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
















August 21, 2014


Go, Look: "So What He Stole A Box Of Cigars?"

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Go, Read: Sean Howe On Frank Miller At Wired

imageThe third time's the charm as far as big-publication profiles of the cartoonist and filmmaker Frank Miller go, with this Sean Howe piece at Wired outdoing similarly-focused treatments at the New York Times and Playboy in terms of insight and perspective. It also offers the best photos. It even suggests a continuity of vulnerability that informs Miller's work, a way of connecting the rage and drive of his superhero narratives to real moments of perceived physical danger.

I might haggle a bit with some of the details as presented: certainly Kim Thompson's review of Ronin kept that from being an across-the-board critical success, and I'd say even introduced a counter-narrative about Miller that came to drive much of the thinking about the cartoonist that surfaces in other parts of Howe's career survey. I might also describe DK2 as more of a popular disappointment than a critical one. Still, it's a strong piece across the board about an interesting and influential cartoonist. I hope Howe does more of this kind of thing moving forward.
 
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Go, Look: La Lecture Des Ruines

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Even The Headline Could Get Me In Trouble

imageThat's art for a variant cover by the European comics-maker Milo Manara that Marvel is using for a Spider-Woman book. I don't have much to say about it, although maybe I should: we're in a cultural moment where this kind of thing drives feature stories of reasonable length at The Guardian. Here's a thought. I sort of like it as art, primarily because of its grotesque sexuality in a commercial context, like Jonny Negron doing the packaging for a line of Barbies. It's admittedly a curious, tone-deaf choice for the publisher, unless the idea is to jumpstart interest by getting this image out there and talked-about. I certainly didn't know there was a Spider-Woman comic out any time soon.

There are some interesting pop-culture flourishes for which one might look. I'm sure Manara will be described by detractors of this drawing not just as a maker of dubious choices but as an outright untalented artist, maybe even a supremely bad one. The Internet rewards scorched-earth arguments. It's also a basic reminder there is definitely still an undercurrent of cliched, sweaty-boy sexuality in a lot of comics work, something about which we don't like to think but is definitely there. It's also a good place to see that curious mix of fan ownership and commercial standards. Mainstream superhero fans are at times flattered into thinking they're a creative contributor in addition to being an audience member, but the overriding standard they have to apply when making their voice heard is a commercial one. So you see a lot of arguments where maximizing profit is brought to bear as an answer to aesthetic concerns. If only there was as much going on with the covers of respectable taste.
 
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Go, Look: Esad Ribic Superhero Paintings

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Go, Read: Three Profiles Of Three Very Different Cartoonists In Three Very Different Formats

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* long-ago TCJ contributor and still-active academic with an interest in comics Kenton Worcester has penned a brief and affectionate obituary for the late Phil Evans at New Politics. Evans is a cartoonist with whom I have only the most minimal familiarity, and I am as grateful to learn more about him in this way as I am regretful this understanding comes after he has gone.

* I don't read the Chicago Tribune any longer, although it was once an everyday habit extending out on both sides of my living in the city for just over two years. That the Chicago Tribune was supplementing their employment of Scott Stantis with Joe Fournier was something that had escaped me. So to read an old-fashioned enthusiastic endorsement of his work by Michael Miner in the Chicago Reader was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to tracking down the comics themselves. I love non-traditional uses of the form, even if it's just breaking from bare-bones expectations as to what a cartoon should do.

* Sean T. Collins interviewed Meghan Turbitt at TCJ.com today, and it's a fun interview. Talking to younger cartoonists -- and Turbitt applies in terms of age and in terms of the amount of work she's done -- can be difficult, but they have a nice conversation about the big themes to emerge thus far in her work.
 
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Go, Look: Tip Top Comics #197

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By Request Extra: Austin English Holding Original Art Sale To Raise Money For Domino Books Projects

The cartoonist and publisher Austin English has a sale going here on his original art. The idea is to raise money for future Domino Books projects. If nothing else, it's fun to look at that art.
 
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Go, Look: Ben Towle's AlphaBands Gallery

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

image* Autoptic roars to life.

* the blog Chicagoist reminds us that Chicago's Wizard World show is this weekend. That was once the #2 show and for one year they had everyone thinking they were closing fast on San Diego and that Wizard could use the momentum to enter the Chicago market. That didn't happen, although Wizard is putting out PR that their convention slate is profitable now. At any rate, that's a great region of the country for comics, and I still feel its nostalgic pull.

* speaking of Chicago, CAKE is looking for two core members of their administration team. That's a great chance to be involved with a growing show, and to be involved with comics more generally if that's a goal of yours.

* not sure I knew about this New Orleans show that runs in mid-November; at least I don't remember hearing about it until a couple of days ago.

* here's a report on the recent Bryan Lee O'Malley signing at the FPI in Edinburgh.

* the second iteration of Paper Jam Small Press Festival -- to be held in early September -- has its own tumblr.

* this article from an exhibitor about what they most want out of a show is a must-read for those fascinated by conventions and convention culture.

* in early October, the Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival will celebrate 75 years of Marvel Comics with special programming.

* not comics: the writer Brian Doherty got the rights back to his Burning Man book from 10 years ago and has released a self-published Kindle edition. There's a lot there that might inform your view of the comics community and the role of festivals, particularly those shows that are huge, fundamental shows like CCI and SPX.

* finally, I mentioned this the other day, but I've talked to a handful of people unable to get rooms at the Marriott because of a sell-out: they've all ended up here, at the Hilton up the road. The price is comfortable, it's walkable if you have to, and it's one transit stop away so the walking isn't likely.
 
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Go, Look: The Man Who Couldn't Be Reached

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2014

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*****

August 22
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Athens, I'd Go To This

August 23
* If I Were In New Jersey, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chimacum, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Mt Prospect, I'd Go To This

August 26
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

August 27
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

August 29
* If I Were In Decatur, I'd Go To This

August 30
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Decatur, I'd Go To This

August 31
* If I Were In Decatur, I'd Go To This

*****

September 3
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This
* If I Were Near A Computer, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

September 4
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 5
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)

September 6
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Paper Jam Small Press Festival 2)

September 7
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)

September 8
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

September 12
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Montreal Comiccon)
* If I Were In College Park, I'd Go To This

September 13
* If I Were In Rockville, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Montreal Comiccon)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

September 14
* If I Were In Rockville, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Montreal Comiccon)

September 15
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This
* If I Were Near Harvard, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Charlottesville, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 16
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This

September 19
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

September 20
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were In Asheville, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

September 21
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

September 24
* If I Were In Pittsburgh, I'd Go To This

September 25
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This

September 26
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This

September 27
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Kenosha, I'd Go To This

September 28
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

*****

Ongoing
* Pretty In Ink: The Trina Robbins Collection, Cartoon Art Museum (Through August 24)

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cartoon Art Museum (Through September 14)

*****

This post is designed to list events through the month after this one, including ongoing exhibits. If you don't see your event above, perhaps check out the future listings here. If it's not listed anywhere,

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

 
Go, Look: Crime Does Not Pay #51

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Hervé St. Louis takes a brief look at Medium as a potential webomics platform.

image* Team Comics Alternative talks to Alec Longstreth. Carol Hills profiles Arnon Avni. Anshuman Iddamsetty talks to Emily Carroll. Mike Romeon profiles Meredith Gran.

* not comics: I am still completely baffled that the idea of spoilers has infiltrated into the act of writing about art. I've never run one, and never will. When I was ten years old, I knew that when I read a review in the New Yorker (the only place I knew where people wrote about a movie for that many words), that I'd be reading about the movie. I don't understand why that doesn't apply now. That doesn't mean I think you should run around being a jerk about art you've seen and someone else hasn't -- at that same age we used to hold our breath so as not to talk about a movie when we walked past the line to get into the next showing. Why is this hard?

* Sean Gaffney on Black Rose Alice Vol. 1 and Kokoro Connect Vol. 1. Brian Nicholson on The Wrenchies. Kate Polak on Deogratias. Johanna Draper Carlson on In Clothes Called Fat. Kelly Thompson on Hexed #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. Jerry Smith on The Trial Of The Flash. Robert Boyd on a bunch of different comics.

* finally, for some reason I had this five-years-ago post about Tintin originals in my bookmarks folder. Fun post, though.
 
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Happy 85th Birthday, Marie Severin!

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August 20, 2014


Go, Look: Mikko Lustarinen

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A Few Quick Notes On Yale Stewart, Dick Pics And Various Comics-Culture Permutations Perhaps In Play

So there's a cartoonist named Yale Stewart. A SCAD graduate, Stewart started out post-graduation doing an autobio comic called Gifted. He then shifted over into unlicensed kiddie versions of DC superheroes that he ran as JL8. These were popular. They were nominated for awards and well-reviewed. I'm pretty sure I linked to them. These led to official licensing work and work at Image. One of the permutations of the JL8 stuff was a series of images that Stewart has done as commentary on various national news stories and, at least in one case, solicited money for on behalf of an involved charity. The cartoonist Ulises Farinas objected to the latest of these images -- a Ferguson, Missouri related Green Lantern image -- and spoke out last week, setting off a mini-firestorm of criticism and Internet argumentation, much of it nasty and a lot of it aimed right back at Farinas.

imageIn the course of that argumentation, accusations sifted to the surface that Stewart had sent women in the comics industry dick pics. I'll define dick pics here -- for my Mom, mostly, so she doesn't ask me at lunch in a restaurant -- as photos taken, sometimes with a mirror but mostly without, showing one's penis that are sent to someone, frequently as part of flirtatious dialogue in a sexual or hopefully sexual relationship. Stewart's proclivities re: camera and cock were apparently something in the rumor mills earlier this summer; Stewart addressed the rumors on Twitter in early July, and made a comment about the general practice in May. As far as I can tell, no one directly came forward to say this was done to me, not in public, but others have publicly testified that they were told by recipients that this had happened and stood firmly by these claims. Just about everyone who has sought to find out with any sort of connections in the comics world probably has at least one name. Further, it was claimed during this rolling, virtual reveal that these were unsolicited photos and that they went out to more than one person. You can see one on-line community forum where a photo said to be Stewart was posted to a thread here.

Other items of interest include a piece at Bleeding Cool about the Farinas/Stewart disagreement over the covers and an article at something called Unleash The Fanboy conflating the harassment claims with the criticism of the charity work into one super-issue and going after Farinas like he stole someone's pet. I disagree with the first piece in that I think these are fairly important issues, including and maybe especially the idea of profiting from grief -- and I disagree with the second on just about every substantive point.

Mostly, though, it looked like this had settled into the make jokes about it on Twitter + wondering out loud as to when Rich Johnston will put out another story on it at this now very different stage of things period.

Earlier today, Stewart posted a lengthy response on Facebook and via his Tumblr, saying the photos were his, they were sent to two women with whom he was having separate sexual relationships in 2012, they were still apparently unwanted, he has reached out and apologized to these women, he is apologizing to the public and he is making a $1000 charity donation. The next step, one supposes, would be a public vetting of that information, whether all of these things are true and whether that depiction encompasses everything involved. We'll see. If he's not being truthful here, he deserves everything that will come to him. My guess is that the first target of this attention will be the number of women that have received dick pics from this guy; he just sounds like he could be fudging there. It should also be pretty easy to ascertain if he was in a relationship with the women who got these pictures.

So a few things pop to mind, and they're not all "I need a new job." One is that the sentiment floated that it is ever okay to send people unsolicited naked pictures of yourself (or others) is deeply, horribly wrong. It's embarrassing to even have to type that. That's a big deal. That is not interpretive. That is not generational. That is not a whoopsie moment. That is a deliberative, potentially assaultive action. That is also something that someone else gets to decide for you, the hell with your intentions. Another is that I hope that anyone who experiences something shitty like this will reach out directly to any appropriate institution involved and give them a chance to do the right thing. This includes the institutions involved when/where an incident takes place and any/all institutions continuing to support said person once these things are reported and become part of the public record. Barring that -- and it's perfectly understandable why that last suggestion might be a total non-starter with a lot of folks -- a third thing is that I'm hopeful that someone might work with this site, or Heidi's, or ComicsAlliance, or CBR or any place you think makes sense to let those entities advocate on your behalf and hold institutions responsible. This can be done just as anonymously as it is to tell a few friends and swearing them to secrecy except when they're being mean about it on Twitter. A fourth realization is that Ulises Farinas was treated poorly by people that have a fannish interest in the art that Yale Stewart makes, and that this is another reminder of a deeply dysfuctional aspect of fan culture that ascribes virtue to certain fan interests and I think one against which we must always remain on guard.

One of the reasons that I support specific action should go hand in hand with broader change is because of stories like this one. While there's a possibility you can sort of carve out and wiggle your way to a point where sending one or two people pictures of your dick seems in a specific context an arguable thing to do, or at least one for which you can apologize down the road, maybe we're in an historical moment where we'd all be better off moving in the other freaking direction as far as we can go as opposed to remaining in those places where we have to contextualize and argue and apologize. Someone do an inspirational poster about that.

Mr. Stewart did not respond to an e-mail.
 
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Go, Look: Jen Corace

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Kanika Mishra, Majida Shaheen Named 2014 Winners Of CRNI Award For Courage In Editorial Cartooning

Michael Cavna has a fine write-up here on the Cartoonists Rights Network International naming the Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra and the Palestinian cartoonist Majida Shaheen this year's winners of the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning. As might be guessed, that's an award the group gives out to a cartoonist that exercises their "free-speech rights under extraordinary circumstances."

Mishra and Shaheen are the first female recipients.

Mishra was cited for her cartoons about rape charges facing religious leader Asaram Bapu, charges that eventually landed him in jail. The victim was 16 years old. Cavna's piece notes that the cartoonist received death threats against her and family members for her work on that story. Shaheen was cited for her cartoon about Hamas political figure Ismail Haniyeh and the Al-Quds Brigades. These cartoons led to threats of violence from the artist's community.

The awards will be presented October 11 during the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention in San Francisco. I hope one or both of the cartoonists will be able to attend; that's always difficult with that specific award.

You can watch a video interview conducted by CRNI's Robert Russell with Kanika Mishra here; you can see a pertinent example of Shaheen's cartooning here.
 
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Missed It/OTBP: The Second In Line

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posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
By Request Extra: Seth Kushner GoFundMe Account

The photographer and comics-maker Seth Kushner has a GoFundMe account in his name. It was started by his wife. Any money raised will go to support the family and pay extra bills while Kushner continues to undergo treatment for leukemia. I hope you'll consider helping.

There will be a lengthy benefit across two days a week from now.
 
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Love For Dave Cockrum

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everybody scream
 
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Go, Look: The Marvel Family #5

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By Request Special: An Impromptu Conversation About The Fulfillment Rate/Timeliness Of Crowd-Funders

Here. I thought that was a good conversation for the range of experiences on display despite its relative brevity.

As much as anyone cares about what I say about anything enough to pay attention, I think I may have a minor reputation for hating on crowd-funding. The thing is, crowd-funding is such a tremendous opportunity both in terms of what is provided and the diverse array of people that can participate in that option that its abuses have become of significant interest to me. I'm fascinated by the occasional nonchalance of it, too. One reason I try not to ask for anything when I support people is that I can't stand waiting for stuff, this kind of unfinished business that needs someone else in order for me to find closure. At any rate, I hope these kinds of things don't over time diminish the upside of that kind of mechanism.
 
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Go, Look: Adventure Comics #291

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