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

















May 5, 2016


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

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

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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.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Joseph Remnant!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Éric Ivars!

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Happy 66th Birthday, David Lloyd!

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May 4, 2016


Go, Look: Simon Gane's Fallen Tree Sketches

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Go, Look: The Book Of Cave Tooth

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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.

*****

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.

imageMAR160030 BEASTS OF BURDEN WHAT CAT DRAGGED IN ONE SHOT $3.99
MAR160028 BALTIMORE EMPTY GRAVES #2 $3.99
MAR160017 HELLBOY IN HELL #9 $2.99
MAR160599 WICKED & DIVINE #19 CVR A MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.50
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.

DEC150343 GOTHAM CENTRAL OMNIBUS HC $99.99
JAN160354 SCALPED HC BOOK 04 DELUXE EDITION (MR) $29.99
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
FEB160615 WALKING DEAD ADULT COLORING BOOK (MR) $14.99
MAR160778 BLACK WIDOW #3 $3.99
NOV150927 DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID AND CHRIS SAMNEE HC VOL 05 $34.99
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.

JAN160451 JOHNNY BOO BIG BOO BOX SLIPCASE ED HC $39.99
"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.

MAR161065 PEARLS BEFORE SWINE TP IM ONLY IN THIS FOR ME $14.99
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.

FEB161505 WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK HC VOL 08 TERROR BEAGLE BOYS $29.99
Love the Beagle Boys. Great last-minute Halloween costume, too.

JAN161718 AL PLASTINO LAST SUPERMAN STANDING SC $17.95
MAR162007 NEIL GAIMAN CHUS DAY AT BEACH BOARD BOOK $7.99
MAR161980 SUPERMAN CLASSIC PRANKING NEWS SC $3.99
MAR161954 TOM ADAMS UNCOVERED ART OF AGATHA CHRISTIE & BEYOND HC $34.99
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.

*****

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Go, Look: Targets

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through June 2016

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*****

May 5
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

May 6
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

May 7
* If I Were Near A Comic Shop, I'd Participate In This (FCBD)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 8
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)

May 10
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 13
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Santa Cruz, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 14
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Cupertino, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Pickerington, I'd Go To This (Big Comic Show)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (MSP ComiCon 2016)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 15
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Merced, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (MSP ComiCon 2016)

May 17
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 19
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

May 20
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 21
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were In Vanouver, I'd Go To This (VanCaf)

May 22
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were In Vanouver, I'd Go To This (VanCaf)

May 26
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

May 27
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 28
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 29
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (DIY Cultures)

*****

June 2
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 3
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

June 4
* If I Were In West Virginia, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 5
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 7
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

June 11
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 12
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 16
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

June 17
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)

June 18
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)

June 19
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Toronto Art Book Fair)

June 20
* If I Were Phoenix, I'd Go To This

June 23
* If I Were In Berkeley, I'd Go To This

June 24
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For July 2016 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Very Early Mort Meskin Art

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some deeply unfortunate racial stereotyping present here
 
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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.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Geoff Grogan!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Shaenon Garrity!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Alé Garza!

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May 3, 2016


Go, Read: The Complete Agent 10

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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.
 
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Go, Look: Tyson Hesse

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Festivals Extra: Billy Ireland Announces Summer/Fall Exhibits

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum announced earlier today that their June-October exhibits will be "Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream" and "Good Grief! Children And Comics." They will run June 4 to October 23, which makes these the exhibitions that will run during Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), the festival with which I'm involved.

imageThe "Little Nemo" is tied into the Locust Moon homage book and will feature art from the artists paying tribute such as Farel Dalrymple and Carla Speed McNeil. In addition to the tribute art, part of a traveling exhibit, the Billy Ireland iteration will feature art from and about McCay's great creation as pulled from their collection.

"Good Grief" concentrates on the depiction of children in comic strips and should thus feature some heavy-hitting art from the collection, like Bushmiller's Ms. Ritz there.

The exhibition space is open Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 5 PM.

June 10th the Billy will host a reception in the galleries from 5:30 to 7:00 PM followed by a presentation by Gene Luen Yang in conjunction with the Wexner Center For The Arts over in their film/video theater.
 
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Go, Look: Adam Egyptian

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Not Comics: Brad Mackay's Profile Of George Feyer Nominated For National Magazine Award

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Congratulations to the Doug Wright Awards administrator Brad Mackay on his national magazine award nomination for a profile of George Feyer. A hugely successful magazine cartoonist turned television celebrity, Feyer was inducted into the DWA hall of fame program The Giants Of The North in 2006.

Mackay mentions here that what became "The Twisted Genius Of George Feyer" came from meeting the cartoonist's son and asking for more information about the cartoonist, who died in the late 1960s. The articled appeared in Canada's History.
 
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Go, Look: War Wind

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Go, Read: Robert Boyd On What Is Obscenity?

imageI was very happy to see that Robert Boyd chose to write about the new Koyama Press-published effort What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy. I'm happy when industry veteran Boyd chooses to write about anything -- alt/indy comics isn't a world with a lot of writers that offer the immediate perspective of multiple decades paying attention to them -- and I'm triply happy because Rokudenashiko's story is a fascinating, and might be a rough sell due to its mixed media nature.

I think Boyd's perspective that there's an issue of literary legitimacy involved in cases like this one is a necessary one to engage as the translated book starts to show up at shows and in stores.
 
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Go, Look: Blindsprings

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