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
















January 29, 2015


Katsuhiro Otomo Wins Grand Prix Award At Angouleme

imageWire reports have lit up in the last 45 minutes with news that the cartoonist Katsuhiro Otomo has won the Grand Prix Award at this year's FIBD in Angouleme. That means he'll be president of next year's festival. That role means he'll be the focus of press attention and a shaper of the show itself with a likely personal retrospective and a likely additional show related to his work or an area/cartoonist about which he's passionate.

Otomo is the first person from the great world comics tradition in Japan to win the honor, which means it's incredibly overdue. I remember for a while under the old system thinking that Jiro Taniguchi might sneak in some year. With a more populist-oriented voting system rather than pure peer-review Otomo makes perfect sense. I think he's a great cartoonist and Akira is a great work, so I'm super-happy about this.

It also surprised the shit out of me, because I thought they voted during the weekend. It makes sense that you'd get the PR benefit of announcing as the show got underway, though.

The five cartoonists who were slain in the Charlie Hebdo killings received a special Grand Prix honor.


 
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Go, Look: Marta Monteiro

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Go, Look: Yoshikazu Ebisu Ads From Garo

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Go, Look: The Battle Of The Monsters

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Go, Look: Not Sure I've Ever Seen An EC Stoner Story

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Links, Statements And Notes As They Relate To The Charlie Hebdo Killings

This recurring column is a clearinghouse for various links and articles related to the killings in and around the Charlie Hebdo offices, and its violent aftermath in Paris a couple of days later. There will be links to material and the employment of images here or in the linked-to articles that may upset. Every link and every image used is intended to better facilitate this site's mission to inform.

* lot of standard "Hebdo remembered at Angouleme" articles out there this morning.

* Facebook has apparently complied with a Turkish court ruling about the posting of a Hebdo Muhammed image. The article plays it as a kind of old-fashioned message-board argumentation "gotcha" moment, but I don't know that I see isolated incidents like as damning or indicative. Lot of shit needs to be figured out and individual instances might be all over the place for a while.

* here's a report about a man with ties to the two brothers that pepetrated the murders being arrested, which sounds reasonable, followed by a report of an eight-year-old being questioned, which sounds insane.

* this Turkish press article gives a brief outline of how free speech issues as played out in the reaction to the Hebdo killings have nationalistic ramifications.

* this poll is interesting, that there was a spike in Americans believing in the publication of such cartoons after the Hebdo incident. I wonder what it would be right now.

* this breaks my heart because it sounds like the image was posted in a way that fulfills the newspaper's mission to inform, which I strongly believe does sometimes steer a publication into problematic areas.

* finally, it's the kind of thing in which I have the least interest regarding the Hebdo killings, but probably the biggest thing going in terms of on-line debating about broader issues of politics and discourse tangentially-to-directly involved with the Hebdo killings is this Jonathan Chait essay. Those responding include Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Alex Pareene, Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti. There may be more vitriol in all of those posts than reasoned discourse, but these are issues about which people feel strongly.
 
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Go, Look: New York City: The Future

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* there were several pertinent announcements this week, and I fully expect there to be stuffed columns every week this year I don't get to five or six stories as their own posts.

* Short Run, the well-liked Seattle small press show that's moved around a bit in town and on the calendar, has announced its 2015 show for October 31 and the Seattle Center. That's great news in that as far as I know no one else is doing a show that weekend and I hope to attend. They're in the Fisher Pavilion this time around -- I don't remember where they were that first year -- and that's a nice space. The Center is adjacent to a nice part of that city. Also, Halloween in Seattle seems like an occasion for socializing that won't make those of us over 35 head to the hills. It's also interesting news that they're sticking to a one-day model when most shows with the intensity of their success go to a two-day format sooner rather than later. I love one-day shows and I wish there was more of them. Also, they apparently make decisions at retreats, which is hardcore.

* did you wonder if New South Fest was still a thing? I did. It is! Heidi MacDonald gathered all the pertinent information and put it into one place. I love Austin, and wish them luck. They'll be open for exhibitor applications on Monday.

* CR talked to Zack Soto, the co-organizer on Linework NW, about the questions raised by the split exhibitor strategy in terms of the special guests: Daniel Clowes, Lisa Hanawalt, Lisa Congdon and Jay Howell. Basically, whether we'd see all four guests both days, or if one or two might be only doing one day of the show.
"We'll be posting the full schedules once we have all the confirmations from exhibitors, but fyi we will be splitting the tabling times of the guests. Most will have some crossover panels on the opposite days though, so they will be around just not tabling. The plan is to have Howell & Hanawalt star on Saturday, with Congdon & Clowes taking over on Sunday."
Thanks, Zack.

* APE has announced for October 3-4, the same weekend as the festival I'm running, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, which was announced last month. They're going to be in the San Jose Convention Center and it looks like they're shooting for about 300 exhibitors.

* ELCAF will be two days this year, and has announced for mid-June.

* finally, this travel site devoted to various methods of finding a place to stay in San Diego during Comic-Con International looks interesting, but I don't know enough about such sites to endorse it or whatever.
 
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If I Were In France, I'd Go To This

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through February 2015

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*****

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)

*****

February 1
* If I Were In Angouleme, I'd Go To This (FIBD)

February 5
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

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

February 7
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Dallas Comic Con)

February 8
* If I Were In Lodi, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Dallas Comic Con)

February 9
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

February 12
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

Feburary 13
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Shock Pop Comiccon)
* If I Were In Phoenix, I'd Go To This (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

Feburary 14
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Shock Pop Comiccon)
* If I Were In Phoenix, I'd Go To This (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

Feburary 15
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Shock Pop Comiccon)
* If I Were In Phoenix, I'd Go To This (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)

February 19
* If Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (ComicsPRO Annual Meeting)

February 20
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This
* If Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (ComicsPRO Annual Meeting)

February 21
* If Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (ComicsPRO Annual Meeting)
* If I Were Near Sunderland, I'd Go To This (Sunderland Comic Con)

February 22
* If I Were Near Sunderland, I'd Go To This (Sunderland Comic Con)

February 27
* If I Were Near Warren, I'd Go To This (Great Lakes Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Berkeley, I'd Go To This

February 28
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Expo)
* If I Were Near Warren, I'd Go To This (Great Lakes Comic-Con)

*****



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Go, Look: Eagle Annual #7

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Colm Creamer on Nikolai Dante Volume One: The Romanov Dynasty. Nicole Rudick on The Complete Zap. Gary Tyrrell on The Sculptor.

* not comics: it looks like most big-city and university-town dwellers will have a better-than-average chance to see the film version of Diary Of A Teenage Girl. That sounds good; count me in.

* not comics: an album cover by Jaime Hernandez I hadn't seen, or have forgotten if I had.

* Matthew Badham talks to Calum Laird. Whit Taylor talks to Chuck Forsman. Janelle Asselin talks to Matt Gagnon. Andrew Yates talks to Dan Brereton.

* far too late I'm reminded that Jessica Abel does an eating guide for Angouleme.

* someday I'd like to sit down and give some serious thought to the history of gaming comics, which have to be somewhere between their 30th and 40th year at this point. They're still going strong.

* not comics: Golden Apple is included in this photo-essay of 1980s Melrose Avenue landmarks.

* finally, Eric Roesner presents the very first Yeti Press effort.
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, Chad Nevett!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Sascha Hommer!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Jeph Loeb!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Ryan Kelly!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Brian Wood!

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January 28, 2015


Go, Look: Josh Burggraf

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Zunar Sends Along Photos Of Police Raiding His Office, Confiscating His Books

The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar had four images sent along via an e-mail today: two of his office where police have newly visited looking to confiscate books, and two of the cover images of the books in question. Zunar is currently in London so missed the visit.

His message:
"Malaysian police raided my office this morning (Jan 28, 2005) under Section 2 of the Printing Press and Publications Act (PPPA), Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act, and Section 500 of the Penal Code. But I am currently in London. 155 books were confiscated in the raid -- Pirate of The Carry BN and Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar."
Zunar has been the target of renewed harassment by authorities in his native country since last Fall, starting just a couple of weeks after he won a major court decision about harassment and confiscation issues that were directed at him in 2010. As such -- and also for the broad array of entry points they seem to be using -- this series of events reads as more troubling to me as the first round.

The cartoonist is respected as a fearless political and social commentator, although I have yet to see a single cartoon from him that would cross the line at even the most conservative, old-timey North American newspaper editorial page. We wish him the continued best in the months ahead and he'll have our direct support if there's a tangible way to offer it during whatever comes next.

Two photos, two cover images:

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Go, Look: The First Book Of Jazz

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A Couple Of Notes About This Weekend's Angouleme Festival

The Festival International De La Bandes Dessinées is sort of unofficially underway in Angouleme right now. A formal start tomorrow. That's always a big deal: it's the biggest and most important show for one of great world traditions of comics. This year is of special interest for a few obvious reasons: here are some of the things to keep an eye on.

image1. Hebdo. The biggest worldwide news story of the year so far, the murder of multiple people in the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7, is bound to dominate the discourse and mood of the show this year round. I have no idea what this means we'll see in an overall sense, but I suspect that first and foremost extra security measures are going to make a show sometimes difficult to negotiate outright treacherous. I hope all of my friends that desire to see one exhibit or another will use any special opportunity they have to do so. I also imagine that you'll see some really broad gestures on behalf of free speech, perhaps even the French equivalent of Dr. Doom crying because of 9/11. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. I'll be most interested to see how much it's on the minds and tongues of those attending.

2. Watterson. It's Bill Watterson's presidency this year, the outcome of a voting designed to engage with a larger number of candidates and reduce pressure on the winners to negotiate how to give or not give a first-sentence-of-obit honor to friends and peers. Watterson drew a new comic and will be represented with a version of the Billy Ireland museum exhibit, which was impressive when I saw it in Columbus last year. It remains to be seen if this more populist-oriented way of voting leads to candidates that capture the imagination of those attending. We'll also have a second round of voting of grand prix to kind of figure out where that award is going.

3. Comics As A Career. My understanding is that careerist issues are an underlying but vital issue in French-language comics right now, with some younger and even popular cartoonists making public their desire to go down a more rewarding career path. My further understanding is that this introspection was triggered by some policy proposals in terms that would have a direct impact on all cartoonists below the "wildly successful" line, but has as its main fuel the reshaping of the French industry over the last several years towards a huge number of titles being published but very few breaking out and selling more than modest number. At the same time, I also get the sense from watching that market and its culture that you have a lot of comics-makers and institutions that are matter-of-fact about what they do and their desire to continue doing it; it's a structural issue, not a generational one. I think the number of experienced pros on hand should make for a really good festival in the wider sense: there should even be a solid slate of events outside of the official ones, as those are run by mostly veteran comics-makers now.

4. US Indy/Alt Presence. There are a number of cartoonists and comics people heading over. Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics is one of the newbies that this year benefits from a state-sponsored program to get coverage and secure publishing arrangements for French-language comics; it's a program I've applied to but for which I wasn't selected. But hey, if I were a French cartoonist I'd rather see more North American publishers than press. I think there's a small but significant number of the cartoonists over there for whom their primary publisher in Europe isn't just a bonus avenue for getting the work out there but very nearly or even absolutely a primary publisher. In return, it's interesting to see which cartoonists drive interest.

5. comiXology. I have no idea if their deal with Amazon has changed the way they're perceived or even has publishing ramifications, but I'm going to keep an ear to the ground in case there are any rumblings similar to the faint ones over here last year when it was announced last Spring.

I hope that everyone is traveling safely and continues to be safe through the entire weekend. We all look forward to seeing what results.
 
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OTBP: I Am Such A Disappointment

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This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases From 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.

*****

NOV140529 CASANOVA ACEDIA #1 (MR) $3.99
NOV140643 BITCH PLANET #2 (MR) $3.50
NOV140680 SEX #19 (MR) $2.99
SEP140750 SEX CRIMINALS #10 (MR) $3.50
NOV140175 MULTIVERSITY GUIDEBOOK #1 $7.99
NOV141132 ADVENTURE TIME #36 $3.99
There's not a stuff out this week that I personally enjoy -- it's sort of the opposite of last week -- so I'd pay some extra attention to the comic book-format comics and maybe even take home more than listed here. It's a good week for Image, with new Bitch Planet, Sex and last year's surprise hit Sex Criminals. The most interesting comic to be in their section of the Diamond list is the first issue of Matt Fraction rotating collaboration with Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon: Casanova. That's the series' third cycle and I think the second cycle in particular was overlooked. I don't have any interest in a guidebook but Grant Morrison's involvement and the presence of some short comics will have me picking it up. The Adventure Time jumped out at me because I would have guessed they were still in the early 20s issues-wise.

imageNOV141817 TWELVE-CENT ARCHIE SC $26.95
This is Bart Beaty's new work, a dissection of Archie publications from the 1960s with a resulting 100 essays/observations. I'm looking forward to reading it; it should be fun. Bart sometimes publishes here, so you'll probably never know if this is a reliable recommendation or not, but I still look forward to seeing my copy.

NOV141526 LOU CALE SNAPPING BIG APPLES BAD SEEDS HC (MR) $34.95
This looks like hardcore mainstream French BD: a period-piece comic from the late 1980s, early 1990s album series about a crime photographer who then solves the crimes.

SEP140081 EYE OF NEWT HC $17.99
This is the kind of painted, high-fantasy comic that probably kept me interested in the medium between the ages of 10 and 12 yet also something for which I have almost new appetite now. It looks pretty, though, and I tend to like the Dark Horse no-fuss method of collecting their various short series.

DEC141512 LOVE & ROCKETS LIBRARY GILBERT GN VOL 01 HEARTBREAK SOUP $18.99
OCT141485 LOVE & ROCKETS LIBRARY GILBERT GN VOL 05 OFELIA $19.99
OCT141487 LOVE & ROCKETS LIBRARY JAIME GN VOL 03 PERLA LA LOCA (NEW PT) $18.99
DEC141510 PRISON PIT GN VOL 02 $14.99
DEC141511 PRISON PIT GN VOL 03 $14.99
DEC141024 STREET ANGEL HC NEW PTG (MR) $19.95
DEC141532 ZITA THE SPACEGIRL GN NEW PTG $12.99
OV141451 EIGHTBALL GHOST WORLD TP $14.99
It's reprint season. I'm sure there are tons more books of this type coming out, but I only caught these on a walk-through. You likely want them all.

NOV141184 JOHN CULLEN MURPHY BIG BEN BOLT DAILIES TP VOL 01 $24.95
I would have featured this one more prominently, but none of the images on-line are big enough for me to do that. John Cullen Murphy's sports comic was a tiny bit out of its time, but it was handsome and looked good in a suit (or in shorts) and at this late date you can imagine it having a half-generation's worth of serious plaudits that never quite came through in the real world.

DEC141509 SAINT COLE GN $19.99
This is Noah Van Sciver's comic about a chemically agitated dope who wanders around fucking things up before things take a change for the [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]. It's not my favorite milieu for Van Sciver, but it's one that's proven very popular for him in carving out some space in the imaginations of his peer group and from alt-comics fans more generally.

*****

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: Desert Eyeball

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Go, Look: 1940s Gag Panel Gallery

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