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
















May 24, 2017


Go, Look: Núria Tamarit

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Not Comics: Mitchell Hooks Pulp Art Covers

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Festivals Extra: CXC Logo And Special Guest List PR

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I hope you won't mind if I spend one post talking about the special guest and logo announcements for CXC 2017. That's the show I serve as Executive Director. A few years ago I probably wouldn't have bothered cringing my way through a self-serving post like this one, but we lack basic-information PR avenues on-line right now to an astonishing degree.

imageAnyway, this year's show special guest list is announced here.

That's Derf Backderf, Peter Bagge, Kyle Baker, Darrin Bell, Howard Cruse, Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kat Fajardo, Emil Ferris, Ann Marie Fleming, Matt Fraction, Jennifer Holm, Kevin Huizenga, Nilah Magruder, Ann Nocenti, Laura Park, Dav Pilkey, Mimi Pond, Dana Simpson, Chris Sprouse, Leslie Stein, Tillie Walden, Connor Willumsen and Judd Winick.

I'm very happy with this line-up. It's a mix of superstars and superstars-to-be, great books of the moment and great entire libraries of past, formidable work. A significant number of major disciplines/forms of comics have representation. I worked with a programming committee that did a great job building a list according to our ambitions and standards: Jenny Robb, Laurenn McCubbin, Caitlin McGurk, Jared Gardner and Jeff Smith.

People have asked if we're adding more. We don't have plans to do any more searching, but in 2015 and 2016 we did add some folks (Mark Osborne, Lalo Alcaraz) late in the year and after our initial announcements. When that works out -- and it doesn't always, we've turned down some people, too -- it's great because there's a unique energy to added guests. We have yet to lose a special guest post-announcement, but that's bound to happen, too, hopefully for benign reasons.

We will certainly have things to say about the show more generally in a heavy way through August 1 and in a focused way up to the show itself, some of which we hope surprises. Write cxcfestival@gmail.com to join our mailing list.

Graphic designer Sonia Harris and illustrator/writer/comics-maker Katie Skelly (also a great designer, Harris points out) came up with our logo and are hard at work on the poster. I really like it, so I put it up top of this post and I'm going to put it up top of everything I can. Those two are great at what they do, and what they did together I think looks fun. Please hire either or both for your making-stuff needs.

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Go, Look: A Gnawing Obsession

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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.

*****

MAR171778 JASON ON THE CAMINO HC $24.99
The great Jason launches his version of this year's "comics dealing with a lot of quiet time" theme with a book about a pilgrimage taken at 50 years old that involves a lot of walking and a lot of front-of-one's-face activity. I liked it a lot.

imageMAR171234 PLEASE DESTROY MY ENEMIES GN (MR) $6.99
MAR171235 YOUR BLACK FRIEND GN $5.00
JAN170729 EAST OF WEST #33 $3.99
MAR178501 SEVEN TO ETERNITY #5 2ND PTG $3.99
MAR170780 SEVEN TO ETERNITY #6 CVR A OPENA & HOLLINGSWORTH $3.99
MAR171034 BLACK PANTHER #14 $3.99
The first two are works from Silver Sprocket going into comic shops by virtue of AdHouse Books' distribution function. They're billed as books but Your Black Friend was a comic book. I enjoyed that one quite a bit. The Please Destroy Your Enemies was a bunch of folks' favorite at TCAF in t-shirt form, that's for sure. East Of West continues to power through its narrative with a lot of dire consequences for various characters; a shift from its portentous, slower-moving beginning. Seven To Eternity getting a second printing at #5 is a good sign for that series. I like the designs and the atmospherics, although I wish the narrative had more force page to page. Some of the plot developments in #6 should help. I'm interested to see if the first storyline's conclusion in Black Panther will be a jumpin-on or jumping-off point for readers of the series. I'll stick around to the bitter end, and I hope it's years away.

JAN170141 GROO FRIENDS AND FOES HC $49.99
Sergio Aragones is one of the give great cartoonists of the world and I will buy everything he does.

FEB170380 MICRONAUTS TP VOL 02 EARTHBOUND $19.99
Always wanted to try one of these new Micronauts comics. It was the last toy line with which I was deeply involved and I do remember bits of the Marvel series. Probably wouldn't be this week with all the other work out.

MAR170702 DYING AND THE DEAD SPEC ED TP $9.99
A $9.99 first volume indicates to me a potential longer run for the overall series. I'm sympathetic to books like this one, which is sort of Alejandro Jodorowsky's Space Cowboys. I enjoy reading that kind of book far ahead of my desire to make a case for others to read that kind of book.

MAR171920 BILLIE HOLIDAY HC $19.99
MAR171734 GOLEMS MIGHTY SWING GN $16.95
FEB170306 DC UNIVERSE BY MIKE MIGNOLA HC $39.99
Reprints, all of which I read in an earlier form. I'm glad for these books to be made available. One thing longtime readers don't think about is how much of the work they've enjoyed in the '90s and '00s is out of print, so a new edition helps a work continue to be added to libraries and curricula. The Mike Mignola isn't complete but it has a lot of stuff, and Mignola's early run with those characters tends to be completely ignored.

AR172009 MY LESBIAN EXPERIENCE WITH LONELINESS GN (MR) $13.99
I like the subject matter of turning to a sex worker to deal with anxiety, and I believe this had a captive on-line audience when it was originally serialized.

FEB171656 JASON I KILLED ADOLF HITLER HC $16.99
FEB171655 JASON LOST CAT HC $19.99
Two by Jason if the new one wasn't enough. Again: love work to be in print; these are all fun comics.

MAR171769 ONE MORE YEAR HC MEGG & MOGG (MR) $24.99
Another staggering Simon Hanselmann volume about 25 minutes following the last one's drop. I find his comics funny, and weirdly admirable for their unsparing nature. Also Owl is a really good Mel Cooley, and it's been a while since comics had one of those.

APR172262 SUPERMAN PERSISTENCE OF AN AMERICAN ICON SC $27.95
Yeah, I really don't get it, either.

FEB172079 EVERYTHING IS FLAMMABLE GN $25.95
Gabrielle Bell and Uncivilized seems a perfect marriage on paper, so I hope this volume hits. Since she's gone deeply into her own Patreon I don't see as much of her work as I used to.

*****

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

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

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

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Go, Look: Mainstream Comic Book Covers From 1972

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Ramon Gil talks to Elliott S. Maggin. Dany Roth talks to Matthew Rosenberg.

* Bully reviews glowing-ball imagery from comics history. Doesn't make that recent weird photo with the president in it any less stupid- and creepy-looking -- a rare combination -- but it's interesting how we process this kind of visual.

* James Kaplan on American Barbarian.

* not sure I totally understand the premise of this exercise over at the LOAC site, but I sure like looking at obscure dailies like Morty Meekle.

* to be honest, I don't think much of either company's celebrations.

* finally: man, look at the thing Paul Gravett's working on for -- I think -- later this year.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Alan Zelenetz!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Wimbledon Green!

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May 23, 2017


Go, Look: amika

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By Request Extra: Short Order Crooks Boost

Here. Mr. Sebela just suffered an auto accident not of his making this week. No injuries, but the loss of the car and its ability to be replaced might go poorly for him. I boosted my pledge a bit, and I'll ask you to consider the same or something similar. Most of us in comics live in this fragile network where disruptions can send us spiraling out of control to a greater degree than the actual numbers involved might indicate. Sebela is at a point in his career progression that is tricky for a lot of comics pros, and I think he's a good bet to make good on an extra hand right now. Plus the comic looks fun.
 
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Go, Look: Marvel Heroes By Steve Rude

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By Request Extra: Kilgore Books Has A Crowd-Funder Going On Right This Very Moment

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I almost missed this entirely, so please write in directly if you have one of these you want to see coverage. This features a couple of key Noah Van Sciver reprints, Summer Pierre (that's her work above), Glynnis Fawkes, Leslie Stein and Tim Lane. I'm sure I'm missing one or two people. One of the incentives is that nice sitting-in-nature print Van Sciver did a while back.

Dan Stafford of Kilgore Books is forthright in terms of why he's doing a crowd-funder and how the money will be spent. I get the sense that the various titles will get more publicity in this initial funding campaign than they might get down the road when released.
 
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OTBP: King-Cat #77

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the sadness of this photo scan should not dissuade you from buying this crisp, beautiful mini-comic
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

* a second issue of Resist! is on the way.

image* looks like the great Gilbert Shelton may be interested in other creators working with his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, in a way that sounds a bit different than past collaborations. Those are fun, utilitarian characters that I think could do well with artists other than Shelton. Although I'm more fond of creations remaining linked to creators, I'm most fond of the creator making whatever call they desire about that.

* here's a Henson Studio/Boom! deal that makes some sense, particularly in that past licensor Archaia is now a division of Ross Richie's comic book fiefdom. They have properties that have enough of a second life that doing comics with them can be fun. Whether or not they end up being good comics depends on the talent involved, but they've certainly made adaptation that I've bought in the past.

* finally, Marvel will do a series of cross-generational team-ups as its last event series in a while. One thing they have done pretty well this year and last is have events that offer an easy elevator-pitch hook. Whether or not that's enough to engage people for whom narrative is everything with those characters, I imagine we'll see. "Superheroes fight the Atlas Monsters" was a big no, and the jury is still out on "Everyone fights a Captain America turned fascist."
 
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If I Were In Calgary, I'd Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Bud Sagendorf-Era Popeye Sunday Strips

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* this is a good question. I'm not in retail, so I rarely think this way. My hunch is that Black Hole is the best comic in this general neighborhood, followed by A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron, but I'm probably missing something.

* speaking of missing things, I missed this comic from late last year that Dustin Harbin has left top of blog for a very long time. It's good.

* not comics: the director Zack Snyder will take a break from finishing the Justice League movie because of a tragic death in the family. Joss Whedon will work on the film in his absence. All sympathy and support to the Snyder family."

* Megan Volpert talks with Eleanor Davis.

* mainstream-focused coverage has picked up on the fact that the ballyhooed Superman/Wonder Woman romance has now been written out of the narrative of those characters' lives. I always found that plot-line icky, and not just because the Superman of that era was really unformed and uninteresting. It should give writers pause to step away from narratives that work as well as the top superheroes' work the same way you wouldn't want to mess with the Santa Claus story in a similar way. Lois Lane really works for Superman.

* finally, some not comics: Humberto Abdo on the documentary Laert-se.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Mike Deodato!

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Happy 66th Birthday, John Bolton!

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May 22, 2017


Go, Look: Sunburning Preview At Illustrated PEN

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I'm very much a fan
 
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