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
















August 18, 2017


Go, Look: Skip Williamson 1970s Sketchbook Pages

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Missed It: Bleeding Cool Survey-Style Article On Rhetorical Fallout Post-Charlottesville

Here. There's a lot to consume there, and even more to be considered in general, but I'm not deeply enmeshed in the world of back-and-forth commentary anymore to follow all of it or even a cogent sampling. Your opinion about some comics professionals in good or even privileged standing is subject to change any time you go and look at such matters, and should be. These are public statements and thus may have public consequences.

I've always believed if people make thoughtful, moral decisions about what they do/consume/support on a consistent basis that we'll be better off in the long run than we are when they don't. I still think that's more true than false. I'm certain I'll have thundering disagreements with individual positions along the way -- I struggle with any concept of running around and protesting a voted-upon effort while armed and acting as if you get $1000 cash for every inciting incident you perform as a free speech event, for instance -- but I welcome the serious attention to these matters of fundamental American meaning that too frequently assert that a stalemate is a settled matter. We should continue.
 
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Go, Look: Three By Jason Martin

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2017

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*****

August 19
* If I Were Near This, I'd Go To It (Terrificon Comicon)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were In Pensacola, I'd Go To This (Pensacola Comic Con)

August 20
* If I Were Near This, I'd Go To It (Terrificon Comicon)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Flame Con)
* If I Were In Pensacola, I'd Go To This (Pensacola Comic Con)

August 24
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)

August 25
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)

August 26
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

August 27
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (Amazing! Hawaii Comic Con)

*****

September 1
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 2
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 3
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (San Francisco Comic Con)
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This (Brussels Comic Strip Festival)

September 4
* If I Were In Atlanta, I Would Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 8
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This

September 9
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 10
* If I Were In Nashville, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (STAPLE!)

September 16
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 17
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)

September 18
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

September 19
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This

September 20
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

September 21
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 22
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 24
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Madison, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were Near Leeds, I'd Go To This (Thought Bubble)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (APE)

September 28
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)

September 29
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)

September 30
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (CXC)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (TCZF)

*****

Events For October 2017 Onward Listed Here

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OTBP: Valley

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Philippe Leblanc profiles books from Peow Studios and Pow Pow Press.

* bundled extra: I guess from reading this that there are some new creative teams on some of the titles coming out in this soft not-a-relaunch. That sees smart, given all the continuity elsewhere. I like the sci-fi paperback quality of that She-Hulk image.

* struck the next day how pretty the art is in this Cathy Malkasian tweet.

* what Dan Clowes remembers loving about late 1970s New York. I was just trying to explain to someone what 1975-1984 felt like in terms of absent civilization, and failing. This comes close.

* not comics: Michael Tisserand's Johnny Cash story is pretty great.

* finally, here is today's big-media company with easy comics comparisons piece. I remember that all sorts of fundamental changes to the system were proposed as Marvel geared up to distribute through Heroes World, and what we got was far from that and still a failure.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Jenni Rope!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Kevin Church!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Lilli Carré!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Brian Bendis!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Chris Allen!

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August 17, 2017


Go, Look: Spy Seal Pages For Sale

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Your 2017 Ignatz Award Nominees

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I see lists of the Ignatz Awards nominees for this year springing up on the various news sites. The Ignatzes are a long-running part of the Small Press Expo weekend and while as juried award they tend to have a pretty broad range of winners and nominees within its small-press/art-comics target market, their reputation is they focus on newer works by young cartoonists.

Your nominees are:

Outstanding Artist
* Keren Katz -- The Academic Hour (Secret Acres)
* Emil Ferris -- My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagrahpics)
* Manuele Fior -- The Interview (Fantagraphics)
* Barbara Yelin -- Irmina (SelfMadeHero)
* Pablo Auldadell -- Paradise Lost (Pegasus Books)

Outstanding Anthology
* ELEMENTS: Fire -- An Anthology by Creators of Color -- edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)
* POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology -- edited by Joamette Gil (P&M Press)
* Spanish Fever: Stories by the New Spanish Cartoonists -- edited by Javier Olivares & Santiago Garcia (Fantagraphics)
* Comic Book Slumber Party's Deep Space Canine -- edited by Hannah K. Chapman (Avery Hill)
* ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators, from Prism Comics -- edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery (Stacked Deck Press)

Outstanding Collection
* The Complete Neat Stuff -- Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
* Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us -- Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota (Oni Press)
* Time Clock -- Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics)
* Boundless -- Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2 -- Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Graphic Novel
* Eartha -- Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics) (art pictured bottom)
* March: Book 3 -- John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
* My Favorite Thing Is Monsters -- Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
* Band for Life -- Anya Davidson (Fantagraphics)
* Tetris -- Box Brown (First Second)

Outstanding Story
* March: Book 3 -- John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
* My Favorite Thing Is Monsters -- Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
* "Small Enough," from Diary Comics -- Dustin Harbin (Koyama Press)
* Too Hot to Be Cool -- Maddi Gonzales
* Diana's Electric Tongue -- Carolyn Nowak (self-published)

Promising New Talent
* Isabella Rotman -- Long Black Veil (self-published)
* Margot Ferrick -- Yours (2D Cloud)
* Aud Koch -- "Run," from Oath Anthology (Mary’s Monster)
* Bianca Xunise -- Say Her Name (self-published)
* Kelly Bastow -- Year Long Summer (self-published)

Outstanding Series
* Chester 5000, by Jess Fink (self-published)
* The Old Woman, by Rebecca Mock (self-published)
* Maleficium, by Sabin Couldron (self-published)
* Frontier, edited by Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline)
* Crickets, by Sammy Harkham (self-published)

Outstanding Comic
* Public Relations #10 -- Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Rolston, Annie Wu (1First Comics)
* Libby’s Dad -- Eleanor Davis (Retrofit/Big Planet)
* Canopy -- Karine Bernadou (Retrofit/Big Planet)
* Your Black Friend -- Ben Passmore (Silver Sprocket)
* Sunburning -- Keiler Roberts (Koyama Press) (art pictured top)

Outstanding Minicomic (Self-Published)
* Tender Hearted -- Hazel Newlevant
* The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs -- Celine Loup
* Reverse Flaneur -- M. Sabine Rear
* Same Place Same Time -- Ann Xu
* Our Tale of Woe -- Keren Katz & Geffen Refaeli

Outstanding Online Comic
* "Disability in the Age of Trump" -- Amanda Scurti (The Nib)
* "That’s Not Who We Are" -- Mike Dawson (The Nib)
* The Meek -- Der-Shing Helmer (Self-Published)
* "Woman World" -- Aminder Dhaliwal (Self-Published)
* "Normel Person"/"Maine Vacation" -- Lauren Weinstein (Village Voice and Mutha Magazine)

*****

Digital media comics giant comiXology returns as major co-sponsor. The ceremony is September 16 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

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Go, Listen: Katie Skelly On Comic Book Decalogue

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* while I noted the opening back in June, someone from the Society Of Illustrators wrote in to remind me that the show is up for a few more weeks. Some of that art is very attractive, of course. One of the key things about Marvel success was how cannily Stan Lee locked down a group of artists that could extend their creative success, and the later Spider-Man crew of Romita Sr., Kane and even Ross Andru were evidence of that. Seeing the evidence of Romita re-staging some of Kane's dynamic pages is collective creativity at its best.

* if any of you are out in Carbondale this weekend say hi to my professional peer Melody Reed.

* I'm hoping to make CALA this year -- at least the Sunday -- and am fascinated by how it will work in its new location. Looks like it might be easier to drive over to that neighborhood, but who knows? I'm grateful for every important scene to have an arts-focused show.

* I'm not sure how many of the Wizard shows Stan Lee does on his endless tour of comics conventions, but I'm sure fans of the Wizard show in Madison will be thrilled by the opportunity to meet the legendary writer/editor.

* 196 days until Emerald City. That sent a shiver up someone's spine out there.

* you know, I like the basic shape of the festival year: March 1 to November 15, a few shows like Angouleme running in the "offseason," intense periods in April and September, less intense periods in June and August making room for tours and signings. There's a lot of tumult yet to come, though. A lot.

* Juggalos and Trump supporters join SPXers in the Washington, DC area on the same day.

* finally, I was talking to someone the other day about the notion that cosplay serves a function at some smaller shows to modernize the show -- give it an appeal to a certain young fanbase -- without pushing the show into the celebrity game. I'm not sure if this show qualifies, but it kind of engages some of that rhetoric.
 
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Go, Read/Listen: David Letterman On Harvey Pekar

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Go, Look: Ron Cobb's Anti-Nuke Cartoons

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Aseem Trivedi comments in text and illustration on a group of mothers affected by Turkish political upheaval.

* not comics: I'm always happy to see cartoonists take the opportunities to work across media in a way they're full participants, because such opportunities are rare and thus curated to the individual cartoonist's experience. Sonny Liew making stage work is very exciting.

* a brutal month for fans of Mexican cartooning continues with the passing of Eduardo del Rio.

* a young person that looks like Amelia Earhart to me profiles Steve Sack.

* finally, Liza Donnelly sings the praises of the iPad pro. I'm trusting the story is around that loud, commercial-driven page somewhere.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Tom McLean!

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Happy 61st Birthday, John Romita Jr.!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Andrew Helfer!

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August 16, 2017


Go, Read: Asher Elbein On Letterers And Colorists

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

*****

JUN170705 SPY SEAL #1 $3.99
Rich Tommaso's latest series may be his most beautiful in its full adoption of European kids-book colors and easygoing pacing. I'm super-interested to see what this might look like ten issues in. Until then, I'll be reading every new issue. The author is selling some of his beautiful black and white original art at his Etsy store.

imageMAY170525 SH*T MY PRESIDENT SAYS ILLUSTRATED TWEETS OF DONALD TRUMP HC $14.99
Shannon Wheeler is a funny guy and a keen observer of oversized human behavior. Not even Spy Seal gets an assignment this sweet, digging to the current president's pre-occupation with twitter as a kind of magic button for opinion-throwers.

JUN170759 INVINCIBLE #139 (MR) $2.99
JUN170617 MAGE HERO DENIED #1 (OF 15) $3.99
JUN171838 KAIJUMAX SEASON 3 #2 (MR) $3.99
MAY171062 REICH #10 (OF 12) (MR) $4.00
NOV160644 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #17 CVR A LATOUR (MR) $3.99
JUN170818 WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD #3 (OF 4) CVR A SAMPSON $3.99
There are slightly more comic-book comics of note than the last couple of weeks. I'm enjoying the straight-forward wrapping up of the Invincible series so far. Writer Robert Kirkman's success with Walking Dead obscures what a unique accomplishment this kind of universe-building with fewer than five builders has grown into by series end. So many creators have tried it. Mage: Hero Denied is Matt Wagner's return to his signature characters; it's hard for me to tell on Wagner's work how much I'm enjoying it until I come back to it about 100 pages in. Kaijumax is Zander Cannon's continuing humor series; I'm way behind. Reich is the consistent re-marching out of Elijah Brubaker's previous comic-book series. Southern Bastards surprised me with its return: that's me, not them. It's harder than one might think to balance these kind of somber stories with the larger than life characters involved. Winnebago Graveyard is a comic about which I know little, but that's an all-time title and Allison Sampson is usually up to something interesting.

JUN170703 SEXCASTLE TP (MR) $15.99
Sexcastle was the reputation for Kyle Starks, and is as funny as its reputation.

MAY171709 FANTASY SPORTS HC VOL 03 GREEN KING $19.95
I always enjoy looking at Sam Bosma's work and a series of manga-style volumes fits its sports-but-not-quite sports stories extremely well. I'm glad these continue to come out.

MAR171819 FURARI HC (RES) $25.00
This is work by Jiro Taniguchi, an artist whose works I buy with regularity. That Taniguchi died six months ago makes this even more welcome.

JUN172270 POCKET FULL OF DENNIS THE MENACE SC $34.95
I believe this is a cleverly-named history rather than bluntly-named smaller-sized edition. I know very little about Dennis The Menace beyond the half-dozen or so stories that surround its creator. Working for Gary Groth beat into my skin what a great artist and generally funny writer Hank Ketcham, and taking my own look at various publications made me realize how many good artists have worked on the feature and its spin-offs over the year.

JUN171635 BORDER WORLDS GN (MR) $29.95
Dover Publications hits one of my own sweet spots with their re-issue -- complete with potential ending -- of Don Simpson's gently swaying science fiction story. I'm glad to see it back as well as its humans-in-the-foreground/wonder-in-the-background mix of visual approaches. I hope someone does a really big interview with creator Don Simpson.

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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: A Bunch Of Yogi Bear Sundays

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