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
















September 20, 2014


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from August 23 to August 29, 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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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through October 2014

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*****

September 21
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To Thisjavascript:promptTag("link");
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (MondoCon)
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Independents' Day)
* If I Were In Norway, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This
* If I Were Near Bogota, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

September 24
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 25
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This
September 26
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 27
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This (St. Louis Small Press Expo)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Projects III)
* If I Were In Santa Fe, I'd Go To This

September 28
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)

September 30
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

*****

October 2
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 4
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (APE)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This (MICE)
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 5
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (APE)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This (MICE)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Cheltenham, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 6
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

October 8
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 9
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 10
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 11
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

October 12
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

October 17
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 18
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In Belgium, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 19
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In Belgium, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 21
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

October 25
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

October 30
* If I Were In Lucca, I'd Go To This (Lucca Comics And Games)
* If I Were Near Palatine, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

October 31
* If I Were In Lucca, I'd Go To This (Lucca Comics And Games)
* If I Were In Winnipeg, I'd Go To This (Central Canada Comic Con)

*****

This post is designed to list events through the month after this one, including ongoing exhibits. If you don't see your event above, perhaps check out the future listings here. If it's not listed anywhere,

*****
*****
*****
 
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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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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

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Small Press Expo, held September 13-14 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel And Convention Center in the general vicinity of Bethesda, Maryland.

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

*****

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

Audio
* Gil Roth

Blog Entries
* akribi
* Andrea Tsurumi
* Are You There, Youth? It's Me, Nikki
* Avi Roberts

* Celestial Locust Hive
* Chelfie's Toy Chest
* clementeworks
* Connie Sun
* Curls Studio

* Dedsquad
* Derf

* Evan Dahm

* Fleen

* Graphic Novel Universe

* Haberdashery

* Hannah Krieger

* Ian Higginbotham
* Inkmaggot

* karaokefanboy
* Kevin Budnik
* Kriota Willberg

* Locust Moon Comics

* Matt Kish
* Megan Baehr
* Michael Muller
* Mickey Z

* Panel Patter
* Pat Aulisio
* Pigeon Press
* Purple Ruby Red

* Rebecca Mock
* Rob Clough
* Robot 6 (Index)

* Secret Acres
* Sequential State
* stuff and things

* The Beat (Index)
* The Hotel Fred

* unpleasant

* WriteItReadItKillIt

Facebook
* SPX Facebook Page

Miscellaneous
* Michael DeForge wearing a Katie Skelly-designed t-shirt
* SPX Spotlight Series At Panel Patter
* Zach Mason

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* Comicosity
* Newsarama 01
* Newsarama 02
* Newsarama 03
* Newsarama 04
* PW
* Washington Post 01
* Washington Post 02
* Washington Post 03

Photos
* AdHouse
* Alternative Comics
* Anne Ishii
* PW
* WriteItReadItKillIt

Twitter
* SPX account

* AdHouse

Video
* The Beat (Simon Hanselmann Wedding To Comics)

*****



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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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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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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through October 2014

image

*****

September 19
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Independents' Day)
* If I Were In Norway, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

September 20
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were In Asheville, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (MondoCon)
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Independents' Day)
* If I Were In Norway, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This (Alpha Omega Con)

September 21
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (MondoCon)
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Independents' Day)
* If I Were In Norway, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

September 24
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 25
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This
September 26
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 27
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This (St. Louis Small Press Expo)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Projects III)
* If I Were In Santa Fe, I'd Go To This

September 28
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

September 30
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

*****

October 2
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 4
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (APE)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This (MICE)
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 5
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (APE)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This (MICE)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Cheltenham, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

October 6
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

October 8
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 9
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 10
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Beunos Aires, I'd Go To This

October 11
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

October 12
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This (NYCC)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Hyderabad, I'd Go To This (Hyderabad Comiccon)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

October 17
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 18
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In Belgium, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 19
* If I Were In England, I'd Go To This (LICAF)
* If I Were In Belgium, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

October 21
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

October 25
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

October 30
* If I Were In Lucca, I'd Go To This (Lucca Comics And Games)
* If I Were Near Palatine, I'd Go To This

October 31
* If I Were In Lucca, I'd Go To This (Lucca Comics And Games)
* If I Were In Winnipeg, I'd Go To This (Central Canada Comic Con)

*****

This post is designed to list events through the month after this one, including ongoing exhibits. If you don't see your event above, perhaps check out the future listings here. If it's not listed anywhere,

*****
*****
*****
 
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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 2014-4

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Baltimore Comic-Con, held September 13-14 at the The Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

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

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Institutional
* Convention Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

Blog Entries
* Anime Fest
* A Swan Named Emily Blog
* Baltiimore Comic-Con Tagged On Tumblr
* ComicBook.com
* ComixGab
* Geek With Curves
* Ginger Liz
* Girl Getting Her Geek On
* If I Was A Wizard
* Joe Quinones
* Manga Xanadu
* Mike Rhode
* Nerdist
* Robot 6
* The Aquaman Shrine
* The Illustrated Life
* The Voice Of E
* Victoria

Facebook
* Baltimore Comic-Con Facebook Page
* Chris Hastmann
* Our Newark

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* PW
* Washington Post 01
* Washington Post 02

Photos
* ABC2News
* Bleeding Cool
* Nerdist
* Team Cul De Sac
* WTOP

Twitter
* Baltimore Comic-Con account

Video
* estrellafamily
* itssuperashley
* subaruaugust
* The Beat
* Tyler Carpenter 01
* Tyler Carpenter 02
* vickyprimetv

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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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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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Collective Memory: Baltimore Comic-Con 2014

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Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Baltimore Comic-Con, held September 13-14 at the The Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

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

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Institutional
* Convention Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

Blog Entries
* Baltiimore Comic-Con Tagged On Tumblr
* ComicBook.com
* ComixGab
* Ginger Liz
* Mike Rhode
* Robot 6

Facebook
* Baltimore Comic-Con Facebook Page

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* PW
* Washington Post 01
* Washington Post 02

Photos
* ABC2News
* Bleeding Cool
* WTOP

Twitter
* Baltimore Comic-Con account

Video
* estrellafamily
* itssuperashley
* subaruaugust
* Tyler Carpenter 01
* Tyler Carpenter 02
* vickyprimetv

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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

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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.

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* all images taken from the book

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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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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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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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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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