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
















May 31, 2012


Go, Look: Carl Mefferd

image
 
posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Remember To Vote In The Eisner Awards

Information here. This ends early next week. Responsible comics community citizenry doesn't end with voting in the awards programs in which you're eligible to participate, but it ain't a bad place to start.
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Black Is The Color

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* the BD Comics & Passion Festival apparently has a bunch of photos up on its Facebook page.

* Heidi MacDonald pulls out a Phoenix convention report and comments.

* this looks like a light weekend to me, which usually means there's a gigantic show somewhere I've completely missed. So let me check. Okay, it's the Wizard-sponsored Philadelphia Comic Con this weekend. That's a big show, particularly for that company -- I would call that their #2 show, behind the mid-summer one in Chicago. Stan Lee is the only comics-related guest to make the first eight rows of guest announcements, for those keeping track.

* we're doing a Collective Memory for the comics festival held last weekend in Vancouver. I hope that one gets over. What a great city. I think there should be a thriving comics show in all the established-as-cool-in-one-way-or-another North American cities: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Athens and... I don't know, Asheville, North Carolina? We need one in Detroit now, too, so we can all go eat there, and maybe on Cherokee Street in St. Louis. Why not? My cool list is basically 1989's cool list minus Boulder plus where some of my friends live, but I think the principle is sound.

* Olympia is a cool place, too, and their show is this weekend.

* one of the things that looks cool about the Vancouver show is the space in which the show takes place. This tends not to matter to comics people. Unless the place is actively oppressive, most comics folks I know are as happy displaying their wares in a box with bad lighting as they are in a space magic architects fashioned in way that somehow makes everyone feel better-looking. As a con-goer, I adore a cool space, and I love the idea of the European shows with an outside/neighborhood element to them. This is the long way to introduce a bunch of photos from Erlangen that boast a really cool-looking space or several.

* finally, badges for Comic-Con 2012 are now sold out.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: An Eleanor Davis Comic On Depression

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Josepe.fr

image
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Robin McConnell And Noah Berlatsky On Before Watchmen; Zak Sally On Jack Kirby And Marvel

* Robin McConnell of Inkstuds has written a lengthy piece on DC's Before Watchmen project. I share McConnell's disinterest in going after the creators, although I realize that this is an unpopular choice for a lot of people.

* in a much linked-to piece -- at least as far as comics opinion pieces go -- comics publishing renaissance man Zak Sally suggests that Marvel fund one of the Jack Kirby museum project in its entirety, with the additional thought that putting a functioning museum into place will help provide for any Kirby heirs out there.

* Noah Berlatsky writes about Before Watchmen for Slate.
 
posted 1:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack

image
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Fantomah Was Never Not Weird

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* substantive reading of the day: two posts from Gary Tyrrell about a presentation at the NCS meetings last weekend where people talked nuts and bolts of how to make a living as a cartoonist right now.

image* Greg McElhatton on Mind MGMT #1. Sean Gaffney on A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 4. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Lost Command. Johanna Draper Carlson on a bunch of different comics and Dance Class Vols. 1-2. Sonia Harris on X-Statix Omnibus. Ken Parille on Are You My Mother? Sean Rogers on Nancy Is Happy.

* Kurt Busiek on Why Batman Is Not Green Lantern.

* Alan Gardner points out through dramatic example that the Team Cul De Sac auction could use your attention.

* if you're reading this, you still have time to get ready and buy one of the few remaining Comic-Con International badges, going on sale today. I think I said in the CR guide that this had already happened. My sincere apologies.

* Toth. Toth, Toth, Toth, Toth, Toth. Toth.

* I've made some printing errors when I've worked at publishing companies, but I've never made a Holocaust Printing Error.

* I love the way Jack Kirby's Scott Free looked. I don't think any comics character has looked like that ever again, and it's not like it's an unfamiliar look if you wander around some small town somewhere.

* Jordan Hurder on the Building Stories book design.

* Michelle Ollie talks to Blaise Larmee. Shaun Manning talks to Nicolas Mahler.

* Matt Bors notes one weird-ass depiction of a Syrian child.

* Evan Dorkin writes about his work on the Predator franchise. Well, of course he does.

* finally, the writer Warren Ellis muses on the shape of long-form webcomics. I find it interesting we're still having very basic conversations like this several years in, and I don't mean that to antagonize: I'm one of the people responsible for directing comics conversations, after all.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 30, 2012


Drawn And Quarterly Acquires Lisa Hanawalt Collection

image

The publisher Drawn & Quarterly is announcing today that it has acquired all the rights available on this planet to Lisa Hanawalt's forthcoming collection of comedic essays, to be called My Dirty Dumb Eyes. This is work that's appeared in places like on VanityFair.com, in The New York Times and in The Believer.

As is typical for D+Q titles, Farrar, Straus & Giroux will distribute the book in the US and Raincoast Books will handle similar chores up in Canada. Transatlantic Literary Agency's Samantha Haywood will secure deals for the work internationally. Hanawalt was represented by Meredith Kaffel.

I think this is a potentially significant deal -- certainly Hanawalt's recent work has been super-strong, and her comics seem perfectly suited to a collection of the kind D+Q can put into bookstores and support via a tour. I believe Hanawalt's first major work was Stay Away From Other People in 2008 -- the D+Q PR statement agrees with me. That won an Ignatz Award; her subsequent comic book series with Buenaventura Press won a Stumptown Award.

Hanwalt's kids book with McSweeney's, Benny's Brigade, will be out in August. She is a California native and now lives in Brooklyn.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Gary Panter Music

image
 
posted 1:09 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Exactly Comics: Cartoonists Decry Decision By South African Newspaper To Remove Anti-Zuma Image

image

Although I've only seen the cartoon depicted above, this article assures me that Themba Siwela was one of several cartoonists and editorial makers decrying the decision of City Press editor Ferial Haffajee to remove an image from that publication's web site showing a painting that recently came under fire by public official for satirizing the sitting president by showing his genitals.

Even though the image in question isn't a cartoon, the implication of action against the painting for various comics-makers in South Africa seems pretty obvious: a combination of public intimidation and legal action can be an incredibly daunting thing, and has already been unleashed on international cartooning superstar Zapiro.
 
posted 1:08 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Chris Samnee Would Like To Sell You Some Superhero Sketches

image
even if he's all sold out you can still stare at them
 
posted 1:07 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Funky Winkerbean Turns 40

Congratulations to Tom Batiuk on the occasion of his Funky Winkerbean turning 40 years old, which is celebrated via the kind of newspaper-ready profile that one might have seen back in 1972. I know that a lot of folks make fun of that strip for the bizarre way in which some of the storylines unfold, and it sometimes can seem just as weird as if a long-running TV show once devoted to gags and generally innocuous narratives started working its way through some of the most ruthlessly depressing plots in the world, something akin to following a 70-year-old Arthur Fonzarelli through a struggle with dementia. Still, what comes through in that profile is a creator that wanted to tell a different kind of story and so he did, managing to do so without losing his work's fundamentally profitable position within the newspaper (although one apparently dropped the strip during the extended cancer storyline). Good for him. As the feature sort of gets at, it's nearly impossible to think of Funky as a potential legacy strip at this point, which I think is to Batiuk's credit.
 
posted 1:06 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Inner City Wizard

image
 
posted 1:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Ali Ferzat And Emad Hajjaj Forge Joint Syndication Deal

image

Unless I'm misreading this somehow, it looks like the Syrian cartoonist (and focus of last year's major political story) Ali Ferzat will team with the popular and prolific Jordnaian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj to provide cartoons to a news network out of Abu Dhabi called Sky News Arabia. It looks like their work will appear on the channel's web site in a special comics section -- or that's one place the cartoons will appear. I'm not aware of any cartoonists that enjoy a reliable regional presence like this, although it's my impression that both of these cartoonists have appeared in multiple markets in the region in an intermittent fashion for some time now.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Knut Larsson Exhibition

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image

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.

*****

DEC110960 RASL #14 (MR) $3.50
I derive a great deal of pleasure reading Jeff Smith's serialized comic books, and I've really enjoyed his series RASL as it hurtles towards a last issue. Smith has such an honest and engaging relationship to genre that a ton of intriguing material gets pulled along behind his stories: in this case the most compelling stuff is how his genre mash-up between single-narrator noir and slippery-reality science fiction makes the reader's usual uneasy certainty that she's getting the full story to outright, unsettling doubt.

imageJAN120285 BATMAN DEATH BY DESIGN DELUXE ED HC $24.99
This is the Batman book written by Chip Kidd. It should be well-written -- I enjoy Kidd's writing generally -- and it should look awfully, awfully nice. I'm not sure what else you need when it comes to a Batman book. I sort of like how Batman is the big arch-villain when it comes to making the argument that maybe we'd be better off only having the original creators' versions of characters.

FEB120035 BALTIMORE HC VOL 02 CURSE BELLS $24.99
MAR120038 BPRD HELL ON EARTH TRANSFORMATION ODONNELL #1 FIUMARA CVR $3.50
The Mignola-verse grinds on. Surely this is comics' most reliable line/brand offering for the last decade or so.

JAN120092 CHANNEL ZERO TP COMPLETE COLLECTION $19.99
This edition looks to be part of the general Dark Horse effort on behalf of Brian Wood, and supports The Massive as much as makes a fine entry into the bookstore market on its own. I like quiet moves like that.

FEB120268 STARMAN OMNIBUS TP VOL 01 $29.99
This material seems to be an evergreen for DC, even if it's only an evergreen that grows yea high.

MAR120265 SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #1 $2.99
MAR120373 ROCKETEER ADVENTURES 2 #3 (OF 4) $3.99
FEB120403 AMERICAS GOT POWERS #2 (OF 6) $2.99
MAR120508 WALKING DEAD #98 (MR) $2.99
MAR128202 DAREDEVIL #11 2ND PTG VAR (PP #1021) $2.99
MAR120701 GLAMOURPUSS #25 $3.00
MAR120892 ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #8 $3.99
An interesting set of comic-book comics out this week. The Superman Adventures is I believe the all-ages book that basically replaces the super-popular and very effective Tiny Titans. I wish that book well. Rocketeer Adventures isn't my kind of thing but it's done in super-class manner. America's Got Powers is a super-odd weird and I have no idea despite reading both issues published to date if it's even any good. The Walking Dead is ramping up to a blood issue #100, because Robert Kirkman is enough of a traditionalist to respect an issue #100. Daredevil is a well-liked mainstream comic nearly too many issues in to convince yourself you'll get them when you decide to get them. And then there's Dave Sim and Roger Langridge, two skilled comics craftsmen with impeccable comic and comics timing.

FEB121103 FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE HC VOL 04 NEW PTG $16.99
APR121104 BOOK OF MR NATURAL HC (NEW PTG) (O/A) (MR) $19.99
I will always look at the P. Craig Russell Oscar Wilde material, new printing, new book, old printing, old book, whatever. That goes double for R. Crumb.

JAN121258 GRAPHIC CANON TP VOL 01 GILGAMESH TO SHAKESPEARE TO DANGEROUS $34.95
This is on my desk, but I've only flipped through it. There is some Eisner, some Crumb, some Hunt Emerson and some Roberta Gregory color work (she does really fine color work when she gets the chance) in it; there's also a lot of comics in there that didn't look anywhere near to operating in that group's weight class, to be honest with you. It also looked like there was a ton of supplementary/contextual prose. I look forward to a more thorough reading.

JAN121160 MONSIEUR JEAN SINGLES THEORY HC (MR) $24.95
Dupuy and Berberian can't walk into a room together or as solo creator without my noticing; a book of work featuring their most popular character is a must-read, and I would be delighted were I to encounter it in a store.

MAR121076 MOON MOTH GN $17.99
This has to be the oddest stand-alone science fiction comic I've read in years. While I can't tell yet how good it is, it was certainly memorable and I encourage those of you that like such things -- and as much as the new science fiction-oriented Image stuff is on everyone's minds I'm thinking that's a lot of you -- pick this one up and take a look. Jack Vance has an almost Kirby-sized issue with neglect in terms of his influence and the ubiquity of his approach.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Leo Dillon, RIP

image
1, 2, 3, 4
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
I Did Not Know There Was Ever A Super-Shmoo

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* you know it's going to be at least a pretty good summer when the first thing you click on rolling out of bed the day after Memorial Day is a lengthy interview with the great Eddie Campbell. Rushmore-level modern comics-maker, Hall Of Fame modern comics talker.

image* Stefan Kanfer profiles Winsor McCay.

* Sean T. Collins and J. Caleb Mozzocco talk about the WSJ piece on the Avengers movie and creators rights issues. Both talk about the insult lobbed at writer J. Michael Straczynski. I agree with Collins almost word for word how the shot was unfair, although given what I believe to be a lack of generosity Straczynski has shown Moore in some of the public statements he's made about Before Watchmen, I'm having a harder time than usual accessing the indignation necessary to be angry about it.

* Dan Clowes is on NPR this morning. Also, there's a contest.

* I'm glad someone finally thought of in-depth Sunday interviews with comics figures.

* one thing about going to Comics College with Charles Burns is that there's no grading.

* Grant Goggans on Vanguard. Rob Clough on some comics that are odd and some things that aren't quite comics. Nina Stone on Astonishing X-Men #50. Bart Croonenborghs on Gringos Locos.

* ComicsAlliance has a snippet up of The Comic Book History Of Comics on Osamu Tezuka and manga.

* Mr. Brothers goes to the anime festival.

* there's a Kickstarter page up for an enhanced edition of Dave Sim's High Society. That's the 26th through 50th segments of the 300-segment Cerebus saga and probably the component book for which the comics fans I know have the most affection. I think Sim will have no problem raising the cash for a project like this -- looking again just now (12:30 AM ET), it's already met its goal. The intriguing thing to me is that I don't know that I'm interested at all in any the enhancements or inducements but I could probably use a nice edition of that particular book.

* these are [some of] the things that make Gavin Jasper happy.

* finally, Bob Temuka lauds The Conversation.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 29, 2012


Missed It: 2011 Edward Sorel Slideshow At Vanity Fair

image
 
posted 3:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Tim Marchman On Leaping Tall Buildings

imageThe writer Tim Marchman has penned a piece for the Wall Street Journal using recent superhero movies and the history-via-profiles book Leaping Tall Buildings as a springboard to indict the comic book industry for not being able to sell more books despite the popularity of their core genres and the accessibility/skill inherent in many of the titles down by talented creators pursuing their own work. It's an interesting piece in terms of it being a piece of comics-related rhetoric. On the one hand, Marchman is kind of mean to some specific comics people and is hostile generally to many of the approaches embraced and endorsed by modern superhero comics. On the other hand, the basic shape of his insights are shared by a significant portion of that audience -- that the superhero narratives are convoluted and trade in bizarre obscurities. Marchman is doing some back and forth with comics fans via his Twitter account.

I think it's a good piece in terms of it being an affecting, snap judgment of the comics medium from an industry-informed standpoint, and the general message that a shoddy treatment of artists will over time be reflected in shoddy, underperforming product is one that could be repeated five times a day for the rest of time as far as I'm concerned. I might quibble some with the premise. I'm not sure that comics is always best judged by how it reaches a mass audience because I think almost everything that involves reading and certainly the things that involve the kind of complex readings that comics routinely offer combine will keep comics a secondary art form in terms of how many people are going to engage with it. That said, I think a double, tripling, quintupling of the current audience is a real and even achievable possibility if that were to become a widely-accepted goal. I could be totally wrong about that, of course.

I thought I remembered the name in a comics context: Marchman suggested that the oversized Chris Ware ACME collection was 2006's book of the year in this article.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Matthew Diffee

image
 
posted 3:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Glen Le Lievre

image
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Question About Music Piracy Discussions

I'm music-impaired, so I didn't follow the various discussions about Internet-based piracy of music back when such discussions seemed to be everywhere. I remember being told that the music industry was so corrupt and the deals given musicians so rotten that taking the music wasn't a bad thing the way it would be if everyone had ethical contracts. Here's my question: did anyone, as part of that critique, ever quantify just how little a band or musician made from the sale of an individual CD? Like "I can't support a system where a band only makes 43 cents from a $12 CD" or something similar? I'd love a link or a knowledgeable e-mail. I'm way more interested in the shape of that argument as it developed at that time than actually re-hashing the argument with anyone.
 
posted 3:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
I Am Completely Unfamiliar With The Strip Bruce Gentry

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* via Drawn and Quarterly comes a link to a look at the Chris Ware-created cover to the forthcoming Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss biography by Philip Nel. Cushlamochree indeed.

image* here's a publishing announcement that showed up about five minutes after last week's "Bundled" posted but that I think is fairly important and worth going back to: Oni Press is going to work with the popular, veteran webcomics-maker John Allison. That's one of those guys you read and it's hard not to think he could get over in a bigger way.

* more Tim Hensley is always good news.

* so is a Dan Clowes New Yorker cover. Boy, that one fairly pops.

* for that matter, so is more of whatever the hell this is. At least I think so.

* Domino Books has announced some new silk-screened books are available.

* here are looks at the imminent Ed The Happy Clown book, Reprodukt's edition of Portugal and Mr. Twee Deedle.

* Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist caught that the Rechin Family is going to retire the strip Crock. That's the Foreign Legion strip, one that came around kind of at the tail end of the long period when really focused situational gag strips were a dominant force in the market.

* Conundrum Press has made official their acquisition of Michel Rabagliati's Paul au Parc.
"Following on the heels of the release of The Song of Roland Conundrum Press is delighted to announce that they have acquired the English rights to the latest book by Montrealer Michel Rabagliati. The book will focus on the early years of Rabagliati’s famous Paul character, who has been called 'The Tintin of Quebec.' This book follows Paul in a scout troupe during the time of the FLQ crisis. It takes a historical approach to both the scouting movement and the October crisis of 1970 but humanizes these incidents for both a YA and adult audience. Original, sincere, and captivating.

The French edition, published by La Pasteque in 2011, has sold incredibly well and was critically hailed, nominated for the youth award at the Angouleme Festival 2012, and for a Friends of the Library Award in Montreal.

Translation will be by Helge Dascher. Rights negotiated between publisher Andy Brown and Michel Rabagliati. Look for a Spring 2013 release."
I like those books, and I'm glad there will be more.

* PictureBox announces a new book.

* finally, the new BlexBolex book is available for pre-order. You may not see a more handsome single volume this year.

image
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: The Return Of The Cosmic Techno-Gods From Space

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart -- People, Projects In Need Of Funds

* we're heading into the last few days of a fundraiser started by the good folks by the CAKE show in Chicago.

* this comics project emanating out of Denver is another one near its goal but not quite there yet. Here is another project I hadn't seen yet, Kazu Kibuishi endorsed.

* the Trickster people are planning a second year in San Diego, and they want your help in raising money for it.
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Another Small Set Of Esquire Cartoons

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Joe Schwind's Summer-Reading Discoveries

image

Joe Schwind sent along a bunch of comics-related material he found at Archive.org. Since he labeled them "summer reading," I thought today -- the day after Memorial Day is when summer vacation began for me as a child -- might be a good day to pass them along. They are:
* Tomfoolery, James Montgomery Flagg (1904)
* Stuff And Nonsense, AB Frost (1904)
* That Toddlin' Town, Hugh Hefner (1951)
* School Days, Clare Dwiggins (1919)
* Why They Married, James Montgomery Flagg (1906)
* The Best Of HT Webster, HT Webster (1953)
* Fables For The Times, HW Phillips & TR Sullivant (1896)
Thanks, Joe.
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Team Cul De Sac auction is open. I hope you'll look at it and consider bidding.

image* Michael Dooley interviews John Benson about his mighty Squa Tront. Paul Gravett on the great Mark Beyer.

* I'm not exactly sure how I ended up with the link, but here's a list of links to portraits of creators working for DC right now. Or creators working for DC generally. Or creators that have done work for DC. I'm not exactly sure. It's always nice to put faces to names, though.

* I haven't read this piece by Bruce Canwell on the Archie strip's use of the descriptive "butthole," but as I've been going around for weeks now saying "That's so butthole" I'm not sure I want him to ruin it for me. There are people in my circle of friends that want it ruined, that's for sure.

* here's a fun report from the NCS Awards. Unexpected source, at least for me.

* not comics: here's a lengthy piece on the promise of creators profiting from the end-around on music companies that the Internet provided; the promise apparently wasn't kept, and this person isn't happy about that. I'm sure there's a firestorm of responses and opinions on all sides of this, but I thought the essay pretty good and the question always worth asking. Who profits? I think I picked up on that from Abhay Khosla's fine Tumblr-driven blog.

* Tom Gauld speaks truth on short stories.

* aw, those are cute awards. Too bad they're being replaced by the convention-branding awards, or whatever they're specifically called.

image* the Fantagraphics Tumblr-driven site has been killing it the last few days. Check out this three-in-a-row: Michael Kupperman drawing Spider-Man and Wolverine, an ad for Love & Rockets #2 back when it was being published by company division CX Comics, and Dave Cooper drawing Adventure Time for HeroesCon. I mean, come on.

* Warren Ellis' small press work is discussed at the wonderful From Under The Stairs.

* here's the not-exactly-secret-but-maybe-forgotten secret origin of Walt Simonson.

* it's always good to see Batman on a horse.

* so what do you sell a 10-year-old that liked the Avengers movie and wants a bit of the same in comics form?

* Rob Clough on various kids comics. Bob Temuka on Classic X-Men. Andrew Shuping on EmiTown Vol. 2. Greg McElhatton on Dark Horse Presents #12. Ng Suat Tong on comics adaptations of HP Lovecraft. Karen Green on Stitches. Ed Sizemore on food manga. Johanna Draper Carlson on various strip collections. Paul O'Brien on various X-Men and related comics. Greg Burgas on Templar, Arizona Vols. 1-4. Todd Klein on Flex Mentallo and Wonder Woman #8.

* finally, Dan Slott has portfolio review advice.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Pair Of Paul Pope Self-Portraits

image
1, 2
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 28, 2012


A Selection Of Cartoon-Related Memorial Day Posts

image
a story at the So Buttons site

*****

image
Daryl Cagle on the Mr. Fish cartoons

*****

image
a Bob Englehart Memorial Day column

*****

image
a gallery of Memorial Day editorial cartoons from Cagle.com

*****

image

a cartoon from Dan Hipp

*****
*****
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comic-Con By The Numbers: 170+ Tips For Attending CCI 2012

image
this article has been archived
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Changing The Landscape

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Maker Faire Center Stage Illustrated

image
via James Langdell
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 27, 2012


Go, Look: It's A Rumic World!

image
despite never having consumed a lot of manga until I stopped going to school, and 98 percent of my early anime experiences coming from Channel 4 at 5:30 AM on school days, I relate reading manga to summer vacation
 
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Andy Kuhn Tells Marc Mason Thumbs Up For Phoenix Comicon

image
Marc Mason of Comics Waiting Room is at his hometown show this weekend, and wants to share the experience with you: 1, 2, 3
 
posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
And Then There Was That Time Peter Bagge Went To The Indy 500

image
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Tom Richmond Wins Reuben; NCS Divisional Awards Named

image

The National Cartoonists Society has named the winners of its awards including Tom Richmond as its Outstanding Cartoonist Of The Year. Richmond is a popular caricaturist and cartoonist who is currently a mainstay and driving talent at MAD; his work can be explored in an elaborate web site located here. Ben Katchor's Cardboard Valise and JH Williams III's work on Batwoman won the graphic novels and comic book categories, Edward Sorel won magazine illustration and Glenn McCoy won two awards including comic strip. Jon Rosenberg won the on-line comics category -- it's always fascinating to see the very traditional NCS interact in any way they might interact with webcomics culture.

In addition to these formal, voted-upon awards, this weekend also saw two honoraries conferred: Steve McGarry was the recipient of the Silver T-Square for his service to the organization while proud comic book veteran Stan Goldberg won the NCS Gold Key Award.

This year's awards winners, in bold:

image

TELEVISION ANIMATION
* Ben Bocquelet and Antoine Perez, Production Design on The Amazing World of Gumball (Cartoon Network)
* Penn Ward, Character Design on Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
* Erik Wiese, Production Design on The Mighty B (Nickelodeon)

*****

image

FEATURE ANIMATION
* Mark McCreery, character design: Rango
* Carlos Saldanha, Director: Rio
* Jennifer Yuh-Nelson, Director: Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom

*****

image

NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATION
* Glen LeLievre
* Michael McParlane
* Bob Rich

*****

image

GAG CARTOONS
* Matthew Diffee
* Zach Kanin
* Barbara Smaller

*****

image

GREETING CARDS
* Dave Klug
* Glenn McCoy
* Rick Stromoski

*****

image

NEWSPAPER COMIC STRIPS
* Glenn McCoy, The Duplex
* Jeff Parker, Dustin
* Mike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm

*****

image

NEWSPAPER PANEL CARTOONS
* Mark Parisi, Off the Mark
* Stephanie Piro, Smile
* Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur

*****

image

MAGAZINE FEATURE/MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATION
* Victor Juhasz
* Bruce McCall
* Edward Sorel

*****

image

BOOK ILLUSTRATION
* Barbara Lehman, The Secret Box
* Mark Pett, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
* John Rocco, Blackout

*****

image

EDITORIAL CARTOONS
* Lisa Benson
* Mike Lester
* Mike Ramirez

*****

image

ADVERTISING ILLUSTRATION
* Nick Galifianakis
* Kevin Kallauger (KAL)
* Tom Stiglich

*****

image

COMIC BOOKS
* Darwyn Cooke, "Betty Saves the Day" in Rocketeer Adventures #2
* Duncan Fegredo, Hellboy: The Fury
* J.H. Williams Batwoman

*****

image

GRAPHIC NOVELS
* Chester Brown, Paying For It
* Rick Geary, The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti
* Ben Katchor, The Cardboard Valise

*****

image

ON-LINE COMIC STRIPS
* Matthew Inman The Oatmeal
* Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, Penny Arcade
* Jon Rosenberg, Scenes from a Multiverse

*****

image

CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR/THE REUBEN AWARD
* Brian Crane
* Stephan Pastis
* Tom Richmond

*****

This year's ceremony was held in Las Vegas.

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Rick Marcks

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Run By The Gun

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Thunder Brother: Soap Division: The Two Ronnies

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kodoja.com

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Manila, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #295 -- Realities And Regrets II

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Comics Series You Read Religiously In The 1990s And One -- at #5 -- You Wish Had Joined Them In Your Reading Pile But You Didn't Get To Until Later." This is how they responded.

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Cages
2. ACME Novelty Library
3. Boom Boom
4. Chase
5. Eddie Campbell's Bacchus

*****

image

Evan Dorkin

1. Acme Novelty Library
2. Skeleton Key
3. Deadline
4. Sin
5. Hellboy

*****

image

Sean T. Collins

* ACME Novelty Library
* Sin City
* Savage Dragon
* The Maxx
* King-Cat

*****

image

Dustin Harbin

1) Yummy Fur
2) Palookaville
3) Kane
4) THB
5) Love & Rockets

*****

image

Jason Green

1. Gen 13
2. Savage Dragon
3. Oh My Goddess!
4. Ranma 1/2
5. Strangers in Paradise

*****

image

Jeet Heer

1. Eightball
2. Hate
3. Peepshow
4. Palooka-ville
5. Pickle

*****

image

Michael Dooley

1. Kabuki
2. Big Book of…
3. Batman: Black and White
4. Grendel: Black, White, and Red
5. Channel Zero

*****

image

Tom Bondurant

1. Green Lantern
2. Wonder Woman
3. Legion of Super-Heroes
4. The Flash
5. Hitman

*****

image

Jamie Coville

1. Preacher
2. Savage Dragon
3. HATE
4. Strangers in Paradise
5. Starman

*****

image

Johnny Bacardi

1. Major Bummer
2. Chase
3. Hellstorm
4. The Spectre
5. Acme Novelty Library

*****

image

Aaron White

1. The Maxx
2. Swamp Thing
3. Eightball
4. Maison Ikkoku
5. Love and Rockets

*****

image

Domingos Isabelinho

1. Cages
2. Eightball
3. Hate
4. Yummy Fur
5. ACME Novelty Library

*****

image

M. Emery

1. Stray Bullets
2. Optic Nerve
3. Preacher
4. Pickle
5. Love & Rockets

*****

image

Chad Nevett

1. Web of Spider-Man
2. Cable
3. JLA
4. Avengers
5. Preacher

*****

image

Mark Coale

1. Starman
2. Scene of the Crime
3. Terminal City
4. Firearm
5. Replacement God

*****


image

Danny Ceballos

1. Yummy Fur
2. Underwater
3. The Sandman
4. Ernie Pook's Comeek
5. From Hell

*****

image

James Langdell

1. Sugar Buzz
2. Thunderbolts
3. Eddie Campbell's Bacchus
4. Frank
5. Palestine

*****

image

Bob Temuka

1. The Invisibles
2. Hate
3. Preacher
4. Love and Rockets
5. 2000ad (between 1994 and 2000, the period when I stopped buying it, because it's taken more than a decade to fill in those bloody gaps)

*****

image

Derik A. Badman

1. Cerebus
2. Sandman
3. Akira
4. From Hell
5. King-Cat

*****

image

Michael J. Grabowski

1. Naughty Bits
2. Palestine
3. Action Girl
4. Real Stuff
5. Pickle

*****

image

Chris Arrant

* Sandman
* Uncanny X-Men
* Wildc.a.t.s
* DHP
* Love & Rockets

*****

image

Sean Kleefeld

1. Fantastic Four
2. Silver Surfer
3. Avengers
4. Smith Brown Jones
5. Sandman

*****

image

Douglas Wolk

1. Tantalizing Stories
2. Underwater
3. Quantum and Woody
4. From Hell
5. Black Hole

*****
*****
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


The Late-Night Musings Of Tim Kreider


More Superfuckers Animated Show Stuff From James Kochalka


Video On The Cartoonist Conspiracy
via


Kevin Kallaugher On Political Cartoons On The Front Lines Of Freedom


A Yoe Books Video


Another Yoe Books Video


A Mark Burrier Profile


Art Spiegelman Outtake From That Cartoon College Movie
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 26, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from May 19 to May 25, 2012:

1. Not only is there still apparently an Everybody Draw Mohammad Day, but Pakistan is apparently still deeply fearful of what it might do were it allowed unfettered access to that country's social media.

2. Comics awards season swings into full effect, with Stan Lee, Eagles and Glyph Awards taking the first week with the NCS awards including the Reuben being announced this weekend.

3. The divide between many in the comics and the comics professional communities on basic issues of creator's rights was put on display with an essay by webcomics creator Scott Kurtz and responses by people like Christopher Bird.

Winners Of The Week
Take your pick; it's awards season.

Losers Of The Week
Anyone that spent any time debating the propriety of drawing a Hitler mustache on a state politician, and the people that did so driving those people to debate.

Quote Of The Week
"A quick survey of recent Birds of Prey covers reveals an inordinate number of battles with tentacles." -- Laura Hudson

*****

today's cover is from the small-press and independent comics scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s

*****
*****
 
posted 6:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Pasig City, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Canoga Park, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
May 25, 2012


Your 2012 Eagle Awards Winners

image

Winners for The Eagle Awards were announced today at the London MCM Expo. This is apparently the last year for the venerable program to be called "The Eagle Awards," as they will move forward in future years bearing the title of the convention.

Winners below in bold, as best as I can make it from the live tweeting:

WRITER
* Ed Brubaker
* Geoff Johns
* Alan Moore
* Grant Morrison
* Scott Snyder

WRITER/ARTIST
* Darwyn Cooke
* Jeff Lemire
* Francis Manapul
* Frank Miller
* J.H. Williams III

NEW WRITER
* Michael Carroll
* Robert Curley
* Nathan Edmondson
* Jeff Lemire
* J.H. Williams III

ARTIST (PENCILS)
* Chris Bachalo
* Becky Cloonan
* Jim Lee
* Ivan Reis
* J.H. Williams III

ARTIST (INKS)
* Becky Cloonan
* D’israeli
* Gary Erskine
* Chris Samnee
* Scott Williams

ARTIST (PAINTED WORK)
* Adi Granov
* Alex Ross
* Esad Ribic
* J.H. Williams III
* Sean Phillips

NEW ARTIST
* Mahmud Asrar
* Francesco Francavilla
* Emanuela Lupacchino
* Axel Medellin
* Declan Shalvey

COLORIST
* Jeff Balke
* Jamie Grant
* Laura Martin
* Rod Reis
* Dave Stewart

LETTERER
* Ed Dukeshire
* Chris Eliopoulos
* Todd Klein
* Annie Parkhouse
* Richard Starkings/Comicraft

EDITOR
* Karen Berger
* Tom Brevoort
* Chris Ryall
* Matt Smith
* Steve Wacker

PUBLISHER
* Dark Horse
* DC Comics/Vertigo
* IDW
* Image
* Marvel

AMERICAN COMIC BOOK (COLOR)
* Aquaman
* Batman
* Batwoman
* Daredevil
* Hellboy

AMERICAN COMIC BOOK (BLACK & WHITE)
* Echoes
* RASL
* The Walking Dead
* Usagi Yojimbo
* Wolves

BRITISH COMIC BOOK (COLOR)
* 2000AD
* CLiNT Magazine
* Doctor Who Magazine
* Judge Dredd Megazine
* STRIP Magazine

BRITISH COMIC BOOK (BLACK & WHITE)
* Blood Blokes
* Commando
* Futurequake
* Lou Scannon
* Viz
* Zarjaz

COMIC BOOK (NEW)
* Animal Man
* Aquaman
* Batman
* Daredevil
* Wolverine And The X-Men

MANGA
* 20th Century Boys
* Blade of the Immortal
* Bleach
* Naruto
* One Piece

COMIC BOOK (EUROPEAN)
* Betelgeuse
* Dylan Dog
* Jennifer Wilde
* League Of Volunteers
* Requiem Vampire Knight

WEBCOMIC
* Ace Kilroy
* Axe Cop
* Freakangels
* Hark! A Vagrant
* xkcd

SINGLE STORY
* Animal Man #1
* Aquaman #4
* Daredevil #7
* Doctor Who #12
* The Amazing Spider-Man #655

CONTINUED STORY
* "Flambé" in Chew
* "Ghost War" in American Vampire
* "Hydrology" in Batwoman
* "No Way Out" in The Walking Dead
* "The Black Mirror" in Detective Comics

COVER
* 2000AD Prog 1752
* Aquaman #1
* Batwoman #1
* Daredevil #1
* Detective Comics #880

ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL
* Batman: Noel
* Habibi
* Hellboy: House of the Living Dead
* Teen Titans: Games
* The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1969

REPRINT COMPILATION
* Aquaman: Death of a Prince
* Detective Comics: The Black Mirror
* Thor Omnibus by Walt Simonson
* The Walking Dead Vol. 15
* We3 Deluxe Edition

COMICS-RELATED BOOK
* 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
* Alan Moore: Storyteller
* Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero
* The Batman Files
* The Marvel Art of John Romita Jr.

COMICS-RELATED MOVIE/TV SHOW
* Captain America: The First Avenger
* Misfits
* The Big Bang Theory
* The Walking Dead
* X-Men: First Class

COMICS-RELATED WEB SITE
* Bleeding Cool
* Comic Book Resources
* Comics Alliance
* Newsarama
* Zona Negativa

MAGAZINE ABOUT COMICS
* Alter Ego
* Back Issue
* Comic Heroes
* DC Comics Superhero Collection
* The Comics Journal

ROLL OF HONOR
* Brian Michael Bendis
* Darwyn Cooke
* Adam Hughes
* Geoff Johns
* Frank Quitely

*****
*****
 
posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Léonard Chemineau

image
 
posted 2:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
All Eyes On Las Vegas As Reuben Winner To Be Named Tomorrow

This weekend is the National Cartoonist Society (NCS) annual meeting, held in different cities in different years and this year settling on Las Vegas. That should be interesting, as cartoonists and comics people tend to like everything Las Vegas has to offer (hotel rooms, air conditioning, cheap eats, booze) save for the city's primary offering: gambling. Whether or not a significant percentage of comics folk find out what a "put bet" is this weekend, I'm sure a good time will be had by all, with a slightly better time had by the person that wins this year's Reuben. That's maybe the best honor in the world afforded any cartoonist; if not, it's certainly on a short list along with the Grand Prix at Angouleme and drawing the ire of a feckless conservative Christian group for your latest publishing move.

This year's nominees are Tom Richmond, Stephan Pastis and Brian Crane -- a pretty classic "you can make a case for any of them being the frontrunner" trio. It feels like Pastis to me, although that's not a good sign for Pastis as I have been right about the Reuben far fewer times than I have been about playing the "Don't Pass" line. I wish all of those gentlemen the best of luck, and hope everyone has a nice weekend. I wonder if there will be any fruitful discussion about the future of the medium given its stability relative to the last few years when industry turmoil has always provided such talks with a furtive, desperate air.
 
posted 2:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: William Stout In Coven 13

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Opinionated Fridays: People Holding Forth On Various Issues

* here's another lengthy response to creator Scott Kurtz's long essay about the cynicism of criticizing Marvel Comics on a Jack Kirby-related release while Avengers is the movie theaters. I'm actually encouraged by the passion of the push back on these issues, even though it's small and it's not exactly having a measurable effect beyond the essays themselves. A potential, achievable benefit of talking about creator's rights issues is people -- maybe only a few -- taking stock in how they orient themselves to companies that don't respect those things. Comics has a long history of being made better as a result.

* I'm glad that people are paying attention to Chip Kidd's forthcoming Batman-related graphic novel, as I think Kidd is an interesting creator generally with an obvious fascination for that character and using him to look at architecture seems as fun as anything anyone has that character doing. However, it's sort of funny to see a statement that Batman is the most architectural comic book character the week that a comic comes out featuring Mr. X -- an architect (at least early on) whose raison d'etre at one point was fighting twisted architecture. It's not like I expect a writer to know that, but it does underline the problem of having the entire comics world be defined by a certain kind of action-adventure book (and related works slightly off-genre). It's sort of like seeing the entirety of theatre through musicals. Heck, this new Batman book isn't even the most architectural comic book with which Chip Kidd has been involved.

* here's what I think is a student editorial over the decision several weeks ago made by several newspaper editors not to run Doonesbury comic strips about Texas law related to abortion. It point out how stupid this was, but also makes the point -- explicitly and generally -- that it's even counter-intuitive: the only reason the strip's handling of the issue got any national play isn't by its content but because newspaper tried to drop it. Maybe someone should create a strip that's always being dropped but doesn't actually exist.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Even More Of Those Cartoonist Photos

image
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Steve Bissette On Comics Featuring Gay Characters

I thought this a very interesting post featuring a lot of cartoonists about whom I know next to nothing. I can write that exact sentence about a lot of Bissette posts, really.
 
posted 1:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: Highway 62 Revisited

image
 
posted 1:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Zunar's Civil Court Decision Pushed Back To June 6

A decision in the case brought by the cartoonist Zunar against political and police officials in Malaysia for their treatment in detaining and other harassing him for the content of cartoons he had published in book form will have to wait until June 6, the artist wrote to an array of world press sources yesterday evening. No decision was given for the delay. It's entirely possible that Zunar could not only lose the case but be fined a hefty amount for that loss.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Captain Midnight's Your Invention Page

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Michael Cavna has a proposal for Disney.

image* Pádraig Ó Méalóid pulls at one thread of the vast LOEG narrative and ends up with a pile of material up to his waist. This is one reason that I can't even conceive wanting to go near something Alan Moore wrote, or at least anything beyond the basics of a character he created.

* Peter Arno really was cooler than all the other cartoonists.

* Alex Pappademas on why Marvel's gay wedding and DC's mystery gay hero are big deals.

* aw, look at the CCS graduates.

* I tend to list openings-only, but this CAKE-related (well, somewhat) show isn't going to be open much past that opening, so maybe mark it down right now.

* I love the look of late-period Kirby-drawn Fantastic Four, and I'm grateful we live in an era where these have routinely dropped under $5 (in good to fine condition, even) that I can buy them when I see them. The structure of the stories tends to be a lot more simplistic but the pages themselves are frequently beautiful.

* Rob Clough on a bunch of genre comics. Dan Morrill on FLCL Omnibus. Greg McElhatton on Bloody Chester. Don MacPherson on Batman, Inc. #1. Ben on Goliath. Corey Blake on three new comics.

* Christopher Bird responds to criticism of the tone of his piece critical of Scott Kurtz's arguments surrounding the Jack Kirby Estate and the material rewards of the Avengers movie. (Basically, it's a defense of sometimes responding to an extreme point of view with extreme flourishes of rhetoric.)

* well, somebody had to make this joke.

* finally, Charles Reece doesn't like Wonder Woman.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 24, 2012


Go, Look: Kushinagar

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* a group is trying to raise a very specific $37,800 to fund a graphic novel project with Spain Rodriguez as its cartooning talent. I am a huge fan of Spain Rodriguez.

* the publication Magic Bullet is looking for an also-specific $700 to fund its fifth issue.

* one of my favorite comics people, Lea Hernandez, is looking for $40K to fund a graphic novel project. She's been working with that material for a while, as I recall. I'm not as familiar with it as I should be, but it looks awfully cute.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Sarah Glidden's Occupied Angouleme Photo Album

image
I actually did this post yesterday afternoon, some 20 hours before the New Hampshire "Hitler Mustache" scenario below came to my attention. Go figure. The set in question is Sarah Glidden's discovery of photos detailing the Nazi occupation of the festival city. They are fascinating and distressing.
 
posted 1:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
No One Cares About Otto Von Bismarck's Mustache

But they sure don't like giving someone "the Hitler," either in real-life, or, as happened in a Mike Marland effort in the Concord Monitor, in cartoon form. I think this editorial gives you just about everything you need to know, including a look at the cartoon itself. I actually think the Hitler example is useful when utilized as an absurd extreme, or at least not worthy of throwing up one's hands and stomping away from the computer, but I can't imagine the point being made of just comparing some political dude to Herr Wolf unless, maybe, some sort of hate-speech was involved. This sounds just like some sort of generic, ill-conceived Hitler-as-generic-free-speech-hating-despot comparison, which makes a straight-up comparison even more problematic. Maybe Hitler's branding needs work; maybe someone needs to step up in the despot ranks in more of a free-speech crushing manner. The intriguing part of the editorial, incidentally, is how the newspaper person talks about their maybe not running the cartoon but then deciding to give the cartoonist the privilege of his platform.
 
posted 1:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Tibet's Sacrifice: Exiled Lives

image
 
posted 1:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: CNN Profiles Egypt Election Cartoons

The CNN-hosted blog Inside The Middle East has a smattering of cartoons up about the elections in Egypt, certainly worth checking out on day two of that historic event. I have no particular comprehension of what cartooning is like in that country specifically, even though it's my general understanding that there is a significant editorial cartooning presence in the country just as there is throughout the region. There's also a video profile of the Hajjaj brothers, from Jordan.
 
posted 1:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: More Wally Wood Illustration Work

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* it's a full weekend, although not one based around any big show or grouping of shows -- it's like one of those lunches with a house full of people where everyone is snacking in the kitchen off and on over a two-hour period. You should roll down the page to the "forthcoming" section to see if there's anything near you. It used to be that comics convention clustered around holiday weekends a bit, but that's not the case anymore at all.

* so Comic-Con International announced via e-mail that they're reserving the right to have security check the passes as people enter the hall -- including matching what's on the pass to a photo ID. That sounds like a potential tough move in terms of execution, so let's hope it's not done in an over-the-top way -- there's a good chance this is a "we can do this" legal protection move as opposed to a "we're going to do this" announcement. I can't complain about the convention making such moves given how much I abused the system in the past when these precautions weren't in place. I also have some sympathy for their protecting the validity of their passes given that their commitment to San Diego makes for a situation where there are fewer passes than people that want them, and a lot of people that have them likely want them to be honored and not steal-able.

* here's an event I hadn't heard about at all before getting a physical flyer in the mail this week along with a NoBrow book: the East London Comics and Arts Festival. It's in June, same weekend as the small press event in Chicago. Hey, sounds good to me.

* that good man Bart Beaty wrote in to note that for the very first time in his memory, Angouleme will spill over into February. It will end February 3. January, February, I have got to get over there.

* since a few of you have asked: I look at events like this forthcoming Grant Morrison-oriented con the same way I look on people paying $1500 for special access Madonna concert tickets. It's so far removed from what I like about such things that I can't imagine spending my money in that direction, but I get it for certain people, and if I had a money tree in my backyard I'm sure I'd sort of enjoy the experience.

* there's a mainstream-oriented show in Houston this weekend I hadn't heard about at all, so I'll mention it here. I have no sense of the Texas comics culture, although that's a traditionally strong one.

* the Heroes Con guest list is rounding into shape. The Immonens are going to be there; they're great guests. My all-time favorite comics-maker Jaime Hernandez will be in attendance. Dave Cooper, Roger Langridge, Evan Dorkin, Stan Lee, Sergio Aragones, a ton more; that's a loaded show.

* the Kids Read Comics show will have a selection of free comics.

* I am of the counter-to-conventional-wisdom belief that Chicago is our best eating city, based on its strength with cheap eats. Sarah Becan points out some favorites for potential visitors to CAKE. I imagine the comments section on that one will be worth reading, too.

* finally, it's more than likely that 25 years from now the time someone brought a giant barbecue grill to Comic-Con International will be some middle-aged person's quaint memory of how things used to be.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Some Frank Kelly Freas Illustration Work

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's not exactly a genius move on my part to say this of the reigning Herblock Prize winner and a recent Pulitzer finalist, but Matt Bors is in a good creative place right now.

image* did you know there was a Jack Davis Foundation? Did you know they had a call out for entries into a juried show they're running named after Mr. Davis? I'd be interested in that news aside from the opportunity it gives this site to run some beautiful Davis art in this post.

* well, of course Colleen Coover is going to draw Marshal Law -- an illustration of the character, anyway. (I saw that during one of my periodical forays into checking to see if that Nick and Nora Charles drawing she did is a on a t-shirt yet; nope, not yet.)

* that's a lot of young talent sitting around wherever Lewis Trondheim took this picture; young enough I did double-check to make sure I'm not older than both of them combined (not even close, thank goodness; still: young and talented).

* Matt Seneca on the Greatest Comic Of All Time. Scott Cederlund on Daredevil Vol. 1 and the Scott Snyder-written Batman. Hannah Means-Shannon on The Birth Caul.

* Nat Gertler sent along this link to new work from Men In Black's Lowell Cunningham. That we routinely have to look up Lowell Cunningham and Sandy Carruthers just to recall their names -- well, at least I do -- indicates that the proper respect afforded comics creators whose work goes on to fuel massive entertainment properties isn't just some issue about creators from 50 years ago.

* comics-makers, Wil Wheaton is proud to be in your fraternity. Remember that until he has a trade out he has to do push-ups whenever you tell him to, and get you beers.

* Robin McConnell talks to Zak Sally. Some nice person at A Moment Of Cerebus talks to Eric Hoffman.

* I greatly enjoyed seeing this Jay Lynch cartoon from 1971 featuring Chicago's then brand-new McCormick Place. I remember the building of that thing being a pretty big deal for the city.

* here's a preview of a forthcoming Jim Rugg show that instead of blacking out the naughty parts is pretty much all naughty parts.

* what if tens of thousands of people came to see your party but only 23 people chipped in for beer?

* Lucy Tobin muses on one university's establishment of a degree in comics.

* finally, the good folks at DanielClowes.com note the ebay-ing of a beautiful portrait of Enid Coleslaw.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Manifesto Alert: Mark Andrew Smith

image
I love a good manifesto, but I prefer to read them with homemade pizza and locally brewed beer, so it may be a couple of days -- no reason you should have to wait
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 23, 2012


Not Comics: Gene Deitch On Working With Maurice Sendak

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Scott Kurtz And Christopher Bird On Jack Kirby

Reliably outspoken cartoonist Scott Kurtz first; Christopher Bird in response.

I appreciate that Kurtz wrote on these issues even though I don't think I agree with a single thing he says. I appreciate that Bird responded, as I think he wrote everything I could have written much more effectively than I could have written it.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Time To Check Back In On Cartoon Utopia

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image

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.

*****

MAR120026 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #12 KIETH CVR $7.99
MAR120027 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #12 MOTTER VAR CVR $7.99
I imagine that there's going to be a lot of commentary out there about the fact that this publication is dominated by 1980s-era superstars, including the return of the Baron/Rude Nexus serial. I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all, and in fact I think it's a strength of comics. I would of course love for comics-makers to find multiple, fruitful projects over the course of their careers, but mostly I want to be entertained by the comics that entertain me. I sure didn't think about the age of the cartoonists with most of the comics I enjoyed as a kid.

imageMAR120368 COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS GN $21.99I enjoyed this book, kind of a slightly snotty, anecdotal history of the comics industry told with a lot of energy. I think I wrote the introduction.

MAR120020 RESIDENT ALIEN #1 $3.50
MAR120149 BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 $2.99
MAR120364 GODZILLA ONGOING #1 $3.99
FEB120370 HERO COMICS 2012 $3.99
MAR120497 PROPHET #25 $2.99
MAR128165 SAGA #1 4TH PTG (MR) $2.99
MAR120623 ASTONISHING X-MEN #50 $3.99
MAR120584 CAPTAIN AMERICA #12 $3.99
MAR120597 FANTASTIC FOUR #606 $2.99
This is an extremely long list of mainstream and independent comics that I'd pick up and check out, doubly so consider I'm not hot after any of them. The Resident Alien seems to be part of a renwed Dark Horse effort to find some space for original content creation via serialized comics -- something I'd welcome if it locks into place. The Godzilla book makes me laugh by actually being called Godzilla Ongoing, and is sure to feature pretty monster art. The Hero Comics effort is a book for charity, and is bound to feature one or two jaw-droppers from a mature cartoonist not quite to the point of being a likely target for that charitable effort. The next two books are from the Image line, which is already doing what I think Dark Horse would like to see happen. The X-Men book features the wedding proposal of recent PR-driven industry story idiocy. The Captain America and Fantastic Four are core Marvel books by core Marvel writers.

FEB120054 ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $49.99
DEC110710 MMW ATLAS ERA JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY HC VOL 04 $64.99
DEC110711 MMW ATLAS ERA JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY HC VOL 04 DM VAR ED 180 $64.99
SEP110209 MAD ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 $59.99
NOV110991 STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER $39.99
This week's books for people with far more spending money that I'll ever have. The belle of the ball is the last one -- concentrated, early, yet by this volume prime-time Steve Ditko. I know nothing about the MAD material, but it's MAD, so it gets a look. The first books is part of Dark Horse's pre-Code efforts and the second/third is from Marvel's ongoing efforts to reproduce 1950s material. I'd love to see it all, not sure anything other than the Steve Ditko would ever take up precious real estate on my bookshelves.

DEC111184 JUDGE DREDD CRUSADE TP $16.99
I have yet to take the plunge on the collections of 2000AD material, although I'm deeply grateful that stuff is out there and like everyone else I hope for the development of a North American market where this stuff could play a more vital role. This material always seems thwarted by size-of-audience and infrastructure issues far more than some kind of inability of British adventure comics to appeal to enough readers.

JAN121192 DUNGEON ZENITH SET VOL 1-3 $39.99
I really enjoy the Dungeon books NBM has been doing, although I wasn't aware they cost this much.

JAN121110 INTERIORAE TP $19.99
If you go to comics shops looking for unique voices doing beautifully-presented work, this is the one for you today.

MAR120665 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION PREM HC VOL 02 $24.99
MAR120679 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION TP VOL 01 $19.99
I put this down because I would take a look at it in the store as I've heard absolutely nothing about writer Matt Fraction's work with this character and he seems like a pretty reliable maker of this stuff, at least to me. I'd then buy the individual issues in dollar bins -- the old-time comics way of buying from Amazon.

DEC111299 LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS HC $35.00
The second of the two non-conventional wisdom comics histories this week, this one gets at the foundation of American comic books through profiles and photos of the perpetrators/survivors. I'm looking forward to seeing the final result.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: AlphaBooks

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Ernie Chan, RIP

imageCommentary and reaction around the Internet to the passing of the comics illustrator Ernie Chan (1940-2012).

*****

Institutional
* Entry At The Philippine Comics Art Museum
* Lambiek Entry
* Wikipedia Entry

Past Interviews, Profiles And Articles Of Interest

Audio
* The Comic Books 01
* The Comic Books 02

Blog Entries
* AIM Comics
* Black Gate
* Es La Hora De La Tortas
* Internet 451
* Invest Comics
* Mimi Cortazar
* My Comic Board Manners
* Ratchet's Hulk Collection
* Rip Jagger's Dojo
* Sean Taylor
* Steve Miller Reviews
* The Fellowship Of The Geeks
* The Incredible Hulk: Engine Of Destruction
* Ultimate Conan Fan
* Welcome To The Marvel 1980s

Message Boards
* Outcast Studios

Miscellaneous

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool
* Comics Should Be Good
* Komikero Dot Com

Photos
* Toronto Cartoonists Workshop Gallery

Twitter
* Search On Terms Ernie Chan

Video

*****



*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Behold! The Hand Of Galactus! Behold!

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a fun post from Bob Temuka about moving house and the forced reverie it brought on vis-a-vis all of the comics he has. We've all been there. I'm still trying to figure out just how many comics I want, if I want any at all.

image* Jim Linderman writes about one of the artists that did lurid cartooning/illustration work for pulp magazines also indicted when Congress in the 1950s looked into picture-driven material for children: Carl Pfeufer.

* not comics: Tim Kreider is a funny writer. Also: Tim Hodler is a good interviewer.

* two very different event reports; two very different events: Sean Kleefeld on Cartooning: Philosophy And Practice; Chris Marshall on Motor City Comic Con.

* what shoplifters steal when they steal comics.

* Jog on Esopus #18. Greg McElhatton on Genetiks Vol. 1. Don MacPherson on a bunch of different comics. Sean Gaffney on Oishinbo A La Carte Vol. 2. Nina Stone on Fury: My War Gone By #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of 50-cent bin comics. Bart Croonenborghs on Best Of Enemies. Johanna Draper Carlson on The Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde: The Happy Prince. Graeme McMillan on Irredeemable.

* here's the Pantheon tumblr post about the physical object aspects of Chris Ware's forthcoming Building Stories. Sure sounds like it will be something.

* a short report from a Warren Ellis presentation at that Mark Millar-driven convention last weekend. The writer says he's bored by comics. That might be interpreted as there not being a lot of work of the kind that Mr. Ellis likes, or him just being grumpy, or him having super-high standards, but I also think there's something boring about comics that comes down to the way they're presented right now. I might be projecting there. The stuff about comics being a long way off from finding a truly workable interface with their on-line iterations intrigued me.

* "Don't Cry, Work" might be my new slogan.

* Frank Young on "the Tubby type."

* Lynn Emmert talks to Alison Bechdel. George Tramountanas talks to Victor Gischler. Team NonCanonical talks to Colin Wilson.

* Margaux Motin draws Wonder Woman, sort of.

* excelsior!

* the CBLDF has another successful fundraising weekend.

* finally, Greg Rucka on why he writes strong female characters -- or strong characters generally, some of whom happen to be female.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 22, 2012


Go, Look: New Richard Sala

image
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* so apparently they're still having Everybody Draw Muhammed Day, and apparently Pakistan is still taking draconian measures as to its Internet infrastructure in order to thwart the dissemination of the results. I think it's sort of unfortunate that people are still doing this, because its founder, the cartoonist Molly Norris, bailed out on it as soon as it struck a nerve and ended up going into hiding for threats of reprisal. Norris has her name still attached in various feature articles even though she has about as much to do with whatever happened Sunday as Bill Murray had with Meatballs 4. As far as the event itself, the whole thing seems silly to me, although I guess it's intriguing to see a country take a run at denying cornerstone-level Internet service for a temporary period of time. They did something similar with Facebook and twitter in 2010. I don't remember an event or any hullabaloo last year.

* in another stunning development, the use of Danish Muhammed cartoons in a political protest in Germany has people mad enough to suggest that there will be reprisals.
 
posted 3:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Joe Decie

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2012 Glyph Awards Winners

The Glyph Comics Awards announced its winners for the 2012 iteration of its program, featuring "comics made by, for, and about people of color." Winners for this year's awards were for the year 2011. The awards is held each year in conjunction with the the East Coast Black Age Of Comics Convention held in Philadelphia.

The winners, in bold:

imageSTORY OF THE YEAR
* The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, Brandon Thomas, writer, Lee Ferguson, artist
* On Being Crazy from African-American Classics: Graphic Classics Vol. 22, Tom Pumplun, writer, Kyle Baker, artist
* Princeless, Jeremy Whitley, writer, Mia Goodwin, artist
* Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Volume 1, Brian Michael Bendis, writer, Sara Pichelli, artist

BEST WRITER
* Brian Michael Bendis, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man
* Jeff Parker, Thunderbolts
* Brandon Thomas, The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury
* Jeremy Whitley, Princeless

BEST ARTIST
* Kyle Baker, On Being Crazy from African-American Classics: Graphic Classics Vol. 22
* Lee Ferguson, The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury
* Mia Goodwin, Princeless
* Rob Guillory, Chew
* Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man

BEST MALE CHARACTER
* Luke Cage, Thunderbolts, Jeff Parker, writer, Declan Shalvey & Kev Walker, artists; created by Archie Goodwin & John Romita Sr.
* Miles Morales, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Brian Michael Bendis, writer, Sara Pichelli, artist; inspired by the character created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
* Moses, Radio Free Amerika; created by B. Robert Bell, writer and penciller, Robert Jeffrey II, co-writer
* Mister Terrific, Mister Terrific, Eric Wallace, writer, Gianluca Gugliotta & Wayne Faucher, artists; inspired by the character created by Charles Reizenstein and Everett E. Hibbard

BEST FEMALE CHARACTER
* Adrienne, Princeless; created by Jeremy Whitley, writer, and Mia Goodwin, artist
* Afroella, Afroella, created by Gemma Bedeau, writer, and Lee Fenton Wilkinson, artist
* Miranda Mercury, The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury; created by Brandon Thomas, writer, and Lee Ferguson, artist
* Vielle, Fungus Grotto, created by Ms. Shatia Hamilton, story and art

RISING STAR AWARD
* B. Robert Bell & Robert Jeffrey II, Radio Free Amerika
* Ms. Shatia Hamilton, Fungus Grotto
* Whit Taylor, Watermelon

BEST COVER
* Chew #27, Rob Guillory, illustrator
* Deadpool Max #7, Kyle Baker, story and art
* Mister Terrific #1, JG Jones, artist, Lovern Kindzierski, colorist
* Princeless #1, Mia Goodwin, illustrator
* Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #4, Kaare Andrews, illustrator

BEST COMICS STRIP OR WEBCOMIC
* Fungus Grotto, Ms. Shatia Hamilton, story and art
* Marty's Diner, Dmitri Jackson, story and art
* Café Con Leche, Charlos Gary, story and art

Judges for the 2012 awards were: Omar Bilal, webmaster, BlackSuperhero.com; Robin Brenner, editor-in-chief, NoFlyingNoTights.com; David Brothers, comics blogger, 4thLetter.net; and Tim Callahan, comics blogger, Comic Book Resources.

The awards were founded in 2005 by Rich Watson. Watson announced at the time of the nominations that he was set to retire after this year's awards program.

image
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Raconteur #1

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* a pair of sharp-eyed CR readers wrote in noting an Amazon.com listing for a big book featuring Mort Drucker's MAD work. I don't see any reason why we can't start appreciating Drucker's work right now. I wonder sometimes if it would be totally terrifying to write for Drucker or if you'd be fully confident that your work would get over no matter what you did because the drawings would be so apt and perfect. The way he draws James Caan's eyebrow in the above image is worth some folks' entire careers.

image* whoa, stealth Joe Sacco book! It's likely an indictment of this column, but I wasn't aware of that one until blindly stumbling across it searching for another book. That's great news, right?

* here's more great news: what Chris Ware's next big book will look like.

* I just received a package of comics from Hic and Hoc, which I'm guessing means that their publication will be news to some of you nice folk out there.

* the cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks provides an update on her comic The Adventures Of Superhero Girl.

* aren't we about due for a period of massive re-appreciation for World War III Illustrated? There's apparently a new issue out this summer, all about censorship. World War 3 isn't being censored, but I'm not sure I ever process it the way I would a most magazines with its pedigree and persistence, and I'm not certain why.

* Chris Arrant talks about John Allison's cookbook-within-his-webcomic.

* here's a plea for more Wonder Woman comics that little girls can read. Why anyone has to ask for this instead of this being an automatic publishing priority for DC is beyond me, and I generally hate-hate-hate second-guessing corporations that make billions of dollars.

* speaking of which, here's a preview of a rare attempt at a female character in mainstream comics having her own title.

* DC is going to sell the living crap out of these slipcased Sandman editions. You discount that down a bit to reflect on-line bookseller prices, and you realize that for a lot of those comics fans it's not just that Sandman still holds a place in their hearts it's also that noting else has come close to satisfying that same reading urge... yeah, I wish I could buy stock in product offerings like that.

* here's a preview of Ed Piskor's Wizzywig. I like that Ed Piskor guy. He reminds me of the really underground-reminiscent cartoonists of the early 1990s.

* I will add my voice to the chorus of those that enjoyed this cover. The idea of alternate covers is a tricky one for comics. On the one hand, using them to boost series by cajoling stores into ordering them for collector/completists is a weird direction in which to shove the market's cash reserves, even if you directly benefit. On the other hand, I like the idea of tweaking a title in a way that a slightly different audience might be pushed into picking something up. I know I'd be more likely to pick up this book with that cover.

* here's a significant preview for Black Images In The Comics.

* Love And Capes is set to return. I don't know if I've ever seen it, but the series is a favorite with a lot of longtime comics readers.

* I'm getting press for the imminent Magdy El Shafee book, Metro. I believe the cover image has been out for a while, but this is the first time I can recall seeing it. I guess some people might end up complaining that El Shafee's personal story is more compelling than the comic, but I would imagine very few stories are as interesting as that of El Shafee after the year Egypt had.

* finally, this John Martz cover for a forthcoming Retrofit book seems to me the best cover for that series I've seen.

image
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Another Ernie Chan Gallery, Including Inks

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Joe Staton Charlton Covers Gallery

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* big KAL week. Kevin Kallaugher writes about when cartoons matter. He also presented in Romania.

image* go, bookmark: the writer James Hudnall has launched a comics-related podcast, featuring talks with comics creators like Val Mayerik (sketch pictured) and Peter Bagge.

* Matt Seneca is serving up comics.

* the Open Book Toronto people profile Dave Lapp. Danno Klonowski talks to Mike Toft. Brian Bendis talks to Greg Rucka. Kira Cochrane talks to Alison Bechdel. Alex Dueben talks to Alison Bechdel.

* McSweeney's had a contest going that featured an insulting pay rate, even by the debased nature of those things as it exists today; it's now withdrawn.

* nothing better than a Frank Santoro post from on the road, this time from the great city of Pittsburgh. Speaking of Santoro, here's a Dustin Harbin post about the cartoonist's correspondence courses.

* not comics: you've been reading writer-about-comics Bob Levin's articles about his heart troubles, haven't you?

* speaking of writers-about-comics, I believe RC Harvey turns 75 this year. He's writing about some of the classics with renewed vigor and passion at TCJ, as in this article about VT Hamlin. VT Hamlin drew like he was cutting foam out of air.

* not comics: in the UK, their Tucker Stones review big-budget motion pictures for major news publications. Someday, America. Someday.

* Jeet Heer on Cartoon Monarch. Ron Goulart on Betsy And Me. Nick Gazin on a bunch of comics and comics-related stuff. Cian O'Luanaigh on Science Tales. Killian Fox on Science Tales. Cory Doctorow on Science Tales. Tim Nelson on Science Tales. Todd Klein on Mystery In Space #1. Mike Sterling on the Avengers movie.

* this article on editorial cartoonist Joel Pett angering Kentucky basketball fans crossed my browser the day it was written, but I hadn't linked to it because it struck me as intensely silly and sad. I'm still enough of a midwesterner to know how sports and basketball and even pop culture can grow to matter in people's lives so that they comment on such things as if they're real issues. On the other hand, I have enough coast-time in to see these things as huge extravagances in a time of national decline.

* Evan Dorkin writes for several graphs on The Abomination. That was a very troubling design to me when I was a kid. He also notes that one of his classic gag cartoons is now featured on a t-shirt.

* I've said it before, but I love these rambling Brandon Graham blog posts that feel like they came straight out of some Internet bubbled preserving the way thing were done 10-11 years ago.

* Godzilla gets all the good artists.

* finally, Jason draws Guadalupe, an all-time underrated kid character.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 21, 2012


Missed It: Nicolas Guerin's Cartoonist Photos

image
via
 
posted 5:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
That Shiver You Felt: Houghton Mifflin Files For Bankruptcy

It's the reorganization kind, not the Kevorkian kind. Still: brrr!

I'm not certain off of the top of my head what graphic novels they do. They do the Best American Comics series, and I think Alison Bechdel.
 
posted 5:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Michel Fiffe Loves The Original Suicide Squad Series... A Lot

image
 
posted 3:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: The Deep: Here Be Dragons Wins Aurealis GN Award

I don't have much if any notion of comics in Australia besides some small press activity, the occasional enthusiastic North American attending some convention in that country, that big conference that Robert Crumb skipped and a few cartoonists of great import that make their home in that wonderful part of the world at least part of the year. That's my way of saying I'm happy to run Gestalt Publishing's press release-style news of winning the graphic novel category in a science fiction awards program some days ago. They won for this book, which was also nominated in the Illustrated Kids Book category. The publisher had two other finalists; a book of theirs won the award last year as well. Congratulations.
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gilles Rochier

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Stare: The Extended Weekend In Super-Interesting Events

* the Hillary Chute-organized gathering of comics titans that was the Comics: Philosophy and Practice event at the University of Chicago (alma mater of Jessica Abel and Ivan Brunetti) dominated a lot of folks' Internet check-ins over the weekend. I'm going to assume that any archiving of the live-streaming footage will eventually be discoverable from this site. For now, you can read some of the tweets sifting their way to the surface about the show or just stare at this photo like I have for the last 20 minutes. The great thing about the twitter coverage of this show is that the audience was stuffed with comics smarties and the presentation format kind of encouraged people pulling stuff out and tweeting about it.

* Charles Brownstein went to Tokyo to participate in an international symposium on the kinds of issues with which the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund concerns itself in North America. That made his Facebook account worth checking. I assume there will be something more substantial up at the Fund site soon.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bill Everett's Imagery Could Be Unsettling And Odd

image
 
posted 2:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Jim Steranko Gallery

image
 
posted 2:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Note From Zunar: Decision On Civil Case This Week

The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar issued a press notice yesterday to remind that a decision will be rendered in two days on his civil suit against police political authorities in his country regarding his unlawful detention a couple of years ago due to the content of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia. The cartoonist was held for two days, was investigated under the Sedition Act, and if my memory serves was picked up right before some crucial publicity-style events designed to drive sales of that volume. One of the key concerns in the suit is that Zunar was arrested before the books were publicly available, which combined with the fact that no one has come close to rioting or anything like that due to Zunar's cartoons, puts some stress on officials' claims that there was some sort of imminent danger that called for the cartoonist's detention.

Due to Malaysian law, the court could also decide that Zunar has to pay the government about 8000 Euros for bringing the case in the first place. This also to my mind doesn't really get at a key of the Zunar matter, which is the chilling effect the government's actions have had on the artist's ability to print and distribute his comics in his home country just generally, due to potential partners and commercial allies being frightened away. Even so, there are preferred outcomes here, obviously. So all eyes on Kuala Lumpur.
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Why On Earth Don't We Have A Matt Fox Book?

image
 
posted 2:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2012 Stan Lee Awards Winner

imageA trio of you forwarded a link to this con report emanating from that Mark Millar-curated comics show in London over the weekend -- which surface checking indicates was very successful in terms of selling out its space and driving people with money to the creators in attendance -- and its results for something called the Stan Lee Awards. It appears from contextual clues within that piece they have been done at least more than once, although I'm hard-pressed to figure out how they stand out in any way other than being this show's awards and getting Lee's name on them. In fact, they're probably primarily interesting for their lack of organization other than tossing in characters and projects and TV shows and the like into the same pile -- a certain approach to comics where all of these things are chunks of carrot in the same pop-culture stew and thinking about them as all being equal things isn't odd.

Writer Scott Snyder, an emerging if not already-there A-list mainstream comics talent and a key cog in DC extending its New 52 success past the initial "gimme gimme gimme" stage, was the night's big winner. Winners in bold. That's I believe a 2011 Sara Pichelli cover at left. At least I hope so.

BEST WRITER
* Scott Snyder
* Mark Millar
* Grant Morrison
* Mark Waid

BEST ARTIST
* J H Williams III
* Greg Capullo
* Jock
* Sara Pichelli

BEST SERIES
* Daredevil
* Uncanny X-Force
* Detective Comics
* Locke & Key

BEST SUPERHERO OR SCIFI MOVIE
* Captain America: The First Avenger
* Rise of the Planet of the Apes
* Thor
* X-Men: First Class

BEST TRADE
* Who Is Jake Ellis?
* Walter Simonson's The Mighty Thor: Artist's Edition
* Fables Vol 15: Rose Red
* The Walking Dead Vol 14: No Way Out

BEST LIMITED SERIES OR STORY ARC
* Criminal: Last of the Innocent
* Flashpoint
* Superior
* The Dark Angel Saga

BEST COMIC HERO
* Batman
* Spider-Man
* Daredevil
* Wonder Woman

BEST NEWCOMER
* Justin Jordan
* Nate Simpson
* Sara Pichelli
* Tradd Moore

BEST PUBLISHER
* Image
* Marvel
* DC
* IDW

BEST TV SHOW
* Breaking Bad
* Game of Thrones
* The Walking Dead
* Doctor Who

BEST GAME OR TOY
* Batman Arkham City
* L.A. Noire
* Portal 2
* The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

MAN OR WOMAN OF THE YEAR
* Jane Goldman
* Jim Lee
* Robert Kirkman
* Scott Snyder
 
posted 2:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Bayun Slayer

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* such is the power of this column that people anticipate the appearance here of projects like the Mark Andrew Smith-written Sullivan's Sluggers and give it tons of money before the column pops back onto the site. You can still jump on board, of course. That's another one for the "figure out what's going on with this stuff" pile.

* Tomorrow Jones made its goal, too, no thanks to me.

* one prominent project out there right now that hasn't caught the imagination of a fervent fan base -- at least not yet -- is a fundraiser for the forthcoming CAKE show, I suppose without knowing for certain because the organizers could use a cash infusion to get that event launched. I'm told the video is very charming, although I haven't caught up to it yet. Chicago could do really well with a small-press show -- it's the kind of city that a lot of people want to visit, and it's the kind of city that hosts hidden reservoirs of comics-making talent -- so I'm all for giving the organizers of this one as much slack as they require.

* I also keep forgetting to mention this festival in Kenosha, which is heading into its final hours short of its goal.

* not comics: as always, I beg your indulgence in that I'd like to mention CR staff photographer Whit Spurgeon's fundraising project for a short film he's making. His first one was good.

* Brian Andersen's project is getting to that crucial, almost-completed stage.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: An Ernie Chan Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Ernie Chan, RIP

imageCommentary and reaction around the Internet to the passing of the comics illustrator Ernie Chan (1940-2012).

*****

Institutional
* Entry At The Philippine Comics Art Museum
* Lambiek Entry
* Wikipedia Entry

Past Interviews, Profiles And Articles Of Interest

Audio
* The Comic Books 01
* The Comic Books 02

Blog Entries
* AIM Comics
* Black Gate
* Es La Hora De La Tortas
* Internet 451
* Invest Comics
* Mimi Cortazar
* My Comic Board Manners
* Ratchet's Hulk Collection
* Rip Jagger's Dojo
* Sean Taylor
* Steve Miller Reviews
* The Fellowship Of The Geeks
* The Incredible Hulk: Engine Of Destruction
* Ultimate Conan Fan
* Welcome To The Marvel 1980s

Message Boards
* Outcast Studios

Miscellaneous

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool
* Comics Should Be Good
* Komikero Dot Com

Photos
* Toronto Cartoonists Workshop Gallery

Twitter
* Search On Terms Ernie Chan

Video

*****



*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Werner Roth At Comic Art Fans

image
I have to admit, I know more about The Beast than I do about Werner Roth
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Alien Races

image
I try not to post links to a lot of straight-up copyrighted material, but this stuff seemed so strange to me taken out of context I thought it was enough of a change to suggest the presence of a curatorial voice
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Michael Cavna talks to Roger Langridge about his decision to stop working for mainstream publishers due to ethical concerns over their treatment of creators. I know some people think this is a small thing, but I'm convinced that comics was changed in the 1980s for the better because of those creators that took the lessons of the Jack Kirby Art Fiasco to heart and looked for new ways to express themselves, even as Marvel itself did not change its basic nature.

image* the art of writing about comics shows is becoming a rarer and more slippery thing, but there was a bunch of pretty good stuff up about TCAF that you can access in the Collective Memory section along the right hand column. One such piece was this post over at Sequential.

* Sarah Douglas talks to Robert Crumb. Shaun Manning talks to Matt Kindt. Kiel Phegley talks to Axel Alonso. Brigid Alverson talks to Michael Murphey.

* I don't think I've ever seen this Darwyn Cooke drawing of Ambush Bug.

* I don't know what to make of news of DC pruning its subscription services, except that as an old and fearful man I'm always unsettled by anything changing, even a tiny bit. The odd thing is, I'm actually at a point in my life where a subscription to certain comics might make sense -- I'm far away from a comics shop, for one.

* Jason Thompson enthuses over the miracle that was Cromartie High School, marveling at just how stupendously weird that series was and shaking his head in disbelief that even though it wasn't finished in the US that it was ever published anywhere at all. I concur. I imagine there are a lot of folks tired of hearing from me about that comic, but I'm still slightly stunned that a comic with a joke like naming all of its high schools after US-born Japanese major leagues baseball players ever existed. That's not simply "just a joke for me," that's the kind of thing I imagine in my head and then decide not to say out loud to my friends because it's too specific to my own sense of humor. "Oh, and here's the Japanese comic series with an Orestes Destrade joke." The mind still boggles.

* Stephan Pastis does a strip about abortion, and at least some readers noticed.

* Rob Clough on Coin-Op Comics #3. Todd Klein on World's Finest #1. Katherine Dacey on Honey Darling. Sean Gaffney on One Piece Vol. 62. Greg McElhatton on Rohan At The Louvre. Tucker Stone on various comics, old and new. Brad Mackay on Modern Cartoonist: The Art Of Daniel Clowes.

* Steven Ringgenberg writes about Tony DeZuniga. A big part of editing a publication like the Journal is allocating your resources, and I can't imagine a better use for Ringgenberg than putting him on appreciations like that one.

* the writer about comics Robert Fiore has a lot of strengths, but one that hasn't been absorbed by all the writers about comics that have followed him into the breach over the years is his strength with writing about animation. Here's a post that mixes the two.

* finally, why wouldn't you take advice from Neil Gaiman?
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 20, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Faith Erin Hicks

image

*****

imageFaith Erin Hicks is a living advertisement for comics' ability to invite anyone to the table willing to work once they get there. Hicks just started doing comics, then did some more, then did some that were seen by a few people, then did more that were seen by more people, and now with books like 2010's Brain Camp and this year's Friends With Boys to her name, she's fairly unavoidable. I'm not saying that Hicks' best work isn't ahead of her, because I think it is and I think she'd agree with that appraisal. It's just that it's hard to deny that the young cartoonist has put together a style and a way of working that suits the stories she wants to tell, and that's a significant accomplishment in any artist's career. I look forward to her next book, and to continue with ongoing projects like her occasional Internet one-off or the now-on-hiatus The Adventures Of Superhero Girl (if it ever stops being on hiatus).

This interview is almost solely concerned with Hicks' latest, Friends With Boys. That work builds on its admirable hook of a title in an impressively intuitive way, far more reflective of the cartoonist's idiosyncratic point of view than some kind of brand-building exercise. It's a story less about someone who is friends with a lot of boys than about finding friendship of any kind when one's personal narrative completely swaps in a new context for the old one. There's also a ghost in it, which I initially found strange and which we talk about below. I like the way that Hicks enthusiastically processed the following questions; it's a way to engage something like that that reminds me a lot of her comics. The following was tweaked in almost imperceptible ways for flow. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Faith, one thing I find interesting about your relationship vis-à-vis comics is that while you read some comics like Tintin you opted out on the comics-shop driven experience. I'm surprised that you didn't end up full-time in prose. What is it specifically about comics, do you think, that's appealed to you in a way that you've ended up doing this for a living as opposed to animation or writing full-time or any of the other choices you must have had? What's fulfilling to you about comics that you don't get anywhere else?

FAITH ERIN HICKS: Oh man, comics are the best because you get to do both writing and drawing. I guess I'm greedy and want to do it all. While there's a lot I loved about animation, if you're low on the totem pole like I was, you only get to be part of one tiny piece of a much larger creative work. The collaborative nature of animation is fun, but I like having more control over the final product. As for prose, I like the visual end of making stories too much to work in a medium that's all writing, although I enjoy the idea behind those illustrated books like the Wimpy Kid diaries or Steve Emond's recent work. I wish I had something profound to say as to why I like comics, but I just like them. I like the control you have, I like that they're low cost, and if you both write and draw, you don't have to rely on someone else to produce a finished comic. It's all you.

Just on the comic book store thing, I actually would have dived wholehearted into the comic book shop experience if I'd had the chance, but the local shop I had access to was incredibly unfriendly to a teenage girl. I'd walk by the store entrance about five times before getting up my courage to go in to meekly buy X-Men comics, so it wasn't so much an opting out, rather a "being chased away." [Spurgeon laughs] Comics can be spectacularly terrible at attracting new readers, even ones that really, really want to read comics. Someone should look into that.

SPURGEON: As I understand your story, you got into comics by doing them. How much of your self-education in comics was simply fulfilling your need to express yourself, and how much were you aware of taking in influences and improving your craft along the way? How self-conscious have you been and do you continue to be about your development?

HICKS: I'd say for the first five to eight years or so, especially while I was doing my old webcomic Demonology 101, it was me expressing myself. I didn't have much awareness of art or comicking as art, I just wanted to draw this story that I had. I knew my art was improving as I worked, and I desperately wanted it to continue to improve, but I was also sort of... I don't know, if I was aware of anything, it was how limited I was an artist. Comics are really really hard to do, and I've always struggled with the art aspect of them. I feel I spent the last five to eight years just learning how to draw, how to draw people, how to draw trees, how to draw people and trees interacting, and now that I'm emerging from that stage with technical skills, now I can actually learn to make comics. So the last couple years, drawing Friends With Boys especially, I feel like my comic education has truly begun, now I've gotten that whole "learning to actually draw" thing out of the way.

I'm a lot more knowledgeable and aware of different creators and their work nowadays. I have a good library system and a good local comic store to frequent and I can access and be influenced by so many different types of comics. I get obsessed with certain things about an artists's style: the way Naoki Urasawa draws noses, the way Nate Powell draws shoes, the way Becky Cloonan draws teeth... little pieces of another artist's work can have a huge impact on my work. I noticed my comics changed so much after I discovered Naoki Urasawa. Influence-wise, I feel like I've had two huge impacts on my work: Jeff Smith, who I discovered back in college -- so probably 2001 -- and Urasawa, who I started reading in 2008.

Now, of course, everything I do is about improving my work. It's a little scary, though. Even though I've drawn comics regularly since 1999, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. It's crazy, how deep learning to draw comics can go. Is it like this for musicians? Can you play the guitar for 10 years and only feel like you've barely begun to learn?

SPURGEON: How different is webcomics culture right now as opposed to ten years ago, in contrast to when you started putting work on-line? Do you get a sense of different people reading, that people read differently? For instance, I imagine that there are greater and more established avenues for discovery as opposed to just putting stuff out there and crossing your fingers; I also have to imagine that the demands of social media are pervasive, right down to what people might prefer to read.

HICKS: When I first started doing webcomics back in the dark ages of the early '00s, word of mouth was how people found your stuff, but it was on a much smaller scale, and much slower. You'd have to get your comic passed around via e-mail, or posted in forums or linked to by other big artists. The whole crazy gag/meme/weird fandom social media comics thing didn't really exist back then, so maybe people were doing more original stuff, but that's just from what I remember and might not be true. I've never been a big fandom person.

I feel like online comics nowadays are perhaps more mainstream, whatever that word means. Like everyone's making comics and everyone's passing comics around and comics are just this one part of the Internet, like cat pictures or whatever, rather than this specialized section, which was how it felt when I first started making them. Comics back then felt... I guess kind of niche. Now they're part of the rainbow of fun that is the Internet. It feels like a good thing to me, but I'm sure there's a downside to it. I guess people could complain that the craft of online comics is slipping, like, "Oh, this stupid gag comic about He-Man gets a million tumblr notes, but this impassioned comic about one's state of being only gets 400." But I don't even really see that, because it seems to me that the good stuff is always rising to the top. Sure, stupid He-Man comics will always get popular play, but whatever, that's the Internet.

SPURGEON: Right.

HICKS: I'm pleased to see people are still attempting long-form, online comics, like the guy doing Bad Machinery or Gunnerkrigg Court. I think they're attracting a sizable readership with these longer-form comics, so that makes me happy. If everything online was gag comics and comics about He-Man, I'd be pretty depressed, but that's what's nifty about the Internet: people do the comics they want to do, and damn the torpedoes.

image

SPURGEON: The career model that you're pursuing is dependent on print, and I wondered about how you feel concerning your initial print experiences with SLG. I think what Dan Vado does is heroic, but I know that the economics of it can be rough. I also have to imagine it's a big deal to get something out there in the world that way. What did you learn by working with SLG? What was it like having that work in print and available to readers that way?

HICKS: Oh god, SLG... my heart kind of bleeds for them. They were really there for me in my early stages as a reader of comics, especially by publishing Andi Watson's work. His Skeleton Key was such a huge deal for me when I was a neophyte comic reader, a comic that seemed to be made with me as a reader in mind! A girl-friendly comic, both in story and art style! And I feel like SLG was there for a lot of early female comic readers, and now maybe they've been chased out of the market by the rise of manga and book publishers with comic imprints like Scholastic -- and First Second, too -- who just have more money, and more resources and can really reach the bookstore and library markets. And yeah, it was a huge deal for me, being published by them, even though my two little books only sold something like 2000 copies each. I don't really know what the future of publishing is, whether or not there is a purpose to these tiny books with tiny print runs when the Internet and its millions of eyeballs is waiting right there, but I loved being published by them. This is old-school thinking, but it really did make me feel legitimate. I was an honest to god comic book author with a published book.

As for what I learned: well, I got two more graphic novels under my belt before stumbling into my relationship with First Second. And that was a big deal: learning the physical act of sitting and drawing a graphic novel all in one go, as opposed to doing the stop and start updates once a week method of online comics. And I learned about working with an editor, and then technical stuff like scanning for print and dealing with photoshop. SLG deserves a medal for breaking me in like that, seriously.

There's just so much you learn with each book you publish. When you draw a page, you have an image in your head of what that page looks like printed, and then you see it printed and it doesn't look right. So you take what you learned from that and you apply it to your next book. I feel like I'm going to have to burn through about 15 or so graphic novels in order to get a book that doesn't freak me out when it's published.

SPURGEON: [laughs] It might just be my age and perspective, but I think of your style as pretty emblematic of a blending of influences that are out there for creators right now. Your figures are appealing in a very specific way, for example, and don't have a lot to do with adventure comics and superhero comics traditions. How comfortable are you with the basic visual imprimatur of your comics? Do you feel you have a lot of room to adapt your style to the projects on which you're working? Do you think your work has settled into a look?

HICKS: I don't think my style has settled, and I'm definitely not comfortable with it. For example, I think only now am I learning how to draw jeans. And I've been drawing people wearing jeans for thirteen years. Art kind of freaks me out sometimes, maybe because I started out such a... not good artist, and had to do so much grinding and technical study to improve my work to a passably good level. At this point drawing does feel natural, but only because I've done it so much in the last 10 years. I have stress nightmares of waking up and having all those years I spent drawing wiped away and I'm back to square one, unable to draw. It comforts me a little to see pros like Mike Mignola talk about their art struggles, and express dissatisfaction with their past work. I'm not alone!

Anyway, back to style. I try to adapt my work with each project, and keep the reader in mind. I just finished a young reader comic with J. Torres which will be out in the fall, and I drew it very cartoony, a flatter style than what's in Friends With Boys. And Friends With Boys looks different from the comic I'm currently drawing for First Second (it's called Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong and it should be out next year); the FWB art style was a little more rounded, characters had larger heads, larger eyes, everything was a touch cartoony, but this current book is more angular looking, a little more grounded in realism, especially in character proportions. These are probably pretty subtle differences, and maybe only noticable to me, but I think it's important to be aware of the style of book that you're making, and the readers who will be picking it up. If your art style meshes with the story, then everything's golden.

imageSPURGEON: How much have you learned working with other writers on comics projects in terms of how you approach those tasks yourself? Is there something that's different about your work having done, say, Brain Camp, or now working with J. Torres, that you can point to?

HICKS: Working with a writer can be tough. Before Brain Camp, I had never worked with any kind of writer; I'd been left alone to do my comics my way, to develop my own opinions on how I wanted things to be paced... that was the toughest part, giving up the pacing control! But Brain Camp especially was good for me, because I think it forced me to take a good hard look at my artwork, and see where it was technically, and question if it needed to be better. (Answer: it did.) So I feel like I grew up as an artist over the course of that book, transitioned from amateur to professional. I changed my art tools, switched from using a brush pen to an actual brush, started relying a lot more on reference and trying to figure out how things actually look. Not how I thought they looked, how they actually look. It was a huge wake-up call. I don't think it would have happened if I'd been writing my own comic, because I think sometimes I figure I can get away with slacking a bit on the artwork because I can make the writing clever, or mess with the comic pacing.

I don't really feel like I'm a true artist, in the drawing sense. I don't think my technical skills are my greatest selling point. I'm not Jillian Tamaki, who just makes you gasp because her linework is so beautiful. I think my artwork is, now, because I've flogged the hell out of it these past couple years, quite serviceable, but it's not... it's not Jillian Tamaki. I can draw weird facial expressions pretty well, though. So that's good. [Spurgeon laughs]

Anyway, I guess the point is that it's good for me to work with a writer every now and then, because it forces me to examine my artwork and see where it's weakest, because I'm not concentrating on the writing. My only job is the artwork, and I want to do the best job that I can. No hiding behind writer cleverness allowed. Also, the best thing about working with a writer is that you get to try things you might not normally try, because the writer brings a completely different brain to the comic making. I'd really like to do a true collaboration with someone some day. Not just a "here's the script; go draw it" collaboration, but a real hands on back and forth with another person, writer or artist.

imageSPURGEON: I was surprised to learn that you write full script, or at least that's my understanding from something you said in an interview. Is there a reason you write before you draw as opposed to working that out on the page? Does how you work vary at all project to project?

HICKS: Oh, I thumbnail and write when I do my initial script. I get a thick pad of lined notebook paper, and I do the thumbnails on one side of the paper and scribble in dialogue on the other side. I feel it's really important to do both at the same time, initially, because comics are this wonderful balance of art and writing, and I don't think one should trump the other. Plus it's a good method to figure out pacing in the comic, having the thumbnails emerging organically along with the writing. After I'm done thumbnailing it out, I type up the script, tightening and polishing as I go, but if I have to rework a scene, it's always in thumbnails first. I work this way with pretty much everything, although if I'm doing something goofy and short -- like for the Internet -- I don't bother typing up the script. I started working this way back at the very end of my old webcomic Demonology 101, so I've been doing it a while.

SPURGEON: You have a natural facility with page design in that it looks like you feel comfortable working a number of structures on the page -- it may be that you favor three-tier pages, but that almost makes your switches to two by twos or single images more striking for the rhythm you've established. You're working mostly in YA territory, which I think of as very story-driven. What are your concerns in terms of presenting your stories visually, the density and the pacing of it?

HICKS: I always want what I draw on the page to be in service to the story. That's my number one concern. How do these panels push the story forward, how do they support it, and support the emotion of the scene? Panelling's kind of new to me... Friends With Boys was very experimental for me; before I drew it all my other books didn't deal with bleeds or with decompression in quite the same way, but when I drew Friends With Boys I really wanted to give the manga style panelling a try. It's mostly Naoki Urasawa's influence, and lately Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist), as she's very good with action.

I find panelling very puzzling, actually. Sometimes it drives you into the story, but not in ways that you expect. I remember how Urasawa used panelling in Pluto, especially in this one scene where robot detective Gesicht is accused of killing a man, and there was just a single panel of his reaction, but the bottom of the panel was slanted downwards, like it was collapsing... it was really, really striking and made the moment impact on me in a much larger way than if it was a simple rectangular panel. I felt sucked into the scene. But then there's guys like Jaime Hernandez who use more simplistic paneling, and I feel very engaged in their storytelling too. I can't put my finger on why they both work, since they're both so different. I'm still learning, still experimenting.

image

SPURGEON: I like your work with setting, particularly in that you don't seem to overstress that element given the narrative demands -- my memory is that you don't call attention to that part of your work. How fully fleshed-out is the physical setting of something like Friends With Boys before you go to work on it? Is it conceptually sound, something you know what it looks like in your head? Do you preliminarily sketch settings or locations?

HICKS: The War At Ellsmere, which was my second SLG book, was the first time I really thought about place and how the setting the characters were in would influence them. I didn't really have the technical skills when I made that comic to realize the setting as much as I wanted, but I took what I learned and applied it to Friends With Boys, which used Halifax as a setting. Well, fake Halifax. I wanted the town in FWB to be small, so it couldn't be Halifax, but Halifax houses and streets had the right look that I wanted for the comic, so I cherry picked what I liked, and drew it. Sometimes I do preliminary sketches, but mostly I have a huge folder of reference on my computer, to take a look at when I need to draw a house or a street. If you have reference to give your imaginary comic book town a sense of place, I think it can add a lot of weight to your drawings.

Back to what I said before, about paneling and how everything I do is in support of the story, I think of setting in the same way. It should support the story, not distract from it. I like it when you establish a setting at the beginning of a scene, really, really establish it, make sure the reader knows exactly where the characters are and how they're interacting with the background, and then over the course of the scene, let the setting fade from the panels. The scene can then be just about the characters and their emotions. I'm not saying don't draw anything in the background, but as long as the setting has been established, and the reader knows where the characters are in the environment, maybe you don't need some crazy detailed drawings behind someone's head. (Unless, of course, that background is really important to the scene.) Good manga does this technique very well, and so do American cartoonists like Raina Telgemeier. I guess my example would be the scene in Friends With Boys where Maggie's lying under her bed and her brother crawls under the bed and they talk. There's a page of establishing the setting, the bed, the quilt on the bed, the wood panelling of the floor, but for the rest of the scene, the background fades away, because I want the scene to be about these two characters talking, not about how well I can draw detailed woodgrain.

SPURGEON: I'm going to spare you another question about the autobiographical elements of Friends With Boys, but I am intrigued by the fact you were home-schooled for a time. How big a foundational experience is that for you given the kind of make-it-up experience that cartooning can be? Do you think you have a more fine-tuned appreciation of social setting both in your work and outside of it than other people might?

HICKS: Hm, I don't know. Maybe? I'm of the opinion that the structured school environment and hours and hours of television is probably not the best thing for developing a creative mind. I would create stories as a kid because I was bored out of my skull and wanted to be entertained. I have a lot of social anxiety due to not spending a lot of time with my peers growing up, and not developing the same way socially, but I don't know if that makes me a better social observer.

image

SPURGEON: Let me follow up a bit on that comment about the scene under the bed. I think that's one of two complexly-staged scenes in the book, that and the one with the kids at the movie theatre. Beyond establishing the setting in a way those physical details can be dropped so that the focus goes to the character, is there any secret you have about extended setpieces like those, scenes that might be defined by real subtleties of character interaction? How important does it get to you to nail certain scenes like that in the overall landscape of a book?

HICKS: Oh man, so important. Or rather, important to me as a reader, and I think I approach comics from that perspective: I want to make the kind of comics I want to read. I think if you can get those moments in a book where you can wrap the reader up in the character's emotions and what the characters are feeling in the scene, then you have a reader that's really clicked with the book. That's something I strive for. I don't know if I have any secrets to those scenes, but I like watching people interact in real life, and I like seeing how actors work and how they draw you into the emotions of the character they're playing.

I've been watching Breaking Bad a lot lately, and I quite like what Bryan Cranston does as an actor, dragging the viewer into the scene and into understanding this horrible guy, Walter White. He's such an asshole, and yet you totally understand him, and can follow his deranged thought process. It's pretty fascinating. Anyway, my suggestion is to be an observer. Be interested in how people act towards each other in real life, and how skilled thespians can take regular emotions and twist them into fascinating drama.

I guess another tip would be to be okay with letting a scene breathe, and being okay with having silence in a scene. I love a silent scene, where you have characters reacting and responding to each other, but not speaking. You don't have to have talking in every single panel.

image

SPURGEON: Can you talk a little bit about how the ghost storyline was folded into the rest of the narrative? That material fascinated me because it seemed like the main thrust of the story didn't really need a supernatural element. What do you think those scenes add to Friends With Boys that you couldn't have covered or engaged otherwise?

HICKS: For me the Ghost is a layer in the book, something that adds to both the setting and the sense of loss that Maggie is feeling. I made the decision very early in drawing Friends With Boys that I would have the town the comic is set in be inspired by Halifax. Every building I drew is a Halifax reference. I moved to Halifax a few years ago from the suburbs of Ontario, and I'd never lived in a city that was really old or one that was beside an ocean. It's an interesting city, this modern city layered on top of a really old one. There's lots of graveyards downtown. I love this one graveyard that's smack in the middle of the city; it has 1,200 grave markers and over 12,000 bodies in it. I find it pretty fascinating, the death and hardship that seems to be wrapped up in the history of this city.

I have guy friends who are very much into the romance of the sea, the stories of seafaring and these ancient manly times where it was all about the saltwater on your face and fishing for a living. It always struck me as kind of horrible: the men would go off to sea to make a living and maybe they wouldn't come home, because the sea drowns people and the women are left behind. The ghost is someone left behind by the realities of making a living in this seafaring city.

SPURGEON: One way to see the ghost subplot would be as the ultimate expression of Maggie wanting to fix something given how much in her own life kind of thwarts such a fix. I thought that was an astute observation of how a lot of kids react to a new situation, or a home in crisis. Is there something you to say about that specific outlook that a kid brings on when things aren't going well?

HICKS: I don't know if I was trying to say something about outlook, but it's something I understand very well. It's tough when there's something in your life that affects you a lot, but you have no control over fixing it. And kids are especially powerless, having no way to disentangle themselves from family drama, so of course you seek out things that you do have control over and focus on that. I know I didn't really want to comment on people who behave that way, because I've done it myself, fixating on things to "fix" even though you have no business fixing that thing. That's probably where my more sympathetic outlook to Maggie's (probably) stupid behavior comes from: I've been there, done that. I understand why it happens.

image

SPURGEON: Another way that I enjoyed the sparsely applied supernatural trappings is as a representative for how we all -- and maybe teens especially -- have problems that are just beyond the understanding of parents and other concerned outsiders. Is that a fair reading?

HICKS: Completely fair, and really astute. Hurrah! [Spurgeon laughs] Nowadays I think it's old hat for a story to put forth this idea that the supernatural can be a metaphor for what you go through as a teenager, but I remember as a teen myself being so shocked when Joss Whedon did it in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It also kind of relates to what you were talking about before, about how typical it is for kids to try and fix something in their life that has nothing to do with their actual problems: Oh, if I just defeat that vampire, the pain I feel over this family situation may ease a little. If you're a teen dealing with broken home issues, or whatever issue, you don't always want to read about kids in that situation when you're looking for entertainment. But reading about someone like you, maybe with a missing mom or dad, defeating evil and saving the world... it can be cathartic.

SPURGEON: How much do you think through the metaphorical aspects of the story you're telling while you're doing it, or even beforehand, and how much develops on its own, do you think?

HICKS: When I first started Friends With Boys, the ghost didn't have so many metaphorical qualities. She was just this unusual presence that was there as an outgrowth of the Halifax setting, but it made sense when she stepped in as a metaphor for Maggie's mom and for all the things that are unfixable in the world. I like it when stuff like that happens; you just write and develop your story and pieces of it take on new shapes that you didn't anticipate.

image

SPURGEON: I admired the restraint shown with the character of the mother. Was it tempting at all to bring her back? Ultimately, what made you decide not to?

HICKS: Hah, probably because if I did bring her back, I'd have to write and draw another 200 pages dealing with the fallout of her return. I had to deal with a parent leaving when I was in college, and then coming back, which was its own level of emotional turmoil. I very very briefly considered ending the book with Maggie's mom coming home, and just a final scene with the two of them confronting each other, but I didn't even approach my editor about it. I got a lot of questions as to why Maggie's mom left and whether or not she'd come back, and I don't have concrete answers to either, and that's on purpose. I really wanted the book to be about Maggie learning to grow while dealing with this constant state of loss. Having a parent leave is a very odd feeling. They're gone but they're not dead, so you're not really sure what to do with the situation. It feels like everything's frozen in amber, your relationship with them, your relationship with your psyche... Maggie makes the hard-won decision to move on, even though the situation with her family isn't really resolved and some days she's not okay.

SPURGEON: There's a very funny scene late in the book when a group of the characters are taking something back they want from a group of people they don't like. It's told with a great deal of symmetry on two pages facing one another. How comfortable are you with using structural tricks like that to build a scene, or to underline an element within the story you want to see emphasized?

HICKS: I didn't even notice those pages were symetrical until you pointed it out. I went back and looked at them and thought, "Oh hey, this looks good! My subconscious is a better cartoonist than I am." But I do really like scenes like that where you repeat the same panels in order to stretch out the timing of the scene. It's fun to try and make the reader really really aware of the passage of time; Jeff Smith does it so well in Bone, playing for both comedy and suspense. I find that I get kind of anxious if the pages I draw end up looking too similar in terms of their paneling, so I don't tend to do it too often.

SPURGEON: Given that you're still developing your skills in a lot of different areas and mentioned what you developed on some of those earlier projects -- what's the takeaway here, for you, in terms of adding to the skillset. How were you a different cartoonist by the time you got to the last pages you did on Friends With Boys?

HICKS: Experimenting with paneling in Friends With Boys was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot in that respect. It was really scary at the beginning. I didn't really know what I was doing -- I had to go back and do a lot of correcting once I was finished with the book -- so I'd have a copy of some Urasawa book close at hand, and I'd stop and stare at it when I got stuck. Now I feel a lot more comfortable with paneling, and I think it'll show in my later works. I feel a lot more confident in my skills now that I have Friends With Boys under my belt; it's my first comic where I felt very aware of what I was doing as a cartoonist, aware of what makes a good comic, and that's a great feeling to have. Also, putting the comic online and blogging about my techniques making it was a very good experience. Sitting and writing down why I made the choices I did with that book, as well as why I like certain techniques more than others helped me work through a lot of my thought process.

imageSPURGEON: Has there been any blowback on the title? That's a fantastic title, but one thing I like about the comic is that it isn't the concept suggested in the title but what happens to a person like that -- it's a starting point rather than a finishing point, and in fact the most important relationships Maggie develops are all with female characters, living, dead and absent. How attentive are you generally to what people say after publication, how people have reacted to what you've done?

HICKS: I'm waaayy too attentive. It's the problem of being on the Internet; if there's a review out there of the book, good or bad, I'm probably going to read it. The title... it's been weird how there's been a vocal minority of people who don't get it. The purpose behind it is exactly as you say, it's Maggie's starting point in the book. She's had a certain kind of relationship up until that point, and now she has to push beyond her comfort zone and the comic is about her doing so. It's weird, I remember this one critic complaining "I kept waiting for Maggie to make friends with all these boys!" and I was like, "Um... well, she's done that already. Now she's learning new things."

SPURGEON: Are you friendly with other cartoonists? Do you have a direct peer group, do you think? Who out there do you consider kind of in the same place you are, or with similar concerns?

HICKS: Oh, gosh, I am slightly horrified... I mean, there are plenty of cartoonists that are maybe my peers, but I don't consider myself on the same skill level as them. I love what Raina Telgemeier does, how she's practically a one-woman ambassador for comics, but my books aren't on the New York Times bestseller list, so it's probably insulting to compare myself to her. Same goes for folks like Nate Powell or Becky Cloonan. I like their work very much and I think we're all around the same age, but I don't think I'm peers with them. I'm ambitious, though, and I'm working hard. I think I'll catch up someday.

SPURGEON: In the end, are you happy you wrote the post that was so well-traveled about your financial situation in comics? Was any part of how people reacted to that unpleasant for you, or surprising? Why do you think people talking frankly about the financial considerations involved with making art remains such a rarity? What would you have a younger cartoonist take away from your frank appraisal of your own prospects? Did anything about how that unfolded surprise you?

HICKS: The response to that post was a little surprising. I certainly didn't expect it to blow up the way it did. I wrote it because of course I'm online and I'm part of the online comic community, and if you're part of that world you get exposed to the harsh realities of the financial end of making comics, like creators sacrificing their lives to comics and not being rewarding financially. And of course, there's always the horrifying cries for help whenever a freelancer gets sick, and they have no health care, so they have to go begging to the comic community. It's really rough to read that stuff online and worry that you may be in that situation in the future.

imageI wanted to write something that was maybe a little more positive, a "this is how I make this work" post, as opposed to an "oh god, I'm so poor, don't ever go into comics, kids!" post. I understand completely why people get so negative towards working in comics: it's hard work and often with little reward, but I feel I've actually been rewarded quite a bit in the last few years. I've worked with a couple of great publishers, and have almost managed to make a living wage. So I wanted to write about that aspect, and how I'm managing to make a living at my dream job, and here are some helpful tips for making a go at it. But I didn't want to sugarcoat it; I make some sacrifices to work in comics, sacrifices of a financial nature, and at this point in my life, I am fine making those sacrifices. Maybe I won't be fine with it when I'm 45 and still making the same money I do now, but right now when I'm young and want to work in comics... life feels really good.

I think the post reached the people I wrote it for, which was those who are maybe just starting out making comics and looking at making a living at it. I wrote it for them, as both encouragement and also as a warning. This kind of life isn't for everyone, and I certainly don't think I'm braver or better or more blessed than anyone out there who draws comics and maybe doesn't make a living at it, I just ended up here through some special circumstances, and that's kind of the most awful thing about trying to make a go of making a living in comics: so much is out of your control. I mean, look, if I'd had a good job when I'd started getting paying work in comics, I probably wouldn't have jumped into freelance life. Everyone likes stability. I'd like to own a house someday. But I lost my job, and couldn't find another. And then along comes First Second, saying hey, draw a book for us, we'll pay you. And I did that, and then I got to draw another for them, and another.

I didn't mind so much the huge negative response thrown my way by the Beat commenters when Heidi [MacDonald] blogged about my post; I don't know how much of that was actually about me or about frustrations towards the cost of comics and the piracy issue, although I did eventually wade into that comment thread to correct those who were blatantly taking my words out of context. I think the problem with talking about money is that even though I was talking about my own life and how I live it, people thought I was judging their lives. One cartoonist seemed to think I was implying my comics were better because I make comics full time, which was really upsetting to me. I just wanted to talk about my own life and how I make it work, but I understand why people took it personally, even though the post had absolutely nothing to do with them. I get like that sometimes too: reading about someone else who's making a fortune merchandising their character, or pinching pennies to make ends meet: sometimes it feels like commentary on my own life, and how I'm not living it the right way. Even though it has absolutely nothing to do with me.

I'd like to say that I had a really wonderful year last year, and this year's been good too, although neither have paid spectacularly well (I made $19,000 last year). Working on some great projects for good American and Canadian publishers, and getting some good freelance work too. I've been working non-stop in comics and freelance since early 2011, and it's been the longest stretch of consistent work I've ever had since graduating from school in 2004. Seriously! I've had more consistent work in comics than I ever did in animation. Weird, huh?

SPURGEON: Will you be making comics ten years from now?

HICKS: Yes. I don't know what the future of comics is, or if I'll be making comics for a living in ten years, but I'll always make them. Even if I don't get paid. They're the perfect way to tell the millions of stories I have in my head.

*****

* Friends With Boys, Faith Erin Hicks, First Second, softcover, 224 pages, 9781596435568, 2012, $15.99.

*****

* cover to the new book
* what we finally settled on as a representative self-portrait
* from War At Ellsmere
* from Brain Camp
* a panel I like from very early on in Friends With Boys
* setting (from Friends With Boys)
* the watching-a-movie sequence from Friends With Boys
* two scenes featuring the Friends With Boys ghost
* the Mom character as she hangs over certain scenes in Friends With Boys despite not appearing
* two panels I just sort of like from the book; the second one is even part of a panel
* because we didn't talk about it at all -- my fault! -- here's an installment of The Adventures Of Superhero Girl (below)

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Garman Cartoons

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Never Forget That Modern Cartoonist Is Just Sitting There

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robert Wilson IV

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jordan Gibson

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Pat Kewley

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Myrtle Beach, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Maine, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #294 -- Reality And Regrets

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Series You Read Religiously In The 1980s, And One -- at #5 -- You Wish Had Joined Them In Your Reading Pile But You Didn't Get To Until Later." This is how they responded.

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Thriller
2. Nexus
3. Flaming Carrot
4. Dalgoda
5. Bad News

*****

image

Evan Dorkin

1. American Flagg
2. Love and Rockets
3. Flaming Carrot
4. Nexus
5. Raw (caught up with the Pantheon collections)

*****

image

Trevor Ashfield

1. American Flagg!
2. Groo the Wanderer
3. Normalman
4. Love and Rockets
5. American Splendor

*****

image

Jeet Heer

1. Hup
2. Weirdo
3. Neat Stuff
4. Lloyd Llewellyn
5. Raw

*****

image

M. Emery

1. 2000AD
2. Oink
3. Eagle
4. The Uncanny X-men
5. Love and Rockets

*****

image

Mark Coale

1. American Flagg
2. legion of Super Heroes
3. Swamp Thing
4. Mister X
5. Zot!

*****

image

Sean Kleefeld

1. Fantastic Four
2. West Coast Avengers
3. Judge Dredd
4. Rogue Trooper
5. Zot!

*****

image

Chris Duffy

1. Love and Rockets
2. Flaming Carrot
3. Nexus
4. Neat Stuff
5. Weirdo

*****

image

Jamie S. Rich

1. Grendel
2. American Flagg!
3. Kamui
4. Uncanny X-Men
5. Usagi Yojimbo

*****

image

Tony Collett

1. American Flagg!
2. Crossfire
3. Miracleman
4. Watchmen
5. GrimJack

*****

image

Michael Dooley

1. Stray Toasters
2. Electra Assassin
3. The Shadow
4. The Rocketeer
5. The New Mutants

*****

image

Steve Lafler

1. Weirdo
2. Lloyd Llewelen
3. Love & Rockets
4. Raw
5. Yummy Fur

I note, a new Weirdo was a much bigger deal to me than a new Raw.

*****

image

Tom Bondurant

1. Cerebus
2. American Flagg!
3. New Teen Titans
4. Detective Comics
5. Fantastic Four

*****

image

Michael Grabowski

1. Cerebus
2. Saga of the Swamp Thing
3. The Uncanny X-Men
4. The New Teen Titans
5. Weirdo

*****

image

Johnny Bacardi

1. Aztec Ace
2. Zot!
3. Justice League Whatever
4. Yep, Thriller!
5. Love and Rockets (DIdn't get on board till the early '90s, I'm ashamed to say)

*****

image

Marc Arsenault

1. Swamp Thing
2. Aztec Ace
3. Starstruck
4. Love & Rockets
5. Timespirits

*****

image

Marc Mason

1. Uncanny X-Men
2. Dark Horse Presents
3. The Trouble With Girls
4. Dinosaurs For Hire
5. Miracleman

*****

image

Steven Stwalley

1. Cerebus
2. Flaming Carrot
3. Weirdo
4. Swamp Thing
5. Ralph Snart

*****

image

Mike Everleth

1. Grimjack
2. Cerebus
3. Megaton Man
4. Judge Dredd
5. Love and Rockets

*****

image

James Langdell

1. Grendel
2. 'Mazing Man
3. Thor
4. Bacchus
5. Moebius Epic Comics editions

*****

image

Chris Mautner

1. Power Pack
2. The New Defenders
3. Amazing Spider-Man
4. Watchmen
5. Love and Rockets

*****

image

Jamie Coville

1. Avengers
2. Thor
3. Amazing Spider-Man
4. Fantastic Four
5. Justice League/International

*****

image

Patrick Ford

1. Weirdo
2. Raw
3. Lloyd Llewellyn
4. Captain Victory
5. Yummy Fur

*****

I passed on a couple that named comics that weren't published during the decade; my apologies

*****
*****
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Not Comics: James Kochalka On Something Called Co-Op Stories


Matt Bors Accepts The Herblock


A Trailer For An Animated Version Of The Jis And Trino Cartoon
via Robert Boyd


The Official Wizzywig Trailer
via


CAKE Fundraising Campaign Video


A Chris Ware Interview
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 19, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from May 12 to May 18, 2012:

1. The Iranian MP drawn by a countryman in football garb withdraws his complaint, a complaint that was on its way to seeing the cartoonist receive the lash.

2. The political furor over a half-century old political cartoon in a textbook throws the spotlight on recent activities in Indian political culture that has been chipping away at the very strong tradition.

3. A modest amount of money continues to be raised for Jack Kirby and comics-creator related charities by devoted fans who see the Avengers movie.

Winner Of The Week
Roger Langridge

Losers Of The Week
Those associated directly with Marvel Comics. Usually a hugely successful movie is this culture's great moment of glory, but the way Marvel has things set up, glory accrues to Marvel first, the filmmakers and actors second, the businessmen running the studio end of things third and the creators of this material a distant fourth. The comics publishing line is just as likely to be cut in a cost-saving move in a year with successful movies as it is to see any trickle-down effect.

Quote Of The Week
"I think you can have as much or as little detail in a comic as you want, as long as there's a rhythm or flow to the story that carries it along, like each panel is its own beat where the words and images work seamlessly together." -- Joseph Remnant

*****

today's cover is from the small-press and independent comics scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s

*****
*****
 
posted 6:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Myrtle Beach, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
May 18, 2012


Go, Look: Paolo Bacilieri

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Second Group Of Random Links On A Friday Morning

There seem to be an inordinate number of intriguing posts for a Friday morning. Let's jump back into the fray.

* David Chelsea offers Alison Bechdel help on her perspective drawing.

image* Tom DeHaven addresses this year's CCS graduating class. The career advice is pretty fascinating considering he's addressing members of a generation without much of an industry structure to dictate such things to them.

* David Glanzer talks about WonderCon. The Moscone Center people apparently still haven't decided to give the convention dates in advance of six months, which sounds insane to me.

* I nearly missed a three-part interview with Image's Eric Stephenson here, here and here. That piece's likely takeaway will be the 70K sales figure on Saga, but I found it interesting for some of the wonkier reasons. For instance, I guess there's abuse in the Final Order Cutoff system that leaves Image exposed to routinely under-printing books. That sounds eminently fixable. It also sounds like one of those things comics keeps broke for years for no particular reason. Also -- and this is no surprise -- the way that numbers are reported even from a publisher's vantage point makes no sense at all. I'm not sure if it's anything other than a collective lack of will that's keeping us from have accurate numbers reported on a routine basis at this point. Maybe there should be a push for this? Can anyone point out to me if there's anyone specifically still resistant to non-idiotic numbers? Is DC still the fly in the ointment it once was? Stephenson also offers up a great Borders anecdote and a funny, off-hand snapshot of Marvel's broken books policy.

* did you know there will be a live-streaming web cast of that Comics: Philosophy and Practice event?

* Dan DiDio talks to the Guardian about DC's More Watchmen initiative. It's a compelling piece if you like tracking how fans and professionals and industry players orient themselves to pop culture material and the sometimes stifling context of their creation. I'm grateful that DiDio expresses some human sympathy for Moore's position -- even if practiced, simply recognizing the guy might have good reason to be pissed is a far cry better than the ridiculous anger and dismissiveness some fans and pros have hurled at Moore. I'm still not down with the "we had to continue saving comics" and "we're taking a big risk here" narratives. Further, implying that Before Watchmen was conceived of after the success of the New 52 books seems unfair to me, and slightly weird, and sort of funny given how much they tried to stretch the narrative on the relaunch. Also, I'm not sure Dan DiDio all the way knows what "shameless" means -- I'm uncertain how a claim of high quality counters a claim of shamelessness.

* those books sound really dull, by the way. A standard of "hey, there's some decent work here" shouldn't be enough for a project that didn't have to exist.

* cheapest price for Spain Rodriguez's My True Story at Amazon.com: $42.68. Cheapest price for Watchmen: $3.82. Just sayin'.

* I have zero interest in what female character Marvel decides to put into its next movie -- my vote is Jim Shooter and JRJR's Debbie "The Duck" Fix -- but I appreciate ComicsAlliance listing creators with every character in their article on that apparently deeply compelling issue. I had no idea that Bill Everett was partially responsible for Moondragon.

* finally, Heidi MacDonald has posted a really good Comic-Con link round-up (with a terrible title) here. I think she's right that the hassles Comic-Con are experiencing right now -- and that people are experiencing with Comic-Con -- are mostly reflective of an adjustment period as organizers figure out how best to exploit the fact that they're in the same space with the same-sized show for a while. I urge them to be super-clear about the entire process for next year's show, front to back, so that no one feels disappointed as to how something gets presented to them. Also: Gilbert Shelton is attending this year's con. Whoa. Shelton is a pantheon-level cartoonist and I'm not aware of him ever showing up at a comics show I planned on attending. I may grab a tent and one-man Twilight-line that spotlight panel.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jason Turner's TCAF Comics

image
 
posted 10:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Tony DeZuniga, RIP

imageCommentary and reaction around the Internet to the passing of the comics illustrator Tony DeZuniga (1932-2012).

*****

Institutional
* Entry At The Philippine Comics Art Museum
* Lambiek Entry
* Wikipedia Entry

Past Interviews, Profiles And Articles Of Interest
* News Of His Recent Hospitalization 01
* News Of His Recent Hospitalization 02

Audio
* Comics Podcast Network Index
* House To Astonish
* Jamie Coville
* Secret Identity Podcast

Blog Entries
* Abba Studios
* Alex Dueben
* Angry Asian Man

* bakitwhy.com
* BigFanboy.com
* Brainfreeze

* ComicBook.com
* Comic Booked

* Diversions Of The Groovy Kind

* Flesk Publications
* Fred Egg Comics

* Grantbridge Street 01
* Grantbridge Street 02

* HQ Rock

* Il Morto Del Mese

* Jimmy Palmiotti
* Johnny Bacardi

* La Cancion De Tristan

* Madame Pickwick Art Blog
* Mark Evanier
* Michael Aushenker

* Rappler.com
* Robot 6
* Rocket Punch

* SciFiPulse.net
* Shades Of Gray
* Singular Points
* Speak Geeky To Me
* Super Itch

* The Beat
* The Comics Cube
* The Comixverse
* The Gaming Gang
* The Lesbian Geek
* The Mary Sue
* Thinking And Doing
* tropicalpenpals.com

* Weird Crime Theater

imageFacebook
* Author Page
* Personal Page

Message Boards
* ComicVine.com

Miscellaneous
* PCAM Art 01
* PCAM Art 02
* PCAM Art 03
* PCAM Art 04
* PCAM Art 05

News Stories and Columns
* Asian Journal
* Comic Book Resources
* Comics Should Be Good
* Digital Spy
* Examiner.com
* GMA News
* iFanboy
* Komikero Dot Com
* Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation
* Savage Critic (Index)

Photos
* 5 Of 7
* deant316
* jbcurio
* Lady, That's My Skull 01
* Lady, That's My Skull 02
* Lady, That's My Skull 03
* Lady, That's My Skull 04
* Lady, That's My Skull 05
* Scott Edelman 01
* Scott Edelman 02
* tonydeziniga [sic]

Twitter
* JamesDRobinson
* Search On Name
* Tony Moore

Video
* An Interview 01
* Superheroes II -- The Art Of Tony DeZuniga
* Tony DeZuniga
* Tony DeZuniga Art Exhibit Opening
* Tony DeZuniga Bidang Pinoy
* Tony DeZuniga Draws For Club Batman 01
* Tony DeZuniga Draws For Club Batman 02
* Tony DeZuniga ExpoComic 2011
* Veteran Pinoy Cartoonist
* Video About His Recent Health Problems 01
* Video About His Recent Health Problems 02

*****



*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
I Have To Admit: Dollman Fascinates Me

image
he has to be a total badass because a) he goes by "Dollman" and b) everyone brings their A-game to fighting Dollman because no one wants to lose to freaking Dollman
 
posted 9:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Ernie Chan, RIP

imageCommentary and reaction around the Internet to the passing of the comics illustrator Ernie Chan (1940-2012).

*****

Institutional
* Entry At The Philippine Comics Art Museum
* Lambiek Entry
* Wikipedia Entry

Past Interviews, Profiles And Articles Of Interest

Audio
* The Comic Books 01
* The Comic Books 02

Blog Entries
* AIM Comics
* Black Gate
* Es La Hora De La Tortas
* Internet 451
* Invest Comics
* Mimi Cortazar
* My Comic Board Manners
* Ratchet's Hulk Collection
* Rip Jagger's Dojo
* Sean Taylor
* Steve Miller Reviews
* The Fellowship Of The Geeks
* The Incredible Hulk: Engine Of Destruction
* Ultimate Conan Fan
* Welcome To The Marvel 1980s

Message Boards
* Outcast Studios

Miscellaneous

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool
* Comics Should Be Good
* Komikero Dot Com

Photos
* Toronto Cartoonists Workshop Gallery

Twitter
* Search On Terms Ernie Chan

Video

*****



*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 9:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: These Lou Fine Comics Are Awkward And Pretty

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Stan Lee Truncates Appearance Schedule Post-Arthur Lieberman Passing

I hope that news of Stan Lee cutting short his appearances schedule due to the passing of his friend and recent-years business ally Arthur Lieberman provides for whatever time Lee feels he needs to get through what must be a difficult period. My impression -- and granted that I'm sure someone out there has a completely different view either directly oppositional or sharply tangential -- is that Lieberman was a really good friend to Lee, and certainly a valuable resource in moving him past the difficulties of the 1990s into this extended pop culture victory lap Lee's been on for a while now. The late attorney was certainly an old school charmer and came across as whip smart without having to press the point whenever he spoke to the press about Lee or about any business enterprise of Lee's. All condolence to his friends and family.
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Myrtle Beach, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Another Stanley/Tripp Clyde Crashcup Story

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a recently enthusiastic fan writes about why he quit reading Marvel's comics. It has nothing to do with creators' rights.

image* whenever I see some random illustration like this one, it reminds me of how solid the vast majority of Kirby's designs could be.

* speaking of Jack Kirby, I'm still not certain how the complexities of character creation complicate people's response to the idea of creators being screwed; that position seems to suggest that someone's response needs to somehow perfectly match the intricacies of the situation from which that person decides to walk away. I'm not big boycott fan, either, but I don't think I'd hold someone's boycott to that standard, or suggest that this is the reason someone might not want to boycott, even by implication.

* this article argues that at least in the UK we may be reaching a dangerous saturation point on cons and festivals. I doubt that the US and continental Europe are far behind.

* the Legion of Young Smarty-Pants Writers About Comics has its own podcast now.

* Shaun Manning talks to Gilbert Hernandez. Matt Perpetua talks to Arne Bellstorf.

* Sean T. Collins directs our attention to this remarkable post from Phoebe Gloeckner.

* Warren Ellis, he speaks the truth.

* Rob Clough on Big Plans #5. Dan Morrill on Whispers In The Walls. Ng Suat Tong on Jerusalem. Tucker Stone on Best Of Enemies. J. Caleb Mozzocco on various comic-book type comics. Jason on the Avengers movie. A bunch of hilarious, strangely-sensitive fan-men on Jason's review of the Avengers movie.

* looking back in terms of research over recent industry developments, I see a last word on one important industry issue may have already been put out there.

* finally, I know very little about the new Team Valiant -- they sit squarely in my comics industry blindspot, and nothing I've seen about the relaunched comics has intrigued me for a half-second -- but it's hard not to root for someone who had a Valiant birthday cake. That is like me owning the Chicago Bears.

 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CBR: Ernie Chan, RIP

image
 
posted 5:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 17, 2012


Go, Look: Putnici

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Why I'll Be Looking Out The Window All Weekend With A Sad Look On My Face While Mournful Music Plays

The Chicago Tribune previews the Hillary Chute-led comics conference at the University Of Chicago this weekend. Attending sounds like the comics equivalent of being able to watch the 1992 NBA Olympic Dream Team scrimmage.

There's a funny moment in there where the Tribune writer constructs a couple of sentences that could make you believe Chute constructed her invite list with input from Joe Sacco so as not put the world of comics at risk from a multi-generational anti-comics terrorist attack, but that's the only thing that's amusing about not being at the front row of what may be the greatest assemblage of arts- and alt-comics ever.
 
posted 1:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Some Awesome Mac Raboy Interiors

image
 
posted 1:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Steve Bissette: Still No Trial For Accused Steve Perry Slayer

Veteran comics creator and now comics educator Steve Bissette noted this morning on Twitter that two years from the anniversary of the discovery of the crime there's been no trial for the man once arrested for the crime of killing writer Steve Perry. Perry had been down on his luck in a way that had attracted some charitable interest from the comics community. That economic vulnerability also may have exposed the comics and animation scriptwriter to those that murdered him and disposed of his body in a way that his remains hadn't been fully recovered several weeks after the discovery of his slaying. The horrific nature of Perry's end and the clear, potential link between that distressed economic state and his final fate made Perry a huge item of discussion for months and months in the creative community -- at least where I encountered it.

According to statements in the press, it's believed that Perry died on May 10, 2010. He was 55 years old.
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Maxim's Hot 100

image
 
posted 1:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Trio Of Comics-Related Announcements

* Gabe Fowler would like to see more female cartoonists submitting work to Smoke Signal. As is usually the case, Johnny Ryan gets in the best joke.

* A few of you tweeted, dm'ed and e-mailed me (not all three at once) a link to this visual storytelling contest. Sounds like comics to me, even though it doesn't say so explicitly.

* Robert Loss, an English Department faculty member at the Columbus College of Art and Design, sent along a call for proposals, papers and workshops for the Mix 2012 comics symposium held at that institution. The deadline for submissions is June 4 and the PDF can be seen by clicking on this:

Mix_2012_Call_for_Proposals.pdf

If that doesn't work, I'm sure it's google-able. Chris Ware is the keynote speaker at that event, and he's a really, really good speaker.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Love For Frank Robbins

image
 
posted 12:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* walk don't run to this massive wrap-up post on TCAF 2012 from Chris Butcher.

* look at all the happy people at the release party.

* bunch of disparate but reasonably vital or at least intriguing shows of various types up this weekend: that comics show in Maine (this year featuring Kate Beaton and Kazu Kibuishi), Motor City Comic Con, that massive symposium/festival thing at the University of Chicago with the guest list to die for, another shot at a Bay Area convention and another candidate for a proper London-area mainstream comics show. I'd be in Chicago given independent wealth.

* Paul Karasik sent along this link to a set of photos from his Graphic Novel Realism show, running until May 25.

* exhibitor applications are due June 15 for the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, to be held in November this year. It's a good show, and the price seems pretty okay to me.

* finally, unless I'm reading that BCGF thing wrong, it looks like they've added The Knitting Factory as a location for programming. That's good, because the space they used last year was cool but super-, super-packed.
 
posted 12:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Mostly Not Comics: William Meade Prince

image
 
posted 12:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: The Comics Observer

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this clipped and assembled oral history of the Countdown To Final Crisis series is like the Live From New York of poorly-received superhero series.

image* Zack Soto reports on the Zack Soto-curated Study Group show at the Fantagraphics bookstore.

* go, look: Yellow Calx.

* much thanks to Colleen Doran on the occasion of a break from creators rights activism for that creators rights activism.

* Bruce Canwell profiles Joe Sinnott. Alex Dueben talks to Alison Bechdel.

* go, read: "Let Me Explain How To Make And Print An Eight Page Comic."

* who doesn't like Gorilla Grodd? Who doesn't like Dragon Man as drawn by Jack Kirby? Who doesn't love scans of old-school comics fanzines? (via) Who doesn't love correspondence from old-timey comics pros and fans?

* this TCAF report is good enough to pull out and link separately from the Collective Memory for same. I like its focus on small press creators and their creations.

* Dan Morrill on Chicks Dig Comics. Greg McElhatton on Brody's Ghost Vol. 3. Johanna Draper Carlson on various mini-comics she picked up at the MoCCA Festival. Brian Hibbs on the Avengers movie and a couple of comic books. Todd Klein on The Complete Peanuts: 1983-1984, Green Lantern #7-8, Green Lantern Corps #7 and Legion Of Super-Heroes #7. Brandon Soderberg on Conan The Barbarian #1-3. Rob Clough on Forming. Nick Smith on The Lovecraft Anthology Vol. 1.

* Dan Clowes draws Patton Oswalt.

* here's a design process post on that Wizzywig collection.

* here's news of a big Richard Sala art sale.

* finally, tiny books are some of the best books. I still have a tiny Chris Ware book around here somewhere.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 16, 2012


Go, Look: Girl Apocalypse

image
 
posted 3:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
"Unpublished Cartoonists Should Have Solid Drawing And Humility Skills"

imageMy vote is that we all check out of the rest of the day's comics news and take a walk or something, with maybe a link-detour to this funny Paul Karasik post about the Master Class he's teaching at CCS this summer. I'm all for Mr. Karasik doing whatever he wants, including teaching, although I think all this real-world work is getting in the way of his true calling of writing entertaining, comics-related Internet posts.

That's not Karasik art, by the way. That's from Lewis Trondheim's Les Petits Riens, in several sustained sequences the greatest comic ever made about just walking around and looking at stuff. Seriously, I get psyched when Trondheim mounts a sidewalk when I read one of those translated books from NBM the same way I used to get excited when Batman's ass hit seat in the Batmobile.

It's a weird year, isn't it, all this creator's rights stuff and big-ass publishing events crowding into the sustained art- and alt-comics explosion? When Fantagraphics publishing Disney and Schulz and the EC stable doesn't even crack the top 20 of "huh?" in the new comics reality, you know times are odd. It's hard to believe that several months ago it was hard to find a hook for an anniversary article on the old Creators Bill Of Rights that McCloud and those guys shepherded into existence. Now it's all we talk about, with some severely depressing frontier about the implications of exploitation throughout comics left to explore -- and potentially end friendships -- in the weeks and months ahead. Plus we're in the midst of digital, for pity's sake, which is like the transition from drug stores into comics shops except less about the loss of spinner racks and more about the emergence of a magic technology by which comics are easily accessible and even sort of readable on computer screens.

So one time around the block and then back to it.
 
posted 3:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Maybe My Favorite Golden Age Story

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
More On Cartoon-Related Controversies In India

The latest round of political uproar over cartooning in India -- a country with a rich tradition of editorial and newspaper cartooning and a bright future as a market for longer-form works -- has triggered the usual number of think pieces. The New York Times has a mini-survey of some of the major editorial cartooning players. Mangesh Tendulkar thinks the entire cartooning tradition is in deep trouble. A piece at Reuters emphasizes just how strange it is for a 60-year-old cartoon to be excised from a textbook, not to mention that every inclusion of a cartoon is likely to be reviewed -- as I recall, I saw a lot of cartoons for the first time in textbooks, including Mauldin's distraught Lincoln Memorial cartoon after Kennedy was shot. A piece at The Economic Times excoriates the fragile political culture where these kinds of things are even a concern.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Gift From The CCS Class Of 2012

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

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.

*****

FEB121067 ARE YOU MY MOTHER A COMIC DRAMA HC $22.00
One thing that's appealing about this new Alison Bechdel work is that other than it ostensibly being about her mother in contrast with her last major work's focus on her father, I know nothing about it. Another thing that's appealing is that Bechdel's in a creative place right now I don't have to know much about what she has planned to know that I want to check it out.

imageFEB121116 CROGANS LOYALTY HC $14.99
This is the third book in Chris Schweizer's series of historically-informed morality tales via extended family anecdote. I just read them: I enjoyed this one and the other two quite a bit. There's a feel to this book that's very appealing, something I think is the reward for the research and preparation work that Schweizer puts into these volumes.

FEB121149 BUT I REALLY WANTED TO BE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST GN $24.95
These are stylishly drawn, personal-observation cartoons from Margaux Motin, the art maybe distracting from the really fine line Motin straddles between "humor based on the kinds of things people really think about" and "please stop talking now."

MAR120040 BPRD HELL ON EARTH DEVILS ENGINE #1 (OF 3) $3.50
JAN128084 HELLBOY TP VOL 02 WAKE THE DEVIL (6TH PTG) $17.99
Two from the Mignola-verse. I've mentioned here that there are definitely people that have based their comics consumption on this material, either mainly or solely, but I sometimes wonder how many. Then I wonder why it isn't more. You could be perfectly happy, I bet, just buying these comics, the way that a comics reader could have been happy keeping themselves to the EC line in the early '50s or the Marvel line in the early '60s. The series effort above features artist Tyler Crook.

MAR121230 FLOWERS OF EVIL GN VOL 01 $10.95
This one's staring back at me right now, and I haven't taken the plunge. Jog's description here makes it sounds like a BBC comedy-drama as it might be shown on North American basic cable, the kind of thing where the execution of the basic premise is full of eye-popping moments for readers familiar with the basic soap-opera models on which it's based.

MAR120037 CONAN THE BARBARIAN #4 $3.50
MAR120033 RESET #2 (OF 4) $3.50
MAR128079 FATALE #1 5TH PTG (MR) $3.50
MAR120499 SAGA #3 (MR) $2.99
MAR120609 DAREDEVIL #13 $2.99
MAR120587 WINTER SOLDIER #5 $2.99
MAR120884 ADVENTURE TIME #4 $3.99
The Conan is Brian Wood and James Harren, and sounds pretty interesting if it approaches the kind of off-book treatment discussed here. Reset #2 is the second issue of Peter Bagge's latest effort, which makes it a must-buy for me. The next two are from Image's latest, high-profile efforts to feature new series work from established creative teams -- Brubaker/Phillips (for whom a fifth printing is good news) and Vaughan/Staples (a book that's delighting a lot of advance-readers for that kind of material, based on almost incremental story movement). The Daredevil and Winter Soldier comics get a pick-up and look-at based on reputation in the men-beating-each-other-up genre. The Adventure Time book is the indie/not-really-indie comic of the moment, drafting in the wake of the growing-in-popularity cartoon.

FEB120290 DEADENDERS TP (MR) $29.99
Whoa, there's a lot of Ed Brubaker on the list this week. This is a not-exactly-successful effort from early last decade, heavily -- albeit informally, mostly -- hyped at the time and probably possessed of sales figures that would more than warrant its continuation were it to be published today. Warren Pleece art.

MAR120398 COMPLETE CHESTER GOULDS DICK TRACY HC VOL 13 $39.99
This is your giant "I can't believe we get collections like this on a routine basis" book of the week.

MAR121180 BEST OF ENEMIES HIST OF US & MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS HC VOL 01 $24.95
New David B. on a weighty, worthy subject -- in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Filiu. It was hard for me to type anything past "David B." and not leave the computer to start driving to the nearest store that would have this -- probably about nine hours away, actually. But for the sake of this column, it's good to know that it's out and you should of course consider yourself super lucky if you shop in the kind of shop that carries a shelf copy. I'm also voting this the book that everyone references as the one they didn't get to reading as the year begins to slip away from them, like the Katchor last year.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: From Under The Stairs

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Russ Maheras' Sketch Variations Of Those Classic Mars Attacks Cards

image
this has something to do with a Mars Attacks anniversary-related promotion that Russ has explained to me at length and which I still don't understand; I'm sure it's google-able, though; as it's not really comics, looking at this nice set is about the extent of my interest
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Bob Temuka writes about all of the positive things he sees in comics right now.

image* there's hasn't been a ton of reconsideration of Watchmen as a response to new of Before Watchmen; here's one web site that is hosting at least one super-close reading. I think I also saw some stuff over on Hooded Utilitarian, maybe? One reason it might be nice for critics to take a look back at the original book right now is that despite claims to the contrary, these new works will for most audiences have some sort of impact on the original -- if only by providing narrative detail on story events from the original whose power derives in part from their ambiguity, a filling-in-the-blanks that will be hard to shake.

* I probably should have paired something up with yesterday's news of a Watchmen toaster, but there are some nice Spain Rodriguez originals here.

* Greg McElhatton on Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Sean Gaffney on FLCL Omnibus. Rob Wells on two new Popeye-related releases. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors. Bart Croonenborghs on Otto: Keep On Rowing. Johanna Draper Carlson on Courtney Crumrin #2. Some person named Ben on Dear Creature and Hotwire Vol. 1.

* this is the banner for Hope Larson's A Wrinkle In Time effort you'll soon see behind her signing space at various conventions and bookstores.

* Mike Dawson and Alex Robinson talk to Tony Consiglio.

image* I don't always read J. Caleb Mozzocco's walk-throughs of solicitation copy for forthcoming mainstream comic books -- okay, I never do -- but I did this time because it's #12 issues on various titles DC Comics relaunched last year. His guess that they've pushed Martian Manhunter into a heel turn seems worth noting: I thought that character could have used one at some point just to help get him over as a crazy powerhouse to be taken more seriously. Yet I also imagine this will be less effective in a "new" universe because everyone has seemingly arbitrary motivations and moral standing. I have a very limited appetite for musing on superhero stories, but one thing that's interesting to me about DC storytelling generally is the underlying assumption that soaks these books that its characters are awesome. Every single event series they did in the last dozen years was about recognizing the fundamental awesomeness of its biggest characters; this new 52 is about using this notion as a springboard towards new permutations of that awesomeness. The problem is, after multiple relaunches including a continuity-severing one across the board, those characters no longer have much of a connection if any at all to the thirty years of mostly goody-good stories that provided the baseline against which these more "realistic" depictions push. Instead of providing a very clear reason for these characters doing what they do in these initial issues, the creative hivemind seems to just kind of assume everyone will get where Batman is coming from because, well, "it's Batman." With other heroes, where there's a departure of a complicating of their original motives and motivations, the assumption is that readers will stick with it because "it's still Superman" (or whomever). That might be true, people might largely figure that, but I don't think these assumptions are as powerful and versatile in terms of allowing other characters to react to them as was a cushion of decades of comics establishing this as so.

* Alyssa Rosenberg looks at the Grant Morrison book on superheroes and does the kind of thing I largely failed to do in the previous paragraph.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld is one of several comics culture commentators to pick up on some photos of Jack Kirby enjoying himself, even dancing.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 65th Birthday, Ray Zone!

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 15, 2012


Go, Read: The Curious Case Of Joe Simon And The Missing Art

image
fascinating
 
posted 5:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: Graphic Novel Sales May Be Better Than Thought

Interesting catch by Milton Griepp over at ICv2.com. A new post at the comics and hobby business news and analysis site suggests [inhale] that factoring retail prices on graphic novels based on the fact that many stores are likely to use liquidation sales to turn around stock at a greater savings rather than pass all of that discount along to customers makes the number different, and shows significant gains in recent Direct Market graphic novel sales [remaining exhale]. In other words, if I understand that correctly, Diamond was using what they were selling the books for to indicate a market measurement when it's likely the stores are selling those books for more.
 
posted 5:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Freddy's Dead

image
 
posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Iranian MP Withdraws Lashing-Worthy Complaint Vs. Cartoonist

According to a smattering of wire-driven stories this morning, Iranian politician Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani has withdrawn his complaint against cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraye that after a conviction led to the artist being condemned to 25 lashes. This was an important story not only for the barbarism of some cartoonist getting flogged for daring to show someone in a football uniform, and not just because a politician filing suit against a cartoonist in the district he represents is an awful thing from a lot of legal protection standpoints, but also because it would serve as precedent to extend Iran's kid-gloves treatment of religious figures to political ones.

With the complaint withdrawn, it's expected that Shokraye will avoid the lash entirely, which is good news all by itself.
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: More Army Of God

image
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Hodler/Nadel TCJ Hitting Its Stride

image

It's hard for me to imagine a better pair of uses for a quality on-line magazine like TCJ has become over the last 16 months than to publish Gary Groth's charming reminiscence of interviewing Maurice Sendak (the interview snippets are nice, but getting Groth to talk about the experience of interviewing these older gentleman almost always yields awesome results) and to provide a home for Ryan Holmberg's long essay on Osamu Tezuka and Mickey Mouse. Most sites would kill to have something as intriguing as their Maurice Sendak tributes post, and it's at best the bronze medal winner of material available from the front page. Good stuff.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: On Jack Kirby And Motion Lines

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
I Sort Of Like The Idea Of A Watchmen Toaster

That's right; you heard me. I assume this is real. I sort of wish that DC had more stuff like this coming, because if you're going to turn heel -- well, turn bigger heel -- you might as well go all the way. A Dollar Bill mechanical coin bank that involves the character being killed by a revolving door accident, a line of blood-stained raincoats from London Fog... they should just hire a consortium of cartoonists like Brunetti and Ryan and Dorkin and stick them in a room and see what they come up with. I mean, we're already bound to get an anatomically correct Dr. Manhattan action figure, right?

The great thing about a toaster, of course, is you can make all sorts of "watching" jokes, and I'm sure people already are.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Postland

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* David Chelsea writes about mixing comics with immersive panoramas, something he calls "immersive comics." I can't do justice to the execution with an image here, although that should give you a rough idea of what he's talking about.

image* the veteran cartoonist Steve Lafler wrote CR to say that his Bughouse is now being serialized at CO2 Comics.

* I missed this preview of a forthcoming work from Nicolas Mahler.

* it's good to see preview pages up for a new Jeff Lemire alt-comics book.

* they're trying something with the X-Men. Or maybe not. It's hard to tell with the way mainstream comics publishers announce things what constitutes a new direction and what is another weird mini-series you'll see ads for five years from now and wondered if you actually read the comics involved.

* the writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will take a shot at Phantom Lady and Doll Man. Any superhero that goes by the name "Doll Man" would have to be the biggest bad-ass in the room, right?

* hey, here's a free newsletter.

* this article about Cullen Bunn taking over the Venom title kept popping up everywhere, so I guess it's reasonably big news in that corner of comics. I liked the one Bunn-penned comic book I read.

* this new Matt Seneca column will apparently deal with Seneca's choices for greatest comics of all time.

* finally, I may have mentioned this before, but it's nice to see preview pages up for the next Joe Daly book, due in June. I think that stuff looks beautiful, and Daly has an odd and unsettling way of telling all of his stories but particularly this one. He's kind of like a cross between Tim Lane and Josh Simmons, and I like both of those guys, too.

image
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go Buy And Download: 1940s John Stanley Bibliography

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Naughty Earl Otus Illustrations

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Frank Santoro is firing up another round of his correspondence course. Deadline for the limited number of spaces is May 30. Those classes are a force for good in the world. The comics world, anyway.

image* Jason Thompson is a super-reliable reviewer to whom I don't link with nearly the frequency I should. Recent pieces are reviews of Dragon Head, Hunter X Hunter, Black Jack and Pineapple Army; profiles of Shigeru Mizuki and Masahiko Nakahira.

* paulgoatallen on a pair of brand-new graphic novels.

* not comics: as is the case with regular porn on the Internet (or so I've heard), every time there's a new shelf-porn gallery it turns out it's only about 20 percent new pictures. Still: worth it.

* I like how every so often someone will send me this post from Matt Madden completely out of the blue. We need a word for blog posts that stick around or recur.

* here's a slideshow of famous illustrators and cartoonists celebrating Maurice Sendak. I don't know if I linked to this Guardian slide show of Sendak's life or not.

* this photo of Hunt Emerson made me laugh.

* Naomi Fry profiles Dan Clowes. Lydia Conklin talks to Vanessa Davis. John Siuntres talks to a pair of DC Veeps and to Mike Oeming.

* finally, here's Hilary Barta talking about Roy Lichtenstein.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 14, 2012


Missed It: Kate Beaton's Mother's Day Comic

image
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Avengers-Related Hero Initiative Donations Hit $2871

image

An e-mail this morning says that Avengers movie-related fundraising for the Hero Initiative charity is close to $3000. I assume from what they told me last week this includes the first round of sent checks picked up during a weekly Post Office run. While by my calculations this is a little less than six seconds' worth of the money made by the movie on Saturday -- six seconds! -- a figure between four and five grand is actually what I thought the effort might garner when it was originally announced.

While I'm always a little bit dubious about the social leverage that may be claimed for protest-related fundraising and the way this can be reverse-engineered to discredit causes, I'm also always of the mind that giving to charity is a good thing no matter how much money raised or the reasons for it. So I see this as a good thing, and as someone that loves the work made by creators this organization supports I'm grateful to everyone that took this time and donated money.

Here's a note from the Jack Kirby Museum people about $1300 donated last week to that cause.
 
posted 2:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Frédéric Rebena

image
 
posted 2:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Roger Langridge Quits DC/Marvel Work Over Creators Rights

imageThe sublimely talented cartoonist Roger Langridge announced on an Orbital Comics podcast that he's severed his working relationship with the publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics over ethical concerns about their treatment of creators. He joins the writer Chris Roberson as talent routinely getting work from those publishers -- not on either company's A-list, but working professionals that seemed to have a chance to continue to have work published through such avenues -- taking a look at their options in the post-Watchmen, Siegels/Shusters/Kirbys litigation world and deciding that they could move forward without taking assignments from those publishers.

Langridge spoke more about the decision here, noting that he'd be donating the proceeds from his minor, recent Marvel work.

As is the case with Roberson, I applaud Langridge's ethical engagement with his career, and hope that no matter the outcome that every professional that can do so takes similar stock in terms of any and all agencies and institutions with whom they partner. I continue to be a great fan of Langridge's work, and while I've always been grateful that he's received freelance gigs with the big industry publisher it's always been my hope that he'll one day have a hit all his own -- I just think that work of his is better than the quality work he's done for the Big Two.
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A George Herriman Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 2:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
These Comics-Makers Created The Avengers

image

The apparently very enjoyable multiplex smash hit Marvel's The Avengers pushed its worldwide box office total over $1 Billion this weekend -- hitting a rare stratosphere for film entertainment and certainly providing a new high point for Marvel's remarkable self-transformation since the dark days of self-distribution and contentious bankruptcy some 15 years ago.

The characters and basic character set-ups/situations being enjoyed in the Avengers by millions of people were created by a group of comics-makers over the last 50 years. I'd like to recognize those creators and provide a thumbnail appreciation of each one. I think they had a lot to do with a billion-dollar success story.

This is in no way to diminish any of the very talented people involved with the film, nor any of the hard-working comics people who have done additional development work on the characters or the Avengers concept or even those supporting that property in meaningful fashion along the way. I think other art forms understand that praise for a director doesn't mean hatred for the PR staff, or that spending a few times singling out the virtues of the playwright is no shot at the chorus. In a world where so much depends on appealing characters and narrative hooks, I thought it might be a nice thing to appreciate a few comics creators that contributed to the fantasy property of the moment. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

image

Stan Lee Co-Created The Avengers, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Loki, The Black Widow, Hawkeye, SHIELD, The Cosmic Cube, Pepper Potts, Jarvis and the original version of Nick Fury upon which this subsequent version is roughly based.

One of the most widely recognized comics-makers in history for his tireless promotion of Marvel Comics and his own contributions to the line, Stan Lee (1922-) was a key figure in the resurgence of superhero comics in the 1960s. He wrote a lot of the comics that drove the Marvel Silver Age heyday of which this movie is an expression, contributed to the creation of dozens of characters, provided an atmosphere that was for some artists and writers a viable alternative to juggernaut publishing house DC at a time when the industry desperately needed another one, communicated to many of the artists what Jack Kirby was doing well and what they should do to maintain that default house style, worked minor miracles within some tricky production restrictions, and interacted with the fans in a way that recalled and perhaps improved upon the friendly EC approach of the 1950s, providing Marvel with a passionate, core fanbase on which today's wider, more casually involved audience has been built.

While the quality of Lee's writing for the Marvel line is constantly being appraised and re-appraised by a lot of comics' best thinkers, I think his arch approach to the material within the stories allowed for older fans to stay engaged with the material by letting them in -- just a bit -- on the joke. While some folks regret Lee's standing vis-a-vis other contributors to the art form, I would suggest that just because Lee did better than artist or writer X, Y, and Z doesn't mean he's received the praise he's due, or that he should have had to sue for much of the material recognition in the first place.

Lee still works for Marvel as a kind of promotional free agent/creator emeritus and has a variety of projects going under his own name. He has come very close to fashioning a career for himself just being Stan Lee -- lest we forget, that's a creation, too.

*****

image

Jack Kirby Co-Created The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, SHIELD, Loki, The Cosmic Cube, Jarvis and the original version of Nick Fury upon which this subsequent version is roughly based.

Jack Kirby (1917-1994) was the mighty, surging lifeblood of North American mainstream comic books, a fount of creativity for over four decades of staggering page production and one of its finest artists. He created or co-created several of comics' most powerful storytelling tools, entire schools of story, including but not limited to: a way of depicting action on the page that revolutionized the early superhero comic, romance comics, an approach to superheroes that allowed for borrowings of tone that gave those comics greater depth, thematically ambitious superhero adventure comics that many feel have yet to be matched on anything approaching a consistent basis, and hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful, awesome images inspiring all by themselves. Entire books about Jack Kirby somehow fail to encompass everything worth knowing about the man, one of the key creative forces of the 20th Century.

Kirby's late-period assertion of his contributions to comics -- despite not always being the most articulate or graceful advocate for his varied accomplishments -- is also underrated, this time as a key event in comics publishing history and our understanding of what creators do and why. The Avengers on film and Marvel's billions of dollars in revenue might be different or even dimnished without a lot of these creators' contributions, but take Jack Kirby out of the equation and none of it comes close to happening.

There is an organization dedicated to funding a museum in Jack Kirby's honor here.

*****

image

Don Heck Co-Created Iron Man, The Black Widow, Hawkeye and Pepper Potts

One of the underrated veteran comic book artists that helped transform what might have been a few remarkable series into a line-wide, publishing juggernaut, Don Heck (1929-1995) had a long and distinguished career that wasn't always served by the industry's settling into a superhero-centric model. He was perhaps the most poorly served of his peers in that Jack Kirby's work became the agreed-upon starting point for that particular flowering of '60s pop culture. Still, Heck's work was always clear and solid and possessed of storytelling basics that don't come easy to anyone.

Don Heck drew beautiful women, a vastly underrated aspect of those 1960s Marvel comics including those featuring Avengers characters. The memory that many of us have that read those comics when we were kids (originals or re-runs) are of these close-ups of one female character or another, wistfully pining in a way that cut so well into the bombastic violence that one could find for pages on end on either side of those quiet moments.

*****

image

Larry Lieber Co-Created Iron Man, Thor and Loki

Stan Lee's brother and in many way his most eloquent and impassioned supporter, writer and artist Larry Lieber (1931-) grasped at what his brother and Jack Kirby and some of the other comics veterans were trying to do with the new Marvel superheroes and stepped into the scripting roles sent his way with enough skill to free those creators up for higher profile gigs. Without astute writers and artists like Lieber, the line of comic books would have been truncated pretty early on, isolated into a few random success stories. In fact, singular achievement in the wider context of uninspired nonsense on each side is pretty much what mainstream American comic books more typically offer, which is what makes what Marvel achieved so very different.

Lieber currently pencils the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip, a gig he's had for years. He won a Finger Award in 2008, an honor given to under-appreciated comic book writers.

*****

image

Brian Michael Bendis Co-Created Agent Maria Hill And The Version Of Nick Fury Upon Which The Film Character Is Based

Cartoonist turned almost exclusive writer Brian Michael Bendis (1967-) is one of the half-dozen or so contemporary comics creators with a respectable claim for artistic contributions to Marvel's latest round of success -- via his slow-burning, years-long plot threads, his appropriation and use of stageplay-by-way-of-screen dialogue, and his ability to try out new ways of doing comics that contrast sharply with his successful, past work -- and undeniable commercial value in terms of getting those books over with fans. His career is a wonderful story. Bendis was once described to me not just as the person at one of the convention's small press table hoping to catch someone's eye, but the guy who was left running the comic shop while everyone else moved to that slightly next higher rung on the comics career ladder. The distance traveled impresses, and reminds us of the value of comics' relatively open market.

Bendis is leaving the various Avengers titles this year; both his absence from those books and his next major projects are among the biggest publishing news stories for that arena of comics in 2012.

There is an official site for Brian Bendis here. He maintains a twitter presence here.

*****

image

Mark Millar Co-Created The Ultimates, A Version Of The Avengers That Had A Lot Of Influence On The Film Version

Mark Millar (1969-) is in that heavyweight contemporary creator class with Brian Michael Bendis. He owns a greater understanding than anyone out there -- including Stan Lee -- of how to manipulate PR cycles and produce work that is amenable to exploitation by Hollywood film studios. There's always a bit of theater around Millar. When he recently announced he was doing creator-owned work for the next several years, you could see not only those books coming down the pike but the shape of an eventual licensed-character comeback on the far horizon. Millar's work writing the Ultimates version of the Avengers seems to me and many foks familiar with those comics all over this latest film.

There is an official site for Mark Millar here.

*****

image

Bryan Hitch Co-Created The Ultimates, A Version Of The Avengers That Had A Lot Of Influence On The Film Version

Bryan Hitch (1970-) hasn't yet enjoyed that massive success -- or even moderate, but solely-due-to-him success, like Tom Cruise hitting with Cocktail after Top Gun -- that puts his contributions to the Ultimates version of the Avengers concept in career-defining terms. And yet those books were clearly a career maker, the frontrunner for the superhero comic book of the decade 2000-2009 and a vastly influential effort to that entire way of doing comic books. The new Avengers movie is maybe the first since the largely disappointing attempt at a Watchmen film to really underline how appealing a certain set of comic books were -- in this case those drawn by Bryan Hitch -- just in terms of their basic visual approach. If Jack Kirby and his peers created the core models of what we're seeing on the screen, you could say that Bryan Hitch "dressed" them. If that's a tribute to a surface approach, surfaces are important with projects like this one.

Hitch is currently working on the independent series America's Got Powers with the entertainer and occasional comics writer Jonathan Ross. Such is comics' unique place in the entertainment firmament that you can make the case for each creator overshadowing the other.

Bryan Hitch maintains a twitter presence here.

*****

image

Joe Simon Co-Created Captain America

Before Jack Kirby became known for his 1960s collaborations with Stan Lee and as much as he's since become known for all the solo work he did before and particularly after, the King Of Comics inarguably enjoyed a career's worth of accomplishment in partnership with the writer, artist and editor Joe Simon (1915-2011). Their signature creation together was the most popular of the World War 2 patriotic superheroes (if you don't count Superman as a patriotic superhero, and most don't); their work on kids comics prefigured super-teams likes the one currently cleaning up at the box office.

Joe Simon passed away last year after a remarkably productive career and a long, late professional afternoon contributing to the history of the art form through a gentle, forthright advocacy for his own contributions to the field. This included legal action, when Simon thought it required.

*****

image

Don Rico Co-Created The Black Widow

I don't know much about Don Rico (1912-1985) as a comics writer. I know that he wrote early in comics' World War II era and into the brief flush of massive success the industry enjoyed in the post-War period. He was a Timely guy -- this was a name for Martin Goodman's comics publishing effort before they settled in on Marvel -- and thus a connecting force between the industry that was and the industry that grew from the Marvel surge in the 1960s.

A successful, high-volume prose writer, Rico seems on this list to stand in for all the creators whose careers either briefly intersected or were massively intertwined with comics, just not forever. As is the case with Larry Lieber, the ability of writers like Rico to take plots from Stan Lee or other editorial figures may be one of the key skills in turning a few isolated efforts into a sustained, line-wide effort -- the reason we have movies like this latest Avengers effort as a cross-media, current effort instead of something mining a curiosity of the past.

*****

imageDavid Finch Co-Created Agent Maria Hill

David Finch (DOB unknown-) is a top-of-the-line working comic book artist who emerged from the Top Cow arm of the Image Comics empire to work with Brian Michael Bendis as the primary initial visual interpreter of the writer's successful approach on various Avengers titles. He's the kind of artist over whom the bigger companies fuss and fight, and is currently ensconced at DC Comics as a vital cog in their New 52 initiative, both writing and drawing one of the Batman-focused titles. That Finch makes this list for the creation of the Maria Hill character shows just what a completely random thing comics creation can be -- you can create comics for years via splash page and gatefold drawing and then someone you help bring into being in an offhand moment is the one all your neighbors end up seeing.

There is an official site for David Finch here.

*****

Mike Allred Co-Created The Version Of Nick Fury Upon Which The Film Character Is Based

One of independent comics' most interesting careers has been that enjoyed by Mike Allred (DOB unknown-), known mostly for his own work on the Madman character but also a contributor to a few key mainstream comics runs, perhaps most notably on X-Force concept at its oddest and most out there. I had no idea going in that Allred was the first visual interpreter of the newer version of Nick Fury (and I guess I could be wrong, but the Internet tells me it's a Marvel Team-Up story set in that universe that gets the prize and I believe everything the Internet tells me). That's comics for you -- a maddening array of intersections and chance assignments. (My hunch is that it's Bryan Hitch and Mark Millar that locked the character most firmly into its Samuel L. Jackson incarnation pretty quickly after this initial appearance.)

There is an official site for Michael Allred here. He maintains a twitter presence here.

*****

imageSteve Ditko Did Important Foundational Development Work On Characters The Hulk And Iron Man

The great Steve Ditko (1927-) best known as a co-creator for Marvel's best-known solo character franchise (Spider-Man) and its best player still on the film-franchise bench (Doctor Strange), also did important development work on two of the key characters in the film. I'm putting him on this list to represent all those other creators who contributed to these characters -- who created something -- without being recognized as an official creator or co-creator. Ditko created one element of the hugely crowd-pleasing (in this movie, anyway; not so much his others) Hulk character without which he'd be vastly different -- according to historian Blake Bell, Ditko should receive credit for the madder-he-gets/stronger-he-gets take on the character, which before that was more of a classic Jekyll/Hyde transformer. Ditko was also the primary designer for one of the film's key visual signifiers, and maybe the visual that saved Marvel's film-franchise life, the red/gold armor that Iron Man sports.

Steve Ditko is still creating comics.

*****

(Jim Starlin Created Something, Too)

We can't say what he created without being socked in the eye by adherents to the First Law Of Nerditry, but it's great to have someone like writer/artist Jim Starlin (1949-) on a list like this one as a bridge between the multi-generational mix of talents that contributed to Marvel in the 1960s and the modern creators that are more actively asked to re-interpret that material. It's just as not-great that like many creators on this list he may never receive any sort of compensation for that material in terms of film use and toy licensing.

Starlin was a prolific creator for Marvel in that period where a lot of smart people thought there might not be mainstream comic books five or ten years down the line. More than just about anyone in his generation, Starlin's contributions to the line are mistakably his own and play extremely well in the sandboxes controlled by other creators. Starlin has worked for several comics companies outside of Marvel, and for Marvel's Epic imprint created the Metamorphosis Odyssey/Dreadstar stories, the former of which was an ambitious morality play on Vietnam-era politics and war given cosmic dimension.

Jim Starlin maintains a Facebook presence here.

*****

in part because there's not a value for showing the original creators' work on these characters -- and in part because I suck -- I had to guess with some of the images; please let me know what I got wrong with those images and the article generally

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Whatever Happened To The 8-Hour Workday?

image
 
posted 2:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Tony DeZuniga Gallery

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Black Widow Splash Pages

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* I tend to look at Kickstarter more than I do the also popular IndieGoGo fundraising site (there are other sites I'm sure I don't see at all). One thing that's interesting about the IndieGoGo stuff is that there seems to be a greater variety of fundraising going on as opposed to publishing-focused ventures. Like here's one for an Indy Comics friendly studio space in Hamilton, Ontario. Here's one for what looks like some sort of business seminar/drinking event in Belfast. Here's one that features a grumpy-looking lady in a swimsuit holding a puppet of Jim Mahfood. There are two for books I've heard of: 1, 2 -- and even then only one is still active.

* speaking of IndieGoGo, good on the fan community for backing Sparkplug. I think their reputation and their stated aims and the work they've done preparing an infrastructure made them a great candidate for this kind of fundraising.

* over at Kickstarter, they're really close on Reading With Pictures, which is nice.

* in the people not project category, I would imagine that the late Tony DeZuniga's wife Tina can still be paypaled at tonydezuniga@yahoo.com; I had a couple of people ask me questions about that effort, and I have to admit I couldn't find the answers.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: A Peter Hurd Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Zurvan Club

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* interviews with IDW's Ted Adams (1, 2, 3) are usually pretty good ones because his company is in exactly the right position to feel the ways the market is moving without being beholden to any existing narrative about that market.

image* Matt Seneca on Thor #160. Dash Shaw on Jeffrey Brown's cat comics. Tucker Stone and company on the comics and news of the day. Doug Zawisza on X-Men: Legacy #266. Rob Clough on Glamazonia. Todd Klein on Legion Of Super-Heroes #7 and Green Lantern: New Guardians #7. Sean Gaffney on The Flowers Of Evil Vol. 1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Young Miss Holmes Casebook Vols. 1-2. J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Lake Erie Monster #1.

* D+Q publishing brags on the retail arm of the company.

* Brian Hibbs dissects Free Comic Book Day.

* John Williams talks to Alison Bechdel. Peter Terzian talks to Alison Bechdel. Kiel Phegley talks to Axel Alonso. A sentient television program talks to Jay Faerber.

* I bet a few writers out there are going to see this movie release and cross an idea off of their to-do list.

* finally, Tim Hodler has the makings of a superior link-blogger. For instance, he gets at this Andrei Molotiu article on a 1965 Susan Sontag piece about comics, and I'm not sure a lot of us would have thought to make the time for that one, even though it's good.

 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Mother's Day Comic

image
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 13, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Joseph Remnant

image

*****

I didn't know much of anything about the artist and cartoonist Joseph Remnant going into our interview, and I'm not certain I know a whole lot more about him now that our interview is done. I think his artwork is compelling, textured and assured in a way that a lot of cartoonists never quite achieve, even those working in the same visual broad strokes. I wish there were a dozen younger cartoonists like him.

Remnant's latest is the art chores on Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, my choice for the most pleasant surprise of the year thus far. That's a very entertaining book, straightforward and engaging, due in no small part to Remnant's ability on the page to create figures with verve and backgrounds into which one may lose oneself. I hope he's around for another 20 years, and that I get to read all the comics he makes. I'm grateful for his time with the following questions, the results of which I tweaked a tiny, tiny bit for flow. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

imageTOM SPURGEON: It's my understanding that you were working on this book when Harvey Pekar passed away. What has it been like to finish that book without him? In a practical sense, were there things that you did differently that you might not have had to do if Pekar were still with us, perhaps in terms of altering bits of script or otherwise making changes?

JOSEPH REMNANT: Harvey passed away after I had finished about 20 pages. The script was complete, so overall, I just had to illustrate what was there. However, I do feel like his passing created a pressure to really create something special and I probably worked a bit harder than I otherwise would have to make something that I thought was my absolute best. And there were a few things that I altered that I don't think I would've done if he were alive, mainly because I think was too intimidated by him to ask if I should or not. For instance, the first and last page of the book, which are all silent panels of the city, were not in the script. I thought it added something to the way the reader entered and exited the story so I put them in. Occasionally I would break a long panel into two or other little things like that, but I don't think I ever actually altered Harvey's words.

SPURGEON: Do you think that Pekar's passing has changed the context with which the book is being received? Because it's not hard to see Cleveland as a capping work, a graceful end note, especially given its summary, inclusive nature -- even though it's not the final Pekar book we'll see. Do you welcome the extra attention being paid to the work that way?

REMNANT: Yeah, it probably has. I suppose it reads like more of fitting swan song as opposed to just another addition to the American Splendor catalog. I do welcome the extra attention because I think Harvey would've welcomed it. He wanted praise and attention as much as anybody else wants for their work.

SPURGEON: That last question suggests this one: what do you think Pekar's intentions were with this project generally? I can't imagine he knew it would be a posthumous one -- although I guess that's possible -- but there is a mournful tone, there, a suggestion of someone kind of making connections and drawing together a variety of smaller stories. Do you have any view on how Cleveland might have been intended?

REMNANT: I can only guess, but I agree that it does have a mournful tone and it's a unique work in that it's sort of an overview of his whole life within the context of Cleveland. Part of me feels like he did want to make one last grand autobiographical statement while he still had the chance. Especially since most of what he had been focusing on in his later years was biographical pieces about other people and historical or journalistic comics. Another part of me thinks that Harvey was just doing what he always does; writing another story and trying to get it published so he could make some more "bread."

SPURGEON: I'm only vaguely familiar with your story, and I'm intrigued by your work in that you seem to have shown up with a fairly developed and accomplished way of making comics. Can you trace in broad strokes your comics background, what interested you enough in them to accrue the skills that you're employing now and what pushed you in this direction?

REMNANT: I didn't read comics as a kid, but I was fascinated by them because I recognized that they were made by people who made a living drawing pictures, which was something I did want to do. So I would flip through them a lot, and they certainly had some type of aesthetic appeal to me, but I just wasn't interested in the subject matter. It wasn't until my sophomore year in art school at the University of Cincinnati that, in the same year, I saw the movies Crumb, American Splendor, and Ghost World. That was the first time that I realized that there was this whole other world of comics and it really hit me hard. I saw the Crumb film first and his drawings, and the way they were represented in that movie, just blew my mind.

So I started trying to make my own comics and instantly realized how difficult it was to make a comic book. At that point, I spent about five years just practicing drawing in a very literal way. I wanted to train my mind to easily be able to draw a car or a house or a person without it being this constant, painful struggle. It's something that almost nobody does anymore, even people who are in art school, but I really wanted to have that classically trained skill. Of course it's still a struggle, but by the time I felt confident enough to start putting stuff out there, I had developed a certain amount of technique, which is what I think attracted Harvey to my work in the first place.

SPURGEON: You've mentioned that Pekar's comics are a big part of why you're doing comics, and you've expressed some aesthetic solidarity with comics like American Splendor. I think of you as a younger guy. How did you specifically access those kinds of comics, which aren't exactly everywhere you look the way they might have been, say, the early 1990s?

REMNANT: Once I found out about this stuff, I sought it out. You're right that this stuff was completely under the radar in Ohio, but because they made movies about them, you could find collections of their work. I think I bought the American Splendor collection from Barnes and Noble and the Cincinnati Library had all of the Complete Crumb collections, so I checked all of those out. A friend of mine actually had some Daniel Clowes books and those were perhaps what inspired me, more than anything else, to write my own stories and put out a comic book. Those collections from Eightball. Probably because it felt closer to my generation and it seemed like they were made by some wise ass guy that I could be friend with. In 2007 I moved to Los Angeles, which has incredible comics shops, so now I see everything as soon as it comes out and it's great.

image

SPURGEON: A couple more questions about Harvey Pekar's Cleveland. Was the project always intended to be split between a kind of casual history of the city and then a more specific history of Pekar's relationship with it? I wondered if you had any clue as to how that split structure developed, what Pekar intended by forming the work around two different approaches rather than a book that synthesized the approaches throughout, going more immediately back and forth between Cleveland's history and his own.

REMNANT: The best person to ask this question would be Jonathan Vankin, who was an editor for Vertigo, and the guy who originally started working on the script with Harvey. I really don't know, but I think the idea was to tell the history of Cleveland up until 1939, at which point Harvey becomes part of the history of Cleveland and the structure and tone of the story changes pretty drastically because it becomes much more personal. Although, Harvey didn't really indicate that he wanted there to be a page break like the way I illustrated it. He had just scrawled a line into the script that said, "Harvey Pekar and Cleveland." I suppose I chose to draw that as almost a separate title page because I wanted the reader to know that the story was changing -- that the whole book wasn't going to be this very matter of fact history of a city.

SPURGEON: Alan Moore in his introduction points out that one of Pekar's strengths was specific observation. What strikes me is that this work seems impossibly broad and ambitiously encompassing for a writer who once did an entire story about drinking a glass of water. Was it different working with this story than with some of the more specific short works you've done?

REMNANT: It was very different because the script jumps around so much, often skipping through decades at a time from panel to panel that I rarely ever got comfortable with a specific scene that I was drawing. Almost every panel required doing new research to get an idea of what that specific place and time looked like. When you're drawing a small, specific story the scene barely changes, and it's much more about capturing little expressions and subtle emotions as people interact with each other. This book required a lot more patience and research because it was so all-encompassing.

image

SPURGEON: One last broad question about the book's creation, and I apologize in that I'm sure it's one you get a lot: how did you approach any research involved? Were you provided with visual for the cityscapes? What about the people? Did any of your work involved visual call-backs to the way Cleveland or the people in Harvey's life were treated in other media including older issues of American Splendor?

REMNANT: I just did endless research, mostly from stuff that I found on line, but also digging through libraries and looking at movies that take place in Cleveland. I found a lot of good stuff by going through people's vacation blogs, which were actually the best because they often had very specific and high res images of Cleveland landmarks. Some stuff was very hard to find because it hasn't existed for a long time, but I was usually able to find something to work from. Of course the images were just something to work off of because in order to make something compositionally interesting, you almost always have to alter it to make it dynamic and work with the story.

I had visited Harvey in Cleveland, but not to take pictures for this book. Having grown up in Dayton, Ohio, which in many ways, is like a small version of Cleveland, I think I had a good feel of the city already. The people that I drew just walking around in the background are the way I remember people looking when I would hang out in different neighborhoods in Dayton. If it was a specific person that had been previously represented in American Splendor, like Mr. Boats, or Toby the genuine nerd, than I would directly reference other sources. Otherwise I thought it was fine to just make it up.

image

SPURGEON: Was the central image that takes over the book of Pekar walking around while talking, did that come from you or him? Is there a specific challenge visually in using that motif, for instance stopping the reader's eye from the strong left to right movement that having a representation of Pekar always walking that direction seems to encourage?

REMNANT: That was actually my idea and something that I thought of after Harvey had passed away. At first I was drawing him, like several other illustrators had done before, narrating the story in a white room with a shadow behind him. At some point I realized that that was going to get boring pretty quick and it made infinitely more sense to draw him telling the story from the streets of Cleveland, since it is after all, a story about Cleveland. That allowed me to fill the backgrounds with Cleveland landmarks and slip funny little things into the story occasionally. It also gave everything a sense of movement, which I thought was important. However, I can't really say that I thought about it much more beyond that, as you suggest I might have, other than following my own instincts on what looked good on the page as I went along.

imageSPURGEON: The work is told primarily with a six-figure grid, or three-tier pages, but there are several strong four-panel -- or two-tier -- pages, which as far as I can tell don't really stand in startling contrast to one another. Why four panels with some pages? Was that a pacing issue? Was that simply reflective of how much information Pekar's script wanted to convey?

REMNANT: Sometimes it was pacing if I felt that a certain group of panels should be lingered on a bit more, and other times it just felt that certain scenes needed more room to breath. I think because it's a book about a very specific place, it seemed appropriate to really draw attention to that visually sometimes, and really put the city scape on full display throughout the book.

SPURGEON: I'm interested in a pair of really specific design flourishes. The first is that in most cases the block of text above the visual in the panel is slightly bigger than the panel, in a way that seems to me to led a subtle primacy to the words. Was that your intention? What is it about the look of those text blocks that appeals to you?

REMNANT: I made the text box slightly larger than the image panel simply because I think it makes everything look a bit more alive on the page and not so rigid. It's the same reason that I don't use a ruler to draw out the panel borders, it just seems to make everything look a little more like one big living, breathing organism, which I like. That was my only intention.

SPURGEON: I'm also intrigued by your use of speech balloons, first of all the decision to put some words but not others in characters' mouths, the second in how the speech sometimes intrudes on the written text, but other times doesn't. Am I reading too much into how you place the speech balloons, even how you employ them, or was that a considered effect on your part?

REMNANT: The decision on how the words were separated between captions and speech balloons was all dictated by Harvey. I didn't really stray from what he put in the script. The decision to have the speech balloons break into the caption borders is the same reason I stated above about making everything seem more alive and a little more dynamic. In the instances where I didn't do that, I couldn't really tell you why. I probably should've done it all the same way, but again, I didn't really have any further intention than what I thought looked best at the time.

SPURGEON: You have a very strong illustrator's feel to your work, enough so that I think it stands in contrast to a lot of the strong comics out there right now that use cartooning basics and simplification to tell their stories. Is there anything to working with a really strong sense of image-making that you think is different than working in more simple, iconic imagery? Does making a really strong image ever get in the way of storytelling the way some people suggest it might? Do you have to pay special attention to foregrounded figures when your backgrounds are so strongly rendered?

REMNANT: I actually find this distinction to be really annoying. It just seems like such a half-baked argument to say that comics only work if they're drawn with simple and iconic imagery. There's definitely something to the idea that certain ways of drawing can interfere with the flow of a story, but I think it's much more complex than the usual arguments that you here. There are certain people who draw very simple and direct imagery, like Charles Schultz, or Seth, and it's great, but there's plenty of people who draw in a simple style and their comics are awful. Whenever I hear people make this argument, I always think to myself, "so do you think that Robert Crumb and Joe Sacco are terrible cartoonists?"

I think you can have as much or as little detail in a comic as you want, as long as there's a rhythm or flow to the story that carries it along, like each panel is it's own beat where the words and images work seamlessly together. Some cartoonists can pull that off while still using a lot of texture and detail and some can't. Yes, sometimes it just looks like a block of text with a static illustration next to it and those comics suck, but there are ways to still use a lot of detail without that effect. I do find that separating the figures from the background by rendering them slightly different or leaving some white space around them when they're moving helps to do that, and that's something I did in this book. I also like to use a strong light source, which is a classical, realist technique, because I like the look that everything is sort of popping out of space. Chester Brown is a master of this and also a great example of somebody who sort of blends a realistic technique with simplified, cartoony imagery to perfect affect.

imageSPURGEON: Do you have a refined sense of Pekar's other collaborators, and do you look at their work for insight into your own? Do you have favorite Pekar collaborators, people that you think worked well with him?

REMNANT: Yeah, I think I do. Again, I'll reference Crumb, Joe Sacco, and Chester Brown. These were all guys who knew how to make the story move along, and weren't just making static images to accompany the text. I think Gerry Shamray is a great illustrator, but not necessarily for comics. But again, both Crumb and Gerry Shamray have strong illustrative styles, but Crumb was just better at making the story flow. There was a strong sense of rhythm to those strips.

SPURGEON: One thing you've mentioned in interviews is that Pekar was supportive of your work, that you didn't experience the outsized character of Pekar as much as a supportive fellow creator. Can you describe how he might have been specifically supportive of your work, what that means? Did he praise it? Did you and he talk about the work itself?

REMNANT: Whenever I would send him stuff, I would usually get a call from him in a few days and, yes, he would praise the work I was doing. He seemed exited about it. I drew this one short story for him that was never published, that was just a guy at a bank having a conversation with the bank teller, and i remember getting a call from him, and he was really shocked that I was able to capture the subtle expressions between the two people that he was looking for. Just things like that. Almost as soon as I started working with him he started talking about trying to find a book that we could do together. And he was interested in the work that I was doing on my own and encouraged me to just keep working. I really didn't have any negative experiences with him. He was eager to find good people to illustrate his work, and I think he was excited about the work we were doing together.

SPURGEON: I'm always fascinated by younger cartoonists with the displayed skill to write their own work that choose to work with writers. What do you learn about making comics working with a writer like Pekar that you might not doing your own material? I asked the cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks this question, and she responded that being able to focus on the art is its own advantage, and I wondered if you felt the same way.

REMNANT: Yeah, I never intended to illustrate other people's stories. I wanted to go the Daniel Clowes route from the beginning. Somebody else sent my work to Harvey and I got a call from him one day and I couldn't say no. He was a hero of mine, so of course I was gonna work with him. The whole thing was kind of a two-year detour from where I wanted to go, but it's a detour that I'm glad I took. There's a certain low key energy that's very similar to what it's like to live life everyday in Pekar's writing, which is something that I hope I can bring more into my own stories. He was a master at that. My favorite parts of the book are little moments like where he's helping his wife in the garden or drinking a malt shake in a department store. Some how he makes those moments very compelling, which is very hard to do. And yes, I agree that just illustrating has its advantages. It is kind of nice to focus on one thing at a time, and in the process I believe I made a big leap in my drawing ability that I can now bring to my own comics.

SPURGEON: Can you describe your working relationship with Jeff Newelt? How closely were you edited on this book?

REMNANT: Jeff mostly had the thankless task of fixing all of the typos and grammatical errors. There were a few spots where Harvey sort of repeated himself and he dropped a couple of panels here an there. Things like that that helped to story flow a little smoother. I pretty much self edited myself when it came to the visuals. When I finished the book I felt like I finally figured out how to draw Harvey so I went back and re-drew him in the first 60 pages or so. A lot of the work that Jeff did was more on the P.R. side of things. He's a great promoter of comics.

imageSPURGEON: I thought Blindspot was relatively overlooked, and I'm probably one of the people responsible for it being overlooked. How satisfied are you with that work? Do you plan on continuing in that vein?

REMNANT: I think it was relatively overlooked because I really didn't do much to promote it and as soon as I finished it I started working on the Cleveland book. I didn't really expect for my first self-published comic to get much attention, but it didn't help that I wasn't focusing on following it up with something and not promoting myself in the process. I'm focusing much more on that stuff now. I finished a second issue and sold out of the limited copies I printed for MoCCA Fest, so I'm just waiting to get the next shipment to me now. I'm relatively proud of the first issue, but I can't look at it anymore. The drawing looks really crude to me. But I want to continue with it for awhile. Of course it doesn't make any money, but I love the format, and I feel like I'm just working for the future. Hopefully somebody will want to put out a collection of my short stories some day, and at the same time I've been writing a graphic novel that I really want to do, but I think I need to make more of a name for myself before I make that plunge.

SPURGEON: As someone who was introduced to a lot of readers through on-line means, what is the value of working in print comics, single-issue alt-comics even? How does that change or even enhance your desire to do comics?

REMNANT: I don't really know. I just can't seem to bring myself to become a web cartoonist. I never read web comics. I just like comics, and I think the best young cartoonists are still printing their stuff and that's the stuff that I want to read. Noah Van Sciver is the perfect example. He just keeps cranking out those Blammos and it's really paying off for him. I'm jealous of him.

SPURGEON: Was that your last work with Pekar? Where do you personally go from here?

REMNANT: I think it probably is. I know Joyce [Brabner] has some stuff left that she's gonna be looking to get illustrated, but I don't know if I'm up for it anymore. Doing that book took a lot out of me. But we'll see, maybe I'll end up doing something small.

From here, I just keep drawing comics and keep putting them out there and hope for the best. That's all you can really do I guess. I suppose I'm still open to illustrating for another writer, but it would have to be a project that I was really into, and that's a pretty rare thing to come across.

*****

* Joseph Remnant
* Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant, Top Shelf With Zip Comics, hardcover, 978-1-60309-091-9, 128 pages, 2012, $21.99.

*****

* cover to Harvey Pekar's Cleveland
* images from the new book, hopefully placed in some sort of contextual fashion
* the one with the Letterman reference is from "Muncie, Indiana" -- an earlier Pekar/Remnant collaboration
* Blindspot #1 cover
* an illustration by Remnant (below)

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: On George McManus

image
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Yanick Paquette

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More From New Funnies #88

image
 
posted 9:15 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #293 -- At The Water Cooler

On Friday, CR readers were asked "From Memory, Name Five Specific Moments From The Comics That Make You Laugh Just Thinking About Them." This is how they responded.

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Tom Toles' cartoon of Goofy running from the napalm at My Lai.
2 "Black Godfather Of The Ants."
3. Charlie Brown saying he always preferred noon.
4. "He said to tell you he had a real good time."
5. "I am blind and my dog is dead."

*****

image

Steven Stwalley

1. Ed the Happy Clown accidentally breaking his leg. (Chester Brown: Yummy Fur)
2. The Bat That Looked Like Gary Coleman (Mark Martin: 20 Nude Dancers 20)
3. The Artful Dodger's secret hideout, located in Flaming Carrot's bathroom (Bob Burden: Flaming Carrot)
4. Reid Fleming showing a photo of Mr. Crabbe passed out with a bottle to Mr. O'Clock (David Boswell: Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman)
5. Albert Alligator accidentally eating the pollywog (Walt Kelly: Pogo)

*****

image

Michael Dooley

1. "Well, what happened to all the food?"
2. "Hmm! Nothing in the ice-box but some old cruddy, dried out halavah!"
3. "Did I tell you the refrigerator is empty?"
4. "Yet you hesitate."
5. "What the hell was I looking for, anyway?!"

*****

image

Max Fischer

1. Ray asking Pat to say nice things about his (Ray's) dick.
2. Anette from Hitmen For Destiny contemplating telling her other-dimensional crush that it's perfectly normal for friends in her dimension to suck on one another's toes.
3. Loady McGee telling a joke that is straight-up hate speech against little kids with cerebral palsy.
4. Enid discovering the monster that is Daniel Clowes.
5. Jane Mai's bad advice.

*****

image

Tom Bondurant

1. Calvin, thermometer in mouth, repeats insistently to his mom, "IG GOMFA FOME UBHIGGIN."
2. JLA/Avengers: Wonder Woman calls a tragically befuddled (Marvel) Hercules "despoiler of Hippolyta," then punches him on general principles
3. World's Funnest: a dimension-hopping Bat-Mite meets the Super Friends, asks "Are you super-f*cking-kidding me?"
4. Batman: Mad Love, when Batman explains to the Joker how Harley's deathtrap pretty much beat any of his, and tops it off by calling him "puddin.'"
5. First page of Waid and Wieringo's Fantastic Four #61: the Thing gets a spring-loaded pie in the face from the "Yancy Street Gang" (actually the Human Torch)

*****

image

Jason Green

1. "Touch."
2. Ranma fake-kisses Kuno
3. Matt Murdock's "I'm Not Daredevil" t-shirt.
4. *Beep* "Pregnant"
5. "We're not a couple."

*****

image

Shannon Smith

1. Weeping Gorilla
2. Lobo saying "Sit on the books babe, education is for losers".
3. The Avengers on Late Night with David Letterman and its cover where Letterman looks like Alfred E. Newman.
4. Rainbow Batman
5. On the back of Brad McGinty's minicomic Powdered Cat, there is an ingredient label. One of the ingredients reads, "Cat".

*****

image

Justin Colussy-Estes

1. Maggie's pants ripping from bending over
2. A really old "What's New, with Phil & Dixie" (a full page strip that used to run in the back of Dragon by Phil Foglio): cold shower with 53 cats tied together by their tails
3. Joe Matt's one-pager about muffling the sound of taking a crap
4. Calvin's dad: "Back then, everything was in black & white"
5. "Dude watchin' with the Brontes" (pretty much the whole damn Hark a Vagrant book keeps me in stitches)

*****

image

Evan Dorkin

1. Bunch of people are reaching into a guy's ass to get five dollar bills, the guy says, "People, people, please!" or something like that. Henderson, of course.
2. Sally shouts "Hockey stick!", blowing her one line in the school play after many dailies' worth of build-up.
3. The Kupperman strip where the guy wants to wall the other guy up like in The Black Cat.
4. "Nothing was proven, nobody cared."
5. Reid Fleming lands his milk truck in a swimming pool. Asks a bunch of guys "Who's the strongest man here?". One guy speaks up and Fleming yells "Wrong! I am!", and knocks the other guy out.

For the hell of it, because I love this topic: "None of your damn business.". "I gave you life, boy!" "In a democracy, I too, can crackle!". Three rocks. "No AIDS here!" "Meet the Cast". Guy opens schoolroom door, there's a gorilla. Freddy on a horse. Yotsuba holding an umbrella and flying away in a storm. Mom Bradley hulking out. Alice holding up the world, everything labeled "Mine".

They used to call 'em funnybooks.

*****

image

Scott Dunbier

1) First Peanuts strip: Good old Charlie Brown… oh how I hate him.
2) Earth Vs. the Flying Wallendas from some old issue of Heavy Metal
3) Captain Klutz by Don Martin
4) Wally Wood's Mad send up of Tarzan by Hogarth -- Dynamic tooth brushing!
5) The Hare Krishna Bloom County Sunday page -- Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts!

*****

image

Marc Arsenault

1. "Ask him if he is not a hobo then why does he have a bindle"
2. An elephant is soft and mushy
3. Needle-dick the bugfucker
4. "Wir haben zombies im keller!"
5. "Let's take this one too... her face will look great on a milk carton"

*****

image

James Langdell

1. "The jute mill is exploded!"
2. Schroeder's baseball shirt with a sponsor credit for "BEETH OVENS"
3. Opus's relatives caught in the crossfire of the Falkland War asking, "Was it something we said?"
4. "How can a toilet bowl be that interesting?"
5. Mr. Natural says, "You're both a couple of idiots."

*****

image

John Platt

1. Merv Griffin!
2. Want some meatloaf?
3. He has eaten the pancake.
4. That darn voodoo doll.
5. Two skis, one tree.

*****

image

Stergios Botzakis

1. "One punch!"
2. "Crumble me up and put me in a salad."
3. Nurp
4. Argh! Yle!
5. "Suddenly Aunt Bea Strikes" (I wish I could find a scan for that one)

*****

image

Des Devlin

1. After the dolt has squooshed the horsefly on the blueprint, the reveal on Al Jaffee's "An Architectural Triumph" (MAD #164).
2. Nicholas Gurewitch's penultimate "I promise!" panel from the Perry Bible's "Goodbye Stanley."
3. Lucy's enraged expression, as Linus dances to "Dem Bones" with Snoopy.
4. Body language aplenty, in Norman Rockwell's "Easter Morning."
5. Calvin: "This is you: aggle aggle aggle!" Hobbes: "Well, you go like this: duhh dahh dahh duhh!"

*****

image

Chris Mautner

1. Charlie Brown's camp bunkmate: "Shut up and leave me alone."
2. Michael Kupperman's amazing Nut Bra.
3. Matt Groening's question you never want to ask a guidance counselor
4. That Little Lulu story where the crab steals Alvin's hot dog.
5. That Little Lulu story where Tubby pretends he's being shot out of a cannonball and Alvin keeps screaming "Fake!"

*****

image

Douglas Wolk

1. "...But the third word is probably 'oranges'..."
2. Young Kim Rosenthal mistakes the raisins in her oatmeal for shrapnel.
3. Lois makes her grand entrance; "Not I, said the cat." "Not I, said the pig." "Not I, said the worm."
4. "Reduce to percent smell of fifty! No more!!"
5. Mr. O discovers what's on the other side of the chasm.

*****

image

Don MacPherson

1) "I usually get more life out of a Spalding."
2) "One punch!"
3) "I wonder what time it is... I feel like I've been dead for three days."
4) "And hey! Don't forget to enter this month's Al Space essay contest! In 1,000 words or less, give a believable account of Al Space's whereabouts on the eve of September 15! Remember to mention that I wasn't anywhere near Wisconsin!"
5) "We are a hedge."

*****

image

Sean Kleefeld

1. "I think my face blew inside out!" -- Calvin & Hobbes
2. Pierre feigned. Jean parried. The lint balls remained in place and the whisk broom competition continued on. -- Bizarro (The caption is very approximate. It's been decades since I've seen this particular panel.)
3. "Quincy says boo." -- Foxtrot
4. Friday the 13th is coming, and it's on a Monday this year! -- Pogo
5. "Remember, Shtoonk is always spelled with two Os." -- Don Martin cartoon for Mad

*****

image

Niel Jacoby

1 "One Punch!"
2 FIN FANG FOOM PUT YOU IN HIS PANTS!
3 "VIETNAM: 10,000 BC!"
4 "But I still had to work at that damn factory."
5 "CAPTAIN AMERICA wrapped in the flag, covered in napalm, smoked like a blunt by FIN FANG FOOM. My statement on the Iraq War. Make this poignant. Single tear coming from Cap's eye. Pollution is so wrong."

*****

image

Danny Ceballos

1. The front cover to Justin Green's Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary
2 Chester Brown's depiction of Harvey Pekar as a kid reading the funny papers, from Harvey Pekar's introduction to the Vortex edition of Chester Brown's Ed The Happy Clown
3. That panel in a Gabrielle Bell diary comic where she draws herself as a pigeon
4. The look on the kid's face from R. Crumb's back cover to Zap #0
5. The look on the kangaroo's face from James Thurber's "Perhaps this will refresh your memory" cartoon

*****

image

Jason Michelitch

1. Julie Schwartz's disembodied post-apocalyptic tumbleweed head.
2. "Oh no - I turned my ass into a hand grenade!"
3. "It's a fish in a parsnip costume."
4. "Don't knock my smock or I'll clean your clock!"
5. "Stupid, stupid rat creatures!"

*****

image

Michael J. Grabowski

1. "Hey's for horses, ass-bite!"
2. Time-traveling professor with a giant thermometer walking up behind a dinosaur in order to settle the warm-blooded/cold-blooded debate.
3. Elderly wildlife sitting on the porch: "Earthquake's a-comin'." "Ayup."
4. Calvin asks his dad how they know how much weight a bridge can take. Dad's answer is brilliant, and mom's rejoinder is just right.
5. Cerebus, flying in a dream, and the screaming baby he earlier threw off a roof flies by the other way.

*****

image

M. Emery

1. Seth on the 'treadmill' with Joe Matt -- Joe Matt
2. Silver Surfer tricks Galactus into eating a planet made of cum -- Johnny Ryan
3. "I Thought I told you to shut up!" -- David Boswell
4. Jessica of The Schoolyard dispenses with another pupil -- Karl Wills
5. "I will unravel his balls into long parallel lines." Jesse Moynihan

*****

thanks to all that participated

*****
*****
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Footage Of Arthur Pierce Hosting Marvel Cartoons Show In 1966
via Devlin Thompson, maybe?


Aron Nels Steinke On Sparkplug


Julia Gfrorer On Sparkplug


Representative Video From A Group Of Videos Devoted To Dan Clowes


From The 2012 Toonies


Representative Video From Someone Doing A Bunch Of Interviews At The MoCCA Festival


Jim Woodring Paints
via
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 12, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from May 5 to May 11, 2012:

1. International censure for Iranian authorities' decision to lash a cartoonist 25 times for daring to draw a politician in a football jersey.

2. Kids book giant Maurice Sendak passes away.

3. Response to calls to make matching donations to the Hero Initiative for Avengers tickets underwhelms. Suggestion was made this might be a) a good idea generally, b) a way for people to negotiate any qualms they might have about Marvel's historical treatment of creators. This is certainly fewer than 100 people responding on that first weekend, although there will be more doing this or something similar.

Winner Of The Week
Ali Ferzat and Aseem Trivedi

Losers Of The Week
The Iranian officials that decided the cartoonist should be lashed. As some of the better analysis points out, this isn't just wrong generally but should be seen as a unique ratcheting-up of this cultural idea because it extends the "don't draw zone" to politicians.

Quote Of The Week
"Doing any work leads to refinements and changes in your over-all method as experience builds up and teaches forcibly in a way you can't ignore. The more work you do, the more thought is processed and distilled and the more streamlined your workflow. If an artist is actively engaged in what they're doing then they're always looking for a chance to innovate, and your chances of success improve the more you work, ideally." -- Bernie Mireault

*****

today's cover is from the small-press and independent comics scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s

*****
*****
 
posted 6:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Fort Wayne, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near Asbury Park, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
May 11, 2012


Tony De Zuniga, RIP

image
 
posted 3:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
2012 Japan Cartoonist Awards: One Piece, Keiko Takemiya

I'm not so strong in terms of context with something called the Japan Cartoonist Awards not to make some boneheaded error in the linking, but this year's honorees seem classy and nice so lets stumble through.

Cash prize of about $6K (USD) in value went to One Piece by Eiichiro Oda and Nekodarake Nice by Kimuchi Yokoyama. One Piece is of course the worldwide publishing phenomenon and one guesses that the cash awarded might be best used to put around larger piles of cash earned by the property. Nekodarake Nice is the third in a series of wordless boks about three cats.

Something called The Minister Of Education, Culture, Sports, Science And Technology Award went to Keiko Tekemiya (of To Terra and other science fiction comics; she's also a university instructor).

A special $2500 award went to the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

The awards are given out by the Japan Cartoonists Association; this year's ceremony is June 22. The judging committee was Leiji Matsumoto, Takashi Yanase, Masashi Ueda and Machiko Satonaka.
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Panorama Of Gunnar's Daughter

image
 
posted 3:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
India Continues Its Odd Assault On The Cartoon Arts

Now it's a 1950s cartoon in a textbook. This is less troubling than the police harassment of cartoonists for doing cartoons about police and political corruption, but somehow even slightly more noteworthy for how far in the historical rear view mirror the cartoon in question actually is. It could just be coincidence; but the political cartoon culture in India right now seems really battered and bruised in a way that one wouldn't predict given what a rich tradition that is in that country. The headline above is too glib as a serious proclamation and I hope it's taken as it's offered. Still, I'm genuinely confused by this run of recent stories considering all the positive that market has for comics and cartooning generally.
 
posted 3:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Draw Sendak

image
 
posted 3:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
More On That Iranian Cartoonist Sentenced To A Lashing

I'd go here and here for more on the horrible sentence given Mahmoud Shokraye for depicting an MP in a football jersey. I think that coverage makes a fine point that while the sentence itself is clearly what's putting this into a lot of feature stories, because it's an idiotic and inhumane sentence, the key development is that Iran legal culture is allowing political figures to sue cartoonists if they don't like the way they're depicted. This is almost always a recipe for disaster in such countries where the judiciary and politicians share a sphere of influence, and is the evocation of some lousy principles besides.
 
posted 3:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Shelley Japan

image
 
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
David Glanzer Unpacks CCI's Take On Pro Registration

Comic-Con International's David Glanzer was nice enough to write in with a more thorough take on the Con's positions regarding professional registration.

This was a subject on the blog yesterday. Basically, a few folks writing in to CR had complained about a few elements of this week's launch of professional registration for the July show. First, that the e-mail in advance of that registration arrived suddenly and without much of an advance warning period. Second, that professional (and to a lesser extent, press) registration comes after the ticketing process means that anyone that fails to get in with a professional pass doesn't have much of a chance to buy a ticket to attend. Third, that the registration process come late enough in the year that travel plans have to be made without really knowing what's going to happen, and that this specifically was troublesome this year because Comic-Con changed its policy regarding the registration of teenage children of professional guests -- thus saddling people already committed to the show with an additional cost.

"My apologies for not offering more background on your questions," wrote Glanzer in an e-mail received last night.

"Basically there are two major factors we are faced with. Actually, there are a number of factors we are faced with but these two speak directly to registration.
1) Our attendees were very vocal in wanting us to remain in San Diego when time came for contract negotiations some time back and
2) In order to remain in a facility that has limited space, we simply cannot accommodate everyone who would like to attend.
This leaves us with having to find ways to best accommodate the most amount of the public who would like to attend as well as accommodating, in a fair way, those members of the press and professionals. To meet this goal we have had to make certain decisions.

"One example is that in the past press were allowed to bring a guest. We never really publicized it, but it was a courtesy we could afford. However, each complimentary guest pass for a member of the media results in one less member of the general public who could attend. In the end we began to see some of our press badges for sale on Internet auction sites, and more so, heard many stories about how simple it was to 'game the system' and get a press pass for oneself and a guest.

"The decision was made to limit press badges to only those who are actually reporting on the show. Additionally, over the last few years we've made credentialing more stringent. I know it's not an easy process, and this has resulted in a great many complaints. But it has also resulted in far fewer press badges for sale on Internet auction sites and more stories from reporters who genuinely report on the event.

Glanzer continued. "With regard to Junior Badges for professionals; The decision was made to remove the discount for Junior badges because the number of professional Junior badges appearing on Internet auction sites was staggering. We are seeing more and more professionals registering for admittance to the show. While we are still allowing guests for professionals, we would also like to admit as many professionals as possible.

"The process for registration has been a difficult one for some time. You'll remember that general registration took over seven hours last year. This year the process took under an hour and a half. This is the result of lots of hours of trying to find the best solution to the registration issues. Did it go as smoothly as we would have liked, no, but we hope it was a better experience for most than the previous year.

"Press and Professional Registration opened later than in years past because we were working, up until the last moment, trying to make sure any loading issues were kept to a minimum. The result is Press and Professional registration opened with little incident. We did have to close Professional Registration the first evening for general maintenance, but it was reopened the following day.

"So basically we are faced with trying to find a way to accommodate as many people as we can in the most equitable way as possible. Will there be problems in the future with registration? Yes, I imagine there may be, but that doesn't mean we've stopped working on it. We really do want, and are working on, trying to find a solution that works best in the long run.

"The expansion of the convention center, by all indicators, is moving forward. Our hope is that an expanded facility will offer more room breathing room in any number of areas. Until that time, our task is to try to accommodate as many people as we can in a way that is as fair as possible."

I'm grateful to David Glanzer for taking the time to provide a fuller response.

My take in general remains pretty much what I outlined yesterday. Comic-Con is taking the relatively stable-sized show they have no to make institutional improvements. One of those improvement areas has to be registration because of the premiums of entry and how badly the system was gamed in those areas. There are going to be growing pains going from old to new policies. There may not be a lot of sympathy for Comic-Con in terms of those growing pains because there's a lot of stress involved with getting to that show, and there's a narrative out there by which it's become much more difficult for comics people in particular, at least compared with some version of "the good old days."

So basically I get both sides of this; Comic-Con has to make these improvements, and some of them are going to cost some people whether intentionally or unintentionally.

It also occurs to me that people auctioning off press access is the kind of thing that needs to get talked about in terms of comics being less exploitative and weird and kind of gross up and down the industry. I mean, I can see squaring away a buddy because I did a lot of that, but it's hard for me to see gaming the system for a buck, particularly when having any sort of relationship to Comic-Con yourself is practically a public declaration that you're not totally hurting for cash.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Richard Green's Racetrack Reportage

image
 
posted 1:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Alex Pappademas Profiles Stan Lee

I thought this profile of Stan Lee over at the long-form sports and culture journalism site Grantland was a pretty good one. I liked the other thing I read from Alex Pappademas on comics there, too, which I can't recall right now. Not only is it a surprisingly sophisticated walk through the basic creators rights issues that are going to be a part of Lee's legacy, Pappademas gets at the difficulty of writing about these subjects and I think nails at what makes worth noting the fact there was any discussion at all of these issues on the event of a movie release. I also think that he gets an honest, unaffected answer out of Lee about his basic take on creator's rights, and that's going to be a boon to the medium's history.
 
posted 1:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Territory

image
from Sean T. Collins, maybe? I'm old and forget things now
 
posted 1:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

image* great survivor of the tectonic shifts in comics coverage Tripwire has launched its fundraising campaign for a 20th anniversary book. I'm always happy to see Joel Meadows at shows, and I'm happy to see him in the video here. Meadows also comments on the occasion in a blog post here.

* here's a kickstarter project of the "new talent" variety: Prairie City Response.

* I totally missed this Kickstarter project on behalf of the Daisy Kutter material; fortunately, it seems as if I'm the only one who missed it.

* not comics: I hope for as long as it lasts you'll forgive me the weekly indulgence of drawing attention to my brother's kickstarter project for a short film; Whit is this site's primary photographer -- he does the non-terrible photos.

* is there anyone out there with a clear understanding of the charitable efforts on behalf of the late, great Tony DeZuniga, hopefully from an insider's point of view? I've been e-mailed a question or two and

* finally, I'll leave this week with a reminder that the Hero Initiative and other comics-related charities are happily processing your checks and on-line donations if you'd wish to leave on in this period where the Avengers movie is supplying solid-gold shoes money to people that don't need it as desperately as the people who benefit from those charities. I wrote about that here. You're not going to "win comics" by donating, you're not going to see an outcome in terms of policy you want because you threw someone ten bucks. But a donation is worth considering because a donation can do some good, and it's nice to be reminded of that.
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: August Lipp

image
 
posted 1:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Maurice Sendak, RIP

image
this article has been archived
 
posted 1:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: It Makes All The Difference In The World

image
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: TCAF 2012

image
this article has been archived
 
posted 1:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Great Cartoons

image
 
posted 1:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Cartoonist Josh Neufeld Win UM Knight-Wallace Fellowship

imageThe cartoonist Josh Neufeld sent out a brief notice yesterday that he's been offered a 2012-2013 Knight-Wallace Fellowship. This is something offered to various established journalists so that they can pursue appropriate studies at the University of Michigan for a full academic year. This includes I think regular classes in addition to specialized courses, seminars and some travel.

Neufeld notes that he's the first cartoonist to receive this particular honor, and one of a handful to receive any sort of academic fellowship related to journalism. He'll be studying Bahrain, for which he did this Eisner-nominated piece.

Neufeld comments at length here. Congratulations to one of comics' hardest-working nice guys.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Satellite Covers

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I totally missed this post from Secret Acres about this year's MoCCA Festival, and the slew of poignant commentary that follows. I don't think I've encountered a single person that buys for a second the claims that attendance went up this year. I've also talked to at least two other prominent exhibitors who declared this will be their final year at the show -- although that kind of sentiment sometimes softens.

image* Sean T. Collins on Baby's In Black. Bob Temuka on the Mignolaverse. Dan Morrill on the Jumpstart Comic Activity Book. Charles Yoakum on the Avengers movie. John Kane on a variety of comics. Sean Kleefeld on Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellant? J. Caleb Mozzocco on a variety of comics. Michael Buntag on some recent superhero comic books. That Ross/Hitch one was kind of odd.

* Caitlin McGurk profiles the most prominent comics work that you could read upside-down. I remember one of the contributors to the TCJ Top 100 list was a huge advocate for that strip.

* when Dagwood Bumstead split the atom. How much better would Blondie be if Dagwood were going to work at the Manhattan Project every day? (Don't e-mail me about the University of Chicago; I know.)

* a case for buying contemporary comics art.

* sometimes Mike Sterling does posts that are seemingly just for me.

* hopefully, the target-rich environment that some folks seem to think basic citizen rights will keep our nation's editorial cartoonists from doing any more cartoons about eating dog.

* hey, new Kate Beaton.

* I can't tell if this is the worst idea I've read about this week or the best one.

* Alex Dueben talks to Sal Buscema and Ted Naifeh. Michael Cavna talks to Matt Bors.

* Paul Gravett reports in from the London Super Comic Convention.

* Bruce Canwell puts up a comics version of one of those diagrams you see on the wall of a TV show.

* not comics: Emi Lenox makes a Studio Ghibli-related poster.

* that's a nice Avengers page. I always liked Kang. For one thing, his name is "Kang."

* finally, I learned a new, sort-of made-up word today.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 10, 2012


Happy 50th Birthday To Lee & Kirby's Incredible Hulk

image

At least that's what this says. That's kind of a big deal, right? Marvel has a big combover thing going on with these anniversaries.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 06

image
 
posted 2:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CRNI Gives Courage In Editorial Cartooning Award To Ali Ferzat And Aseem Trivedi

The Cartoonists Rights Network International named Ali Ferzat and Aseem Trivedi the co-winners of its annual Courage In Editorial Cartooning Award in a release distributed yesterday. The organization awards this honor to a cartoonist in danger as opposed to a specific cartoon. Ferzat is the internationally-renowned Syrian cartoonist who made wire stories all over the world after being assaulted by pro-government thugs that sought to break his hands. Trivedi is being honored for launching the cartoon site Cartoons Against Corruption and a free speech organization in the increasingly free speech-hostile Indian market.

Past winners of the award include the South African cartoonist Zapiro and the embattled Malaysian cartoonist Zunar.
 
posted 2:31 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 06

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 05

image
 
posted 2:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 04

image
 
posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 03

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* I liked this photo set from Julia Wertz taken in and around a comics festival everyone made sure not to tell me about.

* I'm not seeing any major North American shows this weekend, although someone please remind me if I totally whiffed on something. that Long Beach Comic Expo is taking place. You can go see Evan Dorkin on the Jersey Shore.

* I received a few complaints from folks about Comic-Con International's professional registration process, which began this week. They basically broke down into two areas. The first complaint I received is that the e-mail for that registration went out in way too close proximity to the actual registration, surprising some people and not giving them what they felt was enough ramp-up time. The second complaint I received was that they're now charging for teenaged children when they apparently did not do so in the past. Both of these complaints take place in the context of a larger one, that the con has changed policies and is doing professional -- and to a lesser extent press -- registration so late in the game that people had to plan for their trip without really knowing if they could get in.

I talked to Comic-Con's David Glanzer briefly via e-mail exchange; he's been a bit under the weather, so we didn't get to go back and forth on it. He basically confirmed the policies without providing too much in the way of the con's thinking or a response to potential criticism. As to the first, "We try to schedule the emails so that they arrive prior to the announcement going live. That time frame can vary but typically we get that email out before opening and before we announce publicly on our website or social media." As to the second, "Those under 12 are still complimentary, however they must be registered onsite now instead of in advance. Even though the show was sold out Professionals could receive (while supplies last) one free guest and one paid."

So I'm not all the way sure what to do here, what's fair to say.

Let me try, and if David Glanzer or anyone else wants to address the criticisms made more directly I'll run an update and put something below the next few graphs. I think Comic-Con has done a pretty good job overall of tightening up the show as it's become a settled-into-a-certain-number beast -- security and traffic on the floor has seemed to improve the last few years, for example. Clamping down on a process of registration that was soaked in abuse -- I know this in part because I abused the crap out of it as a pro and as press -- has gone less smoothly, for sure, and I think people are right to be peeved when they have to catch up to information about new policies late in the process.

That said, I'm not sure what else Comic-Con can do right now except lock these things into place when they can as best they can and communicate them as the status quo moving forward, just as I'm not sure what people can do but get disgruntled in response. The con holds a lot of the cards here on a fundamental, institutional level; there's such an overwhelming demand for attendance as the show is currently constituted that they can turn people away that don't agree with the parameters as communicated to them, or don't like the way the parameters are communicated. They'll do so with regret on a personal level -- they're nice people -- but on an institutional level I think they move this direction even if they do so imperfectly or they have to resign themselves to a system where some things get more efficient and others don't.

So let's hope policies are set now, and that any additional ones are announced way in advance of their implementation, and that these things are executed fairly and without a lot of special favors under the table as we see them become reality at the show itself. I feel the pain of those that have to adjust based on these things, doubly so if they feel they have to on the fly. I don't have teenaged kids that are suddenly costing me an extra length of arm and leg where apparently they didn't before, but I do always seem to have at least one friend that wants to go with a surge of excitement on about July 4 and looks at me like I'm the parent that canceled the family trip to Disney World. The last two years I've seen credentialed reporters turned away for not pre-registering and baffled that this is happening to them. (How deeply unimpressed I am with a lot of the writing and coverage that gets done at the show in return for a lot of four-day free passes doled out is another column, one probably best unwritten.) I just sent a letter to help process my own registration, which on a CR level is not totally approved. I also wish I knew several weeks ago how it will turn out.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 02

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Remembering Frank Frazetta Two Years After His Passing 01

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Ethan Heitner sent along a link to this compelling article, which I'll pass along to you without commentary. I agree with the note Heitner sent me that it's the issue that intrigues rather than this article's specific treatment of the same. It's also pretty much not comics, or at least the stuff that interests me isn't.

image* Ralph Gardner profiles the great Drew Friedman. I derive a lot of pleasure just looking at Drew Friedman's art. Laura Sydell talks to Dan Clowes. Nicole Rudick talks to Diane Noomin. The Ninja Consultant show people talk to Felipe Smith. Kiel Phegley talks to Ed Brubaker.

* Todd Klein with a snippet of information on logo master Ira Schnapp. I always liked this Schnapp effort.

* someone win the lottery and hire Kiel Phegley away from CBR so he can fulfill his destiny as the comics' culture first full-time travel writer. I'm imagining a TV show version splitting time with Frank Santoro.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of comics. Some nice person at PW on Folly. Walter Wehus on Kolor Klimax. Jason Newcomb on Abstract Comics. Jim Martin on Amazing Mysteries. Todd Klein on Swamp Thing #8, the Avengers movie, Legion: Secret Origin #6 and Justice League #7. Don MacPherson on World's Finest #1. Erica Friedman on this year's Girls Jump. Grant Goggans on Milk & Cheese.

* happy third anniversary to Katherine Dacey at Manga Critic; go win a book from her.

* Clifford Meth reminds that the Dave Cockrum and Gene Colan scholarships at the Kubert School continue to do good in those late cartoonists' names.

* finally, Drawn and Quarterly posts about photos and comics from Vanessa Davis and the latest news from Adrian Tomine.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 9, 2012


Go, Read: Ruben Bolling Spoils Avengers 2

image
 
posted 6:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Awkwards

image
 
posted 4:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Why I Wrote A (Very Modest) Check To The Hero Initiative

image

This site reported yesterday that as of Tuesday morning approximately $1100 has been given to the charity The Hero Initiative in donations related to the opening of the Avengers movie. The reason why these donations materialized in the first place is that it had been suggested here and several other, more well-trafficked places on-line that fans might wish to match their Avengers ticket price with a donation to the charity that seeks to assist creators in financial distress. It was further suggested this might be an attractive option for those that harbored doubts about Marvel's longstanding, neglectful-to-antagonistic behavior towards Avengers creators like Jack Kirby and Don Heck.

imageI thought there would be a few grand donated. I was disappointed to hear an $1100 figure. Don't get me wrong: I'm blown away that anyone gives to charity, period. It's tough right now. No matter how much you know about where your contribution is going, donating to a charity is an act of faith that the money will be used wisely. None of my disappointment in hearing the $1100 was with those that gave. I certainly don't want anyone that did that generous thing to feel like they were had. It's a good thing to give money to charity, particularly one that is present and waiting when someone needs help. Every bit helps. When fewer people than expected give, every dollar becomes more important, not less.

Still, it's likely that less than 100 people with a few more to come (the charity predicts that 90 percent of the total giving in this instance already took place) chose to do this. That doesn't seem like a lot of people to me. I harbored no illusions that a significant number of the film's attendees would care about the original characters or their creators or know about the Hero Initiative, and it was beyond reason to think tens of thousands of film-goers would be paying close enough attention to hear this collective call to alms. I did think that there were several hundred people out there that know the Hero Initiative and who read comics sites where this idea was floated that were headed to this movie. I'm still sure this is true.

Despite not seeing the movie, I cut a check about an hour after hearing the news. It seemed like the right thing to do. The thing is, it shouldn't take much to get comics' devoted readers and professionals to participate in an act of community like supporting its institutions. Ten dollars can buy someone a couple of weeks of pills at the Wal-mart pharmacy, or pay for a meal. These are not things that should be dismissed nor ever taken lightly. A few dollars may certainly be more helpful in concrete terms than making sarcastic commentary on-line and then turning to your buddies for a virtual high-five after a particularly witty salvo. We have this thing in comics where we want to win and sometimes we forget to just do and let the winning and losing take care of itself. I think it's time we maybe started pursuing what's right and what's necessary regardless of how it makes us look and feel. If you feel as I do that comics is soaked with exploitative practices, there are any number of ways to reduce this, starting with some of our own behavior. It's all important.

I also gave yesterday because I owe Jack Kirby that kind of consideration. We lost Maurice Sendak this week. That's a big thing. There are dozens of Jack Kirby comics that I read with as much passionate focus as I utilized consuming Where The Wild Things Are. Like Kamandi #10. There were not 100 things better in my young life not people than Kamandi #10. I'm honored to give to something in the King's name. That I get to give something that could be used on behalf of any of the dozens of people that helped me get through childhood in a more modest way than the King Of Comics did, perhaps someone that worked on the Avengers, a title through which I can recall the flavor and feel of every year from seven years old to fifteen, well, that's just lovely.

I hope you'll think about joining me, whether you're seeing the movie, not seeing the movie; whatever. Ten dollars is what three comics cost these days (if you're lucky), or a mixed drink with tip in a San Diego hotel bar, or a morning's worth of coffee + refills. It's not much, and it can mean the world. More importantly, it's a chance to do, not just say.

You can find donation information here.

image
 
posted 4:35 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Ted White's 1968 Stan Lee Interview

image
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Stephanie McMillan Wins RFK Journalism Award

image

Michael Cavna has a nice feature-story style piece on Stephanie McMillan winning the cartooning category of this year's RFK Journalism Awards. Those are awards given out by the Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice & Human Rights that focus on human rights and social justice coverage. McMillan is being recognized for her Code Green comics and the The Beginning Of The American Fall piece she did on the Occupy movement.

The sponsoring paper named by the awards is the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, although I think this is a bigger boost for the site Cartoon Movement. When you combine the Herblock Prize win that Matt Bors recently enjoyed and his Pulitzer finalist status with McMillan's new honor, it's hard to deny the obvious traction being accrued to their shared platform through such achievements.

McMillan will receive her award on May 24 during a ceremony in Washington, DC.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kirby Monsters

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Frank Tashlin Strip

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

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.

*****

MAR121075 BABYS IN BLACK HC $24.99
This is the Arne Bellstorf early-Beatles love story of long-winded anecdote and movie fame. It sure is handsome-dorable. Just look at that thing. I want to take it to high tea and cluck over it.

imageJAN121091 NONNONBA GN (MR) $26.95
This Shigeru Mizuki book is the release of the week, maybe by a wide margin. I would have stuck it up top but I couldn't find in immediate fashion a large enough image. I know some people had a negative reaction to it when it won at Angouleme a few years back, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it for myself.

JAN120105 FLCL OMNIBUS GN $19.99
I'm more familiar with this material for the animated version, which I remember finding baffling but just interesting enough I wished I were less intoxicated when I encountered it. I think this is one of those comics that came after the animation, maybe? I'm sure Jog has something clever to say about this. Jog is clever all the time.

JUL110248 BIBLE HC $29.99
I remember reading the original treasury-sized comic over and over again when I was a kid, under approving parental eyes. Nestor Redondo art; Joe Kubert supervising the package; market forces of its day kidney-punching so that there was only this one issue. I'd like to see what they're doing with it to make it $30, but I suppose that's a fair reflection of what oversized, full-color books cost now.

JAN120480 ARCHIE SUNDAYS FINEST HC $49.99
As always with the Archie material that's out there, I'm a little bit lost as to exactly what this is, but I'll always look at it.

MAR120318 FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE ALIVE #1 $3.99
This is Bernie Wrightson drawing Frankenstein, in comics form with recent collaborator Steve Niles providing the writing. Bernie Wrightson! I would knock over a couple of children to look at it, not because I'm mean, but because I would go, "Oh yeah, hey, look at this."

FEB120868 SPACE DUCKS HC INFINITE COMIC BOOK MUSICAL $19.99
A complete Daniel Johnston graphic novella complete with tie-in media and Johnston making appearances at recent comics-related parties and performing in its promotion. There is a high, high curiosity factor with this one. Feel lucky if you shop in the kind of store that carries a book like this as a matter of course.

MAR120041 LOBSTER JOHNSON THE BURNING HAND #5 (OF 5) $3.50
MAR120482 FATALE #5 (MR) $3.50
JAN120590 INVINCIBLE #91 $2.99
DEC110563 MORNING GLORIES #18 (MR) $2.99
FEB128170 SAGA #2 VAR CVR 2ND PTG (MR) $2.99
FEB128171 SECRET #1 VAR CVR 2ND PTG $3.50
FEB128172 THIEF OF THIEVES #3 VAR CVR 2ND PTG $2.99
MAR120507 WALKING DEAD #97 (MR) $2.99
MAR120583 CAPTAIN AMERICA #11 $3.99
A fascinating week for adventure comics of the should-be-$3 variety: bookends of the latest Mignola-verse and what I assume is an Ed Brubaker-written superhero comic sandwiching a ton of the higher-aiming Image serial books right now from their top talent. It should be fun for fans of those books to follow the Robert Kirkman comics as they close in on their issues #100 -- Kirkman's enough of a traditionalist those should be major narrative moments.

MAR120675 MAGNETO NOT A HERO TP $14.99
Still adore this title. I hope the sequel employs the word "seriously."

MAR120670 OZ OZMA OF OZ GN TP $19.99
I don't personally know anyone that's following the not-movie-branded Marvel bookstore material, but they look awfully attractive and if they weren't selling at least pretty well Marvel wouldn't do them.

JAN121172 GON GN KODANSHA ED VOL 05 $10.99
There are more good comics now. I like these little dinosaur comics just fine, but 15 years I felt compelled to pay way more attention to them as they came out than I feel compelled to now.

MAR121077 MASTERING COMICS SC $34.99
Matt Madden and Jessica Abel are going back to school with this First Second-published textbook follow-up to their Drawing Words And Writing Pictures. I'll leave it up to you to decide if you're going to imagine Madden, Abel or both doing the Triple Lindy.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Great Cartoons Of The World

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Work By Someone Named Joe Doolin

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Marvel goes exclusive with comiXology. Well, at least they didn't try and fail to distribute themselves before going exactly the easiest direction indicated by the broadest market forces. In comics, we call that an evolutionary leap.

image* Brad Mackay on Jerusalem: Chronicles From The Holy City. Rob Clough on Teleny And Camille. Charles Yoakum on the Avengers movie. Nina Stone on The Rabbi's Cat. Sean Kleefeld on Snarked. Brendan Horton on The Invisible Man. Johanna Draper Carlson on a couple of random comics.

* David Brothers points out the anally-fixated humor he's encountered in comics recently. If I remember that one pop-culture study class I took, there's all sorts of developmental psychology stuff that springs to mind with humor like that. Plus, butt jokes are funny.

* Jonathan P. Kuehlein talks to Guy Delisle. Bill Baker talks to Mark Wheatley, Steve Lieber, JR Han and Ramona Fradon. Danno Klonowski talks to Zander Cannon.

* so the Marvel Free Comic Book Day comic was edited to take out the worst aspects of a heroine being stripped and interrogated by two creeps. There are better aspects to that scenario? There are no other comics to use? I'd make a joke about Picasso's penis here, but that shit wasn't funny.

* not comics: an Oliver East drawing is up for charitable auction.

* hey, Paul Karasik in The New Yorker.

* finally, Michael T. Gilbert pays tribute to Alan Moore.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 8, 2012


Hero Initiative Sees Approximately $1100 Thus Far In Avengers Movie Related Donations

imageHero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin told CR today that the comics-related charity, whose mission is to help creators in need, has received approximately $1100 so far in donations related to the Avengers film. That movie is currently soaking up a small nation's worth of gross national product in world cinematic multiplexes ($683 million by Tuesday morning). The bulk of the donated money has come from on-line sources -- McLauchlin goes to a PO Box once a week and plans to visit on Friday for what he expects to be a few more donations. He told CR the organization expects the vast majority of these donations to coincide with the film's opening weekend.

It had been suggested in a variety of places (including here when noting such instances) that informed fans with lingering doubts as to Marvel's history with the treatment of creators and specifically those creators involved with the characters in the Avengers film might match their ticket price with a donation, or otherwise see that some money gets to the Hero Initiative coffers.

I would describe McLauchlin as extremely positive about the monies raised. He noted that one nice thing about this money is the organization did nothing in terms of soliciting it -- any money brought in will be a straight-up bonus to their usual fundraising efforts. He also noted a personal fascination with what gets people to respond to a charitable call like this one.

A brief check with another organization mentioned in some on-line calls for Avengers-related charity, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, returned a report of no perceptible increase in weekend donations.
 
posted 6:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Maurice Sendak At Blown Covers

image
1, 2, 3
 
posted 6:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled Extra: Yam Books Announces First Two Publications

imageVia the magic of a press release and the mercy inherent in my not waiting a full week minus two hours to run more publishing news, the Oakland-based Yam Books announced its first two publications. Debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comix Expo (CAKE) will be the Lark Pien-edited Lollygag, an anthology of compulsive doodling from an all-star alt- and arts-comics line-up including Eleanor Davis, Renee French, Tom Hart, Nick Bertozzi and Jim Rugg. That one is 60 pages. A little later on this year will see Ticket Stub, a collection of Tim Hensley's 'zine of the same name. The 'zine version ran nine issues. That's another sketchbook-based project, this time with Hensley drawing scenes from his one-time gig as a closed-captions editor. I take it that Yam Books is a solo Rina Ayuyang effort because I'm not seeing anyone else's name involved, but I could be wrong.
 
posted 6:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Maurice Sendak, RIP

image

A curmudgeon and character of the first order, Maurice Sendak made several good books and one titanic one. I don't know anyone else whose reputation is so closely aligned to a single work that has never been diminished or re-appraised for that fact, but you don't step to "Where The Wild Things Are." You just don't.
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: A Sleeping Beauty Golden Book

image
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Cartoonist Sentenced To Flogging In Iran

This is a pretty horrible story, no matter how you want to look at it. Apparently the cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh will be flogged 25 times for drawing an MP wearing a sports jersey. This appears to have been an actual sentence passed down in an actual court, as opposed to something decided at a fraternity house at 3 AM on tear night. The cartoon was something that appeared in a best-selling publication, too. This is so ugly, silly and retrograde I can't even muster a joke about someone in comics that deserves flogging without making a battery taste in my mouth. The linked-to article suggests drawing a line from this incident to those in Iran that go to jail for their cartoons -- I've covered those here and I have also felt peculiarly horrid doing so; this feels slightly different to me, and I can't entirely vouch for why. I guess this happens a lot.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Gahan Wilson Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* well, new Charles Burns is always astounding news. This is shaping up to be a fascinating year and it looks like it will end with a series of heavy-hitters.

image* Daniel Duford has a third volume of the The Naked Boy series up for sale here if you're interested and perhaps not willing to google that one from work.

* Jeff Lemire is bringing his Sweet Tooth to a close. That's an impressive run for that title, particularly as this is Lemire's decision rather than the publisher's.

* I look forward to seeing the results of this.

* Top Shelf is accepting pre-order on two summer releases, one from Ed Piskor and one from James Kochalka. That Piskor work should be interesting consume between a single set of covers -- I know I've read several pages, but I don't think I've read all of it yet.

* you can apparently head over to Dark Horse Digital and find free copies of the FCBD comics up. That makes sense to me. You know, Dark Horse has had a mostly sensible digital program from the start, or at least that's my impression of what they've been up to.

* on the other hand, this person seems to strongly disagree that Dark Horse is pursuing things in a totally rational fashion, at least when one aspect of how their digital materials are being offered.

* Josh Carroll wrote in to say he's re-launched his site here.

* TCJ doesn't do a whole lot of previews, but one for Dan Zettwoch's forthcoming book is a fine, fine choice. Here's one for the next Joe Daly at The Beat. That guy is remarkable.

* it seems odd to get a press release to news that the Get Fuzzy strip is about to explode into 17 different e-books being made available over the news few week that doesn't lead me directly to an article, but the attached word document says you should be able to find these books widely available that way by summer. I think there's going to be some definite interest in how the strip properties approach digital books -- most have a very specific, devoted audience that should lend itself to that kind of endeavor really, really well.

* finally, Fantagraphics released the cover to the next Love & Rockets: New Stories. Given that the last two issues were basically a right and left hand blow from some terrifying personage of creative force, I can't imagine a more anticipated book this summer. That's some cover.

image
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Vaughn Bode Science Fiction Illustration

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics' Giving Heart -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* with the focus paid the Hero Initiative in light of the success of the Avengers movie and an effort by some to send donations matching the price of a ticket that group's way, now might be a time to look at all the comics traditional charities and causes and consider a small donation. I always recommend the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund due to their track record. I'm sure there are any number of organizations that have made similar requests in light of that movie and the attention to charitable donations and I'm sure they're all worthy. No one group has contacted me directly, as far as I can tell.

image* I always recommend the S. Clay Wilson Living Trust. I have no new news on Wilson -- a fact for which I'm grateful, to be honest with you -- but I can't imagine that the Trust couldn't use any funding a fan might be willing to send along.

* there's a bunch of stuff on Kickstarter right now that is funded more than 100 percent of its initial goal where people are still sending me press releases to increase the project's support. That's great, and I'm happy for them, but I'm going to assume that in most cases people are finding those projects without this site's help.

* there are a couple of high-profile Kickstarter projects with steep price points still seeking their initial funding: the Jenkins/Ramos Fairy Quest effort and the Reading With Pictures textbook project stand out a bit against what I'm sure are deserving others.

* finally, this is completely not comics, but a few of you out there might not find out any other way: my brother Whit Spurgeon has started fundraising for a second film project. Whit is this site's primary convention photographer, and overwhelmingly so in terms of this site's not-terrible convention photos.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Fun Sal Trapani Art

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Science Fiction Paperback Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Mid-1950s Cartoons From Esquire Magazine

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* joint press release yesterday from comiXology and the CBLDF that the former has joined the latter as a corporate member. That's good news all around: the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund can use all the support it can muster, and it's nice to see comiXology become an active participant in various aspects of current comics culture.

image* someone at the Winston Salem-Journal talks to Frank King. Alex Thomas talks to Russell Willis.

* Tucker Stone reviews a bunch of comics. Michael Dooley powers through some of the Graphics Classics.

* here's something I totally missed: a nice bunch of photos from a nice event: a Gone To Amerikay launch party. I don't do enough with the nice events, really.

* there was very, very little in terms of major media coverage of the Kirby and other creators aspect of the Avengers film; one noted exception was Chris Mautner's opinion piece in his region's biggest newspaper on why he's skipping the movie.

* the photographer Seth Kushner talks about rights in the digital age in an on-line essay here.

* speaking of photos, Peggy Burns is right: this D+Q FCBD report featuring various cherubic comics readers is indeed adorable.

* finally, Caitlin McGurk pulls out a handsome-looking Gordo. Then again, it's sort of impossible to find an unattractive Sunday Gordo.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Moebius Would Have Been 74 Years Old Today

image
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 7, 2012


Go, Bookmark: Dedicated The Crogan Adventures Site

image
 
posted 1:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The 2012 Campaign In Webcomics Begins

Ethan Heitner wrote in to suggest I take a look at this piece of agitprop from the Obama/Biden re-election campaign as the first shot across the bow in what might be an entire aspect of the forthcoming presidential election fought in terms of competing webcomics. I think that's an idea worth considering. In fact, the work itself reminds me of another Ethan, Ethan Persoff.
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Daniel Zalkus On The Artist As Reporter

image
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
if you've seen all of this stuff, you are a person that is not me
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Liberatore Gallery

image
 
posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Mohammed Hassan Khalid has plead guilty to his role in a plot to kill the artist Lars Vilks for making a drawing of the Prophet Muhammed head on the body of a dog. Vilks' action was the highest-profile artistic response to the original Danish cartoons, and he tends to be described as a cartoonist and lumped in with the other cartoonists participating in that original publication of caricatures despite a very different specific context to each expression. Because Khalid was in contact with Colleen LaRose, you're going to see the "Jihad Jane" angle pushed, I think because people like that name so much. Khalid is likely the youngest person found guilty of terrorism-related charges in American history.

* a violent instance in Bonn unfolds in exactly the depressing way everyone involved must have known it would.
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Don Martin In Galaxy Magazine

image
 
posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2012 Doug Wright Awards Winners

imageThe Doug Wright Awards spotlighting the best in Canadian cartooning named their annual winners on May 5 in a ceremony held in close proximity to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Kate Beaton, Ethan Rilly and Michael Comeau had works honored in Best Book, Spotlight Award and the Avant Garde categories.

This year also marked the induction of Terry Mosher -- who works under the pen name "Aislin" -- into that group's Hall Of Fame.

The winners in bold, as listed with fellow finalists.

BEST BOOK
* Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Lose #3 by Michael Deforge (Koyama Press)
* Mid-Life by Joe Ollmann (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Paying for It by Chester Brown (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Reunion by Pascal Girard (Drawn and Quarterly)
* The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)

DOUG WRIGHT SPOTLIGHT AWARD ("THE NIPPER"/FOR TALENT DESERVING WIDER RECOGNITION)
* Emily Carroll for "The Seven Windows" (from The Anthology Project vol. 2), "Margot's Room" and "The Prince & the Sea" (and other comics at emcarroll.com/comic).
* Patrick Kyle for Black Mass #5-6
* Betty Liang for Wet T-Shirt #1, "It's Only a Secret if You Don't Tell Anyone" (in š! #9), "Anna Freud's Recurring Dream" (and other comics at bettyliang.tumblr.com)
* Ethan Rilly for Pope Hats #2 (AdHouse Books)
* Zach Worton for The Klondike (Drawn and Quarterly)

PIGSKIN PETERS AWARD (FOR AVANT GARDE WORK)
* Hermoddities by Temple Bates (Conundrum Press)
* Pure Pajamas by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Hellberta by Michael Comeau (Koyama Press)
* Various comics including those at connorwillumsen.com by Connor Willumsen

The nominees were chosen by a committee of Jerry Ciccoritti, Jeet Heer, Bryan Munn, Chris Randle and Sean Rogers; the winners were by a jury of Shary Boyle, John Martz, George Walker and Julie Traves.
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Wally Wood From Galaxy Magazine

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Back Of The Flats Mini-Gallery

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Robin Malone Sequence

image
1, 2
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* foundational comics blogger Mike Sterling reports on what sounds like a very successful Free Comic Book Day. I think my favorite part of that promotion as it's developed is reading about the various ways different stores have been able to use it really, really well.

image* I'm thinking a team of adventure-comics teammates whose major ability is sleeping a lot would have a lot to say to young people today.

* Gary Tyrrell talks to Meredith Gran. Tom Racine talks to Anne Hambrock.

* not comics: the Hooray For Wally Wood blog points out that one potential benefit of having the Wally Wood Estate under active guardianship is that we're going to see things like more t-shirts featuring the Wood-created characters.

* Rob Clough on Goliath. Bob Temuka on Comic Book Men. Don MacPherson on GI Combat #1. John Kane on a bunch of comics. Sean Gaffney on Fallen Words. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Secret Six: Cats In The Cradle. Bart Croonenborghs on Rogue Trooper: Tales Of Nu-Earth Vol. 1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Daredevil #12. Michael Buntag on Velveteen And Mandela. Dave Press on Harvey Pekar's Cleveland.

* there's really no turning down an invitation to game night at Dean Mullaney's house.

* Paul Gravett reports in from Napoli. Then he takes in the Max show in Madrid.

* not comics: not familiar with the exact quote or the artist here.

* I like that on my vacation last week to East Central Indiana to get away from comics a bit, I was within a few miles of Mark Evanier, Jim Davis and Mark Waid.

* finally, some random Avengers-related stuff. Bully pulls out various eras' treatment of an Avengers #1 cover. The editorial cartoonists at the Cagle site use the movie's popularity for some visual-reference humor. Lauren Davis writes on an Avengers-related fashion show. Here's a nice-looking Kirby Avengers cover -- that might be the best one of Kirby's run on that title.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Various Avengers-Related Week Images

image
There were a lot of Avengers-related superhero art postings last week, a lot of them featuring art with which I was largely unfamiliar. You can poke around places like here, here and here for a start. That's been a superhero title that has always attracted big-name talent.
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 6, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Bernie Mireault

image

*****

imageBernie Mireault has been making comics for over a quarter-century now, his first professional comic debuting in I believe 1984. He is best known for his genial superhero series The Jam. His latest, the self-published To Get Her, offers up an extended meditation on the act of creating comics over a lifetime whose passage is otherwise marked by lengthy, complicated, personal relationships. Like most of Mireault's work, it features moments of exquisite comics craft execution and any number of idiosyncratic choices in how they're employed in the service of a narrative. Made for what was hoped might be a sustained period of interest from New York prose publishing houses in longer comics works, To Get Her is now a limited edition of less than a thousand copies that Mireault hopes to sell in order to finance a second edition that might be distributed in more traditional fashion. I can't imagine there's anything much like it out there as a work of art or as a publishing project. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Tell me about the decision to work with so much prose. You even start To Get Her that way, with a lengthy prose section.

BERNIE MIREAULT: Over time I've decided that I'm no longer omniscient and so have no idea what other people are thinking and that it would be better not to pretend to. Thought balloons have become too silly-looking to me. Clouds! Good for a gag once maybe, but c'mon! Narration boxes usually do good work, but here I had more to say and so opted for the most concentrated form of communication available to print media: words. Also, I hadn't seen this particular blend of prose and imagery done before and thought that it was an obvious extension of graphic novel technique that I wanted to try.

The prose pages are my character's thoughts. There's a stream-of-consciousness chaos as to subject matter, switching between considering romantic relationships and the act of making comics. The theme of this story is how one can affect the other.

SPURGEON: I think utilizing prose that way is a valid choice, and there's no need for you to defend it or even explain it --

MIREAULT: Oops!

SPURGEON: [laughs] -- but I was interested in how you seized on that as an appropriate thing to do for this work and what you think it does in terms of the overall piece. Why that approach for this book?

MIREAULT: I've never had my work on The Jam collected into a big book, and graphic novels [big books] were making inroads into the mainstream book publishing industry at the time [2003] and I wanted to make one too. I thought about what I felt constituted a "novel." A wide scope and lots of detail, I thought. A text element in my project would allow for a lot of detail. I knew that the typical mainstream comic buff would be put off by the prose portions but I figured they could just skip it and still get the main story. And if I could win them over into becoming more interested in the narrative, then there's all this information in the prose that explains motivations and character references. It was also fun to work with footnotes, appendices and an addendum.

SPURGEON: This book has something of a long, and maybe even tortured, provenance; it's something that's been in development for years and years now. Does working on a book like this -- a single, cohesive, piece of expression -- over that many years pose unique problems?

MIREAULT: Nothing unique, just the garden-variety problems of lower middle class existence in North America over that time period. Trying to do work I like to do, in and around many other little jobs that pay the rent, raising a family with two kids and dealing with a monetarily disappointed/depressed partner. It keeps you busy and I'm sure that many out there can relate. I got through it though, and this work is my memento of that time.

SPURGEON: Is it the same book when you're finishing it that you started, and would it be different if you had had the time to do the book in one, concerted shot?

MIREAULT: Because the work was done over a span of eight years, there was a lot of time to consider which way I wanted to go and I did as I wished, following my intuition. If I had done it in one concerted shot that would've meant I was doing it for a publisher [and getting paid] and I'd guess it wouldn't have been the same story at all because I'd have been looking to please them.

imageSPURGEON: Can I ask after the way you decided to publish this work? First, you've mentioned in a couple of places that you have representation, which makes me think that this book might have been intended for publication with a primarily prose publisher or one of the major boutique houses. Is that true? Were there places you thought this book would end up before you arrived at the present publishing package?

MIREAULT: I'm represented by Kitchen, Lind and Assoc. LLC. I've always been a fan of Denis Kitchen for his exquisite taste as a publisher, [those Spirit magazines were huge for me, ditto the Kurtzman stuff.] his cartooning and his congeniality. When I learned that he was representing artists professionally I applied because I couldn't imagine a more prestigious comic art representative, someone who is genuinely a part of the medium and its formation, and I was honored to be accepted. I may not be the most active component in their portfolio currently but I'm working on changing that.

When I began this project I had an idea that I would like to see if a mainstream book publisher, who were just getting more into comic art projects at the time, would be interested in it. To go over the heads of the powers that be in the North American mainstream comic book industry and see if the book publishing industry might not like to give it a whirl. Legend had it that they actually paid advances!

I joined KLA and they had a go at placing it but there was no interest. Years went by and I finished the work. Rather than wait for a publisher that might never materialize, I applied for a Xeric grant and getting that allowed me to keep going, to see the project through. It's been very satisfying and I look forward to continuing on as my own publisher.

SPURGEON: Second, I think the way you're publishing it is fairly interesting in and of itself -- it's basically a limited edition, with some attention paid to the quality of the package, with a hope that you'll be able to reach a readership directly. Is that a fair assessment? What led you to publishing this book that way, and since it's been out for a little while now, how has it gone? Is it reaching the audience you hoped for it?

MIREAULT: When I received the Xeric grant, that was the inspiration to go ahead and self-publish. I imagined that this small first edition of 810 books would be used primarily to promote the existence of the book and generate some interest, eventually leading to a larger second edition available through regular channels. So far I've sold around 150 copies to various comic shops and given away about 60 review copies. I'm in no hurry to sell them and want to concentrate on promotion for now. 593 copies are left.

SPURGEON: Talk to me a bit about the Xeric Grant. How much do you think comics will miss that specific opportunity to self-publish on someone else's dime like that? You're using it in a very specific way, as a way to facilitate another printing down the road -- do you think maybe people got locked into specific ways of using that opportunity?

image
MIREAULT: Oh boy! Things like the Xeric comic art self-publishing grant program stimulate so much and hopefully something will rise to replace it someday. When I was researching them I was amused to read how the formation of the foundation seemed to be basically Peter Laird acting in self-defense. After the initial success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he was approached for money so frequently that he created the Xeric Foundation to deal with those requests in "an organized fashion." Of course I don't blame them for shutting it down citing the Internet as a free publishing platform. It's true. But still, there's something about entering a contest that's stimulating and I'm sure it gives people -- with few resources -- that extra nudge into trying to put something together. Like the annual Eurovision song competition over in the EU. Hey, they broke ABBA! Woo.

I think the Xerics gave a lot to North American comic art. I think that they're missed very much. The structure of a Xeric grant sort of locked you into using it in a very specific way. You don't get the funds directly, you have to pass invoices along by post. Printing, shipping and the creation of a web site are all allowable expenses and after paying for printing you could soak up any remaining grant funds through expense claims. Shipping is quite pricey these days and [the Xeric] easily covered it. The Xeric Foundation was great to deal with. Cheers to Kendall Clark, the Director. I thought that the structure of the grant made sense and rendered it fairly proof to abuse. I didn't get to buy any beer with it, it all went on actual expenses, so I figure that means that the system worked efficiently.

SPURGEON: Bernie, this is a book that is in a lot of ways about your life making comics. You've mentioned your education ruefully in a couple of places… do you ever feel let down by your formal education?

MIREAULT: No, I believe that school was just a form of babysitting anyway and almost gets in the way of real learning with simple survival taking up so much of the agenda. Few sitting in class have any intellectual interest in the proceedings. Most seemed to simply be using school as an excuse to stay out of the job market and were proud to be disruptive. And that's in college. Never liked the atmosphere. Always lots of bullshit.

I suppose school does sort of force you to familiarize yourself with the status quo and to learn some social skills, what with being all together every day, and that's beneficial in the long run, [as long as everyone leaves their automatic weapons at home] but I was happy to be out of it. I guess I just had no luck with good schools or teachers, being a Canadian Airforce brat. Art just wasn't very high on anyone's list and comic art was beneath notice.

I believe that we learn best by doing. Years of experience say much more to me than a university degree.

image

SPURGEON: Do you feel like you have the skill set necessary to make the kind of art you want? How much of doing a book like this one leads you to learning new skills, trying new approaches?

MIREAULT: Doing any work leads to refinements and changes in your over-all method as experience builds up and teaches forcibly in a way you can't ignore. The more work you do, the more thought is processed and distilled and the more streamlined your workflow. If an artist is actively engaged in what they're doing then they're always looking for a chance to innovate, and your chances of success improve the more you work, ideally.

I'm quite happy with my skill set. While it certainly isn't perfect, it's allowed me to make a lot of comic art over the years, and to be able to enjoy the process while I do it. Because I've been allowed to come to my own conclusions about stuff without a "teacher" failing me for not agreeing with them, my work has a unique flavor and it really feels like a part of me.

image

SPURGEON: You've mentioned in a couple of places about the moment in time you started to become extremely interested in comics, the fact that it was superhero-driven, genre-driven, even though you were cognizant of humor comics and even undergrounds. You've stated that this was exciting for you and your peers. What was the exact nature of that excitement, Bernie?

MIREAULT: That superhero comics were being mismanaged, consumers weren't being well-served and so the field was wide open for new things. My particular area of interest was to mix the symbols and conventions of superhero stuff with underground comics. That's what The Jam came out of.

SPURGEON: Was it intrinsic to that genre? Was it that the focus on that genre left so much open for your potential contributions? What was exciting to you about doing comics at the cultural moment you began doing them?

MIREAULT: Yes, I think it was the would-be moral qualities of superhero comics that are what finally drew me in and compelled me to draw stories. Also, I always cheer for the underdog, and comic art fit that criteria well at the time.

What was [and still is] exciting is the act of personal expression and the possibility of entertaining others.

SPURGEON: I think it's interesting that your character the Jam works as personal expression, because on one level, of course it is, but on another I think what's appealing about that work is that we have very limited exposure to Gordie's mind-set and inner life -- that's different here. How do you feel about working in this very different mode of self-expression, for example bringing in this more interior monologue, but also showing how that character makes art?

MIREAULT: This has been an interesting experience in that as I’ve brought in more and more auto-bio detail, people have liked the protagonist less and less. Oh well. I guess I could’ve stuck with what it was that some people seemed to like about my work in the past, but that seemed lame. I think it's better to be yourself and have people not like it than to fake something for approval.

SPURGEON: For that matter, To Get Her is a love letter in a lot of ways to continuing to do comics, and the struggle that entails. Is the nature of what you find compelling about doing comics much the same as it was 25 years ago, or is it different? How would you describe that continuing passion, and how might you contrast it to what you felt in those early days?

MIREAULT: I still feel the same as I did when I first started out. I'm experienced now, and so don't sweat the small stuff anymore, which is great. I've always managed to have fun with whatever I was working on at the time and never held back just because it didn't pay well or whatever. I can so easily get into a thing, even when it's not my own thing, and have fun.

I feel like my inspiration is sound, even after all these years. One big change from then to now is that I used to dream of doing epics. Now I dream about short stories. I'm only human.

image

SPURGEON: I thought the tonal shifts in To Get Her were intriguing. If there's anything you're known for, it's the genial nature of a lot of your work, and here it seems like you're all over the place. Is that just the nature of this specific project, do you think, or is there some amount of ambiguity involved in doing autobiographically informed work, straight fiction, that's maybe not always there in some of your previous comics?

MIREAULT: To Get Her is fiction, but of course it's also partially based on various events I've gone through that I have a strong emotional record of and so use as grist for the mill. In past work, like The Jam, I've always tried to be light and positive, which is how I like my entertainment. Even back then, though, Gordie and Janet's relationship was portrayed as contentious. [I've always been interested in romantic relationship dynamics, so mysteriously complex and difficult to negotiate.] With this project I've made that contention the focus of my story. Janet does not represent my ex. Gordie is not me. But I obviously do use real events as a springboard. I find it helps to move the work along, when you have a direct connection to it in that way.

SPURGEON: I want to ask about a couple of very specific narrative choices you make in making this work. I was going to say, "You include some comics work," but I think what's remarkable is that you include a lot of comics work, page after page and from different projects. Why was it important for you to show that much work?

MIREAULT: It's all work I've done over the years that I liked and wanted people to see. I thought that presenting it through Gordie's hand is fun. Making him a cartoonist, I wanted to show that he worked hard at it and did more than one piece. Also, I've always liked the idea of stories nested into other stories. Anthology as nature intended.

imageSPURGEON: What do you think that does to your narrative, the sense of timing that develops in a bigger book like this one?

MIREAULT: Blows it out of the water? I don't know, it doesn't bother me but then I'm not the average reader. I guess everyone who reads it will have their own unique reaction to the diversions as they appear, perhaps skipping them entirely, as they probably did the prose portions earlier, maybe enjoying the tangent we go off on. Perhaps detours will be more interesting to a cartoonist than a layperson, but it was fun to do.

SPURGEON: Another thing I was hoping you'd answer for me is how you developed those little deadpan strips in the prose sections, with the author hanging over the reader and eventually going after this person. I thought those were really funny.

MIREAULT: I liked those too, the meta-strips. Though there are only 6 of them, they reside on our side of the fourth wall and represent another level of reality within the context of the book.

Provenance: I remember talking to my buddy, fellow cartoonist Howard Chackowicz, about the work. He mentioned that he had shown it to his friend, author Jonathan Goldstein, whose suggestion was that I include a real auto-bio layer into the narrative. I guess the idea took root and eventually came out in the form of those small Bazooka Joe-type strips sprinkled throughout the prose bits.

SPURGEON: I thought the way you dealt with one of the book's major resolutions intriguing, that it takes place with a phone call rather than a direct confrontation. Was it intentional do you think for you to convey that moment in this kind of off-key way, rather than building it into this hugely dramatic moment? How worried were you that the book have a specific payoff in terms of the drama unfolding in its pages?

MIREAULT: Actually, when you think about it, most of this story takes place on the telephone. The image on the cover is a guy sitting beside a telephone framed inside the image of a diamond ring, [Telephone-ring, get it?] so the telephone is almost a character here in its own right.

I don't like to torture my characters. I just want everybody to be happy, do what they would like to do and to not lie to themselves about important emotional issues. I looked for the most humane way for things to proceed. It's fantasy, after all.

image

SPURGEON: I tend to stay away from statements made through the work, but I wanted to ask a question about Janet. How serious should we take her point of view that Gordie approach things in a more mature fashion? Because she seems to harp on this a bit, but at the same time when he cuts his hair -- an overt sign of maturity -- she's taken aback, and when he asks her to return the ring -- which seems to me the adult thing to do -- she chalks the request up to his being a guy with a guy point of view.

MIREAULT: Janet is sort of an amalgamation of all the girlfriends that I've ever had. "Wildly self-indulgent" is putting it lightly. She does what she likes and says what she wants and if you were to ask her about a contradiction in her policy, you would be told in no uncertain terms to stop "living in the past." Working hard on comic art might force her to point out that you were "hiding from life." and a lack of funds always good for a sneer.

Janet was pretty hardened. There's a reason for that in her back-story, but now we'll just never know. She split.

image

SPURGEON: How poignantly do you regard the passage of time? There's a certain elegance to the way you portray the longevity of the book's central relationship, including filtering that amount of time back through the length of a time a band has been together that a couple sees in concert. It made me wonder as to what you felt about some of the issues you present in the work, the emotional component involved.

MIREAULT: I'm an emotional person and relationships are emotional projects, so they interest me very much. The older I get, the more sentimental, the stronger the interest. Relationships have had so much power over the quality of my life and yet effective management has so completely escaped me, despite my best efforts, that I've become dedicated to understanding this mystery better. Like some sort of Don Quixote charging at that old windmill of a riddle; how can we get along better?

SPURGEON: Do you have a different perspective, then, for making this specific work of art? How much is making art part of that process of understanding for you, and how limited are the fruits of that understanding? Do you think you're better off in these areas for having art as an outlet, as a way of self-analysis?

MIREAULT: Whether you're making fictional comic art out of auto-bio stuff, or simply plugging-in to your creativity in any way, it taps into your internal dialogue and certainly has potentially positive therapeutic qualities. I definitely think that anybody who enjoys doing a thing benefits greatly from its practice and that the fruit of that labor should be precious to them. These things are like your children and you have to defend them. Others are quick to point out receding chins and buck-teeth, but then they don't try to do the work and so will never know anything of the joy of the intense connection between a parent and their fruit. How limited are the fruits of my understanding? I guess that's a subjective quantity and strictly relative to each reader's own personal experience, which would dictate your reaction to the work.

I figure that the math might look like this: [ToGetHer]Book + Human [w/ unique exp qty] = variable x 6,840,507,003.

*****

* Bernie Mireault
* To Get Her, Bernie Mireault, BEM Graphics, softcover, 176 pages, 2012, $25.

*****

* cover to To Get Her
* image of "Gordie" at the drawing table
* stand-alone image from To Get Her
* Xeric Foundation logo
* painting by Mireault
* classic image of The Jam
* four different moments from To Get Her
* a lush and lovely Bernie Mireault illustration (below)

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Karl Kerschl

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: From That Harvey Pekar Thing At The Strand A While Back

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Yuichi Yokoyama Mini-Gallery From 2011

image
via
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Not Comics: SuperFuckers Test Animation


Not Comics: Aron Nels Steinke Animation Demo Reel
via


Marc Mason Talks To Natalie Nourigat At ECCC


March Mason Talks To Marshal Dillon At ECCC


CrazyGon 2 Book Preview
via Laurent Cilluffo
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 5, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from April 28 to May 4, 2012:

1. A strangely active week for the Danish Muhammed cartoons, years and years after the fact. New arrests, continuing trial, political jack-hammering.

2. Vauro Senesim was the beneficiary of a judge's decision this week that declared, and I feel oddly, that Senesim couldn't be an anti-Semite or display an act of anti-Semitism because he gives to charity. On the other hand, I don't think this should be a crucial item of focus for the legal system outside of the Court Of I Don't Like You.

3. MoCCA and Stumptown last weekend; TCAF this weekend: the arrival of the major small-press and artist-focused festivals put us all the way into the convention year.

Winner Of The Week
Comics' active charities (hopefully).

Losers Of The Week
Creators right advocates. The campaign to use the spotlight on the Avengers movie to make a point about the horrible practices of entertainment companies that use comics properties in terms of seeing that some of this late-in-life-of-property windfall makes it to creators failed to make a dent; it may be charitable to call it a campaign. This site is included in the loser pile, maybe right up top.

Quote Of The Week
"Childhood rickets left Mauldin undersized, jug-eared, baby-faced, physically inept. He smoked at three and drank whiskey at ten. He started countless fights, losing, he recalled, them all." -- Bob Levin

*****

today's cover is from the small-press and independent comics scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Mesa, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 4, 2012


Go, Look: They

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Group Think: What Do You Want From Digital?

imageAs comics starts to get locked into more and more concrete digital strategies, or at least the appearance of same, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on what active comics-buying consumers of the kind that read this site actually want from the experience of comics via digital means. My own desire for digital comics has changed as I've become more used to reading comics on-line and, frankly, following a health scare that had me saddled with guilt that someone might potentially have to deal with 18 bookcases filled with dead trees.

I'm at the point, for instance, where I would be perfectly happy to have the entirety of my works about comics in digital form. That includes a complete run of TCJ, even though as a freelancer for that publication I bemoan the fact that a lot of that work wasn't meant for digital publication but that the way the laws have developed you can save that material for archival purposes shooting straight from the magazine. Still, as a consumer, I'm at a point where my two shelves of The Comics Journal inspires more sadness than inspiration. I'd also kill for affordable but not necessarily diminished-cheap old fanzines, the run of Amazing Heroes and even Comics Interview, despite the fact that I think the fanzines in particular are beautiful objects that I'd still love to collect that way. I'd pay a pretty good price for unfettered access to such works; I wouldn't have to have them deeply discounted. Further, I'd prefer they'd be offered this way rather than cut up like a clipping service.

A second thought is that I would gladly read the bulk of mainstream comics -- what I might see as disposable work -- in digital form, although I'd prefer it at a much cheaper price than what I'm paying for paper. That last bit isn't so much about the paper vs. the digital form but that I'm not really willing to pay $2.99 or $3.99 for a mainstream comic book and as a devoted follower of discount bins, I almost never have to. I do get a lot of enjoyment out of reading comics that I wouldn't in any way process as considerable artistic efforts -- dopey, average, run-of-the-mill comic books -- and in most cases I'd be happy to read bunches of them were the price right and the situation presented itself.

imageA third notion that comes to mind, just speaking as a consumer, is that I'd be delighted were someone to have an aggressive program featuring old underground and alternative comic book work that I could experience in that way at a reduced price. If I could have had 99-cent issues of Hate the last time I was in the hospital, I think I would have been out of bed two days earlier, and if I had a choice between five issues of old Bill Griffith undergrounds or Real Stuff and the latest issue of Sports Illustrated while sitting in the Dallas airport, I'd go alt-/underground every damn time.

A fourth thought is that I seem largely dissatisfied with the way comic strips are published digitally. Right now, comic strips have about the same place on my comics-consumption schedule as traditional webcomics: I get the notion that I want to see Doonesbury, or Cul De Sac, or Achewood, and I go seek it out and tool around the site that has it for a while. This seems so divorced to me from the way that those comics should be read -- as part of a super-easy-to-access, compulsive, regular experience -- that I suspect that the delivery system still needs a lot of work there. Why hasn't anyone developed a way to customize newspaper sites so that you can build a little comics page for yourself that's not a tremendous chore to access and use? I'm not certain.

Fifth, I have yet to enjoy any significant desire to read long-form works in a digital format. Nor do I have any desire to read them on my phone or anything really tiny. I'm not casting aspersions in either case; I'm just not there yet.

Sixth, the few times I've encountered directional reading tools with a comic book presented on-line, I've almost always freaked out and stopped reading. It's like being suspended on wires above a comic book and having large hands shove the back of your head to one place and then the other. I'm not sure if everyone else reads comics the way those programs say you should, but I find them uniquely terrifying.

To conclude: I'm a customer for digitized works about comics, cheaper on-line comic books from mainstream companies sold individually or as part of a group package, easy access to underground and alt-material published in comic book form at a cheap price point and even traditional webcomics/newspaper comics if they'd do more to meet me halfway. I could also do without reading experiences that fixed a certain kind of eye movement or way of looking at the page.

What about you? As a consumer, and without being glibly unrealistic as to what companies and creators would be able to do, what would you buy and read right now if it were made available to you that way? For what are you a customer right this very minute? I think it might be worth to think about what we'd like from this material as more and more options as to how we might get it or gently pushed off of the table.

*****

Martin Wisse

Let me tell you.

I want to get the latest American comics as soon or even earlier as they are in the shops in the US -- here in Europe we're usually a couple of days to a week behind at best, but I also want to be able to pick up complete runs of a creator or series, not to mention classic Bande Dessinee or Manga series. If I really needed, I would like to be able to download everything DC has ever published.

And I would prefer to be able to do all that through one site, rather than have to struggle with dozens of different distributors, who all want me to use their incompatible software. Finally, I would like my comics to be DRM free, in a format that I can use on every computer I own, whether it's my android based mobile, my mini laptop using Linux, my Windows desktop or even the multimedia player that's hooked up to my telly.

The good news is, I can do that. The bad news is, all the links above go to The Piratebay and neither the creators, nor the publishers would get a lousy dime for it if I did download any of this. (Which, just in case any Disney lawyers are reading, I would be legally entitled to do here, as Dutch copyright law has a provision for making copies for home use, permitted even if the source itself is illegal: can download, can't upload.) Obviously, though good for me, not so good for the comics industry as a whole, nor for people already struggling to make a living out of their art. But it shows what the legitimate digital comics sellers need to do to make it worthwhile to buy them.

Get the stock online, make it easy to buy and price it in such a way that it becomes an impulse buy. I don't want to see old Marvel or DC back issues for a buck: I want to see whole miniseries and story arcs for a buck. A good example of what I'm talking about is the Good Old Games site, which sells computer games, both new and classic. The older games are priced anywhere from three to ten bucks, right in that impulse buying range, but they're not just shovelware: you get the extension packs as well, they're tweaked to run on modern computers/operating systems and they're DRM free: you download them, you can use them. It makes it literally easier for me to drop a couple of bucks to get a game there that I know I have in my shed on cd somewhere...

For comics, the format is already there: CBR/CBZ, basically just renamed rar and zip files, which can be read properly by a range of comics readers on almost every operating system under the sun, are easy and quick to download (ten to fifty megabyte per issue gets you decent quality) and means that you're as a customer are not tied to one particular reseller/comics reader. Best of all, it's DRM free so no worries about not being able to read your comics if the reseller ever vanishes.

imageNow I am fully aware that getting the various comics publishers to go DRM free is going to be difficult, as nobody in the comics industry has ever shown any capability to learn from examples outside it, but as the music, movie and finally even the book publishing industries have found out, DRM doesn't work, only hacks off your customers and drives them towards piracy. Heck, the very fact that I can download everything DC has ever brought out (roughly a terabyte of comics), including dozens of titles they themselves can't or won't ever reprint (Fox and Crow or all those Bob Hope comics, or Big Town or...), should be proof positive that DRM don't work in a medium where it's so easy to exploit the analog hole: anybody with a scanner can route around your copy protection. Most of what's available on the Piratebay was there long before most comics publishers even started to toy with the idea to go digital.

Worse, with DRM encrusted comics, the real winners might not even be the comics publishers, but the middlepersons selling them, as Charlie Stross explains has been happening in book publishing where Amazon has emerged as the 800 pound gorilla. You can easily see the same thing happening to digital comics as well, as it already might be.

To sum up: make it easy to get, make it cheap enough (at least for the overwhelming majority of back issue stock) to get it in the impulse buy range, make sure that it's easier and nicer to use than going the pirated route would be. That's what worked for iTunes and Netflix, that's what can work for digital comics as well.

*****

Jay Davidson

I would definitely pay for high-quality digital copies of classic comics, like Ditko's Spider Man and Lee / Kirby Fantastic Four. It's a crime that we can't just pay to download Moebius, or Wally Wood, or whatever we want from R Crumb's oeuvre. There's so much great stuff out there (early Lois Lane!). There are numerous current creators I'd also love to buy in a digital format, mostly the higher end small publishers like Fantagraphics.

The iPad is a beautiful way to read comics, both long and short form. The zoom function and lighting make it better than paper. I'm not a fan of "guided view" applications, which feel like I have to wait for someone to turn the pages for me. Keep it simple -- just let the art speak for itself and forget all the bells and whistles.

The key for me is that these digital comics should be DRM-free pdf files that I can keep on my hard drive and not have to access from somebody's website or iPad app. Otherwise my library is contingent upon some random company not declaring bankruptcy 10 years from now.

*****

Ugis B

I completely agree that you should be able to sign up for a strip service that everyday sent you a page of comics, that really does not seem like a stretch. Perhaps because of the format, I have never enjoyed reading floppies digitally. Things have of course changed now that tablets, nooks, and kindles are becoming the Hitchikkers Guides to the Galaxy, however I still feel like I'm loosing out. I too have many boxes filled with paper that in my case aren't even an investment, so there is appeal to replace that mound with something the size of one trade.

I suppose my biggest obstacle is the tactile interaction, I enjoy the smell and the feel of turning pages. I'm not just interested in the stories, and the art presented digitally somehow just looks too crisp. It's like watching Dirty Harry in BluRay, it's not the same and it does not make it better. The price is also an obstacle, I can't wrap my mind around paying the same whether it's infinite or not. However the moment they drop the price for digital comics we may be saying goodbye to the printed ones. Digital also changes the whole format, what happens with ads, what about page counts, does any of that matter anymore? Someone could read the entire run of Hellboy from beginning to end, but it's no longer the same experience. I suppose why are comics the way they are now, is it an aesthetic choice or a response to printing requirements or just a way to save money? If the only goal is to get those stories out then I think we might be missing the point, there are several aspects to what comics are and I don't think the soap opera plots are the only thing.

*****

imageRussell Willis

Like you, I'd love to have The Comics Journal on my iPad as well as classic stuff that's out of print: Spiegelman and Griffith's Arcade would be a great start. I agree that issues of Spider-man etc. are suited for the iPad but I am also happy with long graphic novels. I would be fine with having Habibi or Blankets or Maus on my iPad, if the software is done right. I understand the almost totemic power of the printed object though... but I feel that that can be overcome in most cases, especially for new materials... I used to want to have DVDs of great movies on my shelf, now I'm happy with them existing only on Apple TV...

As the publisher at Panel Nine, I'm looking to publish things of this type. We've already published Eddie Campbell's Dapper John collection and David Lloyd's Kickback, adding a whole host of extras, including page-by-page commentaries in the case of Kickback. These are deluxe digital graphic novels, the "absolute" versions if you will.

*****

Michael Grabowski

Like you, I find tremendous value in the way digital media can help save space/conserve mass. I have a thousand comic books I want to leave behind but I can't bear the separation from them, in case I ever actually had the time to reread them. Even knowing there's a digital archive, whether or not I access it, would help me do that. The Comics Journal archive is a wish come true, even if the form it takes suggests monkey's paw more than good fairy, and it allowed me to unload a massive collection with a clean conscience.

Next I would love to see a Netflix/Overdrive-type model that maintains a comprehensive subscription-access digital lending/renting library. I have a tremendous interest in reading a lot of the comic books, books of comics, and comic strip collections that are being published these days but I don't necessarily want to continue owning many of them, even in space-saving mass-of-an-electron form.

I have enjoyed using my iPad to read some comics works but it's a bit of a pain that some are self-contained apps, some are iBooks, and some are ComiXology books. This is on the level of complaining that old issues of Cerebus don't fit in normal comic bags and my Acme Novelty Library collection can't all go on the same shelf. A dumb thing to be annoyed by, but it's an annoyance.

What I really hope to see is that digital publishing frees up comics creators from the boundaries imposed on physical comics distribution by the Marvel-DC-Diamond oligarchy. Digital should make self-publishing easier and more affordable than ever if not necessarily any more profitable. But I see it as a method by which more of my comics-purchasing dollars can go to the creator(s) responsible, assuming they can get good arrangements with app designers and "distributors."

I look forward to formal development of comics that really uses the capabilities of digital presentation in new and astounding ways. Something that takes Frank King's Sunday page design, Kurtzman's Hey Look! tricks, or Zettwoch's schematic diagrams to a whole new level that says "This platform/format is the only way to read this comic." It will be interesting to see older comics adapted to this presentation, too, though. I am pleasantly surprised at how well the Bone comics read in the app in its panel-to-panel mode. Smith's cartooning and pacing is really enjoyable in that format.

And eventually I hope we see development of an ongoing online comics anthology that is as important as Mad! and Raw were.

For now, I enjoy most being able to zoom in freely to examine particular comics panels on a tablet, because holding a book an inch away from my face to look closely at something isn't as much fun.

*****

imageDarko Macan

My initial reaction was to say that I don't ever want to have to pay for anything on the internet but then I remembered I am already paying $20 a year to read about twenty daily strips on King Features' Daily Ink in a customized format (I could read all of them, but I don't want to) and would pay about the same for Universal's offerings if the same result was more easily achievable and if I could find the way to bypass the automatic subscription renewal.

Thus shaken in my freeloader beliefs, I tried to figure the acceptable (for me) amounts for different types of material and came up with a quarter per manga chapter (maybe 50 cents for Bakuman), not more than a dollar but preferably fifty cents for a really good US comic book, 2 to 3 dollars for the European sized album, and no more than five bucks for a 200 page OGN. First chapters or significant previews should be free. This way I could see myself spend 20-30 bucks a month on sampling stuff and reading comics that I don't really want to keep. Providing the economy doesn't get much worse in which case I revert to the sentiment from my very first sentence.

*****

Jamie Coville

Truth be told, I don't ever see myself buying a digital comic book.

I think the years of really great free webcomics has spoiled me.

When I do buy comics, I buy GNs and I'd rather read them on paper then on a screen.

The elephant in the room is the easy access to pirate scans, those have been available for more than a decade and I don't see them going away anytime soon. I suspect most people who really do want to read comics online have been doing so for free for a long time and trying to get them to pay for them is going to be very difficult to do.

The cynic in me suspect Waid's work, no matter how good it is, will be pirated quickly. Even if it isn't, he's competing against almost everything else in print being online for free. There is more decent free entertainment out there than most people can absorb so I have doubts that super awesome material will bought. I hope I'm wrong though.

*****

Shannon Smith

I don't live in an area of the country where broadband-wi-fi-satelite-tower-whatever access allows me to use cell pad pod phones. Apps and all that nonsense have absolutely no meaning to me. But my family does have multiple computers and a Kindle. We have tried to read digital comics using these devices and we agree that there is not currently a digital comic reading platform that is worth wasting any time on. I've recently took a chance on a few new digital comics offerings thinking that my daughter would enjoy them and they have been very problematic. The bells, whistles, zooms and bonus features just don't even work. Marvel and DC seem to be thinking only of cell pad pod phones with their digital iniatives. We want to read digital comics the same way we read digital books. One page at a time. We already have video games and do not need our comics to be video games. So, at this moment, digital comics is a total bust.

Webcomics I like just fine. I read several daily and I read them at their creator's own sites or in my blog reader. So far so good.

If a digital comics platform were to work for me it would need to be almost exactly like Netflix. I want to subscribe. I don't want individual transactions. I want to watch it on whatever device I happen to be using at that moment including my television. I want my family to be able to use it at the same time I'm using it. I want my daughter to be able to read the latest Life With Archie on her laptop while I scroll through random Marvel Team-Up issues from the 70s on my television. And I want it to cost about what Netflix costs. Whoever pulls that off first has me as a customer for life.

*****

John Platt

What do I want from digital?

1. I want a format that will last forever. I fear that many of the comics being digitized today will not be readable in the not-so-distant future, either because the file formats become archaic or because they were not created at a high enough resolution for future high-definition devices. I just looked at some photographs that I scanned 10 years ago, and while they were fine then, they look like crap now because I scanned them at 72dpi. What happens when we get to the next thing beyond HD?

2. I want 99% of everything digital. Like Tom, I don't want to have to bag, board, box and store all of the comics I buy so someone can be forced to go through them after I expire. Heck, I don't want to do it now while I'm alive.

3. I want compatibility and flexibility. I don't want digital comics in 16 different proprietary readers. I want one format and I probably want the files to reside on my hard drive instead of in the cloud. (I might be dissuaded from this eventually, but I work at home so I don't need cloud storage. If I were more mobile, that might change.) I bought the 2012 New Yorker cartoon-a-day calendar for my Kindle and it looks absolutely awful. It was not designed to be read on a 7-inch screen. And you know what -- it also looks terrible on my big computer monitor. They succeeded in making a cross-platform file, but it fails in every platform.

4. I want all digital comics to be truly digital products. All text should be searchable, as should all images. I should be able to click on something for more information. I should be able to zoom in and out as much as I want. I should be able to look at a page of artwork as published and then, with the click of the mouse, see the original pencils or script. Embrace the qualities you gain when you escape from paper.

5. I should be able to read the story in my own way, not be guided through every panel, one panel at a time. Dark Horse's online format looks nice, but it's a pain in the butt to read. If I want to go back a couple of pages, it takes forever.

6. I want more creators putting their old material back into "print" digitally -- or companies doing it for them. What's that, you can't get the rights to an entire old underground comic (to use one of Tom's examples) by 16 different creators? Find one creator and put out all of his old work. Where are my S. Clay Wilson or Spain Rodriguez or Skip Williamson digital collections?

7. The more enormous the book, the less inclined I am to buy it. IDW's X-9 books (to name just one example) look awesome, but they weight a ton, cost a lot, and will need to be put in boxes and carted around the next time I move. And I foresee myself moving at least three more times in my life. You put all of that effort into digitally restoring that series, so why not sell it to me digitally? But again, sell it to me in a format that I can read and which will be flexible for all eternity.

image8. This is really a stretch idea, but I think we need a secondary market for digital files. Kindle files can be loaned to friends, but not resold. I don't like spending ten bucks or more for a book I'm going to read one time that no one else will read. Printed comics and books are "greener" because they tend to get read multiple times, making the energy spent on their production more environmentally friendly. Plus, printed comics and books and CDs and DVDs have a secondary market, even if it does not support the authors/copyright holders. I just sold some early Walking Dead issues for hundreds of dollars. That's my right with print. That's not my right with digital. What's different? (Well, obviously that's the issue of how easily something can be copied, but piracy is a whole other discussion.)

Can you tell I've been thinking about this lately?

*****

Leigh Walton

To several points in your recent digital groupthink post:

Are you familiar with the Underground/Independent Comix digital archive assembled by Alexander Street Press?

It's priced and marketed to libraries, not individuals, but I believe you can request a trial membership and explore. Your local library may also have purchased a subscription and allow you to login via their account. Or perhaps they can be encouraged to do so!

If you haven't explored it already, do so - come to think of it, maybe talk to "Greg Urquhart" and see if he'd be interested in your analysis, which I think would have some value to them as publicity!

*****

Some Nice Man Named Jim

Hey Tom, saw your piece about digital comics and thought I would chime in.

I started thinking about this a few months ago as I have been looking at a cross country move. As it stands, I have a ton of comics and trades/hardcovers around. Currently, I don't have them organized worth a darn at all, and so if I want to find something (for instance, my son asked about a hard cover of Invincible yesterday), I really have no idea where to look. Figuring out what to take with, what to get rid of, and how to get rid of it is a mess really. Paper is heavy, and takes up a fair amount of space. Is the cost of moving these worth it?

On the other hand, I have myself and two boys, and we all have access to tablets. When I buy a digital comic, its so much nicer as a consumer. I don't have to worry about damage, its easy to find what is being looked for, etc. I am to the point now where just for the space savings alone, I am all digital for monthly books. If its print only, I just don't get it and hope that they catch up. I am not crazy about paying the same amount for it, but as time goes by the "cost" of ownership of a physical item is just higher and I have to factor that in.

I can't say I am 100% happy with how digital comics are set up. I would like the prices to be lower and I stress over the platform lock in. If a company I have spent a lot of money into goes under, where does that leave my investment? What if they don't support a device that I like? I don't think these are items with answers at this point, and that sucks.

If these were answered well, I would likely sell off my entire physical collection and be done with them, then use that money to buy more digital. As it stands, I have too many things I own in print because thats how I first bought it, then it went on sale at some point so I buy it again as its easier to read on digital.

I think it is hard for people that have not really done digital for a while to understand. I grew up reading, and loved physical books. I always poo-pooed ebooks as a waste of time, preferring to have the physical item. But, I ending up buying a kindle for travel as then I had one small device to travel with rather then say two big technical books. As I started to use it over time, I found I never bought physical again. And I ended up getting rid of most of my physical books, just keeping ones that were special in some way. Also, it helped to know that really, Amazon is not going to go under.

That recent company that stopped doing digital comic is concerning. Sure, you can access their content from the website and in existing apps. But, you know the apps won't get maintained. As time goes by, that content is going to be less and less easy to get too to the point where no one will use it anymore or the company thinks they can get away with just shutting down the access all together and save money.

So, I understand why some people don't like digital comics and say they are a bad idea. In a sense I am rolling the dice with this and hoping the companies I buy from will be solid. The only reason I am doing this is because its easier to read this way, and frankly if it was not for digital, I dunno that I would be buying much of anything right now just because I don't want the weight of all these physical items on me anymore.

In the end, its all about the content. I want the content in the easiest way to consume possible, and for me thats digital. With 2000AD now selling DRM free cbrs, that's a REALLY easy choice to make as I don't have to worry about companies going under. Thats really the perfect solution for me as a consumer.

Honestly, something I would be interested in as I am not a serious collector, is what is the best way to sell off a collection and get the most money for it when what you have is really just mainstream stuff that there is not a ton of demand for? It would be slick to have a "trade in" program where I can for instance send a company a stack of "Fables" trades and in return they give me access to the digital items instead. If I could do a 1 to 1 trade of physical to digital I would be all over that.

*****

Iestyn Pettigrew

I continue to believe that the whole model could do with looking at the idea of levels of payment.

You can rent the work for a very small amount, either get it for a number of days or until you have read it all the way to the end.

I think that something that would cost you say 50p (uk money) that you could read but not own, much like the current comixology model.

Then there would be the option to download a PDF or whatever type copy that you can keep digitally, which could be much nearer the physical cost of the item, maybe with this being offered at the end of your rental period with the rental cost knocked off if purchasing at that point.

I sort of equate this to listening to radio, maybe you could even pay to join up to specific archives and they provide channels - like television -- of lied interest items. I think that the chance of finding things you like by stumbling upon them will otherwise be destroyed.

I think it's just too hard to stumble upon good stuff, you have to know about it. If you set up channels then people will be able to associate with the type of content and stumble upon what they like.

Imagine a comics sci-fi channel, or romance or detective etc...

You could have Dalgoda and Finder and such all curated to be similarly interested. You could even have critics choice channels -- you could have one where you choose what comics to make available and people will go, "that Tom Spurgeon is a comic guru to me. I'll try anything he suggests".


*****
*****
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2012 Stumptown Comic Arts Awards Winners

imageThe Stumptown Comics Fest announced the winners of the 2012 iteration of the Stumptown Comic Arts Awards on April 28. They are, in bold:

BEST WRITER
* Joshua Williamson -- Sketch Monsters
* Phillip Gelatt -- Petrograd
* Cullen Bunn -- The Sixth Gun Volume Two: Crossroads
* Brandon Graham -- Prophet
* John Arcudi and Mike Mignola -- BPRD: Hell on Earth: Russia

BEST ARTIST
* Tyler Crook -- Petrograd, BPRD: Hell on Earth: Russia
* Fiona Staples -- Saga
* Gary Gianni -- Monster Men
* Brian Hurt -- The Sixth Gun Volume Two: Crossroads
* Jonathan Case -- Green River Killer

BEST CARTOONIST
* Stan Sakai -- Usagi Yojimbo: Fox Hunt
* Roman Muradov -- The Yellow Zine
* Ray Fawkes -- One Soul
* Jaime Hernandez -- Love and Rockets
* Carla Speed McNeil -- Finder

BEST LETTERER
* Nate Piekos -- Green River Killer
* Stan Sakai -- Usagi Yojimbo: Fox Hunt
* Tom Orzechowski and Lois Buhalis -- Manara Library
* Roman Muradov -- The Yellow Zine
* Doug Sherwood -- Petrograd

BEST COLORIST
* Bill Crabtree -- The Sixth Gun Volume Two: Crossroads
* Dave Stewart -- Hellboy: House of the Living Dead; Chimichanga
* Roman Muradov -- The Yellow Zine
* Richard Ballermann -- The Prophet
* Diana Nock -- The Intrepid Girlbot: Unconditional Volume One

BEST PUBLICATION DESIGN
* Petrograd -- Tyler Crook and Keith Wood
* Any Empire -- Nate Powell
* Luci's Let Down -- Marjee Chmiel and Sandra Lanz
* Kus! #9 -- Ryan Sands
* Dotter of her Father's Eyes --Bryan Talbot

BEST ANTHOLOGY
* Dark Horse Presents -- edited by Mike Richardson
* Elf World #2 -- edited by Francois Vigneault
* Lies Grownups Told Me -- edited by Nomi Kane, Jen Vaughn, Caitlin M.
* Kus! #9 - edited by Ryan Sands
* Study Group Magazine - edited by Zack Soto

BEST SMALL PRESS
* Gangsta Rap Posse #2 -- Benjamin Marra
* The Intrepid Girlbot: Unconditional, Volume One -- Diana Nock
* Fugue #1 -- Beth Hetland
* Luci's Let Down -- Marjee Chmiel and Sandra Lanz
* Study Group Magazine #1

BEST NEW TALENT
* Jonathan Case -- Dear Creature, Green River Killer
* Roman Muradov -- The Yellow Zine
* Diana Nock -- The Intrepid Girlbot: Unconditional Volume One
* Marjee Chmiel -- Luci's Let Down
* Jonny Negron -- Diamond Comics #6

It's still a bit hard for me to grasp any unique perspectie driving this awards program, but that's a fine list of winners.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: RonSalas.com

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Short Anders Nilsen Sketchbook Strip

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Stumptown 2012

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Warwick Johnson Caldwell

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* another set of legal battles for Stan Lee, this time over the POW! Entertainment company.

image* Beth Carswell profiles W. Heath Robinson.

* Greg McElhatton on Earth 2 #1. Todd Allen on Dial H For Hero.

* if you haven't caught up to it yet: Jack Kirby In Three Parts. That's one of this week's foundational articles, for sure.

* speaking of Jack Kirby, I don't think there's anything in a move to donate the matching cost of an Avengers movie ticket to The Hero Initiative or the CBLDF that's going to do a lot of actual solving of any the issues on folks' minds, but it's awesome when those two groups get money so I am all for it.

* I'm confused as to what the hell is going on here, but those names at the end are pretty amusing.

* the San Francisco Chronicle details the short but active history of Free Comic Book Day. I've only been in a comics shop once on that day, so it's hard for me to make any sweeping conclusions. I imagine it works very well for certain people.

* Kiel Phegley talks to Andi Watson. some nice person at the New York Times talks to Neil Gaiman. Milton Griepp talks to Lance Fensterman. Michael Cavna talks to Stan Lee.

* it's bizarre for me to wrap my mind around any serious comic book fan with lot of knowledge as to what's out there not apparently buying anything along the lines of a Jim Woodring and Jaime Hernandez, although I realize there are tens of thousands of people that fit that description.

* finally, hey, look: it's Tom Gauld.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 3, 2012


D+Q Formally Announces Miriam Katin's Letting It Go

image

The publisher Drawn & Quarterly has announced the acquisition of rights to Letting It Go from Miriam Katin. This will be Katin's follow-up to her much-acclaimed debut We Are On Our Own.

imageThe new work, scheduled for February 2013, digs into the lingering effects on the author of the World War II experiences described in Katin's first book as her son decides to live in Germany. It should be a nice match for her evocative cartooning and sympathetic character portrayals.

A short biography of Katin can be found here.

Nothing was mentioned about how long the work was or how it would be published. D+Q will work with traditional partners Farrar, Straus & Giroux (US distribution), Raincoast Books (Canadian distribution) and Transatlantic Literary Agency (worldwide rights representation). Released in February, Letting It Go should be well-positioned for press and direct sales opportunities at that spring's comics shows with an alternative focus, up through that year's TCAF.

image
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Fantasy Comics Art Gallery

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Delilah Dirk And The Turkish Lieutenant

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* TCAF, TCAF, TCAF! Great city, great people, great show. If you're going, try to enjoy all three of those things.

* some folks feel the closest thing the U.S. has to TCAF is The Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. They recently announced 2012 dates, which were a month earlier than the show was held in its first few years -- it moved from early December to early November. Enough of you have asked about that dates move I followed up with organizer Dan Nadel and Bill Kartalopoulos. Nadel told CR, "We moved to November for two reasons: First, we are a multi-venue festival so it's nice to try and avoid snow if possible. And second, the last three BCGFs have all fallen on the same weekend as the Miami art fairs. That's been difficult for me, personally, as I needed to also be in Miami and couldn't go, and in 2012 I'll absolutely have to go. Additionally, all our friends at galleries were out of town, which made doing gallery-based events or exhibitions difficult. Finally, those same friends, and tons of artists, couldn't attend in previous years. We couldn't move before because until 2011 the New York Art Book Fair was around the second or first weekend of November, and we didn't want to move closer to the holidays in either direction. This past year The NYABF suddenly moved to October and so November was finally open." Added Kartalopoulos, "It should be a nice fall weekend in Brooklyn for exhibitors and attendees alike." I agree. I like that show.

* if you're not going to either, could I interest you in the BD & Comics Passion show?

* SLG has announced the first annual San Jose Comics Festival. That's an outdoor show, and I'm trying to think of an equivalent. Is Lucca partly outdoors?

* someone asks if Comic-Con could expand to a second weekend. I don't think that's possible with the current set-up; there are a lot of commercial factors involved. It's good to question fundamental conceptions of a show like that, though.

* MorrisonCon announces its initial line-up of guests. Good to see they got Grant Morrison.

* finally, the Oslo Comics Expo has announced a ridiculously rich list of guests for its June show: Joost Swarte, Seth and Chris Ware among them.
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Katie Brier

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: MoCCA Festival 2012

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near CCS, I'd Go To This

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near A Major City Movie Theatre And Unencumbered By Moral Concerns, I'd Go To This

image
I would imagine many cities are having similar ramp-up movie marathons to the Avengers film like in this link; tomorrow you can just go to the picture at your local shopping mall if you're so inclined
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jonathan Edwards

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* please read this lovely obituary for the publisher Josep Maria Berenguer. And then please read Bob Levin on Bill Mauldin. You've already had a good day.

image* I'm catching up on old tweets. Thanks to everyone that communicates to me that way. Someone about a week ago responded to a Bob Powell Golden Age comic to which this site linked by pointing out that old comics are hard to read and newer, indie-focused titles like Scott Pilgrim are much easier to read. Okay. I'm not sure that I can 100 percent endorse those examples in all cases for everyone, but I think it's true that some comics are easier to read than others even within the realm of what the marketplace offers right this moment, or over the last 10 years. The thing is, I'm never sure what to do with that beyond acknowledging it's true and hoping that people are in a position to use that fact to sell some books to customers or to give books to their friends to read who might not be soaked in comics particulars. I mean, I know that I have friends that would find Marjane Satrapi easier to understand than Ted Jouflas; I suppose that's a major reason why I lend out Perseoplis more than I do Filthy. Both are fine books, and the art form is better off for our having both. Is there anything more to it than that?

* if you're completely unfamiliar with Jouflas' comics, here's a short story from 1988.

* Rob Clough on a couple of new Michael DeForge comics. Sean T. Collins on Night Business #4. Don MacPherson on Earth 2 #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Hulk Smash Avengers #1 and Daredevil #12. Lauren Davis on Gronk.

* finally, it's not comics, but some of these photos are indeed pretty great.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 2, 2012


Go, Look: Gnartoons

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* a court upheld the 10-year sentence facing the Somali-born Muhideen Geelle for breaking into Kurt Westergaard's home in a horrible, well-publicized incident and much-analyzed, follow-up trial.

* there were three new arrests and subsequent charges in Denmark in terms of men plotting terrorist activities, the kind of thing authorities were afraid might happen during the ongoing trial of men accused of plotting against the newspapers Jyllands-Posten.

* there were incidents of violence and many arrests at a political protest that involved people brandishing the Danish cartoons.

* original Danish Cartoons cartoonist Kurt Westergaard distanced himself from a contest featuring Muhammed caricatures.
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Mr. Hipp Strikes

image

 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image

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.

*****

MAR120032 SKELETON KEY COLOR SPECIAL ONE SHOT $3.50
Here's something I'd be delighted to buy in a comics shop where I in one today, and it was right at the top of the shipping list. Andi Watson is quietly having an extremely prolific comics-making career, and this property was one of his more beloved efforts. And it's a comic book, of the kind you buy at the comics shop and not think you might have picked it up elsewhere.

imageJAN121254 KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE GN (MR) $24.95
Reviewed here. This nicely fills the "work by artists with whom I'm not regularly familiar" and the "classy-looking, ambitious publishing endeavor from an admirable small house I owe a look-see just for those reasons" slots this week.

MAR120153 DIAL H #1 $2.99
MAR120145 EARTH 2 #1 $3.99
MAR120155 GI COMBAT #1 $3.99
MAR120147 WORLDS FINEST #1 $2.99
This looks like one of the next waves of New 52 comics to me. Nothing gets past this reporter. At any rate, I guess they bear watching just for that reason. I'm still confused why there needs to be a title called Earth 2.

MAR120530 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (OF 12) AVX $3.99
MAR120550 HULK SMASH AVENGERS #1 (OF 5) $2.99
MAR120589 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #516 $3.99
Avengers Vs. X-Men should remind one of DC's New 52 initiative in everything but ambition: it's a good idea, it would seem to depend on precision execution (clear reasons the two superteams are fighting; fun and logical fight scenes), it would seem to not have this precision execution, it's selling like gangbusters anyway so people are reluctant to criticize its content. I just sort of like the title "Hulk Smash Avengers" and I always sort of enjoy those new Iron Man comics, although part of me always feels like I'm watching DVD outtakes from another comic being done out there somewhere.

NOV111101 BLANKETS GN (NEW PTG) (STAR19060) $29.95
MAR121268 INFLUENCING MACHINE SC $16.95
Two from the world of new printings. The Influencing Machine is one of those that might stealthily pick up a few awards over the next several months.

FEB120875 ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED TP VOL 01 $14.99
I will until the day I die pick up new Roger Langridge and at least check it out any time I'm in a comic store. This is the material he chooses to do rather than a gig he's happy to take on, so I'd support blindly.

FEB120895 TEEN BOAT HC GN $14.99
I was happy to see this book come out as it's one of those things about which I've heard things for year without totally catching up to anything more than a few pages here and there. This Dave Roman/John Green effort has an impressive webcomics and mini-comics legacy, and likely has potentially dire googling consequences.

SEP110190 SPIRIT WORLD HC $39.99
Your Kirby reprint of the month. If they could somehow publishing a Craig Yoe-designed book of Jack Kirby doing Warren-style Archie stories, the DM as it's currently constituted would collapse into a black hole and never be seen again. This is a reprint of one of Kirby's 1970s magazine projects and is about the occult, so you're sort of getting there with this one.

JAN121148 HEAVY METAL MAY 2012 (MR) (NOTE PRICE) $7.95
I had to go double-check with Jog's superior weekly comics listing, and it looks like this is indeed the anniversary issue and thus might be worth an extra check-out.

JAN121093 FALLEN WORDS GN (MR) $19.95
Comics has a lot of vital, classy, publishing endeavors right now; this is one of the classiest and most vital. What a joy it is to get to read this cartoonist's body of work.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jennifer Hayden's Rushes

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Jess Fink Blog

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the MoCCA Festival claims a 1000-person increase in attendance after a year where anecdotal evidence from a variety of people on the ground was going in the direction of this being a sparsely-attended show compared to years past.

image* John Jackson Miller looks at 29 years of Avengers comic book sales history.

* Matt Seneca on Lincoln Washington: Free Man #1. Brandon Soderberg on My Friend Dahmer. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Huntress: Year One. Sean Gaffney on Negima! Magister Negi Magi Vol. 34. Don MacPherson on Optic Nerve #12.

* here's that Grant Morrison in Playboy piece. And here's that Flannery O'Connor in Paris Review piece.

* Brigid Alverson talks to Sam Costello.

* Graeme McMillan casts a suspicious eye over a new Devil's Due and the way they're approaching the debts of the old Devil's Due. I think McMillan has a point that paying what one owes is what a publisher should do without having to call a lot of attention to it.

* here's word of a Frank Miller show in Paris.

* Daniel Best takes a look at Todd McFarlane's emergence from bankruptcy, how much it cost the cartoonist/toymaker, and how much of that money went to the Neil Gaiman legal tussle.

* I somehow missed that Jen Vaughn was apparently hired by Fantagraphics, which I guess is a little bit weird considering that she was hired for their PR/marketing department. Then again, I miss a lot of stuff.

* finally, a bit of not-comics: the battle between Amazon.com and the book industry continues.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
May 1, 2012


Go, Look: Tony Fitzpatrick's Site Has A "Hobo" Category

image
every site should
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: A Short Tribute To Frank Odoi

image

I greatly enjoyed this tribute to the late Ghanian-born Kenyan cartoonist Frank Odoi, although it's not exactly hugely comics-centric. If you have a few minutes to give it a read -- even if the claim in the headline raises your nerdly hackles -- I think there's something to be learned there. Cartooning in Africa is something about which I know very little, although I get the sense that more than anywhere else the vitality of the form depends on artists like Odoi who have reached a comfortable position with an audience; in other words, it's not like there are slots that cartoonists fill, it's more like cartoonists claim a certain position and I'm not sure that gets replicated in any way when they're gone. The linked-to article also has much more about the family that survives Odoi, to whom all continued condolences.

There's a nice, short selection of Odoi cartoon here, and some adorable photos of a class visit.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Paul Peart-Smith

image
 
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Two To Watch: Digital Efforts By Mark Waid, Brian Hibbs

image* as seen in various press-driven news stories marking the event, writer Mark Waid's digital comics site goes live today. We wish the newly-minted pride of Yorktown luck. Here's his site largely about that site. As has been mentioned in a number of places, this could be important a) for the site itself, if it hits; b) for the fact that Mark Waid, a known quantity within the mainstream comics world, is the one doing it. The latter factor could spur other writers to seek self-directed digital comics opportunities.

* Johanna Draper Carlson notes the launch of a Savage Critics digital on-line selling place. That works slightly along the same lines of Hibbs being a figure well-known within his corner of the comics field so that the success or failure of this initiative has an instructive potential. Digital efforts from established comics retailers is an interesting thing generally, because of the notion that these are the people that know how to sell comics.

Shanna and Eric, patron saints of computer-related comics efforts
 
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Dennis Culver's Sketchjournal

image
 
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* Secret Acres announced their TCAF debut of Michiel Budel's Wayward Girls this morning; I'm not sure there's an appropriate link on their site yet, but there's the cover for the 24-page book. Update: Here's that link.

image* the author of this free book available for download was nice enough to write in to make my aware of the link to the free stuff.

* the fifth issue of The Devastator will feature Tony Millionaire and a parody of Mouse Guard. Not in the same article.

* holy guacamole, that looks like a potentially great issue of TCJ.

* Sean T. Collins provides details on Thickness #3.

* James Stokoe drawing Spider-Man In Vietnam comics isn't likely to happen.

* I would have to imagine the world of manga is full of announcements like this one, although I'm not yet a good enough linkblogger to make a proper adjudication on what we need to see of them and when and how. It'll get figured out.

* a bigger frustration for this site is how to play things like the completion of Fantagraphics' Popeye series. That's a top five all-time comic receiving the package through which it's going to be consumed for the next quarter-century, and I'm not sure we process that kind of thing the way we should.

* the writer Mark Millar declares that creator-owned is where it's at for him for a while. I like Millar because his self-pronouncements are like wrestling-personality declarations. Like you know that there's going to be a mainstream comeback like ten years from now, and this is laying the groundwork for that storyline.

* did you know that Jim Rugg had a podcast called Tell Me Something I Don't Know? And if you did, why didn't you tell me?

* totally missed this charming-looking book. Greatly anticipating the new edition of this one.

* it's good to be the Kim.

* finally, an update on all things Farel Dalrymple.

image
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: James Harren

image
 
posted 1:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jeff Heermann

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the great Moto Hagio received Japan's Medal Of Honor.

image* if I timed this correctly, by the time you read this you should be able to download a copy of the CCS/NCS tabloid team-up The Cartoon Crier at cartoonstudies.org. If I didn't, well, wait a few; it's coming.

* missed it: new (well, not anymore, I guess) Johnny Ryan.

* Rob Clough on two new comics from Michael DeForge. Todd Klein on Creepy Comics Vol. 1 and The Flash #7. Don MacPherson on various comics and Captain Atom #2-5. Katherine Dacey on I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow. Sean Gaffney on GTO: The Early Years Vol. 12. J. Caleb Mozzocco on two Superman trades from way back in the olden days before New 52. Team AV Club on various comics. Jason Sacks on Popeye Vol. 6. Alicia Korenman on Love And Rockets.

* hey, new Destructor.

* not sure anything close to this headline has ever been typed by anyone before.

* Michael Cavna talks to Marjane Satrapi. Jason Barr talks to Johnny Ryan. Lauren Davis talks to Jeffrey Brown. Tim O'Shea talks to Ty Templeton.

* well, this is just adorable.

* I think I'm all for the Bat-Stache just short of taking a glamor photo of yourself with the Bat-Stache.

* finally, Rob Clough reports on Joe Sacco's recent Duke appearance. It doesn't get much better than Joe Sacco.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Help The Comics Reporter Extend Its Social Media Footprint

I hope that you'll consider adding this site's limited social media offerings to your array of things you follow and like.

imageThe Comics Reporter has a fairly active twitter account here and a sort-of active Facebook page here. This is the Tom Spurgeon you should befriend on Facebook if you want to acknowledge our comics-related relationship that way. There's a regular Facebook profile here that I only use with actual, I-would-call-you-before-arriving-in-your-city pals, and a twitter account under my own name I use to make wisecracks about things that aren't comics.

At one point a long time ago we were supposed to fold this information into the site somewhere, but we have different priorities right now so I thought I'd do a limited-repetition post in the hope that we can drive some attention to those efforts in advance of doing so more formally on the site. Really, the @comicsreporter twitter account is the main offering. I do some links back to the site (but not all, as I don't want people to only come here via twitter), talk to people, make fun of comics-related things and post instant reactions to some news stories.

Thanks for any and all consideration and for your continued attention to this site.

By "limited repetition" I mean I'm going to run this post the entire month of May, so let me apologize for that intrusion. Hopefully it appearing down here in the 2 AM slot means you can turn it into scroll-down white noise if you've already seen it multiple times.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Daily Blog Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
 
Full Archives