apparently there was a rumor about that he'd joked around about doing just that, so Gary just kinda called him on it. Dan immediately contacted Tim, and we agreed to investigate it a bit. We met up with Gary in early November in NYC to talk about our ideas for the site, and shortly after that, finalized an agreement.

The initial goal was and remains the creation of a genuine on-line comics magazine (as opposed to blog, or series of blogs), with all of the long-form essays, interviews, reviews, and visual features that come with it. In other words, yes, we're attempting a counter-intuitive web site strategy, in the hopes that quality content will draw people in. We're interested in making a magazine that has a place in the larger visual culture, and can be a go-to source for people seeking insightful writing about comics.

The legacy of the magazine obviously plays a huge role in all of this, and specifically its archives. We are launching with the table of contents for each issue, a few complete issues -- as readable images, a la The New Yorker site -- and a handful of particularly noteworthy interviews available in full as texts. Every week we'll post more compete issues, and we aim to have the entire run up very soon, by the end of 2011 at the latest. Each issue will be tagged, so if, for example, you want to find all of Carter Scholz's pieces, you'll be able to pull up a list of all the issues he appears in. Or all the Gil Kane interviews. Etc. It'll all be there. Now, aside from the classic pieces we pull out to highlight in text form on the site (there will be many of these -- at least a hundred eventually), the complete archives will be fully accessible only to the magazine's print subscribers.

As mentioned earlier, we knew from the start that we wanted to start fresh and produce a unified site. Sub-domains didn't work because we didn't see any reason to carve up the site into fiefdoms. So yes, the departure of Deppey's Journalista!, as well as the other previously existing sub-blogs, can be tied to our coming on board. Also, in regards to Journalista!, in these days of RSS feeds, there seems to be less need for that kind of comprehensive link-blogging than there used to be.

We wanted to keep it a secret because, frankly, we wanted to work on it without a spotlight -- it gave us a free hand to conceptualize and think without the pressure of expectations, etc. Also, we were asked to keep it quiet for PR reasons.

SPURGEON: To provide some context, can each of you talk about your relationship to the magazine over the years, where you encountered it, if you contributed to it, if it was influential, and how that might have fueled your interest in taking it over?

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DAN NADEL: I was 15 or so... the first issue I picked up was 152 -- Gary's interview with Todd McFarlane. In a way, that's a gold standard: Gary was confronting an artist about his choices, and it was a conversation that needed to happen. Funnily, little has changed since then. It was a pretty swift conversion for me, and I quickly tried to grab as many issues as I could. Through the Journal I learned about Charles Burns, Julie Doucet, Rick Griffin, Aline Kominsky, as well as The Bungle Family... I was already deep into underground comics and had read the Smithsonian books, the Feiffer book, various Goulart histories, but I had somehow missed the Journal, and it was there that I learned that it all mattered. Before it was discovery and history. After, it was suddenly relevant. That was my big lesson -- that thinking about and criticizing and understanding the moral ramifications of aesthetic/commercial choices in comics was crucial. I even wound up reading the various mid-century critics he always referred to.

It was a hugely important magazine for both my comics and my critical thinking education. I can't really overstate it... The morality of TCJ remains very important to me, as does its uncompromising critical stances (even if I disagreed). The culture of TCJ was crucial -- the idea that there were people who really cared about the art and commerce of the medium in a clear-eyed fashion. It wasn't perfect, but it remains the only repository of real critical and historical thinking about comics.

As for actual previous experience... I applied for an internship when I was 19 but never heard back! Sigh. I guess it's all worked out.

I only contributed a few interviews to the magazine over the years. But I loved the Journal and I think everyone can agree that its legacy has taken a hit these last couple years. So, yeah, I want to make it great again. I think now's a perfect time to engage again.

TIM HODLER: I didn't pick up my first issue of The Comics Journal until I was in college. I'm a pretender compared to Dan. He's the real deal, a former comic-store clerk who probably had a well-honed argument defending his position vis-à-vis Wolverine vs Cyclops (or John Byrne vs Dave Cockrum) well before I ever had a conversation with another person who read comics regularly. I was more of a solitary reader, a Mad magazine and comic-strips kid, though somehow I still managed to find out about and get hooked on Hate and Eightball as a teenager. Never heard of TCJ until later though.

I started reading the magazine when you were its managing editor, actually (since those days, of course, I've gone back and read back issues from earlier eras). Those were some pretty entertaining issues, too, with great long-running letter-column debates (which reminds me: Dan, we should try do a "Best of Blood & Thunder" feature), wonderfully long cartoonist interviews that were somehow both depressing and inspiring simultaneously (like so much else comics-related), and just tons of personality generally. I think that's always been the Journal at its best: a place for a plurality of real, idiosyncratic, and conflicting voices to be heard arguing with each other, a venue for usually intelligent and always passionate (if sometimes amateurish and/or deeply irritating) debate about not only individual artists and stories, but the entire industry. It is one of my favorite magazines of all time, and one of the very few that can legitimately claim to have helped change an entire art form -- and in consequence, the culture generally -- for the better.

I have never written for the Journal until Gary asked me to participate in the Crumb roundtable that is being published in the next issue, which should be out this spring.

SPURGEON: A couple of follow-ups. I don't want you to dwell on it, but since Dan brought it up and because I think it may be useful in terms of characterize how you're going to approach the work, could you talk briefly about the nature of how the magazine's legacy "took a hit"? How specifically does your magazine correct what you and perhaps other readers feel is a step back for the publication in recent years? What will make your Journal important to comics and comics reader right now?

HODLER AND NADEL: The magazine fell out of step with the culture around it. It was still providing great interviews and the like, but lacked a vision and a guiding critical sensibility. Its reason for being was no longer always clear. And then the web site, while well intentioned, suffered from a confusing design and too much content of widely varying quality. It lacked any kind of unifying idea, was difficult to navigate, and simply didn't take advantage of (or build adequately from) the print magazine's enormously valuable legacy.

Our Journal will be tightly editorially controlled. Meaning: We are actively commissioning articles, thinking about how to put together a day/week/month of content so that it coheres, and dividing content into obvious categories so that readers can get the most from a visit. We are also trying to be completely engaged with the best of the medium. So, for example, when Chester Brown publishes a major new book, or Aline Kominsky releases her autobiography, etc., we will cover it from a bunch of different angles -- we will pull from the print magazine's archive, we'll conduct new interviews, we'll post reviews and essays. In other words, we'll give them the kind of 360-degree coverage a cultural event deserves, and that these days is only really possible on-line.

imageRight now when a major comics work is published, it can be a real struggle to find any noteworthy coverage: we want to be the first place people look for it. We also plan to focus on more general thinking about comics -- guys like Ken Parille and Frank Santoro expand our vocabulary for talking about the medium. So, our Journal will be important to readers right now because it will focus on comics as a living, breathing medium with issues to be discussed. We will be publishing what we think is the best (accessible) critical and historical writing, and we will be covering cartoonists we think are important to the medium right now. The new TCJ can be a trusted to provide a hub for comics as a cultural vessel.

SPURGEON: Can you break down what each of you will be doing for the magazine, and how this gig fits into each of your professional lives? I have a feeling that neither one of you if quitting to do this full-time or near full-time, but I honestly don't know. Although these collective answers suggest an enormous amount of cooperation, how does the work break down between the two of you? And is there anyone else involved in an editorial capacity from your end?

HODLER AND NADEL: Geez, that's an interesting question. What will we be doing for the magazine? First of all, your comment about the collective answers has suddenly made at least one of us extremely self-conscious.

HODLER: It seemed like a natural way to go about this interview at first, what with it being conducted via e-mail and all, and also just to avoid having one of us give a long and involved answer, leaving the other just to quickly agree by saying "yup." It's not like if you were asking us questions verbally, we would be answering in unison, hands clasped behind our back. (Actually, even better, one of us would answer while the other hummed musical accompaniment, perhaps "La Marseillaise"?) [Spurgeon laughs] But wait, where were we? Oh yes: Basically we will be doing the same things for The Comics Journal that we did for Comics Comics -- editing & coordinating & writing & wrangling -- only on a much larger scale, and involving a lot more people. Dan's got a bit more time in his schedule right now, and so will be taking the lion's share of the work for the time being, but we're basically doing the same things, just in different proportions. Hold on, let's see if Dan can explain in his own words...

NADEL: Tim and I basically agree on everything. Seriously. This has to do with my knowing Tim is smarter, funnier and more rational than I am, and Tim knowing... well, I'm not sure why he agrees with me. It's a mystery. So we kinda work in synchronicity, assuming the other one is not doing some insanely stupid (and when I do, Tim just gives it a good title, like "Dapper Dan's Movie Reviews.") But, concretely, yes, we're both assigning and editing, and then on top of that I tend to handle the design/programming/admin supervision work, while Tim tends to deal with day-to-day editorial upkeep and comments monitoring.

HODLER: Other than that very amorphous division of labor, we're basically playing it by ear and seeing how things shake out. We've been working together on CC for a very long time now, and more or less just do these things unconsciously at this point.

NADEL: About the job thing: At the end of 2010 I finished an 18-month long consulting project for an arts funding company, so TCJ basically is slotting into that space in my day/week, as well as the space left by Comics Comics. Everything else remains the same for me professionally (though to stay sane I'll probably write less about comics for other magazines): PictureBox, book-packaging, curating, teaching, and writing. And Tim remains an editor at a magazine here in NYC, as well as a freelance writer.

As for your last question, Kristy Valenti has been helping us out a lot in various ways, but otherwise, we're the editors!

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SPURGEON: Second follow-up of the two I mentioned. On my first, quick reading, neither one of you has mentioned the news; certainly it's not been a point of emphasis in those first couple of responses. In recent years the Journal for the most part stopped doing news reporting and on-line the expression of news gathering fell to Dirk Deppey's blog. Will your Comics Journal have a news function? If so, what? If not, why not?

HODLER AND NADEL: Our TCJ will cover news as it relates to the health of the medium. There are plenty of outlets for comics industry news and we're going to try and restrict ourselves to topics that warrant more in-depth coverage.

SPURGEON: To get back into site specifics: what are the parameters of the publication as you conceive of it now, what are we going to see and on what basis? Is it web site based? Are you taking over the print Journal as well? Can you just talk about what we're going to see for the next few months to a year from you, just in rough terms?

HODLER AND NADEL: We're only editing the web site, which will be a full-on magazine with new content every day. (Gary Groth is editing the print version of the Journal by himself. It is now an annual. Having seen a PDF of issue #301, we can say it's really exciting to see "the old man" back in action.) The on-line magazine will publish long features, like Bob Levin's piece on Frazetta and upcoming interviews with Jim Woodring and Chester Brown by Nicole Rudick and Sean Rogers, respectively.

We have commissioned about eight regular columns covering various aspects of the medium. Column writers and topics include: Ryan Holmberg on the history of alternative manga; Richard Gehr's series of New Yorker cartoonist profiles; R. Fiore's "Funnybook Roulette", covering various ideas and reviews; Ken Parille's twice-monthly close readings of comics; continuations of Frank Santoro's and Joe "Jog" McCulloch's columns from Comics Comics; a bi-weekly Jeet Heer column on comics history; and R.C. Harvey once a month on comic strips. Also, every three weeks we plan to run "A Cartoonist's Diary", featuring a different artist each time, with a week's worth of posts about their daily routines. First up is Vanessa Davis, and later we'll have Brandon Graham and Joyce Farmer, among others. We also plan to feature selective (as opposed to comprehensive) link-blogging, at least one comic review a day, highlighted classics from the magazine's archives (as noted earlier), and as many other things as we can think of. We want this site to be a hub and destination for the best thinking and writing on comics. That's the goal.

imageSPURGEON: Will Gary be involved with the on-line edition?

HODLER AND NADEL: Gary has been very involved in the conceptualizing stage and he's planning a number of articles and interviews for the new site, as well as new introductions to the archival material. So, basically, we want Gary involved as much as he has time for. The Comics Journal has always been at its best when Gary is heavily involved with it.

SPURGEON: You already mentioned Kristy Valenti... what about previous editor Mike Dean?

HODLER AND NADEL: Michael Dean will, we hope, write as much for us as he can, and as our editorial coordinator, Kristy Valenti will be working with us from Seattle in an administrative and editorial capacity to make sure everything is running smoothly. Michael and Kristy -- and Jacq Cohen -- have been invaluably helpful during this transitional period, by the way.

imageSPURGEON: What about Kim Thompson? For that matter, can you maybe just talk about the writing pool generally?

HODLER AND NADEL: We've asked Kim Thompson to write, and it looks like he will. If he writes the series we've tentatively agreed to, it will split the internet in three. Otherwise, yes, many of the The Comics Journal writers are continuing or returning, including Bob Levin, R. Fiore ("Funnybook Roulette" will be a regular column), Chris Mautner, Sean T. Collins, Rob Clough, R.C. Harvey, and others. We're also very excited to have some familiar but new-to-TCJ names coming on board, such Patrick Rosenkranz, Ken Parille, Richard Gehr, and Tom De Haven, not to mention the entire Comics Comics crew, of course, and plenty of other great contributors such as Naomi Fry, Jesse Pearson, and Andrew Leland. We're trying to put together a pretty large pool, which we'll need!

SPURGEON: Talk to me a bit more about the archival function. My take on archiving the Journal was that there were some problems in that republishing the material in text form did not fall under the basic contractual understanding between writer and publication: that the Journal bought first rights and that full rights reverted back to the writer six months after publication. I, for one, have archived the Journal work I did as a freelancer on my own site.

Now, I assume in terms of the page-by-page scans you're leaning on the exception that the
New Yorker established, that this kind of archiving doesn't involve having to secure special rights to do so with freelancers. Is that the way you see it? And in terms of the text pieces you say will be made available, are you securing permission from freelancers, focusing on those articles TCJ has all rights to (such as the articles done by employees). Or are you securing new rights/repaying?

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HODLER AND NADEL: You're correct. The text pieces we're pulling out to republish were either written by a TCJ employee or the rights have been secured. The page-by-page scans, we've been told (and it makes sense) do not need to be cleared, as they're presented as documents, as in The New Yorker model. In both cases, this has been Gary's department, and he's been careful to get everything cleared.

SPURGEON: The first iteration of The Comics Journal on-line, the one in the mid-1990s, was perhaps best known -- good, bad and, let's face it: really, really bad -- for its message board. The Comics Comics site has had an active comments culture, although in recent weeks some authors have turned comments off. What will be your TCJ's take on commentary and feedback, both in terms of how you're set up to handle it or not in a functional sense, but also in the philosophical. Is it important for you that TCJ readers have space to speak their mind?

HODLER AND NADEL: Well, we are taking down the message board. Its day -- and that of message boards in general, frankly -- seems to be done. However, most of our posts will have comments enabled (depending on the author). For the most part, the CC comments threads have fostered lively and valuable discussions, so we're hoping that that will continue. On-line comments threads can provide a really good forum to discuss issues, and at CC at least we've been lucky enough to have artists and historians engage with their readers. If we can continue that, we think we can make a contribution to how comics are discussed in general.

SPURGEON: This is probably something I should have asked earlier, but how much have you drawn on outside influences in terms of web publishing? Are there sites -- The Paris Review, The Atlantic, perhaps -- that have been instructive to you in putting together your version of the Journal? For example, when we started CR, we had Romenesko in mind content-wise and employed the Annenberg School's then-site design. How qualified have you felt in putting together an effort like this one, what have the challenges been in that sense?

HODLER AND NADEL: You read our minds. Or hacked into our emails. Our primary models were: The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Pitchfork, and Tablet. We were looking for sites that could handle multiple categories of content in a clean and efficient fashion. But with TCJ we also wanted to move away from the type/white-space model of most sites and make it fun and visually exciting. Having plenty of room for artwork has been very important. We felt moderately qualified because of our experience with CC, as well as years of experience in publishing in general, not to mention that we're both obsessive readers. Basically, we tried to build the site we wanted to see.

SPURGEON: Wizard Magazine just re-launched with an eye towards post-Web digital publishing: they say they're focused on apps and tablet-ready content as opposed to web sites and blogs. Do you have any interest at all in moving the Journal eventually in those directions? Do you feel like device-ready content represents a long-term solution as to how the Journal will function?

HODLER AND NADEL: Well, Frank Santoro is actually taking over Wizard, so we'll have to compete with that. [Spurgeon laughs] The new web design is tablet-friendly, and we conceived the site as something that can move into other formats, but we'd be lying if we said we had immediate plans. Right now we're just launching the site. If it's a success, then we'll talk to Gary and co. about the next step.

imageSPURGEON: Before I forget to follow up, what exactly becomes of Comics Comics?

HODLER AND NADEL: We're not taking it down, but we won't be publishing any new content there, at least for the foreseeable future.

SPURGEON: With Fantagraphics and now PictureBox involved in some capacity in the production of an important magazine about comics, can you talk a little bit about how you approach the danger of favoring those two publishers over others, how you feel about a charge that's going to be leveled by somebody out there and what you plan to do to ensure you're as fair as possible? For that matter, considering the level of complexity involved in this arrangement and the ambition you have for the magazine, are you considering an ombudsman or letting someone play that role?

HODLER AND NADEL: Well, there's not a lot we can do about that concern, other than to attempt to be as fair as possible. Because FB publishes a large percentage of the best contemporary and archival comics in North America, it is inescapable that we will cover a lot of its projects. If we didn't, TCJ wouldn't be doing its job. Gary has dealt with that pretty well over the years. But we certainly won't shy away from being critical of FB projects either, which is something we've done at CC and will continue to do. It should be noted that Gary was very forthright about this: He told us to do whatever we need to do and feel free to blast away if we think something deserves it. And we will.

As for PictureBox, if one of our regular reviewers feels that a PBox comic deserves a pan, well, then he'll be fired. (That's a joke, son.) Really, given that PictureBox publishes only about 3-4 comics titles a year, we think it'll be pretty easy to integrate it into our normal coverage, and they're all fair game for reviewers to praise or criticize as they see fit. We honestly can't imagine it not receiving similar treatment to Adhouse or a like-sized publisher and we'll be extra careful, but we also don't want to penalize artists and books. Tim will probably handle the editing of reviews of those particular books. So, that said, Robot 6 is running a big preview & interview of Yokoyama's next book in March, precisely because Dan didn't want to actively promote a PBox book on TCJ.com. Likely that kind of thinking will continue. However, it's hard to argue against, say, an interview with CF or Matthew Thurber sometime in the next 18 months, simply because they are very interesting artists to both of us, and to our readership. So, for PBox, let's just say when we both agree there's something that TCJ must cover, it will, but we'll be very careful. And yes, we will be running negative reviews of PBox books, should they come in.

As for an ombudsman -- we're not really set up for that. We're relying on our best judgment, and we're sure we'll be called on any and all fouls!

SPURGEON: In addition to perhaps seeking other outlets, is there anything that you want to do editorially that you might be putting off for a while? Is there something we can look forward to you doing or trying where we know things are moving along pretty well when it shows up? Have you even thought that far down the line?

HODLER AND NADEL: There are a few articles and recurring features under discussion that we are extremely excited about, but haven't quite locked down well enough for us to announce. But honestly, at this point, just getting the site off the ground and running is feeling like a major accomplishment. Things will be moving along pretty well if we deliver on all the promises we've made so far, and are still delivering on them six months from now!

SPURGEON: If I remember correctly, the last few years of the print Journal ran comics as well as prose articles about comics. Two questions. First, do you plan on running comics on the web site? Also, in your list of planned columns I see most major expressions of comics covered but not webcomics, those comics that have arisen out of Internet culture or an Internet platform separate from comics -- Achewood, for example. Do you plan on any special coverage of that specific world of comics, to treat it as its own thing, and if not, why not?

HODLER AND NADEL: We do plan on running excerpts of upcoming and important graphic novels now and again (as we're doing for Seth's new book), but do not at this point have immediate plans to run any original comics (other than whatever the various cartoonists who are submitting diaries may submit). It's definitely on our radar as a possibility, though. Webcomics is another area we plan to watch. Eventually we may commission a regular column or writer to handle that topic, but for now, we simply plan to cover web comics the same way we cover those in print: we will run reviews and occasional articles about various titles, and include them along with the rest. If that ends up seeming inadequate a few months down the line, of course, we reserve the right to change direction.

SPURGEON: Could each of you name a favorite piece that's showing up in the first month or with the launch that we can specifically look forward to seeing? Could each of you name a specific piece you're particularly looking forward to seeing being made available in the archives? I know you like a lot of pieces from each group, so it won't be your most favorite, or the best. A favorite.

HODLER: In some ways, the stuff I'm most excited by is nothing new for the Journal. Just to see R. Fiore's or Donald Phelps' names on a web site I helped edit is enough. New major articles from Bob Levin and Tom De Haven are also big news in my household. Gary has brought up the possibility of reviewing one book in particular (that I shouldn't mention by name yet, probably) that I think will be incredibly fun to read. Dan might not feel the same way. As for archives, there are way too many items to list: maybe the great Pekar/Fiore/Spiegelman debates?

imageNADEL: This'll sound redundant: I'm really excited to be working with Bob Levin, who I've admired for a long time, as well as Tom De Haven. Tom's upcoming pieces are really exciting to me. Also, Patrick Rosenkranz and Sean Rogers... well, it's all pretty exciting. As for the archive: I look forward to Carter Scholz's "Seduction of the Ignorant" and Rob Rodi's brilliant take down of Watchmen, as well as having those CC Beck columns available again. But we advise patience... it'll take us a while to get all of it up there.

SPURGEON: Finally, you mentioned how it's time for the Journal to engage with comics again. What do you say to the argument that the Journal's mission has been accomplished, that comics did find a place for itself as an art form and an industry in terms of making seriously intended art? What is its mission now? To celebrate that fact? To shore up the edges? To simply provide the kind of conversation that made this possible and affected your lives? Why should anyone care if the Journal is revitalized or not?

HODLER AND NADEL: There is a reasonable argument to be made that the Journal has fulfilled its original mission, at least to a certain extent, but to say that leaves nothing to be done seems a little silly. Music, literature, painting, film: these are all occasionally serious art forms that found places for themselves long ago, and there is still plenty of room for intelligent, worthwhile criticism to be written about them. Of course, in a real sense, the Journal's mission will never be entirely fulfilled: while many comics worth of serious attention are being published, there is still very little serious attention actually being paid. We are in the middle of an extremely volatile time, not only for comics and its current distribution system, but for publishing itself, and now is as an important a time as ever to focus critical thought forcefully and perceptively at work that deserves it. The average intelligent person who is interested in comics but doesn't know where to begin has precious few venues to look to for guidance. Comics coverage at most mainstream press outlets is a second thought at best, and even the best of the specialist press sometimes seems drowned out by the wider sea of box-office hype, meaningless bickering, and offensive glad-handing. We want to be the kind of site that anyone can visit and not only be entertained but genuinely informed.

*****

* The Comics Journal

*****

* photos of Nadel (left) and Hodler by Whit Spurgeon
* a Gil Kane Journal
* TCJ #152, Nadel's first
* Frank Santoro, by Whit Spurgeon
* the old Journalista logo
* photos of Gary Groth and Kim Thompson by Tom Spurgeon
* interior page sample
* cover to an issue of Comics Comics
* the "Seduction Of The Ignorant" issue of TCJ
* the magazine's first logo, 300 issues ago

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Jay Babcock: Arthur Set To Close For Good On March 15

imageMarc Arsenault caught this, I'm thinking maybe because he has a better eye for building symmetrical articles than anyone else does: Jay Babcock announced that Arthur will shut its doors on March 15, archives to remain up for the time being. As Arsenault notes, Arthur was an important publication on its own merits, and in terms of its demise being reported on a site like this one ran an aggressive comics section via editors Jordan Crane, Tom Devlin, Alvin Buenaventura, Sammy Harkham and Jason Leivian, one of the periodical highlights in the 2000s for an expression of comics moving away from that model. Some of those works are being re-published on-line here. Anyone that publishes David Lasky and Megan Kelso is a little bit of a comics saint, and there was so much more in those pages of merit and value. It's easy to forget what publications do that's noteworthy and remarkable when trying to recall those feats from the perspective of their final days, and I'm glad that Arsenault stresses the positive.
 
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Go, Look: Olli Hietala

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Go, Read: Death Of A Legend

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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Gun-Fight At Grogan's Gap

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Go, Look: Some Esquire Cartoons From October 1958

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Go, Look: War Combat #1

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Go, Look: More Sal Buscema Captain America Splash Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* portrait of a young game-changing mainstream comics writer without a beard.

image* one of the elements of the new team taking over The Comics Journal that may not be worth noting for most people but hit me in a nostalgic way springs from their closure of the magazine's once-famous, long-infamous message board. The message board was one of the main features of the Journal's initial move on-line in 1996. It sprung to life alongside a first stab at a web magazine made up of every-weekday articles, most of which were written by myself and the news editor in our spare time. Unfortunately, "TCJ On-Line" read like something two 25-year-olds wrote in the margins of their workday. I remember later on getting a nice e-mail from Scott McCloud about that overall attempt, saying that according to the tools of our time we had just about gotten it right in a conceptual sense. I mostly remember the on-line magazine being blamed for delays in the print magazine, and for a pledge that it would review everything sent to it -- something that's unimaginable now.

Anyway, the Journal message board enjoyed a reasonably polite and correspondingly dull first couple of years. At the time I left the magazine in April 1999, the board was in the midst of suffering its first sustained period of practiced tomfoolery and outright headaches in the form of pranks and a general chaotic posting atmosphere purposefully aimed at disrupting its basic function. This effort was spearheaded by a few bored cartoonists and peripheral industry folk who thought that their goofing around and making fun of people was in line with the Journal's antagonistic, prank-filled history. Ripping into people, fake names and slapping the ball of conversation from other people's hands quickly became a competing mode of speaking on the site. A lot of it was funny if you weren't involved, and stomach-churning if you were.

This shift in priorities and emphasis also set off several years of vacillating by the editors whether the board was best served by a firm hand in terms of what could be talked about and how, or whether it was best left alone. I was always in the former camp, and it's my belief the board's best periods came in general proximity to someone at Fantagraphics clamping down on its excesses. It was never sustained. I suspect some of the low-level viciousness that thrived there when the editors were at their most hands off was distressing for a lot of cartoonists and industry people, an extension of the bafflement felt by creators who received a poor review in a magazine sponsored by their own publisher, only without the usual compensating virtues that accrues to thoughtful writing to which someone signs their name. It felt to some folks I've talked to over the years like the Journal was working really hard to give a platform to people that largely didn't read the magazine and that could be nasty, arbitrarily tendentious pieces of business besides. It put asses in seats, though. I once suggested they kill the message board and perhaps replace it with something along the lines of a series of blogs like The Atlantic has going now -- or, really, anything else -- but I think by that time it was far too highly valued as a minimal-effort, major source of traffic for the site.

As much I may have not liked significant aspects of its operation, I'm far from alone in being among those who had problems with it and yet still habitually hung around there, like it was a neighborhood bar about whose food you constantly griped. The primary thing one did on there is argue with people, about things the Journal was accused of doing and anything else that came to mind, woefully unpleasant and vicious tirades that used every underhanded tool possible to appeal to the room. It was an accumulation of hours and days and weeks and months I won't in any way be able to explain to St. Peter. I think boards like that, like the Journal's, and the one at Comicon.com, and even the old CompuServe forums and aspects of Usenet, they were all doomed by the kind of personalities that tend to be attracted to comics culture as an organizing principle -- a group that was maybe better off not communicating to one another in such direct and contentious fashion, certainly not all at once after years and years of lording it over their own basement fiefdoms. That was certainly true of me. There are of course still and always will be a lot of nasty, miserable people scattered here and there on the comics Internet, many operating anonymously, tilting against windmills the exact shape and form of which only they will ever be able to see. It's just that for a long while, years at a time, they occupied rooms at the guest home on the sprawling estate of the best magazine about comics ever. When the magazine was in its quieter times in terms of editorial forcefulness, it's those people that seemed to have the run of the place.

I'm happy to see the message board gone. I feel much more responsible for the dark side of comics culture that festered there than I do any sense of community it may have fostered, more than I do whatever exposure to little-known works it may have facilitated. It was a place that had some virtues but mostly, I think, it was a place where unhappy people went to be even less happy. Its time has more than passed, and like many of the people that once gave entire working afternoons to stringing along five or six life-and-death rage-sessions at a time, I don't think I'd been there more than a half-dozen times in the last three years. It may be the thing in life I spent the most time doing from which I keep the least amount of positive memories. I wish the board could have been a whole lot better. It always made me feel like we had done something horribly wrong in putting it up in the first place. Its departure is a load off my mind.

image* Mike Dawson presents a short comic that will go into a European collection of his Jack & Max comics.

* not comics: the commenters at Spinoff On-Line are so mean to Graeme McMillan. Anyway, I still don't know understand why Preacher is a movie and Wonder Woman is a TV Show. Explain that to me, Mr. McMillan.

* Chris Sims is right: the Thing is the Marvel equivalent of Batman, it's just that he's an equivalent in terms of being a character that blends with all of the other characters more than for some inherent genre versatility. He's like a really good character actor; you relax a bit when he shows up. He's Mark Addy.

* Stephan Pastis deserves at least a special Reuben for this.

* not comics: should there be a different name for European shelf porn? Something more arty?

* finally, this list by Chris Mautner of six great non-superhero fights struggles a bit with the "define superheroes" questions in the first part of the comments, but quickly rallies. That Roy Crane fight on the whaling ship is terrifying and awesome, mostly as I recall because Captain Easy lost the previous tussle. Superheroes don't get beat up with as much frequency as they used to get beat up, and I think that's to their detriment.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Robin McConnell!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Ben Templesmith!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Cully Hamner!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Peter Gross!

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Quick hits
Craft
Warwick Johnson Cadwell

Exhibits/Events
100 Comics Jams

History
The First Superman Comic Book Cover With Dialogue On It

Industry
Love For Comic Book Diner

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Guy Davis
CBR: Tyler Crook
Newsarama: Nick Lowe
Inkstuds: Aaron Renier
Cartoon Movement: Sherif Arafa
Deconstructing Comics: Jamie Delano

Not Comics
Tony Millionaire's Advice For Snoring
Comics Has Older People Actually Like This

Publishing
David P. Welsh Reads Previews
Totally Forgot This Stuff Was Coming
A Non-Sucky Use Of Charlie Sheen Imagery
New Stephen R. Bissette Book About Comics
Wolverine's Claws Make People Blow Up Now?
Someone Hire Rob Ullman To Do Hockey Comics, Please

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Qwan
Matt Seneca: Slaine
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Greg McElhatton: Gaylord Phoenix
Ryan K. Lindsay: Thunderbolts #154
Robert Stanley Martin: The Playwright
Chris Marshall: The Human Torch Vols. 1-2
Michael C. Lorah: Scenes From An Impending Marriage
 

 
New TCJ Site Launches; Dan Nadel And Tim Hodler Co-Editors

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March 6, 2011


Go, Look: Aino Sutinen

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Go, Look: Michael Jordan

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

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If I Were In Bologna, 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 New York City, I'd Go To This

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
This Is The Post Where I Save The 94th Birthday Will Eisner/The Spirit Google Image

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whoa
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Kieron Dwyer!

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FFF Results Post #246 -- Art Books

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Artists From Comics You Would Like To See Get The Fancy Art-Book Treatment." This is how they responded.

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Marc Sobel

1. Henry Boltinoff
2. Sheldon Mayer
3. Reed Crandall
4. Trina Robbins
5. Jacques Tardi

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Moto Hagio
2. Naoki Urasawa
3. Alfredo Alcala
4. Kaoru Mori
5. Nestor Redondo

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Roberto Baldazzini
2. Guido Crepax
3. Leone Frollo
4. Vittorio Giardino
5. Massimo Rotundo

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1. Kevin Nowlan
2. Colleen Coover
3. Jooste Swarte
4. Bill Everett (hey look what's coming)
5. Rick Geary

*****

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Dan Morris

1. Hideshi Hino
2. Shotaro Ishinomori
3. Jason
4. Frank Quitely
5. Katushiro Otomo

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Robert Armstrong
* Melinda Gebbie
* Fred Harman
* Jimmy Hatlo
* Paul Mavrides

*****

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Jeet Heer

* Gluyas Williams
* Clare Briggs
* Kate Carew
* Jimmy Frise
* Jimmy Swinnerton

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Cliff Chiang
2) Marcio Takara
3) Sean Gordon Murphy
4) Dan Hipp
5) Toby Cypress

*****

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Ramon De Veyra

* Dave McKean
* Bill Sienkiewicz
* Geof Darrow
* Al Columbia
* David Mazzucchelli

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. George Carlson
2. Jill Thompson
3. Mary Fleener
4. Marie Severin
5. Richard Sala

*****

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Richard Barker

1. Charles Burns
2. JH Williams III
3. Jon J Muth
4. Gene Colan
5. Darwyn Cooke

*****

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William Burns

J.H. Williams III
Rick Veitch
Jill Thompson
Bill Watterson
Brendan McCarthy

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Jim Woodring
2. Jack Cole -- there are books on Cole but they're short and splinter his career, Cole deserves something massive and overarching, covering Plastic Man and the splash page era as well as the girlie gags and the Playboy work.
3. Drew Friedman
4. John Severin
5. Jack Kirby -- the King of disserved comic book creators as far as having a great, big, beautiful, substantial book goes. I hope I live to see a real book on his work and art unleashed someday, a coffee table-bursting slab of crackling energy with the names Theakston and Evanier nowhere near the spine or cover.

*****

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Jim Wheelock

* George Metzger
* Bob Powell
* Frank Godwin
* Reed Crandall
* Jim Osborne

*****

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Michael May

1. Ben Caldwell
2. Chris Bachalo
3. Humberto Ramos
4. Cliff Chiang
5. Colleen Coover

*****

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Ben Towle

1) Christophe Blain
2) Roy Crane
3) Roger Langridge
4) Walt Simonson
5) Kyle Baker

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. J.H. Williams III
2. Dave Johnson
3. Mike Mignola
4. Mike Kaluta
5. Moritat

*****

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Rocco Nigro

1. Otto Soglow
2. Sheldon Mayer
3. Bob Oksner
4. Don Heck
5. John Severin

*****

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Milo George

1. Paul Ollswang
2. Edmond Baudoin
3. Frank Springer
4. Vanessa Davis
5. Seth Fisher

*****

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Timothy Callahan

1. Steve Rude
2. Howard Chaykin
3. Frank Quitely
4. Moebius
5. Wally Wood

*****

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John Platt

1. F.G. Cooper
2. Steve Bissette
3. Richard Corben
4. Matt Howarth
5. Joe Kubert

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. Wally Wood
2. Jim Aparo
3. Jim Steranko
4. Dick Sprang
5. Jack Cole

*****

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Domingos Isabelinho

* Yoshiharu Tsuge
* Guido Buzzelli
* Tony Weare
* Alberto Breccia
* Chago Armada

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Cliff Chiang
2. Curt Swan
3. Marshall Rogers
4. John Paul Leon
5. Howard Chaykin

*****

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David Oppenheim

1. Kim Deitch
2. Kazuichi Hanawa
3. Gilbert Hernandez
4. Tove Jansson
5. Ernie Bushmiller

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Gilbert Hernandez
* Paper Rad
* Fort Thunder
* Daniel Clowes
* Yuichi Yokoyama

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Vaughn Bodé
2. Abner Dean
3. Daniel Torres
4. Rick Griffin
5. Anne Cleveland

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Al Wiseman
2. Harry Lucey
3. Johnny Craig
4. Lee Elias
5. Pat Boyette

*****

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Mark Mayerson

1. Walt Kelly
2. Jim Tyer
3. Frank Robbins
4. Roy Crane
5. Owen Fitzgerald

*****

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Mark Sharar

1. Bill Sienkiewicz
2. Howard Chaykin
3. Alex Toth (but they're on the way, right?)
4. Alfredo Alcala
5. John Totleben

*****

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David Brothers

1. Khari Evans
2. Kaare Andrews
3. Katsuhiro Otomo
4. Inio Asano
5. Richard Corben

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Joe Kubert
2) Jim Steranko
3) Doug Wildey
4) Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
5) Eric Canete

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Floc'h
2. Gray Morrow
3. Doug Wildey
4. Cyril Pedrosa
5. Dave Stewart

*****

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Alan Doane

1. Gil Kane
2. Dan Clowes
3. Sean Phillips
4. Darwyn Cooke
5. Barry Windsor-Smith

*****

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Tom Mason

* Howie Post
* James Childress
* Matt Baker
* Owen Fitzgerald
* Al Wiseman

*****

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Mark Robert Bourne

1. Yves Chaland
2. Walter Simonson
3. Boucq
4. Al Williamson
5. Roger Langridge

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Joe Kubert
2. Alex Toth
3. Jack Cole
4. Darwyn Cooke
5. Howard Chaykin

*****

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Michael Rhodes

1. Michael Allred
2. Charles Burns
3. Howard Chaykin
4. Lee Marrs
5. Adam Warren

*****

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Ben Ostrander

1. Jack Jackson
2. Seth Fisher
3. Eduardo Risso
4. Matt Kindt
5. Joe Maneely

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Richard Thompson
2. Joann Sfar
3. Emile Bravo
4. Doug Wildey
5. Jacques Tardi

*****

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Adrian Kinnaird

1. Gil Kane (way overdue!)
2. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
3. Dave Gibbons (Non-Watchmen work)
4. Howard Chaykin
5. Don Newton

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Philip Bond
2. Seth Fisher
3. Alan Davis
4. James Stokoe
5. Kate Beaton

*****

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Robert Stanley Martin

* Gil Kane
* David Mazzucchelli
* José Muñoz
* Bill Watterson
* Jim Woodring

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

* Renée French
* Jeremy Eaton
* Ted Jouflas
* Richard Corben
* Vaughn Bodé

*****

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Chris Arrant

1. Moebius
2. Mike Mignola
3. Jill Thompson
4. Frank Quitely
5. Tommy Lee Edwards

*****

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Derik A. Badman

1. Jesse Marsh
2. Stan Drake
3. Dominique Goblet
4. Hugo Pratt
5. Guido Crepax

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Jack Kirby
2. Frank Quitely
3. Geoff Darrow
4. Charles Burns
5. Jacques Tardi

*****

topic suggested and initial answers given by Marc Sobel; and yes, I realize some of these people already have art books

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










via




not comics, of course; via






Mo Willems’: Knuffle Bunny – A Cautionary Musical from WGBY on Vimeo.
 
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March 5, 2011


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from February 26 to March 4, 2011:

1. It's announced that the South Africa HRC has dismissed a complaint against Zapiro over the Rape Of Justice cartoon. Charles Brownstein could not have scripted more positive language for how that council processed Zapiro's cartoon and the value to a free society in that kind of strong statement through art.

2. Big prize week: Tom Toles wins the Herblock prize, RO Blechman named the NCS Caniff award winner while Thompson, Pastis and Keane are up for the Reuben.

3. Philippe Val and Cabu sell their shares of interest in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after a tumultuous few years including the reprinting of the Danish Cartoons and a messy, public feud with headliner Sine.

Winner Of The Week
Tom Toles. In addition to winning just about the only cartooning prize he's never won before, the symbolism of being about 10 years into his current gig and winning an award named after his predecessor seems like one of those major career milestones to me.

Loser Of The Week
Comic strip fans that read the New York Daily News. They dropped one of three pages of strips this week, and it's hard to imagine that they'll want to bring all of them back even if readers complain.

Quote Of The Week
"Even with our growth, we weren't exactly financially stable. We have been around for a while and we haven't had too many quarters of sustainability." -- Ed Chavez of Vertical, Inc., on the realities of running even a successful boutique publisher in this day and age.

*****

today's cover is from the great comic book series Four-Color

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

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

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This

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

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posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 80th Birthday, Fred!

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Keane, Thompson Pastis Up For 2011 Reuben; Caniff To Blechman

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News to me. Also, Roy Doty gets the Gold Key Award.
 
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March 4, 2011


Go, Catch Up: Kirb Your Enthusiasm Continues

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Eduardo Ferro, RIP

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Friday Distraction: Marvel's Sgt. Pepper's En Francais

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Go, Bookmark: Chad Sell's Manta-Man

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Kodansha International To Close Down By May 1

Another move by publishing giant Kodansha was announced this week as they're closing down they're English-language focused Kodansha International effort. That was a company best known for English translations of prose, but a few manga works were apparently done through that imprint as well as the first edition of Frederik Schodt's legendary book about comics Manga! Manga!. The article makes clear that this is a separate endeavor from Kodansha USA and doesn't have anything directly to do with their purchase of a significant share of Vertical, Inc., although I would imagine a few folks might wonder if a few prose books that might have gone through that imprint will end up at Vertical and might have even done so if the imprint had stuck around; not like we'd ever be able to tell. The phasing out of the subsidiary is part of a series of general moves made during what is a period of transition at the top of the company -- current chief operating officer Yoshinobu Noma takes over from his mother Sawako Noma in mid-April -- and in that light all of them seem worth noting.
 
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Go, Look: AdHouse Books Tumblr Site

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Colorado Meth Dealer May Lose Comic-Book Collection

Yeah. If this look familiar to you, the case of the meth ring/comics collectors was originally noticed in comics circles via a 2009 series of arrests. The occasion of those arrests included the initial and sometimes spectacular-sounding claim of money laundering on a variety of comics-related fronts, up to and including using comics-bearing mules to aid in this endeavor. At the time it seemed curious -- conceivable given the cash business elements common to dealing in collectibles and consumables, harder to believe due to the difficult nature of converting collectible comics back into cash with any degree of certainty. Reading this new piece, I'm not all the way sure this guy was laundering his money through comic books as much as he may have just been buying lots of comic books and his meth money was the money he had to buy them. I guess that's up to the courts to decide.
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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