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September 30, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Adrian Tomine

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*****

Adrian Tomine occupies a unique place in the art-comics landscape, as a cartoonist that was both the last of an era of solo-title developed talents and as one of the main beneficiaries of the context created by the 15 years of comics-makers that preceded his rise. His latest, New York Drawings is a surprisingly hefty volume of work from what he considers a separate artistic endeavor: commercial illustration, dominated by a longstanding, recurring gig with The New Yorker. Many of the virtues of Tomine's comics are on display in New York Drawings, and not just those few pages devoted to comics: strong composition, an attractive line, clarity of concept. That one of the all-time "one cartoonist, one comic" cartoonists has in recent memory done this much work not that comic book and has, in fact, released three very different projects (this new art book, the latest issue of his comic title Optic Nerve, the light-hearted gift book Scenes From An Impending Marriage) in recent memory seem to me developments worth noting in conversation. Besides, I sort of just like talking to Adrian, so any excuse. He's on tour right now, so I am extremely happy he took the time to chat. -- Tom Spurgeon

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imageTOM SPURGEON: When New York Drawings was first announced, I was like, "Okay, I know what that's going to look like; I basically know what he's been up to." And then when I got the book it was like three times as thick as I thought it would be. You've done a lot more of this kind of work than I thought you had. Do you think people are going to be surprised by how much illustration you've done?

ADRIAN TOMINE: I was surprised. I had to do a few test runs of counting out the illustrations and figuring out possible page layouts before we decided to go through with it. I had the idea for the book before I really knew if there was enough material. Yeah, I was actually surprised. To me it seems like I just started working for The New Yorker. [laughs] I guess it's one of those things that makes you feel kind of old when you realize it's been going on for quite a while. Also, I have to give credit to Jonathan Bennett, who designed the book. He found a way to make it seem substantial but not too dense and busy. He gave it this kind of airy elegance that I was glad to have in the book.

SPURGEON: So that was Jonathan. Because I wondered about that as well. The design is effective in exactly the way you describe.

TOMINE: This is the first time I didn't design a book myself. Every book I've ever done with Drawn And Quarterly I've designed from top to bottom. With this one, with a kind of retrospective thing like this, I figured it was going to be helpful to have a little more objective point of view in terms of how to present it. Jon was the designer, but he was also, in the process of putting it together, literally the only sounding board I had. Drawn And Quarterly is very hands-off, so it was more just like in the process of putting it together I was sending a million e-mails back and forth with Jonathan saying, "Do you think this should be in the book?" or "Should we cut this one out?" or "What do you think about this or that?" He was really helpful in more ways than just the concrete page layouts.

SPURGEON: You said you went through the material; do you have all of this stuff? Do you keep your material? Are you a meticulous archiver of your own work?

TOMINE: When I started doing illustration work there was never a glimmer of any kind of thought in my mind of there being a book of the illustration work at any point. It was more just like trying to make a buck. I'd actually go to the newsstand and seek out the magazine that had my illustrations in it, buy it and clip it out. So I had these binders of every illustration I've ever done. Sometimes it's a tattered tear sheet I ripped out of the magazine or something. I kind of thought that would be the extent of the archiving. It would just be for my own ego. [laughter]

SPURGEON: I talked to a very prominent alternative cartoonist about his illustration work a couple of years ago. It was an innocuous question where I kind of assumed that it was a good gig. He answered back pretty strongly that as much as he appreciated that work it wasn't his comics, and he didn't like the time away from doing his comics. How are you oriented towards the illustration work? I don't want to get you in trouble with an editor, but that cartoonist's response fascinated me.

TOMINE: I've been there. I went through many, many years of being on that exact same page. Especially when there was such a great disparity between how much money you could make spending a day doing illustration versus a day doing comics work. It used to kind of drive me crazy. I think that... well, a lot of things have changed. Comics have become a more legitimate job in certain ways. On a personal level I've become a father and that's had an impact on my relationship to illustration work for sure.

SPURGEON: How do you mean?

TOMINE: I think every new parent goes through that period. It doesn't quite hit you until you're holding that kid in your hands that, "Oh my God, I'm responsible for this." [laughter] "I've got to pay these bills." No matter how much you think about it in advance. I used to be in this very, very luxurious position of being almost kind of put out when I had to do an illustration for something. You know? Now especially when I'm watching some of the choices other of our young-parents friends have to make in order to pay the bills, I'm a lot more appreciative of the illustration work that comes my way.

Also, even before having a kid I consciously made this choice to really think of it as two different jobs, to think of myself as sometimes a cartoonist and sometimes an illustrator, and bring totally different levels of expectation to those two jobs. I think when I started doing illustration work, I was very spoiled by the carte blanche that Drawn And Quarterly had given me. I felt I was entitled to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. [laughter] And suddenly there's an art director making changes to your work, and criticizing it, giving you very tight deadlines. It was kind of a shock to me at first. It was probably more indicative of how easy I had it at Drawn And Quarterly than anything else. I separated the two, and decided there was one area of my creative life where I have complete and utter freedom and one where I collaborate with people. That's how I really approach illustration work now. New Yorker illustrations I think of as collaborations between Chris Curry or Francoise Mouly or some of the other art directors I've worked with.

SPURGEON: A natural question about your having done this much illustration work is whether or not you think it's had any effect on your comics-making, your cartooning. So much of the work is for the New Yorker, and they do have a tendency to favorite narratives within a single image, the kind of thing that one might think would be very transferable to comics. Is your cartooning different for having had this second job?

TOMINE: In two ways. From a purely artistic point of view and then from a "my position in the world" point of view, too. For me, it's been helpful -- again, like I said -- to separate illustration from cartooning. That clarifies for me how to draw when I'm working on my comics versus how I'm drawing for illustration work. I feel like there was a time early on where I was trying to prove myself in some way with every panel that I drew to make it as dense with detail and everything. Especially as I've gotten older and studied other cartoonists' work, both from the past and the present, it's really encouraged me to be more economical in my cartooning, to sort of let the pictures tell the story. Not to try and knock you out of your seat with how amazing the three-point perspective is, or something like that.

I feel like the illustration work is a good place to funnel a lot of those tendencies. Let me really get the detail work of this subway car exactly right, down to the bolts in the seat. That kind of stuff. Or let me really, really fret for like a week about the balance of colors in a single image. I feel like I do have that compulsion to make these sorts of precise... I'm not sure what the word is, but there's some pleasure I get from that kind of work, which can be a detriment when you're trying to crank out a comic.

imageSPURGEON: You included some of the sketches you did around New York when you first got to the city. You say, and it makes a certain amount of sense, that one of the reasons you were doing that was to explore the city, to see new things in a different way. Was that useful in getting accustomed to New York and your new life there? Was that a valuable experience?

TOMINE: I think the fact that it prepared me for doing more specific drawings of New York for The New Yorker and The New York Times was kind of... it was great, but it was almost an ancillary benefit to some sort of psychological effect that it had on me. I don't want to overdramatize it, but I did live on the west coast for my entire life, and Berkeley for almost 15 years or something like that. So to move anywhere and in particular to move to New York was a pretty dramatic change for me. I had a very predictable and comfortable zone that I lived in in Berkeley, literally and figuratively. Then I threw myself into this whole life here where I basically knew one person, which was my girlfriend. Beyond that I felt pretty much on my own. It was some sort of... I don't know what it was... it was some sort of therapeutic process for me. I think it's going to be a long time before I have a kind of knowledge and understanding drawing New York that I had with California. I felt like I put myself through a crash course.

SPURGEON: It seems like -- and this could be a projection on my part -- that the later stuff in the book comes from the eyes of a New Yorker more than maybe some of that stuff earlier on. There's an ease to what you're seeing, the scenarios depicted seem maybe more settled and specific.

TOMINE: That's true. The earliest stuff in the book, from when I first started working with The New Yorker, was from when I was still in California. So there's a good chunk of that early section where I was making stuff up or working from photo reference or kind of thinking of New York based on [laughs] sad to say, comic books and movies that I'd grown up reading. It's a good thing I didn't accidentally draw the Daily Bugle lying around. [laughter] I wouldn't say there's any kind of authority that develops; it's more easy access to the real thing. I can get on the subway and do my sketches, go out and see what a Brooklyn brownstone really looks like.

SPURGEON: I have a question about the cinema stuff you were doing early on. It looks like some of them were difficult for you to do. Are there one or two that you think you nailed it, that you're particularly happy with? And what about them makes you happy with them? What works for you when you do that particular kind of assignment well?

TOMINE: That's a good question. They really had me working in that one area for quite a while, and the whole time there was a little part of me thinking, "You know, you might be better off if you got one of the caricaturists, the more cartoony people to do this, to be able to nail the likenesses a little better." There was a lot of back and forth for us about "It doesn't look like this celebrity" or whatever.

Let me look through the book right now. It's difficult to say, "I nailed that."

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At this point, the only way I can look at them is in terms of how it looks on the page. I can't even tell you how well I based the likenesses, it's almost abstract. I can say the composition looks nice, or the colors look nice. [slight pause] There's this one I did for a movie that I don't think anybody remembers called The Mexican with James Gandolfini and Julia Roberts. That was a tough one. Julia Roberts I didn't get at all. She was really hard to draw without it being a slightly mean-spirited caricature. They said, "No, make her look beautiful. That's why we want her in the image, because she's a pretty movie star." So that was hard. But I look at it and I'm like, "Oh, I like those colors. The composition is nice."

Most of those movie things I was working from very limited reference material. Most of those were done pretty much before the Internet had entered into my life in an everyday capacity. I didn't get to see the movies. A lot of the time they would send me a Fed Ex package with a few stills from the movie. On some of them the deadline was so tight they even faxed over [laughs] photos, and I had to decipher the image on this crinkly fax paper. [Spurgeon laughs] I think if I were working that assignment now it would be a little easier, because you could type in "James Gandolfini" and find every type of image and photo of his face. The hardest ones of those when they were having me draw those were the good-looking but sort of hard to distinguish celebrities. The last one that I did was supposed to be the actor Ryan Phillippe, who I just couldn't make look both handsome and recognizable as him. It was like I could do a caricature, but it won't look good, or I could draw a handsome blond-haired, blue-eyed guy, but it won't be... it was difficult. They eventually came to their senses and moved me on to other kinds of assignments. [laughs]

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SPURGEON: I want to ask you a couple of broader questions about your career. You've been working with Drawn And Quarterly for a long time now. They're a very different publisher in some ways than the publisher with which you started. I wondered how that relationship has changed over the years. How are they a different publisher now for you? You intimated that the basic relationship is the same, that you receive the same type of support you've always received, but I wondered if there are ways that might be noticeably different.

TOMINE: It's hard for me to say, because I think Chris [Oliveros] in particular might feel some sort of obligation to keep things consistent with the older cartoonists that he signed up. I've heard from other cartoonists that started working for Drawn And Quarterly subsequently that there are some differences, the experiences they've had, so I don't know. I think someone like Sammy Harkham might have a different take on it than I do.

I feel like Chris has -- I don't know how explicit he's been about this, but he's always gone out of his way to make sure there's a real consistency to our working relationship even as the market has completely changed and even as the personnel in the Drawn And Quarterly office has changed. For someone like me, that's among the greatest gifts that a publisher can give to me, this feeling of stability, to basically eradicate the concerns about business and whether or not the book will look good and all of these things that could really take up a lot my thought process.

SPURGEON: Is it that you'd just rather not think about those things?

TOMINE: Yeah. Yeah. I'd rather not think about it. I sometimes take for granted how little I worry about how the final product is going to come out in terms of printing and all of that. That's a relief. I know of people who have worked for other publishers where they're deciding do they want to pay their own airfare to go do a presscheck because they can't trust if it will come out looking right. They're arguing over slightly better paper stock -- all of this stuff that doesn't enter into the conversation with Drawn And Quarterly.

I think it's been great for the company that they've made some really smart moves and kind of managed to evolve and grow in sync with the industry and its place within North American culture. There was definitely a moment where Drawn And Quarterly could have been stuck in their niche and all of the cartoonists could have started jumping ship and going to mainstream book publishers. They stepped up their game -- at least from my point of view -- and gave me no reason to look elsewhere for a publisher.

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SPURGEON: You mentioned market realities. The market has fundamentally changed. Your last three releases, if I'm remembering correctly, are the stand-alone book based on your wedding comic, this book which is an art book and the latest issue of your comic. [Tomine laughs] That's three very different things, and when I think of my long-term relationship with you as a reader it was developed very consistently through the comics. Is that something you're growing accustomed to, that you'll be publishing in a variety of formats now, that there's not going to be this consistent comic-book relationship at the absolute forefront anymore? How have you oriented yourself to that change?

TOMINE: I think I'm really lucky that there's a market and that it's feasible for me to put out things that are different than an issue of a comic book. I definitely have to give a lot of credit to Peggy [Burns] and Julia [Pohl-Miranda] at Drawn And Quarterly for tackling each project as its own thing. We're going to do this weird wedding thing as a gift book, so instead of sending out so many copies to the comics press, try to get it into Kate's Paperie or something. [laughter]

SPURGEON: That makes perfect sense.

TOMINE: In the case of this book, it'll probably sell more in art-book kinds of stores, New York museum gift shops, more than a comic book store in the midwest. That's been lucky for me. For me that's been a conscious choice to put out a series of different kinds of books. The series you mentioned, when you described them I thought, "Yeah, those three are pretty different." When i finished Shortcomings I sort of sat down for the first time in a long time and thought about what I was doing next and how to proceed with it. The thing that kept coming to mind was that the worst thing I could do would be repetitious in some way. I'm not saying that I broke new ground or did something shocking. I just thought that no matter how good it was, if I did another book like Shortcomings that hits the same kinds of emotional notes, it's going to get trashed. People are going to write me off and say, "That's it." I recognize that the wedding book is fluffy and insubstantial, but I really considered it. Better to do something fluffy and insubstantial and sort of different than maybe a little bit more serious and ambitious but in the exact way of Shortcomings.

SPURGEON: The comic you include at the front of New York Drawings has a verve to it; it's very light on its feet.

TOMINE: Yeah.

imageSPURGEON: You know, when my friends and I talk about your work --

TOMINE: That common occurrence! [laughs]

SPURGEON: -- one thing that usually gets mentioned with you is that you're funny. That personally, you're a funny guy. That doesn't always come out in your work. And yet the comic in New York Drawings is highly amusing. Is that anything you want to pursue? Because it seems like you would have a facility for that.

TOMINE: I am trying to be more open to that.

SPURGEON: Not that your comics have been grim going over the years, or anything. [laughs]

TOMINE: You have to remember the tenor of things when I was starting out, which was so different. I almost had a chip on my shoulder to differentiate myself and my work from what people thought stereotypically comics were: either superhero stuff or comedy for children. I got stuck in a rut trying to present myself as "serious" and "literary" -- in quote marks -- which is obviously very limiting and not a lot of fun. [Spurgeon laughs] I think there's a feeling of greater freedom now. I give a lot of credit to my wife, too, in this regard. When we were first spending time together, she said something similar to how you phrased that question. "You love comedy movies and shows and you're always joking around, and then you sit down and do these grim-faced, tear-jerking stories." She's a very smart and well-read person, so the fact she was encouraging a move in a more funny direction was eye-opening to me.

SPURGEON: I saw one of your panels at the recent SPX, I think it was called "Life After Alternative Comics." You appeared on it with Dan Clowes and Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. It was interesting how they positioned you.

TOMINE: Yes!

SPURGEON: They positioned you as this kind of... kind of development in that form [Tomine laughs] in that your work wasn't contextualized the same as earlier work from the Bros or from Dan but was still kind of bouncing off of the same ideas. How do you see yourself in terms of those peers of yours? You're younger than a lot of those guys. Yet I think there's definitely a way of looking at alternative comics where you kind of come in at the tail end of a certain unique mode of expression. Do you see yourself in a continuity with the 1980s alt-comic pantheon?

TOMINE: I felt uncomfortable being on that panel. The three guys who were on the front lines and then the guy that got to coast in on their coattails, or something. [Spurgeon laughs] I think it would have been more complete to have a few guys from my own age group.

SPURGEON: Who would you consider your peer group if not those guys?

TOMINE: It's hard to say, because those guys are among my closest friends. They've been really welcoming to me for a long time. In that regard, if I'm outraged by something I read on The Comics Reporter, I'm going to fire off an e-mail to one of those guys, [as opposed to] maybe some of the people a little closer to my age range. Yeah, I felt a little uncomfortable up there. I feel like I came along... the timing was just perfect for my age and my interests, for when I tried to thrust my work upon the world and everything, that I really got to benefit with each step of acceptance of comics in America. As an art form. I'm not sure I would have had the determination and humility that was required of people like the Hernandez Brothers and even Dan to a degree, to have your work relegated to the porn section of the comics stores, and have these endless explanations to normal adults in terms of what you do for a living. [laughs] All these things they made the world safe for.

SPURGEON: You could make a very odd diagram out of people the Hernandez Brothers were compared to over the years.

TOMINE: That they were compared to?

SPURGEON: Yeah. Like "Love & Rockets, blank and blank." When they would mention great comics. You could see how the context has changed around the Hernandez Brothers just based on who they might get listed with. For a long while their work was compared to comics that really had nothing to do with what they were up to.

TOMINE: Like Flaming Carrot and The Dark Knight. [laughs]

SPURGEON: That must have been bizarre.

TOMINE: Yeah. Back then if you weren't doing superheroes, you were all kind of in the same boat together.

SPURGEON: So one thing those guys, and Dan, and others did for a cartoonist like you was help create a context for people to grasp onto your work more directly.

TOMINE: Not just me, I think there's a lot of us working now that would not have such an easy go of it if not for those guys.

imageSPURGEON: You've been around a while yourself now, of course. You know, you mentioned earlier that you engage with current comics as well as past work. Can you give an example of one or two newer folks that you've read that you became interested in? I'm interested in how you read.

TOMINE: Sure. I try to check out everything that comes out. There's still this part of me that wants to just read comics as much as possible. I even buy stuff that doesn't initially appeal to me to try and understand it.

SPURGEON: Is there anything you've been taken with recently? If I remember right, you had a letter in Ethan Rilly's new issue of Pope Hats.

TOMINE: Yeah. When you look at what's happening in comics now, especially amongst the younger generation [laughter], I'm a little bit of a fuddy-duddy, I'm a little bit conservative with my tastes. I buy most of the stuff that PictureBox puts out, but I can't say that I completely get my head around everything there. Pope Hats was kind of shocking to me, and I think the thing I like about it is that he's picking up almost where the Hernandez Brothers left off. He doesn't seem at all influenced by the more experimental and more psychedelic stuff that's come along more recently.

I'll mention Jonathan Bennett again, even though he hasn't been doing a ton of cartooning work. The stuff that he did in MOME and some other anthologies had quite an impact on me as a cartoonist. In my next book of actual comics people might be able to detect that a bit.

SPURGEON: What quality of his did you react to?

TOMINE: His work came to me at a perfect time when I was really... I think I got to know his work and became friends with him right at the time I was particularly haunted by [laughs] something that I read about Chris Ware's work. I can't remember who wrote it. It might have been in Dan Raeburn's book about Chris Ware. It was talking about one of the ACME covers, and it had this very stylilzed drawing of a cat with tears coming out of its eyes. The thing that I read was talking about how beautiful and what an impact that image could have, whereas if it was drawn realistically, like a furry, realistic cat with actual glistening tears dripping down its face, how repulsive and how alienating that would be. I remember reading that and going, "Oh my God, I'm drawing glistening, furry cat faces." [laughter]

With that on my mind, and having just finished up Shortcomings and then seeing the really unpretentious and clean cartooning Jonatahan was doing in MOME... I don't know exactly, but I imagine it owes a certain debt to John Stanley and some of those old cartoonists. But for me it was useful to be reminded of the beauty of minimalism and simplicity and symbolic imagery rather than detailed representational imagery. Also, I feel the mode he was working in was something that meant a lot to me when I was becoming interested in alternative comics. It's not as prevelant anymore. What's the word...? Not "mundane," but the quotidian details of life. That was the kind of stuff that really opened my mind up when I was getting into comics. So some of Jonathan's stuff reminded me of the early Harvey Pekar/Robert Crumb stuff that I enjoyed, which was far less sensationalistic: picking up a loaf of bread, or being unable to get out of bed one morning.

I felt that a little bit, too, when I was reading Vanessa Davis' work when I first saw it -- that slightly voyeuristic quality of getting a peek into somebody's private life and also seeing the humor and the drama in the minutiae of life. Looking at her work was also affecting to me in that it was kind of... not carefree, but alive and unfussy. I don't think that influence is apparent in my work or anything. I've got no shortage of influences when it comes to being precise and fastidious and all of that in terms of my comics work. So it's helpful every once in a while to see someone that's going straight in with the ink and watercolor instead of penciling it all out.

*****

* Adrian Tomine
* New York Drawings, Adrian Tomine, Drawn And Quarterly, hardcover, 176 pages, 9781770460874, October 2012, $29.95.
* Adrian Tomine on tour in support of New York Drawings

*****

* Tomine at the 2011 Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival
* cover to the new work
* illustration for The Mexican
* a panel progression from Tomine's comics work
* strip from Scenes
* one of Tomine's sketches from around New York when he initially got there
* panel from the comic included at the front of New York Drawings
* a well-liked, well-traveled illustration of Tomine's
* one of Tomine's most-lauded illustrations, or at least one that I've seen mentioned a bunch (below)

*****

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

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FFF Results Post #310 -- Time Off

On Friday, CR readers were asked the following: "If You've Ever Taken A Break From Buying Comics For A While, Please Answer The Following: #1. The Parameters Of That Break; #2. A Comic You Remember Buying Very Close To Your Taking Time Away From Comics; #3. A Comic You Remember Buying Fairly Soon After Starting To Buy Comics Again; #4. Your Reason For Stopping; #5. Your Reason For Starting Again." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Early 1977 to Midway/Late 1979.
2. X-Men #103
3. X-Men #125
4. I just grew disinterested with them at a certain point, and started using my "you can have one comic book if you help me at the grocery store" dispensation on sports magazines.
5. I was intrigued by the cover and the art that I saw in the X-Men comic mentioned in #3, and picked it up on an impulse. Never looked back.

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. roughly 1999-2005
2. Blab 10
3. DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, 2006
4. After nearly a decade of working in comics I got very burned out and disenchanted with alot of the business and the work coming out. Part of this was having to leave the fan aspect behind to get work done, I think. But some of that was caused by the nearness to the personalities involved and involvement in the process. Having typed that I'm not sure it makes much sense or speaks to the whole truth of it. One way or the other the love had died and I'd been a big fan since an early age. I would only visit a shop a couple times a year for about six years or so and usually only buy books by friends of mine.
5. I think Runaways was the comic that got me started reading them again on a regular basis. I soon picked up all the B. K. Vaughan books I could. I also got intrigued by a few artists that were new to me like Darwyn Cooke and Brandon Graham. Also Scott Pilgrim. I had lost alot of my old comics in a couple of flooding incidents and became a pretty serious bargain bin scavenger to replace old Defenders and MoKF comics.

*****

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Matt Emery

1. mid 2000 - 2005
2. Preacher #66
3. Jonah Hex #1
4. The comic shops in my area had closed down, newsstand and bookshop distribution had dried up and I got distracted by playing in bands, alcohol and fast women.
5. The combination of moving to a town with a comic shop, Quitely's cover on Jonah Hex #1 and a longtime affinity with the character lured me back in. The addition of a new disposable income led me to trying a bunch of things, I remember being astounded at finding Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca's Street Angel in this relatively small town in New Zealand at the time.

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The longest I've gone without comics was about 3 months in mid-2006.
2. A battered copy of Green Lama #5 that I found in a consignment shop for two bucks.
3. The Oz-Wonderland Chronicles #1.
4. I was let go from my employer and needed to save money to ensure that I could eat.
5. I was hired by current employer and, while I hadn't actually gotten my first paycheck yet, I hadn't blown through all of my savings.

*****

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Fabrice Stroun

1. Summer 1988. Stopped reading mainstream comics (never ceased reading alt books) / Summer 95
2. McFarlane's Amazing Spider-Man 299
3. The invisibles 10
4. Thought of myself as a 'grownup' and naively believed that Sim / Clowes / Hernandez / Panter would be enough.
5. Read a profile of Morrison and the Invisible in an imported art magazine ('World Art') . Never looked back.

*****

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Todd Strending

1. Mid 1978 - Fall/Winter 1981?
2. X-men 109
3. Daredevil 180
4. Typical reasons: thought I had outgrown comics, going off to college, discretionary income. I had "discovered girls" by this time but sadly it took a while for any to discover me so I can't really use that as a reason.
5. Just for shits and giggles I picked up a Comics Scene at a drug store in the town where I went to college. There was an article on Frank Miller's Daredevil and an ad for Love & Rockets (this one, I think). The Love and Rockets didn't look like any comics with which I was familiar - those black and white drawings of Luba, Rand, Izzy et. al. were just so seductive. Unfortunately, comic shops were unknown in those parts so I bought the Daredevil and my relapse was complete. I caught up with Los Bros later on.

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1.) From summer 1998 until spring 2000.
2.) WildC.A.T.s/X-Men: The Golden Age (published in the summer of 1998 as a German translation)
3.) Menschenblut #37
4.) Had to concentrate on surviving. Also fed up with the comics scene at that time.
5.) You cannot get rid off of every addiction. It's in the blood.

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Spring 1980 - Summer, 1980
2. Marvel Spotlight # 7 featuring Star-Lord, cover date July 1980
3. Avengers # 201 - "Jarvis Takes Over" - cover date November, 1980
4. It was not my choice -- the local drugstore in my little hometown stopped carrying comics books!
5. I discovered that a drug store in the next town to the east still had comics, so I started going with my father there; he had regular business in that town. I was deprived of a regular source of comics for only a few weeks. I stayed with this habit until the local service station started carrying comics, and later, once I started university in the big city, I entered the doors of an actual local comic book store and have never looked back!

*****

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Gabby Gamboa

1. 2006-early 2010
2. Y: The Last Man Vol. 6 (I would like to go back and finish reading this series some day)
3. The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye
4. For most of the 1990s, my day job was in the comics industry (retail and then distribution), and I spent all my free time drawing comics and doing illustration. I just burned out. I wanted to see how other people live.
5. A pair of good neighborhood stores drew me in -- first Amazing Fantasy, and then Mission Comics, both in San Francisco. Reading led to making, which led to more reading, so now I have a mountain of comics to read. This addiction was a lot cheaper when I sold comics for a living and could buy wholesale or read them during my lunch break.

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Roughly October 1981-September 1984
2. Superman #367
3. Star Trek #9
4. This will sound either pretentious or typical, but... I stopped because I was in 7th grade and figured comics were somehow beneath me, at least compared to D&D and sci-fi/fantasy novels.
5. Later, as a 10th-grader getting snacks for D&D in the Convenient, I saw that DC's Star Trek comic was telling stories set immediately after the events of Star Trek III. Being a rabid Trekkie, I had to know what Kirk & Co. were going to do, stuck on Vulcan as fugitives. From there I found the local comics shop, saw a house ad for Crisis On Infinite Earths, and the rest is history.

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. 1994 to 2001.
2. Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #61
3. Cerebus: Form and Void (the phonebook)
4. The Legion of Superheroes had been my favorite since my cousin left a copy of Superboy 202 at my house when I was five. DC rebooted LSH and wiped (flushed!) all that continuity away. I decide that if comics makers didn't care about their characters, it was silly of me to care. So I quit.
5. My wife gave me a library card for my birthday and that library had all of the Cerebus phonebooks to date. I reread High Society and Church & State -- and then burned through the rest and moved on to Love & Rockets and Bone. I fell in love with comics owned and cared for by their creators.

*****

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Mark Coale

1. summer 1987 to fall 1989
2. Action Comics 590
3. Sandman 5
4, other interests (science fiction, sports, girls)
5. Finding proto-Vertigo comics (Sandman, Animal Man...) as college freshman

*****

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Chris Arrant

1. 1987-1990
2. Transformers: Headmasters #1
3. X-Factor Annual #4
4. My childhood interest in Transformers and G.I. Joe via the toy line waned, and I wasn't aware that comic shops existed.
5. Saw this cover while on a cross country road trip from Florida to California; found it in a mid-texas gas station. It had interesting colors, and the composition was pretty gripping for a young 13 year old like me.

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Sometime in 1987 to Fall 1990
2. Grendel #38
3. Dark Horse's Tank Girl reprints
4. We had one comic book store in my high school town, and that closed down around the same time I discovered "real books."
5. I still went to Comic Con, and Bob Schreck gave me Tank Girl. Stuff like Sin City and the Vertigo books then suckered me back into the fold while I was in college.

*****

while I appreciate the entries that are humorous, I tend not to run them because it always turns FFF into an escalating set of attempts to tell the best jokes, with dire results

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


Batton Lash Release Party On The News


Historietas: A Documentary


InkedTV Special On SPX 2012


Aseem Trivedi Interviewed


Ali Ferzat Profiled


Mike Luckovich At TedXEmory
 
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September 29, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 22 to September 28, 2012:

1. Charlie Hebdo underlines the point of last week's publication of Muhammed cartoons by publishing a "responsible" issue of blank pages; it's joined in other countries by other satirical publications.

2. Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore settle their Walking Dead-related lawsuits.

3. Dave Sim and Kim Thompson are joined by a cast of dozens in haggling out a potential book contract for Sim at Fantagraphics, throwing a spotlight on the state of current comics publishing and all sorts of history between the self-publisher and the publishing company.

Winners Of The Week
Attendees of BCGF in November.

Loser Of The Week
The comics page, for not having Cul De Sac available to it for the first time in five years.

Quote Of The Week
"And although the Avengers were on that list, Marvel wasn't risking them, not really -- in fact, the rights to Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and the Hulk were already tied up with other studios. This was just a nice little sleight-of-hand: the super-team had included so many B-list members over the years that, Marvel could argue, the lien was actually only for a lineup of, say, Jack of Hearts, Two-Gun Kid, Tigra, and D-Man." -- Sean Howe

*****

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

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This

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

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

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this image is a mistake, but it makes me laugh and I'm not going to kill myself finding a decent image on anyone's site
 
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If I Were Near Treviso, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Best Wishes To Stan Lee On A Speedy And Healthy Post-Pacemaker Surgery Recovery Period

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September 28, 2012


It's Friday Afternoon And Here's A Wild Dog Comic

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Go, Read: Calvin Reid Interviews Chris Ware

It's a good one. And it's Chris Ware.
 
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Go, Look: Comics By Katie Skelly

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Not Comics: Sean Howe On Marvel's Avengers-Focused, Money-Based, Deal Surge To Hollywood Frontrunner

I don't recommend a lot of articles on the film business in which comics companies find themselves, but I did like this sharp, focused piece at Slate from emerging Marvel go-to guy Sean Howe. I like it for both the detail work and for what it says about what I think is a key comics-as-business story over the last quarter-century: the post-bankruptcy Marvel team's intense belief in the value of what they had to offer general media, and the way they sought deals that reflected their own view of what they could put on the table. I don't always agree in the implication of that view for creators, or how it's been applied, but I think it's been a big key to their success and something that may even be replicable throughout comics culture more generally.
 
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Go, Look: Lewis Trondheim Has A Tumblr

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Your 2012 Diamond Best Practice Retailer Awards Nominees

I don't know anything about these awards, but it's not shocking that they exist -- I figure there are few industry awards like this about which I'm largely clueless. At any rate, the winner will be announced in conjunction with the forthcoming New York Comic-Con and I'm totally enamored of linking to a bunch of comics shops at every opportunity presented to me. Like that first one, "All About Books & Comics" in Phoenix? I like going into that shop when I'm right nearby on the highway. It has a lot of cheap back-issues. Maybe there are other shops with such virtues on this list.

Best Back Issue Section
* All About Books & Comics, Phoenix, AZ
* Barry's Collectors Corner, Grand Forks, ND
* Beachead Comics, Allentown, PA
* Collector's Comics, Port St. Lucie, FL
* Comic Relief, St. Charles, MO
* Heroes Haven Comics, Tampa, FL
* Hot Comics & Collectibles, Minneapolis, MN
* Southern California Comics, San Diego, CA

Best Customer Loyalty Program
* Atlantis Fantasyworld, Santa Cruz, CA
* KINGS Comics, Sydney, Australia
* Lone Star Comics, Texas
* Midtown Comics, New York, NY

Best PREVIEWS Display
* Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, Austin, TX
* Lone Star Comics, Arlington, TX
* Lone Star Comics, Mesquite, TX
* Lone Star Comics, Plano, TX
* MyComicStore.net

Best Store Logo Usage
* Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, Austin, TX
* KINGS Comics, Sydney, Australia
* Lone Star Comics, Texas
* Midtown Comics, New York, NY
* Up Up & Away, Cincinnati, OH

Best Website
* Jesse James Comics, Tucson, AZ
* KINGS Comics, Sydney, Australia
* Lone Star Comics, Texas
* Luke's Toy Store
* Midtown Comics, New York, NY
* The Outer Limits, Waltham, MA
 
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Not Comics: Syrian Art In Defiance

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thx, ethan heitner
 
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Things That Inspired Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Others

It's a cute feature, although I have to say that illustration of Dan Clowes is terrifying.
 
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Go, Look: Hamm Pix

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* here's a very modest request-driven kickstarter for a film-comics hybrid: A Film About Billy.

* here's another kickstarter well on its way sent to me: kaBOOMbox. That one's just fun to say.

* this is depressing. Is this common?

* Lucy Knisley is either very close or over the top on her crowd-funder related to Oscar Wilde.

* here's an auxiliary fundraiser for that Karl Kesel fundraising story from a few weeks back. It was a bit confusing to me at first.

* finally, we end with Lea Hernandez and her The Garlicks.
 
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If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This

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

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this image is a mistake, but it makes me laugh and I'm not going to kill myself finding a decent image on anyone's site
 
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If I Were Near Treviso, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: The FBI Story

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this is older, so I'm guessing I saw someone tweet or facebook about it and bookmarked it
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Top Shelf's annual clear-the-decks discount sale ends today. That's become a key part of their publishing strategy, and there are some astounding books for sale. They're an advertiser, so this may be biased, compromised nonsense, but it's hard for me to imagine anyone that reads comics not finding some sort of huge deal on this list. Just the first three $3 books represent some fine comics reading, for less than $10.

image* Sam Leith on Building Stories. Todd Klein on Dark Horse Presents #11. Erica Friedman on Yuri Yuri Manga Vol. 1. Greg McElhatton on Happy! #1.

* not comics: I completely never wondered what happened to this guy.

* I can't imagine a more entertaining few minutes to any comics fan's day than those available to them through this link.

* Alex Zalben talks to Hope Larson. David Uzumeri talks to Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. Mega Garber talks to Randall Munroe. Heidi MacDonald talks to Matt Wagner. Michael Cavna talks to Mike Lester. Eraklis Petmezas talks to Rich Barrett and Henry Eudy.

* congratulations to Heidi MacDonald and Team Beat on their relaunch.

* Todd Klein takes a look at new lettering form Gaspar Saladino.

* Jim Rugg makes a 'zine.

* I take it back: $370 million clearly isn't enough to drive a settlement or auxiliary payment to any of the creators involved developing material used to make that Avengers movie.

* Ann Telnaes has made available an app directly related to the forthcoming election. I always wonder a bit how effective those are in terms of a lot of people seeing the content. In the wider scheme of things I'm grateful for people trying as many strategies as possible, at least for now.

* Brian Smith is leaving DC Comics.

* finally, Colleen Doran is selling a few of her cover paintings. I hope they find a nice home.
 
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September 27, 2012


Go, Look: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* this is a pretty good summary as to what's going on right now and its basic context. Note that Charlie Hebdo followed up last week's publication of Muhammed cartoons with a stunt of "two issues," one a "responsible" one with blank pages. No matter what you think of the issues involved, that one's pretty funny. Here's an article on that new issue specifically; here's a better one, I think, that includes the notion that one of the ideas behind publishing the cartoons is to make the publication of such cartoons unremarkable.

* here's a talking point that's emerging from the Charlie Hebdo Muhammed cartoons: provocation as a marketing strategy, that inciting people is just something that publications like this do now and this may be divorced a bit from editorial goals that are more engaged with the satirical landscape as it develop independently of those goals. That particular linked-to article gives some of the background on Charlie Hebdo and Muhammed cartoons, which is welcome.

* as mentioned, El Jueves publishes its own set of Muhammed cartoons. Titanic will follow.

* another story gaining traction through the inclusion in multiple pieces is an Egyptian paper's decision to fight cartoons with cartoons.

* Charles Lane at the Washington Post says hooray for Charlie Hebdo.

* this editorial about "pyromaniac journalism" is getting a lot of play, ironically in part because of the same sort of sensationalism -- that name! -- the piece criticizes.

* Jonah Birch criticizes efforts to control/squash protests against the publication of those cartoons.

* and let the super-strident political commentary riffing off of these events begin. They probably never ended, I just haven't been paying attention.

* the wonderfully-named Theodore Dalrymple dissects statements from Hassen Chalghoumi. I always like those pieces where you're curious how they were typed when the writer is crossing his arms and harrumphing the whole time.

* here you see some more basic themes of coverage given voice, some of which are repeated elsewhere, primarily 1) criticism that protests were spiked, 2) bringing in the semi-nude photos of what's-her-face the royal person for comparison's sake.
 
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Go, Look: Make Boxes, Fill Them

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Jog Smothers A Milo Manara Comic With A (Sexy) Pillow

Actually, this is more a precision-type piece on disturbing elements in a Milo Manara "erotic thriller," observations that can be applied more widely to Manara's career, erotic comics and an entire tradition of prurient fiction, with the added bonus that Jog shows up in the comments thread a few times to explain things out a bit, as best as the work and his take on it allow him to do so.
 
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Go, Read: Milton Griepp Enthuses Over Steven Grant Column On 1970s Madison-Area Fandom Gatherings

imageThis article about finding a Steven Grant-written piece from 1973 on University of Wisconsin students meeting up to share their fan interests is one of the longer pieces not straight-up analysis that I can remember Milton Griepp writing and then posting at his ICv2.com site. I can't speak to the cultural significance of this kind of thing in terms of dates and firsts, but I imagine what Grant documented is a time when there were enough people with these interests that they could gather together in Madison, Wisconsin as opposed to simply writing letters or maybe meeting someplace like New York. One thing to remember about the generation of fans-turned-pros like Griepp and Grant (and Groth and Evanier and Gruenwald and so on) is that their early social experiences seem on retrospect like fairly intense ones and something that went a long way in driving some of these folks -- some -- to make a life near comics even when there weren't more direct career prospects available to them. You could argue that something like the early days of Fantagraphics was one of these fan meetings that Steven Grant describes, only one with a specific focus and that didn't end. As much as I'm suspicious of overplaying the modern social element in making comics as it sometimes diverts attention from the art, it's clear that this continues to be a big part of why people participate.
 
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Go, Look: Manananggal

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Paul Constant On Ellen Forney: "She Puts Herself Out There In A Way That Would Terrify Most Humans"

The way-too-occasional writer-about-comics Paul Constant profiles Ellen Forney on the occasion of her winning at genius award from The Stranger.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Deja View

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Bernie Mireault goes to a convention.

* here's one convention-goer's thoughts on how to make those kinds of things better than they are now.

* I'm still collecting links for the SPX 2012 Collective Memory, and will for as long as you keep sending them. I liked Rob Clough's report. I also snuck in a Baltimore Comic-Con entry if anyone's interested.

* I did a super-crappy job of covering the comics portion of the Brooklyn Book Fair, so you'll have to read articles like this one to get some inkling of what went on. Here's a sketched-out report of a sex in comics panel from Lucy Knisley.

* it's a pretty loaded convention weekend, even with the lack of an anchor, stop-and-point event: MICE, Kenosha, MorrisonCon, Hamburg, Treviso and Asbury Park among them. The MorrisonCon one is worth watching as an experiment in personally-branded shows and in elite-access shows.

* this is also the weekend of the main programming at the month-long Boomfest, in Russia.

* APE and NYCC loom largest for most people right now. Coming up on the heels of those two shows is The Projects in Portland. They put up their massive official show announcement, which should give you some idea as to what's going on there.

* in case you missed it, BCGF announced its 2012 major guests slate. That looks like a really good show. All I ask from NYC and the indy/alt world that exists there is two quality festivals a year, so that I and so many others have an excuse to visit NYC.
 
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If I Were In Hamburg, I'd Go To This

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this image is a mistake, but it makes me laugh and I'm not going to kill myself finding a decent image on anyone's site
 
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If I Were Near Treviso, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Piano Hero

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the amazing thing about the comments on that Chris Schweizer post about his recent experience at a comic shop vis-a-vis is that almost everyone involved disagrees on stuff that's in there yet the conversation somehow managed to stay cordial. I'm thinking that it was about a nuanced subject to begin with had a bunch to say about that.

image* I don't usually pull individual photo sets out of "Collective Memory" posts, but I thought this post of photographs from the recent Small Press Expo one of the better ones I've seen in a while. Everyone looks attractive and like themselves.

* Johnny Bacardi on various comics. Rob Clough on a bunch of manga. Bob Temuka on Fury: My War Gone By. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Jason Michelitch on Batman/Grendel II. Cerusee on Midnight Nation. Sean Gaffney on Higurashi: When They Cry Vol. 19.

* contrasting Supergirls.

* not comics: Graeme McMillan asks if the shudder and thud of the new Judge Dredd movie will shatter the myth that a movie well-received at Comic-Con International has the inside track on being a hit. I think 2009's District 9 is the last movie to specifically be ascribed a bounce from that show, and I think that most studios have a realistic view of what the con may or may not do for their movies and TV shows. I also think there's an element of rounding a PR campaign into shape there rather than banking on an appearance at that show, like with this summer's Spider-Man movie or the Hobbit stuff: it's one of many bases you touch. Ironically, I think comics publishers did their best job ever of making that show a place for announcements this year, driving attention to a bunch of different books as much as comics-related news sources were interested in covering that material.

* Sean Kleefeld throws Gazoo under the spaceship.

* finally, I totally missed this CNN.com article from Molly Crabapple about her Occupy-related arrest. This article includes her art about the experience, and a tidal wave of comments.
 
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September 26, 2012


Go, Read: Sean T. Collins' Rolling Stone Web Site Interview With Clowes, Ware And Los Bros At SPX

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Not Comics: Yakuza Papers

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I'm always unclear how I end up with stuff like this in my bookmarks folder, but there you go
 
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BCGF Confirms Its 2012 Major Guests List

imageDoing their part to make 2012 the greatest convention year in comics history, the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival has made official their big-guests list in anticipation of the November show. That is... that is a pretty impressive line-up. It includes Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine, primetime alt-talents with new major books, but it also goes deep into European talent (Florent Ruppert, Blexbolex), and hits any number of other areas from young talent to New Yorker cartoonists.

The one that jumped out at me in a "holy crap" way back when co-organizer Bill Kartalopoulos was showing a postcard with this list of guests around SPX is Richard McGuire, the great illustrator and author of the seminal work "Here," an all-time comics top-10 short story. That's pretty impressive; I don't think McGuire does shows like this very often, if ever. I would expect a very kick-ass line-up of programming for this one-day show, which pretty much ends the North American calendar year in terms of shows that people I know get excited to attend. Hopefully, the year ends as strong as it's consistently performed throughout.

Announced major guests at BCGF 2012:

* Nine Antico
* Blexbolex
* Charles Burns
* Lilli Carré
* Geneviève Castrée
* Roz Chast
* Tim Hensley
* Richard McGuire
* Jonny Negron
* Anouk Ricard
* Florent Ruppert
* Olivier Schrauwen
* Adrian Tomine
* Chris Ware

The show takes place on November 10 at the Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Church on North 8th Street. I hope to be there. The festival is free, and I greatly enjoyed myself last year.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Best Jokes

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

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

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

*****

AUG121231 FIGHT GN VOL 02 (MR) $13.95
I know next to nothing about this comic, but the cover looks cool, and I know that if I were in a comics shop I would be dazzled by its bright colors and promises of fighting. The description of the comic here name drops Prison Pit, which to my mind is a high recommendation, indeed.

imageJUN121083 BARBARA GN (MR) $19.95
I'm not all the way certain why a project like this one needs some kickstarter capital at some point along the way, but that doesn't mean I'm going to extend that particular piece of grumpiness to denying myself something I want. Come on, I'm a comics reader, that doesn't happen. As I've written on this site before, I'm a fiend for the sexier, more violent Tezuka material, the discovery of which is like finding out Walt Disney directed a string of films in the early 1970s starring Warren Oates.

JUL120007 ANTARCTIC ZOMBIE KID MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120008 APE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE SCOUTS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120009 ARCHAIA COW BOY HALLOWS EVE MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120011 BOOM ADVENTURE TIME MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120005 DARK HORSE AXE COP MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120012 FANTAGRAPHICS SPACEHAWK MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120006 GHOSTBUSTERS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120010 NEW CRUSADERS RISE OF HEROES MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120013 PAPERCUTZ ERNEST & REBECCA MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
JUL120014 TOP SHELF TRICKY TREATERS MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
MAY128000 VIZ LITTLE MISS DAREDEVIL MINI COMIC BUNDLE 2012 $4.99
This is one group of two groups of offerings that jump out at me: special little comics (about the size of a supplementary catalog) tied into other projects. I liked the Fantagraphics one; that's the only one I've seen so far. At any rate, I'm not sure how these work, but it's something to keep an eye on.

AUG121361 ART OF HOWLS MOVING CASTLE HC $34.99
AUG121362 ART OF MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO HC $29.99
AUG121365 ART OF PONYO ON THE CLIFF SC $34.99
AUG121366 ART OF SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY HC $34.99
AUG121359 ART OF SPIRITED AWAY HC $34.95
AUG121364 NAUSICAA WATERCOLOR IMPRESSIONS HC $34.99
This is the other group of books that jumps out at me. Obviously not comics, I've always liked the Miyazaki studio art books when I've seen them. That one full-service store in Evanston routinely has them for sale, the one whose name I can't remember. I would spend five whole minutes with a rack of these books in the right store, were I hitting such a store today.

JUN120419 ARCHIE BEST OF HARRY LUCEY HC VOL 02 $24.99
I'm totally lost on what Archie books are good or who's doing what, but I like at this material and would check out this book.

APR120321 DAVE STEVENS STORIES & COVERS HC $49.99
IDW's relationship with the Stevens estate seems kind of model-ish when it comes to such partnerships, and I think that even when I'm not terribly, terribly interested in the books being offered.

JUL120376 GASOLINE ALLEY HC VOL 01 $49.99
Frank King's work is featured in the Walt & Skeezix volumes from D+Q; this is Dick Moores. I'm happy Dick Moores is receiving this kind of archival attention -- the continuity between artists on GA is one of the nicer stories in comics history.

JUN120476 MILKMAN MURDERS HC (MR) [DIG] $14.99
A Joe Casey and Steve Parkhouse stand-alone, doesn't need anything in the way of context, comics effort. I remember enjoying it, but it's been a few years.

JUL120340 POPEYE #5 [DIG/D+] $3.99
JUL120382 HAPPY #1 [DIG] $2.99
JUN120558 INVINCIBLE #95 [DIG] $2.99
JUL120514 PROPHET #29 [DIG] $3.99
JUL120908 ADVENTURE TIME #8 [DIG] $3.99
JUL120026 AXE COP PRESIDENT O/T WORLD #3 $3.50
JUL120051 BPRD HELL ON EARTH RETURN O/T MASTER #2 $3.50
JUL120150 BATMAN INCORPORATED #0 $2.99
This week's comic-book comics, of the kind that I've read at least someone out there liking. I thought the Happy comic book was ordinary and a disappointment considering superior genre comic-book maker Grant Morrison is involved. You can always pivot to his work on the Batman Inc. title; Morrison works well with these kinds of stand-alones, and that was the best title when DC shut down its previous line in favor of this New 52 one. If you want to avoid Morrison entirely, that Prophet book has been a lot of fun.

imageJUL121308 YOTSUBA & ! GN VOL 11 $11.99
The best of the mainstream-oriented manga out this week in comics shops. I'm a fan; it's like spending time with a really intense four-year-old; the book really names that furious, exhausting sensation of hanging out with someone like that.

MAY121408 ROBERT CRUMB SKETCHBOOKS 1982-2011 6 VOL SET (MR) $1,000.00
This is quite the offering. I can't imagine it being on anyone's floor, and I bet the list of shops that have one of these for sale in the first place is short and fascinating. I've heard some bad things about it, particularly in how much it overlaps with previous, cheaper, just-as-well-executed sketchbook offerings.

MAY121286 HOLE OF TANK GIRL SLIPCASED HC COLL ED (MR) $99.99
Most of the Tank Girl material leaves me cold except for an appreciation of the appealing surface elements. It's also my hunch that this material has been collected in a lot of different ways, so if I were a fan I'd tread carefully even with a slipcased edition. Still, given the deep discounts out there and the various DM stores attempting to match and the general appeal of the material, I have to imagine the appearance of this book just made someone's week.

JUL121347 MARS ATTACKS HC $19.95
We've talked about elements of this art book when they've surfaced on-line: an anniversary celebration of the seminal card set and pop-culture touchstone.

AUG121228 LEEROY & POPO GN (MR) $13.95
Yet another book from Nobrow that I don't know a thing about but that would absolutely make me stop and look were I in a comics shop. It looks awfully cool, and seems squarely settled into the current science fiction/fantasy zeitgeist. Or, you know, "thing," if I'm not all the way understanding what the word "zeitgeist" means.

JUN120398 JOE KUBERT TARZAN OF THE APES ARTIST ED HC PI
I love the look of Joe Kubert's 1970s Tarzan work, and I've always recommended the comics themselves right up there with Master Of Kung Fu and the Bill Everett Sub-Mariner run to people looking for back-issues that kind of exist in a world separate from the heavy continuity superhero-universe efforts that have dominated in the 35 years since. These books are great generally, and I think IDW showed admirable restraint in how they approached selling this work after the cartoonist passed away. I look forward to seeing one of these.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of 1980s Topps Cards

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* what struck me reading this post on creator credits in Marvel movies is that the Marvel executive interviewed seems to think using someone's ideas fully is equivalent in many ways to giving credit. "We really used their ideas, thus we have shown respect to that creator." I think of sort of get where he's going there, but it's still weird. It's distressing that credit can't be afforded those to whom it's due in a more straight-forward, respectful way. What's additionally odd is that to extol the virtues of these creators would seem to have the potential to drive people to more consumption of Marvel product. No, it's not 1.5 billion dollars in movie tickets, but I know I've bought Disney-related material presented to me via the idea of the Nine Old Men; I don't know why Marvel Bullpen isn't a similar organizing principle for that company.

image* Paul Grist profiled and interviewed. Noah Berlatsky profiles Thomas Nast.

* Sean Kleefeld reads webcomics on his kindle. That just sounds like a weird insult, doesn't it?

* Greg McElhatton on Rutabaga: Adventure Chef Chapter One-Three. Jacob Canfield on Tank Girl. Kinukitty on Maus. Jason Overby on Berlin. Christopher Allen on Swamp Thing #0. Sean Gaffney on GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class Vol. 4. Grant Goggans on Aquila: Blood of the Iceni.

* that's a hell of a headline.

* what a great self-portrait from Laura Park.

* the secret origin of Brett Warnock.

* KC Carlson muses on Spider-Man. It seems like there's been a curious dearth of think pieces on Spider-Man on the occasion of his 50th anniversary, given how popular that character is and how important he's been in the history of mainstream comics publishing. I'm probably not seeing everything that's out there, though.

* finally, I had no idea. Gross. Why would you do that?
 
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September 25, 2012


Go, Look: A John Buscema Sketch Mini-Gallery

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Another Brief Update From Book Expo Estarcion

The comments on the post through which the cartoonist and self-publishing maverick Dave Sim has insisted on a public negotiation of a potential publishing relationship with Fantagraphics has become more genial and more interesting in certain ways, more calcified in others. Both Kim Thompson and Dave Sim left the weekend on positive notes, and pros like Ed Brubaker and James Owen showed up to voice support for some sort of archival edition being made available.

imageThere does seem to be a weird disconnect between Thompson and Sim that's just now coming to light. Sim has been insisting that the only books on the table are from the latter half of the series. Kim Thompson seemingly has little to no interest in this material. What actual books are on the table would seem to be a big issue, but I suppose that some folks may miss key information like that when there's an insistence on negotiating things via a comments thread. I'm sure everyone noticed the person who came on shrieking that Gary Groth apologize to Dave Sim, though.

As a disinterested observer, Sim's proposal seems really misguided. For one, it's based on this bizarre misconception of the kind of book Thompson and Fantagraphics would be interested in, a misapprehension based on a poor reading of what the publisher of Prison Pit and The Furry Trap actually does, fueled to significant extent by what seems to be a... let's say severe belief in the cultural-literary influence of the Sunday Book Review in the New York Times. This all seems even more odd given that if you want to know what a publisher is interested in publishing, maybe it's best to go by what that publisher says it wants rather than a complicated projection of what you're certain it should want.

Also, my hunch is that the only people who would want Fantagraphics to publish later work first are Sim and a few devoted fans in a subset of his overall fan base. And to be honest with you, I'm not sure how sincere that desire is. Either way, it's a rotten idea. I'm a big fan of Sim's work, and I simply don't have the interest in new editions of that later material the way I would have an interest in new editions of the earlier material. Nor would I recommend the later work to people that haven't read it to the degree I'd recommend the earlier work. That's work you publish later on, after a series is established. In addition, having the earlier work seems like a better project to have if that's all that ends up collapsing a few years in and, most importantly, is a much better basis on which to publish a lot of that work overall. So it seems to me the obvious thing that should be on the table is four books derived from High Society and the non-swamp monster Cerebus The Barbarian books directly leading up to that material, if not just four books of the first 50 issues of the series straight up. Either strategy would mirror other archival projects that start from the beginning or with early primetime material. Publishing later material because of some misapprehension concerning literary comics seems to me like Fantagraphics starting its Peanuts volumes in 1987 because someone at the syndicate thought they could tap into 1980s nostalgia and was convinced that 1980s nostalgia is what Fantagraphics is good at, even though that's clearly not what Fantagraphics is good at.

At any rate, that seems to me an impasse that either gets negotiated by Sim switching to talking about books in which Thompson seems actually interested, or Thompson developing interest in the later material either on their own or as a starting point to eventually get to the material he wants. This could crumble really soon. I think Sim has options that aren't going to work on an oil rig or a fishing boat and leaving comics behind altogether, or whatever he was talking about in that initial editorial. That doesn't mean every reasonable-sounding option will appeal to Sim. There are other publishers, and other directions to go. And maybe this one gets salvaged, I don't know. But it doesn't look good. Something fell.
 
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Go, Read: Drew Friedman On Drawing Howard Stern

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Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore Issue Joint PR Declaring Settlement In Walking Dead-Related Litigation

imageIt's about what it sounds like in that headline: the Walking Dead-related lawsuits were apparently settled to the satisfaction of the parties involved. This includes an agreed-upon, mutual press silence on any details of that outcome. In case you missed it, the artist Tony Moore had claimed to be left out of Walking Dead-related revenues due him, and that the mechanism for this was when he assigned rights to Kirkman in order, according to the line of thinking as related to the public after the suit was filed, to facilitate Kirkman finding exactly the kind of television deal the property has since enjoyed.

I did sort of a crappy job covering this story, I think (I hope) because I saw it ending up here -- "here" being a settlement that potentially attenuates any of the more extravagant claims made during the back and forth that followed the filing. We don't really know the merits of either creator's case; well, I don't. It's such a casually litigious society now it's hard to sort out what's posturing and what's substantive, and I think there's a trap in following the more heated claims as if those are automatically a window into the case itself. We do know that the outcome here was apparently amenable to both creators, but there are all sorts of ways the outcome could be desirable above and beyond the merits of specific claims made by Moore and/or Kirkman. At the same time, it could be that this was straight-up Moore being screwed and this settlement is him getting back some of his. The cat in that box is either alive or it's a zombie or a little bit of both; a settlement like this keeps it suspended in that state of being both things, maybe forever.

I would imagine that this is a significant call to attention on the media-rights aspects of projects like these, which is surprising only in that you'd think that this stuff might be airtight by now.
 
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OTBP: Lost Art Books

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Go, Read: Cartoonist Chris Schweizer On Comic Shops

imageI found this post-shop write-up by the cartoonist Chris Schweizer kind of fascinating, and I can't imagine there being anyone out there interested in comics retail if only as a consumer that doesn't find a) something in there with which to agree, b) something in there with which to disagree. I suspect that one thing to remember with most people under 45 or so is that their retail experience not only encompasses an easy familiarity with Amazon.com but also how a lot of big-box bookstore retail of the 1990s encouraged people to read right in the store. We're further being conditioned by a growing lack of consumer retail experiences -- it's becoming rarer and rarer to shop in a store, which I think has an effect on how we shop in those retail spaces that remain interesting to us. It's not like people have to be conditioned by anything other than their specific desires when it comes to present-day consumption.

When I stop and think about it, I was reading entire comic books in shops in 1984. While this surely irritated my then-retailer, my memory is that I was a pretty good customer overall and being able to sort things out like that was something I found enjoyable about that experience. It's tough. I'd imagine in a lot of cases -- cases not Schweizer's specific one, but more generally -- the consistent application of a "do unto others" philosophy would take care of most concerns going both directions. Yet I also think there's an ethos in buying and shopping that calls for anything but those kinds of considerations. There's also a fine line between that kind of thinking and presumption from the shop owner end of things. Like I said: tough.
 
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Go, Look: Wilfred Santiago's Re-Formatted Web Site

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Uncivilized Books continues its aggressive rollout with the dissemination of a release related to James Romberger's Post York. There was a lot of talk about this company at SPX, mostly from approving cartoonists.

* Josh Simmons leads off a strong line-up of new work from Oily Comics. I'm fond of Oily Comics; I think having tons and tons of simply-presented cheap mini-comics is a plan. I know I bought stuff at that table down at SPX and I spent practically no money at SPX.

image* Darryl Cunningham believes his Uncle Bob Adventures book may be out in March. That's one to look forward to. Update: Kenny Penman of Blank Slate wrote in to say the book remains unscheduled, so won't be out in March unless Cunningham moves the book to a different publisher.

* manga isn't exactly my area, but I have to imagine that word that Blade Of The Immortal is ending its serialization after 19 years is a pretty huge deal. That seems like one of those iconic manga in translation that's always been around.

* the kickstarted Exhibit A Press project The Monsters Meet On Court Street is now available. That's apparently not carried by Diamond, but you can also get it through Baker & Taylor or via Amazon.

* Alan Gardner has word on the launch of Mike Lester's Mike Du Jour. I wish I had heard about it before now. Part of that's one me; I should really hammer out an arrangement with the syndicates to hear about new material. This site has been around for eight years, though, and covers the comic strip medium as thoroughly as anyone, I think -- just not exclusively. So if any of you strip folks are out there, please include CR in your dissemination of press.

* hey, Comics As Poetry has a dedicated site now.

* for no particular reason I can remember, this image of a future Fatale cover was in my bookmarks. I blame twitter.

* I somehow missed that Mike Mignola is returning to draw some more Hellboy material. That should be attractive.

* here's a new comic involving Josh Neufeld. I always get super-confused by releases that go format first like the one that led me there pretty much did. I'm mostly not interested in formats the way I am content -- I guess I'd be interested in format if it were astonishing, if I could safely be expected to be blown away by it once I experienced it. But hey, new Josh Neufeld.

* not comics: eight-year-old me is working the phones right now to get an advance copy of this.

* finally, Paul will be joining the scouts next year, in a Conundrum Press book to debut at TCAF 2013 where Michel Rabagliati will be a guest. That's something to look forward to.

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

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Go, Look: Alex Toth In The 1980s Cover Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Richard Thompson discusses what would have been his last Sunday Cul De Sac if it had come together. One thing he mentions about the Sunday that ran as the last one is that it triggered my initial review of Cul De Sac, and I had not remembered that.

image* Patrick Smith talks to Jim Rugg. (This is what Jim looked like in 2008.)

* Jim Woodring on Menage A Bughouse. Charles Hatfield on a whole bunch of books he read this summer. It's good to see Charles reviewing. Tim Callahan rips into nearly all of the New 52 books one year later, suggesting a potentially lethal narrative if it gains traction, that this is merely a more amplified version of a half-dozen previous line revamps now more than forgotten.

* Katie Skelly draws Catwoman. Jesse Hamm draws Professor X and Colossus. Paul Hornschemeier draws himself. Max draws one heck of an eyeball. John Kenn draws what I imagine to be in every one of those walk-into fireplaces. Matt Madden draws his new protagonists. Roman Muradov draws something on commission.

* my favorite New 52 comic.

* Alan Gardner draws attention to an article about Lynn Johnston's philanthropic efforts.

* does anyone know a cartoonist named Michael F. Rasinski?

* not comics: I very much enjoyed this Dale Yarger obituary brought to my attention via Facebook. I missed this one first time out, just like the person on Facebook did.

* not comics: if you can get around to it, you might get something out of this video.

* I always liked this photo of Darwyn Cooke. That whole set is pretty great. Viva great convention photos.

* finally, I wanted to drive some attention to this lovely Page 45 window display via a "Go, Look" but they've disabled the easy ability to get an image to do that, so I'll just mention it here. It looks nice.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Kim Thompson!

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Dear CR: Did You Read Anything Yesterday Comics-Related That Made You Laugh?

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Why yes, I did. It was this translated-into-English description of my friend and former employer, Gary Groth in the Entre Comics SPX report: "In any case, we provide Fantagraphics copies pudridero to Johnny Ryan and welcome to Attila criticism, Gary Groth, who is still the strong arm of the law. At 58 he still has more muscles than a horse, possibly due to binge eating bananas, as we saw."

(It's not the google-generated language difference that's funny -- I'm not that big a creep -- it's the awesomeness of that description.)
 
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September 24, 2012


Go, Look: Inés Estrada

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I've linked to her site before, back in 2010, but she's due another visit
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* well, one of these is certainly necessary.

* start here for a summary. In fact, just sort of stay there. That'll get you up to speed and there's more time to a link-heavy appraisal in future days.

image* basically, what seems to have happened is that the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo put out an edition with Muhammed-related cartoons just as the international community was reeling a bit from violence and political reprisals regarding the dissemination of an American-originated video with anti-Prophet elements.

* so, as might be expected, this move put French political authorities into a defensive crouch to maybe end all comics-related defensive crouches, suspending embassy operations and basically putting the entire country on reprisal alert. Other than threats on the lives of some of those involved -- which you can generate by being a web site thousands of miles removed from such actions, so it's hardly impressive but still scary -- I'm not sure we've seen anything substantial yet.

* it's also prompted a shit storm of debate about what many people see as a provocative and irresponsible decision on the magazine's part to engage with this issue, at this time, in that way. This has a different feel to it in France than it might over here. The internal politics in France are different than what passes for same in North America. There's a cultural landscape in regards to the mainstreaming of citizens that practice Islam that's distinct from what exists here. There are more stringent laws to be negotiated, even.

* I think a key in terms of my thinking about it is that Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine, and offense is what magazines like that might be expected to engage. There is also, for reasons both expected and sort of awful, a context for making such cartoons now that allow them to work as advocacy for a certain profession that doing a bunch out of left field didn't provide. I think these are clear distinctions from the original cartoons in Jyllands-Posten, which I thought was an odd and unnecessary thing for a newspaper to be doing at that point in time.

* one other small issue that I find sort of fascinating is that as the video part of this story hit I saw some television network attempts to place the violence caused into context, which included a sentence or two on the original Danish Cartoons Controversy. What was interesting to me is that in both cases the initial action was sort of conflated with Kurt Westergaard's various public travails and triumphs since that day.
 
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Go, Look: Alex Toth Conan Gallery

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Whoa, Carter Scholz At TCJ Writing On Dal Tokyo

Not a lot of things in the comics world I can recommend without first reading something, but I'm thinking this is one. Scholz wrote a lot of great material for the magazine back in the double-digit issues of the print iteration, and I would have killed to have him in the issues of the magazine I did.
 
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Go, Look: Jonathan, Part Two

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Print-Finished Cul De Sac To Re-Run On GoComics.Com

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Richard Thompson's Cul De Sac ended its print syndication run yesterday; congratulations to Richard on the achievement that was his very fine strip. One nice piece of news is that they've decided to re-run the strip from the beginning at its on-line home. My hunch is that the on-line distribution of strips isn't something anyone's figured out, doubly so in a way that it both complements the print syndication and works within the apparatus of what these media companies would like to do with their comics offerings. But it's nice to have them there, particularly when it's a work that's severed from other concerns.

Thompson came to strips a fully-formed talent and one of the reasons I got on board with it early on -- in an obsessive way for which I'm still occasionally kidded -- is that the first several months were super-strong especially around December-February 2007/2008 (which will now be December-February 2012-2013 in the re-run). So that should be fun to experience again, in anticipation of what I assume will be a well-archived print effort down the line building from the Andrews McMeel books that currently exist.
 
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Go, Follow: Comics Page

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

image* Lucy Knisley has a crowd-funder going to finance a project about Oscar Wilde. This one has totally escaped my attention until like ten minutes before I'm writing this, so maybe it's escaped yours, too.

* someone should buy this nice piece of art from Oliver East, so that Oliver can use the money to make even more art. See how that works?

* Lea Hernandez is back with another crowdfunding effort to back her The Garlicks property.

* this kids' book request isn't comics, but kind of adorable.

* our pals at Tripwire are still seeking your support for their anniversary book project. As I've seen Joel Meadows at 85 percent of all cons I've ever attended, I'm thinking it will be a bummer if I see him at some future show and he's sad.
 
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If I Were Near Treviso, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Look Straight Ahead

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is sort of fascinating: a photo profile of Tintin fans (basically merchants selling Tintin stuff) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

image* Michael Dooley talks to Roger Langridge. Paul Tobin talks to Jeff Parker.

* Johanna Draper Carlson recommends Gina Gagliano's career-related linkblogging.

* Brian Basset is selling a handpainted Calvin And Hobbes, which means we get to go stare at it. I sympathize with anyone that wants to sell valuable comics art. I sold my Peanuts when it struck me as absurd to have that much money up on my wall, and I didn't even have a pressing financial need. It's not like I loved Peanuts or that particular Peanuts any less.

* Todd Klein on Snarked! #7-8, The Family Circus: 1960-1961, Harlan Ellison's Phoenix Without Ashes, Frank Reade and Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1. Don MacPherson Thanos: The Final Threat #1. Katherine Dacey on A Devil And Her Love Song Vol. 4. Sean Gaffney on Dorohedoro Vol. 7. Greg McElhatton on Ralph Azham Vol. 1.

* not comics: well, that's just terrifying.

* finally, I'm sure I'll pull this into its own post later this morning, but yesterday was the last Cul De Sac for print publication; in case you haven't heard it, I talked about the strip here for the Deconstructing Comics people.
 
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Dear CR: Can You Provide A Link That Might Help Me Rediscover My Deep, Abiding Love For Cartoonists?

No problem.
 
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September 23, 2012


Thank You, Richard Thompson

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all our wishes are for your good health; we look forward to your next thing
 
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Go, Look: The Autobiography Of Ashley Holt

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Go, Look: Mr. Wolf

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Go, Look: Hugbox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FFF Results Post #309 -- Being Scott Dunbier

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Imagine You're Scott Dunbier With An Unlimited Budget, A Magic Stone That Makes Originals Appear, And The Mutant Ability To Compel Artists And Publishers To Work With You. Plan Five Of The Shot-From-Original-Art-At-Size Artist's Edition You'd Publish Through IDW. Use something close to this format." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. An appropriate chunk of High Society, maybe the election issues.
2. A complete Chester Brown Bible book adaptation.
3. Gilbert Hernandez's Tales Of Palomar Ignatz book.
4. The Jack Kirby-created Captain America "Mad Bomb" story.
5. The Mishkin Saga by Kim Deitch.

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Will Elder's EC work, including his inking John Severin on war stories. Chicken Fat writ large.
2. Johnny Craig: EC Crime and Horror
3. Jack Kirby's Demon. Two volumes. (and I want that Madbomb book on your list. MADBOMB!)
4. David Mazzucchelli: All the Rubber Blanket material as well as the short stories done for Kodansha, Nozone, Drawn and Quarterly, et al.
5. Yves Chaland: Various albums and stories.

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Three stages of Matt Wagner's Grendel, collecting Devil by the Deed, Batman/Grendel #1, and Behold the Devil #1
2. Death: The High Cost of Living, art by Chris Bachalo
3. Mike Allred's Madman: The Oddity Odyssey
4. The Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga, by John Byrne, particularly #137
5. Both volumes of Howard Chaykin's Time2

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. the compleat Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend.
2. the art for all the Goodman Beaver stories, reassembled.
3. Steranko's Captain America and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; you know which ones.
4. Spiegelman's collage comics.
5. Kabuki: The Alchemy.

*****

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Marc Arsenault

I was going to be clever and make this all books I bought off of Scott when he was at Action Comics in NYC. But that would really be a little too much Kirby.

That said...

1. Rocketeers 3 by Jack Kirby
2. Blackhawk by Pat Boyette (242-243?)
3. Crum Bums by Brian Ralph
4. Iron Man 39 by Herb Trimpe
5. Jimbo in Paradise by Gary Panter

*****

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Mike Pfefferkorn

1. Joe Kubert's "Creature of a Thousand Shapes!" (Hawkman)
2. Bissette and Totleben's "The Anatomy Lesson" (Swamp Thing)
3. A Golden Age and a Silver Age Bill Everett Submariner story
4. A Matt Baker St. John romance story
5. A selection of Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk stories

*****

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Tom Devlin

1. Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown (with the redrawn pencil sequence as an addendum.)
2. David Boring by Daniel Clowes
3. Wig Wam Bam by Jaime Hernandez
4. Multiforce by Mat Brinkman
5. Tubby by John Stanley

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Steve Ditko's Mysterious Suspense
2. Gene Colan's Nathaniel Dusk + Nathaniel Dusk II
3. Bill Watterson Sundays With Calvin & Hobbes
4. Doug Wildey's Jonny Quest Classics 1-3
5. Alex Toth's work for Warren Comics (Creepy and Eerie, and maybe one more I'm forgetting?)

*****

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Niel Jacoby

1. Andy Helfer/Bill Sienkiewicz/Kyle Baker's The Shadow
2. The Typhoid Mary arc and other selections from Ann Nocenti/JRJr's Daredevil
3. Selections from Stan Lee/Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four, definitely including the Galactus issues
4. Select Barry Windsor-Smith/John Buscema Conan issues
5. Big Numbers(though I doubt even those hypothetical mutant powers would be able to get this one done)

*****

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Adam Casey

1. Early issues of Sam Keith's "The Maxx"
2. The final Epic issues of Jim Starlin's Dreadstar
3. The Captain Marvel "The Monster Society of Evil" storyline
4. An excerpt from Alan Moore's and David Lloyd's "V For Vendetta"
5. A collection of Doug Marlette's political cartoons

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. "This Beach-Head Earth" by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer and their subsequent stories from the Kree-Skrull War in The Avengers
2. Prince Valiant by Harold Foster
3. "Graffiti Kitchen" by Eddie Campbell
4. "The Thing Enslaved" by Jack Kirby from his last year on Fantastic Four
5. "Exodus", "The Countess and the Aardvark" and related stories from that era of Cerebus by Dave Sim

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. JLA/Avengers, pencilled by George Perez
2. The first several issues of Tomb Of Dracula, pencilled by Gene Colan
3. A representative selection of Dick Sprang Batman stories, including World's Finest and definitely some giant props
4. Architecture & Mortality, drawn by Cliff Chiang
5. The Shadow, drawn by Howard Chaykin

*****

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Sam Humphries

1. Art Adams' X-Men
2. Any section of latter Blueberry by Jean Giraud
3. Hard Boiled by Geoff Darrow
4. Elektra: Assassin by Bill Sienkiewicz
5. Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. Paul Pope's "100%"
2. Jack Kirby's OMAC -- those eight issues would be just about the right length
3. Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library #19 (The Mars issue)
4. Selected works by Jim Steranko, including Nick Fury, Captain America and "At the Stroke of Midnight"
5. "The Fabulous, Furry Freak Brothers: The Idiots Abroad" by Gilbert Shelton and Paul Mavrides

*****

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Chuck Gower

1. Jaime Hernandez's original Mechanics storyline.
2. Mike Mignola's Hellboy - Seed of Destruction series.
3. Charles Burns Black Hole. (Would we be able to see anything different?)
4. Joe Matt's The Poor Bastard collecting my favorite issues of Peepshow.
And... Get ready for it...
5. Art Adams Monkeyman and O'Brien series. I'd love to see it anyway!

*****

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Tim Utsler

1. Hellboy: The Third Wish by Mike Mignola
2. Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith (with BWS's color guides on facing pages)
3. Polonius by Jacques Tardi
4. Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle Book
5. A Vaughn Bode anthology

*****

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Ian Sampson

1 - The DC Stories of Alex Toth
2 - Mazzucchelli's Rubber Blanket (w/ production notes pls)
3 - Kamandi #1-33
4 - Jordan Crane's Hand of Gold
5 - Nicolas De Crecy, whatever's handy

*****

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Edward Uvanni

1. Strange Tales/ Nick Fury, Agent of Shield Nick Fury stories by Jim Steranko
2. Hellboy The Storm and The Fury by Duncan Fegredo
3. Something from High Society era Cerebus by Dave Sim
4. Jack Kirby's Mr. Miracle
5. Shaolin Cowboy by Geoff Darrow

*****

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Rodrigo Baeza

* Alberto Breccia's MORT CINDER
* José Munoz's ALACK SINNER
* Francisco Solano Lopez's KELLY'S EYE
* Frank Robbins's SHADOW
* Jim Aparo's SPECTRE

*****

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Patrick Ford

My orientation on these books is not so much towards my favorite cartoonists, but towards artwork which is highly rendered and would really shine in this format. In other words no Jaime Hernandez or Alex Toth. I also would only be interested in artwork where the pencils and inks are by the same person.
1. Mike Kaluta: Carson of Venus, Spawn of Frankenstein, the Shadow. Great lush work which was all very poorly reproduced.
2. Barry Windsor Smith: Red Nails
3. Jack Kirby: A hundred or so pages of the work he penciled and inked in the '50s. Lots of the pages penciled and inked by Kirby are oddly in the possession of the Joe Simon estate and are showing up for sale at Heritage.
4. Harvey Kurtzman: A collection of his preliminary drawings.
5. Robert Crumb: Genesis (or a collection of his WEIRDO stories).

*****

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James Vance

1. Jaxon's "Comanche Moon" cycle
2. Simon & Kirby's "Boys' Ranch"
3. Issues 10-13 of Waller & Worley's "Omaha the Cat Dancer"
4. Steve Ditko's stories for Warren Publications
5. Basil Wolverton's "Spacehawk"

*****

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Josh Leto

* Dakota North by Martha Thomases and Tony Salmons
* The 'Nam #1-3 by Larry Hama and Michael Golden
* Sandman # 19 by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
* The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book by Bill Watterson
* Hard Boiled by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow

*****

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Jake Kujava

1. Steve Ditko's complete work for Warren publication (Creepy, Eerie)
2. Jack Kirby's 2001
3. Alex Toth's Bravo for Adventure
4. Moebius and Jodorowsky's The Incal
5. Dr Seuss, complete Hejji Sunday Strips

*****

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James Langdell

1. Some or all of the Swamp Thing In Space issues, especially #60, John Totleben's "Loving The Alien".
2. Extended Pogo stories created by Walt Kelly for the original books, such as "Suffern on the Steppes" and "The Bloody Drip of Mucky Spleen"
3. A complete Howie Post's Anthro.
4. A complete Mother's Oats Comix by Sheridan and Schrier.
5. All of Ditko's ink-wash stories from Creepy and Eerie.

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. Alan Moore and John Totleben's Miracleman "Olympus" storyline
2. Jason Lutes' Jar of Fools
3. George Perez's Crisis on Infinite Earths
4. The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot
5. The Incal by Moebius

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Steve Ditko's "Doctor Strange" episodes from Strange Tales #130-141
2. The John Totleben-drawn Miracleman run
3. Carlos Ezquerra's painted "Countdown/Necropolis" Judge Dredd sequence
4. A selection of the Spirit stories Will Eisner redrew for Warren, with both the original and revised versions included
5. Cover art and other full-page images by Bill Sienkiewicz

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Collection of Ken Reid's work on Face-ache, Jonah, Frankie-stein, etc
2. Ian Gibson's first Robo-Hunter story for 2000AD (Complete with Gibson amended first episodes drawn by Jose Ferrer).
3. Judge Caligula from 2000AD featuring Ron Smith, Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Mike McMahon, and Garry Leach.
4. Colin Wilson's Blueberry (Give him a call Scott, I think he still has a lot of these.)
5. Collection of Modesty Blaise stories from Neville Colvin's run on the strip.

*****

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Brian Gardes

1. Hal Foster's Prince Valiant
2. Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira
3. Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon
4. Jim Steranko's Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
5. John Byrne's Fantastic Four.

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Steve Ditko's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 and ASM #25 ("Trapped By JJJ"), written by Stan Lee
2. Al Wiseman drawn Dennis The Menace Travel Specials (Hawaii, Hollywood, Mexico, Washington DC), written by Fred Toole
3. All the Neal Adams illoed stories pubbed in Creepy and Eerie during the Archie Goodwin edited era
4. A selection of Johnny Craig's best EC work, including "... And All Through The House"
5. Jim Steranko's Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD numbers 1 and 3

*****

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Rob Salkowitz

1. Bravo for Adventure – Alex Toth
2. The Spirit Jam – Will Eisner and diverse hands
3. Manhunter – Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin
4. The New Mutants #18-30 – Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Claremont
5. Lone Slone – Philippe Druillet

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1.) DC Limited Collectors Edition #C-36 / The Bible - Nestor Redondo & Joe Kubert
2.) Sub-Mariner Vol. 1 #22 - Marie Severin
3smile First fourteen chapters of 'Terror on the Planet of the Apes' - Mike Ploog
4.) American Flagg 'Southern Comfort' storyline (#4 - #6) - Howard Chaykin
5.) Some of that dark Tranformers/GI Joe stuff Jae Lee did for Dreamwave

*****

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Dustin Harbin

1. Complete Chester Brown gospels adaptation (I had to copy that, perfect choice)
2. Acme Novelty Library (the oversized book, the jokes and stuff?)
3. Bone volume 1, the Out of Boneville story
4. Tintin, maybe Blue Lotus + Cigars of the Pharaoh
5. Lone Wolf And Cub volume 1, or the component stories

*****

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Richard Pachter

* The Best of Curt Swan (esp. inked by Murph, Klein and Al Williamson)
* Mike Zeck's Captain America
* The Complete Zenith by Morrison and Yeowell
* Jerry Ordway's Superman
* John Byrne's Superman

*****

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J.E. Cole

1 Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith
2 A chunk of Goseki Kojima's art from Lone Wolf and Cub
3 All of John Totleben's work from the Olympus arc of Miracleman
4 Ultimates 2 by Bryan Hitch
5 The entire The Black Hole arc of ABC Warriors. But only the Simon Bisley art.

*****

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Daniel Spottswood

1. Dan Clowes Eightball (earlier one man anthology issues)
2. Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four run
3. Jack Kirby Black Panther
4. Charles Schulz Peanuts (preferably a cross section of strips throughout the entire run)
5. Curt Swan Adventure Comics (Superboy and The Legion stuff)

*****

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Gerry Alanguilan

1. Any Barry Windsor Smith stuff collection. I would love to see a Conan book that includes the Red Sonja story, as well as Red Nails. I would also love to see a lot of the one shots he did for Marvel in the 80's collected, including the spectacularly drawn Uncanny X-men 198 and 205.
2. A sizable run of the best of Dave Cockrum's initial run on X-men. I would also like to see a sizable run of the best of John Byrne on the same book.
3. I only ever saw one scan of a Tintin book and I was in tears. I would love to see a Herge Artists's Edition which includes some of his best Tintin adventures, preferably including things like Tintin in Tibet, Red Sea Sharks, Seven Crystal Balls, Prisoners of the Sun and Calculus Affair.
4. A big chunk of John Totleben inked issues of Swamp Thing.
5. Alfredo Alcala's Voltar.

*****

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Adam P. Knave

* An appropriate chunk of the first Mage
* The 2 Ambush Bug minis
* Kirby's OMAC
* Ditko's Question
* Gil Kane's Atom

*****

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Stu West

1. As many of Brian Bolland's Judge Dredd stories as could sensibly fit in one book.
2. The run of Ditko Spider-Mans that culminates with that Spidey-trapped-under-machinery story.
3. Tintin: Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.
4. The John Totleben Miracleman comics.
5. The Cowboy Wally Show.

*****

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William Burns

1. Kyle Baker's Why I Hate Saturn
2. JH Williams III's Promethea: Kabbalah Journey
3. Joe Sacco, a good chunk of Palestine
4. Mike Mignola's Hellboy: Wake the Devil
5. Walter Crane, Sheba: The Sands of Seth

*****

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Chris Beckett

* Cages by Dave McKean
* Elektra: Assassin by Bill Sienkiewicz
* Vietnam Journal by Don Lomax
* Detective Comics stories by Gene Colan
* The entire Moebius GN line from Marvel

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Ty Templeton's Stig's Inferno
2. First 12 issues of Howard Chaykin's American Flagg
3. The Original Motter/Los Hernandez Bros/Seth issues of Mister X from Vortexx
4. The Conway/Perez issues of Justice League of America
5. The Robinson/Harris issues of Starman (selfishly augmented by the annotations from my 90s Starman fanzine)

*****

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John Platt

1. The John Totleben run on Miracleman
2. A year of Sunday Calvin and Hobbes strips by Bill Waterson
3. A nice chunk of Promothea by J.H. Williams III
4. The collected Harold Hedd by Rand Holmes
5. Weapon X by Barry Windsor-Smith

*****

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Kurt Busiek

1. Bill Everett's 1972 run on SUB-MARINER.
2. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's ATARI FORCE.
3. Some chunk of twice-up Kirby art on FANTASTIC FOUR, maybe #44-51.
4. Aragones/Cardy BAT LASH.
5. Howard Post's ANTHRO.

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1. Bijou Funnies #8
2. Bone: The Great Cow Race
3. Lynn Varley's Ronin
4. Corto Maltese: The Celts
5. Arzach

*****

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Scott Dunbier

Okay, since I would have an unlimited budget and a magic stone that could make any originals appear…

1) Winsor McCay's The Best of Little Nemo Artist's Edition
This book would need an unlimited budget because it would cost millions to build a printer and binder that could handle the immense size of the final product.
2) Jack Cole's Plastic Man Artist's Edition
Oh man, I really want this book…
3) Jack Kirby's Boys Ranch Artist's Edition
4) Alex Toth's Complete Stories Artist's Edition
Several volumes and only the stuff he inked himself.
5) Steve Ditko's Dr. Strange Artist's Edition

*****

I used several entries that came in after this scrolled off the top of the site; I won't always feel compelled to do so; please check

*****
*****
 
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September 22, 2012


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Fun Video Of A Visit To A Massive $1 Comic Shop Room


The Latest Sam Henderson


Cathy Guisewite Hides In The Bathroom


An Interview With Susie Cagle


An Interview With Bruce Plante
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 15 to September 21, 2012:

1. The magazine Charlie Hebdo publishes cartoons related to Muhammed during an increasingly tense, rolling, international situation concerning violent reprisals due to offense taken by provocative art focused on the Prophet.

2. The Small Press Expo in the greater DC area (I honestly don't know whether to call it Bethesda, North Bethesda or Rockville) concludes on Sunday with the most successful edition of the show yet, ending the extended summer convention season with a bang and answering about 14 months of distressing personal news in the independent/alt community with a wave of good feeling.

3. Dave Sim negotiates a contract. With Fantagraphics. In public.

Winner Of The Week
Karissa Sakumoto (Los Bros should win those, and all comics, awards)

Loser Of The Week
Mitt Romney, who suffered a perceived setback not on policy but on the perceived effectiveness of his presidential campaign, maybe the one topic on which an editorial cartoonist can pounce without political blowback.

Quote Of The Week
"Given what happened last week, and the fact that people are being killed, Charlie Hebdo is doubly irresponsible to publish these cartoons." -- Navi Pillay

*****

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

*****
*****
 
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Stan Lee Cancels Spate Of Appearances

You'll see this around a bunch of places: Wizard has sent out an e-mail saying that Stan Lee has canceled some forthcoming appearances, including the Ohio Comic Con. The full text of that e-mail:
Last night, we were informed by Stan Lee's management that Stan would be unable to attend any upcoming appearances for the near future, including the Ohio Comic Con, as well as the "Authors Authors" Toledo-Lucas County Public Library appearance set for this Thursday, September 27th. We will let fans know more as we know more details. Refunds will be issued starting Monday for all VIP, Photo Ops and Autograph Tickets. We hope to have Stan back again soon at our New Orleans event.
Lee keeps a grueling convention schedule even at 89, although reports from the recent convention in Baltimore say that he was so healthy he vaulted himself over a railing to the astonishment of those able to see this.

Lee missed some dates back in May, but it's believed that wasn't health-related as much as keyed into the passing of his friend Arthur Lieberman.
 
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If I Were Near This, I'd Go To It

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

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

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

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If I Were Near Cape Town, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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September 21, 2012


Go, Stare: Mort Meskin In Black And White

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So How Are Those All-In-Public Cerebus Publishing Negotiations With Fantagraphics Going, Anyway?

Well, they're going weird.

I think I sort of get why Dave Sim wants these negotiations in public. Okay, no, I don't. But I can at least shift my perspective to a way of thinking where this seems like a good idea. I really don't quite get why they're taking place where everyone can jump in and participate. That part is beyond my ability to understand no matter how I squint my eyes and tilt my head. But it's fine theater of the 1998 message board variety, particularly if you like all of the actors and are familiar with past performances.

imageAs far as I can tell, what's basically going on is that Dave Sim only wants to talk about Form & Void and seems to think that Fantagraphics is some sort of publisher that can provide access to audiences whose tastes are formed by the Sunday Book Review in the New York Times, an institution which he affords terrifyingly potent powers of cultural influence. I've always been confused by Sim's obsession with the New York Times' book reviewing function. When I was a younger man and gave a shit about what new prose works were coming out and what people thought about them -- as opposed to today's version of reading me, that consumes random John Marquand and Anthony Trollope books based solely on their availability at the twice-monthly library sale -- it was always the independent publication New York Review Of Books to which I bowed and scraped. I barely knew NYT had a book-reviews function, although I guess I sort of knew that this would be a pretty good get for a PR person.

So between the NYT thing and the actual offer put on the table, it looks like Sim suffers from a dim reading of what Fantagraphics actually does, or at least an easily correctible misperception. (I mean, really easily correctible, like "Um... no, that's not how we function at all." "It isn't? Oh. Sorry." I'm not holding my breath.) Fantagraphics seems to me the publisher of primo archival collections and a scattered array of underground- and alt-influenced material ranging from Prison Pit to whatever Olivier Schrauwen has coming out more than it does some sort of wine-and-cheese driven house of respectable literary funnybook making. I think a partnership between Sim and Fantagraphics puts good editions of the books out there, refocuses the comics-reading landscape's attention on those works, and allows for a modest return to all participants -- or at least a return greater than what is likely to happen if Sim goes to work on an oil rig.

Sim also brings up a stickier wicket, the idea that Fantagraphics may simply be uncomfortable in publishing some of the later Cerebus material due to the publishers' objection to that material's take on male/female relationships. I'm not sure this is a deal-killer, either, but it's a more intriguing thing to negotiate than Sim's largely imaginary conception of what Fantagraphics does. A more practical concern raised is that the length of a publishing contract to cover multiple books -- which would seem required according to what a publisher might see as rewarding from such a project -- might be tough given the changing publishing landscape. That is sort of true, in a generic sense, although it's also avoidable if you have a smart contract and that a contract may not be so flexible as to maximize every potential development at all times is a risk that all contracts have. It's not really a slam dunk issue, either. There's a Sim assertion that anyone making a deal in 2007 super-regrets it in 2012 that I can't imagine is true, at Fantagraphics or just about anywhere else.

There's also an argumentative thread to the discussion over there where people debate whether or not the work appeals and how, which seems completely bizarre to a discussion of a publishing initiative. The work is what it is.

I would think the counter-offer is that Fantagraphics make a multiple-volume set out of the first half of that series, starting with High Society, making two books from Cerebus #1-25, making three books from Church and State and all eight to be released over a four-year period after which everyone can take a step back and see where things stand. I'd be happy to write supplementary material for such a series with a picture of Jeet Heer over my desk with an X through it, if that helps.

This doesn't seem hugely complicated to me. I think there are a number of people that would like pretty good editions of some of those books, whether to try them out for the first time or to replace copies they have for a library of re-reading. I think a lot of stores would like to stock them. I think a lot of conventions and stores would like to program around such books. I think there are a few people in bookstores that would pick up a handsome edition of "Palnu And Other Stories" or whatever with a picture of Groucho Marx in a toga on it. I don't think the Sunday Book Review is likely to run a piece, but I don't all the way know because I never read it.
 
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Go, Look: Distance Mover

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* Salgood Sam seeks your help in completing an almost-done graphic novel project.

* I'm thinking this one by Royce Adkins may not happen, but I was sent a link to it with a very nice note and you never know.

* I'm not exactly sure what this means, and I'm not going to descend into what is probably a whirl of howling madness masquerading as a comments thread to find out, but I am sort of interested in where the values expressed might clash with the insistence of some comics people that Kickstarter is solely a way to process orders.

* finally, Ellen Lindner's is within shouting distance.
 
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Go, Look: Boris Artzybasheff In Life

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Collective Memory: Small Press Expo (SPX) 2012

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

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

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Go, Look: Some Nice Bernard Dibble Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* you know who in comics would be just like all the cool professors I had in college? Brett Warnock. He's teaching a class at PNCA that starts Tuesday and has a couple of slots open. If I lived in Portland, I'd enroll in that.

image* Jim McLauchlin talks to Adam Kubert about the future of the Kubert School. This is actually a lot more than I ever knew about the Kubert School, mostly because I never knew a whole lot about the Kubert School. A necessary interview. Short version: Adam and Andy assume more tasks and the school moves forward.

* Rob Clough on Only Skin. Bob Temuka on Love And Rockets: New Stories #5. Christopher Allen on Swamp Thing #0. J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Judas Coin and Bill The Boy Wonder. Ryan K. Lindsay on Wonder Woman #0.

* I added some links to the SPX Report. I had a hard time writing that one, I think because I've slept oddly since returning from the show. Lot of interesting ideas floating around that one, though, and I hope that maybe we start processing these shows as much on that aspect as on the sales and good time parts. Not that there's anything wrong with sales and good times.

* Michael May writes about the recent, much talked-about, still being processed xkcd strip. That one's worth exploring.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld enthuses over a Bill Watterson original, up for auction.
 
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September 20, 2012


PictureBox Announces Brandon Graham Art Book For Spring 2013

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PictureBox Inc. has announced a forthcoming art book with the cartoonist Brandon Graham called Walrus for Spring 2013.

Walrus will be color, softcover and 112 pages. According to the material released to CR by Publisher Dan Nadel, the work will collect "drawings and sketchbook comics spanning 2009-2012." There will also be healthy process elements and a bunch of stuff on inspirations/obsessions. With Graham working on multiple popular series during his artistic emergence over the last 36 months or so, an art book that provides kind of an initial introduction -- or re-orientation, really, if you think about it -- is likely to be more than welcome. I think Graham's the real deal, and I look forward to this book -- just about the better art books from comics-makers come out from smaller publishers anymore.
 
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Go, Look: Jonathan, Part One

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A Few More Notes About SPX 2012

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this is more of an extended series of thoughts about the 2012 iteration of the Small Press Expo, which took place over the weekend just past. This post supplements an earlier one here, one that's full of urgency written as the convention came to a close. Honestly? That other one is probably the better of the two to read. At this point in time, nobody wants to revisit a convention from the previous weekend, but there was a lot of stuff going that I want to think through, and I think through by writing.

* this was a really well-liked show, and I think deservedly so. Not everyone made a ton of money, but a lot of people did. You have probably encountered some of those figures by now, but the two that stand out for me are the CBLDF doing San Diego-level business and Fantagraphics matching its previous Expo total by 4 PM Saturday. Two people told me that Sunday traffic dropped by more than half from Saturday, but didn't mind because Saturday traffic was so good. That's something. People were actually wondering out loud if they would have a book to donate to the Library of Congress or if they'd sell everything. Nice problem to have.

image* Cheese Hasselberger and House Of Twelve was one of the few exhibitors who said they didn't do spectacularly well at the show. This may be due to the fact that they didn't have a significant amount of debut material, I'm not sure. No show ever works for everybody, and that's good to keep in mind, too.

* to my eye, SPX seems like a mature comic show, like a show that really knows what it's doing and tries to improve on its core model year-to-year and find better way to serve both its audience and its exhibitors. It's that mix of modular moves and refinements that always seems to mark a show in a good place. TCAF and Comic-Con have significant elements of that, too, particularly TCAF, although Comic-Con sometimes may not seem like it to outside observers because of the cataclysmic degree of change that's come with that show becoming a phenomenon. But SPX is humming. The way the guests blended together into a more pleasing whole? That's a mature show. Getting more exhibition space and only giving part of it over to more tables in order to increase the general comfort level? That's a mature show. Trashcans at every table? Well, you get the idea. If you contrast a show like that with a show that's in trouble or doesn't work, you can see these sorts of things play out in bold relief.

* as you can probably tell from reading any single post about the show, and as you certainly remember if you were there, there was also a genial mood in the air. Part of that was probably the mix of guests. Everyone on hand was nice, almost alarmingly so. I love comics' difficult people, the self-dramatic and the self-involved, but there weren't any of those folks in that room.

* part of that good mood was also likely derived from the fact that the part of comics best served by this show has roared through a really depressing 14 months or so. The nice thing about it is that you can see people have been dealing with all sorts of things, and that in a lot of case this involved making positives where they can. I have never seen so many comics people that looked healthier than the last time I saw them, and the last time I saw some of these people was 14 years ago. I even saw cartoonists in the exercise room, which I'm not kidding you is the first time I've seen a comics person within five feet of a non-steampunky machine with pulleys since I spied Kevin Eastman and Julie Strain working out in the Westin Gaslamp in like 1996 or something. I was agog.

* to use a negative measure, there was maybe one recipient of the "whoa, look at him" concern that sometimes bubbles to the surface at a place like this. That's a new record during my time in comics.

* I liked the convention hotel. They screwed up something in my reservation, and palmed it off on some service they use as if this service was somehow not hired by them to do this task, but I get that that happens. I tried to grind through to some Las Vegas-style savings -- a free night, a breakfast in the restaurant -- but they were almost spaghetti-western bad guy in their unyielding response. I figured out why later. There were literally no rooms, and people were asking for them. They had no reason to budge. The West Virginia University band was on hand, and there were like 150,000 of those kids as far as I could tell. At any rate, I thought that the hotel had all the things you want: a staff that wasn't openly contemptuous, desk clerks that knew the area a bit, an exercise room and pool, a lobby with free wi-fi and a lot of chairs, a serviceable restaurant, a bar, and lots of space outside to sit and hang out including one such space attached directly to the bar. Also, I think the parking was free. So not bad. $114 a night for a room at the Marriott isn't a bad price at all (that's what I paid through the SPX site). The hotel was even close to a train station I took all the way to Reagan on Monday.

* I also liked the spacing of the bathrooms, the way there wasn't one scary bathroom near the show but a variety of places you had to walk to for a little while. Granted, when you have a refined bathroom placement aesthetic like I do, it's maybe time to cut back the shows and take up some sort of camping or racquet sport, but there it is. Also: there's a publisher that apparently shouts trivia questions while he relieves himself, which is just weird.

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* the neighborhood around the hotel and its bathrooms is super-lousy, though, let's just underline that one more time. I'm from the Midwest, so I'm pretty much that one guy from The Authority only my adaptive powers are specifically focused on strip malls, and even I found that area creepy. I've heard rumblings of a few decent restaurants out there close to the hotel, but I'm not sure I believe the hype. I'm guessing there were a lot of folks eating in their rooms, although I have no real back-up for that. I ate pretty good Persian a short hop from there, but it seems sort of hard to screw up Persian. If there was ever a show that suggested you be creative with your mealtimes, one where stealing away for dinner with a few close friends is an almost necessary skill, that's the one. Even notorious foodies Nick Abadzis and Angela Watson only batted .500, I think. (My thanks to Amy Beadle Roth for scouting out the landscape with great skill.)

* oh, and the pillows in that hotel were kind of awful. I could sleep on a bunch of five-pound Idaho potato bags, but I did hear multiple people complain and I've never heard anyone complain about pillows, ever.

* I spent my first evening and my last evening talking to Jaime Hernandez, my favorite cartoonist, so the weekend worked for me right there.

* later that night there was a group sitting in the bar, taking over a single table manned by Team D+Q and kind of turning it into a lengthy, jumbled mess of chairs and tables. It was pretty astonishing to see the talent on hand. (Cartooning talent, that is; stay focused, people.) Charles Burns was there, and I had no idea Charles Burns was going to be there. I think he just sort of drove down to hang out, which is intensely cool if you stop and think about it. At any rate, I guess what was funny was how wide a spectrum of reactions from deferential to clueless a lot of the other groups of people had to that table; both reactions totally understandable and admirable in their own way. As for table talk, there was at least one discussion of the CBLDF cruise, which sounds like it was one of those events that was horrific in the unfolding and hilarious in the retelling.

* the writer and cartoonist Tim Kreider showed up to scare everyone in his suit (okay, not really; he was actually there to see his friend Tom Hart). I guess Tim hasn't cartooned in a few years now, apparently, his comics outlets sort of dying with the Bush presidency. He's a very fine writer, though, and said his busy-ness essay had gone slightly viral there for a while. You should consider buying his book.

* yeah, Tom Hart was there. I was on a panel with Tom, and we barely talked, but it was nice that he was in the room. We were in a lot of rooms at the same time 15 years ago.

* I ran into Rich Tommaso, with whom I spent many an idle afternoon in Seattle when we were both in our "should have known better/should have worked harder" late 20s. A lot of cartoonists to whom I spoke were genuinely excited about the Sam Hill book Rich had at the show, that this was a complete project for Tommaso when a lot of what he's done over the last decade maybe hasn't been. Rich articulated to me a reason for self-publishing through crowd-funding and then using a publisher as a distributor I hadn't heard yet -- it secures for the artist certain artistic guarantees, like a certain kind of color, or bookflaps, that might not be available to them in a traditional publishing arrangement and the back and forth that tends to result over matters that might occur after a contract negotiation.

* Rich reported that we may soon see comics from the alternative cartoonist formerly known as Jeff Johnson. I was a big fan of Johnson's visual approach. Solid writer, too.

* I liked the badges just fine. They made it look like everyone was wearing a Jaime Hernandez t-shirt, which was cool. I'm not sure the names on the badges worked at all. They were very small. It's a tough thing, designing and executing a badge. But if the names had been bigger, those would have been perfect badges and they were certainly lovely, lovely, lovely. A lot of cartoonists wrote their name on them. If I could make a suggestion to future badge designers, consider a white tagged attachment at the bottom with the name in big, block letters, so as not to disrupt any other design elements. Anyway, the badges were cool, and Jaime Hernandez said he was excited for once in his life to have a "concept" in designing them, which made me laugh.

* okay, Saturday. That was crazy. Like super, super busy, and kind of at this manageable, tolerable, perfect, just-manic state: a 7-Up over cold ice.

* I thought the crowd was both whiter and older than I would have guessed if I had ended up at some sort of nerd sportsbook the night before the show. A friend of mine said there were a lot of crossdressers there, but I either didn't notice or was in some sort of complicated-patterning movement cycle where I saw no one in opposite-gender clothing. The show was about as male/female blended as I would have guessed.

* like I mentioned a few graphs up and in another post, the wider aisles were perfect in terms of allowing people to stop and stare and even talk as the mood hit them. Atmospheric things like that are hugely important to a show. One of the reasons I'm always worried when shows extend hours -- and I think SPX has, although they still seem modest to me -- is that it's an overall quality of show issue. Comics is a pretty intense experience, and you need room to breathe and time to get other things in. It only flatters the show itself. I hope people continue to pay attention to these things.

* one of the things I wondered about with this show is the idea that's been floated that maybe an art form isn't always playing to its advantages to present itself to its public in the form of a flea market. I get those arguments, and I'd love to see models like the one used by Fumetto (multiple locations with exhibits; a single, modest, commercial location) or the one to be employed by The Projects. That said, I'm not sure that the benefits of the flea market model weren't impressed upon me a bit by SPX. People know what shopping is, people like to shop, and the fact that people will pay for comics on paper is one of the medium's distinguishing characteristics right now. There's something very egalitarian about everyone just sort of putting their stuff on a table in front of them and standing there side by side, too. The need for commerce also encourages and limits conversation, which is super-handy. So I'm kind of unconvinced that a wholehearted embrace of non-commerce models is totally desirable for every show, and that's even before you talk about the likelihood of certain people ever being able to do a show if they didn't make some money there.

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* saw Renee French, who looked fantastic -- I think she said she's cut sugar out of her diet. Saw Sammy Harkham and Frank Santoro. Talked to Dan Nadel. That's right: PictureBox -- they ended up having a really nice show. The Renee French mini and the new Harkham solo-anthology collection were two I heard multiple cartoonists mention during the weekend. Harkham's panel was praised, too.

* one thing that intrigued me about the show in another counter-conventional wisdom way is that I didn't detect the floor was overtly arranged to encourage traffic flow. D+Q and Fantagraphics were on one wall, but it's not like they had anything "balancing" those two Chris Candido-style cruiserweight monster heels in overt fashion. And yet the flow seemed to work. I mean, I'm sure some people were left out by certain quirks, but there was no huge dead space that I could see. It could be that the organizers know something the rest of us don't, but I suspect this is just a nature-of-the-show issue. People may congregate at one end or the other -- and the physical space at the D+Q/Fanta end allowed for line overflow into the hallway -- but they want to see everything they can on the show floor and that's an achievable goal.

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* so: my people. Jog lost about 50 pounds or so. He looked great. Chris Mautner (above) looks to have have lost a few pounds of terrifying, beefy muscle he had a couple of years back, and I felt less nervous as a result. It was nice to see a lot of my fellow writers about comics. While I'm likely to forget a name or two, this included Rob Clough (first time), Sean T. Collins, Ed Sizemore, Heidi MacDonald (who was very nice to me all weekend), Calvin Reid and Michael Cavna (who has this wonderfully busy appearance and presence). Oh yeah, Matt Seneca, too. A lot more. Philip Nel. I got them all to agree to do things for me I'll never get around to asking them to do.

* speaking of Collins, I initially ran into him right before he was off to conduct a Rolling Stone web site interview with Ware, Clowes and Los Bros -- a terrifying murderer's row of great cartoonists. I liked how accommodating SPX was in terms of helping press get these kinds of interviews. No one's really overbooked, and there's a late morning and an early evening in which to slot things if the show itself demands too much attention. Speaking of which, I interviewed with my friend Gil Roth about my experiences last summer in what is bound to be the Godfather 2 of boring interviews. Gil does some comics-related interviews along with his interviews driven by prose literature, and I encourage anyone he asks in the comics world to respond positively to such an overture. I look forward to hearing Gil talk to R. Sikoryak. That should be something.

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* hey, look at Gilbert Hernandez smile. Los Bros had a steady line of admirers at the show, which was really encouraging to me. They had good solo panels, too -- Frank Santoro talked to Jaime and got him to choke up a bit, and Sean T. Collins talked to Gilbert and applied to that conversation the benefit of reading the holy shit out of all of Gilbert's work sometime in the last year.

* as you may have heard, the programming was strong. This was the first show where I knew everything was being taped and would be made available in a way that gave me confidence I could miss a few panels I wanted to see. I can't impress upon you what a huge relief this is, and how long it's been since I totally trusted this was going to be done or that I'd get to see anything that I missed. I know that there are legitimate barriers to all of the shows doing this, but I'm glad we're moving in that direction. I don't like proprietary taping all that much, but I do enjoy an official record.

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* I moderated a panel on institution building and comics. I thought it was sort of fascinating, although I'm not sure all of that came out within the panel itself. I thought the panel was good -- the people on it were super-smart and articulate: Tom Hart (SAW), Caitlin McGurk (OSU's Billy Ireland), Sara Duke (Library of Congress; that's her above) and Cheryl Kaminsky from the Providence support-of-arts space AS220. The questions from the floor were actual questions rather than statements of personal awesomeness with a question mark on the end -- I even liked the one shouted out by the man in the front row when it was apropos of nothing (about the Boca Raton museum Mort Walker had and why it failed; hint: "Boca Raton"). The reason I thought the panel was a good one even apart from the actual content is that we're due to think about all these organizations and gatherings of people we have, and this seems like a fine time to do so. I've always been kind of anti-comics institutions because of the exploitation rampant within our publishers. They're the primary institutions, and I'm not always happy with their conduct. I'm also distrustful of the idea of community as a concept there to placate folks that aren't rewarded in the more traditional ways they should be. But a show like SPX is a significant institution, with an arrangement with the Library of Congress and a library program and a fundraising function. There are publishers that have been around for a number of years that function way more benignly than the corporate overmaster variety. There are places like The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that do their thing, largely on their own, without a lot of nodding and staring from the creative and professional communities they serve. There are publishing and arts resources centers more generally, including active ones in places like Providence and Portland that have a point-and-note comics pedigree. This sounds totally banal, but what I've concluded is I think we should make an extra effort to find organizations with which we can work in some way, if only because they can be effective. I'm going to try and make that specific effort. Comics needs to talk about the infrastructure of community, not just enthuse over the social aspect. The year after Dylan Williams leaves us seems like a fine time to start thinking about that kind of thing, anyway.

* it's nice to have booze within 50 yards of an exhibition hall in order to facilitate instant meetings. Also: instant boozing. Although my ideal would be to have a trained legion of St. Bernards with little Warner Brothers cartoon kegs under their chins working the floor directly, a nearby bar works, too.

* ran into Paul Karasik and Calvin Reid. Reid are Karasik are two of the many comics people -- Richard Thompson, Dan Nadel, Bill Boichel, Gary Groth, heck, even Steve Geppi -- with some sort of tie to the Washington DC area whose presence was either directly or indirectly felt at the show. Or at least discussed. You can't really argue Mr. Geppi and the entire DM apparatus had a lot of power over that room, even in contrast to the way the show was at its roots. The Pittsburgh retailer Boichel -- on hand to buy stuff at show's end and god bless those retailers that do that -- seems like the living repository of that area's oral comics history. I also appreciated his suits. Anyway, Karasik just got done teaching a master's class at Center For Cartoon Studies and said it went really, really well. He also said his strategy at shows like SPX is to pay attention to the people that for whatever reason are being totally ignored, which is a not-bad strategy. Calvin Reid enthused over the post-Reed PW and the amount of industry news there is in these Internet-driven entrepreneurial times.

* as Saturday wound down, people began to have that giddy, shit-eating, "holy crap that was an amazingly busy day" look on their faces.

* I asked rising college junior Conrad Groth if he had picked out a career path and he said "heir apparent" with just a dollop of his old man's casual swagger. That made me laugh.

* people more invested than myself have written about the Ignatz Awards. It was my great honor to say a few words about Richard Thompson as they gave him a special award. I like Richard, and admire his strip. It struck me in the totally idiotic, blunt way as I was walking up to the podium that it just sort of sucks what he's going through, so that and the day of talking to people probably put an emotional edge into my voice. It was fun to read his words in the letter he provided me; I felt like Mr. Danders or one of the other Cul De Sac arts players. The audience gave Richard a healthy round of applause in anticipation of his return to the show with something new down the line. I can't imagine he heard it, but I'm hoping he felt it. Lot of admirers in that room.

* after the show several people told me that it came out at Baltimore Comic-Con that Bill Watterson recently visited Thompson, which is startling and very, very nice.

* I liked that Los Bros won multiple awards, and I was stuck by Jaime lecturing the new talent winner that they weren't allowed to quit and had to do comics the rest of their lives. Like most of the older people in attendance, the presenters minus Nick Abadzis and Francoise Mouly were totally baffling to me, but I think that's good, too. One way comics is actually like a high school -- a high school with very few jocks, and more study halls than classes -- is that people conflate their own experiences with the entirety of what's going on. I know when I look at my high school yearbook I tend to see my friends but also all these other people and I'm like, "Who the hell are all these folks?" I feel that way at comics shows, too. Comics is worlds within worlds, and we always have to remind ourselves that there are tons of people out there, entire groups of people, entire webs of relationships and comics-making and likes and dislikes, many of which will have nothing to do with our own experiences.

* speaking at the Ignatzes kept me from trying to sneak over to the AAEC convention and see Jake Tapper and try to meet Zunar. I regret this as much as I am able to regret anything about that ridiculously pleasant weekend, which isn't a lot. But still: Zunar! Damn it. I'm glad that a contingent of AAEC folks came over on Sunday. It was nice to Matt Bors. No one's had a better year than Matt Bors, it seems to me.

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* the Ignatzes afterparty in the back lobby and adjacent outside area went so well that several of the cartoonists initially giving the universal sign of "I'll be leaving soon" (arms crossed, staring straight ahead) stayed for a couple of hours. I'm told that Dan Clowes and Jaime Hernandez holding court and telling stories was basically inkslinging Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, they talk so smoothly together. A bunch of you said nice things to me, surely fueled by alcohol consumption and standing on your feet all day. I saw Ethan Rilly, which was nice. I did not expect the latest issue of Pope Hats to be out, and was happy to read it on the flight home. I got to sit and chat with Dean Haspiel, which was cool. I never talk to Dean. I met Dean at my first show as an official comics-type person, a Chicago con back in like '95, I'm thinking. Nothing else... just a lot of nice people talking and laughing. Dan Zettwoch actually went back to his room to get a bunch of people beer, because Dan Zettwoch is the kind of guy that does that and Brian Ralph is the kind of guy that asks people to do that. Ralphie, Ralphie, Ralphie. That's Zettwoch in the picture above, a photo taken the next day. I'm punching Ralph while taking the photo.

* when the good-looking young people on hand broke out the brown alcohol at about 2:30 AM, I fled in Digby Chicken Caesar careening-style terror.

* the first thing that goes when you're old and go to a lot of comics shows is your ability to stay up that extra late-at-night 20 minutes gossiping with your roommate, which sort of sucks when it's a longtime pal with all the good gossip. Sorry, Eric.

* a compensating virtue is that if you stick around long enough you eventually get to clear up rumors people heard about you a decade or more ago.

* I interviewed Dean Haspiel and Francoise Mouly -- separately, although wow -- on Sunday morning for future posts on this site. Francoise is a contender for best comics-related interview subject. She usually doesn't get brought up, but she's right there. Man, what a talker. Smart and funny and super-articulate. I could talk to her for many more hours than could possibly be fun for her. She said she had a copy of Renee French's Toon book, because she had apparently given it to Renee. So that seems imminent. I asked her a bunch of questions about Shark King, a book I liked quite a bit. Although actually, what happened was I asked one question and Francoise gave me like five great answers about Shark King because she's awesome at interviews. Francoise had a very funny, off-hand line about everyone having panels that took place during her well-received panel, although mine really did overlap, I swear. Anyway, any weekend I can do an interview and talk about William Shawn, I'm happy.

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* this is the Koyama Press table. About a half-dozen people wrote in to say how much they admire Koyama's presence at the show, how devote the artists are to that company and how well they did. I think Anne Koyama is going to leave a huge impression on a lot of people currently working in not-quite-senior position in the comics industry. I don't know any other publishers right now where people will bring up certain moves they do in a "and then you know what they did? they did this" voice.

* Derf said he brought too many books but that he was having a good show. I don't think I was more pleasantly surprised by any book this year than My Friend Dahmer. He does this really ruthless and thorough job of indicting that entire Midwestern environment for not catching up to Dahmer before he flipped over into forcing his will and appetites onto others, at which point Derf totally places the blame on the deceased mass murderer. But he captures the big strokes and fine details in a way that made me really enjoy that reading experience despite the tough subject matter.

* here's a stray bit of publishing news that I'm not sure I knew that was probably public knowledge. Secret Acres is distributing stuff for Koyama in the states, and claims to be doing really well with it. It's like finding out a couple of your friends are dating. That's good, right? I also thought that Secret Acres might have bailed on Diamond, but I'm assured that totally wasn't true and that I'm an idiot for thinking so. So if you ever heard me say that... sorry. Not true. It was nice to meet Theo Ellsworth.

* and here's another one I'm not sure I've seen, but that's almost certainly on me. Tracy Hurren -- who was one of the two-person Team D+Q this weekend with Julia Pohl-Miranda -- is that company's new Managing Editor.

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* here's another moment that struck me. I was talking to a couple of cartoonists who said they were just speaking to "Fantagraphics" and indicated some people behind them. I look over to see where they were indicating, expecting to see Gary Groth and Kim Thompson, or maybe Eric Reynolds, and instead I saw Jacq Cohen and Jen Vaughn, already back to working. It struck me that this makes total sense: they're what Fantagraphics is right now. That's good. The presence of Cohen and Vaughn even allowed me to use the "the only pretty girl that worked at Fantagraphics when I was there was Eric" joke, which is not only not true, is kind of stupid. Oh well. I mentioned the fact that the presence of the two biggest alt-comics publishers at the show were anchored -- in a sense, in Fanta's case, because Gary and Kim were around; literally in D+Q's -- by women under 30 to a friend of mine and they wrote back, "I approve."

* maybe my favorite exchange of the show was me telling Lisa Hanawalt in over-earnest, dopey, really-tired fashion how much I appreciated the more challenging work she continues to do and then having her give me a mini-comic called "Sell Your Boobs." She was sick at the front end of the show, but you'd never know it. Fun comic, too.

* Hanawalt was set up next to Mini-Comics Jesus himself, John Porcellino, for whom we're one day really going to have "Send John Porcellino Five Bucks Day." He had a new King-Cat out, which is good, because King-Cat is a perfect comics object. I like how he still seems to be a bit nervous asking after how you liked his latest.

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* I went to the "life after alternative comics" panel, which as is often the case was a lot about "life during alternative comics" including a fun bunch of images for funny, drily sarcastic Dan Clowes and Gilbert Hernandez to pulverize. I think Bill Kartalopoulos' point with that panel was to draw a hard distinction as to what alternative comics means as opposed to post-alternatives and undergrounds, which is a worthy idea to enter into the culture. He got at the changing context in which various series were released, like the thought that Love & Rockets was interpreted as a superhero comic without the superheroes present because the entire context for understanding comic books by that point was superhero-oriented. Very thoughtful panels this year. In fact, the panel that followed the "life" one, with Renee French, Warren Craghead, Keith Mayerson and Aidan Koch, could even be perceived as a response to the artistic lineage represented by the special guests. That is some advanced panel-creation kung fu right there. I also appreciate that they were all short, even the ones that obviously could have gone longer.

* it was fun to see Craghead, and to be reminded how much I like his comics. Warren had my favorite line ever at an SPX some 12-15 years ago where he talked about his expectation that he'd show up and there'd be an open bidding war for his services between D+Q and Fantagraphics, a conflict to the death shouted into being right there on the exhibition floor. All the panelists in that one were good -- Renee French is one of the best comics personalities. She was close to Dylan Williams, about whom a lot of people were thinking and talking all weekend long.

* so I guess Papercutter is on hiatus while it's decided whether that one will continue. I think that's a fun anthology, but one without a context into which it could be naturally placed. Not anymore, anyway. I hope it survives, but if it never comes back you can't say Tugboat didn't give it a decent shot.

* I didn't detect a book of the show. You'd be fine stringing together any number of choices from various categories. The one hard-to-categorize work was a 'zine Jim Rugg put together.

* there was genuine applause when the show ended; not just relief-applause. I also thought it was interesting to be at a show that ends where people leave without being asked to leave, if that makes any sense. People just sort of behaved.

* D+Q had about five books left at the end of the show, although when I mentioned that to a few folks it was pointed out to me that maybe one of their shipments went missing going in...? Still, it looks like they had fun.

* I got to hang out with Frank Santoro that night (that's Frank with Jonny Negron and Benjamin Marra at the top of this post) and have drinks with Los Bros as they held court. Getting to watch Gilbert Hernandez interact with Michael Deforge a couple of times seemed significant to me in some unexpressed way -- it was nice, too. Frank is actually taking the time to drive Gilbert and Jaime around on the rest of their east coast trip. He's also resettling in Pittsburgh. No better comics guy than that Frank Santoro. I'm sorry I missed his comics sale outside on the porch. Someone needs to just film Frank doing that one of these days. Or mic him. That would be fantastic.

* Brett Warnock seems to rarely wear shoes. A friend of a friend commented that having met Chris Staros at past shows that he didn't quite understand Top Shelf and how they function until he met Brett. I get it.

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* I don't have anything much to report from Kevin Huizenga, but I thought this was a nice photo and I don't think I'm interviewing him any time soon in order to use it in a more directly contextual fashion. There's going to be a book version of the Ganges material, which is good to hear. I'm pretty sure that's common knowledge at this point, but there are so many books coming out being reminded of something like that is what it takes to put it back front and center in your mind.

* I hope he doesn't mind me saying so, but Huizenga and I talked a bit about how to do a series right now; I think Kevin would like to do a series but hasn't quite figured out how to make that happen. Kevin's done two of the best alternative comics series: Supermonster and Ganges. In fact, I think Kevin is one of the best cartoonists, and I further think comics is better off generally when we look at the medium and the industry though the filter of our best artists. So if there's something unsatisfactory about series sales or how they work for one of our best cartoonists, I think we should work on it rather than simply throw our hands up in the air.

* I enjoyed watching Alex Cox and Charles Brownstein working together at the CBLDF booth. They come across very fraternal, that pair. Not actual brothers, but like fraternity brothers. Like fraternity brothers that once got into a fistfight just so they'd know who could take whom, but they don't ever tell anyone who won.

* Lilli Carré and Julia Wertz were among those that sold out of new books right there at the show. I'm sure there were dozens of others. Met Will Dinski and Luke Pearson -- separately, not together -- near the end of the show.

* I really did try to eavesdrop on come younger cartoonists and really did hear, first thing, one person saying to a returning other, "That was the longest dump you ever took." Both the dumper and the person commenting on the dumper have been interviewed on this site. She and he know who they are.

* a bunch of you readers were really nice and it was cool to meet you. Thank you for saying something to me. Thank you for reading.

* I left Monday morning on the train, and too it all the way to Reagan. (I basically did this in Seattle, too, and I have to admit that heading off to the airport for less than $6 and with no hassles is a wonderful thing.) I believe John Porcellino put on display his midwestern upbringing by taking a couple of people to the airport when he wasn't going himself, or at least that's what it looked like. I got my photo taken with Noah Van Sciver, who was nice enough earlier in the weekend to introduce himself despite I think being convinced I hate him. I enjoyed that new Abraham Lincoln book of his.

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* my thanks to Gil, Amy, Eric, Warren Bernard and everyone whom I encountered on a deeply enjoyable and satisfying comics weekend. Congratulations to Team SPX. Warren earned that smile.

* it's not the kind of story that tends to show up on year-end round-ups because it doesn't involve some sort of licensed property being reconfigured, but it's been a big year for the comics festival/convention circuit. Things are beginning to fall into place for a number of outreach and gathering opportunities run by smart and devoted people -- a real calendar of worthy shows not to replace but supplement the way comics art finds its audiences. The matter-of-fact presence and example of so many iconic alternative comics talents, the idea floated through panels and by their own participation in various show events that comics' varied institutions are as important as having drinks and ego-stroking sessions with your buddies in terms of the comics community thriving, the idea that there are things to talk about in the art form and in the industry that don't involve the hard sell, these all seem like good things to me. I'd like to think I'd believe this even if it all hadn't been so damn pleasant. SPX 2012 was a 72-hour smile.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: All On Board

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Karissa Sakumoto Wins Dylan Williams Scholarship

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Emily Nilsson posted on Facebook that Karissa Sakumoto has won a scholarship named after the late cartoonist, publisher and writer-about-comics Dylan Williams to attend the comics and graphic novels program at the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland, Oregon. I mention it here not just for the winner but because I wasn't sure I knew about the scholarship and I want to remember that it exists.
 
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Go, Look: Splitsville

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I missed this unveiling of the Joe Shuster Awards poster. Hell, I almost missed the unveiling of the Joe Shuster Awards.

* Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo was held over the weekend out in Los Angeles; this is both Lee's personal branding exercise and a chance to take the temperature of the desire to have another convention in the Los Angeles area. That show is in its second year. To be honest, I'm still looking around for some report I'd trust on the matter of how the show did. Anecdotal evidence is that it did pretty well; however, some of the figures tossed out there sound kind of ridiculous to me. Let me see what I can track down, at which point I'll place it in a Random News report. I'm also at something of a loss when it comes to figuring out how the Comiccon de Montéal did, another mainstream- and pop culture-heavy show that took place over the weekend. My eyes were on the Small Press Expo. I actually figure both did okay -- or at least I'll figure that until I hear differently. A lot of how a show did as a repository for people in costumes celebrating shows that have a thematic appeal similar to a bulk of comics is outside of my area of interest.

* anyway, that was a busy weekend.

* next up in terms of a show that's both major and that has an impact on the culture of comic books in a way that people notice it's happening if they're not there is New York Comic Con, which I want to attend some day because my last experience there left such an awful taste in my mouth I'd like to have some experiences to swap out for those memories. That one seems firmly ensconced, though, a combination of a desire for a mainstream-driven Fall show, the desire of folks from the US and from Europe to go to New York and carouse, and the big audience around there for that kind of event. It's also a good show for manga, or at least seems that way. I'm sure sites have picked up on this tweet confirming that Mayoco Anno will be in attendance. That's a killer get.

* after that it's basically The Projects, Short Run and BCGF -- three intriguing small press shows. If I can find the BCGF guest list announcement postcard I lost or someone else doing that news, I'll run it as its own post. Highlights include Richard McGuire (!) and Chris Ware, though. Whoa. If you told me there was a line right now for whatever panel Richard McGuire is doing, I'd be tempted to go stand in it.

* so by now my giant SPX report should appear elsewhere on the site. It's kind of a load, but I thought that show was interesting. I certainly think it was good enough for there to be a buzz about the show the next few years going forward.

* one thing that people told me in Bethesda, something I'm sure will also be in the SPX report, is that folks were actively working on a MoCCA Festival. That had been in some doubt given the white dwarf state of that museum and its adoption by the Society Of Illustrators. What was communicated to me is that a lot of MoCCA folks will work on that project as a way to transition from one entity to the other more generally. I think that show may have a tough road given the exasperation that a lot of the key players felt the last half-dozen years or so. I also think there's a chance someone will want to do a different-model show for Spring/early Summer in New York. If I were involved with such an effort as a post-SOI MoCCA Festival, my first call would be to clear the air with those key exhibitors, and by clear the air I mean do anything I could to get some of those folks on board. Then again, it's not like I've ever run a show so I'm really just being an Internet Expert there. But yeah, I think there's a big chunk of comics that could benefit from traveling to New York in the Spring, and that comics more generally would do well to have a show up there in the first half of the year.
 
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Go, Look: A Zep Gallery

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

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Go, Look: Strange-Looking William Overgard Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's a well-linked update on the situation facing Brett Ewins.

image* Craig Fischer on Stitches. Shaenon Garrity on the comics she hates. Rob Clough on the latest from Silber Media. Greg McElhatton on Womanthology: Space #1 and Stumptown Vol. 2 #1. Sean Gaffney on Hayate The Combat Butler Vol. 20. J. Caleb Mozzocco on various comic books. Bart Croonenborghs on some Frans Masereel comics and Judge Dredd. Johanna Draper Carlson on Amelia Rules! Her Permanent Record. Rob Clough on The Strumpet #1. Sonia Harris on a trio of well-designed books.

* James Sturm on the forthcoming third book in the Adventures In Cartooning series.

* this Dylan Meconis post on how not to write comics criticism is much more specific and much less nauseating than I imagined.

* Marvel and Archie will team with iVerse for foreign digital editions.

* Paul Gravett on the intersection of Manara and Fellini.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. Matt Seneca talks to Benjamin Marra.

* finally, I imagine there's something to say about Marvel "ending" long-running titles for the sake of whatever comes with lower-numbered titles, but it stills seems weird.
 
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September 19, 2012


Go, Look: Tessa Brunton

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

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

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

*****

JUL121231 SECRET OF THE STONE FROG HC $14.95
This is Toon's first foray into an outright graphic novel-sized work, and looks pretty besides. It's not a lot of lines that could make me commit to something without having seen it, but the Toon Books have been reasonably strong and would close the deal if I were presented with this book in a shop today.

imageJUL120025 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #16 $7.99This is a pretty light week for books of the kind I tend to like, which means I'd be tempted to commit to at least one issue of the reliable Dark Horse anthology, maybe more if my store racked them. I think this latest comes with extra Corben. Or just the right amount of Corben. You know how it goes.

JUL120028 FATIMA THE BLOOD SPINNERS #4 $3.99
JUL120053 LOBSTER JOHNSON CAPUT MORTUUM #1 ZONJIC CVR $3.50
JUL120522 WALKING DEAD #102 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
JUL120586 DAREDEVIL #18 $2.99
JUL120902 ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #12 [DIG] $3.99
If the primary driver of the comic shop experience is the serial comic book, this is a light week and might be skipped altogether -- that's if you have exactly my taste in comics, which is highly unlikely. There's the last Gilbert Hernandez zombie comic issue (I think that's the last), some Roger Langridge, the award-winning current run on Daredevil, that other zombie comic with the TV show and stuff, and a bit of Mignola-verse. That's not bad, but it still strikes me as largely non-essential in terms of this week or next.

JUN121350 HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES TP VOL 08 $12.99
MAY121342 NAOKI URASAWA 20TH CENTURY BOYS GN VOL 22 $12.99
These are the two sort-of broadly mainstream manga volumes that caught my attention. That Urasawa has to be ramping down rapidly at this point, so near it is to the end, but it was a successful enough series that we should probably pay some extra attention to it as the countdown perseveres.

JUL120711 REX LIBRIS TP VOL 01 $14.95
JUL120712 REX LIBRIS TP VOL 02 BOOK OF MONSTERS $17.95
Here's an idea: use your time in the comics shop without a lot of material from which to choose -- again, I'm totally assuming you and I have the exact same taste -- to go for a well-liked indie mainstay from a few years back, the Jamest Turner Rex Libris series. It's visually assured and very, very acerbic.

JUN121393 COMICS SKETCHBOOKS PRIVATE WORLDS TODAYS CREATIVE TALENTS SC $44.95
This sounds like an awful idea for a book, mostly because books that have done something close to this have been awful, but this one boasts a strong line-up of artists. It's at least enough to get me to pick it up.

JUN120417 SKIPPY HC VOL 01 COMPLETE DAILIES 1925-1927 $49.99
And here lurking down at the end is your book of the week, Percy Crosby's proto-kids strip, featuring work from long before the peanut-butter company got involved in the whole sordid affair. I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of this at once.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Taboo

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

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

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Go, Look: Jesse Lonergan

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* totally missed that Adam Tracey will be Archie's publicity director. That's an interesting job.

image* David Smay profiles Joe Kubert.

* not comics: here's an article about the design of the Vintage Contemporaries books, aka "the books that college students bought in the late '80s and early '90s when they got it in their head to buy contemporary authors out of a sense of generational identification." You remember them, if you were around then.

* not comics: David Choe designs a car.

* David Brothers on the public persona of Grant Morrison.

* the cover that doesn't exist.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco makes the point that in a world where characters are owned by corporations and marched out in a variety of depictions, there is no "real" model to which the odder portrayals run counter. I think I agree with what he's saying, although I'm not sure it's totally fair to the argument to which he's reacting.

* here's a preview of that Wrinkle In Time graphic novel.

* Anthony Rosen on All Star Chapter One. Grant Goggans on Judge Dredd: The Day The Law Died. Rob Clough on Project: Romantic. Greg McElhatton on Benny And Penny In Lights Out, Stumptown Vol. 2 #1, Drama and Maya Makes A Mess. Brian Hibbs on various DC Comics #0 titles. Isaac Butler on V For Vendetta. Christopher Allen on Invisibles Vol. 1 #5 and #6. Sean Gaffney on One Piece Vol. 64 and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol. 7.

* not comics: I wonder if Jacob Phillips shares his father's not-aging powers and looks four years old.

* aw, Gary Groth's employees love him.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld takes a look at various incarnations of the Jack Kirby Fantastic Four #82 cover.
 
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September 18, 2012


Go, Look: A Chris Ware New Yorker Cover Mini-Gallery

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Your 2012 Joe Shuster Awards Winners

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The Joe Shuster Awards were given out Saturday the 15th in conjunction with the Montreal Comic-Con. It's the 8th iteration of the awards, which focus on Canadian creators and retailers.

Outstanding Comic Book Cover Artist / Dessinateur de couverture de bande dessinée exceptionnel
* Francois Lapierre, Chroniques Sauvages (Glenat Quebec)

The Gene Day Award for Self-Publishers / Le Prix Gene Day de l'auto-édition
* Ghost Rabbit, Dakota McFadzean

The Dragon Award - Comics for Kids / Le Prix Dragon - Bande dessinée jeunesse
* Ariane et Nicolas Tome 6: Les Toiles Mysterieuses, Paul Roux (Les 400 Coups)

Outstanding Web Comics Creator / Créateur de bande dessinée web exceptionnel
* Emily Carroll, Various Comics 2011

Outstanding Comic Book Writer / Scénariste de bande dessinée exceptionnel
* Kurtis J. Wiebe, Green Wake #1-8, The Intrepids #1-6 (Image Comics) "Logan's Lost Lesson"/Marvel Holiday Special 2011 (Marvel Comics)

Outstanding Comic Book Artist / Dessinateur de bande dessinée exceptionnel
* Stuart Immonen, Fear Itself #1-7 "Queen, King, Off-Suit"/X-Men: To Serve and Protect #4 (Marvel Comics) "Say You're Dead"/Outlaw Territory Vol. 2 (Image Comics)

Outstanding Comic Book Cartoonist / Auteur de bande dessinée exceptionnel
* Ramon K Pérez, Jim Henson's Tale of Sand (Archaia Press)

The Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Comic Book Retailer / Le Prix Harry Kremer du libraire de bandes dessinées exceptionnel
* Silver Snail (Toronto, ON)
 
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Go, Download: New Zealand Comics And Graphic Novels

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Richard Thompson's Statement Accepting A Special Ignatz

Richard Thompson was awarded a special Ignatz Award on Saturday night at the Small Press Expo. He sent along a statement which was my honor to read into the record. I assume it will be posted on video but I thought you might appreciate just seeing the text. One thing that's great, and that is totally Thompson, is that he quotes Shaenon Garrity. It's nice that comics is becoming a place where a Reuben winner like Thompson is not only aware of the work and the writing of someone like Garrity, but that he has an appreciation for the best of it. It's a great quote and is employed to marvelous effect here.

image"I want to thank Warren Bernard, the SPX board of directors and whoever else is responsible for this. I wish I could be there myself to tell you how deeply honored I am, but I've got a note from my doctor excusing me from public speaking, My thanks to Tom Spurgeon for standing in.

"And my apologies to Tom, because I don't know what to tell him to say, and I've been thinking all week.

"I've had three or four real dream jobs; as an illustrator, caricaturist and satirical cartoonist, And I've been dragged into each of them kicking and screaming, usually by someone appalled by my laziness and lack of ambition. Most recently I got to be that most noble and rare creature, a Syndicated Daily Newspaper Cartoonist, something I'd avoided for years. Oh, sure, I'd flirted with the idea since childhood; but, my god. Those deadlines! But it happened gradually, like a lobster taking a hot bath. And I realized that here was a job I really loved, despite all the writing and drawing involved.

"But like I said, I still don't know what to say. So I'll quote someone more eloquent than I. A few years ago, the great Shaenon K. Garrity attended her first Reuben Awards. Afterwards she wrote
The comic strip is a silly little thing, hammered together out of limitations. There's no reason it should survive if newspapers die. But I love it so much. Drawing comic strips for a living, as these men and women do, is my idea of heaven.
"Thank you for overlooking my indolence and lack of initiative. I'm sure this Ignatz will inspire me the next time I get a dream job."

Richard also added a "bow" stage direction, which I forgot to do. Sorry, Richard. Cul De Sac ends on September 23.
 
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Go, Look: Drawblr

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Heart Of Thomas has been moved back to 2013. Comics is in a good place when you can move major books from Gilbert Hernandez and Moto Hagio out of the year and almost no one blinks.

image* Rol Hirst and Rob Wells have released their superhero satire Department Of The Peculiar #1. I don't really use this column to throw the spotlight on a lot of small press releases, mostly because I don't hear about them until they're out, but it's always nice to be reminded that people are out there making things.

* here's a fascinating blog post about a news story that completely escaped my attention (and thanks to Trevor Ashfield for cluing me in): apparently there was still a locals-only strip in the Globe And Mail, and that strip was recently canceled with a reshuffling of the paper. I'm a fiend for one-paper-only strips, or ones that are mostly focused on one publication, so this is sad news.

* I missed this comics line launch from several days ago. Please click on the link so I feel less guilty.

* Marvel will do digital comics. They should. I just sort of hope that whatever they do will be treated as a comic in terms of the financial remuneration involved, and won't be treated as something a bunch of creators are doing at a reduced price or for free. That would be scary.

* the comics news portal Newsarama has a piece up on the writer Rick Remender finishing up his run on the comics Uncanny X-Force, which was a well-liked book in that area of comics -- I saw it on several best-of lists.

* I hope very much that Ben Towle found a publisher for Oyster War through his book-dissemination efforts this past weekend.

* Dustin Harbin's work is apparently appearing in a forthcoming issue of the Latvian anthology kus!

* T. Edward Bak has a lovely-looking preview page up here.

* missed this brief Steve Morris report on Dark Horse bringing the webseries Husbands into comics.

* finally, I somehow missed that Shaenon Garrity was doing strips about The X-Files. I blame a vast government conspiracy and, you know, aliens.

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

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Go, Look: Michael Cho's New Agency Portfolio

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* so next month is the Harvey Pekar statue dedication program; I don't know that I had seen any hint of what it is to look like until this link.

image* Cassie-la on Underwater Welder.

* not sure I know what's going on here or why I kept the link, but I like this photo from the Helsinki Comics Festival. I sort of just like the idea that there is a Helsinki Comics Festival.

* not comics: James Vance talks Dick Tracy movie serial.

* not comics: I think I picked up this link because there was a big comics/cartooning element to the Erdogan government's first forays into using the legal system to beat up on dissenting expression. I don't know where the line is here and what's legitimate or not, but it something worth keeping in mind as Turkey settles into a bigger place on the world stage.

* if I'm understanding this post correctly, congratulations to Emily Carroll.

* there's a Lucy Knisley process post here that kind of links out to some other stuff she's been up to recently.

* I greatly enjoyed this post from Steve Bissette on his favorite Swamp Thing covers. That title had a bunch of memorable covers, all in a style that never really took in terms of cover illustrations after that. They really just exude that time period as a result.

* finally, I like this drawing of the Hulk because it reminds me it would be really weird to see someone that green. Do you ever wonder about that, if there's some sort of diminishment of the basic thrills in mainstream comics in particular. I mean, I'm totally amazed when I see someone hop over a low-lying fence; I have to think the physicality of those worlds would be astounding and yet a lot of what goes on in the books themselves doesn't seem to reflect that very frequently.
 
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September 17, 2012


Go, Look: Denis Bodart

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A Few Quick Notes About SPX 2012

* I believe this is going to be short, as I woke up too late to do the usual 50-entry list before I have to head out for the airplane. My apologies, and I'll certainly expand on these thoughts tomorrow.

* I think that was a good show, one of the most successful I've ever attended. Maybe the most successful. Maybe by a wide margin, given their aims and how they hit them. Congratulations to Warren Bernard and the rest of Team SPX.

* my personal thanks to that show and all the people that were nice to me, said nice things, and/or gave me nice things. It was super-nice touching base with my comics family and meeting a lot of CR readers.

* nice, nice, nice.

* as should soon become clear if it hasn't already, I had almost a supernaturally pleasant show, to the point where a half dozen times I looked around at where I was, at all the talented people in the room and people with whom I had a chance to interact, and was almost giddily happy. Part of that is the general realization of how fun a comics show can be after a very long and not very healthy (for anyone) year; part of that was the nature of this Camp Comics show. So I'm probably not the best person to write a rigorous appraisal.

* let's try, anyway. For a few more points at least.

* nearly every exhibitor to whom I spoke had an excellent show sales- and attention-wise. Fantgraphics had their most successful SPX by 4 PM Saturday afternoon. The CBLDF did San Diego numbers. Drawn and Quarterly had fewer books on their table by show's close than I usually have on my desk. I think Chris Pitzer was smiling from selling a ton of books rather than smiling because he's Chris Pitzer and a generally pleasant fellow.

* the few exhibitors I talked to that didn't have great, great shows in terms of sales could point to reasons for this: in most cases it was a combination of not having anything new at the show, and not having a signature personality on hand to anchor interest in what that publisher had to offer.

* the most underrated move of the show -- because it's impossible to overrate how much this helped -- was the Expo's decision to greatly expand the amount of exhibition space and to only modestly expand the number of exhibitors. The aisles were wide and comfortable, and it was possible to stop and chat without anyone complaining that you were in the way.

* okay, I'm rapidly running out of time here. So let me apologize in advance for when I end this.

* I've been doing most of my updating from the lobby of the Marriott because I have a roll-away with someone sleeping on it in the room where the desk chair might go. It's a good lobby in which to work, but it's really tough to type a lot of words when awesome people keep walking up to talk to you.

* so, let's see: I don't really have any comics-related travel notes from New York for the lead-up to the show, as I did non-comics things. One thing a few NY comics people mentioned was how much they like that Forbidden Planet in its new location, and how that very nearly vaults that shop to top-dog status in the city all by itself -- not that they aren't right there, anyway, but I just mean people are re-appreciating that store.

* the Marriott was packed, to the point where my whining about a reservations snafu fell on deaf ears because they were legitimately packed and didn't have to put up with me. "Go sleep in the car if you want." They didn't say that, but they could have. Of all the people I know, only Brian Ralph -- who has a Sergio Aragones degree of charm when it comes to falling into good things -- was able to upgrade to a better situation.

* but yeah, nice hotel; serviceable facilities, small but decent rooms, a lot of porches on the outer rim of the show to host all those chattering, drinking cartoonists late into the night... I like the pool, even.

* the area in which the hotel is situated is just awful, almost laughingly so, a land of strip malls and stand-alone franchise retail. It really is Camp Comics as a result. Leaving to go do something meant either reduced expectations -- "we'll go to this restaurant a few blocks away even though it's not great" -- or a serious haul to a neighborhood with more stuff to do.

* I was encouraged by the number of people I knew that were happy to act as tourists in the DC area, which I think is a fine way to capitalize on your con opportunities.

* diet cokes were $6 at the bar. It's not like I was buying anything, but people kept letting me know about this.

* this may be a reach, but I thought there were a number of people that looked great. This was the first comics convention where I saw cartoonists in the hotel exercise room since the 1996 San Diego Con (Kevin Eastman). I'm not kidding about that. Renee French, Meredith Gran, Jog, Julia Wertz and a few others all looked super-great, but everyone in general seemed well. People report to me on their weight loss activities now, so it's kind of noticeable, but it was kind of noticeable anyway. Usually you also get someone gossiping in a "Holy crap, [Cartoonist A] looks terrible" way, and I don't remember any of that.

* tip for the future: the weight room at the hotel has free fruit if you're very looking for a way to not pay for a insta-breakfast.

* oh man, I'm really running out of time here. Sorry sorry sorry.

* the programming was solid. One thing that was nice about the programming is that you could tell that some of it was there to make a point, and not just be great programming, if that makes any sense. I thought that was true of an institutions-building panel I did -- more on that tomorrow -- and a panel about certain kinds of drawing and art as opposed to comics through a literary filter. In other words, the panels served to enter certain ideas about comics, ways of thinking about certain things, into the community's culture.

* it was also nice just to see 15-year-olds sitting there staring at Warren Craghead art, as opposed to a bunch of folks listening to guys with baseball hats turned around backwards say weird, slightly-shitty, oddly contemptuous things.

* okay, that's sort of mean. I'm not going to devalue anyone's experiences, and god bless you for whatever kind of panel you like and/or run. I think the main point is that I really like Warren Craghead.

* I interviewed Francoise Mouly and Dean Haspiel for future features on this site: Francoise one and done, Dino in anticipations of a couple more sessions. One thing that came out in the Francoise Mouly chat I didn't know about, but I assume may be general knowledge, is that the Fletcher Hanks that ran in RAW back in the day came from Jerry Moriarity's collection. I guess Jerry Moriarity has a big collection of print.

* there was a lot of storytelling at this show. Like on Friday night, when all the "olds" anchored themselves at a bar table, there was a good 35 minutes of weird anecdotes from the CBLDF cruise. Hell, I heard more Dallas Fantasy Fair stories in the last 72 hours than I've ever heard in my life.

* what else really quickly...? The Ignatzes distinguished themselves with three awards to Los Bros in a year where they weren't otherwise honored. It was my great pleasure to talk about Richard Thompson for a brief time after they gave him a special award, and the giving of that award was also something that was nice about that program.

* it seemed like -- seemed like, I don't know -- that there was a lot of smart press activity being done by folks that were taking people off to the side for interviews and such. I think we could see a slight shake up in the next six months in terms of what's out there in terms of comics media coverage.

* the show was nice. Nice, nice, nice. After 14 months of super-bummer news, comics really needed some of that nice.

* to wrap things up for this brief reaction, I was greatly encouraged to see how much attention Los Bros Hernandez received. They had a long enough line that a friend of mine put someone in his place, went up to his room for an errand, and then came back with more than enough time to spare before he got to the front. It was my great pleasure to do a little bit of hanging out with Jaime and Gilbert on Sunday night, and they seemed really pleased by the attention and how many books and pieces of art were moved.

* I am perfectly willing to apply the "were Los Bros happy?" standard to any show out there, and by that one and a lot of others, it looked like this one really worked.

* BCGF, NYCC, you're up.
 
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Go, Look: Open Space

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Go, Read: Dave Sim Responds To The Fantagraphics Offer

Fantagraphics heavyweights Kim Thompson and Eric Reynolds made an open offer to Dave Sim to put together a publishing arrangement; the longtime self-publisher responds. At length. Depending on your orientation towards comics, this is either the greatest news in the history of the comics Internet, or something that hardly registers at all. It's worth reading, though. I hope the publishers arrive home in SPX for a timely response.
 
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If I Were In Lausanne, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Frederic Rebena

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Smoky Man interviews Joe Kubert briefly in 2001.

* missed it: this image where Nixie cartoons are juxtaposed with some kid dressed and photographed then colored as Nixie, well... that's something all right.

* Wally Wood's other panels?

* finally, I like it when Dave Lasky paints Sasquatch.
 
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September 16, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Josh Melrod

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*****

Josh Melrod is the co-director of Cartoon College, the long-anticipated documentary about the Center For Cartoon Studies. As Melrod mentions below, that film is currently in the festivals-phase of its long roll-out, which will culminate in a DVD-type release I think next year. The film was screened for current students and other members of the CCS community around that school's graduation period this Spring. It was screened last night at the Small Press Expo. Melrod and co-director Tara Wray are I believe looking for opportunities to screen that film at some comics shows over the next year or so, and can likely arrange to either be there themselves or have someone involved with the film, perhaps as a subject, there on hand to introduce and/or take questions. My hope is that this interview may eventually lead to someone reaching out to the co-directors that way. I greatly appreciate Melrod's time. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: We're talking in August... where are you in terms of getting the film out there in front of audiences? Are you in the festivals stage of it, is that a fair description?

JOSH MELROD: Yeah, we're on the festivals circuit. We're also actively trying to put screenings together, at the grassroots level. We're talking to a couple of alternative/indy distributors, who specialize in the new model of distribution. I don't know how interesting this is for you. But basically the idea is rather than trying to get a small movie like this into a dozen theaters across the country where it will play for a few days and make no money and spend like a bunch on advertising, you instead try to make the screenings one-off screenings that are like events, where we show up as the filmmakers, or we send James [Sturm]. Depending on where it is in the country, maybe we get some of the students who have left the school and are now spread out to attend. So we have a ton of screenings lined up for the Fall, a lot of festivals and a bunch at -- we have one at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We're trying to put one together at RISD, places like that. And there are different arts-related festivals, that don't have to do with film, necessarily, that caught wind of the film.

We put this request a screening thing on our web site, and I was like, "There's no way this is going to work." But another filmmaker told me it was a good idea. I put it up on the web site as basically a form, and people from all over have written and said, "We have this event that we run, and we think it would be great to show the movie." We're lining up as many of those as we can. Then in the winter, we'll release the DVD and the movie will become available on iTunes and Hulu and Netflix and that will all basically happen on one day. On that one day, the movie will be out in the public. After that, I presume we won't have as many screenings.

SPURGEON: It struck me that I have the opportunity to speak to a filmmaker, and my first question is a really blunt business question. [Melrod laughs] Something that comes out in the movie a lot, and something that comics people discuss, is the economy of creative arts. There is always an element of managing one's career. Are you comfortable with that part of it, does that come naturally to you to arrange screenings and this kind of thing?

MELROD: No! [Spurgeon laughs] I originally thought that... I'm 34 now, but when I was in my early 20s I thought that whatever I did I would be recognized for my genius and then someone would take over for there and all I would do is the creative work. I saw in the students at the school a lot of that same thinking.

SPURGEON: You have a section in the film where you talk to a bunch of them in a row on just that topic. And they're mostly like, "Well, I'll get an agent, and then the agent will do the agent-stuff... I'll be recognized at this point..."

MELROD: Right. They'll be the "next greatest thing ever," Casey says.

It's not something that comes naturally to me. But I also find that I enjoy it. It sort of makes it feel like all of the work we did, it legitimizes it, and it sort of makes me feel like that the public has an interest in what we've done. Even if it's a very small percentage of the public. And it makes me feel more grown-up, for lack of a better term. It's business. Even though I never thought I would be much of a business person, there's something to be said for it. So it makes me feel like I'm learning something about the business, I guess. That I like.

SPURGEON: Now were you a film student?

MELROD: No.

SPURGEON: I asked because I wondered if looking at students in this school setting, watching them learn their craft that way, had any relation to how you picked up filmmaking. Maybe it was different than your own experience?

MELROD: I related to a lot of what the students were going through in the sense that some of the things they were experiencing we were experiencing ourselves. There's so much commonality, I realized. That was the thing I came away with the most. Regardless of the discipline, people who are really putting their energy and effort into something full-time face the same kind of challenges.

imageWhat was really interesting to me is that people like James [Sturm] or Chris Ware, these are people that are the top of their game. Every other cartoonist that we interviewed held Chris Ware up as the best living example of a cartoonist. I talked to him, and he has no more confidence than anybody else. He's still doubting that he's going to be able to finish the project he's working on, and sort of slogging through it. I took so much comfort from that. Tara and I were wondering if we were going to be able to finish this movie, if it was going to resolve itself. If we were going to have a story. I thought that was really interesting and also it made me feel like we weren't alone.

SPURGEON: You got a very eloquent statement out of James when he talked about maybe not getting everything he wants to do done, and having the time to make certain transitions at the point in his career where he is. I thought that was a through-line for your film, to deal with the reality of making art. It's very different from one's expectations for making art. Whether that's the older gentleman who hoped to become a better drawer, more facile in his craft, and that not really working out for him, or the direction Jen [Vaughn]'s odyssey takes at the end, it seems to recur. What the students were experiencing was kind of reflected in what James said, and I thought that kind of a sobering message. Is that something that came out of the material for you?

MELROD: That is something that came out of the material. Partly due to our filmmaking inexperience, we didn't come in with any sort of script for how we wanted the movie the go, or what the core issues of the movie were going to be -- outside of it being a portrait of cartoonists. Those were all things that came about -- the fact that they became themes is a reflection of how difficult this craft is for people, and creative work in general. With James -- everyone has their insecurities and things they struggle with internally. When James sets his mind to start a project, he has all the confidence in the world that he's going to be able to do it. He has so many ideas that he laments when he starts something that there are three things he'd like to be doing that he can't do. I thought that was interesting about James. The students at the school revere him. He knows that he's not Chris Ware, and it irks him a little bit. He's put his life into cartooning and he wants to be the best at it. He realizes that there are people better than him and I guess partially that's the point of his life that he's at, that we caught him at, where he's sort of realizing that, "Maybe I'm never going to be the best; maybe my goal of being the greatest isn't going to come to fruition." We caught a lot of that. We have a lot of footage of James coming to terms with his own limitations.

SPURGEON: Let me ask about that, then. How much material was there that you winnowed down to what you got? You have multiple storylines in there. You have three students: Jen and Blair and the older gentleman whose name I can never remember --

MELROD: Al.

SPURGEON: Al, thank you. They all have nice little storylines to them, beginning and middle and end, with an ending that's a surprise ending in the majority of cases. That I imagine came out of a bunch of material. What was the process of looking at the material like, looking at everything you had and saying, "Okay, here's what we pull out." Was there anything you tried to get out of there that didn't work?

MELROD: I should start by saying that we were living in New York and we moved up. Tara had just finished her first film and was looking for another film to do. We read about the school. She said, "How would you like to go up to Vermont for a year?" We thought we would be here for a year, and that it would be a year in the life of the school. And we would move back to New York and that would be that. We're still here. [Spurgeon laughs]

We shot the 2007-2008 school year and into the summer. We put a cut together -- a full cut of the movie. That centered on Al and Blair and two other students. It wasn't polished, but it was a complete movie. We just weren't happy with it. We wanted it so bad for it to be good and have some sort of substance to it. It just didn't work. It ended with Al leaving and Blair failing at his thesis, which now comes at the beginning of the movie -- twenty-five minutes into the movie. And then with these other two students, their storyline was that they passed. There was no real climax to the movie. That movie ended on a sad note. At that point we probably had 100 hours of footage. When we finished that cut, we took a couple of months to decide what to do. We could have decided, "All right. Here's the movie, and we're putting it out there." It would have been what it was, and some people would have seen it. We also could have shelved it and moved onto something else. But we realized at that point that we had put a couple of years of our lives into it.

So we got the camera back out and we went back to James and Michelle Ollie -- the president of the school -- and said, "We want to come back and start filming again.” And so that’s what we did. So we shot for another year and a half and just coincidentally Blair and Al returned. That was just dumb luck. And we met a number of other students; Jen is the only one whose storyline... there were other storylines, but Jen's is the only one that made it into the movie. So when all was said and done we probably had close to 300 hours of footage. We winnowed that down to a 77-minute movie.

SPURGEON: When you were filming Jen... I think it’s pretty clear she works on film really well. She’s really appealing.

MELROD: Yeah, I think so, too.

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SPURGEON: Was that obvious right away when you were filming? Was there a point early on where you knew she might be pretty good?

MELROD: There were a number of things about Jen that were great right from the start, from the moment we met her. The first was that she was obviously the sort of "representative" of her class. She was the most vocal person in her class, she was always... she’s an excellent networker, she was the sort of the hub of her class. The whole school. She was the person that we knew that she had to be in the movie. She had so much weight in the school that she had to be a part of it.

The second thing is that she wanted to be involved, because she’s involved in everything. [Spurgeon laughs] She really was. We wouldn't talk to anyone else that didn’t have something to do with Jen. Every student we followed or interviewed, some part of their lives... it was like all road lead to Jen. That was really important. And she really wanted to be in the movie, so that was great.

We did the first interview, and she was great. That was apparent. I remember we got back in the car, we interviewed her at the library. It was actually supposed to be a preliminary interview where it's supposed to make people comfortable with the camera. It's the interview where she's wearing the rainbow-colored sweater that appears throughout the movie. We ended up using a ton of that. We got in the car and we said, "Okay, she's a character. She's going to be in the movie." We knew from the very beginning.

The thing that was interesting about Jen is that when it came time for the thesis review, we had all this footage of her -- just hours and hours and hours of footage of Jen and we thought, "She doesn't have much of a story, though." She's a very important person at the school, and she's going to make it through, and graduate, she'll be the valedictorian or whatever, but that's not much of an arc. So when she came out of her thesis review having not passed, that was a complete shock to us. We never realized up until that point how overextended she had become. I had just assumed that all of these things she was doing, all of these things, all of this freelance -- she had a couple of jobs, she was the librarian at the school, and she was already planning for what she was going to do when she graduated. All of these things. I had assumed she was doing every one of them perfectly. And so when she had come out having failed, I almost wanted to put the camera down. Then I remembered, "Oh wait, I'm making a movie. We're supposed to be making a movie, so we have to keep rolling." And I thought that while this was cruel, it was actually good for the movie.

SPURGEON: It sort of reminded me of that moment in Hoop Dreams when the unexpected ballplayer's team makes a playoff run -- less dramatic, but that you process it in terms of it being this a lucky break for the film. "That's so good for this movie." Then you feel bad because it's not a great moment for her. It also reinforces a lot of your themes.

MELROD: Yeah, it did. The other thing that also became... well, it wasn't guaranteed she would ever finish. That was something she was actually nervous about. She was nervous about the process of handing in her thesis addendum, because she was doing so many other things. It took her so much longer than she had initially thought. She thought she would finish her thesis addendum in six weeks and it literally took over a year. She was sort of hoping that the movie would just end and we would have a title card that said, "Jen passed her thesis." She at that point, she wanted to be done with it. We kept pushing her and saying, "Jen, we're not finishing the movie until we've resolved her storyline. You at least have to turn in your thesis addendum." We really pushed her on that. We were relieved when we got her happy ending.

SPURGEON: There's a maxim in comics and I imagine filmmaking about showing and not telling. There's a real danger in what you do, even though you have the comics themselves as visuals, of descending into talking-heads land. I thought that was something you guys did well with Al's storyline, where you had several moments where you showed his isolation, his different physical relationship to everyone when walking around town, even. I thought you showed that part of his story. Was that a worry of yours, that your film stay visually appealing?

MELROD: Absolutely. That was a really big concern. As I've now started to work with people on other movies and started to know documentary filmmaking better, I realize this is something that's a common problem. It's going to be a talking heads movie. As it is, we did our best to mask how many talking heads we had. We'd say, "We have to put a scene between this string of five people talking." So we were extremely conscious of it.

One thing I've heard people say over and over and over again before they start editing their documentaries is, "We really want it to be like a narrative film, where the audience doesn't even realize they're watching a documentary. It just feels like a movie." It's something I may have said at one point, too. And now it's something I'll never say because it's such a ridiculous thing to say when the filmmaker has 100 hours of interviews [Spurgeon laughs] and 60 hours of verité footage. It's going to be what it is. [laughter]

We were very happy that we had... we were happy that we captured certain moments. The scene where Jen and Sam and Jason are preparing for MoCCA, that was great. That was very obviously a scene. It had this tension and it sort of built up, and there is inherent drama... it's like two minutes in the movie, but it's something where I could say, "That's a scene."

If I had to make the movie over again, I would embed myself in the lives of the students. We were learning as we were going. We got a ton of interviews, and we hung out at the school a lot. We followed the students home. But the ratio of that to interview footage is maybe 60 percent interviews and 40 percent verité. And I would definitely try to do it the other way. That was just... going forward, I will remember that. It was definitely something we were worried about, honestly.

SPURGEON: It's mostly a positive film, and I was wondering that going in because of a relationship you might have had with James and the school itself and being around the students. Were you worried about losing perspective, not maintaining a sharper edge and being open to critical viewpoints?

MELROD: Yeah. Not a worry... it was something we thought about. We met James in New York in 2006. At MoCCA, actually. We set up a time to come and see him, and we pitched him this idea of making a movie. And we ended up spending a few hours just shooting the shit with him. We really liked him. Before we'd even started shooting the movie, we were sort of friendly. And we said, "This could be problematic." But... it became obvious with James that he says what he thinks, and he was incredibly open when we were filming.

That first version of the movie, the first rough-cut, the school came off horribly. [Spurgeon laughs] The students we shot were unhappy, two of them failed, it didn't look good for them. We showed James, and he didn't mind. He thought it was an accurate representation of what that year had been like. It was that one year... it was representative of the students we followed. It was more harsh that it would have been if we had followed Joe Lambert, who is one of the school's big successes. He was in that class, but he didn't want to be on camera very much, so we didn't get that much with him.

I think that we decided at some point that we were going to, we weren't going to spare anybody's feelings because we liked them. All of the people we shot, we liked. So we didn’t want them to be... we didn't want to embarrass them or anything. At the same time, some of them in that scene we discussed before where they're talking about their plans for their futures, we'd just previously seen the most decorated and one of the most famous cartoonists in the world talking about how impossible it is to make a living, they look naïve. We thought that was important it was in the moving. We weren't trying to make them look cool.

SPURGEON: Naive, misplaced egotism is always hilarious. [laughter]

MELROD: Right. We were trying to be honest and I think that we did a good job. There were a few people where we cut some things where there were things that they said we thought were very funny. But would have been almost cruel to put in. We took those things out. We didn't sacrifice truth to spare somebody’s feelings.

SPURGEON: I tweeted that I'd seen the movie, and I immediately got e-mail from a couple of people at least reasonably close to the film's subject matter that wondered what I thought about it. They were really curious about what someone who wasn't there thought of the movie. I wondered if you're now hearing back from people -- review copies out, the screenings and the festivals... what are you hearing? Is anything surprising you in terms of how people react to the film?

MELROD: We did a screening at CCS on graduation weekend. Only open to the students and their families and the faculty. Only a couple of people from the movie were there. So the major players in the movie haven't seen it yet. Except for James. As far as I know, Jen hasn’t seen it, and Al hasn't seen it, and those are the people I’m most worried about. The response we’ve received from James and Steve Bissette and Ryland -- he's the one that opens the movie -- it's been so overwhelmingly positive that I'm not so worried about it anymore.

Blair is one of the programmers for the Salt Lake City Film Festival and he requested a copy. So he presumably has seen it. I wonder what he'll think.

SPURGEON: Are you getting any word back from those outside of the comics realm? Do you have any idea of that yet? I had to tell people that asked me if they were looking to me for an outsider's opinion, I'm not that far outside. Have any of your fellow filmmakers responded?

MELROD: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I think Tara and I both, when we get positive feedback, we don't believe it.

SPURGEON: That's the comics influence, your feelings. You won't believe anything positive now.

MELROD: The feedback that we've gotten that we like the most, is that people that don't know much about comics can relate to it. It seems the everybody has some sort of creative outlet. Most people do. And so I think that people can relate to the complexities and struggles of doing creative work. I like that a lot. I like that that comes through. It's not just inside comics. That people that don't know that world already don't say, "I have no idea what they're talking about."

SPURGEON: Some suggested I ask you if you already know what the eventual DVD will look like. Will there be more stuff there? Do you have any sense of how it might differ from the theatrical release?

MELROD: The movie itself will be the same, but we have so much footage and there are so many opportunities to do creative things with packaging and extras. We're working on that. It's too soon for me to publicly say... we're talking to one of the larger publishers about partnering and putting together either a comic that will come with the movie or with the packaging of the movie. So we don't know what it will look like, but we have plans to do something interesting with it.

*****

* Cartoon College Movie
* Josh Melrod

*****

* the logo to the film
* chris ware production still
* jen vaughn production still
* the trailer (below)

*****



*****
*****
 
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Your 2012 Ignatz Award Winners

imageThe Small Press Expo announced the winners of the Ignatz Awards at a ceremony beginning right around 9:30 PM ET last night. It is that awards program's 16th year. This year's nominations panel was Edie Flake, Minty Lewis, Julia Wertz, Dylan Meconis and Lark Pien. The winners were voted on by the attendees.

The cartoonist Richard Thompson was given a special award. It was my honor to accept that award by reading a statement prepared by Thompson.

The night's other winners in bold:

OUTSTANDING ARTIST
* Marc Bell – Pure Pajamas (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Inés Estrada - Ojitos Borrosos (Self-published)
* Jaime Hernandez - Love and Rockets New Stories (Fantagraphics)
* Craig Thompson - Habibi (Pantheon)
* Matthew Thurber – 1 800 Mice (Picturebox)

OUTSTANDING ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
* Big Questions - Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Hark! A Vagrant - Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
* The Man Who Grew His Beard - Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
* Nobrow #6 - Various artists (Nobrow)
* Ojitos Borrosos - Inés Estrada (Self-published)

OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVEL
* Big Questions by Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Harvey Pekar's Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant (Top Shelf)
* My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (Abrams ComicArts)
* Troop 142 by Mike Dawson (Secret Acres)
* A Zoo In Winter by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

OUTSTANDING STORY
* 1 800 Mice by Matthew Thurber (Picturebox)
* Keith or Steve, Mome #22, by Nick Drnaso (Fantagraphics)
* Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme (Top Shelf)
* Return to Me, Love & Rockets New Stories #4, by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* The Weeper, Papercutter #17, by Jason Martin and Jesse Reklaw (Tugboat Press)

PROMISING NEW TALENT
* Lauren Barnett - Me Likes You Very Much (Hic & Hoc Publications)
* Clara Besijelle - The Lobster King (Self-published)
* Tessa Brunton - Passage (Sparkplug Books)
* Lila Quintero Weaver - Dark Room: A Memoir in Black and White (University of Alabama Press)
* Lale Westvind - Hot Dog Beach (Self-published)

OUTSTANDING SERIES
* Black Mass by Patrick Kyle (Mother Books)
* EOTMC by Leslie Stein (Self-published)
* Ganges by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics)
* Love and Rockets New Stories by The Hernandez Brothers (Fantagraphics)
* Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books)

OUTSTANDING COMIC
* Hot Dog Beach #2 by Lale Westvind (Self-published)
* Passage by Tessa Brunton (Sparkplug Books)
* Pterodactyl Hunters by Brendan Leach (Top Shelf)
* The Sixth Gun #17 by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn (Oni Press)
* Pope Hats #2 by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books)

OUTSTANDING MINI-COMIC
* The Death of Elijah Lovejoy by Noah Van Sciver (2D Cloud)
* Hypnotic Induction Technique by Grant Reynolds (Self-published)
* The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions by Corinne Mucha (Retrofit Comics)
* Ramble On #2 by Calvin Wong (Self-published)
* RAV #6 by Mickey Zacchilli (Self-published)

OUTSTANDING ON-LINE COMIC
* Amazing Facts... and Beyond! with Leon Beyond by Dan Zettwoch and Kevin Huizenga
* Black Is the Color by Julia Gfrorer
* Lucky by Gabrielle Bell
* Starslip by Kris Straub
* SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
 
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Go, Look: Go Comics Is Running Classic Skippy

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Go, Look: Lune D'Argent Sur Providence

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Go, Look: Nemiri

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Go, Look: Burglars

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Go, Read: Have A Great Summer

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Go, Read: Gary Panter Interview

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If I Were In North Bethesda, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Video Trailer For Forthcoming, Hopes-To-Be-Crowdfunded Salgood Sam Project


Pat Moriarity Profiled


Verbicide Magazine Artist Interview From SDCC 2012: Peter Kuper


Verbicide Magazine Artist Interview From SDCC 2012: Mike Mignola


Interview With Dave Kellett From SDCC 2012



Two-Part Interview With Jerry Craft


CRNI Interviews Dan Murphy


A Matt Wuerker Interview


A Justin Hall Interview In A Bathtub


Ronald Searle Profiled
 
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September 15, 2012


If I Were In North Bethesda, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 14, 2012


Go, Look: Dominique Goblet

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Your Initial SAW Micro-Grant Recpients

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The Sequential Artists Workshop has announced its winners and finalists for its initial micro-grants program: Jess Ruliffson's interview comics with recent-war veterans and Julia Gfrorer for her comic Black Is The Color. Both artists will receive a small grant to assist them in the continuation and eventual completion of their respective projects. Hopefully, the imprimatur of the grant will also drive some attention to each project -- and to those in the finalist short list and honorable mention categories. There's a lot of good work there, and just a lot of work, period.

I'm all for supporting cartoonists directly like this, and I'll for comics awards that involve cash, so I'm happy this happened and hope it continues.

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Go, Look: Manuele Fior

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Aseem Trivedi Out On Bail Amid Continuing Political Swirl Over His Sedition Charge

The cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, arrested after being charged with sedition in a case that suggests manipulation of the legal system to political ends, has accepted bail with some assurance that the charges against him may be dropped and will fight against the law that put him in this situation. I don't have the skill-set or the required language skill to know how the case is being processed in India, although I have seen a couple of pro-Trivedi pieces like this one. One promising sign is that legal officials slammed the police decision to arrest Trivedi, which indicates the treatment may be aberrant even under law as currently constituted. As is usually the case in politically-informed legal maneuverings, there word of maybe a second sedition charge facing the cartoonist.

It's my hope that Trivedi's case not only obliterates this specific legal mechanism and its employment for political ends but that it strikes a blow more generally against the use of laws in blatantly anti-free speech ways, particularly in countries that aspire to democratic ideals. I also hope Trivedi remains safe and suffers no physical harm during the entire ordeal.
 
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Go, Look: Dennis Fujitake Week

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So How Much Stuff From The Top Shelf Sale Could You Buy For The Cost Of Before Watchmen?

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Here's one way to get to $140 in a hurry. There are others.

* Alec: The Years Have Pants $35.00 $8.00 (US)
* Alec (Vol 4): After the Snooter $14.95 $3.00 (US)
* Ax (Vol 1): A Collection of Alternative Manga $29.95 $3.00 (US)
* Blankets $29.95 $20.00 (US)
* Carnet de Voyage $14.95 $5.00 (US)
* Clumsy $10.00 $8.00 (US)
* Far Arden $19.95 $8.00 (US)
* Dodgem Logic Complete Set (#1 - #8) $47.60 $25.00 (US)
* Hutch Owen (Vol 1): The Collected $14.95 $3.00 (US)
* Hutch Owen (Vol 2): Unmarketable $14.95 $3.00 (US)
* League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #2 - 1969 $9.95 $5.00 (US)
* League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #3 - 2009 $9.95 $5.00 (US)
* Lucille $29.95 $3.00 (US)
* Micrographica $10.00 $3.00 (US)
* Night Animals $7.95 $3.00 (US)
* SuperF*ckers $14.95 $8.00 (US)
* The Lovely Horrible Stuff $14.95 $7.50 (US)
* The Playwright $14.95 $3.00 (US)
* The Ticking $19.95 $5.00 (US)
* Wizzywig $19.95 $10.00 (US)

I don't intend this to be pointed or mean, I just think it's interesting how comics fans are asked to consider spending their money at different times, and for what.
 
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Go, Look: Jimmy Beaulieu

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CBLDF Re-Launches Its Web Site; Announces iVerse Media As Newest Corporate Member

There's a pair of newsbrief-type stories from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that I think together are worth their own post. The first is that they've relaunched their site, which is additionally interesting given how much content they've been putting up these days. The second is that they've added iVerse as a one of their corporate members. Both are signs of the Fund's continuing institutional development, one of the points of emphasis for Executive Director Charles Brownstein as he's settled into that job for the longer term.
 
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Go, Look: Frederik Peeters

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* I'm going to try and do another, separate post, but the Top Shelf sale is one way that comics publisher keeps its head above water. Plus: sales.

* this massively successful fundraiser for a Gail Simone/Jim Caliafore project will end within hours if it hasn't already by the time you read this.

* this weekend's SPX is in part a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Please consider joining or buying something from the Original Art Auction.

* finally, the David Boswell documentary effort keeps chugging along. I hope you'll consider that one because I want to see the result.
 
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If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Gilles Rochier

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I missed this much-traveled link indicating that the creator Jim Starlin is negotiating with Marvel to nail down the media company's right to use the Thanos character as a future movie big-bad. That would be a good thing. The weird thing about these stories is that you'd think participating in those movies and licensing would be a huge deal for creators, but it doesn't seem to be a game-changer in any way, shape or form.

image* missed it: Chris Butcher talks about the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. That seems like it would be a good thing to win, and a good thing to which one might donate. You can go to them directly here. There are not a lot of institutional supports for comics-making right now, and I hope that this one gets as much attention as possible.

* Henry Chamberlain on Best Of Enemies. Joshua Glenn on Dal Tokyo.

* not comics: I missed Jen Sorensen's report from the DNC in Charlotte last week.

* Ed Brisson has some advice on how to break into comics. You'll need a job, because it costs a lot to break into comics. Marvel's Tom Brevoort talks about the job of editing comics. That also has its difficulties, although it doesn't seem to require getting another job.

* Dave Lasky writes about where he was the day that Dylan Williams died.

* not comics: it seems reasonably alarming to me that the notion that readers of new on-line are not devoted in the same way that print readers can be and that this has an effect on advertising is still driving feature articles some 14 years after the idea gained popular currency. I don't know if it's more distressing for the media source or for that reality ever changing as such articles always suggest, but it seems a bit dismaying to still be talking about that. Also, I guess it's nice that a publication is doing well enough to drive the building of a devoted building, although it seems like there's a lot of space out there that publications can inhabit in most cities. This piece just seems to be a nice way of saying that just about everyone is going to be fired, but that's my cynicism showing.

* I sort of powered past this piece about a gay, male vampire slayer being added to the Buffy comics. That seems oddly presented in that while a gay, male character killing vampires as a metaphor for bullying seems an admirable thing to add to a story like that, I don't think that this is an actual vampire slayer as that general story defines one, and it sort of seems like that's how the publishing news story is being presented because that would be a better hook. That's my impression, anyway.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Curt Pires. Frank Santoro profiles a bunch of folks. And here's Al Feldstein talking to William Gaines and Joe Kubert.

* the comments thread underneath this article about Gary McCoy doing a Sandra Fluke cartoon is interesting because it shows just how useless most traditional rhetorical strategies have become in discussing anything with a political dimension. You'd think that the strange hostility of the cartoon and McCoy's basic admission that a previous cartoon he denied was even about Fluke was seemingly clearly about her would draw some criticism and it does; and yet the response on some level seems to be, "you're just mad we dare criticize your politics." It's not so much the competing ideas actually clashing that interests but the notion that these ideas are competing and therefore of equal value and that the underlying legitimacy of these strident points of view makes every practice concerning them possible. Even just writing that out people are going to assume I'm also really just mad about the political figures and stories involved or whatever. Anyway, the dominance of this kind of thinking is one reason that people that do cartoons that for whatever reason pierce this notion that everything is on the table and draw more general censure seem baffled and upset that they're being singled out.

* finally, this post is one of those where you don't dare look at the comments, even if you know they've been policed.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
September 13, 2012


Go, Look: Stanislas Barthélémy

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posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Newsmaker Interview: Warren Bernard

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*****

Warren Bernard is the executive director of the Small Press Expo, getting underway this weekend just outside of Washington, DC. Bernard is a former assistant executive director and longtime Expo fixture in the midst of I believe a three-year run in that top position. You couldn't ask for a more buzzed-about small press show than year's version, which features Jaime Hernandez, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Gilbert Hernandez, Adrian Tomine, Michael DeForge, Nick Abadzis and Françoise Mouly in addition to an eclectic mix of young and old exhibitors, artists and alt-comics fixtures. You could probably put a pretty good show together from artists and industry people that are just going to be wandering around table-less.

In his time on the SPX board and in the Executive Director slot, Bernard has deepened the Expo's institutional elements: a library program, a collection with the Library of Congress, the routine taping and archiving of panels, even a later-at-night, primetime slot for the Ignatz Awards with a rotating cartoonist host.

I was grateful Bernard made the time to talk to me, a couple of weeks out from the main event. I look forward to his show. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

imageTOM SPURGEON: You asked for this interview to be done two weeks in advance rather than the week of, Warren, which indicates to me you must get really busy. [Bernard laughs]

WARREN BERNARD: What happens the week of the show is that I have guests starting to come in on the Wednesday. What I've done here for what I call the top drawer guests is a series of things that go on before an SPX. I bring people down to the Library of Congress: there's a special show. They come over to my house to see my collection. There's a good friend of mine that has one of the finest private collections of illustration in the United States, so I bring a tour over there also. When Ware and Clowes and the others come, they're not going to participate in all of that, but they're going to some of that. There's not just the show, there's this other thing I put out there for the guests, something special for coming to the DC area.

SPURGEON: How much of a time commitment overall is the show for you? How many hours in a week -- I assume that the time commitment changes with the calendar -- but how much time are you putting in, say, now?

BERNARD: Right now it's I'd say, 30-40 hours a week.

SPURGEON: Oh, my goodness.

BERNARD: This year in particular. One, we're expecting huge crowds. We don't know how big. We do know that, for instance, we had long lines waiting to get in last year. We've only been taking cash up until now. This year I'm bringing in iPads with credit card swipers. I've got to set up stuff with merchant services.. There's all this infrastructure stuff that's being done this year that I'm not going to have to duplicate in future years.

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SPURGEON: Are there crowd concerns? Is there a capacity to the hall?

BERNARD: We're going to find out this year. I know we can't handle 10,000. We expanded the floor. Even before last year's show I cut a deal with the hotel to expand the floor by 50 percent, and we're only putting in 20 percent more tables.

SPURGEON: So it's spaced differently.

BERNARD: Yeah. Since you've never been: it's actually a very elegant space, all carpeted floors. A huge ballroom. This year it's going to be 17,000 and change square feet. The exhibition area. It's a really beautiful space.

imageSPURGEON: Since you weren't taking credit cards I don't know that you'd have attendee information being collected until maybe this year, but do you have any idea where your crowd is coming from? Is it local? Regional? Comics fans? Young people?

BERNARD: Let me address that in two totally different ways. Most of the people are coming in from the Baltimore-DC-Richmond Virginia area. We know that based on talking to people. This year it's a little different, because we have seen a 30 percent increase in our room bloc in terms of reserved nights at the hotel. In fact, I got an e-mail from a guy in Spain. [laughs] "Hey, we're coming in, blah blah blah, hugs and kisses, us. Is there something we can do about X" -- I forgot what it was he wanted to ask me about. I answered him. I know this year we're getting a lot more. My memory is that Clowes and Ware haven't been at the same convention/festival together in the 21st Century. You add the Hernandez Brothers and Adrian Tomine on top of that, and those five people have never been in the same place. Then you put Francoise Mouly on top of that, fucking art editor of The New Yorker, and everything changes. [Spurgeon laughs] Michael DeForge is coming, and John Porcellino; all of these other people are coming also.

SPURGEON: What has this year's press interest been like? I believe you run the press end of things.

BERNARD: I have for several years.

SPURGEON: How much press activity gets done on site? Like I know one reporter that's arranged to talk to a few of the cartoonists together; I have two interviews I'm doing for later on and arranging for a bunch more. Do you facilitate that kind of activity?

BERNARD: I don't know if you're aware of this, but at the same time as SPX this year is the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Matt Wuerker, who's the head of the AAEC, will admit they stole my idea. In 2008 as part of SPX, even though I wasn't running it at the time, Karon and Jeff were like "Hey, that's a good idea." I brought in all of these independent political cartoonists. Dan Perkins came down, and Keith Knight and Jen Sorensen and Tom The Dancing Bug/Ruben Bolling/Ken Fisher. These people came in, and of course it was the election year. So the AAEC was like, "Oh, that's not a bad idea." We had talked about co-locating the two. To make a long store short, the Washington Post is going to do an article on The Invasion Of The Cartoonists, in this Sunday's style section, about all these people that are going to be in DC.

Matt and I have been in close communication about this. We have a different population of people, but we're going to promote their stuff through our social media. In particular they have a nice event on Friday evening. We don't have anything on Friday evening for the attendees. We're going to try and drive them to attend some of the AAEC stuff for sure.

SPURGEON: How did you end up in your current position? I should probably know this, but I thought I'd Larry King it and come at it proudly ignorant. [Bernard laughs] I know that you were involved with the board, but I don't know how you assumed the executive director position. And then suddenly there you were.

BERNARD: Karon Flage came to the end of her three-year thing. Members of the board approached me about coming in to help go ahead -- not so much change direction as to give a more strategic view as to what's going on. You don't know my background. I was in the corporate world. Twenty-five years in telecommunications. I have a really different background than most people that run comics convention. Baltimore Comic-Con has the equivalent of me in Marc Nathan. They also wanted a businessman to come in and re-do some things, look at stuff. So they came and got me and I said, "Sure, I'll do this." Even before I ascended to my lofty perch [Spurgeon laughs] I had approached Karon and Jeff [Alexander] about this Library of Congress collection we now have. It took a year. From the time I started to the time I was able to sign everything and kick it off, it was literally a year. That was in progress before I became Executive Director.

imageSPURGEON: How much of that becomes important... what at the show feeds into that? Or is it just drawing publicity to those efforts?

BERNARD: Let's talk about the two separate things. The Library of Congress things. As a matter of fact, curators from the Library of Congress go through the exhibition hall asking for donation. This year, and I haven't announced it yet, but you can go ahead an announces this. I wanted to go through one year and see the process. At the end of last year, I went to the show and I thought, "You know something? We could use some different eyes in terms of populating the collection." Myself and the people at the Library of Congress, I'm in my fifties. I don't look at things the same way that people much younger than me do. So I poked around.

Rob Clough is going to be a guest curator this year. I love his work. He and I talked at SPX last year. He has a really fabulous view of the mini-comics world. And so I called him up and I asked him. "Hey, Rob..." and of course his head exploded. It's helping to preserve what it is that all of these people are doing. So I go around, a couple of people from SPX go around. Then we've got curators from both the Prints and Photographs division of the Library of Congress and the serials division, which contains the comic book collection, actually go around and ask for things. And then Rob is going to do that. Because we're going to be so busy, I don't know how much time I'll get on the floor. We'll see how it goes with Rob. Maybe next year I'll have two people. Maybe one day you'll come in and do it.

SPURGEON: Hey, something to look forward to.

BERNARD: The way we collect is that we don't wait for someone to gather a collection. We go out and we're trying to assemble it right there and then. Which by the way was revolutionary to the Library of Congress. They don't have any other relationship like this.

SPURGEON: That seems like something that makes perfect sense. Why wouldn't have someone have done something like that before?

BERNARD: I've been a long-time volunteer at the Library of Congress cataloguing their editorial cartoon collection. I got to know the people down there really well. I got to know their collections really well. It was clear that their collection basically stopped in the 1990s. And that they didn't have -- they had very little from the independent comics field. Actually most institutions have very little from the independent comics field. It was like wait a minute: these people have a need and these people have a supply... how can I structure this? It took a while, but it was clear sitting in my perch that there was something we could do that would benefit everybody.

SPURGEON: You took Dean Haspiel's handmade comics collection, as I recall. Is that something you're also going to do more of?

BERNARD: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

SPURGEON: You and I talked earlier about Dan Clowes and Chris Ware causing everything to fall into place at the top of your guest list. But you know, you have a full ballroom, Warren. How involved are you are in shaping who's at the show more generally? It's first come, first served, right?

BERNARD: With the exception of Fanta, Top Shelf, D+Q and one or two others it's first-come, first-served. We do not do any curating.

SPURGEON: Is that a worry at all? Can you talk about that, because curating shows is at least an idea that's out there now.

BERNARD: It's an idea that's out there, but we... we don't want to be aestheticians. We also feel that if there's a group of people that are defining aesthetics, that means there are other aesthetics that aren't getting in there. For instance, Dan Nadel [at BCGF]: they curate. But they have a problem in that they only have 60-70 tables; they have a very small space. Okay? We don't have that.

SPURGEON: Is there preference given to people that have shown in the past?

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BERNARD: No, not really. Almost all of the people that have shown in the past get their stuff in early. We send out an e-mail blast to the exhibitors. This year I did go after two publishers to get them to come to SPX. That's Koyama Press and Nobrow. I specifically went after them because of the length and breadth of what they had to offer the SPX community. They'd never been here before. So if we see publishers that are doing kick-ass work, we'll do that. We'll go, "Hey, next year, would you please come? Hugs and Kisses, Us." Is that an aesthetic thing? In one sense it is, and in one sense it isn't? If you look at both Nobrow and Koyama, their aesthetics are all over the place.

SPURGEON: You're getting a lot of bang for your buck if you do it like that. For two invites you're getting a significant impact on your show.

BERNARD: They're also international, so we try to help them with their cost structures. There are things we try to do when we go after the international people, to make it more financially viable to make the shlep over here.

SPURGEON: Can you give me an example?

BERNARD: For instance, we'll do something like go ahead and pay for their hotel rooms. But no free tables. We were sold out -- we put them up as of January 1, we were sold out by January 15. We were oversubscribed by 60 or 70 percent.

SPURGEON: What does that mean?

BERNARD: We had a very long wait list.

SPURGEON: How much of your wait list comes off the list by the show?

BERNARD: Not... not that much. [laughter] Not that much. We released half of the wait list three or four months ago. We get cancellations. We've probably had over the last six days half a dozen tables get cancelled for some reason or another. If you're on the wait list, there's not a good chance, but there's a chance. Stuff happens to people, you know.

imageSPURGEON: You have a very ambitious programming track. You work with Bill [Kartalopoulos] on that. I wondered how that developed in terms of something you wanted to see, how aggressive you wanted to be with the programming. The history of that show has seen programming all over the place, and has encompassed a bunch of diffrerent approaches.

BERNARD: Since I've been around, I'll be honest with you, I'm like, "Bill, whatever you want to do is fine with me." The only exception this year was I went and got Mark Newgarden. By the power vested in me by me, I sometimes insert myself into the process. Not a lot. But the Mark Newgarden show was important to me for a number of reasons. One is that I knew that Chris Ware would love to see these films. Even before that, I wanted to see the films.

SPURGEON: You mention Chris, you mention Dan, you mentioned to me some of the things you're going to do with them. Do the guests shape the show at all? Do they ever make overt suggestions?

BERNARD: I can't think we've ever had anything like that. No, not really. Almost all of them are willing to bop along with us. Bill... once we get commitment from the guests, I turn them over to Bill and he does his magic. Like I said, sometimes I insert myself into the process, maybe impact a panel or two somewhere. The Mark Newgarden thing was my insertion into the process this year.

SPURGEON: It sounds like you're judicious in general in terms of where you steer things. It sounds like that's a part of how you manage.

BERNARD: Look, one, we're all volunteers. Two, even though I admire the man in a lot of ways, I don't want to be seen as the Leon Trotsky of the independent world. [Spurgeon laughs] And then three, what we have found -- myself, Bill, Mike Thomas, Kevin Panetta, the core group -- whenever something comes up we basically socialize it among all of us, and we've always come up with the right answer. So the only top down from me comes from the business side and the strategic relationships like the Library of Congress and the Graphic Novel gift program we have with the libraries.

SPURGEON: What is the state of the business side? How effective a fundraiser are you? You're aligned with the CBLDF, am I right?

BERNARD: We put some into our endowment. We have this graphic novel gift program -- by the way, we were pleasantly flattered when the Eisner foundation earlier this year announced they were going to go ahead and give away graphic novels to libraries.

SPURGEON: It's the sincerest form of flattery.

BERNARD: I saw that, and I was like, "Ohhh, okay." Ours, I think ours is a little different. What we do is we allow their collections managers to select the books. We don't go to them and say, "Here are $5000 worth of books." We go, "Here's a budget." We give them five different publishers that came to SPX and we give them a budget and tell them to pick whatever they want. We buy the books and we deliver the books; we put in a little bookplate saying it's from SPX.

This year we're doing it with the Pratt Library, in Baltimore city. They have a lot of disadvantaged people and lower-income people utilize their library services. Last year we did it in Montgomery County for two reasons. One, that's where SPX has been since forever. Two, I wanted to start with someone with whom I had some degree of familiarity. The first year of anything you just want to work the bugs out.

SPURGEON: Was there a bug? Was there something you needed to work out?

BERNARD: Not really. We just wanted to take it out for a spin once. When you introduce processes, you don't try to do the hardest one first. You don't want to put yourself in a position where it's a disaster on the back end. So we started easy.

SPURGEON: So money goes to the endowment, money goes to this graphic novel program, and then money goes to the Fund?

BERNARD: The CBLDF, yeah.

SPURGEON: Can you characterize it -- is it a good fundraiser for them?

BERNARD: Oh, yeah. We upped our donation last year. Without revealing anything, we have a certain advantage in that we're all volunteers. Our cost structures are different. In terms of being able to fund the CBLDF, and the graphic novel program and the endowment? Not a problem.

SPURGEON: The endowment is there as a general catch-all?

BERNARD: I'm just into this for a second year, and hopefully I'll be here for at least another one. There are some things that we want to take a look at, without getting into details, how we can help out the independent comics community. One of the things that we did is that all of our ad dollars that were going into print ads, like for the Washington Post and CityPaper, we redirected them starting last year into Smoke Signals and Magic Bullet, the tabloids that are being printed. Is that a giveaway? The answer is no. Is there quid pro quo? The answer is yes. Are we funneling it back into our community. The answer is absolutely.

SPURGEON: So those kinds of partnerships is something you're looking towards.

BERNARD: We want to keep a step ahead of everybody now that we've seen people copying us [laughs] -- which is a good thing, mind you. That Eisner thing, I was like, "Hell, yeah." There's plenty of room for people like that. I'm just glad we were able to show the way.

SPURGEON: Is it different running a show now that there are so many shows. Different than it might have been if you had had the reins ten years ago.

BERNARD: There are a bunch of differences. One difference is that the publishers don't have the dollars they used to have to be able to ship people.

SPURGEON: Is that because of the number of shows, or is everyone broke now?

BERNARD: Both, absolutely. You've got APE, you've got TCAF, you've got MoCCA, you've got us, there's a show in Columbus, there's Stumptown out in Portland. You pick seven or eight shows. You have to really pick and choose. On the flipside of that, name a publsher that hasn't been impacted by this economic environment. Between the two of them -- that's probably the biggest difference. The publisher will go, "I don't know, person X we just put over here..." That is genuinely different.

imageSPURGEON: You mentioned your social media platform, your Tumblr is pretty great... it would seem that comics would be out ahead of those things, but there's a conservative element to comics in that people are sometimes slow in picking up on things. Has that particular outreach been successful for you?

BERNARD: Oh, yeah. As a matter of fact, we've gone from zero people on Tumblr to over 25,000. I don't know of any other indie platform out there with that kind of reach.

SPURGEON: Your is a part of comics that finds its voice there.

BERNARD: Tumblr is perfect for that because it's visual with limited text, and it's rapid. To show you the impact it's had for us, when I posted the Chris Ware poster we were getting a like a minute for a few hours. That blew me away. It's a phenomenal thing.

SPURGEON: Do you see that reflected in attendance? Or do you see it reflected in other areas? Is it maybe just part of the general churn?

BERNARD: Attendance has been growing. We were a very small show, and we're getting bigger. Last year saw us gained 30 percent in attendance.

SPURGEON: You talked about handling the credit cards... what about the lines?

BERNARD: I used to work in large-scale customer service centers handling millions of phone calls. What we're doing -- last year we had one registration table with two cash register. This year's we're going to have two tables with a cash register and an iPad. The exhbitor registration table will handle overflow and will also be equipped with a cash register and an iPad. So we should be able to get people in a lot faster than in previous years. Assuming the IP infrastructure works. [laughter] That's my problem.

SPURGEON: Panel crowding issues?

BERNARD: We went ahead and moved out of our smallest room. We had crowding problems last year. The room we were holding them only seats 120 with maybe another 100 after that. The room we have this year seats 300. Don't know how many more can stand in there. Last year it was a very big problem. We had to close the doors, so many people wanted in that couldn't get one.

SPURGEON: How are the Ignatz hosts chosen? That seems like a pretty eclectic group?

BERNARD: This year it's up to Eden Miller. Last year it was Eden. Dustin Harbin was great. I love that totally up to Eden. If that's your area, unless I see something going wrong, I'm not going to impose my aesthetic on you.

SPURGEON: What is it that you get out of the show? What is your favorite things? Where do we see you? Is it in the top guests? Is it in the newer people?

BERNARD: Yes to all of that. The problem I have is that being ED I don't see many of the panels. [laughs] I'm hoping to fix that this year by delegating some things out I shouldn't have been doing in the first place. I've got a couple of different things going on. I love to collect for my collection. For instance, going through my mini-comics, four years discovering Lilli Carré. I love that. Then getting the books autographed buy whoever the big guys are. Just wandering the floor and seeing who fits my aesthetic eye. Everyone's got theirs. I have a really wide range. It is indeed all of the above.

imageSPURGEON: Do you have a favorite, someone that you like that might surprise us? From Lilli to your top guests, that's a pretty broad range.

BERNARD: My collection is wide-ranging: turn of the 20th Century political cartoonists to Lilli and forward. You catch me at something of a disadvantage because I'm really not focused there right now. I know there's going to be someone where I'm like, "Holy shit, I've never seen that person before." I know that for this year, I'm excited to see Michael DeForge. He's never been to SPX. I'm looking forward to that. My first exposure to him, being somewhat late on that, was being sent a copy of Nobrow #6 by Alex and Sam. Last June I was in London and visited their storefornt. Introduced msyelf. They came to the Brooklyn Comics Fest, and I said, "Hey would you come to SPX?" Then they sent me Nobrow #6 and that was the first Michael DeForge I'd seen so I was very excited.

SPURGEON: Do the panels get recorded?

BERNARD: We record all of them. Last year we had technical problems with one or two of the panels, but I believe everything that was recorded has been put up on the Internet. We're bringing in someone to help us with that this year. We're springing for that.

One of the things that we do, is we'll have Chris Ware's poster. We're only getting 500 made and he's going to number 100 of them. I'm giving you somewhat of an exclusive on this.

SPURGEON: You are. I never get these, so I'm confused and baffled.

BERNARD: Chris was kind enough to design a poster for that. He has cachet in terms of that, and we'll use that as a fundraiser to do the things that we do with it. We're going to have a poster of the Jaime Hernandez badges. We've only released two so far. There are seven total. That's going to be nice because when he designed the badges he did it a totally different way than anyone's that designed the badges before. Everyone that's done the badges has done them one at a time. Jaime drew his characters in a line and then divided them up into badges. So the posters will have the badges on the bottom and the concept drawing on top. There's only going to be like 30 of these available, but Ware, Clowes, Tomine and the Hernandez Brothers were all gracioius enough to give us self-portraits. We're going to have all five of them sign a print. Good luck in getting all these people together in one place any time soon. It's very difficult to get those people together.

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SPURGEON: Do you have fun the week of the show? Do you have a ritual, or something in which you take particular pleasure? Sounds like your enjoy showing the collections.

BERNARD: Last year I brought Jim Woodring and Roz Chast and Diane Noomin down into the Library of Congress. We don't publicize this, but Jim Woodring, for instance, I'll never forget this for as long as I live. I said, "Jim, who do you want to see." He said, "I really love TS Sullivant." So I've been there a long time, and I went and got him some TS Sullivant. He had this transcendental moment with the TS Sullivant. He took his glasses off and looked at it closely and began to analyze what Sullivant was doing with his line work. Then I walk over and there's Roz Chast and Diane Noomin and Anne Telnaes all going through New Yorker cartoons with one of the curators. We get a thrill from them coming to the show. And I want to give them something. That's my biggest thing: returning something to the creators.

*****

* Small Press Expo

*****

* the Chris Ware poster
* one of Jaime's tickets
* yeah, I don't really remember what this is, but it has a little SPX on it
* that first NoBrow
* Bill Kartalopoulos
* from the mighty SPX tumblr
* Michael DeForge
* Jim Woodring and TS Sullivant
* a Michael DeForge poster (bottom)

*****

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

 
Go, Look: Guillaume Bianco

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posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: An Interview With Aseem Trivedi

I haven't consumed this one yet myself, but I'm greatly looking forward to it. My take is that he went ahead and accepted the bail-driven release from jail, but is still actively hammering at what he sees as a politically-motivated abuse of the legal system and attack on basic free speech principles that should exist in every democracy.
 
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Go, Look: Steve Baker

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Go, Look: Robot 6 On The Dylan Williams Collection

I haven't seen a bunch of coverage of the Dylan Williams Collection yet, so if there's anything out there I hope you'll send in a link. There's a great Jesse Hamm portrait of Williams here. (Someone needs to pay Hamm to do regular portraits of people; he does a nice job, and I think he's pretty fast.) That portrait accompanies a Robot 6 post here. I do think the word has spread about that one, I'm just hoping to see a bit more formal coverage.
 
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Go, Look: Um, Whatever This Is

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Short Run in Seattle has announced its programming.

* I'm on the road today headed towards the Small Press Expo. That's put conventions on the mind. I've been looking at a very short cheat sheet of conventions for 2013, just to get an aspirational picture of how many I might attend. Going to a few shows a year is a great boon to doing this site. Like many folks out there, my travel budget is limited right now. I have been able to attend more shows than I might have otherwise this year because I had some flight vouchers I needed to use (or lose) and some pre-paid reservations remaining from before I took on a bit of medical-related debt. Next year, I don't have those advantages, so I need to approach the whole issue of shows and cons with greater scrutiny.

I'm sure there are other shows, so please don't be angry with me if I didn't include yours, but here's what I wrote down as possibilities on an initial list. I would in an ideal year probably do two or three off of a list like this one:
* Angouleme 0131 to 0203
* Emerald City Comicon 0301 to 0303
* WonderCon 0329 to 0330
* C2E2 0426 to 0428
* Stumptown 0427 to 0428
* TCAF 0511 to 0512
* HeroesCon 0607 to 0609
* Comic-Con International 0717 to 0721
Again, that's an incomplete list, and a lot of the 2013 shows in the second half of the calendar haven't announced for that year yet. The first half of the year isn't a sure thing yet, either. What would basically be a second WonderCon might be added, as might an iteration of the Chicago small-press show CAKE.

Anyway, what this tells me is what shows are close enough together you could make a longish trip out of them, maybe (C2E2/Stumptown and TCAF) and, for that matter, which two directly conflict. It looks like the comics calendar has found a lot of its recurrent niches, You could fall into a pretty reliable once-a-month routine; I think that's healthy. I very much approve of non-related shows occurring on the calendar near one another -- like Baltimore and SPX did this year -- but shows that are alike that are placed near one another seems like drafting in a way that draws some audience, too. It's a delicate thing.

As I mentioned, I find it very useful to go to a couple of shows a year in order to do this job. At the same time, it's not a requirement. I also like to go to a mix of shows, in part because I try to cover a pretty wide array of comics. I usually get one or two e-mails saying, "Why the hell would you go to ______ show instead of ________ show? Well, it's a big industry, and I'm an industry guy; also, between you and me, there are shows that are more fun for exhibitors than they are for attendees and I'm more attendee than exhibitor. (If cons are summer camps, industry journalists are somewhere between c.i.t's and kitchen staff.) All of these factors influence the final decision of where to spend that part of my budget.

The reason I think about this stuff so early is that it allows you to chip away at plane tickets and hotel reservations as those savings present themselves rather than all at once near the end. That's a risk, but it usually pays off. You can usually find a plane out of San Diego right now for about half the price as you'll be paying come November, for instance.

One last thing I've noticed is that if I were a NYC person with an ambition to be involved in comics in some way, I'd be buttering up the new people running a potential MoCCA Festival and offering to take it off their hands. I don't think that show makes sense for them to do without someone doing it for them, but if someone steps up there's a real opportunity to a) look heroic given how much that show pissed certain people off the last half-decade, b) guarantee that NYC doesn't go a whole year without a small press show -- and that's if BCGF has something planned for next year, which isn't always a sure thing given the ages and projected resources of the organizers. When to schedule such a Spring small-press show might be tough. I think your choices are early April, drafting off of TCAF and hoping people make a week of it by doing it the weekend after the Toronto show, or maybe mid- or late- June? I'm not sure what would work best. People sure like going to New York, though, and New York people properly motivated sure like buying stuff.

* at any rate, we have really good conventions right now, a bunch of shows with distinct personalities and a lot to offer their attendees and exhibitors. That there's any decision-making to be performed at all is a wonderful thing.

* it's a convention just past, but Rob McMonigal's advice for how to negotiate Baltimore's show has a lot of general ideas worth noting.

* for something more up to date, take in Rob Clough's suggestions for SPX.

* finally, here's Robb Orr on Wizard's plan for a show in Portland, Oregon.
 
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If I Were In Spain, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Ronald Searle And Wine

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I was wondering the other day when we might see some more writing about comics from Steven Grant, one of the early big figure in on-line comics culture commentary and writer of comics himself. Here he is on bad comics.

image* Greg Burgas on Marathon. Greg McElhatton on Hawkeye #2. Don MacPherson on Phantom Stranger #0. Derik Badman on Dragonlance. Sean Gaffney on Orelmo Vol. 1. Grant Goggans on Judge Dredd's Day Of Chaos. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Batman Vs. Bane. Johanna Draper Carlson on Spike #2.

* Tim from Deconstructing Comics sent me a note saying they're looking for someone that can talk about CLAMP and Magic Knight Rayearth with them. I've been on their show and have enjoyed those conversations. You can e-mail them if you qualify and are interested.

* not comics: "Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man."

* here's a report from Nick Gazin from a recent gallery opening featuring the work John Pham and Rob Sato. Everyone at the opening appears to be 15 years old, but otherwise it looks like a fantastic evening. I'm a big fan of Pham's.

* have you been following this week's tribute to Charles Schulz in Mutts?

* finally, I'm a little late to this, mostly because I have a hard time just using photos when they're sent along, but I think Geoff Johns doing this kind of community outreach is a good thing.
 
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September 12, 2012


Go, Look: Fabien Mense

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Aseem Trivedi Refuses Freedom Until Charges Dropped

The newest thing I saw in the Aseem Trivedi sedition-charges case in India came late last night eastern time -- since updated with an early morning timestamp -- that the cartoonist has refused freedom granted to him by a successful bail application until charges are dropped. There's also word that he is expected to leave jail at some point today, but I can't tell if that comes before or after his refusal to leave.

I think urging that the charges be dropped is a smart move. His example and the swirl of publicity that's come with it is the biggest weapon the political point of view most in support of free speech in that country has right now. Trivedi should not take something offered unless it's something he truly wants, and what he wants is those charges dropped. We'll see how that develops; I hope this year's CNRI Courage In Editorial Cartooning winner is physically safe, and knows how much support he has within his country and abroad.
 
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Go, Look: Rebetiko

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Go, Buy: Top Shelf Has Its Massive Yearly Stock Reduction Sale

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Top Shelf Comics is having its massive yearly sale designed to reduce stock and to provide the longtime art-comics publisher with a cash infusion. As they are an advertiser here, you're welcome to consider this post compromised, biased nonsense and keep scrolling downward or leave the site for a few days altogether. This is such an ingrained part of their business plan that I'm sort of fascinated by it and consider it straight-up publishing news at this point. It's also a way to score some excellent books at ridiculous prices: such as Lucille, which was beautifully drawn and is make-you-weep-from-carrying-it humongous, for $3. I might buy a book of blank pages that big at that price. There's also Renee French, Eddie Campbell, Josh Simmons -- three cartoonists whose work I buy sight unseen -- all greatly reduced, in addition to a lot of the other Top Shelf regulars. There's even a lot of recent stuff; that Ed Piskor book is there for a great price, for example.

I'm on the road, or I'd do a full $50 recommendation, but for now I'd just suggest checking that one out. This is what Top Shelf does every now and then to stay in business, and there are significant benefits to be had in helping them do so.
 
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Go, Look: Jean-Claude Gotting

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CR Sunday Interview On A Wednesday: Tim Sale And Scott Hampton (2010)

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*****

It was my great pleasure to talk to Tim Sale and Scott Hampton in 2010 at Charlotte's HeroesCon on the subject of painting in comics. The conversation took place shortly after the passing of Frank Frazetta, so we started with a discussion of his work and legacy -- actually we start with a discussion of hotel-related convention emergencies, but we get to Mr. Frazetta pretty quickly. We also spent some time tracking each artist's attitude about their respective professional journeys. That's the heart of what I wanted to talk about, and that's what the small but very respectful audience got.

Tim Sale is one of mainstream comics' premiere illustrators of the last 20 years, with a dozen or so major projects to his credit; Scott Hampton is an enormously skilled painter -- and artist more generally -- who was present from the very beginning of this extended, current era of paintings employed in genre comic books. They're not the kind of comics-makers to whom I generally get the chance to speak, so I was grateful for the opportunity presented by the convention. I remember it as fondly as I remember any panel experience. Both men were super-nice, and I thought very articulate. I hope I get to chance to speak to both artists again, together or separate.

You can listen to this conversation here. You may notice if you listen to that that I tweaked a bit for this record from my recording. I just sort of do that naturally, now, so I apologize if anyone finds that disconcerting. I think theirs is slightly longer, too. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

imageTOM SPURGEON: One thing that occurred to me coming into the weekend -- Tim, I read your writing on the subject, as a matter of fact -- is that we just lost one of the greats in terms of painting and also in terms of comics in Frank Frazetta. He's an iconic figure for fantasy culture and recognized as one of the significant visual talents of the 20th Century. Tim, I was intrigued by what you wrote about his legacy, how that legacy might develop and how his comics legacy is different from his painting legacy. Tim, I was wondering if you could talk about those thoughts, and Scott, if you could tell us what your thoughts were when you heard that one of the great comics talents and visualists had passed away.

SCOTT HAMPTON: I'll jump in, but first I want to address myself to this business of hotels and emergencies. I was at a show in Chicago, and this was as comics convention, and at two in the morning the fire alarms started going off, saying everyone get out. The thing was, my hotel room itself had a fire alarm inside the room. Not in the hall but in my room, above my bed. Now, if you've ever head a fire alarm go off in the hall, you know how horribly loud they are, but can you imagine in the room, just 12 feet away? [Spurgeon laughs] I levitated six feet. [laughter] I'm in my underwear. My ears are bleeding. I'm trying to get into clothes but I have to take my hands from ear... I come downstairs half dressed. My ears have exploded. Joe Jusko is half dressed. [laughter] Did you have that experience? [to Sale] You must not have done that show. But my God. I'm the only person I know of that actually had an alarm in their hotel room and I can't explain... you just don't know how loud those things can be until you've done that. I could have sued the place. I look back and I think my hearing is not the best, it wasn't before that, but it's certainly worse now, and I wonder if that might have had some effect. So anyway, I just thought I'd throw that out.

SALE: Be sure to check your hotel room. [laughter]

HAMPTON: Exactly. Exactly. [short pause] Anyway, Frazetta. [longer pause] Tim, you first. [laughter]

SALE: For those of you that don't know, I'm color blind. and so I don't paint. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate painting, and painters. Like so many people, I came to Frazetta through the Conan covers. I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen anything like it. It not just fit Conan it fit so much shit running around in my head that I couldn't do because I can't paint. Just the dynamic aspect of it. The cover of Adventurer, he's just standing there, but it's just so damn cool. And so powerful. You look at it now, and increasingly -- this is in the '70s, when I... were they published in the '70s?

HAMPTON: '60s and early '70s.

SALE: Okay. It was the early '70s when I saw them. I came to them because Marvel was going to do a comic. And so I was like, "Okay." I'd never heard of it before. So I went and picked them up. Loved them. I had an old army coat that had pockets and I carried four Conan paperbacks with me at all times.

HAMPTON: Brilliant. I love that.

SALE: You never know when you have to wait for a bus. [laughter]

HAMPTON: Exactly. Did you read some of them?

SALE: I read them all.

HAMPTON: Interesting.

SALE: And I liked the stories, too. There was a fight where Conan is pinned and he reaches back and pulls the guy's eye out. And I thought, "Man... that is cool." [Hampton laughs] It was like a love story in a movie, people start kissing and then you cut to a fireplace and then you're in the next day. This didn't cut away from anything. [laughter] When you're a 13-year-old boy, that was terrific. Frazetta's work was so emblematic of what was going on inside the books, and like I said I'd never seen anything like it. I didn't see any of his black and white work until considerably later. I was in school in New York and I was going to get on a bus because it was what I could afford to come back to Seattle. Seventy-two hours. So I stopped at a newsstand and picked up my first issue of Heavy Metal and the second Ballantine collection of Frazetta's work.

HAMPTON: Right.

SPURGEON:

SALE: It had a lot of the Lord Of The Rings black and white work in there. They're great drawings, and very dynamic, the brush work and everything is amazing -- they didn't really fit the book as well his Conan work fit that stuff, but still, as drawings they were amazing. Even after that, kind of working my way backwards, the EC work and all that.

HAMPTON: I had a very similar experience with Frazetta. I used to dream Frazetta paintings.

SALE: I did, too!

HAMPTON: I had a dream where I walked into a room and there were 50 unknown, brand-new Frazetta originals. And I woke up, and I said, "Oh, I've got to try and remember some of them and put them down." [to Sale] Did you remember any of them? Could you sketch any of them out.

SALE: Yeah. And they sucked. [laughter] With the dreams, I used to do that with Neal Adams' X-Men stuff. When you woke up what was great in the dream... plus, I wasn't any good.

HAMPTON: Yeah, yeah. I hear that. I wasn't, either. But still, they looked awfully good. You're making that connection. The thing about being old farts like us, and having grown up and sought out stuff in the '70s, is that because we didn't have access -- there wasn't an Internet, there weren't opportunities to be a click away from seeing everything ever made -- that had its benefits and it had its downsides. Having a lack of access meant that you went hunting. And I went hunting sometimes in old paperback bookshops, and I would find unknown Frazettas and I would find Jeff Jones paperbacks I had never heard of before. Even at that small size they would blow my mind. So yeah, the era of Frazetta. Frazetta's influence is both broad and deep. And it's a profound influence. Whether you know it or not, you've been inundated. By heavy metal bands. By vans. By clothing. By design work, commercials, work in animation... it's all been influenced by him.

It's a great life. He had a great life, and he's going to be missed. He had a profound, profound effect on the culture.

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SPURGEON: I was wondering if both of you could build on an aspect of what was just discussed, the notion of hunting for material -- maybe even in contrast to your formal educations. At the time you were both coming up, and both first doing art, and when you both started doing comics, there was very little in the way of an agreed-upon comics education to be had. You had to build your own sets of influences, and decide what meant something to you and what didn't. I'm thinking that you both had formal art education, but at least one of you if not both didn't finish that art training, and that your comics education might have been totally separate from that. Is that something you had to piece together on your own, an education in comics?

SALE: Yes. I was just talking about going to school in New York. I went to SVA for a year. But the real reason I went is because at the time John Buscema was teaching a workshop. It was Buscema and [John] Romita Sr. and Marie Severin.

SPURGEON: Whoa.

SALE: And they each did a month. Once a week. We'd meet in the Biltmore Hotel, the ballroom.

HAMPTON: Wow... sounds great.

SALE: There were about 50 of us. Buscema taught anatomy, which is something he was great at. Chainsmoked his way through the whole thing, I remember. [laughter] Romita taught inking and storytelling. Severin pretty much -- and in fact, she was the best teacher -- in terms of serious stuff was the least talented of those artists, but the best teacher by far. She taught covers. Anyway, I did learn some stuff, but not much. I felt very defeated, like it was full of rules that I would never get, and I couldn't feel my way through it. I was homesick and I was 21. I fled New York as soon as I could and went back to Seattle. And I didn't start working professionally until I was 30. By that time I had absorbed a lot of it, but I had done a lot of fantasy work in between. Not comics, but fantasy work. I was looking at all kinds of Frazetta and that sort of thing.

The idea of seeking things out: money to get things, old paperbacks were one thing, but I was talking to [Joe] Quesada about this a few years ago. When I could start to afford to buy books -- and even then I would go to remaindered bins -- it changed all sorts of things. The internet, now, as you were saying, it really makes all kinds of things different. The last 15 year in the country and around the world -- but especially in this country -- there's been a re-appreciation of old illustration, advertising art, that isn't kitschy, that's really great work. And through my friendship with our mutual friend Mark Chiarello, who's got a vast knowledge of all of this stuff, he really was an education in and of himself for me. "Have you seen this guy? Have you seen that guy?"

The Internet changed all of that because it's free.

HAMPTON: My education is essentially my older brother, Bo. He's five years older than I am, and I'm glad to always offer that. He doesn't like me to say that. [laughter] He was really my greatest influence as a kid. I didn't go to school. He went to SVA for I think long enough to get a degree. He got his degree from there. He was mostly learning from Will Eisner. He took Will Eisner's courses, and he apprenticed with Eisner. So I really kind of glommed onto what Bo was learning. So yeah, I've parasitized everybody I know for the longest time. I started with Bo. When I met George Pratt and Mark Chiarello --

SALE: Were you in school with them?

HAMPTON: No. They were all at Pratt. It's funny, we all met at the Thanksgiving convention in New York in the year 1981. This was the same year I met Kent Williams, Jay Muth, George Pratt, Mike Mignola, Mark Chiarello, Charles Vess I think was coming out that year, we all met at about exactly the same moment. It was sort of hilarious that so many of us went on to do stuff in comics. Jeff Jones was at that show as well. I would take the information they had. I could ask my simple questions. "How do you get this effect?" They'd tell me, and I'd say, "Great." They'd show me and then I could do it. That was my education.

I will still do that. I look at other people's work, I look at Tim's work, and I'll be influenced by that. It's all over the place. The comics education thing... I think that art, per se, a lot of it you teach yourself. And honestly, if you were in a better place emotionally, even if that information wasn't that applicable to you, the inspiration you'd get from a Buscema and a Romita and a Marie Severin could have been enough.

SALE: Well, I was already inspired by them. It was different in person, and unfortunately not as inspiring in person. But their work captivated me the same way I bet it captivated everyone in this room. Buscema, especially: I was just so fascinated by what he would do. How easy it was for him, clearly. And when his brother inked him -- speaking of brothers...

HAMPTON: That's the greatest pairing, I think. It's amazing. Buscema inked by Sal Buscema is still the best work. The Silver Surfer work, I still think that's by far the greatest work.

SALE: His best work, yeah. They did a Captain America, too, did you know that?

HAMPTON: Really?

SALE: Yeah, just one.

HAMPTON: I'd love to see that.

SALE: It's... it's not much of a story. So it's nowhere near as powerful as the Silver Surfer stuff. But yeah, they did one. Can't remember what it was.

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SPURGEON: John Buscema might be a jumping off point to what may be an impossibly broad issue that I nonetheless hope you can speak to a little bit. Buscema had a wonderful way of drawing, where his single images were visually arresting. If you've ever seen his original art, he'd sometimes draw on the back --

HAMPTON: A lot.

SPURGEON: -- these incredible single images. Unlike a lot of comics, and this would extend to painted comics of some varieties that have come since, Buscema's work really functioned as comics, they didn't work in a way that made the eye stop and rest. You could move through his stuff. He was very good with anatomy, and reasonably strong in terms of page design. I was wondering if both of you could speak to that tension in comics between those beautiful single images and the cartooning element that lies underneath a lot of it. To tell a story, to make it move. How long does that take to master. I could imagine that even being a lifelong task. You're both solid single-image makers, but both of you have done work that really reads well as comics.

HAMPTON: Of the two titles, I'd rather have "cartoonist," personally. The greatest single enjoyment I get from working in comics is the storytelling. Whenever I can I write my own material. I love telling stories, and trying to get better at that. I do think, though, that... it's funny, in the early 1980s when painted comics started to happen, and I was one of the first ones doing that, along with Bill Sienkiewicz, Kent Williams, and some others, we were basically just jumping into the storytelling world without having enough background in it to do it effectively. But hey, it was new. A new experiment.

I still think that over time painted comics and digital comics and all the tonal ranges that can be created can have their place in comics. I've backed off of the feeling that a painted comic is necessarily... I can't get over those floating balloons. They're so flat, and they're so outside the painted work.

SALE: Yeah.

HAMPTON: It separates, and I don't like that. I've never liked that. I get upset. [laughs] I said to Archie Goodwin, "Look I want to paint my ballons. I want to do them in color, and I want do them with texture. I want to have them integrated in some fashion." And he goes, "Yeah, and if the separations are at all off, then the reader can't read the words." And I was like, "Look, use the lettering as a way to keep the separations from getting messed up." [laughs] You know? The sepia lettering, if it's the least bit fuzzy, they know they have to fix it. He was like, "You're expecting too much from the printer." So it never really happened. I don't want to get too bogged down in that, but what I'm saying is that the painted work runs a risk of being very static and seeming like still images and postcards rather than a story. The most wonderful thing about comics to me is that when you start to read it, the visuals become like butter, and you're just grooving along, and you're not even aware of the pictures. You get it, but they're not stopping you. They just keep you flowing along. And if they do stop you, hopefully it's for a reason.

imageI have a formula for that. I think for every hour I spend on a panel, I'm getting the reader to look for one more second. If I spend six hours, almost a full day, doing some sort of establishing shot. Essentially I'm kind of wanting the reader to take it in for six seconds, which is a lot more than they would normally do. But I never want to interrupt the flow, and I never want to get in the way of the wonderful things that can happen in a comic book. Honestly? We've got a long way to go in terms of tonal work and painted work to make that maximally effective. I sometimes think that a painted comic is... if I want to paint the perfect comic book, it'll be a woman, sitting by a window, drinking a cup of tea, and thinking out loud, and maybe the phone rings and she talks on it. The End.

It can't be too active. Because as soon as it starts to become very active, the painted work tends to irritate me if it's too realistic. The more of an integration of line and painted work -- someone like Lorenzo Mattotti, or Teddy Kristiansen -- that's inspirational, because whatever they're trying to get at I believe it because there are those graphic elements of line. It says I am not divorced from the story. I am kinetic. I incorporate a great deal of line work into my painted work in order to deal with this problem. From my perspective, the painted angle, that's the struggle.

SALE: Teddy's work is more graphic. Teddy's work is definitely graphic. It's paint and line. It's both, as opposed to lustre. That is a kind of hybrid. What's this woman look like in the room drinking? I'm trying to conjure an image.

HAMPTON: She's an old woman. Yeah.

SALE: That's different than my image. [laughter]

HAMPTON: Did you woman have clothes?

SALE: She had clothes. Plenty of clothes. A big, fluid skirt.

HAMPTON: That's the thing. When it comes to a flowing skirt, when it comes to material with textures -- satin, rock, wood grain, -- atmospheres, fog, all the rest of it, you kind of can't beat paint for creating those things. The more that you approach the way we see the world, optically, which is to say tonal rather than line, the closer you get to that, the more the reader I think says to himself, "All right, I'm being presented with something. I'm not engaged in it, per se. I'm not being asked to be involved with it. I'm basically being shown something." And to show them is exactly what comics isn't supposed to do. You're supposed to engage them, get them to lose themselves in it. For that, let me point to Bill Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes. He's done painted comics. They're in the front of the collections. They incorporate line, but they're also watercolor. To my mind, his are the most effective painted comics there are. You buy the reality that he establishes, however wonky the drawing. It's beautifully drawn, but it's not realistic. He makes you believe it. He sucks you into that whole world of his, and the painted work does not in any way impede your ability to buy into that which is happening in the moment.

SALE: Scott, do you know Blacksad?

HAMPTON: Black Satin?

SALE: Blacksad.

HAMPTON: Black Sand.

SALE: S-a-d.

HAMPTON: The panther. Yes, I've seen that stuff.

SALE: That's painted, but it's definitely comics. I highly recommend it, not just to highly initiated crew over here but to everybody. It's going to be reproduced by Dark Horse sometime later this year. There are three volumes in print now. He's working on the fourth -- it's two Spanish guys. Juanjo Guarnido and Juan Diaz Canales. They both worked for Disney France as animators so there's an incredible liveliness to it, movement and power. It's anthropomorphic. I thought it was a panther, too, but I spoke to the artist and he said, "No, it's a house cat." Big thick neck. [Hampton laughs] Black.

It's a Bogart movie, but with animals, on two feet and wearing clothes, things like that. And having sex. It's amazing. They're shooting each. But that's a great combination, because I completely agree with your point that when you have illustration without line, especially when it's Alex Ross or somebody where you're supposed to be impressed. I get that feeling from Ross's work so much of "Look what I can do." The photo reference of it all. That's exactly the opposite of what you want it to be. In my opinion.

HAMPTON: I secretly agree, but it's bad form for me to say that. [laughter]

SALE: I can say it. I don't have a career. Back to talking about storytelling. A lot of it is instinctive for me. And I've oftened wondered why I could not begin to get it when I was at school, and how that somehow over the years became instinctive. I studied it, I do follow certain things. There's a gentleman in the audience here... I have a message board on my web site and one of the topics is a page a day of mine. He's a pain the ass but he's very thoughtful, and he looks very hard at things. He wonders about storytelling. He often points out things were I'm like, "I guess that's there, but didn't really plan that out."

I always thought of the old axiom that you should be able to follow a story without words: that the words added a tremendous amount, but on a basic level you could go panel to panel and have a sense of what the story was, what was happening. And what led to the next. So visually leading from one panel to the next, and you're reading left to right, the action goes left to right. That kind of thing. Establishing shots. You make sure that the most important thing is easy to find. Then you can add stuff. I'm working on a Captain America series now with Jeph Loeb and it's full of double-page bar scenes, where there's five different conversations going on. It's fun trying to coordinate all of that, and a challenge. How you make the eye move, and what you stick to. You have to pick out the most important thing, and then the rest of it is there if you want to slow down and look at it. But you're not holding up the story.

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HAMPTON: It's this strange hybrid. That's why I asked you about reading the Conans, Tim. You were a reader then. My thing is I was into the visuals and I didn't read them for a long, long time. As an adult I started reading comics but I was only looking at them for decades. So I didn't appreciate Johnny Craig. He's one of my favorite people now. You may not have heard of him, but he's an old-timer from the '50s and '60s. I love his stuff. But I didn't then.

That's the thing. That's the thing. It's something about the visuals. The more the visuals are impressive and interesting and make me just want to look at them, the less I'm wanting to read the story in some sense.

SALE: Especially if your history was looking at the pictures and not reading the stories, right?

HAMPTON: The people that all got to me in the '60s... my first love in comics was probably Jim Steranko. [laughs] He was an incredible experimenter in terms of style and graphics. It was eyepopping and just blew my mind. But none of them imputed to me the least instinct to read. I became a reader later. I value the reading of comics and the story of comics now more than I do the visuals. The thing about the Chris Bachalos of the world... look, we're making a deal with the devil. We have comic books in the world because you're asking people that are mostly visual to become storytellers. And it's not instinctive. It's not intuitive, necessarily. And sometimes they do just get caught up in the design and the look of it. Honestly, I give them some room to do that because I know what it's like to feel like I'd rather focus on the visuals than the story. But I very much admire and want to become a much better person at making a story flow, the rhythm of it and the pacing.

There's nothing that will make you want to do that more than writing your own story and wanting to maximize it visually. It's different when you've got someone else's story, you can kind of be a little bit glib about it. "Well, that's that. I'm going to draw this cool stuff." Not so when you've written it yourself. Now you want it to communicate.

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SPURGEON: Scott, you mentioned Lorenzo Mattotti earlier. Two of his painted works, Fires and Murmur are almost tone poems more than straight narrative. I wonder if you could both talk about tone and mood, either subliminal or overt in comics. The kind of comics where you may read it and have a reaction that's different than the surface reaction. Mike Mignola yesterday talked about reading Jim Woodring's comics where he would all of the sudden feel scared without knowing exactly why. Eisner and [Alex] Toth were both great with tone and mood. Certainly as accomplished as your work is... I wonder if you could talk about tone in terms of narrative.

SALE: If I had to single out one thing, tone and mood is my main thing. I am known for using a lot of black, but I also did a Superman story where I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted the tone, the mood to be different. It's almost a coloring book. I put a lot of texture into the line, but there was almost no black. I wanted the color to be a big part of it. That was very scary. That was before I had a computer, so I didn't see any of the color. I drew this coloring book, and I had no idea what it would look like until it was printed. The good old days. [Hampton laughs] But I did it that way on purpose. The mood and everything was the reason. I keep myself amused by trying different techniques, trying to fit a different technique to the story I"m going to be telling. Superman being different than Batman I wanted to really open it up that way. My friendship with Mark was really blossoming, so we talked about Rockwell in particular. His depiction of Americana I though was really apropos of how I thought about Superman. The Kansas stuff -- really different than Gotham City and the angst.

I'd like to do a romance comics. How would I draw that? Draw it like a Toth. Try to draw it like Toth.

HAMPTON: The different stories, I look at them and ask how I'm going to approach them. I struggle with that. Stanley Kubrick said something wonderful, that the more you know the harder it gets. What he's saying is that when you have a limited number of things you can pull of your choices are few and you don't have to worry about them. But when you can draw fifty different feet, you have to choose. It's problematic at times. As I've gotten better and I've learned more and taken in more techniques, I sometimes find it difficult to decide how to approach a specific passage or story or whatever.

When it comes to tone, effects of mood and tone are things that draw me in. I love to try and create that, whether with black and white or with color. It's funny, and I don't know if it's really on topic but I want to mention it. You can tell a young artist from an older artist because the young artist will have an office scene of two guys in a office talking and it will last three pages. It will start with a simple side shot, and then the next thing you know it' a bird's eye view of the guy, and then a worm's eye view, and then he'll show it from outside and then he'll do a big eyeball. He's trying to juice this boring scene visually.

SALE: That sounds great. [laughter] I want to read that!

HAMPTON: Exactly. The problem with that is that is' in defiance of the story. The thing about tone is that everything has it. You have to figure out what kind and then try to make it as both appropriate to the moment and then interesting as you can without shattering the thing and making it just visually fun without it being that kind of story.

SALE: It also helps if the writing is compelling.

HAMPTON: Exactly.

SALE: Not just compelling, but the writer also understands comics, so you build into a moment -- set-up, set-up, set-up, punchline; maybe not a joke, but a finish to it. That has to lead to something else unless it's the end of a scene. If it's two people arguing, two people deciding what to have for dinner, two people fighting crime deciding you have to go here and you have to go there, all that leads you as the person doing the pictures to how you're going to draw it. What's the room loook like, what are they wearing, what is the lighting. That's plenty. You don't have to do the eyeball.

HAMPTON: You say they're in a room, but I don't see any reason why they can't be walking around. If I can I will get them to walk around, and will take them into a park, and I will have some other things to see. This is a technique that they used in a television show The West Wing.

SALE: Walk and talk.

HAMPTON: West Wing is a very static show, but they're constantly motoring through those hallways, aren't they? That's visually more interesting, and it gives you something to focus on, and you get the life of the place. You see what I'm saying.

SALE: The camera is moving, too. That in and of itself is...

HAMPTON: If there isn't a compelling reason to say in a bathroom, I'm leaving. [laughter] I will find a way to get to the roof. I want to see some ducks, and I want to see some birds. Then we'll go back to the bathroom. [laughter]

SALE: When you first said moving, I thought you meant moving in the room. You don't have to leave and go do stuff. If for instance they're talking and it leads to a moment, the punchline idea I was talking about, if one guy is walking around angsting about something, and the other guy is sitting there with his arm closed and he's talking. And the guy angsting is not speaking but listening intently, and the punchline is that he stops and turns and looks back. Over the shoulder, or you hit the lighting a certain way. That's a punchline. There's been action, movement that adds to what the words are, and draws attention to the scene without drawing attention to itself. Plus it's what people do. All that is storytelling as well.

HAMPTON: I agree.

SALE: I have a lot of fun with that.

imageAUDIENCE QUESTION: I actually did not know, Tim, that you were color blind. What I like about your stuff is how you use color. [laughter] I was wondering now that you've said that, that this has made you better with the black and white visually because of the color-blindness.

SALE: Yeah, I'm sure it has. I've always been drawn to contrasts. Before Mignola or Sin City or things like that, Toth was -- does everybody know Alex Toth? Longtime artist, did many different thigns in comoics. Many different styles of thigns. A real artists' artist. He increasingly said "Make it simple, make it siple, make it seimple -- wihtout making it simple. It was very complicated. His work in Eerie was mindblowing to me; they were black and white, sometimes it was wash, sometimes heavy black and white. Johnny Craig did some work for them. Frazetta did some work. Angelo Torres. There was a group of people that they -- Reed Crandall -- sort of a stable of artists, and Toth was an infrequent contributor. I think [Steve] Ditko's best work --

SPURGEON: His wash work in that period is amazing-looking.

SALE: The Fly, things like that.

HAMPTON: "Collector's Edition." "Deep Ruby."

SALE: I highly recommend all of that stuff. Dark Horse is doing a good job of putting all that out again. All that was really high contrast. The more high contrast it was, the more I was drawn to it. I didn't know at the time that I was color blind. But I'm sure that was a big part of it.

HAMPTON: What is your color blindness? Is it red-green?

SALE: It is not red-green. I was being interviewed in Barcelona at a con, and it turned out the guy was an optometrist. He knew exactly what I had, and that there were twenty different kinds. I didn't get him to write it down. The easiest way to put is I can't create with color. I can see blue, I can see red, I can see yellow and stuff. I can tell your shirt is a different color blue than the chair, but I wouldn't know how to make one or the other or what should go next to it, or that if you add a little magenta to this... that's what I can't do. With the advent of being sent jpegs, I've been blessed to work with people like Greg Wright and Dave Stewart, Chiarello, who are just fantastic colorists, and in the case of Mark and Dave amazing in their use of the computer. Bold and entirely appropriate to comics. I'm not a big fan of the lens-flarey stuff, or the smoothness. It's not like I see the world in black and white. I can look at Dave coloring Darwyn Cooke in New Frontier and say I've never seen anything like this before. I'd literally never seen anything like that before. How he got the computer to mimic other graphic things. Darwyn's great at that.

HAMPTON: I'm not color blind. [laughter] [Mike] Kaluta has a color blindness.

SALE: Toth. Toth, actually.

HAMPTON: Yeah, Toth.

SALE: John Byrne.

HAMPTON: One of my very favorite artists was Robert Fawcett and he, too, was color blind.

SALE: Was he really?

HAMPTON: He was. His wife made the color choices for him. He knew there were hues and gray and stuff, but that's all he could see. So she'd say, "I think you oughta go with pink for the dress this time." And he'd go, "Which one's pink?" "That one." All right.

SALE: I did not know that. [laughter]

*****

* Scott Hampton
* Tim Sale

*****

* art from the respective artists: Hampton, Sale, Hampton, Sale, Hampton, Hampton, Sale, Sale, Sale (last one below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Peggy Adam

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

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

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

*****

JUN121130 LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES TP VOL 05 $14.99
The follow-up to last summer's devastatingly good issue isn't as devastating, but it's still really good. Lots of Borneo in the Jaime story. I find that character alternately hilarious and terrifying. If Locas/Wire comparisons ever take hold, Borneo is one of those characters of Jaime's the most like that TV show's many memorable supporting-to-minor characters. The Gilbert is Palomar-focused and features both Sheriff Chelo and Tipin Tipin, and it's impossible not to be happy seeing those two on the page. Everyone should visit Los Bros this weekend at Small Press Expo.

imageJUL121175 STUMPTOWN V2 #1 $3.99
JUL120574 WINTER SOLDIER #10 $2.99
It doesn't seem like there's a lot in the way of comic-book purchases that intrigue this week, although you mileage will likely vary. There is a lot of Image material in terms of re-releases and the like, so if you've been looking some of those comics it might be the week to try one or two. The Greg Rucka/Matt Southworth effort Stumptown coming back in a second volume would seem to me the belle of this week's ball. There is no reason that ten years from now we couldn't better support comics effort like Stumptown on a more regular basis. The Winter Soldier comic is one I might buy because it's nice to have brief runs of superhero comics by quality creators (like writer Ed Brubaker, who has already announced his departure) as sample of that form. Well, from my standpoint it's nice to have those things.

JUN121232 BEATLES GRAPHIC GN $27.95
I have no idea what this is, and if something really good Beatles-related was going to drop with that price point, I probably would have heard about it. Still, I'd look.

JUL121089 CAT BURGLAR BLACK GN $16.99
JUN121128 CAVALIER MR THOMPSON A SAM HILL GN $16.99
APR121093 CRACKLE OF THE FROST HC $19.99
Three quite good-looking books from three frequent publishers that are still under-appreciated by North American audiences, I think. The Mattotti and the Sala are prettier than the Tommaso, but Rich has a ton of fans, some of whom are going to be quite glad to have a complete work to read from the comics author. The Sala really surprised me when it initially came out in that it was almost luminous. The Mattotti is ridiculous, I've been picking that one up and looking at it for about three weeks now.

FEB120808 HUGO TATE GN (MR) $19.99
This is Nick Abadzis' early, significant work, and one that I enjoyed devouring earlier this year. Abadzis is a featured guest (I think) at this weekend's Small Press Expo, where I bet it's possible to buy this from him directly.

JUN120886 ODYSSEY BLOOMSBURY HC ED GN $20.00
I assume this is the Seymour Chwast, and I also assume that one of those smarties over at TCJ.com will eventually explain to me whether or not this is worth diving into.

MAY120062 BUCKO HC $19.99
As I understand it, this is basically the writer Jeff Parker writing for the strengths and skill-set of cartoonist Erika Moen. I would be interested in seeing that combination, and I wasn't following the corresponding webcomic.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Photos Of Ladies + Gallery Of Comics Art

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not usually my kind of thing, but this one is like rooting through the car trunk of some rich, comics-obsessed teenager
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* happy belated 35th anniversary to the late Jeff MacNelly's Shoe, a comic my newspaperman father very much enjoyed.

image* Dustin Harbin on Barack Hussein Obama. Jason Thompson on Genju no Seiza. Johnny Ryan on every autobiographical comic ever. Shannon Smith on Maggots and Glamourpuss in 2008. Tucker Stone on a bunch of different stuff. Chris Marshall on Economix.

* one reason it's nice when Indie Con season hits is because it means Secret Acres updates their blog.

* I always enjoy looking at Steve Rude's version of Batman. There's a cartoon verve to it that places it right smack in the middle of the various effective character portraits featuring that guy, I think.

* not comics: Patricia Highsmith doodles.

* Michael Dooley talks to Eliza Frye. Ian Boothby and David Dedrick talk to Ty Templeton. Will Scott talks to Brandon Graham. Julinda Morrow talks to Jonathan Luna. Jim Rugg and Jasen Lex talk to Anne Koyama. Rob McMonigal profiles Katie Sekelsky and Matt Dembicki.

* wait, Steve Parkhouse did the comic-book adaptation of Time Bandits?

* I am always just about the last comics-focused blogger to learn about a new installment of Perry Bible Fellowship.

* for some reason that has nothing to do with anything other than when I move to a new computer and rebuild my links I always forget someone, I haven't been linking to the Deconstructing Comics podcast. This means I also haven't been listening to the Deconstructing Comics podcast. The ones I downloaded to take with me on a travel day are this one on Flex Mentallo and this one on Doonesbury.

* I've also taken a bunch of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell with me.

* I can't remember if I linked to this article on the politics of Batman or not. I probably didn't read it all the way through then, either. One thing I like about those films is that they're kind of a mess, so I can't imagine any cohesive political view emerges from them without some really wishful thinking by the person who wants to see them. I could be wrong, and usually am.

* not comics: Michael May writes about the small-business aspect of comics and the appeal of small businesses more generally.

* Alex Toth was apparently a sentinel of liberty.

* I am jealous of Martin Wisse's construction of an artist's illustration not being a character but a standard figure from that artist cosplaying that character. That's a funny way to get at a pretty brutal criticism, one that can be applied to a lot of comics-related art.

* finally, here's a nice blog post that's just been sort of sitting in my bookmarks about an anniversary visit to the D+Q bookstore.
 
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September 11, 2012


Please Read: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Announces The Dylan Williams Collection

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I'm very happy about this, and I encourage you to read their announcement.
 
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Go, Look: A Saul Steinberg Mini-Gallery

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via
 
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Report Says Charges Against Aseem Trivedi May Be Modified

The Indian cartoonist charged with sedition may soon no longer face that specific charge, the latest wire reports indicate. Under this scenario the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi would no longer be charged with sedition but with a specific charge related to national/symbol insult. Trivedi refused to accept bail yesterday and was carted off to jail for several days under the sedition charges, which were made against him by a lawyer.

The fact that Trivedi was charged with sedition is ludicrous, so I guess it would be good to see that jettisoned. I still don't understand how Trivedi can be charged with much of anything at all, and would hope this isn't merely a small-p political solution to a major free expression problem gripping that nation. The fact that it's being sold as dropped charges indicates to me there's a bit of negotiation involved there. I hope Trivedi is okay, and that he can soon put this behind him and continue his fight against political corruption. I also hope that he remains supported.
 
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Go, Look: The Abadzone

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Bundled Update: Kim Thompson And Eric Reynolds Basically Make An Open Offer To Publish Dave Sim

imageLike most things that involve dramatic comics personalities the thought of providing contextual material on the following is enough to make me not want to do the article at all but, basically, Dave Sim wrote an editorial that said he was ending Glamourpuss and that he was essentially preparing in one way or another to leave comics altogether. Since that editorial, Sim suffered a setback in the production of Kickstarter-driven High Society. For me it was an editorial worth noting because Sim's an intriguing figure, important in modern comics history and to me his situation may serve to refocus some of our attention on the potential situation facing a lot of indie/alt cartoonists prominent from 1975 to 1995.

Anyway, if you start here and work your way back through the links, you notice something interesting: Fantagraphics co-owner Kim Thompson and Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds essentially say flat-out they'd publish select portions of Dave Sim's existing library of work. Thompson endorses re-doing the Cerebus material for a bookstore audience. Reynolds says he'd love to publish the current Alex Raymond-related serial.

I've talked to a lot of people about Sim's editorial and I agree with just about everyone I talked on one thing. While Sim's personality as we've come to understand it would lead us to think he's in a pretty intractable situation right this moment, he actually has a lot of material that could be published and that could conceivably make money for him and bring an audience his way. That includes:
* the forthcoming Alex Raymond book.
* re-packaging of significant portions if not the entirety of the Cerebus saga.
* digital re-packaging of his content in some form or another.
* an oversized book shot from original art (PetuniaCon, say, or the Palnu Trilogy, or Mind Games).
* a color album consisting of what color Cerebus work there is, perhaps augmented with the collaborative material from Swords Of Cerebus (a Barry Windsor-Smith image from a back cover to which above).
That seems like a lot to me. In fact, if all indie/alt cartoonists had this much of a resource available to them, I would probably sleep much better at night.

Sim working with a Fantagraphics or an IDW or similar house would be news in terms of Sim's one-time major, wholehearted, pointed resistance to working with any kind of publisher at all. If there's anything the comics culture loves more than pin-ups of costumed characters, it's judging people and positions based on an unrealistic expectation they stay unrelenting over several decades, the whole world shifting underneath that position's feet be damned. I suspect that this may be a position Sim has that has softened a little bit over the years, but who knows? If it hasn't, maybe there's even an intermediate step available to the cartoonist, like working with the kind of team that such a publisher might provide as opposed to working with people in one's inner circle.
 
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Go, Look: Marlo Meekins

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Analysts Weigh In On August 2012 Numbers

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has offered up their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops, this time for August 2012.

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

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

So the latest Marvel mini-series event thingamabob (Avengers Vs. X-Men) is finishing strong, which makes some sense given the nature of the buzz I've seen around the series generally ("hey, this is getting pretty good") as it's progressed and the praise that I've seen settle on a specific Spider-Man centric issue. That's a good sign for Marvel, because Marvel drawing on the strength of its talent pool and seeing rewards is better for the market than when they do market-manipulation in the form of things like doing 18 billion variant covers and are rewarded for it both specifically and, you know, in the general way of the market not immediately collapsing. At least I will maintain that it's a better thing. I'm not sure what else I see -- I'm still having a hard time figuring what the hell is going on because the market is really event and early-numbers driven right now, to the point that only seems to work 60 percent in that direction seems like some sort of crazy throwback to ancient times.

Walking Dead sees a priapism-related boost for issue #101 on the attention #100 received, and more generally for people turning to it as the TV show remains popular.

Overall the lesson for 2012 seems to be as straightforward as that this is turning out to be a pretty good year, and not just in comparison to the last year, which was abominably crappy in a lot of a ways. If this continues, Brian Hibbs' yearly look at Bookscan numbers is going to be intolerably confident. But, you know, hey: good on them. I still worry about the overall strength of the market because I think a strong middle class makes a strong market, but I don't blame anyone for not paying attention to me.
 
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Go, Look: Mercurial/Fond

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Go, Read: The New Life Of The Comic Book

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* very happy to see Faith Erin Hicks place her Superhero Girl book with Dark Horse.

image* Brett Weiss over at ICv2.com has word of two Alexandro Jodorowsky albums from Humanoids.

* if I had the capability of buying a $1000 collection of R. Crumb sketchbook work, I'd buy it. I think that's some of the most important comics work ever, and I get a great deal of pleasure out of just staring at that stuff.

* there will apparently be a manga version of that Sherlock show the BBC has done two seasons/series of, but only in Japan.

* not comics: The Atlantic covers McSweeney's move into children's book publishing. It looks like there may be some fine work coming from people that make comics or people that might be inclined to make comics were they to have the opportunity.

* Brigid Alverson has a couple of manga announcements -- one serial ending, and another going to Yen Press. I almost never run manga publishing news, or even links to it, and should work to correct that.

* I think I forgot to mention here that Image's Near Death recently saw its last issue. That was a comic that came up in my interview with Eric Stephenson at Comic-Con as an example of a lower-tier comic at Image that maybe deserved more readers than it was getting.

* I will have hopefully posted a stand-alone "Off The Beaten Path" for this book before this "Bundled" post rolls out, but Alex Hallatt has done an e-book for Arctic Circle. It would be great if we could find a model for e-book collections of a lot of the strips out there -- that's a weird market, generally, and one that may be particularly ill-suited to a move away from the way things used to be set up. We'll see.

* egad.

* here's a look at the imminent EC Library project from Fantagraphics.

* Brett White expresses disappointment that more of the superheroes on an Avengers team aren't female characters. I'm sort of fundamentally poorly prepared to make that kind of appraisal, as I don't really understand things like why DC hasn't had a Wonder Woman comic for girls going for years now -- despite the difficulties in getting something like that to a profitable point in today's market. Employing all of your characters seems to me like good sense. With Marvel one advantage they have is it would seem to me that given the relative lack of attention to a lot of these characters over the years means there's a lot of room for development with a number of them -- say Valkyrie or Sif or Agatha Harkness or my boyhood fictional character crush Thundra -- and you can just point writers and artists at them and be better off than you were before you did that. It's not a problem to be solved as much as a resource to be tapped.

* speaking of mainstream comics, I know that some of you out there care not at all about this kind of thing, but I think Marvel committing even in a facile, public way to a strategy of long runs by writers and as many comics as possible from primary artists is good for the overall health of that part of comics. That doesn't mean sales will reflect this. The infrastructure in comics never rewards on the basis of merit but on what it's designed and conditioned to reward.

* finally, the forthcoming LOEG one-shot has a very handsome cover.

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

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

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Not Comics: Nokkasili

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via Nick Gazin, I'm pretty sure
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I missed that Oni Press has named George Rohac to be the Director Of Business Development. I have some sort of specific affliction that keeps me from seeing Oni stuff generally, I think.

image* why Matt Emery loves Dan Dare.

* Rob Clough on Sammy The Mouse. Chris Arrant on Burgermancer #1. Kate Dacey on Astro Boy.

* Steve Lieber draws Ed Piskor fan art. Roman Muradov draws a character not urinating off of a cliff. Matt Madden draws things back in 1999. Here's the cockpit to end all cockpits. Paul Hornschemeier draws a tiny Italian car.

* I don't really care for a lot of the superhero art previewed here, but I like the panel in the last image of wee, hard-charging Kingpin. Speaking of superhero art I like quite a bit, I've become a total fiend lately for black and white scans of Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four art from the first couple of dozen issues. The Kirby inked by Sinnott run from later that decade made for more glorious comics, but there's something about the designs in those early comics that's pretty. Like for some reason I totally like stringbean, slightly-ugly, touch of hillbilly Johnny Storm way more than any Johnny Storm that's come since.

* this Vice column doubles as an art gallery. I don't think I've ever seen that photo of Jack Kirby goofing off on the diving board, but I seem to be saying that a lot about Kirby photos recently so maybe I'm just undernourished in that area.

* here's a heavily-illustrated process post from Duncan Fegredo.

* that's a hell of a cover illustration.

* I don't want to endorse this kind of thing with an image and a separate post, and I'm happy to take down this link if there's an objection (it's well-traveled enough I'm thinking that maybe it's not a big deal for the copyright holders), but Gilbert Hernandez's "Frida" is still something to see almost 25 years later. One thing that I suspect is missing from the experience of reading comics in the post-Internet world is how frequently comics a quarter-century ago conveyed glimpses of other culture, other artists -- not just comics recommendation, which were vital, but music and visual art and movies. I guess they still sort of have that function, but we're talking about an era, the 1980s, where you ordered stuff blind from advertisements and tracked down casual mentions in interviews trying to find that good stuff. Anyway, there was no cult of Frida Kahlo of which I was aware at this time, so it made me go look at her stuff in my college library. I ended up writing a very long and very well-received paper, most of which was probably cribbed impressions from this comic.

* by the way, with all the people on hand at SPX, don't forget that it's The Two Towers in the LOSBROS30 trilogy of 2012 convention experiences. I hope they receive the attention they're due.

* finally, the Mario Gully story is a fascinating one, one that I think is informed by the fact that there's not a lot of money to be had in a lot of the different ways in which comics are done.
 
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September 10, 2012


New Elfquest Serial Launches At Boing Boing Today

I think that's nice. It's been 27 years since I've had a serious desire to read some Elfquest, but I read that book very avidly in the late '70s and very early '80s and I was wondering just the other day if they ever did a "final story" for that initial group of characters (and core cast additions). That seems like a nice home for it, too. All I'm asking comics is that every single creator I read from the ages of four to sixteen have honorable, productive, rewarding career autumns. Is that too much to ask, comics?
 
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Go, Read: Baby Bjornstrand

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You Were Not Cooler Than Aseem Trivedi Today

Seriously.
 
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Go, Look: Sage Stossel

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Berkeley/Nal Launching GN Imprint Seemingly Built Around Concept Of Successful Authors With GNs

You can read the press release for "InkLit" here:

INK_LIT.DOC

Longtime industry veteran Richard Johnson (DC Comics, Yen Press, The Beat) will head the imprint, which looks like it will start right away (October) and will include books from authors Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton.

I know that a lot of people like those kinds of works -- or at least enough people have liked them that they have published to success with different publishers around comics -- but I've mostly been baffled and dismayed when I read works like that, and it's hard to imagine an imprint that would offer a less natural partnership for my own engagement with the medium. I'm always open to be pleasantly surprised, although I can't imagine that's a priority for anyone and might be a commercially dubious thing for someone to even make that attempt. Sage Stossel is apparently drawing a book for them; I'll look for that for sure, and will generally keep up with what they have out.

At any rate, best of luck to all those involved, and congratulations to Johnson on the gig.
 
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Aseem Trivedi Refuses Bail On Sedition Charges; Jailed

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The saga of Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi's facing sedition charges for cartoons posted to his web site reached the arrest warrant point over the weekend; earlier today the cartoonist surrendered to the court, refused bail, and was jailed until September 24. According to the linked-to article, the severe backlash via social media and now more traditional press outlets has set a number of government officials scrambling for a less-noxious outcome. A government official accused the cartoonist of posting seditious content in a complaint back in December; an arrest has seemed imminent since late August, which has really allowed the criticism to reach a furious, steaming level.

You can look at Trivedi's cartoons here. His quotes are incredible, too, like, "If telling the truth makes me a traitor then I am one."

Hopefully the charges will be dismissed immediately and the horrible example for a democracy of authorities arresting an artist for the content of their criticism will help reorient that political debate moving forward in a way that's not so ridiculously anti-free speech. Trivedi's situation seems to come as part of a couple of trends: first, the attempt by political persons in several countries to suppress criticism through a court system that allows a criminal complaint to be made by hiring a lawyer, or severe civil claims lobbied against an artist by the political figure directly; second, a series of really dubious actions by Mumbai police authorities in terms of trying to quell such speech through intimidation and now arrest.

In May, Trivedi shared with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat this year's Courage In Editorial Cartooning Award from the Cartoonists Rights Network International -- the award ceremony is this weekend. Trivedi received that award for launching the Cartoons Against Corruption web site and his general advocacy for free speech right in the case of crippling cronyism and bullying by authorities.
 
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Go, Look: Hey Granpa

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Today Is The One-Year Anniversary Of Dylan Williams' Passing

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Sparkplug is here. The Dylan Williams, Reporter site is here. Our obituary from last year is here. There's a podcast of Williams available here.
 
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Your 2012 (Sort Of) BCA Young People's Comic Awards Nominees

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I'm more irritated than delighted by awards that announce some nominees now and some nominees later, and I'm confused by why they're breaking the nominations period into a split year (I know why festivals do this, because the festival is a fixed point and the award is designed to drive attention to the festival, but I can't yet tell why this awards program needs to), and I don't know why the formal announcement has more voting-policy discussion in it than it has material about the nominees. In the end, though, it's a pretty good list of nominees, and that's what matters. Congratulations to them all.
 
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Go, Bookmark: John Porcellino Is Doing This Week's TCJ Diary

Some cartooning, some text, some photos, all Porcellino.
 
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Go, Look: A Ton Of Mike Kaluta Scans

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
 
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Arthur E. Cumings, 1922-2012

imageThe cartoonist and comics historian Mike Lynch notes the passing of illustrator and artist Art Cumings. Cumings was living in Miller Place, New York.

He may have been born in Vermont. Cumings met his long-time wife Alda while in art school.

Cumings contributed to several children's books and magazine articles. His highest profile cartooning efforts were for Penthouse and Omni, primarily the Balloonheads and The Artist efforts. Examples of the former can be found at the Mike Lynch article. Cumings was apparently particularly passionate about humor cartooning. The artist was a longtime member of the famous Berndt Toast Gang community of cartoonists, made up of National Cartoonists Society members of that group's Long Island chapter.

Among his book illustration assignments were Charlie's Pets, The Cat's Pajamas, Magic Growing Powder, Septimus Bean And His Amazing Machine, A Good Fish Dinner and There's A Monster Eating My House.

Cumings was buried soon after his passing in the Sea View Cemetery near Miller Place. He is survived by a wife Alda, son Brian, Peter and Steven, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Art Cumings was 90 years old.
 
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Go, Look: The Lonely Miles

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Missed It: A Trio Of Significant Awards Wins

This weekend's naming of the Harvey Awards reminds that there are several other awards going to comics individuals that have yet to be reported in a formal fashion on this site, although they were discussed and linked-to from the CR twitter feed.

* the publisher Fantagraphics noted back on August 31 that Joe Sacco, one of the very best cartoonists, won the Graphic Literature portion of this year's PEN Center USA's literary awards. They are a paneled prize. Sacco will receive the award in late October as part of that groups literary awards festival. It is for lifetime achievement, so in that sense all those funny comics count as much as his impressive journalistic ones.

* around that same time various blogs noted that Isabella Bannerman won this year's Union Of Concerned Scientists editorial cartoon contest, which garners its winner the lead slot on their well-regarded calendar. You can see Bannerman's winning entry and some of the runners-up here. Each of the cartoons in the calendar are from the various finalists.

* Ursula Vernon's Digger won the comics-related category at this year's Hugo Awards, defeating a slew of what would might be to the eye of a traditional comics-shop oriented comics reader higher-profile entries, although the fact that webcomics have significant followings shouldn't be news to anyone at this point. The cartoonist talks about the win here. The category is "Best Graphic Story." This was announced the weekend of September 1-2.

Congratulations to all the deserving winners, and my apologies for letting these linger in my bookmarks folder until now.
 
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Go, Look: Teensville, USA

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

image* we continue to track the crowd-funding campaign for a David Boswell documentary. I'd like to see the end result on that one, so hopefully it comes off.

* very nice of people to send this Brian fella to SPX.

* here's a crowdfunder for an adaptation of a Mike Resnick book; they want $30,000, but have given themselves plenty of time to get there. That should be an interesting one to track.

* Detective Honeybear has met its goal, but is still there for the incentive to be had. Ditto Skin Deep. Transreality and the Sketchtravel Museum Project are either near their goals or have reached them in the time between my writing this and this post rolling out.

* DeWayne Feenstra wrote in asking for some attention to his ongoing crowd-funding effort, and I'm happy to comply.

* hey, look, it's another Don Rosa-related project. I love Don Rosa.

* for some reason I picked up on this film-project kickstarter post-mortem, or at least it worked its way into my bookmarks via link fairies. I suppose there are lessons to be learned from it if you're thinking about doing one of these.

* finally, Aurora Rise continues.
 
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If I Were In Colombia, I'd Go To This

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: At Odds

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posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I can't recommend periodic check-ins or other ways of access the SPX Tumblr more highly this week, as plans for books and plans scotched for books dominate. It's about as required as these things get if you read smaller-press or alternative material. Like here's one that I picked up on the SPX effort for a Sam Bosma book that apparently isn't going to make it to the show that's as worth noting as just about anything likely to be there.

image* Ryan K. Lindsay on Hawkeye #2. Alex Buchet on Spirou Et Fantasio A New York. Greg McElhatton on Thief Of Thieves #8. Christopher Allen on Invisibles Volume One: Interlude. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of comic-shop comics. Andy Oliver on Ellipsis #1 and A Game For Swallows.

* not comics: Sean Kleefeld is baffled by something he saw in a rest stop. Not as gross as it sounds.

* Mike Sterling notes that most of his memories of a movie come from the MAD parody of the movie rather than the movie, an affliction that hits a lot of 40-year-olds. I imagine it hits people of other ages, too, but MAD was super-popular right when a bunch of us were little kids and all the movies that people wanted to see (and were therefore parodied) were R-rated or otherwise adult in orientation. My friends' kids do this sometimes with Simpsons references filling in for actual memories of the thing itself, although the Simpsons stuff tends to get in and out as opposed to doing an entire film or TV show.

* Michael Cavna steps up with his choices of eye-catching DNC cartoons. I like the Luckovich and the Anderson; some of the others, yikes. KAL sent along his DNC video presentation.

* CCS thanks its latest round of advisors.

* I'm really glad I stopped going deep on superhero comics stories about 1980 or so. I like superhero comics just fine, but I get to pick and choose which ones those will be, and I'm grateful.

* speaking of which, it's weird that that run of Hercules comics is already receding in the rear-view mirror the way it is.

* Paul Gravett talks to Amruta Patil. This is a recent interview as opposed to the older one to which this site linked previously.

* here is Kate Dacey's brief history of modern manga, as written for an audience of 'tweens.

* finally, I missed Gary Tyrrell's piece on webcomics creators presence at the next run of comics shows, but it's good enough I can still recommend it despite the Baltimore portion being lost to time now.
 
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September 9, 2012


Your 2012 Harvey Awards Winners

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The Harvey Awards, named after the late, pantheon-level cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman and recognizing achievement in comics and sequential art, named their 2012 winners in a ceremony last night held in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con. The writer Mark Waid and the cartoonist Kate Beaton were the night's big recipients. Winners as followed in bold.

*****

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BEST LETTERER

* Chris Eliopoulos, Fear Itself, Marvel Comics
* Laura Lee Gulledge, Page By Paige, Amulet Books
* Todd Klein, S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects of Forever, Marvel Comics
* David Lanphear, Secret Avengers, Marvel Comics
* Jason Shiga, Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), Abrams ComicArts

*****

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BEST COLORIST

* Elizabeth Breitweiser, Captain America And Bucky, Marvel Comics
* Francesco Francavilla, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Marvel Comics
* Sunny Gho, Artifacts, Top Cow
* Dave McCaig, The Magdalena, Top Cow
* Dave Stewart, Hellboy: The Fury, Dark Horse

*****

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BEST SYNDICATED STRIP OR PANEL

* Bizarro, Dan Piraro, syndicated by King Features Syndicate
* Cul De Sac, Richard Thompson, syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate
* Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau, syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate
* Mutts, Patrick McDonnell, syndicated by King Features Syndicate
* Pearls Before Swine, Stephen Pastis, syndicated by United Feature Syndicate

*****

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BEST ON-LINE COMICS WORK

* Battlepug, Mike Norton
* Bucko, Erika Moen and Jeff Parker
* Delilah Dirk And The Turkish Lieutenant, Tony Cliff
* Gronk, Katie Cook
* Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton

*****

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BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL

* Adventures Of Herge, Drawn & Quarterly
* The Killer Volume Three: Modus Vivendi, Archaia Entertainment
* The Manara Library Volume One: Indian Summer And Other Stories, Dark Horse
* Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths, Drawn & Quarterly
* Single Match, Drawn & Quarterly

*****

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BEST INKER

* Laura Lee Gulledge, Page By Paige, Amulet Books
* Mark Morales, Thor, Marvel Comics
* Sal Regla, The Magdalena, Top Cow
* Joe Rivera, Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Jason Shiga, Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), Abrams ComicArts

*****

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BEST NEW SERIES

* Angel & Faith, Dark Horse
* Animal Man, DC Comics
* Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Last Mortal, Top Cow
* Ozma Of Oz, Marvel Comics
* Rachel Rising, Abstract Studio

*****

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MOST PROMISING NEW TALENT

* Nick Bradshaw, Astonishing X-Men, Marvel Comics
* Nathan Edmondson, Who Is Jake Ellis?, Image Comics
* Laura Lee Gulledge, Page By Paige, Amulet Books
* Justin Jordan, The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode, Image Comics
* Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel Comics

*****

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SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR IN COMICS

* Kate Beaton, Hark! A Vagrant, harkavagrant.com; print edition by Drawn & Quarterly
* Evan Dorkin, Milk And Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, Dark Horse
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Amulet Books
* Roger Langridge, Snarked, kaboom!
* Lela Lee, Fairy Tales For Angry Little Girls, Abrams ComicArts

*****

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BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC PUBLICATION FOR YOUNGER READERS

* Anya's Ghost, First Second
* Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Amulet Books
* Fraggle Rock, Archaia
* Mystic, Marvel Comics
* Ozma Of Oz, Marvel Comics
* Snarked, kaboom!

*****

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BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED

* Big Questions, Drawn & Quarterly
* Dark Tower Omnibus, Marvel Comics
* The Death Ray, Drawn & Quarterly
* Echoes, Top Cow
* PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, Abrams ComicArts
* S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects Of Forever, Marvel Comics

*****

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BEST ANTHOLOGY

* Dark Horse Presents, edited by various, Dark Horse
* Flight #8, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, Villard Books
* Jim Henson's The Storyteller, edited by Nate Cosby, Archaia Entertainment
* Shame Itself, edited by Tom Brennan, Marvel Comics
* Someday Funnies, edited by Michael Choquette, Abrams ComicArts

*****

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BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT

* Blackjacked and Pistol Whipped: A Crime Does Not Pay Primer, Dark Horse
* The Comics: The Complete Collection, Abrams ComicArts
* Definitive Flash Gordon And Jungle Jim, IDW
* Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse (The Floyd Gottfredson Library), Fantagraphics
* Walt Simonson's The Mighty Thor Artist's Edition, IDW

*****

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BEST COVER ARTIST

* John Tyler Christopher, Artifacts, Top Cow
* Marcos Martin, Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Paolo Rivera, Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Mark Simpson (Jock), Detective Comics, DC Comics
* J.H. Williams, Batwoman, DC Comics

*****

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BEST BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL OR JOURNALISTIC PRESENTATION

* Alan Moore: Storyteller, Universe Books
* The Comics Journal, Fantagraphics
* Genius, Isolated: The Life And Art Of Alex Toth, IDW
* Government Issue: Comics For The People, 1940s-2000s, Abrams ComicArts
* PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, Abrams ComicArts

*****

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SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION

* Jim Henson's Tale Of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman, Archaia Entertainment
* PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, selected by Eddie Campbell, Abrams ComicArts
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition, designed by Darwyn Cooke, IDW
* Someday Funnies, edited by Michael Choquette, Abrams ComicArts
* Walt Simonson's The Mighty Thor Artist's Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier, IDW

*****

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BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM ORIGINAL

* Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), Abrams ComicArts
* Habibi, Pantheon Books
* Infinite Kung Fu, Top Shelf Productions
* Jim Henson's Tale Of Sand, Archaia Entertainment
* One Soul, Oni Press
* Page By Paige, Amulet Books

*****

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BEST CONTINUING OR LIMITED SERIES

* Atomic Robo And The Ghost Of Station X, Red 5 Comics
* Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Amulet Books
* Echoes, Top Cow
* Rachel Rising, Abstract Studio

*****

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BEST WRITER

* Joshua Fialkov, Echoes, Top Cow
* Laura Lee Gulledge, Page By Paige, Amulet Books
* Jeff Lemire, Animal Man, DC Comics
* Jason Shiga, Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), Abrams ComicArts
* Mark Waid, Daredevil, Marvel Comics

*****

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BEST ARTIST

* Paolo Rivera, Daredevil, Marvel Comics
* Chris Samnee, Captain America And Bucky, Marvel Comics
* Jason Shiga, Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), Abrams ComicArts
* Craig Thompson, Habibi, Pantheon Books
* J.H. Williams, Batwoman, DC Comics

*****

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BEST CARTOONIST

* Kate Beaton, Hark! A Vagrant, harkavagrant.com; print edition by Drawn & Quarterly
* Jeremy Haun, Pilot Season: The Beauty#1, Image Comics
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Amulet Books
* Roger Langridge, Snarked, kaboom!
* Comfort Love & Adam Withers, Rainbow In The Dark
* Craig Thompson, Habibi, Pantheon Books

*****

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BEST SINGLE ISSUE OR STORY

* Daredevil #7, Marvel Comics
* Echoes #5, Top Cow
* Ganges #4, Fantagraphics
* The Homeland Directive, Top Shelf Productions
* Jim Henson's Tale Of Sand, Archaia Entertainment
* Optic Nerve #12, Drawn & Quarterly
* Zorro Rides Again #1, Dynamite Comics

*****

In addition to these awards, it looks like John Romita Jr. received something called the Hero Lifetime Achievement Award while the late Joe Kubert received an honor called the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Of The Year Award.

This was the seventh year the Harvey Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con.

some of these images are a best guess; if I screwed up, I'm counting on you to

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Mr. Skygack From Mars

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Just Like Jesse James

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Rob Jackson Comics

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Vintage Book Cover Illustration Gallery

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Yet Another Wee Bit Demented Golden Age Comic

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posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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posted 9:12 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #308 -- Air Pirates 2012

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Assemble An Air Pirates 2012 Crew To Make Bootleg Big-Corporation Comics; Must Include Cartoonists Of Both Sexes. Make #5 This Crew's Leader." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Johnny Ryan
2. Ivan Brunetti
3. Jeremy Eaton
4. Lisa Hanawalt
5. Jim Woodring

*****

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Nathan Schreiber

1. David King
2. Marine Blandin
3. Joe Daly
4. Michael Kupperman
5. Lewis Trondheim

*****

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Mike Dawson

1. Jon Lewis
2. Minty Lewis
3. Joseph Lambert
4. Tony Consiglio
5. Karen Sneider

*****

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Michael May

1. Sam Hiti
2. Chris Schweizer
3. Faith Erin Hicks
4. Ben Caldwell
5. Kate Beaton

*****

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Matt Maxwell

* Benjamin Marra
* Tom Neely
* Shaky Kane
* Becky Cloonan
* Brandon Graham

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Joe Matt
2. Maurice Vellacott
3. Kate Beaton
4. David Collier
5. Bernie Mireault

*****

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RM Rhodes

1. RK Milholland
2. Sarah P
3. Tom Neely
4. Jonathan Rosenberg
5. Kate Beaton

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Jim Woodring
2. Shary Flenniken
3. Rick Altergott
4. Faith Erin Hicks
5. Well, hell -- me!

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Eddie Campbell
2. David Mazzucchelli
3. Ann Nocenti
4. Steve Ditko
5. Marie Severin

*****

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Roger Langridge

1. Dave Cooper
2. Julia Wertz
3. Tom Neely
4. John Allison
5. Jamie Smart

*****

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Warren Craghead

1. Derik Badman
2. Jason Overby
3. Julie Delporte
4. Oliver East
5. Renee French

*****

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Jim Wheelock

1. Rica
2. Kate Beaton
3. David King
4. Lisa Hanawalt
5. Tom Neely

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. Uno Moralez
2. Jonny Negron
3. Julia Gfrorer
4. Lisa Hanawalt
5. Josh Simmons

*****

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Joe Keatinge

1. Emily Carroll
2. Brandon Graham
3. Benjamin Marra
4. Kate Beaton
5. Jim Valentino

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. John Byrne
2. Frank Miller
3. Walt Simonson
4. Howard Chaykin
5. Diane Noomin

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Kate Beaton
2. R. Sikoryak
3. Drew Friedman
4. Jaime Hernandez
5. Pete Bagge

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Kieron Dwyer
2. Kate Beaton
3. Drew Friedman
4. Nicholas Gurewitch
5. Evan Dorkin

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1. Ed Luce
2. Becky Cloonan
3. Tom Neely
4. Andy Belanger
5. Amanda Conner

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Colleen Frakes
2. Alec Longstreth
3. Laura Park
4. Brandon Graham
5. Renee French

*****

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Dan Morris

1. Michael DeForge
2. Benjamin Marra
3. Katie Skelly
4. Johnny Negron
5. Frank Santoro

*****

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Alan Doane

1. James Kochalka
2. Dan Zettwoch
3. Corinne Mucha
4. Frank Santoro
5. Diana Tamblyn

*****

Michael Grabowski

1. Tony Millionaire
2. J.C. Menu
3. R. Sikoryak
4. Sophie Crumb
5. Kate Beaton

*****

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Carlos Aguilar

1. Lauren "Plslala" Albert
2. Slechte Meisjes
3. Lamar Abrams
4. Jonny Negron
5. Lisa Hanawalt

*****

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Scott O. Brown

1. Kate Beaton
2. Junji Ito
3. Keith Knight
4. Zapiro
5. Mike Diana

*****

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Edward Uvanni

1. James Stokoe
2. Michael Deforge
3. Heather Benjamin
4. Jonny Negron
5. Brandon Graham

*****

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Jake Kujava

1. Sophie Crumb
2. Peter Belgvad
3. Tori Miki
4. Gary Panter
5. Eric Drooker

*****

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James Langdell

1. Colleen Coover
2. Dame Darcy
3. Tony Millionaire
4. Rick Veitch
5. Shannon Wheeler

*****

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Robert Casey

1. Josh Simmons
2. Tom Neely
3. Colleen Coover
4. Aaron Renier
5. Roger Langridge

*****

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Robin McConnell

1. Al Columbia
2. Jim Rugg
3. Vicki Nerino
4. Brandon Graham
5. Mark Newgarden

*****

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Brian Gardes

1. Brandon Graham
2. Erika Moen
3. Jim Rugg
4. Colleen Coover
5. Jim Mahfood

*****

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Alistair Robb

1) Gabriel Ba
2) Francoise Mouly
3) Paul Grist
4) Evan Dorkin
5) Alan Moore

*****

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William Burns

1. Dame Darcy
2. Bob Fingerman
3. Alice Kominsky-Crumb
4. Bob Weber Jr.
5. Bill Watterson

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1.) Ming Doyle
2.) Shaky Kane
3.) Brandon Graham
4.) Sarah Horrocks
5.) CF

*****

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John Platt

1. Zach Kanin
2. Jeremy Eaton
3. Jose Olivares
4. Julia Wertz
5. Kate Beaton

*****

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Dave Knott

1. Kyle Baker
2. Winshluss
3. Sergio Aragones
4. Junko Mizuno
5. R. Sikoryak

*****

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M. Emery

1. Mandy Ord
2. Simon Hanselman
3. Karl Wills
4. Lee-Yan Marquez
5. Bobby N

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Evan Dorkin
2. Sarah Dyer
3. Paul Tobin
4. Colleen Coover
5. Chynna Clugston Flores

*****

this outstanding suggestion is from Mr. Milo George; thanks, Milo

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

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


James Kochalka Answers Questions


Al Hirschfeld Draws


Brad Ricca Project Called Cosmic


Some Video About Political Cartoonists At The RNC I Snagged Off Of Andrew Sullivan's Site


Bottomless Belly Button Animation


Max Douglas Teaches Class


An Episode Of Stella B. And The Busted League


Tom Gammill With Al Jaffee And Arnold Roth
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
September 8, 2012


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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
September 7, 2012


Go, Look: Jed McGowan

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posted 4:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
So Did Anyone See A Good DNC-Related Cartoon?

So I went looking at cartoons related to the recently completely national convention run by the party with the donkey mascot and I couldn't really find any. I thought that was pretty interesting. Did anyone see one they liked? I'll run a link to it here with your endorsement. Mostly I just want to see one. It doesn't have to be the greatest cartoon of all time, but I was thinking maybe something that wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in the same continuity of efforts as a standard Daily Show segment.

I think the conventional wisdom about editorial cartoons is that the editorial culture that spawns them is too bland and afraid of offending anyone and that there is no good work as a result. I'm not sure I believe this. I think it's entirely possible to write cartoons for a broad, mainstream audience that are at least clever and funny, and I've yet to see one that's impressed me that way on this subject. I also think there's no shortage of cartoons unafraid to offend, like this Gary McCoy cartoon, but I have to say that simply strikes me as a boring, badly executed cartoon -- like the cartoon equivalent of what some random, not very educated, out-of-touch dad would say at the dinner table. To put it a completely different way, I think it's odd that we may be in a place where we'd get way better cartoons from artists buying the best jokes made on Twitter by people not being paid to create such things.



Update

Jim Wheelock wrote in to suggest the Walt Handelsman cartoon for Newsday, qualifying the choice as a not-great cartoon that made him laugh. I think that's a pretty good description; it's at least told in a way to elicit a laugh. It's kind of like those old Carson routines where he would milk something out of not-much-of-anything. That's pretty thin gruel if that's the best one CR readers know of, but I'm happy for one that made any of you laugh.
 
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Go, Look: A Moebius Mini-Gallery

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Go, Read: Dave Sim's Editorial In The Final Glamourpuss

imageDave Sim's final editorial for his comics publication Glamourpuss has been re-run at the blog A Moment Of Cerebus. It's worth reading in full, I think. It's not easy reading. It's basically Sim's announcement that he's leaving the comics business, or that he's currently operating with the intention of doing so. The editorial suggests he's in the midst of a wind-down of what a departure entails: ending various on-line and comics projects, pushing the original art sales (since suspended) as a way to bridge to whatever comes next, putting the finishing touches on that fascinating Alex Raymond comic he's been doing. I'm sure a part of that is seeing to the Kickstarter-driven digital publication project regarding the book High Society, a project that recently hit a major stumbling block with the destruction of the negatives from which the scans were being made. I'm not certain that dooms the project because a lot depends on how the original crowd-funding effort and its incentives were structured, but it has to be pretty rough right now.

Sim's current situation may or may not be instructive in terms of something I think is going to be a huge issue moving ahead: the aging of the alternative and independent comics generation. It's my belief -- and smart people in comics totally disagree with me on this -- that there are going to be specific problems for the next generation of comics-makers getting older, issues that may not have been present for those that worked in mainstream comic books in the '40s, '50s and '60s. There are a lot of reasons, including a) the bulk of the first group of indy/alternative cartoonists moving into their late 50s and beyond right now may have made less money overall than many of the mainstream creators in those first two generations, b) the current creators are aligned with characters and concepts that may offer less in the way of nostalgic appeal than mainstream comic book characters do, c) we've moved into a hyper-competitive era that may be more hostile than ever to work that some cartoonists may be capable of doing. Leaving aside any sort of judgmental attitude towards any particular situation, and I think that's the only human thing to do, that a reliable money-earner and highly skilled cartoonist like Dave Sim may have been discombobulated by wider economic concerns and the specific ordering patterns of today's market is something of which everyone should take note.

Dave Sim's always been his own man, and I assume he'll stay that way. I wish him all the best in the weeks and months ahead. I do wonder if there aren't some options open to him that may not have been options that he might have pursued in the past. I know that there are people that would honorably and fairly publish that Raymond work -- one person told as me much directly -- and I suspect there are people that would do the same for at least big chunks of the Cerebus work if that were to be available: maybe higher quality reissues, maybe more digital archiving, maybe big art books derived from original art like all the kids enjoy now. I don't know. I know I would be interested in seeing such projects come out and I suspect there are at least a few others that agree with me. For now I'm going to bookmark the Dave Sim art site, which I don't think I know existed until I read that final issue editorial. I hope it comes back.
 
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Go, Look: Lynda Barry's Etsy Store Is Fun To Look At And Full Of Affordable Things To Purchase

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Montreal: You Should Go Take Classes With Pascal Girard

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Hey, there are classes to be had in Montreal. I'm not sure why this struck me, because there are classes going on in a lot of places, but I do think Pascal Girard would be a very good teacher. If I had the money and was within any sort of geographical approximation of the area he is, I would think about signing up, and I have no cartooning ambitions. I would also go see a movie, because I bet Montreal has good movies. And something to eat. But definitely the classes, too.

SAW is one of those other places that regularly has classes. I don't have a good way on this site to list classes, because I can't get in the habit of promoting classes for people -- that way lies madness -- but they don't function as events the way that signings or conventions do. Let me try to figure it out, and
 
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Go, Look: Joe Decie On Tumblr

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding



I'm going to push back some of the other projects usually discussed in this column until Monday to give a bit of an extra spotlight to a short documentary planned on David Boswell. There's a fundraising campaign here, a Facebook page for the project here, a twitter account here and a web site under construction here.

For all I know these guys are the worst documentarians on planet Earth and all the money sent them will go right to their local meth dealer, but I doubt either thing is true and I'm super fond of David Boswell's work and I want to see the movie. I'm also sort of generally concerned about the legacy of all the great cartoonists that made my life in the Reagan-Era American midwest a bit more bearable, and I figure anything that adds to the historical record is worth trying to see happen. $10K doesn't seem like a lot of money asked for a short film according to my not-exactly extensive experience of watching my older brother raise money for his films. The incentives look pretty good to me, too.

I don't know, I'm a shitty salesman, which is one of the reasons I run this column as a column instead of using whatever tiny pulpit this site gives me to enthuse over things. I don't need any more stuff. I'm over 40, I get comics for free and they put the BBC on the Internet now. I can sit right here in this chair and not buy a single consumption-item for the rest of my life. But doesn't a little film about David Boswell sound nice? That guy's comics were funny, and that Heartbreak Comics issue in particular is super-pretty and accomplished. Anyway, maybe at least go look at the stuff through the links or watch the video (I haven't yet). Thanks.
 
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If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This

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

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

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OTBP: Arctic Circle Comics: An Introduction

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the good folks at Creators have apparently relaunched their web site. The e-mail that accompanied the press release was kind of interesting because it described what the syndicate does in general terms and then presented the web site as a place not to achieve that end but to achieve the end of putting creators in touch with fans. That was my reading, anyway. It's a weird thing, an Internet strategy.

image* I am totally not the person that should be asked to pass the word on stuff like this, but I think it's worth noting in a general way, too: apparently word went out in late August that Jim Steranko was seeking to do some commissioned work. You'd probably have to double-check that both from a "I got around to this too late" way and a "I have no idea if this is true" way, but there it is.

* Rob Clough on Garage Band. Kate Dacey on Mahatma Gandhi. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Prophet and Glory. Sean Gaffney on Bunny Drop Vol. 6. Sterg Botzakis on Wizzywig. Shannon Smith on Life With Archie. Andrew Mansell on various comic strip collections. Matt Seneca and Sean Witzke on Solo #11. Rob Clough on Birdseye Bristoe.

* I love this panel.

* Ryan Ingram talks to Skottie Young.

* it's nice to hear that Elfquest will get a high-profile platform to do what sounds like a "final chapter" comic. I was wondering just the other day if in all of the Elfquest comics that had come out if there was an ending for the general group of characters from the first series.

* Alan David Doane is having Ed Brubaker- and Alan Moore-related auctions.

* well, duh.

* not comics: Sean T. Collins writes a bit about the work he's been doing covering the Game Of Thrones property. I've rarely been happier for someone not to follow my advice. While I might enjoy a Little, Big site, I doubt it would lead to a gig with Rolling Stone.

* finally, here's a preview of tomorrow's big gallery opening in Richmond.
 
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September 6, 2012


Go, Look: Tatsuro Kiuchi

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Go, Look: One Of The Classic Basil Wolverton Stories

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OTBP: Benny's Brigade

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Go, Look: Dangerous Shit

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I Just Realized Something About Wizard's PDX Announcement

imageThis didn't occur to me when I slipped it into the festival news column this morning, but Wizard announced their 2013 Portland show for a week before Emerald City Comicon. I can't be the only person to notice that... and I'm not. Well, good. There's no chance that Wizard presents any kind of challenge to Emerald City: that show is extremely well-run and the comics people like it about as much as they distrust and feel contempt for Wizard. I'm sure they'll find a few people interested in doing both if that remains an okay thing to do, and they'll have access to the usual army of marginal geek culture figures for whom the Wizard shows have been very kind. That's been their primary interest for a long time now, anyway.

Flat out, I can't imagine they win a shoving contest. In fact, Wizard drafting off of a show like Emerald City would be noteworthy considering that one of the things that killed their convention momentum (along with whiffing on New York City) was getting creamed by HeroesCon in a similarly competitive and overreaching move back when Wizard was a lot more powerful in the comics world.

So that's one to watch. The only ways I can think of this having an effect is 1) bleeding off some regional audience that might only want to do one and decide to attend the show closer to them, 2) generally firing up Emerald City to put on a strong show. I know which convention I endorse, and it's not anything put on by Wizard. If they steal that guy with the $2 1960s Marvel Comics, I may even go 1980s action film on them.
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* hey there was major convention news last week and I was only several days late with analysis. No one wrote in to yell at me, so I assume that analysis was at least not horrible.

* another piece of actual news is that SPX will point its graphic novel gift program at the Enoch Pratt Free Library this year. That's a great thing.

* here's a third news story, or at least something that generated a press release: Wizard is doing a show in Portland in February.

* here's a report on CAPTION-related summer programming.

* this weekend it's the Baltimore Comic-Con, which I see as a show on a tier with Charlotte and Seattle and WonderCon (people that are fans and/or run those shows might disagree with me or not, I can't tell; that's just my impression, my way or organizing these shows in my head). It has a really good reputation as being comics-focused and friendly; I've always had fun running around Baltimore on random weekends over the course of my life and would love to go back someday. Comics-focus + good city + friendly and competent people, that almost always = a good show. You can get the t-shirt here.

* Michael Cavna points out in this three-headed convention/festival preview that it's a big fortnight for comics-related shows in the greater Baltimore/DC area, with SPX and the AAEC meeting coming next weekend.

* speaking of SPX, I'm figuring that anyone going is looking at their tumblr like three times a day right now. I still plan on attending myself, and it looks good as far as me getting out there.

* finally, I'm told Jake Tapper will be the keynote speaker at this year's AAEC meeting. I just checked to see if I was supposed to say so, because I always do that after I initially post (d'oh) and Matt Bors has it up, thank goodness.
 
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Go, Read: District Comics Covers Washington CityPaper

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not as interested in the PR get -- although, hey, good for them -- as I am in the fact that there are two stories reprinted; thanks, Matt Dembicki
 
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Wait, What?

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Yeah, I have no idea if he's serious or not. With Tony, the only way to know is to actually know, and maybe not even then -- my reach-out didn't yield anything conclusive. My first hunch is to bet not, but it's not like I would be stunned if it ended up being true or if he ended his long-running alt-comics feature six months, one year, two years from now. Nor would I be surprised if it were still around in 2040. I suppose the worst thing that can happen is that we pay a little more attention to Tony's beautiful comic strip, so go look at that sucker. He does something that looks like that every week.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Don MacPherson takes a look at the business of fake comics art.

image* Bill Kartalopoulos on those two new Joe Sacco books. Rob Clough on various kids comics. Robb Orr on BPRD Hell On Earth: The Return Of The Master #1. Greg McElhatton on Complete Peanuts: 1985-1986. Matt Brady on the Green Lantern comics of Geoff Johns. Christopher Allen on The Invisibles Vol. 1 #3. Grant Goggans on Judge Anderson: The Psi Files Vol. 2. Sterg Botzakis on Wizzywig. Shannon Smith on Wysteria. Graeme McMillan on Boxes. Kim O'Connor on The Voyeurs.

* Sean Kleefeld suggests it may be fruitful at the fan community in terms of competing interests.

* not comics: while I imagine that most fans will pull out the "you're just greedy" card when discussing a costume company being sued for not licensing the DC character costumes it's apparently selling, and one would hope for a better solution, it does seem to me that you probably shouldn't sell material for which you don't have a license.

* Johanna Draper Carlson looks at refund mechanisms and requirements with Kickstarter, and wishes for improvements.

* Vaneta Rogers talks to Doug Mahnke.

* oh boy, this looks like a blast: an examination of John Byrne's Marvel vs. Creators trial testimony.

* finally, I'm not exactly sure what J. Caleb Mozzocco is doing with this series of posts, but I like the comparison between recent versions of the same characters or groups of characters. It offers insight into how these corporations think.
 
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September 5, 2012


Go, Look: Fred Guardineer's Mid-1930s Diary Comic

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

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

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

*****

MAR121057 DAL TOKYO HC $35.00
This is really the only book you need this week, the only book you need this week of the about five or six you need that are set to come out this calendar year. I've been wanting to read a collected version of Gary Panter's strip for a time longer than all about a dozen personal relationships I currently have. I almost gasped when I saw it for sale at San Diego. If your shop carries this please count yourself a lucky individual even if you need to go get it somewhere else.

imageJUL121393 MONSTERS MONSTER HC $16.99
This is apparently a Patrick McDonnell stand-alone work, in kids book mode. Here's a synopsis. I would buy that sight unseen. We're in a weird place with Patrick right now in that we're over that initial rush of discovery and enjoying his comics and illustration work but not quite where we need to be for a re-appreciation. I think he's had an admirable career.

JUL120928 PEOPLE AROUND HERE TP (MR) $17.00
I think this work from Dave Lapp, best known for Drop In, collects various previously-published shorter efforts. I also think it clearly qualifies as that special comics-shop experience of picking up a work from a younger talent. This is from the comics wing of Conundrum Press, which has had several winners over the last half-decade.

JUL120342 CLASSIC POPEYE ONGOING #2 [DIG/D+] $3.99
This seems like a pleasant comics-shop surprise to me, and one I'd be more confused we didn't get more often except for the fact that pricing being what it is you're putting down about $5 just to walk off with this one publication. But, yeah: some old comics repackaged for a modern pick-up-and-take-home. What's not to like about that?

JUN128200 BLACK KISS II #1 2ND PTG (MR) $2.99
JUL120487 BLACK KISS II #2 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
These really looks fascinating, although I have yet to plunge into the story. It seems clearly more hardcore than the first series, and by more hard core I mean depictions of genitalia rather than their suggestion. I'm all for Howard Chaykin having as long a run in his last sustained period of work in comics as is humanly possible, so I hope this hits with its intended audience.

JUN120470 MANHATTAN PROJECTS TP VOL 01 SCIENCE BAD $14.99
This is a first collection of writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra's re-imagining of the science and discovery portions of the war-like first half of the 20th Century; it seems like a good idea to catch up with this one in that form; I only have a glancing acquaintanceship with the work so far.

JUN128167 HAWKEYE #1 2ND PTG AJA VAR $2.99
JUL120588 HAWKEYE #2 $2.99
This should surprise no one: but I'm not really a serial superhero comics shopper. Without a comics shop in easy driving distance, I kind of miss out on buying them off the shelves, and I lack the bankroll and depth of interest where a mail-order service would make sense. But I have to imagine in a week where most of what is out from DC is a bunch of #0 issue tied into the one-year anniversary of their line-wide reboot that there's probably some room like this Matt Fraction/David Aja book. I also have to imagine it's a pretty good book.

JUN120270 PRINCE OF CATS TP (MR) $16.99
JUN121275 AMELIA RULES S&S ED HC VOL 08 HER PERMANENT RECORD $19.99
JUN121274 AMELIA RULES S&S ED TP VOL 08 HER PERMANENT RECORD $10.99
I guess this is a conclusion to the Amelia Rules series...? That's one with which I have only a basic familiarity, but these books have a ton of fans and I feel we should always celebrate a cartoonist/author that complete a series on their own terms. To be able to look at a sequence on a bookshelf like that and know that it's a mission accomplished, that must be a great feeling.

JUN121315 CHI SWEET HOME GN VOL 09 $13.95
This is the best of the mainstream manga series with a volume out this week, at least according to my limited exposure to such material. I know some friends' kids that are pretty fiend-like when it comes to this work, so that's good news for them.

JUN121267 CHINESE LIFE GN $27.50
This giant book showed in my mailbox the other day through distribution deal with Abrams (it's from SelfMadeHero). It's the artist Li Kunwu, in partnership with Philippe Otie, and encompasses life as lived in the People's Republic Of China in the second half of the 20th Century. You really have to pick it up and take a look if you see it.

JUN121332 TEZUKA MESSAGE TO ADOLF GN VOL 01 (MR) $26.95
It's giant book week at the comics shop. Tezuka is required, not just suggested. I wasn't as big a fan of this work when it was released in the mid-1990s in a different format as I am of some of the work that's come out since, but it's nice to see any of this work penetrating into any kind of readership it can hold.

JUL121365 CROCKETT JOHNSON AND RUTH KRAUSS HC $70.00
JUL121364 CROCKETT JOHNSON AND RUTH KRAUSS SC $40.00
I'm greatly looking forward to this biography in advance of Fantagraphics' nuclear-bomb level launch of the Barnaby material sometime in the next few months. If I had a list of comics I wanted to see for more than two decades, and it could only be a few items long, Barnaby would be on that list. Philip Nel has been working on this book for quite some time and the results look promising.

MAY121103 AYA LIFE IN YOP CITY GN (MR) $24.95
JUN121296 BENNY AND PENNY LIGHTS OUT HC $12.95
Here's a couple of series I admire, that I'd definitely check out were I in a shop that carried them. The Benny and Penny book is for kids and I take it quite younger kids, but it has that level of potential absorption that I used to like when I was a tiny, tiny kid reader and I like looking at them when I see them. I think Geoffrey Hayes has been the MVP of the Toon line. The Aya stuff, I'm sort of a fiend for that material. It's soap opera set in the early '80s Ivory Coast. This is a repackaging of the existing, super-handsome books in anticipation of a similarly-formatted edition of the not-yet-translated books that's due later this Fall. I think I could read 10,000 pages of that material; I find it really pleasurable.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Ron Embleton Kills Captain Scarlet

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Go, Read: Atlanta Magazine Of Dragon*Con's Ed Kramer

I did not know that Ed Kramer had fought long and hard against sustained incarcerations, did not know that there were legal tussles between him and Pat Henry, did not know just about any of the things in Scott Henry's article. An amazing read. I guess there's no way to really know exactly what the hell is going on in a situation like that, but the portrait painted here is super-disturbing and the details are fascinating.

thx, Jenny Ryan
 
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If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

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OTBP: Other Sleep

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Colleen Doran sent along a link to her blog post about an abusive and exploitative author's services company. It's slightly terrifying that the sprawl of the Internet has only increased the opportunities for horrible people like this.

image* I'm not sure everyone can see this, but Jim Blanchard owns one hell of an early Clowes image. Who wouldn't buy a comic called Young Criminal? Speaking of things you maybe can't see from talented artists with whom I used to share an office, here's a Pat Moriarity cartoon about the great magazine Mineshaft. Man, who doesn't love Mineshaft?

* Paul Di Filippo has posted that NYT article about an early comics convention that crops up here and there. If I had a time machine there'd be no killing Hitler for all the time I'd spend going to comic book convention from before 1980.

* Albert Stabler profiles Chris Ware. George A. Tramountanas talks to Greg Pak. Tim O'Shea talks to Mark Sable. Jim Rugg and Jasen Lex talk to Stephanie Armbruster. Paul Gravett talks to Amruta Patil.

* not comics: yeah, that's not good.

* I think I've seen this photo of Roberts Armstrong and Crumb with Ward Kimball before, but I certainly don't mind looking at it again.

* Michael Buntag on Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol. 4. Rob Clough on Toon Books. Don MacPherson on various comics. John Kane on various comics. Christopher Allen on Locke & Key: Grindhouse. J. Caleb Mozzocco on various comics. Sean Gaffney on Bamboo Blade Vol. 14. Paul O'Brien on a bunch of X-Men related comics. Andy Oliver on American Elf Vol. 4. Tucker Stone on a bunch of different comics. Rob Clough on Trubble Club #5. Matt Brady on Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me.

* an alternate history for Alan Moore.

* congratulations to Noah Berlatsky on five years of Hooded Utilitarian.

* finally, Hans Rickheit asks you to name that item.
 
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Not Comics: CR Welcomes All Students Back To School


that's Pat Moriarity's kid Jack, which I wanted to post because holy crap, he's like 38, we're all going to be dead soon
 
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September 4, 2012


Missed It: 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearings On Comics

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transcripts, audio one, audio two; via Jamie Coville
 
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Missed It: Long New Statesman Article On Newspaper Cartooning

For some reason, I didn't see this long Helen Lewis article on cartooning for newspaper and similar publications until it was posted on a couple of the high-end political blogs. I think it's a fairly good survey of the issues facing that particular kind of expression, as long as you keep in mind that she's working out of the context provided by UK cartooning rather than US.

As for the general issues raised, I think there's a lot to be said for the value of editorial cartooning moving forward, I really do. I also think there are some hard truths that need to be discussed about what that's going to entail and how many people are going to be able to slip into which models at which publications. I think it's as much a mistake to assume that newspaper and newsmagazine cartooning will look like it did in the '40s through '70s as it's been to more generally assume that every other job at such publications wasn't going to change much given the alteration in those publications' missions at an almost quantum level.
 
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Go, Look: 2000 AD National Signing Day Photos

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Go, Look: George Butler's Watercolors From Syria

These George Butler watercolors and drawings from the Syrian town of Azaz border communicate the dire situation facing the people with whom Butler met during his recent sojourn into that wrecked nation. I'm not a great fan of how that material is presented. Butler's drawings are evocative to the point that loading up all of those photos early on feels like someone's just messing with you for no good reason. On the other hand, maybe the most compelling images here are the photos of Butler's workspace, with the generous gift of breakfast placed among the art supplies and bullets. Anyway, I thought that more than worth the time spent. I look forward to poking around his web site.
 
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Not Comics: Gary Panter Album Covers

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* there are a bunch of SPX debuts listed here. One such book is the next So Buttons, which sports a Tom Scioli cover seen above that parodies the "crying, blind, helpless" Captain America cover we pulled and talked about last week. Anyway, that's an astounding list, and you could have an entire show merely based on the D+Q and Fantagraphics books showing up that weekend.

image* I was just talking about these comics in "Random News" to discover about a half-hour later that Richard Thompson has alerted us to a place to buy his I guess out-of-print collection of Richard's Poor Almanack.

* Paul Gravett's profile of Glyn Dillon drives attention to the fact that there's a Glyn Dillon graphic novel imminent -- The Nao Of Brown. For a lot of folks out there, that's all the publishing news they'll need for the month.

* here's a launch page for a new, alternative-comics focused podcast. It has one of those name it's hard to believe no one squatted on.

* I assume that even though this post from Classic Comics Press talks about books due in December 2012 and 2012, what they really mean is December 2012 and 2013.

* this is the comic a bunch of us are waiting on right now.

* you knew that Sin Titulo is still updating, right?

* couple of great links on the top of the Reprodukt blog right now. It's hard to argue with a free PDF copy of a new, appealing-looking 'zine. It might be harder to argue with the named-on-the-cover line-up from the new Strapazin.

* Comics Bronze Age has announced its return after nearly two years on hiatus.

* finally, this Genevieve Castree cover is imminent so it's hard to argue a publishing-news hook to it, but just look at the darn thing. That's very striking.

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If I Were In Buenos Aires, I'd Go To This

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Missed: thesideeffectsofthecocaine Is Tumblr-based Now

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I totally missed this, but Sonia Harris didn't: last week David Malki went ahead and won the Kickstarter debate, here and here.

image* Omar Martini talks to Alan Moore.

* not comics and super self-indulgent, so maybe skip: one thing that I've been doing the last couple of days is looking at the entirety of profiles I have on-line. I have a couple of facebook accounts and a publishing page, a couple of twitter accounts, four different e-mail accounts and CR -- not exactly a ton of places to go. Something I do now that's surprising to me considering how long I've been on-line is I try to adjust the level of conversation to the people with whom I'm interacting. Like I don't try to post comics stuff on my personal Facebook account unless I think that my high school friends and my family members might be interested: I didn't post about creator's rights to my college buddies that took their kids to see Avengers. I also tend to prune people more aggressively if I think the way they're interacting with me is going to be weird for the bulk of the people with whom I interact via that specific avenue -- like if someone from here in town starts hounding me on the CR twitter account. What strikes me as odd is that this essentially self-censoring, and I originally came on-line and let it all hang out and didn't really care how I came across, or how the people with whom I associated came across. Now not giving some person a wholly unpleasant day because I had a bad day in comics or because someone in comics wants to argue about some movie-related thing they just said seems to be a bigger goal. This is probably just me getting old and sad. I also probably suck at it far worse than I realize.

* yeah, I know. Hey, I told you you could skip that.

* Andy Baker on God And Science.

* did you know there are about two years of Richard Thompson's Richard's Poor Almanack here? I don't think I did. Did you know that you can access a bunch of videos from that Chicago All-Star Art Comics conference here? I may do an individual graphic-only post on both of those at some point, but until then I shouldn't hoard the links.

* Meredith Borders talks to Hope Larson.

* this is I believe Moebius drawing an image from I believe the Little Nemo-related movie that came out several years ago. This is clearly Steranko drawing some of the X-Men characters.

* I always find interesting articles that purport to be digging up the really obscure stuff and basically go from 1-A to 1-B.

* there are a number of nauseating assumptions in these yearly box-office report articles. Last year was a record year, so automatically pundits assume that the next year will break that record. When it doesn't, it's disaster time. Industries that depend on revenue models to grow every single year are going to have trouble; it's no longer post-World War II America. I'm not scolding as much as I get worried about arts industries that operate under this assumption. That mindset is how you end up cutting staff to meet a project profit point and cost yourself and the art form in the longer run.

* finally, a Wally Wood color guide.
 
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September 3, 2012


Go, Read: A John Porcellino Process Post

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Missed It: WonderCon 2013 Back To Anaheim... For Now

Heidi MacDonald had a piece up last week over at PW detailing a decision by the Comic-Con folks to schedule the 2013 edition of their WonderCon for Anaheim -- Easter weekend, as a matter of fact. The show was held there this last year.

imageLet me try to type this out and see if I'm understanding it. What happened was that the Moscone Center in San Francisco was being worked on in 2011 and into 2012, which meant that WonderCon couldn't get dates for this year and had to move the whole magilla down to Anaheim. They did this rather than place it into a smaller facility in order to keep their general goals of a certain kind of show at a certain size at a general time of year. They wouldn't say so out loud, but I imagine this was also useful for Comic-Con in that this gave them something to give Anaheim, a runner-up in the sweepstakes to host the big Comic-Con International show, and allowed them to explore having a show in the greater Los Angeles area. If nothing else, Comic-Con putting a show into that general part of the country might help keep someone else from having a show in the greater Los Angles area of a size and with an imprimatur to compete directly with CCI.

Because WonderCon isn't a big enough show to leave a significant economic footprint on downtown San Francisco hotels and related businesses, Moscone wasn't able to give WonderCon dates more than six months ahead for the 2013 show. When Comic-Con finally crossed the six-month window upon which the Moscone people insisted, the facility didn't have suitable dates left. I know without looking that someone out there has written an article on alternative venues for WonderCon, but my impression is that there's nothing that comes close to Moscone in terms of space and central location. So Comic-Con announces WonderCon for Anaheim again, and if they can miraculously score some sort of workable dates with Moscone they'll shift it back and make Anaheim its own show.

I think that's basically it. Someone please tell me if I'm super-wrong with anything I didn't at least qualify.

I'm of two minds. On the one hand, San Francisco is a better place to attend a con by a factor of about 11,900. That's a great city to visit, there's a healthy comics culture, and there are comics institutions on hand for evening activities and/or to visit in days on either side of the con. On the other hand, once you get into facility issues, you're talking pretty fundamental issues of being able to have a show. Anaheim also has a few advantages. For one, it's arguably easier to get there if you're coming from a neutral location. Downtown San Francisco is easier to reach from other parts of the Bay Area, but I always have a bit of difficulty getting there. Having a Spring convention in Anaheim gives Comic-Con a chance to push a natural Hollywood angle -- a spring show, down the road from LA, well-timed to throw the spotlight on summer movie releases -- that never quite took in San Francisco. I imagine con officials might deny this is a priority and also might deny that this was not exactly working in San Francisco, but I think it is and it wasn't. I don't even begrudge them wanting to do a show with the movie stuff; they've earned that interest and focus by pursuing it for decades.

I feel bad for fans in the Bay Area that have had a show they like move, if only temporarily. That has to suck. I feel bad for local publishers, institutions and cartoonists along those same lines, although they would still have APE under any scenario moving forward and if you're going to argue "deserve" I don't know how San Francisco deserves two established shows. It might also be fun to see what developed in the vacuum, like the Image show from last year.

I would hope that the dialogue doesn't settle into the typical "greedy" patterns, but I imagine it will, along with the usual shrieked alternative plans that make no sense.

I found WonderCon pretty confusing the one year I went, even though I enjoyed myself. It didn't seem like an entrenched show the same way other shows like HeroesCon feel to me when I'm there. I also felt pretty alone in my sojourns away from the hotel bar and convention center and out into the wider community, but maybe when I wasn't looking a ton of people were enjoying different parts of San Francisco not the pair of comics shops that had parties.
 
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Go, Look: Joe Kubert Never Dies (High-Res Scan Site)

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Go, Read: Classy, Lovely Profile Of Artist Cam Kennedy

It's impossible for me to imagine anyone coming away from this profile of the artist Cam Kennedy and somehow not liking the person described and wishing him the best. The occasion is the new Judge Dredd movie; the hook is Kennedy's failing eyesight.
 
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Go, Look: Maré Odomo

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Don't Get Mad: As It's Labor Day, The Placeholder Edition Of This Site's Comic-Con Guide Is Up

It's here. My theory is think about that weekend three or four times sprinkled throughout the calendar year and you don't have to think about it all the time in the couple of weeks right before. Some new pictures, too, including I believe this site's first cat photo.
 
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Go, Look: Plastic Babyheads From Outer Space

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Comics By Request -- People, Projects In Need Of Funding

* the beginning of the month brings our attention to Kickstarter, where there are any number of projects to browse. This includes projects from Rob Peters, Dang Olsen, Kory Bing, Christopher Lackey, Ethan Tarshish, someone going by "Cameltoad," Daniel Lieske and Alexander Lome.

* a search on the IndieGoGo site yields a couple of cartoonists that aren't new to me: Stephanie McMillan and Jim Lawson.

* there are a few days left to get in on the successful Bob Burden crowdfunder.

* we've checked in on this Alex Zalben Kickstarter before.

* if you saw one of the two superhero movies this weekend -- or three, I guess, that Spider-Man one is in the movie -- it's a nice thing to consider giving back to the generation of creators that made that work possible with a donation to the Hero Initiative.
 
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If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's the call for papers from ICAF. I don't know if that's new or if someone just re-posted it, but two of you e-mailed me that link. That group is having their next event in May in Portland. They are closer to the their 20th anniversary than they are to their 10th. We'll all be dead soon, you know.

image* Chris Mautner reviews the Alexander Street Press digital archives -- they're the one providing libraries with The Comics Journal. Paul Di Filippo on Underwater Welder. Buzz Dixon on Archie #636. Philip Shropshire on Prophet #27. Christopher Allen on Invisibles Vol. 1 #1. Grant Goggans on White Devil #1. Todd Klein on Kirby Genesis #5-6, Aquaman #10, Dark Horse Presents #10 and The Flash #10.

* not comics: hey, look at the Doug Wright-themed playground.

* who needs editors?

* nice isolated image from the late Gene Colan here. Not sure what the hell is going on in this illustration, but I'm always fond of Indiana Jones mixing it up with superhero types.

* Johanna Draper Carlson is not fond of the idea that someone has a kickstarter campaign to send them to a comics convention where it's likely they won't get a lot of attention and thus even meet the described goals of the kickstarter campaign.

* it's a good thing kids everywhere no longer take moral instruction from comic books, or you couldn't turn your back on a one of them.

* Rob Clough profiles Jaime Hernandez. Will Scott talks to Gabriella Giandelli.

* at the bottom of this catch-all post is a drink recipe called "Ghost Of Hoppers." The problem with that one is you have to mix it while a dog runs towards you on its hind legs.

* Graeme McMillan pulls out a Greg Rucka statement on a well-publicized DC Comics plot point that basically says, "Well it is New 52." I didn't know anyone was actually objecting to the story point as much as the ridiculous spectacle of this being something a company publicizes like it's an actual thing, and that DC would do this when they actually had admirable content to promote, but I guess it makes perfect sense that people would complain about the plot-point aspect, too. It's actually sort of touching in a way that anyone not a kid would have any attachment to those poor, old characters that way. Anyway, I guess if you treat readers like co-conspirators you probably shouldn't be surprised when they want input.

* the writer Charles Hatfield's brother Scott Hatfield writes about comics: 1, 2.

* finally, Superman and Batman discuss politics.
 
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September 2, 2012


Not Unlike A Comics Journal Editorial Meeting, 1994-1998

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Go, Watch: KAL In Tampa; Matt Bors, Tom Toles

How much you like the cartooning and insight in this KAL video is going to vary by political orientation, the kind of humor one likes, any number of aesthetic standards you might apply to its execution and even age, but I thought this was a reasonably effective use of an editorial cartoonist of the point-and-laugh variety on the ground at a political event and a pretty fair use of video, two things I almost never enjoy. You see something like this and you can almost envision some sort of wider future that's not traditional staffed-position cartooning as we've come to know it. Almost.

imageI haven't seen anything I've liked cartooning-related vis-a-vis the political convention. Scrolling down Cagle's blog is disheartening except for this post where the cartoonist reveals he beat feet to India to speak on a State Department-focused itinerary rather than cartoon about that particular brand of, well, branding. Good for him. I didn't watch five seconds of the political convention, but judging from activity on Twitter, on blogs and via Facebook it seems everyone in comics watched it -- or at least the same percentage of comics people that tend to watch things like the Olympics or the Grammys. I'm sort of endlessly curious about the notion of comics people holding forth on politics in this way, which goes back several years now -- at one of the first comics blogging panels I attended, there was 10 minutes on blogging about politics from your comics blog; I didn't have much to say on the topic -- and seems to me almost wholly a creation of the way the Internet has people relating to one another. I'm fascinated because I don't get it. I keep making the same stupid joke about Don McGregor expounding on the Panama Canal's return in FOOM because the whole notion that part of the way you conduct yourself in public is through declarations of political insight seems super-weird, particularly as expressed in comics right now.

I did like this piece from Matt Bors (that's a chunk of it above), I think because the outright paradigm shift we're continuing to experience in terms of who makes up the American electorate seems to me an actual political issue. I tend to catch up with Tom Toles in big chunks, and I thought this a graceful, funny way to express a particular point of view about class politics right now. Toles seemed more furiously dismayed by the convention than willing to be engaged by it, and you can't really argue with that.
 
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Go, Look: T. Edward Bak Cartoon About High School

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not sure how that ended up in the bookmarks, but there it was
 
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Not Comics: A Kay Nielsen Gallery

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Not Comics: An Adam Koford Illustration Gallery

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Go, Look: Luc Latulippe

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Go, Look: Zenith Art For Sale

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

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

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

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FFF Results Post #307 -- Capes Across Time

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Superhero Stories You Like. Three Rules: 1) Name The Stories Rather Than Use Some Other Identifier, 2) Identify The Year Of The Version You're Using, 3) One Choice Per Decade." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. God And Science: Return Of The Ti-Girls (2012)
2. Top Ten: The Forty-Niners (2006)
3. Year One (1987)
4. Panther's Rage (1973-1976)
5. When Strikes The Silver Surfer! (1966)

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. The Viltrumite War (2010-2011)
2. Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil (2007)
3. The Mighty Magnor (1993)
4. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (1986)
5. Must There Be a Superman? (1972)

*****

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Adrian Kinnaird

1. 'Riot At Xavier's' 2002
2. 'Flyer' 1991
3. 'The Longbow Hunters' 1987
4. 'Moon Of The Wolf' 1974
5. 'The Return Of The Vulture' 1963

*****

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Will Pfeifer

* "Batman: Year 100" 2006
* "Let 'Em Make Up Their Own Stupid Title" 1992
* "Born Again" 1986
* "Gotterdammung" 1974
* "Captured By J. Jonah Jameson" 1965

*****

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Dave Knott

* The Dark Age (2005-2010)
* Mad Love (1994)
* The Surtur Saga (1983-1985)
* The Pact! (1972)
* The Monster Society of Evil (1943-1945)

*****

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Jason Michelitch

1. Quarter-Life Crisis of Infinite Jimmy Olsens (2011)
2. Last Imp Standing! (2000)
3. Savage Grace (1992)
4. We Again Beheld the Stars (1989)
5. The Quality of Hatred! (1979)

*****

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Mike Pfefferkorn

* A Groovy Kind of Love (2010)
* The Golden Age (1993-94)
* Challenge of the Man-Bat! (1970)
* The Adult Legion (1967)
* The Marvel Family Battles the Sivana Family! (1947)

*****

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Kiel Phegley

1. Yesterday's Heroes (2000)
2. Dark Knight, Dark City (1990)
3. Early Morning of a Million Zillion Ninjas (1989)
4. Darkseid And Sons! (1972)
5. Return To Krypton (1960)

*****

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Jason Green

1. The Court of Owls (2011-2012)
2. Savage Dragon for President (2004)
3. Matrix Quest (1990)
4. The Man of Steel (1986)
5. The Coming of Galactus! (1966)

*****

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Eric Newsom

1. Echoes of Tomorrow (2007)
2. The Gathering Dark (1997)
3. A Lonely Place of Dying (1989)
4. The Unknown Soldier of Victory (1972)
5. Kill Vic Sage (1967)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Mystery in Space (2004)
2. God Con (1997)
3. The Great Darkness Saga (1982)
4. Where Valor Fails... Will Magic Triumph? (1970)
5. Disaster! (1966)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. The Hiketeia (2003)
2. Forever Yesterday (1991)
3. For the Man Who Has Everything (1985)
4. A Matter of Love... and Death! (1975)
5. The Death of Superman (1961)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. "The Great Divide" (2012)
2. "Daydreams And Believers" (2003)
3. "The Empire Of Chairs" (1993)
4. "Dr. Polaris Conquers The Universe" (1980)
5. "The Origin Of The Justice League -- Minus One!" (1977)

*****

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Joe Keatinge

1. Here Comes Tomorrow (2005)
2. Revenge of the Sinister Six (1992)
3. Norton of New York 2040 AD (1977)
4. Enter... Doctor Doom! (1966)
5. Batman Meets Bat-Mite! (1959)

*****

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John Vest

1. The Murdock Papers (2005-2006)
2. Worldengine (1995-1996)
3. Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? (1986)
4. Nighthawk's Brain (1976)
5. This Man...This Monster (1966)

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. "The Hunt Part One: Warning From the Red" (2011)
2. "Hell and Back" (1986)
3. "The Torch is Passed" (1975)
4. "Let there be... Life!" (1968)
5. "Back from the Dead" (1953)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

* Snow (2007)
* The Elements Of Heartbreak (1992)
* Fox On The Run (1989)
* The Air-Walker! (1972)
* The Final Chapter! (1966)

*****

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Niel Jacoby

1 Riot at Xavier's (2003)
2 Flex Mentallo (1996)
3 Born Again(1986)
4 The Fourth World Saga (1970-1973)
5 Flash of Two Worlds (1961)

*****

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Rob Salkowitz

1. "Sand and Stars," 1996
2. "Day In The Life," 1981
3. "Death Flies the Haunted Sky," 1974
4. "This Man, This Monster," 1966
5. "Captain Marvel Battles the Plot Against the Universe," 1949

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Last Imp Standing (2000)
2. The Abyss Gazes Also (1986)
3. Deadline Doom (1977)
4. The Night Of March 31st (1961)
5. The Invisible Destroyer (1959)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The Lost Generation (2000)
2. The Infinity War (1992)
3. Into the Negative Zone (1983)
4. The Sandman Saga (1971)
5. Human Torch vs. Sub-Mariner (1940)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. The Coyote Gospel (1988)
2. This Man, This Monster (1966)
3. The Challenge of the Calendar Man (1959)
4. The Injustice Society of the World (1947)
5. The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies (1938)

*****

I deleted a few for not following the one-per-decade rule; I'm sorry, but the bulk of the entries indicates that was pretty clear; I nearly eliminated some for not doing me the favor of formatting as requested, and will keep that in mind in future FFF compilations; as always, I greatly appreciate your participation

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


Trailer For The Reluctant Prophet


Jack Kirby Tribute Video


Doug TenNapel Video From A Few Years Back


Jim Rugg Album Cover Art Animated


Excerpt From A Dan McConnell Interview


Jim Toomey On Sherman's Lagoon
 
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September 1, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from August 25 to August 31, 2012:

1. As to show how things stay the same as much as they change, a flurry of variant covers and a speculation boomlet regarding Superman and Wonder Woman kissing descend upon the direct market.

2. Jack Kirby's birthday throws the spotlight on the Hero Initiative through a fundraising event in the legendary comics artist's name.

3. Some good news in a summer that could use some more: the Aurora Rise event attended by comics pros Steve Niles, Mike Mignola, Matt Fraction and Justin Norman was successful enough fundraising through that organization will continue.

Winner Of The Week
Alex Segura, who goes back to DC Comics with a fancy new title after a brief and productive run as the main PR guy at Archie.

Loser Of The Week
Any direct market comics shops that don't feel like participating in the instant-collectible market and have to figure out how to order a new refashioning of the Marvel line with a bunch of variant issues complicating the perceived demand.

Quote Of The Week
"Thank you all so much! Get ready to make some Projects." -- A thank-you note on the occasion of The Projects meeting its ambitious $8500 crowd-funding goal. The Portland festival seeks to encourage an alternative convention format from the usual dealers-room/exhibitor model.

*****

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

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

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If I Were Near One Of These, I'd Go To It

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

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

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

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