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
















September 30, 2014


Comic Arts Brooklyn 2014 Announces First Round Of Guests And New Split Schedule Approach

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You can see most of the pertinent information above. Julie Doucet strikes me as a significant get, she doesn't really do shows anymore I don't think. It's the usual strong guest list for a very good show.

Their statement about the split day scheduling:
"Comic Arts Brooklyn (aka CAB) will expand this year to both Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9. The indy-oriented festival is trying something new this year. Books sales and signings will take place only on Saturday at the Mt. Carmel Church in Williamsburg, with two floors of 100+ vendors. Panels and interviews will be held on Sunday at The Wythe Hotel, also in Williamsburg.

'We want to give more artists and exhibitors the opportunity to come to the presentations,' said CAB organizer, Gabe Fowler, 'Often the very people who want most to see creators speak are unable to attend. CAB wants to change that equation.'

For the second year cartoonist Paul Karasik is coordinating the programming. The guest list includes Roz Chast, Richard McGuire, Raymond Pettibon and Art Spiegelman. 'We have some cool surprises about the specific panels to be announced in the coming weeks," Karasik notes, 'But, let's just say for now, that if you are a Charles Burns fan, you might want to circle Sunday, November 9.'"
I'll be in attendance and hope you will be, too. I might have to come back into the city for Sunday, though.
 
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Go, Look: Hermit!

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* a limited-edition over-sized Olivier Schrauwen comic featuring the Mowgli character? Yes. Yes. Yes. (via David Aja) I posted that last, vaguely worded sentence a couple of weeks ago and kept delaying doing the column. In the meantime, a very thorough Zainab Akhtar reported through ComicsAlliance that an English translation of that book will come out from Retrofit in 2015 as Mowgli's Mirror. I agree that's a great get for them. You should read her article, though.

image* the great Gilbert Hernandez shared his immediate publishing plans with CBR:
"Dark Horse is going to reprint another book I did for Vertigo, Grip. Then they're going to do a reprint of Girl Crazy. That's been out of print. I don't have any plans with Drawn and Quarterly. Fantagraphics will have the new Love & Rockets -- as ever. Maria M. Book 2 was pushed back a little bit. I had planned that to be at the end of this year, but it's going to be early next year. I might have another graphic novel out at the end of the year that I plan to do. That depends if I can squeeze it out."
He notes in that same interview that Loverboys is also out this year, from Dark Horse, and the interview's main focus is the just-dropped Bumperhead. My understanding is that the Love & Rockets volume might be pushed into 2015. That series if of course a gift, and however long it takes for a new one to come out is worth it.

* I hope you didn't miss the Koyama Press Spring 2015 line-up announcement yesterday. It's four books, three by Koyama regulars, as much as that boutique publisher has been able to develop a standard roster in a short time. It's here -- lots of covers.

* although D+Q gave that major presentation on their next few years at this year's Comic-Con International -- which I remember mostly for them Tracy Hurren and Julia Pohl-Miranda doing trivia questions and then immediately apologizing for them being too hard -- somehow it seems more real when you see a bunch of talked-about books on the top of an Amazon.com publication date search. Their late Spring/early Summer looks ridiculous, with the SuperMutant Magic Academy book, the Melody and their 25-year special. There's even new Marc Bell, Anders Nilsen and another Anna & Froga.

* I actually went to Amazon.com because I was surprised when a copy of the NBM English-language translation of the Kerascoet & Hubert book Beauté showed up in my mailbox a few months before I would have guessed -- they didn't do anything, the months are just slipping away from me. That one's super good-looking, by the way. Anyway, it made me poke around and see if I was missing anything else on the horizon from NBM and I'm not sure I all the way knew they're continuing with their translations of the various Donjon series. I really enjoy those books.

* finally, this looks the final cover for Dylan Horrocks' new work, Sam Zabel And The Magic Pen. There had been some going back-and-forth over what that final cover might be, or at least that's what I recall. That should be out starting next month and rolling into the new year, depending on the country involved. I look forward to seeing it in print and reading it all at once.

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Go, Look: Those 20th Century Science Fiction Fanzine Covers

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Go, Read: Simon Hanselmann Interview At AV Club

imageOliver Sava has a lengthy interview up with Simon Hanselmann at AV Club. I'm sure there have been a lot of Hanselmann interviews, but I'm not sure how many of them have been done at kind of traditional places on the Internet one might see interviews with cartoonists. I don't know even know if that makes sense, but I'm sure a few of you follow me.

It's charming and funny, I think; that's also my sense of encountering Hanselmann in person. While it's supposed to be about various first times, and that material gets covered, there's a ton of stuff in there about right now, and how happy Hanselmann is being published at Fantagraphics and how much he enjoyed arriving on the scene and making it to SPX and doing things like hanging out with Charles Burns and making out with Gary Groth. It's great that as blasé as we can get sometimes about these matters -- particularly when you get older -- to encounter a cartoonist just waking up to the fact of belonging in that world and connecting with an audience and with peers.
 
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Go, Look: Love Me Forever! Oh! Oh! Oh!

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

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

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Not Comics: Michael J. Vassallo On Pulp Science Fiction

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* one of the loopier places on the Internet post-Kirby/Marvel settlement is the Byrne Robotics forum, which is a very old-school message-boardy space. I can't even comprehend most of these arguments, although Andrew Farago bravely wades in.

image* Dave Richards talks to Tom Brevoort and Jonathan Hickman about the latest Avengers cycle of stories, which involves a short "time jump" -- which means that you get a lot of abrupt plots shifts that are unpacked after they've already happened. It's not something unfamiliar to fans of those comics. Hickman is an interesting writer to have driving the main storylines of that fictional universe. He favors really baroque narrative construction, reasonably close to what was going on with that company in the 1970s or what Grant Morrison did at DC directly pre-New 52.

* not comics: Roman Muradov covers Best American Nonrequired Reading. Eleanor Davis illustrates female characters from Shakespeare.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Chris Eliopoulos!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Mahendra Singh!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Kieron Gillen!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Deni Loubert!

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Happy 37th Birthday, David Baillie!

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September 29, 2014


Go, Bookmark: The Weight

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Koyama Press Makes Official Its Spring 2015 Schedule

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This morning the beloved boutique publisher Koyama Press made available to some of the comics news web sites its Spring 2015 schedule. I'll run covers below this opening barrage of graphs along with their descriptions book to book, artist to artist.

It looks like a strong seasons to me. They'd previously announced the Degen book here, but the other three have at least escape my attention. They're all from artists with whom the publisher has worked before: Ginette LaPalme, with whom they did one of the Wowee Zonk anthologies; Dustin Harbin, with whom they've done previous iterations of the diary work; and Alex Schubert, with whom they did the first Blobby Boys book.

It's interesting to see Koyama kind of develop a roster of cartoonists with whom they can continue a relationship of a long period of time. I think that makes for a stronger presence in the market, and it makes for healthier cartoonists even if they want to take certain kinds of projects elsewhere. The line-up is:

*****

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* Mighty Star And The Castle of The Cancatervater, A. Degen, 9781927668160, $15, 172 pages, $15, April 2015.

Koyama Press Description:
Sci-fi superheroes eschew Gotham and Metropolis in favor of nightmarish neoclassical ruins in this surreal strip.

A. Degen has taken the superhero myth and put it in a baroque blender; the result is the cerebral, sensuous and uncanny Mighty Star and the Castle of the Cancatervater. Equal parts Dali and Astro Boy, Degen's mostly silent narrative is both metaphysical and mighty.

A. Degen was born in Brooklyn, New York. After a time in Tokyo, he now lives and works Connecticut. He is the author of the books Area CC (Snakebomb, 2011) and Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters (Astroplus/Futureshock, 2013), and his work has appeared in a number of anthologies.

"A. Degen is one of the smartest and funniest cartoonists in the game. Every page in the book is filled with about two dozen triumphs and upsets in humor, design, pacing... A real pleasure to pore over." -- Michael DeForge, author of A Body Beneath (Koyama Press, 2014), Ant Colony (Drawn and Quarterly, 2013), and many more.
*****

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* Blobby Boys 2, Alex Schubert, 9781927668207, 52 pages, $10, May 2015.

Koyama Press Description:
Imagine the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as pot-smoking punks.

The Blobby Boys are back and they've got acid tongues and acid on their tongues. The salacious and slimy Saturday Morning cast-offs haven't lost an iota of edge. In fact, the only thing sharper than the comedy in this book just might be the boys' switchblades.

ALEX SCHUBERT was born in Mascoutah, IL and is based In Los Angeles, CA where he works in illustration and animation. In 2014, the first collection of Blobby Boys was awarded a Silver Medal in the Long Form and Comic Strip category of The Society of Illustrators first Comic and Cartoon Art Annual.

"Alex Schubert's collection of bold, bizarre comics is short, sharp and shocking -- not unlike a quick stabbing." -- Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
*****

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* Confetti, Ginette LaPalme, 9781927668153, 200 pages, $20, May 2015.

Koyama Press Description:
A colorful celebration of cartoons, creativity and the culture of cute.

Confetti, like its namesake, is a fun and explosive mix of color from the fertile mind of multidisciplinary artist Ginette Lapalme. In comics, paintings, prints, sculpture, and jewelry, Lapalme uses cartoons and junk culture as raw material to make "cute" subversive and "pretty' punk.

Ginette LaPalme is a Toronto-based illustrator and artist. Lapalme is a graduate of the storied OCADU Illustration program, and is one third of Wowee Zonk, a Toronto-based illustrator collective and contemporary comic book anthology.

"It is a goal of mine to live alone in a big house surrounded by the work of Ginette Lapalme, kind of like a cat lady, but with drawings of cats instead of real cats... Utterly delightful but never too cute, the world Lapalme has created leaves me more attuned to the perverse beauty of the one around us." -- Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor of Rookie
*****

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* Diary Comics, Dustin Harbin, 9781927668177, 236 pages, $15, May 2015.

Koyama Press Description:
Comic and tragicomic, heartfelt and heartbreaking; these are the panels that make up a life.

Since 2010, Dustin Harbin has been sporadically documenting the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form. From their humble beginnings as a sketchbook exercise documenting the quotidian, oftentimes with hilarious results, Harbin's Diary Comics have grown into quirky existential examinations of life and living.

Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in North Carolina. He's best known for his autobiographical comics, as well as many, many illustrations of people and animals, often mixed and matched.

"Dustin's willingness to push himself in these comics makes them special, opening his mind and life to the audience he's meant to connect to, taking what is at times the character of himself and revealing the man. That's always the best part of autobio comics, an ability to confront something true." — Kate Beaton, author of Hark! A Vagrant
*****

Sounds like an excellent build on this year's very good pair of seasons and a particularly rich TCAF are in store for Koyama next year.

*****
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Go, Look: A Few More Photos Of Cartoonists

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Go, Look: Frank Miller Daredevil Covers Gallery

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Not Comics: Wow, Those DC T-Shirts Are Clearly Repulsive

So unless we're being pranked, some forward thinker in the Warners licensing empire has started putting out clothing aimed at younger consumers with icky -- you know, I'd say "retro" but that's almost like these were cool in a different context and they're just sort of asinine across space and time -- messages. Here's a piece about a Superman t-shirt that rebrands one of their great iconic licenses as a piece of ass; here's one that asks young women to aspire to be the wife of someone actually important.

I don't know the current situation with DC and their licensing; at one point I remember hearing that a lot of it was brought in-house in part to help keep the division relevant in relation to other Warners companies that might push to have control over those characters. But whether that was all the way true and what's true now I can't tell you. It's hard to imagine even the densest hardcore comics people going, "Yeah, that'll play well." It's easy to imagine a scenario in which such people have no say at all.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what to tell you. A loathesome message is a loathesome message, even if portrayed in a "ha ha we're being 14-year-old boys" way. I would have to imagine it's disheartening if you're a fan of those characters and see them primarily in cultural-capital terms to see them utilized that way, and I have to imagine if you're a parent who enjoys those characters and/or enjoys them through your kids, this goes past disheartening to discouraging.

One of the problems with corporate-owned characters in today's hyper-capitalistic world is that they're subject to these kinds of whims and episodes of bad decision-making to an incredible degree. They're product, and any way to make money with product that isn't vastly illegal is on the table at all times. Forget cultural stewardship; even displayed, common-sense management that drives long-term growth can be put aside for short-term buzz or trying to find profit centers for a variety of perceived audiences. As we know to be the case with superhero narratives, you can sometimes goose sales by working directly against more enlightened versions. Because of this, I'm never surprised when an entire comics line turns into a depressing slog of near-pornographic violence and cynicism. I also cringe a bit when people do backflips when someone finds another kind of space in which to enact a less-repulsive vision. They're empty suits. I feel badly for everyone that has to negotiate this kind of nonsense at the behest of a child's earnest enthusiasm, but I'm never, ever surprised when it happens.
 
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Go, Look: Play The Graffiti Game With Superman

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I had this in a summer comic when I was a kid and stared at it a lot
 
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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* I keep forgetting to mention this, but Last Gasp is doing a full-season Kickstarter. Last Gasp is a treasure of the American counter-culture, and I'd give Ron Turner the contents of my wallet were he to walk up the street and casually ask. I'll see what I can afford and hope you will, too.

* Chuck Forsman of Oily Comics has applied for one of those Chase Mission Main Street Grants, which requires voting from people via their Facebook accounts.

* Dan Vado is also participating, and I think he's further along. You can also support the longtime SLG publisher more directly.

* I don't always understand Dave Sim's kickstarter campaigns -- okay, I've never understood any of them -- but this latest one looks like it's doing well.

* finally, here's another successful Hope Nicholson project that you might want to join before time runs out.
 
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Go, Look: From Sex In The Comics

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Go, Look: Early Mike Sekowsky Superhero Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there was a lot of admirable material to come out of the comics-focus of this year's Banned Books Week. I thought the CBLDF board members all did a laudable job, as in this interview Jeff Smith did with The Guardian.

image* Alex Dueben talks to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

* I can't get at this story directly and I'm too tired to track it down on the loop-around, but it's apparently a profile of recent New Yorker covers. It's hard to imagine they're any more provocative than that run of Art Spiegelman covers from early on in the Tina Brown era, but I imagine they're more alarming than William Shawn's purposefully bland run before that. Anything that gets people to pay attention to what is usually a highlight of the week in publishing is okay with me.

* you ever stop and think what a great ambassador for comics Jim Woodring is?

* I guess a few news source caught wind of moved Milo Manara variant covers in light of the recent Spider-Woman cover controversy and wrote articles according to what one may infer from the proximity of those two things. CBR has Axel Alonso saying it's just a scheduling thing, and they'll continue to work with the artist. Those are commercial jobs, and I don't really put a lot of moral force into decisions one way or another with that kind of thing. In fact, I'd like all of the variants to go away, or at least be reduced by 90 percent or so.

* David Ulin on The Hospital Suite.

* Dan Nadel is busier than you are.

* my understanding of on-line comics is so rudimentary right now that I'm not even sure I knew that Alex Schubert is doing Blobby Boys cartoons for Vice.

* finally, I appreciate someone doing this with some of my brother Whit's SPX photos because I missed the prom.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Tim Vigil!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Jennifer Daydreamer!

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Happy 88th Birthday, Russ Heath!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Nicolas De Crécy!

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September 28, 2014


CR Sunday Interview: Dan Stafford

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*****

Dan Stafford is the co-owner of Kilgore Books & Comics in Denver, one of the anchor North American comics shops and one of those retail operations that's also made an effective move into publishing. Stafford is the filmmaker Root Hog Or Die the documentary about the great cartoonist John Porcellino. The movie is currently on tour in a way that will move in an out of a broader tour focused on Porcellino's new and excellent book of comics, The Hospital Suite. I hope you'll double-check to see if one of those tour stops is close by. It's a fun film, and John Porcellino speaking is one of comics' unique joys. In fact, I'm bumping this interview up the waiting list in the hopes that this could mean a few more attendees at some of the immediately forthcoming events.

If The Hospital Suite is an intimate exploration of certain life truths and events from a cartoonist that has been strangely reticent to communicate the facts of his personal life despite working in autobiography and personal essay, Root Hog Or Die has more of a classic King-Cat Comix & Stories feel to it, this idea of encountering the externalities of life in an authentic way that is as real as any personal take on the cartoonist or his milieu. Therefore we pay attention to the information being conveyed, but also simply look at folks' homes, and beat-up Midwestern streets, and how people react to John when he's in the same room. It's a lovely tension to have in a film where I can see folks taking several minutes to adjust to the quiet, rueful, deliberate nature of its subject. I enjoyed watching it. I don't know much about Stafford other than those broad strokes, and I was happy he agreed to talk to me. I edited a tiny bit for clarity and flow.

If the film isn't coming to you on a bigger screen, you can buy the DVD and see it for yourself. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: Dan, I don't anything at all about you, so I'm hoping I can least paint a picture of you in broad strokes. First, can you talk a bit about your personal history with comics, when you were reading and what was important to you in the course of that reading? When did you first read comics like John's?



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DAN STAFFORD: It's like every other boring story of a 40-year old into comics. I was born in the mid-'70s and had an older brother who was super into DC stuff, mostly Batman. As a kid, I read loads of the Marvel books (mostly Spider-Man titles), and particularly loved the paperback reprints of stuff from the '60s. [Steve] Ditko, and then [John] Romita Sr. knocked me out as a kid. I read the FF, a little Daredevil, that kind of mainstream stuff.

By the time I was 14 or 15, I had pretty much stopped reading those comics, but had become friends with kids who started doing 'zines. My friend Katrina subscribed to Factsheet 5, bought a copier at a school sale and printed zines on that. My first special lady friend was the girl who'd go on to become Queen Itchie, and so we were all kind of exposed to the weird stuff through her. I can't remember what she was reading then -- I think the classic undergrounds stuff, Crumb and so forth. I do remember her trying to sell me her Dark Knight single issues to make money for a bus ticket or something.

We lived in a town of 900, and this was pre-internet, so the 'zine thing was really pretty fun. The whole community showed that other people existed who didn't quite fit in. I got a post office box and tried to put some stuff out. My friends and I all drew dumb comics to pass around in class, blah blah blah.

In high school, 1989-1993, I read a decent amount of zines and a few underground comics, then in college kind of drifted away from it. I dropped out of college in 1995, and ended up in Austin, Texas, where a guy I worked with turned me on to Hate, and I found a copy of Optic Nerve in a hipster shop near my apartment. Another friend knew I was into comics, so gave me a copy of Acme Novelty #1 for my birthday, so got back into it pretty quickly, particularly falling in with the Fantagraphics books coming out.

imageSPURGEON: My understanding is that Kilgore is a used bookstore with a significant comics component? Is that a fair characterization. How much of your business is comics? How did you get to the point of being a physical retailer? That's not something people do all that frequently anymore.

STAFFORD: I opened up Kilgore with my friend Luke [Janes] in June of 2008. The economy was crashing, and we knew people would turn to burning paper to keep them warm. [Spurgeon laughs]

I had been doing political organizing work for my adult career, and was roomates with Luke who worked at a great used bookshop in Denver. We had a shared love of books, authors, and collecting things, so we cooked up the idea to open up a used book shop. I had turned him on to independent comics already, so as we cooked up our plans, comics were always a part of it. We spent three years buying books at yard sales, thrift stores and so forth, and stored them in our giant victorian house. It was crazy, boxes of books falling apart everywhere.

Down the street from our house was the historic Wax Trax Records, which had a vacant bit of storefront in between their CD and vinyl shops. We pestered the owners for a year or more to rent it to us. They're great old-school guys who have run the shop since the late 70's. They put out records by Allen Ginsberg, and when REM played their first Denver show in 1983, they spent the day hanging out at Wax Trax. It's been the cool punk/new wave/weirdo center in Denver forever. After bugging those guys, they finally said, "Fuck it, OK." [Spurgeon laughs]

We had a handshake deal, and agreed to open up in a month. We bought a bunch of shelves from a shop that recently closed, and got the place together in 30 days. It had been used as a bicycle repair shop/2nd hand record store, and was in total disarray. But it was fun, hanging out, drinking beer, pricing books, building shelves.

Noah Van Sciver has told us that during this month, before we opened, he came in in nervously and poked around, but ran out before we saw him.

SPURGEON: [laughs] This information will surprise no one.

STAFFORD: The idea was always to do used books and independent comics. In Denver, the big bookstore was Tattered Cover. I used to go in try and get indie stuff and they never had it. One buyer simply said, "comics don't do well in Denver." So, as Luke and I talked about opening up a bookstore together, we made sure to have space for comics. We're a small shop, maybe 1000 square feet, and one wall is devoted to comics. We do zines, minicomics, graphic novels, and we do sell used mainstream stuff. We also have a massive collection of really nice underground stuff, and then a few 50 cent boxes for '90s mainstream comics people dump on us. In terms of percentage, it's hard to say. Maybe 25 percent? We track our sales in notebooks, so it's hard to give a great answer.

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SPURGEON: Where does Kilgore fit into Denver arts culture overall? The last time I spent any time in Denver was like 1978 so mostly what I remember is stepping over bums sleeping in the streets --

STAFFORD: Those are our people!

SPURGEON: [laughs] -- but I'm told it's a very nice, resurgent, model city now. Is there a distinct Denver comics culture, do you think? What marks it?

STAFFORD: Denver is undergoing a big transformation right now and is getting pretty expensive. I think Denver has a great arts scene overall. The way I describe it to folks is that we're eight hours from anywhere else you'd want to go, so we're not on the way to or from anything. A lot of bands skip Denver; a lot of touring cartoonists skip Denver. What that reality, Denver has a ton of homegrown talent. There's a tremendous DIY spirit here. Loads of great bands, loads of great artists, and a lot of cartoonists. It reminds me a lot of Minneapolis in that regard. Noah Van Sciver is Denver's Zak Sally, I suppose.

I do think there's a strong comics scene in Denver, though a lot of folks have left, which is a drag. Sam Spina trucked it back to North Carolina, John P.'s living up in Packers country, TE Bak is in Portland. I think the same thing which creates the scene -- cheap living in the middle of nowhere -- drives folks away. But there's a really vibrant drink and draw, there's the Squidworks gang which has been around forever. And we have a lot of completely undiscovered folks. I love Will Barnes, who has put out a couple comics, and is working on his magnum opus 200-page noir book. There's Lonnie Allen who does these great minis. Those are two folks I think are doing good work.

In terms of where we fit? Hard to say. We seek to champion the scene, but cartoonists are a solitary lot, so it can be challenging. And we're certainly screwing things up all the time.

imageSPURGEON: Is it fair to say that the publishing you've been doing is an extension of the store's mission? How much of what you're doing there is about giving voice to local artists that may not always have a place to publish?

STAFFORD: Just about 100 percent. We started publishing because Noah kept bringing in 1-2 copies of Blammo, and we'd sell them in a heartbeat. So we kept asking for more, and he'd bring in another 1-2 copies, three weeks later. At one point, I asked about how he was doing stuff. He was paying like $2.25 to print an issue he'd sell for $3. So, when he was selling them to shops at 40 percent off, he was getting $1.80 for each issue. In other words, comics was literally a money-losing proposition for him. So, for issue #5, we gave him like $500 and said, "print a bunch, and then give us a half." He came back a week or two later, and had printed 100 copies in full color. We got 50, and sold them at $5 a pop, meaning we lost $250 on that one. It was at that point we said to Noah, "Why don't you let us publish Blammo for you?" [Spurgeon laughs]

Our number one goal is to help artists always have comics in stock they can sell to shops, at cons, or online. There's this middle ground in publishing where you're selling more than you can keep up with, but not enough for someone like Fantagraphics to care about. So that's our role. To be a launching pad for folks. And to some degree, it's worked.

And we try to be very very artist friendly. We pay all royalties up front based on the print run of a comic. We generally give the artist about 10-15 percent of the print run as artist copies. We have a formula we cooked up where the profit is split 50/50 between publisher and creator, and the creator has to take very little risk to do something with us.

imageSPURGEON: How did your personal relationship with John develop to the point that doing a documentary about his life and work seemed like a good -- and achievable -- idea?

STAFFORD: Well, when I met John he was living in Denver with Misun [Oh]. Luke knew him first. John sold King-Cat at the shop Luke worked at, and Luke actually won the King-Cat annual mini golf tournament in 2006 or 2007. When we opened Kilgore, we hired John to do our sign and create a bookmark and such. We did release parties for him when [the] Thoreau [book] came out, and then Map of My Heart. He'd help us celebrate our birthday at Kill Gore Fest and so forth. So, we were just around each other. Noah went out on a tour with him -- John had been off the road for a long time, and when Map of My Heart came out, he did a swing through the Southwest and California with Noah. Noah came back kind of going, "John's a really interesting guy, someone should do a movie about him." Since I was a film school dropout, I thought, "Hey that'd be fun." I mentioned the idea to John a couple times, and he hemmed and hawed.

I think a lot of people approach artists with ideas and very little follow through. Then, one Christmas Eve -- probably 2008, I was at the shop (I used to always keep the shop open late on Christmas Eve for the late gift buyers, which usally ended up being me drinking tall boys alone in the store) and decided to go back through a bunch of John's comics. King-Cat had always been around, but I was never an avid reader. I'd read some issues, liked it ok, but wasn't a subscriber or anything. Anyway, this Christmas Eve, I had a few drinks and read Perfect Example and it was like someone grabbed me by the throat. So I wrote John this long, rambling, drunk e-mail about truth and honesty and integrity and art and such. A week or two later he was in the shop and said, "Thanks for that e-mail; I really liked it." That seemed to coincide with him being OK with the movie idea. I had a blog at the time, and I think he went back and read a bunch of my stuff, and liked that, too.

I'll add that having that experience with Perfect Example caused me to go back and re-read, and discover, all of John's work, and it was like a total "A-ha!" moment. The guy is a just a damned genius.

We've never talked about it directly, but I think all of that helped him trust me a bit, which is what was needed to actually do the thing. Shortly after that, he said, "Hey let's do that movie thing." So I scraped up $1000 and bought a decent video camera (the Canon XL1). I remember driving him with the camera, thinking, "That cost as much as my car," and it was weird to think that one of my most valuable possessions was in the trunk of the other.

SPURGEON: I know that with writing a book, there's usually a hook in terms of the concept and a hook in terms of the specific take or focus that you can bring to the subject. How did you approach working with John, how did you want to present him, in a way that would stand out? What was important to you to convey about John?

STAFFORD: Well, initially the thing that fascinated me was the fact that here's this guy who came up at the same time as Adrian Tomine, Chris Ware, Ivan Brunetti, Seth, Chester Brown, etc. but was still hawking $3 comics out of the back of his broke ass car. Where's John's New Yorker cover? Where's the critical reevaluation of John's work? I quickly realized, however, that this was a moronic view of it all, and in fact, if I pushed that hook too much, I'd make a really shitty movie. When I first started filming in 2009, I really tried to "direct" things. After about 20-30 hours of filming though, I realized the best thing to do was to record as much as I could and let the story find itself. When I was really editing the movie, I made a cut that was about 80 minutes and felt really really forced, so I scrapped it and started pretty much from scratch. I got together about a four hour thing, which had "all the good stuff in it," then pared and pared and pared it down to the 1 hour 44 it is now. As it evolved, I decided the best thing to do was to let it somewhat mirror an issue of King-Cat. There's some humor, some sorrow, some filler, some top 40, and it tells a story linearly, almost. So, yeah, at the end of the day, I was going for that "theme."

imageSPURGEON: Is there anyone you didn't get to interview? Is there anyone that turned you down?

STAFFORD: Yeah, I'm really sad I didn't get to interview Doug Midoucki. Doug works at Wax Trax and went to high school with John. They played in the Felt Pilotes together, and I just always thought I'd get to interview him. I flew back to Denver this summer specifically to do it, and then my flight got screwed up and I missed it. One of my favorite ever King-Cat issues starts with "an open letter to Doug Midoucki" which has nothing whatsoever to do with the full-length story inside, but both are works of beauty. I also wanted to interview Tom Devlin, as Tom's known John for so long, but I couldn't get up to Montreal. Patrick Porter, whose music is over the credits, is this amazing artist who's been friends with John for years and years. I think John thinks of him as a brother in the real sense of the word.

There were two folks who declined to be interviewed, though for purely logistical reasons. They both expressed a huge love of John and his comics, so it was more like, "if only I had more time" than turning me down. That was the amazing thing, everyone was behind this project. As soon as I said, "documentary on John P," everyone went "HELL YES."

SPURGEON: How quickly did John take to being filmed? I can imagine scenarios where this would have been easy for John to become accustomed to that intrusive camera and also scenarios where this would have been difficult, but it seems when he was talking about squirrels and the like that by that time he had grown pretty comfortable with the camera's presence.

STAFFORD: Well, John's just such a natural and gifted story teller, so I think it happened pretty quickly. Honestly, after listening to his voice for hours every day during editing, all I could think was, "Man, when's the next King-Cat coming out?" I was shocked I didn't get sick of him. Anyway, he took to it pretty OK. It was weird at first. I have a great shot I decided not to include from Chicago Zine Fest in 2010, where I'm not at the table, but my camera is, and someone asks, "Are you filming this?" and John's response is this very awkard, "Wellll... sort of... there's this guy..." It was hilarious.

I tried to keep the camera as out of the way as possible, and tried to use natural lighting most of the time. I taped up the red light on the camera, so that when I was with John, or interviewing someone else, they'd (hopefully) forget about it. We toured together for three weeks during filming, and the camera was always out, and usually on, so he really relaxed his guard during those times and that's when I got some of the really heartfelt stuff about what OCD is really like.

imageSPURGEON: Was there anything about seeing him on film that surprised you?

STAFFORD: Yeah, he's so much healthier now. Most of the stuff with him was filmed 2009-2011, as he was "getting better." Now, three years later, he's like a new man. At every showing people have commented, "man he looks so sick and sad."

SPURGEON: Was the idea to always use that many comics in the film? Is there a story to how that developed? How did you choose your various readers? That's an interesting group of people.

STAFFORD: The readers were just people who volunteered. John's got this philosophy that an issue of King-Cat isn't complete until someone responds to it. He's far more articulate on this subject than I am, but it makes sense. He's putting this thing out in the world, and unless the world in some way says, "yep, got it!" then it feels like screaming at a wall.

Early on in the editing I was having a hard time thinking about the interstitial stuff. How do I switch from this to that? And obviously, using the comics works. But then it dawned on me that people identify with John's work so strongly, that if you asked 50 King-Cat readers to talk about the same story, you'd get 50 different -- equally passionate -- descriptions. Then I just sort of saw/heard this idea of his readers doing the readings, because they'd have different takes on it than John, or other readers, and each take would be important and valid. So, it was a way to complete that same circle, and show that for King-Cat to be successful, there have to be people reading it.

I really like how that came out. Those people, in my opinion, really strengthen the movie more than anything I did.

In terms of how many comics are in there, you can thank my wife for that. She watched several early versions, and just kept saying, "Put in more comics, more comics." She's not really a comics person per se, so I took her advice.

SPURGEON: Was there a talking head you felt hewed closest to your view of John? Did any of the opinion, used or not, force you to reconsider your own perspective?

STAFFORD: Yeah, I'll confess that Mr. Mike is probably the person in the film I identified with the most. He was great because he'd be waxing poetic, and then pause and make fun of himself for being all deep sounding.

A lot of folks forced me to think of John differently, sure. Zak Sally, god love him, has such a pure and true vision of art and comics. It's incredibly inspiring. He made me recognize that the "Where's John's New Yorker cover?" is a dumb way to look at it.

A lot of folks talked about John's humor and wit. With his illness, that was masked for many years, but he's really one of the funniest guys you'd care to meet. And he's not a puppy dog. I was with him in Canada last week doing a couple screenings, and I made the tactical error of admitting I liked the 10,000 Maniacs in high school, and he mocked me from Belleville to Brockville for it.

imageSPURGEON: Was there any additional difficulty in portraying John's artistic journey given the overlapping worlds he inhabited? I mean, it's not like that 'zine world is even there in the same way anymore, but he also lived in at least one music scene and there's also his general importance to the world of comics. How did you negotiate trying to work with these kind of ephemeral mini-cultures so many years later? Was that even a concern?

STAFFORD: Yes. I mean, when I was a kid, all of that stuff was mixed together. Zines, comics, playing in bands, making flyers, making movies, whatever. It's like that movie Slacker. Everyone kind of did a little of everything. Now, things are waaaaaay more stratified than they ever seemed when I was growing up, which was the same time John was first putting out Cehsoikoe, King-Cat and playing in five bands. And to me, they're all pretty equal, whatever that means.

But portraying it in the film? Yeah, that was beastly. The interview I did with Anne Elizabeth Moore was incredible for that stuff. She's fantastic, and thinks about all this stuff the same way I do, mostly. In one cut I had like thirty minutes of her and Ivan [Brunetti] both doing all this comic and zine and punk history stuff, then realized, "Nobody but me and six other people would want to see this."

And that was a consideration -- I feel thatKing-Cat readers will either love or hate this, almost no matter what it is. So, I had to think of my "audience" as the folks who stumble on the movie, or have a passing interest in John, as I once did. How do I pique interest in people, enough that they'll pick up a book and check out his stuff, or take another look if they've glanced past it before.

So, to that end, I included as much music stuff as I thought would be interesting, and then hint at all the zine stuff. As a lover of F5, I had to put those images in there.

SPURGEON: Is there a reason none of John's close family appeared in the film? Was that personal relationships or the way you wanted to orient the film?

STAFFORD: It's a little of both. Initially I wanted to interview his mom and sister, but the more I thought about it, I realized, "If someone made a movie about me, would my mom and sister add to it?" I mean, obviously, I love them both dearly, but they don't know too much about this part of my life, or if they do, it's like, "Dan runs a shop." I'm not sure if they know I made a movie, for example. Anyway, even if I had wanted to include them, I'm not sure they would've been down for it. I know John chatted with his mom about it, and she sort of went back and forth about it. I don't know if he ever really talked to Joann (his sister) about it. I think they could have added some to the youth/childhood section, but that beginning where John is roaming around Chicago and telling stories about bible school and ghost swings is, to me, just about perfect. It didn't need anything extra.

As John points out in the movie, his family aren't full throated champions of his life decisions as regards being an artist. I initially put a little more of that stuff in, but rather than adding to the story, it kind of detracted. I think there are hints here and there -- and their absence may be conspicuous -- but what artist has the full support of their family?

At the end of the day, the relationships within a family are extremely complex and nuanced. In a movie that spans 100 minutes, with 20+ people and loads of comics, each person -- outside John -- only gets 1-5 minutes of screen time. That's simply not enough time to actually delve into those relationships appropriately, and giving them just a couple minutes, I think, would have been doing them a bit of a disservice.

SPURGEON: You show this amazing footage of one of John's bands playing a concert at what looks like a county fair. Who shot that? Where did you get that?

STAFFORD: Yah, that show is awesome. It's like, a nearly empty carnival in his suburban town, and T.A.C. is playing their hearts out. Hopefully you noticed they're wearing John P. designed shirts, except Laura S., who's wearing a Matt Groening "Life in Hell" shirt. Laura's dad shot that, and it's fantastic. I think she plans on doing something with it at some point, so I only included the one or two clips. My favorite is an outtake where John Belts out, "THIS NEXT ONE IS CALLED I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD." To me, that sums up John's hilariousness, and his earnestness. 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' is such a sad sweet title, but he belts it out like he's John Fogerty.

SPURGEON: Now that I think of it, though, you use almost no other archival footage. Was that another choice on your part? Was there material you thought about using but didn't?

STAFFORD: A little here and there, but I didn't have a lot to draw on. There are some so-so youtube clips of John. Two days after I sent the DVD off for production, I got a VHS tape of the Felt Pilotes playing a show. I'm going to just transfer that, and then put it up for free (assuming TFP are ok with that). I'm sure there's more out there, but I filmed 110-120 hours of stuff, so I didn't have a huge shortage.

I thought a lot about what story I wanted to tell. Was I going for a straight history? A focused narrative? In the end what I did was more of a document of John in a particular place and time. My wife thought there was a little too much "guys sitting around reminiscing," but those stories are what make life interesting to me. When I was a kid I loved when my parents or older brothers would tell stories about before I was born. It just felt like this magical thing. So, I think maybe I was subconsciously replicating that experience.

image

SPURGEON: I love the ending, in that John declares his love for this horrible-looking place, which is kind of a grace note that encompasses his entire career. Did that occur to you while filming? Did anything feel different after it was filmed than while it was being filmed?

STAFFORD: Yeah, a few folks have commented on that -- this sort of scrub brush quality, and it summing up at least a little of the King-Cat philosophy, "No matter where you are there's beauty." It wasn't intentional per se, though it resonates through the movie. He loves Elgin, which is this sad, dying town. He loved Denver when it was a sad, dying town. He now lives in Beloit. A lot of it is financial in nature -- he can't afford to live in SF or NY or something, but I think a lot of it is what he's drawn to.

To be honest, that was a happy accident. That walk through the woods, though, was one of the highlights of not just making the movie, but probably of my life. John was honest, open, thoughtful, peaceful, and focused throughout. I grew up in a place that looks a lot like that woods -- it was a cold blustery early spring day -- and I'm drawn to that type of environment, too. It was really a special experience.

It didn't occur to me though, at the time because we were tromping through these woods, and I was mostly walking backwards, nervous about just falling into a ravine or something.

Another bit that jumped out at me long after filming was after we left Athens. It was in Athens that we filmed the "Honeys" stuff, and also the interview with his first wife Kera, who was exceedingly kind and gracious to me. The next day, driving away, I filmed a lot of the car footage of him talking about having OCD, and John was really really angry. He generally kept an even keel, I think partially because he was camera conscious, and partly because he legitimately practices zen, but you could see this frustration and anger that had been there for a decade come to the surface. It was also really powerful.

imageSPURGEON: Where did you find Jeff Zenick?

STAFFORD: [laughs] That guy's awesome, right? I wish I could have included more of their conversation, but it just didn't fit really well. Hopefully you know Jeff's work.

SPURGEON: I do. I like it very much.

STAFFORD: He used to do these great travel zines where he's just bike to some city and work there for awhile, usually camping out, if memory serves. He and John have been pen pals for years -- decades even -- and the bit in the movie was the first time they met. That meant a lot of the conversation was sort of feeling each other out in person a little. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida of all places, where he mostly does paintings and drawings from old yearbooks. Really amazing guy. I could've spent months with. Somebody should do a movie about him.

SPURGEON: You've had this out for a little while now. What have been folks' reactions so far? What are your hopes for the film? Is there a way of engaging with it you'd like to see happen?

STAFFORD: So far, so good. I have yet to have anyone say anything negative, though maybe that's just folks being polite. The people who've given me feedback have liked it. One guy in a Q/A referenced it as "lo-fi," which is totally true, but seemed so obvious to me as to not be repeating. It felt a little like when Eli Cash says to Margot Tennenbaum, "Why would you specifically say someone's not a genius?" in The Royal Tennenbaums. The whole thing is super lo-fi. It was just me and the camera, I bought one extra mic for $60. When I used lights, I used these old photo lights I bought an estate sale for $5-10. I edited it myself, and just used music from folks who love John and his work. There are clearly rough spots in it, and when I watch it, I always see "what could have been" if I'd taken a little more time. But after four and half or five years, I felt I'd taken enough time.

I haven't seen too many write ups on it yet, though it's really just started touring with John. I traveled with him in Canada, then he did the rest of the northeast. I'll rejoin him in Portland for the Short Run festival, then head south and into Colorado, which should be fun. But yeah, I think it's an honest and strong portrait of an amazing artist, and so far that's what has resonated with people.

In terms of engagement, I'm doing all the sales and stuff pretty lo-fi too. I printed up 1,000 DVDs. 275 go to Kickstarters, participants, and reviewers. I gave John 100 to sell on the road. I predict by the end of his 25 city tour, he'll work through most of those. Anyway, my point is, by the end of November, I predict we'll have sold 65-75% of the DVDs. I'm also doing a pay to stream or download thing for $5.

I plan on entering some film festivals and such, mostly because I think that would be fun to do. I also plan on getting it up on iTunes, Amazon and such. Netflix is a weird beast, so as cool as that would be, I don't how likely it is. Honestly, I spent the last six months editing and getting this thing out there, and I'm exhausted from that process, so the actual distribution and marketing stuff is going to be a bit slower than I might have originally predicted.

SPURGEON: One of the things I found really interesting in the movie is how unadorned everything is, how most of the places where you shoot are really unassuming homes. You don't make any secret of how tough John's artistic road is financially, but I wondered if you were aware how much that comes through the film just generally, or if that was important to you to show that element of his life.

STAFFORD: Lo-Fi, baby! Yeah, I mean, I'm not sure how else I could have done it. I do think that one of John's greatest qualities is his ability to inspire others. There are so so so many people I spoke with who basically said, "If it weren't for John..." And I know I always felt like I couldn't do comics because I didn't have a rapidograph pen set, or even know what bristol board was, but John does his stuff in lined notebooks with cheap pens. It's like what Mr. Mike says near the end, "We're all diabetics for the fluff," and I think that's true in the comics/zine field. This is my own aesthetic, but generally, when I see a 28-page pamphlet that's numbered, with a screenprinted cover selling for $10, I sort of assume the content isn't there. It needs the bells and whistles. But then John can create this incredible body of work with free paper and shitty pens, living in places like Elgin and Beloit. I think of it as "unassuming."

So, yeah, I think I was aware of that during filming. For example, John has this weird diet, and so makes his own food when he's on the road (mostly). At zine fests and stuff, he'll be eating quinoa mush out of a sauce pan with a plastic fork while hawking his comics. And it's not an affectation.

The other thing I'll say is that if John P. vouches for someone, they're worth their weight in gold. Many of the people I interviewed had the same conversation with me, which is that John won't ever introduce you to a bad person. So, all the people in the film are -- like John -- these very unique, unassuming, passionate, interesting people. It really was incredible. There wasn't a single person I worked with who I wouldn't be really excited to call a friend.

*****

* Root Hog Or Die: A Film About John Porcellino, Dan Stafford, 104 mintes, 2014.

*****

* cover to the documentary
* Ditko's Spider-Man
* two Kilgore Books logos
* a Kilgore-published issue of Blammo
* from Map Of My Heart
* a Felt Pilotes sleeve/related art from Porcellino's site
* a healthy-looking John P. at the just-passed SPX 2014 (photo by Whit Spurgeon)
* early coverage of Porcellino that appears in the film
* comic used to promote the Kickstarter
* Jeff Zenick page
* a random John P. panel I like (bottom)

*****

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*****
*****
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Who Are These People? The SPX 2014 Edition

Here's where I ask you for help in identifying about half of the pictures CR took at this year's Small Press Expo. I usually end up including people with whom I've had dinner or that I otherwise know very well: the faces all start to blur together after a while. So don't make fun of me, and apologies in advance.

I probably have doubles in here because I did this the dumbest way. I'll elminate any I see in posting, thus the break in continuity of numbers.

And yes, sometimes people do hold books that aren't theirs, or stand in front of another person's sign. So I need to double-check a few of those, too!



*****

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Tom Tomorrow

****

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Randall Trang

****

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Lee Cherolis

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Christopher Williams, Tiffany Williams

****

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Perry Alter

****

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06

****

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Santiago Casares, Andrew Cohen, Michael Brace

****

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Troy-Jeffrey Allen, Jay Payne, Eric Yates, JT Wilkins

****

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10

****

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Dave Mercier

****

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Natalie Andrewson

****

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13

****

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Alice Meichi Li

****

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Maritsa Patrinos

****

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16

****

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Matt Emery, Frank Candiloro, Nicholas (NikNik) McIvor, Matthew Hoddy

****

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RM Rhodes

****

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F. Lee, Kate Allen

****

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Dave Nuss, Marc Arsenault and Malachi Ward

****

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Mike Luckas, Heather Nunnelly, Michelle Nunnelly

****

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MC Wolfman, Ian Higginbotham, Patrick Kain

****

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Terry Flippo

****

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Kate Lacour

****

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Dave McKenna, Darryl Ayo

****

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Steve Conley

****

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Harold Bucholz

****

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28

****

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Erika Henderson, Kyle Starks

****

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30

****

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Jim Safley, Christiann MacAuley

****

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Kris Mukai, Arlin Ortiz

****

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Alexander Rothman, Kate Farquhar

****

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Megan Brennan, Rel, Alex Kazanas, & Steve Yurko

****

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Jade F. Lee

****

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36

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37

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Jared Axelrod

****

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Leah Riley

****

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Jeff Zwirek

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41

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Aatmaja Pandya, Amanda Scurti

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AM Clinch

****

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Jason Horn

****

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Pablo Castro, Iasmin Omar Ata

****

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Catie Donnelly, Jordan Witt

****

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Sam Sharpe, Lale Westvind, Kevin Jay Stanton

****

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Aaron Cockle

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50

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Sylvan Migdal

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Jen Jordan

****

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Sophie Goldstein

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54

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Rob Ullman

****

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Marnie Gallaway

****

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EJ Barnes

****

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Emily Huff

****

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60

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M. Jacob Alvarez, Ross Nover

****

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Caitlin Cass

****

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Shawn Eisenach

****

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Hanni Brosh

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65

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April Brown

****

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Liz Prince

****

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68

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Alexis Frederick-Frost, Alec Longstreth, Steven Floyd

****

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Matt Trower

****

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Holli Mintzer

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72

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Alexis Ziritt

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Justine Hurder

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Josh Kramer

****

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Leah Starkest

****

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77

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Dechanique, Celine Loup

****

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79

****

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Dre Grigoropol, ???

****

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James Shapiro

****

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Isabelle Melancon

****

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Emily Armstrong, Ira Marcks

****

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84

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85

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Jane Irwin

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87

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Joe Procopio

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Gordon Harris

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Peter Wartman, Alec Berry

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Matt Roberts

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Coryn Lanasa, Jaime Willems

****

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Dave Kelly

****

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Pranas Naujokaitis

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Ryan Dow

****

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97

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98

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David Mack

****

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Phil Chan

****

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Paulina Ganucheau

****

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102

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Emily Gillis

****

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GE Gallas

****

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105

****

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Sarah Ferrick, Blaise Larmee, Raighne Hogan, Saman Bemel-Benrud

****

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Tiffany Corbin

****

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108

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Will Laren

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George O'Connor

****

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Joe Infurnari

****

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Joey Weiser

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Jonathan Griffiths, Eric Lide

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Robyn Chapman, Jesse Reklaw, Stephen Betts

****

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115

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Jeffrey Lewis

****

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???, Allison Shabet

****

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Kat Feete, Kata Kane, Jennifer Zyren-Smith

****

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Carey Pietsch

****

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Seth Hahne

****

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Elliot Baggot

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Stephen Vrattos

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Zack Giallongo

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Reilly Hadden, Mathew New

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Braden Lamb

****

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Rachel Dukes

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Whit Taylor, Dan Mazur

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Jess Fink

****

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BM Prager

****

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Sara McHenry

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Andy Kettler

****

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Josceline Fenton

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133

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Megan Baehr

****

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Feifei Ruan

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136

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137

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Katie Selesky

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139

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140

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Yao Xiao, Mary Kim

****

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Adam Whittier

****

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Luke Howard

****

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Amelia Onorato

****

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April Malig, John Jacob Lee

****

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Laurel Lynn Leake

****

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Laurel Holden, Romey Bensen

****

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Reilly Hadden, Stephanie Zuppo

****

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Stephen Vrattos

****

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150

****

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Carl Antonowicz

****

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152

****

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Jared Smith, Box Brown

****

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Ian Harker, Cody Pickrodt

****

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Josh Bayer

****

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156

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Jude Killory

****

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Sabin Cauldron

****

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Walker Mettling

****

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Erin Curry

****

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Tyler J. Hutchison

****

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162

****

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Evan Dahm

****

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Steve Teare

****

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Lance Hansen

****

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Rick Spears

****

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Reed Black, Kory Bing, and Blue Delliquanti.

****

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Brian Brown

****

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Geoffrey Lapid

****

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Wyeth Yates

****

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Lindsay Richter, Kat Fajardo

****

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Erin Humiston

****

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Peter Schmidt

****

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Andrew White, Warren Craghead

****

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Lily Padula

****

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CM Duffy

****

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Tom McHenry

****

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Claire Connelly

****

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Jess Worby

****

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John Carvajal, Jonathan Rotsztajn

****

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Jensine Eckwall

****

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Nicholas Straight, Phil McAndrew

****

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Noel Freibert

****

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185

****

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Ed Luce

****

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Kel McDonald

****

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Amy Chu, ???

****

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Sarah Martinez

****

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Paul Cleland Smith

****

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192

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Monica Gallagher

****

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Monica Gallagher

****

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Jon Rosenberg

****

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Jamie Noguchi

****

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Danielle Corsetto

****

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Chris Yates

****

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199

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Rebekka Dunlap

****

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Anthony Clark

****

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KC Green

****

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Eliza Post

****

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204

****

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Chris Artiga-Oliver

****

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206

****

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Steve Artley

****

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JT Wilkins

****

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209

****

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Annie Stoll, Tim Ferrera

****

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Chris Hastings

****

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Wendy Xu

****

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213

****

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Rebecca Mock

****

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Neil Brideau

****

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Mike Holmes, Meredith Gran

****

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217

****

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Cara Bean, Jason Viola

****

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Pat Aulisio

****

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Isaac Cates

****

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Shawn Cheng

****

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Michael Wenthe

****

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223

****

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Jennifer Weber, Brendan Colgan, ???

****

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Lucy Bellwood

****

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Anuj Shrestha, Joel Alter, Jen Tong

****

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Caitlin Major

****

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Kat Verhoven, Sara Turner Brian Turner

****

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Liz & Jimmy Reed

****

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Greg Kletsel

****

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Luke Humprhis

****

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Jeremy Whitley, Dave Foland

****

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???, Sara Turner

****

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Yumi Sakugawa

****

image
Ben Marra, David Plunkert

****

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Kate Nation

****

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240

****

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Aisha Franz

****

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Natasha Petrovic, Cat Caro, Ben Fleuter

****

image
Jeremy Cain

****

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244

****

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Yuko Ota, Ananth Panagariya

****

image
Magnolia Porter

****

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Shoona Browning, Esabelle Ryngin

****

image
Emily Carroll

****

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Emily Carroll, Fan Of Emily Carroll

****

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Tom Siddell

****

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251

****

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Andrea Kalfas

****

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Jason Leivian, Ben Sears, Francois Vigneault, Zack Soto

****

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255

****

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Matt Young

****

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258

****

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Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, John Green

****

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260

****

Again, further apologies for basically not knowing anybody.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Lucy Haslam

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Go, Read: Henry Beaumont's A Hole In The Heart Excerpted

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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Happy 37th Birthday, Flavio Hoffe!

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FFF Results Post #395 -- Smoking

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics Characters That Smoke, Or Least Used To." This is how they responded.

*****

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David Robertson

* Bruce Wayne
* Funky Flashman
* Howard the Duck
* Lucky Luke
* Sam Slade

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Mr. Fantastic
2. Wolverine
3. The Dragon Lady
4. Howard The Duck
5. Andy Capp

*****

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Dave Knott

* Mike Blueberry
* Hellboy
* Captain Haddock
* J. Jonah Jameson
* Rudy

*****

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Mike Baehr

1. Ray Smuckles
2. Doyle
3. Captain Haddock
4. Seth
5. Sexica

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Nana Osaki
2. Ulli Lust
3. Smiley Bone
4. Saito Hajime
5. Art Spiegelman

*****

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Richard Pachter

* Dum Dum Dugan
* John Constantine
* Mammy Yokum
* Matches Malone
* Perry White

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

* Dan Delon (Lost Cat)
* Andy, (The Death Ray)
* Elijah Snow, (Planetary)
* Captain Haddock (Tintin)
* Sexica, (Multiple Warhead)

*****

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Mark Mayerson

* Inspector Dolan
* Albert the Alligator
* Popeye
* Sgt. Fury
* Terrible Turpin

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Asterios Polyp
2. "Black Leg" Sanji
3. The Comedian
4. Fred Andrews (Archie's dad)
5. Lucky Luke

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Albert Alligator
2. Raoul Duke
3. Steve Canyon
4. Johnny Hazard
5. Popeye

*****

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JE Cole

1: Elijah Snow
2: Jesse Custer
3: Tank Girl
4: The Grifter (Cole Cash)
5: Lono

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. Perry White
2. Nick Fury
3. The Penguin
4. Buddy Bradley
5. The Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.

*****

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John Vest

1. The Thing
2. T'Challa, The Black Panther
3. Dr. Strange
4. Nick Fury
5. The Sarge (in Sad Sack comics)

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Popeye
2. Wolveroach (technically it was a bundle of toothpicks & not tobacco, but still...)
3. Phineas / Freewheelin' Frank / Fat Freddy Freak (again, technically not tobacco...)
4. Moon Mullins
5. Major Hoople

*****

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Marty Yohn

1. Jonah Hex
2. J. Jonah Jameson
3. Morgan Edge
4. Ben Grimm
5. Nick Fury

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. John Constantine
2. Cusick the Tuscarora (Timespirits)
3. Harry Palmer (Starstruck)
4. Nick Fury
5. Cameron Chase

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Diver Dan’s pal, Trigger
* Mammy Yokum
* The Hollywood Love Doctor
* Anonymous GIs
* Fat Freddy

*****

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D.D. Degg

* Albert the Alligator
* Mr. O'Malley
* Major Hoople
* Mammy Yokum (to throw in a female)
* Sam Catchem (still smokes in current strips)

*****

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Tony Collett

1. Ben Grimm
2. Opus
3. Mike Doonesbury
4. Mary Jane Watson
5. Perry White

*****

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Randy Clark

1. Popeye
2. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
3. Mammy Yokum
4. Rip Kirby
5. Bruce Wayne

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Bruno Brazil
2. Blueberry
3. Nick Fury
4. Hex
5. Alack Sinner

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Sam Slade Robo-Hunter
2. Dan Dare
3. Dr. M.T. Graves (Charlton Comics)
4. Torpedo 1936
5. Major Eazy

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Mammy Yokum
2. Jill Bioskop
3. Weed (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents)
4. Landwolf
5. Abigail (Clover Honey)

*****

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Des Devlin

1. Snoopy (according to Lucy)
2. P’Gell (The Spirit)
3. Tintin (but only opium, and only as part of his masterful Japanese disguise)
4. Mark Twain (Tales Designed to Thrizzle)
5. Starchie and Bottleneck (MAD #12)

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. Fem-Spy-In-Chief in The Adventures of Jodelle
2. John Garrett in Elektra: Assassin
3. Adèle Blanc-Sec
4. Commissioner Dolan
5. Human derelict Dr Strange, Ditko version

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Bruce Wayne
2. James Gordon
3. J. Jonah Jameson
4. Perry White
5. Hellboy

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Buddy Bradley
2. Seth
3. John Constantine
4. Doctor Strange
5. The Near-Sighted Monkey

*****
*****
 
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September 27, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade

Interview With Alison Bechdel



Jill Lepore Speaks


Not Comics: Music Video Directed By Writer About Comics And Comics-Maker Frank Young


R. Sikoryak Paints Live


Video By Little Oze


Ben Katchor Profiled By LARB
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 20 to September 26, 2014:

1. Marvel and the Kirby Family settle ahead of a potential pick-up for review by the Supreme Court Of The United States. Terms were not disclosed. The joint statement contained a reference to promoting Kirby's leviathan-sized role in the creation of the Marvel Comics universe, which I fully support.

2. The convention in Salt Lake City makes a formal response to charges it is trading on Comic-Con International's claim to the "comic con" phrasing.

3. Albert Uderzo and his daughter reconcile several days after a lawsuit filed by Sylvie was dismissed by a French court.

Winner Of The Week
Since we don't know the terms reached in the Kirby/Marvel settlement, let's go with the winners of the 2014 version of the Comics Workbook Competition Contest.

Losers Of The Week
Book banners. I consider censorship a mental affliction that settles upon societies for varying periods of time, it is that counterintuitive.

Quote Of The Week
"Each show has its own feel. You have to figure out which types work best for you and try new ones to expand your reach/engage new fans." -- Jim Zub
 
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Go, Read: NYT, Atlantic Monthly On Richard McGuire's Here

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If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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this was originally and I guess inexplicably announced as 9/26 at the Billy Ireland; in case it hasn't been changed on the through-announcement it's today and it's at Cafe Kerouac
 
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If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In Santa Fe, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Jim Shooter!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Matthias Schultheiss!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mattt Konture!

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Happy 87th Birthday, Jack Katz!

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September 26, 2014


Go, Read: A New Leslie Stein Comic

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Go, Look: Wrenchies Wallpaper

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Marvel And The Kirby Family Settle Ahead Of Potential SCOTUS Pick-Up Of Case

A billion places, like here. Their joint statement:
"Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby's significant role in Marvel's history."
I'm glad for this, and although I wish it could have happened years and years ago or in a different world never been an issue, I'm certainly happy for what sounds like a positive step.

imageI've always felt there's room for Marvel to benefit greatly moving forward by focusing on the art of what they do through their great creators. It opens up a very specific kind of market for certain publications and affiliated material, it has a generally positive PR effect, and it allows for them to remind the world that their movies and toys are grounded in some of the greatest popular art of the 20th Century. There are few stories in American arts culture better than that of Marvel Comics. I'm also happy for the family, who were criticized by a certain warped element of fandom as not having a proper interest in the material the family's patriarch created or helped create, and for lawyer Marc Toberoff, who has been savagely lambasted by those who believe he was standing between the family and a positive outcome.

I hope the settlement was a good one above and beyond its suitability in facilitating today's outcome. I doubt we'll know anything beyond broad parameters and maybe not even that. There's an argument that will be made that Marvel wins the legal principle here by avoiding this challenge, but I'm not sure of any pending legal action against which they're now better buttressed. I don't know the case well enough to know if there are other cases that were counting on a pick-up and positive legal outcome with the Kirby case to act as a spear point in terms of what they are doing.

I imagine there was some risk for Marvel in allowing the possibility that the case was going to be picked up and reviewed. While the last legal round went firmly in Marvel's direction, it seemed like there was significant momentum in terms of getting the Supreme Court to revisit what many considered an unfair set of practices and perhaps rectify them. The argument that a few people told me they found most powerful in that "realm of popular opinion" element to this whole mess was the notion of Jack Kirby being treated like an employee in this specific way that so greatly benefited the publishing company without any of the other elements present in terms of what we think an employee looks like and how they're treated. (The writer Kurt Busiek presents that argument here.) But even if there was very little risk for Marvel, or if the risk was only that some schedules might have to be delayed, I think there's enough in the set of positives that Marvel might have been able to see here that it could have seemed like the right choice just on those merits.

My hope moving forward past what I hope for the deal itself is that today's news helps us from ever giving in to the rigidity of thinking that declares that such settlements or reconsiderations of deals or rewordings of agreements is somehow a betrayal of a moral momentum afforded a limited definition of profitability. Exploitation can be mitigated. Better outcomes can be sought. Credit can be shared. The world doesn't end. Still, this wasn't easily won; this settlement came with significant personal and professional cost spread out across generations. The negative example remains.

It also strikes me that 2017 could be a lot more fun now.
 
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Go, Look: The Astronomer

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Comics People And Their Bookstores: New York, Chicago

imageA pair of folks with strong comics connections are independently driving a pair of promising-sound bookstores in New York and Chicago.

* Antonin Baudry, who as Abel Lanzec co-authored the Weapons Of Mass Diplomacy album series, has used his position as cultural counselor of the French embassy in New York to open Albertine Books in the Beaux-Art Payne Whitney mansion. As a big part of the store's mission will be to bring the French bookstore experience to American audience and serve as a conduit for ideas in book form one culture to the other, I have to imagine comics will be a significant part of that effort. The article notes that Marjane Satrapi will participate in events programming.

* Jessica Campbell, who left Drawn and Quarterly in 2012 to pursue arts education in Chicago, is the driving force behind Editions Kavi Gupta on Washington Boulevard in conjunction with the prominent art gallery bearing the same name. They have already scored a stop on the DeForge, Kyle and Hanselmann tour. I would imagine they would be a site well worth pursuing for tour stops and events that fit into their mission. You can follow them through Facebook here.

I hope both locations are massively successful for years to come.
 
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Go, Look: Nathan Ward Comics

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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.

*****

JUL141182 BUMPERHEAD HC (MR) $21.95
This is a really good book from an artist working like no other cartoonist in the world is working right now -- vastly prolific, daring, out there. It was not what I expected, which is shocking because I thought I'd trained myself to expected anything with Gilbert Hernandez. I think it's also a book about which people will write well, so check out some of the reviews.

imageMAY140474 MARVEL COVERS ARTIST ED HC PI
I'm a mainstream covers nerd as I think making an appealing cover images has meant so many different things at different points in publishing history that you can almost read at a glance what year a cover was done. It's also a way with one of these Artists Editions that you get to see original work from a lot of artists at once.

JUN140083 LONE WOLF & CUB OMNIBUS TP VOL 06 $19.99
I want this work in some form at one point, and I bet it's going to be these when I'm at a point I can acquire comics instead of thinking of every way I can to get rid of them.

MAY140383 FLASH OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $99.99
This is the Silver Age material. I don't like reading comics in these giant hardcovers as much as I thought I would, and I can't figure out why. I'm not particularly precious with how I read comics, or at least I didn't use to be that way. Still, these are fun, solidly crafted stories. I spent a big chunk of my childhood reading comics reprinted here, just in ratty old-comic versions and as re-runs in annuals and giant-size issues. They were amiable companions. It makes sense to have this out as the TV show hits.

MAR140459 THUNDER AGENTS THE BEST OF WALLY WOOD HC $34.99
I will always always always stop and look at Wally Wood's art.

JUL140483 FATALE TP VOL 05 CURSE THE DEMON (MR) $14.99
This is the final book in the Brubaker/Phillips series in the format where it's most likely to be read moving forward by a lot of comics fans (even though it's of a size a one-volume edition will probably have similar traction). I always thought the series was fun, and loosened up about halfway through in a way that was way more horrific than the first seven or eight issues. I also like that there was an ending, hard stop.

JUL140079 CONAN THE AVENGER #6 $3.50
JUL140571 SAGA #23 (MR) $2.99
JUL140572 SEX #16 (MR) $2.99
Not a lot of standard comic-book format comics jumped out at me this week. Comic shop owners will be happy to see Saga fans in the store this week; I'm told by just about every shop owner I encounter that it's a bestseller store to store. The Conan series I read and enjoyed -- I have a soft spot for Conan, because there was a time when he represented a significant portion of what I believed my non-superhero options to be. I think these stories work, but I'm not sure that all Conan stories work, nor am I certain that modern compression of plot and decompression of scenework isn't a bad thing for fantasy series like this one.

JUL140628 SECRET AVENGERS #8 $3.99
The content of this comic book series is a secret to me. I assume it's Spy Avengers or Dirty Works Avengers or Black Ops Avengers or something similar. I guess it could be Secret Societies Avengers, too. One thing I like about comics like this is there always seems to be a character or two that's upset they've been cast in a second-run Avengers title. Maybe that's just what it seems like to me.

JUN141217 21 STORY OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE GN $19.99
This is a re-issue of Wilfred Santiago's graphic novel about the major league baseball player and cultural icon, which I liked very much in its previous iteration.

JUL141395 ANGIE BONGIOLATTI GN (MR) $20.00
I'm pretty sure this isn't a re-issue of the Mike Dawson original graphic novel perhaps better known as the trigger for an on-line back and forth about the problems of being a working cartoonist and building a modest audience; I think this is the initial issue of that graphic novel through direct market retailers. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. It's a difficult work; Dawson is interested in interpersonal nuances that I think a lot of readers might need to be convinced are worth following through characters with which they're much less familiar than he is. I look forward to seeing how it does.

imageJUN141373 ARIOL GN BOX SET VOL 1-3 $38.99
I'm a great, great fan of this series -- there's something about these unremarkable stories of a little kid's life that resonates with me, particularly the feeling of slowed-down time that I think is a part of a lot of kids' perception of the world -- and if this is another way to get at it, then I'll recommend it. Just buying the books would do the trick, too.

JUL141292 BARBARELLA DLX ED SUPER OVERSIZED HC (MR) $79.95
This is your broadly appealing feature story of the week, for writer Kelly Sue DeConnick's in shaping the translated narrative and dialogue for the French comics-for-adults classic. It's a fun comic all the way through, increasingly loopy as it goes and as attractive as any comic of its era. I look forward to seeing this version.

JUL141571 GA GEIJUTSUKA ART DESIGN CLASS GN VOL 06 $17.00
I'm just excited to see this listed, because sometimes I think Sean Gaffney makes up some of the titles he reviews just to mess with me.

JUL141396 GET OVER IT GN (MR) $15.00
This is the other Secret Acres graphic novel that's been out a while if you're an attendee of shows but is brand new if you count on your local comics shop to put something on the shelf in front of you. It's Corinne Mucha.

MAY141246 LEONARD STARRS MARY PERKINS ON STAGE TP VOL 13 $24.95
It's amazing we live in a world where 13 volumes of this particular work of Leonard Starr's can exist and find an audience. This is one of my Mom's favorite comics, so it's been great for me to bring these home every now and then. Starr is one of the great under-appreciated talents of his generation of strip-makers, and it's hard for me to imagine him making art I wouldn't want to at least check out.

JUL141219 WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK GN VOL 01 GHOST GROTTO $12.99
This is a re-formatted, alternative set of duck comics from Fantagraphics. I have yet to check one out, but again: Carl Barks is one of the masters.

JUL140753 WARREN COMMISSION REPORT HC $29.95
JUL140752 WARREN COMMISSION REPORT SC $17.95
Passion for the Kennedy assassination has fade the same way that interest in certain comics and comics characters has -- it's just aged out of the population for the most part in a way that the original set of people interested would swear at the height of their focused obsession would never, ever happen. Still, using comics as a way to test alternate theories one against the other, that sounds fascinating and an appropriate use of comics' spatial relationshipos. I want to at least see this one to see how that's done.

JUL141314 CAT DAD KING OF THE GOBLINS GN $12.00
This is awfully pretty-looking in a year where Koyama Press is making a lot of attractive books. If comics is about going to the store and finding new work with which you're not already familiar -- and it isn't that way for lots of people, and that's sad -- then this is oneyou should at least pick up. If your comic store doesn't have it, remember it for the next show Koyama attends -- they're very nice, those people.

*****

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: Early Mike Zeck Comics Art For Charlton

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Albert Uderzo Reconciles With Daughter Sylvie; Lawsuits Terminated

imageMy memory of the dispute between Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo and his daughter Sylvie suggests that this BBC article about their reconciliation hits the high points, or at least the bulk of them. The feud came about in 2007 and 2008 as Uderzo sought to transition into a new business relationship with the franchise he had kept alive as a solo act after Rene Goscinny's death in the late 1970s. This included Sylvie and her husband being dismissed as managers of her father's estate, and the property being sold by the artist a year later. Uderzo has since retired -- last year's Asterix volume was the first not by a series creator.

The article notes that one lawsuit that emerged from this stew was dismissed last Friday; whether or not that sparked the reconciliation I couldn't tell you. I'm glad when people put their personal affairs in order, though. Life is short, and there's plenty of reward to be had working in close proximity to a franchise like that one or even having worked in close proximity to one.

Their count has sales of the series at 352 million copies.
 
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Go, Look: The Stumble

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Collective Memory: Rose City Comic Con 2014

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Rose City Comic Con, held September 20-21 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

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

*****

Institutional
* Convention Facebook
* Convention Site
* Convention Tumblr
* Convention Twitter
* Host City
* Physical Location

Audio
* Geek In The City

Blog Entries
* A Nice Cup Of Rabies
* Art By Chamba
* Art For Fun And Prophet

* Blind Thistle

* Little Dee

* Modern Day Pilgrims

* rasteaart

* Sam Garland Illustrations
* Shotgun Prose
* Squid Row
* Stepto.com
* Storms In The Skyes

* The Art Of Dawn Blair
* The Comics Bin
* The Fuzzy Slug
* Thomas Duder

* Warhammer 40K Orks
* Why To Wonderland My Dear
* Wil Wheaton

* Zanziber's Point Of View

Miscellaneous
* Panel Patter's Rose City Roll Call
* The Life & Times Of Kirk Damato

News Stories and Columns
* Around The O
* Bleeding Cool
* Comicosity
* KGW
* Mail Tribune
* Oregon Live 01
* Oregon Live 02
* Oregon Live 03
* Portland Mercury

Photos
* Fashionably Geek
* Geeky Me 01
* Geeky Me 02
* KD Photography
* Kotaku
* Musings Of A Mad Woman
* Oregon Live
* Rick Hamell 01
* Rick Hamell 02
* Rose City Tumblr 01
* Rose City Tumblr 02

Video
* The Oregonian
* UnLTDGamingHD 01
* UnLTDGamingHD 02

*****



*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Two By Simon Gane

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1, 2
 
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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Julia Wertz announces a return to posting diary comics on-line, at the same time she has news of a collection of the work that makes the first part of this sentence news.

* You know what buy comics at comiXology reminds me of? It reminds me of the early to mid 1980s when a bunch of us music-interested kids -- pretty much all kids -- with the means to do so started converting from turntables to CD players. We didn't convert all of the way, we weren't always convinced that CD's were better, there were storage advantages, we were rebuying stuff, and the sales strategies were all wonky because everything was back on the table again as a potential new purchase.

* Meredith Gran made a note on twitter I can't find now -- it's probably easy to find, I'm just slow today -- that said this latest run of Octopus Pie might be the last hurrah for her doing black and white on that series. I like that work in black and white, although her work holds color very well, too.

* here's a manga resource guide heavy on the digital options.

* if you want to read a ton of interesting work on-line, go here and start hitting the links.

* finally, Gary Tyrrell puts the new Medium/Nib hiring in perspective, noting everything that's happened with that site in the last year. What a year Matt Bors has had over there.
 
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If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Marvel Splash Pages From Fall 2014

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* this particular Jack Kirby image doesn't get posted as much as some of them, but it's fun.

* Paddy Johnson talks to Ken Parille. Henry Chamberlain talks to Bill Kartalopoulos.

* Marc Arsenault remembers Zero Zero and Kim Thompson.

* I like this illustration by Guy Delisle. And I always love it when Evan Dorkin makes a monster. Chris Schweizer drew Lando Calrissian.

* Sarah McIntyre's hat game is impeccable.

* Sean Kleefeld puzzles over exactly how much emphasis the late Golden Age publishers placed on a female readership.

* love for the Curt Swan Superman. One thing that's weird is that if you're of a certain age you might have been exposed to a lot of Curt Swan but preferred the reprint versions you were occasionally seeing. I was one of those kids, although I've come to appreciated what Swan did with that character.

* whoa, what a shirt.

* Jason on Asterix. Todd Klein on Saga Vol. 3. Sean Gaffney on Geijutsuka Art Design Class Vol. 6. Ng Suat Tong on Hilda. Grant Goggans on Zenith Phase One. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of picture books. Richard Bruton on (In A Sense) Lost & Found.

* finally, based on the number of Jillian Tamaki things I did not buy, this month's SPX was a total failure.
 
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Happy 68th Birthday, Louise Simonson!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Stephen Weiner!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Tom Veitch!

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September 25, 2014


Your 2014 Comics Workbook Composition Contest Winners

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Frank Santoro has announced the winners of this year's Comics Workbook Composition Contest in a heavily link-laden post found here. It is a contest designed in great part to promote Santoro's popular correspondence course.

Winners were announced at multiple prize levels, and a giant list of participants and their works can be found at that initial link. Congratulations to all that participated and those that won further recognition for their work.

1st Place ($500 Cash Prize): White Hot, Gloria Rivera
2nd Place ($250 Gift Certificate, Copacetic Comics): Semi-Vivi, GG
3rd Place ($100 Gift Certificate, Copacetic Comics): Moon, Ward Zwart

Honorable Mentions ($50 Gift Certificate, Big Planet Comics): 73 Objects, E Taylor; Weeping Veins, Will Tempest; Afterlife, Louise Marie Elsa; Come With Me, Karolina Chyzewska

Special Mention ($25 Gift Certificate, Copacetic Comics): Spectrum Jogger, Rowan Tedge
 
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Go, Look: Mita Mahato

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Two Things About This Banned Books Week Event With Larry Marder & Scott McCloud Tonight In San Diego

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The first thing that jumped out at me about Larry Marder and Scott McCloud discussing Banned Books Weeks in San Diego is that if you're in the area, I hope you'll go. Larry and Scott are both articulate men that have given a lot of time and energy to support free speech and anti-censorship concerns. This is a big week for the CBLDF in terms of mainstreaming what they do into more general efforts by a variety of organizations, and this is as high-profile as anything they're doing. You'll have fun, I'm sure.

The second thing that made me think is that Comic-Con International doesn't do a whole lot of events outside of the core conventions they run. As a co-sponsor here, there's a possibility that they will make this kind of participation a bigger part of their overall year. I'd be all for that.
 
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Go, Look: Even More Cartoonist Photos

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Go, Look: Salt Lake Comic Con Responds To Lawsuit Filed By Comic-Con International Over "Comic Con"

A TV station has the response from Salt Lake Comic Con to a lawsuit filed by Comic-Con International over use of the words "Comic Con" here. As expected, they point out that there are a number of shows that use similar phrasing that are not being sued.

I don't know what the legal outcome will be here, because 20 years of covering comics have told me I'm basically the Criswell of comics legal decisions. I will say that this one is hard to sell as something that would win in the night court of nerds sitting around a diner or dormitory hallway or comics shop and talking things through. I do feel bad about this particular cultural moment for CCI. They still put on a serious comics show surrounded by the pop-culture delirium in which it's encased. Other shows are clearly working that same model but with attention to different elements, untethered from old-fashioned fan values. Because Comic-Con has decided for now to stay in a relationship with San Diego -- and who knows how that turns out -- they're now limited in size. Other shows can now lay claim to be bigger. That was always the ace in their pocket when it came to positioning themselves against other shows. Now that's gone, even though I think it's clear they could probably pull way more attendees than anyone else if the infrastructure at all the convention-type shows were the near-infinite same.

If I were in charge of Comic-Con right now -- actually, the show would probably go away in two years if I were running it, smoking crater optional -- I can conceive of being really concerned about my assets that weren't guaranteed, continued growth in attendees. That would include my name and my model and I would likely press any and all advantages that I was being told I could push. So we'll see on the legal outcome, and how this plays out in public perception. We'll also see if a new focus from the Comic Con standard-bearers will start to have an effect in this and other areas. If they get aggressive, the entire landscape may change.
 
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Go, Look: Bully's Paper Doll Month

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By Request Extra: David Lasky Is Raising Money For The Richard Hugo House By Writing

David Lasky is an admirable human being and fine cartoonist who has not seen a ton of rewards for the great comics he's made yet still finds ways to give back. I hope you'll consider helping him out here.
 
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OTBP: Debbie's Inferno

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Go, Look: Bird Boy

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it's Long Beach, Kenosha and St. Louis this weekend.

* here's Rob Clough on SPX 2014. I swear to God I'm working on mine. I apologize for my lack of professionalism there.

* they're doing a variation of the 24 Hour Comics Day event at APE in a couple of weekends -- they're allowing people to do 8-hour and 16-hour comics, too. I'm sure that will delight some people that don't have time to do a 24-hour comic, although I'm confused a bit, too, as part of the point of the original exercise was to do an entire comic in 24 hours to get past the thinking that comics had to be labored over to be good with that amount of effort specifically earmarked as doing that job. I'm also a bit perplexed in that this seems less "iron"-like than doing the original challenge. I don't know; this strikes me as a weird thing to have ever broken out of the hardcore professional community to begin with, so I'm probably not the best witness here.

* this is what Rose City Comic Con looked like to Wil Wheaton. This is what Baltimore Comic Con looked like to Bruce Canwell.

* finally, the MICE poster was released.

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

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

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Not Comics: Mike Lynch's Photos Of Art On Streets Of Montreal

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Skyliner project looks like it's going to be up against it in terms of making its funding goal. I hope you'll consider it.

image* Jay Hosler writes about the specific joys of his work.

* Mark Voger talks to Stan Lee. Paul Gravett profilies Maciej Sieczyk and Keiichi Tanaami. Chris Butcher talks to Jocelyne Allen.

* this isn't a kind of fan interest I find personally compelling, but the idea that by extending a popular brand you also dilute it is something I imagine people that manage entertainment product must consider.

* congratulations to Matt Lubchansky, who got the editorial assistant job at Medium for which Matt Bors put out a call. I know at least two other people that said they applied, so I'm going to assume Mr. Lubchansky was an excellent candidate who has a significant chance of doing a really good job.

* not comics: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Laurenn McCubbin share with you information on how to be productive. I'm hesitant to link to that because I can't imagine reading articles at this blog fit into any conceivably productivity strategy.

* Shawn Starr on a Hellen Jo work with which I'm not familiar. Everything Hellen Jo does is worth tracking down. AaronFG on Blast Furnace Funnies.

* Chris Sims writes about Batman's love affairs. I only remembered the ones from the 1970s. It's hard with superhero characters to partner them up more than once or twice because they don't really ever have sexual motivations.

* Domingos Isabelinho writes about Chester Brown as a gothic artist.

* finally, Alan David Doane re-presentes his 2004 interview with the writer Alan Moore.
 
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Happy 61st Birthday, Bob Layton!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Massimo Mattioli!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Paul Pope!

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September 24, 2014


Happy 7th Anniversary, Secret Acres!

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Go, Look: Anete Melece

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(All Of) Your 2014 Stumptown Comic Arts Awards Winners

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Here's the full list of Stumptown Comic Arts Awards winners, given out during last weekend's Rose City Comic Con. This is one of the surviving programs from Stumptown Comics Fest, whose organization chose to end their own show and facilitate programs through the Rose City show. I ran an earlier guess at awards winnners here.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners. I think it's a good list, and it's fun to see that Pacific NW orientation get a workout. I'm glad to see Zander Cannon continue to get recognition for his Heck, and for The Auteur to get a nod or two -- that's a very odd book. I'm told the programming track the organization put together was very well received particularly the SRO Ben Saunders-moderated panel on secret identities and politics. Kidding aside about the secretive nature of these awards, kudos to them for negotiating what must be a brutally difficult transitional period in terms of aim, execution and perceived reward.

*****

BEST ARTIST
* Nate Powell -- March (Top Shelf)
* James Callahan -- The Auteur (Oni Press)
* Natalie Nourigat -- A Boy & A Girl (Oni Press)
* Colleen Coover -- Bandette (Monkeybrain)
* Carla Speed McNeil -- Bad Houses (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST WRITER
* Joshua Hale Fialkov -- The Bunker (Oni Press)
* Sara Ryan -- Bad Houses (Dark Horse)
* Jai Nitz -- Dream Thief (Dark Horse)
* Rick Spears -- The Auteur (Oni Press)
* Matt Kindt -- Mind Mgmt (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST CARTOONIST
* Peter Bagge -- Woman Rebel (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Tara Abbamandi -- In Your Wake (Sawdust Press)
* Rutu Mordan -- The Property (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Zander Cannon -- Heck (Top Shelf)
* Ulises Farinas -- Gamma (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST LETTERER
* Adrian Tomine -- Optic Nerve #13 (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Ed Brisson and Douglas Sherwood -- The Sixth Gun V. 6 (Oni Press)
* Tara Abbamandi -- In Your Wake (Sawdust Press)
* Carla Speed McNeil -- Bad Houses (Dark Horse)
* Joe Infurnari -- The Bunker (Oni Press)

*****

BEST COLORIST
* Brad Simpson -- Catalyst (Dark Horse)
* Rick Spears -- The Auteur (Oni Press)
* Bill Crabtree -- The Sixth Gun V. 6 (Oni Press)
* Dave Stewart -- Shaolin Cowboy (Dark Horse)
* Scott Kowalchuk -- Down Set Fight! (Oni Press)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION DESIGN
* Sin Tutulo -- (Dark Horse)
* The Fifth Beatle -- (Dark Horse)
* Comix -- (Drawn & Quarterly)
* The Sixth Gun Vol. 1 HC -- Oni Press)
* Palookaville -- (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

BEST ANTHOLOGY
* Breakers (So What Press)
* Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)
* Cartozia Tales (Cartozia)
* Blood Root (Sawdust Press)
* Study Group Magazine #2 (Study Group)

*****

BEST NEW COMIC
* The Auteur -- Rick Spears, James Callahan, and Luigi Anderson (Oni Press)
* Cartozia Tales -- Lucy Bellwood, Shawn Cheng, Lupi McGinty, Isaac Cates, Jen Vaughn and others
* Lumberjanes -- Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooke Allen (Boom Studios)
* The Bunker -- Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari (Oni Press)
* It Will All Hurt -- Farel Dalrymple (Study Group)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION FOR YOUNGER READERS
* Cartozia Tales -- Lucy Bellwood, Shawn Cheng, Lupi McGinty, Isaac Cates, Jen Vaughn and others
* Itty Bitty Hellboy -- Art Baltazar and Franco (Dark Horse)
* Lumberjanes -- Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooke Allen (Boom Studios)
* Monster on the Hill -- Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
* The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy -- Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST WEBCOMIC OR DIGITAL COMIC
* High Crimes -- Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa (Monkeybrain)
* Haunter -- Sam Alden (Study Group)
* It Will All Hurt -- Farel Dalrymple (Study Group)
* The Center for Otherworld Science -- Shing Yin Khor
* Bandette -- Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)

*****

BEST SMALL PRESS
* Barrio Mothers (Sparkplug)
* The Center for Otherworld Science (Sawdust Press)
* Study Group Magazine #2 (Study Group)
* In Your Wake -- Tara Abbamandi (Sawdust Press)
* Cartozia Tales (Cartozia)

*****

READER'S CHOICE
* Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT

*****

The winners were announced at the Rose City Comic Con opening ceremonies/kick-off event. Over 900 eligible voters cast a ballot.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Cast Aside

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By Request Update: Seth Kushner Greenlit For Return Home

Here. I have to imagine the family could still use any support you could muster as I'm sure the challenges continue.
 
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Go, Look: Several Laugh-In Sunday Comics By Roy Doty

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MoCCA Announces Move Into Center548; Initial Guests

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The Society Of Illustrators has named its initial guests of honor for next year's MoCCA Festival -- Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Scott McCloud, Raina Telgemeier and J.H. Williams -- and in probably bigger news for the event has announced a move from the 69th Regiment Armory to a place called Center548. That's on West 22nd in Chelsea. I know New York more like the back of my knees than the back of my hands, but that would seem to me more the kind of neighborhood that a lot of locals have told me they'd like to see the festival settle into long-term. I'm pretty easy that way, I don't really get nostalgic for spaces and think that they are usually a secondary concern for events like this but I realize nearly everyone on planet Earth disagrees with me.

All of the guests are super-solid, and together capture a significant range of comics' capacity for self-expression. I'm particularly happy to see Kominsky-Crumb invited. She's a really interesting cartoonist and an influential editor whose body of work doesn't receive enough respect. I'd pay to see her talk.
 
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Go, Look: More Cool-Looking B&W JP Leon Superhero Art

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Festivals Extra/Missed It: ICAF Announces 2014 Schedule

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Somehow I missed that the International Comic Arts Forum had announced its 2014 schedule. That is one of the core events of modern comics' rise over the last 20 years, and I rarely pay it the attention it deserves. I'll be on hand for this year's show -- I'm going to do the Jeff Smith panel. I'm super-looking forward to a ton of it, but maybe most of all Justin Green, whom I've never met nor seen speak. Also, the event picked up a previously scheduled Columbus offering that was moved because of travel concerns at the time it was supposed to take place, so we'll all get to see Congressman Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. I hope everyone local will attend as much of it as they're able, as they will be sponsored in doing so.
 
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Go, Listen: Gil Roth Interviews Nina Bunjevac

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

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Go, Look: Les Paul & Mary Ford

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Chris Mautner talks to Luke Pearson. Tim Young talks to Rus Wooten. Team Comics Alternative talks to Gilbert Hernandez and Keith Knight. Brigid Alverson talks to Roger Langridge. Tim O'Shea talks to Dustin Weaver.

* Gus Mastrapa sent in a link to this review, with an amazing opening graph.

* Hawkeye #2 in roughs.

* Ed Piskor was a Marvel Comics reject: I love looking at cartoonists' very early work, particularly if they had a mainstream comics art thing going on before settling in on a different style for much of their adult work. I'm trying to think of the equivalent in other art forms I enjoy and I'm coming up empty.

* there are much worse specific skills.

* finally, in case you haven't seen it yet, Whit Taylor did a very thorough report on SPX for TCJ.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Shinobu Kaitani!

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September 23, 2014


Go, Look: Lyric Sheet

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Go, Read: Denise Dorman Piece On Conventions, Cosplayers

imageThe site Bleeding Cool ran an article here that garnered a bit of traction on social media with at least a few dozen comics professionals: an essay by Denise Dorman on the risks of exhibiting at current comics shows and one perceived culprit, namely conventions becoming hubs for cosplay as opposed to maintaining their longtime status as an aggressive marketplace aimed at hardcore fans. It's kind of a fun article in that there seem to be two different arguments being constructed, and their connection is assumed more than proven. Still, I think Bleeding Cool is right to present these issues as things being talked about by certain elements of comics culture. I know I've been a witness to conversations mirroring both halves of this essay several times this year. There are real worries out there about how to keep going to conventions and utilizing them in a way that's profitable or at least doesn't represent a huge loss. There is also resentment aimed at the cosplaying community for "using" shows rather than really participating in them -- that's not just as customers, but as con-goers more generally. The argument as I've heard people make it is that they're really exhibitors in terms of orientation -- there to be seen rather than see -- but they don't have to invest in a space the way other exhibitors have to.

I don't believe the theory, but I know that several people do.

imageConventions not only encompass a lot of different fan experiences, they vary widely show to show in terms of approach and emphasis. It's very difficult to make a sweeping statement about how people are doing, let alone nailing down any firm reasons for why this is so. For everyone that sells a few books or one painting, there are other people pulling in $5000 doing sketches at a HeroesCon or cracking $1000 for the first time selling mini-comics and books at an SPX. There are shows that are doing phenomenally well catering in part to cosplayers and shows doing just as well on the terms they've set for themselves without a person in costume in sight. Nothing is guaranteed right now, and seeing profits from a traditional source (an older artist selling books and art, say, or a giant retailer with an elaborate booth) would seem to be even more at-risk. The only thing certain is the uncertainty of the situation, and anyone that counts on shows, festivals and cons bringing in a certain amount of money is bound at some point over a several-year period to be disappointed. It's such a shifting landscape. All I can suggest is that we all take into account the risks involved, and have some sympathy for those with tough decisions to make. The fact that I no longer buy new books or old comics at comics shows isn't a lamentable fact, it's just a fact; I haven't worn a costume anywhere since 1998. Things are different now. They'll be different again three years down the line. It will always be tough for someone.

Jim Zub is one of many creators with thoughts; his are collected here.
 
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Go, Look: The Ghosts Of Pineville

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ICYMI: We're In The Midst Of Banned Books Week

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The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sent out a link-laden piece of PR about their paricipation in this year's celebration of free speech, Banned Books Week. It reads as follows:
From September 21st to September 27th, hundreds of events are happening in local communities and thousands of conversations are taking place online -- be sure to take part! Below are just a few ways you can get involved.

1. Find an event in your community at: http://cbldf.org/2014/09/banned-books-week-events-around-the-country/ and http://bannedbooksweek.org/events

Visit a stop on CBLDF's Banned Books Week tour: http://cbldf.org/2014/09/cbldfs-banned-books-week-tour/

2. Follow us on Twitter at @CBLDF and @BannedBooksWeek and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CBLDF and https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek for the latest news and updates

3. Add our Twibbon to your profile pic: http://twb.ly/432U2GAF

Post your Banned Books Week displays and events on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek, #BannedComics, and #CBLDF

Use CBLDF's extensive resources including free posters and publications to help celebrate Banned Books Week: http://cbldf.org/2014/09/free-posters-and-resources-for-banned-books-week/

Visit www.cbldf.org every day this week for special articles, brand new resources, and the latest on Banned Books Week activities!

Support CBLDF's important work by becoming a member: http://cbldf.org/2014/09/free-posters-and-resources-for-banned-books-week/

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community -- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types -- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
I hope that you'll participate. The Fund's longterm strategy for best serving comics is to place themselves and comics within wider free speech and anti-censorship efforts, of which this one is major.
 
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Go, Look: The Real Hot Dads Of Sesame Place

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Go, Read: Dave Sim On The Sales Potential For His Alex Raymond Book To Be Published By IDW

imageI thought this was an interesting article to read, about Dave Sim thinking his Alex Raymond book won't do well when IDW publishes it. He has to finish it first; he's seeing extra, direct support by fans in achieving this.

I'm not endorsing any of the thoughts on the parade, either Sim's or the pushback from the Bleeding Cool piece. I think Sim places a significant amount of importance on the New York Times as a cultural and I guess now a sales arbiter, an importance it may or may not deserve, and there's an undercurrent of weird self-absorption in terms of why he thinks a book he's making might be successful or not. My hunch is that The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond stands as good a chance as any really well-executed book about a very specific subject stands of doing, with the bonus that there's a lot of goodwill that a lot of fans have for Sim and those fans will want to buy a good-looking book with his name on the cover as its author. I know I want to see it. I don't even understand the scheme he's suggesting as a counter sales strategy, but 1) I didn't understand his High Society digital comics release, either, and 2) that scheme is also interesting for the idea of this world of intensely interested buyers devoted to specific subject matter.
 
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Go, Look: Captain Battle #2

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How I'd Spend $50 At This Year's Top Shelf Discount Sale

imageI already own these books, but I like to spy on the Top Shelf $3 sale and see how many good comics I could buy for $50. This is my list this year: original price on one side of the slash, discounted price on the other. I even have a bit of room to spare. You can go here and make your own choices.

There's a lot of good work for sale that I'm not listing, as I'm favoring getting as much work as I can, and as much work as I fear will never be reprinted, over making really fine distinctions in terms of quality. Still, I'd go on vacation with this picnic basket full of comics. Any time. The thought that you can have that Eddie Campbell book -- some of the best comics ever -- for $8 in hardcover freaks me out a bit. This list is also a reminder of some of the admirable artists they've published over the years, with varying levels of success.

* Alec: The Years Have Pants -- HARDCOVER $49.95/$8.00
* Ax (Vol 1): A Collection of Alternative Manga $29.95/$3.00
* Banks/Eubanks $9.95/$1.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #1 $7.50/$3.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #4 $7.50/$1.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #5 $7.50/$1.00
image* Happy #1 $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #2: Elephant, Bunny, & Chicken $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #3: Zirkus $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #4: Female $3.50/$1.00
* Hutch Owen (Vol 1): The Collected $14.95/$3.00
* Hutch Owen (Vol 2): Unmarketable $14.95/$1.00
* Jennifer Daydreamer #1 $4.95/$1.00
* Jennifer Daydreamer: Anna & Eva $4.95/$1.00
* Lone Racer $12.95/$1.00
* Lucille $29.95/$3.00
* Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story $5.00/$2.50
* Staros Report -- 1997 $4.95/$1.00
* Staros Report -- 1996 $4.95/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 1): Bighead and Friends $7.00/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 2): Deadly Awesome $10.00/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 3): The Kind of Strength... $6.00/$1.00
* The Legend of Wild Man Fischer $7.95/$1.00
* The Man Who Loved Breasts $4.00/$1.00
* The Ticking $19.95/$3.00
* The Troll King $14.95/$3.00

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: That Jill Lepore Wonder Woman Article In The New Yorker To Which I Keep Forgetting To Link

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By Request Extra: Andre Krayewski's Skyliner, The Complete Series

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kickstarter here; the case made strongly here
 
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Go, Look: Mary Charlene On Etsy

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

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

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If I Were In Ann Arbor, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Michael Deodato Jr. Pin-Ups

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* that is one good-looking comics portrait of Biz Markie.

image* I like this piece from Sean Kleefeld on Blades Of Hope because it's told from the point of view of a consumer: what he likes, what led him to purchase.

* Todd Klein on Aquaman And The Others #5. Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Guidebook. Henry Chamberlain on An Age Of License. Andy Oliver on Scene & Heard.

* not comics: DC is becoming quite bullish on TV shows for its second-tier characters, a strategy that makes sense for a few reasons including 1) they now have a template for doing such shows successfully, and 2) TV shows play to different strengths that comics have, strengths that haven't yet been exploited.

* John Porcellino, art hero.

* congratulations to Lucy Knisley and her husband John Horstman, on their momentous life event. Graphic novel forthcoming.

* Team Let's Talk Comics talks to Scott Allie. Brian Cremins talks to Marnie Galloway. Kristin Steenbeeke talks to David Lasky.

* I like little kids in superhero costumes, like this awesome-looking Wonder Woman.

* finally, a couple more from Kleefeld: 1) a short essay on why inclusive casting with comics character-structures is a boon on many levels; 2) a piece on the 1995 comics umbrella.
 
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Happy 76th Birthday, Jean-Claude Meziérès!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Peter David!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Paul Ryan!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Michael Peterson!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Dan Day!

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September 22, 2014


Go, Look: The Gooliggoo

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(Some Of) Your 2014 Stumptown Comics Awards Winners

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So I'm told that the Stumptown Comics Awards were held in conjunction with the Rose City Comic Con over this last weekend. It sounds like they were awarded during the opening ceremony/kick-off event. The awards being done through Rose City was part of the agreement that the foundation that used to put on the Stumptown Comics Festival reached when they decided to become a part of that show and stop running their own. The last I'd heard about that particular awards program was that it was extending its voting period this year. I never saw a nominees list, from which I usually build the winners list -- I think it helps to see each win in that context. So apologies there.

I still can't find the nominations or a winners list at any of the official sites -- -- but here's what I've been able to piece together from people on the ground tweeting or posting pictures the night of.

Best Publication For Younger Readers
Lumberjanes

Best Cartoonist
Zander Cannon, Heck

Best Small Press
Cartozia Tales

Best New Comic
The Auteur

Best Digital Comic
High Crimes

Best Colorist
Bill Crabtree, I think maybe for The Sixth Gun

Best Artist
James Callahan, The Auteur

Best Publication Design
The Fifth Beatle

Reader's Choice
Matt Kindt, Mind MGMT

Congratulations to all winners and nominees, whoever you might be. I'll re-do this if an official list is made public, or if I'm directed towards one that I'm just not seeing right now.
 
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A Rare Mort Meskin Horror Story

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Go, Read: The CBLDF Presents A Number Of Banned And Challenged Comics For Banned Books Week

Betsy Gomez has a nice write-up here that's worth breaking away from your social media feeds and consuming all at once: 22 comics works that have been the object of book challenges or similar, censorious campaigns. The range of works and the range of campaigns makes for a compelling read.

One thing that always reveals itself to me is this recurring idea of libraries or even reading in general as a safe haven for bland consumption, paired with the idea that someone must be punished if that conception is violated in some manner. That there's an insitutional responsibility to support unchallenging ideas. That Ice Haven story is an absolute freaking chiller, if you haven't thought about that whole mess in a while. My life is infinitely better for as a child running towards, not away, from controversial subjects and age-appropriate considerations.
 
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OTBP: In The Sounds And Seas Vol. 2

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Not Comics: NC Wyeth Pulp Cover Gallery

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Virginia Paine at Sparkplug Books is holding a crowd-funding campaign for their Fall books. This includes the last issue of Reich, a project I'd love to see come to an honorable conclusion. I hope you'll consider it.

* the four crowd-funding campaigns in which we've had a continuing interest, or at least a focused interest this month: the campaign for photographer and comics-maker Seth Kushner during his illness, Dan Vado's campaign to restore his SLG, Drew Weing's Patreon campaign and SM Vidaurri's version of same. There are hundreds out there like this, compelling and worthy, but these are the ones to which we've paid a little extra attention.

* you can help the artist Lisa Jonte get back into a life of making through a donation at a modestly-leveled campaign here.

* a couple of you wrote me after finding interesting this interview with the writer Jimmy Palmiotti about his ongoing series of fundraising campaigns. What struck both CR readers (roughly) were how successful they were compared to some more modest ones and how they were being employed in the course of a career that's succesful in more traditional ways, which isn't always how people look at those kinds of mechanisms.

* finally, Dave Proch is looking for $1000 to do two issues of a comic book. That visual looks nice.
 
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Go, Look: Marvel By Moebius

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Not Comics: NYT Mini-Essay On Triumph Of Geek Culture

I missed this short essay by Fredrik deBoer about the grievance aspect of geek culture, and his argument that as it's the dominant force in popular culture a new way of looking at those things might be useful. I have a hard time even caring about these sorts of issues these days. I don't know if that's a function of age or my own particular background or what.

My view growing up was that victimization had very little to do with the content of geek culture than it did with folks latching onto anything anyone might find embarrassing in a way that could be used to demean them -- and that was in the 1980s, supposedly a dark age for people that were into fantasy culture in all of its various permutations and related areas. The lines are blurred, too. I guess it is sort of interesting how those forces are tweaked into order to sell that material now, the idea that you're somehow a connoiseur for liking something a certain way that in some form is everywhere. I'm also interested in the depth of devotion people have for things I feel don't have a lot to offer in terms of an artistic experience. Mostly, though, I just want to explore my own interests.

Alyssa Rosenberg weighs in here.
 
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Go, Look: Same Story Told Yesterday

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FFF Results Post #394 -- Fictional Places (Non-Capes Edition)

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Town/Cities/Villages You Like In Comics That Don't Exist In The Real World... And Don't Involve Superheroes." This is how they responded.

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Ryan Sands

1. Treasure Town (Tekkon Kinkreet)
2. Barrelhaven (Bone)
3. Scrapyard & Tiphares (Battle Angel Alita)
4. "Stacyface" town, Ontario (Lose #4)
5. Kurozu-cho (Uzumaki)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Radiant City
2. Mingo City
3. Dogpatch, Arkansas
4. Sorrow's End
5. Riverdale

*****

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Jean-Paul Jennequin

1. Hicksville
2. The village of Astérix (that's all the naming it gets)
3. La Siesta, the Zoolande city where Chaminou et le Khrompire by Raymond Macherot, takes place
4. The Smurf village
5. Champignac-en-Cambrousse from the adventures of Spirou by Franquin

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Palomar
2. Fort Thunder
3. Hicksville
4. The Dreaming
5. The Unifactor

*****

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Michael May

1. Barrelhaven (Bone)
2. Hillsborough (Courtney Crumrin)
3. Iest (Cerebus)
4. Tagakka Uchi (Okko)
5. The Farm (Fables)

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Yu Dao
2. Barrelhaven
3. Roanapur
4. Burden Hill
5. Palomar

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1. Riverdale (Archie comics)
2. Grimy Gulch (Tumbleweeds)
3. Beanworld (wouldn't you call that a town of sorts?)
4. Camelot (Prince Valiant, among others)
5. Duckburg (Uncle Scrooge, et al)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. The unnamed village in Gaul that Julius Ceasar was never able to conquer (Asterix)
2. Hicksville, New Zealand (Hicksville)
3. The Valley outside Boneville (Bone)
4. Okefenokee Swamp (Pogo)
5. Oniaka City Station (Runners)

*****

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Don MacPherson

1. Devil's Echo (Leave It to Chance)
2. The Valley (Bone)
3. The Hilltop (The Walking Dead)
4. Kapupu Lagoon (Sherman's Lagoon)
5. Angelville (Preacher)

*****

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George Pfromm

* Ice Haven
* Terminal City
* Central City
* King City
* Arcopolis

*****

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RJ Casey

1. Barrelhaven
2. Hicksville
3. Palomar
4. Snap City
5. Duckburg

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Terminal City
2. Tanelorn
3. Lankhmar
4. Central City (The Spirit)
5. Midnight, Mass.

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1- X, from Dash Shaw's New School
2- Lockhaven, from Mouse Guard
3- Acropolis, from Paul Pope's Battling Boy
4- New Texas, from Joe Harris & Martin Morrazo's Great Pacific
5- Armillia, from Benoit Peeters The Road to Armillia

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Conniption
2. Palnu
3. Duckburg
4. Trff City, Berzerkistan
5. Pretzelburg

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Duckburg
2. Deadbone (Vaughn Bode)
3. Iest
4. Sin City
5. Triton (Daniel Torres)

*****

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Dave Knott

* The village of indomitable Gauls
* Toonerville
* Central City
* Palomar
* Terminal City

*****

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James Moore

1. The City (Transmetropolitan)
2. King City
3. Iest
4. Volcano Park
5. Tackleford, England

*****

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Randy Clark

1. Grimy Gulch
2. Terminal City
3. Toonerville
4. Elkhorn
5. Kokonino Kounty

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Moomins: Moominvalley
2. Rick O'Shay:: Conniption
3. Donald Duck: Duckburg
4. Valerian: Galaxity
5. Tarzan: Opar

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

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Go, Look: Adventure Comics #362's Non-Comics Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* in 1947, cartoonists put blindfolds on and drew their characters as requested by Life.

image* Rob Clough profiles Lilli Carré.

* Meghan Turbitt remembers Eric The Actor.

* Todd Klein on Justice League #33. Sean Gaffney on Genshiken: Second Season Vol. 5. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Henry Chamberlain on Sugar Skull and Sirens #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on On The Books. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Uncle Scrooge And Donald Duck: Son Of The Sun. I like this review of Ryan Cecil Smith's recent work, although I'm still not remember who does Sequential State when I look at stuff on that site.

* I'm always a little baffled by DC's handling of their Legion Of Super-Heroes property as that seems like one of those easy-to-parse Iron Man/Green Lantern level high concept books that should always sort of work. Then again, no one has ever put me in charge of any creative enterprise, so that's basically backseat driving on my part.

* finally, J. Caleb Mozzocco's review of forthcoming comics has a good look at that Jeff Smith Miracleman variant cover.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Peter Kuper!

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September 21, 2014


Go, Read: Sasa Rakezic Interviews Robert Crumb

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don't know if it's new, but it's new to me
 
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Go, Look: Photos From Inaugural Alpha Omega Con

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OTBP: Museum Of Mistakes

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Go, Look: Marion Barraud

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Go, Look: Untitled Jacob Canepa Story

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Go, Look: Ways Of Making Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 56th Birthday, Drew Friedman!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Craig Thompson!

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Happy 34th Birthday, David Malki!

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September 20, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade










A Bunch Of Videos From SPX 2014, Now One Week In The Rear View Mirror
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 13 to September 19, 2014:

1. Alison Bechdel wins a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

2. SPX, come and gone.

3. Four comics-makers and one sometimes comics publishing house support an open letter to the Brooklyn Book Festival criticizing their decision to take Israeli state money targeted towards arts promotion for one of the festival's panels.

Winner Of The Week
Bechdel.

Losers Of The Week
Longtime users of Brian Bendis' messageboard.

Quote Of The Week
"The Gibson Girls are stationary; they sit on the beach in their cute, ancient swim costumes, smiling like Mona Lisa, and the men just all flock around them. Nell Brinkley's women are extremely active. They surf, sled, and ski, with hair flying in the wind. A favorite subject for Gibson was showing these beautiful society girls being married off to ugly, old counts and dukes. Brinkley's women never let people marry them off to nobility. They fell in love. It was a whole new generation. She didn't create the New Woman, but she mirrored her." -- Trina Robbins
 
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Go, Look: Simon And Kirby Do The Gunpowder Plot

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Go, Look: Colleen Doran Tests Her Brush And Ink Skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 46th Birthday, Coop!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Steve Ringgenberg!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Tom Williams!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Bill Amend!

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September 19, 2014


Several Cartoonists Sign Petition Vs Brooklyn Book Festival Taking Israeli State Funding For A Panel

You can read the petition here. I think it's pretty straight forward. At issue is the sponsorship of a panel by Israel's Office of Cultural Affairs in New York. That's an embassy-hosted effort that does a lot of presenting art from Israel in a variety of settings. A sponsored book panel seems just the kind of thing they'd be interested in doing. The objection by those signing the petition is described at length and is based on Israeli policy in Palestine.

The occasional comics but mostly prose publisher PM Press signed through publishers Ramsey Kanan and Craig O'Hara. The indvidual cartoonists listed are Eleanor Davis, Ethan Heitner, Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman. They joined by a variety of artists working with other media.

The Festival is this Sunday.
 
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Go, Read: Interview On The Lagos Comicon Turning Three

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That's a really good get for The Beat. Many of the African comics scenes are fascinating.
 
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Brian Bendis Shuts Down His Long-Running, Popular Message Board

Covered here best, I think. I'm catching up with this late on a Friday but that's an interesting move and sort of an historical event in terms of modern comics culture. It's hard for me to think of a creator outside of Mark Millar and Warren Ellis more closely affiliated with a specific old-fashioned message board. I'm sure that it played a role in his rise to prominence writing comics, although how much it's hard to say. I don't envy anyone the task of trying to wrangle a board in this day and age, particularly a writer as busy as Bendis.
 
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Go, Look: Four Color Poetics

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Not Comics: Ghost World Movie Nesting Dolls

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Long Beach Comic Con + Long List Of Comics/Animation Pros To Announce Dwayne McDuffie Award

I'm happy about this. The late comics-maker and media-crossover steward was an important figure for fans and fellow professionals and one not always treated with the respect he deserved during the comics-focused parts of his career. As far as I'm concerned, we should name a bunch of awards after Dwayne McDuffie.
 
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Go, Look: Brooklyn Witch Tweets

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Not Comics: Popeye Film Promotional Footage

I don't have a lot of interest in films featuring comics characters and don't really have any opinion on this footage made available from a forthcoming attempt at doing Popeye with 3-D animation, but it seems to me that it's more important than ever for the newspaper syndicates to be strong advocates/representatives for their major properties in Hollywood. It's not like it was ever unimportant, but there seems to be more pressure now.
 
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Go, Read: Lengthy Interview With Adam Hines

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* Gary Tyrrell points us in the direction of a sale for the bonus-stuffed edition of Stripped!, the comics documentary with a huge webcomics making element to it. I liked the theatrical cut when I saw it last year, and I wish the filmmakers well with selling any version they choose to sell. I think you'd get a lot of interviews this way, and a big strength of the film is its catholic approach to those choices across print/digital lines

* the week after the Ignatz awards is always a good time to visit the on-line comic nominees. I sometimes wonder if digital comics -- of the traditional webcomics variety in particular -- have the same problem that web sites and blogs have in terms of finding new ways to drive readers to their material. They are much more conducive to some of the non-twitter social media platforms in particular, so there are compensating virtues, but when I think of webcomics I think of a kind of consumption of digital material I don't think exists to saturating levels now.

* finally, here's the comiXology press release on the second wave of publishers participating in their DRM-free program. Everyone expected a lengthy list when the digital comics distribution hub got around to putting one out. When the first list came out several publishers said they simply weren't able to announce right then due to the time commitment right before San Diego Con.
 
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Go, Look: A Tank Knows No Mercy

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Collective Memory: SPX 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Miss Scoopem

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Michael A. Johnson on layouts used by Guido Crepax.

* Don MacPherson on a bunch of different comics. J. Calebo Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. Joe Gordon on Wild's End #1. Richard Bruton on Scene & Heard.

* these are indeed some very pretty covers Darwyn Cooke has done for DC Comics, and conceptually sound as single-image storytelling devices. I mean, that's the closest to interesting DC's new team of mystical characters has ever been. Mainstream comics aren't my primary area of interest, but I'm all for stunts that feature a creator over editorially-directed story product.

* finally, I know it's very old-man to make this sort of complaint, but I had a hard time sussing the title for a comic out of this post. That character Doop looks fun, though.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Chris Wright!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Garry Leach!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Sarah Oleksyk!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Cynthia Martin!

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September 18, 2014


Go, Look: No Tip

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This Feature Article Solves The Greatest Mystery Of Our Time

How did Dan Piraro end up hosting that television show?

I don't mean the headline in anything approaching a bad way, but I know a lot of people who were super-curious about it. It was a recurring subject at SPX, normally a hostile ground for FOX TV shows and older cartoonist day gigs.

 
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Go, Look: Thumbs Up Club

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Venezualan Cartoonist Fired After Healthcare Cartoon

The firing of Rayma Suprani over a cartoon showing the signature of Hugo Chavez moving into a flatline is explained in reasonable, clear fashion here. What's remarkable is to note the number of cultural factors in play in what seems like a fairly direct act. The idea that people be fired for opinion work is always a bit troubling barring a completely deranged evacuation of ethics and good sense.
 
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Go, Look: Ruta Daubure

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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.

*****

JUL141359 CHARLES BURNS SUGAR SKULL GN $23.00
This isn't a week stuffed with remarkable comics, so you can spend some time with the last volume of Charles Burns' recent trilogy just as the artist sits on the cusp of the friendly reconsideration that will no doubt be a big part of the Fall. I think that work is gorgeous.

imageJUL140190 MULTIVERSITY THE SOCIETY OF SUPER-HEROES #1 $4.99
JUL140191 MULTIVERSITY THE SOCIETY OF SUPER-HEROES #1 BLACK & WHITE VA $4.99
APR140594 SATELLITE SAM #10 (MR) $3.50
JUL140584 TREES #5 (MR) $2.99
JUL140590 WICKED & DIVINE #4 (MR) $3.50
This would probably be a week where I'd pick up one or two of this Grant Morrison-written series in the overlapping "Multiversity" epic. I don't feel any real excitement for those comics from people not me and I'm not the audience, but Morrison is a superior comics-maker in general and so are many of his collaborators. Nice to see Satellite Sam hit double-digits, which would seem to indicate continued interest in the milieu from creators Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin. Finally, I've enjoyed the first few issues I've read of both Trees and The Wicked And Divine, although it's still too early for a summary appraisal of either.

MAY140778 ORIGINAL SIN #5.5 $3.99
I'm sure I'd have no problem following these kinds of specifics if I were still immersed in the world of superheroes, but I have to wonder what a half-issue of a comic that far along in its progression even means.

JUN141355 ASTERIX OMNIBUS SC VOL 08 $19.95
At one point I'll want a lot more of this work than I have, so a slower day -- at least for me -- at the comic shop would be a likely time for me to check out what's available. I'm not sure I'd ever want to read an English translation given the verbal gymnastics in play.

JUL141390 DURHAM RED BITCH GN $17.99
I'm just pleased with my old self that I remembered who Durham Red is when my scanning the list brought me to this entry.

JUN141320 MEKA HC $19.99
This is part of an effort to re-purpose the JD Morvan/Bengal efforts for American audiences; I have no idea as to its particulars.

MAY141604 MICHAEL MOORCOCK ELRIC HC VOL 01 RUBY THRONE $12.99
I will always look at an Elric comic just as I will always look at a Tarzan comic. This particular work is described here as coming from creators with whom I have a much less impressive track record than I do with the albino king himself, but it apparently has Moorcock's full support. I think the character well suited to comics.

JUL141397 ONLY SKIN GN NEW PTG (MR) $21.95
There are always reprints, such as this Sean Ford effort. I suspect Ford may be a lifer. Congrats to him on working his way through a first print.

MAY140057 RED MOON HC $24.99
Finally, this is Eduardo Risso art, so I want it.

*****

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

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

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

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

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*****
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Go, Look: Matthew Houston

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Go, Look: Ian Laser Higginbotham

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* a lot of small press folks are still coming down from last weekend's SPX, which along with Comic-Con International is the original "peak experience" con; something on the calendar openly anticipated all year and then enjoyed like a piece of chocolate cake. Next year's 21st Century focus should make this even more of a thing.

* there are a ton of interesting shows this weekend. Los Angeles hosts a Christian-themed pop culture and comics convention; I don't even know what Christian culture looks like in a pluralistic America. The second of the Cincinnati shows goes off. Independents Day is a local/regional arts fair with a comics participation element taking place in Columbus. The Brooklyn Book Festival is a significant player in that particular rubric already. In Portland there's Rose City. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

* finally, the comics festival in Bogota kicks off today and runs through Sunday. That was a show widely discussed at SPX, and it looks like a good one.
 
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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Animal Comics #5

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on The Heroic Legend Of Arslan, Vol. 1. Todd Klein on Green Lantern #34. Johanna Draper Carlson on Sherlock Bones Vol. 7. Richard Bruton on Why Did You Turn? Joe Gordon on Y The Last Man. Kelly Thompson on Lazarus #11. John Kane on a bunch of different comic books. Ng Suat Tong on Truth: Red, White And Black. Sean Gaffney on Ranma 1/2 Vols. 7-8, Hayate The Combat Butler Vol. 24 and Phantom Thief Jeanne Vol. 4.

* not all the way sure why I bookmarked this image, but I like it. That's probably enough.

* here's a piece on mainstream companies re-imagining white characters as black ones; I like the term "microwave solution."

* Susan Dunne talks to David Hajdu.

* finally, I quite liked this lengthy piece from J. Caleb Mozzocco on one of the major phases of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. Lot of fun art in that post.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Chris Radtke!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Gary Groth!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Robin Brenner!

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Happy 46th Birthday, John Porcellino!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Brian Ralph!

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Happy 65th Birthday, William Stout!

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September 17, 2014


Go, Look: Sex Fantasy

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Congratulations To Cartoonist Alison Bechdel For Winning A MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant

imageNewspapers and wire stories all over the country are carrying the news of this latest round of MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipients. Included on this list is the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, described this way in the LA Times articled linked to above:
Alison Bechdel, 54, Bolton, Vt.

Cartoonist and graphic memoirist

The innovative comic artist known for the graphic memoirs Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother is at an artist residency in Italy and initially didn't pick up the phone when the MacArthur Foundation called. When the phone rang again, she figured it must be important. It was crazy, she said. "It was a little garbled, then I heard the person on the other end say the words MacArthur Foundation, and the world started spinning."
In addition to being one of comics' singular talents, Bechdel is an excellent advocate for the comics world -- smart and articulate and engaged with her readers -- and I suspect she will be excellent in this new role as well.

I also like that as I get older and recognize more recipients on the lists that come out how confident I am that comics-makers deserve every consideration and every honor they receive. They are as valuable and significant as any group of artists out there, and I look forward to constant reminders of this for the next several decades.

The winners receive $625,000 with no strings attached as to how they use it.
 
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Go, Look: Selbstbildnis Walpurgisnacht Bildungsroman

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Missed It: The Last Saturday

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Roz Chast Makes The Long List For This Year's National Book Award Non-Fiction Honor

imageRoz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, which by the end of 2014 will be a significant candidate for book of the year honors in comics, has become the first book in comics form to place on the long list for the National Book Awards on their non-fiction list. Considering how many good books come out in this general area of expression for comics, I'd love to see this become a regular thing. Whether that happens or not, it's still a mighty feat for Chast, the only female author on the list of ten.

The book was published by Bloomsbury.

There is a fun audio interview with Chast here.
 
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Go, Read: Zachary Clemente Talks To Annie Koyama

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Not Comics: On The Great Superman Movie Contest

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Justice League #32. Richard Bruton on A Quiet Disaster. Rob Clough on Ship Of Soiled Doves.

* I liked this J. Caleb Mozzocco piece on a bunch of different Futures End comics, and I think it's a boon for comics that a writer that sharp engages with new comics that vigorously and thoroughly over a long period of time. I'm slightly baffled by those DC crossover comics conceptually, because I'm not sure there's a lot of power in future riffs on a set of characters who in this current formulation have only been around 30-35 issues. In fact, you may run the risk of showing these characters having greater agency than their regular-issue versions in a way that does not flatter the standard series.

* I'm still a little bit of time away from my SPX report -- I never posted my CCI report, which needs to go up as well -- but I'm still collecting links concerning things to talk about. One is this Pat Aulisio post.

* Don MacPherson writes about the original art market and the irrevocable changes that have come with the ease and ubiquity of digital art and digital art alterations.

* finally, I'm not sure I was aware there was a Derf store.
 
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Happy 71st Birthday, Carlos Sampayo!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Hope Larson!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Roger Stern!

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September 16, 2014


Tony Auth, RIP

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I hope to write a full obituary, but in case I don't: he stands out to me as a way better than average gag cartoon maker, and in the first rank of editorial cartoonists on those terms. This made his cartoons frequently laugh-out-loud in the way I think editorial cartoons are meant to be. It's a laugh of surprise and seeing something with new eyes rather than a chuckle of affirmation.
 
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Go, Read: Massive Survey Article On Women Comics-Makers At Collectors Weekly

I thought this survey article on women cartoonists over the last 115 years or so longer than most. It certainly goes a bit deeper. It's nice to be reminded of so many fantastic comics-makers even if you're no on board with the explicit or even implicit list-building part of the exercise (for instance, I don't think Edwina Dumm is on here).
 
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Go, Look: Tom Galambos

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Go, Look: Frankenstein #3

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

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Go, Look: Cartoonists For Betty Grable

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Happy 46th Birthday, Kip Manley!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Kurt Busiek!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Seth!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Amanda Emmert!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Mike Mignola!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Tom Kaczynski!

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September 15, 2014


Go, Look: Early-Career Ronald Searle

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Missed It/By Request Extra: comiXology's Submit Bundle

I don't really know how much longer the Amazon.com comics reading platform comiXology will be offering a Submit-related bundle of SPX-style comics, but it looks more than worth checking out.

I enjoy offers like this one because I'm fascinated by people using conventions for things not on the convention floor, and I like this one in particular because it's comics-focused rather than scene-focused or brand-focused.
 
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Been A While Since We Saw Some Golden Age Madness

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Sal Buscema Covers

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* there is a gofundme here to help provide Lisa Jonte with a key piece of equipment to help her get back to making art for a living. I hope you'll consider it. I like the specific nature of that request.

image* there's nothing better than spending a few minutes reading about Herb Trimpe on a Monday, unless that's paying for the whole Lambiek.net on-line biography effort as detailed in the request at the top of such entries right now.

* Dan Vado's gofundme campaign is an ongoing concern in which we're interested.

* I just saw Drew Weing a few hours ago; you can always jump into his Patreon campaign. Ditto SM Vidaurri.

* finally, it would be amazing to make another milestone with this Seth Kushner fundraiser. I met a lot of people this weekend that gave to that one despite no real relationship to the comics-maker/photographer, which was very nice to hear.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there's going to be a little bit of an SPX hangover for the next few days as several components of the comics industry and small press culture drag themselves back to work. Apologies in advance.

image* Raighne Hogan talks to Box Brown and Jared Smith.

* I always enjoy these logo studies from Todd Klein.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comic books. Rob Clough looks at the work of Sam Alden. Don MacPherson on Annihilator #1.

* Johanna Draper Carlson looks at the FU Press announcement.

* did I run this D+Q ELCAF report? I hope I did, but in case I didn't, there it is.

* finally, a preview of Vapor. That's a nice-looking book.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Salgood Sam!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Lance Tooks!

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Happy 45th Birthday, John Ira Thomas!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Scott Dunbier!

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September 14, 2014


SPX 2014 Is A Wrap

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See you next year...
 
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Go, Look: BJ DuVall

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Your 2014 Ignatz Award Winners

imageThe Ignatz Awards, the awards ceremony held in conjunction with the Small Press Expo, announced their winners last night in a ceremony that featured James Sturm as show host.

The Expo trends leans towards honoring small-press and mini-comics artists by having the voted upon on the convention floor and by using a rotating anonymous jury members drawn from those communities during the nominations round.

Congratulations to the winners and all nominated. Those who took home an award are in bold:

OUTSTANDING ARTIST
* Sam Bosma, Fantasy Basketball
* Kim Deitch, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley
* Sophie Goldstein, Darwin Carmichael is Going To Hell; Edna II; House of Women
* Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1
* Jesse Reklaw, Couch Tag

OUTSTANDING ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
* Amazing Facts and Beyond, Kevin Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch
* The End, Anders Nilsen
* Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2, Leslie Stein
* Sock Monkey Treasury, Tony Millionaire
* QU33R, Various (Edited By Robert Kirby)

OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVEL
* The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, Kim Deitch
* The Boxer, Reinhard Kleist
* Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang
* This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
* War of Streets and Houses, Sophie Yanow

OUTSTANDING STORY
* Brownout Biscuit from Octoups Pie: Dead Forever, Meredith Gran
* Destination X, John Martz
* The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
* Jobs from Life Zone, Simon Hanselmann
* Mom from Viewotron #2, Sam Sharpe

PROMISING NEW TALENT
* Luke Howard, Trevor
* Cathy G. Johnson, Jeremiah; Boy Genius; Until It Runs Clear
* Nick Offerman, Orange; Onions
* Keiler Roberts, Powdered Milk
* Daryl Seitchik, Missy

OUTSTANDING SERIES
* The Black Feather Falls, Ellen Lindner
* Demon, Jason Shiga
* Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts
* Sky in Stereo, Sacha Mardou
* Towerkind, Kat Verhoeven

OUTSTANDING COMIC
* Blammo #8, Noah Van Sciver
* Cosplayers, Dash Shaw
* It Will All Hurt #2, Farel Dalrymple
* Misliving Amended, Adam Buttrick
* Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden

OUTSTANDING MINICOMIC
* The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
* House of Women, Sophie Goldstein
* Never Forgets, Yumi Sakugawa
* Test Tube #1, Carlos Gonzalez
* Up to the Top, Ian Sampson

OUTSTANDING ONLINE COMIC
* Band for Life, Anya Davidson
* Big Dogs at Nite, Dane Martin
* Demon, Jason Shiga
* On Hiatus, Pete Toms
* Vattu, Evan Dahm

This year's jury was Darryl Ayo, Austin English, Melissa Mendes, Thien Pham and Whit Taylor.

Chip Mosher from sponsor comiXology spoke at the conclusion of the awards on behalf of the Submit program.

SPX's Warren Bernard announced a 21st Century theme for next year's show; Paul Karasik extolled the virtues of his own admirable buying habit at such shows of seeking out low-traffic tables and checking out their offerings. Bernard also announced a forthcoming show at Society Of Illustrators reflective of this year's alt-weekly theme. The recent treatment of women working in comics was decried by winner Cathy G. Johnson.

In the aftermath of the show, about a dozen cartoonists and a pair of attendees who were not cartoonists to whom I spoke seemed generally pleased with the winner and the overall positive, inclusive vibe on display. The above strike me as deserving winners as well. One PR person to whom I spoke after the show characterized a book's win as a vote in favor of what the book accomplished with an audience they very much wanted to win over with that book, which I think is a fine way to look at such an honor.
 
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If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Mary Fleener!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Tom Dougherty!

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September 13, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


David B. At TCAF


A Short Richard Thompson Piece From 2012













A Bunch Of Randomly Selected SPX Videos From The Last Five Years


That Time Wendy Pini Appeared On The Mike Douglas Show


Heather Benjamin, Phoebe Gloeckner, Julia Gfrörer Audio From CAKE
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from September 6 to September 12, 2014:

1. Fantagraphics launches a micro-publishing imprint, Fantagraphics Underground (FU).

2. The comics convention in Salt Lake City reports impressive number marking the continued growth of conventions and festivals as an element of comics and pop culture.

3. Harvey Award winners honored in Baltimore.

Winner Of The Week
Conventions in general. It's not all super-strong news across the board with every convention or every type of convention, but the continued strength of shows like the ones in Baltimore and Salt Lake City show there's room from more convention-going.

Losers Of The Week
Everyone in the world not sitting where I was as I typed this, watching the world of North American small press comics wander by.

Quote Of The Week
"Reassuring and educating those adults... they are often unsure -- even in this day and age -- that comics are okay for kids. They're afraid that kids will read comics instead of reading real books. They see kids' eagerness for comics. We want to show them how rich the book is. How all of the visual parts... so many readers, critics and reviewers don't realize how much information there is visually in a comic. This was one way to make this manifest so that everyone would realize that this is a book... it's something that happens with comics that you read them more than once. And reading, making the story happen in your imagination, that happens on a lot of different levels. That's not something always acknowledged in a textbook because it's less common that after you read a prose book you immediately start reading it again -- or that you read the same text book five times. It happens, but it's not common. With comics that almost always happens, especially with a comic that you like." -- Francoise Mouly

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I forgot to load from my folder of 1964 Marvel covers before I left town, so here's an issue of Critters instead

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Go, Look: Björn

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

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

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

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

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

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If I Were In Sherman Oaks, I'd Go To This

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Happy 31st Birthday, Matt Bors!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Gary Kwapisz!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Kent Worcester!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Drew Weing!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Chuck Forsman!

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September 12, 2014


Go, Look: Jim Rugg Sketchbook

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Go, Look: Lara Kaminoff

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Go, Look: Pam Wishbow

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CR Readers Join Me In Discussing comiXology's Submit And Mini-Comics As Discrete Objects

On September 11, CR readers were asked their opinion on the idea of Mini-Comics, Handcrafted Comics and Small Press Comics as discrete objects, brought on by the sponsorship of the Small Press Expo by the Submit program run by Comic Anthology. I wrote the first essay and others followed in response.

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Tom Spurgeon

imageOne thing that I think comes into play in terms of who participates in a program like Submit and who doesn't is cultural orientation. I watched comiXology's Chip Mosher speak at the end of the Ignatzes last year. He made a short pitch for his program, and at the end mentioned that he had drink tickets for the party that followed for anyone that wanted to come up and engage with him about it. The first person that came up to him -- the first person I saw, anyway -- was happy to maybe get a drink ticket but when Mosher began to engage with them there was a quick shift to "Oh my God, don't make me do this." That's not judgmental; I get it. I just think this supports a notion that there's a part of comics culture that doesn't want to invest the act of selling and distributing comics -- any kind of comics, any format -- with agency in a way that puts you out there as a seller or someone who would be interested in same. This seems a strange thing to say about a show of people selling things, but I still think that reluctance is a value a lot of cartoonists have.

When I attended the comiXology panel at San Diego this summer, there were a number of small press people there to express their appreciation for what having that platform has done for their comics and their comics-making. Unless I'm completely wrong, though, these were mostly genre comics of the kind that saw a benefit in having their work where publishers and a more traditional comics audience could see them as opposed to art-comics people who were grateful to put work in folks' hands. I think there's a different orientation there, and I'm not sure that a lot of alt-comics people share that desire to get their work in circulation in a way that puts them on a comics publishing related continuity.

Another thing that interests me is that mini-comics serve a wider variety of functions than comics book do, or at least this is traditionally true. I don't know that there are many comic books made that are as frequently employed as business cards, or as part of the social obligation of going to a show. Very few people make more formal comic books as a way to keep people apprised as to what they are up to. This is a great thing about mini-comics: they can be a commercial end result and a non-commercial object depending entirely on the context: they are "Porcellino's Cat," caught between two states of existence with both equally true.

While it's taken a little while for direct market comics fans and readers and makers to rewire themselves into accepting the the reading of digital comics as its own experience -- and even then, we're not all the way there -- I think it might take handcrafted comics a little while longer. This makes me wonder if we might not see more comics in the future that have a digital life as more or less handcrafted digital comics: think of the Emily Carroll work, or the Kate Beaton sketchcomics, or the animated panels Katie Skelly is using in My Pretty Vampire. At that point, you run up against the idea of programs like these as delivery systems for tablets and phones.

I also have no idea how the perception of the Amazon.com purchase of comiXology may play in terms of any of these factors, particularly the cultural ones. If the orientation is to not involve yourself, that may mean an even lower push is necessary for you to take an option off of the table.

So I think there are challenges there for finding a commercial market for single objects, because mini-comics, handcrafted comics and small press works exist as the boundaries of commercialism, marketplaces and being objects.

The strengths and opportunities of that market, that particular choice moving forward are interesting as well. Digital markets have almost no threshold for participation, and Submit as a model reduces that threshold even further by leaving much of the physical labor costs to their creator-partners. What that means is there are fewer structural impediments than ever not to at least explore the option as one among many available to creators and publishers. After that initial investment of a bit of time, the costs are negligible to the creator as well, at least as I'm able to see it. So I think there are opportunities for digital copies available in a variety of ways to be the final publication home for a significant amount of early and obscure work. When Tom Hart releases his next major comics work, I can imagine there being an interest in his wonderful mini-comics. Ditto Scott McCloud and his next year when The Sculptor drops.

This also could be a place to store work that my flit in and of publishing favor, like those tied into a calendar event or the life of someone in and out of the news. My understanding of the impulses in play with a digital comics purchase are really rudimentary but I know the first time I desired a digital comic for purchase was a comic book that began to go viral as an "event" due to a plot point. I can imagine a future market that is really responsive that way, and I don't think that's an effect you can achieve on a book-to-book, creator-to-creator platform. One can also imagine a playful market, even one tied in fleeting digital exclusives. There's such a profound thing going on right now with digital comics in terms of simply making use of the massive backlog of material that I'm not sure we're doing anything but figuring out how these sales and directed, targeted pricing elements work. At some point that has to die down, and we'll begin to see comics in a different but related light.

I also think there's bound to be a greater push for using every means at one's disposal to distribute work, whether or not you see the primary value in doing so. "Why not?" is going to do battle with "Why?" and I think has a better chance of winning the day with each passing week. I know that the cartoonists I talk to under 35 are much more open about taking advantage of very specific opportunities, opportunities that might not have been on the radar of the cartoonists I know in their 50s and 60s. Comics works according to extremely tiny margins, and at some point professional expectations are likely to conform to these very specific goals. Making hay where you can is not yet the dominant ethos in mini-comics, at least not as far as I can tell, but it's a growing one. A sales point for digital service might not be future-focused by present focused. "What can you do to help me move 10 copies of this book this weekend to go along with the 30 I'll sell at my table?"

*****

imageJay Latimer

I actually prefer to read and buy digital comics over the printed variety. I have a pile of odd-sized comics from SPX that are hard to file. Digital comics are easier to read and take up no space. Having just completed a cross-country move that is a big plus.

The problem I find is that most indy comics just do not have the quality of art and story to mask a purchase worthwhile. I get that they are supposed to be "artistic" and not "professional" but still there should be a minimum standard of quality. I recently looked through one well-regarded indy publisher's website and, based on the previews, did not find one comic that I thought would be worth purchasing. The level of craft is just not there.

Examples of recent comics that I think do meet this standard would be "Shoplifter" by Michael Cho, and (based more on the plot) "Boxers and Saints" by Gene Luen Yang. Each of these comics would reward multiple readings because there is a lot going on in the art or plot.

*****

imageNick Mullins

It's coincidental that you posted your initial piece about comiXology and mini comics the same day I got word that comiXology has accepted my book Carnivale, making it the third book of mine to be listed there.

Basically my feelings about comiXology fall into your "why not" camp. comiXology seems more suited to genre comics than general fiction comics, especially in contrast to something like Sequential. But Sequential doesn't have a Submit program. And these days with most prepress being done on computer, creating a digital file for comiXology is (usually) not too much more work. So why not use it?

That being said, I don't think comiXology is comparable to mini comics as much as tumblr is. tumblr is a social media tool, which make it more, you know, social. People can instantly like and recommend work, and even make comments on it. There is an immedicay to tumblr that makes it more like minis than comiXology.

So let me get into the downsides of comiXology. For one, the Submit process takes months. One of the advantages of minis is you can throw a few together and get them into people's faces that very day. The feedback is potentially instantaneous. Because the Submit approval process takes so long, you don't get that. I'm not blaming comiXology here; I assume they get tons of submissions. Still, there's not that quick feedback. So it creates a delay between you and the response to your work.

Also, you can't see how many of your books have sold through comiXology. Maybe there's a way to do this that I haven't figured out, but I contacted comiXology about this and the response I got was that I'd receive a check every quarter for the books that have been sold. And I have. Still, it's just a check with an amount on it. I don't know which of my books sold or how many. Again, this is a disconnect between me as a creator and my books.

Then there's the rating system. It seems to me that every book comiXology has receives four out of five stars. And without any actual commentary those stars really don't mean much. Why is the book a four star and not a three or five? Who knows? My book Holiday Funeral has four stars and so does the latest Archie comic and so does the Jiro Kuwata Batman books. Are they really similar books of similar quality? The stars are pretty meaningless. Like above, as a creator it means that you are again separated from genuine feedback about your work.

So I don't think comiXology and minis really compare. They are two completely different beasts. So far, comiXology is more of a way to generate money than attention. Even then, it doesn't bring in that much for me. Still, it's not too hard to set up and once the books are up, there is nothing I need to do. It's not like consignment at a store where I have to contact people regularly and ship out books over and over again, which can be costly. With comiXology, it's a one time thing and then I receive my meager checks in the mail. So, why not?

*****

imageShannon Smith

I'm going to respond to this mainly as a customer. I love Comixology and I love the Submit program. I'll buy stuff I already own as minicomics just because I want to read it on my phone while my kids are in dance class. I've also bought minicomics when I had already read the comic digitally just because I liked it so much I wanted a paper version. I want my favorite minicomics creators and small press folks to get on board with Submit and give me more ways to give them my money.
Love it.

And I love minicomics.

The good news is Comixology won't replace what minicomics are/do. For one thing, the Comixology Submit process is slow. The one complaint I've heard universally from friends that have their books on Comixology is that it takes a long time. Now, I'm sure it is still as fast or faster than print publishing but the one thing it is probably never going to be faster than is the minicomic. You can have a minicomic printed up and hour after you finish drawing the last panel. You can draw the last panel in the copy shop.

And you're not going to just lay your iPad mini on a table at SPX and encourage people to buy your Comixology comic. The minicomic is that real and tangible thing you can show people at a show or use as a business card.

I love both and I want both. If you are a creator reading this, give me both and hurry up will ya.

As to the Amazon part of the question. I don't know. I buy a lot of minicomics online but always straight from the creator or a small distro. If Amazon/Comixology came up with a way to incorporate the paper comics into what they offer I might buy more but most likely I'd still make an effort to buy the comics in whichever way put the most money in the creator's pocket. Sending somebody $5 to $10 through PayPal is still pretty easy. I don't really need Amazon to take that over and keep a big chunk of the money.

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Sabin Ga

I think there is room for digital mini-comics, however comixology is absolutely not an option. To use them, you must sell a certain dollar amount each quarter to see any money from using them. Unless you meet that amount, you don't get paid. Not that making mini-comics is lucrative (or that one can even break even) but if they sell 100 of your digital minis, they keep all the money. I can't think of a single mini that exists in the world selling the numbers they need to pay the artist. You're better off putting it out for free or as a pay-what-you-want download.

I think what the small press needs is a digital Tony Shenton -- someone who will work with comics folks to get wide distribution.

I could be totally wrong. Who knows!

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imageDanny Ceballos

Before thinking about digital mini-comics I guess you have to decide how you define mini-comic: is it the form, the content or both? For most creators I would hazard a guess that it is both the form of a handmade art object AND the content, which is generally outside of mainstream taste. But for the sake of argument let's place emphasis on content. Why should there be a limited container to deliver this content? Obviously some creators, like a Michael DeForge, look great on a computer screen, maybe sometimes better than the printed work. Dash Shaw's Body World is one of my favorite internet comics I have ever read and I was surprised that I didn't like (or purchase) the book. I would guess that Body World was designed to be read on computer screens, (the way it scrolled, the continuously morphing layout), and that this computer screen construction kept it from working as well in a printed form.

You probably can have it both ways, I would imagine if Sean T. Collins and Andrew White had printed up Hottest Chick In The Game in a mini-comic form, they might have had a best seller. Which begs the question, why didn't they? Was it a commerce issue (printing costs? legal issues?) or an artistic choice? The way the link to this comic was shared at the time is was first published online demonstrates a distinct possibility that folks might have been more than willing to purchase a printed version or even a digital download. Was it deemed not worth the trouble to make a mini-comic? Was it only ever supposed to be free digital content?

I attended an Art Spiegelman talk where he stated emphatically that the internet is no friend to the artist, specifically that the idea that an artist's work is "shared" (i.e. given away or stolen) with no thought of compensating the creators is insane and should be avoided. To a great extent he is right. What is TUMBLR or FACEBOOK but some blank page we are asked to daily fill for free as someone else collects all the cash. Never forget that these and various sites house but do not create content.

So let's consider the form of the mini-comic. It's kinda become iconic, like the classic green Coke bottle. Once you drink the soda (read the comic) you have this nice little bottle to look at (the paper stock, the printing). But these objects are much deeper by their handmade nature. These are objects that extend from the hand of their creators: a King-Cat has been driven home from the printers and hand folded and hand stapled and hand sealed in a hand lettered envelope by John Porcellino himself. To me it's the equivalent of Jean Luc Godard printing up one of his movies on Super 8 and hand labeling a box to ship to you (it will never happen). Alt comics are the only artistic medium where you can come into such close proximity with its greatest creators and the physical object that is a mini-comic will always be part of this equation.

There are plenty of Alt-comics stars (Gabrielle Bell, Jillian Tamaki, Noah Van Sciver) whose internet presence, via websites for particular comics or merely Blogs & Tumblrs, debuts work that ultimately finds its way to print either as books or in mini-comic format, but almost all this digital content is given away for free. It would seem that to some Alt-comics artists the internet will only ever be a laboratory-slash-calling card-slash-résumé-slash-link to web store. Long live mini-comics form.

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Michael May

I'm fascinated too; more by the indifference and disdain than by comiXology's attending SPX. That's possibly due to my own ignorance about comiXology's terms. I'm guessing that there's something in there that makes them an unattractive option for the folks you're hearing from, but I haven't deeply researched the Submit program and don't know. For all I know, the negative reaction is simply an extension of feelings about Amazon. I'd love to talk to the people you have and learn more.

imagePutting aside the specifics around comiXology, I'm left thinking about the drawbacks to a program like Submit in general. On the one hand, the digital-reading audience is huge and any tool that helps creators reach more readers could be useful. On the other hand, I can imagine that digital isn't attractive to a certain section of art-comics makers and their fans.

When I've been to shows like SPX, one of the things I love most about the comics on display there is the wide variety to the look of the physical objects. Comics can be printed on almost any material and in any size and shape and often are. My favorite art-comics are those that make use of this and I love coming home from shows with comics of all sorts of weird shapes and sizes and designs. That's lost in the digital world and I can understand why others who love that diversity would resist translating their work to the digital format.

But back to the first hand, the thing I think we've learned about digital readers is that mostly they are not fans of physical media who've now converted to reading on screens. They're a whole new audience that wasn't buying comics before. In other words, they don't attend shows like SPX and they don't care about the physical object. The question about those people then is, "Do I want their patronage enough to sacrifice something in my work to get it?"

In a sense, creators sacrifice nothing by creating a digital version, because the physical comic still exists and is available for those who prefer it. But in another sense, creators have to go to the trouble of converting the comic to an arguably inferior format and I can understand how that process could be creatively deflating.

*****



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Go, Look: Kingdom Lost

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Go, Look: Green Llama #3

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Collective Memory: Baltimore Comic-Con 2014

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this article has now been archived
 
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Go, Look: Laurie Piña

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* I liked this piece by Gary Tyrrell on the rare use of a pseudonym as a creative handle on a webcomics effort, despite this once being a thing and it seeming a natural outgrowth of on-line culture.

* Tyrrell also points out this David Malki kickstarter. It's not comics -- at least not as far as I can tell in the five seconds this morning has afforded me to look at it -- but Malki is a very interesting creator and I look at everything he does and wants to do.

* finally, I nearly missed this entirely, but Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics has joined the GoComics.com sprawling universe of cartoons. I believe that happened a month ago. I always thought that one would work for traditional strip audiences despite its odd-to-that-audience nature, and I'm not sure I could tell you why. The GoComics.com group isn't necessarily traditional comics, either.
 
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If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This

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

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

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If I Were In College Park, I'd Go To This

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Comix Experience on their new logo and let's hope we're all here to cover the one they do in 2039.

image* Ng Suat Tong on The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth. Sarah Horrocks on Palm Ash and Sunny Vol. 3.

* this very basic preview post made me stop and look because until this moment I hadn't thought of what Matt Fraction, David Aja and their collaborators have been doing with Marvel's Hawkeye character as transferable to other Marvel comic books. I know how dumb and naive that is, because of course if there are some sales to be had they'll continue to do that character in that way. They may even be good comics. But they had me looking at that one as creator-controlled, which is a rare feat.

* I like the idea of building a perspective on reading comics that includes the effects of immersion and repetition.

* finally, Ralph Bakshi paints.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Chip Kidd!

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September 11, 2014


Go, Look: Jonathan Bell Wolfe

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GroupThink: On Submit -- Mini-Comics And Small Press Publications As Discrete Digital Entities

SPX is this weekend. I'm fascinated by the fact that for the second year in the row -- with I assume a potential many more to come -- that comiXology will serve as a major sponsor for the show with the idea of promoting and driving attention to its Submit program. This mixes two things I love about comics businesses: the hands-on experience of taking a promotion directly to the people with whom it seeks to find personal benefit, and the idea of shows like SPX as an event greater than the sum of those personal experiences, a platform for saying something to the medium entire.

The program and its promotional effort also trigger a bunch of thoughts I have about digital comics more generally.

I want to run posts a few days in a row, engaging various types of writing, looking at the issues involved. I want to start with a GroupThink. A GroupThink is where I post some thoughts and ask for yours, either on the general subject matter of something that I've written. I'll then put those responses under this one for a permanent record of the CR readership's cross-section of opinions. I hope you'll consider a response.



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imageOne thing that I think comes into play in terms of who participates in a program like Submit and who doesn't is cultural orientation. I watched comiXology's Chip Mosher speak at the end of the Ignatzes last year. He made a short pitch for his program, and at the end mentioned that he had drink tickets for the party that followed for anyone that wanted to come up and engage with him about it. The first person that came up to him -- the first person I saw, anyway -- was happy to maybe get a drink ticket but when Mosher began to engage with them there was a quick shift to "Oh my God, don't make me do this." That's not judgmental; I get it. I just think this supports a notion that there's a part of comics culture that doesn't want to invest the act of selling and distributing comics -- any kind of comics, any format -- with agency in a way that puts you out there as a seller or someone who would be interested in same. This seems a strange thing to say about a show of people selling things, but I still think that reluctance is a value a lot of cartoonists have.

When I attended the comiXology panel at San Diego this summer, there were a number of small press people there to express their appreciation for what having that platform has done for their comics and their comics-making. Unless I'm completely wrong, though, these were mostly genre comics of the kind that saw a benefit in having their work where publishers and a more traditional comics audience could see them as opposed to art-comics people who were grateful to put work in folks' hands. I think there's a different orientation there, and I'm not sure that a lot of alt-comics people share that desire to get their work in circulation in a way that puts them on a comics publishing related continuity.

Another thing that interests me is that mini-comics serve a wider variety of functions than comics book do, or at least this is traditionally true. I don't know that there are many comic books made that are as frequently employed as business cards, or as part of the social obligation of going to a show. Very few people make more formal comic books as a way to keep people apprised as to what they are up to. This is a great thing about mini-comics: they can be a commercial end result and a non-commercial object depending entirely on the context: they are "Porcellino's Cat," caught between two states of existence with both equally true.

While it's taken a little while for direct market comics fans and readers and makers to rewire themselves into accepting the the reading of digital comics as its own experience -- and even then, we're not all the way there -- I think it might take handcrafted comics a little while longer. This makes me wonder if we might not see more comics in the future that have a digital life as more or less handcrafted digital comics: think of the Emily Carroll work, or the Kate Beaton sketchcomics, or the animated panels Katie Skelly is using in My Pretty Vampire. At that point, you run up against the idea of programs like these as delivery systems for tablets and phones.

I also have no idea how the perception of the Amazon.com purchase of comiXology may play in terms of any of these factors, particularly the cultural ones. If the orientation is to not involve yourself, that may mean an even lower push is necessary for you to take an option off of the table.

So I think there are challenges there for finding a commercial market for single objects, because mini-comics, handcrafted comics and small press works exist as the boundaries of commercialism, marketplaces and being objects.

The strengths and opportunities of that market, that particular choice moving forward are interesting as well. Digital markets have almost no threshold for participation, and Submit as a model reduces that threshold even further by leaving much of the physical labor costs to their creator-partners. What that means is there are fewer structural impediments than ever not to at least explore the option as one among many available to creators and publishers. After that initial investment of a bit of time, the costs are negligible to the creator as well, at least as I'm able to see it. So I think there are opportunities for digital copies available in a variety of ways to be the final publication home for a significant amount of early and obscure work. When Tom Hart releases his next major comics work, I can imagine there being an interest in his wonderful mini-comics. Ditto Scott McCloud and his next year when The Sculptor drops.

This also could be a place to store work that my flit in and of publishing favor, like those tied into a calendar event or the life of someone in and out of the news. My understanding of the impulses in play with a digital comics purchase are really rudimentary but I know the first time I desired a digital comic for purchase was a comic book that began to go viral as an "event" due to a plot point. I can imagine a future market that is really responsive that way, and I don't think that's an effect you can achieve on a book-to-book, creator-to-creator platform. One can also imagine a playful market, even one tied in fleeting digital exclusives. There's such a profound thing going on right now with digital comics in terms of simply making use of the massive backlog of material that I'm not sure we're doing anything but figuring out how these sales and directed, targeted pricing elements work. At some point that has to die down, and we'll begin to see comics in a different but related light.

I also think there's bound to be a greater push for using every means at one's disposal to distribute work, whether or not you see the primary value in doing so. "Why not?" is going to do battle with "Why?" and I think has a better chance of winning the day with each passing week. I know that the cartoonists I talk to under 35 are much more open about taking advantage of very specific opportunities, opportunities that might not have been on the radar of the cartoonists I know in their 50s and 60s. Comics works according to extremely tiny margins, and at some point professional expectations are likely to conform to these very specific goals. Making hay where you can is not yet the dominant ethos in mini-comics, at least not as far as I can tell, but it's a growing one. A sales point for digital service might not be future-focused by present focused. "What can you do to help me move 10 copies of this book this weekend to go along with the 30 I'll sell at my table?"

I'm going to have some stuff from the show floor, but right now, I'm more interested in what you think? Is there a market for the sale of mini-comics and small-press works through digital services like Amazon? What are the challenges involved in developing that market? If that market won't develop, is there a market that takes its place?



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AdHouse Books Kicks Off SPX Weekend With Formal Announcement Of Jim Rugg Book

imageChris Pitzer of AdHouse Books officially announced Jim Rugg's Notebook Drawings: 2012-2014 via social media yesterday. This is a follow-up to the Notebook Drawings 2011-2012 book that was released in conjunction with the "iam8bit" exhibition; the publisher and the cartoonist are longtime, frequent collaborators.

Both books feature ballpoint pen notebook drawings, kind of the ultimate "back of study hall" drawing exercise, as the PR asserts. The book will be 40 pages, in color, spiral bound, for $35 USD.

There will be 300 printed, and it should ship in December. You can find a PDF preview through that initial link.
 
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Go, Look: Mike Kaluta Shadow Splashes

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What I Learned About A Cartoonist Reading Vogue

So apparently Jean-Jacques Sempé has done the sets for a stage production of Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. It looks kind of great, too.
 
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Go, Look: Vintage Archie Ads

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Go, Look: Joshua Boulet

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* SPX, SPX, SPX. Special guests and early-arrivers tonight. Seventy percent of the exhibitors tomorrow. Everyone else including that show's multiple-year MVP -- its attendees -- on Saturday. Have fun, everyone. I'll be back tomorrow with a couple of preview articles for the show itself.

* Todd Klein visited the Baltimore Con and wrote a couple of reports that can be accessed here. Klein always takes photos.

* I totally missed this Christian comics and pop-culture convention in Los Angeles in several days time.

* one thing of note scheduling-wise: it looks like Baltimore jumped to the end of September for 2015 from its more traditional slot at the beginning of the month. Next year seems a little discombobulated all around.

* finally, there are a bunch of updates over at the APE site.

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

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

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Go, Look: Empty Vein

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* I quite enjoyed this recent Tony Fitzpatrick words-and-picture blended work, about the great state of Indiana. It doesn't matter if something like this is or is not comics, but what we learn by reading comics can help us read, understand and appreciate a work like this one or a lot of what Fitzpatrick does.

* Rob Clough has selected a bunch of creators and publishers appearing at SPX to whom you might pay special attention.

* Erica Friedman on Sakura Trick Vol. 2. Kelly Thompson on Black Widow #10. Richard Bruton on Kill My Mother.

* not comics: I like this mini-appreciation of Jules Feiffer as a pivotal figure in American comedy.

* finally, this is what the Avengers looks like to me, and thus, for a person of my age, this is what superheroes looks like to me. The only odd thing about that is that it's work that was completed before I was born. I wonder after the reading experience of younger comics fans, if they mix old and new in the same way we once did. I'm guessing not.
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, Adam Grano!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Ben Towle!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Rod Whigham!

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Happy 37th Birthday, David King!

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September 10, 2014


Go, Look: Isabella Rotman

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By Request Extra: Top Shelf's $3 Sale

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Top Shelf is having its $3 sale, a yearly exercise in reducing inventory that's probably more important than ever for the publisher as it has shifted to a smaller shift over the last couple of years. Top Shelf makes this sale a last, important stop for all of its books that don't become super-surprise hits ahead of even their own generous expectations, and it's become a nice way to make purchases of material -- particularly for gifts -- that you might not pick up otherwise.

I usually do a little guide for this show; I'm not getting my promised work for SPX done so it might be a few days -- but the two that jumped out at me from the initial list were three-dollar books from Ludovic Debeurme and Renee French. That $6 for books I gladly once paid $50 to own.
 
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Go, Look: Roy Crane Posts At Mike Lynch's Site

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1, 2, 3
 
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Festivals Extra: Salt Lake City Comic Con Draws Expected 18 Kabillion People

Local and regional news is reporting staggering attendance figures for last weekend's comics convention in Salt Lake City.

imageI like all the models for comics conventions. I don't understand wanting to go to a convention center to stand around in a costume, but a lot of people love it. I'm personally fond of a lot of the fantasy properties that connect the various experiences on display. I think it's clear that there's a huge disconnect between the crowds for such shows and the reading of comics, even though when you add 40 thousand people to your baseline attendance that likely means that at least several dozen of them are going to be into comics and comics art. I mean, people can quibble, but I think that's an understood thing, right? People aren't moving to the Salt Lake region to open massively successful comic book shops, at least not as far as I know.

The surge in attendance for certain kinds of shows, in certain markets in particular, likely does have an effect on the ability of all shows, proposed and existing, to reach comics readers and do things that serve comics' readership. At least I think so. But that effect is likely to change market to market and is hard to track. What I'll continue to do is to look for good comics shows, period, whether or not they come with a lot of other things -- a prose book festival with a comics pavilion, or a big convention with a devoted, curated comics element, those things are interesting to me. One of the things that worries me right now is the infantilization of the arts, by which I don't mean a snap judgment of content but the reduction of all arts to hobbies and the artist/audience relationship force-morphed into shared fan experiences. For me, at least, that is likely to be a factor in how these shows will be perceived moving forward.

Heidi MacDonald looks at the figures a bit more closely. I'm not all that interested in the Jose Arcadio Buendia element of these shows, although I understand for pr/branding purposes why different shows are claiming top and near-top attendance figures.
 
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Go, Look: Bernie Krigstein's Betty Grable Comic

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By Request Extra: Gabrielle Bell Sale Continues

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The cartoonist Gabrielle Bell put up a quick reminder yesterday that she's still selling pages from this year's "July Diary." She's played around with this a little bit this year, so I want to make sure people remember it's going on. Those are fine-looking pages, and I think that work is one of the best recurring comics we have going.
 
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Go, Look: FOOM Ads

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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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JUL141330 IN A SENSE LOST & FOUND GN $19.95
This is why we go to the comic book shop, a stand-alone work by an up-and-coming creator, handsomely mounted. I'm still processing the work itself, but it seemed very strong to me. Certainly worth a look.

imageJUN141444 PHILEMON ADV GN VOL 01 CAST AWAY ON LETTER A $16.95
I interviewed editor/publisher Francoise Mouly about this book yesterday. I enjoyed it, and I think it's presented well as both a straight-up classic fantasy comic and a potential primer on how fantasy works in terms of its connection to classic myth and art.

MAY140026 BPRD HELL ON EARTH TP VOL 09 REIGN OF BLACK FLAME $19.99
MAY140091 NEXUS OMNIBUS TP VOL 06 $24.99
These are classic indy-comics properties and a part of my library. The BPRD is collection rather than archiving, and I'm keeping the comic books of both series whenever I find them to buy rather than books, but these are solid citizens of the direct market, all-respect edition.

JUL140123 ABE SAPIEN #16 $3.50
JUL140272 ASTRO CITY #15 $3.99
JUL140366 MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDS FOREVER #9 $3.99
JUL140332 ROT & RUIN #1 $3.99
MAY140708 INVINCIBLE #114 $2.99
JUL140444 LAZARUS #11 (MR) $3.50
MAR140508 PROPHET STRIKEFILE #1 $3.99
MAY140743 VELVET #7 (MR) $3.50
JUL140587 WALKING DEAD #131 (MR) $2.99
MAR140715 HAWKEYE #20 $3.99
JUL140608 MAGNETO #9 MTAX $3.99
JUN148364 SILVER SURFER #1 3RD PTG ALLRED VAR ANMN $3.99
JUL141335 STUMPTOWN V3 #1 $3.99
This is a staggering week for well-regarded genre comic books of the classic format variety, ranging from the usual Mignola offering, a 1990s stalwart in Astro City, two from IDW's sneay-hit line (not so secret with the little ponies, actually), a bunch of top-line Image work, three of Marvel's five best comic books and a new iteration of the Stumptown series. I'm sure there's a bunch I forgot, too. Alternate-universe Tom Spurgeon who is a lawyer somewhere and has a pullbox is having a very good week.

JUN140731 WINTER SOLDIER BY BRUBAKER COMPLETE COLLECTION TP $29.99
I assume this is a bring-back-to-market for Ed Brubaker's work with the Winter Soldier character, who was part of Marvel's 1-2 punch at the spring/summer box office. That assumption comes with Marvel doing something sensible with a book -- making sure it's available during the home market release -- so who knows? I like this work; it's a lot of fun, and that's a very striking-looking character. I guess the argument is that Bucky not dying doesn't push Captain America into that self-doubt that characterized his early experience, but even with the incremental progress of superhero comics characters that character is not in that stage anymore.

JUL141403 MAN WHO LAUGHS GN $19.95
I always get a little lost with the Nobrow releases, but I believe this is the Mark Stafford/David Hine collaboration, which I've been seeing as out for several months now. If it's not this, I couldn't tell you, but that means it's probably already out and you can go look at it in the less-new section of your comic book shop.

JUN141254 PAUL KIRCHNER BUS HC $25.00
Here's a surprise. I'm not sure if this is a re-release into this market or the first release into the market after months and month of it being available through other means. I thought this was a strong, fun book, and not just for nostalgic reasons. There's something about having all of this work in one place that plays very differently than the original presentation in the midst of a magazine that favors more lurid, lush fantasy art, but it's fun to be immersed in these visuals.

OCT131039 FRANK THORNE RED SONJA ART ED SGN HC $300.00
Speaking of lush fantasy art, here's the kind of book I have no idea who buys, but pretty much for that reason I'm sort of glad exists? I don't like Thorne's art until really late in his career -- in fact, I like the porn material a lot, the stuff from the mid-1990s. But this is his reputation-maker, along with his time in costume.

JUL141362 SHOPLIFTER HC $19.95
This is the most appropriate mirror to the work up top I could find, a stand-alone work from a publisher not known for coming out with a lot of comics per year, and an under-appreciated talent. I have had no interaction with the work itself, not even a preview page, so I am looking forward to it like a giant brownie topped with ice cream.

*****

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: Bumper To Bumper

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

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

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Go, Look: Bonehead Bill

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Whit Taylor profiles Liz Prince.

* Rob Clough on Heroes Of The Comics. Todd Klein on Green Lantern Corps #33. Paul O'Brien on Deadpool Vs. X-Force. Joe Gordon on Alice Cooper #1. Richard Bruton on Worry Wart.

* is this Lee Marrs' first comics work? It makes me fall back in love with the comics Internet that this question is even asked.

* Sean Kleefeld writes about continuity within the Nancy strip during Guy Gilchrist's run. I don't have a ton of patience for the legacy strips, I just think it's a bad choice by those companies for the long-term, but this is a fun subject to engage with concerning Nancy because that would seem the last strip in which you'd want any sense of continuity.

* finally, your friends and neighbors are starting to do private, personalized postings for their presence at SPX. You might double-check.
 
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Happy 68th Birthday, Jackie Estrada!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Alison Bechdel!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Steven Gilbert!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Gerry Conway!

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September 9, 2014


Go, Listen: Gil Roth Interviews Roz Chast

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CR Newsmaker Interview: Françoise Mouly

imageOne of my favorite people in the world with whom to talk comics, I jumped at the chance to chat with Françoise Mouly about the publication of Fred's Philémon series at her TOON Books, starting with Cast Away On The Letter A. Philémon was a long-running series starting in the mid-1960s in Pilote magazine. As Mouly describes, that publication and this serial within that publication had a significant effect on a generation of comics readers. I liked the book quite a bit, and thought the supporting material as smart and as enlightening as to be found in any book of its kind. I hope the series has a long and happy run. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: It seems like you're having fun publishing this one.

FRANÇOISE MOULY: Yeah, it's like a publisher's dream, right? You get to publish something that made such an impression on you when you were young. For me this was like my immersion into comics as a medium. It made me aware of it.

SPURGEON: You mention your personal experience with these comics in the book's accompanying material. I wonder if you could talk a bit more at length about that personal connection. One thing I thought fascinating is that you say the authorial flourishes were a great part of what appealed to you about this work. The deconstruction impulse that Fred had, for instance... it sounds like you had a sense of both the comic and the man creating it.

MOULY: Yes, yes. You say it so well. [laughs] That's exactly what happened.

I was a typical French teenager, meaning I didn't have a life. I went to school. I went home. That was about it. There was very little room for leisure. I was probably about 12 years old around that time. It was one of the very few things that was a part of my entertainment package, the fact that there was a comics magazine called Pilote coming out.

Neither of my parents were that plugged in, but they read newspapers and magazines. My dad went to the newsstand every day to get his paper. Once a week he would take me to the newsstand and he got me my copy of Pilote. That was really exciting, to have a weekly comics magazine.

I would savor it. [laughs] There was reading it and then there was re-reading and making it last. I grew up in a culture where kids owned a lot less stuff in general compared to the amount of stuff I've bought for my children in America. It's a thousand times more than what I ever got as a French kid.

I read a lot of books, but I didn't have too many books that I owned. With comics, there were albums that were bound in cardboard and relatively expensive, so we shared them. You'd go over to a friend's house and you'd make sure you'd ask for one of them for Christmas and one for your birthday and you'd coordinate with your friends so you wouldn't ask for the same album. We would all read them. The albums around were like Asterix and Lucky Luke -- that was my favorite.

With Pilote, I had to be careful, because I loved the humor stuff and I didn't quite like the adventure things as much. Moebius was doing Blueberry, there was Valérian -- a space-age adventure thing. Those were stories to be continued from week to week. I read them first so then I could get to the stuff I really loved, which was the humor stuff. Anything and everything that Gotlib did I adored. A lot of the humor strips were really wonderful.

Pilote was more author-controlled. It wasn't a bunch of editors saying, "Oh, we need a cowboy strip for ages 8 to 12." Pilote was done by the artists themselves, including [René] Goscinny and again Gotlib and a lot of people that were inventing things. Fred, for example, wasn't commissioned by editors that said, "We need some fantasy strips." This was something that he tried for a short strip, and then Goscinny told him, "This is great. Do more." I remember reading somewhere that one of the things that hooked the kids onto it was the fact that he had a talking donkey. And it worked for me, this relationship with his donkey, this talking animal. [laughs] It's not how you would create a property. The stuff in Spirou and a lot of the other kids magazines felt more rote in that way. But Pilote had a lot of new things.

There was a boy/girl thing, also. Spirou felt like it was for boys. [laughs] Who else would want to read some of that adventure stuff? By having humor... Pilote was in no way a girl book, but it was more unisex. There wasn't that emphasis on racing cars. It had a couple of adventure strips, but it seemed more open-minded in terms of not trying to dictate to an audience but letting the artists do things that were fun for them to do. It's a lot of work to do a strip every week. It's an insane production schedule. They really did manage to do something that was quite lively. It seeded a lot of the later magazines like L'Echo Des Savanes.

Philémon was both humor and adventure/fantasy. That was by far the most -- not just my favorite, but the one I could re-read and get more and more out of it. The humor stuff, I could read and it would make me laugh and I could read it a second and third time, but the Fred stuff I could find more on a fourth and fifth reading. I found more flourishes and details and things that he had done.

imageWhat I really liked about it was the convincing logic. He was pretty unflappable. [laughs] There were two suns, he was on an island, there was a centaur, but he was not questioning -- clearly this was happening to him. There was the denial of his father that any of this was happening, but there were characters you could trust. He didn't doubt the world he was exploring no matter how fantastic it seemed. The fact that he has fallen on an island that is the letters of "Atlantic Ocean" written on a map, that is a kind of conceptual idea where what is represented on the map is a representation of reality so if there are letters they must be real islands -- that was thought-provoking, and I liked that. The concepts he was exploring, he is forcing the logic of it. In that sense he has a lot to do with Lewis Carroll, who was a mathematician and studied logic.

In school, I was studying something called New Math, which is basically that Euclidian math is based on the fact that two parallel lines do not meet, but you can derive a whole other set of mathematical rules from "Let's say two parallel lines do meet," which means you have a completely different system. That doesn't work with common sense; the way we perceive the world is actually very useful. When you talk about parallel universes and more than three or four dimensions, all of this was shown in my comics! With Fred, the power of imagination and a certain kind of intelligence -- it was both arbitrary and very systematic. So enchanting, the way the character when you were reading it, it's not ironic; it's a very sincere exploration of the world of imagination.

I watched YouTube video interviews with Fred where he talked about the source of his storytelling. He's from a Greek family, Greek immigrants settling in Paris. His Mom grew up in London; her family was Greek immigrants in London and then in Paris. Every night his Mom tells him stories. She mixes Greek mythology with Lewis Carroll, with Gulliver's Travels, with The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. So a lot of anglo-saxon stories with Greek mythology and French stories as well.

He sets himself this exercise that every night before he goes to sleep he's going to tell himself a premise, some arbitrary premise, and he's going to develop an entire story around that premise. You can see how this kid as he's falling asleep is mixing in the bits and pieces of stories his mother has been telling him -- she's been telling him stories rather than reading them from books -- and also inventing new stories every single night as he's falling asleep. And dreaming them as well, from his imagination.

I think he's a major French cartoonist that influenced a lot of French cartoonists. I like that in the world of BD, or comics, people would define their own version of what they would do with comics. It's unique and original. It can be inspired by other cartoonists, but it's their version of it. Fred has that. All of his work is fairly consistent with this -- not just his artistic style, but his storytelling. It's as you say deconstructionist. There are things with characters going between boxes. There are a lot of things done with lettering and turning the page. More than a lot of French cartoonists he was building his pages as pages. He did a book that is a series of one-page stories, [reminiscent of] picture storytelling in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. He's an important cartoonist and we'll be publishing a lot of his work. I think it's very inspiring -- for the reader and for other cartoonists.

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SPURGEON: In addition to his being a personally meaningful cartoonist for you, you've noted that Fred is a foundational cartoonist within that tradition. One thing I remember reading about Pilote is that it was maybe slightly hipper than the other magazines. They wanted less traditional comics in there. Can you talk about Fred in an historical sense? What were people responding to at the time? In what way does he stand out in the context of those times or in the course of the medium's development?

MOULY: I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but I'm not surprised to learn now that I'm older and I can google the information that Fred was one of the founders of Hara-Kiri Hebdo. He was very important in terms of the political atmosphere of 1968 -- that was a big, big deal. The U.S. had the Sixties, but France had May 1968. [laughter] It's not a whole decade; it's one month. In May 1968 my entire generation came of age.

I remember May 1968 very clearly. I was 13 years old. Paris was evacuated because students took to the streets and factories were occupied. The president of the time, who was General De Gaulle, actually called in the army and circled the town with tanks. [laughs] All of Paris was evacuated except, of course, the occupied universities.

My dad thought this was great fun. He was a doctor and had permission to stay. He had gas coupons. I got to stay with him. My mom and my sisters evacuated. It was replay for the French people of the exodus of the prior war. Everyone was lined up for rations because there were no supplies... it was really strange. Throughout all this it was the heyday of the student movement. That movement had cartoonists of the forefront of it, doing something called Hara-Kiri Hebdo, which was a weekly journal of cartoons. Which then got banned and came back under the name Charlie Hebdo. One of the founders was Fred. The same cartoonist who was doing the Philémon stories. He did the first 30 or 40 covers for Hari-Kari. He doesn't follow through in the later years of Hara-Kiri Hebdo. It went more to columnists.

It continues to this day, actually. It still exists. It doesn't have quite the importance that it used to have. It came back to the fore when there was a controversy about the Muhammed cartoons. Not only did they go out of their way to publish the Muhammed cartoons in Charlie Hebdo, they commissioned French cartoonists to do their own Muhammed cartoons to try and get themselves killed and banned. It was totally in line with the politics of Hara-Kiri and Charlie Hebdo.

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SPURGEON: Is there a worry at all when you publish someone so beloved, seemingly so perfectly suited to a time, that they translate into a different context? What is Fred's unique contribution now, do you think?

MOULY: That's a good question, because I think a lot of publishers feel that you can only publish something if it isn't entirely new. Everyone in the children's book world now, all they want to publish is Diary of A Wimpy Kid 3 or 4... they forget there's a time when this didn't exist. They only want to publish things that have a TV show tie-in or that kids will be comfortable with. They will pass on anything that might look old-fashioned or different.

It's different for me because the only reason I'm doing books is because these are books I want to read. These are for myself or for my kids. The fact that no one else is doing it is actually an incentive for me. I feel if I don't do this, no one else will publish Fred. The kids, surprisingly enough, are not actually as reluctant to deal with things out of the ordinary as the gatekeepers think they would be. For example, we published in 2012-2013 a book called The Secret Of The Stone Frog by David Nytra. It's in black and white, a very engraved look. The kid readers didn't go, "Ew, black and white. I'm not going to read black and white," even though a lot of people said, "You can't publish something in black and white." I think the kids are much more open-minded, and in a case like Fred I'm aware that the style -- which was even old-fashioned back in the '70s. The time that Fred did Philémon, the fashion of the time was Asterix. That is more rounded, more Will Elder-type cartooning. His more '50s, more expressionistic looking thing looked a bit old-fashioned even in the '70s.

What we do is when we put the Fred book together, we put in an introductory panel that introduces the character. In the back of the book -- we're just launching this line of TOON Graphics -- we also give a lot of supporting material and talk about the source of his imagination. We talk about talking donkeys, and Robinson Crusoe, and the letters of the alphabet, and unicorns and so one. You don't need to read that to read the book, but after you read the book and start thinking about it, you realize there are a lot of interesting concepts like labyrinths that entice you into further reading. That's what always happened to me. One book led to another. Each book to some extent can be a voyage of discovery. So before you start it's good if there's something familiar.

imageSPURGEON: I was taken with the supporting material. I wondered at what point in the project's development that becomes something on which you become focused. Fred seems perfectly suited for a primer of fantasy elements, but I wonder if that was a part of the initial publishing impulse, or something that occurred to you as you worked with the material?

MOULY: You're right, in the beginning it's like, "Well, that's what I love. I'll put it in English and that's that." Then I realize, "Oh my God, there's a fair amount of explaining to do." [Spurgeon laughs] "Not everybody grew up with this. Actually, nobody grew up with this. How do I share my enthusiasm?"

I don't like reading prefaces and introductions, but after I've read a book, I do like looking at the discussion. I like reading reviews of a movie after I've seen the movie -- so on and so forth. I realized that was one way to deal with this. Also I've done a lot of educational material around the comics that we publish. We've been doing this forever but especially in the past year or two we've done common core guides and comics units, like a 30 lesson program for using the comics in the classroom. That's what we've been doing with the TOON comics and the TOON graphics.

It is one of the pleasures when you like a book to go back into it and to be given many different ways to go back into it. One of the things we've done with the TOON books is give guides to parents on how to read comics with kids. When you're publishing for children, you have to figure out who is buying the books for the children. They don't always have a wad of cash when they walk into a bookstore. Half of the time, they find out about books in schools and in libraries. There are adults involved in making it accessible to the kids.

Reassuring and educating those adults... they are often unsure -- even in this day and age -- that comics are okay for kids. They're afraid that kids will read comics instead of reading real books. They see kids' eagerness for comics. We want to show them how rich the book is. How all of the visual parts... so many readers, critics and reviewers don't realize how much information there is visually in a comic. This was one way to make this manifest so that everyone would realize that this is a book... it's something that happens with comics that you read them more than once. And reading, making the story happen in your imagination, that happens on a lot of different levels. That's not something always acknowledged in a textbook because it's less common that after you read a prose book you immediately start reading it again -- or that you read the same text book five times. It happens, but it's not common. With comics that almost always happens, especially with a comic that you like.

Why? It's because the first time you get the excitement of the story and subsequent times you get more and more into how the story is told. You know what is happening, so you slow down a bit and you see all of the clever things you found in the story itself and how the artist said it. With comics, that's where you become aware of the authorship more than you would in a written book, or in a videogame, or in a movie. You enter into the creative process of making the story told, how it got from his head into your head. That's really, I think, the foundation of becoming a literate person. It's important in this day and age that kids come into the world as literate citizens.

There's a lot of entertainment and diversions and appeals to their interests and attention, but books have a unique role. And especially books of comics. Comics are immutable and engraved. It's not just old-fashioned in terms of being a 20th Century medium, it doesn't morph at the touch of a button. Every time you go back to it it's the same. So if I'm reading a Philémon I read in the 1960s, it is the same. It hasn't changed. There's something quite magical about it. It's only changed in that you have changed. Your reading of it is different each time because you have evolved.

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SPURGEON: Were there any practical difficulties in bringing this work over? For instance, I know it's not always easy for US publishers to work with album-sized work. My guess is that this book won't fit into one of the standard TOON formats... actually, I have to admit I don't know exactly what size you're publishing this. I'm reading a PDF. My library is a mess.

MOULY: [laughs] We'll send you another copy! It's important to me that you hold a book in your hands.

The way we solved it was by doing a compromise. It's a little smaller than the albums that were originally published in France, and smaller than Pilote. But it's suited to library shelves. The TOON format is by 6 x 9. This is 7 and three quarters by 10. The traditional comics size is 7 by 10, the floppies, and so this isn't that much different than comics. It's comfortably reduced. It turns out that Dargaud had done an anthology of the Fred books and it had reduced very well. They are very graphic.

Part of the reason why it's difficult to work with someone like Fred is that it's all hand-lettered. We were lucky that one of the people working on it at TOON really got into it. She lettered everything in English that was lettered in France. We did two or three fonts, which was worth doing for us because we want to publish more than one. We could really get into his artwork. It takes an investment in the storytelling. We have a very assiduous editor of projects. We spent all this time not doing just a translation of the book, but the emphasis in terms of what was big because of the change in language, and making it fit into the word balloons in some instances because it wouldn't fit in the exact same shape. It's months and months of production. That may deter traditional publishers because they're not visually equipped for this. They work with word documents and this couldn't be worked out as a word document.

imageSPURGEON: Was the translation difficult?

MOULY: Yes and no. Translating Art Spiegelman [into French], the level of difficulty is top notch. That level of difficulty is such that [laughs] everything else seems easy. Here, you don't have that level of difficulty. There are a couple of times when he's referring to things that an American reader would not know. The Raft of Medusa, for example.

The comics that were published at the time, like Asterix, were really funny for those who were in school at the time. Having to do six or seven years or Latin, which I had to do and my parents had to do, which everybody had to do up to my generation, all of Asterix's humor was from having had endless classes of Latin, your declensions, your this and your that, all the words that end in ix. Having to read these really boring texts in Latin. It's kind of lost on modern French kids who don't do Latin anymore. It would be very hard to make it as funny for contemporary audience who don't know what Latin is, let alone Cleopatra or Alexander the Great.

In Fred, The Raft Of the Medusa, it's a painting by [Théodore] Géricault that every French kid knows. So it was useful to put that in the index.

SPURGEON: Were you able to work with him at all, given the length of the publishing process? He died just last year.

MOULY: Yeah, he did. I met him when two years ago my husband Art was the Angouleme grand master. At Angouleme there was a show of Art's work for the whole duration and there was also a show of Fred. I was able to say, like every French person around him, "Oh, master... you so inspire me!" He was a very, very sweet person. You can see in his work that he's a very generous and warm and funny man somehow. I think it's in the work. He was very happy... he was working on the last Philémon, and there were some Canadian people putting in a bid to work on a film of Philémon.

He didn't speak a word of English, but he was flattered that Art liked his work and that I liked his work. He got a lot of positive feedback before his untimely death. But no, the publication is after... he's not here to see it. I'm in touch with his son. He's very happy to see it.

imageSPURGEON: Can you tell when you put something out if it's hitting with audiences? Do you have specific hopes for this one?

MOULY: Here, I wanted to make this happen and do it right. That's why it took so long. You're right in that when we launched TOON books, a while back now -- they first came out in 2008 and we started in 2007; I laid it out as a program in 1998 -- we were specifically directing it to learn to read with comics and a specific age group. It wasn't a good time to do everything at once. Now that we have a solid foundation with the TOON Books, [we can do] the new line of TOON Graphics. This is obviously for a kid that knows how to read. This isn't easy-to-read. The TOON Graphics are not easy-to-read comics. Now we have an established set-up.

I wanted to make sure it would find an audience of young people, not just collectors. That's one of the things that I think is too bad. There are so many great comics being republished these days, but often it's not finding a kids audience. It's for the collectors. The books are too expensive; they're not necessarily in a format... libraries can't buy everything. We did The Toon Treasury Of Classic Children's Comics because there's a lot of great material that exists, but it seems like two parallel tracks that seldom do meet: the collector's item, the fan, that tends to be an adult, that leaves it on his shelf, and the kids stuff.

I wanted to do a book that would be alive for kids, that they wouldn't wait until they were an adult to discover.

*****

* Cast Away On The Letter A: A Philemon Adventure, Fred, TOON, hardcover, 48 pages, 9781935179634, September 2014, $16.95.

*****

* all images taken from the book

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Brian Biggs Has An Etsy Store

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the cartoonist Katie Skelly just announced the first print publication of her rolling-out-on-tumblr-in-animated-form Pretty Vampire, which she'll sell at SPX. The paper is lavender-colored, which likely isn't a first but I bet there aren't five.

image* Meghan Turbitt is another cartoonist putting last minute printing touches on work for this weekend's SPX. We could probably fill up a column with this material, and I'm sure SPX has. There are formal debuts and less-than-formal debuts galore. I think the impulse to have something to sell at a show like SPX or CAB is a good one.

* a snapshot-preview of art from a forthcoming Dame Darcy publication.

* IDW released official publication details on the forthcoming John Buscema Silver Surfer Artists Edition.

* Zak Sally provides an update on that forthcoming new issue of Recidivist.

* the next step for Marvel's plans with the Miracleman character involve an annual, new work and a lost script by Grant Morrison. I think that's a tough property. It's pushing against an icon that's been shined up for the movies in a way this is an unrecognizable commentary -- it's hard to do a grim and gritty version of Captain Marvel when Captain Marvel is grim and gritty. In addition, many of the details of the Alan Moore version have become part of the revisionist superhero gospel in a way they might look even old hat now.

* finally, I'm not sure how I failed to mention that First Second is bringing over the Last Man series for a run at the North American English-language book market. I've been wondering when someone was going to work with Bastien Vivès in a significant way here, and while this collaboration with Michael Sanlaville and Balak (there are other, single-volume contributors) wasn't my first guess as to what might make it over, I'm glad that some of his work will be available here and hope to see a bit more. Zainab Akhtar had the best write-up.

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OTBP: Thanger Dangers

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Go, Read: Black Pillars #1-2

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Go, Look: A Visit To Patsy Walker

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Noah Van Sciver is doing another round of diary comics.

image* Keith Silva talks to Farel Dalrymple.

* not comics: Sean Collins looks at TV shows set in school. I would have liked to have seen Paper Chase and The White Shadow on that list, and maybe something not for the US market like Boys Over Flowers or The Inbetweeners. The Middletown documentary series had a good high school episode, too. One he mentions in passing in reference to another show, I thought the first episode of Twin Peaks had really effective high school scenes -- the way the kids looked at one another in the classroom, and how some personalities bent the rules seemed convincing to me -- but they never spent much time there.

* Don MacPherson on The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1, White Death and Dryspell #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Scooby-Doo Team-Up #6. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Infinity, a Simpsons one-shot and the "Future's End" issue of Grayson.

* not comics: Johanna Draper Carlson writes a bit about pre-Code movies. I'm not very knowledgeable on film let alone that period of film, but I enjoyed Baby Face when I saw it once.

* Andrew Weiss looks at the Marvel New Universe, a stunted attempt during the 1980s to launch a new line with the wider Marvel line that would be a distinct unit creatively. I think it's a pretty reasonable summary of why those books didn't work. I remember at the time as a reader I was losing interest in that kind of book across the board, but it still struck me as an editorial-directive type set-up without a coherent or compelling editorial directive. Long live Debbie The Duck.

* finally, eyes don't work like this.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Paul Grist!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Ted Adams!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Dan Vado!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Kevin Maguire!

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September 8, 2014


Go, Look: Ingrida Picukane

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I cannot for the life of me find the appropriate ascii/html codes for the letters in the artist's name; my apologies
 
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Go, Look: Art Spiegelman On Israel/Palestine In The Nation

imageA pair of CR readers has brought to my attention that Art Spiegelman has done a collage commentary for The Nation on the latest round of Israel/Palestine conflicts. It can be found here. One of the readers noted further that Spiegelman presented it himself via his Facebook presence, which is intriguing for the comments and Spiegelman's truthful admission that he's always been reluctant to comment on Israel's politics. There's some press coverage here, which gives you an idea of the byzantine overlay of cultural triggers involved in an artist of Spiegelman's profile making a statement of this kind. I'm all for artists taking a position on social and political issues and expressing that through art, and hope that it has a greater presence and impact than how such things can be boiled down to a "winnable" argument on-line.
 
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Go, Look: Ronald Searle Draws Birds

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Cartoonist Rowland Emett To Be Honored In Birmingham

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Birmingham-based newspapers have coverage of a new blue plaque up in Birmingham to honor longtime resident Rowland Emett. Emett was a prominent Punch cartoonist, frequently collected, and was in the US perhaps best known as a mainstream-magazine feature cartoonist. He lurched sideways into 3-D sculpture with profound results, becoming a creator of functional transportation along the lines of his fanciful drawings of railway cars. He is currently being honored at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with a huge display of his devices.

Emett passed away in 1990. The first link above has the only picture I've seen -- for all I know there could be a ton, I just haven't seen any -- of Emett using one of his machines.

One hopes for corresponding, renewed interest in publishing his cartoon work. Well, I hope.
 
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Go, Look: Kristin Makes Things

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Not Comics: Thomas Nast, Proto-Hipster

This review of Justin Martin's Rebel Souls ties late 19th Century New York tavern-centric salon life to the growth of bohemian culture in the United States. The focus is a specific table run by Henry Clapp Jr. and attended, apparently, by editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast among other New York or New York-visiting artists from a variety of media.

I have no idea what significance the book derives from this. Cultural histories usually have a causality hitch, in that it's hard to draw a direct line from one flourishing of cultural elements to a wider one. But I like the idea of cartooning having at least a bit of a place at the counter-culture table, perhaps literally.
 
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Go, Look: Walt McDougall

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Go, Look: Dame Darcy Gallery On Facebook

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* never heard of this basic set-up before: a non-Kickstarter mini-fundraiser to facilitate people that either didn't get on board with the last one for whatever reason or couldn't use the pay mechanism that Kickstarter provided. This is for the most recent P. Craig Russell project.

image* I noticed that Lambiek is still running its donation ad to pop up on top of Comiclopedia entries, like this new one for Simon Hanselmann. That is a foundational web site run by a foundational comics shop, so I hope they'll receive as much money as they need.

* there are two gofundme campaigns we've been monitoring: this one to benefit Seth Kushner; this one designed to revive the company SLG. I hope that you'll give each one consideration, but maybe right now the Kushner -- that seems at a crucial halfway point and it seems to me that its goals are more achievable.

* we discussed Drew Weing and his Patreon campaign in a stand-alone post last week; this is a reminder. Ditto this Jim Rugg auction.

* not comics: here's a giveaway driving towards a fundraiser regarding some sort of legal effort regarding a social justice effort. I have no time to look into it to vet the thing to know if it's anything with which I'd agree at all, but a reader requested it be covered so here it is.

* here's one that's comics-related that was suggested to me on Twitter: SM Vidaurri soliciting patreon support to continue The World Of Iron. Here's another: Rum Row, by Andrew Maxwell and a team of highly-talented specialists.

* Mike Dawson can't make it to SPX, but he'd still like to sell you some books.

* finally, this is becoming a a common complaint. I think there's a chance that continued, systemic abuse will change that culture a bit.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Zaro, Jungle Magician

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there's something particularly instructive about very ordinary comics that feature tropes that don't thrill our culture now
 
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Random Comics News Story Round Up

* that nice D+Q person Julia Pohl-Miranda has a lengthy reminiscence up concerning this year's ELCAF. She apologized for not having it up, but I don't have my piece up yet from July's Comic-Con International.

image* Daniel Genis profiles Ed Piskor.

* not comics: I'm not exactly a costume guy, but I think the comics illustrations I've seen have backed up my initial hunch that Sylvester McCoy's doctor is the best visual.

* Guy Thomas on Grendel Vs. The Shadow #1. Robert Boyd on Heroes Of The Comics and Ed Vs. Yummy Fur. Rob Clough on Heroes Of The Comics. Todd Klein on Detective Comics #33. Don MacPherson on Superman #35, Death Of Wolverine #1 and Cloaks #1.

* "To fold up your enemy into a suitcase..."

* Johanna Draper Carlson notes the popularity of Lumberjanes-related achievement badges. The scouting experience is a powerful shared experience that I think should yield a lot of interest if tapped into correctly -- one of my early freelance assignments some 20 years ago was writing the book for a ersatz scouting organization and it was fun.

* finally, Bully is the best.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Jordan Crane!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Kate Beaton!

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September 7, 2014


Go, Buy: Massive Sunday Press Books Warehouse Sale

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Your 2014 Harvey Awards Winners

imageThe Harvey Awards, named for the great Harvey Kurtzman and affiliated for almost a full decade now with Baltimore Comic-Con, named its winners during a ceremony last night.

Saga had a series wins and wins for Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (who won two). Multiple wins also went to Best Of Comix Book, Sex Criminals and The Fifth Beatle.

Three special awards were given out. The Harvey Kurtzman Hall of Fame Award went to Charles M. Schulz. The just-passed Stan Goldberg won the Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award. Herb Trimpe received the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michael Uslan was the show's host, while Gail Simone provided the keynote speech.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. The category award winners are in bold as follows:

*****

BEST 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

*****

BEST 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

*****

BEST 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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Zippy The Pinhead Meets Mick Jagger

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thx, paul di filippo
 
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If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 80th Birthday, Warren Sattler!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Richard Barker!

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FFF Results Post #393 -- Con Finds

On Friday, CR asked readers to "Name Five Comics-Makers Whose Work You First Saw At A Comics Show." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Sammy Harkham
2. Trevor Alixopulos
3. Keith Knight
4. Dean Haspiel
5. Keiler Roberts

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Megan Kelso
* Molly Colleen O'Connell
* Heather Benjamin
* John Hankiewicz
* Leah Wishnia

*****

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Dustin Harbin

1. Sammy Harkham
2. John Pham
3. Craig Thompson
4. Michel Fiffe
5. Sam Hiti

It's worth mentioning that those first 3 were all via Chris Staros at the Top Shelf booth at HeroesCon. Chris hand sold me on Epoxy and Kramers 3 the same year, back when he did some subdistro.

*****

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James Langdell

1. Nick Mullins
2. Rafer Roberts
3. Kelly Martin
4. Jeff Hoke
5. Vanessa Davis

(All of these were at the APE show over the years.)

*****

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Michael May

1. Sam Hiti
2. Patrick Gleason
3. Phil Jimenez
4. Douglas Paszkiewicz
5. Mahmud A. Asrar

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Jason
2. Olivier Schrauwen
3. Tom Scioli
4. Lamar Abrams
5. Sara Varon

*****

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JE Cole

1. Dave Taylor
2. Cristian Ortiz
3. Jeff Stokely
4. Renald Hopelle
5. Frederik Peeters

*****

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Rob Salkowitz

1. Batton Lash
2. Erika Moen
3. David Mack
4. Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi
5. Kody Chamberlain

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Asja Wiegand
2. Benjamin
3. Anne Simon
4. Michaela Konrad
5. Haina Fischer

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Tara Tallan
2. Diana Tamblyn
3. Scott Chantler
4. Tory Woollcott
5. Carla Speed McNeil

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Eliza Frye
2. Cecilia "C.S." Pego
3. Camilla d'Errico
4. Renae De Liz
5. Fiona Staples

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Lars Crawley
2. Tim Molloy
3. Richard Fairgray
4. Michel Mulipola
5. Robyn Kenealy

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. R. Crumb
2. Foolbert Sturgeon
3. Osamu Tezuka
4. Shary Flenniken
5. Art Spiegelman

*****
*****
 
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September 6, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Charles Hatfield On Jack Kirby


James Kochalka On Being Creative


Dave Sim Interview Focusing On Early Days In Comics And Influences


Lynda Barry Speaks


Gil Kane Appreciation Driven By Close-Up Shooting Of His Comics


Rude Dude Trailer


Les Femmes Du Zodiaque
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from August 30 to September 5, 2014:

1. Stan Goldberg passes away.

2. Nate Beeler wins the 2014 Fischetti Award.

3. Two high-profile departures in support position key to comics' development over the last few years: Whitney Matheson, part of a USA Today staff purge; Joe Wos, moving on to freelance opportunities after a long run as executive director at the ToonSeum.

Winner Of The Week
Beeler.

Losers Of The Week
USA Today readers; I have no idea what anyone would read there at the point they get rid of their writers.

Quote Of The Week
"It was the Peanuts collections in my grandfather's basement office that really stayed with me through childhood and into college. Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and Lucy all felt like real people to me. I even felt so sorry for Charlie Brown at one point that I wrote him a valentine and sent it to the newspaper, hoping he'd get it. I've said it many times before, but Charles Schulz is the only writer I've continually been reading since I was a kid. And I know I'm not alone. He touched millions of people and introduced empathy to comics, an important step in their transition from a mass medium to an artistic and literary one." -- Chris Ware

*****

I forgot to load from my folder of 1964 Marvel covers before I left town, so here's an issue of Critters instead

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Ben Jones At Loyal

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

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

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

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

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

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Happy 15th Anniversary To Get Fuzzy!

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Happy 77th Birthday, Sergio Aragones!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Jason T. Miles!

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Happy 69th Birthday, Go Nagai!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Dustin Harbin!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Brendan Leach!

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September 5, 2014


Desert Island Announces CAB Debut For Multi-Media Comics Effort Square Dance At Palms Promenade

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In a press release to cap off the week, Desert Island's Gabe Fowler announced his publishing arm's latest: Square Dance At Palms Promenade.

Square Dance At Palms Promenade is a collaborative effort by artists involved with the Spider's Pee Paw collective. This includes Char Esme, Lauren Poor, Ben Mendelewicz, Matthew Cutler, John Gutierrez, Esteban Neumann and Xela Flactem. Technigues employed to create the short stories involved, all set in the town of Palms Promanade, include "drawing, painting, video processing, collage, sewing, photography, and 3D computer modeling."

It looks like collective members have been discussing the news on via their tumblrs for the last few days.

According to the release, the narrative content in the newly-released work ranges from the tales of a lonesome garbage collector to a journey through Doll Dump Island. Square Dance at Palms Promenade is 64 pages full color and was created in collaborative fashion story to story by the artists involved.

The release:
Special Announcement from The Township of Palms Promenade:

Can a square have 7 sides? The Pee Paw People of Spider's Pee Paw have abandoned their hefty harvest and forged a new path through Palms Promenade to find out. They saw the bales and bales tumbling in for Spider's Pee Paw and wanted to cash in on their crop, more! "Let's see if we can copy them," they said. "It looks easy to do," they also said. So it was then that this bound beauty was created by the artists under harsh conditions and packaged by outsiders beyond city limits for you to enjoy. This four-ladies chain split and nearly half sashayed the whole family! Let's not run down that road again...

These 7 stories tell tales of lust, trauma, mystery, excess, delinquency, family and faith. So, with a bit of that faith, trust your partner and don't dizzy your hat getting tossed about in the wrong way grand. You're snug as can bug in the criss-crossing hands of Matt Cutler, Char Esme, Xela Flactem, John Gutierrez, Ben Mendelewicz, Esteban Neumann & Lauren Poor.

The 64 page full color comic book title: "Square Dance At Palms Promenade" released by Desert Island, is the proud recipient of over 23 awards including the Thank You Award, Dare to Soar Award, The Achievement Award, First Prize Award, One Award, Excellent Award, "I Am 2" Award, High-Five Award, First Place Award and the Fifth Place Award.

Please be aware that there are filthy frauds that wish to cash in on this masterpiece and have simultaneously timed the distribution of their fakes with the release of our genuine copies. To distinguish the counterfeits from the originals, dampen a paper towel with lemon juice (do not use lime juice, please) and wipe in a swooping, clockwise circular motion on the cover. If the cover appears to be destroyed, you have acquired the authentic Square Dance at Palms Promenade book, and have done your part to control countless other counterfeit publications.
The book is 64 pages, full-color, and will be available as a debut book at this year's CAB.

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Go, Look: Kira Mardikes

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Go, Read: This Week's R. Fiore Piece At TCJ.com

I enjoyed reading this piece by Robert Fiore at The Comics Journal this week. There's an interesting, short discussion in the comments as well.

I don't always agree with the arguments that Fiore makes, but that means encountering them artfully expressed has more value, not less. It's nice to be reminded of that. There seems to be a growing sentiment that engaging with critical writing comes down to whether or not it affirms the reader's taste and, perhaps secondarily, the intent of the author as expressed by the author. It's difficult to imagine a more depressing exercise.
 
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Go, Look: Ronald Searle In Lilliput Magazine

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Missed It: Layoffs At USA Today; Best Wishes To Whitney Matheson In Whatever She Does Next

A couple of e-mailers have alerted me to the fact that I missed a significant round of firings at USA Today that included the comics-interested pop-culture blogger Whitney Matheson. Matheson may be best known to denizens of comics culture for her attention to quality work in that medium alongside favorites in prose, music, TV and film. That matter-of-fact assumption that the best in comics stands with the best in these other media was significant for a lot of works individually, and influential on a number of folks' overall perception of the medium.

Matheson's high-profile platform made her an influential figure in terms of approach and tone with pop culture more generally. I don't know where she stands in terms of the beginning of people blogging about these subjects -- I don't see a lot of hard firsts with ways of writing that grow out of other approaches -- but certainly her genial interaction with the entirety of the creative arts is much more reminiscent of the way coverage stands now than it is of the snark-driven pieces more prevalent when she started, and I think she had something to do with that.

I've always liked Matheson's writing; she has a clear, friendly voice. It's difficult to write for that big and broad of an audience in a way that very few understand until they attempt something similar, in the way that doing a newspaper comic trip has a specific set of challenges that a personally distributed mini-comic will ever have. She was also really good with her readers in a way that was instructive viewed up close or even at a distance. It's hard to fathom the kind of meet-up she did in San Diego, for instance, being the kind of thing that could arise from arts-coverage culture now in quite the same way.

Congratulations to Matheson on her lengthy run and good luck to her in whatever she tries next. I selfishly hope she continues to write in a place where I can read the result.

Heidi MacDonald pays tribute to Mathson's run here.

As for the news story more generally, it's hard not to see USA Today as a rotting corpse with a timer wrapped around its neck. The longtime publication, once as national mainstream as any print offering out there, has yet to become a major factor on-line. It's hard to imagine a scenario where this happens for them at this point.
 
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Go, Look: Bruce Timm Black And White Image Gallery

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By Request Extra: The Cartoonist Jim Rugg Sells A Transformers Vs GI Joe Variant Cover

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Here. There is additional information about the art here. I don't know that this is tied into any specific need, but Rugg points out that not a lot of art created this way finds its way to market anymore.
 
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Go, Look: Welcome Friends!

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* this Lauren Davis piece on the biggest mistakes made when starting a webcomic was widely circulated early this week.

* I've mentioned this elsewhere, but it's nice to have Josh Cotter serializing new work on-line.

* there is a staggering amount of Bloom County work on sale for pretty cheap right now, multiple volumes. I think we should pay attention to the digital delivery of comics in all of its forms, just because so much of the history of that part of comics is caught up in certain formats catching fire with readers. It may bee that this is extra tough in digital because of the amount of material available for free.

* finally, Scott Campbell is on tour; I've failed to mainstream that into this site's events coverage, so I hope you'll check it out. Ditto Randall Munroe. I like how both of those pages reflect the creative personality of their featured authors.
 
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Go, Look: Ben Horak

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Collective Memory: Stan Goldberg, 1932-2014

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

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

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

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Dave Richards talks to Matt Fraction. Team Comics Alternative talks to Tim Seeley. An anonymous tumblr question-asker asks questions of Benito Cereno.

* Lynda Barry teaches comics.

* Rob Clough on Linework. Sean Gaffney on Sword Art Online Vol. 2. Paul O'Brien on Savage Wolverine #21-22. Johanna Draper Carlson on What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vols. 2-3. Kelly Thompson on Elektra #5. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Infinity. Richard Bruton on Chi's Sweet Home. Patrick Hess on Eternal Warrior: Days Of Steel #1. Jerry Smith on a bunch of different comics. Some person whose name is not on the review that I can tell on Masterful Marks.

* long-running comics site Comics212.net changes its look.

* not comics: if you buy the concept that superhero movies are better than superhero comics, this seems a logical explanation as to why. I think they're their own thing, but I think the best superhero comics are really good, and I'm not sure I've seen a really good superhero movie. Most of them are fun on some level or another, but "good" would leave me scratching my head.

* I spent 45 minutes yesterday afternoon when I needed to be someplace else looking at this chart of overlapping syndicate runs compiled by Bruce Canwell.

* finally, Sammy Harkham draws Charles Burns.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Cathy Guisewite!

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September 4, 2014


Go, Look: 100% Slush

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Zunar Takes Action Vs. Malaysian Star Over Use Of His Cartoon

The cartoonist Zunar announced through press release Tuesday morning morning that he would be suing the Malaysian Star for their use of his cartoon featuring the MH17 aircraft against an artistic background in their August 22 publication. The newspaper apologized on August 25, but Zunar told news sources at that time that he was still considering action. He details it in the follow statement:

Today (Tuesday, September 2, 2014) I have sent a Letter of Demand the The Star newspaper for publishing my cartoon artwork without obtaining my permission. The letter was sent to The Star by hand by my lawyer Melissa Sasidaran who represents the law firm RamRais & Partners.

imageOn the 22 August 2014 issue on page 12, The Star had published my cartoon depicting the MH17 aircraft silhouetted against an orange-coloured heart-shaped sky, and the newspaper never contacted me to seek my permission to use the said artwork.

This artwork is my original creation and was first published by Malaysiakini on July 18, 2014.

In the Letter Of Demand to The Star, I mentioned, among others:

"Your act of publishing my artwork constitutes an infringement of my rights, and your action has caused me to suffer loss as a result. In accordance to the Copyright Act 1987, I am entitled to damages from you for the loss that I have suffered as a result of your infringing conduct.

With that, I am claiming from you, among others:

1 To pay the damages with a reasonable amount that is agreed upon by me;
2. To advertise an apology notice in The Star newspaper, with the contents, size, layout and location is agreed upon by me."

I am giving The Star seven (7) days to respond to this letter. If I do not receive an answer on or before 9 September 2014, court action will commence.

I would also like to assert that monetary gain is not the main goal of my action. This case should become the cornerstone of the copyright protection of artwork, not only to me but also to other artists in Malaysia in the future.


Zunar
Political cartoonist
2 Sept 2014
I don't know from the English-language article read what the shape or size or positioning of the August 25 apology was, but it looks like the cartoonist has taken issue with it. Zunar is best known for the 2010 seizure of his work and subsequent controversy including rounds of civic legal action. The cartoonist has consistently pressed for greater press freedom in Malaysia.
 
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Go, Look: Shalott

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Nate Beeler Wins 2014 Fischetti Award For Justice/Liberty Cartoon

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Nate Beeler of the Columbus Dispatch has won this year's John Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition for his Lady Justice/Lady Liberty cartoon following the Supreme Court's strikedown of the Defense Of Marriage Act. The Fischetti Award is distinguished by its focus on a single cartoon rather than a submitted portfolio of selections or one's cumulative work over a selected time period.

Steve Breen and Jim Morin received honorable mentions.

The Fischetti award I believe comes with monetary compensation and the winner is honored at a banquet. Fischetti was a much-honored editorial cartoonist based in Chicago, and a Pultizer Prize winner 45 years ago. The competition is hosted by Chicago's Columbia College.

Beeler has been with the Dispatch since 2012, coming over from the Washington Examiner.
 
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OTBP: Paris Review #210

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Chris Ware cover and interview; interview conducted by Jeet Heer
 
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Joe Wos To Step Down As ToonSeum Director

imageThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a piece up yesterday that ToonSeum Executive Director Joe Wos will step down from that position at the end of the month. Wos is that museum's founder and has been by a wide margin its driving force, public face and primary sweat-equity benefactor. He also donated his personal library to the museum as part of its founding.

The cartoonist Rob Rogers, the museum's board current president, noted in the article that Wos was a tireless volunteer before and even after the museum put together an annual budget that allowed for hiring part-time employees, preferring that the museum bring in the extra worker.

The ToonSeum is currently located in downtown Pittsburgh, on Liberty Avenue.

Wos plans on devoting time to his family and to various professional projects, including cartooning. He leaves the museum scheduled in terms of its exhibitions for the next 15 months. An interim manager will be appointed and eventually a new executive director will be named, with an eye towards institutional growth.

Congratulations to Wos on his achievement with the ToonSeum. We wish him every bit of luck with his future plans.
 
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Go, Look: Birch Control

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Go, Look: Alisha Davidson

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Baltimore this weekend. That's a well-liked show that, like Heroes in Charlotte, offers up a cool setting and a comics-only focus. It may be the biggest North American hole in my comics-show attending resume, although there are a lot of holes in that thing.

* every alt-comics artist under 40 is focused on SPX nine days from now, either going or not going. A lot of folks going to the print shop or the equivalent this weekend. I do get to that one, and I'm excited to attend this year. If nothing else, I look forward to seeing my old pal and the show's initial driving and organizing force Chris Oarr.

* this question asked and answered via the SPX tumblr brings up a good point: immersing yourself in a convention or small press festival can be an overwhelming experience. I'm trying to imagine if there were a similar opportunity for some of the other art forms I enjoy that an SPX provides, and anything like that would likely freak me out.

* if you are the kind of person that exhibits at or attends cons, you might check out this list at CR as the skeleton for 2015 starts to take shape. Several conventions are already starting to do business with their 2015 show in mind, like Emerald City (who started selling tickets Monday) and STAPLE! (who are taking exhibitor applications now). If you know of a show that is scheduled and that I missed,

* here's a cute, very short story about the train ride between Los Angeles and San Diego before Comic-Con International, specifically when it's opening day at the racetrack.

* look at this nice Michael Cho bookplate for SPX.

* here's a lengthy report on Dragon Con (as I understand it, there's no star in the middle of the name now) from Kelly Sue DeConnick, including a duckface selfie with Representative John Lewis. Joe Gordon has a lengthy write-up on comics goings-on at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

* finally, now that's a convention.
 
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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Stockholm, 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: Ben Towle's Grid Of Monsters

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sarah Horrocks on Through The Woods. Zainab Akhtar on Shoplifter. Rob Clough on King-Cat #74 and Building Stories. Todd Klein on The Royals #6. Johanna Draper Carlson on a bunch of different comics. Bob Temuka on eight different comics. Kelly Thompson on All-New X-Men #31. Brian Gardes on Sisters. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Challenges. Michael Buntag on Codename: Sailor V.

* this Al Capp celebrities-draw-into-strip feature in LIFE that Andrew Weiss sent along is a lot of fun.

* this is the first time I've seen what the 75th anniversary edition of the Marvel Masterworks books will look like.

* not comics: does anyone know if the Joe E. Brown movie Gladiator was really a comedic take on the Philip Wylie novel? I don't think I'd ever heard that before.

* Nicole Rodrigues talks to Emily Carroll.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld explores David Wright and his Carol Day strip.
 
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Happy 61st Birthday, Paul Smith!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Scott Shaw!

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September 3, 2014


Go, Look: Sera Stanton

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Missed It: Ali Ferzat Did A Cartoon About The Beheading Of Journalist James Foley By ISIS

It's not pro-Obama.
 
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Go, Look: Lauren Armstrong

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Go, Read: Pat Oliphant Interviewed At The Atlantic

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This interview with Pat Oliphant over at The Atlantic is kind of an odd thing, skipping from broad questions about the general state of western civilization with stock questions about whether or not he might support a candidate that's fun to draw. It's a nice enough temperature-taking piece. He's not optimistic about the future, but then again, neither am I.

Oliphant has his detractors, and there are plenty of avenues one can take towards criticism of his late-period work. It's still visually accomplished, though, and thus packs a punch that other cartoonists can't begin to muster. I kind of like some of what gets criticized: I like that he still gets nasty, even though it can definitely get away from him in a way one wishes an editor might have talked him out of doing. Better overheated than a cold fish. I also like that at times it takes me a second to puzzle out the metaphors at work. Better too much to say than nothing at all. I'll certainly miss Oliphant when he's gone, and think the whole field changes when he -- as promised in the article -- moves on to something else.
 
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Go, Look: Singer's Cave

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Go, Read: Michael J. Vassallo On Stan Goldberg

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Here. Vassallo's area of expertise covers the publisher and period with whom and when Vassallo found his professional start. His posts are festooned with images, and in this case they're a lot of fun.
 
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Go, Look: The Spawn Of Venus

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Go, Bookmark: Small Press Previews

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There's a really good-looking site here called Small Press Previews which just launched. They want to provide publishing-news coverage of small press books coming out and have a bunch of publishers and artists lined up so far.

My first impression is that I like the way it looks, the visual simplicity of it, and I'm impressed by the thoroughness of the individual entries. I'm a little confused by books being listed with a September 2 release date that say they're debuting at SPX. I don't know if there's going to be rolling entries through a month or if that early-in-the-month date covers the entirety of the month. We'll certainlys ee. It also looks like there are t-shirts on there, and I'm not sure where that ends. I'm curious as to how the site works long-term. It looks great, though. I look forward to folding it into the tools I use and I'm grateful this was done.

Press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Over 40 Comic Book Publishers Launch New Preview Website

Washington, DC -- 3 September 2014

A new website dedicated to previewing small press comic books, graphic novels, and other cool things has been launched at http://www.SmallPressPreviews.com

Small Press Previews is dedicated to having a single place for fans of small press comic book publishers to view new publications, along with information on how to order the comics direct from the publishers. Each month Small Press Previews will list the comics being released by the publishers, so that the website will serve as a virtual catalog of the month's releases. Over 40 publishers have joined the site, with more joining as they hear about the site. Publishers submit their own material to Small Press Previews so that the site is updated with new releases.

Small Press Previews was started by Jared Smith, who is co-publisher of Retrofit Comics with Box Brown, and is co-owner of Big Planet Comics, a group of comic book stores in and around Washington, DC.

Jared said, "The idea for Small Press Previews came from realizing how many great small press comics are being published today. More and more publishers are releasing comics, but many of them are small print runs, and since most are one-off projects, it's very difficult to even keep track of all of them and when they are released. Plus, with only a few distributors carrying smaller publishers, it's hard to find out where to order these comics. So besides helping publishers and fans, this is a big help for me and other stores as retailers. I hope more and more small publishers join the site."

Small Press Previews allows browsing by release month as well as by individual releases. Small Press Previews is also currently hosted on tumblr, allowing for easy reposting of releases by fans and publishers.

The current list of publishers participating on Small Press Previews are:

2D Cloud
Alternative Comics
Bergen Street Press
Big Planet Comics
Birdcage Bottom Books
Box Brown Comics
Breakdown Press
The Cartoon Picayune
Copra Press
Cut-Cross
Czap Books
Dirty Diamonds
Floating World Comics
Hang Dai Editions
Hic and Hoc
Iron Circus
Issue Press
Kilgore Books
Koyama Press
kuš! komiksi
Landfill Editions
Locust Moon Press
Mould Map
Negative Pleasure Publications
Neoglyphic Media
Northwest Press
Oily Press
Paper Rocket Comics
Pegacorn Press
Picture This Press
Ray Ray Books
Recoil Comics
Retrofit Comics
Revival House Press
Sacred Prism
Secret Acres
Snakebomb Comix
So What? Press
Sonatina Comics
Space Face Books
Sparkplug Books
The Spithouse
Study Group Comic Books
Tinto Press
Uncivilized Books
Yeah Dude Comics
Yeti Press

Contact information
Small Press Previews
Jared Smith
1520 U St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
info@SmallPressPreviews.com
Twitter: @SPPreviews
http://www.SmallPressPreviews.com
I also wish them luck!

Update: I've been told that the dates relate to the month rather than a date within that month the work is available -- more information should be found in the general entry. So if a general entry says "September 2" that means "September" and it just went up September 2.

Also, there is a Facebook page here. Go. Look. Like.
 
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Go, Look: Really Early Jack Cole

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Go, Look: Aidan Fitzgerald

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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.

*****

JUN141318 KILL MY MOTHER GN $27.95
MAY141403 DISNEY ROSA DUCK LIBRARY HC VOL 01 SCROOGE SON OF SUN $29.99
Two big books at the top of a big week. The Feiffer is new, and the subject of a thousand big-paper feature articles. If a new book is what it takes for people to realize what an amazing career Jules Feiffer has had, every page of that book is a bonus. The reviews I've read have all been positive, though, which is great. Don't sleep on the Don Rosa book. Rosa's comics may be the best comics ever done in the voice of another creator. They're very funny, satisfying yarns, and this presentation -- particularly the color -- is super-handsome. This would have been my favorite book ever at eight years old, and I'm fond of it now.

imageJUL141315 LOSE #6 $8.00
JUL140110 USAGI YOJIMBO SENSO #2 $3.99
JUL140262 TINY TITANS RETURN TO THE TREEHOUSE #4 $2.99
JUL140440 GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS #1 CVR A BROWNE (MR) $3.50
JUL140441 GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS #1 CVR B DARROW (MR) $3.50
MAY140731 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 (MR) $3.50
JUN148255 DAREDEVIL #6 2ND PTG SAMNEE VAR SIN $3.99
For a week that goes a dozen deep on stand-alone volume, the periodicals section of the comic shop isn't particularly stuffed. You can cheat a bit by putting Michael DeForge's latest here; everything he makes right now demands one's attention. A Stan Sakai comic is one of the twin avatars of modern shop visits for the indy-genre minded fan. I'm looking forward to catching up to God Hates Astronauts in comics form. I'm enjoying the Aaron/Latour small-town crime comic (I guess that's mostly what it is) Southern Bastards just fine, although I'm not a good audience for that kind of work. It looks like it could be filmed, which is a strength with a lot of readers, although part of me feels like it hasn't quite started yet. Daredevil is the most reliable performer on the Marvel roster.

MAY140100 ALLEY OOP COMPLETE SUNDAYS HC VOL 02 1936 - 1938 $75.00
I saw the first volume of this series, and liked it quite a bit. No one carved shapes out of space like Hamlin (there are artists better at shapes like Dedini and better at space like Watterson, but no one better at both).

JUL140626 AVENGERS WORLD #12 $3.99
I have nothing to say about this one, but it amused me there have been 12 issues of a flagship-approximate title at Marvel and it's not only escaped my attention I could not tell you what the specific take on the concept is in play with this one. I don't think it's "main team," "unity" or "super-smarties"; those are all other titles. It could be a catch-all for solo stories. I don't know, it could be about Jarvis. I have no idea, and it's sort of fun not knowing.

MAY140074 FINDER THIRD WORLD TP $19.99
I belief this is an expanded version of the Finder serial that ran in the last iteration of Dark Horse Presents; that was one of that title's best features. Carla Speed McNeill's work holds color very well.

MAY140053 AW YEAH COMICS TP VOL 01 $12.99
This is a Dark Horse collection of the creator-owned work by kids-versions-of-older-licensed-characters comics superteam Franco and Art Baltazar. I find their work generally appealing -- the little kids I know seem to universally love it -- although I think I missed most of this series. As I recall, the series version of this material was not just creator-owned but basically self-distributed, which means this book should see a step up for this work's profile. I know some parents that will be happy to see it in the bookstore.

APR140763 OZ OMNIBUS HC $125.00
I haven't made a giant study of it, but my hunch based on past exposure is that Marvel does a better job with the bigger books in its haphazardly-assembled trades program. This is an awfully big book, but has been enough of a solid performer in bookstores for the almost bookstore-disinterested publisher to demand that kind of treatment above and beyond the economics of moving such a work into a sales avenue that depends on non-returnables. I honestly haven't caught up on all of this work yet, but I like what I've seen and certainly awards voters have taken notice for years now.

imageJUL141256 ABOVE THE DREAMLESS DEAD WWI IN POETRY & COMICS HC $24.99
This is the latest from that hard-working, fine editor of comics anthologies Chris Duffy, and features a typically for Duffy eclectic line-up including Simon Gane, Eddie Campbell, Isabel Greenberg, Kevin Huizenga and Sarah Glidden. It's a deep, deep week in comics that this one isn't profiled with a cover image at the top of the post. While I'm sure it was previewed, I don't recall seeing a single page, which is sort of exciting.

MAY140096 JAYBIRD HC $19.99
JUL141265 ZOO BOX YR HC $17.99
MAY141611 VOID HC $9.99
Speaking of things I haven't seen, this is the stand-alone material that looks of interest and is from cartoonists with whom I either don't have a ton of familiarity, or that I've not seen working on this particular work. Of the four I'd probably look at the Aron Nels Steinke book Zoo Box first. He's doing that as part of the kids' comics portion of the overall First Second yearly release calendar. The Jaybird book looks really pretty; would want to get me my hands on that one. Void is a former European album making its way to the English-language market that features art by Sean Phillips, so I'd look at that one for sure as well.

MAY140410 MR PUNCH 20TH ANNIVERSARY ED HC (MR) $34.99
JUL141040 BONE COLOR ED HC VOL 01 OUT FROM BONEVILLE NEW PTG $26.99
JUL141262 BROXO GN $16.99
The first two are two big books in just about any comics library -- of high enough quality to ask for a place on the art-comics fan's shelves, and from absolute all-time genre-interested creators that would also be a part of a lot of flat out comic-book collections. I'd look at both in the store to see if my own copies needed to be replaced. The third is I believe a First Second book from two years ago that's found its way back to market.

FEB140358 ROCKETEER JET POWERED ADVENTURES PROSE SC $19.99
I'm not sure of the audience here -- I was a fan of the Dave Stevens comics and I'm not all that interested in picking this one up -- but I like the effort that IDW has manifested on behalf of the family's interest in seeing more Rocketeer material produced. That's not always easy.

imageJUN141213 AGE OF LICENSE GN $19.99
This is Lucy Knisley's first of two travelogue/snapshot autobiographies, detail a trip to Europe a couple of years ago. Knisley is a pleasurable picture-maker and there are hooks here in that she talks in forthright fashion about an affair she had while over there (a forthcoming book is about her marriage, which has to imminent) and she engages directly with the issue of privilege as it pertains to her ability to take trips like this one. I think it will make a nice pairing with the forthcoming work about traveling with her grandparents.

JUL141475 WHAT DID YOU EAT YESTERDAY GN VOL 04 (MR) $12.95
I'm not even sure I'd list this in a normal week, but on a New Comics Day as stuffed as this one I didn't want to leave manga out. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think this is a food-informed, measured-tone drama. Vertical's publishing choices usually have multiple avenues for referral.

JUN141627 MASTERFUL MARKS CARTOONIST WHO CHANGED THE WORLD HC $24.99
JUN141624 COMIC BOOK PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 1970S & 1980S HC $34.95
These books might not go together all that well, but they're both engagements with comics history in their own way. The first is a cartoon biography anthology of major cartooning and comics-making figures. The only one I've seen is Drew Friedman's treatment of Robert Crumb, and that was fun. The second is Jackie Estrada's crowd-funded book of photos from her lengthy life of fandom. The ones that have been released have been amazing, and I'm not sure how much visual historical record exists of the 1970s and 1980s in particular.

JUL141313 BABY BJORNATRAND TP $20.00
JUL141263 WRENCHIES GN $19.99
Here are two creators working at the top of their game with handsome new books out. French continues her recent tour of boutique comics publishers with a stop at Koyama Press, while Farel Dalrymple releases an extensive work through First Second that should help solidify his growin reputation. They are both gorgeous-looking books and convey the significant investment each artist has in their choisen medium. I recommend both, in any order that pleases you.

*****

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 Toronto, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near A Computer, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Poopeye

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Patrick A. Reed talks to Berke Breathed. Jeffrey Renaud talks to Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. Alex Dueben talks to Michael Cho.

* another interview of interest is this Albert Ching piece with Marvel's Axel Alonso where he says in straight-forward fashion that the editorial decision to run a Milo Manara grotesque as a Spider-Woman related variant cover might not have been the smoothest move given the influx of female readers into comics at all levels. I think that gets to the heart of what I found interesting about that story; your mileage may vary significantly.

* not comics: I'm not interested in the details of this Star Wars-related piece, but there is probably some of use to comics fans in the idea of a multi-media entertainment franchise selecting a readjustment date and making everything work in a different way from before and after that date.

* I can't fully approve of just sticking someone's work not your own up on the Internet, but that's a nice-looking comic. It would be so fun to have the money and resources to collect 1970s undergrounds.

* John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Joe Gordon on the comics of Jacky Fleming. Jog on Brave Dan.

* finally, it's not exactly comics, but it's solidly comics-related: for some reason I keep forgetting to drive attention to this post at D+Q about the forthcoming Seth documentary. I look forward to seeing it, and am jealous of any of you in Ottawa with the opportunity to see it in a festival setting.
 
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Happy 91st Birthday, Mort Walker!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Paul Chadwick!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Victor Cayro!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Joe Matt!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Ethan Van Sciver!

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September 2, 2014


Go, Look: Christopher Green

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By Request Extra: Drew Weing Joins Ranks Of Webcomics Cartoonists Seeking Support Via Patreon Site

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I urge you to check out the Patreon for the cartoonist Drew Weing, part of the early 2000s generation of webcomics makers that were noteworthy for their professional-level chops (this was probably more of an issue with those of us used to print) and their interest in working with some of the format opportunities available to them. The Creepy Casefiles Of Margo Maloo is about as traditional as comics gets, at least thus far, but Weing's cartooning is always interesting and I've enjoyed reading this one.

I'll stay away from saying that this option may serve as a market correction for cartoonists like Weing -- I don't know enough about his situation to know what's going on -- but it's certainly the one he's endorsed and I'd love to see him make a go of it.
 
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Go, Look: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* nice preview write-up at Pitchfork on The Humans, from Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely. I've done almost no writing on that one, and should have by now. The web site is here. They're doing a reasonably lengthy PR build for that title, complete with a self-published issue #0.

image* count Julia Wertz among the many comics makers that are preparing new work of some sort for SPX. I think that's mostly a healthy impulse for cartoonists, and it's such a great thing for consumers; it's hard to imagine any other art form where you might get a personalized miniature version of something in between larger works just because there's a show -- I guess this could happen with musicians. It'll be nice to see new work from Wertz.

* not comics: the Cartoon College DVD is still out there to be purchased. That's kind of like the opposite of news, so please forgive the indulgence. I'm not sure if the upgrade to a "where are they now" features is new or not; I'm thinking there was enough of a delay between filming and release that this was part of the initial release, but I could be wrong. I gifted that movie to a couple of aspiring artists who are in college now, and they both enjoyed it -- one was super-obssessive about it for a while.

* the artist and comics-maker Colleen Doran tweeted a panel from a forthcoming collaboration with the writer Warren Ellis, currently tabled.

* not one hundred percent sure I knew about this forthcoming Marc Bell book Stroppy from Drawn and Quarterly, but I've been really forgetful lately.

* Steve Sunu points to a Marvel trailer for one of their forthcoming event comics. I don't really get the event comics, for the most part. I'm an audience for the material, because I have a nostalgic interest in, general curiosity for and professional duty to read major superhero comics. What's been frustrating the last few years is not being able to just buy the comic with the name of the event without feeling left out. I'm not talking satellite comics, but comics that are apparently a part of the main narrative. The Final Crisis collection I have has a Superman comic I didn't know was necessary, and I was baffled by the charts accompanying that Avengers/violent space hillbillies series that came out about a year ago. It must work for them, though, and I'm in no position to give advice to Marvel on how to publish comics.

* I liked this blog post from the artist Jason Fabok on scoring the gig drawing the Justice League comic for DC. We forget sometimes with comics that aren't our personal favorites that these assignments or certain book deals are a big professional milestone for the people involved. We shouldn't forget that, but we do.

* finally, there's a nice write-up at ComicsAlliance on the latest books from Dark Horse that are derived from webcomics efforts: Murder Book, a second volume of Bandette and a second volume of Polar. They've done a nice job partnering with various webcomics cartoonists for several years, and it's a healthy part of their line.

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Someone Put A Ton Of Don Kenn Images Into One Of Those List-Type Things Highly-Trafficked Sites Use

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Go, Look: Stuck

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Go, Look: MariNaomi Launches Cartoonists Of Color Database

It's here. I don't remember one of this kind of list with this size and breadth, and I can't find anything at all similar on-line right now. I hope you'll check it out, particularly if you can help add information for your own entry.
 
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Go, Look: Adam Lynn

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Go, Read: Gene Luen Yang At The National Book Festival

He spoke on diversity in comics and in publishing more widely. It's a good speech, and Yang is one of comics' most appealing spokespeople.
 
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Go, Look: Holidays With Kids

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Go, Look: Forever People Splash Images Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's been a rough month for geek culture, but there is still hope in the world.

image* Andrew Yates talks to Malachi Ward. Mike Dawson talks to Caitlin McGurk and Jim Rugg. Mike Rhode talks to Brian Biggs. Katie Levine talks to Grant Morrison.

* about once a week an older thing on the Internet will gain enough traction that its link ends up in my bookmarks -- then I remember the article, or notice the date. That's the case with this letter from Bill Watterson giving advice to an aspiring creator, which I'm sure this site featured when it originally rolled out. Another one was the Kirby Alphabet that Roger Langridge did, revived on the late Jack Kirby's recent birthday.

* the all too infrequent writer about comics Robert Boyd does a lot of readers the massive favor of walking through the second Forming book from Jesse Moynihan and breaking down the characters.

image* Guy Thomas on Photobooth: A Biography. Tom Murphy on New Physics. Jordyn Marcellus on Shoplifter. Samax Amen on Savage Dragon.

* not comics: a bunch of folks have recommended this Devin Faraci article to me about the basis for much of the misogyny in evidence in gaming culture right now. It's not apologetic but it is sympathetic, and because of that probably runs a bit counter to the kind of argumentation we usually see these days, which is designed to win the moment and win it as thoroughly as possible. It's hard not to see the positions being taken by a lot of these young men as the latest permutation of a kind of self-pity that stretches across generations of nerds laced with an element of extreme entitlement that is used to specifically characterize under-30s to such an extent I don't even want to bring it up it's that big of a cliché. I'm not saying that's wholly accurate, because of course it isn't, but I'd think about explaining it to my Mom that way were she to ask.

* missed this: a brief history of sexualized images of men in superhero comic books. And no, it's not "all the time."

* finally, Jeff Smith is all wet.
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, Colleen Frakes!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Eric Knisley!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Walt Simonson!

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image from here
 
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September 1, 2014


Stan Goldberg, RIP

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word came from here
 
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Festival Extra: Portland, Oregon's Projects 3 Makes Official 2014 Announcement For September 27

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Appropriate tumblr post here. Facebook page here. Past shows were distinguished by their attempt to do a show without a flea market/commerce aspect; this edition looks like it will combine elements of past shows with elements of a more traditional model in a one day final festival. Looks like. I could be wrong.

The initial round of guests includes Leif Goldberg and Connor Willumsen, two comics-makers I enjoy very much.

 
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Go, Look: A Gallery Of Art Young Work From The Masses

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a labor day tradition
 
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Go, Read: The Summer Of No-Fun At The CBLDF

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has assembled a bunch of different cases in which they're involved and/or (it might just be and) closely watching in terms of ramifications for free speech and comics. You can read about them here. I'll hope you consider joining at one of the busy slate of Fall conventions that will fire up beginning next weekend.
 
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Go, Look: Fears Of A Go-Go Girl Can Come True

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Assembled Extra: Gabrielle Bell Finishes Her July Diary

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Here. Not that selling her original art on eBay was a success in that eight pages went for a maximum $1000, but brought with it the hitch of a $1000 ceiling. It looks like she still has some changes available. I thought that was a good run, and I look forward to that set of strips every year.
 
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Go, Look: A Happy Death/Boys Better Cry

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via/via
 
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Maybe Check In With Your Favorite Shop, Publisher, Cartoonist In Terms Of Holiday Weekend Sales

A number of retailers, publishers and individual cartoonists are having some sort of sale or discount tied into the holiday weekend ending at midnight tonight. You might want to check around if your favorites/locals are doing something along those lines. Here's a nice sale from Fantagraphics on certain titles. They and comiXology are also offering Joe Daly's comics at a discount; I think those are a lot of fun, particularly Dungeon Quest. I'm sure there are other sales that don't involve former employers of mine. Like here's one from Austin Books & Comics.

I would not complain in the slightest if Labor Day became known in comics as a weekend driven by holiday sales, particularly in comics stores. That seems like a good place in the calendar to do that kind of thing.
 
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Go, Look: The Light In The Distance

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* here's a thank you from Jillian Kirby on behalf of the Kirby Family to those that gave money and time/effort that could be converted to money to/for the Hero Initiative on the occasion of what would have been Jack Kirby's 97th birthday. Speaking of which, I barely mentioned this on here and should have provided more coverage, but I thought it was admirable of Nix Comix to divert any money received during August to the Kirby-related charities.

* Seth Kushner's campaign is at about the halfway point in terms of the money they've been shooting for. Kushner is a photographer and comics-maker well-liked in the NYC comics community. Please consider giving.

* a film about Chris Knox is in the midst of raising the same $50K figure.

* some already-successful crowd-funders still live that we've covered in past columns: Nate McDonough, Joe Sinnott.

* this crowd-funder for two books in the AJALA series looks like it could use some help going into its final hours.

* as far as I know, you can still give to Dan Vado and SLG.

* finally, remember that Gabrielle Bell is selling her July Diary comics through eBay this year. Her originals are really nice-looking, and in many cases are self-contained in terms of the narrative.
 
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If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: John Romita Jr. Penciled Images

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Robert Ito profiles TOON.

image* Justin Colussy-Estes on Troop 142.

* Abhay Khosla adds a couple of thoughts about Multiversity #1 in the course of linking to Joe McCulloch's recent piece on same.

* Kelly L. Mills talks to Anelle Miller. Steve Morris talks to Becky Tinker and Joie Brown. Team Comics Alternative talks to Anya Ulinich.

* not comics: here's a nice article explaining the difference in revenue to movie studios by market. In other words, you should distrust a bit the idea that non-US revenue makes up for domestic losses.

* never seen a scan of this particular piece of original Jack Kirby art before; that's a fun piece in terms of the scene set. I'm also thinking this particular Dave Steven commission is new to my eyes. I've never seen this much Hi & Lois in one place, either. Like most strips through the 1960s, there was a baseline handsome quality to this work that you didn't see later on.

* I am not sure why this Lynda Barry program showed up in my bookmarks, but I'm not going to pretend I'm unhappy about getting to listen to it.

* it's hard not to be charmed by older photos like this one of studiomates posing for a panel of comic book art. One thing that's remarkable about the arts in general is how much an artist or a group of artists will put themselves out there on behalf of something seen for a few seconds. That doesn't mean there aren't a ton of people cheating the process, but certainly not everyone does.

* what is it? what is this mystery art?

* I keep forgetting to drive attention to this very image-heavy article about Comic-Con International 2014, and comic-cons in general, over at Print. I make a tiny cartoon-image appearance.

* finally, some of the words you can look forward to seeing in Fantagraphics' forthcoming Massive.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Landry Walker!

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