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December 21, 2008


FFF Results Post #145 -- Remembering 2008

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Memorable Comics-Related Things About 2008 (A Book You Read, An Experience You Had, An Event That Made You Take Notice -- Anything That Would Help You In The Future Recall This Year." This was how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Kurt Westergaard Assassination Plot
2. Richard Thompson's First Cul De Sac Collection Came Out
3. Jim Borgman Leaves Cincinnati Enquirer
4. Steve Gerber Passes Away
5. Marvel's Secret Invasion vs. DC's Final Crisis

*****

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Gerry Alanguilan

1. The release of two important Philippine graphic novels: Martial Law Babies by Arnold Arre, and Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo.
2. The flurry that resulted from the appearance of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the pages of Secret Invasion and the cries of "GMA is a Skrull!" that followed. The news even reached Malacanang (our local White House) but issued no comment. Leinil Francis Yu clarified GMA's appearance by saying in no way was GMA portrayed as a Skrull.
3. Komikon 2008: The 4th Philippine Comics Convention as finally grown too big for it's venue.
4. The opening of at least three Philippine comics specialty shops and the closing of none.
5. The collapse of Sterling Paper's comic book line under comics veteran Carlo J. Caparas after a much touted, much publicized launch in 2007 that saw the "Return of Komiks" to the newsstand. Five titles ran for at the very least eight issues each, distributed nationwide, before disappearing without fanfare.

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Colin Panetta

* discovered the work of Brendan McCarthy
* first issue of RASL come out
* I added a few webcomics to my RSS reader
* the first issue of my own comic, Dead Man Holiday came out
* some brushes with superhero comics (not very important to me, but culturally they make very effective time markers): People wouldn't shut up about Iron Man and then got even louder when Dark Knight came out, I bought and pretty much enjoyed two issues of Uncanny X-Men in December

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Charles Brownstein

1) Neil Gaiman announces Gordon Lee win at NYCC, mere hours after the judge's order came through.
2) CBLDF signs on as special consultant for the defense of manga collector Christopher Handley six months later.
3) Rory Root dies. At the memorial, more people are standing on the sidewalk outside Comic Relief talking one fashion of business or another than are inside the sweltering heat of the store listening to tribute speeches. I think he'd have approved.
4) Clearing the bookshelf to make way for the embarrassment of riches that have recently come out. RASL, DC's Jack Kirby program, Beanworld, Creepy Archives, Echo, Berlin, and Bottomless Belly Button are just a few of the books that made me really excited about comics this year. 2008 had more stuff I wanted to read than any other year in recent memory.
5) Coming back from SPX with a big hardcover collection of Ron Rege's collected mini-comics and a new hardcover from Nate Powell sure seemed like the end of one small press era and the opening of the next one. Jeff Mason's recent Facebook photos from SPXs when we all looked so much younger sure seemed to underscore that point.

*****

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Aaron White

1. Meeting Jaime Hernandez. My fiance's old roommate always tried to copy Maggie's hairstyle, so Jaime drew me a sketch of Maggie brushing her hair.
2. Meeting Kevin Huizenga.
3. Meeting Sammy Harkham.
4. Meeting Rick Trembles.
5. Meeting Tom Spurgeon.

*****

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Justin Colussy-Estes

1) Publishing contraction (Random House's shakeup alone affects Del Ray Manga and Pantheon, Tokyopop crashes, and layoffs at several smaller comics publishers -- all of which pales compared to the devastation felt in editorial cartooning)
2) Yen publishes Yen+, giving the Viz manga anthologies a run for their money.
3) Comic strip collections explode beyond all output in the previous decade (I bought The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For and the Gary Gianni/Mark Schultz Prince Valiant volume on the same day, and those weren't even the most notable strip collections released that month!), while the comics pages shrink a little more (when did For Better or For Worse finally peter out? And Opus, just to name two huge strips...)
4) That Emmanuel Guibert YouTube video demonstrating how he drew Alan's War. I could (and did) send that link to anybody I knew and they thought it was cool.
5) This is more local, but it ties into a national story: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution decides not to run Doonesbury's post-election Obama strips (and, to bring this full circle: they may have changed their minds, but I wouldn't know because my wife finally gave up on her newspaper subscription).

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Sean Kleefeld

1. I stopped buying Marvel comics entirely for the first time in 25 years. (March)
2. I inherited my father's comic book collection when he cleaned out his basement. (April)
3. Jack Kirby Collector #50 (April)
4. I switched to reading legal online comics exclusively and stopped buying printed comics altogether. (June)
5. Wowio got bought by Platinum and went immediately to pot. (July)

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Josh Blair

1. Jim Borgman leaves the Cincinnati Enquirer. (I grew up seven miles from Cincinnati in Northern Kentucky and Jim Borgman was the only political cartoonist I really knew until I moved out of the region when I was 22. I didn't realize how good I had it political cartoonist wise and that not every newspaper had such a great cartoonist.)
2. $125 for a comic? Kramer's Ergot 7.
3. Dark Knight grosses a kajillion dollars.
4. Iron Man was a much more entertaining, but not necessarily better, movie.
5. Presidential comics

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Fred Hembeck

1. Meeting Jules Feiffer for the first time at a Children's Book Expo held at a local school my daughter once attended, and having him sign my nearly 40-year-old copy of The Great Comic Book Heroes while I stammered out a few heartfelt compliments.
2. Actually finding myself looking forward to a movie based on a comic book character -- Iron Man -- and then actually liking it. A lot. (Of films released on July 18th, 2008, I'm always gonna prefer Mamma Mia to The Dark Knight -- guess that's just the kinda guy I am these days...)
3. After being aware of him since about 1967 -- and he of me since around 1977 -- I finally met Mark Evanier face to face not once, but twice, at a pair of NYC comicons where he was promoting his fine Kirby book.
4. Got to read Blake Bell's fascinating book about my favorite cartoonist, Steve Ditko, Strange and Stranger.
5. And speaking of books -- Not a dream!! Not a hoax!! Not an imaginary story!! -- MY very own book, "The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus" was published!! (And if I was allowed a sixth entry, howsabout being interviewed--twice, thanks to a mysterious recording malfunction--regarding said volume by noted journalist, Tom Spurgeon? But I only get five, right? So let's just forget I mentioned it...)

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Russ Maheras

1.) This summer I met Krista Hanley, daughter of the late, great fan artist (and friend) Alan "Jim" Hanley, who died in a motor vehicle accident on Christmas Eve in 1980. Krista was only an infant the last time I saw her 30 years ago, just before I shipped off to Air Force basic training.
2.) The nice folks at IDW asked me to write the introduction to Volume 5 of the Eisner Award-winning reprint book series, Terry and the Pirates. It features Milton Caniff's 1943-1944 Terry strips, and was just published a couple of weeks ago.
3.) In another long-awaited Caniff-related event, Volume 1 of the Steve Canyon television show DVD was just released, featuring the first 12 episodes of the rare, long-lost (and top-notch) 1958-1959 series.
4.) Blake Bell's long-awaited book about Steve Ditko, Strange and Stranger, was published.
5.) Dave Stevens passed away.

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Torsten Adair

1. Returning to the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble, where I had worked nine years, for a book event for American Widow, by Alissa Torres and Sungyoon Choi. As I approached Mrs. Torres, she recognized me. She reminded me that when she first started thinking about writing a book about her experiences, she had come to my store, asked for advice, and I had recommended to her the best books to use.
2. Leaving the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest Barnes & Noble stores for a job at the home office helping maintain the product database. Just as I had godfathered the Graphic Novel section at the store, making it one of the best in the country, so do I now godfather the graphic novel bibliographic data which feeds BN.com and store systems.
3. Understanding why the sub-prime bubble burst, having learned about speculation from various comics implosions and Neil Gaiman's essay on Tulipomania.
4. Volunteering at the NYC HQ of the Obama campaign, enjoying the various tie-in comics, freebasing the zeitgeist of the Election, and realizing that a comicbook fan will soon be President.
5. Attending my first Anime convention (New York Anime Festival), enjoying the sheer joy and wonderment of the other attendees, and realizing that anime and manga subculture is more similar to the science fiction and fantasy subcultures than it is to comics subculture.

*****

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Denis St. John

1. graduating from The Center for Cartoon Studies/giving graduation speech
2. teaching comics to my first high school class
3. seeing classmate Chuck Forsman winning 2 ignatz
4. seeing classmate Joe Lambert in The Best American Comics 2008
5. self publishing Monsters & Girls: Amelia

(I know this is a completely self involved list, but 2008 was personally the biggest year for me ever, in terms of comics)

*****

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Paul Pope

1.) Jeff Smith starts publishing RASL, which, for what it's worth, I believe is the best new comic book series to appear from a North American talent this year. Incidentally, I remember him first telling me the basic plot outline for this story as long ago as November 2001. Which goes to show you, you sometimes must wait long and act fast. Like a panther.

2.) I delivered the first big batch of Battling Boy pages to my editor at First Second for review and the signed copies of the THB contract were all accounted for. Personally, this is significant because it means most of the new comics material I will be releasing in English for the next four or five years will be through First Second -- and that these will be appearing as original graphic novels in soft/hardcover format-- and not initially as comic books or webcomics.

3.) 2008 found me regularly writing/drawing comic book feature editorial for mainstream magazines such as Wired, GQ, and VMAN. How this is significant for me personally is probably obvious, but what is objectively significant about this is that placement in such newsstand magazines allows for new comics to reach an audience much larger -- and much less attenuated to comics -- than an audience for many of the so called "mainstream" comic book periodicals-- and in a much less trumpeted, less obvious manner. We've seen this already emerge as a trend, with artists like Chris Ware doing features for New York Times Magazine and Nest, and others in places like The New Yorker. When you add reprints in the overseas magazine editions, the audience for this material can reach well into healthy six-digit numbers.

4.) 2008 was a stellar year for high-end comic book reprints of classic material -- such as Marvel's Omnibuses, IDW's Noel Sickles book and the Terry reprints, Evanier's Kirby book, FB's Fletcher Hanks collection, etc. I would add the VIZ edition of Kazuo Umezu's Cat-Eyed Boy to this list as well, my
favorite book(s) of 2008. Virtually everything comics-related I purchased in 2008 (with the exception of 100 Bullets, RASL, All-Star Superman, and a handful of comics book periodicals here and there) was in soft or hardcover format.

5.) Looking back on it, with the exception of when overseas, I don't think I stepped into a comic book shop once during the entire year and any con appearances I did were strictly that -- roll in, sign, get out. There is no malice in this on my part, it's just a fact. I didn't realize it until I starting thinking about it in relation to your 5 for Friday topic, but I now do all my regular shopping for comics online.

*****

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Jean-Paul Jennequin

1. Launching a French-language site on LGBT comics called LGBT BD. Alright, so I'm biased.
2. The death of Raymond Macherot
3. For Better or for Worse concluding. I even dreamt I was going to Lawrence's shop to buy flowers for Elizabeth's wedding.
4. Attending Periscopages, a comic festival in Rennes specializing in the indie scene. Great exhibitions of the works of Benoit Jacques, Nylso, Vincent Fortemps and the Misma small-press label.
5. All the hullaballoo about the (yeuch!) comic version of Saint-Exupery's Little Prince by Joann Sfar

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. The utterly amazing line-up of Indy creators at HeroesCon
2. Moderating a monthly comics Discussion group in Charlotte (thanks to Heroes)
3. Fantagraphics (after Eclipse) completing the publication of the entire run of weekend Krazy Kats
4. Finally -- the complete Scorchy Smith
5. Kramers Ergot #7

(I had to narrow it down from 15 -- what an outstanding year!!)

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Dave Stevens passes away.
2) Record breaking prices of original comic art, especially by Wally Wood, Bilal and Herge.
3) The continuing trend of wonderful art books and serious archival collections being published.
4) The effect the Watchmen movie trailer had on sales of the book.
5) Scott Dunbier starting at IDW -- certainly an event that will hold great meaning for me.

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Happily, adding graphic novels to the curricula of the Graphic Design History classes I'm teaching.
2. Pleasurably, engaging in an intelligent, lively discussion about A Small Killing at an L.A. Graphic Novel Book Club meeting.
3. Sadly, writing a Will Elder tribute for the AIGA/Voice site on the occasion of his death.
4. Joyfully, interviewing Rian Hughes and Paul Buhle for AIGA/Voice.
5. Gratefully, gaining the ability to rave about Breakdowns, my favorite comics book, to people without worrying I might need to let them borrow my 1977 edition.

*****

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James Langdell

1. Having a manhattan and grilled oysters on my first visit to the Farley Bar, surrounded by framed Phil Frank originals
2. Watching For Better Or For Worse zig-zagging to a conclusion and restart
3. Talking with Jeff "Museum of Lost Wonder" Hoke at the APE show about his visits to Manly P. Hall's library (and looking over a drafts of Hoke's next pamphlet
4. Staring inches away from the zip-a-tone layering on Tezuka originals at the Asian Art Museum
5. Being surprised by the offer of the loan of a Jason book by a coworker who I didn't know was into comics at that level

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Laying Madman Atomic Comics #9 end to end and seeing the single continuous panel
2. My pal Joelle Jones redesigning the X-Women for the hell of it.
3. Realizing that Secret Invasion and Final Crisis were the exact same book, full of sleeper agents spreading like a virus and working on the premise that "evil wins" (albeit, the victories come at separate points in the story).
4. Losing Dave Stevens, as well as many other wonderful people.
5. Comics folks taking a chance, getting political, and talking about the world, including the community effort of www.comicsindustryforobama.com

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1 - Steve Gerber Died
2 - Iron Man Was Actually Quite Good
3 - Dave Sim Returns With Two New Projects
4 - Original Graphic Novels Take A Beating In The Market
5 - Realbuzz Studios Inc. Dissolves Much To The Relief Of Buzz Dixon

*****

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Mark Brodersen

1. Exploring the Comic Art Museum in San Francisco
2. Getting my official Alcatraz comic book from the National Park Services after the tour
3. Persepolis collected edition and seeing the animated movie
4. Iron Man movie
5. The Ten-Cent Plague

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Seeing three pretty good superhero movies this year, including one that wasn't comics-based.
2. Buying several new Dave Sim comics.
3. Getting a "shut up and leave me alone" form letter from Dave Sim.
4. Buying Willie & Joe on a whim at a great discount and still suffering buyer's remorse.
5. Being very glad I bought it after all once I read most of vol. 1 over a weekend much later.

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. My first time going to San Diego Comic con and finally meeting many comic pros face to face.
2. The spring/summer of good comic book movies. Iron Man, Hulk, Hellboy 2, Wanted, & Batman.
3. The death of Rory Root.
4. Dave Sim doing comics again, going online to various message boards and then his withdrawal.
5. The 10-Cent Plague.

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Fatalysia #3 debuting at the SPX
2) Jerry Siegel's heirs getting a share of the copyright of Superman
3) Dumm Comics
4) Love and Rockets: New Stories #1
5) United Feature Syndicate offering all of its strips online for free.

*****

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Michael Aushenker

1) The experience of writing the new Gumby's Gang Starring Pokey for WildCard Ink, which entailed working with my terrific editors -- Mel Smith, Paul Birch and Bob Burden -- my super-talented artist pal Rafael Navarro, and iconic characters Gumby, Pokey and Prickle
2) Witnessing my entire childhood go mainstream and global, best captured by the downright surreal experience of driving around my city and seeing the Invincible Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Bat-Man and the Joker looming large on billboards, buses, and the sides of buildings all over Los Angeles
3) Meeting Method Man, one of my favorite rap stars of all time, at Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood, where he was signing copies of his Method Man graphic novel
4) Being introduced to the comics of Kazuo Umezo (via The Drifting Classroom)
5) Being introduced to Rutu Modan (in person at SD Comic-Con)

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. Steve Gerber died.
2. Bottomless Bellybutton published
3. Big, big Kramer's Ergot
4. I met Lynda Barry!
5. Mike Carlin turned 50

*****

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John Vest

1. Steve Gerber's death
2. Love & Rockets going to an annual book format
3. The return of '80s indie creations (Journey in Many Happy Returns, American Flagg Definitive Collection with new story, Beanworld Christmas Comic)
4. New Steve Ditko comics (Avenging Mind and Ditko, Etc.)
5. Attending HeroesCon 2008 events and seeing several favorite creators in person (including Jaime Hernandez and Roy Thomas)

*****

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Eric Knisley

1. 24 Hour Comics Day. I made one -- my best decision all year.
2. Helping Andy and Vanessa move Chapel Hill Comics to their new digs (and the resulting party).
3. Gus and his Gang: outstanding!
4. Joining the Triangle Drink'n'Draw group. And then drinking and drawing a lot.
5. Sitting out most of the Cons this year.

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. We lost Steve Gerber.
2. Garry Trudeau called the election early.
3. Tank Girl joined the lineup of Judge Dredd Megazine.
4. Vertical started Black Jack reprints.
5. Love & Rockets moved to the annual format.

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) The Watchmen explosion.
2) Major shifts in the world of comics-coverage medias (the erosion of Wizard, Imaginova's acquisition of Newsarama, ComicMix troubles, Comic Foundry and Write Now ending, etc.)
3) The ends of For Better or For Worse and Opus
4) DC Editorial's mishandling of Grant Morrison's superhero storytelling (Countdown to Final Crisis, "Batman R.I.P." and Final Crisis)
5) Troubles in manga publishing (Tokyopop cancelling popular books, bookstore ordering slashed)

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. I covered Comic Con International in San Diego for comicbookresources.com
2. Matt Wiegle made a collection of my comics called Murder and we sold it at MoCCA
3. Kramers Ergot 7 came out and I hope I get it for Christmas
4. Grant Morrison wrote Final Crisis and "Batman R.I.P." and I really enjoyed them
5. I reviewed three comics a week all year long at my blog

*****

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Will Pfeifer

1. The ending of All-Star Superman #11, with Morrison and Quitely finishing a perfect issue with a breathtaking tribute to Siegel and Shuster.
2. My run on Catwoman coming to an end. Damn!
3. That collection of Howard Chaykin's American Flagg! finally arriving in stores
4. The death of Dave Stevens. It goes without saying, but too young.
5. The death of Will Elder. Much older, but still a big, big loss.

*****

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Matthew Wave

1. The death of Muriel Kubert
2. Where the Demented Wented -- and the attendant desire for the collecting of the rest of Hayes' comic book work
3. The North American ascendance of the great and psychotic Kazuo Umezu -- and the attendant desire for more
4. The Secret Six get an ongoing series -- so you better enjoy it while it lasts.
5. The demise of the Minx imprint

*****

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Frank Santoro

1. Heroes Con hotel bar when the Dub Show girls sat down
2. Bodyworld starting last January
3. Glamourpuss
4. Speak of The Devil last issues (spring/summer feeling, ah)
5. Kramers Tour

*****

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Russell Lissau

1. My final issues of The Batman Strikes were published, including one issue that featured a character based on my daughter.
2. I appeared on my first Wizard World panel
3. I read -- and re-read -- and thoroughly enjoyed The Umbrella Academy, my favorite book of the year
4. Iron Man.
5. The Dark Knight.

*****

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Marc Bryant

1. RIP Steve Gerber
2. I cut my comics pull list (singles) to the least amount of titles in over 20 years. At it's height, I purchased around 15 titles a month.
3. The success of the Dark Knight and Iron Man films
4. I began work on The Card Cheat with constant collaborator Mal Jones.
5. Foolkiller, Omega the Unknown and Howard the Duck were all published with no visible input from Steve Gerber.

*****

Thanks to all that participated. The feature will return in January.

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