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

July 2, 2015

Go, Look: Pow

posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink

San Diego Mayor's Office Announces Extension For CCI To 2018

I think everyone expected this. I did, anyway. Two years is an interesting number. I honestly don't know they're better served by any other possible arrangement, which changes the negotiations a bit -- now it's about lost opportunities and revenue left on the table as opposed to risk of flight. At the same time, the way the San Diego government ebbs and flows on wanting to work on their convention center in a way that would benefit the convention, two years from now the situation could completely reverse.

I hope this arrangement came with something about how the city can better manage the downtown events that happen at the same time; that strikes me as a kaleidoscope of potential tragedies.

Here's the PR.
Thursday, July 2, 2015

Charles Chamberlayne at (619) 453-9911 or


Mayor Faulconer Announces Comic-Con Will Remain in San Diego Through 2018

San Diego, CA -- Today, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Comic-Con International announced the popular convention will remain in San Diego for 2 more years, through 2018.

"Fans near and far can rejoice that their favorite superheroes and celebrities will continue to gather under the San Diego sun," said Mayor Faulconer. "San Diego and Comic-Con are a natural pair and we're both extremely pleased to continue our four-decade partnership. And San Diego residents can take heart knowing that the world-famous convention will continue to pump tens of millions into our economy to support local jobs, street repair and neighborhood services."

"We've grown up in San Diego and we're excited to have reached an agreement that will keep us here through 2018," said Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer. "We worked hand-in-hand with Mayor Faulconer, hoteliers and the tourism industry which will allow us to continue delivering our dynamic convention in America's Finest City."

Comic-Con had only made arrangements to stay until 2016 before today's announcement. Mayor Faulconer's office worked over the last several months to help facilitate the discussions between Comic-Con International, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Convention Center and local hotels. The strong partnership is important in securing the amount of hotel rooms and convention space necessary to successfully host the more than 100,000 attendees in San Diego each year.

Comic-Con International is the convention center's largest event of the year and is conservatively estimated to generate $135.9 million regionally and $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city. The revenue directly benefits residents by funding city services, including street repair, parks and libraries. Comic-Con also showcases San Diego on an international stage through television and media coverage.

Since the 1970s, Comic-Con has been a main attraction among the City of San Diego's events. The first three-day Comic-Con was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel, where over 300 attendees packed the hotel's basement featuring programs, panels, film screenings and more to celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

This year's convention kicks off with a preview night on Wednesday, July 8 and continues through Sunday, July 12. This year marks the 46th year for the event, making it the country's longest continuously-run comics and popular arts convention.

# # #

Charles Chamberlayne
Press Secretary & Senior Advisor
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer
City of San Diego
C: 619.453.9911
O: 619.533.6396

Disclosure: This email is public information. Correspondence to and from this email address is recorded and may be viewed by third parties and the public upon request.
Preview night is a week from yesterday.Preview night is a week from yesterday.

posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Asela De Silva

posted 8:45 am PST | Permalink

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


By Tom Spurgeon

* it's all San Diego Con right now for the folks that I know, except perhaps the Image Expo focused folks. That specialty show is happening today. I like those Expos; they allow Image to seize a calendar day in a way that really impresses upon a certain element of fandom that these are important things to know. Other sites will do live coverage -- another victory for Image -- but I'm going to settle for a publishing news round-up tomorrow.

* Torsten Adair has a nice overview up of changes at the Marriott that could very definitely have an impact on Comic-Con International if it stays in San Diego for the next several years. They're adding a lot of event space, it looks like.

* speaking of Comic-Con International a third time in as many starred items, the mayor's office in San Diego circulated a "hold the inches" (newspaper talk, you pervert) e-mail this morning, likely an announcement about the con's status after 2016. I think they'll stay together.

* finally, add one more item in that San Diego-ly direction: the programming's up now. I'm slow to catch up on this because for the first time in 20 years I'll be doing no panels at the con. My reign of mediocrity is at an end. I'm a combined relieved and feeling like I've been put out to pasture. At any rate, I will spend all of my days at the show in these panels, and I'm always glad for the still-strong comics presence there that people turn out.
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Carnak

posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Michael Buntag on Noah.

* not comics: Jim McLauchlin looks at the Disney purchase of Marvel and asks if it's been worth it. It seems that the answer is such a resounding yes that you don't really have to quantify a whole lot of anything. I would imagine the only counter-argument is that Disney is now tied into movie releases that reflect a formula that each in its own way is past an earlier prime: superheroes, Pixar, Star Wars. This leaves other studios to pick and choose according to newer models, like Universal has. Of course, the Hulk of Universal's all-star 2015 movie rollout is Jurassic Park, the same kind of older property Star Wars and Spider-Man seem to be.

* I've mentioned this once before but I was led to the link again; who wouldn't want a panorama-style effort with a lot of variations being offered, all from Tom Gauld.

* Kyle Baker draws the greatest television character of all time and the 41st.

* Mark Frauenfelder enthuses over the Artist's Edition of Kamandi, with a ton of art used to help supplement his point.

* finally: Papercutz turns ten, which is a stop and go "Whoa" moment. I would have guessed four to six years. I'm glad Mike Lynch caught that, because Papercutz has sold a lot of books the last ten years and doesn't get credit for that as much as they should. That's a very successful imprint.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 42nd Birthday, Daniel Nash!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 33rd Birthday, Rickey Purdin!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

July 1, 2015

Go, Look: Eavesdropper

posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Michael Cavna On Reactions To Danby Vs. LePage

Michael Cavna at the Washington Post has a smartly written survey piece here covering various reactions to Maine Governor Paul LePage making a joke about shooting Bangor Daily News cartoonist George Danby -- a joke made to the cartoonist's son. This includes a Danby cartoon incorporating related imagery and censure from the AAEC.

It all makes sense to me that people should react strongly and negatively to the story; it seems required. The joke is in clear, bad taste generally and in specific bad taste given the violence and disruption that some cartoonists have faced in recent months, up to and including the shooting murders of the Charlie Hebdo staffers. I'm not sure how deep a story it is; it may not point out much more in terms of a broader issue other than the governor being something of a crass goofball. It is definitely a weird and distasteful flourish in the history of relationships between political figures and those that cover them in cartoon form. May it become history sooner rather than later.
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Self-Esteem Improvement Plan

posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: The Animation/Cartoon War, From Israel To ISIS To Iran

Robert Mackey has the broadest of survey articles up here at the New York Times about recent cartoon and animation-making in the wider Middle East by various geopolitical participants basically on the subject of ISIS, yet with so many partnerships and claims thrown in a lot of other topics are roped in. It's worth knowing about and seeing as much of it as you can; the article is lighter on the conclusions that other English-language articles have brought to the table.

The one line of reasoning that comes out in a lot of these articles is to take a line of cartoon-making and seeing it as a truer expression of the country's soul than another avenue of speaking out, or another political opportunity taken. Nation-states are usually a bit more complicated than that, and can contain with its borders multiple aims and designs and shortcomings and flourishes. Tread carefully.
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Marvel Summer Annual Cover Gallery

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Ripple

posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market



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.


There are a lot of comics you could put top of post this week, including four or five of the comic books. Kate Beaton also has a work out, and that's worth going to the comics shop all by itself. I wanted instead to spotlight the new volume in the Corto Maltese series. We live in a time of impossible riches for comics, and I would argue the bulk of that is in making sure we have great comics of the past to go along with all the good work, and occasional great work, of right now. That probably puts me in the opposite quadrant of most of my peers, but I'd rather have all the work reprinted since 2000 than its volume equivalent of the best new work. This is glorious work, paced and positioned like no comics before or since, and it's fun to enter into that mindspace.

imageMAY151302 BERLIN #19 (MR) $5.95
APR150669 SATELLITE SAM #15 (MR) $3.50
MAY150480 WE STAND ON GUARD #1 (MR) $2.99
APR150499 8HOUSE ARCLIGHT #1 (MR) $2.99
MAY150459 AIRBOY #2 (MR) $2.99
APR150522 CHEW #50 (MR) $3.50
MAY150471 HUMANS #6 (MR) $2.99
It's a big week of Image Comics in advance of their Expo and San Diego Con, but the one that all by its lonesome might get me over to Laughing Ogre is the nineteethn installment of Jason Lutes' Berlin. There's something where you're just happy with yourself that you're still reading comics when you hear about a long-lost friend like that series. Satellite Sam winds down the kids sic-fi part of its existence and will come back with a second installment on a different coast and bouncing around a different genre (westerns). I look forward to going back and reading a bunch of this at once. I wonder if Bob Fingerman has done as many issues of Minimum Wage as there are issues of Berlin despite having walked away from the project for a dozen or so years. A friend of mine very much into the Image Comics tells me US robots vs. Canadian robots We Stand On Guard has an excellent chance of being their next big thing; we'll see, but there's a lot of goodwill from readers aimed at writer Brian K. Vaughan. 8House Arclight #1 isn't the name of the theater where you're seeing the movie version of the aforementioned giant robot comic, but the first installment in a shared universe project featuring work from Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland. That sounds like a hit, too. The first issue of Airboy was interesting, using the author stand-in trope in a way that just kept going and going and going until you either accept it or bail. I think that's the only way you can do a story like that anymore, so good for those creators. Chew! 50 issues! Congratulations to those creators on one of the most unlikely successful comics ever -- by concept and by approach, not by skill of creator. Finally, the Humans are lurking around again. I like this cover.

I read this in serial form and I'm not sure I've given it a lick of thought since. Coming out today is a break for We Stand On Guard if retailers are smart. I think if I were super rich I'd buy all the comics that were offered in these super deluxe formats.

Speaking of which, here's a collection of Mike Zeck work in the Artist Edition format, original art at size photocopied in color. I don't really know what his originals look like or even what I think of his work overall, so sitting down with this one might be fun even I'm not sure there's a bunch of stories he ever did that I liked.

APR151503 COMPLETE PEANUTS TP VOL 03 1955-1956 $22.99
MAR151352 PRINCE VALIANT HC VOL 11 1957-1958 $34.99
None of these comics really go together, but they're all worth at least the consideration of a buy which is interesting because 1) my god, what a financial commitment you could make to comics if you could afford, just by being a reader; and 2) I think the formats and how they're done and priced has a real effect on how I view each series with the possible exception being the Prince Valiant, which I think would be worth buying at $15 more. But there's a whole bunch that can be said about the other books. I have no interest in buying Usagi Yojimbo at a high price point, for example, not when cheaper ones are available. The Criminal I'd probably prefer to have in loose individual issues than as a book with a spine, but I really like this new series of books. The pricing on the Complete Peanuts strikes me as pretty high in terms of what I'd guess it might be if I were attacked by comics-geek hoodlums and interrogated, but those are lovely books and of course worth three times as much on merit. I wish I had known about them from the start.

imageAPR150573 AUTUMNLANDS TP VOL 01 TOOTH & CLAW (MR) $9.99
I just wanted the price, which is at that entry point level. Image is very smart in identifying trades as jumping on points for a lot of people looking to get into a continuing serial. I thought the pacing was interesting in this comic in that it never quite settled down for me but at the same time it reflects the discombobulation that is at the story's center.

MAY150481 WICKED & DIVINE #12 (MR) $3.50
MAR158209 WICKED & DIVINE #12 CVR B BROWN (MR) $3.50
I've read these off and on; I liked the 11th issue, so I'm looking forward to the 12th in order to further make up my mind if it's something for me. One thing these comics and past ones involving Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have is a comfort with their own way of unfolding a story. There's a very appealing confidence in one's creative choices in all of their work. I also find it interesting that they're publishing a trade right on the heels of the last issue, but I suppose everyone does that now. I'd love to get a sense of the economics where that makes sense, but it seemingly does.

This is the second volume in the mainstream series involving Balak and Bastian Vives; it's the one I've read. I liked it even though I have a very small appetite for robust takes on classic genre tropes. One thing they have down is a kind of self-aware joy from the characters in being start of a story. They also seem happy when lots of things are happening. That's a big part of what makes them heroes, I imagine.

MAY151443 DIARY COMICS GN $15.00
A big ol' collection of Dustin Harbin's diary comics. Harbin is super-suited as an artist to this kind of everyday project; he can draw just about anything at multiple distances of remove and have it be scannable, and he has an easygoing sensibility that skewers but doesn't savage an individual's personal appearance. In the past I've wondered if he has the self-criticism necessary to make compelling art out of a string of experiences, but many readers will be happy to take that burden onto themselves.

Kate Beaton's ceiling is Matt Groening and that's if she has one. We shouldn't get too wrapped up in our perception of anyone's career to forget to enjoy the artist themselves, and between this new book, the new Hark! volume and a bunch of interesting online material Kate Beaton has made as many good comics pages happen in 2015 as anyone in the world. I enjoyed my quick read through of this volume at a friend's studio. The art is quite evocative in an endearing, humorous way.


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.



posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Odd, Lengthy, Educational Comic About Food

posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Richard Bruton on The Penned Guin: Out & About and Thread Bear/Attic Space & Other Stories. Shawn Starr on Lydian and Palm Ash. Todd Klein on Fables #150 and Fables Vol. 22. Paul Gravett on Death Of The Artist.

* Frank Santoro muses out loud about the famous Ghost World color switch.

* Michael Cavna selects ten cartoons of note about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage. The Mike Lester makes no sense to me, and the Nate Beeler might not make sense to people that don't know all the iconography. There certainly isn't a great cartoon among them. I'm baffled that we don't have more "nailed it" cartoons for some of these big historical moments. There wasn't one for the last entire presidential election.

* Steve Foxe talks to Marian Churchland. Someone at Inside/Within talks to Jessica Campbell. Gary Panter and Leslie Stein talk. Those are two really interesting artists. Here's a two part interview with Michel Fiffe.

* finally, there's a super-cool fold-out effort from the great Tom Gauld available here.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 33rd Birthday, Lee's Comics!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

June 30, 2015

Leonard Starr, RIP

posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Bookmark: Ice Cream

new Alex Fellows
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

Assembled Extra: Strangers In Paradise Joins Thrillbent

imageThe writer and digital publisher Mark Waid announced earlier today that digital versions of Terry Moore's foundational self-publishing work Strangers In Paradise will be added to the Thrillbent site that he and John Rogers own. I think that could end up being a great get, and that the work sounds like it will be employed in a way that flatters the comic and the site. If you value Moore's work in a way you'd like to read it digitally, weekly issues accelerates the value for a monthly subscription to the site. There is also a significant audience that might want to read the work beginning to end this way that missed out on it first time around and finds a commitment to paper daunting. A lot of the values of Moore's work are values that have come to define a lot of work that's come since.

I greatly look forward to seeing what happens, and I root for Thrillbent generally to find its readership. What we don't know is things like the number of people who feel that way about SiP as they intersect with Thrillbent's potential readers. I like the move a ton, though, and I think that's a great way to make use of existing content.
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Jane Mai Goes To ELCAF

posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

Gary Varvel Named To Indiana Journalism Hall Of Fame

There's nothing I dislike about this article on Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel going into the Indiana Journalism Hall Of Fame. If nothing else, I like that there's an Indiana Journalism Hall Of Fame. Varvel's had an interesting career. He's a conservative cartoonist, which is a subsection of cartooning where your praise tends to come from the severity of your positions rather than your skill as a cartoonist. My memory is that he's really quick on breaking news stories, like if I look around for what editorial cartoonists are saying on an issue I almost always encounter a Varvel cartoon. He came up from a entire system of newspapers that's basically gone now. He's also done some long-form comics work for his paper on broad social concerns that I always thought could be a model for other papers putting their staff-position cartoonists to work.

Heck I'm even fascinated that the other two cartoonists in the Hall Of Fame are the great Kin Hubbard and Charles Werner, who was a baby when he won the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning in '39 but worked in Indianapolis for like a hundred years.
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink

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