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















June 20, 2018


Go, Look: Phileas Reid

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Go, Look: Rob Rogers Has A Patreon Now

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Editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers lost his job when his right-wing employers couldn't stand how many cartoons he chose to do that were disparaging of the President. His comics were turned down and both he and his work were mischaracterized by Trump supporters as overly harsh or angry. I hope that he makes as much of his previous living as possible, and you could do worse as a matter of modern free speech to support Mr. Rogers.
 
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OTBP: Meatworm

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Missed It: 2018 Finger Awards To Writers Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly And Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk

The Bill Finger Award organizers have named their recipients for 2018: Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk, addressing gender imbalance in the history of comics writing and also within the awards program itself.

Kelly is this year's living recipient, having worked on a number of stories for publication featuring the Wonder Woman characters, under the byline "Charles Moulton." Her period working on these stories was the peak American comics landscape that lasted from 1944-1947. Much of her work that has recently be reprinted in the wake of the character's successful adaptation to film. She will accept her award in person.

Woolfolk was a writer and editor at All-American Publications, a company eventually absorbed by DC Comics. She also worked for Martin Goodman's line of comics and for EC. In the 1970s Woolfolk edited a number of books for DC Comics. She wrote scripts throughout. The Finger Awards PR has Woolfolk responsible for adding Kryptonite to the Superman narratives, a story in itself. Woolfolk passed away in 2000, and her award will be accepted by her daughter.

The Bill Finger Award was created in 2005 from a proposal made by the late writer, artist and creator advocate Jerry Robinson. It is named for William Finger (1914-1974), a co-creator of the mythos-defining early Batman comics and a few dozen others during a long career at DC Comics. The selection committee is Charles Kochman, Kurt Busiek, Jim Amash, Scott Shaw! and Marv Wolfman. The major sponsor for 2018 is DC Comics. The awards will be presented on July 20 during the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International. Past winners include Steve Gerber, Don Rosa, Don McGregor, Bob Haney and Otto Binder.
 
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Go, Look: Michel Fiffe Did This Year's Heroes Con Badges

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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.

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APR181393 SPONGEBOB COMICS ANNUAL GIANT SWIMTACULAR #6 $4.99
These comics are usually solid and I'm sure this one is, too, but for sure I'm putting it top of post here for that fun Gary Gianni cover. Good job, Chris Duffy.

imageAPR180037 USAGI YOJIMBO #4 (OF 7) THE HIDDEN $3.99
APR180070 WITCHFINDER GATES OF HEAVEN #2 (OF 5) (MR) $3.99
APR180236 WILD STORM #14 $3.99
APR180566 BEEF #5 (OF 5) (MR) $3.99
APR180758 CAPTAIN AMERICA #704 $3.99
I did not see a whole lot of comic-book comics that triggered my attention. I always love new Usagi and mostly love new Mignola-verse. I do like the Warren Ellis version of the old WildStorm comics; there's something about Ellis' devotion to lean narrative that makes his reductions of superheroes-with-a-history tend to work well. I don't have any affection for those characters, though. Beef is Shaky Kane, and I always buy Shake Kane. Captain America is the latest in the post-Samnee, still-Mark Waid, pre-Ta-Nehisi Coates run, and I like this artist they've found to follow Samnee if only briefly. Super-Competent Comics.

FEB180037 HELLBOY OMNIBUS TP VOL 02 STRANGE PLACES $24.99
Another Mignola-verse collection this one of the bigger ones. I own them all.

JAN180561 A STRANGE & BEAUTIFUL SOUND HC $19.99
FEB180444 EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE HC $24.99
APR180610 MULTIPLE WARHEADS TP VOL 02 GHOST TOWN (MR) $17.99
MAR181387 LUCKY LUKE TP VOL 68 OVER THE MISSISSIPPI $11.95
NOV170835 SOUTHERN BASTARDS TP VOL 04 GUT CHECK (MR) $16.99
Here's a bunch of stand alone larger books, collections and trades of OGN-formats. That first one is reflective Zep, so that's kind of interesting. Eight Million Ways To Die was a solid book and a movie famous for its opening weekend fecklessness, I'd want to take a peak to see how jK Snyder handled that material. That Brandon Graham has a book coming out after his flurry of controversy and the delayed response that made almost everyone believe even more in the initial charges plus check off a few more boxes on the abusive diatribe bingo card, that makes his moves even odder and more unfortunate. I wonder if it will have an effect on sell-through. Luky Luke in any format is fun. Also fun is Southern Bastards, although there's just enough human tragedy to make it sorrowful all around.

APR181559 EC JACK DAVIS HARVEY KURTZMAN DEATH STAND HC $29.99
This Davis/Kurtzman work is about as fun as mainstream comics get, featuring multiple-period action stuff from two series. Jack Davis was a King.

FEB181234 GIANT DAYS TP EXTRA CREDIT $14.99
FEB181699 BAD MACHINERY POCKET ED GN VOL 05 CASE FIRE INSIDE $12.99
John Allison twice. If you have to pick one, the latter I think is slightly better written and a whole lot better drawn. Fun comics either way.

FEB181748 OUT IN THE OPEN HC $24.99
I don't remember the novel on which this is based, but it's already too far into the summer to look a friendly hammock reader in the eye.

*****

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, Read: Notes Towards A Future Understanding Of Wally Wood

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through July 2018

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*****

June 21
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)

June 22
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Fandemic)
* If I Were In East London, I'd Go To This (ELCAF)

June 23
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)
* If I Were In Detroit, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Fandemic)
* If I Were In East London, I'd Go To This (ELCAF)

June 24
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Fandemic)
* If I Were In East London, I'd Go To This (ELCAF)

June 25
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)

June 26
* If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Meeting)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

June 30
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Kuala Lumpur, I'd Go To This (Comic Art Festival KL)

*****

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July 1
* If I Were In Kuala Lumpur, I'd Go To This (Comic Art Festival KL)

July 7
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

July 12
* If I Were In Florida, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 13
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In Florida, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 14
* If I Were In Las Vegas, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Florida, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 15
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (Buckeye Comic Con)
* If I Were In Florida, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 18
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI Preview Night)

July 19
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (NVS Panel At CCI)

July 21
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

July 22
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

July 27
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (Comics In The City)

July 28
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)

July 29
* If I Were Near Arlington, I'd Go To This (Blerdcon)

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Events For August 2018 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Shannon Garrity Talks To Nate Powell

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Greg Hunter on A Western World.'

* Samanta Helou profiles Red Planet Books & Comics, an all-indigenous comics store.

* here is a big and broad profile of current graphic novel production from which many gems of interest may be sifted. Peggy Burns is among those interviewed in a sidebar.

* Diamond has created a pop-up program around spinner racks. That's one of those ideas that seems like a really good idea and yet I have no idea if it will work a tiny bit, a lot or not at all. I always bet on the house.

* finally, it's worth noting when Robert Kirkman signs a major outside-of-comics media deal because he and Mark Millar are the idealized creators in terms of shape and scope of their careers right now. Deals like these weaken the grip that the idea of a career in mainstream comics and the adoption of its best goals for creators has on the best genre-interested talent.
 
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Happy 42nd Birthday, Theo Ellsworth!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Nix!

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Happy 68th Birthday, John Workman Jr.!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Justin Norman!

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June 19, 2018


Go, Look: Roger Langridge Adapts A Jeeves & Wooster Story

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I hope some publisher out there or other entity that can provide support to Langridge like what they see...
 
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Your 2018 Russ Manning Promising Newcoming Award Nominees

Comic-Con announced the 2018 nominees for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award Monday afternoon via press release. The award is presented yearly to a comics artist "who early in his or her career shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics."

imageThe award's namesake, Russ Manning, was known for his work on the comic strip version of Star Wars, the iconic newspaper strip Tarzan and the memorable comic book effort Magnus, Robot Figher. He was an early supporter of Comic-Con as a popular professional guest.

Your nominees are:

* Sean Rubin, writer/artist of Bolivar (Archaia/BOOM!)
* Hamish Steele, writer/artist of Pantheon (Nobrow)
* Pablo Tunica, artist of TMNT Universe (IDW)
* Nina Vakeuva, writer/artist of Hi-Fi Fight Club/Heavy Vinyl (BOOM!)
* Campbell Whyte, writer/artist of Home Time (Top Shelf)

The show's PR points out that this year's nominees are distinguished by coming from multiple countries.

The winner will be announced July 20 during the Eisner Awards ceremony held during Comic-Con International.

Past winners of the popular award include Eric Shanower, Dave Stevens, Cathy Malkasian, Steve Rude, Eleanor Davis and Scott McCloud. Congratulations to all the nominees.
 
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Go, Look: Rebecca Crane

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied, Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the on-line arm of the King Features empire, Comics Kingdom, launched a John Kovaleski strip on Father's Day. If launching that one now and the Liniers in September is their new pace that's slightly up for the company.

* Rich Tommaso will join the Family Allred in reviving Dick Tracy for comic book form at IDW. That should be fun-looking.

* Nat Gertler's boutique publishing press About Comics has a pair of books out for Father's Day: The Fathers and Heirs Of Heaven, both featuring work from Joe Lane. The latter is a re-release, apparently. Those both look great, and I hope over the next twenty years we get a deep exploration of themed gag comics and recurring gag works.

* finally: a forthcoming AdHouse books effort about which I know nothing: Viewotron #1.
 
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Go, Look: Bridgit Connell

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Go, Look: Lauren Affe

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Zach Worton on The Curse Of Charley Butters.

* there's rarely a better snapshot of the mainstream superhero comics industry than the twitter feed of a successful retailer. Count the number of Marvel-driven policies that either aren't really driving people to read for content or are simply kind of moving people to buy one such comic over another. Repeat ad infinitum.

* it's the comics-industry journalism cashed out club!

* not comics: preferred celebrity nerd-culture presenter of the last half-decade Chris Hardwick has lost gigs including high-profile San Diego moderator assignments after horrific accusations of abuse within a relationship surfaced, including about half dozen personal/professional crossover actions that even if you are the most staunch advocate of not getting involved in people's private lives would seem to be enough to walk away. The worst of the personal stuff is denied; almost none of the workplace crossover is even engaged. This is wider awfulness and doesn't really hit on the comics community as directly as some other, similar, stories, although I'm interested in the notion of these moderation gigs as perks and that companies would take them away from someone accused of awful things. I believe one way to reduce the number of awful actions and awful actors is to seek appropriate censuring action from multiple institutions involved.

* finally: Robin McConnell talks to Max Clotfelter.
 
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Happy 45th Birthday, Dan Fraga!

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June 18, 2018


Go, Listen: Gil Roth Interviews Chris Reynolds

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Go, Read: Politico Article Unpacking The Reasons For Rob Rogers Firing

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Here. I found this article to be quite scary because of its open shift to defending the political reasons for firing the editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers. It is a distance to travel from calling something a "personnel problem" and making the assertions published here. That distance is crossed in the blink of an eye, almost tumbling into view, which just goes to show you how firmly the underlying values are held.

Saying that someone is angry or simply not funny or dwells too much on a single subject is bad enough. These are well-known Internet blanket-trashing techniques that dragged into the real world flop on the sidewalk and smoke in the sun when they are not buoyed by statistical and qualitative analysis. Still effective, though, even if it's just for dummies. Yet let's not dance around it. When a measure for single-issue dominance or humor or anger is a personal "to suit me" style call, that's a political judgment.

We can sort of fast-forward through that, though, because the idea is floated without obfuscation that Rogers' job is to augment the positions of the paper. Well, fuck you. That is a disgusting and open break with a century of American journalism's best practices. I think of the papers I worked for, and the opinion creators including cartoonists they treated with respect by running their opinions whether the majority of us on staff or the owner in Arizona believed in their views or not, and it's easy to become discouraged. This leeway was given to conservative cartoonists like MacNelly and Werner as well. Letting the people you hire do their job was done in service to the community, out of respect for readers to discern their own feelings and not just have them reinforced, and because of the basic professional courtesy afforded our journalists. These statements are vomitous.

And you know what? One of the premises is not even close to true. Rogers brings the virtues of clarity and directness to his cartoons, but he is hardly angry. Look at these cartoons that were banned. This is pretty tame stuff. This is a two on the open Internet, a three in conservative alternative media, a three-point-five in editorial cartooning overall, on the old anger scale. We could go on to say that some of the best cartoons ever were done by those angered, but the argument as presented doesn't meet the criteria for that kind of measured response. The whole argument is shit-stupid. All of this is clearly ugly, partisan politics without apology, underscored by the notion that might makes right even when it comes to shaping the front lines of cultural narrative. I wish I had a magic subscription so that I could cancel it one million times.

Rogers cartoon among the rejected; I guess dad jokes are incendiary hate-bombs now
 
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Go, Read: Carol Tyler Profiled In The Chicago Tribune

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Link through the image. Much of this is about her Beatles-related new book. I hope the dialogue around that work won't dismiss it for its backward-looking nature. I want artists as honest and masterful as Carol Tyler to write about whatever they want, free from made-up marketing constraints.
 
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