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











October 31, 2005


Ooooh… Spooky!

imageHere are some Halloween links to peruse after turning off the lights to eat all the candy yourself. Alan David Doane speaks to Richard Sala (work pictured left). Retailer Mike Sterling names his favorite scary moments in DC Comics' Swamp Thing (#2 creeps me out 20 years after I first read it). Don Markstein discusses the great Charles Addams. A fan pays tribute to Junji Ito. Something much too adorable to ever be creepy pops up in Slave Labor's store. Richard Corliss analyzes the EC horror comics. DC teases with an incomplete guide to Tom Fagan's Rutland, Vermont Halloween parade and its place in the DC Universe. Hot Stuff preens in our direction with a cover gallery. The Spirit shows off his Halloween pedigree. Jill Thompson reserves a page for her Scary Godmother. Hellboy rests comfortably at his newly refurbished on-line home. Finally, Lawrence Watt-Evans surveys the horror comic books of the 1940s and 1950s.
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Mobilix Case Dismissed by Court

imageI caught this announcement of a court decision about the term "Mobilix" from the great site afNews.info. The fact that Editions Albert Rene was apparently trying to corner the market on all words ending in "-ix" makes me cry and cracks me up at the same time; it reminds me of the advertising that Target runs in America that seems to include that fine retail establishment's claim on the idea of targets. The other thing that struck me as interesting is that deciding, rationally, that everyone knows the Asterix second lead as "Obelix" and not "Mobilix," because, you know, Obelix is really well known, seems to me the reverse of logic as it's generally applied in the US in such cases. In the US, widespread knowledge seems to presume confusion and an inability to make distinctions.
 
posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Thank You, Sister Rosa Parks

Sorry about the lack of diversity in summary portrayals of your life and legacy, though.
 
posted 7:13 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Dearth of Great Female Cartoonists?

This article accompanying the "Masters of American Comics" exhibit opening in Los Angeles notes the lack of female cartoonists in the pantheon of great cartoonists as assembled for the show. This subject, like the equally unfortunate lack of cartoonists of color in such groupings, tends to unleash the hounds of strident, declarative stupidity in hardcore comics fans, so it's important to tread carefully.

My gut feeling is that attempts to mine significant, ignored female artists out of the forgotten layers of the past has been tried and exhausted multiple times without finding anyone that really demands a place with the widely acknowledged top 15-20, even if you have a dim view of one or two of those artists. Ditto attempts to redefine the standards that should be applied, which I think frequently lack an understanding of what makes comics great. I would contend, however, that there are up to half-dozen magnificent modern cartoonists who are female that could easily crack a top 15-20 made up of living or active artists, particularly if you don't get swept up in the graphic novel as the end-all and be-all of comics expression.
 
posted 6:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: WebComic Launches

Wilfred Santiago
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Henrik Rehr
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posted 6:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Schulz, Seuss Remain Rich, Dead

I've only been putting together a web site for a little more than a year and I swear they do this article about the money earned by dead celebrites every 10 weeks or so. In case you hadn't guessed, the estates of Charles Schulz and Dr. Seuss still make a lot of money.
 
posted 6:38 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Go, Read: Guardian Profiles Chris Ware
Cartoonist Ali Dilem Joins RSF Protest
Salt Lake City Resident Wins Fast-Food Story Contest
Cartoonist One Number Short of Lotto Win
Go, Read: Village Voice on The Quitter
Go, Read: Ben Schwartz, Boston Globe on Black Hole
Not Comics: Boondocks Toon to Appear This Week
Chinese Cartoonists Confront Environment
 

 
October 30, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

Missed It: Posy Simmonds' Tamara Drewe

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I had no idea that Posy Simmonds was serializing her next work in the Guardian and on their web site, but I'm happy to find out about it 14 chapters or so along.

Go, Read: The New King of Comics

Newsarama has a really solid, long interview-style piece on the deal-making behind Stephen King's Dark Tower comics effort for Marvel. The story of the King-Marvel partnership was teased in July but heated up last week when seemingly leaked to two pretty solid news sources, what looks like (at least to me) a few days before more official announcements were planned for Wizard and Entertainment Weekly. This in turn led to -- or at least made more important -- an official Marvel announcement the second half of last week.

On the one hand, I'm going to remain kind of skeptical that Marvel can pull off making this a bigger-than-comics event as they seem to be promising, at least until it happens. They did reasonably well with 1602 in that regard and King's name still dwarfs Neil Gaiman's, but there's always that counter-argument that nothing's bigger than Star Wars, and while those comics enjoy a strong presence in the market and outside of it they are hardly earth-shattering publishing events, and haven't really been so since the late 1970s and an unlikely-to-repeat confluence of events (the movie's jaw-dropping success, the lack of high-quality licensed product, tired superhero product, and an extended dead-period until the next official sequel).

The bigger news at least for now and at least from my perspective is if Marvel tries to broker other big deals like this one, where a writer is allowed to bring a project into Marvel rather than being asked to serve a Marvel-owned property.

Go, Look: Eyebeam Strips

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I'm not exactly sure how a strip celebrates its 25th anniversary by posting strips from 1978, but I received an e-mail noting Sam Hurt's Eyebeam site has some proto-work up along with some work from the strip's 1980s prime. Eyebeam was the NRBQ of 1980s alt-paper comic strips, reasonably well-known particularly at the level of college culture, but not widely enough known to break out.

As I recall, Eyebeam was one of the only comics-related books you could get in my college's bookstore, along with Life In Hell, Ernie Pook's Comeek and Read Yourself Raw.

Initial Thought of the Day
I'm fairly thick-skinned, but if Eddie Campbell ever cuffed me to the floor like he does Ted Rall in this Comics Journal messboard thread, I'd cry for a week.

Everybody Not Exactly My Age Confuses Me

Because I'm so on top of things I'm doing work that should have been done three months ago, I spent some time this morning sorting my remaining San Diego Con photo jpegs. And because I have the face to name recognition power of a drunk who calls everyone "Charlie," a few of these new people stump me. Anyway, I'm 98 percent certain I know all but one of these, but I thought I'd ask in the two percent cases anyway, just to be certain.

Update: Thanks to everyone who wrote in. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Photo One -- Aaron Renier

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Photo Two -- Jesse Reklaw

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Photo Three -- Josh Frankel

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Photo Four -- Scott Robins

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Photo Five -- Dexter Taylor! Although "Josh Simmons" made me laugh

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posted 10:59 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Five For Friday Changes

Since it seems like some of you missed the memo, it looks like I need to repost the announcement that the Five For Friday roundtable discussions will only accept submissions from the time one is posted on Friday until the time the results are posted Saturday. Additionally, all results will go up at once instead of throughout the day.

I felt I had to firm up the rules because of the increased volume of the submissions and some really aggressive, even angry posturing from a few site readers as to when and where they thought results should go up and how their submission should be treated -- this included phone calls to my house, which seems to go far beyond the good-natured intentions of the feature, part of which was aimed to reflect the thoughtful meanderings of a Friday afternoon at the office or in class.

If anyone feels the need to comment and couldn't make it to a computer on the Friday before the "poll" closes, you can always comment through a letter to the site. But anything that comes in marked "Five For Friday" after Saturday AM when results are posted will be deleted from my inbox. I apologize, but it seems necessary.

I greatly appreciate your interest and participation.
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 29, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

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

1. Format wars: Batton Lash takes his Supernatural Law into an on-line interation, but keeps his comic books; Michael Jantze keeps the on-line format for The Norm but dumps the comics; Andrews McMeel makes the case that they serve booksellers extremely well with their super-gigantic deluxe format books.

2. Trick or Treat: Marvel payments to retailers from the Brian Hibbs-led class action lawsuit about trade terms announced to hit next week's invoices; Marvel's "Stephen King is writing something for us" rumor lingering since summer declaration pops up in a fairly respectable news source in a manner one supposes isn't just gossip then is officially announced by Marvel. Additional treat: a big licensing deal with Teshkeel Media announced late last week.

3. The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and the Harvey Awards get a divorce: Children mostly relieved.

Winner of the Week
Garry Trudeau: His Doonesbury turns 35 and then he shows off his unique place in the comics world by canceling a week of Harriet Miers strips made irrelevant when she withdrew from a Supreme Court nomination.

Loser of the Week
I'm going to say the overall Direct Market, because I swear people thought it was due two more months of snappier growth than the now-typical "comic books slightly down, graphic novels high enough to drag the whole thing upward a tin bit" deal. In fact, I thought September was supposed to be the month.

Quote of the Week
"The $50 price tag (sorry -- $49.95, for the brainwashed among us) is too much. I wouldn't pay $50 for a book. Books like this should be around $35. and not a cent more. I don't know how they justify this, but it's too much." -- Steve Rude in his newsletter, reviewing the new Dark Horse Nexus hardcover of his own work in admirably honest fashion (he gave it 4 of 5 stars).
 
posted 6:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Week’s Five For Friday

Reader responses have been added to this week's "Five For Friday" question: "Name Five Comics-Related Halloween Costumes You've Either Used or Would Consider Using Someday."

The next "Five for Friday" will go up early AM on the 4th.
 
posted 3:46 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 28, 2005


Calvin and Hobbes By the Numbers

imageAlthough I saw this article as a positive in that it indicated a demand for the Complete Calvin and Hobbes book about which I think some small doubt lingered, Andrews McMeel's CEO Thomas Thornton seemed to think it called into question his company's ability to handle such a large, prestige project and wrote a strong letter to The Book Standard objecting to characterizations in the story.

The whole thing should be read by anyone interested in the strip-book publishing business, but the best thing about it is that Thornton lobs numbers at the article's writer.

Thus we learn:
* Andrews McMeel feels the book may be slightly underpriced at $150 because of the cost involved in its production.
* First three weeks on BookScan shows unit sales of 34,329.
* A 250,000-copy print run is confirmed.
* The print run had to be set in December 2004 because a commitment to the paper needs was required at that time.
* Many details about the physical materials that went into that initial print run.
* Total sales of The Complete Far Side: 326,000 copies.

Wanted: more angry CEOs.
 
posted 6:19 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Michael Killian, 1939-2005

Michael Killian, the longtime Chicago Tribune staffer and prolific novelist who had been writing the adventures of Dick Tracy, has passed away at age 66. Both a wire report and a sometimes accessible Tribune article note his passing. He had been sick for over a year. Despite his illness, the writer continued to work and prepared Tracy scripts for collaborator artist Dick Locher through January of '06. He wrote 24 novels on a variety of subjects, including mystery stories from different historical periods. As a journalist, he was best known for the breadth of his coverage areas, including humor and political writing. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
 
posted 5:48 am PST | Permalink
 

 
La Mano’s Zak Sally Quits Low

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Pitchfork Media reports that Zak Sally has left the band Low to concentrate on his own work, including his comics-related efforts. This is good news twice over for comics fans, because not only is Sally a skilled cartoonist whose latest issue of Recidivist is one of the more compelling books of a crowded Fall season, but his La Mano imprint is one of comics' most promising boutique publishers, including the new, primary home for the great John Porcellino. At least one related article notes that Sally had also left the band in 2003, and Sally in his statement holds out hope for future musical collaborations with the members. Click-through the nicked picture for a solid interview with Sally about his work in comics.
 
posted 5:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Marvel Releases Stephen King Story

Marvel finally releases its Stephen King is writing a book for us story. Since I found Marvel's strange passive-aggressive strategy concerning news of this project more interesting than the project itself, I'm not really sure what to say. I still find the press release a bit coy. The word "adapted" will probably concern some readers despite other more straight-forward statements about King's contribution. Where and how this ties into the prose series could be the kind of difference that shows up in an extra zero on the end, so some hedging about that is expected. In a way, the only bigger news of this kind would by J.K. Rowling shifting one of her canonical books into graphic novel form, although it's the details in its execution that are going to make the difference in how well it goes over.
 
posted 5:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Lurie May Quit Cartooning Altogether

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The cartoonist and painter Ranan Lurie tells Editor & Publisher that if he returns to making cartoons after his recent sabbatical it will be multi-media work, comparing the print cartoon to horse and buggy technology. To emphasize that stepping away for other opportunities like the recent UN painting project would come at a certain cost, the article reveals that Lurie enjoyed a four-figure international syndication profile for his cartoons.
 
posted 5:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Todd McFarlane GoH at NYCC

Todd McFarlane was named Guest of Honor for next Feburary's inaugural New York Comic-Con, to be run by Reed Exhibitions. McFarlane will also enjoy an art exhibit organized by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. The guest list for this show promises a pretty interesting time, although it should be interesting to see how the Reed culture of industry-driven shows works in the context of comics' cultural tradition of flea-market shows, if that makes any sense.
 
posted 5:28 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Cartoonist Ashes Dispute Continues

A regional media source reports the ashes of cartoonist OV Vijayan still haven't been scattered because of a family dispute. I think there should be some sort of rule where if this can't be decided after six months, they go into the ink of one of your comics whether you wanted them to or not.
 
posted 5:24 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Doonesbury Pulls Week of Miers Strips

One of the things we failed to note the other day about Doonesbury is that the strip sometimes receives special dispensation to deal with breaking news on a tighter deadline than most strips, or at least as close to deadline as can be extended for a comic strip. This also cuts both ways, as Editor and Publisher reports Trudeau lost next week's strips as they were Harriet Miers-oriented, Miers having withdrawn her Supreme Court nomination this week.

Update: Bart Beaty has alerted me that these strips have been posted.
 
posted 5:21 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Hibbs on Marvel Suit Outcome

Comix Experience's Brian Hibbs speaks to ICv2.com about the long, convoluted path that led from the beginning of the class action suit he led against Marvel to the final outcome of credit on invoices due next week. It's a good snapshot of where Hibbs stands on the issues -- there's a great exchange where Hibbs basically says that companies should live up to their business obligations rather than be expected to provide paternalistic care for their retailers -- and the retailer makes a good point about the effectiveness of a class-action suit in this case in order to minimize overall legal costs.
 
posted 5:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Image Comics Re-Launches Web Site

I'm pulling this out of the quick links section to note this as part of Image Comics' ongoing attempt to re-establish themselves as a more significant force in the marketplace.
 
posted 5:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
TCJ Nominated for UTNE Award
Viz Names Barber SVP and General Counsel
Ault's Blondie Collection on Display at UF
The Stranger on Thompson Vs. Penny Arcade
Mandela Comic to Move 1.5 Million Copies
Exhibiting Cartoonist Profile: Matt Feazell
Local Comics-Friendly Librarian Profile: Robin Brenner
Spurgeon Admits: "I'm Fat"
 

 
October 27, 2005


Mike Luckovich’s “Why” Draws Attention

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With the bulk of media flowing through TV now, and the cutting edge soldily working the on-line frontier, some feel the editorial cartoon's last remaining weapon is the Moment of Indelible Memory -- a summary statement on an issue that makes the issue and the cartoon memorable. Although I suspect the perpetual news cycle may help thwart the effectiveness of that strategy as well, Mike Luckovich's cartoon with 2000 dead soldiers' names certainly puts the principle on display. Here's an Editor & Publisher piece, the original discussion on the cartoonist's site, and a follow-up including the cartoonist's statement.
 
posted 8:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
King’s Marvel Book Part of Series?

I hear Marvel has been somewhat coy about its one-word "King" announcement at last summer's San Diego Con. I'm not sure why this is a good idea beyond extending the number of speculative articles; if it ends up being something other than "Stephen King will write something for us," I can't see how the original teaser could be viewed as anything other than a display of contempt for the kind of fans who follow those things. Anyway, this article seems to say that the popular author writing for the company is exactly what Marvel meant. The more interesting part is the statement that the graphic novel would also serve as the next book in King's current Dark Tower fantasy series.

Update: E-mail tells me it's a prequel, which is slightly less interesting. And apparently, Publisher's Weekly confirms.
 
posted 7:52 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Manga’s Role in Europe

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Bloomberg uses the strident satirical treatment of manga in the latest Asterix volume to provide a snapshot of manga's place in the overall European comics market.
 
posted 7:47 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: Marvel Payout Next Week

The news and business analysis site ICv2.com is reporting that the payouts from Brian Hibbs-led class action lawsuit will make their way into the affected retailers' ordering process next week. That case stemmed out of Marvel's disregar for elements of its shipping policy that called for it to accept returns on late and drastically changed items. In addition to the money, the suit led to a change in shipping policy which allows for adjustments closer to the actual shipping of product.
 
posted 7:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Listen: Chris Ware, Charles Burns

Although Ware might deny it in his own case, both of these cartoonists are fine talkers on the art form, and I'm certain this radio show is worth a listen.
 
posted 7:29 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Signe Wilkinson Hits 20 at Daily-News
Alumni Magazine Tips Hat to Dave Kellett
San Francisco Area Still Appeals to Cartoonists
Comics Fans Certainly Love Zombies
Student Cartoonists Shift to High School Experience
New Dreamwave's Editorial Team: Dery, Powers
That Depressing IRS Agent Story

 

 
October 26, 2005


All Hail Doonesbury, 35 Years Old

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Doonesbury may not astonish like it did during its first decade, nor does it have exactly the same passionate fanbase that allowed it the client list to say things other strips couldn't. It still has the ability to piss people off, and the broadest, best-realized cast in comic strip history. Here's the Doonesbury web site, an interview, the article from his syndicate about the anniversary, a CBSnews.com profile, an Editor and Publisher piece, and the full text of a recent talk to newspaper editors.

Garry Trudeau jokes in one of the above stories that his legacy is that strips can be poorly drawn now. That is partly true, I think, but it's really selling Doonesbury's influence short. You find Doonesbury scattered about the comics page in a lot of odd places. Formally, that silent pause before a double-punchline is such a fantastic way of telling jokes -- it's the freaking Green Bay Sweep/Triangle offense of comic strip joke-telling -- that it seems impossible for lesser talents to abuse it out of the business. Doonesbury is the first major strip to come out of the college ranks, the first strip to grow in popularity based a model where people object to its being dropped, and among the top five when it comes to book/strip synergy. Its rise contributed greatly to the success of the AM-Universal syndicate, which means it helped make possible the shape of the modern syndication and strip-book industries. Doonesbury hasn't gained as much as Dilbert has from the exploitation of various computer and on-line technologies, but it's been pretty forward in using them -- a complete CD-ROM, an aggressive showcase web site perhaps best known for its partnership with the high-profile Slate magazine. I think the strip was a general artistic influence, allowing more satire on the comics page. It gave newspaper editors a context in which to understand and give a shot to The Boondocks, For Better or For Worse, and Bloom County. Bloom County owed a ton of its artistic personality to Doonesbury, to be cordial about it, and Breathed's strip received a direct syndication boost as a plugged-in substitute when Trudeau took time off -- taking a break being another thing Trudeau did if not first than to greatest effect.

I could go on and on. When I worked in Seattle at The Comics Journal, Doonesbury made it really easy for me to explain to non-comics readers what I was doing for a living. "You know how Doonesbury is different from the rest of the newspaper strips in that it's sort of obviously aimed at adults and takes a certain amount of attention to understand it? There are a lot of comic strips and comic books like that, just not as well known." That always worked. Always.

I also just enjoy the strip. I always have, despite a childhood so Republicanized I was 24 years old before I realized much of what Archie Bunker said was intended as satire. I've been collecting the older, white books recently, and it's a lot of fun re-reading the 1970s run. My favorite storyline, I think, is the one where Joanie Caucus -- maybe the greatest female comic strip character ever -- ran a congressional campaign and in the fallout ended up in the sack with Rick Redfern in a great silent sequence, the kind of thing no one could do today without coming across as self-congratultory and smarmy. There was something really sustained and smart and wholly character-based about that entire run that I still find endearing. I also have a soft spot for the old football huddle strips from the comic's early days. I'm not as big a fan of the more aggressively fantastic political satire and dangling feathers and whatnot of the strip's more recent years, but I don't get a vote, and god help those idiotic comics fans who cling to a rigid view of someone else's lifework and treat any digression as a personal affront and poison that keeps them from seeing the wider achievement. Trudeau can still hit hard when he wants to, as he did in 2004 with the BD losing his leg storyline, and the extent of his accomplishment is becoming more and more clear. Hooray for Doonesbury, and happy birthday.
 
posted 9:33 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Scott Adams Adds a Blog

Here's an Editor & Publisher piece about Scott Adams of Dilbert adding a blog to his on-line efforts. This gets noted where other cartoonists starting similar enterprises wouldn't for a couple of reasons. First, Adams may be the cartoonist who has gained the most by a strong Internet presence, of which this would be a new permutation. Second, Adams notes that his e-mails are starting to get screened out by sophisticated systems at big companies, and the blog is a way to communicate to his readers distinct from that. For some reason I find that interesting.
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Sfar, Woodring, Casey

imageI missed a few strong interviews that went up earlier this week. The belle of the ball is this longish piece with Joann Sfar, which goes deep into issues of France's orientation towards Jewish/Arab issues, potentially necessary background for understanding his take on things in The Rabbi's Cat. The great Jim Woodring does an interview with SuicideGirls.com that's a bit longer than their usual pieces; Jim Woodring is always worth reading. Joe Casey's interview on the same site is a more typical piece tied into his Godland series, but it does contain an important note towards that series' interpretation, that it's not about Jack Kirby as much as anything goes storytelling in the key of Kirby.
 
posted 9:24 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com on BookScan GN Charts

The comics business analysis site ICv2.com has a nice, concise piece on this month's BookScan numbers, and where one can see the influence of having related anime on the Cartoon Network in a month it's not obviously hammering at the rest of the list from the top of the charts.
 
posted 8:52 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Keith Knight on the Road
Store in My Hometown at 10-Month Point
Ranan Lurie to Unveil Giant Painting at UN
Local Shop Owners Profile: Mark Waters, Matt Reinhart
Local Shop Owner Profile: Ben Garvin
Student: I Love Manga
Morrie Turner Appearance Report
 

 
October 25, 2005


New Toles Book Ends Drought?

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The latest Tom Toles book of political cartoons is officially due next month, which in typical book-publishing fashion means we're starting to see copies already. A new Toles book is always good news, but it struck me -- and I could be wrong about this -- that this might somehow be the first Toles editorial cartoon collection since 1996. This seems an incredibly long amount of time between books for someone as highly regarded as the Washington Post heavy-hitter, and for someone with his consistent publishing record in the early to mid-1990s.
 
posted 8:57 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: September Sales GN-Led

imageAfter a surge in July that continued into August, it looks like sales in Direct Market comic book shops settled back into a recently familiar pattern of graphic novel-led incremental growth. I prefer reading ICv2.com's coverage, which includes a summary, analysis, a top 300 list of comic books, and a top 100 list of graphic novels.

The comic title at the top of the charts, a second issue of the Frank Miller/Jim Lee mini-series All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder, reflects the breadth of DC's assault on top chart positions. If the knuckles on DC's right hand are tattooed "Line-Wide Event" (as in Identity Crisis), then the knuckles on the left are tattooed "Stand-Alone Prestige Projects," encompassing creator-driven, big-character things like the Miller/Lee team-up and the Alex Ross-fueled Justice miniseries that hit #1 last month. (Marvel has "Bendis" tattooed on each hand.)

All of the usual CR items of interest apply to this month: dominance in top 100 slots of top two companies (93-7), a great difference between the top titles and the rest of what's selling (#100=22,000 units sold), no real growth outside of the top ten, and manga in comic book shops being a conservative mix of adventure serials and reliable bookstore titles. Love Manga digs into the manga presence on the graphic novel list with its own analyis here.
 
posted 8:39 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Supernatural Law: On-Line and in Print

When Carla Speed McNeil put her Finder on-line and withdrew it from print publication in comic book form to more effectively drive business to the trades, rumors where that Exhibit A Press was about to make a similar announcement about its Supernatural Law. As it turns out, the rumors were half-right: the comic will be put on-line on a regular schedule in full-color, but the comic book series will continue.
 
posted 8:36 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Newspaper Coverage: SNAP!, IFOA

I'm not sure why, but something about the straightforward coverage of the SNAP! event in Dearborn, Michigan and the appearance of Chris Ware, Seth, Charles Burns and Chip Kidd at and around Toronto's International Festival of Authors struck me. I liked the reviews of the latest books inserted into the Toronto piece, and was encouraged by the Detroit newspaper hyping a couple of the more teaching-oriented panels at SNAP! Both articles represent fairly new permutations in the cartooning landscape, too -- arts-focused smaller shows like SNAP! that could inspire a different comics future than the longboxes-at-the-Holiday-Inn events of my own youth, and cartoonists being treated as authors at author-dominated events.
 
posted 8:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Huge Sam Cobean Site

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Some of the scans are rough, but there's a ton of material here.
 
posted 8:09 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Interview with Roger Stern

You should definitely read it if you like superhero comics of the direct market era, anyway. Although there's a lot of untethered praise that's difficult to relate to the material itself, the interviewer is thorough and I can't recall a lot of material on Stern -- a workhorse of modern mainstream comics who wrote a lot of fondly remembered titles.
 
posted 7:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Ruining the Deadline Game For the Rest of Us
Student at CCS Interviewed
Boondocks Accused of Spreading Rumors
Mallard Fillmore Hits 450-Paper Mark
Andrew Arnold on Black Hole
Local Comics-Related Project Profile: It's Superman!
Media Picks Up on Doonesbury Poll
 

 
October 24, 2005


Jantze Halts Comic Book Norm

Nice catch by Comixpedia who note that Michael Jantze will no longer self-publish his printed comic-book version of The Norm. Jantze's entry into comic shops had been tied into the feature's newspaper syndication, as a way of reaching fans in markets not yet served by a local paper carrying the strip. With Jantze self-syndicating The Norm on-line through a pay subscription model, this function no longer applies. Comixpedia notes Jantze is open to hearing from other publishers.
 
posted 6:19 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Massive Joe Sacco Profile

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Joe Sacco has been profiled frequently but this piece offers up a lot in the way of detail, such as how many pages the cartoonist produces over how many days.
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Strip Articles: Watterson, Trudeau, Eliot

imageWith the holidays approaching and any number of books being dropped from various strip cartoonists for the Fall shopping season, there has also been the expected surge in related profiles. Here's an odd variation on the "Bill Watterson Wants to Be Left Alone" article, where a writer talks extensively to the cartoonist's parents. The piece somehow makes Watterson's current activities sound even more mysterious than what's been published in the past, although I always assumed he was just painting. Included is this killer newspaper file photo I've never seen before, of the cartoonist at his drawing table back during the strip's first rush of success. In related news, the New York Times notes that the Complete Calvin and Hobbes made one of its sales lists, a sizeable achievement due to the book's price tag.

Other strip treatments showing up in papers over the weekend include this excerpt from a Garry Trudeau speech about his process, and Jan Eliot writing one of those guest editorials they let famous people and authors write, this one about her involvement with Habitat for Humanity.
 
posted 5:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Galleycat on Watchmen: Overrated?

imageRon at mediabistro.com's "Galleycat" sums up the reaction to his assertion that 100 Best Novels List in Time entry Watchmen might be overrated. He also notes the number of Time Warner media writers who have covered the book in laudatory fashion, although he quotes the person who included Watchmen on the Time list saying he had no idea there was a new version of the book coming out when he started, and quotes Newsarama where the author of the recent Entertainment Weekly piece says the same thing.

The only weird part is when Lev Grossman says Watchmen was included on Time's list above other graphic novels because of its influence, which is odd in that few of the 99 prose books they included seem to embody that particular value.
 
posted 5:27 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Teshkeel Media to License Marvel

Marvel Entertainment has entered into a substantial licensing deal for its titles in various formats in the Arabic-language market with Teshkeel, a very well-funded media company operating out of Kuwait less than a year old whose mission statement practically guarantees this kind of partnership would be pursued. Again, the difference between Marvel Now and Marvel Past has been its ability to seek very specific licensing partnerships to the company's advantage, and now it has primary product deals in the Arabic-language and Indian markets. Teshkeel made comics news earlier this year by funding a current attempt to revive Cracked, which along with hints they might be developing their own superhero stuff seems to be the only other deal the company can boast of thus far. They should begin publishing in 2006.
 
posted 5:22 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Sendak on Hollywood

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The NY Times unpacks the great visual storyteller Maurice Sendak's relationship with Hollywood, with very amusing results and several great, quotable lines.

I didn't know these toys existed, either
 
posted 5:13 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Paul Gravett’s Site

The renowned British expert on comics Paul Gravett looks to have launched a web site that makes use of his published articles as the springboard for an artist-by-artist recommendation site and reading resource, specifically aimed at British audiences. They seem to be rolling out on a weekly basis.
 
posted 5:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Ware and Burns at Brattle Theatre Tonight
Military Cartoonist Profile: Bryan Dorman
Snapshot: The Decline of the Indian Cartoon
Go, Read: Jewish People Created Comic Books
 

 
October 23, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

MoCCA and Harvey Awards Split

Heidi MacDonald has run a press release from the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art announcing the termination of that institution's relationship with the Harvey Awards -- by what they say is mutual agreement. The museum hosted a Harvey Awards ceremony the last two years in conjunction with their popular early summer Festival in New York City's famous Puck Building, and the year before that enabled a barebones announcement of that year's winners for the then-orphaned awards as basically a part of programming.

This was at its core a strategic financial failure for the Museum. MoCCA Chair Lawrence Klein was always blunt when interviewed that the museum's interest was dependent on the awards bringing money and prestige to their organization. That not only provided the final arbiter of success -- no way this latest development takes place if money was coming in hand over fist -- but it sparked the various difficulties that plagued MoCCA's stewarship. To make the Harveys the event they needed it to be, MoCCA tried to ramp up the ceremony so it was more in line with similar awards programs held in New York City, the kind of shows that can be covered by mainstream press and perhaps, one day, even televised. They acquired food and beverage sponsors, got donations from companies big and small, made fancier the other elements of the awards like the ballots, instituted payment policies for guests of nominees, and attempted to have a grown-up dinner and drinks-type ceremony.

This turned out to be, by nearly every account I've come across, a horrific failure. One contributing element -- but really only one element and don't believe anyone who tells you this is the sole difficulty that doomed the partnership -- is that comics in general is just not suited to a fancy awards program. Comics isn't Big Money and Little Money. It's Some Money and No Money. Attempts to raise funds via sponsorship from some companies that are frequently nominated came up empty because those companies have no money to speak of. Most cartoonists aren't rolling in it to the extent they naturally want to drop money to dress up while on the road during an exhausting art show exhibition weekend and pay money for friends and loved ones to attend that awards ceremony with them. Others, the stars of their own art-hero movies, are outright dismissive of any standard-setting that comes with such a show and wouldn't dream of attending, let alone paying for it.

But as everyone in comics knows, there are awards show that avoid these problems, or at least negotiate around that element of comics culture with bemused grumpiness and the occasional rolled eyes. It's my opinion the MoCCA/Harveys partnershp went from troubled to doomed because MoCCA pushed way too hard for its unrealistic vision of what a comics awards program should and would be, prefered to think in grand strokes rather than take care of amateurishly loose details, and refused to adjust when its first year's show went poorly. That, when combined with the show's failure to reach any supposed new audience that would be attracted to the high-end goings on, was what led to yesterday's announcement, which many have been expecting for more than a year. Half the time it was impossible just to find out who was making what decisions.

It's also important to note that people actively upset by the awards were a relatively limited crowd in scope, and that they drew on a variety of factors, a general feeling of being treated like shit, rather than any specific offense. Various industry folk didn't simply resent being asked to pay to have their dates attend. They resented being asked that on top of the aggressive fundraising and sponsorship seeking that preceded it, against a background of general confusion as to whether or not that kind of attention to the bottom line was, in the long run, a proper way to honor Harvey Kurtzman's great talent and some of the best the art form has to offer. This was exacerbated by some generally poor administration -- ballot typos, representatives on hand to accept awards not acknowledged -- that indicated not getting one's money's worth, and, perhaps even feelings that resentment was being directed at various people in the form of ignoring their wishes. In addition, in at least the first year the proper awards ceremony was held at MoCCA, the policies of paid attendance weren't enforced for everyone, giving these rules an unpleasant, capricious air. When a scaled-down version of the same awards was pursued this last year, amidst detail-light assertions that the first full ceremony hosted by MoCCA lost money, without any attempt to reach out to aggrieved parties, and without a successful strategy to build on what had worked about the previous year's effort -- well, the show seemed kind of doomed in its MoCCA iteration.

My suspicion is that this latest version of the Harvey must have been discouraging enough simply ending them might be appealing. The good news for the Harveys if they want to continue could be that there's a New York Comic-Con now that might concievably host such a show or give an independent ceremony its logical weekend dates. There are also more publishers potentially interested in having a chance to have their graphic novel lines honored. I could be wrong about this but Denis Kitchen and other comics industry-based admirers of Kurtzman may be able to be more fully involved in finding a new home now that MoCCA is out of the picture. This could be it, though. The Harvey Awards could also fade from view, after a fine run. It's not that comics needs another awards shows, but ideas like a pros-only ballot and a New York platform may have enough appeal that if the Harveys enjoy one more try I doubt anyone will object.

Editorial Update: Sarah Dyer wrote in to tell me that they served dinner in Pittsburgh, too, so that wasn't a new thing. Also, that that dinner was better-tasting.

Missed It: Chip Kidd Has a Site

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Thanks to Neil Gaiman, I am slightly less ignorant than when I woke up.

Idea of the Week

It would be easy for fans of Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel's The Quitter to dismiss the Onion's refusal to review it as a National Lampoon-style stunt, but hopefully the interesting idea being floated won't be lost due to the provocative nature of the article. I've yet to read The Quitter, but the thought that a rush to a certain format might not flatter the specific skills and aims of certain cartoonists seems to me one worth wrestling. The absolutism that readers and even comics business folk bring to formatting decisions -- "I'm a trades person; I don't care if they ever publish comic books again" -- puts at risk the art of many cartoonists who might work much more effectively in a non-favored manner.

It may be more worrisome for the comics medium than other media. If a stand-up, say, takes a shot at a TV sitcom and finds they're not as well-suited for that as they are for live performance (Margarent Cho, Billy Connolly), they can usually return to those avenues of expression. Comics, where nearly all publishing efforts remain somewhat marginal due to the industry's comparative lack of heft or a giant sucking-off of profits up and away from the division itself, may not support secondary avenues of expression for as long or as effectively as other media. If comics is to gain a permanent toehold in the wider cultural world for its artistic merit, a wide variety of comics seems to better guarantee a long-term stay in the sun.

If It Helps, I Got a Flat Fee, Not a Royalty

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I hate talking about my own work here, even peripherally, but I wanted to draw attention to the work of Greg Sadowski on a volume I was lucky enough to edit: The Comics Journal Library Volume 5: Classic Comics Illustrators. The interviews by the likes of Gary Groth and Monte Beauchamp are all high-quality, but now that I have one in my lap I have to say the presentation is pretty stunning for a book like this; the Russ Heath section in particular make me want to run out and buy all his comics. Sadowski is best known in comics circles for his Bernard Krigstein books, and hopefully he'll be around a long time, perhaps in part taking over the whole CJ series himself.

This early cover mock-up has Dave Stevens instead of Russ Heath and Russ Manning -- Stevens asked that his interviews not be included.

This One's For the Fans

I enjoy reading the writer Douglas Wolk's blog, and I was happy to get his opinion on Infinite Crisis #1 recently, as it's one I can test against what I've read of his before and he's generally informed without being overly invested. I was surprised that his mostly positive appraisal of the comic seems based on standards that he probably wouldn't apply to other works, but he does make clear how he approaches such material.

The part that kind of confused me, though, is when Wolk says the book fails as a jumping-on point for new readers. Is there any evidence DC is seeking new readers with this series? There are always a few readers attracted by a big noise, but I'm not sure a play for new readers beyond that is DC's intent. Heck, I didn't even know this first issue was dropping until like the day before, and I'm more informed than the average non-comics reader.

My guess from what they've been saying is that the real jumping-on point will come after this Infinity Crisis "event" with the "one year later" re-start of the various series, entry points that DC probably hopes extend beyond a first issue and reflect a more approachable quality to their books in general. I don't think they can do this, mind you, both from a degree of difficulty point in terms of the kind of storytelling required and the amount of determination and restraint required to keep from going back to the well o' stunts the next time line sales dip a bit. Plus by forcing through such a monstrosity in the current market, and causing competitors to do the same, they're shredding general market tissue that will have to heal, slowing down long-term growth.

In other words, I think Wolk's criticism will eventually apply, just not now.

Go, Read: Tons of Shuck

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Sign of the times? Rick Smith has announced the posting of a massive number of his Shuck Comics pages on-line in the hopes to interest readers in buying the print comics.

Go, Read: LA Times on Masters of American Comics Show

This is a measured, smart article on the forthcoming major show in Los Angeles, with the possible exception that some of the people providing quotes don't seem as if they're clued into the full scope of the piece.

I Probably Knew This and Simply Forgot

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Bart Beaty, whose writing graces this site in "Conversational Euro-Comics," will release his Fredric Wertham book next month.

Initial Thought of the Day

According to an anecdoted relayed in his new Comics Journal interview, Jerry Robinson's older brother knew a man who saw Napoleon! This completely weirds me out.
 
posted 9:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 22, 2005


CR Week in Review

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Top Stories

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

1. Gordon Chin manga pornography case ends in Canada with Chin's sentence.

2. Publisher pulls current serial and previously published books by Yuki Suetsugu following fan-driven charges of plagiarism. The artist owns up to the practice via a statement on the publisher's web site.

3. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes burns through its initial printing, according to reports.

Winner of the Week
New Yorker cartoonists.

Loser of the Week
Jack Thompson.

Quote of the Week
"Only a fool makes enemies needlessly." -- Harlan Ellison.
 
posted 3:29 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Week’s Five For Friday

Reader responses have been added to this week's "Five For Friday" question: "Suggest Five As-Yet Unused Topics For Five For Friday Year 2."

The next Five for Friday will go up early AM on the 28th.
 
posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 21, 2005


Ending the Week on a Positive Note

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Out in January. Click-through picture for Chris Butcher's discussion of this and other D&Q comics.
 
posted 12:57 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Canadian Manga Porn Case Ends

Edmonton's Gordon Chin was sentenced this week to 18 months probation, community service, five-year registry in a federal sex offender program and a ban from owning a computer and accessing the Internet. The charge stems from the January discovery of a package of explicit manga intended for Chin and a follow-up seach that yielded 63 additional books of that type and binders contaning hard copies of similar material downloaded from the Internet. Chin just missed mandatory jail time recently passed into law. The defendent claimed general ignorance of the unlawful nature of what he possessed. The Chin case is believed to be the first case of its type in Canada.

A secondary story here might be the sloppy detail work of the Edmonton Journal article, as pointed out here and here. The article confuses anime and manga, and makes other odd, sweeping and generally untenable observations.
 
posted 7:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Evanier on Maximum Fantastic Four

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Mark Evanier writes about his involvement with one of the strangest projects of the Fall, the upcoming Maximum Fantastic Four, a panel-by-panel exploration of Fantastic Four #1 by author and admitted Jack Kirby admirer Walter Mosley. It's described here. Evanier mentions that he feels strongly now that the uncredited FF #1 inker is indeed George Klein, a belief he will unpack in a future magazine article.

Even though I think that the Marvel Comics achievement of the early 1960s is best characterized as a sustained effort as opposed to a sudden, revolutionary one, I'm looking forward to this book. Mosley is best known for his detective fiction, particularly his Easy Rawlins series, but both his young adult and science fiction writing reveal an interest in the transformative physicality and mythic postures of mid-20th Century superhero stories.

I think it's "Mosley," although some previous coverage disagrees with me.
 
posted 6:49 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Charles Burns, Black Hole Profiled

Profiles like this one of Charles Burns and the Pantheon release Black Hole generally go under "quick hits," but it's a pretty good example of the species, with quotes from Chris Ware and Robert Crumb, as well as a more-focused-than-usual-for-this-kind-of-piece line of questioning or two featuring thoughtful responses from Burns himself. This is as solid a profile of a local yet largely unknown author in comics or prose you're likely to see, which kind of underlines the gains literary comics have made in the last decade -- not a move into the aggregate sales territory or a stab at the cultural currency of Spandex Man and His Glum Chums, but the treatment and, more and more often, unit sales of similarly-oriented authors working in prose.

I know that headline's dull, but you write "Major Burns Profile" and all that comes to mind is Larry Linville.
 
posted 6:38 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FBI Adds David B. Story to Mome

I don't want to talk about their spring schedule until it's announced in its entirety, but the Fantagraphics slow roll-out yielded an interesting note yesterday, that the third volume of the anthology Mome will feature a 30-page David B. story called "The Veiled Prophet."
 
posted 6:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Eric Burns: Two More Keenspot Defections
Schizo #4 Finally Goes to Printer
Spotlight on DC Comics' Westerns
Comic-Con International Film Effort Now Up
Jim Morin Joins Project Compassion
Last Remaining Queer Eye Fan Reveals Herself
New Captain America's First Adventure to Involve Burial
Never Image Search Yourself Before Coffee
 

 
October 20, 2005


Go, Read: Dave Sim’s DC Contract

Dave Sim has allowed Al Nickerson to put up a few documents, including a precursor to the Creator's Bill of Rights, and, delightfully, a DC contract with his annotations.

I wish more people would put contracts up, but I don't expect there to be a run on this kind of thing anytime soon.
 
posted 10:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Napier Dunn Passes Away at 67

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South African cartoonist Napier Dunn has passed away at age 67.

Dunn led one of the more far-flung, fascinating lives of a modern cartoonist, living and working on three continents. The son of Edward Dunn, an orchestra director, he was a musician in addition to being an artist, playing with his father's orchestra, various ballet companies and orchestra in England, the SABC Symphony in Johannesburg, and finally the London Philharmonic. He became interested in cartooning while in the Far East playing music, selling cartoons to a local paper. He worked for the Mainchi Daily News, spent three years at the South China Morning Post, did freelance art while in San Francisco, and was employed by a paper in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1991 he returned to South Africa and worked primarily as a cartoonist and artist. He had a kind of big-headed caricature style; above is one of his recent building illustrations.

He also played in the Grenadier Guards band, taught English in Japan, lectured, painted, and worked on a cruise ship.

Services have not yet been set.
 
posted 9:31 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Manga Copying Update: Details

This short article provides most of the details from news that broke yesterday about steps taken against the plagiarizing manga author Yuki Suetsugu: it includes information on what work was copied (Slam Dunk), the number of volumes pulled, the serial suspeded, and a bit of the cartoonist's confession.
 
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Yi Won-Soo Exhibits in NYC

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I found this slightly interesting, in that I'd never heard of an editorial cartoonist actively leveraging this element of their art in quite this manner: the Korean cartoonist Yi Won-Soo will hold an exhibition in the United States with the idea of handing his celebrity cartoons to the subjects of each cartoon and hitting them up for charity.
 
posted 7:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Sorensen Replaces Barry in SLC

I hear almost nothing about the status of slots in the nation's various alternative weekly newspapers, although I get the sense that things remain extremely competitive and that it's not the easiest comics arena in which to gain some traction. The newsbite at the bottom of this article reporting Jen Sorensen will replace Lynda Barry in the Salt Lake City paper is worth peeking at for Barry's quote, which may qualify for entry in a Most Gracious Reaction Ever contest.

 
posted 7:33 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Kubert in Boy Comics

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At the bottom of this week's edition of Steven Grant's long-time, must-read Comic Book Resources column "Permanent Damage" is a short story illustrated by a very young Joe Kubert that appeared in a Charlie Biro comic.
 
posted 7:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
US Teens Consume Lurid Manga?

Here's one of those articles that didn't make any sense to me on the first reading -- it suggests that kids are consuming salacious manga but also that they're only consuming a tamer version of same. Luckily a reader e-mailed me early this morning to point out that it didn't make any more sense to people better immersed in manga.
 
posted 7:23 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Influential Illustrator Jean Michel Folon, 1934-2005
Thair Shafiq Among Refugees Seeking Escape
Chip Bok Launches Blog
Disney-Based Hype for SLG's Haunted Mansion
Larsen Takes Coloring Break, Back to Dragon
Another DC Mid-Level Exclusive: Ivan Reis
Local Cross-Culture Studio Profile: PopArt
CD-ROM Offers Up Complete Garfield
 

 
October 19, 2005


Tom Gill, 1913-2005

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Cartoonist and comics educator Tom Gill, best known for his art on the Lone Ranger comic books, passed away in his New York home on Monday at 92 years old. The cause of death was heart failure.

Gill's career began during at the New York Daily News, where according to the Reuters obituary he drew the first map of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He later worked for the Herald-Tribune and the Times.

His comic book drawing career in the 1940 included art duties on Blue Bolt. He also drew the newspaper features Flower Potts and Ricky Stevens during that decade, before turning his attention towards freelance comic book illustration in 1949.

Beginning in 1950 Gill settled into a long period drawing westerns at Dell and then Gold Key, primarily The Lone Ranger. Gill frequently worked from scripts prepared by Paul S. Newman.

Gill also enjoyed a long second career as an arts educator at various New York regional schools. He began teaching at the School of Visual Arts in 1948 and is credited with helping found that institution; he became SVA's alumni director in 1969. Despite losing his eyesight late in life, Gill continued to teach art at area community colleges.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, two children, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services are planned for Friday.

Mark Evanier's classy appreciation can be found here, and Mr. Gill's Lambiek entry can be found here. An Albuquerque newspaper article from May contrasted the east coast artist and the wide-open spaces of his comics work, and can be found here.
 
posted 9:33 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Police Asked to Close Penny Arcade

More craziness from the Penny Arcade camp, as a man named Jack Thompson reportedly ended up contacting Seattle police after being castigated by the PA duo, I believe concerning some offer made to donate to charity if a game would be designed that directed violence in a manner Thompson would find satirically pleasing. I may be better off reading the Japanese cited in the above article than I am at sorting through on-line comics stuff, but my guess is that the PA guys decided this guy was a chump for his stand against elements of videogame culture -- gaming being the basis for the popular PA comic -- and started giving Thompson a little bit of crap on their blog, up to and including, and I'm kind of lost here, mocking his $10,000 donation through making one of their own just without strings attached.

You can look at the Florida-based Thompson's faxed letter at Penny Arcade, on the 6:00 PM post October 17.
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Artist’s Books Pulled for Plagiarism

imageUp top at MangaNews.net (meaning the October 19th entry) is an entry on Kodansha pulling Yuki Suetsugu's manga from the shelves and ending her current serialization because of fanboard-generated accusations that she plagiarized a great number of scenes from other, popular manga. They have it pretty well sourced out over there, and I get lost when the pages turns to Japanese, so you can dig around there if you want for further links. What I don't know about Japanese publishing could fill the space in that part of Arizona where it looks like God has pressed down on the world with the heel of his hand, but I wasn't aware that copying was treated in this fashion. In North America, copying of what I believe to be this sort just means you can't win lawsuits with people who call you on it, and that occasionally people on North American message boards will tell other people to stop bringing it up.

a Suetsugo book
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Marvel Inks Pet Product Licensing Deal

There's nothing special about this latest deal except to note it in the context of Marvel making better and more specific licensing deals in this up period than at any time in their past -- a major difference between Marvel now and Marvels past.
 
posted 9:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Finder Begins Its On-Line Era

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It looks as if Carla Speed McNeil has launched the on-line distribution strategy she announced recently for her Finder series, whereby she abandons single-issue comic books for on-line posting of ongoing work, which is then collected into print trades. The move could be an important one in terms of the future of single-comics production for classic "indy comics," by which I mean genre works created outside of the top publishers.
 
posted 9:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CPM Resumes Modest Publishing Sked

ICv2.com confirms that Central Park Media will return to a modest publishing schedule in early 2006. They had suspended publication during a point at which manga publishing fortunes seemed shakier than they might right now.
 
posted 9:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Cartoonists Skip, Slam Judith Miller

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Here's a decent article from Editor and Publisher that notes many cartoonists have stayed away from the Judith Miller and Her Sources story because it feel too much like an insider's issue, but some that have commented have come down in brutal fashion in the anti-Miller camp.
 
posted 9:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Girls Turn to Comics For Life Lessons

This is a halfway decent article on the push and pull of cultural object and cultural context, although I'm always a little suspicious of the extent of effect claimed for any specific work of art.
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Go, Read: Steve Lieber's Spanish Festival Report
Not Comics: Kaluta, Schultz on Conan Cartoon
Rich Cartoonist Profile: Brad Meltzer
Greg Holkan Leaves Gossamer Commons
Local Cartoonist Profile: Blackstar
Chip Kidd to Speak to Bulldogs
More DC Exclusives: Eaglesham, Kramer
Jan Eliot Continues Laudable Charity Work
2005 Digital Manga Award Winners
Cartoonist Donates Kidney to Friend
 

 
October 18, 2005


Calvin and Hobbes Collection a Hit

This article in The Book Standard indicates The Complete Calvin and Hobbes may be selling ahead of projected levels, with an anticipated additional printing in order to meet holiday shopping demands. Although the collection of Bill Watteson's strip was highly anticipated, one didn't have to go far to find people off the record wondering out loud about its ability to meet sales expectations given the price point and the fact that basically all of the material had appeared in popular editions that continue to find customers.
 
posted 2:42 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Watchmen Makes 100 Best Novels List

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The interesting thing to me about Watchmen's inclusion on a Time best novels list is how naturally it kind of slides in there. The ability to put a graphic novel on a list like that without it seeming like a indefensible reach may be a more important step in the ongoing dialogue about their value than asserting our individual taste.
 
posted 2:21 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Interview With Charles Burns

The Book Standard, a really aggressive source for bookstore-related comics news these days, runs this interview with Charles Burns. There should be more Burns to come with the publication of Black Hole, a graphically accomplished and acessible work.
 
posted 2:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Steinberg Among Top 40 Covers

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Found via Mark Evanier's site, this list of top 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years. Included are three cartoonist-related covers for The New Yorker: Saul Steinberg's iconic "A View of the World From Ninth Avenue" (shown above), Art Spiegelman's 9/11 cover he discusses here, and "New Yorkistan" by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz.
 
posted 2:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Go, Listen: Bill Leak Interview
George Washington Adds 300 Graphic Novels
Is Pantheon Re-Pushing Epileptic or What?
Comics Bio of Kalpana Chawla Proves Popular
Local Cartoonist Profile: David Reddick
 

 
October 17, 2005


Conversational Euro-Comics

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Crazyman, by Edmond Baudoin
 
posted 2:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
National Cartoon Museum Picks Designer

Editor and Publisher reports that Mort Walker's National Cartoon Museum plans to employ the museum design firm of Ralph Appelbaum Associates to shape its space in the Empire State Building. Depending on how you look at these things, this is either good news that the museum will be handled in such a first class manner or troubling news that the NCM is overreaching, as seems to have happened in previous locations.
 
posted 6:34 am PST | Permalink
 

 
De Crecy Louvre Book Showcased

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The news site ActuaBD.com has photos and art from an event featuring Nicolas De Crecy's Periode Glaciaire, the first of four books published by the Louvre in partnershiip with Futuropolis. Susequent books will be released from Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Yslaire, and Emmanuel Guibert.
 
posted 6:24 am PST | Permalink
 

 
New Asterix Volume Sales Update

Via afNews comes this article, reporting that the new Asterix album Le ciel lui tombe sur la tete saw terrible reviews but enjoyed sales of 400,000 in France on its initial day of release. The volume was released in 27 countries; 3.2 million copies of its initial 8 million copy press run were directed to France.
 
posted 6:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Profile of Lynd Ward

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You don't have to; I thought you might want to.
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Chaos Comics is Back?

It somehow completely escaped my attention that Chaos! had switched hands or was publishing again. And yet somehow I'm not all that bothered by the oversight.
 
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Restoring Slumberland

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posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Local Cartoonist Profile: Nie Jun
Local Cartoonist Profile: Larry Terrill
The Mainstreaming of '80s Nostalgia
Eisner Biographer Andelman Selects 10 GNs
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jorge Cham
This Guy Loves Superman Comics
Simone and Byrne End Run on Action
Local Shop Owner Profile: John Hitchcock
Satrapi's Speech and Q&A Profiled
 

 
October 16, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

Special: An Interview With Roger Langridge

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Go, Read: CulturePulp on Stumptown Comics Fest

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs on Professionalism

Last week at Newsarama, retailer Brian Hibbs offered up a cogent rant on the general subject of amateurish efforts at various points within the comics industry. I'd agree with him nearly 100 percent, although I imagine there are a few areas in which I would see disagreement about policy rather than companies acting poorly.

Happy 79th Birthday, Joe Sinnott

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Initial Thought of the Day

I woke up from a nap the other day and turned on the tube to a scene on a show where Pete Bagge and Frank Miller were hunched over examining a dead body. It wasn't Bagge and Miller after all, but two actors on something called Da Vinci's Inquest. I found this more disturbing than amusing.

Happy 42nd Birthday, Larry Young

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posted 12:16 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
October 15, 2005


Oh! Oh! Little Nemo Turns 100

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posted 8:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week in Review

Top Stories

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

1. A newspaper in Denmark pulls a free speech stunt/noble protest/who exactly knows by publishing cartoons featuring Mohammed, with the expected results.

image2. Two significant comics drop: the new sure-to-be-multi-million seller Asterix album; the first issue of DC Comics' lynchpin miniseries Infinite Crisis. This is a Jim Lee cover, I believe; earlier in the week we ran a George Perez, I think. I'm not sure if these are the only two covers or not. That Dr. Light sure pops on Lee's. The Asterix album ran the same cover on its multiple variations, with different text to reflect the languages (13) in which it was being made available, and the resulting title changes.

3. Dark Horse announces plans to expand on its adventure and add to its horror manga offerings, showing there's still life in a narrow-focus line.

Winner of the Week
My guess? Albert Uderzo, self-publisher.

Loser of the Week
Tokyopop, whose contracts with unproven English-language talent took a beating on various messageboard and blogs with, well, varying levels of sourcing involved.

Quote of the Week
"Yeah, yeah, I know. You all want one last link where Byrne overreacts to something and looks a bit of a dick. Hopefully this will do." -- Graeme McMillan playing gracious host on the much-trafficked and well-liked web site Fanboy Rampage, to shut down on Monday.
 
posted 7:37 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Week’s Five For Friday

Reader responses have been added to this week's "Five For Friday" question: "Name Five Completely Random Comics-Related Things."

The next Five for Friday will go up early AM on the 21st.
 
posted 7:32 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 14, 2005


First Second Releases First Seasonal Schedule, Previews for Future Books

Spring '06

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Future Books

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I will make do other links to '06 book line announcements if anyone wants to send me as specific a link.
 
posted 3:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Sound of One Book Dropping

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* 8,000,000 copies
* 33 albums in the series
* 27 different countries in initial release
* 14 languages on initial release
* 4 years since the last one
* 3 (at least) blunt caricature names (anagrams for Walt Disney, Bush and Manga)
 
posted 11:38 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Danish Paper Condemned for Cartoons

The highest circulation paper in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, has come under fire from Muslim groups both in-country and abroad for the depiction of Mohammed in 12 cartoons, cartoons solicited by the paper in order to make a point about drawing pictures of Mohammed despite pressure from Muslim groups. An example can be found here. According to a follow-up report, the paper has received threats and hired extra security.

The story is all context, and needs to be understood as the newest permutation of that country's -- that region's -- ongoing public struggle with its Muslim minority, which in Denmark is 2.8 percent of the country's 5.4 million residents. As this right-leaning perspective list of problems from a few years back makes clear, things aren't settled -- there exist problems and then additional difficulties in deciding how to deal with those problems. Many cobservers feel the various Muslim minorities in that entire region have failed to assimilate into society to the point of abusing the welfare state, breaking hard against mainstream customs, and perhaps outright breaking the law through such acts as consistent threats against an even smaller Jewish minority, severe crimes against women, and violence against artists such as the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

As even the queen felt compelled to speak on the issue, it's no surprise that a paper would use the cartoon art form to draw a line in the sand about what it should be allowed and encouraged to do. I don't expect a formal retraction or apology any time soon.

Update -- Mr. Scott McCloud wrote in to point out some confusion between national and regional incidents; hopefully I've tweaked to reflect that.
 
posted 8:13 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robert Williams Prints

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Eric Reynolds unpacks his fierce admiration for the underground artist and cartoonist Robert Williams at the Fantagraphics blog on the occasion of a Williams tour; it's hard to imagine a more enjoyable way to spend a few minutes on a Friday afternoon than scooping out a few newish prints.
 
posted 8:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Former Staffer: Paper Censored Breen

Axes, wheel and sparks from application of one to the other in full evidence, a former San Diego Union-Tribune staffer lobs a series of bombs against his former employer, including an interesting one about their cartoonist Steve Breen. If I'm understanding the writer correctly, he believes Breen was freer in the stuff he syndicates nationally than with the local material, to an obvious and egregious effect. The local paper connection that many political cartoonists enjoy can in many ways yield the most interesting work that they do; I never thought there might be that distinct a difference in what's allowed. This accusation should be at the very least be filed away in case the issue comes up with more cartoonists.
 
posted 8:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Markus Huber

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A friend of mine with whom I was discussing cartoonist web sites cited Markus Huber's on-line home as a classy and highly functional example of the type. After checking it out, with its series of related illustrations and multiple comics stories, I have to agree.
 
posted 7:59 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Child’s Play ‘05 to Launch 11-1

Comixpedia notes the guys at Penny Arcade look to return to their Child's Play holiday fundraiser on November 1, this time with an international element. The charity effort may be one of the things for which the cartoonists are best known, and as I recall was also originally intended to make a point about the relative generosity of the kinds of gamers that are fans of the extremely successful on-line comic and its related efforts.
 
posted 7:56 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quesada, Brubaker Unpack Miniseries

imageKudos to Newsarama for this expansive reflection in words of what seems like a pretty standard Marvel press conference. If you're an American mainstream comics company watcher like I am, it seems to provide a generally unfiltered look at the values and concerns of the company and those who are covering it. It's a mix of the compelling -- notions floated that there are too many mutant titles and/or mutant characters -- and the slightly ridiculous, with a lot of dry humor from writer Ed Brubaker.

I'm also grateful for the art published at the bottom of the story from the forthcoming series, one of which I've thrown up in here, as it occurs to me looking at this material that there's no dominant approach to cover design at Marvel right now, at least not one I can figure out.
 
posted 7:49 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comic Book Cafe Freeloader Busted

It's sort of nice to learn that comics fans are cheap all over the world.
 
posted 7:48 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
I Didn't Know Rod Lurie Was Ranan Lurie's Kid
Another Shopping Season Strip Book: Speed Bump
Josh Neufeld Off to Help Hurricane Victims
Globe and Mail Digs Into Manga
Meltdown Comics Hosts Hunted Mansion Art Show
Jessa Crispin: Comics Part of the Solution
Lexington Library: Not So Much
Lulu.com Announces Blooker Prize
Reminder: Go Visit Bob Fingerman Tonight
 

 
October 13, 2005


Cartoonists Launch Halloween-ish Sites

Jay Stephens is talking about monster-related cartooning both static and animated in this newly-minted blog; Steve Sack has brought back one of the most successful sites ever created by a cartoonist -- his Haunted House.
 
posted 10:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Infinite Crisis Lands in DM Shops

imageAmerican mainstream comics publishing news is difficult to parse at times because a) there's so much of it and b) the Direct Market of comic shops works on a non-returnable basis which shifts at least part of the public relations emphasis to the point at which shops order rather than consumers buy.

However, it should be noted directly that yesterday was the day that Infinite Crisis #1 hit comic book shops. This is the first in the lynchpin mini-series through which DC hopes to recalibrate its monthly line, as well as ride a series of market booster shots for this and related series, as well as put pressure on Marvel to look as equally engaged and "event oriented."

I have my doubts, many of which I've expressed here, about the long-range effectiveness of DC Comics' general strategy. I think the mini-series have put too much strain on a market that could have benefited more from a strategy of steady growth, I think many of these comics are needlessly ugly and cynical, and I harbor reservations whether or not this kind of thematic work and variety of publishing strategies can somehow yield a beneficial status quo that isn't shaky and chaotic, to the market's overall detriment.

Still, this is one of the bigger and more considered assaults a company has made on the market, and should be noted here. That's what yesterday's silly New York Times puff piece was about, which I failed to make clear. Geoff Johns, a lynchpin writer in this general effort, has re-upped with DC Comics ("exclusives" are arrangements that with potential exceptions lock a creator in at either Marvel or DC; incentives include prime assignments, page count bonuses, up-front bonuses, and access to healthcare) as noted here, and here is a sampling of blog and message board discussions which seem to indicate that they're reasonably successful at hitting their intended audience with the meat of what's being offered.


Newsarama Reader's Poll

Newsarama DC Forum Dominated by IC Topics
Comicon.com Discussion
Spatula Forum
Photon Torpedoes
Spandex Justice
Luthor's Story of a World Gone Retarded
Sleep Is For Suckers
The Ending to Issue #1, Spoiled in Spanish
Comics Ate My Brain
 
posted 9:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Rucka To Name Character for CBLDF

Here's a nice story I think we'll see more of as Charles Brownstein becomes even more ingrained in the comics community and has a chance to creatively fundraise: writer Greg Rucka will name a major character in a forthcoming Atticus Kodiak novel after an auction winner, all proceeds to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The timing is right for this to be a pretty unique gift, which should attract attention. Read more about it here. Go bid, if you can. Join the CBLDF if you can't!
 
posted 9:19 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Mr. X Gallery

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For no particular reason, someone sent me a link to this gallery for Mr. X, one of three or four out of a thousand 1980s characters not to enjoy a recent comeback in hopes of a movie contract. I have no idea if the rights situation would even allow that kind of publication. In fact, I had no idea there was a volume 3.

It strikes me, though, that Mr. X kind of underlines the difference between comics right now and comics 15-20 years ago, in that a pretty limited concept that might have carried one story (and one movie) with some aplomb was hammered fairly thin attempting to support a longer series. Some people will disagree, of course. Anyway, I don't see that happening as much nowadays.
 
posted 9:13 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Hunt Emerson Interprets John Ruskin

Just when you think you've heard about all the comics coming out in a calendar year, up pops news of the Ruskin Foundation releasing a 24-page of Unto This Last drawn by Hunt Emerson and retitled How to Be Rich. I would certainly like to see that.
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: E-Ville Signing Report

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Jim Hill Media hosts a lengthy report of a group signing for E-ville Press, the collection of Pixar animators banding together for efforts in comics and picture-book publishing.
 
posted 9:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Where Girls Comics Came From

All Nerdy Dept: I'm not sure why this is sticking in my head but I can't get past a statement by Diana Schutz in an interview about Sexy Chix that romance comics as invented by Simon and Kirby were the first comic books targeted towards a female readership. Didn't "girls comics" precede romance comics by about 18-24 months?
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Mark Evanier on Marvel Comics Recordings
AP Wire Photo of Jules Feiffer in Tux for Quills
More X-Mas Collections: First Frazz, Another Mutts
Two Manga Volumes in Top 150
Sherffius Re-Surfaces With Syndicated Strip
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jim Ottaviani
Alumnus Cartoonist Profile: Russell Lisau
Weight-Loss Manga Helps Many, Creeps Me Out

 

 
October 12, 2005


Marvel: 1602 Volume I Wins Quill

imageMarvel's Elizabethan take on its superhero characters, 1602 Volume I, has won the inaugural Quill award in the graphic novel category. Writer Neil Gaiman speaks about hearing the news here. I'm kind of inured to the general fecklessness of such awards at this point, or I'd probably have something to say other than, "Huh. Okay."

Other nominees were American Splendor: Our Movie Year, Bone: One Volume Edition, In the Shadow of No Towers, and Persepolis 2.

Comics-related books in the humor category featuring Peanuts and New Yorker cartoons lost to the Jon Stewart juggernaut as expected. Here's some interesting news: the great Jules Feiffer will give out the Children's Book award on the broadcast to be televised later this month, joining presenters such as Brian Williams and Kim Cattrall.
 
posted 7:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
New York Times Profiles DC’s Grit

Today's New York Times features an article about DC's plan to overhaul its monthly comic book line through gigantic stunt mini-series. It's mostly a puff piece, as the negative reaction to the material isn't given a spokesperson to compete with the DC executives and creative talent.

The one thing I don't get is how this material can be described as "sophisticated" without anyone ever questioning what that means. Less naive? More complex? Appealing to the taste of sophisticates? If any of these apply, it's only in really debased, relative terms. It continues to read like straight-forward dramas of High Asskickery to me. I mean, what's so sophisticated about a lobotomy?
 
posted 6:52 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Takuhai Name Change; Market Focus

imageICv2.com is among those reporting that Tokyopop is changing the name of its free promotional magazine Takuhai (meaning home delivery) to "Manga Magazine," and will distribute the publication to its various bookstore accounts. It sounds to me like one of those cases where a potential market need exerts pull on an existing publication, which makes one wonder if the various magazine producers missed an opportunity or if we might even see a couple of magazines hoping to meet that bookstore manga market launch in the next several months.
 
posted 6:46 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Neil Swaab on New York Press Drop

Neil Swaab of Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles comes across as extremely evenhanded in this interview with The Apiary, at a time when many of us might be spitting venom and tossing insults like Molotov cocktails. It seems that his strip was dropped from the New York Press via an e-mail from the new editor; Swaab only found out the strip had gone missing when Dean Haspiel had mentioned it to him. The interviewer uses this odd move to throw a spotlight on the strange chaos that has been the New York Press over the last several years, including, as any New York area cartoonist could probably tell you, a lot of turmoil on the comics side of things.
 
posted 6:43 am PST | Permalink
 

 
What Charles Burns Drew Like at 8

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posted 6:42 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: AK Comics Business Profile

A successful business profile seems to me to require an interesting subject, facts rather than assertions, and an exploration of those facts within various contexts. Comics business articles usually only have the first. This profile of AK Comics by an Egyptian business publication does a better job with giving some actual numbers, although they are rarely challenged or picked at. The piece features some fun side facts that shake themselves to the surface, such as what the company is paying for a Diamond catalog full-page ad, and the dominance of Disney-related comics in the Egyptian market.

As for the subject itself, the two insights that prove most compelling from a strategic perspective is how AK must farm out most of its work to international artists and studios, and how nakedly aggressive they are when exploring all areas of potential profit.
 
posted 6:39 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Charles Addams Has New Book Out, Sort Of
Schulz Provided Boost For Arm Wrestling
Local Cartoonist Profile: Norman Johnson
Fall Releases: Close to Home, Zits and Baby Blues
 

 
October 11, 2005


Art Spiegelman Inducted Into AAAS

This past weekend, Art Spiegelman was amon 196 people formally inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences during a ceremony at Harvard University. The AAAS was founded in 1780.
 
posted 9:29 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Tokyopop Contracts

There's an interesting start to a conversation about Tokyopop contracts on Warren Ellis' "The Engine" chat site, which one can visit as a guest on most days depending on traffic. The shape of the discussion reminds me of a notion that came up during recent talks about the Creators Bill of Rights, that creators today understand they have certain rights but can be convinced to trade them in for market advantage.
 
posted 9:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Publishers Focus on Alan Moore

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Alan Moore may be scaling back his involvement in comic books a bit, but publishers remain deeply interested in recontextualizing and repackaging his most successful work. On the heels of the fancy Watchmen: The Absolute Edition comes DC's announcement they'll collect Moore's DCU work (although I swear something like this was done before), about half of which is superb work of its kind. The European magazine Rumore plans to spotlight Moore's work (following similar efforts on Ranxerox and Sin City), which is where the above art came from, via the great web site and news resource afnews.com.

Update: Alan David Doane, Sean Collins, Ralf Haring and Mark Sharar have all written in to tell me the new Moore DCU book is a repackaging of "Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore," with "The Killing Joke" and "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorow?" added in. They've also informed me that this doesn't please all retailers, who not only had the later two works go out of print on them to make way for the new book, but that some may disagree that customers are better served having all this work in one placee. I am thankful for readers like these who are sharper than I am.
 
posted 8:57 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
The Three Incestuous Sisters Now (Mostly) Available
Harry Bliss Launches Panel with TMS
Andy Lau Hypes Andy Lau Comic Book
My New Favorite Worshipful Headline
Early Comic Strip Violence Study Listed
 

 
October 10, 2005


Go, Read: New Yorker on Comics

A long critical piece on graphic novels in The New Yorker is worth reading, mostly because of critic Peter Schjeldahl graceful, two-sentence takedowns of a few highly-regarded recent books. He's better with specific readings than with general points (his dismissal of manga screams "Dad weighs in" even if you agree with the general notion floated), although his notion that we may have seen the high point 1998-2002 can only be dismissed by a lot more great works than what we've seen since.
 
posted 12:37 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Boston Globe Drops Garfield

imageI may be the only person retentive enough to string this together, but it looks like the Boston Globe has dropped Garfield, which makes it the third big paper to do so in the last year, after the LA Times and the Newark Star-Ledger.

This suggests almost nothing in terms of Garfield's future -- at this rate, it would take appoximately 400 years to drop out of the top ten syndicated strips, about the same amount of time it would take to spend the licensing revenue it's already brought in -- but I think it's interesting to note how editors are willing to kill a once-popular feature of a certain age while leaving others alone, and may be indicative of a slightly more fluid comics page in general. Slightly.
 
posted 8:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Tra La, La La La La-Arggghhh!!!

According to this article, the heirs of Peyo have allowed the use of the Smurfs in a commercial by UNICEF in which the beloved characters are bombed back to the Stone Age. Apparently, this is not designed to make the point that we're so totally screwed up we're more devastated by seeing blue people being killed than we are brown people, but to suggest that perhaps carpet-bombing innocents is wrong. Mark Evanier has a screen capture I was tempted to steal, and a link to a slide-show presentation of the commercial in question.

Other links sent in:

http://media.putfile.com/end_of_smurfs
http://x6.putfile.com/videos/28208544643.wmv
 
posted 8:09 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Dark Horse Comics’ Manga Plans

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ICv2.com and David Taylor unpack a recent Dark Horse announcement concerning the manga that seems to reveal a mix that builds on previous market success, with perhaps a bit of an added emphasis on horror.

Taylor is also compiling a list of Tokyopop's OEL manga titles, with help from his readers.
 
posted 7:56 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Makin’ Your Lady Love The Funnies

I occasionally receive e-mail from folks wondering why CR doesn't more closely cover something called "comics culture" -- by which one usually means the values, experiences and concerns shared by an imagined and arbitrary grouping of comics readers. The primary reason is I could give a flying crap about the industry's sub-culture beyond the point that culture has an effect on art or on the business. Comics fans are even far from the most interesting sub-group if you're into the freak-show aspects of outsized, squirelly behavior.

Another reason is I don't understand comics culture. Here's a case in point: a columnist whose primary selling point seems to be "Hey, I'm a Girl," writing about how to get your significant other to read and enjoy comics. The significant other has to be female with a decided taste for soft fantasy, which seems broadly stereotypical. What about the ladies who love Judge Dredd or Johnny Ryan? Maybe someone could write a column about getting a male comics reader into discussing identity issues in Swan through comics that feature giant boobs, violence and dick jokes, or would that be weird? Again, this kind of thing baffles me.

I'm still a bit lost understanding why it would be of interest, but something like this seems a more comedic take on the notion of male/female comics readers and their stereotypical behavior.
 
posted 6:56 am PST | Permalink
 

 
News From the Academic Front

1. ICAF starts on Thursday, and if Lord Deathron were to fly over in his spaceship and vaporize the event, the rest of us would finally enter the top 100 of smart people writing about comics. With a Will Eisner retrospective and the presence of a lot of well-known writers and talkers both inside and outside the ivy-covered walls of higher education, it should be a fun event to sit in on if you're in the area. This article previews the show with a few recently translated-works suggestions.

2. I received the following in my inbox. Since I can't find a link anywhere and because I'm nice:
Call For Papers: "Ever-Ending Battle" - Special Symposium on Heroism & Mortality in Comics for Spring 2006 International Journal of Comic Art issue.

The International Journal of Comic Art (IJOCA) is pleased to welcome submissions for the upcoming symposium in its Spring 2006 edition 8.1. The wide focus of the symposium, entitled "The Ever-Ending Battle," will be on issues of mortality in comics, particularly, but not exclusively, the relationship between death and heroism.

Do media such as comic books, comic strips, editorial cartoons, or graphic novels treat death, mourning, bereavement, or even resurrection/rebirth differently from other forms? What are superheroes' relationship to death? How do satirists address the passing of a major real-life figure? What happens when a comic strip creator dies, yet his/her work lives on? Are heroes allowed to mourn (and what allows them to be so often resurrected)? Topics abound - From Superman to little Orphan Annie to the late Hirschfeld to cartoons of Arafat to the rebirth of Green Lantern... and beyond! Papers utilizing the thanatological works of Ernest Becker or Elizabeth Kubler-Ross are especially encouraged.

Submissions are asked to be approximately 5,000 words in MLA format and delivered in Windows-based Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, or rtf formats, either on a computer diskette by postal mail or as an attached file by November 26, 2005 to:

A. David Lewis
IJOCA Ever-Ending Battle Symposium
15 Glenville Avenue #5
Allston, MA 02134
eeb@captionbox.net

Writers will be notified by December 7 and should be prepared to quickly perform final edits for IJOCA's December 15 deadline. All potential images to be included with the article should be scanned at 300 dpi, converted to black and white JPG format, and submitted with the original November file. Please remember to include full contact information with each submission.

See www.ijoca.com and www.everendingbattle.com for additional background materials.

 
posted 6:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
X-Mas Tradition: NEA's Stand-Alone Strip
The Other Coast: 2nd Book, 200 Clients
Prize Winners at Festival D'Andenne
New Promotion: Very 21st Century
Annoy Friends With Homebrewed Fumetti
Time.com Profiles Quitter, North Country
Huntsville Seeking Citizen-Cartoonist
NASA Uses Manga as Learning Tool
Czech Comics Exhibit Hits Seoul
Slightly Self-Hating Comics Recommendations
Not Comics: S. Clarke/N. Gaiman Interviewed
Jeb Bush Names Cartoonist to Circuit Bench
 

 
October 9, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

My New Goal In Comics

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To stay around long enough to meet a cartoonist who got his/her start reading about the Center for Cartoon Studies in the Farmer's Almanac.

Go, Read: Stan Lee Media Saga

The Washington Post takes a stab at a definitive article about the collision between Stan Lee Media and accused shady fundraising on behalf Senator Hillary Clinton. I think I agree with the anonymous juror quoted.

Happy 62nd Birthday, Mike Peters!

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Policy Change: Five For Fridays

The Five For Friday feature has become too popular for me to 1) accept submissions whenever and 2) scroll them out as I get them on Friday. So all of your submissions will be posted Saturday morning and then shut down. This concerns approximately .1 percent of you, but I thought I'd make that clear.

I'd rather it be feasible the other way, too, but I draw the line when I get *phone calls* from readers asking why I haven't put their submission up yet! I hope everyone will continue as they have been; it's a fun Friday distraction for me, too.

This Week's Poorly-Scanned Photo

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The above photo was sent to me by my pal John out of a Bloomington, Indiana newspaper. It's from the Michael Uslan exhibit that went into the Lilly library. I like the stuff under glass and the Batman movie standee. I met Eli Lilly when I was a kid. He had trained dogs and told me a story about when he was a kid I think in the 1890s he used to like to rile up bees and then run away from them, jumping in the lake.

Initial Thought of the Day

Are some of us old-timey comics readers unable to see the modern explosion of quality comics because so few are serialized and deep down that's what comics means to us?

JPEG of the Week

Shaenon Garrity's former screensaver, a Tony Millionaire rant directed against Frank Cho, from the Comics Journal's messageboard.

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Click on the above and scroll down for version that's easier to read.

Missed It: Peter Bagge on Drug War

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I Get Letters Asking Me Things

Does anyone know how a NYC-area father might show their cartoonist-wannabe kid a cartoonist or cartoonists at work?
Does anyone know how to get translation work with a big company? (Spanish, I think)
Does anyone have e-mail for a cartoonist named Sarah Becan?

If you do, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 8, 2005


CR Week in Review

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Top Stories

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

1. The massive, certain-to-be-a-hit The Complete Calvin and Hobbes drops into book market, amid a promotional campaign that includes a 200-plus paper run of the strip's greatest hits, but with some minor speculation that this project lacks the obsessive fans and unpublished work that drove the similar Far Side collection. At stake: how many more of these similarly grand things Andrews McMeel will do, and how many upper-end strip projects in general will suit the book market.

2. Steve Kelley of the New Orleans Times-Picayune plans to return to the city with his paper.

3. IDW re-organizes, one would guess into a structure better suited to handle its immediate and long-range business plans.

Winner of the Week
Brian Hibbs, rightly feted in the local press for his policy-altering win over Marvel Comics.

Loser of the Week
Incoming Angouleme Festival President Domenica Brechoteau, who seems to be coming on board right when there are massive structural problems facing the esteemed comics show.

Quote of the Week
"It's only matter of time until, whether it's some kid in Barcelona or some kid in Topeka, Kansas, comes up with a story which so viscerally grabs the category that it will be a number one hit." -- Tokyopop's Mike Kiley on the future of manga.
 
posted 7:43 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Week’s Five For Friday

Reader responses have been added to this week's "Five For Friday" question: "Name Five Comics With Great Cover and/or Production Design."

The next Five for Friday will go up early AM on the 14th.
 
posted 7:39 am PST | Permalink
 

 
October 7, 2005


Orphaned Harvey Pekar Interview

Mr. Alan David Doane of Comic Book Galaxy and Kochalkaholic! tells me that the link below takes one into download of an MP3 of an interview he did with Harvey Pekar that lacks a proper on-line home. I haven't had time to listen to it yet, so hopefully it really is an interview with the writer behind American Splendor and the brand-new The Quitter and not something completely filthy.

Interview With Harvey Pekar
 
posted 10:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Zapiro Named Prince Claus Laureate

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The cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) seemed as surprised as anyone when he was named this year's major award and cash recipient from the Prince Claus Fund, a general cultural prize that's been given out in Amsterdam since 1997.

Zapiro's work appears in the Mail & Guardian, M&G Online, the Sunday Times and the Sowetan.
 
posted 8:47 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Profile of Cartoon Bank

This article profiles the Cartoon Bank set-up by which the New Yorker has exploited its cartoons for financial gain over the last 15 years or so. It's somewhat light on exact figures but proves to be a decent sketch of the Bank and its driving force, Bob Mankoff. I hadn't known the Mankoff cartoon discussed is considered the most popular, so there's something to be said for the details here, too.
 
posted 8:46 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Evanier: Famous Comic Quote Origin

Mark Evanier asks and answers a question I realize with some chagrin I couldn't have answered. Where did the great power/great responsibility quote used in the initial Spider-Man adventure come from, exactly?
 
posted 8:42 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Yirmumah Featured at Cracked.com

The comics-savvy comedic enterprise Cracked has launched its web site in anticipation of a new print magazine early in 2006; according to Comixpedia, they have partnered with the webcomics team Yirmumah for cartoon content.
 
posted 8:36 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CCS Announces Fall Fundraiser

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The Center for Cartoon Studies has announced their major Fall fundraising event, a celebration of the New Yorker's Ed Koren, to be held November 3 from 7-9 pm. More information including how to get tickets is detailed here. Of all the organizations in comics that occasionally ask for money, I think CCS in its short history has proven itself among the best in terms of putting that money to obvious, admirable use. As I recall, Koren is a Vermont resident.
 
posted 8:31 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Del Rey Acquires Five New Properties
Some Kids Like Manga, Others Mauldin
First SLG/Disney Comic Debuts
E&P Profiles Oklahoma Museum
Rustle the Leaf Signs With Sierra Club
Hobbyists: $3.6 Billion Market for Japan
 

 
October 6, 2005


Go, Read: Interview With Mike Kiley

ICv2.com's straightforward chat with Tokyopop Publisher and Editor in Chief Mike Kiley should serve as a pretty good primer if you're unfamiliar with basic issues surrounding the successful company. Tokyopop's success has led, in part, to a reduction in ease of access to properties from Korea and Japan; at the same time, it's enjoyed better-than-expected success with photo-comics and original works that operate under their powerful brand. As a comedic bonus, Kiley gives a definition of manga that seems to last for 143 paragraphs, even though it ends up being not a bad one.
 
posted 7:57 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Cartoonists Hit Greatest Belgians List

imageUnlike in North America where a cartoonist's appearance on such a list always seems to be a nod towards their counter-culture status and the cleverness of the assemblers, this top 100 list of greatest (or most admired, I don't know which way the root "preferred" swings here) Belgians is nine percent cartoon author. I'm not sure how useful this is except as a measure of mainstream popularity, but there's something to that. People always say that Franquin is huge, for example, and now we have something to point to that says how much.

As they rank, with Herge I believe either #5 or in an as-yet undefined position in the top 10:

Roba (100)
Jacobs (98)
Kroll (94)
Morris (79)
Vernes (77)
Peyo (33)
Geluck (22)
Franquin (18)
Herge (Top 10)
 
posted 7:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Brian Hibbs Takes a Victory Lap

The Brian Hibbs-led class action suit victory by retailers over Marvel Comics receives its due in this San Francisco newspaper piece. It's interesting to see that side of the business spoke of in neutral business terms for a change, and as a personal note I'm also glad that Brian has another press photo that's not the hideous picture we used to run in the Comics Journal back in the late 1990s. As covered extensively here and in other comics-related sites and magazines, Hibbs' lawsuit forced changes in the way Marvel allows order adjustments, and ended a common practice of Marvel shipping late or changing content in its direct market dealings.
 
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NR’s Mistake: Misjudging MacNelly

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Priscilla Buckley claims in this interview that the conservative magazine National Review's biggest mistake was not recognizing the genius of cartoonist Jeff MacNelly in a timely fashion. Statements like that confirm MacNelly's place as the primary conservative editorial cartoonist of importance for the last quarter-century, which if you think about it is an odd and sort of remarkable accomplishment. Boy, he died young, didn't he?
 
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Motivational Blog: Make Comics Forever

Here's a new group blog for cartoonists designed to increase productivity through an attention to work habits, named for and partly inspired by Alec Longstreth's speech at the recent Ignatz Awards. I don't usually comment on new comics-related blogs, but the specific focus seems to flatter this effort.
 
posted 7:21 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Bookslut Interviews Ande Parks
Plain-Dealer Profiles Pekar, Quitter
Jeffy, Billy, Dolly, Odd-Looking Baby: Don't Smoke
Jim Whiting: 50 Years in Cartooning
 

 
October 5, 2005


CR Readers Confirm C&H Content

imageAccording to your e-mail, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes was indeed out yesterday. Further, the volumes do include the extras and poems that were in previously-published books. The collection spiked yesterday at on-line booksellers following a very strong, extended period of advance orders. Many of you reported that booksellers in physical bookstore locations were being careful with putting books out for display, and a few you confirmed my suspicion that you yourself would be skipping an immediate purchase of the collection now that the opportunity's here. Special thanks to Gil Roth, Chris Mautner, Randall Paske, Daniel Frank, Chad Nevett and Betsy K., all of whom hit different angles and wrote a bit more than a simple declarative sentence.
 
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Kelley Plans Return to New Orleans

Cartoonist Steve Kelley of the New Orleans Times-Picayune has announced plans to return to city. The announcement comes shortly after the paper itself released word that it would soon return to the hurricane-soaked area. Kelley had been in the San Diego area when the storm hit and had stayed out there, working by remote means.
 
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Go, Read: Matt Madden Interview

Bookslut talks with Matt Madden on the occasion of his new book, 99 Ways to Tell a Story. It would be kind of funny if interviewers made the cartoonist answer every question in a formally different manner.
 
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E&P Spotlights Paul Conrad Show

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I have no idea if this art will be in the Paul Conrad show at the Annenberg School, but I like that the cartoonist sometimes eschews humor for a blunt drawing like this one.
 
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Stumptown Summaries: Growing Show

I'm not going to run tons of links like I did with Bethesda's Small Press Expo, but it's interesting to note that there is material out there on last weekend's Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland like a report in the Oregonian and this bunch of photos at Mercury Studios. Somewhere in one of the comments threads is a note that the event grew this year to approximately 500 visitors.

Small comics festivals using the SPX/Mocca model could become a vital cog in the overall arts comics scene, if only for exposing young artists in that area to a certain kind of comics experience not necessarily bagged and boarded.
 
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Milo George: In Praise of Wildcat

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I don't run links to a lot of the humor writing about comics that's around these day, mostly because so little of it is funny. Milo George ripping into the weird behavior surrounding the superhero character Wildcat in an issue of JSA is a notable exception. In 30 years, our children will be going to San Diego to track down titles from this current rape-happy, taint-obsessed, dopily grim lobotomy-fest era of superhero comics the way you and I might seek out the "Where's My Money, Honey?" issue of Power Man.
 
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Village Voice Profiles Tatsumi, Tomine
Cartoonist Speaks at Anti-Abortion Rally
Local Comic Shop Owner Profile: John Hitchcock
Local Cartoonist Profile: Luke Molva
Local Artist Using Comics Profile: Louise Hopkins
Comics Created Solely as Game Content Fodder
Library Uses Grant to Buttress Manga
ALC Publishing Exclusive Through Diamond
Clickwheel to Aggressively Pursue IPOD Comics
 

 
October 4, 2005


Poinot Leaves Angouleme Presidency

According to a summary article at actuabd.com, Yves Poinot has left his position as president of the festival at Angouleme and his position has been taken over by Domenica Brechoteau. The reason seems to be a variety of tricky issues concerning the changing structural formulation of the massive comics festival, and pressures put on its profitablity by various governmental authorities. Poinot had joined Angouleme as a volunteer in 1976 and assumed the presidency in 1996. The formal explanation given for Poinot's departure was "personal reasons."
 
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Complete Calvin and Hobbes Out Today

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Unless I'm wrong, today is the official release date for the massive, complete collection of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes strip. I'm very much looking forward to my copy and re-reading the strip in its entirety. I'm also quite interested in the reaction. I think what little critical reclamation will happen could go either way, basically because the memory of the strip is so positive that the reality might disappoint. There's an obvious "last great strip" angle for mainstream writers to pursue -- I think I even have one linked up in "quick hits" today -- but it's not going to pushed to the press that way because that would put Andrews McMeel in the position of kicking its current profitable roster at United right in the legumes.

As far as the sales go, there's no way in heck this can tank; I don't see any factor in the production or promotion of this set that would put red on the balance sheet even if it were to end up on every remainder table in America slashed to the price-point bone. The only question is how successful, and the degree of success will depend on how great an appetite people have for this specific collection, especially considering how thoroughly this material has been reprinted in the past. As I hope I pointed out early on, the Far Side collection that made this one possible hit perfectly on that strip's mostly affluent, smart, prone-to-collection audience, while Calvin and Hobbes' appeal during its run was much, much broader but also potentially less obsessive. Although one can never be 100 percent certain, it should do somewhere between really well to outstanding, making Andrew McMeel millions upon millions of dollars.

Editor and Publisher gives a blow by blow of Watterson's introduction, which is the last chance for the publishing event to offer up something new and interesting.

Can someone who has an advance copy .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) that the longer strip story from one of the collections was reprinted? My e-mail has been loopy, so I'm not sure Andrews McMeel received my whiny question or not.
 
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Bottaro Wins Rights to Pepito

This news brief doesn't go much beyond delighting in the David Vs. Goliath aspects, but apparently Luciano Bottaro has won some dispute with a multi-national over the Pepito character.
 
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Go, Look: Dan Clowes ‘Zine-Era Writing

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By the looks of my e-mail, this must have shown up somewhere well-trafficked, and my apologies to that source.
 
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Fanta to Tout Spring ‘06 Line on Blog

One of the new realities of comics is that some traditionally ragged alterative comics publishers have become more disciplined after signing book distribution deals with companies that have very specific catalog needs. This should in the long run benefit these publishers by allowing them to build market anticipation wherever their books have penetrated into retailer consciousness, both in bookstores and in comic shops. As a sign of this new world of advance planning and the slow build, Fantagraphics will announce much of its 2006 release schedule this month on their blog.
 
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Quick hits
Actor Dooms Son to Multiple Playground Assbeatings
EigoManga/Devil's Due Team-Up
Stan Sakai Profiled
Globe and Mail on Guy Delisle and Pyongyang
Local Con Organizer Profile: Steve Wyatt
ABC News Puff Piece on Calvin and Hobbes
Boston Phoenix on The Quitter
Boston Phoenix on Infinite Crisis
Interview on Education With Ben Towle
 

 
October 3, 2005


IDW Re-Organizes; Web Site Runs Press Release Instead of Doing Proper Article

This looks sort of important:

IDW Publishing Reorganizes Management Team
New Publisher, President, and Controller Named


San Diego, CA (October 3, 2005) In a move necessitated by a steady level of company growth, IDW Publishing has announced some personnel changes, effective immediately. Ted Adams, formerly President and Publisher and one of the founding partners of Idea and Design Works, IDW Publishing's parent company, will become Vice-President, Business Development, handing off his additional duties to other IDW personnel:

* Robbie Robbins, another founding partner and head designer, will assume the title of President of Idea and Design Works, LLC.

* Chris Ryall, IDW Publishing's Editor-in-Chief, will take over as the company's Publisher while also maintaining his duties as the company's EIC.

* Matt Ruzicka is a new addition to the company and is set to become IDW's Controller.

By spreading Adams' diverse duties amongst Robbins, Ryall and Ruzicka, Adams himself is in a better position to diversify the product base. "We've been working behind-the-scenes on these changes for several months and I have complete confidence in the direction Robbie, Chris, and Matt are going to take IDW Publishing," Adams said. "When we first published Uno Fanta by Ashley Wood in July of 2001, I never expected that four years later IDW Publishing would be the business it has become. I'm proud of the books we've published over the last four years and am especially proud of being named "Publisher of the Year" the last two years running. Our publishing schedule for 2006 is incredibly strong and I can't wait for everyone to learn what we've got planned."

He followed this up by stating that "On a personal level, I'm excited about getting back to what I enjoy, creating new business opportunities for our company."

Ryall, who joined the company in July 2004, was also very excited about the opportunities presented by this reorganization. "I'm looking forward to directly steering our entire publishing line and appreciate the faith that Ted and Robbie have in me to do so," Ryall said. "At the same time, freeing Ted up to focus on what he really enjoys will also only serve to make us a more effective and solid company."

About IDW Publishing
IDW PUBLISHING is a division of Idea + Design Works, LLC, a revolutionary creative service company with a wide range of clients. Among their best-selling titles are CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Konami's Metal Gear Solid; and Fox's Angel. IDW has films in development at Sony Pictures, Dimension Films, and Paramount Pictures.

I dropped "Reading Press Releases" before mid-terms sophomore year so as not to miss "Dance Party USA," but it looks like this could be prep work for a slight ramping up in productivity.
 
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Richard Guindon Announces Retirement

imageEditorial cartoonist and illustrator Richard Guindon has announced his retirement from the Detroit Free-Press, where he's worked for more than two decades. The 70-year-old artist, published in a wide variety of magazine sources, will continue to cartoon, and is currently working on a book. Guindon's previous book titles include Michigan So Far (pictured), Cartoons, Together Again, In the Beginning, and The World According to Carp. One hopes that Mr. Guindon might spend a few days of his well-deserved retirement putting a few examples of his work on-line.
 
posted 7:58 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Hernandez Out, Jonte In at Girlamatic

According to the webcomics-focused site Comixpedia, Lea Hernandez has stepped down as editor of the Girlamatic site after two and a half years. She will be replaced by Lisa Jonte.
 
posted 7:38 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Newark Paper Drops Cathy, Garfield

After an extended period of soul-searching, temperature-taking and feature-writing, Editor & Publisher reports the Newark Star-Ledger has announced the results of its most recent overhaul of its comics page.

Canceled: Cathy, Garfield, Hi and Lois, Fred Basset, Heathcliff, Marvin, That's Life

Added: Brevity, Frazz, Flo & Friends, Heart of the City, Pardon My Planet, The Sunshine Club, and Rhymes With Orange

I don't really have any comment except I was hoping to see the one new syndicate strip I like right now: Franklin Fibbs.
 
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Yeah, This Is Still Totally Freaking Creepy
Not Comics: Listings for McKean's Mirrormask
Go, Look: Xuasus Web Site Launch
Not Comics: Globe and Mail Profiles Neil Gaiman
Annenberg School Hosts Paul Conrad Exhibit
Guardian Welcomes Perry Bible Fellowship
Samurai Comics Expands in Phoenix Area
 

 
October 2, 2005


CR Sunday Magazine

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Recovering My Mailbox

Here are a few things I missed announcing due to a recent, extended e-mail crisis.

1. Holy Crap! It's the Baltimore City Paper Comics Issue, with an article by Tim Kreider and a profile of Charles Burns! Sunday boredom reading is all taken care of now, thank you! Kreider shows off that great, cranky voice of his:
Doubtlessly connoisseurs of comics will despise this list for its prejudices and omissions. Fuck them. These are people who think Craig Thompson's Blankets is a good graphic novel because it was well drawn and very, very long. Really good graphic novels are still too few, but superb new work is being written and drawn all the time. I'm still waiting for the second volume of Jason Lutes' complex and ambitious historical novel Berlin, and I'm told the new book Epileptic, by one David B., is extremely good.

It's not yet clear where comics are in their history -- whether the current spate of serious, literary comics is just the autumnal blaze of an obsolete medium in its decadence, or the spazzy, pretentious, and gorgeous adolescence of a new, unexplored art form. The difference may depend on the ambitions and talents of a handful of individual creators -- and on the adventurousness, curiosity, and discernment of you, the reader.

2. There's a big Bob Fingerman release party a week from Friday at MoCCA that sounds like it will be fun.
WHAT: Bob Fingerman Book Release Party
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 14th, 7PM to 11PM
WHERE: Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 594 Broadway, Suite 401, New York, NY 10012

3. Sandra Bell-Lundy and Lynn Johnston participated in a charity auction to support literacy. It involved illustrated envelopes, and while it's too late for you to bid, hopefully you can appreciate both cartoonists' charitable impulses.

4. Comics Foundry has organized a networking party at MoCCA for tomorrow night (Monday, October 3).

5. Somehow, I missed this Grant Morrison interview from a few weeks back that everyone else enjoyed.

6. I can't tell if this editorial marks the beginning of a new on-line magazine effort or a refashioning of one I never read.

7. Arthur Suydam is having a show at someplace called the Mosely Gallery, from October 6-28.

8. This might be the weirdest Marvel licensing partner yet: Japanese clothing label Bathing Ape. I want some of those Thor shoes! Okay, not really. Okay, sort of.

Things Where I'm Not Yet Sure What I Think

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Reader Todd Allen noticed something I didn't, although I am three hours away from a big bookstore:
I was passing through Borders today, and on one of the front tables was the hardcover edition of Identity Crisis, which I picked up, because I thought it somewhat odd for a novel to be called Identity Crisis. I didn't realize it was the comic. The cover is typical for 'name author' release. Meltzer's name is in BIG letters. The title is in BIG letters. The artist names are in smaller letters, and while there is an illustration on the cover it's smallish and in the lower left corner - not a prime spot the eye will jump to. I had to pick it up before I fully realized what it was.

Does anyone have any .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) It's definitely something to track.

Kurt Busiek responds.

Things I Learned After Everyone Else

* Rich Tommaso is one of the artists working on the Center for Cartoon Studies books.

* Warren Ellis: "Laurenn McCubbin is the new Art Director for Image Comics."

* As three of you were happy to point out in you-idiot fashion, one remarkable thing about this year's scholarly summit at ICAF is the participation of some quality thinkers on comics not linked to academia, notably Jerry Robinson, Bob Andelman, and R. Fiore.

Larry King-Style Initial Thoughts of the Day

I bet video/dvd shelving would work for manga. Can anyone .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I wonder if Ralph Mathieu at Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas has ever had anyone pop in after winning some cash at a casino and drop some of it on a bunch of funnybooks. Because I would totally do that.

I have probably in my lifetime purchased fewer than ten comics publications of any kind in a physical, walk-in bookstore.

I have an embarassing habit of casting movie versions of 1980s indy comics in my dreams, usually in the form of some sort of entertainment the dream version of me is taking in or about to take in. Apparently, my subconscious thinks that Sean William Scott, Bob Hoskins, and Julie Bowen would make for a fine movie version of The Badger.
 
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October 1, 2005


CR Week In Review

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Top Stories

The week's most important comics-related news stories, September 24 to September 30, 2005:

1. Naruto proves the sales of manga volumes in the US can be driven by a popular, anticipated television debut; Japan publishing reports indicate a 10-year decline on comics sales in that country.

2. Diamond expands its Memphis facility, but not because of new-order fulfillment.

3. The much-beloved-by-cartoonists Small Press Expo finishes its '05 show with a return to the old format, a potential loss of venue, a curious lack of big-name alt-comics stars, an ass-whipping at the hands of Diamond's softball team and one actual news trend: creators taking their serial comics (not their trades) on-line.

Winner of the Week
Part-time comics author Neil Gaiman, with a #1 NYT best-seller, a movie starting to film, a movie opening, and remaining gracious about all of it.

Loser of the Week (Non-Alias Division)
Everyone not Neil Gaiman.

Quote of the Week
"Why are you such a pussy?" -- Erik Larsen's open letter to comics creators.
 
posted 7:22 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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