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















January 18, 2019


Go, Read: Tony Fitzpatrick On Absinthe Birds

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Go, Look: Brady Evans

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Collective Memory: Batton Lash, 1953-2019

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These are links to various mentions of the passing of cartoonist and illustrator Batton Lash, who died on January 12, 2019.

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

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Primary Mentions

* Adam Freeman
* Alistair Robb
* Andrew Farago 01
* Andrew Farago 02

* Barbara Randall Kesel
* Bleeding Cool

* CBR
* Cecile Fleetwood
* Chad Cavanaugh
* Chip Mosher
* Clifford Meth

* Dan Conner
* David Lloyd
* Derf
* Don Simpson 01
* Don Simpson 02
* Don Simpson 03

* Georgia Ball

* ICv2.com

* Jamal Yaseem Igle
* Jann Morris-Penrod
* Jay Harper
* Jim Ottaviani
* Jim Pascoe
* Jim Treacher
* Jim Valentino
* Jim Wheelock
* Johanna Draper Carlson
* John Lustig
* Jon B. Cooke

* Margot Jackson
* Mark Evanier
* Mark Habegger
* Mark Wheatley
* Michael Aushenker
* Mike Kunkel
* Mike Olivares
* Mitchell Berger

* Paulette Powell
* Paul Levitz

* Rafael Navarro
* Ralph Mathieu
* Randy Reynaldo
* Rebecca Hicks
* Rio Herrera
* RL Crabb
* Rob Imes
* Rob Salkowitz
* Russell Calabrese
* Ryan Claytor

* San Diego Reader
* Scott Shaw!
* Shannon Eric Denton
* Stephen Bissette
* Steve Conley
* Steve Saffel

* The Beat
* Tripwire

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Related Articles Of Substance

* Batton Lash Interviews The Wicked Witch 2014

* Chris Pitzer Photo From CXC 2015
* Comics Worth Reading Interview 2014
* Curled Up With A Good Book Interview 2009

* Exhibit A Press Web Site

* Lambiek.net Entry

* Moonlight Art Magazine Interview 2014
* Mr. Media Interview 2015

* The Karl Show Interview 2013

* Wikipedia Entry

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Go, Look: The Cost Of A Government Shutdown

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Assembled Extra: Comics Workbook Relaunching Site

Looks like we'll have a new Comics Workbook site in six weeks. It makes sense to have that site reboot itself every few years as much attention they spend on how exactly the basic models work on their behalf. I look forward to the result.
 
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If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through February 2019

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January 22
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

January 23
* If I Am Near A Computer Or In SF, I'll Go To This

January 24
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 25
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 26
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Oakland, I'd Go To This

January 27
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Pasadena, I'd Go To This (Pasadena Comic Convention And Toy Show)

January 29
* If I Were In Toulouse, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

January 30
* If I Were In Paris, I'd Go To This

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February 1
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

February 2
* If I Were In Norfolk, I'd Go To This (NOICE)

February 5
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

February 7
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

February 12
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

February 14
* If I Were In White River Junction, I'd Go To This

February 16
* If I Were Near Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Expo)

February 17
* If I Were Near Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Expo)

February 19
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

February 22
* If I Were Near MSU, I'd Go To This (Comics Forum)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Wizard World)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This

February 23
* If I Were Near MSU, I'd Go To This (Comics Forum)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Wizard World)

February 24
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Wizard World)

February 26
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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Events For March 2019 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Bill Everett Pencil Drawings Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on a bunch of comics by Reilly Hadden. Todd Klein on Green Lantern #3. Andy Oliver on Chlorine Gardens. Johanna Draper Carlson on Is Kichijoji The Only Place To Live? Volume Five.

* Heidi MacDonald calls attention to a recent Hannah Berry article about Berry's financial situation over a three-year stretch, and the saving grace of a partner making wages to live on. I think this is the new mission that now that the literary value and cultural impact of comics is no longer in question: return as much money and support to the creative class as possible. That doesn't automatically mean the problem is solved; my guess is that no matter how many cartoonists see a return that allows their work to be supported there will be three others that wish it to be so. But as many cross that threshold, the better; and to push at the limits of sustainable return better lets us know what's possible.

* finally: DT Max profiles Nick Drnaso.
 
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January 17, 2019


Go, Look: Diigii Daguna

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Go, Read: Progressive Taxation: How Does It Work?

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this article about the impact that social media has on community spaces also would seem to have a lot to say about comics community spaces with an even less thorough commitment to space in the real world.

* PFC #6 is on. That gathering of top-level talent for camaraderie-generating comics-making and exercises is a wonderful way to orient your show towards the act of comics-making. Everywhere you look is an interesting cartoonist.

* here's a call for entries for a comics-related contest tied into the Lake Oswego Festival For The Arts.

* finally: Comic-Con fixture Pam Noles has a big-bags conversion business, complete with store. There is nothing I dislike about this story.
 
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Go, Look: A Bunch Of Gill Fox Covers

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Go, Look: Three Stooges Comic Book Photo Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on The Don Rosa Library Volume Eight. HW Thurston on Vanishing Act. Andy Oliver on My Father Was A Fisherman. Henry Chamberlain on Alpha: Abdijan To Paris.

* here's a story over at CBLDF using benign cartoons of Liz Climo's tagged by Tumblr as adult content that is not adult content, with blame put on the technology used and what many feel is an unfortunate decision to remove content of that type from the site in the first place. I have yet to read up on that whole thing, although I know that Tumblr fell out of favor with the majority of artists I know months and months and months ago.

* here's Comics MNT on the launch of an erotic series from BOOM!. I thought we'd have a lot more sexy straight-up superhero stories this decade. Something to look forward to, I guess.

* David Betancourt talks to David F. Walker.

* finally: the late Stan Lee and the not-really-her-name Olivia Jaimes share the industry person of the year survey honor at The Beat.
 
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January 16, 2019


Go, Look: Der-Shing Helmer

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Go, Look: Abortion Is Illegal In Lebanon, But That Hasn't Stopped Abortions

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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.

*****

OCT181745 DOG MAN GN VOL 06 BRAWL OF THE WILD $9.99
I am not finding very many comics at all this week, but post-holiday and post-SDCC time slots are difficult for my specific reading tastes. Shoot me any suggestions I'm missing, particularly if they're obvious. In the meantime, it's certainly noteworthy when Dav Pilkey drops a book in one of his sales-juggernaut series. I get asked about these comics by kids of friends more than any other series.

MAR180562 LOST GIRLS HC EXPANDED ED (MR) $49.99
JUL180943 RICK VEITCH THE ONE HC $29.99
NOV181784 ETERNAUT HC (CURR PTG) $49.99
Three newer/different editions of solid to excellent graphic novels, the kind a serious colleciton might have in its library. I have no idea if there's been backlash against Lost Girls, though it seems a candidate for that kind of analysis. It's nice having Rick Veitch back, generally. The Eternaut is on my reading table as we speak.

NOV180199 WICKED & DIVINE #41 CVR A MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.99
NOV180200 WICKED & DIVINE #41 CVR B GANUCHEAU (MR) $3.99
SEP180696 DICK TRACY DEAD OR ALIVE #3 (OF 4) CVR A ALLRED $3.99
SEP180697 DICK TRACY DEAD OR ALIVE #3 (OF 4) CVR B TOMMASO $3.99
One recent sales and buzz stalwart and one project with a lot of interesting names attached. I think that's one away from the end for the Wicked & Divine gang. That's going to be a comic that comes up a lot 5-7 years from now with young mainstream and indy/genre creators.

MAY182059 KIRBY & LEE STUF SAID $24.95
I like the idea here -- a look at the creation of Marvel's 1960s comics based on the extensive on-the-record testimony and evidence-in-hand. It's all in the execution, of course.

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Clark Kent Into Superman Images

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Go, Look: Leonard Starr's Mysto

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alenka Figa on Fashion Forecasts.

* not comics: my brother Whit told me these are the tribute ads that were placed in Hollywood Reporter in honor of Stan Lee after his passing; Maggie Loesch (longtime Marvel Productions head), DC Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, the five main Avengers cast members, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Disney/Marvel. I'm not sure why I find that interesting, but I do.

* not comics: hey, it's a geek-related writing job! I don't remember which geek site this is but it sounds like one of the important ones.

* this kind of avoidance/swapping is par for the course in many American newspapers, but if you make promises about changes in content you might as well be held to the result.

* finally: LA Zine Fest applications end tonight at 11:59 PM. That's a June show.
 
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January 15, 2019


Go, Listen: Gil Roth Talks To Peter Kuper

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Go, Read: History Of Helioscope Twitter Thread From May I Think Of This Year But Oh God Who Knows

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Here. It's at least a half-year old, but I think the basic principles stand. This is the shared workspace in Portland. No idea where the industry goes from here but I think all non-publisher groups are important until that gets figured out. I find interesting the way the studio becomes modular when address certain kinds of financial opportunities: studio-wide creative projects, sketch projects by individual creators.
 
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Go, Look: George Herriman Illustrates Archy's Life Of Mehitabel

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* there's a Rufus Marigold collection coming. There was a point when I thought that print publishing would be dominated by webcomics efforts, which hasn't really come through.

* DD Degg walks us through a purge of strips at the Boston Globe, followed by a partial reprieve for many of the offerings.

* finally: it makes perfect sense to me that there'd be another version of the Ralph Reese/Byron Preiss effort One Year Affair, but I'm always amazed by how many thing I've imagined reprinted have been reprinted. I'm really running out at this point. I'm sure Byron Preiss did a collection back in the day.

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Go, Look: My Paycheck

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Go, Look: Dick Briefer Draws Jughead

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* missed that Brad Anderson joins the recent list of all-stars donating material to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. I have to figure that is a substantial collection given the length of Anderson's run and the success of his high name recognition panel.

* Mike Lynch wishes the great Peter Arno a happy 115th birthday.

* meet Naomi. I would think creating a bunch of new characters and have their stories involve a set of backgrounds more diverse than a group of people felt comfortable using in 1948 would be fun for creators and for readers. Why should this be overthought?

* bundled extra: don't think I'd stopped and looked at the cover and details on Peter Bagge's Rose Wilder Lane book before last weekend.

* Rob Clough on comics by Jen Vaughn and Moss Bastille. Austin Price on Bloodstrike: Brutalists.

* finally: this is some book cover by Hannes Bok.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Jacq Cohen!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Scott Snyder!

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January 14, 2019


Go, Look: Paul Mavrides Images

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posted 1:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Batton Lash, 1953-2019

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*****

These are links to various mentions of the passing of cartoonist and illustrator Batton Lash, who died on January 12, 2019.

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

*****

Primary Mentions

* Adam Freeman

* Clifford Meth

* Don Simpson

* Johanna Draper Carlson

* Margot Jackson
* Mark Evanier

* Randy Reynaldo

*****

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*****

Related Articles Of Substance

* Batton Lash Interviews The Wicked Witch 2014

* Comics Worth Reading Interview 2014
* Curled Up With A Good Book Interview 2009

* Exhibit A Press Web Site

* Lambiek.net Entry

* Moonlight Art Magazine Interview 2014
* Mr. Media Interview 2015

* The Karl Show Interview 2013

* Wikipedia Entry

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posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Bob Brown Cover Art Mini-Gallery

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By Request Extra: Patreons For Carol Tyler, Rich Tommaso

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Tracking creator Patreon accounts has been slightly more difficult than I thought it would be. One reason is that the creators themselves tend to dip into and out of various community fundraising methods including Patreon. I will endeavor to do better.

A quick look around reveals two veteran alt-comics creators have jumped back onto Patreon with campaigns aimed at specific projects. The wonderful cartoonist Carol Tyler is looking for support to complete The Ephemerata: Shaping the Exquisite Nature of My Grief. That next book is about a recent period of great and repetitive personal loss for the artist, and the oncoming public takeover of her home. Tyler's plan is to relocate to a farm she's rehabilitating -- there will likely be another focused fundraising campaign to cover some of those costs. This one is for the comics work, and there can never be enough support for comics work from Carol Tyler.

Rich Tommaso is asking for support in making his Black Phoenix, a multiple-serial, multiple-genre magazine that looks as if it will seek to take advantage of Patreon's ability to create and fulfill a market's desire for a work without outside factors coming to bear. Tommaso is an influential visual creator, and his recent work has been great-looking.

Any other creators out there that are getting back into patreon as a tool, please know this column is I don't always see everything on my own.

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Go, Look: Passion's Pawn

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OTBP: Comics Research Bibliography 2018 Editions

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* Printed Edition 2018 Vol. 1
* Printed Edition 2018 Vol. 2.
* Both Printed Editions In PDF Form

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Christiana Salah talks to RJ Casey.

* saw this picture of Bob Fingerman and Eric Reynolds on the front porch of Fantagraphics and enjoyed it. I believe Fingerman is out West now, orienting towards opportunities like MAD and more broadly as a writer. As far as the photo goes, I think those chairs have been out there since 1994. There are probably a lot fewer cigarette butts just out of frame than might have existed back in the day.

* editorial cartoonists address the subject of Trump's Wall.

* not comics: it's been fun watching various Seattle comics personalities say goodbye to the Viaduct, an oddly charming but decidedly anachronistic visual gateway to one of comics' great cities. Comics has a big heart when it comes to those kinds of things.

* festivals extra: tomorrow is I believe the last day for the latest Call For Papers from the CSSC. That's a June conference, I think.

* Rob Clough on books by Aaron Cockle. Matt Seneca and Joe McCulloch discuss Parallel Lives. John Seven on Kingdom.

* finally: Marylou Tousignant profiles Robert Ripley.
 
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Happy 7th Anniversary, Study Group Comic Books!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Nomi Kane!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Gabe Fowler!

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January 13, 2019


Go, Look: Moebius For Maxwell Coffee

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Re-Read: A 2008 Interview With Batton Lash (1953-2019)

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Editor's Note 2019: This is an interview I did in 2008 with the recently-passed Batton Lash I will leave up for a week. It's astonishing to me this is ten years old, although probably the only way this is different than if it were done a few months back is I didn't feel the need back then to make clear my full thoughts on his conservative comics the way I think I would now. I remember being surprised that Lash -- a world-class talker -- seemed fairly intimidated by the interview process and was deliberate in choosing his words. He crushed on panels the few times I saw him hold forth that way. Lash was a charming man, a self-publishing pioneer, an anachronistic cartooning entertainer and a creative survivor. I liked him very much and will miss him. What follows immediately is the 2008 introduction. I've resized some art. -- Tom Spurgeon

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imageI've said this so many times it's part of the interview that follows: Batton Lash is one of my favorite people to see at comics conventions, when he's nearly always in the company of publishing and life partner Jackie Estrada. Lash is funny, he's full of stories and he's really, really nice. I'm never sure how these things get counted, but 2009 appears to be the 30th anniversary of his Wolff & Byrd feature, which started as Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre and is now running on-line and in print under the appellation Supernatural Law.

Lash has more than proven his devotion to his strip over the years: following it into different formats, re-working old material whenever he gets the chance, hand-selling it after reaching the limits of what the direct market has to offer him. In addition to affording me the opportunity to learn more about his unique story -- which includes being born in Brooklyn, being taught at SVA during one of that school's heydays, and currently freelancing with both Archie and Bongo in addition to be one of the last standing traditional self-publishers -- I thought he'd have a measured perspective on the modern comics industry. I was happy he agreed to talk to me, and enjoyed our conversation. -- Tom Spurgeon

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TOM SPURGEON: We're talking close to Christmas... Do you have any holiday traditions? Do you keep cartooning through the holidays?

BATTON LASH: The cartooning goes on all the time. I have pads all over the house. I'm always jotting down ideas. I don't know if you're aware, I'm also doing stuff for Archie and Bongo. Whenever something hits me I have to make sure I write it down right away or else I forget it. It's a 24/7 operation.

As far as holiday traditions, it's interesting that this interview is today, because it's the day we're getting our Christmas tree. We always look forward to that, because Steve Darnall -- I'm sure you know who that is -- he had his wife Meg always put together a beautiful CD of obscure novelty Christmas tunes. Jackie and I have been fortunate to be on their mailing list each year. We always trim the tree to Steve and Meg's CD. That's as close to a tried and true, ironclad tradition that we adhere to.

SPURGEON: I wondered, because I know you're a Brooklyn boy, and you're in San Diego now. That's about as far away from Brooklyn as you can get. I wondered if the holidays were different than what you had grown used to.

LASH: I'll be honest, it took a long time to adjust. This particular December has been very chilly, so it at least felt seasonal. That puts me very much in the holiday spirit. Being in San Diego doesn't bother me as much as it used to. But I never, ever get used to waking up Christmas morning and seeing guys walking their dogs wearing only shorts and no shirts.

imageSPURGEON: You're a School of Visual Arts grad. Are you still close to your schooling? Do you still reference back to your training, or is it one of those arrangements where you had the education once upon a time but you've since put together your own set of skills?

LASH: Funny that you should bring up SVA. I was just in New York several weeks ago. Their cartooning society was nice enough to ask me to give a lecture. I talked about my experiences of being a student there and trying to break into the industry. It didn't seem so long ago that I was in their spot, but I guess it was! By the way, the "Cartoon Allies" (that's the name of the society) were terrific. A lot of talent there. I think I got more out of talking to them than they got listening to me!

As far as what you're asking me, for the first few years after graduating SVA, I had mixed feelings. I looked back, and thought, "Did I just waste five years of my life? What's going on?" [Spurgeon laughs] But as time went on, the information I got from school, whether from class or just by osmosis, sort of settled in. Stuff that I didn't quite understand at the time, I began to "get it" by having my own experiences in the freelance world.

The thing about Visual Arts is that they've always promoted that the people in the business are your instructors. So you had freelancers teaching students. I graduated in '77, and maybe in 1984 I'm sitting in my studio and going, "Oh, I get it now. Right, right, right, right, right." I look back now and I'm very happy that I did attend the school. Plus I'm stunned by the instant bonding with the people who went to Visual Arts. It's like being in the War or something. "Visual Arts?" "Yeah, Fine Arts, one year."

SPURGEON: When I hear SVA grads talk it almost reminds me of the guys I know that graduated from military academies, as silly as that may sound. I think there's a special bond between cartoonists who share that kind of very specific academic experience.

LASH: That's a byproduct I didn't even consider when I graduated. It was nice. When I met Jackie, she knew a lot of people in the comics industry. I knew a few -- mainly from SVA. She would ask, "How do you know Kyle Baker? How do you know this person? How do you know that person?" My answer was always, "We went to Visual Arts." After a while, she says, "Let me get this straight. Did everyone in comics go to this school??" It seemed to be my reference point for a lot of people.

SPURGEON: How long have you been on-line with Supernatural Law to the extent you are now?

LASH: Three years. We started in 2005.

SPURGEON: Has the move been beneficial for you?

LASH: I'm still in print, too.

SPURGEON: Of course. I guess what I'm getting at is that you have a substantial amount of work on-line. It is full-bore on-line publishing, not a web site with sample strips. You're still publishing in print, but you're publishing on-line, too.

LASH: It's ongoing. I put stuff up on Mondays and Thursdays. Something is up there twice a week. I'm currently doing a new story, but I went into reprint mode for a while when I was doing Archie: Freshman Year. I also had some family things to take care of on the East Coast, so that took up a lot of my time. But even with the reprints, it's new to new readers. And it's in color. I can't help but redraw certain things. Everything is a work in progress, as far as I'm concerned.

To answer your question, I think being online has been a tremendous boost. We know the situation with indies and comics stores. I think I've gone as far as I can go in the direct market. Even if Supernatural Law were the #1 TV show coast to coast, and President Obama said Wolff and Byrd are his favorite comic book characters, stores who have never carried my books still wouldn't carry them. I will never win them over. I'm grateful for my supporters and I appreciate all the retailers who do carry and promote my books, but I'm not going to get any new stores. The Web has introduced Wolff and Byrd to people who have never seen the comic because either their neighborhood stores don't carry it or they've been out of the loop or, best of all, they just pick it up from a link. Then they order the books from us. Or Jackie and I direct them to a store that does support us in their area. "This place carries Supernatural Law and they're well-stocked, so check them out."

My mantra has always been "one reader at a time." That's the way it goes. I'm very happy to do that, too. I'm still here, able to do the next installment, the next issue, the next collection. I've always been here for the long haul.

imageSPURGEON: Unlike a lot of creators for whom taking it on-line is the first major change they've embraced, Wolff & Byrd have been fairly mutable over the years. It's on-line now, I think of it as a comic book, and it also had a long run as a magazine strip.

LASH: Newspaper.

SPURGEON: Excuse me.

LASH: Wolff & Byrd started in a local weekly called The Brooklyn Paper, and was picked up by The National Law Journal. The Law Journal strips are what CBG reprinted. I have to say, you could have knocked me over with a feather when Don and Maggie Thompson told me, "Hey, we want to run this." I really appreciated the platform Don and Maggie gave me; that was a great opportunity to get my name and characters in front of the comics industry every week. Meanwhile, the Law Journal was giving me a good rate and I was getting my chops along the way. Learning on the job!

SPURGEON: You've always pursued the market that's presented itself to you. You haven't been dependent on a specific format. If there's another market tomorrow, I have a feeling you'd pursue that. You're very devoted to your strip in a consistent way.

LASH: Thank you, I appreciate that. You go where the markets are. Also, I'm from the Old School. For better or worse, people like Chester Gould and Leonard Starr and Milton Caniff, were on their strips for years and years and years, and I always liked that. They created a familiar atmosphere that gave the reader a feeling of "Welcome to the family."

I always liked my characters. I enjoy working on them. I told you about the pads around the house. All of the characters have little backstories that maybe only I would ever know, but it's fun doing that. I was chastised by someone in the industry who said I should give up Supernatural Law [Spurgeon laughs], and that everyone's tired of it. Well, everyone hasn't seen it yet. Do something new? I enjoy doing this and there's people who enjoy reading it. I don't understand the attitude of "if it isn't a blockbuster the first weekend, it sucks." It kind of irks me.

imageYou see a lot of problems in mainstream comics where people keep jumping from project to project. So you've got 20 different versions of Batman or Spider-Man. Or whatever character. There is no one vision. Like I said, there was a time, better or for worse, you'd have Stan and Jack on a long run. At least you had some traction. Sure, I have some other concepts, but everything takes so long, and as I get older it takes me even longer to do things. For now, I'm happy to concentrate on Wolff & Byrd... Mavis, too!

I'm getting to be more of a perfectionist. You mentioned the strip. I am grateful for anyone that stuck with me since the strip days, because I look at those strips now and go, "Oy vey!" I'm glad people gave me a chance! The old work makes me cringe sometimes. Now I try to take a lot more care with my artwork. Back in those days it was, "I gotta get it out, get it off my desk, there's no fooling around with the Law Journal's deadline -- get it there, end of story."

SPURGEON: You talked about something in Chris Brandt's film Independents that I thought was pretty great in that you looked at the grief that some of your fellow professionals that are more freelance-oriented go through to get assignments, keep assignments, dealing with the politics of it.

LASH: You mean the work for hire stuff.

SPURGEON: Yeah. And while you have that aspect to your career, you seemed in that footage to take some satisfaction out of being the captain of your own ship. Is that fair?

LASH: Yeah. Well, I don't know about satisfaction. No, you're right. You're right about that. I'm very fortunate I draw just well enough I can illustrate my own stories. My heart goes out to a lot of writers who can't draw. They're very frustrated. You can tell they want to do their own thing and not be beholden to work for hire stuff. If they could do their own webcomic or, back when it was really viable, their own self-published comic, they would; but they're stuck being dependent on another artist.

If I had to make a living by soliciting scripts from Marvel or DC, I would not be in the comics business. I just don't have the head for that sort of... struggle. Or office politics. I was very fortunate that with my two work-for-hire gigs, Archie and Bongo, they both approached me. Now, having said that, last year, since I know Mike Carlin very well -- SVA alumni, by the way [Spurgeon laughs] -- I approached him with two pitches. Actually, two artists told that if I ever pitched something to DC, I could attach their names to the projects because they wanted to work with me. Isn't that nice? Anyway, I thought if DC accepted the pitches, it would be a lark to work on some of their old characters. But DC passed. It wasn't a biggie. I certainly never have a yearning to get a Wolverine mini-series going or else. That's just not my thing.

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SPURGEON: I liked what I read of your Archie mini-series, Freshman Year.

LASH: Oh, thanks.

SPURGEON: How do you find a place for yourself creatively in an assignment like that? Those characters are as well worn as any characters out there... how was that experience generally?

LASH: It's fun. I always liked the Archie characters. The first time I worked with them was on the Archie/Punisher one-shot. And Victor Gorelick, the editor-in-chief, always liked my writing. He always wanted me to do more. But there was never enough time, and like I just told you, I don't really pursue the freelance thing as much as I should. Even when it lands in my lap.

When they came to me with the Freshman Year concept, I just took what they already had established with the Archie characters and kind of dug into my memory of what I was like as a teenager. I've totally romanticized my teenage years out of proportion. We all had miserable times, but I concentrated on the lighthearted incidents and the fun times. And I put that into Freshman Year.

I'm not sure that answers your question!

SPURGEON: I just wondered if you're writing Archie -- or by extension a lot of these kinds of characters and concepts -- where does the satisfaction come from? Do you have a vision of Archie in your head? Is it a standard of craft you want to achieve? Is it simply about trying to find that connection?

LASH: I have no pretension that I'm going to give the world the Archie they've always been waiting for. [Spurgeon laughs] It's nothing like that. Even when I do Wolff & Byrd, I think, "What's the kind of thing that I liked to read when I was a fan and went to the newsstand every Tuesday?" The mandate was Archie and the gang in their freshman year. What would I have liked to have read? So I apply that. I threw in a few autobiographical elements that made it fun for me, that after all these many years to see it in cold print, things that happened to me in high school, it's a kick to me. I'm sure if it happened to me, it happened to other people and it's happening to kids today. It's always great when someone comes up to you and says, "That thing you wrote; I felt exactly that same way." It's nice.

imageSPURGEON: Do you purposefully try to keep the Wolff & Byrd stuff frozen in time? Is it a balancing act? There's character progression, but you're not focused on character progression. Does that go back to a personal preference, writing something you want to read?

LASH: What keeps me there is economics, so that when I reprint the material I don't have to worry about it being too dated. Except for a couple of details, the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Spider-Mans could be taking place today. They kind of have a timeless quality about them. So do classic comic strips if you disregard references to Tojo or whatever. People are people. Fashion changes, but human nature remains constant.

I've always tried to keep it timeless. There's never been a saga. Cerebus was a 300-issue story. Supernatural Law is not like that at all. There's no timeline. I'm from the Old School in that rule #1 is that every issue is someone's first issue. I don't want them to be turned off by an ongoing saga that they feel they can't catch up on. I want newbies to feel they can jump right into it.

SPURGEON: You placed the original strip on Court Street in Brooklyn. It was surprising to me to hear of there being a real place that it was based on, because of the overwhelmingly iconic sense of settings I get from your work. It seems very organic that way.

LASH: That's good...

SPURGEON: Oh, it's all good. One thing I thought might help you keep the strip timeless is your strong focus on the foregrounded plot as opposed to an accretion of character detail. With that tight a focus on plot, how do you guard against repetition?

LASH: I don't know. [Spurgeon laughs] I like to think I'm learning all the time. I appreciate you pointing out the thing about plot. I think the most important thing is story structure. That's what I concentrate on the most. I'm fascinated by the rhythms of a story.

SPURGEON: Is that something that comes naturally to you?

LASH: I know it sounds like bragging, so trust me when I say was a terrible student, but when I took my report card home my parents would say, "You did lousy in everything, but why did you get an A in English?" It's because I always had the best compositions in class. The teacher would tell us to write about something, and I would construct my stories as much as a sixth grader could. I was always interested in story. I'm always trying to entertain. You're doing good when a reader identifies with a character, so I work on characterization. But I put that in the back seat to make sure that the story goes from A to Z without any problems. The story structure is the most important thing.

imageSPURGEON: Did I see some Li'l Obama cartoons from you this year?

LASH: Yeah.


SPURGEON: Was that a major enterprise?

LASH: No. It started as a lark. I guess I was so chagrined over Obama's policies and the shameless fawning he as getting from the press that I had a need to get a dig in. A blogger that I follow, a very funny and witty observer of politics and pop culture, Jim Treacher, got me going. I forget how I originally got a hold of him. I think I commented on one of his (non-political) postings a few months ago, and he replied to me and he said he knew who I was and knew my comics. That surprised me.

So I had this cartoon and I didn't know what to do with it. I wrote to Treacher. I knew he was throwing some darts at Obama and the media's love affair with him. I e-mailed him if he wanted to put my cartoon on his site. He was only too happy to do that. He wrote back a couple of weeks later and said, "I can't draw to save my life. But I have ideas. What if I wrote them up and you drew them." It sounded like fun. I had never worked that way before. We did a few strips, and it was a blast. I like Treacher. I've only communicated with him by e-mail, though.

SPURGEON: I remember the cartooning itself as lively.

LASH: Thanks. I did it for free, and I also had a ton of deadlines at the same time. I was forced to economize the drawing, so I really just banged it out. I tried to make the color work with it. I'm glad you liked it.

SPURGEON: You talked earlier about looking back at your old strips... do you feel you're a better artist now? How might you be a better artist?

LASH: I'm probably the least objective when it comes to looking at the artwork. Jackie will tell you that we'll go to press with something, I'll say, "Let's hurry up and get the next issue out as quickly as possible so people will forget the current one." And she'll go, "What are you talking about? It looks fine." After I sleep on it and don't look at the issue until the proofs come in, I'll say, "This doesn't look as bad as I thought!"

When you're younger, you fantasize about being Barry Windsor-Smith or John Buscema -- and I know I'm dating myself by those names here. At a certain point, you know you're never going to be those people. You won't match their draftsmanship. So you just work with what you have. I remember in SVA, when I had Will Eisner as a teacher. He was always telling me, "Pull back. You're trying to be something you're not." He said, "Look at animation. Look how open that is. Learn to economize." I've always tried to do that. If anything, I've stopped putting in useless detail. I've looked at some of my recent stuff, the web stuff. It's very open and clean looking. I think I got cleaner, let's say that. I'm still working at cleaning up.

SPURGEON: Have you enjoyed the opportunity to work in color on a regular basis?

LASH: Oh, yeah. In fact, I'm scheming to do a color print issue. I'm still 20th Century enough that I have to have a color comic book in my hands. Just what you can do with light and shadow and not rely on black is fascinating to me. Look at some of the old comics, stuff during the '50s when the printing was terrible and the separations were done by old ladies in printing shops. Even then, the way they would use color, sometimes just two colors to suggest a mood, it works beautifully. More so than today.

imageSPURGEON: I noticed that some of your color has the same simplicity of many of those classic horror comics, the old Atlas comics and the like...

LASH: I look at that stuff, and it's all good. But my real bible has been those 1970s DC -- I can't call them horror comics -- mystery comics like Witching Hour and House of Mystery. I think it was Tatjana Wood. The coloring of those stories was beautiful, very moody and simple. I draw on that a lot.

SPURGEON: Is there a difference doing color for the screen and doing it for the printed page?

LASH: I haven't done it in print yet! The one story that went from web to print, I changed it to gray tones (Mavis #5). Which was another job onto itself. I haven't had a chance to bring the color to print yet. I'm working on it. Printing is getting very cheap. You have to find it. I've seen some people at conventions, self-publishers. I'd say, "Boy, you published this yourself?" It's a 32-page color comic. They say, "Yeah, we got printed in Hong Kong." It was like under two grand or something. The coloring was just fine for their purposes.

That's another thing, if I can digress, as to what I'm saying where I think the self-publishing movement -- for lack of a better term -- is going. I've noticed a lot of these younger self-publishers aren't relying on Diamond. They know they're not going to get anywhere there. They've got a whole grass-roots thing going at conventions. They go city to city. They do just fine in their region, too.

SPURGEON: Do you think that's had an effect on your art and outlook, doing so much hand-selling of your title?

LASH: Yes. And that's a double-edged sword, too. Some of the people I see at the shows I only see once a year. They buy everything that's come out since the last time they saw me. They'll go, "Okay, see you next year, and we'll get whatever you have out." I say, "You gotta support the stores!" [laughs] "The stores drop me when people don't buy the book. Please buy it at the store." And they say, "We'd rather buy it from you."

It's nice to have that connection. I've noticed that people who never bought the book that once they meet me and my effervescent personality [Spurgeon laughs], then they're willing to try Supernatural Law and purchase a copy. And I have to thank you, Tom, because you say I'm the nicest guy anyone should meet at Comic-Con. People come to my booth saying, "Tom Spurgeon says you're a nice guy. Show me how nice you are." And I give them a comic.

SPURGEON: Wow. My readers are jerks! [laughter]

LASH: Nah, they are always pleasant.

SPURGEON: That's a relief.

LASH: I wish I could do more shows. It's always nice to meet the readers. It's good to meet other cartoonists, too. When you have that personal contact, you connect. I was kidding when I said "effervescent personality," but when new readers meet me and see how sincere I am, they're willing to give the book a try. And more often than not, they like it!

imageSPURGEON: It's hard to get that first bit of attention from people.

LASH: I know Supernatural Law isn't to everyone's tastes. However, I think if they tried it, they might be pleasantly surprised.

SPURGEON: Are you worried at all about the economy? Have you done anything to help weather the storm?

LASH: Maybe on a personal, household level. But as far as the comics industry goes? No. Not at all. Comics have always done well in a bad economy. I was at SPX recently, right around the time everything was hitting the fan. Everyone was concerned the economy was going to hurt the show. The house was packed. Everyone did well. It occurred to me that comics and entertainment in general always does well in bad times. You know how comics fans are. I was like this, too. I can skip that, but I want this. I won't have dessert tonight as long as I can get my new copy of that. We'll get through it. I think people are hungry to get away and escape, to spend a whole day at a convention getting comics. Comics are what the bad times need.

imageSPURGEON: Is there anything special we should mention, or should people just continue to pay attention to the site and the print releases?

LASH: We have a brand new trade out. The Soddyssey and other Tales of Supernatural Law. That is the missing volume in our trade paperback series of five books -- volume two: Wolff & Byrd issues #9-12. Of course I've gone back and drawn many things. [Spurgeon laughs] Talk about being timeless: certain things have been updated.

SPURGEON: You mean there are no more mentions of the Kaiser?

LASH: [laughs] No, things like "I have to find a phone booth" is changed to "I have to use my cell." Libraries have become very important for Exhibit A Press and their target audience is teen readers. I have to make sure everything in the stories happened within the last few years. Not "back in the day"!

SPURGEON: What do you think appeals to the librarians about your work?

LASH: A couple of librarians who don't know each other each told me they thought Supernatural Law has a good story and a lot to the story that could keep a reader hooked into the series. A lot of things go on. It is not a quick read. They said that people who were checking it out were able to get engrossed in it. They also liked that it was reader friendly: you could get up to speed pretty quick as far as who the characters are and their back story and stuff.

SPURGEON: It's an easy series to pick up on; the concept seems very clear.

LASH: Good art is important, don't get me wrong. Good art and comics go hand in hand. But -- and this may be blasphemous -- it's not as important as a good story. I've noticed that for people in the outside world, people not into comics the way we are, they are pretty indifferent to the art. Their real interest is in a story they can get engrossed in. That's what I would stress. Story over art.

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* photo was by me; the rest is mostly re-sized stuff from 2019 that probably has a bunch of anachronistic stuff wrong selection-wise, etc.

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Go, Look: Beautiful Frank Imagery

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posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 86th Birthday, Ron Goulart!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Anina Bennett!

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FFF Results Post #514: Animal Magnetism

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics Characters You Like That Have Some Sort Of Animal-Man Hybrid Element To Them." This is how they responded.

*****

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Marty Yohn

1. Hobbes
2. Bucky (Get Fuzzy)
3. Grimm
4. Detective Chimp
5. Hieronymus Flask

*****

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John Quring

* Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
* Usagi Yojimbo
* John Blacksad
* the Beagle Boys
* Gyro Gearloose

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David Robertson

1. Howard the Duck
2. Jaxxon
3. Man-Bat
4. Man-Wolf
5. Usagi Yojimbo

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. Sensitive Klegg (2000AD)
2. Starfish (Nocturnals)
3. Detective Chimp (DC)
4. Ferdinand the Minotaur chef (DC)
5. Sauron (Marvel)

*****

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Mário Filipe

1. Gooseberry Sprigg
2. Scrooge McDuck
3. Inspector Canardo
4. Saubon
5. Herbert de Vaucanson

*****

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John Vest

1. Omaha
2. Mr. Tawky Tawny
3. Gregor The Purple-Assed Baboon
4. Hugo
5. Fritz

*****

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Stephen Harrick

1. G'nort
2. Shoe
3. Lupe Impala
4. Black Catfish
5. Landwolf

*****

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Mike Pfefferkorn

1. Gladstone Gander
2. Archie LeBrock
3. Kelly O'Hare
4. Man-Bat
5. "Churchy" LaFemme

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Frank Page's Bob the Squirrel
2. Larry Elmore's Snarf
3. Krosp from Girl Genius
4. Tracy J. Butler's Rocky Rickaby
5. The "panda attack" panda from PvP

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Howard the Duck
2. Donald Duck
3. Scrooge McDuck
4. Daffy Duck
5. Dirty Duck

*****

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Dave Knott

* Binky
* Cerebus
* Archie LeBrock
* Lapinot
* Canardo

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Mr. Tawky Tawny
2. Snoopy
3. Raul
4. Oedi
5. Rocket Raccoon

*****

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Des Devlin

1. Rudy in Hollywood
2. Werewolf Jones
3. Kolin Kelly, maker of bricks
4. The weary urban cockroach from MAD #199
5. The scattering people from MAD #199

*****

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Michael Neno

* Grandma Duck
* Mister Sacker
* Squeak the Mouse
* Snowy
* Beppo

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Lurchi
2. Mecki
3. The Artist
4. Omaha, The Cat Dancer
5. Paperinik

*****

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Michael Catron

1. Animan
2. Rex, the Wonder Dog
3. Insect Queen (Lana Lang)
4. Fish Police
5. Xal-Kor the Human Cat

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thanks to all that participated

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January 12, 2019


Batton Lash, RIP

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Go, Look: Cairo Under The Crackdown

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Go, Read: Who Gets Called An "Unfit" Mother?

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Go, Look: Dustooned

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posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, John Jackson Miller!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 57th Birthday, Joe Quesada!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 39th Birthday, Damian Duffy!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 54th Birthday, Andrew Wales!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 52nd Birthday, Takehiko Inoue!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 46th Birthday, Hans Rickheit!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
January 11, 2019


Go, Look: Sam Grinberg

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Collective Memory: Best Comics And Graphic Novels Lists For 2018

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These are links to various Best-Of-2018 comics and graphic novels lists.

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

*****

Primary Lists

* 13 Millones De Naves 01
* 13 Millones De Naves 02
* 13 Millones De Naves 03

* Adventures In Poor Taste 01
* Adventures In Poor Taste 02
* Adventures In Poor Taste 03
* Advocate
* Albertine.com
* Amazon
* ANews.com
* Are Comics Even Good
* Autostraddle.com
* AV Club

* BatmansBookcase.com 01
* BatmansBookcase.com 02
* BatmansBookcase.com 03
* BerkeleyPlace.com
* BookListOnline.com
* Bookmarks.Reviews
* Bookriot
* BostonGlobe.com
* Broken Frontier
* Bucks County Free Library

* CBC
* ChinaSorrows.Wordpress.com
* ChromeFlashGames.com
* Comicbook.com
* Comic Book Herald
* ComicBook.com
* ComicBookHerald.com
* ComicBookRevolution.com
* Comicosity.com
* Comics Alternative
* ComicsBeat.com
* Comics Grinder
* ComicsWorthReading.com

* DailyDot.com
* DailyGrindhouse.com
* Daniel Elkin
* DavidEvans.blog
* DVSGaming.org

* Erbilia.com
* EW

* Five Books
* Forbes
* Free Library of Philadelphia
* Frontaal Naakt

* Gamespot.com
* GearHungry.com
* Goodreads
* GraphicNovelResources.Blogspot.com
* GraphicPolicy.com

* HeraldScotland.com
* HeroicGirls.com
* HollywoodReporter.com
* HuffingtonPost.in
* HyperAllergic.com

* IAmSuperhero.com
* IGN.com 01
* IGN.com 02
* IrishTimes.com

* JohnLeeComics.com

* LanesToday.com
* LFPress.com

* MegacityComics.com
* Mix.com
* MonkeysFightingRobots.co
* MultiversityComics.com 01
* MultiversityComics.com 02
* MultiversityComics.com 03
* MultiversityComics.com 04
* MultiversityComics.com 05
* MultiversityComics.com 06
* MultiversityComics.com 07
* Multnomah County Library

* NerdMuch.com
* NewRetroWave.com
* NewsOK.com
* Newsweek
* Nick Mullins
* NPR
* Nylon.com
* NYPL
* NY Times

* Omaha Public Library
* Onedio.co

* PanelPatter.com 01
* PanelPatter.com 02
* Paste 01
* Paste 02
* Paste 03
* Paste 04
* Polygon
* PrintMag.com
* PW

* Readings.com.au

* School Library Journal
* ScreenRant.com
* Sequential State 01
* Sequential State 02
* Shannon Smith
* SmashPages.net
* StrangerWorlds.com
* StudyBreaks.com

* TCJ Mega-List
* TechAeris.com
* The Beat
* TheBookMonsters.com
* The Comeback
* TheNerdsUncanny.com
* TheQuietus.com
* TheTurnAroundBlog.com
* The Verge
* Thrillist
* Toledo Lucas County Public Library
* Tom Kaczynski
* Tor
* TruVista.net

* VisualHollywood.com
* Vulture 01
* Vulture 02
* Vulture 03

* Washington Post
* What Culture
* Wired.com

* Your Chicken Enemy

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*****

Related Lists/Commentary

* Commentary On Longbox Coffin About 2018 TCJ-Submitted List
* Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need To Own 2018

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Go, Look: Evah Fan

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon
 
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Go, Look: Guice Mann

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Go, Look: Blame This On The Boogie Excerpt

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my goodness the colors in this book
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on High Heaven #4. Sean Gaffney on Silver Spoon Vol. 6.

* critic and general writer-about-comics drops a giant public confession post on Facebook on the occasion of halving his regular freelance gig to take on his Stan Lee book. You don't see to many of those types of essays from that side of the creative/critical community. I look forward to his Lee book: there's a lot of material to be covered since 2003, and Lee's passing may change what's available about Lee's first eight decades. We're also at the point where people are passing away in the natural course of things that didn't even work with Lee until he was 50, and I'm grateful a lot of them will be interviewed sooner rather than later.

* I totally missed this unique-sounding collection donation to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. I'm so very excited about comics and comic art curation generally.

* finally: all hail Don Labriola, patron saint of comics Internet allies. Back in the CompuServe days at Fantagraphics, Mr. Labriola was our only friend. What a weird time for comics.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 59th Birthday, Clint Hollingsworth!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Neil Cohn!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Sam Kieth!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 60th Birthday, Bob Harras!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Terry Beatty!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Lucy Knisley!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Gil Roth!

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January 10, 2019


Michael Dooley Comics Best Lists For 2018

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Hey, A New Comic Is Out By Someone I Know

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It's maybe not all the way out but it's close enough to say something.

Publisher. Amazon. Tour. Comic shops are best.
 
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Go, Look: Evan M Cohen

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* James Sturm has an events-heavy small tour planned in support of Off Season. Sturm is good on his feet and well worth your comics-focused time.

* good luck and safe travel to all of those making the sojourn to France for the Angouleme Festival. That may sound early, but I've talked to two US people making extended trips that have already had their mail held. Because he's not one to participate in such things, the parts of the show devoted to Richard Corben should be really interesting. They've done a great jobs with major exhibits recently, and that one could really be something to see.

* if you haven't done a check of exhibitor/vendor/attendee registration deadlines for all your favorite shows, I'd suggest doing that sooner rather than later. I know that CXC ramps up its exhibitor application on February 1, and our show isn't until late September. One thing I've noticed from my position is that it looks like -- by which I mean it seems to me -- that Comic-Con may be trying to streamline its press registration by leaving more in the hands of sponsoring publications. I sympathize; that's a huge group and I think a lot of people with press passes are attending that show more than they're maybe covering an aspect of that show.

* this is an interesting investment from D+Q considering their limited classic con/festival attendance right now. Sounds smart to me.

* finally, I ran into this 2015 panorama shot of the San Diego Convention Center which makes it look like there's a corner and two directions one might head rather than one long front sidewalk. That is one big facility. Taking a second look, that might be 2018 due to no cars/buses/etc. on that immediately proximate driveway.

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Go, Look: Katy Farina

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Go, Explore: Bustletown

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on The Devil Is A Part-Timer Vol. 12. Rob Clough on Brainworm #1-2. Sean Gaffney on The Asterisk War: Idol Showdown.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Rob Jackson!

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January 9, 2019


Go, Look: Rian Sygh

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Nate Powell And His Dry Erase Board Sends Everyone In The Industry To Bed With Headaches

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Brian Fies has the strongest contextual post about these dire figures from cartoonist Nate Powell, riffing on some lowball expectations for writing that came out in the UK this wee. This reminds me that there were about a half-dozen established pro that at some point in the month of December admitted to radically re-thinking the place of comics in their creative careers. There have also been some retailers asking for broader industry change. It's not a great situation out there in terms of feeling positive about the return that comics may bring, and that provides psychic wear and tear left unchecked. Be careful out there, and nice to one another.
 
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Go, Look: JGV

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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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NOV181768 HOBO MOM HC $14.99
I don't know much about Charles Forsman and Max de Radigues as creative partners. I know that I should. I do remember that the latter did one of the better comics in Forsman's mail-order mini-comics business from a few years back, and that they share similar sensibilities. Forsman's higher profile should place this project in a few more laps, and as I like both comics-makers, I'm glad. I'm also always to put a name alt-effort at the top of a DM shipping list. It's rare these days.

OCT181812 AXE-MAN OF NEW ORLEANS SC $9.99
This is a softcover version of Rick Geary's under-appreciated true historical crime series. I love this price point for a book from Geary, as his work is one of the more dense narrative and visual information wise. I always find something to like in these.

imageOCT180733 LOEG TEMPEST #4 ONEILL CVR $4.99
NOV180021 CRIMINAL #1 (MR) $3.99
My comics pals and I have been talking about the use and utility of modern comic-book format comics, and it strikes me that the ones worth reading do have a sense of purpose serialization-wise. It may not be an easy default format for comics anymore. These are both fun book by thoughtful creators, and you'll want both in some format at some point.

AUG180760 COMPLETE CHESTER GOULD DICK TRACY HC VOL 25 $44.99
Dick Tracy is on my list of major work I enjoy but don't love. I get its visual power but even that feels like more flash than substance to me. It's always difficult for me to process a style or approach that I'm told is important but never all the way why. Still a great series, though and they're more fun to read in collected form than I remembered before they started doing this series.

OCT182131 INVITATION FROM A CRAB GN $12.95
This is one for which I have information going on, so I'd be dying to pick one up and hold it in a store. Sneaky-appealing title, too.

NOV181984 LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS GN $19.99
NOV181878 PHILIP K DICK A COMICS BIOGRAPHY HC $24.99
Biographies are almost all in the execution, and these are two worth subjects. Douglass in particular is fascinating, and comics would be a great place to establish mood and context in terms of that fascinating life. I enjoy Philip K. Dick without being totally taken with Philip K. Dick, and I'm not sure I have enough curiosity to get me through the book unless it itself is well done.

OCT181892 NOTHING NICE TO SAY GN (MR) $24.99
I never know how seriously to take claims of popularity for a webcomic, but I like punk memoirs, so I'd definitely take a peek.

OCT181861 TRISH TRASH ROLLERGIRL OF MARS OMNIBUS GN $19.99
OCT181862 TRISH TRASH ROLLERGIRL OF MARS OMNIBUS HC $29.99
Jessica Abel I see mostly as a kind of self-help, general-creativity and productivity guru. There is nothing wrong with that; I can always use that kind of help! It's been a while since I've read her comic work, and I look forward to correcting that in the next few days.

OCT181585 WARREN TUFTS COMPLETE LANCE 1955-1960 HC $100.00
No idea for whom this book might appeal, but it is occasionally really gorgeous and was quite the popular offering of its time. Thanks god for libraries.

OCT181571 TIMELY CONFIDENTIAL WHEN GOLDEN AGE OF COMICS WAS YOUNG SC $39.95
This is Allan Belman's story, probably the final Golden Age creator to go through the whole discovery process whereby the artist learns that people are interested in this long-ago job of theirs. High end production is a hope here, so definitely god bless a comic shop that lets you see it.

JUL188260 STAN LEE STORY TASCHEN DLX ED $1500.00
Well, that's a price point. The interesting thing here is that Roy Thomas did the writing, and that's a person with the writing and personal experience to write an excellent book. I can't imagine a scenario under which I'll be able to read it, so I hope it's good. Nice to see the Leader get a little drive-to color on the cover≥

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

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

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

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

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Go, Look: James F. Wright

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Go, Look: More Madman Pin-Ups

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Paul O'Brien on Weapon X #22-27. Rob Clough on comics by Denis St. John. Sean Gaffney on Kimagure Orange Road Vol. 1.

* this Hulk comic sounds pretty damn bleak.

* just another reminder the gofundme helping those sued by publisher and creator Cody Pickrodt stalled out a while back. I assume there will be additional pushes, but if this reminder gets you interested in any sort of donation ahead of that time, that's great. I think it's important people be allowed to inform their communities about a negative interpretation of an event without being held to some sort of dormitory hallway standard of proof applied to a restricted selection of accusations.

* it's been a while since I checked in on Make It Then Tell Everybody. I'm assuming the Kristyna Baczynski, the Ben Sears and the Erin Nations are new enough to deserve a mention here.

* this comic Peter Bagge did about criminal justice system reform is about as bleak as anything he's done of a political nature.

* finally: The Year In Illustration.
 
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Happy 67th Birthday, Frank Margerin!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Sean Azzopardi!

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Happy 29th Birthday, Minna Sundberg!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Booksteve!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Art Baxter!

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January 8, 2019


Go, Look: Josh Cloud

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Egad, Someone Found A First-Month Little Orphan Annie Strip

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I don't know a lot about the comics art auction business, but this is a pretty cool thing that something like this could just be found.
 
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Go, Look: Kevin VQ Dam

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* looks like the Eleanor Davis serialized work Tomorrow will be out this Fall -- at some point this Fall, as Amazon.com's exact dates go only so far to allow a rough measure -- as The Hard Tomorrow. Davis is one of our most formidable creators.

image* this back-and-forth between two people that seem fans of Marvel Comics covering that company's output pretty close can be interesting if you have a different perspective going in. That seems a pretty lost line to me, a few scattered titles garnering most of the attention with the bulk being indistinguishable in most ways from previous invigoration efforts at the company. Not exactly the revival promised.

* Mary Fleener's early-March-arriving book with Fantagraphics is among those antcipated-in-2019 volumes under the spotlight provided here. I have missed Fleener's presence in the general marketplace for years now.

* finally: Sarah McIntyre's Grumpycorn is due this Spring.

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Go, Look: Steph Guez

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Go, Look: Dog In Yard

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Edwin Turner on The Labyrinth. Rob Clough on a group of CCS-related cartoonists. Todd Klein on Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter Of Terror #1.

* I've received a few e-mails about this Phil Boyle column on a combination of survival strategies and suggestions for same from other in terms of negotiating an increasingly byzantine and self-defeating comics-ordering landscape. I think there's an enormous amount of pressure on certain elements of the comics community to meet specific goals, and for years this has set up a tremendous imbalance in the marketplace. I don't see a way to walk all of it back when the basic situations facing these actors differ so strongly. It is refreshing to hear some plain talk about how certain strategies just may no longer be supportable on any level. It feels like we're near a cyclical low point and it should be interest to see how long comics stay there, how long certain models can remain viable.

*

* finally: I almost missed this, but Sarah Gaydos has assumed Editor-In-Chief responsibilities at Oni Press, having joined them less than a year ago most recently in charge licensed material. She is best known for a group editor stint at IDW. That's a quick rise for a company with Oni's relative stability, a sign they think very highly of their new EiC. We wish positive results for all involved.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Ken Steacy!

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Happy 78th Birthday, Boris Vallejo!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Domingos Isabelinho!

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January 7, 2019


Go, Look: Carly Lake

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Collective Memory: Best Comics And Graphic Novels Lists For 2018

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These are links to various Best-Of-2018 comics and graphic novels lists.

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

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Primary Lists

* Comics Grinder

* Sequential State 01
* Sequential State 02

* TCJ Mega-List
* Tom Kaczynski

* Your Chicken Enemy

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Related Lists/Commentary

* Commentary On Longbox Coffin About 2018 TCJ-Submitted List
* Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need To Own 2018

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Bundled Extra: John Porcellino Writes About The Move Away From His Small-Press Distribution Work

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Here.

John's a pretty ideal blogger: forthcoming, natural voice, and full of information about items of importance starting with the fantastic comics he makes and continuing into the sometimes-remarkable comics he finds to distribute in idiosyncratic times sales-wise. It's a miracle he's been able to do some good work in this tough area, and despite the unlikely nature of that success it's even better he plans to spend more time post-50 making his great comics and doing things of a personal nature. There's no more admirable artist or industry figure in comics, and everything he chooses to do should be supported.

Porcellino's latest issue of his long-running King-Cat Comics & Stories and his most recent collection From Lone Mountain were among the best comics of 2018.
 
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Go, Look: Sunmi

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By Request Extra: Booksteve Could Use Some Help

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Steven Thompson, one of the most devoted comics-content bloggers for years and years, could use a boost. It is a very modest request. I hope you'll join me in considering it.
 
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Go, Look: Nico Sprinkles Art

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Go, Look: More Mid-20th Century Gag Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Johanna Draper Carlson on Batman Annual #3. Rob Clough on comics by Rainer Kannenstine. Todd Klein on The Dreaming #4. Johanna Draper Carlson on Catwoman/Tweety And Sylvester Special #1.

* here's a few wise words from that gentlest of men David Lasky about comics.

* Joel Lang profiles Mady G.

* not comics: the idea of active morality clauses in publishing projects seems like a minefield to me, although it's difficult to argue coherently for there being fewer consequences for shitty behavior. I don't know of these in comics, although the contracts/assignments are short-term and allow for course correction in publishing relationships at a number of junctures.

* here's a story about cartoonists being invited aboard a sailing ship in order to document its journey.

* I did not know being casteist was a thing, but it makes sense it would be. It cost one cartoonist their job.

* finally: J. Caleb Mozzocco digs into the designs used by Shiori Teshirogi's Batman And The Justice League Vol. 1.
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Bob Wiacek!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Karl Kesel!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Kevin Dooley!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Aaron Lopresti!

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January 6, 2019


By Request Extra: Barbara Shermund's Burial Fund Only Half Of The Way To Reaching Fulfillment

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What an interesting and important artist. Barbara Shermund deserves to find her final resting place, and I ask you to read about the artist and the campaign and please consider a donation.

GoFundMe here.

Information on the new and astonishing Shermund exhibit at the Billy Ireland here.
 
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Go, Look: Viet Vu

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OTBP: Cassette Comics

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

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Keren Katz!

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FFF Results Post #513: Tweeter

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Comics Industry Events Where You Would Have Loved To Have Read The Next 24 Hours Of Reaction On Twitter. Name One Event You Would Have Liked To Have Seen Live-Tweeted, And The Person Doing The Tweeting." This is how they responded.

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Jog Mac

1. William Randolph Hearst buys out the New York World’s cartoonists
2. Bill Gaines testifies before Congress
3. The debut and early months of Action at IPC
4. Foundation of the Comic Book Creators Guild
5. That time Tom Sutton went to an event at Jim Warren’s mansion and found a bunch of his original art hanging on the walls, so he took them off the wall and left, livetweeted by Tom Sutton.

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Bryan Munn

1. Playgirl names Jim Shooter top eligible bachelor
2. It Ain’t Me Babe
3. Stan at Carnegie Hall
4. Al Capp at the bed-in
5. Gaines in Kefauver hearings

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Mário Filipe

1. The 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Juvenile Delinquency;
2. The sentencing of Mike Diana in 1994;
3. The 1994 acquisition of Heroes World by Marvel;
4. The announcement of the Pulitzer Prize special award to Art Spiegelman for Maus in 1992;
5. The elaboration of the Top 100 comics of the century list, published in The Comics Journal #210, tweeted by the then editor.

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Jason Green

1. The result of the vote to kill Jason Todd
2. Announcement of the founding of Image Comics
3. Rob Liefeld being fired from Image Comics (and Marc Silvestri coming back after previously quitting)
4. Release of the first issue of Kickers, Inc.
5. Premiere of the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie, by Chris Sims

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Matthew Craig

1. Founding of Image Comics.
2. The imposition of the Comics Code.
3. And the Code-free "drugs" story in Amazing Spider-Man #96-98.
4. The Powerless Mod Wonder Woman story, beginning or end.
5. Livetweeting The Moon Landing With Stan Lee!

PS: I had the chance to read some of the earliest comics-related discussions on Usenet a couple of years back. Incredible to see people talking about single issues of Watchmen and Transformers or Peter and Mary Jane's Wedding in more or less real-time.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Publication Of Cerebus #186.
2. Kirby Leaves Marvel, Heads To DC.
3. Jim Shooter Fired By Marvel.
4. The Death Of Raven Sherman.
5. Steranko Hosts The Harveys, By Chip Kidd.

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Stephen Harrick

1. Launch of Milestone Comics.
2. Jack Anderson's reporting on Al Capp's sexual misdeeds.
3. Publication of Mad #11.
4. Premiere of Destroyer Duck.
5. Alexandra DeWitt's corpse discovered in a refrigerator (Green Lantern #54), by Gail Simone.

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Andrew Mansell

1. Franklin debuts in Peanuts
2. Death of Mary Gold (mind-boggling!)
3. Leak of the Shooter "Little fucks" memo
4. Publication of first JLA/JSA cross-over
5. SDCC 1976 and Vaughn Bode's untimely passing By Patrick Rosenkranz

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Oliver Ristau

1. The introduction of Franklin to the cast of Peanuts.
2. The dawning of a new era for men's costumes in the Legion Of Super-Heroes series.
3. The rape of Ms. Marvel.
4. Keith Giffen swiping from Josè Munoz.
5. DC/Vertigo releases Hellblazer #141 in 1999 (which they didn't), by Dana Loesch.

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Andrew Otis Weiss

1. Watchmen #1.
2. Crisis on Infinite Earths
3. The debut of the Fourth World books.
4. The death of the Doom Patrol
5. Giant-Size X-Men #1.

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Greg Araujo

1. Alpha Flight #12
2. Secret Wars II
3. Justice League Detroit debut in Justice League of America Annual #2
4. McFarlane, Lee, Liefeld & co, leaving Marvel to form Image
5. The death of Iris Allen in Flash #275

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thanks to all that participated

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January 5, 2019


Go, Look: Twilight Of The Bat

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OTBP: Mythical Sea Monsters

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

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Happy 78th Birthday, Hayao Miyazaki!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Alexis E. Fajardo!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Eric Haven!

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January 4, 2019


CR Review: Heroes For Hire #5

imageCreators: John Ostrander, Pascual Ferry, Jaime Mendoza
Publishing Information: Marvel, comic-book format, 32 pages, November 1997, $1.99.
Ordering:

This comic book ended up in my possession when Laughing Ogre donated some giveaway comic books to Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. It looked like an aggressively 1997 mainstream comic so I've read it a few times wile the pile of like books marches by. It's fairly bonkers. I know there's a re-appreciation of terrible 1990s superhero comic books, I think in part because of ragged awfulness and excess of their storytelling and the thoroughness to which many of them give themselves over to the propulsive aspects of the story. Everything in this comic is designed to make my head hurt, including any appearance by supporting cast members.

I don't remember a lick of plot, but I do remember a White Tiger that's an actual tiger. That seems like something that led nowhere interesting. As if summoned forth by that notion we see an appearance by Jim Hammond, the Robert Alda of mainstream superhero characters. He's in some sort of organization leadership position or another that has little to no effect on me even when I try to let it have one. Also everyone is screaming at one another and a horse flies underwater. This all sounds much better than it actually is, and one feels the urge to hire the lead characters away from their current predicament even if you really don't have anything to do.

Comics like these pretend that they exist on an important continuity with older issues where the events from right now and from 25 years ago have equal weight and volume. It's never been a guarantee from those comics.
 
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Go, Look: Karine Bernadou

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Go, Look: Joe Gordon's Best-Of Cross-Media List 2018

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It's the only list I link to that isn't solely comics, although the comics section is always thoughtful and idiosyncratic. I missed reading the FPI Blog gang this holiday season.
 
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Go, Look: Amera Sherm

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Assembled Extra: The El-Salomans Profiled

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I'm not familiar with the work, but it looks kind of cool and I'm fascinated by the idea of a webcomic as a component work in a package of branded entertainment options. That does sound pretty repulsive, I'll admit. Still, I'm not certain why there isn't more of this, or why we haven't seen some comedians do Woody Allen-type newspaper strips.
 
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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Charles Glaubitz

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* John Seven on a selection of mini-comics including a recent book by Caitlin Cass, a cartoonist for whose work I reach from my pile of mini-comics whenever they arrive there. Jennifer Szalai on Born To Be Posthumous. Hillary Chute on a selection of comics.

* Dan Goldman + Andrea Powell vs. Human Trafficking.

* whoa, look at these gorgeous Breccia pages.

* bundled extra: George Gene Gustines takes a look at the forthcoming Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater from Abrams.

* Martiun Dupuis digs into DKR with a well-illustrated article. It might not always be healthy that so much attention gets paid to a limited number of books, but I always enjoy people taking shots at well-worn works from years past.

* festivals extra: that's a nice group of pros headed to Secaucus.

* finally: Nick Mullins has a list of 2018 comics he enjoyed. So does Tom Kaczynski.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, JP Trostle!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Douglas Wolk!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Andy Warner!

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January 3, 2019


CR Review: The Beagle Boys #36

Creators: Peter Alvarado, Bill Wright, Vic Lockman, Kay Wright, Tony Strobl, Larry Wright
Publishing Information: Comic Book, Western Publishing, 36 pages, August 1977, 30 cents.
Ordering:

imageThis is from an intermittent run of Beagle Boys comics that came out from Western from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s. It was given to me as a gift by a small child at my recent birthday party. I have no idea why, but I do like the characters. I'm not enough of a Disney comics fan to be able to say for certain which creator at work on stories in this comic book had what strengths. To my untrained eye, it's not remarkable in any way at all. So of course I liked it a bit for that reason.

The criminals in the Beagle Boys gang, here reduced to three members of the varying prison numbers they use for names, are played as gentle doofuses with no impulse control. They steal because they love, much in the same way that Scrooge McDuck accumulates. Wealth acquisition makes for an easy and variable narrative through-line. The most odd story is one that involves them briefly adopting a grinder monkey and I'm already forgetting why the hell that took place except perhaps to facilitate the more general plot or underline already obvious central truths about those characters. It's an endless cycle, never questioned.

I like looking at standard mainstream art of this type and time, the deliberate pacing and the background drops two of among a dozen or so reoccurring formal tropes that give me pleasure. I like minor characters that show up without explanation, I like the cityscapes. Comics like these do the job and keep things moving, although that hardly seems a joyful enterprise as portrayed here. Imagine a world in which post-prison reform keeps you in the same outfits, stripped of the agency of a non-prison code name. There are some hints that Scrooge and the Beagles are two sides of the same coin, but it is clear which side everyone expects to land facing up. If there's subtext here, the Beagles left it in the trunk of their car.
 
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Go, Look: Minnie Phan

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Festivals Extra: Call For Papers Goes Out For Brighton's 2019 Graphic Medicine Conference

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This is one of the best comics-related conferences, and their Call For Papers will be open through the end of the month.
 
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Go, Look: Ashtani Fortson

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Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Announces It's Received A Collection Donation From Jan Eliot

I missed this announcement from right before Christmas. Note that the original art donation comes with supporting material and some correspondence -- a key for that institution's ambition to cement its place as a research center.
 
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Go, Look: Betje

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Festivals Extra: LAZF Starts Its Application Cycle

Here. It's a short one. Also, the show offers a sliding scale for tables, something that shows have done behind the scenes in some form or another since the beginning of time, but that will become a more important public feature moving forward.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Grant Kratzer

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* John Seven on Joylandia. Here's all the TCJ writers on all the books reviewed in 2018.

* here are cartoonists receiving honors. I so wish we had something this potentially hilarious in the US.

* Marek Bennett does the hard work of classroom visits, to great reward.

* Marylou Tousignant takes a look at Ripley's, a continually under-appreciate comic in terms of its popularity and cultural impact.

* Joseph Gerth profiles Marc Murphy. Sally Pryor profiles David Pope.

* politically observant cartoons are always a big deal in the African countries, as this article about the Congo will attest.

* Mark Knight takes another shot at drawing Serena Williams.

* finally: Jane Fryer on the cartoonist transition at Daily Mail.
 
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Happy 68th Birthday, RL Crabb!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Richard Bruton!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Hellen Jo!

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January 2, 2019


CR Review: Young Shadow Pamphlet One

imageCreator: Young Shadow Pamphlet One
Publishing Information: Self-Published Mini-Comic, 16 pages, $5, December 2018.
Order Now: https://bensears.bigcartel.com/product/young-shadow-pamphlet-one

This is a series of character drawings, staging areas and general designs for cartoonist Ben Sears' occasional science fiction series. He's a sturdy talent at all of these things, and how much enthusiasm you have for the general look and feel of the resulting comics likely determines in its near-entirety your appetite for your work. I liked it well enough, although I might have liked buying it in person and without shipping given the sparsity. Even that is fine, though give quality of imagery on display.

Sears does very little in terms of staking out measurable artistic differences in effect between figures and settings, but the talent on display is obvious and everything communicates a sum greater than component parts. I like how early-days this seems, how much progression could be had within choices made or by eschewing the work to date altogether.

This may be for a Sears completist; luckily, that's where I am these days. I am also happy to give money to Ben Sears whenever I'm able.
 
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Go, Look: Break Out the Yodelling and Mulled Wine: It's Saint Silvester's Day!

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Abhay Khosla Openly Wonders After Writer Tom King's CIA-Connection Claims, Details And Implications

Here.

Abhay gave me this story on a plate a couple of years ago and I was not able to get very far in the months and months he left me with it. I apologize to him and you. I will pursue the story now as one of a chorus of commentators, through what I'm sure will be several levels of response.

Like Abhay, I think there are multiple issues in play here, and I have no preconceptions as to the full extent of the truth in any direct or related circumstance. It should be fascinating to explore.
 
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Go, Look: AC Esguerra

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Festivals Extra: Gil Roth Profiles Kriota Willberg And Her Cartoonists-Helped Book At CXC 2018!

imageGil Roth talks to Kriota Willberg about her Draw Stronger book back at CXC 2018 in September.

I think Willberg's work is important because it's a non-fiction comics work less about finding legitimacy for comics than it is about providing aid and comfort to its makers. I've talked to a lot of people that purchased this book, and all of them are glad they did in terms of their finding some control over the aches and pains of making work within this medium.

I am glad this comic exists, that this cartoonist is paying attention to these issues and that I can follow Kriota's fellow comics-makers into areas that are challenging and exciting.
 
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Go, Look: Carmen Johns

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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.

*****

OCT181699 INK & ANGUISH TP JAY LYNCH ANTHOLOGY $39.99
A stand-alone volume of great comics from the late Jay Lynch brought to our attention by fellow creator and fan Ed Piskor and the great writer of underground comics history Patrick Rosenkranz sounds like a first-class aces project to me. I know some people avoid older work but I've never thought comics best flattered by meeting it at the tip of its spear point. It may be fun to read that way, but comics itself always has a variety of temporal entry points.

imageOCT181769 CHANCELLOR AND THE CITADEL GN $15.00
SEP181702 VAGABOND VALISE (MR) $25.00
OCT181721 IN CHRIST THERE IS NO EAST OR WEST GN $25.00
What distinguishes this week and then next few in comics shopping is that the bulk of winter has its own books on offer AND you see about a half-dozen quality works that just didn't make it out in the Fall. The first listed here is one of those metaphor heavy, idiosyncratically drawn, unsettling fantasies of the moment. I remember liking it when I read a copy. Vagabond Valise is a coming-of-age story told with anthropomorphics and is a prize winner from last year's festival circuit. It looks great, and I'm not familiar with the artist's work. I have no idea what the third work listed concerns or if it's any good, but I would totally check one out in the comics shop -- one of the points of this article.

NOV181348 GIANT DAYS #46 $3.99
NOV180230 BPRD DEVIL YOU KNOW #12 $3.99
AUG180371 BPRD HELL ON EARTH HC VOL 04 $34.99
NOV180197 WALKING DEAD #187 (MR) $3.99
A modest handful of comic-book comics that make my purchasing Mendoza Line this time out. I will always buy everything John Allison does, Giant Days is in for me. I'm a collector of the BPRD material in serial form, although most people prefer the trades and I totally get it. Walking Dead is in the midst of its non-woke suburb plotline. We'll do the best we can to serve you.

OCT182076 20TH CENTURY BOYS TP VOL 02 PERFECT ED URASAWA $19.99
SEP181858 BAREFOOT GEN GN VOL 03 (CURR PTG) (MR) $16.95
You want both of these series in at least some form, so check out these latest volumes in the most recent iterations. Barefoot Gen still slaughters me, particularly when our hero is carrying around a family members remains in a bucket.

AUG189233 ONE DIRTY TREE GN $19.95
If this is Noah Van Sciver's memoir of growing up poor in a big Mormon family iin New Jersey finally making it to the DM after a nice festival run, many of you will want to know about it. I like this book a lot.

OCT181700 PRINCE VALIANT HC VOL 18 1971-1972 $34.99
SEP181683 RASL COLOR ED TP VOL 03 (OF 3) FIRE OF ST GEORGE (MR) $12.99
Another pair of loving re-releases. Those RASL books snuck up on me and I hope they have some market penetration over time moving forward.

SEP181992 WALT DISNEY MICKEY MOUSE COMP HISTORY HC $200.00
I don't like all the Taschen books, but this seems to me a splendid subject for one of them.

*****

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

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

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

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

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Abby Jame

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Go, Look: Annabelle Hayford

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd VanDerWerff expresses love for Olivia Jaimes' Nancy. John Seven on The Vagabond Valise.

* Matt O'Keefe talks to Ben Dewey. John Seven talks to M. Dean. Brian Hibbs talks to Ngozi Ukazu.

* not comics: haven't taken the time to analyze why Aquaman is doing pretty well at the box office, but it seems to be doing pretty well. Since all of the figures I see in headlines are worldwide box office ones I imagine that's where it's done well. The main attraction for me is to watch fans argue with significant rage about their favorite toy worlds using box-office figures as a measure of worth. I wish soda fans and fast-food fans were as explicit in their assignments of value.

* here are a bunch of solid, working critics and writers-about-comic unpacking a few favorites from 2018.

* not sure I can pull from this mention the specific nature and focus of this forthcoming exhibit mentioned, but I sure want to see it.

* finally: whoa, look at these Kaz pencils!
 
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Happy 36th Birthday, Ethan Young!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Lynda Barry!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Naoki Urasawa!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Marc Sobel!

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Happy 84th Birthday, David McKee!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Andy Burns!

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January 1, 2019


A Happy New Year Classic Gordo Sunday

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Happy 44th Birthday, Steve Hamaker!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Nick Abadzis!

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