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

















May 4, 2016


Go, Look: The Book Of Cave Tooth

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

*****

MAR161462 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 25 1999-2000 $29.99
It's a super-solid week at the comics shop, which makes sense given how many people will be in these shops for Free Comic Book Day this weekend. To my mind the key book is the 25th Complete Peanuts volume, with one coming afterwards that collects things that are not the strip itself. This has been a great series, with renewed fun and interest for me at like seven different points along the way. I look forward to reading these at some remove. Also, they got the President Of The United State to write an intro, which means he and I are peers now -- except he gets better comics-writing gigs than me.

imageMAR160030 BEASTS OF BURDEN WHAT CAT DRAGGED IN ONE SHOT $3.99
MAR160028 BALTIMORE EMPTY GRAVES #2 $3.99
MAR160017 HELLBOY IN HELL #9 $2.99
MAR160599 WICKED & DIVINE #19 CVR A MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.50
MAR160600 WICKED & DIVINE #19 CVR B ANKA (MR) $3.50
MAR160811 HOWARD THE DUCK #7 $3.99
MAR160827 MOON KNIGHT #2 $3.99
MAR161227 GIANT DAYS #14 $3.99
I think the Beasts Of Burden series is a solidly entertaining one, and look forward to the Dorkin/Dyer + Thompson combination any way it crosses my face. This time it's a one-shot. I hope it does well enough to compel everyone involved to do more. That's two from Mignola-verse, including what's been a fun, art-driven series for me, Hellboy In Hell. Wicked & Divine is a solid performer in full batshit crazy action mode right now, which is always appealing. Howard The Duck finds writer Chip Zdarsky 3.5 percent more comfortable with the title every single issue. It's still unclear where this kind of comedic-adventure version reaches its limit. We won't know until after it happens. Moon Knight I haven't seen yet, but it's apparently Jeff Lemire. Talked to a retailer in Indiana who says that Lemire's usual hardcore fanbase hasn't followed him to this one, at least not right away. Giant Days is the project for which writer John Allison received recent attention from the Eisner Awards. I feel bad it's 14 issues in and I haven't caught up to it, either.

DEC150343 GOTHAM CENTRAL OMNIBUS HC $99.99
JAN160354 SCALPED HC BOOK 04 DELUXE EDITION (MR) $29.99
Two different DC book program offerings. I'm contractually obligated to mention I don't know anyone that would prefer an Omnibus edition to a big stack of single issues, but everyone I know is young, dumb and unsophisticated. Scalped I think was under-appreciated while it was an ongoing, and I'm happy to see that it's coming out in different formats, indicating continued commercial interest.

MAR160598 WALKING DEAD #154 (MR) $2.99
FEB160615 WALKING DEAD ADULT COLORING BOOK (MR) $14.99
MAR160778 BLACK WIDOW #3 $3.99
NOV150927 DAREDEVIL BY MARK WAID AND CHRIS SAMNEE HC VOL 05 $34.99
Here's a pair of other notable title pairings. I don't know for whom that Walking Dead coloring book is intended, but it wasn't for me! All those heavy blacks would seem to make it hard to color the way I colored stuff when I was a wee lad. Black Widow and the Daredevil trade feature the same creative team, one of comics' most solid. I'm confused by most of the recent post-event comics put out by Marvel, but this one seems pretty straight forward by solid creators so I'm likely to buy it whenever I see it.

JAN160451 JOHNNY BOO BIG BOO BOX SLIPCASE ED HC $39.99
"Johnny Boo Big Boo Box" is fun as hell to say out loud. I'm all for as much James Kochalka as can possibly be published, and IDW strikes me as a good home for him.

FEB160680 DESCENDER TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99
There's not a whole lot this week I'd buy in trade form, so I'd go and take a look at this Jeff Lemire/Dustin Nguyen collaboration, which I believe is concerned with artificial life forms and issues surrounding their sentience. Action issues.

MAR161479 JESSICA FARM GN VOL 01 (MR) $16.99
MAR161480 JESSICA FARM GN VOL 02 (MR) $16.99
Josh Simmons is one of our most potent cartoonists, and everything he does is worth reading. That includes this book, which won't end until 2050 so I have no chance to ever see the ending.

MAR161065 PEARLS BEFORE SWINE TP IM ONLY IN THIS FOR ME $14.99
I didn't see any other strips this week, so I thought I'd toss this one. Mr. Pastis is a current Reuben Award nominees.

FEB161505 WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK HC VOL 08 TERROR BEAGLE BOYS $29.99
Love the Beagle Boys. Great last-minute Halloween costume, too.

JAN161718 AL PLASTINO LAST SUPERMAN STANDING SC $17.95
MAR162007 NEIL GAIMAN CHUS DAY AT BEACH BOARD BOOK $7.99
MAR161980 SUPERMAN CLASSIC PRANKING NEWS SC $3.99
MAR161954 TOM ADAMS UNCOVERED ART OF AGATHA CHRISTIE & BEYOND HC $34.99
I have nothing to say about any of these books, but I love that all of them are together one or top of the other.

MAR161306 PAUL UP NORTH GN $20.00
Michel Rabagliati's signature series made its shift from Drawn and Quarterly to Conundrum without a lot of fanfare, but the books themselves continue their fun visuals and genteel pacing.

*****

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: Targets

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through June 2016

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May 5
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

May 6
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

May 7
* If I Were Near A Comic Shop, I'd Participate In This (FCBD)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 8
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Minneapolis)

May 10
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 13
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Santa Cruz, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 14
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Cupertino, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Pickerington, I'd Go To This (Big Comic Show)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (MSP ComiCon 2016)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 15
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (TCAF)
* If I Were In Des Moines, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Des Moines)
* If I Were Near Detroit, I'd Go To This (Motor City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Merced, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (MSP ComiCon 2016)

May 17
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 19
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

May 20
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Ting Festival)

May 21
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were In Vanouver, I'd Go To This (VanCaf)

May 22
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Linework NW)
* If I Were In Vanouver, I'd Go To This (VanCaf)

May 26
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

May 27
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 28
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 29
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (DIY Cultures)

*****

June 2
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 3
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

June 4
* If I Were In West Virginia, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 5
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 7
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

June 11
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 12
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 16
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

June 17
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)

June 18
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)

June 19
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Toronto Art Book Fair)

June 20
* If I Were Phoenix, I'd Go To This

June 23
* If I Were In Berkeley, I'd Go To This

June 24
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For July 2016 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Very Early Mort Meskin Art

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some deeply unfortunate racial stereotyping present here
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Caty Simon and Tina Horn discuss Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus.

* here's a snippet from what I suppose is a rolling conversation about Frank Miller's art. Here's another one. I think ugly art with a lot of abstraction can be fun, but a significant number of people disagree with me and assign value to aspects of a comic book very differently than I do.

* Jason remembers Prince.

* Joe Gross suggests that the rise of the mega-profitable superhero film has led to an increasingly stuffy mainstream comics scene. I think there's probably some truth there; Marvel went through a period in the late '90s and early '00s that was a lot like their last fallow period in the late '70s, a period that drove genre-defining hits. You also had a third player during that time in terms of prestige-project creation with WildStorm. I'm not engaged enough with that material to make any firm endorsements, but it's an opinion worth considering.

* looks like qualified individuals can apply for the 10th International Manga Award here.

* I missed this sad conclusion to the sad case of Homer Marciniak's death. It's hard to feel sorry for people that meticulously plan to do something harmful, as opposed to just head down the wrong path, though.

* finally, a cartoon from George Feyer. I can relate.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Geoff Grogan!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Shaenon Garrity!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Alé Garza!

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May 3, 2016


Go, Read: The Complete Agent 10

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AP: Atena Farghadani Freed From Evin Prison In Iran

The Associated Press is quoting lawyer Mohammad Moghimi that cartoonist Atena Farghadani was freed from prison earlier today. That's excellent news.

Farghadani was imprisoned -- at Iran's notorious Evin facility -- and reunited with her parents. Her 12-year prison sentence was reduced to 18 months, which she had served.

The imprisonment stems from the young artist's depiction of lawmakers as animals, a criticism of their role in drafting contraception law. The result was an extremely poisonous piece of PR that drove international attention to the hardline nature of certain conservative legal fiefdoms within the larger Iranian political system.

The article notes that President Hassan Rouhani also called for more freedom of speech earlier today, explicitly citing critics of the government.
 
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Go, Look: Tyson Hesse

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Festivals Extra: Billy Ireland Announces Summer/Fall Exhibits

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum announced earlier today that their June-October exhibits will be "Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream" and "Good Grief! Children And Comics." They will run June 4 to October 23, which makes these the exhibitions that will run during Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), the festival with which I'm involved.

imageThe "Little Nemo" is tied into the Locust Moon homage book and will feature art from the artists paying tribute such as Farel Dalrymple and Carla Speed McNeil. In addition to the tribute art, part of a traveling exhibit, the Billy Ireland iteration will feature art from and about McCay's great creation as pulled from their collection.

"Good Grief" concentrates on the depiction of children in comic strips and should thus feature some heavy-hitting art from the collection, like Bushmiller's Ms. Ritz there.

The exhibition space is open Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 5 PM.

June 10th the Billy will host a reception in the galleries from 5:30 to 7:00 PM followed by a presentation by Gene Luen Yang in conjunction with the Wexner Center For The Arts over in their film/video theater.
 
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Go, Look: Adam Egyptian

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Not Comics: Brad Mackay's Profile Of George Feyer Nominated For National Magazine Award

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Congratulations to the Doug Wright Awards administrator Brad Mackay on his national magazine award nomination for a profile of George Feyer. A hugely successful magazine cartoonist turned television celebrity, Feyer was inducted into the DWA hall of fame program The Giants Of The North in 2006.

Mackay mentions here that what became "The Twisted Genius Of George Feyer" came from meeting the cartoonist's son and asking for more information about the cartoonist, who died in the late 1960s. The articled appeared in Canada's History.
 
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Go, Look: War Wind

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Go, Read: Robert Boyd On What Is Obscenity?

imageI was very happy to see that Robert Boyd chose to wrote about the new Koyama Press-published effort What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist And Her Pussy. I'm happy when industry veteran Boyd chooses to write about anything -- alt/indy comics isn't a world with a lot of writers that offer the immediate perspective of multiple decades paying attention to them -- and I'm triply happy because Rokudenashiko's story is a fascinating, and might be a rough sell due to its mixed media nature.

I think Boyd's perspective that there's an issue of literary legitimacy involved in cases like this one is a necessary one to engage as the translated book starts to show up at shows and in stores.
 
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Go, Look: Blindsprings

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

* for some reason I have a bunch of mainstream comics news this time out. Apologies in advance. I love to talk about forthcoming work of all kinds, so if anyone would like to give me information on comics a higher percentage of which don't make me want to die, Seriously, if you're working on a mini-comic or a future comic and and do a post about it, send me a link. We don't do that much anymore as a culture. I can't always guarantee tons of traffic, but I think I might still be worth an e-mail.

* you know, I think that was the saddest bullet-point text in CR history. Jesus. "Remember your old pal Tom." My fifties are going to suck.

image* speaking of things likely to suck, the Beat has a preview of a DC revamp of the Scooby-Doo characters, I guess because the idea that you can always grind someone's affection for some fictional something into profit of some sort is too effective a way of doing business to only apply it to superhero stuff. Fandral the Dashing there is actually Shaggy. This Shaggy apparently smokes the dope that makes you bigger and stronger, while physically reshaping the bones in your head. Zoinks. That's Scooby, foregrounded, looking slightly Duncan the Wonder Dog-ish. I don't know what to do with this. I suppose if you squint you can pretend they're relaunching Dalgoda. If I know the playbook here, we're either supposed to take this kind of thing on its face or be delighted by how misguided it is, but mostly it bores the shit out of me. I'm sorry we don't have anything better for the talented creators to do, and hope they're at least having fun and being paid well. I smell a hit.

* there's been a bunch of on-line chatter about the artist Frank Cho being hired to do Wonder Woman variant covers, mostly people rolling their eyes at an artist best known for a kind of 1960s-style nudge-nudge wink-wink cheesecake drawing and a frat-bro advocacy of that approach on-line being asked to do covers featuring a feminist icon and young girl fan-favorite. DC has always had this split personality about many of their major female characters, shifting back and forth between positioning a lot these properties as openly accessible to younger female readers and playing up a kind of R-rated sexuality that, well, I guess attracts people that look like me except maybe sporting a ponytail. Perhaps the only sign of progress when it comes to this mode of split-personality publishing is that people tend to notice the shifts now instead of it being all teenage-boy-without-a-computer masturbation material all the time. One weird thing is that these shifts often set the publisher up for praise when the cycle is such they push back against it.

* Vaneta Rogers' talk with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo gives you an idea of what both sides of the Batman creative team are going to be up to now that their time on that title has concluded. That was the most successful run of all the New52 books, deservedly so, and made stop-and-notice mainstream stars of both creators.

* Todd Klein writes about the 20th anniversary of Kingdom Come. I never liked that comic very much, but smarter people than I am about the superhero genre sure did and it featured one of the top three mainstream creators of the decade (Mark Waid, not Alex Ross). It also sold gobs of copies. Klein clearly remains fond of working on it, as well he should. Twenty years! Klein also notes a surprise reprinting of Miss Finch.

* finally, Heidi MacDonald pulls from her PW interview with Grant Morrison last week the news that he'll be working on two more stand-alone Wonder Woman books, and that Yanick Pacquette will join him. I guess those books do okay for them to keep doing them.
 
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If I Were In Winnipeg, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Turok, Son Of Stone #4

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I can't believe I quit Twitter this month and have no place to casually brag about having found a Solano Lopez drawing in my collection I didn't know I had. Sometimes I'm reminded I have a great life in a lot of ways.

image* Zainab Akhtar on Koyama Press.

* Todd Klein on Survivors' Club #5. Sean Gaffney on Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Vol. 5. Sean Kleefeld on Andy Capp. Paul O'Brien on All New X-Men #8. Martin Dupuis on Hard Boiled.

* Philippe LeBlanc talks to Michael Comeau. The interviewer pointed out in his e-mail to CR that Comeau talks about drastically reordering material for his latest collection, which is something that tends to fascinate me.

* totally forgot this book existed.

* I don't know who did the "I'll Never Get To Be A Celebrity Cartoonist" panel in the Ting Festival's banner, but someone please make a t-shirt out of it for me.

* I totally missed this major profile of Jeff Lemire, one of comics' nicest, most interesting and hardest working comics-makers. Diana Tamblyn pointed it out to me.

* finally, Brian Hibbs on licensed comics.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Bill Sienkiewicz!

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Happy 77th Birthday, Dennis O'Neil!

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Happy 29th Birthday, Zainab Akhtar!

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