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
















May 30, 2015


CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from May 23 to May 29, 2015:

1. A group of armed bikers plan to draw Muhammed while set up outside of a mosque.

2. DC begins to play around with partial-page ad placement, which hasn't been a thing for years and years.

3. Changes at The Nib, as Matt Bors announces several regular features will no longer be carried by the popular on-line destination.

Winners Of The Week
Longtime fans of underground comix!

Losers Of The Week
Cartoonists, generally -- at least this tough-so-far year.

Quote Of The Week
"I had nothing against Jim Belushi, really, but living in Chicago in the '80s, he was sort of the quintessential symbol of the way the city thought of itself: as this kind of guy who was both working-class but also a slick Hollywood guy; a guy who was sort of fresh, honest, but not. It was very grating to me. It turns out later that many people agreed with me about that. And I feel sort of bad for him because it wasn't his fault, but he just came to embody this aspect of Chicago that I really disliked." -- Dan Clowes.

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the comic image selected is from the brief but notable 1970s run of Seaboard/Atlas

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Go, Look: Sam Henderson Teaches Class

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Go, Look: The Apparitions Portfolio

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Go, Look: Frank Quitely Pencil Art

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

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

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

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If I Were Near Lyon, I'd Go To This

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

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If I Were In New Orleans, I'd Go To This

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If I Were Near Arundel Mills, I'd Go To This

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

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through July 2015

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May 31
* If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This (Awesome Con Dc)
* If I Were In Phoenix, I'd Go To This (Phoenix Comicon)
* If I Were In Dallas, I'd Go To This (Expo Dallas)
* If I Were Near Lyon, I'd Go To This (Fanzine Camping)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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June 4
* If I Were In Munich, I'd Go To This (Comic Festival Munchen)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

June 5
* If I Were In Munich, I'd Go To This (Comic Festival Munchen)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Los Angles, I'd Go To This

June 6
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)
* If I Were In Munich, I'd Go To This (Comic Festival Munchen)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Austin, I'd Go To This (New South Fest)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Grand Comics Festival)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Special Edition)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (CECAF)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Copenhagen, I'd Go To This (Danmarks Internationale Tegneseriefestival)

June 7
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)
* If I Were In Munich, I'd Go To This (Comic Festival Munchen)
* If I Were In Memphis, I'd Go To This (Memphis Comic Expo)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This (Special Edition)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Copenhagen, I'd Go To This (Danmarks Internationale Tegneseriefestival)

June 9
* If I Were In Paris, I'd Go To This

June 12
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

June 13
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This

June 19
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (Heroes)
* If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)

June 20
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (Heroes)
* If I Were In Ann Arbor, I'd Go To This (Kids Read Comics)
* If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Louisville, I'd Go To This (Derby City)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (ELCAF)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

June 21
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (Heroes)
* If I Were In Ann Arbor, I'd Go To This (Kids Read Comics)
* If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Louisville, I'd Go To This (Derby City)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (ELCAF)

June 25
* If I Were In Miami Beach, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

June 26
* If I Were In Perth, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Miami Beach, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

June 27
* If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Perth, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Miami Beach, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

June 28
* If I Were In Melbourne, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Perth, I'd Go To This (Supanova Pop Culture Expo)
* If I Were In Miami Beach, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

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July 8
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (Comic-Con International Preview Night)

July 9
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (Comic-Con International)

July 10
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (Comic-Con International)

July 11
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (Comic-Con International)
* If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I'd Go To This (Clallam Bay Comicon)

July 12
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (Comic-Con International)
* If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I'd Go To This (Clallam Bay Comicon)

July 18
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Portland Zine Symposium)

July 19
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (SPACE)
* If I were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Portland Zine Symposium)

July 25
* If I Were In Morristown, I'd Go To This

July 26
* If I Were In Morristown, I'd Go To This

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Events For August 2015 Onward Listed Here

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Mike W. Barr!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Mark Price!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Tom Galambos!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Kevin Eastman!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Dean Haspiel!

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May 29, 2015


Go, Look: The Warrior's Good Fortune

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Matt Bors Announces Changes To The Nib

The editorial cartoonist Matt Bors, who was running the well regarded comics site The Nib for Medium, has announced a sweeping structural change in the way that the site The Nib will present work. What was a combination of regular features and occasional one-offs of different size and scope -- some with a life on other platforms -- will become what is roughly described as a more experimental effort dependent on the networking aspects of what Medium does.

I'm sad to see many of these cartoonists lose the eyeballs and whatever financial reward was involved; it's brutally tough out there for cultural and political comics, which was a singificant part of The Nib as initially constituted. Bors did a fine job with that site, at least to my eye. I think I read every single thing published under the old arrangement. My understanding is that the cartoonists with whom he worked were treated honorably. A site that publishes comics that are more wholly dependent on the way on-line media works now as opposed to the way it might have worked ten years ago is very exciting. I look forward to what the site does next.

We still don't know at this time if anyone was let go or if any arrangements were changed on the editorial/financial, or even for sure what exactly triggered the move -- it's the kind of thing that until now might have been the subject of a funny cartoon at The Nib. Contacted by CR before the statement, Bors deferred to Edward Lichty at Medium. Mr. Lichty deferred to Bors' statement at the end of business Friday. If any more information becomes available, I'll pass it along.
 
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Go, Look/Bookmark/Follow: La Grande Guerre

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the cartoonist Warren Craghead taking his unique approach to comics art and applying it to a 100-years-later treatement of World War I? that's not just a yes, that's a hell yes...
 
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Group Of Armed Bikers To Draw Muhammed Outside A Mosque

What could possibly go wrong?

I pray for the best possible, most peaceful outcome here. I extend that to every last person involved but I am particularly pained for the public servants that will likely be dragged into this because some folks are frustrated in a way that makes them want to act on darker impulses. I don't believe in free-speech stunts. I don't think they're necessary, and I think they play into a political construction that's valuable to mad men and destructive social forces in a way that would make someone who just dropped $200 on penny-tossing games at a county fair roll their eyes, point and laugh.

If something does happen, I hope calmer heads mitigate the potential horrors that might result. I also hope any members of the media out there will stop paying specific attention to the personalities involved with this kind of thing in a way that affords them free PR and allows them to accrue power and influence, limited though it may be.
 
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Go, Look: Things To Come

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DC Experiments With Return To Partial-Page Ad Placements

I guess between this story by Bleeding Cool a week or so ago and this story by Alexander Lu earlier today derived from a freelancer's tweeting of photos of an example, we know that DC Comics is going to attempt half-page ads that are placed within the flow of a comics story. I guess the mechanism -- and no doubt the the source of the original leak/rumor -- is that creatives have been told to construct pages that allow for this kind of restructuring.

imageIt's not a new approach, as this classic Bat Lash page indicates. In fact, Bat Lash is the only comic that my memory churned up as doing this kind of thing, although that can't be true at all. It's probably more likely it's the only comic of the general period with which I'm familiar. Anyway, go to the Lu link for a look at the new ad placement. It probably doesn't help matters that for some reason it looks like they're using the ugliest, most garish ad ever created. I wouldn't want that on the same coffee table as my work.

It's a weird choice. One of the general narratives for comics within wider culture over the last three decades is that they're a serious vehicle for stories and as such emphasize their artistic accomplishments over being a junky vehicle for advertising. This is a story they tell outside, potential readers, yes; it's also a story they tell the readers they already have, a way of serving them and their conception of comics as a worthwhile activity. I don't know why you'd mess with that. I know I've read recent fan pushback against traditional whole-page advertisements in the flow of the a comic, so I think that sentiment is pretty strong in comics. The comics readership is fragile in a lot of way right now. It doesn't seem out of the question this could be the back-breaking straw for a certain number of readers.

One reason this hasn't been an issue with ads more generally it that print advertising of every kind has dried up to a significant degree: back covers, inside covers, full-page, component-page. It's hard for me to think that a half-page ad with some comics is more appealing than a full-page ad, but I guess someone out there might think so. Artists and writers will adjust; strip-makers routinely follow a kind of baroque structure for multiple Sundays formatting that makes this kind of effort look easy as pie. I can't imagine they'd want to, but a job's a job. It's hard for me to imagine this being around for a long time or becoming popular, but I've been wrong before.

I imagine this will also make companies revisit the idea of ads in trades and in on-line iterations of work, where there would be even more flexibility. Then again, I'm having a hard time seeing much of a future in advertising within narrative content.
 
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Go, Look: Alone On The 2 Train

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