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

















November 30, 2012


Today's Mood-Lifter: We're Probably Right At Or Really Near 50 Years Of Sergio Aragones In MAD

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The great Sergio Aragones made his debut in the January 1963 issue of MAD with a bunch of work including the cover concept. Unless I'm completely wrong about this -- and unless CR reader Des Devlin was completely wrong in pointing it out to me -- MAD was probably publishing 6-8 weeks ahead of its cover dates at the time. This means that we're likely smack at or really close to the 50-year mark for our collective relationship with the cartoonist.

Aragones' marginal cartoons are one of the unique achievements in all of comics history; his more traditional comics are of a high quality, too. He's also super-popular and charismatic and a terrific ambassador for the medium. Comics is better for having him in its midst. So in a week of not-exactly sterling and sometimes outright tragic comics news, maybe we can all take a few seconds to appreciate this great cartoonist, still with us and still working, still making us laugh. Thank you, Mr. Aragones.
 
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Your Comics Representative On The NYT Ten Best Books Of 2012 List

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Your 2012 Paste Magazine Best Comics Of 2012 List

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Here. I'm not exactly sure what Paste is, to be perfectly honest with you -- I probably did know and forgot -- but it's a handsome-looking site and I like a number of the comics they chose. This is also one of the lists that has multiple authors and seems fairly broad in terms of type of (North American) comics represented.

10. Batman, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC Comics)
9. Daredevil, Mark Waid and various artists (Marvel Comics)
8. The Hive, Charles Burns (Pantheon)
7. Hawkeye, Matt Fraction, David Aja and various artists (Marvel Comics)
6. The Underwater Welder, Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
5. Annie Sullivan And The Trials of Helen Keller, Joseph Lambert (Center for Cartoon Studies / Hyperion)
4. Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
3. Jerusalem, Guy DeLisle (Drawn + Quarterly)
2. The Making Of, Brecht Evens (Drawn + Quarterly)
1. Building Stories, Chris Ware (Pantheon)
 
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Go, Read: Life On The List, Chapter Two

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Go, Read: John Martz Picks His Best Of 2012

John Martz is one of the reliable best-of list-makers out there, and he's posted his best-of for 2012. I dropped everything and took a look. It's the kind of list I would hope to make if I had a normal person's interaction with the comics art form. As always, there are a bunch of comics on there, but the list isn't limited to comics.

image* Abstract City by Christoph Niemann
* Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
* Artograph LightPad lightbox
* Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman
* Botanicula
* Building Stories by Chris Ware
* By This You Shall Know Him by Jesse Jacobs
* Dockwood by Jon McNaught
* Ergotron LX LCD Arm
* Everything Goes in the Air by Brian Biggs
* Everything Together: Collected Stories by Sammy Harkham
* Goliath by Tom Gauld
* Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré
* Jinchalo by Matt Forsythe
* Moleskine Watercolour Notebooks
* Nobrow 7: Brave New World
* Silhouettes from Popular Culture by Olly Moss
* Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
* SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
* The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist
* The Great Showdowns by Scott C.
* Turtie Needs Work by Steve Wolfhard
* Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

the image is the Forsythe
 
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Missed It: Why Things Are

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Go, Look: Protester

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* and just like that, Octopus Pie roars back to life. I sort of like the idea of these ongoing serials that kind of slip into a hiatus period and then come back into existence. Why not? Why do these have to come out every day in unending fashion?

image* Vito Delsante and David Bednarski have announced a forthcoming webcomics project together: Prisoner Of None.

* I'm not 100 percent sure about this, but the way this cartoon was presented to me makes me think that cartoons appearing at Alternet is something of a new thing.

* Dan Goldman has brought his Red Light Properties to Monkeybrain.

* Gary Tyrrell examines a recent essay on the economics of single-issue comics making from the perspective of webcomics, basically suggesting that rather than paying through the nose to build a readership for more popular gigs/formats, why not put it on-line and do that much more cheaply? He also has a nice post up about Kickstarter funding here.

* finally, here's one of those screen-formatted comic-book type comics: Cocotte, by Kat Vapid and Ryan Kelly.

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

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

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Go, Look: This Year's Holiday-Themed RFT Comix Issue

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Chris Ware has been profiled in the New York Review Of Books in a massive, laudatory piece. This piece at Rookie is really great, too.

image* Richard Bruton on Segway. Sean Gaffney on Thermae Romae Vol. 1. Rob Clough on Hotwire. Johanna Draper Carlson on Start With A Happy Ending.

* not comics: Meredith Gran gives fitness advice.

* Alan Gardner found a site that collected all of the tribute strips to Peanuts from back in 2000. Man, you know you're getting old when you have to check the list to see if you participated in something like that (we didn't). Speaking of people finding things, Brandon Graham directs our attention to this site with cartoon-style depictions of Serpieri's Druuna character.

* I always listen to Comic Books Are Burning In Hell while I clean the office on Friday mornings. The best one is Jog.

* David L. Ulin talks to Julia Wertz. Alex Dueben talks to Dan Goldman and Charles Burns. Dave Bower talks to Dean Haspiel. Mina Kaneko talks to Adrian Tomine.

* a bunch of different talented people, including a couple of cartoonists, talk about getting past creative blocks.

* I vote no, but that's only because anything anyone else does diminishes me and what I do.

* finally, this photo set from BCGF is sure something. There's a lot of people in there I didn't see photographed by anyone else.
 
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November 29, 2012


Today's Holiday Season Mood-Lifter: How Robert Crumb Started Doing Covers For Mineshaft Magazine

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this story makes me happy, anyway: how a 'zine-sized, labor-of-love publication about art and comics became a frequent home for one of the all-time great comics-makers
 
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This Roman Muradov Site Looks Different Than It Did The Last Time I Linked To It, Back In March 2011

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Go, Read: Rob Tornoe's Sports Cartoons As Newspaper Content

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There are some cute Rob Tornoe Philadelphia Eagles cartoons in this article on one of the ESPN blogs, but the main value in reading it from a comics perspective is that it unpacks a model for using a cartoonist at a paper that I don't think I've seen explained before -- as a live-tweeter and chronicler of events. That makes a lot of sense, actually, and seems to me pretty loaded with potential. It's probably not for every talent, but that's part of the equation, too. As the old model of newspapers having a staffed cartoonist responsible for five cartoons a week has collapsed, one thing that must be examined is whether or not there are different models that are sustainable that bring with them a different expectation for production.
 
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Go, Look: Dave Cockrum Seventies

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Good News: Denmark Adds Comics Educational Track

There's an upbeat post over at Metabunker about The Animation Workshop in Viborg announcing a four-year bachelor's program in graphic storytelling. This would apparently be like that group's already-lauded animation degree and similar to school efforts in Sweden that the post cites as making a huge difference in local comics production. I think this is also encouraging for people no matter what country they're in because one of the many institutions with a hand in comics making good on something like this is a positive sign across the board for such partnerships moving forward. I'm also imagining that pretty soon students at CCS and SCAD can do a term at such a school overseas and there might be some kind of hijinks-related movie that comes from it.

Update: Here's the official word, which I'm told clears up some misapprehensions in the above linked-to piece.
 
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Go, Look: Santa Writes A Comic Book

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Go, Look: R. Kikuo Johnson's Shark King Process Post

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I'm pretty sure I hadn't seen this announcement for next April's FLUKE, even though it's been up for a while. I always forget about FLUKE, just generally.

* that smaller show in North Carolina from a bit back set attendance records.

* there is a bunch of stuff up now at the Angouleme Festival site, and not just the official selections. One of the shows for this year's event is focused on Brecht Evens and the young Flemish cartoonists. That looks good.

* two photo galleries from the Fantagraphics retail space.

* I'm sort of charmed by this small, Christmas-related comics convention being held this weekend in Ontario. Really focused specialty conventions are going to be a bigger and bigger thing over the next five years. That includes conventions around single artists, single themes, single geographical locations and those tied into holidays or events.

* finally, Andy Brown from Conundrum sent along this fun report from Expozine, a report that includes a bunch of pictures like the one below of Michel Rabagliati, Nina Bunjevac and Salgood Sam. My goodness there are a lot of shows now.

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

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Go, Look: The Demlins

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I am very sorry to hear about the passing of the artist Josh Medors and hope to write a full obituary in the next few days. All condolences to his family, friends and fans.

image* missed it: Kevin Huizenga re-draws a Kona page.

* Robert Greenberger on Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Kailyn Kent on Comics Versus Art.

* looking around at what Spain Rodriguez art was posted in various places around the Internet drove me to stumble across this cool-looking piece of Greg Irons-illustrated journalism. Wouldn't you buy a newspaper that had illustrated spreads like that? I know I would.

* I liked this Bob Temuka piece on a recent X-Men event designed to establish a new status quo that's already been thrown out for yet another status quo. The push and pull of these publishing decisions makes for some really weird creative choices on these comics. I also like Temuka's succinct explanation as to why he wants to like comics like these even though he knows he probably isn't going to like comics like these.

* so I guess Laura Park makes these beautiful cartoons and leaves them where people can find them because that's just what she does. If I have that right, I think that's awesome.

* I greatly enjoyed this David Brothers piece on the reason he writes about race in comics, and I like that he calls out a curious scene in an early issue of Alias that actually had some relationship to movies out at the time when it came to showing how a character hit a low point -- a depiction done in a way that will probably make you cringe a little bit if you think about it as a stand-alone story point, let alone if you hear how it's described years after the fact. I also enjoyed reading the point that racism is probably the least interesting way to focus a discussion of race.

* yesterday got weird.

* finally, it's hard not to fall at least a little bit in love with Ken Parille's analysis of two panels from The Hive.
 
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A Few More Holiday Guide Add-Ins, Suggestions

What follows are a few more comics-related holiday gift ideas, that will by the weekend be added to the CR Holiday Shopping Guide 2012. I wish I could have had all of these things in on my first try, but I'd rather give them the spotlight now than to be prideful about last weekend's effort. Please shop carefully: the Santa whose lap you save could be your own.

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161. Something From The Last Gasp Annual Warehouse Sale
Just taking me to this thing would be a gift I'd remember. It's also a reminder to check in with your local comics institutions and see if they're doing anything similar in the weeks ahead.

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162. A Jaime Hernandez Print To Support The Hernandez Brothers Collection At UTEP
That's a great-looking thing for a fine and vastly under-publicized (by people like me who should know better and try harder) cause.

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163. Cruisin' With The Hound: The Life And Times Of Fred Toote
It's too early for a company like Fantagraphics to suggest the purchase of a book from the just-passed underground comics icon Spain Rodriguez, but we're under no such potential profit-motive driven restraint. I liked a lot of Spain's late-period work, and that includes this odd and frequently funny stories of his youthful days in Buffalo. A lot of Spain's best autobiographical work is not in print, which makes buying something like this even more of an imperative I think.
 
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November 28, 2012


Go, Watch: Trashman: The Art Of Spain Rodriguez


 
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Spain Rodriguez, RIP

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according to the e-mail that went out, he passed away at 7 AM this morning
 
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Go, Look: Marc Of The Best

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Go, Look: Mucho Mas

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Karl Stevens Claims Alt-Weekly Strip Discontinued Due To Advertiser Worries; Editor Strongly Denies

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In an e-mail received by this site and by several other comics-industry journalists yesterday, the cartoonist Karl Stevens claimed that his strip Failure in the alt-weekly Boston Phoenix was canceled because the content of an attached strip, due to appear this week, insulted Budweiser, an advertiser in the publication.

Stevens reiterated this claim in e-mails to CR and in articles published by The Beat (where it was claimed on his behalf) and Publishers Weekly (where it was claimed by Stevens in a telephone interview). He told CR via e-mail that he was informed of the decision by his art director Kristen Goodfriend during lunch yesterday. He further told CR that he had not spoken to his editor directly, and that his impression of the editor's response came from the lunchtime conversation. "She said the editor Carly [Carioli] was sick of worrying about the strip being offensive. Apparently this was the last straw."

imageStevens told PW, "Apparently I offended Bud Light, and cannot be trusted."

Phoenix Editor-In-Chief Carly Carioli was asked about the allegations made by Stevens and responded to CR in an e-mail this morning.

"In answer to your questions, it is categorically false that Karl was 'fired' due to any outside objections. I'm the Phoenix's editor in chief, and it was my sole decision to discontinue Failure. Karl's final Failure strip runs in tomorrow's issue (dated 11/30). There were no sponsor objections -- zero -- to this strip or any other that I’m aware of. It is also untrue that I was worried about the strip being offensive: quite the opposite. Over Karl's tenure at the Phoenix, he has been given more creative freedom than any other writer, photographer, or illustrator we've published. In one instance, over a year ago, we asked him to re-draw a panel that included a penis in a state of sexual penetration -- which he agreed to re-draw with the penis blocked out in print, and I believe we ran the original panel online."

Stevens told CR that he had experienced "free reign" for the life of the strip, but that the publication had worried about Failure due to nudity and vulgarity.

Carioli suggested that the reason that Failure was let go was because of format changes at the publication, and told CR this had been communicated to Stevens.

"The Phoenix recently (in September) relaunched as a weekly magazine, after 46 years as a weekly newspaper. During the transition, I had frank and forthright conversations with Karl in which both of us questioned whether Failure was a fit for the new publication. I've continued to make numerous changes in the magazine as we go forward, and the end of Failure is one of several changes we're making in the new year."

"However, it is inaccurate that Karl has been 'let go.' While he is not now nor has he ever been on staff, at the time that we discontinued Failure we offered him a continuing role as an illustrator -- he has been illustrating features in the magazine outside of Failure, and in fact he illustrates a major feature appearing in tomorrow's issue."

Asked about the discrepancy between saying that a decision had be made to discontinue the strip next year but then actually ending it before this year is out, Carioli said that the strip that appears tomorrow is the last one commissioned by the publication. "There are three issues left at the end of the year and they're all format-busters, so the strip would likely not have run in those issues."

Contacted by CR and asked if he wanted to respond to Carioli's comments, Stevens replied by e-mail. "Nope."

The strip in question does not appear to be on the Phoenix site at the time of this filing.

Failure was a slice-of-life strip featuring Stevens and I believe various real-life acquaintances, combining Stevens' skill at shaping overheard dialogue with an accomplished and dramatic visual style. Failure started running in 2009; his previous strips for the paper were Succe$$ (2008, with Gustavo Turner) and Whatever (2005-2009). Stevens' print efforts include the Xeric- and Ignatz-winning Guilty (2005), a collection of Whatever (Alternative Comics, 2008) and 2010's The Lodger, which used as its foundation several strips from Failure. Failure won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for Best Cartoon in 2010. He was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize that same year, for The Lodger. Stevens most recently exhibited at the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival.

In a Facebook comment on a post about the strip's cancellation, Stevens expressed a desire to focus on longer works in the future.
 
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Go, Look: Renee French On Instagram

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Gaiman Foundation Contributes $60K To CBLDF For The Education Program Aspects Of The Fund's Mission

A very full press release is here. Kudos to the Foundation, and to its founder, a longtime supporter of free speech in the arts and the CBLDF specifically. I know that the Fund has wanted to push more into its educational side, particularly as a shift in the way that the market has developed over the last half decade potentially changes that group's orientation to entire segments of the professional community. I'm also greatly encouraged that there's a Gaiman Foundation, as I think that institutions interested in comics like that one are going to start having a drastic effect on the medium's future.
 
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Go, Look: Ala-Bas-Ter

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Angouleme Festival Official Selections Now More... Official

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I updated this post on the various official prize lists for next year's FIBD to reflect information provided at the festival site. There were a couple of missing nominees and one or two in different categories than the one where they were nominated. I've also linked the individual entries to the appropriate festival page.

Like I mentioned in that post, there are a lot of North American comics on this list, and a lot of what I might call genre work in categories that maybe didn't use to have as many such titles (or a similar percentage; the awards have changed a lot) in years past. There also seems to be a lot of manga mainstreamed right into the categories, to the point where I didn't even register that when I took my initial look.
 
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Go, Look: Brandon Graham Tries Tumblr

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Missed It: Analysts On October 2012 DM Numbers

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has offered up their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops, this time for October 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.

There are obvious twin stories here, one that may make your head nod in recognition and one that might make it do so with an actual smile in accompaniment.

As expected, the Marvel re-presentation of its comics line with a sort-of combination Avengers/X-Men title as the flagship drove a lot of comic book sales, putting Marvel back into the top 10 in a competitive way with its core offerings and driving a significant amount of market-share measurement into their part of the pie charts. One would imagine this was part genuine interest in the new direction, new titles and new creative teams; part aggressive ordering from retailers not wanting to be left behind if this stuff killed with its intended audience (there's a way in which any kind of focused effort by the Big Two is going to get over no matter the level of reciprocal interest); part the flood of variant covers and other gimmick-type strategies that also all but guarantee a significant short-term burst. This League of Extraordinary Sale Tactics should not only make anyone familiar with the shape of the Direct Market over the last quarter-century go, "Oh yeah, all of that stuff usually works," they might give someone a bit of a pause concerning things in the longer term, in terms of just how much these titles will catch with audiences and how much they might provide a jumping off point for a smaller number of readers that will become more apparent when the variant bump fades. These are interesting times.

The second story is the continuing super-strong performance by graphic novels in the Direct Market, this time around led by the latest wave of Walking Dead offerings and the successful "Earth One" bookstore-audience focused material that DC has been doing with its core characters.
 
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Go, Look: Kevin Uehlein

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Missed It: Analysts On September 2012 DM Numbers

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has offered up their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops, this time for 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.

Most of the numbers back this month indicate a kind of pause in mainstream comic book publication. Marvel is about a month away from its line re-presentation, while DC is doing "zero" issues of its New 52 books one year into that major effort. That would seem to provide a snapshot-type opportunity to reflect on the more general strength of the market. The good news is that it actually seems like some semblance core strength has returned, particularly when you look at the graphic novel side of things and the range of work that makes up the top titles in that segment. In fact, that side of the stores carried the comic book side during this pause, which might be encouraging in the longterm as comic books are potentially a more difficult sale in paper form in the years ahead. That significant market abandonment hasn't quite happened yet, but it could.

While the numbers themselves might not make anyone drop out of business school and take up drawing -- we are still talking about mid-four figures, and that's selling into a market that might work those titles off over the entire holiday season -- they are relatively significant to a range of conceptions about the market including comics' recent past and print more generally. In addition, the price point on some of the books don't seem to have a significant effect which might be something more publishers take into consideration moving forward.
 
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Go, Look: The Blizzard Of 1993

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no idea how I ended up with this link or even when this comic is from, but it's fun
 
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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.

*****

AUG121229 DOCKWOOD HC $19.95
This was just listed by the Angouleme Festival, and I used the French-language edition cover in the write-up on those awards, so forgive me the visual repetition. Still, this Jon McNaught book I'd most want to see if I went to a comics shop today, and I urge anyone in a comics shop that carries it to a) check it out, b) thank your store owner for carrying something good and not an automatic sale like this volume.

imageSEP120513 MULTIPLE WARHEADS ALPHABET TO INFINITY #2 [DIG] $2.99
SEP120518 PROPHET #31 [DIG] $3.99
AUG120510 FATALE #10 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
SEP120043 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #101 RETURN O/T MASTER #4 MIGNOLA $3.50
SEP120042 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #101 RETURN O/T MASTER #4 SOOK CVR $3.50
SEP120936 ADVENTURE TIME #10 [DIG] $3.99
The first batch of titles in an intriguing week for old-fashioned pamphlet format comic books. This is the indy bundle, led by Brandon Graham (x2), the licensed-comic hit and indy art showcase Adventure Time, the last comic in the most recent run of Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips comics, and something from the Mignola-verse. There was a time in my life, basically half a lifetime ago, where this would have been the exact makeup of the bag with which I left my store.

AUG120085 FORBIDDEN WORLDS ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $49.99
AUG120084 SILVER STREAK ARCHIVES ORIGINAL DAREDEVIL HC VOL 02 $59.99
This week is rich with collections I don't quite grasp as a reader or as a casual industry watcher. These are archival reprints of older comics with sterling artistic pedigrees name-wise, in that you get a ton of quality artists from that world of comics working on this material. At the same time, it's hard for me to fathom someone other than a fan of this specific type of comic, or even comics more generally if the passion runs into historical schools, reading these comics for the sole purpose of enjoying them, to consume them the way you would non-archival editions of similarly-targeted work. That sounds like a criticism, I know, but it's really just an acknowledgment of a market that sometimes confuses me on a very fundamental level.

AUG121180 DIOSAMANTE HC (MR) $24.95
AUG121181 TECHNOPRIESTS SUPREME COLL OMNIBUS (MR) $114.95
AUG128234 JEREMIAH OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $24.99
AUG128338 JEREMIAH OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $24.99
And it only gets worse. This is an entire group of comics into which I have no particular ease of entry, so I'd probably just defer to whatever Jog writes about them here. I don't let myself read Jog's entries until I'm done with this one, but he's usually super-solid (of course), particularly on those sorts of books. I'd want to see the first two listed here very much if I were in a comics shop where this was possible.

OCT120723 REMAKE 3XTRA GN VOL 03 (MR) $9.95
Let's talk about a newer cartoonist making newer work at a more accessible price point, immediately. Lamar Abrams' latest I'm sure features the same kind of assured and slightly loopy funnybook making for which he's known by those that know him.

JUL120063 KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE TP VOL 13 (MR) $12.99
This strikes me as the best manga series of the traditional, mainstream variety with a volume out this week.

SEP120166 BATMAN INCORPORATED #5 (RES) $2.99
AUG120140 BEFORE WATCHMEN SILK SPECTRE #4 (MR) $3.99
SEP120223 JOE KUBERT PRESENTS #2 $4.99
So here's the DC batch of books: one of the better New 52 comics, albeit one that sort of shrugged off the reboot aspects of said effort; the best of the Before Watchmen books from what I can tell reading a bunch of them here and there; all-time DC icon Joe Kubert's last run at a brand-new series, or at least I don't think he was the kind of cartoonist to have something sitting in a closet on reserve.

SEP120593 FF #1 NOW $2.99
SEP128135 HAWKEYE #1 3RD PTG AJA VAR $2.99
SEP128136 HAWKEYE #2 3RD PTG AJA VAR $2.99
SEP120560 THOR GOD OF THUNDER #2 NOW $3.99
And here's the Marvel, a step or two away from the Brian Bendis-directed Avengers series effort that are marking the end of that particular, lucrative run. This includes the Matt Fraction/Mike Allred effort at an offbeat version of a title that in its main incarnation isn't exactly a sales juggernaut. I kid, as this is the kind of title I pick up years later when I find individual issues in old comic book bins. The Hawkeye series is one of those rare "aimed at adult comic book fans" that seems to be finding an audience during its initial publication. It's a very handsome comic. The Thor book seems to be a favorite of the new launches, and eight-year-old me is always up for a Thor comic.

AUG120704 FF BY JONATHAN HICKMAN PREM HC VOL 04 $24.99
AUG120729 MIGHTY THOR BY MATT FRACTION TP VOL 02 $19.99
SEP120703 WINTER SOLDIER TP VOL 02 BROKEN ARROW $15.99
These three efforts from three of Marvel's most prolific and successful writers of the last decade may or may not be on your radar, but it's interesting to me to see 1) that these are essentially writer-driven efforts in the first place, 2) they're collected really quickly, which indicates less a going-back-to-the-well model of having fans buy two copies and more a two-separate-buyers model of consumption. That's just a hunch on my part, of course.

SEP120759 COMPLETE CALVIN & HOBBES SC SLIPCASE ED $100.00
SEP120758 DIARY OF A WIMPY KID HC VOL 07 THIRD WHEEL $13.95
Two hugely successful mainstream efforts, and two that you don't always find in comics shops as opposed to mainstream bookstores. I would imagine -- regretfully -- that for most people the real price on the Calvin & Hobbes softcover is however it gets discounted on-line. Seventeen copies of the Wimpy Kid book sold while you're reading this paragraph.

JUN121310 MATT BAKER ART OF GLAMOUR HC (RES) $39.95
A much-anticipated book, at least by people that read these kinds of books, on one of the lost, significant talents of 20th Century mainstream comics.

AUG121310 OWLY & WORMY HC BRIGHT LIGHTS & STARRY NIGHTS $15.99
Hey, it's new Owly. I wasn't aware that Wormy's agent had secured him a co-star credit.

JUL121124 DANTES INFERNO GN (KNOCKABOUT) $18.99
Work from one of the all-time fun comics artists is always worth a look. For some folks I'm afraid that's sometimes all Hunt Emerson work engenders, but there's nothing automatically wrong with comics art that you stare at rather than read.

*****

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 Portland, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Read: Giant Alex Toth Post At Library Of American Comics

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I keep forgetting to link to the thinkpieces that arrived on the heels of two comics being nominated for the Costa Prize. Here's one. I'm actually not sure how big a deal in the broader sense this kind of thing is. Don't get me wrong: I'm sure it's vitally important to some people and to the folks that receive that specific form of approbation, but I'm not sure that in a sense once these honors are achieved it doesn't just become part of the churn. In fact, I think one thing about the remaining prize taboos falling -- and I assume they're going to fall -- is that there's a novelty to them because they're some of the few remaining taboos, another item on a long-ago checklist that's, well, I'm sure it's on the desk here somewhere.

image* Antonio Solinas talks to Brian Bolland. Paul Gravett profiles Hannah Berry.

* not comics: love this post about a unique New York City street.

* Dustin Harbin draws Team Batman. Mattias Adolfsson draws a skeleton. Anthony Clark draws a tiny dragon.

* Emma Vieceli is a remarkable woman.

* Josh Kopin reflects on something Chris Ware said about interactivity at BCGF. I was struck this year by how extremely good Ware is on his feet at these panels and appearances now. I mean, Ware is smart and articulate, but I still suspect that speaking in public makes him uncomfortable. To be that generally good when you're uncomfortable is something. It's also fun to be reminded that there are all sorts of folks out there, comics readers included, that are just now or are about to discover Ware's work.

* speaking of fine ambassadors for the medium, there are a bunch from the younger generation that qualify.

* Dennis Harvey on Cartoon College. Michael Buntag on Superman: Earth One Vol. 2.

* that's a nice photo.

* on teaching inappropriate comics. The distaste I would have for any such controversy springing up around something I taught would end my teaching career in about five minutes flat.

* finally: very few folks do, Paul.

 
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A Few More Holiday Guide Add-Ins, Suggestions

This is where we put suggestions that come in for adds to this year's Holiday Shopping Guide, because I'm only one man and even though I try really hard to do my best it's hard to blog in completely thorough fashion while hopped up on painkillers and egg nog. Please forgive me these omissions.

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156. Something From Vanessa Davis' Etsy Store
Again, there are a lot of cartoonists with Etsy set-ups, but I ran across Vanessa Davis' the other day and I was struck by how thought-out the offerings were, and how generally attractive. So maybe try that one out, or at least give it a glance.

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157. Something From A Lee's Comics Auction
These look pretty great, and include a smashing Al Williamson page.

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158. A Lifetime Membership From The Toonseum
I'm all about straight-up donations, but I'm also all about gaudy baubles and in the world of attending museums a limited-edition special membership is about as gaudy as it gets. The only thing better is a membership that allows you to push down other members.

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159. The Color Scott Pilgrim Books
You have to be a pretty bad blogger to write 158 Holiday Shopping entries before you get to one of the three items you've actually purchased for someone. I am that blogger. Sorry, Oni. These look nice; I haven't seen one yet. Since the original black and whites came out a few people on my shopping list have become old enough to read this material, so that's nice.

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160. This Nice-Looking Print From DanielClowes.com, If It's Still Available
Speaking of not-great blogging, I missed the sale on this one. It might still be available. It wouldn't hurt to ask. Well, it might hurt. It probably won't hurt me if you ask.
 
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November 27, 2012


Today's Holiday Season Mood-Lifter: Girl Scouts Making Mini-Comics

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Bundled Extra: Drawn And Quarterly Releases Spring 2013 Catalog With Like Eight Billion Images

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I give up; I'm moving the Bundled column to Wednesdays next year
 
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Go, Read: Jim Zubkavich On Independent Comics Profitability Math

Here. This is a semi-frequent subject for posts -- you see someone do something like this every couple of years or so -- but this one is concise and to the point and like all the others fairly brutal in the stark reality presented.
 
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Go, Look: The Wondrful World Of Alx Robinson

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* nice catch by Graeme McMillan of a forthcoming Best Of Milligan And McCarthy collection. That should be something to see if it happens.

image* a Stanley Kubrick mini-comic? I will want to see that. I can't even tell who that's by, and I would like to see it.

* Joel Meadows from Tripwire writes about moving the crowd-funding campaign for another issue from the Unbound site to the UK kickstarter.

* I don't have a whole lot of news this time, and I'm not sure why that is -- it could be a post-con season slowdown, I could be not collecting these items as effectively as I should. I'll double-down efforts for next week.

* since it's a little bit slow, I guess no one will mind me posting this link to a mini-comics release that is sitting in my bookmarks, looking adorable and lonely and eager to please.

* here's an interview of note: Bill Kartalopoulos of the just-launched Rebus Books. He doesn't get into specifics, but he does talk about general publishing strategies: both North American and European work, already-existing comics for the most part.

* finally, looking at Amazon.com for what's coming out at the far end of their advance publishing reach (usually about 10 months) isn't the fun it used to be, what with the influx of collectors selling material that they mark as having the date 9999, I guess to have it appear on the top of such searches. Still, one book that jumps out at me that I hadn't heard about yet is Fantagraphics doing a Charles Rodrigues collection. It's almost 200 pages, too. My memory is that Rodrigues worked kind of all over the place, but I'm not all that certain how prolific he was in each individual cartooning area. At any rate, that's great news, and one to look forward to for next summer.

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

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

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Go, Look: Bergen Street Comics

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Aaron Duran and Paula Small have joined the board at the Stumptown Comics Festival's controlling organization Stumptown Comics Inc. Duran will be Communications Director; Small comes on board as Treasurer. The release reminds that 2013 will be that show's 10th year.

image* Christian Gasser on Hicksville. Greg McElhatton on It Girl And The Atomics #4, Batwoman #14, Iron Man #2, Justice League #14, Fables #123 and Legion Of Super-Heroes #14. Doug Zawisza on Supergirl #14, Wolverine And The X-Men #21, Daredevil #20 and Deadpool #2. Jennifer Cheng on Sword Of Sorcery #2 and Harbinger #6. Kelly Thompson on Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1, Castle Waiting Vol. 2 #18 and Catwoman #14. James Hunt on Avengers #34 and X-Factor #247. Ryan K. Lindsay on Uncanny X-Force #34. Rob Clough on Hugo Tate. Don MacPherson on various comics. John Kane on various comics.

* not comics: here's a post on movie ads in comics.

* I keep forgetting to link to this very odd choice for a comics-related bathroom book.

* not comics: I'm not sure everyone can see this, but this Laura Park drawing is pretty great. Ditto this Lisa Hanawalt sketch of Guy Fieri. There are only a few comics-related photos in this Jason T. Miles gallery, but they're interesting ones.

* I haven't looked into the registration aspect of this site, but I like the comics that pop up on the front page.

* pretty sure I put this link into the Collect Memory for the event, but this Timothy Callahan post on comics he got at BCGF is also a pretty good survey of new comics.

* not comics: an alternate theory is that they're mostly annoying people that just want the attention.

* Gerry Alanguilan would like you to know that Komiks is not dead.

* Thanksgiving 2012 is one Tuesday of seeing people at work that took an extra day off and asking them about their weekend away from being in the rearview mirror for good, but that's just enough time to enjoy this old Winsor McCay holiday-themed art.

* Dan Berry talks to Andrew Thomas.

* finally, it's always fun to read Todd Klein on lettering.
 
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A Few More Holiday Guide Add-Ins, Suggestions

What follows are a few suggestions from CR readers about add-ons to this year's Holiday Shopping Guide. I don't run suggestions from people of material they themselves publish, or material they suggest from a significant other -- I appreciate people being a fierce advocate on their own behalf, or for a loved one, but making posts from those e-mails would take up a big chunk of my morning.

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151. A Skype Portrait From Gabrielle Bell
This is pretty self-explanatory, and I like the way these look. They're very affordable, too. Bell had a fine book out this year, and this could be paired with it.

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152. Original Art From Jeremy Eaton
Jeremy Eaton is a fun cartoonist and a prolific illustrator working from his cartoon style. The link goes to his page at the Comic Art Collective, but you might want to try and track him down on Facebook to find sales on specific items. Or maybe just inquire.

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153. Something From The Escape Pod Comics Sale
Their ambitious plans were not kickstarted, so they're trying to raise the money in old-fashioned Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland style, only if Rooney and Garland sold comics instead of putting on shows.

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154. David Lasky's Joyce's Ulysses
A rare item, and fun for a Joyce fan. Could be paired with the Carter Family book.

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155. Krampus Greeting Cards From Monte Beauchamp
Well this is a natural. Beauchamp has done sets of these classic-image cards before, and they're very handsome. With the recent comeback of the alt-comics t-shirt, can the resurgence of the vintage comics and illustration postcard be that fire behind?
 
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How To Feel Better About Life, Comics, Everything

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1. Go here.
2. Start reading.
3. Read until Alfred E. Neuman shows up.
 
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November 26, 2012


Go, Look: Jeff Zwirek

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Not Comics: Setting Fire To The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

I don't mean that headline in the provocative way it might sound. It's more like I always think of my dad when I write about the newspaper industry, and my dad was super-fond of playing with existing puns and turns of phrase.

imageAlan Gardner calls attention to the efforts by some of the staff at the Cleveland Plain-Dealer to forestall a three-day-a-week plan for that long-established paper. I understand the efforts to do this, but there seems to me such a huge disconnect between the profits some of these ownership groups want and what newspaper people want for their publications that I almost think that's the story rather than the competing views. It seems to me -- seems -- that we don't have a new ethos when it comes to profits at newspapers, and that maybe one is called for. It seems to me that when newspapers were reliably profitable in a way that delighted their ownership, that's when the idea settled in that they might want to be as profitable as possible. I don't know see how that kind of model, that conception, sustains itself in a day when print is no longer reliably central to people's lives. It therefore strikes me that's what really going on here isn't so much an abandonment of all that's sane by short-sighted ownership groups, it's more of an inevitability -- both the problem, and the fact that the kinds of ownership that sought out these papers and to whom traditional newspapers sold would pick the option that involves cutting off limbs rather than trying to save them.

So yeah, that sucks, but I'm also wondering if this isn't an exaggeration of status-quo policy rather than an aberration arising in opposition to status-quo policy. My guess is the former. Is it crazy to think that these companies believe it wise to compete in markets by limiting the number of people on-hand to cover those markets as the quoted staffer would have you believe? Or is the real crazy thought that such companies give two shits about the quality of the material except as the coverage overall finds its level commensurate with the community's needs for display advertising? You tell me. I would feel a lot better about the wisdom of arguing that people need the newspapers that newspaper people think they need if someone out there could take the self-conception argued and simply sell ads for that one and put that paper out and thus stick it to these companies that are putting a model out there that cuts staff and services. As far as I know, this hasn't happened in a significant market. The closest I've seen is nearby papers expanding their efforts into a city no longer served by everyday publication of a local. It's not really the same thing.

Again, talking about this stuff is hugely unpleasant, and I can never seem to give it the time it deserves. I just think like a lot of things that the huge scramble from a few years back was a sign of a deeper problem rather than the problem itself, and that deeper problem is a generational shift away from paid content, print and a general, shared value of journalism as a social force. Newspapers were uniquely unprepared for the information economy reaching out across the table and smacking them full on the face. The ones that sold to corporations that based their profit forecasts on those values staying values forever were even less prepared for the new reality that's followed. As a result many are continuing to stagger around in a lot of ways they probably didn't need to be staggering. That doesn't make any of the choices facing them more hopeful.

The ramifications for the newspaper strip business of this kind of thing seem obvious. Although, actually... you know, I'm completely uncertain just how limited, not-every-day publishing has an effect on syndicate sales. Does my three-day-a-week paper buy a full six days of Zits dailies?
 
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Go, Listen: Drawn And Quarterly: King Of The Graphic Novel

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Your 2012 Comics That Are On The Globe And Mail's 2012 Comics & Poetry List And Maybe Not From 2012

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* Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Building Stories, Chris Ware (Pantheon)
* Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel (HMH)

List here. It's the spirit of the thing.
 
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Go, Listen: R. Sikoryak On Virtual Memories Podcast

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Your 2013 FIBD Official Selection Recipients

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The prize lists for the 2013 Angouleme Festival went live sometime recently; I can't quite tell because the official site is down, but these pretty quickly found their way to French-language comics sites. It looks to me on a first glance that the trend away from art-comics only lists and towards the inclusion of a wider array of material, particularly American genre comics, continues. Anders Nilsen, Bill Willingham Chester Brown, Blexbolex, Emmanuel Guibert, Ed Brubaker, Charles Burns, Glyn Dillon and Christophe Blain are among the significanthttp://www.nobrow.net/273 number of cartoonists and comics-makers familiar to English-language comics audiences that were on one list or another. The history of the awards is probably too bizarre and particular to get into in any great detail, but I think you can say this represents a significant, ongoing shift in what is being covered that's equivalent to the move to such bigger lists in the first place.

The festival starts at the end of January and -- for the first time, I think -- slips into early February as well. It is quite the thing.

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Sélection Officielle
* Aâma Vol. 2, by Frederik Peeters (Gallimard) (Série)
* Alix Senator, by Thierry Démarez and Valérie Mangin (Casterman) (Série)
* Automne, by Jon McNaught (Nobrow)
* Big Questions, by Anders Nilsen (L'Association) (Révélation)
* Daytripper, by Gabriel Bà and Fabio Moon (Urban Comics)
* Demain, demain, by Laurent Maffre (Actes sud) (Révélation)
* L'enfance d'Alan, by Emmanuel Guibert (L'Association)
* Fables, by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham (Urban Comics) (Série)
* Heureux Qui Comme, Nicolas Presl (Atrabile)
* Hors-zone, by Blexbolex (Cornélius)
* I am a hero, by Kengo Hanazawa (Kana) (Série)
* La grande odalisque, by Bastien Vivès and Ruppert & Mulot (Dupuis)
* La ruche, by Charles Burns (Cornélius)
* Le Nao de Brown, by Glyn Dyllon (Akiléos)
* Le singe de Hartlepool, by Wildrid Lupano and Jérémie Moreau (Delcourt) (Révélation)
* Le temps est proche, by Christopher Hittinger (The Hoochie Coochie) (Révélation)
* Les Folies Bergère, by Zidrou and Porcel (Dargaud)
* L'or et le sang Vol. 3, by Maurin Defrance, Fabien Nury, Merwan Chabane and Fabien Bedouel (12bis) (Série)
* Lorna, by Bruno (13 étrange)
* Moi, René Tardi, prisonnier du Stalag II B, by Tardi (Casterman)
* Monsieur Strip, by Yassine and Toma Beltner (Alter comics)
* Orbital Vol. 5, by Sylvain Runberg and Serge Pellé (Dupuis) (Série)
* Ovnis à Lahti, by Marko Turunen (Frémok)
* Pablo Vol. 2, by Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie (Dargaud)
* Paolo Pinocchio, by Lucas Varela (Tanibis)
* Personne ne me fera de mal, by Giacomo Monti (Rackham)
* Quai d'Orsay Vol. 2, by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)
* Soil Vol. 11, by Atsushi Kaneko (Ankama) (Série)
* Thermae Romae Vol. 4, by Mari Yamazaki (Sakka) (Série)
* Tu mourras moins bête... Vol. 2, by Marion Montaigne (Ankama)
* Vingt-trois prostituées, by Chester Brown (Cornélius)
* Walking Dead Vol. 16, by Charlie Adlard and Robert Kirkman (Delcourt) (Série)

*****

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Sélection Patrimoine
* 2001 Night Stories, by Hoshino Yukinobu (Glénat)
* Anjin San, by George Akiyama (Lézard noir)
* Anthologie Creepy, by Various (Delirium)
* Batman : année un, by David Mazzucchelli and Frank Miller (Urban Comics)
* Intégrale Uderzo Vol. 1, by Philippe Cauvin and Alain Duchêne (Hors-collection)
* Krazy Kat Vol. 1, by George Herriman (Les Rêveurs)
* Le bus, by Paul Kirchner (Tanibis)
* Mimodrames, HM Bateman (Actes Sud / L'An 2)
* Pépito Vol. 1, by Luciano Bottaro (Cornélius)
* Terry and les pirates 1939-1940, by Milton Caniff (Bdartiste)

*****

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Sélection Jeunesse
* Ariol, le maître-chien, by Guibert and Boutavant (BD Kids)
* Billy Bob, by Nix (Requins Marteaux)
* Chi -- Une vie de chat, by Konami Kanata (Glénat)
* Esteban Vol. 4, by Matthieu Bonhomme (Dupuis)
* Hilda and la parade des oiseaux, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
* Jim Curious, by Matthias Picard (2024)
* La mémoire de l'eau Vol. 1, by Mathieu Reynès and Valérie Vernay (Dupuis)
* Le Royaume, by Benoît Feroumont (Dupuis) (lire la critique du Vol. 2)
* Les carnets de Cerise Vol. 1, by Aurélie Neyret and Joris Chamblain (Soleil)
* Les légendaires: origines Vol. 1, by Patrick Sobral (Delcourt)
* Les quatre de Baker Street Vol. 4, by Olivier Legrand and Jean-Blaise Djian (Vents d'ouest)
* Paola Crusoe Vol. 1, by Mathilde Domecq (Glénat)

*****

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Sélection Polar
* Castilla Drive, by Anthony Pastor (Actes Sud / L'An 2)
* Fatale Vol. 1, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Delcourt)
* L'assassin qu'elle mérite Vol. 2, by Wilfrid Lupano and Corboz (Vents d'ouest)
* L'épouvantail, by Olivier Cotte and Jules Stromboni (Casterman)
* Le tueur de la Green River, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Ankama)

*****
*****
 
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Go, Bookmark: Make It, Then Tell Everybody

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

By Tom Spurgeon

* the fine, longtime editorial cartoonist Bill Day has been out of salaried work for three years and is apparently in danger of losing his home. A bunch of folks are trying to raise enough money for Day to have a year of steady editorial cartooning work paid for via crowdsourcing. That seems like a really nice thing that might come out of an undeniably tough thing. I can't donate to everything, but I did donate a tiny bit to this one. I have a ton of sympathy for those that were caught by the seizure that the newspaper industry experienced three-four years ago, and even more for those that happened to be right at some of the worst times in one's life to experience such a disruption.

* the Cincinnati ComiCon campaign is moving into its final days with its goal in reach.

* these people sent out a giant, mass e-mail with all of our addresses in the "to" box about their crowd-funder.

* I haven't quite caught up with this Escape Pod Comics offer, but I promise to soon.

* well, here's one that could clearly use our help. Yow.

* finally, this person asked nicely on twitter for me to re-tweet this link. Since I don't re-tweet links on request because that way lies madness, I'll happily run it here.
 
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If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Simon Gane Tagged On Tumblr

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Pamela Thomas will replace Rich Watson with the Glyph Awards, the program done every year in conjunction with the East Coast Black Age Of Comics Convention.

image* Chris Bennett on Hawkeye #3. Brian Nicholson on Leviathan and the latest from Ruppert and Mulot. Sean Gaffney on Bunny Drop Vol. 7. Sean Kleefeld on Comic-Con And The Business Of Pop Culture. Grant Goggans on more of those classic Legion Of Super-Heroes comics. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. Don MacPherson on Mankind: The Story Of All Of Us Vol. 1. Sterg Botzakis on The Country Nurse. Andy Hunsaker on Saga #7.

* a brief back-and-forth I was able to facilitate between Howard Cruse and Dean Mullaney had me re-reading this essay about Cruse's correspondences with professional cartoonists.

* Josh Ryan wrote in with this link to Al Columbia Big Numbers-related lettering. Thanks, Josh.

* not comics: I don't think I've ever seen this newspaper article on George Reeves until now. I like how forthright it is about the career difficulties the actor had, and where playing Superman fit into that. Also interesting in that he had a residuals deal, which I know wasn't always guaranteed even through the 1960s.

* Rob Clough profiles Paul Hornschemeier.

* here's a treat of the not-comics variety: the cartoonist Dylan Horrocks reviews the D&D history Playing At The World.

* finally, Charles Yoakum believes that Mort Weisinger cannot be redeemed.
 
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Charles Schulz Would Have Been 90 Years Old Today

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photo from here
 
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November 25, 2012


Let's Try This One More Time: The Comics Reporter's Holiday Shopping Guide 2012

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Mid-1960s Punch Cartoons

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yeah, sometimes you look at these for the cultural-snapshot aspects
 
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Go, Look: More Teen Cartoons Via Mike Lynch

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Go, Look: Dave Cockrum's X-Men Covers

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Go, Look: Dad In Kidland

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

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

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

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Not Comics: On Alberto Sangorski

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FFF Results Post #316.5 -- The Made-Up One

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Provide Five Links To The Five Following Things 1) A Comics-Related Site You Look At Almost Every Day Not The Comics Reporter, 2) A Comics-Related Image Over 600 Pixels Wide You Enjoy Looking At, 3) A Cartoonist's Entry On Lambiek.net For A Cartoonist You Don't Know But Would Like To, 4) A Convention You've Never Been To, 5) the first Wikipedia Entry That Pops Into Your Head That's Comics-Related." This is how they responded

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Comics Journal
2. A Saul Steinberg Illustration
3. Hristo Jablianov
4. Lucca Comics And Games
5. Moses Magnum

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. MangaBlog
2. A Ben Caldwell pencil
3. Kan Takahama
4. Comiket
5. Moe

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1) http://www.threewordphrase.com
2) from Ron Rege's Cartoon Utopia (for Gazeta)
3) Ferran Xalabarder (wow, lambiek sucks you in!)
4) Heroes Con(it's the biggest con in the southeast and I've never been)
5) Mary Fleener, if only because there's not a Nipples n' TumTum entry (actually, if I weren't both lazy and wik-illiterate, I would do something about how criminally sparse Fleener's entry is)

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. The Savage Critics
2. Bill Walko’s mash-up of Marvel characters and James Bond movies
3. Julio Ribera
4. Emerald City Comicon
5. Grimjack

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. MightyGodKing
2. B. Kliban's mousies cat-toon
3. Derek Yaniger
4. Napoli ComiCon
5. Vaughn Bodé

*****

Douglas Wolk

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1. 2000 AD Online Forum
2. Ric Estrada's cover for Falling in Love #99
3. P. van Geldorp
4. Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo
5. Cosmic entities (DC Comics)

*****

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Adam Ford

1. Super-Team Family Presents
2. From Wonder Woman v1 167 (1967)
3. Tarpe Mills
4. Armageddon
5. David Mazzuchelli

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find
2. From Alfredo Alcala's Voltar for May 1964
3. Joan Collette
4. Comic Con San Diego
5. Frank Robbins

*****

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Michael May

1. Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!
2. Lois Lane #11
3. Naro Barbato
4. Heroes
5. Fran Striker

*****

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M. Emery

1. Comics UK
2. Dredd brawls with Orlok during Block Mania
3. Bill Lacey
4. SPX
5. Pat Sullivan

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Shit Comics
2. Pages from Transformers/G.I.Joe by John Ney Rieber & Jae Lee
3. Fred Julsing
4. Komikon
5. Desolation Jones

*****

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Isaac Cates

1. Bully's blog
2. Leah Palmer Preiss's Ulysses Butterfly for the Animal Alphabet project
3. Gene Day
4. CAKE
5. Oubapo

*****

I appreciate everyone participating, but I deleted a few that didn't seem to follow asked-for guidelines. I'm sure that's my fault and not yours.

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


<>Chris Ware On MSNBC


via Sean Kleefeld, An Interview With Marie Severin


Not Comics: Jessica Campbell On Modern Art


The Wiki Article On Sunday Comics


History Channel Special On Superheroes


An Example Of A Comic Book Review From Nerdlocker (There Are A Bunch Of These Up)


Hooked On Comics Vol. 3 Trailer



Two-Part Video Of Modern Marvel's 25th Anniversary Profile By 20/20, 1986
 
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November 24, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from November 17 to November 23, 2012:

1. Steve Bell continued to negotiate charges of anti-Semitism over a recent cartoon.

2. The CBLDF names new board members and officer slate.

3. Bal Thackeray died in Mumbai. This is of course major political news for that part of the world, but in terms of comics it's worth noting for how Thackeray's cartooning past was consistently used I think mostly to humanize him as someone that had an artistic career before his political life; running a satirical magazine and doing some pointed editorial cartooning was also a part of his political development.

Winner Of The Week
Brian Basset

Loser Of The Week
Unfairly-maligned flesh-having super-villains of the Marvel Universe.

Quote Of The Week
"I liked Dylan, I like Caitlin, I like tax deductions and I like that these will get looked at more than [when] they were in my closet." -- Eric Reynolds, on donating to the Dylan Williams Collection.

*****

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 Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 23, 2012


The Comics Reporter's Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide 2012

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I had to try this one again; click through the image, please
 
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Go, Look: L'Association On Tumblr

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Two Graphic Novels Make Costa Book Awards Shortlists

I missed this article in the Guardian about the Costa Book Awards shortlists including two graphic novels -- the first time that's been the case. That's a UK literary award that's been around since the early 1970s, taking this name several years ago. The comics receiving those acknowledgments were Days Of The Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart in the novel of the year category, and Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes by Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot in the biography category. The article is full of people saying nice things about graphic novels generally, these books specifically, and the change the shortlistings potentially represent.

Category winners will be announced in early January and then a sizable prize winner will be named from those finalists by the end of that month. That part of the award has been ongoing since 1985.
 
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If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Bookmark: Dry County

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the great Frank Santoro is taking applications for his next correspondence course, to begin in January.

image* Andrew Weiss remembers Void Indigo. That is famously a repurposed Hawkman concept, and I always wondered if it was the first repurposed such concept to find life as an independent comics project. Probably not, but I still wonder.

* I guess those three ghosts finally visited Gary Groth.

* Seth Peagler on Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Adventure Time Vol. 1. Grant Goggans on Princess Knight Vol. 1. Sean Gaffney on Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro, Vol. 3. Rob Clough on Little Things. Todd Klein on different sets of various DC comics.

* an entire podcast devoted to railing on people for typos is both my kind of podcast and the podcast I fear most.

* I'm pretty sure I put a more generic entry regarding the annual CCS funding drive into the gift guide, so it's here that you'll get a link for their new capital campaign comic, featuring the cartooning of Dakota McFadzean as inspired by the work of Jeff Kinney.

* while my primary interest in the latest wave of variant covers is the over-reliance on them by mainstream publishers in a way that might do damage to retailers, I am sort of generally interested in the audience for efforts like this one. Are they just completists?

* nice to hear that things are returning to (near) normal for Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer.

* finally, Johanna Draper Carlson runs a preview for Upside Down: A Vampire Tale.
 
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November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone In The US!

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The Answer To Your Questions Is "Jean Schulz"

Enough people seemed baffled about me mentioning a media empire based on a single artist's creation in that least powerful humor post that I just hope that Jeannie is still chairing that board. If she is, and if it wasn't something in my usual, strangulated prose throwing people off the track -- a big if -- why she isn't an obvious choice for a powerful person in comics might be an interesting line of inquiry.
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Black Magic Covers And Splash Pages

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Steve Bell Accused Of Anti-Semitism Over Israel Cartoon

imageHere's a link to the latest on a story that a Steve Bell cartoon about recent Middle Eastern politics and Israel's relationship with Great Britain has been accused of anti-Semitism from certain advocacy groups. They're in the demand apology/no apology will be forthcoming phase of things.

I imagine -- I'm sort of having a hard time finding a full breakdown of the charge's specifics -- that the puppet-master motif employed by Bell drives these charges. I'm not 100 percent sure. Certainly the idea that Jewish leaders control other political organizations or individuals has been a recurring idea in hate literature.

There are some intriguing ideas about art and culture that get foisted into play if that's where this thing is headed. For instance, I'm not sure how you sort out the use of motifs or visual ideas that have currency as broad ideas but are also specifically unfortunate when employed with certain targets. I guess that's what an editor is for, sure, but I'm not sure when you indict someone for failing to nail down context -- or at least indict them in the same way. Also, there are those that believe that these sorts of accusations frequently stem from criticism of policy, that these are accusations that are making use of such charges to provide weight and heat to a specific objection to criticism of political outcomes rather than being keenly felt as offense. It's a tricky couple of areas even without the immensely complex and emotionally devastating political ideas coming into play.
 
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Go, Look: Cool-Looking Golden Age Art From George Roussos

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A Reminder Of What A Successful Crowd-Funder Can Do

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Despite any and all unfortunate to short-sighted outcomes that crowd-funding tools may help facilitate, it's hard to deny that they're an overall good when you see a cartoonist as consistently right-on as Matt Bors has been the last couple of years get a leg up going directly to patrons that he simply wasn't getting from traditional models. I'm happy for Bors, and I'm happier for the cartooning culture that gets the full-time benefit of his skills.
 
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OTBP: The Hole

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's how things have changed. I'm not the greatest fan of going to comics shows, but I realized something the other day. If I were independently wealthy, I could easily do a dozen comics shows in 2013: Comic-Con, HeroesCon, Emerald City, CAKE, SPX, BCGF, Angouleme, Comica/Thought Bubble, Fumetto, Wonder Con, TCAF and let's throw in MoCCA for the New York setting. That's absurd. Hell, I'm sure I could probably rattle off six more that'd be kind of cool to visit, too. Who doesn't like visiting Baltimore, Seattle again or a place like Lucca? That's super-absurd.

* the collective memory for BCGF ended up being a pretty good one. I'd still love to hear from anyone who has a link that's not there. It's not that same as it was back in 2007 or so with the blog posts and the desire to communicate that way, but these shows still touch people and I'll figure out a way to communicate how people saw specific shows if it kills me.

* I liked Heidi MacDonald's Brooklyn report. She put the show on a continuum that included the recent SPX; I thought it was slightly different in nature than that one. I had two people e-mail me asking about the cartoonists she saw surreptitiously holding hands. It's adorable anyone would ask me, because I'm terrible at that kind of thing: noticing it, processing it, reporting on it. I also liked this report from Julia Pohl-Miranda.

* MacDonald also wrote about a smaller con in North Carolina.

* Genghis Con this weekend. That could be a surprisingly strong one. Comica is ongoing, of course.

* I like the profiles that Stumptown does of their guests.

* finally, they're beginning to sell out on con-rate rooms at the Emerald City hotels. Those are good rates for downtown Seattle for the most part. I don't know those hotels enough to recommend any one over the other, at least none of the ones still in play.
 
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If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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

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

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I Always Like Looking At Joe Shuster's Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Tony Fitzpatrick is thankful for Jim Brown, and I am thankful for Tony Fitzpatrick.

image* kudos to Eric Reynolds for donating 400 handmade comics to the Dylan Williams collection. I hope that people will consider donations of all sizes to that worthy effort.

* Emilie Friedlander talks to Jay Babcock about the return of the comics-friendly magazine Arthur. You could probably also read that story in light of it being one of those things that informs an issue in comics, in this case fealty to print.

* I'm not sure how this review of the Zot! collection ended up in my bookmarks, but there it is.

* hey, that's Audrey Hepburn with the copy of Capitan America. I'm guess that's in Spain, then.

* ooh, Jack Kirby.

* not comics: Gene Kannenberg Jr. has a new review site.

* finally, we're at a point in comics where Chris Ware is on MSNBC and a) nobody really takes notice, b) it only seems a little weird even if you stop and think about it.
 
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Go, Read: Milo George On Superhero Thanksgiving Comic JSA #54

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a classic from years ago
 
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November 21, 2012


CR Presents: The Ten Least Powerful People In Comics

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10. Comic Shop Owners
After outlasting all of the previous two decades' preferred places to sell comics, their shops are somehow still the last place many folks prefer to sell comics. Turned a not-exactly-sure-thing creative relaunch put together at a panicked pace into a sustained sales bonanza yet failed to secure 1/10 the credit afforded management personnel, licensed properties and I believe the weather. TV role models have expanded from not-exactly flattering fictional characters to a combination of not-exactly flattering fictional characters and not-exactly flattering reality-show characters.

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9. Tom Spurgeon
Same job since Fall 2004. Feckless twitter campaigns against Before Watchmen and Avengers movie saw the former slip into the Direct Market top 10 and the latter roar into the annals of movie box office history, while costing him all future jobs at the only companies likely to have comics-related jobs 10 years from now. Somehow failed to turn 230-pound weight loss, tan and series of halfway decent sportscoats into a single post-San Diego Con date. Still can't get his site to offer a working RSS feed. Put himself on own list.

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8. The Fake Geek Guy
No one's defending you, impossibly hot guy faking his geek credentials to impress... okay, I still don't get the original thing this entry is supposed to make fun of.

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7. Scott Dunbier
Scheme for massive tax write-off mechanism revolving around ridiculously priced hardcovers Xeroxed "in color from black and whites" -- something Dunbier made up in an editorial meeting after being shaken awake by Ted Adams -- fails miserably by selling tens of thousands of copies. Similar plots against Berke Breathed and IDW's Eisner Awards profile also backfire.

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6. Lower-Rung Marvel Publishing Employees
Movies tank? You're fired. Movies make billions? You're fired. Mostly you're fired. And don't count on there being a bathroom to cry in.

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5. Tony Wizard, Jr.
People may know the conventions and a few might remember the magazine, but no one remembers the company founder and namesake less than a decade after his sudden rise to multiple-platform media fame.

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4. Hardcore Comics Fans
Congratulations. You remade all of show business in your image. Your prize? Near-daily lectures as to why your opinions are not important.

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3. Gary Groth
Twenty years after a solemn vow in a driving Seattle rainstorm that he'd publish porn, Peanuts, Disney comics, whatever to make his dream come true, still no return of Monster Comics.

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2. All Women In The Comics Industry Ever
Sorry, dozens of amazing artists, writers, publishers, retailers, journalists, teachers, administrators, institution heads, syndicate editors, and that person running maybe the biggest single-artist-based media empire in comics: there are multiple dudes editing new versions of old superhero books out here.

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1. Alan Moore
Thanks for the 35 years of awesome comics, Alan. We hate you now.
 
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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.

*****

JUL120377 LOAC ESSENTIALS HC VOL 01 BARON BEAN $19.99
These are fun comics from George Herriman, but also instructive in that they're so good it puts into even bolder relief how remarkable were the idiosyncratic, expressive elements of Krazy Kat. God bless a comics industry that gives us books like this one.

imageJUL120027 NEXUS OMNIBUS TP VOL 01 $24.99
JUL120217 52 OMNIBUS HC (N52) $150.00
I'm not always on board with the collection programs run by major companies, and here's two where I have a hard time getting on board even though I'd certainly look at both. A second series of Nexus trades done more cheaply sounds like it might tempt me into a purchase more easily than whatever's being collected "New 52"-wise, but I'm intrigued by both potential customer bases. I actually like the Nexus stuff outright, but I prefer to read that stuff in original comic book form, still easily available.

SEP120040 BALTIMORE PLAY ONE SHOT $3.50
SEP120041 BPRD 1948 #2 $3.50
SEP120039 EDGAR ALLAN POE CONQUEROR WORM ONE SHOT $3.99
JUL121073 CASTLE WAITING VOL II #18 $3.95
SEP120020 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #18 $7.99
A decent grouping of indy-alt comics, heavy on the Mignola-verse titles. I like how committed Dark Horse has remained to this kind of comics buyer. I think the Castle Waiting might be last-in-series or last-in-storyline, I'm not certain.

APR120274 MAD ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $59.99
APR120275 MAD ARCHIVES HC VOL 02 $59.99
APR120273 MAD ARCHIVES HC VOL 04 $59.99
I have no idea what these are like or of the exact format, but I look at anything with early MAD in it and if Vol. 4 extends past the point where previous collection efforts stopped, I'd pay extra special attention to that one.

SEP120621 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 $3.99
SEP120643 HAWKEYE #4 $2.99
SEP120531 INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #1 NOW $3.99
Three comic book I'd sure think about buying from Marvel, if I were near a comics shop and buying Marvel's comics on a regular basis. I may still buy them at some point down the line. The Fraction/Aja Hawkeye comics are fun and nice-looking. Mark Waid was the most influential mainstream comics writer of the 1990s (to my mind, anyway) so seeing him enjoy a fruitful run at the mainstream comics companies right now seems right to me: I think that's the Waid and Yu Hulk effort; if not, never mind. The ASM comic begins the 700th issue/50 year celebration, so even if the content didn't engage me how they're approaching that funnybook milestone might be.

SEP120877 DIGESTATE GN (MR) $19.95
This is a sizable Kickstarter-driven anthology with a bunch of folks in it I like both personally and professionally, including but not limited to Rene French, Brian Ralph and John Kerschbaum. This is the comic that makes me most wish I were in a comics shop and could pick it up and look at it.

SEP121279 THERMAE ROMAE HC VOL 01 (MR) $34.99
A massive hardcover about public baths? Yes, please. I don't know if it's more astonishing that we have a comics industry that releases stuff like Baron Bean or stuff like this on a regular basis, but I approve.

AUG120887 BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE #1 (MR) $4.99
I'm going to have some fun later today with the Top 100 Most Powerful list that's apparently in this latest Rich Johnston effort, but Rich is a mostly affable dude in every encounter I've ever had with him, and it's his birthday today *and* I like that he's expanding into print so good on him.

SEP121107 TUNE VANISHING POINT SC $16.99
I'm not sure how First Second manages to put books like this in front of people over and over again over a rolling release schedule and make it seem like a good thing whenever a book like this one hits a new market, but they do as fine a job as anyone riding that wave. This was a fun book, and super-appealing, from one of the half-dozen talents around whom one can imagine the entire industry being refashioned in order to emphasize those with mainstream appeal as opposed to those hitting a specific niche -- no matter how well or profitably they hit it.

*****

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 London, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Seemingly Abandoned Steve Wolfhard Blog

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Gene Kannenberg Jr. is writing one-sentence reviews.

image* Bill Baker talks to Gabrielle Bell. Josie Campbell talks to Cliff Chiang. TJ Dietsch talks to Riley Rossmo. Tim O'Shea talks to Patrick Dean. Sean Michael Robinson talks to David Lasky.

* bunch of appealing books recommended by Glen Weldon here. Still don't quite get that choice of headline, which according Weldon's tweet a bit after that posted is a complaint for nerds. I stand by the three seconds I spent thinking about that on twitter.

* not comics: these are pretty cool-looking.

* Buzz Dixon wrote in to call my attention to this on-line effort from an active marine.

* drawings: a tiny Rod Serling, a crest, an impala and a first job.

* not comics: who wouldn't hire Robyn Chapman to look after their cats?

* finally, Sean Kleefeld had a really nice trip to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in future comics metropolis Columbus, Ohio. His post underlines something that Art Spiegelman said to me at BCGF in terms of advice on how to use that institution -- if you go, and they're going to pull stuff for you to look at, let them know ahead of time what you're interested in seeing.
 
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November 20, 2012


Go, Look: Walt Kelly TV Guide Art

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Go, Read: Exhibition-Driven Article On Ukrainian Cartooning

imageThat might be the least appealing subject-line in this site's long-history of dubious subject lines, but I quite liked this article about an exhibition of US political cartoons in Kiev that drives a bit of discussion concerning that country's recent history with that kind of comics-making. There's a throwaway observation in there that kills me. Apparently, the Soviet hangover means that cartoons about dubious middle-managers and bureaucrats are that region's equivalent of our cartoons about desert islands and dead celebrities talking to St. Peter. I mean, that totally makes sense, but it's still funny to me. There's also what seems like some honest engagement with the realities of the profession coming from the cartoonists quoted, including the point that probably needs to be made whenever an article like this is written that there's just not a lot of print cartooning in the former Soviet republics. I don't have a really good grasp on comics in those places, but I remember thinking back in the 1990s when writing some obituaries that it always seemed like the bulk of talented comics-makers on the other side of the Iron Curtain got diverted into animation in a pretty significant way.

It's also fun to look at the work of a cartoonist named Anatolli Kazansky, whose loose, fun style I'd read every single damn day were he to publish in a North American newspaper.
 
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Go, Read: Patrick Dean's Jack Davis Exhibition Report

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Bundled Extra: Marvel Reveals Nature Of Next Crossover

I didn't see this bit of publishing news by the time I posted "Bundled" this morning: Marvel will orient its next "event" series around the robot bad guy Ultron created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. That head with the horrifying-looking mouth makes for one of the more underrated designs in the Marvel catalog of characters.

imageThere's a bunch of not-exactly earth-shattering stuff that you can point out with something like this. I suppose it's news that Marvel is sticking by an event-series philosophy. I think it makes sense -- that strategy remains a natural extension of today's marketplace reality concerning "people want to be told which comics are important and that they need to buy." I imagine DC will slowly reorient themselves in that direction if they haven't already started down that path.

What else? I like Ultron. Ultron's an interesting villain for Marvel in that despite his 1960s origins he functions more like a 1970s character in terms of the "increased stakes" thing that the publisher had going on at that time with the ninjas and the people shooting each other. A big, scary-looking bad guy made of steel pounding you to death has a visceral oomph to it you don't get from, I don't know, Count Nefaria or Attuma. Marvel loves two sequences above maybe all others: The Big Fight (two heavyweights finally going toe to toe) and The Underdog Survives (a minor character surviving or beating someone in a much heavier weight class), and Ultron provides both of those things. Ultron has kind of a classic feel, too, in that he fits squarely into the proud Marvel tradition of Bellowing Thugs while holding an honorary membership in that company's equally esteemed lineage of Cackling Dicks. He even offers a halfway decent thematic hook if you want one. What's not to like? That is one useful robot.

The fact that Marvel is loading a bunch of these comics into March may be indicative of both a perception that the audience's attention span is limited and that month-to-month sales and market share victories are still important to those publishers.
 
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Go, Look: Jacky's Diary Original Pages From OSU's Archives

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That Brian Basset-Owned Calvin & Hobbes Piece Receives $200K Bid

Michael Cavna has details. I don't even have the hint of a philosophy for covering original art sales, so I can't really plug this into anything except 1) whoa, that's a lot of money for a strip, 2) Calvin and Hobbes fans strike me as being right at that age where some of them are insanely rich and can afford something like this. The shift in what sells as original art over the next quarter-century should be fascinating, because I'm not sure that some of the artists that are important to people my age and older are going to be important in any way to those younger than we are.
 
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Here's Some Cool-Looking Pat Boyette Superhero Art

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* yet another micro-publisher: Bridge City Comics. That's their first book, above, from Aron Nels Steinke.

image* Fantagraphics unveils the cover to Prison Pit Vol. 5. Or at least a cover. It's great that these companies work far ahead enough in advance that they can do things like this. That's a hugely underrated element of book distribution, how it fosters this kind of advance work from the boutique publishers for whom those sales avenues are important.

* I would assume this post about Leon Beyond means that some sort of Leon Beyond book is going to be done by Uncivilized Books, and all of the protests to the contrary and general weirdness is just humor. I should have asked, but I'm behind on the column this week.

* Image will be releasing a bunch more of its $1 on-ramp comics. I think that's a good program for that company. The thing I like about it is that it seems to play into a strategy that there's money to be made by building significant readerships for ongoing serial comics -- it's not about squeezing more money out of an existing audience as much as it is attracting readers to certain titles.

* the best I can do link-wise for the Self Made Hero effort Deadbeats is this PDF.

* I suppose it's sort of interesting that there are enough comics where Batman and Judge Dredd interact to make for an entire collection. Like all things Dredd, there are likely a ton of super-talented comics-makers that worked on that material.

* great, great news that Arthur is going to give it another shot. There used to be about a half-dozen of these comics-conscious and comics-influenced more general pop-culture magazines, but it seems they've all gone away. For that matter, so did Arthur for several years. The new publishing partner is Floating World, and the particulars of what they have planned intrigue me.

* also welcome news: IDW will be compiling the three 1990s Spumco comic books through their work in partnership with the designer and packager Craig Yoe.

* the new Paul Rainey is available for mail-order.

* finally, this preview of Seven Miles A Second is both publishing news -- that re-release should go over really well -- and a pleasure to look at all by itself.

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

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OTBP: Turtle Needs Work

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's one fan's lengthy, affectionate profile of DC's soon-to-be-completed 300-issue Hellblazer. I remember sort of liking that character in the original Swamp Thing comic and then also liking him in the original issues of his own title because Jamie Delano played against his established type and made him sort of desperate and barely in control. Later iterations, much more popular, had a bit more fan service to them. A number of my writers at TCJ were fond of a lot of those comics, and you can't really say that about a lot of mainstream comics from that era. It was pretty much that character and whatever stuff was being drawn by Mike Parobeck.

image* Bryan Munn wishes the great Toronto comics store The Beguiling a happy 25th with a look at The Beguiling Blurt and by sharing some personal memories.

* speaking of The Beguiling, here's a photo of an entry area stuffed with art.

* Jason Sacks, Daniel Elkin and David Fairbanks on various comics. Justin at Poopsheet on So Buttons #5. Matthew Brady on a bunch of different minis. Rob Clough on The Hypo. Bob Temuka on The Boys. Dan Morrill on Careful #1. Don MacPherson on Avengers Assemble #9. Rob Clough on Hector Umbra. Sean Gaffney on Cross Game Vol. 8. Paul O'Brien on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on Soulless Vol. 2. Glen David Gold on The Cartoons.

* Oni Press is looking for interns.

* not comics: look at this cute Dan Zettwoch holiday shirt.

* Vaneta Rogers talks to Bob Wayne and John Cunningham. Brian Nicholson profiles Renée French.

* I like how I get cocky about knowing everything there is to know about comics and then I read some random post on some younger writer's blog and I realize I maybe know about 15 percent of the comics out there. That's pretty cool.

* finally, this photo taken at Rob Liefeld's 1995 wedding sure is something.
 
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November 19, 2012


Go, Look: A Comic From Gabrielle Bell

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Your 2012 British Comic Awards Winners

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The winners of the first British Comic Awards program were announced over the weekend in conjunction with the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds. Raymond Briggs is the first Hall Of Fame recipient.

Winners are in bold.

BEST BOOK
* Don Quixote, Vol. 1, Rob Davis (Self Made Hero)
* Goliath, Tom Gauld (Drawn And Quarterly)
* Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Luke Pearson (NoBrow)
* Nelson, Various (Blank Slate)
* Science Tales, Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions)

BEST COMIC
* The Accidental Salad, Joe Decie (Blank Slate)
* Bad Machinery, John Allison (Self-Published)
* Girl & Boy, Andrew Tunney (Self-Published)
* Hemlock Vol. 3, Josceline Fenton (Self-Published)
* Tuk Tuk, Will Kirkby (Self-Published)

EMERGING TALENT
* Kristyna Baczynski
* Josceline Fenton
* Will Kirkby
* Louis Roskosch
* Jack Teagle

HALL OF FAME
* Raymond Briggs

Congratulations to all winners, nominees and the awards themselves.
 
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Go, Look: Draw Calvin And Hobbes

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CBLDF Names New Board Members; Griepp To Vice-Presidency

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund earlier today announced new officers and a new member of the longtime comics organization's board of directors, based on results from the most recent meeting. Cartoonist and former industry company executive Larry Marder was re-elected President. Former distributor and current ICv2.com founder Milton Griepp will become the board's Vice President after several years as the group's Treasurer. Jeff Abraham -- the President of Random House Publisher Services -- replaces Griepp as Treasurer. Andrew McIntire, currently Senior Director of Retail Operations at TFAW.com will join the board. Joe Ferrara, Steve Geppi, Paul Levitz and Chris Powell continue as board members.

You can read concise biographies of Griepp, McIntire and Abraham at the linked-to post above, which takes you to the advocacy organization's site. I don't have much if anything to say about the moves. They sound good to me, and I imagine having this many well-connected comics industry figures will enable the Fund to continue its multi-pronged transformation from last-stand defenders of threatened stores to still providing that protecting but ramping up its educational and more broadly-conceived free-speech initiatives.
 
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Totally Missed This Vera Brosgol Book Review From A While Back

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Bal Thackeray, 1926-2012

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Balasaheb Keshav "Bal" Thackeray, the politically active cartoonist turned founder and long-time head of the right-wing, Hindu nationalist party Shiv Shena, died on Saturday in Mumbai. Thackeray had been sick for several weeks and was hospitalized and under constant medical care when he passed away. He was 86 years old.

imageThackeray was born in the city of Pune, about 100 miles from Bombay/Mumbai. He was the son of Samyukta Maharashtra movement leader Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, who instilled a strong belief in the values embodied by the creation of a separate linguistic state called Maharashtra, with Mumbai as its central population center.

Thackeray's first prominent professional cartooning gig was with Bombay's English-language Free Press Journal. He also published in the Times Of India's Sunday edition. He left the Free Press Journal in 1960 to form the political cartooning publication Marmik with his brother. That publication became an advocacy tool against non-Marathi people in the region. He also founded the quickly canceled newspaper News Day.

In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Shena party, using the issue of access to jobs for people more native to the Mumbai area as an initial spur in order to build an unlikely, eventual coalition government drawn from an arguably broader range of Indian politics. It was nationalism, however, that allowed the party its period of greatest influence in the mid-1990s, where Thackeray was acknowledged as a leading figure of power and influence over a coalition government featuring Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Thackeray would later found the Marathi-language Saamana newspaper (1989) and Dophaar ka saamana, which was published in Hindi.

The powerful politican was banned from participating in elections from 1999 to 2005, and the 2000s in general were filled with political controversy after political controversy, many of which revolved around accusations of xenophobia and resulting expressions of and support for significantly intolerant political views. The party has been accused of severe anti-Muslim leanings several times in the last decade and a half, with wildly divergent rhetoric from Thackeray himself helping shape that general impression. He once expressed open admiration for Adolf Hitler. A more recent political attack against Thackeray and his party has focused on the party becoming disconnected from the working class and poor people despite its populist leanings. The party has also seen arguably diminished influence due to the rise of competing factions and movements, such as the political party founded in 2006 by Thackeray's nephew Raj, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and a major splintering of Shiv Sena itself in 2008.

He was admitted to the hospital in July, and stopped eating three days before his passing.

The public procession for Thackeray's state funeral earlier today was attended by massive crowds, reported as over two million mourners.

Bal Thackeray is survived by two sons, Jaidev and Uddhav. He was preceded in death by wife Meena and son Bindumadhav, both of whom passed away in 1996.

The official cause of death was cardiac arrest. He is remembered as a cartoonist here.

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OTBP: Snake Oil #8

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Your 2012 Washington Post Best Graphic Novels List

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The Washington Post named its best graphic novels for 2012 late last week via a post by the workhorse Michael Cavna. They are:

* Building Stories, Chris Ware (Pantheon)
* Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco (Nation)
* DC COMICS: The New 52, Various Creators (DC Comics)
* District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC, Edited by Matt Dembicki (Fulcrum)
* Drama, Raina Telgemeier (Graphix)
* Drawn Together, Aline and R. Crumb (Liveright)
* Sailor Twain, Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson, Mark Siegel (First Second)
* Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out: A (Freaky) Pearls Before Swine Treasury, Stephan Pastis (Andrews McMeel)
* Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir, Ellen Forney (Gotham)
* The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, Edited by Alvin Buenaventura (Abrams ComicArts)

Congratulations to those involved in all works named.
 
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Go, Look: New Folsom Prison Blues

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Missed It: Your Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Winners

This page over at the Guardian is stuffed with enough comics-related links of substance to get three or four comics fans working as a tag-team fired from their jobs. Included are posts on this year's Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story prize winners: But I Can't by Corban Wilkins; I, Yeti by Steven Tillotson. The Wilkins is the winner and the Tillotson the runner-up. Congratulations to those two cartoonists and all of those that entered material.

The FPI blog people have a nice post up here on both winners. That post indicates a cash prize for Wilkins and lets you know the make-up of this year's all-star judging panel. It seems both cartoonists could stand to benefit from the increased exposure such a prize might bring; that sounds mean, but in this crowded marketplace, there aren't a whole lot of cartoonists that couldn't.
 
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Go, Look: Pikitia Press Tumblr

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

image* Keith Jones is selling discounted subscriptions to his series Morons.

* this Elysium Online effort looks well on its way, and has been endorsed via Twitter by several comics pros.

* here's a project from Colombia that would appreciate your attention. I guess I knew this was going on all over the world, but I hadn't thought to go look for any crowd-funders in different languages.

* others, selected at random: Alexis E. Fajardo, Cincinnati ComiCon, Michael Jantze, the Bezango, WA film project, Ken Eppstein, Matt Bors (who is taking orders for another book), Runx Tales and Deep In The Woods.

* these nice people wrote in hoping to "pique my interest" in their book The Bargain.

* congratulations to Art 4 Sandy for raising over $9K.

* finally, this isn't a comic but it's closely related and sort of weird, besides: a Stardust action figure crowd-funder. (via Paul Karasik)
 
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If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: A Few Pages And Images From Fantastic Four #93

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is good news, potentially great news, even, for the Portland comics scene: Oregon is apparently getting an volunteer organization of lawyers focused on arts-type legal matters.

image* via a note from Ben Schwartz comes this feature article on comics adaptations of Shakespeare.

* Rob McMonigal on Bill Roundy's Bar Scrawl. Don MacPherson on various comics and Where Is Jake Ellis? #1. Christopher Allen on Iron Man #1. Sean Gaffney on Excel Saga Vol. 24. Grant Goggans on Legion Of Super-Heroes #310-315. Shannon Smith on The Invisibles #7. Brian Nicholson on Micro Pitch. Todd Klein on Green Lantern Corps #12, Flash Annual #1, Green Lantern Annual #1 and Green Lantern #12.

* "population: 37 (longboxes)"

* here's a Wendy Pini pin-up that I guess is both not all that big in the original art sense and very, very clean.

* you can see some Gregory Benton comics pages here.

* not exactly comics: John Jackson Miller has a succinct and even respectful post up with all the links you need if you're interested in the comic book ads permutation of last week's Hostess plants closure news story. Those were cute ads, and certainly memorable -- one of many links between comics and junk food that was kind of soaked into their pages for years and years. Another of their popular brands was Dolly Madison, known for their relationship with the Peanuts characters. I know the Peanuts imprimatur drove me to that brand when I was a kid, at least to picking Dolly Madison products over other, similar food items. At any rate: I'm sorry for all the people that lost their jobs, for whatever the ultimate reason or reasons this was so.

* here's a photo of Picasso dressed up as Popeye -- well, Popeye in his underwear, anyway. (thx, Paul Di Filippo)

* not comics: not even sure what's going on here, but this photo made me laugh when I went back to it in bookmarks.

* Carren Jao profiles Jim Drain. Shawn Conner profiles Joe Sacco. Simon Hanselmann talks to Sam Gaskin.

* finally, a bit of not-comics: cartoonists creating wallpaper.
 
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November 18, 2012


CR Sunday Interview: Howard Cruse

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*****

imageThe latest book from underground comix legend Howard Cruse is The Other Sides Of Howard Cruse, a hardcover volume from BOOM! collecting material that doesn't touch on gay culture or related political issues. Cruse may be best known to modern audiences for his Stuck Rubber Baby, one of the mid-1990s major book releases that presaged the modern bookshelf-driven comics market. The latest book throws a spotlight on a number of the cartoonist's 1970s and 1980s works, including a lengthy run of the Barefootz cartoons through which he made his initial reputation. I enjoyed the new book, particularly how quickly and naturally Cruse took to essay and autobiographical forms that were in no way set in stone by the time he employed them. I am grateful for his time. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: I was wondering how this particular book came together. Was the phrasing, "The Other Sides," in the title, was that yours?

HOWARD CRUSE: There was a lot of back and forth about the title, and that was sort of the one that was voted in. [laughs] It was one that I suggested. The whole point of the book is that everyone is used to all the gay stuff. This is the other sides of my interests. I made sure it was plural, you know? The idea is that there is a bunch of different sides. Parts of the book are different from each other as well.

I've never worked with BOOM! before. This all happened because Denis Kitchen was working on a project with them, and they got to talking about my work and it turned out the editor at BOOM! liked my stuff. They came up with the idea of doing a collection of my non-gay stuff. Denis called me and asked if I was up for it, and I said, "Sure."

SPURGEON: Do you feel like those sides of your career have been neglected, that you haven't received your due in terms of certain kinds of comics? Or was that more of a convenient organizing principle? I'm trying to gauge how angry you are in that title, Howard. [laughs] Is this "pay attention to this stuff!"? Or is this more "here it is"?

CRUSE: [laughs] I don't see it as an angry title, I see it as more of a "By the way, in case you've totally begun pigeonholing me... [laughs] I'm more than the gay cartoonist." I think it's useful. It's not that I feel someone's consciously neglecting me or anything, it's just that for obvious reasons the more unusual role that I've played in the comics field is bringing myself -- and helping to usher other gay and lesbian cartoonists -- into visibility. It's entirely understandable that's something that would catch people's eyes. And, of course, the gay material, I have a special passion for it, because you're dealing with the very fundamental aspects of my individual personality.

imageOn the other hand, Stuck Rubber Baby gave me a chance to deal with issues of racism, which I had not dealt with a lot even though I come from Birmingham during the Civil Rights era. It was too big a topic. I needed a big canvas to do something that would be worthwhile, that would include that theme. Similarly, there's a bunch of things that I feel passionate about or want to satirize or simply that I like, like parodying Little Lulu. These are things that have nothing to do with being gay. During my years in underground comix, I had a fairly open door at Kitchen Sink to go this way and that on different topics. So all of this stuff, a great deal of this stuff, has been out of print since the earlier collection Dancin' Nekkid With The Angels. That went out of print in the mid-'90s. You have practically a generation of people that have never seen all the stuff that I was doing for underground comic books. And also there's the material that I've published since Dancin' Nekkid, which was published in 1987. They were all things that I was very fond of, but they were kind of scattered around in odd places like Art Forum International or the abortion rights book Choices -- things that people wouldn't run into in the normal course of things. So I was very happy to have a chance to pull all of this stuff together. There's a lot of it I'm very proud of.

SPURGEON: You mentioned the strong relationship you had with Denis, the fact that it was a multiple-pronged platform, that you could aim your pen at a lot of different things with the publishing opportunities he gave you. Even given the wide array of material in this new book, do you feel that you've covered all of those things you've wanted to cover? Are there comics, maybe even a whole kind of comics, still in you that you never got to? I know that when I've talked to cartoonists, some feel like they have to make some pretty dramatic choices just in terms of being able to get to certain works in the limited amount of time we all have to do art in our lifetimes. These can be tough choices.

CRUSE: Right.

SPURGEON: Are you satisfied with the breadth of your career?

CRUSE: Well, I'm not satisfied with the fact that at my age, at this point in life, you're more aware that life is not infinite. You do have to make choices about what you're going to devote your energies to. It's not just a question of what comics I might draw. It's what art forms I might invest in. I come from a background of playwriting. And directing. I sort of have regrets that I've never been able to get back to that. And who knows? I might still try to do that. When I was in college, of course I did cartooning for the college paper and I was working with college theater, but I thought of myself pretty equally as a writer as well as a cartoonist. There's a part of me that would like to explore other media. Frankly, the comics form is so labor-intensive, particularly for someone like me who's not real fast. There are various topics that I have feelings about that I would like to explore. When I think about trying a really large subject like Stuck Rubber Baby, my feeling is I don't know if I have the stamina for that again.

SPURGEON: You mention playwriting. Do you think your cartooning has been informed by that in a specific way or ways? We talk about writers in general that come and work in comics, but I'm not sure how much we talk about cartoonists with a background on stage. Do you think your work reflects that interest? Certainly your early work has that proscenium feel that a lot of strips had. Do you see a playwright in your comics, Howard?

CRUSE: Yeah, actually. Quite a bit. My interest in dialogue and conversation as opposed to fistfights [laughter], I think that comes from being interested in a medium where everything is about what people say and what they don't say and what the subtext of relationships is. Those are the things that really interest me about the human experience.

I'm much more interested in developing characters in whatever medium than in drawing pictures. I'm not someone for example that's compulsively doing a sketchbook. That's a way I would be different from -- there's many ways I'm different from Crumb, and that's one of them. [Spurgeon laughs] I like to draw when I have a reason to draw, but I don't sit around drawing all of the time for myself. I do spend a lot of time thinking about everything from politics to human psychology to the various ways that the human race is going over a cliff. [laughs] And not just fiscal. So there's a lot of things always stirring in my head. But it's not enough to have opinions about things. Everybody has opinions about things. For it to be worth a reader's time, you need to have some way of addressing a topic that is not just another, "Ooh, this makes me feel mad" situation. There needs to be an angle, and those are kind of dependent on your muse.

imageSPURGEON: Does your creative background have an effect on the way you work at all? As a playwright, you might be used to using dialogue to build out to scenes, and from there to acts. Do you work with dialogue differently on the comics page, do you think, does your work come more from the dialogue than maybe page structure or page design?

CRUSE: Oh, definitely more than a page design. My feeling is that whatever the visual look of a particular work is, it rises to the content. There are different ways of approaching page layout that are entirely related to the content. What's the mood? Do you want a lighthearted mood? Is this something serious? Is it mainly a narrative story? Is it surrealism? All of these things will cause the drawings to have a different look. In the case of Stuck Rubber Baby, different scenes are staged in different ways depending on the content of that particular scene. My background is not only in playwriting but also in directing, even though in most cases what I was directing was my own plays. But to me, when I draw a comic book story, I am playing both playwright and director: staging it, deciding how best to stage something for the dramatic effect or the comic effect that I'm after. So I always thought this very much came out of my playwriting. This was even more so in the early days when I was doing Barefootz. As you noticed, there's a certain proscenium feel to Barefootz because the characters are almost always seen with their full bodies standing... the reader is on a eye-to-foot level, like an audience would see a play. I always thought of my characters as a repertory company, one that was performing this ongoing allegory about the experience of being alive and all. So that was very consciously stage-related.

It's possible that once I abandoned doing everything from that single perspective, you could say we've moved into more cinematic cases. In the world of movies, I'm a fan most often of independent films where it's all about what's the passion of the writer and director. I've never been able to do comics just to do comics, because I bore very easily. I need to care about what's going on. Something has to stir me. The themes of my stuff have typically been things I'm angry about, or things I thought were of the mysteries of life. Religion, etc.

imageSPURGEON: I thought it was interesting that in this new book when you discuss the overall look and design of Barefootz, your admiration for that being a design that works is expressed in terms of its mystery. You didn't break down how it works for you, or why. Do you have a sense of why certain character designs have worked for you in your career, and why other ones maybe haven't worked as well? I think that's a general strength of yours, that your characters pop on the page. When it works, what works about a Cruse character?

CRUSE: I'm not sure I would know the answer to that. What I learned during the experience of doing Barefootz was that the character designs worked well for my initial concept of the series, but as I got more ambitious about wanting to deal with grittier subjects, it became an uncomfortable... the way the characters looked became increasingly uncomfortable because they could not... they were better at standing around talking or playing with the cockroaches or something [Spurgeon laughs] than action. As soon as you took them outdoors, outside of Barefootz's apartment, and then you started having to decide, "Okay, if the characters are shaped like this, what are their cars going to look like? What about their buildings?" You start running into things that make it impossible to build a normal world. The fact that Barefootz would not be able to reach the top of his head. [Spurgeon laughs] He might be wearing a hat, or he might be not wearing a hat, but you'd never see him put on a hat. [laughter]

There was so much dislike of the character designs from my peers in underground comix, and by that time I had already invested into that style for the comic book series. Many of them were not willing to go along with me on this notion I had on the dichotomy between characters that looked innocuous, as they might appear in the funny pages, but with a subversive subtext. I realized I had built a kind of trap for myself, inadvertently, about that. The time came when I said, "Well, if I'm going to deal with life in any kind of gritty way, I'm going to have to move out of the Barefootz realm." The piece in the book called "Barefootz Variations" was my final wrestling with that dilemma.

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SPURGEON: One thing that fascinated me going back over this material is that when you were you were using an essay format like "The Guide," when you were presenting a story to us through some sort of character-narrator or maybe just strong narration -- we accept that as a standard use for comics now, but I'm not sure how much that was a way of doing comics then. There couldn't have been a ton of comics like that. What were you looking at when it came to presenting things in this kind of personal essay form? How much of that did you have to develop on the page?

CRUSE: It was happening. It was happening in underground comix. Crumb first and foremost was a pioneer in that. There were others. Those people opened my eyes to the possibility. Also the use of myself as a character in a mock autobiography... I became interested in the autobiographical comics form. A lot of the women were doing it. There was Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary, of course. That is the gold standard of laying your interior life out on paper.

I hesitated to do it for a while because I was insecure. I didn't feel my life was interesting enough for a comic book. Also seeing what Crumb did, I realized you could just pretend it was autobiographical. [Spurgeon laughs] Sort of the way Larry David does in Curb Your Enthusiasm, just let anything happen. So you could do something like "The Guide," and lure the reader into thinking that this might be an actual account of an LSD trip, but then you throw in that horrific ending. It's a joke on the reader, and it's a parody of the horror stories about tripping of that time. Once I felt free to just be crazy, and pretend I was doing stuff from my life, it became a lot of fun. It allowed me to make fun of myself. As I think I said in one of my essays, the nice thing about satirizing yourself is that nobody writes you an angry letter. [laughter]

SPURGEON: I liked the way the book was presented, Howard, with those short prose pieces. Was that through working with [BOOM! Editor] Filip [Sablik]? How did that part of the new book come together?

CRUSE: The actual editor that I worked with was Adam Staffaroni, who recently left the company.

SPURGEON: Oh, okay.

CRUSE: He was the person whose enthusiasm for my work had encouraged Denis to represent me and get a book deal going.

Some of the stories, just because they're topical, I thought there needed to be some sort of explanation. You have a generation of people now for whom the Meese Commission on Pornography has no meaning. So that was an example of one where we needed some sort of explanation. Then Adam said, "I think throughout the book you should have little essays, explanations or reflections on them." I enjoyed doing those. It gave the book a chance to have new content no one had seen before. It's hard for me to judge how many people are interested [laughs] in my thoughts about these things, but Adam thought it would be a good idea, and several people have said they enjoyed seeing those.

imageSPURGEON: Do you feel that there's something your comics on the various subjects at hand still have to say today, even as the context has changed? We may not feel as much passion about the Meese Commission specifically, but there certainly remain echoes of those exact same elements in our society. We just went through an election period where there was a blatant attempt to place a 1980s template on a lot of the issues involved. Did you find going back and looking at this material, assembling the book, that a lot of what you talked about still resonates?

CRUSE: I think most of the things that interest me enough to go to the trouble of drawing pages of comics about are the larger issues in life. I guess you could say when I was doing short, episodic things like the individual episodes of Barefootz, in those cases many times I was just interested in comedy, a certain kind of allegorical satire.

I would prefer that things not be dated. I think that in general, that's the case. Specific references, satirical moments in them, may make people say, "What...?" because they're not seeing the same TV commercials that were on at the time and stuff like that. In general, it's the large themes that are universal and timeless and interest me.

SPURGEON: Are you encouraged by the way these issues have progressed? Do you think there's been progress on topics like sex and censorship? Or are these things more cyclical? How do you feel about some of the subjects you engaged early on as they're reflected in the right now?

CRUSE: I think that as we discovered in this recent election cycle, things you think are settled, all of the sudden they bubble up again. Contraception of all things. I think there are always censors waiting in the wings. There are people very obsessed with controlling the world, and controlling other people. It's one of the dangerous aspects of the human condition. I think these things are cyclical, although when I look at the state of general society now as opposed when I was a kid in the '50s, there's no comparison. Great progress has been made. Simply looking at the ability of gay people to be visible as opposed to hiding in fear all of the time. The women's movement. All of the things that have changed in that regard. I think progress has been made.

It's also sobering to remember that the clock can be turned back. There was a very vital gay rights movement in Germany before Hitler. And yet it was pretty much wiped out. I think we always have to be vigilant about these things. We recently saw a production here of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? I was reminded that when it first appeared on Broadway, it was considered incredibly foul-mouthed. It was something not appropriate to take a woman to. [laughter] Given the way the culture has developed since then, there's nothing in there anyone would blink at. I guess it was in the '60s when Ralph Ginzburg went to jail for publishing Eros magazine. That was one of the rare instances where it was such an obvious violation of the constitutions, but even the good old Warren Court, which in general could be counted on to be on the side of the angels, dropped the ball on that. That's an embarrassment now to consider that this man was put in jail for having erotic pictures in a magazine. It's a strange contradiction in American culture, being both very licentious and very puritanical at the same time. It's always amazing.

SPURGEON: When I knew I was going to talk to you, I started thinking of your various contributions to comics. You were part of the underground generation, and right there with everyone else in terms of expanding what comics could do both formally and in terms of the content engaged. You have an acknowledged pedigree as a major and pioneering force in gay comics. You also have Stuck Rubber Baby on your resume. This massive, critically-lauded work very much in the graphic novel category. I think of that book as one that presaged the kind of works we have in comics now more routinely. It was 1995 when that came out -- there was a flurry of similar works that year, but it was still very noticeable, and feels today like that was precursor to current publishing realities. I wonder if you could reflect a bit on Stuck Rubber Baby as a publishing endeavor, this unlikely project. Do you get that sense at all, that just getting that book out there was an achievement?

CRUSE: I think the real amazing thing was that it was published by DC Comics.

SPURGEON: [laughs] Yeah, that's right.

CRUSE: It's the only way it could have happened. During the '90s, it was becoming an article of faith among people who had followed the development of comics over the years that the comics form was waiting to explode with interesting, quality, smart stuff for grownups. Long-form work. Eisner and others, Spiegelman obviously, had laid the groundwork, and the field was wide-open for people do very ambitious stuff. Stuck Rubber Baby was building on everything I had learned about doing comics in the undergrounds and doing the Wendel comic strip for many years. It was a natural progression for me.

imageI think for a lot of people, if you were in comics, and if you were serious about comics during that period, the thought that was always in your head was if you could do a graphic novel and if so what would it be like. But the problem was that it was a practical impossibility for the most part to do that. I'm still amazed that so many people manage financially to do it considering how long it takes. I don't know how people do it. Maybe it's that they have spouses that are willing to be the primary breadwinners. Somehow or other it's becoming very common for people to do these great graphic novels. For me at the time time, when I quit the Wendel strip the big question was what I was going to devote my time to. There was a year of doing little projects. I kept coming back to the idea of, "Well, I wonder if I could do a graphic novel." But every time I tried to think of a way to finance it, it seemed impossible. People like Denis Kitchen totally did not have the deep pockets to pay an advance that would cover the time it would take to do. I would fantasize about seeing if I could fundraise in some way or another. But it seemed impossible.

Martha Thomases, who was a publicist at DC, she's a friend of mine. She's the one who suggested, "Hey, you should check with Mark Nevelow at Piranha Press. He wants to do interesting, experimental things." So I contacted him. It turned out he was aware of my work enough to let me come into the office and brainstorm a little. DC Comics, one thing in the comics field is they understand how labor-intensive it is and how much time it would take. A regular publisher would not have given me an advance remotely of the size DC Comics did. They think in terms of writers that write novels and don't have to draw the pictures for the novel. I had never made any serious money for anybody in my adult life, so I had no clout. DC was willing to take a flier on it because they wanted Piranha Press to be a genuinely experimental and groundbreaking part of the field.

As it happened, Mark Nevelow left the company about six months after I began the novel. They changed it to Paradox Press -- all of these permutations that went on. Nonetheless, it was Mark that negotiated the contract and got the company on board with me doing it. And in giving me a substantial amount of creative freedom, which was the other thing that was special about that book being done by a company like DC. When Mark and I were talking about if this could happen. I said, "One thing you have to understand is I cannot work the way mainstream comics are used to working. It's not that I'm a prima donna, it's just not the way I build comics." I build them in a very organic way. I do a little bit and a little bit there, and I'm always revising. I couldn't run into Manhattan every time I wanted to make a change. I told him that we'd do a working script, so that they could be reassured that if they put a bunch of money into this I would not end going down a blind alley and years later say, "Oops! I don't know how to finish this book." I did this script with the understanding that it was a blueprint I might change a lot. And indeed I did. They gave me essentially as much freedom as I had in underground comix. With the ground rules that this was not underground and I wasn't going to show genitals or anything. At least not erect ones -- I think Riley comes bounding down the hall naked at one point, but it's not a sex scene. So within the ground rules, essentially once they said, "Okay, we'll go with this working script," I would just draw a chapter to completion and bring it in. If there was a serious problem, or they noticed an inconsistency or something... when I turned in the working script, Mark made some suggestions that were worthwhile. Part of our agreement was that his editing would be suggestions, not demands. Kitchen would ask for a certain number of pages, and I would bring in finished work. Mark had more advanced warning than that. He had to understand that there was no point I wasn't making changes. I give him great credit for accepting that.

SPURGEON: I think it's such an unlikely story. We rarely stop to consider how much of a minor miracle it was for a work of that size and scope to come out in that age. You know, I wonder after you and the other members of the underground generation in a more general sense as well. You're all older now. Do you think your generational legacy is intact? Do we appreciate the undergrounds the way we should?

CRUSE: Oh, who knows? That's like asking if the young gay people appreciate the battles and sacrifices and stuff that were made. The women's movement is the same.

SPURGEON: Well... do they?

CRUSE: I think probably not. I think you kind of accept that. With each generation, the next generation takes for granted what the previous generation fought for. For me, one of the galvanizing, shocking events of my childhood was the Kennedy assassination. Whereas for my parents' generation, it was Pearl Harbor. For me, Pearl Harbor was this slightly boring thing I got tired of hearing about. [laughs]

The important thing about the legacy from the undergrounds is that the ground was broken and that young artists take it for granted that there's nothing out of bounds for the comics medium. I think that's great. I don't have a big need to genuflect to us old-timers. [Spurgeon laughs] It's a great thing for the art form, which a lot of people became excited about in those days. They've been proven correct in that comics really can deal with grown-up things worth the attention of serious readers of literature. I think short of a major book burning, I think that's a done deal. I think that's been proven, and new graphic novels come out every year that prove this is a vital art form. Now if people could just make money from it. That's the problem these days.

*****

* The Other Sides Of Howard Cruse, Howard Cruse, BOOM!, hardcover, 228 pages, 9781608861002, July 2012, $24.99.

*****

* all images taken from the new book, cover image at top and design element at bottom, except for a single Stuck Rubber Baby page I chose to show off how involved and labor-intensive those pages could be

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Go, Look: Gregory H. Russell

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Go, Look: joseluis6000

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Go, Look: Space Face Books Tumblr

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Go, Look: The Gold County Paper Mill

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Go, Look: Shaun Tan

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

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

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

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

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FFF Results Post #316 -- All About The Number Five

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Things In Comics That Have 'Five' In Them That Are Of Interest To You." This is how they responded.

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Chris Duffy

1. Fantastic Five (from What If #1)
2. 5 from Peanuts
3. FF #5 "Prisoner of Doctor Doom"
4. Fatal Five from Legion of Superheroes
5. Moon Knight's 5 identities (Moon Knight, Fist of Konshu, Steven Grant, Marc Spector, Jake Lockley)

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

* 5 fists of science
* Inferior 5
* 5 volumes of Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa
* 5 card Nancy
* The fact that the fifth volume of Planetes is labelled "vol. 4 1/2"

*****

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John Vest

1. The Inferior Five
2. Avengers in 1969, when the 5 team members were Yellowjacket, Wasp, Goliath (Clint Barton), Black Panther, and Vision
3. Mineshaft #5 - first issue with R Crumb
4. Nick Fury Agent Of Shield #5 ("What Ever Happened To Scorpio?")
5. Robert E Howard's Savage Sword # 5, with the new King Conan story by Howard Chaykin

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Inferior 5
2. Brainiac 5
3. Original X-Men
4. Steve Zodiac and Fireball XL5 (Gold Key 1963)
5. Ducks adventuring (Donald, Scrooge, Huey, Dewy, & Louie)

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Justice League #5 -- "One punch!"
2) The Five Fists of Science by Fraction & Sanders
3) The Inferior Five
4) The New York Five by Wood & Kelly
5) The Fearsome Five (Titans villains)

*****

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Dave Knott

* Five Card Nancy
* No. 5, by Taiyo Matsumoto
* Anibal Cinq, by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Georges Bess
* The Inferior Five
* Five For Friday

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge!" from Batman #251 (September 1973)
2. "Crisis Times Five!" in JLA #s 28-31 (April-July 1999)
3. The five Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Damian Wayne)
4. Crisis On Infinite Earths' five-Earth patchwork (Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, Earth-X; first seen in issue #5)
5. "Five Billion Years" in Green Lantern #200 (May 1986)

*****

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Chad Nevett

1. The original Avengers
2. The Boys
3. Aknaton's group (from the Metamorphosis Odyssey)
4. The $tranger$
5. Stan Lee's JLA

*****

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Rodrigo Baeza

1. 5 por Infinito
2. Five Master of Kung Fu artists = Jim Starlin, Paul Gulacy, Jim Craig, Mike Zeck, Gene Day
3. Five Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster creations = Superman, Slam Bradley, Spy, Doctor Occult, Radio Squad
4. The five artists from MAD #1 = Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Bill Elder, John Severin
5. V for Vendetta

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Batman #251, "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge!" (My second-favorite Batman story of all time)
2. The Five Fists of Science
3. Kirby Five-Oh!
4. Fantastic Four #238 (Frankie Raye gets super powers and Mr. Fantastic suggests he call up Marvel to change the title of their comic to the "Fantastic Five". Very nicely written bit of dialogue.)
5. Super Team Science Five (from Atomic Robo)

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Speed Racer's Mach 5
2. Red 5, the artistic of the Red clones, and the one who tells the story in Michael Allred's Red Rocket 7
3. The five guns leading up to The Sixth Gun
4. The Counterfifth Detective in 100 Bullets
5. Five volumes of Scott Morse's Soulwind

*****

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M. Emery

1. Five, the typical age cadets start training at the Academy of Law to become Judges.
2. Bucking the trend of four issue limited series, the five issue 1986 Punisher limited series from Steve Grant, Mike Zeck and Mike Vosburg, despite being billed as four issues most of the time.
3. Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie, Barks quintet of ducks.
4. 2000AD Prog 5, first cover to feature Judge Dredd by Barrie Mitchell.
5. 5 volumes of the complete Torpedo stories by Bernet, Sanchez Abuli and Toth.

*****

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Christopher Keels

1. The Five Swell Guys (Promethea)
2. V, the man from Room V (V for Vendetta)
3. Legion of Super-Heroes... Five Years Later
4. League of Five Planets (villains from "Star Hawkins" series)
5. "Challenge of the Faceless Five" (Cary Bates story from "Strange Sports" that I read in a digest reprint as a kid)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1.) Bloodstrike #5 "Haywire" (One of the worst and goriest comics of all time wherein the five team members get brutally attacked by Supreme.)
2.) Brainiac 5 from Legion of Superheroes (His high five buddies just call him Brainy.)
3.) Inferior Five (From DC's 'Showcase', the last issue of their run in Showcase was #65 before they received their own title.)
4.) 'Death of Comic Book Guy' Mini-Series in 5 Parts (Issue #4 shows Lisa at the funeral playing the notes D, A, B, D & A on her saxophone. Standing for Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance they represent the '5 Stages Of Grief Model' by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.)
5.) 'Kirby Five-Oh!: Celebrating 50 Years Of The "King" Of Comics' by John Morrow (It's all about the 50 in this book, best 50 stories, 50 people influenced by Kirby and also a gallery over 50 pages, obviously.)

*****

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John Platt

1. Any Ditko-drawn Dr. Strange hand
2. The Inferior Five # 1
3. Milk & Cheese's First 2nd issue (their fifth issue by that point)
4. Bloom County Babylon: Five Years of Basic Naughtiness
5. "Fifth week" events

*****

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Niel Jacoby

1. Jimmy Olsen, Mister Miracle, New Gods, Forever People, and Hunger Dogs -- The 5 pieces of Jack Kirby's Fourth World
2. Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, and Hulk -- The original Avengers
3. The fifth issue of Christian Ward and Nick Spencer's Infinite Vacation, which I swear I've been waiting a year or so for.
4. Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steve Sanders
5. Iron Man 2.0 issue 5, where it tied into Fear Itself and I lost interest. Thankfully, that was right where it started dropping off and Ariel Olivetti was put on art.

*****

topic suggested and examples provided by Chris Duffy; thanks, Chris

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Jim Woodring's Sketchbook Book Previewed


Superfuckers TV Show Trailer


Don't Know That I Ever Sat Down And Watched Footage of Alan Moore Visiting Occupy LSX


Tony Millionaire Plays George Washington -- His Stone Head, Anyway


A Video About Charles Schulz From American Masters Noah Van Sciver Unearthed I Think To Bum Me Out


A Mid-1990s News Report On Indy Comics In NYC


Adrian Tomine Interviewed


Brian Michael Bendis Interviewed
 
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November 17, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from November 10 to November 16, 2012:

1. Two arguably minor-by-themselves but perhaps telling-put-together or even just mused over stories on the digital comics front: Digital Manga removes itself from print for a while, while mainstream publishers may be beginning to play with the release times of their same-day digital releases.

2. Comic-Con makes it official: WonderCon will be in Anaheim again for 2013, after attempts to negotiate with San Francisco facility owners fail to coalesce into a workable deal.

3. BCGF ends the 2012 year for the North American art-/alt- festival circuit in mostly well-received fashion.

Winner Of The Week
Comics festivals and conventions, still surging with news late in November. Ten years ago there were maybe two or three shows that a fan might consider attending; now there are a dozen or more that a lot of comics fans would attend given the money and time.

Loser Of The Week
The Direct Market, which despite heroic efforts to keep print out there and profitable is still plagued by the ongoing trouble that is low-selling mainstream titles that are continually put out on the stands despite being low-selling.

Quote Of The Week
"I was physically hurting from the lack of ventilation due to the crowds (I'm really bad with hot weather, that's why I moved to the Bay Area), but the happiness of seeing so many people in one space, weaving through immense aisle traffic for comics made me forget how dehydrated and sweaty I was." -- Rina Ayuyang, on BCGF.

*****

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

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Go, Look: Picasso As Popeye

In his underwear, no less.
 
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If I Were In Leeds, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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November 16, 2012


And Then I Quit Working And Read Basil Wolverton BingBang Buster Comics For The Rest Of The Day

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Your 2012 Top Ten Amazon.com Graphic Novels

imageThe on-line bookseller Amazon.com has released its list of top 10 graphic novels for 2012, which for no particular reason I've rearranged into alphabetical order. I'm not sure what standards are employed in naming these books, but Amazon.com is a giant seller of comics so there's some potential market force behind any list like this put together.

* Avengers: The Children's Crusade, Allan Heinberg, Olivier Coipel, Jim Cheung and Alan Davis (Marvel)
* Building Stories, Chris Ware (Pantheon)
* Creepy Presents Richard Corben, Bruce Jones, Doug Moench and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
* Darth Vader and Son, Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
* Prophet, Volume One: Remission, Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milogiannis and Brandon Graham (Image)
* Saga Vol. 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
* Swamp Thing Volume One: Raise Them Bones, Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette (DC Comics)
* The Hive, Charles Burns (Pantheon)
* The Underwater Welder, Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
* Wonder Woman Volume One: Blood, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang (DC Comics)
 
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Go, Look: El Desvan Del Abuelito

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On Low-Selling Mainstream Titles

The retailer and industry advocate Brian Hibbs has a piece up here on low-selling mainstream comic book series and their overall detrimental impact on the comic book Direct Market of hobby and comics stores. I've long been fascinated by the terrible numbers by the bulk of the comic book series from mainstream publishers in this era, how many are operating at a level we were told years and years ago -- when it seemed like books falling to these levels would remain at best a fluke if not a general impossibility -- were unprofitable or barely so. Hibbs' best contribution to that discussion is explaining how low-selling titles per store make the retailer's job incredibly difficult. When you're only selling four or five issues of a title, you basically have to sell them all or near to all of them in order to keep hitting a bare minimum percentage of sales needed for profitability.

I don't know what can be done about reforming that system a bit, and it could be that we've reached the point where it's simply becoming exhausted. I also doubt that the culture at these companies would ever allow for a cutting away of lower-selling titles and all the market-share PR damage this would cause. But I do think some sort of risk-taking/forward-thinking from someone pursuing some avenue for how to better approach doing a line of serial comics might be useful at one or both of those companies right now, even if I can't even guess the shape and thrust of the result. I know, I know, that's hardly useful. In fact, that's borderline obnoxious: "Some genius please fix this thing; thank you." I just worry that that particular system for selling comics seems to remain sick on a certain level despite all the miracles performed in keeping this retail segment profitable; how long you can run a low-grade fever before trauma sets in isn't something I look forward to seeing play out.
 
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Not Comics: Kali Ciesemier

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Heidi MacDonald's web site The Beat has articles up celebrating the one-year anniversary of Trip City, probably best accessible through the obvious content tag. They're going to be running sketchbook comics from Noah Van Sciver. Suckers is also new.

image* Action Lab Entertainment is the latest small company to announce an agreement with comiXology.

* Robert Kirby has a new diary comic episode up. It's probably not wise for me to use this column to post links to individual updates, but Robert wrote and he's very nice. It's not going to hurt you or anything.

* here's a couple I picked up from Gary Tyrrell over at Fleen: submission pitches are currently ongoing for a horror anthology called The Sleep Of Reason; Matthew Inman made a comic about making stuff.

* comiXology has been pushing its Wimpy Kid-related offerings. Given the success of that material in print, why wouldn't you?

* finally, Rich Tommaso has launched two new webcomics serials: Killer In My Sleep and The Mysterious Case.

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Good Gravy, Look At This Joseph Lambert Thing

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Collective Memory: BCGF 2012

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

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

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

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OTBP: Cyber Surfer

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this mention on Twitter means it's time to say congratulations to Darwyn and Marsha. I'm very happy for them. I think they're a great couple. I wish them a wonderful weekend, the best possible continued life together and all the happiness they can stand.

image* Daniel Thomas MacInnes on Waga's Big Scare. Rob Clough on Lust. Jason Thompson on Tomie. Rob McMonigal on So, This Is What It's Come To...

* today's article not about comics from which lessons about comics can be derived is this piece from David Denby about the state of movies, with a special focus on the superhero movies. I think the piece is overlong, and I think the main thrust of it is kind of weak, but there are a lot of nuggets in there worth considering. (thanks, Gil Roth)

* Bob Temuka sings the praises of Thanos.

* not comics: hey, it's the music version of what everyone dreams their comics collection site will look like.

* Jono talks to Jesse Lonergan. David Betancourt talks to Scott Snyder. Snyder strikes me as very nice and he's certainly killing it with mainstream comics fans -- I think his emergence is one of the key things that DC's accomplished in a long-term sense with their New 52 comics. That said, I can't imagine anything on earth I personally find less interesting than an even more creepy, hyper-violent version of the Joker. I was also a bit confused as to how Batman could have a "family" of heroes around him 14 months into their recent reboot, but I guess they just sort of ignored a lot of the reboot stuff in the Batman books or something.

* finally, this report on BCGF from Leon Avelino is both a sock in the gut and quite touching.
 
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November 15, 2012


Go, Look: Puño

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History Lesson: How Several Cartoonists Confronted Kristallnacht

There's an intriguing article here about the attempt and subsequent failure of several cartoonists to get the United States to consider the horrors of Kristallnacht more directly; it's part of a forthcoming Craig Yoe packaged (and co-authored) effort at IDW. I'm always fascinated by material on Edmund Duffy, an all-but-forgotten figure in cartooning now but then a much-honored cartoonist in addition to being what we might today describe as the Ralph Steadman to HL Mencken's Hunter Thompson.
 
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Go, Look: José-Luis Olivares

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Kudos To Cartoonists Giving Time To The Wyakin Warrior Foundation

The Wyakin Warrior Foundation is an organization that arranges for wounded veterans to go to school with medical support and care among other transitional services to a sometimes-forgotten group of young men and women. There's a profile of their forthcoming, cartoonists-attended event here. One thing that strip cartoonists do well is benefits related to their cartooning. That's an avenue more easily available to them because of the nature of what they do. Their work is more widely, generally known in a way that lends a special quality to their being on hand. Newspaper cartoonists have long had a special relationship with the military, too, which I imagines helps in terms of people getting involved. Still, that doesn't just happen by itself.
 
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Go, Look: Hypercastle

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* so BCGF signaled another sort-of end to the major/notable convention season. That doesn't mean there aren't shows remaining -- I'm going to end this column with a poster for one! -- and Comica is ongoing, of course, with Thought Bubble coming to a head this weekend, and there's no bigger overlapping series of events than those two things. But unless you're right there already, there's nothing forthcoming that the bulk of the readers of this site would likely make an effort to attend. An emptier convention calendar period these days isn't what it used to be. There should be a number of fine holiday-period signings, and I'd do a Comiket in a second were I anywhere near one. Still, I think a lot of folks have adjusted their thinking to some date next year when they'll go to a convention or festival again. It was the best year yet for such shows, and I'm hopeful that they'll lock into place in the next few years as a calendar of sustainable events in all the great comics towns across North America and several such places around the world.

* speaking of events for 2013, CAKE announced for two days in mid-June. That's the Chicago one that launched this year. Chicago is a great, great city to visit and has a strong comics community that exists on a variety of levels and with strong representation from a number of traditional comics camps. You could spend a day in Chicago just visiting traditional comics shops and have a good comics day, or spend one in the company of cartoonists just visiting bars and restaurants and have a good comics day. I'm dying to go.

* that one has moved from its southern loop location downtown to the Center On Halsted near Wrigley Field, right smack in kind of a traditional first-place-you-might-move cool neighborhood for the last 30 years in that city (also one of the nation's great gay and lesbian neighborhoods). It's probably more gentrified now, though, come to think of it. At any rate, that should yield some interesting results. Chicago Comics is like a 15-minute walk from there. And you can eat a giant sticky roll at Ann Sather for breakfast both days. My Chicago tourism fetishism aside, thinking about potential trips like that is fun, and should be, as much as they're also important given the current sales and cultural landscape. I wish the CAKE people luck moving forward.

* the Cubs are out of town that weekend, by the way, which is good news for moving around that neighborhood or grabbing one of the hotel rooms right nearby. It's bad news if you want to see the Cubs, unless you go to Chicago a couple of days early.

* this PDF indicates two of this year's Angouleme exhibitions: one revolving around Uderzo and the traditional one focused on last year's Grand Prix winner. I have this hunch, and I'm not sure if it's anything more than hunch plus all my hunches about Angouleme are usually wrong, that this year's Angouleme will be about the emerging general strengths of the show than anything that's lightning-in-a-bottle oriented. That sounds terrible, I know, and I don't mean it that way. I think the future of all the comics festivals is that they be strong year-to-year as opposed to amazing one year and less amazing the next, if that makes any sense.

* Baltimore Comic-Con announced its first round of guests for the 2013 show: Frank Cho, Barry Kitson, Mike Mignola, Chris Samnee and Mark Waid.

* finally, I like the posters I've seen for the alternative comics show in Leeds this December 8th.

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Go, Look: One City, One People, One Planet

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

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

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

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

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OTBP: Monday Suicide

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I missed this story about a threat of violence made against the year-ending Comiket. It's apparently not the first time that such a threat has been made.

image* Pamela Paul on A Game For Swallows. Deborah B. Ford on a bunch of graphic novels. Don MacPherson on a bunch of comics and the Brian Bendis X-Men effort. Rob Clough on But I Really Wanted To Be An Anthropologist. Sean Gaffney on Strobe Edge Vol. 1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. David Anderson on Atomika Vol. 1. Henry Chamberlain on Building Stories.

* not comics: this is another prominent article about Penguin and Random House merging that could be read more for its point of view than for its substance. In fact, the lack of substance is part of its point of view. (thanks, Gil Roth)

* Shannon Smith has a bunch of links related to the writer Bill Mantlo here.

* not comics: not sure if everyone can see this or not, but this homemade shirt by a young Patrick Dean made me laugh. Also not sure if this is viewable, but Noah Van Sciver's time-traveling adventures to mid-1990s Fantagraphics continue here.

* Jillian Tamaki writes about the difference between drawing and illustration.

* Blair Butler talks to Brian Michael Bendis. Vicki Barker profiles Ralph Steadman (via Greg Kelly). John Siuntres talks to a small army of people.

* not comics: you might be able to get some related-to-comics-issues juice out of this article on streaming music royalties and from this interview by Greil Marcus of David Thomson.

* finally, I tend not to pull individual reports out of the collective memory, but I did like this one from Rina Ayuyang at Yam Books, and it's early on enough in her efforts as a publisher it's interesting to read her on that level, too. This one of more to come from John Porcellino is worth a read there, including that he talks openly about how much money he made at the show.
 
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November 14, 2012


Go, Read: Jog On Prison Pit, Prison Pit-Style

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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.

*****

SEP121193 NURSE NURSE GN (MR) $15.00
SEP121194 PASSAGE ONE SHOT (MR) $6.50
Two solid releases from Sparkplug: the Katie Skelly that's been out since I think SPX 2012, and the Tessa Brunton that I think has been out for a year or more. I have no idea if this is the first time either book has entered the direct market but any store that carries the above is a gift and I'd consider supporting them with a purchase just on principle. Not that you need to resort to principle on behalf of either book!

imageSEP120433 SCENE O/T CRIME DLX HC (MR) [DIG] $24.99
AUG120489 ROCK BOTTOM HC [DIG] $19.99
Two Image Comics re-issues of material that you may already own in their original incarnation. The Scene Of The Crime work from Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark was the first of Brubaker's crime work that really screamed out a future for the writer in film and television -- it's very "Young Rockford," in a good way. The Rock Bottom was a bit more obscure; that's a Joe Casey-written take on rock superheroes, picking at that specific formulation as it goes along, attempting to find hidden and not-so-hidden metaphorical death. Both, I think, are rare comics in that they're set in Los Angeles. Could be wrong about that, though.

JUL120075 CRIME DOES NOT PAY ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 $49.99
I have the first couple of volumes in this series and I'm familiar with the Biro work more generally, although I haven't given these new books a close read. They're certainly informative of a certain kind of work that has a place on the stands right now.

JUL120055 LOBSTER JOHNSON TP VOL 02 BURNING HAND $17.99
Your Mignola-verse effort of the week.

SEP120975 BOYS #72 (MR) (NOTE PRICE) $4.99
SEP120023 MIND MGMT #0 $2.99
SEP120046 CONAN THE BARBARIAN #10 $3.50
AUG120052 TARZAN ONCE & FUTURE TARZAN ONE SHOT $3.50
AUG120519 INVINCIBLE #97 [DIG] $2.99
SEP120520 SAGA #7 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
SEP120522 THIEF OF THIEVES #10 [DIG] $2.99
SEP120524 WALKING DEAD #104 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
SEP120405 WHERE IS JAKE ELLIS #1 [DIG] $3.50
This is the run of genre comic books available for sale this week that according to my readings of reviews and casual mentions on-line are at least liked by someone out there in a more notable way than some of the other books available. I know how rough a measure that is; sometimes this is a feel game. The Boys comic is I believe the last in this serial series. I haven't caught up to that one since the first dozen or so issues, although some folks swear by it. Satirical works like that tend to more wholeheartedly embrace elements of what they're satirizing as they roll forward, and I have to imagine this is true of that one as well. In other words, some will miss it for the points it made about serial superhero comics; most will likely miss it as a serial superhero comic. The Tarzan comic is Tom Yeates. Whole lot of Robert Kirkman-driven work out this week as well. I'm not sure I'd buy any of these, but I'd make note of every one.

SEP120379 OPUS COMPLETE SUNDAY STRIPS FROM 2003-2008 HC $39.99
The fruitful IDW/Berke Breathed partnership continues, this time with Sundays from Breathed's third and honorably successful run in the syndicated newspaper business. I have a real interest in how this stuff holds up or even just reads all together.

SEP120378 TORPEDO TP VOL 01 $17.99
This is a softcover re-issuance of some nice-looking volumes from IDW, prime-time lovely comics art.

SEP121088 WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK HC VOL 02 XMAS SHACKTOWN $28.99
This is super-pretty work from a comics master and on my reading stand right now. I am not the best reader of archival work as archival work -- I have a bad eye for reproduction issues, and I don't hold precious any sort of arrangement or presentation as special in a way I'd feel them during a book where they didn't exist. But the comics here sure are a lot of fun, and read well today as kind of valentines mailed from the Land Of Narrative.

AUG121247 ASTERIOS POLYP MAZZUCCHELLI SGN BOOKPLATE ED $29.95
AUG121246 BAT MANGA HIST OF BATMAN IN JAPAN KIDD SGN BOOKPLATE ED $60.00
You also probably already have these books, and these aren't new editions as much as something with "signed bookplate" in them -- you probably know if that's important to you, even as I'm not sure if that means anything other than exactly what it indicates -- but I imagine you want both books in your library if you have a shelf of comics or more.

SEP121250 CROSS GAME TP VOL 08 (RES) $14.99
This is the best of the mainstream-type manga series with a volume out this week, and I believe it's the last in a series. I love sports manga as a general rule, although I find them sometimes difficult to read in serial form because of my orientation towards sports and the inner clock I bring to watching various contests.

AUG121147 DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE BOX SET VOL 03 & 04 $49.99
AUG121146 DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE HC VOL 04 HOUSE O/T HAUNTS $29.99
More of that Floyd Gottfredson, inky goodness, now in the long stretch of its prime.

AUG121143 PRISON PIT GN VOL 04 (MR) $12.99
Johnny Ryan's -- I first wrote out "Johnny Riot's," which I think I may prefer -- manga-influenced fight comic pushes into the second half of its run with more of the same. It's one of the few series where more of the same is perfectly acceptable.

AUG121466 AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL COMICS LIFE WRITING IN PICTURES HC $55.00
That strikes me as more of an academic book price point than anything anyone would purchase that's not from a top ten talent and/or an lavishly produced archival work, but now I sort of want to see it.

SEP121089 CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS STOCKING HC $9.99
I'm a fairly obsessive Peanuts reader, so I'll be glad to have this. It looks like it would be a nice little gift book. It may be slight for a directed purchase otherwise, I'd have to hold it in my hands to tell you. That's why comic shops rule, because you can hold stuff in your hand.

*****

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: Jesse Hamm Draws The X-Men

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* above is the final cover for the D+Q take on the Aya series, first published as what would have been six books and then re-formatted into two. This is the material that hasn't been seen as of yet in the smaller volumes.

image* another one of those conversation books is coming, this time with great comics conversationalist Dave Sim. I don't know if my work is in there that I did with Dave for TCJ, as I don't own that stuff. My tendency is to not provide interviews for such books, though, although I'm not exactly sure why I feel that way.

* the Spit And A Half Books distributorship is always adding new works.

* Forbidden Planet International celebrates next summer's publication of Peppy And Virginny In Lapinoland by Fantagraphics.

* this project sounds sort of gross, although I keep reading the articles hoping that a joke will suggest itself about the lower-level Marvel employees being forced to kill each other for a job during one of Marvel's post-hit movie purges.

* here's a lengthy response from Reprodukt on the question of how they choose forthcoming projects. I thinks it's a truly different world now in that getting out and publishing your own work is paramount rather than just another strategy. A lot of these companies have so many options that digging through the horrors of a submissions pile is never going to match getting an impression from what people are seeing out there and then pursuing the best of it.

* check out this alternate cover for Fionna And Cake #1 by Ethan Rilly.

* finally, Rich Tommaso sent out a mass e-mail saying that November is when he buckles down to work, and this includes running through some cover designs for a next work.

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OTBP: Water Phase

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Go, Read: R. Fiore On Sean Howe's Marvel Comics Book

One of the finest writers-about-comics ever engages Sean Howe's book, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Unlike most writers that are going to review that work, Fiore was paying close attention to Marvel in those years that make up the most intriguing part of Howe's book.
 
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Go, Look: Dylan Horrocks Sketch Gallery

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

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

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although I guess this one is a private screening, so maybe not
 
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Go, Look: Lisa Hanawalt's Jungle Dogs

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* ABC Book & Comic Emporium in Vancouver is preparing to close.

image* Cory Doctorow on Tune. Andrew Tan on Tune. Rob Clough on Sparkplug Comic Books. Bob Temuka on some of the later-period Marshal Law comics. Don MacPherson on Hobo With A Shotgun #1. Sean Gaffney on Missions Of Love Vol. 1. Josh Kopin on Iron Man #1. Augie De Blieck Jr. on The Art Of Todd McFarlane. George Marston on Fantastic Four #1. Chris Sims on Copra.

* a visit to MAD.

* Johnny Ryan has an Etsy shop now.

* Russ Burlingame talks to Ron Marz. Kiel Phegley talks to Matt Kindt. Bryan Young talks to Walt Simonson. Brian Truitt talks to Matt Fraction. Julinda Morrow talks to Jason Lutes. Matt O'Keefe talks to Karl Kerschl.

* not comics: Dan Zettwoch explains coffee.

* Jason Latour draws the Hulk.

* Wilfred Santiago collaborates with Victoria Jackson.

* Josh Simmons was selling this piece of art at BCGF.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld explains indicia. That one has to go last, right?
 
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November 13, 2012


Missed It: Fascinating Profile Of Paul Reinman In Tablet

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via the great Bob Levin
 
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Comic-Con Makes WonderCon 2013 Officially Anaheim-Bound

I can't be the first person to notice that the prominent ads from Comic-Con at this site have changed recently. I'm probably one of the last. Clicking on them takes you here and a note from the convention organizers that WonderCon 2013 will indeed take place in Anaheim due to their being unable to forge an agreement with San Francisco facility operators and owners for a suitable place at a suitable time in that city. If you're interested in conventions at all, you should read it.

Most of the pros I talk to -- and this includes festival organizers -- prefer a show in San Francisco over one in Anaheim because San Francisco is both traditional and a more cosmopolitan backdrop. At the same time, I did hear from a couple of people over the weekend when I asked about shows more generally that last year's Anaheim featured a very enthusiastic audience eager to embrace the show as their own. So that doesn't seem a bad landing spot. And you know, with last year's show having been done there, it seems that San Francisco would be more aggressive in securing a suitable deal for the show this year. I mean, you'd think that, right? I have to say: I never got the sense that show has ever been crucially important to anyone official up there. That's a rough, rough reading from way far away, mind you, but still.
 
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Go, Look: Peepers Part Two

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Not Comics: Adam Davidson On Penguin-Random House Merger

There's a piece in the New York Times here about the basic cultural and industry forces at work in the Random House-Penguin merger that while I haven't read it yet sort of has to be worthwhile at least as a representation of a certain and likely traditionalist point of view.

My friend Gil Roth in pointing it out on Facebook says that the early shot the piece takes at Amazon.com may reflect a certain bias from which the article may never recover, so I will warn you similarly.

I think the prose publishing industry has a lot of the same problems as the newspaper industry in that massive, paradigm-shifting contraction is even more excruciatingly painful than usual given how those companies operate, so a lot of what can be seen as difficulties and disruptions from a paradigm shift in business realities are actually just a grind of competing forces within those companies, if that makes sense.
 
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Go, Read: Manhunter And Thor

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Go, Read: Patrick Rosenkranz On S. Clay Wilson

I very much admire the work of the writer on underground comics Patrick Rosenkranz, and a host of his virtues are apparent in this profile of the great S. Clay Wilson over at The Comics Journal.
 
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Go, Look: NCS Profiles From The Early 1970s

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

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

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Go, Look: Shock Gibson

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I don't usually spotlight pieces that would otherwise be linked to in an ongoing "Collective Memory," but I thought this report/analysis of the just-completed Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival from longtime, one-time alt-comics industry pillar (Fantagraphics, Kitchen Sink, ADV Manga, etc.) Robert Boyd fairly fascinating. He's not part of today's alt-comics scene, and doesn't do a lot of shows, but still knows his stuff and values that kind of art.

image* Paul Karasik on Building Stories. That sound you hear is the rest of us kicking ourselves for not thinking of it first. Rob Clough on Solipsistic Pop Vol. 4. Katie Haegele on The Cartoon Utopia. Grace Krilanovich on The Hive. LB Bryant on Strobe Edge Vol. 1.

* nice catch by The Beat on a new comics shop opening in Highland Park.

* Vaneta Rogers talks to John Cunningham and Bob Wayne. Tobias Carroll talks to Gabrielle Bell. Tim O'Shea talks to Ethan Rilly.

* Jeet Heer on Canadian comics culture is always worth reading -- Jeet Heer on anything comics is always worth reading -- and there's no better, more positive story out there right now than The Beguiling reaching its 25th anniversary.

* finally, a bit of not-comics: I understand all of the individual words here, but I'm not sure I understand them in the order they're placed. That's on me, not that article, I swear. I'm going to go back and read this one again at some point, though, so I want to make note of it here.
 
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November 12, 2012


Go, Look: Mari Ahokoivu's Tumblr

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Bill White, 1961-2012

imageThe animator, caricaturist, illustrator and comics artist Bill White died at his home in Massachusetts after a long struggle with an extended illness October 27, according to a post on his blog made by his wife. While a cause of death was not provided, White had suffered from pancreatic ailments according to some public testimony at his site over the last few years. He was 51 years old.

White grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts and graduated from that town's high school of the same name in 1979. White was a graduate of the Kubert School, where he studied animation under Milt Neil.

White's series from Vortex Comics, Kaptain Keen And Kompany, ran for six issues from late 1986 to early 1988. It was one of the early indy-comics features to be optioned for television production.

Other comic book work included gigs for DC, Marvel and Archie. The majority of his work was companies when they held a license to cartoon-related properties like The Flinstones.

In animation, White's employers included Spumco (for whom he worked on The Ren And Stimpy Show), Walt Disney and DiC (for whom he worked on Inspector Gadget). He worked extensively in advertising and also did work in caricature.

A personal reminiscence from Newton Gimmick appears here. Gimmick describes White as a talented, versatile cartoonist and kind of a full-service fan with a number of enthusiastic interests. His formal obituary notes his love for community theater.

Bill White is survived by a wife, Sharon, and a son, Oscar. He was recently preceded in death by a sister and is survived by another sister. He was laid to rest on November 2 in Scituate.
 
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Go, Look: A Handsome-Looking Dan Barry Comic

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Go, Look: Reinventing Peace For The 21st Century

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

* there are some ongoing crowd-funders of interest, or at least there are some crowd-funders that were featured in past installments of this column: Alexis E. Fajardo, Cincinnati ComiCon, Michael Jantze, the Bezango, WA film project, Ken Eppstein and Matt Bors.

* here are a couple of newer ones, or at least ones I have yet to cover here: a new issue of Runx Tales and a two-man project called Deep In The Woods.

* I have to imagine that Art 4 Sandy could still use your attention.

* here's one for which Mark Waid tweeted a recommendation the other day.

* this nice person asked to have their kickstarter project listed, and I will usually do that if asked.

* finally, this Arsenic Lullaby kickstarter is already successful, but from what I've been told I'm not sure it's certain if the book will be made more widely available. So if you want it, that's a good way to get it.
 
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If I Were In Leeds, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Not Comics: Stanislav Szukalski Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Katherine Dacey on her long run at The Manga Critic and best wishes for whatever it is she plans on doing in the future.

image* here's a Rich Koslowski strip about Alan Moore.

* Bond Huberman talks to Ellen Forney. Bill Baker talks to Mark Wheatley. Brigid Alverson talks to Joe Harris. Chris Arrant talks to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on the use of sound in the Carter Family book out now.

* Rob Clough on various auto-biographical comics. Todd Klein on Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and Legion Of Super-Heroes #12. Don MacPherson on Iron Man #1.

* this post on Master Race uses a lot more likely-to-be-copyrighted material than I tend to be comfortable seeing, but I like that comic and feel affectionate towards it as people snipe about its relative lack of sophistication on the wordplay and writing end.

* finally, two different readers suggested this Mike Luckovich effort as a potential "summary" cartoon of the 2012 political season that ended last week. Alan Gardner pulled out non-US cartoonists' take on the election here.
 
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November 11, 2012


A Few, Quick Notes On BCGF 2012

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Here are some impressions of yesterday's Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, written less than 12 hours after its formal conclusion.

More later, I hope. I'm not sure, though.

image* one downside to the current, festival-heavy landscape is that it puts a premium on being able to get to the festivals. This involves significant cost in some cases, a bit of sacrifice in terms of work time and vacation time in others. I knew people that wanted to that couldn't make it to BCGF for each reason. I can understand how it might be worth it to attend as many shows as one can right now. I know that at the end of the year I'll be looking at this site's expenditures in terms of prioritizing getting to a few more shows myself. I think the shows are increasingly important, particularly the small-press/arts festivals, and I can't imagine being a younger person in comics without wanting to attend a bunch of them.

* traveling to New York for the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival reminded me a bit of going to New Orleans a few months after Katrina. The effects of Sandy a couple of weeks on weren't wholly obvious the way the destruction of Katrina was obvious in Louisiana for months after that event, no were they near as widespread and devastating. Still, little scars were everywhere. It definitely had an impact on travel. My flight east was delayed a couple of hours because of airport capacity considerations. My train into the city was delayed an hour mid-transit because of a shared-track issue. The lobby of my hotel was filled with people from a submerged area who thought they had rooms for a weekend away from what they're going through. There were numerous stories of out-of-town visitors moved to different hotels or onto sofas. No one felt like really complaining because of what had been more egregiously suffered by others, but the storm's aftermath was certainly a factor.

* a local cartoonist pointed out that the last two weeks New Yorkers have been incredibly patient with a lot of storm-related inconveniences, noting how weird it had been to see people that usually complain about a train being three minutes late suddenly perfectly fine with no train running at all. That general goodwill was in the air, too, on BCGF weekend, if only just lingering.

* flash impression: I think BCGF 2012 was a) a very good show, b) a show run according to high standards which means a very good show for them is better than an excellent show run by some others, c) a show that was executed in a way that might see them settle into a basic approach that will take them through the next five years, d) a show that might have an impact on a lot of similar shows in the near-future.

* I think the distinguishing characteristic of this year's show was the rich calendar of satellite events. This included some store openings (Lilli Carré, Oily Comics, Koyama), and a small battery of very well received gallery shows (Michael McMillan, Ruppert and Mulot). This may be the first comics show I've ever attended where I found myself actively wishing I had come a few days early just to do more comics-related things. I would have loved to see what was basically an Arcade reunion at the McMillan opening. A health episode at one of the galleries -- that turned out 100 percent fine -- saw several members of one generation of cartoonists at various points during the weekend praise the actions of one of the younger generation that took charge.

* it seems to me that a strong slate of satellite events might eventually become crucial for a show that hopes to celebrate a local or regional comics culture as opposed to an approach where they bring a national show feel to a remote location. From a visitor's perspective, professional or press or attendee, it's difficult to see any sort of negative in having a bunch of different things to do, targeted to a specific publisher's or artist's needs, driving people to local merchants and different neighborhoods, perhaps even reaching an audience that wouldn't dream of going to the show itself. I hope it's a trend that continues, and I see no reason this can't be the case.

* this show was so good I totally missed seeing Lilli Carré and Olivier Schrauwen (shit!), and I didn't realize this until I after I got home.

* the only event I attended was the Oily Comics signing at Bergen Street Comics on Friday evening. That was by accident -- I just wanted to see the place. That's a nice store, kind of an ideal neighborhood store: high ceilings, knowledgeable salespeople and an attractively displayed, wide array of stock. Watching Tucker Stone take personal note of about 80 percent of the people coming in the front door reminded me how much good retail is about those kinds of relationships.

* I met Nate Bulmer, who crushed my spirit by telling me his Eat More Bikes is a daily rather than the few-days-a-week effort I thought it was. I think he's genuinely funny and consistently so. I had a nice talk about gag-writing with him. I found it interesting that Bulmer apparently worked with themes at first, partly for the structure that provided and partly to be divested of having to come up with a general idea before narrowing it down. He now basically works organically, just as jokes come to him, and they seem to have no problem finding their way to the surface.

* Bulmer was part of a Koyama Press signing on Thursday night at that same store. Anne Koyama has such a well-liked presence at these shows and was mentioned so many times a full day after, it was like she was in the room. Comics people are nice; Anne Koyama is aspirationally nice.

* one thing I learned at the Oily Comics show is that the small press has done well enough it's becoming a bigger factor in Chuck Forsman's overall vocational profile. That's very encouraging. I like their subscription model; I like that they have a model.

* personal travel note: I liked my hotel just fine. Condor Hotel in Brooklyn. It was about a 25-minute walk to the show, which I wanted for the extra exercise. BCGF is likely to always be a show about people crashing in different places rather than taking hotel rooms, and people I know run hugely hot and hugely cold on the closest hotel to the show, so I was happy to find an alternative I liked. It was a big room for a New York room, too. If you ever try that one out, I would look for a discounted price. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way if I had paid the usual rate on that room; I didn't pay anywhere near that.

* the line for the first panel of the day at the Knitting Factory, featuring Art Spiegelman, Richard McGuire and Chris Ware, wrapped around the block. A lot of people didn't get in, including, I think, Matt Groening. I was snatched out of my place in line last minute for a seat with Karen Green and Jonathan Gray. Gray made fun of my Midwestern amiability in waiting to get in or not or stand or whatever, and insisted that as press we needed to be there to cover any panels we wanted to cover. I appreciated his pride in our profession.

* congratulations to Gray on recently securing tenure in his teaching job, which apparently includes teaching Paying For It. It was fun to see him around.

* the McGuire/Spiegelman/Ware was a phenomenal panel, buoyed by about 18 billion powerpoint slides from moderator Bill Kartalopoulos. All three men were smart, articulate and funny. Ware at one point ripped off a sentence where about five of the 12 words would win you a game of Scrabble -- it made the person next to me gasp. Even the casual asides were pretty good. Spiegelman made this fascinating and almost fundamental point about scale in comics forcing you into completely different decision about reading comics on the page -- if something is really big, you have fewer choices about where to place your eyes -- that I hadn't really thought about before.

* Ware told Richard McGuire that reading "Here" changed his life, and I think that probably wasn't the last time McGuire heard that during the weekend. He was the special-guest belle of the ball. A lot of people were thrilled to meet him, I know I was, and he was as genial and pleasant and accommodating as can be imagined. I know that writing about "Here" for TCJ a hundred years ago changed the course of my life, and it was nice to be in the same room with its creator.

* the programming received generally high marks from people I talked to, and was always just about packed or even overly-stuffed with bodies. Between this show and SPX, Bill Kartalopoulos' basic approach of focusing on a few, strong panels over trying to get as many people as possible a platform to do whatever (usually sell books) seems to be making inroads as a dominant way of thinking about these kinds of opportunities. Or at least a competitive way of approaching that element of shows. I know there's no one I'd rather see setting up such a slate of talks right now.

* BCGF could probably make use of a much bigger space, although I'm not sure one's available.

* Robert Boyd was there! Robert worked for a bunch of comics companies in the 1990s and into the 2000s. I think the list is Fantagraphics, Dark Horse, Roger Corman's Cosmic Comics, Kitchen Sink, Crossgen and ADV Manga. He now works in the financial services sectors and runs the Houston-focused arts blog The Great God Pan Is Dead. It was great to see him. I saw a lot of old friends and friendly acquaintances I hadn't seen in a while: Anne Ishii, Jordan Crane, Jon Lewis, Kevin Scalzo. Scalzo used to live in the same house on a different floor. Great day for catching up.

* with that in mind, I do wonder at times if I'm kinder to shows than I might be if I didn't find them enormously -- and sort of inexplicably, in some cases -- enjoyable on a personal level. That may be something for you to keep in mind when processing what I'm saying, at least.

* okay, the set-up. The hall itself was set up like last year, basically two figure eights with an outer, arch-shaped three-quarters ring. The day started slow and steady but built to a bustling high point about 90 minutes in and stayed there basically all the way to 7 PM.

* it was really hot in there, and a significant people complained to me about the general oppressiveness of the room. Part of that may have been the novelty of being able to say that about an alt-con, but I do think people were genuinely uncomfortable at times. I'm not sure what can be done. A couple of the aisles, like the far aisle on the upper floor, were pretty narrow. One person confided in me that the heat and the number of the people and the difficulty of getting around made it hard for him to even look at what the tables offered. It could be this is just part of the flavor of the show, that there's just going to be a kind of effort involved in hitting the floor.

image* one thing I love about the current set-up is that Rosebud Archives gets the prime position at the front of the upper-level room. That's a publisher that had a ton of material -- they have a ton of material generally -- yet still gets an enormous number of "I didn't know you guys existed" talk from new customers. I didn't walk away with a better-looking book than the Harrison Cady portfolio-with-a-spine Kids At Play. They said business was really good, and that their best selling cartoonist was Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

* there was an significant amount of quality material on the floor, as the excellent preview at The Beat indicated. It suggested that there is way more material being produced than any infrastructure comics has right now can facilitate getting that stuff into the hands of customers. As much as individual players in the festival and comics shop networks do amazing work, and as much as mail order on-line also plays a role, I'm not sure I disagree with the notion that comics' accomplishments of the last quarter-century favor creative endeavors far more than business innovation. There are a lot of exciting opportunities over the next several years in that end of comics, I think.

* three things I saw that I liked that weren't books were original art from Josh Simmons (crisp), Karl Stevens (really lush-looking, hand-painted pieces) and Lisa Hanawalt (who was blowing through a bunch of original art for $20 and $40 a pop). I bought this piece from Lisa. It was the only thing I bought at the show, and I'm very happy with it.

* Most people I talked to had a very good day. Leon at Secret Acres said they did a day equivalent to a day at SPX, a strong a day as they've had. The dozen or so people I surveyed seem to score out on the top end of solid, if that makes any sense. I didn't detect a must-have book of the show -- I was recommended work ranging from the Michael McMillan exhibition catalog to the Anders Nilsen re-issue to the Ruppert and Mulot book to a new Jordan Crane handmade mini. There was a lot of praise generally for what Tom Kaczysnki is doing at Uncivilized Books.

* I got to talk about the late, great Oliver Harrington with Art Spiegelman and then meet David Mazzucchelli outside of the show at one point, so that was a fine day all by itself right there. Mazzucchelli said something I hope he doesn't mind me sharing, that I hope I get right. He does a pantheon-building exercise with his SVA students where he provides them with a list of 100 important comics-makers and then asks them to make a list of 10 of their own. He then compiles those lists of ten into a single master list. The difference between now and when he started doing this assignment is that the lists are more personal, varied and idiosyncratic. I think this indicates something about young cartoonists going through a very different process than the previous generation in terms of building a meaningful past from the art form in which they find themselves working.

* speaking of young cartoonists, the current wave of cartooning schools as an organizing force and mini-network for the graduates may end up being a greater contribution to the comics culture than any actual cartooning being taught. That's hyperbolic, but if you're in my generation the closest thing the bulk of comics-makers and industry folk have to going to comics school is that first or most intense job in comics, or maybe a group of friends you make at shows that are all at the same point in your careers, or maybe your cartooning friends if you live in one of a half-dozen different cities with a number of comics people there. More of these younger folk are actually going to school together, and that seems to me a huge difference in the bonds they're forming. The key is how they re-form those bonds as different people drop out and others keep going.

image* I was happy to finally meet the cartoonist and now-publisher Rina Ayuyang. She admitted that getting her Yam Books underway was both harder and ultimately more rewarding than she thought it might be going in. I think that Tim Hensley's Ticket Stub is a fascinating, attractive book, one I'm glad to have available for sale because I missed most of the mini-comics from which it's built. Ayuyang is working on a dance-related comic for her own next work; I enjoyed her first collection a lot.

* I caught up with John Porcellino, for whom this was the last show of the year. I think that was true of a lot of people, actually; I know it is for me. It had a last day of summer camp undercurrent, for sure. I missed seeing Tim Hodler and Frank Santoro and Gary Groth and Caitlin McGurk among many others that couldn't make it.

* I was told at dinner in a fine restaurant picked for us by Adrian Tomine that Tomine is the best picker of restaurants in comics. That is not a bad skill to cultivate. It was nice talking to Tomine and Anders Nilsen at dinner. Tomine and I entered into comics at about the same but haven't really had much interaction over the years so it's like getting a fresh perspective on a lot of stuff I've already experienced.

* Nilsen moved back to Minneapolis this year. That's a potential comics-city juggernaut.

* not as many kids at the show as I remember. More people left the show to do kid things than actually introduced me to their progeny.

* Jen Vaughn ran the Fantagraphics table basically by herself, although Kristy Valenti and Jen Vaughn both wrote in to say that Anna Pederson the ex-Fantagraphics and current CBLDF intern was on hand and extremely, extremely helpful to Vaughn. Anyway, a newer employee (even if only relatively newer) running a publisher's booth always impresses me both in the doing of it and that the Fantagraphics and D+Q identities easily encompass representation by newer faces like Vaughn and Julia Pohl-Miranda. That's healthy, I think.

* it was great to talk to Jillian Tamaki, currently about 100 pages into a 300-page graphic novel. I think her work has been consistently strong for quite some time now and I hope that there's enough of an industry to support as much work as she wants to do. She told me when I asked that there are about 200 pages of her great SuperMutant Magic Academy comics now.

* I was sad Evan Dorkin couldn't make it out from Staten Island, although no one on Earth would blame someone for not leaving Staten Island given the state of things out there post-Sandy. The CBLDF pinch hit during Dorkin's signing time with Ben Katchor. Quite a bench.

* general items of conversation were the storm -- a lot of people from around New York comparing notes -- Adrian Tomine's New Yorker cover, Building Stories more generally, the rise of all these festivals, and general career-like commentary about book deals and business-type possibilities. That last sounds horrid when I write it like that, but I witnessed a lot of hopeful thinking. Even Chris Ware at one point described the national mood as one where America is trying to figure out how to move from adolescence into adulthood. I think comics can be described in those same terms a bit. As Charles Brownstein pointed out, if you look at the period of 1995-2005 as a series of business traumas, comics' adolescence can even be said to be memoir-worthy.

* it was nice to see Warren Bernard from SPX in attendance, shaking hands and enjoying himself. Barring someone moving in a directly competing show in roughly the same geographical area into the same weekend or, potentially, into a weeked on either side of an established show, there's no reason all the major shows shouldn't get along. Not that I can think of, anyway.

* nice, nice, nice.

* it was good to see Box Brown in attendance, checking out a few things and showing off a Chris Ware-based tattoo. Leigh Walton did at least one walk-through as well, as Top Shelf wasn't exhibiting. I had hoped to see Brendan Burford, but he was nowhere to be found.

image* one thing about the panel I moderated stuck with me: the notion that cartoonists like panelists Charles Burns, Tim Hensley and Anouk Ricard work so exclusively to their own tastes and creative decisions that making the work universal is something artists internalize independent of any commercial pressure to make a work more presentable or salable. It's not something you think about as remarkable because it's such a part and parcel of that culture.

* I had an excellent time talking a bit with Karen Green about the efforts of librarians with comics and graphic novel holdings to archive a lot of the existing material, how they deal with one another and the specter of eBay or an auction house swooping in. I think there's going to be a lot of activity in that realm over the next five years, if only as more institution start comics programs and thus consider adding collections of one type or another.

* the major festival afterparty was packed and crazy, particularly around 12:30 to 1 AM: a lot of happy, primarily younger people operating in a mostly collegial and comfortable atmosphere -- a lot of people knew a lot of the other people, even at a party like that one. Also: booze. I snuck away for a while to have a lengthy and not-as-boring-as-it-sounds-I-swear discussion in a bar about the general future of comics' economic prospects, the delicate balance between accepting a diminished economic outlook and skillfully negotiating a realistic appraisal of what's available for reward regarding one's art.

* I didn't really feel old this weekend, I felt like I belonged. But the one moment I did like in terms of being slightly older was when someone constructed a scenario that was obviously meant to include my own, older experiences -- they projected out to someone age 34.

* I got to see some comics-related stuff on my way out of the city Monday. I had coffee with Brendan Burford, who reported that King Features' Dustin has slipped past the 300-client mark and seemed generally upbeat about working in comics. Brendan's one of my favorite people in comics, and it was a great conversation. I stopped by a Midtown Comics location for the first time. I only buy mainstream comics in comics shops, because I have a handle on securing just about everything else, and that's a good place to buy mainstream comics for sure. I had a chat with Alex Cox over at the CBLDF offices. He snapped this silly photo of my most precious BCGF 2012 weekend memento.

* I don't think this year's BCGF had the jittery shock of the new that comes with an emerging show finally putting it together or the joy of rediscovery at a show where everything falls into place at once. The matter-of-fact quality of the show -- assured exhibitors, confident programming, a certain expectation as to the way things should go -- may have been its best feature. Of course we should have shows that good now. We deserve good shows like that now. BCGF is winning arguments for the value of a show tied into a location, a certain programming strategy, an extra emphasis on outside events and the one-day model. (It is at least holding its own on curating the exhibitors top to bottom.) With the festival and convention season all but over, it's up to everyone else to respond. On to 2013.

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Go, Read: Grant Goggans On The Jack Davis UGA Exhibit

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OTBP: Norman Rockwell: A Very Magical Christmas!

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Not Comics: Michael May On Francis Tsai

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Go, Look: Illustrating Webster

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I Just Really Like The Name "Norge Benson"

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Not Comics: An Illustrated Don Quixote

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

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FFF Results Post #315 -- One-Man Show

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Comics-Makers Living Or Dead Around Whom They Could Build A One-Man Convention You'd Want To Attend; In Slot #5, Give Some Details Of One Of The Shows." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. R. Crumb
2. Charles Schulz
3. Jim Davis
4. Harvey Pekar
5. Muncie, Indiana puts on its finest to host the Garfield-Con in the downtown Cornerstone Center For The Performing Arts. The Garfield films and the Garfield musical are shown. Tours of Davis' amazing-looking studio run every hour on the hour. TK Ryan is a special guest of honor. At the end of the show, five cartoonists win a gigantic downtown home in the former manufacturing hub.

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Wally Wood
2. Alex Raymond
3. Leiji Matsumoto
4. Daniel Torres
5. A cross country train trip in a locomotive decked out like Galaxy Express 999 with everyone in costume as a character from a Matsumoto manga. At each stop a trip to the local art house theater for a screening of a Matsumoto anime feature.

*****

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Dave Knott

* Garry Trudeau
* Harvey Kurtzman
* Jules Feiffer
* Enki Bilal
* Trudeau would of course be in attendance at his event and would take part in a lengthy dedicated Q&A. There would be 'sketch panel' in which he would take a topic from the moderator or audience and produce a relevant cartoon featuring Doonesbury cast members. The resultant strip would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a charity of Trudeau's choosing. There would be dedicated political panels with guests including public figures who have been featured in Doonesbury. There would also be panels featuring debate among newspaper editors who have either stuck with Doonesbury or dropped it due to a controversial storyline. The main room would have a huge mural showing the evolution of the strip's cast over the years, including a timeline. Evening entertainment would feature a revival of the Doonesbury stage musical and a screening of the animated special.

*****

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Gerry Alanguilan

1. Francisco V. Coching
2. Tony Velasquez
3. Larry Alcala
4. Alan Moore
5. A Francisco V. Coching convention would be like a comic book/film festival event. More than 40 motion pictures were made out of Coching's stories, not counting TV serials and modern remakes. There would be an extensive exhibit depicting his biography, artwork, impact and influence presented in a chronological timeline from the time of his birth to the present day. Collections of Coching's digitally remastered stories will be made widely available for the first time to the general public.

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Harvey Kurtzman
2. Victor Moscoso
3. Gary Panter
4. Chris Ware
5. Moscoso-Con at San Francisco's Moscone Center, with presentations, panels, workshops, etc., appealing to people interested in alternative comics; music posters; illustration; film and animation storyboarding; advertising; entrepreneurship (Neon Rose); graphic design (Bauhaus > Josef Albers > visual perception > color theory, etc.); typography (Vienna Secession > Alfred Roller, etc.); fine art (Op > Bridget Riley, etc.); etc.

*****

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Chris Pepin

1. Bill Watterson
2. Jack Kent
3. Carl Barks
4. Warren Kremer
5. A small intimate show of twenty guests or less with Bill Watterson. A selection of original Calvin and Hobbes and other art on display along with some of his paintings. A short question and answer session with the whole group and everyone gets a short individual meeting with Bill in a small room with comfy chairs and a fireplace. Several presentations by Bill on subjects he is passionate about. One of the sessions would be about his favorite comic strips and the reasons he likes them.

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Charles Burns
2. Dave Sim
3. Jim Woodring
4. Seth
5. The "Seth Retro-spective" would spin off the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and feature displays of Seth's artwork, that of John Stanley and other influences, and presentations and re-creations of the artist's model buildings and townscapes. One special guest would be a representative of the real life CKCK television station, who could deliver an appreciation of Seth's take on old-time broadcasting in "George Sprott". Interested attendees could opt to take a VIA passenger train from Toronto to Strathroy, Ontario, for a guided tour of the community from "It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken".

*****

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Josue Menjivar

1. Jack Kirby
2. Alex Toth
3. Steve Ditko
4. Charles Shulz
5. Alan Moore

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. Gary Panter
2. Basil Wolverton
3. Jack Kirby
4. Winsor McCay
5. MoCCA, in association with SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group: GRAPHics) presents a special exhibit on the works of legendary cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay. Rare full-page Sunday sheets of McCay's work will be on display, as well as restored versions of many of his animated classics. Computer imaging technology will allow viewers to virtually enter and explore some of McCay's wildest imaginary worlds.

*****

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J. Schwind

* George Herriman
* Theodor Seuss Geisel
* Jerome Siegel (and Joseph Shuster)
* Harvey Kurtzman
* Ed Dodd

DoddCon 2013 is a campout in the Mark Trail Wilderness. Features, under a big top tent, include an exhibit of MARK TRAIL art, a panel discussion led by Gary Larson on THE GREAT OUTDOORS of GEORGE HERRIMAN & WALT KELLY, and the 20 km. Fursuit Pursuit.

*****

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JE Cole

1: Craig Thompson
2: Maurice Sendak
3: Osama Tazuka
4: Jean Giraud (Moebius)
5: Posy Simmonds: Run and organized by Paul Gravett and held in London, the show is used as an opportunity to showcase the work of female cartoonists from every corner of the globe. Stretching over five weeks, guests and speakers include: Karen Berger, Marie Severin, Colleen Doran, Jo Chen, Diana Schutz, Claire Wendling, Amy Reeder, Fiona Staples, Ayami Kojima, Rumiko Takahashi, Marjane Satrapi......

*****

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Jason Green

1. Scott McCloud
2. Erik Larsen
3. Craig Thompson
4. Rumiko Takahashi
5. Sunday is usually a wasted day at most cons, but for McCloudCon, Sunday would be a 24 Hour Comic event. The resulting comics would be works of shear brilliance because all of the participants are, like most Sunday morning con attendees, monstrously hungover/still drunk.

*****

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Matt Allison

5) Jim Woodring
4) Alejandro Jodorowsky
3) Bob Burden
2) Gary Panter (even though I'm not a huge fan - I just imagine he'd have an amazing guest list)
1) Tanino Liberatore - this would be a recreation of one of the futuristic, Bacchanalian disco parties you'd see in a Ranxerox comic, complete with mega-violence...and a panel on page layouts plus free tote bags.

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Peter Blegvad
2. Ellen Forney
3. Alan Moore
4. Winsor McCay
5. McCay shows his films (with commentary), performs his chalk talks, and has onstage conversations with Brad Bird and Sigmund Freud. As they leave, all attendees are presented with McCay's quick-draw portraits of them.

*****

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Mark Mayerson

1. Walt Kelly
2. Will Eisner
3. Harvey Kurtzman
4. Carl Barks
5. Manhattan hosts Kirby-Con. Local field trips include a trip to Kirby's birthplace at 147 Essex Street, followed by a tour of the Tenement Museum, so that everyone can see the conditions that Kirby grew up in. A military historian presents a talk on Kirby's movement through Europe and experiences as an infantryman during World War II. A field trip to the basement of the home in East Williston, Long Island, where Kirby designed the look of the Marvel Universe. A panel on Kirby influences includes specialists in Norse mythology, 20th century science fiction, gangster movies, and soap operas.

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Jack Kirby (unoriginal, but mandatory, idea for this)
2. Matt Groening
3. Walt Kelly
4. Katsuhiro Otomo
5. Alternating venues between Lower Manhattan and Thousand Oaks. The show floor would be built like the imagined sets from Science Fiction Land, and would be broken up into three main sections, each isolating a period of Kirbys oeuvre. Plenty of panels examining different aspects of Kirby's work, with discussions about his ongoing influence. Costume contests with awards for the most Kirby-esque executions. Galleries set up showcasing original Kirby art. Art auctions for both Kirby and Kirby-inspired work. Ongoing film room showing serials, TV shows and movies using Kirby's characters. All convention proceeds go to the Kirby Estate.

*****

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M. Emery

1. Peter O'Donnell
2. Pat Mills
3. Frank Hampson
4. Gary Panter
5. An extensive exhibition of artwork from the five contributing artists to Modesty Blaise as well as Frank Hampson's tryout pages is hosted in London during The Peter O'Donnell weekend. Featured speakers include Modesty Blaise expert Laurie Blackmore and Blaise artists Erique Badia Romero, Pat Wright and John Burns. O'Donnell's work on James Bond, Romeo Brown and Garth comic strips and as a novelist and screenwriter are also examined and all attendees receive a complimentary reprint of Romero's adaption of O' Donnell's short The Dark Angels.

*****

modified slightly from a suggestion by Mark Coale; thanks, Mark

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


Tim Sievert Boxes


Hank Ketcham Profiled


Liza Donnelly Draws


Video From The Lucca Festival


Dude Gets His Hair Cut At Short Run


Joost Swarte Profiled


Bob Andelman Talks To Thomas Inge About Will Eisner


Brecht Evens Makes A Mural
 
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November 10, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from November 3 to November 9, 2012:

1. Legal arguments are heard in the Siegels vs. DC Comics case.

2. Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival gets underway with a battery of satellite events, bringing into alignment two major ongoing stories: the rise an enormous number of well-run conventions and festivals, a flurry of emerging small publishers to serve them and that audience more generally.

3. New York and New Jersey cartoonists and industry figures recover from a week of Sandy-related heartbreak and hassles, including artist JK Woodward losing his home.

Winner Of The Week
Clay Bennett, for the closest thing I've seen this year to a "go and look" editorial cartoon about the presidential election.

Loser Of The Week
Mike Luckovich -- I really liked his Mitt Romney. I thought obscuring the eyes was a really inspired move: it doesn't really fit the visual profile when you look at Romney but has this huge psychological effect on how you process the cartoons.

Quote Of The Week
"The current hodgepodge of cartoons from other sources only emphasizes the loss of a local perspective. So many issues, from the History Museum saga, the St. Louis University kerfuffle and even the rise and fall of the Cardinals needed to be illustrated." -- a St. Louis Post-Dispatch letter to the editor, asking for the return of a local cartoonist.

*****

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

*****
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Go, Look: The Amazing Adventures Of Bill

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

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If I Were In Maine, 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 Rochester, I'd Go To This

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

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

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this seems like the sort of thing you needed to plan in advance, although I guess you never know
 
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If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

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

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

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November 9, 2012


Go, Look: A Bunch Of HT Webster Cartoons

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It's not the same kind of fun you'll have this weekend gorging on some of the wild art and genre-soaked mayhem to be found on random tables at the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, but you have to be a hard soul not to derive some pleasure looking at the elegantly straight-forward cartooning of HT Webster. You can find books by Webster at seemingly ever library sale ever held in North America, or order one for less than 10 bucks from one of the used-books services. I'm fond of old hardcover cartoon collections, particularly those soaked in a nostalgia for an even earlier time, like some of Webster's stuff can be.
 
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Go, Look: The Last Issue Of Forbidden Worlds

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A Small Sampling Of Major Debuts At This Year's BCGF

There should be little doubt at this point that we're in a very strong period for small, boutique and micro-publishers of art-comics, for art comics generally, and for the festivals that suport them.

What follows is a visual sampling of books to premiere at tomorrow's Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. I guess you could argue that big events like BCGF kind of shake loose a bunch of book debuts like these, but then you'll be forced to recall that it's only been about two months since the last major event on the arts-comics festival calendar, and that that event had its own host of new offerings (three good ones, for instance, and again on sale at BCGF, were from Lisa Hanawalt, Julia Wertz and Johnny Ryan).

It's worth noting that this is a small sampling, books only at a show that offers a ton of prints and related material, and all from the more traditional end of publishing. There are books out there that have only been seen on someone's tumblr, and books that won't be seen at all by anyone until about 30 hours from now.

It should be a very good day to buy books like these and so many others in Brooklyn tomorrow, with a fine holiday season of book-buying to follow. Long live print. Long live comics. Long live comics festivals.

*****

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* The Wayside, Julie Morstad, D+Q Table

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* New Edition Of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, Anders Nilsen, D+Q Table

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* Songs Of The Abyss, Eamon Espey, Secret Acres Table

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* Magic Whistle #12, Sam Henderson

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* Beta Testing The Apocalypse, Tom Kaczynski, Fantagraphics Table

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* Pogo Vol. 2, Walt Kelly, Fantagraphics Table

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* Spacehawk, Basil Wolverton, Fantagraphics Table

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* Famous Villains of the Theater, John Held Jr., Rosebud Archives Table

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* Kids at Play Volume One: The Birds-Eye Views of Harrison Cady (2nd Edition), Harrison Cady, Rosebud Archives Table

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* The Seven Deadly Sins, Pieter Bruegel The Elder, Rosebud Archives Table

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* The Apocalypse, Albrecht Durer, Rosebud Archives Table

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* The LIFE Covers of Maxfield Parrish, Maxfield Parrish, Rosebud Archives Table

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* LIFE: The Complete Covers of John Held, Jr., John Held Jr., Rosebud Archives Table

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* And So To Bed, Gluyas Williams, Rosebud Archives Table

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* Sunday In The Park With Boys, Jane Mai, Koyama Press Table

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* Eat More Bikes, Nathan Bulmer, Koyama Press Table

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* True Swamp: Choose Your Poison, Jon Lewis, Uncivilized Books Table

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* Post York, James Romberger and Crosby!, Uncivilized Books Table

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* Eel Mansions #1, Derek Van Gieson, Uncivilized Books Table
 
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Go, Look: More Cartoons From Teensville, USA

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TCJ: Harvey Kurtzman Estate, Al Feldstein Filed For EC Copyrights; Feldstein Confirms Settlement

imageNice piece of work by Mike Dean over at TCJ.com, spelling out a filing for copyrights including work in MAD by Al Feldstein and the estate of the late Harvey Kurtzman. According to Dean's piece it was apparently a filing along the same lines as the much more public Siegel and Shuster/Superman case: the Kurtzman estate's was focused on MAD #1-7; Feldstein on early work done at the company before he became an employee.

Although much of the piece is shrouded in various no-comments, Feldstein talked to Dean and indicates he has already settled in a way that will allow use of some of the work in question -- and contributing work to that work -- in a planned, forthcoming autobiography.
 
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Go, Look: More Cartoons From Bachelor

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Site Note: I Really Don't Know If I Received Your Book

I get a lot of notes from people wanting to talk to me about books they sent me. They want to know if I got what they sent, and they're frequently wondering if I'll do a review or otherwise cover what they're up to.

I greatly appreciate anything sent to me. I get like four or five pieces a day. My experience over 20 years of doing this is that I really can't go and look and find your book, not and do my job effectively in the limited time I have to do it. Further, it's rare that I have interest in talking to you about coverage over a sent book, although I'm always happy to hear suggestions. I have plenty of coverage ideas of my own, and if your work or your PR spurs some, I'll certainly be in touch.

I know how this must sound. I apologize. If this costs me some freebies, I understand and I'm fine with that. I do appreciate how invested you are in your work, and I am flattered I matter enough that you're making the inquiry. But honestly, that way lies madness, and I can't start down that road. So if you need me to receive your book and shoot you an e-mail upon arrival and discuss how it's going to be used, please consider another option for your complimentary copy. I wish you the very best of luck.
 
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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* so I guess the Cerebus: High Society material will be made available through Diamond Digital. My understanding is that it's already available through comiXology, and through the Kickstarter campaign in which I participated. I'm a little confused how all those go together, but I like those comics and I hope a new generation of fans gets to read them.

image* if I'm reading this correctly, DC Comics is the first big mainstream publisher to offer all of its serial comic-book-format material on all of the major digital reading devices. This seems to me a real matter-of-fact, might-as-well-do-it-now move and long has; I shouldn't be surprised that they've worked for as long as they have to protect and finesse certain markets, though.

* it looks like the primary comics collection for Sam & Max is now more widely available that way, too.

* I'm basically lost when it comes to press releases like this, but it seems this is a press release for an app to download a very specific comic book or two -- distinguished from more general apps because it's a tie-in to a game. I suppose. Maybe. At any rate, figuring this stuff out by routinely encountering it is what this column is partly for.

* the deadline for this anthology for women in comics whose name has a piece of code in it with which I'd rather not mess this early in the morning has extended its deadline to November 16. My apologies if this is a print journal instead of an on-line effort.

* the "this is what I do" description on the newly-active twitter account held by Vijaya Iyer of Cartoon Books seems worth noting.

* Mark Anderson has launched a subscription service.

* KaBOOM! is making its various Peanuts efforts available thorugh iTunes.

* I've been keeping this link in my bookmarks for some reason, I think because of the ambitious way the comic is exhibited. Here's another one I've bookmarked for future exploration.

* finally, Zack Smith wrote in enthused that his first comics work, The Stars Below, is out from Monkeybrain. I hadn't thought about it before getting that e-mail, but digital publication is likely to be a first for a lot of comics-makers from here on out. It probably has been for hundreds and hundres thus far.

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Collective Memory: Short Run 2012

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Watch: AAEC's #!&% Cartoons Video Array

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

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

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

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Missed It: Anti-Suffragette Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the newspaper strip Fort Knox will do a storyline about prostate cancer. That's one of Amy Lago's over at WPWG (which may now be WP Media), by a cartoonist named Paul Jon Boscacci. I know there's a lot of "very special episode" kidding that goes on with something like that, but I think issues humor of that type is something strips still do pretty well, largely because of their unique position within the culture.

image* Kelly Korducki talks to Peter Birkemoe on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of The Beguiling. God bless that Peter Birkemoe. Brian Truitt talks to Denise Mina. David Bradley talks to Dan Abnett and Neil Roberts. Randy Cordova talks to Rick Kirkman.

* not comics: BK Munn on the opening of Doug Wright Park.

* participating in Halloween by giving out Jack Chicks sounds more like a hipster move than a fundamentalist Christian move to me.

* not comics: I think we all owned a concept album called "Lazarus Pit" at some point, so why not?

* not comics: I enjoyed reading my friend Gil Roth's blog posts about suffering through no power for several days post-Sandy. It gets to the misery of that kind of situation without being overly tragic considering what others were facing. What intrigues me about it is this notion of how awesome our day-to-day lives are right now, but also how fragile, how easily they're disrupted.

* missed it: good on Meredith Gran.

* Steve Bissette is offering Neil Gaiman-related goodies through orders at his on-line store.

* Steve Morris on Iron Man #1 and Deadpool #1. Maria Popova on Building Stories.

* finally, there has got to be a more cost-efficient thing to steal than comic books.
 
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November 8, 2012


Go, Look: Early John Byrne In Charlton's Bullseye Magazine

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Go, Look: Infomaniacs Season Two

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Go, Read: A Summary Of This Week's Superman Hearings

Here. I'm not sure what to make of that, and I'm not all the way certain anyone does until the final rulings come and everything leading up to them is thus able to shimmer and shine in the clarity of hindsight. I've always suspected that the law is against the families here, and not just in the way it takes years and years to litigate that stuff and all that such a process costs people to do so that are personally invested in a way that businesses aren't.
 
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Go, Look: Toronto Humane Society

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Go, Look: Recent Kevin Huizenga Sketches Posting

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Jules Feiffer Puts New York Home Up For Sale

It's one of those articles that's going to find a life of its own basically so people can repeat the whopping figures involved even though they'll pretend it's about an iconic figure leaving the city in which he was a fixture for decades: Jules Feiffer is going to stay out in Southampton full-time, and is selling his New York City home. I think there's a comics angle to it in that I've always suspected that real-estate deals have had a significant albeit minor effect on the comics industry, and not just for New York fixtures like Feiffer and before him Al Hirschfeld. Heck, one way that comics people measure success in conversations with one another is who owns a home and how much of it they own.
 
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Go, Look: Oliver Frey

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he's part of the comica festival, so I went and looked at his art
 
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Surely A Sign Of Something: Vertigo Long-Runner Hellblazer Becomes New DC Offering Constantine

You can read DC's press release here and the story that was fed to the Associated Press writer here. What's sort of interesting to me is that the disintegration of the old industry that makes such a move a good idea also kind of takes with it any compelling reason to make a big deal of the switch. I mean, you look at a title near its 300th issue while everything else is getting a shiny new #1, you don't think, "Well, they're obviously going to stick with that and good for them." John Constantine is one of the few later-period characters they have -- which means he's still 27 years old, but still. The character remains a prime candidate for some sort of eventual film or television effort despite a previous shot at it that didn't quite get over despite not being hated or anything (some folks rather liked that movie). He's also been kind of an interesting character for that company in that so many writers from an entire generation of comics-makers have taken their shot at him in a way that usually gets reserved for the more iconic superhero properties.

The character is I believe credited to Steve Bissette, Alan Moore, John Totleben and Rick Veitch.

Here's something I noticed when I got that 27-year-old number. That means that more time has passed between John Constantine being created and now than between the creations of Hal Jordan and John Constantine. That is... I don't know if that's depressing or astonishing or what. These characters aren't young. An era of comics that many of us think of as still ongoing is really receding in the rear view mirror.
 
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Go, Look: Public Hair

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend it's BCGF. The first satellite event was Monday and starting tonight the show openings and related-type offerings come hard and heavy from now until the Saturday show itself and on through the weekend. I plan to be in attendance, so hopefully that will work out.

* so I guess there's a convention in Cincinnati that's attempting to raise money through Kickstarter. I have absolutely no sense of Cincinnati as a comics town beyond Jim Borgman, Carol Tyler, Justin Green and Bruce Chrislip. That seems like it would be enough, though. That's a fascinating part of the country, that whole lower Ohio/Kentucky region.

* I never really understood the BEA's fascination with Comic-Con. I always thought they should have just shrunk a bit and kept the show what it was, becoming tighter and more focused. This is probably why they don't let me run shows, though.

* spent some time last weekend updating this site's forthcoming events calendar that focuses on events down the line two months and beyond. As that post now features 2013 events, I thought it might be a good time to shake any dates from the tree that hadn't been reported to me or that escaped my attention. It looks like another full, fun year. One 2012 event about which I learned that I hadn't seen yet was the Locust Moon Comics Festival, scheduled for Beethoven's Birthday in December. That one looks like fun -- a pre-Christmas small press show on the East Coast in that city in particular seems to me a fine idea.

* Warren Bernard e-mailed to say that SPX 2013 has dates: September 14 and September 15. I hadn't seen it announced anywhere, although those are the dates everyone assumed, I think. That was a great show this year.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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If I Were In Malvern, 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: Great Showdowns

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this is obviously a promotional site, so I blew it off at first because I'm a snob, but there's a lot of fun art on here
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I wrote yesterday there were no editorial cartoons that I felt captured the presidential election in one-and-done fashion. About an hour later, people started e-mailing me this cartoon, which even if it doesn't match my perhaps overly strict standard has been well-received.

image* Nicole Rudick on Pompeii. Bob Temuka on a bunch of Jim Steranko comics starring Nick Fury. Grant Goggans on more classic Legion Of Super-Heroes. Henry Chamberlain on Willow #1. Bart Croonenborghs on comics from Yves Chaland and Blutch. Andrew Mansell on Dave Stevens Covers & Stories. James Hunt on Iron Man #1. Chris Sims on The Judas Coin.

* I'm not sure I even have the standards which one would use to judge whether it's effective or not, but here's a site called ComicSwap.com.

* here's a print being sold for Sandy relief that was tweeted in my direction about 23 hours ago.

* there are a few more election-related bits of business floating around. Alan Gardner looks at the "hometown" cartoonists' reaction to the presidential election on Tuesday. That Scott Stantis piece is nice. This is one of the better kaleidoscope of election-related covers I've seen. Caleb Goellner looks at the newspaper comic strips that did election-related gags.

* Colleen Doran is running a sale in order to help pay for the ongoing digital remastering of her A Distant Soil series.

* Daryl Ayo profiles Joseph Lambert. Chris Mautner talks to Sammy Harkham.

* not comics: here's Michael Cavna on yesterday's election-related google doodle.

* finally, if any of you are friends or fans of Josh Latta, he could use a hand.
 
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November 7, 2012


Go, Look: Nimona

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posted 5:25 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
A Flurry Of Post-Election Day Editorial Cartooning Links

* Rob Tornoe presents the presidential campaign in an editorial cartoon slideshow. I think just about every paper with a cartoonist should have thought about a similar feature on their front web site page this past Sunday.

* speaking of such cartoons, did anyone see a cartoon from Tornoe or anyone else that really struck them as the cartoon of this past US presidential election? Because I'm drawing a blank, to the point where I couldn't even guess the subject of such a cartoon, the way I bet in '88 one of the Dukakis in a tank cartoons was pretty funny and telling. I'm not suggesting at all that the cartooning wasn't good this season, just that I don't know if any single cartoon captured the zeitgeist.

* I'm not at all familiar with David Trumble's work, but I did like that he walks through a bunch of the cartoons he did for various potential results in 2008. I'm not sure that a lot of cartoonists do that many completed cartoons, but I bet they do at least some sketching out of different possibilities.

* a sane reader, many more of whom would be nice, asks his local paper -- the editorial cartooning tradition-rich St. Louis Post-Dispatch -- for a local editorial cartoonist. I think cartoonists can still be a valuable thing for a newspaper when used to maximum effect.

* Zapiro suggests that a lot more cartoons are become rage-filled, which is an interesting take on things even if only applied to the South African market from which he works.

* here's a round-up of Obama victory cartoons from the various Cagle on-line syndicate cartoonists. Those are always pretty fascinating in terms of what connects individual cartoons. As I mentioned yesterday, two of my main follows this election season were Matt Bors and Tom Toles, both of whom had amusing cartoons up this morning.
 
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Go, Look: Enrico Caruso, Caricaturist

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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.

*****

AUG120754 INJURY COMICS #4 $6.00
With this comics and the latest issues of Ethan Rilly's Pope Hats reaching shelves within days of one another, it allows us to think of a time when a comic book like those or even two were on the shelves just about every week. That was a whole freaking generation ago now, so we should probably pipe down about this. Still, I love the comic book form, and think it's a great way to discover new talent in bunches while seeing that they get some money, so I'll stay hopeful for a comeback. That price point has to freak out retailers, but what are you going to do?

imageSEP120018 47 RONIN #1 $3.99
Dark Horse has been carrying the classic indy-comics end of the serial comic book market for a while now. I'm a fiend for Stan Sakai's work, I find it very pleasurable, and I'm also fond of the 47 Ronin story -- particularly the fact that you can go three or four different directions with how it's presented, all of which are appealing, I think. So I'll look forward to seeing what they do with it.

JUL120050 BPRD PLAGUE OF FROGS HC VOL 04 $34.99
Dark Horse turns all of those series -- or nearly all of them -- into trades for an audience that one presume collects them that way and for another audience one presumes collects them all. I think the BPRD material is generally pretty strong, well-crafted mainstream comics work. This isn't exactly a groundbreaking opinion, I know. But I can imagine a 16-year-old version of me going to the comics shop solely for these comics and maybe a couple of others, were he to be in existence now rather than almost 30 years ago.

AUG121236 SCOTT PILGRIM COLOR HC VOL 02 $24.99
AUG121358 NAUSICAA O/T VALLEY O/T WIND BOX SET $60.00
JUL121337 GREAT SHOWDOWNS HC $14.95
JUN120275 SANDMAN SLIPCASE SET (MR) $199.99
JUL121392 ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS WHO COULD THAT BE AT THIS HOUR HC $15.99
There's no reason that these books all go together except one: this is all very much holiday-shopping material, with the possible exception of the Scott Pilgrim and then only because it's a second volume instead of a first. It's good to see comics orient itself to this kind of shopping though: collections of super solid work in a way that trumps a past presentation, stand-alone books of the widely appealing variety (the Campbell) and Seth illustrating a high-profile prose release. All of these should make this site's shopping guide.

JUL120052 RAGEMOOR HC $17.99
I didn't even know this Jan Strnad/Richard Corben collaboration. I'd check it out in hardcover form, and even see if I could pick up individual comic book issues at a discount. Picking up individual comic book issues at a discount is how people used to enrage retailers before they were able to scan bar codes and order stuff from Amazon.com.

SEP120201 ANIMAL MAN #14 (ROT) $2.99
I don't really buy any of these DC New 52 comics, but I do kind of know what's going on in this one plot-wise, which makes it stand out. I thought going in that DC might have a hard time maintaining story interest in some of these books when the shock of the new wore off. This comic seems to have some storyline interest, which is a positive for them.

SEP120489 BLACK KISS II #4 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
There's a time in the comics industry's history where this strange comic would be all we would have been talking about. I like how it looks.

SEP121123 UNDERWHERE HC $24.95
Mark Martin is another one of those creators like Stan Sakai and Roger Langridge and Richard Corben where I sort of automatically pay attention to what they're doing, at least enough to pick it up in a shop. Even a re-release. I don't have too many memories of this one, to be honest with you.

AUG121348 BAKUMAN TP VOL 16 $9.99
This strikes me as the best of the more accessible, traditional manga series in translation out this month.

SEP121334 GREATEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF ALL TIME $8.99
I bet I disagree with a lot of this.

SEP121054 WAYSIDE HC $19.95
JUL121072 BLACKLUNG HC $24.99
Finally, here's the reason we go to the comics shop: stand-alone work from talent with which we're either completely unfamiliar or not totally comfortable. The Morstand in particular intrigues me, because I know very little about her work and think it mostly runs right up next to comics more than it's traditionally comics.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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Go, Look: Election Day

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Go, Bookmark: BCGF Transportation Update At Festival's Blog

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It's here. It looks like everything is running pretty normally for people flying into the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival or coming from further away than another part of Brooklyn, except maybe for train service from EWR into Manhattan. That looks like it's going to be a cab ride. That's the way I'm coming in, so I'll pay attention to it myself. I guess there's a specific station that's screwing that up. If anyone has any specific advice, or is going to do that exact same route before Friday, I'd love a scouting report.

For that matter, if you're heading in today or tomorrow, you should probably double-check everything as the weakened travel infrastructure may make cancellations more likely with another storm in the NYC area.
 
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Go, Look: Winsor McCay Draws Uncle Sam

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

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Go, Look: Billy Ireland On Voting And Related Issues

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I greatly enjoy whenever Bruce Canwell runs a bunch of high-quality strip scans from the same day. Latest: February 15, 1946. A single page of comics is such a valuable historical document when tracing a community, a newspaper and a time.

image* Tim O'Shea talks to Renée French.

* I don't have the grasp I should on manga as its own market, and I sure as hell don't have any idea what's going on with anime -- a feeder/beneficiary market for that material. This sounds kind of depressing, though. Is it mean to suggest that maybe there was a big generational/faddish component to that flurry of manga sales starting several years ago? I don't mean that in an argumentative way, because certainly there's going to be an audience for great comics no matter what tradition from which they hail and that's my primary interest, but I am sort of interested in that mass-market side of things as well. Furiously stating "Well, they're still better than sales for XYZ kinds of comics" doesn't seem all that helpful in terms of figuring out the size and scope of that audience right now.

* Rob Clough on comics about travel. Vik Gill on The Underwater Welder. Henry Chamberlain on Vampirella Vs. Fluffy The Vampire Killer.

* Anders Nilsen with an election report. And here's an installment from Steve Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama. Bleeding Cool has a round-up of comics industry professional tweets.

* Johanna Draper Carlson talks marketing and publishing goals, including telling folks that serialized comics are almost entirely better off on the web at this point.

* Michael Cavna is having people vote on their favorite election-day cartoon.

* finally, I totally missed this David Brothers piece about blatant advertising being treated as publishing news content by industry journalism outfits. I always thought that was a weird thing, too. We do live in a world where people are falling over themselves to post news about forthcoming movies and trailers and the like, but it's not a world in which everyone -- or really, anyone -- has to participate.
 
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November 6, 2012


Go, Read: Kim Thompson, David Peniston Interview Joost Swarte

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Ali Ferzat Applying To Re-Launch Satirical Magazine al-Domari

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According to a scattering of wire reports releases over the last week or so, the Syrian cartoonist and gallery owner Ali Ferzat intends to relaunch his satirical magazine al-Domari ("the lamplighter"). The application would be to publish in Cairo; I'm not sure if that's exactly where Ferzat lives right now or if that's just a place where he has significant ties. According to the article, he's moved to Cairo after living in Kuwait. Ferzat left Syria after being brutally attacked by pro-government thugs in 2011, an incident that gained worldwide attention for the brutal and targeted aspect (they tried to break his hands) of the crime. He has since become a symbol of the uprising in that country and of the Arab Spring more generally. He has talked frequently of a desire to return to Syria.

The original al-Domari ran from 2000 to 2003 until it was shut down by the government. In the linked-to piece above, Ferzat talks about being almost bewildered by the extent of corruption -- and thus satirical targets -- in his country at that time.

at top is a Ferzat cartoon from a 2001 issue of the original magazine
 
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Go, Listen: Chris Ware On The Bat Segundo Show

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T. Samuval, 1925-2012

imageThe cartoonist T. Samuval passed away in Delhi on November 3, according to English-language wire stories from India. He was best known for his pocket cartoons, contributed under the nom de plume "Samuel." Pocket cartoons were a development of British newspapers in the 1930s: single-column cartoons on a current news story designed in many cases to lighten the severity of bad or unpleasant news. Many, like Samuval's, became recurring features with a specific character at their forefront.

Samuval was born in the coastal city of Kollam in the state of Kerala. He attended Madras School of Arts -- India's oldest art school. Samuval saw military action in the Army during the latter stages of World War 2. His first employment as a cartoonist came in Lahore for what looks like might have been a British publication; it's described as a military gazette. This must have been as a young man, because his obituaries say that he wound up in Delhi as a refugee in the late 1940s.

In Delhi, Samuval joined the infamous, Punch-like Shankar's Weekly with work including a silent strip called Kalu and Meena. He eventually joined the Times Of India with the Delhi edition as their staff cartoonist. He primary contribution there was the pocket cartoon called Babuji. According to a later biographical profile, Babuji was called the most popular feature in the Indian press by an article in the New York Times. Samuval would later take Babuji to Indian Express, where he started a strip Garib, all the while making stand-alone political cartoons for the publication.

After a long stint at the Express, Samuval rejoined the Times and stayed until his retirement in 1985.

In addition to his work for newspapers, Samuval provided cartoons and characters to government initiatives and to Indian companies, mostly in the realm of public awareness and outreach. He also worked with the World Health Organization on material for their rural health programs targeted at Asia.

Samuval published three books in his lifetime, taken from his two recurring features. He also published a memoir, Never A Dull Moment.

There is a public photo on Sudheer Nath's facebook page of his visit to Samuval's bedside last week.

Samuval is survived by a wife, a son and two daughters. He was buried at Nicholson Cemetery.

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Go, Listen: Dustin Harbin On Tell Me Something I Don't Know

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A Smattering Of Election-Related Comics Notes

* my primary comics-related takeaway from this year's presidential election and the election more generally is that for all of our constant attention to the horse-race aspects of those contests there really hasn't been a galvanizing story or issue by which the election could be easily defined, even in an absurd way. This extends to my not being sure there's a signature cartoon. Again, this could all change with the day's events, or even subsequently.

image* three of the cartoonists I've been reading regularly this year are Matt Bors, Tom Toles and Pat Oliphant. My understanding is that Oliphant has been on vacation. I've been reading about two dozen other cartoonists semi-regularly, like Jim Morin. If you're looking for that Ozymandias "Wall Of Televisions" effect, perhaps to get an impression of what a bunch of cartoonists are saying in ways that overlap and play off of each other, you can always try one of the groupings put together at Cagle.com.

* Ward Sutton sent out links to some of his most recent political coverage: here, here and here.

* not comics: Tony Millionaire plays the Father Of Our Country. Sort of.

* cartoonists Glenn McCoy and Matt Bors debated the issues. Sort of.

* here's a snappily-produced on-line comic about the election from our friends at The Guardian.

* Thomas Nast profiled, because Thomas Nast gets profiled every election season.

* and here's Michael Kupperman on Mitt Romney.

* a lot of comics people will be funny today on twitter. Me, maybe not so much.

* That's about it. Please vote. Please vote in an informed fashion. . I'll be going as someone both disinterested and terrified. One of my fraternity brothers is running for Attorney General of Pennsylvania, so please consider voting for him.
 
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Go, Look: Carter Family/The Hypo Signing Photo Gallery

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* there is an extensive preview here of a handsome-looking volume collecting Frank Bellamy's Heros The Spartan work. That one's going to be by Book Palace Books.

image* the long-delayed Matt Baker: The Art Of Glamour will apparently be published in late November. That was one handsome-looking dude.

* this would be neat if it comes off.

* I quite like the final look on Fantagraphics' January release The Heart Of Thomas. It's a completely different look, and it's imminent rather than coming soon, but that Duck series is pretty darn handsome, too.

* so Archie is launching a new quarterly reprint magazine.

* there's really nothing better than getting a bunch of these Oily Comics releases in your mailbox. That's not really publishing news, but it's nice to see a newer outfit devoted to print and tweaking the traditional model for delivery.

* if this is true, and I'm always liable to fall to practical jokes in that world, DC is doing 52 variants on a Justice League-related comic. I guess that's nice if you're one of the artists that suddenly has a gig you wouldn't have otherwise, but it's generally accepted that variants are not a healthy part of the Direct Market diet. So you're playing with fire, or at least type 2 diabetes.

* VIZ is doing a special edition of the Nausicaa books, which is good news. I don't have one right now, and will consider buying this one. I'm very fond of that particular manga.

* here's what John Byrne has going on. I haven't read a lot of more recent John Byrne. I think the last thing I read by him was a Gary Seven comic, of all things. He also strikes me as one of those cartoonists like Floyd Gottfredson -- and I know everyone always compares Byrne to Gottfredson -- who as he gets older values different things about his comics than I value. Still, one thing I love about comics right now is that there are more and more places for comics-makers to work for as long as they want to work, so I hope John Byrne works until he doesn't feel like working any longer.

* finally, there's still more Ronald Searle on the way.

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Go, Look: A 1950s Gag Cartoon Gallery From Mike Lynch

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A Few, Brief Sandy-Related Notes And Updates

* a few of you wrote me to tell me that Tony Shenton was back doing business, which is a good thing. A lot of people rely on Shenton to get their books into stores.

* I don't think this will be any sort of issue by end of week, and it's hardly one now, but one thing that's come up in a few e-mail exchanges about the forthcoming Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival is hesitancy on the part of some of my friends in the region rather than more local making the trip into the show because a) the power isn't on yet, and b) gas might be slightly difficult to come by in order to do that part of the trip. Whenever I talk about something on this site, a few folks tend to interpret whatever I mention as my being super-concerned and upset about it, with a potential side result of negative publicity, so let me at least dissuade you here -- I just think this is curious and worth noting, not this will have any sort of impact on the show.

* speaking of the BCGF, Lara Antal and Dave Kelly sent out the following e-mail about their intentions to divert any monies made during the festival and its ramp-up to storm-related relief, and to personally match those funds with another donation.
Hello Friends,

Yes, this is a mass e-mail but it's an important one. We kindly ask you take a moment to read it. Next Saturday, the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival will take place in Williamsburg, BK. We're very excited to be a part of it and hope you will be able to join us in attending. In light of the destruction caused by Sandy, Lara and I have elected to donate 100% of our sales revenue for the day to the Food Bank for New York City who are presently assisting those in need across the Five Boroughs. We will also match our revenue 100% in a personal donation. That means we will make a donation twice as large as the amount we make at BCGF.

Now we know we've included some folks in this e-mail who do not live anywhere near NYC and will not be able to make it. If you're interested in supporting our efforts, we'll also be donating 100% of sales generated by online orders starting today and ending midnight November 10th (the day of BCGF). This includes Etsy and Lush Comics (if you wish to buy Issue One digitally).

Aside from just wanting to help out, we are excited to announce that we have four brand-spankin'-new pieces for sale that will debut at BCGF! They are:

A Guide to Brewing -- an illustrated guide to making great coffee drinks written & drawn by Lara and starring Nora from TotNWM -- $5.00
Walking Into Traffic #3: "Roxy" written by Dave, drawn by Lara -- $1.00
Tales of the Night Watchman Bank Tower print, 11x17 -- $5.00
Tales of the Night Watchman Issue One Cover print, 11x17 -- $5.00

All of these items are up for sale starting today on our website but will not ship until after BCGF as that is where they officially premier. We'll make our donation Monday, November 12th.

Thanks so much for your support and we hope to see you all at BCGF, table D24!

Sincerely,
Dave & Lara
http://www.talesofthenightwatchman.com/home/
I don't know if there will be a lot of that kind of thing, but that's nice.

* finally, auctions have begun via Art For Sandy Relief.
 
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Go, Look: Babe And The Dying King

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Oh Yeah, This Is Going On Right Now Today As Well

Appeals in the Siegels vs. DC case.
 
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Go, Look: A New Eleanor Davis Comic

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

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

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Go, Look: Lucy Knisely Tumblr

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I ran a stand-alone story yesterday on JK Woodward looking to sell some prints to start on the road back from his home being destroyed by Sandy. My link sucked, so if you haven't checked that one out, please do. That doesn't seem like a lot of money to help a guy get a new start.

image* Sean Gaffney on Wandering Son Vol. 3. Don MacPherson on a bunch of different comics. Brian Hibbs on a bunch of different comics. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Noah Berlatsky on Axe Cop and Prison Pit. Sean Gaffney on Wandering Son Vol. 3. Sean Gaffney on Recon Academy. Grant Goggans on Crogan's Loyalty. Paul O'Brien on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on a bunch of different comics.

* happy 5th anniversary to File Under Other.

* not comics: go Generals.

* I'm grateful that Robot 6 is driving attention to Matt Hawkins talking about a suicide attempt on the anniversary of that event, and agree with Kevin Melrose that Hawkins and others talking openly about such things removes some of the stigma surrounding depression.

* Timothy Callahan makes his ultimate top 10 list.

* this is a great photo with a great title for that photo.

* Steve Morris talks to David Gallaher.

* speaking of Robot 6, here's a feature-y piece on various weird presidents in the comics. I like those old Prez comics. That's a great Halloween costume, too, if you're young and skinny.

* finally, I'm going to keep saying it: Richard Sala is in a really good place as far as drawing right now. And by right now I mean a few years going back and hopefully a few going forward.
 
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November 5, 2012


JK Woodward Loses Home To Sandy; Art Available For Auction

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Details here. I'll try to track subsequent efforts and follow-up in either their own posts or through the Random News, and will definitely have something in next week's "By Request" column. All the best to Woodward, his friends and family, and I hope comics people can pitch in as they're able.
 
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Bill Kartalopoulos Debuts His Rebus Books At BCGF With Ruppert/Mulot Effort Barrel Of Monkeys

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imageThe longtime art-comics industry figure Bill Kartalopoulos announced earlier today that his Rebus Books will debut at this weekend's Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. Its first offering is the graphic novel Barrel Of Monkeys by celebrated French comics creators Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot. Kartalopoulos will have advance copies on hand at the show, and the pair's work will see its first U.S. exhibit at the Wayfarers Gallery in Brooklyn with an opening on November 9. Ruppert will be on hand at the show and the opening.

Ruppert and Mulot met while in art school in Dijon; their first book for L'Association was published in 2005. Panier de Singe -- the work that Rebus is publishing as Barrel Of Monkeys -- won the Prix Révélation at the Angouleme Festival in 2007, as described by Bart Beaty in effusive terms here. They have been published in German, Italian and Finnish, and contributed to Kramers Ergot #7. Rebus has a promotional video up here.

Kartalopoulos has a stellar pedigree for an arts comics publisher. He's worked with Art Spiegelman on a variety of projects, is a co-organizer of BCGF and at the Small Press Expo, contributes to Print, has taught at Parsons and was the person primarily responsible for two of the best on-line efforts about comics in the last decade, now defunct: his own EGON site and an ambitious take on Indy Magazine. I look forward to seeing what he does.

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Go, Look: Joseph Lambert Sketches Sales Page

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these are also super-cheap, and I imagine sell out like ten seconds after they're offered
 
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Several Sandy-Related Comics Updates

There isn't a ton of news to report in terms of super-storm Sandy aftermath that relates directly to comics-makers, but there are a bunch of intriguing stories here and there.

image* the good folks at Drawn And Quarterly remind that Adrian Tomine did this week's New Yorker cover.

* as noted last week, the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival is pushing forward. Their basic approach seems based on a widely-held belief that any regional travel difficulties will have more than ironed themselves out enough by end of week for a show like that to come off. They're lucky enough to be held in a part of the city where there was little in the way of direct, physical damage. If there's to be any hassle, it will probably be in shipping for various exhibitors, so I hope that any of you in attendance are forgiving if someone shows up without a promised book to sell.

* the capriciousness of the storm has a bunch of folks still looking in with concern on people like Tony Shenton, Evan Dorkin and Mike Dawson. Evan and Sarah tweeted out and at least in Evan's case e-mailed some people on Saturday afternoon/evening when power was restored on a battered Staten Island. Again, there's no reason to assume that any of these folks will continue to suffer any serious difficulties beyond the obvious, but you never know, and it's nice to see the level of concern from readers and colleagues.

* Seth Tobocman has been making fliers: here and here. I'll try to stick one of those at the bottom of this post.

image* I'm still enjoying these Kate Beaton tweeted sketch-comics on her experiences post-storm.

* a not-comics link: people don't blog the way they did five years ago, but if you poke around there's some pretty good essay-writing going on out there about the power outages, gas lines and food concerns.

* in a non-comics sense -- that's different than a not-comics sense -- it seems worth noting that it was apparently a terrible storm for art more generally.

* Lisa Hanawalt tweets a commonly held opinion, or at least one I'm hearing from people.

* Sarah Becan cautions us to take the whole affair seriously, particularly in terms of the food supply.

* Marvel's Stephen Wacker is looking on the bright side.

* Mile High Comics is instituting a free comics program for victims of the storm.

* the twitter accounts for major retailers like JHU and Midtown have provided a glimpse into the very matter-of-fact way Manhattan businesses have dealt with any disruption in their businesses.

* finally, Art For Sandy Relief sounds like it should be a good thing.

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Go, Look: Nightmare In The Jungle

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Go, Look: Kull The Conqueror Splash Pages

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PW Names Its Best Graphic Novels For 2012; Chris Ware's Building Stories Named To Top Books List

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As is usually the case, Publishers Weekly is first out of the gate with its best graphic novels of the year list. Their choices are:

* My Friend Dahmer, Derf Backderf (Abrams Graphic Arts)
* Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
* The Voyeurs, Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized Books)
* Wizzywig, Ed Piskor (Top Shelf)
* Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, Mary and Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse)

I guess it's notable that not a single work from traditional arts-comics powerhouses Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly made what is a very short list, nor did Chris Ware's book from Pantheon, Building Stories. There's also no manga or kids books, although I have no grasp yet if those are strong categories for 2012. Mostly, though, these lists are what these lists are, and it's really not worth second-guessing or worrying them. You can find review from PW for each book through that initial link.

Update: Bad initial blogging on my part! Derf tells me that Building Stories was named to PW's overall books of the year list. Ware also did the cover for the issue. I've changed the headline to reflect.

Update 2: I guess there are some comics on the kids list...? I give up.

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Go, Look: Drew Friedman Draws Tor Johnson

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

* Alexis E. Fajardo would like you to know about Kid Beowulf And The Rise Of El Cid.

* here's a convention in Cincinnati that's attempting to find $25k in crowdfunding.

* here are some of the still-going projects from previous updates: the Michael Jantze legal battle, the Bezango, WA film project, Josh Elder, Ken Eppstein and the now successful but still ongoing Matt Bors book fundraiser.

* it will receive another mention in a storm-related round-up later this morning, but it's appropriate to here as well: an art-related fundraiser for Sandy relief that started a few days back.

* finally, the True Patriot crowd-funder is winding down, with a respectable amount already raised.
 
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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 Wherever This Is, I'd Go To It

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

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Go, Look: Another Esquire Mini-Gallery From Sam Henderson

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the National Cartoonists Society has launched a blog. The first subject will be a strip in development, which makes sense as every panel the NCS has ever done at a comics show lands right on that topic and rarely lets go.

image* a few folks sent me links to this eBay auction of a Jack Kirby page; my apologies to whomever had it first. That's a good-looking page.

* this weekend saw some updates to this site's forthcoming events page that focuses on events past this month and next. I figured that since it's now November that meant January and beyond was up and people might have an idea of what's planned for 2013. Thanks to everyone that sent in reminders: I added the January con in Phoenix, the Wizard show in Chicago (really the only Wizard show I trust enough to happen without fundamental changes to list it far in advance) next year's September convention in Cincinnati, ICAF in Portland among others. If you can think of one that's been concretely scheduled, Two we're waiting on are SPX (which usually gets announced in early January) and a second edition of Chicago's CAKE if there's to be one.

* not comics: some of the general social impulses that encourage people to get together at conventions are explained here.

* not comics: the cartoonist Andy Runton provided a guest logo for the "Pop Candy" column written by friend-of-funnybooks Whitney Matheson.

* the writer Brian Bendis continues to spotlight a bunch of fun superhero-related images via his Twitter account, like this classic from Alex Toth. A few folks e-mailed me a link to this post featuring Daredevil dancing with Calvin & Hobbes, which also suggests that someone mentioned it first.

* there is apparently a Rowland Emett Appreciation Society now. I like to think they tweet through a series of levels and pneumatic tubes.

* happy 5th birthday to The PCG.

* I apologize for not remembering the name of the person that mentioned this Tumblr account devoted to girls loving superheroes is a lot of fun right after Halloween. And so it is.

* finally, that's a pretty cool-looking Mike Mignola drawing. It's fun to look at a bunch next to one another, too.
 
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November 4, 2012


CR Newsmaker Interview: Gabe Fowler

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*****

This site doesn't usually run its Newsmaker-style interview on Sundays, but Gabe Fowler is at the cross-section of enough important stories in comics culture right now to make that seem like a wise thing despite the differences in flow and content with that kind of piece. Fowler is one of a new generation of comics retailer to exploit a personally endorsed niche within his current market. He's a co-organizer of this week's Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, a strong entry in the recent wave of small press shows that resemble a European comics festival at least as much as a traditional flea-market driven show. The satellite activities for that event begin tomorrow evening.

Fowler also happens to be one of the new art-comics publishers, having for a while now produced the magazine Smoke Signal and the occasional stand-alone offering, including a strong series of prints with Haven Press. Next weekend's BCGF will see Fowler debut a strong slate of titles: Kate Beaton's 72-page Sketchbook, Olivier Schrauwen's 54-page science fiction comic Greys, a newspaper tabloid version of Tony Millionaire's Maakies and a 40-inch print of the James Stokoe Galactus-like space god image that was a mini-sensation on the Internet when it first appeared a while back. There's also a new issue of Smoke Signal (with comics by David Sandlin, Frederic Fleury and Michael DeForge among others) and the recently-published Sad Sex from Heather Benjamin should also be available. That's a heck of a week for any publisher going, let alone one on a festival organizer's sleep schedule. I'm grateful he took a few minutes to talk through his current professional outlook, and have placed cover images to his books throughout. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

imageTOM SPURGEON: Tell me about the decision to publish right now, or at least publish in a different way than you have been with Smoke Signal. Is this kind of publishing -- a more sustained, book-driven effort featuring specific cartoonists -- something you've wanted to do for a while?

GABE FOWLER: Smoke Signal has been a great project with lots of energy, but I'm excited to begin spotlighting individual artists with their own solo publications. The design decisions are somehow more focused when working on a solo book, and it's nice to step up the production quality a bit. I have always dreamed of starting an imprint, the time is right, and I feel I can help artists realize some interesting projects.

SPURGEON: Is there anything you learned while doing Smoke Signal that you're able to apply to this new venture? I would have to imagine there's a steep learning curve with a first major project like that, and you've done quite a few, actually.

FOWLER: I've learned that I'm a terrible speller. [Spurgeon laughs] Really! It's good to have some fresh eyeballs to look at any project before sending to press, which in my case belong to my long-suffering girlfriend. I've essentially taught myself Indesign along the way, and have gotten a lot better at layout, design, and working with printers and artists. All of these things have a learning curve, but I have an art-making background, so these publishing projects all feel like art projects to me.

SPURGEON: What is the appeal of publishing these books yourself as opposed to editing them for another publisher, say? What is the unique contribution that you make to books like these, do you think, as a publisher?

FOWLER: I've never been invited to edit for another publisher, and I would expect to pay my dues for a while before someone else pays the bill. Working alone gives me all of the burdens and all of the rewards for each project. I get to express myself through the imprint and build a voice through the work I choose to publish. I'm not sure if I have unique contributions beyond my own taste. Because I work directly with the artist, I'm able to complete projects pretty fast. Some projects have gone from concept to printed result in just a few weeks.

Also I'm able to print odd things that other companies would consider financially untenable. Not that I'm making any money!

imageSPURGEON: You've said in a few interviews that you started Desert Island as a corrective in terms of what you wanted from a comics shop that you weren't getting. Can you name something specific that you've been able to do? Is there anything you'd like to do better, something that's maybe been more difficult to provide than you at first thought?

FOWLER: I've been lucky to celebrate the work I enjoy in a quasi-public forum, which is a boon to others who also enjoy it. For years prior to starting the store I worked in art galleries, and I operate the store as if it were a gallery. Each book is an artwork. Because of this attitude and presentation, I've succeeded in crossing some currents between the art world and comic world, which was a main objective of mine from the beginning. Through Desert Island I was able to organize a kid's comic event at the Whitney Museum, which was more amazing than I could have anticipated. I'd like to work more with established art institutions such as the Whitney to help elevate and promote the work I think is interesting. I also dream of running a slick art gallery in addition to Desert Island, but selling original art has proven harder than I thought.

SPURGEON: Next weekend is the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, 2012 edition. What's different about BCGF now that you're a few years in? What keeps you specifically interested in what you're trying to do there?

FOWLER: The festival has crazy momentum at this point, which is fantastic to witness. I'm just the guy who nudged the boulder at the top of the mountain, and now it's roaring at full speed with the help of Dan Nadel and Bill Kartalopoulos. I spend my entire year working with artists and talking with enthusiasts in my store, and the festival has always been an effort to get them all in the same room at the same time. It's a real mind-blower.

SPURGEON: I was reading our 2009 exchange about the show, and one thing I noticed is that you talked about streamlining the applications process so that no one got hurt. Someone did get hurt this year, or at least enough so that it become known that he had not been invited. Are you totally happy with the applications process; is there ever a way where curating a show doesn't involve someone being hurt?

FOWLER: It would certainly be easier for me if the show was invite-only, as sending rejection letters is my worst nightmare, but the application process gives us the opportunity to discover new artists. We have streamlined the selection process into a democratic one, in which all of the organizers vote to determine the list of exhibitors. It's certainly not personal, but some people will still make a loud noise about our failure to include them.

However, the space is limited and it's important for us to make a well-curated show for the visitors. Well-curated doesn't mean "only the best" -- it means we are striving to present a meaningful combination of exhibitors.

Anyway, I've personally applied for many art-related grants, residencies, and exhibition opportunities -- including many which required paid applications -- and would never make a public show of being refused. That's just me.

imageSPURGEON: As someone who publishes, runs retail and organizes a show -- how excited are you in general by the trend towards these small-press, artist-driven shows? Where do you think shows like BCGF fit into the wider picture of how the medium presents itself? Are there dangers in running shows like these, or over-valuing them?

FOWLER: I wish every city had an artist-focused comics show! It's a fun way to expose new readers to the energy happening in comics, which is marginalized if not invisible at shows like New York Comic Con. My main purpose in running BCGF is to celebrate printed art and the artists themselves. These video-game shows with "comics" in the title are weak and misguided, but it's becoming clear that print itself is driving towards a rarefied and subcultural destination. I'm okay with that, and I'm okay with BCGF representing that subculture.

You asked about dangers in running shows like this; for me, the biggest danger is that the comics-buying public will blow out their budget at the show and skip buying anything at my nearby store. This actually happens for about a week in each direction.

I'm not sure how the show could be over-valued, but I guess anything can be overdone. How about a healthy amount of value -- not too much and not too little? It's definitely valuable to get off the damn internet and spend some time with like-minded people, however you can make that happen.

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SPURGEON: If you had to name one thing you know you're going to do during the course of Saturday's show -- someone you're going to go meet, something you're going to purchase -- what would that thing be?

FOWLER: My biggest goal is to stay mellow and available. That's what the party host is supposed to do! And of course I'm also a fan of the material, so I'll definitely enjoy checking out the many new releases at the show, shaking hands, and thanking people for being there. Just showing up is the most important thing.

*****

* BCGF
* Desert Island

*****

* all of these images should be understandable in context; at least I hope so; they were provided by Fowler

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Get That Sexy Comics Look

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Go, Look: You Only Love Once

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Go, Look: How You Felt

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Go, Look: A Letter Lasts Longer

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Go, Look: From Jeremy Eaton's Apocalyptic America Show

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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If I Were In Rhode Island, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Georgia, 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 Tucson, I'd Go To This

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

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FFF Results Post #314 -- All Hail Steve Ditko!

On Friday, Steve Ditko's 85th birthday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Favorite Comics Publications That Are Favorites For Featuring The Work Of Steve Ditko." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.
2. Eerie #135
3. Strange Tales #146
4. E-Man #4
5. Incredible Hulk #6

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. The Avenging Mind
2. Ditko #5 Act Five
3. Shade The Changing Man #4
4. Steve Ditko's Strange Avenging Tales #1
5. Strange Tales #126

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Avengers Annual #13 (1984)
2. Blue Beetle #1 (1967)
3. Speedball #1 (1988)
4. Showcase #73 (1968)
5. Machine Man #10 (1978)

*****

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John Vest

1. Blue Beetle 4
2. Shade The Changing Man 2
3. Strange Tales 146
4. Charlton Premiere 4
5. Showcase 73

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Amazing Spider-Man #16
2. Strange Tales #133
3. Fear #6 ("The Last Laugh")
4. Creepy #10 ("Collector's Edition")
5. Beware the Creeper #1

Most of these are personal favorites that rocked my world as a kid, and cemented my love of the Sturdy One's work.

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Amazing Spider-Man #25
2. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
3. Strange Tales #101
4. Creepy #10
5. Tales of Suspense #49

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Amazing Spider-Man #33
2. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2
3. Strange Tales #123
4. Showcase #75
5. Mysterious Suspense #1

*****

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Adrian Kinnaird

1. Speedball #1
2. The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #38
3. Pacific Presents #1
4. Man-Bat #1
5. Amazing Spider-Man #6

*****

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Andrew Farago

1. Amazing Spider-Man #21
2. What If? 1988 Special #1
3. The Creeper #1
4. Speedball #1
5. Strange Tales #138

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Avenging World
2. "Isle Of The Beast" -- Eerie #7
3. "Beware The Creeper" -- Showcase #73
4. "Second Chance" -- Creepy #13
5. "The Man Who Stepped Out Of A Cloud" -- Out Of This World #5

*****

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Mike Pfefferkorn

1. Mysterious Suspense #1
2. Showcase #73
3. Space Adventures #12, 1st Series (one of my favorite covers)
4. Blue Beetle #1
5. witzend #4

*****

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Mark McMurray

* Strange Tales #131 -- 1965 Marvel Comics
* witzend #3 -- 1967 Wally Wood
* The Avenging World -- 1973 Bruce Hershenson
* Shade the Changing Man #1 -- 1977 DC Comics
* the Mocker -- 1989 Steve Ditko/Robin Snyder

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Charlton Action: Featuring Static #11
2. The Destructor #1
3. Strange Tales #127
4. Amazing Spider-Man #33
5. Pacific Presents #1

*****

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Jog

In chronological order!

1. The Amazing Spider-Man #33 (Marvel, '66) -- Everybody's going to pick this, due to the presence of maybe the most beloved superhero sequence of the entire Silver Age, but it speaks to the crazy raw appeal of those five or so pages that I tend to remember it as taking up 3/4 of the issue while Spidey cycles through the entire supporting cast, GOTTA DO IT FOR AUNT MAY, DO IT FOR FLASH, like Stan Lee basically scatting over panel after panel of prime Ditko agony, taken to the heights by the intensity of the visual storytelling - and it's *just that intense*, but without wasting time.
2. Mysterious Suspense #1 (Charlton, '68) -- My all-time favorite superhero comic, a perfect machine of two-fisted metaphor and the one thing you'd want to hand someone to show 'em what Ditko's all about, in the perfect world where it's readily in print. Talk about affronts to rationality.
3. Mr. A. (Comic Art Publishers, '73) -- The secret ingredient here is "when is a man to be judged evil?", possibly the most Jack T. Chick thing Ditko ever produced and proof positive that Mr. A. can love as hard as he can punch.
4. Ditko's World Featuring... Static #1 (Renegade, '86) - Because I always find it amusing that Ditko's attempt at a sophisticated, longform superhero graphic novel was already on publisher #3 (of 4) in the months directly preceding the Watchmen launch. I wonder if any kids pored through these back issues after flipping through Rorschach's journal and went "hey"? All-time great cover on this one.
5. Lazlo's Hammer (Robin Snyder, '92) -- Definitely the 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her of the Ditko oeuvre, and as succinct a statement of the man's perspective on art as you'll ever find. Now collected in the Avenging Mind phonebook, where it stands out so sharp the rest of the thing feels like a Criterion box set built around it.

*****

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Art Baxter

1. Blue Beetle #5
2. Mysterious Suspense #1
3. Amazing Spider-Man #34
4. Mr. A #1
5. Strange Tales #132

*****

I deleted with regret some entries that named more than five. I'm not so schoolmarm-ish that I feel the need to have everything as asked for, but once you start letting people color too far outside of the lines everyone wants to do it and I end up with a bunch of mad people.

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


The Peculiar Case Of Dr. H.H. Holmes


Video For Drawing With Words By Wordburglar


Trailer For Comic Book Repossessed
 
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November 3, 2012


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from October 27 to November 2, 2012:

1. Josue Rivera sentenced on child pornography charge.

2. Jack Ohman is taking over the Sacramento Bee position left vacant in March by the passing of Rex Babin.

3. Two giant media deals with obvious comics connections make headlines, although there's nothing to the comics connection that drives or is exclusively driven by the media deals in question. Still: giants roll over, villagers scramble not to be crushed.

Winner Of The Week
Monkeybrain Comics.

Losers Of The Week
Any and all comics-makers caught on the bad end of Sandy, not because they're losers but because who suffered seems really capricious to the point of whimsy. It was one of those weeks when talking to comics people where you could encounter someone completely baffled that anyone would think they're not doing fantastic, or just as confused that you didn't know that things were terrible. All thoughts to those that continue to be hassled and inconvenienced, or worse.

Quote Of The Week
"It's a disaster area, literally (and not in the way people who fry every other syllable say literally, but in the literal definition of the word), for several of the Acres gang after that motherfucker Sandy flew through here, and we don't mean Duncan, for once." -- a new, always-welcome entry on the Secret Acres blog.

*****

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

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No Better Post Than A Michael J. Vassallo Post

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this one is on Jerry Robinson at Timely
 
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Time To Check In On The 2013 Events Calendar Thus Far

Please take a look at what we have and if we're missing anything and I'll do any updates on the actual archived post; as of 11 AM ET, I've added SPACE and the comics show in Munich. Thanks!

*****

January 20
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This

January 31
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

*****

February 1
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

February 2
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

February 3
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

February 16
* If I Were In Warren, I'd Go To This

February 21
* If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

February 22
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

February 23
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

February 24
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Bologna, I'd Go To This

*****

March 1
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City Comicon)

March 2
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City Comicon)

March 3
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City Comicon)

March 15
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)

March 16
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)

March 17
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)

March 18
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 19
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 20
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 21
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 22
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 23
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 24
* If I Were Near Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 29
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)

March 30
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)

March 31
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)

*****

April 6
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MoCCA)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)

April 7
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MoCCA)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)

April 26
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)

April 27
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Stumptown)

April 28
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Stumptown)

*****

May 11
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)

May 12
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)

*****

June 7
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)

June 8
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)

June 9
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)

*****

July 17
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI Preview Night)

July 18
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 19
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 21
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

*****

September 7
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)

September 8
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)

*****

if you don't see your event above, check out the more recent posting that runs every day at 7 AM; if it's not listed at all,

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

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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If I Were In Rhode Island, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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November 2, 2012


CR Newsmakers Interview: Kelly Froh, Eroyn Franklin

imageEroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh are the co-organizers of Short Run, Seattle's entry into the mini-explosion of small-press, arts-comics friendly festivals sprouting up in all of the cities in North America with that kind of scene. They were nice enough to take some time out of their super-busy schedule right before Saturday's show to answer a few questions. I'm grateful to Jacq Cohen for arranging access, and wish Froh and Franklin the best of luck with the second edition of their well-liked show. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Is there a story about how you guys started the show? It's not exactly an easy thing to start a show like yours from scratch. Has it been about what you've expected?

KELLY FROH: Short Run was conceived by Martine Workman, Jenny Gialenes, Eroyn Franklin, and myself last year -- we all had experience as exhibitors at alternative press events in other cities and decided that Seattle needed one of its own. It seemed like the right time, too, with so much happening in comics and small press in general. We took what we thought to be the best parts of our combined experiences and came up with a one-day, curated festival at a very accessible venue, and pledged to always be free to the public.

We were very happy and very relieved that we pulled it off last year, and we are excited to do it again. Because of large life changes, it's just me and Eroyn this year, so it's been pretty intense putting this festival together, and even expanding it, with less people behind the scenes.

SPURGEON: It seems odd to me that there hasn't been a show of this type in Seattle for years and years given the number of cartoonists there and the tradition of handmade and small press art. Do you have any insight as to why there was a void that you've been able to fill?

EROYN FRANKLIN: After having put Short Run together, we see how much work, dedication, outreach, and organization must go into a project like this and it makes a little more sense. Seattle has large comic-cons which have money to support the festival and indy literature festivals which operate, like us, on volunteered hours and passion but not necessarily marketing skills or cohesive vision. It's not always intuitive for us, but what we lack in business know how we compensate for in hard work.

SPURGEON: I hate to say this, because I'm afraid you might take it the wrong way, but I think of all the shows I cover at Comics Reporter, yours is the most prominent where I probably couldn't have named the organizers if asked during the year. I might think of Jason T. Miles, for instance, before you two, or Martine or Jenny. Is that part of your organizational style, to kind of stay in the background? Are you comfortable doing press like this and similar things?

FROH: Well, we're nobodies! [Spurgeon laughs] We're artists, we've self-published books, received grants, been in art shows, but we are not well-known. That's fine with us, because we are the type of people that Short Run is for -- artists without much visibility. Self-publishing your own work is great because you are in complete control, but it's nearly impossible to get the exposure that you would if you had a publisher/distributor mailing your books all over the world.

We very recently starting teaching workshops, doing public lectures and readings, interviews in print and on camera. We are nervous, always nervous, but are trying to overcome these fears, because we never regret it when we accept these opportunities. Also, even if I personally want to shy away, I am made stronger thinking, "I have to do it for Short Run!"

SPURGEON: How do you think the show is perceived locally? Is it on its way to becoming a well-known thing, have artists and fans of art there been quick to embrace it, do you think?

FRANKLIN: Paul Constant from The Stranger declared us a new Seattle institution. It would have been hard to say no after that. We have gotten amazing feedback from people -- that people couldn't stop smiling the whole day, that it was very lucrative for artists, and the audience was so excited to see stuff that they couldn't find in any store. The only complaint we've heard was that they were too crowded last year. We've worked hard this year to accommodate the audience.

SPURGEON: Is there any one thing that you wanted to see happen this year based on the show's past performance? Is there a way you'd like to see the show develop? Do you have goals year to year?

FRANKLIN: This year we definitely wanted to add more programming-performances, live silkscreening, and an intensely curated art show. We have a lot of big ideas that we are constantly trying to reign in. We tend to go for a lot of them despite how much time and energy they take.

We applied for and were awarded a Storefront Seattle space this year and decided to postpone it to early next year so we could really focus on it and make it great. It will be a combination of a blanket fort, a treehouse and a bookstore that creates a fun way to explore the world of small press.

SPURGEON: Do you have idea of what you'd like the show to be five years from now? Is that even something you think about?

FRANKLIN: Yes, we think about it a lot!! We are setting aside some time after the fest to start solidifying some of our plans, so check back with us in December. We are mostly trying to figure out ways to be sustainable and grow in ways that promote small press. Some ideas we've tossed around are becoming a legitimate non-profit (not just a no-profit model!), producing anthologies, and becoming the lo-fi scrappy version of Printed Matter in New York which has an art book fair, educational programs, distribution and a variety of ways to get books in hands.

SPURGEON: There was a much ballyhooed small-press comics show in Portland a couple of weeks ago… do you pay attention to other shows, are there shows that are a particular inspiration? Can you point to something you were inspired to do or to add because another show had it or did well with it?

FROH: We are inspired by every show we go to, and we try to go to as many as possible. When creating Short Run, we decided that it needed to be one-day-only like the Olympia Comics Fest, and that it needed to be curated like The Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival, and we knew we didn't want programming that included, "How to Make a Zine" because that's boring and anyone can fold a piece of paper in half. The Projects in Portland inspired us to take our original idea for an interactive drawing game into an even larger arena -- we are papering an entire area so attendees can draw on every surface around them.

SPURGEON: I know people that are flying in for the event, which seems part of this whole focused attention on shows by and for the handmade comics and small press communities. You mentioned this earlier in terms of timing... do you feel like you're part of a wider trend, a wider acceptance of the importance and utility of putting on shows like this? Is there any downside to being part of a trend like that?

FROH: When we developed this festival, it was for Seattle, and for the artists here, but we quickly realized that we wanted artists from Portland, and Vancouver, and Bellingham, and that we'd really love it if a certain comic artist from South Beloit, Illinois would come.

FRANKLIN: We have the freedom to have the festival appear exactly as we want it. We don’t have to cater to anyone's idea of what we should be, so the feeling of the show is different than large festivals/cons. There are a lot of small festivals cropping up and exciting audiences because there is such a need to break away from stale systems and really focus on independent book makers. Adding an "indy" section to a con is no longer good enough when you can have an entire festival dedicated to truly alternative press. I guess the downside is there's no money for all the hard work and we can't fly in artists from around the world to participate.

SPURGEON: Is there any sort of a generational divide in the scene that's represented at Short Run? I notice that people like Dave Lasky and Pat Moriarty are supportive, but reading your exhibitor list it also seems like a lot of younger folks are in attendance. How does your audience skew?

FRANKLIN: We definitely want to support emerging artists and because of that a lot of them are younger. We also want to showcase work by the legends of the underground and hopefully create a place where mentoring and friendships grow. If the work is good, we want to show it off, regardless of if you are a well-known artist or a ten-year-old kid. People in their 20s-30s make up the bulk of our audience, but we also have kids and octogenarians.

SPURGEON: Can you name one or two people that are supposed to be in attendance that each of you wants to visit yourself?

FROH: I’m not being PC when I say that I want to see everyone, because we curated this show, every table is tight with awesome artists. Someone who we don't personally know, and who checks his email about once every six months and who we are not sure will even show up is an artist from Sidney, BC named Jean Gaudin. I can't wait to meet the mysterious Jean Gaudin!

FRANKLIN: I am incredibly excited to meet Judah Drury, a ten-year-old kid who will be tabling with some of my favorite Seattle artists Dawn Cerny and DW Burnam. Also Big Fiction, Fiona Avocado, Hermit Club, Jim Blanchard, Ong Ong, Reid Psaltis, Traci Eggleston, Fictilis... is that two yet?

*****

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OTBP: Internal Combustion

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Josue Rivera Sentenced To Prison On Child Pornography Charge

imageThe artist Josue Rivera, who worked as Justiniano, was sentenced earlier today in a Connecticut courtroom to 10 years in prison on a possession of child pornography charge. The artist pleaded guilty in July to second-degree position of child pornography. He was arrested in 2010 after providing a funeral home with a flash drive that contained offending material; he was charged for that material and additional material found on a seized computer.

The artist may have his sentence suspended after serving three years. He will see ten years' probation upon his release.

His credit include comics from DC Comics and from Chaos! Comics.
 
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Go, Read: Half-Life

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Go, Read: Michel Fiffe On Steve Ditko

A fine way to celebrate the 85th of a master comic book illustrator.
 
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OTBP: Revolver One Re-Issue

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* as reported earlier this week on this site and in any number of places around the comics Internet, the digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics will be giving the publisher's cut from its comics to the Hero Initiative for the month of November. I think that's a good thing, and plan on making a purchase myself. I recommend the Paul Tobin/Colleen Coover effort Bandette if nothing on the Monkeybrain site sparks a specific interest.

image* there's a bunch of anniversary-type things in the world of digital comics worth noting this week. One of the more highly publicized is the first-year anniversary for the NYC-based on-line comics effort Trip City, which might be better said to revolve around its comics efforts rather than be solely focused on them.

* this is one of the stories that straddles the digital/print divide, the kind of thing with which me seeing if I can blog solely about the digital will fumble a bit until I get it right. Anyway, the Phil and Kaja Foglio comics model is basically one centered on free digital driving to paid print. If I'm understanding the release and subsequent blogging-about-it I've seen here and there, they moved the print fulfillment end of that to TopatoCo. That's an interesting thing just because of who is doing it -- they're not only a major player in that world, but they could provide a model for others to follow, as they have before.

* I've had this in my bookmarks for a while, but early in October Krishna M. Sadasivam celebrated 15 years of making digital comics. I had to have picked that up from Gary Tyrrell. That seems worth noting just for the reminder of how long these kinds of comics have been around. I believe PC Weenies has been going for the vast majority of that time.

* Tom Hart and Marguerite Dabie are going to run the not-yet-seen remaining installments of Ali's House here.

* finally, while noting the eventual print collection coming from Dark Horse in the print publishing round-up, it's worth noting here that Cameron Stewart finished his Sin Titulo on-line comic with a 160th page. That's been a project to which I've gone and caught up in big gulps a few times now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not Comics: Ben Newman

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* some free stuff from D'Israeli is always worth a link.

image* Antonio Solinas and smoky man talk to Jamie Delano. Michael Dooley talks to Meaghan O'Keefe. Marc Sobel talks to Theo Ellsworth. David Brothers talks to Ed Brubaker. Julinda talks to Mark Siegel.

* memories of the multi-pack.

* not comics: Matt Bors covers Matt Tabibi, only it didn't happen.

* Faith Erin Hicks writes about giving up videogames to maintain balance in her life. David Brothers springboards from that to write about finding the time to write in his own life. I'm always glad when young people figure stuff out so I can steal it from them.

* you're reading these, right? These are pretty great.

* that Art Adams FF #1 variant cover is striking-looking.

* Sean Kleefeld on Secret Of The Stone Frog. KC Carlson on various mainstream humor books of years past. Johanna Draper Carlson on various Halloween-related comics. Shannon Smith on The Invisibles Vol. 1 #5. J. Caleb Mozzocco on various comics-shop comics. Henry Chamberlain on Dark Country. Greg McElhatton on Wolverine And The X-Men #19.

* finally, here's a 12-page Frankenstein comic from which I can't get an image to spotlight that way.
 
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November 1, 2012


Go, Look: Marga The Panther Woman

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BCGF Organizers See Next Weekend's Show As Unimpeded

It's always a bit odd to negotiate practical comics news in and around tragic circumstances, and enough people died or were similarly put into significant hardship that the super-storm Sandy certainly qualifies. I have, however, received a few e-mails about possible delays or other hassles regarding next weekend's Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival. Given what almost seems a complete disconnect between the news we're getting in places outside of New York and what's actually going on there, I thought it worth passing along the query.

I sent e-mail to BCGF organizers Dan Nadel, Gabe Fowler and Bill Kartalopoulos. They all said basically the same thing, but Kartalopoulos had the lengthiest response, so I'll include it here:
"I don't see a significant impact. In many ways, we were very lucky, both personally and in terms of the Festival. The Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, where most of the Festival events are located, did not see any flooding near Festival venues that I'm aware of and local utilities were not seriously interrupted by the hurricane, with the major exception, of course, being the lack of subway service (which will be coming back in fits and starts over the coming days; how quickly we'll be back up to speed nobody knows right now). Hopefully most current delays in travel and shipping will have been absorbed by next week, but there could be some small ripple effect there as people try to quickly move people and books around the country (and internationally) over the next several days. We'll see."
All three organizers are upbeat and say they look forward to a positive weekend after several days of negativity.
 
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Go, Look: Mary Gibson's Sketchbook

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Jack Ohman To Take Over At Sacramento Bee

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The award-winning cartoonist Jack Ohman will take over the Sacramento Bee editorial cartooning position that came open when Rex Babin passed way in March. That's a potentially very nice outcome. Babin was much liked and respected by his peers and by those in that profession more generally, so being the next man up at that publication would seem to me a big honor. Ohman is a versatile cartoonist who can do a lot for a publication; he's also pretty good with local issues despite an agressive national syndication deal, which I've always thought is something the Sacramento market has required given its strong specific and regional identity.

I hope the Oregonian considers replacing that position, although the initial reactions I heard via e-mail is that this might be tough for the publication to consider given the general state of the newspaper industry. There are certainly a lot of talented cartoonists in the Pacific Northwest, and a bunch of people that would be willing to move for a staff position -- let alone one in Portland.
 
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OTBP: Mineshaft Magazine #28

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Short Run this weekend. Whatever the official name of the convention in Long Beach is this weekend, too. A lot of folks really like Long Beach. It'd be nice to be in Seattle for the Short Run event; Seattle deserves a good small press show, and tying it into 'zine culture explicitly -- at least that's what it feels like from the outside looking in -- would be appropriate to that city's comics tradition.

* it looks like it's Lucca weekend, too. That's a show I'd love to attend, especially after they brought it back into the city proper. Lot of history with North American attendees at that one.

* London Comic Con MCMExpo is claiming the largest attendance in UK convention history.

* one way you can tell a convention has entered into the collective fan consciousness on some level is people keep writing about it far after it's concluded. I may not quite understand the appeal of NYCC -- at least beyond things like going to New York is awesome, and comics conventions are generally fun -- but people seem into it enough to continue penning pieces on it. Good for that show.

* I mentioned this earlier this week in a Random News Story Round-Up because of the timeliness aspect, but Stumptown has opened up for exhibitor applications. That Portland show is April 27-28, 2013.

* the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives has announced its programming slate for the MLA 2013 convention in Boston, to be held in early January.

* finally, here's a bunch of photos from St. Malo.
 
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If I Were Near Prague, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Lucca, 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 Seattle, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: VHS Art New Wave Show At Scarecrow Video

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Kate Beaton's tweeted sketches about the Superstorm Sandy aftermath are pretty great.

image* Jacob Schraer interviews Sammy Harkham. Nona Walia talks to Nancy Silberkleit. Some nice person at WLT chats with Kim Thompson.

* thanks to a devoted fan, Tharg The Mighty has invaded a bunch of 2012 comics.

* aw, nice photos.

* David Fournol on Sam Hill. Sean Gaffney on Limit, Vol. 1. Craig Fischer on two by Justin Green.

* Erica Friedman would like you to read this free comic.

* not sure if everyone can see this photo from out in front of Portland's Reading Frenzy in 1997, but it's a nice one.

* Kirby tech comes alive.

* not comics: Halloween censorship.

* there's a bunch of great pictures here of the Los Bros exhibit opening on APE weekend. It's stunning to think that those guys have been around for 30 years, mostly because the comics they were making 30 years ago were among the very best comics that year and the comics they made this year will be among the very best comics this year. That's so rare in any art form. Los Bros forever.

* here's a survey-style article about the future of comic shops.

* finally, a quote from Jim Starlin that explains the '70s.
 
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