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

May 5, 2016

Siné, RIP

posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink

By Request Extra: Rob Clough Could Use Some Help


Here. Clough is a nice man -- that's him on the left with AdHouse's Chris Pitzer on the right -- and provides the invaluable service of giving hundreds of young cartoonists their first review.
posted 9:01 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Marina Julia

posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Letters Archive In Support Of North American Visit For Artist Rokudenashiko


There is a deeply encouraging and slightly troubling array of letters here in support of a forthcoming visit by the artist Rokudenashiko to Canada and TCAF, followed by a strip to New York. The deeply encouraging part is in the array of letters and the content involved letter-to-letter and the foresight deemed necessary to help pave the way for a smooth trip; the slightly troubling part is that they are anticipatory of potential trouble in the artist's visit.

As an expression of my view on comics and on art more generally, this site gives the fullest support to the unfettered, unencumbered expression of creativity and opinion without political consequence of any kind. In Rokudenashiko's case I feel any impediment would be that much more tragic because of the important subject matter and her righteous, humane take on the issues involved, both in the act of making and in the messages communicated. It would be ghastly if there were any problems, and I am very appreciative of any and all people from Team TCAF to anyone that just takes the time to read the letters to help advance the notion there should be nothing but smooth sailing here based on expressed principle.

You can buy the graphic memoir here.
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Bob McLeod-Inked 1970s Splash Pages

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Max And Moritz Prize Nominees Announced, Career Award To Claire Brétecher


I blew right past these about two weeks ago, but the Max And Moritz Prize nominees were posted, along with this year's special-award winners. Joining past winners like Pierre Christin, Robert Crumb and Albert Uderzo for that program's special lifetime achievement prize is the great humor cartoonist Claire Brétecher. Brétecher was in the news earlier this year during the "zero worthy female nominees" fiasco at the French-language festival in Angouleme as someone who was obviously, overwhelmingly qualified for their standard Grand Prix award and resulting festival presidency. Keeping in mind not everyone agrees on the value and utility of awards, I say give Brétecher all the awards there are to give. I was glad to hear she's going to get this one.

Other special awards look like they're going to the post-Hebdo Luz memoir Katharsis and to the Berlin-based publisher Avant-Verlag.

The standard awards program has its nominees list:

* Come Prima, Alfred. Translation By Volker Zimmermann (Reprodukt)
* Crash 'n' Burn, Mikiko Ponczek (Tokyopop) (nominiert durch das Publikum)
* Crissis Tagebücher, Joris Chamblain und Aurélie Neyret. Translation By Tanja Krämling (Popcom)
* Das Hochhaus. 102 Etagen Leben, Katharina Greve (
* Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof, Sarah Burrini ( Books)
* Das Nichts und Gott, Aike Arndt (Zwerchfell)
* Der Araber von morgen, Riad Sattouf. Translation By Andreas Platthaus (Knaus Verlag)
* Descender, Jeff Lemire und Dustin Nguyen. Translation By Bernd Kronsbein (Splitter Verlag)
* Die Toten, Stefan Dinter, Christopher Tauber und anderen (Panini Comics/Zwerchfell) (nominiert durch das Publikum)
* Ein Ozean der Liebe, Wilfrid Lupano und Grégory Panaccione (Splitter Verlag)
* Ein Sommer am See, Mariko Tamaki und Jillian Tamaki. Translation By Tina Hohl (Reprodukt)
* Fahrradmod, Tobi Dahmen ( Verlag) (nominiert durch das Publikum)
* Irmina, Barbara Yelin (Reprodukt)
* Junker. Ein preußischer Blues, Simon Spruyt. Translation By Rolf Erdorf (Carlsen Verlag)
* Kiste, Patrick Wirbeleit und Uwe Heidschötter (Reprodukt)
* Kleiner Strubbel, Pierre Bailly und Céline Fraipont (Reprodukt)
* Können wir nicht über was anderes reden? Meine Eltern und ich, Roz Chast. Translation By Marcus Gärtner (Rowohlt Verlag)
* Madgermanes, Birgit Weyhe (avant-verlag) (Erscheinungstermin: 20. Mai 2016)
* Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson und Adrian Alphona. Translation By Carolin Hidalgo (Panini Comics)
* Opus, Satoshi Kon. Translation By John Schmitt-Weigand (Carlsen Manga)
* Penner, Christopher Burgholz (Jaja Verlag)
* The Singles Collection (Vom Leben gezeichnet), Mawil (Der Tagesspiegel/Reprodukt)
* Tobisch, Joachim Brandenberg (Jaja Verlag)
* Von Spatz, Anna Haifisch (Rotopolpress)
* 78 Tage auf der Straße des Hasses, David Füleki (Tokyopop)

The award ceremony will be held during the festival later this month.
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Bookmark: Pictures Mean Business

double-dipping on Sarah McIntyre today; not sure I've ever directly sent people to the all-in-one PMB page
posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

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


By Tom Spurgeon

* it's all TCAF right now in terms of what people I know are talking about, notably mostly for the fact it's more than a week away still. The festival has released its professional development and academic conference schedules. That money panel looks like it could be super-fascinating.

* spring tours announced for Patrick Kyle and Lisa Hanawalt.

* I enjoyed this article that ran over at The Beat last week about how movie studios plan for Comic-Con International and how they over other options now: focused-property events and single-company conventions. It has very little to do with the show that I attend, but it shapes its business and public profile for sure.

* NYCC would like you to submit panel ideas for this year's show.

* some of that excitement in the air is surely that we're in the middle of the Ting Comic And Graphic Arts Festival for 2016. That's the show that's a month of events in and around London, Ontario. I did my usual spectacularly shitty of providing it coverage, but I have the individual events up now.

* saw this 2013 essay by Jason Latour making some rounds, extolling the virtues of comics conventions as a place to put together sustaining human relationships that will serve you well as you try to work in a long-term sense, and also talking a few strategies to best negotiate that world. I think the crucial nature of personal relationships can be a true thing for a lot of comics people, a lot of comics careers, but we also still see people that are getting work in comics where no one knows what they even look like until they've reached a career-making threshold in terms of building readers for the long haul.

* I'll be at CAKE on June 11. Someone please have breakfast with me before, and someone please have dinner with me after. I'll figure out lunch.

* finally, MICE is accepting exhibitor applications until May 18. I'd like to see that show someday.
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Sarah McIntyre Sisters Cartoon

posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on The Irregular At Magic High School: Enrollment Arc Vol. 1.

* I laughed when I saw this Dan Nadel commentary for Paul Up North in his "substitute Jog" role this week: "Paul Up North: Conundrum Press has continued Michel Rabagliati’s Paul series, once a kind of Quebecois curiosity from D&Q, but always pretty dull. I would read the books (back when I read nearly every comic that came my way) and think, 'This is what French comics are like,' and I was half right. 184 pages, $20.00 -- DN." Oh, Dan.

* Bryan Pierce on why straight men should care about gay superheroes. I care enough about gay superheroes I'm linking to a piece at Huffington Post.

* bundled extra: a nine-page preview of the new Bone story coming out this summer.

* the writer James Moore wrote in to mention that May 4 is the Kent State shooting anniversary, and Katherine Wirick's comic might be an appropriate thing for folks to check out.

* finally, Bruce Chrislip wrote in to drive attention to this absolutely rare, Rick Griffin-covered, Craig Yoe-published fanzine from the early 1970s. The comics collectible market will always be weird for its element of things not rare at all being treated that way, but the honestly rare material tends to fetch a good price.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 34th Birthday, Joseph Remnant!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 52nd Birthday, Éric Ivars!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 66th Birthday, David Lloyd!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

May 4, 2016

Go, Look: Simon Gane's Fallen Tree Sketches

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: The Book Of Cave Tooth

posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

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



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.


MAR161462 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 25 1999-2000 $29.99
It's a super-solid week at the comics shop, which makes sense given how many people will be in these shops for Free Comic Book Day this weekend. To my mind the key book is the 25th Complete Peanuts volume, with one coming afterwards that collects things that are not the strip itself. This has been a great series, with renewed fun and interest for me at like seven different points along the way. I look forward to reading these at some remove. Also, they got the President Of The United State to write an intro, which means he and I are peers now -- except he gets better comics-writing gigs than me.

MAR160017 HELLBOY IN HELL #9 $2.99
MAR160600 WICKED & DIVINE #19 CVR B ANKA (MR) $3.50
MAR160811 HOWARD THE DUCK #7 $3.99
MAR160827 MOON KNIGHT #2 $3.99
MAR161227 GIANT DAYS #14 $3.99
I think the Beasts Of Burden series is a solidly entertaining one, and look forward to the Dorkin/Dyer + Thompson combination any way it crosses my face. This time it's a one-shot. I hope it does well enough to compel everyone involved to do more. That's two from Mignola-verse, including what's been a fun, art-driven series for me, Hellboy In Hell. Wicked & Divine is a solid performer in full batshit crazy action mode right now, which is always appealing. Howard The Duck finds writer Chip Zdarsky 3.5 percent more comfortable with the title every single issue. It's still unclear where this kind of comedic-adventure version reaches its limit. We won't know until after it happens. Moon Knight I haven't seen yet, but it's apparently Jeff Lemire. Talked to a retailer in Indiana who says that Lemire's usual hardcore fanbase hasn't followed him to this one, at least not right away. Giant Days is the project for which writer John Allison received recent attention from the Eisner Awards. I feel bad it's 14 issues in and I haven't caught up to it, either.

Two different DC book program offerings. I'm contractually obligated to mention I don't know anyone that would prefer an Omnibus edition to a big stack of single issues, but everyone I know is young, dumb and unsophisticated. Scalped I think was under-appreciated while it was an ongoing, and I'm happy to see that it's coming out in different formats, indicating continued commercial interest.

MAR160598 WALKING DEAD #154 (MR) $2.99
MAR160778 BLACK WIDOW #3 $3.99
Here's a pair of other notable title pairings. I don't know for whom that Walking Dead coloring book is intended, but it wasn't for me! All those heavy blacks would seem to make it hard to color the way I colored stuff when I was a wee lad. Black Widow and the Daredevil trade feature the same creative team, one of comics' most solid. I'm confused by most of the recent post-event comics put out by Marvel, but this one seems pretty straight forward by solid creators so I'm likely to buy it whenever I see it.

"Johnny Boo Big Boo Box" is fun as hell to say out loud. I'm all for as much James Kochalka as can possibly be published, and IDW strikes me as a good home for him.

FEB160680 DESCENDER TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99
There's not a whole lot this week I'd buy in trade form, so I'd go and take a look at this Jeff Lemire/Dustin Nguyen collaboration, which I believe is concerned with artificial life forms and issues surrounding their sentience. Action issues.

MAR161479 JESSICA FARM GN VOL 01 (MR) $16.99
MAR161480 JESSICA FARM GN VOL 02 (MR) $16.99
Josh Simmons is one of our most potent cartoonists, and everything he does is worth reading. That includes this book, which won't end until 2050 so I have no chance to ever see the ending.

I didn't see any other strips this week, so I thought I'd toss this one. Mr. Pastis is a current Reuben Award nominees.

Love the Beagle Boys. Great last-minute Halloween costume, too.

I have nothing to say about any of these books, but I love that all of them are together one or top of the other.

MAR161306 PAUL UP NORTH GN $20.00
Michel Rabagliati's signature series made its shift from Drawn and Quarterly to Conundrum without a lot of fanfare, but the books themselves continue their fun visuals and genteel pacing.


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.



posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Targets

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Very Early Mort Meskin Art

some deeply unfortunate racial stereotyping present here
posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Caty Simon and Tina Horn discuss Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus.

* here's a snippet from what I suppose is a rolling conversation about Frank Miller's art. Here's another one. I think ugly art with a lot of abstraction can be fun, but a significant number of people disagree with me and assign value to aspects of a comic book very differently than I do.

* Jason remembers Prince.

* Joe Gross suggests that the rise of the mega-profitable superhero film has led to an increasingly stuffy mainstream comics scene. I think there's probably some truth there; Marvel went through a period in the late '90s and early '00s that was a lot like their last fallow period in the late '70s, a period that drove genre-defining hits. You also had a third player during that time in terms of prestige-project creation with WildStorm. I'm not engaged enough with that material to make any firm endorsements, but it's an opinion worth considering.

* looks like qualified individuals can apply for the 10th International Manga Award here.

* I missed this sad conclusion to the sad case of Homer Marciniak's death. It's hard to feel sorry for people that meticulously plan to do something harmful, as opposed to just head down the wrong path, though.

* finally, a cartoon from George Feyer. I can relate.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 56th Birthday, Geoff Grogan!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 38th Birthday, Shaenon Garrity!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Alé Garza!

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May 3, 2016

Go, Read: The Complete Agent 10

posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink

AP: Atena Farghadani Freed From Evin Prison In Iran

The Associated Press is quoting lawyer Mohammad Moghimi that cartoonist Atena Farghadani was freed from prison earlier today. That's excellent news.

Farghadani was imprisoned -- at Iran's notorious Evin facility -- and reunited with her parents. Her 12-year prison sentence was reduced to 18 months, which she had served.

The imprisonment stems from the young artist's depiction of lawmakers as animals, a criticism of their role in drafting contraception law. The result was an extremely poisonous piece of PR that drove international attention to the hardline nature of certain conservative legal fiefdoms within the larger Iranian political system.

The article notes that President Hassan Rouhani also called for more freedom of speech earlier today, explicitly citing critics of the government.
posted 9:55 am PST | Permalink

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