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
















March 6, 2015


Go, Look: Sofia Neto

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Note A Physical Address Change For This Publication

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Hi, I'll be running this announcement for a few more days.

I've moved. That means I'll have a different physical address for accepting mail.

My other contact information: phone, e-mail, twitter -- remains the same. I'm probably the worst person to phone in the world. E-mail or direct message via Twitter (not just shouting at me on Twitter where everyone else has to endure it) is probably best. Apologies in advance.

Anything sent to the old address recently or for the next few weeks will be forwarded for sure, but at some point that will stop happening.

Thank you.
 
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In New York City, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through April 2015

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*****

March 7
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Canberra, I'd Go To This (Australian Comics Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This

March 8
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Canberra, I'd Go To This (Australian Comics Arts Festival)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

March 9
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Oklahoma, I'd Go To This

March 10
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 11
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 12
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

March 13
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)

March 14
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (London Super Comic Con)
* If I Were In Bellingham, I'd Go To This (BellCAF)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)
* If I Were In Arlington, I'd Go To This (Smudge Expo)

March 15
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (The Millionaires Club)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (London Super Comic Con)
* If I Were In Mexico City, I'd Go To This (La Mole)

March 19
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 20
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* ]

March 21
* If I Were In South Carolina, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 22
* If I Were In South Carolina, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 23
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 24
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 25
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)

March 26
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

March 27
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (Emerald City)
* If I Were In Austria, I'd Go To This (Nextcomic)
* If I Were In Yonkers, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This

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 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 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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*****
 
posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Funnyman #3

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this was very sweet. Thanks, Heidi. It ended up being well over 100 boxes.

image* Kim O'Connor on First Year Healthy. Rob Clough on Photobooth: A Biography. Todd Klein on Swamp Thing #38. Don MacPherson on GI Joe: Snake Eyes, Agent Of Cobra #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Avengers Vol. 6. Paul O'Brien on All-New X-Men Vol. 6. Joe Gordon on Descender #1.

* I can't remember the last time I linked to anything by Katherine Dacey. Here's a beginner's guide to Attack On Titan. It's also been way too long since I linked to a review by Erica Friedman.

* Bob Temuka looks forward to Bill Griffith's memoir because he believes that Griffith has had an interesting life.

* Johanna Draper Carlson, who has the keenest sense of consumer issues in comics of all the first-generation funnybook bloggers, writes about David Tennant joining the Wizard circuit and the idea of value for an experience a lot of older comics readers and con-goers have a hard time grasping, period. I don't mean that as a sideways putdown, I mention it because we have a harder time in comics grappling with things when they stand outside of our own narrow range of interest, whatever that range might be.

* finally, I'm sure I've linked to this Jose Munoz page before now, but oh boy.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 37th Birthday, Robyn Chapman!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Kieron Dwyer!

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March 5, 2015


Go, Look: Mimi Chrzanowski

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Los Angeles Times Book Prize Graphic Novel/Comics Finalists For 2015

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The LA Times Book Prizes have announced their category finalists for this year's slate. In recent times, that's included a graphic novels/comics category. This year's it's a pretty loaded group including Jaime Hernandez, book-prize juggernaut Roz Chast, and the best original work I read for the first time last year, Arsene Schauwen. The nominees are:

* Roz Chast, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, Bloomsbury
* Jaime Hernandez, The Love Bunglers, Fantagraphics
* Mana Neyestani, An Iranian Metamorphosis, Uncivilized Books
* Olivier Schrauwen, Arsene Schrauwen, Fantagraphics
* Mariko Tamaki (Author), Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), This One Summer, First Second

I was happy to see Mana Neyestani nominated for his book with Uncivilized. That's an admirable work that I thought might have more penetration into year-end lists than it did.

Congratulations to all nominees; the awards are given out in mid-April.
 
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Free Fall

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posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* you probably already saw that Autoptic announced its first guests, the North American participant in the PFC classes that precede that alt-/art- show. Minneapolis/St. Paul is a great hub for comics, and I think we're all rooting for that powerful group to put together a recurring show that speaks to what they're about, while also giving some of us a chance to visit Minnesota in the summer, when it's beautiful.

* I've heard this Scott McCloud event is sold out, and good for Scott.

* a chicken in every pot, a comics show or festival every month in every major comics city.

* finally, here's another round of guests for Comic-Con International. I really look forward to maybe meeting David Aja and seeing any spotlight panel he might do. Plus: Michael DeForge -- I don't know if he's the first guest of Comic-Con from his generation of alt-comics makers, but he might be. It's kind of frightening to think of that show feeding his visual imagination.
 
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Francisco Sousa Lobo

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posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Review: Scablands

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Creator: RL Crabb
Publishing Information: Self-Published, Softcover, 192 pages, 2014, $19.95.
Ordering Numbers: 9781312304109 (ISBN13). You can order it direct here.

imageThis magazine-proportioned trade paperback -- think of the first Love and Rockets trades, or books by people like Mary Fleener -- shifted to the top of my to-read pile when I was recently assembling my books for a cross-country move. RL Crabb is a proud member of the alt-comics generation, son-of-underground-comix division. His works are much more reminiscent of 1970s undergrounds than they are of the works that surged to the forefront in the 1990s, but this was a very rich vein of comics-making through the 1980s and into the 1990s, with Weirdo its flagship publication. Crabb's work appeared in that magazine and also in Snarf and Rip Off Comix. I know he lived for a time before my arrival in Seattle's Ballard house with two cartoonists working out of that same roughly conceived-of tradition, Pat Moriarity and JR Williams. I think of him as a comix and newspaper cartoonist 'tweener, possessed of an appealing style but not one to have made a lot of sustained work over time.

You can imagine my surprise, then, digging into what is an overarching narrative made up of several anecdotal vignettes. The comics in Scablands seem to come primarily from a time before his period in Seattle, but they also jump to several years before that (Northern California) and again all the way into the 1970s (Atlanta). There are also side trips from the focused narrative involving a series of repo-man jobs into, for example, a book about a 19th Century Native American mystic from the same, beat-up, small-town Washington corridor in which he now finds himself lifting cars, an individual whom Crabb treats as both an ideal and at times a comic foil. Connecting everything is this delicately-realized state of mind of a man and a post-hippie generation coming to terms with a shift in lifestyle brought about by age and economic reality. Crabb has to learn to let go of certain conceptions of himself that he never seems to have seized onto in the first place. What we experience is less a mid-life crisis than an extended letter of mid-life consolation.

I really liked the art work. Crabb seems more comfortable as a writer than as an artist, which makes the visuals flourish more frequently than the core of his narrative. Crabb simplifies the elements of his scene work but also exaggerates the individual set pieces; it's like watching actors play against stenciled background or outsized stage sets. His depiction of self is sort of hilariously nondescript; more often than not Crabb's self-identified stand-in looks slightly damp, like he walked in 40 seconds after a rain started. Despite what seems like a limited range in terms of style there is a definite and appealing break between the fantasy material and the "real world" stories. Crabb has a natural sense for where to place blacks to drive the eye and move the story along; he's also not afraid to sharply change his rhythm for a change or more through radically different page structures. Given how many breaks there are in the story everything holds together very well, in part I think because of the blunt comforts of the imagery.

I'd love this book simply for existing; luckily there are enough reasons I can also like it on merit alone. After flailing around the country and falling back in time, Crabb's final transformation is so matter-of-fact and so incremental that it's wholly believable. I'd love to see him get from this time in his life to where he is now.

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posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Late '40s Frank Frazetta-Draw Adventure Comic

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posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Analysis Of Recent DC Comics Moves

A pair of you forwarded this Tumblr-driven exchange of ideas about the nature of recent changes at DC Comics. The back-and-forth (a limited one, but still) was triggered by the announcement that Andy Khouri has been hired as an editor by DC. Khouri has been critical of some of the content of DC's books after their 2011 New 52 relaunch, and in the initial essay Khouri's hiring had been described as a sop to some sort politically progressive forces without the long-term interests of DC Comics at heart.

imageThe response by Phil Sandifer in the linked-to post is brutal and pretty fun as far as these type of exchanges go. It basically argues (with numbers) that DC has lost all of the sales momentum it gained via the 2011 publishing mega-stunt, notes in don't-even-argue-this fashion that much the content deserved to be criticized, contends that other players in the market increased their market share in a growing market by pursuing policies more in line with Khouri's and his publication's advocacy positions and concludes announced changes to the DC line were thus necessary, not foolish or even political abstractions in play. I enjoyed reading the piece.

I'd probably quibble with a couple things. I think in 2011 DC was going after an audience beyond its traditional one, it was just more of a male gaming-interested, sexualized/violent pop-culture invested audience, a perceived "right next door" audience that resembled the traditional superhero base in most ways except age and perhaps income. This was a specific choice, I think, over more comprehensively targeting a newer, broader audience that includes more female readers, younger readers, and readers of a diverse background more across the board. Part of that was the nature of the stunt. I don't know anyone that's going to buy 52 #1 issues, but I sure know it isn't my high school classmate Angie whose daughter is reading the new Batgirl comics. Part of what hasn't worked may be a misjudged interest in that targeted audience taking on yet another set of expensive purchases over the long haul; another may be a miscalculation as to how suitable certain characters were to this treatment beyond subtly debasing them.

One problem that seemed to reveal itself as the roll-out on the New 52 books continued is that there was seemingly only that original-Image-books-as-kids market being pursued, with maybe a slight effort in the direction of prestige-treatment superhero fans at the top of the line. There was a resounding sameness to those New 52 books. Marvel does this a bit, too, but their "universe" is more cohesive at its core and thus better allows for different perspectives under the bigger tent that is the overall narrative. And even Marvel has had problems producing a lot of titles that keep readers issue after issue (some of this may be their own fault, as the demand on creators to make more issues than is physically problem may strain their talent pool and drain their comics of a creative continuity that Image can offer nearly every time out). There are problems all over, even if they aren't as directly dire as DC's. I would suggest there are probably some deeper structural issues in play that might be beyond resolution by the right editorial approach.

It's probably also worth noting that DC's corporate culture has recently been to do things kind of halfway. Even the New 52 relaunch contained elements of the old books when that was considered maybe something they didn't want to put at risk, and there was a lot of storytelling across the board where you would have these supposedly new characters but the dramatic stakes depended on them being 70-year-old icons in whose history and stature you're fully invested. While it seems like there are a lot of potentially fun superhero books with that new soft reboot post-Convergence -- and I'm grateful for every job that's going to an eager creator that's never had that shot, and I'm happy for every kid that gets to experience a bit more of themselves in these universes that meant something to me when I was that age -- there are also a ton that don't seem to be changing at all, some defiantly so. We'll see how it works out.

I'm all for a diverse array of comics with these big companies because it beats monolithic, ultimately demeaning expressions of culture. I'm all for diversity in hiring across the board it's flat-out and fundamentally the most right thing to do and you just can't limit yourselves to a specific talent pool in what is a ruthless marketplace for eyeballs and attention. I have a hard time generating a lot of affection for commercial properties as the most important vehicle for this, but I know a lot of people disagree. As is the case with all comics, I hope for the best comics we can get and the highest return to the artists possible. I think smart editorial hires and rational creative directions serve that goal. What's to argue?
 
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kevin Zaworski

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Note A Physical Address Change For This Publication

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Hi, I'll be running this announcement for a few more days.

I've moved. That means I'll have a different physical address for accepting mail.

My other contact information: phone, e-mail, twitter -- remains the same. I'm probably the worst person to phone in the world. E-mail or direct message via Twitter (not just shouting at me on Twitter where everyone else has to endure it) is probably best. Apologies in advance.

Anything sent to the old address recently or for the next few weeks will be forwarded for sure, but at some point that will stop happening.

Thank you.
 
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Fighting Evil-Doers With The Power Of Handsome

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posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jim Aparo Aquaman Splash Pages

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I linked to this from Twitter and Facebook, but forgot to on the site: a slightly foul-mouthed boy making his opinion known to the editor that droppped his favorite newspaper comics.

image* KC Carlson on Marvel: The Avengers Fault. The Comic Books Are Burning In Hell guys apparently go after The Sculptor pretty hard here.

* missed it: John Parker has love for the way Sean Phillips draws cars.

* no idea where I saw this first, but that's a cool piece of art.

* not comics: I didn't follow this particular articles/facebook/twitter thing at all, but it seems to be one of those minor controversies where people seem super-charged about the issues involved and where every individual is coming from a place that is probably a bit more nuanced, or at least less certain, than sessions of Internet-shouting might communicate. As someone raised watching plays as much as movies, I have a hard time processing the investment that people seem to have in how films must embody a certain expected reality.

* look at this fun William Stout art.

* look at these two beautiful limited-edition books by Simon Roussin. Hyper-limited editions is going to be a big component of comics buy five years now, and sort of already is.

* finally, Mike Sterling looks at how the comic book adaptation of Star Trek dealt with continuity between installments of the then-concurrent movie series.
 
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 64th Birthday, Lat!

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posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
March 4, 2015


Go, Look: Afonso Ferreira

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2015 Reuben Award Nominees

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The National Cartoonists Society has announced its nominees for "Outstanding Cartoonist Of The Year" at its yearly awards program. This is the honor probably better known under the broader name of "The Reuben" -- it's the organization's big award, and thus bears the name of the awards-program entire. It's also one of the great two or three comics awards, period, a first-sentence-of-the-obit moment.

This year's nominees are

* Roz Chast
* Stephan Pastis
* Hilary Price

My hunch is that all three of those creators will be a Reuben winner at some point. It'll be closer than some people think between all three, although it's hard to look at the year Roz Chast has had behind Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and not think of her as the front-runner. Still, it's an intriguing group. Congratulations to all three.

A win by Chast and Price would be the first by a woman in 23 years, and only I think the third in the award's history. Someone correct me if I'm wrong there.

The awards program also gives out several more honorary-type awards and a bunch of categorical ones, including this year Mort Drucker and Jeff Keane. The 2015 NCS meeting is the weekend including May 23, in Washington, D.C.
 
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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