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

September 2, 2010

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Fantagraphics warehouse found: ACME Novelty Library #12. That one was a pain in the butt to find right when it came out.

image* I don't really understand this article in the New York Times about Harvey Pekar's legacy. In fact, it kind of made me uncomfortable. It doesn't sound to me any different than the stories you hear when any writer with work yet to be published passes away, and in fact is a lot less interesting than some of those stories. There's a number of suggestions made and a lot of people quoted for incidental color, but in the end it's too early for anyone to have decided anything about future projects so I'm scratching my head as to why this mix of sideways profile and gossipy innuendo was given so many column inches and not held until something actually happens.

* as if to prove that comics is always a bit bigger than your perception of it, Calvin Reid profiles the Lerner's Graphic Universe books.

* not comics: is Studio Ghibli in danger of closing?

* I swear I wasn't calling out The Savage Critics; I seriously thought they might have moved their reviews somewhere else or had otherwise re-launched. It took me a while to catch up to speed when they expanded the roster. The good news is that Brian Hibbs writes a review.

* not comics: Backstage provides a fine summary of the recent news story about Marvel and a casting diversity issue on one of their studio projects.

image* here are five underrated superhero comics bad guys. I always liked Klaw: the missing hand and freaky-ass costume are pretty great, although he's one of those heroes like the Living Laser where he either wins and kills the hero or somehow loses and gets his butt beat soundly and quickly. The Grey Gargoyle is one of those villains that really taps into the childhood imagination, but not in the way that suits modern comics storytelling. I always thought '60s Marvel had a collection of great bruisers for the reason that you had to have someone to balance out all the high-concept win-or-lose villains. Someone like Attuma doesn't have any choice but to try and fight you like a schoolyard bully, and you're going to get at least a page-long fight scene out of him on his worst day. Plus he wears a deeply unfortunate hat, a key to many a bad guy in comics and in life.

* speaking of '60s Marvel, this walk through the fine print appearing in magazines published by Martin Goodman's comic book company -- not always called by its more famous names -- is pretty damn funny.

* not comics: another Mark Evanier missive to writers, this time on why it's not always a bad thing that some writers are given a helping hand above and beyond some scientific appraisal of the pure talent on-hand in terms of each candidate an editor might choose.

* the best Peanuts pop culture reference of them all is a dated one: the spoiling of Citizen Kane, long before spoiling was a notion.

* finally, Douglas Wolk writes about one of the difficulties of working with a long-running title like Fantastic Four: work within the established parameters, run the risk of boring the readerships; work outside of them, run the risk of alienating the readers that don't consider those Fantastic Four stories. It's sort of an interesting dilemma, I guess, although the actual Fantastic Four mandate, that of a family running around having cosmic adventures, is so broad I don't see it being all that restrictive. Certainly a flamboyant mystery-solver like Nero Wolfe works under more specific restraints. In fact, I would imagine the broad conception of what makes a Fantastic Four story is a major reason why that series has never been reconfigured in a major way like most of the Marvel comics.
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