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

January 31, 2005

Angouleme Round-Up: Wolinsky Wins Grand Prize; Spiegelman Receives Honor from Minister of Culture

imageAlthough one might expect some more idiosyncratic writing in the next few days as exhaustion fades and people return home, the early reports on this year's version are in. Two major items of news out of the festival, one typical and one not. First, the Grand Prix, which means a celebration of and involvement by the artist in next year's festival, went to Georges Wollinsky. Second, Art Spiegelman was named a Chevalier des Arts et Letres on Friday evening during a small ceremony (I saw it first at Egon), which is pictured here. The main site also has last week's prize winners, including quotes about them, listed here.

The best write-up I've seen thus far, meaning the only one I've seen that isn't just bare facts, is this one. The piece acknowledges some of the problems the Festival had -- it looks like there was a train strike that made it difficult for some to make the commute from Paris, for instance. The article also at least gets into the more general dispute that may have colored this year festival, the objection by Joann Sfar and some others that the prize nominees did not reflect the French cartooning scene of right now. The author points out that the prize winners may be viewed as a counter-argument to these complaints.

Photos are promised here; a small piece on the progress of murals that I enjoyed reading is right here.

imageI don't know that much about Georges Wolinsky, although I recall last year's naming of the very popular Zep kind of worried some more hardcore arts purists and the 70-year-old Wolinsky seems at least a very different kind of artist with a very different background. Here's his entry at Lambiek; there's a biography on the Festival's front page and an interview a bit further back. A few French-language entries/profiles can be found here, here and here. This site had two pages of Wolinsky art.
posted 7:21 am PST | Permalink

Big Stan Lee Vs. Marvel Spin Week

This brief New York Times article on creative ownership issues strikes just about the right tone. Although the legal matter at stake in the suit is contractual rather than an issue of creators' rights, certainly the issue has been engaged, if only in a public relations sense by supporters of Lee. The article is also the first time in a long while I can remember Kirby nephew Robert Katz going on the record.

Mark Evanier, who never sleeps and works much harder than I do while awake, had a note on the Times piece before I did, and he also notes that 60 Minutes II is planning a Lee Vs. Marvel piece for Wednesday.
posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink

Yutsuko Chusonji, 1962-2005


Yutsuko Chusonji, best known for her work depicting the workplace phenomenon the "oyaji gal," died today from colon cancer in Yokoyama, according to a wire service report. The "oyaji gal" was a young female office worker who embraced the benefits and sometimes even the mannerisms of older male executives as they enjoyed success in the work place. Chusonji's manga became popular as emblematic of the growing female presence in the Japanese workplace. Her best-known manga series in this vein was Sweet Spot, about golf, which sold somewhere between 200 and 500 thousand copies in I believe eight volumes; its serialization began in 1989.

Although the traffic on some of the sites is very heavy as I write this, you can read about and see pictures of Chusonji's 2004 visit to Atlanta here and her presentation on that trip is reprinted here; she also met former President Jimmy Carter. A work she did about the visit was later presented to Carter; by that time the cartoonist had become ill. Chusonji lived abroad in various locations including for two years in New York, if I'm reading correctly, and wrote about that experience in a book called We Are Japanese. According to this article, she believed in writing as much as she could in English rather than having her work translated.

The cartoonist, whose real name was Yukiko Kobayashi, is survived by her husband of seven years and two children.
posted 6:52 am PST | Permalink

Monday Morning Ongoing Story Updates

In a series of tiny-article readings around the Internet, one finds out:

* CrossGen has received a 60-day extension in order to work out how to spend whatever portion of that million is remaining to pay back the larger, secured creditors.

* actually managed to squeeze a line-of-command statement out of DC regarding new Senior Vice-President Stepahnie Fierman.

* Unfortunate urban legend come to life, the pedophile employed by the comic shop has been fired.
posted 6:46 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
City Administrator Retires to Read Duck Comics
Deppey Directs TCJ Readers to Messner-Loebs Effort
Not Comics: Via ANN -- Toriyama Car
Slam Dunk Has Sold Over 100 Million Copies
Talk About Comics Relaunches With Blog
From TAC: 2005 Australian Comic Art Awards
Plantu and Shujat Exhibit in Qatar
More Love for David B., Epileptic
Ivory Coast Festival to Continue
A. David Lewis Studies Death in Comic Books
Prabhakar Waikar is Off to Nice
Marvel Comics and Manifest Destiny
Profile of Cartoonist Maitena
Canadian "Shuster Awards" Announced
On Marketing Comics in India

January 30, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine


It's Sunday afternoon, it's cold outside, and there's something on which I have to come clean: I think I like comic books more than I like graphic novels. What about you?
posted 2:43 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Paul Ollswang

posted 10:57 am PST | Permalink

Pulled From The Longbox

Review of The Pitch (2003)
Review of The Assassin and the Whiner #10-11 (2000)
posted 6:51 am PST | Permalink

January 29, 2005

CR Week In Review


Top Stories
The week's most important comics-related news stories, January 22 to January 28, 2005:

1. VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment, Inc. announce merger in order to maximize efforts for worldwide distribution of Japanese entertainment content, including manga.

2. Two children, nine and ten years old, arrested in Ocala, Florida for violent drawing featuring a classmate (drawing pictured above).

3. DC announces hiring of Stephanie Fierman to Senior Vice President -- Sales & Marketing position. Could be signal of increased effort in on-line, television and bookstore marketing and branding of DC characters.

Winner of the Week
Alex Robinson, who won the the Prix de premier album at the beginning of this week's comics festival in Angouleme.

Loser of the Week
Unless it's some sort of comics-theory contest, I'm guessing in about five minutes after this poll closes, Scott McCloud.

Quote of the Week
"Check back with us in six months and we'll see if anything has changed." -- DC Comics direct market sales czar Bob Wayne laying out the kind of standards for new Senior Vice President Stephanie Fierman I wish someone would give me in a job.
posted 9:51 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Reviews

Elfquest: The Searcher and the Sword
Return of the Elephant
30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales #1
Demo: The Twelve Original Scripts
posted 9:47 am PST | Permalink

January 28, 2005

International Array of Winners at Angouleme Includes Satrapi, Taniguchi and Alex Robinson

imageIn a ceremony that looks to have included some words from cartoonist Art Spiegelman on the recently deceased and much revered Will Eisner, the prizes for the Festival International De La Bande Dessinee followed through on the international flavor of its nominees with winners from several countries. The big American winner of the night was Alex Robinson, who scored the Prix du premier album for his De Mal En Pis, which someone correct me if I'm wrong but as Box Office Poison was at least nominated in all the major American comic book awards and garnered the cartoonist the Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition award at the Eisners a few years back.

The winner of the big prize, Best Album, went to Poulet aux Prunes by Marjane Satrapi, perhaps best know to North American readers for her incredible showing in American book markets with two volumes of her memoir Persepolis. As of 9:30 ET Friday morning, there was a great picture of Satrapi on the front page of the Festival's site.

The full list of winners is here, but I'm excerpting what look to be the bigger prizes -- at least the ones that seem to correspond to categories I mostly sort of understand. Also, I'm keeping their spellings.

I'm not sure this is on anyone's official list, but it looks like scanning the write-ups a special prize was given to Yoshihiro Tatsumi, leader of the Gekiga movement.

Prix du meilleur album (Best Album)
Poulet aux prunes, Marjane Satrapi (L'Association)

Prix du dessin (Art)
Le sommet des dieux, Jiro Tanigushi (Kana)

Prix du scenario (Writing)
Comme des lapins, Ralf Koning (Glenat)

Prix du premier album (First Album)
De mal en pis, Alex Robinson (Rackham)

Prix du patrimoine de la bande dessinee (Best Historical Reprint)
Le concombre masque, Mandryka (Dargaud)

Prix de la serie (Series)
Les formidables aventures de lapinot, Lewis Trondheim (Dargaud)

It should be interesting to see the reaction over the next several days, as some French artists had complained that the Festival had aimed broad on purpose and to its detriment with its nominee list.
posted 7:16 am PST | Permalink

Alan Moore Interviewed: “If I’m going to react, I may as well overreact.”

The Alan Moore interview for the BBC show Chain Reaction proves to be a lot of fun: it's bright and very funny, with a kind of straight-forward approach to the material discussed that's neither over-obscure or dances around the work of the celebrated comics writer. If you're unable to listen to the show, which I believe is up for a limited period of time, Comic Book Resources has provided a transcript, although the experience is hardly the same.
posted 7:10 am PST | Permalink

Comic Relief Finds New, Larger Home

Here's a happy ending to one of this Fall's items of some concern. imageRory Root of Comic Relief (pictured left), an important Bay Area retailer in terms of supporting a wide variety of comics publications and for his early outreach to bookbuyers such as librarians, has found a new home for his shop. Here is the press release disseminated by Root in its entirety, because I can't find it on their official site:
January 27, 2005

BERKELEY, CA -- Comic Relief: The Comic Bookstore, award-winning Bay Area purveyor of graphic novels and promoter of comic book culture, is moving to a new location at 2026 Shattuck Ave. at the beginning of February.

After 18 years at its current location on University Avenue, the Berkeley institution beloved by art enthusiasts, pop-culture aficionados, geeks, hipsters, cartoonists, iconoclasts, and college students and professors alike is relocating to a bigger, grander site in order to more adequately display its unparalleled inventory of graphic novels, comic books, and cultural ephemera. Only steps from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, the new store is over four times the size of the old shop and only one block away.

Comic Relief has been a leader of the graphic novel revolution for almost two decades, promoting the works of Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, and other masters of the comics medium, and introducing the country to the works of Adrian Tomine, Daniel Clowes, Eddie Campbell, Jeff Smith, and many others. While the rest of the world is finally catching comic book fever, Comic Relief continues to promote the newest and best works the medium has to offer.

Rory Root, founder and owner of the comic bookstore, said of the move, "Our new location is set in the heart of Berkeley burgeoning arts district. It should be a nice fit as we bring 'the ninth art,' as the French say, to a larger audience with the space to finally display the medium that I've always championed in all its diversity."

In order to ease the burden of the move, Comic Relief will be open every day to offer an unprecedented sale at its old location, with discounts from 30% to 50% off on almost all of the store's merchandise. The new location will nevertheless feature an even greater selection in such diverse comic book genres as science fiction, crime noir, literary autobiography, comic strips, manga, European language imports, art comix, historical fiction, 'zines, mini-comics, and, of course, super-hero. The store will also continue to have a fantastic selection of classic issues from the golden and silver ages of comics.

Comic Relief will be expanding its hours and is planning a plethora of signings to inaugurate the new store. Come celebrate the new spot on Saturday, February 19, during the weekend of WonderCon, with a grand opening party from 8:30 to midnight, featuring live music, fine folks, and tasty food and drink.

For further information, you may contact Comic Relief at the old or new location by phone at (510) 843-5002, fax at (510) 843-3137, and email at A map of the new location, including directions from the old store, can be found here.

I slightly altered that last part to hide that gigantic mapquest link. You can get some idea of the kind of stock they routinely display via pictures of the old location found here. I can't imagine this move has been easy, so taking advantage of their sale if you're local is probably a good idea for that reason as well.
posted 6:56 am PST | Permalink

Worth Tracking Down: Posy Simmonds

imageIt's good to read a nice review of Gemma Bovery by the generally underappreciated Posy Simmonds, as I assume that means this very solid and extremely well-crafted 1999 book is either out or imminent in its Pantheon version. There's a nice bibliography of the artist's British publishing history here.

Simmonds' Literary Life cartoon is archived here, although I find them slightly difficult to read size-wise.
posted 6:41 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Guy Gilchrist Cartoon Academy?
Another, Shorter Piece on ShoPro/Viz Deal
English-Language Muslim Comic For Kids
Profile of Bryan Lee O'Malley and Scott Pilgrim
Comic Book Vending Machines, Phase II
The Fluke Show is About Sharing (SR)
Vote Now: McCloud Vs. Bear's Andrew Arnold on Tom Hart
Komikwerks, iBooks, AOL Red: Content Deal
Via Mr. Melrose: Rent Girl Up For LLA

January 27, 2005

Angouleme Festival Opens Today, 1-27

posted 8:07 am PST | Permalink

PvP Not Dropped From KC Star

Via Comixpedia: Scott Kurtz has posted on his PvP web journal (you may have to scroll down; the entry was made on Tuesday) that the Kansas City Star will continue to publish his popular on-line comic in their print publication's tech section as space allows. With the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, the Star is one of the first papers to participate in Kurtz's free-syndication model, an effort that has the attention of traditional syndication advocates.
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

Blah Blah Blah

image"There's no change in how we're planning to feed demand to our core market. We want to sell as many comics as we can to as many people as possible. The only aspect that might change is that, as we're doing these things, I'll have the benefit of Stephanie's broader expertise."

-- Bob Wayne in an extremely odd interview with Bob Wayne and Stephanie Fierman by Cliff Biggers for Newsarama. Why odd? The interview was Fierman's first in her new position as Senior VP, Sales & Marketing; her hiring was the impetus for the interview. Her newbie status is what one would imagine is the reason for the veteran Wayne's inclusion, although the DM-focused Wayne's counterpart in Book Trade sales and marketing, Rich Johnson, is absent. But then the questions that follow really aren't DM-focused to the extent you'd think; nor are they complicated in terms of background or detail: Wayne answers most of them anyway. Weird.

image"I saw Charles Burns at a convention a year ago and he told me he enjoyed the parody I did. I don't know if he was lying, but he claimed to like it."

-- Cartoonist Johnny Ryan on reaction to his over the top alt-comics parodies to Coury Turczyn at in the midst of a very thoughtful interview that includes a discussion of Ryan's attempt post-college to become a serious modern fiction writer.

image"From a profitability point of view, about 20%, 15-20% of our earnings come from the comic book business."

-- Another round of a Motley Fool interview with Marvel Vice-Chairman Peter Cuneo, which briefly runs the risk of getting a bit deeper than usual into the publishing business until the interviewer whips it back on track and onto more movie talk.
posted 7:04 am PST | Permalink

The Beguiling’s Tsunami Auctions Rd II

posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

John Klamik, 1935-2005

imageThe cartoonist John Klamik died on January 5 of this year in Anaheim, California after complications brought on by lung cancer, according to a profile originating in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. His biography says Klamik was the first editorial cartoonist for The Advocate; he worked for a wide variety of gay-oriented publications as both "Sean" and "Shawn." Klamik was an activist for gay rights and a rollercoaster enthusiast. The artist participated in a number of endeavors related to cartooning, from poster design to mural painting.

Organizers of the cartoonist's web site are actively searching for samples of Klamik's art, particularly older material.

Klamik is survived by a companion of 40 years, Jim Newberry.
posted 6:44 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
This Week's Top-Selling Manga in Japan
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jeph Jacques
Comics as Football Recruitment Tool
Jenna Crispin Profiled
More Pirate Tintin Books in China

January 26, 2005

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

A full report on the arrest of two children at an Ocala, Florida elementary school for a violent stick-figure drawing, which could lead to felony charges being filed.
posted 1:12 pm PST | Permalink

Roaring Books’ GN Imprint: First Second

imageRoaring Book Press has announced the name of its graphic novel imprint: First Second. Headed by Mark Siegel, the imprint formed last year and will begin publishing in 2006. Authors announced by the line include Adam Rapp, Jessica Abel, Eddie Campbell, Sara Varon, Joann Sfar, Warren Pleece and Matt Madden.

The books will include a story about teenage vampires in Los Angeles and Campbell's adaptation of a turn-of-the-century detective story screenplay, with which the artists involved kind of reminds me of how the big album publishers in France have used their alternative comics talent.

I can't find this to link to it, but here's the press release that was sent out:

posted 8:49 am PST | Permalink

Manga News Round-Up

imageVery little in the media today or yesterday that adds a whole lot to what readers learned from the press release on the upcoming merger of Viz and ShoPro. has a smart run-down on the top excecutive positions, and generally provides a much better write-up than I did. has news that the new company will be located "at the renovated Powell Theater at the corner of Powell and Bay streets in San Francisco." Peeking in on a few fans at the Anime News Network boards you get idle speculation that this may be more symbolic than market news, due to ShoPro's lack of big hits. I don't know about the latter, but I think it might be useful to think of this as an investment in manga-driven content and a desire by Japanese companies like the three involved here to exploit fully the US market for Japanese entertainment.

In other news, Anime News Network has a 2004 in Manga article up that emphasizes the number of companies now involved in the North American market. reports that the North American manga market grew in healthy fashion in 2004, while anime sales (that frequently drive manga series) were flat. This is combined bookstore and direct market top ten:

1. Rurouni Kenshin
2. Fruits Basket
3. Naruto
4. Inuyasha
5. .Hack
6. Tsubasa
7. Trigun
8. D.N.Angel
9. Hellsing
10. Negima
posted 7:38 am PST | Permalink

Student Cartooning Awards Named


The National Scholastic Press Association/Associate Collegiate Press Cartooning Awards has announced its winners. You can check out the high school group here and the college group here. Worthy of note is that Tony Carillo's strip F Minus that received a syndication contract after winning an MTV-sponsored contract placed second here.

The cartoon above from high school student Dylan Woodliff placed second in its category. Those are weapons of mass destruction in Mr. Hussein's mouth.
posted 7:25 am PST | Permalink

Steven Grant on Marketing New Titles

imageIn today's installment of his Master of the Obvious column, Steven Grant writes a long essay on the way the mainstream American comic book publishers launch titles that's well worth a read. I think he's hit the nail on the head as far as the futility involved -- you can simply look at a new titles list and have about a 95 percent chance of knowing which ones'll tank -- but I feel he may have spared us or only lightly touched on a few additional reasons why this happens.

imageWe may both be whistling in the dark; worse, anything we suggest may be beside the point. No matter what other factors might come into play, the emphasis right now is maximizing hits, not creating solid performers, so it may be that's where the attention will go. It's possible that the market has been conditioned to work that way at this point, and no shift in emphasis can change that. Still, if I had to pick one overlooked factor, I've always felt the mainstream comics companies release too many books aimed at a similar audience, which can rob an individual title of its clear market identity above and beyond their concept. Movie studios don't release five different movies as their adult audience alternative during the youth movie summer months, or back six different independent movie releases with quirky urban appeal, they generally settle on one or two. The recent history of the comics market says that other than manga, success comes when backing and packaging individual titles, and now that the mainstream companies are no longer able to sell everything they make at a guaranteed profit, they may want to shift their thinking in that direction.

Cover art from DC's Bloodhound and a cover from Birds of Prey, the Goofus and Gallant of Grant's essay
posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Top 15 in French-Speaking Comics
Daryl Cagle Ribs Unimaginative Cartoonists
DHC Plans HC, 7x10 Nexus Reprints, One-Shot
RK Laxman Accepts Padma Vibhushan
Pulping in England: Beano Kills 200,000 Copies
Scripps Down From Last Year
Bakshi Teams w/Meathaus for Wizards II Comic

January 25, 2005

Viz and ShoPro, Sittin’ in a Tree…

VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment Inc. announced early today they're merging into a new company, as yet to be named. The two companies have worked together before on a few, select properties, and this looks like a marriage of Viz's formidable English-language manga delivery system to ShoPro Entertainment's ability to maximize properties through all related areas.

I'm not sure if this will have any direct impact on manga except perhaps to allow a more thorough exploitation of more properties that may lead more customers to manga. I would also guess that this is a vote of confidence in manga's continuing role in bringing Japanese content to worldwide audiences.
posted 7:46 am PST | Permalink

DC Comics Hires Stephanie Fierman

imageDC Comics dropped its press release yesterday on the hiring of Stephanie Fierman to a newly created position of Senior Vice President -- Sales & Marketing. The opening had been announced I think about half-way through 2004; Fierman left her previous position in October. A quick spin around the search engines seems to indicate Fierman's strengths include branding, coordinating TV advertisements with a company's web presence, and making use of information about visitors to a company's on-line sites.

Gossip columnist Rich Johnston admirably summed up possible implications here. As the press release points out, the interesting thing about the new hire other than its Dan Didio-like echoes of drawing in outside talent to a senior staff position, is how it combines oversight of the direct market and book trade divisions.
posted 6:38 am PST | Permalink

John Gibel Passes Away at Age 56


John Gibel, the writer and creator of the syndicated newspaper strip Flo & Friends, died on Saturday after a massive stroke. He was 56 years old.

Gibel launched Flo & Friends with cartoonist Jenny Campbell in 2001, and the Creators Syndicate offering currently has 29 clients. The strip deals with the concerns of aging and the lives of older people in general, a concern which was reflected in Gibel's advocacy work for senior citizens. Campbell plans to continue the strip.

Gibel was a native of Cleveland and nearly lifetime resident of northeast Ohio, leaving after college to our with the Up With People group. Among his past business endeavors was an animation studio, Creating Together.
posted 6:35 am PST | Permalink

Yes the, yes I mean the…yes but…yes


Apparently, noted playwright and filmmaker David Mamet has been working as a cartoonist in his spare time. The results are to be released as a limited series of lithographs and then as a 120-page book.

No word on whether Joe Mantegna has been retained for readings on the book tour.
posted 6:29 am PST | Permalink

Marvel Trade Availability Issue Lingers

imageIn and of itself, a letter like this one to the comics business analysis site may not be worth pointing out. But Marvel has gone so long without being able to fulfill everyone's trade paperback orders that it's probably good to be reminded of that. It's not like this kind of thing will keep Marvel from being profitable -- fans have a huge appetite for the bulk of their product -- but it's pretty clear that they're leaving some sales on the table here. Last summer at the San Diego con I saw two retailers turn away customers for the seemingly always sold-out James Sturm/Guy Davis collaboration Unstable Molecules.

This interview with Peter Cuneo from last week by a member of the Marvel-loopy Motley Fool financial advice team doesn't have a whole lot to do with comics, but it's sort of fun in a weird way to hear a Marvel executive spend an entire interview spinning movie numbers.
posted 5:49 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Valor Announces History of Israel GN with Nachshon
Comic Book Series Boosts Chinese Mythology
Ana Merino to Teach Comics at Dartmouth
Garfield + Penny Arcade = Death of Print Comics
Tom Jansen Wins Inktspotprijs

January 24, 2005

Kansas City Star Drops PvP?

The on-line comics hub Comixpedia picked up on this message board thread that indicates the Kansas City Star may have dropped its print publication of Scott Kurtz's popular webfeature PvP.

This becomes noteworthy in that Kurtz was offering the strip to the paper for free, utilizing a self-syndication model that sees the appearance in newspapers as an opportunity to market and license the feature rather than as a chance to be paid. Also, since conventional wisdom in the strip world says that feedback from readers upon a strip's dismissal may be the single most important factor in a feature's long-term survival, it should be interesting to see if that holds true with Kurtz's passionate fanbase perhaps making their case to editors.

Kurtz also publishes compilations of his strip in print form through Image Comics.
posted 6:59 am PST | Permalink

Poll: Tintin Remains Favorite Character


Here's a report on a French poll about favorite comics characters in which only 10 percent of people say they never read comics. Tintin still goes #1 at 22 percent. The rest of the top ten are Asterix (20 percent), Lucky Luke (8), Gaston Lagaffe (8), Titeuf (4), Mickey (2), and Boule et Bill, Obelix, Corto Maltese and Blake and Mortimer all coming in at one percent each. Titeuf placed really well with the young'uns, while Tintin was an overwhelming favorite of the over 35 crowd. The article also asserts that Tintin fans tend to skew rightward, but so do most older people, so I'm not sure what to make of that.

It occurs to me that in the United States, even if the feature were of equal popularity, I'm not sure fans would latch onto such a straightforward good guy as Herge's protagonist.

In another article with a bit more business gravitas, it's noted that sales of Tintin books made up 17 percent of Casterman's sales last year, down from highs around 50 percent in the late '70s and early '80s.
posted 6:46 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

Michael Jantze takes his strip The Norm from newspaper syndication to an on-line only feature through a tiered subscription format that's financially viable.
posted 6:40 am PST | Permalink

The Weekend’s Writing on Comics

imageA couple of nice, concise pieces of writing on major comics work in the mainstream press worth noting. Rick Moody's piece on Epileptic in the New York Times starts with a somewhat captivating but not totally convincing argument on the graphic novel's place in the modern literary firmament. The reading of David B.'s masterful graphic novel is much more forceful, and Moody offers up a clever thesis as to how different cultures might read and approach the work.

imageThe Times in London had a write-up on the City of Glass re-issue from Faber & Faber, which begins with a more standard introduction into modern comics -- I admit I had to look it up to discover that the "Igor Tuveri" referenced was Igort. The strength of the Times article is in the appreciative reading of the various narrative effects achieved by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, both the more overtly formal touches and the worlds of meaning to be found in evocative drawing.

imageAlthough it would be nice to have a third piece worth reading for the insightful writing, you can't have everything. One paper's description-only review of Mark Alan Stamaty's latest book caught my eye even though I'm not sure it's comics because Stamaty rarely comes out in book form and the story sounds worthwhile. Also, I think this is the first review I've seen for the Scholastic/Jeff Smith team-up on color Bone volumes.
posted 6:22 am PST | Permalink

Pop Travel Manga Preview

Via Anime News Network: A preview for a travel guide in comics form aimed, it looks like, at Western manga and anime enthusiasts, has gone up here for those interested.
posted 6:15 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Is Frazz Really Calvin All Grown Up?
James Sturm Profiled
Saleh Ali Profiled
Party Toons Taps First Subject
On-Line Engineering Comics
Cartoonist Teaches Arizona Kids
Newsarama Comic Shop Series Continues
The Mattoon Manga Club
Blondie/Cathy Link Explored
Serializer Adds: New Leslie Stein; Phil McAndrews
Pedophile Works in Aussie Comic Shop
Some Conservative Fans Riled Up at Peter David
Gerry Alanguilan Questions "Racist" Comics Art
24 Hour Comics Day Gears Up
Months Old Trudeau Announcement is News Again

January 23, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

imageIt was a fascinating week for comics with at least three compelling big-name stories, almost as if 2005 finally woke up and realized it needed to make with the controversies. The announcement by Marvel that they would appeal a partial summary judgment largely favoring Stan Lee in his case against them regarding a claim to a percentage of movie and television money was the one with the biggest names and feature-story appeal outside of industry circles.

Although it could be a long way from being finalized because of those appeals, the case has already, I think, focused our attention on one of the more puzzling comics business outcomes of the past decade, a contract clause I discuss one more time in The Key to the Stan Lee Case, At Least for Me.

Stand-alone image by the great Drew Friedman from an old issue of The Comics Journal.
posted 6:39 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: 2003 Lat Exhibit


There are a few better ways to spend a lazy Sunday when surrounded by snow or in sympathy with those who are thus cocooned than to check out a few panels from one of the world's great cartoonists. The work featured here seems oddly selected to me, but there are hints at some of the various approaches to the page that make Lat really special: the way he uses color, and the occasional use of really exaggerated caricature. As a bonus, there's a quality timeline and short essay.
posted 10:36 am PST | Permalink

Pulled From The Longbox

Article Draft About Johnny Hart (2001)
Review of Snow Monkeys #2 (2002)

posted 8:42 am PST | Permalink

January 22, 2005

CR Week In Review


Top Stories
The week's most important comics-related news stories, January 15 to January 21, 2005:

1. Gerhard Haderer is sentenced to six months in jail in absentia by courts in Greece for his satire of the life of Jesus Christ, Das Leben des Jesus. The editor and salespeople of the Greek edition are exonerated, although the two thousand copies printed will not be released. Haderer's book becomes the first book banned in Greece in 22 years.

2. Stan Lee wins round one in his lawsuit against Marvel over a clause in a 1998 "farewell contract" that astonishingly seems to grant the octogenerian 10 percent of movie and TV monies earned by Marvel. A potential story of the year if Marvel settles or loses its appeals.

3. Rax Babin at the Sacramento Bee angers national firefighter groups for subverting well-known heroic imagery in a cartoon about local fire department corruption.

Winner of the Week
Stan Lee, whose case not only looks way more cut-and-dried than it did when he filed, but who received largely positive press notices for his round one court victory.

Loser of the Week
Marvel Comics, as no one was really buying their spin on the Lee outcome, plus they also faced a motion to dismiss in the City of Heroes case.

Quote of the Week
"I think one issue that comes out of the court's decision that is not covered in the press so far is the spread between what Marvel says on Wall Street and what it said in court." -- Stan Lee's lawyer Howard Graff, interviewed at Newsarama.
posted 8:12 am PST | Permalink

January 21, 2005

Das Leben des Jesus Update: Others Acquitted, Appeal of Ban Threatened


Although I struck out with Greek newspapers, and with the publisher's web site, there's a bit more to be had on the conviction of Gerhard Haderer in Greece for his Das Laben des Jesus through sources like Comicon, the Telegraph, BD Portal, Der Spiegel, the Hindustan Times, and Ananova.

What I missed out on yesterday was that the editor and salespeople of the Greek edition were exonerated, and that if Haderer had been on hand to accept his sentence, he could have paid a fee to avoid the six-month jail stay. There was also a less dramatic public controversy over the book's portrayal of Jesus in the cartoonist's native Austria when it was originally released in 2002. The 2000 books printed cannot be sold, and Haderer's lawyer has at least publicly declared his client's intent to seek another decision if that edict remains in place.

Haderer's album, which sold over 100,000 German-language copies, is reportedly the first book to be banned in Greece in 22 years.

Panel from Haderer's book. Yes, that's Jesus.
posted 6:36 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

An interview with the lead attorney for the plaintiff in the Stan Lee Vs. Marvel case, Howard Graff.
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink

Smith, Sim, Gaiman: Tsunami Relief

imageJeff Smith and Dave Sim are offering up art for an E-Bay auction they hope attracts more artists -- and double-checking the story, it looks like Neil Gaiman has donated a rare piece of Simon Bisley art. Full list here, as coordinated by the great Toronto comics shop The Beguiling. With three days left it looks like total bidding on all items up so far is at approximately $7500.

Jeff Smith phoned yesterday, and we talked a little bit about how he feels about that part of the world and how stunning and unbelievable a tidal wave really is, once you think about it. I know for a fact that Smith original art never ever comes up for sale. Also, if I understand correctly the original impulse came from Sim, who contacted Smith, so that's interesting as well.
posted 6:14 am PST | Permalink

D&Q is One Healthy Comics Company

Although that wasn't particularly clear for a brief, brief time very early this morning. If you're looking to celebrate this false alarm, what better place than the sale-saturated Drawn and Quarterly catalog?
posted 6:13 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Mattotti Galleries

posted 6:12 am PST | Permalink

BD Sierre ne peut pas mourir!

I'd feel silly sitting here in the United States pointing out an on-line campaign to save the comics festival in Sierre, Switzerland, which announced in 2004 that its governmental support was withdrawn, but the effort orginates in Brazil, so what the heck?
posted 6:11 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Sherwin Schwartzrock is a Great Name
Profile of Cartoonist Jamie Cosley
Olivier Coipel Signs Exclusive With Marvel
Tom Grummet Signs Exclusive As Well
Via Mr. Melrose: GLAAD Comics Nominees
Nostalgia Bug Hits Japan Comics Market
Via Comixpedia: Farley/Shaw Team-Up Prologue
Comixpedia Again: Limited Print Run Webcomix
Nashville Loves French Alt-Comics
You Will Die Surrounded By Comic Books

January 20, 2005

Marvel Loses One, Wins… Something

The news clogging up the chatboards and the news services yesterday and today is word that Marvel Enterprises, Inc. will challenge Stan Lee's recent win in district court over a 1998 contract stipulation that seems to grant him a percentage of movie and television profits. You can read a pretty straight version of what's gone down in wire stories like this one and a version with all of the Myth of Stan Lee stuff sprinkled on it in stories like this one. The main point of interest in the story thus far is that many people seem to think that it has something to do legally with one of the public moral jusifications of the suit, Stan's role in co-creating various Marvel characters. It really doesn't.

With appeals certain to follow, I hope that no one loses sight of Marvel's continuing string of impressive licensing deals, something I think may be the most significant outcome of the movie success. The latest is a deal with Corbis for distribution of digital content, which you can read about here or see in presentational action here. The things about this arrangement I find compelling at first glance is that it's comics-based, lots of different characters are highlighted (Domino?) and that it essentially serves as both a potential profit source and free advertising for Marvel's characters.
posted 8:42 am PST | Permalink

Das Leben des Jesus Guilty in Greece

imageI had to blink twice and I'm still not sure I'm getting it right because it's so bizarre but it looks to me like the Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer was found guilty and sentenced to six months -- I have to think in absentia -- in Greece for his take on the miracles of Jesus Christ in his Das Laben De Jesus album, released a couple years back. The article explains briefly the close nature of church and state within certain elements of Greek law, and gets points with me for using the word "contumacy."

Reader Ralf Haring corrects my German and provides further links in his letter.
posted 8:36 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

The basis of Stan Lee's lawsuit against Marvel, a contract dispute that has little if nothing to do with creators' rights.
posted 8:33 am PST | Permalink

Chute De Velo Wins Prix Des Libraires

imageAccording to the good folks at the BD Zoom site, Etienne Davodeau's Chute De Velo has won the Prix Des Libraires Canal BD, an award given out by a group of booksellers. What's interesting about this news to me is how the award actually seems to come with stuff that will help the book sell -- cross promotion through all member stores, a guaranteed appearance in a magazine, a depiction of the book on bags used at the establishments, that kind of thing. It's a strategy American awards programs might think about.
posted 8:26 am PST | Permalink

William Messner-Loebs Profiled


The Detroit News catches up with the talented, underappreciated cartoonist and one-time steadily-working mainstream comics writer in this long and unblinking profile.

posted 8:16 am PST | Permalink

Angouleme Authors List Compiled

You could make a really, really good show out of the following guest list:

Art Spiegelman
Nikita Mandrika
Craig Thompson
Giorgio Cavazzano
Don Rosa
David Lloyd
Milo Manara
Eddie Campbell

But because it's the Festival International de La Bande Dessinee d'Angouleme, that impressive group is only a tiny portion of the comics and cartooning talent that will be on hand, according to this just-released compilation from various sources.
posted 8:04 am PST | Permalink

Motion to Dismiss Filed in Marvel Vs. City of Heroes Case; Legal Strategy Tipped

I noticed this last, or at least I saw it on Mr. Melrose's blog, and he got it from Slashdot, who got it from yet another site.

The interesting thing to me here is that the defense seems to be embracing the notion that Marvel filing suit against a creation engine on a video game really is sort of like filing against a box of crayons. When I encountered this notion in the gaming press I thought it was an inaccurate and over-simplistic reduction of Marvel's complaint, a complaint I thought was more about an overall effort to encourage copycat behavior that might interfere with their right to put out a competing product. This is what I get for not digging in more thoroughly when the story initially presents itself.
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Paul Giambarba Profiles the Past
Your Weekly Manga Top Ten
Comic Book Fan is Well-Adjusted
Ithaca Comics Scene Profiled
Aronofsky Writing GN to Go with Movie
National Review Columnist Scorns Spiegelman

January 19, 2005

Missed It: Tokyopop Going Public?

I'm not sure how I missed making a bigger deal of this, although a reader brought it back to my attention. To borrow his words, this might be a great story simply for the disclosure reports it would make available.
posted 6:52 am PST | Permalink

Sacramento Bee Firefighter Controversy


A couple of things stand out about the controversy surrounding a Rex Babin cartoon lampooning firefighter scandals in Sacramento. First, many of the protests are coming from outside of the newspaper's typical circulation area, providing a textbook case as to how these kinds of objections work right now. Also, the editor seems to be supporting his cartoonist, and good for him. The nexus of the outrage seems to be located at the web site Here's the cartoon in question, their article, and their forum discussion.
posted 6:33 am PST | Permalink

Marvel’s Big Book Deal

Here's a press release-driven wire story for yesterday's big news about Marvel's multiple deals with book publishers. I like that manga format is mentioned. Although this is yet another sign that Marvel has done a really, really effective job leveraging its movie-juiced success into various deals across the spectrum, my suspicion with this one is that we'll have to see how it's working out "on the ground," as it were, before we know know how major it is.
posted 6:26 am PST | Permalink

Blah Blah Blah

image"For me, it's because every day of my life, I meet people who don't know what the hell I do. Twenty-some years later, I'm still explaining, and they don't get it. They always ask me which volume I recommend to start with, and I think, 'Gee whiz, they could start with the first one, but oh, that has the dinosaurs and stuff. They won't take me seriously if they read that.' With Locas, I can proudly say, 'Get this book, and you'll know all about me.'" -- Jaime Hernandez on the advantages of a big collection to Noel Murray at The Onion.

image"Because I tend to get neurotic, when I was drawing on paper I kept messing up, and it became a very frustrating thing, so I wished there was some way that I could just keep erasing and not destroy the image. Then a friend of mine got a computer and showed me Adobe Illustrator. And it was, like, Oh, my god, that's it, if I could figure out a way to do it. A mouse is too clumsy a tool, but then I found these tablets that you can draw on that are pressure sensitive. Now I have one that actually has a screen that you can draw on." -- Alex Gregory on the way he draws to Marshall Hopkins at The New Yorker.

image"Finishing up Gongwanadon was really acutely unpleasant and left a bad taste in my mouth. Almost all of the work in Cusp had been done in college, over the course of two years, to fulfil some assignment or other, and I found that after I graduated (two and a half years ago), without these external motivations (the assignments), I was almost completely stagnant creatively." -- Thomas Herpich on working after school to Adam Ford at PopImage.
posted 6:09 am PST | Permalink

Around The Continent

imageA bunch of quick-hitters from the European comics markets: The seminal comics magazine Metal Hurlant turned 30 years old yesterday; this article seems to briefly note its influence and longevity. There's a new book on comics by the great Thierry Groensteen, or at least a new printing of an old book. That's it pictured. The next one was a little rough on my French, but it looks like one of the founders of Futuropolis isn't thrilled with its return as an imprint and has asked that his design/lettering work not be used. Here's another publisher who is disappointed with this year's Angouleme Festival prize nominations, which is interesting because the earlier attacks from Joann Sfar devolved into some nasty back and forth pretty quickly in a way that might allow people to dismiss the actual criticisms. Also, somebody seems to have stolen a Hermann original.
posted 5:40 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Wizard Column Horrifies People Who E-Mail Me
This Year's Free Comic Book Day Books
Stan Lee Signs Own Mobile Deal
Paul Krassner's Comic Strip Round-Up
The Kids, They Love the Manga
Friedrich Von Schiller Comic Book
Smoking in Manga is Bad, Says Health Agency
Tom Hart Will Teach You Comics
Via Mr. Evanier: Ryan to Draw Phantom
Austin English Takes Over "Dogsbody" Column

January 18, 2005

Fred Julsing, 1942-2005


Fred Julsing passed away on Saturday in California. The Hague-born artist got his start in the Toonder Studios as the primary assistant to Marten Toonder on the "Tom Poes" (Tom Puss) strip for six years, before striking out on his own with titles such as "Wellington Wish" and "Ukkie" for magazines like Pep, Okki, Taptoe and Primo. He was also known for his work adapting fairy tales, which from the looks of the art at an extensive fan site is quite believable. After surviving a horrific plane crash in Portugal in 1992, he moved to Southern California where it appears he became interested in making spiritually-based art such as these pieces sampled here.
posted 7:36 am PST | Permalink on December in the DM

imageYou know the drill by now. The comics business analysis site has its December numbers for the comic book direct market up in the form of a lead article, an analysis article, a list of the top 300 comics, and a list of top 100 graphic novels.

While it's interesting to note how well the Brian Bendis-written New Avengers #1 (pictured) did as a measure of how much the direct market can likely handle of a single book (I'm terrible at guessing these things, but 350,000 for the first issue of the forthcoming Frank Miller/Jim Lee Batman collaboration would seem possible, right?), on a first glance these are the numbers that jumped out at me.

* The #10 book faded to 88,960; the #25 book was at 50,691; the #50 book was at 33,744.
* Nine out of 100 comic books in the top 100 managed somehow not to be published by Marvel or DC; half of those slipped in at 90-100.
* Apparently Y the Last Man and Fables are the Vertigo flagship titles right now; I think I knew half of that.

To avoid looking past the obvious, the sales on New Avengers #1 are also a fine measure of Bendis' market power at this point in time.
posted 7:22 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Nieman Reports Magazine Spotlight Issue on Editorial Cartooning


After nearly a month of no updates on the front page of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists site, readers strike gold today with a link to PDFs of the recent Nieman Reports issue on the state of editorial cartooning, both in its entirety and a page from which individual articles can be accessed.

The issue featured a lot of heavy hitters trying to sort through a long decline in the profession that can probably be summed up by one writer's adage that editors still like cartoons, they just don't want to pay for them. There are a lot of opinions as to what's at the heart of this slow fade, and unfortunately for editorial cartoonists you may reach the end of the issue thinking every single writer is onto something.
posted 7:16 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Via Mr. Evanier: Picasso Cartoon at Costco
Moebius, Sfar, Satrapi, Tardi on TV... en francais
Discussion in English of Said TV Show
The Beat's Top 2004 Books
Not Comics: Sam Henderson and TMBG Video
Jeroen Mirck's Winners and Losers '04

January 17, 2005

Edmund Valtman 1914-2005


Edmund S. Valtman, a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Hartford Times, died on Wednesday, January 12, at a retirement home in Bloomfield, Connecticut. He was 90.

Valtman was probably best known as a cartoonist of the Cold War era who had experienced first hand living under the Soviet Union. He grew up in Estonia, which was overrun by the Soviet Union in 1940, captured by Germany for three years, and then occupied again by Soviets in 1944. The illustrator, who by then was staff editorial cartoonist at two Estonian newspapers, fled his country and spent four years in a displacement camp before finding a sponsor and coming to America in 1949.

imageA gifted caricaturist, Valtman was editorial cartoonist at the Times from 1951 until his retirement in 1975. According to his obituary, his Pulitzer-winning cartoon from August 31, 1961 showed "a Fidel Castro look-alike leading a beleaguered, shackled and barefoot man labeled 'Cuba.' He tells another man, in a broken-down cart labeled 'Brazil': 'What You Need, Man, Is a Revolution Like Mine!'"

Valtman donated 340 of his drawings to the Library of Congress in 2001, leading to this biographical profile.

He was preceded in death by his wife.
posted 6:37 am PST | Permalink

June 4, 2005 is National Comics Day!

But only in France.

posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink

Newsarama: The 2004 in DM Numbers

The comics news site Newsarama puts the 2004 numbers -- really just rankings and percentages -- up in chart form for handy perusal, and talks about them in a news story. My initital reactions:

1. The fact that so many manga sales are from Dark Horse's division, such as Samurai Executioner, indicates that direct retailers may simply feel better ordering from a company with which they're familiar and carrying titles that are clearly for boys.

2. Compared to 2003, Marvel seems to have a bigger margin than DC in both units moved and dollar share, despite DC's success with individual books and its much healthier re-order action. This indicates to me that DC's emphasis on the top of its line isn't very successful in terms of moving the line entire. Unless of course the numbers in the first two columns are distinct from the re-order numbers, in which case DC comes off looking a lot better. I'm so confused!

3. I'm surprised that Slave Labor seems to do better with reorders than Fantagraphics does, because I would think both have appealing titles that are largely underordered. Slave Labor seems to do really well with re-orders.

4. Selling individual comic books into today's market is really, really brutal. Even Conan looks all bloodied up.

5. None of the companies that seem to be healthy have initial sales to the direct market as their primary revenue stream. The need to sell a certain number of comics to make up for potentially restrictive set-ups (Crossgen) or the added cost of paying licensors (Dreamwave) may be the only thing that connects the two most recent big-name failed companies.
posted 6:22 am PST | Permalink

File Under: At Least It’s A Number…

Through Mr. Melrose I saw this pretty standard LCP (local cartoonist profile) or Portland's Ovi Nedelcu. The first thing that pops out here is the note that Nedelcu needs to sell 2500 copies to make a profit, which one hopes is a more accurate read of how Image functions right now than the article's descripton of why the publisher was founded. The other thing that occurs to me on a first read is that this is the first book of this type -- largely unknown creator's work -- I remember seing Erik Larsen personally endorse.
posted 6:14 am PST | Permalink

The Genius of Gil Thorp

imageJack Berrill's long run on his Gil Thorp was square-jawed, serious as a heart attack, and told lengthy stories about high school sports. Sports haven't always been depicted extremely well in American comic strips, and they really weren't in Gil Thorp, either. Gil Thorp was one of those strips where things moved along through dialogue and declaration rather than by dramatic event. Visiting Milford High was like going to a school where you never heard anything except from eavesdropping on people near your locker; the second-most important character in the strip was probably the PA announcer, without whom you'd rarely know who won the game.

I liked the look of Berrill's cartoons, and I always enjoyed that many of his characters seemed a strange mix of healthy and homely. Berrill was a master of pushing his story along. I've written about it before, but my memory is he used to do these jaw-dropping strips between major storylines that would go from one sport and one storyline to another in like 30 words or less. They would go something like this:

Panel One
Some Guy: Too bad about the basketball team, Coach.
Gil Thorp: They're young, and losing at state will teach them humility.

Panel Two
Some Guy: Is that Kevin Stockwood pitching?
Gil Thorp: Yes, although I'm afraid there may be problems at home.

In other words: lengthy transitions are for kids.

I was pleased to discover through Milo George that Tribune Media Services is once again offering one of their weird limited-edition Gil Thorp books. These used to be done by someone who was just a really big Gil Thorp fan, although this might be something more official; I'm not sure.
posted 6:01 am PST | Permalink

Gettin’ All Literary

CR Reader Justin Colussy-Estes writes in to mention that his contacts in the world of literary journals are looking for comics-related material to publish and have had little success getting the word out. He mentions two in particular: Backwards City Review, which has already published Tom Chalkley, Jim Rugg and Peter Conrad; and Say..., a "speculative fiction 'zine."

I don't have any opinion on whether or not publishing in a journal is a good idea, but it's something I rarely think about and never see discussed, so I thought it might be worth posting here rather than as a letter.

posted 5:57 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
What If... Sell-Outs Were Really a Big Deal?
Via Comixpedia; Copyright Extension Strategies
Cathy/Irving Wedding Raises 10 Grand
Local Cartoonist Profile: Ward Sutton
Another Report From Manga Class (SR)
Conservatives Say Toles Exploited Tsunami
Zen Intergalactic Ninja Adds Facial Features
Ruben Bolling Has a Day Job


January 16, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine


On Friday I linked to a book-focused blog where the owner of said blog detailed his experiences at the well-regarded comic shop Atlantis Fantasyworld. I thought it was interesting to note how someone used to bookstores related to a comic book shop, because I think it's likely to happen more and more and I share some of the same reactions myself.

I never really thought of what he wrote as severe criticisms. I get to two top-tier comic shops every year, Meltdown in Los Angeles and Chicago Comics, and I always end up asking someone where something is and leave each store with a slight headache. I think that's the experience many people have in comic shops no matter how great, and I hope that we can be upfront about that experience without trying to put anyone on the defensive.

The upshot of this is that prominent and respected industry folk Dan Shahin and the owner of the store discussed, Joe Ferrara, have each written a letter to this site. I'm honored that they would do so and I hope that you will read them to get a retailer's view on the observations made.

In a longer commentary piece, A Top 40 for 2004 depending on how you look at it I either totally cop out or provide a sturdy reading list and cogent commentary for the year just past.

Image from The Walking Man, one of 40 really good comics out in 2004.
posted 8:12 am PST | Permalink

January 15, 2005

CR Week In Review

Top Stories
The week's most important comics-related news stories, January 8 to January 14, 2005:

1. Giorgio Forattini dropped by La Stampa after publication of anti-Israel cartoon.

2. John Cole let go by Durham paper, further evidence of the tenuous position of editorial cartoonists in this day and age.

3. Awards season continues in the French-speaking market and begins in the English-speaking one.

Winners of the Week
Brian Wood specifically and AiT/Planet Lar generally for their success at for 2004.

Loser of the Week
The Angouleme poster that was de-tobaccoed by public display laws about depictions of smoking. Parts of it just look silly now.

Quote of the Week
"My years with La Stampa have been idyllic and it is true that I never have been censored." -- Giorgio Forattini on not having his contract renewed.

posted 8:28 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Reviews

Three Very Small Comics Volume II
It's Only a Game
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

January 14, 2005

Copyright Law Expansion To Have An Impact On “Manga Cafes”?

With the topic of comics piracy recently appearing on the horizon, flag a-wavin', a potential major change on another issue involving the rights of artists to profit from works they've created should be pointed out. According to this article, expansion of Japanese copyright law that establish the need for royalties for rentals now includes print publishing, and was accomplished with plenty of comic book industry input. It's interesting to see rentals blamed for a downturn in the comics business -- the blame part sounds familiar, anyway -- although it looks like people believe that royalties can be handled for most thing without passing a too-egregious cost along to the consumer.
posted 7:13 am PST | Permalink

DC Cancels Low-Selling Titles

imageIn most industries, headlines like the above would read more like a general policy statement than news, but the various articles stand out because both companies tend to carry more than a few poor-performing books for a very long time. One of the better armchair quarterback arguments in mainstream American comic books right now is whether having so many low-selling titles at any one time is necessary to see which one might become a hit or if that many books at those levels is totally counter-productive beause it divides whatever small amount of promotional energy gets to such titles and the try-new-things portion of the general readership's comic-book budgets.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

Comic Shop Agony

Pam Noles writes in to point out the latest in a series of entries at The Agony Column where Rick Kleffel has been occasionally writing about his his attempts to educate himself in terms of comics. The report on a trip to Atlantis Fantasyworld is worth reading entirely, but yields two particularly interesting insights that those of us used to comic book shops might not even think about anymore.

First, Kleffel is quickly baffled by the store's set-up:
Frankly, I was quickly lost in the place, as I'm just not familiar enough with the genre to know who goes with what. I looked about and eventually just asked the gal working there where I might find the "thin" issues of Neil Gaiman or Richard K. Morgan's 'Black Widow'.

Immediately after that, Kleffel is held to a purchase limit:
Alas, when I went and grabbed the whole sack of Black Widows, the guy refused to sell them to me, since, he told, he ordered for his regular customers and didn't want to sell them out. In the end, I got one of each. Damn.

I'm not sure that I've ever run afoul of a purchase limit because I've only ever bought one, but I'm still frequently confused by the set-up of comic shops and can't imagine how baffling they must be to new readers.
posted 6:47 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Eisner Documentary Teaser

posted 6:40 am PST | Permalink

Comics Are For Girls Now… Honest

This short Washington Times piece on the new market for girls' comics is strangely irksome in the details. A short list:

It doesn't get around to manga until like the tenth graph, and never interviews anyone who comes from that part of the field or can speak authoritatively about it. And while I guess one might be able argue that manga cemented an American female comics readership rather than created one in partnership with anime -- which I'd guess is the real gateway for a majority of the costumes they're seeing -- the article focuses almost exclusively on the fruits of the post-manga explosion. Also, I don't really think that a significant number of men born in 1928 were in charge at either of the two majors post-1980, if the CMX imprint was DC's big product push I probably wouldn't have had to look up three weeks ago to see if it was publishing yet, the writer slightly undercuts Trina Robbins' characterization of the number of late-'40s comics readers in the very next paragraph, the article makes Fiona Avery's hiring at Marvel sound like a negotiation for privileges on Planet of the Slave Women, and we learn that DC is working with Jill Thompson now.

It's obvious these things aren't written by or for comics-savvy folk, but still.
posted 6:14 am PST | Permalink

In the Shadow of Giant Haystacks

imageThe line that struck me in this Australian newspaper profile of In the Shadow of No Towers was that Art Spiegelman spent some immediate post-9/11 time in my home state of Indiana, which if nothing else sounds like a really great episode of a Larry David-penned television show. Although having visited the state at about the same time, I'd say most places I stayed it wasn't so much the flags that people were depending on to ward off evil, but the guns.

In other Hoosier-related comic news, Jim Davis is grateful for 4-H, and in other Art Spiegelman news a museum is initiating a study of and lecture series about Maus.
posted 5:58 am PST | Permalink

Pasamonik on BD Sales Strategy

There is a long editorial on right now that seemed kind of interesting to me. If I'm understanding it correctly, author Didier Pasamonik is talking about a kind of adjustment sale strategy that French booksellers use to shake stores loose of material released for Christmas that got buried in the avalanche of titles, and trying to get something like that done for the comics segment of the market, which dropped about 800 titles during the holiday shopping season.
posted 5:52 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Archaia Signs Double-Exclusive with Diamond
Guy Leshinski on Whedon X-Men
Local Cartoonist Profile: Ya'akov Kirschen
Cartoonist Learns to Fly
Dan Clowes Bibliography Celebrates 5 Years
Reality or "Reality"?
They Have Anime Stores in Maine Now
Eddie Germano wins Dave O'Hara Award


January 13, 2005

Forattini Dropped By La Stampa

imageGiorgio Forattini, the controversial, high-profile and apparently extremely well-paid cartoonist, has been let out of his contract with the publication La Stampa, home of Comics Reporter fave Guido Tiberga, five years after signing up with them. According to the article to which I've linked, the straw that broke the camel's back was a comic depicting the baby Jesus in a manger wondering if marauding Israeli tanks had appeared to kill him again (italics and groaning noise mine). The article speculates that the cartoonist may resurface at a right-wing publication, I think maybe this is it. Please note the cartoonist's incredibly classy comment on his time at the paper.
posted 7:09 am PST | Permalink

Marvel Back on TV Between the Shows

Kudos to Matt Brady at Newsarama for picking up on a mention in Diamond Dateline that indicates Marvel will return to television advertising for the first time since 1983. The interesting thing about the effort to me is that Marvel may face the same comics-specific hurdle with this kind of advertising effort that it might have had 22 years ago, namely that comics may not be distributed widely enough at a high enough profile to make likely a subsequent purchase.
posted 6:56 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Dave Kiersh

posted 6:53 am PST | Permalink

Mirck: Dutch Distributor Bankrupt

It's been a good year for comics news gatherers on-line, with the debut of Manga News Service and now word that Amsterdam-based journalist Jeroen Mirck is keeping an English-language blog.

His top story at the moment is the bankruptcy of prominent Dutch distributor Het Raadsel. Mirck links to his own news piece on the matter, where he indicates that the reasons the distributor collapsed may include a too-lenient policy for client businesses and a change in the overall economic climate -- a factor too often overlooked in analyses of the American comics business.

posted 6:42 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Joe, Chester, Seth, Fred
Anders, Jeffrey, John, Paul
No Room at the Inns
Pogo Site Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
Daredevil Interviewed About Crappy Movie
Respect the Comic Book
Humanoides Associes Newsletter Debuts
Comics-Interested Bookstore Blogger Fired
The Many Joys of Sound Symbolism


January 12, 2005

Let the Prizes Begin


According to a flood of news from European comics sites, the 2005 awards season has begun in earnest.

BD Zoom and BD Selection are among several outlets reporting that Le Prix France Info went to the second volume of Le Photographe, a series which depicts the efforts of Medecins Sans Frontiere in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The prize is selected by a group of French journalists and goes to a work that deals with an important and relevant real-world topic. If I'm reading the article correctly, the winning album by authors Guibert, Lefevre and Lemercier utilizes both photography and drawing. The third volume should be out by year's end. Other nominees included works by Ted Rall and Art Spiegelman.

imageLe Sang Des Valentines by Christian de Metter and Catel, has won this year's Prix Public du Meilleur. That award is given out in association with the Angouleme Festival from a panel comprised of persons selected by the Festival and readers of the magazines L'Express and Tele Poche. The album is also up for the Prix de Scenario at the festival.

Art on top from Le Photographe
posted 8:56 am PST | Permalink

Newsarama on Comics Piracy

Chris Arrant has given Newsarama a lengthy article on comics downloading that may serve readers best as a companion piece to Jason St. Claire's earlier Comic Book Galaxy discussion on the hows and whys of this kind of comic book piracy.

Arrant's essay concentrates a little bit more on advocacy regarding the moral issues involved, and that's the shape the feedback afterwards has taken as well. If you're brave and want to take the temperature of comics fandom on this issue, it certainly seems you can find it here.

For my part, perhaps I'm just old but I never get this kind of thing. The notion that someone has a right to personal consumption that can be weighed against other rights sounds really childish to me. Additionally, arguing a diminished harm or a greater good has always seemed to me little more than facile, slightly pathetic justification for usurping an artist's hard-earned right and corresponding obligation to grant access to a work in a way that he or she sees fit. With the number of options available to show dissatisfaction with a commercial process, I don't think it's necessary to sugercoat the one that exists to satisfy the notion of "Me wanty."
posted 8:29 am PST | Permalink

Cromartie High and Japan’s Top Ten

imageA couple of brief manga-related stories out recently I thought interesting. The first is this piece on a a display item for ADV Manga's Cromartie High School series. I'm not one for display items, but it seems like ADV has a lot of confidence in this property, and as the company lacks at least to my mind a kind of flagship manga title of the kind we dabblers in the stuff will recognize, I think that's worth noting.

The second is a top ten list of manga works provided by something called the Manga News Service, a site pointed out to me by Kelly Sue DeConnick that looks new enough and raw enough blogger tradition demands I should probably keep it secret and pretend like I'm coming up with this stuff myself.

This list makes me want to read Prince of Tennis now, and I'm once again confused by recent rumors that the Shaman King serial was in trouble regarding making it to its oncoming conclusion.
1. Prince Of Tennis (27) Takeshi Konomi Shueisha 410 Yen
2. Sakuraran Koukou Host-bu (5) Hatori Bisco Hakusensha 410 Yen
3. Shaman King (32) Hiroyuki Takei Shueisha 410 Yen
4. Strawberry 100% (14?j Mizuki Kawashita Shueisha 410 Yen
5. D. Gray-man (2) hoshino katsura Shueisha 410 Yen
6. Kanzenban Yuu Yuu Hakusho (11-12) Yoshihiro Togashi Shueisha 980 Each
7. Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kouen-mae Hashutsu-jo (143) Akimoto Osamu Shueisha 410 Yen
8. Wanted Hino Matsuri Hakusensha 410 Yen
9. Gin Tamashii (5) Sorachi Eiaki Shueisha 410 Yen
10. Teru Yoru Hime (26 ) Shimizu Reiko Hakusensha 410 Yen

In case you were wondering, 410 yen is approximately 4 bucks right now, or at least that's what the currency translators say.
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

Jim Vance Provides Family Update Since 2004 Passing of Writer Kate Worley

At the bottom of a long discussion of literary agents on Neil Gaiman's on-line journal today is a note from playwright and comics author Jim Vance with an update on the family's situation with some time having gone by since the passing of his wife, Omaha the Cat Dancer's Kate Worley, in June 2004. The thank you and subsquent request by Vance that any future donations be diverted to the American Cancer Society or to Worley's work also includes mention that plans to publish the conclusion to the Omaha work, which Worley was working on at the time of her passing, are proceeding.
posted 7:53 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Phoebe Gloeckner Essay


Via Egon
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink

Not Really Comics: Barron’s Magazine Lifts Leg on Marvel’s 2005 Film Slate

This wire report seems to indicate that someone at the financial magazine Barron's doubts that Marvel's 2005 films will distinguish themselves in a crowded fantasy film marketplace.

I don't link to a lot of these pieces, as I'm really torn over whether this kind of expectation/result stuff has any real effect on a company's status as a comic book maker other than determining exactly how much film and licensing money gets hoovered into the pockets of stockholder board members and how puffy anyone who can figure out way to say they're involved with whatever hit movie of the moment gets to be at comic book shows.

Still, "glass ceiling" talk has been all the rage in early 2005, and it's something to keep in the back of one's memory if there are publishing repurcussions down the line.
posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink

New CBLDF Membership Card


In case anyone is keeping track, and someone probably is, I received this in a press release at 11:28 EST and then and only then did I jump in my lavender, peanut-shaped time machine to put it up in order get it in today and to not make it my top story.
posted 7:13 am PST | Permalink

How Manga Invaded Europe, Maybe

The good news is that this very focused interview by Didier Pasamonik seems to go into specific deals that may have iniiated manga's entry into the European market, where it now does extremely well. The bad news is that it's in Italian, and I can't read it.

Luckily, one of this site's readers reads Italian.
posted 7:12 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Nielsen and Cracked

imageEvan Dorkin mentioned in passing on his on-line journal that Rick Nielsen had bought into the humor magazine Cracked and was serving as publisher as of the issue pictured here. It was news to me, and I feel better to find out it seemed to have happened before I was paying close attention to comics again with the advent of this site.

I enjoy how straight-up the Cracked reps are about their total sales, too.
posted 7:12 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Local Cartoonist Profile: Alan Sly
Book Explores Cultural Role of Otaku
Brill's Follow-Up to Bizarro World Rating
Interview with Alex Fellows
Ferret Press Free Comics Contest

January 11, 2005

Georges Bernier, 1929-2005

imageGeorges Bernier, an important figure in French satirical magazine publishing and occasional comics writer better known as Professeur Choron, passed away early yesterday after a battle with leukemia. He founded the magazines Hara Kiri, Charlie-Hebdo and La Mouise, vital homes of several important cartoonists from Fred to Philippe Vuillemin, with whom he collaborated. I may be wrong about his influence, as the obituaries I've read really challenge my French, but I have to respect anyone who launches a publishing effort by hoping for the result to be "stupid and malicious."
posted 6:44 am PST | Permalink

Harvey Awards 1st Rd Voting Has Begun

I received e-mail this morning that indicates voting is now open for the nominating round of Harvey Awards. Unlike the juried Eisners, the Harveys, named after the legendary Harvey Kurtzman, employ a nomination round and then another vote once a final ballot is put together. This means they expect you to write down up to five nominees in each category, which is generally satisfying even if it leads to a lot of sore wrists if not outright burnout and despair.

This year's awards will be handed out on June 11 in conjunction with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's yearly festival. Ballots are available for download here, where you can also check out the rules. A list of eligible books was attempted here for your consideration and to reduce your chances of going insane.

The deadline is February 13.
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Hunter and Painter


A special thank you to Alan David Doane for providing this site with a much better image, because I have no Photoshop skills.
posted 6:25 am PST | Permalink

Google Page Ranks for Comics Sites

I think I nixed this from Comixpedia, but the on-line savvy among you might find this list of Google Page Ranks for comics-related sites to be a compelling, quick read. Someone smarter than me will have to confirm, but I think this is a rough measure of how many people are linking to a site rather than straight-up traffic. Some of what's here may bear out industry conventional wisdom regarding comics: that Marvel's site perhaps underperforms slightly considering its cultural currency, that Fantagraphics may get more press attention than it does sales, and that the on-line comics sites are really competetive in that world with more traditional publishers and providers.
posted 6:19 am PST | Permalink

Evan Dorkin on Bizarro World

imageEvan Dorkin has a great on-line journal, frequently updated, where the cartoonist holds forth and then chats about various personal and professional goings-on. I found the latest entry interesting because of Dorkin's description of a G-rated editorial edict on the forthcoming Bizarro World and how it's slightly strange for this kind of book at this kind of price point to be kid friendly when other books aren't. He also deftly skewers critical reaction to the first Bizarro volume, Bizarro Comics, although my memory is that a lot of people also didn't like that book for itself, and that the move away from a Clowes cover to a cover signed by Matt Groening and done by one of his studio artists is what may have given people their bad attitude going in more than the "no artist/writer" policy.
posted 6:03 am PST | Permalink

Will Eisner Remembered Overseas

The reacton of European fans and artists to the passing of Will Eisner early last week has rolled out at a slighly slower pace than North America's, but with just as much sentiment. The Angoueleme Festival remembers a favorite, honored guest in Will Eisner in part through the publication of an interview on their much-trafficked site, while Italian cartoonists are compiling their signatures and well-wishes for a document to be presented to Eisner's surivors and his longtime agent and friend Denis Kitchen.

Because of requests from this site's readers in Europe, the list of links to Eisner-related memorials and remembrances will be placed in the Commentary section, where it should be easier to find, for the remainder of January. Some of the links added in just the last few days include people like Marv Wolfman, Gary Sassaman, Joe Zabel and Joann Sfar.
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink

Ninth Art’s Lighthouse Awards ‘04

imageThe largely mainstream-focused on-line commentary and review publication Ninth Art published their year-end awards yesterday. I'm not sure why I missed it, as Ninth Art is something I check out every week, although perhaps I did look at the awards and the terrifyingly phallic logo caused me to black out and forget I had.

I'm going to list their winners here; they actually do runners-up in each category as well.


Best Publisher: DC
Breakthrough Talent: Dustin Nguyen
Outstanding Achievement: Dave Sim
Best New Series: WE 3, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, DC Vertigo
Best Continuing Series: Queen & Country by Greg Rucka, Mike Hawthorne, Steve Rolston and Mike Norton, Oni Press
Best Bookshelf Comic: The Filth by Grant Morrison and Chris Weston, DC Vertigo
Best Debut: Street Angel, by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca, Slave Labor Graphics
Talent Deserving Of Wider Recognition: Becky Cloonan

Yeah, I noticed the title and logo have different years, too.
posted 5:44 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Cartoonist Receives Lemon, Makes Lemonade
Local Retailer Profile:
Local Cartoonist Profile: Gerald Shippee
Satrapi's Latest Features Nasser Ali Khan

January 10, 2005

John Cole Out in Durham


Editor and Publisher is reporting that editorial cartoonist John Cole was among those who lost his job in a round of cutbacks by Paxton Media Group at the Durham Herald-Sun. Cole is a well-respected, I believe left-leaning cartoonist who won this year's John Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition, with the entry above.

Despite there being more living astronauts than working newspaper editorial cartoonists, members of the profession remain very much in danger of losing their jobs in today's bottom-line economic climate for print media, and, I believe, much less value placed on their overall contribution.
posted 6:47 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

011005 -- The late Will Eisner's various projects and comics community involvements, and how they will progress in 2005.

posted 6:40 am PST | Permalink

NPR Piece on Derek Kirk Kim

imageNational Public Radio keeps up its comics onslaught with this piece on Derek Kirk Kim, author of Same Difference & Other Stories. Kim's emergence interests me because it's like his work sort of shimmied to the surface through exposure on-line rather than the more typical arc of someone immediately backing and supporting his stuff through publication. This makes him both a figure in which early fans have a proprietary interest and someone who got to put an initial book out for more general audiences after having worked through some of every artist's initial clumsiness.
posted 6:38 am PST | Permalink

Pantheon Drops Its David B. Bomb


January isn't generally when publishers drop potential comics works of the year, but Pantheon's release of the Epileptic has to be considered one of the bigger publishing events of a 2005 that's barely begun. In terms of pedigree, David B's beautifully realized memoir can draw on North American alt-comics (the first half was published in English to a some success in that market just a couple of years ago and the artist is now doing a book through Drawn and Quarterly) and, more properly, the wave of post-1990 European comics that changed reader's perceptions of the French comics market.

Without a distinct feature-article hook, it may also serve as a referendum on publisher Pantheon's ability to sell graphic novels based solely on their artistic merit.

Here's a paper on David B.'s work, an interview/profile by Andrew Arnold at Time.comix, a review by Alan David Doane and some discussion about potential problems with the book jacket.
posted 6:16 am PST | Permalink

Graphitti to Diamond Books

Diamond Book Distributors had such an impressive 2004 based in great part on coming to agreements with a wide array of publishers it's surprising that it still has companies to sign. And yet you still see announcements like this once every 7-14 days, it seems. This time, it's fancy books for fancy folks pioneer Graphitti inking the dotted line.
posted 6:12 am PST | Permalink

Angouleme Festival Poster Censored


According to this article, the Angouleme Festival poster drawn by Zep has been altered so that it can run in public spaces that do not allow the portrayal of smoking. It sounds sort of like a practical joke to me, but above is the regular poster and below is the altered image that accompanied the story.


In other news from the Continent:

It's blinking crystal time for the Musee Jije, in danger of closing forever since losing its home last Fall. This report says the museum is done for good in March, and mentions that its initial private investment was around $600,000 USD.

imageLe prix 2005 de la BD chretiene, a juried award for what I would guess is a religious-themed comics album, has gone to www.Jesus qui?, which tells the story of Jesus of Nazareth though an historical study framework.

The Christmas issue of Spirou, #3480, was guest-edited by Thierry Robin as something of a tribute to outgoing edtior Thierry Tinlot. It featured work from a variety of cartoonists across the world, including Sowa (Poland), Pter Madsen (Denmark), and Pierre-Yves Gabrion (French, raised in Guyana).
posted 5:44 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Everybody Loves Chris Ware
Hi and Lois Makes Unfortunate Flood Joke
You Can Chat With Mike Peters
Bill Woggon/Katy Keene Celebration
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jim Roldan
Profile of Comic Book Project
Save Sylvia!
Secret Asian Man Creator to Speak
More on Comic Book Character
Big Toronto GN Exhibit

January 9, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine


With news of Highwater Books sinking and Alternative Comics perhaps shrinking, the advent of 2005 finds many comics readers asking about the next wave of art comics publishers.

One person who stands ready to take on the unique challenge of making comics for art's sake is Alvin Buenaventura, best known for his manufacture of comics art-related prints that have been praised by cartoonists coast to coast and beyond. In An Interview with Alvin Buenaventura of Buenaventura Press, the longtime San Diego resident chats about his imminent foray into the land of invoices and packslips.

Art by Sammy Harkham, a print made and sold by Buenaventura.
posted 5:30 am PST | Permalink

Pulled From The Longbox

Second of Two Essays for Expo 2000 (2000)
First of Two Essays for Expo 2000 (2000)

posted 4:26 am PST | Permalink

January 8, 2005

CR Week In Review

Top Stories
The week's most important comics-related news stories, January 1 to January 7, 2005:

1. Will Eisner, whose professional career touched on nearly every important phase of the American comic book industry, passes away at age 87.

2. Michael Jantze seems to have begun making new episodes of his formerly syndicated newspaper strip The Norm for an on-line subscription audience.

3. Viz and Tokyopop end the year with the #1 and #2 books according to Bookscan numbers, despite predictions in the Fall that the strongly-performing In the Shadow of No Towers was going to finish first. This indicates to me that tentpole/gateway books such as first volumes in popular series may perform slightly better and for slightly longer than analysts thought.

Winners of the Week
Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry not only enjoyed a solid launch on their strip/panel Brevity, they get to be the answer to the trivia question of what replaced Garfield at the LA Times.

Loser of the Week
Dreamwave Productions, point studio for an onslaught of comics that sold briefly like hotcakes in the American comic book direct market based as much if not more on their appeal to some weird nostalgia for the cruddy cartoon shows of the current comics-buying public's pop tart-fueled childhood than for their kicky mix of American superhero and Japanese manga art styles, closed up shop in Toronto.

Quote of the Week

"I suspect that the general consensus among the syndicated community is that the trends are pretty disheartening, I'm afraid. There's a genuine sense that many of today's editors view strips as a nuisance. Strips are routinely shrunk and morphed. Rates of pay remain at 1970s levels and some newspaper groups are even trying to whittle those rates down further." -- NCS President Steve McGarry to Editor and Publisher's Dave Astor.
posted 6:45 am PST | Permalink

January 7, 2005

The New Norm

From the look of things at their web site Michael and Nicole Jantze of The Norm seem to have taken his syndicated newspaper comic strip which ended last Fall and provide a new home for it on-line. The Jantzes are using a $25 per year subscription model (other packages were more expensive and feaured more incentives). This capitalizes on the fact that many in the strip's fan base were not seeing The Norm in a print edition due to its relative lack of saturation and had become used to reading it on-line.

The last public count I can recall, just before Christmas, would have put The Norm at slightly over $60,000 raised. This was short of an announced goal of 4000 subscriptions but with a late Christmas rush and perhaps some people joining now that it's a definite go, there is certainly enough for a viable effort. This could be potentially huge for many strips, which like The Norm perform well without ever achieve hit-strip status, as it may show another way to reach an audience.
posted 10:50 am PST | Permalink

Eisner Awards Call for Submissions

Let it never be said I'm not a good public servant for comics. I'll move this over to a commentary posting at some point, but here's the whole schmear for you folks out there today.
Entries are now being accepted for the 17th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, to be given to the finest publications and creators of 2004.

imageThese awards are given in the name of the late Will Eisner, one of the giants of the comic book medium and a pioneer of the graphic novel.

Publishers can submit any comic, graphic novel, or comics-related periodical or book that was shipped to retailers between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004. The deadline for submissions is March 7. The submitted items will be considered by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, who will select the final items to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot.

Publishers wanting to submit entries for the judges to consider should send one copy each of the comics or books to be considered and include a cover letter indicating what is being submitted and in what categories. The tentative categories include best single issue, best short story, best serialized story, best continuing comic book series (at least two issues must have been published in 2004), best limited comic book series (at least half of the series must have been published in 2004), best new series, best title aimed at a younger audience, best anthology, best graphic album--new material, best graphic album--reprint, best archival collection, best humor publication, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best comics-related periodical, and best publication design. The cover letter should include both a mailing address and an e-mail address.

Publishers may submit a maximum of five items for any one category, and the same item or person can be submitted for more than one category. Each imprint, line, or subsidiary of a publisher may submit its own set of entries. There are no entry fees.

Creators can submit materials for consideration if: (a) their publisher is no longer in business; (b) their publisher is unlikely to have participated in the nomination process; or (c) they have severed connections with the publisher or have similar reasons for believing that their publisher is unlikely to consider nominating them or their work.

All submissions should be sent to Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator, 4657 Cajon Way, San Diego, CA 92115, before the deadline of March 7. The nominees will be announced in April, and ballots will go out in May to some 5,000 creators, editors, publishers, distributors, and retailers. The results will be announced by celebrity presenters at the gala awards ceremony on the evening of July 15 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Anyone with questions about submitting entries for the awards can e-mail Ms. Estrada at or call her at (619) 286-1591. More information can be found at .
Entries are now being accepted for the 17th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, to be given to the finest publications and creators of 2004.

These awards are given in the name of the late Will Eisner, one of the giants of the comic book medium and a pioneer of the graphic novel.

Publishers can submit any comic, graphic novel, or comics-related periodical or book that was shipped to retailers between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004. The deadline for submissions is March 7. The submitted items will be considered by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, who will select the final items to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot.

imagePublishers wanting to submit entries for the judges to consider should send one copy each of the comics or books to be considered and include a cover letter indicating what is being submitted and in what categories. The tentative categories include best single issue, best short story, best serialized story, best continuing comic book series (at least two issues must have been published in 2004), best limited comic book series (at least half of the series must have been published in 2004), best new series, best title aimed at a younger audience, best anthology, best graphic album--new material, best graphic album--reprint, best archival collection, best humor publication, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best comics-related periodical, and best publication design. The cover letter should include both a mailing address and an e-mail address.

Publishers may submit a maximum of five items for any one category, and the same item or person can be submitted for more than one category. Each imprint, line, or subsidiary of a publisher may submit its own set of entries. There are no entry fees.

Creators can submit materials for consideration if: (a) their publisher is no longer in business; (b) their publisher is unlikely to have participated in the nomination process; or (c) they have severed connections with the publisher or have similar reasons for believing that their publisher is unlikely to consider nominating them or their work.

All submissions should be sent to Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator, 4657 Cajon Way, San Diego, CA 92115, before the deadline of March 7. The nominees will be announced in April, and ballots will go out in May to some 5,000 creators, editors, publishers, distributors, and retailers. The results will be announced by celebrity presenters at the gala awards ceremony on the evening of July 15 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Anyone with questions about submitting entries for the awards can e-mail Ms. Estrada at or call her at (619) 286-1591. More information can be found at

Please someone remember to submit those books pictured. Thank you.
posted 10:48 am PST | Permalink

Pierre Dupuis, 1929-2004


Pierre Dupuis, a 50-year veteran of French comics, passed away shortly after Christmas, according to this extensive article running on BDZoom. Dupuis did a little bit of everything in his exensive career, which began in 1950 and encompassed a range of magazines, BD publishers and syndicates. Dupuis spent twelve years on the series "Mam'zelle Minouch," taking over for Raymond Poivet. In the 1980s he did a series of famous-person biographies for Dargaud which were noted in his entry at Lambiek for their use of photography elements.
posted 7:29 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look

Nick Abadzis


Prolific cartoonist Nick Abadzis, perhaps best known for his Hugo Tate series, has announced the launch of a new web site. If you haven't caught up with Abadzis for a while, there's a lot of art, including a sketchbook section.

James Gillray


A new exhibit on the esteemed caricaturist has just been reviewed by The New York Times. This makes it as good as time as any to check out Andy Konky Kru's selection of art from Gillray at his historical site.

Jay Lynch


The underground cartoonist with one of the most appealing styles turns 59 today. You can check out more about him in his entry at Lambiek or on his own extensive site.
posted 7:12 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Speakeasy, Diamond Books Sign Agreement
Marvel 2nd Prints Phoenix Book -- Whatever That Means
Digital Manga, Diamond Books Extend Agreement
Profile of LeBron James Comic Creation
Nieman Reports Covers Editorial Cartooning
Charity 10, History 3
Comic Strips to Be Featured on Antiques Show

January 6, 2005

Eisner Passing Links, Letters Continue

imageThe Comics Reporter will continue to add links to letters, obituaries and reminiscences regarding the late Will Eisner for as long we continue to receive them or run across them in our web travels. You can access the current list by clicking on the picture at left or by simply scrolling down the page to yesterday's main entry.

Anyone who would like a letter or note to run here, even something that has been put up somewhere, please feel free to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
posted 9:07 am PST | Permalink

LA Times Drops Garfield; World Reels

imageEditor and Publisher reports that the LA Times has dropped the dailies of the comic strip Garfield, directly citing its mass-manufacture and eager-to-please qualities. It is to be replaced by the new offering Brevity, which is being syndicated as both a strip and a panel. I'm kidding in that headline. It's not like the feature will be hurting for clients anytime soon, and as I recall the Times has a reputation for being one of the more freethinking newspaper strip clients. It's worth noting anyway.

It may not even be permanent. Strips essentially need to be dropped twice by a newspaper. They need to go initially, and the decision needs to weather whatever reader backlash it receives. It's an oft-repeated joke among strip cartoonists that a new feature really doesn't stick until it's been dropped and reinstated by at least one paper.

Dave Astor also has news that Raising Duncan has been canceled by its syndicate.
posted 8:47 am PST | Permalink

Frank Miller and Jim Lee: All-Stars

Mainstream comics superstar Frank Miller, whose career took off in the 1980s with the popularity of the mini-series The Dark Knight Returns, has been signed to write six issues of Batman comic book stories as part of DC's recently-announced All-Star comics line. Miller's stories will be illustrated by the incredibly popular Jim Lee, and should sell a healthy 300 billion copies, although DC will likely still somehow manage to underestimate its audience and thus have to do multiple printings of every issue.

In addition to being mainstream comic book publishing news of note, the signing is also interesting as the latest move by the big companies to make publishing events of its big-name characters by moving well-regarded talent onto them for limited runs, sometimes as stand-alone stories drawing on the character's entire history rather than as a story that fits within ongoing comic book runs.

It remains to be seen if the event strategy grows the overall market or merely locks existing retailer and fan money place into a few hyped purchases. Recent direct market growth has not kept pace with the success of similar individual offerings, and some analysis indicates continued softness in books not at the absolute top of the charts. It also may be true that winning top slots and having a runaway hit is more important than general growth to these kinds of companies right now. To be continued.

posted 8:32 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Astor Interviews McGarry


Editor and Publisher's Dave Astor has conducted a long interview with National Cartoonists Society President Steve McGarry. There is so little newspaper strip coverage of this type I'd suggest reading it if it were nothing but reports of what trunks different people wore to the hotel pool during the last Reubens weekend, but McGarry launches into this impressive and incredibly depressing speech about the state of the industry.
"I suspect that the general consensus among the syndicated community is that the trends are pretty disheartening, I'm afraid. There's a genuine sense that many of today's editors view strips as a nuisance. Strips are routinely shrunk and morphed. Rates of pay remain at 1970s levels and some newspaper groups are even trying to whittle those rates down further."

He's even less enthused about prospects for editorial cartoonists. The interview also contains the news nugget that the strip McGarry works on, The Mullets, will soon end.

McGarry does a number of strips, and looks to continue to pursue biography strips with a new feature this spring, which gives me an excuse to run this one of Captain Beefheart.
posted 8:17 am PST | Permalink

Year in Review Review Reviewed

In a widely-discussed mini-essay, Karin L. Kross at Bookslut examines a pair of comics year in review columns to express a concern that critical examination of comics may become "polarized into Art vs. Pulp distinctions."

imageI found this column aggravating for several reasons. There's the too-easy conflation of pulp to sci-fi and superheroes. Eightball #23 and Bighead aren't even slightly recognized as superhero books, which they are at least in part. Kross fails to mention all the lists that do include books she likes that failed to make these two columns; if it's a question of list-type, well, the very catholic and similar-audience Publisher's Weekly list conveniently avoids scrutiny. It's also rudely asserted that Andrew Arnold writes to keep his hipster credentials, and more vaguely, that both columnists may have blithely passed by comics created by female cartoonists. It's an over-speculative trainwreck.

Comics elitists make generally laughable targets because so very few exist and those that do would likely be dismissed from the Elitist Custard-Eating and Cravat-Wearing Club for devotion to things like Jack Kirby, Little Lulu and Tales of Bizarro World. If you really think Captain America and the Falcon is better than something on a critic's list, the best way to make your case is to make your case, not sit there and figure out nefarious reasons why someone else doesn't agree with you.

It's good to see you make the list, Bone, but you're not pulpy enough or not the right kind of pulp or something.
posted 7:41 am PST | Permalink

Emerald City Con Announces Line-Up

imageThe growth of the Emerald City Con interests me because it seems to be organically grown from a smaller, more modest convention, rather than launched by the Wizard folks. It makes a certain amount of sense for there to be a comic book convention in the Northwest because of proximity to sizeable professional communities in Portland and Seattle. Seattle makes sense because you can easily daytrip there from Vancouver B.C. and Portland, the whole region is isolated enough people might be willing to drive in a few hours for something that doesn't involve a plane, and you can draw on a likely local casual crowd attuned to comics' slight resurgence as an at-least acceptable youth totem. Plus, Seattle is a fun place to visit, and offers convention facilities somewhere other than its airport.
posted 7:28 am PST | Permalink

This Site Gets the Best Mail…

... and all the really good ones start with some variation of "I don't know if you'd be interested in this or not." Today's out-of-nowhere missive is from Martin Lund and draws my attention to his work-in-progress list of Amazing Spider-Man issues published in Danish.
posted 7:22 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Comics is For Learnin'
Dave McKean Exhibits in Italy
Local Cartoonist Profile: Mark Millicent
Post on Sontag and Identity Crisis
Another Piece on Comics in Libraries
Best of Year: Comics 101
Here's that Immigrant Comic That's In the News
Rustle the Leaf Heads to Vermont
Voice on Krigstein Book

January 5, 2005

Collective Memory: The Death of Will Eisner

Below is a small sampling of the media coverage and personal writing following the death Monday of legendary cartoonist Will Eisner.

On Will Eisner's Passing
Alex Saviuk
Angouleme Festival
Anime News Network Fans Discuss Passing
Anonymous Anecdote Via Neil Gaiman's Site
Art Spiegelman on CBC's As It Happens
Associated Press Wire Article
Barry Vranvold
BBC News
BD Selection
BD Theque
Beau Smith (temporary)
Biographer Bob Andelman
Bob Foster via Mark Evanier
Bob Greenberger
Brian Bendis
Brian Postman
Charles Brownstein
Chicago Tribune
Christian Peterson
Clifford Meth
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Readers
Condolences Page at
Dana Haynes at the Statesman Journal
Dar Al Hayat
David Seidman
DC Comics
Dean Haspiel
Donna Barr
Editor and Publisher
Entertainment Weekly
Eric Burns at
Eric Norgaard
Fanboy Rampage
Fred Hembeck (temporary)
Gary Sassaman
Gary Reed
Gianfranco Goria's Photo Display
Gil Roth
Heidi MacDonald
Ian Brill
James A. Owen
Jean-Claude Mezieres
Jeff Parker
Jerome Weeks in the Dallas Morning News
Jim Kingman
Joann Sfar
Joe Zabel (temporary)
John Freeman
Kansas City Star
Ken Hite
La Carcel De Papel
Larry Rodman
Lee Barnett Page
Le Monde
Library Journal
Mark Evanier
Marv Wolfman
Matthew Craig
Neil Gaiman
Newsarama News Story
Newsarama Readers
New York Daily News
New York Times
New York Times Wire Piece
Nick Barrucci
Nick Landau
Nik Durga
NPR Morning Edition
Paul Fitzgerald in the Washington Post
Paul Gravett in the Guardian
Peter David
Publisher's Weekly (Subscribers Only)
Reuters Story as Run in India
Robert Wilonsky on NPR Day by Day
Rodrigo Baeza
Scott McCloud (temporary)
Steve Duin in the Oregonian
Steven Grant
The Alien Online
The Comics Journal Message Board
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Masked Blogger
The Wheezer Society
Warren Ellis
YudelLine 2.1


Some Will Eisner Resources
Andrew Arnold Interview
Bud Plant's Bio
CBA Interview Re: Jim Warren
Denis Kitchen Agency's Bio
Denmark Museum Biography
Don Markstein's Profile of The Spirit
Finnish Spirit Bibliography
Hogan's Alley Interview
John Law, Detective
Live Video of Eisner Lecturing on Comics
Michael Barrier on Will Eisner
Museum of Black Superheroes Page on Ebony White
Ninth Art's Thumbnail
Older Mark Evanier Essay on Eisner
Onion AV Club Interview with Eisner from 2000
Poem About The Spirit
Quality Magazine Spirit Cover
"Rare Eisner" Art/Article
Spirit Archives at DC
The Dreamer, Annotated
Washington Post Interview
Wikipedia Entry
Wildwood Cemetery: The Spirit Database
And More: Wildwood Cemetery Links

Thanks to Ralf Haring for international links
posted 7:05 am PST | Permalink

Thriving Studio Transforms Into Empty Space That May Owe People Money

imageAmid rumors of trouble with payments documented by longtime comics columnist Rich Johnston it had either slowed down payments or stopped paying people altogether, Dreamwave Studios officially sent out word that it was ending operations.

Dreamwave was a Toronto company best known as a lead actor in 1980s "nostalgia comics," when comic shops and many customers were convinced they wanted to buy comic books featuring licensed characters from poorly animated afternoon TV shows made 15 years earlier. The company's most successful run was with a Transformers license that moved the company to the top of the direct market in 2002.

Although this is one of those stories where the digging into the announcement rather than the announcement itself will yield the more important news, for now that press release is fun to read if only for its rock and roll documentary third act spin of "the times changed; we didn't." It's also probably worth noting licensed work is a geerally tough gig to sustain over a long period because there's another place the money has to go even if sales have cycled down, and in the direct market, poorer-selling comics tend to storehouse sales inertia.
posted 6:23 am PST | Permalink

Brevity Enjoys Solid Launch


Brevity, a new comics feature offered starting this week as a panel or as a more traditional strip, seems to have launched strongly with 75 papers. This is a really good launch in a market like this one. It all depends on the size of the publications involved, but that's a big enough client list to make more than a minimum syndicate contract, which makes Brevity likely to stick around, at least for a while.

The feature's team of Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry I believe got their first exposure via an on-line effort, which is sort of an interesting potential trend as well.

I had written something earlier about the strip/panel's launch in terms of not being able to find art for it, and I meant to re-post it, but I spent much of the holiday in a sugar coma inducd by a diet consisting of nothing but cheap breakfast roll orange frosting spooned into my mouth with a candy cane. Now of course you can start looking at it here.

It's also worth noting that Get Fuzzy continues to pick up clients. I think that one is solidly in the "hit" category now.
posted 6:05 am PST | Permalink

Tomorrow’s Top Story: The Fabulousness of Me!

I nearly missed this survey of American comic book industry opinion regulars on events of 2004 and 2005, which may be worth reading if, well, you're a fan of people in the American comic book industry or, perhaps, one of the two years in question.

In terms of cogent news analysis it's pretty lifeless -- based on this, 2005's big event will be the industry boring people to death -- although I'm always delighted when comics people slip into self-promotion mode, whether or not it's warranted.

I sometimes wish that cartoonists could be bankrolled by big companies in such a way that all interviews could sound like 1950s TV show sponsorship commercials. "The fact that I've not had my art returned so distresses me that only the sweet, smooth taste of Chesterfield Menthols has been able to calm me down."
posted 5:46 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Lord Speaks In Unimaginative Font
ComicsOne and Parent Company Situation Explained
Aussie Manga Invasion
Bamboo Sells 1M in 2004; Expects 1.6 in 2005

January 4, 2005

Will Eisner, 1917-2005

posted 7:46 am PST | Permalink

More on Comics and Complaint Culture

It's a sign of the times, particularly the ability for minority opinion-holders to mobilize media censure by suggesting certain letters be sent, that one might get nervous seeing two letters about Doonesbury starting much the same way. I don't think there's anything to it, but I'm sure none of us would be surprised if there were. The paranoia's almost more interesting than the reality.

imageI ran a notice a few days back that a paper in Eugene, Oregon had suspended Boondocks for a brief period. This was slightly interesting to me because of how nonchalantly it was presented. I swear strips being suspended used to be a slightly bigger deal. Anyway, here's an article about the content of the strips that upset people. Lost in Garry Trudeau's career resurgence in 2004 was how aggressive Aaron McGruder was with his cultural criticism.

Also, for a change, an editor steps up to defend McGruder and the content of political cartoons and the advertisers back the paper up. I'd be hopeful, but that an attitude I used to think was pretty widely prevalent across America is worth an editorial in Berkeley kind of worries me.
posted 6:58 am PST | Permalink

Do You Know This Book?


And could you spell the title without looking?

The news and business analysis site takes a quick look at the bookscan numbers for comics publications sold in bookstores in 2004. The first volumes of Viz's Rurouni Kenshin and Tokyopop's Fruits Basket were #1 and #2 in units sold. In the Shadow of No Towers and Fantagraphics' first Peanuts collection were #1 and #2 in dollars sold.

Smaller, generally alternative book publishers have often disputed the Bookscan numbers because they feel they vastly under-represent indy booksellers where a good chunk of their products are bought. It's still a pretty good snapshot of mainstream book-selling America.

Additional kudos to for remembering to talk about format in their piece, something I think some people avoid because it may be seen as some sort of dismissal of content, which shouldn't be the case.
posted 6:55 am PST | Permalink

Bow Before the Staggering Onslaught of a Single Month’s Output From Tokyopop

Seemed pretty impressive to me, anyway.
posted 6:45 am PST | Permalink

More on Changes at Washingon Post

imageThis article provides more information than I was able to give the other day about changes at the Washington Post, including a kind of reorientation of comics-related material based on intended audience.

Sometimes I wonder if the use of comics in a few to several places throughout a newspaper isn't the real wave of the future. But then I sober up and remember that 1) many comics are printed elsewhere and shared between publications and 2) many editors simply don't value comics enough to care to use them this way.

Frazz is one of the strips the Post added.
posted 6:25 am PST | Permalink

Profile of Center for Cartoon Studies in the Boston Globe Raises Profile

This profile of James Sturm's comics-curricula art school, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and its Fall 2005 opening by noted writer about comics Jeet Heer, proves to be worth going and looking at for the picture alone.

The good thing about noting CCS stories is that it you get the story itself and you can also use the fact a story was written to note about the Center's ongoing fundraising activities and attempt to raise its public profile.

The bad thing about noting CCS stories is that judging from my first sentence here news of James Sturm's school renders me completely unable to write in English.
posted 6:24 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Good Profile of William Hamilton
Shoujo Anime Magazine Vehicle for Girls Manga
Retailer Survives, Thrives in Tacoma
Pastor and Editorial Cartoonist Dick Wright
IDW Launches Horror Hardback Line
Things Looking Dim for Many CGE Creditors
Marvel's Jae Lee Exclusive Official
Not Comics: Via Milo; Flying Snoopy's Doghouse
GNR Shifts to First Day of Month; Gagne Story
Longish Profile of Mafalda
Cool Picture of Benoit Peeters; Series Profiled

January 3, 2005

Frank Kelly Freas, 1922-2005

imageThe comic book news and interviews site Newsarama is where I first saw a notice that the lauded science-fiction illustrator and MAD cover artist Frank Kelly Freas passed away early yesterday morning. Freas' work for MAD, various beautifully realized tableau featuring the famed goofball mascot Alfred E. Neuman, are an iconic and recognizable approach to a magazine cover equal to anything this side of TV Guide and vintage New Yorker.

Mark Evanier provides a nice, short write-up on Freas' accomplishments, and more information including memorial services can be found in the Newsarama article, in a further posting by Evanier, or by accessing Freas' web site. I notice Bud Plant has a short biography on Freas as well.

I'm a little lost when it comes to identifying MAD art, but I remember Freas provided art for this parody cover of The Comics Journal a few years back.
posted 6:19 am PST | Permalink

House of Fun Adds Wing

Cartoonists Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer have made an official on-line announcement bringing happy news about the December 30 birth of their baby girl.
posted 6:10 am PST | Permalink

Marvel Donates Comics


Here's a story that's been worked over by just about everybody, but is nice enough I don't really mind repeating it here: France's National Centre for Comic Books and Images in Angouleme (site of the world's biggest comics Festival) has received a donation of hundreds of thousands of comic book from Marvel, stretching back into the 1950s. They will keep a signficant portion for their own holdings, and make other comics available for other important European institutions. Although this is good news, it's slightly sad that probably no institution in the U.S. that would want these books could possibly handle such a donation.

I am sort of interested in finding out if the other comics that the news items say Marvel originally offered that were rejeced as simply too much found a home or if they simply weren't historically valuable offerings. I also wonder if the 1950s stuff is a significant part of the collection. While some of publisher Martin Goodman's 1950s comics were so casually produced and often so shameless in simply following popular trends that they have had little in the way of high-profile exposure even as collectibles, there remain some really interesting comics, including Kirby and Ditko "monster" sci-fi, and art from people like Joe Maneely and John Severin.

If you want to imagine what you might be missing if you live on this side of the ocean, it's always fan to scope covers at the Timely-Atlas cover gallery site.

That's a cover from '50s Goodman workhouse and Stan Lee favorite Joe Maneely.
posted 6:07 am PST | Permalink

Khosla Profiles Urasawa

Easily one of the most entertaining about comics to pop up in the last several years, the generally insightful Abhay Khosla surprises with a long profile and interview with manga creator Naoki Urasawa at Comic Book Galaxy.
posted 5:54 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Illustrator Willems Plans GN Travelogue
Boondocks Suspended in Eugene
Gordon Brooks' 50-Year Career
Philly Feature on McFarlane/Twist
Features That Won't Die: Immigrant Comics
Yomiuri Cartoon Contest


January 2, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

It's the beginning of the new year, which for many of us means looking back at the old one with regret and dismay. Despite this blog barely being several weeks old, in A Baker's Dozen of Important News Stories, 2004, the attempt is made to work up a list of the events worth noting for the entire year.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on the news affecting the various world comics industries, their import and their meaning, would be greatly appreciated, particularly if I really forgot something.
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Daada


I found this link through a Comics Journal thread concerning a related matter. I have no idea what's going on here, but it's sure fun to look at.
posted 8:04 am PST | Permalink

Pulled From The Longbox

Best Comics of 1999 Response (2000)
Review of Meow Baby (2003)
Review of Southern Fried #4-5 (2000)

posted 8:01 am PST | Permalink

January 1, 2005

CR Week In Review

Top Stories
The week's most important comics-related news stories, December 25 to December 31, 2004:

1. Marvel makes official Mark Paniccia's move into a Senior Editorship position. Press coverage reveals potential plans for a new original graphic novel effort and another formal stab at new talent development; Paniccia's past puts an American manga effort on the table as well.

2. CBLDF releases year-end report: victories in Michigan, Arkansas, fund-raising; wait-and-see in South Carolina and with various amicus briefs.

3. Steve Roper and Mike Nomad ends kabillion year run in newspapers, an indication of real market struggle for some long-running strips after a creator or a popular custodial caretaker artist passes on.

Winner of the Week
Dark Horse Comics, whose manga and movie tie-in books have sparked a resurgence that so impressed a local business reporter the company was also given credit for publishing Ghost World and Road to Perdition. Seriously, though, the article revealed that DHC's projected 2005 efforts (more manga, Star Wars, Sin City) seem right in line to build on previous efforts, which should afford the company the benefits of strong continuity.

Losers of the Week
Anyone exposed to a higher than usual number of widely-disseminated and potentially misleading or occasionally outright erroneous articles on the medium, a sign that while comics have reached the mainstream of media coverage, a good deal of this coverage is going to come from fans with a skewed perspetive or half-informed outsiders.

Quote of the Week
"John Balzar of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the job of editorial cartoonist is one of the tiniest occupational categories in the U.S., with about 100 workers. He claims that the number of blacksmiths in the American Farriers Association is 30 times larger than cartoonist memberships in the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. 'And, it can be noted, the demand for blacksmiths has been increasing.'" -- From a year-end review of the weird in arts and culture appearing in The Georgia Straight.
posted 6:40 am PST | Permalink

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