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



















March 1, 2017


OTBP: Laffy Meal

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Go, Look: Stacey Bru

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Go, Look: Silent Celery

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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.

*****

JAN171776 SIMPLY SAMUEL HC $24.99
I think this is a Tommi Musturi silent book of recent vintage, and Musturi's cartooning is always welcome. It's also one of the few slam-dunk alt-comics offerings of the week, and I feel like those should be supported given the chance.

JAN171281 MUTTS SHELTER STORIES LOVE GUARANTEED SC $16.99
I think when McDonnell's career finally ends this book will look like a near halfway point splitting of the strip between its reputation for elegance and charm and its naked support for the social issue encompassed by the care for animals. It will be a positive appraisal, I hope.

imageDEC160437 ANIMAL NOIR #1 $3.99
JAN170105 BALTIMORE THE RED KINGDOM #2 $3.99
JAN170339 FLINTSTONES #9 $3.99
JAN170772 WALKING DEAD #165 (MR) $2.99
JAN171038 DOCTOR STRANGE #18 $3.99
DEC161120 CEREBUS IN HELL #2 $4.00
JAN171476 GIANT DAYS #24 $3.99
JAN171471 GOLDIE VANCE #10 $3.99
JAN171155 MOTOR GIRL #4 $3.99
JAN171762 ALL TIME COMICS CRIME DESTROYER #1 $4.99
NOV161087 REICH #4 (OF 12) (MR) $3.00
Most of the action this week is here in the single-issue comics. Animal Noir is a European comic brought here to live or die in serial comic book form. That usually doesn't but that's a charming book where a lower price might bring readers happy to have new comics-makers an entry point into new work. There's your Mignola. There's the inexplicable Flinstones minor hit: it really does work pretty well, and I get zero out of the other comics they've brought back to the stands this time around. Walking Dead day I imagine is still a pretty happy day at most comics shops, right up there with Saga day. Doctor Strange is a rare well-regarded serial comic for Marvel right this second. They've already had spinoffs. Cerebus In Hell I'll catch up to, I swear, just not yet. Here are three exemplars of the new mainstream approach, all of which have solid creators at work on them. I don't quite understand the appeal of wretched 1970's genre comic re-dos, just as something which to do, but I like a number of the comics that results. Reich I've learned is an Alternative Comics re-do of the Sparkplug series.

DEC160596 CORTO MALTESE GN IN SIBERIA $29.99
I look forward to this series as IDW continues to put them out, particularly they get into what I remember to be more interesting and more elegantly drawn material. The nice thing about that kind of perception is that even if it's more of the same I get to wrestle with my perceptions versus the work's reality.

DEC160606 DAVE STEVENS ROCKETEER ARTISAN ED TP DIRECT MARKET EXC $39.99
I have a hunch there will always be Rocketeer re-issues of one sort or the other: that character's special fit. This is basically a slightly downscale Artist's Edition, under $50, same treatment of the art, softcover instead of hard. No matter what, every Stevens re-formatting will be extremely attractive.

JUN160964 KARNAK TP FLAW IN ALL THINGS $17.99
I'm not sure how these comics work for modern superhero fans but to me the couple of issues I bought were pretty funny: the strike-and-shatter Inhuman recast as a young Kurtwood Smith, verbally on point, having unpleasant adventures and irritating anyone he might possibly talk to rather than chop in the head.

SEP161119 SHANG-CHI MASTER OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS HC VOL 03 DEODATO CVR $125.00
SEP161120 SHANG-CHI MASTER OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS HC VOL 03 DM ZECK VAR ED $125.00
It's a weird enough day at the comic shop I don't mind ending with a giant Marvel comic in a format I don't understand. I think I do have sort of a grasp on the format here: Marvel's long had success with these super-fat hardcovers that I guess go to those guys in suits I've long heard about but only ever see in Midtown Comics. I liked the heck out of these comics when I was a kid and re-bought the originals for me to consume as an adult when these collections were a twinkling in some lawyer's eye. They have that slight bump in maturity that the British Avengers TV show had, that idea you're at the adults table even if you haven't quite earned it. Plus: kung-fu.

*****

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, Listen: Joey Alison Sayers On Process Party

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Not Comics: Frank Godwin Illustration Work

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Steve Foxe talks to Johnnie Christmas. Paul Tumey talks to Emil Ferris... again. Alex Dueben talks to Sandrine Revel.

* Frank Santoro returns with another seminar on risograph.

* Paul Tumey on Dick Tracy. Frank Young on Dick Tracy.
*
* finally, a must-read: Roger Angell remembers James Stevenson.
 
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Happy 65th Birthday, Joyce Brabner!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Benjamin Marra!

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February 28, 2017


Go, Look: Sledgehammer Pt. 2

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Go, Look: Three Mark Schultz Originals

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Bill Leak Could Have Asserted His Complaint-Filed-Against Cartoon Was Done In Good Faith, But Didn't

There's an interesting coda here to last year's story about a cartoon by Bill Leak being accused of racial discrimination under Australian's human rights laws. The complaint was dropped in November.

Essentially, Leak was contacted with the chance to put on an affirmative defense. He would have been able to state that the cartoon was done in good faith in that it was designed to drive conversation on an important public issue. For whatever reason, Leak declined to pursue the charge's dismissal that way. That's fascinating in the individual case that no action was taken, but also more generally that this is a way to get out of such a charge. As the article notes, folks are hoping to reform that part of the law.
 
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Go, Look: The Rook

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* I like to cover books in advance because I don't like having missed something, but I had no idea we'd be seeing this giant tome from cartoonist Gabby Schulz. That's good news, though, despite my failure at a fundamental aspect of my job.

* looks like we're due to see a relaunch for the classic Harvey characters.

* there's a new comic series on the way from Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. My recollection is that several readers were fond of their Alex + Ada.

* I find the whole world of digital media stars sort of fascinating, but there's no hitch-step in fully realizing these folks are just as popular as their film, broadcast TV and cable TV peers. This will include comics.

* PW explores some of the various bottom lines that characterize right now for IDW. That's a company not only playing the long game, but they're using a different rule book for much of what they do. Even the way they do TV/film is different.

* here's a survey-style list of Spring books that ran at PW.

* this article is fairly thorough in plotting out future comics-related plans involving author Margaret Atwood.

* finally, Sophie Goldstein's well-liked House Of Women series will be collected by Fantagraphics this Fall.

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Go, Listen: Rich Tommaso On Process Party

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through April 2017

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*****

March 2
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 3
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)

March 4
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Tulsa, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Nigeria, I'd Go To This (Comic Connect Africa)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

March 5
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This (ECCC)
* If I Were In Nigeria, I'd Go To This (Comic Connect Africa)

March 8
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

March 9
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This

March 10
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

March 11
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Big Apple Con)
* If I Were Near Ontario, Oregon, I'd Go To This (Border Town Comic-Con)

March 12
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Big Apple Con)

March 13
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 15
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

March 16
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 17
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

March 18
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

March 19
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

March 20
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

March 22
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 23
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)

March 24
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)
* If I Were In Linz, I'd Go To This (NEXTCOMIC)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

March 25
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I Were In Greenville, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

March 26
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I Were In Greenville, I'd Go To This (SC Comicon)
* If I Were In Leipzig, I'd Go To This (Comics & Graphics Festival)

March 28
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This
* If I Were Near Harper College, I'd Go To This

March 29
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

March 31
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Dallas)

*****

April 1
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Dayton, I'd Go To This (Gem City Comic Con)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MoCCA Festival)
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Dallas)
* If I Were In Tacoma, I'd Go To This

April 2
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This (WonderCon)
* If I Were In Dayton, I'd Go To This (Gem City Comic Con)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (MoCCA Festival)
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Dallas)

April 3
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

April 4
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)

April 5
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

April 6
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Dubai, I'd Go To This (Middle East Film And Comic Con)

April 7
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Dubai, I'd Go To This (Middle East Film And Comic Con)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (The Great Philadelphia Comic Con)

April 8
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This (DINK)
* If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Dubai, I'd Go To This (Middle East Film And Comic Con)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (The Great Philadelphia Comic Con)
* If I Were In Houston, I'd Go To This

April 9
* If I Were In Luzern, I'd Go To This (Fumetto)
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This (DINK)
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This (PIX)
* If I Were In St. Louis, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (The Great Philadelphia Comic Con)

April 13
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

April 14
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Queers And Comics)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

April 15
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Queers And Comics)
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)

April 16
* If I Were In Indianapolis, I'd Go To This (Indiana Comic Con)

April 20
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

April 21
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (SVCC)
* If I Were In El Paso, I'd Go To This (EPCC)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live)
* If I Were In Juneau, I'd Go To This (Alaska Robotics Mini-Con)

April 22
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (SVCC)
* If I Were In El Paso, I'd Go To This (EPCC)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live)
* If I Were In Juneau, I'd Go To This (Alaska Robotics Mini-Con)
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

April 23
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (C2E2)
* If I Were In San Jose, I'd Go To This (SVCC)
* If I Were In El Paso, I'd Go To This (EPCC)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Spectrum Fantastic Art Live)
* If I Were In Juneau, I'd Go To This (Alaska Robotics Mini-Con)
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

April 24
* If I Were In Juneau, I'd Go To This (Alaska Robotics Mini-Con)

April 25
* If I Were In Juneau, I'd Go To This (Alaska Robotics Mini-Con)

April 27
* If I Were In Calgary, I'd Go To This (Calgary Expo)

April 28
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In Calgary, I'd Go To This (Calgary Expo)

April 29
* If I Were In Athens, I'd Go To This (FLUKE)
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This (East Coast Comicon)
* If I Were In Calgary, I'd Go To This (Calgary Expo)

April 30
* If I Were In Kansas City, I'd Go To This (Planet Comicon)
* If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This (East Coast Comicon)
* If I Were In Calgary, I'd Go To This (Calgary Expo)

*****

Events For May 2017 Onward Listed Here

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Editor's Note: Some of you have questioned whether or not these listings count as personal endorsements; they don't. In the spirit of more information trumping less, I will continue to list a wide variety of events here for those that don't share my specific tastes and distastes.

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Go, Look: Tarzan's Jungle Annual #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die #1.

* go, read: graphic novels and the refugee crisis.

* here's an article from FPI about Panini/Marvel celebration covers done by various European cartooning superstars, like Lewis Trondheim drawing the X-Men. Cover stunts like that usually end up being pretty fun. The tend to pick accomplished artists, and those artists have the entire history of the character from which to pull a single iconic moment.

* the funniest thing I've read this week.

* this was pretty funny, too. Although the notion that a relative might change something creatively in order to alter the perception the art brings with it, that seems like it could happen.

* finally, David Barnett covers the 40th anniversary of 2000 AD.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Lauren Barnett!

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February 27, 2017


Go, Look: 11 New Yorker Cartoons By James Stevenson

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Missed It: Turkey's Girgir Shut Down Over Moses Cartoon

This is a mess. A judge shutting down a humorous magazine for blasphemy in Turkey right now is hardly surprising, though still depressing. This article indicates a sprawl of motivations and counter-arguments, though, including the notion that staffers ran the cartoon without vetting because of late-night journalistic exhaustion, and that the cartoon and its cursing Israelis was conceived as a kind of provocation that would get the paper shut down.

What that suggest to me is the repressive atmosphere isn't just seen in direct government restriction on speech but helps to build a culture of avoidance and blame that gums up the works before government even gets involved. Even the worst kind of speech in the whole world can be processed through a culture more fruitfully.
 
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Go, Look: The Nicest Dog

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So I Went To A Comics Event On Saturday Night

I attended what was basically, I think, the closing reception for the Billy Ireland installation of Windows On Death Row, which will run through the second Sunday in March. It's a show that's run three or four places in North America and at least two in Europe.

imageThis is one of Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist Patrick Chappatte's series of cartoon-driven installations concerning social issues, bringing to bear qualities people associate with comics and cartoon like humor, satirical insight and a diversity of voices on the political and practical viewpoints involved. The Billy Ireland installation provides a high quality mix of cartoons across four thematic organizing principles, along with art from death row inmates. The Saturday evening event included a walk-through with the curators, a reception and a speech featuring one of the artists and introduced by author Piper Kerman.

About 60 people attended, which was a nice crowd for an evening of overlapping campus events. The quality of "Windows" called for a full house. The art itself, like a lot of jailhouse art I've seen, was intriguing for its range of obviously self-taught craft with an almost routinely heartbreaking aspirational aspect, where an image might reflect a limited worldview or something the artist wishes for but isn't present. The reception was enjoyable for the attendees that weren't typical Billy event participants, a broad range of arts-interested people, at least two Kerman fans to whom I spoke, and campus denizens either ordered to be there or there for some assistance with their own death penalty related social causes.

The belle of this particular ball, though, was the presentation portion of the evening. All of those involved -- the organizers, Kerman and cartoonist Joel Pett were charming and concise, the latter of which might represent a miracle for this kind of thing. A general point made more than once involved the notion of fighting the death penalty as confronting the spear-tip for mass incarceration, a way of dulling the blade for a deeply ingrained and financially well-protected element of our country, all of which is derived from the nation's punishment culture. There was also some smart discussion of related issues, and steps to policy correction.

The show's heart was remarks from Ndume Olatushani, who spoke directly and eloquently to his decade-long incarceration on death row and what turned him around and the value of art in finding personal direction. It's one of the presentations I'll remember for the remainder of my life, the feeling of it if not the specifics. It was a moral address of the best kind. Olatushani's patience and display of character in parsing what had happened to him, and how it felt at different steps along the way, astonished most of the crowd. As pointed out several times, the activist and artist was a living example of why there shouldn't be a death penalty.

I hope to do many more shows like this in the years ahead. If you haven't seen the exhibition you have about two weeks for Ohio, or you can see it at future 2017 installations in Texas and New York City.

art by Kevin Cooper
 
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Go, Look: Nat Turner

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CRNI Updates The Case Against Musa Kart And Others, On The Fourth Month Of Their Imprisonment

Here.

The cartoonist and his journalist peers have not even been indicted, as of this writing.

imageVarious human rights-focused organizations have reacted strongly to the imprisonment, as the government detail. These tend to be broad commissions and organization rather than something within Turkey that might have greater pull to force action.

CRNI's description of the cartoonist's situation chills. I'll re-run it here with apologies because there may be a few people that will read it here and not follow a link to it. "... [Kart] continues to be held under the kind of restricted circumstances normally reserved for those convicted of a crime. While he and his journalist colleagues have access to paper and pen, nothing is permitted to leave and nor may they receive letters. They may see their lawyers once a week for one hour and up to three of their family members, also for one hour a week. Inmates and visitors are separated by glass during family visits or accompanied by a prison officer doing lawyer visits and at all times any discussion is audio-recorded. Inmates are permitted a phone call once in 15 days for a duration no longer than ten minutes. They cohabit in groups of three and aren’t allowed to see their peers. They are given access to a 3×5 meter yard with very high walls to get air and exercise. They do have a television and get the daily newspapers but there are limitations on books. Deputies from the CHP visit them often, as is their right, and share their messages with the public."

One hopes there is word of a case and/or its progression sooner rather than later. This is abominable, but it happened very quickly and with very relative pushback from the citizenry, or at least it seemed that way from the outside looking in. Horrifying in and of itself, it's not an unfair concern that this kind of thing may one day be common in all right-tilting countries, or those with a focus in maintaining power in one person.
 
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