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
















October 31, 2013


Happy Halloween: Ghoulies 2013

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Happy Halloween: Out Of Skin

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Happy Halloween: Little Pointy Teeth

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Happy Halloween: RK Sloane Gallery

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Happy Halloween: Mike Ploog Tagged On Tumblr

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and good night
 
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Happy Halloween: His Face All Red

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein At American Comic Archive

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Happy Halloween: Born Loser

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Happy Halloween: Junji Ito Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: From The Secrets Of The Haunted House

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Happy Halloween: Margot's Room

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Happy Halloween: Merchants of Murder

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Happy Halloween: Bayou Witch

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Happy Halloween: Bill Everett Horror Comics

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Happy Halloween: Horror Manga Gallery

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Happy Halloween: The Prince And The Sea

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein's Job

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Happy Halloween: Pre-Code Horror Covers

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Happy Halloween: Fumetti Cimiteria Scans

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Happy Halloween: The Clockwork Demons

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Happy Halloween: Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing Splash Pages

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Happy Halloween: Emily Carroll Dreams

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein's Ark

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Happy Halloween: Eight Creeps For October

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Happy Halloween: Horror Comic Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: From Journey Into Fear

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Happy Halloween: The Hare's Bride

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein And The Mummies

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Happy Halloween: A Pre-Code Horror Comics Gallery

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Happy Halloween: Suehiro Maruo Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: Two From Alfredo Alcala

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Happy Halloween: The Death Of José Arcadio

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Happy Halloween: The Beautiful Dead

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Happy Halloween: Spooky Postcards

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Happy Halloween: Kazuo Umezu Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: Death Ship

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Happy Halloween: Out The Door

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Happy Halloween: Frozen Alive Part Two

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Happy Halloween: Phosphorous

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Happy Halloween: Spiraphobia

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Happy Halloween: The Mystery Of The Eccentric Collector

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Happy Halloween: Cage Variations

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Happy Halloween: Frozen Alive Part One

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Happy Halloween: Hideshi Hino Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: The Curse Of The Jabberwock

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Happy Halloween: A Real Gentle Knife

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein #20

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein Illustrated

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Happy Halloween: Image Google Search For Uzumaki

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Happy Halloween: The Seance Of Horror

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Happy Halloween: The Real Killers Are Still Out There

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein #21

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Happy Halloween: A Morbius Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: Vile 2013

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Happy Halloween: Josh Simmons

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Happy Halloween: Two Fawcett Horror Stories

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Happy Halloween: Some Odder Pre-Code Horror Covers

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Happy Halloween: Frankenstein #23

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Happy Halloween: More Pre-Code Horror Covers

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Happy Halloween: The Gentle Old Man

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Happy Halloween: The Haunters From Beyond

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Happy Halloween: Rory Hayes Tagged On Tumblr

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Happy Halloween: Matt Fox Illustration

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Happy Halloween: Weird Tales Covers

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Happy Halloween: Matt Fox Covers And Stories

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Happy Halloween: Don Heck Horror Covers

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Happy Halloween: John Byrne, Monster Maker

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Happy Halloween: Milton Caniff's Terrifying Life Mask

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Go, Look: Nicolo Pellizzon

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thx, jeremy baum
 
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Finally, An Article About Collecting Comics That Tells The Truth

Here. It's still pretty astonishing to me that anyone can sell things like X-Men #94 and Incredible Hulk #181 for anything more than a few bucks -- seems like there should be plenty of copies of those comics in circulation. I am grateful to the comics shops that have made use of reasonably-priced back-issue comics as a feature of their store, and love having that relationship to the art form available to me.
 
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Go, Look: John Buscema Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: Tatsuya Morino Mini-Gallery

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* LICAF has announced dates for 2014: October 17-19.

image* I keep forgetting to post this report on the Boomfest festival. Unless I didn't, in which case here it is again. Sorry: old.

* it should come as no surprise to anyone that's been paying attention that Emerald City Comicon is seeing advance interest.

* Chris Pitzer is getting ready for CAB.

* if you're interested in conventions generally or the experiences of mainstream comics professional at conventions specifically, this is a fine piece by Ron Marz about a recent convention trip to Cleveland.

* Rob Ullman went to Kent for a comics show, and wrote this report.

* finally, a show in Tucson previewed.
 
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If I Were Near Lucca, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Supply!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Amy Lee profiles comiXology. They are the giant in the room right now.

image* missed this post about Mick McMahon's cover process, featuring the Hellboy character.

* last chance to get a monster picture from JT Dockery.

* you have to look at a photo of a turd, but once you get past that particular unpleasantness, this essay about the recent PBS superhero comics documentary by Gerry Giovinco marks the objection of someone who was in a different part of the industry than that which was heavily represented by the makers of the documentary. I failed to see the documentary, but it looked like a bunch of smart people and respected pros in service of a kind of needlessly whitewashed and narrowly focused take on that genre and thus comic books in North America more generally. The key word is "needlessly," because of course a documentary needs to leave something out -- but what it does and how and to what effect is the basis on which they're judged in certain corners.

* James Romberger talks to Frank Santoro.

* Johnny Ryan draws Cthulu.

* Sean Howe's publication of Jim Lee's rejection letters received some traction.

* I think this is one of those comics working within the Bill Watterson milieu that people are talking about.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on New Avengers Vol. 1 and The Punisher Vol. 1.

* Graeme McMillan explains why Alan Moore had his name removed from the forthcoming Miracleman effort at Marvel. The narrative about Moore is so goofy that I imagine a lot of folks process everything he does as kind of Moore being wacky or unpleasant, but it looks like he thinks that maybe he perpetrated a wrong against Mick Anglo by participating in a project to which that creator may have had rights. I don't know, it seems to me we could use more people thinking that way, and the hell whether it conforms to come sort ideal of collegiality.

* finally, Joseph Maurer selects the top five comics that take place on Halloween.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Ludovic Debeurme!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Jeff Lester!

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Happy 76th Birthday, Yoshiharu Tsuge!

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Happy 76th Birthday, Frank Stack!

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October 30, 2013


Walt Handelsman Joining Baton Rouge Newspaper The Advocate

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The Baton Rouge-based newspaper The Advocate announced today that the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Handelsman will be joining their staff. His work will appear in print and on their web site.

Handelsman won his first Pulitzer at the Times-Picayune in Lousiana, where he worked for a dozen years starting in the late 1980s. That win came in 1997. He left New Orleans for New York and Newsday in 2001 and took a second Pulitzer there in 2007. That win may be best remembered in that the work for which he was awarded included animated versions of his cartoons -- his work in that form has garnered a lot of attention in terms of its sizable audience as well, and for the general notoriety of editorial cartoonists doing that kind of animated version of their work.

Handelsman has apparently kept active his ties to Louisiana. He is a Baltimore native.

There's a newspaper story element to this, too, in that the Advocate has hired some Times-Picayune staffers more directly as the New Orleans based paper became a kind of poster child for cutbacks and staff service frequency changes despite a strong newspaper-reading culture in that city. As I recall, the Baton Rouge paper has made some inroads into that city in recent years partly because of those strategies, and partly because of new ownership that has been more aggressive in terms of the paper's hiring practices generally. Handelsman might help them further as he no doubt remains well-known and well-liked in that region; it certainly gives them a solid cartoonist to anchor this part of their paper.

a Times-Picayune era Handelsman cartoon
 
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Go, Look: Sin City Pin-Up Gallery

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A Few Initial Notes About DC's Announcement They're Moving The Rest Of Their Publishing To Burbank

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You can find plenty of primary coverage of DC's announcement they'll be moving the rest of their publishing operations to Burbank through our clearinghouse for links here. Here are some rambling-style thoughts as I continue to play catch on what's out there.

* my primary thought this morning is that there are a lot of people at DC Comics' New York office that have a difficult decision to make about whether or not to take job opportunities in California. My heart goes out to them. It's not easy to make a decision to move cross-country, even when you love what you do. While comics probably has more people than a lot of industries that are at their jobs because of their jobs and don't really care where that job is, there are plenty of folks in those offices that are there because DC is in New York, even more with spouses and family whose companies aren't moving their jobs across the country, and even more that are probably fond of where they live just the way we all get fond of where we live. I wish them all the luck in the world in the decisions and outcomes that lie ahead, and hope that their present employer ably supports them.

* judging from the first round of news reports, it's the historical aspect of it that seems to present itself most clearly and powerfully. By the time DC moves, they will have been in New York in a significant capacity for almost 80 years. We have a very tough time in comics marking just how impressive some of these business runs are, I think because for most of us what we initially love about comics has been around since before we were born and is presented in a way that indicates it is never leaving. But an 80 year run for a business in Manhattan is an amazing thing. So it's part of New York history that goes west, too, not just comics history.

* there is probably something to be said for this being a New York business story more generally, in terms of the high cost of renting office space in Manhattan and the relatively high salary demands put upon those that choose to take a comics job in that area. If you point out that Time Warner is still going to have a significant presence in the city and that LA is hardly Davenport, Iowa in terms of cost-of-living, you kind of push back against those notions. Still, if Time Warner sees an advantage in moving a portion of its businesses out of the city because of something about the city, that's something to pursue, I'd say, if I were covering New York news.

* there was some weird pushback on Twitter, I hear, from industry members upset that Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool ran word from a supposed higher-up at DC that the news was coming in a gossip item that preceded Diane Nelson confirming through CBR in the story that officially broke it. A couple of interesting things here, although this is really inside baseball nerdy journo internet-era stuff: I don't consider running a gossip item breaking a story, ever. I'm surprised that DC reacted so poorly to a gossip item about something that was massively rumored that they felt they had to comment, but then again, I don't understand DC's strange relationship with Rich Johnston and his Bleeding Cool site more generally. I also don't think Rich did anything wrong running the item of gossip as gossip -- except perhaps I think he had enough to make an actual story out of it. But seriously, while it's too bad if employees find out on Rich Johnston's site or through CBR that their company is about to do something they haven't told them about yet, I think that's on the company to 1) tell their employees stuff, 2) have enough internal discipline to not have people leak stuff to gossip columnists. Barring eminent danger to someone, or detecting something in the leaker's agenda that would make my site a tool of someone else rather than a facilitator of the best and timeliest information I have, I would have run that same piece Jonah did, and I would have run a stronger version of what Rich had.

* I don't buy the through-line that this automatically means that DC is going to downplay or even eliminate comics publishing. Moving the offices doesn't set this in motion: the vast changes in paper publishing and the way that other media serve DC's properties is what would have set that in motion if it comes to pass, with a secondary contributing factor of the collective practices of DC Comics over years and years. But you could definitely see this as a potential precursor to changes in how they approach publishing. For instance, while they say they are offering jobs in the new location to everyone, that doesn't mean that DC will necessarily staff the same: they may be counting on some reduction in workforce through the natural attrition one might expect through a move like this. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think there are implications 10-15 years down the line as people join DC in the natural course of things that are more LA-oriented than NYC-oriented: I think the culture of a city has something to say about the immediate talent pool, even for companies that recruit nationwide. So DC does change here. Whether they also change in a scary or alarming way for the future of DM publishing as we know that, I think that's a different track of events.

* It's probably worth pointing out that in a practical sense there's no reason to expect changes book to book: I believe some comics are already edited out of the west coast offices, and I don't think you can tell which ones. Most creators have a virtual relationship to the company, and this won't change their relationships at all.

* this is a general boon to Los Angeles as a comics town. If nothing else, the comics shops in Burbank, North Hollywood and other neighborhoods in that general area are going to see additional customers. You should never discount that -- I've had multiple retailers in the area talk to me about what a boon the newer customers were when DC moved a big chunk out west earlier.

* I do think it's sort of humorous -- darkly humorous, mind you, and not humorous at all I'd imagine for those in the mix of it -- that DC has to negotiate a big story thrust upon them by one of their own highers-up in a week where it was going to be all Sandman all the time. Those stories run on completely different tracks, of course, and there will be no lack of press for the Gaiman/Williams III book because of this story.

* the comics industry story this reminds me of most is King Features shutting down the production part of its business and moving that part of what it did to Reed Brennan back in... must have been between 1997 to 1999. I think those moves have since allowed that company to negotiate the horrors of the newspaper industry's recent freefall and sort-of recovery in a way they would have been less prepared to had they not changed the way their company functioned. So it might be interesting to see if there are advantages to DC Comics in terms of how they operate in the future, and not just in the linear way of cutting costs and people moving from one point to the next.

* I'm old enough and sentimental enough that I do feel the historical thing, again, the idea of DC and Marvel being in the same city and getting to visit DC's offices and everything. I'm glad I got to see a couple different versions of their New York offices. Although if you're fond of a "Big Two" rivalry, I would think that barring massive changes in their approach in publishing DC being in a different city potentially heightens those contrasts.

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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.

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AUG131586 GREAT WAR JULY 1 1916 BATTLE OF SOMME PANORAMA $35.00
AUG131264 RAGE OF POSEIDON HC (MR) $29.95
Two accordion books by cartoonists of significant interest trump an honest-to-goodness publishing phenomenon, at least in these part. Getting another Joe Sacco the year after we got two giant hardcovers is a joy; the Great War book is a panorama drawing of a key day in that war, ably supported, fun to read and heartbreaking as history. Great Christmas present. I just received Anders Nilsen's contribution to the format, Rage Of Poseidon, but it certainly looks gorgeous and everything Nilsen does right now is something I want to read. This is a good week, and you could come out of the store with 1/20 of what is mentioned here and have a fine ol' time at the comics shop.

imageAUG130329 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 COMBO PACK (MR) $5.99
AUG130325 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 CVR A (MR) $4.99
AUG130326 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 CVR B (MR) $4.99
The big publishing news of the week is the writer Neil Gaiman returning to the Sandman character and milieu through which he made his reputation, this time in partnership with the very talented JH Williams III. I like that DC isn't overdoing it on the variant covers here -- they certainly could. I'm interested in reading this myself, and regret not being near a comic book store for the fun of walking out with one.

AUG130105 EC ARCHIVES TALES FROM THE CRYPT HC VOL 04 $49.99
This is the first Dark Horse volume picking up on the by-title color reprints that used to be the only way to access this material -- now also available grouped by author in nice-looking black and white versions from Fantagraphics. It will be interesting to see if one series has an effect on the other. The way comics usually work is that it will not have an effect, even if conventional wisdom suggests it should be so.

AUG131535 IM NOT POPULAR GN VOL 01 $11.99
I'm not a Gantz guy, and the new collection of Uzumaki isn't the same as buying a manga volume right off the shelves, so I might give this comedic effort a try. I tend to like those piece about people ramming their head against a dominant, repugnant society, whether it's an apocalyptic landscape or a high school.

APR131133 STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES HC VOL 04 IMPOSSIBLE TALES $39.99
I'm at a slight loss in terms of what Steve Ditko is getting reprinted where, but I look at all of it and I buy as much of it as I can. I think he's a foundational mainstream talent, and one of the interesting ones like Johnny Craig in that a lot of his influence is felt more directly in areas outside of conventional mainstream funnybooks. I could read him all day. And then the next day.

JUN130262 DC COMICS ONE MILLION OMNIBUS HC $99.99
I made a joke in the old TCJ about the terrifying future where DC is still putting out dopey comic books, which was received at least as far as I can remember in a general context of apathy for this project overall. I don't even remember if there were good comics in there or not -- I'm sure there were. I mention it here because one of the things we don't recognize as much as we should about how good DC's book-making arm is is that it maximizes profit for projects that aren't slam-dunks like Watchmen. In other words, the people with whom I was in contact in the 1990s might not have had a lot of use for this series of book, but there are enough fans that an omnibus might sell several copies, and DC is going to serve those customers.

AUG131313 COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS TP VOL 06 CREST WAVE (NEW PTG) $19.99
AUG138212 COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS TP VOL 08 DEATH FRITZ CAT (NEW PTG) $19.99
These are all must haves, and every positive vibe I emanated up the screen in the direction of Steve Ditko goes double for Mr. Crumb. This is pretty prime time material in terms of the material that made and kept him an icon in the 1970s, but then again, nearly all of these volumes has something. I admire Fantagraphics for their commitment to keep this material in print.

imageAUG131498 UZUMAKI 3-IN-1 DLX ED HC $27.99
I'm reading this right now, and it's certainly beautiful. It slaps up against being consistently disturbing, too, in a way that's rare for comics. If it's not a corpse in the water, it's one ramming up against the pier every five minutes from underneath. Anyway, if you missed it the first time around, this seems a good way to get all of this material at once. If you hate your local comics shop, you could probably get a really good price on this via standard discount somewhere.

AUG130095 EDGAR ALLAN POES THE RAVEN & RED DEATH ONE SHOT $3.99
AUG130740 INFINITY #5 $3.99
AUG131457 STUFF ABOUT SEX (ONE SHOT) (MR) $3.95
JUN130556 PROPHET #40 [DIG] $3.99
AUG130710 SAGA #15 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
AUG130713 SEX #8 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
AUG130601 THOUGHT BUBBLE ANTHOLOGY 2013 #3 [DIG] $3.99
AUG130088 ITTY BITTY HELLBOY #3 $2.99
This is a very strong week for genre comics even without the Sandman book. The Edgar Allan Poe is Corben, which is very Halloween appropriate and bound to be fun besides. The Infinity is the Marvel cross-over event, and you might laugh but if I were to buy one mainstream comic this week I probably would buy that one just to get a snapshot of what Marvel feels is important to put out there in an event comic. That is hardly the most thrilling and pure artistic processing, I'll admit, but there you go. The Stuff About Sex book is the practical advice column and while it may do well in the stores I have to imagine that's a good one to hand sell to certain customers. And then there's a bunch of Image, including that very good '70s sci-fi Prophet book, the juggernaut Saga, the end of what I think is the first cycle on Sex, and an anthology of mostly unfamiliar creators. I don't know that I'd head to a store for any of them, but I could walk out with any to all of them, and each one will make somebody out there's week. The last listed is the little kid version of Hellboy, which is likely adorable -- I haven't seen it yet, but those creators are really consistently solid at those kinds of comics.

AUG131311 DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE COLOR SUNDAYS BOX SET VOL 01 $49.99
AUG131310 DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE COLOR SUNDAYS HC VOL 02 ROBIN HOOD $29.99
MAY131080 MOOMIN COMPLETE LARS JANSSON COMIC STRIP HC VOL 08 $19.95
MAY131081 MOOMIN AND THE COMET SC $9.95
MAY131082 MOOMIN AND THE SEA SC $9.95
More admirable and also good comics: Fantagraphics' stewardship of the Mickey Mouse work, and Drawn and Quarterly making the Moomin material available to a market. They both have their difficulties, and I think both series largely overcome them. Both are a positive force, and I hope you're at least familiar with them. Judge your comic book store on whether or not they have them for sale.

AUG131307 SECRET HISTORY MARVEL COMICS HC KIRBY EMPIRE (RES) $39.99
This is the Blake Bell and Dr. Michael J. Vassallo book about the Marvel artists securing work in other parts of the Martin Goodman empire. No one knows more about that period of comics history than Vassallo, and it's fun to finally have his knowledge on display in a book.

JUL138141 FELDSTEIN MAD LIFE AND FANTASTIC ART HC SGN $125.00
JUN130335 JOE KUBERT TOR ARTIST ED HC PI
IDW has been in the news a bit lately, and everything seems to be going full speed ahead at Ted Adams' company. One thing they seem to have done very well is serve a small but passionate audience for high-end books, and here they hit EC fans and fans of their Artists Editions with new work. That Tor work of Joe Kubert's is freakishly lovely as printed, so I can't imagine what the original art looks like. I hope to know soon!

*****

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 because I hate you.

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Your 2013 Shel Dorf Award Winners

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The Shel Dorf Awards were given out over the weekend just past in conjunction with the Detroit Fanfare Comic Con. Congratulations to all winners and nominees, in particular my peers in the blogging category and its winner, Dan Royer. Craig Yoe, Jeff Smith and Steve Geppi received special awards.

Winners are as follows by category, in bold:

WRITER OF THE YEAR
* Brian K. Vaughn
* Dan Slott
* Mark Waid
* Robert Kirkman
* Scott Snyder

PENCILER OF THE YEAR
* David Aja
* Fiona Staples
* Greg Capullo
* Jim Lee
* Ryan Stegman

INKER OF THE YEAR
* Bill Sienkiewicz
* Jonathan Glapion
* Mark Morales
* Scott Williams

COLORIST OF THE YEAR
* Brandon Graham
* Dave Stewart
* Fiona Staples
* Laura Allred
* Nei Ruffino

EDITOR OF THE YEAR
* Chad Lambert
* Craig Yoe
* Raven Gregory
* Scott Allie
* Steve Wacker

COVER ARTIST OF THE YEAR
* Alex Ross
* David Aja
* Francesco Francavilla
* J.H. Williams III
* Skottie Young

LETTERER OF THE YEAR
* Chris Eliopoulos
* Chris Ware
* Jaymes Reed
* Joe Caramagna
* Todd Klein

MINI-SERIES OF THE YEAR
* 47 Ronin
* Age of Ultron
* Five Ghosts
* Godzilla
* Star Trek The Next Generation: Hive

ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR
* Arsenic Lullaby -- The Big Stall
* Building Stories
* District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington DC
* Parker: The Score
* God Hates Astronauts

WEB COMIC OF THE YEAR
* Battlepug by Mike Norton
* Girl Genius by Phil & Kaja Foglio
* Penny Arcade
* Questionable Content
* Adventures of Dr McNinja

SYNDICATED PRINT STRIP OF THE YEAR
* Beardo by Dan Dougherty
* Dilbert
* Funky Winkerbean
* Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
* Pickles

COMIC TO MULTI-MEDIA ADAPTION OF THE YEAR
* Arrow CW
* Injustice: Gods Among Us
* Iron Man 3
* Man of Steel
* The Walking Dead

COMIC BLOGGER OF THE YEAR
* Decapitated Dan
* Heidi MacDonald The Beat
* Rich Johnston Bleeding Cool News
* Robot 6 (various contributors)
* Tom Spurgeon The Comics Reporter

CONTINUING SERIES OF THE YEAR
* Batman
* Daredevil
* Hawkeye
* Saga
* Superior Spider-Man
* The Walking Dead

SELF PUBLISHED COMIC OF THE YEAR
* Aw Yeah Comics
* Demeter by Becky Cloonan
* Rachel Rising by Terry Moore
* Rainbow In The Dark by Comfort Love & Adam Withers
* Touching Evil by Dan Dougherty

KIDS' COMIC OF THE YEAR
* Adventure Time
* Bodie Troll
* My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
* Princeless
* Sonic The Hedgehog

SHEL DORF TORCH BEARER'S AWARD
Jeff Smith

JERRY BAILS COMIC BOOK FANDOM AWARD
Craig Yoe

SHEL DORF LEGACY OF COMICS AWARD
Steve Geppi

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In Auckland, 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 Amadora, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Fin Fang Foom Overwrite Comic

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this isn't comics, but you likely won't care: the writer Brian Wood remembers his mother.

image* David Harper talks to Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. Steve Niles profiles Bernie Wrightson.

* oh, Johnny Ryan.

* I would take instruction from all of these people. I would like even more to hang out in the teachers' lounge and listen to them talk to one another.

* there will be a Paul Pope interview employing twitter tonight at 7 PM, through the hashtag #paulpopembfi. You know what to do -- they'll take your questions any time.

* this is a nice-looking gallery poster and the component drawing is even nicer.

* not comics: I guess the appeal of the Superman license has slipped a bit.

* Anna N. on Sweet Rein Vol. 1. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on more of that Ex Machina comic book. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Star Wars: Jedi Academy, DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe #2 and a bunch of different comic books. Michael Buntag on Mind MGMT #8-12.

* how does one end a comic series in a mainstream comics industry where nothing ends, and a current time in that industry when one thing leads to another? Very carefully.

* finally, Chris Butcher comments on something you're never likely to see in North America.

 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, P. Craig Russell!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Chrissie Harper!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Joe Dog!

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October 29, 2013


Go, Look: Hissssssss

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CBR: DC Is Moving The Rest Of Its Publishing Offices To Burbank

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You should go read CBR's story here rather than have me swipe all the details, particularly if you're interested in more than a few sentences on it. That's only fair. Good work by them. They have the full text of the letter they secured and you should also read that there.

Here are a few sentences. It looks like the decision to move DC to Burbank was announced to higher-ups in the last several days. As you recall, the office has basically been split since the takeover of Diane Nelson and the general regime change of a couple years back. Leaving the East Coast is a big, big deal in a lot of ways, primarily, I'd say, historically, what with New York being by far the city with the biggest claim of being the home of American comics publishing -- the presence of both big comic book publishers (and a third nearby, Archie, and the grandest name in comic strips King Features) has been a big a part of that. Secondarily: this is a big cultural shift, just in terms of people wanting to go to New York versus LA to do their industry business and the kinds of people that will begin to find work in comics because of their close proximity to companies. (You will likely see people write: "It hasn't really been the industry town I remember since XXXX" but don't pay them much heed; this may even be true beyond the fact that we all remember the communities of our early 20s with a certain fervent nostalgia, but there are more important ways that a company anchors a community than being the facilitating agent of a cocktails night.) There are potential ways a move could have an impact on the business, but there's a potential just as strong that there will be very few changes at all. Call it a potential precursor there until more is known.

The initial details say that everyone that wants to will be allowed to move and they are targeting 2015. Anyway, go read, there will be a ton of talk and word-making because of this decision. It is a big deal historically, about as big as can be without someone just giving up the ghost and shutting down.

We wish the best of luck to those that have a difficult decision to make in the coming months about where to live and to work.
 
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Go, Look: Wrightson Draws Edgar Allan Poe

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Go, Look: The Old Man In The Picture

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Missed It: Your 2013 Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize Winner Is Emily Haworth-Booth

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I completely missed this weekend's announcement that Emily Haworth-Booth won this year's Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize for her comic "Colonic." That's an award of interest for its canny team-up of media interests and for how it throws a spotlight on the increasingly rich comics-making scene in Great Britain.

Michael Parkin won runner-up for his story "Lines." That was apparently a four-page version of a longer, pre-existing story, something that Parkin put together to meet the contest's four-page requirement.

The winners were selected from over 180 initial entries.

I believe this is the competition's seventh year. Past winners include Corban Wilkin, Julian Hanshaw and Stephen Collins. Collins was one of the judges this year.

The Haworth-Booth story is viewable here; the Parkin here.

Both Haworth-Booth and Park will have their work exhibited as part of the Comica Festival, now going.
 
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Go, Look: Honey #1

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David Hedgecock Joins IDW As Managing Editor

IDW sent out a press release early this morning announcing that they've hired former Ape Entertainment CEO David Hedgecock to the position of Managing Editor, the latest in a lengthy series of moves and announcements from the publisher. Co-founder and CEO Ted Adams has openly discussed 2013 being an extremely strong and profitable year for the company, and IDW announced more of significance at the recent NYCC than any comics publisher. Someone to 1) coordinate the company's editors 2) work on special projects, 3) develop new talent -- that's what the PR has as Hedgecock's basic duties -- makes a great deal of sense moving forward as the company has a number of strong individual arms and significant editorial personalities manning those positions. I would imagine that seeing how another layer of organization works with a company where its editors are strongly empowered might be interesting, but it's hard to think of what they have going on right now being disrupted in any way.

Hedgecock was one of three co-founders of APE, a Bay Area company now 10 years old. I have very little in the way of preconceptions as to what that particular company is about beyond it always struck me as wanting to work an unabashed entertainment/publishing strategy similar to what IDW has favored.
 
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South African Hindus Object To Zapiro Cartoon

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The offense caused in the South African community by a Zapiro cartoon showing the deity Genesha in order to make a point about a controversy in the sport of cricket seems to be settling into a familiar pattern. The popular South African cartoonist wished to illustrate the notion that the organization controlling cricket in South Africa is willing to sacrifice the its chief executive in order to keep open its access to the necessary funding and money that comes from touring in India, where cricket is enormously popular. While the point being made seems to be sound -- the executive was removed from certain dealings during the most recent with more of the same -- using Ganesha in a way that 1) affiliates the deity with a sport, 2) affiliates the deity with a corrupt practice within the sport, 3) has him holding money, 4) has all of these things going on in close proximity to the Diwali celebrations (a five-day New Year), 5) has them taking place despite Lorgat being Muslim rather than Hindu adding to the general disrespectful feel of the cartoon, and maybe a couple more I can't think of, has angered several people of that faith.

Three organizations have been contacted thus far and asked to investigate: the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities; the Human Rights Commission; and the Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa.

The cartoonist and his employer have no intention to apologize, and stress that it's a clear use of the deity's metaphorical power, and not in any way comment on the actual deity or the beliefs Ganesha represents. I would imagine that this view will eventually hold given Zapiro's status and his paper's record in supporting him.
 
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Go, Look: I Am A Headline Now

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Assembled Extra: Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space Announces End To Series Due To Platinum Deal

Megan Rose Gedris, a one-time Prism grant winner and the creator of the webcomic I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space, announced yesterday via a widely-reblogged tumblr post that she would be bringing Lesbian Pirates to an end. She cites the fact that the property is owned by Platinum Studios and the deal she struck with that company won't allow her to pursue the creative options she'd like to regarding that work. Gedris' comic was a finalist in 2006 in Platinum's "comic book challenge." That led to the contract being offered along with the availability, at least initially, of an on-line platform for her to publish webcomics based on that work.

Six issues of a print comic book version came out from Platinum in 2008-2009. However, it looks like there's been little to no traction on behalf of Gedris' work since that time: she says that all subsequent work on-line was done by her without any sort of recompense, out of love for the characters and milieu, and a potential outcome that saw those characters returned to her control. Moving the property into other media has proven even more frustrating despite the cartoonist apparently laying significant groundwork for a handful of such projects. Gedris describes in that initial essay a feeling of benefiting the company by giving them a property whose continuing popularity they can claim as their own. Gedris' choice to stop working on Lesbian Pirates keeps them from taking credit for an active, popular work. It also allows her to focus on projects over which she has greater control and might see some reward.

Gedris describes the reaction to her post here. Gedris has made the material she'd done on-line available in a way that fans might seize copies of all of that work before the operation is suspended.

Gedris would have been a teen when she entered that contest, and this seems to be a classic case of someone signing a contract they would never sign in hindsight, and refocusing energies as a result. She urges young creators to not make simply getting published an overriding virtue, and to legal help in negotiating contracts.
 
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Swann Foundation Announces Another Fellowship Round

Here. The deadline is mid-February of next year, with recipients to be announced in the spring. Hard to imagine a greater, more reliable independent source of support for comics-related academia.
 
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Assembled Extra: Crunchyroll Manga Set To Debut October 30

I've kind of been scrambling to catch up with this story about the Crunchyroll site partnering with Kodansha for a targeted digital manga service featuring a significant number of same-day releases. That launches tomorrow. Here's PW. Here's CBR. Here's Anime News Network.

imageThe details of what's available bear noting, because until tomorrow when the thing goes live it's how we picture it. Crunchyroll Manga will launch with 12 series available, including Attack On Titan. The works will be made available in 170 countries, including the US and UK (Japan, China a trio of key European markets are excluded). Any device that functions with some sort of web browser should provide you access. There will be an ad-driven free option and a ad-free + access to the back catalog subscriber's option. The subscription fee will by $4.99 per month but the service will be available for free to premium subscribers for Crunchyroll's anime offerings. A significant expansion of the titles available is planned during the first year of availability.

One of the things that North American comics have started to do that feels right is that they've moved away -- if only a bit -- from thinking about different services cutting into the same pie and thinking of various options as their own unique revenue streams. This new service strikes me as playing a way different role vis-a-vis individual offerings and the various ways in which Kodansha's titles are currently available in print and as e-books. It suggests another consumption trigger, targeting a consumer that might respond more directly to having a lot of work available at once in addition to select titles, or is comfortable enough using sites like Crunchyroll that getting some of the newer titles in the course of getting a bunch to them seems like a smart way to go. Given the tremendous backlog of these companies and their ability to put out a lot of work every week and the consumption pattern dictated by less legal (or if you prefer, simply less directly profitable to the publishers and creators) ways of getting to these comics like scanlation sites, the project makes a lot of advance sense.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I am way behind on these columns, due to bad choices and general indolence. I will try to catch up between this installment and next.

* let's start back into publishing news proper with First Second's announcement through Wired that they'll be turning Paul Pope's Battling Boy material into something of a franchise, with a prequel work planned featuring one of that book's characters. That is a significant leap of faith for First Second. The Rise Of Aurora West will be co-written by Pope with JT Petty; it is to be drawn by David Rubin. It will be out next summer.

image* Sean T. Collins and Jonny Negron have collaborated on a comic that will be out at the forthcoming Comic Arts Brooklyn.

* a forthcoming series starring Marvel's version of Loki will feature a fluid sexuality appropriate to that character's mythological background. Sounds fine to me. I'm old enough that I still find it odd that a Marvel superhero's sexuality would be part of any comic book, young enough not to have any particular prejudices as to how that sexuality might manifest itself.

* Nina Bunjevac provides a little bit of comics to an anthology featuring Toronto-related literary heavy-hitters. Bunjevac is severely underrated; she's also one of those people that you wish were less underrated because she's so good on her feet and if people paid more attention to her it would benefit the field entire.

* Red Giant Entertainment plans an adaptation of the well-liked-on-the-festival-circuit movie Blue Caprice. I guess the hook here is that this is the rare project going from movie to graphic novel rather than vice versa, but just thinking like that depresses me so let's move on.

* big double-shot of news from Evan Dorkin. His beloved -- by me, anyway -- Eltingville comics will come to a close in a two one-shot effort out in 2014. Also in 2014 is another Beasts Of Burden project, something Dorkin writes and that features as co-author the visual work of the artist Jill Thompson.

* the Brandon Graham-led team effort on Prophet will end at issue #45 and be followed by a mini-series that should wrap up the popular storyline. That's been one of those projects that's reflected well on everyone involved: Graham, his collaborators, Rob Liefeld, Image...

* this is great news: new Yvan Alagbé. It's old enough and the art isn't mine or else it would be top of page.

* Charlie Jane Anders previews Beyond.

* there will be a French-language market version of The Abominable Charles Christopher. That is a fun work, and extremely well-liked by its fans.

* Retrofit Comics has all three of the RL minis in stock now. That's the Tom Hart work about his daughter, Rosalie Lightning, and is as occasionally devastating as you can imagine.

* there are a bunch of Blacksad promotional images tied into the next album here.

* finally, Frank Santoro has announced Comics Workbook Magazine for CAB in November. All hats off to the print crossovers among us. Sam Alden is prominently featured.

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If I Were In Amadora, 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: Explosion Of Boulet Comics

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a new Asterix volume is imminent and as is sometimes the case the popular comic series will depict a situation that has a real-world counterpart. I don't find that kind of thing extremely interesting, but it does remind that this Fall a freaking fleet of trucks worth of Asterix books are going to be sold.

image* James Kennedy profiles Sam Alden. Some nice person at Kindle talks to Andy Kubert. Alex Dueben talks to Ted Naifeh. Mariella Frostrup -- I think -- talks to Joe Sacco.

* not comics: the Bechdel test, practically applied.

* Mike Sterling looks at the way the first Miracleman-devoted offerings from Marvel are being released to the marketplace. It seems like the classic case of a company -- in this case Marvel -- manufacturing interest around an admittedly sturdy sounding project rather than building on a groundswell of support out there. At least I don't detect one. The thing is, those companies are sometimes really good and generally okay at manufacturing interest, and it frequently works out when the subject of that attention is a high-quality offering from one of those companies: well-crafted, big-names, feels important. Also, Sterling dives into a run of Peanuts jokes for which he doesn't particularly care.

* Nicholas Qualls on Heck. Matt Derman on some more comics from the year of his birth. Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Vol. 8 and From The New World Vol. 1.

* not comics: this short video of Jen Vaughn hitting some man with a stick is sort of hypnotic. I'm sure there were a lot of pretty good cartoonist-festooned parties over the last weekend. Speaking of that kind of video effort, here's one in my bookmarks from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

* Sean Kleefeld found a very cute something here: those are two titans of 20th Century comics, for sure. He also goes to his local library.

* I think a series of feature article on favorite books of the year may make Michael Cavna of Comics Riffs over at the Washington Post first out of the gate in terms of doing a best-of kind of offering. Someone mark down the date of the earliest piece so we'll have a bar to leap over next year. So far Cavna has talked to Nate Powell about March and dug into the Junot Diaz/Jaime Hernandez prose/illustration partnership on This Is How You Lose Her.

* finally, you have to love this Tony Millionaire self-portrait as the Sock Monkey.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Batton Lash!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Barry Deutsch!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Paul Di Filippo!

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Happy 75th Birthday, Ralph Bakshi!

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October 28, 2013


Go, Look: Baby Bjornstrand -- The Halloween Special

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Happy 100th Birthday To Krazy Kat!

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i think it's still the best one.
 
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Go, Look: A Few Comics-Related Lou Reed Links

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The writer, songwriter and rock musician Lou Reed passed away on Sunday. He was a significant 20th Century American cultural figure, and a giant of North American punk/underground expression. His work and his public persona provided a wide variety of lessons and potential strategies for everyone in the arts. I'm personally grateful for the amount of music he made and writing he did over the years, including strong work during what seemed like creatively fallow times for the rest of the culture. His was a prickly, intriguing public persona. RIP. Here are a few links related to comics.

* the first page of the John Holmstrom review-in-comics-form from Punk #1.
* the Bleeding Cool survey of comics professionals reacting to the news, primarily on twitter.
* Eric Reynolds draws Lou Reed.
* Neil Gaiman write on Lou Reed for The Guardian.
* Lou Reed Answers The Question, "Are You Aware Of The Work Of Neil Gaiman?"
* from that same source, what was apparently -- at least at one time -- Reed's favorite comic.
* Marc Arsenault's promise of photos to come.
* Those photos.
* Jamie Hewlett draws Lou Reed.
* Lou Reed as new punk jew superhero.
* finally, the Lou Reed category at the Fantagraphics Flog! blog; the iconic alt-comics publisher released his collaboration with the great Lorenzo Mattotti, The Raven. Here's a gallery of imagery. Here's the New Yorker reporting on Reed's signing in support of that book at The Strand.
 
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Go, Listen: Roger Langridge Interviewed At Virtual Memories

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Missed It: Al Plastino's Disappointment In Seeing Certain JFK-Related Superman Pages For Sale

imageThis New York Post article made the rounds last week and I either ignored it or made cursory note. The article features the artist Al Plastino expressing disappointment at pages from the famous John Kennedy/Superman story he drew making it to market. Plastino believes he was promised this work would be donated to the Kennedy holdings at Harvard, an appropriate place for a culturally significant expression of pop culture. I mention it here because of the way it underlines how poorly a lot of freelancers have been treated over the years in a way that may not have been damaging to anyone's life, but seems unnecessarily contemptuous and indicative of how people at these companies sometimes conducted business. When the Kirby Family had a hearing petition denied last week, the way that Marvel handled Kirby's artwork -- losing so much of it, not being able to track it, demanding recompense in the form of legal assurances for the pitiful amount it could return -- came to mind as an indication this kind of thing is more heavily embedded in the comics culture than we sometimes admit, and the pushback we occasionally see now has never been solely a matter of people looking to score vs. companies shoring up legal concerns that were at the time casually understood.
 
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Not Comics: CJR On A Digital-Aggressive Newspaper Model

The Columbia Journalism Review has a lengthy piece up on wholesale, transformative changes at the newspaper The Coloradoan. I think it's an interesting background piece that can inform a lot of thinking on one of the traditional, great homes for comics: the newspaper. It's one of those pieces where I think the sprawl of information is more intriguing than the attempts to fashion some sort of greater meaning out of the sum of those parts: things like engagement editors, and the revenue numbers, and the idea of reporters as personalities designed to bring people to the information the paper provides. It's a different model not just for the digital component but for how that has forced a reappraisal of what role simply providing information plays -- that sounds dumb, but one thing newspapers struggled with in the '00s is that a chunk of the very basic role they played in folks' lives, like providing movie times, had for the first time successfully moved elsewhere. I would also imagine there is one or two things in here on comics more generally. I think the corporate backdrop is fascinating, too, that this is being facilitated by Gannett, a company that does not have the best reputation amongst the newspeople I know in terms of supporting their papers during the financial disruptions of five to ten years ago.

Anyway, this isn't a super-rigorous piece, but I think it's one that allows room for personal interpretation and that features an engaging narrative.
 
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Go, Look: Mushroom Season

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Go, Read: ICv2.com On Digital News From NYCC

I wanted to direct people to this digital comics news round-up from the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com, mostly because I did a very poor job of touching on a lot of this news in my own coverage. Just the comiXology survey numbers are worth the visit. The thought that someone spent over $62K on digital content is astounding.

I also think that it's worth seeing all of this news in one place because it impresses that while there is still a element of "the future" in a lot of these announcements, and there are still some areas to be sorted, for the most part digital news is about selling and making available comics right the heck now. I think that's true of reading as well. While there's been little to no wholesale abandonment of print comics as once feared, there is both a digital-reader-only element that has settled into place as something more than a bunch of young people super-enjoying the webcomics they discover and, I think, a growing number of more traditional comics readers that have moved some portion of their comics reading into the digital realm. I personally know about a half-dozen people that were former weekly shop patrons that do the bulk of buying for comics they read for pleasure -- mostly superhero comics -- to various on-line platforms. I have no particular desire to read things on-line after working there all day, and even I have a bunch of digital comics right now. It's here, and the here part may be more important than the future part from now on.
 
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Video Parade Extra: Tit For Tat Heavyweight Drawers


 
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Go, Look: ... Rears Its Ugly Green Head

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Any Monday Morning That Begins With A Bob Levin Piece At TCJ Is An Okay Monday Morning

Bob Levin, the writer-about-comics to whom other writers-about-comics point and say "I wish I could do more work along those lines," has a new piece up at the TCJ.com site. That is always a great thing, and even more so since some health issues over the last few years makes you realize that with any writer there's a limited supply as to the work you'll get to see.
 
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Go, Look: Greg Cook's Awesome Photos From The 5K Superhero Run/Walk In Cambridge Yesterday

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Go, Read: Sean Kleefeld On Working In The Style And With The Characters Of Bill Watterson

Here. This is actually the first I heard that one of the homage strips to Watterson's great comic strip was starting to build momentum on its own -- I'd seen oblique references, I guess, but there are so many strips that are either officially or unofficially indebted to Watterson it's sometimes hard to tell what people are talking about. It's an odd gray area in terms of the court of people sitting around on computers arguing -- I don't know what the actual legal implications are -- in that one wants to fully support the use of existing art as commentary, and for satire, and homages, and not look like an old fussy dick in general, but figuring out where the line is crossed from artistic to commercial re-appropriation is something for which I don't have a natural feel beyond waving my cane and shouting for people to do something original.

I guess in the end I think it's kind of dull to do art like that, and except in the most base ways of getting a near-substitute for the impulse of "more," the actual taking in of such work proves unsatisfying for both audience and the maker of that art. There are exceptions, I'm sure. I also continue to be impressed with just how thoroughly Calvin And Hobbes has burrowed into the hearts of people that read it at a certain age. I think that's a mighty work, and remember looking at the press packet way back when while my Dad ate breakfast and going, "Whoa. Dad. Look." However, this strikes me as a younger generation's slightly different taking-to of that work. It might be sociological. Whereas people born 1964-1979 tend to reintroduce themselves to work in a kind of "Oh, I loved this. Look at this. Remember this? There it is!" way, it strikes me that those born 1980s tend to evince an attitude over work they loved at a younger age as "Yes. This. Fuck Yes. THIS." The love for Bill Watterson and his boy with the stuffed tiger has always been there, but it's only recent become wild-eyed. Those are broad strokes, admittedly.

I can see a lot of massive posts on this in the near-future, including maybe a thorough one from me when I know more, so being introduced to this material now seems like a good idea.
 
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OTBP: Assorted Steeds

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* there are two prominent publisher-driven projects asking for funds for completion right now, both of which were featured here before: the Qu33r anthology edited by Rob Kirby; the Neil The Horse collection that Hermes Press is doing.

* this person was nice enough to ask me directly to drive attention to their crowd-funder. Ditto this person. I'm happy to do that, for the most part -- if I don't, it's usually because I forgot or lost the link.

* JK Parkin talks to a cartoonist named Andrew MacLean about the second, kickstarted issue of a series he's doing; I was interested in reading in terms of the crowd-funding sought being about a second issue rather than a first; the matter-of-factness of it is worth noting, as is the very specific function that going to crow-funding plays strategically, as is just the fact that the first issue was more traditionally self-published. I think we've reached a point where using these sites is a really natural, recurring option for a lot of cartoonists, for a variety of reasons.

* finally, this still looks like the best first place to go if you want to help out the writer Steve Niles, whose home was hit by flooding.
 
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If I Were In Amadora, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Marvel Tales #119

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Oni renews with Diamond Book Distributors; I agree with Milton Griepp that this assume more importance since Dark Horse moved to Random House.

image* Jonah Weiland talks to Dean Haspiel. Jeffrey Renaud talks to Jeff Kinney. Marc Kleinhenz talks to Chuck Dixon. Kazuya Miki profiles Sato Ito. Joel Warner profiles William Kuskin.

* Brigid Alverson calls attention to a profile of a coffee/comics shop.

* a new Toronto store is profiled. It may be only my imagination, and the overall measure of this kind of thing is distorted by the higher-end examples, but it seems to me that whenever I see a store now the physical space is at least pretty good. I mean, I remember a day of shopping in converted church basements, but still.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different Vertigo titles.

* this profile of the exhibit Marvels and Monsters focuses on that traveling exhibit's attention to stereotypes in popular/junk literature. That's a solid profile overall. That show runs until early February.

* finally, Tom Bondurant gets into the whole Captain Marvel/Marvelman/Miracleman history, although not the hardcore legal kind of history.
 
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Happy 61st Birthday, Jim Valentino!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Henrik Rehr!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Joel Meadows!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Gary Hallgren!

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Happy 88th Birthday, Leonard Starr!

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October 27, 2013


Go, Look: Art From The Great Comic Book Artist Bernie Wrightson On The Occasion Of His 65th Birthday

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 
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Go, Read: Essayist/Cartoonist Tim Kreider On "Free"

Tim Kreider's New York Times essay on the idea of doing work for free will have likely been passed around a lot between the time I'm writing this -- Sunday at 6 AM -- and noonish that same day when the post rolls out on CR. I would also imagine there's been the start of a significant backlash, some of which I'll have tracked on twitter without being able to get on here and comment. I suspect a lot of that backlash will come from people that have been lucky enough to benefit from that specific model in some way, or that are in a position of privilege where they have never felt its effects.

Kreider's is a very good piece, one of those that can serve as a summary of a viewpoint on an issue but also adds flourishes of its own (his description of a secondary economy of value for artistic expression is deft). I suspect Tim and I would agree that it's not that every single project and every single circumstance where people want to offer something other than money in the place where money goes is wrong. Thus merely pointing out an example, or perhaps just the potential existence, of a time this model works, or might even be virtuous, severely misses the point. It's the wider-than-deserved acceptance of free as a potential dominant model that sticks in the craw a bit. It's a model untethered from being judged by anything other than its best-case virtues and the abuses of the thing to which it stands in counter-point: it's hard to make anything look less than awesome when that's how it's processed. We're further along than sermons. We know enough now to have a different conversation than the one we've been having. If it's a good model, it can stand to be questioned and examined and held to its existing record. I'm not sure we do that.

I welcome Kreider's essay not as 100 percent proof that the strongest version of Kreider's position we can state is the only position worth taking and, hey, try to find exceptions or reverse-extreme arguments because if you do it all comes crashing down, but rather as a call to apply a more exacting measure against a series of unearned assumptions that we can now see -- if only that we have lived with them for a while -- also have a massive downside. Issues discussion is rarely a fight from Pacific Rim, although it sometimes helps to get our attention when someone as smart and articulate as Kreider decides to suit up. Everything is complicated.

The irony of a bunch of folks accessing this essay without paying for it is probably worth noting, too, although the important thing here is that Kreider was paid, as part of a model designed to drive subscriptions to the publication that paid him. If you would like to pay him further -- something that can be conceived of as a nice thing to do from a position that agrees with Kreider and a position which disagrees with him -- I can recommend both his last book of essays and his last book combining his cartoons with his essays. They are very much worth having for the price asked. You can probably also find free downloads.
 
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Go, Look: Who Cares?

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Not Comics: 1920s/1930s Chinese Graphic Design

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Not Comics: A William Stout Gallery

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OTBP: Robble Robble

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Not Comics: Advice From Robert Fawcett

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Go, Look: Trish Mulvihill

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

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

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

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Happy 65th Birthday, Bernie Wrightson!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Paul Hornschemeier!

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Happy 83rd Birthday, Leo Baxendale!

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FFF Results Post #356 -- Career-Spanners

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics-Makers Whose Work You've Enjoyed Watching Evolve Since Early In Their Published Careers." This is how they responded.

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Michael Buntag

1. Dave McKean
2. Jeff Smith
3. Charles Vess
4. Derek Kirk Kim
5. Joe Sacco

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John Vest

1. Barry Windsor-Smith
2. Howard Chaykin
3. P Craig Russell
4. Jaime Hernandez
5. Gilbert Hernandez

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Don MacPherson

1. Matt Fraction
2. Kurt Busiek
3. Brian Michael Bendis
4. Brian K. Vaughan
5. Kevin Maguire

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Chris Duffy

1. Joe Staton
2. J.H. Williams
3. Chris Ware
4. Lynda Barry
5. Stuart Immonen

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Will Elder
2. Jim Steranko
3. Art Spiegelman
4. David Mack
5. Ivan Brunetti

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Marc Arsenault

1. Brandon Graham
2. Paul Pope
3. David Mazzucchelli
4. Brian Ralph
5. Dylan Horrocks

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Mark Waid
2. George Perez
3. Stuart Immonen
4. Ty Templeton
5. Garry Trudeau

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Alex Nino
2. Howard Chaykin
3. Enki Bilal
4. Bernie Wrightson
5. Hideshi Hino

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John R. Platt

1. James Sturm
2. Ty Templeton
3. Peter David
4. Paul Pope
5. Mike Mignola

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Scott Dunbier

* J. Scott Campbell
* Travis Charest
* Jack Kirby
* Joe Kubert
* Mike Mignola

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Marc Sobel

1. David Mazzucchelli
2. Dan Clowes
3. Bryan Talbot
4. Alan Moore
5. Harvey Pekar

*****

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Jim Wheelock

* Michael Wm. Kaluta
* Jose Munoz
* Howard Chaykin
* Jim Steranko
* Brian Bolland

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Marc Mason

1. Amanda Conner
2. Matt Kindt
3. Paul Chadwick
4. Terry Moore
5. Eddie Campbell

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Danny Ceballos

1. Alan Moore
2. Lynda Barry
3. Jim Woodring
4. Chester Brown
5. Gabrielle Bell

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J. E. Cole

1: Travis Charest
2: Lenil Francis Yu
3: Travel Foreman
4: Nihei Tsutomu
5: John Paul Leon

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Jamie Coville

1. Peter Bagge
2. Joe Sacco
3. Erik Larsen
4. Svetlana Chmakova
5. Carla Speed McNeil

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Matt Emery

1. Carlos Ezquerra
2. Chris Weston
3. Jesse Moynihan
4. Dylan Horrocks
5. Simon Hanselmann

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Sean Kleefeld

1. John Byrne
2. Frank Page
3. Mark Bagley
4. Scott Kurtz
5. Scottie Young

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Bob Temuka

1. Mark Millar
2. Adrian Tomine
3. Simon Bisley
4. Mike Mignola
5. Roger Langridge

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Justin J. Major

1. Chris Ware
2. Chris Onstad
3. Lynda Barry
4. Neil Gaiman
5. Mike Allred

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Douglas Wolk

1. David Mazzucchelli
2. John Smith
3. Becky Cloonan
4. Chris Burnham
5. Don Rosa

*****

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Steven Grant

1) Howard Chaykin
2) Paul Smith
3) John Paul Leon
4) Warren Ellis
5) Ed Brubaker

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Greg Evans
2. Garry Trudeau
3. Jimmy Johnson
4. Dave Sim
5. Alison Bechdel

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Patrick Ford

1. Robert Crumb
2. Gilbert Hernandez
3. Dan Clowes
4. Jim Woodring
5. Ben Katchor

*****

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Gerry Alanguilan

1. David Mazzucchelli
2. Ladronn
3. Barry Windsor Smith
4. Mike Mignola
5. Travis Charest

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Dave Carrington

1. Stuart Immonen
2. Chris Bachalo
3. Art Adams
4. Matt Wagner
5. Todd McFarlane

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Evan Cass

1. Mike Allred
2. James Sturm
3. Sean Phillips
4. Noah Van Sciver
5. Tom Scioli

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topic suggested and examples provided by John Vest; thanks, John

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October 26, 2013


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Al Jaffee Archives Donation To Columbia University


Preview Of That Virgil Partch Book


Jean-Claude Mezieres Interviewed




Three Of The Rusty And Joe Presentations From SPX


Taming Galactus


If Still Up, An Osamu Tezuka Documentary
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from October 19 to October 25, 2013:

1. The Kirby Family has their petition for a rehearing denied.

2. An astounding private collection of rare Brazilian comics frequently used by researcher and academics was robbed of its most valuable copies in an armed invasion of the home where the collection was housed. The degree of skill employed in finding which ones to carry out the door indicates that someone may have been involved that had seen the collection.

3. Image sells a pair of #1 issues into the Direct Market at 57K each -- returnable, but still an astounding number for non-superhero work and work not from the two biggest mainstream comics companies. They were for the series Velvet and Pretty Deadly.

Winner Of The Week
Image Comics

Loser Of The Week
Marc Toberoff, the lawyer assisting the Kirby Family

Quote Of The Week
"How can I be causing a disturbance? All I did was post a microblog." -- Wang Liming

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today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

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Go, Look: Ben Temples' Sketch Cover Mini-Gallery

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

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

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

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If I Were Calgary, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 82nd Birthday, Larry Lieber!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Mike Cavallaro!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Glynis Wein!

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October 25, 2013


Go, Read: My Friend Dave

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By Request Extra: MA Shop Raising Money To Avoid Closure

StillPoint Comics in Fall River, Massachusetts, is trying to raise $5000 in order to keep their downtown location open. Apparently the store was shut down for 10 days recently after loss of power due to unpaid bills. It is not the most encouraging article in terms of the context provided -- it really does seem like the shop's basic survival is in serious question.

I believe that community is about 80-90K strong, so it is not an obscure outpost or anything, but all stores like that serve local markets in a way that their state has a drastic effect on things like the basic viability of a store serving them. The article also notes something that rarely gets mentioned, that stores like StillPoint provide a social function for patrons without a lot of regular money to spend.
 
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Go, Look: Some High-Quality Richard Corben Scans

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Rune T. Kidde, 1957-2013

imageRune T. Kidde, the prolific Danish cartoonist turned author that is perhaps best known for continuing to be a creative force after losing his eyesight, died on October 20. He turned 56 in September.

Rune T. Kidde was born in Odense to artistic parents, and graduated from Vestfyns Gymnasium in 1976. He apparently also studied theology for a short time.

Kidde quickly became a key figure in Danish alternative comics and remained a comics-maker for the majority of his professional life. His publication Blomstrend Spaghetti (translated as "Blooming Spaghetti"), ran from 1977 until 1986, the most prominent of a series of fanzine that the author brought to market and that included Fields'isten and Kong Krud. He co-founded the pioneering Danish underground comix publishing company Baldur on Brage in 1977 and in 1979 helped create the studio Gimle. A brief stint as editor at Interpresse saw Kidde work on such features as The Phantom and Beetle Bailey.

Kidde's books included Man siger sa meget ("Talk is Cheap") and Eventyr Evergreens ("Fairytale Evergreens"). His first work published in album form was the self-titled Rune T. Kidde.

A steady freelancer, he worked for several Danish publications throughout the 1980s, such as Politiken.

As Kidde lost his eyesight -- he went blind in 1990 -- Kidde collaborated with comics artists such as Lars Bering Haarup, Peter Madsen and Flemming Jeppesen. He also moved into radio production, working for Danmarks Radios P1, P2 and P3 from 1990 to 2000. He produced a number of travel shows, and did a verbal dramatization of The Fellowship Of The Ring. He continued work with the band Trio Confetti throughout, and wrote a libretto for a children's opera in 2000.

A prose author concurrent to his achivements in comics, Kidde frequently published over a 30-year span. This included poetry, plays, novels, genre work (at least one thriller) and both biographically-informed fiction and straight-up biography.

Kidde was a recipient of the Danish Association for the Blind's "Pers Legat" award. He is survived by a wife, and was preceded in death by his parents.
 
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Go, Look: Will Elder's MAD Magazine Take On Edgar Allan Poe

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I try to stay away from obviously copyrighted material without any contextual work done in the presentation, but this is lovely, and I hope that the quality of the scans of Elder's art might work that way
 
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Latest On Lost Girls In Auckland: Review Forthcoming

There's a reasonably thorough article here about the status of the book Lost Girls in the Auckland Libraries. Two copies were in circulation starting in 2008. As I understand it, the central location copy was pulled not after a complaint from a patron but by library staff in anticipation of a potential lawsuit, which set off all sorts of alarms with some folks about the role that libraries should have in facilitating the communication of ideas through art -- even when presented in a way that's potentially problematic for one reason or another. It looks like there will be a review process. Dylan Horrocks is quoted extensively about its value, and is identified as one of those making the request that work be returned to circulation.

As much as the issues driving it are important and some of the moves distressing, it's actually sort of nice to read a news piece that deals with adult material in a straight-forward manner without sensationalizing anything. I'm not sure if that says more about me or North American news media that this stood out in my initial reading.
 
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Go, Look: Stealth Attack: The New Abortion Laws

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Go, Read: Jay Lynch Writes About A Cancelled Check

It's like an on-line version of a pretty good Mineshaft feature, right in the middle of an eBay listing. There's no reason this should be compelling even with cameos by key 20th Century comedy figure Del Close and the singer Chaka Khan, but I enjoyed every word. My apologies to whomever had this first, because I don't remember how I ended up with this link.
 
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Go, Look: Hot Dudes Serving Meghan Turbitt Food

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1, 2
 
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Collective Memory: The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2013

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2013 edition of the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, held October 18-20 in various locations throughout Kendal, Cumbria, UK.

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

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Institutional
* The Convention Site
* The Other Convention Site
* Host City

Audio
* Lakeland Radio

Blog Entries
* comicbookGRRRL
* Comics212
* Comics Appreciation
* Creative Inspiration
* Creative Tourist

* Generatecareer

* Huffington Post

* Inko-redible!

* Joel Magnuson
* Judge Minty

* Kyleriffic

* Ravi Thornton
* Resonance FM Podcasts
* Robot 6
* Robot 6 02

* Sean Michael Wilson
* Sprout's Bookclub

* The Beat
* The Beat 02
* The Storm Comics Blog

* Waterstones

Facebook
* Event's Dedicated Facebook Page

Miscellaneous
* Pinterest

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool
* Bleeding Cool 02

* CBR
* Chorley Guardian
* Cumbria Live
* Cumbria Live 02
* Cumbria Live 03
* Cumbria Live 04
* Cumbria Live 05

* Digital Spy 01
* Digital Spy 02
* Down The Tubes

* In-Cumbria

* Lancashire Evening Post

* NW Evening Mail

* The Guardian
* The Independent
* The Journal
* The Westmoreland Gazette
* The Westmoreland Gazette 02
* The Westmoreland Gazette 03
* The Westmoreland Gazette
* The Westmoreland Gazette 05

Photos
* The Wordie Birdie

Twitter
* #licaf

Video
* Event Trailer
* Trailer For V For Vendetta At Festival

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Go, Follow: Borderline Press

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: Digital News

By Tom Spurgeon

* the belle of the digital news ball this week is a two-part interview with Viz CTO Gagan Singh at the hobby news and information site ICv2.com: 1, 2. My initial takeaway was the forthright fashion in which Singh talks about serving different markets, even when there's some potential dissonance between those sales sources. There's a lot more there.

* Alan Gardner announces big plans for his foundational comics site Daily Cartoonist.

image* Lea Hernandez has started a comics serial at Boing Boing.

* congratulations to Dean Trippe for reaching the 2K mark on downloads of his admirable Something Terrible comic.

* the Thrillbent serial The Damnation Of Charlie Wormwood is nearing a key juncture in its overall roll-out. It's interesting to watch Mark Waid and the artists with whom he works kind of figure out what length of story works for them and on-line serialization.

* looks like Julia Wertz will be doing a short serial for Symbolia.

* this may be more of a festivals update, but it looks like registration for the PAXEast show was of the high-traffic/shutting down the site variety. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise given how popular those shows are, although there was some blowback a few weeks back about how safe female attendees felt within that community and at those events. Also, if you stop and think about it, the PAX shows were probably the first sign that wasn't San Diego attendance numbers that there was going to be a surge in interest in conventions. That's a four-show enterprise now.

* finally, it looks like Kate Leth will be freelancing for ComicsAlliance.
 
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If I Were In Columbia, I'd Go To This

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

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

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If I Were In South Carolina, 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 Saturday Evening Post Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* here's Dana Jennings at the New York Times on the continuing presence of EC Comics in the marketplace

image* Jillian Steinhauer on Sketching Guantanamo. Robert Bradley on Soho Dives, Soho Divas. Geoffrey Lapid on Pompeii. Win Wiacek on Treasury Of Mini-Comics Vol. 1. David M. Ball on Aesthetics: A Memoir. Henry Chamberlain on Boobage.

* not comics: a poster by Steve Weissman that was in my bookmarks for a while. Speaking of Mr. Weissman, here's an abandoned comic from the cartoonist.

* Will Dinski sketches.

* everybody slaps Maggie.

* nice kitty.

* I found this to be an interesting footnote to a recent piece of superhero comic-book storyline. If you're going to put together your line drawing from all different "versions" of your properties, it would seem to me that at times this would favor some non-traditional versions, and even some unpopular ones.

* not comics: Kevin Huizenga has the most interesting blog of any cartoonist.

* good luck to Jeffrey O. Gustafson in his next career step.

* Erica Friedman has some advice if you'd like her to come speak at your event. I would bet she is really good at public events like that.

* fiinally, I don't have kids and don't feel the seasons the way my friends with young ones still in school might, but I still managed to spend a lot of time during the month of October looking at Richard Sala's Tumblr.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, June Brigman!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Taiyo Matsumoto!

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October 24, 2013


Go, Look: David Plunkert

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Rare Brazilian Comics Collection Subject Of Home Robbery

imageFabio Antibas sent along a link to this article, which indicates that three armed men entered the home of Antonio Jose da Silva and stole over 7000 comics including 200 first editions of the 1930s-1940s publications O Lobinho and O Gibi.

O Lobinho was the primary repository for translations of stories from American comic books and pulps. O Gibi reprinted a number of North American comic strips and its name is synonymous for comics in that country. The stole books have an estimated market value of $150,000 USD.

Da Silva, a man in his early 60s, has a collection totaling over 200,000 magazines and has routinely allowed journalists and researchers to have access to them. He and two employees were held at gun point while the robbers made a beeline to the most expensive books, indicating some sort of prior knowledge by the robbers or those directing them. The comics were uninsured despite Da Silva's best efforts to find someone that would write him a policy. Items from the collection can be seen here.

There are as of yet no leads.
 
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Go, Look: Jeannie Phan

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A Couple Of Quick Observations About Recent Image Sell-Outs

The sometimes untrustworthy -- at least that's what I'm told, I don't read it enough to know -- site Bleeding Cool has a report up that both of this week's big Image series debuts: the Steve Epting/Ed Brubaker spy book Velvet and Emma Rios/Kelly Sue DeConnick western-plus Pretty Deadly. Let's assume that's true, as the lack of a counterpoint note from creators or publisher -- or at least one I've seen -- would indicate tacit endorsement of at least those books doing very, very well in their initial offerings, even as returnable books.

I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that this would be on pace with what any of those talents could count on selling with a non top-of-the-line property at either Marvel or DC. So Image plays in that world now, which I think is indicative of how the direct market stores have come around on the sales possibilities of having strong Image series to recommend to customers. No matter what any group with a specific interest in a single-factor marketplace will tell you, a number of factors are in play with any comics market including that for serial comic books. Perhaps the most underrated of these factors is the trust that stores will place in a company based on recent business performance and perceived mutual interest. If it's true -- and I think it is -- that we're in a marketplace where folks are desperate to be told what to buy, one possibility they now seem open to considering is certain creator-drive Image comics. Two is that you can make a pretty strong argument that a strong showing for an Image title offering is way, way better for the creators involved than a similar or even stronger showing for a mainstream book. The idea that those creators make bank at Marvel or DC and then do their Image comics for fun and/or creative satisfaction isn't 100 percent true. Not anymore. Not only do creators keep their licensing and adaptation options, but the actual selling of the comics when they reach a point of profitability is -- as I understand it -- much more lucrative with an Image deal than an equivalent Marvel or DC deal even with one of the better available incentives/bonuses programs in place.

None of this is genius-level observation, of course, and there's no place to go that isn't the Land Of Strident Proclamations -- I don't think any of this spells doom for anyone. But it's certainly worth noting that Image can compete this way, and that this may not be an anomaly of time (the Image founders) or genre (Walking Dead).
 
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OTBP: Amazing Forest #1

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What It Means When Seemingly Healthy, Well-Regarded Mainstream Comic Book Titles Are Cancelled

Actually, I have no real idea what it means when something happens like Marvel's announcement of the cancellation of a Daredevil series that seems to be selling okay and is certainly a well-liked, well-regarded title. There are all sorts of pressures and inside mechanisms to which the vast majority of us aren't privy.

imageBut.

If this is what some people suspect, that it's basically a sales ploy by which more attention is paid to the title when it relaunches as a #1 than when it continues forward as a #37, I think it's worth noting as a sign of the shape of the marketplace. We have a marketplace of hobby and comics shops that rewards the constant renumbering and relaunching of serial comic book titles. Whether that's no big deal, or just the way things are, or a recurring blow against the idea of a market anchored by long-running series, again: couldn't really tell you. The news of the cancellation certainly hit the mainstream focused web sites -- heck, it hit this one, in a way -- and judging from initial reactions to the tweeted-out news there are people that will take this kind of announcement at its face value.

So if that's what's going on, you can pair this kind of thing up with the massive shortages of DC's Villains Month 3-D covers and resulting scarcity-driven demand as an indication that a big way this particular comics market works is very much ensconced in a collectibles mindset. What one hopes, of course, if you're invested in the success of this market over time, is that there isn't long-term fallout: that you're not taking short-term gains at the expense of a lengthy fraying over time, that you're not tiring out certain consumers or giving them a chance to move away from certain books or making them feel pulled and yanked around. It's difficult to figure out if this is a real concern. Those betting against the destruction of this comics market have come out ahead, sometimes improbably, for more than three decades now. In the end, it may be worth noting that this sort of thing might work because it's not just the makers and sellers that are cynical, but that the audiences are properly inured to this kind of thing because they either know what's up or have yet to admit it to themselves.
 
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Always An Education To Watch Caniff Move His "Camera"

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there are elements to the older strips that can be tough to take, but the way that caniff staged his sundays remains amazing to me
 
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People Keep Sending Me This Fantastic Four Image Set

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Derek Kirk Kim's Same Difference Name To World Book Night

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The book Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim will be one of the books participating in World Book Night, which is something I could pretend to tell you I knew all about through some sort of clever, casual knowledge-dropping, but is total freaking news to me. It looks like it is an extension of World Book Day and started in 2011. It is a promotion that is designed to promote books in which a bunch of books are made available to people.

What is good and kind of undeniably so is that this is the first graphic novel selected so extra attention will be paid to it, which is nice because it is a very charming, well-executed book that I think a lot of people will like if they read it. This will give them a chance.
 
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These Breccia Pages Going Around Sure Are Something

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this Vice report on NYCC was fun, if you didn't catch up to it when it appeared. It was slightly later than most of that show's reports.

* Comic Arts Brooklyn has its programming/events schedule up: note how few panel presentations there are the day of the festival and how loaded they are. I think that's a growing trend at shows like this one. That might sound inane, but I think it is a completely different orientation to move from doing a smaller version of a big show's panels according to how many panels you can put together to kind of putting together a limited number of presentations when the creator base at the show would likely yield three times that many.

* finally, APE has announced for the first weekend in October, 2014. That is a week before the NYCC; those two shows ran the same weekend in 2013.
 
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If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* totally missed this AdHouse sale of items from their closed-down distribution arm.

image* the cover for the French edition of Joseph Lambert's Anne Sullivan/Helen Keller biography looks very pretty -- hard for me to find a really good scan of that art, though. This latest should be better, though.

* oh, Noah.

* egad, early Dan Clowes Eightball pages for sale.

* Joe Gordon on Velvet #1. Eve Corbel on The Song Of Roland. Rob Kirby on March: Book One.

* superior link-blogger Kevin Melrose's withering contempt in engaging a Fox News analysis criticizing The Walking Dead is kind of funny, but this does seem to be some sort of banner week for public statements from morons.

* Ryan Holmberg talks to Vishwajyoti Ghosh. Phil Hoad talks to Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman. Hannah Means-Shannon talks to Bob Fingerman.

* not comics: Marvel making another cartoon isn't really news, and I have to imagine everyone that covers mainstream comics and all of the related business has already gotten into this, but it's worth noting in brief that one of Marvel's main perceived values to Disney when that company purchased it was to give it boy-properties with which to make TV shows that they could then put on the explosion of cable systems and the like all around the globe. So that seems to be going well for them.

* finally, I have never seen a photo of Randy Scott, the mover behind the Michigan State collection.
 
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Happy 88th Birthday, Al Feldstein!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Mindy Newell!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Austin English!

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October 23, 2013


Go, Look: It's A Small World

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Chinese Cartoonist Defiant After Being Held One Week Ago On Charges Related To A Blog Post

Reuters has a piece up here from Sui-Lee Wee about the cartoonist Wang Liming, who was arrested last week on charges of "suspicion of causing a disturbance" for forwarding a post related to a news story that government officials decided was a rumor. This comes in the midst of a run of such arrests and general harassment of on-line personalities like Liming, a stretch that has caught the attention of international human rights organizations. According to Wee, China's courts are targeting any and all rumors that end up being widely disseminated as potential criminal acts.

Liming is known on-line as "Rebel Pepper," and the constant deleting of his blogging accounts have been noted by the international press several times in the past. One popular service measures his penetration at 310K-plus followers. Liming was held this time for about 24 hours. A veteran of satirical comics-making going back to the 1980s, Liming first came to the attention of authorities in this way about three years ago because of posting cartoons critical of Chinese public policy.
 
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Go, Look: Agent 8

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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.

*****

JUL131200 BETTY BLUES HC $18.99
This is not a week at the comics shop for me, at least not in terms of lots of new comics specifically hitting my natural consumption nerve endings. There are some quality works out, though, and I'm sure that for someone out there, maybe even someone reading this, it will be the best new comics day of the year. NBM has been publishing Renaud Dillies for a while, and while I think this is older work -- from the first few years of a career that I believe is somewhere in the 12-15 years range at present -- it is very accomplished and super good-looking.

imageJUL131262 NEMESIS THE WARLOCK DEVIANT ED HC (MR) $48.00
This is a collection of the colored version of the Pat Mills/Kevin O'Neill 2000AD feature, one of the more memorably stylish comics of the 1980s. I greatly enjoy O'Neill's work and there are serious people that know a lot about comics that will sit across a table from you holding with beer in hand and argue that Mills is the best mainstream comics writer of the last half-century.

AUG130060 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #29 (MR) $7.99
JUN130031 HELLBOY MIDNIGHT CIRCUS HC $14.99
The latest from the Mignola-verse is a trade this time around, and it continues to be amazing to me just how many issues of Dark Horse Presents there have been in this new, slightly more expensive iteration. I don't always like the bulk of the work in that publication but clearly there are people that love it all and I can always find something intriguing there.

AUG130074 CONAN PEOPLE O/T BLACK CIRCLE #1 $3.50
AUG130312 VERTIGO ESSENTIALS THE SANDMAN #1 (MR) $1.00
JUN130349 ROCKETEER SPIRIT PULP FRICTION #2 [DIG/P+] $3.99
AUG130800 DAREDEVIL #32 $2.99
AUG130762 INFINITY HEIST #2 $3.99
AUG130765 INFINITY HUNT #3 $3.99
This is all the serial comic book work of the adventure or costumed genre variety that didn't fit into another category. It's a light enough week I would probably cast a wider net than usual in checking out what's there -- I would make note of the Vertigo $1 Sandman book if only that it means new Sandman is imminent. I have a soft spot for those titles that Marvel and DC do that are direct variations of their ongoing events that aren't explicitly tied into a specific character or property. For some reason, those tend to get the fun artists and looser storylines. The Rocketeer/Spirit work isn't really in my wheelhouse but there was an interesting piece somewhere -- TCJ? -- that argued that these comics are better than the Dave Stevens original works as comics, and are thus worthy of attention. I'm not sure that's true -- sometimes what I like about a comic is the awkwardness or it being ill-suited for a specific kind of comics-reading experience -- but it's an argument that would drive me to the latest work.

AUG131222 GARTH ENNIS ERF HC (MR) $14.99
This is the Garth Ennis kids work, and I believe was kickstarted at some point, either generally or some component of the final result. I don't see a lot of work funded that way on these lists -- they tend to be very small press, and tend to focus on hand sales and pre-sales as enabled by the crowd-funder. Anyway, Ennis, is building a really interesting career if you look at the breadth of it and see it in the context of his specific milieu, so I pay attention to everything he releases.

JUL130972 BLAKE & MORTIMER GN VOL 15 SECRET O/T SWORDFISH PART 1 $15.95
JUL130974 LARGO WINCH GN VOL 07 GOLDEN GATE $11.95
JUL130975 LUCKY LUKE TP VOL 37 FINGERS $11.95
JUL130977 THORGAL GN VOL 11 INVISIBLE FORTRESS $11.95
JUL130978 VALERIAN GN VOL 04 WELCOME TO ALFLOLOL $11.95
The $11.95 price point was odd enough it drove my attention to this week's suite of European albums brought to this market, and I throw in the Black and Mortimer as well. These are all solid series for their respective target audiences, sturdy and well-crafted but ultimately never something that sticks with me. I've never seen one in a store, so if yours carries them, count your blessings.

AUG130687 BOUNCE #6 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
AUG130711 SATELLITE SAM #4 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
AUG138284 SEX CRIMINALS #1 2ND PTG (MR) $3.50
AUG130714 SEX CRIMINALS #2 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
AUG130505 VELVET #1 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
AUG130504 PRETTY DEADLY #1 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
This is the other short list of serial genre comic books out this week, a stronger list and one consisting solely of offerings from Image Comics: the latest Joe Casey oddity, this time with artist David Messina and designer Sonia Harris, the Matt Fraction/Howard Chaykin early TV-related series, the first two issues of writer Fraction's collaboration with Chip Zdarsky, the premiere of the Emma Rios/Kelly Sue DeConnick western, and the Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting team-up on a spy story that both functions as a spy story and as commentary on its tropes. The Brubaker/Epting is the big hitter here, or at least that's my guess: they did a lot of Captain America comics together, and Epting's depiction of an action scene involving a New York City elevated train was a show-stopper that drove attention to that effort as much as Brubaker's surprise end-of-issue plot twist.

*****

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 because I hate you.

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*****
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I've Never Posted Directly To The Youth In Decline Site

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Kirby Family Re-Hearing Petition Denied By Appeals Court

imageDominic Patten at Deadline is where I saw yesterday afternoon's story that the Jack Kirby Estate had their most recent petition denied in their ongoing attempt to assert rights to the characters either created or co-created by the late cartoonist during the fertile early 1960s run at Marvel. A significant number of those characters have become the foundation for the movies and licensing that have made Marvel a multibillion dollar entertainment giant and a key part of the wider Disney empire. As the article describes, the issuance was brief and to the point, and reaffirms a 2011 ruling in Marvel's favor. The article also notes that this latest ruling comes in the context of similar setbacks for the Siegel and Shuster families in their attempt to secure portions of the Superman copyright, and marks yet another loss for the lawyer behind both efforts, Marc Toberoff.

I've written about this series of legal moves a bunch now. As I've mentioned in some of those posts, I've never looked at legal outcomes as automatically representative of justice being done, even when they work in the direction of my preferred outcome. Establishing the legality of a specific situation can be the engine for a change in policy, but it's not the only way things get done. I don't think the world has to be seen in terms of a limited reward to be carved up by those with the greatest ability to do, enabled by legal circumstance or even restrained by how those strictures somehow bind extreme, uncontrollable impulse. I think these are ultimately decisions made by human beings and that there are multiple ways to get to the same place. So I continue to see this as there being a chance, no matter how unlikely, for Marvel to do better by their key creators, starting with Kirby. That also means I don't think the heartbreak of this has to be seen as a series of unrelenting atrocities to make us sad or wish for a better outcome. I think of it more as a perpetual lost opportunity, with all sorts of creative possibilities for anyone that wants to move in that direction. Nothing is off the table when it comes to comics.
 
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If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Green Bay, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Instant Quarter Bin

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* behold the powerful handsomeness of the Louis Riel test cartoons.

image * totally missed this two-part Richard Baez piece called "Lowlife."

* Zachary Clemente talks to Colleen AF Venable.

* I love the idea of a column devoted to superhero fight scenes, I just sort of wish the two with which I'm familiar in this installment didn't strike me as super-lame upon my own reading of them.

* I'll say it again: love this Tarzan mailbox.

* love for Stevie Weissman's kids comics.

* I've been sent this call for submissions multiple times. It looks like they pay, if only a tiny amount as more a formality than an actual payment to secure value, but that's something, I guess.

* the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum presents cartoons made by Derf 30 years ago.

* Emily Villano on Anything That Loves. Henry Chamberlain on Pretty Deadly #1. Charles Hatfield on Battling Boy. Robert Clough on Black Eye 2.

* Brandon Graham, lettering critic.

* twitter is a powerful communicative tool that brings us all together.

* finally, it usually takes a random encounter with some slightly off-model work to remind me that one of the reason that the Batman character is so popular is because there are multiple entry points that work, and no matter how they develop seem to continue to work.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Blake Bell!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Eric Shanower!

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Happy 39th Birthday, John Pham!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Gary Erskine!

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October 22, 2013


Go, Look: Hwei Lim

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I Always Think Of Stan Lee Media As A Bunch Of Guys In A UFO Flying Around Suing People

Milton Griepp over at the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com caught a story that I missed that Stan Lee Media has suffered a major setback in a legal matter not its usual legal matter of suing Marvel for all the Marvel properties on which they believe Lee once worked, then gave to them, and then implicitly took back when transferring the rights to them for a payout from Marvel several years back. Apparently, this time was an appeal of a ruling from February 2012 that found that rights to Conan once held by the company had been transferred in a proper manner and that SLM had no real basis on which to sue. It's hard for me to imagine Stan Lee Media having much of a life left, even as a thing that sues people. As implied a couple of sentences back, Stan Lee Media is a different entity than Stan Lee, and the latter hasn't been involved with the former for years and years.
 
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Go, Look: Tuca The Toucan

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Festivals Extra: Billy Ireland Announces Which Events Will Be Open To The Public Or Individually

There's a massive post over at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum blog about their forthcoming Grand Opening celebration mid-November. That show is primarily attended by a hardcore paying audience of comics super-fans, many of whom have been doing that almost totally-off-the-radar event (minus the opening part) every other years for a long while now. But several of the events are either open to the public or have limited seating available. I hope people will take advantage. That is one hell of a nice-looking facility, and we should spend that whole weekend being as nice as we can in the direction of that institution's founder, Lucy Shelton Caswell.
 
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Go, Look: Jeremy Eaton 50% Off Because He's Turning 50 Art Sale

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More Random Articles: A Pretty Good Foursome

* Christian Adams writes about the role of the editor in the political cartooning process. A second set of eyeballs on something is rarely a bad thing.

* Michael Maslin assembles a bunch of autobiographically-informed cartoonists from current New Yorker cartoonists. Some of the choices are more arch and self-serving than insightful, but there are still some funny little stories in there. I love that Harry Bliss goes knives out on Clifford, albeit in a genial, New Yorker cartoon kind of way.

* press for Dean Trippe's Something Terrible is starting to build. Bonus fifth article: another feature on Trippe's admirable comic.

* this article about editorial cartoonists responding to Kristallnacht isn't the first one I've read on the subject, but I find it endlessly fascinating to think of a time when editorial cartooning could directly engage a major policy issue like that one, and one that isn't necessarily full of hilarity.
 
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Go, Read: Peow Studios Interview

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Sean Kleefeld Tracks A Group Of Webcomics From 2008

The writer Sean Kleefeld notes that from a bunch of comics nominated for a webcomics-related award in 2008, a huge swathe of them are no longer publishing regularly, and many not at all. That's sort of interesting to note, although I'm not sure what you do with that other than acknowledging the still-Wild West of making traditional webcomics five years ago. Kleefeld makes a couple of nice points about why people pursue such projects in the first place and a couple of the advantages that may accrue.

There was a notion floated a while back that we're beginning to see a bunch of creators -- and people generally -- for whom making a webcomic or mini-comic is a variation of having the kind of garage band that many of us put together in high school. I think that could be true. What I don't know is how this might change the culture's general orientation towards comics work. I would imagine that it's another step in the kind of widespread acceptance of comics as something that people do, something that may have a specific cultural connotation but not necessarily a critical one, all without really energizing an audience for same.
 
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Go, Look: A Sunday Visit With Mirthful Marie Severin

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

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Johnny Ryan crushes the Ten Rules assignment at the Ten Rules site.

image* for some reason I missed posting this Michael Cavna story giving details on the Bill Watterson/Richard Thompson art show at Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum that I mentioned in my MIX report: that's going to be the first show after the broad survey-type show they're doing with Brian Walker to open the place. That one will open in late March, and hopefully we can all go see it during that season's intense national criss-cross of worthy comics conventions and festivals.

* Frank Santoro visits the Fantagraphics offices (he's with Kevin Huizenga) and then drives up to Vancouver where he hangs out with Brandon Graham and Robin McConnell. An actual check from a comics company to a creator is shown.

* not comics: blow me.

* Bob Temuka praises a few of the bigger MAD creators during the primetime of its most successful, most mainstream newsstand run, and casts reading MAD as a routine rite of passage.

* John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Paul O'Brien on X-Men Legacy #16-18. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Wolverine Volume One: Hunting Season. Michael Buntag on Mind MGMT #8-12. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on another storyline from Ex Machina. Johanna Draper Carlson on How Not To Be A Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide. Rob Clough on a bunch of mini-comics. Richard Bruton on Aleister Crowley -- Wandering The Waste and Wu Wei.

* finally, superheroes got sort of weird there for a while.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Steven Grant!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Jim Wheelock!

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October 21, 2013


Go, Read: New Connor Willumsen Comic, "Passion Fruit"

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By Request Extra: Mort Todd's John Severin Fire Sale

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Mort Todd apparently needs some money sooner rather than later, and to facilitate this is selling a bunch of John Severin art from a celebrity-driven project they did together. The sale ends really soon, so get on that if that's something that interests you. I hope things work out for Todd in whatever way he needs them to.
 
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Not Comics: Jeffrey Jones Illustrates Robert E Howard

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A Few Things I Found Interesting About Group-Making A List Of Underappreciated Comics For 2013

This site spent time yesterday facilitating the creation of a group-made list of under-appreciated comics for 2013. The initial idea arose from the fact the Best-Of Comics season is hurtling towards us. As so many of those lists look like a student UN of one representative from every major publisher and/or those books that are presented as the books of the year, I thought it might be cool to have a place comics reviewers could go to be reminded of stuff that CR readers at least thought under-appreciated or ignored.

imageIt ended up being a fun exercise in comics culture as well as a pretty good list. Some observations:

* I had five people write in and recommend work of their own. This was despite asking people not do this. Two of the five recognized that I asked this, and argued against this unfair constraint. Two other people admitted "This might qualify [as my own work]" and then named a work that super-clearly qualified as their own work by, you know, being their own work, with their name on it and stuff.

Truth be told, I expected about a half-dozen responses from people nominating their own work. The comics sub-culture and our culture more generally has this really ingrained idea that hustling is an unassailable positive, this despite many in comics having crippled egos and extreme self-loathing. You get people that buy into this, and other people that push it away so hard or feel at a disadvantage because of it they either don't think they're doing it or are doing it just an understandable little bit. So we're always going to see this, and in many ways it will be rewarded.

I didn't use any of these suggestions.

* I had two people write in with 10 choices, one person write in with 17, and one with over 30! This struck me as odd in a couple of ways. One was that with the exception of the first ten-part list all of them came in late in the day, after it was clear I was going to be listing these myself with jpegs. The one who sent in 30-plus even wrote that these were all "google-able" as if to assure me I wouldn't have to scan in all of their choices! That's a lot of work people thought I was going to do. Two was that I think we have a tendency in comics culture to go broad so as not to disappoint anyone -- that perhaps this kind of thing is an expression not of all of these books being equally awesome, but all of these works being arguably awesome. I do sometimes wonder that now that comics is a rich land of Pretty Good if the culture encourages us to make the distinctions between Pretty Good and Great, or if this important on any level at all to anyone. I didn't include any of those multiple-item works, just to save time, although a couple of times I snagged one from a list of three or four when there was a clear choice favored. Sorry, nice people! I did enjoy those lists.

* A lot of people wrote in to suggest a friend's work. A lot. Some recognized this fact and apologized; others didn't. While people involved in comics tend to make friends with other people involved in comics and many of them make fine works, I think there is something to the culture that can be cliquish and small.

* I didn't get any superhero comics. I thought I'd get at least one "People love Hawkeye, but this is equally good" or "I know this got a lot of press in mainstream comics but not in your world, alt-boy." There are tons of obvious explanations for this, starting with the fact that CR may not seem to a lot of people the place you go to recommend an under-appreciated superhero book.

* Some folks tweeted at me instead of e-mailed, and named people rather than works. Which is fine, but neither one is what I wanted or asked for. I love twitter, and twitter has been good to the site, but I am worried that people don't go to sites anymore so I try not to make site features available solely through the use of twitter -- even the gimmicky ones like Five For Friday or a list like we made yesterday.

* I didn't get any newspaper comics. I didn't expect any, for a number of reasons but also the fact that this doesn't seem the home of people that read that kind of work. I'm also not sure there's a feature out there that people love right now. That feels like a room dominated by handshakes rather than hugs.

Anyway, I greatly appreciate all of your help, even the ones I didn't use. I think it's a good list, and I hope you critics out there will give the list a look before you make a list of your own, just to see if there's something you might like that you may have missed. I know for instance I thought that Blain was more than a year old!

page from one of the recommended, under-appreciated works
 
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Go, Look: The Constant Eye

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Missed It: Lost Girls Pulled From National Library Story Finally Works Its Way Into Country's Media

imageThe story in question is here. There's a reasonable attempt for an article of this type to survey the issues landscape and describe some of the basic positions staked in how the library should process the Melinda Gebbie/Alan Moore work: the notion that it is a challenging work, the fact that a significant part of the distress felt is that the library is self-censoring. It does seem without a complaint driving the move that it becomes one of those driven by the vaguer-than-one-might-hope-for application of broad ideas. It's also one of those things where I imagine one can sympathize with the difficulties involved in having that kind of work shelved without wanting to back away one step from having it shelved. But hey, some works are harder to facilitate than others.
 
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Go, Look: Gil Kane And Tom Palmer Draw Dracula

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Go, Look: Daisuke Igarashi Tagged On Tumblr

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* so I guess the Neil The Horse project could use some help, as in paying for all of the printing. The incentives are very modest in that even at the highest level of support it would take 150-plus supporters to carry that one to the finish line. I think that's a really admirable project, and I hope it gets over, although I'm pretty sure that was always a "we're going to lose $15K on this" going in.

* not comics: unless she's taken it down in the time between posting it and this column rolling out, this should take you to a page whereby you can donate or buy things in support of cartoonist Julia Wertz's new passion for exploring abandoned buildings.

* I'm trying to find a central clearinghouse for Steve Niles-related auctions and the like, and will slip it into this post if I find one. This is basically the eBay headquarters. This is the guy running the eBay stuff. The direct paypal account is HelpSteveNiles@gmail.com -- that's what I used. Bleeding Cool has the most recent summary-style article. It looks like Niles is reasonably well-supported and has some work coming in so let's hope that continues as he and his move into a temporary living situation and gets things back in order.

* finally, there are some days left to give money to the Middleman revival or DC's latest round of Africa-related charitable work -- they are more than funded. DICE from that nice man Robert Clough is not yet funded, and we should all think about giving something.
 
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If I Were In Boston, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Champ Comics #25

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm going to try and do a separate post on the top part of retailer and industry advocate Brian Hibbs' latest column, but it's also worth reading for the bottom part where he talks about the alchemy of pairing creators and licenses in a way that might depress if you have delicate artistic sensibilities but is indicative to how a retailer like Hibbs thinks in terms of moving these items into his customers' hands.

image* Dustin Cabeal on Heck. Kimberly Griffiths on Hawkeye #13.

* Sketches from Guantanamo previewed in the NYROB.

* not comics: here's some contextual information on that controversy that popped up last week about a design-beholden item-creating business openly ripping off designs from independent artists.

* super-cute.

* not comics: the tone of this open letter from the magnificent movie rental store Scarecrow in Seattle, as well as a lot of its specific rhetoric, is likely familiar to anyone that's ever had a favorite comic book store or comics publisher get knocked up against the ropes for a while. I think Scarecrow has been like this for a few years now. At some point you begin to wonder after the ability of a certain way of providing access to an art form to keep a certain business model afloat.

* can't tell who wrote this, but it seems to be a reader's tribute to the comic book title called Fearless Defenders. Just about every comic book series is somebody's favorite, and every cancellation stings someone.

* Cory Woodroof talks to Guy Gilchrist. Dave Richards talks to Karl Kesel.

* not comics: I saw a pair of Internet pieces of content that might help people interested in extending one of the key, ranging discussions of the moment: problematic art, old and new. This AV Club article revisits the depressing misogyny found in many of the fantasy works written by 1980/1990s smart-teen favorite Piers Anthony. This Andrew Sullivan thread brings up a lot of examples of older works that do not perform very well to modern eyes and sensibilities.

* finally, it's fun when Kevin Huizenga draws anything.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Paul Levitz!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Geof Darrow!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Steve MacIsaac!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Kiel Phegley!

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October 20, 2013


I Worry I'm The Only Person That Knows This Book Exists: The Comics Reporter Re-Consideration List

It's past mid-October, which means -- believe it or not -- we're likely to start getting best-of-year lists in a matter of days rather than months.

Let's all complain in advance.

If you're out there, if you have a 2013 book/series/strip/webcomic that you like and that you seriously want people to reconsider with the end of the year approaching, a work that you're worried has been mostly ignored by the world of comics and those to whom that world is important, send me its name. I won't include anything I consider a big release -- something that received an obvious lot of attention -- but I'll give you as much leeway as possible otherwise. No explanation desired or necessary. I just want to run a bunch of covers and publishing information. I may not even include names of suggesting parties, or may include them at the end of the post in a big group, so as to remove the temptation to show off one's taste or curry favor. I'll even start with one I solicited from someone else.

Obscure is fine, but undervalued primarily through lack of consideration is the point. That includes work that might be undervalued in a specific category or within a group of books rather than overall. It doesn't have to be the best work of the year, even, just one you wish people would look at one more time. Keep it to one book, though; otherwise I'll be here until 2014 best-of season. (I will almost certainly read with interest and then delete any multiple-suggestion e-mails; sorry!) -- Tom Spurgeon

Update: I'm done accepting these, and prefer to keep it with the people that read the site on Sunday rather than get a wave of Monday morning latecomers. Thanks to all that read the site any time they choose to do so! I'll have a final list up by noon Monday, after which I will delete this sentence.

*****

Critics, please maybe take a second look at the following:

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* Abyss, Saman Bemel-Benrud, 2D Cloud.

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* A Frozen World, Nick Andors, Self-Published.

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* Al'Rashad, Christopher Bird and Davinder Brar, Self-Published Webcomic.

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* Bad Machinery, John Allison, Self-Published Webcomic.

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* Beta Testing The Apocalypse, Tom Kaczynski, Fantagraphics.

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* Bittersweet Romance, Victor Cayro, Drippybone Books.

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* Copra, Michel Fiffe, Self-Published.

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* Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan The Sunday Comics 1931-1933, Hal Foster.

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* Exorcise Book, Heather Benjamin, A Bolha Editora, $12.

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* Good Dog, Graham Chaffee, Fantagraphics.

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* Ghosts and Ruins, Ben Catmull, Fantagraphics.

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* Habit #1, Josh Simmons, Oily Comics.

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* Grand Gestures, Simon Moreton, Retrofit..

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* Heck, Zander Cannon, Top Shelf.

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* Historyjki (bemini kus! #12), Maciej Sienczyk, kus! komiksi.

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* In the Kitchen with Alain Passard, Christophe Blain, Chronicle Books.

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* Journal, Julie Delporte, Koyama Press.

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* July Diary 2013, Gabrielle Bell, Self-Published Webcomic.

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* Kummituslapsi (The Ghost Child), Terhi Ekebom, Asema.

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* Lovf New York: Destination Crisis, Jesse Reklaw, Birdcage Bottom Books.

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* Monster, Various Artists, Hidden Fortress Press.

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* New Comics #1, Patrick Kyle, Mother Books.

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* Out Of Hollow Water, Anna Bongiovanni, 2D Cloud.

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* Paranatural, Zack Morrison, Self-Published Webcomic.

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* Paranoid Apartment, Lala Albert, Secret Prison.

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* Playing Out, Jim Medway, Blank Slate Books, June 2013.

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* Ray and Joe: The Story of a Man and His Dead Friend, Charles Rodrigues, Fantagraphics.

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* Real Rap, Ben Urkowitz, Oily Comics.

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* Rolling Stock, Oliver East, Comics Workbook.

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* School Spirits, Anya Davidson, PictureBox.

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* Slovakia, Marek Bennett.

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* Susceptible, Genèvieve Castrée, Drawn and Quarterly.

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* The Library, Chihoi, Conundrum.

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* Sky In Stereo #2, Mardou, Yam Books.

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* When David Lost His Voice, Judith Vanistendael, SelfMadeHero.

*****



*****

as always, Chicago Theater rules apply: 1) nothing of yours, 2) nobody you're fucking or would help move and 3) nowhere you pull a paycheck

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Ho Chi Minh Prison Diary

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OTBP: Inferno Los Angeles

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Go, Look: Boulet Reads Fantasy

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

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If I Were Near Kendal, 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 Nashville, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 51st Birthday, Len Kaminsky!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Matthew Loux!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Mike Baehr!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Ryan North!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Jim Engel!

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Happy 37th Birthday, John Allison!

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FFF Results Post #355 -- No Spandex, Please

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Strong Female Characters Who Don't Wear Costumes And/Or Don't Have Superpowers." This is how they responded.

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Shauna Wickle
2. Amir Halgal
3. Luba
4. Dorothea Molders
5. Yumi Kwon (Tune)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Mammy Yokum (okay, it's arguable she has super-powers...)
2. Delta James (Luann comic strip)
3. Friday Foster
4. Miss Geraldine Grundy
5. Wilma Deering
 
*****

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Patrick Ford

1. Olive Oyl
2. Toni Benson
3. Bigfoot
4. Little Lulu
5. Little Orphan Annie

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1) Cathy (Goff/Nieves, Tales from the Heart of Africa)
2) Thorn (Jeff Smith, Bone) 
3) Alana (Vaughan/Staples, Saga)
4) Izu Survivor (Minetaro Mochizuki, Dragon Head)
5) Professor Garbanzo (Larry Marder, Beanworld)

*****

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Aaron Costain

1. Burma
2. Chelo
3. Mica Segal (from The Property)
4. Adele Blanc-Sec
5. Lucy van Pelt

*****

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This Is Either Mine Or Jackie Estrada's

1. Esperanza Glass
2. Joanie Caucus
3. Alice Otterloop
4. Grace (from Hicksville)
5. Jane Pekar

*****

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Stefano Gaudiano

* Mafalda
* Valentina
* Bouche Doree
* Julie Doucet
* Ellen Forney

*****

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Dave Knott

* Aya
* Anne Merkel
* Sylvia from "Minimum Wage"
* Mary Perkins
* Ramba

*****

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Michael May

1. Thorn (from Bone)
2. Little Orphan Annie
3. Polly Pringle (from Polly and the Pirates)
4. Emily Hayes (from Amulet)
5. Connie Kurridge (from Frank Godwin's comic strip)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Ms. Tree (Ms. Tree Adventures)
2. Dr. Maureen Vonnegut (Concrete)
3. Candice "Candy" Watts (Ex Machina)
4. (Main) Jane (The Plain Janes/Janes in Love)
5. Carrie Stetko (Whiteout)

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Clover Connelly (Blue Monday)
2. Josephine Lombard, (Madman)
3. Vim (One-Trick Rip-Off)
4. Arsenal Hopeless-Savage
5. Dian Belmont (Sandman Mystery Theatre)

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Little Iodine
* Annie Oakley
* Mama Katzenjammer
* Joan of Arc
* Maggie

*****

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Patrick Dean

1. Miz Beaver (Pogo)
2. Vicki Glori (L&R) 
3. Bess (Crogan's Loyalty)
4. Chakaal (Groo the Wanderer)
5. Venexiana Stevenson (Corto Maltese)

I swear, the first one to pop in my head was Miz Beaver. 

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Ellen Forney
2. Alison Bechdel
3. Aline Kominsky Crumb
4. Drooly Julie
5. Brenda Starr

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Baroness Erica von Kampf
2. Breathless Mahoney
3. P'Gell
4. The Dragon Lady
5. Lucy van Pelt

*****

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Diana Tamblyn

* Moira MacTaggert
* Lois Lane
* Maggie Chascarillo
* Enid (from Ghost World)
* Jessica Jones (from Alias)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Lacey Davenport
2. Crystal Gayle Marakova
3. Maggie Sawyer
4. Ellen Baker
5. Mary West (Wally's mom)

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. Minnie The Minx (The Beano)
2. Judge Hershey (2000AD)
3. Emily Aster (Phonogram)
4. Officer Carlie Cooper (Amazing/Superior Spider-Man)
5. Aunt May Parker (apart from that one time she was Herald of Galactus)

*****

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Art Baxter

1. Lisa Bradley
2. Valentina
3. Fritz Martinez
4. Mode O'Day
5. Peppermint Patty

*****

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Richard Pachter

1. Ma Kent
2. Lara (Superman's birth-mom)
3. Lois Lane
4. Amanda Waller
5. Talia al Ghul

*****

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Randy Clark

* P'Gell
* Leiko Wu
* Chance Falconer
* Modesty Blaise
* Martha Kent

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Agatha Heterodyne (Girl Genius)
2. Agent 355 (Y: The Last Man)
3. Agnes Quill
4. Arisa Hines (Perhapanauts)
5. Athena Voltaire

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Lucy Van Pelt
2. Mammy Yokum
3. Miss Buxley (she's ARMY strong)
4. Burma
5. Susie Derkins

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Jodelle
2. Sexica
3. Alexandra Trese
4. Adèle Blanc-Sec
5. Lucy Van Pelt

*****

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John Platt

1. Alanna Wolff (Supernatural Law)
2. Tomoe Ame (Usagi Yojimbo)
3. Dr. Kate Corrigan (B.P.R.D.)
4. Jean DeWolff (Spider-Man)
5. Keif Llama (various Matt Howarth comics)

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Professor Jocelyn Peabody (Dan Dare)
2. Modesty Blaise
3. Sadie Browning
4. Samantha Slade
5. Adèle Blanc-Sec

*****

topic suggested by Jackie Estrada; thanks, Jackie

*****
*****
 
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October 19, 2013


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Video From The Martin Goodman Exhibit at SOI



Thinking Captions, 2013


TED Talk By Bala


Charles Schulz's Pen Nibs


Alan Moore: The Lo-Budget Biopic
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from October 12 to October 18, 2013:

1. Reaction to harassment incidents at NYCC are severe, immediate and relentless, signaling a new era in convention-going that places a premium on not facilitating or enabling any sort of creepy behavior at all.

2. NYCC hits San Diego-level attendance numbers at what seems to be a largely successful show. It seems as if they've landed on a very mainstream-comics heavy and successful formula, using the energy and star power of genre TV, cosplay and superhero movies but keeping enough attention on comics folk to satisfy those in attendance. New York was far from a slam dunk a decade ago, and scared off organizers for years.

3. Still no confirmation on CRNI report that cartoonist Akram Raslan was murdered. It may never happen.

Winner Of The Week
Matt Fraction, reaching out to a fan with an anti-suicide missive that's not only very kind but contains a compelling idea: that curiosity may be enough to keep us wanting to make it to the next day.

Losers Of The Week

Quote Of The Week
"Now, today, tonight, whenever -- get to a phone and find a doctor that can try to help you heal, that can try to re-colorize your world again, that can help you start caring again. All you need is that one tiny thing, that speck, that little grain of sand. the World Series, Avengers 2, Tina Fey's new show, the first issue of Pretty Deadly, some slice of the world you've never seen, some drink you love, who the fuck will love your dog like you do if you're gone, what if jabrams kills it on the new Star Wars, the hell are you doing for Halloween, you ever feed a dolphin with your bare hand? because i have and I am fucking telling you it is a thing to experience and oh god what fucking font will Starbucks use on the Christmas drink sleeves this year -- i don't care what or how dumb but i promise you somewhere in your life is that one fleck of dust that can help start you on the road back. That's all it takes. One fucking mote, drifting through your head." -- Fraction

*****

today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

*****
*****
 
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Missed It: SPX 2013 Artist Yearbook

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

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If I Were Near Maynard, 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 Near Kendal, 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 Near Kent, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Providence, I'd Got To This

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If I Were In Nashville, 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 Near Lawrence, I'd Go To This

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Happy 66th Birthday, Giorgio Cavazzano!

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I know this image is super-atypical, but it made me laugh
 
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October 18, 2013


Go, Look: Brian Herrick

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Your 2013 Pocket Cartoonist Of The Year, As Selected By The Cartoon Art Trust Awards

Matt Pritchett -- whose snappy portrait is one of my favorite pro-taken comics photos -- apparently won this year's "Pocket Cartoonist Of The Year" designation from the Cartoon Art Trust Awards. Pocket cartoons are small, single-column drawings and aren't used by anyone in North America right now as far as I know, not on a regular basis. I'm not sure they've ever caught on in the US. There is a proud tradition of this kind of immediate cartooning in the UK, though.

You can see a bunch of Pritchett's work in one place here. You can also access his work at the Telegraph here.

I have no idea if there is another or maybe even two more cartooning-related awards given out by the program, as I can't find any evidence of results past the high-five from the Telegraph to one of its own.
 
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OTBP: Life Zone

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Collective Memory: APE 2013

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this article has been archived
 
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Not Comics: Avon Fantasy Reader Covers

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Collective Memory: NYCC 2013

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Lupin The 3rd Book Covers By Monkey Punch

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Bundled Extra: RASL No Longer "Under Review" At Amazon.com

Here. That is the one-color collection of Jeff Smith's work with color by Steve Hamaker, and obviously a big book for that small publisher. I have to imagine that any delay in terms of having your book available through that giant facilitator of work would be frustrating to the extreme during that initial launch period, but RASL will have a longer launch period than maybe any book out this Fall so hopefully no damage was done. As I recall, this happens when there's some sort of potential physical hiccup in how the books are available, usually as generated by something in the part of the supply chain at the bookseller as opposed to the publisher. Anyway, all cleared up now.
 
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Go, Look: Assorted John Stanley "Homer" Stories

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: Digital News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the cartoonist Katie Skelly will apparently be doing a regular comic for the site Slutist called Agent 8 within a section -- a section that may or may not eventually include other cartoonists -- called Comic Strip(tease). Skelly contributed similarly-oriented work to the first Thickness anthology. The new work will be monthly.

* Kevin Melrose has a thorough piece here on the e-book debut of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, as Andrews McMeel continues it relatively reserved roll-out of digital options. That could be a big deal. I'm not sure if the audience for that work is clamoring for it in digital form, but the strip remains popular, particularly with an emerging adult generation of consumers.

* someone sent along a link to the comiXology jobs page wondering if "product development" meant that the digital comics leader was going to start making comics of their own. Even a cursory glance of that position's requirements and duties suggests this is not the case. The only thing that struck me reading that one, is again: this is a very serious entertainment company looking to hire top-notch talent that they hope are also into comics. This isn't a scramble to find a position for comics industry regulars looking for the next gig -- although I'm sure some comics industry regulars have and will find work there.

* I checked with Allison Baker if it was only my imagining Monkeybrain Comics was publishing more books than usual right now, and her response indicated they'd still prefer to keep the number of comics lower when that's possible. I think that's a good strategy for the initial years of a from-the-ether company like that. Sometimes I wonder if digital comics more broadly isn't suffering a bit from that thing where all the Three Stooges hit a door frame at once.

* the happiest digital comics customers I talk to on a regular basis are my two friends that do that Marvel Digital Unlimited Comics plan where you get access to loads and loads of comics at a significant but cumulatively bargain price. They don't mind that they're older books because they're disengaged from following such books closely enough where this would matter, the same way my 72-year-old mother doesn't care from which season of Law & Order comes the re-run with which she eats an early dinner on Tuesday night. This is about as scientific an observation as might be had at a faith-healing session during a tent revival, but I wanted to make note of it for my own consumption later on. Also, I don't know that I was aware of a new plan option, and it's interesting to see what they put together as desirable incentives.

* finally, Heidi MacDonald's The Beat reminds of that Neil Gaiman download that funnels the money raised into charity.
 
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If I Were Near Kent, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Parade Extra: Jeff Smith Interview At MIX 2013


 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Tim O'Shea on Afterlife With Archie #1. James Johnston on Hawkeye #13. Sean Gaffney on Sherlock Bones Vol. 1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of comic-store comics. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Dogs Of War. Johanna Draper Carlson on Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #1. Joe Gordon on Letter 44 #1. Rob Clough on Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life.

* that nice man Nate Powell is donating art sales this week to the plight of writer Steve Niles, whose possessions suffered major flood damage. I remember Powell's originals being quite attractive.

* Richard Sala talks Halloween Hangups.

* Luke Pearson writes about taking part in the Memory Palace exhibit.

* these Ten Rules features have been great so far, and none better than this one by Roger Langridge. It's a fine mix of the theoretical and the concrete that leads you back into considering some sort of theoretical.

* Sarah McIntyre draws from a photo.

* finally: Dan Brereton draws Judge Anderson. Jack Kirby draws Conan; Jaime Hernandez draws the Scarlet Witch.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Sam Henderson!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Larry Pickering!

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October 17, 2013


Bundled Extra: Bob Fingerman Returns To Minimum Wage

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This is interesting news, released at NYCC last weekend and then again through formal PR from Ron Richards at Image about an hour before this posting. Post-alternative generation serial comic mainstay Bob Fingerman is going to bring back his Minimum Wage series, this time three years after the original series ended with his lead and sort-of stand-in single again on the other side of the relationship and marriage detailed in the first MW books.

I think there's some room for a mini-alt comics revival right now, so it's good to see some straight-up humor work like Fingerman's back on the stands. It's also interesting as a way to track image to see a name talent other than writer Matt Fraction and his various creative partners kind of working outside of an action-adventure genre.

The book is set to launch in January 2014.
 
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Go, Look: The Art Of Yoshitaka Amano

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via Jeremy Baum
 
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Go, Read: Short Interview Snippet With Bill Watterson

Here. It's pretty entertaining. I'd never heard that the TCJ interview might have at one point been intended for Rolling Stone.
 
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Go, Look: Bill Sienkiewicz Galleries

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1, 2
 
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Go, Bookmark: Believed Behavior

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Go, Look: Rex Dexter Of Mars

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Your 2013 Walkley Award Cartoon Category Finalists

imageAustralia's Walkley Foundation For Journalism announced its award slate earlier today, including a cartoon category: "All Media Cartoon." This year's nominees, in alphabetical order:

* Mark Knight, Herald Sun for "Kevin's Same Sex Marriage"
* Bill Leak, The Australian for "Change We Can Believe In"
* Cathy Wilcox, The Sydney Morning Herald for "Kevin Cleans Up"

You can see all three cartoons and read some words of initial praise through that first link.

The awards were instituted in 1956 and I've always read that they can be considered an equivalent to the American Pulitzer, although I'm sure there are some problematic elements to that going one direction or the other. I've always thought that Australia has one of the stronger recent traditions in terms of supporting editorial cartooning, so it's always worth paying attention to their awards and honors.
 
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Go, Look: A Big Repository Of The Bus

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Festivals Extra: Paul Karasik Announces Last CAB Panel: A Jeff Smith Spotlight Process Presentation

imagePaul Karasik wrote me an e-mail I noticed after I posted this week's festivals news that his panel slate at Comic Arts Brooklyn is completed now. He's added a panel called Jeff Smith: Pulled Apart, where he promises the award-winning cartoonist and I believe first-time Brooklyn comics show of any kind attendee will deconstruct "his comics to explain and illustrate his working process -- from script to sketch, to breakdowns to pencils to finished ink work." I'm not all the way sure what that means, but 1) Smith is really good in front of an audience, 2) Smith is very good at teaching as he goes, 3) we'll get to see a page from the webcomic that Smith's been mostly hiding from us before its premiere: Tuki Save The Humans, and 4) a resulting inking-demonstration sketch will be auctioned off for the CBLDF, of which Smith is a new board member.

So Karasik has now fooled me into running all of his panel announcements as stand-alone posts, which bodes well on how they'll be executed on the floor of that show in November. It's kind of interesting to see how one of these shows is put together panel-by-panel; Smith's inclusion is certainly something that you wouldn't predict from past Brooklyn-based shows, which haven't always favored the kind of narrative-heavy comics for which the Columbus-based Smith is known. That's also a vary small programming slate, which I think should confirm that as a strong alternative model for a lot of shows.
 
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Go, Look: Bill Woggon's Millie The Monster

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* kind of a weird time right now. For a lot of North American mainstream comics-makers, the just-past New York Comic Con marks the end of the convention calendar year, and it won't start up again until Emerald City in late March. That's not a hard measure: plenty do other shows, overseas and here in North America, and there are plenty of shows of all sizes to do, but I think for the bulk of people I know in that world there's a definite difference in this time of year. For small-press people there is still CAB, which is more of a local/national show by virtue of being in the New York area, and Short Run, which is a rare Seattle show. And there are a ton of others one might ostensibly do as well. But yeah, for major events in North America from a perception standpoint it seems to me that we're definitely at the con-year-2013-in-winter stage. I'm at CAB and at the Billy Ireland opening and I'm done as well.

* but yeah, I'm just talking about primary conceptions. Still a ton to do out of North America, for sure. There will be a battery of smaller, up-and-coming shows in the first few months of the new year. There will be a significant North American contingent at the Lakes Festival forthcoming, for example. Amadora and Lucca have their share of great cartoonists. The year ends with Comiket. And so on.

* NYCC has announced for October 9-12, 2014, in case you were wondering.

* the Rob Clough-related Durham comics show got about a third of the money it hoped to see via crowd-funding.

* Joe Gordon talks to Janet Smyth about Stripped.

* Danny Fingeroth would like you to know about the programming he's organized for the Wizard event in Nashville.

* finally, here's your last-minute reminder tossed your way guilt-free because I remembered to do this Monday as well: exhibitor applications for TCAF and LAZF are due tomorrow.
 
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OTBP: One Last Oily Comics And Zine Sub This Year

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Go, Look: JH Williams III Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Evan Henry on The Star Wars #2. Richard Bruton on This Man's Army. Joe Gordon on Coffin Hill #1. KC Carlson on Bob Hope. Henry Chamberlain on Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. Paul O'Brien on Astonishing X-Men #68. Richard Bruton on The Park and the various football histories by Bob Bond.

* Bob Temuka writes about the variety of different relationships his friends have with him through comics. I don't think of myself having a lot of comics-reading friends until I moved to Seattle, and that's true, but my friends did read my books and all had different favorites.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Paul Pelletier.

* Melissa Mendes draws Tove Jansson.

* I like that longtime Fantagraphics employee Mike Baehr is doing comics again.

* not comics: this is unacceptable. I know without looking that someone will write that this person just wants money, when what they almost certainly wish is to not have been ripped off and totally left alone. If you're a press person with an appropriate outlet, maybe write about it. If you're in Nebraska, maybe write your state's attorney general. Let's hope the story gains enough momentum for a cessations of these activities, perhaps via the potentially embarrassing hook of a company that passes itself off as homespun acting as the creepiest mega-corporation might.

* finally: Hugh Hefner: fanzine maker.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Bill Holbrook!

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Happy 39th Birthday, David Heatley!

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October 16, 2013


Go, Look: Super-Fun Bad Guy Jam Art Piece

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Missed This: Matt Fraction On Suicide

Curiosity can be the thread that leads us out of the darkness.
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Noah Van Sciver Is Doing Diary Comics On His Tumblr And You Should Read Them So He Can't Stop

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Boxers And Saints Makes National Book Awards Short List

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Congratulations to Gene Luen Yang and First Second Books. I think he'll win, too.
 
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Go, Look: 10 Rules For Drawing Comics

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Go, Look: Colin Dawson And John Severin For Timely

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Go, Look: A Last Li'l Abner?

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Go, Read: Charles Hatfield On That PBS Superhero Documentary

Charles Hatfield, an award-winning writer on superhero comics familiar to many readers of this site, has a fairly succinct and strong post up here about Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. I haven't watched the documentary; it doesn't look very interesting to me. Hatfield is overly nice and as far as I've been able to tell in reading him for 20 years has no particular axes to grind with treatments of that material that don't agree with his own.

I can tell you without reading the comments -- never read the comments -- that a standard response to that piece will be a) "hey, it's about superheroes," so they'll focus on Hatfield's point about the documentary not dealing with other genres in even the broadest terms as beside the point rather than key, missing and easily-included basic context that skipping leads to massively misleading-by-omission conclusions about things like the rise of the code; b) it's for the civilians, as if somehow you can't have a smart mention or two that involves more rigorous history and still have an entertaining documentary. I tend to see these things in almost every case as a part of that specific fan culture's ingrained insecurities than serious objections. That Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko get short shrift seems to me particularly dismaying at this late date considering all we know. Even if you believe the discrepancies in the Marvel creation story all favor Stan Lee 100 percent, there's very little reason to discount the massive contributions of those two artists in particular. That just seems weird now.
 
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Go, Look: Adventure Into The Unknown

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Slate Announces Second Annual Cartoonist Studio Prize

Here. This is a cash prize that honors a print work and a webcomics work. Last year's winners were Chris Ware and Noelle Stevenson. The judges are Dan Kois, what sounds like a collective representing the Center For Cartoon Studies, and a guest judge -- this year's it's retailer/advocate/convention organizer Chris Butcher. Also, this year, some art supplies are going to be put into the kitty by a sponsor. I am all for cash prizes for cartooning, and I urge those eligible to submit.
 
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Go, Look: Some Manny Stallman Art

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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.

*****

JUN131137 LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES TP VOL 06 $14.99
AUG131312 FRAN HC (RES) $19.99
AUG131263 WOMAN REBEL MARGARET SANGER STORY HC $21.95
Alt-Generation One wins the week with books from Los Bros Hernandez, Jim Woodring and Peter Bagge. The Bagge I shouldn't recommend because I wrote the intro, but I wrote the intro because I liked the work. The Woodring book made me tear up at one point, which was totally embarrassing. I am a little bit in love with the Jamie Hernandez half of the new L&R right now, so I'm probably not the person to ask for a rational appraisal with that one.

imageAUG131433 IRON BOUND GN $21.95
This is the new Secret Acres, a story about two gang members in early 1960s urban New Jersey. I'm about 20 pages in and it looks really nice, like a North American version of L'Autoroute Du Soleil.

APR130019 BLACK BEETLE NO WAY OUT HC VOL 01 $19.99
This is an initial collection of Francesco Francavilla's pulp comic, which means at the very least it looks great. I haven't caught up with those comics to know if there's anything to them beyond that, but I'd pick up a copy and check it out if I were in a store today. Francavilla is an accomplished adventure-genre cartoonist.

AUG130089 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #112 $3.50
MAY130668 HAWKEYE #13 $2.99
AUG131103 SERGIO ARAGONES FUNNIES #10 $3.50
These are the three books that stood out for me as old-fashioned serial genre series with work on sale today. It seems like it's been a little longer than usual between Hawkeye issues, but I'm old and easily confused. I greatly enjoy this Sergio Aragones material, and imagine a lot of people out there will at some point seek out the entire series in back-issues form. Beat the rush.

AUG130532 ART OF CHARLIE ADLARD HC (MR) $39.99
I'm glad to see the Walking Dead artist get one of the perks of a mega-successful publishing phenomenon: a solo art book bearing his name as opposed to the franchise.

JUL131135 COMPLETE CRUMB COMICS TP VOL 17 CAVE WIMP (NEW PTG) (MR) $19.99
This is your "if you don't have it, it's probably a requirement" book of the week. Crumb is always worth considering at the very least.

AUG130949 EXPLORER HC VOL 02 LOST ISLANDS $19.95
AUG130948 EXPLORER SC VOL 02 LOST ISLANDS $10.95
A sneaky continuation of the Flight books: (way) under 40 creators getting to make short stories with a fantasy component and being presented with high-end production values. Participants include Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier and Michel Gagné.

imageAUG131408 SMURFS CHRISTMAS GN $5.99
AUG131409 SMURFS CHRISTMAS HC $10.99
I like these books as a general rule, even though they're not even the absolute favorite of the kids to whom I funnel them and I'm a bit too old to read work reduced from a larger size to this size. I think it makes sense as a publishing effort, though. For instance, I had a parent tell me the super low price points makes them always buy it new because they might as well as that price.

JUN130545 INVINCIBLE #106 [DIG] $2.99
AUG130703 MORNING GLORIES #33 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
AUG131104 SIMPSONS COMICS #206 $2.99
AUG131391 SIXTH GUN #35 $3.99
JUN130566 THIEF OF THIEVES #17 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
These are all comics I read when I get them but probably wouldn't purchase on my own if my interaction with comics were confined to weekly visit to the comics shop and dropping $50-$75 at a time. That isn't a vote on their quality; they're just not comics for me relative to all the other comics out there. What struck me seeing a bunch of them near one another is that I would have guessed wrong on series number by a drastic amount had I been quizzed. These are all much longer running than I would have guessed, particularly Sixth Gun and Thief Of Thieves, which I would have guessed about half of those issues on each one.

JUL131286 WALLACE & GROMIT NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC VOL 01 $14.99
I honestly don't know what this is, which is why I'd like to have a comic shop nearby so I could go and look at it. I'm old, but I do buy things. I like those character enough in their animated efforts I'd certainly look at any such volume, and also, I guess, be much less likely to want to pick up what I imagine most efforts would look like. Still, I'd look at it.

AUG131329 ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING CHARACTERS IN ACTION SC $9.99
AUG131609 DC COMICS GUIDE TO CREATING COMICS SC $24.99
I like the contrast here, and I've enjoyed the James Sturm-directed Adventures series generally.

AUG131576 GREAT SHOWDOWNS THE RETURN HC $14.95
This is the second of Scott Campbell's gift-ready book featuring great showdowns from pop culture arranged mostly as the two sides facing each other, smiling. It's a very effective idea as executed here, and seems to me a pretty great stocking-stuffer for someone, or a curl-up-in-bed gift for a friend, even.

JUL131172 BEST AMERICAN COMICS HC 2013 (MR) $25.00
This is the comic-shop release of the Best American Comics edition that Jeff Smith guest-edited, and the last of the books series edited by Matt Madden and Jessica Abel. Smith has a natural affinity for effective cartooning, so to watch him engage with the emerging generation of draw-happy comics-makers should be interesting. Cover by Kate Beaton, who is apparently Smith's 37th cousin, twice removed.

*****

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 because I hate you.

*****

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* people sure seem to like -- or like to nitpick -- this Superman video. I'm not a big fan of the character as a character in that I have no emotional investment in Superman, but I was struck by a couple of omissions just from my conception of Superman's publishing history, sure.

image* Peter Howard talks to Brendan McCarthy. Dave Richards talks to Zeb Wells. Damian Tromerhauser profiles Brian Crane. David O'Leary talks to Ciaran Lucas. Shawn Starr on Liberty Annual 2013. Sean Kleefeld on Marathon. Grant Goggans on Red Handed. J. Caleb Mozzocco on JLA: Earth 2: The Deluxe Edition. Brian Nicholson on Battling Boy. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Protectors, Inc. #1.

* hey, a new Destructor page.

* Richard Bruton on The Lengths. Cefn Ridout on Julio's Day. Rob Clough on various comics. Claire Napier on The Cute Girl Network. Sean Gaffney on No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco remembers a comic book drawn by Tim Sale that recalls a current comic book not drawn by Tim Sale that sounds kind of unpleasant.

* this kind of laidback treatment of basic continuity would have driven me insane when I was a kid, and I guess it probably did.

* finally, Box Brown makes a comic about dads.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Bob Hall!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Larry Young!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Mark Badger!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Joe Sinnott!

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October 15, 2013


Festivals Extra: Chicago's CAKE Opens Up Exhibitor Applications

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The CAKE show in Chicago is now accepting exhibitor applications; the show has had a successful first two years and recently announced the dates for a third: May 31 and June 1, 2014.
 
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Go, Look: Disa Wallander

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Rash Of Harassment Incidents Indicates Attention Necessary Across The Board At All Cons, Festivals

Heidi MacDonald has a nice, summary report here about a bunch of harassment incidents at the New York Comic-Con, and about such incidents more generally. I imagine there's slightly more of this stuff than there used to be simply because there are more people at these events and because cosplay is a bigger, more public part of these shows and for some reason that gets certain people going. I would also imagine that we have proportionally way more discussion of this kind of thing than we used to because a) folks have ways to document incidents and to keep pressure on, b) our culture took a big shift into "fuck that [object]" territory about, I think, halfway through mid-2012 and thus I think people are much more impatient for results with those things that upset them. This is something that upsets people. And it should.

It hits me that there's a pretty big break coming up in terms of the major convention season: November through March except for a few, growing shows and a couple of big ones overseas is largely empty. I think it might behoove everyone involved with any sort of comics show to take a second look at their harassment policies, run the scenarios presented in Heidi's article through at least a mental version of that policy, and generally reflect on the rampant idiocy of bottom-line unacceptable behavior of the super-asinine kind at cons and festivals.

I think this can improve. As I share with Ulisses Farinas a fear that incremental thinking can let bad behavior linger, I think this situation can improve dramatically almost instantly if the willpower and honest effort is there. I don't think it ever gets perfect: people do certain things. The best policy in the world probably won't keep someone from making a pass they shouldn't have at 2 AM in a bar somewhere. Some 14-year-old kid at his first show might stare at a lady in costume far longer than he should. Someone may get a hug they don't want at an awards show. And that sucks. But the vast, vast majority of this kind of behavior can and should be blasted off the table right away, just flat nuked, and none of that comics-culture "if we can't do it perfectly, if we can somehow find some theoretical objection, let's not do it at all" horseshit. My Mom, my best friend, my seminary faculty advisor and my friend's kids should all be able to go to any show they want without any of this in their faces. It's wrong, and it's slightly embarrassing that I even had to write the last sentence.

By the way, I think there are good models all around for everything that's important to keep their place. If there are serious objections and worries, and I'm not sure there are, I think they can be figured out and dealt with pretty quickly. Like sometimes I'll hear from someone that not letting people flaunt sexual material is some sort of blow against free speech, but back in May Gengoroh Tagame sat right in the middle of the Toronto Reference Library selling that PictureBox book of his that is harder than hardcore and didn't have to be a depressing public spectacle in order to get his art into the hands of the people that enjoy it. If comics can figure out how to weather its collective distribution-centric near-suicide 20 years ago and survive the most recent economic collapse with the best, most consistent artistic offerings in pop culture and make it to the year of our lord 2013 with over 2000 devoted brick-and-mortar stores, we can figure out pretty quickly and pretty thoroughly how not to tolerate deplorable nonsense. Let's start 2014 armed to the teeth to fight this fight.
 
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Go, Look: Ben Towle Draws The Justice League

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Hazel Newlevant Wins 2013 Queer Press Grant

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According to a press release widely disseminated yesterday, Prism Comics announced Hazel Newlevant the recipient of this year's Queer Press Grant on October 13 during Alternative Press Expo weekend. This was done during the Queer Cartoonists Panel at APE, a panel moderated by Justin Hall.

Newlevant was honored for her works Dance The Blues (image below) and If This Be Sin (image above). Both contain short stories about queer women and blues/jazz music.

The grant has been around since 2005 and is designed to encourage the publication of LGBT-themed comics. The press release claims it is the only grant given to independent comics creators, although I know that not to be true as I just announced the Sequential Artists Workshop micro-grants yesterday, and those come out twice a year. It's still very rare, and certainly laudable. This particular grant is completely funded by donations.

The size of the grant was not included in the press materials, but I'll update it here if I can. Past winners include Rob Kirby, Ed Luce, Steve MacIsaac and Megan Gedris.

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Go, Listen: Peter Bagge Interviewed At Virtual Memories

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Staring At Uncle Wiggily Drawings Is Always Fun

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Go, Look: The Less Than Epic Adventures Of TJ And Amal

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

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Go, Look: Great Cartoons Of The World, Vol. 6

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Rob Durbin is trying to eBay an astounding 65 The Bungle Family strips and I spent two hours last night wondering what the best time to knock over my local convenience store would be.

image* James Romberger on In The Days Of The Mob. Richard Bruton on Love & Rockets: The Covers and The Devil's Steps. Carla Hoffman on Deadpool #18. Tom Bondurant on Wonder Woman/Superman. Jason Wilkins on Death Sentence #1. Evan Henry on The Occultist #1. Rob Kirby on s! #14.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco goes on a voyage of discovery with DC Super-Pets Character Encyclopedia.

* Chris Sims talks to Fred Van Lente. The KFS Archives Man profiles Phil Davis. Sara Drake talks to Anya Davidson.

* one of great writers in other media to write comics that we almost never talk about: Michael O'Donoghue.

* very nice of the FPI blog and a handful of appreciative cartoonists to pay tribute to Leo Baxendale on his 60th year in comics. That is an extraordinary thing, the length of Baxendale's career. We had a five-hour interview on tape with him at The Comics Journal when I worked there that I want to say was a victim of a couple of big office re-arrangements, but I'm not all the way certain.

* Richard Bruton takes a closer look at the Ronald Searle drawings of Berlin.

* finally, Frank Santoro was out on the west coast and has a report for you.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Cat Garza!

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October 14, 2013


Your Fall 2013 SAW Micro-Grant Winners

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Tom Hart has posted the SAW Micro-Grant winners for September 2013 over at the Sequential Artists Workshop blog. The winners are Andrew White for Black Pillars and Glynnis Fawkes for Alatiel.

Hart also named several runners-up and honorable mention cartoonists. Runners-up were Krystal Difronzo for Saints' Love, Nasha Ashjaee for Three Things and Sophia Wiedeman for The Lettuce Girl Vol. 4.

Honorable mentions were Anthony Meloro for Funnies, Tyler Luetkehans for Watermellonworld, Jarod Rosello for The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) Be Found, Nate McDonough for Don't Come Back and Grixly, Annie Murphy for I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Kelly Froh for Walking Up Hill and Meghan Turbitt for an unidentified comic.

Each winner will receive a check for $250. Five judges were involved in the selection process. The next round of micro-grant submissions will be due March 15, with April 15 the announcement of the winners.
 
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Go, Look: Edna II

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Not Comics: Covers From Big Little Books

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A Quick Note Or Two About Variant Covers

imageFantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds wrote into the site last week to upbraid me a bit for tacitly endorsing the recent Walking Dead variant cover bonanza. He's always welcome to write: I love getting letters, and I love getting them from smart industry people. Eric and I sat next to one another in the office of The Comics Journal for about 18 months near the tail end of the Image Doing Damage era, and worked at Fantagraphics together during the time that company was aggressively negotiating the market damage inflicted by Image and other large publishers. It was not a happy time. I think a lot of that behavior was abominable, short-sighted and stupid. The whole comics industry nearly collapsed and a lot of people lost their jobs and/or businesses -- I was a Halley's Comix customer, and that Chicago location was maybe the most prominent store in North America to suffer massive internal bleeding from the Deathmate fiasco. I share Eric's concern with and contempt for a similarly cavalier attitude that puts comics in the make-as-much-money-right-now business as opposed to strategies that support long-term growth.

I will say that even though I strongly wish they didn't exist, I'm not as concerned for today's stunts as I was worried about the publishing shenanigans as they existed almost two decades ago now. The major expressions of short-term profit and pass-the-risk disdain in that era were late-shipping books and a flood of material on the stands far ahead of any reasonable attempt at line cohesion or, really, minimal professional standards. Those were fundamentally poisonous activities, and I think even more so for a market with so many young and/or new businesses involved in trying to sell comics. The routine practice of variant covers now with things like the various Adventure Time series and the occasional big push for a book like last year's 100th issue and this year's 10th anniversary issue of Walking Dead, those things are eye-rolling instead of gut-churning, at least for me. We learned this month as sales rolled in for DC's openly screwed-up Villains Month promotion just how primed the system of Direct Market stores is to move event books of one type or another, comics that marry a desirable story moment with some sort of collectible impulse -- the comics that imprint as need-to-buy for one reason or another. When I see publishers and creators with a lot to offer in terms of story and a wider health for that market indulge in this kind of thing, I think of it more as a lost opportunity, a way of doing something now that may not be as harmful to the fabric of the industry as it was then but may be even more depressing for the resources that could be funneled into playing a longer, grander, more important game. I don't blame them; I hope to god they're careful; I dearly wish they'd stop.
 
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Go, Look: The Martian Chronicles

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Festivals Extra: California Coastal Commission Approves New Additions To San Diego Convention Center

The superior link-blogger Kevin Melrose has a nice report up here summarizing the California Coastal Commission's unanimous approval of improvements to the San Diego Convention Center. It is thought that improvements are necessary for the city to keep its largest conventions, including Comic-Con International. As you can see from the photo that Melrose includes, the space targeted is basically a significant chunk of the land between the convention center and the Bayside Hilton.
 
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Go, Look: Mighty Star, Part Six

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CRNI Still Believes Akram Raslan Dead; I'm Still Unable To Confirm This, So It Remains Their Report

I've been unable to confirm through independent sources that the Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan is dead, as the Cartoonist Rights Network International group believes and as they posted on their site October 7 -- something this site picked up on as a CRNI report last Friday. I do have a couple of e-mails out, but at this point I'm not expecting immediate word back. Michael Cavna does a nice job pinning down the Cartoonists Rights Network International on why they have reported this.

The unnamed CRNI witness' story has the 28-year-old cartoonist being executed on the way to jail and buried in a mass grave.
 
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Go, Look: Berni Wrightson Mini-Gallery

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Festivals Extra: Deadlines For TCAF, LAZF This Friday

I don't keep track of this kind of thing as well as I should, but I noticed that the exhibitor deadlines for the 2014 iterations of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and the Los Angeles Zine Festival are both landing on this Friday, October 18. The former is in May and the latter is in February. TCAF is major, major comics show; LAZF is a rare Los Angeles show where one can imagine small-press comics makers being welcome.

It is also another reminder that not only do show loom large in the lives of comics people the week they're on, but planning for them can be a year-round activity.
 
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Go, Look: A Few Mike Kaluta Splash Pages

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Go, Look: Roman Muradov's Private Lives Cartoon

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the writer Steve Niles had a horrendous day dealing with flooding and can apparently use financial help. According to this Facebook post by Mike Mignola, the paypal address being used to funnel Niles some money is HelpSteveNiles@gmail.com. Niles is based in Austin, Texas, a part of the country that has suffered horrific rains.

* I don't know that she particularly needs the money, but it looks like the cartoonist Gabrielle Bell is taking a break from her current serial and mentioned in passing that she has two prints for sale.

* Rob Kirby is editing an anthology, Qu33r, billed as a "New Queer Comics Anthology" and promising a bunch of a new talent, for a publisher who is raising the money for publication via a crowd-funding source.

* I'm quite interested in Molly Kiely doing more comics; she's swell.

* DC continues its admirable charity effort on behalf of Africa.

* did not see this crowd-funded revival of the Middleman property.

* If everyone about whom Rob Clough has written would send him a dollar, he'd have a fully-funded comics show.

* finally, this site failed to notice this Doug TenNapel sketchbook project and it didn't hurt him one bit.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Richard Doxsee Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm going to run a big NYCC publishing news round-up in "Bundled" tomorrow, but that the Artists Edition series is adding Watchmen and New Gods as well as featuring Steranko is good news for people that enjoy that material, that series and looking at comics art more generally. Another great pair of gets for Scott Dunbier, who is accomodating the lack of original art pages around for Watchmen by changing his format a bit for that one as the article describes.

* also good news that maybe can't wait an extra day is new Kate Beaton.

image* Dan Berry talks to Roman Muradov.

* Danny Fingeroth wrote in to remind that he's teaching a comics writing course starting this week. I never know what to do with courses in my events calendar, so you get to learn about the course here.

* here's a look at twin comics anthologies from the 1980s, but this time RAW and Love & Rockets instead of the usual RAW and Weirdo pairing.

* not comics: I think it's safe to say that very few comics pros could pull something like this off. Although here's one.

* I don't usually pay attention to comic book urban myths and local legends, but this one with George RR Martin is a pretty good one.

* not comics: James Thurber profiled as a writer. We always forget Thurber when making lists of cartoonists important in other media.

* finally, this piece of art reminds me I've not seen let alone read most of the Giant-Man/Ant-Man material from the 1960s. That and the late 1960s/early 1970s Sub-Mariner series are probably the comics runs from the first 20 years of the company with the least amount of impact in terms of today's storylines.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Cam Kennedy!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Vanessa Davis!

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October 13, 2013


CR Sunday Interview: Ben Catmull

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*****

imageGhosts And Ruins, veteran comics-maker Ben Catmull's exploration of homes and horror and landscapes and things that are absent, is as handsome a release from an alt-publishing house -- in this case, Fantagraphics -- as we're likely to see all year. It is sleek beast of a book. Catmull is a painstaking artist and I think a comics lifer. He speaks in terms of stories to be told rather than projects to be managed. While it can also be enjoyed as an art book, Ghosts And Ruins is definitely comics, albeit on the Edward Gorey end of things rather than the Will Eisner: its mini-stories build out of a series of images that have to be vanquished and re-imagined rather than referenced via their close proximity. I would gladly read a dozen books just like it, but I suspect Catmull has different plans, the same way that Ghosts And Ruins proved to be a break from Monster Parade. I'm grateful he made some time for this interview during a spooky Fall season. I rearranged a pair of questions and added about five words in what follows for the sake of clarity and flow. -- Tom Spurgeon

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TOM SPURGEON: Ben, the last time we talked was a while ago in support of a preview for Monster Parade. That was a very ambitious solo-anthology with overlapping serials. Were you happy with the way that series turned out? What kept you from immediately moving forward and continuing each of the series? Is there one of the three you regret losing out on most?

BEN CATMULL: I was happy with the way Monster Parade came out, but the lack of response to the book reinforced the Sisyphean feeling of making more comics. I had immediately started on Monster Parade #2 after #1 came out. I had an entire story penciled out, but when it came to inking it I couldn't get it to look right. I re-inked the first few pages about five or six times over and was just unhappy with my inability to pull off the style I was going for. I was getting increasingly anxious about putting so much time into just one comic that would probably just end up pleasing a handful of comics people while not making any money, so I decided to put it off. Instead, I decided to do a stand-alone book that was a distillation of things I love, thought I could do well, and finish in a reasonable amount of time. I was thinking of returning to Monster Parade, but lately I've had other story ideas pop into my head that feel more worthwhile.

SPURGEON: You've joked a few times in public about your relative lack of speed. Did that play a role at all in moving away from a comics serial? Does it play a role more generally in terms of what projects you pick? Is there one element in the process that is particularly time-consuming for you?

CATMULL: Sort of. I was initially motivated by the idea of creating a substantial looking book in a reasonable amount of time. Monster Parade and Paper Theater are thin books that look like the result of dabbling. But the illustrated storybook format of Ghosts and Ruins also gave me the opportunity to fully flex my drawing and painting muscles in a way that doesn't normally fit with comics. The technique became so time consuming that I gave up on the "in a reasonable amount of time" part. But this isn't a move away from comics. It's just scratching a particular itch and a way to show an aspect of my skills that are hard to show in comics. I still want to go back to comics.

Writing and drawing are both slow for me. Inking and painting are the easier parts that I can plow through regardless of my mood or energy level.

SPURGEON: You know, Ben, I have no idea where making comics and books exists on the spectrum of all the things that you do. How is the bulk of your professional time spent? Are you doing things like Ghosts and Ruins as a sideline to another job? Is it hard for you to find time in which to work on projects like this one?

CATMULL: I've mostly made a living doing computer character animation, but I'm trying to figure out other ways. Not only do I not have a strong love of computer animation, but that skill has become a lot less rare since I started. A lot of that work is starting to be shipped overseas, too. Right now I'm taking an extended break to try various projects develop other skills that will hopefully lead to another way of making a living. But chances are I'll just end up crawling back to animation.

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SPURGEON: [laughs] Now, is most of the conceptual work done for something like this latest work before you begin the physical work, or does a book begin to take shape as you work on it? Is it about executing an idea of developing one?

CATMULL: I haven't settled on a standard method of writing for myself. But for Ghosts and Ruins I came up with a theme and format that gave me the freedom to make it up as I went along.

SPURGEON: I don't ever ask this kind of question because I'm pretty lousy with being able to tell just from looking: what did you use to make this project? What media are we looking at here?

CATMULL: The surface is a material called Claybord. It is masonite with a layer of uninked -- white -- scratchboard-esque clay material. The scratchboard layer is really smooth and tough. I do the drawing on regular paper and then I do a transfer rubbing onto the claybord. Then I do a dense, hatch-marked, line drawing with a uniball pen. I use a wet paint brush to smear and gray out the line drawing. From there I can scratch with a scratch board tool, add tones with a watercolor brush and uniball ink, and add black with the uniball pen -- in no particular order. I can add whites, grays, and blacks at any point in the process.

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SPURGEON: The overriding memory I have of your book when I'm away of it is these contrasting textures, both in terms of the way light and shadow plays across an image but also in tactile sense, or imagined tactile sense. Was that a concern of your while you were making the images, that they have this specific look and feel to them? How would you describe them sensually?

CATMULL: Yes, I'm very much interested in conveying visceral/tactile details, atmosphere, and a sense of place. I like the way your mind wants to create stories when it sees space divided by architecture. Especially old buildings with a lot if history. I think old, abandoned architecture is the closest thing we have in real life to ghosts.

I tried to use texture and lighting to make the spaces as tangible as possible and then make the spaces be the story. When you look at an old, abandoned building, it's static, and your imagination is engaged with what might have happened there in the past. So I tried to capture that with this book. That's why it's mostly static images with simple text hinting at their history.

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SPURGEON: This is a book that could also be characterized as horror -- probably primarily so for some people, and I think for obvious reasons: the mood, mostly, but also the subject matter. Is that how you conceive of it? I've also seen it described as a ghost story.

CATMULL: It is horror, but that's a very broad term. It's also ghosts, nostalgia, and architecture.

SPURGEON: Is it difficult to portray horror imagery when there's a sequential element because of the control the reader never relinquishes? Do you think comics works better with unsettling images rather than frightening ones? Are there cartoonists or artists that you think are masterful in terms of the kind of effect you're trying for here?

CATMULL: Well, you definitely can't do a jump scare like you can with movies.

SPURGEON: Right.

CATMULL: But I think all other aspects of horror are perfectly doable in comics. Renée French and Charles Burns have mastered creepy atmosphere and biologic horror. Richard Sala is the master of recapturing the haunting atmosphere of old movies and campfire stories. Those are the obvious answers off the top of my head. And of course there's Edward Gorey's haunted melancholy and nostalgia with deadpan humor.

SPURGEON: You said of Monster Parade that you were less inspired by older comics and illustration work than by newer works, works by many of your peers. Is that the still the case? Because I think most people might look at the structure of this work and its tone and think of, as you just mentioned, Edward Gorey. Is there someone informing this work, someone the rest of us might not see?

CATMULL: I'm constantly searching for art, comics, and movies that inspire me and I try to absorb as much as possible. With Ghosts and Ruins -- and "Civilization Studies Illustrated" [from Monster Parade #1] -- I was itching to jump into a project and finish it relatively quickly. That abbreviated semi-story structure was a really fun and practical way to do that but it also gave those pieces a bit of a Gorey feel. I do love Gorey so I guess I deserve that comparison. But I'm also really in love with the textures and atmosphere of old black and white photography and movies. That's near impossible to capture in drawings but I'm still trying.

imageSPURGEON: The text effects strike me as interesting in two ways, and I wonder if you could comment on those two observations or talk about your choices with the text in general. First, I thought the relatively straight-forward typeface to be an interesting choice over hand-lettering in terms of how we might see this book. Second, I liked the effect of the faded titles on pages subsequent to the first one, and wondered how much of that was intentional or just a happy accident.

CATMULL: I think it was Jacob Covey's Beasts books that convinced me to go with simple, classy, computer lettering.

The faded text was deliberate. I figured the format was a little odd so I wanted it to be clear that a particular page was still referring to a house that the reader just looked a few pages ago.

My editor, Eric Reynolds, chose the text on the cover, with my approval of course.

SPURGEON: Why of all the stories does "Wandering Smoke" lack accompanying text?

CATMULL: I liked the idea of showing a visual mystery with no explanation and varying the pacing with a quiet moment.

SPURGEON: There are so many books out right now, and I wondered considering where you are in your career and the painstaking element of how you put work to paper, is it ever frustrating for you? Do you ever feel lost in this wave of quality books?

CATMULL: I don't think I'll have good idea of how well the book is doing until after the holidays so I don't know if it's "lost" yet. Popular media has become such a firehose of endless stuff that it doesn't feel worth it for me to make art unless I can make something substantial that people would want to own for a long time. The other quality books out there are keeping the industry healthy and hopefully creating an audience for more nice books.

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SPURGEON: You thanked the late cartoonist and publisher Dylan Williams first in your acknowledgments. It's been about two years since his passing. Is there a certain element to his personality and professional make-up that you've found you particularly miss moving forward?

CATMULL: Dylan was like an art and culture historian. If you were interested in exploring odd sub genres and esoteric nooks of culture he would enthusiastically explore and share it with you. He was fascinated with obsession. He preferred art by artists who let themselves be governed by their obsessions and compulsions or were somewhat broken or nutty. This meant more to him than polish and calculated mainstream entertainment. His view on art influenced my own artistic development starting from an early age when we were both part of the Puppy Toss mini comics collective in the early '90s. His philosophy also carried over to the way he related to his artist friends. He was interested in his friends' interests and obsessions in a deep and genuine way that I have learned since his passing is incredibly rare. Since about '98-'99 we had been having long phone conversations about once a week about art, comics, movies etc. For a time I thought we were best phone buddies but I found out he had the same relationship with a lot of people.

Now that he's gone I feel like he tricked me into thinking that I'm much more interesting person that I really am. I can't say where my artistic development would be without him, but I do know that would be very different.

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SPURGEON: Someone mentioned on Twitter that this was the most beautiful book they bought at this year's Comic-Con International. And it is a very striking book. Can you talk about some of the input you had into its design, how you wanted it to look?

CATMULL: The cover art was something that I came up with as temporary art in case the designers at Fantagraphics were busy. But since I handed in finished art, they just changed the font and added the spine and went with it. For the size of the book, I asked Fanta to just copy the [Floyd] Gottfredson Mickey Mouse books. The nice cover stock was Eric's idea. For the text and layout inside, I sent Fanta Photoshop files roughly indicating the layout because that's the only software I know and then they did a cleaned up nicer version with the right software. For the images, I don't know how to calibrate computer images for print but I do know that what looks right on a computer doesn't look right on paper. So I sent Fanta raw, unaltered scans and let the experts fix it.

SPURGEON: Prose, comics, what is the last great book you read? Why that one?

CATMULL: The last book I finished was 1Q84 by [novelist Haruki] Murakami. I really enjoyed it even though it felt like half as much stuff happened in twice as many pages compared to his other books. It's the third book of his I've read and I'm starting to get the sense of a man with OCD who cant't stop polishing his car, but still I love the dream logic and the way he creates a vivid sense of place with thorough descriptions. A friend of mine recently convinced me to read Cloud Atlas and it drove me nuts how infrequently the writer described what anything looked like.

I'm going to ramble on because Comics. [Spurgeon laughs] I recently read The Making Of by Brecht Evens. It's kind of mind-blowing how effective his unique vocabulary is. Chris Wright's Black Lung. I don't know how to say smart things about it but I love it. Ditto Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails. Oji Suzuki's A Single Match has been next to my drawing desk for perusal for a while because he achieved a melancholy, dream-like quality that I aspire to.

SPURGEON: You said once that as you got older you minded less the projects that take a long time. At some point, though, I imagine that like a lot of artists you begin to have a firmer sense of your own mortality. Do you think in terms of specific projects you'd like to get done, if only to fulfill certain stages of your life and artistic development?

CATMULL: My skills are never good enough to carry out the things I wish I could do so I just hobble forward and hope that I can create a few worthwhile things.

*****

* Ghosts And Ruins, Fantagraphics, hardcover, 88 pages, 1606996789, 9781606996782, August 2013, $22.99.
* Ben Catmull
* Ben Catmull Tumblr
* Ben Catmull Mostly Abandoned Blog

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* cover to the new work
* photo of Catmull by I think me; if it's really old, I apologize
* assorted images from Ghosts And Ruins throughout except for seized image of text; this includes the image below

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Not Comics: Fantastic Mr. Fox Concept Art

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Go, Look: Two Comics From Boulet

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Go, Look: Paul Berdanier Art

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Go, Read: Maria Scrivan Interview

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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 San Francisco, I'd Go To This

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Happy 50th Birthday, Tom Devlin!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Jason Thompson!

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FFF Results Post #354 -- More Stuff

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Things Not-Comics You Own You Think Of As Being Part Of Your Interest In Comics." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Thing's Head Coffee Mug
2. Script To Reid Fleming
3. Lots Of Long Boxes, Bags, Boards
4. Various Hooked On Comix DVDs
5. New Bondage Fairies T-Shirt

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Rorschach life-sized cardboard cutout
2. A Girl And Her Gun T-Shirt by Sloane Leong
3. Life Ain't No Ponyfarm mug bySarah Burrini
4. DVD of Comic Book Confidential (plus movie poster & promo comic)
5. Legion Of Superheroes Flight Ring

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1. Action Philosopher T-shirt
2. Handmade cardboard & duct tape Captain America shield made for my 7yo son
3. An old Pogo figure
4. Crogan Adventures button set
5. SAW John Porcellino workshop certificate of completion

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Commissioned Library Sign
2. Hobbes
3. Marvel 25th Anniversary Stockton Dedication Print
4. Amsco's Marvel World
5. The Internet

*****

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Dave Knott

* "Hey Kids! Comics!" spinner rack
* Movie poster for "Comic Book Confidential"
* Desktop and mobile versions of BookPedia cataloguing software
* Cerebus Campaign t-shirt
* "V For Vendetta" Guy Fawkes mask

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Milk & Cheese fridge magnet
2. Throwing Muses t-shirt with Gilbert Hernandez art
3. Carl Barks duck character trading cards packaged with Another Rainbow/Gladstone's albums
4. Diamondback deck
5. Calvin & Hobbes image as wallpaper on my iPad

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. Wooden spider silhouette I bought two of to hang on my wall/use as a template for a home-painted Spider-Man t-shirt.
2. Japanese import Spider-Man T-shirt that I could never wear without spending two years on a starvation diet.
3. A Fisher-Price badge maker I bought in order to make merchandise to sell alongside my comics (only used once).
4. A stash of disposable tablecloths to use at shows.
5. A framed carrier bag from 1997/8 featuring a John Romita jr. drawing of the Ben Reilly Spider-Man, hung upside-down because it looks better that way.

I've attached a picture of the Japanese import Spider-Man t-shirt, as worn by the actress Sarah Alexander in the sitcom Green Wing. It might actually be the same size as the one in my drawer.

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Drink coasters by Simon Gane and Evan Dorkin
2. A 'Get Bit' T-Shirt (for contributing to Roaring Rick Veitch's Rare Bit Fends)
3. A metal ruler covered in paint from sharing a studio with Al Columbia, that is unusable for measuring
4. An original Laffin Spittin Man head (Laffun Head) They are real. Believe it or not.
5. A wooden box painted by Steven Cerio for my oldest son

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Bat-Mite statue
2. Green Lantern power rings
3. Focus on George Perez
4. The Comics Journal Library: Jack Kirby
5. Jess Nevins' League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. F.O.O.M membership card
2. Complete set of Famous Artist's Cartoon Courses
3. 70's Pepsi Flash glass
4. Howard the Duck for President pin (formerly David Mazzucchelli's)
5. Presspop life-size Pupshaw vinyl figure

*****

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Chris Arrant

5. My not-so-subtle Elijah Snow wardrobe ensemble of white shirt, pants and tie.
4. E.M.P.I.R.E. Shirt (From Casanova)
3. My SDCC 2006 Press Badge (first SDCC visit)
2. Iron Fist T-Shirt
1. Some original art by Sean Murphy

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Dr. Fate action figure.
2. A big bookcase built to hold all my books about comics.
3. Tiny Tim Big Little Book.
4. Love and Rockets T-shirt
5. A bed built to store my comics out of sight.

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Anna Paquin as Rogue action figure
2. Little Orphan Annie Ovaltine mug
3. vintage comics spinner rack
4. Mark Beyer's Amy pocket watch
5. last year's xmas present my wife made for me: Krazy Kat

Have a lovely weekend,

*****

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John Platt

1. The original, typed Bruce Jones introduction to an issue of Bernie Wrightson: Master of the Macabre
2. Several old Evan Dorkin newsletters & stickers (the stickers did not age well)
3. My BPRD/Hellboy 2 t-shirt
4. Photos of other peoples' Superman tattoos for when/if I ever finally get one
5. The 1978 Spider-Man calendar

(Number 5 is actually one of my most treasured possessions.)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Iron Man light switch cover (with an inappropriately placed switch)
2. Groo/Rufferto X-mas Ornament
3. Golden Records LP of Avengers #4
4. Little Nemo mug from the late '80s
5. Hulk Lip Balm (it's either the kind that Hulk uses or it's Hulk flavored)

*****
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October 12, 2013


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Rob Clough Would Like You To Know About The Durham Indie Comics Expo


Dave Lapp Makes A Cartoon Trading Card





Blake Bell and Dr. Michael Vassallo In Support Of Their New Marvel Book


Promotional Video For Law Of The Desert Born


Images From A Kafka In Comics Exhibition Used In Video
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from October 5 to October 11, 2013:

1. CRNI: Akram Raslan, RIP. That's their report and unconfirmed, but they are reporting it as a fact and if true would be the biggest regime murder of a cartoonist perhaps ever.

2. Direct Market stores sold a hell of a lot of Villains Month DC serial comic books, despite the fact that orders were screwed up on the 3-D cover version of those books.

3. A stunt-driven issue of Walking Dead marking a) the comic's 10th anniversary, b) a new plotline, c) the return of the TV show to the Fall line-up should be the best-selling North American comic book of the year.

Winner Of The Week
Columbia University, scoring Al Jaffee's archives and letting everyone know they'll be around in the archives and originals collection for the conceivable future.

Loser Of The Week
Privacy.

Quote Of The Week
"Here in the United States we are experts in the knowledge that editorial cartooning is a dying art. In other areas of the world, however, it is an art that people die for." -- Dr. Robert Russell

*****

today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

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CRNI: Syrian Cartoonist Akram Raslan Murdered

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this is heartbreaking
 
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Go, Look: Jake Wyatt

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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 Providence, I'd Got To This

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

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

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Happy 66th Birthday, Pat Brady!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Dan Abnett!

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October 11, 2013


Go, Look: Polly Guo

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Karen Green, Calvin Reid, Steven Heller To Get Push & Kick Award

Here. That's Karen Green of Columbia University and various NYC-related comics activities, Calvin Reid, the longtime champion of graphic novels and comics at PW and Steven Heller of SVA and formerly of the New York Times Book Review. The award is officially called "The First Annual Push and Kick Awards for Excellence in the World of Graphic Books," and is being given out at this event it looks like sort of in conjunction/as a celebration of/directly alluding to the release of the third volume of Russ Kick's super-successful Graphic Canon anthology in June. All those people are really admirable choices for any award, so I hope people turn out to shake their hands and tell them so.
 
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Go, Look: Simon Petersen In Lodz

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Collective Memory: 24-Hour Comic Day 2013

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this article has been archived
 
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Not Sure I Knew JulieDoucet.Net Sells Things

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Accusations NYCC Is Tweeting From Attendees' Accounts

Here. If that's true, that would suck for anyone that this happened to -- it'd be super-creepy, too -- but I have to assume the reaction would be 100 percent negative and whatever quirk in the badge links that allows this would be pulverized as soon as possible. It's kind of an odd thing more generally, right? It's a sold-out (I think it is) comic-con, which people generally enjoy. It's not like you have to manufacture good buzz for a comics show, and it's not like you need people to see this buzz and head on over.
 
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I Don't Think I've Ever Linked To Paul Pope's Site Before

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: Digital News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the new webcomic by Derf Backderf, The Baron Of Prospect Avenue, is up and running.

* someone sent a long a link to a new-looking site ComicsRage, which assembled a bunch of content (first time out, at least, it's Polish creators) and digital strategies (pay what you will, the involvement of a charity, easy to use formatting). I'd recommend taking at least a peek at it, doubly so if you're interested in either new creators or various strategies for seeing work distributed this way.

* over the last couple of weeks the Darryl Cunningham biography of Ayn Rand "blew up" with a bunch of on-line attention.

* a name change for Julia Wertz's now mostly not-comics site.

* I got a nice note from Woody Compton saying that the strip he does with Kelly Shane, Is This Tomorrow?, has been running over 10 years now. Yow. I'm making a note of it here so I will remember to go back and look around.

* finally, I totally missed that the From The Gutters interview show is up and running now.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Providence, I'd Got To This

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If I Were In Portland, 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: Strange Adventures #21

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* J. Caleb Mozzocco on Annihilators: Earthfall. David Davis on Willard Mullin's Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings, 1934-1972. Douglas Wolk on Before Watchmen. Sean Kleefeld on Wearing The Cape.

* not comics: Michael Dooley writes about a poster exhibit featuring posters for films that don't exist, in which I guess a sizable number of comics-makers took part.

* also not comics: this Laura Bennett interview with agent Andrew Wylie is entertaining and kind of fascinating on a ton of different levels. Slightly horrifying for some, too, I bet.

* finally, Robyn Chapman e-mailed in part to ask if I'd read her piece for PW on the Cartoon House in Brooklyn; I hadn't. Here it is.
 
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Happy 61st Birthday, Jim Woodring!

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October 10, 2013


A Few Notes On New York Comic Con 2013

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I don't have a lot to say about New York Comic Con, the Reed show that roars to life this weekend at the Javits Center and really runs in a "descend upon the city" way from Wednesday PM until Monday AM. A lot of people have a blast at that show. It's become a major show for the mainstream comic book industry, and could potentially end up the major show. It's also been very successful drawing a crowd. There are some things that occur to me, though, that I thought I'd mention here in scattershot fashion.

1) This year's New York Con will likely show off how big a presence within comics that comiXology has now.
My inbox is already full with PR from the digital comics distributor, which, with over 100 employees and a dominant leader of their particular market, is a New York comics company right up there with Marvel, DC and Hearst/King Features in terms of industry-wide importance. They presented to the press this morning, so I think their place in the world of comics is something on their mind, too. You might not think of it at first, but comiXology is also fairly well set-up to benefit from conventions in the larger sense than the flea-market aspects that still drive a lot of folks' presence there. They don't have physical items to sell, but they're nicely suited for just about everything else a convention can provide. They can do on-the-floor promotions. They can use the news attention paid the show to do things for their general readership. They can partner with whatever player they perceive as being a big deal at this show, such as their Walking Dead promotion at NYCC. They can also throw a few parties and have a billion business meetings. If all we get from DC and Marvel this weekend is new comics starring old characters, I'll be ready to call the convention for the kids from the digital side of the tracks.

2) You should go to as many off-site events as will have you.
It's a good weekend for parties and random socializing, because that's something that New York does very well. If your involvement with comics is such that socializing with other members of the wider comics community makes sense, I have to imagine you'll want to do some of that this weekend. Heidi MacDonald has the basic skeleton of what's out there for people to do.

3) Maybe go buy that Paul Pope book.
I like Paul Pope quite a bit, and he's one of our talented comics-makers that for whatever reason hasn't quite the book-to-book publishing history to match his prodigious skill-set. So I'm glad whenever he has a book out -- this one is from First Second and is called Battling Boy -- even though I haven't caught up with it yet. I hope that a hit book would get Paul to focus on book-making now that he's in at the start of the afternoon of his lifetime in art. He's also a New York guy as only someone that moved there from the Midwest can be, so a launch for him seems appropriate to that show.

4) If I Could Only Go To One Table, And It Had To Be Someone With Whom I've Never Shared A Meal
I'd go meet the Comic-Con India People. One, that's of course a potentially significant market and the homegrown talent seems to become doubly compelling every six months. Two, I want to go there so I would be sucking up to those people as much as is humanly possible.

5) There are fun elements to pursuing comics at a show that features a wide variety of mass-media entertainment.
Last I checked there wasn't a single comics person in the revolving array of pictures headlining the con site. That doesn't mean there aren't tons and tons of comics people on hand. As the bulk of the show runs through a central concourse-type section that's hard to negotiate, more comics-maker than usual are in the small press and artist's table section. You should do a close inspection via walk-through; I bet you'll find someone of whom you're a fan. There are even a few alt-comics sorts: Peter Kuper is local and usually makes it to the show; Bob Fingerman can be found at the Image booth or wherever they're set up; Ditto Evan Dorkin and Dark Horse. Zack Soto and a bunch of the west coast alt-guys made the trip so hopefully they'll do well just by virtue of being a bit different than the bulk of what's available. But just about everywhere there are comics people you're likely to find quality comics people.

6) Enjoy New York City
The last time I attended a New York Comic Con I spent a lot of time away from the show. This included hitting the city's great comic shops, nearly all of which are reasonably close to subway stops you can figure out by taking a few minutes with Google Maps. And of course there is a lifetime of other thigns to do there, from sporting events to opportunities across a wide spectrum of art forms to just kind of walking around with your mouth open. One thing that's great about comics shows is the opportunity to get to know the more interesting cities in which they take place, and certainly that's true of a show like NYCC.

7) Attend Programming
I don't all the way get the NYCC programming strategy. I hear some folks saying they can't get a single panel and yet I read listings that suggest some companies can nab a panel apiece for individual comic book series. In fact, I'm not sure the show has figured out exactly what it does best, not yet. Still, there's certainly a number of opportunities to get off your feet a bit. Start here.

I guess overall I would just emphasize that a lot of comics people attend this show, and there are a ton of opportunities for you to interact with comics and comics culture while you're on hand. Take advantage. Stay safe. Enjoy the entire experience.
 
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Go, Look: Valentin Seiche Profiled

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Image Comics: 350,000 Copies Of Walking Dead #115 Sold

imageAn interview by Brian Truitt and USA Today with writer Robert Kirkman reveals that the multiple-cover and storyline-kickoff Walking Dead #115 has sold 350,000 copies, which will make it the #1 best-selling comic in the Direct Market this year. (I have to imagine that Asterix and the Picts and several volumes of manga will outsell the book in their respective markets.) Apparently this information came from the book's publisher, Image Comics.

I'm happy for Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard and for the publisher. While Kirkman downplays having the #1 comic as being a prize unto itself, selling that many copies of a book when you're self-publishing through Image should mean a fine return. I'm always made a little nervous by multiple cover stunts, but a) they ran their last multiple cover stunt pretty well in mid-2012 and b) the fact that the Direct Market seems to function at its best as a delivery system for popular genre comics with a collectible element to them may be something I find distressing, but isn't something you can put at the feet of a project that simply benefits from this fact.
 
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OTBP: Something Terrible

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available as a free, traditionally-formatted webcomic and as a 99-cent download; I hope if you like it you'll support the artist
 
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Paul Tumey Begins A Series On George Carlson

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there are very few cartoonists held in generally high esteem about whom I know less
 
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By Request Special: Charity Comic Seeking Submissions

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I got this from Canada Keck, a very nice cartoonist I met out at MIX 2013. Suicide prevention sounds like a worth cause to me, and we certainly all know someone who has either taken their own life or felt the impact of someone doing so. Submissions information here. More information and a memorial wall here.
 
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Go, Look: Steven Heller Profiles Peter Maresca

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Missed It: Controversy Over Vague Reasons Given Barefoot Gen Translator For Appearance Cancellation

This Anime News Network provides what seems to me a reasonably solid basic structure to a story about Barefoot Gen translator Alan Gleason having an appearance canceled for vague reasons that likely have something to do with recent controversy about the work. I'm not sure how Barefoot Gen could have been a more "balanced" work, unless perhaps they heard from the bomb. Seriously, though, it's always distressing to me when the reason for excluding something in a school setting comes down to some arbitrary sense of balance and fairness. I always thought students should have the tools to process anything just short of that which is presented with purposeful academic dishonesty. That includes young students.
 
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Go, Look: Always Happy To Link To Jimmy Thompson

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Go, Read: A Sociological Snapshot Of Comics Fandom

There's a fun post here over at the FPI blog with results from an academic's brief look at comics fandom and its sociological elements. I don't have any way to contextualize or process the post other than to declare there it is, and I certainly can't speak to its skill and effectiveness in terms of the observations made, but some of the individual reactions and outlooks reported were interesting to me. For instance, I laughed when the person described a visit to the comics shop as "a personal failure." I'm far away from that viewpoint myself, but I still thought it was funny. It's also a good reminder of how large shops loom for a lot of comics readers in terms of how they process comics more generally.

 
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Go, Look: Up Down Clown

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Collective Memory: Bristol Comic And Zine Fair 2013

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Nemesis The Warlock Mini-Gallery

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend it is APE with its 20th Anniversary show and NYCC, now definitely the second major mainstream comics industry North American comics show. I should have separate posts on each show up between now and Friday afternoon, so I won't get into it too much here. I did want to mention APE's programming schedule and its workshop schedule, in case I forgot to link to them in the forthcoming APE post. There is a really strong workshop element at a lot of these shows suddenly. TCAF is going to do a whole day of professional development on the Friday preceding its 2014 show.

* I am coming late to this very nice array of photos taken by Ulli Lust during her East Coast stay, a trip that encompassed SPX, the NY Art Book Fair and the Brooklyn Book Festival.

* I don't think I ever ran a link to this Brian Gardes Rose City report. I wrote this in closer proximity show but I think that's an important con for how it might eventually engender change with three different Northwest show: Emerald City (its partner); whatever Wizard is running up there, and Stumptown. Might.

* here's a report from that convention in St. Petersburg I'm dying to attend one day.

* I haven't seen a whole lot written on the Locust Moon Festival in Philadelphia last weekend and what I heard via e-mail and phone call was wildly mixed as to the crowds and how much they were buying. Here's a report from cartoonist Tom Scioli. And here's a report from Robyn Chapman. That looks like a cool space, and the sponsoring store looks awfully nice, too.

* the Team Cul De Sac Facebook presence confirms something we ran a few days ago, that Richard Thompson will be part of a two-man show at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum starting next Spring. The other cartoonist? Bill Watterson. That should be something.

* finally, if you are in the Midwest and close to any of that region's Fall literary festivals, you may see John Porcellino there. Well, okay, this just applies to one or two places. But John Porcellino!
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Regina Today, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Anthony Cudahy

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell guest on The TeachingBooks.net Blog to talk about the process of making March.

image* Richard Bruton on Holding Patterns. Milo Kotis on Boxers And Saints. Greg McElhatton on Astro City #5. Dominic Umile on Iron Bound.

* Frank Cammuso is just giving it away.

* improvements to the San Diego Convention Center -- home to Comic-Con International -- which would allow for more people to attend are facing some opposition by members of the California Coastal Commission.

* not comics: John Lewis is a badass.

* Joseph Remnant draws Harvey Pekar.

* the GCD profiles Mike Catron. Jonah Weiland talks to Reed Waller. Albert Ching talks to Michael Kantor and Lawrence Maslon. I have to say, I'm always a little dubious when people conflate superheroes and comic books.

* so I guess Stars And Stripes is no longer carrying Beetle Bailey. Space considerations. I have to imagine that Walker was providing it to Stars and Stripes for free, and if that were true, it's really just a space issue as the publication cut pages due to budget cuts. Why Beetle Bailey wouldn't be the last feature cut from Stars And Stripes, I couldn't tell you.

* finally, here is Lin Carter's comic book-oriented update on Gilbert & Sullivan.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Paul Nagy!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Jaime Hernandez!

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October 9, 2013


Go, Look: Molly Ostertag

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By Request Special: Fund For The Late Phil Nutman

Here. Nutman was an occasional comics person (Chaos, Tundra) better known for his writing about genre films. The best piece to appear about him thus far is the one we linked to yesterday, at his longtime client Fangoria.
 
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Go, Look: Jake Lawrence

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Ding Darling Day Activities = Victim Of Government Shutdown

I wondered if there might be a story or two on comics-related outcomes due to the government shutdown of non-essential operations caused by what I'm sure is a principled battle of great men and women over lofty political ideas (I haven't looked into it yet). I'm sure there might be a Library Of Congress-related outcome, but the first such story to actually come out on the wires is the cancellation of this year's Ding Darling Day activities at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Jasper County, Iowa. Jay Darling was a prominent editorial cartoonist and a leader in the early conservation movement.
 
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Go, Look: Boris Artzybasheff's Swastikas & Gremlins

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Bundled Extra: Robert Kirkman To Team With Paul Azaceta For Demonic Possession Title Outcast In 2014

imageThis is the kind of story that more frequently stops the presses -- or whatever one calls the presses these days -- at the bigger comics sites, if only temporarily: the writer Robert Kirkman of Invincible and The Walking Dead will team with the artist Paul Azaceta on a series about a man struggling with demonic possession, bearing the title Outcast, that is set to come out in 2014. There's a bunch here that's worth noting for any site, though. Kirkman is an extremely popular comics writer, and seems devoted to remaining one. Anything he does is of interest. Azaceta is one of those talents whose work has been super-solid, particularly on the BPRD titles, but hasn't quite settled into a high-profile project. This is apparently a horror title, a growing category for direct market shops, and features a narrative hook that becomes more prominent just for Kirkman's endorsement. Outcast will be an Image title, and Image has done well with Kirkman's work and with growing a set number of creator-driven titles that feel like a big deal due to industry factors brought about in part by Kirkman -- a narrative of creators working their own creations to greater potential reward.

I think announcements like this are super-key for Image, because of the nature of the audience right now: there's a significant audience that wants to sample new comics but because of the sheer amount of work out there, including a full-court press on the most popular characters by the mainstream companies, they want to spend that money wisely -- part of that is audiences seem to want more than ever to be directed to the bigger-deal comics. This is a fascinating tightrope to walk because I'm sure everyone feels their title is important, whether at Image or elsewhere. Another factor here worth a mention is that Image used NYCC imminence to make an announcement through media in a way that didn't really count on anyone being at NYCC -- a growing trend, particularly for two days before a show until about a day in.
 
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Go, Look: Several Pages Of Alex Toth Art

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this is copyrighted material, but I hope that a chance to look at Alex Toth art is enough of a recontextualization where that doesn't play as big a role
 
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OTBP: Logjam: The Best Fucking X-Man Ever

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Go, Read: Fun Food Facts With The Ramones

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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.

*****

AUG131327 BATTLING BOY GN VOL 01 $15.99
AUG131328 BATTLING BOY HC GN $24.99
I think the highest curiosity factor in quite some time greets the first volume of this new series from First Second featuring the work of Paul Pope. It certainly has the advance buzz and pedigree of a successful project; I just don't know anyone that's told me they've read the whole thing yet. So how people react should be very interesting. Pope's an intriguing talent, now and forever, and I think people want this book to be very good.

imageJUN131065 PALOOKAVILLE HC VOL 21 (MR) $21.95
This is the rare comic I've read in advance of its release, and it's very good. It makes the previous, also-good issue look like a transitional one. The rubber-stamp diaries are what most people I know that have seen this book are talking about, but I thought it was a pleasing whole.

AUG130108 ART OF TARA MCPHERSON LTD BOX SET $250.00
I barely know McPherson and only know her work a little better, but I'm always fascinated by high-end art book that sell through the comics marketplace and I would surely take notice of a $250 book featuring an artist showing up in my shop.

JUN130046 MIND MGMT HC VOL 02 FUTURIST $19.99
This is the second collection of the ongoing Dark Horse series from the prolific Matt Kindt, as I recall a cerebral spy story. I have to catch up with it, but Kindt is always worth at least checking out and, if your appetites move in his direction, reading.

AUG130090 ABE SAPIEN #6 $3.50
AUG130077 ELFQUEST SPECIAL FINAL QUEST ONE SHOT $5.99
AUG130064 RESIDENT ALIEN SUICIDE BLONDE #2 $3.99
AUG130049 SHAOLIN COWBOY #1 $3.99
AUG130330 COFFIN HILL #1 (MR) $2.99
AUG130571 ROCKET GIRL #1 [DIG] $3.50
AUG130573 THREE #1 [DIG] $2.99
AUG130334 ASTRO CITY #5 $3.99
AUG130235 BATMAN #24 (NOTE PRICE) $6.99
AUG130379 POPEYE CLASSICS ONGOING #15 [DIG/P+] $3.99
MAR130457 AMERICAS GOT POWERS #7 [DIG] $2.99
AUG130527 WALKING DEAD #1 10TH ANNIVERSARY ED (MR) $5.99
AUG130510 WALKING DEAD #115 CVR A (MR) [DIG] $2.99
AUG130529 WALKING DEAD TYREESE SPECIAL (MR) [DIG] $2.99
AUG130735 INFINITY #4 $3.99
JUL130743 JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC #1 NEW PTG $3.50
This is a bunch of compelling or potentially compelling material in terms of the publishing-project aspects of each one, although I'm not sure I would walk out of a shop with more than two or three. There's your Mignola-verse effort, right on top. I have no idea what's going on with the Elfquest franchise right now, but some sort of finale seems in order just in terms of it having been around 35 or so years at this point. That comic was super important to me when I was a 'tween, so I would catch up to any final project type thing they have going on. The Resident Alien is a second series in Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse's fun "Longmire but with an genteel alien as its lead" concept. Shaolin Cowboy is Geof Darrow at his Geof Darrow-est, and I know a ton of friends of mine will be happy to see the promised three issues of this second volume even it's been almost 10 years -- I'm thinking ten years, right? -- since the first. Rocket Girl, Three and Coffin Hill are mainstream genre efforts that are all worth noting; it's not a kind of comic I tend to buy, but it's one that's been an important way for comic shops to keep readers that finally grow tired of mainstream superhero universe building. Astro City, I'm sure, plays a similar role, and I'm happy to see Kurt Busiek writing that series again. I note the price on Batman #24 and hope that big price surges in regular comics series that are popular isn't a new or believed-reliable sales strategy for anyone out there. I would have been one pissed 14-year-old to go to that price point, I think. It's the issue # that interests me with the Popeye Classics; that's a lot of books. America's Got Powers is the Ross/Hitch comic. I remember Ross' last comic book series ended in total meltdown madness, so I hold high hopes for this one. Walking Dead has a few books out for its 10th Anniversary month, including a bunch of covers on #115. That kind of thing always makes me nervous. Infinity is I swear the most recent Marvel event book, although I could be totally wrong. Finally, there's a reprinting of JTHM out; I have no idea if its audience is still passionately devoted to that title or not.

AUG130620 GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS TP VOL 01 (MR) $17.99
This is a super-oddball, modern-cartoon style webcomic effort turned successful kickstarter campaign turned Image collection. This is another one where I'm just sort of curious as to whether it's any good or not, and would use seeing it at my comics shop as a spur to check it out. It looks fun.

JUL130437 MULTIPLE WARHEADS DOWN FALL ONE SHOT (MR) [DIG] $7.99
This is a one-shot collecting some old Brandon Graham work, and it's good enough it has me wondering after my ability to find new work that interests me because I should have been on Graham much, much earlier than I was. If you like the newer stuff, you like this one-shot; if you don't, you won't.

imageMAY131075 TRITON OF THE SEA GN VOL 01 $19.95
This is an Osamu Tezuka project from the late '60s/early '70s, and because it's Tezuka it's worth at least a check-out by any right-thinking comics fan. Tezuka is obviously on the Mt. Rushmore of 20th Century comics-making. As I recall, this was the project that alarmed people because it was crowd-funded and a bunch of folks were confused that Tezuka would ever have to be crowd-funded.

AUG131266 ROOKIE YEARBOOK TWO SC $29.95
This isn't comics, but it's Drawn and Quarterly, and they sold a ton of the very well-received first volume.

JUN131135 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC BOX SET 1987-1990 $49.99
JUN131134 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 20 1989-1990 $29.99
Seth said during his spotlight panel at SPX that working on the Peanuts trade made him realize that Schulz had a much broader "sweet spot" than anyone previously imagined, if the whole damn run of Peanuts wasn't a sweet spot with a smattering of slightly less inspired moments along the way. I believe this volume would find Schulz in three-panel mode full-time, which gave the strip additional energy for a few years.

AUG131544 GRANT VS LEE GRAPHIC HIST OF CIVIL WARS GREATEST RIVALS GN $19.99
I've been seeing a bunch of non-fiction, historical comics volumes recently, enough of them that I'll not it here.

MAY130760 MOLLY DANGER HC BOOK 01 $19.95
This was another crowd-funded project, I think about a year ago and I think a very successful one, from the well-liked Jamal Igle. It's work featuring a ten-year-old superheroine, and I know almost nothing else about it.

APR131130 TREASURY OF MINI COMICS HC $29.99
This is probably the most interesting release of the week, the Michael Dowers-edited collection of minis from the last 40 years. Dowers helped facilitate some of the best mini-comics of the 1990s through his Starhead, and had one of the great minis collections at that time and into the 2000s. I'm in this book, so I can't review it -- I wrote something on Dylan Williams -- but my hunch is that this is very much Dowers' tastes as opposed to a wide, wide net that's going to satisfy everybody that ever made one of these comics. I don't know that anyone will be so goofy as to complain publicly about a perceived slight, but then again, this is comics. I hope they do four or five of these things and really get a bunch of work in them. It still won't be all of it.

JUN131279 WIZARD OF ID HC DAILIES & SUNDAYS 1973 $19.95
I don't have a specific interest in the Wizard Of Id comic, and I'm sure my digest-sized paperbacks hold as much of that material as I'm ever likely to want or need, but I do like the idea of publishing representative years of some of the gag-driven strips of the second half of the 20th Century. I think that's a good way to read them.

AUG131637 101 WAYS KILL A ZOMBIE HC $14.95
This is a Christmas gift book, a novelty book, even, but I thought it was kind of charming for that kind of thing. I may review it.

JUL131137 RAY AND JOE HC MAN AND HIS DEAD FRIEND $29.99
God bless Fantagraphics for publishing an entire volume of work from a cartoonist I barely know, Charles Rodrigues. That's a rare experience these days, and I'm enjoying the book this week right before bedtime. I'll let you know how it is.

*****

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

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

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

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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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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Hadn't Seen This Entire Sean Gordon Murphy Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm not sure that I can pull out an image to do a "go, look" for this Boulet cartoon with moving imagery within a basic comics framework, and I know that some people won't like the comic overall, but I think those effects are nicely achieved.

image* Paul O'Brien on A+X #12. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Sex Criminals #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Batman: Black and White #2 and a bunch of different comic books. Jeffrey O. Gustafson with more on Ex Machina. Johanna Draper Carlson on Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde #2. Joe Gordon on SHIELD By Steranko: The Complete Collection and Hinterkind #1. Richard Bruton on Death And The Girls. Kelly Thompson on Lazarus #4. Rob Clough on The Cute Girl Network. Ng Suat Tong on Tropic Of The Sea. Matt Derman on Fantastic Four #301.

* here's an unpublished excerpt from MariNaomi's Kiss & Tell.

* Alex Dueben talks to Dylan Meconis.

* what a lovely design.

* congratulations to Rob Rogers on his day, yesterday.

* not comics: I'm not sure I know exactly what the hell is going on here regarding a newspaper deciding which content goes behind a paywall, but there's a crossed-arm, shake-one's-head feel to how it's presented. Usually when I read about stuff like this I'm more about the general model being broken -- the idea that a newspaper should operate to maximize profits, all other standards be damned -- than any specific permutation/outcome of that policy. I mean, it is fairly horrifying to think of a newspaper only serving rich customers, for instance, but we've had this near societal-wide rejection of any value other than bottom-line profit for years and years now, so I'm not sure what people thought would happen as this operating principle began to metastasize in our media.

* finally, this is adorable.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Bob Andelman!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Michael Netzer!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Simon Gane!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Jim Starlin!

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Happy 75th Birthday, Russell Myers!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Matt Wagner!

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Happy 70th Birthday, Mike Peters!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Jeremy Haun!

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October 8, 2013


Go, Read: JC Menu's Tribute To Kim Thompson

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Philip Nutman, RIP

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Go, Poke Around: The BAC Notable Comics List, 2013

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Go, Look: Antoine Cosse

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Go, Read: On Louis Raemakers

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start here, then here and then here
 
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Group Hosting Cerebus Re-Read Directed At The Tenth Anniversary Of That Series' Conclusion

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I got notes from several people asking this site to mention that a bunch of folks are going to re-read the Cerebus comic book series from beginning to end and have conversations about it. I'm all for people reading and engaging with comics work. I won't be joining them -- I don't really have the time to add that much extra comics reading to the part of my life where I read comics -- but it did make me wonder that if I did do I even own those issues? I certainly don't own them in comic book form, not all of them, and the books themselves I go hit and miss with, too. I wish that high-quality copies were available of select volumes if not the whole thing, but I don't think that's ever going to be the case.
 
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Go, Look: DC Comics Splashes From 1973

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Whenever There's A Good Interview With Drew Friedman, I Get To Post Drew Friedman Art

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Here's the interview, with CR pal Gil Roth. They're in a diner.
 
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Go, Look: BPRD Cast Portraits By Mike Mignola

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CR Video Parade Extra: The Only In Montreal Show Visits The Librarie Drawn & Quarterly


I hadn't seen inside the store yet. Gigi Devlin and Peggy Burns make an appearance. My sound is off on the computer I use to post things, but everything looks great.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Diana Tamblyn is now selling her From the Earth to Babylon: Gerald Bull and the Supergun here. That's the last 50 copies of an extremely limited (200 copies) first run. That book was popular at SPX. There is a sequel planned.

image* it's Richard Thompson's birthday today, so I went to Thompson's blog and to the site that is running his now-concluded Cul De Sac. Surprise, surprise, there was new information up on the forthcoming complete Cul De Sac collection, and even an image, albeit one of those "shot at an angle" things as opposed to a beautiful, flat, cover shot. I'm glad to hear there will be some of the proto-Cul De Sac work in there. That's going to be a heck of a book, and that museum gallery opening next year sounds like a must-do event. Also, they ran an Ernesto yesterday.

* this article notes that a Frank Cho project will see publication with Delcourt before it is published for North American audiences. This kind of thing never surprises me; it's a really stacked talent field right now, so any way these works get out is something of a miracle.

* this post over at 4thletter! says that Marvel is ending another stab at a "Scarlet Spider" character, a kind of in-continuity alternate Spider-Man made possible because of the Conway/Andru era's use of clones in the overarching Spider-Man storyline. It's hard to fathom that in today's market, which is so fragmented to begin with, that most riffs on a core character are going to get over for any significant length of time, at least not as full-time serial comic books. I'm sure there are billion exceptions to that rule, though.

* Sammy Harkham previews next year's work.

* looks like Fantagraphics will bring its Sunday Roy Crane series to a close with the next volume.

* finally, if you're a comics fan like I'm a comics fan, you'll be glad to hear that Mineshaft is doing a 30th issue. They're the best. I love it when that publication shows up in my mailbox. This is one of two Crumb pieces they're running now on their site in anticipation of that issue.

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Go, Look: A Dave Gerard Mini-Gallery

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Not Comics: Mead Schaeffer

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Gene Phillips proposes to go through every Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comic. That sounds like that would be fun to do. I think those are the best superhero comics.

image* Henry Chamberlain on RASL. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Pippi Fixes Everything. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Ex Machina in two parts. Henry Chamberlain on Second Banana. Richard Bruton on Show Me The Map To Your Heart. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy on My Friend Dahmer.

* Blake Bell and Dr. Michael Vassallo are in the midst of creating a series of 10 short videos in support of their new book about the secret history of Marvel Comics.

* I wanted to point out this series of blog posts -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; general category here -- featuring "tips" for APE before we got so close to APE that the people that could use them were already on site and away from their computers. I've never done that show -- I was always too broke back in the Seattle days and these days it is for some odd reason extra-difficult to travel to San Francisco from where I am. I'll get there soon.

* so I'm sorting my comics right now and I'm just beginning to wrap my mind around how many comics come out right now. Holy crap. And then today the new Jim Woodring showed up, and a sequel to that Scott C. book and like ten mini-comics, five or which look particularly interesting. We're all doomed. Well, I am, anyway. All apologies for not being as on top of reviews as I should be.

* finally, the Wall Street Journal covers this week's New York Comic Con, although I'm not a subscriber and can't see the article. Looks like one of those "it's nearly as big as Comic-Con International" stories. I would imagine that one of these cons is going to pass Comic-Con International at some point because Comic-Con International is limited by the facility to a certain number of people. It does make me wonder how many Comic-Con could claim right now if there were no limitations on tickets.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Richard Thompson!

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Happy 48th Birthday, James Sturm!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Tom Hart!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Sean Bieri!

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October 7, 2013


Go, Consider Buying: Frank Young's John Stanley Bibliographies

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Frank Young has done a new John Stanley bibliography, available as an e-book for cheap and as a pair of e-books with its predecessor for super-cheap. I hope you'll consider buying one if it interests you, and I have to imagine it's an inducement for Young not just to do more books but to continue to write about Stanley for free on that site in a way we all benefit.
 
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Roy Peterson, 1936-2013

imageRoy Peterson, a giant of Canadian editorial cartooning who won more National Newspaper Awards than any other journalist in more than 40 years with the Vancouver Sun, died September 30 after an incident the evening preceding in his West Vancouver home. He was 77 years old.

Peterson was born Roy Eric Peterson in 1936 in either Winnipeg (his wikipedia entry and initial obituaries) or Vancouver (at least one of the Vancouver Sun profiles). He was a prolific artist as a child and student, following in the footsteps of three brothers, all of whom drew. Two of those brothers died in World War 2. Peterson graduated from secondary school in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver.

In addition to his long run at the Sun, Peterson published in a variety of publications including Time and MacLean's. He settled in at the Vancouver Sun in 1962, and wouldn't leave the paper until 2009. During that time he won seven National Newspaper Awards (the family claims eight). He was known for both the authority of his caricatures and his general bravery in working with unpopular subject matter.

Peterson's books widely published. His best-known work is likely Drawn And Quartered, a series of cartoons done during the career of Pierre Trudeau. Another cartoon-driven collection was The World According To Roy Peterson. Additionally, Peterson did an alphabet book with a Canadian culture focus. Peterson was also in demand to play a more traditional illustration role, at time working in partnership with the Sun writer Alan Fotheringham, with whom he worked on assignments from MacLean's in a partnership that lasted nearly three decades. Peterson's illustrations in Stanley Burke's 1973 effort Frog Fables and Beaver Tales helped that book sell a quarter-million copies. A sequel, The Day Of The Glorious Revolution, came out the next year but did not perform as well.

Peterson received the Order Of Canada in 2004, was the founding president of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonista and according to the Sun was the only Canadian to be president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

The cause of death was complications due to Parkinson's Disease. He had earlier been treated for prostate cancer, and suffered poor eyesight at the end of his career. It was apparently not his choice to leave the Sun, yet another paper hit during that period by the desperate need for cutbacks.

A raft of Canadian cartoonists shared their personal memories of Peterson here. He is remembered by his friend Bob Krieger here.

Peterson is survived by two sons, three daughters and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret.

A celebration of Peterson's life is planned for October 11.
 
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Go, Look: Prize-Era Mort Meskin

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John Jackson Miller: Initial Estimates On September Sales -- Villains Month Books = Big Sales Driver

My favorite number cruncher John Jackson Miller has his initial estimates up for September 2013 comics and hobby shop sales, a report I'll mention here because I seem to have gotten out of the habit of running detailed synopses of DM sales estimates month-to-month -- why, I couldn't tell you.

As expected, orders on the Villains Month promotion that DC did -- where the bad guys took over oddly-numbered issues of the regular titles -- were super-strong. There has been a rolling controversy about that promotion in that DC was unable to fulfill orders on a special 3-D cover series of those books. I'm still talking to some retailers to sort out what that was like in their shops. One thing that was expected is that despite this failure to meet those standard-ordering practice generated levels of demand, the event would be highly ordered and that as a result there would be a positive spin on the event that might provide a counter-narrative to the cock-up aspects of it. With the retailers on board before fulfillment became an issue and with a certain quality to the comics market where things not being available drives a collectible impulse and interest more generally, I think any "we rocked it" summary statement has to be taken with a grain of salt.

However, I do think there's a lot that gets revealed that an effort like this does pretty well. My general take is that we have an audience out there with a massive amount of goodwill towards superhero comics and their favorite characters in those comics but is a bit battered by the number of choices and maybe even frustrated a bit by the consistency of reward that comes with serial comics buying. Some have become serial trade buyers. A lot, though, seem to want to be directed within the general towards those specific things that are the most worth buying. And there is still a modest to significant completist/collector element that manifests itself. So I think comics like these might be expected to do very well right now unless there's almost no engagement with the audience. My worry is that there's either little ability or even little desire to carry out these kinds of things in the framework of building a solid, long-term readership for a number of titles across the board. Ironically, it was weaknesses in the middle of the line on down that some folks believe drove DC and then Marvel into their current sales eras.
 
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Go, Look: The Four Most Recent From Boulet

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Go, Look And Follow: Zero Comprehension

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an anime/manga tumblr from Joe McCulloch? what a great Monday so far
 
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NYT: Al Jaffee's Archives Going To Columbia

Here's one way comics has changed in the last quarter-century: news of the kind that might have been covered in one or two industry publications a generation ago are trumpeted in the New York Times as the art news we've always known it to be. In this case, the Paper Of Record tells us that Al Jaffee's archives headed to Columbia's growing collection. There is also a nice mini profile in there -- okay, a few sentences -- on how Karen Green has effectively ramped up Columbia's holdings to the point where they are quickly becoming a major player in that world. We should see a massive amount of interest in people's archives over the next five years: more and more members of Jaffee's generation are going to pass on, and the generations after that all the way down to the cartoonists and industry people that emerged in the 1990s are going to be at an age where they start to think about where things end up. I think we'll also see one or two more institutions entering into that arena in some capacity and more things like various schools where cartoonists might have attended that weren't cartooning schools accommodating gifts and donations of a significant nature.
 
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Go, Look: Jack Kirby's 2001 Title Page Mini-Gallery

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* they are raising money for a free comics festival in Durham, North Carolina. Those good men Robert Clough and Eric Knisley are involved. You can follow the show's progress on Facebook here, look at the site here, follow them on twitter here, and pay attention to their tumblr here. That's a nice part of the country, and that city specifically is coming around as a general arts/culture center after years as "just" a college town. Clough introduces it to readers of his blog here.

* Joseph Hughes endorses a crowd-funding effort from Sanford Greene.

* another Columbus player.

* I wasn't aware that you could do pre-publicity for a crowd-funding campaign.

image* T. Edward Bak's Wild Man tour could still use some supporters; I'd like to see that one happen.

* I like one of these three things. Not crime.

* two projects about comedy are struggling a bit. I doubt that means anything, I just noticed it. I wish both of them luck with a strong finish.

* Rick Geary, Bo Hampton and Nick Bertozzi are the established industry names with crowd-funders going. The Bertozzi could get over the finish line as early as today if a few people were to jump on it.

* totally missed an ABQ con crowd-funding its way into existence. The Southwest seems to have a lot of small conventions right now. You also don't see a ton of archival projects being done this way.

* finally, congratulations to Team Yeti Press.
 
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If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Marian Churchland On Vancouver Eats

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love the format
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I used to run "Local Cartoonist Profiles" all the time -- they were a genre of newspaper article. This is a "Local Cartoon Library Profile."

image* Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Avengers: Endless Wartime. Rob Clough on Supermag. J. Caleb Mozzocco on The AeroSmurf. Jeffrey O. Gustafson on Jusay Pulp #1. Henry Chamberlain on Superheroes!. Paul O'Brien on Gambit #15-17. Jason Wilkins on Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight #1. Paddy Johnston on The Daniel Clowes Reader. Colm Creamer on Artos #1-2. Richard Burton on Lady S -- A Mole In DC. Robert Kirby on Iron Bound. Sean T. Collins on Andy. Greg McElhatton on Green Arrow #24. Robert Kirby on Iron Bound. Hannah Means-Shannon on a bunch of different books. Taylor on Tiny Pencil #1. Mark Sinclair on Sunday Night Movies. Andrew Asberry on Batman: Black And White #2.

* here's what Zak Sally looked like in a recent issue of Filter.

* Frank Santoro looks at the content of a few magazines about comics from the mid-1990s: Indy, Feature and Destroy All Comics. These along with Crash and The Staros Report were a significant part of how I got introduced to individual cartoonists. Not that way, I knew about the cartoonists featured, I mean my actual introductions to cartoonists at cons or in Seattle. "Yeah, I don't like the Journal much; I'm more into ________." Good memories.

* Björn Wederhake und Thomas Kögel talk to Luke Pearson.

* finally, is George McManus the only cartoonist to get third billing in a feature film made from his work? Probably not, but I can't think of anyone else.
 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, Enki Bilal!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Phil Yeh!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Howard Chaykin!

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October 6, 2013


Go, Look: A Message From The Shadows

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Go, Look: McSweeney's/Airbnb LA Neighborhood Guides

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bunch of Vanessa Davis in there
 
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If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 55th Birthday, Mike Carlin!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Dylan Horrocks!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Shannon Smith!

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FFF Results Post #353 -- Storytime

On Friday, CR reader were asked to "Tell A Wordless Story In Five Pictures; Supply The Pictures (Or Direct Links); May Not Use The Same Art More Than Twice; Name It." This is how they responded.

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"My Comics Reading History"
By Tom Spurgeon

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"The Growth Of Dr. Doom"
By Sean Kleefeld

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"The Month I Was Born (And Just In Time)"
By Andrew Mansell

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"Hard To Swallow"
Mike Baehr

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"Poker Night"
By Michael May

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"My Wordless Comic Reading Biography"
Sterg Botzakis

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"Kirby Without Lee"
By Mark Mayerson

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"What I'm Thinking About When I'm On The Phone With Customers
By Danny Ceballos

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"My First SPX"
By Matt Emery

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"Pitfalls Of Transsensuality"
Oliver Ristau

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"Processed Colors"
By Lou Copeland

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"TCJ Message Board Glory Days"
By Matt Silvie

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"Untitled"
By Iestyn Pettigrew

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"Changing Tastes With Age"
By Greg McElhatton

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October 5, 2013


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Marc Tyler Nobleman Is The Bravest Author Alive


Talk Show Appearance For Peter Brookes


Ali Ferzat On The Risk Of Depicting Assad


Jeff Parker -- The Comic-Strip One -- Interviewed


Jamar Nicholas Inks


Student Project Movie Trailer
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 28 to October 4, 2013:

1. Changes in North American healthcare policy may open up some insurance opportunities for a bunch of self-employed poor people, of which comics has like 18 billion.

2. Six Archie employees file suit against Nancy Silberkleit.

3. Henry Payne will no longer be directly employed by the Detroit News in the art of cartoon-making.

Winner Of The Week
IDW in partnership with My Little Pony

Losers Of The Week
People on the wrong side of Hollywood accounting

Quote Of The Week
"Be professional. Be a problem-solver. Be willing to compromise in the face of a solid argument. Be willing to lose sometimes because you'll learn more that way than you will by always winning. Ultimately, if a client is paying you for your services, he or she has every right to set the specifications, just as you have a right to your integrity. But when people jealous of how you make a living try to rag you with that old truism that every company employee has to eat shit now and then, remind them that you are not an employee. You're a contractor. You do not receive health benefits, sick days, pensions, vacation time, or any of the other considerations traditional employees receive. Your clients have zero ethical or moral ground to lie to you, to denigrate you, to cheat you, to demand more from you than they're paying for, to unapologetically walk back on promises or treat you maliciously, or to exploit your need to put food on the table. The good ones won't. Never trust the bad ones." -- Mark Waid

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today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated

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Go, Look: Patrick Kyle Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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If I Were In Chapel Hill, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In White River Junction, I'd Go To This

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