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
















December 19, 2014


Happy 62nd Birthday, Peter Gillis!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Dan Taylor!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, David Scroggy!

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December 18, 2014


Guy Delisle Makes Statement About Pyongyang Movie Development Ending Post-Sony Hack

imageThere's a really great statement by Guy Delisle here about his Pyongyang having his development deal ended in the wake of the Sony hack and the subsequent terrorist threats against the North Korean-set The Interview.

It sounds like Delisle was really far along -- they had a shooting-start date, and he had been contacted by the director after not hearing from anyone for a couple of years after the deal had been made. His regret seems real, and he claims to have liked what he heard about the direction of the project.

Delisle also tells a great story about the original publication of the book, a phantom clause in his work contract, and a wonderful statement of support at the time from L'Association and JC Menu where they basically decided the work was worth getting sued if that's what happened. Not a lot of publishers like that.
 
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Go, Look: Fernando Calvi Mini-Gallery

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Go, Read: Article On French Changes In Author/Publisher Law With A Potential Effect On Cartoonists

Articles like this one are difficult for me to read in French even going back and forth with a computer-assisted translation because of the looping tone and some of the language choices involved, but a meeting of French authors more generally, publishers and Ministry Of Culture representatives seems to have had an effect that may be felt by cartoonist in terms of clear expectations for contracts including worldwide right and digital platforms, and an opportunity for French authors to get out of contracts when information isn't provided or these arrangements aren't followed. It also looks like no serious discussion of what to do about the income levels of authors long-term given their commitment to contributing to their own retirement.

I don't know how much any French solution could provide a model for North American cartoonists, but I like the idea of these issues being discussed in serious fashion and another comics culture taking a crack at solving some of them.
 
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Go, Look: Kentaro Miura's Berserk Images

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Two Prominent Cartoons In My Inbox/On My Facebook Feed

imageHere are a couple of cartoons I noticed were being discussed by people I don't necessarily think of as comics people, for whatever that's worth.

* Jen Sorensen's cartoon about torture is the one I'm seeing touted as the slam-dunk, done-in-one response. That's not everything political cartoons do, but it's one of the more effective roles they play. The scary thing is I think unlike a generation ago, a lot of folks will confess to being perfectly happy with two standards.

* Kate Beaton has the Google Doodle today, which I guess is its own feature now, and tied into regional representations of the site -- I'm sure everyone knew that but me. Hers is on Henrietta Edwards. (The art pictured is an alternative design.)
 
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Go, Look: Falling For Beginners

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Your Shit Comics Best Of Comics List For 2014

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It's here, and well worth reading in full for the commentary involved and for the alternative choices. I think it's a very intereresting, very good list. The choices are:

* 911 Police State, Noel Freibert
* Arsene Schrauwen, Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
* Cities And Spaces And, Rebekka Dunlap
* Dear Amanda, Cathy G. Johnson
* Ebbits, Michael Litven
* Elsa, Sarah Ferrick
* Future Shock 7, Lala Albert
* Hypermaze, Brian Blomerth
* Kill My Mother, Jules Feiffer (Liveright)
* Li'l Debbie In The Favor, Dane Martin
* Megg Mogg And Owl (This One Specifically)
* Missy 2, Daryl Seitchik
* Mould Map 3, CF (Landfill Editions And Famicon)
* On Hiatus, Pete Toms
* Pretty Smart, Andy Burkholder
* QCHQ, Jordan Speer
* Rudy, Mark Connery
* Sex Fantasy 4, Sophia Foster-Dimino
* Spark, Emely Barroso
* The Philosopher, Alex Degen
* Transdimensional Brain Chip, Thorsby
* Weapons Of Mass Diplomacy, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Abrams)
* Well Come, Erik Nebel (Yeti Press)

I've changed the order because I have low-level anxieties that make me alphabetize things. I suspect the order might be important, so you really should make use of that original list.
 
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Go, Look: Strange Adventures #53-54

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All Best Wishes To The Artist Norm Breyfogle

imageRich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool has caught a Facebook post that says the longtime artist Norm Breyfogle has suffered a stroke. He expects a full recovery. Breyfogle's in his mid-fifties, and is still probably best known for an affiliation with the Batman character, particularly those he did in partnership with the writer Alan Grant.

My memory -- I can't get comics.org to load right this minute -- is that most of higher-profile work recently has been with Archie, but I'm not sure how much total work that means.

We wish the artist the best in his rest and in any therapy that might be required. If there's any need or desire the family and friends have to reach out to Breyfogle's fans in the months ahead, I'm sure all of the comics industry-cognizant sites would be willing to help in some way.
 
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Go, Look/Bookmark: Pool Problems

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* you can a decent idea of the year ahead by looking at this site's forthcoming attractions page -- it's not perfect, but it has the skeleton in place. We are starting to see a lot of overlap on certain dates, and it's only going to get uglier in the years ahead. Also, the sheer number of shows is astonishing. It's not even all mainstream/pop culture shows, there are a number of comics art shows now.

* Zainab Akhtar provides a semi-lengthy write-up on the forthcoming Black Comix Art Festival in San Francisco. That one takes place next month.

* this is the first time I've seen a show bill itself as a 24-hour event. That could be interesting. I don't have any grasp on some of the wider fan cultures that feed through comic-con frameworks to know if there are a bunch of people looking for that kind of space on a con weekend. I also have very limited experience with the idea of going to a show to socialize, as opposed to the expectation that I'll work-socialize (well, I think they're different things).

* here's the exhibits line-up for Angouleme. There are four-five real crowd-pleasers in that crew.

* finally, I guess the poster below is the final poster for CAKE 2015, which is confusing in that I thought I'd already run the final poster. I guess that one was just special guests; this one includes comics characters and the like. That should be a fun show, and I hope to attend.

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Go, Look: One Person's Favorite Batman Covers

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through January 2015

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*****

December 19
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

December 20
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

December 21
* If I Were In Mumbai, I'd Go To This

December 28
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This

December 29
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This

December 30
* If I Were In Tokyo, I'd Go To This

*****

January 1
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

January 7
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

January 9
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)

January 10
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)
* If I Were Near Doncaster, I'd Go To This (Digi-Con)

January 11
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (Albuquerque Comic Con)
* If I Were Near Doncaster, I'd Go To This (Digi-Con)

January 18
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

January 19
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

January 29
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 30
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

January 31
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (Charlotte Mini-Con)

*****



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Go, Look: Typhoon 99 Chapter 9

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Chris Ware doesn't do a ton of writing about comics, so it's worth noting when he does something like this piece on Here.

image* Percy Brown, Jr. talks to Jimmy Swinnerton. Andy Yates talks to Josh Cotter.

* Sean Gaffney on SHOWA 1944-1953: A History Of Japan. Henry Chamberlain on The Valiant #1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Spell Of Desire Vol. 2. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Secret Six #1. Jerry Smith on Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 1.

* not comics: even well-liked sites may have something screwed up in their rights and rewards DNA.

* Kurt Busiek has some ideas on how he'd like to write Wonder Woman.

* Sonia Harris in praise of the new geeks.

* finally, it's hard not to love this photo of Seth, from TCAF 2014.
 
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Happy 61st Birthday, Richard Krauss!

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December 17, 2014


Go, Look: Ville Kallio

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Not Comics: Threats Related To Sony Hacking Incident Lead To Development Killed On Pyongyang Movie

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This isn't my world or even anything in which I'm terribly, terribly interested, but the recent Sony hacking flap and its massive overtones of potential North Korean government involvement because of the movie The Interview has led to a threat being made against theaters showing the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie (which was due to open Christmas Day), which led to theater chains saying "no thank you" to running the movie, which lead to Sony cancelling the movie's release. There's all sorts of points at which the story could be running on a fuel of pure bullshit, but even if everything were fully legitimate that would still be a depressing story. Still, one might remember that nearly ever major media company failed to either run or otherwise seek to make available in a responsible way the Jylland-Posten editorial cartoons despite the absolute newsworthiness and necessity of the public knowing what those cartoons looked like once the controversy kicked into high gear. This kind of straight-up push-shove commercial decision seem almost a slam dunk if you're willing to kick first principles to the curb.

One piece of intriguing fallout: a conception of the Pyongyang graphic novel attached to Steve Carell is apparently not going to be developed now, due to what the article claims is its sensitive subject matter. That's a bunch of horseshit, too. I imagine people will focus on the description which makes Pyongyang sound like a spy movie, but 1) I'm not sure if that's an accurate description of what was to be a loose adaptation featuring such elements or if it was simply entertainment media shorthand for a project that might be more difficult to describe otherwise, 2) even if they were going to do a version that concentrated on the North Korean city's S&M scene, the decision to defund art because of political persuasion one through a calculator would still be a horrible, depressing outcome.

You should read the book, if you haven't. It's really good. If nothing else, it might help when it comes to understanding our new Hays board.
 
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OTBP: A Is For Zebra

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Go, Read: Discussion About Malaise By Working Alt-Comics Pros

It's a companion piece to the Mike Dawson essay from a couple of months ago. Participating are T. Edward Bak, Molly Kiely, Roberta Gregory and Ted Stearn, among others. 2015 could be a big year in terms of people working out some really basic issues in terms of how much they want to give to the comics medium and the culture that surrounds that medium.
 
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OTBP: Tiny Masters

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