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















March 31, 2018


Go, Look; RJ Casey Talks To D.R.T.

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

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

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

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Happy 54th Birthday, Darren Merinuk!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Dave Lapp!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Steven T. Seagle!

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March 30, 2018


Go, Look: Sfé R. Monster

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* there is a big bunch of Ariel Bordeaux diary comics in the photos section of her Facebook presence, but I'm not sure it's open to the wider public.

* Jeannette Mooney on Prague Race.

* there's been a nice bump for Ken Niimura's Umami series based on the release of a movie version of I Kill Monsters, on which the artist worked. It's surprising there aren't more directed mini-campaigns like this for creators whose work ends up on film.

* the Indie Huntress talks to Sherard Jackson.

* I see a version of this article semi-frequently: the high-profile webcomic to print crowd-funding launch.

* finally: I'm not sure if there's a specific need tied to this, but who wouldn't want to help?
 
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If I Were In Indiana, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Alexia Khodanian

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* everything in this article about animator and comics-maker John Kricfalusi is horrible.

image* Andy Oliver on Talking To Gina. Alex Hoffman on Before The Rain. Robin Enrico on Lemon. Rob Kirby on Flayed Corpse And Other Stories.

* I couldn't read this without dry heaving, but I think it means that Joe Chiappetta has found a way to use the blockchain phenomenon to make the object created/isolated/valued a comic or related piece of art. This seems a million miles away from the first Silly Daddy comics I read and their exploration of a shaky marriage for what seemed the sake of understanding the human frailty involved, but I understand the value of making money, wish Joe all the best in doing so and present the link for others to check out.

* not comics: here's another article that was passed around by comics people about one way in which people are expected to lean into their own exploitation. Being on twitter isn't exploitation, but I've even heard about people who feel they have to be on services like that outside of business hours. I hope there's pushback against those excesses.

* finally: this made me laugh. Yes, I suppose there is an obvious artistic element to Variant Covers that they make an art book, but a phenomenon that is generally damaging to the comics industry is a weird thing to spotlight.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Gary Chaloner!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Forg!

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Happy 61st Birthday, David Hagen!

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March 29, 2018


Go, Look: Catalina Rufin

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* more events outside of the San Diego Convention Center, this time building on recent activity in the baseball park.

* everything about the actual event described here sounds gross to me.

* the Crumb room has been retired. I guess it's sort of interesting in that the Eisner Level endures. There are certainly easily discoverable and difficult to reconcile elements of Eisner's legacy -- including some actions that extend beyond art and into industry practice.

* how to apply to Autoptic. Those are nice table prices.

* I actually sort of like the idea of artists having access to wider representation at comics shows, but I really deplore the idea of extending that to attendees and having the convention itself involved in the process. That just seems to be like a dumpster fire in the making.

* finally, all my friends are talking about MoCCA Festival, not this week but next. Looks fun.
 
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If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Bughouse #2

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Eternal Friendship. Philippe Leblanc on Prism Stalker #1. Andy Oliver on Now #2.

* I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do is gum up the maxi-narrative.

* I suppose if you were looking for a job in a comic book store, a comic book store in London would be at the top of that list.

* some nice person at OSU that didn't get a byline profiles distinguished alum Derf Backderf. Team Comics Alternative talks to John Porcellino.

* bundled extra: not much time left on this kickstarter showing off the best of young Toronto cartooning talent.

* finally: Robyn Chapman shows off her Eleanor Davis minis in advance of publishing a piece on them in her next Tiny Report.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Kevin Huizenga!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Val Mayerik!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Ken Eppstein!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Dan Wright!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Marc Silvestri!

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March 28, 2018


Go, Look: Lines Drawn: Parents And Teachers Who've Had Enough

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Not Comics: How One Person Fell Out Of Love With Their Internship At Monocle And Is Suing

imageThere are elements of this article that will drive some people nuts, I imagine. While I realize there are all sorts of ways that volunteer or contributed work might be done for certain entities, I don't like most internships. I don't like their specific construction. I never worked one -- I imagine in great part because of my specific array of privilege (the remaining portion is luck). I'll make an exception for something that is part of a school program, where there's coursework credit involved, but even then there are abuses and moments of great discomfort.

I know people disagree with me here, and I might lose the argument in a lot of cases; I am vastly capable of losing arguments. For instance, one argument I rarely hear for comics-industry internships that promise future reward is that we fling so much bullshit about the ways comics functions standing near it might be the only way people get to see how things work before they break up with their partner and move across country. I'm just saying we're an industry with exploitation in our DNA, and you think that would make us more careful about these arrangements, but from my experience we aren't. So I hope it's something we continue to move past. I'm not very hopeful.
 
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Go, Look: Kristen Haas Curtis

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Go, Look: 1970s Champions Series Cover Images

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Heidi MacDonald talks to Dan Fogler. RJ Casey on Oblivion Song #1. Tom Baker on Dry County #1.

* in my versions of the Avengers movies, Richard Schiff as Dr. Druid is always off-camera: on monitor duty, taking minor cases as they come in, skulking about in other team-members' rooms for no reason.

* Darryl Ayo has kind words for the part of the Grant Morrison New X-Men run that featured artist Frank Quitely, and no time for anyone else. While Morrison has one good superhero comic books with artists not in Quitelys class, I thought the X-Men stuff only worked with that artist. For no particular reason I remember Kim Thompson was fond of those comics, too.

* Ayo's twitter run reminded me that when I hear about people reacting to comics now, it's usually whether or not a character conformed to expectation or not, which strikes me as perhaps the most boring, deeply unfortunate way to interact with popular art one can imagine.

* finally: I'm not sure any are still available for sale, but check out Drew Friedman drawing Boris Karloff.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Tom Scioli!

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March 27, 2018


By Request Extra: Bill And Nadine Messner-Loebs In Need

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Here is a local news story that I'm sure conveys the situation in able fashion even if some of the facts aren't checked. Here is the local charity that is supporting the pair. There is a contact e-mail at the bottom of the news story for anyone that can help further.

One thing I'm glad to see is some recognition of the almost certain role hoarding plays in this situation, which was language we didn't have when the same element of need came up some years ago.
 
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Go, Listen: Process Party At Emerald City

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* oh, nice: Uncivilized is doing a book of Kriota Willberg's severely great presentations and pamphlets on physical ailments facing cartoonists and how to avoid them. A must-buy.

* Image has announced an expansion of its Image First line, which is when they take the first issue of a series and price it at $1 for potential new readers to be able to check it out. Similarly, several Image series will price their first trade under $10 for an additional hoped-for boost from readers willing to try a series out at that price point. I would have enjoyed this program as a reader aged 15-25, I bet.

* DC's signed a five-project deal with Frank Miller, and we know what a couple of them are: the previously announced Superman comic with JR JR providing art and his writing a Carrie Kelly stand-alone aimed at younger readers. Miller still has name value -- his projects will be covered at announcement ad at launch -- and seems best used on the the kind of non-continuity projectd DC's putting a lot of strategic weight into making happen. Opposition from young creators to Miller's employment based on the political content of recent work seems significant but more of the "roll my eyes and maybe complain in public" type rather than the "never work for DC myself now" variety.

* DC livestreamed their spotlight panel at WonderCon, naming a couple of new creative teams and updating readers/retailers on previous announcements.

* finally: Kill Or Be Killed will end with June's issue #20. That is a handsome-looking book and I was surprised how much I liked how the narrative came together.
 
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If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: 1968 Eisner Cover Images For PS: The Preventive Maintenance Monthly

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Caitlin McGurk and Erik Pepple, a sublime couple.

image* Charles Hatfield on Archival Quality. Tegan O'Neil on Kim Reaper Vol. 1. Tom Murphy on Get Naked.

* Tini Howard writes about publisher Black Mask's decision not to put a certain work into trade form, or seek a crowd-funded version of same. That is, as pointed out, one of the significant permutations of working in partnership with a publisher.

* here's a big list of "underused" characters by various creators that full under the X-Men umbrella. That can be an interesting question for the comics-makers actively working this part of the field, as the company gets older and as a publishing house they must balance using the more iconic, familiar rosters and maintaining interest in the team properties and maybe even finding story hooks for the minor characters in other media. I like characters like Doug Ramsey and others with non-combat oriented power sets as an avenue into non-fighty narratives, but even then I am not the primary -- or secondary; or tertiary -- audience for such things.

* yikes; this should be so commonplace as to not be noteworthy in 2018. If there is a barrier for this still, I'm glad in this case it's been knocked down.

* finally: a bit of festivals extra: a big Jay N. "Ding" Darling exhibit will likely be the biggest engaging that iconic cartoonist's career. Darling has been revisited this decade by those interested in his conservation and environmentalist pedigree.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Ivan Brandon!

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Happy 69th Birthday, Mike Friedrich!

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Happy 91st Birthday, Hy Eisman!

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Happy 96th Birthday, Murray Olderman!

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March 26, 2018


Go, Listen: Jerry Moriarty On Virtual Memories

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Go, Read: Dark Arts: How Cambridge Analytica Used Facebook to Find Out Who You Are

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

* the way the crowdfunding sites are presenting their individual efforts in the context of searches starting with the home page have changed in a way to make general surveys of those projects a bit more difficult. My apologies for sucking. This is a good era in which about crowd-funders you see you think need support.

* the effort to keep JHU Comic Books in Manhattan has gained far more traction than most store-related crowd-funders, and definitely has a chance to meet its initial goals. If anything we read about comics-reading habits of a certain type are true, disruptions in the service such stores provide can be brutal to readership continuity.

* the most prolific of the Columbus-local comics publishing efforts, Ken Eppstein's Nix Comics, has some considerable work to do on its 2018 publishing slate ask.

* the GoComics.com feature Just Say Uncle, has a modest ask up for help with a paper printing of 2014 strips.

* finally: congrats to Exhibit A Press for hitting its initial goal and first stretch goal on their most recent crowd-funder; if you're reading this early in the day you can still participate.
 
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Go, Read: Adina Solomon On Rose O'Neill

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Go, Look: Brian Bolland Animal Man Cover Images

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Nate Patrin on Total Jazz. Mindy Rhiger on The Prince And The Dressmaker. Robin Enrico on Too Dark To See. Derek Marks on Grace, Jerry, Jessica And Me #2.

* two more solid-sounding hires at Lion Forge.

* I found interesting and enlightening this survey article about the treatment of trans characters in a small array of different comic books.

* saw this on Friday, so for all I know it's been discredited by now but I enjoyed reading it. I hope those kids are taken care of and that eventually some sort of non-idiotic status quo can cut them out of their valuable advocacy work.

* applications for the mentorship program at Helioscope will remain open through March 31. Getting access to working artists at a point in time you're developing your own working habits could be a huge thing, and everyone there seems nice.

* finally: Anya Davidson talks to Jessica Campbell.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Bill Kartalopoulos!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Mark Verheiden!

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Happy 65th Birthday, David Boswell!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Greg McElhatton!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Mitch O'Connell!

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Happy 70th Birthday, José Luis Garcia Lopez!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Brian Bolland!

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March 25, 2018


OTBP: The Sweeper And The Bad Eggs

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Go, Look: Dyaa At The Paris Review

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Go, Read: African-Americans Are More Likely to Distrust the Medical System

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OTBP: Tales Of The Black Devil

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

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

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

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Happy 39th Birthday, Anthony Woodward!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Rob Clough!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Joe Ollmann!

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I'd show Joe's art, but this clearly the greatest photo taken of any human being
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Kate Lacour!

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FFF Results Post #500a -- Industry Likes

On Friday, March 16, participating readers were asked to "Name Five Things About Any Of The Comics Industries You Like." This is how they responded.

*****

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Mário Filipe

1. Comics festivals (not the everything-pop-culture-convention kind)
2. Comicbook covers (I have no particular affinity for the comicbook format, but a good cover is viscerally appealing)
3. Reprints of old material
4. Anthologies
5. The work put into the many databases and blogs cataloguing the comics, its creators and the history of the medium

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Strip launch press packets
2. Halls Of Fame
3. Cartoonists on tour
4. When the newspaper staff with a pulitzer prize winning cartoonist celebrates the win with the cartoonist
5. Publisher dinners at conventions

*****

thanks to Mário for participating; normal service will begin with #501 at a future date, after we cycle through these bonus replies

*****
*****
 
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March 24, 2018


OTBP: Crushing

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

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

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

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

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Gabrielle Bell!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Goran Parlov!

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March 23, 2018


CR Newsmaker Interview: David Glanzer

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imageWonderCon gets underway today in Anaheim, California. This is Comic-Con International's show that is not the more iconic San Diego convention. It's still a major show by any measure and one of the key events for the year.

I became interested in something that WonderCon's PR department put out there a couple of weeks ago, that the convention is now the size of Comic-Con in 2002. It seemed a good time to rope in spokesperson David Glanzer and have a short talk about where WonderCon is from their perspective and where it might be going.

CCI is a long-time advertiser with The Comics Reporter, although I've never been restricted in coverage and all questions are my own. I tweaked structure, not content, for flow. -- Tom Spurgeon

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TOM SPURGEON: David, thank for talking; I know you're slammed. Your advance person [Sam Smith] noted that WonderCon is now the same size as San Diego Con was in 2002. This is interesting to me because I personally think of 2002 as the year before the movies took off at that show. I distinctly remember stepping in to tie my shoes in the back of a movies panel [for Open Water]. I haven't seen five seconds of a movie panel since!

Having experienced both periods of growth, are there ways this show's growth is different?

GLANZER: That's a great question and I don't know that I have a good answer, to be honest.

I've often said that we are fans ourselves so we try to put on the type of convention we would want to attend. However, WonderCon started in the Bay Area and has always had a more relaxed vibe. I think that is still true today. The growth has been consistent but also more relaxed.

For a long time we've had television and movie panels -- in fact, the cast of the Star Trek reboot made WonderCon their only convention attendance a few years back -- but I think there's been less frenzy surrounding it.

Now, your mention of 2002 as the year Comic-Con kind of "took off" as far as movies are concerned makes me wonder if we'll begin to see more movie or television interest in WonderCon moving forward. So I guess, to answer your question more directly, yes, I see a difference and it seems to be a more mellow growth and less frenzied.

SPURGEON: Is there a demographic figure you can if not share than characterize that really stands out for WonderCon vis-a-vis CCI? I know anecdotally that a lot of families with young kids that I know go because they feel it may be slightly less overwhelming and Disney is nearby. But what do the numbers tell us?

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GLANZER: It's interesting because Comic-Con has kept its demographic pretty consistently throughout the years. So we see young kids, and older people -- and by older I mean people my age and older -- and then the key demo is still 17-35.

WonderCon is similar. Though there seems to be more cosplayers at WonderCon. [Spurgeon laughs] I don't know if this is a fact or just that, because of the crowds in costume, they seem to be a larger percentage of attendance. But the demographic is similar.

SPURGEON: One way that WonderCon gets described -- I just did it myself! -- is in terms of its size relative to the CCI. But for you, David, and others you talk to, what's a distinguishing characteristic or two of WC that isn't about its size or size contrast?

GLANZER: Really, that relaxed vibe. I mean there really is a perceptive friendliness at WonderCon that is noticeable. That's not to say people don't get excited, because they do. And I don't mean to imply that Comic-Con isn't friendly. But it's amazing to watch the crowds exit on Sunday after WonderCon because they typically congregate around the plaza area and near the fountain. And they stay there for at least an hour or more. I think they just don't want it to end. There's something very moving about being involved in an event that people just don't want to leave.

SPURGEON: An obvious historical factor for WonderCon is that it's been held in a few cities, not just one. How does a show retain its identity across multiple cities? Would a longtime WC fan but only Bay Area attendee know this year's show intimately, or would there be things that Anaheim and even Los Angeles brought in that would be new for her to discover? Heck, I haven't been since San Francisco! What do I need to see?

GLANZER: I think a person like yourself who hasn't been since the Bay Area days might find it more similar than different. In fact some of the old signage we used in San Francisco is still being used in Anaheim. We're phasing some of them out, but they can still be found. [Spurgeon laughs]

Of course size is probably one thing you might notice. And the amount of people in costume. Also, I think the increase in comics and general programming would also be noticeable. When the show is smaller, it can limit what we would like to do. And what we can actually do. But as it grows it allows us to increase our guest list, the programming schedule, and the diversity and size of the exhibit floor.

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SPURGEON: Can you tell me a secret virtue of Anaheim as a convention city? What Anaheim does well seems pretty openly discoverable -- the hotel infrastructure, the ease of parking, the capacity to manage large crowds, a destination economy... how might Anaheim surprise someone?

GLANZER: Well, we work very hard to negotiate discounted room rates at our host hotels. Those are typically close to the convention center. But there are hotels farther out with inexpensive rates as well. Some are small, or even tiny, hotels.

SPURGEON: It's remarkable the rewards that can come from by paying attention to certain lodging options now.

GLANZER: With regard to food options, there are several eating establishments within walking distance of the convention center. From Morton's The Steakhouse to fast food. So there are several options, near and far, at wide price ranges.

SPURGEON: You have a really interesting guest list, with this core of recognized Comic-Con people and a lot of younger creators with just a few books or titles under their belt. I have no idea how your process works -- is that a committee? Is that a programming specialist? Is there an animating philosophy to that part of your show?

GLANZER: Yes, it's a committee. And it's comprised of members who have a wide variety of interests. The Programming department also has a hand in this, as do others. Everyone can chime in. The list is put forth, discussed, and then the entire committee votes upon it.

SPURGEON: It seems like you've done particularly well at your shows with prose authors and creators that may not be straight-up comics creators but illustrators or show creators. That makes you creator focused at a time when some shows are kind of focusing on the general business of a comic-con, the pageantry of it, actors over authors. Do you want to brag a bit on your show's fealty to creators? How has that shaped recent development?

GLANZER: First of all, thank you! It really does come back to putting on the type of show we want to attend. We're so lucky in that we can invite people we think would be cool or fascinating without having to worry about whether a guest will generate ticket sales. Now, I don't want to freak out our president by implying that we don't have to worry about the bottom line, because clearly we do. Or that the guests we invite may not generate interest because I think they do as well.

SPURGEON: Sure.

GLANZER: But oftentimes our guest list is really based upon their contribution to comics and related popular art, and less about their fame or how popular they may be. And this is true from our inception.

SPURGEON: Give me an example of your international growth; I'm interested that that was part of your reach-out and interested in how you measure that.

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GLANZER: We have noticed that we are attracting more people from across the country and even across the world. This year we have representatives from a significant number of countries, and interestingly enough we have press and media from at least eight countries.

WonderCon really is a national show. Maybe even an international show. I think this is one of the reasons that television and movie studios bring content to our fans. Their return on investment is pretty impressive because they can reach a variety of audiences at WonderCon. And like Comic-Con back in the day, our marketing reach isn't just for bodies through the turnstile, but for people who have an interest in comics and popular art.

It's more important that our guests, and our exhibitors have an audience that has a fundamental interest in what they have to say or display. It might be cool to say you had 100,000 people at your convention, but if your program rooms weren't full and the exhibitors didn't do 100,000 people's worth of sales, you really just end up with people who want to see what the whole fascination with comics conventions is. And there is nothing really wrong with that. But for us, we have an obligation to our guests, the pros who sit on panels, and our exhibitors to try to bring people with an interest in what they have.

SPURGEON: David, when I see you at Comic-Con it's usually you and me in our sportscoats, mid-bustle, and we have a brief word or two about CCI's perception of something I believe is a story -- you may or may not agree. I once saw you at a WonderCon and you seemed much more relaxed, kind of hosting the coverage that came to you. I'd never see you sit down beefore.

Is it a different experience for what you do than CCI? Does the relaxing part of that show extend to its on-its-feet execution?

GLANZER: It's funny you mention the sportscoats. It's true, I'm usually in a jacket and tie at both shows. But this year I am thinking about the jacket and no tie. [Spurgeon laughs]

It really is a more relaxed atmosphere and, yes, it does seem different. Maybe because Comic-Con is so huge, both in terms of the event's size and its position in the comics and pop culture industries, that oftentimes the focus is very intense. I think the reporting at WonderCon is no less professional and informative, but a little less formal. So for me, I think there is a difference. It's easier to have a conversation, as opposed to just a straight hard interview. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's the feeling I get. Maybe it's hard to convey what I mean, but yes, I do notice a difference.

SPURGEON: Is there a particular thing you look forward to at WC, or even something you've noted for this year's show.

GLANZER: I don't know that I have anything specific each year I look forward to with the exception of the show itself. Comic-Con is stressful and the mornings are early -- before the sun rises -- and the nights late. At WonderCon things begin a little later so many of us get to have a little more sleep. And that's always a good thing.

If there is something particularly interesting this year it's the use of the expanded convention center. Anaheim finished their expansion and now we get to take advantage of it. With the VR lounge and, for the first time, an eSports event. I'm excited to see how that all goes.

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SPURGEON: Here's where I slip in a couple of broader questions. Are you interested in ever acquiring more shows?

GLANZER: I don't think we're opposed to it. But there has to be a good reason to do so. When we acquired WonderCon there were few shows on the circuit and the organizers were thinking of either shuttering it or handing it off to someone. After a lot of consideration we thought it would be good to keep the show going so we jumped in.

With regard to acquiring more shows, I will never say never, and there is an exciting element to the possibility. But right now I don't know that I see anything on the horizon.

SPURGEON: How would you characterize this period after you won the Comic-Con name injunction? Has that been fruitful for you, working with the various other shows affected? I was pleased that you won, as I feel strongly that while the word's a word, there were companies frequently using the word or encouraging use of the word as a shorthand for what you guys do, not as a generic descriptive. Is CCI prepared to see this battle out through appeals and public disagreement? When is the next milepost on this journey?

GLANZER: Thank you! It was a very difficult situation. The odd thing is we're not actually done yet. There are a bunch of post trial motions that were filed by both sides which, as I understand it, is fairly routine. So that means we really can't comment until those have run their course. I expect that will happen toward the end of May so I hope you'll allow me to take a rain check on this one.

SPURGEON: Rain check issued.

David, you recently did a San Diego media interview about your space in Balboa Park, pointing out that the permanancy of those offices didn't necessarily mean you were committing your summer show to San Diego in perpetuity. Do you ever feel your shows will all the way settle, or do your needs change in a way that other cities may always be an option?

GLANZER: The problem with permanency is that things change. If we could sign a contract with every hotel and other sites and venues that would keep their prices and access the same for the next 50 years that might be something we could entertain. But things do change, rates change, spaces change. We typically sign three-year contracts. And that means negotiating space, prices, and access begins almost as soon as the previous contract is signed. We want to stay in San Diego but we have to take care of our attendees as best we can. We have been grateful to the hotel community and the City for making it all work. But there are negotiations that take place and that's as it should be. And because of that we have to keep our options open.

SPURGEON: I've done this to you a couple of times, but give me an insider tip for WonderCon. You mentioned a few new things, but is there a particularly strong part of programming, a private space off the floor you like, a restaurant? Don't ruin it for yourself!

GLANZER: That's always a tough one. This question made me realize one big difference between WonderCon and Comic-Con and that is the ability to spend time with friends. At San Diego it really is just non-stop from early morning to late at night. And while there is that element at WonderCon, I do have the opportunity to grab a drink or dinner with friends at least one night during the week. Typically at one of the hotel bars or restaurants. Though after the show closes, my team and I usually find a restaurant -- I think it's been California Pizza Kitchen for the last couple of years -- to grab a meal and just unwind.

As for programming... look at our guest list. I'm very excited by that. I don't know if I'll be able to, but I hope I can sneak in to at least one program featuring any one of our guests. That would be a treat!

*****

* WonderCon

*****

* WC logo
* photo of David that since it's on linkedin we're guessing is his publicity photo; my apologies if it's not and I'll yank it down
* cosplayers from 2017
* one of the many hotels that can be brought into service for WC
* a national player, for sure
* back issues, baby
* people reluctant to go home (below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: I Was A 3D Addict

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Matt O'Keefe talks to that good man Steve Hamaker, colorist and webcomics maker and on-line tutorialist.

* Emma Taggart has some witty webomics for you to enjoy.

* maybe it's only me, but that's a hell of degree of difficulty.

* here's a welcome addition to the online comics reading world: the first-rank comics academic Charles Hatfield returning to his favorite subject: the intersection of kid lit and comics. Its name is Kindercomics.

* Chris Marshall of Collected Comics Library fame has written in to say he's participating in a new group podcast, The Rorschach Test. Early interviews include Christina Merkler and Jamal Igle.

* finally: Taylor Hatmaker discusses the cartoon + narrative game Florence.
 
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If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This

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

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Not Comics: Vivid, Odd Edd Cartier Illustrations

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Andy Oliver on Livestock. Charles Hatfield on From Lone Mountain, which I am in the midst of reading and enjoying greatly.

* this is an interesting news story I don't think will be a major one: the Chicago Tribune bought some twitter followers for their cartoonist Scott Stantis as a way -- one would imagine -- of speeding up the build of Stantis' social media presence. The problem is that this kind of move violates the paper's ethics policy. I'm almost tempted to say that I'm more delighted by any media organization having an ethics policy than I'm discouraged by anything that brought it to our attention.

* festivals extra: here's a show that's offering up a master class series from Tom Richmond; that looks like a nice opportunity for some budding caricaturists out there.

* finally: look at this fun Walter Simonson art, apparently the first time he drew the Jane Foster Thor or that great Mangog design.
 
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Happy 63rd Birthday, KAL!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Shelton Drum!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Joe Daly!

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March 22, 2018


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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's a nice-sounding event: Amulet + Mariners.

* finally, this is a handsome poster.

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Go, Read: Dan Gearino On What Is The First Comic Shop?

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Festivals Extra: CAKE Releases Poster; Announces Special Guests

Here; poster also below. CAKE does a nice job of pulling people into the special guest tier from their massive homegrown community while also bringing in national guests. Also, they could just have Eddie Campbell and Jim Woodring on stage talking for four hours straight and they might win an award for programming.

That show is in early June.

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Go, Listen: Box Brown On Process Party

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Meltdown Comics, RIP

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Here and many other places. One of the five important comics shops of the 21st Century. I don't take this as a surprising thing, however, and think comic book store cycles will be much shorter in the years ahead.

That the block might be converted into one of those reverse-mullet buildings (businesses on the bottom; personal living up top) was news back in 2014. The reaction of the store's management at the time as I recall was that they had made so much money as hosts to comedy-related events that they could have their choice of where to move. This analysis I think assumed comics would be part of whatever move might have to be made, but of course staying in any one kind of a retail isn't a requirement for anyone.

That was a really good, full-service store, with space to exhibit and a combination of programming that worked. Back when the world wasn't bedazzled in geeky things, seeing that Dan Clowes imagery felt exciting. I had a signing there a long time ago and it was great. I'll miss visiting. Good luck and good times ahead for all those involved. Thanks for all the funnybooks.
 
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Go, Read: The Worst Job They Ever Had

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Go, Look: A Bunch Of 1959 Sunday Comics

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Green Lanterns #27.

* Hannah Means Shannon asks after comics' lack of politeness. I'm not sure I agree with the general premise that comics is uniquely non-polite, not sure I'd go so far as to identify where most of these impolite moments are taking place between whom, not sure I follow the human effect argument -- but I say so with all courtesy.

* bundled extra: here are the comic tie-ins for this year's The Incredibles sequel.

* well-resepectd veteran cartoonist Clay Bennett wins the Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club. I am so way behind on awards to shame a more conscientious reporter into retirement. Let me try to catchup soon. Congrats to Mr. Bennett in the meantime.

* this article doesn't seem like it has a lot to say to wider audience or a lot to suggest about the hidden motivations of an existing one. When Marvel made comics this person liked, they were bought. When Marvel didn't do as much of that, fewer comics were bought.

* finally: Jim Carrey, political cartoonist.
 
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Happy 89th Birthday, Mort Drucker!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Sophie Goldstein!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Jay Stephens!

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March 21, 2018


Go, Look: Guilherme Petreca

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

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*****

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

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

*****

JAN181597 BERLIN #22 (MR) $5.95
It's a light week for me but one I'll definitely spend at the comic shop waving one final goodbye to my twenties. Congratulations to my pal Jason Lutes, once a leading light of the younger Seattle scene and now the cool comics professor and family man that hosts game night. And so long to the last great series of the alt-happy '90s to end. I want to read the whole thing. I don't think anyone took on a greater degree of difficulty with their big career-defining serial project than Jason did with Berlin. There's at least one testament to its long run that popped into my head just now: I really want to know what happens.

imageJAN180138 USAGI YOJIMBO #1 (OF 7) THE HIDDEN $3.99
JAN180115 DEPT H #24 $3.99
JAN180344 SUPER SONS #14 $3.99
JAN180556 COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS COMICS FOR ALL #4 CVR A $3.99
JAN180557 COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS COMICS FOR ALL #4 CVR B $3.99
This is a Usagi/Ishida mini-series, and I assume that this provides the long-running series with a boost, to number this way. I love Sakai's work, I'm not entirely sure I can fully articulate why, but I do now I derive great pleasure from it. I think I've read every page. The Dept H being at #24 already makes me think I've lost my mind and fell out of time at some point during the Trump administration. That's just a lot of comics. If you had had me guess I would have said 11 issues thus far. Super Sons I think goes away at some point in the near-future; I like the non-serious fantasy element inherent in such a title, and I like both of those little kid characters. The Comic Book History project steamrolls on.

DEC170398 PLANETARY TP BOOK 02 $24.99
NOV170018 ABE SAPIEN DARK & TERRIBLE HC VOL 02 $34.99
NOV170555 CORTO MALTESE GN GOLDEN HOUSE OF SAMARKAND $34.99
DEC161991 BURNE HOGARTH TARZAN HC VOL 04 THE LOST TRIBES $49.95
OCT170522 WE SPOKE OUT COMIC BOOKS & THE HOLOCAUST HC $49.99
There's a bunch of material in the $25-$50 range this week, starting with one of thePlanetary books. I don't know which series that is but it's one of those titles that should always remain in print. Abe Sapien is from the Mignola-verse. Corto Maltese is your legendary series book of the week; you could make a case for the latest Burne Hogarth Tarzan book to be collected as a legendary series but for whatever reason those Tarzan books are identified more by creator than as one remarkable series, but that's not their faul. That last, I can't even tell what exactly lies between its covers, beyond the title concept. It does feature a cover with an artist making art, a favorite Yoe cover.

OCT170655 MOONSTRUCK TP VOL 01 $9.99
NOV171356 GIANT DAYS TP VOL 07 $14.99
DEC171532 MOOMIN WINTER GN $9.95
Here are the more conveniently priced trades: writer Grace Ellis of Lumberjanes fame is back with new fantasy romance in Moonstruck, this time partnered with Shae Beagle with Laurenn McCubbin helping facilitate as editor. Giant Days is written by the nearly always excellent John Allison and might not be all that well-served by how frequently it's published. Moomin Winter is one of D+Q' treatments of that favorite creative partnership. I trust all of these will be good. I'm going to at least look at all three when I visit my LCS today.

JAN181598 FROM LONE MOUNTAIN GN (MR) $22.95
Finally, these mid-2000s comics from John Porcellino are wonderful: such high quality work, such powerful staging, such sharp observations about the human condition. A show-stopper.

*****

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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Not Comics: Let's Pretend Cover Art

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Go, Look: Jess Bradley Illustration

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Philippe Leblanc on The Ghosts We Are And The Ghosts We Will Become. Molly Barnewitz on On A Sunbeam.

* festivals extra: the Airbnb vs. hotels war opens on a new front.

* it's great to see Floyd Norman out on the road.

* I'm not 100 percent sure of the news value here, but any collection named after a person gets me all Wimbledon Greened up and excited.

* Sean Gordon Murphy asks after Mondo's model and in doing so seems to ask questions about the entire world of making art for money in 2018.

* finally, a bit of bundled extra: Wayward will end at issue #30.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Marek Bennett!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Jeff Lemire!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Mark Waid!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Emi Gennis!

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March 20, 2018


Go, Look: Tuned-Up Organ

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Go, Look: Meredith McClaren

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

By Tom Spurgeon

image* through a tweet we get word that the Paul Tobin/Colleen Coover effort Banana Sunday will have a newly-colored iteration out through Oni Press in October.

* my failure to get news of We Shall Fight Until We Win out of the morass of my bookmarks during its eventually successful crowd-funder -- sorry -- means I can use it as a coming-up bundled news item.

* speaking of that morass, I pulled this elaboration of the Sandman Comics Group announcement that ran at The Beat, but I can't remember exactly why. I'm not sure there's an appetite for a clustered group of titles like this right now, but fans definitely want a reason to buy something, and a group can sometimes provide that better than individual comics. I remember the fact they announced with no artists sent a groan through portions of the creative community, as comics aren't wholly formed as creative endeavors by even the most liberal argument without some idea of the art team that will be working on those comics.

* one more: Zack Smith talks to Tom Scioli about his ongoing Jack Kirby biography project.

* here's the PR for a new UK-based comics magazine debuting May 1: ComicSceneUKPR031918.pdf.

* finally, this video came on immediately upon my clicking over there and scared the shit out of me, but it was worth it to learn we get a Farel Dalrymple series soon.
 
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If I Were In Charlottesville, I'd Go To This

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Spirit Circle Vols. 1-2.

* it's always good when a cartoonist turns down work based on their personal standards and a sense of a community standards; as a sometimes hiring body I'm particularly glad to find out I'm not offering enough, so I can try to get more.

* here's an appreciation of Neil The Horse.

* Pedro Bonatto talks to Mike Deodato.

* finally: go watch James Gurney draw some NBA action.
 
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March 19, 2018


Go, Look: Marta Chudolinska

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We Like Hate And We Hate Everything Else

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I talked to the Deconstructing Comics podcast about Peter Bagge's grand comic book Hate, and why I think Bagge's a significant figure in American comedy. I don't know, actually, but I suspect it's the way he sympathizes on some level with characters even when they act out in the worst ways. He also draws funny drawings.

I remember being similarly super-inarticulate that evening, so enjoy that, but if nothing else just know that I greatly appreciate that comic and wish there were something even halfway-like that kind of strong-narrative comedy out now. If Archie can make a relevancy comeback, why not another comedy with an Archie-structured cast? In this era of people going back and watching shows on Hulu or whatever like ER and Friends, consider the comics equivalent and bust out that Buddy in Seattle paperback. You're welcome to come to my house and borrow mine.
 
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Go, Look: Magda Boreysza

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's a modest request from Chris Onstad to help keep Achewood up.

* Here's one project being crowd-funded, Lemonade Summer, about which people keep sending me word. That's art from one of the planned stories, above.

image* Ryan Kelly is a skilled cartoonist looking for work. He also does commissions.

* Kilgore Books could use some help, or Tom Van Deusen has to return to culinary school.

* Ken Eppstein of Nix Comix is looking for $8000 for the 2018 season.

* finally: I keep forgetting to drive attention to a crowd-funder designed to help illustrator Angeliqe Virella's health woes.
 
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Go, Look: Tom Daly

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Go, Look: Emm's Positivity Blog

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Mindy Rhiger on The Prince And The Dressmaker. Tim Young and Ryan Haupt on The Dialogues.

* not comics: comics historian and longtime Kirby Family friend Mark Evanier comments at length on an announcement that Warner plans a heavily funded and well-cast New Gods movie.

* hadn't noticed this group of people devoted to advocating on behalf of women in comics from a variety of platforms. There's a list of 350 creators in there, for one.

* Team Comics Alternative talks to Denis Kitchen.

* never saw this Roman Muradov piece on Cartoon Yoga before.

* finally, not comics: on having John Updike as a long-distance mentor, sort of.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Michael Jantze!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Willie Schubert!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Sergio Ponchione!

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March 18, 2018


Go, Read: Dash Shaw On How To Read Nancy

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Bill Reinhold!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Shea Anton Pensa!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Michael J. Vassallo!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Farel Dalrymple!

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FFF Results Post #500 Plus Bonus Results Posts

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Individual Comics Publications That You Love." This is how they responded.

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Tantalizing Stories Presents Frank in the River By Jim Woodring
2. Mister O By Lewis Trondheim
3. Never Forgets By Yumi Sakugawa
4. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume Four: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It By Ryan North and Erica Henderson
5. You've Got to Be Kidding, Snoopy! By Charles M. Schulz

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Sick, Sick, Sick By Jules Feiffer
2. Hicksville By Dylan Horrocks
3. The Death Of Speedy By Jaime Hernandez
4. As The Kid Goes For Broke By Garry Trudeau
5. A Child's Life And Other Stories By Phoebe Gloeckner

*****

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Mário Filipe

1. Watchmen By Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins
2. Poison River By Gilbert Hernandez
3. Eightball #22 (Ice Haven) By Daniel Clowes
4. Perramus By Alberto Breccia and Juan Sasturain
5. C'était la guerre des tranchées By Jacques Tardi

*****

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Stephen Harrick

1. Boswash by Nick Bertozzi
2. Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg
3. Mercury by Hope Larson
4. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago
5. Ironclad by Dan Zettwoch

*****

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Marc Arsenault

1. Jimbo in Paradise by Gary Panter
2. Adventure Comics #360 - "The Legion Chain Gang!" by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan
3. Uncle Pogo's So-So Stories by Walt Kelly
4. The Doonesbury Chronicles by Garry Trudeau
5. Cave In by Brian Ralph

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Trese: Mass Murders by Kajo Baldisimo and Budjette Tan
2. Red Red Rock by Hayashi Seiichi
3. Shelter by Chantal Montellier (the 1980 version)
4. ! by Tymothi Godek
5. Murder by Remote Control by Paul Kirchner and Janwillem van de Wetering

*****

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Matthew Guest

1. King of Dental Floss By Kamagurka & Herr Seele
2. Jack Kirby’s Heroes and Villains By Jack Kirby
3. Vastly Overrated Al Jaffee By Al Jaffee
4. Cul de Sac Golden Treasury By Richard Thompson
5. The Thing in The Project Pegasus Saga By Gruenwald, Macchio, Byrne, Perez

*****

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Kiel Phegley

1. New Thing 1: Identity by Jim Higgins, et al
2. Paper Museum 1 by Jai Nitz, et al
3. Starman Omnibus 1 by James Robinson & Tony Harris
4. Hellboy: The Wild Hunt by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo
5. It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth

*****

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Jeffrey A. Goodman

1. Ed The Happy Clown by Chester Brown
2. Mad #22 by Kurtzman and Elder
3. Cannon by Wallace Wood
4. Trots And Bonnie by Shary Flenniken (sadly only collected in French edition)
5. Ray And Joe: The Story Of A Man And His Dead Friend And Other Classic Comics by Charles Rodrigues

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Executive's Comic Book, by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder
2. Redrawn by Request, by J.R. Williams
3. Guindon, by Richard Guindon
4. Yesterday's Tomorrows, by Rian Hughes
5. The Collective Unconscience of Odd Bodkins, by Dan O'Neill

*****

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John Vest

1. R. Crumb's Head Comix By R. Crumb
2. Tits, Ass & Real Estate By Eve Gilbert
3. Hollywoodland By Kim Deitch
4. Heartbreak Comics By David Boswell
5. The Orgies Of Abitibi By Sylvie Rancourt & Jacques Boivin

*****

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Michael Neno

1. Rocketo Volume One: The Journey To The Hidden Sea, By Frank Espinosa
2. Naruto Vol. 3 By Masashi Kishimoto
3. The Steppenwolf Chronicles By Byron Black
4. Captain America and the Falcon: Madbomb By Jack Kirby
5. Apama: The Undiscovered Animal By Ted Sikora, Milo Miller and Benito Gallego

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. The Kat Who Walked in Beauty: The Panoramic Dailies of 1920 By George Herriman
2. Forgotten Fantasy By Pete Maresca (ed.)
3. God And Science: Return Of The Ti-Girls By Jaime Hernandez
4. Mel's Story By Garry Trudeau
5. King Aroo Vol. 2 By Jack Kent

*****

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Lou Copeland

1. From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
2. The Fantastic Four Artist's Edition by Jack Kirby
3. Forgotten Fantasy edited by Peter Maresca
4. Heads or Tails by Lilli Carre
5. The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. The Complete MAD EC Library (color), Harvey Kurtzman, WIll Elder, Wally Wood, et al
2. Marvel Treasury Edition #11 -- The Fabulous Fantastic Four, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and others
3. World's Finest #113 (for main story), by Jerry Coleman, Dick Sprang and Sheldon Moldoff
4. Hicksville, Dylan Horrocks
5. Walt and Skeezix vol 1, Frank King

The part of my heart that hasn't changed from childhood is buried in some of these picks, for sure. OMG do I love comics.

*****

thanks to all that participated in any of the 500; bonus lists will roll out weekly as Jordan and I discuss the future of various features at the site... see you in May!

*****
*****
 
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March 17, 2018


Go, Look: Star Wars Comics Panels

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

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Happy 66th Birthday, Richard Pachter!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Patrick McDonnell!

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March 16, 2018


Go, Look Francesca Sanna

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Go, Vote: Last Day For Eisner HOF Voting

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Here are the links I was told are the important links to get this done:
General info: https://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-awards-current-info

Nominees: https://www.comic-con.org/awards/hall-of-fame-2018-nominees
No matter how you feel about awards in general, it's nice to get to give a comics-maker or four one of the rare things we are able to give them. If they've passed on, it's nice to provide that to the family.
 
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Go, Read: Michael Dooley On FUN

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By Request Extra: Words & Pictures Community Print Shop

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Here.

This is a very Vermont crowd-funder, but it caught my eye because I don't see a lot of community-based projects looking for funding this way. That's in part because many projects in this category seem toe end up being for-profit business hitting rough times and I think can't wrap around providing charitable support for a business of that nature. This is a shared-resources place, though, the kind that have been of benefit to thriving comics communities for years now. I hope we have the opportunity to make a similar space in Columbus one day.

Bonus: A bunch of good cartoonists are involved, so there are more than the usual number of fine level-gifts.
 
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If I Were In Jersey City, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Go, Look: Gil Kane Flash Splash Pages

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this big Dave Cooper show in support of the new Mudbite collection looks pretty great.

image* Irene Velentzas on Cartoon Clouds. Alice Wiersma on The Dialogues. Alex Hoffman on Eternal Friendship.

* veteran cartoonist Colleen Doran points out some of the underlying stupidities of common sexist criticism aimed at female comics-makers.

* Lynn Johnston looks back in an essay reprinted from the first volume of the LOAC reprinting of For Better Or For Worse. I'm looking forward to getting those volumes: not just because they're complete but I don't particularly care for other collection series of that strip.

* Zunar suggests that laughter is a necessary reaction to political malfeasance.

* finally: a review of Alison Bechdel's show at the Fleming.
 
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Happy 77th Birthday, Carlos Giménez!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Steve Lafler!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Todd McFarlane!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Dan Stafford!

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March 15, 2018


Go, Read: Philip Guston In St. Louis

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Kinsee Morlan talks to CCI's David Glanzer and Adam Smith.

* Jamie Coville went to King Con and has pictures and audio recordings.

* I don't always trust attendance figures like this because most people don't really comprehend what 10,000 people looks like in a convention setting, but I'm thrilled Elkhart has a show. That little Goshen-Elkhart corridor is one of America's greatest. Shipshewana!

* I hope this lady finds her coat. I always leave stuff behind at shows and not just my dignity.

* Mocca Festival is barreling down on us. One thing they can do in the SOI iteration that wasn't available to them before is really show off their special guests like Mike Mignola with stuff at the Society building in the weeks leading up to the show. I bet you this is something that most big shows will have in place within three years.

* nice to see Brian Fies on this list of Comic-Con guests.

* finally: I have no idea if bikes and scooters could change the baby-stepping pace of the crowds around the San Diego Convention Center, but I suppose it's a possibility.
 
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Go, Look: Seven Years After the Fall of a Dictator, Unrest Still Rules in Tunisia

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

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Go, Look: Magic Forest: Zombre Vs. Slappy Megathunder Showdown

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Before The Rain.

* the CBLDF has some in-comics-form advice for students that wish to participate in political protest, such as yesterday's walk-out event. I have a feeling we're not done with such protests.

* not comics: tickets for Dean Haspiel's play The Last Bar At The End Of The World are on sale now. It runs April 10-15.

* Rob Perez remembers the late Honolulu-based cartoonist Dick Adair. Adair was one of the first staff cartoonist to feel the impact of the 2008 newspaper downturn, launching a thousand arguments to come about the value of local editorial cartooning and where newspapers should invest in staffing.

* finally: John Siuntres talks to Matthew Clark.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Alex Segura!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Ger Apeldoorn!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Scott Kurtz!

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March 14, 2018


OTBP: San Francisco In Line

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Go, Look: Sarah Gordon

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By Request Extra: Last Hours Of PLOX Volume Two

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It's been a while since I've wanted a crowd-funder to succeed in a sort-of horse racing way, but I feel caught up in Steve Hamaker's PLOX Vol. 2 kickstarter, mostly because I think I'd grown used to most of the well-crafted, modest-ask projects I've looked at hitting their marks more squarely. No idea why this hasn't been the case for Hamaker's genial story of adult gamer-culture people in Columbus, but it makes me hope that much more it crosses the finish line with a few angels in its pocket -- if that's what it takes. In the end, it's the personal projects that add to our culture.
 
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OTBP: But Is It... Comic Aht? #1

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

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

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

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JAN181087 BIZARRE ROMANCE HC (C: 1-1-0) $24.99
This is the first of Eddie Campbell-related books we're going to see this year. Bizarre Romance is in partnership with his wife the novelist and comics-maker Audrey Niffenegger. This kind of stand-alone release from a pair of talented makers is the kind of thing I want to see every week in comics, but don't see as often as I'd like.

imageDEC170393 DC COMICS THE ART OF DARWYN COOKE TP $29.99
This is new, I think. I've thought a lot about Cooke lately; I miss his bigger-than-the-room personality and his lively Tothian take on superhero comics art traditions. I bet there's a lot to enjoy here.

JAN180558 RICK VEITCH THE ONE #2 (OF 6) $4.99
JAN180321 MISTER MIRACLE #7 (OF 12) (MR) $3.99
JAN180322 MISTER MIRACLE #7 (OF 12) VAR ED (MR) $3.99
JAN180605 DRY COUNTY #1 (MR) $3.99
JAN180798 MAGE HERO DENIED #7 (OF 15) $3.99
It's great to have Rick Veitch back in serial comics and any Jack Kirby put to good use I'll buy -- people have been flipping out about that title in that world, a good sign. Dry County is the latest Rich Tommaso -- an older serial, revived -- in what could be a major year for the cartoonist with new work and old due to hit the stands. Matt Wagner's latest serial in his been-around-a-long-time series of stories has picked up speed in the last two issues. Things look bad for our hero. I always like typing that.

DEC170956 MASTER OF KUNG FU EPIC COLLECTION TP WEAPON OF THE SOUL $39.99
This series was consistently among Marvel's best a full two generations ago, and while I prefer the original comic books, not everyone is me. One thing that's fun about these comics is that even the ways they're not great prove to be fairly enjoyable. Fun characters, too.

JAN181442 ABOVE & BEYOND GN $9.99
This is an oddity I'd pick up and look over: Don Lomax doing pro police-force comics for Caliber, apparently collected from a more significant effort.

JUL178161 ARCHIVAL QUALITY GN $19.99
I know almost nothing about this book save for that it's set in the world of librarians, which I'm not can solely be called "the library" or not. I just alway miss Oni books, and for once I didn't.

JAN181193 HEAVENLY NOSTRILS CHRONICLE GN VOL 07 UNICORN MANY HATS $9.99
JAN181194 PEANUTS TP IM NOT YOUR SWEET BABBOO (C: 0-1-0) $9.99
JAN181202 PEARLS BEFORE SWINE TP FLOUNDERING FATHERS (C: 0-1-0) $14.99
Hey, it's the strip gang: Dana Simpson (I think from the web archives of what became the print newspaper strip Phoebe And Her Unicorn), the GoComics version of a Peanuts trade series; this one from the rich period where Schulz seemed to be doing a lot of quirky minor characters, and the latest from Stephan Pastis.

JAN181776 PUERTO RICO STRONG SC $12.99
This is a charity book about which I know nothing, but wanted to remind people exists.

JAN181697 NEW SHOES HC (C: 1-1-0) $17.99
I'm a big sucker for Sara Varon's kids work and this would be the first book I'd pick up if I get to a store this week.

*****

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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Not Comics: Mid-'70s Marvel Sticker Sets

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Go, Look: Anoosha Syed

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Johanna Draper Carlson on Drawing Cute with Katie Cook: 200+ Lessons for Drawing Super Adorable Stuff.

* not comics: there will be a lot of opinion pieces about geek culture with the opening of the movie Ready Player One. Comics culture has changed as geek culture has changed. The good part of that is that it's no longer as exclusionary; two bad parts are that a hardcore few want it to be that way again and the whole conception of geek culture has a really unsophisticated view of consumption versus curation. People are into what they're into. All the people.

* here's a piece on a single-paper newspaper cartoonist making $900K USD a year.

* finally: Ramona Wadi profiles Mohammad Saabaneh.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Simon Fraser!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Tom Batiuk!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Steve Bissette!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, JP Stassen!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Brian Walker!

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March 13, 2018


Did The Writer Michael Fleisher Pass Away Six Weeks Ago?

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A CR reader named Benjamin Russell has looked into it, found this page but has found little else except a changing status on wikipedia.

Fleisher was one of the name-that-fans-knew writers of the 1970s, particularly for his work with the characters The Spectre and Jonah Hex. He also brought a lawsuit against Gary Groth, Fantagraphics and Harlan Ellison that is one of the big legal moments of 20th Century comics.

Update: Unless I'm being pranked -- and I can always be pranked -- this looks legit. My thanks to Mr. Russell. Condolences to the friends, family and fans of the late writer.
 
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OTBP: The Instinct For Cooperation

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By Request Extra: JHU Needs Support To Stay In Manhattan

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It's all described right here. This should be fascinating because retail-oriented crowd-funder in comics tend to do very poorly. At the same time, I think there are people very sympathetic to supporting retail that wants to remain in a neighborhood after it becomes enormously expensive to stay.
 
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Go, Look: The Kids Are Getting Organized

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie previewed.

* Marvel plans a Sentry ongoing as part of their fresh start. That's their recent-years Superman equivalent, created by Jae Lee, Paul Jenkins and Rick Veitch. Veteran industry observer Graeme McMillan's initial reaction is worth noting.

* finally, Drawn and Quarterly shows off the cover to the complete Dirty Plotte collection appearing soon. That should be a mighty book.
 
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Go, Look: Sheet Of Dan Clowes Meltdown Imagery

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Go, Look: Jeffrey Archer's Ronald Searle Originals

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Matt Seneca on Vacation.

* this tweet struck a nerve. Some comics creators clearly have ambitions to make film or TV work out of some of their projects, so this strikes me as only about 25 percent a rejection of that notion and 75 percent a rejection of the notion it would be easy to do so. I read a lot of projects of that kind, too. Getting your work into another medium is usually a pretty stellar way of finding that your work isn't of a high quality no matter the form chosen, but no one wants to hear that.

* finally, this is what I once imagined all Twitter conversations between British creators are like.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Andrew Weiss!

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Happy 97th Birthday, Al Jaffee!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Marc Sumerak!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Mike Sterling!

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Happy 65th Birthday, RA Jones!

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March 12, 2018


Go, Read: Michael Dooley On Monograph

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

image* it's this crowdfunder that still hits me at the most important going, the one from Dan Stafford and his Kilgore Books. Estrada, Van Sciver, Van Deusen (seen at left)... it all sounds good. Pay attention to that one for the size of the ask, which isn't inconsiderable. Breaking past the halfway point by now, though, that's a good sign for its ultimate success.

* I don't all the way get what's goin here in terms of this project any relationship it might have to previous crowd-funder, but certainly these are all admirable artists.

* good to see veteran creator Ron Randall blow past the initial ask with this Trekker campaign. I'm always encouraged by work finding an audience that maybe didn't have an easy time of doing so through standard paths of business activity.

* Mark O. Stack has been thorough in keeping this site apprised of this crowd-funder. It's a cute concept.

* finally: these nice Australians that contacted me directly are in the thick of it on their crowd-funder.
 
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Go, Look: Words Are A Gas

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Go, Look: Bonfire Collective

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Philippe Leblanc on Prism Stalker #1-2.

* not comics: here's a review of Portland's The Nerd Out restaurant.

* not comics: Black Panther crosses $1B at worldwide box office. This should surprise no one. One hopes this will keep a very appealing set of characters in a position of some sort of prominence within the company's publishing efforts, but that doesn't always work out just because it should.

* how Jeff Koterba fell in love with journalism.

* finally, Jeffrey Brown digs into Steve Breen's work on homelessness in the San Diego area through the humanization of those that fall under this category.
 
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Happy 90th Birthday, Sy Barry!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Nathan Schreiber!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Graham Nolan!

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March 11, 2018


Go, Look: Chloe Dennis

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Another, Juicier Article Stuffed With Names And Accusations Regarding Stan Lee's Situation

Here.

imageI can't judge how accurate the detail work is just yet, but I like how the article engages with daughter JC Lee's situation, particularly that she may have her father's knack for being flattered into counterproductive business relationships and she may have spent some significant amount of the existing fortune. This article also talks about the probable one-time $10M settlement reached in the mid-2000s, which having come from an antagonistic situation Lee to Marvel/Marvel to Lee strikes me as a significant distance away from the $50M sometimes claimed for Lee's fortune.

Working on the book I co-wrote about Lee I was never generally impressed with those that Lee put around him, particularly after moving to California. My co-writer Jordan Raphael handled this period, but I did some writing for CR about Lee at different times back then. Lee's longtime friend the lawyer and trademarks expert Arthur Lieberman seemed to me a definite step up from the jailed, Clinton-bashing Peter Paul (of Stan Lee Media infamy) in terms of being the person who took calls on Lee's behalf as a kind of primary go-to for press people. It may or may not be worth noting Lieberman (who died in 2012) was one of the guiding forces finding Lee work within the content-driven company that housed most of the writer's later, desultory creative efforts: POW!. I also remember being directed to a Mike Kelly at points in the mid-2000s, and he seemed a vigorous advocate of Stan's.

There's a lot left to come out. One thing I want to make a bit more clear is that just because we're now seeing what looks like the fuller shape of the story -- that it's probably not just rumors and random instances of distressing acting out but is perhaps a two- or three-side struggle over both Lee and whatever his fortune might be -- that doesn't mean any of details have been vetted, let alone vigorously tested for their truth. Getting your story out first -- or second -- or with more oomph, say, doesn't mean they're more true. It's even possible one side might be wrong about one thing but right about another. It's going to be a grind to get through this one, I suspect. These racy brace of new articles and public testimonials should encourage us to listen further, not come to a conclusion.

rewritten a bit because someone on Facebook thought I mistook Lieberman's post-Paul period in taking calls about Lee's lawsuits and business matters as the entirety of their relationship; it wasn't; it stretched out before and after. My bad for not making that more clear.
 
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Go, Look: Two Seth Paintings

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Go, Look: Overcompensating

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Go, Look: Defrost

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Happy 41st Birthday, J. Caleb Mozzocco!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Lea Hernandez!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Simon Pierre Mbumbo!

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FFF Results Post #499 -- Bad Guys

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics INDUSTRY Villains As Perceived At Some Point Over The Last 100 Years By A Chunk Of The Wider Comics Industry And/Or Fan Culture." This is how they responded.

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J. Scott Stewart

1. Victor Fox -- "King a' Da Comics!" (ganked from Drew Friedman's great image; I hope it's okay)
2. Mort Weisinger -- abusive editor
3. Jim Shooter -- polarizing editor, talented writer
4. Liebowitz and Donenfeld -- screwing Wheeler-Nicholson and Siegel/Shuster
5. Bob Kane -- denying credit to Finger and ghost artists

Honorable(?) Mention: Frank Miller for The Spirit movie

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Andrew Mansell

1. Dave Sim
2. Jim Shooter
3. Terry Beatty's girlfriend (whom I'm not!)
4. Julie Schwartz (pictured)
5. Al Capp

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Michael Grabowski

1. Dave Sim (pictured)
2. Martin Goodman
3. Rob Liefeld
4. Danny Hellman or Ted Rall, depending on one's allegiance
5. The Comics Journal message board

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Michael Dooley

1. Al Capp
2. Francisco Franco
3. Walt Disney
4. Robert Crumb (pictured)
5. Said Kouachi

*****

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Steve Replogle

1. Carmine Infantino (for canceling Jack Kirby's Fourth World)
2. Mike Richardson (for canceling Barry Windsor-Smith: Storyteller)
3. Jim Lee (for ruining the 1963 Annual in a pissing contest with the other Image creators)
4. Jenette Kahn (for canceling Rick Veitch's Swamp Thing meets Jesus story) (pictured)
5. Richard Corben (for putting Den in pants in Den: Dreams and Den:Elements!)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Frederic Wertham
2. Gary Groth And Kim Thompson
3. Gershon Legman
4. Moms That Throw Out All Of One's Collected Comic Books
5. The Batman TV Show (pictured)

*****

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Lou Copeland

The Three Headed Monster of DC Editorial:
1. Mort Weisinger
2. Bob Kanigher (pictured)
3. Julie Schwartz
Somebody PLEASE do a book on these guys.

4. Jim Shooter
5. People that fold back the pages along the spine as they read comics.

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Variant covers
2. Estes Kefauver
3. The internet
4. Comics criticism
5. SJWs (pictured)

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Stan Lee
2. Todd McFarlane
3. James "Cute Manifesto" Kochalka (pictured)
4. Alan Moore
5. R. Crumb

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. Robert Maxwell
2. Mort Weisinger
3. Rob Liefeld (pictured)
4. Stan Lee
5. Shia LaBeouf

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. The Comics Code (pictured)
2. Rick Olney
3. Jim Shooter
4. Todd McFarlane
5. Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo for causing those WWII paper drives

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thanks to all that participated

*****
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March 10, 2018


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


P. Craig Russell At Work


Clay Jones Process Video
 
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Go, Look: Dan Schkade

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Latest Article At Daily Mail Suggests What Looks Like A Basic Structure For Stan Lee Story

Here. That story gives a broader narrative, includes daughter JC's role, and puts a figure on any money in question. That doesn't mean there isn't more to come -- it's suggested that perhaps newer business interests are aligned with Ms. Lee, but we don't that, or if so, whom -- or that any part of it is necessarily true.

Still, this kind of two sides going at one another over the care of a wealthy, older and grieving person does seem like it could be the framework through which we understand things moving forward. You never know what tomorrow brings, though, or what might get resolved one way or the other. With these kinds of accusations, there will be a push forward on many of the facts in question.

I wish all the best for the virtuous involved, and for Mr. Lee.

You can see a lot of Lee Family photos if you look around. I don't have the rights to use any of them, I don't think. But they're easy to find.

One other thing that strikes me as interesting is I'm not convinced an approximation of Stan Lee's net worth gets you to $50 million without a... let's say generous appraisal of non-Marvel deals. I'm really bad with money, though, in life and in opinion-writing.
 
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Go, Look: Emma Farrarons

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Go, Look: Little Star In New York

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Go, Look: Six Gardner Rea Magazine Cartoons

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

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Happy 54th Birthday, Troy Hickman!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Jason McNamara!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Randy Chang!

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March 9, 2018


Go, Read: Dating a Trans Person Changed My Partner's Life

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

image* I sometimes don't know what to do with series offered through Patreon in terms of this column or the publishing column, but you can start on-line to get the new Chuck Forsman.

* the existence of comiXology and other comics services should over time give us measurements of comics' ability to capitalize on more immediate sales implementations.

* Steve Hamaker's PLOX Volume Two crowd-funder is working a traditional strategy of posted webcomic pages followed by a kickstarter to facilitate direct advance orders and more fervent support. I enjoy the strip as a backdoor Columbus-life comic.

* finally: Sean Kleefeld on a webcomics model that may confuse.
 
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If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

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Go, Listen: The Great Jerry Beck At Virtual Memories

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* go, look: this Deitch-Deitch-Dougan page from the late Kim Thompson's anthology Zero Zero is lovely-looking.

* they're coming for your jobs.

* never a fan of second-generation hero comics, or those plotlines where they show a specific superhero concept stretches back thousand of years. I think they ruin the specialness of the now moment for those characters. That's just me, though. It's a pretty reliable sales hook.

* finally: Michael Cavna on Brazen as an IWD read.
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Rick Burchett!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Mike Kazaleh!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Ivan Grubanov!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Pier Nicola Gallo!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Brian Biggs!

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March 8, 2018


Go, Look: Connor Willumsen Illustrates Scanners For Criterion

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Bundled Extra: DC Comics Announces Line Of Stand-Alone, Out-Of-Continuity Books

It's called DC Black Label. Many of the books in the line were rumored and in one case were actually announced, although not as part of a line. Involved are creators such as Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., Lee Bermejo, Greg Rucka and Kelly Sue DeConnick, and a pretty tightly gathered group of characters based on DC's popular trio: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman.

Stand-alone, out-of-continuity books featuring characters destined to appear in multiple films seems like a slam-dunk idea to me. DC has always been pretty good about pointing to a single book as "the one to buy" for fans of their movies, didn't really do that with Wonder Woman on film, and I think that cost them a significant money-maker last year. This should correct that.

It's always good to see where younger customers and the creative community stand on Frank Miller, too, and I would expect some pushback there, at least on-line.
 
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Go, Read: Say It With Noodles

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the Lakes International Comic Art Festival has announced its first round of guests for their mid-October show. There will be some scrutiny about their guest list overall after accusations and responses to accusations about the content of the list led to some turbulence with last year's show.

* Tingfest, the only comics festival that matters, has announced its initial infrastructure and guest list.

* every condolence possible to the family and friends of the young woman who according to the gofundme here lost her life due to complications from a severe asthma attack at the Emerald City show last weekend.

* here's some advice for potential exhibitors on how to get into the curated MICE event.

* the show with which I work, CXC, is still taking applications for exhibiting at its 2018 show. Looks like Long Beach is open for business, too.

* still can't get over what a great get this is.

* finally: I always have fun reading people grateful for their experience after a con or festival.
 
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If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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

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Go, Look: A Run Of Bud Sagendorf Popeye Sundays

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Johanna Draper Carlson on The Tea Dragon Society.

* not comics: everything Charles Mudede writes is smart so this piece describing a context for a scene within Black Panther will likely be smart, too.

* the conservative humor columnist and comics fan Jim Treacher cheers on Matt Furie's efforts to sue conservative outlets like InfoWars that profited from use of his work. Includes the video from Alex Jones in response to the lawsuit. Just because you see it on the Internet doesn't mean you can make money off of it, you dumbfucks. And there's no satirical element if you aren't actually using satire.

* by request extra: the great John Holmstrom has a crowd-funder going.

* finally: the late Darwyn Cooke's choices of which Will Eisner Spirit stories to read.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Brent Willis!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Eric Powell!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Paul Sloboda!

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March 7, 2018


CR Review: Spy Seal Volume One: The Corten-Steel Phoenix

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imageCreator: Rich Tommaso
Publishing Information: Image, softcover, 96 pages, full-color, January 2018, $12.99.
Ordering Numbers: 9781534304796 (ISBN13); 1534304797 (ISBN10); NOV170686 (Previews)

I wanted to write a quick word or two in favor of Rich Tommaso's dive into spy stories by way of funny animal comics and the clear-line approach of Hergé and his successors. It's an inspired series of choices. Tommaso's best comics are about feel and design-as-fate; his not-best tend to overpower their genre origins with over-complex plotting combined with a kind of elbow-to-the-ribs deconstruction. I love the look of Rich's last decade's worth of comics, and their feel, but even reading them all in multiple formats as I've done I couldn't tell you from memory much about any of their stories.

That's not a problem with Spy Seal, the story of a young spy's first major adventure in some sort of mid-century secret service after falling backwards into a life of intrigue. Tommaso engages with layers of genre so worn, and a visual approach so specific, that dissecting a narrative may not make the top ten of readers' things to do. Instead, our attention shifts to the a barrage of clever set pieces, the story's alway-amiable pacing, and a sumptuous visual feel. Using animal characters forces Tommaso into conveying their personalities and their connections with the rest of the cast via staging and the depiction of physical relationships one to another. This is a great place to start when you're working with vignettes that depend on broad visual comedy, and a great place from which to depart when you have animal characters that aren't even close to the same size, or that possess some shorthand version of an animal-world skill (most memorably flying).

My conception of Tommaso is that he's ambitious in terms of working a variety of approaches that he thinks will bring an audience to him in the way that he'd like to see them come over to his side of things. It may be that his best strategy for an audience that matches his skill comes from an approach that flatters the cartoonist and relieves those readers of the burden of consuming the artwork like a game to be won. These comics are as fun to read as they are to stare at, and I hope that delicate balance holds in future volumes.

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Go, Look: Alice Bowsher

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

Yeah, I know. I'll have something up soon.

*****

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.

*****


*****

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

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

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

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

*****


*****
*****
 
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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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Not Comics: Shoot To Kill Illustrations

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Minor Leagues #4.

* here's another short and impossibly broad article comparing the two superhero-driven companies' approach to line relaunches. It does seem like DC is doing a better job with the latest refashioning, although Marvel's next one has yet to hit. My problem with these more general articles is that we're talking relative minor differences in the context of all entertainment measurements, which leaves open the possibility that grand strategies have less to do with it than comic-to-comic execution.

* that's an interesting take on the last decade or so of major publishing events and their influence on the shape of comics right now. I think I agree with about half of it: one full agreement, two half-agreement, one full disagreement.

* finally: Greg Hunter talks to Whit Taylor.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Robin McConnell!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Cully Hamner!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Peter Gross!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Ben Templesmith!

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March 6, 2018


CR Review: Normel Person

imageCreator: Lauren Weinstein
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 40 pages, full-color glossy, September 2017, $10.
Ordering Numbers: http://www.laurenweinstein.com/store/normel-person-mini-comic

This is the bulk of Lauren Weinstein's work as one of the final Village Voice print cartoonists, a position she held from late 2016 to and through that publication's 2017 move to digital. This was a gig that I helped initiate for her in a consulting role in a very modest way, which I share with you to let you know I am probably one of the ten people in the world least able to give you a fair opinion of this book's content. And yet as much of this as might all be tendentious horseshit, let me do some of you the favor of letting you know this publication exists.

It's a sign of the times that a work appearing in the Voice, for decades the pole-position of the alt-weekly cartoon race day line-up, can so quickly be reduced to a cartoonist's personal store, one of thousands on-line. This is one good-looking book, though, glossy and slick and colorful like a soon-to-be-cleaned carp. I spent more time with Normel Person than any single comic I read this week. It's worth the price. Weinstein took full advantage with her VV gig in the use of color and the ability to employ a breadth of visual strategies. There's a bit of casting around, and a little bit more of stunned anger, barely processed, at the political outcomes squirming to our collective foreground, but firmly connecting these strips is a mother's matter-of-fact concern for a shift in the world's priorities as her family of three becomes four.

There's a lot that's funny in Normel Person. The best cartoons lumber off in unintended directions in a way that thwarts easy catharsis. Question followed by shouted second question trumps questions followed by answer. Weinstein has a knack for sympathetic confusion. My main takeaway is that no matter the approach, no matter the opinion expressed, no matter how she herself is portrayed, Weinstein has the great comedian's knack for communicating her essential decency. I want to know the next Normel Person strip because I want to know more about what Lauren Weinstein thinks. I hope Normel Person survives any and all format changes to come, at least until she's done giving this work to us.
 
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Go, Look: Images From Lynd Ward's Beowulf

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Matt Furie's Legal Quest To Reclaim Pepe The Frog Expands To Include Alex Jones And InfoWars

Good. I hope he wins full satisfaction, in every arena. I'm a huge fan of satire, but this was not satire: it was a repurposing without permission.
 
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OTBP: š! #31

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* I'm not sure I'd seen this cover image for Hartley Lin's forthcoming Young Frances.

* a couple of Neil Gaiman-related items in the publishing news sections of your local Internet. First, four writers have been selected as the first step into creating four creatives teams that will do four comic books set in the neighborhood of the DC Universe rebuilt and/or gentrified by Gaiman and his creative partners back in the late '80s/early '90s. I only wonder about the level of the content there: I think making a big deal of such books and getting the idea across this is a group of books to buy are both good ideas. I know some folks on-line have rolled their eyes that more of the creative teams haven't been assemble before the announcements were made. The other Gaiman-related things is a planned Mark Buckingham book adapting four of the author's short stories, out this Fall in hardcover.

* finally: due to extraordinary circumstances described here, we get a new Nina Bujevac book sooner rather than later. That's great news.
 
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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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

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Go, Look: Supergirl Splash Pages From The Early '70s Series

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Chicken Boy.

* by request extra: this family of an ECCC attendee that suffered a massive health setback could use some help.

* one shouldn't like readers' polls applied to the comics of any kind, let alone the editorial cartoonist position, because editors should suck it up and do their job, but I have to admit it was compelling enough as presented here to make me read the whole article and look at each example.

* Miles Klee walks through several webcomics and a few strip comics according to a theory that there's a bad-art aesthetic of particular relevance to webcomics-making. It's written as if to piss people off, and it might, but the overall theory at work isn't well-developed so the whole thing feels a bit scattered and weak.

* I think I'd like to know a lot more about Prince Philip's cartoon collection.

* Humberto J. Rocha profiles Emily Sauter. Twenty-five years ago we'd have had a syndicated comic strip from Sauter about beer. Philip Kronk profiles Oliver Harrington.

* finally: Moms are the best.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Robyn Chapman!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Kieron Dwyer!

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March 5, 2018


CR Review: MUGS

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Creator: Jim Blanchard
Publishing Information: Self-Published Mini-Comic, 28 pages, $5.
Ordering Information: www.jimblanchard.com

I'm not even sure this limited edition mini is commercially available: you should check the artist's web site for sure. The mini that I have was purchased at Short Run from Blanchard, who was set up like any old comics pro with a lot of different material at different prices. I get this surge of undeserved jealousy when I see artists who know how to work a show, because I connect the artistic riches on hand to a kind of economic simplicity: make, and the people reward you. I'm too old and jaded not to know of the thousand roadblocks that keep this from ever being real, but the fantasy won't go away.

MUGS finds Blanchard working in one of his most rewarding idioms, the head and shoulders portrait. The twist here is that he employs the thinner, more delicate line that we're accustomed to see in his panel-to-panel comics. The effect is reduction, boiling down the bravado of the artist's detail work to a few essential thoughts per face. Blanchard's subjects seem vibrant in service to a variety of minor emotions: disgust, resignation, bravado, disaffectedness. He draws the best sneers, teasing them out from people that don't have to look further than five feet in front of their noses to find evidence that condemns the entire world. Similarly, the words pulled out to the side fail to connect in any easy way to what by proximity we guess are their speakers, or their subjects. MUGS ends up feeling like a series of scheduled meetings with people that chose the meeting time just to spite you.

MUGS becomes over the course of its pages a wholly satisfying exercise in partially applied art, incomplete yet vital. I don't know that I'd recommend it to people outside of Blanchard's circle of admirers, but everyone in that circle should have one and more people should join us this side of the line. I wish more cartoonists would do off-brand projects like this: the heel from one's hand applied on one note of the piano with the grim integrity of a small-town Sunday pastor.
 
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Go, Look: Jack Teagle Portfolio Update

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Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding

image* hard for me to imagine more bang for your comics-supporting buck than plugging into the Kilgore Books fundraiser. What bits of the Noah Van Sciver I've seen look very good, and I'm currently very interested in reading more Emi Gennis. All of those books debut at CAKE if things go well.

* when I'm writing this on Saturday morning, Bruce Worden's Woodstalk project was a few hundred dollars away from meeting its initial goal. No idea where it's at right this minute, but it's down to hours left to make it over the hump.

* Ben Quinlan's been very nice about updating me on the just-launched Black & Blue crowd-funder. It's looks like they're off to a nice start.

* finally: this request was sitting in my bookmarks an unfortunate while and I have no idea of its status, but taking care of pets can always be a setback.
 
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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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Go, Look: Various Dynamic Gil Kane Images

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Marty Roth muses on the Jewish underpinnings of the various major cartoon mice.

* this is a good list of recommendations for curious parents and now I want to make my own.

* not comics: I don't have enough gaming knowledge to get all the jokes here, but the concept made me laugh.

* congratulations to Audrey Redpath on her new job at Kickstarter. That sounds like a really good not-making-them comics job, of which there are about two dozen in the entire world.

* I forgot to post this story of Steve Lieber's.

* finally: OSU students discover Calvin & Hobbes in their midst, give terrible directions.
 
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Happy 67th Birthday, Lat!

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March 4, 2018


Go, Listen: Lauren Weinstein On Process Party

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

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

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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Randy Stradley!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Glenn Hauman!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Chip Mosher!

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FFF Results Post #498 -- The Rest Of The Superpowers

On Friday, CR readers were asked to name "Five Super Powers You'd Enjoy Having, None Of Which Are Super-Strength, Flying, Invisibility, Mind-Reading or Teleportation." This is how they responded.

*****

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Doug Rice

1. Telekinesis
2. Shapeshifting
3. Timeshifting (i.e. to move between different moments in time)
4. Empathy
5. Ekstasis (to travel outside of one's body)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Time Travel
2. Running Really Fast
3. Lie Detection
4. Invulnerability
5. Talk To Inanimate Objects

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Speed-reading
2. Time-stopping
3. Wall-crawling
4. Breathing underwater
5. Healing factor

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. X-Ray vision (without the glasses 'natch!)
2. Breathe Underwater
3. Transmutation of all known Elements
4. Radio-actively enhanced Sense of Taste
5. Chameleon-like abilities that regrow failing or damaged body parts

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Invisible Woman Powers
2. Time Travel
3. Metamorpho Powers
4. Monica Rambeau Powers
5. Healing Factor

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. The power to clone myself
2. The power to clone myself
3. The power to clone myself
4. The power to clone myself
5. The power to clone myself

*****

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Michael May

1. Stretching
2. Breathe underwater
3. Talk to animals
4. Turn into animals
5. Whatever Bouncing Boy's power is called

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Cocaine Touch
2. Vomiting acidic ooze
3. Turning my body into stone to become immobile and inflexible
4. To consume any form of matter
5. Shrinking

*****

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Elijah Brubaker

Here's some superpowers I'd want:

1 flaming on
2 turn into a Bigfoot or a Chewbacca
3 some kind of super suit that has ice skates that pop outta the feet.
4 eyeball on the end of my finger
5 summoning cream pies from the cream pie dimension.

*****

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Stevie VanBronkhorst

1. Spider-man style climbing
2. Telekinesis
3. The ability to draw any non-sentient object and have it be real and functional (Harold’s purple crayon powers)
4. Walk through walls
5. Perfect recall/Remember my husband’s birthday

*****

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Des Devlin

1. Psychological projection
2. Super-incontinence
3. Telecommuting
4. The power of love
5. Irascibility

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Summoning people by saying “Eternity”
2. X-ray vision
3. Matter transmutation
4. Telepathic communication with sea life
5. Shape-changing

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1. Time Travel
2. Master of Magnetism
3. Telekinesis
4. Super Speed
5. Foretelling

*****

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Mário Filipe

Seeing as you hoarded all the fun powers, I will go with some pratical ones, like:

1. Enhanced Intelligence
2. Telekinesis
3. Super-Speed
4. Self-Duplication
5. Time Travel

... which would bring to a power level somewhere between Dr. Manhattan and David Allen.

*****

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Michael Dooley

In preferential order:

1. full memory recollection
2. super writing/editing/grading abilities
3. super information research powers
4. healthy, non-aging immortality, or at least the ability to continue to observe what goes on after I die
5. four is plenty for me; you can give my fifth super power to whoever else might need it

*****

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Tom Cherry

1. Immortality
2. Eating whatever I want without getting fat ala Matter Eater Lad
3. The ability to transform into a purple gorilla
4. The power to draw Charlie Brown's round head perfectly
5. Whatever power Woozy Winks had

*****

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David Bitterbaum

1. Make duplicates of myself -- I can do a variety of tasks at once, learn skills, and then reabsorb my copies like Madrox? Awesome!
2. Super-speed -- I can go visit friends in different states or countries with ease!
3. Shapeshifting -- animals are fun, why not be one?
4. Night-vision -- I'll never trip on anything in the dark again.
5. Travel through time -- As long as I don't break the universe or alter history too badly, this could be fun!

*****

thanks to all that participated; thanks to Sunny McFarren for the subject; I let a lot of humorous responses through, but know if it ever feels like you're riffing on a question rather than answering it, I'll feel free to shut it down

*****
*****
 
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March 3, 2018


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Recent Derf Backderf Interview


30 Years Of Matt Davies


Footage From A Performance Of That Ding Darling One-Man Show


Not Comics: Peter Blegvad And Slapp Happy


Balls Of Excellence
 
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Go, Look: Chris Schweizer's Series Of Drawings And Write-Ups On Lady Fighters From History

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

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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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

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Happy 40th Birthday, Skottie Young!

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Happy 70th Birthday, Max Allan Collins!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Dan Mishkin!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Augie De Blieck!

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March 2, 2018


Go, Look: Yildiray Cinar

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Go, Look: Bang Sangho

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Go, Look: Trevor Fraley

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* this is interesting to me not because of the plagiarism but that the courts involved had no problem recognizing the artist's variation on a meme as creative property of that artist rather than derivative of the original from which people provided variations. I mean, I don't know why this interests me. I have no real knowledge of how those laws work.

* Shelina Janmohamed looks at examples of female muslim cartoonists finding voice through digital means and using the superhero paradigms.

* finally, a nice catch by Bleeding Cool to note a company withdrawing from digital giant comiXology.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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

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Go, Look: Sam Alden Illustration Images

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on Runner Runner #4. Todd Klein on Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #27. Sean Gaffney on Again!! Vol. 1.

* Lee Zion profiles Amanda El-Dweek.

* not comics: that could be interesting if it happens. It's hard for me to think anything being as beautiful as the comics version of Black Hole.

* go see Lalo.

* finally: cartoonist Mike Thompson admits to some basic frustration with President Trump's effect on the news cycle.
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Mark Evanier!

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March 1, 2018


CR Review: Comics Revue Feb 2018

imageCreators: Russ Manning, Stan Lynde, Harry Harrison, Dick Moores, V.T. Hamlin, Milton Caniff, Warren Tufts, George Herriman and a cast of thousands.
Publishing Information: Manuscript Press, softcover, 128 pages, February 2018, $20
Ordering Numbers: DEC172093 (Previews), PO Box 336, Mountain Home TN 37684.

I still greatly enjoy reading copies of Comics Revue when they show up in my mailbox. The magazine-sized anthology of once-popular strip work comes out is a half-and-half proposition for me now. I read some of what they publish very close and some of it not at all. It's a different way of reading than when you read everything but the differences are in how much you enjoy each feature. It's how I used to read the newspaper from which these features are pulled, the darker half of the page representing action-adventure and soap opera strip of which 12 year old me wanted no part.

It's hard to go wrong with Krazy Kat dailies, even roughly mis-printed. I like looking at Alley Oop more than I enjoy reading it; ditto Russ Manning's Tarzan and Caniff's Steve Canyon. Buz Sawyer is a gas if you can stomach the politics lurking just under the surface. The Caniff is a football sequence I remember liking when I saw it once upon a time and the Sawyer is from that period where he thinks his wife is dead. The king of all the features in recent Comics Revue is Wilson McCoy's run on The Phantom, which is drawn and paced like a modern satirical cartoon. One with which I'm totally unfamiliar, Sir Bagby, also makes my list -- it's hard to imagine inventing a more early '60s comic. I pause at the Overgard and Tufts.

Sounds great, right? Well, it is, after a fashion. I do wonder how many old people -- and older on the inside! -- customers there are out there, enjoying half a magazine. A Peter O'Donnell pivot from Modesty Blaise to Garth might bum me out, but I can't imagine there are more than 300 people out there still holding on to that degree of aesthetic refinement when it comes to work like that. Other than the McCoy, I'm not sure I'd recommend anything in here as a discovery, which saddens me a bit.

I have this game where I think about things I will never do again in my life: wear a singlet, water ski, watch episodes of Becker. I feel that way about most of the work here. It's waking up in my old bed, a party at my parents house downstairs, and sneaking halfway down the stairwell to eavesdrop on the 20th Century one more time.
 
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Go, Look: Peony Gent

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Festivals Extra: Dave Cooper At Scott Eder Gallery

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With this new book and the film he showed last year at TCAF, it's wonderful to have Dave Cooper around in a production/publication sense. His art can be astonishing on the wall, so any chance to go and look I hope you'll take. The opening is March 16.
 
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Go, Look: Authentic Police Cases Covers

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Go, Look: Lisa Sterle

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* today is the last day to apply to exhibit at Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival.

* what a fantastic get by TCAF.

* today is the first day of ECCC, the well-loved mainstream-focused show with heavy individual-creator involvement run by Reed. I don't know if Randy's Readers still exhibits at the show because I couldn't work the web site, but if they are, they have all the cheap awesome old mainstream comics your body requires.

* if I would advise one thing that I thought was lacking when I visited previous ECCC's is that I hope you make use of Seattle's awesome downtown. It's a weird city to ignore solely in favor of the host hotel's bar con. You can nighttime network and see something of the city you're in, I promise! Even on a 20-years-gone memory Andaluca and Wild Ginger are classic downtown Seattle dinner locations (albeit downtown-expensive), Vito's Restaurant and Lounge seems like it was built for hungry comics people, and if nothing else get a coffee at the Victrola up the hill from the convention center. The 5-Point is a sturdy sort-of near hearty breakfast and 24/7 spot and a little further beyond that is the deliciously miserable Mecca Cafe and Bar, where I sat for three hours and read the newspaper Short Run weekend. There are many more great places. I love bar cons, too, but I have as many great memories striking out to do a couple hours with a group of friends or soon-to-be-friends as I do spending the next six surrounded by the industry entire. Invite someone to get to know!

* then again, if it's as cold in Seattle as rumored, maybe just order room service.

* you can apply to CXC 2018 as an exhibitor here.

* finally: DINK Denver adds to its impressive special guest list.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near An Event, I'd Go To It

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Go, Listen: Greg Rucka On Word Balloon

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Jeremy Sorese talks to Kevin Czap.

* I know no one wants to hear my cranky old man bullshit, but I always think it'd be nice if a comics-maker could make the top ten or so people being listed as guests of a comic-con.

* Ben Towle on Neonomicon. Todd Klein on The Flash #28.

* here's a letter Kevin Huizenga received in 2005.

* I'm pretty sure the comic book auction market stuff is all the proof that we live in a 1-percent world anyone ever needed.

* finally, a by request extra: the Toronto Comics anthology launched its fifth-volume crowd-funder today.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 66th Birthday, Joyce Brabner!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 41st Birthday, Benjamin Marra!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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