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

September 30, 2006

Happy 66th Birthday, Richard Corben!

posted 11:36 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In Berkeley, I’d Go To This

posted 5:25 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

posted 5:11 am PST | Permalink

September 29, 2006

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from September 23 to September 29, 2006:

1. After six-month hiatus, Aaron McGruder declines to give a return date for his Boondocks; UPS to phase out re-runs by November 26.

2. Teguh Santosa indicted.

3. Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani not fined and sent home but in the midst of his trial?

Winner of the Week
The Fell Format.

Loser of the Week
Platinum Studios -- okay, they got another $1 million and signed a deal to do webcomics: still, there's more skepticism than ever before about their ability to make money for anyone other than their owners.

Quote of the Week
"I genuinely believe the clarion call of Millar's muse is the sound of the money truck backing up to his house." -- the snark never stops at Savage Critic.

I'm just sort of fond of that panel
posted 11:04 pm PST | Permalink

New Book: Danish PM Had Hard Time Finding Muhammed Cartoons Offensive

The first to be released in what should be a fascinating series of accounts in the book focuses on the attitudes held by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Basically the PM freely admits he had a hard time grasping on the nature of the offense, and that his conduct was informed by the notion that while a person might object to someone else's behavior, that doesn't automatically mean he has the right to correct it or punish that person for it. The former stance strikes me as somewhat convenient, as the objections in the Danish cartoons crisis weren't always because of the original cause, but because of a growing web of political actions and stances brought into play by that first cause.

Rasmussen's latter notion is a point of view I heard repeated a lot, and underlines the difficulties presented by the core situation.
posted 5:11 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Warren Craghead’s New On-line Project—A Map’s Little Spell

posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink Bookstore Sales Overview

imageThe comics business news and analysis site takes a broad look at the current status of selling comics material in bookstores. Manga is still king, particularly the top series, but there's an interesting line of analysis that more traditional North American comics publishers are starting to see greater gains in that market with a variety of material. It kind of struck me that Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men series was one of those cited as seeing some sales improvement, as that indicates a pretty savvy customer, or at least one who is willing to make very specific distinctions: this creator doing this series in this franchise, and I had never thought of bookstores as a place where that kind of reader shopped.
posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink

Brief Notes On a Friday Morning

* Even though the headline includes the term "micropayments," and a lot of the links have used some variation of "talk about micropayments" it seems to me this interview between Henry Jenkins and Todd Allen is more about the status of various on-line payment schemes including but not limited to micropayments. The first question and answer is about merchandising, not micropayments, and in terms of micropayments about the only thing I see here that's new is that Allen gets to be the first guy to officially bury the Bitpass/Bus Token model.

It's a good survey article, though. I disagree with some of the theorizing -- for instance, I think comics shops as a whole became collector-specific rather than medium-specific years ago for a significant number of comics readers -- but it's bouncily conducted and the subject matter is important and the piece should be read.

* A related question that comes up in that interview, and kind of grates on me when I read it there and elsewhere: Can someone explain to me exactly how merchandising is a publishing revenue stream for webcomics? I'm probably being stupid, but it seems to me that merchandising is a revenue stream distinct from the comics, and that what you're actually talking about is the ability to target advertise your merchandising business through your strip, which is a slightly different discussion. I mean, merchandising is the primary revenue stream for many top-end comic strips and American mainstream comics, too, if you look at the final balance sheet. I just don't think of them as publishing revenues. And while I'm happy for anyone who finds any way to fund their creative endeavors, what's different about webcomics that we should see merchandising this way?

* Is it my imagination or is there a lot of unpleasantness out there right now? Since when does someone taking a new job invite a refrendum by the Comic Book Reader Workplace Ethics Committee? I once quit a job by faxing my previous employers from the new office. I'll likely never work there again, but it's not like anyone else on the planet has a legitimate interest in whether or not those guys are still mad at me. Sheesh.

* I suspect without being able to prove it that Teshkeel Media receiving a new round of funding has more to do with the unique nature of a media company targeting Arab-speaking countries and the desire by a generation of Middle Eastern businessmen to diversify the kinds of businesses and even the kinds of banks that the region offers, than it might indicate support for Teshkeel's output thus far.

John Burgess Replies To This Item

* It's interesting how many people that chose to participate on this thread aren't reading comics on a weekly basis anymore.

* I don't know any way you can read this Platinum press release where it isn't obvious that this million dollars will be spent on ways to get the company fit enough to raise even more money, not significantly on anything having to do with comics -- on-line or in print. I like imagining a million bucks being spent on an already-functioning web site, though.
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink

September 28, 2006

Happy 80th Birthday, Russ Heath!

posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Warren Ellis: Fell Numbers at 29K+

Here's an interesting note from the writer Warren Ellis at his The Engine site. Apparently, the first four issue of his Fell series with artist Ben Templesmith have all reached the 29,000 mark, with issue number one gaining on 40,000. These are fine to excellent numbers for non-superhero comic books.

What makes this is interesting is 1) the format of the comic is specific enough to be called "The Fell Format," and involves a lower comics page count buttressed by greater attention to supplementary material and a lower price, and 2) this was accomplished through assiduous attention to re-ordering the work, with more re-orders to come. Ellis points out that if these were all initial sales, Fell would place higher on the charts than Image's long-time flagship Spawn.

I think the specifics of any format are less the point here than the hopefully positive general lesson that periodical comics can be sold if some attention is being paid to how and why these comics sell. Comics fans and as an extension comics professionals and industry folk sometimes like to see developments of the comics market as an either/or situation, and nowhere has this been more frequent in recent years than the way some have treated the success of trade and book formats as an indictment of the traditional comic book. (Sorry, on-line vs. print pundits -- you're second!)

No other industry does this to the extent comics folk seem to. DVD sales of television series have become a wonderful, lucrative market, but I don't ever read television executives or critics bellowing that any TV show that appears on a network is helmed by idiots, or wasting time, or doomed.

The comics industry encompasses a lot of work and reading experiences and can probably put to use any and all interfaces between author and audience, including the format solution to serial comics making explored by Ellis and some of his sympathetic fellow pros. It's always nice to see something happen not by accident.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 41st Birthday, Jennifer Daydreamer!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Some Extra Notes on Boondocks

* Pam Noles sent along this message board thread focused on a supposed passed-along letter from a cartoonist, a letter which carries a unique reaction to Boondocks leaving the paper: that because newspaper editors compartmentalize their comics page, and consider all strips by black cartoonists "black strips," this puts many cartoonists in the strange position of rooting for a fellow black cartoonist to fail so that he can maybe get his spot.

No doubt this happens: newspaper strips are compartmentalized and many if not all strips by black creators are packaged, sold and treated as black strips. If you look at your newspaper's comics page, you can probably figure out what sub-market is sepcifically being targeted strip by strip.

But two weird things: One, Boondocks and Aaron McGruder didn't fail. Two, it's worth pointing out that for McGruder to have been in 300 papers, he likely got there not through replacing Bentley, Turner and Armstrong but by replacing other features.

* Boondocks' likely final departure made me recall another thing about its impressive launch: wasn't its art supposed to signal a new age of non-traditional cartooning? I swear this case was made a few times. I can't recall any more than one or two strips that even sort of look like McGruder's, and that's basically through a shared animation storyboard feel. It would be kind of strange that such a unique strip, one that was successful, might not have anything close to a legacy on the page.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 40th Birthday, Nicolas De Crecy!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Beguiling To Host Terry Gilliam
I Can't Tell If This Is Insulting Or Not
Princeton Previews Scott McCloud Visit
Beguiling's New Cameron Stewart 10/7 Time
Killoffer and Charles Burns To Exhibit In Montreal

Phonogram #1-2 Sell Out
CB Cebulski Back On Staff At Marvel

Newsarama: Jeffrey Brown
Budapest Sun: Milorad Krstic
Newsarama: Howard Chaykin
NPR: JM DeMatteis, Mike Ploog
Independent Propaganda: Larry Young
Herald Online: More On The Late Bob LeRose
The Herald: Allison Barrows (via Daily Cartoonist)
Tiger Eye Reading Room: John Gallagher, Jimmy Gownley

Not Comics
Marvel Universe On-Line Q&A
Motley Fool on Marvel/Cryptic Deal

Sports Comic To Debut At Stumptown
Marvel Re-Launches An In-House Magazine
Rutland Paper Profiles Horror Movie Comics

Bill Sherman: Fat Free
Marc Singer: Batman #657
Matt Butcher: Project: Romantic
Shaenon Garrity: Knights of the Zodiac
Jog: Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident #4
Kevin Church: How To Make Money Like A Porn Star
Bryan Munn: Rabbit and Bear Paws: The Sugar Bush
Xaviar Xerexes: Attitude 3: The New Subversive On-Line Cartoonists

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 7:09 am PST | Permalink

Happy 15th Birthday, Chicago Comics!

posted 7:06 am PST | Permalink

Prix La BD Historique Goes To Abdallahi


I'm not sure it counts as the official start of the stuffed-to-the-gills European awards season that ends in January with the prizes at Angouleme, but the next few months should see many announcements like the following, which I hope I'm reading correctly. The third annual Prix La Bande Dessinee Historique goes to Futuropolis' Abdallahi, by Christophe Dabtitch and Jean Denis Pendax. The book features a telling of the story of Rene Caillie. The award will be presented on October 14 at the Salon du livre d'histoire de Blois.

Nominees List
* Adam, Cady, Marchetti, La tranchee Volume 1. Sauveur, Vents d'Ouest
* Andreas, Isa Cochet, Quintos, Dargaud
* Beuriot, Richelle, Amours Fragiles. Un ete a Paris, Casterman
* Dabitch, Pendanx, Abdallahi, Futuropolis
* Dufaux, Delaby, Murena. Volume 5: La deesse noire, Dargaud
* Jacques Ferrandez, Carnets d'Orient. La fille du Djebel Amour, Casterman
* Guibert, Lefèvre, Lemercier, Le photographe Volume 3, Dupuis
* Hermann, Yves H., Sur les traces de Dracula. Vlad l'empereur, Casterman
* Kraen, Jusseaume, Tramp. Escale dans le passe, Dargaud
* Pellejero, Germaine, Giroud, L'Ecorche. Volume 1/2, Dupuis

The jury was Pascal Ory (President), Daniele Alexandre-Bidon, Thierry Crepin-Leblond, Sylvain Gache, Lax, Emmanuel LePage, Gilles Ratier, Francois Righi, Pierre Serna, Claire Sotinel and Laurent Wirth.
posted 2:27 am PST | Permalink

DC’s Really, Really Long-Range Plans

The writer Paul Di Filippo brought to my attention a publishing project that puts all current "complete strip" series to shame: Batman Chronicles, a trade paperback series that promises, right in its ad copy, "Every Batman story in exact chronological order." As Di Filippo notes, since volume one appeared in April 2005, and volume two just made its appearance this month, and the fact that Batman's comics march on unabated, it looks like we're talking a three- or four-hundred year series with this one.

The bad news is that DC expects the same audience for Batman comics in 2148, a year when the disembodied head of Mark Millar will fly around the world raising a mutant army to assault the 350,000 surviving humans and finally let him write Superman; the good news is we'll all be dead long before having to experience the Batman Chronicles collection of stories featuring Orca.
posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

OTBP: They Called Him Sparky


* Official Press Release
* Publisher Site
* Aaugh Blog
posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Chris Mautner on Sempe

imageChris Mautner follows up his previous piece on the First Second Fall 2006 slate with another article encapsulating the Fall comics season in broad strokes: a look at Phaidon's efforts to bring Jean-Jacques Sempe's cartooning and illustration to North American audiences. Mautner has it right that the heart of this effort is a suite of cartoon collections -- two from early in the cartoonist's career, and two from late. Sempe's work exhibits a wonderful quality that I think if seen by enough comics readers and cartoonists here could quietly contribute to a re-exploration of the comics panel. Like Charles Addams, Sempe is a master of displays of wider context. Your eye is immediately captured by the central idea of the drawing and then expands outward, eventually catching an incidental detail that turns the whole thing on its head or ratchets up the absurdity. It's an interesting way to work, particularly when comics narratives are in a phase marked by every bit of new information being given a place in time. On top of that vastly underutilized artistic effect, Sempe's drawing is lovely, his work runs a gamut of approaches from reverie to social criticism, and he works extremely well with limited instances of color. I hope these books end up on a lot of library shelves.
posted 12:44 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Gary Panter, Tom Toles

As much as comics can be shrill, loud, depressing, and driven by lowest common denominator celebration of units moved and a significant dollop of desperate hype from people with an edge in their voice barely containing outrage they're not getting their slice of the recognition pie, it's nice to read not one but two professional profiles from engaging artists with long, fruitful careers, artists that almost always have something to say.

Note in this Gary Panter piece in the LA Weekly just how many artistic avenues the great, prolific cartoonist pursues, from high-end gallery shows to Hollywood development deals to a place in Kramers Ergot. Interviewed in anticipation of a return to Buffalo, the editorial cartoonist Tom Toles not only burns when reminded of one time he was not given the latitude he felt due, but when asked he's able to put together a thoughtful portrait of an issue not as fodder for jokes or a showcase to look clever but how it connects to other instances of governmental control.
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink

September 27, 2006

Go, Look: Christopher Nielsen

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Viz Details Euro-Launch For Death Note

I don't know enough about how manga operates in Europe to know if the array of publishers tapped on the shoulder by Viz Media to publish Death Note in several European markets, is that unique of a thing. I still find it interesting, though, and manga's success in Europe can't be questioned. Also: good news for Takeshi Obata in a tough year.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Presidential Doodles Site

posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
E&P Previews ICAF
KAL Show On The Move
Art Wood's Collection To Be Shown
Spirou at Galerie Daniel Maghen (via afNews)

Patrick Dean Leaves Flagpole
Voice of America Profiles Virgin Comics
Rich Johnson to Head GNs at Little, Brown

Portland Mercury: Brian K. Vaughan
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Rob Venditti

Not Comics
Cool Kids Reads GNs
E&P Profiles Open Season
Empire Does A Supehero Movie Issue
Newspaper Profiles 24-Hour Comic Day

Vichus Smith: 52 #15
Bill Sherman: Monster
Tim Kreider: Lost Girls
Shawn Hoke: Hicksville
Claudia Smith Brinson: 9/11 Report
Bill Sherman: The Drifting Classroom
Leroy Douresseaux: Love and Rockets Vol. 2, #17

Remember When DC and Marvel Used to Fight Over Hiring Creators?

52's Steve Wacker leaves DC for Marvel.
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In KC, I’d Go To This

posted 5:26 am PST | Permalink

Industry: Suydam Dismisses PR Person?

This move purportedly from artist Arthur Suydam looks potentially ugly, or at least fussy and dramatic.
posted 5:20 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In The Bay Area, I’d Go To This


Release party, The Art of S. Clay Wilson, 7-9 PM, Edinburgh Castle Pub, 950 Geary St, San Francisco, free admission, more info = 413-387-2272.
posted 5:11 am PST | Permalink

Garry Trudeau Visits Pentagon In Support of 2nd Book About Iraq Veteran

imageAccording to reports, Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau visited the Pentagon this morning in support of The War Within: One More Step at a Time, the follow-up to The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time, which together tell the story of how Trudeau's long-running character B.D. loses a leg and then undergoes a long, sometimes painful recovery and return to civilian life.

I find it interesting that of the small number artists in all media that have dealt with the U.S. presence in Iraq, cartoonists as a group can arguably be said to have made the greatest impression -- none more than Trudeau, whose painstaking step-by-step detailing of B.D.'s injury and rehabilitation has helped many people connect to the fighting and to a professional military separated from them by class and ideological lines.
posted 2:48 am PST | Permalink

Reports Still Unclear: Could Mana Neyestani Currently Be On Trial?

The amount of confusion concerning the fate of Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani and his editor Mehrdad Qasemfar ratcheted up another couple of levels as the latest reports indicate a trial might currently be underway. This follows recent reports that the cartoonist and the editor, jailed since May for publication of a cartoon in the paper Iran that apparently led to riots and unrest among Iran's Azeri minority, were fined and released.

In other Iranian cartoonist news on what one images is a topic with greater potential for governmental support, Ali Derakhshi's newest exhibit opens in Tehran.
posted 2:33 am PST | Permalink

How To Know Your Book Is A Hit


People start in with the jokes.
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

September 26, 2006

Brian Hibbs Article Throws Spotlight on Stores’ Use of Multiple Distributors

I'm kind of surprised by the reaction of some to this article by Brian Hibbs on using the distributor Baker & Taylor for publishers that to the prominent Bay Area retailer feel like classic Direct Market publishers. Hibbs admits he isn't much of an early adopter, and I know of excellent stores that have been ordering from a variety of sources for a while now, including Baker & Taylor, IPG, and directly from publishers themselves. Also, you have to resist the impulse of putting this into a simple B&T Vs. Diamond set-up; I don't think that reflects the ordering impulse at all, and as Rick Veitch reminds us, the relationships between companies are complicated.

That piece is definitely worth noting, though. When people are speaking openly of book distributors beating Diamond to market by several weeks, that's interesting to hear, and has obvious ramifications. Ditto the more general notion that a book-driven comics market is going to behave in ways much, much different than a periodicals-led one, as well as Hibbs' assertion that exclusivity paid an historical role in the rise of the GN format because it forced DM distributors to carry books that sold well over time in a more thorough, consisten fashion.
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 79th Birthday, Jack Katz!

posted 10:16 pm PST | Permalink

AAEC: Challenge Fund, Berryman

* Editor & Publisher reports that the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists was among those groups afforded challenge grants from The Challenge Fund For Journalism, which I think means they have a year to raise money and match the amount announced for them in order to receive the funding. The Challenge Fund also announced the spread of an amount of not-matching funds to various journalistic organizations. I have no idea if the AAEC has the ability to raise money in this way, or what they would do with the money they raised, but the thought of buttressing the various established organizations out there in these tough times for newspapers seems interesting to me.

* Speaking of cash prizes, AAEC's site reminds that the deadline for the National Press Foundation's Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons is October 6. Hard to believe that award is almost 20 years old.
posted 10:14 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 60th Birthday, Matthias Schultheiss!

posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Newsarama: Bob Wayne Discusses FOC

A new interview with DC Vice President - Sales Bob Wayne at Newsarama puts back into the spotlight DC's decision announced late July/early August to move to a Final Order Cutoff system for their books.

Retailers please scream at me if I'm getting this wrong, but "Final Order Cutoff" or "FOC" programs allow for Direct Market retailers to adjust initial orders up to a final cutoff date depending on type of product. If a retailer were to see a surge of interest in an issue of a title, for example, they could adjust upwards their orders on subsequent issues or books in related series to capitalize on that surge. This mitigates against the retailer having to guess weeks and weeks in advance the exact level of interest in any project, particularly subsequent and related issues in series, issues that depend heavily on the level of interest established with the first offerings. It should allow popular series and initiatives to better build sales as they go along, because there won't be a conservative dip in orders a few issues in by retailers protecting themselves -- understandable in a non-returnable world.

It's more work, but it gives the retailers more control to negotiate hit books, crap series and crucial changes in creative teams and the like, and as much as I know about such things I'm all for it. It seems particularly appropriate to a market driven by huge, very specific hits as opposed to year-in, year-out perennials.

Wayne's interview is a fine primer; he notes that DC's variety in format offerings make this a more complicated program for that company to institute. It's actually encouraging to hear Wayne admit there will be a learning curve for DC to figure out how best to apply the information they'll get back, which indicates they're open to pursuing any advantages that arise, and aren't just locked into the ones they expect.

Marvel instituted (or began to institute) this kind of policy in 2003 partly (I think) as a way of solving the lateness problem that exposed them to a retailer lawsuit, DC announced a trial program with its 52 weekly series back in September 2005 in a way that successfully allowed retailers a chance to support that series by avoiding over-conservative guesstimates brought about by having more issues in play in a smaller time window.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 55th Birthday, Jim Shooter!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Update: Aaron McGruder, Boondocks

A few things popped out at me late yesterday as press coverage cycled through on cartoonist Aaron McGruder declining to give Universal Press Syndicate a firm date for his return to Boondocks, effectively moving the popular comic strip from six-month to semi-permanent hiatus.

* Articles like this one are giving a late-November date for the syndicate to actually end the current reprints. Given the six-week window with which syndicates prefer to allow their production bureaus to work, this is a pretty quick wrap-up of the current offering.

* I'm not certain that we'd have seen an announcement like this 10-20 years ago; the newspaper strip landscape is a lot more fluid now, and keeping Boondocks alive even to get to the next Universal offering window would have been a more obvious disservice to UPS's client papers than it might have been once upon a time.

* There's some commentary out there hinging on this article, where McGruder's longtime editor notes that the cartoonist had for years a problem with deadlines and therefore the additional pressure of a TV show had little to do with the hiatus. I found that odd for a pair of reasons. One, everyone in comics knows McGruder struggled with the workload; he talked about it a lot, and eventually hired an illustrator. Two, the logic is weird: if you've been struggling with deadlines for a long time, having an entirely new job likely adds to that struggle. I don't think anyone suggested something like "he was 100 percent fine until he got that TV show; the TV show is the cause of all the problems."

Let's face it. No one knows except McGruder and those close to him what's driving his recent moves. But if there were no television show, and the strip were still in 300 newspapers, our surprise at McGruder's decision to not even attempt a studio-supervised strip would increase ten-fold.

By the way, if this is the end for Boondocks, I join those who have expressed their happiness for McGruder. His feature had a successful run by any measure and its accomplishments would only have increased incrementally if the strip had stuck around for another 31 years. Besides, no one should have to stay in the same job they got right out of school, even if it's a choice one.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 41st Birthday, Mattt Konture!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Manu Larcenet in Helsinki
Warren Ellis in Helsinki: 0920
Warren Ellis in Helsinki: 0922
Warren Ellis in Helsinki: 0923
Warren Ellis in Helsinki: 0925
Warren Ellis in Helsinki: 0926

Profile of Broccoli Books
St. Petersburg Times Looking For Cartoonist
David Maizel, John Turitzin Promoted By Marvel

TCJ: Bill Willingham
The Pulse: Neil Kleid
CBR: Charlie Huston
PWCW: Bill Willingham
Wizard: Brandon Jerwa
Newsarama: Paul Gulacy
Winter McCloud: Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier

Not Comics
TMCM Opera Does Well
Antigone Signing For Lea Hernandez
Salt Lake City Library in Archie Comics #570

New Jeff Danziger Book
PWCW Celebrates First Year
Marvel Zombies HC Sells Out
All-Star Batman #6 Cancelled
Fables Plans Reader-Directed Issue
MQP's Plans For Aline Kominsky-Crumb Book
Kevin Cannon to Attempt 288-Hour Graphic Novel

Dirk Deppey: Kramers Ergot 6
Dirk Deppey: Klezmer Book One

Reaction To Possible End For Boondocks

imageThe Dallas Morning News' Mike Peters has by far the best round-up of reactions to yesterday's announcement that Aaron McGruder had declined to name a re-start date for his on-hiatus Boondocks strip. Folks like Brian Walker, the other Mike Peters and RC Harvey not only react to the news that McGruder may work in other media exclusively now but also sketch in a first draft of the feature's historical significance and artistic legacy if this is indeed goodbye.

As a measure of McGruder's star power, it looks like some version of yesterday's wire story ran in 80-90 papers, which is a pretty high number considering the story's indefinite status.
posted 2:21 am PST | Permalink

Happy 60th Birthday, Tintin Magazine!

The great news and calendar site afNews offers a video, although I haven't seen it yet.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

September 25, 2006

Don’t Forget This Is Banned Books Week


Speaking of Maurice Sendak, I'm told a fine interview with him appears on NPR this morning.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Rumor: Viz To More Lightly Edit?

I'm hearing from a couple of places -- not people I know nor people that wish to go on the record, so this is definitely a rumor -- that Viz may have taken to heart some of the complaints about content edits on their manga and will now take a much lighter hand when it comes working with the material. As described to me, this means only editing for copyright reasons (removal of logos, for instance) on the titles aimed at older readers, and a generally softer touch when it comes to material more directly aimed at younger readers.

The sources I've heard from suggest this is the result of a long, in-house debate about such matters as opposed to the recent flash of complaints about changes to Full Metal Alchemist, and I think it would make sense if this were to be handled that quiet way instead of through an announcement, so as not to lock the company into a kind of oral contract with its fans based on the fans' perception of how this new policy should be implemented. No one should ever have to edit with a style guide provided by the readership.

Again, from my perspective this is only a rumor, but as I think there's a chance it wouldn't be announced officially and it's sort of interesting if someone were to offer this up as a story even if it were not true, I think it's worth noting. In fact, this could also be common knowledge and I'm just not aware of it.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

ICAF Sets Final Schedule For 2006

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Chris Mautner: First Second, Season 2

Chris Mautner takes on the second season of comics imprint First Second at his Panels and Pixels blog, which counts as both a series of reviews and checking in on the ongoing publishing story that is First Second's 2006 two-stage debut. The First Second story is interesting not just because of the size of the publisher backing the imprint but because of the type of material involved (a range of ages; translated work) and the counter direct market intuitive way in which the titles are rolled out, in six-book clumps every half-year.

For a bonus review that hits on a wider comics-related subject, you can try Graeme McMillan's review of Marvel's Civil War #4. This is a title in Marvel's current mega-event and the industry's top seller, and it's worth noting because despite being sold to mainstream media as a exploration of America's current political climate -- with explosions and kung fu -- much of the plot seems to be driven by the old-fashioned technique of fooling with the behavior of well-established pop icons in a way that whips dedicated fans into a lather. Call it the Iron Man, Captain America and Reed Richards are acting like dicks and it's not right! strategy. It's kind of like if they sold Tarzan books by coming out with a novel where Tarzan inexplicably tosses Jane off of a cliff and leads some apes to slaughter.

This kind of thing interests me 1) because this strategy generally works, despite revulsion at the edges of the fan base as embodied by McMillan's review (or derision), and 2) because Marvel is essentially playing with fire because a large part of their business is maintaining core character concepts in a way that makes them good licensing and film launch points. History says the comics are so isolated from the audiences Marvel wishes to reach with its movies and coloring books that none of this matters, but it's still odd if you're only casually involved with this material.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 60th Birthday, Louise Simonson!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

PopMatters, McClatchy Sign Deal

The comics-covering and comics-offering web site PopMatters has signed a deal with McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and MCT Campus for content and distribution. PopMatters stories will now be carried on the MCT Campus wire, which has a client count of over 1000 student papers, and they will develop a paper product for those clients and for MCTIS's 1200 newspaper clients. They will also see content added to MCTIS' personal technology package.

For their part, PopMatters will run MCTIS content on its "PopWire" and MCTIS editorial cartoons in its blog.

I'm not certain how important this is, but there's a seamless quality to it, with content including comics flowing both ways, and therefore I thought it interesting and a potential sign of things to come.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Lillian Robinson, 1941-2006


via afNews
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
CBR: Phoenix Con Report
Andi Watson In Paris; Photos
Sequential: Word On The Street
Fan Expo Canada Claims Record Crowds
Sequential: Montreal Expozine Information
Peanuts Originals On Display at Wake Forest
Newspaper's Subscriber-Only Dragon*Con Report

Is The Comic Strip In Decline?

Reporter Accuses Editorial Cartoon Of Racism

Interviews/Profiles Dan Nadel
Newsarama: Roy Thomas Mike Richardson 1 Mike Richardson 2
Newsarama: Tony Millionaire
Wizard: Jonathan Rosenberg
History News Network: Joshua Brown

Not Comics
Marchetto GN Gets Its Movie Deal
Carol Burnett Wanted To Be A Cartoonist

Fear Agent To Dark Horse
The Kea's Nest: Good-Bye
Mike Rhode Launches ComicsDC
Viz Announces Nine New Fall Titles
Lombard May Launch Humor Magazine
Copeland Murders Story Becomes Comic Book
TV Show I Won't Watch Yields Comics I Won't Read

Jog: The Illustrated Dracula
CWR: The Day of Revolution
Leroy Douresseaux: Pogostick #2
Jog: Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #8
Hervé St-Louis: Les Derniers Corsaires
Dave Ferraro: Blue Spring, Flowers and Bees Volume 2

UPS: Aaron McGruder Declines to Give Formal Restart Date For Boondocks Strip

imageIn a press release issued today, Universal Press Syndicate announced that newspapers should not count on the highly successful Boondocks feature "coming back in the forseeable future." Apparently, the syndicate had tried to pin McGruder down on a date after rampant speculation last week that the feature might never return, but they were unable to do so.

The press release goes on to say that UPS would not be accelerating Maintaining by African-American cartoonist Nate Creekmore, and that UPS' committed space started out at 80 percent in March when McGruder announced a six-month sabbatical. As noted in an entry last week, McGruder's television show version of Boondocks had received a larger order than most industry observers had previously thought it would, and with the strip continuing to lose space in the newspaper as his sabbatical continues, there comes a point where it becomes more difficult to even have the feature return with a full creative team under McGruder's supervision.
posted 9:52 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

posted 8:22 am PST | Permalink

Judicial Panel Agrees With Teguh Santosa Defense; Indicts Anyway

A fairly confusing article about Teguh Santosa, the Indonesian on-line newspaper editor accused of violating an Insults Against Religion law by printing a selection of the cartoons depicting Muhammed earlier this year during the Danish Cartoons controversy, indicates a one step forward, one step back scenario. If I'm understanding it correctly, the judicial panel of the South Jakarta District Court agreed with Santosa's defense team that the religion-related law didn't apply, but either went ahead and indicted him under a more general part of the criminal code, or kept the original indictment and simply indicated it related to the general criminal code.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists obviously applauds one action and deplores the other, and makes a general call that this issue be tried through appropriate press laws.
posted 5:10 am PST | Permalink

It’s Jeff Smith’s World…

imageBone creator Jeff Smith has had a quietly great 2006, what with the relaunch of his site (and launch of his entertaining blog), Bone's Scholastic iteration cruising into seven figures, the one-volume Bone going back to successful reprint through his own Cartoon Books, and a world tour launching any day now. He's now been named the second guest of honor at next year's New York Comic-Con. This is sort of interesting in terms of that show's development, as two of the criticisms leveled at it is that the show's initial go-around was more about traditional American mainstream (superhero) comics than the richness of comics publishing in New York and the variety of genres to be found in the medium, two areas Smith represents pretty effectively.
posted 4:51 am PST | Permalink

University of Florida Call For Papers

The University of Florida's Department of English and College of Liberal Arts and Science, a longtime bastion of comics academia, has announced their comics conference for 2007: "World Building: Seriality and History," March 3-4, 2007. Details here, beneath related details about their gaming conference, from former TCJ workpal John Ronan.
posted 4:42 am PST | Permalink

Platinum’s Plans For Drunk Duck Site

imageThe New York Times is reporting that Scott Rosenberg's Platinum Studios, best known as the comics publisher that signed a massive development deal without going to the bother of publishing comics, may now publish some via its purchase last month of the Drunk Duck webcomics community site. As I recall, Platinum had announced that they would have a print project out by this December, and a blurb on their site's front page backs me up, and although I have no idea if this new endeavor changes those plans, the rough strategy seems to be go on-line with everything first.

The NYT article is little more than a couple of smashed together press releases and some color quotes. I can't imagine that Platinum's general strategy of hoovering up as much money as it can for the least amount of effort does anyone in a creative capacity the good they deserve, although maybe there's going to be actual investment in the DD site. If nothing else, if Platinum's come sniffing around, that's a vote of confidence in the web's ability to generate revenue through comics. Joey Manley has some notes about the piece from Drunk Duck's point of view.
posted 4:14 am PST | Permalink Bleach And The CN Effect

A smart article at notes the effect that a place on the Cartoon Network has had on backlist sales for the manga series Bleach, and even forecasts that sales will be less so than the similarly boosted Naruto because of the number of volumes out, which is something I've never considered.
posted 3:47 am PST | Permalink

Dan Nadel Visits Wunderground Show


More than Masters of American Comics, I wish I could get out to see the Wunderground: Providence, 1995 to the Present show currently at the RISD Museum through the end of the year and into early 2007. PictureBox, Inc. Publisher Dan Nadel was lucky enough to go, and reports on what he saw.
posted 2:03 am PST | Permalink

Independent Plans Comics-Related Sunday Review For October 1

Via Paul Gravett's site comes news that the Independent will do a comics-themed edition of "Sunday Review" in coordination with Comica. This will include interviews with Marjane Satrapi and Kevin Smith, a profile of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, and the regular departments turned over to comics folk, such as Tom Gauld and Simone Lia featured in "How We Met." In related publishing news, the section will debut the serialization of Chris Ware's New York Times Magazine piece Building Stories.

thanks to those who e-mailed this
posted 1:53 am PST | Permalink

September 24, 2006

Happy 53rd Birthday, Bob Layton!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Newspaper Editor Writes To King Features About Daily Ink

In an article I'd recommend to anyone with even a peripheral interest in the newspaper strip, Editor and Publisher reports a newspaper editor named Dean Miller of Idaho Falls' The Post Register has sent a letter to King Features Syndicate Vice-President George Haeberlein suggesting that their DailyINK online service puts them into direct competition with newspapers like his own, going so far as to suggest King should start paying them for the exposure of appearing in their daily.

I honestly don't think this is an important story in terms of the specific issues raised. Despite Miller's stated desire for dialogue, the "you should maybe pay us" stuff reads more like empty grandstanding than a starting point for substantive talks. I'm also not totally convinced that in today's market papers buy a monopoly with their syndication fees. Not on all fronts. The advent of the Internet has changed the strip market in one of those fundamental ways, comparable to the rise of the DVD market for television shows, and you can't argue your way to a simpler time and more traditional consumer impulses.

In addition, I think Miller misanalyzes what kind of services compete with a newspaper's comic strip page. I'm sympathetic to the thrust of King's official response that DailyINK more likely serves as a supplement for hardcore fans who want to pursue strips not in their local paper than it exists as competition for newspapers. That feels right; the subscription fees seem significant enough to serve someone other than the average newspaper reader. King Features spent more time putting together DailyINK than Terrence Malick takes prepping a film; there's no way on earth they would have gone forward with a model that genuinely and directly competes with their syndication sales. Could this have been the result despite King's best intentions? It's a possibility, but not on one editor's assertive say-so.

What pushes Miller's letter from a few moments of potential musing into a must-read is that it exposes the chasms of difference between various conceptions of what on-line newspaper models do and how they work in conjunction with traditional newspaper efforts, calling into question how the newspaper strip business should move forward. There is no industry standard, no emerging vanguard that informs newspapers as to how they should approach content, syndication, exclusivity and competition. Until some sort of stable model develops that the majority of newspapers can embrace, real dialogue about what the syndicates should do may be impossible, and fundamental differences allowed to linger could be outright harmful in their keeping pace with the rest of the media world.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 50th Birthday, Kim Thompson!


.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Journalista: Chick Tract Fallout

Dirk Deppey at's "Journalista" has news that I totally missed: political consequences for the Florida minister using Jack Chick tracts in his dispite against local Islamic organizations.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 36th Birthday, Paul Pope!

posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Marvel Science Show Goes To Canada
ABC News on Masters of American Comics
Montclair Times on Masters of American Comics

Chris Britt First In Illinois
Want To Be An Editorial Cartoonist?
Liberty Completes Manga Entertainment Purchase

Seattle P-I: Joe Sacco
Tyee Books: Joe Sacco
Henry Jenkins: Todd Allen
Nichi Bei Times: Jason Shiga
Miami Herald: Alison Bechdel
East Herts Herald: Mat Pilbeam
Japan Times: Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Charlotte Observer: Doug Marlette
Broken Frontier: Amy Kim Gantner
Marin Independent Journal: Victor Moscoso

Not Comics
Review of Get Your War On Play
Corey Orr Book Described For Seller
Daily Cartoonist Profiles Open Season
Profile Of Doug Marlette's Prose Book
Ron Mann Makes Big Daddy Roth Film
$45,000 Flash Gordon Under Estimates
An Actual Collecting = Big Bucks Article
Diamond Brings In Management System
Rabbi Simcha Weinstein Speaks Of Comics

MacHall Ends
Synchronism On Hiatus
Look and Learn Re-Launches
Profile of Christian Comics Publisher
Blog Launches Devoted to Comic Strip Golf References

Bill Sherman: Sloth
Sharyn Vane: Fun Home
Mel Odom: The Ultimates
Bill Sherman: Dragon Head
AV Club: September Round-Up September Round-Up
Shawn Hoke: This Is Still America
Kadzuki: Genju No Seiza Volume One
David Cozy: Abandon The Old In Tokyo
Dan Traeger: True Story, Swear To God
David Welsh: 12 Reasons Why I Love Her

September 23, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine

CR Preview: Monster Parade #1



Go, Look: 2005 Scott Musgrove Exhibit



Five Link A Go Go

* first report I've seen from weekend's comic convention in Phoenix

* lining up for Blacksad in Helsinki

* seating chart and exhibitors up at Stumptown Festival site

* heartwarming story via the TCJ message board

* 2004 history of Pacific Comics, e-mailed to me, but probably also via


Missed It: The 9/11 New Yorker Cover


John Mavroudis discusses the process; Michael Sporn discusses the result.


Go, Look: Legion of Super-Heroes Covers



First Thought Of The Day

The year is slipping away from me.
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were On Either Coast, I’d Go To This

posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Helsinki, I’d Go To This


posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from September 16 to September 22, 2006:

1. Harlan Ellison sues Fantagraphics.

2. UVA student newspaper officials and the cartoonist behind the publication of a pair of controversial comic strips mumble an apology and pull the strip.

3. Diamond reverses earlier decision and decides to carry House of Sugar.

Winners of the Week
Cartoonists backing Dina Babbitt.

Losers of the Week
Political forces in various countries who apparently see the lesson of the Danish Cartoons controversy as "we can sue to keep things from being published."

Quote of the Week
"Holy shit! Thor's really not cool with people not registering their superpowers." -- Ye Olde Comic Booke Blogge's humorous review of Marvel's Civil War #4.

I once dreamt I was the executive producer on a Hercules/Xena-like syndicated Captain Easy show, starring Fred Ward
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink

Happy 75th Birthday, Stan Lynde!

posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink

Happy 50th Birthday, Peter David!

posted 1:59 am PST | Permalink

September 22, 2006

Diamond To Carry House Of Sugar

imageApparently, dominant North American comics distributor Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. has reversed an earlier decision and decided to carry Rebecca Kraatz's House of Sugar, the initial offering from Hope Larson's Tulip Tree Press.

You know, in newspaper strips, sometimes a newspaper will cancel a new feature and then reinstate it when there are complaints and run it for the rest of time. I wonder if it's actually more efficient in a way for Diamond to give thumbs down and then wait and see if certain people say something on the publisher's behalf. I mean, given the volume of material that Diamond receives, the process House of Sugar experienced has to be easier on them than instituting a board that reads all the rejected material. Don't you think?
posted 11:31 am PST | Permalink

Art Spiegelman To Be Inducted 10-12 Into The Art Directors Club Hall Of Fame

The cartoonist Art Spiegelman joins an eclectic group including Janet Froelich and Bert Stern as one of this year's inductees into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, around since 1972, has as its mission the recognition of major contributors to the field in order that their works receive attention and, eventually, will be conserved. The black-tie ceremony is October 12.
posted 4:07 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Eli Stein Cartoon Archive


I enjoyed reading the backstory as well.
posted 3:58 am PST | Permalink

It’s Naruto’s World: This Week’s Update

David Taylor at Love Manga points out that Naruto Volume 11 is halfway to a record-setting longevity run on USA Today's Top 150 book list, with its fifth appearance there. It is this week's lone manga entry on those charts.
posted 3:37 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: CBR’s Pages from Bill Morrison’s Yellow Submarine Comic

posted 2:47 am PST | Permalink

September 21, 2006

NY Daily News Profiles Ted Rall

This seemingly straight-forward profile of cartoonist Ted Rall in the New York Daily News is kind of a dream article in a lot of ways, if you think about it. It begins with a serious discussion of the subject of Rall's latest work (NBM's Silk Road To Ruin), and sets the author up as an expert. It allows Rall a platform to respond to his most controversial appearances in the news. It contains several pieces of art, including the cartoonist on a horse. Finally, it ends with a humanizing anecdote -- albeit one about a brutal Central Asian sport -- that links back to the book one more time.
posted 11:08 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 85th Birthday, Will Elder!


more than a few sources say 1922
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Tomb Edits Have Second-Day Legs

The decision by Marvel to cover up some above the belt nudity in a forthcoming Essential Tomb of Dracula Volume 4, which draws on material that was sold to (ostensibly) adult readers through the newsstand magazine Tomb of Dracula, stirred up enough interest to engender commentary here, here and here, with a more complete news story popping up here.

This story gets some heat from the fact that recent content edits in manga have really worked up fans, partly because of a desire for authenticity I think is unique to that form of comics expression. Without a similar groundswell of outrage, what you're left with here is a platform to look at the general treatment of nudity in media or a shot at a now/then discussion of nudity in comics.

Me, I can't help but thinking the Essentials books, by dropping color and being printed on cheap paper, are obviously an effort more akin to re-packaging old movies for broadcast TV rather than a series of deluxe DVDs that can be expected to pay due consideration to the old work, so this barely registers as a unique crime against a background of general exploitation and editorial control historically embodied by these kinds of companies. I'm uneasy enough expressing that to think I could be wrong, though.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 48th Birthday, Peter Kuper!


source: CBG
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

John Jakala: Rude Replies To Toth

A nice pick-up at John Jakala's Sporadic Sequential digs up Steve Rude's on-the-record reaction to Alex Toth's reaction to some of his work, a page by page critique that recently made the Internet rounds.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Arriola on Arriola

posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
For That Matter, Neither Am I
Phoenix Comicon Begins With Sneak Tonight

CBR: Andy Schmidt
Newsarama: Billy Tucci
The Stranger: Joe Sacco
Newsarama: John Rogers
The Nexus: Steve McIsaac, Dale Lazarov

Not Comics
The Real Kitty Pryde
Ty Templeton Teacher Evaluation
Jim Borgman's Blog Up For Commentary Award

Best Comic Strip Blog Ever?
Todd McFarlane Launches On-Line Spawn

Charles Taylor: Lost Girls
Neil Cohn: Making Comics
John Porvaznik: Crazy Papers
ADD: 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
Rachel Cooke: Chicken With Plums, Fun Home

Moers’ Adolf Upsets In New Medium

imageThe Bunker, an animated version of German cartoonist Walter Moers' 1998 comic strips about Adolf Hitler hanging out in his underground headquarters, playing with his dogs and singing on the toilet, has generated criticism from those that believe Hitler isn't someone who should be the subject for parody and crude humor. You can find a press report from the comics end of things here. The print iteration of the concept (Adolf, I'm Back) was perhaps best known for criticism from the other end of the spectrum, in the form death threats aimed at Moers from Neo-Nazis. Supposedly, a customized cell-phone ring is available as well.

For a completely different comics' take on that historical period, try this lengthy profile of Miriam Katin's We Are On Our Own.
posted 2:34 am PST | Permalink

Leonard Greenspoon Has A Weird Job

Part of it involves scanning the newspapers every day for uses of religion in comic strips. A survey of the religious landscape in comic strips follows.
posted 2:22 am PST | Permalink

Joel Priddy’s Jimbo Study Guide

posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

Make Mine Marvel Content Edits

John Jakala notes in humorous fashion a series of scans showing changes up at a horror blog between a naughtier Marvel original and some newly re-published work; the difference between this instance and furor over changes in translated manga is that there aren't as many fans of Marvel horror books as a top-selling manga title and there's not a burning desire for authenticity fueling that audience. That doesn't mean they'll be happy, though, and it's always worth noting how various comics are being trimmed for the modern bookshelf, if only in that "All in the Family might be on HBO now" way.
posted 1:48 am PST | Permalink

September 20, 2006

Go, Buy: Huizenga’s CCS Booklet


Well, at least look around the newly updated USS Catastrophe shop.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Fundraiser for Wapsi Square’s Taylor

Webcomics collective Blank Label Comics has organized an original art fundraiser for its member Wapsi Square cartoonist Paul Taylor, after his wife's extended hospital stay due to the premature birth of their son. Details here.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 31st Birthday, Craig Thompson!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Mike Peters: Will Boondocks Return?

One of the few daily newspaper writers with a column devoted to comics, Mike Peters notes in a piece about his paper's latest survey that Aaron McGruder, on hiatus from his Boondocks feature, has yet to announce a return date and saw the latest order expand on his animated show version of the strip increase from 15 to 25. Daily Cartoonist smartly recalls this news that only 1/3 of the feature's client papers have been carrying the strip during the hiatus. Editor & Publisher talks to his syndicate, who say they don't have a re-start date but hope to have one by next week.

I felt at the time of the hiatus announcement that there was a good chance McGruder might not come back. The cartoonist's displeasure with the reward/punishment ratio represented by the pressures of daily production and the fickle nature of newspaper audiences has long been an underlying theme of his interviews. Also, Boondocks was never a runaway hit -- it was a solid, super-successful performer very quickly, but at 1/3 its client papers that's not to my mind a feature that would easily sustain a studio situation were McGruder to want to go the Walker/Davis path. Of course, now that it's counter-intuitive, I'm sort of more confident the cartoonist will return, and he certainly exudes star power in a way no one in strips has since Garry Trudeau.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Zak Sally on ABC News

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

CBGXtra: August DM Sales In Context

Noted DM sales analyst John Jackson Miller has his report on August's Direct Market results for hobby shops and comics retailers up at, emphasizing double-digit gains August to August for the last four years. Definitely worth a read-through.
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Ted Rall's Book Tour
Evanier to Hit Mid-Ohio Con
Marlette to Speak at 2007 Bookfest
Cartoonists at Schulz Museum 10/21

Beguiling Has a Blog
Canadian? Apply For Grant
Dave Sim Blogs the Wright Awards Tracks Former Executives

Pulse: Chris Pitzer
Pulse: Derek Hunter
Newsarama: Grady Klein
Pulse: Eric Jones and Landry Walker
Independent Propaganda: Jim Dougan

Not Comics
Manga Part of Teen Center
PBS Show To Feature Paul Conrad
Curfew Violation at the Manga Cafe
Gail Simone's Update on Lea Hernandez
Japan's Comics Fan Finance Minister Pro-Animation

Brickman Moves To Web
Action Philosophers Sell-Out
This Headline Made Me Sleepy
Daily Cartoonist: Dumped/Picked Up
First Working It Out Collection 10/15
Desert Peach Collection #2 Up at Lulu
Marvel: Delay of Anita Blake Worth It

Jog: Blade #1
Jog: Hatter M -- The Looking Glass Wars #3

Not Comics: This Looks Pretty Cool

posted 9:34 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

David Macaulay Wins MacArthur Grant


Little Lit contributor, childrens' book author/illustrator and general explainer of things David Macaulay was among those winning a MacArthur Grant, it was announced yesterday. You can find a profile here. Another one here.
posted 7:05 am PST | Permalink

Carol Tyler: OAC Artist In Residence


In another happy circumstance that helps to affirms how much comics and cartooning has grown in stature the last few year, the great and always criminally underappreciated Carol Tyler has been named an artist in residence by the Ohio Arts Council. She's looking to line up gigs. Tyler's 2005 Late Bloomer was easily one of the finest single-artist showcase collections this decade.
posted 4:14 am PST | Permalink

Babbitt Letter Sent With 450 Signed

An effort spearheaded by cartoonist Joe Kubert to get cartoonists signed in support of animator Dina Babbitt's effort to recover her Auschwitz paintings has resulted in 450 signatures, the New York Times reports in their, "Arts, Briefly" section.
posted 3:59 am PST | Permalink

Lea Hernandez Update: CAPE 2.5 9/30


Probably the biggest news in terms of the comics industry rallying support behind displaced carotonist Lea Hernandez and her family after a fire in their home damaged the majority of their belongings is the announcement of the art auction and benefit show CAPE 2.5. It's talked about here. Comixpedia has a round-up. The cartoonist's livejournal is probably the best place for daily updates.
posted 3:40 am PST | Permalink

Comics As A Teaching Tool

A couple of wire items about people using comics to, um, instruct:

* something linked to the US Embassy called the American Center has teamed with the Nepali cartoonist Durga Bural to make a four-page comic book called Democracy Comic Book -- Dream of a Prosperous Nepal. It's targeted to youth.

* Christian ministers in Daytona Beach binge-drinking launching pad Pompano Beach are using a classic Jack Chick tract to help in their aggressive efforts against local manifestations of Islam.
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: FBOFW Making Of Feature

* image

via Editor & Publisher
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Charlie Hebdo, France Soir Score Win on Muhammed Cartoons

I totally missed this but if I'm reading this correctly, this newsbrief at, indicates that it was reported last week that the Tribunal correctionnel de Paris decided claims against the papers Charlie Hebdo and Frane Soir made by the Federation des Associations Islamiques D'Afrique, Des Comore et Des Antilles (FFAIACA), made because those publications reprinted the infamous Danish Muhammed cartoons, could not be pursued on the basis of inciting racial hatred.

From what little I can find from looking around, the FFAIACA is a politically moderate organization that has been around for several years; most Islamic organizations have a slightly higher profile in France right now after 2005's civil unrest, and this would seem a natural extension of their general mandate as briefly glimpsed in one or two unrelated articles. Thanks to Dirk Deppey for pointing this out.
posted 2:35 am PST | Permalink

Happy 59th Birthday, Steve Gerber!

posted 1:43 am PST | Permalink August DM Sales Figures

The comics business news and analysis site has released their estimations of Direct Market (comics and hobby shops) sales for the month of August. The obvious headline driving the overall news of double-digit growth from the same period in 2005 is that writer Brad Meltzer's take on Justice League of America kicked off with over 200K in sales. This made it the #1 book in a month without an issue of Marvel's Civil War crossover, which some claim might be selling 100,000 more than the DC superteam re-launch did this month. breaks the coverage down in their usual way.

Dollar Trends
Top 300 Comic Books
Top 100 Graphic Novels/TPB Format

A few things jump out at me. The DC 52 weekly series continues to perform strongly, I believe even as the title heads out of the more protective ordering deals that DC ponied up to get the title going. Two intermittently published comics (Astonishing X-Men and All-Star Superman) cracked the 100K figure. Also, price point makes all the difference when you look at sales for Absolute Kingdom Come, Lost Girls and Absolute Dark Knight. I'm also struck by something that should have occurred to me far earlier -- that comics selling 200,000 copies in a market served by this many stories may be more impressive than when it was three times the number of stores selling that number of books more routinely.
posted 12:06 am PST | Permalink

September 19, 2006

Happy 49th Birthday, Steve Ringgenberg!

posted 11:41 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Mighty Mini-Con Canceled
Are They Taking Our Funnies Away?
UK Web & Mini Comix Thing Now A Go
Ellen Forney on I Love Led Zeppelin Show
Brian K. Vaughan Announces NYC Signings

Industry Tower Gets Lead Bidder

Boston Globe: Stan Lee
Newsarama: Gerry Conway
Newsarama: Bill Rosemann
The Chemistry Set: Ed Brubaker

Not Comics
Paty Cockrum Throws Folks Under Bus
Cartoonist Feels Stress of Dawson Shooting
Site Up For Roberts Collection (via BugPowder)

IDW's Official Dick Tracy PR
Whilce Portacio Launches Blog
Viper Comics Seeks Webcomic
First Second Signs Three For Fall 2008
Colleen Doran Takes Print Comic On-Line
Don MacPherson Launches Commentary Site

Augie: Civil War #4
Shaenon Garrity: Wild Act
Lyle Masaki: Yakitate!! Ja-Pan
Christina Little: Beautiful People
Aaron Auzins: Air Gear Volume 1
David Welsh and John Jakala: Bleach

Apparently, Harlan Ellison is Suing Gary Groth, Kim Thompson and Fantagraphics

News to me.
posted 4:51 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Indian Cartoons In Frankfurt


Article here; you may have to play with the URL a bit to get the additional link, to a site stuffed with jpegs and pdfs like this one. It's worth noting that there are hints of a larger-than-ever cartooning presence at the forthcoming Frankfurter Buchmesse.
posted 4:28 am PST | Permalink

September 18, 2006

Go, Look: K. Thor Jensen Comics

posted 10:14 pm PST | Permalink

Lost Girls Publication News Updates

A few news items related to the publication of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls:

* In an e-mail making official the book's early sales success, Top Shelf's Chris Staros says that the publisher has been corresponding with the Great Ormonds Street Hospital, the organizaiton with ownership of Peter Pan in the United Kingdom and European Union, and that they will delay distribution of the book in those markets until either after their disagreements with the organization are resolved or January 1 2008. If there is enough of a delay, Top Shelf will probably do a special UK edition.

* The publisher has posted a press round-up on their site, which is interesting because it shows off not just the positive reaction most critics have had to the book but underlines its mainstream legitimacy.

* This article by Francois Peneaud indicates that Delcourt has moved the publication date of its version back to 2008 as well, one fact among many in a lengthy summary of the book's critical and commercial reception.

The Lost Girls project has been worth tracking for a number of reasons: as a major Alan Moore project, as a risk by a publisher the size of Top Shelf given the size and scope of the work, and as a further risk due to its sexual content.
posted 10:13 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Toth Critiques Rude


K. Thor Jensen posting this at the TCJ Message Board made me realize I forgot to post it here -- Alex Toth's critique of a Steve Rude story, circa 1986.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink Viz on Altering Manga

The comics business news and analysis site has a short story up where Viz is asked to explain recent alterations to the manga series Full Metal Alchemist, smartly linking it to a 2005 story about the alteration of the manga series I''s. The answers are kind of bizarre. First, they come from an anonymous source, which leave quoting "Viz" some of the time, which if you read it early enough in the morning can make you think there's some dude out there named "Viz." Second, the answers don't really explain anything. For instance, there are vague allusions to "criteria" that suit American audiences, when 1) the real issue is how these criteria are developed and 2) it's obvious there's at least enough boiled-down, stick-to-the-pot hatred of such changes that make you think there's a very different set of criteria brought to the table by many manga fans part of that audience.

The other slightly disappointing answer comes in the form of an assertion that majority of feedback Viz receives comes from people saying that the changes are no big deal. This strains believability a bit partly because people aren't as likely to offer feedback just to say "no big deal." If feedback was sought, there's no reason the parameters of that search couldn't be described.

All that said, I don't think this is a huge issue in and of itself. Viz isn't a newer imprint still looking to build a relationship with readers like CMX was during a related controversy last year. But it's worth noting this general clash between authenticity and publishing standards, which I think has enough heat to fuel more of these kinds of objections, and maybe, perhaps, to inform future general publishing directions within that part of the comics field.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 52nd Birthday, Garry Leach!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Modern Tales Continues Roll-Out

Modern Tales Editor Shaenon Garrity continues her aggressive roll-out of features, adding:

* Killer Robots From Space by Adam Greengard
* Planet Karen by Karen Ellis
* Shi Long Pang by Ben Costa
* You'll Have That by Wes Molebash

I think it's important to note these changes distinct from their existence as promotion for the features and the site because of the resurgence in the "Manleyverse" portion of the webcomics publishing field, which reflects not only renewed interest by multiple-site founder and longtime webcomics figure Joey Manley but also a general interest in webcomics and a recently legitimate revival of various on-line revenue models. Although fortunes can easily change, perhaps more so in this field than any other, and it's difficult to tell a jumpstart from a death throe, these moves suggest a potential saturation point or reached threshold, so I want them noted.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 45th Birthday, Cynthia Martin!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Don Colley In Philly
Newsday on Masters Show
John Rose to Speak in Norfolk, 10/25
Gene Ha Auction For Late Friend's Daughter
Moore and Gebbie Joint Appearance On 10/12

Cartoon Lawsuit Governor Dies

Brad Meltzer Hits Book, Comics #1s

CBR: Charlie Huston
Hear, Hear: Paul Buckley
Detroit Free-Press: Brad Meltzer

Not Comics
CR Hero: IF Stone
I Think This Makes 2-Pac The Spectre
Alicatte Amp: Thumbs Down to Penguin Covers
I Hope This Isn't Me And I Just Don't Remember It

Pibgorn Moves From On-Line to Print
Robert Kirkman Previews Rock Bottom

Ryan Paul: The Plot
Jog: The Origin of Sparky
Rigoberto Gonzalez: La Perdida
Robin Boyd: Ted Rall's New Low
Greg Burgas: The Outsiders #12
ADD: The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb
Rob Clough: American Born Chinese
ADD: Jonah Hex: Face Full of Violence
Elizabeth Oliver: Comic Art Magazine #8

Art Spiegelman Writes On His Decision To Withdraw Work From Masters Exhibit

Art Spiegelman set along via e-mail his full response to queries on why he withdrew work from the Jewish Museum's showing of half the traveling Masters of American Comics exhibit, a response certainly more complex and nuanced than the reasons asserted on his behalf. The exhibit opened late last week, and the final run-up to that event saw the absence of Spiegelman's work move out of the rumor category and begin to be acknowledged through official channels. Those directly involved seem to have been very respectful of others' points of view throughout, and generally supportive of each other as much as the principled objections detailed in Spiegelman's letter have allowed.

Related articles out right now include an interview with Spiegelman on comics and his career in general including the progress of his next project, and a profile of Gary Panter's involvement with the Masters show.
posted 2:30 am PST | Permalink

Slideshow: “This Man… This Monster!”


George Gene Gustines provides the New York Times with his analysis of the late, great Jack Kirby's work on Fantastic Four #51 in its latest close-reading slidehow. Kirby is one of the artists in the Masters of American Comics exhibit settling into the area for an extended run. Gene Kannenberg, Jr. writes in praise of Mr. Gustines' article and Kirby in general here.

Related: the Times comics efforts continue with Seth's George Sprott (1894-1975).
posted 2:10 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: 2006 Doug Wright Awards

imageThis year's Doug Wright Awards were held last Thursday, September 14, at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Best Book went to Paul Moves Out by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn and Quarterly), while the Emerging Talent award went to Lorenz Peter of Dark Adaptation (Pedlar Press). Peter was on hand to accept his award, but Rabagliati was not due to what one report called work-related commitments.

imageThe Wright Awards jury also gave a special Emerging Talent Runner-Up prize to Mariko and Jillian Tamaki of Skim (Kiss Machine). George Feyer (1921-1967) was inducted into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame. That honor was accepted by the late cartoonist's son.

A planned discussion between Seth and Chester Brown centered on the paperback release of Brown's Louis Riel also went off as planned.

Brad Mackay sent a battery of select photos from the show. Drawn and Quarterly blogged it. Sequential blogged the heck out of the show not once but twice.
posted 1:04 am PST | Permalink

UK Webcomics Thing Not Happening

About as focused a show as one can imagine won't see a third year, at least not from its current organizer, notes Comixpedia. The reason given makes the article.
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

September 17, 2006

Happy 80th Birthday, Joe Kubert!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

UVA Student Paper Pulls Cartoons From Site; Cartoonist Woolard Apologizes

The University of Virginia's Cavalier Daily finally pulled two installments of cartoonist Grant Woolard's Quirksmith after receiving a barrage of requests to take action because of their perceived anti-Christian message. The cartoonist has also apologized.

This story has been a mile wide and an inch deep, but it's still worth noting -- and not because the controversy was a legitimate, important one. It wasn't. It's clear that Woolard's clumsy comics offer little more than button-pushing and therefore easy to conclude that the controversy was manufactured rather than genuine. But you shouldn't dismiss it because of that. That's what's interesting about it. It was clear from the beginning that whatever outrage there was was buoyed if not outright enabled by politically active media sources. Such sources are happy to single out an easily labeled non-mainstream point of view likely to give offense, no matter how inarticulate, because it's evidence of how the media works against them. In fact, another cartoon had a Jesus joke the same day as one of Woolard's, a far funnier and weirder one; it just wasn't as good a candidate for mock outrage.

What's surprising here is how ineffectual and scattered the responses were from the cartoonist and those in charge of the Daily; they were unable to punch holes and dismiss what some might see as silly objections, elements of which have been argued for decades now. (It's also further worth noting that the removal of cartoons in past years when other groups complained was used against the paper.) This is specifically distressing as a student newspaper should be more insulated from such complaints than a daily newspaper -- it's not likely the bulk of people e-mailing complaints were readers or patrons of the Daily's advertisers. As was pointed out at the beginning of the Danish cartoons controversy, it's only those expressions that cross lines that need support, and the Daily should have determined if those comics had value worth standing up for were someone to complain before they made the decision to publish them.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 57th Birthday, William Stout!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Danish Cartoons Fall-Out: South Africans Obtaining Interdicts Against The Media

One of the uniquely interesting developments in the wake of this winter's intense rioting, political entreaties and legal action in several countries following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten last Fall has been a hangover of aggressive legal action against newspapers on follow-up issues, utilizing avenues learned to keep the Muhammed cartoons from publication. A classic case is this example in South Africa, where both individuals and institutions have made a habit of filing against the release of controversial articles, even extending that process to cause further delay.
posted 10:03 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: New Charles Vess Art


Illustrator and comics artist Charles Vess has a bunch of new art up on his blog, which even if it's mostly not comics may give a few of you a chance to bookmark the site. The above is a black and white from a limited edition of writer George R R Martin's Storm of Swords project.

Normally I wouldn't post this but it struck me over the weekend that one of the reasons I used to go to comics when I was a little kid was that it was one of the few places, and probably the most accessible, to access fantasy imagery and illustration. I can't imagine that's the case any longer.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Greg Vondruska On Display In Tampa
Rochester Previews McCloud Appearance
First Second Cartoonists at Midtown Comics 9/21

Profile of Alice Marble
UFO Digest: Comics and UFOs

Bill Rosemann Back at Marvel
Chronicle Profiles Christian Comics
Sig File: Sean Collins Now ME at Wizard

CBR: Greg Pak
Newsarama: Joe Quesada
Newsarama: JM Straczynski

Not Comics
Viz's Next Three Novels
Teen Inspired By Comics
David Mack Benefit Auction
Leah Lopez: Teen Cartoonist
Pope Compared to Danish Cartoonist
Heartbreaking Story of Kid Cartoonist
Booksteve: Captain America and Bucky Poster

Editors Throw Lio Under Bus
Marcos Perez Launches Carl Site
Three Manga Serials Mark 30 Years
Dick Tracy Collections Publishing History
Manley Gives Tooncast Script to the World
Supernatural Law Web Effort Turns One Year Old

Jog: Fun Home
Jog: Doomed #3
Kenny Chan: Pyongyang Burl Burlingame: The 9/11 Report
David Welsh: Secret Comics Japan
Johnny Bacardi: Survey of Recent Books
Chris Allen: The Best of Spider-Man Volume 5

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With CCS's James Sturm And Michelle Ollie



Go, Watch: SPX Commercial




* Go, Watch: Mike Catron video from Jewish Museum

* Matt Fraction and Abhay Khosla discuss Fell Format

* Go, Listen: Los Bros Hernandez Interview

* Mark Evanier on New Gods Omnibus announcement


Go, Read: Seth Interview at Carousel (PDF)



Go, Look: Ludovic Debeurme


sent to me by someone who saw it on typocrat


First Thought Of The Day

I need more shelves.
posted 2:08 am PST | Permalink

September 16, 2006

Happy 56th Birthday, Roger Stern!

posted 11:22 pm PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from September 9 to September 15, 2006:

1. Art Spiegelman withdraws his work from the half of the Masters of American Comics exhibit showing at the Jewish Museum.

2. Mana Neyestani: fined and freed? Conflicting reports from Iran's war against its own press continue.

3. Tokyopop announces intention to offer pre-order window to Direct Market retailers.

Winners of the Week
The 2006 Ignatz Jury: an impressive slate of nominees goes a long way in making people like an awards program.

Losers of the Week
Any of the publishing houses that showed up for the Baltimore Comic-Con and then failed to have their attending nominees or some decently big-named company representatives on hand for the Harvey Awards. Look, shit happens. Not everyone can make every award show, but every company in the top 15 can have a prominent, name representative on hand if not the nominees themselves. There are like maybe three or four awards with the traction to have earned this slight nod of respect. It's not a significant burden. First step -- don't schedule against it without freeing up a contingent for the show.

Quote of the Week
"We were so in love with the idea of a cartoon museum in the Empire State Building. We just didn't even think beyond that." -- Brian Walker on the National Cartoon Museum losing yet another home -- this time before they occupied it.

you ever wake up and feel nostalgic about a publisher?
posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink

Happy 44th Birthday, Seth!

posted 1:58 am PST | Permalink

Happy 46th Birthday, Mike Mignola!

posted 1:55 am PST | Permalink

Happy 46th Birthday, Kurt Busiek!

posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

September 15, 2006

Happy 29th Birthday, Amanda Fisher!

posted 10:11 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

posted 7:13 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 7:11 am PST | Permalink

September 14, 2006

Art Spiegelman Withdraws Art From Jewish Museum Portion of Masters Exhibit

In a story that if it hasn't already should break more widely in this weekend's coverage of the split Masters of American Comics exhibit between the Jewish Museum and the Newark Museum opening today, a story that's been known in several comics circles all week, the cartoonist Art Spiegelman has withdrawn his work from the Jewish Museum's portion of the show.

imageAsked if Spiegelman had withdrawn his support from the show, Jewish Museum Director of Communications Anne Scher told CR, "Let me tell you what I think is accurate. Art Spiegelman withdrew his work from the exhibition. I can't address the word 'support.' I think you'd have to talk to him. I will tell you that he's here right now [approximately 5:30 ET Thursday] going through the exhibition with a New York Times critic, so I'm not sure how you'd want to interpret that." She went on to say there would be no statement or explanation at the show for the absence of Spiegelman's work.

"What I can say to you is that the Jewish Museum greatly admires Art Spiegelman's work. It was his personal decision to withdraw his work from the exhibition. It would have been our preference for him to be in the exhibition. We cannot speak as to the artist's reason." Scher noted that the Jewish Museum had a long history with the cartoonist. "We included his work in a group exhibition as early as 1986. That was an early point when comics art wasn't shown in art museums. We also showed him in a group show of contemporary art in 1996."

A phone call to Speigelman's studio on Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned. The consensus of the rumors -- emphasis on rumors -- was that the withdrawl was in part due to the Jerry Robinson guest-curated "Good and Evil in American Comics," exhibit also running at the Jewish Museum. Whether that's true, and if so what the nature of those objections might be, we will try to explore here by talking to the cartoonist or if that's not possible than linking to his statements to other sources.

posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

Cartoons Books Announces World Tour

imageThe Cartoon Books team has announced the initial details of a world tour to promote the release of Bone color volumes in various international comics market. I think this is interesting enough to pull out because of what it reveals about the deal for the color books between Cartoon Books and North American publisher Scholastic. While Smith licensed the color rights to Scholastic starting in 2005, kicking off their high-profile comics efforts, Cartoon Books performed the coloring work in-house and kept the rights to sell the new iteration of Smith's fantasy series overseas through I believe a series of co-publishing relationships. The tour begins October 3 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Smith will also do promotion for the Scholastic volumes in North America, including an appearance at the NY Comic-Con in February. Detailed information can be found here.

The press release further notes that Scholastic has sold over one million copies of their color editions.
posted 10:13 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Vote: Science Idol Cartoon Finalists

I keep forgetting and forgetting to link to this page, where you can vote for your favorite cartoon assembled by the Union of Concerned Scientists in some sort of Science Idol contest. Or you can just stare at them, silently. Your call.
posted 10:09 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 55th Birthday, Pete Poplaski!

posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Everything Old Is New Again

Here's one of those funny things that sometimes happens with comics awards: 2001 Outstanding On-Line Comic Nominee Ben Jones is back in 2006... as a Promising New Talent finalist.
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 54th Birthday, Carol Lay!

posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
L'Affaire Lucca
Martin Sharp In South Wales
Animator Rik Maki At Meltdown 9/16
KC Library Plans Banned Book Comics Event

First Second's Photo With Book Promotion
Naruto on Big USA Today Book Chart Again
Japan Co. Sets Up E-Book Shop in Singapore

Newsarama: John Romita, Jr.
Newsarama: Ethan Van Sciver
Back Issue at Newsarama: Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr.

Not Comics
My Solution? Battle Royale
Shelton Drum Rides For Charity
Bolton Has Graphic Novels Club
Oni Comic Now Has Theme Song
Peanuts-Inspired Music To Hit PBS
Seven Seas Launches Prose Imprint

Dave Sim Has A Blog
Ron Randall Re-Launches Site
Eric Knisley Publishes Art Book
Marvel/Dabel Publishing Schedule
More Downloadable Comics From Slave Labor

Fleen: Making Comics
Creative Loafing: Fun Home
Jog: Paper Rad: Trash Talking
Tim O'Neil: DC's Various Batman Series
Art Levine Prefers 9/11 Adaptation to ABC Show

If I Were In Toronto, I’d Go To This

posted 4:41 am PST | Permalink

Stamford Advocate: Mort Walker’s Museum Out of Empire State Building


The Stamford Advocate reports that Mort Walker's National Cartoon Museum will not open up in the Empire State Building in Spring 2007 as planned. Walker claims that an expected deal to share ticket revenues and have the Empire State Building sell the museum's tickets fell through, making the move impossible. The iconic building's Peter Malkin says the deal was taken off the table once he noticed there was no progress made by the museum in inhabiting the space held for them.

In a sidebar to an article about the Master of Comics exhibit appearing tomorrow in Metro, Walker's son the historian and writer Brian Walker was asked about the National Cartoon Museum's current status, and he indicated that the Empire State Building probably wasn't happening. His full quote (a partial might appear in the Metro piece) as supplied to CR by writer Daniel Holloway.
"That [the Empire State Building] might not be the site anymore. We're looking for alternate sites. It's kind of a complicated situation. It basically gets down to economics. The fundraising is taking a little longer than we anticipated. So, we're actually looking at other sites, which actually kind of opened [things] up. We were so in love with the idea of a cartoon museum in the Empire State Building. We just didn't even think beyond that. But now people are coming to us and saying, 'Well, what about the South Street Seaport? What about getting into some kind of cooperative with another existing museum?' All kinds of interesting things have come up. But the city has given us a vote of approval. They've awarded us $1.8 million. Once we find the site, we can outfit the space."

What this sounds like to me is that construction was delayed because fundraising was slow, the ticket revenue sharing plan going down in flames effectively doomed the museum from going into the Empire State Building, and that although they started seeing other people the NCM may have lingered on in their relationship with the Empire State Building space in case something dramatic happened that allowed that specific dream to see fruition.

The Advocate piece notes that various problems the museum has had with its housing almost since the start, which makes one think that some creative thinking regarding location is necessary, emphasizing the Museum's chance for long-term success by not placing dramatic revenue needs on the institutions coming out of the gate.

ESB picture from the NCM site
posted 4:38 am PST | Permalink

Chinese Cartoonist Claims He Wasn’t Suspended For Showing Crying Prez

In a story developing on the international wires from a report in a Hong Kong paper, the cartoonist Kuang Biao was of the News Express in the southern city of Guangzhou was criticized for a recent cartoon, although the cartoonist denies that he was suspended. At issues is a cartoon Monday that showed China's President Hu Jintao crying, something rarely seen in Chinese media. The latest stories have Biao saying he will spend a month in "self-reflection," but denies a formal suspension for this length of time as was originally reported. They also note that critical commentary about the carton may have been deleted from various web sites.
posted 4:26 am PST | Permalink

Tokyopop to Extend Pre-Order Window on Web Exclusives to DM Retailers

imageAs expected, the second half of the Tokyopop initiative that took a few popular, disputed titles off their planned exclusives list and back into the book trade has dropped, with Tokyopop announcing through places like the comics business news and analysis site that they are working on a program where comics and hobby stores can order titles that will be web exclusives in the same pre-order window offered to fans. News that Tokyopop was going to offer a few new and ongoing series solely through its on-line operations had caused a hugely negative reaction both from Direct Market retailers and the fans that prefer to shop for their manga through such outlets.
posted 3:41 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Marvel’s Film Slate Firms Up

Today sees twin announcements on Marvel movie projects, basically attachments of directorial and writing talent: Hollywood Reporter notes veteran superhero movie scribe Zak Penn will write a screenplay for the Avengers concept; while Jonathan Mostow will re-write the existing Sub-Mariner screenplay with plans to direct that endeavor. This seems to indicate that Marvel will pursue the moderate-blockbuster path: expensive movies but not so highly budgeted that the cost and resulting expectations for mind-blowing success become part of the story. More Fantastic Four than Superman Returns.

This strikes me as having more to do with comics than usual. It's the contrast between the two properties that makes this worth exploring. Marvel's Sub-Mariner, although mostly a popular guest star for the last 40 years, may be the company's most historically important character. Created by Bill Everett for the initial rush of Marvel's books in 1939, back when comics characters still mirrored the idiosyncratic personalities of their young creators and their crazy, throw-it-against-the-wall production schedules, the underwater super-powered character had an appealing, abrasive way of conducting himself and operated in a cynical world of rotten deals and broken promises -- factors that when combined can be said to lay the groundwork for the modern superhero comic. It's also an easy to understand concept: half-breed prince of an underwater kingdom in conflict with mankind.

In contrast, the early 1960s Avengers title was more of a classic comics industry stab at manufacturing a hit by stuffing popular characters in the same title in the hopes that their respective fan bases would overlap. Kind of a Marvel title for Marvel fans over the decades, it has become one of the titles of emphasis for the current editorial regime. They've enjoyed a great deal of sales success within comics for the title. What Avengers doesn't offer is much in the way of conceptual strength borrowed from the comics that Marvel films have used to sell themselves to audiences unfamiliar to the characters. They don't avenge. They're not a family. They're not given over to cultural or psychological metaphor. If the Avengers movie brings the box office and the Sub-Mariner film doesn't, it would be a different type of success for the company than what they've experienced so far, and one that could have a direct impact on the generally insulated publishing side of things for maybe the first time.
posted 2:59 am PST | Permalink

2006 Ignatz Nominees Announced

imageThe jury consisting of Jeffrey Brown, Henry Chamberlain, Justin Hall, Laurenn McCubbin, and Jim Rugg have made their determinations resulting in the following nominee slate for the 2006 Ignatz Awards, given out early Saturday evening at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. Attendees of the Expo vote on the winners.

I believe this is the Awards' 10th year, noting that in 2001 the Awards and the Expo were canceled because of travel difficulties caused by 9/11. Given the hideous bloat of the perceived major comics awards, tt's admirable that if you compare 2007 to the Awards' first year, there are only three more categories now than they were back then. I think this also may be the first time I've seen a series of graphic novels, Owly, get a best series awards nod.



Outstanding Artist

* Jordan Crane, The Clouds Above (Fantagraphics Books)
* Renee French, The Ticking (Top Shelf Productions)
* Tony Millionaire, Billy Hazelnuts (Fantagraphics Books)
* Anders Nilsen, Big Questions #7 and #8 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #16 (Fantagraphics Books)



Outstanding Anthology or Collection

* Black Hole by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
* Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (Fantagraphics Books)
* Drawn and Quarterly Showcase #3 by Matt Broersma, Genevieve Elverum, and Sammy Harkham (Drawn & Quarterly)
* The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso (Fantagraphics Books)



Outstanding Graphic Novel

* The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics Books)
* Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
* The Ticking by Renee French (Top Shelf Productions)
* Tricked by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf Productions)
* Wimbledon Green by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)



Outstanding Story

* Ganges #1 by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics Books)
* "Prebaby" by Joe Daly, Scrublands (Fantagraphics Books)
* "Somersaulting" by Sammy Harkham, Drawn and Quarterly Showcase #3 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* "To Capt. Ayres" by Andrice Arp, MOME Winter 2006 (Fantagraphics Books)
* We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin (Drawn & Quarterly)



Promising New Talent

* Andrice Arp, MOME Winter 2006 (Fantagraphics Books)
* Jonathan Bennett, MOME Fall 2005 (Fantagraphics Books)
* R. Kikuo Johnson, Night Fisher (Fantagraphics Books)
* Ben Jones, BJ & Da Dogs (Picturebox, Inc.)
* Hope Larson, Salamander Dream (AdHouse Books), Gray Horses (Oni Press)



Outstanding Series

* Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware (Fantagraphics Books)
* Big Questions by Anders Nilsen (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)
* Optic Nerve by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Owly by Andy Runton (Top Shelf Productions)



Outstanding Comic

* Big Questions #7 by Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Ganges #1 by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics Books)
* Optic Nerve #10 by Adrian Tomine (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Schizo #4 by Ivan Brunetti (Fantagraphics Books)
* Stuff of Dreams #3 by Kim Deitch (Fantagraphics Books)



Outstanding Minicomic

* Comicore Jr. by Paulette Poullet
* Gaylord Phoenix # 4 by Edie Fake
* Monsters by Ken Dahl
* Trackrabbit by Geoff Vasile
* Window #8 by Dave Lapp



Outstanding Online Comic

* A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible by David Hellman and Dale Beran
* Claviger by Ronnie Casson
* Micrographica by Renee French (not found)
* Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
* Thingpart by Joe Sayers



Outstanding Debut Comic

* Action Philosophers #7: It's All Greek to You by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey (Evil Twin Comics)
* Anyone But Virginia #3 by Zac Crockett and Josh Eiserike (Self-Published)
* Class of '99 by Josh Eiserike (Self-Published)
* Controller by Robin Enrico (Self-Published)
* Cross Country by MK Reed (Self-Published)
* Curses by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
* The Damned #1 by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (Oni Press)
* Delphine #1 by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics Books)
* Daybreak by Brian Ralph (Bodega Distribution)
* Feral Ducks by FW Harvey and Josef J. Komenda (Self-Published)
* Hellcity by Macon Blair and Joe Flood (Gigantic Graphic Novels)
* Hwy. 115 by Matthias Lehmann (Fantagraphics Books)
* House of Twelve's "Heavy Metal: The Movie" by various (House of Twelve Comics)
* Interiorae #2 by Gabriella Giandelli (Fantagraphics Books)
* Let Us Be Perfectly Clear by Paul Hornschemeier (Fantagraphics Books)
* Luba: Three Daughters by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)
* Lucky by Gabrielle Bell (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Book One by Tove Jansson (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Mourning Star by Kazimir Strzepek (Bodega Distribution)
* My Brain Hurts #4 by Liz Baillie (Self-Published)
* New Tales Of Old Palomar #1 by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)
* One Last Ride On The Ghost Truck by Ben T. Steckler (Self-Published)
* Premillennial Maakies by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics Books)
* The Pirates of Coney Island #1 by Rick Spears and Vasilis Lolos (Image Comics)
* Project: Romantic by various (AdHouse Books)
* Rogue Satellite Comics: Crossroads to Lambada by Christopher P. Reilly (Self-Published)
* Sidescrollers by Matthew Loux (Oni Press)
* 12 Reasons Why I Love Her by Jamie S. Rich & Joelle Jones (Oni Press)
* We Must Become Our Heroes, vol. II, #1 by Jordan Giarratano (Big G, Little G)
* You Ain't No Dancer Vol. 2 by Various (New Reliable Press)


The last award is a festival prize, meaning that it's given to comics that make their debut at the show as opposed to comics that debuted during the awards' eligibility period. As is usual with most awards, the more you're into this particular comics' scene, the more you might find the definitions of "New Talent" odd.

results stolen from The Beat
posted 1:50 am PST | Permalink

September 13, 2006

OTBP: The Gremlins


I hadn't heard until yesterday evening that Dark Horse Comics had released a new edition of Roald Dahl's The Gremlins, the first Dahl children's book, a famous never-happened Disney animation project, and kind of a Masters of Atlantis-style hard-to-find book for a long time. It's not comics, but it's a nice project.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Iranian Holocaust Exhibit Unpopular

This article at the Independent indicates that the Holocaust Contest cartoon exhibit in Iran has been something of a flop, drawing a few hundred guests a day the first few days before settling into a 50 visitors a day pattern. The showing was based on a contest designed to show the West as hypocritical, with the idea that Western nations would oppose the contest and the resulting exhibit with a much greater passion than they brought against the depictions of the Prophet Muhammed in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.

The article does manage to pick up on the weird political slide the contest and exhibition suffered, as many artists used the opportunity to make political points like comparing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to Hitler's treatment of Jews and gypsies. Iran currently enjoys some extra scrutiny in this area because its president questioned the veracity of the Holocaust -- an event that further changed the context in which the exhibit takes place.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 55th Birthday, Mary Fleener!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Keith Knight in Ohio
Daryl Cagle Visits Wabash
Helsinki Comics Festival Rolls Out Site
The Beguiling: Larson/O'Malley Signing 9/23
Vertical's Anne Ishii On Her Harveys Experience
PW's The Beat at BC-C: V1, V2, Photos, Harveys

Filip Sablik Joins Top Cow
Local Comic Shop Profile: Atomic Comics
Sugar Creative PR About Web Work For Atomic Comics

NPR: Brian K. Vaughan
Broken Frontier: Jamie S. Rich
Comic Foundry: Scott McCloud
Bob Andelman: Eisner Documentarian Andrew Cooke

Not Comics
David Mack Documentary DVD Due December

Flog!: Potential Al Columbia Art Book
Dini: The Bakers, Jingle Belle Team-Up
Bill Baker Launches Speculative Friction Blog
Jazz Age Chronicles Returns 9/18 After Summer Hiatus

Jog: Mystery In Space #1
Fanboy: Pride of Baghdad
Interfrance: Andi Watson's Little Star

British Artist Arrested In Turkey

This is "not comics," as the art involved was not a cartoon, but the arrest of British artist Michael Dickinson in the process of advocating for free speech rights provides a telling context for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's use of the Turkish legal system to provide pressure on visual representations with which he's not happy. It also says that Erdogan has won about $215,000 (USD) since March 2005 by pursuing these "insult cases."
posted 3:32 am PST | Permalink

Viz Changes to FMA Draw Usual Fire

imageAnime News Network has been tracking yet another instance of an American manga publisher editing one of their books in some way for content, this time a couple of snippets in volume eight of Viz's Full Metal Alchemist (story, survey, discussion). In the last few years, the desire for publishers to have material that will not bring them problems due to their content has clashed multiple times with American manga fans' desire for as purely an authentic experience as they can get.

This one's specifically interesting in that Full Metal Alchemist is a major title, Viz has until now I think enjoyed a reputation as a publisher that didn't change material, the changes are small enough for a minority I-don't-care reaction to perhaps surface, and what was changed wasn't sexual material but background religious iconography, which I find weird.
posted 3:11 am PST | Permalink

Joe Kubert Advocates For Dina Babbitt On Return Of Her Auschwitz Artwork

Newsarama has posted a nice piece on legendary comics creator Joe Kubert's advocacy effort on behalf of Dina Babbitt's quest to have returned to her the artwork she did in Auschwitz during World War II. You can read the New York Times piece on Babbitt's quest here, and see a copy of the letter that's making the rounds here.
posted 2:38 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Kieran Vogel’s Cartoons

imageI happily missed any mention of it until now, but this morning I received e-mail asking why I never posted about cartoonist Kieran Vogel and his participation in what they deem a "sad enterprise," the reality show at Mostly it's because I don't care about this kind of thing, and also because I'm not immersed enough in this part of our culture to be able to regularly expose the fake ones as frauds or not worth your time; I'm not even up enough to know when other people have trashed something. As for this show, Entertainment Weekly gave it an F last summer. Cartoon gallery here. It's kind of interesting to see the choices he's making in terms of making his style more commercial.

Kieran Vogel was nice enough to phone on 9/22 to inform me he's actually worked as a cartoonist, which is something that did not come through in my initial reading about him. So I'm happy to drop my hasty "wannabe," and apologize for the mischaracterization.
posted 2:18 am PST | Permalink

So Who Is Doug Wright, Anyway?

posted 1:54 am PST | Permalink

Chris Ware Leads 1st Amendment Organization’s Character Name and Likeness Auction

I've failed miserably in providing news of the First Amendment Project's fundraiser where the winner gets a character named after them in a forthcoming work by a popular offer. That auction is ongoing, and Chris Ware's offering has thus far attracted the most interest. It's also worth following the link to read Ware's self-deprecating description and rules riders. They're quite funny.
posted 1:16 am PST | Permalink

September 12, 2006

Happy 59th Birthday, Mike Grell!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Details of F&W Charges

The comics business news and analysis site has a lengthy article up sorting through papers attained detailing charges against F&W Publications, parent company of Krause Publications and its line of comics and hobby magazines since 2002. The basic thrust of the the charges is that financial statements were altered in order to bring about an inflated sales price using an agreed-upon formula. The word "chicanery" get thrown out there. The case, however, was settled in late May.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 45th Birthday, Gary Kwapisz!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Steven Grant Writes On Fell Format

The comics writer and industry columnist Steven Grant takes on a chatboard thread at The Engine on the "Fell format" embodied by the Image comics Fell and Casanova, a format that Grant describes better than I could: "A self-contained, low price 24 page comic with 16 pages of compacted story that reads denser than the book physically is."

Both Grant's mini-essay and the discussion to which it links prove pretty wonky. The discussion part also wanders into some odd areas, mostly I think because it's hard for a creator-driven discussion of industry reform to imagine reform in which everyone participating may not have the chops to take a part. But they do provide the opportunity to note a new format, particularly one that comes on the serial pamphlet (comic book, comics magazine) side of things as opposed to the book (trade paperback collection, original graphic novel) end of the medium. It may be that the specific strengths of the Fell format -- low price point, attention to stand-alone narratives, etc. -- are less important than the fact that more attention is being paid to getting more non-mainstream work published in a recurring, more manageable fashion. In art comics, for instance, you have the Ignatz line, the re-release of seminal series like Ed The Happy Clown in comics format, and a slight resurgence in single-creator single-title books for developing cartoonists.

I'm encouraged by the thought that the bulk of the American comics industry may actually pursue multiple avenues of expression and ways of reaching audiences instead of hopscotching to the most immediately profitable model and focusing on that one thing like a jilted lover in a bad slasher movie.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Italian Comics 1912-1945


If nothing else, "Slow Walking Ugly Roosevelt" is the greatest name for any comic strip, ever.

posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Escondido, Manga; Manga, Escondido
Grace Reading Series Features Cartoonists
Isotope to Host Gene Yang, Lark Pien on 9/20
Chuck Ro Photos From Geppi Museum: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Jerry Robinson Guest Curates "Other" Museum Show

Hirings and Firings
Matt Maxwell Moves Away From Commentary

Retailer: Delays Remedy = Diversification

Wizard: Kyle Baker
Wizard: David Lloyd
Wizard: Jerry Robinson
Pop Candy Podcast, BKV, JKS
Judd Winick On Captain Marvel
Word Balloons Podcast: Mark Millar
Around Comics Podcast: John Byrne
Newsarama: Axel Alonso on X-Office Editorship
Newsarama: Raina Telgemeier by Chris Arrant

Not Comics
Frank Miller's 9/11 5Y Piece
Tim Cavanaugh on Star Trek's 40Y
Heath Ledger Brings The Superhero Movie Hate
Charlie Brown: 4th Most Tortured And Angst-Ridden

Publishing News
Shakespeare As Manga
New George Feyer Book
DC Begins Again With Gon
Viz Announces Art Book Line
Details on Comics Comics #2
Marvel Launches Runaways Spin-Off

Jog: American Splendor #1
ADD: The Best American Comics 2006

Mana Neyestani Potentially Released as Iranian Press Turmoil Continues

I'm not sure what to believe in terms of reports on the Iranian press after the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure anyone does right now, either. So I'll relay what I can as it develops and hope that you'll keep both versions of conflicting information in mind Schroedinger's Cat-style, until there's a consensus.

A statement at the bottom of a September 11 release from the Committee to Protect Journalists hitting the wires today seems to indicate that Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani, imprisoned since May for a cartoon showing a cockroach speaking the language of Azerbaijani-Iranians, was fined and then released on September 1. This would run counter to reports from last week that indicated Neyestani was allowed to return home on a leave but still faced charges and possible prison time. The article also indicates that a ban on the daily newspaper that carried Neyestani's cartoon, Iran, saw its ban lifted. Previous reports expressed some uncertainty as to whether or not the ban had been lifted earlier and the paper simply not continued. The CPJ article suggests that plans are actively underway for a re-launch. Iran Editor Mehrdad Qasemfar was acquitted, the article also says. Qasemfar was identified last week as a journalist and another individual, said to be released, was identified as the publication's editor.

So... yeah. Keep all possibilities in mind, won't you?

The latest incident in terms of the Iranian press and cartoons is the closure of the daily newspaper Sharq because its managing director Mohammad Rahmanian was not dismissed as ordered. Rahmanian claims to be appealing the decision and asking for an extension beefore dismissal. In closing perhaps the leading publication for Iran's reform movement, the press board also looked at a cartoon published last week parodying a statement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he was protected by a divine circle of light, a statement his supporters deny the official ever having made.
posted 6:08 am PST | Permalink

Euro-Comics In Slowdown Or Decline?

imageThere's a short article on the front page of the BDZoom site that indicates a lot of conflicting information about 2006 sales of Bandes Dessinees. One source says a slight increase, bookstores specializing in the material say a slight decrease, while publishers contacted noted that sales are up overall but manga continues to make up for a decline in comics originating in Europe. The piece notes that any slight dip in the market could be explained by the lack of a superstar sales juggernaut around which the market could rally. A change in the French-language market would be worth noting because of the market's strong growth in recent years.

As usual, if I'm reading that article poorly or out of context, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 5:50 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Marvel Stock Undervalued?

Here's an Associated Press article that will soon pop up everywhere about Marvel Entertainment Inc.'s stock being undervalued according to an analyst at Citigroup. The thought seems to be that Spider-Man and Fantastic Four movies next summer will have a positive effect up in various revenue streams and will make the stock go up -- their target is $27, some $4-plus more than the current price.

I mention this only because this news seems to run counter to a theme of recent analysis that the departure of high-ranking Marvel officials starting with Avi Arad would be troubling to financial analysts as far as Marvel's long-range future goes. Although as I recall it wasn't 2007 that worried folks as much as the Iron Man movie-led 2008 and beyond.
posted 5:30 am PST | Permalink

I Had No Idea There Was Once a TK Ryan-Designed College Mascot


This is not only "not comics," it's old, so please indulge me. A couple of oblique references in articles today about mascots being swapped out led me to this 2005 article, about a cowboy mascot named "Rustler Sam" that served as the official representative of Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

There's a lot that amuses here: Tumbleweeds creator TK Ryan's grumpy response at being told Rustler Sam was riding into the sunset, the thought that at one time there was a school out there that had this skeevy-looking of a mascot, and that at one point, as pictured above, Sam stopped smoking and got a shave.
posted 4:49 am PST | Permalink

Washington Post Writers Group To Distribute Lisa Benson’s Cartoons

The Washington Post Writers Group has announced it will distribute editorial cartoons created by Lisa Benson of California's Victorville Daily Press. Benson has held that one-cartoon-a-week gig since 1992, taking a two-year break earlier this decade.. In doing so, Benson joins two elite "teams": the Washington Post Writers Group editorial cartoon team, which I believe consists of Nick Anderson and Signe Wilkinson; and the ranks of female editorial cartoonists with major syndicates. That group I always thought was Wilkinson, Etta Hulme and Ann Telnaes, but Editor & Publisher used "including" instead of "consists of" to describe that group, so now I'm not certain.

A lengthy 2005 profile in the Daily Press shows a photo of Benson including a sample of her work.
posted 3:42 am PST | Permalink

Marvel, DC Comics Announce Publishing Plans To Retailers At Baltimore Summit

I don't follow mainstream comics enough to know if this is a strange thing, but it strikes me that the usual flurry of announcements one used to hear coming out of mainstream comic book publisher panels at San Diego and Wizard World Chicago all kind of ended up at the retailer summit in Baltimore yesterday. That may be intentional, it may be that the strain of launching 52 and Civil War made longer range planning suffer for a while until the overworked editorial teams could get their bearings back. Maybe it just worked out that way. I honestly don't know.

imageThe comics news site Newsarama has been all over both series of announcements. After years of dithering around with the stuff in a couple of formats, DC looks to be packaging the Jack Kirby New Gods material in multiple hardbacks, perhaps chronologically. They also made official (I think) the news that the last League of Extraordinary Gentlemen project at DC/WildStorm, The Black Dossier, has been moved back to January. They're also putting together some of their character resource books in a grander form, although that hardly seems interesting at all. Marvel offered up more of a varied, full press of personnel moves -- major writers to take over Runaways and former Marvel cornerstone property Thor, while the cartoonist Alan Davis returns to his not-extremely-successful-the-first-time Clandestine (pictured) -- and what strikes me as a very surprising step or two away from hardcore investment in superhero branding: a line of Classic Comics graphic novel adaptations targeted to bookstores and libraries, and a deal with the Dabel Brothers that targets their relationships with modern genre authors.

Anyone interested in mainstream comics publishing strategies should check out Newsarama's coverage. For supplementary information, the comics business news and analysis site has run free-standing articles on the Dabel Brothers and Runaways deals.
posted 2:55 am PST | Permalink

Asterix Re-Formatted, Re-Published

I don't know that this news of the Asterix series seeing a major new re-formatting and publicity push is that big a piece of news all by itself, and probably not news at all that concerns most North American readers. But it seems to me a late sign of market health when major resources like long-running series are targeted for presentation to a brand new audience, or re-presentation to the old one with significant changes. Classic Love and Rockets is seeing another go-around starting early next year, and the Absolute Editions series of books from DC probably falls under this, too.
posted 2:42 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Sun Reviews BC-C
Bendis Interviews Oswalt
Free AWN Issue Download
Star-Bulletin Reviews R.O.D.
Working It Out: 1st Collection
Another New Comics Publisher
Dallas News On 9/11 Adaptation
Mumbai Reviews 9/11 Adaptation
Orlando Paper Profiles Kevin Frank
Oregonian Reviews 9/11 Adaptation
Bloomberg Reviews 9/11 Adaptation
Alex Chun on 9/11 Adaptation at LAT
Richard Kelly: The GNs Are The Movie
Brian K. Vaughan on Pride of Baghdad
Prickly City Runs Its Bob Thaves Tribute
Times-Picayune Profiles 9/11 Adaptation
Rob Rogers To Speak At Pitt Conference Reviews 9/11 Adaptation
Nigeria Has More Shops than SW New Mexico
Brown Alumni Mag Profiles The Other Siegels
Conservative Cartoonist Profile: Bruce Tinley
Another Paper Changing Comics Through Survey
Grant Morrison Reviewed Doom Patrol, Vimanarama
UVA Student Paper Statement on Religious Cartoons

September 11, 2006

Cartoonist Leaps to Death In Tokyo

This upsetting wire story showed up about eight hours ago, indicating the 48-year-old cartoonist Rin Inumaru leapt from the top of her building and landed on the roof of a much smaller building, dying from the injuries. A suicide note indicated vocational concerns as a major cause for the decision. There's very little out there available about the cartooning aspect of Inumaru's career save for a few mentions here and there that her cartoons drove the television show Ojarumaru; information presented in a way that makes me think a better description is yet to come.
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink

Renee French Gears Up For Big 2007


I'm quite taken with the above piece of art from Renee French, who in 2007 will be adding relationships with PictureBox and Sparkplug to her existing Top Shelf comics connection that provided 2006 book of the year candidate The Ticking, for a potential three-book summer assault.
posted 2:53 am PST | Permalink

Teguh Santosa Trial Resumes 9/13

Reporters Sans Frontieres has issued an update on the legal travails of Teguh Santosa, in the midst of legal hearings in Jakarta on charges stemming from the February publication of three Prophet Muhammed cartoons on Rakyat Merdeka, the web site he edits. Santosa has claimed throughout that he was merely posting the cartoons to illustrate ongoing news reports about the controversy surrounding them which had at that time swirled into a worldwide rash of violent protests. RSF says that Sanosa even discussed the publication with Indonesian press organizations, and with Islamic officials after he was detained in July, both of whom consoled the journalist that he had not attacked the religion or the Prophet Muhammed.

Santosa withdrew the cartoons from the site with 24 hours of publication and immediately issued an apology. He still faces five years in prison.
posted 2:08 am PST | Permalink

John McLusky, 1923-2006


John McLusky, the cartoonist best known for his adaptations of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and short stories into comics form for the Daily Express, passed away September 5. Because McLusky started in 1958 with a series of collaborators that would include writers Anthony Hearne (the first), Henry Gammidge (who did the bulk of the remaining writing work for McLusky's run) and Peter O'Donnell, the cartoonist was the first to place his visual imprimatur upon the iconic character, influencing the media portrayals thereafter. He provided art for adaptations of 13 Fleming novels and short stories before he and Gammidge were replaced in 1966 by writer Jim Lawrence and artist Yaroslav Horak.

McLusky's obituary states that he also worked on multiple features in the long-running British publication TV Comic. He returned briefly to the Bond feature in the early '80s, drawing four adventures for Lawrence.
posted 1:34 am PST | Permalink

Witnesses to Funnybook History…

This site doesn't often get letters from readers detailing their personal reaction to comics events, but over the weekend two good ones showed up: industry veteran Mike Catron's group posting (I think) on attending the Geppi Entertainment Museum opening, and Gary Esposito's photos and small report from Scott McCloud's Making Comics signing at Brooklyn's Rocketship comics store.
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

September 10, 2006

9/11 5-Year Remembered in Cartoons


Daryl Cagle keeps an extremely useful collection of major editorial cartoonists' efforts on various issues of the day at his high-traffic site. If you have a moment, I think it's worth looking at the section on 9/11's five-year anniversary. It's really only when you see a cross-section of cartoons on an issue that massive and historically important that one begins to grasp what may be pushing American newspaper editorial cartooning into the margins of public discourse.

It's not the visual sophistication of the cartoons or even the cartoonists' ability as a group to grab an issue by the shoulders and head-butt it in the chin that one calls into question; it's more like our appetite for imagery has been satiated and the role of the strong, single statment has been subverted long before we open the newspaper to page three. It makes sense that our best editorial cartoonists have the authority of clear-eyed, raised-voice anger (Oliphant) or the mental agility that allows for a perspective so fresh it causes people to lean in and listen (Toles); it's not a matter of assuming the stage anymore, it's more like working a cocktail party where everyone is five-eighths drunk.

In related coverage, Chip Bok is among those asked about 9/11 by the BBC, Rick Veitch is a part of this round-up; Art Spiegelman is a part of this analysis of art in reaction to the event; Marc Sobel re-surveys the various comic book responses at his blog; and the success of the recent adaptation of the 9/11 Report continues to drive feature articles.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Information Prints Holocaust Cartoons

The Danish newspaper Information published some of the Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest cartoons in conjunction with a news story about the exhibit, the BBC reported Sunday. As noted by the article, the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed in the Copenhagen paper Jyllands-Posten almost a year ago now caused political turmoil that boiled over into worldwide riots and boycotts for several weeks in early 2006. This might initiate a thought or two about things coming full circle but mostly it's just a reminder that some 50 or so people died.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: I Surely Do Love Libraries


Get your Nicholson Baker on here.

As the above library is in France, one can imagine it has some BD in it.
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Mary Worth: YouTube Star
Gil Thorp Enters Our Reality
Nichi Bei Times On OEL Manga
Toronto Profiles Geppi Museum
PR: The Vigil Brothers Are Back
San Diego TV Profiles 9/11 Adaptation
DCist Profiles Critiques of America Show
Local Cartoonist Profile: Chad Carpenter
Non Sequitur Crosses Line For NC Reader
Voice of America Profiles 9/11 Adaptation
Not Comics: David Rees Adapted to Stage
Stan Lee Pal Resnais Still Loves The Comics
Detroit Free Press Reviews Pride of Baghdad
Tribune Review of 9/11 Adaptation Hits Wires
Apparently, Comics Not Just For Kids Anymore
... But Lots of Really Good Comics Are For Kids
UVA Jesus Comics Attract Local Media Attention


September 9, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine


A Short Interview With Sammy Harkham



Go, Look: Yoshikazu Ebisu




* Charles Bukowski Probably Wasn't a Comic Book Store Clerk

* This is the line of text that will be linked to a Harvey Awards winners list as soon as one shows up on the Internet somewhere.

* Scroll down a bit for the first full review of Making Comics I've seen, from Jesse Hamm. That thread in general goes off in a few directions, but it seems to indicate the book has a slight typos problem. Matt Fraction wonders why there hasn't been more talk about the book's content in advance of its releases, which when combined with the typos thing could make one wonder how well the book is being supported.

* Baltimore Comic-Con was evacuated briefly.

* I didn't know Meltdown had a blog.


Go, Look: Labor Cartoons


Labor Day was last weekend, but the best cartoons by pro-labor cartoonists are worth your attention every weekend of the year. This is an excellent suite.


Go, Look: Trino


thanks, Robert Boyd


First Thought Of The Day

If there is anything more annoying than driving your car to the gym and having a fly buzz back and forth between your legs -- scratch that, I don't believe you. There is nothing more annoying.
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

posted 2:59 am PST | Permalink

Developing: Tokyopop Moves Three Titles From Their Exclusives List

Three people this morning including Dirk Deppey at have pointed out to me via e-mail this Comics Journal Message Board thread where readers bouncing back and forth between Tokyopop's forthcoming titles lists have noticed that Dragon Head, King City and Heaven!! have all been moved from the forthcoming on-line exclusives list.

Dragon Head in particular had been cited as a title with a formidable customer base in previous iterations and something of a growing presence in key Direct Market comics shops, including The Beguiling, whose Chris Butcher has been the most eloquent critic of Tokyopop's plan. This still leaves a combination of ongoing series and new titles in the Tokyopop program, so one would guess that the principles behind many of the criticisms still apply.
posted 2:40 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from September 2 to September 8, 2006:

1. Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani goes home from Evin prison for the week, where he's been since May and riots blamed on a cartoon he drew where a cockroach spoke in a regional language, while international pressure steps up on his behalf.

2. Rich Stevens' Diesel Sweeties becomes the first high-profile on-line strip to score a syndication deal, through United's use of Ted Rall as a recruiting agent. Shape of deal leaving Stevens still able to do an on-line interation and keeping his on-line store by making himself the feature's first licensor, could set up shape future deals with similar properties.

3. Popular manga cartoonist Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no Go, Death Note) arrested in Tokyo with knife in car; depending on how case progressespotentially vulnerable to really brutal Japanese anti-weaponry laws.

Winner of the Week
Scott McCloud, who began his multi-month grassroots publicity campaign on behalf of his Making Comics in New York City. Now that's commitment.

Loser of the Week
Tokyopop, continuing to get kicked in the shins for its decision to sell some books, including books from ongoing series, exclusively through their on-line stores.

Quote of the Week
"We are up and down, all of us." -- Cartoonist Lea Hernandez, displaced after a significant house fire that destroyed nearly all her family's possessions and some beloved family animals. Resources and how to help.

Star Trek began 40 years ago yesterday; I totally would have watched more episodes if they looked like that cover
posted 2:04 am PST | Permalink

September 8, 2006

Happy 46th Birthday, Kevin Maguire!

posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 47th Birthday, Dan Vado!

posted 10:03 pm PST | Permalink

Shueisha Sort-Of Supports Takeshi Obata After Cartoonist’s Arrest

Basically saying "We're not going to pull all his books just yet" certainly won't win Shueisha any above-and-beyond awards in the wake of Takeshi Obata's Wednesday morning arrest for having a knife in his car, but it's obviously better than the alternative and maybe more than anything said on the subject to date underlines the seriousness of Japan's weapons laws. Obata is the artist of the Hikaru no Go and Death Note series.
posted 2:47 am PST | Permalink

Slave Labor Expands Download Effort

imageSlave Labor Group has apparently expanded their downloadable comics initiative with promises of more to come. The latest enhancement includes more titles but perhaps more significantly the addition of PDF format and the availability of a trade paperback's worth of comic books via Andi Watson's Skeleton Key Volume 1: Beyond the Threshold, which I remember being appealing work. The Watson book is $1.69 for six issues' worth of comics; the stand-alone issues are going for $.69.
posted 2:35 am PST | Permalink

Thomas Dolby Notes Webcomic Lyric Use

Comixpedia picks up on a portentous note on Thomas Dolby's blog where the early music video era star notes the use of lyrics from "She Blinded Me With Science" in the webcomic Wapisi Square, which leads to an always-edifying discussion of trademark vs. copyright and what exactly constitutes fair use. As has been noted in the past, song lyric copyright holders tend to be pretty aggressive about trying to make users secure permission.


Daniel Holloway Replies In Letters
posted 2:17 am PST | Permalink

Dick Tracy Goes Down Not-Dark Alley


Jim Scancarelli reminds everyone how well he draws with a current storyline that incorporates the angular, stylized Dick Tracy character into the rounded cartoon world of Gasoline Alley. Mark Evanier tells you how you should read the sequence.
posted 1:41 am PST | Permalink

September 7, 2006

Baltimore Comic-Con This Weekend

The Baltimore Comic-Con taking place tomorrow and Sunday still lacks the clear identity that distinguishes the most popular shows on the North American convention circuit. That being said, I sense that comics professionals really want the Baltimore Con to be good. In terms of location, Baltimore is an achievable short trip from New York and offers a compact, pleasant downtown with plenty of bars and restaurants and multiple side attractions to dash in and out of as time permits. In terms of timing, Marc Nathan's show comes in September and could, if it got over, serve as the last full-blown North American convention of the calendar year.

My own experiences with the city of Baltimore are less with the neighborhoods surrounding the Inner Harbor and more with the Spring's big horse race and the various small towns surrounding the larger metropolis area. But I have spent a few days and semi-lucid evenings downtown. My most vivid memory of Baltimore is seeing a first-day matinee of Rush Hour in a packed theater where the air conditioning had shut down. An employee walked up and down the aisle spraying Lysol, and as she turned at the front of the cinema declared, loudly, "I'm sorry, but y'all stink."

Here are a few tips based on more pertinent memories that may benefit you during your weekend at the show.

Baltimore Comic-Con Mini-Guide

1. If You Don't Feel Like Seafood, Try Italian
I don't think of Italian food when I think of Baltimore. To be honest, when I think of Baltimore I think of Diner and Art Donovan's haircut. But I probably should think Italian food as much as I eat it there. Near the convention center rests one of America's best Little Italys, with a number of fine storefront and homestead-ish Italian restaurants lining its streets. I had to look it up because I forgot the name, but Sabatino's is open until 3 AM on the weekends, which can be a very useful thing.

2. If You Have Seafood, Do Crabs
Forget Edgar Allen Poe, John Waters and even CR Patron Saint HL Mencken; eating with a bib is Baltimore's finest contribution to American culture. Tired of blabbing all day? Crabs, high-end sushi and Brazilian meats brought to your table on skewers are the only three meals where it's entirely cool if you just sit there eating without saying a word. (The usual warning applies that a week-long stomachache for an out-of-towner when they return home usually begins at some other city's seafood restaurant.)

3. Life On Mars
Speaking of John Waters, you walk about six blocks away from the Inner Harbor and you're probably on one of his movie sets. Nowhere else in America looks like this anymore. There are sole propietorships, five and dime stores and strange, forgotten chains that live on in Baltimore that I swear haven't existed in any other city since 1973. I bet you could buy Micronauts in a toy store there -- which probably shares retail space with a sweeper shop -- and the newsstands are likely filled with The Rook. So get out, walk around. I'd suggest walking to have lunch from one of the chowhound-friendly stands in Lexington Market, with the caveat that someone local told me the Market's not the same place it was even a few years ago.

4. Baltimore Has The Weirdest Museums Ever
Steve Geppi has one; so do Edgar Allen Poe, Black Wax Figures, Fire and Dentistry. The American Dime Museum is a classic intentionally oddball museum. All are worth a couple of hours break from the convention floor according ot your personal interests. As much as I love wax figures and gravestones, I think my favorite museum in Balitmore is one of the most buttoned-up. For looking at a lot of different art in a very short time, I don't know there's a better experience in a non-New York city than an hour at the Walters Art Museum.

5. Baltimore Con Is For Hanging Out
As for the convention itself, it has a reputation of being a friendly and intermittently busy one, which can mean a lot of one-on-one pro time and perhaps a wider than usual window for something fan-bitious like an original art commission. I'm interested to see how this coalition of webcomics cartoonists does on the floor. In terms of programming, I'd go see Paul Pope, Jerry Robinson and Howard Chaykin speak at their respective panels. And if I can make one request, please support the Harvey Awards with your presence during the ceremony; they deserve a couple of years of lighter scrutiny and solid attendance after their era of ill-will in New York.


Chris Mautner Chimes In

* If you're traveling with kids, then a visit to the Baltimore Aquarium is pretty much a must-stop. Be sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time though.

* There's also a nice science museum not too far from the aquarium, which makes for another good stop for the kids. [Editor's Note: Holy crap! Norman Rockwell!]

* If you're looking for some comic-related art: On the other side of the water across from the aquarium is the Outsider Art Museum [actually the American Visionary Art Museum], which has some nice work by Joe Coleman, among others.

* If you want to go to the movies, you can't beat the Senator Theater, which has to be one of the oldest movie theaters on the east coast. Part of 12 Monkeys was filmed there.

thanks to Michael Purdy for the assist
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

R Stevens Speaks To CR About The Diesel Sweeties Syndication Deal

posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Hernandez Update: House, Kids, Piano…

The cartoonist Lea Hernandez continues to post at her livejournal about a recent house fire. Thursday afternoon's posting has a more complete view of the struggles ahead: what's been lost, the likely length of stay while the house is being repaired, and so on.

I encourage anyone interested in Hernandez's story to bookmark the cartoonist's livejournal, as I will, because automatic daily postings on this site after today might begin to feel creepy -- bigger updates I'll of course provide. As usual, cash donations via Paypal are probably the most direct efficient way someone can help -- has been designated by Hernandez as the address to use. A couple of you have e-mailed that Shaenon Garrity is selling pages from her webcomic Narbonic in support, and I'm sure there are more such efforts to come.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Diamond Says No To House of Sugar

House of Sugar by Rebecca Kratz, to be published by Hope Larson through her Tulip Tree Press, has been refused placement in the Previews catalog by dominant comics market distributor Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.

While no one, including Larson, thinks that House of Sugar was likely to set sales record in North American comic book stores, it's distressing when a new publisher with a definite aesthetic point of view offering up quality, non-derivative work is rejected by Diamond out of hand before being given a chance to see if they can find a way to sell successfully through the company. Hopefully, Diamond will reconsider with this book or future efforts, as they have with other publishers, most recently PictureBox, Inc.

Larson has posted the highly amusing rejection letter.
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Itochu Invests in Uslan’s Company

It's not exactly comics, but it's probably worth noting that the company Itochu has become a 10 percent owner in Michael Uslan's comics property development business Comic Book Movies LLC, and will be the company's Japanese merchandising partner. Uslan's company was founded in 2005 and as I recall represents the works of cartoonist Shotaro Ishinomori, which I'm guessing is what drew Itochu's attention.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Happy 40th, Star Trek!


If you've never had the pleasure, the Gold Key comic book covers are fairly awesome.
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
McCloud Family Podcast
Manga In The Microwave
Film Fodder's Fave Fanboards Profiles Brad Meltzer
Profile Of A Regional Convention
Bill Radford on Pride of Baghdad
Reading PA Reviews Geppi Museum
Local Cartoonist Profile: Kevin Frank
Automotive Museum Profiles Ed Roth
Aspen Comics Hitting Baltimore Show
Library GN Sections: Hingham, Dover
Baltimore Sun Reviews Geppi Museum
Michael Grant Reviews 9/11 Adaptation
Catholic Panel Cartoonist Releases First Book
Not Comics: Adrian Tomine and Wong Kar-Wai?

Conversational Euro-Comics

posted 6:56 am PST | Permalink

Robert K. LeRose, 1920/1-2006

imageLongtime DC colorist and production artist Bob LeRose passed away on August 30, according to an article written for The Pulse by LeRose's one-time boss Bob Rozakis, who remembered their 13-year professional relationship and the colorist himself fondly. The article states that LeRose was a veteran of World War II who worked for Johnstone & Cushing and Stenzel Productions before coming to DC in the mid- to late-1970s. Over the next 20 years he amased a formidable collection of credits as a colorist on both interiors and covers, with a few random inking and lettering credits thrown in, as well as a credit for work in a late-'70s issue of Heavy Metal. Little is written about LeRose although historians might note he was interviewed in 1998 by the 'Nuff Said radio show. Rozakis says that LeRose left his staff position in the late '90s, but continued to freelance. He was 85 years old.
posted 3:09 am PST | Permalink

Lea Hernandez Updates Day After Fire

The cartoonist Lea Hernandez continues to provide updates through her LiveJournal account on the situation facing herself and her family after a severe house fire yesterday morning, including a story this morning about finding a pair of cats that unlike others in the household were able to leave the scene and one they know that wasn't. I would think that would be the best place to keep track of future developments, and sugget that any and all interested bookmark and check the web journal frequently.

Information as to how to donate needed funds to the family can be found at sites like Newsarama and Mark Evanier and Websnark (September 6th entries). Hernandez has specifically asked through her livejournal that clothes not be sent because of their inability to process and store them. As for cash donations, every little bit helps.
posted 3:03 am PST | Permalink

Takeshi Obata Arrested For Knife

imageTakeshi Obata, the cartoonist behind the popular Hikaru no Go and Death Note manga series (with writers Yumi Hotta and Tsugumi Ohba, respectively), was arrested in Tokyo on Wednesday morning for illegal possession of a knife, according to this report. A police officer questioned the 37-year-old award-winning artist after he saw Obata driving with his headlights off around 1 AM, and found the knife then.
posted 2:21 am PST | Permalink

BBC Documentary on British Comics?

I have no idea if this is legitimate or not, or if any of you could help if it is, but I know I'd be interested in watching three hours of BBC programming on the history of British comics.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink 40,000 Lost Girls By X-Mas takes a closer look of the first three, reported printings of the massive, slipcased Alan Moore/Melinda Gebbie Lost Girls from Top Shelf Comix. The tally comes to 10,000 published as of right now, 10,000 available in October, and 20,000 in December. Initial orders have been filled, and existing backorders favor the book market. While there are other projects that have enjoyed similarly ambitious printing schedules, the $75 Lost Girls is worth noting because Top Shelf is a traditional independent comics publisher, the kind of entity for whom negotiating the demands of multiple printings can represent a significant challenge -- and if the book had tanked, the publisher might have gone with it, which now looks like a worry from a previous page. The article at sounds a lot smarter than I do.
posted 1:42 am PST | Permalink

September 6, 2006

Virginia Postrel: Superhero Glamour

imageThe writer Virginia Postrel examines superheroes as objects of glamour for The Atlantic (link up for three days), going at it from this direction: "Glamour is an imaginative process that creates a specific, emotional response: a sharp mixture of projection, longing, admiration, and aspiration. It evokes an audience's hopes and dreams and makes them seem attainable, all the while maintaining enough distance to sustain the fantasy. The elements that create glamour are not specific styles -- bias-cut gowns or lacquered furniture -- but more general qualities: grace, mystery, transcendence." Makes sense to me.

Even more interesting than the Atlantic piece is Postrel's blog entry on the article, where the writer talks about how Marvel dragged out the permissions process in relation to an illustration of Storm they wished to use and then how Marvel made an odd request regarding the "super hero"/"superhero" thing.
posted 11:06 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Cancer Vixen Profile

At some point, one imagines that reading mainstream press profiles like this one of Cancer Vixen's Marisa Acocella Marchetto will stop feeling slightly weird. As a side note, I didn't know Marjane Satrapi's Chicken With Plums was imminent, as this piece is kind enough to mention.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: PBS Nature Comic Preview

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Axel Alonso Takes Over X-Office

Axel Alonso will take over for Mike Marts as Group Editor on Marvel's lucrative series of X-Men titles, according to a report posted at the comics news site Newsarama. According to the piece, Alonso, one of the key hires early in the Marvel revival period following the late-'90s bankruptcy, will hold this position in addition to an Executive Editor title, group editorships on both the Marvel Knights and MAX lines, and an editor slot on a series of other titles. The X-Men books make up one of the core money-making areas for the company's publishing arm, and as of right now the office could probably use some new blood as much as any time in the last 15 years. I will link to whatever Alonso interview appears on Thursday at Newsarama via this sentence.

In other industry personnel news, Slave Labor reports that Deb Moskyok has left the company after four and a half years. Also, this site linked to Dustin Harbin's site last weekend; this was occasioned by an e-mail announcing his amicable departure from retailer Heroes Aren't Hard To Find after a long terms of employment there.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Download: Free Comics Magazine


I'm not sure how I missed this, but you can access a free download of the critical magazine Comics Comics from the front page of their blog. I liked the issue quite a bit, and it's certainly worth, you know, the energy expended moving a mouse and clicking.
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
When Mickey Tried To Kill Himself
Review Link Only Works For Worthy
Local Cartoonist Profile: Leigh Rubin
Eisner Interview Series: Pete Poplaski
Local Cartoonist Profile: Stephen Pastis
E&P Notes Gazette Dumped Older Strips
Inspiration For The Buckets' Dogzilla Dies
Hooked on Comix Blog Discusses Volume 3
Woman Fights Michael Myers, Okays Comics
Vaughan, Alphona To Depart From Runaways
Missed It: Interview With Rush Editor A. Neculai
Potential Editorial Cartoonist Future Job Opening
Rosenberg Moves Not Publishing Anything Model On-Line

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This…


Telling Tales: Contemporary Women Cartoonists, Adam Baumgold Gallery, Reception: 6-8 PM
posted 7:47 am PST | Permalink

... And Then I’d Stop By This

posted 6:55 am PST | Permalink

Lea Hernandez Suffers House Fire

The cartoonist Lea Hernandez reports that a house fire last evening has driven her from her home (until repairs can be made) and resulted in the loss of life for several pets; it also destroyed several works of art and various household items. Heidi MacDonald brings word from the writer Gail Simone, a friend of Hernandez's, which includes a call to action and a paypal address for donations.
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink

Gary Panter Bonanza Coming in ‘07


In holy freakin' crap news, Gary Panter has announced 2007 publication dates for two massive, hotly anticipated titles: a collection of his little-seen Dal Tokyo strip, and a two-volume work from PictureBox, Inc. which sounds like it will encompass his entire career-to-date. He also states that a second sketchbook will come out from Drawn and Quarterly, to be called Hey Dork, without getting into its exact date of release.

main portion e-mailed to me in a way that makes me think it was swiped, so sorry
posted 5:55 am PST | Permalink

Peter Boggan: 1937/8-2006

Peter Boggan, a former editorial cartoonist for the Welwyn Times (now the Welwyn & Hatfield Times) was buried on Friday, September 1 after a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old. A former management trainer and an employee of Rolls Royce, Boggan began cartooning for the newspaper in the 1970s, according to this tribute. Boggon was likely the illustrator for Colin Corder's Some of My Best Friends Are French: How to Get By in the Language and On With the Natives, a humor book published in 1992. He is survived by a wife, four children and seveal grandchildren.
posted 5:46 am PST | Permalink

Diesel Sweeties to United, Updated

The news that R. Stevens will take an iteration of Diesel Sweeties into newspapers through United Feature Syndicate beginning in January is interesting in a lot of ways.

imageFirst, it's a good choice. The strip is frequently funny, it has a distinctive look, and it's driven primarily by gags rather than by asking readers to track a series of relationships. This should make it easier for new audiences to understand the work coming right out of the gate, giving it a greater chance for success. Second, the initial announcement indicates that Stevens will continue to be able to post work on-line, which is interesting because syndicate contracts have at time not only extended to forbidding outside efforts with the same characters but to first rights of refusal to any unrelated strip-type work. Third, the announcement also indicates Stevens will keep control of at least a part of his existing merchandising, although webcartoonist Scott Kurtz rightfully wonders out loud how broad this part of the deal is and how much the syndicate will take in -- Kurtz notes that the standard when it comes to merchandising is a 50/50 split.

Unless someone can figure out a way to unpack it for me and change my mind, Stevens keeping the copyright seems to me a non-story. My understanding is that this is an option offered to cartoonists as a matter of course; the key isn't the copyright as much as the contractual agreements regarding control, direction and profit described above. Because syndicate contracts are so explicit on these issues, a cartoonist once described to me the issue of who gets the copyright as a coin-flip decision. The only thing I can guess is that depending on the contract means that Stevens would have an easier time putting the strip back on-line full-time were his agreement with UFS to dissolve.

An element I find interesting is the timing -- September to January is very little lead time for a strip, meaning UFS must have a lot of confidence in the cartoonist's ability to start working at a high productivity and quality level within syndicate content parameters. Getting the January slot doubles my estimate of their esteem. It also indicates to me that something in development may have been dropped, or, perhaps, strategic manuevering has begun in terms of what goes into the giant hole that opens up when Lynn Johnston's expected departure from some 2000 papers becomes a reality.

UPDATE: Okay, this makes even more sense -- Stevens is one of Ted Rall's picks. Rall has been openly recruiting younger-skewing features for United since joining their team in an official, corporate capacity in late June. As for the questions floated by Scott Kurtz, Stevens confirms that he'll be doing his own manufacturing still but can't license out to others; he also seems to have free reign to do other comics. I think the latter is significant.
posted 5:04 am PST | Permalink

9/11 Graphic Adaptation Hits Charts

PWCW notes that in addition to its high initial ranking at and stellar performance on Bookscan's chart tracking comics-format performers, the volume has also placed on the New York Times and Publishers Weekly paperback bestsellers lists.
posted 4:33 am PST | Permalink

September Is For Random Pontificating

image* Blog@Newsarama draws attention to cartoonist Bob Layton's latest insinuation through interviewer Jamie Coville that the printer Quebecor was among those worked in conjunction with Diamond to screw over his comic book company Future Comics. At the complaint's heart is what Layton asserts are business moves arranged under the table by large comics businesses explicitly targeted at smaller companies, and the repeatedly-asserted perceived threat of Future's self-distribution program. If you really want to, you can read a longer version of Layton's general take on how his company was treated in the rambling editorial found here.

Layton seems to have a hard time distinguishing between unfavorable business outcomes and entities actively working against him. Part of what Layton describes is just the way things are: companies frequently treat big clients better than small clients, companies do indeed have an aversion to doing business with entities likely to go bankrupt, companies frequntly buy out smaller businesses with a competing business model, and so on.

Other things Layton asserts happened need to be documented before they're used as a springboard to ascribe pernicious motives -- and if Mr. Layton has a paper trail of contractual negligence on Diamond or Quebecor's part, I'd be happy to report on them here. Until then, all this kind of talk does is invalidate more legitimate, less self-serving complaints of the system's unfair nature or its broken mechanisms and expose Layton as someone who may suffer from crippling hubris where his business and creative ventures are concerned.

image* Also at Blog@Newsarama, comics culture sociologist Graeme McMillan looks at mainstream comics writer Mark Millar's ongoing soapbox rapture on really old subjects, as evidenced in his suggesting that the Big Two might overproduce (gasp!) or that the mainstream-heavy comics magazine and price guide Wizard is no longer as effective as it used to be (three and half gasps!).

image* To end with something less silly, in an interview with Shaenon Garrity at the TalkAboutComics Blog, web cartoonist Daniel Merlin Goodbrey talks about the iPod screen as a platform, implying a potential comparison between types and levels of intimacy by comics format I think could be extended into a really interesting conversation all by itself. "I tend to think of iPods as 'looking into' devices. You're looking through a little window into another world that you hold in your hand. There's a more intimate connection there than you get from looking at the screen or even (in my opinion) the printed page. And that's what I wanted Brain Fist to be -- an intimate connection between the character and the reader. The fact that people you're connecting with are a bunch of freaks, psychopaths and drug addicts is, you know, just part of the fun."
posted 3:39 am PST | Permalink

New Slate of Officers at AAEC

As was made clear in coverage of departing president's Clay Bennett's, Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette assumed the presidency of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists on September 1. The full slate of the organization's officers and board of directors is available through the above link as well. Of interest -- Ted Rall as Vice-President, and Nick Anderson on board preparing for his own presidential term, one would guess starting in September 2007.

The AAEC has become an increasingly important advocate on the issues of diminishing newspaper staff positions for editorial cartoonists.
posted 3:33 am PST | Permalink

Happy 69th Birthday, Sergio Aragones!

posted 3:13 am PST | Permalink

Making Comics Press Assault Begins

It will be impossible to do this every day, but here's a snapshot of Scott McCloud-related items as he kicks off his nationwide tour with the release of his book Making Comics yesterday. As I said yesterday, I think it's worth keeping apprised of McCloud's efforts because the book is highly anticipated and the publicity effort promises to combine modern (dedicated group blogging!) and retro (comic book store appearances!) techniques. This includes McCloud and his family driving to every state supporting the book, and, one hopes, solving the occasional crime.

* Interview at Comic Book Resources about the 50-state tour in support of Making Comics.

* Interview on The Leonard Lopate Show.

* signings: at Midtown Comics on Friday; at Rocketship on Saturday.

* anyone interested in tracking the publicity tour is once again encouraged to bookmark the McCloud family's livejournal community devoted to same.

* TCJ Message Board discusses, mocks, makes odd comparisons.
posted 2:52 am PST | Permalink

Happy 57th Birthday, Mike Zeck!

posted 2:47 am PST | Permalink

Barring Actual News, The Last Tokyopop Web Exclusive Manga Plan Update

* PWCW covers the story of Tokyopop moving several books including existing series to web-only sales through their web site. Though I risk being told to bite someone, I have to say for a magazine of record a lot of it is maddeningly vague: "several trade book retailers" and "many retailers" are among those cited. But there are further quotes from Tokyopop's Mike Kiley and new quotes from two Direct Market retailers: Carr D'Angelo and Beguiling Manager Chris Butcher, so it's definitely worth a read for anyone tracking the story.

* D'Angelo citing criticism aimed at Top Shelf and Fantagraphics for selling direct in the PWCW piece actually works to the detriment of his position -- neither Top Shelf nor Fantagraphics would be around anymore if they hadn't at one point sold direct, nor have they suffered in any measurable way from retailer scorn for this practice. This speaks against the Direct Market's general ability to invest in anything other than American mainstream comic books, and calls into question their ability to punish publishers that instigate policies that retailers dislike. And, of course, Tokyopop has long sold direct, just non-exclusively.

* Chris Butcher's arguments are the most cogent in the PWCW piece, and at his site he provides an even more eloquently phrased "open letter" to Tokyopop. There he gives the best argument thus far against Tokyopop's plan: Fans buying the series switched to web-exclusive midstream will be disappointed with having their supply of books cut off and moved to a more expensive, harder to access source. Retailers are not in the customer-disappointing business, and will therefore back off stocking and providing customer service support for a lot of titles they feel might be taken away from them, a possibility that Tokyopop has left open. This is more convincing to me than the promise of vague retailer anger, particularly as Butcher notes how he has already started doing this.

* It's probably worth pointing out that one of the problems that the Chris Butchers of the retailing world have when they make rational arguments like those above is that The Beguiling is an atypical store. Butcher can't argue for a massive international retail community; he can only argue for the 30-40 stores that are like The Beguiling. How far publishers should go to serve those few, great accounts by working with a system that's largely characterized by indifference to outright hostility regarding their books is how this issue connects to other, similar publisher/retailer issues that pop up in the Direct Market.

* As I don't think we'd see the same complaints if Tokyopop cancelled outright titles they felt didn't sell enough, it's worth emphasizing one underlying argument that peeks its head out on occasion: DM retailers don't seem to trust Tokyopop's appraisal of what qualifies as not selling enough to move to his web-exclusive program, nor do they feel the publisher will resist the temptation to add successful titles to the don't-sell-enough list. Some people have wondered out loud about the value of authoritative sales numbers in the comics industry beyond morbid fan curiosity -- well, here's one.

* I guess what this comes down to is whether Tokyopop benefits from web exclusives more than they lose 1) potential sales from fans that will decline to engage the on-line sales mechanisms and added costs, 2) established sales that don't follow the company on-line, 3) diminished retailer confidence in books up and down their line and 4) general retailer resentment against the company including several great accounts. I'm reluctant to backseat drive companies that have made hundreds of millions of dollars, but hopefully the last several days of chatter have given Tokyopop officials a wider apprecation of what's at risk.

* I would personally love to see them drop the plan entirely, or dump the exisiting series component, or find some way to grandfather in supportive accounts, or establish a retailer backdoor to buy into the program, or create an on-line syndication program that could bring stores in, or at least a way to hammer out in explicit terms what will qualify for the program and what won't in a way that would allow retailers to know where to give their support. I'm not concerned with their rhetoric as much as I'd like to see Tokyopop be as creative and forceful and responsive with all of their markets as they are with this on-line program.
posted 1:12 am PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Vess in Faerieland
PWCW Profiles Seven Seas
NYT Profiles Geppi Museum
Chris Eliopoulos Interviewed
How Willie and Joe Met Snoopy
Neo Rauch Has Roots In Comics
Joe Martin's Syndicate Offers Cartoons
Yoshihiro Tatsumi Profiled In Asian Time
New Mike Luckovich Collection Published
Montreal Paper Changes Comics Line-Up
Snoopy's Sopwith Camel Buzzes Shreveport
Cuneo to Present at Merrill Lynch Conference Gay Love in Japanese Manga
Greater Kashmir Review Profiles Literary GNs
HIV Awareness Comic For Deaf in South Africa
Another Paper, Another Comics Survey Change
NYCC Expands Into Videogames And Maybe Movies
Montreal Paper Profiles Tatulli, Bell-Lundy and Pastis

September 5, 2006

Mana Neyestani At Home For The Week; Still May Face Severe Prison Sentence

A pair of articles from the press arm of Reporters Sans Frontieres here and here shed more light on the current status of Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani, jailed since May for publishing a cartoon with a cockraoch speaking Azeri, which led to violent protests among Azerbaijani-Iranians int he country's northwest provinces.

Mehrdad Qassemfar, originally identified as an editor at the Iran publication in Tehran where the cockroach cartoon was published, has since be re-labeled as a journalist. Both Qassemfar and Neyestani are on a week's leave with their families, which explains reports from earlier this summer that some sort of parole was potentially in the offing for the cartoonist. The pair are two of 12 journalists and bloggers in Iranian prisons or under their control currently being monitored by RSF. It looks like there have been been positive and negative outcomes to recent individual cases, with a further negative that bannings from the practices of journalism for a period of time has been one of the penalties levied against journalists convicted.
posted 4:58 am PST | Permalink

OTBP: Wiley Miller’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil


There have been other editorial and strip cartoonists with a penchant for illustrated fantasy -- everyone knows at least one -- but the only one I know with a book coming out in November is Wiley Miller of Non-Sequitur.
posted 4:51 am PST | Permalink

Del Rey Correction, T-pop’s Direction

* There are two fascinating things in this thread at Anime on DVD's Community Forums: the first is a forthright apology from Dallas Middaugh at Del Rey on the changes made in Air Gear; the second is the existence of lists like this one. As covered here in the past, there's a passionate conflict in manga circles between fans that demand authenticity in translated products and companies that wish to tweak sexual or cultural elements in order to reduce the chances for alarm from mainstream North American audiences.

*'s Dirk Deppey gets into the question I think has been hanging over the issue of Tokyopop selling certain titles through its web site since it was announced: why would a company make such a move exclusive? His answer seems to be it's because they're dumbasses, as they're giving up a supplementary market that's a sure thing -- Direct Market retailers order non-returnable and in advance -- for a solo market that's completely unknown.

While this analysis sort of presumes that Tokyopop simply isn't floating a trial balloon and allowing for screw-ups as long as there's future gain, I also have yet to see anything to indicate that Tokyopop won't be collecting pre-orders and then printing with those orders in hand through their on-line store, too, much like the DM. At that point it becomes a functionality issue rather than a strategic one -- stores often pre-order at amounts that exceed initial consumer buying impulses, and because of this and the lack of discounts and general irritation by fans those orders collected by Tokyopop run a real danger of being super-low.

Deppey goes on to suggest Tokyopop's Mike Kiley and Stuart Levy may be seen as "two-faced jack-offs" because their recent pro-DM rhetoric fails to match up in acceptable enough harmony to the realities of this non-DM program. While this is its usual entertaining, one imagines this would be a tough if not impossible gauntlet for any comics company executive to run.
posted 2:54 am PST | Permalink

McCloud’s Making Comics Out Today

imageToday is the official release date for the third book in Scott McCloud's trilogy of long-form comics about the comics medium, Making Comics. In celebration of this fact, and to promote the book, the cartoonist and his family have begun an ambitious, year-long nationwide tour in support of the volume, the details of which might be easiest to track through this group livejournal offering here.

As pointed out in an earlier post here at CR, this is fascinating not just for those of us with families where a year-long tour by car would have ended about three weeks into it with the emotional equivalent of the Six Million Dollar Man hitting the turf in his opening credits, but for how we view its confluence of current marketing orthodoxies about comics -- the power of handselling event to event, the effectiveness of the Internet as a marketing tool, and the growing use of participatory marketing like dedicated workblogs and creator-reader partnerships with things like instigating speaking engagements. It's likely that the tour will end with a much different set of circumstance regarding the comics publishing industry in place than are operative at its start.

And lest we forget, there's also a brand new McCloud book and its probably 2000+ ideas with which to grapple. That's always fun.
posted 2:29 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Tom Mohr’s Manifesto For The Future Of Newspapers On-Line

I found this massive article by former Knight-Ridder Digital President Tom Mohr calling for newspaper companies to work in close partnership in order to better secure vital partnerships with branded vertical partners like interesting not because change is likely to occur exactly as Mohr describes but because it's clear that the North American newspaper business has within its DNA at least one more potential paradigm-defining growth period which, if it happens, would cascade throughout all businesses and individual contractors that serve the newspaper industry. This includes the syndicates that sell comic strips and the hundreds of cartoonists that receive checks from them.

The current way comic strips make money is through an aggregation of sales at the local print and on-line level. This has become supplemented by a few ambitious mechanisms -- like King Features' Daily Ink -- which I think serve a) strip enthusiasts looking for material beyond what their paper supplies and b) a growing readership approaching news and comics and other features as distinct products with worldwide reach to be assembled on their computer screen according to personal taste.

If papers began to operate more and more on-line and more and more in partnership with each other, as Mohr describes, it seems like it would slowly diminish the local enhacement element of print and individual on-line site comics sales. This indicates that for comics to retain their sales levels, distinct purchases of comics would need to grow, or some sort of way of distinguishing comics according to individual newspapers' participation on-line would need to be enhanced, or some sort of third way of doing business with Mohr's proposed consortia or their rough equivalents would have to take place. Otherwise, we could see a massive drop in comics' overall revenue.

I'm not doom and gloom on this. Radio was able to retrench when television came along. But we could be entering into a phase of either more modest expectations for syndicate success or, to look at it another way, a shift as to who the buyers are. If you're a cartoonist and you hear that and Philadelphia Inquirer are entering into a partnership, with which entity would you prefer a 20-year deal?

As a sign of things to come, it's also worth noting how many reader surveys there are now and how quickly comic strip features move in and out of today's papers. This is a volatility that didn't exist 10-20 years ago. Alan Gardner at tracks the Labor Day weekend's worth of movement.
posted 1:38 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Convention Round-Up

imageThe Canadian-focused comics news site Sequential has put together a survey of blogs and on-line reports about the bad side of last weekend's Toronto convention, the Hobbystar Fan Expo (they promise to provide another round-up of good stuff soon). You'll quickly pick up on the context that this show took place amid accusations the organizers have worked aggressively and perhaps unethically against other shows in the Toronto area, particularly those run by a company called Paradise.

For most of us outside this scene, tracking this back-and-forth is about as appealing as pulling over to pick up a couple walking home from a party only to find out once they're jammed in the backseat that they're feuding with with the couple that was already in your car over various property-touching issues. But you can start here if you want or here and pop open Google in another window and go to town.

imageYou can check out the other North American science fiction and hobby con with a significant comics element that took place over Labor Day weekend, Atlanta's Dragon*Con, by looking at the visual display here, checking out message board threads or by reading reports from con regulars like Peter David and Kathleen David. In addition to the fact that comics are more of a supporting player at shows like these, the dates they're held are a reminder of the time when events like this were held on holiday weekends because of the vacation time enjoyed by likely attendees -- the Chicago convention used to be on the July 4th weekend, for example, and if I remember correctly promotions ran big professional wrestling events on Thanksgiving evening.
posted 12:53 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: IDW’s Dick Tracy Series

IDW has further formalized the look on the series reprinting Chester Gould's graphically bold newspaper feature; it looks a lot like series designs for current projects like Peanuts and Gasoline Alley. The comics business news and analysis site is running a picture.
posted 12:42 am PST | Permalink

September 4, 2006

Go, Look: Canadian Cartoon Art

Three great samples of cartoon illustration have surfaced on the Internet in the last few days, all from Canadian cartoonists:

Maurice Vellekoop For The LA Times



Chester Brown For The Doug Wright Awards



Keith Jones For McSweeney's


(thanks to the clue at Drawn and Quarterly's blog)
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Books For Rest Of 2006

Last week's "5 For Friday" promotion here at CR leaves us with a mighty, massive list of several great books coming out between now and the end of the year.

Considering this is a list that even leaves off such gems as Lost Girls, ACME Novelty Library #17 and Project: Romantic, can there be any doubt the comics medium is enjoying a wonderful, graphic novel/trade paperback-led run of quality releases right now? We should all enjoy it.
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 56th Birthday, Cathy Guisewite!

posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Brad Meltzer Profiled
ACTOR Now Hero Initiative
Shojo Manga Touring Exhibit
LAist Goes To The Comic Shop
Gary Dumm Has Solo Art Show
ADD Giveaway: Tokyopop Pop Fiction
Usual Suspect Plans Christian GN Line
Paramus Post Profiles 9/11 Adaptation
Best Feature Article Opening Line Ever
The Star-Ledger On American Splendor
Aussies Listen To Mark Millar's Theories
Mike Luckovich Sings in Gwinnett County
David Horsey Impugns Bush Supporters?
Luann & Friends Cartoon Contest Winners
Profile of Spirit Warriors Christian GN Line
Cartoonist Helps Unpack Hospital Procedure
Frank Tashlin As Cartoonist Turned Director
Studio Museum of Harlem: African Comics Show
Batiuk: Cancer In And Out Of Funky Winkerbean
Harvey Awards Keynote Speaker: Jerry Robinson
Comics History Book Runner-Up For History Award

September 3, 2006

CR Holiday Magazine

Go, Read: Shelton & Tevye in "The Treasure Chest"



Go, Read: Labor Cartoonist Profile




* cartoonist Renee French on Australian radio

* go look: the great Art Young

* one imagines that soon there will be 1000 comics done this way, if there aren't already

* the NYT's Special Correspondent To Write About DC Comics and Just About Only DC Comics, George Gene Gustines, profiles Brian K. Vaughan (thanks, Scott Witmer)

* a Joe Coleman restrospective in NYT (thanks, Scott Witmer)

* it seems Chuck Palahniuk would beat Charles Burns in a fight (thanks, Matt Silvie)

* the Oregonian looks at romance comics.


Go, Look: Fabio Zimbres' Site


thanks, Robert Boyd


Popeye Cover Design Coming Together


Writes Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds of the above: "This isn't quite final but is much closer than what's on your site."


First Thought Of The Day

It's Memorial Day, right?
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

September 2, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine


Bonus Brube: An Interview With Ed Brubaker (2004)



Go, Look: Wheeler's Virtual Gallery




* author and comics writer Paul DiFilippo reviews the new DVD featuring The Tick.

* the classic analysis of Master Race from Squa Tront.

* acme novelty quite-scary

* a short interview with Noel Tuazon by a former teacher

* in case you missed it, James Kochalka's latest video

* a (very) short interview with Sammy Harkham at UK's The Beat.

* blog ostensibly devoted to issue-by-issue reading of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four

* interview with Meg Hunt by Chris Arrant


Dave Trampier's Classic RPG Comic Wormy



Go, Look: Dustin Harbin's Strips



First Thought Of The Day

If the splintering and slow disintegration of the American television audience yields more wouldn't-do-it-otherwise gems like major college football games in Saturday night's pre-drunkening prime time programming slot, I'm all for the splintering and the disintegration.
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink

September 1, 2006

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from August 26 to September 1, 2006:

1. Iranian newspaper editor Gholamhossein Islamifard acquitted of charges stemming from the publication of a cockroach speaking Azeri. Cartoonist Mana Neyestani still held.

2. Tokyopop announces that select manga will from now on only be available from their on-line store. Various factions flip out.

3. By all reports, Top Shelf Comix seems to have successfully launched the massive, potentially problematic Lost Girls.

Winner of the Week
The Penny Arcade team, with a smash hit of a gaming expo.

Loser of the Week
The press in Malaysia, suffering through a series of setbacks instigated by the Danish Cartoons Controversy.

Quote of the Week
"The website is in (slow) restyling." -- Gianfranco Goria of, one of a dozen or so sites seemingly in the midst of a major re-design.

bugs bunny has the right idea
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 60th Birthday, Walt Simonson!

posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Lost Girls Goes to Rushed Third Printing

Earlier this week the publisher Top Shelf Comix began what should be a two- or three-week process of rolling the Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie epic Lost Girls out to various bookstores and comic shops across North America -- with early returns of a high sales ranking and a rushed third printing of the book. This is worth noting for a few reasons: 1) because Top Shelf had to invest a potentially crippling amount of money into the release, 2) because the popular, highly-regarded writer has moved away from mainstream comics and their more demanding schedules, major Alan Moore comics releases are fewer and longer in coming, and 3) the potential roadblocks that could face the book considering the sexual nature of the work.

All in all, this has to be seen as a very good week for the publisher and the project.
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink

Comics For The Last Third Of 2006


Today's the first day of the ninth month of the year 2006. With a ton of periodicals, mini-comics, graphic novels and collections yet to come -- and this being the Friday before a holiday weekend -- I thought it would be fun to build a Fall 2006 Major Coming Attractions List. With comics putting together a Fall Schedule these days for Christmas bookbuying, there's even a news hook.

So please: name up to five comics, graphic novels, books about comics and the like you're looking forward to holding in your hands between now and New Year's Eve, and I will list any and all for which I can find a cover. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

My five are up. And while my job was a lot easier because I've already read potential book of the year candidates Lost Girls, Criminal #1, the latest Kramers Ergot and Lat's Kampung Boy, I hope and anticipate those books will make many of your lists!
posted 2:50 am PST | Permalink

They’re Still Talking About Tokyopop

imageOne of the problems with the massive amount of pundit-style writing that's been done about Tokyopop taking certain comics exclusively to their own on-line store is that 1) no one outside the loop really knows what Tokyopop is up to, and 2) there's no guarantee that Tokyopop does, either.

In a way, the writing thus far on this subject reminds me of a lot of discussions from the mid-1990s when every move Marvel made was analyzed in the light of the inevitable debut of a chain of Marvel-only retail shops. That never happened, and we now know that at least a few of Marvel's spectacularly bizarre choices during that era were fueled by different concerns. So with that in mind, only a handful of links this time:

image* David Taylor's analysis piece, the most comprehensive and fulsomely sourced to appear since yesterday.
* John Jakala's list of books that will be in the program.
* Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing, who wrote me a nice e-mail.
* Dirk Deppey v. Calvin Reid over in the comments section of Deppey's essay yesterday at
posted 1:29 am PST | Permalink

Comics’ Stinkiness Now A Selling Point

This missive from the inexplicably daffy world of high-end comics collecting is full of Wimbledon Greenisms, including the thought that these comics are great partly because they still smell like the cedar room in which they were once stored.

There seems to be a lot of activity in this part of the comics market recently, with Chuck Rozanski buying a new collection at auction and the seven-figure Crippen Family collection going for sale. Other than that, I have very little to offer in terms of analysis. Anything beyond putting one's comics into plastic bags so the cat quits knocking over sodas on them is foreign to me, and I'm suspicious about any comic published after 1980 going for more than twice cover price, but I still like reading these articles.
posted 12:57 am PST | Permalink

The 9/11 Report Debuts At #2

imageAccording to comics business news and analysis site's latest summary of BookScan numbers, The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation reached the second spot on the charts in its first full week of release, with sales expected to be driven to the book in the next pair of weeks due to press and public attention to the event's fifth anniversary. It was the latest volume of the series that's beginning to look like the 21st Century X-Men in terms of relentless month after month appeal to youthful North American comics readers, Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto, that took #1 with its 11th volume. A comparison to any American comic series might be an insult to the manga. Naruto's domination is so complete that the report claims its first 10 volumes would hit the top 12 in a year-to-date list were one to be made today. That's Lucy playing checkers with Charlie Brown dominant.

The new Naruto and two other manga volumes also made the USA Today top 150 chart.

that image is what pops up at B&N as the cover for volume 11; although I'm suspicious, I like it
posted 12:16 am PST | Permalink

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