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

June 30, 2005

Ali Dilem Officially Appeals Verdict

This site out of Qatar is reporting that on Tuesday lawyers for cartoonist Ali Dilem officially appealed a sentence to six months in jail handed down by an Algerian court. The cartoon in question was commentary suggesting a lack of political support from army offices, and the decision was censured by internatonal organizations. n more hopeful news, and something I totally missed, Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart was on hand in Sacramento three weeks ago to receive the 2005 Annual Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning from the Cartoonists Rights Network for the fight he's undertaken against his country's prime minister over a cartoon depicting Mr. Erdogan as a cat. That cartoon appeared in the daily newspaper "Cumuriyet."
posted 9:55 am PST | Permalink

Rosemann, Lane: Out of Position

imageTwo comics-related position changes worth noting. First, Newsarama is reporting that Bill Rosemann will not be put into the Manager, Marketing Communications postion full time as recently announced. The original Rosemann announcement had surprised a few folks I talked to as Rosemann's respected industry veteran status didn't match what some thought would be a more drastic rebuild of the marketing side of DC's business. Second, Don Lane is retiring from United Features (pdf). Lane handled sales in the Northeast for the company, and will be replaced by the recently hired Jim Toler. Lane started in the Southeast, usually a syndicate's most difficult territory, before moving to the North, traditionally a syndicate's most important.

I'm fond of DC's new logo, and don't understand the fuss over it.
posted 9:26 am PST | Permalink

Scanlation Sites To Shut Down

Via comes this link to a message board of a scanlation site that looks to shut down after being threatened with legal action by one of the publshers. I thought it was cool to actually read the letter.The dicussion that follows ranges from the interesting question why some sites are pressured while others aren't, and the not-interesting complaint that companies should allow such distribution because it's good for them, which I always thought was sort of beside the point.
posted 9:17 am PST | Permalink

Jacques Kalaydjian 1925/1926-2005


Jacques Kalaydjian, a cartoonist who worked as "Jicka" and "JK" during a decades-long career in France mainstream and comics publications, passed away in late May. He was 80 years old. Kalaydjian published his first drawing in 1941, and from the years 1986 to 1995 drew seven albums in the Pied Nickeles series. Please click through the picture to afNews' bulletin, as I swiped their selection of cartoon.
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Bilal to Casterman


Someone e-mailed me this message board thread that indicates an Enki Bilal move to Casterman involved more works than fans may have first believed it did, and that this could even potentially get in the way of continuing English translations of his work.
posted 8:45 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
One of "Cuban Five" to Exhibit Comics
Profile of "Rotten Girls"
Steve Lieber on Drawing "On Model"
Funky Winkerbean Returns to Afghanistan

June 29, 2005

Owen McCarron, -2005


The Canadian cartoonist and publisher Owen McCarron passed away Monday in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His "Fun and Games" newspaper concept was adopted by Marvel for a series of publicatons on which McCarron worked. He self-published under the company name Comic Book World, and appeared in Canadian newspapers as both a syndicated cartoonist and as a full-time employee. Mark Evanier's summation of McCarron's career can be found here, while the cartoonist's Lambiek entry can be found here. He was 76 years old.
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink

Grant Theorizes on Possible Mob-Hunting Aspect to Comics Hearings

imageSteven Grant's column for Comic Book Resources was at one point the only comics-related writing I read on the Internet, and today's installment floats an interesting assertion based on some personal research and sparked by his positive reading of Gerard Jones' comics history Men of Tomorrow: that there may possibly have been some desire by politicians -- particularly those who were in the midst of seeking national office -- to pursue organized crime connections through an investigation into comics publishing practices. (If I have that wrong, someone please correct me.) Makes sense to me as a political motivation, anyway, although I'm really deficient in my practical knowledge of the Kefauver and related hearings. Anyway, worth reading.

That's Senator Kefauver, caricatured.
posted 9:07 am PST | Permalink

Mother Goose & Grimm Hits Twenty

Mike Peters' strip gets the anniversary treatment with a new volume.
posted 9:03 am PST | Permalink

Steve Niles to Work With Image

This story about breakout mainstream comics horror writer Steve Niles is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, Niles has been most strongly linked to IDW -- although I'm reminded he's done an enormous amount of work for Dark Horse as well. I don't imagine that setting up a studio to work with Image is any sort of referendum on either relationship. I suppose there's a chance that the fact Image is largely a consortium of self-publishers that pay a fee rather than a publisher working in percentages might play a role. If you already have a way of securing film and licensing deals, and that's your intention, you might get a much greater return working as a self-publisher than you would riding IDW's pipeline or making use of Dark Horse's established means for getting stuff into Hollywood, both of which involve sharing the money to be made. But that's a pretty severe and speculative "might."

Second, I think this is probably worth noting as another signpost on Image's slow re-emergence on the comics scene after a few years when the line projected a semi-deadly combinaton of tired founders' projects and various fantasy black and white non-starters. It's a harder task than you might think to turn around Image because of the way it's set up -- the amount of money that must be paid to carry the Image banner can hamstring slow-starting series, a problem in itself and also a public perception issue in that fans might stay away from new series.

Updated because I'm stupid and spaced on Niles' working relationship with Dark Horse and because I can't write today, darn it.
posted 8:50 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Profile of Seth at Art Gallery of Ontario
School Starts Manga Department; Folds In Classes
Genzo Offers Up Free Promotional Issue
Local Cartoonist Profile: Maurice Sanders
Local Cartoonist Profile: Patrick McDonnell
Then Who Were Those People I Met Last Year?

June 28, 2005

Breathed Sounds Off on Current Climate


While this Kansas newspaper article is one of those "we're changing the strips" pieces that typically accompanies new funnies whenever they appear, it's worth reading for the Berke Breathed quotes. Breathed's Opus hasn't been back for very long in newspaper syndicate time, but it clearly doesn't seem to be the Sunday savior that some people thought it might be. In this article, and I admit this might be reading between the lines, Breathed seems really dissatisfied with the specific problems of doing satire in this day and age, outright saying it can't be done because he'd lose all of his papers. He may be right, but even if he's wrong it's a glimpse into the pressures facing certain kinds of strips right now.
posted 9:17 am PST | Permalink

Wolinski Awarded Chevalier Honor

Georges Wolinski turns 71 today, and the esteemed humor magazine editor and forthcoming guest of honor at Angouleme 2006 celebrates this latest passing of the planet's orbit as a "Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur." This article rightfully points out how odd it is that someone who fostered such aggressively satirical material can now be celebrated by roughly those same targets, but I would guess that time heals most wounds.
posted 9:15 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Moudakis Wins News Award


Toronto Star cartoonist Theo Moudakis won the 2004 National Newspaper Award for Editorial Cartooning in a ceremony held June 4 at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Runners-up were Andre-Philippe Cote at Quebec Le Soleil and Dale Cummings at Winnipeg Free Press. Click around and there's a pretty good feature story on Moudakis' move into his current position that I read last night and can't find this morning.

Winners get a check for $1500, and ten years ago I could have made a joke about the exchange rate.
posted 9:08 am PST | Permalink

Matt Fraction Spills Beans on HfH #9

imageAlthough "Panther's Rage" may be the story cycle most evocative of 1970s superhero comics, "Swordsman's hooker girlfriend becomes celestial Madonna and marries sentient plant" may be the best evidence of the madness just below the surface in even the most straightforward mainstream titles, and the original Omega the Unknown series may be the pinnacle of several writer-driven approaches by which the decade may be best known, Matt Fraction does indeed have it right that Hero for Hire #9, the "Collection in Latveria" issue, is almost certainly the single best window into what was going on in American mainstream comic books between Kirby leaving Marvel and John Byrne joining Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men.

Everybody should own one, and they make great stocking stuffers.
posted 8:54 am PST | Permalink

Gary Groth Bashes The Harveys

In his second blog entry at Fantagraphics' Flog!, that company's co-owner Gary Groth fairly beats on the Harveys, a comics award program he founded, now administered in sometimes needlessly mysterious fashion by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York. No one who officially reported on the awards seemed to come right out and say it, but I'm hearing from people that this year's Harveys were fairly horrible, with low attendance, spotty representation by nominees, and featuring a generally awkward, ill-conceived show. Groth's dismissal seems fairly typical of a loss of faith in the awards by interested professionals, a foundation that needs to be restored if the awards are to continue in the long term. I'm 70-30 they won't go another five years, with the 30 coming from the fact that comics people are awards crazy.
posted 8:47 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Blog Seeks Conservative Cartoonist
Yet Another Graphic Novels Chart
Yet Another Comics Delivery System
Headline of the Year
Old Person Remembers Comic Strips
Newbie Encounters Eisner, Plot
Not Comics: Cast of Amazing Screw-On Head

June 27, 2005

Cartoonists Fighting For Rights in Nepal


One of the issues we're tracking here is a worldwide assault on the editorial cartoon -- here in North America by a growing, casual intolerance for differing views and a capitalist straitjacket that sees controversy solely in terms of canceled subscriptions, and in a sweep of countries from Africa to Asia by overtly repressive laws and the threat of defamation lawsuits filed by government officials. It's nice, then, to read about cartoonists standing firm and becoming a rallying point against such measures, as with these Nepalese cartoonists. Note the scary phrase "military 'guest editor'".
posted 5:42 am PST | Permalink

Shinta Cho, 1928-2005

posted 5:31 am PST | Permalink

Political Cartoon Winner Plagiarized?



That's the winner on top and potential source copy below. The fine journalist Jeroen Mirck is on the story. This kind of thing fascinates me, because on the one hand, it's like "there you go" -- the cartoons look a lot alike. On the other hand, we're not talking about building a complex piece of art, and some imagery choices feel logical if not universal. Plus when you're writing gags with such frequency you can end up pulling the impression of an idea from somewhere while completely and honestly forgetting where you got it from, or you can believe you got it from a legitimate source -- something funny a friend said, perhaps -- and then later learn they swiped it from somewhere else. It's really tricky.
posted 5:25 am PST | Permalink

Like Christmas In June: It’s Yomiuri International Cartoon Contest Day


We kid for no reason other than the headline was too long. As two million yen is a shade over 18,000 USD, grand prize winner Lubomir Kotrha has the last laugh.
posted 5:18 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Foglio Moves Feature On-Line


This interview with cartoonist Phil Foglio shows how creatively some cartoonists have responded to the opportunities of different economic models in the last decade or so, particularly ever since the Direct Market has become so weak to support much of anything except the top 50 books. Such creativity isn't limited to comic book efforts -- Mark Anderson, one of the higher profile cartoonists on-line, is offering up a free cartoon package for weblogs and other sites as basically a unique advertising service for his talents. Neither model is terribly new, but it's been long enough since we've heard about them it's nice to remind ourselves how unsettled everything remains in terms of options like these.

Foglio art from Girl Genius
posted 5:13 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Lat Talks About Brazil, USA Deals
Peter Bagge As On-Line Harvey Kurtzman
Cathy, Web Site, Raise 25 Grand For Animals
More On Tokyopop/Uclick Deal
Visiting Cartoonist Profile: Neil Gaiman
Bob Kane Changed This Boy's Life

June 26, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

Arguing with Heer and Worcester

imageI think I receive about a half-dozen comics-related books per year now; it takes a lot to make me actually devour one cover to cover. Although Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium may for some of us sound like death -- essays from America's public intellectuals about comics up through the early 1960s -- in actuality it may be one of the most lively and engaging books about comics to be released in quite a few years. If you've ever felt alone struggling with what comics really mean, or how we should look at entertainment and art, this book will connect you to a smart dialogue on those subjects stretching back decades. I talked to editors Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester about the volume and how it was put together.

So Where Do You Buy Used Manga?

imageMy friends and I were talking about comics this weekend, when the subject turned to where we are in the publishing cycles of American manga companies. With some titles going all the way through a licensing cycle, wouldn't it make sense that there would be a crush of less heavily sold manga out there that would be cheap? Is there somewhere out there I can go and pick up the early Harlem Beat volumes for $4 a book now? Where would I do this? If not, what is it about the manga market that means I can't?

I was excited to find this list, but it's almost three years old.

So does anyone out there buy manga used, and have .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for finding this stuff a few years behind the market's cutting edge?

Nat Gertler Responds
Nenad Vidovic Responds
Nathan B. Smith Responds
Robert Boyd Responds

Thank You For Putting Up With the Tip Drive

I'd like to thank all the regular readers who put up with last week's tip drive; and a quadruple thank-you to everyone who gave. I will issue a note to each of you as soon as possible, but I'm not sure yet if I should avoid looking at names to help keep some critical distance. Either way it works out, I greatly appreciate your patience and generosity, and I hope everyone enjoys the improvements this will make possible, improvements you should see throughout the summer.
posted 3:05 pm PST | Permalink

June 25, 2005

CR Week In Review


Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, June 18 to June 24, 2005:

1. Panel of judges overturns Judge Charles Ramos' demand that a procedure be changed in the mediated Brian Hibbs/Marvel settlement, clearing the way for participating retailers to receive their credits by as early as mid-August; this case changed the way Marvel works with retailers.

2. Tom Toles freaks a bunch of folks out by making a cartoon that dramatically disagrees with his home newspaper's editorial stance.

3. Tokyopop's letting Sailor Moon manga license lapses, according to reports; early keystone title for company.

Winner of the Week
Jason Little, who escapes the unfair millstone of being in the ill-fated Doubleday graphic novels line with a deal for his next book at Little, Brown.

Loser of the Week
Alias Comics, with one stinkaroo of a line launch that still must reflect potential declines due to anger of retailers at the way that launch was mishandled.

Quote of the Week

stormtroopers filking
amid manga-eyed furries
Ah! San Diego

-- Greg Zura's San Diego Con Haiku

art from the recently passed Charlie Schlingo
posted 1:27 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Review

Batman Begins
posted 1:04 am PST | Permalink

June 24, 2005

Finally, Friday: Last Tips Request

One last reminder that for this week and this week only, we're pursuing reader financial support. If you're received enough value here from CR since last October, we hope you'll consider a tip in order to allow us quicker unimpeded growth. Please use the accompanying button or the snail mail address The Comics Reporter, 1133 9th St #207, Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Thank you so much to all who already donated. For those of you who asked me to dance in return, I'll see you in San Diego, tap shoes on. And a special thank you to everyone for suffering these notes.

Tip via PayPal:

posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink

Sam Kweskin, 1924-2005


Sam Kweskin, an artist for the Martin Goodman line of comic books who returned briefly to Marvel in the early 1970s, died Thursday morning. Mark Evanier goes into greater detail about his relationship with Bill Everett and the Sub-Mariner comic book, which had it continued might have afforded Kweskin regular work for a sustained period. Kweskin spent the majority of his career in advertising art. He originally got into comics out of a desire to move to New York from Chicago.

There is a nice "in-his-own-words" article about Kweskin here, with an accompanying profile by Atlas-era expert Dr. Michael Vasallo.
posted 8:51 am PST | Permalink Bookstore Sales Report puts together a nice report about this month's bookstore sales figure, pointing out the chart position for Dan Clowes' Ice Haven and various Batman books. This is your manga-dominated top 10:

1. Fruits Basket Volume 9
2. D.N.Angel Volume 8
3. Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15
4. Vampire Hunter D
5. Full Metal Alchemist Volume 1
6. Bleach Volume 7
7. YuYu Hakusho Volume 7
8. Dragon Ball Z Volume 20
9. Hana Kimi Volume 6
10. Book of Bunny Suicides
posted 8:46 am PST | Permalink

Andy Roberts, 1963-2005

imageAndy Roberts, a lynchpin of the United Kingdom small press comics scene, passed away on June 18 from injuries sustained six days earlier when he was hit by a motorcycle. Roberts was known as an enthusiastic supporter of cartoonists, both personally and in print, as well as being a talented cartoonist himself among his various artistic interests. Roberts was one of the first to set up an aggressive graphic novels section in a mainstream bookstore, at a branch of the Waterstone's chain, and he was an advocate for the sales of such books throughout the company. This livejournal site dedicated to the artist and musician should yield scans of his comics work over time. I believe he also did the majority of the cartooning that appears on the site of the band he was in, Linus.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 8:43 am PST | Permalink

Go, Listen: Cartoonists Talking Freely

Parker, Azzarello, Andreyko on "Word Balloon"

Comic Strip Novelist (???) Dan Clowes on "Fresh Air"
posted 8:33 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Most Unlikely Comeback Ever


Readers are stunned by the return of early alt-comix hero Dennis Worden's Stickboy with an 8th issue.
posted 8:21 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Farel Dalrymple Sketches


The 6/18 and 6/21 entries...
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
WWE and Marvel Grapple Over Fees
Naked Cosmos Profiled by OC Weekly
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jerry Barnett
Reason's Profile of EC Comic Books
Local Cartoonist Profile: Peb
Giant Weird Self-Portrait Standees in England
Uclick and Tokyopop Hop in Wireless Bed
Kids' Comic About Diabetes
Gary Groth Loves Him Some Dennis the Menace

June 23, 2005

Like Jerry Lewis on Labor Day, Just Without the Noble Cause or Live Entertainment

Welcome to day four of shaking the cup week here at Comics Reporter. Reader Jeff Petro from Atlanta, Georgia, suggests tipping the amount of the worst comic book you bought this year, "because even on the days you're obviously mailing it in, CR is better than that." Thanks, Jeff! Use the button supplied here or write The Comics Reporter, 1133 9th St #207, Santa Monica, CA 90403. I sincerely appreciate it.

Tip via PayPal:

posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

Decision clears path for mediated settlements in Brian Hibbs-led class action suit against Marvel.
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

Paul Cassidy, 1910-2005


Paul Cassidy, perhaps the first significant ghost artist in American comic books and a contributor to the look and style of Superman, passed away on May 15 at a senior care facility in Milwaukee. He was 94 years old.

Cassidy worked with original Superman artist Joe Shuster from 1938 to 1940, innovating the S-symbol on the cape and providing a generally dynamic variation on Shuster's style. He left the studio in 1940 to find better paying work, and took on stints in editorial and as an artist for encyclopedias and magazines. Cassidy was a teacher for the majority of his professional life, although his family reports he did try to develop his own comics feature, "Fantasy, the Moon Boy."

The wire story contains a lovely anecdote about a 90-plus-year-old Cassidy discovering that his contributions were remembered on-line. A discussion of his additions to the look of Superman can be found here.
posted 5:58 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Mignola Breaks From Minis


In a review of Hellboy: The Island #1, Jog of Jog the Blog fame mentions something a quick look around the Web indicates everyone knew except me: that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will work with artist Lee Bermejo on future Hellboy mini-series while he pursues different art projects. This is worth noting as the Hellboy series have been, at least to my mind, the most consistently high-quality mainstream comics effort of the last decade. I don't want to pre-judge the Mignola/Bermejo efforts in any way, but I do want to call attention to Mignola's excellent solo run.
posted 5:50 am PST | Permalink

Sorensen, Derf Win Comics ANAs

The comics-related Alternative Newsweekly Awards as presented on Friday, June 17 at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Convention held in San Diego:

Fewer than five publications

First Place: "Slowpoke," Jen Sorensen
Second Place: "BEK," Bruce Eric Kaplan
Third Place: "Hoagie Dip," Jay Bevenour
Honorable Mention (tie): "Lance Boyle," Kirk Anderson
Honorable Mention (tie): "Topics," Harley Schwadron

Five or more publications

First Place: "The City," Derf (John Backderf)
Second Place: "Tom the Dancing Bug," Ruben Bolling (Ken Fisher)
Third Place: "Sutton Impact," Ward Sutton
Honorable Mention: "No Exit," Andy Singer

thanks, Jeff Mason
posted 5:44 am PST | Permalink

Licensing as Flipping Expectations

imageChristopher Butcher's post on licensing strategies at comic book companies is worth reading and considering for a couple of reasons. One, he points out that Marmalade Boy is another seminal title Tokyopop is allowing to fade out, and suggests a reason why properties like it and Sailor Moon become less workable over time. Two, he makes a solid point or eight about the shift in orientation that comes with taking on licensed properties, something I hadn't thought of in that particular modern context.
posted 5:43 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Dave Coverly Round-Up

imageI spaced on Editor and Publisher's recent profile of Speed Bump cartoonist Dave Coverly, which I found interesting for a couple of reasons. First, his ForeWord Magazine win came in the humor book category, from a book that as described sounds like more of a hands-on effort than a traditional Andrews McMeel volume. One of the little-discussed side effects of booksellers' renewed interest in comics and cartoons is that more publishers will be taking on more newspaper cartoonists, which should lead to the tweaking of a pretty hidebound presentational format. Second, Coverly was one of three finalists for the Reuben this year that went to Pat Brady, and the only finalist that screamed "new guy" so he bears watching in general, particularly in what seems like a very calm market. If nothing else, the Reubens nomination was the first time in five years I'd read about a Creators syndicate cartoonist that was not angering people with strident imagery on Easter Sunday.
posted 5:42 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Alba Spends Yet Another Afternoon in Comic Shop
Zezelj's Stray Dogs Hanging in Boston
Max Allan Collins Screens Hamlin Film
Not One But Two Japan Top Ten Lists
DC's Entire Comic-Con International Line-Up

June 22, 2005

Adventures in Fundraising, Day 3

This is day three of five where we once again ask you for money week here at Comics Reporter. If you've enjoyed this blog and are in a generous mood, please use the button here or send something to The Comics Reporter, 1133 9th St #207, Santa Monica, CA 90403. No amount too small to make me burst into grateful tears.

Tip via PayPal:

posted 8:03 pm PST | Permalink

Hibbs/Marvel to Move Forward

I'm away from home right now, but Brian Hibbs wrote comics newsdom assembled about an hour or so ago to inform them of a decision to move forward on the settlement in his class action suit against Marvel. I bet Matt Brady has something up if you want to read background, although I can't call up his site on this line to see where exactly.

As I recall -- if I recall -- this was the case where Marvel wasn't meeting terms on the timely and accurate delivery of various books; the settlement was delayed when a judge decided, rather inexplicably, to ignore both Marvel and Brian's wish on the settlement and go through a different procedure to decide who got part of the settlement.

I hope this posts.
posted 7:56 pm PST | Permalink

Jason Little: Bee Sequel to Little, Brown

imageFrom Jason Little's Web Site: "I have just signed a contract with Little, Brown & Company, the American publisher of Herge's 'Tintin' books, for Motel Art Improvement Service, the second 'Bee' book. The format will be identical to the Doubleday edition of Shutterbug Follies. The book will, by my estimation, be released in the fall of 2007."
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink

Toles Bites the Hand That Feeds?


One of the bigger stories in newspapers yesterday was that esteemed editorial cartoonist Tom Toles had submitted a Downing Street memo cartoon that included an indictment of his current home paper, the Washington Post. Here's the original story and then a follow-up with Toles speaking about the cartoon. Toles notes that he disagree with the Post about 25 percent of the time.

Toles is also syndicated in approximately 200 papers.
posted 9:01 am PST | Permalink

Edginton and D’Israeli Go to War

Dark Horse is providing an on-line version of War of the Worlds by the skilled team of Ian Edginton and D'Israeli. It has to be more accomplished than this other comics version, and less likely to be plagued by "Tom Cruise is now dating Dakota Fanning" jokes like the forthcoming movie.
posted 8:52 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Winners at Recife


Not only did Daryl Cagle provide a fine report on his trip to Recife, Brazil for a comics and cartoon festival, he reproduces a number of the prizewinners.
posted 8:28 am PST | Permalink

Slave Labor’s Summer Sale

I notice that Slave Labor is having a summer sale based on this entry at their editor-in-chief's on-line journal. Since Slave Labor is comics' most habitually underappreciated and underreported company (NBM is up there, too) -- I thought I'd see if I could come up with a list of ten books you might consider exploring. If you're not a sight-unseen kind of consumer, SLG has traditionally maintained a large con presence in San Francsico, San Diego and Bethesda, so you might walk up and check out one or two of these books on one of those occasions.

Here they are as they occurred to me, which makes a decent barometer for my relative enthusiasm for each project. I went to the site and got proper titles because I'm already afraid Jennifer De Guzman is going to slam me for some grammar mistake and I don't want to compound the damage.

image1. Nil: A Land Beyond Belief, James Turner -- a very new book and a very dense one. I'm still thinking about it two weeks or so after I read it. It is frequently very funny.
2. Dork Volume 2: Circling the Drain -- Evan Dorkin's strongest collection to date.
3. Street Angel, Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca -- strong, quirky genre work fueled by a restless desire to experiment and improve. (pictured)
4. Slow News Day Collection, Andi Watson -- Watson's style here is really interesting.
5. Seamonsters and Superheroes, Scott Mills -- the disjointed nature of the stories best flatters Mills restless approach to presentation, which may not be for everyone.
6. Samaurai Jam Graphic Novel, Andi Watson -- sometimes I think there should have been a dozen books from this time period that looked like this, but there were only one or two.
7. Dork Volume 1, Evan Dorkin -- solid, funny cartooning.
8. Flee Puny Humans!, Scott Saavedra -- the best of the retro comics 'zines, collected.
9. Dreadstar Collection #1: Metamorphosis Odyssey, Jim Starlin -- primarily valuable as a real creature of its time, when the undergrounds had died and the alternatives had yet to come and it looked like serious ideas would have to explored solely through grand genre pieces.
10. Hectic Planet: The Bummer Trilogy, Evan Dorkin -- another piece I find equally valuable for what seems to be going on between art and artist as I do for the work itself.
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Missed It: Kirkman, Young on EW Must List
"The Graphic Novel Really Isn't a Comic Book"
Cracked brings in Michael Hobson
Amish Country is Graphic Novel Crazy
Fossati Award Nominees Announced
East African Cartoonist Exhibition

June 21, 2005

Casting About for Tips, Day 2

This is asking for money week here at CR, so if you've found the site useful in any way, I hope you'll consider leaving us a tip through the button here or by sending something to The Comics Reporter, 1133 9th St #207, Santa Monica, CA 90403. Thank you for your time.

Tip via PayPal:

posted 8:45 am PST | Permalink

Tokyopop Lets Sailor Moon Rights Lapse

imageTokyopop's Sailor Moon books have been out of print long enough for manga rights to revert back to their Japanese owner, several Anime-related web sites are reporting. The most interesting thing -- maybe the only iteresting thing -- about such news is that the Sailor Moon books were at one time (if not still) the company's all-time best-seller and their success certainly set the company on the road to publishing properties designed to appeal to a female readership, a move that distinguished the company and helped it grow.

I swear I recently saw something in passing that Tokyopop wanted to renew as of late last year, but that some deadline had passed even then. Can't find it now, though.
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

Holocaust Comics Upset Germans

imageThis article about negative reaction in Germany to the Holocaust-themed works of Joe Kubert and Pascal Croci depicting the Holocaust seems depressing to me and not just via the subject matter. The thought that anyone would find the depiction of monstrous security guards flattering is weird and yet you sort of know what they mean. I don't think there's any way Art Speigelman intended his animal metaphor as a dodge against this specific criticism as this article asserts, but I can sort of see how that work could sort of function in that way with certain people. I'm not familiar with Croci's 2001 work, although there is part of an interior up at his Lambiek entry page.

Speaking of depressing, check out the completely inappropriate wacky headline on one cartoonist's unexpected problem.
posted 8:26 am PST | Permalink

Gary Groth Blogs Mocca Festival


Fantagraphics co-owner Gary Groth has put up his first entry in the Fantagraphics group blog, a report on his trip to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. He slams writer Peter David for no apparent reason and name drops a lot, so it's pretty much what you might expect, except that he does hint at one or two potential future projects for his company: a book of Jerry Moriarty's jazz drawings, and a book featuring Fletcher Hanks work by Paul Karasik. If you have a moment, follow the link on Hanks' name and read one or two of his stories.
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Free Webcartoon Archives

Eric Burns reminds that in the midst of awards seasons some web cartoonists offer free access to their archives in order to allow potential voters a better look at their work. Three such titles this year: No Stereotypes, Narbonic and Digger.
posted 8:18 am PST | Permalink

Marvel/Fox Sue Over Zoom Academy

It isn't really comics news, but this latest lawsuit is probably worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First, one of the three major differences between this iteration of Marvel and past ones is "aggressive about suing to protect perceived interests." (The other two are "movie-fixated" and "smarter licensing deals.") Second, you can link this to their suit against the City of Heroes on-line role-playing game in that Marvel seems to be defining their characters and character interests in terms of an accumulation of story factors as opposed to a name and costume.
posted 8:11 am PST | Permalink

Go, See: Bob Levin at City Lights

imageI edited Bob's recent books on comics, The Pirates and the Mouse and Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers and Pirates, and even though I know all the words I'd still go see him read from them at City Lights tonight in San Francisco if I could. Both books are really good, and Bob's not only a nice guy but an amusing speaker.

City Lights is located at 261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway, their number is 415-362-8193, and Bob goes on at 7 pm.

Here is an excerpt from Outlaws for your reading pleasure.
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Who's the Safest 2-D Masturbation Object?
Black Jack Goes Wireless
Dan Piraro on the Boards
Some Details on Comics in Ramones Set
New Yorker Cartoonists at Sea
Finland's New Generation Set for Angouleme
Miffy Is Fifty
Deadline for SPX Anthology June 30

June 20, 2005

And Now A Word For My Sponsors

If you've found the work done on this site to be valuable in any way, I hope you'll consider leaving a tip. You can do so through the button below or by mailing something to: The Comics Reporter, 1133 9th St #207, Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Don't worry: Comics Reporter will continue no matter what. I don't believe in holding readers hostage. I'd like to avoid advertising and other negotiated revenue streams until at least the one-year anniversary of CR this Fall, when the site has a more established identity, a bigger audience, and greater weight in terms of backlog and import.

I would also love to be able to spend more time per day on the site, getting it where it needs to go more quickly: more features, more interviews, longer commentary pieces, more aids to help you in your enjoyment of comics. Any monies raised through reader support will be put to direct use in making more features and more articles to publish through CR.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you care enough to tip, thank you so much for your generosity.

-- Just so you know, I'll be posting similar notes through Friday. In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of a restored and better-organized archive, through restored articles like the John Romita interview or newly posted ones like this Phoebe Gloeckner retrospective or this Warren Craghead chat.

Tip via PayPal:

posted 10:31 am PST | Permalink

Why DC Being #1 Doesn’t Matter

DC Comics has assumed the top spot in the comic book direct market for the month of May, both in dollar share and unit share. This is a rare although not unprecedented position for DC, a company that conventional wisdom will frequently tag as fine managers of a deep backlist of graphic novels but largely hopeless before the generally more popular Marvel comic book efforts.

imageShould we be surprised that DC can capture the top spot? Not really, for a few basic reasons. Remember, these measurements are not absolutes but comparative, so really what you're seeing is a company's place in the overall market as compared to its competitors. As pointed out here a billion times before, DC and Marvel have slowly and surely forged for themselves a marketplace that responds more and more to the pushes of its biggest suppliers in terms of its biggest offerings -- crossovers, number one issues, and character reintroductions. The DM is a market mechanism primed for big events, and DC has the bigger events right now.

This is particularly true of May, where DC rushed to its lead by putting out several #1 issues related to its forthcoming Infinite Crisis mini-series, and by double-loading its current reinvention of the hardcore fan favorite Green Lantern character with the last issue of a mini-series and first issue of a new title. DC can do these things more easily than Marvel can because Marvel's editorial culture is still more entrepreneurial than centralized -- something I always think of as a two-decade Jim Shooter hangover, but I believe also it's the way Marvel works best. In the end, with this direct market at its disposal, it's would be amazing if DC couldn't have the top spot whenever it wanted.

What does matter is what is smartly pointed out later in Newsarama's article: the overall result of these two companies playing Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in the limited train compartment that is the Direct Market is that the Big Two together are dominating sales in a way that allows them to creep into the market shares of all other companies. I don't think this is automatically bad. Unlike some of my alt-comix friends, I think mainstream comics remain undersold in this country right now. It's therefore possible to imagine a surge of legitimate interest that skews the playing field.

But that's not what's happening here. This is Hungry Hippo economics, where the number of marbles stays roughly the same. What becomes scary is when you imagine what happens next. Big Event comics have a very specific downside in that they can only last so long. In the same way television networks want their regular programming to drive their ratings rather than specials and Super Bowls, for comic book companies to really be healthy they need in the long term to add readers to the individual series and team books that make up the bulk of their line.

My hunch is that DC believes by planning well and planning ahead they can add vigor to its overall line strength coming out of this sequence of "Important" Mini-Series. We'll see. For now this is a lot of money tied up in stuff that history tells us doesn't lead to much of anything but more of the same, just less so. The crazy thing is that for once, there's no plausible deniability about what is going to happen. The direct market is already showing signs of weakness in the middle, and has for quite some time. You keep pulling a piece of taffy so that there's a big chunk at one end, and eventually that middle gets pulled apart. That supposedly good May for DC was a month of overall decline for comic books in the direct market. Compare the two publishers dominating periodical comics and the nine publishers able to launch a top 20 graphic novel, and it's pretty easy to guess which category has the ability to grow. Of course, it may soon be that DC and Marvel take their market dominance to this category and strangle the shit out of it, too.

But today is about funnybooks. At some point both DC and Marvel will shift gears to a long-term strategy -- either that or some crotchety noise will scare them, they'll stay in first, the market will burn out, personnel will change, and a long-term strategy will be forced on them the way it was a few years back before they started hyperventilating and rolling the dice again. This would be bad if it were to have happened in a down period for the art form, but it's worse that it's going on today. Right now, the grandest age for comic books in the history of that form, with good, quality titles popping up across the industry, should not be the time that all this money and attention remain focused on one or two companies. Corporations have no capacity for memory, but at the very least you'd think moderate returns thus far for the well-reviewed and crowd-pleasing Batman Begins should be as blunt an instrument as required to remind these companies how a future market can be poisoned in part by ill-considered past creative efforts. A good Monday isn't worth entire bad years down the road, but I'm afraid DC and Marvel are too big and insulated and oblivious to care.

Please read Brian Hibbs' new column for one retailer's take on the dangers of short-term thinking.

posted 9:50 am PST | Permalink

Conversational Euro-Comics

Bart Beaty wonders who the heck will be buying the new Emmanuel Guibert.
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink

Bruce Hamilton Passes Away


The publisher Bruce Hamilton died early on Saturday morning following an illness, according to a post by Mark Evanier on his newsfromme site. Hamilton is best known as the man behind the various comics and comics art companies eventually collected under a company bearing his name: Another Rainbow, which he started in 1981 with Russ Cochran and which was dedicated primarily to art related to the great Disney comics artist Carl Barks and the company that produced the 30-volume Carl Barks Libary; Gladstone, the primary home for comic book related to classic Disney characters and the most recognizable home for Disney related comic books in North America during the rise of the comic book direct market; Hamilton, which pursued a variety of entertainment licenses. I think of Hamilton as one of a generation of old-time comics fans whose passion and devotion to comics helped midwife the modern comics market; his treatment of the Disney comics were of a generally high quality.
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink

Jail Sentence For Ali Dilem Denounced

This article about an Arabic journalism group criticizing the jail sentences handed down to journalists is the first one I've seen to confirm what seemed almost certain but wasn't made perfectly clear -- that the cartoonist in question to receive a six-month jail sentence was Ali Dilem.
posted 9:28 am PST | Permalink

Charlie Schlingo, 1955-2005


Jean-Charles Ninduab, better known in his professional career as Charlie Schlingo, was found dead in his apartment on Friday. Schlingo worked in a loose style reminiscent of early American comic strip artists, E.C. Segar in particular. He began in fandom and self-publishing but would eventually do comics for Charlie Hebdo, Hara Kiri, Viper, Le Psychopathe Illustre, Rigolo, Charlie Mensuel, L'Echo Des Savanes, Fluide Glacial, Metal Hurlant, and A Suivre. His albums were published by Futurolopis and Les Humanoides Associes. A smart write-up of his life in comics can be found in his Lambiek entry, and you can find an index with samples of his work here. He was 49 years old.
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Josh Simmons Comics


Josh Simmons is one of the few cartoonists working out of the profane tradition of the underground comics of the 1960s. If you can find a book called Jessica Farm on his site, it's the work I regret most not remembering when it came to making my Best of 2004 lists.
posted 9:19 am PST | Permalink

News That May Only Interest Me

Unless I'm reading this list wrong, the top seller of the ballyhooed launch of the Alias line, which became a blown launch where books were late and then shipped in a very small window which makes it that much more difficult for retailers to sell them, is 10th Muse Volume 2 #1 at 4945 copies.
posted 9:15 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Scholastic to use Hybrid Form to Promote Literacy
George Perez Cancels Con Appearances
Fans Answer Reporter's Comics Questions
Comic Shop Sends Books to Iraq
DC Comics Signs Deal for MMO

June 19, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Douglas Fraser


San Diego's Comic-Con: Getting Closer


I have no idea what that is or what it does, but I do know that many things like it will be on display in three-plus weeks at San Diego's Comic-Con International, and that clicking on the photo will take you to this site's Comic-Con International Guide. The readers tips portion has been updated a few times, including a suggestion why driving on Sunday may be a problem...

I've had a few people write me as to what I might suggest doing with children in tow. I know that the Con has some baby-sitting available, which might be a good idea if you're there for a directed, professional reason. But if you're there to enjoy the sies with your family, I'd just take it easy, let your kids' interest direct your time on the floor, and keep in mind a few things:

1) there's generally a lot of walking involved.
2) Saturday is generally very, very busy and crowded, which can add to exhaustion. The visual overload can also be tiring for adults, but I figure kids may be more immune to that. Maybe not.
3) Sunday is kids' day, with related programming.
4) there's a lot of adult activity on the floor -- people in suggestive costumes, books that my grandmother would have gladly pitched into a bonfire, salty talk on panels -- and a lot of adults, period.
5) I probably would have enjoyed eating over by the boats and water (to the west of the Convention Center, or behind the hotels) rather than in the strange neighborhood with all the unhappy people (aka Gaslamp District).

I think I would have liked CCI when I was a kid because of all the stuff to buy and all the crazy people, but I was a weird kid.

Does anyone who is actually participating in the circle of life have .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)?

Go, Visit: Matt Broersma's Web Site


A potential break-out alternative comics star: there's lot of art under "illustration," and some full comics a few entries down in the "comics" section.
posted 5:26 am PST | Permalink

June 18, 2005

CR Week In Review


Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, June 11 to June 17, 2005:

1. Reports surface of a cartoonist to be sent to jail for making cartoon satirizing government officials.

2. Bill Rosemann assumes key marketing department position as word comes that longtime employee Patty Jeres' status is being evaluated.

3. Sentence adjusted in Honey Room obscenity conviction, eliminating jail sentence.

Winner of the Week
(Mostly) Indy Comicsdom Assembled, who seemed to have a good time at the MoCCA Festival.

Loser of the Week
The idea of micropayments, which despite many smart and able defenders received a public kick in the teeth this week.

Quote of the Week
"So I say God bless them all, and all their neurosis, given I've got my idiosyncrasies too. I'm far from perfect. It's not for me to judge them." -- Todd McFarlane on his geekier fans.

Picture of Batman from Darwyn Cooke's stylish The New Frontier, a multiple winner at last weekend's Harvey awards.
posted 6:03 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Reviews

Jack Staff #8
True Story Swear to God: This One Goes to 11
Burying Sandwiches
Bete Noire #1
War of the Worlds
posted 5:58 am PST | Permalink

June 17, 2005

It’s Business Model Dissection Friday! explains Marvel's and Joey Manley explains his own.
posted 11:22 am PST | Permalink

Wally Wood Was Born On This Date

posted 11:16 am PST | Permalink

Details on Calvin and Hobbes Do-Over

imageUniversal has posted details of their Calvin and Hobbes Fall re-run offer to newspapers, surely one of the grander sales gimmicks in modern times. There are also some nice reminders of what made Bill Watterson's strip pop out during its run.

If I were a newspaper editor, I would use the Calvin and Hobbes re-runs just so I could test the waters on getting rid of a strip without having fans in the audience direct its hatred towards its replacement. In fact, I would probably run Calvin, and then try out Franklin Fibbs in early 2006, which at least has a fantasy element and a drawing style that wouldn't look out of place taking over after Watterson's brief, ten-year-later victory lap.
posted 6:29 am PST | Permalink Pantheon GN Line Profiled

imageThe business analysis site has put together a nice write-up on Pantheon's remaining 2005 plans, along with a few notes about work beyond that. The only thing with which I might disagree is that if Craig Thompson's Habibi is a travelogue, that's kind of different from the Orientalist fantasy he describe to Charles Hatfield in his really solid recent Comics Journal interview. As far as the rest of the article, some of it is clarification, like a formal release date -- which is very loose in book publishing anyway in terms of when books might get into readers' hands -- for what should be an incredibly handsome collection of Charles Burns Black Hole.

Still, some of what reports is new, at least to my eyes. This includes 1) sales on Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan book reaching 180,000, 2) Sales on Persepolis I by Marjane Satrapi reaching 100,000 hardcover and softcover combined, and 3) There will be a six city signing tour for Chris Ware in support of the new Pantheon ACME volume. It should be noted that Ware is supposed to release an issue of the ACME series through Fantagraphics this Fall as well. Despite any small market confusion this may cause, as a consumer it will be good to have Ware back in the marketplace in as many publications as possible.
posted 6:08 am PST | Permalink

Todd McFarlane Speaks His Mind

imageTodd McFarlane held forth on various subjects at a recent event for a local Arizona newspaper. He talked about such odd topics as doing a comic strip, the diversity of choices in the market right now, why trades are more successful with some audiences than standard comic books, and recalibrating the Spawn character in the movies, cartoons and the comics to reflect his specific interest in that kind of material these days. His digression on not letting ancillary products drive his movie version is interesting -- it's not really noble unless you accept some really bizarre standards to begin with -- but it does remind one of how much moves are driven by the need for things like toys, and how early people begin to think in those terms.
posted 6:03 am PST | Permalink

Tokyopop Publishing in Japan

Scroll down to a 8:04 AM 6-15-05 entry for a brief item about Tokyopop beginning to publish in Japan. The early focus of the division seems to be on cine-manga, a strong area for the publisher and a logical fit.
posted 6:01 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Gasser Donates 1000 Albums to BD Museum
One Step Closer to Entire '80s Reprinted
24-Hr Comics Trade: 13/24 By Women
Exhibit A Press BEA Photo Gallery
Bowen Designs Renews Contract With Marvel
Encore Edition of Far Side Calendar for Charity
Fred Hembeck Profiles Marvel's Pussycat
The Panelist Profiles Stick-Figure Cartoonists
War Criminal Funnies

June 16, 2005

Conversational Euro-Comics

Bart Beaty tells The Last TCAF Story, and profiles CHRZ, by Stefan Dinther.
posted 12:46 pm PST | Permalink

Honey Room Sentence Eliminated

Earlier today a Tokyo High Court eliminated the suspended prison sentence given to Montonori Kishi of Shobunkan for his title Misshitsu (Honey Room). Kishi must still pay a 1.5 million yen fine (approximately $13,750 USD) for publishing the explicitly sexual material. The court under presiding Judge Kenjiro Tao did find the material to be indecent, and Kishi's lawyers plan to appeal that part of the ruling.

Thank you, David Welsh
posted 10:26 am PST | Permalink

Miller Co-Guest of Honor at WW Chicago

imageSurprising no one and all but leaked during Wizard's Philly show, Wizard made official yesterday that cartoonist Frank Miller will be a co-guest of honor with collaborator and fellow comics industry heavy-hitter Jim Lee at Wizardworld's showcase show in Chicago, to be held in early August.

This should bring to symbolic end a long-running but active backroom feud between magazine and cartoonist that may be best remembered for neither side suffering in any way. The next step for Miller would be to appear in the magazine's top 10 rankings for work on the forthcoming All-Star Batman and Robin series, which given Wizard's lead time, has already likely been done.

Jim Lee cover pencils to an upcoming issue
posted 10:21 am PST | Permalink

On-Line Sales Tax Ruling in California

The Borders bookstore company (Borders Group Inc.) appeal of a tax notice sent to them in 1999 by the state of California has reached another level, as an appellate ruling has gone against the bookseller. At issue is a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that without a physical presence in a state no taxes can be collected by that state. California has argued, successfully so far, that the on-line and brick and mortar aspects of the Borders bookselling enterprise are closely enough interlinked that the bookstores constitute that physical presence. If rulings continue in the state's favor, many believe that all on-line revenue will be pursued using variations of this argument. Borders has since sold their on-line business to Amazon.

Future rulings could be a boon to independent bookstores, comic book shops among them, who must pay sales tax on those items sold over the counter and have found themselves competing against deep discounts made possible by not having to pay such taxes.

Here's's look at the situation.
posted 10:19 am PST | Permalink

Manga’s Hidden Customers provides an analysis-heavy article based on what they were hearing at Book Expo America about steps taken by bookstores to stop the free consumption of manga on their premises, and how manga volumes are read both at the library and once checked out.
posted 10:17 am PST | Permalink

AGO To Feature Seth, Acquires “Hush”


The Art Gallery of Ontario makes clear its intentions regarding Seth; for some reason, I found this really interesting to read although it's not an uncommon sentiment anymore.

Above: random piece of Seth art that I like
posted 10:06 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Winners At Salon BDecines


Another European comics show, another set of prizes... I believe this show was held in late May. I have no idea what the "transport de bulles" prize would be, although bulles is bubbles. Maybe humor, something bubbly? I thought the awards winners sounded pretty mainstream, so I thought I'd link it up here.
* Prix Bonne Mine d'honneur: Pica
* Prix Bonne Mine du meilleur album (best album): "Comixland" (Alep and Deloupy)
* Prix Bonne Mine du meilleur scenario (Best Writing): Tarek for "Sir Arthur Benton"
* Prix Bonne Mine du meilleur dessin (Best Art): Olivier Brazao
* Prix "Transport de Bulles": Amouriq and Cazenove for "l'auto ecole"
* Prix Public (Public Prize): Pica and Erroc for "les Profs"

Panel from "L'Auto Ecole"
posted 8:50 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Las Vegas Sun to Keep Cartoonist
Ward Sutton Q&A at US News & World Report
Bill Finger and Bob Kane Created Batman...
... But Carmine Infantino Saved Him
That Big Phil Frank Profile
Post Profiles Web Cartoon Finance Models


June 15, 2005

Algerian Cartoonist Sent to Jail?

The BBC is reporting this morning that a cartoonist for Liberte is among various journalists sent to jail after convictions for defamation and related crimes. That would seem to indicate Ali Dilem, although I can't be sure. Confusing me further, I thought that the cartoonist in this case received only a fine, but I could be totally wrong abut that one.

He's another report and a more general one about Algerian law.
posted 8:06 am PST | Permalink

Rosenberg Assesses Bitpass Experiment

imageI feel a little bit like a basketball beat writer covering water polo whenever I draw attention to something in the webcomics arena, but if you'll forgive (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) me, I'd like to do more of it here. One of the things about webcomics that's interesting to me is how since the emergence of a few working financial models the debate has shifted over how to find the appropriate model for the appropriate comic. This article seems to indicate that the micropyaments model (as offered through Bitpass) may not work for at least one webcartoonist.

Thank you, Joey Manley.
posted 7:56 am PST | Permalink

MoCCA Festival Link Round-Up

It's been a few days since the conclusion of last weekend's festival sponsored by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, long enough for people to return home, file reports and upload photos. If you don't see one you know about, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) so I can make an update.

Alex at Rocketship Blog Prose
BeaucoupKevin Prose With Photos Link
BeaucoupKevin Prose Part II
Brian Musikoff's Photos
Buzzscope Prose
Ed Cunard's Prose
Eric Knisley Photo
Harvey Results With All Organizer Typos Intact
Heidi MacDonald Photos
Heidi MacDonald Prose
Lena at New Yorkish Blog Prose
Mike Manley Prose With Photos Part I
Mike Manley Prose With Photos Part II
Mike Manley Prose With Photos Part III
Marc Sobel's Prose Report at CBG
Michael at the Tales to Mildly Astonish Blog Prose
Neilalien's Best of Mocca Round-Up
Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman Photos
The Pickytarian Prose
Tim Leong's Photos
Toby Craig's Photos
posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink

The Comics Reporter at The Pulse

Patty Jeres' status at DC Comics under evaluation as Bill Rosemann assumes most of her responsibilities in his new position.
posted 7:47 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Tony Cochran of Agnes Receives Award
Syndicate Executive Thomas Peoples Dead at 89
AiT/Planet Lar Overshipping New Series Premiere
Cracked Continues to Add Staff
Reporter Baffled by Comics Sites
Trailer for Shirley! A Sex Comedy!

June 14, 2005

Familiar Manga Dominates Charts


Below are graphic novel rankings for the week ending June 5 in American bookstores and the week ending June 12 in Japan, from and Animania respectively. What was interesting to me about the Bookscan numbers was the surge some books experienced in their second week, which at least to me indicates genuine reader interest and reaction based on discovery that a new volume is out, as opposed to frontloaded hype-driven sales that decline precipitously one week later. Also, noting what's #1 in Japan this week, shouldn't there have been one sports manga hit in America by now? It's not like Americans dislike sports.

Bookscan Top 10
Fruits Basket Volume 9
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1
Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15
XXXHolic Volume 5
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Bleach Volume 7
Saiyuki Volume 8
Trigun Maximum Volume 5
Fruits Basket Volume 8
Ai Yori Aoshi Volume 9

Japan Weekly Top 10
Initial D Volume 31 (above)
Naruto Volume 28
Bleach Volume 17
Angel Heart Volume 15
Pyu to Fuku Jaguar Volume 9
Ichigo 100% Volume 16
Ganso! Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku Volume 10
Tobaku Datenshi Roku Kaiji Volume 3
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Volume 10
Densha Otoko Volume 2

posted 6:16 am PST | Permalink

Heidi MacDonald’s MoCCA Report

The best part of Heidi MacDonald's report on last weekend's Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival is the portion about the Harveys, which sounds like the most depressing awards ceremony ever without any outsized incident that comes right out and proclaims why. She does point out that only seven winners were on hand to accept awards, which might have had something to do with it. Based on rough estimates culled from the Harveys web site, sponsorships may have been down to the $12,000-$13,000 range (about half of that coming from publishers related to Jeff Smith). MoCCA officials claimed they were not a money maker last year with greater sponsorship activity, and would not continue if they didn't become a way of raising money for the museum.
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink

Rodney Dunn, 1968-2005


Rodney Dunn, a cartoonist who worked for both Topps and Vortex during his career and was a vital part of the Toronto comics, passed away on June 5 after an illness. Dunn also contributed to the True North anthology project.

A friend of Mr. Dunn's has written a letter to this site that includes this link to a discussion that features more of the late cartoonist's artwork.
posted 5:44 am PST | Permalink

Photos of Calvin and Hobbes Set


This thread at the Comics Journal message board features photos by John DiBello taken at Book Expo America of this Fall's potential monster release, the three-volume complete Calvin and Hobbes set. It looks as if the proportions reflect the later Watterson Sunday grid, which makes total sense.
posted 5:36 am PST | Permalink

Rosemann Moves To Marketing at DC

Newsarama reports that industry veteran Bill Rosemann has moved from a DC creative services position to become manager, marketing communications. This is a position comparable to a position Rosemann once held at Marvel. This also looks to be the first step towards filling out DC's marketing staff following the hiring of Stephanie Fierman and the reorganization of the sales/marketing, direct market/outside market aspects of that overall department.
posted 5:29 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Bad Reporter Going National
Lucca Festival Director Stefano Beani Passes Away
Copyright Issues and Webcomics
Local Cartoonist Profile: Hans Bjordahl
Local Convention Profile: Heroes Con
Verily, 'Tis Two Slags Fatteth
Matt Madden on Formal Exercises in Comics
Webcomics Examiner's 1-Year Anniversary

Quick hits


June 13, 2005

Rene “Hoviv” Hovivian 1929-2005


Rene Hovivian, the French-Armenian cartoonist who went by the pen name "Hoviv," died of complications having to do with cancer on May 28. He passed away in his residence in Clamart (Haute-de-Seine), France. He was born in France in 1929 to Armenian parents, and returned with his family to Russia after World War II when the Soviet Union made a call for all Armenians in exile to return home. Soon various persecutions by the USSR -- he and his family were to be sent to Siberia -- sent Hovivian back to Paris and then on to school in Lyon.

He was published widely in all of the major French newspapers as well as in The New Yorker. His work was frequently collected. His last albam was Le Clan Des Ian.

Above: some long-memory commentary from a book of cartoons about Armenians.
posted 4:52 am PST | Permalink

Oni to Audition Artists at CCI

I found this Newsarama piece interesting mostly because it's not an empty promise. Publishers like Oni Press have created a market for packaging books that do count on this kind of talent to keep emerging, and I'm not sure that was true five years ago.
posted 4:49 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: FBI’s Ignatz Series


I totally spaced this, but it looks like my former full-time employer Fantagraphics will be doing a bunch of "tweener" publications -- saddle-stitched comics with high production values at a small page count and a price point that says serious comics reader rather than casual comic buyer. Included will be works from Matt Broersma (above), David B., Francesca Ghermandi, Gipi, Lorenzo Mattotti, Igort, Marti, Anders Nilsen and Kevin Huizenga. They will release the books in little groups every three months. I think that's kind of interesting. It's long been a practice of Fantagraphics to kind of go higher production and less accessible price point for artists who will find it a bit tougher to achieve a huge American audience. For instance, if memory serves, Max Andersson and Aleksandr Zograf's comics have generally come out at a bit more expensive price. This also puts me in the mind of David B's Babel, which I believe is continuing at FBI after a first issue at D&Q. I thought that book was beautiful, and certainly would be willing to extend a great deal of money for beautiful works from Lorenzo Mattotti and Kevin Huizenga almost sight unseen.

Cover From Matt Broersma's Insomnia #1 which will retail at $7.95 for 32 pages.
posted 4:46 am PST | Permalink

Caption Winner Apes Far Side

It was bound to happen sooner or later once the New Yorker's caption contest went weekly.
posted 4:44 am PST | Permalink

He’s a Woman’s Man: No Time to Talk


A big photo album from the National Cartoonists Society Reubens weekend from a couple weeks back has emerged, which is fun because most of these people are very rarely seen in photographs, at least relative to their name value. That's Mort Walker above. Plus you get to see many of them dance, or in tuxedos, like so many aunts and uncles at a wedding. Thank you, Brad Curran.
posted 4:43 am PST | Permalink

Dave Astor Covers AAEC Meeting

Editor and Publisher's Dave Astor, the best reporter in North America working a specific comics beat, has been in attendance at the Sacramento meeting of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. He's filed a long list of reports, which together make editorial cartooning sound like a tough, frontier gig both now and in the forseeable future, and most editorial cartoonists leather-skinned, aging cowboy toughies just for continuing on in the profession. The first link leads to prizes given out over the weekend.

AAEC: Brown Speaks; Cartoonists Receive Awards
AAEC: How to Survive Without a Staff Job
Profiled: New AAEC Site In Testing Stage
AAEC: Prize-Winning Tips For Well-Meaning Pros
AAEC: The Atheist Speaks
AAEC: There are Pro-Cartoon Editors, Too
AAEC: Thomas Nast is our Founding Father
posted 4:36 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Apparently, There's a Batman Movie Coming Out
Veteran On-Line Magazine Re-Launches
Charles Schulz Second-Richest Dead Dude
Bootlegs Unwelcome at First Tintin Festival
Go See The Comics Machine Thingamabob
This Man Stole Comic Books
Profiled: A History of Taiwan in Comics
Evan Dorkin Tells Tales of BEA
Alan Grant Talks Aboout Batman
Missed It: Comic Books at Batman Movie Site
Basic Batman Comics History

June 12, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Jim Ottaviani


Jim Ottaviani, comics writer and publisher (G.T. Labs), sits down to talk about the state of his company and his new book about the collection of dinosaur fossils in the late 19th Century: Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards. Article linked through image above.

Go, Look: Saturday MoCCA Festival Photos
There are many photos from Saturday here courtesy of the comics blog BeaucoupKevin // BlogMachineGo, one of my regular morning stops. The show looks as crowded as usual.

Dr. Doom Sporting One Sweet Pimp Cup


Crudely altered panel from 1975's Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2, presented here for no particular reason.

Go, Read: Jeet Heer on Fathers and Sons
Always a writer of interest, Jeet Heer profiles father-and-son cartoonists for the Boston Globe in honor of Father's Day. If you access it from here, you get to see the cool accompanying art.

Scott Tipton: Mordru on a Jet Ski Greatness


A nicely-illustrated profile of a ridiculous TV show of the kind I find hard not to love. Kareem!

Harvey Awards Short Form

Ceremony held last night in New York City in conjunction with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival.

* Best American Edition of Foreign Material: Buddha, Vertical Inc.
* Best Anthology: Tie, Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventure of the Escapist, Dark Horse Comics, Diana Schutz, Editor; McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13, McSweeney's Books, Chris Ware, Editor
* Best Artist: Darwyn Cooke, DC: The New Frontier, DC Comics
* Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation: Comic Book Artist, Top Shelf, Jon B. Cooke, Editor
* Best Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, Bone, Cartoon Books
* Best Colorist: Dave Stewart, DC: The New Frontier, DC Comics
* Best Continuing or Limited Series: The New Frontier, DC Comics
* Best Cover Artist: James Jean, Fables, DC Comics/Vertigo
* Best Domestic Reprint Project: The Complete Peanuts 1950-52, Fantagraphics Books
* Best Graphic Album of Original Work: Blacksad 2, ibooks/Komikwerks, Juajono Guardino, Juan Diaz Canales
* Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work: Bone: One Volume Edition, Cartoon Books, Jeff Smith
* Best Inker: Charles Burns, Black Hole, Fantagraphics Books
* Best Letterer: Todd Klein, Wonder Woman, DC Comics
* Best New Series: Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Dark Horse Comics
* Best New Talent: Andy Runton, Owly, Top Shelf
* Best Single Issue or Story: Eightball #23, Fantagraphics Books
* Best Syndicated Strip or Panel: Mutts, Patrick McDonald, King Features Syndicate
* Best Writer: Daniel Clowes, Eightball, Fantagraphics Books
* Special Award for Excellence in Presentation: The Complete Peanuts 1950-52, Fantagraphics Books
* Special Award for Humor in Comics: Kyle Baker, Plastic Man, DC Comics

Heidi attended (I think -- she usually does, but there's no color in the brief, posted report from which I stole the above) and has fuller results. Please link to her not me until the official goes up.
posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink

June 11, 2005

CR Week In Review


Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, June 4 to June 10, 2005:

1. Craig Thompson will do his next book Habibi with Pantheon, after doing first three major books with Top Shelf Productions.

2. Reed Exhibitions announces New York Comic-Con for February 2006, the same weekend as Orlando's Megacon and pressing at other major conventions in both directions.

3. Laurence Harle, pioneering female writer during the great rise of French comics for adults in the 1970s, passes away at age 56.

Winner of the Week
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who with their move and preparations made in advance of that move now have the ability to assume their place among important Free Speech organizations and cement their position as a vital player for as long as there are comics.

Loser of the Week
I would think probably Orlando's MegaCon.

Quote of the Week
"On the advice of people whose opinions I respect, I've decided to remove the Tycho essay. If I ever respond again, it will be on points alone, not the motivation behind those points." -- Scott McCloud acting the gentleman in a recent dispute concerning a new documentary about web cartoonists. (6/10 Entry)
posted 9:44 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Reviews

Scream Queen
The Gray Area: All Of This Can Be Yours
Nil: A Land Beyond Belief
Star Wars -- Free Comic Book Day Special
Frazetta: Painting With Fire
posted 4:22 am PST | Permalink

June 10, 2005

DC Needs a Collected Editions Editor

I'm told that according to Publishers Lunch, DC is seeking a "Group Editor - Collected Editions [Full Time]" to work in New York and everything. What I can't figure out is if somebody left or if this is a reorganization thing. If you promise to collect all the old issues of Lois Lane, feel free to put me down as a reference.

Meanwhile, all the other editors will be switching seats.
posted 1:51 pm PST | Permalink

You Are Invited to This Party

posted 1:46 pm PST | Permalink

Millarworld Q&A With Warren Ellis

Every so often the comic book writer Warren Ellis will jump on the message boards at Millarworld and exhaustively answer questions. It's old-fashioned sort and scrolling, but if you're a fan of his work it can be rewarding.
posted 1:44 pm PST | Permalink

Things I Get on Friday Afternoons

posted 1:41 pm PST | Permalink

AAEC Opens With Hate Mail Discussion

One of the recurring issues covered here is the ongoing decline of editorial cartooning in terms of both shrinking newspaper circulation and an increased hostility for political humor that dares venture far to the other side of the fence from where readers are playing. This report from the first day of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) meeting in Sacramento relays some of the stronger disagreements cartoonists have received in recent years. I'm not certain why anyone would respond to a cartoonist's opinion by wishing death for the cartoonist or the cartoonist's family, but there it is. While death threats are nothing new, the report says most participants feel an increased sensitivity when it comes to national political issues.

Here's a piece about the Mail and Guardian being painted by the perception of an editorial cartoon they thought they had already dealt with and apologized for.
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Go, Read: Hiroshima Narrative

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Monsieur Jean Book Launch Details

imageI thought this short piece on a launch for the new Monsieur Jean volume from Dupuy and Berberian was interesting just to give you perspective on how a publisher might introduce a book to market in Europe as opposed to America. It also gives me a chance to link up to Brusel, as I really like the photos of this store. The print here looks kind of odd as a scan but I have another Dupuy and Berberian piece from Brusel's shop and it's quite excellent looking. It occurs to me that if an American publisher did this is you'd get irritated fans on message boards griping they couldn't get the special booklet available at the launch. I would imagine another circumstance that would keep American publishers from arranging similar functions, however modest, on a regular basis is that American publishers often don't have a good feel for when a book will actually be out.
posted 7:34 am PST | Permalink

Follow the McCloud/Penny Arcade Spat

Reading Scott McCloud's neutron bomb-style response to recent, admittedly brutal criticism from the Penny Arcade camp concerning a forthcoming documentary, I was reminded that there are peripheral engagements with this material that are worth reading if you're interested. Comixpedia seems to be making the attempt to track them, although if you want to do a little sorting through their sites I'd say the most pertinent extra comentary came from Scott Kurtz and Eric A. Burns.

Reading what sounds like at its core is an iteration on general disagreements between comics for art sake and comics that have found a successful business model reminds me of print comics' version of the same thing, actually. There's probably an argument to be made that the on-line comics community is developing at an accelerated pace when compared to print comics the same way rap music sped through the various stages the rock and roll music business went through, but it would take someone much more knowledgeable than myself to make it stick.
posted 7:19 am PST | Permalink

Editor Stephanie Moore Leaves Marvel

Today is the last day for Marvel's Stephanie Moore, who is reportedly returning to school. Moore is probably best known as the East Coast focus for open submissions to an abortive creator-owned Epic line of a couple years back. Sometimes I wonder why we generally hear about people leaving Marvel, but we rarely hear about people being hired by Marvel, but I figure they must have some sort of automatic replenishing principle in place.

A few of the better comics-focused bloggers are batting rumors back and forth of a potential change at DC that would have greater ramifications.
posted 7:13 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
NBM Enters Manhwa Publishing Ranks
Garfield Gallery Mania Grips Wabash, Indiana
Bries Re-Fashions Internet Presence
Kudzu on Stage Makes Marlette Nervous
Cartoonist Suggests Cheap Tickets; Airline Agrees
Reviews Spotlight Marvel's New Wave
DeHaven Follows Up Derby Dugan With Superman

June 9, 2005

Comics Plagiarism’s Narrow Bounds

I found this editorial from the Auburn University newspaper about an incident where an editorial cartoonist was recently caught copying from other cartoonists interesting for what it says about the hot topic of plagiarism in journalism as applied to cartooning. I never thought about it before, but it dos seem true that such an incident would almost always have to be reported from another artist or another artist's editor as opposed to caught through the use of say, a search engine to compare text, and given the way certain visual ideas are circulated by editorial cartoonists, it would have to be a really, really exact match in order for the perpetrator to be penalized.
posted 10:43 am PST | Permalink

Since You Asked: Tomine’s “Sketches”


Above is the cover to the Adrian Tomine New York Sketches illustration project planned by Buenaventura Press that was semi-obliquely mentioned in a blog entry yesterday causing a number of you to respond. It is set to debut at Comic-Con International in July. Interested parties desiring more information can contact Buenaventura through their web site or directly through .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 10:39 am PST | Permalink

McCloud Responds to Penny Arcade

"Why Tycho Owes You An Apology."
posted 10:38 am PST | Permalink M is for Marketing offers up a solid piece here noting that the first issue of Marvel's big House of M series has cracked the 200,000 sales mark largely on the strength of focused sales energy being placed behind the book. The thing to wonder, of course, is how much bigger sales in the top five books sold in any given month have helped companies' overall sales since that became more and more the emphasis. In other words, are sales blowing up like a balloon, or stretching like taffy?
posted 10:34 am PST | Permalink

NYC Con Same Weekend as MegaCon

The analysis of the news yesterday that Reed Exhibitions plans to run a comics and related industries focused convention in New York City proved more interesting than the announcement itself, and not just because it led to solid pieces from Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald.

For one thing, Matt Brady noted in his story at Newsarama that Orlando's MegaCon is held that same weekend, which I guess throws the future of that show into some doubt -- or at least calls into question its continued growth. The other interesting thing that leaps out at me is that none of the concerns one might reasonably come up with in a brainstormng session abot a New York City-based convention, except maybe Reed's ability to cover any investment, are really answered by Reed's proposal. I mean, the proposed show is definitely New York in late winter, in a crowded season, at a convention site some locals don't find very accessible, and there are high costs to exhibit -- particularly for out-of-town companies. Yet the confidence Reed displays makes you wonder why no one's attempted a more strategically planned major trade show for New York City before now.
posted 10:26 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
D&Q Has Brand New Offices?
Gordon Lee Case Makes Index For Free Expression
Cartoon Contest About Wine For 18-35 Year Olds
Tokyopop to Distribute Blu Label
Look of Nerd Ghetto Shaped by Comics
Local Former Cartoonist Profile: George Ludick
Bookslut on War's End
One Final TCAF Report

June 8, 2005

Gearing up For MoCCA Festival

With Book Expo America in New York this year, the usual Friday crush of arrivals for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Festival has become a moderate trickle with many people sticking it out from one week to the next. Eventually, everyone ends up in the space depicted here (please click):


That's some guest list, even if MoCCA tried to fool me with last year's map!

What seemed at first a lightning-in-a-bottle fun times response to a then-fading, since-resurgent Small Press Expo, the MoCCA Festival has become large enough to encourage many Eastern-located arts comics cartoonists to start skipping the large West Coast conventions more often and not and travel involved. At the same time, it remains young enough to resist, as yet, a concrete identity. MoCCA-Fest feature the crush of younger cartoonists, artist-driven tables and tons of homemade goodies that mark a kind of laid-back ground-up gathering. It is also smack in the middle of New York City. That means desirable walk-in crowds and media people on hand, high costs for travel and lodging, programming features with world class talent, and, starting last year, a pumped-up Harvey Awards with paid attendance and an aggressive sponsorship program acting as the official Saturday night function which some more modest companies and cartoonists are less than interested in attending. It should be very interesting to see how many of these things work out as compared to last year.

imageA weekend of related social gatherings begins tomorrow night with a release party for Vanessa Davis' Spaniel Rage at Pianos, the kind of place that has its own web site. If you want something smart and in the know to talk about when you're at this party or any others, Davis' publisher just announced an Adrian Tomine portfoilo called New York Sketches to debut at Comic-Con International.
posted 10:22 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: MOMA Gets Crumb Drawings

Via Egon, word that a number of Robert Crumb drawings were among those donated to the museum by a buyer who purchased a few thousand drawings from various artists in a multi-year spree.
posted 10:14 am PST | Permalink

Cultural Ministry Pays Tribute to Harle

The French Ministry of Culture has released a statement of appreciation for the writer and female European comics pioneer Laurence Harle, whose death became widespread news on Tuesday.
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Go, Look: Cau Gomez Gallery

posted 10:08 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Reed Exhibitions Plans NYC Comics Show
Australians Gear Up for 24-Hr Comics Day
Bruce MacKinnon's World Press Cartoon Diary
Scott Shaw! Reports on the Reubens
Cartoonists Engage Meaning Of Life
What Jon J Muth Has Been Working On
Arnold: Sacco, Jason, Stanley, Larcenet, Clowes
Lulu Awards Nominees Announced
Apparently, Comics Have Literary Value Now


June 7, 2005

Laurence Harle, 1949-2005

imageLaurence Harle, the writer behind the series Jonathan Cartland, has passed away, according to various European comics news sites. She was born in 1949 in Paris, met artist Michel Blanc Dumont in 1973 and began their collaboration soon after. The Cartland series had ten volumes according to one report. She continued to work in the 1980s with an America history seen through the eyes of the army, La Cavalerie Americaine. She won festival prizes in 1984 (Hyeres) and 1988 (Angouleme), and also wrote for the movies and for television.

I've included the photo used by the web site Actua BD (all rights reserved to them) because that may be the coolest cartoonist obituary photo I've ever seen. Harle had turned 56 in April.

Bart Beaty remembers "a remarkable pioneer and a tremendous individual."
posted 9:36 am PST | Permalink

Charles Brownstein on CBLDF’s Move

Here's a really good piece on Newsarama following up on word that the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is moving to New York. Matt Brady astutely asks something that never even occurred to me about the entirety of Fund functions moving to New York. This leads CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein to reveal they are moving the Fund's fulfillment obligations onto an outside party, which for one thing will allow them to rent a smaller office in New York because of less inventory. That's really, really smart, and adds to the general good news of the Fund's move.
posted 9:33 am PST | Permalink

Fawkes Retires Due to Poor Eyesight


Wally Fawkes, a well-known musician, cartoonist and caricaturist has given up his position doing the latter two (and primarily the last) for the Telegraph due to fading eyesight. Fawkes may be best known in comics circles for being the artist on the feature Flook, which moved from children's stories to satire during a healthy run in the Daily Mail that began in 1949. He worked under the pen name "Trog."

Duke Ellington, by Fawkes
posted 9:29 am PST | Permalink

Krazy Kat 5-Yr Book an FBI Exclusive

I found this announcement about a new Krazy Kat hardcover from Fantagraphics on their new blog interesting from a times-they-do-change point of view. There was a period not long ago when offering a book but deciding not to do it through a distributor was seen as some kind of business betrayal of those who supported your other books. Although I guess there's a chance of similar outcry here, I haven't seen it, and I'm all for any reduction in the notion that business in comics gets done through a chain of special dispensations for which credit must be given, as opposed to, you know, just doing business.
posted 9:27 am PST | Permalink

Dargaud Calls for Internet Agreement

If I'm reading this correctly, the publisher Dargaud has asked sites that carry images from their books to sign a general charter agreeing to certain responsibilities for their use. Those seems to include:
1. Copyright mark of Dargaud must appear.
2. Name of the author must appear.
3. No more than 3-4 pages published.
4. Reference to Dargaud's official site.
5. Dargaud's legal claim to visual elements and writings is understood.
6. Use of elements on Internet without publisher's permission forbidden.

There are also a few more legalistic ones about remote loading I don't understand. It looks like a number of sites have signed up, although others have claimed they already reasonably follow established law in terms of journalistic use.
posted 9:23 am PST | Permalink

Phil Frank’s Farley Turns 30


The age of thirty is twice the extended original contract of a newspaper strip (10 years with a five-year option), but what's particularly notable about Farley's achievement is that the strip started out syndicated and eventually became a Bay Area local, which would be an interesting trend if I could think of anyone else who had done it.

Two panels from a recent strip.
posted 9:17 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Maclean's Profiles Michel Rabagliati
Disney/Slave Labor: Titles, Prices, Sales Locations
Web Cartoonist Choice Award Nominees
Top Ten Manga in Japan List
Wizardworld Philly Sets Attendance Record

June 6, 2005

The Comics Reporter At The Pulse

Cartoonist Craig Thompson confirms book deal with the Random House imprint for Habibi; denies rumors of a six-figure advance.
posted 12:29 pm PST | Permalink

Bill Watterson Loans OSU 3000 Originals


Cartoonist Bill Watterson has loaned over 3000 Calvin and Hobbes originals to the Ohio State University holdings under the direction of Lucy Caswell. This is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, Watterson still has almost all of his originals, so they're not seen very often. Second, one can't help but see the timing of this as part of what will surely be a unique publicity and marketing campaign for this Fall's release of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. I also bet they're not kidding when they say reserve your time with this work as soon as possible. If I lived in Ohio I would always be visiting OSU with fake mustaches pretending to be working on some cartoonist's or another's biography.
posted 9:49 am PST | Permalink

Cartoonist PROfiles In Trouble?

imageMark Evanier reports that the long-running comics magazine Cartoonist PROfiles may be in danger of continuing much past its recent 145th issue due to health concerns of its driving force, Jud Hurd. CP's an interesting magazine because it focused on comic strips at a time when the field was undergoing a great deal of change driven by the slow decline of the newspaper field, a period when syndicates had a very rough time marketing their creators to general press publications, or even knew how to begin to do anything like that. In addition, other comics publications focused almost solely on comic books. It's sort of like for the last 35 years all the strip cartoonists lived in one town and CP was the town newspaper. Evanier mentions there's a possibility the magazine could change hands, or at least expresses that hope.
posted 9:46 am PST | Permalink

Newsarama Covers Wizardworld Philly

If you're a fan of the back-and-forth positioning battles of mainstream comics companies, Newsarama's thorough coverage of Wizardworld Philly must be like Christmas in June. This killer page sums everything up.

I think I'm beginning to understand what's going on now, at least generally. Here's my guess. DC Comics is going through a stage of (relatively) long-range planning and consolidated (not just firm) editorial control. They've become really successful at placing various hot-shotted titles into the top 20. Their problem seems to be that very little of this sales movement becomes reflected back into the regular titles, by which I mean titles working out of their core concept as opposed to being on some special run. So while the "Whatever Crisis of Blobbity-blah" is sure to sell in great numbers, the whole key to this is the "one-year-later" recalibration of its regular titles and if that provides enough "special event" juice to make more people want to buy Batman solving a crime and not just Batman going though a deadly gauntlet that encompasses his entire career's worth of foes or whatever. The popular Superman/Batman may be the model for a book that retains some of that special event feel while working out of a relatively faithful extrapolation of concept.

Marvel on the other hand has done a better job of scoring more core-concept hits and probably has a stronger line-up of writers on a one-on-one basis, but a natural competitiveness and being unwilling to give up the floor to DC puts them in a position of doing special events, which was more of a Jim Shooter-era strength, and puts some strain on their more effective writers to do a bit more work than might be ideal.

Well, that's what I'm going with. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Newsarama also did a nice job finding someone to finally go on the record about Frank Miller being a guest at the Wizard flagship show in Chicago, something suspected and/or sworn to by people unwilling to go public. And the reveal of Peter David moving his Fallen Angel to IDW suggests that the mainstream companies may not be the most desirable place to have creator-owed work right now. IDW also gets the Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips follow-up to Sleeper, I'm pretty certain.
posted 9:38 am PST | Permalink

BEA: It Loves New York City brovides a brisk "They love us and everyone is happy" overview of this year's Book Expo America, which ended yesterday afternoon (for the most part for sure: there might be an official event or two even today, or some hangover work left over from the weekend). They do point out that the show received what seems to be a New York bounce in terms of attendance, something to be expected due to the number of media people and writers in New York. The few people I've spoken to about the BEA are pretty happy about the success of the show just in terms of high level of interest.


Heidi has results from her day Friday, including interesting news that the Flight anthology is moving from Image to Ballantine. While it's not strange in the least that a book as handsome as that one would be attractive to a bigger book company, I think this makes Ballantine's line-up of comics folk the Flight gang, Harvey Pekar, Jim Davis, John Callahan and the Schulz Estate in theme book mode. That's one interesting dinner at Buca Di Beppo. I'm not up on this kind of thing, but if Ballantine uses the comics-savvy Random House publicity team like Pantheon does, that would definitely make such the fit a little more snug.
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink

Go, Listen: Sendak on NPR


Found on the great blog "Drawn!"
posted 9:26 am PST | Permalink

French-Language Polly and Her Pals

imageJust to show you that this latest surge of interest in classic American strips has a worldwide face to it, someone in France is doing a nice-sounding collection of Cliff Sterrett's Polly and Her Pals. I don't know if computers have made this irrelevant, but it used to be that a European series frequently presaged an American series because except for stripping out the text to reflect the native language the same negatives could be used. So let's cross our fingers anyway.
posted 9:17 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Toby Craig Assembles Books

posted 9:16 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Marvel/WWE Impasse

I can make neither hide nor hair of this article -- I barely got past all the advertisements to get at the text -- but it looks like the WWE/Marvel legal fighting died down in April after the WWE's latest lawsuit was dismissed. The wrestling organization has sued Marvel basically in order to keep rights -- or the ability to negotiate with wrestler/actor Terry Bollea -- for use of the Hulk Hogan name that would be important in launching a wrestling channel or more extensive pay-by-demand service featuring matches from the 1980s. I think this is recognition from the court that the wrestling league can negotiate with the wrestler, plus a lot of language about the timing of any future legal action.
posted 9:13 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Viz Launches Prose Fiction Imprints
List of Comics That Debuted at TCAF
Eric A. Burns Explains Penny Arcade/Trailer Flap
Site Revamps: CB Galaxy, Universal Press
Via Mr. McCloud: Tarquin Engine Ready
Summer Reading Kicks Off With Funnybooks
Reader Cartoon Slams HS; Public Upset
View of the World of Comics From NJ
LA Indie Press Profile of Tokyopop
Gary Hallgren Provides Art for Biological Age Book
Visiting Cartoonist Profile: Marjane Satrapi


June 5, 2005

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Ted Slampyak


Go, Look: A Jamie Coville Special

A lot of material from one person on a site I don't check out all that often. The photos of Warren Ellis in the Toronto photo gallery are pretty great.

An Interview with Jerry Robinson
Warren Ellis Answering Questions at Toronto Event
Shuster Awards Report
Toronto Comicon Report
Toronto Comicon Photo Gallery
TCAF-Related MP3s Including Dave Sim's reading, Jeff Smth's Bone Talk, Doug Wright Awards

Go, Read: Siegel and Shuster Interview


This is Rick Marschall's interview that ran in an old issue of Nemo. I didn't know this was on-line until Mike Sterling told me.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

June 4, 2005

CR Week In Review

Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, May 28 to June 3, 2005:

image1. Book Expo America kicks off in New York City as comics begins to make the transition from novelty to perennial.

2. Dark Horse Comics announces a deal to do manga with the well-known Harlequin line of romance books.

3. On the Sunday before Memorial Day, the comic strip Doonesbury lists America soldiers lost to fighting in Iraq, marking the second year in a row Garry Trudeau employed this idea.

Winner of the Week
Mr. Pat Brady, who won the big prize at the Reubens in a year that saw Gahan Wilson take home the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, Glenn McCoy take home two divisional awards, and Darwyn Cooke win in the comic books division.

Loser of the Week
Anyone who frames their disapproval over the content of an editorial cartoon in terms of treason.

Quote of the Week
"I was kind of hoping I wouldn't win. I'm very happy to win, of course, but being the guy who designed the trophy, it looks kind of bad, like I designed the trophy to give to myself." -- Seth on receiving a Doug Wright Award.
posted 2:37 am PST | Permalink

June 3, 2005

CBLDF To Move To New York

Here's why EGON is the king of comics linkbloggers: he found news of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's move to New York City on Executive Director Charles Brownstein's personal journal.

If this was common news to everyone but me, never mind.
posted 3:16 pm PST | Permalink

Let’s You and Him Fight


I'm usually not one to point out conflicts and discussions around the Internet, but this one caught my attention when I was e-mailed as it was a debate I didn't know existed. In addition to the strip above lampooning a recent documentary about the future of comics there's this from Tycho in a text post made Wednesday: "Scott McCloud's great contribution? He championed a bold new high-tech way for artists to be poor."

Actually, this is kind of fun. I might do it more often.

Thanks, Chris Arrant.
posted 7:57 am PST | Permalink

One Book to Rule Them All


Book Expo America began yesterday in New York City, and while the love affair between sellers and (certain) comics and manga continues, my guess is that barring the purchase of Tokyopop or something equivalent, the rollout of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes for this Fall will be the comics publishing story to watch.

Not only should the book be hugely successful, it should be interesting too see how much enthusiasm booksellers can generate for the project. While having the book out where people can see it might be important to the book's success, one can imagine a scenario where many stores pass on hyping it heavily or intensely on their own accord, feeling that the majority of business is going to come from Wal-Mart and Amazon. The book is already discounted under $90 at Wal-Mart, which should put it into the hands of a lot of people that couldn't afford it at the $150 list and also attract savvier buyers. The books look beautiful, contain a bit of new work, and should benefit from intense targeted publicity, so I would't worry too much about the overall success of the project, but rather the degree.


I'm guessing other news that might be worth noting are more feel from the floor kind of things about who is showing and how heavily and what is being emphasized. Two years ago, Marvel's sad-sack representation, particularly when compared to the manga publishers, kind of prefigured that company's present direction in the book market. DC's changes in sales and marketing may give them a new look. Drawn and Quarterly has a new distributor (although I'm unsure if they will be there.) My guess is that Fantagraphics will be previewing their Ketcham collection in some manner. NBM's Papercutz has a new distributor so how they're presented might be interesting. Diamond gets sturdier every year... and so on. I think comics is at least past the stunned-at-the-applause stage. Heidi's preview is here.

Down in Pennsylvania, Wizardworld Philadelphia should allow mainstream comic book publishers a final chance to hype summer event books to the direct market, and generally try to out-hype each other with publishing news of the who's-doing-what variety. Preview at Newsarama.
posted 7:48 am PST | Permalink

Steve Geppi’s Museum Approved

I found this article about progression in Steve Geppi's plan for an "entertainment museum" in Camden Station interesting 1) because such a site seems like a natural progression for Geppi's auction house and gallery holdings, 2) it looks like he's worked out a pretty good deal for himself because of the type of business he wants to bring to that space and the landlord's desire to bring crowds into the area, and 3) while I don't automatically think of Geppi's effort as strictly a comic book museum as the author's article seems to, I do think it may have an impact on the success of other, more focused museum. There's just not room for a ton of museums like this.
posted 7:44 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Steve Ditko Profile


At the bottom of this sturdy profile of Steve Ditko on the occasion of his Visionaries book is news -- at least to me -- that Douglas Wolk will write about comics regularly for Salon now. That's good to hear.
posted 7:42 am PST | Permalink

Updates on This Week’s News

There are a few more photo galleries featuring last weekend's Toronto Comic Arts Festival; Zack Soto's is particularly great. Also, I've learned through many letters that the comics in the new Umberto Eco book are found pieces -- samples of older works, duly cited -- rather than new art. Ed Brubaker was first in letting me know. It's always good to hear from Ed, although I'm quite disappointed that the mystery bad guy in his well-received current run on Captain America looks less and less likely to be Roscoe.
posted 7:39 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Basil Wolverton Sings
Cartoonists Give Advice on Getting Started
Sluggy Freelance Hosts Marriage Proposal
Local Shop Profile: Galactic Greg's
Oh My Goodness, It's the Tarties!
Nick Abadzis Recommends Comics For You

June 2, 2005

Conversational Euro-Comics

Bart Beaty as an academic at a comics festival and as a comics person at an academic conference.
posted 11:09 am PST | Permalink

French Cabinet Re-Shuffle Puts Cartoonist Honors on Fast Track


Five cartoonists were honored Tuesday evening with awards from French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, an event made possible by the ongoing purge of the cabinet following a negative vote on the EU referendum. Honored were:

Jacques Martin (Alix, Lefranc): Commandeur.
Jean Van Hamme (Thorgal, XIII): Officier.
Christian Binet (Kador, Les Bidochon) Chevalier.
Lewis Trondheim (Lapinot, Donjon) Chevalier.

The minister also honored Akira author Katsuhiro Otomo, and praised his work.

I have no idea what any of this means, really, but I still sort of like it.
posted 9:01 am PST | Permalink

The Spirit is 65 Years Old Today

posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Remembering TCAF 2005

Here are a few links to various photo-diaries, odds-and-ends and summary statements about the just-past Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which looks like a healthy add to the comic book convention season given its location, its support, and its every-other-year schedule. A lot of these were linked to one another, which made collecting them easy despite my breaking Internet protocol in listing them indivdually rather than as I found them. I apologize for that, and for any contributing significant other or studiomate left off of my credit for a report.

Any other such entries out there .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Bart Beaty
Canadian Comic Art Centre Site
Chris Butcher
Vera Brosogol
Doug Wright Award Photos
Matthew Forsythe
Drawn! Summary Page
Hope Larson
Dave Roman
Salgood Sam
Seth's Doug Wright Speech
Ryan Sias
Kean Soo
Diana Tamblyn's Wrap-Up and List of Books Debuted
Zack Soto
posted 8:49 am PST | Permalink

Fantagraphics Gains New Site, Blog


My former full-time employers have refurbished their web site, perhaps the only site in comics-dom that felt like the backroom of a comic book shop circa Fall 1987. Also worthy of note is that they have added a group blog to which co-owners Gary Groth and Kim Thompson will contribute as well as long-time employees Eric Reynolds and Greg Zura.
posted 8:28 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Help Writer & Cartoonist Team Fund Cancer Research
New Book Explains US Comic Books to French
Doonesbury Book Benefits Fisher House Foundation
Gilbert Hernandez at Meltdown
Local Cartoonist Profile: Nanda Sooben
Free French Comics Magazine for Download
Obviousman Fights Press Weakness Graphic Novels Likely Here to Stay
An Interview with Ampersand

June 1, 2005

Dark Horse Gets Harlequin Manga

The book publisher hinted at this in a speech to stockholders about a month ago, but made it official today.
posted 7:55 pm PST | Permalink

Eduardo Teixeira Coelho, 1919-2005


The great Portuguese adventure comics illustrator Eduardo Teixeira Coelho died yesterday in Florence, where he had lived for several years. Perhaps better known early by the pseudonym Martin Sievre, Coelho's career began in Portugal. His biggest showcase was the magazine Mosquito, where he started work in 1943. In the 1950s, Coelho moved to Brazil, where he drew and taught at the Pan-American School of Art in Sao Paolo. Returning to France in 1955, he began a relationship with the magazine Vaillant (later to become Pif-Gadget). For them he worked on his signature series Ragnar le Viking and other titles with writers like Jean Ollivier and Roger Lecureux. He soon settled into a comfortable groove of mostly adventure strip through the next three decades.
posted 9:44 am PST | Permalink

David Horsey Cartoon Under Fire


The above David Horsey cartoon about the torture of military prisoners has riled up some readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, plus probably a few people pointed towards the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner's cartoon because of its strident political point. Story from Editor & Publisher. Again, what's interesting here is how different critics come at the cartoon and the level of invective used. I can't imagine Horsey is any danger nor will he tone things down to please critics, but I imagine there are cartoonists out there in less secure positions. It's also just plain unsettling that we've reached a point where people can seriously conceive of an editorial cartoon as a treasonous act.
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink

More on Doug Wright Awards

imageA few extra notes on last weekend's Doug Wright Awards. Apparently, Drawn and Quarterly has expressed interest in publishing a major retrospective of Wright's work. In addition, despite my seeing differences in this news photo between the awards given '05 winners Bryan Lee O'Malley and Seth, I've been told the awards look exactly the same. I thought I saw a bit of a raised platform and differences at the bottom of the trophy, but I'm told that it's just an optical illusion caused by O'Malley holding his backwards. Forgive me; I am dumb.

As if to rub it in, Sean T. Collins writes in to point out a Gary Groth editorial for his Comics Journal more recent than 2000's "Time of the Toad" piece now being debated here and here.
posted 9:29 am PST | Permalink

John Albano, RIP


The mainstream comics writer John Albano recently passed away, according to Mark Evanier. Albano is probably best known for co-creating Jonah Hex. Hex was one of the last successful mainstream company cowboy character properties, debuting for DC Comics in 1972. With one story detailing his death and the disposal of his corpse and one entire odd series set in the future, Hex has enjoyed a colorful history under various writers. I believe Albano was also the writer who followed Jack Kirby on DC's Jimmy Olsen with the first long run after Kirby's groundbreaking Fourth World-related tint, and I think he may have been the original writer on Angel and the Ape as well. Albano worked on any number of adventure-suspense titles at DC, most heavily in the 1970s. He also served a stint at the ill-fated Atlas-Seaboard line and enjoyed a longer, more fruitful run with Archie.

In similar news: The death of Neil Sharkey, a cartoonist in the Army during World War II, still baffles some in Montana. Writer Doug Miers is remembered fondly here.
posted 9:21 am PST | Permalink

Things That May Only Interest Me

* The forthcoming Umberto Eco book, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (a Tim Tyler's Luck reference?), about the recovery of memory through pop ephemera, supposedly contains a great deal of comic art. I can't find an artist, so perhaps it's Eco?

* Apparently, the actor Daniel Auteuil wrote a story called "Il a Fait l'Idiot à la Chapelle," which was illustrated the legendary cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempe.

* Marisa Furtado's documentary on Will Eisner will be presented at this year's Comic-Con International, but I'm surprised and pleased to hear she's also done one on Jerry Robinson. I'm all for the latest re-discovery of Jerry Robinson.

posted 9:16 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Garry Trudeau Joins Classmates Protesting Bolton
Steven Grant on Dead Comics Techniques
German Site Contrasts German/US Free Comic Book Day
Rich Watson's GLYPHS Becomes Blog
Comic Book Advises on Rights For Disabled
Profile of James Turner and Nil
AAEC Plans for Sacramento
Drooker/Knight/Longhi Tour Report
Tom Hall Catches Up With Chris Ware

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