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
















June 28, 2017


Go, Look: Copy Kitty

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By Request Extra: Save Pepe

imageOne of the weirdest all-time cartooning stories continues as Matt Furie and Jason Furie are reviving Pepe the Frog, Matt's stoned cartoon character turned symbols of "let it all burn" politics by chuckleheads and assholes during the last election and continuing into the Trump presidency. Furie previously "killed" the character, so apparently the story will involve his resurrection.

The whole thing is being crowd-funded, and the initial goal has already been met. I like those comics okay -- the ones from the creator rather than the dicks who made it their own, if that wasn't clear -- so I'll be happy to see what comes next from that standpoint. This has to be really weird, and as much as I like to pretend I have easy answers for life problems facing everyone else I have to admit I have no idea what I would have done or would continue to do in this case.
 
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Go, Look: J. Sjostrom

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Go, Read: Tim Kreider On Satirical Art That Engages With Political Assassination

Here. Kreider boxes a round with the three-headed monster of Kathy Griffin's goofy photos, the Julius Caesar production that had Trump elements and the congressional baseball game shooting. The joy for comics fans will be in the adroitness of the details.
 
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Go, Look: Beautiful Virgil Partch Sunday Strips

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This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases Into The 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.

*****

MAY160528 ALACK SINNER AGE OF INNOCENCE TP $29.99
MAY171589 FOG OVER TOLBIAC BRIDGE HC TARDI $19.99
This strikes me as a smaller week in terms of title of interest, but a significant one in terms of the level of that interest. An Alack Sinner collection is about as good as surprise discoveries at the comics shop may get. Tight stories, funny and wise, magnificently drawn. I read them and then I go back and stare at them. I tend to do the same with Tardi, but I think the last decade or so of English-language releases has made my eye become at least a little accustomed to how Tardi savages a page. It's great to have so much of his work out now over here.

imageMAR171256 TITAN #5 (MR) $6.99
APR170863 SAGA #44 (MR) $2.99
MAR171254 REICH #8 (OF 12) (MR) $4.00
APR171032 BLACK PANTHER #15 $3.99
A shorter than usual week if you're just running in to pick up flopping. Francois Vigneault's harder-than-some science fiction story Titan runs to its first concluding moment (I only say "first" because I hope for more) with a lot of confidence in terms of tone and plotting. Saga #44 will make a lot of comics shops happy. Reich may make some people happy, too, I just don't know as many of those people anymore. I love all of my copies, though, and am glad for the series late-in-publishing-life chance at new DM stores. Black Panther strikes me as a title at a point in the series where Marvel traditionally starts to lose its readers, so that will be interesting to watch. I'm still buying them.

FEB170447 WALTER SIMONSON THOR RETURN OF BETA RAY BILL ARTIST ED HC $125.00
One of the most fun artists ever in the format that changed the way that I, at least, thought about him.

FEB170071 USAGI YOJIMBO TP VOL 31 HELL SCREEN $17.99
I will buy every comic that Stan Sakai ever makes.

APR170737 ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN COMP COLL HC $54.99
I read a lot of these in serial form. This was Robert Kirkman with Jason Howard on an extremely superhero-y take on one of the great monster concepts. This made it really stand out against the last 25 year of monster comics, and while it was never super-successful, it had fans that would seemingly delight in this gigundus collection.

FEB170536 COMPLETE CHESTER GOULD DICK TRACY HC VOL 22 $44.99
Dick Tracy ranks pretty low in my personal pantheon, but it's a fun strip that was frequently beautiful to look and it amazes me that there are people spending a thousand dollars to have all of these stunning-looking books in their personal library. Oh to be rich and a comics reader.

APR171966 LIFE CHANGING MANGA OF TIDYING UP $14.99
This looks fun: a fictional treatment of life-changing cleaning-up philosophies promoted by Marie Kondo. I would imagine that manga would be an efficient way to communicate that kind of news.

APR171801 CARTHAGO ADVENTURES DLX HC (MR) $34.95
I would stop and stare at this European adventure series for as long as my shop would let me.

APR170837 OCTOPUS PIE TP VOL 05 $19.99
AUG160477 TOM TOMORROW 25 YEARS OF TOMORROW HC $125.00
Here's a couple of other books that comics does well right now, or at least these are comics that come from fruitful places in recent comics tradition. The fifth volume of Octopus Pie concludes Meredith Gran's always funny, occasional touching and at times profane web series in a collected form that's always been flattering to that title. The Tom Tomorrow was a massively crowdfunded collection that was successful enough it was its own hyped object. I look forward to reading both.

*****

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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Not Comics: Early Work By HG Peter

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Go, Look: Prize Comics Western #79

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Bill Boichel on Boundless.

* the cartoonist Chris Schweizer has a really nice advice post up for writers that want to break into comics, perhaps a bit more interesting than usual in that Schweizer's a cartoonist first (controlling the entire process) and I at least think of him as an artist/illustrator second, and this is directed at those that don't have many of his displayed skills. He also chides those that give "just make comics" level advice without further insight. I think his proposed path would work for anyone with the talent so that the resulting work would attract positive attention. Comics has a low threshold for entry and a pretty dependable mechanism for finding jewels in the rough. It may be more difficult to break into the middle, and harder yet to move from the lower end of industry gigs upward. Schweizer covered that stage, too, a bit more broadly, in a previous post.

* finally, Françoise Mouly and Genevieve Bormes talk to Gary Panter.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Ian Brill!

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Happy 73rd Birthday, Philippe Druillet!

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Happy 76th Birthday, Mike Royer!

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June 27, 2017


Go, Listen: Dustin Harbin On Process Party

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Parts Of Ted Rall's Defamation Suit Against LA Times Dismissed By Judge Last Week

There are couple of articles out there picking up on movement last week in the legal action Ted Rall filed against the LA Times a year ago March. Here's the Times itself. Here's Courthouse News Service.

The dispute is over Rall's no longer being carried by the Times following a 2015 opinion column in which he described a jaywalking arrest. The LAPD provided a tape of that arrest they -- and subsequently the Times -- felt ran contrary to Rall's claims, and thus made him not someone they wanted to keep using. Rall presented what he claimed was a cleaned-up version of the tape that supported his original story. He then raised money from friends/fans for legal action and drummed up a modicum of verbal support from peers. My memory is that the cartoonist also suggested the Times and the LAPD were working against him because of anti-LAPD opinion work and cartooning in the recent past.

Another motion will be heard this week, and one imagines future movement in the case will be dictated by these rulings and in part from Rall's decision whether or not to press the point -- both legally and/or in the court of public opinion by suggesting the legal strategy being used against him is a corrupt one.

I read and listened to a lot of this stuff early on and I found Rall's arguments about the tape only sporadically on point, and then only in an Internet-argument way. What I mean by that is that if the process being claimed were vetted and found indisputable, the potential for another point of view on some specific points might be possible -- possible -- but not all of them and not to the degree to provide positive support for the original claim and certainly not enough to discount a hiring body reasonably wanting to look elsewhere. I also read a few years of Rall's pertinent cartoons and police malfeasance didn't seem an overwhelming crusade on the cartoonist's part, at least not enough to justify the hints at conspiracy. Cops get it worse in Andy Capp. I realize that's just dormitory-hallway-at-3AM arguing, though, and the legal standards are being worked through now, whichever way they fall.
 
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Go, Look: Revisiting A Sacha Mardou Piece

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not sure why this has come back up as a thing to go read but it's a good one
 
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Assembled Extra: SAW Launches Ambitious Set Of On-Line Courses, Programs

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They're located here. The classes look like like they're in the few hundred dollars range for the most part -- certainly something someone could try without making a major, life-altering commitment. I hope they keep doing this until after I'm retired and have the time to enroll.
 
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Go, Look: Patrick Dean's HeroesCon 2017 Commissions

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* veteran cartoonist Rina Piccolo is ending her long-running Tina's Groove to partner with Hilary Price on Rhymes With Orange. Congratulations to Piccolo on that run, and it sounds like a fruitful partnership to me. The strip began its run in 2002, so this fits into a standard 10 year plus five more years pattern for a strip.

* here's a look at Rich Tommaso's Spy Seal in advance of August.

* Marvel teased big news last week which I and many others thought might be content-related but it was a "cover reveal" through several sites in support of an upcoming focused-on-the-past event initiative combining new and old Marvel concepts. Heidi and the gang collected a bunch of them here. Maybe all of them. There are many fine artists working on this for Marvel, but this wasn't flattering to the bulk involved.

* no matter how many comics you know, there are always more comics.

* there is apparently a new Robotech comic. I liked those cartoons when I was a kid; I can't imagine wanting any more than they already gave us, but I'm sure fervent fans disagree.

* finally, a change in gigs for Martin Rowson.
 
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Go, Look: Plastic Man #2

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Go, Look: Mort Walker College-Era Work

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Astro City #44. Rob McMonigal on Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1. Angela Boyle on How To Be An Elephant.

* I don't know that I've ever seen Gil Kane's version of Batman's Crime Alley origin-story before.

* these images are beautiful and Jaime Hernandez is an amazing cartoonist.

* I enjoyed this slightly scattered survey-style look at the state of comics in libraries, bouncing as it does from topic to topic. Every thread presented for pulling is an intriguing one.

* that's a good sign, I suppose, when the increasingly movie-focused mainstream comics sites deign your plot point worthy of an entire article. My guess is that it's Ambush Bug.

* finally: congratulations to cartoonist Sasha Velour on winning season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race.
 
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Happy 89th Birthday, Joe Giella!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Butch Guice!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Dan Jurgens!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Bernie Mireault!

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