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

















August 27, 2016


Happy 38th Birthday, Matt Wiegle!

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Happy 70th Birthday, Denis Kitchen!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, Melissa Mendes!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Phil Hester!

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August 26, 2016


Go, Look: Lis Xu

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Festivals Extra: Water Glass Milestone Achieved At Tom Gauld Edinburgh Book Festival Signing

Here. That is some nice glassware going on there, maybe the fanciest ever provided a cartoonist at a book signing. it's my job to keep track of these things. Tom Gauld is one of comics' secret weapons and it'll be good to have him on the road this Fall in support of a new book.
 
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Go, Look: Giacomo Nanni

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Maggie Vicknair on Unsounded.

* it should probably be mentioned that the closing of Robot 6 is part of a bigger presentational shake-up at CBR that likely bears watching. As I write this (Thursday late afternoon) they're getting pounded a bit for a headline style that doesn't allow for publication of everything in the headlines, which isn't a great look. I assume they'll rally. It reminds me of the SI.com changeover when everything got made to look like it needs to to maximize reading on phones, which is the direction of on-line content more generally. I think comics and on-like culture share a faith in new delivery systems that doesn't always match up to the reality of new delivery systems, with comics generally more tethered than it needs to be as a counterweight to those arguments. The moderately old ways always suffer as a result. I've thought this since the market seemed to be in such a hurry to get rid of alt-comics customers back in the '00s. I'll miss the blog format for the material Robot 6 was doing, but god help any digital strategy that has my consumption at the point of its spear.

* here are a few people paying tribute to Robot 6: Caleb Goellner, Chris Butcher, Chris Pitzer, Scott Kurtz. The reason this doesn't feel like a bigger deal is because nothing is a big deal right now; the comics industry is numb from the jawline down.

* finally, speaking of Scott Kurtz, PVP has started a storyline revolving around Jim Davis and Garfield. Okay, that's not really hard news, but I'm from Muncie, and someone who catches up with PVP in big gulps, so I noticed it. BTW, the cider thing is a real thing.
 
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If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2016

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*****

August 27
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)
* If I Were In Cleveland, I'd Go To This (BOUND)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (Safari Festival)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

August 28
* If I Were Near Palm Springs, I'd Go To This (Comic Con Palm Springs)

*****

September 1
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)

September 2
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 3
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 4
* If I Were In Baltimore I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Comic Con)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (SF Zine Fest)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 5
* If I Were In Brussels, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

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

September 9
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

September 10
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)
* If I Were In KC, I'd Go This (KC Zine Con)

September 11
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City Comic Con)
* If I Were In Richmond, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Richmond)

September 15
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)

September 16
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)

September 17
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were Near Kenosha, I'd Go To This (Kenosha Festival Of Cartooning)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

September 18
* If I Were In Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)

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

September 21
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This

September 22
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)
* If I Were In Boston, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

September 23
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)

September 24
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPE)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)
* If I Were In Durham, I'd Go To This (AAEC)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

September 25
* If I Were In Providence, I'd Go To This (RIPE)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Austin)

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

September 27
* If I Were In Manchester, I'd Go To This

September 28
* If I Were In Dublin, I'd Go To This

*****

Events For October 2016 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Real Life Comics #58

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Wonder Woman #2.

* not comics: a modern adaptation of the Madbomb story would have only pleased me, and only if they used the Revolutionary War outfits, which was about .5 percent chance.

* I'm not sure I remembered to post this on the site this week, but this American's experience at a Comiket was super-fascinating. It sounds to me like most people in comics I know might struggle with the "being one tiny element part of a huge show" at something like this. I encourage cartoonists to show their stuff as many places as they can and want.

* hey, look: it's MariNaomi in a magazine.

* Art Spiegelman selects a bunch of solid one-pagers for publication on the New Yorker site. I always enjoy it when Spiegelman curates, even on something like this, mostly because I think his taste is as refined as anyone's in comics. He takes this stuff seriously, thinks about it, and makes choices. That usually means you get a strong list and likely pushback from people that see refinement as restriction.

* finally, Team Trouble With Comics members name their favorite things in comics. That is a late '90s kind of on-line article right there.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Francis Manapul!

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August 25, 2016


Go, Look: Get Kissed Properly!

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Assembled Extra: Robot 6, RIP

imageSo it looks like the Robot 6 group blog that ran under the Comic Book Resources umbrella has been killed in a site-wide blog purge and redesign. The content that ran on the news and commentary blog will apparently be mainstreamed into the CBR site proper, but that immediately sounds problematic: it wouldn't make any sense to give unprofitable content a bigger platform. We'll see.

Even if CBR publishes more work of interest under this new arrangement, the shift in presentation will be jarring. The nice thing about Robot 6 was that it was a bunch of stuff related to comics that comics-interested adults might want to see all in one place (or pull from in one go, or access via one feed, etc.). There were also a lot of good writers there over the years: Brigid Alverson's news round-ups were invaluable; all of her work for that site was good. There were a ton of others.

I have no idea what this means for comics in general. I would assume this is a choice by CBR's new owners to focus more on broader, more popular content to try and make the site maximally profitable. There's also something to these sources moving towards a focus on phone interaction at the loss of some of the crunchier aspects of sites that I like; this has certainly greatly reduced by consumption of sports-related content, not that they'll miss my old ass. The loss of Robot 6 in this form strikes me as a wider story for comics in that a lot of the standard industry tools are starting to go away. There's a point at which I think that becomes a problem for everyone.

I hope all of those writers are able to write about comics as they desire to write about comics and as close as they can come to being properly rewarded for their work. I am grateful for the writing they did, and for their engagement with the comics form. RIP.
 
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Go, Look: The Three-Foot Sleuth!

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Go, Look: Mike Pence Was Once A Not-Accomplished Cartoonist

Here. They're ruthlessly ordinary, but it's nice to see some sort of artistic glimmer in any politician's eyes. I guess. I don't know. This whole year has been so weird it's hard for me to make any commentary at all. These could be a fake, there could be alarming ones, it's hard to see any of it making a dent in our understanding.
 
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Go, Look: A Wretch Like Me: Sad/Black/Ugly/Queer

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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's a straight-faced retelling of last weekend's Wizard show in Chicago, without any mention of the gun seller exhibitor and a lot of play given the Captain American shields they give out to local heroes at every show. I held one of those shields in Columbus from some nice man that wanted people to hold it. It was very sturdy. That show is moving to even later in the summer next year, August 24-27.

* seemed like there were a bunch of stories out there about comics shows I haven't been tracking. Fort Collins. Frome, Somerset. Columbia.

* Palm Springs I've heard of. Maybe not both of them but at least one of them. That seems like you could have a pretty good convention there if someone pumped money into it.

* you can spend a few weeks this Fall learning about Daniel Clowes from the Mitchell & Webb of modern cartooning, Dave Lasky and Greg Stump. Someday I will take one of their classes...

* think I'll take a little break tomorrow from organizing a con and play this game about organizing a con.

* Marc Bernardin has some words of wisdom for what to do after you've hit a con and used it to seek work. That's always a great idea for an article. Even if you don't have work to do, I always feel like comics people zone out a bit until after New York Comic-Con.

* finally, Tom Gauld did a nice-looking program cover for thise year's Small Press Expo (SPX). That's it below.

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

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Go, Look: Three Commissions By Gene Colan

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Vol. 19.

* French bookstores are suffering from tourism losses due to widely-publicized acts of violent terrorism. Although for most comics readers the idea of going to Paris and having money to drop in a lot of bookstores is some sort of dream-life far away from present reality, I hope no one alters their travel for anything except direct, imminent, certain danger. Derf comments here.

* this is a sort-of fascinating encapsulation of Internet rhetoric in terms of how discussions over the value of art are shifted and folded and manipulated and apologized for and explained rather than than simply argued. Let me suggest it's okay to keep on disliking something when the popular pushback position presents itself. My hunch is you're very likely forming the bulk of your opinions about that thing on its merits because most people don't have the time to build a lattice-work of minor-key misassumptions when they process art and entertainment. Positioning should never matter to you when you react to art. It's okay just to react.

* the great question is asked. The answer is, "Batman was co-created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane."

* Chris Sims pulls out a two-issue run of the ha-ha Justice League comic book series for examination. I remember that comic book in question mostly for how much it profited due to a massive tonal shift from what had come before. That's something you really can't get anymore when the tonal shifts come all the time and are marked by new series numbering.

* not comics: I've been voting to shut down any and all comments that aren't personally vetted since 2000 or so, based on my experiences with TCJ's messageboard when a threshold had been passed so that there were enough goofballs out there willing to spend hours fucking with other people that TCJ attracted its first serious batch. The fact that almost no one writes letters when given that option indicates this was always about performance, not dialogue.

* finally, Nick Hanover talks to James Romberger.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, MW Kaluta!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Andrew Aydin!

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