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














August 31, 2017


Go, Look: Carey Pietsch

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Go, Look: Three Gary Baseman Images

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Anyone That Wins $65K USD Towards Their Next Project I Just Run The Press Material Without Question

Congratulations, Metaphrog:
News: Creative Scotland announced this month's open project fund awards today. We are honoured and delighted to have been awarded £32,000 towards creating our next graphic novel. This new fairy tale adaptation will follow on from the success of The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. The book will be published by Papercutz as the third volume in the collection, its title to be revealed at a later date. Having recently returned from an American tour, also supported by Creative Scotland, and several high profile UK public appearances to promote the release of The Little Mermaid, we are thrilled to be getting started on a third fairy tale volume.

About us: Metaphrog are Franco-Scottish duo Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist. They have been creating comics and graphic novels since 1996. Their work has received international acclaim and multiple Eisner Awards nominations. They are Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy and were writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015.
Grants and public support for comics art is already a huge part of how comics are made and these kinds of awards in each and every country that does it will become an even bigger thing relative to the overall field. I'm happy for Sandra and John.
 
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Go, Look: Sarah Graley

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If I Were In The Portland That Is In Maine, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Charles Voight Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on She And Her Cat. Rob Clough on Pope Hats #5.

* here's comics-interested author Glen David Gold on his experience reading Jack Kirby's The Demon as a kid. I wonder if that one wasn't even racked in my Indiana grocery stores, because I knew nothing about that character when he reappeared in Swamp Thing in the 1980s. I was a Mister Miracle fiend, too.

* Abraham Riesman picks eight comics to read in September. These aren't the best ones in my particular mind, although four of these books would make my version of that kind of list. This is more catholic, and dives into multiple comics expressions. I still have a hard time caring about the latest Evil Batmen storyline at DC, although I urge DC to call it an Evil Batmen storyline rather than a "dark multiverse" storyline.

* finally, Sam Dunnington at BillyPenn notes the passing of South Philly Comics and digs into the sometimes hazardous infrastructure from which comics must finds its way. It's a monopoly in all but a legal finding that would allow people to sue away the monopoly. At this point I'm not sure what a Diamond competitor would even look like, although I think it might have the greatest effect merely causing more shared risk at that level.
 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, Shizue Takanashi!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Rick Parker!

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August 30, 2017


Go, Look: Liana Kangas

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Go, Look: A 1980 Crumb/Pekar Page

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Go, Read: The Beauty Theorem

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"A Lot Can Change In 30 Years": London Police Re-Open Investigation Into The Death Of Naji al-Ali

London police have re-opened their investigation into the murder of Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali, shot outside a London newspaper office in July 1987 and dying a month later. It's hard to imagine a cartoonist of greater importance to a time and place outside a few of the World War 2 cartoonists working in Great Britain.

The intriguing part to me is that authorities seem to be counting on a potential shift in political alliances yielding information.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: The Wax Man!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Anne Ishii on Manga In Theory And Practice.

* here's the timely excerpt from Julia Wertz's new book covering the Village Voice.

* I don't link to a lot of these kinds of images, but I always thought that one of the great collections to do would be Marvel Age superhero comics with repeat stories and new covers.

* Jeet Heer profiles Jack Kirby on the King's 100th birthday, using as a springboard the comics-maker's relative anonymity when compared to his staggering contributions to modern pop culture.

* look at all the mid-1990s indy comics characters, a few of which we haven't seen since that time period.

* Alexxa Gotthardt profiles Emma Allen. Good news for Jessica Campbell fans in that piece.

* finally: I don't think I've ever seen this Spider-Man/Peanuts mash-up before.
 
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Happy 65th Birthday, Ken Bruzenak!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Jacques Tardi!

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Happy 74th Birthday, Robert Crumb!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Jordan Raphael!

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August 29, 2017


Go, Look: Why Don't You Just Pick One?

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Go, Look: Violence Becomes Tranquility

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Go, Look: Keith Pille

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* here's a preview of a graphic novel updating Jane Eyre that I'm sure I've mentioned before. Clean out your bookmarks, pros.

* Fantagraphics will be publishing a graphic novel by the actor Jim Broadbent and the artist Dix called Dull Margaret.

* here's a name for Katie Skelly's next big work.

* finally: Max Allan Collins' Quarry character will be appearing in comics soon. I'm not up on Collins' career, but I believe that prose series was his reputation maker.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Classic Gasoline Alley Shadow Puppet Sunday

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on King-Cat #77. Paul Gravett on Hostage. Sam Riedel on One More Year.

* go, read: Dr. Michael Vassallo has a Kirby 100 post up.

* John J. Pint talks to the director of the Rius documentary about the late cartoonist. Robin McConnell talks to Ben Passmore. Team Graphic Policy talks to Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer. Brian Heater talks to Katie Skelly.

* Felipe Galindo remembers Rius.

* Caleb Orecchio on You & A Bike & A Road and the drawn quality of Eleanor Davis' comics.

* I can't keep up with the names involved, but I like many others have shown up at a show only to find out I'm moderating something I didn't know I was moderating. It's not a disaster -- and I now know first hand how hard it is to line all of these things up -- but we could probably focus an eliminate this with some effort.

* finally: foundational blogger Mike Lynch digs into Jerry Lewis' comic-book legacy.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Mark Heath!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Jason Latour!

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August 28, 2017


Jack Kirby, The King Of Comics, Would Have Been 100 Today

Jack Kirby, the mighty heart of the American comic book industry, would have been 100 years old today. Below, for your ruminative and reflective pleasure, is a tiny, even insignificant sample of his awesome image-making power. Long live the King.

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Go, Read: Derf On Sky Masters Of The Space Force

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Go, Listen: John Siuntres Interviews Scott Dunbier About Jack Kirby's 100th Birthday

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* while it's Jack Kirby's 100th birthday, there's never any harm remembering a great living artist like Steve Ditko by donating to his admirably personal comics projects when they come up.

* this successful workshop fundraiser will be gone by next week's column. I am all about successful crowd-funders that aren't straight-up publishing projects. They're still rare.

* it's great to see this kickstarter featuring Walt Simonson and the late Sam Glanzman meeting its initial goal. Ditto this book of criticism featuring younger and newer critics edited by Zainab Akhtar.

* the planned parenthood crowd-funder is well past the halfway point on its initial ask and should make it to where it needs to go. I don't want to dissuade anyone from helping out. That's one where you might just send something non-reward oriented.

* finally, I've seen no notices from Gilbert Hernandez at the time I'm writing this that indicate the L&R #1 and/or commissions offers have gone away.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Not Comics: Pulp Covers By George Gross

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on In-Between Days.

* not comics: this profile of Mitchell Hooks is fine but man, that first graph would be terrible and near-pointless even if it didn't get the decade wrong on Mad Men. Sean Edgar talks to Amber Benson and Sarah Kuhn. Hillary Brown talks to Mimi Pond.

* here's Ryan Holmberg on Yokoyama Yuichi and Audiovisual Abstraction in Comics. I cut and pasted that.

* staffers and prominent freelancers talk/write about the end of the print run for the Village Voice. Tom Tomorrow is in there. One thing I hadn't hear is they were about to experience a ramp up in union pressure.

* Heidi MacDonald picks at a financial report for the Wizard World convention business, which provides backstory to their recent moves into video and print. I think as long as the upside remains arguable and the losses remain negotiable, we could see Wizard in some form until someone rams a stake into its heart.

* finally: team Sequential Heart talks to Ben Hatke.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Joann Sfar!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Elijah Brubaker!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Benoît Peeters!

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August 27, 2017


Go, Look: Lauren Weinstein's Goddess Of War Etchings

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Go, Look: Doug Wildey Johnny Quest Pitch Imagery

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

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If I Were In Las Cruces, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 51st Birthday, Phil Hester!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Melissa Mendes!

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Happy 71st Birthday, Denis Kitchen!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Matt Wiegle!

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August 26, 2017


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Art Spiegelman Interviewed


Taboo And will.i.am Go Comics Shopping


Keith Knight Profiled


Aseem Trivedi Expresses Solidarity With Persecuted In Turkey


Bastien Vivès Draws
 
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Go, Listen: Juliacks On Process Party

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Go, Look: D White

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

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

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Happy 38th Birthday, Francis Manapul!

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August 25, 2017


Go, Read: David Pescovitz Talks To Ralph Steadman

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OTBP: Tender-Hearted

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Go, Look: Victor Moscoso In Zap Comix #3

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Assembled Extra: Hope For VV's Current Comics

imageI found out about the loss of the print edition of the Village Voice through a cartoonist. Lauren Weinstein noted that the Village Voice is moving to digital-only. That's a story in and of itself that kind of undercuts itself as a trend piece. The history of the Voice as signature US alt-weekly is a long and distinguished one. A ton of great writers worked there. One all-time comics effort has its primary home there -- Feiffer and many a cartoonist provided covers and illustrations along the way.

At the same time, we're on the far side of losing our print alt-weeklies, to the point we only feel bad in that we thought this paper under its current ownership might willfully deny the historical trend for another month, year, half-decade.

I hope that work by Lauren Weinstein and Karl Stevens (pictured) survives into the all-digital era. I like reading comics on-line. I don't think I've seen a model where that works with clarity and return, so my guess is it will have to be an editorial decision about the site's look, feel and commitment to certain types of expression. Every comic is a miracle, and more so as the years slide by.
 
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If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Las Cruces, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Ghost Woman Leads An Active Life

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Joe Decie writes on the issue of privacy for family members that appear in his comics.

* congratulations to David Plunkert on scoring this week's New Yorker cover. That's a strong cover, and this week's events demanded a strong cover from those cultural touchstones that trade in them.

* Suzette Smith on My Pretty Vampire.

* finally, here's a reminder that Gosh is hiring someone to work in their London store.">scoring this week's New Yorker cover. That's a strong cover, and this week's events demanded a strong cover from those cultural touchstones that trade in them.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Chris Roberson!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Antony Johnston!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Steve Conley!

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Happy 70th Birthday, MW Kaluta!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Andrew Aydin!

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August 24, 2017


Go, Look: Alley's General Store

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OTBP: Diana's Electric Tongue

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OTBP: Same Place, Same Time

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Go, Look: Priya Huq

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* that's a good-looking ICAF this year, and runs right into Short Run. I hope to be there; I've been dying to do Short Run for years and it just hasn't worked out.

* Orson Scott Card will not be reappearing at the Comic Con in Salt Lake City, after what sounds like a multi-layered argument over whether the outspoken conservative author and his views on LGBTQIA issues would be welcome and if so in what context.

* the show with which I'm involved, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), could use a few more volunteers. We have a good time, and the volunteer coordinator, Tracie Santos, is aces.

* finally, did I run a link to Chris Pitzer's Heroes Con photos? I should have; they're mostly fun and occasionally creepy.

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

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Go, Buy Stuff: Art Of Coop Store

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on Black Hood: An Anthology Of Depression And Anxiety.

* Gina Wynbrandt would like you to rally around the current 2dcloud crowd-funder.

* Sean Kleefeld digs into Fantastic Four #352. Fantastic Four comics can be anything a creator wants it to be but in my perfect world the series is dependably fun, well-executed comic done by an elite professional with a fondness for the characters. Beyond that, anything goes.

* Chuck Dixon claims he'll soon be the most prolific comics writer of all time, moving past 40,000 pages. Dixon is certainly a prolific writer, but he doesn't feel like a legendarily prolific one. Not like I'm going to double-check the math here.

* finally, a reminder of the works created in book format by the great Richard Sala.
 
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Happy 76th Birthday, Jim Scancarelli!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Keith Knight!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Scott Lobdell!

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August 23, 2017


Go, Look: Kelly Bastow

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By Request Extra: Gilbert Hernandez Found Some Self-Published Love & Rockets #1s

imageHere. He's offering up some add-ins and some other stand-alone stuff. Legend > Lenticular, every time, when it comes to your shopping dollar. I'd buy three if I had the money.
 
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OTBP: Dig

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You Know What King Kirby And Stan The Man Didn't Need? Lenticular Covers...

Here. As I understand it, Marvel has misjudged the popularity of their books during a promotion designed to heart-paddle some life back into the line. In using variant covers to goose orders this not-really-a-relaunch, Marvel has made a popular-looking cover art strategy dependent on extremely hard-to-reach-and-stay-solvent sales points rather than something more modest and achievable to varying degrees throughout the sales profile of the average shop that would like to stay in existence.

I've never bought a special stamp let alone a special comic-book cover, and in the end no matter the short-term benefit it's not healthy for things to be sold in a crappy market that are extensively disconnected from people's desire for the content involved. Marvel shouldn't need retailers to tell them this, and if they do need to hear it they should make it before the point after which reform is possible.
 
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Go, Look: Monlongo

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

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

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

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MAR171784 LADIES IN WAITING HC $24.99
This is a rough week in the same way that the last few weeks of comics at the shop seemed easy: I lack context for even the most obvious things, and enthusiasm isn't all that high across the board. In that spirit, this release from Fantagraphics in their exploration of Spanish comics culture and art is super well-reviewed and I'll be coming at it straight-up cold as ice. Those are both great creators and Javier Olivares is talented as hell.

imageAPR170060 CALLA CTHULHU TP $12.99
Here's something a bit different: YA entertainment involving Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer, working with solid creators Erin Humiston, Mario Gonzalez and Bill Mudron. The line that stuck with me from an interview is that this might feel the need for female-centric material for this age group that isn't fight-oriented. Even if I got that wrong, I'll still check it out. Looks cute.

JUN170341 KAMANDI CHALLENGE #8 (OF 12) $3.99
FEB170397 REVOLUTION AW YEAH #3 $3.99
APR170795 DYING AND THE DEAD #5 (RES) $3.99
JUN170762 LAZARUS X PLUS 66 #2 (OF 6) (MR) $3.99
JUN170775 MOONSTRUCK #2 $3.99
JUN178448 SNOTGIRL #6 2ND PTG $2.99
MAY179024 ROBOTECH #1 2ND PTG $3.99
This is all borderline comics for me, so I might find something new to read. The Kamandi Challenge I'd forgotten all about, but my own gribute to Kirby through my festival ended up a no-go and I know how difficult it is to see any such project to completion. The Aw Yeah is that little kid stuff you might remember being applied to Teen Titans, primarily, but this time focused on IDW's overlapping sets of toy properties like Micronauts and GI Joe. Dying And The Dead is Jonathan Hickman, and I've been reading all the Hickman I can lately. Lazarus is Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, but with friends taking part in this side series of shorts between major story arcs. I enjoy that one, I like near-future world building and it's clever to do one that counts on the world looking like 100 people moving between film sets. Moonstruck is Shae Beagle and Grace Ellis and very, very cute. Snotgirl is too many issues for me not to have it figure out, but I'm still working on it. Robotech was the cartoon show companion for my 5 AM chocolate cheesecake eating self-hatred athons during high school. I have fond memories of the show, I suppose, but I have no interest in seeing more of it, you know? I've reached my lifetime's allotment on that particular thing. A lot of particular things.

MAY171363 VALERIAN GN VOL 17 ORPHAN OF THE STARS $13.95
I guess people hated the movie for that arch chauvinist thing that French culture sometimes puts out there as retro and charming. These comics sure are gorgeous, though, and I remember Laureline on the page being a pretty straight-up admirable hero character.

JUL171616 VIETNAM JOURNAL SERIES 2 TP VOL 01 INCURSION $16.99
This is just to remind me that this series is happening again.

JUN172297 ART OF AARDMAN HC $24.95
I have no particularly refined aesthetic for art books, and haven't bought one since a Studio Ghibli thing at Comix Revolution in Evanston maybe a full decade ago now. I also read enough comics and see enough animation I don't necessarily want to live in those places longer than the art itself would have me stick around. I still look at the ones when I like the subject matter, though. What can it hurt?

JUN172314 RUBE GOLDBERGS SIMPLE NORMAL HUMDRUM SCHOOL DAY HC $17.95
I think this is an all-ages series emphasizing the crazy-contraption aspect of Goldberg's existence, packaged and published by Abrams. It's hard to imagine there's anything here for me but there aren't a lot of series with a comics element for me to all the way blow it off.

JUN171827 HILDA & BLACK HOUND TP $10.99
This is a reprint from the well-liked Luke Pearson album series; it's a strange enough week with the newer stuff that you might keep this prove winner in mind.

MAY171933 KIRBY 100 HC LTD ED $45.95
MAY171932 KIRBY 100 SC $34.95
Here's another Kirby project, involving a number of comics pros. I want all the celebration of Kirby possible, and I'm so grateful for anyone that sees their tribute through that I won't say a negative word. Check it out at least, you can live in that Kirby headspace for two to three seconds.

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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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OTBP: Reverse Flâneur

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

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Go, Look: Rodger Binyone

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Greg Hunter on Ghosts, Etc..

* John Siuntres talks to Patty Farmer.

* not comics: a couple of cartoonist sent me an early version of what is going to be a flood of articles about people in their 20s now that we're shifting towards a new group. I found this hilariously unconvincing in its claim that this isn't a refined form of hipsterdom, as it seems to check off every point from those old articles (even Seinfeld!), but if that model continues, thats interesting, too. One thing we know about creative twenty-somethings of the last twenty years is they migrate from gig to gig, which I think we'll continue to see happen with store ownership and even creators.

* finally: this is deeply unfortunate and I hope ends in a lot of apologies, etc.
 
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Happy 47th Birthday, Tara Madison Avery!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Terry Austin!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Chris Bachalo!

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August 22, 2017


Go, Look: Benjamin Williams

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Comics People Bringing Home The Awards And Such

* congratulations to Jeff Smith on winning the Sparky Award from the Cartoon Art Museum (not sure there's a direct link there, but scroll down to August 16). It goes to an artist that matches namesake Charles "Sparky" Schulz's "talent, innovation and humanity." Past winners include Carl Barks, Will Eisner, John Lasseter, Stan Lee and Mort Walker.

image* congratulations to Miriam Libicki on being the new writer in residence at the Vancouver Public Library and on having Toward A Hot Jew being shortlisted for a Vine Award For Jewish Literature, in non-fiction.

* congratulations to this awesome pair of folks at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: Wendy Pflug, on being granted tenure; Caitlin McGurk, on receiving her Award In Teaching Excellence.
 
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Go, Look: MAD Staffers In Tahiti

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Missed It: Anti-SLAPP Issue Between Ted Rall And Tribune Media Went Against Rall On August 4

This article provides what seems like a pretty fair timeline as to what's been going on in Ted Rall's case against the LA Times and various individuals and companies related to a decision to no longer use him as a freelancer in Summer 2015.

It looks like the recent dramatic Anti-SLAPP motion that required a significant amount of money be raised to secure a potential negative outcome, a motion against which Rall himself argued in court as he was between legal representatives, and one the cartoonist and essayis believe has been used in exploitative fashion by large corporations, it looks like that has gone against Rall in an initial ruling. Rall plans to appeal.

Rall wrote about his view of the legal and ethical issues in question before this August 4 decision in a blog post.

There's a lot to this case and I think those of interested in freelance opinion-making should pay attention to the decisions as they come out. I'm surprised this is the first I've read about a result that's now more than two weeks old, but that's probably due to my occasional poor skill with tracking legal material.

I think we may be committed for a while yet. Rall has legal representation once again and seems to be consistent in saying he will appeal the motions that he loses and press forward on those remaining. There's this kind of concurrent dorm-room-logic version of the case that's been running parallel to the unfolding of how the claims bear up legally, certain issues into which I'd like to wait and dig at a much later if not final stage of the legal process. Knowing my success with predicting court cases, this one will probably wind up on Thursday.
 
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Go, Look: GMOs Are Making An Agricultural Crisis In India Even Worse

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Assembled Extra: Joe McCulloch Leaving TCJ's This Week In Comics Column

Joe "Jog" McCulloch will announce today he'll be suspending his deservedly lauded "This Week In Comics" column at TCJ.com. McCulloch has done the column for years and years (it's archived at TCJ back to 2012), grafting an essay on any number of topics but usually super-eclectic comics onto to breezy declarations about that week's books arriving in comic book stores. McCulloch's work is certainly the best regular thing about comics on-line at the moment; it's one of the top five extended efforts ever in critical writing about comics. I would not argue with anyone who thought it best.

Next week's column will be the last one.

McCulloch plans to continue writing about comics, although he's not certain for whom. "I don't know where I'll write," he told me in a brief e-mail exchange this morning. "I'll do a few occasional pieces for the Journal, at least until [editors] Tim [Hodler] & Dan [Nadel] are gone."

Tim Hodler expressed his admiration the column which also ran at Comics Comics, the on-line magazine Hodler co-edited before TCJ. "I've been editing Joe McCulloch's work for almost exactly a decade, since he contributed a short piece on Mutt & Jeff to the third print issue of Comics Comics," he told CR. :Outside of a small handful of exceptions, by 'editing,' I mostly mean correcting the occasional typo and having the much-relished opportunity to read his work before it's published. Of those writing and publishing regularly, he is easily the most consistent, most wide-ranging, and most thoughtful North American comics critic of the century so far. I can already feel the void that will be left in his absence, and am selfishly impatient to read him again whenever he comes back from his well-deserved rest."

It sounds like future writing may be more traditional than the hybrid column. "I want to rebuild my energies toward firmly critical writing in the one-book-at-a-time sense," he says. There's some definite committed-to work on the immediate horizon, mixed in with the probable. "A few print venues will still have me; I'm in the next Critical Chips. Hell, I might even try blogging again someday; it's a compulsion. But I really need to rest for a while." He also hinted at some comics scripting work potentially, in the form of a completed script in an artist's hands.

McCulloch is also probably the best of the writers talking about comics, and one hopes that his podcast appearances on his own show and on others will continue.

Congratulations to McCulloch for this incredible run. I look forward to anything he does next. I hope all his work is as satisfying and rewarding to do as it is to read.

Update: Tim Hodler points out that previous iterations of the column are on-line as well, at least in part, at Comics Comics and at McCulloch's own site.
 
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Go, Look: Your Trump TV guide

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* a 13th volume of Lapinot is worthy of its own article in the French mainstream media. The everyman and his everyfriends make an appearance in modern-day France with this album.

* over at The New Yorker, Alexandra Lange catches up with No Small Plans in the rollout stage of its publication process.

* Mark Schultz talked potential Xenozoic Tales work in his recent Comic Book Creator interview: first a 64-page stand-alone, and if that works a potential 120-page plus conclusion to a long, left-hanging story arc from the original series. This would take several years, and I hope things work out that we get to see it. That was a giant series of its time.

* it's easy to forget in this day of crowdfunding that anthologies supported that way are also publishing news, as is the case with the Planned Parenthood benefit book supported here.

* finally, looks like Matthew Rosenberg has a project coming out featuring the Punisher character created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru.
 
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OTBP: Greek Diary

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Go, Look: Joe Staton + Bob Smith Plastic Man Splashes

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the fifth issue of American Bystander, that comics-friendly humor magazine, is nearing the end of its crowd-funding campaign.

image* Irene Velentzas on The Customer Is Always Wrong. Sean Gaffney on Queen Emeraldas Vol. 2.

* someone asked me if I could pull lessons for comics from this article about paying traditionally low-level wage retail jobs at a much higher rater, but I couldn't get past how relatively high to comics the national averages were for two of those types of job in order to figure out how the two industries might compare.

* this article's ability to comment on a comics industry thing should be much more plain.

* there are now some details about DC's latest plunge into the intellectual property aspects of Watchmen for use in serial pulpy superhero punch-ups. DC has probably paid more in terms of higher-end comics professionals taking them off the table as an option than they've benefited from the product they've created. If the plot as some have asserted suggests that Watchmen was the spearpoint of a cynical vanguard that ruined hopeful superhero comics, I'm going to have fun this Fall repeatedly kicking that notion in the dick.

* finally, RC Harvey remembers the late Dick Locher. I haven't read that essay yet, but I'm sure given their ages, interests and long-time regional proximity that's a personal loss for Bob as it has been for so many people.
 
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August 21, 2017


Go, Read: Mildred

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Go, Read: Nate Piekos On Tendinitis

Here. It's heartbreaking for the story of it and heartening in the warning of it.

Cartooning encompasses a variety of professions many of which drive their practitioners toward a number of subtle physical hazards. I hope that everyone pays attention to those matters. In a wider sense, away from the unique wrist and hand and neck risks that cartoonists take, we all know that to one degree or another a life spent sitting while working (likely overworking) is an accelerant towards impairment and death.
 
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Go, Look: Would You Run 2000 Miles to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?

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Festivals Extra: Linework NW Suspends Indefinitely

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Announcement through the link in the image.

I remain very fond of this show, spearheaded by Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault after the alt-/arts- community in Portland making a break away from a broader, more "indy"-oriented Stumptown Comics Fest. I thought Linework NW had a great vibe and specific-neighborhood feel, the venue was great, and that its inclusion of illustrators gave it a special boost. Any chance to visit Portland is a welcome one. I liked the parties, official and unofficial. I liked the breakfast options.

What Linework seemed to lack in this initial iteration was second-stage investment cash, making it very dependent on its community of volunteers and its organizers. Linework NW also, and I could be wrong about this, but in its first run of years Linework never quite seemed to evince that special extra 10 percent of need from its attendees or pros. That could just be laid-back Portland, but it just sort of seemed when the show was touch and go that the community could deal with "go," without it being there. The loss of similar shows in other cities might take that place off of the alt-comics map, period, but not comics-rich Portland. That's a hunch; I could be wrong.

My hope is that someone might step in for 2018 or 2019 with a little bit of cash and/or a whole lot of time and/or a plan that gets that city's comics culture and can take the show to the next level both organizationally and in terms of separating it conceptually from others, like the Rose City show where the other half of the old Stumptown festival community found root, or Seattle's Short Run up the road, whose dissolution would seem a greater loss to individual cartoonists in that great comics city. I'm not waiting up at night. I know how fragile these shows can be, how tough it is to sustain things past the initial magical weekend.
 
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Go, Look: "Wake Up, America! Terrorism Is Here!"

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* haven't checked back in on this Comic Art Workshop in a while; they've passed their first goal. Sounds like a noble project and with that many artists involved there are multiple entry point and reward possibilities.

* here's a benefit comics for Planned Parenthood.

* here's a Drew Ford-initiated project featuring the late Sam Glanzman.

* here's this week's person that wrote in and I did manage to see it and I've included it here. They promise and all-female main cast and all-female artists working on the project, which I know is something for which many of you watch out.

* Critical Chips 2 may have reached its goal by the time you read this. The first one was very well-regarded.

* this art book featuring Mike Ploog and Simon Bisley has pushed past its initial ask.

* finally, CR readers pick Patreons they think worthy of support. We're building a resource post on this site.
 
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OTBP: The Man Who Came Down The Attic Stairs

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Go, Look: Adventures Into The Unknown #67

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Brian Nicholson on The Academic Hour. Todd Klein on a pair of sketchbook efforts. Jannon Callaway on Dark Nights: Metal #1. Robert Kirby on Greek Diary.

* go, work: Gosh London is accepting resumes until the end of the year.

* Todd Klein collects a bunch of photos of HG Peter in one place. I aspire to snapshot knowledge of the two dozen or so major superhero creators, but I'm not there yet.

* Sean Edgar talks to Christopher Golden. Steve Foxe talks to Aubrey Sitterson. John Siuntres talks to Pat Mills.

* a classic comics-culture article: what some cartoonists will miss about drawing a specific, now-gone political figure.

* finally, this is just terrifying-looking. Also, I'm not sure as an old-school Fantastic Four fan I like the power set extending into morphed creatures.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Matt Emery!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Will Shetterly!

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August 20, 2017


Go, Look: Socialism: As American As Apple Pie

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

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

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

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Happy 45th Birthday, Sean Kleefeld!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Daniel Torres!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Rina Ayuyang!

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Happy 88th Birthday, Marie Severin!

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FFF Results Post #486 -- Patreonage

On Friday, CR asked its readers to "Name Five Patreons Worth Supporting Not Yours." This is how they responded.

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Charles Forsman
2. The Comics Alternative Podcast
3. Kyle Starks
4. Michel Fiffe (pictured)
5. Jim Rugg

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Frank Page
2. Darrin Bell
3. Gillian Renk (pictured)
4. David Gallaher
5. Adam Huber

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1. Priya Huq
2. Michel Fiffe
3. Meags Fitzgerald
4. Kelly Tindall (pictured)
5. Sarah Horrocks

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dan Berry For Make It Then Tell Everybody
2. Linda Medley
3. Jim Zub
4. Robin McConnell For Inkstuds
5. Kyle Baker (pictured)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Zainab Akhtar for Comics & Cola
2. Sloane Leong (pictured)
3. GG
4. Jen for Thunderpaw
5. Sarah Burrini

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Sam Henderson
2. Katie Skelly
3. Graham Annable (pictured)
4. John Porcellino
5. Jim Rugg

*****
*****
 
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August 19, 2017


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Mariscal Story


The Art Of Hector Curiel


Milton Caniff At Work


Lucy Bellwood's 100 Demon Dialogues Video


Lynda Barry Doing Her Thing Back In 2011
 
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Go, Look: Monuments

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

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

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

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Happy 48th Birthday, Gene Ha!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Josh Cotter!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Stefano Gaudiano!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Adam P. Knave!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Josh Fialkov!

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August 18, 2017


Go, Look: Skip Williamson 1970s Sketchbook Pages

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Missed It: Bleeding Cool Survey-Style Article On Rhetorical Fallout Post-Charlottesville

Here. There's a lot to consume there, and even more to be considered in general, but I'm not deeply enmeshed in the world of back-and-forth commentary anymore to follow all of it or even a cogent sampling. Your opinion about some comics professionals in good or even privileged standing is subject to change any time you go and look at such matters, and should be. These are public statements and thus may have public consequences.

I've always believed if people make thoughtful, moral decisions about what they do/consume/support on a consistent basis that we'll be better off in the long run than we are when they don't. I still think that's more true than false. I'm certain I'll have thundering disagreements with individual positions along the way -- I struggle with any concept of running around and protesting a voted-upon effort while armed and acting as if you get $1000 cash for every inciting incident you perform as a free speech event, for instance -- but I welcome the serious attention to these matters of fundamental American meaning that too frequently assert that a stalemate is a settled matter. We should continue.
 
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Go, Look: Three By Jason Martin

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* finally: Joseph Remnant has a newly refurbished site up, in advance of his latest book.
 
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If I Were Near This, I'd Go To It

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OTBP: Valley

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Philippe Leblanc profiles books from Peow Studios and Pow Pow Press.

* bundled extra: I guess from reading this that there are some new creative teams on some of the titles coming out in this soft not-a-relaunch. That sees smart, given all the continuity elsewhere. I like the sci-fi paperback quality of that She-Hulk image.

* struck the next day how pretty the art is in this Cathy Malkasian tweet.

* what Dan Clowes remembers loving about late 1970s New York. I was just trying to explain to someone what 1975-1984 felt like in terms of absent civilization, and failing. This comes close.

* not comics: Michael Tisserand's Johnny Cash story is pretty great.

* finally, here is today's big-media company with easy comics comparisons piece. I remember that all sorts of fundamental changes to the system were proposed as Marvel geared up to distribute through Heroes World, and what we got was far from that and still a failure.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Jenni Rope!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Kevin Church!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Lilli Carré!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Brian Bendis!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Chris Allen!

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August 17, 2017


Go, Look: Spy Seal Pages For Sale

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Your 2017 Ignatz Award Nominees

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I see lists of the Ignatz Awards nominees for this year springing up on the various news sites. The Ignatzes are a long-running part of the Small Press Expo weekend and while as juried award they tend to have a pretty broad range of winners and nominees within its small-press/art-comics target market, their reputation is they focus on newer works by young cartoonists.

Your nominees are:

Outstanding Artist
* Keren Katz -- The Academic Hour (Secret Acres)
* Emil Ferris -- My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagrahpics)
* Manuele Fior -- The Interview (Fantagraphics)
* Barbara Yelin -- Irmina (SelfMadeHero)
* Pablo Auldadell -- Paradise Lost (Pegasus Books)

Outstanding Anthology
* ELEMENTS: Fire -- An Anthology by Creators of Color -- edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)
* POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology -- edited by Joamette Gil (P&M Press)
* Spanish Fever: Stories by the New Spanish Cartoonists -- edited by Javier Olivares & Santiago Garcia (Fantagraphics)
* Comic Book Slumber Party's Deep Space Canine -- edited by Hannah K. Chapman (Avery Hill)
* ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators, from Prism Comics -- edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery (Stacked Deck Press)

Outstanding Collection
* The Complete Neat Stuff -- Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
* Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us -- Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota (Oni Press)
* Time Clock -- Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics)
* Boundless -- Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2 -- Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Graphic Novel
* Eartha -- Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics) (art pictured bottom)
* March: Book 3 -- John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
* My Favorite Thing Is Monsters -- Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
* Band for Life -- Anya Davidson (Fantagraphics)
* Tetris -- Box Brown (First Second)

Outstanding Story
* March: Book 3 -- John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
* My Favorite Thing Is Monsters -- Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
* "Small Enough," from Diary Comics -- Dustin Harbin (Koyama Press)
* Too Hot to Be Cool -- Maddi Gonzales
* Diana's Electric Tongue -- Carolyn Nowak (self-published)

Promising New Talent
* Isabella Rotman -- Long Black Veil (self-published)
* Margot Ferrick -- Yours (2D Cloud)
* Aud Koch -- "Run," from Oath Anthology (Mary’s Monster)
* Bianca Xunise -- Say Her Name (self-published)
* Kelly Bastow -- Year Long Summer (self-published)

Outstanding Series
* Chester 5000, by Jess Fink (self-published)
* The Old Woman, by Rebecca Mock (self-published)
* Maleficium, by Sabin Couldron (self-published)
* Frontier, edited by Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline)
* Crickets, by Sammy Harkham (self-published)

Outstanding Comic
* Public Relations #10 -- Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Rolston, Annie Wu (1First Comics)
* Libby’s Dad -- Eleanor Davis (Retrofit/Big Planet)
* Canopy -- Karine Bernadou (Retrofit/Big Planet)
* Your Black Friend -- Ben Passmore (Silver Sprocket)
* Sunburning -- Keiler Roberts (Koyama Press) (art pictured top)

Outstanding Minicomic (Self-Published)
* Tender Hearted -- Hazel Newlevant
* The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs -- Celine Loup
* Reverse Flaneur -- M. Sabine Rear
* Same Place Same Time -- Ann Xu
* Our Tale of Woe -- Keren Katz & Geffen Refaeli

Outstanding Online Comic
* "Disability in the Age of Trump" -- Amanda Scurti (The Nib)
* "That’s Not Who We Are" -- Mike Dawson (The Nib)
* The Meek -- Der-Shing Helmer (Self-Published)
* "Woman World" -- Aminder Dhaliwal (Self-Published)
* "Normel Person"/"Maine Vacation" -- Lauren Weinstein (Village Voice and Mutha Magazine)

*****

Digital media comics giant comiXology returns as major co-sponsor. The ceremony is September 16 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

*****

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*****
 
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Go, Listen: Katie Skelly On Comic Book Decalogue

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* while I noted the opening back in June, someone from the Society Of Illustrators wrote in to remind me that the show is up for a few more weeks. Some of that art is very attractive, of course. One of the key things about Marvel success was how cannily Stan Lee locked down a group of artists that could extend their creative success, and the later Spider-Man crew of Romita Sr., Kane and even Ross Andru were evidence of that. Seeing the evidence of Romita re-staging some of Kane's dynamic pages is collective creativity at its best.

* if any of you are out in Carbondale this weekend say hi to my professional peer Melody Reed.

* I'm hoping to make CALA this year -- at least the Sunday -- and am fascinated by how it will work in its new location. Looks like it might be easier to drive over to that neighborhood, but who knows? I'm grateful for every important scene to have an arts-focused show.

* I'm not sure how many of the Wizard shows Stan Lee does on his endless tour of comics conventions, but I'm sure fans of the Wizard show in Madison will be thrilled by the opportunity to meet the legendary writer/editor.

* 196 days until Emerald City. That sent a shiver up someone's spine out there.

* you know, I like the basic shape of the festival year: March 1 to November 15, a few shows like Angouleme running in the "offseason," intense periods in April and September, less intense periods in June and August making room for tours and signings. There's a lot of tumult yet to come, though. A lot.

* Juggalos and Trump supporters join SPXers in the Washington, DC area on the same day.

* finally, I was talking to someone the other day about the notion that cosplay serves a function at some smaller shows to modernize the show -- give it an appeal to a certain young fanbase -- without pushing the show into the celebrity game. I'm not sure if this show qualifies, but it kind of engages some of that rhetoric.
 
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Go, Read/Listen: David Letterman On Harvey Pekar

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Go, Look: Ron Cobb's Anti-Nuke Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Aseem Trivedi comments in text and illustration on a group of mothers affected by Turkish political upheaval.

* not comics: I'm always happy to see cartoonists take the opportunities to work across media in a way they're full participants, because such opportunities are rare and thus curated to the individual cartoonist's experience. Sonny Liew making stage work is very exciting.

* a brutal month for fans of Mexican cartooning continues with the passing of Eduardo del Rio.

* a young person that looks like Amelia Earhart to me profiles Steve Sack.

* finally, Liza Donnelly sings the praises of the iPad pro. I'm trusting the story is around that loud, commercial-driven page somewhere.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Tom McLean!

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Happy 61st Birthday, John Romita Jr.!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Andrew Helfer!

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August 16, 2017


Go, Read: Asher Elbein On Letterers And Colorists

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

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*****

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

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

*****

JUN170705 SPY SEAL #1 $3.99
Rich Tommaso's latest series may be his most beautiful in its full adoption of European kids-book colors and easygoing pacing. I'm super-interested to see what this might look like ten issues in. Until then, I'll be reading every new issue. The author is selling some of his beautiful black and white original art at his Etsy store.

imageMAY170525 SH*T MY PRESIDENT SAYS ILLUSTRATED TWEETS OF DONALD TRUMP HC $14.99
Shannon Wheeler is a funny guy and a keen observer of oversized human behavior. Not even Spy Seal gets an assignment this sweet, digging to the current president's pre-occupation with twitter as a kind of magic button for opinion-throwers.

JUN170759 INVINCIBLE #139 (MR) $2.99
JUN170617 MAGE HERO DENIED #1 (OF 15) $3.99
JUN171838 KAIJUMAX SEASON 3 #2 (MR) $3.99
MAY171062 REICH #10 (OF 12) (MR) $4.00
NOV160644 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #17 CVR A LATOUR (MR) $3.99
JUN170818 WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD #3 (OF 4) CVR A SAMPSON $3.99
There are slightly more comic-book comics of note than the last couple of weeks. I'm enjoying the straight-forward wrapping up of the Invincible series so far. Writer Robert Kirkman's success with Walking Dead obscures what a unique accomplishment this kind of universe-building with fewer than five builders has grown into by series end. So many creators have tried it. Mage: Hero Denied is Matt Wagner's return to his signature characters; it's hard for me to tell on Wagner's work how much I'm enjoying it until I come back to it about 100 pages in. Kaijumax is Zander Cannon's continuing humor series; I'm way behind. Reich is the consistent re-marching out of Elijah Brubaker's previous comic-book series. Southern Bastards surprised me with its return: that's me, not them. It's harder than one might think to balance these kind of somber stories with the larger than life characters involved. Winnebago Graveyard is a comic about which I know little, but that's an all-time title and Allison Sampson is usually up to something interesting.

JUN170703 SEXCASTLE TP (MR) $15.99
Sexcastle was the reputation for Kyle Starks, and is as funny as its reputation.

MAY171709 FANTASY SPORTS HC VOL 03 GREEN KING $19.95
I always enjoy looking at Sam Bosma's work and a series of manga-style volumes fits its sports-but-not-quite sports stories extremely well. I'm glad these continue to come out.

MAR171819 FURARI HC (RES) $25.00
This is work by Jiro Taniguchi, an artist whose works I buy with regularity. That Taniguchi died six months ago makes this even more welcome.

JUN172270 POCKET FULL OF DENNIS THE MENACE SC $34.95
I believe this is a cleverly-named history rather than bluntly-named smaller-sized edition. I know very little about Dennis The Menace beyond the half-dozen or so stories that surround its creator. Working for Gary Groth beat into my skin what a great artist and generally funny writer Hank Ketcham, and taking my own look at various publications made me realize how many good artists have worked on the feature and its spin-offs over the year.

JUN171635 BORDER WORLDS GN (MR) $29.95
Dover Publications hits one of my own sweet spots with their re-issue -- complete with potential ending -- of Don Simpson's gently swaying science fiction story. I'm glad to see it back as well as its humans-in-the-foreground/wonder-in-the-background mix of visual approaches. I hope someone does a really big interview with creator Don Simpson.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Yogi Bear Sundays

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Go, Look: Tide Of Terror

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there's a nice discussion here between Nick Hanover and Kim O'Connor about the state/nature/reality of present-day criticism written about comics. It links to a more wide-ranging discussion. I always find some insight in discussions like this. I don't have very well-developed critical chops and most of the writing about comics I do is my personal reaction to something I've encountered. I do think of criticism as more useful/not useful than good/bad, but that comes out of my own consumerist impulses.

image* another week, another significant cross-media deal for a comics creator and their ability to bring a company's worth of projects along with them. For me, it's the solidification of where many creators might want to find themselves some day, with a side order that these deals might be easier to make with creator-driven company rather than publishing houses or media companies run by non-creatives.

* not comics: a statement or two by Judd Apatow about the difficulties the American conservative point of view has as a departure point for great art. I see a lot of entertainment out there as essentially conservative with liberal flourish, but it's an interesting idea to consider.

* finally, Drew Friedman celebrates the Kirby Centennial with a limited-edition print.

apologies for the Kirkman photo from the pleistocene epoch; it's the only one I have!
 
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Hal Foster Was Born 125 Years Ago Today

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Otto Messmer Was Born 125 Years Ago Today

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August 15, 2017


Go, Listen: Sammy Harkham On Process Party

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Go, Look: Joseph Lambert One-Pager

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* here's a short "it's coming" preview for the first volume of Nila Magruder's MFK.

* Entertainment Weekly was selected to host the cover-driven announcement of First Second's Spring 2018 season. It's as massive as the seasons this year have been, so I guess that's the new normal. Here are the books:
+ Animus, Antoine Revoy
+ Chasma Knights, Kate Reed Petty and Boya Sun
+ One Day a Dot, Ian Lendler and Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
+ Be Prepared, Vera Brosgol
+ Cucumber Quest: The Melody Kingdom, Gigi D.G.
+ Science Comics: Rockets, Anne Drozd and Jerzy Drozd
+ Quirk's Quest: The Lost and the Found, Robert Christie and Deborah Lang
+ All Summer Long, Hope Larson
+ Pop by Jason Carter Eaton, Matt Rockefeller
+ Cottons: The Secret of the Wind, Jim Pascoe and Heidi Arnhold
+ Spill Zone: The Broken Vow, Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland
+ The Dam Keeper: World Without Darkness, Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
+ The Adventure Zone: Here Be Gerblins -- Clint, Griffin, Justin, and Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch
+ Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules, Tony Cliff
+ Idle Days, Thomas D. Brousseau and Simon LeClerc
+ Science Comics: Trees, Andy Hirsch
There's not a lot there for me, but that's a complaint that's like six years old now. If I had had a child instead of complaining, they'd have a bunch of First Second books to read, for sure. It's not so bad. Me, I'll read anything Tony Cliff, Vera Brosgol and Hope Larson do, and a few more here are interesting visually, but I'm not sure where my entry point is overall. There probably isn't one.

* finally, Noah Van Sciver shows off a potential cover or two. Ed Piskor shows off his X-Men book cover. Those should all be fun projects.
 
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Go, Look: Fantastic Comics #1

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Go, Look: Recent BD For The Beach

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Heidi MacDonald (I think) talks to Jon Morris.

* I like to imagine this is three normally-dressed people buying stuff from the cartoonist Keren Katz and the photo just shows us what Keren is seeing.

* that was a long and ugly weekend in domestic politics, with many moments lurching into national disgrace territory. Here was the most brutal exchange between cartoonists. Here is the thread I was sent the most times with a comics-maker involved. Hopefully I remember to come back here and more directly link to the cross-section of mainstream editorial cartoonists on the matter. Okay, I remembered, but there's almost nothing there. Here's Ben Passmore from earlier this year on the movement to rid the South of its confederate statuary. I've been following that story for a while.

* finally, Jason draws Allen Ginsberg.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday Paul Gulacy!

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August 14, 2017


Go, Look: Sofia Niazi

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Go, Read: WSJ On Thoroughness Of Difficulties Facing Editorial Cartoonists In Turkey

imageIt's behind a paywall, but if you have a chance to get at this Wall Street Journal article on the collapse of satire and cartoon commentary in Turkey over the last 24 months, take it.

The authors go beyond the direct harassment of cartoonists and journalists by the present Turkish regime to bring in a couple of other elements to the table. Most surprisingly, they flat-out blame those who copy the works and distribute them for free as depleting resources from publications that could have used -- and could continue to use -- that money to fight legal sanctions. That's not an argument I've heard before.
 
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Go, Look: Wai Wai Pang

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Festivals Extra: Melody Reed Joins Cartoon Crossroads Columbus As Operations Manager

Here's a bit of news from the show with which I'm involved. Melody Reed has joined the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus Festival as its operations manager. She's been working with for a short time, but I like her very much and I've already grown to depend on her skill set. Here's the formal release:
Reed Joins CXC as Operations Manager
Melody Reed has been selected as the operations manager of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus as of August 1, 2017. In this position she is responsible for all of CXC's business operations and she will be the show runner for the annual fall CXC expo.

imageReed brings extensive administrative experience, most recently as office manager and volunteer coordinator with Actors' Theatre of Columbus in addition to additional administrative work at Crossroads United Methodist Church. A Columbus native and graduate of Otterbein University, she is also a certified tourism ambassador.

"We've only known Melody a short time, but already she is a perfect fit," said cartoonist Jeff Smith, President and Artistic Director of CXC, "I am pleased to welcome Ms. Reed to the festival, and look forward to working with her."

For inquires about the CXC Festival, contact Melody Reed:
This year's CXC, featuring a wide array of guests and programming in over a half-dozen venues around the great city of Columbus, begins on September 28 and runs through October 1. A special opening event with the great Laura Park interviewed by OSU's Jared Gardner at the Columbus Museum Of Art (where Park will have an exhibit up) is to be held at 2 PM on September 24.

I hope to see you there, and I feel better knowing Melody will be there, too!
 
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Go, Look: RM Rhodes On Philippe Druillet

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"Self-Published Pepe The Frog Book" Article Misses Point

This article about a conservative-leaning kids book being published using Matt Furie's "Pepe" character, whom you may recall was hijacked for use by a range of right-wingers from dull, unimaginative conservatives all the way out to flat-out weird Nazi people, spends a lot of time as to which conception of the character the author and school administrator (!) was somehow endorsing.

Another angle to explore might have been that the character is someone else's, and this guy is a fucking ding-dong for thinking his use of someone else's character in this straight-forward way is ethically or morally okay as long as he thinks of Bill Buckley instead of Adolf Eichmann.

I might understand people reading the article missing the point because they're boiling with rage as the piece ends with the book author's suggestion of possible victim-hood. The abdication of any values beyond profit and dullest tribalism makes basic intellectual rigor a near-impossible goal. God help us all.
 
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Go, Look: Mariery Young

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the current 2dcloud crowd-funder should be high on your list of check-it-out priorities.

* past its first ask, this request for support regarding an international creators workshop now might become more interesting for its non-funding aspects.

* the Kevin Eastman and Friends campaign looks like it's well within closing distance of its first ask, with a lot of time left to spare. You never know, but this one looks quite certain.

* this effort featuring a ton of great writers looks like it will work out in the end: that first publication was extremely well-received.

* finally, I'm sure the Dorians could use some attention to their support-through-medical-procedures crowd-funder.
 
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If I Were Near West Tisbury, I'd Go To This

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Go, Read: Sally Ingraham On Strange Growths #14 (1998)

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* here's yet another big-picture article about an iconic company in a related medium dealing with issues of profit loss by technology. Draw your lessons accordingly.

* the good thing about a list of top comics shops like this one is that very few of them are on the standard comics-culture lists for this type. It's nice that there are some apparently well-funded, healthy-looking stores out there. The bad thing is that most of them look oriented away from comics-readers and aimed at superhero-culture fans. How many toys are on hand is a weird measure of a specialty bookstore. I love junk, too, but I'm going to stick with the idea that the best comics shop is the shop that's best at comics. All of them.

* finally: Derf's Craftint Collection.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Jimmy Palmiotti!

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Happy 74th Birthday, John Costanza!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Gary Larson!

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August 13, 2017


Go, Look: Mark Stafford

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Go, Look: Krent Able

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Go, Look: Stan Kelly Cartoons

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

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Happy 57th Birthday, Bret Blevins!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Shannon Wheeler!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Donna Barr!

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FFF Results Post #485 -- Blogging, Last

On Friday CR readers were asked to "Name Five Still-Functioning Comics-Makers' Blogs Accessible To The Public." This how they responded.

*****

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Tom Cherry

1. Hotel Fred (Roger Langridge)
2. Obsessive Cartoonist Disorder (Evan Dorkin)
3. Maybe Blogging Will Help (John Porcellino)
4. A Cartoonist in Kekionga (Pam Bliss)
5. Smeary Soapbox Press-ents (Dale Martin)

*****

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Mário Filipe

1. Todd's Blog (Todd Klein)
2. Ben Towle: Cartoonist, Educator, Hobo (Ben Towle)
3. Obsessive Cartoonist Disorder (Evan Dorkin)
4. Bouletcorp (Boulet)
5. A Distant Soil (Colleen Doran)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Alexandre Clérisse
2. Maria Llovet
3. Olivia Vieweg
4. Jeff Lemire
5. Tony Isabella

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. http://www.newsfromme.com (Mark Evanier)
2. http://arloandjanis.com (Jimmy Johnson)
3. http://www.leasticoulddo.com (Ryan Sohmer)
4. http://blog.dilbert.com/ (Scott Adams)
5. http://evandorkin.livejournal.com (Evan Dorkin)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Cat Without Dogs (Jason)
2. Darryl Cunningham Investigates (Darryl Cunningham)
3. Drew Friedman (Drew Friedman)
4. Jessica Abel's Blog (Jessica Abel)
5. F (Kevin Huizenga)

*****
*****
 
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August 12, 2017


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Lauren McCallister On Detroit Comix Party


Hergé In Quebec City This Summer


Remembering Dick Locher


Tom Tales Answers His Hate Mail


Mike Thompson Draws


Frank Santoro Made A Book For His Parents

 
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Go, Look: Louie Del Carmen

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If I Were Near Santa Rosa, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 48th Birthday, Gregory Benton!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Al Ewing!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Chris Sims!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Akimi Yoshida!

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August 11, 2017


Go, Look: From Dick Locher's Run On The Gravies

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* if you haven't, stop by the newly-relaunched Cartoonists Of Color web site. It's all fancy now. That's a great resource for a lot of different facets of comics, and one I've used in previous forms.

* some general shape of the manga magazine market stuff: digital surge matching print publication decline, print publications about half of what they were at the heights of the 1990s, Shonen Jump below two million.

* finally: this looks like a convention that totally lacks paper.
 
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If I Were In Boston, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Fourth World Images Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* this Gary Panter paintings gallery is pretty great fun.

* Zainab Akhtar digs into Jillian Tamaki's Boundless and declares its creators one of the great cartoonists of her generation.

* two things to keep on the mind about Musa Kart: his statement this summer to the court; his release was a release from being held while awaiting trial, not a release from charges.

* Michael Cavna profiles Ward Sutton's "Kelly" character.

* a lot of comics are more successful in other media, but I guess -- I guess -- it's worth the reminder that a comic-book property doesn't require a popular comic book, or in some cases any comic book at all.

* finally, congratulations.
 
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Happy 29th Birthday, Sophia Foster-Dimino!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jim Lee!

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August 10, 2017


Go, Look: Bob McLeod Cover Gallery

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* STAPLE! looks back in an ambitious way. That's one of the traditional small press and art-comics focused festivals.

* here's an article about event-driven marketing at Comic-Con International. That is where the buzz settled on this year's show, although who knows if it's successful in a bottom-line sense. I imagine a big factor is they can be used in other venues now, which wasn't necessarily the case a dozen years ago.

* this might be nice reading before any big convention that requires you to eat out in groups. I actually think there are some things on this list that might just have to happen -- if they will let you, and they don't always, you might have to do five or six cards, or you might need them to hurry things along as best they can and vocalize this -- but you should always tip for this kind of extra service. Comics fans are really bad tippers, for no particular reason beyond being entitled and cheap.

* finally, CAB announced that John Kelly from the ToonSeum is doing their programming this year. That has a very good chance to be excellent: Kelly is a smart and serious person, and a bunch of folks are going to benefit from the fact he's working in comics now.
 
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Go, Bookmark: ENDZEIT

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Anna Fitzpatrick talks to Mimi Pond.

* Paul Schott profiles Bob Rich, a long-time newspaper cartoonist looking for a gig like so many others post 2008 and eventually finding one at a financial firm.

* it's always weird for me to look at fantasy illustration form 1960 to 1985 because for me comics were partly an extension of my ongoing childhood fantasy wallow. So looking at something like this Corben illustration has for me the same general feeling that looking at old comics might have, only I was creating the entire narrative in my head. It probably says something about the comics of the time that this confluence was even possible.

* finally: Happy Birthday, Julie.
 
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Happy 60th Birthday, Scott Bukatman!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Eddie Campbell!

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August 9, 2017


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

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*****

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

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

*****

MAY171595 MY PRETTY VAMPIRE HC $19.99
It's difficult for me to think of a comics work that breaks as far away from the publisher's typical works that features a cartoonist that seems perfectly suited for the talent line-up as My Pretty Vampire and its burgeoning star Katie Skelly, interviewed this summer in every publication and on every site where interviews are done. It's her best work. A lot of what I like about her work is its unusual exploration of metaphor, and the emotional terrain explored here is as delicate as any she's ever presented. Book of the summer, I'd say.

imageMAY171540 PALOOKAVILLE HC VOL 23 (MR) $22.95
It's a strong week. Everything Seth does is a must-buy for me, and that's 3X as true for his serial title now a kind of kids annual for the nostalgic adult. His art is as relaxed and controlled as it has ever been, too, ratcheting up the pleasure one gets in reading the comics.

JUN170746 DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA #3 (MR) $3.99
JUN170760 KILL OR BE KILLED #11 (MR) $3.99
JUN170107 GROO PLAY OF GODS #2 $3.99
JUN170816 WICKED & DIVINE #30 CVR A MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.99
Not a huge week for traditionally serialized comic book. I haven't caught up to the much-criticized Howard Chaykin work, and I'm not sure it's caught on sales-wise, but that's a book of interest for the industry backstory element of its journey to print. The Ed Brubaker an Sean Phillips comic is as pretty as anything they've done, and I"m warming up to the story now that we're in a part where things are underlined and repeated for effect. Sergio Aragones is a national treasure and it's great he's still doing series. Also great for comic book store owner is the latest comic from the popular series Wicked & Divine. That description makes me sound like Casey Kasem talking about the Ramones.

MAY170693 KILL OR BE KILLED TP VOL 02 (MR) $16.99
This is a collection of the previously mentioned Brubaker/Phillip dive into the criminal-killer sub-genre. I think what I'd be most interested in looking at a collection right now is the pacing, because it does't feel like we're up to as many pages with this one as we obviously have to be.

JUN172045 STORY OF JEZEBEL GN (MR) $19.95
Elijah Brubaker's back with a follow-up to Reich, plus we get it all at the same time. I don't think Brubaker's found his audience yet, which is sad only in that the work feels engaging and unique to me.

NOV160508 BEHAVING MADLY HC $34.99
This is Craig Yoe working with on-line archivist Get Apeldoorn on various MAD knockoffs from the famous satirical magazine's initial glory period. A lot of good cartoonists worked on a lot of those magazines.

JUN171261 ALAN MOORE NEONOMICON HC (MR) $27.99
This isn't work I've jumped into yet, but it certainly has its fans. I may buy this one, even though I'm not 100 percent sure what it's about.

APR171900 ARIOL SC VOL 10 OPERA $12.99
My favorite, my dear little comic-book friend. I am fond of these to a disqualifying degree, and it feels more like the quiet afternoons of my own childhood than any other comic I've read.

JUN171828 PANTHEON SC $22.95
I love the cover to this, if you have a chance to google it. It's the story of Osiris, cleverly told in comics form: I'm not sure the story of Osiris registers with a lot of US readers, so it can be both a brand-new thing and a reliable classic.

JUN171636 CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG HC $29.95
Mimi Pond is the other interview you see everywhere right now; she's a smart and funny subject. I quite liked the writing on the book in the same milieu from two years ago, and hope she brings that kind of non-fussy clarity to this further meditation on shared experiences and memory as identity-shapers.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Frank Brunner Original Art Images

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Go, Look: There Is A Lot Going On With This Wally Wood Original Page

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly profile the great Art Young.

* here's a process post featuring Paul Karasik.

* I enjoyed looking at a lot of the work from artists featured in this promotion. There are a ton of visually gifted artists in particular featured there. It was always possible for most comics companies to hire with greater diversity, because the historical hiring records are abominable. It's harder to get away with any kind of excuse-making now, though. I would say that the vast majority of talented people I know creative and non-creative in comics that are under 40, maybe up to 80 percent, they are women. And that's lowballing it.

* here's a funny story from Dick Locher from his time working with Chester Gould.

* finally: Hayley Campbell talks with Neil Gaiman.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Josh Neufeld!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Ted Stearn!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Rick Leonardi!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Bob McLeod!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Posy Simmonds!

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August 8, 2017


Go, Listen: Darryl Ayo On Process Party

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Go, Read: Why Isn't There A Fantastic Four Comic?

Here. I think if you've been tracking this story the new element is the suggestion that the awfulness of the Fox movies is a contributing factor in why there isn't a comic book starring modern Marvel's first characters the month we celebrate the 100th birthday of that storytelling universe's primary mover, the great Jack Kirby. This is a shift from an argument that their identity as Fox movies is more significant than the movies themselves.

What strikes me more than incremental progress on an answer is that this indicates there still really isn't a firm answer of any kind, a public state of mumbling until the next question is asked which resonates strongly during this period of Marvel going slightly off the rails and the rudderless feel one gets about individual publishing initiatives from the longtime market leader. We also get to once again process what I think is a canard about family, something I feel is essential to that property only in the way that everything needs to be boiled down into movie/TV pitches. But whatever the shape of it, there's still no firm answer. In the meantime, Marvel is doing a soft relaunch of its overall universe that puts in the foreground multiple narrative threads instead of a single one involving a rocket.

Nothing here gives me hope that if those characters are brought back somehow that they'll know any better what to do with them. I get the way some characters may fade in and out, but this kind of odd, spread-out dissembling sounds most like the way DC treated its Wonder Woman character before first week box office of her latest film.
 
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Go, Bookmark/Follow: His Last Comic

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Sean Edgar and Anders Nilsen walk through sketchbook work and page design going into his forthcoming Tongues. That is an extensive piece.

* this column is a place where we can mention the 2dcloud crowd-funder from the perspective of it being a season for the publisher. In fact, it might bear closet attention in the a couple of the book are going to be published early to those participating and later to the general public.

* I like the Wet Hot American Summer property as much as the next person, I guess, but i have a hard time figuring out how someone could want a lot more than the very thorough exploration of those characters that exists on film. Also, I can't tell if there are actual creators are involved.

* finally, I'm not sure all the deluxe books programs are created equally, but it might be fun to have the Jack Kirby Prisoner pages in an oversize format.
 
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Go, Look: Yoshi Yoshitani

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Dick Locher, RIP

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You should go to the Tribune, one imagines, for the most complete piece. Locher was the epitome of a skilled veteran cartoonist, doing both editorial cartoons at a prize-winning level and completely a stint on the all-time stylish Midwestern newspaper comic, Dick Tracy. There was a time when I thought he'd work forever.
 
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Go, Look: A Comic-Book Peanuts Story

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Go, Look: James Jean Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Chris Galvin talks to Becky Cloonan.

* not comics: a post-mortem on long-ago soda initiative with comics dip-ins OK Soda. I sort of lost this link for a while, even.

* not comics: I enjoy all of these movies, although I think Crumb is still in a class of its own. Just that scene where they show the devolving Charles Crumb handwriting and thus his mental state, that scene was worth three movies.

* nice get for Cullen Murphy to have his book on the Fairfield County comics scene excerpted in Vanity Fair. It is indeed a top five all-time comics scene, that's for sure.

* finally: always a pleasure to see Richard Thompson art I hadn't seen before.
 
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Happy 93rd Birthday, Gene Deitch!

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August 7, 2017


Go, Look: Nicole Cmar

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By Request Extra: Another Round Of Books From 2dcloud

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Here. Three books, two 'zines. The books are:
* Architecture of an Atom, Juliacks
* Retreat, Jaakko Pallasvuo
* Lost in the Fun Zone, Leif Goldberg
. The 'zines are:
* Kindling, Xia Gordon
* Altcomics Magazine 6, cover by Kyung Me.
The crowdfunder is worth reading even if you aren't thinking of participating for the straight-forward way the publisher presents the need to this kind of fundraising effort, and what from their perspective your participation may buy you.
 
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Go, Look: Wake The Devil's Hellboy Gallery

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Not Comics: Netflix Purchases Mark Millar's Millarworld

imageThere are deals effectively like the one involving Netflix purchasing the various Mark Millar related books and properties, and maybe even better, but nothing this splashy and nothing creator-in-front. I would imagine its biggest outcome will be to make possible up to a half-dozen other deals (if it does this) and to really put the idea into creatives' heads that if you have the right kind of material and the right kind of profile there are options open to you way beyond servicing corporate-owned characters.

The downside might be that we'll see even more movie pitches as comic book series, something the Millar books have devolved into in a significant way. It used to be you sort of got the movie in comics form, but not so much lately. I like Millar but I also thought he bent the truth a lot in the early part of his career in order to further his PR motives, and I hope no one takes that as a lesson here.

That this happens in the year Jack Kirby would have been 100 might make you stop and think what the value of Kirby's collective creativity might have been under a similar construction, and how much overall editorial contribution was necessary for this to happen.
 
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Go, Look: Todd James

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Not Comics: Megan McArdle On Aficionado Culture

imageHere. My friend Gil Roth asked if there are any lessons to be figured out for comics in McArdle's article. I would say, "Sure." Articles like that tend to have any number of applicable individual insights: it's just the nature of writing on these subjects.

I don't think there are barriers in the making of comics becoming more complex. My hunch -- shared by others -- is more people are making comics at a professional level than ever before. If there are indeed some barrier points for the way comics are made deriving from complexity, some of that is catering to a specific kind of customer or to a final effect that is not placing a new work in a new reader's hands. This happens in a variety of ways. DC sidestepped a one-movie, one-book strategy for this year's Wonder Woman movie and its bunches of books, and I'm sure that wasn't by accident -- they're generally smart with books. There are all sorts of ways to engage an audience, and those that want people to read comics have more ways than ever in making this so.

I think it's easier in comics to see technology abetting a pursuit of maximum profit, and that this is sometimes interpreted as making the sales of comics more complex: reaching the hardcore fan, connecting with a broader type of fan, making inroads into a fan sub-group that happens to fit most easily within a specific culture of sale. Most of my peers with whom I share similar consumption habits seem to spend relatively little in certain avenue now, and are probably not spending money they could overall were they more directly pursued as favored customers. Others -- superhero serial fans (still), old-strip fans, kids books readers who are also comics readers -- have more significant options available to them now than ever before.

I think the difference is that there aren't enough readers, period, hardcore or otherwise. Changes in strategy are causing surges in different places in that market, but not growing the overall market in a way that makes a new industry. People want to know what's important to buy; if there were five times their number, that question wouldn't come up as frequently as it does. All of the comics markets could grow; none of them are guaranteed to do so. That is what complicates things.
 
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Go, Look: Super Fun Noah Van Sciver Pages

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* that Kevin Eastman project keeps going at a pretty nice clip. Like many crowd-funders using established pros, the initial ask here is pretty stupendously high. At the same time, I'm confident this will make it.

* Clifford Meth's gofundme for the Dorians has stalled a great distance away from its ask.

* here's a reminder that the Glanzman medical expense crowdfunder has yet to meet its initial ask.

* a second issue of Zainab Akhtar's fine Critical Chips comics criticism magazine looks like it will meet its goal.

* I don't know that I've seen one of these side-project coloring books pushed through the crowd-funding system.

* finally, I looked to see if the Zanadu Comics crowd-funder is still going, It looks like money went in that direction just a few days ago.
 
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Go, Look: I Come From The Shadow World!

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Go, Look: John Romita Captain America Splashes

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* the Broken Pencil Zine Awards have extended their submission deadline to August 15. Why not participate?

* I think there's some sort of social media battle raging in places I can never seem to find where one side is asserting that old canard that longtime fans deserve fan service more than new time fans deserve it. Here's the kind of thing I run across, like the noise of far-distant artillery. I can't even begin to chisel away at the notions in play. The underlying ideas that feed into our having discussions of how best to run a company where the customers are involved seems weird to me, just for a start, and the whole idea of people being owedan artistic experience they desire, that's way deep in the woods.

* finally: what day isn't made better by a little primetime Jack Davis.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Sasa Rakezic!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Tommi Musturi!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Paul Dini!

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August 6, 2017


Stan Hart, RIP

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Go, Look: Art Is A Lonely Business

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

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

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Happy 35th Birthday, Sarah Horrocks!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Ed Hannigan!

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August 5, 2017


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Walt Simonson Interviewed


Josh Dysart Talks To Mike Mignola


Video Reminder Of Akram Raslan's Case


The Great Sergio Aragones Interviewed At CCI 2017
 
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Go, Look: Pelvis Is Drafted

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

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

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Happy 64th Birthday, Steve Mitchell!

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August 4, 2017


Go, Look: Paul Karasik Talks To Oyster Farmer Joe Smith

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* spent some time last evening with Noah Van Sciver on account of Steve Bissette being in town for a little Billy Ireland research. He says he's shut down his Patreon because he couldn't find work to specifically serialize through the site. Van Sciver was making about $700 a month through that avenue and that would be a significant decision to move in another direction, even if it were project-specific. Van Sciver's "His Last Comic" seems to be coming out through Facebook.

* this exploration of the #1 politics-related theme of our time not coming from Matt Furie gives credit to its creator and cartoonist KC Green. It is indeed highly specific and highly mutable, with a bit of mystery to it -- great cartooning has worked that way for years.

* finally, using his recent Unbeatable Squirrel Girl acclaim as a springboard, Rich Johnston drives attention to Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics.
 
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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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

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OTBP: Be Pure!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sarah Horrocks talks to Katie Skelly. Kyle Pinion talks to Los Bros.

* here's a nice way to spend a small chunk of a summer afternoon: the Chris Ware short: Chris Ware: Someone I'm Not.

* Todd Allen breaks down a month of Image titles by the rough career path of each creator. I imagine there are all sorts of problem with such a measurement, but it's a fun list and show how many creators put in time at one of the big, (mostly) superhero publishing houses a one time or another.

* festivals extra: Annie Koyama and Koyama Press will be a major focus of SPX this year, their tenth anniversary.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, K. Thor Jensen!

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Happy 75th Birthday, Rick Norwood!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Charlie Adlard!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Robert Pope!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Franco Saudelli!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Mike Gold!

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August 3, 2017


Go, Look: Paper Pencil Life #5

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Go, Look: Bits Of Farel Dalrymple Art

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's a broad analysis piece on Comic-Con International and the business-wide implication of its growth.

* this is the first I've noticed APE dates are up. That's an iconic show, and my hunch is that in this third year back in founder Dan Vado's hands we should get an idea of its future.

* the writer Bill Schelly had a fantastic San Diego Comic-Con, and he'd like to tell you about it.

* finally, Brian Walton joins Wizard as a director of content for their Wizard World shows.
 
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Go, Look: A Quick Sarah Glidden Autobio Strip

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Go, Look: Iconoclast

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Wong talks to Jonny Sun.

* Macmillan will move from the Flatiron Building. That's too bad: that was a cool place to visit on comics business.

* Lauren Scott profiles Annie Koyama.

* not comics: this set of moves by the filmmaker Steven Soderbergh reminds that a healthy industry allows for experienced and determined creators to figure out new ways of doing things.

* finally, I just hope I live long enough for the cineplex-fillers of my prime years to be remade as movies starring animals.
 
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Happy 51st Birthday, Marc Weidenbaum!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Gianfranco Goria!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Reed Waller!

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August 2, 2017


Go, Listen: Eric Haven On Process Party

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs Pulls A Sonny Corleone On Marvel's Legacy Effort, Except All His Punches Hit

Here. The great thing about this is Hibbs -- one of comics most entertaining bombastic writers about the industry's woes -- plain-talks his way through the entire piece. It's sort of chilling.

imageIf you don't pay attention to mainstream industry initiatives, Marvel has had a hard time in recent years sustaining sales on its titles, while at the same time its event series have been very, very hit and miss in terms of both their specific reception and how they've provided attention to the line. This was supposed to start being fixed with the comics solicited right now an moving forward into the Fall.

As Hibbs points out, though, a call for old characters resuming their previous roles is going to be answered in erratic fashion. A call for new talent on many of the books is going to be answered by almost nothing getting a new creative team, a different numbering system for some of the books may be more an opportunity for older fans to jump off than jump on and the manipulative game of exclusive offerings and extra covers is being paid so poorly here it may be a greater discouragement than invitation as far as participation goes.

In other words, it looks like it's going to be a mess, and a mess in the way it questions the general direction of the entire company. The most cynical explanation I've heard off the record from a close observer of that part of the industry is that this is a feint designed to get that company through the final 2017 quarter with the knowledge that a more thorough house-cleaning is to come. At this point, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and say, "Maybe so."
 
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Go, Listen: Gina Wynbrandt On Process Party

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

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*****

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

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

*****

JUN171684 EDUCATION GN (C: 0-1-2) $30.00
Here's a surprise, at least for me: a John Hankiewicz book from the Fantagraphics Underground imprint, designed to move through table sales and Diamond offerings like this one. I think this is work we've seen before in self-published but I don't care, I want to buy five. Hankiewicz is an interesting artist and intriguing comics-maker in distinct ways that could actually be separated if you're perversely compartmentalized. His work has a dream-like feel but a dream that's forced on the reader and from which one may not easily break.

APR170082 MATT WAGNER GRENDEL TALES OMNIBUS TP VOL 01 $24.99
I would assume we'll see a few Matt Wagner books back on -- or newly on -- retailers' shelves with his new Mage series driving attention this way. I think he's a clever cartoonist in a way that works well with a wide variety of material, kind of a companion cartoonist to Mike Mignola in terms of nearly always being entertaining an readable.

imageJUN171671 LOVE & ROCKETS MAGAZINE #3 (MR) $4.99
JUN170028 LOBSTER JOHNSON MANGEKYO ONE SHOT $3.99
MAY178717 BATMAN ELMER FUDD SPECIAL #1 2ND PTG $4.99
FEB170643 EAST OF WEST #34 $3.99
APR170825 INJECTION #14 CVR A SHALVEY & BELLAIRE (MR) $3.99
APR170874 SEX CRIMINALS #20 (MR) $3.99
JUN170815 WALKING DEAD #170 (MR) $2.99
JUN170943 BLACK BOLT #4 $3.99
APR171749 ALL TIME COMICS BLIND JUSTICE #1 (MR) $3.99
JUN171335 GIANT DAYS #29 $3.99
Wide variety of comic-book comics of note this week, with the main buy being a really fun issue of Love & Rockets, featuring both Beto and Jaime working within newly established parameters: the older Bros' thin line and overlapping, complicated relationships; the younger drawing like God himself right now and poignantly exploring age within established core cast of characters. The next one there is this week's Mignola comic book, a line-within-a-line that might have lessons for Marvel Comics if they were to pay attention. People love that Batman/Elmer Fudd thing; I was not among them. East Of West continues with its very American science fiction timeline sidestep, which makes for a lot of new but familiar images on the page. InjectionSex Criminals, on the other hand, is emotionally heavy in a surprising way for as light as the authors have kept most issues. I assume most retailers are happy to see Walking Dead, and a chunk of the storyline has moved into new territory -- literally. I buy Black Bolt for my brother and while the pacing is sort of rough -- nothing much ever happens -- Christian Ward's art sure is pretty. I think the next one is the latest Fantagraphics doing 1970s genre comics books. The final is the John Allison-related project, and I always buy John Allison. Whew. If that got to be a drag, just buy the LnR.

SEP161740 JOHNNY HAZARD DAILIES HC VOL 05 1951 - 1952 $50.00
One of the sharper-looking strips ever, Johnny Hazard holds some curiosity for me as to whether or not it's a readable narrative -- I'll catch up to these books someday and would consider starting mid-series to make such an appraisal.

imageJAN171763 TO LAUGH WE MAY NOT WEEP HC LIFE & ART OF ART YOUNG $49.99
This might be the one book from this week we remember the longest. Young's summary biography as a socialist cartoonist at his illustrative height in the 1910s may be better known than the cartoons themselves, which are handsome and powerful. I'm looking forward to diving in.

JUN172271 TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE SC REVISED ED $29.95
JUN172272 WONDER WOMAN BONDAGE FEMINISM IN COMICS 1941-48 SC REVISED ($29.95)
Two books by two of the better-known writers-about-comics out there working: king of the academics Bart Beaty's mini-topic driven survey of primetime Archie seems like it would be an even more appropriate read during this period of resurgence for the property across media. The Wonder Woman book is a reprint of Chicago-based freelancer Noah Berlatsky's best-known comics work that isn't a site devoted to beating on comics orthodoxy. It had the unfortunate circumstance of coming out at the same time as the heavily publicized Jill Lepore book (and had its detractors as an effort unto itself), but a huge movie raises all boats.

MAR170556 JACK KIRBY FANTASTIC FOUR WORLDS GREATEST ARTIST ED HC $150.00
I'm so looking forward to diving into this well-curated sampling of Jack Kirby's industry-transforming work on what is still a fun, thrilling comic to read. It's well-curated in terms of where the smattering of issues come during the Lee/Kirby run, and there's a special attention to cover work.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Early Plastic Man

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Go, Read: Ben Friday

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Greg Hunter on Imagine Wanting Only This.

* a part-time professorship of illustration has opened up at SCAD.

* it seems to me that this kind of deep dive on individual cartoonists and their ability to work with the New Yorker on things like immediate on-line cartoons for a short period of time, that this is a slightly new thing, or something that is still coming into focus. If I have that right, it seems like a rich thing for the magazine to pursue.

* Ginnie Graham profiles Bruce Plante in an era where staffed editorial cartoonist positions are becoming a lot like a helicopter in terms of out-there newsroom offerings.

* over at PW, Calvin Reid reports on a graphic novel sellers for diverse readership panel at SDCC he moderated; sounds like an excellent one.

* finally, it would be swell if every art gallery show featured the artist making art.
 
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Happy 81st Birthday, Victor Moscoso!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Danny Hellman!

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Happy 44th Birthday, MariNaomi!

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August 1, 2017


CR Review: The Golem's Mighty Swing

imageCreator: James Sturm (Gene Yang Introduction)
Publishing Information: Drawn And Quarterly, softcover, 110 pages, May 2017, $16.95
Ordering Numbers: 9781770462830 (ISBN13)

This is a new paperback version of James Sturm's stand-alone story from his America series, conceivably a way to keep that work alive through another reading generation without people having to buy in across the board. If nothing else, it's hard to get people to order collections for a class. I'm glad for the attention smaller publishers pay such books. That strategy has been key to comics growing an audience for literary comics: seriously-intended, well-crafted works driven by authorial intent that work as both beautiful objects and inquiries into the human condition. Their maximized audience isn't buying on a first Wednesday and the work must stay in print or return to print enough times so that everyone possible can buy in. Mighty Swing originally came during the great rush of graphic novels that came out right at the turn of the century, the mass that pushed the concept over the top.

It's nice to see the work again. Sturm labors at the art portions of his craft, but to fine effect. The figure drawing is distinctive and the pacing from baseball manga that was a part of the original work's roll-out still makes for effective comics. What stands out for me on a re-read several years later is Sturm's thematic restraint. By being as specific as he can with the baseball story, and there are some lovely moments that stand out against some of the broader elements, Sturm invites the readers to pull at threads that may indicate a treatise on the American character, or the nature of sport vs. entertainment, the way that smaller towns participate in an American racism that their populations may not facilitate, the way that stories pull us along. It's not a grandly dramatic work but a sober one, one that places the act of building meaning at its core.




 
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Go, Look: Same Story Told Yesterday

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

imageI was going to round up some forthcoming comics news but the first thing I saw when I jumped on-line was news of this amazingly depressing-sounding project, so I'm thinking I may quit while I'm ahead.

I spent two days staring at mainstream comics covers this weekend, both my regular trip to the comics shop and for a local comics-makers signing. One thing that surprised me is that Marvel is doing multiple titles featuring villains. In an era the storytelling seems so exhausted, and the other-media efforts have shown the effectiveness of these classic binaries, I'm not sure why you'd waste a villain in their own 32,800-selling comic when they could perhaps more significantly boost a title in partnership with one of the hero characters.

But maybe that's just me.

Hey, at least we're fewer than eight weeks until Now!
 
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Go, Look: The Sweetie Pie Conundrum

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Go, Look: A Rick Leonardi Portfolio From 1983

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Robert Kirby on I Wish I Was Joking.

* Laurence Cawley profiles Holly Ringsell.

* not comics: Dave Cooper mentions that his film Eddy won a festival award and Mexico, and one of the commenters notes it's a qualifying award for Oscar consideration. That's a really good short, and Cooper is one of the most easy-going artist is a medium full of them.

* go, read: Stella Strong.

* sad to see that Angel Mora has passed away, although I had thought him about fifteen-twenty years younger for some strange reason.

* finally, Ted Rall adds another lawyer to his team.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Mark Newgarden!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Michael DeForge!

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