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

May 31, 2012

Go, Look: Carl Mefferd

posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink

Please Remember To Vote In The Eisner Awards

Information here. This ends early next week. Responsible comics community citizenry doesn't end with voting in the awards programs in which you're eligible to participate, but it ain't a bad place to start.
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Black Is The Color

posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink

The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events


By Tom Spurgeon

* the BD Comics & Passion Festival apparently has a bunch of photos up on its Facebook page.

* Heidi MacDonald pulls out a Phoenix convention report and comments.

* this looks like a light weekend to me, which usually means there's a gigantic show somewhere I've completely missed. So let me check. Okay, it's the Wizard-sponsored Philadelphia Comic Con this weekend. That's a big show, particularly for that company -- I would call that their #2 show, behind the mid-summer one in Chicago. Stan Lee is the only comics-related guest to make the first eight rows of guest announcements, for those keeping track.

* we're doing a Collective Memory for the comics festival held last weekend in Vancouver. I hope that one gets over. What a great city. I think there should be a thriving comics show in all the established-as-cool-in-one-way-or-another North American cities: Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Athens and... I don't know, Asheville, North Carolina? We need one in Detroit now, too, so we can all go eat there, and maybe on Cherokee Street in St. Louis. Why not? My cool list is basically 1989's cool list minus Boulder plus where some of my friends live, but I think the principle is sound.

* Olympia is a cool place, too, and their show is this weekend.

* one of the things that looks cool about the Vancouver show is the space in which the show takes place. This tends not to matter to comics people. Unless the place is actively oppressive, most comics folks I know are as happy displaying their wares in a box with bad lighting as they are in a space magic architects fashioned in way that somehow makes everyone feel better-looking. As a con-goer, I adore a cool space, and I love the idea of the European shows with an outside/neighborhood element to them. This is the long way to introduce a bunch of photos from Erlangen that boast a really cool-looking space or several.

* finally, badges for Comic-Con 2012 are now sold out.
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: An Eleanor Davis Comic On Depression

posted 2:05 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look:

posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Robin McConnell And Noah Berlatsky On Before Watchmen; Zak Sally On Jack Kirby And Marvel

* Robin McConnell of Inkstuds has written a lengthy piece on DC's Before Watchmen project. I share McConnell's disinterest in going after the creators, although I realize that this is an unpopular choice for a lot of people.

* in a much linked-to piece -- at least as far as comics opinion pieces go -- comics publishing renaissance man Zak Sally suggests that Marvel fund one of the Jack Kirby museum project in its entirety, with the additional thought that putting a functioning museum into place will help provide for any Kirby heirs out there.

* Noah Berlatsky writes about Before Watchmen for Slate.
posted 1:10 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Bookmark: You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack

posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Fantomah Was Never Not Weird

posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* substantive reading of the day: two posts from Gary Tyrrell about a presentation at the NCS meetings last weekend where people talked nuts and bolts of how to make a living as a cartoonist right now.

image* Greg McElhatton on Mind MGMT #1. Sean Gaffney on A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 4. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Lost Command. Johanna Draper Carlson on a bunch of different comics and Dance Class Vols. 1-2. Sonia Harris on X-Statix Omnibus. Ken Parille on Are You My Mother? Sean Rogers on Nancy Is Happy.

* Kurt Busiek on Why Batman Is Not Green Lantern.

* Alan Gardner points out through dramatic example that the Team Cul De Sac auction could use your attention.

* if you're reading this, you still have time to get ready and buy one of the few remaining Comic-Con International badges, going on sale today. I think I said in the CR guide that this had already happened. My sincere apologies.

* Toth. Toth, Toth, Toth, Toth, Toth. Toth.

* I've made some printing errors when I've worked at publishing companies, but I've never made a Holocaust Printing Error.

* I love the way Jack Kirby's Scott Free looked. I don't think any comics character has looked like that ever again, and it's not like it's an unfamiliar look if you wander around some small town somewhere.

* Jordan Hurder on the Building Stories book design.

* Michelle Ollie talks to Blaise Larmee. Shaun Manning talks to Nicolas Mahler.

* Matt Bors notes one weird-ass depiction of a Syrian child.

* Evan Dorkin writes about his work on the Predator franchise. Well, of course he does.

* finally, the writer Warren Ellis muses on the shape of long-form webcomics. I find it interesting we're still having very basic conversations like this several years in, and I don't mean that to antagonize: I'm one of the people responsible for directing comics conversations, after all.
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink

May 30, 2012

Drawn And Quarterly Acquires Lisa Hanawalt Collection


The publisher Drawn & Quarterly is announcing today that it has acquired all the rights available on this planet to Lisa Hanawalt's forthcoming collection of comedic essays, to be called My Dirty Dumb Eyes. This is work that's appeared in places like on, in The New York Times and in The Believer.

As is typical for D+Q titles, Farrar, Straus & Giroux will distribute the book in the US and Raincoast Books will handle similar chores up in Canada. Transatlantic Literary Agency's Samantha Haywood will secure deals for the work internationally. Hanawalt was represented by Meredith Kaffel.

I think this is a potentially significant deal -- certainly Hanawalt's recent work has been super-strong, and her comics seem perfectly suited to a collection of the kind D+Q can put into bookstores and support via a tour. I believe Hanawalt's first major work was Stay Away From Other People in 2008 -- the D+Q PR statement agrees with me. That won an Ignatz Award; her subsequent comic book series with Buenaventura Press won a Stumptown Award.

Hanwalt's kids book with McSweeney's, Benny's Brigade, will be out in August. She is a California native and now lives in Brooklyn.
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Gary Panter Music

posted 1:09 pm PST | Permalink

Not Exactly Comics: Cartoonists Decry Decision By South African Newspaper To Remove Anti-Zuma Image


Although I've only seen the cartoon depicted above, this article assures me that Themba Siwela was one of several cartoonists and editorial makers decrying the decision of City Press editor Ferial Haffajee to remove an image from that publication's web site showing a painting that recently came under fire by public official for satirizing the sitting president by showing his genitals.

Even though the image in question isn't a cartoon, the implication of action against the painting for various comics-makers in South Africa seems pretty obvious: a combination of public intimidation and legal action can be an incredibly daunting thing, and has already been unleashed on international cartooning superstar Zapiro.
posted 1:08 pm PST | Permalink

Chris Samnee Would Like To Sell You Some Superhero Sketches

even if he's all sold out you can still stare at them
posted 1:07 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Funky Winkerbean Turns 40

Congratulations to Tom Batiuk on the occasion of his Funky Winkerbean turning 40 years old, which is celebrated via the kind of newspaper-ready profile that one might have seen back in 1972. I know that a lot of folks make fun of that strip for the bizarre way in which some of the storylines unfold, and it sometimes can seem just as weird as if a long-running TV show once devoted to gags and generally innocuous narratives started working its way through some of the most ruthlessly depressing plots in the world, something akin to following a 70-year-old Arthur Fonzarelli through a struggle with dementia. Still, what comes through in that profile is a creator that wanted to tell a different kind of story and so he did, managing to do so without losing his work's fundamentally profitable position within the newspaper (although one apparently dropped the strip during the extended cancer storyline). Good for him. As the feature sort of gets at, it's nearly impossible to think of Funky as a potential legacy strip at this point, which I think is to Batiuk's credit.
posted 1:06 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Inner City Wizard

posted 1:05 pm PST | Permalink

Ali Ferzat And Emad Hajjaj Forge Joint Syndication Deal


Unless I'm misreading this somehow, it looks like the Syrian cartoonist (and focus of last year's major political story) Ali Ferzat will team with the popular and prolific Jordnaian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj to provide cartoons to a news network out of Abu Dhabi called Sky News Arabia. It looks like their work will appear on the channel's web site in a special comics section -- or that's one place the cartoons will appear. I'm not aware of any cartoonists that enjoy a reliable regional presence like this, although it's my impression that both of these cartoonists have appeared in multiple markets in the region in an intermittent fashion for some time now.
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink

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

posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Knut Larsson Exhibition

posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink

This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market


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.


DEC110960 RASL #14 (MR) $3.50
I derive a great deal of pleasure reading Jeff Smith's serialized comic books, and I've really enjoyed his series RASL as it hurtles towards a last issue. Smith has such an honest and engaging relationship to genre that a ton of intriguing material gets pulled along behind his stories: in this case the most compelling stuff is how his genre mash-up between single-narrator noir and slippery-reality science fiction makes the reader's usual uneasy certainty that she's getting the full story to outright, unsettling doubt.

This is the Batman book written by Chip Kidd. It should be well-written -- I enjoy Kidd's writing generally -- and it should look awfully, awfully nice. I'm not sure what else you need when it comes to a Batman book. I sort of like how Batman is the big arch-villain when it comes to making the argument that maybe we'd be better off only having the original creators' versions of characters.

The Mignola-verse grinds on. Surely this is comics' most reliable line/brand offering for the last decade or so.

This edition looks to be part of the general Dark Horse effort on behalf of Brian Wood, and supports The Massive as much as makes a fine entry into the bookstore market on its own. I like quiet moves like that.

This material seems to be an evergreen for DC, even if it's only an evergreen that grows yea high.

MAR120373 ROCKETEER ADVENTURES 2 #3 (OF 4) $3.99
FEB120403 AMERICAS GOT POWERS #2 (OF 6) $2.99
MAR120508 WALKING DEAD #98 (MR) $2.99
MAR128202 DAREDEVIL #11 2ND PTG VAR (PP #1021) $2.99
MAR120701 GLAMOURPUSS #25 $3.00
An interesting set of comic-book comics out this week. The Superman Adventures is I believe the all-ages book that basically replaces the super-popular and very effective Tiny Titans. I wish that book well. Rocketeer Adventures isn't my kind of thing but it's done in super-class manner. America's Got Powers is a super-odd weird and I have no idea despite reading both issues published to date if it's even any good. The Walking Dead is ramping up to a blood issue #100, because Robert Kirkman is enough of a traditionalist to respect an issue #100. Daredevil is a well-liked mainstream comic nearly too many issues in to convince yourself you'll get them when you decide to get them. And then there's Dave Sim and Roger Langridge, two skilled comics craftsmen with impeccable comic and comics timing.

I will always look at the P. Craig Russell Oscar Wilde material, new printing, new book, old printing, old book, whatever. That goes double for R. Crumb.

This is on my desk, but I've only flipped through it. There is some Eisner, some Crumb, some Hunt Emerson and some Roberta Gregory color work (she does really fine color work when she gets the chance) in it; there's also a lot of comics in there that didn't look anywhere near to operating in that group's weight class, to be honest with you. It also looked like there was a ton of supplementary/contextual prose. I look forward to a more thorough reading.

Dupuy and Berberian can't walk into a room together or as solo creator without my noticing; a book of work featuring their most popular character is a must-read, and I would be delighted were I to encounter it in a store.

MAR121076 MOON MOTH GN $17.99
This has to be the oddest stand-alone science fiction comic I've read in years. While I can't tell yet how good it is, it was certainly memorable and I encourage those of you that like such things -- and as much as the new science fiction-oriented Image stuff is on everyone's minds I'm thinking that's a lot of you -- pick this one up and take a look. Jack Vance has an almost Kirby-sized issue with neglect in terms of his influence and the ubiquity of his approach.


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 on me. I apologize.



posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Leo Dillon, RIP

1, 2, 3, 4
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink

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

posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink

I Did Not Know There Was Ever A Super-Shmoo

posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* you know it's going to be at least a pretty good summer when the first thing you click on rolling out of bed the day after Memorial Day is a lengthy interview with the great Eddie Campbell. Rushmore-level modern comics-maker, Hall Of Fame modern comics talker.

image* Stefan Kanfer profiles Winsor McCay.

* Sean T. Collins and J. Caleb Mozzocco talk about the WSJ piece on the Avengers movie and creators rights issues. Both talk about the insult lobbed at writer J. Michael Straczynski. I agree with Collins almost word for word how the shot was unfair, although given what I believe to be a lack of generosity Straczynski has shown Moore in some of the public statements he's made about Before Watchmen, I'm having a harder time than usual accessing the indignation necessary to be angry about it.

* Dan Clowes is on NPR this morning. Also, there's a contest.

* I'm glad someone finally thought of in-depth Sunday interviews with comics figures.

* one thing about going to Comics College with Charles Burns is that there's no grading.

* Grant Goggans on Vanguard. Rob Clough on some comics that are odd and some things that aren't quite comics. Nina Stone on Astonishing X-Men #50. Bart Croonenborghs on Gringos Locos.

* ComicsAlliance has a snippet up of The Comic Book History Of Comics on Osamu Tezuka and manga.

* Mr. Brothers goes to the anime festival.

* there's a Kickstarter page up for an enhanced edition of Dave Sim's High Society. That's the 26th through 50th segments of the 300-segment Cerebus saga and probably the component book for which the comics fans I know have the most affection. I think Sim will have no problem raising the cash for a project like this -- looking again just now (12:30 AM ET), it's already met its goal. The intriguing thing to me is that I don't know that I'm interested at all in any the enhancements or inducements but I could probably use a nice edition of that particular book.

* these are [some of] the things that make Gavin Jasper happy.

* finally, Bob Temuka lauds The Conversation.
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink

May 29, 2012

Missed It: 2011 Edward Sorel Slideshow At Vanity Fair

posted 3:35 pm PST | Permalink

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