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
















July 31, 2014


Go, Look: The Next War

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Jay Maeder, RIP

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Go, Read: The Mary Sue's Update On Injured SDCC Cosplayer

Here. Bunch of stuff I didn't know yet: the identity of the arrested person, that the arrested person was someone known to the victim, that this person is out on bail, that this person is openly talking about his proximity to the victim that evening and denying involvement in any sort of assault, and the fact there may be other suspects. It's good to hear the victim is recovering and our thoughts are still with her.
 
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Go, Look: Anna Sailamaa

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Go, Read: SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein In Support Of The Supreme Court Hearing The Kirby/Marvel Case

The best write-up I've seen so far is here. I don't know if any of these briefs in support mean a damn thing, and I'm resigned to this going the other way. Still, it's been nice with a lot of these briefs, because they're written with a Supreme Court ruling in mind, talking about the issues more in terms of being reflective of desirable or undesirable law rather than whether or not the law -- no matter its nature -- was being adhered to. It really is too bad if Marvel can profit from an assumed relationship to Jack Kirby as a kind of employee when that seems clearly not their relationship by any rational measure you or I would describe someone working that way.
 
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Go, Look: Imagery From Nightslayer #1

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not sure why this showed up in my facebook feed a while back, but some of these images are fascinating
 
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Missed It: Amazon Hunkers Down At 30 Pct Revenue Point In Still-Ongoing Amazon Vs Hachette Battle

imageI haven't been covering the Amazon vs. Hachette battle as it strings itself out over several weeks because my interest is less in the particulars of that battle than in Amazon's tactics in fighting it. Like many other media, comics has ceded a significant amount of its sales to Amazon and Amazon-affiliated businesses, so how they pursue something they want becomes of significant interest even when there are multiple arguments about the potential outcomes, both short- and long-term.

So I was interested in this letter, which takes an unofficial talking point ("Amazon wants 50 percent") off of the table and brings the argument around to a pretty strong place for Amazon: their perceived ability to add to an author's bottom line vs. the perceived ability of publishers like Hachette to enhance it. Of course, I'd rather that these arguments were taking place at the 50 creator 25/25 other players, or even 70/15/15, but that's just me.
 
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Go, Look: Larry Todd

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By Request Extra: Rubber Necker #6

Nick Bertozzi has had a crowd-funding campaign going for his Rubber Necker #6 for a while, even though I haven't posted about until now. It's very modestly conceived, and I hope you'll check it out. Bertozzi is working a variety of projects right now, and I hope that his fan base will keep straight-up alterantive comics in the mix somehow.
 
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Go, Look: Heta Bilaletdin

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By Request Extra: John Porcellino Kickstarter Hits Goal

The crowd-funder in support of a documentary about John Porcellino has apparently hits its goal with several days remaining. I think Porcellino is an important cartoonist, and I'm hoping that the documentary, this fall's publication of The Hospital Suite and the tour in support of both will drive attention to that fact.

Mostly, though, I'm mentioning it here because I thought several of you might want to particpate.
 
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OTBP: Adventures On A Desert Island

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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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

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

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JUN141208 HOW TO BE HAPPY HC $24.99
MAY141406 GAST GN $22.99
Two really solid stand-alone volumes from two very talented creators, both at Fantagraphics. The first is Eleanor Davis' first major short-story collection, and people were oohing and aahing over it in San Diego. Gast is Carol Swain, with whom Fantagraphics has had a relationship for more than 20 year. Swain is a natural-born cartoonist of the Chester Brown variety in that she could draw people making sandwiches for 200 pages and it'd be interesting. I kow almost nothing about the book, but I'll buy it.

imageMAR140516 FATALE #24 (MR) $4.99
FEB140793 HAWKEYE #19 $3.99
APR140303 WAKE #10 (MR) $2.99
MAY140719 OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (MR) $2.99
MAY140027 BALTIMORE WITCH OF HARJU #1 $3.50
NOV130513 PROPHET #45 $3.99
A smaller than usual but potent week of comics that popped for me in the adventure comic serial comic book realm. That's a classy ending to the Brubaker/Phillips Fatale -- Brubaker's endings are under-appreciated -- and I look forward to their forthcoming noir project. The Hawkeye was the buzz book yesterday for a big chunk of the comics Internet I follow. There are only a handful of these left and all the creators involved are in a good creative space right now, so the individual comic books should be of a very high quality. Wake is a top-selling comic, although it hasn't really brought me into its world yet. Outcast is the new Robert Kirkman-written comic (with artist Paul Azaceta), so that's worth noting. I'm sure it's already been sold for some sort of film/tv adaptation. There's your Mignola, while Prophet #45 ends this cycle -- I think -- with another yet to come.

MAR140095 GASOLINE ALLEY HC VOL 02 COMPLETE SUNDAYS 1923-1925 $75.00
I thought the first one of these was a beautiful, fun, book, and I can't imagine this one not being more attractive. Not sure where I stand on having giant books around -- they're kind of a weird reading experience.

FEB140527 LAZARUS TP VOL 02 LIFT (MR) $14.99
I enjoy reading these well-executed genre comics in individual serial comic book form when I get them; don't remember much about them when I put the books down, although maybe that's not a criticism. I can certainly imagine this one becoming some sort of TV show in the next few years; there's at least three or four fun acting parts in here, and it feels like the creators have done the work of world creation rather than positioned themselves up near that work.

JUN140922 COMPLETE FUNKY WINKERBEAN HC VOL 02 1975-1977 $45.00
JUN140923 COMPLETE FUNKY WINKERBEAN HC VOL 03 1978-1980 $45.00
MAY140540 RIP KIRBY HC VOL 07 $49.99
There was a time not too many years ago where a Funky Winkerbean collection would have seemed perfectly normal and seven volumes of Rip Kirby would have seemed strange beyond measure. Now those positions are reversed. The funny thing is, I like both of these strips about equally.

MAR141262 NAJA HC $29.99
This is JD Morvan and Bengal, and looks impossibly, beautifully slick. Sci-fi comics are not my thing, but there's a definite mini-market there now even if what that market will handle and what it won't has been worked through just yet. I think Magnetic Press is doing a bunch of Bengal.

MAY141582 NEWT GN $7.99
This is Nicolas Mahler, with whom I'm familiar, working with an artist named Heinz Wolf, with whom I'm definitely not familiar. I like the price point of $8 for 80 pages, and would definitely check it out where I to encounter it in a comics shop.

JUN141437 SNOWPIERCER GN $14.99
I liked the movie, which was bonkers and pretty and had a lot of good actors chewing the scenery in an almost 1970s disaster-film way -- something I'm sure was intentional. The graphic novel on which the movie is based is pretty dull, and only for those that like traditional bd adventure-comics art or that saw the movie and wishes it were less frenetic and treated the plot with much more seriousness.

MAR140282 DOOM PATROL OMNIBUS HC (MR) $150.00
MAY141671 MONSTER TP VOL 01 PERFECT ED URASAWA $19.99
Finally, two of the best genre works of the 1990s, maybe top five in terms of consistent entertainment. The Doom Patrol is all of the Grant Morrison comics featuring that team from the transition-into-Vertigo period. I think those are funny, weird comics, and have an appealing trashiness to them that I don't think was a significant part of any other of the for-adults superhero books of that time period. Monster is one I haven't totally devoured yet, so I'm glad for a kind of legacy edition that should be around for a while.

*****

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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Go, Look: House Of Mystery #88

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Collective Memory: Comic-Con International 2014

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Comic-Con International, held July 24-27 at San Diego Convention Center in San Diego.

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

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Institutional
* Convention Site
* Festival Location
* Host City

Audio

Blog Entries
* ComicBook.com
* Comic-Con's Toucan Blog

* Robot 6 (Index)

* The Beat (Index)
* The Outhousers

Facebook
* Comic-Con International On Facebook

Miscellaneous
* APE Home Page
* Wonder Con Home Page

News Stories and Columns
* 10News
* Boston.com
* Comicosity
* Deadline
* Ecumenical News
* Entertainment Weekly
* Forbes
* Fox News 01
* Fox News 02
* Huffington Post
* KOIN
* Newsweek
* New York Daily News
* New York Times
* PW 01
* SFGate
* The Blaze
* The Salt Lake Tribune
* Time

Photos And Other Visuals
* Jacq Cohen
* Robot 6
* The Mary Sue

Twitter
* #SDCC2014

Video

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Go, Look: Lisa Hanawalt At Inprnt

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Alison Bechdel Among Those Speaking Out On Palestinian Rights

Other folks participating include Chuck D and Gloria Steinem. Bechdel is described as both a cartoonist and the creator of The Bechdel Test, which is an interesting pop-culture note in an otherwise super-serious project.

Ethan Heitner is collecting graphics here on the same subject.

You can see a broad cross-section of more traditional editorial cartoonist reactions here.
 
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Go, Look: Pascal Barret

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* well, that was something. A ton of legit news stories still tracking out of CCI, and my notes-report was imminent. Short version: 1) interesting and strong comics show, 2) enough problems and potential problems that I think many people fond of that show are genuinely worried, 3) los bros won eisners.

image* they re-adjust in a couple of weeks and focus on APE. Most of the North American-focused comics community at large focuses on Baltimore, NYCC or SPX depending on one's general orientation.

* I think it's actually a positive for comics to have some downtime in the schedule the same way I like shows to build in some dead time around the programming and floor hours. Don't get me wrong: there are definitely shows in August, but mostly people are sitting around clutching their heads from the last couple of weeks unless they're directly involved with one of those shows. They'll gear up again for a concentrated run from SPX through ICAF.

* one such August festival is Safari Festival.

* we should get some more news on ICAF soon, or that's what I've been led to believe. It already looks like a pretty fun show, and Columbus is a fine comics town. I'll be there and look forward to it.

* finally, here's a call for contributions to a Kirby-related exhibition at Angouleme, which will run next year during the festival and then again at the museum in Angouleme in slightly larger form. Any excuse to run Kirby art.
 
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If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Zap Comix Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Vol. 7.

* not comics: Charles CW Cooke at National Review takes on geek culture and the geek cultural archetype. I can't imagine there's a lot in there I'd find interesting or useful, but there is is if you want to buy it.

* not comics: some of my high school friends are passing this article around on Facebook. I think art matters, and I think it matters in these ways and I think it matters in negative ways, too.

* finally, educator Charles Hatfield posts information about his forthcoming comics course. There's a lot that's interesting there, including the syllabus and Hatfield's suggestion to work with a local comics store to obtain the books; they'll provide a discount. I don't know what buying books is like now, but I liked buying books on campus because it was easiest to have one bill at the end of the year. I have to imagine the Internet has nuked that system, though.
 
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Happy 36th Birthday, Nate Powell!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Jog!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Alex Holden!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Leinil Francis Yu!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Gary Barker!

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July 30, 2014


Go, Look: Pierre Alary

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Reports: Cosplayer Attending CCI Believed To Be Assaulted Sunday AM, Man Arrested At Marriott

Here's the LAist blog post. Here's Crave Online. Here's The Raw Story. Here's G33K HQ. Here's the comics press I could find early this morning: The Beat and CBR.

Our thoughts and prayers and deepest concerns are with the victim, her family and her friends.

Because of the ongoing discussion of harassment at comics conventions, this will no doubt fuel an accelerated, super-heated version of that rolling conversation. I think that can start in its own post.
 
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If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Grégoire Carlé

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Kelly Thompson on Outcast #1. Joel Schlosberg on Stan Lee And The Rise And Fall Of The American Comic Book.

* Paul Constant argues that the ubiquity of the Internet and the alignment of nerd properties with major meda conglomerates has rendered SDCC irrelevent, at least as a spotlight on all things geek cultural.

* coming soon: Beowulf.

* Art Adams Marvel cards.

* finally, what a lovely page for sale by the cartoonist Josh Cotter. I would love to be able to afford that purchase today, and I thought one of you out there might feel the same way about the art, just with more cash on hand.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Chris Sprouse!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Tom Ziuko!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Dan Nadel!

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July 29, 2014


Go, Look: Yukari Miyagi

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On National Lasagna Day, An Appreciative Nation Fixes Its Gaze On Recent Birthday Boy Jim Davis

The week after Comic-Con is the best week.
 
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Go, Look: Skull Comics #1-6

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More Details Seep In On ZombieWalk Hit And Run

I'm still playing catch a bit on the story of a few folks being harmed by a car in San Diego over the convention weekend during the ZombieWalk, mostly because it's an event not directly affiliated with Comic-Con and also because a lot of to-media commentary has been delayed.

This seems as good as any of the write-ups. Today's version has the official walk being several blocks ahead, which makes this event more a standard "during comic-con weekend" piece of emotional turmoil and overreaction than something that can be said to be at the heart of the show. Between this story and some extended coverage of demand for attention to harassment issues, the immediate legacy for this particular Comic-Con seems to involved things that have developed outside of the show's immediate purview.

As always, we extend our sympathies to all the victims here, by which we mean anyone that suffered physical or emotional duress.
 
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Go, Look: Ayumu Arisaka

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Go, Look: Reality #2

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Festival Extra: Cartoonist Lewis Trondheim In The Midst Of Month-Long Residency In Quebec

I may be reading this wrong, but I think this article at ActuaBD.com has Lewis Trondheim in Quebec for a month doing an artist's residency in coordination with a BD festival. I mention it here because he's a world-class cartoonist with a sizable audience and this is a strategy I haven't yet heard about a festival using, and it makes total sense. Watch that for the next couple of years: a lot of the established shows are going to do more to increase their footprint in those areas of influence that aren't simply making a bigger show.
 
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OTBP: Copra #16

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Drawn And Quarterly Announces A 25th Anniversary Book, A Revamped Web Site And Several 2015 Projects

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Drawn And Quarterly's Tracy Hurren and Julia Pohl-Miranda held a publishing news panel on Saturday at Comic-Con International. It was attended by about 40 fans and press members, pretty solid for 10 in the morning. In quiz-show format -- with prizes for correct answers -- Hurren and Pohl-Miranda walked their way through some potential highlights of the next few seasons. I'm going to focus on 2015 works, just because the other works have been previously announced and because my morning meeting ran long and it takes forever to get anywhere at that show now. I think I would have anyway.

* January 2015 will see the release of Michael DeForge's First Year Healthy, which like a lot of DeForge's work has had a life on-line in serial form. That should be 30 pages, which they'll make into a hardcover picture book for $14.95.

* D+Q announced they'll be working with the Eisner Award-winning translator and manga scholar Ryan Holmberg, on what sounded like more than one project -- or at least what is a first project with hopefully more to come. The collaboration we'll see first is set for February: Trash Market, by Tadao Tsuge. That book will collect a bunch of short stories from Garo as assembled and put into context by Holmberg. That should run 272 pages, and retail for $22.95.

* one book I'm very much looking forward to next year is SuperMutant Magic Academy, the collection of Jillian Tamaki's on-line comics of that name. That's going to be 224 pages and retail for $19.95. The interesting thing about this one is they said Tamaki will be doing enough new work to finish up the SMMA storyline in that single volume. It will be mostly black and white, with some color. We should see that in May, which I bet means a TCAF debut.

* the reprint of Melody by Sylvie Rancourt will be of the original comics written and drawn by the cartoonist, and feature a translation by Helge Dascher. Chris Ware volunteered to do the preface because of his affection for those comics. That will be $22.95 retail and run about 350 pages.

* Zack Davisson is working with them on bringing Shigeru Mizuki's Hitler into English-language publication. The publishing date on that one is less certain: probably early 2016, maybe late 2015. That will be one 300-page volume, and will most likely appear in softcover.

* the last book announced at the panel was Drawn And Quarterly: 25 years Of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics And Graphic Novels. That will be a 512 page hardcover out in May 2015, unless I totally screwed that up. That will include essays, historical material, and an interview with company founder Chris Oliveros. Michael DeForge, Guy Delisle and Lisa Hanawalt are among the artists contributing brand-new work. Margaret Atwood is set to write about Kate Beaton. That's the cover by Chester Brown up top.

Hurren and Pohl-Miranda closed the show with a sneak preview of the D+Q web site revamp, which should launch between August 1 and August 4. It seems very content driven, less concerned with design peccadilloes of 15 years ago -- most notably the studio/office advent calendar style interface -- and with the ability to drive people to site orders more effectively. They also promised they've been saving blog posts to have fresh content for several days in a row after launch.

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

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Go, Look: The Strange Couple!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of recent mainstream comic books. Todd Klein on The Royals #5. Sean Gaffney on Soul Eater Vol. 21 and Umineko: When They Cry Vol. 7.

* not comics: I did not know that Charles Schulz and now his estate sponsored/sponsors a hockey tournament. That's sort of fascinating.

* Alana Marie Burke profiles Antonio F. Branco. Brian Heater talks to Peter Kuper. Randi Belisomo profiles Roz Chast.

* this SDCC manga license round-up is worth reading to the point I'm happy to link of it removed from the context of con linkage.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld made a good catch here: he finds and discusses a Rob Salkowitz article on some event survey work from right before Comic-Con. There's a bunch of stuff in there, and I bet the stuff about gender parity gets pulled if it hasn't been already. I think the thing I find fascinating there is idea of how money is spent and how and why.
 
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Happy 67th Birthday, Baru!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Ted May!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Gail Simone!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Lovern Kindzierski!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Nick Gazin!

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July 28, 2014


Go, Look: Liisa Blog

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OTBP: Terror Assaulter O.M.W.O.T.

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Go, Read: A Piece At HU About A Pair Of My Tweets

Here. I am grateful for any criticism and learned from this piece by Kim O'Connor. I hope you'll give it a read.
 
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Go, Look: An Original Mary Perkins On Stage Sunday

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Go, Look: The Photo Of Comic-Con 2014, Alt-Comics Division

Here.
 
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Go, Look: Gene Colan Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: Reality #1

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Dan Vado has updated his "Go Fund Me" campaign with a note about the SLG presence at this last weekend's Comic-Con International. Vado has cleared a bit over $11K in the campaign, with a goal of $85,000.

* this Rick Geary crowd-funder has met its initial goal, but as it is Rick Geary, I thought some of you still might like to get on board.

* the Steve Ditko/Robin Synder publishing team turns its attention to Mr. A.

* this Lee Milewski campaign that had some traction in terms of professional recommendations is heading into its final hours, successfully funded.

* the writer Valerie D'Orazio has launched a crowd-funding campaign here, for a comic she'd like to do with Bobby Timony.

* finally, the Watson And Holmes property is the subject of this crowd-funder; that's a high-profile effort and a winner of multiple awards.
 
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Go, Look: It's Bear Attack Month Again

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

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Jog And I Were Both Struck By This Blade Sequence

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

Let's stick with a pair of review recommendations today. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail Of The Unicorn, while Chris Mautner has a long piece here about the new Witzend deluxe presentation. It's interesting to read this older material for the casual, occasional prejudice on display: racism and ethnic hatred in some comics; straight up old-boy sexism in others. I would certainly encourage all parents who are going to read older comics as part of their library for children in their home to read any older material to see if the ideas on display match up with their own in a way that might require a talk with the kids, or to skip the material entirely. That said, I love a lot of these comics, and am very glad they're collected. We live in amazing times.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Miriam Libicki!

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Happy 69th Birthday, Jim Davis!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Jon J Muth!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Will Pfeifer!

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July 27, 2014


Woman Struck By Car During San Diego ZombieWalk; Everyone Shuts Down Media Comment Until Monday

A long-running "zombie walk" that takes place Comic-Con weekend in San Diego was the scene of an incident Saturday evening where a man with his two small children tried to drive out of the area where the walk was taking place, had his car physically touched (the range of the touching is at issue) by people participating, and then in trying to get away from that the car hit a 64-year-old woman. At least that's the timeline offered by Deadline, one of several major media outlets to pounce on the story.

The report says that the injured woman was hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries. I believe from still images of video I've seen that the injured was not part of the ZombieWalk, but I can't confirm.

The walk is not directly affiliated with Comic-Con; it is one of several events that in the last few years have come to be held during and around the convention. The walk is a relative old-timer in those terms, having been around I believe since 2007.

That same Deadline report also has everyone shutting down on comments -- Comic-Con deferring to local law enforcement, law enforcement deferring pending further investigation, and the event organizers after a flurry of defensive-sounding comments here. There are also similarly-toned responses on their Facebook page.

The Deadline report further says that no one has yet been arrested, as a bunch of other reports have stated. We'll see how that one plays out. The consensus of media reporting has the man being identified -- thus the description in that first graph.

We at CR are sorry for the woman's injuries and hope she recovers quickly and fully. We are also sorry for the potential panic and discomfort experienced by the person in the car with their children, and those children. If there were other negative outcomes related to physical injury or emotional stress, we hope for the best there, too.

So.

It seems to me two related Comic-Con stories are relevant here -- or at least there are two stories that will be linked to this one, particularly the first one. That first one is the death of a woman named Gisela Gagliardi crossing the street while returning to a line for a Comic-Con event in 2012. The second is the growing sprawl of related events that take place during the weekend but are not directly affiliated with the show.

As to the first, I think the difference beyond the obvious, relative seriousness of each injury is that one person was waiting in line for an official Comic-Con event and this incident was not an official Comic-Con event. In the former case, Comic-Con International could then be safely expected to review their line policies. While they have declined to comment on a pair of inquiries from this site as to what that conversation entailed or how it may have changed policy, we know that conversation took place. I'm not sure what if anything Comic-Con can do with this new incident other than maybe reflect on any similar policies at an increasingly crowded show. In fact, I expect all organizers of events during Comic-Con weekend will probably consider the implications; I hope if I were involved that we would do so.

I also suppose an aggressive strategy regarding any kind of outside event suggesting the slightest hint of affiliation with Comic-Con, even casually, might be considered. Mostly, I'm not sure where Comic-Con goes with this, although I expect them to defer to local law enforcement in terms of making a statement.

As to the second, this is sort of a minor nightmare scenario for Comic-Con. They've expressed direct concern about the sprawl of events: first for an unfortunate result out of their control, like this one, second for how that will be used to criticize the con itself. Even that measured Deadline piece characterized this as a dark mark on Comic-Con weekend, which may or may not be fair (on the one hand, not affiliated; on the other, Comic-Con does get similar, indirect credit when off-site events go well, so maybe this is fair going the other way).

I think the city bears some responsibility, too. I get why you endure the traffic problems caused by a giant convention; I'm not sure why a zombie walk is allowed near cars that can hurt people and near people that can be scared by this kind of thing just because they happen to be going about their business at some time that's not convenient for the zombies and their walking. It's a little bit confusing to me. I know when my town has a parade that involves any public sidewalk or street those spaces are blocked off an hour in advance and there's no way this kind of scenario could come close to happening.

I am a big fan of events using Comic-Con as a springboard for nearby activity, but I do think it's wholly on them and any/all civic partners to make those events as safe as possible. I feel that's true of Image Expo, I feel that's true of any walk-through promotion in a parking lot, and I suspect that when I know more I'll think it's a true thing here. That said, this is still an issue for Comic-Con, because the convention's sprawl needs to be accommodated on some level.

Right now, everyone is waiting and seeing. Let's hope that there's continued attention to this after the flash heat of the breaking story dies down.
 
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Hic & Hoc Publications Announces Scaffold For SPX 2014

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One of my favorite small-press publishers, Hic & Hoc Publications, announced this morning through Matt Moses their intention to collect the limited-run Scaffold series into book form, with the first making its debut at September's SPX 2014.

Scaffold is the work of Californians VA Graham and JA Eisenhower, who work as the two-person collective Most Ancient. Moses described Scaffold as telling the story "of a migratory people living on a world-sized structure, which is itself constantly on the move." The series is probably most distinctive for the the scale at which the artists work, how they build layouts from continuous space.

The book will be 64 pages and retail for $15.
 
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Conundrum Press Announces The Dailies By Dakota McFadzean For Spring 2015; Book Will Debut At TCAF

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The increasingly indispensable boutique publisher Conundrum Press has announced a book collection of Dakota McFadzean's The Dailies for Spring 2015, with a hardcover release to coincide with that year's TCAF.

The book of webcomics material will be 365 pages in full color, three comics per page -- making for three years' worth of strips -- and retail for $25. The publisher previously worked with the artist on Other Stories And The Horse You Rode In On.

A video and personal statement from the cartoonist appear at the blog post.
 
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Fantagraphics Announces Liz Suburbia's Sacred Heart

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Fantagraphics Books' Jacq Cohen sent out a press release this morning announcing they had acquired the publishing rights to Liz Suburbia's webcomic Sacred Heart. They will publish it as a one-shot graphic novel in Summer 2015.

Fantagraphics acquired international publishing rights.

This will be Suburbia's first graphic novel with the publisher and may be the first book in that format she's done, period. Suburbia lives in Nevada, and is best known for her series Cyanide Milkshake. In the release, Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds calls the work reminiscent of coming-of-age comics like that portion of Jaime Hernandez's Locas series and Charles Burns' Black Hole.
 
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If I Were In Manchester, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 76th Birthday, Pierre Christin!

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July 26, 2014


Fantagraphics Formally Puts Lucy Knisley's Displacement On 2015 Schedule, Releases Cover And Art

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Fantagraphics Books Publisher Gary Groth announced early this morning that the publisher has officially added the second of Lucy Knisley's travelogues for his company to the publishing docket. This one is called Displacement, and details a trip that the cartoonist and illustrator took with her grandparents, both of whom are in their nineties.

The fully-watercolored softcover will be released in the first half of 2015. It should run slightly over 200 pages.

imageKnisley told CR she considers the comic -- which was completed in early 2013 before her immediately forthcoming Age Of License, although Knisley's work on those books overlapped for a time -- in many ways the thematic opposite of that first book with Fantagraphics, and thus able to comment on various life issues from a completely different perspective than the forward-looking and in-the-moment views explored there. The youth, liberty and possibility of Age Of License are transformed into a meditation on mortality and one's reflections on life as lived.

My memory is that Age of License and Displacement were parts of a single negotiation with Fantagraphics that encompassed both works.

Although only her second book with the Seattle-based publisher, Displacement will be the fourth travelogue created by Knisley, with more to come. The cartoonist told CR that one thing that's personally appealing about those works is how they lock into place a certain time in her memory, and she can see both the times depicted in the works and how she was treating events as an author during that time in her life.

A happy Eric Reynolds told CR that Knisley's first book, Age Of License, is set to become their likely first or second (after the first Don Rosa ducks collection) sell-out at this year's Comic-Con International. That book remains set for a September 2014 wider release.

photo of Knisley by Whit Spurgeon

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Your 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Winners

imageThe Eisner Awards were held last night in conjunction with Comic-Con International at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego, California.

Comics legends Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez won their first-ever Eisner Awards. Jaime won for "Best Writer/Artist" behind his work in Love & Rockets: New Stories #6. Gilbert won for "Best Short Story" for that same issue's "Untitled."

The big winners of the night were Saga and the divisions at IDW headed by Dean Mullaney and Scott Dunbier. The pizza dog story in Hawkeye was the winner in the stand-alone comic division, while that comic book's writer Matt Fraction shared in a new series award for his Sex Criminals (with Chip Zdarsky). Fraction also accepted an award on behalf of winning cover artist David Aja.

Goddamn This War!, one of the last comics edited start to finish by Kim Thompson before he passed away a month before last year's Eisners, was also a winner.

Memorable moments included Faith Eric Hicks tearful winning speech after a Best Publication For Kids (Ages 8-12) win, Eric Reynolds giving an emotional speech after Thompson's book won followed immediately by a funny one when a book from the now defunct PictureBox took an award. Bill Foster's speech on behalf of African-American comics pioneer Orrin Evans was a high point, as was Jack Mendelsohn verbally pummeling one or two comics historical figures when getting the Bill Finger. Jonathan Ross and Batton Lash did a speech that failed to live up to its technical promise but which allowed Ross to be funny and grumpy. Jackie Estrada declared it the shortest Eisners ever.

A pair of people expressed surprise to me that Robert F. Kennedy award winner March Vol. 1 failed to win either of its two categories (Nate Powell was nominated for an individual award for his work in that book). More than a few expressed open delight at seeing presenter Sergio Aragones so lively and engaged.

A small crowd stayed at the afterparty until the lights were shut off. Joe Ferrara sang a song. Gary Groth took a photo with Denis Kitchen. New dad Andrew Farago accepted congratulations. It was a nice evening.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners. Winners are in bold.

*****

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

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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!)

*****

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

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

BEST ADAPTATION FROM ANOTHER MEDIUM

* The Castle, by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromir 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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

BEST US 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)

*****

BEST US 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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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!)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

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)

*****

In addition to the Eisner Awards, some related awards were given.

There was also a Hall of Fame component to the evening. Irwin Hasen, Sheldon Moldoff and Orrin C. Evans were inducted by the judges, who broke form the traditional two deceased persons named to include a living inductee.

Those same judges chose 14 nominees that were then presented to the Eisner voting public. They were:

* Gus Arriola
* Howard Cruse
* Philippe Druillet
* Rube Goldberg
* Fred Kida
* Hayao Miyazaki
* Tarpé Mills
* Alan Moore
* Francoise Mouly
* Dennis O'Neil
* Antonio Prohias
* Rumiko Takahashi
* George Tuska
* Bernie Wrightson

*****

Bill Finger Excellence In Comics Writing awards went to Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo and Jack Mendelsohn. The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award went to Joe Field. The Will Eisner Spirit Of Comics Retailer award went to Legend Comics & Coffee in Omaha and All Star Comics in Melbourne. The Russ Manning awared went to Aaron Conley. The names read in memory were Jody Clampett, Gary Arlington, Bill Baker, Larry Ivie, Bhob Stewart, Joey Manley, Stan Lynde, Morrie Turner, Chris Reilly, Dick Ayers, Nick Cardy and Al Feldstein.

*****

The winners named last night are in bold. Information on all the nominees can be found here.

The nominating committee for this year's awards, including the Hall of Fame, was Kathy Bottarini, William H. Foster III, Christian Lipski, Lee Oeth, Jenny Robb and James Romberger.

*****

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Comic-Con International Documentary: Home Away From Home


2012 Day At Comic-Con International


Stan Lee Speaks At The 1975 San Diego Comic-Con


Sailor Moon Cosplay 2000 Comic-Con International


One Of Many CCI Tip Guides Up On YouTube


Film Of Clips Shot At 2010 Comic-Con International



Paul Pope Talks About Inking


David Malki Vs. CCI
 
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If I Were In Medina, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 39th Birthday, Brannon Costello!


 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Lawrence Watt-Evans!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Bob Pinaha!


 
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July 25, 2014


Fantagraphics Announces Major Vaughn Bodé Publishing Initiative

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Early this morning Fantagraphics and publisher Gary Groth announced a major new publishing initiative featuring the life, art and comics of iconic cartooning figure Vaugh Bodé. In April 2015, Fantagraphics will reintroduce the underground legend into the modern comics conversation via a freshly designed, over-sized omnibus called The Big Book Of Me. There will be more books in the initiative, yet to be announced, the idea being to re-publish the underground cartoonist in a way befitting his stature and the demands of the modern market.

Bodé's Cheech Wizard was one of the well-traveled characters of the underground and overground comics eras. The character dates back to 1956 and Bodé's college newspaper gig. Described as "a lascivious con man" in Fantagraphics' accompanying publicity write-up, Cheech Wizard would remain with the cartoonist past his student days. He eventually appeared in various underground comix and National Lampoon, becoming an iconic image across several US subcultures including graffiti and tattoos.

The publisher will work with Bodé's son, Mark Bodé, who has served as a caretaker of the elder Bodé's work and is himself a well-regarded cartoonist working in style similar to that employed by his father.

The Bodé project represents the first major effort by longtime company mainstay Mike Baehr on the editorial side of making comics after years in various support and administrative positions at the company. Baehr told CR he was extremely excited that this could be one of his first editorial projects with the publisher, and that he hopes he can perhaps work on other Bodé works down the line as they're added to the schedule.

"Much in comics is cyclical, so that right now there's a lot of people taking fantasy devices and genre stuff in whichever direction they choose, without very many constraints -- it's enough that we might be fooled into thinking this generation invented it," critic Joe McCulloch told CR. "Cycling back to Bode will show how wild things could get on a different frontier."

Vaughn Bodé (1941-1975) was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall Of Fame in 2006.

The Big Book Of Me by Vaughn Bodé is due from Fantagraphics in April of 2015. It will be a softcover and will retail at $19.99. These are frequently beautiful and wholly idiosyncratic comics; I'm glad for them to be getting special treatment at a high-end arts-comics publisher and look forward to this first volume.

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Scholastic Makes Official New Bone Volume One To Celebrate Ten Years Of Publication

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Scholastic made official something that's been discussed semi-openly since last year -- that cartoonist Jeff Smith is working on new Bone-related material for an anniversary-style celebration of his book's time at the children's publishing giant. A color edition of Bone Volume One: Out From Bonesville -- the book that launched the Graphix imprint and cemented children's graphic novel publishing as a feature of the North American marketplace -- will be released in February of next year.

In addition to the color work by Jeff Smtih and color artist Steve Hamaker, the anniversary edition will contain a "brand-new illustrated poem" by Smith, as well as a series of small-comics and pin-ups from a number of Smith's favorite cartoonists, friends, and fellow category mainstays. The PR announced Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Kazu Kibuishi, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier and Craig Thompson,

Jeff Smith appeared at Comic-Con International this year on behalf of this announcement and also in support of his new print comic book, Tuki #1.
 
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Stan Lee And Jules Feiffer No-Show Comic-Con International

imageStan Lee has laryngitis; it's been said that Jules Feiffer has a pre-condition that could lead to pneumonia were he to risk travel. Neither elder statesman of comics was able to make the weekend show. Lee canceled planned appearances today or tomorrow. A packed audience for a Jules Feiffer panel that included Paul Levitz and Jules Feiffer were told that the playwright and seminal comics-for-sophisticated-audiences maker wouldn't be on-hand.

Feiffer was to be on hand in support of his forthcoming Kill My Mother; Lee seem slated mostly to promote one of his media crossover properties.

We wish both men rest and good health.
 
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I Added Several Updates To The comiXology DRM-Free Story

Here.
 
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Go, Look: 1000 Jokes

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

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

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Go, Look: The Greatest Experiment

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Paul Gravett discusses top items from that British Library show.

image* Kelly Thompson on Rocket Raccoon #1. Rob Clough on new releases from Yeti Press. Erica Friedman on Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari Vol. 13.

* if you were to make a list of fundamental effects in comics -- not that this is specific or unique to comics -- showing the difference in size between two objects and mustering an effect from that fact would be right up there.

* Bryan Lee O'Malley on what he learned from Osamu Tezuka.

* for some reason, the usual humorous approach concerning these border kids strikes me as uniquely unsuited to the issue involved. I mean, I know that's not true; you can do humor about everything. It could be that I'm not up on the nuances on the issue.

* finally, Wonder Woman fights a bear.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Ray Billingsley!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Jon Lewis!

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Happy 73rd Birthday, S. Clay Wilson!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Alex Wald!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Chip Bok!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Ted Benoit!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Dan Shahin!

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July 24, 2014


ComiXology Announces DRM-Free Backup Feature At Their Thursday Comic-Con International Panel

During their panel today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the digital comics platform comiXology announced a DRM-free backup feature that in their words "allows customers to download and store copies of their books." They have also announced their first run of participating publishers, which as soon I can get my fat ass over to the panel from my one-thirty meeting will safely slide into the place this sentence goes.

imageThis isn't an area about which I know a ton, but my reading of this issue in the past was that the use of DRM by comiXology was key to their getting certain publishers to climb on board, but came at the price of open criticism and some customer loss from those that believe that having a copy of the work they wanted to view was infinitely preferable -- or at least preferable to the point of their deciding to participate -- than DRM protected media, which is often compared to buying a right to see something rather than the actual something. This leads to difficulties when a newer service shuts down, perhaps, and also can interfere with certain kind of transfer of material between devices.

I would also imagine that there might have been a slight hiccup in that for some people in the company, some folks using it and/or a few professionals assessing it, the Guided View reading technology could be characterized as the company's unique contribution. That will still be available, of course, but different formats might encourage different viewing options and at least strategically it's understandable you might check the direction of all oars, particularly early on.

Backups for existing copies are available through the "My Books" section starting today. The backups will be high-definition PDF and CBZ. I will be downloading a bunch for my comiXology books myself. I will also be consider some bigger purchases there -- I think I had been basically buying, if only subconsciously, books I wouldn't mind losing.

I think this is significant news for one of comics' major players.

Update One: Initial participating publishers announced at the panel were Image, Zenescope, Thrillbent, Top Shelf, Dynamite and Monkeybrain.

Update Two: I talked to a top five publisher and a top ten publisher who will participate and are behind the move, but could not do what was necessary administration-wise to be part of the initial announcement because of Comic-Con ramp up. That does make me think the final stages of this may have come pretty quickly.

Update Three: Others I've talked to since penning the above piece disagree with my last statement, thinking that it's a publicity-driven statement more than one that will have any real effect. I would it's hard to measure something like that -- certainly if your reluctance in using that service was the DRM-free aspect, this diminishes the potential for that effect, and that's indeed more of a PR effect rather than one that moves needles. But you know, comiXology exists in that space, too, now, and could use a positive story of a certain kind post-Amazon. I would also imagine that any practical improvements -- such as the improved ability to move comics device to device -- also might play out differently as consumption habits develop.

Update Four: The panel included a strong emphasis on the Submit self-publishing program, including their ongoing sale of material using that program and stories of publisher picking up specific properties after they were published there.

Update Five: According to Chip Mosher after the panel, comiXology didn't lose anyone after the move to Amazon. I had heard a rumor of a 1-2 publishers maybe bailing, a rumor Mosher shot down pretty quickly.

Update Six: Top Shelf was added to the list of initially participating companies. My apologies for the omission.
 
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AdHouse Books Announces UR By Eric Haven As Its Sole Fall 2014 Season Offering

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The publisher AdHouse Books announced through its owner Chris Pitzer early today that it would be publishing a single book for the Fall 2014 season: UR by Eric Haven.

Pitzer told CR that he and the cartoonist started talking about doing a project together when the Richmond, Virginia-based publisher won the piece of art that Haven had donated to Rina Ayuyang's art auctions for Typhone Haiyan relief.

The book will run 48 pages in full color, will by a 6 X 9 inche softcover book, and will cost $14.95 USD.

UR is planned for a December release.

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Retrofit Comics Announces 2015 Creator Line-Up; Will Have James Kochalka's Fungus Ready For SPX 2014

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Box Brown of Retrofit Comics announced this morning a slew of creators with whom the publisher -- specializing mostly but not entirely in old-fashioned alt-comics of a serial nature -- will work in 2015. That list is:

* Matt Madden
* Yumi Sakugawa
* Sophie Franz
* Laura Lannes
* Kate Leth
* Andrew Lorenzi
* Laura Knetzger
* Maré Odomo

Brown also announced three projects with a bit more detail:

* an art book by the cartoonist and illustrator Steven Weissman
* a special edition of Future Shock, edited by Josh Berggraff
* two books by Brown

This is in addition to other projects as the schedule allows.

At SPX 2014, the publisher plans to have James Kochalka's Fungus: The Unbearable Rot Of Being on hand. Brown promises the work is a "surreal and funny outsider look at the elements of our own reality. That one will be 108 pages, perfect bound, and cost $12.
 
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Image Comics Makes A Dozen Publishing Announcements At Pre-SDCC Image Expo Event

imageImage Comics held one of their Image Expo events on the Wednesday preceding Comic-Con International, at the Hilton Bayfront. While there have been some small hints of controversy in so many events being held in proximity to the convention without being at the actual convention, having an Expo is certainly a way for the comics publisher to capitalize on a captive audience of press and fans waiting for the big show to start. They'll also win the initial 24 hours of press barring some sort of PR bomb being dropped.

They made 12 announcements:

* Descender, Jeff Lemire And Dustin Nguyen
* Drifter, Ivan Brandon And Nic Klein
* From Under Mountains, Marian Churchland And Claire Gibson And Sloane Leong
* Injection, Warren Ellis And Declan Shalvey
* Intersect, Ray Fawkes
* Invisible Republic, Gabriel Hardman And Corinna Bechko
* Kinski, Gabriel Hardman
* Rumble, John Arcudi And James Harren
* Southern Cross, Becky Cloonan And Andy Belanger
* The Humans, Tom Neely And Keenan Marshall Keller
* Tokyo Ghost, Rick Remender And Sean Gordon Murphy
* Tooth And Claw, Kurt Busiek And Ben Dewey
* Valhalla Mad, Joe Casey And Paul Maybury

A slightly cynical way to look at an Image announcement -- probably not the best way -- is to see them as positives project to project but also less time -- for the artists in particular -- to do work for mainstream comics companies. Gabriel Hardman, as an example, is a highly-skilled and highly-prolific artist of the kind on which mainstream companies have come to depend in recent years; if he finds the Image work more appealing in a way that limits his work for such companies, that's a big blow to them. Exponentially so if others that fit his general profile join him.

I've seen word of some of these projects before -- at least a couple of them here and there -- and I believe Kinski had a previous, digital life.

That looks like a solid line-up: a mix of versatile pros and people that cause their peers to freak out on tumblr. Image is at a place right now where even if none of these break out as a group they could be very vital to them as solid players throughout the line.

More information on individual projects can be found here.
 
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Bundled Extra: Publishing News Newsbriefs, Stories, Commentary & Links From Comic-Con International

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By Tom Spurgeon

What follows is a list in brief of comics publishing news stories that have come to light during and just preceding Comic-Con International weekend. If you've seen one that we haven't,

*****

Andrews McMeel
* Geoff Grogan's Plastic Babyheads series launches as digital-download books.

BOOM!
* the writer Justin Jordan will be doing three projects with the publisher, starting in November. (July 3)
* Roger Langridge will be doing an original all-ages project starting in December. (July 18)
* the writer Grant Morrison will be doing a project with the publisher. (July 22)
* Filip Sablik was named the President Of Publishing And Marketing. (July 16)

Koyama Press
* A. Degen's Mighty Star And The Castle Of The Cancatervater announced for Spring 2015

Marvel
* leading up to Comic-Con, Marvel announces several storyline changes to top characters related to Avengers brand: Thor will be a woman, Captain American will be Sam Wilson and therefore African-American, Tony Stark will have a "superior" storyline that explores negative elements of his character, and so on. (through July 22)

Monkey Brain Comics
* Neil Kleid and Dan Gasl announce Kings And Canvas. Partial Image Below. (July 22)

NCS
* 64-page free digital magazine National Cartoonist launches at NCS site and at ISSUU.

Self-Published
* Katie Skelly launches My Pretty Vampire on Tumblr in full-color with limited animation effects. Mini-comic version planned for SPX. Partial image above. (July 21)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: This Time

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the Seattle True Independent Film Festival is now accepting digital comics submissions. I have no idea how that works, but visiting Seattle is fun.

image* Zainab Akhtar notes the creation of a new small-press show, this one hosted by Breakdown Press.

* Johanna Draper Carlson notes that Wizard is trying out a social media convention in conjunction with its sort-of comics I guess Chicago show. It's not the weirdest idea ever -- I know people that really admire the way certain people use social media tools -- but as it's one with absolutely no interest for me on any level it's hard for me to figure out if it will work.

* Brian Fies on the Baltimore Comics & Medicine conference. I miss self-directed posts like this one, it seems like most of that energy goes into social media.

* Chris Pitzer provided this set of photos from his trip to Chapel Hill in support of the visiting cartoonists Tom Scioli, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor.

* Roman Muradov made a very nice-looking advertisement for the Small Press Expo.

* finally, I'm not sure I'd seen the Latino Comics Expo poster for this year. That's an October event in San Jose.

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

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Go, Look: This Is Legend #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Bob Temuka expresses his love for GI Joe. Rob Clough on Dragons: Riders Of Berk. Todd Klein on Dark Horse Presents #31. Don MacPherson on Spider-Man: Spirits Of The Earth. Justin Giampaoli on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on Lighter Than My Shadow.

* Rob Bricken seems slightly baffled by the big team superhero line-ups at both mainstream companies.

* go, look: a lovely illustration from Jean-Claude Forest.

* this was the first review of Seconds I'd read that wasn't a tweet. They are likely everywhere by the time this rolls out.

* finally, just in case you thought that harassment issues were solely a concern for the comics community, that's just not true.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Robert Greenberger!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Steven Stwalley!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Mark Andrew Smith!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Pat Oliphant!

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July 23, 2014


Koyama Press Announces A. Degen's Mighty Star And The Castle Of The Cancatervater For Spring 2015

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imageKoyama Press this morning through Ed Kanerva and Anne Koyama announced that they will collect Mighty Star And The Castle Of The Cancatervater by the Brooklyn-based A. Degen in Spring of 2015. Described by the publisher as a "surreal superhero epic," the book presents a silent narrative reminiscent of early film and world animation.

The book was originally serialized on-line at Study Group. The printed version will be expanded, with a brand new prologue, epilogue and series of spot illustrations.

Degen's previous books were Area CC (Snakebomb) and Soft X-Ray Mindhunters (Birdcage Bottom Books), both released in 2013. He has contributed to Future Shock, Sonatina and Chromazoid.

Koyama's Mighty Star And The Castle Of Cancatervater will run 172 pages, in softcover for black and white interior pages. Koyama plans a $15 price tag, and a release in May of next year.

Below please find a selection of prologue pages provided to CR by the publisher.

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On Gluyas Williams' Birthday, It's Always Fun To Visit GluyasWilliams.com And Stare At The Art

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Plastic Babyheads From Outer Space Receives Quiet E-Book Double Launch: Andrews McMeel, comiXology

imageAndrews McMeel Universal continues the drumbeat that is its acquisition of comics work to be made available in all the formats available to them: their on-line serial strip repository, e-books, printed books, and through the comiXology service. The one that caught my attention this time out -- well, after the creator gave me a heads-up that it had gone down -- is Geoff Grogan's Plastic Babyheads From Outer Space, now available as e-books through AM's site and via comiXology.

There is so much material out there right now that the sheer volume dictates a lot of the subsequent publishing decisions. For one thing, I think there is much more material out there than the audience and infrastructure built around it. I have no idea how this sorts out or, really, if it sorts out. In the meanwhile, maybe look at Grogan's work a bit. I enjoyed that when I saw it as a hand-sold comic at an old Brooklyn show.
 
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Go, Look: An Honest Performance

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All Eyes On San Diego: Comic-Con International Preview Night Launches San Diego Con Weekend

imageIt begins tonight in San Diego with Comic-Con's official Preview Night opening, followed by an official opening for business tomorrow. By "it" I mean Comic-Con International, both the event itself and the overlapping set of experiences that will also bear its name. It really does begin tonight. Because of the lack of dedicated programming running concurrent to what's happening on the floor, and because of valuable incentives in the form of con "exclusives" being made available by some of the vendors, Wednesday night has grown from a bonus event to a crucial part of the exhibition weekend.

There is also an Image Expo being held today -- that's one of the Image Comics events that involves a presentation of publishing news combined with a signing/interactive element. Image putting an Expo here throws the spotlight on the increased looseness of Comic-Con as a home for mid-year comics publishing news. More and more companies are pushing their news as far back as a couple of weeks before the show so as to maximize the attention that comes with Comic-Con. I think the idea is that by announcing beforehand, you get your own piece of spotlight and you go into the weekend with a storyline that people will remember as you make use of the on-the-ground elements of exhibiting and dealing with media. In other words, as a journalist I know there's a Thor story going into Comic-Con; if there's a Metamorpho story, I haven't been told that yet, and will have to notice when it happens and then make room for coverage based on my other plans.

So that's one change at Comic-Con on which I'll be keeping an eye. Not just the publishing news announcements themselves -- we'll have a good half-dozen of those here, and will track all the others -- but the way in which each publishing company and similar entity uses the convention. The convention has changed in massive fashion over the last ten years, and most comics publishers and creators are no more resource-stuffed in order to affect change than they were in 2004. Comics people are clever, though, and the work continues to be of a high quality and worth announcing to the world. More people than ever are interested in covering it. It's about time that a lot of comics really begins using the unique opportunities of this weekend rather than only continuing to claim about them. I think that will be in play this year. I expect comics to have a good con.

There are some fine stand-alone books to pick up, and I'd like to see that lock in more explicitly as a big part of this show. Bryan Lee O'Malley's Seconds is a book of the show just by being here, so effective a publishing phenomenon was Scott Pilgrim. I hear good things about the work, too. The art comics publishers are going to have a bunch of stuff out on tables -- I think if I had to suggest a single volume from that world it would be Eleanor Davis' How To Be Happy (Fantagraphics), but there are going to be a bunch. I think we get to see several copies of the next John Porcellino, and I'm very excited about that. IDW has new Artist's Editions, including I believe the Mignola. It's not just books. The NCS will have paper copies of a new magazine launch, and Jeff Smith will have an honest-to-god color comic book. It would be nice if San Diego Con continued to offer a rich slate of debut books moving forward; any late-summer or early Fall launch but also previews of any work ahead that a publisher is willing to have previewed. I'd like to see this more thoughtfully pursued rather than simply kind of tossed out there. Almost no one wants to carry around a grocery cart's worth of books, not anymore, but a few signed books in a variety of formats? Sign me up. It may even provide some marketing focus. Thinking more broadly, a focus on a few potential hit books is also a way that comics can continue to distinguish itself -- comics isn't just showing people commercials; we also have the real experience available, in a variety of ways, right there.

imageI'm interested in the sprawl of the show business side of things, the way that events have seeped out into the parking lots and hotel rooms and theaters of the San Diego that touches up against the convention center. There is a significant slate of events and things being done away from the comics show, starting but certainly not ending with that Image Expo. On the one hand, this makes total sense to me. I've been saying for 10 years and will say so again that there's an opportunity for someone to park a small press show somewhere in the vicinity. Also, with marketing budgets to be justified, bigger events make sense as a supplement if not a more fully-controlled replacement for a presence at the show. I feel bad for Comic-Con, in a way; it has to be sort of like people parking winnebagos outside a big house party you're throwing and promising people more party. If someone is dissatisfied by an out-of-convention-center event with that nice young man from Chuck, they're likely to blame Comic-Con as much as that individual event.

I'm interested in how harassment issues currently of significant and welcome interest within comics-culture circles might play out at an event this size. By adhering to their existing policy, Comic-Con leaves themselves open to criticism if the perceived results fail to fall in line with what people would prefer. Because of the nature of the debate, and the enormous, culture-wide disinterest in doing serious work making it stop, I'm sure there will be some opportunities for criticism. Keep an eye on more public flourishes of piggish culture on display at the event, particularly in terms of cosplay: video chronicles, photosets, on-line commentary about same. Also look at the more public meeting places -- the hotel bars -- and see if there's a shift in tone and mood there. As always I urge everyone right now to pay attention to this stuff to the point of dismantling or backing away from behavior that dances up against the line of unwelcome attention. What's going on isn't just correction, it's correction and resetting our baseline expectations. And it's about time.

I'm basically interested in the whole damn thing. I think we're at a moment where a lot of elements about comics culture and comics publishing have saturated to the point where they constitute a new normal, a status quo we've felt for a few years now even as we haven't explicitly acknowledged its existence. That's structural and well as about personnel; it's about the kind of art as well as the demographics buying it. It's about the future and how we perceive the past.

There's a good feeling in the air for a lot of comics people this year, which may make for a potentially strong Comic-Con weekend. I'll be there: doing a few panels, buying a few comics, seeing a few great artists talk, having the obligatory meetings. I hope you'll make this site a part of your convention weekend. We'll have about a half-dozen project announcements and will cover the whole lot of them. Eisner winners with linked-to nominees as soon as we can post. Observations and notes on Tuesday.

Everyone be safe and have a rewarding time, whether you're in San Diego or whether you're not.
 
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Missed It: Furor Over Appropriated Xaime Imagery

imageAsher J. Klassen has the best only-time-to-read-one-SDCC-is-right-now piece up on the band Everclear making use of an artist's appropriation of Jaime Hernandez's amazing red and black Love and Rockets band image. It opens up that whole thing about homage versus appropriation, which is something that I think a) you have to feel your way through, b) it's not that hard to do that.

I'd say in this most reasonable standards would say the artist and those supporting the artist's action through pay and use are in the wrong. As Klassen points out, making an homage to fulfill a paid assignment is dicey territory. The fact you could reasonably look at this and not knowing which image came first not be able to tell kind of makes a lie that one image is a tribute paid the other. Eric Reynolds points out that the image was never part of a work for hire deal by which the artist would have ever not had the rights, which isn't an angle I've ever considered.

It would be nice if a proper poster were commissioned from Los Bros instead, although the problem with that is that Jaime Hernandez prefers working on his comics and may not want to take on that job, or work for those folks. I wouldn't. Maybe another solution would be to pay him for this one as if he had worked on it. Because he did.
 
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Go, Look: The Room Of Madness

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DHC Announces 12 Creator-Owned Series Ahead Of SDCC

imageDark Horse Comics sent out a press release yesterday -- you can read it in full here -- confirming their intention to publish 12 forthcoming creator-owned titles in the months ahead, from a wide variety of working creators. Dark Horse has always spent some significant portion of their resources in this area, and as recently as a few years ago re-invested in facilitating this kind of work from people like Peter Bagge and Steve Parkhouse.

The 12 titles includes a comics sequel to the film and prose work Fight Club, which makes me believe word on some of these was already out there.

The books, their basic creative teams and their announced release dates are:

* Colder: The Bad Seed, Paul Tobin And Juan Ferreyra (October)
* Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., Mike Mignola And John Arcudi And Alexander Maleev (December)'
* Lady Killer, Jöelle Jones And Jamie S. Rich (January)
* Dead Vengeance, Bill Morrison And Stéphane Roux (January)
* EI8HT, Rafael Albuquerque And Mike Johnson (February)
* Neverboy, Shaun Simon And Tyler Jenkins And Kelly Fitzpatrick (March)
* The Black Hammer, Jeff Lemire And Dean Ormston (March)
* PastAways, Matt Kindt And Scott Kolins (March)
* Rebels, Brian Wood And Andrea Mutti And Jordie Bellaire And Tula Lotay (April)
* Harrow County, Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook (April)
* Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, And The Bird, Caitlin R. Kiernan And Jöelle Jones (May)
* Fight Club 2, Chuck Palahniuk And Cameron Stewart And David Mack (May)

There's a lot there that's potentially interesting, and I'm happy that so much of it is brand-new material. I think that makes for a healthier marketplace.
 
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Go, Look: Alien Worlds Gallery

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Not Comics: Two Sizable Articles On The Perils Of The Internet-Era Economy

Jason Schreier looks at a gaming kickstarter that went a half-million in the hole and then basically disappeared from view -- or at least significant parts of it did. This rambling, personal essay at Deadspin on one writer's experiences with a popular on-line publishing venue offers up several dropped-jaw moments.

The vast majority of the projects made possible by the rise of the Internet are not like this. Still, I hope everyone is careful out there, and, when it's applicable, choose to see the arrangement involved as a service being provided by those paying for something rather than a service to the person being paid.
 
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Go, Look: Comic Art In America Cartoon Selections

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Bundled Extra: Publishing News Newsbriefs, Stories, Commentary & Links From Comic-Con International

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By Tom Spurgeon

What follows is a list in brief of comics publishing news stories that have come to light during and just preceding Comic-Con International weekend. If you've seen one that we haven't,

*****

BOOM!
* the writer Justin Jordan will be doing three projects with the publisher, starting in November. (July 3)
* Roger Langridge will be doing an original all-ages project starting in December. (July 18)
* the writer Grant Morrison will be doing a project with the publisher. (July 22)
* Filip Sablik was named the President Of Publishing And Marketing. (July 16)

Monkey Brain Comics
* Neil Kleid and Dan Gasl announce Kings And Canvas. Partial Image Below. (July 22)

NCS
* 64-page free digital magazine National Cartoonist launches at NCS site and at ISSUU.

Self-Published
* Katie Skelly launches My Pretty Vampire on Tumblr in full-color with limited animation effects. Mini-comic version planned for SPX. Partial image above. (July 21)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Air Fighters Comics #3

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Go, Look: Bernie Wrightson's Edgar Allan Poe Imagery

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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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*****

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

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

*****

MAR140071 SAKAI PROJECT HC 30 YEARS USAGI YOJIMBO $29.99
MAY141615 LOEG III CENTURY HC COMPLETE ED (MR) $29.95
Two positive publisher-creator relationship share the spotlight SDCC week. Charitable efforts on behalf of Stan and Sharon Sakai reach the published-book stage with Dark Horse's collection of material from other artists featuring the Usagi character. Top Shelf made its name on the basis of its strong service on behalf of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill with the League Of Extraordinary Gentleman books; this is the collection of the latest cycle -- particularly discounted in the standard way that's a lovely, lovely price point.

imageMAY141240 TUKI SAVE THE HUMANS #1 $3.99
Jeff Smith is showing up in San Diego with a full-color comic book for you to buy, the first print collection of material from his Tuki webcomic, which was launched and then relaunched on-line. Smith is indulging the adventure-comics side of his personality here, and it will be interesting to learn how that material looks on printed page.

MAY140083 ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #4 $3.50
MAY140010 GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #1 $3.50
MAY140038 GROO VS CONAN #1 $3.50
MAY140230 BATMAN #33 (ZERO YEAR) (NOTE PRICE) $4.99
MAY140726 SAGA #21 (MR) $2.99
MAY140739 TREES #3 (MR) $2.99
APR140614 VELVET #6 (MR) $3.50
MAY140817 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1 AVENGERS $3.99
MAY140882 STORM #1 ANMN $3.99
These are all the standard comic books that jump out at me this week not by Jeff Smith. I haven't seen a single panel of this final capper series to the Elfquest saga, and four issues seems like it would be enough for me to jump on board. New Goon series; I'm not a reader of that one, but that art is certainly pretty. I like both Groo and Conan, so sign me up for at least picking that one up for a few seconds. The Batman I believe is the last in this current cycle of early Batman stories, featuring the Riddler. That's not material for me, but it seems visually distinctive and well-executed compared to the rest of the line.

MAR140463 MIKE MIGNOLA HELLBOY ARTIST ED PI
Whoa.

MAY140641 SEX TP VOL 02 SUPERCOOL (MR) $14.99
I like this title, which I think plays well into writer Joe Casey's fascination with trying to figure out how certain comic book and comics narratives works: this time around it's 1980s world-building.

MAY140652 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 21 ALL OUT WAR PT 2 (MR) $14.99
I'm still reading this in serial form. While I wasn't a fan of this storyline as anything other than a very standard adventure story, I do appreciate the opportunity it gives Kirkman and Adlard to take things in a different direction beginning right after.

APR140786 GOTG BY ABNETT AND LANNING COMPLETE COLL TP VOL 01 $34.99
I've read this material in bits and starts and nearly all of it is enjoyable in that standard Marvel comic book way -- these are the kind of things you read in a hammock while waiting for the 30 minutes of non-swimming time to pass after lunch.

MAY141431 SHADOW HERO GN $17.99
Gene Luen Yang is on board and thus, so am I. I haven't caught up to this material yet so I look forward to seeing it all in one big gulp.

APR141207 SPECIAL EXITS GN $22.99
The feel-good book of the summer, if by feel-good you mean you're going to be somewhat relieved when it stops because it's so heartbreaking and sad. It's good to see this work get another iteration, though, it's awfully well done.

MAY141249 STAN DRAKE HEART JULIET JONES TP VOL 02 $24.95
MAY141250 STAN DRAKE HEART JULIET JONES TP VOL 03 $24.95
Well, you're not going to enjoy looking at anything any more than this one, even that Mignola book.

APR141654 ALTER EGO #127 $8.95
APR141655 BACK ISSUE #74 $8.95
APR140957 BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE #11 (MR) $4.99
I salute my peers devotion to print and I pay additional respect to over 200 issues of those first two, at least when combined. That's quite something.

MAY141442 SMILE SC NEW PTG $10.99
MAY141838 GOODNIGHT DARTH VADER HC $14.95
One giant-selling comic and one about to become one. They are fine, fine gifts, all of these books.

MAY140979 STREET ANGEL HC $19.95
APR141272 THROUGH THE WOODS GN $14.99
APR141273 THROUGH THE WOODS HC GN $21.99
Finally, Jim Rugg and Emily Carroll gather together material in their separate projects that were extremely well-liked in earlier forms. It's good to have them back.

*****

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 San Diego, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: The Damned #2-3

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Johanna Draper Carlson on Mixtape #5. Rob Clough on Bad For You. Todd Klein on Aquaman #32. Grant Goggans on Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Rob McMonigal on Lok Zine #5 and Paper Crush #4. Robert Loss on This One Summer.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco pulverizes a bunch of weird, catty and sort of untenable jokes floated in what sounds like a pretty navel-gazing product from DC Comics. I have no idea why anyone uses a creative platform that way. It's basically just turning office gossip into art, which seems to me an incredibly weird and unpleasant way to make art.

* here's a nice report on the Portland 'Zine Symposium. With Dylan Williams gone, I'm kind of unclear as to how much the 'zine and comics worlds cross over in a more significant sense than a few people like to hang out in both. There was a moment about five years ago when I thought that there might be a resurgence in that world as it pertains to comics. I have no idea where we'll be five years from now.

* finally, Don MacPherson writes about superhero underwear -- the kind that's licensed to people in this world, not the kind worn by superheroes in their worlds.
 
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Happy 67th Birthday, Mike Vosburg!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Kelley Jones!

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July 22, 2014


OTBP: Eik

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By Request Extra: Justin Green Pays Birthday Tribute To S. Clay Wilson, Offering Art

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The underground great Justin Green pays birthday tribute to another iconic figure of comix, S. Clay Wilson, on the occasion of the latter's birthday. Green is also offering some nice incentives for anyone that donates to Wilson's trust.

Between Green and Wilson you have about 68 percent of taboos broken in terms of comics content as they existed by the mid-1960s. If you read and enjoy this site, or the vast majority of the comics covered, you have those two men to thank.
 
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Go, Look: Star*Reach #6

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Missed It: Homeless Advocate Accuses San Diego Police Of Rousting Street Sleepers Pre Comic-Con

Here. I assume one of the majors had this so that people could find it and e-mail it to me, so I apologize to whichever of my peers found it first.

I'm not sure what to think of the story. That police would be doing this a week before the show does indeed seem kind of odd, so the police rep makes a good point there. I've done homeless advocacy before and used to argue with people about this kind of policy -- it's horrifying on a human level, but I also sort of understand the impulse.

As a longtime SDCC attendee, it seems to me that most of the homeless population has in recent years scattered to the frontier of gentrification in that part of town -- whether there's an artificial, temporary aspect to that or not, I couldn't tell you. That frontier is further away than it used to be, but it's still there if you amble off north or east. To get slightly old-man about it, it used to be you could park a couple of blocks off of the main strip and then step over homeless people on your way to con stuff -- but that was when that part of town had a much narrower nice section.
 
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Go, Look: Jijé In America

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Not Comics: Al Columbia-Made Music Video, Song

Here. That's Al with the hatchet -- and I can't tell you how many times I typed that particular phrase in the '90s. It's very reminiscent of his comics.
 
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Go, Look: Frankenstein #3

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Dave Lasky Just Sent Me The Best SDCC Personal Appearance Notice I've Ever Seen

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Bonus points for using 2012 version of me as photo reference: several pounds lighter than 2014 me, and with a nicer suit. Still bald, though.

At any rate, go see David Lasky. Comic-Con International is a strange event on a lot of levels, but at its core is a really good to excellent comics show. The fact that they'd have a David Lasky and an Eleanor Davis and a Jim Rugg on hand speaks to that fact.
 
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Go, Look: Bruce Timm Draws The X-Men

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* there was a bunch of publishing news that came out before San Diego Con this year, particularly from not Big Two publishers. Archie, for instance, provided a name for the revamp of their superhero characters into a line, one that's already been slowly rolling out. I have an interview with Alex Segura that's giving me brain fits of some sort whenever I try to transcribe it, but he's heavily involved and promises a lighter touch with the creators on the individual books having their way.

image* Josh Kopin appears to approve of the forthcoming Jason Aaron/Ron Garney collaboration Men Of Wrath.

* here is what the covers will look like on the forthcoming Zenith reprint project. I know a lot of people that are looking forward to that one.

* missed this announcement of Lucy Knisley's next book with First Second; it's wedding-related.

* a couple of you sent me this link, to an article about artist Ronn Sutton's involvement with a 2015 graphic novel in collaboration with an author and former Hell's Angels member.

* the nice folks at ComicsAlliance speculate on storytelling solutions for Marvel being able to head back to the Superior Spider-Man well. That's been probably been figured out by the time this post rolls out.

* missed this trailer for The Shadow Hero. That's a fun project.

* Hope Larson announced a while back that she and Rebecca Mock will be joined on the Four Points project by colorist Shari Chankhamma.

* Tony Millionaire shares a letter received as a way of noting a short run for his Maakies in a Florida newspaper, now ended. It's hard for me to think of Maakies running anywhere that people would have this reaction to it. Then again, there aren't a whole lot of papers left that are willing to run this kind of material, period.

* the cartoonist Matt Bors says his first print collection is running out of its first print. I thought that was a good book, both the cartoons selected and the extensive supporting prose.

* finally, the artist and cartoonist Roman Muradov has a one-page preview of work up from the forthcoming Yellow Zine #5.

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Go, Look: Magno

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Go, Look: Abyss #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Henry Chamberlain on Saltire. Don MacPherson on various comics. Lauren Davis on The Economics Of Webcomics. Rob Clough on The Shadow Hero. Todd Klein on Justice League #31. David Brothers on Dorohedoro.

* speaking of MacPherson, he has a post here about people overvaluing original comics art in eBay auctions. I always figure that's just some random page that an estate holder has or something similar, and they'd just take a chance they could sell it for a tremendous amount. But who knows?

* Natasha Robinson profiles Bill Leak. Bradley Campbell profiles Gene Luen Yang.

* finally, Brigid Alverson takes a shot at licensing news from Anime Expo; I thought that report had a great deal of clarity.
 
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Happy 30th Birthday, William Cardini!

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July 21, 2014


Go, Look: Tyler Landry

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Go, Read: Al Nisbet Cartoons Case Being Heard This Week

I haven't seen a ton about these Al Nisbet cartoons since the initial furor about their depiction of people taking advantage of a government school system in what seems like the most brutally dumb and obvious and insulting way, but it looks like a human rights case is being heard this week.

It also looks like that case has lurched into borderline absurdity from the start, focusing on whether or not the depiction of red hair on some of the crudely-designed figures may slip them out of being depictions of the peoples involved. If I'm getting it right, the basic argument is that something in these depictions that may not be a whopping, goofy stereotype may somehow absolve the cartoons despite everything that is. Although I guess that red hair is being argued tribe to tribe, so who knows? I don't believe that free expression should be curtailed even when it's insulting speech, but I certainly don't enjoy seeing a case tried by people dancing around authorial intent in such a bizarre manner. My preference would be cartoonists claiming their work says what it seems to be saying without having to back away from it for fear of legal evisceration, even if what that work says is dumb and viciously upsetting.

The cartoons appeared last year in the Marlborough Express and Christchurch Press.
 
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OTBP: Happiness #4

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By Request/Assembled Extra: Katie Skelly Launches Operation Margarine Follow-Up My Pretty Vampire

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The cartoonist Katie Skelly, whose Operation Margarine launched successful for AdHouse Books this Spring at the MoCCA Festival and was the first book in that publisher's 2014 new-release youth movement, has announced a new project for digital and potential eventual print publication.

My Pretty Vampire launched yesterday on Skelly's Tumblr. It's digitally colored, and employs limited animation effects, both of which may be somewhat of a surprise for fans of a cartoonist best known in print for her stark black and white work. The on-line release of the material in part facilitates the use of both of those effects, Skelly says in introducing the new series.

A black and white print mini-comic version is set to debut at this year's Small Press Expo.

No formal publishing home beyond Tumblr and that mini-comic was announced. Both of Skelly's previous books, this year's Operation Margarine and 2012's Nurse Nurse (with Sparkplug), enjoyed a life previous to collection as numbered series of black and white, self-published minis.

I'm interested in cartoonists turning around with new material so quickly after previous publication, although of course several cartoonists work on overlapping projects, particularly in serial form. I do believe that digital avenues facilitate a tighter turnaround between book projects, or at least our public perception of them -- this is another way they fulfill the role previously head in art comics by one-person alt-anthologies.
 
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Go, Look: Plopular Poetry (A-U)

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Festivals Extra: Beguiling Representing This One Summer Art At Comic-Con International This Week

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This was just announced via e-mail, so I hope this link might get you there. Apparently The Beguiling will have pages of Jillian Tamaki art from The One Summer at their area this year, a side table at the Drawn and Quarterly booth. That's a frequently stunning-looking book, with pages I imagine work quite well as stand-alone images. I hope you'll go and look at them if not purchase several for yourself.
 
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Go, Look: The Ghost

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Not Comics: Tech Crunch Article That Absolves Amazon.com Of Harming Writers; Blames General Market

A few of you have sent along this article arguing its way through the changes in the book market brought about by the Internet, using the announcement of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited plan as the trigger event for the piece.

I suppose this is where I should have some sort of sweeping proclamation to make. I don't. In fact, this article is a big jumble of arguments barely corralled together by its author. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of you wonder two or three times during the piece if arguments being made support or disprove what seems to be its general premise. I know I wondered.

Me, I think the old system was horrible and the new system is likely to be just horrible and maybe even more so in terms of the bottom line of number of artists making a sustainable living. This is a disappointment because it would be nice if a new system could be not horrible. Otherwise, it's like installing dirty carpets.

Unfortunately, we don't put much of a value on anything other than maximized profit at all times for whatever agency or actors can seize it. Admitting that to ourselves doesn't mean the old days were wonderful, because they were horrible, too. It would be nice if we could scale back some of that transformative zeal. I am certain several authors will escape the horrors involved with that kind of increasingly crass and harsh value system. I am also sure most won't. Incomes will continue to go down for a lot of working creators. In response, folks will argue potentialities like they're practicalities, as if all artists can do what Lady Gaga does. And so on.

One thing I worry about in comics is that the recent past has been pretty well served from an arts standpoint by the option of there being a strong relationship of artists to publisher in a way that both entities can sustain themselves economically. If the heart of the sustainable relationship shifts from artist/publisher to artist/audience, I'd worry a bit for the quality of the art created over time. In my view, comics doesn't have the same kind of artistic pedigree in terms of work created that way, and it certainly hasn't done so efficiently. I worry about assigning the role of savior to a system still in development. They rarely look like messiahs once the details gets filled in.
 
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Go, Read: National Review On Marvel's Thor Comic Book

Here. I was a crazy obsessive National Review reader at about the same time in my life I was last a reader of Thor comic books, so I wanted to read this one. It made me nostalgic for eighth grade study hall, but that's about it.

The American conservative movement has never been able to muster much of a fight in any sort of cultural war, perceived or real (it's sort of both). An elitist's position was probably available to them a few decades ago, but they're sort of rigorously anti-intellectual now. What's left is sneering and rolling your eyes, which this writer, Jim Geraghty, admirably avoids for the sake of exploring the basic context from which a decision like this might develop.

Two major problems with the piece should be familiar to readers of articles about comics that appear in non-industry media. First, it treats the superhero comics companies as the entirety of the industry, as opposed to a dominant market force in one of that medium's industries. Second, it treats segments of that audience as having monolithic taste. I'm not sure if National Review falling in line with most mainstream media treatments is a step forward or a step back. It's been a while.

Women have always been a significant part of comics' wider readership. I suspect the difference we're feeling now is the growing voice of many women within specific elements of a variety of focused, engaged readership groups. That's a different although equally welcome thing. In the wider view, there are few secrets as to making comics that appeal to a broad audience, and very few of them involve the almost arcane moving around of cultural elements with which Marvel is engaged. Many are just about making great comics exploring a variety of views, employing a variety of identifiable characters, and freeing the resulting entertainments from outright hostility and pandering to creepy elements which might actively repel giant swathes of a potential audience. Companies like Marvel and DC are latecomers adjusting to a wider industry standard more than they ever define one.
 
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Go, Look: Elektra: Assassin Interior Pages

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* still a few ongoing crowd-funders featuring big names: Dan Vado and SLG, Dave Cockrum, David Petersen and Rick Geary. I think at this point all but the Dan Vado one should have met their initial goals, if not a few stretch versions.

* not as well-known a name, Henry Chamberlain still has a gofundme campaign hanging in there.

* I don't have people e-mail me links to toy-related crowd-funders all that often, but I can see why this line of retro action figures like Stardust would be appealing to people that read this site.

* not sure I've read a more entertaining crowd-funding request than this one. It looks like enough people agree with me that the project will be safely funded.

* the second Monstrosity anthology continues to chug along.

* Gary Reed and Caliber announced what they say is their first crowd-funder soon after last week's column went up.

* finally, there are still days left for this crowd-funder for The Somber Crown, but I have that it will have met its initial goal between the time I'm writing this and the moment it rolls out on the site, so consider this one of those "if you'd like to participate" notice.
 
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Go, Look: Wildfire

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Go, Look: Frank Frazetta LOTR Images Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Team Comics Alternative talks to Ben Hatke. Team Tell Me Something I Don't Know talks to Frank Santoro.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on My Love Story!! Vol. 1 and three DC titles. He also dissects the recent round of DC ads. Johanna Draper Carlson on a bunch of new comics. Kelly Thompson on Grayson #1. Rob Kirby on a bunch of small press comics and mini-comics.

* cartoonist Katie Skelly draws cartoonist Meghan Turbitt.

* Sarah McIntyre dives into the question of whether or not an aspiring artist should attend an art school, using a number of examples and strategies from her own life experience. This ranges from the philsophical to such practicalities as perhaps choosing a school close to where you live so that you will have a greater chance of popping by to use the facilities that are available to you.

* the Bugpowder site suggests you go, read: "The Monday Room."

* Matt Brady would like you to know that he is still picking up sketches of Groo when he is able.

* finally, this Sean Kleefeld post from a little while back engages with the idea of those late 1910 to early 1920s collections of comic strip material, which functioned in some ways like graphic novels.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Mark Parisi!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Bill Knapp!


 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Garry Trudeau!

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July 20, 2014


All Prayers And Thoughts With The Great Joe Sinnott

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From Clifford Meth:
This from Joe's son: "Exhausting day at the ER with Joe for lightheadedness/dizziness. They admitted him for A-fib and dangerously low heart rate (33). Taking away one of his meds seeing if that helps. Possible pacemaker needed. Carotid artery tests, CT scans of the head and blood tests were all negative."

This from me: There isn't a nicer, finer man in all of comics. Joe lost his dear wife some years ago but has forged ahead, never going a day without talking about her, still making extraordinary art, and deeply dedicated to his family. We all pray for his speedy and full recovery."
We share in Cliff's sentiment and wish that family the best. We with Mr. Sinnott himself a quick recovery and rapid return to normal.
 
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Comic-Con Coping Guide 2014 -- Your Last-Minute Tips, Insights And Advice For The Big San Diego Show

imageComic-Con International -- also known as CCI, Comic-Con, San Diego Comic-Con and even by the shorthand "San Diego" -- is the largest gathering of comics industry professionals and fans in North America. It is also a show of great importance to hundreds of pros in and fans of related publishing, merchandising and film businesses.

Comic-Con International features on its main floor a massive marketplace of vendors, creators and direct suppliers. You can buy old comics, new comics, original art, movies, t-shirts, toys, and licensed items from every walk of geek life at Comic-Con.

The upstairs rooms offer aggressive programming tracks in comics, film, television and a cornucopia of related activities.

There are opportunities all over the show to see and meet creators from any number of entertainment fields: actors, cartoonists, academics, voice-over talent, models and writers. There are chances in the convention center and all over San Diego on Comic-Con weekend to meet like-minded fans, to celebrate your favorite oddball things, and to network on a massive scale.

It's Geek Vegas, Nerd Prom, Nerding Man, Fan Cannes, Fandom Branson, the Grand Ol' Cosplay Opry, Four-Color Ground Zero.

It's also an extraordinarily complex event.

That's where this guide comes in.

I'm a near 20-year veteran of attending the show as a professional and covering it as press. What follows is a list of observations, tips and insights from a comics-culture point of view that may help prepare you for your San Diego con-going experience.

Everyone's San Diego is different, but there are a few commonalities and shared experiences that we hope makes talking about some of them worthwhile.

In 2014, the show is scheduled for July 24-27, with a preview night on July 23. I hope to see you there!

*****

imageTip #1: Stay Safe
In 2012, a woman with the intention of attending Comic-Con died after running into traffic and being struck by a car during the time she spent in a line that formed in advance of the show. Her name was Gisela Gagliardi. She was a fan, a lot like you and me that way. She didn't think she was going to die when she got out of bed that morning.

Please, please be careful.

Don't do anything because you're at a show and in a different headspace you wouldn't do and wouldn't invite your family to do with you at the same time back home.

Remember that San Diego is a city. San Diego isn't some strange city from a fantasy book. It's a real-life city with all that entails: crime, commutes, carelessness. Please remember this.

It's okay to complain about the police officers and what they have you do as far as crossing streets and waiting for trains, but do it anyway; they have your best interests in mind.

The security inside the convention center has a job to do and your day will go just fine making their days go a little easier by in nearly every case doing what they ask.

You look after you.

None of what follows is important at all if you don't come out of it on the other side as healthy as happy as the day you set foot in San Diego.

Tip #2: If You Don't Have A Badge, A Way To Get There And Place To Stay, Maybe Stay Home
The convention is sold out. The demand to attend Comic-Con in its current form outstrips the number of tickets available for the show. That rise in demand came with such sudden force as to discombobulate -- if not snuff outright -- traditional avenues for securing tickets. You have to pre-register as press now. Being able to claim professional status in a hobby-related field, even comics, is no longer a guarantee of entry. You certainly can't show up at the show and buy a ticket.

Abuse of the system by several parties and a general desire to allow for as many attendee badges as possible means you can't easily pick up an extra badge or two through an exhibitor pal. Fakes like this used to be commonplace; now they're useless. That's right: even "Bruce Wayne," "Ned Stark" and "Sarah Manning" have difficulties getting badges now.

It is possible if you're a big attraction all by yourself that an exhibitor or the convention itself may be willing to help you secure a badge. I've never heard of an A-list movie star sitting at the Omni Bar, unable to walk across the street, or a significant creator at Image Comics lurking around the parking lot exhibits hoping for her friends to get done inside so she can join them for dinner.

At this point, the Comic-Con people are so busy that they may not have the time to recognize and process such a request, no matter who you are.

As far as a place to stay, this late in the game I would suggest commuting in from Oceanside, Escondido or parts further north. This is perfectly feasible, with some slight hassles. I've done the Escondido commute before.

If you don't have an airline ticket or an Amtrak ticket or a bus ticket -- I assume that there's bus service into the city although I'm not 100 percent sure the discount bus thing has hit the Los Angeles/San Diego corridor the way it has other parts of North America -- I'd suggest driving in.

If you have enough money to fly in buying a ticket right this moment, you have probably hired someone to read this for you, so hello to that person.

*****

Tip #3: Going? Not Going? Be Happy!
So the way things are set up right now, a lot of people are going to be left out of the Comic-Con experience. Those are the cards that Comic-Con has to play. The show has decided to stay in San Diego for the immediate future, and capacity in San Diego was reached several years ago now.

It's totally okay not to go.

There was a time when Comic-Con was an outright must-go for a certain kind of fan and pro and press person. If you wanted to get everything you could out of comics, if you wanted to enter into the industry, if you wanted to be noticed, if you wanted to stay connected to what was going on, if you wanted to start datung a small-press company intern and maybe have access to their free comics, Comic-Con was the primary facilitator of these things.

That's no longer as true. As true.

If you go to Comic-Con these days, you can go because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

There are so many opportunities for daily connectivity and interaction out there that actually flying in and pressing the flesh and sharing a breakfast buffet -- while all still incredibly useful -- no longer seem like necessary things. At least not to the same degree.

Conversely, it's also totally okay to go. It's fine to look forward to San Diego, to build your professional year around it, to have social/personal expectations and hopes.

Don't fall into the Comic-Con trap. Because it may be more difficult to attend Comic-Con than it is to go to some other conventions, this puts pressure on the Comic-Con weekend to give back on a scale that would obliterate the fussier parts.

Remember that the hassle of going to Comic-Con is mostly an accident of our recent cultural history -- All those spectacle movies! All those fantasy franchise books! Marvel's post-bankruptcy comeback! All those graphic novels! The toy explosion! The rise of manga and anime! Kids read comics now! Older people continue buying toys! More women than ever are openly interested in geek culture! -- rather than something the convention itself enjoys or endorses or requires or was ever shooting for.

I honestly don't have any more fun going now than I did in '96 or '01, back when it was so much easier to attend the con that the worst-case scenario was registering on-site and staying in a $65 hotel ten blocks away. It wasn't that long ago!

But I also can't stress this enough. I still have fun. I find Comic-Con extremely pleasurable as a comics fan to attend, and it's wonderfully useful to me as a press person covering the comics industry. These last few years I got to meet Gilbert Shelton, see Kate Beaton slaughter a devoted crowd at her spotlight panel, chat with Alison Bechdel, see Dave McKean talk over beautiful images of his work, see Eric Stephenson and comiXology blossom into major industry players, watch as significant publishing figures made impromptu, heartfelt tributes to the late Kim Thompson, see the look of horror and bemusement on Anthony Bourdain as he loped around the Marriott lobby... I had nearly 100 meetings with friends, peers and key industry figures.

There will come a time when I won't attend CCI. I can feel it coming. I've cut a couple of days from my show this year due to personal and professional obligations. There's a big chance that very soon I'll become a Friday morning to Saturday night attendee for a time. Then Comic-Con will be something I used to do.

I never got to attend Comic-Con in the 1970s or 1980s. I'll never again attend the late 1990s Comic-Con of my (relative) youth. Those days are gone. There are still joys to be had. You need only engage the show as it is, not as you wish it to be. Someone will have their first show this year. Someone will have their best. Someone will say goodbye. It's all good.

*****

Tip #4: You Still Might Be Able To Score A Bed, A Sofa, A Stretch Of Floor; You Also Might Find A Seat In Someone Else's Car
If you don't want to commute but still feel lie you must attend, reach out to personal and professional peers immediately and let them know what you need. You'd be surprised how many people have an extra bed come open as people make last-minute cancellations. Similarly, you might be able to find a ride coming into San Diego or leaving the city, particularly if you're willing to buy more than your fair share of that particular trip.

Remember if you get anything from anyone, even if it's just a section of floor or a knee on Mark Evanier's lap, treat that gift like a limousine ride to a suite at the Hilton. It's only polite.

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Tip #5: Don't Count On Being Able To Stuff Multiple People Into A Room, Whether It's Your Room Or You're One Of The People
The Westgate and Westin Gaslamp have particularly notorious reputations in terms of figuring out who is staying at their hotels and making them all pay whatever might be applicable for that overnight visit. Most of the hotels deny roll-aways to anything with two beds. I have been asked about extra room keys I pick up for professional reasons (interview tapings). Be safely circumspect; don't flaunt your Night At The Opera status.

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Tip #6: Plan For The Distance Between The Place You're Staying And The Convention Center
Once you're done figuring out where you're going to stay, if there was still work to do there, adjust yourself mentally as to what's on the way.

I won't lie to you any longer that there isn't a significant jump in class from every other staying option to staying in one of the six to eight hotels within a stone's throw of the San Diego Convention Center. For nearly every single person that wants to go to Comic-Con, staying close is better. Significantly so. You don't have to fight as many crowds, and you can get back to your room without a lot of hassle. You may get anywhere from an hour to nine hours of time back depending on where you're able to stay. All of those hotels near the convention center are pretty good ones, too, so it's not like you're skimping on the amenities. Plus they tend to be social hubs, so you're close to a network of bars that can serve as the last couple of hours of every meaning. Staying at the Hilton Gaslamp last year, I ran into people at my own hotel I was happy to see, and spent two of the four nights having a nightcap with pals. That was so freaking nice.

That said, staying further away won't ruin your weekend. I've been 20 years, stayed everywhere, and have no memory of distance as a damaging element. When I'm there, I adjust to the distance as a calming factor, a short walk to get my mind off the craziness of the convention floor. If I'm further away than a walk or a shuttle bus, I treat the convention as my oasis during the madness, and particularly try to enjoy the relative calm of morning spent where no one is dressed up as Black Lightning.

Count on more time to get back and forth. Go a little early in the morning, particularly if you're carrying items of professional import. You can always stop for a coffee in the lobby of someplace close. Build in a trip home early in the evening or before dinner before you head out for any socializing. Reach out to friends and peers as to where they're staying, and if someone's close, they might take your portfolio and bag of comic books in their room in exchange for that first drink out. If after projecting on the day ahead you think there may be a chance you can't get back to your room before your social obligations shift, maybe take along a new shirt.

Any hotel can work if you're willing to work it. If you make the attempt to enjoy where you're staying as opposed to fuming about where you're not, you'll likely have a pretty good weekend.

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Tip #7. Network
I've already mentioned talking to your friends and any professional colleagues that may be going. This is your Comic-Con network.

Reach out in some modest way to folks you know that might be there and let them know you're going and with what general intention in mind (finding a job, getting your work seen, selling a screenplay, drinking a beer on the back porch of a hotel bar with your favorite Batman writer, learning about voice acting, seeing a panel stuffed with pale vampire boys, etc.). Once you get closer to the show, reestablish contact with your network to ask after things like social events or to see if they can help you with any of your more specific goals for the weekend. Offer your help in return.

Not everyone will be helpful. Maybe no one will. Still, the number of people I've had tell me weeks after the show that there was a disappointing aspect to their Comic-Con weekend because of Reason X when I would have been able to easily provide them with Reason X had I only known is... well, it's about a dozen people. Still. That's 12 whole weekends I could have made better if the people involved had sent me a two-line e-mail. So reach out. Don't be a bother, but talk to your pals. Be to the point and unfailingly polite, but do it.

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Tip #8. Start Your Bookmarks
The other great, recurrent skill in the con-goer's toolbox is research. Research in this day and age means bookmarking sites of use and then making use of them. My suggestion is at some point between now and the show start a folder and put everything related to the con into it, including the following web sites.
A. This Guide -- if for no other reason than I'm going to spend time between now and Comic-Con obsessively slipping in more jokes.
B. Convention Web Site -- the source for tons of official information
C. Your Hotel's Web Site -- familiarize yourself with your surroundings, join the points club
D. Tripadvisor.com -- preview your hotel experience.
E. SDcommute.com -- commuting options.
F. VirtualGuideBooks.com -- see public areas before you visit them.
G. News From ME -- Mark Evanier has attended every single Comic-Con, and has logged about 63,000 hours of panel moderation time. He writes about his panels and the con itself with increasing frequency as the show dates approach.
H. The Beat -- Heidi MacDonald's purview is comics culture, and there's no single entity of greater importance within comics' culture than Comic-Con.
I. Yp.Yahoo.com -- nearby business scouting.
J. SignOnSanDiego.com -- a halfway decent baseline review place, particularly for restaurants.
That may sound like a lot of sites, and you can tailor the folder for your specific intentions, but I still think it's a good idea in general to put together a little folder of bookmarks.

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Tip #9: Don't Stress Overspending On The Ground
So if you've planned this big trip but now money is a little tight, don't cancel. You don't have to spend a lot of money to go to Comic-Con. In addition to the necessary strategy that you'll have to curtail your retail consumption significantly or entirely, consider a) walking everywhere as a general rule, b) eating in rather than eating out, c) living like a cartoonist.

By living like a cartoonist I mean embrace your inner cheapskate as a temporary way of life -- make a game of being as cheap as possible at all times. Mooch. Keep an ear open as to whether a freebie you received might be worth more than another option (I've known dozens of people that sold their over-sized convention bag when it became clear that they had the most desirable one, usually Supernatural in terms of number of bags to number of wild-eyed fans). There are people with per diem accounts that they can spend on you in "meetings" and that get paid back for cabs. Public transport goes just about anywhere a car might, just not as quickly or directly (I've taken it to the airport). Unleash your inner Joe Matt.

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imageTip #10: You're Done Working On Stuff for The Show
If you're preparing anything at all for the show -- resumes, business cards, art to sell, opening lines, books to sell, art to show, scripts to pass around, your camera, a freelance assignment you have to physically hand to an editor who threatened to kill you and your pets -- you are probably done now. Seriously. If you can't end in an hour, wrap it up by the end of the day. You don't want to go through Comic-Con having stayed up for 37 hours straight stapling 16,000 copies of your mini-comics biography of Matt Fraction.

Let me be firm about one thing: forget entirely getting something done "when you get there." Whatever you're thinking of leaving of doing until you get to the hotel room? You will not get that thing done. It's not convenient, you'll find 10,000 excuses to skip it, and you'll end up feeling dumb as a rock having to carry the raw materials back home with you on the plane. Packing materials you never touched back into the bag you brought with you is the DIY Walk of Shame.

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Tip #11: At This Point, Count On Hand-Carrying Anything You Want There
Even just shipping to a hotel at this point would be ridiculous, particularly after you scouted whether or not you could get something on time. If you're not a pro at moving stuff around, engage with your amateur status by putting your hands on anything you want down there. Remember that there are luggage restrictions. If you're flying, and nudging up against the carry-on limits or way over that line, something that jerks sometimes do is check in for the flight at a kiosk or the night before at home -- avoiding the accusatory stares of airline personnel -- and then, if they have to, surrender their bags at the gate where they likely won't be charged. I've found it helps to affect a European accent to get this done, or at least the French are the only people I've ever seen drag a guitar onto a plane and get away with it.

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Tip #12: Check The Forecast
Here. A bit warm during the day, perfect at night. Pack accordingly.

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Tip #13: Don't Pack Your Cat
Comic-Con has more than enough adorable assholes already. Trust me.

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Tip #14: Pack Something With Long Sleeves
San Diego tends to offer ridiculously fantastic weather, but there are two reasons to remember to pack at least one item with long sleeves. The first is that a lot of nighttime socializing is done outside, in rooftop bars and on beaches. The second is that some years the air conditioning in the convention center is really, really aggressive.

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Tip #15: Pack To Mail Stuff Back
Most years I'll buy a few things and then mail them back from a local post office rather than lug them on the plane with me. I do this mostly because I don't want my luggage to incur an additional fee, but I also hate carrying books around as much as little kids hate mean, neighborhood dogs. Luggage fees and regulations are more actively applied and more stringent than ever.

There are easy-to-access mail delivery or private shipping service offices up by the Broadway hotels about six or seven blocks away and in the convention center itself. On Saturday morning I hit the post office nestled up against the Westin Horton Plaza and shoot back everything I've received/bought so far. This can be even more important if you're taking a vacation after the show. No one wants to see your Flintstones animation cels burst out of your bag in the lobby of a Palm Springs hotel.

Another way to approach it is to pick up one of the post office's "stuff everything in this box for this prepaid price" which is even the kind of thing you can probably leave at a hotel front desk with appropriate postage if you don't have time to visit a post office or Fed Ex hub on your last day. Double-check, but they are jerks if they don't do that.

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Tip #16: Pack To Sleep Defensively
I got this one from Sean T. Collins: If you're one of those folks sharing a room or not quite all the way sure where you're sleeping, pack earplugs and a sleep mask. You won't look cool putting them on, but you won't see or hear the people making fun of you, either.

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Tip #17: Pack As If You'll Shake 1000 Hands
Because, well, you just might end up shaking 1000 hands. Hand sanitizer, breath mints, and aspirin are the three keys to happiness in any Comic-Con dop kit. Okay, those things won't make you happy by themselves or even together, but their absence is definitely a bus transfer to Sucktown, USA.

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Tip #18: Pack For Power
Glenn Hauman reminded CR readers in 2011 that battery chargers for a phone and a camera and any related devices are a necessity for many folks, and that it may involve some individual effort to get them packed in addition to the devices they power. This seems rudimentary, but it seems like I'm always finding myself near someone who's spreading out their time on a device they can't recharge until Sunday evening.

If you do get caught without device powering implements, your hotel's front desk or concierge should be able to direct you to the nearest store or even provide that services right there. Another thing to consider is to scan the walls of the convention center lobby or the seats on your train or plane for people using a similar device, with whom you can then bargain for access. I've seen this done, so I know it works -- my brother traded a bag for 30 minutes with a charger in 2010.

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Tip #19: If It's Something You Do, Consider Eating Vitamins Or Performing Some Other Ameliorative Tasks Through The Show
One of my brothers likes to take a bunch of a certain vitamin before going on a trip, during the trip, and then five days after a trip. Some people believe in those travel booster things that other people tell me are an outright scam. I won't tell you what to do, but I will assure you that Comic-Con offers up enough changes in climate, enough people met, enough broken thermostats and enough in the way of crowded rooms that whatever your personal protect-yourself routine may be, you might put it on high alert.

My private palliative is to start every Comic-Con day by chugging three raw eggs dropped into a can of Thor 2 tie-in malt liquor and then doing 45 squat thrusts while singing made-up lyrics to the songs in Joann Sfar's Serge Gainsbourg film in Klingon. I'm not sure it works, but I'm not sure it doesn't.

Did I mention I'm not the greatest roommate?

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Tip #20: Pack Paranoid In Terms Of Anything You Need Professionally
If Comic-Con is a working weekend for you, be outright paranoid about getting your working materials there. Make that its own bag, or make it a bag within a bag. You may be cut off from home while you're on the trip, so be fiercely mindful of getting the stuff you need professionally -- from business cards to art samples to published material to laptops -- to your hotel room. If possible, carry rather than check this material.

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Tip #21: Share That Packing Paranoia
The key to packing defensively is your paranoia should extend to what people will be bringing to the convention for you. If you're doing a signing for a publisher, make contact if you can to double-check what books they're bringing down and what it is they want you to do and/or bring. An artist sitting at a convention with no books to sign because someone dropped the ball is an entire chapter from The Big Book Of Sad.

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Tip #22: Maybe Build In A Back-Home Fail-Safe Contact
A lot of people going to Comic-Con professionally shut down their studio or business for the weekend. And why not? They're not there. Having the lights and the computer on and the coffee going while you're hundreds of miles away is just sort of weird.

Still, it might be worth having an intern/family member stop by and open things up for an hour on Thursday morning. You may need someone to Fed Ex something that you might suddenly need or simply forgot. I've never had anything sent to me overnight while at Comic-Con, but I've sure seen it done.

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Tip #23: Pack Your Motherboxes
It's taken longer than a lot of us thought it would, but the convention utilizes Internet support to a much greater degree than it used to. So saddle up with your devices. You will want to supplement the information at your disposal with access to Twitter and Facebook and the comics coverage sites; you will want a place to scan/download and keep digital exclusives; you will want to text people to find out about dinner plans.

If like me you live a life that most Amish find overly distrustful of technology, try and at least fake some sort of gadget relevance. If you can't manage 2012, get yourself up to 1998. You need something to tell time (there are no clocks in the convention center) and for people with whom you're at the convention to call/text you. You probably need a lot more, but these two are still crucial.

Some sort of texting capacity is necessary for many folks because a) it can be done silently as you're doing something else like watching Tom Richmond discuss pen nibs on CCI's annual Pen Nibs Of The Reuben Winners panel, and b) people expect you have this capability because it's 2013 and you appear to have the body hair of an adult.

I know how silly this all sounds to your average, well-connected person. But the biggest change between, say, 2009, and the Comic-Con today is that social media and the Internet generally have been mainstreamed into the experience. Go to a panel early and sew what the panelists are doing: they are checking their phones. That is a new thing, a new reality. Don't get caught having half a con because you don't want to play catch-up.

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Tip #24: Do Your Initial Comic-Con Scouting Before Travel
Comic-Con programming goes up on the official site shortly before the show begins. It's always worth a read even if you only attend one or two panels. If you plan on attending a lot of panels, it's like getting a detailed scouting report -- by nerds, for nerds. Also check the guests as best you can. Both of these things can have an effect on packing.

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Tip #25: Don't Wear Your Weekend's Costume On The Plane
Seriously, that's terrifying.

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Tip #26: Easily Sidestep Your Intense Desire To Wear Your Weekend's Costume On The Plane
Pretend you're slipping into San Diego in your civilian guise.

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Tip #27: If You're Taking Amtrak, Embrace Its Peculiarities
If you're doing the San Diego/LA trip, consider these six things.

First, realize you may get to ride with people going to or leaving from the Del Mar racetrack. That's not really a tip, it's just extremely amusing to see sunburned, tipsy women in hats and pasty guys with light sabers hanging out together.

Second, the stations on both ends are pretty cool-looking, so enjoy that part of it as a bonus-add to your overall vacation/work weekend.

Third, you used to be afforded some leeway on when you made use of your Amtrak ticket within the day of your reservation, which meant you could schedule for a 4 PM departure and leave on the 8 PM train. I have no idea if they still do this, but it may be worth checking out. I used this once when I had the chance to do a post-con lunch one Sunday.

I've left Comic-Con on a train earlier than expected, too. No, I don't want to talk about it.

Fourth, be prepared for a reasonably involved brisk walk at both stations to get on and off the trains. You should be used to walking by that point of the weekend -- or you should get used to it if you're talking before the show -- but it can still be a shock. You're not going to be able to fake your bags onto the train or out to a cab, so make sure you can carry everything.

You should be able to check luggage and may have to if you have a lot of it -- Amtrak is limiting luggage now on most train trips, just like the airlines. Build a little time between your arrival and being picked up if you give your luggage away to be hauled to your destination in a different part of the train.

Fifth, there's a line-up fairly early on for the train from San Diego to L.A. and it's very much worth being towards the front of that line. There's also usually no way around that line, and as a result way more people try to circumvent it than succeed, to the jeers an contempt of the crowd they eventually join. One of the great joys of last day of Comic-Con is standing in the train line and see person after person ask an Amtrak employee if that line the rest of us are standing in is really the line they have to stand in. Yes. Yes, it is. We call that strategically-placed railroad worker "The Destroyer Of Dreams."

The line in San Diego is to the immediate west of the main sitting room. I'd get in it as soon as 10 minutes after the last train leaves. Also, if you see about five people in that line, you have about 90 seconds before it's 200 people. This is doubly important on Sunday, when they jam people on the trains in punishing fashion. Or you could buy the reserved ticket -- I'm told that works, too. I'd still show up reasonably early.

Sixth, recognize there's a good chance you're going to be late -- about 50 percent of the time, by my experience. So maybe make your ride in LA dependent on a phone call for someone to come get you rather than a set time pick-up, and coming down to the convention don't count on the train hitting San Diego the exact second you need to be there. Maybe even take the train before the train that fits your time schedule.

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Tip #28: Realize Your Airport To Hotel Cab Experience May Depend On The Terminal
At the main San Diego airport (servicing most flights), it's easy to catch a cab, but you'll have some distance to walk to get to that island. At the shuttle-service airport (servicing small planes from Phoenix and LAX), the cabstand is very close to the adorable little terminal. However, since not as many cabs go to the secondary terminal as to the primary, it can be a longer wait.

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Tip #29: Share A Cab
Consider asking people ahead of you in line to share a cab, especially if you're going to the same cluster of hotels. I'm guessing right now that with tip it tops out at about $20 from the airport to one of the downtown hotels, although it's been a couple of years. If the end result is two single people sharing the back of the cab, that would seem bearable to save ten bucks.

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Tip #30: Call Ahead To See About An Airport Shuttle
Not every hotel has them -- in fact, none come to mind. A few hotels that did have them cut them for economic reasons about three years ago. That may have come back, though: I'm not sure. You also may need to formally reserve a shuttle rather than summon it to attend your presence by waving your hands and thinking good thoughts in the direct of your hotel.

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Tip #31: If Flying, Look Out The Window At Your Own Risk
The trip down or up the California coast can be very pretty as it frequently uses a travel corridor a few miles off the shoreline. Sit on the left-hand side if you want the best view. On the other hand, the San Diego airport is right smack in a northern corner of the city, so a lot of flights coming in take you near bunches of buildings. I've had East Coast city folk tell me this can be particularly unnerving.

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Tip #32: Keep An Eye Out: Planes Are Good Places To Catch Comics Luminaries And Actual Celebrities
If staring at famous people is part of the fun you have at Comic-Con, open your eyes at least one travel segment early. Any leg of a trip to or from SD that requires a shuttle-type flight to or from LAX probably has one celebrity on it, or the comics equivalent. "Are you going to the con?" and "How was your show?" are not-scary opening questions for most non-asshole celebrities. Commiserating with anyone con-bound that's headed to the same place can be an awful lot of fun.

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Tip #33: Research Your Hotel
This is where you start to put your bookmarks to work. Find your hotel web site and bookmark it. Familiarize yourself with the information there. Learn if they have a pool, an exercise room, a restaurant that serves breakfast, the menu with prices that tells you if you can afford that breakfast. Then take a look at your hotel's listing on TripAdvisor.com. Don't worry about the reviews so much -- those people are like the short-lived 1990s hate-a-thon publication Crash Magazine; they rip into everything -- but the traveler photos are almost always great. Then do a location search on your hotel and see what's in the immediate neighborhood.

I know how obsessive this sounds, but trust me: spending that 10 minutes some Tuesday morning in June when you're bored out of your skull at work and you've already been to the restroom four times can save you an hour or more in July wandering around the Symphony Suites Sheraton in concentric circles looking for a place to buy a two-liter of soda and a lint brush.

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Tip #34: Join the Points Club
If your hotel or hotel chain has a points club, join it. There are advantages even if you have no intention of ever again staying at that hotel. You may get a separate check-in and checkout line. You may get an instant reward, like a room upgrade. You may get to use points for free or discounted rooms if you attend Comic-Con for multiple years. If you go to a lot of shows in other cities, you may be able to build a string of point-gathering institutions for the highest, sustained return over time. (You can also do this at one show -- for instance, Starwood has multiple Comic-Con hotels, which makes it easier to build points and find a place to spend them.)

The most important thing about joining is that being in the points club is a hedge against something unfortunate happening during the trip, like a piece of luggage getting lost in the check room or people continuing to walk into your room just as you're squeezing into your B'wana Beast outfit. Hotels are much more likely to bring a manager out to talk to you if you're a member of the points club. Best of all, your ability to process points provides those managers with an easy way to say they're sorry.

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Tip #35: Check In As Close As You Can To The Time Given
You already know the hotels are super-booked Comic-Con weekend. What you may not know is that according to most basic hotel reservation agreements, they can move you to a different hotel if they get totally booked up.

Overbooked folks at the Embassy Suites sometimes get moved up the coast to the Lodge at Torrey Pines, which would have been the greatest day in my hotel-obsessed life, but in almost every other case it's a severe downgrade in addition to being further away. So don't put off getting into your room until after dinner and multiple whiskey-fueled games of Strip Five Card Nancy with CCS alumni. Get to your hotel on time or even slightly before the stated check-in time.

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Tip #36: Put Everyone's Name On The Room
Unless you're sneaking people into your room, consider putting everyone's name on the reservation. That way they can all get keys and check in at different times. I once burst into tears at the Westin Horton Plaza front desk when my co-workers left my name off the room (on purpose, I found out later). The manager gave me my own room, I think to stop me from blubbering. I later invited the person who I didn't blackballed me to share the room so they could have their own bed and they confessed that they were mad at me and it was a twenty-something workplace drama special coming-to-terms late-night discussion. I don't miss my twenties. Anyway, it was basically in the elevator shaft, but hey, free room. I'd recommend this as a strategy, but I don't think anyone has rooms to give away these days. Plus, I am freakishly adorable when weeping.

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Tip #37. Consider Getting A Room On A Higher Floor
Take a look at the neighborhood you're in. If it looks like it could be noisy, consider asking for a room on a higher floor. I've had people tell me this is a good idea for all the hotels on Broadway (there's a bus station beneath the Sofia and across the street from the Bristol), the Hilton and the Omni.

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Tip #38. Exploit Your Hotel's Services
Most convention-goers are naturally focused on the convention center. That's why they came. This makes Comic-Con a great weekend to sneak in some quality hotel time.

Use your research. If your hotel has a pool, it's not likely going to be used a whole lot. Ditto the gym. Ditto the spa. Sneaking away from the convention center for a late afternoon swim and gym workout and massage can be a wonderful way to break up one's schedule. Heck, meeting at the pool can even be an impromptu date if you've met somebody. If you're super-lucky, you might be able to network. I know a guy who scored a gig from a name-above-the-title comics personality by being the only other person at Westin Gaslamp pool at 3 PM on a Friday.

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Tip #39. Don't Count On The Fridge
It used to be that you could empty your room's fridge of all that stuff they're trying to get you to buy for way too much money and stuff that cold box with chow and drinks you bought at Ralphs. This isn't always the case now. Some refrigerators are constructed in a way they no longer allow for the hotel items to be unloaded. Improvise with a trashcan, a trash bag and a lot of that sweet hotel ice. I think every hotel except the Westgate has some sort of ice machine. The Westgate actually brings the ice to you, which could severely limit your MacGyver-style temporary icebox creation options.

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Tip #40. Befriend The Concierge
The concierge is the person in the lobby of a nice hotel that's there to help you that's not a hooker. They sometimes have their own desk: look around or ask. They are there to facilitate your tourism experience. Granted, you're likely to have 95 percent of your time reserved for activities where you'll know way more than the concierge does. But if you have a question about a place to eat, somewhere to shop, a service of some sort, a place to buy a new camera battery, it's a great first place to stop. If you're like me and you have nothing to ask the concierge, sometimes it's fun to make up stuff to ask them. I'm still looking for that Markovian grocery store.

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Tip #41: Beware The Crappy Concierge
You can spot most lousy concierges by the way they fail to directly answer your questions. If you ask for a seafood restaurant and they mention the Asian place in the hotel also serves some pretty good seafood, start scanning their answers for bullshit. If to answer your question they're doing the kind of research on a computer you could have done yourself, consider the recommendation as being of that quality. That doesn't mean it's wrong, that just means they're not bringing any specific expertise to the issue. I wouldn't suggest getting mad, it's just that in the free advice industry you sometimes get what you pay for.

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Tip #42: Tailor Your Concierge Questions
Advanced class: places like the Westin Horton have multiple people filling this role rotating at a desk. With that in mind, you might wait for the 30-year-old woman to ask after the dive bars, and save your question about the best traditional steakhouse downtown for the 67-year-old guy with the mane of silver hair.

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Tip #43: If You Need To Have Full Computer Access While At Comic-Con, Check In Advance On Your Hotel's Specific Computer and On-Line Access Policies
I once got drunk in Las Vegas with a guy who sold hotels their Internet services. He told me that because hotels were so eager to provide these services at such an early date, a lot of chains got locked into strategies that may seem odd or outdated now. He said that in drunk, so there was a lot of slurring involved and a couple of high-five moments, but that was the gist of it.

That's the long way of saying that hotels are all over the place on what kind of Internet services they offer. It should be free and easily available by now throughout every hotel; it's not. If you imagine that in this day of wi-fi and handheld devices that no one could possibly be charging $17.99 a day for in-room access, there's a hotel out there ready to prove you wrong. Check ahead to see if you'll be paying to hook up to the Internet or if you'll be getting on for free and what's available to do so in your room, whether wireless connections are available or not and where in the hotel this may be.

Your hotel may also have a business center if things go wrong with your computer -- I think most of these are being phased out, but I could be wrong. I've used the Hilton's (it was good) and the Hyatt's (the opposite of good).

Another thing you might check is whether or not a laptop or mini can be stored in a room safe or with the front desk if you don't want to take that particular device to the show.

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Tip #44: Leave Yourself Enough Time To Get Out Of There
If you're leaving on Sunday, make sure you give yourself enough time to get all the way out of your hotel. A lot of people are probably checking out that day, too, and lot of people are storing luggage until their flight leaves, and a lot of people are parked in each garage. I have had hotel staff lose my luggage, my reservation from their computer and, one year, my car. Be prepared. Consider using your in-room checkout or just building extra time into your schedule that day. In particular, get down early to check in your luggage -- mid-morning to late morning that can be an hour wait.

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Tip #45: Don't Forget To Tip The Hotel Staff
The comics industry attracts a lot of Mr. Pinks. To those people I say, "Thanks for the grumpy service people I sometimes encounter at Comic-Con."

For the rest of you, please don't forget the various hotel people: the guy that calls you a cab, the young woman who brings you your ridiculous-looking car, whatever poor soul cleans your filthy, cheetos-and-cheap-ink stained room. A few dollars here and there can really make someone's day -- and reflects well on you, especially if you're one of the few people doing it. Enough people do it and it begins to reflect well on everybody. And definitely make it cash. Just because some people are crazy enough to leave Jack Chick tracts as tips and somehow manage to avoid perpetual beatings doesn't mean you can leave your mini-comic and expect it to end up anywhere but the trash.'

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Tip #46: Get Ready To Walk
You'll be walking at the show, sure, but in most cases you'll be walking outside of the show as well. Walking is still the best way to get around a wide space marked by the convention center to the south all the way up to Broadway going north and several blocks east and west: basically this map right here.

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Tip #47: Memorize The Following Places For A Basic Lay Of The Comic-Con Land
I used to include a map that I stole and disfigured, and then I remembered that I'm an adult and I shouldn't do such things. So I'm going to include the descriptions and then a google map location and hope that I remember to commission an actual map of my own next year. Sorry!
1. The Convention Center [location]
Where the convention takes place. There are entry points from 5th and 1st Avenue. There's a walkway past the 5th Avenue entry point near the big Hilton in case there's a train on the tracks.
2. The Marriott [location]
Traditional nearest hotel to the convention and a place for a lot of informal gatherings, pre-convention brunch meetings and sneak-away confabs at their Irish-themed bar.
3. The Hyatt [location]
This is the traditional comics industry late-night social hub. The Hilton has cut into it a bit, getting a chance to do so during some unfortunate advocacy by Hyatt owners on behalf of anti-gay marriage laws, but I think this has rallied to retain its hold as the busiest place. There's an upstairs bar where a slightly more cool, younger version of the comics crowd secures tables early, but most folks hang out downstairs and spill over to the outside or even use the sports bar at the other end of the lobby. If you're done with what you had planned for the evening or just want to see what it's like, stop by.
4. Seaport Village [location]
A set of restaurants and shops that people tend to forget about, just up the road a bit. If you're at the Hyatt, the Marriott or the Embassy Suites, you may be more oriented to these places than to their Gaslamp District equivalent.
5. Rail stop for Little Italy [location]
Gaslamp too crowded? Everyone in your group of friends mad at you? Hit a restaurant up here.
6. Horton Plaza [location]
Downtown shopping mall with tons of restaurants and more than a few shops.
7. Ralphs Supermarket [location]
The San Diego business MVP of every show. Get your late night snacks, your cheap lunches and your mixers all in one place. Worth getting a Ralphs card for this one weekend a year. They're in the same chain with Krogers, so if your card works there, it should also work at Ralphs.
8. Gaslamp Quarter [location]
Restaurants! Movie Theaters! Hotels! People willing to yell mean things at you from their cars!
9. Petco Park [location]
No games this year, but I'm told it's open to the public as a kind of sitting space.
10. Fed Ex/Kinkos (actually a block north, on C street) [location]
Get on-line; ship stuff home; make copies!
11. US Post Offices [location]
You probably know what a post office is. Media rate is your friend.
12. Omni Hotel [location]
One of the many newer hotels right up next to the convention center.
13. Hilton San Diego Bayfront [location]
This is actually a bit further south than my map allows -- the other side of the convention center, basically. It's a newer hotel that will be hosting some programming and the Eisners. It may also eventually replace the Hyatt as the late night place for comics people to hang out and try to talk to Marvel editors, but hasn't yet. I prefer the physical set-up here.
Tip #66. If You're Driving Into San Diego, Consider The Traffic
If you're taking a car into San Diego for the weekend or for whatever day you're going, the first thing to consider is that there may be traffic -- con-related or just Southern California-related -- on the way in. I'm told Friday night can be extremely bad. Just build in some extra time.

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Tip #48: If You're Driving Into The Show For The Day, Consider Going Early
Traditionally, it's been nearly impossible to find convenient parking later on in the day. In fact, a lot of my friends who drive in or drive over come in a couple of hours early, park in one of the city lots several blocks away and then go to breakfast.

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Tip #49: Maybe Think North But Also East Of The Show For Public Parking
In 2010 I walked to the show along 8th and 9th about two blocks past Broadway. Even though I wasn't exactly hitting the show early -- it was about 11 AM -- there was still plenty of public parking to be had. It could be that I just witnessed a terrible aberration. Still, it was certainly really easy to find paid parking in those neighborhoods.

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Tip #50: If You're An Exhibitor, Double-Check Your Parking Options
One thing that I heard happened last year is that there was apparently more parking at the convention center for exhibitors, and that this was in some way held for them. You should talk to your Comic-Con contact if this sounds like something you'd like to know but for whatever reason haven't heard a thing about it.

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Tip #51: Check Out The CCI Site For Potential Advance Parking Options
According to several readers, the convention site has offered some limited advance parking through ACE. This was different than parking at the convention center for key exhibitors -- this was parking offered through ACE at various nearby hotels and lots that they own. You were not allowed to leave after parking, and you have to be out by midnight, but there was apparently a discount if you purchased this way and as one reader put it, "it was another thing not to have to worry about paying for when you got there."

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Tip #52: Come To Terms With The Fact That Hotel Parking Is Expensive
It's likely you will pay a great deal for parking at any downtown hotel -- $18-$35 a day -- and it's 50/50 that you will pay a modest amount for parking at some of the hotels not in the downtown area. The one exception to parking at your hotel used to be Sunday, when it was a little easier to find a place to stash your car just for the day. I would also imagine you can still park east of downtown and walk back into that area, but I'm not sure if there are city rules that would lead to ticketing.

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Tip #53: In Fact, Consider Paying Extra For Someone To Park Your Car For You
The two times I tried to park my own car at my hotel in San Diego I found the parking structures terrifying and would have at the moment paid $700 to switch places with one of the valets that offered to do it for me. I will never star in my own driving manga, that's for sure.

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Tip #54: Be Careful Where You Park In Downtown San Diego
Three things to keep an eye on if you're driving into downtown for a day at the convention center.

The first is that if you need to park all day and choose an all-day lot, make sure that the sign actually means all-day and not just eight hours.

The second is that if you're in a facility with a machine to pay, pay the machine. There's a scam apparently common in San Diego's parking garages for people to approach cars in thrown-together uniforms and ask to take the payment from you directly.

The third is that if you're staying at a hotel, take note of your hotel's exact parking policies: you may or may not be able to take the car out, for instance, without a penalty.

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Tip #55: If You Have A Car, Consider Using It For Something Other Than A Trip To The Convention Center And Back
If you have a car, use it! Take a meal outside of the immediate downtown area, go to a beach, head to a nearby tourist destination on a half-day away from the convention center. Invite people to come with you! Allowing a couple of friends of yours a temporary respite from people in costumes and the smell of all that pulp and desperation can be the greatest gift of all.

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Tip #56: Don't Be Afraid To Use The Con's Shuttle Buses
A lot of people won't use the con's shuttle buses because they think they're only for hugely overweight people in costume weighed down even further by gigantic boxes featuring Lego versions of various movie spaceships, like that one spaceship from the John Sayles movie that talked in a lady voice and had boobs. These people couldn't be more wrong. The buses are for everyone. It's really only the first five seats on either side that are reserved for heavy folks bearing toy sets.

Every hotel lobby should be able to direct you to a stop if there's one nearby, and there's also information on the web site. It's pretty easy to figure out how they line up in front of the convention center going out to the hotels, too. You'll need to remember a color.

I used to never use them, and now I use them at least once in a weekend.

One thing you might want to double-check if you're considering taking a shuttle bus from your hotel to the convention center is where your hotel is on the number of stops the bus makes before hitting the show. It might be easier and much quicker to walk in some cases. Also, it used to be the buses could get bogged down in the last block or so before the convention center. It depends on the driver if they'll let you out. Being late but being 200 feet from your last stop is basically an invitation to have your head explode.

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Tip #57: If You Ride The Transit Trains, Smile
Everyone seems to hate the transit trains, because no one smiles on them. I think they work just fine, and I used to take the one from the nearby Imperial Street Station to the convention center every year. Nobody smiles. It's spooky.

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Tip #58: Remember There's A Footbridge Now
It used to be you could stuck behind trains achingly close to the convention center. The footbridge has made this something of a non-factor. It might be worth building in some extra time to walk to the show if you have an important meeting, because that's a bit out of the way -- I was late to the Eisners in 2012 because I hadn't build in extra time for a stopped train.

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Tip #59: Utilize The Short Cab Ride
San Diego has a compact downtown, which means that cabs should be a semi-affordable way to supplement your walking and can save your life when utilized at key times (like when you're intoxicated, or when Felicia Day keeps trying to pick a fistfight with you, or when you're late for something important). Once you move away from downtown proper, you're talking much more money as the short bursts on the highway add quickly to any fare. The occasional cab ride can still be more timely than a train or shuttle bus.

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Tip #60: At The Same Time, Maybe Don't Count On That Cab Ride
There are a few not-great things to remember about San Diego cabs.

One, it's been my experience that a San Diego cab driver will complain about giving you a short cab ride, like from the train station to your downtown hotel. Hold your ground. If they don't want your business, they can let you out of the cab. (It's always nice to tip a couple of extra dollars for a short ride, by the way.)

Two, San Diego cabs seemingly don't provide coverage to the extent common to other large cities. From experience I can tell you some neighborhoods are flat-out avoided, even if you call and ask for a pick-up. So don't count on a cab to always be able to come get you, especially if it looks scary out.

Three, some of my friends and peers from more cab-centric towns like New York City don't think the taxi service in San Diego is very good at all, encompassing both of the above complaints but also charges of general incompetence. I've never had a super-bad experience in a San Diego cab, but they're apparently not unknown.

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Tip #61: Get A Price Before You Get On A Pedi-Cab
San Diego has a bunch of pedi-cabs downtown. Pedi-Cabs are basically bicycles with a chariot-like seat where a place to hold ice cream might ordinarily go. You sit in that seat and someone bikes you to your destination. The good thing is that if you're tired enough to allow someone to bike you four or five blocks, you don't care how goofy you appear to others when sitting in one of these things trying not to look at your driver's butt (or trying to look like you're not looking at it).

Decide on a price before you sit down. Also: remember to tip. If when you approach a group of these bikes they fight amongst themselves or otherwise act in a way that's unpleasant, you should always feel free to walk away.

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Tip #62: If You Can Get Someone Else To Secure Your Badges For You, Do That
You probably can't -- and it may be that this option is no longer an option even for those few folks to whom it applied -- but if you're with a publisher or an exhibitor rather than registered on your own, it used to be you get to pick up your passes from that publisher or exhibitor rather than by standing in line. This is ideal.

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Tip #63: Enjoy Your Time In Line
The registration line may be your only line of the show. It may also be the first of 38 you'll encounter Comic-Con weekend. Being furious makes few experiences shorter, so enjoy the time. The people on either side of you probably have something in common with you; if nothing else, you're both having the experience of being in line. Most of what I know about the coverage of CCI's movie and television elements I learned talking with fellow press people in the registration line.

Last year was the first time I was sent to cattle-pen areas on Wednesday night, holding places for bunches of fans. Before then I had just stayed out in the lobby -- I'm guessing getting people out of the lobby had become a point of emphasis for the show. I blew that off to go eat a burger and just came back when the doors were open.

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Tip #64: Note The Extended Badge Pick-Up Hours Wednesday
If you're at Comic-Con for the whole thing and are picking your badge up on Wednesday, take advantage of the extended period they offer to process these things to get that task out of the way well before the show is due to open.

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Tip #65: On Days Other Than Wednesday, Slightly Later In The Day Can Be A Good Time To Get Registered
I can't speak to the attendee line, but with pro and press badges picked up Thursday, Friday or Saturday it's frequently better to get one's badge a little bit after a morning rush.

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Tip #66: If You're Selling Stuff, Use Preview Night To Gauge Overall Demand
I got this one from Larry Young: if you're an exhibitor or someone selling stuff in any capacity, use Preview Night to project how much stuff you're going to sell. If you're about to sell out of something and it's only Wednesday night, it might be worth Fed Ex-ing more so that they arrive on Friday.

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Tip #67: If You're Buying Stuff, Hit The Most Special Of The Specialty Retailers First
I'm not a conventions-exclusives person, and I imagine that if you are, then your Preview Night shopping patterns are already determined: you'll be heading to x, y and z booths on offering x, y and z items. Have fun!

For the rest of you, I'd suggest a general strategy of visiting those booths with specialty and one-of-a-kind items ahead of the bigger booths and those that are offering widely available items. One of my first usual stops, for instance, is the bookseller Stuart Ng, who sells rare books and limited edition portfolios -- more an antiquarian bookseller than a comics retailer, with all of the limited supply that entails. The way I see it, you can see whatever giant model DC has on hand tomorrow: it will be there all four days. I hear this year it's going to be a statue of Wonder Woman built entirely out of pages from failed pilot treatments and stalled movie scripts.

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Tip #68: As Far As Con Exclusives Go, I Suppose I Can't Suggest You Skip Them
As noted in the last tip, a lot of companies offer special incentive items that are either specifically intended to be given out Wednesday night or are gone by the time Wednesday night passes. I can't think of any strategies for getting this stuff that doesn't sound unfair: I suppose studying the floor maps from the Con site and then lining up near a door near your intended first stopping point would be a strategy, as would convincing a friend with an exhibitor badge to sneak over by the target just as the doors are flung open.

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Tip #69: Remember You're Going To Need Hold Onto That Badge
With increased value comes increased responsibility: the con's organizers will charge you for lost badges. Period. They don't care how you lost it. You're paying up. If you're mugged by that nice young man that plays Oliver Queen on Arrow, you pay up. If you lose it in a late-night poker game with the Image founders in the captain's quarters on Jim Lee's zeppelin, you pay up. If you allow a badge-less pal to "steal" it, you pay up.

An additional tip for this point suggested by a reader is to take a pin and secure your badge to your shirt as well as have it attached to the provided lanyard. It's worth considering.

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Tip #70: Take A Deep Breath
The good thing about Wednesday nights being insanely busy is you immediately have a picture of what negotiating the con will be like for most of the weekend. It's an eye-opener. Take some time to think things over a bit and adjust your schedule accordingly. You may want more time to go from one place to another, or want to avoid certain locations that are bound to fill up. There's also a slight chance you'll be psychologically troubled by what you just saw, so working through some issues over a cocktail or eight might be in order as well.

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Tip #71: Definitely Eat Breakfast
You need to eat breakfast. Anyone over the age of 30 and most people under will feel the effects of standing on their feet and walking several miles in the visual cacophony that is Comic-Con; it goes better on a full stomach.

Both the Hyatt and the Marriott offer a decent brunch. I'd recommend Kono's and Hash House A Go Go away from the immediate convention center neighborhood; Cafe Chloe and the St. Tropez Bistro location near Horton Plaza in the immediate neighborhood.

The idea is to get something -- anything -- nutritious into your system. Get an orange juice at Ralphs for pity's sake. A donut. Street food. Something.

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Tip #72: Consider Making A Meeting Out Of Breakfast
I bet there are going to be more and more breakfast meetings this year and in the years ahead. Lunch is difficult considering all that's going on at the show; dinner is being pressed by a smaller window between the close of programming and the evening activities.

If you're going to do a meeting at breakfast, maybe do a place that will take a reservation and thus is less likely to find you waiting in a line. If you're not a breakfast person and you're asked to do a morning meeting, consider the lobby of any of the hotels near the Convention Center. The Marriott in particular has a little area with a Starbuck's in it where I've taken maybe a half-dozen meetings at various morning times. It's easy to find and close by. Also, if you want to extend your meeting, you can usually walk with the person back to the show.

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Tip #73: Bring Enough Money To The Convention Center
Don't get caught depending on credit cards (not everybody takes them) or standing in line at the convention center's ATMs (those lines are long and you'll feel silly spending your con time there). Bring enough money to the show. If you can't hit an ATM away from the show, like one at your hotel or at the Wells Fargo on Broadway, maybe go to Ralphs and get change back on a debit card getting water or gum.

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Tip #74: Consider The Bank That Is The Exhibitor
Sometimes if you're friends with a vendor or work for someone selling stuff on the floor you can write them a check for some of the extra cash they're holding. Sometimes people are glad to have the promise of money over money. I used to do this a bunch.

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Tip #75: Remember That The Convention Is Humongous
Tom Galloway uses a simple formula for determining the size of the convention's main floor. "Each aisle is about 100 yards long. There are 52 of them. So, just to walk down the center of each aisle, not even going side to side to look at things more closely, is about 5200 yards. Since a yard is three feet, and there are 5,280 feet to a mile, that means just getting a look at everything on the floor requires a three-mile walk." That doesn't even cover going upstairs for panels and other presentations. It is a massive place.

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Tip #76: Wear Comfortable Shoes
It's a cliché, but one that offers a great deal of truth: if you don't wear comfortable shoes to Comic-Con your feet will never forgive you. It's tough on feet. If you don't want your feet to hold an impromptu press conference denouncing your abusive behavior, treat them nicely. In fact, if you can, wear comfortable everything.

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Tip #77: Take Your Own Water
Buy a water bottle at Ralphs or at a similar store on the way over to the show. You can fill up from the convention center's various water fountains. You'll feel better at the end of the day if it's been a well-hydrated day. You'll also have saved a couple of bucks over what's available at the show.

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Tip #78: Considering Taking Your Own Bag
Some of the companies have been giving away giant bags in recent years in order to utilize shoppers for advertising, and while that won't go away any time soon you can't count on this continuing forever. Also, some folks simply aren't giant bag people. I know I can't pull it off.

I have a backpack that only gets used CCI weekend. I keep it stuffed underneath some friend's table -- this is possible if you know someone and in most cases promise them they're not responsible -- so that I don't have people giving me extra stuff to carry. Having something to carry your stuff to and from the convention center is a total blessing.

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Tip #79: Don't Be Stinky
This is the graph where I'm supposed to make fun of the poorly socialized people that always show up at these events in ill-fitting clothes and exhibiting a lack of body awareness that has an olfactory dimension. Someone at a mainstream publication finds this graph every year and then makes a big point of it in their column about the show.

At this point I'm just putting it here to be funny. We are years past the era where Comic-Con might feature a significant percentage of people that take such poor care of themselves that it's worth noting. People that don't take care of themselves tend not to have the kind of money and time it takes to have a five-day vacation, even a Comic-Con vacation. It's also not like Comic-Con ever had a monopoly on stinky folk. I attended my town's local music festival the day before I wrote this year's guide and there were a few happy, well-adjusted people in attendance that smelled like body parts that had been buried inside other body parts. "If Dirt Could Sweat" could be my town's festival motto.

Do your best. There's a lot of walking, and it's summer. No one expects everyone to be cotillion fresh, but it's also the wrong weekend to play rock-star-rolling-out-of-bed. Be the freshest version of you that you can be, no matter if you're wearing the same Ferro Lad costume for five days in a row or if you're wearing a series of dry-cleaned, French collar shirts with Checkered Demon cufflinks. If you make an effort, it will almost certainly be enough of an effort.

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Tip #80: Wash Your Hands, Then Wash Them Again
Most of you is clean; some of you is filthy. Your hands are gross. As much as you're able, get those hands washed. Flat-out orient yourself towards washing your hands. If you're near a restroom and it looks sparsely populated, maybe dart in and wash them. You are touching so many other people and the things that other people have touched; washing your hands is an honest-to-goodness, time-proven way to avoid the germs that come with that kind of constant interaction.

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Tip #81: Be Sensitive To Those That Don't Wish To Shake Hands
One thing I've noticed at a lot of these shows is that fewer people seem to want to shake hands -- understandable, given our greater awareness of germs and the like. I don't think people are allowed to be grumpy if you didn't read their minds and know they prefer a fist bump, but you might be sensitive to who wants to initiate contact and who doesn't. And gentlemen: remember that a lady has the right to engage a handshake and you should defer to that initiation or lack thereof.

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Tip #82: Remember The AM/PM Rule
So as to avoid frustration when I'm at a show, I try to pick one event for each half-day that is a mega-priority, and then allow the day to come to me otherwise. There is nothing wrong with finding you have an hour free and going and finding a panel that you can maybe attend, or hitting the floor to look at the movie exhibits. You're not going to enjoy that part of your day any more for having fretted over it long in advance, not knowing if you'd make it or not. In fact, the opposite tends to be true. Don't build in opportunities for disappointment! Comic-Con can be a hard place in which to move around, so limiting what you really want to do gives you a better chance of at least having those experiences and leaves you open to letting the show happen in your presence as opposed to closely sticking to a schedule. If what you want to do requires more than a half-day split, like waiting in line for a specific must-see panel, you may be required to do whatever it takes -- within reason -- to make this happen. But for most events and panels and the other things you might want to do, a half-day tends to suffice.

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Tip #83: Consider Packing Lunch
You're officially not allowed to bring food into the convention center, as they have their own vendors: as generally bad and overpriced as any set of vendors in the long and distinguished history of convention center vendors stretching back to the tourshi booths at the Assyrian Convention Center in downtown Nineveh, 700 BC. People bring in food anyway and I don't know anyone that's been caught as long as they've been discreet about it. In fact, at one very pleasurable panel a couple of years ago I watched entire rows of kids at desks eating packed lunches. It was kind of adorable.

The reason to think about packing the noontime meal is that it's harder than you'd think to get away from the convention center just for lunch. One thing people don't count on is that it's a good four or five blocks to the bulk of the Gaslamp lunch places, and that's after you've crossed the convention floor. With the wait for service, lunch out ends up being a decent investment in time. Besides, if you end up going out anyway, a carried-in lunch can always be pressed into service as a late-afternoon snack.

You can buy appropriate stuff for lunch at Ralphs or in the hotels that have deli-style offerings somewhere on the premises. Some of the businesses have taken to packing lunches for people to carry out, like a barbecue place on the southwestern corner of Horton Plaza. Keep your eyes open.

Where to eat if you're packing? I have never seen an open seat at the convention eating areas. Never. Not once in my life. I'm pretty sure they have seat-fillers like the Oscars. Eating standing up behind your table is a total comics-star move if you're cool enough to pull it ooff. The convention center has a big back porch that's rarely used and is perfect for some alone time with a wrap and an orange juice. In 2010 Lorena Nava Ruggero suggested the Picnic Hill park behind PETCO Park, the Padres' baseball stadium. "It's open to the public when there isn't a Padres game scheduled and home games aren't scheduled during Con anymore. There's lots of open space (and a playground for kids) and hardly anyone visits. It's a nice oasis in the middle of the madness." You can find a place.

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Tip #84: Don't Leave For Lunch Without At Least The Rough Outline Of A Plan
If you do leave for lunch, and I do at least one day every year, don't leave the convention center with vague plans of finding a place and sitting down and eating. A quick maps.google.search will give you a few ideas to focus your journey before it ends with you bursting into tears having walked seven blocks away and seeing nothing but art galleries for three blocks in every direction.

Many people love Buster's Beach House or Dick's Last Resort. Others I've heard people mention are Maryjane's inside Hard Rock, the Gaslamp's Tin Fish, a terrifying-looking place called Rockin' Baja and the Cheese Shop Deli.

My favorite place to eat lunch in San Diego is Las Cuatros Milpas, a line up outside to get in Mexican place where they cook everything in front of you in giant tubs of boiling lard and you eat what you purchased in side rooms on benches you share with lawyers and firemen and neighborhood families. I'm not kidding about giant tubs of lard: one cartoonist who went there with me actually covered his eyes so he could deny to himself how they were preparing his food. That's a short cab ride to a neighborhood scary enough you'll have to walk the five or six blocks back, but I think it's worth it. If you see me at the show, ask me and maybe we'll go.

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Tip #85: Remember Your Badge Skills
Your badge -- a basic ID with your name on it that gets you into events -- will come with a lanyard along with any chip technology they're putting in those things now. A greater poet than I am would cleverly note the irony of the distance between this new technology and the rudimentary method for displaying it. Although this year could be different, and let's hope, the last decade or so has never seen Comic-Con make a badge with large print of the kind that's easy to read at a glance. So if you want people to know who you are, wear your badge proudly and wear it where people can see it. This is another way that pinning the badge to your shirt in addition to having it on the lanyard might help.

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Tip #86: Walk Artists' Alley At Least Once
If Comic-Con is a city, Artists' Alley is that city's Historical District: a place where you can get to the heart of what the show's all about and prime real estate a lot of the cool people continue to call home. Artists Alley is that area of the show set up for individual cartoonists to come in without a lot of cost and sell their wares or meet their public or both.

The exposure given in this fashion to individual cartoonists is the difference between the show being a full on, admittedly magnificent flea market and a cultural event with flea market tendencies. You should really walk it at least once. You'll almost certainly spot a creator that for at least a few months was one of your five favorites and another creator you hadn't thought of in 20 years. The writer and too-infrequent artist Jeff Parker offered some still-good advice about the Artist's Alley experience a few years back.

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Tip #87: Take A Similar Swing By The Small Press Area
Comic-Con actually splits its Artist's Alley from its small press area. The former is usually on the eastern end of the hall; the latter is usually south of the comics publishers, with a slightly bigger group near the front of the hall and between the mainstream publishers and the alt-/arts- folks. Try to visit as many of these folks as you have a passion for, as it's one area of the convention that I think has genuinely become more difficult to make work given the flow of traffic and how people spend money. Much like visiting the old retailers, or seeing an old-school panel, visiting a comics person and just seeing new work is a nod to the show's past. In the case of new work, it's also getting in on the ground floor of comics' future.

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Tip #88: Network Laterally
One thing I've noticed from people that come to the show to meet people and network is that sometimes they get frustrated waiting for a chance at a cold introduction rather when they could be working the connections they already have. In other words, if you're a writer about comics that wants to meet creators, access your fellow writers about comics as to the people they know that are creators. If you're a creator that wants to meet editors, talk to your fellow creators to see if anyone can give you an introduction.

Most people are happy to introduce people because anything good that comes out of it reflects well on them. But you have to ask.

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Tip #89: Always, Always, Always Introduce Yourself
The person you're with that you expect to introduce you? Don't count on that person. That person may be too tired to remember to make an introduction, may not actually remember your name, may have never said your name out loud, or any number of things that keep them from piping up. It's the mind melting aspect of the show. I've forgotten the names of longtime co-workers and future hall of fame cartoonists that have slept on my couch. I am the opposite of a clutch performer when it comes to introductions.

So please introduce yourself to anyone you come across and save people the hassle of "hosting" your encounters. This goes double for a one-on-one situation. It's not you. It's Comic-Con.

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Tip #90: If You're The Person Standing Behind A Person, Talk To The Person Standing Behind That Other Person
If your friend/spouse/co-worker is talking to their favorite creator and you're definitely not, consider talking to the person standing behind that creator in the same way you're standing near your friend. It's a nice thing to do. You'll know this opportunity when you see it.

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Tip #91: Don't Be Shy About Meeting People
Almost no one out there hates a quick greeting and a smile from a person who seeks them out. King of the Friendly Pros On The Comic-Con Floor is Batton Lash. (God Of The Friendly Pros, incidentally, is Sergio Aragones.) It's not a full Comic-Con experience until you've said hi to Batton. He has a prime location in the independent publishers' section near the big mainstream-y guys. Lash is nice enough that despite knowing he's nice he actually remains nice. I also always like seeing legendary nice folks Kristy Valenti, Peter Birkemoe (he makes it out every two of three years to sell from The Beguiling's original art collection at the D+Q table), Gene Yang and the Beagle Boys Of North American Independent Comic Books: Top Shelf's Leigh Walton, Chris Staros and Brett Warnock.

Cartoonists are generally pleasant and smart; and there are great people all over the convention floor. Don't waste your time with any who aren't!

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Tip #92: Keep Your Business Cards In Separate Pockets
If you're a business card person, and if you're there in a professional capacity you might think about faking it at least, my friend Gil Roth always suggests putting your cards to hand out in one pocket and the ones you get from people in another. This way, you avoid giving out someone else's business card. Believe me, "Delightful Screw-Up" is not an image worth conveying to prospective clients. If they work in comics, they already know plenty of those.

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Tip #93: If You're Taking Kids, Put Them On Point
The one recurring piece of advice I hear from people who take their kids to the show is to let the kid's interests drive what you do. If they like looking at artists draw, do that. If they want to go to a certain television-related panel, do that. If they want to shop for early 1970s mimeographed fanzines, do that. If they want to play with the toys they brought while you banter with unctuous studio personnel about their securing an option on your SCAD senior thesis, do that. Putting the kids in charge puts you in the role of making sure they're not overwhelmed by the show or if they need to re-fuel as opposed to browbeating them about how awesome the thing is you want them to like as much as you do.

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Tip #94: Don't Count On Resources To Help You With Kids At The Show
I believe the con offers some limited daycare and some of the hotels offer limited babysitting. I'd suggest networking about this subject -- or just asking around -- to see what other parents do. I know that some pros have shared babysitting costs, for example, even at times bringing someone out and sharing the costs of her stay with five or six sets of parents.

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Tip #95: The Con May Not Be Right For Every Kid, But It May Be Perfect For Yours
Is Comic-Con kid-safe, even kid-friendly? Depends on the kid, really. It's an exhausting place, and waiting in line when the time spent in that line constitutes a significant percentage of your lifespan-to-date can be tough. Still, there's a lot of kids material as the show's central focus, and there are once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had if meeting creators or getting a special item or seeing some of the behind the scenes work is important to your child. While comics folk tend not to have as many prostitutes standing near booths as they did in the early to middle 1990s (if you missed these years, don't ask, just be glad you missed them), and there isn't the big business in pornographic comics there once was, there's still a sniff of the illicit in the air and certainly there are people there to do business that haven't made a priority of making a wholesome experience for your kid. If some loudmouth nearby is being a pottymouth, please forgive him. Also, say hi; that's probably me.

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Tip #96: Consider Buying The Latest Issue Of Love And Rockets From Los Bros Hernandez
It's become a minor tradition: the Hernandez Brothers almost always have their new work out in conjunction with Comic-Con, which they either always attend or almost always attend. Those of us that are fans of Love And Rockets usually snap up copies as soon as possible and spend time reading it during the weekend -- last year it was the only comic book I read while I was at the show. Jaime and Gilbert also bring a ton of art to the show for sale, so if you can, attend one of their signing sessions and look at what they have to offer. Mario frequently shows up, too. Anyway, they are great cartoonists, and this is something that you can do that is very comics, very Comic-Con and very cool.

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Tip #97: Look For Secondary Or Tertiary Autograph Opportunities
I'm not an autograph seeker, but my friends who are -- for gifts, for themselves -- tell me that they pay as much attention to slightly offbeat signing opportunities as they do the big ones: the ones organized by cons and major handlers. If you know a creator has a series with a smaller publisher, check to see if they'll be there because the line is likely to be smaller. The CBLDF and The Hero Initiative are two charitable groups that sometimes have signings. So do some of the retailers on the west end of the floor. Comic-Con produces information specifically tailored to signing opportunities, but it also doesn't hurt to check around before you go.

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Tip #98: Signings Are Made For Social Media
Follow the twitter account of anyone from whom you're hoping to have something signed. That's where they'll likely announce any last-second signings and appearances.

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Tip #99: Remember That It's Maybe Not The Best Show For Sketches
The last few years have seen a surge on people seeking sketches for sketchbooks, perhaps with a theme; perhaps not. Conventional wisdom says the smaller shows are better for this activity, and I mostly agree with that. The one advantage Comic-Con has in terms of sketches is that there are so many cartoonists here, including a number of cartoonists you may not see at another show. Everything else, though -- the size of the show, the demands on guests, the number of people looking for sketches -- works against you adding to your JAG sketchbook or whatever it is you're working on.

My main advice is to be more cognizant of and forgiving about letting the cartoonists dictate your sketching relationship. If they're charging, pay the fee; if they're only doing a select number, sign up or don't sign up -- but whatever they're doing honor that arrangement.

(It's also nice to sneak in a half-dozen pages of reference folded in the back of your notebook if you're asking for a theme sketch related to something with which everyone might not be familiar.)

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Tip #100: You Might Have Luck Seeking Sketches In Offbeat Places
The writer Sean T. Collins says that he has some luck at San Diego getting offbeat or alternative artists to do sketches, particularly considering how busy the mainstream comics artists are and how much they may charge.

Again, this is out of my range of experiences, but it does make a certain amount of sense that it's going to be easier to get a sketch at a super-busy show from someone maybe not asked to do sketches all the time. Plus, these sketches are usually the coolest ones.

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Tip #101: Seek Bathrooms Out Of The Main Flow Of Traffic
The convention center does a generally good job with keeping the bathrooms clean and functioning, but it may be worth seeking out one or two restroom spots far from the maddening crowd. The far ends of the show and the mezzanine levels are a good place to start. I'd also suggest just straight-up making friends someone with a room at the Omni, Marriott or Hilton for use of their bathroom, but there's really no good way to initiate that conversation. Or, as I'm reminded every time I make that joke, you could just use the public bathrooms in those hotels. I spend a lot of times thinking about bathrooms, but I'm at that age. The other advantage to seeking bathrooms out of the main flow isn't so much about empty stalls but about fewer Princess Bubblegums making costume adjustments.

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Tip #102: To Travel The Floor In A Hurry, Sometimes It's Best To Use The Outside Hallways
If things get jammed up inside the main hall, and they will, and you have places to go, sometimes it's most effective to go around the problem and re-enter the hall further towards or even past your ultimate destination. A lot of people that have been attending for years don't know there's another set of stairs in the back of the convention center; those are useful, too.

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Tip #103: Certain People Want Their Pictures Taken; Others Just Want To Walk From A To B
There are some amazing costumes on the floor. People rightfully love to take photographs of them. Don't be shy about asking people in such costumes to stop and pose for a picture. It's very likely that getting some attention is exactly why they slapped together that Dum Dum Dugan costume. Plus it's fun to shout basic modeling instructions at superheroes. "More personality, Lord Namor!"

One thing that's definitely not fun is if you're trying to cross the convention floor and you're blocked from doing so by preening members of the Batman Family. Be sympathetic to the traffic flow and try to take your photos not in the middle of an aisle somewhere. Again, outer hallways are a great place to do this and to see the costumes for which it's worth getting a photo.

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Tip #104: Be A Con Hero, Not A Con Zero
Look into giving blood and/or registering to vote; that's usually do-able in the Marriott. There are also ways to informally help the show function smoothly. You can always watch someone's table while they charge out to the restroom. Bring people coffee, smile, offer to help. In the mid-1990s I saw Solano Lopez once bring his publisher some cookies.

Mostly, though, just have a generous heart. It's a tough weekend for many people. Please cut them some slack if they don't give you exactly what you think you deserve to be given the way you think you deserve to be given it.

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Tip #105: Don't Count On Wi-Fi At The Convention Center, But You'll Probably Get It Anyway
I rarely take a computer to the show, and I tweet at home on a hand-made, steampunk-style device powered by small animals running on treadmills, a device that sports almost 300 vacuum tubes and numerous, Dr. Doom-like, mad-scientist levers. So this doesn't apply to me. I'd rather die than tweet from the show floor.

For the rest of you, in addition to all the usual ways to access the on-line network to which you're accustomed for the basics, there are ton of hot spots around San Diego for more formal access. It's my understanding that for the convention center to offer it outside of the pressroom and in the hall generally takes a sponsor looking for a unique advertising opportunity. Someone has stepped up most years, but we are still in the post-2008 economy. Check into it preview night if that kind of access interests you, but don't count on it.

I can't imagine finding a free wi-fi connection is going to be very hard these days, and I suspect this tip will work itself right out of this guide in future years.

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Tip #106: Enjoy The Crazy Spectacle Of It
You'll find plenty to do at Comic-Con, but I always suggest taking a few minutes each day you're there to just look around. It may be that I'm older now, but the spectacle of it impresses me more than any of the one-on-one opportunities. One great place to see the show unfold in real time is in the back of the convention center on the mezzanine-level windows near the con's various food stands. It's an incredible madhouse of people and pulp, high-end movie displays meeting low-end longboxes. Enjoy the show!

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Tip #107: Come With A List With Prices You'll Accept Rather Than Count On Finding The Best Price On The Floor
If you're shopping -- and you really should shop at least a little bit, if only as tip of the hat to the retailers that make up a significant part of the show's history and to support artists directly if you're able to support some -- I've found it's better to make a list that includes the price one can get the item in question elsewhere. That way you know if you've found a good price, and knowing you have a good price you can let go of getting the best price in every circumstance. Comparison shopping is an amazing time-suck when you're standing in a room with 60,000 other shoppers, and saving 80 cents on a copy of Sun Runners #2 probably isn't going to be worth the effort.

I try to buy some comics while I'm there. If you've never been, the con traditionally does well in terms of classic comics retailers offering up super-high end stuff (which I can't afford) and super-cheap stuff (which I can). It feels old-fashioned. There was a time when I felt the only kind of convention that made sense was one where you could buy stuff you couldn't get anywhere else. That was what cons were to me. I like getting back into that mindset if only for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.

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Tip #108: Keep An Eye Out For Personalized And One-Of-A-Kind Items
Comic-Con has in the last 15 years become an excellent place to buy original art, although I'm told that's flattened out some. I think in general people are seeking out that one-of-a-kind item over getting the best deals or finding the most stuff for X amount of money. Both creators and publishers will do stuff just for Comic-Con: special ashcans, paintings, special watermarks or title stickers, limited editions of toys, and so on.

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Tip #109: Consider Having Stuff Brought To You
This doesn't apply the way it used to, but some publishers and even creators will bring something specific to the show for you to purchase if you ask them nicely. It saves you shipping, and guarantees them a sale. Pay attention to some of your favorite creators and publishers in the weeks leading up to the show, or even instigate the discussion with them yourself. Many artists that do commissions will accept commissions ahead of time and deliver them to you at the show. Don't be mean about this.

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Tip #110: Remember That Most Of The Vendors Exist Outside Of Comic-Con
Take business cards, sign up for e-mail lists, write down web sites; whatever you need to do to keep in mind that retailer you found whose work you can't afford because you spent $175 on a pedi-cab ride home from Imperial Beach the night before.

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Tip #111: Attend A Panel
The upstairs rooms of the convention center are filled with panels. Panels are speaking and -- more frequently -- multi-media arrangements of the powerpoint presentation variety where everyone from 1950s bullpen staffers at the major comics companies to comics podcast makers to the casts of network television shows can say a few words, interact with a moderator, and then take questions from and interact with their fans.

Some people tell me they never go to them, but as there are so many with so many interests represented, I'd suggest you try at least one. I don't go to a lot of the non-comics ones, but I can suggest a few in that realm. The panels that feature any non-North American cartoonists in attendance that you won't likely see again at Comic-Con are good, as are generally any of those featuring older cartoonists (whom you may also not see again at Comic-Con, although for more depressing reasons). In panels generally, funny people or those that work on funny enterprises make for funny panels.

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Tip #112: Remember That The Bigger Panels Require Greater Commitment
First story. So I was walking around downtown San Diego at 3:45 AM on a Saturday morning in 2008 -- totally behaving myself, officer, I swear -- when I ran across a man talking on a cell phone pushing a baby stroller. I found this bizarre, but as I listened to him (the sound carried further in the clear night than in the daytime) it was clear that he and his wife (at the other end of the phone) were up when I had yet to go to bed because they were angling to get a good place in the line for the best TV and movie panels. With their baby.

So yeah, it's like that now.

Second story. In 2009 I walk over to the Eisners and pass an entire area of people camping out. People camping out at San Diego isn't unheard of. There have always been a few dozen kids that have managed to score tickets without getting a hotel room that end up "sleeping" near the convention center like the kids from generation waited for Van Halen tickets. Then I realize these folks I'm watching -- and there are a lot more than usual -- aren't camping out for that reason. They're camping out even though they have room just to get into certain panels whose subject matter rhymes with "Highlight."

The closest I get to "Hollywood at Comic-Con" is random moments like noticing Eliza Dushku is on the escalator 15 Silent Bobs in front of me. I have no advice for getting into the popular halls to watch the big-time entertainment panels except to note that it obviously requires a lot of perseverance, I'm sure the Comic-Con people have tried to make it as fair as possible, and I bet a lot of people are still dismayed and miserable. The only thing I can suggest is to fully commit, because most people with whom you're competing for seats are doing their best to access this very limited resource.

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Tip #113: No Line Outside Of A Kirby Comic Disappeared Because Someone Stared At It With An Angry Face
The one thing I will suggest and what came back to me a lot from people I asked is that you just kind of have to give yourself over to the experience. At a certain point, being frustrated is just making yourself miserable. The line is what the line is.

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Tip #114: Explore Alternatives To The Big Panels
There really aren't any true alternatives to the big panels because they represent a newsworthy -- such as it is -- event. I'm sure there are some geeks out there still talking about being so many feet away from Andrew Garfield when he popped up in that Spider-Man outfit the other year. If you have a different motivation than witnessing said events, you might be able to find other ways to scratch your panels itch. If you just want to see some specific movie star up close, sometimes there are roundtable interviews that media people are allowed to attend -- if you can find someone for whom to do some writing -- or they might be doing a signing somewhere in support of a comic book on the floor. Sometimes a person from a TV show will appear on an industry or unrelated panel for a friend, and if not a lot of people go to that one may have some time afterwards to briefly interact with you -- no guarantees, but I saw it happen last year with a popular Supernatural cast member whose attendance at a theme panel bumped into my Brecht Evens panel and about five of his delighted fans.

If that kind of thing doesn't do the trick, your expectations may be too high.

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Tip #115 When In Doubt, Attend A Panel Featuring Sergio Aragones
If you don't have any idea of a panel you'd like to see but still want to see a panel, I always suggest something with Sergio Aragones. Aragones is a world-class cartoonist who made his name doing silent gag comics in the panel borders of MAD. He is a longtime Comic-Con attendee, and the kind of charismatic guy one imagines has never been seated near a kitchen. The panels in which Aragones tends to participate are old-school to the old-school power, so you get a sense of the event's history in addition to having some fun.

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Tip #116: Consider Seeing Panels On The Basis Of Who You Might Not Be Able To See Again Any Time Soon
We touched on this a bit already. Any cartoonist from a country not the U.S. or Canada or the U.K. probably won't be back at Comic-Con any time soon, so those are usually great panels to see. I saw a fun panel about 17 years ago with Frank Miller and Ryoichi Ikegami that had fewer than 35 people in the audience. An enjoyable panel with French slice-of-life masters Dupuy and Berberian a dozen years back had about the same number of folks. Just great panels.

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Tip #117: The Best New Panel Idea Of The Last Few Years Is The CBLDF Panel Where Cartoonists Draw And Talk About Art
Talk about a simple idea that no one else ever quite made good on. Starting in 2009, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund started hosting panels that simply feature one ore more cartoonists drawing, which is presented on a big screen via an overhead projector. They talk about their drawing while they do it, and the end result is given to the CBLDF to auction it. This is a fantastic way to spend a hour, and that first year when I saw row after row of young artists sketching along with Mike Mignola, that's one of my favorite memories of Comic-Con ever.

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Tip #118: Participate
If you go to a panel, feel free to ask questions if you have them and the opportunity arises. Almost every panel will make time for questions. You deserve to participate if that's what you want to do: you made the effort to attend this panel of all the things you could be doing.

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Tip #119: Make People Hate You For Being Awesome, Not For Being Self-Indulgent
Make sure you ask a proper question: usually, a single sentence that ends in a question mark. As Tom Galloway put it: "Don't do non-question asking things like tell your life story or say how much and why you love the panelists. Remember, no one else in the room cares about your life, and you're not going to become best friends with the panelists" I'll note that I have seen friendships hatched at panels -- Chris Sparks of the Team Cul De Sac effort met Richard Thompson at a HeroesCon panel -- but what Mr. Galloway says is pretty good advice generally and certainly welcome advice to the people who might otherwise have to hear your idiotic, rambling, non-question question. As another CR reader put it, if your question wouldn't fit in a tweet, it's probably time to re-think the question. In general, just follow your curiosity and leave the other stuff at home. If you really think you're getting over in some way because of the awesome question you're about to drop at a Comic-Con panel, you're less a regular con-goer and more a person from an Onion article.

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Tip #120: Be Efficient With Your Post-Panel Meet And Greet
If there's someone on the panel with whom you need to have a few quick words, hit them right away or wait until that person gets all the way out of the room so as not to further delay the next hour's presentation. With reason, and with the caveats mentioned in the last tip in mind, most people at Comic-Con are good with their time this way.

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Tip #121: Don't Haunt the Proceedings
If you know you have to leave before the panel is over, sit near the exit door so as not to ignite questions of self-worth in the heads of the panelists who all just watched you leave the room.

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Tip #122: If You're A Celebrity Watcher, Keep Your Eyes Open As You Leave A Panel
If you're in one of the panel rooms that has an entrance door on one side and an exit door on the other, and you want to see famous people, keep your eyes open as you walk out the exit hallway. Many celebrities are escorted to their panel down the exit hallway and through the exit door rather than having them brave the over-excited crowd filing in the entrance side.

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Tip #123: For Many Of The Smaller Panels, You May Save Time Showing Up About Five Minutes In
Many of the panels have lines now; for the non-filled comics panels, you can often avoid line time by showing up when the panel has just started. This is dangerous, because you might miss a panel that becomes filled up. But over time, played correctly, you can spend way more time in panels than in lines.

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Tip #124: Remember That Attending The Panel Before For The Panel After Doesn't Always Work Out
They tend not to clear the rooms between panels, but I know it happens because I've seen it, and if you've been sitting through a panel about Czechoslovakian Autobio Cartoonists to get to the one featuring your favorite new animated television program, you're going to be heartbroken if this happens. If you do sit through a previous panel to get to the one you want, at least be silent and respectful of the one you're crashing. You might enjoy that one, too, if you give it a chance.

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Tip #125: For God's Sake, Please Don't Stab Anybody
Someone stabbed somebody in the face in 2010. This was awesome in all the terrible ways something is awesome, as we collectively stood witness to a kind of acting outside of the bounds of accepted behavior that was deeply upsetting and fairly astonishing to have finally unfold. It was also awesome to track Comic-Con's response, which was the most disdainful "no big deal" in the history of pop-culture anything.

It should go without saying that nothing that's happened in a Comic-Con panel in the last 40 years combined is worth someone physically assaulting someone. And I say that as someone who sat through multiple Image reunion panels. Play nice. Leave the bad behavior to the experts: inkers.

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Tip #126: Mornings, Afternoons, Evenings: Do Something -- Anything! -- Outside The Show
Whether you're playing hooky from the show for a half-day or simply leaving the show for the evening, I always suggest that anyone at Comic-Con for more than two days spend some time doing something away from the show. Not away from the show like a Patton Oswalt concert up the street. Away from the show and in the real world away from the show.

A classic is a day at the zoo. San Diego has a lovely zoo, maybe the loveliest zoo, although it requires a lot of walking and somehow seems to have been designed by MC Escher in that you constantly walk uphill. But as David Glanzer is fond of reminding me, though, there's no vacation that can't be made at least 10 percent better by spending some quality time with the pygmy marmoset.

San Diego also has a bunch of your average big-city options: bookstores, shopping, sit-in-front-and-people-watch cafes, tourist attractions. I went to an amazing store that I can't find now that sold mostly old magazines. This may be it. There are activities on the water, including pooling together cash for a boat rental, which I've done in the past and had a blast doing. I have yet to visit a giant ship, although I'd like to do that someday.

You'd be surprised how many comics people you'll find at a nearby big-budget movie just to get away from the convention floor for a couple of hours. I saw Inception one year rather than line up outside the convention center for Preview Night to start, and that was a great way to push the fast-forward button. I once abandoned the show altogether to watch that movie with George Clooney and Marky Mark on a fishing boat -- Diane Lane's accent still haunts my dreams -- because I was so freaked out by the spectacle of Comic-Con. It's also good to visit any locals you know. I once spent a fun late afternoon hitting outlet malls between downtown San Diego and Mary Fleener's house. And while it's been said before, there are lovely beaches all over the place, too.

It can be psychologically useful to get away from the convention center for a while, plus it can be fun. You'll remember what you did as a big part of that year's trip, just for it being a different thing.

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Tip #127: Eat Out
A good, leisurely meal can be a great way to socialize and relax before the evening's social festivities. As you get older, you'll find that on some nights having a relaxing meal is a fine substitute for an evening's worth of social festivities. There are any number of web sites devoted to San Diego restaurants. Some of my favorites are the two Persian restaurants Sadaf and Bandar (Persian is one cuisine it's easier to get in southern California than anywhere else), Cafe Chloe, the Oceanaire chain, Rei do Gado, and the eminently affordable Pokez. I also have a soft spot for beers and battered fish at The Field.

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Tip #128: Eat Something San Diego-y
As I understand it, the best-known local-to-San-Diego food contribution to the American Experience is the fish taco. You can get one of those just about anywhere, including a busy The Tin Fish location in the Gaslamp. If you want to drink something local rather than eat something local, nearly every bar has mainstreamed some of the city's rich microbrew tradition into their current offerings -- just ask.

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Tip #129: Be Prepared To Pay For Eating Out
San Diego hosts a lot of conventions (there's a competing convention at the Hyatt this year!) and is a functioning downtown for business people besides. It therefore offers a few restaurants with entrees in the $15-$30 range, slightly fewer places cheaper than that, and a ton of places that scream "the gigantic pharmaceutical company that employs me is paying for this meal." So don't be shocked. If you prefer to pay a modest amount when eating out, you may have to look a bit harder, or go out of the immediate neighborhood. With the post-Recession real estate madness and the addition of the baseball stadium, San Diego developed several blocks east of the Gaslamp in places that used to be best known as a place you could park your car for the weekend on the street (the mind boggles) and for places past con attendees swore they saw people stabbed. There are even a few neighborhood-type restaurants and bistros over there. Look around.

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Tip #130: Eating Out A Trifle More Expensively May Yield Immense Benefits In Terms Of Ease And Enjoyment
It seemed to me last year that it was incredibly easy to get into restaurants that in the mid-2000s required a reservation and/or waiting outside for up to a half-hour. I ate at a steak house right up next to the convention center on a Friday night at 6:30 PM and it was only ¾ full. That was astonishing to me. I ate at one of the Persian restaurants mentioned above at 7:30 PM on a Thursday and only two other tables were filled -- this used to be a full-house on such a night, easy. A peek into various restaurants as I walked around the rest of the weekend indicated the same thing.

So I suspect what might be going on is that the make-up of the convention audience has shifted slightly away from the kind of people with money to spend on luxuries like a night out -- or those that would choose to spend their money that way -- and towards a more intense, devoted fandom or perhaps just people for whom eating a nice Italian meal at $30 an entrée isn't part of how they do things. This would also cover some of what I'm hearing from specific merchants on the convention floor. I'm not making any judgment there, I'm really not -- I just think that's potentially fascinating, and if it means I have my choice of restaurants if I fail to get something reserved, I'll take that as a perk of being older and wiser and, well, maybe more epicurean than I used to be.

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imageTip #131: For Pity's Sake, Think Small Dinner Groups
Think small for dinner -- two to four people -- if you can help it. The tendency otherwise is for people to cluster together in a large, amorphous, impossible-to-seat group of people that all want different things, a murder of con-goers that will wander the Gaslamp like a band of grumpy zombies, staring into windows before breaking up in a fit of acrimonious screaming. You've probably heard stories about how an old favorite comics publishing company of yours went out of business. Those stories are wrong. They broke up because they tried to seat 13 people in a restaurant in San Diego at 8 PM on a Friday night.

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Tip #132: Make Reservations
You should make reservations because it's polite and it focuses your evening. When you don't have a reservation, you've suddenly given the person with the least stringent ideas about the proper time to eat the most power to decide when that's going to happen. Use your concierge, use an on-line service or look for a city-sponsored booth in the convention center lobby that has menus and will do this for you.

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Tip #133: Consider Eating At Odd Times
One way to get into restaurants that may be difficult to get into at prime hours (7-9) is to go early or to go late. Going early to a bar rather than a restaurant has the extra advantage at some places there's a Happy Hour menu, which will save you some coin. Also, if you're up on Broadway or in another neighborhood in town, some restaurants that focus on lunch and takeaway dinners -- your classic hole-in-the-wall places -- are only open until six.

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Tip #134: Be Prepared To Wait Even If You've Made Excellent Plans
It happens. Don't count on getting out the second you think you need to get out. If you do need to hurry, be as sweet as possible explaining this to the people that come to your table, and get your order in as soon as possible. If they make an effort to get you through the dinner more quickly, add a bit extra to your tip! (Many restaurants are actually happy to move you more quickly if they can because it frees up another table.)

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Tip #135: Take Advantage Of Being In Non-Proximate Neighborhoods
If you're staying in Little Italy or Old Town or one of the fine San Diego neighborhood that is not the Gaslamp and downtown neighborhoods closest to the convention center, think about eating at a place up there rather than closer to the show.

There's no magic to finding a place to eat that isn't crowded when you're a long way away from the convention center -- on a summer weekend in a big city, you can find restaurants full of people that don't know Spider-Man from Forbush Man -- but trust me in that there are great restaurants all over San Diego and there are simply more people in some of those neighborhoods than there are in others. I wouldn't go out of my way to leave the area where the show and the evening programming is taking place, but if you're going back to your hotel to change, maybe consider eating wherever you are before heading back to Nerd Central.

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Tip #136: Think East
So what should you do, if, despite all advice to the contrary above, you find yourself standing with a restless group of people in front of the convention center with 70 minutes before the thing you want to do that evening and half the group insists on reading the menu before you sit down?

My advice is veer east. Put your back to the convention center and start heading in a general two o'clock direction. For whatever reason, like vampires penned in by fields of garlic, con-goers have traditionally been a bit reluctant to travel much further east than Sixth Avenue. I walked into multiple restaurants on Ninth in 2010 and again in 2012 and experienced no waiting, plenty of room and a quick sit-down. This was even true of two super-cheap places.

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Tip #137: Maybe Skip That Evening In Mexico
I don't know that a lot of people look to do an evening in Mexico the way con-goers used to. There's a bit more to do in terms of Comic-Con's evening programming, both formal and informal, than in years past. I haven't gone to have dinner in Tijuana since... '97, maybe? Still, I'm told that even if you have the free time it might not be a great idea right now -- there are enough rumors of anti-tourist crime and hassles crossing the last few years that I wouldn't automatically discount as reactionary or deeply unfair. The Tijuana trip may simply be a feature of another Comic-Con era, and this is likely its last year of being mentioned in the guide.

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Tip #138: Go To Every Party That Will Have You, And One Or Two That Won't
I don't know what the party landscape is like for people not comics people; I assume it's great, like floating on air in some sort of dream-state filled with constant explosions of awesomeness. The party scene in San Diego for comics people, well, it's sort of odd. Comics folks generally don't compete with the Eisner Awards in a formal, big-party sense, so Fridays are mostly out. Saturday can be very expensive in terms of renting a space, so that can be out except for a few major players. Sunday's gatherings tend to be old school and invitation-only. Thursday is jammed with multiple events of a more modest, early-in-the-weekend kind -- a lot of cocktail parties with food.

It gets weirder: there is even a rising class of parties and shows sprinkled throughout the weekend at which a certain class of comics people seem to be as welcome as the movie people. People love-love-love going to those. On the other end of the spectrum, socializing at Comic-Con is also a lot of informal gatherings here and there, "traditions" of three or four years in lengths like certain groups of people hitting certain lobbies to draw together. For a lot of people a lot of nights end in a hotel bar. For a considerable portion of those folks, the nights begin there, too. There is the added pressure in the funnybook world of wishing to support the off-site installation, gathering spot and retail space Trickster.

If I have any advice to offer in this arena, it's don't confuse parties and after-parties. God wants you to attend both, thus the clever naming of them. If you get any sort of formal party invitation, from your comics friends or from any other group, take the time to go! Ditto the idiosyncratic, personal invite from one or more peers. The crowded bar with the people standing around it chatting each other up will be there when you're done. At the same time, I wouldn't press, or head where you're actively not wanted. It's a short weekend, and you stood in enough lines during the day.

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Tip #139: Keep An Eye Out For Special Events
There used to be more things like art openings and book launches at clubs Comic-Con weekend than there seem to have been the last few years. I assume they'll come back. If you find out about something to do along these lines, you should do them. I used to love the art openings as a first stop in the evening.

One thing you see now that you didn't see years ago is film industry-related press screenings and hosted presentations that stretch into the evening rather than take place during the day. This is a trend that should continue.

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Tip #140: Remember The Charity Events
If you're like me and out of the party loop but still want to go out, pay special attention to any charity events that might be out there. Comics people take their charities seriously, so you're bound to get a pretty good guest-list together at such a function. Also, since they're fundraisers, a $20 bill buys you an invite whether you know every single person in attendance's first gig or if you don't know an Absolute Edition from an Absolut edition. I always try to at least attend the CBLDF event, which is traditionally on a Thursday evening.

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Tip #141: Don't Change Your Relationship To Alcohol For The Con Weekend
Just be yourself booze-wise. If you're a drinker, drink. If you're a teetotaler, teetotal. There's no stigma in comics either way when it comes to drinking alcohol. Many people drink in comics and the other attendant art forms; many others don't. Those that do and those that don't are united in basically not caring which side of that line you're on.

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Tip #142: Remember You Are Not In A Good Place To Do A Ton Of Extra Drinking
Comic-Con is tough on everybody. Staying up every night until 2:30 AM is like drinking two beers physiologically. Staring at the visual jackhammer that is the floor of the convention center all day? Another two beers. Toss in the exhaustion of walking around and being "on" for eight hours, and you're a six-pack into your evening before you're touched a drop of alcohol. Adjust to your weary and giddy state as you grow into the evening.

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Tip #143: Consider Drinking Local
Beer is a safe choice. Local beers are always good. There's no real dominant local beer as far as I can tell, and the San Diego breweries themselves are sprinkled throughout the county. I did some research last year bar to bar and there didn't seem to be any set pattern as to what bars carried what beers, but it did seem that most of the hotel bars and most of those in the Gaslamp carried something that was made locally. Couldn't hurt to ask.

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Tip #144: Consider My Friend, The G&T
I want to put in my annual good word for the Gin and Tonic as an ideal convention imbibing experience. It's a warm-weather drink. It's for men and women. It tastes good. It comes in a glass with a flat bottom so you're not likely to spill it when you set it down. You can order the gin by some jaunty-sounding name -- Bombay! Tanqueray! Hendricks! -- or you can have whatever the bar serves as a default gin: you will get equally loopy. The ice melts in a Gin and Tonic with just enough of the flavor returned to liquid form that you can nurse a single drink for as long it takes most people to drink two. You can ask if the hotel/bar makes its own tonic or what kind of tonic they're using, if you want to impress the squares. It's one of Perfect Things Of Summer.

*****

Tip #145: Buying Someone A Drink Is Not All That Easy To Do
If you're cool enough to buy someone you want to know better a drink and actually have it be an avenue to conversation, let me know how you do it because I've never even seen anyone do this effectively. On the other hand, I can't imagine someone not being delighted by free drinks.

*****

Tip #146: Remember That You Sometimes Get Points For Being Able To Talk About Something Other Than Comics Or The Related-To-Comics Activity In Question, But Only Sometimes
It isn't always the case that people are dying not to talk about comics. People in artistic fields, including and maybe particularly comics people, love to talk about the medium and the industry and many have come to San Diego for a weekend's worth of just that kind of exciting, back-and-forth gossip and chatter. I'll just mention that it's nice to be able to talk about other stuff, too, particularly if you're in a group where the enthusiasm levels aren't quite exactly matched up. I even know people that are known to their favorite comics and entertainment people based on the rolling conversation they have year to year on oddball subject X, Y, and Z. Being conversationally adept is like being able to wear a cape -- it might not come up, but if it does and you can you're going to stand out.

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Tip #147: Don't Get Arrested
This is pretty obvious advice, I know. If you're in San Diego to a have a good time, going to jail is not having a good time. If you're in San Diego to find a job, going to jail impresses very few people for whom you'd actually want to work. One trick that might be useful is to get a card for your hotel and stick it in your shirt pocket or purse. That's a good thing to do when you're overseas so that a cabbie can get you back to where you're going, but it's also useful in case you spend most of your evening at the Hilton right up next to the bar and you end up eschewing English for Durlan.

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Tip #148: At Least Maybe Check Out Any And All Same-Time, Off-Site Events
It was bound to happen soon or later -- people were going to begin to take events off-site and into their own space. It's happened in recent years but mostly in a promotional sense, like a parking lot that was taken over a few blocks away to promote 2010's Jackass 3. This year the show is seeing off-site events devoted wholly or in part to comics. I don't think there's any reason to debate the notion that Comic-Con has somehow devalued comics in a way they need to go elsewhere. I don't think that's true, and it seems like a pretty tedious argument to me all-around. There's limited space at the show, limits to what can be done within that space, and lots of people looking to get over with an event when given the opportunity -- like I say above, some off-site activity seems inevitable.

*****

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Tip #149: Consider Going To The Eisners
The Eisner Awards is the most widely-recognized of the American comic book-oriented awards, with the greatest amount of institutional force behind them. They also have a fine show in that it's really long, recognizes a lot of great artists, features bizarre guest-stars from the wider media world, lets you see and maybe even meet cartoonists you've never seen in person, and asks a certain number of people to be funny in an impromptu fashion that should never, ever be asked to do this. I go every year and wouldn't miss it for the world and the fact that I'm old and so happy to find a place to sit down for three hours has nothing to do with it.

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Tip #150: If You're Going To The Eisners, Maximize Your Experience
There are any number of things you can do to make your Eisner experience that much better. Although there's some food on hand, I suggest eating a proper dinner before you go if this is possible in any way. If you have to be at the convention center until 7 PM that evening, maybe even force your friends to save you a seat at a restaurant so you can go straight there. Heck, make someone pick you up some Wendy's. I know a couple that carries out and eats while they change their clothes. Whatever it takes, make time for some food. No one should have to listen to that many bad yet well-meaning jokes and earnest thank you speeches on an empty stomach.

If you're sitting up front at the tables as opposed to the audience seating, you can dress up if you like or dress down. I wish more of the adults with corporate jobs would dress like adults as opposed to looking like they're hitting singles night at the bar connected to their neighborhood bowling alley, but no one minds the artists dressing like artists, the young people dressing like young people, the poor people dressing like poor people.

There's a cash bar that's easy to access, although I've known plenty of people that have supplemented their paid-for cocktails from a flask or walked in with a backpack full of beer. Here's a tip: there's usually a bar or two in the hallway that serves people before and after the show, and the last couple of years this has been manned during the awards. So if there's a line at the bar in the room where the awards are taking place, check the bar in the hallway.

You should make your table or seatmates bet the Eisners by guessing who's going to win and who isn't. It's not difficult: circle letters on your programs and throw a dollar into the center of the table or an empty chair. You'll likely be amazed how little your conception of the industry matches up to what wins. (Betting tip: always choose the entry with the most contributors.)

If you're away from the tables and back in the audience, you'll be more comfortable and you can heckle without being fired on the spot. Have fun with that. Have fun generally.

*****

Tip #151: The Masquerade Is Great, Too
I've only been to the Masquerade once, but it was pretty amazing. There's an entire fan sub-culture devoted to costume making; this is basically their runway show.

The atmosphere is Showtime At The Apollo circa 1989, and the people up on stage are having more fun that single night than I've had in any six-month period of my life. It's hard to get into the Masquerade, so attending is something of an investment line-wise, but it is certainly a one of a kind thing.

*****

Tip #152: Scoring A Job Or A Publishing Deal Isn't Unheard Of, But It's Pretty Rare
I still think the best way to look at conventions, even Comic-Con, in terms of their facilitating work or even employment is that it's the place to lay groundwork on which one can latter follow up more than it is a place where something magical happens. Still, I can remember a lot of today's top pros when they were random guys with small press tables. I worked next to a guy for a year at Fantagraphics I first met at Comic-Con before he was hired, where he made the impression that got him that gig. The first time I met one of the most important editor/cartoonists in art comics was when he had the first two issues of his anthology for sale at a random table.

The best way to find work in comics is to work in comics. This sounds absurd, but the low threshold for participation in comics means this is advice that is inviting and encouraging rather than evidence of a snotty, frustrating, closed circle. Whether you're going in for a portfolio review, getting your Image comic into a book publisher's hands or dropping off a mini at an arts publisher: make the work closest to the kind of work you want to do. Be direct but don't be pushy. Don't count on anyone being able to see what it is you want if you haven't made this explicit. Take all advice seriously even if you think it seriously misguided. Be prepared to follow up: have business cards, have hand-outs, have a way for folks to contact you, anticipate questions. Be respectful of everyone's time and natural inclinations as to how they want to do business.

The comics industry loves new talent. If you're awesome enough, the people you want to pay attention to you will eventually pay attention to you.

*****

Tip #153: There Is Usually A Sunday Morning Meeting Of Christian Cartoonists That's Sort Of Like Church
There's probably no scrubbing the filth off your soul three days into Comic-Con, but if you want to try, you have some options. Any hotel of significance should be able to direct you to a church of your denominational choice. If you want to mix church and comics, consider hitting the traditional Sunday morning meeting of Christian cartoonists. The con moved that meeting out of the convention center and to a nearby hotel last year, but it's reasonably close by the floor of the show. I've gone to this a couple of times and it was sort of like going to comics church. There was praying and uncomfortable guests looking at the door and everything.

*****

Tip #154: Commit In Matter-Of-Fact, Buckaroo Banzai Fashion To Enjoying Wherever It Is You Find Yourself
Some of the best times I ever had at Comic-Con were in weird places I found myself by accident, in many cases after being outvoted by my friends: a Marge Simpson/Captain America dance-off, a small piano bar at the Westgate listening to a lady sing "Anything Goes," a porch talking to Pete Sickman-Garner and Jeff Smith at 2 AM after the Eisners. You're not going to get to do everything; let go and enjoy what it is you get to do. The one thing that can ruin a weekend is figuring out ahead all the ways that the weekend can be ruined.

*****

Tip #155: Shop For Sunday Bargains
There's not as much of this as you'd think, and some vendors leave very early on the last day so as to beat the rush, but the old saw of people cutting prices so as not to have to carry stuff home still applies. Sunday is one fine day to shop.

*****

Tip #156: Take Courage In The Fact You're In The Stretch Run
On Sunday morning in 2010, a comics-industry veteran friend and I walked past a 30-something boss screaming at his 20-something assistant on an otherwise empty city block near the Hyatt. We were each too tired to act on our shared, initial impulse to dropkick the employer between the Marriott towers. My friend pointed out a half-hour later, as a way of making us feel better about our lack of initiative, that the real tragedy was this couple -- and I bet they're still together -- probably could have avoided the entire scene by recognizing that they were heading home an hour or two after lunch.

Don't be those people. You can settle any con beefs next week, perhaps in one of the passive-aggressive ways preferred by comics people since the late 1930s. Reach that finish line. Eyes on the prize. No meltdowns.

*****

Tip #157: Get Any Follow-Up Finished Right Away
Take one day once you get back home to sleep in, but after that, get all of your initial written follow-up and thank-yous out the door by Friday, July 26th. Any longer than that, you'll feel silly sustaining the contacts you made. You'd be amazed by how many people let the same projects pile up year after year simply by not taking the initial action with the opportunities provided them. Comic-Con is such an intense experience with such a long build-up that people are flat-out sick of it by Monday morning at 9 AM. Most folks are dying to move on. See to it you've taken the next step by week's end or they'll have moved past whatever it is you wanted, too.

*****

Tip #158: Read All About It
A great way to re-live the experience -- or to help figure out what happened the first time -- is by going to this site's "Collective Memory" entry that runs the week after the show or just generally wandering around the Internet and reading various con reports. This year a lot of con report energy will once again go into Twitter, so the results should be amazing there. There are also plenty of old-fashioned message board chats and blog posts out there. The great thing about so many people writing about a shared event is that you can fill in the blanks on things that you saw but didn't know quite what was going on. You can also find out who had a better time than you did and slowly, inexorably, plot your revenge.

*****

Tip #159: Maybe Do What You Can To Plan For Next Year's Show
I know, I know, but you'll thank me later. Or curse me. Whatever. I just appreciate coming up. I'm actually uncertain there's as much you can do to register a year in advance the way you used to be able to, but I know some people at least talk to their hotels if they have that kind of year-in, year-out relationship with them. I would just keep an eye open: enjoy the present, not the future. But if something presents itself...?

*****

Tip #160: Heed The Advice Of Your Fellow CR Readers
a.If you're of finite funds, don't try to buy everything you see that you want. Focus (in this order) on:

1. Things that you really, really want that you can only get at Comic-Con. Original art, sketches, Con exclusives, small press comics and handmade or otherwise undistributed items. Perhaps that truly rare golden age book.
2. Vast bargains. I don't mean 20% off, I mean that fifty dollar hardcover you wanted that's in a $10 pile. You'll know it when you see it.
3. Books purchased from the creators, because you are supporting them much more buying the book directly from them than buying the same book from Amazon when you get home. Purchases like that make their being at the con possible.
4. Book purchases from publishers that your local comic shop doesn't carry. (Then if you like it, rave about it to your shop.) -- Nat Gertler

b. If you don't have a "stash" spot for your stuff somewhere on the con floor, save buying the heavy, well-stocked item until you're just about to go back to your hotel or car; it saves you from lugging it around all day. Your shoulders will thank you. -- Nat Gertler

b. Buy something to bring home to your kids, so they'll act like they're glad to see you back. -- Nat Gertler

d. Sit down, take off your shoes, wait a minute, put them back on. It can do much to refresh sore feet. -- Nat Gertler

e. And as someone who has switched to doing Comic-Con as a day trip from L.A., I endorse using the reservations for the train. Yes, it costs more, but you get more comfy seats, even snacks, and you don't have to start stressing over whether this is the year where showing up an hour in advance is still too late to make it onto the train. Plus, hey, I got to spend a fair while talking to a member of the cast of Mad Men simply by being in the right place and never saying "hey, you're a member of the cast of Mad Men!" (And the train, while often late, doesn't get stuck in the horrendous Sunday night traffic coming home.) -- Nat Gertler




*****

And... that's it. Have fun. Smile. Say hi if you see me; I'd like to meet you. No, seriously.

*****

Photos by Whit Spurgeon, 2003, 2009-10, 2012, 2013; Gil Roth, 2005, 2014; Tom Spurgeon, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013.

Comic-Con International is an advertiser here, so you just spent all that time reading compromised, biased nonsense.


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Go, Look: No Wedding Bells For Me

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Benoit Ers!

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FFF Results Post #387 -- Minis Series

On Friday, CR were asked to "Name Five Mini-Comics Series You Like That Have Gone On For More Than Five Issues." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. King-Cat Comics And Stories, John Porcellino
2. Big Deal Comics And Stories, Patrick Dean
3. Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts
4. Mini-KUS!, Various Artists
5. Real Rap, Benjamin Urkowitz

*****

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Rob Kirby

1. King-Cat Comics And Stories, John Porcellino
2. You Don't Get There From Here, Carrie McNinch
3. Mini-KUS!, Various Artists
4. Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts
5. Lou, Melissa Mendes

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Monster, Fort Thunder
2. Fireball, Brian Ralph
3. Gubba Gub, Mark Fearing
4. Optic Nerve, Adrian Tomine
5. Nauga Comics, Ted Bolman

*****

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Steven Stwalley

1. Morty Comix, Steve Willis
2. Manly Tales of Cowardice, Danno Klonowski
3. Uptown Girl, Bob Lipski
4. Low Blow, Aaron Poliwoda
5. Cynicalman, Matt Feazell

*****

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Andrew Fulton

1. Lumpen, Pat Grant
2. Wilnot, Mandy Ord
3. Froth, Michael Fikaris
4. Plump Oyster, Benjamin Constantine
5. Guh!, Jase Harper

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Sad Sex, Heather Benjamin
* Big Questions, Anders Nilsen
* Closed Caption Comics, Closed Caption Comics
* Operation Margarine, Katie Skelly
* Snake Oil, Charles Forsman

*****

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RJ Casey

1. Reich, Elijah Brubaker
2. Real Rap, Benjamin Urkowitz
3. The Magic Whistle, Sam Henderson
4. Nurse Nurse, Katie Skelly
5. Pickle, Dylan Horrocks

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1- The End of the Fucking World, Charles Forsman
2- Nurse Nurse, Katie Skelly
3- Dumb, Georgia Webber
4- Top of the Line, Daniel McCloskey
5- Snake Oil, Charles Forsman

*****

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Greg McElhatton

1. Amy Unbounded, Rachel Hartman
2. The Amazing Cynicalman, Matt Feazell
3. Booty, Anne Thalheimer
4. Long Tail Kitty, Lark Pien
5. Jape, Sean Bieri

*****

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John Platt

1. The Amazing Cynicalman, Matt Feazell
2. Jape, Sean Bieri
3. Tragic Relief, Colleen Frakes
4. Square Dance, Colin Tedford
5. Phase 7, Alec Longstreth

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Slither, Kelly Froh
2. Yeast Hoist, Ron Rege Jr.
3. Lou, Melissa Mendes
4. Loose, Michael Deforge
5. Capacity, Theo Ellsworth

*****

my apologies if anyone was dropped; i'm on the road

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July 19, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Promotional Video For Patrick Rosenkranz's New Book


CR Staff Photographer Whit Spurgeon Being Interviewed In Salt Lake City


Video From Nix Comics Appreciation Show 2014


Doug Sneyd Interviewed
via




Not Comics: A Jonny Quest Documentary
via
 
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CR Week In Review

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

1. Naif al-Mutawa adjusts to life under threat of murder.

2. Newsday makes editorial cartoonist hire: Matt Davies.

3. Crowdfunding comes to comics industry coverage: 1, 2.

Winners Of The Week
Your 2014 Harvey Awards nominees.

Loser Of The Week
Amazon.com. Still. Why not?

Quote Of The Week
"Right now every problem comics people face is a nail to be pounded into place by the kickstarter hammer." -- Ken Eppstein, in an e-mail to me, so I hope he doesn't mind. (Sorry, Ken!) I liked that a lot.

*****

image from the Steve Gerber-era Defenders, because I don't remember where I stand with the 1964 Marvels and I'm away from my hard drive

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Go, Look: A Little Bit Of Hup

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

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 62nd Birthday, Bob Burden!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Terry LaBan!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Rupert Bottenberg!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, John Kovaleski!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 64th Birthday, Richard Pini!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 55th Birthday, Luke McDonnell!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 42nd Birthday, Jamal Igle!

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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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July 18, 2014


Happy First Anniversary To Impossible Books

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That is an impeccable line-up of recent small-press and hard-to-find books for sale. I hope you'll consider a purchase. Congratulations to Impossible Books, and hopefully there are many more years to come.
 
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Go, Look: 2299

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Not Comics: Lalo Alcaraz Tussles With City Of Murrieta PR Consultant Over Use Of Hashtag

Here. Murrieta is at the heart of the recent news activity around the issue of immigration involving children; Alcaraz was critical of the city via a hashtag that labeled the city "HateCityUSA"; the PR consultant Xavier Hermosillo hired by that community to negotiate the news story responded harshly.

That is a very effective, time-honored way to drum up publicity, although one may wonder if this specific kind of PR is what the city had in mind.

I wanted to mention it here, though, because of the story touching on the activities of comics people as free-thinking and speaking individuals outside of their comics endeavors and how that can be treated by the press. We're not too far removed from a day when a cartoonist speaking out on an issue like this one would be treated less seriously because of the nature of their work. This seems slightly different to me.

My father was a newspaperman who took the editorial part of his work seriously; he frequently thought that a lot of cartoonists under-utilized their opportunities to speak out. I think he would have approved of Alcaraz getting in there and trading shots with a city official. So do I.
 
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Go, Look: Recent Roger Langridge Convention Art

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
 
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By Request Extra: The Outhouse Starts A Patreon Campaign

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I totally missed that The Outhouse -- a start-up that employs Christian Hoffer, a writer about comics whose work I enjoy -- started a Patreon campaign a couple of days ago. They're a combination joke-telling site and news site, which someone once told me is the only appropriate way to cover the comics industry. I hope that you'll give that campaign a look.

I'd start here with their making the case on the site. Or you can go directly to the campaign page here.
 
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Go, Look: Weird Fantasies #1

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Forthcoming Extra: Billy Ireland Announces Fall Exhibits Featuring Will Eisner, Civil Rights Shows

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In a mid-summer announcement following a long period of relative quiet at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library And Museum blog, those good folks have made official their two Fall 2014 exhibits.

imageThe Long March: Civil Rights In Cartoons And Comics and Will Eisner: 75 Years Of Graphic Storytelling are set to open on August 16 and will stay in the exhibition space through November 30.

The exhibits draw two strengths of the institutions: interdisciplinary breadth and single-creator depth. In addition to mainstream daily newspaper cartoons and the reactions from cartoonists in the black press, the exhibit will show several pieces of artwork by Nate Powell from his collaboration with Andrew Aydin and Congressman John Lewis, the graphic memoir March.

There will be a Powell signing and a co-curator (with Jenny Robb) Jared Gardner presentation on August 16 in support of the Civil Rights show, followed by an event September 15 with Powell, Aydin and Lewis co-sponsored by a number of Ohio State bodies, offices and institutions. That should be something.

imageGardner is also co-curator on the Will Eisner exhibit, working with Caitlin McGurk. That exhibit will focus on Eisner's role as a key influence for comics at its inception and during its transformation to better foster sustained narratives of serious intent via the graphic novel movement. Jeff Smith will give a lecture on October 30 at the Jean and Charles Schulz Lecture Hall on October 30 in support of that exhibit.

The announcement of this Fall's shows also means you have only a few weeks to see the Bill Watterson, Richard Thompson and (across the way at the Wexner Center) Dan Clowes exhibits, so plan your next several days' worth of summer road trips accordingly. They are really interesting exhibits, and a great chance if you're a comics-interested person to see what one well-informed person told me this Spring was "The best place for comics in the world." It also indicates that they may be working with a roughly two-week dark periods for the featured exhibits -- the permanent collection remains on display, though, as well as the facility's other services, each worth a trip of their own.

Ton of information including some nice art, here.

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 1813 N. High Street in Columbus, pretty much the spear point for that whole gigantic Ohio State campus. There is affordable parking nearby.

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Go, Look: John Romita Jr. Images Mini-Gallery

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By Request Extra: Colleen Doran Announces Comics Trade Sale

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Here. This includes her signature work A Distant Soil, which we've tracked at CR in part because of the long road to republication of the work from a technical standpoint, which are posts I love.

I don't think it's tied into a particular need; Doran is very much in demand right now. I do think that in the next few years it's going to be important to pay attention to all of the offers put out there by individual cartoonists, as we're in the curious position of a semi-stable industry that for its creators doesn't always act that way because of the external pressures of corporate expectations and an overtaxed core fandom.
 
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Go, Look: Barry Windsor-Smith As A Painter

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By Request Extra: Heidi MacDonald's The Beat Asks For Crowd-Funding Via Patreon; Will CR Follow?

As she announced at Heroes Con, Heidi MacDonald has moved into the world of crowdfunding, seeking money for her long-running site The Beat and offering incentives related to content. If you value what that site does and wish to support it directly, now you have the chance. Heidi's a good person, and I hope you'll consider it.

I have to admit, I am interested in asking her about her big corporate offers. It's jealousy: I've never received one! In fact, CR is partly the result of when I pitched an on-line magazine and/or a print magazine to several publishers -- including every appropriate comics publisher -- and I did not get even a single e-mail in response.

A good two dozen readers have asked me this summer if CR will ever do something similar. Maybe. We've been planning significant changes for some time, and a possibility for those changes includes something involving a crowdfunding mechanism. It would be for something new from dollar one rather than an enhanced version of the site. Jordan Raphael and I don't feel comfortable asking readers for money for this product in addition to the magnificent support we receive from our advertisers.

I think this is the best site about comics, but I don't think CR is 20 percent of what it should be to serve the industries it covers. I worry every day that the entities in comics not the creative talent are largely substandard relative to that talent, and that this imbalance creates a situation of exploitation that poorly serves those wonderful creators and many of you, the patrons of the art form for which they are primarily responsible. Comics is the greatest art form in the world right now; it deserves the best of everything in support.

So basically, if I can figure out how to make something worth paying for? I won't be afraid to ask. In the meantime, thank you so much for the continued support of your time and attention. That means the world to me, and I'll continue to try and make this site worth that investment on your part.

We look forward to providing comics-only coverage of next week's San Diego Con and continuing our coverage of related comics issues as currently expressed. I understand there's something going on with Thor.
 
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Go, Look: Blue Beetle #14

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Two San Diego Con Related Stories That Jumped Out At Me Today: CCI's New App; Image Ticketing

imageThere's a bunch of Comic-Con related news stories out there right new -- at least using the broadest definition of that term -- and we'll spend next week covering all the comics-related ones. Two jumped out at me this morning as worthy of a special note.

* Comic-Con International Teams With NBC For New App -- I like apps; I even like saying the word "apps". I look forward to using what NBC and CCI have come up with here. More importantly, though, this is the first time I can remember CCI doing a corporate partnership on something like this. Comic-Con has huge growth potential in terms of cultural reach and influence, and one way to get there is by being smart and mustering up the considerable self-respect they've earned and enter into first-class partnerships on certain things they might not do as well on their own.

* Image Comics Announces Signing Schedule -- What interests me here is that they're doing ticketing for certain comics-makers. I think this is something they've done here and there but not to this extent. With their Image Expo on Wednesday, Image is being very pro-active in trying to figure out how to use this modern iteration of Comic-Con. I hope every publisher will be as aggressive in figuring out these kinds of things, and generally treating things like shows and business developments as opportunities rather than bemoaning how they might break with the past.
 
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OTBP: Likeness

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* Steve Morris launches The Spire.

image* I totally missed that a significant number of the fanart expressions that followed the announcement of a new Batgirl creative team and a costume redesign were shepherded into a specifc tumblr. That's a smart use of that kind of Internet resource, and man that's a lot of people drawing or otherwise paying homage to a brand-new costume.

* Gabrielle Bell has moved her on-line diary -- a daily comic she does for a month and one of the highlights of recent summers -- from July to August this year.

* I missed Michael Cavna's fun way of marking his comics-related column's sixth anniversary: a quote-o-rama. Congratulations to him on the publication span of that always-readable feature.

* Comics & Cola has a Facebook page.

* Pete Toms has finished up On Hiatus.

* Whit Taylor is doing a series of on-line comics called Saturn Return.

* finally, Comics Comics has been restored to its archival edition-ness. Lot of good material in there.
 
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If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Tradd Moore's First Marvel Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's the last day for Todd Allen's Economics Of Digital Comics crowd-funder, if you want a copy of that book.

image* Marykate Jasper on Shackleton. Todd Klein on The Complete Peanuts 1991-1992 and Doc Savage #1. Tim Palmer on Street Angel #2. Tom Bondurant on Grayson. Yeah, I don't get that one, either, really. Tom is more positive about its possibilities than I would be in a formal review. Rob Clough on School Spirits. Alex Dueben on Macanudo Vol. 1. Rob Clough on The Shadow Hero. Sean Gaffney on My Love Story!! Vol. 1. John Kane on a bunch of different comics.

* not comics: no great loss.

* Roger Langridge draws Popeye for a cancer charity. Langridge is the best.

* one thing I have yet to do is to look at my peers' various Instagram accounts. Here's CBR's.

* love for Moomin.

* Albert Ching talks to Axel Alonso. That interview was from last week, but I wanted to link to it at this late date for Alonso's public vote of confidence for Rick Remender a significant freelancer at Marvel that received a passionate if hard-to-parse scolding and subsequent calls for termination of employment from a group of folks on the Internet. Graeme McMillan talks to Joshua Hale Fialkov. Matt D. Wilson talks to Jen Van Meter. Patrick Reed pays tribute to the great Murphy Anderson. Janelle Asselin talks to Meags Fitzgerald.

* finally, I missed that Zainab Akhtar was leaving her job in comics retail to pursue more opportunities in writing. I wish her the best.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Wes Molebash!

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

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July 17, 2014


Go, Look: A Frank Santoro Comic From Pulse!

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Newsday Hires Editorial Cartoonist Matt Davies

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The New York regional newspaper Newsday has a nice post up here welcoming Matt Davies aboard as its latest editorial cartoonist. One nice thing about that article is that it makes a strong case for having a cartoonist in addition to pointing out why they feel this should be Davies. Another cool element to the piece is they build a profile for the position's strength by pointing to past successful cartoonists that have worked there, including two cartoonists that won Pulitzers while in their employ.

They also have a Davies slideshow up.

Newsday is an interesting publication. I never quite know what its specific coverage area is outside of Queens, although I know it pretty much covers that whole region and I think presumes itself the main publication of a number of counties. It has also grown in the last few years, significantly, and I can't imagine that's the case for almost any other journalistic publication after the late '00s and the near-industry collapse that came with that time period.

Davies won the 2004 Pultizer and that year's Herblock Prize. He's a widely-syndicated cartoonist whose main, recurring feature is a Sunday cartoon for the Hearst papers in Connecticut. I'll be interested to see what he does.
 
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Go, Look: Images From Slow Death #1-12

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Your 2014 Harvey Awards Nominations

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The Harvey Awards, named for the great Harvey Kurtzman and affiliated for almost a full decade now with the early Fall event Baltimore Comic-Con, announced it nominees list via e-mail yesterday.

Because the Harveys use a two-tiered full nominations process and the first step of that can be laborious, they've long been susceptible to campaigns for nominations such as an energetic company employee or two making sure that everyone at the office gets their ballot in. This tends to skew things towards companies or project that have this kind of motivated person in proximity.

Congratulations to all the nominees. They are:

*****

imageBest Writer

* James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* Matt Fraction, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
* Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
* Brian K. Vaughn, SAGA, Image Comics
* Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

*****

Best Artist

* David Aja, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
* Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
* Nate Powell, MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Production
* Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics
* Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios

*****

Best Cartoonist

* Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
* Comfort Love and Adam Withers, RAINBOW IN THE DARK, uniquescomic.com
* Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studios
* Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
* David Petersen, MOUSE GUARD: THE BLACK AXE, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* Paul Pope, BATTLING BOY, First Second

*****

Best Letterer

* Deron Bennett, CYBORG 009, Archaia
* Dave Lanphear, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studio
* Steve Wands, ADVENTURE TIME, kaBOOM!
* Britt Wilson, ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA AND CAKE, kaBOOM!

*****

Best Inker

* Vanesa R. Del Rey, HIT, BOOM! Studios
* Stefano Gaudiano, THE WALKING DEAD, Image Comics
* Danny Miki, BATMAN, DC Comics
* Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios
* Wade Von Grawbadger, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics

*****

Best Colorist

* Jordan Bellaire, PRETTY DEADLY, Image Comics
* Marte Gracia, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics
* Matt Hollingsworth, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
* Brian Reber, UNITY, Valiant Entertainment
* Dave Stewart, HELLBOY: THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, Dark Horse Comics

*****

Best Cover Artist

* Goni Montes, CLIVE BARKER’S NEXT TESTAMENT
* Andrew Robinson, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics
* Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios

*****

Most Promising New Talent

* James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* Pere Perez, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, HARBINGER WARS, Valiant Entertainment
* Victor Santos, POLAR: CAME FROM THE COLD, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
* Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios
* Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics

*****

imageBest New Series

* AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE, Archie Comics
* QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* SEX CRIMINALS, Image
* SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios
* SUICIDE RISK, BOOM! Studios

*****

Best Continuing or Limited Series

* ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
* DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
* HIT, BOOM! Studios
* MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 2, Archaia
* SAGA, Image Comics

*****

Best Syndicated Strip or Panel

* DICK TRACY, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services
* FOX TROT, Bill Amend, Universal Uclick
* GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, Universal Uclick
* MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features
* THE PHANTOM, Tony DePaul and Paul Ryan, King Features Syndicate

*****

Best Anthology

* DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
* MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD Vol. 2, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* OUTLAW TERRITORY 3, Image Comics
* SPERA, VOLUME 3, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

*****

Best Graphic Album -- Original

* BATTLING BOY, First Second
* CYBORG 009, Archaia
* MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Productions
* THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY, Dark Horse Comics
* THE REASON FOR DRAGONS, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

*****

Best Graphic Album – Previously Published

* HARBINGER VOLUME ONE: OMEGA RISING, Valiant Entertainment
* THE KILLER OMNIBUS VOL. 1, Archaia
* MOUSE GUARD VOLUME THREE: THE BLACK AXE, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* POLARITY, BOOM! Studios
* RAINBOW IN THE DARK: THE COMPLETE SAGA, Comfort Love and Adam Withers

*****

Best Single Issue or Story

* ADVENTURE TIME ANNUAL #1, kaBOOM!
* DEMETER, self-published, Becky Cloonan
* "A Kiss ISN’T Just A Kiss!," KEVIN KELLER #10, Archie Comics
* "Now and Then," DARK HORSE PRESENTS #30, Dark Horse Comics
* "Pizza is My Business," HAWKEYE #11, Marvel Comics
* SUICIDE RISK #5, BOOM! Studios
* UNITY #1, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Best Domestic Reprint Project

* BARNABY VOL. 1, Fantagraphics
* BEST OF COMIX BOOK: WHEN MARVEL COMICS WENT UNDERGROUND, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse
* FRAGGLE ROCK CLASSICS Vol. 2, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* VALIANT MASTERS: NINJAK VOLUME ONE -- BLACK WATER, Valiant Entertainment
* VALIANT MASTERS: SHADOWMAN VOLUME ONE: SPIRITS WITHIN, Valiant Entertainment

*****

imageBest American Edition of Foreign Material

* ATTACK ON TITAN, Kodansha
* THE KILLER, Vol. 4, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1926-1939, Drawn and Quarterly
* SUNNY, Viz Signature
* TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, Fantagraphics

*****

Best Online Comics Work

* BATTLEPUG, Mike Norton
* THE DREAMER, Lora Innes
* GUNNERKRIGG COURT, Tom Siddell
* JL8, Yale Stewart
* TABLE TITANS, Scott Kurtz, Steve Hamaker, and Brian Hurtt

*****

Special Award for Humor in Comics

* James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* Ryan North, ADVENTURE TIME, KaBOOM!
* Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
* Fred Van Lente, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
* Jim Zub, SKULLKICKERS, Image Comics

*****

Special Award for Excellence in Presentation

* BEST OF COMIX BOOK: WHEN MARVEL COMICS WENT UNDERGROUND, John Lind, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse Comics
* CYBORG 009, Stephen Christy, Archaia
* HARBINGER WARS, Josh Johns and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment
* THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR, Joe LeFavi, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
* UNITY, Alejandro Arbona, Josh Johns, and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation

* AL CAPP: A LIFE TO THE CONTRARY, Denis Kitchen, Bloomsbury
* AMERICAN COMIC BOOK CHRONICLES: THE 1950s, TwoMorrows Publishing
* ART OF RUBE GOLDBERG, Jennifer George, Abrams ComicArts
* CO-MIX: A RETROSPECTIVE OF COMICS, GRAPHICS, AND SCRAPS, Art Spiegelman, Drawn and Quarterly
* THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, Dark Horse
* MARCH: BOOK ONE, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions

*****

Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

* ADVENTURE TIME, KaBOOM! Studios
* BATTLING BOY, First Second
* G-MAN: COMING HOME, Image Comics
* MONSTER ON THE HILL, Top Shelf Productions
* ONLY LIVING BOY, Bottled Lightning

*****

The final ballot is here.

*****

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*****
*****
 
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More John Byrne X-Men Era Splash Pages

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posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Von Allan Wins Corel Endowment For The Arts Award

imageSequential has a short piece up on the cartoonist Von Allan winning one of this year's Corel Endowment Of The Arts Awards. That money will fund Allan's latest effort Metal Gods, which has a site here. That's an award to Ottawa-based artists via a partnership between the local arts council and Corel. Allan received $1000, making him one of 41 artists to benefit from the program over the last 16 years.

There's video of Allan accepting the honor through that first link.

I don't know Allan beyond a few on-line encounters, but he strikes me as a very passionate, very invested cartoonist, the kind one wants to see winning the support of arts groups and grant programs. Here's a recent interview.
 
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Go, Look: Alex Ross Spider-Man Cover Images

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So What's The Value Of These Comics Events In Terms Of Comics Sold Store To Store?

I couldn't understand a lot of this article that Heidi MacDonald at The Beat asked her peers to go read. I'm just not enmeshed in that world to the point where I tend to get anything other than really blunt and specific ideas, presented directly, and I just didn't get that here.

imageIt does strike me, though, that it might be worth reminding ourselves of the significant disconnect between the idea of these "event" comics and reality of how they're sold on the ground -- or if how they're sold on the ground is a primary concern, even, with some of these announcements. For one thing, there's a structural issue where comics are announced ahead of their being sold because of the non-returnable nature of the Direct Market. My Mom asked if I would buy the Lady Thor comic when I was in San Diego -- she heard about it on the radio at the gym -- and I had to tell her it wouldn't be out for a while yet. She had no idea. With comics that are the recipients of publicity close to the sale date, like the capping of Archie Andrews, there's always the problem of stores having had to engage the sales potential a couple of months earlier. It's a hell of a thing these events ask of a retailer.

The heartening thing about that Beat piece is that the store in question was able to retain a few customers from these highly-publicized storyline moments, which is a testament to those stores' displayed abilities to connect with customers in a way that very few retail experiences can match. That's not the only way to read comics, and we shouldn't privilege it to the extent that some people believe we should, but we should never look down on it, either. I still get the sense that while this churn of publicity may benefit the companies involved, and may allow a few stores to catch lightning in a bottle, that there has to be a way to transfer more of this excitement to the ongoing, quality reading experience. Right now I feel like many of these events aren't a celebration of the comics-reading experience as much as a pushback against its limitations. I wonder if we're gaming the system instead of showcasing the medium, and if we shouldn't adjust our praise accordingly.
 
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Go, Look: Bernie Wrightson In Black And White

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

image* CCI, CCI, CCI. You should check your favorite publishers' sites for what they'll have available at the show. Here's the Fantagraphics list. Here's an announcement of advance copies of the next John P. book from D+Q: The Hospital Suite. And so on. It's a really good comics show. It's a strange one, if you're full on comics because certain elements of the industry and art form can't work in the context of the show the way it's being used by other media now, but there's still plenty to see and buy and enjoy.

* a crowd-funding effort to send someone to Comic-Con drew a lot of e-mail attention from folks that feel comfortable e-mailing me. These sort of efforts were reasonably common for a period about 10 years ago, particularly in gaming circles, as I recall. There was eventually a significant backlash. I don't begrudge anyone spending money on anything they want -- and spending money purposefully frivolously on crowd-funding sites is a mini-thing right now -- but it's a bit dismaying in terms of this being a comics-culture thing how easily the money came for this person and this purpose and how tough it's been for, say, Dan Vado to raise money for the purpose of re-establishing his publishing company after multiple decades of running that company. I don't want to take money away from anyone; I just wish there were money for everyone, particularly those in actual need or those with a significant purpose.

* in case you missed it, Fantagraphics and Koyama Press did a joint video announcement for a Fall Tour featuring the cartoonists Simon Hanselmann, Michael DeForge and Patrick Kyle. Details to come.

* here's a cool and slightly dire thing you can do at your next SPX when you need an hour away from the show.

* here's a reminder that Eleanor Davis is out in support of her How To Be Happy hardcover.

* this stand-alone article on the Snyder/Miller/Morrison Batman SDCC panel seems well-selected: that should be a big, popular panel.

* finally, I think I would freak out a little bit if I ever saw a Comic-Con International programming day without a Mark Evanier moderated panel on it. Luckily, this year's Friday slate is low man on the totem at one.
 
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If I Were In Tulsa, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Imagination #1

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Glen Downey on Hoax: Psychosis Blues. The team at Page 45 on another group of comics. Greg Burgas on Under The Flesh #1. James Kaplan on The Life After #1. Zainab Akhtar on Hilda And The Black Hound.

* Joe Casey profiles all of his illustrator collaborators on the forthcoming Captain Victory project. All of them. David Betancourt profiles Paco Roca.

* hey, a look at Jerry Scott's studio. I saw one of his old ones -- there's a guy who values an excellent workspace.

* I like the look of these original watercolors that T. Edward Bak is offering.

* I think some of my writing-about-comics peers very, very brave.

* not comics: this Nina Paley cartoon apparently goes viral repeatedly, which is as much a comment on the recursive nature of the situation on which it comments maybe even more than the cartoon itself.

* finally, Bully calls attention in a positive way to a recent costume retrofitting for a character from the Invaders comic book.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Brian K. Vaughan!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Ned Sonntag!

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Happy 76th Birthday, Hermann!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Jeffrey Brown!

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

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July 16, 2014


Go, Look: Fire Flower

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Kuwaiti Times On Call For Murder Of Naif Al-Mutawa

This is pretty self-explanatory article: a public call by elements within religious fundamentalism -- this time out the group ISIL -- for the murder of a someone who does not share the exact shape of the proferred, preferred views. That doesn't make it any less tough to read. This time is Naif Al-Mutawa, best known in cultural circles for his The 99, a superhero series whose characters' powers mirror the 99 Aspects of Allah. The psychiatrist issued a strong rejection of the views promoted against him in the article, noting that he considers his comics a humanitarian outreach the glorifies Islam, and has had international reach and succes in doing so. He plans to use any legal means at his disposal to go after those threatening him.
 
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Go, Look: Junkwaffel #1-4

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posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comic-Con T-Shirt Mystery Solved By Jackie Estrada

Here. Thanks, Jackie.
 
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Hot Town, Summer In The Front Room

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posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: Digital Sales Up 29 Percent 2012 To 2013

It doesn't include sales to the group-access subscription type sites, but ICv2.com's estimate of the size of the digital market for comics is interesting in a lot of ways, mostly by putting a number on the growth of such sales. While the period 2010-2012 turned out to be a ridiculous, sustained mini-event in terms of annually compounding the sales figures involved, 2013's 29 percent reflects powerful but more reasonable growth. For me, this is about there being an industry mechanism (sites led comiXology) that helps shape a change in behavior by consumers (buying and reading comics on-line in rough approximation of print comics buying, either as directed by sales and content-driven incentives or as a swap-in for previous paper-buying routines).

I don't think that market has finished developing. There's just too much weight to the massive libraries of content some of these companies can bring to bear. I do think any clear break from a model that includes these kinds of sales will from now on be judged against a certain level of performance rather than by comparing estimations of potential.
 
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Go, Look: Jack Kirby Black And White Image Mini-Gallery

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Yesterday The PR Cycle Turned To Marvel's Thor Character

So Marvel is doing a plotline in one of their Thor comic books that involves the longtime Stan Lee/Larry Lieber/Jack Kirby-created character changing sexes. I rarely have thoughts about plotlines in superhero comic books, and I don't have any here. Additionally, I try to avoid news that could share a headline with a piece in the Daily Bugle. Still, if you're a close reader of comics culture, or interested in Marvel's history, I'm sure you can find something in the periphery of this story that will hold your attention.

Several suggestions spring to mind. First, the fact that so many media outlets remain interested in this kind of story some 15 years into Marvel's resurgence provides a snapshot of the media's orientation towards pop culture in this day and age and speaks well of Marvel's significant status as a force in that world. Second, the story was announced on the multiple-host talk-show The View, which I guess is sort of interesting in that this put the news in front of eyeballs that might not see it otherwise. Third, Marvel announced a week ahead of San Diego Con, setting up some buzz and a storyline for fans at the show -- this strategy is becoming increasingly prevalent. Fourth, there's likely a bunch of things that a close observer of that world of comics could write about companies like Marvel attempting to make their core characters more appealing to female readers, in addition to working with characters in their catalogs that are already female. Fifth, it could be a positive for Marvel's licensing department. Remember that the recent history of Marvel is not just one of comic books and movies, it's also about that company's business partnerships and their media profile.

As for the comic book itself, its creators will include writer Jason Aaron and artist Russsell Dauterman. They are accomplished comics-makers.
 
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kenneth Smith

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posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Two Articles On The Tough Business Road Facing Creators

* the Guardian enters into a wide-ranging, rolling series of recent articles in a bunch of places about the income level of artists and writers with a piece on how even what we think of as professional writers are living below the minimum standard of what folks think make for a decent living. It's probably worth noting that I know many cartoonists that would look at making $18K as a magnificent upgrade. I bet there are more people living in that $9K to $15K range than we might be comfortable discussing. I'm not sure what the ultimate outcome here is.

* Colleen Doran preaches self-awareness. "This job has no benefits, no guarantees. Nothing. If you don’t make enough money to pay for every dime of your health care, your retirement, and all your business expenses, as well as your daily living needs, you are not making it as a professional creator. Getting by is not good enough." This is part of a piece on how maybe taking a day job isn't a bad thing. I think most of us work a variety of jobs in our lives; some come sooner, some come later, some double-up. There are a million ways to go through life, and most of them aren't so bad unless you choose to project yourself into a better one and beat yourself up about it.
 
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Blacky. Four Of Us

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Go, Read: AMI Brief In Support Of Kirby Family Vs. Marvel

We're a bit further along in terms of moving towards a potential new ruling on the long-running Kirby Family vs. Marvel case -- Marvel has since filed its response to the latest petition -- but this article from the Association Of Medical Illustrators might be worth a read all by itself if you're interested in the case or in the idea that some of the legal construction that has supported Marvel can be argued to be of a dubious nature, and may just be bad law in some ways.

I am operating out of my depth in terms of figuring out which way things might go -- I'm no longer young enough and dumb enough to trumpet a certain outcome as inevitable, and I'm just old enough to be cynical that none of this gets worked out -- but I hope for the most just outcome and the best law, and I bemoan that this wasn't all taken care of years ago. I know that some think that was always an impossibility -- citing Marvel's history/nature or indicting the lawyer Marc Toberoff as if this break betweem creator/heirs and company were only a few years old -- but I think there could have been a better outcome by now, and still hold out that this could come to pass.
 
posted 7:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Stéphane Kardos

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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*****

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

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

*****

FEB140330 STERANKO NICK FURY AGENT OF SHIELD ARTIST ED HC PI
Okay, I win a major old-man award putting this artist's edition of Steranko's work up top the week that Seconds comes out, but I couldn't find a big enough image of the Seconds cover, so it plays inset spotlight comic of the week. As for this volume, one thing that's been nice about the artist's editions program is that with a company like Marvel a book like this one can fulfill one role a sane classic publishing program might -- to put some of the perennials back in front of the eyeballs of fans, including those that haven't experienced those artists yet. I'm also interested in what insights this book gives to his process -- as I recall, he worked at a significant size over the printed page, which has a chance to make this book quite good-looking.

imageAPR140949 BRYAN LEE O MALLEY SECONDS GN $25.00
This obviously the major book of the week, Bryan Lee O'Malley -- with a few talented craftspeople working under his direction -- finally releasing through Random House his major follow-up to the industry-altering Scott Pilgrim. I have not read a page of this material, and look forward to it greatly. I think O'Malley's an interesting cartoonist, and I'm rooting for him.

MAR140070 USAGI YOJIMBO LTD HC VOL 28 RED SCORPION $59.99
One thing that I hope happens at next weekend's San Diego Con is that we all remember that Stan Sakai is a pro's pro and I'm guessing still discombobulated by some of the personal issues that have altered his life a bit in recent months. I love that he has fans that will be his books at this price point. I get a lot of pleasure out of them myself, but in much cheaper, less fancy editions.

MAR140263 TALES OF THE BATMAN JH WILLIAMS III HC $49.99
Has to be pretty.

APR140441 TARZAN RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC VOL 03 1971-1974 $49.99
This too, actually. I'm not sure if Tarzan enjoyed an early '70s comeback because of that decade's first few years' fascination with the 1930s, where the Jungle Lord was a dominant entertainment figure. He was still that way in the '70s, for sure. I don't remember the plotlines but I remember this being the very definition of solid when I was reading them with potato pancakes on a Sunday morning.

MAY140025 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #121 $3.50
APR140585 RAT QUEENS #7 (MR) $3.50
MAY140734 STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #5 (MR) $3.50
MAY140745 WICKED & DIVINE #2 (MR) $3.50
MAY148075 WICKED & DIVINE #2 CVR B ZDARSKY $3.50
MAY141498 AUTEUR #5 (MR) $3.99
You have your Mignola up top, as is fitting. This is one of those Image Comics weeks where none of the series I follow slightly more closely than I follow others has come out. The next four comics (three titles) are the ones that leap out at me as being books that people enjoy more than the standard comic, even as I'm underread on those titles. Be a good week to catch up. Auteur is a strange series I wanted to let have a bit of a head start before I got back into it, so that would be a primary purchase for me this week.

APR141204 DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE HC VOL 05 PHANTOM BLOT $34.99
This is primetime Gottfredson, beautiful to look at and fun. I would think it perfect summer reading for a kid, but I was a strange kid. Still, if nothing else this series has been a reintroduction to the fundamental of Mickey Mouse.

APR141206 PRINCE VALIANT HC VOL 09 1953-1954 $35.00
MAY141837 PRINCE VALIANT PAGE HC SALE BOOK PI
This is the latest in the strip's quality recent reprinting, already almost ten volumes in. I quite enjoy reading these, against all odds according to what I tend to like in longform narratives. The second book is I believe a reprinting of the moder Prince Valiant, not as startling as the Foster -- very little is -- but solidly executed and featuring the art of that very nice man Gary Gianni.

MAY140980 YOUTH IS WASTED GN $14.95
Part of the 2014 AdHouse youth movement, this is a solo anthology by compulsive comics maker Noah Van Sciver, including the one-shot for Retrofit that sold out so quickly.

*****

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: The Saddest Story Ever Told

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Go, Look: Aqualelis

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* and then there was that time that Jim Davis drew Chip Zdarsky.

image* Christian Hoffer talks to Josh O'Neill. Brandon Ambrosino talks to Gene Luen Yang.

* love for Mr. X.

* not comics: congratulations to Charles Vess on this World Fantasy Award nomination.

* Richard Sala reminds us via advertisement and covers of his Evil Eye series, which as very good late-period alternative comic book that never quite had the audience it deserved.

* I can't find the original post from Sean Howe, who uncovered these photos of an early 1970s comics art show in New York City, but wow. Also, apparently people in Brooklyn always had those beards.

* finally, here's a best of 2014 so far in graphic novels list from a writer named Natalie Brandweiner. That list has a bunch of books on it with which I'm only barely familiar; that is a fine function for such a list.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Pierre Wazem!

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

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July 15, 2014


Go, Look: The Bob Levin Dot Com

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Levin is one of the best writers-about-comics ever, and it's good to see him doing some blogging
 
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Go, Look: All The Best Ponies

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Go, Read: Gender Breakdown Of The Best American Comics Series

A couple of readers have sent in this livejournal post with a breakdown of gender representation in the Best American Comics series. It heavily favors male participants, both in each volume and overall -- 193 to 58 particpants, male/female.

I think it's undeniably worth noting. As with most of these kinds of things, I'm not sure what to do with it other than note it, and continue to question why this happens, to do this rigorously and without fear, and come to terms with the overwhelming likelihood of potential bias in play. You then work ruthlessly hard on unearthing how this might manifest itself through you and in those systems in which you participate. You then take steps to counter that kind of long-term bias as manifested. In other words, you do what you can in an unblinking, up front fashion.c

Beyond that, I'm not sure. While I like every single guest editor that's been involved with the projects, I'm not an ethusiastic fan of these books. The ones I've read have been of a mostly high quality, although I imagine they don't match anyone's personal conception of what the best comics are except those involved, and even then do so according to the constraints of the project. I would love to see more women cartoonists represented. I'm pretty confident there are similarly dim showings -- if not much worse -- for gay cartoonists and for non-white cartoonists. At the same time, it's impossible for me to believe anyone involved is doing anything other than picking the best work possible. This includes series editors Anne Elizabeth Moore and Jessica Abel/Matt Madden as well. I don't think Jeff Smith is more enlightened than Francoise Mouly.

I would imagine and hope that future shapers of this series like Bill Kartalopoulos and Scott McCloud are aware of this math and will keep it in mind while undergoing this process.
 
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Go, Look: Creative Thinking

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Go, Watch: Joyce Brabner Offers Up 200+ Jazz CDs From Harvey Pekar's Collection For Local Family

David Lasky noted here that Joyce Brabner, the late Harvey Pekar's widow, is offering up on eBay some two hundred jazz CDs of the writer's along with some other related items, to benefit a Cleveland Heights family. The auction is here. The bidding is up to $500 as of this writing.

In addition to his comics and related creative writing, Pekar was a music critic, primarily jazz.

A couple of things I like about the video is that Brabner mentions the community support she received when Pekar passed away just over four years ago, and that she admits that maybe the stuff offered might be resold, which somehow struck me as being in the spirit of some of the Pekar stories about his own music collecting.
 
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OTBP: Seeds

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Go, Read: Kelly Kilmer On My Reading Of The Situation Vis-a-Vis Meltdown Comics And Developers

Here. And yeah, I may have screwed up on that one. Certainly I should not have sounded so glib. I've reached out to Meltdown for their point of view, which is way more important than my rushed and possibly idiotic initial take.
 
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Go, Look: Love For Damage Control

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Can You Solve The Mystery Of This Comic-Con Shirt?

From CR Reader Joe Musich:
I am looking for help or ideas on locating a certain image that was used on a tee shirt for SDCC perhaps in 1977. I have spoken with PC Hamerlick and John Morrows about this bizarre request. I have as well asked the old guys who are connected to the SDCC in the old days through their fall retrofit in sanDiego. No luck with these fine people. I have tried different google searches as well.

The image was Captain Marvel with the usual SDCC stuff in the background. Graphitti knows nothing of the image. The shirt probably goes back to before they were the sellers of the [convention] shirt. I have recollection of someone wearing this shirt on the floor in maybe 2004. You are a terrific resource gatherer so I did not think it would hurt to ask . Thanks for your time.


Jackie Estrada Responds:
This was the first Comic-Con T-shirt, done in 1979 (it was unofficial). Graphitti started doing the Con shirts in 1981.
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Thanks, Jackie!
 
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Go, Look: Ricardo Machuca

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the cartoonist Derf Backderf has released the cover image for his Alternative Comic effort True Stories. That one is set for debut at SPX.

image* here's an official listing for the forthcoming big Taschen book of Marvel history from the writer Roy Thomas and the art director Josh Baker. That should be something to see, what with all the imagery that's there to be utilized. I mean, look at that one below. That's not even an iconic Marvel cover.

* I missed this round-up of licensing announcements from Anime Expo provided by Sean Gaffney over on his mostly-reviews vehicle. I look forward to seeing a bunch of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

* this attachment to a Mile High mailer indicates there's a San Diego Con-related DC comic book out this year. That Harley Quinn character is very popular.

* here's a round-up of what's coming up with the DC characters Catwoman and Klarion The Witch Boy: the former is heading into a new direction, the latter is picking up its own series. I always thought Catwoman was kind of a tough gig in that this is a very effective character but not exactly one that holds up to a lot of interpretations that still encompass what's appealing about her. Divorcing that appeal from a very specific kind of juvenile, comic-book sexuality was what made the Ed Brubaker/Darwyn Cooke take interesting several years ago, but I'm not sure there are a whole lot of breaks with the past as interesting as that one.

image* a little higher profile was news a day or so later that Batgirl is getting a new look and a new group of creators, including but certainly not limited to the well-liked Cameron Stewart and the artist Babs Tarr. I believe this is Tarr's first interiors gig with a comic book company; she was in Charlotte at HeroesCon and her pin-up work was extremely popular. A redesign of the costume described as a tag-team effort by Stewart and Tarr arrives with the gig.

We're not really suited as a creative culture to make any sort of nuanced distinctions anymore, so it's always fun to see people process such news. On the one hand you get a lot of flipping out from people genuinely excited about such a project creatively, and others that believe there's a very important social/cultural aspect to how such characters are portrayed. Others are confused that anyone, or at least maybe anyone not a kid, spends any time at all caring about corporate superhero characters. This includes some that think that doing better work in that genre supports an exploitative, cruel system designed to facilitate junk. It's an argument that's been around for more than 30 years now as an active part of comics culture. Head-butting -- or talking past one another with snarky tweeting involved -- ensues.

I get both sides of it, at least partly. Rarely are things black and white except in such superhero comics. I'm happy for creators that want such opportunities to have rewarding gigs at the big companies, and for the work involved to be as good or at least as non-horrible and non-demeaning as possible. I realize that someone's corporate property may be another person's honest muse. At the same time, the kind of art that results from even higher end mainstream comics production holds only a modest amount of interest for me and I'm curious as to what's going on with those for whom that kind of art matters so strongly. I still remember a retailer from a San Diego Con years ago who pointed at a Seth drawing of the original X-Men and said, wild-eyed, "This. This is what he should be doing."

* DC isn't the only big superhero company announcing things. so apparently there will be a new Winter Soldier comic. I wasn't aware that we didn't already have a Winter Soldier comic. I still don't know how starting and stopping these titles makes anything easier.

* finally, there is new Andrea Bruno either coming or already here from the nice people at Canicola.


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

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Go, Look: Matthew Forsythe Has A Shop

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jonathan Rosenbaum has re-run the piece he wrote as an introduction to launch the color Sunday Peanuts volume that Fantagraphics is doing. I know Gary Groth is a big fan of Rosenbaum's, and as a one-time Chicago resident and Reader fiend his work was a big part of my early 20s.

image* Meg Lemke talks to Esther Pearl Watson. Jonathan Stewart talks to Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction -- that seems like a rare and nice placement for a pair of comics-makers, even given Playboy's comics heritage.

* James Kaplan on Lazarus. Todd Klein on The Art Of Neil Gaiman. Luke Geddes on Buddy Buys A Dump. Rob Clough has a mini-comics focused column at Foxing Quarterly. Sean Gaffney on Arpeggio Of Blue Steel Vol. 1. Sean Kleefeld on Texas History Movies. Henry Chamberlain on Big Damn Sin City. Johanna Draper Carlson on The Secret Files Of Dr. Drew. Amanda Hess on Andre The Giant.

* here's an involved walk-through featuring the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Everyone should go.

* Dominic Umile has a post up about the recent comics-focused issue of Artforum. I have one of those, but I haven't had a chance to go through it yet. I heard mixed things, but it's a pretty powerful line-up so I'm looking forward to the experience.

* Dan Nadel liked this musing on comics criticism enough to recommend it over at TCJ.com. At least I think it was Dan. I thought it was a pretty good piece, too. I think writing criticism is just another kind of writing. You write it for yourself or for some other reason (writing for yourself is usually the most satisfying). There really aren't any rules when it comes to how it should be done, but there are all sorts of examples to follow. There are also dangers specific to the cultural moment: in comics right now I think it's hard for a lot of people that write about comics to write anything negative because of their desire to be part of the wider culture of comics, and the severe, bordering on hostile distaste with which a negative review is viewed. It's the worst problem an arts culture to have, but I know I tune out on critics that don't make hard distinctions. Me, I can't write anything right now.

* Kevin Nguyen at Grantland offers up a summer reading list. It's a pretty good one, and Grantland is a big enough media vehicle that just about anything they do with comics should be engaged.

* finally, Steve Lieber with a column I haven't seen before, although I'm sure the subject has been assayed elsewhere: what attracts an artist to working with a specific script.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Chris Cilla!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Kelly Sue DeConnick!

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

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July 14, 2014


Go, Look: Getaway

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Curbed LA: Owners Of Block That Houses Meltdown Comics Considering Apartment Development Project

Here. Meltdown is a strong store, well-liked, with a loyal customer base and additional cachet as a performance space. I can't even imagine a scenario where this would have any drastic effect on the store, but it should be noted. It could, one supposes, mean some disruptions and hassle. It's also hard for me to totally imagine the store in that same space once a giant apartment complex was hunkered down on top of it, but that's probably just me.

I visit every time I'm in LA and you should, too.
 
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Hey, A 2014 Comic-Con Exclusive I Can Get Behind: JH Williams & Todd Klein Do A Print For The CBLDF

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Assembled Extra: James Kochalka Starts Elf Cat Serialization

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Here. He already has a t-shirt!
 
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Go, Read: Frank Santoro Talks To Jesse Moynihan About His New Work, Forming Vol. 2

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They Are Running Gabrielle Bell All Week At The Nib

Introductory article here; first set of comics here. I am pro-Gabrielle Bell's comics.
 
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Go, Look: Scribblings

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Go, Read: A Few Stories From The Newspaper Strip Industry

* the comic strip takeaway from this article on Garry Trudeau's streaming TV show Alpha House is that Doonesbury seems likely to remain on hiatus for a while, perhaps the length of time that Trudeau works on the show. Trudeau is a talented and I'd argue important TV writer for as little work as he's done there, so despite my admiration for Doonesbury I'm encouraged just as a fan of quality work that he seems fired up to be making that show -- beyond the fact that I'm happy for creative people to do whatever the hell they want work-wise.

image* the Sacramento Bee will no longer run Wee Pals, the long-running, diversity-conscious strip by Morrie Turner, a West Sacramento resident and key comics historical figure who passed away in January. The article asserts that the strip is still being sold in re-run form, which is surprising to me only in that Turner's feature had what I understand to be a very small client list at his life's end. The Bee is replacing Wee Pals with Intelligent Life, which is cartoonist David Reddick's recently-launched shot at a classically syndicated title of his own. Reddick has worked in a variety of formats for years now, including a lengthy stint at Jim Davis' Paws, Inc.

* there's a fun overview of the syndication business -- with a focus on comics -- by Rob Tornoe over at Editor & Publisher. I wasn't quite aware that that many companies were using consolidation models, for instance. It also names a couple of niche media syndicates that I would imagine might be pitchable on comics features tooled to their audiences.

* finally, that's an interesting cartoon coming from Scott Stantis, for the reason he notes: that he's steadfastly pro-Israel. A lot of American cartoons about Israel become about the abstraction of supporting or not supporting Israel rather than the issue at hand, and I appreciate Stantis making this cartoon in that I figure he'll get a lot of blowback based on the assumptions that come from such a firmly-ensconced dichotomy.
 
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Go, Look: Strange Girls

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Not Comics: D&D At 40 As An Influence On Writers

imageThere's a New York Times article up here that briefly surveys a group of writers on the broad influence the Dungeons and Dragons table-top role-playing game -- now 40 years old -- and its horned, winged, pointy-eared, scaled cousins had on their writing and other creative endeavors.

That's an interesting subject, and one worthy of a gigantic book or two rather than a feature article. Two things that rarely come across in such articles on the creative impact of those games is how much time was/is spent playing them by a lot of those kids and teens and later, adults, and the social milieu in which they existed/exist town to town, group to group. Those subjects tend to be separated into their own categories when dealt with at all. I tend to find the narratives about those games and their continuing impact as unsatisfying as I found the games themselves back in the day. My sense is that they were a much more significant element of geek life back then than they are now, and that the ubiquity of video games has had a significant transformative influence on their range of effect.

It likely goes without saying, but those games have also certainly had a gigantic impact on comics. Their effect runs the gamut from recalibrating certain storytelling expectations, to training writers to think a certain way, to presenting world-building as its own exercise with tools to do so less daunting than reverse-engineering Tolkien, to the formal influence those games had on several creators from Fort Thunder on.
 
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Go, Look: Box Brown Original Comic Art For Sale

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Go, Read: Robert Boyd On Two Recent Comics Histories

The arts writer and one-time, long-time alt-comics industry fixture Robert Boyd has a review up of The Origins Of Comics and Comics: A Global History, 1968 To The Present. There is a lot of writing about comics out there in book form right now, and not of lot of it gets covered and discussed. One thing about an article like Boyd's -- and I'm isolating this recommendation partly because I hope he'll do more with this specific area -- that's welcoming is that it gives you at least some idea of what the books are about even if you don't have time to read them. We rarely think in these terms because it's slightly rude generally and in comics there's a big "buy me if you love me" ethos, but broadening at least your basic awareness of certain ideas through reviews is a time-honored use for that kind of writing.
 
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Go, Look: Elektra, 1980s Comics Magazine Cover Feature

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Cartoonist Kevin Huizenga Endorses Anders Nilsen's Free Sketch Program As An Anti-Amazon Statement

Kevin Huizenga expresses his desire to do what Anders Nilsen is doing for his latest project: draw something for anyone that buys a book of his at an independent bookstore and sends him a piece of a paper, a recepit and a request. He also suggests that this could become a thing. I encourage reading this that might be able to make that happen to look into it because I think there are cartoonists who would love to support independent bookstores this way.

Huizenga also provides links to the Nilsen works in question.
 
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Go, Look: The Flapping Head

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Your 2014 True Believers Comic Awards Winners

imageSomething called the True Believers Comic Awards -- a "people's choice"-style awards program started this year, rising from the ashes of the Eagle Awards -- were given out at the London Film And Comic Con on Saturday evening. The ceremony was reported on here and here. The actor Anthony Head served as host.

Winners in bold.

*****

FAVORITE RISING STAR: WRITER

* Al Ewing
* Charles Soule
* Katie Cook
* Matt Fraction
* Scott Snyder

*****

FAVORITE RISING STAR ARTIST

* Annie Wu
* Declan Shalvey
* Fiona Staples
* Katie Cook
* Sean Murphy

*****

FAVORITE WRITER

* Alan Moore
* James Roberts
* Kelly Sue DeConnick
* Matt Fraction
* Scott Snyder

*****

FAVORITE ARTIST: INKS

* Becky Cloonan
* Bill Sienkiewicz
* Brian Bolland
* David Aja
* J.H. Williams III

*****

FAVORITE ARTIST: PENCILS

* Becky Cloonan
* David Aja
* Fiona Staples
* Greg Capullo
* J.H. Williams

*****

FAVORITE ARTIST: FPA

* Adi Granov
* Alex Ross
* Fiona Staples
* Francesco Francavilla
* J.H. Williams III

*****

FAVORITE COLORIST

* Francesco Francavilla
* Jordie Bellaire
* Laura Allred
* Laura Martin
* Matt Hollingsworth

*****

FAVORITE LETTERER

* Annie Parkhouse
* Comicraft
* Jim Campbell
* Terry Moore
* Todd Klein

*****

FAVORITE EDITOR

* Chris Ryall
* Matt Smith
* Nick Lowe
* Scott Allie
* Stephen Wacker

*****

FAVORITE PUBLISHER

* DC Comics
* IDW
* Image
* Marvel
* Rebellion

*****

FAVORITE AMERICAN COMIC BOOK: COLOR

* Batman
* Hawkeye
* Saga
* Sex Criminals
* Transformers: More than Meets the Eye

*****

FAVORITE BRITISH COMIC: COLOR

* 2000AD
* Death Sentence
* Dungeon Fun
* Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale
* Saltire Invasion

*****

imageFAVORITE 2013 COVER

* Fables #134
* Hawkeye #9
* Pretty Deadly #1
* Rat Queens #1
* Sex Criminals #1

*****

FAVORITE AMERICAN COMIC BOOK: BLACK AND WHITE

* Batman Black and White
* Punk Rock Jesus
* Rachel Rising
* Satellite Sam
* The Walking Dead

*****

FAVORITE EUROPEAN COMIC BOOK

* Amoras
* Asterix and the Picts
* Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cu Chulainn
* Finn & Fish
* Orfani

*****

FAVORITE MANGA

* Attack On Titan
* Bleach
* Naruto
* One Piece
* Yotsuba&!

*****

FAVORITE SINGLE STORY

* "Cybertronian Homesick Blues", Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #13
* "Kingdoms Fall" Infinity #3
* "Pizza is my Business", Hawkeye #11
* "The End" Locke & Key: Alpha #2
* Afterlife with Archie #1

*****

FAVORITE REPRINT COMPILATION

* Captain America: The Winter Soldier
* Hawkeye Volume 1 Oversized Hard Cover
* Jeff Smith's Bone: The Great Cow Race: Artist's Edition
* The Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime
* Zenith

*****

FAVORITE CONTINUED STORY

* Batman #21 on -- Zero Year
* Fables #125-129 -- Snow White
* Saga
* The Walking Dead #115 on -- All Out War
* Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye -- Remain in Light #17-21

*****

FAVORITE ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL

* Avengers: Endless Wartime
* Battling Boy
* Nemo: Heart of Ice
* Richard Stark's Parker: Slayground
* The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story
* The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice

*****

FAVORITE COMICS-RELATED BOOK

* Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Time of Alex Toth
* Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore
* The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling
* The Fables Encyclopaedia
* The Secret History of Marvel Comics

*****

FAVORITE COMIC RELATED MOVIE OR TV SHOW

* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
* Arrow
* Iron Man 3
* The Walking Dead
* Thor: The Dark World

*****

FAVORITE MAGAZINE (PRINT PERIODICAL) ABOUT COMICS

* Back Issue
* Bleeding Cool
* Comic Heroes
* Judge Dredd Megazine
* The Comics Journal

*****

FAVORITE BRITISH COMIC: BLACK AND WHITE

* Dexter's Half Dozen
* Futurequake
* GOODCOPBADCOP
* School of Bitches
* Wolf Country

*****

FAVORITE NEW COMICS TITLE: ONGOING OR MINI-SERIES

* East of West
* Guardians of the Galaxy
* Pretty Deadly
* Rat Queens
* Sex Criminals
* The Wake

*****

FAVORITE WEB-BASED COMIC

* Aces Weekly
* Dumbing of Age
* JL8: A Webcomic
* Oglaf
* XKCD

*****

FAVORITE COMICS-RELATED WEB SITE

* 2000 AD Online
* Bleeding Cool
* Comic Book Resources
* Comics Alliance
* The Mary Sue

*****

ROLL OF HONOR

* Gail Simone
* Jean Giraud (Moebius)
* Jim Lee
* Karen Berger
* Walter Simonson

*****

Congratulations to all winners and nominees. The Roll of Honor award was given out by Stan Lee.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Carlos Puerta

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* the Dan Vado/SLG fundraising campaign is still going, and about to crest $10K.

* this Dave Cockrum-related crowd-funder has made its initial goal with about three weeks remaining; if you want to participate, I believe they'd be happy to have you.

* this David Petersen not-comics kickstarter roared past its initial goal before I even went and looked at it; by now it should be in the incentives and extra rewards phase pretty comfortably. I assume some of you might want to get on board.

* Box Brown has been quietly adding pages from his Andre The Giant book to his original art store. That's not tied into any particular need I know about, but every cartoonist can use the boost and that book has proven to be a popular one.

* there's a new campaign for a Rick Geary book underway, this one focused on Billy The Kid.

* this P. Craig Russell-related crowd-funder has met its goal with a few days remaining.

* there's a crowd-funder going for a follow-up to Monstrosity.

* Henry Chamberlain has a GoFundMe campaign going, although it's not going anywhere fast right now. I hope that some of his fellow writers-about-comics will look in.

* I'm not sure there are any panels left for sale here, but any way we can get Gabrielle Bell some money for her work is aces with me.

* finally, David Lasky is selling a print version of his Ultimate Superman Tale. I like that comic. I don't think there's a particular tie-in there, either, I just like Dave and if he makes a lot of money he may buy me a drink in San Diego at the end of the month. Hey, this column isn't all-the-way altruistic.
 
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If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Marco D'Alfonso

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer Mark Millar has passed along word of the passing of pioneer Glasgow Direct Market retailer Neil Craig. Our condolences to his friends and family, true and extended.

* Evan Dorkin ended up on the other side of his con season doing a little less well than he would have liked; I hope people will pay attention to any eBay sales he and Sarah Dyer host for the next few weeks. I saw a bunch of Dorkin original at HeroesCon and they were really gorgeous.

image* David Brothers on Fort Of Apocalypse. Richard Bruton on Rhizome Vol. 2. The Page 45 crew reviews a bunch of different comics. Michael Cavna on Palooka-Ville #21. Abhay Khosla on Beautiful Darkness. Bart Croonenborghs on Forming.

* Hannah Means-Shannon talks to Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare. Joe Gordon talks to Scott Lobdell. Wim Lockefeer profiles Soufeina Hamed. Paul Gravett talks to Reinhard Kleist. Jonah Weiland talks to Scott McCloud.

* missed this: congratulations to Nick McWhorter being named Vice President of Media Licensing at Dark Horse. That's a significant part of a slew of publishers' overall profile now, including Dark Horse.

* Paul Levitz launches his occasional column and hobby business news and reviews clearinghouse ICv2.com with a meditation on the values of taking some time away and taking a step back and listening. It's amusing that he skipped 1991, just as Image launched.

* I had no idea that the cartoonist Ed Koren is a longtime volunteer fireman.

* let me just come right out and say I'm a huge fan of Stan Lee's 1960s look, with the beard and the brown hair, where he looked like a guest star on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

* finally, I rarely do this, but I wanted to note that today is also the cartoonist Leslie Stein's birthday. There's no birth year for Stein anywhere on the Internet I can find, which means the person has usually opted out of sharing this information. That's great, but it means I can't put up a birthday wish of the kind I try to do every morning. I want people to have happy birthdays no matter how old they are, but I consider that feature one about history and the age of cartoonists, and where they are in their professional and personal lives rather than a vehicle for me to interact with them. The thing is, I was looking forward to putting up a link because I really enjoy Stein's work and I hope more people will read it. Her site is just stuffed with comics right now, and there's nothing out there quite like them.

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Happy 80th Birthday, Gotlib!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Alex Cox!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, JK Snyder III!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Leslie Stein!

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

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July 13, 2014


My Summer Reading Is 84 And 95 Years Old

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I've been reading a lot of comics this summer, trying to revive the fading spark of my interest in writing about comics on a regular basis. I'm enjoying reading comics for pleasure. I've read a couple of comics summer reading lists in the last couple of weeks. Because these were done as a way of engaging with comics right now, the lists I've seen engage with a variety of new comics right now. That's not a bad thing. It's a solid summer for new fiction in comics form. There's that beautiful Jaime Hernandez volume, and the new Tamaki/Tamaki, and AdHouse's wave of comics from under 30s like Operation Margarine, and that very entertaining gentleman Pascal Girard. There are even two funny workplace comedies: one with pooping (Facility Integrity) and one without (Benson's Cuckoos). The Eleanor Davis is a beautiful book; that's about to hit and she's already on tour behind it. Jeff Smith will be standing behind his table at San Diego Con holding an honest-to-god, debut color comic book for sale. I'm forgetting a ton of work.

The two comics I'm reading right now are strip collections. I imagine that's partly nostalgic. One of my fundamental reading experiences was going to the small town near where I spent every summer with my family where, on the days it rained, we were allowed to pick up a paperback book from the local bookseller. I always got Peanuts books, which I loved. The mystery of which Peanuts book reprinted which strips and how those overlapped was a mystery to me on par with any rumored-to-be-haunted house to which we kids could pedal our bikes.

imageBy description, Walt Before Skeezix seems like a book you could skip. Frank King's work in Gasoline Alley does so well with the father/son relationship and the fears and joys experienced against the backdrop of a changing America that taking that core relationship out seems like a dealbreaker. But there's something about these comics, almost ruthless about car culture as experienced by four men sharing an alleyway (there seem to be more at first but they winnow down Facts Of Life style pretty quickly), that I've sort of come to love.

King drew in an appealing way, and that makes these comics pleasurable. He knows how to space his characters in a way that takes the eye across the tableau presented in a confident, unassuming way. I don't know enough about early automobiles to know how authoritative those depictions are, but I think the strip is generally handsome, the characters are visually appealing and are fine actors for the broad portrayals demanded of them. The thing I like the most are these one-panel features that King did regularly, where you have a basic situation and each of the four main character riffs on it, in character. There's something almost freakishly comfortable and enjoyable about these strips to me -- I prefer them to the panel-to-panel works about 10 to 1 -- that I'm sort of flummoxed as to why. My guess is that there's something to all comic strips that is basically watching character types pivot around a situation that I find immensely appealing, a mix of pantomime and acting to order that feels like deepening friendships. If someone has a better idea, I hope they let me know.

imageThe other book I'm reading right now is the LOA collection of one year (plus a little extra) of The Bungle Family. If comic strips from 1920 to 1945 were the popular network television shows of their day, The Bungle Family is an AMC original series or something from HBO's glory period -- unapologetically aimed at a certain kind of audience and unafraid to hit jarring notes at any moment that suits its creator. The Bungle Family is basically a ruthless, repeated kicking to the nads that is middle class ambition. The Bungles are slightly horrible people surrounded by even fouler folks, many of whom are relatives. We cheer them on because they are perfectly, unapologetically themselves. With the exception of both doing a joke depicting all 12 months in panel form -- such space they had back then -- Harry J. Tuthill works with a structure that's almost the opposite of early Frank King. The Bungles talk, and talk some more, and move around a bit, but mostly to get to other places they can talk. At least fifty percent of what happens happens off panel. When we get a break from the Bungles talking it's to hear another couple talk about the Bungles.

I think I took to this particular run of Bungle Family strips more than I have the few sequences I've seen in the past because I came to it from Crockett Johnson's Barnaby, which is nearly as wordy, and there are enough strips here for me to dive into Tuthill's peculiar rhythms for 10-15 days at a go. Everything that seems extraordinary about the Bungles comes down to their dogged adherence to this completely self-entitled, dimly hopeful view of wealth and ease right around the corner. They never back off; they can't. The message works because the Bungles will never realize what they look like to us, and one becomes desperate to push back from anything that might move us forward so blindly. We laugh at The Bungle Family in a way we hope no one is laughing at us.
 
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Sometimes You Just Need To Take A Half-Day And Spend The Rest Of It Staring At Nell Brinkley Art

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There's a nice profile at the Billy with heavily water-stamped imagery; there's also a significant repository of images at Barnacle Press.
 
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I Am Not Immune To The Charms Of Something Like This

A visual recap of Batman designs throughout the character's 75th year, by various talented artists. Batman's a fun character.
 
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Sometimes I Love Comics In A Specific, Peculiar Way

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For instance, I adore that in a small image gallery of John Byrne poster and pin-up images there's one that seems to be from a 1974 Counter-Earth storyline written for the Hulk title by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas that feels less like a fan-favorite and more like "I thought no one remembered that one but me." I'm not saying it's bad, because I loved those Herb Trimpe-drawn comics when I was a kid. I'm just suggesting that if you had me guess which Hulk storyline might lead to such an image I might have made 100 guesses before landing on this one.

There's probably an extremely rational explanation for this -- it's likely just a commission from someone who enjoys that story -- but I don't want to know about it. Give me the random madness of comics any day of the week.

Update: Tony Isabella dropped me a line to say he scripted the third issue of this -- a rush job that turned out pretty well, and even included a dig at Nixon. Seven-year-old me was thrilled to hear from Tony; mid-forties me is happy and grateful.
 
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Totally Didn't Know That Roy Lichtenstein Did A Reubens Poster

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By Request Extra: Ryan Cecil Smith Doing Pin + Comic Pre-Order Through The Weekend, Which Ends Soon

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he puts in the pin order Monday morning; he discusses it a bit here
 
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If I Were Near Martha's Vineyard, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 83rd Birthday, Ernie Colon!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Mike Ploog!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Paul Karasik!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Tom Palmer!

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

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FFF Results Post #386 -- Talk The Talk

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Five For Friday #386: Name Five Great Comics-Maker Interviewees; Name At Least One Person Who Is No Longer With Us; Name At Least One Person Who Is Not Male

1. Gil Kane
2. Burne Hogarth
3. Chris Ware
4. Jim Woodring
5. Renee French

*****

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Michael F. Russo

1. Frank Frazetta
2. Lynda Barry
3. Daniel Clowes
4. Kyle Baker
5. Seth

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Gary Panter
2. Alan Moore
3. Steve Gerber
4. Phoebe Gloeckner
5. Shary Flenniken

*****

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John Vest

1. Tom Sutton
2. Kim Deitch
3. Barry Windsor-Smith
4. R Crumb
5. Alison Bechdel

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1. Marjane Satrapi
2. Lynda Barry
3. Alison Bechdel
4. Susie Cagle
5. Spain Rodriguez

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Dustin Harbin
2. Spain Rodriguez
3. Pat Mills
4. Marjane Satrapi
5. Posy Simmonds

*****

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Steve Lieber

1. Lynda Barry
2. Evan Dorkin
3. Harvey Kurtzman
4. R. Crumb
5. Phoebe Gloeckner

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. Steve Gerber
2. Molly Crabapple
3. Gail Simone
4. Marie Severin
5. Al Capp

*****

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Marc-Oliver Frisch

1. Steve Gerber
2. Howard Chaykin
3. Dylan Horrocks
4. Barbara Yelin
5. Stefan Dinter

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Rodolphe Toepffer
2. Lynd Ward
3. Marie Duval
4. Sezgin Burak
5. Blaise Larmee

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Harlan Ellison
2. Steve Gerber
3. Shery Flennikin
4. Roz Kirby (ask her about Jack; she was his inker on a couple of projects)
5. Dan Barry

*****

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Brian Moore

1. Jules Feiffer
2. Shaenon Garrity
3. Tim Hensley
4. Howard Chaykin
5. Al Hirschfeld

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Charles Schulz
2. Carol Lay
3. Will Eisner
4. Lynda Barry
5. Scott McCloud

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Don McGregor
2. Howard Chaykin
3. Grant Morrison
4. Alex Toth
5. Marie Severin

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1- Lynn Johnston
2- Julie Delporte
3- Rutu Modan
4- Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez
5- Doug Wright

*****

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Diana Tamblyn

* Alex Toth
* Lynda Barry
* Jeff Smith
* Jillian Tamaki
* Seth

*****

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Chris Arrant

1. Joe Simon -- interviewed him shortly before his passing, and what didn't make the published version was the best parts
2. Colleen Doran
3. Warren Ellis
4. Kevin Huizenga
5. Brandon Graham

*****

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Andrew White

1. Alex Toth
2. Lynda Barry
3. Jillian Tamaki
4. Brandon Graham
5. Sammy Harkham

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Phoebe Gloeckner
* Aidan Koch
* Julia Gfrörer
* Joe Simon
* Simon Hanselmann

*****
*****
 
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July 12, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Koyama/Fantagraphics Sponsored Tour Announcement: Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge, Simon Hanselmann


Unboxing Of Peanuts Artists Edition Book


Alien Legion Teaser Trailer


Not Comics: A Cartoon Folks Were Passing Around On Facebook


Missed It: Comic Book Heaven Teaser


Walking Around A Wizard Show Using Google Glass


Trailer For A Graphic Novel Preceding Its Kickstarter, Even
 
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CR Week In Review

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

1. DC decides that maybe it's the best course of action to allow supporters of a dead child and Superman to use the Superman logo on the kid's memorial statue.

2. Convicted child molester and old-school convention and comics figure Ed Kramer resurfaces with an actively engaged and, in the details, somewhat worrisome internet presence.

3. The Rick Remender not-really-a-controversy swirls and begins to die, revealing just how messed up our conversations can be about such things.

Winner Of The Week
Andrew Neal. Thank you, Andrew.

Loser Of The Week
Kramer, now and forever

Quote Of The Week
"San Diego's Image Expo is set to start at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at the Hilton Bayfront -- adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and a venue for multiple official Comic-Con events. Tickets will be free for Comic-Con attendees, but limited, with information on how to attend still to come." -- from a news article about Image throwing an Expo at the Hilton the day before Comic-Con proper. Not much of a quote, but I think that move is interesting. Also irritating. I'm all for people doing satellite events, but I wish they'd told me before I canceled my Wednesday in San Diego plans.

*****

image from a Marvel comic book, 1964

*****
 
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Go, Look: We Go Forward

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

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

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

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Jon Vermilyea!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Meghan Turbitt!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Mario Candelaria!

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

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July 11, 2014


Please Go Read Rob Clough's Interview With Andrew Neal And Attend The Big Signing On Saturday

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I totally punted on my own opportunity to do a proper story on Andrew Neal selling Chapel Hill Comics to Ryan Kulikowski and getting out of the retailing business after I think 20 years, 11 as owner of the store. That's one of the good ones, in terms of the way Neal has ordered books, the way he's worked with publishers and creators on events of direct support, and the way he's built a reading community right there in the store.

imageLuckily, Rob Clough has a lengthy interview with Andrew Neal up at TCJ and I would not have asked any question that Rob did not.

Every comic store is precious, and the most undervalued story of the last 20 years in comics overall is how the number of model stores, the kind that can admirably serve a significant and well-balanced community of readers, has increased from 15 or 20 or so to between 50 to 75 such places in North America -- perhaps more, depending on your criteria. I love even the most messed-up stores, but I value the ones that combine some level of financial success with a welcoming, open, ethical operating strategy. Chapel Hill has long been one of that most valuable kind of shop, and I hope that continues.

Neal stopped working on Sunday. This Saturday the event described above will take place featuring fellow southeast comics regional anchor the publisher Chris Pitzer and three cartoonists of the kind that Chapel Hill has tirelessly boosted and sold: Ed Piskor, Tom Scioli and Jim Rugg. I hope you'll consider going.

Good luck to wherever retail burnout takes Andrew Neal. Andrew, thank you for your store. Ryan, you're up.
 
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Go, Look: Jim Rugg Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: Portmanteau Island

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Dan Vado's Go Fund Me Campaign For SLG Publishing Raises Over $8K In Just Over Two Weeks

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I just wanted to remind people that this is here. I'm not sure if there's any more effective way to get people funneled towards this campaign for Vado and his publishing company, or if at this point we just hope for a white knight or two, but I figure it can't hurt getting the word out.

You can get a sense of SLG's publishing history both at the fundraiser and from last week's Five For Friday campaign. The above is from the Andi Watson/Simon Gane effort Paris.
 
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Go, Look: Typically Snappy Gus Arriola Gordo Sunday

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Bernie Wrightson Released From The Hospital Following A Short Stay For A Series Of Small Strokes

The iconic comics illustrator Bernie Wrightson has left the hospital following a short stay after a series of medically worrisome incidents at home caused him to be admitted, according to a tweet by his friend and collaborator the writer Steve Niles. Despite the nature of those incidents, Wrightson was taken to the hospital in a timely fashion and seemed to remain lucid and engaged throughout his stay. We wish him continued health and positive news. Wrightson turns 66 this Fall. An on-line group card was started here.
 
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Go, Look: Emi Gennis On Trepanation

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Festivals Extra: SPX Announces Another Round Of Special Guests For Upcoming 20th Anniversary Show

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The Small Press Expo announced another round of guests for its 20th Anniversary show this September 13-14. They are: Box Brown, Eleanor Davis, Michael DeForge and Roman Muradov. They join two previously announced groups: an alt-weekly themed set of guests of Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry, James Sturm, Charles Burns, Jen Sorensen, Tom Tomorrow, and Ben Katchor, as well as a more general group of Brandon Graham, Emily Carroll, Drew Friedman and Mimi Pond.

All of the cartoonists have work out this year, the first three major books. I'm super glad to see Muradov on hand in support of two comics that will be out at the show, one from Nobrow, one from Retrofit. He's a really intriguing visual talent and hasn't really hit with audiences yet -- as opposed to critics and art directors, so I hope this new work is as good as I expect it to be and I hope it finds a sizable audience this weekend and past it.
 
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Go, Look: Bear Quest

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Not Comics: Pamela Druckerman On State + Widespread Cultural Support For Bookstores In France

I imagine there's enough basic information in this New York Times article about France's protection of its independent bookstores to make it a worthwhile read. I would also imagine that the situation is a lot more complicated and nuanced than described, so maybe take the piece's thrust and aim with that in mind. I love independent bookstores, and I think a market in which they're viable is better in the long-term for a wider array of comics than a market absolutely dominated by a single bookseller, no matter the discounts and reach involved. As the article notes, protectionist thinking isn't exactly something people in the US take to with a great deal of passion, and might not even if they shared the same cultural disposition towards books claimed for the French in the article. I do think there might eventually be at least a chance for legislation that specifically curtailed elements of the aggressive pricing from a fairness standpoint -- like the no discounting if there's free shipping law described -- but even that would be a hard sell. Another throwaway line about Amazon's European tax situation seems to suggest an even more likely pathway for some reform: getting companies operating within the US to pay taxes there, although as far as I know that doesn't apply in this case and certainly Amazon has fought paying sales tax state by state.

I do think more people that consume goods, including comics, are finding it a bit more difficult to avoid seeing the consequences of their choices on where to shop and how. I'm not sure that it's enough to make a difference in the short- or long-term, but I'm not sure that's the standard that people need to apply.
 
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Go, Look: Lovely Russ Heath Art

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's something interesting to me that allows me to run a giant piece of pretty art up top: Michael DeForge has an on-line store now. He had to tell me this via e-mail because he apparently shut down his tumblr. That's a noteworthy choice. I've heard from a lot of artists who feel their on-line presence -- how much time they give to the Internet, and how -- is in constant flux. It always seems pretty stable when you're swimming in the deep end of it, but it really takes about 20 minutes to completely change your orientation there. Anyway, anything he wants to sell there is well worth having.

* nothing I like more than Gary Tyrrell working a webcomics cartoonist-loaded convention map.

* I forgot to wish Todd Klein a happy seventh blogiversary. I like that Klein stays engaged with mainstream comics, and appreciate his posts about craft elements and their histories, but I'll admit my favorites are the posts I don't link to about birds and gardening.

* Skin Horse is having guest artists while Shaenon Garrity takes time off to prepare for childbirth; Mike Lynch is one of those that is lending a hand.

* David Lasky reminds that the flu preparedness comic book on which he worked is available as a free download.

* finally, I've never done a list of webcomics I read because I read them in such scattershot fashion -- it's how I consume TV now, too -- but I do find myself frequently returning to David Malki's Wondermark. I also pay attention to Malki as an industry figure and observer of comics.
 
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If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Justice League Of America Cover Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this weekend is the last one for the Seattle Rep's run on the well-received stage adaptaiton of Kavalier and Clay. I would have liked to have seen that, and assume I will get the chance to see someone's shot at it at some point.

image* Todd Klein on Frankenstein Alive, Alive #3. Sean T. Collins on How To Be Happy. Zainab Akhtar on Vile Decay.

* this is a stretch as a Danish Cartoons Hangover update, but I wanted to mention this story anyway. The on-line recruitment elements of the Colleen LaRose case have been utilized in this more recent case having nothing to do with the cartoons as a comparative, which makes me think that law enforcement officials consider Internet activity of a social nature a potential seedbed for illegal activity. I mean, they probably always did, but seeing "Jihad Jane" brandished as some sort of historical precedent as opposed to this collection of very regrettable moments in a sad person's life really drove that home for me.

* Tim O'Shea talks to Chris Roberson and Eleanor Davis. Steve Sunu talks to Jeff Lemire.

* nothing I don't love about there being a comics library in St. Petersburg.

* not comics: Ted Rall is right -- on the general principle of oppositional journalism, anyway.

* finally, somehow I missed that the recent Spongebob annual had a Fletcher Hanks riff going on in one of its short stories, courtesy of Paul Karasik and man-of-1000-styles R. Sikoryak. I blame sucking at my job.
 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, Mark Zingarelli!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Dirk Deppey!

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

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July 10, 2014


Joe Shuster Would Have Been 100 Years Old Today

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Go, Look: Laila Milevski

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Go, Look: Simon Gurr's Recent Instagram Posts

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Go, Look: Classic Lauren Weinstein

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Go, Look: Feh Yes Vintage Manga

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Not The Weirdest Comics-Related Headline You'll See This Year, But Still Pretty Darn Weird

Here. It has sort of a retro feel, too, in that comics fan of a certain age used to spend about 15 hours a year combing over media for signs of comic books, like evangelical Christians seeking reassurance.
 
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Go, Look: NYC Comics Convention Art

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Mimi Pond and Vanessa Davis are the emcees at IC*N8; that show is currently taking place in Portland.

* I'm not sure I remembered to link to this or not, so apologies if it's a repeat: this Mark Evanier post from several days ago introduces this year's Comic-Con International into the direct consciousness of his readers, but also notes that we're about due to go through another round of working out where that show will be over the next several years after the current arrangement ends. This is an interesting story -- and it's an idea I'm going to bring up a few times in my own coverage -- because clearly CCI is leaving a massive number of attendees "on the table" as it were, purposefully limiting the number of people that can go to the show at a time I don't think it's ridiculous they could maybe sell 50K, 75K more tickets with a magic convention center in which to fit everyone and still keep the same show.

* so yeah, it's all CCI all the time now. Has been for a while now. I'm sure there are other shows out there in July, but very few of them breaking into the wider consciousness of comics for very long.

* that said, you should really go to the Portland 'Zine Symposium if you're anywhere near Portland.

* finally, I love that a site took a moment to separate the Comics Arts Conference programming schedule at CCI from everything else going on. That's become a very important academic conference, particularly for those scholars located on, or with access to, the West Coast.
 
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Go, Look: Older Comic Art In America

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Go, Look: Little Seen John Romita Sr.-Drawn Captain America Story

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, the poster boy for resistance to authoritative crackdown on political expression in India, apparently believes now that going on a reality show soon after the arrest that put him in the public spotlight was probably a bad idea. It wasn't a vehicle for him to serve their views; his views became a vehicle to serve the show.

image* in praise of Justine Mara Andersen. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Marvel Knights: X-Men -- Haunted and The Batman/Judge Dredd Collection Part One: Judgment on Gotham. Michael Buntag on Boxers And Saints. Richard Bruton on Reel Love Vol. 1.

* Jillian Tamaki shares photos of This One Summer original art. Many of those pages are really, really, really attractive.

* not comics: a number of people have suggested this article to me, and a couple have sold it as a writer being honest about the amount of money they're making from a book. I don't actually see that -- there's some fudging, and this isn't a typical story to my experience at least even though the numbers tossed around sound more modest than what we're used to hearing. What I do like about it is that it asks its readers and all prospective professionals to break away from the idea that signing a book deal is a magic bullet for all of life's problems, a get out of jail card for financial difficulty. People feel this about mainstream comics gigs, syndicated comics launches and even something as modest as a small-press book contract, and it really distorts matters to the point that it can be harmful.

* finally, I found this long, rambling description of the last few years' of X-Men/mutant plotlines fairly entertaining. "Rambling" is probably very unfair; that's a lot of plot being summarized.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Sandra Chang!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Simone Bianchi!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Ben T. Steckler!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Gerard Jones!

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

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July 9, 2014


Go, Look: Beanstalk

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posted 8:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Congratulations To Andrew Farago And Shaenon Garrity

From this Mike Lynch Post: "Shaenon gave birth on Sunday morning, July 6, 2014 to a seven pound, 4 ounces healthy baby boy. Name to be determined!"

I hope good health and good fortune has continued and that everyone is doing well. Those are two of the nicest and smartest people in comics, and they seem an admirably together couple. I wish them every happiness, and I imagine right now they feel they have it.

Man, Facebook is about useless the way they have it set up, isn't it?
 
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By Request Extra: Inés Estrada Print Sale

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Go, Look: Trigger Warning: Breakfast

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Go, Look: Jim Rugg Gallery Of Aquaman Ball-Point Pen Drawings Over At Comics & Cola

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DC Allows Statue Of Murdered Boy To Use Superman Logo

I guess people got upset, causing DC to reverse its decision. I'm happy those involved in the memorial process are able to remember the child as they were hoping to, and I would assume that by withholding permission and then relenting DC will have to negotiate more requests but won't necessarily leave themselves open to a flood of uses, some of which might represent a commercial use, without recourse.

I also pray for a world where this kind of request is wholly unnecessary, perhaps by the timely, fortunate intervention of one or more heroes in the course of a tragically abbreviated life.
 
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Not Comics: Eleanor Davis' Featured Illustrations At Slate

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The Beat: Ed Kramer Resurfaces With Aggressive Internet Profile

Heidi MacDonald has a news summary here of something that looks like it burbled up from Facebook: Edward Kramer's resurfacing on social media and a web site. Kramer was a co-founder of Atlanta's Dragon*Con with a long, involved history of inappropriate relationships with children, relationships that eventually caught the attention of Georgia authorities.

That story is probably best known for the quandary into which Kramer's role as a longtime beneficiary of Dragon*Con profits put the show: he was using the money he received from his involvement to pay the lawyers that helped him employ a series of delaying tactics to diminish the severity of his expected punishment. The convention and Kramer eventually parted ways, and Kramer was finally sentenced on three counts of child molestation to just under three years of house arrest. According to the first comment on MacDonald's article, local authorities have been notified to see if this latest endeavor in any way violates terms of his probation. Certainly if he's living in Brooklyn as the site proclaims, that would be a significant concern. As MacDonald points out at her article's conclusion, the general, grandiose claims Kramer makes and some of the groups in which he's expressed interest are also worrisome.

One might also expect that his professional claims will be vetted by those he names as clients and/or beneficiaries of his services.
 
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Go, Look: Noel Sickles' Scorchy Smith Up Close

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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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*****

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

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

*****

MAY141372 BENSONS CUCKOOS GN (MR) $19.95
This is a very funny and odd workplace comedy from a cartoonist, Anouk Ricard, best known for his kids' work. In fact, with Nick Maandag's Facility Integrity, this is a damn fine year for workplace comedies. My experience as lived is more like the Ricard, as remembered is more like the Maandag. I love Ricard's cartooning, too, how much fun she seems to have with the various talking animal denizens.

imageAPR140823 MAGIC WHISTLE #14 (MR) $4.99
MAY140028 ABE SAPIEN #14 $3.50
MAY141177 LUMBERJANES #4 $3.99
MAY140744 WALKING DEAD #129 (MR) $2.99
MAY140772 ORIGINAL SIN #5.1 $3.99
A strange week for serial genre comic books -- it may be that they're clustered more immediately around San Diego Con, I'm not sure. The one I'd buy for sure is the Sam Henderson, and I'm glad to see Alternative doing Sam's work this way because I think it's the best way to encounter those comics. The Abe Sapien is the Mignola-verse entry. This would be a good week to dive into the well-received Lumberjanes series -- there are enough of them to go back and buy if you like what you read; heck, most stores probably still have a #1 if you want to go that route. The Walking Dead continues the post-war, jump-ahead storyline. The Original Sin is I believe the latest Marvel event series. I always have a hard time telling what's going on when they use that point-number formulation. The idea for that one confuses me: I don't know what they gain by making their characters' pasts more complicated than they already are. I haven't heard a thing about this one from any of the sites I frequent, except maybe an installment of the devoted column at ComicsAlliance.

MAY141492 HILDA & BIRD PARADE GN $24.00
MAY141489 HILDA & BLACK HOUND GN $24.00
MAY141491 HILDA & MIDNIGHT GIANT GN $24.00
MAY141490 HILDA & TROLL GN $18.95
You can get all volumes old and new of Luke Person's Hilda series this week. That is an extremely attractive bunch of books, and I know at least one kid that likes them quite a bit. I don't know a lot of kids, so this is a pretty good sample as far as I'm concerned.

MAY141454 ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR HC (MR) $25.00
MAY141061 HOPE LARSON MERCURY GN NEW PTG $12.99
MAY141453 NOT THE ISRAEL MY PARENTS PROMISED ME TP $16.00
It's not just the Pearson -- it seems like we're getting a bunch of re-issues or reprintings this week. Here are three I'd be tempted to pick up if I didn't have them.

MAY141373 MOOMIN COMPLETE LARS JANSSON COMIC STRIP HC VOL 09 $19.95
I buy everything comics related with the "Moomin" and "Jansson" names on it, and this is no exception. I have no idea where we are in the series story-wise, but nine volumes to me is almost as shocking as the volume number in the entry right below this one.

MAY141685 NARUTO GN VOL 66 $9.99
If I've lost track of the various storylines offered up in the Moomin series, I have no connection to this series in any way. I was actually able to follow it one point, and for the life of me I can't remember how. Was it in one of the serial magazines? It might be that I was reading it in one of the serial magazines. My understanding is that One Piece sits squarely in the much-loved action hit slot that Naruto used to, at least for English-language audience; both series do violence very well. Sixty-six volumes. Huh.

MAY141795 IT HAPPENS AT COMIC-CON SC $35.00
This is a big book of ethnographic study-driven essays about the big gathering in San Diego. That would be an interesting way to kind of ramp up for the show, although I'll admit to a very meager appetite for comics culture studies as I've encountered them in the wild. I've liked a few, of course.

MAY140988 PEARLS BEFORE SWINE CROC ATE MY HOMEWORK TP $9.99
Stephan Pastis is one of the must-haves on the modern newspaper page, and it's no surprise if you follow that world that it might be his strip if Watterson were to do a guest run anywhere. He's a future Reuben winner, too. I like his books; this one's in the upright format that Andrews McMeel seems to be doing more of these days.

MAY141783 ROBERT CRUMB SKETCHBOOKS 1964-1982 6 VOL SET (MR) $1,000.00
I like it when they list this one because I always imagine some owner staring at it in someone's pull box with a furious look on his face.

MAY140055 USAGI YOJIMBO COLOR SPECIAL ARTIST ONE-SHOT $3.99
All hail Stan Sakai and the mighty achivement that is his long-running Usagi Yojimbo series. This is comic book gathering of recent short-stories in color, and it's hard to imagine a better way to introduce a skeptic to the pleasures of this broadly-appealing entertainment. It's the 30th year for the lead character.

*****

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 Astoria, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Really Early Thimble Theatres

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Phantom Thief Jeanne Vol. 3. Henry Chamberlain on Freak Out Squares #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on My Little Monster Vols. 1-2, The Zoo Box, Ooku: The Inner Chambers Vols. 8-9 and a bunch of manga volumes. Kelly Thompson on Rocket Raccoon #1.

* here's a piece on items of interest in one of the strong but little talked-about repository for comics out there -- the holdings at the VCU library. These aren't the kinds of secrets all of which are going to blow a comics fan's mind, but is aimed more at a general audience. Also, you can hold one of Darwyn Cooke's Eisner Awards.

* here's a piece on building a Mt. Rushmore of comics, which I appreciate for the fun of it and for the old-school bravery of doing a Mt. Rushmore -- it's the most sausage-fest shorthand for pantheon building we have. Anyway, I think these are interesting exercises, particularly in a time like now where people will send in 42 items for a top 10 list and shrug their shoulders and declare that they're all tied for being equally awesome and what are you going to do? That's a good group right off the bat there, too.

* in "stuff that could actually appear in the Daily Bugle" news, it looks like we're going to get some character other than Steve Rogers being Captain America for a while. That seems odd only in that Captain America was recently dead, and it seems like they've shotgunned him pretty quickly through the "super soldier" and "back to cap" stages. It might not feel that way if you're a teen reader of these comics, I'll grant that. I'm still curious as to how the major entertainment publications are going to cover comics companies and their moves where the characters are so strongly stressed over the creators involved. I guess we'll see articles like this one.

* Will Dinski wrote in to suggest this podcast by Brad Listi with cartoonist and prose author Ariel Schrag. The occasion is her novel, but there's a lot of comics talk in addition to biographical material.

* finally, Greg Stump and Dave Lasky will have class starting soon. Teaching certainly keeps you young.
 
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Happy 88th Birthday, Murphy Anderson!

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

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July 8, 2014


We Wish A Quick And Complete Recovery To Bernie Wrightson

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comics-related social media is pointing to reports from friend and collaborator Steve Niles that the iconic comics-maker has suffered a small series of strokes; we wish him all the best
 
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Go, Look: Your Ideas

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Go, Bookmark: Back

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Go, Look: Ben Sears

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Go, Look: Comics, Comics, Everywhere!

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* a cover for Tim Lane's The Lonesome Go. Lane strikes me as a cartoonist whose aesthetic encompasses a significant chunk of Fantagraphics' sprawling history, and I hope the book is as solid as hoped. We've seen the cover to Gast, but that's a very exciting book to come out in this year where we've had an avalanche of accomplished books coming out from cartoonists that are women. There was a time in the mid-1990s there was no cartoonist whose new work I looked more forward to seeing.

image* another year, another entire Gilbert Hernandez book that's escaped my attention until now.

* I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as Barnes & Noble special editions.

* please, please, please someone explore the possibility of publishing Merrill Markoe's cartoon diary.

* the new 52 version of Deathstroke, a character whose strongest 1980s storyline involved romancing a teenager in a way I can't imagine being repeated now, gets his own series. One guesses this is primarily because of the character's popularity on the Arrow TV show. I thought that character worked in its original incarnation because of the contrast between the teenaged superheroes he was fighting and his own adult, do-anything ethos -- a verison of the old Spider-Man dynamic. I'm not sure how he works in that new DC milieu where nearly everyone is pretty hardcore and nasty.

* Robert Steibel has portions up of his forthcoming book on copyright.

* glad to see Warren Bernard will be doing another book.

* finally, I'm catching up to this late, but I'm a fan of Andi Watson's work, and thus look forward to this forthcoming work from First Second. The cover process is described here.

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Every Time Someone Posts That Michael Golden Doctor Strange Portfolio, I Will Probably Link To It

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Go, Look: Some More Paul Pope In Black And White

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Amie Maxwell on Black Is The Color. Collen Frakes on The Love Bunglers. Rob Clough on two of the Louvre comics. Brian Nicholson on Carriers. Paul O'Brien on Magneto Vol. 1. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Alexand Hoffman on Night Animals.

* Seth, hanging around.

* the writer Sean Kleefeld surveys the fandom industry, those people attempting to make money selling auxiliary product to fans of a primary product or idea.

* Jerry Smith is out on the New 52.

* finally, Marc Mason went to ALA and has this report on the comics parts of that show.
 
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Happy 96th Birthday, Irwin Hasen!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Whilce Portacio!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Stan Woch!

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

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July 7, 2014


Go, Look: Day At The Circuits

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Globe And Mail: DC Nixes Superman Logo Use On Memorial Statue For Murdered Toronto Child

You should go read this at their site rather than my rewriting their work. I also assume this story a) has a little more to it, b) isn't all the way concluded. At least I hope that both things are true.

I'm trying to formulate a viewpoint where allowing one family/group to do this would lead to a flood of similar uses or have another unfortunate outcome, but I have a heart of stone and it's hard for me to manage that mindset for more than two seconds. It also strikes me that this is a reference rather than a use, so I'm not sure why DC would have anything to say about it at all. Then again, I don't know the law.
 
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Go, Look: Dmitry Yagodin

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Festivals Extra: Image Expo Announced For The Wednesday Afternoon Before Comic-Con International

This is smart, Image putting one of their expos in the Hyatt the day before Comic-Con. There are a whole lot of writers about comics and other press people looking for something to do. They'll own the Thursday morning press cycle.

It's a personal bummer that they've announced it this late because a few weeks ago I took a survey of what was available for me to do there on the day in question and canceled my Wednesday plans, but I'm small potatoes.
 
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Go, Look: Cartoonist-Stuffed Matt Madden Photo Set From 19ème Rendez-Vous De La BD d'Amiens

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sacco + baudoin
 
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Your 2014 SICBA Winners

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Joe Gordon over at the Forbidden Planet International blog has a piece up about the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards. This in awards program in its fourth year. This year's program -- announced during the Glasgow Comic-Con -- featured a clean sweep for Dungeon Fun, winning all four sponsored categories. Gordon argues that this is significant for that market embracing an all-ages comic like that one.

The special award for Outstanding Contribution To Comics went to John Wagner, the vote of many a smart person I know for greatest working comics writer and a considerable comics-maker by any measure.

Here was this year's slate, with the winners in bold:

BEST COMIC BOOK OR GRAPHIC NOVEL
* Beginners Guide to Being Outside (Avery Hill Publishing Ltd.)
* Crawl Hole (Craig Collins)
* Crossing Borders (Rocket Puppy Press)
* Dungeon Fun: Book One (Dogooder Comics)
* The Standard #5 (ComixTribe)

BEST ARTIST
* Iain Laurie -- And Then Emily Was Gone #3
* Morag Kewell -- Crossing Borders
* Neil Slorance -- Dungeon Fun: Book One

BEST WRITER
* Gill Hatcher -- Beginners Guide to Being Outside
* Colin Bell -- Dungeon Fun: Book One
* John Lees -- The Standard #5

BEST COVER
* Craig Collins, Iain Laurie and Derek Dow -- Crawl Hole
* Neil Slorance -- Dungeon Fun: Book One
* Jimmy Devlin -- Saltire: Invasion

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Danish Comics

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Go, Read: Jeet Heer On Harold Gray's Anti-Racism

My mom's favorite writer about comics, Jeet Heer, has an article up here, excerpted from the tenth volume in that excellent series of books from IDW re-publishing the great Little Orphan Annie strip, about Harold Gray's conservative anti-racism impulses as put on display in his comics. The way that Gray responds to objections by reminding newspapers they are one publication on a lengthy client list makes me laugh, but it's not that different from an "acceptable losses" strategy that some strips seem to utilize today.

With Heer's piece joining recent very good posts at TCJ.com including Marc Sobel interviewing Kevin Huizenga and Bob Levin reviewing Patrick Rosenkranz's new book, I don't think I care what the hell they do with their comments. Hopefully, after they decide to do whatever it is they decide to do, they can focus on some of the more serious charges made against them on occasion, all the while continuing to provide quality content where the contributor is paid for publication rights.
 
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Go, Look: Carroll + Clinton

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I Can Barely Comprehend This Fire Rick Remender Article, Let Alone Understand Its Necessity

So I guess there was an article a few days back here calling for the firing of writer Rick Remender for things that he's written in the Captain America series he's currently doing for Marvel -- that was the one that launched with the artist John Romita Jr. and featured a more Late Kirby-like man vs. monsters scenario that broke sharply with the super-spy status quo of the last decade.

imageThe article claimed, both on its own behalf and as representative of Internet reaction, that a recent sex scene between the Falcon character created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan and a character from that recent storyline named Jet Black was not-consensual sex between the adult Falcon and the asserted-to-be underaged Jet Black based on the author's reading of the storyline -- even though the character's age of at least 23 was explicitly stated in the script. The anti-Remender case was compounded -- at least in the article -- by other accusations of uninspired writing such as the plot driven murder of a kid character (since shown alive) and the apparent plotline death of a longtime supporting (and no doubt many times thought dead) character Sharon Carter.

So what we have, unless I'm totally missing the point, is basically a letter to the editor given extra weight by asserting the creator's endorsement of statutory rape.

That's unsettling. In this case, I think it's aggressively unreasonable. I actually read those comics, and it never occurred to me that the character in them would be less than the age of consent, to the point I had to go back and re-read them to see how that claim could be made. I'm still confused by this claim. There was a widely linked-to Internet debunking of the youth argument here. At best -- at best! -- the argument would be the equivalent of saying that all of those television soap opera kid characters that go away to school for a couple of years and come back 19 years old and gorgeous are being raped, too. I have to say, though, this doesn't seem convincing to me at all even by those rock-bottom standards, and I'm baffled that anyone would run with it.

The debunking post notes that you could indict the recent storyline for its depiction of alcohol-fueled sex between two consenting adults, which I guess is true, but neither party involved objected at any point about which we're made aware and given the relentless violence of superhero comics it seems an odd area to get into that every choice characters make be entirely free of problematic circumstance. And even just typing that last sentence you see the weirdness that can be involved with something like this, because I could now be accused of endorsing blackout sex -- which of course I don't -- by virtue of not being as against it as I could be.

Remender received a great deal of support from fans and fellow professionals, as acknowledged here.

I'm all for people holding art to its expressed beliefs and consequences. I'm not for embellishment and assertion that reads like making shit up to give that argument juice. The worrisome part of this as I see it here and as I've seen it in other places is an underlying value in play that authorial intent doesn't matter at all and that all of the traditional employments of narrative and artistic messaging don't matter either in the light of anything that can be said to check off certain boxes. That seems not only wholly unnecessary, but potentially devastating to art and culture as we've come to value them. I hope these contributing factors won't be dismissed as part of an untethered, aberrative flourish of comics and Internet culture.

Update: This article digs into the notion that the controversy, such as it is/was, can be traced back to a fan with multiple, more standard objections to plotting and scripting decisions made by Remender.
 
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Go, Read: The Ping-Pong Theory Of Tech Sexism

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Go, Apply: Bart Beaty Offering Two-Year Postdoctoral Fellowship In Comics Studies

Bart Beaty, the noteworthy writer and comics-interested academic, has posted the following with the hopes that it might lead to the strongest possible candidate field.
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Comics Studies under the supervision of Dr. Bart Beaty, The University of Calgary -- $50,000 (Canadian dollars) per year

I am currently recruiting a candidate for an Eyes High Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Calgary. The ideal candidate will have a completed PhD in any discipline with a focus on on the study of comics and will be interested in pursuing an ongoing research project in this field under my supervision. The position must commence between October 1 2014 to March 1 2015. Remuneration will be $50,000 Canadian per year for up to two years (total $100,000). As this is a research position, there is no teaching expectation attached to the Fellowship, although the Fellow may be able to secure adjunct teaching at the University. Any teaching would be a paid position in addition to the Fellowship.

The successful candidate will join a research intensive faculty in one of the most dynamic and fast-growing cities in North America. The University of Calgary is committed to becoming one of the five most research intensive universities in Canada by its fiftieth anniversary in 2016. The University of Calgary is the top-ranked university under the age of 50 in Canada, and second-ranked in North America. Presently, seven graduate students are pursuing comics-related projects in the Department of English with a number of others engaged in comics-related research in other departments.

Dr. Bart Beaty is Professor of English at the University of Calgary and Convenor of The Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences' Annual Congress in 2016. He is the author of several books including Fredric Wertham and Critique of Mass Culture (2005), Canadian Television Today (2006), Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (2007), David Cronenberg's A History of Violence (2008) and Comics Versus Art (2013). He has translated books by Thierry Groensteen (The System of Comics (2007)), Jean-Paul Gabilliet (Of Comics and Men (2010)), and Thierry Smolderen (The Origins of Comics (2014)). He is the editor of the eight volumes of The Salem Critical Survey of Graphic Novels (2012-2013) and the co-editor of The French Comics Theory Reader (2014). His forthcoming books include Twelve-Cent Archie (Rutgers University Press), The Cambridge Companion to Comics (Cambridge University Press), and The Cambridge History of Comics (Cambridge University Press). He is currently at work on a project, funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, examining intermediality in the artistic practice of comics artists. He is a columnist for The Comics Journal and his writing appears regularly on ComicsReporter.com.

Applications, including a complete CV and a two-page research proposal, should be forwarded directly to Dr. Bart Beaty () by September 1, 2014.

Please feel free to circulate this announcement to any potentially interested parties.
I don't really have to personally vouch for an institutionally backed, straight-forward opportunity like this one, but of course I do.

Another reason I wanted to run this is because I enjoy looking at Bart's long list of projects. That Unpopular Culture book in particular I think is key reading for anyone wanting to understand comics right now, and I am greatly looking forward to the Twelve-Cent Archie book.
 
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Go, Look: Yet Another Barry Windsor-Smith B&W Gallery

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By Request Extra: Celebrate Noah Van Sciver's 30th Birthday Through New Book Pre-Order

imageHere. That seems like a pretty good idea. A lot of the non-Direct Market market for comics is facilitated through personal relationships and loyalties, so this kind of thing seems a natural outgrowth of that.

This run of diary strips is noteworthy for close watchers of Van Sciver's life and career as encompassing the first few dates of his current relationship.
 
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Go, Look: 1966 Topps Batman Trading Cards

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* two projects big enough they got their own posts when launched continue into this week: a gofundme campaign for SLG Publishing; a fund-raiser related to the late Dave Cockrum's The Futurians project. I hope you'lll check them out. The SLG Publishing one in particular could use a few white knights.

* also with a gofundme campaign going: the writer about comics/comics-maker Henry Chamberlain.

* here's a modest-level crowd-funder that's already met its goal; they were nice enough to write in.

* this collection of DA Bishop's Stranger has a way to go in the next few days, but as we learned with the Zak Sally affiliated crowd-funder last week, these things can come together very quickly.

* Julia Wertz is selling her photographic prints at a reduced price right now, and still has a ton of art for sale; Dustin Harbin uploaded some new prints to INPRNT. Neither of those is tied into a specific need as far I know, but artists can always use a sale.

* this P. Craig Russell crowd-funder looks like it may cut it close, although it's certainly well along.

* finally, this animated version of Bucky Beaver looks like it won't happen.
 
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Go, Look: Brothers Crumb 'Zine Work At The Billy Ireland

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Go, Look: Outdoors With Nelson Bryant

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* not sure why I ended up with it in my bookmarks, but there are few days that couldn't be made better by checking out an early Kevin Huizenga comic.

image* Joe Gordon on Scott Pilgrim Color Volume One. J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Star Wars and the future of Wonder Woman.

* Ryan Parker profiles Creep Highway (Michael DeForge, Patrick Kyle). Here's a profile of the Zenescope guys; that's a side of comics I knew little about, that whole cheesecake-driven presentation of genre works. Madeleine Morley profiles Jesse Jacobs.

* Will Sliney is the Cork Person Of The Month.

* Zainab Akhtar worked up a list of favorite landscape comics.

* these nice people look to be talking about the first Fatale trade. This is not a format/media choice that I can ever seen myself getting behind, but I'm sure a lot of people enjoying consuming talk about comics this way given the number of solo and conversational videos on-line providing just that.

* finally: Devlin!
 
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Happy 30th Birthday, Noah Van Sciver!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Rick Hoberg!

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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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July 6, 2014


Not Comics: 1931 Chicago Gangster Map

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via Greg Kelly; I totally missed this one
 
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Go, Look: Odd Moebius Mini-Gallery

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

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

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Not Comics: A Look At Martin Goodman's Crime Digests

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

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Go, Look: SE 21st Ave

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Happy 64th Birthday, John Byrne!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Joe Zabel!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Katherine Collins!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Christy Marx!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Andrew Fulton!

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

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FFF Results Post #385 -- SLG

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics You Like Published By SLG/Slave Labor." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dork
2. Skeleton Key
3. Longshot Comics
4. Ghost Ship
5. Marlene

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Dork!
2. Milk and Cheese
3. Street Angel
4. Where's It At, Sugar Kat?
5. Charm School

*****

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Rob Ullman

* No Hope
* Hectic Planet
* Midnight Sun
* Lowlife
* Action Girl

*****

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Tom Cherry

1. Dork
2. Milk and Cheese
3. Patty Cake and Friends
4. Street Angel
5. My Monkey's Name is Jennifer

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1. Elmer
2. Where Bold Stars go to die
3. Model A
4. Truth Serum
5. Rex Libris

*****

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Ben Towle

1. The Replacement God -- Zander Cannon
2. Punk Rock and Trailer Parks -- Derf
3. Paris -- Andi Watson and Simon Gane
4. Truth Serum -- Jon Adams
5. Egg Story -- J. Marc Schmidt

*****

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Don MacPherson

1. The Copybook Tales
2. Scarlet Thunder
3. My Monkey's Name Is Jennifer
4. Evenfall
5. Halo & Sprocket

*****

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Kenneth Graves

1) Halo & Sprocket
2) Skeleton Key
3) Street Angel
4) It’s Science with Dr Radium
5) Serenity Rose

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Smith Brown Jones
2. Oddjob
3. Agnes Quill
4. The Royal Historian of Oz
5. Wonderland

*****

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Matt Emery

1. The Sixsmiths
2. Street Angel
3. Lowlife
4. Dork
5. Skeleton Key

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Paris
2. Comic Book Heaven
3. Nil: A Land Beyond Belief
4. The Vesha Valentine Story
5. The Comical Tragedy of Punch and Judy

*****

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John Vest

1 Tales From The Heart
2 Punk Rock And Trailer Parks
3 Likewise
4 Elmer
5 Midnight Sun

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Elmer
2. Where Bold Stars Go To Die
3. Johnny The Homicidal Maniac
4. Milk And Cheese
5. Lenore

*****

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Michael F. Russo

1. Dystopik Snomen
2. Paris
3. Destroy All Comics
4. Dork
5. Lowlife

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Street Angel
2. The Babysitter
3. Paris
4. Lowlife
5. Murder Can Be Fun

*****
*****
 
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July 5, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Box Brown Speaks!


Michael DeForge And Patrick Kyle Perform As Creep Highway
via


Stephan Pastis Interviewed
via


One Of Sean Kleefeld's Recent Little-Seen Videos
via


Interview With Kanika Mishra


Ben Trujillo Of Star Clipper Profiled




Sailor Moon Documentary
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from June 28 to July 4, 2014:

1. Egyption cartoonists are taking to alternative means of distribution -- and alternative means of depicting political realities -- in an increasingly repressive country, at least as it pertains to free expression through cartooning.

2. Lambiek.net joins a number of comics-related entities seeking crowd-funding help for the weeks, months, years ahead.

3. A clumsy comment or two in a pair of creators' (Meredith Finch, David Finch) PR-driven interview about a forthcoming run of Wonder Woman blows up a bit, with a reminder that a lot of readers feel very deeply engaged with some comic book characters.

Winners Of The Week
Zak Sally and Dan Ibarra

Losers Of The Week
Any devoted amazon.com buyers that are also Anders Nilsen fans, missing out on this.

Quote Of The Week
"I think my time is almost up. Anyone reading this who wants to hire me, please email me. To be honest, it's tricky as a freelancer because you can't depend on any money for sure, so all the money that comes in seems almost miraculous. Which is nice, in a way, because you don't get used to it. On the other hand you feel like you're poor all the time because you don't have a steady income, so it's hard to spend money. All you can really do is pay bills because you don't know when the money's coming in or not. It's hard to think long term. My wife and I are getting pretty sick of that. So, after quite a few years of doing this, I am going to have to get serious about a more steady income." -- Kevin Huizenga

*****

image from a Marvel comic book, 1964

*****
 
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Go, Look: North Port

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

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If I Were In Manhattan Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 38th Birthday, Steven Goldman!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Bill Watterson!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Chris Butcher!

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this photo was by Charlie Chu
 
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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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partial imagery of the offering by Steve Leialoha
 
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July 4, 2014


Go, Look: Eleanor Davis Illustrates 1922 Beach Slang

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Go, Look: Keny Widjaja

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Go, Read: Bob Levin On Patrick Rosenkranz's S. Clay Wilson Book

It's over at TCJ.com. The editors of the Journal had a weird week that involved their wondering out loud whether to kill their comments -- which given the tradition of "Blood & Thunder" in the print magazine is a testier issue for them than for most of us -- and then taking a round of pummelings on twitter and in some other places for various perceived shortcomings, both insitutional and rhetorical.

On the other hand, they also published a giant Kevin Huizenga interview, a Ryan Holmberg piece, one of the best Jog pieces in a long time and this new thing from Bob Levin. Holmberg, Jog and and Levin is a terrifying trio of writers to have in your holster. One of them writes every week. Another writes very frequently. While I hope they'll address some of the criticisms they receive, I think they'll be fine. Maybe the idea is to ask how to make the rest of the magazine more like the best articles that appear. It's not about filling pages anymore.
 
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Go, Look: Various Berni Wrightson Illustrations

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By Request Extra: Lambiek Seeking Help With Comiclopedia

imageOne of the grand, traditional, independent and comics-culture generated resources for comics folks on-line, the Lambiek Comiclopedia, is seeking some financial help.

I am greatly appreciative of that site, and I hope you'll join me in considering a small donation, particularly if its of use to you as well.
 
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Go, Look: Willie Lumpkin Advertisement, Sundays

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Go, Read: Calamity Jon Morris On New Flavor Superman

imageThere's a short essay on the new version of superman from the writer Jon Morris here that I found interesting, in part because it hits a weak spot I have for figuring out the affection I feel for stories settling in for others on characters distinct from those stories. Morris suggests something interesting and obvious as to why people want to hang on to the versions of the character they enjoyed when they were younger: that character is a symbol of that youth, and its loss a reminder of mortality. I think that's a huge part of it, in addition to the kind of kneejerk reaction that fans have against that which is new.

Without a dog in that particular fight because of the hole in my heart, I do think this new superfella tries a bit too hard; there's a playacting element to a Superman that acts in grim fashion, and it's for me not seeing him push away from the previous version when I encounter him. The version Morris describes might lead to more affecting stories.
 
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Go, Look: Boulet Working The Strip Form

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Go, Read: Amazon's Summer 2014 Reading List

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There is a comics and graphics novel section to the Amazon.com summer reading list. This kind of thing is always an interesting tool to use to check out the year to date, as the end result is usually a pretty broad selection of hardcore art-comics hits and more general, perceived-as-smart genre books.

In order of sales through the on-line retailer:

* Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, Roz Chast 

* Saga, Vol. 3, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
* Sex Criminals Vol. 1, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
* Miracleman Book One: A Dream of Flying, Alan Moore (uncredited by agreement) and Mick Anglo and Garry Leach and Alan Davis
* Hellboy in Hell Volume One: The Descent, Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart
* Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla
* This One Summer, Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
* East of West Volume Two: We Are All One, Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
* X-Men: Battle of the Atom, Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Wood and Jason Aaron and Frank Cho
* Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann, Kerascoet and Helge Dascher
* Wonder Woman Volume Four: War, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins
* Ant Colony, Michael DeForge
* The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez
* Coffin Hill Volume One: Forest of the Night, Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda
* Nobrow 9: It's Oh So Quiet, Alex Spiro and Sam Arthur

The other thing that is worth noting about that list is that -- as has been noted elsewhere, including this site, the Roz Chast memoir about her aging parents has been doing very well. If I get ambitious I'll do a riff on this list Monday morning and swap out the books I'm not as excited about for a few I have been. I like summer reading lists. I'm particularly fond of comic strip reprints at this time of year. The one of those I've been reading this week is this one up top here, and god, I could live there forever.

Here's another such list from Molly Horan, more freely pulling various past titles into it.
 
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Go, Look: Anders Nilsen

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the very loaded cartoon issue of Seven Days is available for digital view.

image* Frank Young is winding things down on his Stanley Stories blog, one of the best of its kind. He's up front about not having enticed a publisher into his writing a book about Stanley. I will miss that site.

* here's an old-fashioned on-line outreach: Small Press Expo would like you to go here, print this out, and maybe spread them around your town. I would have to imagine your comic shop would take one. I remember there was a point about 15 years ago when people thought this kind of thing is what the Internet would be about all of the time.

* speaking of SPX: banners.

* the great Kevin Huizenga has changed the name of his fine blog.

* Zainab Akhtar endorses the on-line effort Carriers, from Lauren Weinstein.

* the latest on-line column by everybody's pal Jog received the AV Club thumbs up.

* Tony Millionaire extolling the virtues of Achewood.

* finally, the use of on-line tools to organize local comics scenes hasn't really happened the way that some of thought it would. I'm not sure why. I'm still hopeful that some of the best scenes will start to have the bloggers and aggregators they deserve, and here's one for growing comics juggernaut Columbus, Ohio.

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

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Go, Look: The Unknown

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Richard Bruton on From Sand To Sky. Nick Smith on How The World Was. I liked that one a lot, and I'm not the biggest fan of other works from that cartoonist. I bet I'll be in minority on this one, too.

* what Brian Hibbs sold in book form; what Brian Hibbs sold in comics form. Egad, those Image trades.

* not comics: at about 1:12 here they discuss the widely disliked Nets/Marvel mascot promotional partnership.

* they are starting with the convention exclusive announcement and I am blocking all of my high school friends on e-mail and facebook until August 1.

* what a nice thing all of these people donating on their own initiative to the Team Cul De Sac effort.

* the writer Ron Marz on finding that significant distraction from the act of writing, something that can be very important particular for a writer with rigorous deadlines.

* finally, part of this particular picture being confusing to me is likely part of the "spy" element of that title, but is there any character more major than Dick Grayson with such an unsettled basic look? I have no idea what that guy is supposed to look like out of costume, and I think I have that for most of the other major superheroes.
 
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Happy 17th Anniversary, Fanfare/Ponent Mon!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Chip Sansom!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Leon Avelino!

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

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partial imagery of the offering by Steve Leialoha
 
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July 3, 2014


Go, Look: New Yorkers Attempt The Outdoor Lifestyle

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Go, Read: Wim Lockefeer On New Dutch Publishing House Scratch

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Catching up to news that I think may be about a month old at this point, Wim Lockefeer presents what seems like a pretty straight-forward publishing story, at least in terms of its surface facts. The publisher De Bezige Bij purchased literary comics publisher Oog En Blik in 2012. Cost-cutting measure led to the firing of that company's founder, Hansje Joustra, and a reduction in the publishing schedule. Joustra has recently resurfaced with two partners -- investor Wiebe Mokken and cartoonist Joost Swarte -- with a new company, Scratch, and a 20-book-per-year slate and agreements with cartoonists such as Ever Meulen and Typex already in place.

Lockefeer notes that De Bezige Bij did well enough with distribution and in terms of the publicity reach for individual books that it might raise the bar in terms of what creators might expect of a company like Scratch, although the Dutch-language article from which he's pulling some information softens that point of view a bit. At any rate, that's one on which to keep an eye. One thing we've learned in North American comics publishing is that there is a lot of work out there to be published, and that publishers tend to be catalysts for work to be made as much as they are conduits for what's already there.
 
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Go, Look: James Stokoe on Photobucket.com

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no idea why this was in my bookmarks
 
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Anders Nilsen Announces Two New Projects And A Unique Incentive For Buying Them A Certain Way

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The cartoonist and illustrator Anders Nilsen has announced a couple of new works and a promotional angle that is a commentary on recent ideas brought to the forefront by Amazon.com waging interplanetary warfare against publishers that don't want to cede control over digital publishing rights. I'll let him describe things, with a couple of minor tweaks for flow.
I'm writing to let you know about two related things. The first is that I just self-published a book called God and the Devil at War in the Garden (monologuist paper update IV) It's 24 pages, 9" x 12.25", black and white, with a fold-out back cover. It has a story about the Devil that wasn't quite ready for inclusion in Rage of Poseidon (it's going to be in the German language edition of that book later this year). It's in that format -- the silhouettes. There's also a short collaborative piece I did with a friend, novelist Kyle Beachy, and a piece about a vacant lot in my old neighborhood in Chicago. And there's some drawings and things. It's $15.

The first orders will also include a little 13-page minicomic about the other thing I'm writing you about. It's called Conversation Gardening and it's both a comic and the beginning of a little experiment. It'll be inserted into the binding of the big comic.

The mini and the experiment it launches were prompted by all the bullshit Amazon has been pulling lately. Maybe you've been following it. The comic puts in a larger context why what they do fucking annoys me. The experiment is my response. And it comes down to this: I'm asking people who buy one of my books (any of my books, not just this new one) at an independent bookseller (or from my online store) to send me 1) the receipt, (a formality to show it's not from Amazon) and 2) a question or idea written on a piece of paper. I will then make a drawing in response on the piece of paper and send it back to them. I'm planning to do 100. Signed and numbered.

I have a few other cartoonists lined up to be guest artists on the project, to be announced over the next several months as they have new books coming out. The first will be Zak Sally, with the release of Recidivist #4 later this Summer.

The idea is to start a series of symbolic "conversations" -- questions and responses -- in order to a) create an incentive for readers to buy my work from people who actually care enough about art and literature to make selling it their livelihood and b) encourage people to see their cultural exchanges as real, human level relationships. I wanted to do something that would amount to a positive response – creating something new. A boycott or an anti-trust case or vaguely shaming people for shopping on Amazon are all fine, too, but they are negative responses that try to keep something from happening. I wanted to make something new happen.
That sounds like a cool thing to try. Certainly the PDFs Nilsen sent along are beautiful. I'm very interesting in people using the technology available to them to get maximum value out of a variety of sales strategies.

You can find the works here.
 
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Go, Look: Phil Hester's Jack Kirby Art

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Go, Read: Shaenon Garrity On Bill Watterson's Gentle Re-Emergence

I always appreciate Shaenon Garrity's writing, and it was fun to read her breaking down the last couple of years in the (limited) public life of cartoonist Bill Watterson. It's interesting to read that all in one place and in sequence. Watterson's just-out-of-view return is one of the more interesting stories of the last few years in pop culture, not just comics, and remains an active one through January's Angouleme Festival.
 
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Go, Look: Bill Sienkieweicz Art In DC's Who's Who Guidebooks

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Go, Read: Laurenn McCubbin On Wonder Woman And Feminism

imageI'm grateful that Laurenn McCubbin wrote this piece for The Guardian on this week's on-line controversy about Wonder Woman, instigated mostly but not solely by the artist David Finch's reluctance to use the word feminist as a description of the character in a promotional interview. For one thing, McCubbin suggests that Meredith Finch and David Finch not be outright demonized for their clumsy rhetoric surrounding a new gig, an approach I appreciate -- finding gotcha! moments on the Internet seems a tedious activity to me.

I also have this significant hitch in my geek DNA where I have a hard time understanding the fealty to characters, particularly corporate-owned ones. This makes me something of a soul-dead clod, but there's still a part of me that looks at adults caring about Wonder Woman or Wolverine as these distinct entities in and of themselves as the equivalent of worrying after the direction they're taking Mayor McCheese. So I'm glad to have this unpacked for me a bit -- it might not occur to me otherwise. Again, my problem.

The most interesting thing to me about McCubbin's straight-forward dismantling of economic worries when it comes to using certain words or embracing certain audiences is that I think it hits on a certain wider truth of the tight focus on perceptions and blame and quarter-to-quarter profitability that dominates a lot of comics industry thinking. This conception of how things work can be incredibly restrictive, because you're almost always pursuing the most dependable audience in the short term, or cycling back to that audience as a default mode. I'd like to see them get out of this line of thinking entirely, not just shift it onto firmer ground. It's pretty scary that comics' biggest, wealthiest actors can be the ones most averse to certain kinds of investment and risk and perseverance of the kind that seems necessary for long-term audience building. That hitch in their step seems to me a big reason why of all the comics sectors, it's superheroes that seems to underperform against our perception of what that kind of comic book might conceivably sell. Everyone loves ice cream, but in this case it's three flavors faking it as 31.
 
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Not Comics: Tove Jansson's Alice In Wonderland Illustrations

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the creator Brian Fies reports from the comics and medicine conference in Baltimore.

* this used to be a big weekend for comics shows as they were traditionally set up years and years ago, as the holiday weekend was seen as a help to get people to spend some time doing a few things in air condition as opposed to a barrier to attacting the maximum crowds. SuperCon in Florida carries on the holiday weekend tradition.

* Comic-Con International is where most of the focus is right now, and here's THE BIG MAP. I'm looking forward to this year's show. Lot of good cartoonists and comics-makers on hand.

* con crud, always a bummer.

* I hope as many of you as possible will support The Greatest Signing Of All Time.

* this list of Wizard shows are staggering. These aren't bad things in and of themselves -- I don't like them or their shoddy, "pop culture" driven experience with its gouging and overall sad feel -- but I guess some folks really, really, really do. Even some comics folks I know feel more welcome at their Wizard show than they do at their regional small-press affair. Don't get me wrong, though: I think the overall effect is a bad one. Wizard shows often poison better shows and damage the idea of comics conventions more generally. It's actually sort of helpful to have a big list for some of the smaller shows to negotiate. At some point they are going to have to be profitable or someone is going to have to buy them for this to work.

* a report on TCAF 2014 from Finland.

* finally, Jiro Taniguchi will be at Angouleme 2015. Under the old voting system, I always assumed Taniguchi was a future president of the festival.
 
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If I Were In Florida, I'd Go To This

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OTBP: Pearlescent Gray Pt 1

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* love will tear us apart again.

image* David Betancourt profiles John Romita, Jr. Laura Hudson profiles Ed Brubaker and Velvet. Melissa Jeltsen talks to Gabrielle Bell. Andy Yates talks to Lauren Weinstein.

* I'm still enough of a fan to enjoy this kind of thing.

* johanna Draper Carlson mentions in passing something I hadn't considered: that it's gross when the authorship of creative elements linked to a corporate-owned character are kind of asserted as instances of corporate authorship. That's not her main point, but it's the one that interests me.

* there's no better, more consistent writer about comics right now than Ryan Holmberg, whose work is a thrill.

* Sean Kleefeld suggests that maybe not as many people are making money from comics as used to. I think that's a fair question to ask. I couldn't tell you the answer. I could live off of CR, but it'd be tough. And I realize I'm extremely lucky. I think a stronger, more ethical infrastructure is the crusade for the next half-decade.

* I don't like comic shops that slide from messy into gross or scary, but I think there are definitely joys to be had in just about every kind of comics shop, not just the 50-60 out there into which I'd send my Mom.

* that's a nice Adrian Tomine on The New Yorker. Apologies if I've done that one already, I had a hard time double-checking.

* Rob Clough on various comics. Andy Oliver on Moose Kid Comics. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Uncanny X-Force: Final Execution Book Two.

* finally, there will be some comics-related art of interest at the George Lucas museum in Chicago.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Tom Heintjes!

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Happy 77th Birthday, Russ Cochran!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Dan Slott!

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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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partial imagery of the offering by Steve Leialoha
 
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July 2, 2014


Go, Look: Massive RBCC Art And Images Gallery

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Bad Librarian: The New Dash Shaw Comic Book Is Out Today, Too

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It's called Cosplayers 2: Teuzkon. It should probably a bigger news story that a talent with Dash Shaw's combination of potential and pedigree is doing a serial comic book, given the scattershot nature of any alt-comic being published in these times. This is $5 for 32 pages. I'm not sure that everyone was aware this would be a series as opposed to a one-shot. Now you know.
 
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Go, Look: Ian Sampson

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Go, Read: A Lengthy Interview With Kevin Huizenga

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Marc Sobel presents a nice, long chat with Kevin Huizenga over at TCJ.com. Huizenga is one of the best cartoonists in the world and a thoughtful, extremely smart man.
 
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Go, Look: The Massacre Of The Innocents

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Not Comics: 48 Hours To Get In On That Jason Lutes-Related Old School Table-Top Gaming Kickstarter

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I thought I'd mention this in its own post because I wasn't aware of it, so I thought some of you might not be, either. Gaming is a huge part of the cartoonist and educator Jason Lutes' creative outlook, and this might be something that would interest fans of his comics even if they weren't directly excited about the offered item as a gaming supplement. Illustrations by this artist.
 
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OTBP: Swimming Pool

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Go, Read: I'm The Best There Is At What I Do, And What I Do Is Multiple-Platform Promotional Support

They're killing Wolverine in a special event comic this year. I would assume that we're in a pop culture space where they will "really" kill the character -- no fakies -- and further assume that they'll find a way to use the lucrative, key character in the long-term. In the meantime, there are books to sell, and here's an article about retailer promotion in support of those comics. It's interesting to me because it sounds promotional but also collectible, which is the main point of this kind of effort.
 
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Go, Look: Uncanny Tales #20

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Howard Groth, RIP

Gary Groth's father Howard Groth has passed away at age 98, in a Florida hospice near his longtime home. He is survived by his wife, son, and grandson.

Born in Queens in 1915, Howard Groth was a career military man -- one of the experienced soldiers already in service at the beginning of the conscript-dominant World War II campaign that served as the backbone of the winning US effort. Groth's direct support of the nascent publishing efforts of his son Gary -- everything from keeping the books on Fantastic Fanzine, to providing Xerox copies of 'zine pages when he could, to taking Gary to visit DC area comics professionals like Pierce Rice and Sal Buscema, to agreeing to attend with Gary a key New York City convention -- made possible the younger Groth's key role in the development of a North American arts comics movement starting in the late 1970s.

In Fantagraphics' unpublished Comics As Art, We Told You So, the elder Groth related a story about one service he provided his son's early publishing enterprise.
"Somehow through the mail, [Gary] ran into a guy named Dave Cockrum. Dave Cockrum was an artist. Gary used a Dave Cockrum drawing as a cover for one of his publications. Dave Cockrum was a sailor in the Navy, stationed out in Guam on a Polaris submarine tender. I was working for the Polaris program. I went to Guam and handed the issue to Dave Cockrum aboard that ship. He was quite thrilled with that. No one else was getting hand-delivered Fantastic Fanzines."
Howard Groth would end his military career in 1972, having served in both major theatres of World War II, in London after the war, on a ship during the Korean War and in Buenos Aires where Gary Groth was born before moving to the Washington, DC suburbs.

Gary wrote about his father in moving, eloquent fashion in a public facebook post here.

Our condolences to Gary and Conrad Groth on their loss.
 
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Go, Look: A Tale As Old As Time

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maybe not a representative partial image, but one i liked
 
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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market

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*****

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

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

*****

MAR140464 LOAC ESSENTIALS HC VOL 05 BUNGLE FAMILY 1930 $24.99
I love The Bungle Family; reading it is basically the comics equivalent of when you're sitting down to watch some 1930s movie on AMC or TCM and the whole time you're thinking, "This is super, super modern." I also think it's engagingly drawn. That we get huge chunks of strips like this one presented the way they will be in this volume is a freaking miracle.

imageMAR140069 USAGI YOJIMBO TP VOL 28 RED SCORPION $17.99
I remain fascinated by Stan Sakai's long-running samurai adventure Usagi Yojimbo, full of beautiful cartooning and possessed of the same assured storytelling that makes watching this kind of material in film form so engrossing and entertaining. I've lost several Saturday afternoons to this unlikely -- for me -- comics companion, and I'll likely lose a few more.

FEB140012 FRANK MILLER ART OF SIN CITY TP $25.00
It's hard for me to read these comics, but the iconography of it is a hugely appealing factor for a lot of folks. I would certainly give it a look in a comics shop were I to see it today.

MAR140010 LONE WOLF & CUB OMNIBUS TP VOL 05 $19.99
Already five volumes! This is a series I've only read in fits and starts and have no real grasp on its artistic value in any of the way that can be expressed. I'll rectify that someday, and will keep track on this latest archival publishing effort until I do.

APR140271 CINDER & ASHE TP $14.99
I couldn't believe when I saw this that this might actually be the Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez drawn detective series almost three decades old at this point, but apparently, that's exactly what it is. I enjoye it a lot when I read it in high school, and have to imagine there are people out there that will enjoy it now. It's pretty, like everything Garcia-Lopez draws.

JAN140600 LAZARUS #9 (MR) $2.99
JAN140606 MORNING GLORIES #39 (MR) $3.50
MAR140592 SATELLITE SAM #9 (MR) $3.50
APR140600 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #3 (MR) $3.50
Here are the Image books that jump out at me. That Lazarus book I'm enjoying ahead of my prediction of how much I'd enjoy it. Greg Rucka and Michael Lark are able to suggest a world while foregrounding these very immediate short narratives, which isn't an easy thing to do. I'm not emotionally invested, but I look forward to seeing it. The Morning Glories I enjoy because I find it fundamentally baffling, I have read all 39 issues and I can maybe tell four characters apart from the rest of them. It's like crashing a perpetual wedding reception for complete strangers. Satellite Sam has settled into a tone and rhythm that I think works; Southern Bastards isn't quite there yet, I don't think. Still, I'll read anything that features either the early TV industry or evil high school football coaches.

MAY140819 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1 FANTASTIC FOUR $3.99
MAY140909 ALL NEW X-FACTOR #10 $3.99
APR148272 AVENGERS #29 2ND PTG YU VAR SIN $4.99
APR148314 AVENGERS #30 2ND PTG YU VAR SIN $3.99
MAY140843 BLACK WIDOW #8 $3.99
MAY140840 CAPTAIN AMERICA #22$3.99
MAY140846 DAREDEVIL #0.1 $4.99
APR148275 DEADPOOL VS CARNAGE #3 2ND PTG FABRY VAR $3.99
MAY140886 DEADPOOL VS X-FORCE #1 $3.99
MAY140796 FIGMENT #2 $3.99
MAY140848 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY GALAXYS MOST WANTED #1 $3.99
MAY140857 IRON FIST LIVING WEAPON #4 $3.99
MAY140804 LEGENDARY STAR LORD #1 ANMN $3.99
APR148273 MAGNETO #3 2ND PTG SHALVEY VAR ANMN $3.99
MAY140902 MAGNETO #6 $3.99
MAY140830 MILES MORALES ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #3 $3.99
MAY140875 MIRACLEMAN #8 $4.99
MAY140862 MOON KNIGHT #5 $3.99
APR148274 MS MARVEL #3 2ND PTG MCKELVIE VAR ANMN $2.99
MAY140866 NEW WARRIORS #7 $3.99
MAY140764 ORIGINAL SIN #5 $3.99
MAY140872 PUNISHER #8 $3.99
MAY140797 ROCKET RACCOON #1 ANMN $3.99
MAY140873 THOR GOD OF THUNDER #24 $3.99
So these are the Marvel comic books out today, with the highest number of any comic book being #30. Is this really more accessible to people than long-running series, one to a character? I sort of doubt it. I mean, I suppose it is to some folks on some titles, but those would have low numbers anyway. People that extol the virtues of the UK TV model of doing series/seasons underplay the value of institutional numbering, I think. Then again, it's all about maximizing the short-term value. It's weird in that we don't talk about it as much, but it does seem like the Marvel publishing policies can sometimes get in the way of what are pretty effectively done genre entertainment comics reaching their full audience and getting out there in a way that maximizes that effectiveness. They've sold a ton of that Rocket Raccoon book, which features the art of Skottie Young. My superhero-loving pals also seem to really like that Magneto book.

imageMAY141402 DKW DITKO KIRBY WOOD ONE SHOT $4.99
This Sergio Ponchion tribute to those three great American mainstream comic book masters is the comic I'm most dying to see, and all by itself would get me to the comic book store this week where it would be on top of my pile. Interesting cartoonist, interesting approach, ideal format.

MAY141527 LA PERDIDA TP NEW PTG $18.00
MAY141571 UNTERZAKHN GN $24.95
Two if you don't have you likely want.

MAY141405 LUBA AND HER FAMILY GN $18.99
This is the tenth volume of that awesome paperback series collecting the Hernandez Brothers' work. This is from that Gilbert Hernandez period where Luba had come to America and the focus is on the former Palomar residents and their family members living in greater LA. It's really dense, really rewarding work.

MAR148157 SNOWPIERCER GN $14.99
I found this graphic novel to be solid and kind of cool in its big-picture ambition, but it was also sort of dull as dirt. I have to imagine the movie version will play a lot differently than this.

MAR141599 ALTER EGO #126 $8.95
APR141664 FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #274 GODZILLA & MOTHRA COVER $9.99
APR141245 HEAVY METAL #269 (MR) $7.95
FEB141660 JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR #63 $10.95
I'm just sort of amazed by all the issue numbers here, for various reasons. Sixty-three issues of a magazine devoted to the King of Comics! That's a wonderful thing.

MAY141797 ESSENTIAL WONDER WOMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA SC $30.00
Given the weirdness that seems to have settled in on the rollout for DC's plans on the regular series, this may be a character that exists to greater effect in every place but new serial comic books. At any rate, most of the little kids that I know that I read comics that are girls love the supporting material like this, really love to dive in to the deep end of the content presented this way. So this might be perfect for some of them.

APR141208 TWELVE GEMS TP $19.99
I'm reading this one right now -- Lane Milburn's expansive genre odyssey. I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm trying, and the exuberance of Milburn's approach to the material charms.

*****

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: Ten Comic Book Covers With An Octopus

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Go, Look: Original Art Scan, Jaime Hernandez From Mr. X #2

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Paul Gravett profiles Roz Chast. Andy Oliver profiles Jamie Smart.

* Guy Delisle draws a cover.

* Rob McMonigal on (Mostly) Wordless and Ghosted Vol. 1. Todd Klein on Aquaman And The Others #3 and Astro City #12. James Kaplan on The Boxer. Josh Kopin on Superman #32. Sean Gaffney on Gakuen Polizi Vol. 1, Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance Vol. 1 and The Hentai Prince And The Stony Cat Vol. 2. Johanna Draper Carlson on Worth and The Legend Of Bold Riley #1. Matt D. Wilson on Rocket Raccoon #1. Zainab Akhtar on Unfabulous Five.

* Paul Tumey continues his survey of Jack Cole's work.

* the best comics critic working is Ryan Holmberg.

* not comics: congratulations to the talented and very nice Paul Hornschemeier on securing funding for his proposed Giant Sloth.

* Richard Sala writes about doing a gag cartoon for Playboy. He shows his work.

* finally, it's the legacy strips that dominated Las Vegas.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Daniel Nash!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Rickey Purdin!

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

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partial imagery of the offering by Steve Leialoha
 
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July 1, 2014


Go, Look: Natasha Kline

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Go, Read: Marwa Sameer Morgan On Cartooning In Egypt

imageThis article in an English-language Egyptian newspaper on cartooning in the country as political change and occasional turmoil continue to hold sway starts in one direction and then heads into another. Both directions are interesting. The first indicates that the current regime has seen a lot fewer cartoons about its leaders, whereas depictions of Mubarak and Morsi were common. It looks like some of that is new law, some of that is a different orienation towards the military from many in the country, and some of that is that traditional channels are circumvented by reaching people through independent publications and social media.

The second I'm not sure I've seen in an article of this type before now. The argument here is that the editorial cartooning was so ubiquitous at one point that specific visual symbols kind of locked into place. Those that choose not to use that established symbolism may go undetected simply by virtue of not depicting things in the accepted way. This has led, in turn, to cartooning that takes a step back to see if previous visual choices dictate the range of criticism. Never heard anything like that in an article like this one, and it makes a lot of dormitory hallway conversation sense, at least.
 
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OTBP: Scarred For Life

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Meredith Finch, David Finch Taking Over Wonder Woman Comic

There are bunch of articles up today -- here's one -- about a publishing news announcement that the husband/wife team of Meredith and David Finch will be taking over DC's Wonder Woman title after the current team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang wrap up their New 52-launching run. I liked the Azzarello/Chiang version. It wasn't for me, but it seemed like a solid attempt at doing something with the character that was accessible and interesting and that character is a really tough one for comic book publishing in an semi-inexplicable way. To indicate how inexplicable, Thor used to be Marvel's version, this character where it seemed like no take existed that would make the title a hit, and that seems nutty today, right?

What struck me about the announcement wasn't anything about declared intentions for the character (the comments from both Finches seemed pretty boilerplate) or the tough work ahead replacing a critical favorite, but that while David Finch is an A-list talent for mainstream comics art, Meredith Finch sn't on the comparable list for writers. It seems as if the married couple has informally collaborated on a couple of things and Meredith has done some writing for a few small press titles. I was surprised that wasn't engaged in the PR. But hey, you know, good for any new writer scoring this kind of high-profile gig. That still happens in comics. I'm curious, though, as to why that wouldn't be a source of commentary. It was when some newbies took over the Green Lantern titles. I don't get a strong sense there was a specific, startling pitch that won the gig, either -- or at least that doesn't come out with this initial burst of press. So I find that interesting just as a casual observer. Forgive me if I'm missing something obvious to everyone else. Good luck to both creators.

I don't really follow mainstream comics as closely as I used to, but it does seem at least from what I hear in conversation that some of the DC titles are pursuing what might be seen as short-term editorial strategies -- not that they couldn't turn into long ones -- such as a newer team being tried out, or an artist with work elsewhere being brought in for a limited stretch. It's almost like there's some management being done around a forthcoming event, but the only I can think of that's coming up is the west coast move.
 
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Go, Look: Graphic Gallery

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Go, Read: Rob Salkowitz On Non-Profit Options

The writer and consultant Rob Salkowitz has an article up on the hobby business news clearinghouse ICv2.com about non-profit status as an option for comics publisher. He's pivoting from recent news that Dan Vado is conducting a gofundme campaign right now to save his longtime interest SLG Publishing. Vado in fact makes an appearance at the article's conclusion saying that conversation isn't an option because it seems like a tax dodge.

I oo think it's a good point Salkowitz brings up, though, and even more so for the kind of focused boutique publishing we see now. My hunch is that it's more an allocation of resources problem heading in than it is a perception anyone has of non-profit status. It's certainly an option I would explore if I were to do anything outside of CR in the years ahead.
 
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Go, Look: Ladronn Mini-Gallery

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Not Comics: TCJ.com Mulls Killing Its Post-Article Comments

Tim Hodler is engaging with people today about whether or not to kill post-article comments at the on-line iteration of The Comics Journal. This is a very squirrelly subject for a post here, but it involves a bunch of elusive Internet-culture ideas, which are also comics-culture ideas. TCJ.com has had some comments threads as tedious and awful as the worst of their old message board, which was basically never moderated. They've also had some beautiful threads, like the ones when Kim Thompson and Spain Rodriguez passed away. It seems like only a very specific person finds value in that kind of access to a platform now, and it's unclear whether having that stuff on there to read isn't directly counter-balanced by the way people see the site because of the content of those comments.

There is also, of course, the whole idea that comments thread are a way to keep a magazine honest by allowing direct criticism, but that's usually a canard for any site that publishes any letter sent their way. It's fun the read the various opinions, though, and think of a time when one's engagement with the world of comics on-line was in discussion areas that existed without an article or site affiliation plopped on top.
 
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Not Comics: Ralph Bakshi's Facebook Photo Gallery, Particularly For The Cartoon Background Image Art

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Not Comics: Village Voice Union On Strike Causes The Baffler To Recall Their Fall From Grace

Here. Alt-Weeklies were once a fantastic home for comics -- they're still the home for some -- in part because they did well enough to commit to their publication over the long term. That article leading into the older piece on their doom makes me want to read a different piece on the management of those big media companies. I think conventional wisdom is that when a media conglomerate takes over for papers they make a bad situation worse but I'd like to see someone challenge that and maybe go after their moves directly. I know I feel that the stewardship of my hometown daily has suffered immensely for its corporate ownership above and beyond what's been done with content.
 
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Go, Look: Photos From Frank Santoro's Weekend Sale

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Zak Sally- And Dan Ibarra-Affiliated Educational Kickstarter Heads Into Last Day About $950 Short

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I very rarely back kickstarters because I'm not wealthy, I'm undisciplined in a way that extra money usually feeds my worst habits, and I tend to favor straight-up need-driven charity over the facilitation of career goals whenever I am faced with that choice. But I backed this project. I want to see what Zak Sally will do teaching people the way he most desires to teach people, and I'm interested in non-institutionalized education a bit more generally. The incentives are good, too, but I really think art and comics will be better off if this gets funded, enough that I encourage you to consider it.

The most recent video update features Sally.

Update: This went through at about 1 PM ET, I think. Congrats to Mssrs. Sally and Ibarra. I look forward to seeing what happens.
 
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Go, Look: Three New Art Posts By Simon Gane

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1, 2, 3
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* a cover image has been released for the forthcoming Mickey Zacchilli book from Youth In Decline, set for an SPX debut.

image* somehow I missed that Warren Craghead is doing a Minutemen tribute 'zine/comic, and wants your submissions.

* three of you sent along this link about First Second's acquisition of Kiss Number Eight by Colleen AF Venable and Leela Wagner, which means I should probably apologize to whomever had it first. Examples of the comics work through the link.

* Colleen Doran is very busy.

* the next issue of the half-digital, half-tabloid Believe Behavior will feature Michael DeForge.

* looks like we'll get the third Barnaby in about nine months. I can't wait. I thought that second volume was excellent.

* here's a preview of Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay taking on the Rob Liefeld Supreme character.

* here are a couple of Batman-related title announcements from DC Comics, described by Rob Bricken over at io9. I would imagine that the advance word on the high school will be very positive, and that the result will also be of a high quality; I hope that audiences take to it, particularly the Direct Market gatekeepers. Man, even with off-kilter Batman offerings, that's a lot of Batman. Then again, in a way, that they're doing two Aquaman titles seems like it's pusshing what that character will bar more than the eleventeen Bat titles.

* here's a full preview of the return of the Goon character; that's a very well-regarded series.

* I had no idea that Taschen was going to do one of those giant books about comics again, this time about Marvel.

* finally, one of those pieces of PR that goes out that everyone runs -- we can pick one at random -- happened several days ago with word that IDW was packaging the 1940s Wonder Woman strip into one of their big, fancy packages. I think that's a good one to have gained that kind of traction. There's a ton of interest in that character right now, and the early material has a potency to it that I'm not sure has ever been duplicated in the modern iterations, partly because some of that potency comes from problemetic elements.

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

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Go, Look: Alex Toth Mini-Gallery

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OTBP: Junior Detective Files

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there is no more pressing issue for our industry. Actually, that is super-useful. I just use that hole-in-the-wall one, whatever is on sale, but I am a sad, old drunk.

image* Chris Sims on Superman #32. Don MacPherson on Superman #32 and Outcast #1. Richard Bruton on Corpse Talk. Joshuaon on Little Nemo In The Palace Of Ice.

* I enjoyed looking at this odd John McCrea Judge Dredd-related art.

* is there a quality cartoonist who has more of the bulk of their work in hard to find, obscure publications than John Pham?

* I look forward to carving some time to get into the late Etta Hulme's life a bit. She didn't get her break at the Fort Worth newspaper that was her primary platform for cartoon-making until her late forties. That strikes as potentially just as interesting as the parts of her admirable journey that had to do with working in editorial cartoons as a woman. She had a nice, easy-on-the-eyes style. Michael Cavna collected testimonials.

* some nice person at The Two Page Spread interviewed Chris Stevens. Kate Tuttle profiles Box Brown.

* Bully notes a funny narrative detail error in the recent Miracleman reprint.

* Richard Burton recommends a Lizzy Lunney fumetti.

* finally, Torsten Adair writes about some of the comics-related stuff at the recent ALA conference in Vegas.
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, Lee's Comics!

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

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partial imagery of the offering by Steve Leialoha
 
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