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
















March 27, 2015


OTBP: Boutique Mag #1

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Go, Read: Evan Dorkin On The End Of Eltingville

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There's an amazing post here from Evan Dorkin where he talks about finishing work on The Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Role-Playing Club and his immediate prospects. It's as honest and forthright as Dorkin tends to get on these subjects, which is very. There are elements of getting older in terms of being able to produce work and also having the industry shift to a different place while you remain the same. I think everyone in comics and everyone that love comics and wants creators to do well should read it.

Also, RIP Eltingville. I really enjoyed those comics and look forward to the last installment.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

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

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through April 2015

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*****

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 2
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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 6
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This

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: A Favorite Cover From Childhood, Staged Out

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Richard Sala is doing a limited edition work through FU Press. I hope it sells out. Sala's in a super great art place right now, and has been for several years.

image* Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Vol. 15. Todd Klein on A Game Of Thrones Vol. 3. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Batman Eternal #50. Richard Bruton on Smoo #8. Jason on a bunch of comics, including Cul De Sac.

* caa = credit artists always.

* the great cartoonist Roger Langridge draws various Superman enemies.

* I've enjoyed coverage of Jiraiya's tour, particularly in that he's not having photos taken while on the road. Here's a great photo set of the artist being interviewed by Anne Ishii in Brooklyn. Man, that just looks alive and immediate and fun.

* Frank Santoro is getting ready for another round of his comics course.

* I always learn something over at Chris Schweizer's site.

* this nice announcement from Colleen Doran reminds me that every cartoonist I know is trying to deal with the surge in shows they can attend in part by figuring out where they've been recently and balancing that against going to places they haven't be to in years. I can't even imagine the number of factors coming into play.

* I like to think of the Periscope tables surrounding a deep pool of water from which a giant submarine emerges, piloted by Steve Lieber, that contains all of the studio's cartoonists.

* finally, this is a really interesting post from Ben Towle about seeking out some educational opportunities to improve aspects of his skill set.
 
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Happy 39th Birthday, Ivan Brandon!

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Happy 88th Birthday, Hy Eisman!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Mike Friedrich!

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March 26, 2015


Go, Look: Joana Estrela

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By Request Extra: Julia Wertz's Impossible People Fundraising

The cartoonist Julia Wertz is raising money for the completion of her once-abandoned, now-resurrected Impossible People, a planned follow-up to her well-regarded Drinking At The Movies. I guess a big chunk of it was done and then she decided not to proceed further. She needs to revisit the work, expand it, change some things. I think any artist that's working with material that potentially strong and personal is almost best served by a complicated relationship to getting that work done. It indicates that the cartoonist will know the final product worth publishing; it wasn't just the next book.

Wertz is raising money for the book, but unsurprisingly doing it on her own. If you're a fan, I'll hope you visit. I contributed a tiny, mockable amount yesterday so please do better than I did. This is a big year for finding ways to support the art you like that isn't putting off those payment into the future or assuming that someone else will at some point give that artist you like some money. It's also a big year in comics for finding modest, creative ways to help. In that sense, Wertz has done a lot of the work for you.
 
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Go, Look: Monica McKelvey Johnson

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Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Due To Stupid Ass Bill

It's not exactly comics, but it's next door and there's still a certain overlap between the two geek communities and the industries that serve them. Indiana governor Mike Pence has signed into law one of those right-to-discriminate bills that doesn't seem to do anything except provide solace to the side of the culture wars that sees these kinds of things as another exchange in culture wars. He does so in the light of a reach-out from the long-time gaming convention Gen Con, who said earlier this week they'll consider a move elsewhere if the bill is signed.

I imagine this has a long way to go yet. Now that the bill is signed, you're going to get people that suggest something along the lines that Gen Con keep its millions of dollars of business in the state but focus on businesses that make some sort of non-idiocy pledge. A lot of gamers are conservative at heart, and I haven't really heard from that side of things yet, either. I can imagine a split-convention scenario because of that conservative streak, although the reason the show is in Indy isn't tradition (it started in Wisconsin) but because it's a really nice place to have a show like that. Usually when people split because of political reasons they need another reason like loyalty to go on the record supporting the side that looks historically outdated.

It also makes me sad that such a useless-sounding bill is being passed in my home state. Gen Con stepping up in this fashion isn't something I've seen on an institutional level in the comics world; or at least I haven't seen something this dramatic. I think you might now, the way things have begun to sort themselves out. It's also nice to see that those that fear a relocation have a proper appreciation for what that show brings the community in terms of hard dollars.
 
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Go, Look: Hugo Hercules

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Crowds Of Pros Hit Seattle As ECCC 2015 Launches Tomorrow

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I mentioned early today that this weekend's Emerald City Comicon basically marks the beginning of the conventions/festivals season in North America. As I describe it in that post, I mean in a general way; everyone gets to name their own date for something goofy like that, and no reason to attempt to do so is a bad reason.

Seattle's one of our great comics cities. Fantagraphics is there, there is a whole new wave of young cartoonists and art-makers around the city for whom Fantagraphics was an old company the day they were born, and there is tremendous history of that being a good market for comics and related collectibles -- lot of smart people with a lot of creative habits making a lot of money. The city has taken to the show, at least based on the number of my non-comics friends in Seattle asking me about it each year. It's a well-run show and it combines a modern convention facility with actually being in a cool place. That sucker is right downtown, five blocks from people throwing fish around a marketplace.

I think it's going to be a good weekend, and a potentially great one, for a lot of the people on-hand. The weather is supposed to be nice as opposed to 2013's "Frost Giant Peeing On Everyone For 72 Hours" experience, and that's a lovelier city when it's allowed to show its face a bit. It's also been a crummy winter in terms of the mood of comics, with the worst thing of all being those murders in France.

In addition the usual safe trip and extravagant commercial outcomes, I wish a few things for all my friends and peers in attendance. Anything involving a business please double-check because I don't live there and they might have closed, but in general:

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1. Try to leave the convention center and hotel bar a few times. Take advantage of that downtown Seattle location. There are any number of restaurants that aren't eating at the hotel or eating at a chain right in the area. Seattle does really well with little French places for breakfast and lunch, storefront Italian, seafood and divey breakfast-style joints. They also have coffee in the area that is not corporate coffee, even though that's a home-team thing, too. Most of the great coffee places run neighborhood to neighborhood, but there are a few within easier reach: the Pike Street Victrola Coffee is where I get coffee during ECCC. That's really close, but you have to walk away from the water rather than towards it, which might feel counter-intuitive in downtown at the convention center. Vovito Caffe is in the lobby of a nearby hotel. Street Bean Espresso is somewhere around there, too, I think.

Other things to do that don't involve some tourism research are just walking the city, which is beautiful, heading to a bar for a drink, or just kind of poke around and shop if that's your thing. It's a lovely place, very atmospheric. If there are any outside parties being offered, hit them. If you're in a circle that involves local or regional cartoonists, let them show you around.

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2. Do enjoy the incredible closeness of the comics scene there, if that's your thing. It's a really nice bar convention in terms of the majority of pros hanging out in a designated area (could be two by now; it's been a couple of years) with liquor. I don't remember which hotel that is. You'll find it. And like I implied, it might be two. However that takes shape, it's nice to kind of hang out with your peers in the widest sense when you. New York and San Diego are a bit too big for this except on rare occasions so it's the super-regional efforts with a line into Indy Comics that seem to provide the best summary statement within four walls as to where we are and what we're up to. It's the kind of show where you meet people for the first time.

There's a lot of stuff to talk about, if this winter on Twitter and in various other outlets was any indication. Sometimes it's good to have those discussions in a different setting, one that forces you to deal with people personally rather than through a computer screen. Your mileage may vary. It's also nice to remember at comics shows that the people around you, many of them are doing That One Thing they've always been dying to do, the thing they hope will make their lives better and have an impression on readers worldwide. It doesn't always work out that way, but this weekend you're around way more people than usual making that attempt. That's always fun, and a little bit exciting. Spend some time in that bar. Invite some you only kind of know out for breakfast.

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3. Take the chance to visit all the Northwestern comics pros in attendance. That's a good weekend and great con to meet a bunch of comics professionals. Seattle has a good crew -- everyone say hi to Moritat -- and there are significant communities from Vancouver and especially Portland that attend. It's probably a little more busy than in the past, and a lot of those professionals are now much bigger stars than they were when they started going to Emerald City. It's still a great show to walk right up and introduce yourself to someone whose work you enjoy, particularly if there's a chance you might be able to buy some of it directly from them. They also do a lot of spotlight panels there, and some of those in the past haven't been attended as heavily as the big-star, big-publisher and big-property events, so that's a nice way to hear someone whose work you enjoy hold forth and maybe ask them more than one question.

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4. Visit Randys Readers. There will be a time when there is no more Randys Readers at Emerald City. We're all human, and lives go in different directions and eventually end. Hopefully, that year isn't this year. There's a lot of pretty good comics buying to be had at that show. The belle of the ball for my peer group has been Randys Readers, a booth that specializes in lower-grade (but still eminently readable) Silver Age and Bronze Age comics. This is a great thing as demand gets softer for comics that don't have an easy collectible tag, and thanks to that booth I own comics I never would have dreamed of having access to as a kid. I have the last 42 of Jack Kirby's initial amazing run on Fantastic Four, for example, and I didn't pay more than $3 for any single comic. I love it there, and all my Seattle friends go and dump a (mostly) reasonable amount of money. There are similar sections at some of the other booths as well. Bring your lists. Look around.

Everyone have fun! Everyone be safe! Everyone be nice to one another!

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OTBP: Collector

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Go, Read: Jonathan Ross On That Big Marvel Comics Book From Taschen

imageIt's right here.

I haven't read the book, so I can't make comparisons and everyone has a slightly different relationship with the icons of their youth. There are some interesting ideas in Ross' piece, though. The basic continuity of Marvel Comics is something I've never considered, how the conservative editorial philosophies post-1980 (it's hard to imagine Steve Gerber, Miller's Daredevil run or the Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men happening after things really settled in with the Shooter era) may have trapped in amber those characters in a way that today's audiences can directly connect with a lot of that original 1960s verve and skill and unvarnished potency as well as their subsequent 1970s young-person pushback and spin. I'd disagree with Ross that the 1960s were distinctive because of the artists' idiosyncrasies -- I just think there were better comics-makers covering more of that line back then than at any time in their history, although the modern era about four or five years ago is going to be potentially remarkable in the rearview window. One interesting thing for someone out there to explore could be a theory that Kirby's basic dominance was so complete that the stylists that did find a way onto the page doing something different -- Ditko, Colan, Adams -- were really striking just having run that editorial gauntlet.

I appreciate Ross' enthusiasm for the comics he loves, and I think he's a fine public witness to the thrills that comics storytelling can bring. Twenty-five years ago, comics people dreamed of celebrities doing this kind of thing.
 
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Go, Look: One-Page Killoffer Comic With Formal Twist

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this had to get to me from someone; my apologies to that person for not remembering
 
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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* as I've said before, I think this weekend is the big launch to the North American convention year. There are conventions earlier on the calendar and for some people the season won't begin until the first show of their preferred type (say MoCCA), and some people adhere to the classic schedule (which means the first con is WonderCon). But this weekend is Emerald City, which is a top ten show for sure and a favorite of a wide swathe of professional comics makers in America. Once a big show goes off, I think we're on our way. I believe this year's ECCC has a chance to be a really good show mood-wise because of the long winter just past and the con's usual blend of enthusiastic customers and effective showrunning. I hope it provides the industry with a shot in the arm.

* APE has announced a significant gallery partnership they think will hope with the Fall show but also help capitalize on the APE name for activities throughout the year.

* the Portland 'Zine Symposium has announced for 2015. That's been a good show for comics people, amid a bunch of good 'zine shows on the west coast that a number of comics people have been able to use. Rob McMonigal encourages your attendance here.

* here is this year's ELCAF profiled.

* here's another show I hadn't heard of before now: the Lilac City Comicon in Spokane, Washington.

* another year at MoCCA, another excellent slate of programming courtesy of that show's organizers working with the best in the game, Bill Kartalopoulos.

* finally, here are a couple of posters (Jeremy Baum, Mark Zingarelli) for the Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo (PIX), which goes this weekend. It's a show I'd forgotten about a bit with all these other shows going. It looks like a good line-up, and that's a vastly underrated comics town.

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posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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

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Go, Look: Imagery From Web Of Horror #3

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Nicole Bunge notes two hirings at Diamond.

image* Henry Chamberlain on Ninjak #1. Sean Gaffney on Kokoro Connect Vol. 3. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. Doug Zawisza on The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5. Jim Johnson on Miami Vice Remix #1. Greg McElhatton on The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1. Tom Murphy on Invisible Republic #1. Brandon Soderberg on Inner City Romance. Luke Geddes on Loverboys. Cynthia Rose on Munch. Rob Clough on Death In Oaxaca #1. Bob Levin on Inner City Romance. Greg Hunter on Howard The Duck #1.

* Albert Ching catches the latest example of President Obama talking comic books.

* Evan Phail gets into the publishing backstory for Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan.

* Bill Day has secured full-time employment at FloridaPolitics.com.

* I think at 12 years old I would have loved the hype that superhero comics receive now, even if I wonder that I'd be as interested in the actual comics that results. Time is slower when you're a kid -- go back and look at your favorite run of a comic book that seemed to last forever if you don't believe me -- but there's something so abrupt and ambitious and forceful about the way comics constantly reboot in pursuit of incremental sales gains that I really wonder after that reading experience. But the promos? Yeah, I would have adored the comics they put into my head, even if they never came to fruition.

* Tasha Robinson talks to Scott McCloud.

* finally, Sean Kleefled writes about how he deals with heated comics controversies in broad terms, using recent examples.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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