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August 23, 2017


Go, Look: Kelly Bastow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OTBP: Reverse Flâneur

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2017

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*****

August 24
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)

August 25
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Las Cruces, I'd Go To This (Las Cruces Comic Con)

August 26
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Las Cruces, I'd Go To This (Las Cruces Comic Con)

August 27
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Las Cruces, I'd Go To This (Las Cruces Comic Con)

*****

September 1
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 2
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 3
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This

September 4
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 8
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This

September 9
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 10
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 16
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 17
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 18
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

September 19
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This

September 20
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

September 21
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 22
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 24
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 28
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 29
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 30
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (TCZF)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For October 2017 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Rodger Binyone

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Greg Hunter on Ghosts, Etc..

* John Siuntres talks to Patty Farmer.

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

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

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Happy 65th Birthday, Terry Austin!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Chris Bachalo!

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August 22, 2017


Go, Look: Benjamin Williams

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Comics People Bringing Home The Awards And Such

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week's column will be the last one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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


Go, Read: Mildred

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