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
















July 25, 2014


Go, Look: 1000 Jokes

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If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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

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

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

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Go, Look: The Greatest Experiment

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Paul Gravett discusses top items from that British Library show.

image* Kelly Thompson on Rocket Raccoon #1. Rob Clough on new releases from Yeti Press. Erica Friedman on Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari Vol. 13.

* if you were to make a list of fundamental effects in comics -- not that this is specific or unique to comics -- showing the difference in size between two objects and mustering an effect from that fact would be right up there.

* Bryan Lee O'Malley on what he learned from Osamu Tezuka.

* for some reason, the usual humorous approach concerning these border kids strikes me as uniquely unsuited to the issue involved. I mean, I know that's not true; you can do humor about everything. It could be that I'm not up on the nuances on the issue.

* finally, Wonder Woman fights a bear.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Ray Billingsley!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Jon Lewis!

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Happy 73rd Birthday, S. Clay Wilson!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Alex Wald!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Chip Bok!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Ted Benoit!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Dan Shahin!

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July 24, 2014


ComiXology Announces DRM-Free Backup Feature At Their Thursday Comic-Con International Panel

During their panel today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the digital comics platform comiXology announced a DRM-free backup feature that in their words "allows customers to download and store copies of their books." They have also announced their first run of participating publishers, which as soon I can get my fat ass over to the panel from my one-thirty meeting will safely slide into the place this sentence goes.

imageThis isn't an area about which I know a ton, but my reading of this issue in the past was that the use of DRM by comiXology was key to their getting certain publishers to climb on board, but came at the price of open criticism and some customer loss from those that believe that having a copy of the work they wanted to view was infinitely preferable -- or at least preferable to the point of their deciding to participate -- than DRM protected media, which is often compared to buying a right to see something rather than the actual something. This leads to difficulties when a newer service shuts down, perhaps, and also can interfere with certain kind of transfer of material between devices.

I would also imagine that there might have been a slight hiccup in that for some people in the company, some folks using it and/or a few professionals assessing it, the Guided View reading technology could be characterized as the company's unique contribution. That will still be available, of course, but different formats might encourage different viewing options and at least strategically it's understandable you might check the direction of all oars, particularly early on.

Backups for existing copies are available through the "My Books" section starting today. The backups will be high-definition PDF and CBZ. I will be downloading a bunch for my comiXology books myself. I will also be consider some bigger purchases there -- I think I had been basically buying, if only subconsciously, books I wouldn't mind losing.

I think this is significant news for one of comics' major players.
 
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AdHouse Books Announces UR By Eric Haven As Its Sole Fall 2014 Season Offering

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The publisher AdHouse Books announced through its owner Chris Pitzer early today that it would be publishing a single book for the Fall 2014 season: UR by Eric Haven.

Pitzer told CR that he and the cartoonist started talking about doing a project together when the Richmond, Virginia-based publisher won the piece of art that Haven had donated to Rina Ayuyang's art auctions for Typhone Haiyan relief.

The book will run 48 pages in full color, will by a 6 X 9 inche softcover book, and will cost $14.95 USD.

UR is planned for a December release.

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Retrofit Comics Announces 2015 Creator Line-Up; Will Have James Kochalka's Fungus Ready For SPX 2014

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Box Brown of Retrofit Comics announced this morning a slew of creators with whom the publisher -- specializing mostly but not entirely in old-fashioned alt-comics of a serial nature -- will work in 2015. That list is:

* Matt Madden
* Yumi Sakugawa
* Sophie Franz
* Laura Lannes
* Kate Leth
* Andrew Lorenzi
* Laura Knetzger
* Maré Odomo

Brown also announced three projects with a bit more detail:

* an art book by the cartoonist and illustrator Steven Weissman
* a special edition of Future Shock, edited by Josh Berggraff
* two books by Brown

This is in addition to other projects as the schedule allows.

At SPX 2014, the publisher plans to have James Kochalka's Fungus: The Unbearable Rot Of Being on hand. Brown promises the work is a "surreal and funny outsider look at the elements of our own reality. That one will be 108 pages, perfect bound, and cost $12.
 
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Image Comics Makes A Dozen Publishing Announcements At Pre-SDCC Image Expo Event

imageImage Comics held one of their Image Expo events on the Wednesday preceding Comic-Con International, at the Hilton Bayfront. While there have been some small hints of controversy in so many events being held in proximity to the convention without being at the actual convention, having an Expo is certainly a way for the comics publisher to capitalize on a captive audience of press and fans waiting for the big show to start. They'll also win the initial 24 hours of press barring some sort of PR bomb being dropped.

They made 12 announcements:

* Descender, Jeff Lemire And Dustin Nguyen
* Drifter, Ivan Brandon And Nic Klein
* From Under Mountains, Marian Churchland And Claire Gibson And Sloane Leong
* Injection, Warren Ellis And Declan Shalvey
* Intersect, Ray Fawkes
* Invisible Republic, Gabriel Hardman And Corinna Bechko
* Kinski, Gabriel Hardman
* Rumble, John Arcudi And James Harren
* Southern Cross, Becky Cloonan And Andy Belanger
* The Humans, Tom Neely And Keenan Marshall Keller
* Tokyo Ghost, Rick Remender And Sean Gordon Murphy
* Tooth And Claw, Kurt Busiek And Ben Dewey
* Valhalla Mad, Joe Casey And Paul Maybury

A slightly cynical way to look at an Image announcement -- probably not the best way -- is to see them as positives project to project but also less time -- for the artists in particular -- to do work for mainstream comics companies. Gabriel Hardman, as an example, is a highly-skilled and highly-prolific artist of the kind on which mainstream companies have come to depend in recent years; if he finds the Image work more appealing in a way that limits his work for such companies, that's a big blow to them. Exponentially so if others that fit his general profile join him.

I've seen word of some of these projects before -- at least a couple of them here and there -- and I believe Kinski had a previous, digital life.

That looks like a solid line-up: a mix of versatile pros and people that cause their peers to freak out on tumblr. Image is at a place right now where even if none of these break out as a group they could be very vital to them as solid players throughout the line.

More information on individual projects can be found here.
 
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Bundled Extra: Publishing News Newsbriefs, Stories, Commentary & Links From Comic-Con International

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By Tom Spurgeon

What follows is a list in brief of comics publishing news stories that have come to light during and just preceding Comic-Con International weekend. If you've seen one that we haven't,

*****

Andrews McMeel
* Geoff Grogan's Plastic Babyheads series launches as digital-download books.

BOOM!
* the writer Justin Jordan will be doing three projects with the publisher, starting in November. (July 3)
* Roger Langridge will be doing an original all-ages project starting in December. (July 18)
* the writer Grant Morrison will be doing a project with the publisher. (July 22)
* Filip Sablik was named the President Of Publishing And Marketing. (July 16)

Koyama Press
* A. Degen's Mighty Star And The Castle Of The Cancatervater announced for Spring 2015

Marvel
* leading up to Comic-Con, Marvel announces several storyline changes to top characters related to Avengers brand: Thor will be a woman, Captain American will be Sam Wilson and therefore African-American, Tony Stark will have a "superior" storyline that explores negative elements of his character, and so on. (through July 22)

Monkey Brain Comics
* Neil Kleid and Dan Gasl announce Kings And Canvas. Partial Image Below. (July 22)

NCS
* 64-page free digital magazine National Cartoonist launches at NCS site and at ISSUU.

Self-Published
* Katie Skelly launches My Pretty Vampire on Tumblr in full-color with limited animation effects. Mini-comic version planned for SPX. Partial image above. (July 21)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: This Time

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* the Seattle True Independent Film Festival is now accepting digital comics submissions. I have no idea how that works, but visiting Seattle is fun.

image* Zainab Akhtar notes the creation of a new small-press show, this one hosted by Breakdown Press.

* Johanna Draper Carlson notes that Wizard is trying out a social media convention in conjunction with its sort-of comics I guess Chicago show. It's not the weirdest idea ever -- I know people that really admire the way certain people use social media tools -- but as it's one with absolutely no interest for me on any level it's hard for me to figure out if it will work.

* Brian Fies on the Baltimore Comics & Medicine conference. I miss self-directed posts like this one, it seems like most of that energy goes into social media.

* Chris Pitzer provided this set of photos from his trip to Chapel Hill in support of the visiting cartoonists Tom Scioli, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor.

* Roman Muradov made a very nice-looking advertisement for the Small Press Expo.

* finally, I'm not sure I'd seen the Latino Comics Expo poster for this year. That's an October event in San Jose.

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If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: This Is Legend #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Bob Temuka expresses his love for GI Joe. Rob Clough on Dragons: Riders Of Berk. Todd Klein on Dark Horse Presents #31. Don MacPherson on Spider-Man: Spirits Of The Earth. Justin Giampaoli on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on Lighter Than My Shadow.

* Rob Bricken seems slightly baffled by the big team superhero line-ups at both mainstream companies.

* go, look: a lovely illustration from Jean-Claude Forest.

* this was the first review of Seconds I'd read that wasn't a tweet. They are likely everywhere by the time this rolls out.

* finally, just in case you thought that harassment issues were solely a concern for the comics community, that's just not true.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Robert Greenberger!

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