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

September 23, 2014

Go, Look: Lyric Sheet

posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Denise Dorman Piece On Conventions, Cosplayers

imageThe site Bleeding Cool ran an article here that garnered a bit of traction on social media with at least a few dozen comics professionals: an essay by Denise Dorman on the risks of exhibiting at current comics shows and one perceived culprit, namely conventions becoming hubs for cosplay as opposed to maintaining their longtime status as an aggressive marketplace aimed at hardcore fans. It's kind of a fun article in that there seem to be two different arguments being constructed, and their connection is assumed more than proven. Still, I think Bleeding Cool is right to present these issues as things being talked about by certain elements of comics culture. I know I've been a witness to conversations mirroring both halves of this essay several times this year. There are real worries out there about how to keep going to conventions and utilizing them in a way that's profitable or at least doesn't represent a huge loss. There is also resentment aimed at the cosplaying community for "using" shows rather than really participating in them -- that's not just as customers, but as con-goers more generally. The argument as I've heard people make it is that they're really exhibitors in terms of orientation -- there to be seen rather than see -- but they don't have to invest in a space the way other exhibitors have to.

I don't believe the theory, but I know that several people do.

imageConventions not only encompass a lot of different fan experiences, they vary widely show to show in terms of approach and emphasis. It's very difficult to make a sweeping statement about how people are doing, let alone nailing down any firm reasons for why this is so. For everyone that sells a few books or one painting, there are other people pulling in $5000 doing sketches at a HeroesCon or cracking $1000 for the first time selling mini-comics and books at an SPX. There are shows that are doing phenomenally well catering in part to cosplayers and shows doing just as well on the terms they've set for themselves without a person in costume in sight. Nothing is guaranteed right now, and seeing profits from a traditional source (an older artist selling books and art, say, or a giant retailer with an elaborate booth) would seem to be even more at-risk. The only thing certain is the uncertainty of the situation, and anyone that counts on shows, festivals and cons bringing in a certain amount of money is bound at some point over a several-year period to be disappointed. It's such a shifting landscape. All I can suggest is that we all take into account the risks involved, and have some sympathy for those with tough decisions to make. The fact that I no longer buy new books or old comics at comics shows isn't a lamentable fact, it's just a fact; I haven't worn a costume anywhere since 1998. Things are different now. They'll be different again three years down the line. It will always be tough for someone.

Jim Zub is one of many creators with thoughts; his are collected here.
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: The Ghosts Of Pineville

posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

ICYMI: We're In The Midst Of Banned Books Week


The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund sent out a link-laden piece of PR about their paricipation in this year's celebration of free speech, Banned Books Week. It reads as follows:
From September 21st to September 27th, hundreds of events are happening in local communities and thousands of conversations are taking place online -- be sure to take part! Below are just a few ways you can get involved.

1. Find an event in your community at: and

Visit a stop on CBLDF's Banned Books Week tour:

2. Follow us on Twitter at @CBLDF and @BannedBooksWeek and Facebook at and for the latest news and updates

3. Add our Twibbon to your profile pic:

Post your Banned Books Week displays and events on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek, #BannedComics, and #CBLDF

Use CBLDF's extensive resources including free posters and publications to help celebrate Banned Books Week:

Visit every day this week for special articles, brand new resources, and the latest on Banned Books Week activities!

Support CBLDF's important work by becoming a member:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community -- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types -- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
I hope that you'll participate. The Fund's longterm strategy for best serving comics is to place themselves and comics within wider free speech and anti-censorship efforts, of which this one is major.
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: The Real Hot Dads Of Sesame Place

posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Dave Sim On The Sales Potential For His Alex Raymond Book To Be Published By IDW

imageI thought this was an interesting article to read, about Dave Sim thinking his Alex Raymond book won't do well when IDW publishes it. He has to finish it first; he's seeing extra, direct support by fans in achieving this.

I'm not endorsing any of the thoughts on the parade, either Sim's or the pushback from the Bleeding Cool piece. I think Sim places a weird amount of importance on the New York Times as a cultural and I guess now a sales arbiter, and there's an undercurrent of weird self-absorption in terms of why he thinks a book he's making would be successful or not. My hunch is that The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond stands as good a chance as any really well-executed book about a very specific subject stands of doing, with the bonus that there's a lot of goodwill that a lot of fans have for Sim and those fans will want to buy a good-looking book with his name on the cover as its author. I know I want to see it. I don't even understand the scheme he's suggesting as a counter sales strategy, but 1) I didn't understand his High Society digital comics release, either, and 2) that scheme is also interesting for the idea of this world of intensely interested buyers devoted to specific subject matter.
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Captain Battle #2

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

How I'd Spend $50 At This Year's Top Shelf Discount Sale

imageI already own these books, but I like to spy on the Top Shelf $3 sale and see how many good comics I could buy for $50. This is my list this year: original price on one side of the slash, discounted price on the other. I even have a bit of room to spare. You can go here and make your own choices.

There's a lot of good work for sale that I'm not listing, as I'm favoring getting as much work as I can, and as much work as I fear will never be reprinted, over making really fine distinctions in terms of quality. Still, I'd go on vacation with this picnic basket full of comics. Any time. The thought that you can have that Eddie Campbell book -- some of the best comics ever -- for $8 in hardcover freaks me out a bit. This list is also a reminder of some of the admirable artists they've published over the years, with varying levels of success.

* Alec: The Years Have Pants -- HARDCOVER $49.95/$8.00
* Ax (Vol 1): A Collection of Alternative Manga $29.95/$3.00
* Banks/Eubanks $9.95/$1.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #1 $7.50/$3.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #4 $7.50/$1.00
* Comic Book Artist (Vol 2) #5 $7.50/$1.00
image* Happy #1 $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #2: Elephant, Bunny, & Chicken $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #3: Zirkus $3.50/$1.00
* Happy #4: Female $3.50/$1.00
* Hutch Owen (Vol 1): The Collected $14.95/$3.00
* Hutch Owen (Vol 2): Unmarketable $14.95/$1.00
* Jennifer Daydreamer #1 $4.95/$1.00
* Jennifer Daydreamer: Anna & Eva $4.95/$1.00
* Lone Racer $12.95/$1.00
* Lucille $29.95/$3.00
* Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story $5.00/$2.50
* Staros Report -- 1997 $4.95/$1.00
* Staros Report -- 1996 $4.95/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 1): Bighead and Friends $7.00/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 2): Deadly Awesome $10.00/$1.00
* Sulk (Vol 3): The Kind of Strength... $6.00/$1.00
* The Legend of Wild Man Fischer $7.95/$1.00
* The Man Who Loved Breasts $4.00/$1.00
* The Ticking $19.95/$3.00
* The Troll King $14.95/$3.00

posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: That Jill Lepore Wonder Woman Article In The New Yorker To Which I Keep Forgetting To Link

posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink

By Request Extra: Andre Krayewski's Skyliner, The Complete Series

kickstarter here; the case made strongly here
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Mary Charlene On Etsy

posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

Collective Memory: Rose City Comic Con 2014

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Rose City Comic Con, held September 20-21 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people


* Convention Facebook
* Convention Site
* Convention Tumblr
* Convention Twitter
* Physical Location
* Host City

Blog Entries
* Blind Thistle
* Little Dee
* Squid Row
* The Art Of Dawn Blair
* Warhammer 40K Orks

* Panel Patter's Rose City Roll Call

News Stories and Columns
* Comicosity
* Mail Tribune
* Oregon Live 01
* Oregon Live 02
* Oregon Live 03
* Portland Mercury

* The Oregonian
* UnLTDGamingHD 01
* UnLTDGamingHD 02




posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 1:20 am PST |

If I Were In Ann Arbor, I'd Go To This

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Michael Deodato Jr. Pin-Ups

posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* that is one good-looking comics portrait of Biz Markie.

image* I like this piece from Sean Kleefeld on Blades Of Hope because it's told from the point of view of a consumer: what he likes, what led him to purchase.

* Todd Klein on Aquaman And The Others #5. Sean Gaffney on Attack On Titan Guidebook. Henry Chamberlain on An Age Of License. Andy Oliver on Scene & Heard.

* not comics: DC is becoming quite bullish on TV shows for its second-tier characters, a strategy that makes sense for a few reasons including 1) they now have a template for doing such shows successfully, and 2) TV shows play to different strengths that comics have, strengths that haven't yet been exploited.

* John Porcellino, art hero.

* congratulations to Lucy Knisley and her husband John Horstman, on their momentous life event. Graphic novel forthcoming.

* Team Let's Talk Comics talks to Scott Allie. Brian Cremins talks to Marnie Galloway. Kristin Steenbeeke talks to David Lasky.

* I like little kids in superhero costumes, like this awesome-looking Wonder Woman.

* finally, a couple more from Kleefeld: 1) a short essay on why inclusive casting with comics character-structures is a boon on many levels; 2) a piece on the 1995 comics umbrella.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 76th Birthday, Jean-Claude Meziérès!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 58th Birthday, Peter David!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 65th Birthday, Paul Ryan!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 32nd Birthday, Michael Peterson!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 58th Birthday, Dan Day!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

September 22, 2014

Go, Look: The Gooliggoo

posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

(Some Of) Your 2014 Stumptown Comics Awards Winners


So I'm told that the Stumptown Comics Awards were held in conjunction with the Rose City Comic Con over this last weekend. It sounds like they were awarded during the opening ceremony/kick-off event. The awards being done through Rose City was part of the agreement that the foundation that used to put on the Stumptown Comics Festival reached when they decided to become a part of that show and stop running their own. The last I'd heard about that particular awards program was that it was extending its voting period this year. I never saw a nominees list, from which I usually build the winners list -- I think it helps to see each win in that context. So apologies there.

I still can't find the nominations or a winners list at any of the official sites -- -- but here's what I've been able to piece together from people on the ground tweeting or posting pictures the night of.

Best Publication For Younger Readers

Best Cartoonist
Zander Cannon, Heck

Best Small Press
Cartozia Tales

Best New Comic
The Auteur

Best Digital Comic
High Crimes

Best Colorist
Bill Crabtree, I think maybe for The Sixth Gun

Best Artist
James Callahan, The Auteur

Best Publication Design
The Fifth Beatle

Reader's Choice
Matt Kindt, Mind MGMT

Congratulations to all winners and nominees, whoever you might be. I'll re-do this if an official list is made public, or if I'm directed towards one that I'm just not seeing right now.
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink

A Rare Mort Meskin Horror Story

posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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