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April 30, 2014


Al Feldstein, RIP

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Go, Look: Zoe Keller

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A Few, Brief Links To Articles About comiXology's In-App Moves

I am late in blogging about what is likely the story of the week: reaction to the first major move that comiXology has made post Amazon.com purchase, namely cut some third parties out of a percentage of sales made through devices by rerouting how those sales are made, bringing themselves more in line, at least broadly, with existing Amazon strategy with their kindle. I thought this column was the best of the shorter ones I've seen as far getting both the basic strokes in it and running a statement from Chip Mosher that provides insight as to their point of view regarding the moves.

imageI think the reason why I haven't said a whole lot is that I'm not sure there's as much clash here as that we're seeing an expected, inevitable move -- there was going to be something -- followed by the expression of a dissenting view as to whether this represented a maximal outcome. That said, I think that industry veteran Gerry Conway's general line of inquiry here -- that this might cut into the promise of comiXology as a high-end, pure impulse buy mechanism -- is totally fair. Yeah, it might. We'll see how the numbers eventually break. But if Conway ends up being very wrong, I still think that's an idea worth putting out there. Conway has offered up a cultural value for comiXology within the community rather than basing his argument on backseat driving the company to perceived greater profits -- I think that changes the conversation for the better. One thing we do know is that any argument made on-line where part of that argument exists in the realm of future possibility, that argument can be dickered away -- and we're seeing that. How important is it that the primary avenue to digital comics play that role? It could definitely be debated, as there are scenarios whereby reach can be sacrificed for immediate profit, or greater profit, or a better percentages of same to certain players.

The writer and digital publisher Mark Waid reinvingorates some of Conway's arguments here. Waid suggests there might be a longer game involved but underlines what he sees as the importance of the short term in persuasive fashion. Waid and Conway together are enough to drive a stand-alone feature or two. Augie De Blieck Jr. suggests that Apple isn't necessarily a villain for the set-up they had, and reminds that that partnership was fruitful for comiXology at various stages in their development to date.

A couple more articles suggested to me: this piece at CBR about company-owned apps partnering with comiXology still allowing for this option, plus a Mosher interview; this summary piece at Multiversity, which I haven't read yet.

Two cautionary points. One is I'm not all the way sure that anyone in comics is getting the math right, even in casual usage. If nothing else, I believe a lot of the publisher deals are negotiated separately and are different than the more public Submit deal which folks are using as a starting point. But it seems like there are some wild divergences out there. This article by Moisés Chiullan seems the best overall in breaking down some of the basic numbers in play, and how they plug into decision-making. He also gets a straight-up yes from comiXology's Chip Mosher that independent creators should benefit by purchasing through web site as opposed to the way of purchasing it through the app. In fact, if you can only read one article, read the Chiullan article. The other cautionary point is that there may be a tendency to use general appraisals of things we're seeing on-line as indicative of the way the hard data will break, and that's never necessarily true. The good thing is we'll see.

I think Rob Salkowitz's piece here is a reasonably rational one with its wait-and-see and good partnership arguments. He takes a negative view of both the size of Apple's cut and the control it exerted as a result, which is good to read in contrast to De Blieck's view. Salkowitz's piece turns somewhat dire consequences-wise when he suggests that Amazon is going to take a specific interest in using the comics purchases to drive merchandise to you in a way on which a physical store location has had a sort-of monopoly. I'm not sure the latter is 100 percent sure, I love comics shops but I haven't bought anything other than a serial comic book at once for almost a decade now. I'm sure it will be a factor, though. It's certainly worth noting the potential irony that comic book stores -- whose initial conceptualization in the ideas marketplace was as "places that had all of the comics" may eventually feel the impact of a retailing giant that can better do this right now.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Kagan McLeod's TCAF Travelogue

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Local Comic Shop Profiles Are The Best, And This Is The Best Week For Local Comic Shop Profiles

Keith Roysdon at the Muncie Star-Press profiles Alter Ego in downtown Muncie, as well as a pair of other Middletown USA comics shops. Hard to beat having Scott Snyder come to town and pair up with Mark Waid (a part owner) to help make an event out of that day. Congratulations on their making it to a tenth year, too. It's always interesting to me when a store moves, too, from a strip type location to more a of a classic downtown storefront, like that one has.

Anyway, check out your local paper for a bunch of FCBD-related profiles. Heck, write one yourself if your paper doesn't have one planned.
 
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Go, Look: An Untitled Story About An Apple Tree

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Go, Read: Ming Doyle On Her Experiences Finding Work

The artist and cartoonist Ming Doyle has a response up here to a question about the role one's perceived attractiveness plays in getting work or not getting work. It's a solid, hopeful answer which pulls in a lot of Doyle's experiences. One thing you might do if you're puzzled by this issue is look at the instances Doyle chooses to recall in answering this question. They aren't all abominable, but they're all things that are unecessary and in some small way, demeaning or not fully respectful. Sometimes it's those kind of things, things that can be corrected in a more direct way, that count just as much as a declaration to not tolerate the actions of others. It's just as important, too.
 
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Missed It: Peter Kuper 2011 Istanbul Sketchbook Pages

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Position Open At Fantagraphics As Longtime Staffer Jason T. Miles Announces His Departure

imageFantagraphics is advertising an e-commerce/social media marketing position. That's the position Mike Baehr has held there for years. They have a team there right now with whom they're very happy and I'd have to imagine that it'd be a fun time to join that organization. It's not like these kinds of gig come up a whole lot. I hope the fact that the job doesn't call for super-specialized knowledge means beyond familiarity with some pretty standard programs means they'll have their pick of Seattle's and of comics' mass reserve quantity of broadly skilled people. It's a diverse workplace, too, even more so now than when I worked there.

Baehr is taking the position Jason T. Miles held. Miles is a cartoonist and a mini-comics distributor (Profanity Hill) in addition to the editing and production work he'd been doing for the alt-comics house. He's also a very well-liked member of that community and the departure has been described to me as completely lacking any kind of drama whatsover. I look forward to seeing what Jason does next.
 
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Go, Read: 10 [Edward] Gorey Details

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By Request Special: Image Digital Comics Offering To Benefit CBLDF

imageImage has put together digital editions of a bunch of their better-selling series into an offering that partly benefits the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund -- buyers can choose whether the appropriate amount per units sold goes to the creators or to the Fund. It's one of those clever threshold-game type offers: whatever you want to a certain point + unlocking other volumes after that. Basically, that's it. I like every series involved to some degree; it's clear this is not a cable TV tier offering where desirable choices are paired with largely undesirable or hugely less popular ones.

As comics companies get bigger and bigger in terms of a digital back-catalog, how they employ all of that content is going to be fascinating. I expect to see a lot of content available at low prices to leverage people towards ongoing work, and just kind of grandly priced-per-unit digital offerings more generally.
 
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Go, Look: Another Leslie Stein Comic

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Go, Look: Tubby And The Little Men From Mars

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

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

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

*****

FEB141277 LOVE BUNGLERS HC $19.99
This is a collection of the Jaime Hernandez work that made a lot of us cry in serial form and it's maybe the best comic I've read all decade. I not only want it in every iteration of its publishing history, I'm happy taking home multiple copies. I have no idea what this reads like for newbies -- one did tell me they found it extremely affecting, but maybe they caught something slightly crazed in my eye. A beautiful, humane, masterfully executed comic.

imageFEB141424 CIGAR THAT FELL IN LOVE WITH PIPE GN $22.95
This is Nick Abadzis illustrating David Camus and I bought my copy before I got to "illustrating." I always enjoy looking at Abadzis' work. This is a SelfMadeHero book, as they continue to build a super solid back catalog of books that should sell for a few years most times out.

JAN140382 FLEX MENTALLO MAN OF MUSCLE MYSTERY TP (MR) $14.99
DEC130122 MESMO DELIVERY 2ND EDITION HC $14.99
I'm not sure where this edition of the former fits into the publishing history, but it was so long for this book to be collected at all that many folks that would like one might not have availed themselves as of yet. I think of this one more as a bundle of interesting concepts rather than a cohesive and affecting read -- at least one of that type in the mainstream pantheon of excellent works -- but it's been a decade or so since I've read these comics. I'm aware of the content in the Mesmo Delievery: it's an intense, funny and lurid action-adventure comic that was a big word-of-mouth work when it first appeared on the edge of folks' cognizance. This looks like a fancier edition. Fun comic.

JAN140502 ALICE IN COMICLAND HC $29.99
This is a Craig Yoe effort featuring work from a variety of mainstream heavy hitters -- Toth, Kelly, Kurtzman, Davis, etc. -- on the Lewis Carroll Alice character and her fellow travelers.

JAN140547 CBLDF PRESENTS LIBERTY HC (MR) $29.99
This collects work from the CBLDF annuals of the same name. It's as solid a list of creators that ever might work on an anthology in an overlapping set of aesthetic arenas that rarely favor that kind of book.

FEB140475 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #1 (MR) $3.50
FEB140595 CHEW #41 (MR) $2.99
FEB141087 ADVENTURE TIME 2014 ANNUAL #1 $4.99
These are the serial comics that jump out at me -- it's kind of a small list. The Southern Bastards titles is writer Jason Aaron -- working with Jason LaTour -- taking his shot to the join the long line of established Marvel/DC writers that have signature comics series with Image. Chew is a super-solid performer that's been around long enough we can remember how freaking odd and unlikely hit that was when it first started coming out. I think it was also influential in terms of attracting other creators to come to the company and try something similar; I've heard it referenced, anyway. The Adventure Time 2014 Annual really does sound like what I write about those books every single week: a decent entry point as to what they're doing with those books.

FEB148267 SEX CRIMINALS #5 2ND PTG (MR) $3.50
FEB148315 STARLIGHT #1 2ND PTG (MR) $2.99
It's always fun to note the Image reprints -- there's no dysfunctional corporate culture that keeps an Image comic from printing to its expected initial sales point, so these tend to reflect straight-up demand outpacing the creators' ability to project how well their work is going to sell. Sellling out of a print run five issues in is worth nothing all by itself.

JAN141201 BUDDY BUYS A DUMP GN $19.99
Peter Bagges is a living, breathing comedy hero, and Buddy Bradley is his best character. This is another book of many on this list I have but have yet to read, and I look forward to seeing how they play one right after the other -- I know their extremely intermittent nature and the relative shortness of each story has had a presence in my mind when I've read them as they come out.

JAN148166 EC COMICS FOUR HC SLIPCASE VOL 01 $94.99
Like Archie the Tower Comics works, the EC Comics expressions escape me in terms of who is publishing what in which order and why. I'm kind of hooked on the black and white author-oriented Fantagraphics volumes because they force me to reconsider artists that I power past when they're collected in a format resembling the original comics, but I tend to enjoy the EC stuff no matter how they're assembled. Only the size of my wallet keeps me from buying them all, and I'd certainly look at this one.

FEB141617 JEFFREY BROWN KIDS ARE WEIRD OBSERVATIONS FROM PARENTHOOD HC $14.95
The cover to this book made my mom laugh when she picked it up at the Barnes & Noble. Brown has carved himself a nice career as a joke-book maker -- and by that I mean the way these books are structured, not that this makes them lesser works or less interesting to me than comics just for that differentiating characteristic. I'd be happy to have Brown books to give out as gifts to sort-of comics reading friends for the next 25 years.

FEB141333 VINLAND SAGA GN VOL 03 $19.99
The latest in Makoto Yukimura's viking saga seems the best of the mainstream-oriented manga series with a volume out this week.

MAR141548 ART OF OSAMU TEZUKA GOD OF MANGA HC $40.00
This is a hardcover edition of the Helen McCarthy book that Abrams put out; I don't know if this particular format release is replacing one that's out of print, designed to be for collectors, meant for classroom use or what, but it's a considerable book.

FEB140533 PRETTY DEADLY TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99
First of all, look at that price point. I'm not one to write appreciatively of publishing strategies, but it seems to me that Image has been focused in effective fashion on driving people towards serials comics purchasing in addition to providing a decent price point for curious buyers. This is doubly smart if you believe, as I do, that there's a growing groups of consumers that read trades as serial comics nows. I have this squired away as a reward read at some point in the future -- yeah, I'm that guy -- and am looking forward to it. It certainly has struck a chord with its readers, if the early cosplay indications are to be believed.

*****

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 Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: JR's Fun House

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough profiles the very funny Meghan Turbitt. Jana Riess on G. Willow Wilson.

* Richard Bruton recommends two of the more community-minded advocacy efforts that have been popping up as of late.

* Rob McMonigal on Puddles. Jason on various comics. Andy Oliver on The Homesick Truant's Cumbrian Yarn #1. Mat Colegate on the various publications from Decadence. Sean Gaffney on Higurashi: When They Cry Vol. 25. Grant Goggans on Pogo: Prisoner Of Love. J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Harlem Hellfighters.

* Bob Temuka writes about an interesting comics-culture expression: the way enthusiasm for comics can overtake more responsible consumption habits.

* the writer Johanna Draper Carlson questions specific elements of recent Marvel PR.

* Roger Langridge draws Captain America fighting Popeye, and makes little secret as to which side he leans.

* Sean Kleefeld notes a couple of post-Golden Age Of Newspaper Strip efforts and suggests that maybe it's not always the shrinking space provided by newspaper that was the culprint in terms of people not doing a certain kind of art on the comics page anymore.

* the writer Sean T. Collins riffs on that "convenient canon" article from several days back as I did, but goes in a more comics-specific direction: comparing the lack of HBO television series on specific platforms to Marvel Comics falling behind DC in terms of building in the public's imagination a pantheon of worthy works because it's so much harder to see and access their worthy material. I do think Marvel's mess of a books program costs them money, but I never wondered after whether it cost them prestige.

* CF draws an image from that omnipresent relic of the early VHS rental days: Liquid Sky.

* I'm blogging a few days ahead right now from personal necessity, so I hope that you've already read Paul Tumey's piece at TCJ.com on a new, emerging, Seattle cartooning scene.

* finally, Paul Gravett places a new Alan Moore exhibition into the context of older Alan Moore-related exhibitions.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Greg Holfeld!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Andrew Mansell!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Ben Catmull!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Nat Gertler!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 29, 2014


CR Guest Editorial: Bart Beaty On Calgary Comics Expo, Regional Conventions And Attendance Figures

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By Bart Beaty

I mouthed off the other day on FaceBook. Having read this week a number of comments on the comics internet about Salt Lake City's Comic Con and their claims to nearly 100,000 attendees, I got a bit irritated. If you read Tom's piece here, he is, as he almost always is, fair and generous. He notes that "some people" have "openly questioned" the SLC number, while he also notes that it's a good number and shows that there's room for growth. Completely fair, and not the type of article that got under my skin.

According to this chart in this PW article by Heidi MacDonald, of the 15 best-attended comics events last year about a third are so off the beaten path that they get very little press coverage in the comics community.

These regional cons -- Denver, Calgary -- may outdraw other more visible cons in Charlotte or Toronto or New York by a huge margin, but for the most part they do it with little attention paid to them. There are lots of reasons for that: publishers don't release new works at them; they don't make major announcements; they don't bring in once-in-a-lifetime international guests; they don't take place a subway ride away from the great concentration of comics bloggers and commentators. But they are a huge organizing structure of contemporary comics fandom, and it seems that we are missing some of that.

Look at this picture:

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That is downtown Calgary, Alberta on midday on a Friday yesterday for the opening of Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo. Calgary is the third largest city in Canada, and also the wealthiest. In 2006 it hosted the first CCEE, and about 3000 people came. It grew steadily over the next few years, and became monumental in 2012. That year it became the first con anywhere to reunite the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in one location. Fans flew in from all over the planet for the opportunity to spend hundreds of dollars to get their picture taken with the entire cast. That year I spoke on a number of panels, and when I arrived with my wife and son on the Saturday, we could not get in to my panel, as the 250,000 square foot convention centre was overpopulated. I think most people thought they couldn't duplicate that one-of-a-kind feeling again, but attendance rose in 2013 as they added more floor space by moving to an adjacent building (the event is held at Stampede Park, which hosts our annual rodeo -- it's a vast space). This year they added even more space, occupying at least five different buildings. For the first time in several years I was too busy to volunteer to organize any talks or panels, so I bought tickets for my family and could only get a Friday pass. It was still a madhouse.

The logistics of CCEE have been criticized each of the past three years (and possibly before that). 2012 was traumatic for some people. I know that if I had flown from Australia to meet Patrick Stewart and had a ten minute window and then couldn't get on the floor in my Starfleet uniform because the venue had been oversold by volunteers I would likely have lost my mind. To the con's credit, they took steps to address these problems. This year they moved ticketing to the rodeo grandstand (you had to trade your ticket for a wrist badge) which is a good idea for crowd control, but a bad idea when you're a guest with an eight year old dressed as Thor who has to walk more than a mile from the parking lot to the grandstand and then back to the event. It is even more of a failure if your volunteers can't remember the word "grandstand" and keep saying "one of the buildings that way" and it is even more of a failure when, like today, it is snowing (that's life in a mountain town in late April...)

That said, to be fair, CCEE has improved immensely since 2012's disasters. Photo sessions were moved to a separate building; autograph areas were moved into a back room (and, this year, into an additional building -- if you want to meet Sigourney Weaver ($150 -- no pictures!) -- you leave the convention centre for an entirely different part of the Stampede grounds. These are huge improvements, but they also mean that there are areas that look abandoned. In this picture you'd think we were at a con with poor attendance, but we're actually in front of an autograph area where the celebrity isn't coming until today. That's one of the reasons I was dubious of initial reports that SLC didn't look crowded -- it seemed to me that a well-planned regional con, with its emphasis on movie and tv stars -- is always going to have areas that don't look crowded.

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Trust me, it was crowded. I have been to San Diego. I have been to TCAF. I have been to Angouleme on a Saturday. This show was immensely more crowded than TCAF or Angouleme. It was no San Diego. The regional con becomes a magnet for people for hundreds, or even thousands, of miles. I spoke yesterday to students of mine who had friends coming in from at least four provinces. I'm speaking at Denver's Comic Con next month, and I'm sure it brings in people from as many states. With San Diego selling out almost instantly (when Big Bang Theory does an episode about trying to buy passes online, you know your ticketing issues have become a big deal), it makes sense that regional cons will begin to attract crowds that are on par with where SDCC was a decade ago.

One thing that I can say about the regional con that is different from San Diego (or Angouleme) is that everyone loves it. I have never heard my local event badmouthed in a serious way (well, those Australian TNG fans were pretty upset). Even with the logistical problems, my students love this event. The exam for my comics class took place, partially, overlapping with the opening of preview night and my students arrived to the exam in costume. Some left early to take the train to the event -- sacrificing their grade to be there. I see a crowd that is overwhelmingly family oriented. A huge percentage of the crowd is children (my group was five professors, three children under the age of ten), and a huge percentage is female, and a huge percentage is in costume. They queue to meet the cast of Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and The Hobbit. They attend panels on costume design, and drawing skills run by the local Art College. They shop for toys, comics, and original art.

What is most striking about the event is how mainstream the whole thing is. The students in my comics class -- overwhelmingly between the ages of 17 and 22 -- do not regard comics fandom as a subculture. In a world where everyone they know goes to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, comics are not seen as geeky or nerdy, but as normal as any kind of fandom. I often note that I've been to car shows at the same convention centre that holds CCEE and it has only a fraction of that crowd. When you're more mainstream than cars, that's an important part of the city's self-image.

Here's the mayor of Canada's third largest city, Naheed Nenshi, taking a selfie while dressed as the eleventh Dr. Who. That's what a regional con means to a city.

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*****

image/chart and photos copyrighted to their owners and supplied by Dr. Beaty; that Thor is Sebastian Beaty

*****
*****
 
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Festivals Extra: DWAs Announce Scott Thompson's Return As Host

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And Ethan Rilly drew him. Alex Fellows provides the official poster, and you should go there to see it; it's quite handsome. I thought Thompson was good last year. While people remember David Collier's extended goofery, that was actually funny; the only drag on the show was a fire alarm that delayed its start.
 
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Go, Look: Ryan Cecil Smith's iPad Sketches At Juxtapoz

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Assembled Extra: Doonesbury Moves To WaPo From Slate

imageA few CR readers recently sent e-mail indicating that Doonesbury was losing its presence at Slate, or at least that the primary place people seemed to be reading the feature on-line was its GoComics.com iteration rather than its devoted, old-fashioned, portal-type space at the long-running Internet publication. Andrew Beaujon at Poynter reports here that the strip will have a devoted presence of similar heft and weight to its Slate days over at Washington Post. It looks like a smooth transition, and I would infer from that article it was the first choice of cartoonist Garry Trudeau and his syndicate.

I don't know that I have an initial reaction other than the thought flashed in front of me that the advance of social media may as a communication tool for magazine content may have reduced the desirability of a centralized feature presence for a publication like Slate. May have. The Post seems like it would be a good home for the feature.
 
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Go, Look: More

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Your Ping Prisen 2014 Nominees

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This is a nice-looking awards slate from Denmark: announced here in the form slightly adpated below and here in a clever visual interface. I'd go to the second just to look at it, even if the list below makes your eyes glaze over, being a list and everything. It's a nice snapshot of the way one country is processing comics in terms of a mix of homegrown and international talent. Alan Moore, Jaime Hernandez, Matt Fraction, Paul Pope and Simon Hanselmann are among the nominees perhaps more instantly familiar to readers of the site.

I also like the fact that it seems like this is a juried award made of contributors to two magazines, Nummer9 and Strip! It's a revival of an older awards program. Winners will be announced June 7.

Best Danish
* Nikoline Werdelin: Homo metropolis
* Jacob Orsted og Soren G. Mosdal: Rockworld
* Johan Krarup: Cliffs monologer
* Palle Schmidt: Stiletto
* Philip Ytournel: Kierkegaard i Politikens Bogtillaeg 4. maj 2013

Best Foreign, Translated and Published in Denmark
* Emmanuel Guibert: Alans krig
* Jaime Hernandez: Har du set mig?
* Alan Moore og Melinda Gebbie: Vildfarne piger
* Jiro Taniguchi: Senseis mappe 1-2
* Katrin de Vries/Anke Feuchtenberger: Horen H kaster handsken

Best Foreign
* Matt Fraction og David Aja: Hawkeye 1-2
* Paul Pope: Battling Boy
* Joe Sacco: the Great War
* Brian K. Vaughan og Fiona Staples: Saga 1-2
* Simon Hanselmann: Life Zone

Best Children/Youth (Published in Denmark)
* Annette Herzog og Katrine Clante: Pssst!
* Julien Neel: Lou! 3
* Bruno Gazzotti og Fabien Vehlmann: Alene 1-2
* Emile Bravo: Splint -- portraet af helten som troskyldig ung mand
* Niels Roland: Muld og Mille bind 1: Lotusdammens vogter

Best Danish Web Comic
* Johan F. Krarup: Episk fejl
* Christian Henry: Anyone for Rhubarb?
* Maren Uthaug: Marens blog
* Stine Spedsbjerg: Stine bliver klogere
* Sarah Glerup: Det Sarahkastiske hjorne

Best Debut
* Thomas Mikkelsen: Troldmaendene fra Vestmanneyjar
* Annette Herzog og Katrine Clante: Pssst!
* Bue Bredsdorff: Huset i Sonderha
* Rune Nielsen og Thomas Fabian Delman: Det kinesiske vaerelse
* Diverse: Jeg tegner, nar jeg skriver (Anna Bendixens bidrag)

Best Editorial Cartoonist (New Category)
* Gitte Skov, Weekendavisen
* Adam O., Modkraft
* Morten Voigt, Kristeligt Dagblad
* Ib Kjeldsmark, Information og Markedsforing
* Philip Ytournel, Politiken

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Go, Read: Timberdoodle

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California Bookstore Day Crowds Into Free Comic Book Day

A few of you have written about a California indpendent bookstore event, California Bookstore Day, taking place the same day as Free Comic Book Day. Three things strike me as unfortunate, a bit removed from the idea of the "fairness" of one event placing itself in the feature article rich target area of another. The first is that Free Comic Book Day was founded by a California retailer, Joe Field, so that just seems symbolically and specifically rude. The second is that some of the audiences might overlap: someone that might be inclined to head into a bookstore might have been convinced to try a free comic book, while someone that isn't going to miss their comic shop having an event strikes me as the kind of person that might also head into a bookstore for something if the two things didn't happen at the same time. The third is that many of the best independent bookstores in California and, well, period, are also higher-end comic book shops. I know that Marc Arsenault of Wow Cool/Alternative has expressed a desire to do both days if that option were available to the.

Does any of this mean that either day is doomed. Of course not. By why not give both days the best chance to succeed rather than an arguable chance? In fact, I'm not sure how running two events out of the same day is an advantage to anyone except maybe those promoting the day as its own thing. Let's hope a better day is found: FCBD was there first, and has a reason for making their on this specific weekend, so I'd put this on the California bookstores.
 
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Go, Look: A Light Through Wind Chime

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Not Comics: Print Ad Revenues Fall To 1950 Levels

This is shocking: print ad revenues have fallen to 1950 levels -- a time when the size of the economy and the size of the country were wholly different and much more flattering to that dollar amount. I'm sure there's a different way to read these figures that I can't quite see, but this sure seems like another dollop of lousy news for an industry that's been choking down the lousy news for years now. It's increasingly looking like the recovery claimed for newspapers is instead a little bit of a bounce for certain on-line models, the appearance of a few new publications that seem to work -- at least for now -- and the fact that the still ongoing decline isn't quite the terrifying plunge from a few years back and thus looks less apocalyptic in comparison. As the article author notes, I don't know that there's any real solution, although my hunch is that you could build an industry around that revenue point and it's the adjustment that's causing a lot of the friction and difficulty rather than this being a doomed enterprise simply marking time as the ship disintegrates around them. If that's the case, then newspapers still cutting to the bone as the article reports seems like a perfectly reasonable thing rather than a springboard to further despair.

The sharp decline of newspapers certainly has an effect on comics: some of the few remaining editorial cartooning positions are likely to be cut or retired as their current talents die out or take a deal or move onto something else; you're also likely to see a continuation of conservative launch tactics from comic strip syndication companies. One hopes for the rare hire or two of a staff cartoonist in a proactive fashion, and that someone may find a new model for a new newsroom.
 
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OTBP: The River

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Go, Read: Jen Sorensen Profile

imageThis is a really nice and sort of old-fashioned newspaper feature profile by Michael Cavna of the cartoonist Jen Sorensen, poised to receive the Herblock Prize tonight and its cash prize. That's a very nice story, and you might just read it because it's a nice story.

A couple of things about it that spring to mind: The first is that the Herblock Prize has gained by giving this award to Sorensen, just as Sorensen gets the benefit of that honor. Another is that it may be shocking to some of you to think of Sorensen as an editorial cartoonist drawn to that form of expression in part because of the shape of politics the year 2000 and moving forward, but that's what Sorensen is. It is not unreasonable to see cartoonists like Sorensen as part of a wider chorus of satirical voices that grew out of pushback against the excesses of the most recent Bush Administration. We frequently discuss how the forms and formats and commercial avenues available to younger editorial cartoonists have a drastic impact on the work being created, but we're also talking a generational shift just in terms of the issues and how they're processed.
 
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Not Comics: Memories Of Working In A 1980s Animation Factory

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OTBP: Copra #14

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* via JR Williams comes this look at Pat Moriarity's cover work on the next Dennis Eichhorn project, as well as the good news that Williams himself will have a two-pager in there. I always liked Williams' short cartoons for Eichhorn.

image* Gareth Brookes previews The Land Of My Heart Chokes On Its Abundance, due later this year.

* one of the nicer outcomes of the successful Linework NW and the crowd-funder attached to Study Group going well is that we'll soon get another issue of Study Group Magazine. Here is a lengthy breakdown of what we can expect. This is a fun magazine in a lot of different ways, and features the editorial voice of Milo George, whose run at The Comics Journal I enjoyed quite a bit.

* there was some news coming out of C2E2 related to mainstream comics. Nick Lowe discusses a Marvel-announced project where they will be trying to do Marvel's various comics as they might exist in 2061. This was announced a little bit ahead of that show, but apparently they're killing Wolverine. I don't know the character well enough to know if I can append an "again." The only interesting thing to me there seems to be that the writing gig goes to Charles Soule, which I imagine to be a vote of confidence in that creator. Marvel will be doing a series with the Storm character created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum; that's a good character. I guess this was also announced earlier, but there was some panel discussion of DC bringing back the John Broome/Carmine Infantino created Wally West character -- that's the Kid Flash turned 1980s Flash. I suppose that means he hasn't been used in the "New 52" reboot yet, which I guess is sort of interesting. Here's a teaser for their Fall "event."

* if the red in this Steranko cover image is the same that gets printed, that should be a very attractive book on the stands.

* Jason provides a very specific update as to the status of his next work.

* here's yet another comic to look forward to seeing, from another smaller publisher, Lando's Gardens Of Glass from Breakdown Press. That should be out this summer. Lando is the Lando from Decadence Comics.

* Evan Dorkin reports there will be a slight delay on the second issue of his new Eltingville series.

* in what has to be the least assuming major project announcement I've seen this year, Chris Schweizer notes that his The Creeps will come out in 2015. I very much enjoy Schweizer's comics, although I'm not familiar with that particular project.

* your favorite small press and arts publishers should have information up on TCAF debuts, so keep a lookout for articles like this one. You may also visit the TCAF all-inclusive version of those posts.

* Chet Wiliamson, Mike Richardson and Dominic Reardon are set to adapt an Andrew Vachhs screenplay into comics form for release this Fall.

* The Wrenchies is imminent.

* this isn't comics, but many comics folks picked up on writer Warren Ellis releasing a cover image for this Fall's prose novel.

* finally, Zainab Akhtar profiles a pick-up by Great Beast, Hundred Metre Garden.

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Howard Chaykin's Elric Portfolio

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Giants Of The North inductee Ting.

image* Simon Petersen talks to Jens Raadal. Alex Dueben talks to Richard Thompson. Tim Higgins profiles Jay Lynch. Lauren Davis talks to C. Spike Trotman. Paul Gravett profiles Francisco Sousa Lobo. Jason Enright talks to Rachel Edidin.

* Zainab Akhtar on Weapons Of Mass Diplomacy.

* not comics: a few of you sent along a link to a piece on one of those high-end group bloggy/opinion magazine sites suggesting that like any big company, Amazon.com will squeeze its supply chain to maximize profits, with potentially exploitative results.

* Tony Fitzpatrick remembers Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

* not comics: this is a very cute item for sale; David Malki is really good at a lot of things, and one of them is finding niche offerings like this one -- although now that I've said he'll likely sell a billion of them. Very much comics is that Malki recently celebrated 11 years of uploading his Wondermark comic. Congratulations to him.

* go, look: the letters-column reaction to EC's "Judgment Day."

* not comics: Tim Kreider on enjoying others' misery.

* finally, Roberta Gregory pulls out a great box of early 1990s mini-comics.
 
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Happy 29th Birthday, Jessica Campbell!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Oliver Vatine!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 28, 2014


By Request Extra: AdHouse Books Is Having A Big Sale

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That Duncan The Wonder Dog book for $13 is about the best buy in comics this week for sure.
 
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Renee Faundo Wins This Year's Jay Kennedy Scholarship

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The National Cartoonist Society Foundation named Renee Faundo the winner of the 2014 Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship in an announcement last week. Faundo is attending the California Institute Of The Arts with a major in Character Animation, and has received a number of honors in that field of cartoon-making as describe in the release through that initial link. She gets a $5K scholarship and a trip to the Reubens weekend in San Diego in late May. Faundo was chosen from a pool that was about 60 applicants.

You can find a lot of Faundo's art at a formal blog here.

Jay Kennedy was the longtime editor at King Features Syndicate; he passed away in 2007 after an accident suffered while on vacation.
 
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OTBP: Dumb

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Go, Read: Michael Cavna On WaPo And The 1973 John Mitchell Guilty Guilty Guilty Doonesbury Cartoon

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There's a clever article well-worth reading here from Michael Cavna about the Washington Post sort of kind of running a Doonsbury cartoon they refuesed to run back in 1973 when it was first syndicated. It's a nice reminder of how popular Doonesbury was at the time, how funny and trenchant that strip can be -- the joy with which Mitchell is declared guilty is the joke, not the declaration itself -- and how the Post seems to have a long history of bouncing cartoons they don't like. As Cavna points out, Mitchell was eventually found guilty -- although I think that character-based humor made that one legitimate even if that conviction never happened. Nice rolodex, too, Cavna. Sheesh.
 
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Go, Look: Al Milgrom Captain Marvel Splash Page Gallery

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Go, Look: Toth Helps Bring The DC Heroes To Saturday Morning TV

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* Josh Bayer's crowd-funder for the latest issue of Suspect Device is the highest-profile one I can see with time running out a bit, although any crowd-funder that gets past the halfway point has a decent chance to succeed. That's been a home for a lot of younger talent, particularly in the New York City scene, so you might want to check that one out. Plus the video is amusing.

image* Dave Sim has launched another kickstarter. I didn't quite understand the High Society one Sim did as evidenced by the fact I did not get quite what I thought I was getting when I made the order -- which is my fault -- and this one looks similarly complex so I'll suggest you read it carefully. This FAQ section might help. Crowdfunding seems like it would be really good for Sim because of his passionated fanbase and the ability to provide goods and services to them directly without -- depending on how something is constructed -- risking a significant and hard to recaputure capital outlay, so I wish him the best.

* Martian Comics is a crowd-funder we mentioned early on because of a tweet from contributing cover artist Darick Robertson. Unless something has changed over the weekend -- this is being written on Friday -- it has some work to do heading into its final week.

* the Supernatural Law fundraiser seems to moving at a brisk clip. Everyone I know is fond of Batton Lash.

* this Abraham Lincoln-related crowd-funder has yet to find significant traction. This store-related campaign isn't far enough along for me to be confident of its successes at this point.

* the Doug Wright Awards crowd-funder is more than halfway along, which bodes well, as we get down into single digit days remaining. This one is counting on a bunch of specific incentives, so take a spin around there and see if anything strikes your eye.

* finally, this modestly-conceived Steve Ditko crowd-funder has reached its goal, but you can still get on board.
 
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Go, Look: A Pair Of Art Adams Image Mini-Galleries

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Go, Look: Charlton Horror Host Image Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's fun reading all of these We Are Comics tumblr stories. When I was a kid until I was a young man, comics was a solitary pursuit. I had friends that would read some of my comics the same way I'd listen to their music or play their videogames, but the passionate interest was mine alone until age 25. I've been very lucky since then that my professional and personal interest in comics has always taken place in the context of various communities full of folks that enjoyed different race, age, gender, ability and orientation profiles than my own. So We Are Comics is just what comics looks like to me. I hope that never changes.

image* Dominic Umile on Invisible Wounds.

* not comics: Martin Wisse explains what people were upset with concerning the Hugo Awards. I thought it was the fact that some people with noxious political views were nominated after aggressively campaigning for it; it's actually a little bit more gross than that, that it was an intrusion of basic cable-TV seeming politics into that world for reasons of resentment over another awards program. That seems really sad to me, in a pathetic way, and I hope comics doesn't end up in that place any time soon.

* we're talking a pretty specific thing here, but I've always loved when a comics shop has had an overflow space next door: a Nordstrom Rack for nerds. Not sure I've seen one in quite a while. Here's a photo of one such set-up from Seattle of a couple of decades (at least) ago.

* Team Comics Alternative talks to Bob Fingerman.

* not comics: pretty art by Farel Dalrymple and Connor Willumsen that flashed by on my Facebook feed at 5:39 PM yesterday.

* here's what I will hope will be a semi-regular reminder to vote in the Eisners if you're eligible. Please vote. For one thing, you need to make up for the fact that I can't.

* hadn't seen until this weekend that someone spent the time tracking down names for folks in that wonderful 1969 New York con dinner photo, best known in my circle of friends as the "Gary Groth as a really, really young man, and no that's not Kim sitting next to him" photo. A lot of them are reasonably obvious once you look at them closely with the name in mind, like John Buscema and Roy Thomas.

* finally, I don't understand this article -- like I can't figure exactly which parts of the individual entries are the truths being denied -- but I'm sure many folks out there will enjoy it and maybe you will, too.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Rob Salkowitz!

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Happy 90th Birthday, Dick Ayers!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Peter Pontiac!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 27, 2014


CR Sunday Guest Interview: Anne Ishii Interviews Sophie Yanow About War Of Streets And Houses

imageSophie Yanow debuted War Of Streets And Houses earlier this month at MoCCA Festival. I happened to have had a miserable time trying to attend MoCCA because of bad planning and perfect weather: Sixth Avenue was closed from 23rd to 28th for a street fair celebrating the year's first consecutive hours of weather that wasn't DEFCON 1. If that complaint feels outsized for the setup to an author interview, it is because in my part-time capacity writing about open architecture systems, urbanism is almost a forced fascination. I am sure this is something I can fix... with writing...

Finally, I reach the Park Avenue armory and peruse the ranks. It is the last place I expect to see this work: an honest and engaging peak into the real dimensions of urbanism, civil unrest and architecture; in a graphic novel barely spanning 70 pages stacked at a small booth with three guys. For that, War Of Streets And Houses may also be profound in its ability to render something as pedantic as cultural theory and as pedestrian as a protest memoir work into an artistic comic book. So here is someone who's written a book about a system that was desperate to get fixed -- Montreal's university wages and tuition referendum, and the pursuant student protests of 2012 -- and given it a poetics. I feel I can learn from this; not solutions, as Yanow points out, but a way to ask questions.

The importance of Yanow's urbanism is covered with greater fidelity over at The Atlantic. but there's plenty to think about as to the subtlety of her approach. Yanow achieves an emotion that seems ultimately so fitting for cartoon and comics arts: Ambivalence. It felt appropriate to meet after MoCCA -- to avoid any more traffic. We talked over a bad adult contemporary Spotify station in a coffee shop full of tired tourists. No matter: we managed to keep the talk anything but small. -- Anne Ishii

*****

ANNE ISHII: Why don't we start with this book? You mentioned it's your first full-length. Why this story? Why did you feel this story had to be a full-length?

SOPHIE YANOW: I think it was a combination of things. Tom Kaczynski had told me he wanted to put something out with me. I gave him copies of In Situ and said offhandedly in an e-mail, "Oh yeah, if you ever want to put something out..." and it was sort of at a period of transition at Uncivilized [Books]. I had been the mini comics buyer at Comic Relief, so I had another relationship with him based on buying minis, but was a big fan of Uncivilized. Then Tom said, "By the way, we're a real publisher now." [laughter] It was convergent.

It was the culmination of what was going on in Montreal, too, because when Tom invited me to send something, it had been four-five months I was working on my comics and started thinking about architecture and the strikes. I just thought it would be perfect for Tom because he studied architecture and his comics are a lot about architecture. His mini-comics talk about it. The structure series, architectural forums... Also he was publishing Gabrielle Bell, who is my total favorite cartoonist. Uncivilized was just a perfect place.

ISHII: I was going to ask about the personal artistic process, but it sounds like it's really tied into your relationship with your editor.

YANOW: Yeah, in some ways. Well, I was thinking about this stuff, anyway, but I thought it would be cool to do this project with somebody, or having a relationship with somebody, who maybe knows a little bit more. I would do my own research and send pencils to Tom, which were super rough. Like, "I'm kind of thinking about this," and "I'm kind of thinking about that." I don't know if Tom has given a lot of feedback on other books he's worked on, but in my case, I was asking him for it directly. When we first started, he asked if I wanted it loose or to get strong editorial input. I took him up on the editorial input.

ISHII: Do you workshop with anyone else or have other peers or groups you collaborate with?

YANOW: In Montreal I'm part of a studio called La Maison de la Bande Dessinee, Vincent Giard was my editor at Colosse, and while I was working on this book I was also drawing my zines or mini comics, and he always had some sort of input. It's sort of another convergence. He had just stated a real publishing company, La Mauvaise Tête. That was my local thing. I had some input from Vincent, definitely, and Sébastien Trahan, his co-editor. They helped me a lot in the end process. Tom helped with narrative and clarifying things, and Vincent and Sebastian, who are native French speakers, helped me a lot with verifying my sources and end notes and stuff.

A whole meta-narrative surfaced from the process of making end notes, actually.

ISHII: Do you think the tenor of your artwork changes with the language? Because as you said there's a more intense striking tradition in French, for example?

YANOW: I think a lot of things influence my art, just being in a francophone place, for example. That's what I wanted out of going to Montreal. In terms of language stuff, I'm not sure. I started doing some journal comics that are more silent... I don't know if that's a result of that.

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ISHII: You say a lot in very few words. The placement and organization of information and artwork is to me, the most interesting aspect. I just wondered how much of that has to do with where you've been and where you are now, because this style feels like being in a lot of places at once. And you're a bit of a vagabond… I'd almost call this vagabond art. Can you tell me a bit about that?

YANOW: I think my process has changed due to necessity; to meet the lifestyle I wanted after a certain while. Yeah, I think idealized having a portable process.

ISHII: Ooh. Can you describe what a portable process is?

YANOW: The way that I work now is influenced a lot by Gabrielle Bell. I always wondered how I could just do something in a notebook. So I draw panels on graph paper, first. That's where a lot of the rhythm comes from in the comics I do. So generally, I'll draw on the graph paper as I'm out and about and when I have down time in a studio or somewhere I have a lightbox, I redraw them.

ISHII: So you're actually drawing in situ...

YANOW: Sometimes, yeah. I mean not always. But especially when I was doing journal comics, when I was doing them really regularly, wherever I was, I told myself "I have to try to do one everyday." If I saw a moment of opportunity I'd just say "I have to do it right now. I'm going to do it."

ISHII: Do you want to try other modes of drafting? Do you want to do less portable, more permanent, like... do you see yourself doing hours of watercolors in a studio?

YANOW: [laughs] I don't know, the thing is I did that kind of thing for a while. Like my past work. This one thing I did... it was full color, drafted on a computer, but it bogged me down. I realized I'm more interested in rhythm. I'm not interested in telling one perfect story. I think trying to pursue the perfect story is impossible. That story might be a one-page comic, too. I used to be like "graphic novel! graphic novel! graphic novel!" but I just failed, over and over again.

imageISHII: Tell me about the failure process. (Laughter)

YANOW: Well, basically I had a reluctance to do memoir and for a long time... I grew up a nerd. I mean a lot of people say they were a geek when they were little, but I played magic cards and played DDR every weekend through high school. In that culture, inventing stories was the thing. I was writing a personal blog at the time but I never thought of that as my work. It was just this thing that I was doing. But then I got into university and was like, "OK, I'm really going go to buckle down and make those comics!" I tried making these weird fantasy stories about a bike messenger in San Francisco, with Greek mythology... and then it just didn't work. I totally lost interest. Repeatedly.

ISHII: What do you think finally made it OK for you to do memoir?

YANOW: I feel like I tricked myself into doing it. While I was working at Comic Relief, I finished a 30-something page full-color comic and printed it and brought it to Stumptown but I was so embarrassed by it. I didn't want to do it. At all.

ISHII: Why were you embarrassed?

YANOW: It really failed in a lot of ways. I found it boring and maybe I'm just not good at fiction! I could have said more if I just talked about the reasons why I was making this, than to write the story itself. I didn't feel like it amounted to... I think ultimately for myself my life is more interesting than anything I can come up with.

ISHII: I'm more curious about why you felt this way but don't want to make you talk about anything too personal.

YANOW: Basically what happened was I was really tired of working at the comic shop and my friend Jacq Cohen had recently become the publicity assistant at Fantagraphics, and I was like, "Hey... I'm looking to be an intern somewhere... I don't know where..." and Jacq said, "Come be my intern, dummy!" So I moved to Seattle and slept on my ex-girlfriend's couch and lived on food stamps. In that time, I was reading a ton of poetry. Like Eileen Myles' Inferno had just come out while I was there and [reading it] I was like, "Fuuuuuuck," and it kind of broke something in me.

ISHII: That's great! I like that answer. I love Eileen Myles. Her work is amazing and I can see the tendrils of her writing in yours. I also know a lot of people who've had that Seattle breakdown experience, for what it's worth. It can be demolishing but rejuvenating; a rite of passage I guess.

YANOW: Yep. I would spend three days a week at Fantagraphics and the rest of the time hiding at the Elliott Bay Book Company to read. I'd just read the books there. Like, I read The Importance of Being Iceland there, returning repeatedly to finish it, because I couldn't afford to buy it. Sometimes I'd just sit in the cafe and read and draw.

So it was at the end of that period when Vincent posted on his blog, totally randomly, in French, "We're accepting residents in our studio in Montreal." I was applying to grad school in Strasbourg, to an illustration school, because I really like European comics and I wanted to get the hell out of Seattle. I was having some kind of crisis. Anyway, Vincent and Julie Delporte got back to me and said if I wanted to come out there it was totally cool, so I said OK. My French wasn't good enough to be a student in France, even if I were accepted. I'll go to Montreal and then maybe I'll go to France eventually. Now I've been in Montreal for three years.

ISHII: What are you doing besides comics in Montreal now?

YANOW: I'm a graphic designer at a co-op cafe. I have a very specific visa for being a graphic designer in Canada.

ISHII: I had no idea they made such specific visas in Canada but good for them.

YANOW: It's the only positive thing I've heard from NAFTA; they give you job categories and it's better than being a tourist.

ISHII: I'm glad you found Montreal. So I wanted to ask about the politics in your book. Again, I'm fascinated by your use of language and placement. Given that you're talking about changing local geographies and negotiated boundaries, how is the changing city important to you? Why is vernacular urbanism personally important to you?

YANOW: I think it probably comes from growing up in the woods, honestly. I essentially grew up in a village in west Marin County Northwest of San Francisco where, if you were going into town, we called it "Going over the hill." It wasn't that far from the rest of society, but if you didn't have a car it was impossible to do anything. The bus came twice a day; one at 8 AM and the other at 8 PM. As a kid, it really felt like I lived in the woods. I talk about Paris being the first city I lived in, in my book, but part of it was that I have this extra layer of "this makes me uncomfortable" and I want to question why it makes me uncomfortable. It might just be as basic as that.

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ISHII: Do you still feel that discomfort in the city?

YANOW: There are parts of being in the city that I love and are impossible to find outside, culturally. But I think it's a struggle to fight that. I'm going to be the fellow at CCS this Fall, so I'll be in a Vermont town for eight months, which is going to be the prime challenge: wanting to be in the city and wanting to be OK in the woods. I was talking to a friend about this last night and he said there's something about being out there; it's so quiet it's frightening. I'm like, "Yeah..." When friends visited me where I grew up they'd say it was so dark, and I'm just like, "Uh, yeah...."

ISHII: I empathize with your friends. Whenever I leave New York for "the woods" my ears start ringing. You portray this ambivalence between city and countryside really well. You mentioned Vermont and the potential tension it represents, but what do you think is the importance of the integrity of a city?

YANOW: Like why do I want to defend it?

ISHII: Yeah.

YANOW: I still think that the city is an important place. It'd be impossible to say it's not. I'm not a primitivist. I'm not like, "Let's dismantle the city and go back to the land." I don't think that's the way humanity survives.

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ISHII: That tangent in your book when you and your friends go up to the country was so apt.

YANOW: I guess it's like, people are going to live in the city and the city is a place where a lot of change happens because super structures control a lot of the rest of the area, even rural areas. Everyone deserves to have an environment that's conducive to having a nice life and everyone needs to be able to say no to things. No one should be corralled.

imageISHII: Let's just take Montreal as an example but what do you think is the greatest threat to the integrity of the city or the equilibrium? Is it developers? Government? Pollution?

YANOW: I think it's developers for one... I think it's the thrust of capitalism to keep building. But it's also the government, for making laws for it. There's a by-law in Montreal that say if you have more than 50 people converge somewhere and march you have to give your route to police. In most of America that's already the case, but there was recently an anti-police march on March 15... It started at 3 PM and literally five minutes later the police showed up and declared it illegal over megaphones. We were walking on the other side of the police line but crossed it just as they closed in on the ranks and then arrested over 280 people.

ISHII: Wow. I had no idea. I don't remember seeing this in the news.

YANOW: That's the other thing. I don't have any idea how many Americans know about the [2012] student protests when it went on. I mean obviously comics aren't the medium of the masses we'd all hoped they'd be [laughs], but I don't know. I wanted to shed a little bit of light on it.

ISHII: Well, things like the strikes are important, and as you said they aren't always visible, but you're also really careful to talk about it in a theoretical framework so that it's not just politics or "I was there! It was important!" I find that makes this important; that you give it a theoretical groundwork. It does tie-in to how effective comics can be in communicating politics. I might even suggest there's a need for more intellectual framework in political comics but what do you think?

YANOW: I mean, Howard Cruse was at MoCCA and Stuck Rubber Baby is such a great comic about so many things. You can't say it's just about the civil rights movement or being a closeted gay person, it's about all those things and a lot of other stuff. Even in my journal comics it's usually just a record of what I'm thinking about. Sometimes it's just "I did this! I was here!" I have this penchant where I want to be an artist and an academic. I was deciding whether to do a grad program or keep doing comics and right now I'm going to keep doing comics.

ISHII: Do you think they're mutually exclusive?

YANOW: No. I just think institutional support for comics is not at the level of academic support.

imageISHII: I guess what I'm alluding to in my earlier question though is that there can be a borderline anti-intellectual tendency in comics, and I wonder how you deal with that as a latent academic.

YANOW: Yeah, definitely. I don't know. I guess to that I just say "screw it." I can only be anti-intellectual to such a degree. I feel like a lot of contemporary fine artists are also super anti-intellectual.

ISHII: Definitely.

YANOW: So my wanting to come to comics was in part against that fine arts vein. The program I was in at UC Santa Cruz was really strong in the print-making department and also had a really strong conceptual, performance and sculpture department…

ISHII: You went to Santa Cruz? Oh my God, so did I. When did you graduate?

YANOW: 2009.

ISHII: So you're a little bit younger than me... I'm having all these funny flashbacks to all the weird people I met there. I mean weird in the best possible way, of course, and many of them still friends.

YANOW: Actually Jacq Cohen went there, too, and that's how we know each other, but she was a junior or senior when I got there. I met her... this is a funny story... on my orientation day, I was 18 and I was like, "Oh cool I'm going to live in a town with a comic book store for the first time in my life!" Moving from this village in the woods and all. I went to the comic shop and it was Jacq's first day on the job. She was training when I came in. Her boss was like, "Oh, you guys should meet!"

ISHII: That's hilarious. Look at you guys now!

YANOW: Santa Cruz is also a root of my interest in urbanism.

ISHII: I can definitely see that.

YANOW: I heard the campus was designed so that everything would be dispersed, and I don't know if it's true or not but I heard that the steps at Kresge College were designed so students couldn't run away. Whether that's true or not, I'm sure that's the kind of thing that influenced me.

ISHII: This is really funny because I've heard the same rumors of why the infrastructure was planned at UCSC so awkwardly, but the interpretation I've heard is that it was built that way by Utopians to prevent the authorities from organizing, not the transgressors.

YANOW: Someone should really look into that. (laughter)

ISHII: That's another part of the intellectual, anti-intellectual conflict. There's an aesthetic to protest. How has that changed? I mean, in this particular case, I picked up War of Streets... at a comics festival, and in a context where it's not obvious that there's going to be a political statement.

YANOW: [parodically throwing fist in air] Yeah!

I'm very anti-polemic. I quoted Foucault at one point but he says, too, "I'm not making a polemic of this. Let's not go there." I also don't want to tell anyone what to do. I don't want to tell you how to live your life. These are things I've just observed and am researching. When I put it together it looks like this, but maybe when you do it you will have a different point of view. Also I've been around a lot of anarchist consensus spaces, and socialist organizations, and I think a lot of it is super interesting but it can also be very misleading. It's too propagandist for me. I've been through this a lot, where I was fully for a thing when it was explained to me, but then it would eventually unravel as I asked more questions. I don't think that's the way to exist. For me, I have to learn through process, experience what something means to me. I wanted to make people ask questions. Maybe that's also a mistrust of my own voice, too, but that doesn't make it less true.

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ISHII: My favorite frame is when you say "I'm too scared to wear a mask." It's a great metaphor for what your ambivalence and commitments, and a good symbol of what you've experienced.

YANOW: Whoa, I hadn't thought of it that way.

ISHII: This is a dummy question, but what artists are you influenced by? What comics context do you think this book belongs in?

YANOW: I don't know. It's really hard to... I don't know in comics how many direct influences i've had. I mean in writing memoir I've had a lot of influences but in doing that, I sort of realized what I was interested in. Like my peers in Montreal, the cartoonists I was hanging out with and the 'zine we were putting out, felt like a safe space to put out comics about what was going on. But in the grand narrative of comics I'm not sure.

ISHII: What about outside of comics? Like, your other pedagogical influences for example?

YANOW: A lot of why I put the end notes in this book was because I wanted to be like, "This is where the ideas are coming from and where I built this out of." I want to have conversations about things. That's my biggest reason for making comics; to talk about ideas. The nicest thing anyone's said about my comics is that it made them feel like they knew me and then wanted to talk to me about these ideas. I really dislike small talk so it's a nice way to skip it. But that doesn't really answer your question, I guess. [laughter]

*****

Anne Ishii is a writer, producer and co-owner of Massive. She lives in New York City.

*****

* Sophie Yanow
* War Of Streets And Houses, Uncivilized Books, softcover, 60 pages, 9780984681488, April 2014, $10.95.

*****

* all art supplied by Uncivilized and is from War Of Streets And Houses. The full pages used across the entire column are specifically tied into a reference made; the images and indented pages are more generally illustrative.

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

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

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

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If I Were In Little Rock, I'd Go To This

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

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

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 36th Birthday, Sean T. Collins!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 61st Birthday, Jan Mullaney!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Yoshihiro Togashi!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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FFF Results Post #377 -- Those In Charge

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Five For Friday #377: Name Five Favorite Adventure Team Leaders; Use This Format

1. Cyclops (X-Men)
2. Saturn Girl (Legion Of Super-Heroes)
3. Nick Fury (SHIELD)
4. Mr. Fantastic (Fantastic Four)
5. The Chief (Doom Patrol)


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Dave Knott

* Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (B.P.R.D.)
* Doctor Will Magnus (Metal Men)
* Jimmy Woo (Atlas)
* Billy Butcher (The Boys)
* Jack Krak (SuperF*ckers)

*****

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Chris Zepeda

1. Captain America (The Avengers)
2. Black Widow (The Avengers)
3. Dr. Strange (The Defenders)
4. Monica Rambeau (Nextwave)
5. Butcher (The Boys)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Captain America (Avengers)
2. Martian Manhunter (Justice League International)
3. Wonder Girl (New Teen Titans)
4. Dr. Strange (Defenders)
5. Oracle (Birds of Prey)

*****

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Dan Morris

1. Captain America (Avengers)
2. Mina Murray (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
3. Storm (X-Men)
4. Elijah Snow (Planetary)
5. The Chief (Doom Patrol)

*****

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Stergios Botzakis, Ph.D

1. Ron Chitin (Pirate Corp$)
2. Photon (Nextwave)
3. Hawkeye (West Coast Avengers)
4. Polar Boy (Legion of Substitute Heroes)
5. Robin (Teen Titans)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Amanda Waller (Suicide Squad)
2. Angeline Marietta Salvotini Thriller (7 Seconds/Thriller)
3. Vril Dox (L.E.G.I.O.N.)
4. Mister Sensitive (X-Force/X-Statix)
5. Morbius (Legion Of Monsters)

*****

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Tom O'Hagan

1. Elijah Snow (Planetary)
2. Hawkeye (West Coast Avengers)
3. Dr. Magnus (Metal Men)
4. Niles Caulder (Doom Patrol)
5. Reed Richards (Fantastic Four)

*****

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Marty Yohn

1. Merryman (The Inferior Five)
2. Robin (Teen Titans Go!)
3. Luke Cage (New Avengers)
4. Reed Richards (Fantastic Four)
5. Catman (Secret Six)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Heather McDonald (Alpha Flight)
2. Captain Atom (Justice League Europe)
3. Elijah Snow (Planetary)
4. Monica Rambeau (Avengers & Next Wave)
5. Citizen V (Thunderbolts)

*****

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John Vest

1. Merryman (Inferior Five)
2. Captain Marvel (The Marvel Family)
3. Hank Hennessey (The Fightin' Five)
4. Dane Dorrance (Sea Devils)
5. Ace (Beasts Of Burden)

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Joe Darkie (Darkie's Mob)
2. Major Taggart (Rat Pack)
3. Turbo Jones (Wildcat)
4. Hammerstein (ABC Warriors)
5. Mina Harker (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)

*****

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Chris Arrant

1. Jenny Sparks (The Authority)
2. Black Knight (Avengers)
3. Nightwing (Outsiders)
4. Coach (X-Force)
5. Oracle (Birds of Prey)

*****

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Diana Tamblyn

* Captain America (The Avengers)
* Martian Manhunter (JLA)
* Robin/Nightwing (Teen Titans)
* Amanda Waller (Suicide Squad)
* Guardian (Alpha Flight)

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Ace (Beasts of Burden)
2. Doctor Strange (Defenders)
3. The Wasp (Avengers)
4. Wildfire (Legion of Superheroes)
5. Good Looks (Dingbats of Danger Street)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Scrooge McDuck (various, inc. Junior Woodchucks)
2. Sgt Rock (Easy Company)
3. Captain Harlock (The Arcadia)
4. Lulu Moppet (Little Lulu & Friends)
5. Rex Havoc (The Ass-Kickers Of The Fantastic)

*****
*****
 
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April 26, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Tex Blaisdell On To Tell The Truth
via


Michelle Rodriguez Wants To Play Forever From Lazarus
via


The People's Cartoonist


Interview With Kelly Sue DeConnick


Profile Of Nine Year Old Artist Ethan Castillo


Ward Sutton Speaks
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from April 19 to April 25, 2014:

1. Mohammad Hassan Khalid faces five years and likely deportation following his trial about his involvement with a group that among other things plotted to kill Lars Vilks for cartoon-like drawings he made.

2. Prize season: Jim Woodring's Fran wins the Lynd Ward; Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher wins the Thomas Nast.

3. Mark Waid's Thrillbent effort relaunches with more elements of a subscription model present than in the all-free model it had initially assumed.

Winner Of The Week
This kid.

Loser Of The Week
Khalid.

Quote Of The Week
"As I said many years ago, Stan (or Stan through Sol Brodsky) did from time to time ask me to provide original artwork from the warehouse to give to business contacts. These did not amount to many pages, but the inference was that this was something Stan did now and then to promote business with Marvel. I also found a record of a limited number of pages that had been lent to a comic art show before I got to Marvel in 1974, and there may have been a few other such instances. But I believe most if not all of those lent pages had been returned. I never heard of any non-pro being given Marvel artwork, nor do I recall any rumors of such when I was a fan, or recall seeing any such pages back in the 1960s when we fans would share our collections of comics and related items." -- Irene Vartanoff

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image from a Marvel comic book, 1964

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Go, Look: We Are Comics

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

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

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

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If I Were In Little Rock, I'd Go To This

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Happy 60th Birthday, Kerry Gammill!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Michael Kupperman!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Matt Dembicki!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 25, 2014


OTBP: As You Were Vol. 3

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Go, Look: Typhoon 99, Chapter 3

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Jim Woodring's Fran Wins The Lynd Ward Prize; Yang's Boxers And Saints, Cannon's Heck Are Honorees

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Congratulations to one of the very best cartoonists, Jim Woodring, on the occasion of his Fran being named this year's recipient of the Lynd Ward Prize, administered by the Pennyslvania Center For The Book on behalf of the Penn State University Libraries. In addition to Woodring, the cartoonists Gene Luen Yang and Zander Cannon were named honorees for their works Boxers And Saints and Heck, respectively. Woodring will receive a cash prize and the Library of America set of Ward's six novels.

This is the prize's fourth year. They are currently accepting "2014 copyright submissions" for the 2015 award, and will take them until December 31.
 
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Go, Look: Alex Toth Draws Conan

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Assembled Extra: Mark Waid's Thrillbent Re-Launches -- New App, New Content, New Subscription Model

imageThrillbent, the site owned by the prominent writer Mark Waid and featuring work from Waid and a number of collaborators and peers, announced a new iteration of itself called Thrillbent 3.0. There's a bunch of stuff in there, but I think the most significant -- or at least the one that popped for me -- is a push for a monthly subscription model at $3.99. This would be a different than an all-free approach in that it leverages the site's recent creative pedigree and the happy customers that have enjoyed the works they've produced so far into something that more directly rewards the creator as opposed to building an audience in the broadest fashion possible and capitalizing on that broad model vis-a-vis trade collection or related merchandise. That seems to me something we'll see more of as an any number of site potentially launch and customers become more accustomed to paying for certain kinds of access and material on-line. Thrillbent also launched an app to provide wider access to their material and announced new content, including a subscription inducement DRM-free graphic novel of the Empire work Waid's done with the artist Barry Kitson in anticipation of a continuation of that work through Thrillbent. I think I have all of that right; someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

I appreciate how fluid that site has been in terms of trying new things to engage with readers. For example, one thing that's been discussed here in the past is features on the site that use changes within a static frame as opposed to changing each entire frame -- a way to utilize a digital window's very different ability to use physical juxtaposition in the way that print can. Watching Waid figure this stuff out is important for that experimentation but also because of his established in the field of print comics and traditional mainstream publishing -- I'm sure a lot of his peers are watching Thrillbent and have a greater understanding as to what he's trying than they might have a natural take on more traditional webcomics models.
 
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Go, Look: The Frontier

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Dash Shaw Wins Cullman Center Fellowship

imageThe cartoonist, animator and artist Dash Shaw has won a Cullman Center Fellowship from the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Shaw will be the David Ferriero Fellow. He will receive a stipend, a private office at the NYPL's Schwarzman Building, and access to the considerable research resources and the expertise of staff. He will apply these things towards his work on a graphic novel concerning a Quaker during the Civil War.

This is the same honor that went to Gary Panter two years ago, who to my memory has been rhapsodic when asked about that experience. Congratulations to Shaw and I look forward to seeing the resulting work.
 
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Go, Look: Pep Cover Gallery

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Your 2013 Expozine Alternative Press Awards Winners

The Expozine Alternative Press Awares were given out last night in Montreal. Winners are in bold. While there are dedicated comics categories -- both English-language and French-language -- there is enough overlap in the books and zines grouping that I'm including them all in this post. Congratulations to all the winners.

ENGLISH ZINE
* Needle Work, Yen Chao Lin
* Grandparents Zine, Kerri Flannigan
* Damaged Mentality #6, Synthia Nicole
* eil, Jon Estwards
* Angry Black Bang, Mark Laliberté
* 17th Annual Protest Against Police Brutality, Chris Robertson (Chat Perdu)

ENGLISH BOOK
* Death Republica, Apostoly Peter Kouroumalis (21 Production)
* Jon Paul Fiorentino Needs Improvement, Jon Paul Fiorentino (Coach House Books)
* A Teenage Suicide, Ian Truman
* Journal, Julie Delporte (Koyama Press)
* You Are a Cat in the Zombie Apocalypse!, Sherwin Tjia (Conundrum Press)
* Several Beginnings and Endings to Novels, Annabella DeSousa (Le Nouveau International)

ENGLISH COMIC
* Hell or High Water, Wade Simpson
* House of Women, Sophie Goldstein
* Dumb #2, Georgia Webber
* Other Stories and the Horse You Rode in On, Dakota McFadzean
* Long Division, Part One, Joyana McDiarmid
* Valium 1983-2013, 30 Years Of Shit -- Great Success!, Henriette Valium (Crna Hronika)

FANZINE FRANCOPHONE
* Les araignées géantes, Lora Zepam
* La Grève étudiante de 2012 avec chats/The 2012 Student Strike with cats, Claudine Lamothe
* Le Cosmographe no.1, prise d'armes, Collectif Cosmographe; Sébastien B. Gagnon, Shawn Cotton
* Pourtant Moi Aussi Encore Aujourd'hui, Andrea C. Henter
* 10-4 T. 1, Simon Lacroix
* ABC, Kiva Stimac, (Popolo Press)

LIVRE FRANCOPHONE
* La Manière Noire, Jean-Pierre Gaudreau (Les Editions du Passage)
* D'espoir de Mourir Maigre, Charles Dionne, (Les Editions de la Tournure)
* Maison des Jeunes, Ouvrage collectif, (Les Editions de ta Mère)
* Les Choses de l'Amour a Marde, Maude Veilleux, (L'Ecrou)
* Science Allégorique 1, Marc-André Poisson, (Bouc Productions)
* Cannibale Maison, Roxane Desjardins et Coco-Simone Finken

BD FRANCOPHONE
* Dèyè Dyé, Rebecca Rosen
* Popeye se Fait Larguer, Julien Castanié
* Mélasse, Guillaume Pelletier, (L'Oie de Cravan)
* Garder le rythme, Antonin Buisson
* Les Deuxièmes, Zviane, (Editions Pow Pow)
* Comme un Plateau De l'autre coté, Emilie Plateau

Congratulations to all winners and nominees.

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Go, Look: Francis Manapul Original Art Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: Kandi The Cave Kid

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Festivals Extra: Two Shows Claim Significant 2014 Growth

Two of the recent shows have claimed massive growth for 2014: Awesome Con in DC announced a 250 percent boost in attendance, while Salt Lake City's FanXperience is claiming over 100,000 in attendance as well as the third-biggest-con status in the US. Some have openly questioned the Salt Lake City number, citing reports from the floor and photos that don't show the massive crowds relative to what a San Diego or a New York Comic-Con boasts with similar or even greater exhibition and programming space. This could be because of the way the numbers are counted, whether you count each day's attendees as distinct (a three-day attendee as three attendees) or just count people on hand no matter how many days they walk through the doors (a three-day attendee as one attendee).

What's clear is that both cons experienced growth and that conventions in general continue to be popular with a very specific crowd of genre fans, some of whom are interested in comics. It's also clear that a lot of these convention are aimed at local or regional attendees. That may seem obvious, but there was conventional wisdom years ago that a significant part of each convention's attendance came from people that went to all the shows, or the majority. I don't think that's true now that we're stacking cons and festivals into the same weekends or at least the same month in vastly different locales. I think there's still a lot of growth to be had, particularly with hyper-local shows like Linework NW and specific-company shows like Image Expo, and I wouldn't be surprised to a dozen to two dozen more take the model out for a spin in the next two to three years.
 
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Go, Look: Dave Cockrum Inked By Ricardo Villamante

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Go, Read: The Beguiling Auctioning Off High-End Spider-Man Books

There's a fairly straight-forward story here about The Beguiling, one of the premier comic shops in the world, auctioning off a pair of high-end Spider-Man comics as well as some more recent variants -- the latter will benefit TCAF, the gigantic comics festival they sponsor. One thing that's been fascinating over the past few years is to watch existing comics entities move into different industry roles according to their having the opportunity to do so. We have creators releasing books of criticism and theory. We have stores, publishers and creators helping to launch or organize comics shows. We've even had stores turn publisher. That's not a new thing in comics, but I think it's a renewed thing in comics, and I don't know that with their festival and their original art sales arm that anyone has kind of made themselves more valuable to more facets of comics than The Beguiling. It's worth noting, and I hope no one in comics is ever afraid of asking, "Well, what can I do over here?"
 
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Go, Look: Alarming Tales #2

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Collective Memory: WonderCon 2014

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this article has now been archived
 
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Go, Look: The Date

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a first long-form comic from a student of Frank Santoro's correspondence course
 
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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* this is interesting, a tumblr devoted to those comics that garner a certain amount of attention on tumblr before being posted there. There are some good comics and some bad comics, but it's sort of fascinating to see some of the connective threads, like certain subject matter that repeats.

* Dave Kellett sent along the following, a chance to watch the movie Stripped! while the filmmakers tweet at you:
This Saturday at 7PM PST, we're going to hold a worldwide viewing and live-tweet of Stripped.

Basically, the entire world will hit "play" on the film AT THE SAME TIME, then we'll all watch it together. And on Twitter, the directors and producers behind the film will answer questions, give behind-the-scenes info, and share stories we haven't told yet... as this or that scene comes up. We think it'll be fun. Here are the deets:

WHO: Directors Fred Schroeder (@fredschroeder), Dave Kellett (@davekellett) and Associate Producer Jen Troy (@JenTr0y)
WHAT: Worldwide Live-Tweet Viewing of STRIPPED, using hashtag #strippedfilm
WHEN: This Saturday, April 26th, exactly at 7PM PST / 10PM EST / 3AM (Sunday) GMT
WHERE: At your place and on Twitter! Just get comfy on the couch, hit "play", then follow the hashtag #strippedfilm on Twitter, or you can ask questions of the folks behind the film: @fredschroeder @davekellett @JenTr0y
HOW: Using the technological magic of Two-Screens-At-Once, you can watch a movie AAAAND absent-mindedly check your phone at the same time. smile
That sounds like fun, particularly if you're looking for another way to enter into that film.

* Gary Tyrrell looks at the very successful recent Smut Peddler 2014 kickstarter in terms of the numbers involved as indicators of overall success; I found that interesting. This might have gone better in the "By Request" column, actually, but I think both Tyrrell and that book are creatures of webcomics culture to the extent it's okay to put it here.

* finally, I totally missed the initial announcement, but The Cattle Raid Of Cooley has begun its last chapter.
 
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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Champ Comics #23

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Yuck. Good on the site for taking that down within minutes. I think messageboard and comments policy is something that every site may have to revisit in the weeks and months ahead, and that's a difficult area considering the traffic involved and how anything in that neighborhood of concern has free-speech elements.

image* Richard Bruton on Valerian And Laureline Volume Seven: On The False Earths. Zainab Akhtar on Thermohalia. Daryl Cagle on Trackrat. James Kaplan on The Private Eye.

* look at all the supermen.

* Alex Dueben talks to Stefano Raffaele.

* Umberto Eco, comics maker.

* Andrew Weiss goes after the notion that fans collectively or individually have power over entertainment media decisions. I agree with him that such power is usually overstated, I suspect to flatter that hardcore fandom.

* I always make fun of people who find out about stuff through cartoons or satirical TV shows, but I had no idea this was a law.

* here's one of those comments-thread driven posts from the site io9 on the best Marvel Comics story. I don't know that I've ever thought about it in exactly those terms before. I think the best run of comics that Marvel ever published is that set of Fantastic Four comic books from the introduction of the Inhumans through the Him issues (#44-67), but like a lot of comics of that era I'm not sure how effectively it conforms to being seen as a single story.

* not comics: yikes.

* here's a nice post showing some of the hands-on archival work for the SPX collection at the Library Of Congress. That Drew Weing mini is indeed a very good mini.

* finally, I stumbled across this now-defunct cover-focused site due to I think a twitter mention; I wonder how many sites like that there are out there, valuable yet no longer updated. I bet it's a ton -- I know a lot of people that have switched over from doing any kind of blog to established social media platforms only.
 
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Happy 87th Birthday, Albert Uderzo!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Peter Sanderson!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Milo George!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 24, 2014


Go, Look: Just One

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Kevin Kallaugher Wins The Thomas Nast Award

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The cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher, who works as KAL primarily for the Baltimore Sun and The Economist, has won this year's Thomas Nast Award as given out by the Overseas Press Club of America. It is that group's 75th anniversary; the Nast Award has been going out to editorial cartoonists since 1968. The citation notes this cartoons' "visual élan" which I agree is a notable strength of Kallaugher's at a time when that's not the way you'd describe a significant number of editorial cartoon-makers, even some very good ones.

I believe the program is tonight...? I'm not sure how that works. I know there's prize money involved in addition to the prestige attached to the name an an organization old enough google image searches yield men in top hats. Congratulations to Mr. Kallaugher.
 
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Go, Look: Almost Full Coverage

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Go, Read: Janelle Asselin On Her Recent Experiences Including Multiple Screenshots Of Threats Made

Here. It could be that some of the screenshots of the threats -- taken from Asselin's survey of sexual harassment in comics, which I encourage every person eligible to take before it comes down in a few days -- appeared in other article, but I hadn't seen them. It is really painful to see someone have to make a case to work in an arts industry, as Asselin does at the article's conclusion, particuarly someone that has a lot to offer an industry that has so much going for it right now. That's where we are, though. We've made our proclamations and we've drawn our lines in the sand, in some cases for a third or fourth time; next time we'll be judged on our progress rather than our intentions.
 
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Go, Look: The Two Questions

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Go, Enroll: Zak Sally Presents Schoolhaus

Were my life organized in a different way so that it were possible, I would love to go the College Of Zak Sally Creative Knowledge, a program called Schoolhaus he's teaching with Dan Ibarra. Sally is an obvious multi-disciplinarian when it cames to the arts, although even just to do comics in a way where you're managing different elements of the wider production process, that would seem to me to qualify a lot of folks to teach in this manner. Sounds fun.
 
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Go, Read: Manga -- A Place To Start

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On Amazon.com Purchasing comiXology

The retailer and direct market industry advocate Brian Hibbs wrote a piece about the Amazon.com purchase of comiXology that bears reading, like the vast majority of what Brian pens. It isn't dismissive or backwards-sounding; although there are critical elements. I think there are reasons to remain skeptical about that partnership for the long term; that hesitation on the very fundamental part of the deal where more of the publishing industry gets placed into Amazon's hands, that's something that came up when I talked to publishers, even publishers super-enthusiastic about the acquisition. Just as it's wrong to automatically assume an independent virtue of keeping the old system for the sake of the old system, so is it misguided to make a virtue out of abstract principles over how the companies and creators benefit.

I do find some of Hibbs's broader assertions curious, particuarly when they depend on idealized elements of the market. There are some great comics shops out there that carry a sizable array of comics and can direct people to work and build readers; there are also shops that don't even carry the "weirder" Marvel/DC books. There are about 20 cities in all of the US where I'll send someone I know to a comics shop rather than Amazon.com when they're looking for a specific trade or even shopping for a general kind of comic, at least without massive qualification.

I think the comparison of this to Diamond's exclusive-driven dominance of the direct market back in the 1990s is reasonably apt, particularly in terms of how that deal developed: it turns out that was not armageddon, but you could argue that was a massive blow, particularly in the broad potential of that market not reaching its potential in certain ways, even to the limited extent they used to. One hopes for the best outcome here as well, and I think the way this deal went down means that there's a greater chance people will be pushing the business in that direction.
 
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Go, Look: Sunbakerey

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Not Comics: LARB Blog On Netflix And Television Canon

The writer Sean T. Collins pointed out via twitter this article by Anne Helen Petersen on the role that the easy availability of certain television shows may have on the canon-building efforts by an emerging generation of media critics. It's one of those articles that's stuffed full of interesting insights and revelatory moments even if, like me, you find its central premise deeply disturbing and many of those individual moments darkly humorous.

I do think that it does have something to say about comics, though, in that a broader audience than actual critics-to-be are definitely going to be influenced by what is closest and most ubiquitous and a part of their consumption lives just as they are by what hits, what leaves a mark, what is powerful and affecting. While I always caution people away from thinking the end goal of every artistic pursuit is maximizing audience and profit (and those aren't even the same thing anymore), I think there are likely some takeaways in there for putting comics on-line and how, and also reference points for re-examining older structures, like the fact I'm uncertain if there exists any sort of infrastructure that might bring second- and third-generation alt/arts comics makers to a wide audience based on print alone.

I'm not sure I'd want to be on the business side of comics over the next 15 years, although that's where all the opportunities are in terms of making the particularly artistic endeavor a better place.
 
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Go, Look: excellence & genius

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OTBP: Carry Me

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* unlike the last couple of weekends, the majority of the focus this Friday to Sunday will be one show: C2E2 in Chicago. There should also be some folks crossing over to do stuff at the Brooklyn Zine Fest. C2E2's an interesting show. That one actually got off to a rough start, but has since slowly built itself back up to a valued stop for the folks that do the more mainstream-focused shows. Also, Chicago is the greatest. It also didn't really vanquish Chicago's Wizard show but as it turns out that's a region of the country that can support more than one show with that set of emphases. I think it's interesting I could not tell you any guest for that show to save my life, which shows just how those shows basically act as their own headliners now.

* here's a nice piece at The Beat about getting to and from that show. There's some fanciful stuff that went over my head, but the majority of the real-world advice seem practical and well-considered. I recall there was also some discussion early on with that show how much people in the Chicago area liked going to the McCormick Place at all, another issue that I assume has been largely settled.

* here's a reasonably late -- by today's standards only -- report on Linework NW on Panel Patter. And here is one from PSU Vanguard.

* Conundrum Press has their TCAF schedule up, a sign that publisher in the alt-/arts- world are really focusing in on that one now. That's a major event any year in that world, and by that world I really mean "comics" at this point, not just smaller press or art comics. Here's a snapshot of their small press area.

* I totally missed this report from Maura McHugh on one of the MCM conventions, this one in Ireland.

* I'm not sure that I've seen enough on-line about FLUKE, but there are a few things here and there and it looks like a fun show. That's not FLUKE's fault. Almost no one writes con reports anymore but the big shows still have enough saturation in terms of attendance to make a "collective memory" possible. Maybe I'm wrong; if someone knows of a ton of links, let me know! Here's one from the Dollar Bin podcast.

* finally, I'll be staying at the Hilton this year during HeroesCon, so if you're going to be there, too, we'll have a drink or play a game of HORSE at the YMCA connected to it. Everyone else will be over at the Westin, so we'll have to stick together.
 
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If I Were In Minnesota, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: A Simone Bianchi Spider-Man Art Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Josh Bayer's latest Suspect Device kickstarter seems like it will be up against it a bit as it rounds into it's last 10 days, but it's near the halfway point and that's usually key. You might want to take a look at one if you're a fan of the NYC scene, and the young cartoonists that come out of that scene.

image* Paul O'Brien on All-New X-Men #25. Johanna Draper Carlson on The Amateur Astronomer's Journal. Shea Hennum on Operation Margarine. Chris Sims on Fastlane. Osvaldo Oyola on X-Men. Emilia Packard on Blacklung. Sarah Mirk on a bunch of different comics. Charles Joy on MIND MGMT #21. John Seven on Beautiful Darkness. Brian Galindo on The Amazing Spider-Man Vs. The Prodigy.

* this comic book ad featuring a Saturday morning cartoon line-up from 1967 may be more entertaining than watching a morning of those cartoons. Back when that stuff wasn't covered so closely and the Saturday morning blocs were the only place to see new cartoons with any certainty, these ads were kind of a big deal for little kids.

* I never get mail this interesting.

* the only filmed Superman that matters. Someone must have had this up, because three people e-mailed it to me in the course of three hours. Sorry to that person.

* Zainab Akhtar talks to Felicia Choo and looks at some of the work coming out of the elmonstruodecoloresnotieneboca project. Carl Antonowicz talks to Julie Delporte. The Comics Alternative Podcast folks talk to Shannon Wheeler.

* Jason Sacks appreciates the Simon and Kirby horror comics -- if you see the monster comics as their own thing, this is probably the least discussed major phase in the career of Jack Kirby.

* Katie Skelly draws Kirby's Kamandi (the famous Kamandi map). Chris Schweizer draws the '80s X-Men. Richard Thompson draws some lovely-looking postcards. David Lasky draws Ziggy Stardust.

* some nice student at the Herron school could use some sales attention in order to make that transition from student to working artist.

* there's something very "right now" about a prominent comics writer having their longest run on a character/concept being less than 20 issues and that still involving the title re-launching once.

* Heidi MacDonald is putting together a resource page of professional development links.

* finally, Pearl Paint RIP.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Warren Craghead!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Devlin Thompson!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 23, 2014


Go, Look/Bundled Extra/Festivals Extra: š! #17 To Debut At TCAF; Previewed Extensively

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By Request Special: CBLDF Through AmazonSmile

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, one of comics' traditional charitable causes and one of its backbone organizations, is participating in the AmazonSmile program. That means you can sign up with the retailing giant, indicate the Fund at the appropriate part of that process, and .5 percent of the price of your purchases will go to the organization. They've written about it here.

I have to imagine this wouldn't make a huge difference person to person but might start to if it's a few hundred folks doing it, and it's hard for to imagine what it hurts as it sounds like a reasonably invisible program.

I hope you'll consider it, anyway.

Update: So a few of you asked about whether comiXology purchases would now or might in the future be a part of this program. I asked Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Fund, who said he wasn't sure.

"Amazon Smile is a relatively new service, and one where folks purchases can benefit our work. The way it's currently set up, it only works when people enter through the Amazon Smile start page and perform their purchases. It isn't yet equipped to work with the Amazon App, even, so it seems doubtful, in the near term, that they would since that's another external application. But I don't really know yet."

Brownstein further told CR that while he'll ask the comiXology folks, he imagine that this is the kind of concern way down the list for that company, at least for the time being.
 
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Missed It: Tessa Brunton Diary At TCJ.com

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Your 2014 Hugo Award Graphic Story Category Nominees

This year's nominees for the World Science Fiction Society's Hugo Awards were announced several days ago in a flurry of blog posts and e-mails and postings. As John Scalzi explains here, about 2000 nominating ballots were received.

imageOf direct and perhaps primary interest to comics fans is the "Best Graphic Story" category, which has been in place since 2009. The nominees are:

Best Graphic Story

* Girl Genius, Volume Thirteen: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
* "The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who" in Doctor Who Special 2013, Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton (IDW)
* The Meathouse Man, Raya Golden, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin (Jet City Comics)
* Saga Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
* "Time" in XKCD, Randall Munroe (Self-Published)

There are certainly other items of interests throughout the ballot, including a professional artist nomination for Fiona Staples, and one of the superhero-movie scripts being nominated in the appropriate category. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.

I do know that the nominations process has come with a two-headed controversy around the organization of campaigning on behalf of certain potential nominees and the fact that this year the recipient of one such successful campaign holds noxious political views. I haven't gone too deeply into that, and it doesn't seem to have an impact on the comics category at all, but if you're looking for parallel incidents through which to perhaps gain insight into recent comics culture controversies, that might be something you want to track down.

The Hugos take that appellation after the all-time wonderfully-named writer, editor and publisher Hugo Gernsback, which I will never get sick of typing.
 
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Not Comics: Jillian Tamaki's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Illustrations

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Go, Look: John Romita Sr.'s Crack At "Here We Go-A-Plotting!"

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Jen Sorensen, Angelo Lopez Wins SPJ Awards

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I'm glad Alan Gardner caught the following, because I sure didn't. Jen Sorensen added to her already impressive 2014 with a win in this year's editorial cartooning category (over 100K circulation) at the Society Of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards. Sorensen was announced as this year's Herblock Prize winner in early March. The winner in the under 100K category at the SPJ's was Angelo Lopez of Phillipines Today.

Those are both interesting, forward-thinking winners for the august organization, which has to be over a hundred years old now. It was ancient when I worked at a newspaper 30 years ago. I don't know if it's just me, but now that the awards encompass creators that work in a variety of outlets it makes editorial cartooning -- a profession under assault for about a quarter century now -- seem at least more vital as an avenue of expression, something I think wholly necessary right now.

these are 2013 cartoons from each cartoonist rather than anything I know was considered for the award
 
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Go, Look: Ridiculously Attractive Christophe Blain Pages

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Go, Read: Frank Santoro's TCJ.com Essay House Tour Diary

I keep forgetting to post a link to Frank Santoro's recent essay "House Tour Diary" over at TCJ.com on how a death triggered a number of feelings in the artist about the course of his life and the roles that comics -- the physical objects -- play in how he's chosen to live it. I imagine it will find some resonance with a lot of folks in the 35 to 50 range, particularly those who have devoted their lives to working in comics in some way but are also disconnected from the kind of lower middle class to middle class living that stabilized a lot of those that chose to do so in the past.
 
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Go, Look: Dan Meth's UFO Conference Hybrid Comic

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OTBP: Couverture #3

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

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

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

*****

FEB140088 ELTINGVILLE CLUB #1 $3.99
I'm all for comic-book format comics, I'm all for humor comics, and I'm all for Evan Dorkin doing comics, so this new effort kind of wraps three of the dozen or so things I like about comics into one place. This and the Mimi Pond book are by far the items that would get me into a comics shop today, so I'll but them top and bottom for the biggest art in this post. Dorkin's done a lot of comics recently, but not as many where he also provide the art, and I enjoy his art quite a bit.

imageDEC130134 SOMEPLACE STRANGE HC $19.99
I barely remember this in its Marvel iteration, which has to be 25 years ago now, but I'm always happy to look at anything Ann Nocenti writes and/or John Bolton draws -- even younger versions of same. I think this is action-adventure fantasy, although as Marvel was involved (this new one is from Dark Horse) I wouldn't be surprised if there was a superhero element in there somewhere.

FEB140084 CONAN THE AVENGER #1 $3.50
Dark Horse has done a pretty good job across the board with the last several years' worth of Conan comics. I don't always enjoy them, but I think 12-year-old me would just about every time out. This seems to be the latest, and it looks like overlapping, uniquely named mini-series may be their publishing strategy with the character in the near future. He's a slightly difficult to do right now, I think, because he's so unchanging that it can be hard to find a character arc if you're used to writing that way.

DEC130136 EC ARCHIVES WEIRD FANTASY HC VOL 01 $49.99
This is another Dark Horse effort, part of their ongoing and concurrent to Fantagraphics and their author-based-b&w reprinting series. I like the Dark Horse reprintings generally, although I'm mostly familiar with the obscure golden age comics component of that line as opposed to the Archie or EC material they're doing. I know there were some complaints a few years back about reproductive quality, but I haven't heard anything negative like that in a long while.

JAN140496 ROCKETEER SPIRIT PULP FRICTION HC $21.99
This is from IDW's stewardship of the Dave Stevens character, here paired up with Will Eisner's proto superhero/maked adventurer. I haven't seen this, but my memory is they use pretty first-rate artists -- artists that no doubt are giving their best effort given the characters' creative pedigree -- and I'd be happy to flip through on in a comics shops sometime.

OCT130486 DISTANT SOIL TP VOL 02 THE ASCENDANT $16.99
This is one of the expensive-to-produce re-publications of artist Colleen Doran's signature work from the one creator/one series era of comics, far, far, far away in the rearview window now. The work probably reads more modern than that, considering how her influences only become greater influences in comics as a whole as the years have continued on.

FEB148226 WALKING DEAD #117 3RD PTG (MR) $2.99
FEB140645 WALKING DEAD #126 (MR) $2.99
I'll note the third printing of a recent Walking Dead comic with a new issue coming out to remind myself that not all companies and creators try to keep individual comics in print given that we're in a trade paperback oriented world in a lot of ways. I almost like seeing the comic book buyers served this way. I believe the issue with the higher number is the last of the "All Out War" storyline -- a grandly conceived, accelerated-publishing project that title's done.

imageFEB140678 ELEKTRA #1 ANMN $3.99
FEB148095 CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 2ND PTG LOPEZ VAR ANMN $3.99
FEB140705 DAREDEVIL #2 ANMN $3.99
FEB148096 FANTASTIC FOUR #2 2ND PTG KIRK VAR ANMN $3.99
FEB140733 FANTASTIC FOUR #3 ANMN $3.99
FEB140707 IRON PATRIOT #2 ANMN $3.99
FEB148098 MS MARVEL #2 2ND PTG MCKELVIE VAR ANMN $2.99
That is a lot of titles at or near #1, and I'm never sure if that means there's a greater chance that they'll fail to click with audiences or not. I can't imagine that Marvel comics fans always have 40 or 50 more dollars to commit to new series. I suppose we'll see if one or two get canceled pretty quickly, although it's extremely hard to tell when a company leaves sales on the table. Depending on how you count, Marvel's done somewhere between four and eight series starring Elektra, although this looks to be the first serious effort to do an ongoing in more than 10 years. If it hits.

FEB140657 ORIGINAL SIN #0 $4.99
This is the next Marvel crossover event, this time dealing with a dead Watcher, and the secrets his eyeballs hold, which I'm going to guess is stuff like Tony Stark making out with Jane Foster between old Journey Into Mystery panels. Well, I can hope, anyway.

JAN140811 THOR BY WALTER SIMONSON TP VOL 05 $29.99
Marvel's book program is sort of a mess, and is a major disaster as much as I might be a typical customer -- I can't tell what's out or what format is the best or in many cases if something stands a chance of being collected past the volumes I already have. I do like how much they seem to value the Walt Simonson 1980s Thor book no matter what format they're using.

OCT131038 FRANK THORNE RED SONJA ART ED HC $150.00
Frank Thorne's art is gorgeous, even when the comics they're in drift towards being awful.

DEC130958 BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE #9 (MR) $4.99
I always respect the fact that Rich Johnston and company still pursue print.

MAR141132 OVER EASY HC (MR) $24.95
This is Mimi Pond's stand-alone memoir of her post art school days working in an Oakland cafe and, as mentioned above, one of two major reasons to hit a comics shop this week. I enjoyed how she balanced affection for those people and that time with a lack of sentimentality concerning its seedier or even its boring aspects.

*****

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 On Staten Island, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Lou Fine And Reed Crandall Draw The Ray

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* notorious.

image* Henry Chamberlain on Genesis. Cefn Ridout on Rules Of Summer. Larry Cruz on Pole Dancing Adventures. Andy Oliver on Reads #4. Tom Murphy on Beautiful Scars. Levi Hunt on Superior Spider-Man #31. Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Vol. 12. Sean Kleefeld profiles Brumsic Brandon Jr. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 3. Henry Chamberlain on iHero #1.

* not comics: Jason reviews the movie Trust.

* I don't even know what this is about, but it's about the Charlton E-Man comic, so I'm on board. That was a reasonably fun comic and is a really interesting thing to look at 40 years later -- which put it on the other side if comic book history is cut in half. I bought a whole bunch of them last Fall in Muncie, Indiana.

* Calvin Reid talks to Max Brooks. Grace Bello profiles Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. Zainab Akhtar profiles Corinne Mucha. Henry Chamberlain talks to Ken Pisani.

* hey, it's the animated Ping Pong.

* one of the grand older men of North American comics criticism, RC Harvey would like to tell you something about prose vs. pictures pacing in modern graphic novels. I'm not sure I'm engaging enough with his point to care, which makes it difficult for me to find counter-examples in terms of what might work or might not work and why. My hunch is that comics is kind of a messy form in a lot of ways, and that some of the examples we see as clumsy or as maybe not even comics at one point are brought into the fold or seen with new eyes later on. At the same time, there are plenty of not great comics works out there from which all sorts of negative summary appraisals can be summoned.

* Lisa Brown profiles Lion Forge.

* this is a very cute follow-up to some goofball's anti-fangirl t-shirt. I don't have any thoughts about fangirls as they relate to coffee, although I like both.

* in what is basically a lengthy aside on another critic's work, J. Caleb Mozzocco notes how poorly served some of the mainstream characters can be by relaunches and reboots that have very specific parameters. In this case, the Dick Grayson character was defined in terms of the progression of relationships within that fictional universe whic are either compressed to inconsequentiality or gotten rid of altogether. What usually happens is that they just use that old perception anyway, despite whatever story is foregrounded now, which can be pretty fascinating in a super-nerdy way.

* finally, Matt D. Wilson recommends the paper "Comics Economics."
 
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Happy 72nd Birthday, Edmond Baudoin!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 22, 2014


Not Comics: The Unseen Drawings Of Kurt Vonnegut

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it's been a long time since I've seen the work of the artist Souther Salazar on the cover of a comic book, so I was happy to see the above image gracing the cover for Barrio Mothers, a FBCD effort from a variety of esteemed small-press publishers.

image* Richard Bruton profiles Eleanor Davis and her work in support of the forthcoming How To Be Happy. I have a sense that one could do very well.

* Conundrum Press has more on one of their TCAF debuts, the forthcoming Milo & Sam from Joe Ollmann and Andy Brown.

* one thing I admired about the Fantagraphics crowd-funder is that they didn't adjust their season to fit. They had a bunch of quality books, but they had some really weird ones in there, artists that for whatever reasons haven't quite found an audience yet. That is just about the most admirable thing a publisher can do, use the money they raise however to support worthy work whose ceiling isn't high. Anyway, this Sergio Ponchione tribute to three of the five great North American mainstream comic book talents of the 20th Century seems to me to fit that mold.

* new Hazel Newlevant.

* here's a look
at Dakota McFadzean's contribution to the forthcoming Doug Wright Awards book.

* according to this tweet, it looks like we're getting new Nicolas De Crecy in Ultra Jump. That's... that's good news.

* Matt D. Wilson notes the end of DC's digital-first Superman series Adventures Of Superman. That was the one that got off to a spectacularly troubled start by featuring the work of writer Orson Scott Card, whose political beliefs encompassed an almost rabid and frequently strongly-stated resistance to gays marrying or any sort of societal move in that direction. The article notes there was some good, classic-seeming work in there.

* one thing I hadn't considered when the North American version was out last fall was how Joe Sacco's panorama-comic The Great War might be received in Europe, where there is still a passionate and abiding and anniversary-driven interest in that conflict. Looks like we'll find out.

* Zainab Akhtar previews Zac Gorman's Costume Quest: Invasion Of The Candy Snatchers.

* if you had bet me whether or not we still had Xeric-winning comics to see, I would have lost that bet.

* finally, Robot 6 had a recent look at some of the stand-alone image that will be used to build the slipcase set of the first two volumes of Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree. Those are very pleasurable comics.

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Go, Look: Dave Gibbons' French Edition Watchmen Covers

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Go, Look: Free Comics From JR Williams

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on xxxHolic Rei Vol. 1. Charles Solomon on The Complete Cul De Sac. Joe Gordon on Brass Sun #1. Some nice Page 45 folks on some nice-looking books. Joshuaon on Stray Bullets. James Kaplan on Shutter #1. Rob McMonigal on The Glorkian Warrior Delivers A Pizza.

* how to throw a comic-con at your library.

* Allison Baker writes about some idiot selling an anti-fangirl t-shirt at WonderCon. In addition to it being a noxious sentiment, the t-shirt is atrociously ugly and people love coffee rather than hate it, so it's basically like three centimeters this side of a parody shirt. I'm sorry if there were any little girl fans -- or any fans at all -- that had their day made a little bit more of a bummer by encountering that. One thing that occurred to me reading some of the commentary around the Internet is that "fangirl" is a really messed-up word as used over the years. For one thing, I swear that when I first encountered it in the 1990s, it didn't even refer to slavish devotion to fan interests at all in the way fanboy did but was more of a codeword for perceived female comics groupies. That's right: it was assumed that fanboys could be into books and comics, and fangirls were into dudes. One of the reasons I believe there has to be a self-critical aspect to the kind of cultural scouring comics needs and it can't just be about policing others or hitting the aberrant cutting edge with a mallet is a lot of this stuff goes very, very deep.

* I can't remember posting a link to this Megan Byrd article about a Noelle Stevenson store signing in support of Lumberjanes, and a search of my files says no, so here that is. That book should perform very well.

* Laura Hudson profiles Matt Fraction on the subject of the very successful series Sex Criminals. I think there have been a few more good comics about sex than this article indicates -- there's also the chance you could just go round and round on definitions there -- but it is kind of odd there aren't more, for sure. Rob Kirby talks to Jason Martin.

* the cartoonist Ed Piskor receives the hometown publication Eisner nominee profile, one of the underrated articles in the media-cover-of-comcs pantheon. Sharon Eberson wrote this one.

* I have got to get me one of these tiki bar backdrops. Not that me hosting videocasts would be the biggest comics disaster of all time; I just want my office to look like that.

* finally, Mike Rhode has a photo set up of a museum appearance by Shelton Drum's exhibition of original comics art. I saw pieces of that art back in Charlotte in like 2010, I think; Drum's collection is a fine one, and it's always a blast to look at original art in unique settings.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Bryan Hitch!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Larry Mahlstedt!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Steve Englehart!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Tadashi Matsumori!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 21, 2014


Go, Look: Ines Christine Geisser

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Mohammad Hassan Khalid Receives 5-Year Sentence, Faces Likely Deportation In Lars Vilks Conspiracy

The teen involved in the conspiracy to kill the artist Lars Vilks for a short run of cartoon-like Muhammed images Vilks made in 2007 was sentenced on April 17 for his role, which seems to have been forwarding a single package of and perhaps translating some extremist propaganda for the small group seeking to carry out the action. Mohammad Hassan Khalid has spent three years in incarceration, and will get credit for the time served after receiving a five-year sentence last Thursday. The article makes a brief and to my memory apt distinction as to what the two sides in the case argued. This is the group that included Colleen LaRose and thus gets the easy to remember "Jihad Jane" label, although except for the fact it kind of rolls off the tongue for consumers of news media I'm not sure descriptions of the conspiracy are best served by always making them proximate to that particular nickname. Khlaid's case seems particularly disheartening for his age and for his relatively high-functioning success in things like academia -- the expected deportation back to Pakistan seems a particularly deep blow in terms of the course of his life entire. One the other hand, my reading of the case is that the lawyers weren't denying he was involved just questioning the asserted dramatic nature of that involvement in the context of his accomplishments and social limitations.

LaRose received a ten-year sentence in January.
 
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Go, Look: Beautiful Ryoichi Ikegami Spider-Man Pages

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Irene Vartanoff Clarifies Her Knowledge Of The Dispensation Of Marvel Comics Original Art

Here. Vartanoff was in charge of that part of Marvel's business for a time in the 1970s. That's very helpful to know. It's also a nice portrait of Marvel in the mid-1970s in terms of how they valued what they owned -- very little, to not at all. That was a very pernicious part of their culture and I think shaped a lot of their licensing deals and other-media arrangements for decades.
 
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Go, Look: be.STILL KEEP.moving

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Go, Look: Lou Fine Black Condor Comics

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* the Doug Wright Awards crowd-funder continues. I am certain that money would be well-spent given that award program's pedigree. Also, the incentives are uniquely crafted.

* David Brothers recommends three crowd-funders.

* the latest Batton Lash/Supernatural Law crowd-funder is nearing the halfway point. I would imagine they would very much welcome becoming a regular, successful presence on crowd-funding sites in terms of getting their books out there, like Studio Foglio has become.

* here's are some of the crowd-funders we've been following, randomly presented: an outside project for Tom Toles, Just Another Sheep, Unfinished City, House Party, Noir City #2.

* I am always interested in projects that are focused on retail stores rather than on publishing projects. That seems to me a tough road, though, and not the natural match up mechanism to project that publishing offers. I would imagine that over the next few years we'll also see more crowdfunders related to library collections.

* this is wholly impressive.

* last few days to help out Study Group.

* Craig McKenney is looking for support in taking a shot at finishing The Brontes: Infernal Angria.

* always enjoy a modest crowd-funder, and a Ditko crowd-funder, so both together is doubly enjoyable.

* this is great subject matter for a graphic novel, although it looks to have struggled a bit so far in terms of garnering interest. Did you know there's a photo of Teddy Roosevelt watching the procession?

* finally, it's hard for me to imagine something much cooler than a customer pet portrait from Laura Park, except maybe one where the proceeds go to a good cause.
 
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Go, Look: Shell Game From Piracy In Original Art Form, Featuring Al Williamson And Angelo Torres Art

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OTBP: Guilty

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* J. Caleb Mozzocco on Operation Margarine.

* not comics: it's fun to look at home libraries, and I'm all for small/modest over expansive/decadent, but these are all pretty nice spaces to begin with.

* not comics: a photo from the Star Wars panel at the 1976 San Diego Comic-Con. With its callbacks to old movie serials, Star Wars fit very comfortably into the more general nostalgia culture of which comics was a part. I tell this story more than it deserves, but I remember seeing a trailer or two and thinking it all took place on the moon.

* Gary Dunaier didn't get his flickr set from MoCCA up until Friday, but it's a good one, and you should go and visit it if you're interested in seeing photos from that show. There are a lot more pictures of programming than other sets I've seen, and a bunch of shots that remind me of a way a photojournalist might approach the show in terms of getting events and specific locations included.

* this article on the lack of superhero women in superhero movies isn't really razor-sharp in terms of its point to point analysis, but it does remind that people may react extremely positively to characters like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel when they get folded into the big superhero universe.

* Matt Hawkins provides pitching advice.

* hey look, a Miyazaki beer label. I thought if you took photos at that musem a large, decaying monster appeared on the horizon and shot beams at you until you stopped.

* I'm reasonably sure I've never been able to find true love and the happiness that might come with it just so that when I do I can honeymoon in this room.

* this SPACE report also has a look at a couple of the walls of the Watterson exhibit at Billy Ireland.

* speaking of recent festivals, I don't think I ever drove attention from the main part of this blog to this nice letter from Sean T. Collins about this year's MoCCA Festival. I really do think it's interesting that people kind of aim at the mass of shows right around then knowing they can push back a premiere if they're going to a later one.

* Jessica Lee takes a look at the forthcoming Oily Comics spring bundled and some of the treasures within.

* finally, here's a preview of those David Chelsea bowling balls. Those look amazing.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Teri Wood!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 20, 2014


CR Sunday Guest Editorial: A Re-Publication Of Rachel Edidin's April 15 Post At Postcards From Space

By Rachel Edidin

****

On Friday, I went looking for a piece to run today about last week's furious surge of conversation in comics circles about issues related to sexual harassment. I wanted a different perspective to place before CR's audience, and I wanted something that was forward-looking in terms of how the flow of that discussion developed.

I found this response-to-a-question style post by the talented editor and writer Rachel Edidin at her site Postcards From Space that ran Tuesday but anticipated the course of some of the late-week conversation. I am delighted to present it here. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

Anonymous asked: After "Don't rape" and "Don't threaten rape" what's the best way for men to improve the lives of women and girls in geekdom?

Okay, look: "Don't rape" and "don't threaten rape" are pinpoint-specific parts of social compact, also known as "the bare minimum expectations for getting to be part of society."

These are things that should be taken as a given. Don't hold up "don't rape" and "don't threaten rape" like they are gifts.

I mean, don't do those things, and deter others from doing them, and talk about all of this, but, fuck, man.

Anyway.

The best way men can improve the lives of women and girls in geekdom is to do their damnedest to shift the balance of power. Geek dudes -- especially white geek dudes -- you have something the ladies do not: you have a platform from which to speak about issues of justice with relative impunity. Use it. Better yet, share it with or give it to someone who does not have that privilege.

Are you a pro on a panel that's all white dudes? Give up your seat to a woman of color. Encourage other panelists to do the same. Straight-up refuse to be part of panels that do not work toward equal representation. Hold speaker and guest lists at cons to the same standard. And talk about what you are doing, and why.

If you are in a position that gives you hiring power, hire women -- especially into positions where they will have power, not just low-level editorial and work-for-hire gigs. Actively seek and use the input of women, and go out of your way to make really damn sure they're credited for those contributions.

Seek and vocally advocate for works by and about women, for female-friendly and generally diversity-friendly publishers, retailers, and fan communities. When someone does shit right, vote with your dollars and spread the word. When someone fucks up, call them out, and -- if there's any real potential for it and you've got the capacity -- offer them impetus for and tools to change.

Buy girl books. Buy books with pink covers, and read them in public. Break down the box of geek masculinity, and live the geek culture you want to see and be part of. Subvert everything.

Meanwhile: Hold other men accountable. Don't tell rape jokes. Call out bullshit.

And respect the anger of those of us who have been consistently marginalized. If you want to be an ally in this fight, recognize that the fight is not about you: sometimes solidarity means giving other people space to be frustrated and angry at a system from which you directly benefit, and sometimes that means that they will, by extension, be angry at you -- and that this, along with everything else, means *that system* is your common enemy.

Speaking of systems: Educate yourself. Read How to Suppress Women's Writing and call that shit out. Understand that in this fight, your voice is generally considered to mean more than mine. Fight that inequality as hard as you can -- but meanwhile, while you've got that platform, use it.

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This looks like a good place to start for all things Rachel Edidin. I follow her on twitter, and pay attention to the site from which the above is re-posted.

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Go, Look: Late Era Clash

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OTBP: Frontier #4

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

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

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Happy 40th Birthday, Didier Kassai!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Evan Dorkin!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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FFF Results Post #376 -- Party Party Party

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Parties Related To Comics, Fictional Or Real-Life, You Would Like To Have Attended." This how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The party at HR Costigan's house in "100 Rooms."
2. That one party in Japan at the end of Uncanny X-Men #119 near Christmastime because I really, really liked those comics growing up.
3. That party they threw for Jack Kirby at San Diego for his 75th birthday.
4. One of the old underground comix parties in San Francisco.
5. One of the single-digit-old Rueben Awards dinners when it was all cigars and cosplay "dates."

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1) The weekend-long jam that produced Human Torch #5, 1941
2) The party at the end of the Gillen/McKelvie run of Young Avengers
3) One of the final-panel feasts in the Gaulish village in Asterix
4) The "Exploding Colossal Man" festival seen in X-Force #75
5) The party depicted on Erika Moen and Lucy Knisley's "Sexy Times" poster

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Luau on the Justice League Satellite from JLA/Avengers #3
2. The Troy/Long wedding reception from Tales of the Teen Titans #50
3. Rev. Scot Sloan's '60s-revival costume party (Doonesbury, week of Dec. 9, 1974)
4. Post-invasion get-together at the New York JLI embassy, Justice League International #24
5. The blowout celebrating Prime Superman's return, DC One Million #4

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Prom night 2014 with Luann, Quill, Gunther, and Rosa
2. That Christmas for Shacktown thanx to Huey, Dewey & Louie's Junior Woodchuck ingenuity and Unca Scrooge's money
3. The cookout in "Grass Roots" the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers threw for their fellow commune dwellers and backwoods neighbors ending with everybody dancing around a bonfire singing "Let's all get drunk and go naked / Let's all get drunk and go naked / Let's all get drunk and go naked / And lie in a great big pile!"
4. One of several parties in the late 1930s to late 1940s where L. Ron Hubbard told his fellow pulpateers and sci-fi scribes that if he really wanted to make a million, he'd start his own religion.
5. The SDCC after-con party in the late 1980s with Frank Miller and Flint Dille and Roger Slifer smoking cigars & cigarettes, drinking beer & bourbon, discussing art, comics, and the fate of the world until the wee hours of the morning -- oh, wait, I was at that party

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. The celebration at the beginning of American Flagg #2, after Reuben prevented the GoGangs rampage for the first time.
2. That evening that Maggie and Ray (and Daffy) went to Ray’s apartment and listened to the Replacements in Love & Rockets #24. (Is three people too small to be considered a party?)
3. Any of the various parties or gatherings in Paul Pope’s 100%.
4. Any of the classic EC Comics holiday parties from the 1950s.
5. Both of the parties Buddy Bradley attends in “Hippy House” (Neat Stuff #9)

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Party/memorial for Mark Gruenwald, where, according to Mark's wishes, everyone sat on whoopee cushions at the same time.
2. MAD party where the staff re-enacted the Marx Brothers crowded state-room scene for the benefit of a delighted Bill Gaines.
3. That cookout at John Byrne's house where the Marvel staff burnt Jim Shooter in effigy.
4. Party at Bill Kartalopoulos's (and co.'s) apartment, the legendary Cartoon House.
5. 100 Rooms party

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The Rutland Halloween party at Tom Fagan's place as shown in Batman #237
2. The original Alley Tally Party from 1964
3. The 1969 Comic Art Convention Luncheon
4. Any of William Gaines' Mad trips between 1965-1975
5. An end-of-the-adventure feast from any Asterix story

*****



Oliver Ristau

1. That party above the rooftops with Howard Chaykin during Munich's Comicfestival in 2011
2. Partycipating in Garth Ennis' and Darick Robertson's "superhero bacchanalia" like it has been shown in The Boys Mini-Series "Herogasm":
3. One of those happening at the end of every Asterix adventure
4. Would love to be a guest at that odd party being thrown in Thomas Wellmann's "The Meaning Of Life":
5. Any party in Riverdale

*****
*****
 
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April 19, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Ellen Lindner On It's A Draw


Kevin Siers Wins The Pulitzer


ECCC Music Costume Video Dave Lasky Recommended


Profile Of Ben Katchor


A 1962 "Cartoonists Conference"
via


Charles Cole, Blindfolded Cartoonist
via
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from April 12 to April 18, 2014:

1. Kevin Siers wins the Pulitzer Prize.

2. A rolling series of discussions took place in various on-line arenas and via various social media communication tooks regarding sexual harassment issues in comics.

3. Eisner Award nominations go out, with a greater-than-usual representation of women working in the art form but no dominant books or creators.

Winner Of The Week
Siers!

Loser Of The Week
Direct Market sales, first quarter of 2014.

Quote Of The Week
"We sell a lot of Captain America and Thor because of the girls who like the movies. Guys don’t buy them as much now. They buy X-Men and Avengers. Oh, except, Incredible Hulk, that sells well, brown people love it." -- a comic shop employee as described in a review of a comics retail shop. I have no idea if it's true or not, or how true it is if true, but that is one depressing review. (via)

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image from a Marvel comic book, 1964

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Go, Look: Flip The Switch

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

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

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If I Were In Salt Lake City, 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 Anaheim, 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 NYC, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 37th Birthday, Max Riffner!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Michael Dowers!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Steve Schanes!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Mark McMurray!

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Happy 89th Birthday, Jim Ivey!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Martha Thomases!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 18, 2014


Go, Look: The Dungeon

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Go, Look: Swimming Lessons

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CBLDF: Bone Hits ALA Top Ten Most Challenged List For 2013

imageThe Comics Book Legal Defense Fund has a nice piece up here on an announcement earlier this week that Jeff Smith's all-ages fantasy Bone was through some bizarre set of cultural circumstances that demand our attention on the top 10 list of 2013's most challenged books. The aspects on which it was challenges are said to be, "political viewpoint, racism and violence." I think most comics fans familiar with the book -- most readers of all kinds familiar with the book -- would have a hard time pulling a racism thread from its pages. And if Smith has a political viewpoint except in the broadest sense, I've never been exposed to it through the works or outside of it. I guess there is some violence in there, but nothing that isn't routinely seen in other similarly-targeted works in a lot of media. The primary mode of confrontation in Bone is running away.

As that CBLDF piece notes, the trend seems to be towards works read by young people that might not fit squarely within the absolutely most rigid definition of what a very sensitive child might have been expected to read in 1923. This suggests a cultural argument is being made against some of these books rather than our seeing the accrual of independent challenges that just happen to settle on a specific kind of work. I asked Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein how many challenges this might represented, and he came back with a number over 300, which is astonishing to me. It should be alarming for all of us.
 
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Go, Look: Ten Stories Featuring Doll Man

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A Bit Of A Link-Up Catch-Up On Sexual Harassment Issues

The general comics culture conversation about sexual harassment issues has continued with a number of articles worth noting. The issue came to the forefront this week after the writer and editor Janelle Asselin's April 11 article criticizing a comic book cover drove a series of unplesant, severe reactions ranging from patronizing replies from fellow professionals to anonymous rape threats. As linked to a few times here earlier this week, the reaction Asselin received and her forthright confrontation of those responses led to a strong show of support and general pushback against those elements. It also led to some essay writing, most notably this post from Asselin, around which all commentary has since orbited.

Some of the newer and/or new-to-me pieces I've stumbled across:

* Asselin's follow-up post here should be read and considered if you're following this story in any way. Asselin also questions the course of the argument over the past week, and what was perhaps required for it to register with some folks, which I think is an important thing to track.

* Andy Khouri wrote a very well-received article here calling on men to police, question and raise objections to other men both making threats against female industry members and participating in an atmosphere that facilitates that kind of abominable behavior. Brett White wrote a similar article here. Several creators like Dylan Horrocks here took to social media to affirm such articles or to generally comment on the ideas presented in a "we have to stop right now" fashion. Here's a line-in-sand type post from Anne Scherbing concerning the rape threat element and the culture that allows such things.

* Lea Hernandez wrote a post here about the general cost of dealing with ten thousand gallons of dolloped bullshit of varying flavors and intensity just to function as a working professional. I think it's important to note that continuity, although there are no hard and fast rules in how we contextualize or choose not to when it comes to issues like these.

* Jill Pantozzi posits a theory here about what drives some of the contemptuous to demented responses to criticism of sexist or non-inclusive elements in comics art: that it will get the in the way of these books remaining masturbatory fodder for a subset of fans that count on that function. That's mean and funny and communicates. For me, however, that argument's primary value is to suggest a construction where the intensity of the reaction is a fear response: fear of being severed from that thing, fear chased by resentment that this denial of pleasure is deeply unfair.

I'm sure I missed some great ones.

I would also recommend that you take part in the sexual harassment essay mentioned. That's here.

I'm still processing and learning on these issues. I don't have a lot to add at this juncture. I'd be happier at this point running your commentary, I also hope I can re-publish on CR a blog post I liked from early this week, depending on whether I can come to an agreement with its author. If not, I'll run a link Monday and discuss it a bit. I don't want this issue to go away. I don't want it to be talked about until it no longers registers as important.

It's an overall positive and certainly the very least we can do not to countenance rape threats in any way, or any threats of violence. Further, that we have an obligation to refuse to tolerate such behavior or any of the flourishes of culture that might make that behavior less aberrant and abominable -- even if that's just in the hearts of minds of desperately messed-up people -- seems sound to me. That men may have a greater opportunity to combat certain aspects of this because of their exposure to less of it as a target and more of it as an enabler or nearby witness, that seems to me an idea worth exploiting to positive effect.

I hope for two additional things.

I hope there's a self-critical aspect to this. Correcting bad behavior and affecting cultural change requires asking hard questions of yourself. That may mean sussing out how you participate. That may mean figuring how you need to see things differently. That may mean coming to terms with what has taken you so long to make this a priority. I hope everyone that is writing about these issues in terms of broad principles will write a piece six months from now about applying those ideas in their day to day dealings. I hope to join you. We can't keep revisiting these things; we can't just keep making vows to do better; that's like constantly starting over with a new #1. Comics has made progress in recent months, I think. The expectation of safe-space policies at conventions seems a greater, more universal priority now. We also seem more comfortable taking these issues on when they flare up. We can do more.

I also hope that we'll be ambitious in terms of engaging and correcting any and all behavior that puts someone at a disadvantage based on factors like gender or race. When harassment issues roared up the Team Comics driveway as something to discuss last Fall, I argued a connection between a general lack of professional standards and the facilitation of a lot of rotten behavior. I still think that's true. I hope that maybe for a while we'll all reconsider being patronizing to a fellow community member. I hope we can curb lascivious or inappropriately intimate commentary in a professional setting. I hope we can get past assuming bad faith when someone is trying to do the right thing or at least a better thing. There's likely something we can all do to make things better, even if you never hear a rape joke or never find yourself standing over someone's shoulder as they type out a rape threat. I am very terrible at a lot of these things, and could stand to get a lot better, too. Let's get to work.
 
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Go, Look: Don't Let Fear Stop You From Traveling

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Two Comics Proximate Figures Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

I wanted to draw quick attention to the fact that the movie director Bryan Singer and the cartoonist/artist/Facebook multi-millionaire David Choe both popped in my news feed yesterday. Bryan Singer is being sued by a man named Michael Egan for various instances of sex abuse that the accuser says happened when he was 17. That David Choe's name popped up in a commentary article about the description of a sexual encounter he apparently shared with a podcast audience.

The Singer one is a potential big deal in terms of entertainment industry stories go as the director's new X-Men movie is set to open in theaters worldwide next month. I would imagine this will also lead to accusations of opportunism from Singer's defense team. Interest should also be fueled by the idea that Singer's preference for younger men was facilitated by his position in the filmmaking world, something that's been long-rumored specifically about Singer and more generally as a thing that happens. The controversy over allegations about misconduct by writer/director Woody Allen should also provide context in terms of news producers seeing this as a potential story of interest and paying close attention to it; how it rolls out is also likely to be closely compared in terms of the difference between those two stories.

The David Choe story is a much smaller story and lacks the actual news hook of a legal filing; for all I know it's a prank. But I wanted to put that on people's radars in case it does becomes a thing. Choe has a long history of provocative behavior that would seem to indicate the possibility of this being real and this being a prank and either option amounting to something or not. There's really no way to tell. Choe doesn't do comics work like he once did, but there elements of his creative world that overlap.

Both stories are terribly disturbing.

Update: Singer canceled this weekend's appearance at WonderCon due to the controversy.
 
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Go, Look: Titan, Part 3

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* I thought this statement from the direct market retailing advocacy group ComicsPro and this essay by Rachel Edidin at Wired partly in response to that ComicsPro statement were the two newer pieces I thought most interesting in terms of Amazon.com's recent acquisition of the on-line retailer comiXology. The idea of a "real thing" in terms of comics feels very 2003.

* Gary Tyrrell asked a couple of questions about the Amazon.com/comiXology deal here that I haven't seen answered -- admittedly, I have yet to go looking.

* this is also a very nice post from Tyrrell here, with a suggestion I hope those attending TCAF will consider.

* finally, I'm not sure why it struck me this morning instead of any of the others, but I wonder sometimes if there are effects as to the nature of the geek skew in terms of comics interest on the Internet that we don't quite see or process. I mean, I don't think about those kinds of things the way I did when the content-driven parts of the Internet were becoming more solid in the late 1990s, but every so often I'll see something basic like the respective sizes of wikipedia entries for the Marvel villain Scourge and the underground comix master Victor Moscoso and figure that has to have some sort of impact.
 
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Go, Look: Blow Up

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Collective Memory: SPACE 2014

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: The Intrepideers And The Brothers Of Blood

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Collective Memory: Linework NW 2014

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

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If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Wolverine As Drawn By Big John Buscema

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* go, listen: The East River String Band with R. Crumb. There's a cute story about the Zwigoff film in there.

image* Don MacPherson on Batman Eternal #1. David Brothers on Space Brothers. Rob Clough on various comics and various other comics. Todd Klein on Green Lantern #29 and Aquaman #29. Sean Gaffney on Say I Love You Vol. 1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on various comics.

* Brian Gardes anticipates Warren Ellis at Dynamite.

* check out how many words get stuffed into the top panel of the two panel reprinted here by Bully. It's a shame to do that to Jack Kirby art, but as a kid I kind of liked how much text those 1960s Marvel comics could hold, because it made for what felt like a more substantive reading experience. That's probably a pretty shallow take on those kinds of comics, but it's one I earned at 7 years old.

* not comics: I like looking at people in costumes, but I'm still not sure what's driving that practice in such an intense way.

* Carl Antonowicz talks to Beth Hetland.

* Mike Thompson attends an old-fashioned con. Sadness results.

* not comics: one-time comics industry veteran Robert Boyd's arts-scene-in-Houston blog has been a lot of fun lately.

* Sonia Harris writes about something very specific here that I think a number of readers of this site will recognize: giving comics to your friends over the years and what they remember and like when comics is a very tiny part of their lives but a significant part of yours. I have friends from high school that still as after Bob Burden and David Boswell, 25 years later.

* finally, Bob Temuka writes about death in superhero comics. There was a time in the 1970s just introducing these "realistic" consequences was an automatic thrill, and I think a lot of what goes on with the use of that plot point is based on pushing back against the conventional superhero narrative established in the 1940s through 1960s.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Darryl Cunningham!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Thierry Groensteen!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Roger Salick!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 17, 2014


Go, Look: Fred Guardineer's Work Is Super, Super Fun

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By Request Special: Study Group Comics, Exhibit A Press

There are a couple of crowd-funders I wanted to mention before the appearance of Monday's column.

* Batton Lash and Supernatural Law have another kickstarter going, this time in support of the title Zombie Wife. This is starting to become a reliable funding option for Lash, which is interesting in that he is one of the last continual-run survivors of the more traditional print self-publishing era.

* the Study Group folks are on enough of a roll that after a successful Linework NW they've met their recent crowd-funding goal and are now adding stretch goals.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Article On 51 Awesome Webcomics The Eisners Have Completely Failed To Recognize

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I figure if nothing else, it's a nice primer list of long-form webcomics for those of us not fully invested in that world. The work listed fifth I think is one of handful of contenders for comic of the '00s, any format or form.
 
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Go, Read: A Maddy Vian Interview

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Go, Look: The Only Living Boy

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it's all WonderCon right now for most of the comics people I know. Everyone else I know that won't be sleeping in their own beds this weekend will be at FLUKE. There is a sizable show in DC and an already-massive event in SLC this weekend, too, although I haven't heard a ton from people attending either one of those shows. I'm sure they will be well-stocked with comics folks. All of those regions should ably support the type of show they're hosting.

image* in fact, this weekend will be interesting just for the sheer number of name events it's hosting. That's just incredible. And these shows have audiences; they're not dependent on a traveling crew of hardcore fans. I say this about once a week, but I can't stop: the rise of conventions is freaking amazing when you think that 15 years ago there were two, maybe three shows that folks considered attending, with the third one being different according to region. But I bet people will turn out. People just like conventions now.

* it's also worth noting that with WonderCon weekend being the traditional start of the convention calendar year I am already hearing from people that the year has felt like a long one in terms of shows and festivals. I do think we may see people begin to burn out a bit on going to a lot of shows year after year after year.

* there are still Friday and Sunday WonderCon badges available.

* there will be a comics convention in Hyderabad in October. That is a massive city in kind of south-central India.

* this notebook from Linework NW is one of the cuter exhibitor gifts I've seen a show do. I think those things are great, when festivals and cons do things for their staff, volunteers and exhibitors like that.

* here's a link to all the special events at the forthcoming Ting Festival.

* Megan Byrd covers a Noelle Stevenson signing in Chicago.

* finally, here's a report from a small convention -- 600 attendees -- in Camden, New Jersey. Hyper-local cons are the wave of the future.
 
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If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: A Clay Geerdes Site

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is nice: an excerpt on cartooning from a forthcoming work by Jeff Danziger.

image* I was reminded the other day that the strip Party Lines by Ethan Rilly and Jeet Heer continues.

* I keep wanting to post a link to this illustrated essay by Lisa Hanawalt profiling Wylie Dufresne, but I keep making excuses not to, so I'm going to put it here in case I make it all the way to Thursday and haven't put it up yet.

* Dave Richards talks to Mike Marts. Jeffrey Renaud talks to Van Jensen. Richard Bruton talks to Alison Sampson. Art Lortie remembers Fred Kida.

* it's hard to imagine something more fun than Chicago in the summertime, taking a class from John Porcellino. If you can't get to Chicago, you can take this correspondence course with Frank Santoro.

* Ollie Ottoman on The Infinite Wait. Richard Bruton on Genesis. Tom Murphy on Fatima: The Blood Spinners.

* Gary Tyrrell reacts to the Eisners. Corey Blake reacts to the Eisners.

* it's like alt shelf porn.

* there are virtues of many business, but the virtues of small, independent bookstores -- near-cousins to comic book shops in a lot of ways -- are these days becoming a bigger topic of conversation, even as their struggles are seen in bolder relief.

* not comics: I agree with this sentiment. There's a lot to be learned from working with print even if you ended up putting most of your stuff on-line -- this applies to almost every expression or vocation that can be done in either place.

* Joe Gordon discusses a bar named after Gerald Scarfe.

* I'm grateful to Fantagraphics for keeping us up on Janet Hamlin's work.

* finally, Nate Powell will only be selling original art through his Etsy store for a limited time, so if you want to buy from him that way, make that happen.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Jean-Pierre Gibrat!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Jiro Kuwata!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Ben Dunn!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Noel Tuazon!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Kazuichi Hanawa!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 16, 2014


Go, Look: Mikus Duncis

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Go, Follow: The Jack Davis Foundation Tumblr

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Your 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominations

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The Eisner Awards released their 2014 nominees list yesterday.

imageInitial reaction on-line seemed reasonably positive, with no major omissions or jaw-dropping inclusions becoming the immediate focus of commentary. There was certainly a number of entry points for discussion. The titles Hawkeye, Saga and The Wake drove the most nominations. Writers Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, who are married, were both nominated in the Best Writer category for their respective work. DeConnick's presence in the male-dominated Best Writer category also drove attention to what seemed like a significant number of women in art-related categories. The late Kim Thompson was recognized by name for his work on Prince Valiant; he also worked on the Ulli Lust book nominated. (I would have loved to have seen him nominated for the excellent The Adventures Of Jodelle.) In terms of the alternative old guard, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez both received nominations and shared in a nomination, building on recent reconsideration for and appreciation of those alt-comics legends. Their peer Jim Woodring, however, whose Fran was a strong contender on a lot of best-of lists and was the the best stand-alone book I read last year, was not nominated. Graham Chaffee was nominated; he returned to comics with Good Dog after two well-received books in the 1990s, but made what seemed like little in the way of a critical impression. Naoki Urasawa, a recent Eisners favorite, wasn't nominated. A Josh Simmons work from (mostly) mini-comics publisher and distributor Oily Comics was nominated. Two self-published comics made the single-issue category. Two distinct Jeffrey Brown works received nominations, which I imagine without knowing for sure is also a relative rarity. Except for Batman feeding into a nomination for writer Scott Snyder, the core DC superhero books went without a nomination -- although the reprint line and the Vertigo imprint were represented. TCJ.com and the print Comics Journal released this year were both nominated. Other frequent recent nominees like ComicsAlliance and Alter Ego were not on that list, nor was one-time Eisner darling Jon B. Cooke. This site was also not on the list. Editor Scott Dunbier maintained a strong presence. I would have to imagine that up to half of the stand-alone original graphic novel category was not seen by many of those writing about comics through traditional outlets. Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth, which came out too late in the year to make many best-of lists, particularly those with an apparent Christmas shopping imperative, drove a pair of nominations. The Oatmeal was nominated a couple of times; that's a feature with vocal fans and passionate detractors as one might expect of something that monstrously popular. Perennial design favorite Drawn And Quarterly was shut out of that category. Image took four of five continuing series nods.

I could do another paragraph about that size. Matt Phelan, for instance. Or Watson and Holmes. Just as the industry and art form feel bigger and more of a sprawl than ever before, so is at least this one snapshot of the art form.

I asked Eisner Awards Admininstrator Jackie Estrada about two of the nominations that featured individuals with close personal ties to members of the nominating committee: Steve Hamaker for Best Colorist on a variety of works (Hamaker is married to Jenny Robb), Margeurite Van Cook for painting/multimedia interiors on 7 Miles A Second (Van Cook is married to James Romberger). In addition to that personal relationship with Van Cook, Romberger was a co-author on the work for which the artist was nominated. Estrada told CR that in both cases the nominations came from the publishers involved rather than the judges, and that both were generally accliamed works of the type the awards program routinely considers. "There are often potential conflicts of interest in the Eisners because we are in all small industry and anyone who is a judge unavoidably has friends and colleagues who are eligible for nomination." Estrada also stated that Robb and Romberger recused themselves from voting for the categories in question.

This site congratulates all of the nominess, and specifically the nominees in the category for which this site was eligible. We wish everyone the best of luck, and urge all eligible to vote.

On a personal note, it was extra-nice to see the vastly under-appreciated Kristy Valenti share in two nominations -- one for The Comics Journal #302 (with Gary Groth) and one for The Love And Rockets Companion (with Marc Sobel). The comics industry runs on people like Valenti.

The nominating committee was Kathy Bottarini, William H. Foster III, Christian Lipski, Lee Oeth, Robb and Romberger. The awards will go to their winners the Friday evening of Comic-Con International weekend. That ceremony will include a hall of fame component and the winners of a smattering of outside awards traditionally given out during that ceremony.

*****

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Best Short Story

* Go Owls, by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #13 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Mars to Stay, by Brett Lewis and Cliff Chiang, in Witching Hour (DC)
* Seaside Home, by Josh Simmons, in Habit #1 (Oily)
* Untitled, by Gilbert Hernandez, in Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
* When Your House Is Burning Down, You Should Brush Your Teeth, by Matthew Inman

*****

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Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

* Demeter, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)
* Hawkeye #11: Pizza Is My Business, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
* Love and Rockets: New Stories #6, by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* Viewotron #2, by Sam Sharpe (self-published)
* Watson And Holmes #6, by Brandon Easton, and N. Steven Harris (New Paradigm Studios)

*****

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Best Continuing Series

* East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image)
* Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
* Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde (Image)
* Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
* Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)

*****

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Best Limited Series

* The Black Beetle: No Way Out, by Francesco Francavilla (Dark Horse)
* Colder, by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra (Dark Horse)
* 47 Ronin, by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
* Trillium, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC)
* The Wake, by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (Vertigo/DC)

*****

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Best New Series

* High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain)
* Lazarus, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Image)
* Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (Image/Shadowline)
* Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)
* Watson and Holmes, by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, Paul Mendoza et al. (New Paradigm Studios)

*****

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Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)

* Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas, by Philippe Coudray (TOON Books)
* The Big Wet Balloon, by Liniers (TOON Books)
* Itty Bitty Hellboy, by Art Baltazar and Franco (Dark Horse)
* Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
* Otto's Backwards Day, by Frank Cammuso (with Jay Lynch) (TOON Books)

*****

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Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

* Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
* Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
* Jane, the Fox, and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood)
* The Lost Boy, by Greg Ruth (Graphix/Scholastic)
* Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2, edited by David Petersen, Paul Morrissey, and Rebecca Taylor (Archaia/BOOM!)
* Star Wars: Jedi Academy, by Jeffrey Brown (Scholastic)

*****

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Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

* Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
* Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
* Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
* Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix/Scholastic)
* March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
* Templar, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puviland (First Second)

*****

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Best Humor Publication

* Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)
* The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes and Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
* The (True!) History of Art, by Sylvain Coissard and Alexis Lemoine (SelfMadeHero)
* Vader's Little Princess, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
* You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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Best Anthology

* Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
* Nobrow #8: Hysteria, edited by Sam Arthur and Alex Spiro (Nobrow)
* Outlaw Territory, edited by Michael Woods (Image)
* Smoke Signal, edited by Gabe Fowler (Desert Island)
* The Thrilling Adventure Hour, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker et al. (Archaia/BOOM!)

*****

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Best Digital/Webcomic

* As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gillman
* Failing Sky, by Dax Tran-Caffee
* High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain)
* The Last Mechanical Monster, by Brian Fies
* The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman

*****

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Best Reality-Based Work

* A Bag of Marbles, by Joseph Joffo, Kris, and Vincent Bailly (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
* The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker (M Press/Dark Horse)
* Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
* March (Book One), by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
* Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
* Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, by Peter Bagge (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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Best Graphic Album -- New

* Bluffton: My Summers with Buster, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
* The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown)
* Good Dog, by Graham Chaffee (Fantagraphics)
* Homesick, by Jason Walz (Tinto Press)
* The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
* War Brothers, by Sharon McKay and Daniel LaFrance (Annick Press)

*****

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Best Adaptation from Another Medium

* The Castle, by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromír 99 (SelfMadeHero)
* The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, adapted by by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
* Django Unchained, adapted by Quentin Tarantino, Reginald Hudlin, R. M. Guéra et al. (DC/Vertigo)
* Richard Stark's Parker: Slayground, by Donald Westlake, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
* The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, by Edogawa Rampo, adapted by Suehiro Maruo (Last Gasp)

*****

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Best Graphic Album -- Reprint

* The Creep, by John Arcudi and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)
* Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
* Heck, by Zander Cannon (Top Shelf)
* Julio's Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
* RASL, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
* Solo: The Deluxe Edition, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC)

*****

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Best Archival Collection/Project -- Strips

* Barnaby Vol. 1, by Crockett Johnson, edited by Philip Nel and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
* Percy Crosby's Skippy Daily Comics Volume Two: 1928–1930, edited by Jared Gardner and Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
* Prince Valiant Vols. 6-7, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
* Society Is Nix: Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
* Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Vol. 1, edited by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
* VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch, edited by Jonathan Barli (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Best Archival Collection/Project -- Comic Books

* Best of EC Artist's Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Canteen Kate, by Matt Baker (Canton Street Press)
* In the Days of the Mob, by Jack Kirby (DC)
* MAD Artist's Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Will Eisner's The Spirit Artist's Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

*****

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Best U.S. Edition of International Material

* Adventures of a Japanese Businessman, by Jose Domingo (Nobrow)
* Goddamn This War! by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney (Fantagraphics)
* Incidents in the Night, Book One, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
* Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
* When David Lost His Voice by Judith Vanistendael (SelfMadeHero)

*****

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Best U.S. Edition of International Material -- Asia

* The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)
* The Mysterious Underground Men, by Osamu Tezuka (PictureBox)
* Showa: A History of Japan, 1926–1939, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Summit of the Gods Vol. 4, by Yemmakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist, by Asumiko Nakamura (Vertical)

*****

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Best Writer

* Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pretty Deadly (Image); Captain Marvel (Marvel)
* Matt Fraction, Sex Criminals (Image); Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, FF (Marvel)
* Jonathan Hickman, East of West, The Manhattan Projects (Image); Avengers, Infinity (Marvel)
* Scott Snyder, Batman (DC); American Vampire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
* Eric Stephenson, Nowhere Men (Image)
* Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)

*****

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Best Writer/Artist

* Isabel Greenberg, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (Little, Brown)
* Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories #6 (Fantagraphics)
* Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
* Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Bird Parade (Nobrow)
* Matt Phelan, Bluffton: My Summers with Buster (Candlewick)
* Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

*****

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Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

* Nate Bellegarde, Nowhere Men (Image)
* Nick Dragotta, East of West (Image)
* Sean Murphy, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
* Nate Powell, March (Book One) (Top Shelf)
* Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly (Image)
* Thomas Yeates, Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel (Bantam)

*****

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Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

* Andrew C. Robinson, The Fifth Beatle (Dark Horse)
* Sonia Sanchéz, Here I Am (Capstone)
* Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
* Ive Svorcina, Thor (Marvel)
* Marguerite Van Cook, 7 Miles a Second (Fantagraphics)
* Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

*****

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Best Cover Artist

* David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)
* Mike Del Mundo, X-Men Legacy (Marvel)
* Sean Murphy/Jordie Bellaire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
* Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly (Image)
* Chris Samnee, Daredevil (Marvel)
* Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

*****

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Best Coloring

* Jordie Bellaire, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Pretty Deadly, Zero (Image); The Massive (Dark Horse); Tom Strong (DC); X-Files Season 10 (IDW); Captain Marvel, Journey into Mystery (Marvel); Numbercruncher (Titan); Quantum and Woody (Valiant)
* Steve Hamaker, Mylo Xyloto (Bongo), Strangers in Paradise 20th Anniversary Issue #1 (Abstract Studio), RASL (Cartoon Books)
* Matt Hollingsworth, Hawkeye, Daredevil: End of Days (Marvel); The Wake (DC/Vertigo)
* Frank Martin, East of West (Image)
* Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, Baltimore: The Infernal Train, PRD: Hell on Earth, Conan the Barbarian, Hellboy in Hell, The Massive, The Shaolin Cowboy, Sledgehammer 44 (Dark Horse)

*****

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Best Lettering

* Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark's Parker: Slayground (IDW)
* Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse) ">Carla Speed McNeil, Bad Houses; "Finder" in Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)
* Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
* Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)
* Britt Wilson, Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake (kaBOOM!)

*****

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Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

* Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland
* The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* Comics and Cola, by Zainab Akhtar
* Multiversity Comics, edited by Matthew Meylikhov
* tcj.com, edited by Dan Nadel and Timothy Hodler (Fantagrapahics)

*****

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Best Comics-Related Book

* Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, by Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury)
* The Art of Rube Goldberg, selected by Jennifer George (Abrams ComicArts)
* Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, by Art Spiegelman (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (LOAC/IDW)
* The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Best Scholarly/Academic Work

* Anti-Foreign Imagery in American Pulps and Comic Books, 1920–1960, by Nathan Vernon Madison (McFarland)
* Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, edited by Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II (Bloomsbury)
* Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art, edited by Jane Tolmie (University Press of Mississippi)
* International Journal of Comic Art, edited by John A. Lent
* The Superhero Reader, edited by Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester (University Press of Mississippi)

*****

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Best Publication Design

* The Art of Rube Goldberg, designed by Chad W. Beckerman (Abrams ComicArts)
* Beta Testing the Apocalypse, designed by Tom Kaczynski (Fantagraphics)
* Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (LOAC/IDW)
* The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: A Panorama, by Joe Sacco, designed by Chin-Yee Lai (Norton)
* Little Tommy Lost Book One, designed by Cole Closser (Koyama)

*****

The bulk of images used are hopefully understandable according to their placement over individual categories. The image up top is from Hawkeye; the image below is from The Wake; the inset image in the second paragraph is from Bluffton: My Summers With Buster.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: To Be Announced

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Go, Look: A Run Of Uncle Sam Comics

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Happy 25th Anniversary, Dilbert!

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Kim Thompson was a fan, as I recall
 
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Collective Memory: Amazon.com Acquires Comixology

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Commentary and reaction around the Internet to the announcement that Amazon will acquire comiXology, in a deal to be concluded by the end of this year's second quarter.

*****

Institutional
* Amazon
* comiXology
* Press Release
* David Steinberger's Statement

Audio
* ComicsAlliance Podcast

Blogs
* CR

* Robot 6
* Robot 6

* The Beat 01
* The Beat 02

News Stories And Columns
* ActuaBD.com
* Ars Technica
* AV Club

* Bam Smack Pow
* Big Shiny Robot
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* Bleeding Cool 03
* Bleeding Cool 04
* Business Insider 01
* Business Insider 02

* Canadian Reviewer
* Canoe.ca
* Castanet
* CBR 01
* CBR 02
* Chicago Sun Times
* cNet 01
* cNet 02
* CNNMoney
* Comic Book Bin
* ComicsAlliance
* Comics Should Be Good
* Crain's
* Crave Online
* Cult Of Mac 01
* Cult Of Mac 02

* Dallas Morning News
* dmw
* Dork Shelf
* Droid Life

* Engadget
* Examiner.com

* Forbes
* Franchise Herald

* Geek
* Geeks Of Doom
* GeekSugar
* Gizmodo
* Good E Reader 01
* Good E Reader 02
* Good E Reader 03
* Good E Reader 04

* HitFix
* Hollywood Reporter

* IGN
* Inquistr
* International Digital Times
* intomobile
* io9

* Josic

* Kotaku

* las vegas review journal
* libertyvoice
* liliputing

* Malaysia Sun 01
* Malaysia Sun 02
* Marketplace
* Market Watch
* Mashable
* MediaPost
* Mobile Marketing Watch
* mobilesyrup
* Morning Ledger
* mstars

* NBC Bay Area
* Nerd Reactor
* Newsarama
* New York Business Journal
* NYTimes

* PC Mag
* Phandroid
* Pocket Lint
* Portland Mercury
* PW

* Retail Customer Experience
* RTT News

* Slash Gear
* Softonic
* SuperHeroHype

* TechCrunch
* Tech Hive
* Techno Buffalo
* Technology Tell
* techsonian

* The Celebrity Cafe
* TechRadar
* The Mac Observer
* The Mary Sue
* The Motley Fool 01
* The Motley Fool 02
* The Outhousers 01
* The Outhousers 02
* The Scotsman
* The Slanted
* The Street
* The Verge

* Time
* TNW
* TUAW
* Tweaktown

* Ubergizmo
* Unleash The Fanboy
* Upstart
* USA Today

* VentureBeat
* Venture Capital Post

* Wall Street Cheat Sheet
* Wall Street Journal 01
* Wall Street Journal 02
* Washington Post
* Windows Phone Central
* Wired

Twitter
* Ben Towle
* Dan Goldman 01
* Dan Goldman 02
* John Layman
* Panel Syndicate

*****



*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of David Mack Watercolor Images

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

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

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

*****

FEB141530 SUNNY HC VOL 03 $22.99
This strikes me as a super-odd week, and I'm not sure I can pin down why. I enjoyed the first two volumes of Sunny; in fact, I thought there were only two volumes and kind of adjusted my reading experience to match. Still, I'm happy to read more of these sad orphan stories and stare of the art of Taiyo Matsumoto. Always on that last one.

imageFEB141379 ARIOL SC VOL 04 BEAUTIFUL COW $12.99
I've become irrationally fond of this series of kids' books from Marc Boutavant and Emmanuel Guibert. I think the cartooning is fun and the depiction of its title-character's everyday life walks that tightrope between finding a tone that works and manufacturing one. The designs are super-fun, too. This would be the first thig I'd read were I to walk in from the comics shop today with one.

FEB140430 STAR SLAMMERS REMASTERED #2 $3.99
FEB140504 GENESIS GN $6.99
FEB140615 MINIMUM WAGE #4 (MR) $3.50
DEC130584 MORNING GLORIES #38 (MR) $3.50
FEB140634 STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #2 (MR) $3.50
FEB141084 ADVENTURE TIME #27 MAIN CVRS $3.99
FEB141359 AUTEUR #2 (MR) $3.99
FEB140198 BATMAN #30 (ZERO YEAR) $3.99
There's not a ton here that interests me personally in terms of serial, primarily-genre comic books, but a bunch that intrigues as an industry-watcher. The Nathan Edmondson/Allison Sampson book Genesis is probably the most talked-about of this group in the on-line circles I visit. It's joined by a pair of comics revived from the 1990s -- Minimum Wage and Stray Bullets as leading attractions from Image this week. The Star Slammers is just haven't seen yet, so I want to see it. The Adventure Time comics have been reliable crowd-pleasers to the extent you can describe any comic's readership as a crowd. I read the first Auteur and liked it enough I look forward to a second. This particular Batman storyline seems like it's been going on for several years, and I can't figure out it out from a writing standpoint. The art has been pretty consistently lovely, though. To be honest with you, I'd want to see a bunch of this stuff, might buy one or two, and would likely head to the back-issue bins.

NOV131120 KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #207 $5.99
207 issues! That's remarkable.

DEC130139 ITTY BITTY HELLBOY TP $9.99
Although they're not specifically for me, I tend to enjoy all the little-kid versions of major genre properties. This is a trade from the Art Baltazar/Franco team whose work makes up a big chunk of what's been effective and entertaining in this particular form of expression.

DEC130138 CRIME DOES NOT PAY ARCHIVES HC VOL 07 $49.99
Dark Horse does a number of attractive and seemingly lighter-than-air collections of Golden Age and early Silver Age comics work. This is the most important one, or at least that's my guess based on the comic's one-time dominant sales profile and how little of that work has been republished at all.

JAN140558 SEX CRIMINALS TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99
This is going to sell a billion copies and Chip Zdarsky is already insufferable. But yeah, this and Saga Vol. 1 are like steroided version for its audience of what that first Hate volume was for the alt-comics audience in the mid-1990s. Interest is still growing a bit, which is a wonderful time to have a trade out.

FEB141490 BOHEMIANS GN $16.95
I find these kinds of history anthology massive hit and miss almost as a rule, but this book assembled by Paul Buhle seems to me worth a look, anyway. I believe there's work from Spain Rodriguez in here, who's of course gone now.

FEB140884 OPERATION MARGARINE GN (MR) $12.95
I've had some e-mails this morning about the lack of comics-culture contributions to the new graphic novel category at the Eisners this year. Well, here's a stand-alone new work in that form from a traditional exhibits-at-shows publisher, AdHouse Books. I previewed this one before MoCCA, where it debuted and sold out of all advance copies.

FEB140870 CLIMATE CHANGED PERSONAL JOURNEY GN $24.95
FEB141615 JIM CURIOUS VOYAGE TO HEART OF SEA 3-D HC $19.95
There's always the voyage of discover strategy to buying books at the comics shop, which this week would mean -- for me -- taking a hard look at two books with which I'm barely familiar. I would likely favor the design-driven 3-D book over the polemic, but I'd want to look at both.

*****

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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Go, Look: Kryptonite Handbook

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Go, Look: Paul Gustavson's The Human Bomb

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Brittney Sabo for being named the best local cartoonist by City Pages during one of those "best of" periods all such publications pursue every now and then. That's a very cartoonist-rich scene.

image* Casey Nielsen on Creepy #16. Ng Suat Tong on Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. James Bacon on Charley's War. Richard Bruton on Rain On Glass. Larry Cruz on Stripped!. Paul Tumey on Superman: The Golden Age Sundays 1943-1946. Zainab Akhtar on Ariol.

* not comics: Nate Silver writes about the effect of Pulitzer Prize wins on circulation numbers.

* there's an update here from Heidi MacDonald about ongoing discussion concerning how people conduct themselves across the sexes within the comics industry and attendant, specifically how men may threaten women, particularly in the course of a wider discussion of gender and related issues in comics. It's impossible for those of directly involved to pay too much attention to this issue. The one thing that caught my attention in there is that MacDonald reports that the male colleagues to whom she's spoken are shocked by the fact that women are routinely threatened with rape on-line. I surely haven't talked to as many people on this issue, but those I have seem wholly familiar that this takes place. I'm not sure sure why anyone wouldn't know that at this point.

* good gravy this spread.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Dale Eaglesham. Michael Cavna talks to Kevin Siers. Brigid Alverson talks to Danica Novgorodoff. Zainab Akhtar talks to Lucie Ebrey. Graeme McMillan talks to Mimi Pond.

* the writer Marc Bernardin has some advice in advance of WonderCon, the old-school opening of the convention year.

* finally, this is a cute feature piece on titles for letters columns. I don't even know if people process these that didn't experience them as they were published the same way as those of us that were able to process them.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, David Aja!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Lauren Weinstein!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Kim DeMulder!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Steve Haynie!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Charles Hatfield!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Leonard Rifas!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Paul Rivoche!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 15, 2014


Your 2014 Eisner Award Nominations

Here. I'll come back at some point and list them here and do links, but until then you should just go read them on their site rather than a cut-and-paste here. I hate it when people do that.

Although: a super congratulations right now to my deserving, direct peers in a very tough "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism" category: Jonah, Gary, Kristy, Zainab, Matthew, Dan and Tim.
 
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Go, Look: Celine De Cadt

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Pultizer Prize Day Is The Best Newsroom Day

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One of the best days in journalism is the day when the Pulitzers go out. They're announced mid-day as a news story rather than at a ceremony, which allows journalists to react and celebrate while at work. I have to imagine that there's no one for whom this kind of win isn't a career highlight -- in newspaper parlance, it's the kind of information that might make the first sentences of your obit.

Basically, all I'm saying is that it's hard not to love this picture of editorial cartooning category winner Kevin Siers getting a hug from a co-worker. Come on. You can practically hear the warbled happy birthday song attempts embedded in the walls of that place.

Here's Siers' on-line "space" at the paper. Here is the citation that can drive you to the winning portfolio. Here is what I think is the initial Observer story that became a wire release. That last offering emphasizes the Observer's cartooning tradition -- Siers apparently replaced the much-admired Doug Marlette -- and which cartoons they thought were particuarly impactful.

They also mention that Siers is from Minnesota, which I always thought a really underrated aspect of a lot of editorial cartooning positions, that they were staffed by people that maybe lived, went to school or even worked in a different place other than the place from where the paper originates.
 
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Go, Look: A New Sam Alden Comic (Or At Least New To Me)

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By Request Extra: Retailer To Raise Money For Customer On FCBD

There's a nicely linked-up story over at Robot 6 about the Levittown retailer Wade Shaw putting together a series of efforts on behalf of a longtime customer whose baby girl has leukemia. You don't have to bite down very hard, or at all, on the idea of a place of business as a community hub of some sort to want to see that retailer and this customer do well. They are looking for auction donations, and I hope if you're in a position to do something along the lines of what they're looking for, you'll consider it.
 
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Go, Look: Closer Than We Think

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Go, Read: Shannon O'Leary's Retailer Survey Summary Article Over At PW: Saga, Pricing, Weather

There are a bunch of straight-talk gems to pull from Shannon O'Leary's summary report of a discussion with a handful of Direct Market retailers. As the article itself notes, this isn't a representative survey of that market but a temperature-taking of a group of that market's 100 highest quality retail establishments; I didn't see a store included I don't think of as a model store. While this might make it harder to use what is said as some kind of truth for that entire market, it does allow for some quality observations about the high-functioning part of the DM.

The three that jumped out at me were Saga, pricing and weather. Saga is confirmed by the people selling it as the genuine hit its numbers and buzz indicate, a status driven by enthusiasm for the material and a wider-than-usual audience base for a book people want to share. It's also something that affordable trades facilitate in terms of entry point and Image's reach right now puts in almost every shop. Tucker Stone makes this really interesting point that one way that publishers are keeping their margins with digital sales playing a bigger factor is just jacking up the price in a way that makes it harder for physical-location book retailers to sell at the purposefully inflated price. I hadn't considered that before. Finally, the retailers note that the crappy weather in the Midwest and Northeast makes a difference, and probably did so this year in terms of the slow first quarter. This is something we don't think about enough. Direct Market stores sometimes draw from a pretty wide area for their business. It's not that comics lacks a wide fanbase, but the kind of focused, relentless buying that keeps the DM going asks for a specific customer that might not be available in every neighborhood.

That some of the best and brightest in a retailing sphere can remaing bullish on comics despite a present that could feed any number of slow-death or apocalyptic scenarios is some of the best news for which comics can hope.
 
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I Always Like Looking At Syd Shores' Artwork

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Go, Look: Vince Colletta In The Style Of Wally Wood

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Go, Look: Paul Pope Black And White Image Gallery

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Go, Look: Tim Sievert

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this is more "off the beaten path" than publishing news, but I totally missed any word of this new Dane Martin book while it was in development. One thing that's interesting is that there's a black and white and a color version.

image* this site does a pretty terrible job covering Oni Press, so it should come as no surprise we also missed a report from its ECCC panel which included word of books of interest for the next 15 months or so, including Paul Tobin/Benjamin Dewey collaboration and the first place I've seen the names of Greg Rucka's new collaborators on the Stumptown comic as that one moves forward.

* walk don't run to access this preview of the forthcoming Fantagraphics set of all the Witzend materials. That title had fun covers. Lot of good art in that preview, lot of good art in that series.

* I don't follow the mainstream comics world closely enough to tell you why they need a new Teen Titans #1, but I'm always happy to see the writer Will Pfeiffer get work. That's a title where I suspect the constant tendency to relaunch and reboot has actually hurt those characters over time. Also, they're relaunching their Suicide Squad comic. I wasn't aware they cancelled the previous one. You know, I'm sure all of the creators on both of these titles will make the best comics they can, but the visual approach strikes me as existing in the same place as 98 percent of all the comics DC has done over the last 20 years. Ditto a secret agent riff on an existing character.

* one creator whose partnerships have been consistently, creatively successful for DC is the writer Grant Morrison, whose Multiversity starting in August with a variety of well-regarded artists should be a highlight of that publisher's year. Even seeing this material, though, it hits me that I'd love to see Morrison shift into other genres and approaches for a while.

* so I guess they're killing Archie.

* I'm not certain if Kevin Truman is a webcomic or a published book or what, but I'm interested.

* I hadn't known that Michael Jordan was going to be doing a book with Space Face. That should be good.

* I had no idea there was a second Best Of Enemies book. It's interesting how David B. is developing a relationship to the North American market similar to the one that Jacques Tardi had for so many years: this enormous regard from the professional and publishing community that is not yet matched by a wider audience for his work. I'm sure some might object strongly to that characterization.

* finally, Carolyn C. Nowak reveals a cover for a forthcoming collection including Lazy comics.

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

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I Always Enjoy Looking At HG Peters' Wonder Woman Art

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I guess people are into the implied pervy stuff, but I routinely fall in love with random panel
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is fascinating and more than slightly repulsive in parts. Two things that people do when there's dysfunction in the way they speak to one another is make frequent assumptions of bad faith and use their annoyance at believing they are the subject of such assumptions as justification to act out in deplorable ways. This includes people that might not act that way otherwise, people that need no excuse to act like shitheads whenever, and people that couldn't possibly lay claim to being any kind of even slightly aggrieved party but want to believe they are more than anything. At that point -- at that distressing, awful point -- motivation and context don't matter. No one should ever be threatened or bullied or harassed or hurt. Stop if it's you. Don't tolerate it if it's not you.

* through the previous item's link there's a survey about harassment in the comics industry you might want to take.

image* Rob Clough on Fata Morgana. John Seven on Safari Honeymoon.

* I enjoyed this article by Sean Michael Robinson on lessons learned from an unfinished graphic novel project.

* not comics: how some New York City bookstores are thriving.

* Darryl Cunningham's comic about the practice of fracking makes another appearance -- we've linked to it before. I always thought that on-line publication issue exploration would be a really good area for Cunningham.

* I enjoy looking at the occasional John Byrne commission where he mixes the two big corporate superhero universes. Also, I don't think I've ever seen the Sinister Six before. They should win every fight not against Batman.

* a teen summer comics class at SAW sounds like it would be a good thing. I can't even imagine what my life would be like if this particular outlet were there for me in those years with a number 1 in front of my age.

* Whitney Matheson talks to Mimi Pond.

* hey, here's some Dan Clowes original art scanned.

* hey, random comics photos are always fun to see.

* not comics: Abhay Khosla reviews the new Captain America movie. I do think it's interesting how those movies have been so frequent that they've created their own context.

* finally, Ivan Brunetti covers The New Yorker.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Patrick Larme!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Robert Luedke!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Sam Peeters!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 14, 2014


Kevin Siers Wins The Editorial Cartooning Pulitzer Prize

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Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer won this year's Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. Pat Bagley and David Horsey were finalists. Siers is syndicated by King Features, and as a student was the first winner of the John Locher Award, now nearly 30 years old. You can look at recent winners here, and Siers' winning submission through that first link. Congrats to all three.
 
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Go, Look: Giancarlo Volpe Comic About Animation Focus Groups

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via several e-mails
 
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Ulli Lust And Gene Luen Yang Take Home LA Book Prizes

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This year's winners of The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced on Friday. This year's included a comics/graphic novel category winner, Ullis Lust for Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life, and a comics winner in the young adult literature category, Gene Yang for Boxers And Saints.

The graphic novel/comics category, with Lust and her winning book in bold:

* David B., for Incidents in the Night: Volume 1 (Uncivilized Books)
* Ben Katchor, for Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories (Pantheon)
* Ulli Lust, for Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics)
* Anders Nilsen, for The End (Fantagraphics)
* Joe Sacco, for The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme (WW Norton and Company)

The young adult literature category, with Yang and his winning book in bold:

* Elizabeth Knox, for Mortal Fire (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
* Rainbow Rowell, for Fangirl (St. Martin's Griffin)
* Joyce Sidman, for What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
* Jonathan Stroud, for Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase (Disney-Hyperion)
* Gene Luen Yang, for Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)

Congratulations to both and to the publishers involved.

The prizes kick off the Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books, and you'll find coverage of comics-related programming from that event mainstreamed into regular site coverage. Sounds like a good time.
 
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Go, Look: Heads Or Tails

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Itella Corp: Tom Of Finland Art To Appear On Stamp Sheet

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The business that facilitates postal solutions for the nation of Finland has announced via press release that the next round of stamp releases will include a Tom Of Finland sheet featuring two images and what looks like three first-class stamps. The site hails the late Touko Laaksonen thusly:
"The autumn's stamp series begins September 8 with Tom of Finland, who is considered one of the most well-known Finnish artists around the world. His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures."
Helping Itella select the images was the artist and designer Timo Berry. There will also apparently be an exhibition at the postal museum this Fall featuring the artist's voluminous written correspondence.

You know, I think this is real. News agencies have picked it up. It doesn't fall under the rubric of anything the Internet tells me is Finland's take on April's Fool, for instance. As unfathomable as the above might be here, one has to imagine not every nation manifests that same set of prejudices in the same way. I like that art, always have, and I love the third stamp on the sheet. Also, I don't know a ton of particulars about Tom Of Finland, but I think the dark-haired gentleman might even be his famous character Kake.

In completely unrelated news, I wasn't aware there was a Tom Of Finland foundation.
 
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Go, Look: Dog And Robot

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Go, Read: Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award Winner Profiled

There's a nice local feature article here about the library that won one of two grants given out by the foundation bearing the Eisner family name. I liked hearing a rough breakdown of how the money will be spent, with a particular focus on bolstering a collection specifically designed to help medical patients during recovery. The award is broken down a bit and described here. Part of that donation is a collection of Eisner's work and the nominated works from this year's Eisner Awards.
 
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Go, Look: Chains

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Young Avengers Wins Glaad Media Award In Comic Books

imageThe Marvel Comics title Young Avengers won the comic book category in the Glaad Media Awards, given out Saturday. It is their 25th year, during several of which they have included an award for comics. The award is to honor portrayals of members of LGBT communities across media. The other nominees were Husbands, Life With Archie, Fearless Defenders and previous winner Batwoman. Young Avengers won the award previously in a different iteration for the title (this current series started last year and just ended with a 15th issue). The title in some form has been a frequent nominee.

The title's creators include Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton and Matthew Wilson, although by some quirk of the awards only writer Gillen was credited in PR. Congratulations to that entire team.
 
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Go, Look: Nobody Loves A Fat Man

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Go, Look: John Byrne Black And White Image Gallery

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Go, Look: Kieron Gillen Recommends UK Comics

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* a nice reward for the Study Group folks on completion of their Linework NW show would be for the final grand of their kickstarter to arrive in pledge form.

image* the Doug Wright Awards crowd-funder is moving right along now. This one depends on some one-person-only incentives, so you might want to pay attention to it earlier in its cycle as opposed to during the last few days. I wonder sometimes if there isn't a bit of a bias against established entities seeking this kind of funding, but one would think a displayed history of doing good work would actually be an advantage -- you know the money will be used well because you see how they've spent it in the past.

* this isn't comics, but Tom Toles is one of the top five working editorial cartoonists so anything he wants to do is of interest to me.

* here's one I haven't mentioned but certainly didn't need my help to achieve its initial crowd-funding goals: The Rattler.

* this was a nice thing Mark Millar and Gorlan Parlov did.

* the nice creator behind Just Another Sheep contacted this site in hope that we might write a sentence or two about the corresponding crowd-funder. Robert Solanovic of Unfinished City wrote a similarly nice e-mail. I think I stumbled across this one called House Party by a Rachael Smith a bit more organically, but it's still a cartoonist with whom I'm unfamiliar.

* a tweet by the writer Mark Waid drove my attention to Noir City #2.

* when I'm writing this, Schmuck is $590 away; when you're reading this, who knows?

* Hobo Fires made its goal, and I'm grateful because I didn't see the press release until like 10 minutes before this post. One press release I noticed but only very late in the process is this one form SpicyToilet.

* finally, this David Mack crowd-funder has already blown past it initial goal but it's the kind of thing that people are either going to want to get on or not.
 
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OTBP: World Comics Bundle 1

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Go, Look: Don Newton Detective Comics Splash Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this article isn't very long and has a lot of summary/cursory aspects, but anytime comics can be used to engage taboo subject matter with a societal benefit, I'm fond of that comic.

image* Max Delgado talks to Gene Luen Yang. Ruth Brown profiles Ron Randall; that's as nice of that kind of photo as you're likely to see this year. With NM Guiniling's help, Hugh Goldring profiles Alootook Ipellie.

* fcuk no.

* I think a company like Marvel is incapable of the kind of cultural memory that would have it regret certain comics, and even if it did they would likely only regret the ones that sold poorly or otherwise screwed with a potentially powerful license. That said, it's always fun to revisit some terrible comics and other comics you might not think of as terrible but someone else does.

* not comics: I liked the Julia Wertz photos that accompany this article, although for some reason they mention her age multiple times.

* I somehow missed this post from David Chelsea where he writes about making cartoon art on bowling balls. He even wrote me and everything. Sorry, David.

* if there are any places left in this Steve Bissette class by the time this post rolls out onto the site, and you're free, I'd jump on it. Bissette is apparently a very good teacher, and this sounds right up his alley and fun besides.

* even with all of these bullet points I'm skeptical of feature content that's dominated by list structure. At the same, I'm sort of fascinated how articles like this one by Kevin Tang riffing on Mimi Pond's Over Easy have become the Internet equivalent of the kind of feature article that grew very difficult to place in the last several years where print dominated. About the only place you saw it with any regularity is in guest editorials, and you see some of that straight-up on sites, too, particularly Huffington Post.

* saw a couple of people drive attention to these Ross Campbell drawings of characters from the Jem series, now that that series is going to be mined for some sort of movie version. That was way after my time. It's nearly as odd to encounter nostalgia-driven mining of properties you remember as being of no interest at all as it is to watch them mess with figures from your actual childhood.

* it kills me when people still do stuff like this, there's something very 1967 about that, and I love it.

* I believe the link -- now lost -- that led me to this John Byrne picture of The Punisher said it was a rare drawing of that character by Byrne. It was certainly early enough on in that character's development that he hadn't really settled into a rigid model yet. He looks like some kind of odd 1960s soap opera actor as depicted in this particularly drawing.

* happy 75th anniversary to the Bat-Man. Judging from how things stand in Gotham City, I can only conclude you are very terrible at your job.

* finally, our friends in Canada get right to the heart of things.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Katsuhiro Otomo!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Dave Gibbons!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, David Reddick!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Chuck Dixon!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Gerhard!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 13, 2014


Ten Quality Comics Works Available On AbeBooks For Less Than $10, At Least At 5:00 AM This Morning

People tell me that comics cost a lot. In terms of many ways we may look at them, they certainly do. While a lot of what we love about comics costs a significant amount, there are several comics and books out there full of beautiful cartooning that don't cost very much at all. Many of them are out-of-print or perhaps even slightly out-of-favor books available through the used book site Abebook.com. Here are ten that I like, all at a base price of less than $10. You may also feel free to leave money out of the equation entirely and just see the following as potential new works to discover. I've enjoyed them all.

*****

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1. Dirty Boulevard, Tony Fitzpatrick
I have had a hard time selling people on painter, printmaker, actor and poet Tony Fitzpatrick's verbally/visually blended series of images structured around a theme as comics, but I honestly read them that way. Fitzpatrick's work is compelling enough for its craft qualities that if it's a car parked right outside the main house it's as worth walking out to see as one safely ensconced in the underground garage.

*****

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2. Fires, Lorenzo Mattotti
I am practically alone among my friends in that I prefer Murmur to Fires of Mattotti's two, prominent Penguin books of the early 1990s, but for the sake of this exercise there's no contest because Murmur is very expensive now while Fires is not. Mattotti's like a great singer in that what he does no one else quite does but as you're reading something he made, the painter's choices seem like such good ideas you wonder why there aren't 75 people doing work in a similar vein.

*****

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3. Heartbreak Comics, David Boswell
This was later reprinted by Boswell himself in a stand-alone and by IDW as part of their mission to get all of Boswell back out and under a book cover. I still own my original, from Eclipse, bought the day it came out. It's a really good comic, evocatively drawn and featuring a world so fully realized it's a place I can remember visiting 25 years later.

*****

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4. I Can't Tell You Anything, Michael Dougan
When the early success of the collected Maus alerted the New York book publishing world to the possibility that there may be comics work out there ready to be presented in bookstores nationwide, not enough cartoonists answered the call by providing accessible, sophisticated, literary work. Both of Michael Dougan's books from this period fit this bill. This is the one -- the other is called East Texas -- that doesn't cost over $10 in the entries I've found.

*****

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5. It's Better With Your Shoes Off, Anne Cleveland
Seth rediscovered Anne Cleveland for a lot of us by engaging her work in his Forty Cartoon Books Of Interest. An expressive cartoonist with a lively variance in her line and a fun way of showing figures throwing their energy this way and that, the Vassar graduate's most-read work was this one, from a period of time after World War 2 when North Americans became fascinated with the culture of a bowed but unbroken Japan. I prefer this landscaped edition, which comes right in at $10.

*****

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6. Rudy In Hollywood, William Overgard
There's very limited space for a strip that can boast a book collection but fails to work out after its first couple of years, but it happens. It happened to Rudy, veteran comics-maker William Overgard's feature about a talking monkey enmeshed in show business. This was my favorite strip my dad ever brought home as a proposed comic for his paper's funny pages, even more so than Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side. Rudy is not as good as either of those works, but it would have been a wonderful thing if that mini-explosion of the 1980s had opened up a crack more for this and a few other other worthy, oddball features.

*****

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7. Sick, Sick, Sick, Jules Feiffer
This material was reprinted in The Explainers and in the third volume of Fantagraphics' earlier album-sized collections of Feiffer's work. I think because of how successful the book was in its initial two years out of the gate -- multiple editions, and a UK version featuring an introduction by Kenneth Tynan -- you can find first edition or near-first edition copies with ease. I think this is one of the perfectly-realized works of comics in that form: the one with the maroon cover and the cartoon of the man looking over his shoulder. And the comics are excellent: well-observed, in an authoritative adult voice, funny, trenchant and gracefully drawn. Every library should have one.

*****

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8. Sizzling Platter, Peter Arno
I wanted to go Charles Addams here, but I couldn't find anything other than later collections at the price point this article suggested. Arno is rougher for a lot of people, because a bunch of the cartoons are basically dirty-old-man jokes of the kind that you saw a lot of in the first half of the century. That works in comics -- the jokes are based on the shallow absurdity of many May-December relationships and being able to see that underlines the point -- but it can be pretty discouraging for some readers experienced over and over again in a book format. Arno drew wonderfully in the manner of a man that made up a dance step no one else cared to match, and he was a master of using an image and a caption together to reveal a third meaning that neither had separately.

*****

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9. Two Guys Fooling Around With The Moon, B. Kliban
All of B. Kliban's landscape books are wonderful, and were hugely influential in terms of form and content. This is the one that shows up most frequently at the acceptable price point, but they're all good. It's a shame we don't have that giant, single collection yet.

*****

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10. The Inspector, Saul Steinberg
This is the only Steinberg work that isn't a magazine with Steinberg cartoons in it that I saw for less than $10. I believe this may be the only of his great coffee-table books with an affordable paperback edition. Steinberg is more cartoonist than comics-maker, and more visual artist than cartoonist, but whatever name you want to put to what he did it is nearly impossible to deny its humor and inventiveness. If you can't find some formal notion expressed in a Saul Steinberg book that is of at least some interest to whatever art you're making, you're probably not trying hard enough.

*****

Two books I like that are available for less than $15 are Barkis, by Crockett Johnson, and Hirschfeld's Harlem, by Al Hirschfeld. One of the better-known novelty books, VW: Think Small is available for just over $10, too. That one is a bunch of cartoonists doing cartoon about the VW Beetle. You can buy the Oliver Harrington collection of essays Why I Left America for very cheap; his art book Dark Laughter falls just outside that $10 figure. So does another favorite of mine, Rowland Emett's The Early Morning Milk-Train.

Now, I suppose a weakness of this article conceptually is that people might buy the linked-to books making the indivually links inert. I hope they do. I hope anyone that encounters a dead link will search the book's title and author and get the next best offer.

My wider point is that there are great comics available in a lot of ways, and that you don't have to be locked into one set of consumer's routines in order to be a great fan and enjoyer of this medium.

*****
*****
 
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Check Out The ACDComic Essentials List For 2013

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I like lists like this one for the broad snapshot they provide but also for reminders of material we maybe haven't seen in English yet.
 
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OTBP: We Are Waiting In A Forest

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OTBP: Maple Key Comics #1

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OTBP: Children These Days

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

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If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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Happy 58th Birthday, François Schuiten!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Herr Seele!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Dennis Janke!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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FFF Results Post #375 -- Athletes

One Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Non-Superpowered Athletes, Fictional Or Real, From Comics. This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan: Bull On Parade)
2. Kelly Robinson (I Spy)
3. Jack Johnson (The Real Johnson)
4. Noah Strauss (The Golem's Mighty Swing)
5. Jules Folquet (American Flagg!)

*****

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Jason Michelitch

1. Coach Mitaka (Maison Ikkoku)
2. Battlin’ Matt Murdock (Daredevil)
3. Wee Eddie Campbell, football player (After the Snooter)
4. Charlie Brown, Team Manager (Peanuts)
5. Moose (Archie Comics)

*****

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Mike Baehr

1. Peppermint Patty (Peanuts)
2. Rena Titanon (Love and Rockets)
3. B.D. (Doonesbury)
4. Sergio Jiménez Reyna (Love and Rockets)
5. Muhammad Ali (Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali)

*****

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Marty Yohn

1. Roberto Clemente (21: The Story of Roberto Clemente)
2. Muhammad Ali (Superman vs. Muhammad Ali)
3. Molly Post (Batman 244 - The Demon Lives Again!)
4. Big Moose (Archie comics)
5. Tank McNamara (Tank McNamara)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Gluteus Maximus (Asterix at the Olympic Games)
2. Sam Thorne (Fantastic Four)
3. Zenzen Tange (Triton of the Sea)
4. Joe Shlabotnik (Peanuts)
5. Herbert "Herbie" Satten (Haunt of Fear)

*****

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Mike Palumbo

1) Jerry Deegan (Haunt of Fear #19)
2) Antonino Rocca (Superman #155)
3) Muhammad Ali (Superman vs Muhammad Ali)
4) Ozzie Smith (Ozzie Smith in The Kid Who Could)
5) William "Refrigerator" Perry (Iron Man #222)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Sportsmaster (Crusher Crock, Golden Age Green Lantern villain)
2. Boomerang (Fred Myers, Hulk and Spider-Man villain)
3. Gil Thorp
4. B.D. (Doonesbury)
5. Arrowette (Young Justice)

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Casey (Mad #2: HEX!)
* Alex Wickham (Treasure Chest V13 #13)
* Abraham Lincoln (Classics Illustrated #142)
* Larry Doby (Fawcett 1950)
* Eddie Stanky (Fawcett 1951)

*****

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John Vest

1. Battlin' Murdoch (Daredevil)
2. Angel Rivera (Love & Rockets)
3. Herbie Satten (The Haunt Of Fear)
4. Jeff Eller (Death Rattle)
5. Joe Shlabotnik (Peanuts)

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. Ball Boy (The Beano)
2. Hot-Shot Hamish (Scorcher & Tiger)
3. Roy Race (Roy of the Rovers)
4. Alf Tupper (The Rover & The Victor)
5. Billy Whizz (The Beano)

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. El Diablo Blanco (Love & Rockets)
2. Sergio (Love & Rockets)
3. Joe Shlabotnik (Peanuts)
4. Herbie Satten ("Foul Play", The Haunt of Fear)
5. Fred Hammer (Cerebus)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Muhammed Ali (Superman vs Muhammed Ali)
2. Earthquake McGoon (Li'l Abner)
3. Charlie Brown (Peanuts)
4. Joe Palooka (Joe Palooka)
5. Rena Titanon (Love & Rickets)

*****

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Mark Mayerson

* Wyatt Wingfoot (Fantastic Four)
* Mile-a-Minute Jones (The Losers)
* Sonny Sumo (The Forever People)
* Flash Thompson (Spider-man)
* Rube Rooky (Baseball Comics)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Michael Rush (Andrax)
2. Michel Vaillant (Michel Vaillant)
3. Muhammad Ali (Superman vs. Muhammad Ali)
4. Lou and Vince LeBoeuf (Essex County; Ghost Stories)
5. Kai Falke (Kai Falke)

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Flash Gordon (Flash Gordon)
2. Steve Lombard (Superman)
3. Peppermint Patty (Peanuts)
4. Flash Thompson (The Amazing Spider-Man)
5. Muhammed Ali (Superman vs. Muhammed Ali)

*****

idea by Mike Baehr; thanks, Mike

*****
*****
 
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April 12, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Moomins On The Riviera Sneak Peek


Video Trailer For A Project Called NAJA


This Moment In Last Gasp History 01


KAL On Campus


Alan Moore Talks About Robert Anton Wilson


Sam Gross Profiled
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from April 5 to April 11, 2014:

1. Amazon.com and comiXology announced the acquisition of the latter by the former.

2. In the midst of convention season, the rapidity with which Comic-Con International hotels were divvied up underlines their continuing appeal.

3. Oni Press breaks with their longtime packing and office supply company over their CEO's support of political action groups targeting marriage rights.

Winner Of The Week
I'd like to say Ulli Lust or Gene Luen Yang, but I'm guessing those invested in comiXology at a level they'll be rewarded financially by this Amazon.com purchase did very well.

Loser Of The Week
Lots of prominent pros and comics industry people in the Comic-con hotel lottery, which should drive attention to the continuing struggle to negotiate the intense demand for attendance at that show.

Quote Of The Week
"We can keep our company culture." -- David Steinberger

*****

image from a Marvel comic book, 1964

*****
 
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Go, Read: Jacob Covey Interview On Popeye Book Design

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

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If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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If I Were Near Pasig City, 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 Seattle, I'd Go To This

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

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this is for the after party; they just didn't do a new graphic
 
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If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This

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Happy 31st Birthday, Tim Sievert!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Tanino Liberatore!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Troy Nixey!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Gary Martin!

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Happy 41st Birthday, J. Scott Campbell!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 11, 2014


Fred Kida, RIP

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A Few, Brief, Early-Morning Notes on Amazon Acquiring ComiXology

* I think the main question people had about Amazon.com acquiring comiXology after they stopped making the Little Rascals Wow That's Something Face was a broad one: how much of the acquisition is about Amazon securing technnology, infrastructure and expertise in getting their company to a place they want to get it to, and how much of it was more of a partnership situation where comiXology would retain its culture and corporate identity yet work with Amazon on leveraging things each company does well after a time the digital comics distributor experienced a staggering, bone-stretching level of growth. It looks like more the latter, as presented in articles like Calvin Reid's at PW.

* that said, I still believe that the bulk of the story here will develop from how this partnership is executed, what policies are put into place and how they effect the various relationships comiXology has with its vendors and customers. I'm sure that there will be a positive few words said about comiXology's Submit, for example, and you can build a speculative case from different as to whether it benefits (synergistic programs of a similar nature at Amazon) or is potentially hurt (a fear that the bigger vendors will have more sway). What matters is how policy is enacted, not our ability to project what that set of policies might be.

* ditto in the same sense is how this might have an effect on retailers. Direct market retail has done astoundingly well in the face of digital pubilshing and on-line distribution/sales. Still, you're likely to see people make threshold arguments in terms of there being a point at which the ubiquity of digital access, or Amazon's desire to provide service linked into digital efforts, will start to take its toll. I'm suspicious of strong predictions here beyond that it should be compelling to watch what happens.

* reading around a bunch of odd places last night I saw very little talk about Amazon owning a comics line being a worrisome factor for publishers involved. In general the publishers I talked to are generally blasé and/or generically positive; at least for public consumption.

* when I mentioned yesterday that no specific-to-comics objection to Amazon popped into my head as a clear rallying point for pushback on this story, I didn't mean to suggest that more general fears about Amazon becoming such a strong figure in publishing overall are somehow not important. That is a company without a good reputation from many independent booksellers and indy/alt prose publishers -- and the comics equivalent of those folks make a lot of the comics I think most worth reading. Some of the more eloquent writing I got in my inbox and saw in places here and there were worries about that company's dominant influence. There are companies with different ways of getting digital material to market, and I think people are grateful not to have the issue of how one gets comics totally settled.

* I suggested yesterday and still believe today that a partnership with Amazon.com might place working with comiXology in a different light than working with comiXology in its non-affiliated days. There's no novelty factor involved in an Amazon purchase at this point, and I think this may cause some consumers to kind of suss out what they want out of a commercial relationship of this type. This is certainly true of a couple of friends to whom I spoke, that want to know more about those kinds of purchases now that Amazon.com is involved.

* the PW article linked to above mentions they're hiring someone, or have already. That seems like a company with whom a lot of people would like to work.

* I ran a Collective Memory down the page a bit and will continue to play catch on some of the issues involved until I begin to form more rigorous opinions of my own.
 
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Go, Look: The Delicious Madness Of Superworld Comics

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Oh Yeah, That Other Story Yesterday: The One With The Hotels

News that Amazon.com was in the process of acquiring digital comics heavyweight comiXology kind of blew everything off the top of most comics sites yesterday afternoon. It was a pretty slow day save for word going back to creators and other potential attendees from Comic-Con International as to whether or not efforts on Tuesday to secure a room through the convention's ostensibly discounted hotel offerings worked out or not. There were prominent creators on both sides of that news. They, like any number of attendees, will now be working to find accomodations through alternate means and working various connections. Like a lot of things related to the San Diego convention, this was fairly easy even a half-decade ago as rooms pretty routinely came open, particuarly if you were willing to shift hotels mid-weekend. Now, I have no idea, but I imagine it's much tougher.

San Diego is always going to present a rooms-to-demand problem for as long as fever for the show continues to build, particularly from non-comics quadrants -- people there to see TV show panels or buy gaming stuff or pick up on the general vibe take up as much hotel space as a guy there to drop $700 on what Peter Maresca is offering. I'm also not sure what the convention can do about it except kind of ride it out, and let some of these factors perhaps drive future decision-making. Things like this really do change the nature of the show for comics people -- and not just in that blustery way where some guy gets mad on a hotel balcony at 2 AM and grouses about how the show isn't the same as it was during whatever perceived golden age they prefer. The expense of going and the difficulty in securing a room, these are starting to become structural impediments for some folks, where you can't really outfox or outwork the situation in front of you. Another solution frequently offered up, to refocus some of those efforts ambitions on a show closer to home or a smaller show of the same type like this month's WonderCon from the very same people, it seems to me that this is something that comics people already do for the most part. San Diego is a very successful show, and this comes out of that success, but I do have a lot of sympathy for those that are frustrated.

As noted by those focused on the show, the hotel part of the Comic-Con site will re-open on April 23, but with what -- more rooms, a different set of rooms, news of a secondary lottery -- has yet to be established. There may also be an opportunity to secure cancelled rooms at some point, although restrictions designed to keep people from abusing that system (I used to put in for like 20 rooms) limit the number of returns. I imagine some folks will explore regional commuting options, some will explore local rentals and others will network like mad. Good luck to you all.
 
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OTBP: The Mysterious Case #1

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A Few, Assorted Stories Worth Noting Heading Into The Weekend

* individual cartoonists are starting to talk about their wins in the newly-added comics portion of the Society Of Illustrators exhibition awards, so I would expect those to be formally announced soon. Cartoonists had won in that competition previously, but not in a formal category for comics-making.

* gaming writer and very occasional writer about comics Gus Mastrapa is ending his most recent column, "Pretension +1." It was one of the few gaming-culture columns I read for the sake of doing this site. The host publication for Mastrapa's column recently tried to crowd-fund its way into a different format, although it looks like that may not come off.

* I can't tell exactly when this Bruce Timm-produced Batman cartoon short appeared on-line, but I enjoyed watching it. I don't necessarily believe that it's good strategy for these publishers to constantly promote comics anniversaries, as it's a reminder how old some of these characters are and might even throw the spotlight on the less talk-show anecdote friendly elements of their creation. Still, I thought it would have been nice if the Marvel 50th anniversaries had been a bigger deal these last few years so I'm happy to see DC and its corporate ownership pay attention to Batman a bit.

* I don't know if there are any seats left in this seminar being taught by Steve Bissette at the Billy Ireland, but it sounds fun.

* there will be a memorial for Bhob Stewart in New York on Sunday, May 4, from 2-6 PM in room 523 at Columbia University's Butler Library. I can put someone in contact with a person if they want more information. It looks like they're rounding into finding a home for Stewart's papers and related items. It looks like there may be an attempt to put together a CCI panel about Stewart, too.

* finally, the nice folks at ComicsAlliance throw the spotlight on an effort to raise money for and drive attention to the writer Bill Mantlo by retelling panel to panel and page to page a comic book he wrote, ROM #1.
 
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Go, Look: Mile End

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Festivals Extra: Jesse Jacobs Covers The Ting Comic And Graphic Arts Festival, Which Begins April 22

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Good-looking poster. That should be an interesting show, and suggests -- to me, at least -- that Canada could certain facilitate a few more smaller, focused than it currently boasts.
 
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Collective Memory: MoCCA Festival 2014

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Gahan Wilson Gallery

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* before they decided to dominate the news cycle with word of their acquisition by Amazon, comiXology announced the digital debut of Hate and Meat Cake. I like both of those comics, and think Hate is one of the all-time greats. I hope that this gives people easy access to Peter Bagge's series as we start to pay attention to it with the 25th anniversary rounding into view.

* Alan Gardner has a write-up here on the King Features' Comics Kingdom service and a bundle of improvements they've put into place.

* Johanna Draper Carlson notes that Oni Press is using an on-line serialization model to offer chunks of its June book Archer Coe And The Thousand Natural Shocks in advance. A lot of people thought this would become a dominant model fairly quickly when the on-line distributors kind of settled into whatever that market would look like moving forward -- the fairly quickly is out the window, but it's still easy to see the model catching on.

* finally, Ron Marz and Rick Leonardi will do a webcomic using the Korak character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's Tarzan's kid. There are free samples up for now, but the model is actually pay-for-access, which I think is an interesting and probably wholly apt model to try with this particular set of projects.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Lee Elias Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is an excellent article and if you can only read one comics-related thing today make it that one.

image* Todd Klein on Green Lanterns: New Guardians #28. Doug Zawisza on Invincible #110. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Batman Eternal #1 and Lumberjanes #1. Brandon Soderberg on Sleazy Slice #7. Whit Taylor on Life Zone. Brian Nicholson on Multiple Warheads. Robert Kirby on Pregnant Butch. Alec Berry on The Yearling #1. Dominic Umile on Veil and Genesis.

* Brian Cremins always writes very well on Walt Kelly, and this piece is no exception.

* WonderCon has their quick guide available here.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Katie Skelly. Alex Dueben talks to Jesse Lonergan. Hannah Chapman talks to Kristyna Baczynski. Rob Clough profiles Jeremy Baum.

* there is nothing I love as much as comics-related postcards, which I actually use as postcards.

* on the subject of covers that feature a lot of characters.

* finally, the aforementioned Katie Skelly draws the Jack Kirby Kamandi map.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Matt Kindt!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Scott O. Brown!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Michael Rhode!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 10, 2014


Is Everyone Following This Latest Serial By Richard Sala?

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it's really astounding-looking

 
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I Just Got An E-Mail That Says Amazon.com Will Acquire ComiXology, As Rumored And Sort Of Expected

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I hope I'm not being pranked. [Update: I'm not; Chip Mosher called and confirmed.] Here it is:
Hi Tom,

Today, Amazon.com announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

The full release is below, and can also be viewed here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1917741&highlight

Thanks,

Sarah

Amazon.com to Acquire comiXology

SEATTLE -- April 10, 2014 -- (NASDAQ: AMZN) -- Amazon.com today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

"ComiXology's mission is to spread the love of comics and graphic novels in all forms," said David Steinberger, co-founder and CEO of comiXology. "There is no better home for comiXology than Amazon to see this vision through. Working together, we look to accelerate a new age for comic books and graphic novels."

"Amazon and comiXology share a passion for reinventing reading in a digital world," said David Naggar, Amazon Vice President, Content Acquisition and Independent Publishing. "We've long admired the passion comiXology brings to changing the way we buy and read comics and graphic novels. We look forward to investing in the business, growing the team, and together, bringing comics and graphic novels to even more readers."

Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology's headquarters will remain in New York.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

About comiXology

ComiXology has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform that makes discovering, buying, and reading comics more fun than ever before. ComiXology's Guided View™ reading technology transforms the comic book medium into an immersive and cinematic experience, helping comiXology become a top ten grossing iPad app in 2011 and 2012 and the top grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. Offering the broadest library of comic book content from over 75 publishers -- and independent creators as well -- comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has become a comic book fan. ComiXology is based in New York City, with offices in Los Angeles and Paris.

About Amazon.com

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Kindle Paperwhite is the world's best-selling and most advanced e-reader. It features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, features improved fonts and faster page turns. The new Kindle Fire HDX features a stunning exclusive 7" or 8.9" HDX display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 2x more memory, and 11 hours of battery life, as well as exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button. The all-new Kindle Fire HD includes an HD display, high-performance processor and dual speakers at a breakthrough price.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, www.amazon.cn, www.amazon.it, www.amazon.es, www.amazon.com.br, www.amazon.in, www.amazon.com.mx, and www.amazon.com.au. As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Let's assume this is true because I'm in a coffee shop far from home.

This has been rumored for a while, or something similar, based on a bunch of things ranging from it simply made sense, to a sense of the company and its major players that people in the industry might mention to one another, to how they staffed. Those rumors got to the point where the people that run rumors as news discussed it openly. This combined with concurrent rumors, the recognition level of the Amazon brand and the whole "it makes sense" thing to foster even more speculation, which is something I cover here when it happens. So while this is a wow moment just because of the gravity of the companies involved in terms of their relationship to comics, I doubt many are stunned.

It makes sense to me. I don't think I know of any publisher or comics fan with a significant, specific-to-comics complaint about Amazon.com that this move will set off a firestorm of negative reactions based on or two specific, hard-truth facts. At least nothing comes to mind. I'm sure some people will grouse about the monopoly aspects, or consider Amazon.com a bad/suspicious partner for comics in the long term, or consider Amazon.com a bad partner for independent or alternative presses generally (the comiXology submit program will be worried after a ton in the next few days), or be concerned about any sort of potential change in the fee structure that might mean a potential decrease in money going from the consumer to the maker. We'll see what sorts itself to the surface as people react.

I suppose you could point towards previous purchases, but I think there may be a diference in that Amazon has as far as I can tell not been interested in working with serial comics before -- I know a lot of folks including myself tried to get them interested when they were a baby company -- as opposed to purchases that lined up with infrastructure needs they had for something they wanted to do, like stream film. That makes me think that comiXology has made digital comics attractive to Amazon; they are buying that company, not that company as their way to get at digital comics. I'm reminded they also own some other companies that seem more intact. The fact that comiXology is keeping their NYC offices would seem to bode well in terms of projecting that the site will be kept together as a site.

Until the companies announce changes, if they do, a lot of this stuff is 2 AM dormitory hallway talk. For instance, the first thing I thought of was if too much emphasis might be placed on the guided view of doing things as the heart of the acquisition, so you might see some of the other aspects of what people like about comiXology subsumed into Amazon. The second thing I wondered is that this may cause people to really think how they're buying stuff digitally, and maybe even open up more publishers doing more with direct sales. Then I just wondered in general how the 'ownership" of the comics we bought access to will work. But you know, I might as well take a drag on a joint after offering up stuff like that. I really don't know yet. It's all guesses. Which is a lot like the quizzes I took after one too many 2 AM dormitory hallway conversations.

I think that's a good service; it's one I use. Everyone I've worked with there has been nice, and I hope they're all rewarded. Congratulations to them.

Update: David Steinberger's message here seems to indicate the company will operate as a subsidiary rather than have its infrastructure subsumed. This would lend credence to a conception that the digital comics distributor's massive growth and rapidly escalating infrastructure would make an Amazon deal potentially attractive just for the development resources they would make available to comiXology.
 
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Go, Look: Kara Sievewright

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CCI Hotel Lottery Starting To Send Word Back To Applicants, Many Early-In Application "Nos" Included

Twitter is starting to rumble a bit with people worried about or disappointed in the hotel lottery provided by Comic-Con International and their longtime booking partner Travel Planners. This is a pretty standard hashtag for following a bunch of discussion. What's interesting is that unlike past years where a lot of the stress came from people dealing with a system that wasn't working in front of them as they applied, what we're seeing this time out is that there are people that got their applications in quickly -- some even two, three minutes in -- and are getting back e-mail that say they did not get a room.

The only possible explanations for this I can figure out from my remote perch are 1) there are indeed just as many rooms as usual and it's just harder to get a room now as more people become aware of this option; 2) there were fewer rooms available, particularly downtown, for whatever reason; 3) comics industry people or perhaps people in general tended to pick downtown or close-to hotels perhaps in fear of being put elsewhere if they gave Travel Planners that option, which cut them out of the lottery at a greater rate than other folks and might even lead to a second lottery or re-listing of further-away hotels. It could also be a combination of the three. Hell, it could be something I hadn't thought of. It could just be.

I'm sorry for the stress and heartache this causes. A lot of people want to go to this show.

I know the idea has been floated to somehow direct more tickets or hotel rooms to comics fans specifically, but I'm skeptical in that such a move would be administratively complex and people would quickly abuse the crap out of that system, too -- I know this because people have always abused comic-con when they've been able to. I've walked people in with my fair share of badges out of Rory Root's pocket of badges, so I have no room to talk. I suspect there will also be a push for a protected-pro hotel lottery, which I imagine would also be abused and might be counter-productive in that there's a point at which any convention might even prefer to serve a mix of attendees and pros rather than just pros, without ever being able to say so. I just hope that we kind of eschew the usual comics thing of not seeing a problem if it doesn't have an effect on us personally as we try to figure out if there's anything that can be done. Then again, maybe that's been taken care of by so many folks missing out.

If this kind of bursting-at-the-seams element continues and even grows, you might seem major choices on the table, too, with a seriousness that goes beyond the usual "comics fans in a chatroom backseat running the show" variety.

I don't know what this message means, either, if anything.
 
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Go, Look: David Biskup

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CBLDF Notes The Quiet Removal Of A Carlos Latuff Cartoon

There's a bunch of stuff interesting about this article at the CBLDF site on Facebook removing an article featuring a Carlos Latuff cartoon. It's worth noting just on the face of it, for the surface facts: a social networking site that people count on to disseminate information censored an article according to an image, and that's worrisome. But you also get into the fact that this particular Latuff cartoon has a clear non-endorsement context for its potentially upsetting symbolism, worth noting because Latuff can be extremely strident and punishing in other cartoons in a way that's much more alarming than what we get here. I'm also intrigued by the fact that the process to have something restored has enough of a delaying mechanism built in -- they're actually asking you to "upvote" their complaint -- that it becomes properly censorious no matter the final adjudication.
 
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Go, Look: Riot #5

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By Request Extra: Doug Wright Awards Crowd-Funder Going

A kickstarter campaign for the Doug Wright Awards demands a mention before this column's usual Monday appearance because the incentives involve a lot of original art, each sample of which is gone the second someone makes that particular choice. It's also a small institution that has a track record of doing what they're asking for help to do, so there's reason to have confidence the money will be well spent. I don't want to make a big deal about any awards program, but I think that one has done a pretty good job of having a specific character year to year and fostering a greater for those work within the wider comics culture. I like how specific the amount asked for is, too.
 
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Go, Look: Kirby/Simon Funny Animals Comic

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Go, Look: An Original Osamu Tezuka Page

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* attention is split between a newcomer alt-/indy show, a local show whose proximity to New York brings in a variety of quality guests and a veteran show focused on the small press and through that focus bringing in a lot of indy/alt interest: Linework NW in Portland, Asbury Park over in Jersey and SPACE in Columbus. I wish I could be at either; I wish I could be at both.

* I hadn't noticed this benefit with music that will also launch Paul Pope's Escapo; I'm all for comics events with a cause. That's not this weekend but next.

* haven't seen a whole lot about the Comic-Con International hotel lottery, which I suppose means it went as well as possible although I'm sure some people were disappointed while others were delighted. That can be a tough day. Heidi MacDonald noted mid-lottery that downtown hotels went super-quickly.

* speaking of San Diego, the Eisner judges met last weekend so we should be getting those nominations soon.

* I can't link directly to the news item, but it looks like the Long Beach con people have done some general straightening up: new logos, firm dates, what they're calling each show.

* finally, here's a nice report about Gene Yang speaking recently at Pasadena City College. I've never Yang up on his fee in front of a crowd like that, I don't think, but I have to imagine he's really good at it.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: The Crime Crusaders Club

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I don't do a whole lot of deep thinking about superhero portrayals these days, but one of you pointed me to this essay about optimistic superheroes and its discussion of how odd it is that those boy-scout type characters seem more popular when they're portrayed as wigged-out jerks. I do think it's likely something about the specific audience; certainly someone like Fred Rogers is an icon for a ton of people in the general culture.

image* Rob Clough on Paul Joins The Scouts. Bart Croonenborghs on Line Of Fire: Diary Of An Unknown Soldier. Paul Constant on Intruder.

* here's one of those FPI commentary posts, this time on Sally Heathcote, Suffragette.

* Andrew Yates talks to Evan Dorkin. Michael Cavna talks to Craig Schulz.

* the author Douglas Coupland recommends books, including one comics-as-books series and one illustrated, hybrid-style work.

* Frederik Peeters pages are fun.

* the Washington Post recently pulled a Pearls Before Swine strip. They do this every so often. In fact, I think they may do this more than anyone. Part of that is likely an impression you'll get from the article that the Post still has enough staff that they'll look over a strip before it gets published, and even have discussions about its suitability. Most newspapers don't have that luxury or that culture now. I think it's dumb to not publish strips for the general reason given here, although one thing about comic strips is that they've long had a tradition of being not worth it strip to strip in a positive way to balance against any strip that might offend or bring complaints.

* via a Facebook post by Devlin Thompson comes news of what is one cool comics-related auction: the comics movie props used in Artists And Models.

* totally missed that an in-full version of She Died In Terrebonne was being readied.

* a Joe Simon painting.

* Dakota McFadzean's been particularly on lately.

* finally, congratulations to Ron Rege Jr. on selling out of a first printing on his comic in the mode of Moulston/Peter comics.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Scott Hampton!

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Happy 57th Birthday, James Hudnall!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Jacques de Loustal!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Bill Marks!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 9, 2014


Go, Look: Paddy Lynch

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Oni Press Breaks With Office Supply Company U-Line Over Family-PAC Affiliation; Aims To Go Local

Oni Press put up a letter here, dated today, to the packing and office supply U-Line that says they will break with that company because of that company's CEO supporting Family-PAC and its work against efforts to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples. They say they have used the company since their founding, but will now seek a local vendor. The letter is signed by 12 Oni staffers.

The response in the comments seems positive but does break down a bit along the lines of most of these conversations these days.
 
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Go, Look: Swallow

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Watching The Detectives: Comics People Suss Out Clues

Superman signal watches to the following:

* Jill Pantozzi at The Mary Sue ran a piece here based on a declaration by the Conan O'Brien folks that the comedian's talk show will be set up at Comic-Con International in 2015 in a theater. That's news in and of itself, as it strongly throws the spotlight on outside-of-convention-center events in a major way. It's also worth noting that the dates given by the O'Brien people are July 8-12, which would be an early Comic-Con International, right after July 4 weekend.

* comics-maker James Moore of Columbus, Ohio wrote in to mention that in the SPACE program guide it says that Nate Powell will be presenting some work related to March ahead of a planned Billy Ireland exhibit and some OSU events planned for this Fall. They announce when they're good and ready, but that would be fun if it comes off.

* a Bleeding Cool reader finds out information about a planned DC title by calling up and asking after their subscription. I'm having a hard time tracking what the storyline implcations are there, but I'm sure it's reasonably obvious or at least you'll know the context if you're taken with that fictional world. That's not really a big deal, but it does take me back to the idea you could sometimes squeeze DC news out of a PR person at corporate.
 
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Go, Read: Molly Brooks' Fiction & Real Life Are Different, You Moron (An Open Letter To Myself)

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this is older, but it came up yesterday during a twitter discussion
 
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Not Comics: Article On Specific-Arts Amnesia And Why That's Bad

Brandon Nowalk's article at the AV Club here discusses how a culture surrounding a specific art form can become forgetful and even disdainful of past efforts. I'm not sure that that a strong case is made here in an advocacy sense for what to do about it and why, but I think the general notion is worth considering for comics. There is no one way to read comics, and it's actually a sign of a healthy art for that someone into superhero movies can dip into superhero comics or someone that likes memoirs can read Persepolis and not necessarily have any other interest in the medium. However, I do think that seeing where your interests might lie in an art form throughout its modes of expression can be a rewarding path to pursue, just like if you enjoy musicals or one-man shows you might want to try out some Chekhov or a really good-on-its-feet run at Othello.

Comics once had the advantage of being seen as primarily valuable for its older works in a time when a decent sampling of those works were still realtively easy to grasp in the context of the entire medium. While educated readers and commenters of course benefit from being as widely read as possible, I also think that a lot of things that are good stay good and accessible for decades or become relevant again when there's a cultural shift, so I hope people never move away from investigating the old as well as enjoying the new. If a work speaks to you, it doesn't matter when it was made.
 
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OTBP: Commuter

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Your 2014 Glyph Comics Award Nominees

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The Glyph Comics Awards, affiliated with the East Coast Black Age Of Comics Convention in Philadelphia, announced their 2014 nominees on Saturday. Winners will be named May 16 during this year's convention. The program's stated focus is "the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.”

Story Of The Year
* March; John Lewis, Andrew Aydin And Nate Powell
* Watson And Holmes #6; N. Steven Harris And Brandon Easton
* Watson And Holmes: A Study In Black; Karl Bollers And Rick Leonardi And Larry Stroman

Best Cover
* Hass #1; B. Alex Thompson
* Indigo; Richard Tyler
* Life And Death In Paradise; Nigel Lynch
* Nowhere Man; Jerome Walford
* The Olympians; Paulo Barrios and Luis Guerrero
* Route 3; Robert Jeffrey

Best Writer
* Brandon Easton; Watson And Holmes #6
* Jamal Igle; Molly Danger
* Anthony Montgomery and Brandon Easton; Miles Away
* Whit Taylor; Boxes
* B. Alex Thompson; Hass #1

Best Artist
* B. Robert Bell; Radio Free Amerika
* Abel Garcia; P.B. Soldier
* N. Steven Harris; Watson And Holmes #6
* Jamal Igle; Molly Danger
* Mshindo Kuumba; Anikulapo
* Mase; Urban Shogun #3: Things Fall Apart
* Jerome Walford; Nowhere Man

Best Male Character
* Anikulapo 'He who has Death in his Pouch'; Anikulapo; Mshindo Kuumba
* Deakon Taylor; One Nation; Jason Reeves
* Dustan Knight / Stactic Shagz; Spirit Bear; Tristan Roach
* Force; Force; Yancey A. Reed
* Jack Maguire; Nowhere Man; Jerome Walford
* Maxwell Miles; Maxwell Miles; Brandon Easton
* Moses B. Verelea; Radio Free Amerika; Robert Jeffery

Best Female Character
* Ajala; Ajala: A Series Of Adventures; N. Steven Harris and Robert Garrett
* Mary Freemen; Urban Shogun; James Mason
* Indigo; Indigo: Hit List 3.0; Richard Tyler

Rising Star Award
* Raymond Ayala; Urban Myth (New Olympians)
* Naseed Gifted; P.B. Soldier Episode
* Turner Lange; The Adventures Of Wally Fresh
* Chris Miller; Chronicles Of Piye
* Jason Reeves; One Nation
* Tristian Roach; Spirit Bear
* Tony Robinson; The Descendent

Best Comic Strip Or Webcomic
* The Adigun Ogunsanwo; Charles C. J. Juzang
* Blackwax Boulevard; Dmitri Jackson
* Love And Capes: What To Expect; Thom Zahler
* Yes You Can; Ian Herring and Dallas Penn

Best Reprint Publication
* Early Days; Mshindo Kuumba
* Love And Capes: What To Expect; Thom Zahler
* MLK The Montgomery Story; Fellowship of Reconciliation

Fan Award For Best Work
* Boxes; Whit Taylor
* Molly Danger Book; Jamal Igle
* Urban Shogun; James Mason
* Watson And Holmes #6; Brandon Easton

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Jess Fink's Flapper Detective

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By Request Special: Four Cartoonists Of The Apocalypse

Ted Rall sent out a PR e-mail this morning about an on-line publication in which he's participating with Stephen Notley, Scott Stantis and Stephanie McMillan I think called Four Cartoonists Of The Apocalypse; there's also the title "The Rational Extremists" in there, which I believe is the name of those cartoonists working together -- so I'm going to guess that's like "The Not Ready For Prime Time Players" putting on NBC's Saturday Night. They're working with the journalism-facilitating site Beacon, which is a site constructed around the idea of giving you access to all of its participants if you support one, or one group of them. That's an idea fairly new or at least fairly in the moment for crowd-funding and patronage sites.
 
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OTBP: Yummy Taco

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Go, Look: Fritzi Ritz & Nancy

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

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

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

*****

FEB141497 ART OF WIND RISES HC $34.99
FEB141507 HAYAO MIYAZAKI STARTING POINT 1979-1996 SC $16.99
FEB141506 HAYAO MIYAZAKI TURNING POINT 1997-2008 HC $29.99
An art book for the latest Miyazaki, a softcover for the 1979-1996 memoir and a new release for the 1997-2008 memoir. I've liked some of the other art books Miyazaki I've seen. Let us never forget he's a comics maker.

imageFEB141071 LUMBERJANES #1 $3.99
I think when the promotional art and publishing news for this to hit people wanted to invest in its success Charles-Grodin-wanting-a-piece-of-Home-Alone style as much as eventually buy a copy of their own. You can do the latter but not the former today. It would be a wonderful thing if there were some hit comics of this type not tied directly into a pre-existing cartoon show, just because I think we'de see a wider range of expression.

FEB140283 ASTRO CITY #11 $3.99
JAN140374 ASTRO CITY SHINING STARS TP $16.99
DEC130338 ASTRO CITY THROUGH OPEN DOORS HC $24.99
Brent Anderson and Kurt Busiek seem to have settle in on this latest run pretty well, with more than 10 issues in. I've kind of lost track of where the storylines are, but the series started out hitting all the same notes that past iterations did and I have to imagine is pleasing those fans.

JAN140585 EAST OF WEST #11 $3.50
DEC130494 EAST OF WEST TP VOL 02 WE ARE ALL ONE $14.99
JAN140594 INVINCIBLE #110 $2.99
FEB140644 WALKING DEAD #125 (MR) $2.99
These are the Image series that jumped out at me. I suspect that East Of West is one of those books that does better sales-wise thatn I imagine it today. I like its energy and the general baroque flourishes of its futuristic design elements.The other two are the Robert Kirkman-written books, with Ryan Ottley and Charlie Adlard doing art chores on the books in the order they're presented above. The Walking Dead is nearing the end of a major story arc, and the Invincible comic is just starting into another one.

FEB140700 ALL NEW DOOP #1 ANMN $3.99
FEB140867 ALL NEW DOOP #1 BY ALLRED POSTER $8.99
FEB140751 ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #2 ANMN $3.99
FEB140776 ALL NEW ULTIMATES #1 $3.99
FEB140725 CAPTAIN MARVEL #2 ANMN $3.99
FEB140702 DAREDEVIL #1.50 $4.99
FEB140673 IRON FIST LIVING WEAPON #1 ANMN $3.99
FEB140691 NIGHTCRAWLER #1 $3.99
I don't have enough of a sense of the direct market to say for sure that releasing a ton of #1s into the market can be a a bad thing -- certainly the New 52 #1s all seemed to do at least pretty well -- but I'm pretty comfortable with Marvel Comics and I can't really track what's new and what isn't right now. Some of these seem like characters that worked perfectly well in a previous iteration, too, which suggests the #1 status might be more of PR stunt than a chance for the publiation to tweak the concept in question.

JAN140844 BIG NATE GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE TP $9.99
These Lincoln Peirce books sell incredibly well and that's a hell of a price point.

FEB141495 WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY GN VOL 01 (MR) $12.95
This seems to me the strongest work in a big-company series, even though the Fumi Yoshinaga work is on its first volume. Pedigree goes a long way with manga, as far as I'm concerned.

JAN141514 DAYS OF DESTRUCTION DAYS OF REVOLT SC $16.99
You won't buy a better book this week, although I swear a softcover of this Chris Hedges (prose)/Joe Sacco (illustrations and comics) work about the state of the working poor came out once already, back in 2012. If you see it and haven't read it, snap it up.

FEB141601 KOMIKS COMIC ART IN RUSSIA SC $30.00
FEB141603 WIDE AWAKE IN SLUMBERLAND HC $60.00
Two prose works about comics, including a survey work on that most fascinating of comics cultures, Russia, and a book by Katherine Roeder one one of the Rushmore personalities from the early newspaper comics page. The latter promises both a close reading and contextual work, which is good because I'm lost easily.

FEB141278 COSPLAYERS #1 $4.99
This is Dash Shaw's new, honest-to-god alternative comic book, and I hope there are 100 more.

*****

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 Luzern, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: More Rex Dexter

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* no better way to spend a summer than days in the company of comics educators Dave Lasky and Greg Stump.

image* Peter Landau on Cannon.

* a Facebook mention led me to this just completed eBay auction for a 1969 fanzine publication including work -- they claim first work, and I have no real reason to disagree or endorse -- from Alan Moore. I'm a big sucker for anything I can post related to fanzines.

* NBM would like you to know they've done extremely well with the LEGO Ninjago books.

* Allison Baker on making friends as a way of doing business.

* Margaret Wappler profiles Mimi Pond. Marc Tyler Nobleman talks to Nancy Wykoff. Paul Montgomery talks to Mahmud Asrar. Chris Arrant talks to Kazu Kibuishi.

* it's not exactly comics, but gawker is looking for a full-time staff illustrator.

* finally, Mimi Pond kept a culture diary for Paris Review.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Fabio Civitelli!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Ashley Holt!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Frank Young!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 8, 2014


Go, Download: Ars Simia Naturae

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via
 
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Cartoonist Stine Spedsbjerg Replaces Departing Thomas Thorhauge As Danish Comics Council Chair

Matthias Wivel has a nice report up about the cartoon diarist Stine Spedsbjerg taking over for Thomas Thorhauge as the chairperson of the Danish Comics Council. I just sort of like the article. I can't tell if Thorhauge has been president since the Council's formation in 2009, but that seems to be asserted. Thorhauge will remain on the board. At any rate, congratulations and good luck to both. You can read some of Spedsbjerg's cartoons here.
 
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OTBP: $1 PDF Download Of Sky In Stereo #1

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Signe Wilkinson Named As Part Of Highly-Publicized Defamation Suit

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The cartoonist Signe Wilkinson was named in a defamation suit filed earlier this year by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and his wife Lise Rapaport, who happens to be his chief judicial aide. At issue is a series of news reports and accompanying editorial work by the Philadelphia Inquirer, including the Wilkinson cartoon above, that looked into the nature of McCaffery's decisions on cases after the couple had received fees for directing those cases to personal injury firms. The series led to the adoption of some new rules and even prompted an FBI investigation.

This follow-up piece notes that the owner of the Inquirer hasn't become legally involved -- which is fairly interesting, although I'm not sure if that's a really big deal or not -- and that the lawyers that are involved have focused their attention on getting the case presided over by an out-of-county judge because of McCaffery's massive influence in that specific part of the state. In that way, the case resembles some of the wholly noxious abuses of the legal systems in other countrie by influential, sitting politicians, which I always used to say had no North American equivalent. So congratulations to the lawyers involved on that count.

It's hard for me to imagine coverage that we already know existed in the real world to the extent it could drive procedural changes and a criminal investigation could also be defamatory, but we'll see as the facts present themselves if there's anything substantial to the case. Another chilling consideration is that it need not be a substantial case in order to have a drastic impact on the life of those involved, setting an ugly precedent for future coverage and expression of opinion about that coverage. I wish Wilkinson a just outcome and all the luck in getting there, and I'm glad because of this lawsuit that more people will see this funny, critical work.

I started here.
 
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OTBP: Diana

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Missed It: Kirby Heirs Appeal To Supreme Court

Kevin Melrose has an excellent, link-laden write-up here on the the Marc Toberoff petitioning the Supreme Court on behalf of the heirs of Jack Kirby, targeting the instance and expense test applied by the Second Circuit in determining that Jack Kirby's foundational work for Marvel Comics was work for hire in a way that does not allow the heirs to apply for termination of copyright. It's their claim this application strikes at the heart of the establishment of that practice and what it was meant to rectify. We'll see how it goes: very few cases are heard by the Supreme Court, and at least in comics circles there's been criticism of both past strategies pursued and a significant belief with many pros that this legal case was not wise, specifically in that it has cost the family other options for settlement.

Rob Salkowitz provides some context for these legal rulings here, suggesting that it's part of a wider disdain for the creators of the content from which many of these hugely successful film properties and licensing engines are derived.
 
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Go, Look: Toril Orlesky

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Festivals Extra: Last-Minute Cancellations At SPACE Free Up Tables

Here. Sounds like if you want to exhibit at that show this weekend, you may be afforded that opportunity.
 
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Go, Look: P. Craig Russell Ant-Man Art From 1973

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haven't seen Russell's art on this particular feature
 
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Go, Look: Obsessed With Comics

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* totally missed this nice preview of Locust Moon's Little Nemo book/project that will see the light of day this Fall. Leonard Brown sighting!

image* Not Brand Echh will get the Marvel Masterworks treatment in 2015. On the positive, I like those comics just fine and I'm happy for the people that buy Marvel's comics in that format to be able to have and enjoy them. On the other, I wish Marvel's trade program could be way, way, better than it is. There's also that weird thing in play where my cursory look at a couple of back-issue sites combined with a working knowledge of how how they price indicates to me that you might be able to get the actual comics for less. That being said, some people don't want the actual comics.

* the Tribune people will be doing a Little Orphan Annie crossover into their still-running Dick Tracy comic. I guess that's pretty cool, and a lot of the older fans that follow those strips will get a kick out of it. I'm probably least convinced that there's life in the legacy newspaper strips of all the works that are being done by people not their creators.

* I am not aware of this property in any way, shape or form, but I have to imagine that IDW will sell a ton of these books when they come out.

* great news that there will be a big, definitive-sounding collection of the Luther Arkwright material. I think those comics are pretty fun, and they're certainly influential on a lot of action-adventure comics material since. I also know that for many readers, this is scramble over the prone bodies of others to get at it stuff.

* the artist and cartoonist Christa Cassano will work with the performer John Leguizamo to produce a memoir, Ghetto Klown, based on the one-man show of the same name. That will be released by Abrams in 2015. Leguizamo used the illustrator Ward Sutton for a couple of things in the past, as I recall, but I don't recall him straight-up doing comics.

* finally, Adam Sherwin at the Independent profiles an anthology of stories debunking the idea of the First World War as a just war necessary to halt German expansion, as is the official line of centenary celebrations of that conflict. That one will be out in July.

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

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

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Go, Look: Small Mike Zeck Image Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a memorial for Mike Ritter will be held at 5 PM today in Atlanta.

* Paige Crutcher has a report at PW on the bookseller and publisher reaction to that moronic decision by South Carolina lawmakers to punish two universities for assigning books they've decided should not have been assigned for their LGBT content. One of those books is the graphic memoir Fun Home. The reactions seem relatively mild to me, consider the craven, anti-civilization stupidity on display.

image* some nice person at Rooster talks to Jazmyn and Taylor Barbosa. Greg Burgas profiles Yildiray Cinar. Rob McMonigal talks to Francois Vigneault. Keith Grachow talks to Conor McCreery. Ian Boothby and David Dedrick talk to Alec Longstreth.

* Lucy Knisley has a busy winter.

* not even sure how this drawing entered into my bookmarks, but I love it. I always liked that character when I saw him in books even though I rarely read those books at the time he was appearing, I think because the age difference from other characters was played up a bit more. It seems like you'd have some weird old guys around, just like any scene.

* Sarah McIntyre and those hats, my goodness. There's a how-to in that post, too.

* Sean Kleefeld notes the difficulty that comics present if you want to organize a collection, and how there may be little help even in having advanced knowledge and know-how of the academic variety. Me, I just throw them all under my bed.

* there's a nice catch by and post up on the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com here that discusses about the holding company Liberty Media cutting their investment in Barnes And Noble in a significant way, smartly noting the way that the big-box bookstore chain (and bookseller more generally) has spun a couple of component of that news. As a bonus, they repeat that hilarious John C. Malone quote where he compares the B&N to the survivor of a smallpox epidemic, the least romantic wooing gesture in the history of media buys.

* Roger Langridge presents two versions of the same cartoon.

* I am very much taken with this profile of some fanzine work, including one publication edited by Peppy White. White having a fanzine more directly devoted to comics illustration makes me wonder a bit how much range of expression there was across 'zines 1965 to 1980 in terms of subjects engaged. My hunch is that it was reasonably narrow, but still wider than the slow white-star collapse of mainstream comics probably should have encouraged.

* you would lose no money betting that Chris Schweizer is a fan of George MacDonald Fraser.

* Tom Murphy on Nemo: The Roses Of Berlin. Sean Gaffney on Library Wars: Love And War Vol. 11. Sean Kleefeld on The Big Feminist BUT.

* finally, Daryl Cagle remembers Mike Ritter.
 
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Happy 36th Birthday, Kazu Kibuishi!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Andrew Langridge!

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Frank King Was Born 131 Years Ago Today

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 7, 2014


Go, Read: Ducks

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Go, Nominated: First Round Harvey Ballots Now Open

Here.
 
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Eviscerate, Young Captain

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Your 2014 MoCCA Excellence Awards Winners

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The winners of the 2014 MoCCA Arts Festival Excellence Awards were announced Saturday evening. As of yet, this Heidi MacDonald tweet and a couple of references to individual winners on Facebook are all I've seen.

The winners were works by David Plunkert, Greg Kletsel, Luke Healy, Jess Ruliffson and Alexandra Bequez. As I recall, the winning works get shown at Society Of Illustrators, are collected and archived by Columbia University, and the winners get to display their books as winners for the second day of the Festival. This is the honor's second year.

I'm also a little confused by this post, but it looks like the jurors were Gregory Benton, Tracy Hurren, Chip Kidd, J. Chris Campbell and James Sturm. They are all thoroughly described there.

Ruliffson
 
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Go, Look: The Short Con

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A Few Notes From The MoCCA Festival 2014 Floor

imageBy Joe McCulloch

* I skipped last year's transitional show, so I can honestly say MoCCA seems a lot more excited and energetic, although I guess that has to be read in comparison to the 2012 edition, where people were on the floor, openly asking "what's the point?"

* I joke a lot about the Charlie Brown balloon, but it does serve the purpose of simply filling the yawning upper space of the armory so that it doesn't feel so much like a local wrestling venue.

* There was a genuine sense of danger coming from the cafe area in the back of the show floor, in that everyone wound up browsing the aisles with open cups of coffee. One errant shoelace and some of the more marginal publishers were going out of business, along with -- depending on the disposition of the exhibitor -- potentially your face.

* As with last year -- so I've read -- everything on the floor was partitioned with Lynchian red curtains. There was also a gift shop set aside on the show floor -- the purpose of which was unclear -- and a little gallery of original art. The four Joost Swarte pieces hanging were my favorites: ink & watercolors all, looking like they were printed off the internet, they were so goddamned immaculate.

* Charging $5.00 for the program not only meant I did not buy the program, but that I had to stop someone else from just taking one and leaving, assuming they were free. Just call me Joe Dredd.

* The line for admission stretching down the street at 2:00 PM on Saturday was mostly due to a somewhat limited (if quite efficient) corps of wristband-sellers. The show floor did not seem especially crowded until maybe 4:00 or 4:30. Several exhibitors remarked that the crowd was not the same you get at SPX and CAB, where apparently you see a lot of the same people, despite the geographical dispersion. Whether this crowd was buying anything varied from table to table.

* I asked this one exhibitor if he took credit cards. He said no, but I could just PayPal him the funds if I wanted. So I stood there on one side of the table, tapping away at my phone, and he stood on the other, checking his phone to see if the payment went through. "This is strangely intimate," he remarked.

image* I've always associated MoCCA with an international flavor, dating back to the years when Bries would be selling Olivier Schrauwen and Frédéric Coché books at the Puck Building. It wasn't quite a United Nations this year, but simply having Frémok around was invaluable. There was some Swedish and (I think) Finnish presence too, and, of course, Joost Swarte, who proved himself most elusive, though I confess I did not reserve a ticket to his event, where I could no doubt see him fine.

* Coché was behind the Frémok table basically all day, however. I saw his name tag, but as a means of introduction I asked "are you Frédéric?" There was an unbroken pause of five or six seconds as everyone stared at me before Coché replied "yes."

* I'm told Frémok only brought 15 or so copies of their Angouleme prize-winning Cowboy Henk collection, which was odd, because I saw copies moving around the room and people talking. It might just have been the people I was talking to, however, who basically would be the types to declare a resolutely Not In English comic the book of the show, which -- I'd not want people to blind-buy a book like that and then feel like they'd wasted their money chasing some trend with a comic they can't entirely read. I feel like I need to chase my enthusiasm for Cowboy Henk with half a dozen disclaimers, starting with the fact that before the show I spent eight dollars on a magazine titled Golf Comic which is comprised of Japanese-language comics about golf.

* Anyway, my choice for book of the show is Cowboy Henk.

image* Also, I was quite taken by the issues of Collection Revue I saw at the Rebus table. Bill Kartalopoulos has contributed to that magazine, so he's maybe not an unbiased source or anything, but the two editions on sale were very handsome, high-quality packages, in French and English, conversing in detail with artists on the subject of drawing. Many, many images too, including some full stories. I'd recommend issue #2, with Yuichi Yokoyama, Gary Panter, CF, Killoffer and others.

* In the end, I'm a bad person to ask about whether or not a show is "good." I've found that I mostly go to these events with a pretty specific plan of what to see anymore, and while I do budget for surprises, I kind of assure myself a fulfilling time. I am very ambivalent about the designation of journalism, because I think a responsible, challenging, superior journalist should do a lot of things I don't. I only ever crossed the floor once, because I stopped to shoot the breeze far too much. But I live in a cornfield, so that too is why I go.

*****

Joe McCulloch is the fine critical writer about comics, mostly at TCJ, who has made more than a few readers of this site wonder why CR still even tries to do its own "new comics Wednesday" column (you've thought it, too). He did this article in exchange for a donation to Stan And Sharon Sakai, which I greatly appreciate. He is also the best on podcasts.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Another Saturday Evening Post Cartoon Round-Up

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With Another Successful Film On The Books, Does That Mean Someone In Comics Will Be Or Was Let Go?

I hope not, but I'm hearing rumors that this may have happened. I can't find an official announcement, though, and I'm sure it will come out in plenty of time to report it or update it it here. Congratulations to the filmmakers involved for making what sounds like a very entertaining movie with characters made by and narrative elements strongly affiliated with creators like Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Stan, Gene Colan, Don Heck, Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and so many others. I wanted to mention it because the thought that people would be let good as millions upon millions roll in is worth noting for the corporate context in which a lot of comics are made and for how fundamentally inurred we are to this practice.
 
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Go, Look: A Dick Briefer Crime Comic

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Festivals Extra: Comic-Con International Hotel Lottery Tuesday

imageKevin Melrose has his usual, solid, link-laden post that tells us the annual sign-up for Comic-Con International hotels will be held tomorrow. That's "San Diego" or "San Diego Con" if you're playing along at home. I don't know that I have anything to recommend other than 1) know in advance what hotels you're going to list; 2) closer is indeed better, but really it's more like right up next to it = ideal, up to 10 blocks away = pretty great; just about anywhere else, very doable, but you have to plan for it and adjust your schedule a bit; 3) in past years, this wasn't the best time to be using anything but one of the big-name browsers.

I stayed here last year and really liked it; I thought it was relatively low-key for one of that group of hotels (the up-close kind), almost no one used the pool or weight room, it was a fun place to have a first drink or last drink, and the deli across the street was great. Plus you're close to the Omni, which is where a lot of people that have money and/or access to someone else's money to buy you breakfast stay. I thought I might mention that hotel because it's not where I'm staying this year.

What else...? It's also worth noting that Travel Planners takes two days worth of reservation money pretty quickly. I can understand why they do that, because I used to game that system like Cadet Kirk. Still, it's a shocker if you aren't ready for it.

The prices are interesting to me, too, only in that we seem to be getting to a point where all sorts of weird options will be in play. Like I'm pretty sure that if I reserved a room early enough I could do the Hotel Del Coronado without a minimum stay period for something close price-wise to one of the main hotels. Future years may get pretty creative, and I'm not just talking about 2011, when I slept duct-taped to the side of Jonah Weiland's boat.

that is the US Grant, the Margaret Dumont of San Diego hotels; photo by Whit Spurgeon in 2012
 
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Go, Look: Epic Encounters

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Go, Look: Swingin' Meat

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

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By Tom Spurgeon

This site is very behind on processing e-mails with requests for coverage in columns like this one. My apologies, and I will try to catch up sooner rather than later.

* the cartoonist and comics educator Meredith Gran is accepting pre-orders in the hopes of facilitating the funding of her new Octopus Pie book.

* Josh Bayer has a kickstarter going for the fourth volume of his Suspect Device anthology. There are a couple of laughs in the accompanying video.

* the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning is probably around 90 percent the morning this post rolls out, and is heading into its final days. They get to keep the money no matter how this turns out, but the fee is smaller if they meet their goal -- thus, more money.

* the Seth Kushner and Friends project Schmuck could use some attention going into its last days, but looks a firm bet to make it.

* the Study Group crowd-funder looks well on its way with ample time remaining, but it could still use some help to meet that initial goal.

* we've also featured this Winsor McCay project a few times; that one will end soon, too.

* the Scott Thompson-directed Danny Husk sequel has a pretty long distance to travel, but I know that there are a several people that liked the first one that likely haven't heard about this project yet.

* just a couple of days left on the Table Titans one, which has been in its stretch goals phase for a while. This latest Smut Peddler anthology volume got to that first goal super-quickly, too.

* finally, Jason Shiga has a Patreon page up. People should as a matter of reflex support whatever Jason Shiga does.
 
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If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Joost Swarte explains his three blind mice to Francoise Mouly. If that was timed to go with MoCCA Festival, which I imagine it was, that's a great get for the festival.

image* one of the nice Gridlords people talks to Reid Psaltis. Kelton Sears profiles Team Intruder. Jonah Weiland talks to Evan Dorkin. Michael Cavna talks to Team Stripped. Paul Gravett profiles Knut Larsson. David Betancourt profiles Jon Goldwater.

* drawing as well as writing improves writing. This may be another reason why so many cartoonists are better at writing criticism than writers are.

* Gene Luen Yang's Boxers And Saints picks up another award, this time from the Commonwealth Club.

* always loved these kinds of panels when I was a kid.

* I was curious as to who in comics might have given money back during the Proposition 8 day -- for or against the ban on gay marriage. I came up with a few searching "comics." None of those four was for banning gay marriage, they all gave money against that ban. No one came up that I recognized on generic "artist" and "writer" searches; no one came up searching various companies.

* so I guess a Jim Woodring drawing of the Noah myth ended up in show related to the movie. Jim Woodring is the best.

* this list isn't very rigorous, but I'm not sure we want a rigorous list here.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Glorkian Warrior Deliever A Pizza and Monsters & Titans: Battling Boy On Tour. Richard Bruton on Polina and Mulp. Colm Creamer on The Boxer. Patrick Hess on Captain America. Paul O'Brien on A+X #13-18. Johanna Draper Carlson on Angel And Faith Season 10 #1. Henry Chamberlain on How I Made The World #1. Tony Ez Esmond on Headspace #2.

* finally, David Brothers appreciates the small things.
 
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Happy 74th Birthday, Claire Bretécher!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 6, 2014


CR Sunday Interview: Zack Soto

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*****

imageZack Soto is a widely well-liked cartoonist, publisher and now convention organzier -- with the inaugural edition of his and François Vigneault's Linework NW taking place this week in that beautiful comics city of Portland, Oregon. Linework NW was announced in the wake of a decision by the longtime, mostly small-press show the Stumptown Comics Fest to fold its programming and mission into the Rose City Comic Con starting this Fall. I suspect, however, from visiting Portland and talking to its cartoonists that a split was coming no matter what Stumptown did, and purely from a difference of opinion as to how to put together such a show and which cartoonists on which to focus and where to take the whole thing rather than anything ugly or personal.

I've come to know Soto a little bit through on-line avenues and from seeing him at various shows, particularly those held in the Northwest. I enjoy his Study Group offerings whenever I see them: the on-line comics, the infrquently updated blog, the print comics that come from the on-line comics, and the magazine. I also enjoy his work as a cartoonist. I was happy he was able to give me some time as his convention launches in just a few days. I tweaked one or two things for flow and one or two things for the delay between our doing the interview and its intended publication one week out from the festival. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Tell me where you are in the ramp up to Linework NW. How much work have you been doing in a typical week?

ZACK SOTO: As you and I are talking, we're less than a month away, so it's pretty hectic now! We're having meetings every week at this point with all the main organizational volunteers, lining up sponsors, designing the materials for the show, distributing fliers, doing table layout, posting interviews with exhibitors on the tumblr, and putting out a call to volunteers. Among other stuff. Luckily, it's a small show and we have some awesome people involved on the back end.

SPURGEON: Are there specific challenges to doing a show in Portland that aren't obvious from the outside? What little I know about Portland suggests, for example, it's harder to find a lot suitable spaces the way that these seem to be all over other towns, but I could be totally wrong about that.

SOTO: It wasn't... easy finding a space that could both host a decent amount of tables but also still have character and still say "Portland" to us. But it wasn't impossible. We settled on the Norse Hall because it's a handsome old building with natural light and a central location. We probably erred on the side of keeping it a little too small, based on the amount of applications we wished we could have accepted.

SPURGEON: Is there something you believe is key for the show to work? Something you think "If this works out, the whole show is going to work"? Conversely, are there one or two things you're worried about, with a first show?

SOTO: Really, there's just two or three things I'm worried about: are the exhibitors happy and did they hopefully make some money? And did we get a broad spectrum of people in the door, and were they excited about the show, did they find some cool stuff to check out, and are they excited for next year? I guess that's more than two or three things.

I'm not so much worried about any one thing not going off, I'm sure there will be some problems here and there, but just overall vibes are important to me. Stuff will always go wrong, but hopefully we'll be able to deal with whatever does.

imageSPURGEON: When did you guys know that there was eventually going to be a show that was not Stumptown? Because I have the sense that a split was brewing for a very long time. I don't want you to revisit that in a spiteful way, but I think with so many shows going now it's fascinating to see how things develop? What, in the end, was the nature of that split, Zack?

SOTO: I can't really say what happened with Stumptown, because I wasn't involved. But as far as "why did we aim to start another show," I can tell you that Linework NW came from many, many conversations between myself & François where we talked about what our ideal type of show for Portland would be, especially considering the over saturation of "mainstream" type shows in the area. There were a few key points: First and foremost, we wanted it to be free. Paying money to get in and spend money limits the target audience to people who have already "bought in" to comics in a way that we want to avoid.

Another consideration was that the area is sort of over saturated with straight "comics shows," which is why we foregrounded Illustration in the subtitle. We're reaching out to hopefully not just get comics lifers, but also civilian types that just like nice things to look at. People with money to burn, I hope? Shows like Crafty Wonderland are as much an inspiration for Linework NW as shows like BCGF & Short Run.

We also felt like maybe the other Portland comics shows didn't really feel that "Portland-y" to us, and we felt like it was important to us to feel like a regional show in the best possible way. You know, it's hard to highlight local flavor when you're in the same Convention Center setting as every other mid-to-large show across the country. That's why we ended up choosing the Norse Hall as our venue.

As far as Stumptown goes, probably the biggest complaint I'd hear on a regular basis was that, as it got bigger and further from its original mission it sometimes seemed like Stumptown didn't always know what kind of show it wanted to be. They had been moving to be more of a general comics show with an indy leaning, which is fine, but there's been a lot of growth in that area in the last few years. Comics civilians can't always tell the difference between Stumptown, Rose City Comic Con, and the Wizard show, even though people like you and I can see obvious differences.

We'd heard there were issues over there, but that they were more past-tense than present, and proceeded with our plans under the assumption that Stumptown as a show was still an ongoing concern. We hoped to be a compliment to Stumptown, really. For the people who felt ill-served by a more general approach to art & comics, we would offer a highly curated vision of the same. I had envisioned people bopping between the two shows, kind of like Trickster & SDCC. Unfortunately, Stumptown seems to have -- temporarily? -- tabled its festival, so now a lot of the people who counted on that April tabling experience are looking to us as the only game in town, and we haven't even had our first show yet!

SPURGEON: What have you learned about the Portland comics community doing the show you didn't know before, Zack?

SOTO: There's a lot of cartoonists here! Actually, I already knew that. [Spurgeon laughs] I just didn't quite know what a wide variety of people and comics there were here until we got deluged with applications for Linework. It's been really illuminating! There's a lot of talent in this area.

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SPURGEON: How did you settle on Michael DeForge as a first announced special guest? How did you settle on Jim Woodring as the second?

SOTO: I think Michael is one of the most obvious picks in a lot of ways. For the last five years, he's been one of the best and brightest new talents around, to the point that now that he's no longer a "new" talent, he's taken a place in a lot of peoples' pantheons of "greats." He's constantly trying to up his game and get better with every project, and it shows. He's also never really been to this corner of the US and we thought that was just plain silly.

Jim Woodring is someone who we thought made a nice counterpoint to Michael, in that he's from a generation or so previous, but he's currently at the height of his powers as a cartoonist, and he's a local great as well as one of the all-time great cartoonists. I like that he and Michael both have their own, slightly disturbing takes on the grotesque, both in their writing and drawing. It's been a while since Jim was down here too, which we are happy to fix.

Both are also accomplished in both the comics and illustration worlds, which we thought was a nice through-line with the stated focus of Linework.

SPURGEON: You named a small board of comics folks to help you curate. Why did you think that was necessary? What was that experience like? Was there any fear of bringing in more people given how Stumptown became fractious near the end?

SOTO: François and I are pretty plugged in to a lot of what's going on in comics and to a lesser extent in the illustration world, but we felt that it was important to have other voices and viewpoints on the many, many applicants whose work we considered (we had about three times as many applicants as we did final exhibitors)... In addition to François and myself, we brought in Justin "Scrappers" Morrison, Meg Hunt, and Kinoko. All three are accomplished illustrators, and are important to the local scene as well. Scrappers is the Art Director at the Portland Mercury, Meg and Kinoko both teach illustration at PNCA, and Kinoko also teaches cartooning at the IPRC Certificate program.

It helped to have other aesthetic sensibilities in the mix when looking at everything. The judging itself was done in a couple sessions, we all went through every applicant and made notes, mostly reaching a friendly consensus. Occasionally there were splits of opinion, in which case François and I acted as tie-breakers.

SPURGEON: It's a very charged time in terms of people having very strong opinions about what they expect in terms of a festival convention be a safe space. How do you approach those issues? What is your harassment policy?

SOTO: In many ways, we've somewhat been of the opinion that a common sense understanding of social decorum goes a long way. But the comics industry has a track record of violating that simple dictum, and the stories of harassment at comics conventions have only become more shameful as they have become more and more frequently reported, and we agree that having a clearly articulated anti-harassment policy is needed for any festival. With that in mind, for the record:
Linework NW will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse, derogatory or discriminatory language, sexual harassment, and disruptive or inappropriate behavior. Anyone who feels they have witnessed or have been subjected to inappropriate or abusive behavior at the festival is encouraged to report it to a Linework NW volunteer immediately. Linework NW organizers will be available to mediate conflicts at the festival, and we reserve the right to ask anyone we determine to be violating our policies to adhere to our community standards, up to and including excluding them from the event.
SPURGEON: Here's something that's come up when I've talked to artists recently. What would you do if someone complained about some of the work being sold at Linework NW as offensive or oppressive? What if someone objected to a Johnny Ryan comic, or one of Michael's?

SOTO: While we can understand that works of art can have powerful and even detrimental emotional effects on viewers, Linework NW is at its heart a celebration of free expression and creative freedom. With that in mind, we're not willing to censor any creator, regardless of the nature of their work. With a show as diverse as Linework NW, it is almost inevitable that there will be work which will be found distasteful by someone. We ask that attendees and exhibitors keep an open mind and exercise their right to not engage with work they find troubling.

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SPURGEON: Through your retail work you probably have a pretty good idea of the Portland comics-reading community, as opposed to the professional community -- although certainly there's crossover. But is that a strong community of readers? Are there ways that community is atypical to some others, do you think? What kind of people do you expect to see attending Linework NW?

SOTO: Oh man, it's crazy. Portland has what may be the most comics-literate public of any US city. The variety of people that come through either of the stores I've worked at is really impressive. I'm not exaggerating to say that pretty much every demographic comes through those doors at one point or another. I'm hoping we can get even a fraction of that crowd to come to Linework NW. I think it's fair to say that we expect a cross-section of both "the youngs" and "the olds" to come see what's happening, as well as what we hope is a healthy mix of both comics lifers and initiates.

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SPURGEON: How much work have you done in the last three years? Do you consider yourself a prolific cartoonist? Would you like to make more work, all other things taking care of themselves? Is the attempt to find Patreon support about that, or is it just about maximizing revenue streams? Zack, I couldn't actually tell how much your heart was into that.

SOTO: I've done a "fair amount" of work in the last three years, I guess? I'd like to have done more, for sure. I did an issue of the Secret Voice and a handful of short stories that people have seen, but there's a lot of stuff that's still in progress or abandoned that no one's seen yet. I spend a lot of time in the writing and self-editing stage, and sometimes that's where things also end. It may or may not show through in the finished product, but I'm fairly hard on myself because I know what "Good Art" is and I want my comics to be Good Art. Half the trick for me sometimes is just letting go and seeing if something will find it's audience.

All things taking care of themselves, taking money out of the equation, I'd really like to just be a cartoonist full time. I think most of us would! I am always trying to maximize my potential and time and energy in order to be more productive. It's a struggle. I like my day job doing comics retail, but if I was actually able to just be an artist and writer full time I would happily throw myself into that situation. I'm also writing things for other artists to draw in the hopes that that will increase the amount of comics I can help make happen in the world. If I were to lay out a dream situation for myself, it'd be to be able to keep making more Secret Voice and other comics as both writer and artist, while also writing both creator-owned and even work for hire books in collaboration with other artists. I'm also interested in drawing more scripts written by other people. I just did that for the first time -- I drew a short written by Chris Sebela for that In The Dark anthology that's coming out, and that was fun, a totally different experience.

The Patreon thing is definitely about both maximizing revenue streams and enabling me to spend time on Secret Voice -- and comics in general -- so that I'm not having to hustle quite as hard to get jobs doing, like, flyers or whatever for chump change. I'll happily take the chump change for my comics instead! Actually, "maximizing revenue streams" is sort of misleading, since other than sales of the recent Secret Voice #1 I make basically an average of zero dollars from comics. So for me, the fact that I can suddenly make $33 a page -- before Patreon takes their cut -- on Secret Voice, that's huge. Seriously huge. It's not just an influx of money, it's also nice to know that 15 people care enough about my goofy comic to pledge anywhere from one to ten dollars per update. Do I hope those numbers get bigger? Definitely. But am I happy, proud and humbled that they are what they are a month after launching the Patreon account? Very much so.

It's actually kind of a bummer that you say you couldn't tell if my heart was in it to win it, because I thought I did a decent job of laying out the reasoning for the Patreon and what's going on in my life -- trying to make more comics, having a baby soon, etc. -- but I think that's partly because it's not really my desire to give people a hard sell on this stuff. People will either want to support my work or they won't, and that's OK. My comics aren't for everyone, and me begging for help from someone who isn't interested in them isn't doing either of us any good. If someone gets enjoyment from my comics and they want to help me out or otherwise show their enjoyment by making my life a little easier, there are options. They can buy my comics, they can buy some prints or original art, or they can buy a toy I made with my hands, and now they can choose to be a patron of my work in progress, in whatever amount makes sense to them.

imageSPURGEON: How easily does the Secret Voice work come to you at this point? I get the sense early on you really struggle in terms of just getting work down on the page. The work now also seems reasonably idiosyncratic in terms of how it's structured: it's hard to figure out any specific source material at this point, it seems to flow pretty easily in terms of how the story moves. How do you feel you've developed on that work, specifically?

SOTO: I'm actually at the point with Secret Voice that it's moving along nicely. Again, a lot of the most time-consuming work is done in the writing stage, and narrative structure. I've got the whole thing pretty much mapped out. I've got the next issue about 90% drawn and inked. Right now, I'm mostly coloring stuff from #2 to post on the web. I need to finish up the remaining pages of #2 and start laying out #3, which will be a decent amount of work, but hopefully not anything that slows me down too much. The bulk of the time between the Adhouse issue #1 and the remastered, re-written & drawn parts of the Study Group issue #1 was spent rewriting the whole story and trying to fill in all the gaps and make sure it made sense and has a satisfying ending.

I've also been sort of evolving the way I approach the pages visually, which takes a while sometimes. But right now I'm in a groove and feel pretty settled in to an approach that I like and isn't very time-consuming. I feel like I've done most of the heavy lifting, I guess. I'll probably slow down and get confused again right near the end, because I really want to get that part right.

SPURGEON: Has making toys and figures had any effect on your comics-making?

SOTO: [laughs] Other than being an alluring and seductively satisfying way to spend time making art? Probably not, though I have been making a little mini comic to go with each of the toys so as to build a little mythology for the characters and so on. It's really fun. When I was first doing it, I basically just wanted to disappear into a toy making world, but I realized that that's just as much because it's less precious to me, as a medium. It's relaxing and gratifying to make a 3D object, and I had forgotten I felt that way. I'd like to do more, and I'd really like to make a vinyl toy. I have an idea for a project that involves both comics and toys equally, I hope to get that going in the next year or so.

SPURGEON: Where do you feel that Study Group has settled in in terms of the wide array of choices for comics on the Internet. I was interested to read you talk about it, because you gave a lot of credit for your hit count to a few projects rather than the strength of the site more generally? How do you feel the development of that site has gone? Is there a way you'd rather have it work at this point?

SOTO: Actually, I have no idea where we are in terms of the other options. I honestly don't really look at a ton of webcomics sites, or even many comics sites any more. I logged in to the Google Analytics dashboard a month ago for the first time in over a year and I was pleased by what I saw, numbers-wise... But that's really it.

I think it's a good site, and I am very proud of it. Especially being able to put the work of talented but relatively unknown creators out there for lots and lots of eyeballs to see. The Idea that people might have just become familiar with, say Samuel Hayes or Tyler Landry because of the site, that makes me happy.

We have what I think is a lot of readers by any metric I can think of. Definitely more than zacksoto.com ever got. Hit count is honestly whatever, but when I do bother to look at that stuff, I do notice things like: i09 linked to Simon Roy's gorilla comic (which I recently took down since his collection is coming out soon), and like a trillion people showed up to check it out. Or when Warren Ellis links to IWAH or something, there's nice big bumps. But there's also something to the fact that yeah, some strips are going to be more popular than others. That's just the nature of things. Farel's comic or Sam Alden's comic might have a broader appeal than my comic or whatever.

I wouldn't know how to develop the site away from that even if I thought it was important to do so. I think we already present all the works as equally important, they're all there for people to see, the archives are relatively easy to check out.. Some people are into weird underground trippy shit and some people are into more reality based stuff, and some are into interesting genre comics. I like having all those things under one roof, because I'm the type of comics reader that likes all that and more.

SPURGEON: Is there one work on there you think people don't appreciate the way they should?

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SOTO: Jezebel, by Elijah Brubaker. It's just so consistently funny to me, and the cartooning is spot on, and he's a beast, just updating all the time. I feel like more people should appreciate the work he's doing on that strip.

SPURGEON: You are very, very active on social media. That might just be how you're personally oriented, but I wonder how that has an effect, if any on how you work. Do you feel a connection to an on-line group of peers? Do you feel obligated to keep these connections going? Do you give any thought to your on-line presence at all?

SOTO: [laughs] Yeah, it totally has an effect on how I work. Usually not for the best. Part of it is a function of my day job, though. I'm basically at or around a computer all day when I'm at work, so I tend to end up dicking around online between helping customers plenty. But I really am on too much for my own tastes even beyond that. To some extent, I also don't feel like I could cut it out completely because of the site and needing to be updating it, tweeting or tumbling in it's interest, etc. I'm working on figuring out how to disconnect a little from the internet because it's just starting to bum me out more than anything else.

I think a little about my online presence, for sure. I try not to present just a constant unfiltered stream of consciousness ramble. I try to treat people well on the wild web, just like I'd like to be treated. It's all about the golden rule, right? Lately I've just been exhausted by all the negativity constantly oozing out of not just the internet, but comics people on the internet.

Right now I'm way less interested in winning arguments than having a good time, getting things done, and trying to be a better person, both in real life and online. I definitely don't succeed in either place all the time, but I'd say my ratio is better today than it might have been 10 years ago, or five even. So maybe 24 year old Zack getting into arguments on the TCJ boards would think 38-year-old Zack had lost all his fighting spirit. Maybe I have? Basically, I'm old and tired, Tom!

Speaking aspirationally, I'd actually like to be mostly off the internet but if I can't I'd at least like to spend that time being absurd and laughing instead of getting worked up about garbage.

What am I even talking about? I sort of went on a tangent, I guess. I blame the internet for this tangent, too.

SPURGEON: Where does the Study Group magazine stand? Because you guys are certainly not blogging in support of it with any regularity... how closely has that matched your initial impulse for doing it?

SOTO: Study Group Magazine #3D is going to be awesome, and it'll be out for TCAF unless something goes horribly wrong. It's really pretty. Comics from Sophie Franz, Connor Willumsen, Trevor Alixopulos, Mia Schwartz, Kim Deitch, Chris Cilla, Malachi Ward and more. Articles by Sarah Horrocks, Sean Witzke, Jason Little and more. There's a section of 3D comics and a big thing on the recently departed Ray Zone with testimonials from various talented and important people. It should be very cool, hopefully worth the wait. It's a mixture of full and partial color, whereas the first couple were all two tone. I'm launching pre-orders for that, a collection of Sam's Haunter strip and the new It Will All Hurt later this week.

The magazine is shifting a bit, we're still dialing it in. I'd like the ratio of articles to comics to be closer to 50/50, actually. I was aiming for that this time, but it's more like 70/30 again. My problem is I keep asking more people do do comics than we have space, or people turning in more pages than I asked for and me liking the comics so much I don't care. So that's a thing, and I'm sure Milo looks forward to me figuring out how to avoid that. The next couple issues will be themed issues, and I'm excited about that. I think there will be a guest comics editor for issue #5. The blogging is definitely non-existent, I just don't personally have time to do it. I'm actually working on bringing in some other people to help with that a little, and some other areas like shipping and marketing. People I'm working with on Linework NW, actually, so that won't really take effect until after the show since we're all busy.

SPURGEON: What does the show look like in five years if everything goes successfully?

SOTO: Gosh, I dunno? A little bigger, obviously -- but hopefully we can walk that fine line of growing and still keeping to our original spirit, and not losing the local flavor. Right now, I'm mainly worried about this first show going well, we're not quite ready to start looking that far ahead.

*****

* Linework NW
* Zack Soto
* Study Group

*****

* poster to the forthcoming event by Michael DeForge
* photo of Soto by me, SPX 2013
* photo of Stumptown 2013 floor by me
* art from Mr. DeForge and Mr. Woodring
* I believe this art from the project with Christopher Sebela
* Dr. Galapagos punches a creature
* from Jezebel
* from the fourth Secret Voice on-line serial (below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: The Danica Novgorodoff Diary At TCJ.com

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 
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If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Hijinx Comics!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Mark Askwith!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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FFF Results Post #374 -- Archie Goodwin

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Stories You Like Scripted By The Late Archie Goodwin." This is how they responded.

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John Vest

1. Fantastic Four #116 (John Buscema)
2. Iron Man #18 (George Tuska)
3. Manhunter Special Edition #1 (Walt Simonson)
4. "Landscape" from Blazing Combat #2 (Joe Orlando)
5. "Beast Man!" from Creepy #11 (Steve Ditko)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The Manhunter backups from Detective Comics #437-443 (Walt Simonson)
2. Capt. Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #8 (Dick Ayers)
3. Han Solo at Star's End (Alfredo Alcala)
4. "Alien" from Heavy Metal #26-27 (Walt Simonson)
5. "Let the Silence Shatter" from Marvel Super-Heroes #15 (Gene Colan)

*****

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Michel Fiffe

1. "Deep Ruby" from Eerie #6 (Steve Ditko)
2. "Collector's Edition" from Creepy #10 (Steve Ditko)
3. Detective Comics #443 (Walter Simonson)
4. Nick Fury: Scorpio Connection (Howard Chaykin)
5. Wolverine #17 (John Byrne / Klaus Janson)

*****

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Stu West

* Landscape! from Blazing Combat #2 (Joe Orlando)
* Alien: The Illustrated Story (Walt Simonson)
* Overworked! from Creepy #9 (Dan Adkins/Wally Wood)
* Iron Man #23 (George Tuska)
* Voodoo Doll! from Creepy #12 (Jerry Grandenetti)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Alien - The Illustrated Story (Walt Simonson)
2. "The Success Story" from Creepy #1 (Al Williamson)
3. "Sinner" Witzend #1 (uncredited; possibly Dan Adkins)
4. "A Monster Walks Wayne Manor" from Detective Comics #438 (Jim Aparo)
5. "Beast Man!" from Creepy #11 (Steve Ditko) [I like this one, too!]

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. Iron Man #25 (Johnny Craig)
2. Amazing Spider-Man #150 (Gil Kane)
3. Captain Marvel #16 (Don Heck)
4. Alien: The Illustrated Story (Walt Simonson)
5. Marvel Premiere #4 (Barry Windsor-Smith)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Heavy Metal presents Alien (Walter Simonson)
2. Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection (Howard Chaykin)
3. The Golden Circle from Bizarre Adventures #28 (Michael Golden/Steve Mitchell)
4. Nightmask #8 (Keith Giffen/R.J. Bryant)
5. The Devil's Trumpet from Batman Black and White #1 (Jose Munoz)

*****

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David Robertson

1. "Lone Hawk" from Blazing Combat #2 (Alex Toth)
2. The Incredible Hulk #156 (Herb Trimpe)
3. Star Wars #22 (Carmine Infantino)
4. Alien (Walt Simonson)
5. Blade Runner (Al Williamson)

*****

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

*****
*****
 
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April 5, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


The Bad-Ventures Of Bobo Backslack Trailer


Joe Dator Shows Rejected New Yorker Cartoons
via


Sam Hurt Interview From 2009


Bob Andelman Talks To Shannon Wheeler
via


Mana Neyestani Profiled


Dave Kellett And Fred Schroeder Talk Stripped!
via


John Jennings On The Souls Of Black Comix
 
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Go, Look: Copra #1 Is On-Line To Read For Free

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 38th Birthday, Patrick Dean!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Joey Weiser!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Art Adams!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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auctions here; explanation and direct donation possibility here
 
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April 4, 2014


John A. Vest On This Site's Review Of Cannon, By Wallace Wood

I enjoyed your review of the Fantagraphics Cannon hardcover. Your description of reading the strip inspired me to take a look at the Eros Cannon comics I collected in the early '90s.

At 30 odd pages per issue, printed sideways, the installments were the right amount of Cannon for the brain to process at a time.

The comic book store where I purchased Cannon kept the title behind the counter with adult and underground comics. Picking up Cannon in the context with other Eros comics of that era, Crumb's ID, I Want To Be Your Dog, Birdland, was actually kind of elevating to the reading experience and the material itself.
 
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AdHouse Announces Hardcover Collection Of Street Angel

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The publisher AdHouse Books kicked off MoCCA Festival weekend with the official announcement earlier today that they would be doing a deluxe hardcover treatment of Street Angel. Publisher Chris Pitzer said that this collection of the comic by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca would resemble AdHouse's Afrodisiac volume.

I say "official" because I think due to a shuffling of some papers (or rearranging of some digital files) at Diamond the word may have gone out in unofficial fashion to some with-it direct market retailers paying close attention.

Street Angel has been a well-liked comic in all of its iterations, and a nice volume like this one should be appealing to new buyers and old. The original series came out from Slave Labor... 10 years ago. Yikes.

The new volume, to clock in at 176 pages, will appear this summer.
 
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Go, Look: Micah Lidberg

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Festivals Extra: It's MoCCA Time, And These Are The First Few Books I'd Track Down On The Show Floor

I haven't done a systematic look at all the debuts at the MoCCA Festival this weekend, but there are enough books on my mind that I thought I could get a post out of it. It's good that there are debuts; a New York show in the Springtime should have its fair share of books making the scene. I also stress that with a show like MoCCA, one of the great, great pleasures is walking the entire show and looking very closely at what people you've never heard of have to offer. I know, for instance, that last year some of my friends were delighted to acquaint themselves with the work of Keren Katz. So keep your eyes open.

Here's what's penetrated into my consciousness in terms of books I'd track down.

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1. Something From Frédéric Coché
Fremok is in the argument for world's most important comics publisher, and they will almost certainly have an outstanding number of works available at the show. I think of Coché whose books I see available from Bries, but it's my understanding he'll be at the show with these folks. If I'm wrong, track down this cartoonist and this publisher separately.

There is actually a pretty great European presence at this show. Joost Swarte, Marion Fayolle and Brecht Vandenbroucke were all announced with the show. Swarte is one of the great cartoonists, and hasn't been to the US in support of his Fantagraphics book, which is really, really good. I enjoyed Vandenbroucke's book with D+Q -- it's very accessible, a lot of fun. Fayolle's In Pieces was a 2013 Nobrow release. And they're all participating in programming.

The Swedish Comics Association is another occasional exhibitor that will be here. There's also the Israeli artist Nimrod Reshef, and the Finnish cartoonist Ville Ranta (programming only, I think). That's a hell of a show all by itself.

******

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2. Mike Dawson Made A Mini-Comic Of His Recent TCJ Comics
I really liked these, and have enjoyed Dawson's diary comics over the last couple of years generally. So I was happy to hear a rumor he made a mini-comics version. I would track it down.

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3. The New Edie Fake
I'm sort of fascinated by comics that explore a space or series of spaces, real or imagined or re-imagined, rather a standard narrative. It's my understanding that describes Edie Fake's Memory Palaces fill that bill. That's a very interesting artist and Chicago is a place that has been the focus of Tony Fitzpatrick's astounding work in this area.

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4. Meghan Turbitt's #foodporn
Turbitt is a cartoonist and I believe teacher of comics local to New York; I picked up her minis at last year's show and they made me laugh. What I've seen of this series of comics makes me think this one will be funny, too.

******

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5. Various Issues Of Copra Including This New One, By Michel Fiffe
I would run over and buy this new one first thing because I bet it's going to sell out. I don't always like comics based on other comics, particularly superhero ones, either broadly or specifically, but these are attractive objects and the comics themselves are well-executed and fun. You'll someday regret not owning as many of these as possible.

******

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6. Operation Margarine, by Katie Skelly
Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books is one of comics' good guys, and this year he's publishing a bunch of new -- to him, and to many of us -- cartoonists. The first major release in that line-up is Katie Skelly's Operation Margarine, which looks interesting in this review by Sarah Horrocks.

******

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7. Petty Theft, by Pascal Girad
I'm kind of locked in to getting most of bigger-publisher books from established channels when I buy them as opposed to picking them up at shows, but it would be really hard to resist picking up a super-advance copy of the new Pascal Girard from the nice people at D&Q.

*****

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8. Ed Vs. Yummy Fur, by Brian Evenson
Stand-alone books of criticism! I'm very excited by Uncivilized Books doing a series of stand-alone critical works, and it's hard to imagine a better launch subject or writer than the one presented here.

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There will certainly be a ton of worthy books available, debuts and near-debuts and last year's books that were little seen and favored regulars. I didn't even get to Nobrow, and they'll have one of the finer tables at the show, with beautiful works both main-line and kids-line like this one. I think Joe McCulloch mentioned a giant Cowboy Henk collection in passing, which would be amazing. Top Shelf is there. Fantagraphics is there. Koyama Press is there; I've liked the Jesse Jacobs (not sure that's there, but still) and the Michael DeForge books I've read from them, and you should, too. So many. You know how it goes.

Hell, if I could just walk in and buy Adrian Tomine's postcards book, I would consider that a good day. I would use them as postcards, too! It's not right not to!

The point is, as much as these are what made an impression on me enough for a 20-minute post, I could easily put together another list just as if not more impressive -- some of these same artists have other debuts at this show! Hopefully, though, this will get you started, or encourage you to come out and attend.

Comics is a scene and events like MoCCA can be a social gathering, and the programming is really, really good with Bill Kartalopoulos on board. But the heart of any show is the books on hand, and I hope you'll consider buying a few either this weekend or in the days to come.

******
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Go, Look: Chris Schweizer Has An On-Line Store Now

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Festivals Extra: Russ Manning Newcomer Award Accepting Submissions Until April 30

Here. That's an award with an interesting pedigree and I have to imagine it'd be great to take home something with the late Russ Manning's name on it. I hope if it applies to you, you'll apply to it.
 
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Go, Look: Fun Cover Gallery Featuring The Falcon

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I believe The Falcon was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan
 
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Festivals Extra: WonderCon Announces Programming

I wish I had noticed this before the Festival column on Thursday, but it looks like Comic-Con has announced its 2014 WonderCon programming. That's interesting to me because I don't have a sense of that show's specific character in Anaheim -- I barely had a sense of it in the Bay Area, to be honest with you -- and one way to figure out a show and who it's serving is to check out the programming. You can start here.

It looks like they're providing an academic track and their writer/artist speed dating connection thing. I'm always for these academic conferences that fold themselves into conventions because those people need places to present. The Comic Creator Connection sessions seem like a really good idea, and I would have killed for something like that back in 1992 or whatever.

Update: Thursday must be the day that everyone announces things, because I see that LineworkNW has a page up on their satellite events and SPACE has their full programming and events page up.

Another Update: C2E2 has announced its programming as well.
 
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Nothing Better In The Whole Wide World Than A Bizarro Comic

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Events Still To Come In New York City MoCCA Festival Weekend

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I wrote a long post on Tuesday about events being held in conjunction with this weekend's MoCCA Festival in New York City. I thought I'd run an update post to add a few more things now that folks have been opening receptioned, edie faked and operation margarined. I hope everyone has a fun, safe and successful weekend.

1. Art Spiegelman Is Doing A Bunch Of Stuff Over The Weekend Including Talking To Neil Gaiman And Introducing People To His Window Installation
Art Spiegelman continues his run of interesting public events with a pair of doozies this weekend. Drawn and Quarterly has a succinct write-up on the whole bunch of them here. Spiegelman is in conversation with Neil Gaiman on Friday at Bard; those are two guys on the Mount Rushmore of talkers-about-comics. This one is at the show but worth mentioning: while he'll be signing at D+Q and I imagine generally around, Spiegelman is doing a panel with Joost Swarte. That should be great. Swarte will also appear at a breakfast Spiegelman is hosting for the High School Of Art & Design featuring his little-seen -- by comics people! -- glass window design, something I know of which he's very proud.

2. Society Of Illustrators Has Shows Up Right Now Featuring Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Joost Swarte And Drew Friedman
I don't know what their regular hours are so you'll have to look it up, but it's hard for me to imagine anyone coming away disappointed considering the quality of work each of those comics-makers has done.

3. There Is A Robert Williams Film Being Shown Friday, With Q&A Afterwards
Robert Williams is another considerable artist who is very, very good in a Q&A setting. I look forward to seeing the movie, although Robert Williams won't be in attendance when I do.

image4. Three Small Publishers Are Holding A Beer Fest On Friday Night
Here. I have a feeling this may skew young, or at least younger than me, but so does every square inch of New York when it comes to social events of this type.

5. James Kochalka Will Be Doing A Store Event In Brooklyn On Friday
Kochalka is doing a mini-tour in support of his new "Glorkian Warrior" book. I'm honestly not sure how frequently Kochalka travels and does these kinds of events these days, but he has a deserved fan base that I'm betting will be happy to see him. That's a nice store at which to attend events, too. You can always shop. Looks like he'll be around all day by one listing, but the others I've seen have it starting at 7 PM.

6. You Can Drink And Draw Like A Lady Friday Night
This group's pre-Mocca event will be at The Productive starting at 7 PM the night before the festival proper. Ladies only, please. Sixth year, whoa.

7. You Can Join The Traditional NYC Comic Jam Event At Dempsey's Pub
That one is right here.

8. There Will Be Official And Semi-Official Parties On Saturday Night
The SoI page lists three. What's most worth noting here, I think, is that the Society is opening its doors one more time -- free booze 7-8 -- and will do some official awards-naming business up there, it looks like.

9. There Is A Casual Afterparty Held Near The Show On Sunday Night
I haven't seen a listing for it, but Heidi MacDonald tweeted about it. It looks like all the information was there. I went to a version of this last year and I just let myself be carried along in conversation by all the nice accents.

10. Sophie Yanow Is Doing A Reading On Monday Night
She'll be reading from War Of Streets And Houses at Bluestocking Books. That should be good. I imagine there will be some people reluctant to do a comics event the day after a big comics festival, but SURELY NOBODY I KNOW.

11. Sam Alden Joins Sophie Yanow At The NY Comics & Picture Story Symposium
It's one of the greatest things in comics, Ben Katchor's weekly series of hosted presentations on various aspects of the comics art form. On Tuesday Sam Alden and Sophie Yanow will be there.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Monster Rally

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Not Comics: EW Going "Platform Route" Seems Like A Semi-Terrifying Development For Journalists

This cover feature on Jason Patric in advance of 1993's Geronimo is the last time I remember buying a copy of Entertainment Weekly. I bought it in a 7-11 in MIllersville, Pennsylvania. I worked for QVC, Inc. I suppose in a way this makes me part of the underlying drift towards something other than paid print content that one might argue has two decades later cost Owen Gleiberman his longtime job and sent EW on a course of exploiting free labor for content on a platform-style web site that will dangle the promise of reaching an audience that one used to build into gigs writing for publications like EW. I tend to think this kind of thing is a choice as much as it is an inevitability. Moreso, in most cases. I don't know if it was the author's intent, but the quotes in this article from the magazine people were pretty repulsive. It's hard to imagine putting dialogue like that into someone's mouth and having anyone believe it.

I think a great deal of the frustration with these things may be in that we all kind of suspect that using an army of bloggers willing for whatever reason to work for free or near-free while someone else is being paid -- as is frequently noted, you never hear about plans to bring on free lawyers and corporate officers -- just might be a path to profitability. I think we also know that even if you buy the premise of platform publishing, a lot of the statements made on behalf of this kind of thing are horseshit. There would seem to be no reasonable way to maintain baseline standards for 1000 unpaid writers commensurate to that you can achieve with 50 paid contributors, but we let people assert this anyway. Then again, it's unclear both how much that matters and how high the standard was in the first place. It's also true that while many people might prefer entertainment companies to function a certain way, they're not willing to constantly think these things through when it comes to their consumptive habits. I suspect the best outcome across the board is developing a counter-ethos of getting money to people that make things we value, including insightful commentary, and to work towards greater honesty about all the ways we contribute to a culture of exploitation. In the meantime, I wish those fired folks the best.
 
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Go, Look: Big George!

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Collective Memory: ECCC 2014

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Romantic Confessions Vol. 3 #1

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Drawn and Quarterly has acquired worldwide digital rights to Lynda Barry's ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS! and would like you to know it's available for purchase.

* DC announced that it will offer serial comics through Google Play. This follows a move to make their trade volumes available there last year, which I guess makes that announcement also an endorsement of the previous move. I think comics should be available everywhere that allows for a fair return to the creators involved, and it does seem like we're slowly marching in that direction just in terms of the ability of these companies to make these avenues work rather than any philosophical belief in something other than widespread availability.

* Oily Comics has launched a digital store. I thought they sort of had one, but the e-mail tells me this one is different.

* GoComics.com has added a half-dozen features to its on-line comics empire. They are Clay Jones' editorial cartoons; Francis by Pat Marrin; Oh, Brother! by Jay Stephens and Bob Weber Jr.; Scurvyville by Marc Shank; Sweet & Sour Pork by Bob Holt; and The Quixote Syndrome by Peter Mann.

* hey, it's a new installment of Blobby Boys.

* finally, Project: Ballad is set to return, at which point creators Kevin Czapiewski and Michael Peterson will apparently offer a digital collection of volume one.
 
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If I Were In Athens, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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

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If Nothing Else, It's One Of The All-Time Names

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Richard Bruton on Hilda And The Black Hound. Joe Hanson on Neurocomic. Rob Clough on R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years. Todd Klein on Astro City #9. Don MacPherson on Harley Quinn #0. Bruce P. on 34-sai Mushoko-san Vols. 3-4. Justin Giampaoli on various comics. J. Caleb Mozzocco on two from DC. Sean Kleefeld on Without Fear. Johanna Draper Carlon on Happy Marriage?! Vol. 5.

* Bob Temuka has some comics-related suggestions for things to do.

* I thought it interesting that Sarah Horrocks learned of Operation Margarine through a pin-up by Brandon Graham. It makes sense, though: with tumblr and similar tools, a pin-up or similar piece of art done these days can have a much wider effect in terms of getting the word out about a comic than 30 years ago.

* Roy T. Cook ponders whether the new She-Hulk series is a superhero comic. I agree that "it has a superhero in it" can be a problematic standard. But by the time I started wondering after my own answer, the TCJ message board beat all desire to ever argue definitions right out of me.

* Hannah Means-Shannon talks to Alex de Campi.

* Brian Gardes writes about moderating his first panel. My first moderating gig was the panel after Image went with Diamond during the Distributor Wars. So my advice to anyone is get Gary Groth on your panel to yell at Larry Marder.

* finally, a road not traveled down by Evan Dorkin.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Simon Bisley!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Bob Rozakis!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Dave Johnson!

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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auctions here; explanation and direct donation possibility here
 
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April 3, 2014


Go, Look: The Basil Wolverton Hotel Clerk Stories

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Fantagraphics Watching Seattle's $15/Hour Minimum Wage Debate

I hope you'll let me blog my way through this, because I don't think this is a story that's served by the kind of firm, line-in-sand rigidity of a formal news article -- not yet, anyway. There appears to be serious traction in Seattle, Washington for the potential passage of a $15/hour minimum wage law. The nearby airport community Sea/Tac passed a ballot initiative moving them in that direction, the mayor seems to be on board somewhat, and there are champions for the cause in city council. I'm not exactly able to gauge where things stand, but it looks like we're at the "gathering momentum" stage on the pro side and the "businesses suggest alternatives" on the "whoa, whoa, whoa" side. There's a lot of work to do. For instance, there's generally an issue with minimum wage laws concerning how to deal with employees that make money from gratuities, how that compensation is counted if it's counted at all. That would have to be figured out. I would also imagine that the general progressive nature of many Seattle employers will have an effect on the way the issue is considered. Like most tough issues there's a barrage of argumentation on all sides where various degrees of bad faith are assumed and arguments are shifted from the point being debated to stronger places of purchase. If the national Republican party continues to fray at its ultra-conservative seams, we may see a national debate about a simplified tax code that will take shape along the same lines.

If you're interested in reading about this issue as it is currently being debated, I'd maybe start with one of what I'm sure are many articles at The Stranger and then work your way through the links at the bottom of your first piece and take down some names and get to googling.

It occurred to me while flashing through an article or two in the limited time I have for such things right now that I know an employer that would be affected. Fantagraphics has been in Seattle for more than two decades now, and has traditionally hired a big chunk of its staff from the same local pool of young people that might work at the kind of businesses under more direct scrutiny with this law. I reached out to Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, and he confirmed that they have been following the debate closely. Reynolds said that while he didn't want to speak for an en-route-to-New-York Gary Groth with too much specificity, that his sense is that Fantagraphics is both generally in favor of the minimum wage being raised significantly and fearful that raising it all the way to $15 would, when combined with other financial factors that are having an effect on medium-sized business in terms of taxes and healthcare costs, make things more difficult for them. If a measure passed at the $15, they would likely consider a variety of options, including potentially recalibrating some positions in the office. My take is that they're quite happy with the current group, too, and would like to avoid any significant changes to basic infrastructure in any and every way possible. They've recently advertised for a junior designer. I imagine they'll be more than fine, and my hunch is that a different measure will pass in part because of input from business owners like Gary Groth.

I said during their crowd-funding campaign and stand behind it now that Fantagraphics always struck me as an honorable company in terms of not funneling money away from its workers to benefit people not doing work or in a way that vastly overvalued one kind of work over another. I had paid healthcare when I was there, too, during a time in the 1990s when the big companies seemed hellbent on blowing the industry's brains out and there was barely enough money to print books. But they are a business, and they have business concerns, and this is one to keep an eye on.
 
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Go, Look: Gillian Rhodes

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The Ignatz Awards Submissions Period Has Begun

imageThe Ignatz Awards have a page up describing their sensible and quite-easy-to-follow submissions process. It involves sending six copies of a work that came out between June 1 and May 31 to one of the Big Planet stores -- it's a different one this time -- where they will be distributed to the secret panel of judges. You have until June 7 to get your stuff into their hands. That's become a very important award to that community for a lot of reasons, I think, but mostly that there's been something of a consistency in the kind of work submitted and honored and a corresponding consistency in that part of comics.

As always, I look forward to sitting in the audience and not knowing any of the presenters.
 
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Go, Look: A Selection Of John Romita Jr. Original Pages

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Marvel To Move A 500K Copies Of Spider-Man Title Into DM

CBR announced it; ICv2.com discussed it.

That's a lot of comics.

I originally wrote this long-ass essay about whether or not this is a good thing, but I think we all know it's good and bad. It's good for that market to generate hits, and the creators involved with that character have done some appealing work recently. They deserve their bonuses. It's bad in that finessing hits until they're maximal hits is an allocation of resources that can only benefit the short-term. It's pretty crazy that we're not past that yet.
 
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Go, Look: Glenn Fabry Mini-Gallery

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Every Time Someone Posts Kona #1, I Will Link To It

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it's all MoCCA all the time now: go here for an easy list of ramp-up events and we'll have a bit of a preview tomorrow. I hope everyone is having fun and not doing anything that puts them in danger. Big city, that New York.

* early registration for this year's Comics & Medicine conference is about to end.

* Ontario's London Free Press takes note of not one but two comics-related events in their city this year. I imagine a lot of cities are coming to grips with how they're being hit with this explosion of interest in comics shows, and that they're comics towns of some sort after all.

* here's a report from a small press show in Indiana that I didn't know about. It took place at a Radisson near the airport, which is the kind of place back-issues-only style cons took place in the 1980s. The report is a classic confirm-friendships-made-online style piece. I don't even have a clue as to what that scene is like, but there are cartoonists just about everywhere now.

* Conundrum Press has announced its Spring events, including a stop at a convention with which I'm unfamiliar: the Stockholm International Comics Festival.

* it looks like registration is open for Thought Bubble.

* finally, I want to mention the current crowd-funder on behalf of the Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning; let's do it through Alan Gardner's endorsement. I love any show a little bit already when they take place in towns that don't naturally occur to me as festival-hosting cities.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: All The Cartoons From A 1960 Issue Of Look

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced it is starting a podcast. I have to imagine that will be a must-listen. Go check it out.

image* Rob Clough on Last Of The Mohicans. David Faust on Casanova. Sarah Horrocks on Operation Margarine.

* not comics: this piece on Facebook tries to throw cold water on that site being any sort of way to share information and converse, and thus a bad match for a lot people trying to make use of it that way. I know I don't use my Facebook CR presence, but that's mostly because I'm super-lazy as opposed to any insight as to how any of this work. I do think people are increasingly invested in the totality of their social media profile as opposed to individual sites not their own these days, for whatever that's worth.

* Saladin Ahmed would like to remind you that there were a number of heroic ladies in the comic book Golden Age period.

* this drawing of Batman by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella is cool-looking. Speaking of drawings, it's neat to see a John Byrne drawing of the X-Men I'd never seen before. It's like finding an obscure Led Zeppelin b-side.

* so I asked around as to what people saw at ECCC in terms of potential books of the show. Two that came up repeatedly where paper versions of Wolfen Jump and Cosmic Scoundrels. That's such a chummy show and the work of those that are in attendance is often being done for companies that don't exhibit, so it's a hard one to nail down exactly what people are excited about from a publishing standpoint. That can be kind of nice, though. The writer and consultant Rob Salkowitz told me -- I think he won't mind if I share this; apologies if so -- that his favorite book was the Sergio Toppi work from Archaia, which he bought not because it was new but it was a prominent book from a prominent publisher on the floor. We forget sometimes that people don't buy comics at the cutting edge of comics all the freaking time.

* Mr. Dash Shaw, everyone.

* you can go here and scroll down a bit and see several pages in English from Nina Bunjevac's forthcoming Fatherland. You can go here and see pages from Through The Woods. It looks like Zainab Akhtar has taken over PW's Panel Mania and it's already paying dividends.

* Kyle Sacks talks to Simon Roy.

* finally, there was that time in the 1970s that Howard The Duck was discussed in The New Yorker. If comics had a 30 For 30 documentary series and I was producing it, someone would do one on the artificial price inflation of Howard The Duck #1.
 
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