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

February 24, 2012

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* why wouldn't you want to learn things from Frank Santoro?

image* Ross Simonini talks to the great Jim Woodring. J. Caleb Mozzocco talks to Kathryn and Stuart Immonen.

* here's a couple of arts-culture articles worth reading. Heidi MacDonald puts together a bunch of links that together survey the troubled waters underneath the only slightly-troubled surface that is North American comic books and its attendant culture right now. Roger Kimball writes on The Great American Novel. There are always anxieties about comics, but it's started to churn a bit -- I knew something was up when I posted a short piece on various things one could worry about that aren't comics piracy and some folks took it as some sort of summary indictment of comics. My guess is that this mood has been coming on a while, and what we're seeing is a fuller realization from a ton of folks that they simply aren't going to get to participate in the surge in comics popularity of which we're in the late afternoon right now. This has combined with some really excessive, can't-turn-away public examples of how baseline exploitative the funnybook part of the field can be. There are parts of the comic book landscape where you know folks aren't going to make a lot of money, and there are neighborhoods in Comics City where clearly somebody is making money, it's just not the comics-makers so much. Or at least it doesn't feel that way. Kimball's article may hold an additional clue as to what's going on, in that he talks about the novel losing cultural traction. I think you could make a strong case that comics has started to lose the specific traction it's had with its devoted readership.

image* here's a new "this many years ago this was published" feature at Funnybook Babylon. We're at DK2 + 10. That was a fascinating-looking comic, for sure.

* it may just be my imagination or something about the selections Daryl Cagle has posted here, but it seems like Rick Santorum brings out the best from the current editorial cartooning crop. Something about the bland (and thus versatile) presentation, the visual cues (the sweater vest) and the loopy extremism. It's weird in that you'd think New Gingrich and Mitt Romney would be pretty easy to grab onto because of the outsized aspect of those guys' personalities, but I haven't liked a lot of the cartoons I've seen about either one of them.

* here's the Dark Horse Presents presentation of the new Brian Wood/Kristian Donaldson comic The Massive. Whatever the opposite of kudos is to the site hosting that material for not mentioning Donaldson at all.

* the writer Mark Waid talks about digital comics. He shows up in the comments to talk about them some more.

* that's an intriguing title, I guess.

* Richard Sala talks cover design. Ben Morse picks his favorite mainstream comic book covers of the month. I always like looking at articles like Morse's, because I'm trying to figure out just how good the material from mainstream comics publishers is in general right now. It's hard to tell: you have to be pretty close to those kinds of comic books to pick up on some of the stuff they do well, but that may put you too close to the material to have a rigorous critical perspective.

* Todd Klein on Legion: Secret Origin #3-4. Shaenon Garrity on Dicebox Vol. 1.

* finally, there's something to be said for just calling in sick.
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink

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