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

May 31, 2006

Your 2006 Russ Manning Nominees

The nominees for the 2006 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award are:

* Jonathan Bennett, writer/artist, short stories in the Mome anthology, Fantagraphics
* R. Kikuo Johnson, writer/artist, Night Fisher, Fantagraphics
* Mark Page, writer/artist, Kana's Island, self-published
* Aaron Renier, writer/artist, Spiral-Bound, Top Shelf
* Chris Samnee, artist, Capote in Kansas, Oni Press

The award is presented as part of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, to be held this year on Friday, July 21, at the San Diego Convention Center. Past winners included Dave Stevens, Steve Rude, Scott McCloud, Eric Shanower, and Jeff Smith.
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Go, Read: Bob Levin on Alex Toth in “The Mark of Tyrone Power”

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Quick hits
Missed It: CSM On Comic Book Politics
Chris Mautner On Manga For Older Readers
Starving Artist Article Ends Up Queenie Chan Profile Discusses Specific X-Men Film Inspiriations


Montreal Gazette: More Free Speech

imageNo one really expects a scorched-earth reaction from the national press to a Canadian distributor pulling an issue of Harper's Magaine featuring Muhammed cartoons. The Canadian press prides itself on reasoned political discourse, and blasting someone's business decision they are perfectly in their rights to make isn't the kind of thing that normally gets written up. However, this Montreal Gazette editorial manages to touch on most of important points, I think, first by pointing out that Art Spiegelman's use of the cartoons in the cover-featured article was modest and considered, second by underlining the message this move sends in terms of rewarding violent action and the threat of protests over civilized, peaceful objection. I disagree with the author that there was any real cause for concern on the distributor's part, though.
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Dupuis Names Management Team

I haven't checked in on the ongoing turmoil at Dupuis in a while, so I'm unable to place this context with any certainty, but it looks like the company has put together its management team: Robert Baert as Directeur General, Eric Verhoest as Directeur Editorial, Benoit Fripiat as an associate editorial directeur, temporary Directeur General Huguette Marien as adminstrator of les editions Dupuis and Leon Perahia in charge of representing the catalog to movie studios and the like. Baert is a comics outsider with experience in various big-time corporation, while Verhoest's resume sounds like that of a classic careerist in the field. This is the point where I invite any and all Eurocomics watchers out there to correct me if I've made a mistake and to comment on what this all means because I sure can't.
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Trudeau, Pastis Honor War Dead

imageAccording to Editor & Publisher, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau recognized the Memorial Day just with his third listing of serviceman casualties over the previous year, to be stretched over last weekend and this in his Sunday installments. You can see last Sunday's strip by clicking through the image. This was very controversial two years ago the first time Trudeau did it, and doesn't seem to be so shocking now. E&P notes that Stephen Pastis also ran a Memorial Day weekend Sunday on the same general theme, providing a "silent" tribute.
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Not Comics: Avi Arad Re-Structures

Avi Arad is using the big movie weekend enjoyed by Marvel's X-Men to announce his own move from Marvel Studios to a production company bearing his name, where he'll still act as a producer on several upcoming Marvel films but also be freed up to pursue a wider range of projects. I know even less about the film industry than I do about comics, but it seems to me this kind of move is pretty typical and not a vote of no-confidence in the studio's future.

imageWhile we're in "Not Comics" land, I guess it's worth noting that the latest X-Men movie made about a kazillion dollars in its opening weekend. Not everyone enjoyed the movie, and I've seen this general complaint or complaints like it show up in a fair number of reviews and blog entries, which is sort of interesting given the large number of female fans the property enjoys. Mike Russell's overview of the movie and comparison of the movies to the comics is sweetly amusing, and I think fairly comprehensive and clear.
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Go, Look: Nicolas Mahler

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Missed It: No ‘06 SPX Anthology

Karon Flage, on the Small Press Expo board of directors, reveals on this thread at the Comics Journal that there will be no accompanying comics anthology for the long-running festival this year. Flage cites the administrative difficulty with doing an anthology in the same year the Expo is moving venues. The anthology has been a long-running fundraiser for the CBLDF and a lightning rod for complaints by artists who don't make it in or who publicly disagree with what they perceive as the general direction of whatever individual issue is in question, part of the small press showcase/arts festival tension that sometimes seems to flare up with the Expo.
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May 30, 2006

Not Comics: Wizard’s New Site

The first but certainly not the last of this year's major comics-related sites' on-line revamps and debuts hits right after Memorial Day with the launch of the new Wizard site. I liked the photo tour.
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Quick hits
M.E. Cohen to Montclair Times Slot
Local Comics Fan Profile: Paul Johnson
Malawi Cartoonist: Consider Our Potential
Profile of SKP Also Survey of Field in Philippines


Missed It: LAT Digital Piracy Article

I would imagine a lot of people have been talking about this article in the LA Times about the digital piracy of comics. The on-line dissemination of comics by third parties is one of those issues that's hard to discuss because 1) there are a lot of gray areas regarding intent if you move the argument in that direction, and 2) some participants have to constantly suppress their desire to beat the crap out of those on the other side of the issue.

My personal feeling is that the ethical question comes down to respecting the wishes of the creator, or those to whom they they cede control. If a creator wants you to disseminate the material on-line for free, great. If they don't want to, well, even if you think you're doing them a tremendous favor (by posting) or not doing them any harm (by sampling), you still shouldn't participate. "Me wanty" is no reason not to be polite.

It's going to happen anyway, of course, and it's sort of curious that the bigger comics companies haven't been more aggressive in pursuing on-line dissemination programs of their own, as a lot of people think such programs mitigate the appeal of the third-party efforts. I agree with the article that comic books seem to have specific concerns in this area. A lot of people are discouraged by the price point on individual comics, and a lot of what drives mainstream comics appeal these days seems to be the progression of soap opera reveals. That means you can get a significant percentage of what you go to a mainstream comic to enjoy on-line. With that in mind, I don't think I agree with the article that it's the smaller titles that suffer a greater risk.
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Go, Look: Reubens Blogging

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Cartoonist Jailing In Iran In Context

Here's an article that discusses the jailing of cartoonist Mana Neyestani and his editor as well as the closing of their paper in terms of an ongoing crisis of the press in Iran. It identifies the newspaper Iran as a "reformist daily" One piece of information in there I hadn't read before was that people were arrested during the riots. There's also some good stuff about the minister of culture and the role he plays in a couple of areas. It's good to hear that the closure has been publicly criticized, and depressing to hear that 103 newspapers were shut down by committee and court order between 1999 and 2004. Also, one of the punishments facing Neyestani may be flogging.
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MIT Captain Kirks the Doonesbury Poll

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CPM Watch: Statement to

Central Park Media is exepected to have an official announcement today about its status as a company; believed to be going into bankruptcy after clearing the offices of all but a few essential personnel late last week. You can read discussions by fans and industry observers here and here. had a statement here, which cites the Musicland bankruptcy and its punch in the stomach of anime providers as the major reason.

Although there may be some talk that CPM's are a sign of a market correction or dark times ahead for anime and particularly manga, I don't quite share that impression -- considering my ignorance of the manga market, you can take that for what you will. But to my way of thinking, any look at recent Bookscan numbers indicates dozens of dozens of manga title with kick ass sales. It's a reasonably mature market at this point, in which there are bound to be winners and losers; we're past that time when companies will enjoy success simply for being in the right general place at the right general time. A third and possibly most damning reason this isn't a dire sign for the category is that no one's perception of Central Park Media's impending announcement seems to be "What!? They should have been a huge success now!" as much as it is "Yeah, that totally makes sense they might crap out."

CPM sounds like they may have been ill-suited to compete with the bigger companies once both the anime and manga markets ramped up. It's a pretty common economic outcome in all sorts of industries, where a market initially served by a modest-sized company or a few modest-sized companies eventually becomes dominated by much bigger companies as sales heat up, with the originals that survive doing so by really pressing an advantage inherent to their company or moving into a boutique role. CPM, which already faltered once, does not seem to be one of those companies with a boutique future, although you never know. One thing: in terms of their manga efforts, it didn't seem like they published a lot of titles at all, at leat not recently. -- not an exact measure by any means -- has them with one book out this calendar year. Ditton Barnes and Noble. The fan perception linked to above seems to be that there are some gems in CPM's deep catalog and good people on staff, so that might be its long-term legacy.
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More on Alex Toth’s Recent Passing


We're still collecting article, blog and resource links for CR's entry on the late Alex Toth's passing, a link-heavy suite that has now been moved to a "Collective Memory" entry. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

There is some great stuff out there that wasn't in the initial batch of links, like Jesse Hamm's disquisition on Toth's drawing skill, and Chance Fiveash's posting of a striking Archie Goodwin/Alex Toth collaboration in an issue of Creepy.
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Note on That Harper’s Cover

imageSeveral of you wrote in to disabuse me of the temporary paranoia caused by multiple articles on the removal of the June Harper's in Canada citing the cartoons inside the magazine and never mentioning the cartoons on the cover, making me think the cover might have been changed. Two of you were even nice enough to lead me to a blog discussing the cover (click through the image) and some of the interior cartoons, which makes me not only temporarily paranoid but I guess Internet-search deficient.

There's nothing majorly new to this story, where about 3000 copies of the magazine were withdrawn from 260 stores because of fears of violence caused by the reprinting of the original 12 Danish cartoons and some related work in an article by Art Spiegelman, by a distributor that five years ago famously pulled Mein Kampf because of its status as "hate literature." This on the heels of a pitiful showing by Western press last Winter in publishing these cartoons when they became the cause of riots in Europe, Asia and Africa earlier this year, which many critics feel was motivated by fear rather than a judicious choice between directly educating their readers and upsetting Muslim groups. American bookstores of similar status as of now are still carrying the magazine, which is surprising considering the relative appetite for brutal, print political discourse in each country.

On the other hand, I'm guessing this is the most times that the word "foment" has appeared in newspapers since the late 1930s.
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May 29, 2006

Quick hits
Boston Globe Discovers Manga
Wil Moss Comics Review Round-Up
BAW On State Of Black Superheroes
Missed It: Bizarre "Favorite X-Man" Article

DCC Harper’s Issue Pulled In Canada

Heather Reisman, president and CEO of Canadian's largest bookseller Indigo Books and Music, Inc., has ordered all copies of the June Harper's Magazine pulled from store shelves. The reason? Reprints of the Danish Cartoons that portray the prophet Muhammed, in an article by Art Spiegelman. This is despite the fact that Spiegelman's article examines, unpacks and puts those cartoons into definite context, diminishing their status as provocative agents to all but those who one imagines need little excuse to be provoked.

One thing that's odd to me is that the cover isn't mentioned in any of the half dozen articles I read. The cover I saw by Spiegelman had a Muhammed depiction right smack in the center of other provocative cartoon depictions of race and ethnicity; this seems to me a lot more provocative and worth noting than an analysis article inside. Since it wasn't mentioned, and I haven't seen the cover yet reprinted anywhere (I don't have permission to reprint my PDF), I have to wonder if this just wasn't reported on by some sort of collective aphasia or if the cover's different.

An internal memo found by reporters indicates that fear of sparking riots was a direct reason given for the move. Major US booksellers have thus far had the magazine in their racks, without incident (or they plan to; I'm not quite certain about anything anymore). It is believed that Reisman's company accounts for about 3000 copies of the magazine on a month-to-month basis in its 260 stores.

In a further vote of confidence for reasoned discourse, the bookseller chose not to return phone calls to journalists on the matter. Articles note it wouldn't be the first time Reisman pulled something she considered objectionable from her shelves. In 2001, Reisman ordered copies of Mein Kampf from her shelves, putting Spiegeman and Harper's in fine company.
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Mike Luckovich Wins 2006 Reuben

In a move that surprised many observers if only because it's a rare occurrence, Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich added to this year's Pulitzer Prize win by taking home the cartoonist of the year honors at this weekend's Reuben Awards held by the National Cartoonists Society. It was the 60th year for the awards, a black-tie event held in rotating cities, this year in Chicago. The other finalists were Bill Amend, Dave Coverly, Brian Crane and Dan Piraro.

Jim Borgman, Brooke McEldowney, Jerry Van Amerongen, Glenn McCoy and Ralph Steadman were among the division winners. Paul Chadwick won the comic book division over Rick Geary and Erik Larsen. Steadman won the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Silver T-Square for service to cartooning went to Dick Locher.
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Quick hits
Cornwall Is Comics Country
Gødland Takes Summer Vacation
Hector Cantu To Speak In Milwaukee
Missed It: Design Award to Jamie Hewlett


May 28, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine

author's note: as of 6 PM 052906, this section was copied into a "Collective Memory" entry. That is the entry which will receive further updates. It can be found here.


ALEX TOTH, 1928-2006

There is only one thing to write about today.

Alex Toth, one of the handful of people who could seriously enter into Greatest Comic Book Artist of All-Time discussions and a a giant of 20th Century cartoon design, has passed away at age 77.

Like many young cartoonists, Alex Toth received his first professional gig from Steve Douglas at Famous Funnies. He would eventually work for DC, Marvel, Standard, Dell, Whitman, Western, and Warren, an elite publishers list that might double if you counted books about Toth or reprint collections. His best-known comics achievements are probably 1) an accomplished, dynamic run on Zorro, 2) creating the well-traveled throwback romantic adventure feature "Bravo For Adventure," and 3) a brief but exceedingly lovely stint on the crime comic Torpedo. He was also a well-regarded animation designer, creating model sheets for characters ranging from Space Ghost to various DC mainstays as they appeared on TV under the title Super Friends.

Above any artist ever to work in comics, Alex Toth enjoyed a career that cannot be properly summarized via a credits list. Toth is better remembered for an approach to work -- perfectly spotted blacks, supple line work that can create an entire visual world in fewer marks on the page than anyone would ever believe, and a visually sophisticated approach to storytelling that relied as much on shadow and hints and continuity across panels as it did on any effect borrowed from film. It was a way of making art he developed and refined and pulled apart to put back together for the entirety of his adult life. Toth's art was routinely idiosyncratic and exquisite to the point that he could seize your attention on the silliest of projects: superhero pin-ups, scale models of robots, doodles on a postcard, licensed tie-ins for an audience that would probably accept anything that even pretended towards fealty to the look of the object being sold.

People will say he was a great craftsman, and they'll be right, but what Toth did was a little further along than that. Toth reached that scary point where it felt dangerous to look at some of his best work; you ran the risk of being pierced by a force that practically shimmered on the page, that inhabited every image, like a master chef's dessert so rich it made your eyes water in protest, or a singer's voice so pitch-perfect it made you want to leave the concert hall, if only to catch your breath. His handwriting exuded an element of purity in cartooning that could outclass other artists' fully-rendered sequential art. Toth's black and white work in particular displayed an almost transcendent understanding of drawn art as a visual story component. When we as readers come to a greater understanding of the effect that great art has on the reading of comics, Toth's reputation is likely to grow even larger than it is today.

Alex Toth was known as something of an irascible guy. I know little about that personally -- when I worked at The Comics Journal we occasionally listened to a tape of Toth made during a cut-short interview because he was so brutal, straightforward and funny -- but I do know that he was never rewarded by his chosen medium in two of the most basic ways that matter: opportunity and reward. He earned far more of a right than he spent in terms of speaking back to comics, whether it was criticism of art that fell short or a more personal confrontation. The sad thing about Toth as opposed to other square pegs in round holes in comics history is that Toth's work surely indicates he was present to the possibilities in more mainstream genres than perhaps any great comics artist ever. He wasn't "out there" -- his work influenced the mainstream of comics history at the major houses, and inspired artists who generally went on to become workhorses as opposed to arthouse favorites. That he still didn't quite fit into the industry in a way befitting his skill and passion is one of those unknowable things in comics history. Hopefully, Toth will continue to live on in a variety of ways and in a variety of publishing platforms in a way that does justice to his life in art.


News Sites
Comic Book Resources Pulse
The Beat


Blog Entries
Across The Counter
Alan J. Porter
Alberto Calvo
An Ear In The Fireplace
Ashley Wood
Atomic Surgery
Bad Librarianship
Bill Cunningham
Black Kitchen Sink
Blake Petit
Booksteve's Library
Burnt Lamb
Champagne Wishes
Charles Hatfield
Chris Arrant
Chrissie Harper
Cliff Biggers
Colleen Doran
Comix Connection
Cooked Art
Dan Curtis Johnson
David Lasky
Elmo's Junction
El Nono Critico
Eric M
Evan Dorkin
Eye of Polyphemus
Ferret Press/PANEL
Four Realities
Gabriele Pennacchioli
Graven Images
Hector Lima
Jesse Hamm
Joe's Apartment
Joe's Journal
Johnny Bacardi
Jorge Vila
Jose Marzan Jr.
Kleefeld on Comics
Lee Stone
Lifetime Piling Up
Litany of Schist
Lito Sandoval
Louie Del Carmen
Mark Evanier
Mark Neeley
Max Riffner
Mercury Studios
Michael Netzer
Mike Sterling
My Fucking Sound
Mystifying Oracle
Nuff Said! News
One Zombie In A Billion
Paul Chadwick
Pop Culture Gadabout
Rafael Kayanan
Random Being
Ritalin Baby
Robert Solanovic
Ronnie Del Carmen
Scans Daily
Schwa Love
Scott Hart
Talk About Comics
The Bitter Guy
The Bripecave
Thing I Learned Today
Tom Peyer
Tony Collett
Voices In Utter Dark
Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy


Messageboard Discussions
The Comics Journal
The Engine
Toth Fans Forum


Five Random Covers







Biographical Articles and Resources
Auad Publishing


The One Site You Have To Visit
The Official Alex Toth Website


Directly To Art
Beautiful Page From Black Hood #2
Fox Pin-Up
Model Sheet For Plastic Man
Original Art Gallery at Collecting Fool
Original Art Gallery at Comicartville
Original Art Gallery at Comicartville -- Animation
Page in French
Page of Hot Wheels
Page of Rip Hunter Interior Art
Sample from CARtoons
Sierra Smith Page
Sketches for Atlas' The Scorpion
Sketches for Sale at BPIB
Sketch of Charlie Chan


Five Random Non-Cover Images







100 Greatest Comic Artist List
2001 Message Board Discussion on His Relevance
Advice on Collecting His Work
Alex Toth on Modern Comics (1991)
Comic Book Heaven Alex Toth Anecdote
Drawn! on Model Sheet by Toth
Essay on "White Devil!... Yellow Devil!"
Forthcoming Doodle Book
Interview From Comic Book Artist
Interview With John Hitchcock
Steve Lieber Analyzes Toth
The Comics Journal #262


Three Quotes About Alex Toth

"Toth had not gone into comic books for fame or fortune. (Indeed, when he started, the field was so unrewarding -- and so scorned -- that artists were too embarrassed to state in public what they did for a living.) But he remained in thrall to the transformative possibilities he had experienced as a child. He could still be moved by the material presented him. He respected the practitioners who had advanced the medium and strove to be worthy of their legacy. he was, he once said, 'in love with telling a story in pictures.' But, he found, most writers and editors lacked his passion. They were 'rejects from the pulp field... [with] no foundation in the grammar of pictorial continuity.' The reaction of one editor at Standard to 50 pages which Toth presented so enraged him that Toth snatched them back and ripped the entire folio in half with his bare hands." -- Bob Levin, "The Mark of Tyrone Power." The Comics Journal #262.

"A beautifully executed expression of a cartoonist's belief in his art and in the moral function of heroism." -- RC Harvey's review of Bravo for Adventure that reads like a piece of late-period Alex Toth art, from Planet Cartoonist.

"So he decided he was coming to San Antonio. So we all -- some other artists and I -- met at the Menger, which is just off the ramp through the San Antonio airport. We figured we'd intercept him as he came down the ramp. We all took chances saying, 'That's Alex! That's Alex! No, that's Alex!' But I have to tell you when Alex finally appeared on the scene, there's no mistaking him. Because Alex Toth is an exact replica of some of the cartoons he draws." -- the late artist Pat Boyette, in an interview with Ken Smith, The Comics Journal #221.


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posted 5:40 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Five For Friday

This week's Five For Friday results are now available: "Name Four Comics You Stopped Reading At Some Point and One Age At Which You Stopped Reading Comics Altogether."
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May 27, 2006

Alex Toth, 1928-2006

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Toronto, I’d Go To This

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Rumors A-Flyin’: CPM Filing Bankruptcy?

Anime News Network
Anime on DVD Forums
TCJ Message Board

posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The week's most important comics-related news stories, May 20 to May 26, 2006.

1. Mana Neyestani and his editor arrested in Iran and their paper closed following riots ostensibly caused by Neyestani's cartoon about an Azeri-speaking roach.

2. Revered longtime comic strip editor and current Executive Vice President Lee Salem to assume the presidency of Universal Press Syndicate.

3. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announces a corporate fund and initial members.

Winners of the Week
Alvin Schwartz and Harvey Kurtzman

Losers of the Week
Cartoonists in Iran, where the political manipulation of expressive cartoons can lead to innocent death and imprisonment of the cartoonist.

Quote of the Week
"Nowadays, cartooning is a very dangerous profession in Iran, and probably cartoonists might be referred to as funny criminals." -- Nik Kowsar on the situation in Iran for his peers.

potential sandwich mogul Dagwood Bumstead has the right idea
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

May 26, 2006

Go, Look: Mana Neyestani Cartoons


Spend a few moments to familiarize yourself with the work of Mana Neyestani, jailed this week in Iran for a talking cockroach cartoon. I think it's important to remember that there are a couple of people jailed at the heart of the story, as the focus of the coverage drifts far too easily into talk of political ramifications and cross-border posing and moves away from the direct human cost both here and in the riots (four deaths). In fact, at least one wire story today refers to Neyestani as "she."
posted 2:28 am PST | Permalink

Musa Kart Decision: Cats = Cute?

Scroll down for some analysis of the legal decision by which the Musa Kart Cat cartoon conviction was overturned by a high Turkish court. The admonishment that a government official like Prime Minister Erdogan should have more tolerance according to his position is an interesting take; on the other hand, the assertion that this could not be an insult because "cats are cute creatures that share the lives of millions of people throughout the world" sounds a bit dubious to me, although I agree with its general sentiment. If this were argued in court as a kind of "Lookum kitty, pretty kitty wuvs you" defense, I want to spend some time hanging out at the back of Turkey's courtrooms.
posted 2:21 am PST | Permalink

Ron Rege Art High Over LA

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2006 Finger Nods: Kurtzman, Schwartz

The 2006 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing will go to late writer, editor and artist Harvey Kurtzman and the author and writer Alvin Schwartz. The Finger Award program began in 2005 under the general supervision of comics writer, artist and historian Jerry Robinson to recognize writers for their contributions in a way Finger (1914-1974) was not. The inaugural awards went to Arnold Drake and Jerry Siegel.

imageAlvin Schwartz was a key writer on the Superman character, starting in the mid 1940s. He wrote the newspaper strip -- an underappreciated for making the character and its attendant ideas recognizeable worldwide -- and scripted many of the first features in his comics magazines. The press release from the awards program notes that Schwartz wrote the first tale of "Bizarro," a character who went on to star in some of the best mainstream comic books ever written and a concept that has found pop culture purchase in the decades since. The versatile Schwartz also worked on such titles as Buzzy, Fairy Tale Parade, Detective Comics, All Funny Comics, World's Finest and Superboy. He has since gone on to a prolific career as a writer of books; he also wrote movie scripts.

imageHarvey Kurtzman, one of the giants of comics history, according to the Finger Awards release began in comics the same year as Schwartz: 1939. He was the first editor and creator of Mad for EC Comics, writing the bulk of the seminal features himself. He also enjoyed a long run in the late 1940s and into the 1950s as a writer of the war comics, Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. Those Kurtzman-written EC books are among the best-crafted in American comic book industry, and although maligned in some circles today as gussied-up pulp, their place on Best of Century lists is secure and they were undeniably sophisticated enough to enter into the discussion as precursors for the comics for adults that span bookshelves now. Kurtzman's EC run also distinguished the role of the comics writer as primary author, shaping and directing the artists and final product, leaving a personal imprint rather than absolving oneself after a script is handed in. Kurtzman enjoyed a long run writing the Playboy feature Little Annie Fanny and authored several books about cartoonists. He died in 1993.

This year's committee, chaired by Mark Evanier, was Jerry Robinson, Gerard Jones, Marv Wolfman and Charles Kochman. The awards are underwritten by major sponsor DC Comics and also supporting sponsors Comics Buyer's Guide, Heritage Auctions and TwoMorrows Publishing. The awards will be presented during the Eisner Awards ceremony on Friday, July 21, during Comic-Con International (a CR advertiser).
posted 1:26 am PST | Permalink

Post Chat Previews Reuben Weekend

Cartoonists of all categories and work situations are loading into O'Hare and Midway even as you read this, all heading into Chicago for the annual Memorial Day weekend of the National Cartoonists Society. The highlight of the weekend is the Reuben awards, comics' only formal-dress occasion and one of its most prestigious awards.

The finalists for this year's big award of cartoonist of the year, known simply as "The Reuben" as opposed to the category awards which are referred to at best as "a Reuben," are to appear today on a chat with Suzanne Tobin. They are: the editorial cartoonist and 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Luckovich, Dave Coverly (Speed Bump), Brian Crane (Pickles), Dan Piraro (Bizarro) and Bill Amend (Fox Trot).
posted 1:11 am PST | Permalink

Jim Borgman Makes “Most Powerful”

Cartoonist Jim Borgman made the alphabetical as opposed to the ranked part of a list of Cincinnati power brokers; making any list of this type is decidedly impressive. The whole thing is a kind of throwback to times past if you stop and think about it, with an area's major cartoonist wielding power over local events and officials. I don't know enough about Cincinnati to make a joke that doesn't involve getting free bowls of chili on demand, so I'll end this post here.
posted 12:50 am PST | Permalink

May 25, 2006

Quick hits
New Katy Keene Designers Sought
Coverly's Caption Contest 2: 4000 Entries
I Thought Dragonball Z Had Already Ended
Not Comics: Satrapi's Animated Film Gets US Distributor

Politics Swamp Jailed Cartoonist Story

image In a story that exploded early this week, four deaths are now linked to rioting in Iran ignited by the Mana Neyestani cartoon at right (click through to see its modest place on a whole page of cockroach jokes). The cartoon had earlier this week led to the arrest of the cartoonist and his editor, as well as the closure of the newspaper in question. The last 24 hours have basically seen accusations fly back and forth by folks trying to place the the incident in its proper political context. Some have accused various Iranian factions of fomenting discord through the cartoon; others including prominent officials accuse the West of trying to divide the Iranian people through this and other recent news stories.

I exchanged e-mail with cartoonist Nikahang Kowsar about his friend and colleague.
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink

Sometimes No Story May Be A Story

Here's something I wanted to mention I hope doesn't make me look like an ass because the company is simply playing something close to the chest. Through all the BEA 2006 coverage, one story I thought we had a chance to hear something on was any plans by Andrews McMeel to do more giant-sized comics collections along the lines of their complete Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes sales giants. I was told by an AM representative that three to five more of the high-profit items featuring different strips were possible, although no one in my circle of pals could figure out, no matter how much beer was consumed, what would be automatically appealing enough to comics fans to justify the expensive production that went into the initial pair of projects (an annotated Doonesbury, Bloom County, and Pogo were our top candidates). At any rate, as I recall the Complete Calvin and Hobbes was announced at a BEA long in advance of its publication, maybe a couple of years, so perhaps not hearing something at this last one indicates an even longer wait if a future project with a new strip is to come off at all.
posted 1:48 am PST | Permalink

Airbender Cine-Manga Hits Half Million

Combine Tokyopop's underrated cine-manga line (stills broken down into comics form) with the largely unknown to the general public but held in widespread awe in certain circles sales-mechanism juggernaut that is the Scholastic Book Fair and you have the occasional giant-selling comic with almost no noticeable buzz. was smart enough to notice this one.
posted 1:44 am PST | Permalink

NYCC ‘06: 33,000 Attendees has a nice write-up on the New York Comic-Con setting dates for next year, February 23-25. Although it's funny -- except for the fact that this show will no longer directly compete with Orlando's MegaCon (it will compete in proximate fashion), there's really nothing remarkable about the 2007 dates. What is interesting is what goes into in some detail: 33,000 attendees, 6,000 attendees, a move into the Javits Center's bigger hall to avoid the first year overpopulation fiasco, rough word that exhbitors both old and new are already signing on, and a number of badge-type ideas to keep attendance moving out of the show and to further prevent overcrowding.
posted 1:40 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Comics All About The Lord
Local Cartoonists Profiled: Aguila, Galvez
Bill Griffith Exhibiting With Editorial Cartoonists
India Has Own Mobile Phone Comics Company

May 24, 2006

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 10:02 am PST | Permalink

Cockroach Cartoonist Jailed In Iran

More information is now available on the cartoonist jailed along with his editor, and his newspaper closed, because of an insulting cartoon that led to rioting last week in Iran.

* The cartoonist's name is Mana Neyestani, and he was the paper's staff cartoonist.
* Neyestani is a member of the Azeri minority that was insulted by the cartoon.
* Size of minority in Iran: roughly 25 percent of 70 million Iranians.
* The editor arrested was Mehrdad Qasemfar, the editor-in-chief.
* The paper was Iran Friday, the weekend edition of Iran.
* The paper had already fired Neyestani and Qasemfar.
* The paper had run front-page apologies three days last week.
* The prosecutor that ordered the arrests is the chief prosecutor in Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi.
* Mortazavi has summored Iran's publisher to a hearing.
* The government agency that made the order to close the paper was the Press Supervisory Board at the Press and Information Department of the Culture and Islamic Guidance Miinistry.
* The charges were "publishing provocative materials and fomenting discord."
* The gag: a boy says the word for cockroach several times as they cockroach asks him "What?" in Azeri.
* Date of publication: May 12.
* Extent of riots: Local office of paper set afire in Orumiyeh; more widespread rioting in Tabriz injured several policemen; 54 arrested.
* Geo-political ramifications: Iranian President declares that US won't be able to exploit ethnic differences.

If I had found this article earlier, I would have saved myself the trouble of creating the above out of a half-dozen pieces like this one.
posted 3:29 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Sascha Hommer

posted 3:15 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Joss Whedon’s Buffy 8.X

Well, I saw the story, but I skipped over it and probably shouldn't have. It's a bit wonky, though, so bear with me. Basically, the creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer property and primary creative voice Joss Whedon will do a season eight of his fondly-remembered television show, just in comic book form. Comic book versions of TV shows are nothing new, nor are sequels to TV shows and movies, nor are creators being involved in the creation of supplementary comic books. This, on the other hand, is an extension of a television show's canon by the one creator that fans of the television show will accept as capable of providing them with a canonical add-on. That's a little bit different than what we've seen in the past.

There are some real barriers to this kind of thing, though: the preference for television and the fans' connection to the various actors once involved could scotch the kind of higher connection between show fans and this project for which the creators and publisher might be hoping. A six-issue mini-series, particularly with the laconic pacing Whedon has brought to his X-Men comics, suggests in terms of heft less of a full follow-up season than a single episode or TV movie. It should also be interesting to see how Dark Horse handles the exectuion of the proposed comic book: they've enjoyed solid performers in comic shops with licensed property titles and in bookstores with movie tie-ins, but their one weakness according to various on-line pundits has been their ability to maximize these hits through forward-thinking inventory management, which might be a key to getting a Buffy series over long-term.
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink

Prix Des Libraires De BD ‘06: De Crecy


I'm having a hard time following this article, but it seems like the Nicolas De Crecy book above, Periode Glaciaire, is the 2006 winner from a nominating process that selects two books every two months. The other nominees.

* Abdallahi (Futuropolis), Pendanx & Dabitch
* La Chronique des Immortels (Paquet), Von Kummant & Von Eckartsberg
* L'Aigle Sans Orteils (Dupuis), Lax
* Le Combat Ordinaire Volume 3 (Dargaud), Larcenet
* Le desespoir du singe Volume 1 (Delcourt), Alfred & Peyraud.
* Le Petit Bleu de la Cote Ouest (Humanoides), Tardi & Manchette
* Le Roi des Mouches (Albin Michel), Mezzo & Pirus
* Le Sourire du Clown (Futuropolis), Hirn & Brunschwig
* Lune d'Argent sur Providence (Vents d'Ouest), Herenguel
* Magasin General Volume 1 (Casterman), Loisel & Tripp
* Menace sur l'Empire (Dargaud), Barral & Veys
* Salvatore (Dupuis), De Crecy
* Total Souk (Dargaud), Larcenet
posted 2:49 am PST | Permalink

It’s Bryan Lee O’Malley’s World…

... and the rest of us just talk to him about it. With today's release of the third volume in the Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, comes at least two interviews: one at Chase Sequence, one at Newsarama.
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink

I Hadn’t Seen This Cover Yet

posted 2:01 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Neil Gaiman on Superman

imageNeil Gaiman and Wired editor Adam Rogers are responsible for this essay, which cites the Alvin Schwartz book An Unlikely Prophet and the Jules Feiffer cartoon where Superman plunges into the tedium of civilian life, before repeating the gem from Feiffer's "Great Comic Book Heroes" essay on Superman that he represents the reversal of the secret identity trope -- Superman is pretending to be Clark Kent, either because he's a bastard (Feiffer's suggested motivation) or because he's mostly denied by virtue of birthright the great joys of a normal life (a more popular, romantic take).

The Feiffer cartoon is one of a handful of affecting Superman comics in my mind, like the Goodman Beaver comic pictured and the well-liked, mournful dream sequences of Alan Moore's hypnotic plant Superman annual, all of which make greater use than usual of the psychological mirror provided by the man who can do anything. I alway thought that on some level it must be pure death to write Superman comic books, on the same level but worse that it's hard to read them. Every element that's been refined about the modern superhero comic book works against what seem interesting about the character and his set-up. The art is no longer colorful blobs in motion that suggest the obscenity of a man leaping and throwing things out of our frame of reference; modern superhero soap opera demands that classic and age-old questions move forward rather than repeat and eventually be rectified in some manner (if only to be reset); the 14-year-old mindset demands rational explanations and limits for a character that works better in extremes (even absurdist extremes) and without restraint. Or maybe that's just me, I don't know.
posted 1:29 am PST | Permalink

Don’t Forget Collective Memory on BEA

posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

CBLDF Announces Corporate Fund

In an announcement through PWCW, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Executive Director Charles Brownstein made public a corporate membership effort through which companies, as opposed to individuals, can directly contribute via a membership basis to the Fund's activities. Initial members are DC Comics, Quebecor, Wizard, Diamond Comics Distribution and Dark Horse Books. Each contributed $5000. The CBLDF works in a variety of ways to protect First Amendment rights for members of the comics industry.
posted 1:23 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
UPS Backs Soccer Star Strip
Not Exactly Avengers Vs. Defenders
AV Club Profiles Mark Kalesniko's Alex
Mr. Boffo's Joe Martin, Baseball Psychic
Cornell Bracing For Doonesbury Poll Loss
Sunday Comics in Sacramento All Covered Up

May 23, 2006

Iran Closes Newspaper Over Cartoon

In a wire story that's racing around the world this morning, one of the three top newspapers in Iran was closed earlier today, and the editor and staff cartoonist were detained. At question is a caricature that led to rioting in Tabriz from the northwestern Azeri-speaking minority known as Azari or Torks. The closure came from the Press Supervisory Body, not the judiciary that has closed down over 100 papers since 2000.

The cartoon in question showed a cockroach speaking Azeri. The editor and cartoonist are currently being held in Evin prison.

The detentions and closure came after the Iranian Culture minister popped up on TV Monday night and apologized for the cartoon, promising retribution.
posted 3:27 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: BEA 2006 Round-Up


We're continuing to build a "Collective Memory" section for BEA 2006, so don't be shy about .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Above is from an AdHouse Books report where every picture is at an angle like the 1960s Batman TV show. Also, apparently prominent comics industry retailer Greg Bennett (above) is nine feet tall.
posted 3:17 am PST | Permalink

Vending Machine Mystery Solved


According to CR reader Sebastian Broskwa, the comics vending machine linked to yesterday is from this collective of Viennese artists called Mixer Comics. If you dig around you'll find pieces of art like the above from various members.
posted 3:05 am PST | Permalink

Lee Salem To Assume UPS Presidency

We are less than 10 weeks away from one of the most important comics industry personnel changes possible, change at the top of a major syndicate, as the greatly respected comic strip editor Lee Salem will succeed Bob Duffy this July as the president of Universal Press Syndicate. Like Duffy, who came on board and spearheaded the syndicate's sales starting in 1976, Salem has more than three decades experience with the syndicate. Salem may be best known for his long-running relationship with Doonesbury, but the article points out other highlights such as Salem and Duffy negotiating a contract with The Far Side's Gary Larson when he moved from Chronicle Features to UPS. And while the challenges for the syndicate have changed in this time of shrinking newspaper circulation and unique market permutations, Salem's hire could be seen as not just turning to a veteran hand but a vote of confidence in strong editorial content as a way to negotiate the current landscape.

Duffy will remain on the company's board, do some consulting and split time between Kansas City and a home in a warmer climate. Salem will retain the title of "editor," when he moves from executive vice president to president, but in a side announcement perhaps just as important as Salem's forthcoming presidency, the syndicate plans to hire editorial help and Salem plans to step down from the editor position after a transitional period.
posted 3:01 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Renee French Art

posted 2:57 am PST | Permalink

Louisville Cartoonist Slot Still Open

Here's a nice piece of follow-up work by David Astor at Editor & Publisher: the editorial cartooning gig at the Louisville Courier-Journal remains open months after Nick Anderson's departure for Houston. E&P reports that the paper has used some syndicated work and a few cartoons by local artists. This is important because of the depressing trend of major paper editorial cartooning positions closing down, and the belief at the time of Anderson's departure that his position in Louisville was not dependant on his being there. In fact, with this article confirming they haven't even advertised for a new cartoonist, I would think this position is gone despite the uncertainty expressed.
posted 2:35 am PST | Permalink Comics Drive April Sales

A boost in comics periodicals driven by new titles and DC's Infinite Crisis mini-series helped offset a Springtime dip in graphic novel sales at direct market comics and hobby stores, the business and news analysis reports. We're big fans of the suite of articles, which as usual include

Summary article
List of Comics
List of Graphic Novels/Trades

although as usual, I'm having a hard time telling which is the summary and which is the analysis article (I switched them here), so you should probably read them both if you're interested.

I like to play around with the numbers in my head, like noting how many comics reach certain sales plateaus:

Month/Year -- 150K, 125K, 100K, 90K, 80K, 70K, 60K, 50K, 25K, 10K, 5K

April 2006 -- 2, 2, 7, 7, 10, 19, 23, 32, 80, 158, 208
March 2006 -- 1, 1, 5, 6, 7, 19, 29, 38, 97, 183, 239
April 2005 -- 1, 1, 7, 7, 13, 18, 25, 30, 84, 144, 198
April 2004 -- 1, 3, 6, 12, 15, 18, 24, 33, 95, 161, 209
April 2003 -- 1, 1, 3, 8, 10, 10, 14, 24, 86, 179, 226
April 2002 -- 0, 0, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 82, 157, 185

This means very little, and nothing that can't be explained by some quirk of the month in question, but I liked making it, anyway.

posted 1:53 am PST | Permalink

May 22, 2006

Go, Read: New Peter Bagge Comic

posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
My Ride, My Comics
Ted Rall Mixes Media
Headlines That Get You Beat Up
Another Mobile Phone Comics Player
Joanne Siegel Comments on Son Michael
Local Con Notes Greater Female Participation

Go, Look: Re-Done Bone Site

posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

I Hadn’t Seen This Cover Yet


That explains those buttons below, too.
posted 3:56 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Gerald Scarfe at 70

The Independent gets a jump on the great British cartoonist's forthcoming 70th birthday with a concise profile.
posted 1:08 am PST | Permalink on Book Expo America 2006: Comics Just Another Category Now

image files their Book Expo America report, and suggests that distribution deals and big publisher graphic novel lines are common enough at this point that even the famed "graphic novel pavilion" has likely seen its last show. They also report that Viz is still having a grand old time with the announcements. It sounds like sort of a glum year, period; as I recall, the big signing news from the show's initial day was Stephen King and Mitch Albom, which is about as exciting as hearing Shaquille O'Neal and Derek Jeter signed new sports contracts.

There should be a lot of comics news coming out today and tomorrow about the show. Heidi MacDonald of "The Beat" and PWCW was on hand. The Steve Roper/Mike Nomad-like Fantagraphics team of Eric Reynolds and Greg Zura was there. Chris Pitzer of AdHouse threatened to drive up and take photos. Creators Linda Medley, Brian K. Vaughan and Harvey Pekar were in attendance. PWCW will almost certainly have a round-up tomorrow. If you'll look to the right, there will be a collective memory entry where I'll store all this material as it seeps in over the next 48-72 hours.

As for stuff that's available right now, Douglas Tonks notes on his blog that Harvey Pekar was on hand promoting his forthcoming "Best American Comics" Houghton-Mifflin collection and that demand was strong enough Fantagraphics ran out of free Castle Waiting books for Linda Medley to sign during her formal autograph session. Bully Says surveys the freebie action, including the buttons above. Not only do most publishers have free books or items on hand to give out, but as the weekend draws to a close, you can frequently pick up unintended freebies from a booth just by asking for it and saving a publisher the struggle of dragging something home. Here's a pretty good array of photos and brief film snippets from someone who mentions DC and Last Gasp in her more general reaction-type report.
posted 12:10 am PST | Permalink

All Hail The Comics Vending Machine!


CR reader Martin Schneider writes: I'm emailing because the vending machine photo you posted [the comics vending machine created by the artist Jenni Rope, in Sunday's "CR Magazine" post ] reminded me of something I saw in Vienna -- jpeg enclosed. That was taken at the MuseumsQuartier, which is the city's new museum complex.

Thanks, Martin!
posted 12:05 am PST | Permalink

May 21, 2006

Evanier: Motor City Bootleg Madness

The writer Mark Evanier writes on his blog that friends of his report police crackkdowns on bootleg video sales at this year's Motor City Comic Con, held over the weekend. The MCCC is an older, you could say more traditional comics and showbiz-related comic book convention, with a lot of media crossover (this year they celebrated the 1960s Batman television show). As Evanier points out, bootleg video sales have long been part of the convention landscape, and are pretty easy to find via sales on Ebay.

Newsarama hits the news story.
posted 11:32 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 11:20 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Jeet Heer on Winsor McCay

Jeet Heer's 7000-word essay on the great Winsor McCay, including a lot of comparisons between the old comic strip master and various authors of modern art comics, is now available at the Virginia Quarterly Review web site.

If you've just now read that and thought, "That gigantic essay on an accomplished artist really hit the spot on a Monday morning. More, please!" You might like this piece by Jog on Francois Schuiten.
posted 11:10 pm PST | Permalink

Your 2006 Glyph Awards Winners


* Story of the Year: Nat Turner, Kyle Baker
* Best Writer: Lance Tooks, Lucifer's Garden of Verses: Darlin' Niki
* Best Artist: Kyle Baker, Nat Turner
* Best Male Character: Huey Freeman, Boondocks
* Best Female Character: Darlin' Niki, Lucifer's Garden of Verses: Darlin' Niki
* Fan Award for Best Comic: Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther? (Reginald Hudlin, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Axel Alonso)
* Rising Star Award for Best Self-Publisher: Robert Roach, The Roach
* Best Reprint Publication: Birth of a Nation, Crown (softcover)
* Best Cover: Nat Turner #1, Kyle Baker
* Best Comic Strip: The K Chronicles, Keith Knight
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Scott McCloud Plans 50-State Tour

posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Michael Siegel, RIP
Miriam Katin in Toronto
Speak That Truth, Sister
Emaki Exhibition Features Proto-Comics
Checking In With Stores After Busy May
Not Comics: Comics Movies Have Issues
Not Comics: Mike Fry Reacts to Hedge Movie
Robb Armstrong Honored at ECBACC Dinner
Actor Reads Peter Bagge, Turns Into Evil Mutant

CR Sunday Magazine


Go, Read: Art Out Of Time Preview



Go, Look: Jenni Rope



Go, Bookmark: Al Wiseman Blog!



Go, Reserve: Bill Mantlo Benefit Book



Go, Read: Queer Gaspers



Go, Look: Fran Matera Web Site



No One Saw Him Take The Elevator

posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Five For Friday

This week's Five For Friday -- "Name the Last Five Things You'd Be Willing to Give Up From Your Comics Collection" -- is now up for your reading pleasure. A new installment will go up on Friday, May 26.
posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

May 20, 2006

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 2:30 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The week's most important comics-related news stories, May 13 to May 19, 2006.

1. Iranian cartoonist tried in absentia for work that had certain political officials as its subject matter.

2. Newspaper strips: worst betting arena ever. Mike Belkin (who many believe is Scott Adams) pulls plug on Unfit; Lio launches with 100-plus papers.

3. New arraignment date set for Rome, Georgia comics retailer Gordon Lee.

Winner of the Week
Harper's, for publishing Art Spiegelman's look at the Danish Muhammed cartoons.

Loser of the Week
Harper's weird policy of not having this magazine up on their web site as it appears on the stands, so that people can at least look at it when they read wire stories on it.

Quote of the Week
"The Journal has been running repeats of the strip since 2000 because no one wanted to be the person who put Snoopy to sleep." -- one newspaper explains why they waited until now to drop Classic Peanuts.

Snoopy has the right idea; this is the good kind of sleep, by the way
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

May 19, 2006

BEA 2006 Going On in Washington DC

imageI'm kicking myself that there was a major, justifiable book event an hour away from the Preakness Stakes (a mostly crappy betting race, btw; I'd probably find an exacta pairing with some value based on how the local betting changed the odds today), but the news seems pretty quiet from the event itself. There's something nice and entirely appropriate about this becoming a working weekend instead of a "Gosh, wow! We're in the real Book Expo" experience over the last few years. It also seems like some of the companies are taking the opportunity to stress one or two books as particularly appropriate for the book and library trade (there are a lot of librarians there, as I recall), and not so much choosing to work the "Hey, we do comics!" angle. The book at right could cement Brian K. Vaughan's place in the first ranks of American mainstream comic book writers, at which point I hope to be able to spell his name correctly the first time I post.
posted 10:17 pm PST | Permalink

MoCCA Festival Programming List

Program chair Kent Worcester just sent this list of programming for the MoCCA Festival at New York's Puck Building this June 10-11.

Saturday, June 10

11:30-12:50 pm
Slideshow on political cartooning with Tom Hart, Jen Sorensen, and Tim Kreider

1:00-2:00 pm
25th anniversary birthday party for World War 3 Illustrated (free cake)

2:10-3:25 pm
The Art of Cartooning and the New Yorker, chaired by David Sipress
Participants: Arnie Levin, Danny Shanahan, Barbara Smaller, Gahan Wilson

3:30-4:30 pm
Slideshow and talk by Miriam Katin

4:35-5:45 pm
MOME roundtable, chaired by Eric Reynolds
Participants: Andrice Arp, Gabrielle Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Gary Groth, David Heatley, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen

Sunday, June 11

11:30-12:45 pm
New Voices in Comics -- chaired by Mark Nevins
Participants: Mike Dawson, Katherine Guillen, Sammy Harkham, R. Kikuo Johnson, Lauren R. Weinstein

1:00-2:00 pm
MoCCA Art Festival Award
Award recipient: Gahan Wilson

2:10-3:50 pm
Charles Burns in conversation with Chip Kidd

4:00-5:00 pm
Slideshow with Dan Nadel on early 20 Century cartoon strips

5:00-6:00 pm
Q&A with Jessica Abel
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink

Regarding Anne Cleveland…

posted 7:33 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 1:56 am PST | Permalink

MIT Leads Doonesbury’s College Poll

MIT is outpacing Rennselaer -- which I believe made the finalist list just so reporters would be frustrated when trying to spell out -- and blasting past Cornell as the college choice of character Alex in Garry Trudeau's long-running strip. I think the real news is that over 150,000 people have voted, which gives you an idea of the kind of energy you can get going on-line after establishing a solid presence early on and growing along with the Internet.
posted 1:51 am PST | Permalink

OTBP: Alex Toth Doodle Book

posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

ICv2: V For Vendetta #1 in 1Q ‘06

ICv2 has released two bits of analysis with the publication of its latest retailers' guide: they've adjusted their 2005 aggregate sales numbers for graphic novels to $250 million-plus and named V For Vendetta the sales champ for 2006's first quarter.
posted 1:36 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Kevin Huizenga Blog

posted 1:29 am PST | Permalink

May 18, 2006

Quick hits
John Kascht Exhibits
CPM To Work With Consortium
Editorial Cartoonist Turned Historical Painter
Not Comics: James Kochalka Likes This Guitar
Manga As Vehicle For Reviving Older Properties?
Someone Sent Me This PDF: colloquy_spring06.pdf

Windbag Pundit Calls For Cartoon Firing

I'm not really sure who "Bill O'Reilly" is, but I'm guessing from the single-name "O'Reilly" in the headline it's assumed I do. From the article I'm going to conjecture he's one of those thin-lipped, skilled in a professional wrestling interview sense, sit-down political pundits that also sells books with his face and/or the American flag on it, a pretty common public personality that people for some unknown reason tend to take deathly seriously.

At any rate, this Mr. O'Reilly seems to think University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer should resign for not shutting down a student-funded campus newspaper that published cartoons brutally satirizing Jesus Christ. This is much more interesting than it might have a couple of years ago because such on-campus battles about cartoons now have a context -- the Danish cartoons controversy. The thought that the issues of free speech and journalistic responsibility raised by last winter's events might find purchase on college campuses is rather scary, though.

thanks to Aaron Ragan-Fore
posted 5:09 am PST | Permalink

Dalai Lama Honors Herge Foundation


The Herge Foundation will be presented the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth award by the Dalai Lama at a ceremony June 1. The foundation is being honored for the legacy of Tintin in Tibet as a way millions of people have heard about the country, and blocking a 2001 attempt by China officials to release an altered verson of the book, roughly called Tintin in China's Tibet.

The other honoree is the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Past winners include Vaclev Havel, Elie Wiesel and Richard Gere.
posted 3:09 am PST | Permalink

Wire Stories: Spiegelman in Harper’s

Variations of this wire story are going around, which goes to show you the Danish Cartoons Controversy remains an issue at least on some level. I find it odd that Harper's has yet to update their web site with the new issue's cover -- although maybe they routinely do this after the print edition hits the stands, I don't know.

Doing a blog search on Spiegelman and/or Harper's thrusts you into the gruesome world of political blogging, which is more depressing than other kinds of blogging because the various strident dimwits raging in largely unimaginative, pre-programmed ways one encounters are doing so while engaged in real-world issues. My impression from a light reading of what's been posted so far is that Spiegelman, by criticizing several actors in the publication of the cartoons and the riots and press ostrich impersonations that followed, will be hit by both sides. On the other hand, this particular permutation is not a big enough issue for people, even bloggers, to spend a lot of time on it, so it will go away soon.
posted 2:39 am PST | Permalink

Wolk, Groth Talk Comics Criticism

Gary Groth on the Early Comics Journal Days

image"There were a lot of working professionals who were just sort of appalled at our attitude and probably at our punkish disrespect for mainstream, predominantly superhero, comics in general. They didn't think it was legitimate to criticize comics in that sort of high-toned way. Mainstream creators took a certain degree of pride in their work, but it was pride in them from the perspective of hard-core fans, and they weren't really imposing standards on them, other than craft standards, which had devolved from the history of comics -- and the history of comics is mostly just a history of crap. So when we came in and applied these 'exalted' standards to comics, creators were, frankly, pissed off."

Douglas Wolk on Tricks of the Trade

image"The trick to writing comics criticism meant for an audience beyond the cult, I think -- and, really, if the criticism is good enough and is in any kind of a general-interest venue, the audience will come -- is subtle exposition: I try to write for a general audience, and give them everything they need to know, without making it look like I'm explaining something esoteric. In a lot of ways, the long comics reviews I write are just book reviews; I figure out a hook or some kind of engaging way of addressing the subject, I assess the thing in question, and I don't make a big deal out of the fact that it's a comic, any more than [longtime New Yorker film critic Pauline] Kael would hem and haw over the fact that what she was reviewing was a motion picture."
posted 1:59 am PST | Permalink

Da Vinci Code As Comparative Event

There's a semi-interesting idea in this editorial that the Tom Hanks-starring evil albino goof-fest The Da Vinci Code -- particularly its assertion that Jesus Christ like a 1950s pop idol had a domestic life hidden from his fanbase by various handlers -- could have the same effect in Christian communities that the Danish Cartoons Controversy had in muslim communities. The two problems are that a) there was an agitating element that sparked the riots earlier this year that's hard to imagine will repeat itself, and 2) as much as one may continue to hope, there is as yet no edict of even the conveniently applied kind by the Christian church against Ron Howard movies. One imagines there could be some Culture War juice to be squeezed by some politico in pointing out the Christian communities don't riot, and that may be what's happening here.
posted 1:43 am PST | Permalink

Your Grand Prix de la Critique Nominees


Twenty books published from November '05 to May '06 were named to the nominee list -- roughly termed the "the books you can't get past" list -- for the forthcoming prize. Books familiar to CR Readers include Manu Larcenet's Le combat ordinaire, ce qui est precieux and Judd Winick's Pedro et moi.

Bart Beaty tells me the Enki Bilal book listed is all the rage this Spring.
posted 1:33 am PST | Permalink

SPX ‘06: Feiffer, Millionaire Headline

Bethesda's Small Press Expo has announced its guests for its 2006 show, October 13-14, at the Marriott North Bethesda Convention Center. The cartoonist, author and playwright Jules Feiffer shares headliner honors with alt-weekly cartoonist and children's book author Tony Millionaire. Other guests include Paul Pope, Gabrielle Bell, Kevin Huizenga, Jeffrey Brown, and Anders Nilsen. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Ignatz Awards, and the first at a new location. All profits from the Expo go to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF).
posted 1:13 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Shojo Beat Turns One
Chabon Talks Comic Books
Chris Butcher 1, PR Person 0
Favorite Comics Change Over Time
Post Rotating Comics In Boondocks Slot
NZ Cartoon Stamps Cultural Insensitive?


May 17, 2006

Iranian Cartoonist Tried In Absentia

An Iranian cartoonist currently living in exile in Canada, Nick Kowsar has apparently been tried and convicted in absentia in Iranian court for various cartoons. Like several cartoonists worldwide in the last few years, Kowsar's crime was to make work that portrayed high-ranking officials in an unflattering fashion, those officials turning to remedy via the court system. Samples of Kowsar's work can be found here, and his blog here.
posted 2:17 am PST | Permalink

Bob Laughlin, 1925-2006


Bob Laughlin, the cartoonists behind the Eclipse Comics series Kitz-n'-Katz and an assistant on Heathcliff, passed away on Sunday. A funeral is scheduled for this Friday in Southbury, Connecticut. As Craig Yoe reports in his "Arf Lovers Blog" (in the second Tuesday May 16 entry), Laughlin's work had an elegant, understated charm. Laughlin also worked on his own strip, Cuffy (1963-64), and the Monty Hale comic book.

posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

Five Things That Cost The Same As Seven Issues of DC’s Infinite Crisis

1. From an on-line bookseller: Art Out Of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries 1900-1969 (Dan Nadel), with enough left over for a copy of Casanova #1 (Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba).

2. From CR advertiser Drawn and Quarterly's Spring Sale: Babel #1 (David B.), Ed the Happy Clown #1-7 (Chester Brown), Crickets #1 (Sammy Harkham), Atlas #1-2 (Dylan Horrocks).

3. A one-year membership in the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, plus a copy of DC's own very entertaining Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #2.

4. A copy in "Good" condition of Fantastic Four #36 from a sale at

5. A piece of original art from Johnny Ryan and two issues of King-Cat Comics and Stories.
posted 1:21 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: 50 Superheroes


Elijah J. Brubaker is drawing and commenting on fifty superheroes; the commentary makes this worth the click-through.
posted 12:56 am PST | Permalink

NCS Journal Nixes Muhammed Cartoon

According to David Astor at Editor & Publisher, the National Cartoonists Society took a pass on including an ad from cartoonist Keith Robinson that included a depiction of the Prophet Muhammed. Instead the publication let him reference the fact that his cartoon was denied inclusion, and provide a URL to any who wanted to see it. Astor's piece includes a long explanation from the cartoonist why he wanted to do such a cartoon. I think Robinson's correct in that fear rather than a sensitivity to religious prescriptions drove the decision of most editors not to run any of the Danish Muhammed cartoons, and had a further impact on how the story was covered.
posted 12:42 am PST | Permalink

May 16, 2006

Go, Attend: Panter Opening 5-25

posted 11:52 pm PST | Permalink

Fit to Print (051706)

Del Rey sent out a press release on their plans to publish an original graphic novel based on Terry Brooks' Shannara fantasy property... First Second announces their latest signings through Calvin Reid at PWCW: Gipi's Angouleme '06 winner Notes pour une histoire de guerre, another book from Gipi, an adaptation of Joseph Bruchac's Dawn Land by Will Davis, a Lewis Trondheim children's book, and a series based on the video game Prince of Persia... Dan Slott's The Thing canceled with issue #8... DC announces its full book slate for Fall 2006...
posted 11:15 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Complete Peanuts Covers
Sydney Loves Neil Gaiman
AV Club Profiles Archie Comics
Jordi Bernet Coming to America
Dayton Starts Mike Peters Caption Contest
Editorial Cartoonist Matt Davies Starts Blog
Cagle: Population Group Suspends Contest

I Hadn’t Seen This Cover Yet…

posted 4:55 am PST | Permalink

Conversational Euro-Comics

posted 2:11 am PST | Permalink

New Arraignment Set for Gordon Lee

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced a date of May 19 for the new arraignment of comics retailer Gordon Lee, of Rome, Georgia. The case came to the CBLDF in early 2005, stemming from a 2004 incident where a copy of Alternative Comics #2 featuring a brief scene of non-sexual male nudity, accidentally found its way into the hands of a minor during a local merchants' Halloween promotion. Since that time, with the help of counsel Alan Begner and Paul Cadle, five of seven counts have been dropped. Lee was to go to trial starting April 3 when the charges were dropped and new files were charged to reflect fact the prosecutorial team had supossedly just learned -- that the book in question when to a six-year-old sibling of the nine-year-old, not just the nine-year-old. At that point, the case had to find a new date on the judge's calendar; mid-May was about the earliest court officials mentioned as a possibility.

The CBLDF reports spending $60,000 thus far in Lee's defense, with costs to increase as the new trial grows near. The case has been the subject of a small amount of controversy in the comics field, with some fans feeling that Lee's retailing error in allowing the comic to be distributed shoudl disqualify him from support, with the Fund and its supporters pointing out this is not only a harsh, unreasonable standard, the issue of relative retailer merit is way, way beside the point when a pernicious law or set of laws needs to be defended against.
posted 2:03 am PST | Permalink

Help Dave Sim Help The Poor

posted 1:56 am PST | Permalink

Like It Or Not, Cartoons Politicized

I may be reading too much into this barely-related article, but I thought it made a good point about how events like the Danish Cartoons Controversy are going to be politicized, like it or lump it, and that it doesn't matter if the entry into larger political concerns honors the original issue or if it's just generic grist for the mill.
posted 1:49 am PST | Permalink

Mike Belkin Pulls Plug on Unfit

imageThe comic strip Unfit will end its syndicted run on May 28th, according to the syndicate United Media and the strip's creator, Mike Belkin. Unfit had been known in the comics world for basically two things: a) an art style close enough to Belkin's suggested informal mentor and friend Scott Adams that a lot of on-line folk outright call Belkin "Scott Adams" or otherwise make a joke about the two artists being the same person as if it's so obvious that only a fool would think otherwise, and b) a well-publicized contest to choose a new artist for the feature (the collaboration between Belkin and the winner, Justin Thompson, reportedly didn't work out). I could probably add a c) Not quite coming together on the page, and not be too far off, although the Belkin-Adams thing and the contest received a lot more interest than the strip itself. I have no idea how many papers Unfit has at this point, but it probably isn't a whole lot; a strip with a lot of clients generally ends with enough lead time for its syndicate to try and sell papers on a replacement.
posted 1:34 am PST | Permalink

Comics Needs Bubble Tea Culture?

Here's a reaction to Free Comic Book Day that indicts the grating, overnerdish atmosphere of the local comic book shop. Put aside the possible arguments that if someone hates an entire medium that's a different issue than just hating comic book shops or some comics, or the fact that if you dislike a shop so much to write about it, you probably shouldn't have been shopping there in the first place -- even when the shopping is for free stuff. The interesting question raised here is this: with all the rhetorical energy spent on raising the quality of the comic book shop experience, has there been a great improvement? And, to follow up, has there been enough of an improvement? It's not like this is a new issue, not anymore.

I don't know if it's possible to answer that without everyone getting defensive, and my gut instinct says that people should be able to run stores any damn way they like. It's still worth floating the question. One might be able to say that competition should take care of shop models that don't work, at least over the long haul, but there's plenty to indicate that the engines driving the Direct Market don't really put a high premium on growing the number of shops, let alone backing elements of a particular store model, so long as certain needs are met.
posted 1:14 am PST | Permalink

School’s Out At Cromartie High

Eiji Nonaka brings his Eisner nominated, not-popular-enough-to-suit-me comedic manga to a close in Weekly Shounen Magazine issue 25, and provides the best reason ever for ending a series.

thanks to Dirk Deppey
posted 1:09 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Future of Gaming Market

I've never been able to tell how closely related the hobby and comics industries are, but I recognized some comics-culture similarities in this speculative portrait of the (non-video) gaming industry's future by designer Kenneth Hite. For instance, Hite makes the point that the Internet creates a social circuit for fans that by necessity finds completion in the physical meet-and-greet provided by conventions, which makes sense to me. He also asserts that these events can also become the only places where many fans can access a certain kind of diverse product (hello, MoCCA/SPX), and makes a good point or three about the back-and-forth between distribution opportunities and company models that serve those different venues.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Michael Gaydos to Virgin
Praxis Makes Debut At Bristol
How One Newspaper Drops Peanuts
Portrait Of Aspiring Malaysian Mangaka
Ranan Lurie Offers Painting To North Korea
Action Figure Museum Gets Comics Donation
Chris Lamb's Editorial Cartooning Book To Paperback
Happy 250th Birthday, American Editorial Cartooning!
WSJ: Pop Diplomacy Born From Regional Japan Hatred


May 15, 2006

Go, Read: Spiegelman Covers Harper’s

I don't think the web site is updated yet, but Art Spiegelman has the cover and a lead feature in this month's Harper's, on the subject of the Danish Cartoons Controversy. Spiegelman is purportedly going to go back into the history of provocative cartoon speech to help provide some context, and looks at each of the original twelve in terms of their provocative qualities. One of comics' big guns given a tremendous platform to talk about the all-time cartoon-related news story pretty much defines "must read." Keep a look out.
posted 6:07 am PST | Permalink

Ferdinando Tacconi 1922-2006


Ferdinando Tacconi, the artist behind the feature "Gli Aristocratici," in Il Corriere dei Ragazzi and a prominent comics artist in Great Britain and Italy for several decades, has passed away accroding to The artist began his career shortly after World War II, taking on a combination of magazine illustration and comics stories. His features included El Bravo, Jet Morgan, Jeff Hawke, Isabella, and, since 1990, staff work on Dylan Dog. Tacconi was 83 years old; a funeral was scheduled for today.
posted 4:53 am PST | Permalink

Hamas Does Comics For Kids

I don't have anything to say in the way of commentary, and really, neither does this article. I read it, though, and looked at the comics.
posted 4:51 am PST | Permalink

Stunner: Lio Debuts at 100+ Clients


Mark Tutilli's pantomime strip Lio debuts in a big way this morning, with over 100 clients and several major-market newspapers. In today's super-crowded newspaper market, that is a pretty amazing number. I can't remember something launching at 100-plus for quite some time now.
posted 4:40 am PST | Permalink

Seattle’s Papers Back to Arbitration

An update on a story we've been tracking: last Thursday the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer re-affirmed their desire to settle their dispute in binding arbitration. This had been challenged by the Comittee for a Two-Newspaper Town. In April a King County judged sided with the comimtte, after which the Newspaper Guild local that had funded the committee voted to withdraw from the group.

Ending the Joint Operating Agreement effectively ends the Post-Intelligencer, and ends -- as you may have inferred from the above -- Seattle's run as a multi-daily newspaper city. This is important for comics because Seattle is one of the last remaining such towns, which means that not only does two papers means 2X the comics, the papers compete for comics which means even more sales for strip they keep in reserve or put on their web site.

The case will be decided by May 2007.
posted 4:33 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Ted May Blog


posted 4:29 am PST | Permalink

Douglas Wolk: Genius or Demented?

The writer Douglas Wolk's blog for every issue of DC Comics' limited weekly 52, 52 Pick-Up, is one of those ideas you wish you had yourself, but only from the safety of a vantage point where you don't have to do any of the actual posting. Wolk is one of the best writers about comics around, so this should be an interesting experiment. It also underlines the fact that limited-use blogs are becoming a more and more effective journalism/critical/promotional tool.
posted 3:37 am PST | Permalink

Your 2006 Eagle Award Winners

The Eagle Awards celebrated their 30th anniversary with 2000 voters from 20-plus countries and an array of winners including John M Burns as the Outstanding Achivement in British Comics recipient and writer Grant Morrison making the Roll of Honour. Winners were announced in Bristol in a combination presentation dinner at the Ramada Plaza.

Favourite Colour Comicbook -- American
The Ultimates [Marvel Comics]

Favourite Colour Comicbook -- British
Judge Dredd Megazine [Rebellion]

Favourite Black & White Comicbook -- American
The Walking Dead [Image Comics]

Favourite Black & White Comicbook -- British
Springheeled Jack [Black Boar Press]

Favourite New Comicbook
All Star Superman [DC Comics]

Favourite Comics Writer
Grant Morrison

Favourite Comics Writer/Artist
Howard Chaykin

Favourite Comics Artist: Pencils
Bryan Hitch

Favourite Comics Artist: Inks
Jimmy Palmiotti

Favourite Comics Artist: Fully Painted Artwork
Alex Ross

Favourite Colourist
Laura Martin

Favourite Letterer
Todd Klein

Favourite Comics Editor
Axel Alonso

Favourite Publisher
DC Comics

Favourite Manga
Blade of the Immortal [Dark Horse Comics]

Favourite European Comic
Asterix and the Falling Sky [Albert Rene Editions]

Favourite Comics Character
Batman [DC Comics]

Favourite Comics Villain
The Joker [DC Comics]

Favourite Comics Story
The Ultimates volume 2 #1-9 [Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary]

Favourite Comics Cover
All Star Superman #1 [Frank Quitely]

Favourite Original Graphic Novel
Top Ten: The Forty Niners [Alan Moore & Gene Ha]

Favourite Reprint Compilation
Absolute Watchmen [Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons]

Favourite Magazine about Comics
The Comics Journal [Fantagraphics Books]

Favourite Comics-Related Book
Eisner/Miller [Edited by Charles Brownstein & Diana Schutz]

Favourite Comics-Based Movie or TV
Batman Begins [Christopher Nolan, director]

Favourite Comics-Related Website
Silver Bullet Comic Books

Favourite Web-Based Comic
Supernatural Law [Batton Lash]

Roll of Honour
Grant Morrison

Eagle Awards 30th Anniversary Award for Oustanding Achievements in British Comics
John M Burns
posted 12:47 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Sculptures By MacNelly In Exhibit
Patriot-News Profiles First Second
Q&A With Movie-Expectant Fry & Lewis
Not Comics: Villager Reviews Totally True Story
Schedule Stunner: Absolute DC: The New Frontier
Dynamite Moves Frack-Load of Battlestar Galactica #0


May 13, 2006

Site Update: New Comics Reviews

One of my New Years' resolutions was to write about comics more often. My vow now is to catch up with the CR review section so that by the end of the year there will be one review for every single workday. I started last week by keeping up a daily schedule. I liked all of these books, if you're looking for something new (or in one case, 63 years old) to buy. Please enjoy.

* Cartoon Cavalcade
* A Nut At The Opera
* The Awake Field
* The Ticking
* The Squirrel Mother Stories
posted 2:23 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In Ohio, I’d Go To This

posted 5:12 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Jersey, I’d Go To This

posted 5:11 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The week's most important comics-related news stories, May 6 to May 12, 2006.

1. Officials believe a series of cartoons mocking a political leader led to thuggish lunatics with AK-47s shooting up a newspaper, murdering two.

2. Young readers lines at Tokyopop announced, perhaps anticipating future protests against the material on age-appropriate grounds.

3. The Direct Market comic book shop promotion Free Comic Book Day celebrates another year. Even related efforts do well.

Winners of the Week
Fans of Thimble Theatre that can't afford the e-bay price of the existing volumes.

Loser of the Week
Bad week for this guy, I'd say.

Quote of the Week
"These days, Nick Fury doesn't smoke cigars, because Marvel editor Joe Quesada lost family to lung cancer. I lost family when Godzilla took down a SHIELD Helicarrier over San Diego, but that doesn't seem to bother those insensitive shits at Marvel." -- from a list of Marvel's 50 best characters.

not comics: Popeye and Eugene have the right idea
posted 2:55 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Five For Friday

This week's "Five For Friday" is now up: "Name Five Comics Or Comics-Related Publications You Know By Issue Number."
posted 2:36 am PST | Permalink

May 12, 2006

Series of Cartoons May Have Led to Armed Attack on Sri Lankan Paper

You know you're talking about a different part of the world with different expectations for workplace violence when they wait until paragraph eight to mention the fact that the gunmen that shot up and wrecked a Sri Lankan newspaper office were not disgruntled workers with handguns but professional thugs with AK-47s or something close. This article provides a reasonably distanced but still passionate explanation of what may have happened in a violent tragedy that ended the lives of two people. This includes a lot of context as to how newspapers can serve various political factions and parties in the Tamil region.

The government official that was the target of the cartoons was Social Services minister and Eelam Peoples Democratic party Secretary General Douglas Devananda.
posted 2:32 am PST | Permalink

Cartoonist Signe Wilkinson Debates Limits to Freedom of Expression

imagePhiladelphia editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson has been out front in discussions on the free speech repurcussions of the Danish Cartoons Controversy, and working in the political and cultural hotbed that is the City of Brotherly Love may be the most routinely publically criticized cartoonist working. Here she argues and counter-argues on the subject in a more formal debate set-up.

"For the US press, this current controversy was not about American cartoonists, but whether to run the Danish cartoons. Most papers, including some of the 'alternative papers,' which regularly ridicule religions, chose not to run them. Consequently, most Americans never had a chance to see whether the cartoons really were offensive. Instead, all Americans saw were the angry faces of what looked like irrational Muslims rioting. If editors had let their readers see the images, readers might have understood why Muslims were insulted."

Her debate partner is British journalist Felicity Arbuthnot.
posted 2:13 am PST | Permalink

Change in Webcomics Culture?

This may be the kind of thing that only interests me, but a writer named "Fabricari" over at Comixpedia notes an incident of Scott Kurtz directing traffic to another webcomic and then asserts that this kind of thing doesn't happen that often anymore. Sometimes the perception of this kind of thing doesn't quite match with reality, but if true, it might indicate a progression in webcomics culture that might be completely reasonable as more people use the form as an income source or platform to achieve same. Both the first generation of maisntream comic books and the first generation of print independents saw something similar happen, one can argue.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Dan Zettwoch’s Blog

posted 1:52 am PST | Permalink

Macro-Publishing News Mini-Bonanza

* The distributor Baker and Taylor has been sold to the giant investment house Castle Harlan for much more than its purchase price of a few years back. Baker and Taylor has been an important distributor into libraries and a vital one for a few smaller comics publishing efforts, according to my memory. I can't see any of this changing with new ownership.

* Good news from an odd source: a Bowker report says that US book production went down 18K last, quite the rare decline. The good news: the comics categories are up despite the decline, which shows some strength, and smaller publishers are the big group that's down, which makes me think a growing category might be attractive to some of them.
posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Clickwheel’s Debuts

In comics via mobile technology news, Clickwheel has announced its feature debuts on iTunes: Joe Loves Crappy Movies (Joseph Dunn), Silent Kimbly (Ryan Sias), Sebo (Jamie Robertson), Colin White Comix (Colin White) Fading Fast (Joe Alterio). I don't even pretend to know what any of this stuff means yet, but it's all worth tracking.
posted 1:36 am PST | Permalink

Go, Listen: CBC on Civil War

The CBC radio program "The Current" spent its second half yesterday doing a comics-related segment -- the first a loose look at political superhero comics via the spotlight provided by Marvel's ongoing Civil War, the second a stop-in at Silver Snail during the previous weekend's Free Comic Book Day.

thanks to Wednesday White
posted 1:08 am PST | Permalink

May 11, 2006

Missed It: Tezuka Strips Found has a really nice story about the discovery of some comics made by the master Osamu Tezuka, held in a censorship collection at the University of Maryland. The discoveries include both material no one knew about and at least one comic that people knew about because the title had been mentioned but no one could find the original. I love the thought of people making a catalog of a cartoonist with the kind of scholarly rigor that involves mystery strips mentioned but not found. Also, finding "lost" comics has a kind of Wimbledon Green/Hicksville lighthouse discovery sheen to it. You should read their whole article rather than my republishing portions of it here.
posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
CAPE Draws 6000 on FCBD
Steranko Covers Motor City Con
Missed It: Weta To Work With Red Star
52: Most Ambitious Series Ever Attempted
SD Library Card Bearers Get Bonus on FCBD
Street Art + Comics Art + Models = Exhibition
Alex Doonesbury: Says Cornell, Changes Mind

If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

posted 6:04 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Todd Loren Documentary Making 2006 Doc Festival Rounds

I thought this was out last year, but I think what I'm seeing now makes me think it's only just getting out there. Has anyone out there seen it? Before his lurid end, Loren provided one of the more interesting, ongoing comics news stories of the early '90s through his disputed use of music act likenesses and logos.


Peter Wong has seen it.
posted 3:27 am PST | Permalink

Fit to Print (051106)


Fantagraphics gives some details on their forthcoming Popeye-starring Thimble Theatre series here. Sounds great. Mark Evanier explains why.

and wow, my software just ate an hour's worth of collated publishing news; here's what I remember of the kicker at least

Jill Thompson signs a four-book deal with HarperCollins... Markosia says it's still alive and kicking, while Steven Grant reads that interview and suggests what Markosia is kicking may be comics creators right in the soft parts... Jamie S. Rich has a release date for his second prose novel: August... Warren Ellis reminds readers of his Bad Signal mailing list that in case they hadn't heard NEWUNIVERSAL's artist is Salvador Larocca... author Charlie Huston is in, so Marvel's Moon Knight can become an ongoing... Alison Bechdel's autobiographical Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic from Houghton Mifflin should be available now in anticipation of a June 8 formal release.
posted 2:58 am PST | Permalink

Comics Receive The High Hat

imageThe latest issue of The High Hat boasts a impressive suite of comics-related articles, including: a meditative piece on the great cocktail napkin philosopher Abner Dean by Chris Lanier, a look back at Crisis on Infinite Earths, a fun, rambling interview with Keith Knight (pictured), a kind of Amazing Heroes-like review of a superhero title called Supreme Power, yet another piece by Lanier (this time on Yuichi Yokoyama), and even a cartoon essay by the always-welcome Aleksandar Zograf.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

May 10, 2006

Quick hits
Phil Yeh Profiled
Profile Of Unshelved
Best Article Title Ever
Sun-Times on Chris Ware
Gordon McAlpin Interviewed
Bruce MacKinnon Wins Award
New Buzzword: Pop Diplomacy
Thrill-House Comics Says Hello
Local Cartoonist Profile: Jon Murakami
Marvel Gives Free Comics To Hospitals
Missed It: ACTOR Raises $9K In Toronto
Women Love Their Mobile Phone Comics
Dennis The Menace In California Profiled
Not Comics: Sandwich Idea 30, 40, 70 Years Old
Not Quite Comic Books, Not Quite Graphic Novels?

Sid Barron, 1917-2006

The Canadian comics-focused site Sequential has run a fine obituary for the cartoonist Sidney Arnold "Sid" Barron, who passed away April 29 in Victoria after years of declining health. A veteran of the short-lived Canadian comic book industry, Barron didn't become a full-time editorial cartoonist until his early 40s. He is best known for having worked 30 years at the Toronto Star, starting in 1961, with stints before and after in Victoria and Calgary. After retirement, he turned his focus to painting, and relocated back west to a place close to the ocean where he enjoyed seaside walks.

Barron is survived by a wife, sister, three children and several stepchildren. He was 88 years old.
posted 3:44 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Floyd Gottfredson Comics


One thing that's interesting to me about Floyd Gottfredson is how he used certain visual cues in his strip during the Mickey Mouse adventure days to increase the sense of motion and action. Unlike a lot of cartoonists doing that kind of work that use a lot of intersecting visual elements to play stop and start with the action, most of Gottfredson's work races from left to right, sometimes veering up and out. It's more noticeable in an action scene, but even in a throwaway panel like here the lean of the bodies, the shapes of the faces, the belts and even the bumper work together to hustle the reader from one side of the panel to the other. Crucially, the seedy guy's thumb violates just enough of the vertical element represented by the garage opening to keep it from being a stop. If you read a bunch of Mickey Mouse strips in a row on paper, like in the old Smithsonian collection, Gottfredson's reliance on "lines" is a major reason that the strip has a kind of crazy, careening energy.
posted 2:53 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Medved In Groth’s Seat

This made me laugh.
posted 2:37 am PST | Permalink

It Was Bound To Happen…


Hints at a "Whatever Happened To Al Columbia" documentary.
posted 2:27 am PST | Permalink

Danish Cartoons Update… in Brief

Still making headlines in a variety of ways:

* Muhammed Cartoons Disappear in Chicago

* Danish Troops To Stay In Iraq

* AAEC Programming To Include Religion

* CAJ Conference To Look at Muhammed Cartoons
posted 1:52 am PST | Permalink

May 9, 2006

Go, Look: Alex Schomburg


This cover makes me laugh because it looks like the one girl in back realizes electing this scary thug may not be the best idea anyone ever had.

According to one source, Alex Schomburg would have been 101 years old today. Schomburg was perhaps the World War II-era comic book cover artist in all the ways that were cool (bold images, churning action, lurid colors) and all the ways that make you go "yikes!" (horrifying violence, racist caricature) This site has a lot of covers, including a reasonably extensive Standard gallery.
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Biff! Bam! Pow! Free!
Batman: Underwear To Wallet
The Kids They Love The Manga
Writer Suggests "Graphic Book"
Not Comics: Dan Clowes On Popsie Doll
Daily Yomiuri On D&Q's Tatsumi Release
Milwaukee Writer On Hardcore Cartoon Memory Shuttle

Free Magazine Day: 1800 Requests

TwoMorrows is reporting 1800 requests for a free magazine from their web site during their Free Magazine Day promotion, which because of an overloaded server was extended past Free Comic Book Day and into last Sunday. I would imagine there's a good chance we will see more "free" promotions piggybacking on Free Comic Book Day in future years.

Our condolences to the person stuck behind the TwoMorrows intern at the post office today.

P.S. -- Pretty good CAPE slideshow to be found here.
posted 2:26 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Television Comic Books


thanks to all who e-mailed this
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink

Chris Ware: “The Drawings Aren’t Good”


Most people involved in comics are used to the way Chris Ware talks about his own work, but it's interesting to see how it plays in the well-coiffed, stiff-banter world of local television news.

A Comics Journal messageboard poster discusses the show.
posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink

We’re All Watching Adam Hughes Sketch

Really. All of us.
posted 1:57 am PST | Permalink

Comics Registry: Bill Hoest

posted 1:48 am PST | Permalink

Random Cool Photo Of Chinese Comic

Trust me, it's pretty cool. I'd provide evidence, but it occurs to me I can't really display the photo here without just, you know, stealing someone else's work, as there's not enough context I can add to the photo to justify using it as a link.

According to an accompanying article this issue was from a 1934-1946 Chinese comic book series.
posted 1:33 am PST | Permalink

Tokyopop’s New Young Reader Lines

imageLike most companies that settle their book distribution anxieties for the ostensible long haul, manga publisher Tokyopop seems to be shaping its efforts to better serve its perceived customer groups. To that end, it has announced two publishing initiatives aimed at young readers: Manga Chapters (ages 6-9) and Manga Readers (8-12). Manga Chapters will launch in September, while Manga Readers will have its initial wave of books out in July. The comics business news and analysis site has a clear and lucid round-up of how each line is oriented. As they note, librarians should be receptive to the new lines because of the overwhelming amount of manga material out there, its popularity, and their expressed desire to properly serve kids (and their parents) with age-appropriate books.
posted 1:24 am PST | Permalink

May 8, 2006

Spring 2006 Xeric Grants Announced

According to a press release that made the usual rounds I blew off because it was an attachment I dare not open on deadline for another project, the Spring 2006 Xeric Grant winners have been announced. Peter Laird's foundation gives out financial assistance to self-publishing comic book creators and qualifying non-profit organizations in Western Massachusetts. A total of $27,598 was given out to the following artists and projects:

* Emily Blair; Living Statues
* Alexis Frederick-Frost; La Primavera
* Joshua Kemble; NUMB
* Jason McNamara and Tony Talbert; First Moon
* Nate Neal; (Bison image)
* Pat Palermo; Cut Flowers
* Mark Price; Consider Everything in Bad Shape

The next deadline is July 31; the next review date is September 1.
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Kreider on His New Yorker Rejections


The extremely acerbic Tim Kreider is a terrific writer about comics and the cartooning process, so it's fun to read this piece about a morning spent having his comics rejected at The New Yorker, even if you disagree with the particulars.

stolen from TCJ's messageboard
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
How Can Wolverine Swim?
This Cartoonist Thanks Oprah
Marvel Comics Made This Man
Larry Levine Launches Aw Prunes!
Go, Read: Interview With Lela Lee
Go, Listen: Dean Haspiel Interview
Local Comic Shop Owner: Brian Komm
Editorial Cartoons Still Screened in Burma
Marvel Boasts Of 1st Day Civil War Success
Tokyopop Moving Away From Common Labels

Danish Cartoons Continue to Fascinate

* Erik Weems alerted me to this television interview with Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in which the Muhammed cartoons and the international repurcussions are discussed in some detail. Some accumulated background, if that name doesn't ring a bell.

* Carla Seaquist of the Seattle Times weighs in with a long thinkpiece on the matter.

* Samajwadi Party leader Beni Prasad Verma announces Saturday he will give half his properties to the person that kills the offending cartoonist.
posted 2:15 am PST | Permalink

Free Comic Book Day Round-Up

The North American Direct Market promotion Free Comic Book Day 2006 came and went on Saturday. Here is a small sampling of the on-line reports and blog entries thus far, many of them first-person accounts, about how the day went at various locations.

Champagne Wishes
Chris Giarrusso
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Jog the Blog
Listen To Us, We're Right
Mike Sterling
New Brunswick (NJ) News-Tribune
Newsarama's Day-Of Report
Newsarama in Charlotte
Norwich (CT) Bulletin
Press and Sun-Bulletin
Rick Phillips
Ross May
Shawn Wright
Slam Bang Comics
The Engine Messageboard Thread
The Three Cent Pup
Yet Another Comics Blog

imageWith what do we walk away from FCBD 2006? I'm not sure. It's always fun to see how various companies approach the event. For instance, Drawn & Quarterly's Mr. Jean promotes their upcoming Dupuy & Berberian books and the Moomin series. In contrast, Fantagraphics Funny Book #2 seems like an advertisement for an entire line and the company's breadth of product as much as specific projects.

One thing I saw of potential interest was I think a poster on a Newsarama thread asserting a) that smaller stores couldn't muster as effective a promotion and b) they might be able to if FCBD were to go back to aligning itself with a superhero movie. I reject the second notion as something that's related to store culture rather than size, but with the obvious investment involved, particularly in a week with a pair of big mainstream superhero comic books (Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1) some economic strain might actually make sense. Therefore I'm not sure I can readily dismiss some small store/large store economic factors. Worth remembering and asking after.

Also, and this could even be related, my hunch from reading a lot of articles like those above and the pre-press run-up going into the weekend that the promotion is really driven by local media coverage on local stores rather than national saturation that makes people think, "Now where's my local store..." I could be totally wrong about that, of course, but if that is the case it could affect how people approach FCBD in the future, and it could be something to keep in mind when complaints are made.
posted 1:26 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Ebay Fraud Arrest


I'm not sure if there's anything to a fraud case that involves comics rather than, I don't know, tires or stereo equipment, but there you go. Maybe the set of collectible tropes through which the fraud was continued makes this different. Heck I don't even know if Spider-Man #30 was involved -- or, I guess, if the promise of Spider-Man #30 was involved -- but that's a swell, odd cover that perhaps may put a smile on your face before the sad story linked to wipes at least some of it away.
posted 1:13 am PST | Permalink

Allez, Observez: Entrevue de Jim Lee

There's a question by question Jim Lee video interview at this site, although it's dubbed over in French so you pretty much have to speak that language or be smart enough to know how to turn it off to understand it. It might be worth exploring the site for a look at some other artists in the flesh, if that's your thing. I think if I were a cartoonist of Lee's stature, I'd be tempted to put "Superstar de la BD Americaine" on my business cards.
posted 12:58 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Paul Gravett on Escape


Paul Gravett has been using fine web site to occasionally roll out articles he's done on comics over the years, with the most recent addition a piece well worth reading on the 20th anniversary of Escape Magazine.
posted 12:45 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: DH Clothes Benefit CBLDF

Here's something nice: Dark Horse Comics will apply the profits from its participation in Adidas' "adicolor" collection, limited edition shoes and jackets featuring designs from what calls "the world of fashion and art." As the article indicates, in Dark Horse's case this involves work from heavy-hitters like Frank Miller and Katsuhiro Otomo. The donation to the CBLDF will be $18,000. The clothes go on sale May 20.
posted 12:38 am PST | Permalink

May 7, 2006

Go, Read: Steranko’s Outland


Stolen from Matt Fraction
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink

Your 2006 VPRO Grand Prix Nominees

Menu Larcenet, Lax and Marjane Satrapi have been selected as the nominees for the VPRO Grand Prix for best international cartoonist active today, to be given out on the eve of Stripdagen Harlem 2006, June 2. Past winners are Lewis Trondheim (2004) and Joe Sacco (2002).
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Missed It: L&R Survey
Comic Book Collection Recovered
Background on Recent Derf Award Win
Marquette Paper Features Masters Exhibit
Montclair Times Seeks New Editorial Cartoonist
Some Comics, Some Not: Dan Clowes Interview
Essay on Michael Netzer; Long Response From Netzer


May 6, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Eddie Campbell


Go, Read: Brian Doherty on Infinite Crisis

Brian Doherty looks at Infinite Crisis as one of two major sprawling fantasies of the 2000s (the other being Star Wars), both with things to say about American foreign policy under President Bush.

Go, Read: Jim Woodring's Blog



Hey Comics Fans,

Big news in Top Shelf land. After 16 years in development, the complete LOST GIRLS by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie has finally shipped to the printer, and will be hitting stores in August!

This will be the most expensive book Top Shelf has ever published, with the first printing costing us almost $200K. Why so expensive? Because Lost Girls will be published as three, 112-page, super-deluxe, oversized (9" x 12") clothbound hardcover volumes, each wrapped in a beautiful dust jacket, with all three volumes sealed and shrink-wrapped in a gorgeous slipcase. The entire epic published -- all at once -- as an art object for the ages.

And to help raise the money to pay for this print run, we've decided to offer a Signed & Numbered edition, limited to 500 copies, that will be autographed by both Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. This is a Top Shelf website exclusive, and the money raised through this advance sale will allow us to finance the project.

Advance orders of this special edition will ship out as soon as they arrive from the printer. But please note that this special edition will likely sell out before the summer release date, and quite possibly within days of this announcement, so pre-ordering is highly recommended.

To see what the slipcase and volumes will look like, click on either edition below and then click on PREVIEW.

LOST GIRLS (Signed & Numbered Edition, limited to 500 copies)
catalog.php?type=12&title=479 -- $150.00 (US) + Shipping, FOR ADULTS ONLY, A Web Exclusive

LOST GIRLS (Regular Edition)
/catalog.php?type=12&title=219 -- $75.00 (US) + Shipping, ISBN 1-891830-74-0, FOR ADULTS ONLY




by Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie

For more than a century, Alice, Wendy and Dorothy have been our guides through the Wonderland, Neverland and Land of Oz of our childhoods. Now, like us, these three lost girls have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfillment. Through their familiar fairytales they share with us their most intimate revelations of desire in its many forms, revelations that shine out radiantly through the dark clouds of war gathering around a luxurious Austrian hotel. Drawing on the rich heritage of erotica, Lost Girls is the rediscovery of the power of ecstatic writing and art in a sublime union that only the medium of comics can achieve. Exquisite, thoughtful, and human, Lost Girls is a work of breathtaking scope that challenges the very notion of art fettered by convention. This is erotic fiction at its finest.

-- $75.00 (US), ISBN 1-891830-74-0, FOR ADULTS ONLY


Brett Warnock and I would personally like to thank everyone for helping us get this project off the ground, as this is, without a doubt, the single most important graphic novel we've ever published. And with a decade of publishing and 150 literary graphic novels & comix to our credit -- including From Hell and Blankets -- that's saying something.

Why is this release so important? Because it does something that's never been done before: reinvent pornography as something literary, thoughtful, exquisite, and human. A singularly unique and layered story, Lost Girls is a commentary on the intimate wonder of human sexuality, the undeniable value of free speech, and the vulgarities of war. In an era and political climate when most would shy away from taking such a stand, this graphic novel champions freedom of expression and puts that ideal to the test. As a tightly knit community of fans, creators, retailers, publishers, distributors, and press we all believe that the pen truly is mightier than the sword, but we also know that the power of the pen lies not in the author so much as the audience. As such, Lost Girls need the support of all of us.

It has often been said, "If it's worth reacting to, it's worth overreacting to," and you can be sure that this fully-painted epic will get a reaction from everyone who reads it -- and more than its share of over-reactors as well. The literary, political, social, and sexual aspects of Lost Girls are going to challenge our system to live up to itself. Get ready. Lost Girls is coming in August!

And to hear what Alan Moore has to say about the project, just click here to read the amazing 2-part interview Kurt Amacker of Cinescape did with him, where Alan addresses every issue one could have with this work:

Your friend thru comics,

Chris Staros
Top Shelf Productions
PO Box 1282
Marietta, GA 30061-1282

Hey Comics Fans,

Big news in Fantagraphics land. After a few months in development, ANGRY YOUTH COMIX #11 has finally shipped to the printer, and will be hitting stores in May!

This will be quite an expenditure for Fantagraphics, with the first printing costing us over $1500 to print. Why so expensive? Because AYC uses only the most cutting-edge staple technology known to mankind. All 24 pages will be folded and bound with the greatest care by the finest stapling artisans known to Canada. The entire issue will be published -- all at once -- as an art object for the ages.

And to help raise the money to pay for this print run, we've decided to distribute this issue to comic book stores worldwide as well as via the World Wide Internets. This is a Fantagraphics exclusive, and the money raised through this distribution will allow us to finance the project and defray our enormous costs.

Advance orders of this special issue will ship out as soon as they arrive from the printer. But please note that this special issue will likely sell out before the summer release date, and quite possibly within days of this announcement, so pre-ordering is highly recommended.

-- $3.50 (US) + Shipping, FOR ADULTS ONLY




ANGRY YOUTH COMIX #11 by Johnny Ryan
24-page B&W comic book • $3.50; more in Canada • MATURE READERS

For most of this century, Loady McGee an Sinus O'Gynus have been our guides through the Wonderland, Neverland and Land of Oz of our childhoods. Now, like us, these two lost boys have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfillment. Through their familiar fairytales they share with us their most intimate revelations of desire in its many forms, revelations that shine out radiantly through the dark clouds of war gathering around a luxuriously spooky graveyard. Drawing on the rich heritage of erotica, Angry Youth Comix is the rediscovery of the power of ecstatic writing and art in a sublime union that only the medium of comics can achieve. Exquisite, thoughtful, and human, Angry Youth Comix is a work of breathtaking scope that challenges the very notion of art fettered by convention. This is erotic fiction at its finest.


Gary Groth, Kim Thompson and I would personally like to thank everyone for helping us get this project off the ground, as this is, without a doubt, the single most important issue of ANGRY YOUTH COMIX we've ever published. And with eleven issues to our credit, that's saying something.

Why is this release so important? Because it does something that's never been done since at least the last issue of Angry Youth Comix: reinvent pornography as something literary, thoughtful, exquisite, and human. A singularly unique and layered story, Angry Youth Comix #11 is a commentary on the intimate wonder of human sexuality, the undeniable value of free speech, and the vulgarities of war. In an era and political climate when most would shy away from taking such a stand, this particular issue of AYC champions freedom of expression and puts that ideal to the test. As a tightly knit community of fans, creators, retailers, publishers, distributors, and press we all believe that the pen truly is mightier than the sword, but we also know that the power of the pen lies not in the author so much as the audience. As such, Angry Youth Comix needs the support of all of us.

It has often been said, "If it's worth reacting to, it's worth overreacting to," and you can be sure that this fully-inked epic will get a reaction from everyone who reads it -- and more than its share of over-reactors as well. The literary, political, social, and sexual aspects of Angry Youth Comix are going to challenge our system to live up to itself. Get ready. Angry Youth Comix #11 is coming in May!

Your friend thru comics,

Eric Reynolds
Fantagraphics Books
7563 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115 USA
(206) 524-1967 x218 tel.
(206) 524-2104 fax

Go, Look: New Sean Phillips Site


Excellence in Blogging

I think it's worth noting that after months and months and months of sustained, daily and more-than-daily output, Eric Burns of has announced his intention to slow down and only post to his site occasionally. Burns has been really valuable to me as a daily voice with a consistent point of view on a subject about which I know very little (webcomics). I will miss the daily check-ins. Thanks, Eric!

Hey, Kids! Free Comics!


A Free Comic Book Day-related blog report that might put a smile on your face.

Initial Thought Of The Day

Do other industries have things like the Mid-Ohio Con Incident? If not, how can we be more like those industries?
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

It’s Free Comic Book Day 2006!


Go to a participating shop, walk away with a free comic book. There were plenty of decent comics for all audiences made available to shops. You shouldn't go too wrong with the AdHouse (above), Fantagraphics (various), the Oni (Scott Pilgrim) or the Drawn and Quarterly (Mr. Jean) if you're an adult; the Bongo (Simpsons), the Top Shelf (Owly), or Disney (Ducks!) if you're a kid or kid at heart. You can also find the requisite superhero books, licensed property showcases, and indy comic samplers. Go, enjoy.

Here's a messageboard thread where people can report their experiences.

Go here for a free magazine offer that even those of us miles from a comic shop can enjoy.
posted 3:36 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The week's most important comics-related news stories, April 29 to May 5, 2006.

1. Charles Brownstein named as instigator in Mid-Ohio Con incident involving Taki Soma. Some reaction. My view.

2. Musa Kart "cat" decision overturned by Turkey court. This was one of the big cases in Prime Minister's Erdogan legal crusade against cartoon depictions of himself.

3. Is it a sign of late-act defiance or merely an indication that the issue has become local again? Jyllands-Posten sues for defamation.

Winner of the Week
The Comics Journal, hitting first with the Mid-Ohio Con name reveal.

Losers of the Week
To varying degrees, every major actor in the Mid-Ohio Con thing not The Comics Journal.

Quote of the Week
"If my daughter came home from a comic convention and said she'd been in a hot tub with some drunk nerd who grabbed her boob, I'd say, 'You're lucky that's ALL he grabbed, and you're grounded.'" -- from the expected joke-making about the Mid-Ohio incident as word broke about details, this one on

Beetle Bailey has the right idea
posted 12:51 am PST | Permalink

This Week’s Five For Friday

The results to this week's "Five For Friday," a suite of questions having to do with the price of comics, have now been posted. A new question will go up next Friday.
posted 12:47 am PST | Permalink

May 5, 2006

Your 2006 Derby Day Picks…

I like Steppenwolfer, although the value has cut in half since Tuesday when I really liked Steppenwolfer, and should collapse to the 10-12 range at least by close today. On a hunch I also like Showing Up -- although it's that kind of like where you can see the horse finishing 3-5 or 19-20. There are so many favorites going off in the high single digits if you like those horses it seems like there may be added value in boxing up some exactas and trifectas.

Also, remember if you go to your track today to check the jockey's record if you bet any races; there can sometimes be a greater disparity between the skill and experience level of jockeys at the local and regional level than you're likely to see at Churchill.
posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

Conversational Euro-Comics

Bart Beaty is being haunted by the comics of Jacques Tardi.
posted 4:43 am PST | Permalink

Free Comic Book Day Going Fine

imageTomorrow is Free Comic Book Day, a comics industry promotion through the Direct Market mechanism of comic book and hobby stores whereby it is assumed that people across North America can find a local participating comic book shop, go to that shop, and come away with a free comic book created for that purpose. Many shops that participate make a bigger day of it, inviting local -- or not-so-local -- cartoonists in to sign books and meet fans; some make it an all-day party and thank you for recurring customers as well an outreach, and at least one store with a few partnering sponsors turns it into a mini-convention.

There has also been a news element to the event. Many of the alternative publishers participate with free comic books intended for mature readers, and it was a Free Comic Book Day offering that led to recently rebooted Gordon Lee case. I believe that the Friends of Lulu Empowerment Fund makes its public debut at the CAPE show linked to in the first paragraph. Debate over whether Free Comic Book Day should be tied into a comic book-related movie (the opening of Art School Confidential this weekend doesn't count) or on a date before summer vacation patterns hit comic shops has offered some insight into the thinking of retailers -- I'm glad it's its own date, and I think there are some slow growth years to be expected before the event truly flowers.

Start here. Message board threads with creators touting their appearances can be found here and here.

For those of us far away from a comic shop or otherwise garden- or housebound, you might try Free Magazine Day at Twomorrows.

Mike Sterling writes about some people pre-selling FCBD comics in that charming way that some comic book shops have to turn everything into a matter of shortages and collectibles.

Or if you're walking around Chicago and see Rob Syers, make him give you a comic.

My scientific method of holding my thumb at arms length and squinting at the computer screen seems to indicate a reasonably high number of local press coverage, which is where an effort like this is likely to gain traction and do the most good. Some examples:

Huntsville, AL
Norristown, PA
Rancho Cucamonga
San Jose
posted 3:30 am PST | Permalink

National Cartoonist Day May Need Help

According to my vigorous search of on-line listings, this official holiday is being celebrated by one guy.

If that makes you as sad as it makes me, rally in good spirit by attending Ron Rege's Awake Field launch party tonight from 8-10 at Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles. It looks like the stunningly appointed SHQ may only have two chairs, so get there early.

posted 2:46 am PST | Permalink

Your 2006 Clickburg Award Nominees

Jury president and noted comics industry journalist Jeroen Mirck writes in to note that a full list of the webcomics-focused Clickburg Award nominees are available for your perusal here. Of potential specific interest might be the added "International Clickie" category, which tagged the following.

* John Allison: Scary Go Round
* Daniel Merlin Goodbrey:
* Nicholas Gurewitch: The Perry Bible Fellowship
* Bill Mudron: Anne Frank Conquers Moon Nazis
* Tom Siddell: Gunnerkrigg Court

The rest of the nominees, links and reviews of many of the comics are available through the primary link above.

posted 2:08 am PST | Permalink

Lea Hernandez Announces NAN Award

Cartoonist Lea Hernandez has made a preliminary announcement regarding her "Women Webcomicker Grant NAN," by which she'll award three grants in the form of a year's free hosting at The award is designed to facilitate independent publishing by women and ownership of their creations. The NAN comes from a character in her Rumble Girls.

More details will be announced in early June.
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink

May 4, 2006

Animal HoF Gives Award to Johnston

Given Lynn Johnston's 2000-plus saturation in North American newspapers, the general respect paid her work, and the fact that she seems to be winding down her long-running strip, I imagine there are similar awards in her future. This one is for the Farley character. The article notes that Johnston will be part of group signings in conjunction with the National Cartoonist Society meeting in Chicago.
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink

Cool Comic From Streets of Shanghai

posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Steve Duin on Lost Girls
Interview With Dan Piraro
That NPR Civil War Segment
Barstow CC Steps Up On Manga Book
Revisiting That Nelson Mandela Comic
Interview With Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Robb Armstrong's Visit To Troubled School

Danish Cartoon Backlash Led to Monitoring of Sites… in November?

That a Pentagon research team would use the Danish Cartoons Controversy as a window into monitoring certain sites makes sense except for the November part; is the US Pentagon so far ahead of the curve they were on this when it was still a regional concern, or is that just an error?
posted 10:41 am PST | Permalink

An Antidote to Crossover Mania


How much better would the world be if a new Megan Kelso book came out every Spring? I had no idea this was imminent.
posted 10:34 am PST | Permalink The Newspaper Strip Dilemma

It's nothing that most readers haven't heard a hundred times before -- the average age of newspaper readers is getting older, papers are reluctant to run edgier strips because of a fear of complaints, and the whole market is dwindling. There are some definitive figures and the quality of the article's sources is quite high.
posted 10:20 am PST | Permalink

Marvel’s 1Q Numbers Suck Less Than Marvel Told Us They Would Suck

It's the Lou Holtz School of business management!
posted 6:10 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Edward Sorel


Looks like Sorel has a new book out in France, too.
posted 2:57 am PST | Permalink

Mid-Ohio Commentary Bonanza

Heidi MacDonald weighs in. I try to sum up.
posted 2:38 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Dave Coverly Caption Contest II
Berndt Toast Gang Launches Site
National Cartoonist Profile: Mark Parisi
Grinnell College Debates Editorial Cartoons
Missed It: Tokyopop Moves Into Prose Fiction
Not Comics: Mallett To Compete In Outdoor Event

May 3, 2006

Danish Paper Files Defamation Suit

The Jyllands-Posten has sued attorney Michael Christiani Havemann for defamation, claiming Havemann said the paper ordered a staff cartoonist to make a more distorted drawing of the Prophet Muhammed because the cartoons they had solicited from freelancers weren't quite provocative enough. The publication of those cartoons last September led to weeks of international rioting in the first few months of this year. Havemann represents 27 Muslim organizations in a defmation lawsuit against the paper, seeking $16,800 damages.

The newspaper is seeking $16,800 in damages and a court ruling that the statement was false.
posted 2:34 am PST | Permalink

OTBP: Dan Nadel’s Art Out of Time


It's not the publisher but the subject matter that makes this an off the beaten path book -- Dan Nadel's look back at what happened to outsider-type cartoonists before there was an alternative to mainstream comics avenues. They frequently published through mainstream comics avenues anyway. Guaranteed to melt the brain of anyone who views the history of comics through the lens of the surviving superhero comic book companies. Look for it in June, and I'll try to do a fuller preview before the month's out.
posted 2:18 am PST | Permalink 2005’s Manga Market

The business news and analysis site has posted its summary findings on the size and shape of the manga market in North America for 2005. The growth they estimate moving from approximately $140 million in retail sales to $155-180 million. Those figures are explained and some trends are sussed out in the piece.
posted 1:59 am PST | Permalink

Al Columbia Makes Pretty Art


Finally, something good out of a "what happened to Al Columbia?" Internet thread -- a screensaver proportional jpeg. I think this is from 1998. It's worth visiting the thread and marveling at anyway.
posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Mort Drucker Gallery

posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

May 2, 2006

Quick hits
Go Enter CBG's Contest
Comic Foundry Issue Two
Local FCBD Retailer Profile
Opus Gets A Newspaper Back
Jesse McCann Goes Back To School
More On How Great Strange Adventures Is
Eisner Biographer Finds Appearances Deceiving


Tracking the Mid-Ohio Incident Story

imageThe Comics Journal reported yesterday that Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein was the previously unnamed instigator in a late 2005 after-hours convention incident involving cartoonist Taki Soma that became an Internet rhetoric-producing coal furnace for months afterward, eventually leading to the creation of an empowerment fund by the Friends of Lulu organization. With the story out in the open after both the Empowerment Fund was created and the CBLDF concluded its own investigation into the matter, the news today falls squarely on public reaction to the reveal. To that end:

The Comics Journal's News Story (05-01)
Newsarama News Story (05-02)
Newsarama Analysis Story (05-02)
Lying In The Gutters' Most Recent Report
Summary at The Great Curve
Buzzscope Forum Thread
TCJ Messageboard Thread
Lying In The Gutters Forum Thread
Comicon.Com Panels
You'll All Be Sorry Forum Thread
Colleen Doran
Angry Zen Master (Blogger)
Elayne Riggs (Blogger)
Eric M (Blogger)
Glacierdust (Blogger)
Johanna Draper Carlson (Blogger) on TCJ's Article
Johanna Draper Carlson (Blogger) on Links and History
Johanna Draper Carlson (Blogger) on Charles Brownstein's Response
Kadymae (Blogger)
Lee "Budgie" Barnett (Blogger)
Tales to Mildly Astonish (Blogger)
Tegan (Blogger)
Teh_no (Blogger)
The Feminine Mistake (Blogger)
Tom Brazelton

I'll try to add more as they come in. Feel free to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) any you find.
posted 2:54 am PST | Permalink

Go, Pick Up: Vice Comics Issue

posted 2:28 am PST | Permalink

Larry Wright Accepts Detroit Buyout

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists reports that Detroit News cartoonist Larry Wright has accepted a cartoons + consulting freelance package in lieu of his present full-time position at the paper. Wright is a former AAEC president and has been with the News since 1976. The story at AAEC says that this was the result of a JOA between Detroit's papers after both were sold, something I hadn't heard happened.

The loss of full-time editorial cartoonists in major markets and the kinds of deals that are arranged in order to keep cartoons at the papers affected continues to be the number one story facing that field.
posted 1:57 am PST | Permalink

Marvel’s Civil War on NPR Today

Marvel's Joe Quesada and writer Paul Jenkins will represent Marvel on a discussion segment on NPR's Talk of the Nation program today, which reports will be the 2:40-3:00 ET slot. I note this not only because many people will want to hear it, but also because this is the first time since the initial X-Men movie came out I can remember a company getting media coverage like this for a fairly straight-faced interpretation of their selected metaphors.
posted 1:44 am PST | Permalink

May 1, 2006

Quick hits
Steve Bell Exhibiting at Leeds
One Year Later: Does It Work?
Japan's Pop Culture as Politics Pitch
Local Cartoonist Profile: Andy Runton
Jane Addams Awards Include Blumenthal's Pastiche
Student Columnist: Even Sucky Comics Are Protected

TCJ Names CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein as Instigator of Taki Soma Incident

Impressive exclusive by TCJ: you should read their account in full.
posted 1:27 pm PST | Permalink

Musa Kart Cat Decision Overturned

The Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara, Turkey has overturned a decision regarding the cartoonist Musa Kart and rejected the notion he needed to pay compensation for depicting Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an animal, specifically a cat. The fine had been about $3,700 in USD. The cartoon was published by Cumhuriyet. Erdogan had recently renewed his efforts to fight various unflattering depictions of him through legal channels.
posted 1:50 am PST | Permalink

Derf Wins RFK Journalism Award


"The City" by John Backderf has named "Cartoon Winner" in the 38th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, announced April 20. A dinner for all award recipients will be held on May 25 at Georgetown University. Judges said of the winner, "Derf aggressively attacks the institutions, ideologies and attitudes that create an environment for the continuing oppression and exploitation of the powerless." PDF here.
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

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