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
















February 27, 2015


Go, Look: Amélie Fléchais

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

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through March 2015

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*****

February 28
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Expo)
* If I Were Near Warren, I'd Go To This (Great Lakes Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

*****

March 1
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Buckeye Comic Con)

March 3
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 4
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 6
* If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

March 7
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Canberra, I'd Go To This (Australian Comics Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This

March 8
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Canberra, I'd Go To This (Australian Comics Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

March 9
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Oklahoma, I'd Go To This

March 10
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 11
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 12
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 13
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)

March 14
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (London Super Comic Con)
* If I Were In Bellingham, I'd Go To This (BellCAF)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)

March 15
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (London Super Comic Con)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)

March 19
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 20
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* ]

March 21
* If I Were In South Carolina, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 22
* If I Were In South Carolina, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 23
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 24
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 25
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 26
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

March 27
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* If I Were In Yonkers, I'd Go To This

March 28
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This (PIX)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City)
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPExpo)
* If I Were In Myrtle Beach, I'd Go To This (Myrtle Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Dayton, I'd Go To This (Gem City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Yonkers, I'd Go To This

March 29
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City)
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPExpo)
* If I Were In Myrtle Beach, I'd Go To This (Myrtle Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were Near Secaucus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Dayton, I'd Go To This (Gem City Comic Con)

*****

Events For April 2015 Onward Listed Here

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*****
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Go, Look: Hellen Jo Subs On The Blobby Boys

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* early-bird hotels (further away from the con, no refund, but easier to get and nail down) for Comic-Con International are available now. I already have a room, but I'd be tempted to do this. As I get older, there's really little different for me whether I spend the night anywhere except right across the street from the convention center. I've stayed up to an hour away from the show in past years.

image* Ng Suat Tong on Sam Zabel And The Magic Pen. Greg McElhatton on Gotham Academy #5. Doug Zawisza on Fantastic Four #643. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Sweatshop.

* the Bill Schelly bio of Harvey Kurtzman is excerpted here.

* I usually get a couple of notes from people when an article about the gender or orientation of a comic book character hits the comics-oriented sites, but this is the first time I can remember when both e-mails I got wondered why it isn't completely not extraordinary for a character to be oriented any way the writers and editors want them to be, particularly just a few years after a universe-wise reboot. I don't have a great answer for that.

* Steve Morris talks to Matt Kindt. Dave Richards talks to Haden Blackman. Matt Badham talks to Chris Doherty.

* not comics: I would imagine this is something a lot of people would want.

* I always find these body-type exercises fascinating, even when I'm not engaged with the specific issues involved.

* finally, Tom Bondurant suggests some snow-day comics. I think the last time I sought out an "escapist" type comic for just that purpose, I ended up with the High Society book from the Cerebus series and the Smax mini-series from a few years back. Anyway, it's a kind of comic that comics does very well.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Jeff Smith!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Norm Breyfogle!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Andy Kubert!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Barry Matthews!

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February 26, 2015


Go, Look: The Department Of Forgotten Drawings

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Jim Wheelock's Comics Collection Still MIA; Alleged Thief Arraigned

Here's the latest from Brattleboro, Vermont, where Jim Wheelock's stunning-sounding comics-collection was burglarized from a storage unit over a period of time. A thief caught entering various storage unit has now been arraigned, but there's still no sign of the comics that are missing even after a search of that man's home. Wheelock is interviewed and talks a bit about how he's rearranging his life after the loss of the collection. Not every collection is as valuable as its owner sometimes thinks, but this one as described with complete sets of key Silver Age comics sounded like it had significant potential value. I continue to hope for the best possible outcome.
 
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Go, Look: Mike Mignola Draws DC Superhero Characters

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Massive Announces North American Tour For Jiraiya

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Here. Stops in LA, San Francisco and New York. Please note the photo embargo. This is the book; here is a sweatshirt.

This site can only aspire to announce every tour out there, but it's interesting to me that as of five years ago shop owners were complaining to me about the lack of physical appearances by comics-makers on behalf of their material and in 2015 that kind of thing is fairly common again. Granted, one of the reasons it's common is that there's an ability to put together tours that are direct market oriented, for sure, but you can also have tours that are bookstore-oriented, that are bookstore and kids event oriented, and even one that follow a different path entirely. I would say that the Jiraiya tour falls under that final designation, but it has elements of all the different kinds of stops one sees these days. It's also worth noting that these will be the artist's first appearances on behalf of this work outside of Japan.

I think the work Anne Ishii, Graham Kolbeins, Chip Kidd, PictureBox and Fantagraphics have presented to the world the last couple of years is really interesting in a lot of ways, and I'm glad to see the artists appearing at shows for those who want to meet them and making merchandise for those that love merchandise. Comic is still a small enough with a big enough space heater sitting in the corner you can go from virtually unknown to semi-ubiquitous based on one book and maybe a sweatshirt. I think that's healthy, really.
 
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Go, Look: Mike Centeno

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Bundled Extra: Marvel Plans Run Of NYC-Themed Variant Covers

imageI usually don't do article about variant covers. A variant cover is a cover to a comic book that is intentionally made available in addition to a primary cover. They are usually used to boost circulation on titles so designated. In the 1990s they were used almost solely to boost sales in aggregate fashion: if you wanted to collect all of a run of Amazing Spider-Man, for example, you had to maybe buy a couple copies of an issue if it had more than one cover. If there was one variant given to a store for every 25 copies they purchased, you might buy that copy for enough extra scratch to make your store's investment worthwhile. They're also a natural hook on which to hang some PR. Today they're used in additionally ways that are slightly different in emphasis. Many of the variants one can imagine simply wanting for the art being offered more than you could in the old days -- you just might want a certain cover, like on by Skottie Young. That might be something you collect in and of itself. Some of the variants themselves became tied not just into a specific issue of a book but into an element of its selling -- a variant for a specific store to sell, an inducement for stores to carry more copies than ever, a variant that celebrates a movie release, a variant tied into a convention. They're not as openly abused as they were at one point as a constant presence in the market, but they have still have that aura of exploitative opportunism. They are comics' primary "if you want us to stop quit buying them" moment, even today.

imageOkay, I mention all of that because I noticed that NYT's noted soft-features-about-comics writer George Gene Gustines wrote one of those kinds of articles about Marvel doing NYC-themed variants. It covers the basics, but it leaves out one thing: DC Comics is moving to California. Marvel isn't. If that's not part of Marvel's thinking, then it should have been. It's at least hilarious. There's not a whole lot of things to do with your industry competitor going to the other coast but doubling-down on your love for the city left behind -- itself a location for the majority of your stories, as the article notes. For me, the article brings up the potentially interesting question of how much comics are a New York thing at all. Even Marvel might be argued to be less New York-centric than they used to be. A sampling of their big-hit movies haven taken place in locations like California and New Mexico and Washington, DC without missing a beat. I'm not close enough to that kind of material to be able to suss out an answer, but I'd read an article from someone who is. For a month, though, Marvel's all about the Big Apple. And for a traditionalist like me, that seems right.
 
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Go, Look: Faster Than Sound

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Festivals Extra: CAKE Announces 2015 Exhibitors List

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The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo has published its full list of exhibitors for their early-June show. You can find that list and descriptions of every artist here.

If one sign of health for a young show like that one is cartoonists worthy of special guest status showing up to exhibit during years when they're not special guests, CAKE certainly has that going for it. Chicago's a great town to visit and a great town for comics. I plan on attending.
 
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Go, Look: Ben Doane

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the big news of the week is that SPACE lost its host hotel for its April date. It looks like right now that the main SPACE show will be moved to a new space July 18-19, while a small show maybe called "Extra SPACE" will be held on April 11-12 to accommodate those who have already made plans to travel there that they can't change. I'll be at both.

* there's a thorough five-part series at Nattosoup right now about how to present a convention table without breaking the bank: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I imagine a lot of people could benefit from that kind of practical advice, and it's something I've bookmarked for myself to read.

* Babs Tarr did the program cover for this year's WonderCon.

* any comics convention devoted to women creators sounds great to me, and such a convention being in Dearborn sounds even better. I heard that's one of the best places on earth to eat right now. Road trip, unless that's CAB weekend.

* finally, Roman Muradov talks about a sales success at last year's SPX.
 
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If I Were Near Providence, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: The Snortville Sneeze

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Green Lantern: New Guardians #37. Chris G on She-Hulk #12. Tony Guerrero on The Multiversity: Mastermen #1. Jason Sacks on Sock Monkey: Deep In The Woods.

* I wonder sometimes if I'm beyond being able to read and enjoy pop-culture list-making exercises the way I used to, but that shouldn't stop anyone else from liking this comparison of hip-hop and comics.

* Dan Berry talks to Scott McCloud.

* this is true.

* Evan Dorkin draws Bizarro.

* three of you sent me this, an indication that Ben Abernathy will be playing a role at the Burbank-headquartered DC Comics. That role is director of talent relations, according to this very good article by Heidi MacDonald, which sounds promising for them given how much creators are right on top of judging every move they make in terms of how it will have an impact on their overall career. I've said all along that nostalgia aside, this move could be very good for DC, as it will expose them to a completely different hiring pool at all levels. That doesn't mean it will be a good thing, but I think there's an opportunity there to change that division's culture in a positive way.

* finally, here is a repost of Kelly Sue DeConnick's advice on getting started in comics. Comics above all other media has almost no gatekeepers except for very specific expressions in very specific ways. But if my counted on my finding purchase in any field within three to five years, I'd choose comics. Still, it's never easy.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Steve Bell!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Karen Berger!

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