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
















February 28, 2015


If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Happy 31st Birthday, Lauren Barnett!

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February 27, 2015


OTBP: Inaction Comics No. 1: Productivity

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By Request Extra: Comic Book People 2 Stalls At Halfway Point

The second of Jackie Estrada's comic book photo books drawn from her picture-taking at the San Diego Comic Con, this time featuring creators from the 1990s, looks like it may have reached a plateau at about halfway to its goal and is just stitting there now. I really like projects like this one because they provide some reward -- or at least not financial hardship -- for someone on the front lines of this kind of cultural history. Plus I just like looking at photos of my friends and cartoonist I admire when they're still zygotes. Anyway, this is a reminder for me that it's there.
 
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Go, Look: Amélie Fléchais

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

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By Tom Spurgeon

* as has been the case every week recently, I hope you're reading Alla Prima. This Katherine Sui Fun Cheung comic from Kate Beaton was really fun, too.

* the writer Gary Tyrrell does a really good job covering the influence and impact of the crowd-funding mechansim Kickstarter on the fortunes of various webcomics-related projects. He has two such articles up this week.

* one thing that was impressed upon me this week was how much certain comics readers feel walled off from a lot of the work being done on social-media driven platforms. Usually I'd just make fun of these people for not having the inclination to track certain things down, but I do also worry that some creators don't care about having their work as widely disseminated as possible to people that would really love it. As always, I have no idea how to bridge these gaps, but it's weird that there are probably 20 interesting comics a big chunk of my comics-reading pals might never see and that there is likely a much bigger list from which I'm mostly divorced.

* finally, Kiel Phegley has a nice write-up here on Dark Horse shifting three lower-selling creator-owned series to digital-only in advance of a print trade collection. I think a lot of people are headed this direction, even if it's just creators putting up occasional chunks of comics to buy on Gumroad. At the same time, it doesn't seem like any of these series is particularly distinctive the way that, say, the Dark Horse-published Usagi Yojimbo and Resident Alien series have been.
 
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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 April 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
* If I Were In NYC, 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)
* If I Were In Arlington, I'd Go To This (Smudge Expo)

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)

*****

April 3
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Vancouver)
* If I Were In Houston, I'd Go To This (Anime Matsuri)

April 4
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Vancouver)
* If I Were In Houston, I'd Go To This (Anime Matsuri)

April 5
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Vancouver)
* If I Were In Houston, I'd Go To This (Anime Matsuri)

April 9
* If I Were In Nebraska, I'd Go To This

April 10
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)
* If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Nebraska, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chile, I'd Go To This (FIC Santiago)

April 11
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)
* If I Were Near The Meadowlands, I'd Go To This (East Coast Comicon)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Extra SPACE)
* If I Were In Athens, I'd Go To This (FLUKE)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MOCCA Fest)
* If I Were In Perth, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Chile, I'd Go To This (FIC Santiago)

April 12
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (MegaCon)
* If I Were Near The Meadowlands, I'd Go To This (East Coast Comicon)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MOCCA Fest)
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (LBZF)
* If I Were In Perth, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Chile, I'd Go To This (FIC Santiago)

April 17
* If I Were Near The Gold Coast, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)

April 18
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were Near San Jose, I'd Go To This (Big Wow Comicfest)
* If I Were In Birmingham, I'd Go To This (The Birmingham Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Adelaide, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were Near The Gold Coast, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)

April 19
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were Near San Jose, I'd Go To This (Big Wow Comicfest)
* If I Were In Adelaide, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were Near The Gold Coast, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)

April 24
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)

April 25
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were Near Saratoga, I'd Go To This (ChaseCon)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Zine Fest)
* If I Were Near Knoxville, I'd Go To This (Marble City)

April 26
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Zine Fest)
* If I Were Near Knoxville, I'd Go To This (Marble City)

*****

Events For May 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 believe I already have a room, or I'd be tempted to do this. As I get older, there's really little difference for me where I spend the night if it's not one of the super-convenient hotels right across the street from the convention center. I've stayed up to an hour away from the show in past years, and I probably will again at some point.

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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