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



















January 19, 2017


Pascal Garray, RIP

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Go, Look: Fletcher Hanks Collection PR Feature At Boing Boing

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not usually a fan of this kind of feature but it's Fletcher Hanks, so it's bound to be great
 
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Assembled Extra: comiXology Launches Original Material

This seems like a relatively straight-forward explanation of what's been released, to what platforms and why. I don't have the stomach to see if "content moat" is a real thing, so let me leave that mystery to you.

The thing about digital comics reading habits I think may be worth remembering is that nothing's really been set in stone and strategies still might come into play that haven't event been considered yet. This idea of possibility is reinforced by the relatively strong settling of various consumption habits that have come to streaming film and video services, and the role that original content has played there. There are a lot of articles out there strongly declaring realities that never came to pass in that space, which makes me think that comics is a bit more wide open than might have been thought even two years ago. I'm also fascinated to see what ends up worth doing in a medium where the very best-selling primary material may hit local newscast numbers.

Whatever happens, this seems like an an important step.

The comic in question sounds pretty good, too.
 
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Go, Look: Obama's Greatest Accomplishment?

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here are the exhibitions at Angouleme, now hurtling towards us. That looks like a solid, crowd-pleasing line-up although really nothing there I felt pain at seeing listed with my not going and all. That Franquin one might be lovely.

* I saw almost no reaction to the FIBD grand prix finalists list, which surprised me. If someone knows a rip-roaring conversation going on out there, clue me in. To be clear, I think all of three of those choices are super-solid and if Ware wins, I want to go. I'm still surprised that there's *no* reaction to a white, all-male finalists suite given last year's fiasco. If it continues to be quiet, kudos to those at the festival crisis-managing this situation the last several months.

* there will be a con in East Los Angeles in May.

* conventional wisdom says that Comic-Con International won't miss the now-LA Chargers football team because their moving away from San Diego streamlines future planning for convention center expansion.

* finally, I hope no one on the board at CXC expects this level of commitment from me.
 
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Go, Look: #MeetTheArtist

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through February 2017

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*****

January 21
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

January 22
* If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This (Vancouver Comicon)

January 25
* If I Were In Hamilton, I'd Go To This

January 26
* If I Were Anywhere In Europe, I'd Make My Way To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

January 27
* If I Were Anywhere In Europe, I'd Make My Way To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

January 28
* If I Were Anywhere In Europe, I'd Make My Way To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In North Texas, I'd Go To This (North Texas Comic Book Show)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

January 29
* If I Were Anywhere In Europe, I'd Make My Way To This (FIBD)
* If I Were In North Texas, I'd Go To This (North Texas Comic Book Show)

*****

February 1
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

February 17
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

February 18
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (LBCE)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

February 19
* If I Were In Long Beach, I'd Go To This (LBCE)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

February 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (San Diego Comic Fest)

February 21
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

February 25
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

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Events For March 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: The Adventures Of Shochan (1925)

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Dan Buckley, publisher at Marvel, being named President of Marvel. I want to play catch on that one for a few days because I'm not sure who gets replaced or who doubles up on certain duties or whatever.

image* Steve Foxe on Tomie.

* this may be my favorite personal anecdote about working at Fanta as well, or at least one that's not the trash can story.

* Mark Evanier writes about comics with a quick turnaround time. His own personal involvement with one doesn't get shorter than 11 days, but that's still a short time when you think of how the bulk of labor involved with comics can't be faked. You have to kind of willfully drive around these things.

* not comics: hm.

* I can't tell if no word on the condition of the Malaysian great Lat since Monday or so is good news or bad. I think good, in terms of that one step, but the whole situation isn't ideal. All thoughts with him and his family. It's been a great part of this New Year to have an excuse to back and look at those comics, and I urge you to make Kampung Boy and Town Boy part of your collection.

* there are still a lot of comics out there I'd like to consume at a huge size. Not me, the comics. It's nice that there are format discussions some 75-plus years in, too.

* finally, John Byrne on the John Byrne Forum 4-Ever.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Barbara Canepa!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Guy Delisle!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Thomas Yeates!

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Happy 69th Birthday, Joe Staton!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Scott Tipton!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Frank Cammuso!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Don MacPherson!

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January 18, 2017


OTBP: The Unquotable Trump

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several images here
 
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Chris Ware, Cosey, Manu Larcenet Up For Angouleme Grand Prix: Alan Moore Quietly Steps Aside

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An e-mail went out today at I think 11 AM local time noting that the results of the first round of professional voting for this year's Angouleme Festival Grand Prix (and next year's presidency) have put Chris Ware, Cosey and Manu Larcenet in the final round. That is an excellent group of artists.

This result reflects a vote that took place from January 9 to 15. This next round will take place from January 18 to 22. The vote is open to comics authors regardless of nationality whose work has been published in the French language market in French. It looks like to vote in the second round they had to participate in the first, but if I were on the border of qualifying I'd probably double check that.

The site for voting is here. There is a dropbox site for the authors' bios here.

The prize-winner will be named at the opening ceremony the Wednesday before the show officially opens.

The press release notes that Alan Moore made the original top three but Moore has opted out of this kind of recognition, and a chance for this recognition specifically. That would be a potentiallly really interesting show, but I fully understand the arguments both for and against participating in awards programs and that should be left to the artist when there's a community element.

imageThere are two contexts for this year's grand prix vote: last year's grand prix vote and the recent, fussy history of that awards and awards more generally at the festival: if not the grand event of world comics than one of the top three.

Last year's vote was rightly hammered into reputational powder after it was revealed there was a formal nominating round with a significant number of cartoonists offered up on a list, a long-list that contained no women. None. This was exacerbated by idiotic-to-misplayed press appearances and rhetorical strategies and just plain and arrogant thinking that further suggested that for any female cartoonist to be considered for probably the grandest prize in the comics dozens upon dozens of male cartoonists should be considered first -- even hiding behind the execrable history of comics when it comes to those numbers maybe being tough to balance as a way to justify a shut-out. Chris Ware was one of several cartoonists to withdraw from the process and 2016 consideration.

That protest led to a deeper threat of wider protest after the show concluded, leading to reform steps seen since. The idea that no women at all are worthy of consideration doesn't reflect any conception of the comics world popularly held, and even if asserted as arguable (one tricky way is to note that the small percentage of previous years votes is a tacit endorsement of the scarcity of female talent) underlines how the long-list was a spectacular failure of the awards in terms of bringing positive attention and an audience boost to the awards. That is, of course, the other context, the effort made by the festival in recent years to break the old-boy network of winners voting for the newest winners, and becoming more in touch with popular taste as a result. I think there's an argument the festival can make that with recent Grand Prix winners like Bill Watterson, that part of a desirable end result has been generally met when compared to choices from a decade or so ago.

Does this take us the rest of the way? While the awards is no longer hindered by its recent, resolutely cynical nominations process, and bringing in trustworthy representative committees for oversight and general admin is a great step, I think we'll have to see if an open call for grand prix nominees can over time avoid the trap of foregrounding the grand prix as something to be passed along between members of a new unofficial club as restrictive in result as the smaller voting room of old (literally). I hope so, as it's such a grand award. It's a Willie Wonka award! You get to shape the next festival! But yeah, even with all three of those great artists in play I think my heart would rather see Posy Simmonds on that list than on the committee to help things run more smoothly.

my thanks to xavier guilbert for the PR-forwarding assist
 
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Echo Chamber

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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.

*****

NOV160691 OFFICER DOWNE TP (MR) $19.99
SEP160092 ABE SAPIEN TP VOL 08 DESOLATE SHORE $19.99
SEP160028 DEPT H HC VOL 01 PRESSURE $19.99
NOV160382 ROM TP VOL 01 $19.99
This isn't a week for the kinds of comics I like most of all, but a fallow Wednesday in 2017 is like the best New Comics Day of the year for most the 1990s and into the 2000s so I'm I could spend a hundred bucks just like that. I'd get there more quickly through all four of these solid $20 trades. The Officer Downe book I liked in different forms when I read it; this is linked to the recent movie so you get a script and production stills. The Abe Sapien is nearing the end of that run if not the end. Dept H is the first trade from that well-reviewed series; that one seems like it was just announced. I'm probably not perverse enough to make ROM a core buy, but it might be fun to see some of those artists again.

imageNOV160346 KAMANDI CHALLENGE SPECIAL #1 $7.99
Hey, it's reprint of an older Kamandi comic as a way of kicking off their round-table roulette series. I love Kamandi and I love everything Jack Kirby, although I thought Kirby's work was stronger in the teens than when this work came along -- it has to be in the #30s.

NOV160589 THEYRE NOT LIKE US #13 (MR) $2.99
NOV160898 BLACK WIDOW #10 $3.99
NOV160059 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #30 $4.99
NOV160053 BLACK HAMMER GIANT SIZED ANNUAL #1 $5.99
NOV160272 CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #4 (MR) $3.99
NOV160273 CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #4 VAR ED (MR) $3.99
Hey, it's the comic-book comics. Not a lot here, either. The best work is probably up top with two admirable artists providing super-solid work: Simon Gane on the Image comic, and Chris Samnee on the Marvel one. I note the Dark Horse Presents for the high number -- that's another sizable yet quiet run. The Black Hammer is Jeff Lemire's book of oddball superheroics -- songs in the key of Mignola, with the fun artist Dean Ormston involved. The Cave Carson is one of those Gerard Way shepherded Vertigo/corporate titles, and this might be the week to try one of those art. I don't like that there's a variant cover, but I'm happy someone got paid.

NOV160504 ART OF ZACH HOWARD SC VOL 01 WILD BLUE YONDER $9.99
FEB160628 GODDAMNED TP VOL 01 THE FLOOD (MR) $9.99
Two smart company strategies in play: IDW showing off the artists that do a lot of work with the company in an art book, and Image pricing its initial trades at $9.99 for an easier sell-to point to support ongoing series.

OCT161031 KA-ZAR TP SAVAGE DAWN $15.99
Ka-Zar is a sturdy property that doesn't have a lot to distinguish itself in terms of a period where this particular spin on the on Tarzan mythos found vibrancy. There's no comics I can point at with the character that seem work better than others, or as good as the description of the concept might portend.

NOV161564 ZONZO HC (MR) $14.99
This is a handsome-looking volume -- in fact, there's an art design trick I've never seen before except on some self-published kids' books in the '90s -- of Joan Cornella's humor work. I think the comics are funny, although I'm not sure that I think this size of a collection at this price point shows off the work as well as wider exposure to the work through more comics might have been.

*****

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

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Go, Look: Tarzan's Jungle Annual #1

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Tarzan is almost always problematic; Jesse Marsh's comics are almost always beautiful
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on Rolling Blackouts. Henry Chamberlain on Kindred. Michael Buntag on The Unstoppable Wasp #1.

* easy to enjoy the relative luxury of this strip taking its time to get where it wants to go.

* I don't understand any of the plots here other than I'm guessing both the Clark Kent/Superman and Wally West characters are cognizant of whatever the most recent reality-changes are in the DC Universe. What it is, though, is a textbook comic book professional depiction of a scene that involves talking over fighting/movement, so the dynamism needs to come for layout and how the visuals are established within each panel.

* hard to reconcile driving attention to someone else's comics that are just presented as they are without any additional contextualization, but the late 1960s/early 1970s period of secondary Marvel character is about the richest period left when it comes to shared-superhero universe material to be mined.

* this may be the most Henry Boltinoff pages I've ever seen in one place.

* finally, Will Elder, Will Elder, Will Elder.
 
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Happy 83rd Birthday, Raymond Briggs!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Patrick Lesueur!

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