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
















November 30, 2011


Go, Read: Lady's Night

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two Gabrielle Bell comics posted on-line in a week!
 
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Go, Read: A Translation-Worthy Interview With Guy Delisle

There's a bunch of interesting material to mine from this interview with Guy Delisle about his forthcoming Jerusalem (Chroniques de Jerusalem in the French-language version). He provides an easy contrast between his work and that of Joe Sacco's for example (Delisle does a page a day, so therefore works differently, and he personally considers his work as something of an opposite to what Sacco does). One potentially newsworthy thing that slips out is that this may be the last of his travelogues: his wife's work situation has changed as their kids have become older.
 
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A Not Comics Classic: 1962 Mars Attacks Cards

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Go, Read: A Couple Of Pieces Of Editorial Cartooning Commentary

* Michael Cavna has a nicely conceived little piece up here suggesting that the great state of Colorado has become the bellwether for developments in the editorial cartooning field. I do wonder if there really is any reason to hope that a new revenue model will emerge at this point, no matter if you talk money straight-up or couch that conversation in terms of opportunities or whatever.

* Teresa Puente at ChicagoNow looks at a recent New Yorker cover in terms of its "Mexican immigrants as pilgrims" metaphor. I'm not sure it's surprising that a metaphor like that hasn't been employed before; a lot of the best editorial cartoons repeat tropes but do so in a way that's timely and informed. We should probably be more hesitant in praising the originality of certain cartoons as well.
 
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Go, Look: Henry Eudy

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Go, Bookmark: A Devoted Gray Morrow Site

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

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

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

*****

SEP110962 RASL TP VOL 03 $15.00
I'm deriving a great deal of pleasure out of this series right now, enough to pick it up in all of its iterations. This seems like a really light week for comics given the holiday rush and all. Maybe we're out of the holiday shipping rush at this point.

imageAUG110037 BPRD BEING HUMAN TP $17.99
Your Mignolaverse book of the week. Again, I admire how consistent these are. I bet there are people that go to the store and buy nothing but.

AUG110377 DOCTOR WHO DAVE GIBBONS COLLECTION HC $50.00
There's a smattering of comics collections out this week that may appeal to fans of a specific artist or creator; this was the one that popped for me. I can't say as I'm familiar with this work at all, and that price point is scary, but I've been on a mini-Dave Gibbons kick recently and would certainly pick it up.

SEP110410 COMPLETE INVINCIBLE LIBRARY HC VOL 03 $125.00
SEP110441 WALKING DEAD OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 NEW PTG (MR) $100.00
SEP110417 MORNING GLORIES HC VOL 01 $39.99
That is three very solid Christmas-style collections of solid genre work from Image. I prefer the comic book in almost every case, but these books are much nicer than the trades, but the giant, three-figure Kirkman books seem to me much nicer than the standard trades. I'm still trying to warm to Morning Glories. It reminds me of one of those TV shows where I admire how it's being done -- I like how little information gets revealed, and how this manages to be non-infuriating -- more than I enjoy the actual material. So far, anyway.

AUG110495 WALKING DEAD LUNCHBOX $14.99
Please tell me they did product placement for this on the show.

AUG110762 DIARY OF A WIMPY KID HC VOL 06 CABIN FEVER $13.95
I'm hoping that if the comics industry bands together in support of this plucky project, it can survive to another volume.

AUG111134 SALVATORE GN VOL 02 AN EVENTFUL CROSSING $14.99
This is Nicholas De Crecy, which of course makes it worth a look. I'd show the cover, but I can't find an image of any decent size.

DEC100735 MOUSE GUARD BLACK AXE #3 (OF 6) $3.50
I tend to like these comics just fine when I get them in the mail, although with the exception of one trip to Meltdown I'm not sure I've ever seen them in the store. That said, I don't get to many stores and sales would indicate that these books have as much store saturation as any not-mainstream series right now. These tend to be really handsome little books, and they have a monopoly on a certain kind of deliberate tone I would have adored as a middle-single-digit aged kid.


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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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Go, Bookmark: Days Of Adventure

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Go, Read: Adrian Tomine Interview At Comic Book Resources

I enjoyed this piece by Jorge Khoury at one of the Comic Book Resources-affiliated columns with Adrian Tomine, one of the better thinkers and talkers about comics that actually interviews relative rarely given his status in the field. Like Sean T. Collins, I was interested in Tomine's attempt at a longer, stand-alone graphic novel that didn't work out; I don't feel the same regret that Collins initially does that the project was never completed. These kinds of things are pretty rare in comics, I think for the same reason you don't see a lot of heavily re-edited work: the labor involved fairly encourages completing what you start. I do remember that James Sturm talked in our before-CCS-happened interview (TCJ #251) about doing a graphic novel featuring art-school students that I'm not sure is ever going to be finished, and there were pages or at least breakdowns done on that. For the most part, though, I'm drawing a blank.
 
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Go, Look: A Norm Maurer Three Stooges Comic

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

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Go, Look: Good-Looking Early '50s Joe Kubert Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a bit of good news I initially missed: Frank Santoro's Fall correspondence course is going well enough he's considering running another set of classes beginning in March 2012. If you're interested, you should bookmark or maybe get in touch.

image* the well-established, veteran editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe talks to Daryl Cagle about his recent decision to take a buyout offered to him by the Denver Post. The good news is that this fit right into Keefe's plans for semi-retirement; the bad news is that any connection that's severed between a major newspaper and a popular cartoonist these days is cause for concern about the long-range future of that profession as we've come to know and value it over the last several decades. The strange news is that Keefe is the current Pulitzer Prize winner, which isn't the time you ever think of someone changing their employment status. I think Keefe is right to suggest that print media was slow in reacting to the rise of digital media. My additional suspicion is that the business was in a really bad position when it started to get punched in the nuts a few years back. For one thing, I think the easy and reliable profits that those enterprises kept bringing in kept newsrooms from being as ruthlessly efficient as possible in terms of staffing even as technology really cut back on some time considerations in terms of the nuts and bolts of newspaper reporting.

* via Stefan Dinter comes word of an audio version of Ana-Marie Jung's recent presentation at the University of Portland. Speaking of audio presentations, Sarah Morean alerts us to a bunch of interviews related to the Minneapolis Indie Xpo held much earlier this month. Seriously, that seems a long time ago, which is weird given how quickly the weeks rattle by anymore.

* Rodrigo Baeza alerts us to comics-makers that may be owned foreign royalties. I don't have any way to confirm that, so please tread carefully. On the other hand: potential foreign royalties.

* I believe I was one of a few comics-related folks that received a note over the weekend from Jaynelle Rude, Steve Rude's wife, about a point of clarification in their public statements as to what Steve did the night he was arrested. She wrote to CR:
I want to clarify something for anyone who thought Steve was throwing rocks at the dogs. Steve tossed rocks at our side wall (we don't have wood fences here in AZ, everything is bricks or rocks). He has noticed in the past that when he opens and closes his studio window (which faces their yard) the dogs will stop barking for a minute or two). The dogs were in the backyard on Halloween and being allowed to bark nonstop. After about 15 minutes of nonstop barking he decided to try and distract them.

Steve loves dogs and I would hate for anyone to think he was throwing rocks at the dogs! Barking dogs is a problem with the owners, not the dogs.

We haven't been following the news (been overwhelmed and overworked). Please let everyone know that Steve would never harm an animal of any kind. He wanted to cry last year when the neighbors had a bee problem and the guy came out and killed instead of relocated all of them.
For what it's worth, I thought the nature of what Rude did and that it wasn't throwing rocks at dogs was clear from the start to everyone except in a couple of sites on the Internet where this was initially misreported and perhaps a place or two where a fan or commenter misread what was actually written. But it's always good to have a clarification.

I've read elsewhere that the Rudes won't be saying much for the duration of the legal process, which is completely understandable. I join many of their comics industry friends in wishing a just and speedy outcome in this matter for Steve and Jaynelle. They have always treated me and this site extremely well. This is a good time to pick up some art from the illustrator if you're so inclined.

* finally, Brad Mackay on the masterwork of comics-maker/logging industry veteran the late Bus Griffiths, Now You're Logging.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Brian Basset!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Ruben Bolling!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Chris Claremont!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Keith Giffen!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Brian Pulido!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Johnny Ryan!

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November 29, 2011


Go, Look: Michel Fiffe's Madman Party Pin-Up

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Wertham Was Right: The Yearly DB Cooper Reminder

It's not news that the most famous man to ever hijack a plane and then disappear with the ransom money, DB Cooper, was perhaps inspired by the French-language comic series Dan Cooper -- that's been an item of discussion for at least a few years now. But that theory, and what may be the ultimate proof for the belief that reading comics can inspire you to do bad things is getting another workout as attention falls on the anniversary of the Cooper affair. Now if someone out there can only unearth an Asterix/Obelix bank-robbing team working in 1970s New Orleans or uncover that Frank Abagnale had a dog named Snowy, we'll be getting somewhere.
 
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Go, Look: A Set Of Strong Fred Guardineer Scans

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Submissions Sought For 2012 Glyph Comics Awards

Robot 6 has the most thorough write-up I've seen on Rich Watson putting out word that it's Glyph Awards submissions time. That's the program for black-themed work that's been around for several years now. Watson also announced this year's panel of judges: Omar Bilal, Robin Brenner, David Brothers, Tim Callahan, and Karen Green.

 
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Go, Look: Early Bernie Wrightson Art

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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*****

By Tom Spurgeon

* it doesn't get any bigger in terms of art comics publisher and art comics maker partnerships right now than the program developed around the work of Jacques Tardi at Fantagraphics. Kim Thompson walks through some of his thinking about the next few releases.

image* this looks really promising: a 164-page book featuring an international cast of female cartoonists, with guest-editing by Ryan Sands. Who wouldn't want some of that?

* JK Parkin profiled Art For Hope in a post at Robot 6 late last week; that's a Viz Media digital anthology in support of ongoing disaster reconstruction. Speaking of Parkin, he also has a summary post up on the 2012 plans at Dark Horse for their popular BPRD property: five mini-series all around a central major plot point/development.

* the Fantagraphics blog mentions that Rick Altergott is doing a comic for VICE. I'd be upset that I didn't know about this until now if I weren't so happy to know about it, period.

* like the professional journalist he is, Paul Constant mostly forgoes the "me wanty" approach favored by lesser writers (like me) and profiles in succinct fashion the mini-comics program being offered by Fantagraphics this holiday season.

* David Welsh writes about a couple of shorter Natsume Ono projects just waiting out there for some enterprising person to license.

* Matthew Badham e-mailed to remind that Leah Moore and John Reppion are publishing some comics on-line for free, which I take is part of broader promotional initiative. Badham also pointed to this post from Grant Goggans about a largely under-discussed publishing initiative from a few years back: an attempt to get the various 2000 AD properties over with North American audiences. While I realize this column is mostly forward-looking, there has to be something in there that could inform some future endeavor.

* Chris Arrant profiles the next project for Freakangels artist Paul Duffield.

* finally, it's always good news when another effort from Benjamin Marra is available for purchase. I sort of wish I could buy them off of some Rexall magazine stand stuffed behind the Archies the way I did Daddy Cool, but there's no getting everything one wants from life.

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Go, Look: Quality Scans Of Men's Adventure #25

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Go, Read: Miami Herald Profile Of Allen Bellman

This is a pretty standard profile of the Golden Age mainstream comic book illustrator Allen Bellman, an artist rediscovered by the historian Michael Vassallo. I'm not sure you'll get a whole lot out of it you haven't experienced in any number of other places, particularly when San Diego con rolls into calendar view. Still, it's nice to be reminded every now and then how much the recognition of their work means to a lot of artists, particularly it seems to those whose life eventually went in another direction.

I remember when I used to see Will Eisner at conventions. Eisner exists in an exponentially greater weight class, of course, but what struck me when I saw him is how much he seemed to enjoy this late career he forged, right down to the give-and-take at comics shows. Bellman's not an active cartoonist right now beyond, it seems, some recreations, but the pleasure and purpose he derives out of the modest, renewed interest in his one-time career seems similar. I wish this kind of interest were more widespread and was forceful enough to penetrate the fabric of commercial malfeasance that in many cases grew up around the medium so many decades ago (and which has remained there for many of the years after that), but someone being made happy by something a bit more restrained in scope shouldn't be dismissed. I'm happy for that guy's happiness.
 
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If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Rocket Kelly #2

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the post through which friends and well-wishers could donate to the cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman in pass-the-hat fashion targeted at immediate costs in the wake of the tragic loss of their daughter has an update with a response from the cartoonists.

image* Hayley Campbell talks to Anders Nilsen, and finds a nice structural hook for their conversation. Josie Campbell talks to Rachel Gluckstern. Kiel Phegley talks to Axel Alonso, and then to Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. Dave Richards talks to James Asmus. Chris Mautner profiles the career of Grant Morrison. Heidi MacDonald profiles Jon Klassen.

* here's another holiday shopping guide.

* Corey Blake follows up on the ongoing, long-running Bill Mantlo story, and points out some of the efforts of the comics community to help out.

* drawn shelf porn.

* Rob Clough on a bunch of mini-comics. Don MacPherson on Justice League #3. Katherine Dacey on No Longer Human Vol. 1. Sean Gaffney on Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol. 2. David Uzumeri on Fantastic Four #600. Todd Allen on Venom By Rick Remender Vol. 1.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco walks us through a month of Marvel solicitations, pausing to gape at Thor's hair in the 1990s.

* the hometown paper of the David Langdon talks to family members about the late cartoonist. You know, I had no idea until he passed that Langdon was still alive, and it surprised me the same way that Glenn Ford's passing did. He was an extremely popular cartoonist during World War II, and being Punch's most prolific when they were at their circulation peak isn't anything to sneeze at. Does anyone out there happen to know how many cartoonists were published in Punch and The New Yorker?

* Ronald Searle declares his love for reading generally, and Dickens specifically, in this installment of what I'm guessing is a recurring feature.

* I completely forgot to link in formal fashion here on the blog to Kiel Phegley's piece last week with Mark Millar on what the successful writer perceives as the dangers of digital/print same day release strategies. I do remember I made a crack somewhere about how late Millar's entering the conversation, and I think that's actually a big factor in determining the value of Millar's position: if the comics companies wanted to establish a double-release schedule they needed to toe that particular line of strategy a couple of years ago. Not making a strong decision left them open to the market's desires, and after a certain point I think they needed to just move in the direction they were already leaning. I think the true value of what Millar is saying lies in the more general notion that digital publication strategies deserve a lot more scrutiny: not just for their effects on the bottom line or on a retailing segment, although that's valuable, but for how the various strategies either reward or fail to reward the creators involved. I have yet to see any company announce that their strategy has been formulated around making creators more money, except in oblique fashion. In fact, I think I've read more spirited defenses of price points and promotional strategy options as necessary for the company than I've read anyone talking about how the creators benefit. A related point: I really don't have a link for this, but it seems to me some of the digital sales over this last weekend put on display some of the value of not pricing every comic book at 99 cents -- when you do price them that way, you can get a bump out of it. Can you discount from 99 cents?

* finally, Johanna Draper Carlson congratulates Charles "Zan" Christensen and Mark Brill for making the 2011 Out100.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Maggie Thompson!

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Happy 25th Birthday, Oli Smith!

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November 28, 2011


Go, Look: Joe Decie's Hidden Message To His Girlfriend

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awww
 
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Go, Read: BBC On Traditional Indian Comics Market In Decline

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There's nothing shocking in this article about how kids in India today might just prefer watching TV or playing video games to reading comic books as their parents and grandparents apparently did. Two things recommend the piece, though. The first is novelty. There's almost no writing on a regular basis about the traditional Indian comics market. You see mentions when someone dies, but most of the pieces I see are about the opportunities for English-language comics from other countries and a homegrown alt-comics type movement. The second is that it always seems obvious to me when I read articles like this how comics in general made the transition from more of a mass medium to pretty much a secondary art form, something that took years of Batman-Over-Bane's-knee type market correction for US players to understand, if they even understand it now.

i'm only about 80 percent sure that's a traditional Indian comic book above, but I sure liked the looks of it
 
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Go, Read: Seth Tobocman On Komikazen And Occupy Ravenna

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Via Ethan Heitner comes word of this post from the politically active cartoonist Seth Tobocman, on his experiences at Komikazen (the comics convention focused solely on works that more directly engage events in the real world) and a side trip down to Occupy Ravenna. This is way more interesting than my last dozen convention experiences combined. Guest-starring Magdy El Shafee (if you were working with the best casting agent in the world, you would cast Magdy El Shafee in the role of the person with whom you had this kind of experience). Even the person taking the photos has a cool name.
 
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Go, Look: Comics Pages From A 1972 National Lampoon Issue

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Go, Read: A Dire Lack Of Peter Arno

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Harry McCracken's article about the failure of Google's Knol is very cleverly conceived, but I would suggest that a lack of Peter Arno diminishes life in general.
 
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Go, Look: Drew Friedman's Latest Jack Davis Gallery

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Your Amazon.ca Best Books (Comics) List Of 2011

imageThe 2011 best graphic novels list for the Canadian iteration of the on-line bookseller is up here. The bulk of it is the same as the Amazon.com list, with a few swap-outs here and there. It's slightly surprising, but I think I prefer the US list by a bit. In alphabetical order, the choices are:
* Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)
* Habibi, Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
* Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (D+Q)
* Joe The Barbarian: Deluxe Edition, Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy (DC Comics)
* Kill Shakespeare Vol. 2, Conor Mcreery and Anthony Del Col and Andy Belanger (IDW)
* Love And Rockets: New Stories #4, Los Bros Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* Mister Wonderful: A Love Story, Dan Clowes (Pantheon)
* One Soul, Ray Fawkes (Oni)
* Pogo: The Complete Daily And Sunday Strips Vol. 1, Walt Kelly (Fantagraphics)
* The Death-Ray, Daniel Clowes (D+Q)
I think you're starting to see some consensus as to entry on these lists, such as Hark! A Vagrant and Habibi.

image from Joe The Barbarian
 
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Go, Look: Some Primetime 1970s Gil Kane Pages

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Center For Cartoon Studies Launches Its Yearly Giving Campaign

A yellow envelop in my stack of mail tells me that the Center For Cartoon Studies is making a holiday push for donations. This year's pamphlet is by Gabby Schulz, and it's very handsome. It's also a very confident set of statements. The text emphasizes things like the institution's seven-year run, and what that means in terms of a shift from putting together enough money to survive and putting together an endowment package to go for several more years. They also crow about their quarter-million dollar community development grant from last Spring.

If like me you do the bulk of your yearly charitable giving during the holidays, I urge you to consider CCS as one of the possible destinations for your funds. Giving to a school isn't everyone's cup of tea, and giving to a cartooning school likely hits the profile of even fewer folks, but it's worth a look for any comics fan just to keep track of what they're up to.
 
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Go, Look: Visions Of Thanksgiving

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

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Go, Look: Captain Vincible

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* longtime supporters of this site Top Shelf Comix has a cyber sale going today with a 30 percent cut in prices across the board. They have a wide variety of books for a wide variety of tastes, but I thought Lucille in particular was under-discussed upon its release. The cartooning in that book is frequently very beautiful.

image* Seth Peagler talks to Roger Langridge. Matthew Dick talks to Anders Nilsen and Elijah Brubaker. Andy Burns talks to Jonathan Maberry. Yan Basque talks to Nathan Fairbairn. I should probably know who this is that is talking to Paul Hornschemeier. Jason Sacks talks to Bill Schelly and Royden Lepp. Zack Davisson talks to Roy Thomas.

* via one of Brett Warnock's life-affirming catch-all posts comes word that Nate Powell's site has been redesigned. That would be worth a visit.

* Matthew Dick on Paying For It. Joel Meadows on that recent Drew Struzan movie poster book. Bill Brownstein on Someday Funnies. Sean T. Collins on Tales Designed To Thrizzle #7. Glen Weldon on various comics. Ruth Brown on Oil And Water. Michael Taube on Drawing Power. Bill Boichel on Lost In The Andes.

* it makes me feel good to know that discussion groups devoted to comics exist. It's also very strange given how private my consumption of comics was until I moved to Seattle in 1994. That shift from isolation to group activity may be the biggest change wrought by the Internet, with a discussion group being an even more concrete manifestation.

* while I'm idly reflecting on 1994, I think I'll stare at this commissioned piece of art from Peter Bagge featuring the Hate cast.

* congratulations to Jonathan and Amy Bennett.

image* Matt Seneca digs into a sequence by Victor Moscoso. Also at Robot 6 was a not-really-comics post I nearly missed about a Carl Barks painting going for a lot of money. I think what I find remarkable about that is that this is a painting that's a recreation of a moment from a comic, as opposed to an original piece. I'm not exactly sure why that should change my outlook on it, though, and I swear I'm not processing that in a snotty way. It just seems like when something starts to creep into that higher price range, it's usually in part because of the nature of the act of creation...? Yeah, I'm clearly not ready to write about that.

* this may be funny, but it's not unique enough to be news.

* one of the significant minor pleasures of the recent comics Internet is the occasional travelogue written by D+Q head honcho Chris Oliveros. Here's a photo-driven report on his recent trip to Los Angeles.

* finally, a few folks have been nice enough to send along this link to a short piece from Tim O'Neil analyzing a Jack Cole pin-up. That almost certainly means someone prominent had it first, and my apologies to that person for not knowing who you are. Good piece, though.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Mark A. Nelson!

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Happy 80th Birthday, Tomi Ungerer!

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Happy 56th Birthday, François Boucq!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Jerry Ordway!

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November 27, 2011


Go, Read: Spain Rodriguez Profiled

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Go, Re-Bookmark: Achewood

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Go, Look: Cezanne In "Plein Air"

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

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Happy 49th Birthday, Paul Guinan!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Jonathan Rosenberg!

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


The Making Of "Hardie Vs. The Fire"


Jack Black By Radio Insecto


Craig Thompson Featured On German On-Line Video Magazine
thx, Christian Maiwald
 
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November 26, 2011


CR Week In Review

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

1. According to rigid guidelines for 1st Degree Murder sentencing where the former prominent retailer and convention organizer was tried and convicted, Michael George was sentenced to life in prison for the 1990 murder of his then-wife. He vows to appeal.

2. David Coleman Headley receives a high-profile television profile not for his involvement in a plot against the Jylland-Posten newspaper, but for his advance scouting for the massacre in Mumbai.

3. European comics award season gears up with the finalists announced for the prize given by L'Association Des Critiques De Bandes Dessiné.

Winner Of The Week
Anders Nilsen

Loser Of The Week
Marvel, potentially, for what may be the outcome of recent belt-tightening.

Quote Of The Week
"Names like Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron and Jonathan Hickman -- the so-branded Marvel Architects -- dominate the solicited books, while established, emerging and fan favorite talents from Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente to Rob Williams and Paul Tobin have decreased output and presumably fewer chances to ply their trade on a monthly title and build long term fan support -- not to mention a decrease in opportunities for up and coming writers to make their mark at the industry's biggest publisher." -- Kiel Phegley.

*****

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

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

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Happy 61st Birthday, Doug Rice!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Pat Broderick!

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November 25, 2011


The Comics Reporter's Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide 2011

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Today is "Black Friday" 2011. "Black Friday" is the traditional first day of the hectic holiday shopping season.

Rolling out in the following document over the next few hours will be several suggestions for comics-related gift shopping. These suggestions are intended to help you along if you've decided that sequential narrative presents and things related to sequential narratives are to be on Santa's list this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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THE COMICS REPORTER BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2011
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ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINE REASONS TO SPEND YOUR SHOPPING MONEY ON COMICS THIS YEAR

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TWELVE "GIFTY"-SEEMING COMICS GIFTS FOR THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
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1. Nelson, Edited By Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis (Blank Slate Books)
This is a big, full-color anthology featuring work from various stalwarts of the surprisingly under-appreciated -- and therefore under-seen by most North American comics fans -- current British comics scene, with proceeds being donated to the homelessness charity Shelter.

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2. Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition, Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
IDW has done a really nice job with their various deluxe editions across the line, and that's certainly the case with this edition of Darwyn Cooke's first two Parker adaptations, bound together and stuffed with extras including an interview from this site. I can't really compare the experiences of reading the actual comics involved, but I know two people have reached for it right off of my bookshelf that didn't ever show interest in the initial publications.

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3. Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture, Jack Davis (Fantagraphics)
I haven't seen this new Fantagraphics volume yet, but Jack Davis is an outside, little-discussed candidate for Best Living Cartoonist and I can't imagine any decent survey of his artwork not being something to behold.

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4. A Piece Of Tony Millionaire Art Featured On His Yuletide Gallery, Tony Millionaire (Self-Published)
Tony Millionaire's originals are gorgeous and sometimes even humbling. This group of original art is priced in the "you gave me a kidney" or "I am the 1 percent" territory as far as most people are concerned, but I have to imagine it's worth it.

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5. Full-Color Bone In A Deluxe Or A Slipcase Edition, Jeff Smith With Steve Hamaker (Cartoons Books)
Cartoons books is rolling out their one-color editions with a lot of discipline; there's an fancy edition loaded with extras and a slip-cased version at this point. The work looks really gorgeous in cover, and you won't get anything better in the way of production values for this work. Also, Jeff Smith is signing everything purchased from the company store until mid-December.

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6. Genius, Isolated, Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (IDW)
This book is such an obvious king of the gift-getting lists that I recommended it last year, before it was even available. Seeing it on my shelf only reinforces my feelings that just about any fan of comics art will want this. Plus if they like it, there will be other editions in the Toth biography series for you to purchase down the road.

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7. Behold The Dinosaurs Print, Dustin Harbin (Self-Published)
A lot of cartoonists have individual items of note up on their sites or at their Etsy stores right now, like Dustin Harbin, who has a lovely-looking print of these all-time objects of childhood obsession available for purchase.

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8. The Someday Funnies, Edited By Michel Choquette (Abrams)
A comics anthology with a legendary back story, this screams gift to me for multiple reasons: there are entrance points for about any kind of comics fan, and cartoonists for those same fans to discover; the book is of extreme historical interest above and beyond the quality of its comics parts; and also it doesn't necessarily seem like something a comics fan might pick up in the average course of their consumption of the form.

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9. P. Craig Russell Opera Adaptations Set, P. Craig Russell (NBM)
This is pretty well known, much liked material that I would imagine gains power when put together in a single set like this. Russell was an early adopter from a specific mainstream comics heavy perspective of making comics of sophistication and excellence in craft for an adult reader, and this work is probably his most sustained, recurring expression of that idea.

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10. A Personalized Book From The CBLDF's Spirit Of Giving, Various Authors (CBLDF)
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is offering up personalized books, by which they mean a bookplate in the book signed from the creator that's indicated to the person receiving it. That sounds nice, plus you get to support the CBLDF, a popular and well-entrenched group that fights on behalf of comics-related enterprises against laws that limit free speech.

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11. The Eyes Of The Cat, Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky (Humanoids)
Apparently this is the first collaboration between the pair, given oversized publication treatment. This becomes primetime gift material because of its limited-edition nature. Plus one has to imagine it's gorgeous and extremely cool looking.

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12. Someone's Gathering Of The Complete Adventures Of Tintin, Hergé
I've rolled my eyes a couple of times at writers penning their Christmas film previews that claim there are no comics movies for this time of the year; there's a very big one, of course. I don't know if the Spielberg/Jackson version of the kids' comic great will be much more than a very boisterous, classily produced effort, but I welcome any renewed attention it may bring the books.

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SEASONAL GIFTS
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image13. The Economist Year-Ahead Calendar, From KAL
This is primarily a premium for Economist subscribers, but I've had one on my desk for a few years and I haven't seen the magazine since college. If I were a kid and my dad had one in his office, every time I'd visit I'd run over and look at it, if you know what I mean.

14. The Great Treasury Of Christmas Comic Book Stories, Edited By Craig Yoe (IDW)
Craig Yoe's 2010 release features classic Christmas stories, comics made back when hitting the widest possible audience with things they might actually like was the comic book mandate.

15-17. HarperCollins' X-Mas Short-Story Adaptations
It doesn't get more Christmas-y than this triptych of stand-alone works from HC from I believe 2009: The Gift Of The Magi, The Fir-Tree, A Kidnapped Santa Claus. I liked the Alex Robinson one best.

image18. Monster Christmas, Lewis Trondheim (Papercutz)
I greatly enjoyed this stand-alone, translated Christmas fable from Lewis Trondheim. It's slightly odd, but it's also very grounded in what I can remember as a kids' perspective on the holidays and how the adults in my line of sight fussed around it. It also has a basic plot I've rarely seen used -- a family taking a trip for Christmas rather than staying home.

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

20. Classic Christmas-Related Comics
These are great novelty gifts for people that collect Christmas items of for someone that like X-property but didn't know they did a Christmas comic. Or you can just buy them this issue of Justice League Of America, which scared the crap out of me back when it first appeared on the stands.

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BARGAIN GIFT IDEAS FOR YET ANOTHER YEAR OF RECESSION
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image21. Something via AbeBooks
This is the interface I use to access used bookstores. One thing that such stores tend to have that comic shops don't is classic "cartoon books" from artists like Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Pat Oliphant, B. Kliban and so on. But you can frequently find all sorts of comics and comics-related books for cheaper than the standard, going price. It's worth checking.

22. Crafts
Like most men that live alone and don't have a real specific reason why that is, I like to make crafty things from old comic book pages. Comics art offers a lot of opportunities for such handmade gifts if you're inclined to go that way. Be creative.

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

image24. Non-Mint, Not Super-Popular, Older Comic Books From A Shop Or On-Line Store
Most comic book stores sell discounted comics in some fashion. Ebay has provide an industry-wide correction to store owners, who once upon a time held onto comic books no one wanted for 15 years or more because they were certain that a dollar's worth of desire out there would someday and somehow compound itself up to $7.50. With a little effort, you can snag readable runs of unpretentious adventure comics ranging from Master of Kung Fu to Power Man and Iron Fist to Thriller to Camelot 3000 to The Intimates for less than $1.50 an issue. Try reliable on-line retailers like Mile High and MyComicShop.com (especially during their sales); try eBay for things like Chicago Comics' manga sales; try Google Maps or the Comic Shop Locator service to find a store near you.

25. Amazon.com's Used Books Options
Most comics in trade collections or in original graphic novel form come with an ISBN. In most of those cases, that means used copies can be sold on Amazon. I don't believe in selling review copies, but from the number of used books that pop up in the listings every single time there's a new comics release, I'm guessing most folks disagree with me. That means if there's something new and fancy out, you should probably check Amazon's used books before buying a new copy. That can sometimes lead to heartbreak, but you're usually okay if you use vendors that are selling a lot and have generally high ratings from their buyers.

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WAYS TO FACILITATE THEIR DOING THE SHOPPING FOR YOU
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image26. Gift Certificate From Amazon.com
Here's one way to let people buy comics for themselves, a gift certificate/gift card to the bookstore Amazon.com, which of course by virtue of comics' journey into the world of book sales is a prominent -- maybe the prominent -- comics retailer. It's become an even hotter destination this year with their Kindle Fire, DC Deal, and DC-Branded Dedicated Store.

27. Gift Card From Barnes and Noble
There's an advantage with a Barnes and Noble gift card that you don't get with one from Amazon: you can use it in the brick and mortar locations of the chain. I would imagine that, like something from Amazon, this one would have an additional appeal to users of their Nook device, as some publishers most notably Marvel have aimed some material through that offering for the Christmas-buying season.

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

30. Gift Certificate From Your Local Comic Book Shop
Your shop may not do this, but it never hurts to ask. I imagine there are several that would take money from you and apply it to store credit even if there's not an official certificate in the offing or they have to make a certificate with a backing board and a sharpie. As I will likely mention more than once in putting this list together, a lot of comics fan are devoted to their local store.

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

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

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SUBSCRIPTIONS, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
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image31. Subscription to an Archie Publication
It's like having a little piece of supermarket checkout right there in your home.

32. Subscription to a DC Comic Book
This could make a nice nostalgia gift for a one-time, now-lapsed, weekly comic shop visitor that didn't quite get the urge to jump back in with the New 52 but may have heard of them. Grant Morrison's books are always solid, and people seem to be taking to Scott Snyder's comics for the Grand Old Man of The Funnybook Business in a significant way.

33. Subscription to a Marvel Comic Book
Once upon a time, this was maybe the best way to guarantee getting a comic book -- you couldn't really count on the grocery store owner to care about a complete run as much as you did. I can generally recommend whatever books Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are working on. The Jason Aaron-written Wolverine And The X-Men seems to be the belle of the Lee-Kirby ball right now.

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

image35. Subscription To John Porcellino's King-Cat Comics And Other Stories
The greatest of all mini-comics and a national treasure, King-Cat can be purchased in subscription form which the cartoonist will faithfully service over the next few years. When people talk about what they can do for the art form of comics, the talk usually gravitates towards giving people greater exposure or proselytizing in general about the great books. That's all good stuff, but it would also be beneficial if we could manage to simply give more money to talented, committed-for-life cartoonists like Porcellino. I'd be all for replacing "Read Comics In Public Day" with "Send John Porcellino A Five-Dollar Bill Day."

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

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

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

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SUGGESTIONS FOCUSED ON YOUNG PERSON-FRIENDLY GNS, COMICS AND/OR KIDS BOOKS WITH CARTOONIST HOOKS
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image39. The John Stanley Library, John Stanley et al (D&Q)
D&Q has begun a super nice-looking series of Seth-designed reprints of comics from the great John Stanley. They'll probably be among those books of your kids you'd rather they not color in, but I know parents whose kids have taken to these in a big way.

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

41. The Smurf Series From Papercutz, Peyo (Papercutz)
Peyo's Smurf books are effective, enjoyable comics and an obvious long-time kids favorite. This series of books may strain a few parents' eyeballs because of the size at which they're published, but having this material out there on the stands right now is a definite blessing. I know at least two sets of kids that have read every one.

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

image43. A Kids Book From A Favorite Cartoonist
There's a lot to choose from here, such as the Bow-Wow books Mark Newgarden works on, the classic little kids books of Richard McGuire and the gorgeous painted books Lorenzo Mattotti did once upon a time. If you have a favorite comics artist, look up their sites or check out abebooks.com for their kids book work.

44. All-Ages Superhero Comics Efforts
Both Marvel and DC Comics have comics they publish aimed at younger readers, and many of them are quite a bit more fun to read by readers of all ages than a lot of today's continuity-obsessive, clenched-sphincter, standard comic books and collections. Marvel's actually between lines here, as I recall, but they always seemed to me -- based on the scientific sample of me walking around Wal-Mart and looking at things while waiting for a prescription to be filled -- a little bit more aggressive than DC is right now in terms of licensed kids books that tie into their movies.

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

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

image47. Hybrids And Picture Books
There are a lot of books in the bookstores that function as hybrids -- offering comics/cartoons and prose -- or as straight-up picture books. The Wimpy Kid series is one of a few super-successful kids series in the hybrid corner of the market. Two of my favorites in this category that some may not think of for their comics properties are The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, which breaks up its prose with lovely silent comics sequences (and is now a movie), and the books of Shaun Tan, particularly The Arrival.

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

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

image50. Little Lulu Digest Series, John Stanley (Dark Horse)
I don't have tactile familiarity with this series, but these are some of the best comics in the world and color is usually a very nice thing.

51. Hope Larson's Books
I like all of Hope Larson's books; more to the point, I know people that aren't yet old enough to drive that like Hope Larson's books.

52. The Amulet Series, Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix)
While this series has taken up space either outside or under the radar of traditional comic book talking points, it has sold scads of copies in the book market.

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

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

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

image56. The Secret Science Alliance Vol. 1, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury USA)
Another very promising cartoonist, working in full-color and really going to town. I thought this book -- a couple years old now -- was extremely clever.

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

58. Lost In The Andes, Carl Barks (Fantagraphics)
These are just really great comics, re-colored as if they're brand-new, and anchored by the first great duck adventure story. To think we get 15 years of this kind of material is a wonderful, wonderful thing. There's no guaranteeing that a kid is going to love these like kids did in my generation and the generation preceding did, but it's not going to be because the material is lacking in any way.

image59. Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder By High Tide, Maurice Tillieux (Fantagraphics)
These are more all-ages safe than directed at kids, maybe, but they're fun, involving comics and I would have adored them when I was 10-12 years old. The mysteries are quirky enough, but like the best detective stories in any medium it's watching the character move with idiosyncratic style through an entertaining setting that's the key to one's enjoyment.

60. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet Books)
This is the veteran cartoonist's webcomic turned full-length book, drawn in a clear and engrossing style and about as friendly as your average resident of Mayberry. This actually came out in late 2010, but didn't register on my radar until that next Spring, just based on the weight of the number of people that told me they enjoyed it.

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WAYS TO GIVE BY GIVING BACK
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image61. A Donation in Someone's Name to the scholarship fund at The Center For Cartoon Studies
Help keep tuition low at James Sturm's institute of higher comics learning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NOT-COMICS IDEAS THAT AREN'T A BOOK OF COUPONS FOR HUGS
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image68. The Walking Dead Action Figure That Actually Walks
This is more of a TV show thing than a comic book thing, just like Walking Dead is now, really. Still, I have to imagine any fan of the comic book would get a kick out of something like this if it's as advertised.

69. Little Baby Jumpsuits Modeled After DC Superhero Costumes
This is good because it's cute and it's also blackmail material for whatever will have taken the place of Facebook twenty years from now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image77. Something From Souther Salazar's Etsy Store
Souther Salazar hasn't made a new comic in a while, but he still offers some of those he has made along with other items at his Etsy store.

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

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

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

image81. Something From A Syndicate Store
I know at least one of the syndicates has a store where you can go buy mugs and t-shirts from the business partners of some of your favorite cartoonists, as opposed to a cartoonist themselves: King Features.

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

83. Dame Darcy's Store
She has a devoted store at her site, complete with a link to her etsy offerings.

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

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WAYS TO ENGAGE GIFT-BUYING POSSIBILITIES IN MANGA
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image85. Something From Osaumu Tezuka
I believe 2006's Ode to Kirihito to be a fevered masterpiece of craft on a level with films like The Wild Bunch or White Dog; there is also much of interest craft-wise and story-wise and because it's Tezuka history-wise in 2007's MW and Apollo's Song. Vertical's also done a terrific job with the Dororo, Black Jack and Buddha series. Buddha is an all-time classic, Black Jack is a big hit book, and Dororo is the rare gift of something not obviously one of those first two things getting the deluxe treatment. This year's Vertical/Tezuka biggies were the excellent The Book Of Human Insects and the seminal Princess Knight.

86. Non-Tezuka Manga From Vertical
Vertical has always offered more than just Tezuka; with series like Twin Spica, Chi's Sweet Home and 7 Billion Needles, those offerings taken as a group seem like a stronger part of their catalog than ever before. One of their major offerings this year is the long-anticipated English translation of The Drops Of God.

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

image88. Manga From Drawn And Quarterly
Manga cartoonists publishing English language editions of powerful manga through D&Q include: Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Imiri Sakabashira, Susumu Katsumata and Seiichi Hayashi. This year's offerings included Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and A Single Match.

89. PictureBox Inc. Manga
PictureBox offers work from artists like Takashi Nemeto, Yuichi Yokoyama, Ken Kagami and Hanakuma. Not a stinker in the bunch. A big release for them this year is Yokoyama's Color Engineering.

90. Fantagraphics Manga
Fantagraphics is still a bit light on the manga offerings, but you couldn't do much better than a collection from Moto Hagio as a first book out of the gate, or this year's book from Shimura Takako, Wandering Son.

91. Last Gasp Manga
Last Gasp published Yusaku Hankuma's Tokyo Zombie in Fall 2008, and I guess we're all still waiting for their edition of The Strange Tale Of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, a much-anticipated book for sophisticated manga fans across the board. (I actually sort of thought that was out; I guess I was wrong.) They also carry a ton of work in their role as a distributor. Don't forget they're around.

92. Ax: A Collection Of Alternative Manga Vol. 1, Edited By Sean Michael Wilson (Top Shelf)
There's a certain kind of person for whom you can purchase comics slightly off the beaten path from the comics they'd usually desire, but if you have one in your family and they're a manga fan, this 2010 anthology of alt-manga works might engender a voyage of discovery.

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


image93. Mini-Comics from Global Hobo
A number of talented artists work through this classic comics collective.

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

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

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

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

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

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

100. Comics From The Secret Acres Store
Everything in their store is at least good if not great work of its kind.

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


image101. A Commission From Keith Knight
Keith's one of the good guys in comics and one of its enduring warriors. One way in which he supports himself is doing commissions for the holidays. He'll draw anything you want him to (within reason, one supposes).

102. Prints And Art From The R. Crumb Web Site
I haven't seen any of this stuff in person, so I can't totally testify as to the material's general quality, but I know from years of wondering at parties whether or not to risk ending a friendship through an attempt at theft that Robert Crumb's art looks great on a wall.

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

image104. Custom Art From Gary Panter
The great Gary Panter continues to offer up custom art, drawn according to words that you provide him. Forget friends and any and all members of your family, this is what you should get me.

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

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

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

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

image109. Original Art From The Beguiling's Art Store
Retailer Peter Birkemoe is a nice man who runs a classy comics business, and I hear he does very well by his client artists. Just a staggering line-up of cartoonists with work available here.

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

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

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

113. Original Art From Denis Kitchen Art Agency
Denis doesn't have as many clients as some people, but they're all heavy hitters like Frank Stack. Kitchen has a long enough track record in the industry I can certainly endorse him, too. I'm not sure if the temporary glitch getting to the original art sales is a temporary glitch or an indication that the site has abandoned this sales track, though.

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

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

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

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

118. A Print From Todd Klein
Todd Klein has been self-publishing prints featuring his lettering, and they're all a) very handsome, b) co-starring creative talent from various corners of the wide world of funnybooks.

image119. A Print From Mike Bertino
I think Mike's been killing it for a couple of years now; I'm particularly fond of the assault of colors his work in single images tends to bring. There's not a whole lot left for sale there, though.

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

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

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

123. Print Of A King Features Comic Strip
When Dan Wright and I were doing Wildwood for King Features, we'd give friends -- and random people that weren't really friends at all -- inkjet-made "prints" of good strips. This looks much more legal.

124. Discounted Art From Mark Burrier's Etsy Store
The coupon code that was sent to me was GIVEART2011.

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OLD STUFF
*****


image125. An Old Cartoon Book via Stuart Ng Books
I try to visit Stuart Ng Books every time I'm in southern California. They have a big of high-end art, and cartoon books that kind of run the gamut, price-wise.

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

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

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

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

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The author of this blog would like to apologize for being too distracted by his day job of tossing feces to get to the entirety of this shopping guide. Another 100 or so entries should come sooner rather than later. Until then, please enjoy this Ted Hawkins video.

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November 24, 2011


Go, Look: Our Time

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posted 10:40 am PST | Permalink
 

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* the CAKE 2012 exhibitor application is up. That's a mid-June Chicago show.

* here's the full programming slate at the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. It looks like a good one.

* Montreal's expozine is this weekend, a show with which I'm unfamiliar enough that I'm not sure if it's capitalized or not. The site listing isn't capitalized, so there you go. I bet that will be a good show. We should declare the weekend after Thanksgiving "Handmade Comics Weekend." No particular reason, I just like suggesting that things be named.

* most of this site's audience is probably gearing up for the aforementioned BCGF. Here's the exhibitor map and exhibitor list. The exhibitor list is nice because they put down the debut books, which means you can look for them. Ten days out and I'm already con-tired, writing sentences like that.

* Michael Dooley would like very much for you to read his Long Beach Comic Con convention report.

* finally, there were a couple of con-related news items this week that couldn't wait for this column to roll out, to which I'll now re-link. Image Comics has announced its own convention for February. This strikes me as a potentially smart move. The French-language site ActuaBD.com is the place to go for news on BD Boum and Le Festival De Colomiers.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Where They Draw

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Bil Keane, 1922-2011

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Bil Keane, the veteran newspaper cartoonist behind the immensely popular single-panel comic feature The Family Circus, died on November 8 in his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. Keane had apparently been in a state of decline for a few weeks before his final passing. He was 89 years old.

William Aloysius Keane was born in Philadelphia in 1922 to Aloysius and Florence Keane. Raised Roman Catholic by his devout parents in the northeastern Philadelphia neighborhood of Crescentville, Keane attended Catholic schools and graduated the then still reasonably new Northeast Catholic High School For Boys in 1940. A biography written in Keane's voice that appears on the Family Circus web site says that the cartoonist began to draw at an early age and to formally make cartoons while in high school. This would have included publication in his school's newlcospaper The Good News, and a satirical publication he created with fellow teens, the Saturday Evening Toast. It was at the latter publication he first signed his name "Bil Keane." (He would later make two jokes about the lack of letter: that Mell Lazarus stole it, and that his parents beat the "l" out of him for various acts of misbehavior including becoming a cartoonist; the pen name was certainly simple and memorable, like much of Keane's work.)

imageUpon graduation, Keane was briefly a messenger for the long-established regional newspaper The Philadelphia Bulletin. He left that job for service in the US Army during World War II. Keane was stationed in the Pacific Theater. Some accounts have him working as a cartoonist for Stars And Stripes -- he was definitely a contributor to the Pacific edition of the military publication and to the magazine Yank -- and others have Keane as a general artist and poster designer for a promotional office. Historian RC Harvey in his extremely thorough obituary at The Comics Journal calls Keane a tech sergeant. It was while in the service that he met his future wife, Thelma Carne, a native Australian that took a job that placed her desk right next to Keane's. They started dating while working together and were married in 1948 in Brisbane.

The Keanes settled down in Roslyn, Pennsylvania, a small community about 15 miles directly north of downtown Philadelphia. For a time, they lived next to Keane's brother Bob, and his multiple children. Keane worked as a staff artist on the Philadelphia Bulletin for over a decade following the war. At the time, the Bulletin was in one of the great runs of the 20th Century by a metropolitan newspaper: buying out its competition, investing in other media and becoming the nation's largest afternoon newspaper when such publications still played a major role in American daily life. The general editorial culture at the Bulletin was genteel and neighborly, an approach to business that may have made an impression on the cartoonist. Being in Philadelphia also allowed Keane to get to know some of the East Coast's other prominent cartoonists, including some of the up-and-comers from his own generation.

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While at the Bulletin Keane contributed to the paper's Sunday comics package "Fun Book" with a few features, perhaps most prominently a cartoon called Silly Philly. Silly Philly featured a child dressed like William Penn. Harvey identified Keane's other Bulletin-era features as Mirthquakers (gags), Corn Crib (puns), The Master (about a put-upon dad), The Suburban Set (about life in the suburbs), and The Silent Set (pantomime). While the first two were regular features in "Fun Book" the rest were frequently isolated by gag and sold to magazines such as Collier's and Saturday Evening Post, making Keane a successful freelance cartoonist by the competitive standards of the late 1940s and 1950s.

imageKeane enjoyed his first major strip success, the syndicated TV-culture feature Channel Chuckles, after trying to sell the Register & Tribune Syndicate on his Corn Crib feature. Channel Chuckles ran until 1976, with some newspapers running it in their devoted TV sections rather than on the comics page. Many of the jokes about television remain potent -- or at least recognizable -- today, far after the heady novelty that surrounded the once-new entertainment device and the medium supported by it.

In the late 1950s, Keane was one of the first prominent syndicated cartoonists to move from a home in the eastern corridor of the U.S. to somewhere in the warmer west. The Keanes settled near Phoenix in the community of Paradise Valley directly north of Scottsdale by at least early Spring 1959. For the duration of his life, Keane was an active booster of his adopted home area. He convinced the writer Erma Bombeck, among others, to relocate to the region.

Keane approached his syndicate in April of that year with a pantomime feature Spot News. Spot News quickly faded after a June debut, but impressed its creator with the power and versatility of the circle it employed in its presentation.

The Family Circus launched in February 1960 as The Family Circle. This was technically a soft relaunch of the Spot News feature, the new feature being given to existing Spot News client newspapers in the hopes they would continue with the new feature over the old one. Even with that perceived step up, it still only mustered 19 clients on its launch date.

Keane's new feature offered a portrait of a family roughly equivalent to Keane's own. The patriarch, Steve (later Bil, and remodeled), was a cartoonist and veteran of World War II. His wife, Thelma, was closely visually based on Thelma Keane. The initial group of kids -- Billy, Dolly, and Jeffy -- were composites of the five Keane children. Youngest child PJ was added in 1962, and aged slightly in subsequent months to bring him up to toddler status; the other children have remained roughly the same age for the lifetime of the feature.

The strip proved successful enough that by Fall 1961 a Sunday version was made available. Keane would that same year end his freelancing (along with it Silly Philly) for both the Bulletin and for magazine clients so that he could concentrate on his two syndicated offerings. Threatened legal action from the magazine Family Circle had forced a title change by late summer 1960.

imageFamily Circus was initially a well-observed portrait of family life: harried parents interacting with precocious children. Given his own family and Keane's general skill with humor honed for more than 15 years in the crucible of freelance cartooning and in daily syndicated strip production, it's likely Family Circus could have been successful just following that kind of situation comedy path for the feature's lifetime. A joke about a half-dozen years into the Family Circus run that was less of a punchline and more a request from one of the children for affection brought in enough mail that Keane began to sprinkle his feature with such moments. In this midstream recalibration, the emphasis fell on more wholesome humor and the idea of the family as a protected place where the kids felt safe and loved.

Keane's strip is often dismissed -- or celebrated -- as wholesome Americana and as a major source of family-ready humor, and it was both of those things. Yet the strip's appeal seems greater than that due an exemplar of scrubbed content. Keane's comic may have been the first to present not just clean material -- Charles Schulz's psychologically troubled kids were clean -- but an approach to humor and story moments designed to make the family at the strip's center a kind of idealization of decent behavior. The average reader may not have lived in a family like the one in The Family Circus spotlighted, but they probably had memories when it seemed that way, or perhaps they simply wished it were so. That circle became for the reader the safe place that the two-parent home it featured was for its young inhabitants. As the local newspaper became for its readers a respite from the assault of modern living and pop culture, and as such publications were consumed by an increasingly older readership, The Family Circus presented a portrait of caring and expressed affection that struck a significant and resonant chord. Several strips that have debuted since owe Family Circus a debt for uncovering and then putting on display how one might reap the rewards, creatively and financially, of this powerful, basic approach. In that way, Family Circus is clearly one of the most influential strips of the last 50 years.

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The Family Circus also put on display day-to-day virtues derived from Keane's impressive cartooning skill set. It was always snappily drawn, and its recurring gags were deeply, instantly memorable: the single-image with multiple word balloons, the kid-drawn substitute strips, or the various gremlins that perpetrated acts for which the kids were blamed. An approach to Sundays where the elaborate path taken by one of the children on behalf of some small task was spotlighted by a dotted line is one of the most striking and recognizable graphic flourishes in newspaper strip history. Keane also put to use some subtle design elements, for example playing with multiple points of focus in a way that gave some of his strips levels of visual interest that probably wouldn't have existed if one were to come across a similar scene in real life. The character designs of the children are so memorable that other cartoonists have made jokes just by including someone with a similarly shaped head in their own comic strip. While Keane indicated in some story details that his cartoon family might live in Arizona, he also had no problem introducing the snow he remembered from back east whenever the feature called for it. As in many other ways, The Family Circus was less about life in a certain state than life as a certain state of mind.

Family Circus appeared in approximately 1500 newspapers at its height and remains a strong-selling and strong-polling syndicate offering. It is a major success by any standard, and an unbelievable perennial when you begin to count how many years the Sunday and dailies have been popular.

While Bil Keane's success was largely derived from publishing, some crossover media items came into existence over the years. It's been a popular calendar property. There was a series of holiday television specials done beginning in the late 1970s that featured the characters. They include A Special Valentine With The Family Circus (1978), A Family Circus Christmas (1979) and A Family Circus Easter (1982). The last of those might be the most memorable for Dizzy Gillespie doing voice work as the Easter Bunny. Keane received a writing credit on all three specials. Bil Keane's son Glen, who worked on the Christmas and Easter specials, would go on to become one of the better known creators in North American animation. (Glen Keane may be best known for focusing on animating sequences in various big-budget animated movies featuring female characters; he was a nominee for the 2011 Reuben.) Bil Keane only rarely took on freelance work after the strip found an audience, but in one high-profile exception he illustrated his close friend Erma Bombeck's Just Wait Till You Have Children Of Your Own in 1971. According to Harvey, his volunteer work included tours with the USO.

Family Circus was collected in the popular digest format by which many latter-half 20th Century strips found a greater audience. This happened first in 1961, and then with great regularity beginning in the mid-1960s. Fawcett Gold Medal Books has handled the bulk of the paperback collections, publishing over 14 million copies of those books.

In 1982, Keane won the Reuben for Outstanding Cartoonist Of The Year. He was a four-time winner of the divisional award Best Syndicated Panel (1967, 1971, 1973-1974). Keane also took home the 1982 Elzie Segar Award given for his contributions to the profession and the 2002 Silver T-Square Award for his work with the National Cartoonist Society. He was President of the NCS from 1981 to 1983. This was a period of transition among cartoonists, as many of the great second generation of successful strip cartoonists began to pass away. Keane was a defender of traditional comics-page values, later criticizing Bill Watterson for the unique space demands that the Calvin And Hobbes cartoonist made in the second half of his short syndicated career.

imageIn 1988, Keane became one of the syndicated newspaper cartoonists to have the full rights to his comic returned to him after previously signing them over to the syndicate. The negotiations were managed by Thelma Keane, the family's longtime -- and by reputation quite skilled -- business manager.

Keane perhaps became best known by the generations of cartoonists that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as the emcee for the annual NCS dinner, and a presence at the roasts with which the group used to close their Spring weekend meetings. Keane's wit and acerbic joke-telling seemed both familiar in that it reminded many of the kind of larger-than-life presence famous cartoonists used to have, but also completely at odds with the perception of the man that one might derived by reading the gentle Family Circus panel. Keane had a general reputation for a quick-witted speech amongst his fellow cartoonists and in the small handful of press people given over to covering that specific field.

Jeff Keane began to work with his father in 1981 on a wordplay-centric strip called Eggheads that never garnered much more than a mid-two figure client list. That strip was discontinued in 1983, and the younger Keane went to work for the elder more directly. He's mentioned by his father as an inker and colorist in that initial period, taking over duties that had previously fallen to a much-loved employee of Keane's, Bud Warner. Jeff Keane later became an outright co-creator, and in recent years has worked as the feature's sole creator, taking suggestions and roughs from his father as they were provided but doing the bulk of the work himself. According to statements made following his father's passing, Jeff Keane plans on continuing the still-popular strip.

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The comics publisher IDW began collecting early installments of the strip into over-sized volumes in 2009. Two of these books have been published to date. In a statement the company posted to their web site, they declared that "Those endlessly curious, often too clever children and their loving, long-suffering parents captured the essence of the typical American family."

Keane was preceded in death by his wife in 2008. He is survived by four sons (Neal, Glen, Christopher and Jeff), a daughter (Gayle), nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He died in the presence of family, all of whom came to see him one last time.

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posted 10:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two From Harvey Pekar About Sun Ra

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thx to Buzz Dixon
 
posted 10:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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This year I'm grateful for everything.
 
posted 10:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Tony Fitzpatrick!

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November 23, 2011


Go, Read: Sarah Glidden On Occupy Miami

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Go, Read: ICv2.com On DC's New Amazon Store

The article is here; the store itself is here. I wonder if this is what John Rood meant when he praised the ecosystem at Amazon.com.

This is one of those "there it is" stories, meaning I don't have a lot to add. There's the store. There's the article. Still, it's intriguing to me how these kinds of things work on two levels: as a potential development in the way those companies do business in the long-term, and as a PR-driven sales opportunity in the short-term.
 
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Go, Look: Some Lovely-Looking BWS Black And White Conan Art

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Big Questions Only Graphic Novel On NYT Notable 100 Books List

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The list is here; the publisher relaying the news and congratulating their author is here.

I imagine there are some comics readers out there that still have a hang-up about even this kind of list-style recognition of a comic for its literary qualities -- a kind of folded-arm "well la di da; no one will read it" performance reminiscent of the pre-major bookstore distribution 1990s -- but I would hope that even those people that don't want to read comics like Nilsen's are at the point these days where they can step and back and realize that there a lot of different kinds of comics now, and it's nice to see some of them recognized for hitting with their audience in a strong and effective fashion.

Yeah, I don't know why my mind drifted there, either.

Anyway, if you haven't had the pleasure of reading that book, it's perfect for lugging to a house of crazed family members and can probably be devoured over the course of a few holiday down periods.
 
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Go, Look: The Tony Millionaire Yuletide Gallery

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Go, Read: Kiel Phegley's Analysis Of The Marvel Comics Line

imageKiel Phegley puts together all the scattered news items about series cancellations and word of the increased exploitation of core titles at Marvel Comics into a lengthy post about the company's recent past and potential future as a publishing enterprise. The piece's primary contributions to the general discussion are its analysis of how many comics Marvel is doing new strategy to old (about the same) at what price points (about the same mix as the recent past) and where the changes really lie (more titles featuring core characters from the company's bigger writers, the potential implications of which Phegley covers in arresting fashion). Phegley suggests that it's the creative winnowing that will have a bigger effect than any reduction in the diversity of characters employed, partly because Marvel's finding ways to fold newer takes on characters and characters that don't quite seem to sustain a series into more of its general plans (like team-ups in titles showcasing a bigger character).

I think the most significant element of this story might involve a forest-for-trees orientation as to what we're really seeing: less the individual changes, and more the fact that Marvel is employing this level of financial scrutiny on its publishing line at all during a time when a) its benefits from the intellectual property development of these characters is at an all-time high and b) DC seems to be operating under a more generous set of circumstances. I imagine we might also look back on this period as proof that this era's Marvel doesn't have a whole lot in the way of tools to support titles beyond using its rich character library -- whose backbone is Jack Kirby's work -- in whatever way is necessary to goose serial comic book sales.

The company's near-future may come down to how much life there remains in the general Marvel creative approach of the last ten or so years. Regaining market share despite relatively limited resources stringently employed is not unlike the task the company was facing post-bankruptcy. Admittedly, this repeat of history seems slightly insane given how much has been added to the company's bottom line since then, but that's really how they seem to treat their publishing line right now: as an entity that first and foremost must hit its financial projections in the near-term. The thing is, unlike that post-bankruptcy era, Marvel doesn't seem to have a major creative reorientation in the works. In addition, one of the major opportunities for a shake-up, a far-reaching, light-on-its-feet digital strategy that might drive certain creative approaches, seems a bit beyond their current, collective skill set. There also remains the very real possibility that even if things are successfully executed within the limits prescribed, which could definitely happen given all the editorial and creative talent Marvel can muster, that the standards and goals and resources given Marvel might be adjusted yet again.
 
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Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez Is What Comic Books Look Like

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David Langdon, 1914-2011

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The English cartoonist David Langdon, who enjoyed his greatest popularity during World War II and was a Punch contributor during that publication's period of greatest circulation, died on November 18. He was 97 years old.

Langdon was born in London and studied to become an accredited architect. He was educated at Davenant grammar school. Langdon began to draw cartoons as a side business in 1931 and continued on through the 1930s while working in the Architects Department of London County Council. He was invited to contribute to Punch by then-editor EV Knox in 1937. By 1941 he was that publication's most prolific contributor and released his first book, Home Front Lines. His work was written in a straight-forward fashion that appealed to readers sometimes baffled by the obtuse quality of some cartoonists' efforts, and was crisply drawn.

The cartoonist had joined the London Rescue Service in 1939 and then the Royal Air Force in 1941. His Billy Brown of London Town advertisements were a well-known public campaign during the war years. They featured a genteel city resident admonishing his fellow citizens as to particulars of wartime civilian life adjustments. Langdon was also the editor of the RAF Journal from 1945 to 1946. In an obituary prepared by the late Denis Gifford for The Guardian, the cultural historian called Langdon the greatest recorder of English life as lived from 1939 to 1945.

After the war concluded, Langdon returned to the sideline rather than architecture. He became a widely-published freelance cartoonist. His clients included Punch again, the publication Lilliput, and also the newspaper that would eventually become The Daily Mirror (an association that would last until 1990). Starting in 1952 he began to contribute to The New Yorker, and in 1953 he created the strip "Professor Puff And His Dog Wuff" for Eagle, with a collection arriving in 1957. His work remained popular in advertisements, particularly right after the war. Like many cartoonists of his era, Langdon began a long affiliation with his football club, in his case the Wycombe Wanderers, contributing art to team publications and efforts such as their yearly Christmas card.

He received an Order Of The British Empire honor in 1988, primarily for his work during World War II.

Langdon is survived by his wife of 56 years, their three children and eight grandchildren.
 
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Missed It: The John Severin Originals That Closed Hairy Green Eyeball

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Jesse Marsh Tarzan Pages Are Always A Delight

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Michael Cavna at Comic Riffs is assembling a list of Best Webcomics and a list of Best Comic Strips. He's a nice man; you should send him an e-mail.

image* so Fantagraphics is offering a bunch of special mini-comics for people that make qualifying orders. I don't really have much more to say about that, except I want as many as I can get my hands on. The lack of a collector's market for alternative books except in some rare circumstances is beginning to freak me out a bit. Who wouldn't want to have that Matt Groening Xeroxed comic book that only had 20 copies that they show in that new Lynda Barry book over just about anything more traditionally bagged and boarded? I have a hunch that there may be more Golden Age comic books in existence than early alternatives, especially when you go deep in both categories.

* Dave Richards talks to Kieron Gillen. An old TV show profiles Dash Shaw.

* that is a pretty great photo of Seth and Dan Clowes.

* this piece of comics art is making the heavy link rounds, just because it's beautiful.

* another holiday Christmas list at Hero Complex and the first anti-list of the season at Robot 6. The comics industry should find something official-ish to do with Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.

* I'm still a tiny bit confused why avowed Harvey Pekar fan Anthony Bourdain isn't anchoring some kind of straight-ahead foodie comic book publication as opposed to something about food-related kung fu, but what little I know about Bourdain suggests that he's doing exactly what he wants to.

* JK Parkin recommends Varmints. Rich Clabaugh on Lost In The Andes. Todd Klein on Nexus Archives Vol. 12, Green Lantern Corps #1-2, Wonder Woman #1-2, Aquaman #1-2 and a pair of those Retroactive DC comics. Don MacPherson on Mudman #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Green River Killer: A True Detective Story. Draper Carlson also picks five DC New 52 titles she feels are worth reading. Sean Gaffney on The Melancholy Of Suzumiya Haruhi-Chan Vol. 4. Kate Dacey on Dawn Of The Arcana Vol. 1.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco makes a good point about Superman's cultural capital.

* Graeme McMillan would like you to know about his choice for the best-looking new comics blog on the Internet.

* finally, Sean T. Collins looks at the latest developments in Wizard Entertainment's sometimes curious on-line endeavors. Heidi MacDonald digs into SEC filings to find out the latest on Wizard's convention front.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Jonah Weiland!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Masamune Shirow!

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November 22, 2011


Forsythe, Yang, Pham, McDonnell Make NYT Kids Book List

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It's not always a comics-maker soaked list, but this year seems to be an exception. Hybrid book maker Brian Selznick and cartoonist/poet Shel Silverstein also made the list, which is accompanied by an illustration by RO Blechman.
 
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Go, Look: KC Carlson Remembers Les Daniels

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thx, Chris Pitzer
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

*****

* this new Study Group Magazine looks like it could be awfully good. I'm looking forward to the Eleanor Davis interview in particular.

image* Scott Bukatman apparently has a book coming out next Spring on Winsor McCay's work. That should be good.

* Karl Stevens has a Kickstarter page up for his next comic, Imitating Life. The premiums on that one seem established at really affordable levels. I wonder if there's an established difference in the minds of Kickstarter users between aiming at a bunch of smaller donations or a few bigger ones? It wouldn't surprise me if someone out there was making that distinction, although I haven't seen it in play yet. Anyway, I liked Stevens' last book, and would like to see the next one.

* John Bergin has up for sale a comic he did with Jay O'Barr for a long-ago issue of Caliber Presents.

* to no one's surprise giving the very revealing teaser image, Image will be publishing a collection of Brandon Graham's King City comic series. It will be the same size as the comic, which was more reminiscent of the 1980s magazine format than a typical comic. I greatly enjoyed that series.

* there were more changes at Marvel last week, including additional drops of slower-selling titles like Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive. Another title, PunisherMAX, is being allowed to conclude. Since the issue number on which it's going to be canceled is a very high one, I would assume that the Black Panther title took over some other comic book's numbering (probably Daredevil), a move that hasn't really worked when Marvel's done it but is very old-school 1960s if you think about it. More of Marvel's better comic book series over the last decade or so have been this kind of mid-list title, which makes it that much more alarming for them to be pruning like mad in a year when they had three $100-million grossing movies out. It still makes me wonder what a post-Avengers movie Marvel publishing program might look like, or what the line five years from now will be like if they trim all the titles where companies like that tend to develop talent.

* here's some good news: Signe Wilkinson has a new strip coming out. My guess is that it's going to be local to her Philadelphia gig, a Sunday-only kind of thing, but I could be wrong.

* Ryan North is among those that will be working on the Adventure Time comic book adaptation. There are a couple of other talented people working on it as well, but I can't make out from the article what one of them will be doing, so I gave up. That comic could do very well.

* Chris Giarrusso and Brad Guigar are collaborating on what may be this week's best idea: a webcomic in affiliation with the Emerald City Comic Con, that will be posted on that show's web site. That show has a real chance of being the webcomic/comics industry crossover show, if you stop and think about it. Not that you couldn't use a webcomic just to throw some attention on a show devoted exclusively to paper. I'll shut up now.

* I'm not sure that I all the way knew that First Second will be doing a collection of Derek Kirk Kim and Les McClaine's Tune in 2012.

* here's the Graphicly blog post on exactly what works from Top Shelf will be available on what bookstore-affiliated reader for the holiday season. I like a lot of those books.

* finally, Domino Books has announced pre-orders for Clara Bessijelle's Face Man, which will make a physical debut at the forthcoming Brooklyn Graphics And Comics Fest.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Tom Conroy On Joel Beck

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* NPR profiles David Coleman Headley in advance of the documentary A Perfect Terrorist, debuting tonight. Headley was brought to trial on charges related to planned terrorist acts against the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and eventually turned evidence. It turned out that he had a deeper and much more insidious involvement in planning the attacks on Mumbai. His testimony to officials in the U.S. and in India has had geopolitical implications.

* this article about a recent anti-Israel cartoon that suggests that that country's government would wish to bomb a UN office because of their recognition of a Palestinian state cites the Danish Cartoons Controversy as sort of a baseline of criticized behavior over such an event. It's kind of a "I can't believe you're reacting like they reacted" thing, which isn't exactly clear of unpleasant connotations.

* here's something I didn't know: the laws being used to prosecute three men in Norway for plotting against the Jylland-Posten newspaper and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard have to include an international conspiracy in order to be effective. It really seems like the prosecution strategy might be really strained in this trial -- that they're going for a target with a great amount of difficulty rather than a more achievable one. Very risky.
 
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Go, Look: Two Early Graham Ingels Stories

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Gerald Scarfe Goes One Up On Every Other Cartoonist

At least in terms of little-kid cool: he just had a dinosaur named after him. The honor fell to Scarfe because of his infamous portrayal of Margaret Thatcher as a pterodactyl.
 
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Go, Look: Russ Heath Sgt. Rock Pages

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Go, Look: A Barbie And Ken Story

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* as we mentioned yesterday morning and as was guaranteed by Michigan sentencing guidelines, the former prominent retailer Michael George received a life sentence for the first degree murder part of his recent, coming-after-a-convoluted-history conviction for the 1990 killing of his then-wife Barbara. George proclaimed his innocence and plans to appeal; it always confuses me a bit when someone that declined to testify speaks out on his own behalf at some later date, I guess because there's an element of "they didn't hear me" to such protestations.

image* Jason Leivian playtests that incredibly cool-looking game to which Mat Brinkman contributed.

* Craig Fischer writes about how Jack Kirby used various focus-related techniques in his work. Unfortunately, he uses watermarked imagery where it isn't really necessary, and I'm not sure why Tim and Dan have let that stay up. It's really ugly and distracting. I guess that sort of makes a different point about focus.

* this move by Image Comics to have their own convention in one of the lighter months on the convention schedule makes perfect sense to me. In fact, it could be seen simply as an extension of what publishers like D+Q and Fantagraphics have done with opening their own retail establishments in recent years.

* it is going to be very difficult to come within a country mile of this Alvin Schwartz obituary at Sequential. I'm not being passively competitive, either. I won't come close to matching that one.

* Richard Bruton on The Klondike.

* someone nice from Expanded Books talks to Jeff Smith. Albert Ching talks to Stuart Immonen. Tim O'Shea talks to Shannon Wheeler. Brigid Alverson talks to Colleen Doran. Kiel Phegley talks to Scott Lobdell.

* speaking of interviews, here's one from a few years ago with Grant Morrison. It's about the then-current We3. That one's probably going to grow in reputation over the years, especially as a rare stand-alone work during an extended period where Morrison worked on material that was very present in the flow of ongoing serial comic books.

* I'm always very humbled by comics' giving heart. Comics people aren't necessarily loaded with cash or all that likely to break into the cocktails and dinner circuits, but they may give more to specific charitable causes in terms of sheer sweat and muscle and actual creation than any other creative community.

* finally, Dustin Harbin provides some video footage of Zak Sally's magical press.
 
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Happy 71st Birthday, Roy Thomas!

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Happy 61st Birthday, David Wenzel!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Ron Randall!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Ethan Persoff!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Terry Gilliam!

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November 21, 2011


OTBP: Mineshaft Magazine #27

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that magazine is a bonafide, world-of-comics treasure; a new issue is a celebratory moment
 
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Ivan Brandon On The Case Against Comics Sales Numbers

Since last week I joined Milton Griepp's call for sales rankings if not outright numbers on digital downloads of comic books, I thought it only fair that I post this link to Ivan Brandon's mini-essay that a few of you e-mailed to me this morning, about the dangers of speculation on inaccurate numbers.

I like Brandon as a writer and as an Internet presence. I don't agree with him here, except for some sympathy in the kind of case he mentions. Speculative articles based on inaccurate information might indeed be harmful, because they can conceivably shape market practices. In other words, if fans hear that Mucous Man is selling at the sales level where a book like that might be canceled, they might stop buying Mucous Man in order to invest in a storyline with a greater chance of continuing. Ditto retailers that do the actual ordering. I'm sympathetic to any creator that receives the brunt of this kind of speculation, although it's worth a reminder that we only have the anecdotal possibility that this would be the outcome. In fact, I sort of think that companies are more likely to cancel books because they actually sell poorly than they're likely to cancel them because they sell poorly + extra-poorly because of the small percentage of readers that read such sales charts making that specific decision after hearing that specific information.

Where Brandon loses me more directly is in the general broadsides against the value of sales information, which at one point I believes he compares to photos of one's genitals being released to the general public. That seems really... odd to me, and I speak as someone whose genitals are surely of general and broad interest to a wide audience of people. (I'm speculating there.) Sales information seems to me an obvious positive, not because it reveals the bank accounts of creators, but because what sells and to what extent is basic information about a marketplace, and the shape and potency of a marketplace seems to me a primary item of interest for anyone covering that marketplace. It's foundational to our understanding of how things work and why. Certainly this information is already manipulated to brazen effect by companies with something to put over on customers; I have to imagine this would become worse under a system of no information at all being released.

My suggestion is that 1) we don't use obviously made-up numbers -- the ones that come in PR wrapping, mostly, including those that refer to awesome sales that don't have any real numbers attached to them at all, 2) we don't spend as much time doing analysis over numbers in a glib fashion like a deathwatch list, and 3) we all take a deep breath and realize with some sobriety all the problems with accuracy and with the manipulations of numbers that exist and acknowledge the limitations of pure number analysis every time out. It's possible to take a middle position here without going overboard in either direction, and I think the value in doing so is obvious. I don't, however, have any numbers to back this up. I do have a photo you can look at, though. E-mail me.

Update: Ivan Brandon tweeted a response. "to be clear @comicsreporter i wasn't comparing the value of the #s to my genitals, but the value of releasing real #s to combat fake ones." Noted!
 
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Go, Look: The 1970 Marvel Artist Profile Portfolio

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Lax Wins The Grand Prix At BDBoum De Blois

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Comics veteran Christian Lacroix, who works under the pen name of Lax and may be best known for the Le Choucas series and its spin-offs, won the grand prize at the BDBoum festival in Blois over the weekend. It seems like there's been a mini-rash of articles whereby French-language industry followers are reading the results of earlier festivals -- the ramp-up (to Angouleme) festivals in late Fall seem to be growing a bit in popularity -- as an indication of how things might turn out at the big, big show early in the calendar year. I'm not sure what I'd make of this result -- Lax seems like the kind of solid, respected creator that wins these kinds of honors in routine fashion. Other winners at the festival were Fabien Nury, Simon Hureau, Jerome Ruillier and the creative teams of Olivier Milhaud/Julien Neel and Brigitte Luciani/Eve Tharlet.
 
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Go, Look: More World Encyclopedia Cartoons

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Habibi Among Five Finalists For French-Language Critics Prize

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The French-language writers-about-comics organization L'Association Des Critiques De Bandes Dessinées has announced the five finalists for its annual Prix De La Critique. Included is the Casterman version of Craig Thompson's Habibi, one of the rare major comics work I can think of that enjoyed a same-time release in French and English, thus making it eligible for awards in both industries in the same calendar year.

The group's choices are:
*L’Art de voler, Kim & Antonio Altarriba (Denoel Graphic).
* Les Ignorants: Récit D'une Initiation Croiséle, Etienne Davodeau (Futuropolis)
* Habibi, Craig Thompson (Casterman)
* Polina, Bastien Vives (Casterman-KSTR).
* Portugal, Cyril Pedrosa (Dupuis)
The winner will be named on December 5. The French-language comics industry has a bunch of awards between now and the Angouleme Festival, in part because of the increased attention on comics from the media during this time period, and in part I imagine because it's the end of the year.
 
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Michael George To Receive Life Sentence This Morning

There's not a lot of suspense in this morning sentencing of convicted former retailer and convention organizer Michael George: the recent conviction for murdering his then-wife Barbara in 1990 comes with a mandatory life sentence. The retailer was found guilty in October of first-degree murder, after a convoluted trial history that included the case going cold for 17 years, an initial conviction overturned because of the actions of the prosecutor's office, and a second trial in which one of the daughters of the now convicted man and the victim spoke on behalf of her father, but George himself once again declined to testify on his own behalf. Barbara George was murdered with a gunshot to the head in the George's then comic book store in Michigan.
 
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Go, Look: A Fable From Uncle Charlie Biro

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Noted: The Web Site For Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat Is Back Up

That's good news. When the site went down a couple of weeks I was afraid either something had happened to the cartoonist -- injured in August as a result of his strident cartoons about the Arab Spring movement -- given the increasing violence in Damascus, or that Syria had employed one of its periodic draconian measures against Internet expression and that this had taken the site off-line.

Michael Netzer noted in an e-mail he sent over the weekend that the cartoonist and gallery owner, who recently shared in the Sakharov Prize, moved last March to the Kurd territory of Afrin, after two years in Idlib.
 
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Go, Look: Nice Scans Of The Russ Heath Sea Devils Covers

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one of the traditionally lauded, great mainstream comic books cover runs
 
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A Tiny Bit More On The Rosalie Lightning Fund

Word broke publicly on Friday that the cartoonists and much-loved comics community members Tom Hart and Leela Corman lost their child Rosalie Lightning late last week. We join in the chorus of their friends and admirers in deepest sympathy and considerable shock in regards to their unfathomable loss.

Close friend Jon Lewis speaks about the matter with eloquence here. There is a fund in the child's name to which one may donate here.
 
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Go, Look: Early Walt Simonson DC Comics Cover Gallery

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Go, Look: Some Nice August Froehlich Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Sergio Aragones joins Team Cul-De-Sac and whoa.

image* Emily Carroll draws fan art for this Fall's rush of new game releases.

* Paul Gravett talks to Charles Burns. Two nice men named Richard and Duncan talk to Anders Nilsen. Josh Shaffer talks to Dean Haspiel.

* Derik A Badman announces that The Panelists, a group blog with an academic focus, will be shutting down. They're not going to blow it up or anything; they're just going to let their domain name expire in early 2012. So if there's something you want from there, go get it now before the holidays distract you. I know I'll be taking a month-to-month spin to see if there's anything I missed. I was surprised to see that the site has been up only since January of this year. All of the writers have outlets elsewhere, which seems to have been part of the problem with keeping a flow of updates going there.

* Mark Evanier sounds happy with the first volume of the new Pogo collection series, and he should be: that's a lovely-looking book.

* I don't know that you'll be able to see this because I can never tell what people's Facebook settings are, but Drew Friedman has posted a scan of an old magazine spread showing off the actor Fred Gwynne's cartooning. Sometimes I think the weirdly eclectic career of the kind Gwynne enjoyed isn't possible anymore; other times I think that everyone has that kind of career these days but the difference now is that no one gets paid for any of it.

* apparently there's a documentary coming out called The Guy Delisle Chronicles, about his time doing the comics work that will be his 2012 English-release comics trade Jerusalem.

* that's one way of putting it.

* Graeme McMillan pulls a Kieron Gillen quote that suggests some plot-points in mainstream comics that seem to need explanation don't really need explanation to the genuinely new readers, even though such plot elements are usually described as "new reader unfriendly."

* not comics: Josh Neufeld remembers his super.

* Sean Gaffney on Tesoro. Grant Goggans on Bite Club. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Blabber Blabber Blabber. Johanna Draper Carlson on A Bride's Story Vol. 2, Comic Book Comics #6 and Tesoro. Dan Morrill on Near Death #1.

* Tom K drops a link-loaded Minneapolis scene report. It's like there's a convention there every day.

* for seemingly no particular reason -- the best kind of reason there is! -- Dylan Horrocks posted a link to this gallery of cartoon imagery of post-apocalyptic Japan.

* finally, two alt-comics stalwarts would like to sell you some stuff. Tom Neely has a tour poster print. Dustin Harbin has a whole mess of stuff for your perusal that I like to imagine were all in a magical trunk next to his drawing table.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Karl Stevens!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Larry Welz!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Greg Theakston!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Rich Tommaso!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Rich Johnston!

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November 20, 2011


CR Sunday Interview: Rich Tommaso

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*****

imageI've known Rich Tommaso for about 15 years, since he wandered into Seattle as a way of pursuing his dream of making comics. He was coming off the stand-alone graphic novel Clover Honey and the entertaining series from Eros Comix Cannibal Porn; he'd soon start a series called Rollercoaster, one of the many single-person anthology titles that dominated that decade of alt-comics. Tommaso was my then-roommate's work partner on the Fantagraphics late shift, a job he describes in hilarious detail in a series of slightly melancholy comics detailing his time in Seattle (now sadly removed from his site) as a combination of hands-on art education and a lesson in how to adjust one's hours sheet to better reflect the money one should be making as opposed to the exact number of hours put in. He was good at his job. As I recall, Tommaso was doing a lot of coloring and color production work on the computer. It makes some sense, then, that when Fantagraphics was looking for a colorist for its massive Barks Library project that Tommaso was one of Publisher Gary Groth's phone calls. A first volume, Lost In The Andes, is beginning to hit the North American market right now.

Tommaso has remained a productive, prolific cartoonist over the years, even when he hasn't had a North American publisher. His best-known work may be the Eisner-honored Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, which he did in conjunction with the cartoonist James Sturm. Since Alternative Comics went under a few years back leaving Tommaso in mid-series with Miriam, the cartoonist has continued to work for French and Spanish publishers and in 2009 took himself on-line with a good, old-fashioned, one-artist web site. He's simplified his style a bit, and currently works on multiple stories at once in part to keep himself motivated for the burst of work just ahead. Tommaso has always been a cartoonist for whom I've heard praise from his fellow cartoonists far more than from comics readers, and I think the work he's presently doing -- both for Disney and for himself -- deserves as wide an audience as possible. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****


TOM SPURGEON: Tell me how you got the Barks job. Was there a try-out? How were you contacted?

RICH TOMMASO: I was doing a few things for Fantagraphics, mostly lettering for their foreign books. Gary asked, "How are your coloring skills?" I said, "I'm doing well, doing my own stuff." He said, "Keep this under wraps." About a month later, he sent me about ten pages to do. I did those, and sent those in. They looked at them. And then Disney looked at them. Everybody seemed pretty happy with them.

SPURGEON: Do you have an inkling as to what exactly they liked about them? You're working from the original comics as a guide, but how much are you moving away from them? How closely are you adhering to the comics?

TOMMASO: The big thing is they wanted muted colors. I don't have the book in front of me, but they didn't want it too loud. They didn't want computer effects and stuff like that. They wanted it simple. So basically that's what I did. I would look at original comics on-line and I had a bunch of original Uncle Scrooge comics at home. So what I was really trying to do was not trying to be like, "This should be 100 percent blue or red." I was trying to find a muted version of that color.

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SPURGEON: Is there a reason they wouldn't just shoot from the original comics like a lot of people do now? Is there something you get from re-coloring it this way?

TOMMASO: I had asked them about that. When we were going over the coloring, we were going into what they were looking for, for instance if they were going to shoot it on yellow paper. I said, "Are you going for a Dark Horse thing, like with the Little Lulus, or are you going for what Drawn and Quarterly does, where they scan the original comics?" They claimed they wanted to go somewhere in-between that. They're trying to get as big of an audience as they can for this stuff. They want the younger generation, and they also want the collectors. I think with the John Stanley library at Drawn and Quarterly, while there are kids that get into that, too, I think they thought of that as being for collectors, people that know the material well. For this they wanted something in-between: they didn't want to repeat what companies had been doing in the recent past, and they didn't want to just scan the original pages. They were worried about what the younger generations would think of that.

imageSPURGEON: As a cartoonist yourself, and as someone who works with color, you've lived with these comics for a while now and will continue to do so for some time to come. What do you think of the coloring? It's not like your coloring, not really. Do you see the strengths to that approach? Do you see things about how this work is colored that you might have missed just powering through the comics as a reader?

TOMMASO: When I started doing it, I forget what the story was I started on, but I started on an Uncle Scrooge story. And a lot of things seemed like really odd choices [laughs] for coloring. Trees that are green, and things like that. These are really odd. I would never choose colors for some of the stuff in the background. Disney was also talking to Kim [Thompson] and Gary about it. They said we didn't have to be so religious about it. They wanted to make sure the color for the ducks, the reds and blues and the yellows, that those were pretty much bang-on. But they agreed that there was a little bit of leeway. If something looked like a bad color choice, you could find something in the ballpark range of that color. So that's what I would do. "What's something that's a little more aesthetically pleasing than the color I'm looking at for this building, this road or this tree?" So I don't follow them too religiously if the colors are kind of odd. Because sometimes they are strange color choices. Colors that don't really complement. Some completely clash. I would find something in the ballpark range that looked a little better.

imageSPURGEON: Are you learning about color by going through this process? Is there a value to these simple colors? When the colors pop off the page in these comics, they really pop -- the characters are mostly white, which helps. The spot colors really stand out. Is there something you might take back to your own work?

TOMMASO: I think as far as traditional colors, I'm always afraid to use red and blue and yellow, that kind of thing. I always think that I can find some more interesting shade of blue I can use. It has changed the way I think about that, because when I look at it on screen I'm like, "That works." I would never think of doing 100 percent blue right there in that panel, but when I look at it I notice that it looks good to have a duck with an orange color, or a red shirt against a yellow background. I do pick up on things like that. Now when I color my own stuff I won't be so crazy about wanting to not put a normal yellow in there, wanting to put something different. Now when I see something that doesn't work, it comes from working on this stuff, noticing how well basic colors work sometimes.

SPURGEON: Do you have a history with Carl Barks?

TOMMASO: Yeah. As a kid I read a lot of Barks. I'm sure I've read a lot of Don Rosa, too, I'm not sure I could distinguish them back then. I re-read Barks in my twenties, got back into him.

SPURGEON: Has spending time with these comics that way been enlightening at all, in terms of seeing what Barks did and how he did it? I wonder if of all the great cartoonists people don't have a shallow or even warped appreciation of Barks. They like him, but they're not sure exactly why. That's why the longer stories might be more valued than the shorter ones, for example, even though the shorter ones can be exquisite.

TOMMASO: I always forget how interesting his stories are. I was working on one story with a really great ending to it, one that wasn't so obvious. It was something that alluded to a joke earlier in the story. I thought it was so great that it ends like that, because I get it, but today they'd say that if little kids would read it they might not pick up on that so maybe they should draw it out a little more. Things like that. He really was a good writer for that stuff.

I revisited Barks in my twenties because I was looking to get a simpler look to my work. I remember reading Alex Toth saying that a measure of a good artist is that he can make a great drawing in five lines rather than a million lines. That made so much sense to me. So reading Barks I totally picked that up. Looking at him before coloring him, I could see in the work how amazing he could draw. He can draw something with five or six lines that looks beautiful. Or he can draw two objects in a panel, and you'd think that you need more in a panel, but it's completely balanced and looks great. I appreciate him.

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SPURGEON: How much of the production are you doing? Are you indicating the color, or are you doing the computer files that go off to the printer?

TOMMASO: They send me all the files digitally. I sit down and color them all. One thing I do is that with the reds, yellows and blues, when I see something that's supposed to be 100 percent of those colors, I just put in 100 percent cyan or yellow or magenta. Those they assign pantone colors. We couldn't find those three colors in a CMYK mixture that was really, really vibrant. The pantone colors are much richer colors. They handle that. I color everything on one layer, and they use that. As far as production, I don't handle that. I basically just color them and save them and send them back.

SPURGEON: How big a gig is this? Do you know how long you'll be doing this?

TOMMASO: I might be doing this for 15 years. [laughter] It's pretty much that long of a thing. It's something I do five days a week. I do it on Monday through Friday at the beginning of each morning. It's about six hours to eight hours a day. And then the rest of the day is doing my own work. So every morning I work on three pages of it. Five days a week. It's basically my job. [laughs]

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SPURGEON: That's a handy transition into your own work. You've been very prolific the last few years. It seems like you've given yourself some leeway to bounce around to the stories that interest you, but your overall production seems high. Has that been easier for you as you've become older, to get in and focus on the work that way?

TOMMASO: It has been getting easier. For about 15 years I've wanted to do more than one story. It's kind of surprising that I'm working on four or five at a time. I keep thinking that a few years ago this wouldn't have worked, but I'm able to do it all of the sudden. I think with doing the web site, because I know I have to post five days a week, that keeps me working. A lot of the stories, I'm doing a page they day before they're posted. They have to be drawn and then colored either that night or the next morning. I think because of that, because I know it has to be posted the next day, I'm able to keep it going. I don't know why something suddenly clicked, and I'm able to work on all of this stuff.

imageSPURGEON: Does the variety help? Does being able to move from story to story, has that been helpful?

TOMMASO: It's been very helpful. I've always had a hard time working on the same thing for very long. I have terrible ADD when it comes to working on comics. That I can work on something that I didn't work on yesterday, this kind of keeps it exciting. Each day I can work on something completely different.

SPURGEON: What was the initial impetus to go on-line with so much of your work? And why the choice of a personal web site as opposed to taking it to someone or joining a collective? What put you on that self-directed web site path?

TOMMASO: I think it was just a way to help me work and get some kind of feedback. My girlfriend Amy suggested it. She was like, "You should put your stuff on-line. Then you can color it and see it in color, and you can work on it that way. At least you'd be getting feedback on it." That was basically the thing. I was having trouble getting my comics through a publisher. When Alternative folded, I had nowhere to go with Miriam. I did have a contract with a company in France to work on a 100 page or more volume of it. I thought I could work on that book, and put it on-line, and do the coloring, and tell people about it and get some feedback. That really helps. It's really hard for me to work in a vacuum for too long.

SPURGEON: Do you have a sense of who's reading your site? I know you have a lot of fans among cartoonists; that's who I hear talking about your work. Are the site readers other cartoonists? Are they long-time Tommaso fans? Are they people interested in the subject matter? Do you have a sense of who sees it when you put it up on-line?

TOMMASO: It seems like a lot of people get in touch with me through Facebook. It seems to me like a lot of new readers, people I don't know. Some people know the work, but others people hear about it somewhere and start reading it. It seems like a little bit of both. I do have cartoonist friends that visit.

SPURGEON: Are you happy with the way that your visuals have been pared down in a lot of your more recent work. It seems like your work has a greater simplicity to it now, at least in most of the stuff that's on-line. Are you happy with the way that your work has progressed in terms of its overall look?

TOMMASO: That's something I struggled with for about ten years. I have a really hard time working on long projects. I knew that a lot of cartoonists simplified their drawing styles, and thought maybe that would help. I tried doing that, but was always really unhappy with the result. But I'm really happy with what it's looking like now. I draw almost to size, pretty small, using pen and ink. I never thought I would like it as much as the stuff I did with a brush, much larger. I look at some of the stuff side by side, and the quality seems almost equal to me. I finally found that balance where I'm drawing much simpler, but it's not too simple. I was going a little bit too simple, and it wasn't interesting to me to work on a whole book that way. But the way I'm working now, I'm actually happy with it.

SPURGEON: You wrote something super-recently about Sam Hill that even with this kind of day-to-day approach, and the simpler visual, that the narrative got away from you a little bit. The first book ended up longer than you thought it would. Is that something you're still working on, how long to make your narratives, how you're pacing them? Or is that something that's evolving organically, that you're just making pages, and it'll be the length it will be.

TOMMASO: That's basically the idea, yeah. Some comics are fully scripted out. The Dry County comic that's up there, that was something I full scripted out. That's the first time I've done that in a long time. For that book it was easier to do that way. Sam Hill is also an introductory book, so I wanted to make sure I had enough room to tell you about the characters, give some of their history. So yeah, I go into a project like that not knowing how long it will be, seeing how it goes, writing it day by day.

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SPURGEON: I'm enamored of that one of all your current projects. I wondered where that setting came from, 1920s Texas. It has a bit of a drifter's story quality to it, and it's not really a western as we understand them.

TOMMASO: I've always wanted to do a series -- it was always called Sam Hill -- based on the life and works of Jim Thompson. I wanted to maybe do something historical. I feel like I have to have a personal connection to the work. I was reading a biography of Thompson. He grew up in West Texas, in pretty much the same area that my Sam Hill story is set in. Reading about his relationship with his father and the generation gap that existed, it eerily mirrored my relationship with my father. It was a different time period, and a different culture, but it was so similar. I thought that was at least a jumping-off point, that I could relate to those kinds of characters that way. That's what kicked it off. I have many books planned for the series. I want to do as many as I can. I have notes for about 12 books, although I don't know how many I can get to. It seemed like a good place to start: a crime series with a great deal of American history. Texas in the 1920s. When I read that biography, that made me think I could do this.

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SPURGEON: Is there additional historical research grounding Sam Hill, or are these more your impressions of that time and place?

TOMMASO: I actually didn't know how long the book was going to be. I had all these plans -- I didn't know if it was going to be huge or small. When I was thinking of a longer version, going through about four or five years of his life, I started reading everything I could about the 1920s. I've been reading books on the flapper generation, and novels published during that time: Fitzgerald's novels, and the oil novels of Upton Sinclair. I've been reading as much as I can about the time period, regardless of how much that would actually go into the book itself. I've been doing a lot of research, trying to avoid any mistakes. [laughs]

SPURGEON: A lot of your on-line work is distinguished by an approach to color... a couple of the comics have more than one color, but for the most part the overall look to your work now is based on the use of a single color. Why do your comics look like that now?

TOMMASO: The thing with me -- which is funny because now I'm coloring Donald Duck, which is four-color -- is that I was always afraid of using four-color. I could never make that shift from doing something manually with paint to the computer. It seemed like I was always choosing colors that weren't appropriate. I think using one tone not only am I not going crazy trying to figure out which colors are appropriate for what I'm doing, I can think of them more as shading than color. The Yearling is in full color, but that's the first time I've braved something like that. I think it's because I'm doing the Donald Duck comics that I felt I could do that now. But yeah, using the one-color for most of those comics is because I wasn't very good at using more colors on the computer, choosing colors. So I think working on Donald Duck has really helped. There are so many times when I wouldn't think of using certain colors, and Donald Duck has really helped out. With Sam Hill and Vikings' End, I thought of color as Zip-A-Tone, almost. I've since become more confident with more colors.

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SPURGEON: Does the individual color you select matter? With Dry County, for instance, the single color employed is a pink. Why that color?

TOMMASO: It's set in Miami. It complements the story so well, because there are sunsets -- I thought it would work in that way. I thought it would help with the crime scenes as well. With Sam Hill the color seemed appropriate to the time period and the setting.

SPURGEON: Are you looking towards eventual book collections on these serials? How far along are those plans?

TOMMASO: The Sam Hill book, I started it in the Fall of 2009, and I'm just wrapping it up now. It should be done in a month. I have like 18 pages left to go. I don't have a US publisher! I have a French and a Spanish publisher. I have contracts ready for La Capúla and Çà et Là to publish it.

SPURGEON: In a way, this makes you perfect for the duck comics, that you have more traction in Europe than here.

TOMMASO: Yeah, I know, it's funny. [laughter] Peter et Miriam, I kept working on it because I had this contract in France but no one was biting on it here. I went to Angouleme last year and it was amazing how many people came up to me and talked to me about the book. They wanted to know when a second one would be out. There was a lot of excitement for it.

SPURGEON: I haven't talked to anyone that was at Alternative when it faded from existence. Was that tough? Was everything communicated to you in a decent fashion, was it an okay transition out? Or was it messy the way those things can be?

TOMMASO: It was tough in the way that I had a second issue of Miriam ready to go. Because Alternative had an exclusive contract with Diamond, I was told it would be fine, I wouldn't have to make it into a graphic novel. That's just when they were starting to drop a lot of floppies based on sales. I think a month later I called Jeff [Mason] up and he said he was going to stop publishing. That was really hard, because it was tough to take this floppy comic series to anyone else. Everybody was getting away from that, and I'd only put out one issue, so it hadn't gained any market traction.

imageSPURGEON: I think you're still under-read by comics folks. It took me a while to find your site, and you've stayed at my place before. I think you had to pester me directly.

TOMMASO: [laughs] Probably, yeah.

SPURGEON: Should people just visit your site frequently or semi-frequently? Should they friend you on Facebook?

TOMMASO: I think the most people come to me from Facebook. I get a lot of people there, a lot of artists on there particularly. As far as the site itself, most people go there to read Sam Hill. Maybe because there's more of it there than anything else.

SPURGEON: It's a good chunk of material, that's for sure. Hey, here's something I wondered. It seems like you use a more simple grid these days: a six-panel page or a three-panel one, even. Any special flourishes are kept to a minimum. Are you simplifying in a narrative sense as well as with the visuals?

TOMMASO: I am, yeah. I think for the most part I've been using the six-panel grid for things. I was always trying to do crazy layouts, or more interesting layouts, and it slowed me down. I would re-read things, and think, "This isn't really working." Trying to focus on visually interesting layouts could even distract me from the story. Keeping to the six-panel layout makes it easier to write.

This was the other reason I was simplifying my art. I'd spend so much time on the drawing my mind would get away from the writing. I think of Love and Rockets as a prime example. It doesn't matter how many panels they use. It's the drawings inside them that matter.

*****

* Rich Tommaso's Web Of Comics
* Lost In The Andes, Carl Barks, Fantagraphics, hardcover, 240 pages, 9781606994740, Fall 2011, $24.99.

*****

* panel from Lost In The Andes
* self-portrait in a sketch
* four panels from Lost In The Andes
* image from Vikings' End
* image from Yearling
* two images from Sam Hill
* an image from Dry County
* page design from Sam Hill
* one more image from Sam Hill (below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Seven Stupidest Attempts To Reinvent Batman

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Go, Look: Andy C. Jenkins

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Go, Look: Putting Together The Secret History Of Marvel 02

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Go, Read: Beau Smith Fixes Today's Comics

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Go, Look: The Great Comics On-Line Insult War

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

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

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

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Happy 45th Birthday, Jill Thompson!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Rian Hughes!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Guy Davis!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Stephanie Gladden!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Ryan Estrada!

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FFF Results Post #276 -- Fists

On Friday, CR asked its readers to"Name Five Of Your Favorite Superhero/Supervillain Gloves Or Glove Treatments." This is how they responded.

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Chris Duffy

1. Baron Von Strucker
2. Hellcat
3. Dr. Strange
4. Spectre
5. Elasti-Girl

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dr. Doom
2. The Spirit
3. Captain America
4. Wildcat
5. Iron Man

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Roy Mustang
2. Omni-Man
3. Revy
4. Batman
5. Lust (Homunculus)

*****

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Christopher Brown

1. Green Arrow (Neal Adams design)
2. Batman
3. Nightcrawler (Dave Cockrum design)
4. The Creeper
5. Hawkman, when he wears those straps wrapped around his forearms and hands that have spikes on his knuckles

*****

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Shannon Smith

* Dreadstar
* Electro
* Galactus
* Apocalypse
* Ant-Man (the early costume with that zig zag edge on the gloves)

*****

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Danny Fingeroth

1. The Satan Claw from Steranko's SHIELD series, hands down, so to speak.
2. Batman's gloves
3. Rube Rookie's baseball glove
4. Iron Man's repulsor-ray gloves
5. The Spirit's The Octopus's gloves

*****

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Jason Michelitch

1. Dr. Strange
2. Thanos w/ Infinity Gauntlet
3. The original dainty gloves of The Bat-man
4. Rogue, conceptually if not aesthetically
5. Robin wearing Mongul's gloves in "For the Man Who Has Everything"

*****

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Michael May

1. Batman
2. Zatanna's current fishnet gloves
3. Rogue (those short, leather ones she wore in the '90s)
4. Spider-Man
5. Dr. Strange

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Golden Age Aquaman
2. Dr. Doom
3. Phantom Stranger
4. Prince Gavin Starman
5. dr. fate

*****

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Thomas Scioli

1. Darkseid's Killing Gloves from New Gods #7
2. Orion's Wrist Circuitry from New Gods #5
3. The Mother-Box-killing gloves worn by an unnamed assistant of Desaad in Forever People #4 (Kirby's Fourth World is all about the gloves)
4. Nick Fury's Satan's Claw
5. Batman's Scalloped Gloves (Who hasn't tried to draw these?)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Lenore (from D.P.7.)
2. The Gray Gargoyle
3. The Beetle
4. Razor Fist
5. Rogue

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Those sort of weird plastic oven mitts that my Mego Aquaman doll has
2. My Batman doll also has those mitts
3. So does Robin
4. My Mr. Mxyzptlk, however, just has purple plastic hands
5. The only other thing that comes to mind would be Johnny Alpha's Electronux

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Spider-Man
2. Green Arrow (Neal Adams design)
3. Batwoman
4. Doctor Strange
5. The Huntress (Helena Wayne)

*****

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Dave Knott

* Doctor Strange
* Power Girl
* Kanto the Assassin
* Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
* Nexus

*****

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Joe Vince

1. Space Ghost
2. Dr. Strange (this whole list could be gloves drawn by Steve Ditko)
3. Green Arrow
4. Deadshot
5. Lex Luthor (the supervillan power gloves he wore throughout the 1970s, introduced to me in Batman #293)

BONUS: The way Rafael Grampa draws the gloves on Daredevil's original costume.

*****

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M. Emery

1. Judge Dredd
2. Frank
3. The Leopard From Lime Street
4. Pim and Francie
5. The Tower King

*****

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Chris Arrant

5. Gambit
4. Wildcat
3. Kaboom
2. Mandarin
1. Hellboy

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Invincible Man (Kirby)
2. Dr. Strange (Ditko)
3. Flash (Infantino)
4. Green Arrow (Adams)
5. Black Panther (Texeira)

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Iron Man
2. The Shocker
3. Judge Dredd
4. Mysterio
5. The Beetle

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Dr. Strange
2. Mysterio
3. The Prowler
4. The Beetle
5. Spider-Man

*****

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John Platt

1. The Octopus
2. The Human Bomb
3. The Purple Claw
4. Jack Staff
5. Joe Fixit

*****

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Mark Spedding

1 Boxing-glove arrows of any kind
2 Dr Strange's gloves with the black dots
3 The glove the Gray Gargoyle removes to do his thing
4 The Wizard's Wonder Gloves, especially in FF 81, where he sets out to annihilate the team with a new improved pair, only to be decomissioned by new recruit Crystal in about five seconds. An overlooked gem from the twilight years of the Lee-Kirby team, with wonderfully exuberant, dynamic action scenes from the King
5 THE SATAN CLAW

*****

topic suggested by Chris Duffy; thanks, Chris

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


A 1967 Homemade Batman Movie That Somehow Ended Up In My Bookmarks


Alan Moore On Harvey Pekar


Nothing To Do With Comics, But I Could Watch This Little Robot For 146 Hours In A Row
 
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November 19, 2011


CR Week In Review

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

1. Three men arrested in 2010 for plotting against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard go on trial in Oslo. Things might get weird. For instance, as far as I can tell, one of the men admits to plotting the destruction of the Chinese embassy in Oslo, and since he's not being tried on that, that becomes his defense: that all of his nefarious-seeming activities were aimed in that direction rather than towards Denmark. That plotting one horrible crime becomes the alibi for not planning another horrible crime is the kind of thing you see on season five of a David Kelley TV show.

2. Aaron Castro, the Colorado meth-ring overlord that sought to launder his money through comic book collectible purchases, received a hefty jail sentence.

3. Two potentially significant, incremental pieces of digital news in this week's publishing round-up. Moderate-sized alt-/indy-publisher Top Shelf goes digital in a big way. DC announces its first digital-first comic book series.

Winner Of The Week
Anton Emdin

Loser Of The Week
Frank Miller, maybe?

Quote Of The Week
"Superhero comics just aren't genetically bred for that. That doesn't mean that... see, when Watchmen came out, and I was 23 or whatever, I did think it was the greatest comic book I'd ever read. And I still think it's a genius work of art when it comes to structure and the language of comics. I'm not one of those guys who wishes superhero comics never grew up. Tell whatever story you want to tell! I would never tell anybody not to do a dark and cynical story with cowboys or superheroes or dinosaurs or whatever the hell... but just be aware. Bear in mind the fact that you're bending the rules already by telling your dark treatise on the savage reality of the world with your Curious George story. Be aware that this is, perhaps, an interesting choice you're making, but maybe all of your stories don't have to be like this." -- Mark Waid

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 37th Birthday, Jesse Fuchs!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Steve Lightle!

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November 18, 2011


Go, Look: Billy Dare Into The Uncanny Valley

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Go, Look: Massive Wolverton/Blanchard/Woodring Gallery

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Go, Look: Dave Lapp And Chester Brown In A Food Court

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Go, Look: Major Preview Of The Adventures Of Hergé At Slate

It's right here. As one might expect, the coverage is tied into the forthcoming Spielberg/Jackson film version. Comics gets the timing of such general PR opportunities right so rarely that it's probably worth noting that all by itself.
 
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If I Were In Blois, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: A Planet Comics Cover Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* all thoughts, prayers and love to Tom Hart and Leela Corman.

image* Darryl Ayo argues that the construction of "the last great comic strip" is a canard. I disagree, although I admit there's always some exaggeration in such arguments and that there have been periods more dire than the one we're in now. Still, I believe that there were times when a typical newspaper carried strips that were as a group much stronger than a group a newspaper might carry right now, and that this isn't just a mental trick that focuses on great strips as if they all existed at the same time. I also don't think anyone really thinks of Krazy Kat and, say, Pogo as contemporaries in the way we typically think of contemporaries, not even employing the broad perspective Ayo criticizes (and many of the strips he mentions, many of the acknowledged great strips, did overlap -- Krazy Kat ran until the mid-'40s). In addition, you have to remember newspaper strips look stronger right now than they would have 50 years ago because a) the best work is all collected and offered in bookstores with a kind of routine, across-the-board saturation that didn't exist for past newspaper offerings, and b) there are almost no multi-newspaper towns, so the best strips tend to settle into each city's major publication rather than being divided between two to four. One of the things about some of the sites that carry brief runs from past strips is you can see how strong a lot of largely-forgotten strips were. You also can't discount contributing factors like a greater variety in the tone of offerings and the way strips are presented then and now.

image* J. Caleb Mozzocco knows comics are different right now, and he's still a bit stunned by the casual level of extreme violence in the latest issue of the latest iteration of DC's Justice League property.

* Robin McConnell talks to Mike Dawson. John Siuntres talks to Rob Liefeld and Greg Rucka, Matt Fraction and Matt Singer, and Greg Rucka some more. Andy Burns speaks to Scott Tuft. Chris Mautner talks to Art Spiegelman. Nadim Damluji talks to Craig Thompson.

* Michel Fiffe draws a very Roy Crane-like John Carter. He'll be prettier in the forthcoming movie.

* Sean T. Collins draws special attention to Anne Koyama's cool story about how she started publishing comics. I think Koyama's story is important for comics as it begins to stake out different publishing models than "I want to get rich by investing no money and taking all the rights for what I publish to Hollywood." Comics is a place where you can spend a relatively small amount of money for a whole lot of artistic output and the pleasure of doing so, and I think more investors are going to wake up to that fact in the next ten years.

* Ew.

* Lauren Davis looks at two recent webcomics' treatment of depression.

image* you will not read a more fascinating comics-related articled today than this one about an unnamed strain of Japanese visual storytelling that cropped up mid-20th Century.

* the various Cagle-affiliated cartoonists look at the Newt Bump.

* Kumar Sivasubramanian on Treehouse Of Horror #17. Charles Yoakum on Overkill. Prajna Desai on Kashmir Pending.

* Scott Adams is running for president, maybe.

* finally, Brian Hibbs is in good form at his CBR column, going through some of the specifics or ordering the New 52 comics and criticizing aspects of Marvel's digital strategy. Graeme McMillan suggests that perhaps Marvel's latest round of cancellation is just clearing things out for a major re-launch. I think we may see a major re-launch from Marvel, but I'm not sure it necessarily means their recent cost-cutting relates directly to such an endeavor.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Alan Moore!

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November 17, 2011


Go, Look: Cartoon Movement's Occupy Sketchbook

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I Can't Be The Only One That Sincerely Loves Joe Shuster's Art

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it's like a lost issue of Fireball
 
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Small Irish Town Says Goodbye To Its Cartoonist

Something about this post with the picture of the late cartoonist Terry Willers as the grand marshal of a local parade put me in an swooningly nostalgic mood. And not one to my credit, either. I love the fact that we have these great towns where there are tons and tons of cartoonists -- the Portlands, the White River Junctions, places like Minneapolis. But I also wonder after those areas where you used to have that one guy, the guy or lady who is the cartoonist for that whole region. I grew up in a town like that with a cartoonist that happened to become super-successful right in front of our eyes (and another very good one was close by for a time). Even the cartoonists that currently live in an Oak Park, Illinois or a Taylor, Arizona don't seem to live in those places in quite the same way that people used to settle into where they made their home. Obviously, I can't quite put my finger on what sort of ridiculous notion or feeling I'm chasing here, but it sort of reminds me of watching this video a while back. I don't want to go back, not in any way, but I wonder after the value of something potentially lost, like a species I've never heard of now blinking into extinction.
 
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Go, Look: Sparky Watts #7

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Joe Keatinge is the new president of the Board of Directors for the Stumptown Comics Fest, and he'd like for people to join him and new Secretary Pollyanne Birge.

* the writer Peter David, whose family attends a lot of conventions, is thinking about writing a Bill Of Rights-style conduct manifesto for those events.

* Seattle's Short Run show was last weekend. From the few things I've heard, it went well enough for someone to do another. That's good news: Seattle not having a small press show seems sort of ridiculous, really. Let's hope it sticks. Here's a blog report.

* Thought Bubble in Leeds is ongoing, and the Miami Book Fair has some comics-related events if you poke around, or slip down to the "forthcoming events" post on this blog. BD Boum is the big European festival of the week.

* speaking of Europe, a theory that Cosey will win the Grand Prix at Angouleme early in 2012 is presented here. That's more comments than I've ever seen for a post on that site.

* here's a full breakdown of exhibitors at the forthcoming Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. I don't think I've run a link to that exact page yet.

* finally, two more reports from the Fall road trip taken by John Porcellino.
 
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Go, Look: Tomorrow's Punishment

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Collective Memory: Bil Keane, 1922-2011

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this article has been archived
 
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If I Were In Leeds, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: New Funnies #86

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Rina Piccolo reminds us that the deadline for applications for this year's Jay Kennedy scholarship is closing fast. Jay Kennedy was a very nice man, and I miss seeing him a couple of times a year.

image* Dan Zettwoch draws the families Melon and Gilmore.

* James Smart on The Wrong Place. Don MacPherson on Just The Usual Superpowers. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1. Dave Ferraro on Princess Knight Vol. 1. Leroy Douresseaux on Saturn Apartments Vol. 4. David P. Welsh on not simple. Rob Clough on Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010. Paul Di Filippo on The Death-Ray. Chris Sims on Mudman #1.

* Tom Richmond on the MAD SCAD weekend.

* Graeme McMillan suggests that the net effect of three Fear Itself epilogues was to walk back "real-world" changes made by the Marvel event series.

* I'm not amazed by the amount of money involved here as much as I am by the number of words on the page. Plus I liked the way Byrne and Austin's art looked in those last half-dozen X-Men issues they did together.

* Garry Trudeau joins Team Cul-De-Sac.

* Jeffrey Renaud talks to James Robinson, Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone. Chris Mautner talks to Anne Koyama. Josie Campbell talks to Chris Roberson. Shaun Manning talks to Ian Brill. Stacy Hawkins Adams talks to Jeff Kinney. Mike Dawson talks to Noah Van Sciver and MariNaomi. Charles Brownstein talks to you.

* look behind the sofa?

* Greg Pak has a page up where fans can donate to the ongoing care for the writer Bill Mantlo. I hope that you'll consider pledging something; that's a rotten deal for the writer turned socially active lawyer.

* Frank Santoro and Jim Rugg present this week's Super-Villain Team-Up.

* I spent some time this year cracking on DC for not developing more of its character library, so it behooves to mention that this looks like just that kind of thing. "Amethyst" is such a great name for a magical princess it practically sells the concept all by itself.

* finally, Matt Seneca looks at one of those awesome Frank King Sunday comics where he did a sequential strip over a single image.
 
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Happy 45th Birthday, Ed Brubaker!

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Happy 50th Birthday, José Villarrubia!

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

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November 16, 2011


Go, Read: Brad McGinty's Crazy Christmas Cards From 1955!

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

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

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

*****

JUL110053 DRAWING DOWN THE MOON SC $29.99
I greatly enjoyed this book of Charles Vess art in hardcover form a great deal, to the point I could turn my head just now and locate it on my shelves in a couple of seconds. Just a really smartly put-together book. There was a time in a lot of comics readers' lives where staring at fantasy art and reading comics were part of the same visual arts experience, and of course Vess is of interest to hardcore comics-and-only-comics readers, too. That's a Swamp Thing image above.

imageJUN110268 LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT MARSHALL ROGERS HC $49.99
JUL110403 ARCHIE BEST OF SAMM SCHWARTZ HC VOL 01 $24.99
Two intriguing artists with work collected on characters for which they're best known. I think the Rogers is the more compelling offer here -- that's almost 500 pages, and features a lot of later work by the late artist on the character that kind of slipped through the cracks along the way.

AUG110383 BLOOM COUNTY COMPLETE LIBRARY HC VOL 04 LTD SGN ED $50.00
These Bloom County books are quite something; I'm glad to see they're still coming out. I think they've been a nice reminder just how popular that strip was in its heyday, practically light-bending popular.

AUG110387 BOB POWELL TERROR HC $24.99
SEP110350 FELIX THE CAT GREATEST COMIC BOOK TAILS SC $27.99
Two books from the Craig Yoe division of IDW -- I think the Felix The Cat book is either a new edition or even a re-offer, but it'd be new to me if I were in a store. Bob Powell is one of the more interesting creators in the entire "Golden Age" period of comics production, although he worked well into the '60s. I would pick up any take a look at any book with his name on it.

SEP110330 HAWKEN #1 (OF 6) $3.99
SEP110363 MUDMAN #1 $3.50
AUG110616 CAPTAIN AMERICA #4 $3.99
I didn't see a ton of old-fashioned, mainstream and sort-of mainstream, comic-book comics that caught my attention this week, but it's worth noting new series out this week from two cartoonists working from their traditionally strongest suits: Tim Truman (a western) and Paul Grist (a retro-superhero story). There's also a new Captain America comic from Ed Brubaker, a superhero series I try to follow. I have to say, that $3.99 price tag just doesn't look right next to a comic book like that, as much I love the old-fashioned comic-book comics.

AUG110457 WHO IS JAKE ELLIS TP VOL 01 $16.99
I had two prominent mainstream creators individually tell me out of the blue that they thought a lot of this series, although I have to admit it didn't make an impression on me in serial form. It's pretty, though.

JUN110726 MARVEL ART OF JOHN ROMITA JR HC $49.99
I have no idea what this is, but JR JR became a very interesting image-maker during his three-decades plus career, and is probably his generation's greatest mainstream comic-book artist in that "talented man churning out pages like some sort of furious creative furnace" way.

SEP111065 ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY VOL 18.5 PX PORTFOLIO (O/A) (MR) $32.00
This is D+Q's publication of Chris Ware's notable Thanksgiving New Yorker covers and their accompanying comic strip, all done up fancy-like (although not the fanciest presentation; there was a signed edition, I think). I'd want to look at this if it were sitting in my store, for sure.

SEP110846 SERGIO ARAGONES FUNNIES #5 $3.50
Wait, here's another comic-book comic for you to buy; it made a lot of the recent "Five For Friday" lists of "serial comics I read," too.

SEP110961 BONE ONE VOL COLOR 20TH ANN SLIPCASED ED $150.00
There are a few books that are out on the marketplace this week -- and the next couple and the last couple -- that seem maybe aimed at a holiday purchase. Several $50+ books hitting shelves is a far cry from the day when this was celebrated in about a half-dozen serial comics, that's for sure. This is one of the holiday season's big-ticket items. It's a bit unfair on a cosmic scale that considering how great Bone looked as a black-and-white book how well its pages now hold color, but they really do.

JUL111105 FRACTURE OF THE UNIVERSAL BOY GN (MR) $27.99
I'm sort of dying to place my hands on a copy of this one -- Michael Zulli's long-rumored, lengthy-in-the-making personal project to end all personal projects.
*****

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, Read: Dan Clowes' Speech Accepting The Pen USA Award

So D+Q's Chris Oliveros flew to Los Angeles to accept Dan Clowes' Pen USA Award for Outstanding Body Of Work in Graphic Literature, and D+Q has photos and the full text of the speech Clowes gave Oliveros to read. You should stop by.
 
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Go, Look: Akira Nishitake

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Missed It: Anton Emdin Wins Cartoonist Of The Year At Stanleys

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The prolific 35-year-old freelancer cartoonist Anton Emdin won the Gold Stanley for cartoonist of the year at this year's Stanley Awards, held on November 12 in Sydney. The Stanley Awards are given out by the Australian Cartoonists Association for various achievements in execellence in cartooning, and the awards program is the culmination of that group's annual, two-day conference.

Emdin has freelanced for MAD, People and The Spectator; he won the NCS divisional award for magazine feature illustration at this year's Reuben awards -- apparently the first Australian to ever win one of those honors. Other finalists for the Gold Stanley were Peter Broelman, Mark Knight, David Pope, David Rowe and Andrew Weldon. All but Weldon and Emdin were former winners.

The Bronze Stanleys that go out to various divisional winners went to Emdin for best illustrator, Weldon for best single-gag cartoonist, Pope for best editorial/political cartoonist, Rowe for best caricaturist, David Follett for best comic book artist and Tony Lopes for best comic strip artist. The Jim Russell Award, given to "a great overall contribution to cartooning," went to Rolf Heimann.
 
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Go, Look: Laura Knetzger

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

The beginning of the trial of three men in Norway in part for plans to bomb the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and assassinate cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has proven to be a treasure trove of compelling facts. For one thing, it seems sort of strange that the three men, Mikael Davud, Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak and David Jakobsen, are being tried at once. Davud is the one targeted for the plot to blow up the newspaper building, the other two seem to there primarily for their designs to kill Westergaard. Jakobsen -- 33 and not 38 like the wire reports yesterday indicated -- even helped authorities at one point, and didn't remain in custody like the other two. If I'm reading the various reports correctly, Davud and the others were originally arrested for a plot to blow up the Chinese embassy in Oslo, which Davud has apparently admitted to, but they're only being tried for the Danish Cartoons-related crimes. Like I said, sort of confusing.

It seems clear is that the six-week trial will lean heavily on Davud's ties to Al Qaeda, that this will be a huge test for Norway's new anti-terrorism laws, and that the US ambassador is impatient with the amount of time Norway's investigations and prosecutions take -- for whatever that last one is worth, which seems to me not much. It also seems like the recent firebombing of the Charlie Hebdo offices in France will give this trial some currency that it might not have had otherwise.
 
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Go, Look: Bob Gustavson In The Spotlight

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

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

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Go, Look: Og, Son Of Fire

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* let me join my voice with Milton Griepp's in a call for the best digital numbers we can get from the various publishing companies. If nothing else, it's a hedge against publicity that overstates or lies.

image* Martin Wisse writes about the Henry Pym character, an original Marvel Comics superhero universe character (the 1960s universe) that at one point was saddled with a wife-beater storyline and has ever since been stuck with that portrayal as a kind of baseline. The mechanism of writers returning to the most potent characterization even if that characterization kind of sucks balls as a recurring portrayal (Wisse says positive things about the initial storyline) is an interesting one to me. I'm also kind of intrigued by the fact that no one has found anything else to do with that character that's resonated with fans since... maybe the Thomas/Roth Goliath-At-Ten-Feet era? Yow. It's weird, too, in that growing really big is one of those pure wish-fulfillment superhero powers, and has an element of poignancy for over-tall kid readers. As I get older, I kind of enjoy the characters that never quite take -- the Nighthawk character that Marvel does sometimes is another one.

* Daryl Cagle reprints a Penn State-related cartoon from Mike Keefe that apparently caused some controversy when it ran in that university's student newspaper. This is hardly the point of that post, but I always think it's a little weird when a student newspaper runs syndicated material.

* Sean Gaffney on Twin Spica Vol. 10. Erica Friedman on Dolltopia. David P. Welsh on Only Serious About You Vol. 1.

* this John Hodgman interview about comics is a lot of fun. It sort of focuses on DC Comics' New 52 initiative, but it goes a lot of different places. Hodgman is like a lot of adult readers of comics in that he likes a wide range of material and doesn't really differentiate between this kind of comic and that kind of comic. It's a very early '80s attitude, in a way, when the rise of the alt-comic was seen by many fans as this incredible opportunity to read more comics hitting a different kind of material. The notion that some comics threaten other comics just by existing -- as opposed to publishing tactics that really do cross the line -- is a silly one in a lot of ways.

* hey, it's the first holiday-buying list that's not also a top comics of the year list.

* Chris Sims talks about Rob Liefeld's advice on how to deal with criticism. I think there's probably a difference between the kind of criticism that is "I don't like the way you draw Captain America with the boobies and such" and the kind of criticism that is more like "I think you contributed to the destruction of people's businesses through your lax publishing practices," but I can't really tell how deeply Sims -- or, for that matter, Liefeld -- get into the various kinds of criticism Liefeld has received.

* the man who stole a bunch of Superman memorabilia from a mentally disabled man received six years in prison after pleading guilty to the crime.

* George Tramountanas talks to Rick Remender. Steve Sunu talks to Marc Guggenheim. Tim O'Shea talks to Jim Gibbons.

* over at Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna compares and contrasts the cartoon work about the Occupy movement done by Nate Beeler and Susie Cagle.

* the writer Graeme McMillan expresses love for Dynamite, mostly as a place where mainstream talent perhaps slightly out of favor can find work. In a more critical article, McMillan shakes his head in disbelief that with the cancellation of its title starring the character X-23, Marvel will have comics out there starring a female character. That's a weird thing. I think it says a bit about Marvel's culture, a bit about Marvel's target audience, and a bit about Marvel's inability to support titles that aren't hitting right in the middle of their sweet spot right now.

* Ward Sutton is having a really interesting career.

* finally, the writer Chris Claremont has donated his archives to Columbia University. That's nice. I know the fact that Stan Lee once devoted his archives to the University of Wyoming made my research into him a possibility, so hooray for anything that's a boon to future study.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Jim Ottaviani!

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November 15, 2011


Zunar Sends Greetings From Bilbao, Spain

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The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar sent out a press release yesterday updating various interested parties around the world at just about exactly the midway piont of his artist-in-residence gig this Fall for the BilbaoArt/Fundacion BKK in Spain. The above photo is the cartoonist at an exhibit of his cartoons, part of a concurrent festival's anti-censorship programming. That went up on November 7 at Alhondiga, in the heart of downtown Bilbao.

He also sent along a video from Spanish television. Zunar speaks in English at various points, which is funny because all you basically catch before the translator kicks in is him saying non-complimentary things about the government in Malaysia. Zunar continues to pursue legal action against the government for the suppression of his work in published, print form. This has not only involved arrests and seizure but has, if my understanding of the situation is correct, included a deep chill on any relationship Zunar might enjoy with any of his country's printers in terms of him getting future work out there. As always, I wish him the absolute best in his continuing and tragically unnecessary censorship battle and applaud those individuals and groups that have supported him in ways like the current residency.
 
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Go, Look: The Beginning Of The American Fall (Part One)

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Mick Anglo, 1916-2011

imageMick Anglo, a comic book writer and artist best known for the creation of the Marvelman series, died in late October (reportedly on Halloween). He was 95 years old.

Anglo was born Maurice Anglowitz in the East End neighborhood of Bow, in London. He received his primary education at the Central Foundation School in Islington, and art training at the John Cass Art School. He was a freelancer working in such areas as fashion illustration (to which his family was attached by trade) until the Second World War. Prefiguring his eventual peacetime career, Anglo published cartoons through an army newspaper linked to the South East Asia Command and then to a newspaper in Singapore. Anglo enlisted in 1939; he was married in 1940, which Anglo's obituary at the Forbidden Planet International blog notes is around the time he took the shortened name now preferred by his father.

Leaving the military, Anglo split time as a writer of pulps and a maker of comic strips until the late 1940s, finally catching on with Martin and Reid in 1948. Anglo edited that line and contributed both art and writing to their various genre offerings. Anglo also produced a series of one-offs for Paget Publications, where he did the early British superhero Wonderman. In the early 1950s, Anglo moved to Arnold Book Company and then L. Miller and Son while still holding onto the writing gigs he established for himself at Martin and Reid. Anglo eventually set up shop as a packager of comic books, a job he held until the early 1960s and a period in which he gave early work to a wide variety of eventual British industry stalwarts.

Anglo created Marvelman in 1954 after Fawcett had to cut off the Captain Marvel comics they had been doing due to losing their infamous lawsuit to DC Comics over Captain Marvel being a knock-off of Superman. Leonard Miller asked Anglo to provide a new feature to replace the now-lost and still-popular Marvel stories. Anglo came through by providing a group of characters extremely closely related to those in the Captain Marvel comics. By the time he left the series, Anglo had scripted 736 issues of the various Marvelman-related comics efforts. With Anglo's departure, the titles went into reprints before eventually ending.

Anglo started his own self-named imprint in the early '60s, slowly completing his shift from writing and drawing comics and into the production/packaging side of the still very low-to-the-ground business as it existed in the UK. One of the Anglo Comics offerings was Captain Miracle, made from redrawn moments from the various Marvelman comics. By 1966, Captain Miracle and its companion titles had all cycled out of circulation. Anglo moved to Thorpe and Porter, where he created annual-sized comics based on various popular television series. In the mid-'60s, Anglo returned to the Marvelman well for 13 issues of the stupendously similar Miracle Man for the publisher Top Sellers. Also in 1966, Anglo spearheaded the launch of four titles from Badger Books, a company owned by the genre book publisher John Spencer & Co: Fantasy Stories, Macabre Stories, Spectre Stories and Strange Stories. They all folded within six issues. Anglo retired in the 1980s after another run on TV series-based comics (this time for City Magazines' TV Tornado). Along the way he had diversified into joke writing, books about comics and other esoteric subjects, and even cookbooks. His last sustained comics gig was for the war titles published by Fleetway/IPC in the late 1970s and into the very early 1980s.

Anglo slipped back into the comics spotlight with the revival of his Marvelman character in the early 1980s by Alan Moore. Those books were re-titled Miracleman for publication in North America, where starting in 1985 they further ensconced Moore as a first-tier comics talent. The comics themselves became a flagship title for indie comics publisher Eclipse, and a major signpost in the move to re-imagine superheroes in a darker way that gripped the industry in that 15-year period (and, arguably, all the years since). The series and its lead character eventually slipped into an ownership and rights fight cesspool as Eclipse faded from existence, where they stayed for several years. Not helping matters was the fact that Anglo had apparently initially created a holding company for the property, issuing shares to himself and his wife. At the same time the exact provenance of the character's creation at his initial publisher remained largely unknown, as were any subsequent deals that the publisher or even Anglo might have encouraged. In 2009, Marvel Comics purchased rights from Mick Anglo and slightly later made what I believe was a separate, additional purchase for rights to the 1980s comics series. Their intention to publish the character was announced at that year's Comic-Con International. Whether or not this deal sticks over the long-term remains unknown, but representatives from Marvel have claimed since that they're continuing to pound through various rights issues and will eventually make the character part of their extensive library. They've already dabbled in publication, and one of those efforts featured a variant cover by Anglo.

In his later years, Anglo served as both an occasional avenue towards understanding the American-type comic book element of the burgeoning post-World War II British comics scene, and as an elder statesman able to bask a bit in the reflected glory of what creators like Alan Moore, Marc Buckingham and Neil Gaiman had accomplished with his creator, the one superhero that with so many flashes of lightning seemed to never stop being created and re-created.
 
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Go, Look: Majestic Creature

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

*****

* Top Shelf launched two digital apps yesterday. The best and most succinct round-up is here. There's a lot of that work that I'd enjoy reading in digital iterations. I think we're on the other side of whatever tipping point there needed to be to get everyone involved in some sort of digital comics strategy, with only a few key players left to do something at least semi-major.

image* Sean T. Collins caught word that the fourth issue of the alt-comics anthology pood will be its last.

* now this is interesting: DC is going to start doing digital-first comics. The announced titles still have a monthly print iteration, but with as much anecdotal evidence and conventional wisdom of the crossed-arm-and-pipe variety out there that suggests that the on-line comic book replaces the serial print comic book, a lot of folks are going to be watching this one closely.

* the next season for Abrams gets profiled at the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com. I'm looking forward to what looks like an all-systems-go Carter Family Comics. You know, this is a really good week for publishing news when Abrams announcing a whole season finds itself this far down the page.

* CCS is apparently reprinting How To Draw.

* Domino Books previews Face Man.

* Chris Oliveros makes one of his infrequent appearances on the D+Q blog to talk up their last release of 2011, a new volume from their sterling Walt & Skeezix series.

* Boom! announces its creative team for the new Peanuts work they're doing. I don't have any opinion on this at all. I mean, I should, but I just don't.

* Sequential is very excited about the Spring 2012 release of Guy Delisle's Jerusalem.

* Alan Gardner caught that Pibgorn is going to published at GoComics.com with commentary from creator Brooke McEldowney.

* finally, Floating World Comics is releasing a limited edition of a book by Kilian Eng, Object 5. It will make its public debut at the forthcoming Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Ariyana Suvarnasudahl

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Drew Friedman, Matt Dembicki Win 2011 Awards

image* Fantagraphics informs us that the great Drew Friedman was named the Guest Of Honor at this year's International Society Of Caricature Artists convention in Florida.

* I almost missed this outright: Matt Dembicki announced on his site that his Trickster won the 2011 Aesop Prize. There's a lengthy write-up here. The prize goes to expressions of American folklore by the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society.

Congratulations to both.
 
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Go, Look: The Sea Is His

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

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Those Humorama Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Abhay Khosla wrote an actual blog post worth reading re: Frank Miller slamming the Occupy movement. This snippet from an Ann Nocenti interview is worth reading, too. Tom Dougherty wrote a funny letter to this site on the matter.

image* for some strange reason I always meant to post about J. Chris Campbell and his participation in the Halloweirdos art roll-out last month, but never did. I suck. If like me you're happy to look at drawings of monsters any time of the year, start here. Speaking of Halloween, that's a heck of a costume.

* Bill Baker talks to Lee Bermejo and Jason Minor. Paul Gravett profiles David B. Jason Sacks talks to Kevin Huizenga.

* not comics: Mike Lynch reminds of a charity auction for Alexandra Trotsenko.

* Ben Morse remembers Les Daniels.

* Brandon Graham's catch-all posts are right up there with anyone's. This post from Keith Knight, currently touring Europe, is pretty good in that scattered way as well. Speaking of Europe, here's the latest from a touring Craig Thompson. And speaking of cartoonists who are soliciting art commissions from folks like Knight does every year, here's Ryan Cody's holiday offer.

* Chris Schweizer reports on the visit of MAD artists to SCAD last weekend.

* Darryl Ayo wonders why more comics sites don't run comics.

* I don't remember this advertisement for Rubber Blanket #3 at all.

* Alan Gardner gives the final report on his fundraiser at Daily Cartoonist.

* Timothy Callahan is trying to find out what happened to Andy Helfer.

* the CBLDF has a post up about an art auction of art created during a party held at NYCC.

* John Porcellino provides Frank Santoro with a scene report on South Beloit, IL, which is really just a walk around town with that great cartoonist. Who can resist? His town is about the same size as my own, and yet has two comic shops (my closest is 2+ hours away). I'm very jealous.

* I'm in a state of advance-jealousy of the person who wins this Same Difference giveaway.

* Sean T. Collins on Queen Of The Black Black. Rob Clough on Hark! A Vagrant. Todd Klein on Retroactive JLA, Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11-13, CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 and Green Lantern Corps #61-63.

* aw, no mini-skirt.

* love for Tom Gauld from his publisher.

* Brian Heater reviews the experience of reading comics on the Kindle Fire and the Nook. (thx, Gil Roth)

* finally, this is a fantastic quote from Jim Woodring.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Jessica Abel!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Ariel Olivetti!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Gus Mastrapa!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Renée French!

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November 14, 2011


Tibanna Gas Facility Administrator Confronts Gareb Shamus


 
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Comic Book Laundering Meth Dealer Sentenced In Colorado

Aaron Castro was sentenced to 45 years in prison last Thursday (November 10) for his work organizing and leading a multiple-person Colorado drug ring. Castro had wandered into the comics industry news spotlight for laundering some of his drug profits through rare, collectible comic books. The group was responsible for more than 100,000 doses per month of the addictive drug finding its way onto Denver-area streets, and rather than a manufacturing operation was part of a distribution pipeline from Mexico through Phoenix.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Ulises Farinas Draws

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Leslie Noel Daniels III, 1943-2011

imageThe writer Les Daniels died at an unknown moment before November 4 in his Providence apartment, local media sources have reported. Daniels' body was identified by his friend, the illustrator Steve Gervais, on that day, who told the Providence Journal that it looked like Daniels had been dead a couple of days by the time he saw the body. The police had been called after other acquaintances worried that the they had not been in contact with the writer for an extended period of time. Daniels was a diabetic waiting to receive surgery for a heart-valve replacement. No autopsy was requested. Daniels was 68 years old.

Daniels born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1943. He was a reader of comics and horror novels as a child -- he cited early encounters with Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allen Poe in a 1995 interview -- and like many of that generation of fandom was a devotee of the works of HP Lovecraft. Daniels also made his own comics as a child, which he later describes as being very limited in terms of their art. The future author was educated at Brown University, where he graduated in 1968 having written a thesis on Frankenstein.

Daniels was best known in comics circles for his non-fiction books on the form and its major players. 1971's Comix: A History Of The Comic Book In America, sporting a cover by Daniels' long-time friend and fellow Brown alumnus John Peck, was a groundbreaking, widely-disseminated volume, best remembered for the nuances of its approach compared to other, early comic book histories. Daniels largely eschewed a common set-up of various "ages" of superhero potency and relevancy interspersed with a few additional expressions not of the cape-and-cowl variety for a broader approach based on general artistic achievement and mainstream cultural potency, with a through-line regarding censorship issues. The various chapters included a strong critical reading of the extremely popular humor and funny animal comic books of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s all but ignored by the gatekeepers of the Golden and Silver Ages; a consideration of Marvel Comics as a broad artistic achievement rather than as a fount for popular licensed properties; and an early reading of the underground comix movement for the high quality of its best work and those books' general challenge to cultural assumptions about what makes a healthy society as well as a good comic book. Of all the comics histories of its era, Comix: A History Of The Comic Book In America is the one that most resembles a potent swathe of current thinking about comics. Widely available in libraries' early attempts at stocking books on the form, it was a gateway for many young readers into those ways of thinking and also to many of the comics and creators themselves.

imageDaniels wrote a pair of high-production books that serve as company histories, both released to coincide with those business' respective anniversaries : Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics (Abrams, 1991) and DC Comics: A Celebration of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes (Watson-Guptill, 2003), and a few well-regarded books on a specific character, Superman: The Complete History (Chronicle, 1998). Batman: The Complete History (Chronicle, 1999) and Wonder Woman: The Life And Times Of The Amazonian Princess (Chronicle, 2000). The Superman and Batman profile books enjoyed six and four printings, respectively. Daniels also wrote The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days in 2004. Of the two more broadly-conceived books, Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades remains the more intriguing, coming at a time in that company's history where Marvel was beginning to become soaked in the hubris of its pre-movie media empire building attempt. In contrast with Comix, Daniels' mainstream comics company books tended to endorse accepted narratives, or at least moved briskly through well-known controversies. (Daniels' friend Stephen Bissette writes here that the author both recognized and chafed at these restrictions.) Daniels' later comics history books are, however, solidly written and generally grounded in fact-based presentation. They are certainly among the few books of their type that are written with enough rigor to be the basis for facts employed in other, more focused-study books about comics. They were certainly read over and over by young fans of those two companies.

Daniels was also an author of fiction, writing five novels featuring the vampire character Don Sebastian de Villanueva. Those books contrasted the amoral protagonist with the greater evils of human history. The five books in the series were The Inquisition in The Black Castle (1978), The Silver Skull (1979), Citizen Vampire (1981), Yellow Fog (1986/1988) and No Blood Spilled (1991). A sixth and final book in the series called White Demon was begun but never finished.

Daniels was a three-time nominee for a World Fantasy Award. He was nominated twice for prose short-stories, "They're Coming For You" in 1986 and "The Little Green Ones" in 1993, and once for the 1998 Superman book from Chronicle.

Daniels' passion for comics ran double-helix style with a concurrent interest in the horror genre. He hosted series on horror films in the Providence area starting in the 1970s and penned the book Living in Fear: A History of Horror in the Mass Media in 1975 and Dying Of Fright: Masterpieces Of The Macabre in 1976. He wrote about movies more generally starting in the 1980s via a column in the Providence Eagle, where he also co-wrote a column on the Providence scene. A nightclub act from the 1970s featured Daniels with a friend talking back to terrible movies, which they later turned into a low-budget horror movie.

Also in the 1970s Daniels was a part of one of comedian and actor Martin Mull's then semi-frequent musical efforts, the 1974 Vanguard LP called In The Soop. Mull and Daniels had met while Mull was a student at RISD. Daniels wrote the song "Do The Nothing" for that album. At least one obituary for the author identifies Daniels as a bluegrass musician; he played the banjo.

Daniels had foot surgery a few years ago, and had since that time become an object of devoted care by members of the Providence scene he helped found. It was members of that group that worried after his absence, found his body, and no doubt feel his departure most keenly.

Editor's note: There will be some disagreement in the obituaries out there about the day of Daniels' death. I think the discrepancies are due to the official declaration of death coming on the 5th after the Providence police processing the discovery of the body, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that. For now I'll stick with the Providence Journal's print version which has a witness close to Mr. Daniels identifying the body in the way described above.
 
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Go, Look: A Handsome 1945 Harvey Kurtzman Story

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* three terrorism suspects accused of plotting such activities against the newspaper Jyllands-Posten and/or the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, are going on trial in Oslo. The three men, ages 40, 38 and 38, were arrested in mid-2010. One of the men received training at an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan. Two of the men have admitted to plotting some sort of act, although the targets of the act described were different in each case -- thus the "and/or" clause above. Jyllands-Posten was the newspaper that originally published the infamous Danish Cartoons that led to international riots, economic boycotts and several deaths.

* missed this: Jyllands-Posten expressed solidarity with Charlie Hebdo on the occasion of the latter publication have their Paris-based offices blown up, ostensibly by people upset at their "Sharia Hebdo" issue.
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Klaus Nordling Pen Miller Pages

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

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Not Comics: A Classic Warren Publications Advertisement

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Ben Austen takes a look at the end of the Borders book chain for Businessweek. That's one of those stories that was almost too big to process at the time, so all looks back are going to be appreciated.

image* go, look: Xavier Cugat meets Frankenstein (thx, Devlin Thompson).

* Peter Laird reports from the recent Jules Feiffer presentation at the Eric Carle Museum.

* Kuljit Mithra talks to Stuart Moore. Matt Preira talks to Joyce Brabner.

* Richard Sala presents a dropped sequence from The Hidden, and in doing so talk about self-editing and process generally.

* missed it: so supposedly there was one of those incidents where comics covers with swastikas on them weren't allowed into the Diamond catalog because the Diamond catalog needs to be published in Germany. I have to admit: I was more aware that you can't publish swastika imagery in Germany than I was that Diamond's catalog was published in other countries. I actually saw this blog post very early on, and I was tempted to write one of those long-winded responses that the banned swastika thing always seems to incite, but on second thought all of that stuff seemed pretty straight-forward and I didn't have anything to add. So there it sat.

* Richard Thompson presents one of the best-looking Cul De Sacs he's ever done.

* Tom Neely points us in the direction of Livon Jihanian's appropriation of Family Circus tropes into social/comics commentary from a while back.

* Andrea Queirolo on Mister Wonderful. Rob Clough on the comics of Emma T. Capps. Sean Witzke on V For Vendetta via term paper. Sean Gaffney on Tokyo Mew Mew Omnibus Vol. 1. Don MacPherson on Decision 2012: Barack Obama #1. John Kane on Our Fighting Forces #134. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of serial comic books. Johanna Draper Carlson on Archie: A Celebration Of America's Favorite Teenagers.

* after Karkas, Ben Boxer might be my favorite under-utilized Jack Kirby character.

* Ed Sizemore says farewell to reviewing manga.

* Michel Fiffe wrote in to recommend this Ty Templeton cartoon about Frank Miller and his recent statements on the Occupy movement. Kim Thompson wrote in to upbraid me for my dramatically poor reading of Frank Miller's 1980s political positions. Note to self: when writing paragraph on why it's difficult to characterize someone's view, try not to characterize someone's views.

* finally, Erika Moen reflects on her Portland Opera experience from several months back.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Anders Nilsen!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Edd Vick!

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November 13, 2011


Go, Read: Lengthy, Heartbreaking Profile Of The Writer Bill Mantlo

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Scott Edelman drove our attention to this happier photo of Mantlo.
 
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A Few Thoughts On Frank Miller Slamming The Occupy Movement

imageOkay, I really don't have anything of significance to say about the content of Frank Miller's recently expressed thoughts on the Occupy movement, and the whole thing strikes me as a deeply silly subject. But Miller's blog post is here. If you look around you can see people treating this as the kind of thing that passes for news these days, like this post at the EW site.

Someone a lot more interested than I am in the political views of comics creators could probably track Miller's political outlook through the opinions expressed on the conservative right that he espouses in a work like The Dark Knight Returns to what seems like a 180-degree turn in a work like Holy Terror. It never surprises me that someone becomes more conservative when they get older, but maybe some people still get shocked by that kind of thing. The political culture in this country seems to me so deeply disturbed that I'm not sure I can even grant a pair of views opposite status against which an individual might pivot, at least not without some really deep thought on the matter. These are crass, near-Orwellian times, when outright misstatements and misappropriations of thoughts and beliefs can be taken as true if they show any sign of success in the rhetorical marketplace. It could be that Miller has remained exactly the same while the world has pivoted underneath him. I couldn't possibly tell you.

I am more grateful than usual this morning to have grown up reading comics without ever having to be exposed to, say, Don McGregor's rants against Gerald Ford signing the Helsinki Accords. Or whatever. I mean, come on. Yuck.

I am also fully in support of an increased use of the word "louts" to describe one's political opponents. That's a great word, and always suggests to me beefy men wearing suspenders, tinged with perspiration, like the kind you see in some Clifford Odets play about tenements and broken dreams. It could definitely use re-branding.
 
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Go, Look: Early Defenders Issues Splashes

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Go, Look: Oaty Squished Cookie Ball Things

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Go, Look: The Fantastic Four #64 That Could Have Been

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Not Comics: Jeremiah Moss On Comics-Related Faile Mural

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thanks, Gil Roth
 
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If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 40th Birthday, Sara Ryan!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Doug Murray!

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FFF Results Post #275 -- Whispers And Rumors

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics That You Heard About Or Perhaps Saw Only A Brief, Inadequate Snippet Before You Experienced Them To Full Effect." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Yummy Fur (mentions in other alt-comics letters columns)
2. Cerebus (that Bud Plant ad)
3. Elfquest (ditto)
4. Maakies (people in Seattle kept telling me there was a crazy guy in New York that drew beautiful comics from the depths of inebriation)
5. Lost In The Andes (kept running across mentions in interviews and articles)

*****

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Art Baxter

1. Mr. Natural (Comix: A History Of Comic Books In America by Daniels)
2. Mysterious Suspense #1 (Article in a very early TCJ by Dwight Decker on best & worst comics)
3. Jesse Marsh's Tarzan (The first Hernandez Bros. interview in TCJ)
4. Screw Style (Manga! Manga! by Frederik Schodt)
5. The Wrong Place (Frank Santoro going on about it @ Comics Comics)

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) The Rocketeer -- that incredible ad in Starslayer #1
2) Mr. X -- the Paul Rivoche poster, looking down the alley
3) Chandler -- the plate by Steranko in the National Cartoonist's Portfolio
4) The Demon -- that last little panel at the end of Forever People #11
5) Marvelman -- finding a copy of Warrior #4 and then scouring New York for the first three.

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Dirty Plotte (recommended in letter pages of Yummy Fur)
2. Windy Corners Magazine (Comics Reporter interview with Austin English)
3. Little Lulu (about twenty years ago I bought a dog-earred copy at a Thrift Store for 25 cents)
4. Krazy Kat (Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics)
5. Ernie Pook's Comeek (first started reading them in the Phoenix New Times weekly in 1985 which lead me to the collection titled Fun House)

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. Grant Morrison's Animal Man: A friend showed me the page where Buddy Bradley looks at the reader and says "I CAN SEE YOU," amazed any comic would be so crazy.
2. Love & Rockets: All those ads that used to run in the Comics Journal, plus the glowing review of the first issue
3. American Flagg: Comics Scene (remember them?) reprinted a handful of panels that made me desperate for the release of the actual comic
4. Wonder Warthog and the Nurds of November: The Journal raved about this in two separate reviews, and I spent years tracking down a copy. And I wasn't disappointed. Still a favorite.
5. Miracleman: A friend in college told me about this crazy new series from England, then we spent the day going to various shops to find the first three issues.

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. Rubber Blanket #2 (all kinds of people raved about this book before I could finally track it down)
2. Mister A (read about it in Blake Bell's book first)
3. Mister X (read about it in Hernandez Bros interview in TCJ)
4. Lost Girls (early chapters first published in Taboo)
5. Hate (first read that short Buddy piece in Different Beat Comics, then bought all the back issues)

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Achewood (Comics Journal ad)
2. Cerebus (Roommate had a tee shirt)
3. Promethea (got all TPBs for a buck each at a 2nd hand store)
4. Watchmen (Christmas present)
5. Venture Brothers (I hope this counts)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Love and Rockets
2. American Flagg
3. Bone
4. Mister X
5. Asterix

*****

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Jake Kujava

1. Rambo 3.5 (Comic Reporter)
2. Lewis Trondheim's Nimrod (ad in Comics Journal)
3. Eddie Campbell's Alec, (Alan Moore interview)
4. Art of Eric Stanton -- (essay on Steve Ditko)
5. Nick Bertozzi's The Salon -- (News article from school)

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Raw Vol. 1 #8 (after years of seeing the weird covers of previous editions at Comics & Comix in Palo Alto)
2. EC New Trend comics (the 1st post-Disney Gladstone reprint editions, after years of reading about them and peeking at the Cochran Library editions)
3. Doonesbury (upon its return from that first long hiatus after years of seeing it in the SF Chronicle but not understanding it)
4. Zippy (upon its appearance in the SF Examiner after a few tantalizing years hanging around Comics & Comix waiting to be old enough to read underground comix)
5. Barks' duck comics (first Gladstone run, after years of reading about them in the Overstreet Price Guide; so far as I know, only two of the couple dozen Gold Key/Whitman Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge I had read as a kid were Barks stories, so they don't count.)

*****

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Shannon Smith

1) Elfquest. To this day I've never read one panel.
2) Strangers in Paradise
3) Cerebus
4) Bone
5) Elephantman. I've never laid eyes on the thing but I remember all those nice looking ads in The Comics Journal.

*****

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M. Emery

1. Watchmen (through ads in newsstand comics but had no access to DM in Provincial New Zealand)
2. Love and Rockets (A friend had cut up an issue to make a collage on his guitar)
3. 1950's Eagle/Dan Dare (got to read short adventures in the hardcover annuals, actual issues were very rare where I grew up)
4. Axa (Would get to read three panels in the New Zealand Truth occasionally if my Dad bought it)
5. Grendel (described as a violent adults only comic on the first mail order I subscribed to as a kid)

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. Love and Rockets (TCJ.com messageboard chatter)
2. Maggots (announcements that it would be published by Highwater that didn't pan out)
3. I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool (rumors that it was the scariest comic ever)
4/5 Dragon Head/Monster (buddy of mine who studied in Japan told me he thought they'd be up my alley back before they were translated)

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Fantastic Four 40-60 (John Byrne interview where he said they were the best issues of the Lee-Kirby run)
2. Thirteen (Seth essay in Comics Journal)
3. King Aroo (entry and panel in Encyclopedia of World Comics)
4. Comics by Lionel Feninger (overheard a conversation between Mark Newgarden and Chris Ware)
5. Robotman (typically vivid description in Steranko History of Comics vol. 1)

*****

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Gavin Lees

1) The Incal (and pretty much all of Moebius' work) -- I knew the name and the connection to Blade Runner, but his work was impossible to find in the UK
2) Skin by Milligan and McCarthy -- a one-page ad in Strip and a whole host of tabloid outrage were all I'd had before finally tracking this down a few years ago
3) Kraven's Last Hunt -- when I was wee, this was the only Spider-Man comic I wasn't allowed to buy on account of it being too "dark and satanic"
4) Usagi Yojimbo -- he was in my Ninja Turtles comics
5) Cerebus -- Ditto.

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Pedro and Me (I caught the tail end of a TV interview with Judd Winick while he was writing Green Lantern)
2. First in Space (It won a Xeric and had a monkey on the cover)
3. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (I was sold on this almost exclusively by the "Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl Comic" tagline)
4. Whiteout (Steve Lieber offered me a free sketch of Carrie Stetko while I was waiting to talk to the person at the table next to him)
5. Captain Long Ears (I have absolutely zero recollection of where I heard of this or what was said about it, but it was sitting in my cart on Amazon when I went to place another order)

*****

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Timothy Callahan

1. Swamp Thing (house ads, didn't read any of it until after Moore's run was over)
2. Flex Mentallo (saw issue #3 on the stands, didn't buy it because I didn't own #1 and #2)
3. Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four (Marvel Saga was my gateway drug for most of the Silver Age Marvel stuff)
4. Chris Ware comics (all I ever heard was how great Acme Novelty Library was, and I didn't fall in love with it until I read the collected Jimmy Corrigan)
5. Weisinger-era Superman comics (saw glimpses via reprints, they seemed like absurdly silly comics, found out they are absurdly silly and yet amazing when I finally read them)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. 1963
2. Jimmy Corrigan
3. Azumanga Daioh
4. Fun Home
5. Yotsuba&!

*****

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Patrick Ford

All these would be by way of A History of the Comic Strip. Checked it out of the local library in 1968 when I was ten. It was a tantalizing mystery to me then. Have owned a copy (actually two, because I found a used hardcover, after I had purchased the book in softcover) for many years. One of those books I had poured over so many times by the time I was 12 that it was like walking through my neighborhood. Page 203 is like the crossing at the railroad tracks on the old frontage road.

1. Little Nemo
2. Krazy Kat
3. Tintin
4. Neutron (Crepax/Figure)
5. The Upside-Downs

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Astro Boy (Black Jack, Princess Knight) most of the work by Tezuka that's come out over the past few years that you'd always hoped you'd see.
2. King Aroo -- Picked up a back-issue of Nemo a few years ago that wrote up the strip, took a while to finally win a copy of the old collection on e-bay.
3. GeGeGe No Kitaro -- saw the anime on a local leased-time station, read about the manga, tracked down the Kodansha bilingual editions a few years later.
4. Steven -- Someone clipped an image from the strip and put it on the wall near the NYU film department equipment check-out. I had no idea what it was until the NY Press started running it.
5. Asterios Polyp -- some time before it came out David had a dummy of the book and flipped through it for me and my friend Brian to look at. When I say flipped through it I mean that he literally flipped through it, like an animation flipbook. Twice.

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Animal Man (I remember thinking, "Wait. The guy who wrote Zenith is doing a book about that loser who was in a really lame two-part Wonder Woman story [267-68]? Why?")
2. X-Men (I saw Marvel house ads for the X-Men for a good three or four years before I ever saw a copy anywhere. Nobody I knew bought it.)
3. Return of the New Gods (Little Southern Baptist me found the title of this comic book very, very troublesome. When the characters showed up in Justice League, I hid the comic from my parents, just in case.)
4. Buddy Bradley (Around 1986, I opened a Neat Stuff randomly to an exchange where Buddy was told "all white guys like Hendrix." The day before, I'd had a furious, screaming, only-teenagers-can-be-this-intense-about-irrelevant-crap argument about Hendrix, whom I could not stand, and concluded that the creator of this ugly magazine was every bit as stupid as my idiot friend. Took me years to give Bagge another chance.)
5. The Odd Man (The character was in a DC Explosion house ad in 1978 and I spent fifteen years wondering who he was. After Devlin Thompson at Bizarro Wuxtry told me his strange little publishing history, I spent the next two years looking in every back issue bin for a hundred miles for that one issue of Detective where he showed up. The very first thing ever purchased by anybody on eBay? This darn book, by me.)

*****

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James Romberger

* Prince Valiant: read and look, never mind the haircut, he's deadly
* Terry and the Pirates: the fastest long-distance ride in comics
* Love and Rockets: like your own crazy family
* Black Hole: like Joe Sinnott on bad acid
* Big Questions: how did it all come together so well

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


Lynn Johnston Talks About The Farley Foundation
via


Snippet From A Family Circus Christmas
 
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November 12, 2011


CR Week In Review

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

1. Charlie Hebdo responds to last week's bombing of their magazine's Paris offices with a cartoon cover featuring a Muslim man kissing a cartoonist.

2. Analysis of Direct Market numbers for October show a reversal of downward sales trends that should stabilize the year-end market by December and a clear, decisive victory for DC Comics in terms of units sold and dollars earned.

3. Bil Keane passes away at age 89, causing a flood of poignant remembrances and tributes.

Winner Of The Week
DC Comics

Loser Of The Week
The Lazy Cartoonist Stereotype

Quote Of The Week
"The decline of manga sales is due to many reasons. As you know, one of the largest bookstore chains, Borders, has closed, and it had a huge effect on the industry. The continued flat economy has also depressed consumer buying. And generally speaking, many publishers are in the process of the transition to digital books, media and distribution, which is an expensive and often unpredictable proposition. This is a period of major transition and re-strategizing and I think overall sales will start to rise again as this transformation evolves and is more widely integrated." -- Seiji Horibuchi

*****

today's cover is from the great comic book series Four-Color. Also, please remember I'm not judging the quality of a life lived in the way Bil Keane lived his; I'm communicating my impression of the news impact of his passing

*****
*****
 
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If I Were Near SCAD, 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 Richmond, 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 Austin, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Mount Holly NJ, I'd Go To This

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Happy 59th Birthday, Carl Potts!

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November 11, 2011


Go, Read: The Great R. Fiore Reviews PS Magazine: The Best Of Preventative Maintenance Monthly

First Groth talks to Crumb, now R. Fiore pops up with a review. Somebody woke the old TCJ!
 
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Go, Look: The Making Of A Mini-Comic

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Missed It: Graphic Short Story Prize To Isabel Greenberg

The Forbidden Planet International blog caught it a few days ago, after almost missing it themselves: the Observer/Cape Graphic Short Story Prize went to 23-year-old Isabel Greenberg for her story "Love In A Very Cold Climate." It was a four-page piece from the cartoonist's graphic novel The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth. "Ding!" by Olu Oke and Michael O'Kelly took second place. More information on several of the entries can be found on the Comica site. There was a cash prize worth about $1600 USD, unless my math sucks. About 200 entries were received.

Judges were David Nicholls, Bryan Talbot, Rachel Cooke, Dan Franklin, Paul Gravett and Suzanne Dean.
 
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Go, Look: Ben Balistreri's 50 Favorite Marvel Characters

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Go, Read: John Rood And Bob Wayne Do Industry Interviews

DC Comics sales executives Bob Wayne (Senior VP of Sales) and John Rood (Executive VP of Sales, Marketing and Business Development) have done interviews with Newsarama and with ICv2.com (1, 2) about the sales performance of DC Comics under this Fall's New 52 initiative. The questions are good; the answers are okay. In the ICv2.com piece in particular, they decline to answer some key questions and don't ever really provide numbers. But you can squint and get the message from the multiple characterizations -- everything is better than they expected; digital has performed solidly but there are no "Internet darlings"; they hope to replicate the #1, jumping-on point experience with their bookstore customers; and so on.
 
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Go, Look: Free Verse

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Go, Donate: Daily Cartoonist Drive On Last Day, I Think

Alan Gardner is trying to raise money so that he may continue the site Daily Cartoonist with some remuneration for doing so. It's one of the core sites I check daily, and I hope you'll consider tossing him some cash. There are all sorts of ways to make a small profit from comics blogging, and this is Alan's. That's quite a roll of donors.
 
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Go, Look: Short Preview Of Guy Delisle's Jerusalem

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Terry Willers, 1934/35-2011

imageTerry Willers, the widely-published Irish cartoonist perhaps best known for his frequent, award-winning appearances cartooning on television, died at his home in the village of Rathdrum in eastern Ireland. He was 76 years old.

Willers was born in England, and as a teenager became an intern with one of the studios doing work for Disney animation. His first high-profile work came with the Toonder Studios in the 1960s. His 1960s comics work included Panda, Tom Poes (where in 1963 he succeeded Dick Matena, staying on until 1965), Kappie, one more stint on Tom Poes and at least one story for Donald Duck.

Willers eventually moved to Rathdrum where he lived for more than 40 years. He became a widely-published cartoonist in various Irish news publications, including the Sunday Independent and Evening Herald. He was a well-known presence on television shows in the 1970s and 1980s, including RTE's Hall's Pictorial Weekly and The Mike Murphy Show, where he charmed viewers with his drawings and provided many younger cartoonists with a face to place on that career. He won a Jacob's Award -- an Irish television award program established in the 1960s -- for those appearances. He illustrated several books, including Twelve Days Of Chaos (1997) and Stop Howling At The Moon (2007).

Willers also organized his adopted hometown's Guinness International Cartoon Festival for several years, starting in 1992.

A collection of his 1990s strips for the Evening Herald are held at the National Library Of Ireland.

Willers is survived by a wife, and daughter and a son. He will be buried in Rathdrum this weekend.
 
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Go, Look: Some Harry Sahle Post-War Teen Comic Pages

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Go, Look: More From The Wacky World Of Numburrs

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Collective Memory: Minneapolis Indie Xpo 2011

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2011 Minneapolis Indie Xpo, held November 5-6 at the The Soap Factory in Minneapolis.

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

*****

Institutional
* Convention Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

Audio
* Lutefisk Sushi Podcast

Blog Entries
* AdHouse Books
* Amber Verhulst
* A Natural Melding Of Passion And Honesty

* Blue Funnies

* Charles Brownstein
* Cuddlefish Comics

* Dustin Harbin

* JBabb Comics
* Julia Wertz

* Kevin Bandt Concepts
* Kevin Czap

* Lazer Face

* Mike Dawson

* Paper Darts

* Saturday Sketchday
* Saucesome
* staplegenius

* The Paper Tapir

Miscellaneous
* CBLDF Post On Monies Raised
* Minneapolis Indie Xpo Facebook Community Page
* Official Attendance Count Set At 2200

News Stories and Columns
* CBS Minnesota
* Minnesota Public Radio
* Minnesota Reads Interviews

Photos
* AdHouse Books
* Beartato Books
* Blue Funnies
* Brittney Sabo
* City Pages Slideshow
* Dustin Harbin
* MariNaomi 01
* MariNaomi 02
* MariNaomi 03
* MariNaomi 04
* MariNaomi 05
* massdistraction
* metahari
* Minneapolis Indie Xpo Group Pool
* mplsindiexpo
* yikes

Twitter
* @mplsindiexpo
* #MIX2011
* director Sarah Morean's twitter feed

Video
* Highlights From Kickstarter Panel
* Mix 2011 TV Ad
* Panel On Group Funding

*****



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If I Were Near SCAD, 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 London, I'd Go To This

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Not Comics: J. Allen St. John Illustrates A. Conan Doyle

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Ken Parille dissects The Death-Ray.

image* I hope that Evan Dorkin won't mind if I run this picture he made of Marvel's Sandman character in order to perhaps entice you to go and read his appreciation of the character. You can see a bigger version of the drawing through that link, too.

* James Romberger talks to Gary Groth. Dave Richards talks to Steve Wacker. Alex Dueben talks to Seth. Someone talks to Andy Runton. Chris Arrant talks to Chip Kidd. Matt Seneca talks to Yuichi Yokoyama.

* I'm not sure how I feel about this bit of non-comics news. I greatly admire everything Stan Lee's accomplished in his long career, but this citation runs dangerously close to honoring him as a creator when he was a co-creator of the properties in question, which seems to me would be honoring him for something he didn't do. I also don't think a rigorous appraisal of Lee's accomplishments in digital comics would see them really stand up as lasting ones, although maybe I'm forgetting something.

* not comics: that's a nice get for Dark Horse.

* Keith Veronese picks 10 of his favorite single-issue, stand-alone, traditional comic books. I like the idea behind that exercise, and the choices are okay. It's still weird to me that in 2011 people who are writing about comics in a professional sense seem to casually conflate superhero comics with all of comics -- whether by not considering other kinds of comics at all, or having such a narrow view of comics superhero comics is where they gravitate and it's not seen as weird the way that choosing all musicals for the best plays of the 20th Century might. Also: you kids get off of my lawn!

* a history of Batgirl, I think. I got lost when Alicia Silverstone showed up in that punishment-for-her-career costume.

* not comics: that's just terrifying-looking.

* James Hunt on Avenging Spider-Man #1. Tom Flinn on The Someday Funnies. Michael Buntag on League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1969.

* this post from Bully about the identity of some thugs being kicked in the face in some related-to-Batman comic is a lot of fun.

* finally, Graeme McMillan steps back and gives a low whistle over the credits in a new Incredible Hulk comic.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Derek M. Ballard!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, James Owen!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Steve Ekstrom!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Lewis Trondheim!

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November 10, 2011


Bleeding Cool: Mick Anglo, RIP

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Go, Look: Here Comes Me!

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* you can still contribute to the Collective Memory for this year's Minneapolis Indie Xpo by . This site has been around long enough to note at least one trend regarding the use of on-line resources: a lot of the force that used to go into blog entries goes into facebook updates and twitter proclamations now. I'm not complaining, I just wanted to point that out in order to underline how precious every fuller report link becomes given that development.

* as far as hard news from the show, I think it's reasonably clear from reading all of the posts and the e-mails I've received that there probably won't be a version of MIX next year but that there's a very good chance the show will come back in some form in 2013, all other factors making this possible.

* the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) raised a little over $2K at this year's MIX.

* this weekend is the Short Run show in Seattle, a city sick with comics people that amazingly has had no small press show to speak of. You should go just to look at whatever items of madness that the great Jim Blanchard has for sale. An interview with the organizers is here.

* Matthew Badham passed along this link to a review of Dundee Comics Day.

* this year's con commitments (thus far) for Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier.

* the European festival Periscopages has called it quits after ten years.

* finally, the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival sent out a press release this morning with more details on their forthcoming show:

bcgfrelease.doc

There will be 75 exhibitors, spread out over two floors of the church where the show takes place, and there will be plenty of outside events. Union Pool will have a show Friday night and host the event's panel on the day of the show. Scott Eder Gallery will have an exhibition featuring Jack Davis. There will be some sort of post-show performance on Sunday.

Featured guests: Jack Davis, Phoebe Gloeckner, CF, Lisa Hanawalt, David Mazzucchelli, Chip Kidd, John Porcellino and Brian Ralph. Some of the publishers exhibiting: Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Adhouse, Nobrow, Pantheon Books, Last Gasp, Akashic, Top Shelf, PictureBox and Koyama Press. Other guests expected include: Adrian Tomine, Jordan Crane, Michael Deforge, Gabrielle Bell, Dash Shaw, Gary Panter, Frank Santoro, and Leslie Stein.

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Go, Look: Frank Frazetta Gallery Of Odds And Ends

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Go, Read: R. Crumb On His Rejected New Yorker Cover & The End Of His Relationship With The Magazine

I hope the context of this link explains itself via the headline; it'd be a shame to borrow someone else's image: Nadja Sayej uncovered a rejected R. Crumb New Yorker cover from 2009, and talks to the cartoonist about it. The incident seems to have ended the intermittently fruitful relationship between cartoonist and publication.
 
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Go, Look: Massive Bil Keane Channel Chuckles Gallery

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Michel Kichka Wins Chevalier Des Arts Et Des Lettres Honor

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According to a news brief as the French-language news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com, the Belgian-born Israeli cartoonist Michel Kichka was granted the rank of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in a private ceremony. I don't know how many cartoonists -- or frankly, people -- are granted that honor, but Kichka's a figure worth noting for his central role in Israel cartooning as a working cartoonist and teacher (Rutu Modan was one of his students) and for his true international cartoonist status publishing in multiple languages (his English-language site is here) and through multiple industries. In addition to his political cartooning, Kichka's apparently done a book about his parents' holocaust experiences to be published in France 2012.
 
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Go, Look: New Cartoon Laughs

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Canada's Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund Incorporates

According to a press release sent out last night from the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, the one-time fundraising organization has formally incorporated and named new members to its board of directors. The Fund will serve the interests of free speech in Canada. Its status as a charity is currently pending, but is expected to come through by the end of the year. The instigating incident for the move is the arrest and prosecution of an American citizen crossing into Canada with image on his laptop that arresting authorities deemed objectionable.

The Board of Directors expands from its previous three members to five. Derek McCulloch, Leonard Wong and Paul Stockton are joined by retailers Jay Bardyla (Edmonton's Happy Harbor Comics) and Jennifer Haines (Guelph's The Dragon).

The CLLDF was founded in 1987.

clldfrelease.doc
 
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Kuti Kuti Holding An Auction To Raise Publishing Money

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The Finnish arts and comics collective Kuti Kuti is apparently short of publishing funds right now, and is raising money via a massive auction featuring work from some of their very talented members. You can get the details and see all of the prints and pieces of art for sale here. That is a very compelling group of comics- and image-makers, and I urge you to consider supporting in them in some way -- not necessarily as some sort of charitable recognition of their virtues, but because I think a lot of you would enjoy some of what they do.
 
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Go, Look: Inside The Favelas, Part Two

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Go, Read: ICv2.com Interviews Viz Media's Seiji Horibuchi

The hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has an interview up with Viz Media founder Seiji Horibuchi. As they point out and as the initial drift of the conversation puts on display, Horibuchi is also the founder and CEO of the entertainment complex business New People. The interview is in three parts: 1, 2, 3.

Horibuchi is the kind of figure where if he chose to spend the entire interview talking about knit scarves and his favorite reality TV stars a chat with him would still probably be worth reading, by which I mean how someone in his position looks at things is important in addition to whatever force his views have in and of themselves. I thought compelling his matter-of-fact take on digital publishing and was intrigued by his explanation that it's harder to break properties when US TV channels are more interested in building proprietary content than bringing in anime. Although I'm not entirely convinced that the light novel will ever hit hard with US audiences, I do take note of Horibuchi's prediction that a property springing from that format could become a major hit across several media.

I also like that the description of Horibuchi in the Viz wikipedia entry has him "living in the mountains" for two years in the 1970s, the phrasing of which brings up all sorts of odd images that couldn't possibly conform to reality.
 
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Not Comics: Meet The New Kids

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

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Go, Look: The Machine-Gun Mad Mobsters

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* ComiXology will be part of the Kindle Fire launch. I'm not sure what else to say other than that strikes me as a big deal, and it may be a bigger deal that their inclusion likely surprises no one.

image* Mike Bertino has posted some nice spot illustrations on his site.

* Steve Sunu talks to Ande Parks.

* here's a nice, catch-all post from Alison Bechdel: she talks about teaching, the Fun Home stage musical and two Kickstarter projects she endorses.

* here's one of those Kickstarter projects. Jessica Abel doesn't mess around, so of course she's pushed past her goal with weeks to spare, but it looks like you can still contribute. Here's a Robot 6 post about a Kickstarter effort for a documentary about Chris Claremont and his X-Men run.

* Charles Hatfield launches a column about kids' comics at TCJ, a full 13 years after he initially pitched one. Where have you gone, Ray Mescallado?

* there's nothing I don't like about a Brandon Graham teaser. My hope for Brandon Graham is that in some way or another he keeps in print long enough for audiences to find him.

* Matt Seneca has kind words for Carmine Infantino. Infantino does have a stellar design sense. When we interviewed Infantino back at The Comics Journal in the mid-1990s, he submitted a very rough-looking cover sketch and a sheet showing how it could be used. We despaired of this because it didn't look like it would work, and we all laughed with relief and admiration that it looked great after we followed his instructions.

* David Gabriel comes on freakishly strong in this interview -- he'd be played in the movie version by Peter Gallagher -- but it's worth reading if you're interested in Marvel's current state of mind about digital comics. My hunch is that one thing that's been settled is that these companies are going to keep the basic price point high not to protect comic shops but because 1) they have a number of set costs with any kind of comics they put out there, and 2) the market is such that I think these companies prefer the ability to lower the price to goose sales.

* Alan Gardner rounds up some quotes from cartoonists on the passing of Bil Keane.

* Rina Piccolo is trying to write her webcomic differently than she had been.

* Graeme McMillan pulls at a statement of key Marvel editorial force Tom Brevoort's that the reason a few mini-series have been clipped from the line in recent weeks is because the company is concentrating on core series. McMillan bemoans the loss of line diversity that comes with such a strategy. I clearly have no business backseat driving any mainstream comics publisher, but I know as an occasional consumer I'm less confused by mini-series featuring a stand-alone story or new characters than I am by mini-series or even additional series that run alongside established series. They did that with an Ed Brubaker/Bryan Hitch mini-series that ran alongside the regular Captain America title and I totally missed it; I had no idea it existed.

* not comics: oh my goodness.

* I suppose it's no surprise that only two of the super-villains on this list of best Spider-Man bad guys were created after 1980, but I'm sort of surprised how not very interesting that list was to me given the reputation of his rogues gallery. Some of Spider-Man's best bad guys are the kind of super-baddies they don't really do anymore, ground-level fellas like Man Mountain Marko or The Enforcers. Even someone like The Vulture -- your creepy old-man neighbor who yells at you about your leaves in his yard given superpowers -- has been left behind by the inexorable powering-up of Spider-Man over the years.

* here's how the Cagle-affiliated cartoonists are handling the Joe Paterno affair.

* Tom De Haven on Lost In The Andes. Chris Sims on Avenging Spider-Man #1. Chad Bonin on Action Comics #3. Graeme McMillan on Marvel's latest attempt at a preview book. Don MacPherson on Hellboy: House Of The Living Dead. Johanna Draper Carlson on The Thin Black Line. John Hodgman recommends 500 Portraits.

* finally, here's a fun piece of trivia: Philip Nel spoke to Andy Rooney for his forthcoming Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss biography, and he runs chunks of their talk here.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Bruce Chrislip!

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Happy 41st Birthday, James Sime!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Neil Gaiman!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Chris Bolton!

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November 9, 2011


Go, Read: Lynda Barry On The Late Bil Keane

Beautiful.
 
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Go, Look: What Dogs Want

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Bil Keane, RIP

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Update On CCS And Schulz Library Post-Hurricane Damage

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With Center For Cartoon Studies Librarian Caitlin McGurk moving from her position and into a curator's job at Ohio State's Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum And Library, I thought it might be a good time to check in and see how the school stood after the harrowing move of its library following Hurricane Irene-related damage in August.

image"Currently, the library is set up in a temporary storage space, in the 1st floor of the Telegraph Building which is where the students have their studios," McGurk told CR. "It used to be my archive for the library, as well as an area for our convention materials." The library is fully functioning in this new space. "Since the flood, we've worked to put the collection back together in boxes by the subjects they were once shelved under -- weekly strips, photography, etc. We've also got about three units of high capacity shelving set up, so that just over a quarter of the collection is available for browsing/circulation. We also set up tables for our Student Work, Zine Collection, Periodicals, and Comics Journals to be displayed. There's a reading room area set up in here as well, and a few spinner racks of single issues and mini comics." McGurk also said that one of her final tasks was to edit the library's records to contain the box number each item is in, making every item in the holdings subject to easier search and pulling.

"The biggest issue for CCS is right now is where the library is going to be permanently located," CCS' James Sturm said this morning. "Since Irene, CCS has been exploring and pursuing various options for the location of the library's new home. I'm optimistic that we'll have some news on this front sometime in December."

Both McGurk and Sturm noted that McGurk was on staff on a one-year contract aimed at helping the school build its library's on-line catalog ("the Koha ILS") and generally, according to McGurk, "whip the library into shape." With McGurk's departure, Sturm cited any number of people that will be working with that part of the school, primarily Jen Vaughn, Kate Moody and David Weiner. He noted that the school will be bringing in Brian Hodgdon from the nearby Windsor, Vermont library to help out a little starting this Thanksgiving, and will continue to lean on the library's active advisory board. "The library is in great hands," said Sturm, adding that the entire White River Junction community is thrilled with McGurk's new position and wishes her the best.

Library issues aside, the school calendar marches on. "Otherwise, everything is going well," Sturm told CR. "Another great class, enjoyed hosting ICAF, and the usual parade of inspiring visiting artists. Oh, and each year CCS creates an annual appeal comic. Last year's was drawn by Joe Lambert. This year it's by the brilliant Gabby Schulz [samples included in post]. Should be going out to everyone on CCS's mailing list before the end of the month."
 
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Go, Look: The Alphabet In 26 Pictures

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

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

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

*****

AUG111170 DE PROFUNDIS HC $19.95
This week is dominated by a pre-holiday season flood of big names and archival projects, so it's nice to see a stand-alone new work from an innovative publisher like PictureBox.

SEP110019 BALTIMORE CURSE BELLS #4 $3.50
You gotta love comics titles post-2000 or so. That sounds like the results of hitting "enter" on a random word generator.

imageJUL110276 SPY VS SPY BY PROHIAS OMNIBUS HC $49.99
This is classy work, and very familiar, and I'm not sure it's found its most amendable reprint format yet. Maybe this deluxe treatment will do the job. I think there could be something to how well these comics worked in the mix of the other MAD offerings -- how funny and direct and quick to read they were as opposed to some of the more verbally complex comics they did.

SEP110683 ESSENTIAL SGT FURY TP VOL 01 $19.99
I'm not sure if this is the first time this material has been offered this way, but there aren't many other well-known 1960s Marvel Comics that haven't been pored over and re-used to death. I'd like at some point to examine the piece of conventional wisdom that had this book being the proof that the Marvel approach worked for non-superhero books. I suspect that it's a lot more different than the other Marvel books than that statement suggests.

JUN110717 FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $125.00
JUN110718 FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 DM VAR ED $125.00
This was the bee's knees for a lot of readers of a certain age, although looking at it now it seems to have functioned the same way a popular TV show starring a popular actor whose first show has the sturdier historical legacy might. I mention it here because there were so few mainstream comic books that jumped out at me from this week's list, and I'm generally very kind to such books. There was a time when books like the John Byrne Fantastic Four were the comics that drove that market, and now I'm not so sure.

SEP111158 LILY RENEE ESCAPE ARTIST GN $7.95
JUL111128 MANGAMAN HC VOL 01 $19.99
Two books I think mostly aimed at younger readers, although entirely different subsets. The Lily Renee book feature Anne Timmons's art, which is nice. The latter features writing by Barry Lyga, who's done a lot of work for that publisher. Both books are very different commentaries on comics history, if you think about it.

JUL111233 SIMON & KIRBY HC LIBRARY CRIME $49.95
Simon and Kirby are always worth a look, and these comics should have a place in any library that is devoted in some manner to major mainstream comics efforts.

AUG111232 TEZUKAS PRINCESS KNIGHT GN VOL 01 $13.95
Seminal Osamu Tezuka comics work, drawing from the 1950s as opposed to that fertile 1970s period from which recent Vertical albums have sprung. A book of the week, for sure.

SEP111162 TINTIN HARDCOVER BOXED SET (O/A) $150.00
Yeah, that makes sense. I wonder how much the approach taken in the film might baffle young people as they explore the comics, but these are foundational 20th Century comics for sure.

JUL110279 RETURN TO PERDITION HC (RES) (MR) $19.99
Having a book called "Return To Perdition" in a series where there's a volume two that isn't I think this book just makes my head hurt, but the Collins/Beatty team will make this worth a pick-up for a lot of you.

JUN110356 SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING HC BOOK 06 (MR) $24.99
This is one of those series reprints that makes a certain amount of sense to me from a price and value standpoint; plus the Alan Moore-written project is important to the history and flow of modern mainstream comics in a lot of ways that are kind of under-appreciated at this point.

JUL111294 R CRUMB COMP RECORD COVER COLLECTION HC $27.95
I only heard about this WW Norton book a few days ago, and it's not exactly comics, but it's not exactly all record covers, either. Like many of the big books this week -- Kirby, Tezuka, Hergé, etc. -- anything from Crumb is worth a pick up and flip through.

AUG111234 TWIN SPICA GN VOL 10 $10.95
I've lost track of this series about young people in an accelerated program for future space travel candidates, but I'm happy to see it continue to come out -- I think there was some doubt there that it might end well short of the 16 volumes published in Japan (and it still might, come to think of it). It's a little bit odd in a good way, and also executed with a great deal of confident, recognizable craft in a good way.

*****

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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Go, Look: Various Wally Wood Comics Parodies From MAD

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Two Odd Instances Of Comics-Related Advocacy

* I have too many Catholic friends to use the title "Catholic Church Rallies Behind Underage Boy," but the thought sure occurred to me. Cheap jokes aside, I thought the Vatican-generated editorial advocating on behalf of Tintin Au Congo described here was kind of weird. The month when a giant Spielberg/Jackson movie is hopping around Europe to significant box office is a strange moment to try and convince people that there's an anti-Christian driven bias out there against an entertainment property. Besides, I don't think I can recall anything significant about the Tintin Au Congo case that's been about the character and Tintin series generally. The criticisms have been for the most part very book-specific, or even element-of-the-book specific.

* here's a longish piece on the effect of superhero films on the publishing business that's at the top of my google search for "comic book" news stories this morning. I like that the author is engaging the issue over whether or not these movie properties lead to a successful discovery of the books related to them, and that this drags out into the sun a bit Marvel's seemingly fundamental inability to put out books that capitalize on their movies -- a strange blind spot for any savvy media company to have. How you feel about the idea that the perception of comics depends on there being good film versions and how important this is to the thing from which it's adapted will probably determine whether you get much from this article. Where it gets kind of undeniably strange is in its suggestion that Persepolis was some kind of stand-alone indie-comic-to-film effort, and that Marvel of all people might be looked to for this kind of film in the future. This of course ignores films made from the work of comics makers from Harvey Pekar to Dan Clowes to Posy Simmonds, and I'm not sure exactly why. (Also, the Daredevil-related math is kind of spotty.)
 
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Go, Look: Sisters + Brothers

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Your Amazon.com Best Comics & Graphic Novels Of 2011

imageI don't think I've tooled around Amazon in a while and found the various options for accessing the comics & graphics novels part of its Best Of 2011 list a bit weird as a result. I think the best page is here. I'm sure others have pointed out the odd quirk that no publishers are given, which one might suppose is because the publisher doesn't really matter all that much to Amazon. I'm not sure if that's been typical, but crediting only one of the creators when there are more than is, to my memory, an Amazon Best Of tradition. In alphabetical order, their choices are:
* Batman: The Black Mirror, Scott Snyder and Jock and Francesco Francavilla (DC Comics)
* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (D+Q)
* Daytripper, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon (DC Comics)
* Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)
* Habibi, Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
* Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (D+Q)
* King Of The Flies Volume Two: The Origin Of The World, Mezzo and Pirus (Fantagraphics)
* Love And Rockets: New Stories #4, Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* Mister Wonderful: A Love Story, Dan Clowes (Pantheon)
* Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strip Vol. 1, Walt Kelly (Fantagraphics)
The Amazon list is another early list, one assumes to facilitate the holiday purchase of their choices.
 
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There's No Bad Time To Look At Nick Cardy Art

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If I Were Near A Computer, 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: Jack Kirby's Dingbats Splash Pages

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you tend to see the first one but not the other two
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* our deepest condolences to Martin Wisse.

* Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance talks to Susie Cagle about her arrest at Occupy Oakland and her coverage of that event generally.

image* Katie Moody writes up the recent visit to the Center For Cartoon Studies by Mark Schultz.

* I very much like that Magnolia Porter is drawing 50 Achewood characters. Those are very potent characters.

* I have to admit, things increasingly sound sort of crappy at Marvel right now. I'm sure they're not quite as crappy as they're going to seem when you're sitting on the outside and all you seem to see are articles about how they're cutting back in all sorts of weird places right smack in the middle of an era when the work on the publishing line has yielded hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing and movie profits, but I imagine that with firings and budget mandates and the trimming of royalties via the expansion of an exemption and what seems likely to be the trimming of the standard book page count and the success across town, things aren't optimal at the House Of Ideas. In the article through that last link, Graeme McMillan makes a very funny point about Marvel making an exemption based in part on promotional copies when Marvel really doesn't do promotional copies. They have a lot of smart, talented people there, though, and they'll keep working.

* we are almost exactly at the point in time when fashion statements made in various comic books regarding leather jackets are going to look their absolute dumbest -- the same way that people in high school yearbooks a certain number of years back always look their ugliest before settling back down into normal parameters.

* not comics: yuck. It's remarkable how unpleasant that entire saga has been. I never saw it as wacky or funny as much as some sort of sprawling embodiment of everything that can go wrong with high-profile creators attempting to make art out of commercial properties. I can imagine a hell working on a road company of an effort like that.

image* Jeff Newelt profiles Stan Lee. George Tramountanas talks to Peter David. Sean Collins profiles L'Association. The War Rocket Ajax crew talks to Matt Fraction. Crystal Hodgkins and Brigid Alverson talk to Hiro Mashima. Chris Marshall talks to Richard Graham.

* Slate covers the new Charlie Hebdo cover; I just hope I don't wake up to news of another bombing. Also, that article suggests that police are in pursuit of two suspects, something I hadn't read until now. Fabrice Stroun makes the important distinction between the right to free speech and the right to blasphemy, and suggests which one is in operation here.

* not comics: what Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman movie would have been like.

* Sean T. Collins talks about spoilers. I'm not sure I've ever figured out why spoilers are a big deal to people. I learned as a kid that if I didn't want to know what happened in the movie, I shouldn't read the reviews in the copy of the New Yorker sitting on the living room coffee table, and my basic attitude hasn't really changed since then. That's not what Collins is getting at, though -- he's digging after some of the more peculiar permutations of that element of fan culture.

* over at the First Second blog, tips on submitting work at shows. I think if you get through all those numbered points, they should just go ahead and publish you. I'm kidding.

* Marc Arsenault is excited about the Jason Shiga Meanwhile app.

* Graeme McMillan on Ganges #4. David P. Welsh on The Drops Of God Vol. 1. (Speaking of Mr. Welsh, he's certainly excited about Princess Knight.) Kate Dacey on GeGeGe no Kitaro. Rob Clough on some more CCS-related mini-comics. Sean Gaffney on Cage Of Eden Vol. 2. Don MacPherson on Cold War #1. Grant Goggans on Persepolis. KC Carlson on The Batcave Companion. Henry Covert on E-Man: Curse Of The Idol. Richard Bruton on Daybreak and Paper Science #6.

* Blake Bell has a process post up about his forthcoming secret history of Marvel Comics book.

* you know, reading that linked-to review of an E-Man book got me to think about encountering that comic book when I was a kid. I just realized that reading those made me feel like a later generation of kids must have felt reading Image Comics. That seems a pretty rudimentary connection to make at this late date, but there you go. There's something about looking at something crude and off-model and energetic that's very exciting and must have been a portion of the thrills felt at various junctions in comics history, some moments more potently than at others.

* finally, Greg Evans = Nostradamus. I think that makes Gunther the third Napoleon.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Bill Mantlo!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Mort Todd!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Peter Birkemoe!

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November 8, 2011


Go, Bookmark: Days Of Adventure

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Charlie Hebdo Releases Image Of Post-Explosion Cover

imageThe Guardian has a short piece up on how the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will be responding in this week's issue to having their officers blown up last week after they featured Muhammed on the cover, re-titled the magazine "Sharia Hebdo," and put out a press release declaring that the Prophet Muhammed was the issue's guest-editor. It's mostly a re-hash of what we already knew -- statements from the editor and primary cartoonist, the fact the offices moved to Liberation -- but with the information that this week will feature a cartoon by Luz featuring a Muslim man kissing a cartoonist in front of the wreckage of the offices. The article points out, in what may be the most darkly humorous thing you'll read all week, that at least the Muslim man isn't outright identified as Muhammed. I don't know if there will be any backlash to this similar to last week's bombing, and one hopes not, but it should provide plenty of ammunition to those that believe the magazine editors were needlessly provocative in doing last week's issue.
 
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Go, Look: Walt Kelly In Fairy Tale Parade #9

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Go, Read: Matthias Wivel On L'Association's Publishing Crisis

I greatly enjoyed this piece from Matthias Wivel at TCJ on the crisis that befell the crucially important and influential publishing house L'Association, events that came to a head earlier this year. It's in two parts, here and here. Articles like these are pretty rare on-line, so hopefully a lot of traffic will encourage more.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

*****

* not sure I'd seen the final-final cover design for Fantagraphics' shot at a complete Pogo series. I think it looks nice, and it's strangely reminiscent of the covers from their previous attempt at reprinting the series. It's very odd to live in times where something as monumental as a complete run at Pogo can almost be greeted as just another reprint project. I'm wary of people that occasionally declare "comics are great and we should remember that when dealing with all of these problematic aspects," because there's a big dollop of denial and fan-like, "oh well" shrugging of the shoulders inherent in that sentiment. In fact, I think a reaction to all these great comics coming out is to demand more of the industry and art form rather than less. Still, it's hard not to take a second every so often and blink in wonder at the number of quality projects hitting the shops.

image* this Frank Quitely cover for a Vertigo release of the Flex Mentallo series seems to me as nice as everyone said it was last week; there's something in me that kind of liked that this series never found its way out of serial comic books, although the reasons for that were terrible and it's nice that more people can read it if they'd like.

* in another of their moves that feels like a curious blend penny-pinching and a lack of a grand publishing strategy beyond the production of serial comics, Marvel is offering retailers a chance at a bunch of trade paperbacks that will soon go out of print.

* Marvel suggests that they will finish the massively delayed The Twelve. I remember not liking the one issue I read, but I guess it was a moderate hit with a lot of positive reviews.

* former Nickelodeon comics-interested folk Chris Duffy, Laura Galen and Carmen Morais have launched an iPad comics application for kids.

* A Long Day Of Mr. James-Teacher is discussed at Robot 6.

* Marvel has canceled a perfectly okay-looking series about their Doctor Doom character, even though it may be mostly to all the way done. Ditto a previously announced series featuring their "monstrous" heroes, which was silenced in pillow-over-the-face manner without anyone knowing about it until one of the creators mentioned it in a tweet. I can't see a way to spin these things as positives or potential positives. Such cancellations speak to these companies' general inability to get anything slightly off-beat over with an audience unless there's a stunt involved, underline the carelessness with which projects will be started and then killed way further down the pipeline than they should have gotten, and provide yet another example of Marvel's massive and slightly depressing display of penny-pinching over the last few months. Graeme McMillan has a few thoughts, but they don't seem all that cohesive, either. I do like his assertion that Marvel is going to double-down on major brands for a while -- you could probably even spin that into a positive for the company. Still, it seems to me that part of Marvel's problem right now may be that they tend to over-focus on major brands in a way that both devalues their "off" licenses and exhausts readers of the big-name material -- every Marvel property isn't the relatively concept-to-itself-light "Avengers." It also occurs to me that, once again, Marvel could really use a comprehensive digital strategy, and part of one that seems to be sitting there for them is the redirection of this kind of material into free on-line comics. Then again, as I recall, Disney in general has a really haphazard digital program.

* this is everywhere by now, but Dark Horse has added a bunch of manga to its array of digital offerings.

* Fantagraphics has made their latest catalog available for download, and discusses highlights on the download page.

* what the next Guy Delisle book looks like. Or may look like -- I suppose different editions might do different things with the material.

* Johanna Draper Carlson discusses Oni's plans for the serialized Wasteland.

* Kevin Church and Ming Doyle recently finished their The Loneliest Astronauts.

* I haven't said anything about Rub The Blood in a "look what's coming" way, but I look forward to seeing the anthology as much as anyone out there.

* finally, I like the looks of this cover to Spider Monkey #1.

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Go, Look: The Wacky World Of Numburrs

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Analysts Weigh In With More On October 2011 DM Numbers

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 October 2011. I totally missed them when they came out.

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. Miller focuses on the reboot but also points out a bunch of records, which he listed in his PR e-mail as:
* Highest dollar sales for the Top 300 comics
* Highest number of titles ever in Top 300 by one publisher
* Highest sales for 300th place book, tops 5k
* Lowest number of publishers represented in Top 300
Those are all worth noting. The last may be of particular interest to readers of this site, and is a reminder of something I think is worth grappling about DC's recent surge as well as mainstream comics' companies success in the DM generally: because of the way they've set themselves up, it can often come at the expense of diversity in that marketplace. It should be noted that some of the smaller publishers have seen gains in the current landscape as well -- nothing is yet settled.

Miller also points out that the six percent aggregate drop #1 to #2 is for the initial numbers for the #1s, without reorders, which I'm not sure is going to get communicated in the PR blitz and the more enthusiastic analysis pieces that will surely follow. That is a very low drop, though, and shows that retailers are really devoted to this initiative. That means a greater risk, but I think it also shows just how effective the DM and its members can be at moving mainstream product when they're motivated and there's a chance for a solid return on that investment.

The writer Warren Ellis points to the general numbers and suggests that this will be good for competition between the two major publishers, with better comics a potential result. He also indicates through specific example a wrench that could be thrown into that effort from the start: Marvel nickel-and-diming their line to death by doing things like not supporting trade back list and cancelling all but the most guaranteed sales-success series. It should be an interesting next nine months or so.

I've tossed an image of the D+Q The Death-Ray cover in there for no particular reason other than I was scrambling to find a cover image I liked. Dan Clowes' re-issue of an issue of Eightball in bookstore-ready form sold over 2800 copies through comics shops, which is really good for a book like that. Fantagraphics sold a little over 1000 copies of its latest Mickey Mouse and Prince Valiant volumes into these stores. There was a time when the paperback series of Prince Valiant that Fantagraphics did was a significant percentage of their overall sales back in the 1990s, but a lot of that I believe was mail-order and of course some of that natural fan base for Foster's work has probably since passed away. Those are really nice books, though.
 
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Go, Look: High-Quality Scans Of Jack Kamen EC Art

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Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat's Web Site Continues To Be Down

I'm not able to pull up the web site of Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, and according to my inbox neither can a bunch of you. This could be absolutely nothing. I have to imagine that healing from the wounds inflicted upon on the cartoonist by pro-government thugs and the general act of living as a prominent citizen in a country of turmoil are enough to take anyone's time, and that keeping a standard web presence would be a low priority. Keeping a web presence is a high priority for me, and there have been several days where I was unable to do this despite my best efforts to the contrary.

On the other hand, Syria has had a well-documented recent history of trying to deny Internet service and access during this time of Arab Spring-related turmoil within the country. I believe their ability to do so comes from the limited avenues for Internet access available to the Syrian people. In addition, Michael Netzer wrote in to suggest that the cartoonist and his family may have moved to a different part of the country, which could explain why the site was down. The site has been an invaluable tool for keeping up with the health of the cartoonist, and recently contained his dedication to martyrs of freedom on his winning the Sakharov Prize. I hope he and his family are okay, and this is just a blip.
 
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Go, Look: Wing Man

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If I Were In Westminster MD, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Relatively Minimalist Mainstream Artist Emil Gershwin

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Alan Gardner over at Daily Cartoonist is doing a donations drive. Please consider donating if you're a reader of that site.

image* about Bill Everett's family. I'm on this huge Bill Everett kick right now.

* Chris Sims walks us through Marvel's retailer resource center.

* Todd Klein on Absolute Sandman Vol. 5, War Of The Green Lanterns: Aftermath #1-2, George RR Martin's Doorways, The Last Dragon and The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

* not comics: Matthias Wivel provides a rational-sounding report on the forthcoming (for US audiences) Tintin movie, including a clever suggestion as to something the director may be doing with his choice of villain.

* John Porcellino's tour takes him down to Chester, Illinois.

* Timothy Callahan looks at the Genesis project that Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek are doing, and has some thoughts about what makes Kirby characters work and not work for others. I'm not sure that I agree with half of the things he lays down as the law up top, which makes it sort of difficult to get into the rest of it, but I look forward to completing it.

* an illustration by Jillian Tamaki; sketches by Andi Watson.

* Tim J. Luddy talks to Michel Choquette. Laura Hudson talks to Matt Fraction. The Loikamania crew talks to Matt Fraction. Tim O'Shea talks to Jamie Cosley. Someone from CBR talks to Jim Pascoe and Paul Pope. Jonah Weiland talks to Blair Butler. Chris Mautner talks to Kevin Huizenga. Someone from TFAW.com talks to Andrew Chambliss. Zack Smith talks to Chris Roberson.

* this deserves its own pull-out: Deb Aoki talks to Hikaru Sasahara from Digital Manga.

* Kevin Czap describes the Cleveland scene; I'm grateful to read these scene reports assembled by Frank Santoro, particularly about place where I have no sense of the comics scene.

* finally, Marguerite Cook on crowd scenes.
 
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Happy 70th Birthday, Tony De Zuniga!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Cheese Hasselberger!

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Can Anyone Out There Pull Up Ali Ferzat's Web Site?

Syria has done this kind of thing a lot in in the last six months, so it worried me.
 
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November 7, 2011


Go, Look: Screentone TV

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warning: naughty
 
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Something Something Nook Something Marvel Comics Something

It's probably time I stopped pretending that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the big companies' various digital initiatives, but let's make that day tomorrow instead of today. Barnes & Noble has announced the latest news on its various Nook readers; including that a bunch of Marvel's books will be involved.

A few things strike me. One, Marvel's involvement seems not a big deal placed in the context of those announcements and tech stories (they seem much more excited about the video capabilities; one story I read seemed more intrigued by Marvel being the only publisher named rather than Marvel being named). This makes me think the publisher and B&N might have been better off delaying the Marvel part of the news until its own day. Two, this seems to me one of those weird moves where the PR is going to do battle with the PR for DC's (for the time being) exclusivity with the Amazon.com kindle device, even if the two publishing arrangements aren't battling in that same way. Third, from where I sit the long-term, eventual strategy that pretty much has to emerge is availability through as many channels as possible, including these kinds of readers. The last time when a company acted in a "counter-intuitive to the general trends" kind of way it was Marvel buying Heroes World, which led to DC's snaky secret deal with Diamond, which gave us an entire San Diego panel built around hissing at Larry Marder, which resulted in a lot of extra Crow 2 merchandise and then gifted us with a massive market implosion from which in many ways comics has never fully recovered. I'm guessing this won't be as dire, but it'd be nice if these companies could settle in on the future sooner rather than being dragged into it later.
 
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Go, Listen: Marvel Vs. Jack Kirby: Legal Rights And Ethical Might

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Go, Look: South Americans Look At BD Starring Their Ancestors

I thought this was a nice post to kickstart a long week of work. It's photos of descendants of the Cherwuish tribe in Paraguay looking at an album by the cartoonist Lucie Lomová featuring the story of the friendship between Alberto (Vojtech) Frič and that particular group of South Americans at the beginning of the 20th Century.

It's not really newsworthy or anything, I know; I just thought it was nice.
 
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Go, Look: In Memory Of Brecht Evens' Wife

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Company Not Concerned About Market Share Stones Closest Competitor In Terms Of Monthly Market Share

imageThe hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has the most succinct story from news released late last week that in terms of monthly market share DC Comics in October enjoyed a victory over close competitor Marvel reminiscent of one of those lopsided boxing matches where you sheepishly change the channel for the last few moments despite having paid $59.95 for the experience. DC took both unit shares and dollar shares by a significant margin, took seven of the top ten slots, and 17 of the top 20. The October win follows a much more narrow market share win by DC in September, a close tussle for which the comics company prepared us this summer by dismissing the idea of winning market share as an important thing. I hold that these kinds of victories are extremely important for publishers, particularly ones like DC that haven't performed this strongly vis-a-vis Marvel since a) the depths of Marvel's post-bankruptcy malaise or b) really ever in the modern comics industry sense.

The solid October win did put on display certain structural factors about the direct market, such as the way that a decisive shift in the way a market initiative is perceived can dig itself in in the short term (and thus becomes more difficult to bleed away in the long term). The linked-to article also makes the important point that the recent DC-led surge in DM sales has chipped away at some alarming decline trends. This might be enough to pull 2011 even with or even ahead of 2010 by the end of December, with a potential for future growth and market stabilization possible in the months following.

My personal favorite numbers guy John Jackson Miller has a piece up here discussing the role of re-orders and approximating just how many more comics were sold this October as opposed to the same month in 2010.
 
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OTBP: R. Crumb The Complete Record Cover Collection

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Maybe I Missed This: BCGF Announces Guests, Exhibitors

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Start here. It's great that Jack Davis will be on hand -- he's a giant, and rarely recognized as such. Phoebe Gloeckner is a great, great artist. Other special guests are C.F., Lisa Hanawalt, Brian Ralph, Chip Kidd, David Mazzucchelli and John P.
 
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PW Releases First Major List Of Best Comics Of 2011

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Publishers Weekly has released its list of top comics of 2011 in annoying, hit-friendly, slideshow form. They are:

* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (D+Q)
* Daytripper, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon (DC/Vertigo)
* Farm 54, Galit Seliktar & Gilad Seliktar (Fanfare Ponent Mon)
* Finder: Voice, Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
* Habibi, Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
* Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (D+Q)
* Infinite Kung Fu, Kagan McLeod (Top Shelf)
* Love & Rockets: New Stories #4, Gilbert Hernandez & Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone & Josh Neufeld (WW Norton)
* Zahra's Paradise, Amir & Kahlil (First Second)

That's a list full of solid books. While this usually gets me a mean e-mail or two, I do feel compelled to say that the list will do very little to discourage a frequent accusation made against the PW lists and such lists in general: that they seem designed, at least in some small part, to spread the approbation among as many players in a category as is conceivably possible. I'm not sure that isn't a more serious discussion than the act of list-making deserves, however. Specifically, I'm glad that someone else read Farm 54 (it's not even listed correctly on the publisher's web site!) and that a veteran pair of creators like the Hernandez Brothers were considered.
 
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Go, Read: Bhob Stewart On Art Spiegelman

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Christoph Niemann Runs Over Lazy Cartoonist Stereotype

imageThe cartoonist Christoph Niemann is taking a deserved series of bows via a flurry of wire articles for cartooning during the New York City marathon on Saturday, tweeting the results and managing to finish the race in around four hours. Niemann's intention to perform theses tasks was discussed on this blog and in a number of places, although it's not something that flashed through my mind again until I saw these articles. I'm not sure exactly what Niemann's accomplishment means, although I guess maybe that complaining about being made tired by a book signing or standing around at a convention is going to lose its potency for a few months. It could also lead to a certain amount of stunt-cartooning, a development I fully encourage until someone gets hurt, at which point I'm deleting this sentence.

Strangely, it may be only the second most impressive physical feat performed by a cartoonist this year.
 
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Go, Look: More From The World Encyclopedia Of Cartoons

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Go, Bookmark: Rejected By The New Yorker

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Go, Look: John Stanley In New Funnies #85

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* John Sherffius announced his retirement from cartooning in an e-mail to a group of Association Of American Editorial Cartoonist members. CR joins what is certainly a large group of folks in wishing him a happy one.

image* missed it: Colleen Doran posted a complete, three-page story to her site: Three Black Hearts.

* the comic no kid would want.

* Alex Dueben talks to Alex de Campi and James Broxton. Cyriaque Lamar talks to Lee Bermejo. Jen Vaughn talks to JP Coovert. Sam Adams talks to Craig Thompson.

* Richard Thompson unearths a proto-proto-Cul De Sac.

* it's hard not be fond of the way that Dave Lasky draws scenes like this. Ditto Richard Sala and his bad candy nightmare.

* Michael Cavna picks his favorite Herman Cain/sexual harassment cartoons. That seems to me a not-exactly terrific bunch, although the Clay Bennett one I guess is pretty memorable. I'm not sure that doesn't reflect the story itself: I have no real idea how to process Cain's candidacy, let alone the dance of absurdities that is this particular story within that wider one. For example, and I'm sure the people that spend their time with their noses buried in day-to-day politics have pointed this out already, it's astonishing to see on-the-record facts portrayed as accusations just because they're unearthed in the course of a campaign. That would be like people accusing me of once having worked at Fantagraphics. How do you do a cartoon about something that's such a cartoon?

* being introduced to Wonder Woman must have been different for those born after the TV show.

* Jenna Brager on The Hidden. Sean Gaffney on Cross Game Vol. 5. Don MacPherson on Heaven All Day. Ed Sizemore on Princess Knight Vol. 1. Philip Shropshire on NYC 2123: Dayender. Grant Goggans on Lenny Zero And The Perps Of Mega-City One. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis. David P. Welsh on A Bride's Story Vol. 2. Greg McElhatton on The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode #2. A bunch of different folks on Uncanny X-Men #1. Chris Mautner on Pope Hats #2, Hark! A Vagrant and Mickey Mouse Vol. 2. Rob Clough on Habibi.

* not comics: well, this is awful. It is of course deeply awful in the act of it, but also pretty awful just in the way that specific article with that specific emphasis was generated out of that tragedy.

* I know it's a joke title, and I think the article suggests that the right question in an extended inquiry like that is "why are these specific things sexy to some people?" but mostly what I got out of the piece is trying not to think of ways -- ways that have nothing to do with the art examined -- why a broken spine just might be sexy. Too many Cronenberg movies, I guess.

* Daryl Cagle's post on Susie Cagle's arrest last week at Occupy Oakland now includes an embedded video of the cartoonist talking about her experience.

* Cyclops explains in his own words why he's the worst leader ever.

* Martin Wisse brings word of a new Dutch documentary about comics.

* Scott Edelman encounters Steve Canyon at the San Diego airport.

* finally, take a tour through that big Reprodukt anniversary exhibition. Works by Sturm, Trondheim, Doucet and many, many other comics luminaries.
 
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Happy 25th Birthday, Lizz Hickey!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Dave Cooper!

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November 6, 2011


Les Daniels, RIP

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"As confining as the emphasis on superheroes has been the promotion of the concept of the 'Golden Age' of comic books, a term used to designate the period between 1938 (the year in which the germinal Superman feature first appeared) and 1945. This was, admittedly, the era in which many of the most famous characters and creators got their start; it was the time when comic books came into their own. But it was also a period which began with crude drawing and somewhat simple-minded scripting, a period sustained more by the excitement of novelty than by excellence of performance."

"There was an important reason why these comics appeared in the forties and fifties -- comics, that is, featuring not only animals, but animals like the Fox and the Crow, Uncle Scrooge and Gladstone Gander, who are preoccupied with money. The power and beauty of these images came less from their appeal to their pre-adolescent audience than from the fascination they held for their creators. The animals first of all provided a link with a vision of America that was rapidly disappearing: a world of small towns and barnyards that most of these men had known. Donald makes it clear in several stories that he 'lives' fictionally in Burbank, but he is obviously from much further East. Ducks live in Missouri and Kansas, not in southern California. The comics business was precarious -- fantasy-ridden and fantasy-mongering -- and for the men who created these strips (as so obviously for the great Disney himself), the animal images were echoes of the collective past they had left behind. At the same time, it is not surprising that men who were pressed for deadlines, who lived by their wits, who were misfits in other occupations, who had lived through the Depression, should embody their preoccupations with money and how to get it in the figures of irascible ducks and shifty crows."

"It is possible to more than a little suspicious about the value of the whole comics controversy. The attack was perhaps more sincere than sensible, and the defense was more successful as a business maneuver than as an artistic stand. The success of the code concept made it a simple matter to squeeze presumable objectionable publications off the market without every proving them to be in any way illicit or illegal."

"The drawings of Griffin and Moscoso have been a relatively isolated phenomenon; the only other comics with similar concerns are the attractive but unintelligible productions of John Thompson. The debut of S. Clay Wilson, on the other hand, was to have immediate and powerful repercussions. He is, for better or worse, the cartoonist and writer who defies more taboos than any other in the history of comics. He has shocked and amazed every reader who encounters his work not only because of the subject matter but because of the repellent but fascinating drawing style in which it is presented. While Crumb's great popularity is doubtless increased because of a certain roundness and cuteness in even his most reprehensible characters, Wilson's figures are as hideous as his considerable skill can make them. Yet his work has had a direct and acknowledged influence on Crumb and all other underground cartoonists, by making them aware of how much further they could go in challenging conventions of taste and judgment. Wilson's fantasies of depraved sex and violence made everything that preceded him, even in the underground, seem tame indeed. He makes the eight-pagers look romantic, and the kinky comics look chummy."

-- Les Daniels expressing ideas in 1971 that took many of the smartest current thinkers about comics decades to uncover on their own.
 
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Go, Look: Kelly Clancy

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Go, Look: The Jeffrey Lewis Site

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Go, Look: Patrick Kyle

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Missed It: T. Alixopulos' October Images

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

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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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Happy 40th Birthday, Gregory Mardon!

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FFF Results Post #274 -- Shops

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comic Shops: Your Current (Or Closest To it) (#1), Your First (#2), One That's Closed Now That You Remember Fondly (#3), One That You Hope To Visit One Day (#4), A Place You Bought Comics That Wasn't A Comics Store At All (#5)." This how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dave's Comics And Paintball
2. Bright's Book Exchange
3. Halley's Comics
4. Bergen Street Comics
5. B&B Loan Company

*****

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Kenny Penman

1. Nostalgia & Comics Birmingham
2. Science Fiction Bookshop Edinburgh
3. Dark They Were and Golden Eyed London
4. Quimbys Chicago
5. Village Post Office, Watten, Caithenss

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Comic Depot, Saratoga Springs, NY
2. Cartoon Museum, Orlando, FL, run by Jim Ivey circa 1978 (not sure of exact name)
3. FantaCo, Albany, NY
4. Jim Hanley's Universe, NYC, NY
5. Hughes Newsroom, Greenwich, NY

*****

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Kumar Sivasubramanian

1) All Star Comics, Melbourne Australia
2) A Collector's Dream, Fredericton Canada
3) Alternate Worlds (Chapel Street location), Melbourne Australia
4) Comix Experience, San Francisco
5) vending machine, Tokyo Japan

*****

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Matt Price

(#1) Speeding Bullet Comics, Norman OK
(#2) New World Comics, Norman OK branch
(#3) Atomik Pop!, Norman OK branch (formerly Planet Comics)
(#4) Jim Hanley's Universe, New York
(#5) Homeland grocery store chain

*****

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Larry Rippee

#1 The Escapist
#2 San Francisco Comic Book Shop {1969}
#3 Comic Relief, Bekeley
#4 Lambiek
#5 Rexall Drug Store

*****

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Christopher Brown

1. Bergen Street Comics and Manhattan Comics
2. Comics World, Milford CT - the first comics shop I ever saw, run by a guy with truly dubious business ethics
3. Dream Factory, Milford CT - opened as a direct competitor to Comics World and totally stole my business from them with innovative retail techniques like being pleasant, valuing their customers, and maintaining a clean, well-lit, kid-friendly store
4. Quimby's
5. Cellar Stories, used bookstore, Providence RI

*****

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Joe Schwind
1. Gryphon Games and Comics, Fort Collins CO
2. Clint's Comic Books, KC MO
Selling comics to Clint paid my rent, 1969/70.
3. Extremely Ltd., KC MO
Comix and hippie sundries behind a Mexican restaurant.
4. Eclipse Books and Comics, Rolla MO
5. A little Mom & Pop grocery in Dubuque, Iowa, a block or two southwest of Muscatine, circa 1958. The rack featured an excellent selection of ACG comics, DC war titles.

*****

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Nathaniel G. McDonald

1. Elite Comics, Overland Park, KS
2. Antiquarium, Jefferson City, MO
3. Pohlman's, Jefferson City, MO
4. The Beguiling
5. Schulte's IGA, Jefferson City, MO

*****

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Vito Del Sante

1. Jim Hanley's Universe (NYC)
2. The Comic Shop (Staten Island, NY)
3. Comics Crypt (Pittsburgh, PA)
4. Austin Books and Comics (Austin, TX)
5. Staten Island Ferry (Staten Island, NY)

*****

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Nat Gertler

1. Tie, Ralph's Comic Corner (Ventura, CA)/Earth-2 (Sherman Oaks, CA)
2. Forbidden Planet (NY)
3. Comic Relief (Berkeley, CA)
4. Happy Harbor (Edmonton, Alberta)
5. The Black Market head shop (Anchorage, AK)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Comics And Collectibles (Memphis, TN)
2. Comic Connection (Lexington, KY)
3. I can't remember its name, but it was right above the Tolly-Ho diner on the UK campus, and despite my failing memory, it was a nice little store.
4. Heroes Aren't Hard To Find
5. Convenient Food Mart

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Tramp's Music Comics Cards and Games, Regina, SK
2. Regina Book Exchange, Regina, SK
3. Shadowfax, Winnipeg, MB
4. Now and Then Books, Kitchener, ON
5. Kells' Pharmacy, Grenfell, SK

*****

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Tony Collett

1. DCBS
2. Fool's Paradise, Bloomington IN
3. Kokomo Comics And Baseball Cards, Kokomo IN
4. The Beguiling, Toronto Ontario
5. Kaky's Five And Dime, Arcadia IN

*****

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Frank Cammuso

1. The Comix Zone
2. Dream Days
3. Twilight Fantasy Books and Games
4. Galerie Lambiek
5. The Corner Pharmacy

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. Top Cut Comics (formerly Tomorrow is Yesterday) in Loves Park, Illinois
2. Rainbow Comics in Austintown, Ohio
3. My buddy Jay Geldhof's late, great Watch the Skies in Kent, Ohio
4. Golden Apple Comics
5. A gift store in Niles, Ohio, where I bought Watchmen issues 1 and 12.

*****

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Mike Baehr

1. Arcane Comics & More
2. I never knew its name -- there was no sign. We just called it "the comic shop." The sole proprietor also sold rare books.
3. Rocketship
4. Desert Island
5. Goodwill

*****

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Mike Thompson

(#1) - The Comic Depot (Wilton, NY)
(#2) - Geppi's Comic World (Largo, FL -- worked there for Steve Geppi all through high school)
(#3) - The Silver Snail (Hamilton, Ontario -- met Walt Simonson and Bill Sienkiewicz there, among many others)
(#4) - The Beguiling (for some reason, never went there when I had the chance)
(#5) - From sweets truck when I visited England as a young boy (circa '74)

*****

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Shannon Smith

1) Cavalier Comics - Wise, VA
2) Mountain Empire Comics- Bristol, TN
3) Classic Comics - Atlanta, GA
4) Heroes Aren't Hard to Find - Charlotte, NC (Despite going to HeroesCon for years, I've never managed to step foot in the store.)
5) Monlinary's - Saint Paul, VA (An old train depot restaurant that carried on for years after the train depot was closed. I think the only money they took in between 1980 and 1987 was what I spent on comics, ham 'n cheese sandwiches, french fries and orangeades.)

*****

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Kenneth Graves

1) Great Escape, Charlotte Pike
2) Great Escape, Broadway
3) Could ditto #2, but let's list Rocketship in Brooklyn where I shopped once
4) Desert Island, Brooklyn
5) Brown's Drug Store (once upon a time, there was newsstand distribution...)

*****

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Chris Gumprich

1. Cover To Cover
2. Doug Sulipa's Comic World (on Portage Ave)
3. Dave's Amazing Comics
4. Strange Adventures
5. "Food Store" (really, that was its name)

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. The Great Escape, Bowling Green, KY
2. My first was a small shop just off Bardstown Road in Louisville sometime in the mid-70's, but I can't remember what they called it to save my life. I bought back issues of The Kaluta Shadow and the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing there. Only stayed in business a few months, just caught my eye when I was up there with my parents going into Karma Records.
3. Books & Buttons, in the old Bowling Green Mall in Bowling Green, KY. Bought a lot of fine comics there in the 80s, including Thriller.
4. Isotope in San Francisco
5. Houchens Market, Horse Cave, KY

*****

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Paul Stock

1) Current: Librairie Astro Montreal (I own it)
2) First:The Reader's Den Montreal (Really a bookstore, but with a huge comic section)
3) Hope to see: JimHanley's Universe NYC (Because Jim's a good guy.)
4) Not comic shops at all: Topps Barber Shop Montreal, Bakka Books Toronto Gene's Greyhound stop/Lunch counter- Keeseville NY (1950's-60's)
5) Fondly remembered: Archie's Record Bar, Montreal in 1961, which became Snowdon Pocket Novels & Comics in 1962

*****

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Grant Goggans

(#1): Bizarro Wuxtry, Athens GA
(#2): The Book Trader, Smyrna GA
(#3): Stateside Comics, London
(#4): Isotope, San Francisco CA
(#5): Cobb Stamp & Coin, Smyrna GA

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Comickaze in San Diego -- Robert Scott's place, he carries everything.
2) Supersnipe Comic Emporium -- possibly the smallest shop ever, but it was heaven to me at nine!
3) Quality Comics in London, across from the World's End Pub.
4) Strange Adventures in Halifax -- I've heard nothing but great stuff about this place.
5) The drugstore in Hartsdale New York, across the road from the train station -- they got their comics every Tuesday and Thursday.

*****

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Hisham Zubi

1. Things From Another World
2. Pegasus Comics (now Things From Another World)
3. Guapo Comics and Coffee
4. Forbidden Planet
5. B. Dalton Books

*****

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Michael F. Russo

1. St. Mark's Comics (NYC)
2. The Million Year Picnic (Cambridge, MA)
3. Rocketship (Brooklyn, NY)
4. The Beguiling (Toronto, CA)
5. Tower Records/Books (NYC)

*****

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Michel Fiffe

1) Bergen St. Comics
2) A&M Comics
3) Coral Comics
4) Heroes Aren't Hard To Find
5) 7-11

I was just mentioning to a friend how every time I visit a new city, I'm more excited about discovering local comic shops than anything else about the visit. The smaller the town the better the chances of finding something great, I found.

*****

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Colin Smith

1. "Abstract Sprocket," Norwich, England
2. "Dark They Were & Golden Eyed", Berwick St, London, in 1974
3. "Comics Showcase" in London
4. "Time Machine", Chelsea, New York (George Khoury wrote a great article about it at CBR)
5. The 7th Ashford (Middx) Boy Scout Summer Fete, circa 1973

*****

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Chip Mosher

1. Meltdown
2. Camelot Comics
3. Herb Halvorson's Silver Penny
4. Comics and Vegetables
5. Stop n' Go

*****

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J.E. Cole

1: Forbidden Planet Croydon
2: Deadzone Comics in Croydon
3: Enigma Comics in Croydon
4: The Beguiling
5: Foyles Charing Cross Road

*****

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Mark Clegg

1) Hijinx Comix
2) The San Jose Comics Art Shop
3) San Jose Comics Collector Shop
4) The Beguiling
5) Twice Read Books

*****

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Kristy Valenti

1. Zanadu Comics
2. Bonanza Books and Comics
3. Confounded Books
4. The Beguiling
5. Save Mart

*****

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Chad Nevett

1. Border City Comics (Windsor, Ontario)
2. The Comic Book Collector (London, Ontario)
3. (Sorry, I haven't had any of the shops I go to close. I've been lucky like that so far. The closest would be the Comic Book Collector in London, which changed locations and ownership a few times during the time I've gone there.)
4. Isotope
5. Wal-Mart

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Comics Conspiracy, Sunnyvale, CA
2. FantaCo
3. Comic Relief
4. Floating World Comics
5. Baums Newsroom, Schenectady, New York

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find -- Charlotte
2. All-American Comics in Evergreen Park, IL
3. Larry's Comics on Devon in Chicago
4. The Beguiling Toronto
5. Driftwood Souvenirs Shop at Sisters Lakes Benton Harbor, Michigan

*****

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Kiel Phegley

1. Challenger's Comics - Chicago, IL
2. Comic Relief - Flint, MI
3. Excalibur Comics - Grand Blanc, MI
4. The Beguiling - Toronto, Ontario
5. Mother of Junk - Brooklyn, NY

*****

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Marc Mason

1. Pop Culture Paradise, Tempe AZ
2. Comic Carnival, Broad Ripple IN
3. The One Book Shop, Tempe AZ
4. Jim Hanley's Universe, NYC
5. Hooks Drug Store, all over IN

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Unicorn Comics & Cards (Villa Park, Illinois)
2. Rainbow Sports Cards and Comic Books (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
3. Moondog's (Mt. Prospect, Illinois)
4. Ralph's Comic Corner (Ventura, California)
5. Rube Westry's Drug Store (Wessington, South Dakota)

*****

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Mark Clegg

1) Hijinx Comix
2) Bob Sidebottom's Comix Collectors Shop
3) San Jose Comics Collector Shop
4) The Beguiling
5) Twice Read Books

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Comic Book Jones
2. The Green Ghost
3. The Fantastic Store
4. Little Island Comics
5. The Salvation Army

*****

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John Platt

1. Casablanca Comics, Portland, ME
2. I have faint memories of a a shop that I think was called Heroes World at Rockaway Mall in NJ. I've always wondered if this was the start of the distribution company that Marvel later bought, or if it ever even really existed. Maybe I dreamed it.
3. I'm a bit upset that I can't remember the name of this long-dead shop, but it was in North Plainfield, NJ, and was run by Brent Erwin, who later co-founded Ape Entertainment.
4. Quimby's in Chicago.
5. Bolton Drugs or Pharmacy or something like that in Bolton, CT. I remember buying lots of DC digests there in the 1970s.

*****

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Aaron Costain

1. The Beguiling
2. Curious Comics (Victoria, BC)
3. Fichtre
4. Desert Island
5. Casey's Corner

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1) Midtown Comics/Forbidden Planet NYC
2) Golden Apple Northridge
3) Comic Relief of Berkeley
4) The Beguiling
5) Bedford Avenue street book vendor

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Dragon's Den (Poughkeepsie)
2. Queen City Comics (Buffalo)
3. Fantaco (Albany)
4. Forbidden Planet (NYC)
5. Heisenbuttel's General Store (Yaphank)

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Aquilonia Comics
2. Jim Waugh's Collectors World
3. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find at its old location
4. The Beguiling
5. Yard sale on Hoosick St. where I bought two decades' worth of Heavy Metal for $8

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Comics Exchange in Knoxville, TN
2. Iron Vic's Comics in Poughkeepsie, NY
3. Triad Comics in Knoxville, TN
4. The Beguiling in Toronto, ON
5. Middlehope Flea Market in Middlehope, NY

*****

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Derik Badman

1. n/a
2. Comix (written in black electrical tape on a blank strip mall sign) (Quakertown, PA)
3. Rocketship (Brooklyn, NY)
4. Desert Island (Brooklyn, NY)
5. Library Sale

*****

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Douglas Mullins

1. New World Manga (Livingston, NJ)
2. St. Mark's Comics (Brooklyn, NY)
3. Rocketship (Brooklyn, NY)
4. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery (Seattle, WA)
5. G-Mart (Woodward, OK)

*****

topic slightly altered from a suggestion by John Platt; thanks, John

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Al-Jazeera English Report On Charlie Hebdo Offices Bombing


RK Laxman's 90th Birthday


Sergio Aragones Talks About Humor


Brighty Draws A Gag



Sim TeeVee Episode 85


A Greg Condon Promotional Video, I Think?











An Evening With Warren Ellis
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November 5, 2011


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from October 29 to November 4, 2011:

1. The Paris-based offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were bombed on the morning of the release of its special "Sharia Hebdo" issue, complete with press release proclaiming that the Prophet Muhammed was the issue's special editor-in-chief. No one was hurt. The publication decamped to the offices of Liberation, while reaction split between support for the magazine's right to satire and criticism for needlessly instigating a violent incident.

2. David Simpson's contract with the Tulsa-area free weekly Urban Tulsa was severed after two consecutive instances of plagiarism of old Jeff MacNelly cartoons were discovered. Simpson claimed with the first one to be plagiarizing an old David Simpson cartoon, leaving up in the air how that cartoon turned out to be just like a MacNelly cartoon, or how so many were copies of various cartoons by other cartoonists. Several more instances of tracing were discovered.

3. Susie Cagle charged with misdemeanor after being picked up on an assembly charge at Occupy Oakland. Cagle was acting as a credentialed journalist at the event.

Winner Of The Week
Seth

Loser Of The Week
David Simpson

Quote Of The Week
"Nobody's a saint, you know -- when you do the kind of fringe stuff that I've done in my work, I'm not sure what the fuck I'm doing. That's why I said in that article, if I'm confronted by some angry child-abuse group I have no defense, I don't know what to say. I just throw up my hands and say, 'I dunno. Maybe I should be locked up, I have no idea.'" -- Robert Crumb

*****

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

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

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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 London, Ontario, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 73rd Birthday, Jim Steranko!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Robert Loren Fleming!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Diana Tamblyn!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Mats Stromberg!

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Happy 38th Birthday, George O'Connor!

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November 4, 2011


Susie Cagle Charged With Misdemeanor At Occupy Oakland

The cartoonist and journalist Susie Cagle was charged with a "Present At Raid" misdemeanor after spending the night split between two Oakland-area jails. Cagle was scooped up by Oakland police at the Occupy Oakland event, which she's covering as a credentialed journalist. According to her twitter feed -- comics' most exciting twitter feed right now -- Cagle was kept from her possessions even after being released from jail, including the keys to her home. Cagle shows no sign of backing off of her coverage despite what could be considered a series of discouragements in the form of her arrest, detention and the promise of future arraignment. That Cagle was picked up at all despite her credentials being in clear view and apparently one of the police officers on the scene even recognizing her and knowing her work is outrageous. That same link points out that other journalists have received this treatment at Occupy events.

There's some additional news coverage at Poynter, MediaBistro.com, a Bay Area ABC affiliate, the community-based site through which she received her funding for the effort Spot.Us and In These Times. There's even a story filed by a Manila-based news service. I'm a little perplexed by prominent mentions that Cagle is the daughter of well-known on-line cartoonist and cartoon site organizer Daryl Cagle -- that seems beside any point save trivia, and kind of patronizing. Daryl Cagle's own employment of this information is much more understandable, of course.
 
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Go, Look: Marvel Comics Splash Pages From November 1971

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Your 2011 Irish Comic News Awards Winners

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Via the Bugpowder blog comes word of an awards program initiated by a site called Irish Comic News. The awards were announced on Tuesday. A comic called League Of Volunteers won in two categories, while Garth Ennis received a category award and was the first individual inductee into the Hall Of Fame. The initial link above contains descriptions of all the winners. The winners are also described in a separate ICN post, and some reaction is gathered in yet another post.

Best Self-Published Irish Artist: Alan Nolan
Best Self-Published Irish Writer: Mike Lynch
Best Mainstream-Published Irish Artist: Nick Roche
Best Mainstream-Published Irish Writer: Garth Ennis
Best Irish Webcomic: The Cattle Raid of Cooley
Best Irish Self-Published Comic: League of Volunteers
Best Irish Creator Mainstream-Published Comic: Thunderbolts
Best Irish Comic-Related Blog Or Podcast: The Pubcast
Best Irish Comic Shop: Dublin City Comics
Overall Best Irish Comic: League of Volunteers
Hall Of Fame (Individual): Garth Ennis
Hall Of Fame (Comic): Mister Amperduke
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Wayne Boring Superman Strips

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Missed It: Potential Copyright Implications Of Japan Joining TPP

Brigid Alverson had a nice write-up here about worries that Japan's potential joining of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) would bring with it changes to copyright law that could endanger the thriving doujinshi market. That's the market for fan-created works featuring licensed characters, perhaps most prominently displayed through the massive Comiket shows that feature that kind of work being sold to fans. The specific mechanism worried after by Alverson and hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com is that the uniform laws would allow for police to prosecute for copyright infringement without the person being infringed filing a complaint. As it stands right now, Japanese publishers and creators make allowances for the doujinshi market as an expression of fan interests and excitement, and a place for new artists to develop. As Alverson points out, there are limits to this patience which has been expressed in the past in actions against material that sells too well or apes the professionally published versions of a work too closely.

This may be the dumbest question in the world, but is there any reason to think that this kind of police crackdown would happen? Putting aside the issue of whether or not this would become a priority for any individual police department, I'm not quite getting how US policies are all that different as practiced except in direction of emphasis. While comics with characters have been discouraged in the past in cases like the Air Pirates, certainly character portraiture and sold fan art featuring copyrighted characters is tolerated by US publishers at North American conventions and on-line in much the same way, it seems to me, that outright comics are tolerated by the Japanese publishers. I also can't recall Josh Simmons being sued for his Batman comic or anything like that in terms of more recent comics featuring copyrighted characters with the kind of print runs that doujinshi enjoy. If the US policy is such that its adoption by Japan all by itself risks police prosecution of copyright infringement, why doesn't this already happen in the US?

Here's an article about some of Japan's more general issues with joining the TPP, which should come to head in a summit this month in Hawaii.
 
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Go, Look: Lolly And Pepper

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A Pair Of Random Notes About Newspapers

* James Langdell wrote in to report that the San Jose Mercury News has tweaked its comics offerings. He says that as best he can tell, despite the lack of an official announcement as to what was leaving and what was moving in, Bliss, Dennis The Menace, Get Fuzzy, Monty and Rudy Park were dropped; Bizarro, Cul De Sac and Reply All were moved in. The paper's bridge column was also moved into the comics section, and the order of the strips on the page were scrambled. The Mercury-News is I believe still a top ten national paper, with a healthy six-figure circulation. It also has long had a reputation as an active and valuable paper for strip comics circulation. I'm particularly glad, of course, for Cul De Sac to see the benefits of being added there. As I've stated before, that's the kind of strip that needs some time to settle in with readers, and it being added at some years into its run rather than in a more mercenary "let's try the new feature" way indicates it will get that chance.

* not comics: an article on newspaper circulation talking about the various New York papers has the Times bragging about circulation and subscription increases due to its controversial limited-Internet access strategy. "Times executives have said that the pay system has helped boost traditional circulation since print subscriptions come with unlimited digital access as a bonus. In a press release this morning, they announced that print home-delivery circulation had increased for the first time in five years." I'm not sure exactly what that means in the long run or in terms of what the Times has done being something any other paper could do. In addition, the Times is one of North America's traditional non-employers of strip comics. But it's intriguing to note when any new strategy involving the Internet and print circulation has enough of a positive effect that a paper can at least spin it that way.
 
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If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Ghoulash!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Tony Millionaire adds a coda to what is one of the greatest cartoonist stories of all time: how he helped contribute to the 1986 bombing of Libya. It's good news.

image* congratulations to Chester Brown, whose Louis Riel was voted into the top ten of the Canada Reads promotion.

* D+Q provides notes from Kate Beaton's triumphant-sounding tour.

* David Brothers goes after the recent letter from the Belgian legal adviser on whether or not Tintin Au Congo is racist.

* Chris Mautner talks to Kevin Huizenga. JK Parkin talks to Ian Harker. Ron Richards talks to Joe Keatinge. Albert Ching talks to James Asmus.

* I liked this drawing by Roman Muradov and this drawing by Mark Kalesniko.

* Evan Dorkin's Milk And Cheese hardcover will be released earlier than previously planned.

* First Second is having a fifth anniversary party. That's nice.

image* Chris Butcher writes on the non-superhero market. The one thing I always say about selling things that aren't superheroes is that it seems to me over the long term that a greater percentage of the diverse comics shops have survived and a greater percentage of the monomaniacal superhero shops have failed -- not just the crappy versions of the latter, but the good ones, too. It also occurs to me that one thing that people used to hate on with the alt-publishers is a lot better these days: they're forced to hit deadlines because of their bookstore distribution arrangements. That doesn't mean everyone can sell such books or should be expected to -- people should sell what they want to sell, not what I want them to sell -- but I think there's an argument to be made for books like that on their own merits as opposed to how the act of supporting them is frequently cast (by people not Chris Butcher, mind you) as an act of noble charity or an obligation to the art form.

* Garrett Martin, Hillary Brown and Sean Edgar on a bunch of different comics. Rob Clough on gag comics from CCS. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on Lily Renee, Escape Artist.

* Tulsa resident James Vance writes about David Simpson, the Tulsa World (where he worked when Simpson was let go) and halls of fame.

* Jeff Kinney is going on tour.

* this contest amuses me.

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has posted a series of lists ranking various property categories according to how much they make in all sales channels. That may sound such a depressing way of looking at things to some of you that you just started crying onto your keyboard, and I get it, but I thought another group of folks out there might enjoy seeing those lists: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

* finally, Peter David voices his appreciation for those that sign their real names on the Internet. Holy crap, people are mean to Peter David.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Alex Van Koten!

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November 3, 2011


Marvel To Slowly Switch Over Until All Titles Available In Digital On The Same Day As Print

This seems eminently sensible to me. I think this should have been done in a matter-of-fact way a long time ago, but it seems like they're hoping for a sales push by making these changes coincide with re-launches and events within series.
 
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Go, Look: Kickstarter Campaign Launched For Harvey Pekar Statue

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A Few Updates On The Bombing Of Charlie Hebdo's Offices

* I thought this was the best of the on-line video reports from the scene of yesterday morning's bombing of the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This week's issue featured a special focus on issue of Islam in government (in Tunisia and Libya, particularly) and the day before the publication sent out PR that Muhammed himself was a special Guest Editor.

* this is a pretty good written follow-up, which notes the condemnation of many Muslim groups and mentions that the firebombing really only forces other journalistic sources to re-run things like the magazine's cover -- the opposite of the kind of silencing intended.

* the satirical magazine has decamped to the offices of Liberation for their forthcoming issues. That's good to hear, because with incidents like these there can be calls of support without an actual response of a place for people to continue their work.

* this is one of many articles we're likely to see over the next few days as to the issue of whether or not a publication like this provokes Muslim people in an unfair, unfriendly and unnecessary way. I read at least one piece where the writer savaged the publication for making the choice to bait Muslims with this kind of publication and PR stunt. I don't quite see it that way, even though I'll admit to less than 100 percent certainty that this will be my position after I think about it for a couple of days. As much as I continue to criticize Jyllands-Posten for the way in which it published the initial Danish Muhammed cartoons, it seems to me that a satirical magazine is a satirical magazine, and should be expected to go after subjects of cultural interest without violating the same sort of public trust one invests in a paper that more comprehensively exists in a public sphere. I see a satirical magazine reacting to cultural news like the recent events in Libya and Tunisia as acting less like the original editors at Jyllands-Posten and more in a way that I wanted all of news coverage to act back when the original Muhammed cartoons in Denmark became a concern. Again, I could be full of shit here. To be frank with you, I found the bombing upsetting and scary in a way that Ali Ferzat getting his hands broken was, a violation of a compact of the kind by which we all benefit. I'm not sure how I'll think about this stuff when it finally settles in.
 
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Not Comics: A Dance With Dragons Limited Edition Illustration Set

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An Update On Steve Rude's Recent Arrest

imageA few e-mailers have expressed concern about the Steve Rude arrest story, stating that it would be nice to know as much information as possible concerning what the longtime illustrator was arrested for doing before being asked to maybe stop by Rude's eBay store and make a purchase in support of bail and legal counsel. This wasn't a primary concern of mine because I figure if it was something minor than Rude deserved our consideration for the great inconvenience and misfortune of being arrested for something like that, and if it was something major -- I didn't think even from what little I know about Rude it would be major -- he would deserve our consideration in a more directly compassionate way. Still, I understand why folks would want to know as much information as possible.

From my e-mail correspondence with Jaynelle Rude, I did learn the following. I'll try to present this as cleanly as possible, although please note I haven't been able to track down the other folks in question, and I can imagine the whole topic being a very raw one for the Rudes.
* Monday night's incident was as reported the latest development in a longstanding dispute between Rude and his neighbors. This includes the barking dogs cited in some reports. This also includes Rude stating at some point during a previous permutation of their encounters that he'd like to kill the neighbors, which was apparently enough for them to secure a restraining order.

* the incident in question from Monday night concerns the aforementioned barking dogs, which were out again where Rude could hear them as he handed out Halloween candy in costume. Rude responded to the barking dogs by throwing rocks at the fence behind which the dogs were barking in an attempt to silence them.

* one of the dog-owning neighbors confronted Rude verbally, followed by the other when the first one retreated inside. Rude says this quickly became verbally abusive, and included an invite for Steve to come over to where the second neighbor, a male, was standing. This ends with Rude ripping the neighbor's shirt and shoving him backwards, causing the second neighbor to also go indoors. This would be the basis of the assault charge.

* Rude returned to handing out Halloween candy. The cops -- Rude says in four police cars -- found him at his candy-dispensing station and asked after a concealed weapon. When the cop to whom he was speaking asked him to turn around and put his hands behind his back, Rude at first tried to ascertain if he was being arrested and then complied.

* Rude suffered some physical abuse during the arrest and later at the jail, the latter of which will be looked at by a doctor.
So that's the best information that I have, and I think provides a rough idea as to events -- even though, and let me emphasize this, it shouldn't for a single second be treated as sworn testimony or an all-sides account. At any rate, if you were worried about buying a print of Rude's and finding out later he set fire to someone's dogs or beat up an entire household of people Roadhouse-style, this will hopefully assuage those fears.

I wish Steve and Jaynelle a just outcome in what sounds like an ordeal with potentially damaging consequences, consequences that would seem to me to outweigh by a factor of several times the incidents that actually unfolded. I also hope that fate and their own actions combine so nothing like this ever happens again.
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Nicolas De Crecy Show Drawings

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A Few Updates On David Simpson's Recent Plagiarism

A few updates on cartoonist David Simpson's recent rash of plagiarized cartoons in Urban Tulsa and his having his connection to that contract gig severed as a result.

* Alan Gardner reprints David Simpson's letter of apology to the widow of Jeff MacNelly, the late cartoonist from whom he appropriated to the point of tracing a couple of recent Urban Tulsa cartoons. As Gardner notes, Simpson's claim to have plagiarized an earlier version of the cartoon which must have come from the MacNelly cartoon both lines up with his reasons for copying the cartoon that got him fired from the Tulsa World five years ago, and adds any number of bizarre complications to the back story. I think the thing that doesn't seem all that convincing to me is forgetting you stole this blatantly from a cartoon years and years ago, whether it was a rare thing or a common thing.

* Susie MacNelly responds, also at Daily Cartoonist. Brutal.

* one blog found a bunch of different examples of cartoons appropriated by Simpson, and didn't take long in doing so.

* another blog uses the occasion to discuss the matter of plagiarism in the digital age. It's always a subject worth engaging, although I think it'd dangerous to place what Simpson was doing on any sort of equivalency with things like not citing a link properly or even borrowing a part of an image or a line or two of prose. I also can't imagine why anyone thinks, as some of these arguments assert, that because you can attribute something or pay homage to an image that this has anything to say to an act of tracing.
 
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Go, Look: A Superman-Tim Adventure From 1947

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Cartoonist Susie Cagle Arrested At Occupy Oakland

I hope she's all right. You can find the recent permutations of Cagle's saga told in first person, limited-character per burst form at her Twitter feed, with the last pair indicating she's been taken off to jail. Cagle's been covering the Oakland version of the multi-city Occupy event, where there's been an inordinate amount of violent and violent-seeming action taken by local authorities. That they would pick up an embedded journalist is discouraging and outrageous in the extreme. This wouldn't be the first time Cagle's seen some action at the event, having been tear-gassed previously. You can read about the background of Cagle's effort and her intentions here. If anyone out there knows any way to help, such as raising bail money -- that makes me mad to even type that --
 
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Go, Look: The Quiet Burden

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* an article at the French-language news site ActuaBD.com makes the case for the BD Boum festival at Blois as a kingmaker for future Angouleme grand prix winners. I'm not sure if that's the case or not, but that's a solid list of winners.

* because I suck and suck hard, I totally missed making a bigger deal of the fact that last weekend was the Lucca Comics & Games Festival, which some of you may know as that one festival that used to invite American mainstream creators long before European festivals had any interest in inviting North American creators of any kind. As I recall, they've pulled the festival back into the city proper, which makes it more of a model of its type in terms of visiting and having a great experience eating and being a tourist in addition to all the comics everywhere. 155,000 attended this year's show.

* this weekend is MIX, in Minneapolis, which despite it not happening in 2012 and maybe never happening again I hope remains a model for small-press shows in cities with art-rich scenes that exhibitors and attendees would ostensibly want to visit. I'm telling you, that's a future for comics shows just as vital as the massive, hermetically-sealed, pop-culture con. Sarah Morean talks about it here, in case you missed it. Make sure to buy things from the nice people at Sparkplug.

* D+Q has posted a photo-driven report of the Boston Book Festival.

* this second installment of John Porcellino's Fall tour diaries gets very John Porcellino: it's mostly shots of nature scenes encountered and one hard-core reminiscence of a comics dealer from Makanda, Illinois.

* there are few things in comics I like more than one of the Secret Acres catch-all blog posts, and this latest talks about the Fall convention season in some detail.

* finally, Andrew Farago digs into his files in order to assist a recollection of APEs from the past.
 
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Go, Look: A Classic Hawkman Story With Script

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

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

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

*****

AUG110044 USAGI YOJIMBO #141 $3.50
This is Stan Sakai's 200th issue of his samurai saga. You get to 200 by counting the Dark Horse efforts along with the Fantagraphics issues and the Mirage comics. He's a class act, and I'm grateful that he's been able to do the comic he loves doing for as long as he chosen to do it. Congratulations to him.

imageJUN111095 GANGES #4 $7.95
Every single thing that Kevin Huizenga does is a must-have for me. This is a continuation of the insomnia storyline.

JUL110027 HELLBOY HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD HC $14.99
The Mignolaverse juggernaut continues on. This one features the great Richard Corben.

JUL111185 SMURFS BOX SET VOL 1-3 $17.99
I like the individual volumes of this series just fine without putting them all into one place, but the younger kids for whom these are really good books might disagree.

AUG111316 1001 COMICS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE HC $36.95
Our very distinguished occasional European comics columnist Bart Beaty was among those who wrote for this Paul Gravett-directed shot at a popular canon.

AUG111169 YUICHI YOKOYAMA COLOR ENGINEERING SC (RES) (MR) $35.00
I doubt there's any book this pretty coming out any time soon, and Yokoyama is a buy-everything-that's-put-out creator right now.

APR110255 ABSOLUTE SANDMAN HC VOL 05 (MR) $99.99
MAY110294 JOE THE BARBARIAN DELUXE ED HC (MR) $29.99
JUN110338 LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN OMNIBUS HC $49.99
Three book of considerable interest from the prolific DC trades department. I want to start hanging out with the people that can afford to spend several hundred dollars on giant Sandman books, if only so that I can borrow them. I bet a lot of that work really shines at that size. The Joe The Barbarian series was one of those that started out on everyone's tongue and then ended with no one talking about it at all. I'm curious. The League book is something of interest, although I'm not sure which fan wouldn't have this work in some form already. I think it's the one I saw discussed a couple of weeks back, and the most notable thing was that it was finally a Vertigo book, which seemed to me was something they were trying to avoid with the initial deal -- my memory could be wrong.

SEP110699 HEAVEN ALL DAY SC $4.00
MAY110514 INVINCIBLE #84 $2.99
SEP110530 AVENGERS 1959 #3 (OF 5) $2.99
SEP110513 AVENGERS ACADEMY #21 $2.99
SEP110915 ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #2 $3.99
Here are few notable works in the comic book shops yesterday that either resemble or are outright comic-book comics. I enjoyed John Martz's book, and you don't see a lot of alt-comics talent putting out an issue like that anymore. If I had to guess, I bet Robert Kirkman's superhero comic Invincible is starting the major storyline that will end in time for a build-up to whatever major storyline will get him through issue #100, because that's the kind of traditional structuring that a title like that encourages. The first of those Avengers books features Howard Chaykin drawing characters from the Marvel catalog that could easily be believed to be alive 52 years ago. The second of those Avengers books I know nothing about, but it showed up on a bunch of the serial-comics lists made by readers in last Friday's Five For Friday. You probably already know that Roger Langridge is a gem.

AUG111154 ASTERIX OMNIBUS SC VOL 01 NEW PTG $19.95
AUG111155 ASTERIX OMNIBUS SC VOL 02 NEW PTG $19.95
These are three-in-one collections of the iconic European series. I have no idea if they work in this format or not, but that seems like a fine price point and if you're building a comics library I bet you want representatives of this work in there.

AUG111253 DEATH NOTE BLACK ED TP VOL 06 (OF 6) $14.99
AUG111103 LOVE HINA OMNIBUS TP KODANSHA ED $19.99
Two re-packagings of deservedly popular manga series, and another pop-up by Kodansha in a market I thought for a while they roar into with a lot more power and force.

AUG111335 GOVERNMENT ISSUE COMICS FOR THE PEOPLE 1940-2000S $29.95
This is exactly what it sounds like. While I haven't cracked my own copy yet, I imagine that it's more a compelling document of cultural history as opposed to some hidden treasure source for great comics -- and that's a perfectly fine thing.

MAY111169 STEVE DITKO ANGRY APES N LEAPIN LIZARDS SC $25.00
This is a Greg Theakston produced book of Steve Ditko Charlton Comics, I think from the early to mid-1960s period either strongly or exclusively. Steve Ditko -- this week's birthday boy -- is an artist of interest no matter where he was working, and I have to imagine a lot of this stuff looks as fantastic as the samples of his output from this period I've seen here and there. You'd want to rifle through its pages in the shop, that's for sure.

AUG110744 SOMEDAY FUNNIES HC $55.00
Well, hello there. This is one of a half-dozen books or so coming out this week that might be termed by someone out there "an event," although this collection of a once-thought-lost -- hell, once-completely-forgotten-about -- collection of serious comics makers of its time has maybe the longest and most distinguished pedigree. I've received two e-mails in the last three weeks wondering out loud why more people haven't been talking about this book. As one of those people that could have been talking about it, I couldn't tell you a reason. But here it is.

*****

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Some Cool-Looking 1952 Ross Andru Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jill Pantozzi mourns the loss of a local comics shop.

image* look at these pretty Simon Gane pages.

* Mike Dawson talks to Julia Wertz. Jennifer Thomas talks to Karl Stephan. Brian Truitt talks to Rebecca Guay. Someone at Mindless Ones talks to Sonny Liew. Jen Vaughn talks to Katherine Roy. Matt Seneca talks to Benjamin Marra. Frederik Pohl profiles the late Julius Schwartz.

* Steve Epting puts two FF covers together so you don't have to.

* someone out there needs to do an article about the complexity of the X-Men compared to the similar narrative and character sprawl offered by the Legion Of Super-Heroes. I'm not sure how either of those titles end up in such a strewn-about state, but I do know that both of those properties have a fan base that has hugged them very, very close for a really long time.

* T. Campbell on the difficulties inherent in the history of webcomics.

* D+Q has a couple of fine art-driven posts up: one from the Toronto Draws Tintin show including Chester Brown's contribution, another featuring magazine illustrations from Matt Forsythe and R. Sikoryak.

* David Brothers on Iron Man 2.0. Alan David Doane on Mail-Order Mysteries. Henry Covert on The Royal Historian Of Oz #1.

* finally, P. Craig Russell talks about his fine music short "Between Two Worlds."
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Tom Grindberg!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Zack Soto!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Karen Sneider!

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November 2, 2011


Offices Of Charlie Hebdo Destroyed By Petrol Bomb

imageAccording to a slew of international news wire stories this morning, the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were destroyed in the early hours of Wednesday by a petrol bomb. This comes on the day they released their latest issue re-named "Sharia Hebdo" and featuring the Prophet Muhammed on the cover announcing punishment for everyone not laughing. The insides feature an editorial written by Muhammed in much the same vein. In a PR move yesterday, the magazine named the Prophet the magazine's editor-in-chief for that issue.

There were no injuries. Reports also say that the magazine's web site was hacked with messages attacking the new issue. The site was off-line when CR checked it at the time of writing this post.

The current editor-in-chief, the cartoonist Stephan Charbonnier, spoke in rational but defiant terms and cited extremists rather than mainstream French Muslims as the likely culprits. He revealed the magazine had received several threats via social media once the publication's aims were announced. He denied provocation for the sake of provocation, and cited recent political moves in Libya and Tunisia as the events to which the magazine was responding.

The bombing was condemned by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon as well as Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith.

Charlie Hebdo was taken to court in 2007 for its re-publication of the Danish Muhammed Cartoons in a special issue; they were eventually exonerated.
 
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Go, Look: Mike Ploog Werewolf By Night Covers

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Connection Between David Simpson And Urban Tulsa Severed

Alan Gardner has another blog post detailing the latest on cartoonist David Simpson and charges that the cartoonist, fired a few years back from his longtime position at Tulsa World for plagiarism, has been copying cartoons by the late Jeff MacNelly for his most recent efforts. The Daily Cartoonist links to a Romenesko+ post saying that the cartoonist resigned from his contract position, but Gardner notes at least one personal source that claims he was fired. An official at Urban Tulsa expressed disappointment and plans a more formal statement today. Simpson had worked under a contract with the paper since 2005.
 
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Go, Look: Thor, God Of Thunder

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Pierce Rice was one interesting guy
 
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Warnings Of Art Stolen From Joe Giella And Potentially Others

Heidi MacDonald's The Beat and some Facebook posters -- I saw one this morning from Bryan Talbot -- are ringing the bell about pages of original art claimed stolen from Silver Age cartoonist Joe Giella. They also warn that another artist may have had worked stolen. The works claimed by Giella as missing due to this individual are listed through the link, and as always, anyone who traffics in original art at any time and particularly recently are urged to make note of this matter.
 
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Go, Look: My Dad's Salad

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Steve Rude To Be Released On Bail This Morning; Still Needs Counsel

As noted yesterday, the artist Steve Rude was arrested as part of an apparently running dispute with neighbors. Robot 6 has a mug shot and a brief report here. On his Facebook page, a person I assume to be his wife Jaynelle updates Rude's situation to say that he'll be released on bail this morning, but that money is still required for legal counsel. Thus one assumes that the lower art prices announced here will stay in effect for a while. I own a bit of Rude's material, and it's all outstanding-looking. Mark Evanier and Heidi MacDonald have also posted about the story.

I suppose this story will lead to some sniggering and the usual "screw that guy" comments from various, upstanding moralists in the comics community, many of whom will make their opinions known from the safe perch of a wacky sobriquet. Along with the outer edge of the comments slamming David Simpson for his definitely-should-be-punished but I maintain also heartbreaking acts of plagiarism, making jokes at Rude's expense may make this a less-than-stellar week for compassion when it comes to people in the comics world. I urge folks to reconsider those kinds of stances or at least consider tempering their public display, at least until a full story is known rather than assumed.
 
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Is This The Greatest Comics-Related Photograph Of All Time?

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Probably not, but it's a good one and a fine reminder that comics have always been for everyone. (thx, Devlin Thompson)
 
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Belgian Judicial Advisor: Tintin Au Congo Not Racist

I almost missed this story about a judicial adviser named Valery de Theux de Meylandt recommending to judges in the case of Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo against Tintin Au Congo did not qualify as a racist publication. The procureur du roi apparently suggested in the document he sent to the court that the work did not mean to incite racial hatred and was representative of depictions at the time. Intention is apparently a key component of the injunction Mondondo hopes to win against the 1931 book. The case should receive plenty of attention given the context of a new Steve Spielberg-directed motion-capture film adapted from other books starring the iconic character.
 
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If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: 1966 Reuben Awards Journal Advertisements

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Ruwan Jayatilleke on being named Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher at Marvel.

* a bunch of Brooklyn creative people, including several comics makers, have launched a site called Trip City. It's basically an on-line literary magazine as far as I can tell, although I'm sure someone out there might be explain to me why that description falls short. Here's the best and most succinct write-up on the effort I've read.

image* hey, here's good news. Blake Bell is teaming up with the Edward Gibbon of the Atlas Comics period at Marvel, Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, to make a book for Fantagraphics drawing on both of their areas of interest. That could be really, really good.

* Martin Wisse points out that it's harder to stumble over comics when they cost a lot.

* Mike Lynch points out something I didn't know: Bruce Plante hides Ninas in his work.

* any Halloween links I find today are going here. For now, though, I can only find one. D+Q has a photo round-up on various affiliated cartoonists and their progeny.

* Brian Truitt talks to Scott Snyder. Curt Holman talks to Nathan Edmondson. Cyriaque Lamar talks to Peter Milligan.

* you know, now that I think about it, I'd want to fight anyone in the Marvel Universe before I fought a pissed-off Rocket Raccoon. He's basically ambulatory vermin with developed speech and opposable thumbs. Brrr. I'll take my chances with Man-Thing, thank you.

* Jim Mroczkowski makes an argument that Marvel is essentially rebooting the bulk of its serial comic line, just without making it into an event like DC did.

* I forgot where I picked up on a link this Kieron Gillen talking about a comic book series he's leaving, so apologies to that person, but this is the kind of thing that makes me think I would have adored the comics Internet as a young teen reading comics.

* Sean T. Collins caught that Dr. Ng Suat Tong has made annotations on the "Love Bunglers" story by Jaime Hernandez.

* Chad Nevett on Uncanny X-Men #1. Matt Seneca on Travel. Nicole Rudick on Gary Panter's latest art show. Ted Brown on Haunted World #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Astonishing X-Men Vol. 6.

* this Bernard Krigstein post from Bhob Stewart is a little all over the place, but like everything that Stewart writes about comics it's a lot of fun and comes from his valuable personal perspective.

* Rachel Cooke picks the ten best graphic novels, although I failed to catch Flames Of Gyro on my first pass through.

* Carolina Miranda writes an article about the intersection of the art world and the comics world, or something.

* finally, Comic Book Attic would like to sell you a digital collection of Jimmy Thompson Robotman stories.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Tom Lyle!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Steve Ditko!

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November 1, 2011


Caitlin McGurk Hired By The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Caitlin McGurk has announced on Facebook that she's accepted a curator position at Ohio State's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library And Museum. She's currently either in the last days or just ended her year-long contract with the Center For Cartoon Studies. While at CCS, McGurk created an organizational system for their Schulz Library and managed the library's move to a safer place after flooding in Vermont damaged the building in which it was housed. CR interviewed McGurk here about her background and those events.
 
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Please Consider Buying From Steve Rude To Help With Bail & Legal Fees Arising From Neighbor Dispute

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Go, Bookmark: Life On The List

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I'm almost sure I saw Robert Boyd posting about this somewhere
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

*****

* a new attempt at doing Corto Maltese in English is always good news.

* speaking of good news, this is nice for Papercutz: their graphic novel Ninjago #1 had a huge initial print run. Johanna Draper Carlson unpacks.

image* Marc Arsenault enthuses over a snappy-looking new mini-comic from Graham Annable.

* not comics: Justin J. Major sent in a reminder just now that they're releasing/have just released an Art Of The Hobbit book featuring a bunch of unpublished art by JRR Tolkien. I really like Tolkien's art, both on the middle-earth material and with the Father Christmas letters. In fact, my enthusiasm for all things Tolkien as a single-digit-aged lad probably helped me a great deal in preparing for liking comics art that wasn't highly-rendered and anatomically-obsessed.

* James Sime has a photo up here of that new "martini edition" of the first of Darwyn Cooke's Parker adaptations. That's a straight-up deluxe edition as opposed to a new edition that's made deluxe, if that distinction makes any sense. Among the many extras is the interview that ran here at CR featuring Cooke, Ed Brubaker and editor Scott Dunbier. Cooke talked about that project and a bunch of others at last weekend's Long Beach Con. This includes a fifth Parker book.

* one of the things I suggested needed to happen for DC to make their New 52 initiative work in the long term is that a couple of their younger/newer writers working the slightly more experimental series needed to start hitting with fans. This is a good sign.

* two kickstarter-funded projects one may look forward to seeing: Motherlover and Rub The Blood.

* Jason Shiga's Meanwhile is coming to the iPad. I can't think of any way to really embellish that one, but it's good news, I think.

* Brandon Graham will have work in a forthcoming issue of Dark Horse Presents, which is interesting to me in that -- and I say this as someone pleased by this -- the series thus far had a real "Traveling Wilburys" feel to it so far.

* Zak Sally provides photo evidence that he's printed the Sammy The Mouse book.

* here are details on Kramers Ergot Vol. 8. I can't remember if I've seen this or not.

* finally, I don't know that I was aware that Evan Dorkin was doing a Milk And Cheese hardcover through Dark Horse, as opposed to another edition of that material through longtime publisher SLG. I either wasn't paying attention, or this was done quietly -- making that kind of move quietly makes a lot of sense, actually.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Simon Gane Mini-Gallery

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David Simpson Apes Another MacNelly; Loses OK HOF Standing

Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist is all over the story of cartoonist David Simpson's recent, bizarre appropriation -- seemingly to the point of outright tracing -- previous cartoons by the late Jeff MacNelly in the pages of the Urban Tulsa weekly. Simpson has been employed at the paper I believe since being fired several years ago for an act of plagiarism while at the Tulsa World, although I'm not certain of the exact continuity and timing of his employment. Noting that he had received no statement from newspaper or cartoonist since writing about the incident uncovered last week, Gardner wondered out loud in a joking matter whether or not this week's cartoon was Simpson's own. Amazingly, it turned it that it's likely not his.

Gardner also unearthed what seems to be the only response the newspaper gave to anyone, although this was before this new act of plagiarizing was made public.

The latest news is that the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall Of Fame has formally retracted the honor of membership it bestowed on Simpson in 2005.

I think it's heartbreaking that someone with the skill to make their own work would so blatantly and even clumsily take from someone else. There almost has to be a pathological impulse involved, as wholesale tracing and the awkward overlay of ideas is just not something you can do and expect to succeed in the Internet age. This is doubly true with so few cartoonists employed, the fact that cartoons travel so widely and quickly now, and that so many devoted fans exist out there with access to cartoon libraries. That said, it has to be dealt with in a harsh way, and any notion that this kind of tracing and appropriation exists on the same plane as cartoonists that repeat hoary cliches or even borrow specific elements of imagery just doesn't hold a lot of water.
 
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Go, Look: Nice-Looking, Mid-1950s Don Heck

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Charlie Hebdo Names The Prophet Muhammed Editor-In-Chief

International wires are bristling with the news that the French-language satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo named the Prophet Muhammed as the publication's editor-in-chief for a forthcoming issue. The issue, arriving on stands tomorrow, is to be renamed "Sharia Hebdo" and will in some way feature its special editor on the cover. This is apparently in response to recent political events in Libya (proclamations from the transitional government) and Tunisia (the makeup of its recent elections).

The move of course recalls the Danish Cartoons Controversy and various elements of that famous incident's subsequent hangover, now more than a half-decade into intermittent appearances in European public affairs. The move also points out that in Europe they have cartoon-heavy satirical magazines that can be expected to take digs at foreign affairs with the same passion they take on hit movies and reality shows, but that's another issue entirely.

In February 2006, Charlie Hebdo took on the Cartoons Controversy with an issue that showed a weeping Muhammed on the cover with the line "It's hard to be loved by jerks." The Danish Cartoons were reprinted inside. That issue hundreds of thousands more issues than regular installments of the publication were selling then. A suit heard in 2007 brought against the publication by the Grand Mosque And The Union Of French Islamic Organization saw editor Philippe Val acquitted, with distinctions being made between satirizing elements of a religion and specific actors within it with the act of making fun of an entire religion.
 
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Go, Look: Breakfast

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The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Raised $82K Last Month

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has a post up thanking donors and participants in its month-long effort to raise $100,000 for immediate programming and caseload needs. As we've mentioned a couple of times here in October, the nature of the CBLDF's need for money right now is such that their not meeting their desired threshold doesn't mean the funds that were raised can't be put to good use, as is the case with a specific-project fundraiser. In fact, the funds raised last month become that much more valuable given the fact that they'll have to be stretched to meet the demands that may have been more easily met by the targeted amount.

Please keep the CBLDF in mind as the holiday season approaches.
 
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Go, Look: Hollywood Forever

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Go, Look: Weird Science Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jog wrote about pre-Code horror books for the Los Angeles Review Of Books.

image* hey, Ariel Bordeaux updated her cartoon site; first time since January.

* Ken Gale talks to Ted Rall. Kiel Phegley talks to Joshua Fialkov. Tim O'Shea talks to Tim Hall. Andy Khouri talks to Chris Sims. Cyriaque Lamar talks to Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. Jen Vaughn talks to Andy Christensen. The Sound Of Young America talks to Kate Beaton.

* The Schweizer Guide To Spotting Tangents.

* not comics: an Australian retailer lost a fight with Marvel over the name "Ghost Rider."

* John Allison talks about the beauty of print.

* not comics: this baby is a better actor than Ryan Reynolds.

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com discusses the bump felt by other publishers in the DC-soaked recent weeks.

* congratulations to Matt Wiegle and Sally Madden, apparently married yesterday.

* Dylan Williams is remembered by a writer from India.

* Philip Nel shares a letter from Syd Hoff.

* Casey Burchby on Tales Of The Batman -- Gene Colan Vol. 1. Joshua Yehl on Wolverine And The X-Men #1. Don MacPherson on Secret Avengers #17-18. Greg McElhatton on Twin Spica Vol. 9. Christopher Allen on Marvel In The '70s. Johanna Draper Carlson on Graven Images. Todd Klein on Legion Of Super-Heroes #15-16.

* not only comics: Jeffrey P. Jones looks at the long-standing tradition of making fun of the president.

* missed it: for this year's World Series, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch apparently revived the hero/goat thing Bill Gallo used to do.

* I'm not exactly sure why I bookmarked this cartoon by KAL, but it's a handsome one.

* not comics: that Tintin movie had a good opening weekend. Tom McCarthy hated it.

* finally, The Adventures Of Mr. Phil has a bunch of old advertising fliers and postcards up: Bible John, Lloyd Llewellyn, Yummy Fur, Brat Pack, Taken Under and a Michael Zulli gallery show.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Michael Fleisher!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Rich Koslowski!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Zander Cannon!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Whit Spurgeon!

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