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

April 26, 2011

Thirteen Pieces About Bill Blackbeard Worth Reading

What follows is a short list of articles worth checking out on the passing of comics historian and archivist Bill Blackbeard. I wish there were a lot more to choose from, and maybe they'll come. It is hard to imagine too many people with a greater influence on the shape of today's comics market. One could read only books that in some way can count Blackbeard as a primary mover and have an entirely satisfying, rich and varied relationship with the medium.

image1. RC Harvey's Obituary at
This is the piece that announced Blackbeard's passing to most of us -- I hear that the Journal staff found out about the March 10 passing just this last Friday -- and its not only thorough, it's quirky. It feels appropriate to the man. Harvey is old enough to have come at that late-'70s explosion of Blackbeard-enabled strip reprints as a collector-in-full, which is a perspective a lot of those writing about him lack.

2. Dylan Williams' Appreciation At Sparkplug
The best of the individual efforts out there, Dylan's piece is heartfelt and as a huge bonus contains scans of a rare interview within its body.

3. Jeet Heer's Appreciation at
Smart, incisive and classy.

4. Professional Tributes At
This went up a little later than the Harvey and Heer pieces, so you may have missed it. There are some big names here, including Chris Ware and Lucy Shelton Caswell.

5. Comments At The Beat
Malcolm Whyte and Trina Robbins are among the luminaries that have popped up there.

6. This Site's Obituary
I hope to do one more major draft.

7. Kristy Valenti's Two-Part, 2008 Column On Blackbeard
A nice primer on the man's major accomplishments, written while he was still with us.

8. My Facebook Posting From Monday
It's the comments, of course, that are really of interest here, from people like Dave Lasky and Frank Young.

9. Jenny Robb's 2009 Article, Bill Blackbeard: The Collector Who Rescued The Comics
That's a link to the "quick look" of a PDF of an article that ran in the Journal Of Popular Culture, and was a key piece of research for most of what's been written elsewhere.

10. Allan Holtz At Stripper's Guide
It's always different to lose someone with whom you a prior relationship, no matter its scope or nature.

11. Milo George's Letter To This Site
This came out of nowhere, but I'm pleased to host it.

12. Roger Langridge's Short Tribute At His Blog
By making so much material available, Bill Blackbeard had a significant influence on generations of comics creators; not a lot of them blog, so I'm happy that Roger Langridge took the time to say a few words. He also mentions Blackbeard's writing, which may have received short shrift in essays like my own.

13. Craig Fisher And Jared Gardner At The Panelists
Craig Fischer takes a different angle than other writers I've read, as an academic who teaches Bill Blackbeard's contributions in one of his classes.
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink

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