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

October 31, 2006

Happy 34th Birthday, Zander Cannon!


photo by Gil Roth
posted 8:08 pm PST | Permalink

Cartoonists To Go Is Launched

Guy Gilchrist has apparently launched a service called "Cartoonists to Go" that will supply cartoonists to parties and business meetings in order to do cartoony stuff. I know people that have done on-site events stuff, although I'm surprised to hear there's enough demand to support a service. It would be amusing if you could go to the service to get an alt-comix cartoonist that sat on a couch at your event and complained for the benefit of those attending about the lack of support his book received from the publisher and the marketplace, and which cartoonists out there kind of sucked.
posted 8:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 42nd Birthday, Whit Spurgeon!


he's this site's official photographer
posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: Unlikely Source of Support For Harried Harvard Crimson Cartoonist

One of the interesting things to come out of this week's story about a Harvard student newspaper cartoonist having a case of the "similarities" is that the cartonist was defended by some of her professional cartooning peers, particularly Daryl Cagle. This Harvard Crimson article has a fine write-up about the nature of that support, with the added potential humor of the paper that has employed the cartoonist unable to get this person on the record because they're unavailable (as opposed to declining to speak).

I think there's a point to be made that instances of similarity many people might see as copying can just be group think (more likely in editorial cartooning) or coincidence brought on by the sheer number of jokes being told (more likely in strip cartooning). With that point in mind, I think what may have fueled concern in this case is the number of instances involved, the similarity in staging and not just the joke in some of the cartoons, and logic that says while two 46-year-old guys might have enough in common in terms of background and experience to put out similar strips every now and then, this is somewhat less likely of a 46-year-old guy and a 19-year-old college student.
posted 8:03 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: Best Costume Ever


Found on the Big Time Attic blog in my fruitless search for Zander Cannon art. I hope all of you had a lovely Halloween.
posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink

Your 2007 Glyphs: Submissions, Judges

Your judges:

* Johanna Draper Carlson
* Pam Noles
* Calvin Reid
* Hannibal Tabu

Your award information:

Any comics publisher -- small, large, corporate, independent, self-published -- as well as online comic creators and cartoonists for newspapers and other periodicals are invited to submit black-themed material released from January 1 to December 31, 2006 for consideration for award recognition. The Committee defines black-themed work as any comic with any combination of the following: a black protagonist(s), or at least a black character(s) pivotal to the direction of the story; a setting(s) or a theme(s) that explores the black experience within the United States and/or abroad, past, present, and/or future; and/or a comic of any kind written, illustrated, and/or published by a black creator(s).

Anyone wishing to submit their comic book or comic strip for consideration in the 2007 competition should e-mail Rich Watson at for further information. Only completed works will be considered, not works in progress. Hard copies are preferred, though submissions of e-files will also be accepted. Online comics creators and newspaper/periodical cartoonists with websites should send a direct URL link to their site or page. Daily cartoonists must have a minimum of one month’s work archived and available for viewing; weekly cartoonists a minimum of two months. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2007.

The result:

* The 2007 Glyph Comics Awards ceremony will be held at East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, May 18-19.

posted 8:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
PWCW Reviews Stumptown
Michael Golden Appearing in Boston
Peter Sanderson on UN's Cartooning Symposium

NPR Runs Charles Addams Book Excerpt
Jun Lofamia Entry Up At Philippine Comics Art Museum

PWCW Profiles CPM

PWCW: Jordi Bernet Stephff
Newsarama: Tania Del Rio
Wizard: Keith Giffen, JG Jones
The Chronicle: Rob Kernachan

Not Comics
Peter Kuper in Oaxaca

Comics On Cell Phones
Comic Strip About Marines Launched
Dark Horse Book of Monsters Previewed
This Person Is Launching Their Comic And E-Mailed Me

Jog: Mineshaft #18
Jarred Pine: Haunted House
David Welsh: Antique Baker
Dirk Deppey: We Are On Our Own
Derik A Badman: The Mother's Mouth
Johanna Draper Carlson: Steady Beat, Book 2

If I Were In Chicago, I’d Go To This

posted 3:42 am PST | Permalink

IF I Were In San Jose, I’d Go To This

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

October 30, 2006

Marjane Satrapi On L’Association News: “Don’t Worry, Everything is Fine.”

In a generally interesting interview by Chris Mautner at Panels and Pixels on the subject of her latest North American offering, Chicken With Plums, the cartoonist Marjane Satrapi speaks to the recent departure of Lewis Trondheim and David B from her French publisher L'Association by offering up what sounds to me like strong support. From the interview:
Q: But what do you think that means for L'Association that Trondheim and David B left ...

A: Yes and I come from L'Association. They tried to make other kinds of comics, intelligent comics, and I think that's probably why it works. It's a work of quality. In long term quality always pays. In short term maybe not, but in long term quality is always the thing that wins.

Q: Do you think it's going to hurt L'Association that these people are going to be leaving and doing work elsewhere?

A: Oh no. L'Association is really a whole thing in France. No, not at all. ...I'm extremely faithful to L'Association for example, and I know many other people are so I don't think it's going to hurt anyone. ...Don't worry, everything is fine.

Needless to say, Marjane Satrapi's books have been extremely strong sellers for L'Association, and her status at the company is likely one of the first things that pops into observers' minds whenever there's news about the publisher.
posted 11:22 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Mike Sterling’s Top Five Scary Moments In Superman Comic Books


* Kevin Melrose's 20 Great Covers for Halloween
* Wizard's Scariest Moments In Comics History
* classic horror comics covers
* article on horror comics not from EC
* EC Comics scans
* Last-Minute Costume Ideas For Fat Guys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted 8:12 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: LA Times Splits Comics?

This fluff blog entry from Paul Krassner caught my attention for an entirely different reason than the underground press legend aligning himself with Fiorello La Guardia's reading of the comics during a newspaper strike -- did the LA Times really split their comics page into adult and childrens' sections as he describes?
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 69th Birthday, Frank Stack!

posted 8:08 pm PST | Permalink

Harvard Crimson Discontinues Copying Cartoonist’s Feature, Retracts Cartoons

The Harvard Crimson has discontinued its relationship with a student cartoonist accused of copying several high-profile editorial cartoonists' works, and has retracted a pair of the worst offenders, reacting to news yesterday of multiple "similiarities." The New York Sun has the most concise, linktastic profile.

This touches on a lot of issues -- the inability today for cartoonists to copy without eventually being caught, how a single catch can lead to multiple exposures because of work stored on-line after publication, the role that high-profile student newspapers play as both legitimate publications and as possible indicators of trends fortunate and unfortunate, and even the fact that editorial cartoonists can latch onto the same ideas and visual iconography.

Although the articles out this morning seem to note that the cartoonists from which the student cartoonist borrowed will not take action, it's unclear if the student will be subject to any honor code violations or the like. I would guess not.
posted 8:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 69th Birthday, Yoshiharu Tsuge!

posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink

Mark Evanier Unpacks Marvel Stamp Art

I totally forgot yesterday to post a pair of entries from the writer and comics historian Mark Evanier here and here that summarize where the various pieces of art came from that are scheduled for use in the 2007 Marvel Comics stamp series. Evanier points out the incomplete and sometimes inaccurate credits, some of the stranger choices that come from taking art and altering it because it was one visual element of many on the source material, and how the covers looked squashed and odd.
posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: FBI Shop Progress

posted 8:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Report From Woodstock's Dick Tracy Celebration

Graphic Novels Are Serious Comic Books

Avatar Profiled

Newsarama: Lille Carre
Wizard: Phil & Kaja Foglio
Brian Bendis: Ed Brubaker
Panels and Pixels: Marjane Satrapi
Anime News Network: Amy Reeder Hadley
Miami Herald: David Schwartz, Sean Wang

Not Comics
Bill Bryson's Next Evinces Love of Comics
Man Turns Comic Strips Into Short Stories

Luckovich Goes After Limbaugh, Cheney
PW Insider Debuts Latest Comics Column
Cartoonist Sketches Televised Debate For Paper
Watch Your Head Replaces Boondocks in Washington Post
For Some Reason, I Find This Incomplete Headline Really Funny

Erik Weems: Tales To Astonish
Leroy Douresseaux: Haunted House
Andrew Arnold: Manga Horror Overview
Randall King: Best American Comics 2006

Conversational Euro-Comics

posted 1:33 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: Gemstone Publishing Changes

Dirk Deppey noticed this blog report that Gemstone is cutting its Disney line by several titles. The inability for any company, let alone one run by Diamond Comics owner Steve Geppi, to release a line of successful Disney comics in North America has long interested and exasperated comics commentarians, although this latest story sounds less like the usual collapse-of-line saga than it sounds like Gemstone is going to play with some formats and limit their exposure on less successful iterations of this material because paper costs makes publishing at a loss feel more like publishing at a loss, which is exactly like publishing at a loss except with the sensation of an 11-year-old boy socking you in the stomach over and over again.
posted 1:26 am PST | Permalink

Editorial Cartoonist At Harvard Crimson Accused of Multiple Content “Similarities”


An editorial cartoonist at the Harvard Crimson has been accused of multiple instances of taking ideas from established, working editorial cartoonists, according to this article by the Crimson itself. Above is the example that brought the matter to the paper's attention, with a October 12 Newsday cartoon on the left and a October 25 Crimson cartoon on the right. Other instances are cited in the Crimson article. I don't believe any action has been taken as of yet.

I thought it might be a stronger season for news from cartoonists at student newspapers because of the forthcoming elections, but two of the three major stories taking place on campus this Fall have turned out to be classic controversies rather than politically fueled ones.
posted 12:02 am PST | Permalink

October 29, 2006

Go, Read: The Butterfly & The Tornado

If you have a few minutes over the next couple of days, you might want to read this lengthy Ottawa Citizen article on the Danish Cartoons Controversy, told primarily from a little-explored perspective: that of Kaare Bluitgen, the childrens' book author that couldn't find an illustrator for his Muhammed project, which led to Jyllands-Posten pulling their Muhammed caricature stunt/protest. It should answer some nagging questions about some of the details of the events that followed -- for instance, a few of the initial cartoons were aimed at Bluitgen -- and provide additional context for the worldwide political reaction.
posted 11:20 pm PST | Permalink

Whatever Happened To Al Bellman?

posted 11:05 pm PST | Permalink

Semih Balcioglu, 1928-2006


Renowned Turkish cartoonist and caricaturist Semih Balcioglu died of heart failure last Thursday, according to wire reports. He was buried at Zincirlikuyu Cemetery earlier today.

Balcioglu was born in Instanbul in 1928. He started working for Turkey's humor magazines in his teens (publishing his first in 1943) and graduated from art school in 1952. Among his many clients were popular dailies such as Karikatur, Amcabey, AkÅŸam, Dunya, Hurriyet, Vatan and Tercuman. He was with Yeni Yuzyyl at the time of his death.

Putting together information from some biographical sources, Balcioglu was a multiple award winner, exhibited frequently in Turkey and in various high-profile places abroad, and was actively involved in organization work. He was a founder of the Turkish Cartoonists' Assocation and was the head of the Turkish Journalists Union in the 1970s. At the time of his passing, he served as the head of an honorary board related to the Turkish Journalists' Association.

He is survived by a wife and a daughter.
posted 10:52 pm PST | Permalink

OTBP: The Drama Issue Nine

posted 9:56 pm PST | Permalink

Ode To Kirihito Winners

Our winners in our Ode to Kirihito book giveaway, sponsored by Vertical Books:

* Vanessa Yaremchuk of Edmonton, Alberta
* Franco Ippolito of Franklin Park, Illinois

We had hundreds of entries for the free books, and I appreciate every one of them. I wish I had books for all that entered, and I hope you'll look into picking up the books when it crosses your path -- it's good.

I will try and get to the personal notes included in some e-mails before deleting the group of them. Thanks again!
posted 9:51 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 55th Birthday, P. Craig Russell!

posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink

Collective Memories: CAPS, Stumptown

Two new Collective Memory entries can be found on the site. The first is for the awards given Jack Davis and Sergio Aragones at a CAPS event last weekend; the second is for the just-past Stumptown Comics Fest 2006. Please consider .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) any and all additional links for these two events of which you're aware.
posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Geppi Museum Reviewed

All About Thor

Newbury Comics Chain To Open New Store
Broad Profile of Graphic Novel Phenomenon
Gene Yang Does So Deserve His NBA Nomination 01
Gene Yang Does So Deserve his NBA Nomination 02
Gene Yang Does So Deserve His NBA Nomination 03

Stranded In Stereo: James Kochalka
CBC News: Marisa Acocella Marchetto
Local Cartoonist Profile: Charmaine Wheatley

Not Comics
Reward Set For Dennis Statue
Making A Difference With Comics
Jean Schulz On The Great Pumpkin
Christopher Dickey Reviews Doug Marlette's Book
Ted Rall: Conservatives Can Be Wrong and Thrive Anyway

Eric Burns: Questionable Content
Don MacPherson: Nightly News #1
Media Mix: Curses, Action Comics #844
Sammy Harkham: Walt and Skeezix Volume Two
Stephen Taylor: Viz Annual: The One-String Banjo

October 28, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Tom Devlin About The Moomin Series



What I Enjoyed About Ode To Kirihito



Five Link a Go Go

* killer late-'60s Marvel advertisement in college publication

* group cartoonists blog out of Charlotte, North Carolina

* there's a nice slideshow presentation with audio about the Providence: Wunderground exhibit on RISD's museum page

* you can read about cartoonist/educator/high-profile blogger Mike Manley here

* go enter Project Rooftop's Halloween contest


Go, Look: International Crumb Covers



Go, Look: Closed Caption Comics



First Thought Of The Day
I had a dream I was still contributing to, and with the Borat movie coming out Tim Cavanaugh had assigned me to write a lengthy review of Yakov Smirnoff's career. It was not going well.
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 62nd Birthday, Nicola Cuti!

posted 9:15 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 53rd Birthday, Batton Lash!

posted 9:04 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

posted 1:37 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Toronto, I’d Go To This

posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories for October 22 through October 28, 2006

1. Danish Court dismisses libel suit against Jyllands-Posten in the Muhammed Cartoons Controversy.

2. Ellison v. Fantagraphics moves to federal court.

3. Fun Home and Blankets being pulled in Marshall, Missouri throws spotlight on other challenges to graphic novels.

Winner Of The Week
Scott Adams, who got his ability to speak back.

Losers Of The Week
Editorial cartoonists in America: where's the bottom?

Quote Of The Week
"I have never asked a Van Gogh lender if I could put tack holes in their art!" -- Tara Emsley at RISD on one difference in running their latest poster show Wunderground: Providence.

when your set-up isn't scary, you gotta get actors to sell it
posted 1:21 am PST | Permalink

October 27, 2006

Happy 81st Birthday, Leonard Starr!

posted 10:45 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 54th Birthday, Jim Valentino!

posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

posted 9:51 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 8:21 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

posted 5:18 am PST | Permalink

Danish Court Dismisses Danish Cartoons Libel Suit Against Jyllands-Posten

Wire services are reporting a city court in Aarhus, Denmark has dismissed a libel suit brought against Jyllands-Posten in the matter of its 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, ruling there wasn't enough proof the cartoons were intended to be insulting or harmful to Muslims. The suit was filed last March by a coalition of Denmark's Muslim organizations after the state decided not to pursue a case under various blasphemy and racism laws. Representatives of the newspaper are pleased with the decision, calling it a victory for freedom of speech; representatives of the Muslim groups are disappointed, calling it a capitulation to the government's efforts to save face.

Given the statements of newspaper officials that the original publication was indeed a provocative stunt, this is quite the impressive victory.

posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink

Five Things To Do At Stumptown


These are a few of the things I would do, were I lucky enough to be attending the Stumptown Comics Festival in Portland, Oregon.

1. Buy That Popeye Book I would buy a copy of Popeye Volume One: I Yam What I Yam, Fantagraphics' lovely new reprinting of one of the top five all-time comic strips. Re-doing Thimble Theatre from roughly Popeye's first appearance has a great advantage in that you get to follow up a solid-to-sterling first book with a second that features the greatest comic strip character of all time, J. Wellington Wimpy. These should be awesome-looking.

2. Go See a Panel The panels don't appeal to me as much as SPX's, but I'd still go to see Jesse Reklaw on distribution and Keith Knight's slideshow, and wouldn't mind seeing any of them.

3. Visit Jim Blanchard's Table His original art pieces can be astonishing, particularly the pen and ink work; everyone should own one.

4. Hit The Social Events Primarily this one, but also any others. In terms of momentum, this is an important year for the show. In addition to a strong exhibitor list, I know at least three people that are going to scout it out for future years. This year's parties may be the ones to attend so that you'll have the street cred with which to complain when the show gets real big. "In 2006, we had one Saturday party, and everybody was there..."

5. Have A Long Dinner And Relax With Some Pals You know the reason why so many comics professionals live in Portland? Because Portland is a lovely place to live. Sure, you can go to Powell's (if only to complain how much Powell's sucks now), or do any number of quality, touristry things. But the city's real strengths are its living comforts, not its visitor's highlights. Pretend you're local.
posted 3:24 am PST | Permalink

Neil Gaiman Defends Comics’ Honor

Not really, as comics' honor isn't at stake, but the author and comics writer punches a big hole through the gut of an argument by Wired's Tony Long that Gene Yang's recent National Book Award nomination for American Born Chinese is undeserved because, basically, no comic deserves that kind of an award. Gaiman's response is that this has been going on for a while now, and you need a more compelling argument than Long's derision-filled retreat to first principles when you're talking about example seven than when you're talking about example one.

I might be sympathetic to a version of Long's argument that stressed the difficulty in comparing apples to oranges as opposed to a rambling assertion that oranges aren't in apples' class -- I always thought it a waste of time the number of non-comics efforts that win comics awards -- but I think it's pretty obvious that those involved have thought it through to the point where they know where that argument is coming from and just disagree with it. Mostly, I don't care about awards, although this one does involve cash, which is a step in the right direction.
posted 2:37 am PST | Permalink

Maria Lopez Disses Jameson, Reporters

imageAlan Gardner at The Daily Cartoonist picked up on both a bizarre appearance by Maria Lopez as a reporter in the Amazing Spider-Man daily, where she crushes J Jonah Jameson like a bug, and then the real-life television judge's reaction to being portrayed as a reporter, whom she crushes as a group even more thoroughly than poor J Jonah. This might be funnier if I had any idea who Maria Lopez was before looking her up three minutes ago. I also have to wonder if the name use might not have been an accident, as it's not exactly "Bronislaw Leibowitz" in terms of uniqueness, and the cartoon version looks nothing like the real-life one. But that panel still kills, and I'm totally going to use "That's nice. Goodbye." at some future date.
posted 1:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Profile of Kevin Kallaugher

This profile of Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher in the Harvard Crimson should provide anyone interested a decent snapshot of the thinking held by someone at the core of the editorial cartooning profession -- how he feels about the Danish cartoons, how he's dealing with being let go by his newspaper employer, and what he's pursuing next.
posted 1:23 am PST | Permalink

October 26, 2006

Happy 76th Birthday, Leo Baxendale!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Don Christensen, 1916-2006

imageDon Christensen, also known as "Don Arr" or "Don Arr Christensen," a greatly prolific writer of comics in North America and abroad perhaps best known for his comic book work with various Disney characters, passed away October 18, at least according to this notice at Christensen was also an animator, working at Disney from 1937 until the 1941 strike, and at Warners during World War II as a story man, with various I think irregular jobs to follow. A twenty-year fixture at Western, the Minneapolis native also wrote for newspaper strip versions of a few characters, such as Yogi Bear and The Flintstones.

Mark Evanier reminds us that this sounds more like a personal report than a confirmable news report, and talks about Christensen here.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 58th Birthday, Berni Wrightson!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Is Rob Liefeld Like Jack Kirby?

One prominent comics writer seems to think so.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Ode To Kirihito Contest Through Sunday


In case you missed it, send an e-mail to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to register for the chance to win one of two copies of Osamu Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito, just released for English-language audiences by Vertical. Nothing creepy will be done with your e-mail information.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and you can read more about it here. Contest open until Sunday, 8 AM ET.
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Jules Feiffer SVA Show Previewed
Jim Morin Exhibit Through December
Whitney Darrow Jr. Collection Donated to Princeton

The Hurting: The History of The Hurting, Part 04
The Hurting: The History of The Hurting, Part 05
Men's News Daily: Appreciation For Comics Growing

Universal Comics Shop Hits 30 Year Anniversary
Harry Kremer's Now And Then Books To Close After Its 35th (via Dirk)

Interviews/Profiles Xu Pengfei
Naperville Sun: Dr. Seuss
Mr. Skin: Ivan Brunetti
Lake Oswego Review: Steve Moore
Strategy First Vodcast: Matt Fraction

Not Comics
Comics Fan Has Tiny House
Scott Adams Voice Cure Big Hit For Blog

Alias Orphans To Abacus
Jamie Cosley Tries Daily Strips
DC Comics Announces January/February Trade Lists

Chad Nevett: Superman #656
Shawn Hoke: Premillenial Maakies
Johanna Draper Carlson: Pinky & Stinky
Chad Nevett: Young Avengers & Runaways #3

Go, Look: 2007 Marvel Postage Stamps


I don't know if these are new, but I haven't seen them. (Thanks, Gary!)
posted 9:06 am PST | Permalink

Pentagon Begins Restricting Milblogs; Trudeau’s Sandbox To Feel Impact?

imageThis USA Today article notes a Boston Herald report that the Pentagon is cracking down on information that can be released through military blogs or milblogs, going so far as to having a unit scan blogs to see what's getting out there. This comes just as cartoonist Garry Trudeau launched probably the most high-profile version of this kind of publishing effort to date, his The Sandbox at Slate magazine.
posted 3:46 am PST | Permalink

Ellison V. Fantagraphics Changes Courts

In a message board thread at The Comics Journal, Gary Groth announces a new development in the lawsuit brought against Groth, Kim Thompson, and Fantagraphics, Inc. by Harlan Ellison: a change of jurisdiction. The case has been moved from the Superior Court of California to a Federal court.

Groth explains the reasoning behind the move:
"Higher courts have less patience with frivolous nuisance suits."

And outlines the defendants' next steps:
"The next move -- after moving it to the Federal courts -- is to file a motion to dismiss, which we'll do around the end of next week. This promises to be an amusing and eye-opening document."

I was wondering if the change in judicial levels would necessitate any revision of either the plaintiff's complaint or the defendants' response. According to this Wikipedia entry, a federal district court is able to "answer claims based on state law," such as Ellison's complaint regarding "Right of Publicity pursuant to California Civil Code Section 3344").

But no one has mentioned the substance of the motion that led to the reassignment of the suit, so I don't know what the impetus was. Were I to hazard a guess, it would be diversity jurisdiction.

this entry was written and its placement decided upon by David Welsh
posted 3:40 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Roz Chast Hates Halloween


But her husband loves it. A nice story and slideshow.

thanks Bob Levin
posted 3:36 am PST | Permalink

Russia Blog Says RSF Worldwide Press Freedom Rankings Are “Indefensible”

I'm not sure how much substantive criticism makes it into this long article criticizing Reporters Sans Frontiere's World Press Freedom Index, but it's certainly a considered one. In something more directly related to comics, there's a decent summation for how the Danish cartoons were treated in Russia, too.
posted 3:21 am PST | Permalink

Dino Leonetti, (unknown)-2006


Dino Leonetti, the founder of Rome's Dino Leonetti Studios and the artist behind the 1970s erotic series Maghella, which I believe ran into 100+ volumes, has died according to a letter reprinted at
posted 2:36 am PST | Permalink

Top Shelf Settles Lost Girls Situation With UK Hospital; Sets UK & EU Release

As expected, Top Shelf Productions has reached an agreement with the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children whereby the comics company will withhold distribution of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls in the United Kingdom and in Europe until January 1, 2008. The Hospital's copyright on JM Barrie's Peter Pan expires at the end of 2007. There had been some concern about the appearance of characters from Barrie's work in the massive, graphically sexual Top Shelf release. Here's the announcement as it appeared in a just-distributed Top Shelf newsletter.

Following very amicable discussions between the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (owners of the copyright to J M Barrie's PETER PAN) and ourselves, Top Shelf Productions (the publisher of LOST GIRLS by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie), the parties have agreed that, without conceding that the work necessarily breaches the GOSH copyright, Top Shelf Productions will withhold United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) distribution of LOST GIRLS until the end of 2007, when the Peter Pan copyright in the UK and EU expires. This means that a special UK First Edition will be released in the UK on 1 January 2008.

I flew to England and met with the Hospital on Oct 11th, and on that day we signed an agreement together putting to end the controversy surrounding this issue. It was a very nice meeting, and we're very glad that we could come to a peaceful settlement. We'll gear back up for a big UK and EU release of LOST GIRLS towards the end of next year. -- Chris

As I recall, the rights situation on Peter Pan is insane, with things like claims in the US based on when the play was first performed here complicating matters, so this kind of agreement is almost certainly a good thing, an overcoat thrown over a puddle of muddy water. The North American iteration of Lost Girls has enjoyed multiple printings and mostly glowing reviews.
posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink

Happy 75th Birthday, Larry Lieber!

posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

October 25, 2006

Go, Read: NYT On Charles Addams Bio

A bit more critical than the average New York Times book feature, this piece on Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life provides a pretty fair survey about what you can expect in the book and takes the writer to task for accepting an Addams persona "that sounds cooked up for the benefit of feature writers." As a bonus, you can find one of the cartoonist's more famous gags, not only funny but a pretty good one for showing how Addams told jokes through accretion of detail.
posted 11:59 pm PST | Permalink

Ode To Kirihito Contest Through Sunday


In case you missed it, send an e-mail to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to register for the chance to win one of two copies of Osamu Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito, just released for English-language audiences by Vertical. Nothing creepy will be done with your e-mail information.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and you can read more about it here. Contest open until Sunday, 8 AM ET.
posted 10:49 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
SE NCS To Meet, Exhibit 11-4
Portland Mercury: Stumptown Preview
Gahan Wilson at Comix Revolution, 10-31
Jules Feiffer Honored At SVA Event Kick-Off

Comics Promotes Soap
Pittsburgh: Yet Another Comic Survey

CBR: Jeph Loeb
Newsarama: Peter David
The Jewish Week: Cary Friedman

Not Comics
James Owen Profile
Books Too Hard For Kids
Conservation Honor To Tom Toles

Family Opens In LA
Best Political Cartoons Due December
Brandweek Analyzes Soap Opera Crossover
The Case For The New York Times Carrying Dilbert

Oiei: SPX Round-Up
Jog: The Mother's Mouth
Johanna Draper Carlson: 110 Per¢
Don MacPherson: Action Comics #844
Jog: Seven Soldiers #1, Planetary #26, Nextwave #9

October 24, 2006

Win A Free Copy of Ode To Kirihito


Because I like Ode to Kirihito, and because I can be talked into just about anything, we at CR are offering you, dear readers, a chance to win a copy of the above 800-page Osamu Tezuka graphic novel, released across North America this week by Vertical books.

If I were clever, I would make this contingent on some sort of market research-type response or on sending me something that would entertain me. However, I am the opposite of clever, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) in a way that lets me know you're interested, like putting "kirihito" in the e-mail's title or something like that. I won't keep a record of who entered or anything weird, I promise.

Two copies have been provided for the giveaway. Please enter. If you've already ordered the book, you can give the second one you might win as a holiday gift, or have your copy sent to James Sturm's school. Enter from multiple e-mail addresses if you have them. I just don't want to disappoint anyone. Entries accepted until Sunday morning 6 AM Mountain Time. Tell your friends. Thank you.

actual persons afflicted with Monmow disease ineligible
posted 11:43 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Taiyo Matsumoto!

posted 11:40 pm PST | Permalink New Yaoi Titles and Licenses

The comics business news and analysis site has their lead article up this morning declaring an "explosion" of titles from various publishers in the yaoi genre, most of which were announced at, naturally, last weekend's Yaoi-Con.

They list as many titles as they can, follow with an analysis of how each publisher (well) and the market in general (probably well) will handle the influx of new work, then end with a much less interesting warning that the explicit nature of some of the titles could lead to censorship troubles. I say much less interesting because while the potential for a local controversy at some point should be obvious to everyone, there are so many ways a protest could develop I wish there were more detail in their analysis of how this might happen.
posted 11:32 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Sorel Profiles Addams

imageThere are basically two kinds of critical overviews when it comes to books: the kind where the writer dives into the work in an analytical sense and one where the author takes on the subject presented by the book in question and using the book as a touchstone provides a healthy dollop of his own views on the matter. This New York Observer piece on Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life is in the latter camp, but with the good fortune that the person providing his own view is cartoonist Edward Sorel. The cartoon Sorel draws of Addams is fun enough I felt I shouldn't swipe it for this entry and is worth the click-through by itself.

Also, I must not have been paying attention to the other articles on this book, because this is the first time I remember hearing Addams dated Jackie O and slept with Veronica Lake.
posted 11:15 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Scott Adams’ Voice Is Back

"As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently..."
posted 11:09 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Gene Yang Profile

imageIn terms of mainstream press profiles, they don't get much more laudatory (or, to look at it another way desirable in terms of publicity) than this glowing piece at on recent National Book Award nominee Gene Yang. It also works well with a previous piece that gets into Yang a little more on a personal level, a piece to which is nice enough to provide a link for your contrasting and comparison pleasure.
posted 11:06 pm PST | Permalink

AAEC: Another EC Position Eliminated

Scott Nychay's position as a cartoonist and graphic designer for the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois has been elminated, the cartoonist himself reported to the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists web site. Nychay was a recent Fischetti Award finalist and had been with the Herald for almost a decade. He has no future plans as of yet.

As newspapers struggle with declining ad revenues and dips in circulation along with an increased push for profits from many owners, several editorial staff positions have been eliminated, often in favor of a heavier use of syndicated work but sometimes just eliminated for elimination's sake.
posted 10:52 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Kevin Cannon Begins The 288-Hour Comic Book Challenge

posted 10:20 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Listen: Terr’ble Thompson Musical

With its stylized yet still dynamic approach to cartoon art, the Gene Deitch comic feature Terr'ble Thompson was not only a lovely strip but a series many consider a road not taken for the comics page in general. Fantagraphics drops the rare promotional bomb that's worth enjoying all on its own, a recording of the musical version of the strip that might have happened had it become a runaway hit.
posted 10:14 pm PST | Permalink

OTBP: The Monster Of Frankenstein


I know nothing about this project, but a reader pointed it out to me and said it was "well worth it."
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Hernandez Announces 2006 Women Webcomicker NAN Grant Recipients

Comics and artists winning a year-long account on from cartoonist Lea Hernandez are:
Blue Canary, Kit White
Chasing Daylight, Ann Kennedy
Circuit of Heaven, Julia Claire Begley
Primary, Rachel Dukes

The awards and the reason for their existence are provided in the accompanying press release, reprinted here.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Chris Ware’s VQR Cover Art

posted 10:05 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Persepolis Film Profiled

I imagine we'll see a lot of articles like this one in the months ahead as the film version of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis sees worldwide release. There are a couple of photos and pieces of art that I haven't seen before in this one, including a nice Satrapi poster.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
PWCW: Yaoi-Con Report
Comics at Popular Culture Association 2007 (thanks, Gene)

Missed It: Golden Apple Has Moved

PWCW: Ivan Brunetti
PWCW: Bill Barnes, Gene Ambaum
Spiegelman and Mouly on Selected Shorts (thanks, Gene)

Not Comics
S. Clay Wilson Explains Nostalgia
It's Guy Gardner Week at Dave's Long Box
I Swear This Article Comes Out Once A Month

Seven Seas Launches Yuri Line
The Johnny Bacardi Show Enters 4th Year
Horror Blogger Sam Costello Writes Comics
Seven Soldiers #1 Delayed to Several Stores

Richard Pachter: Cancer Vixen, The Case of Madeleine Smith

If I Were In Montreal, I’d Go To This

posted 8:33 am PST | Permalink

I Hadn’t Seen This Yet…


I don't know if this is an official poster or not, though, although it's certainly time for one. I like the cartoon's nod to a kind of classic "everyone in this town is comics-crazy" approach (the guy's fries are wrapped in a Smurfs cartoon).

Anyway, Dirk Deppey noticed this opinion piece by Gilles Ratier at BDZoom talking about the additional funds that may be needed to keep the Festival in Angouleme long-term given the town's recent infrastructure changes, some potential building and facilities to be added to that new infrastructure, the growing show needs of a variety of publishers, and a shake-up on the board that wasn't exactly pretty. It reads more like the kind of article one might write every year in anticipation of a big show -- the French equivalent to pieces that put future Comic-Con Internationals in places other than San Diego -- but the situation certainly bears watching.
posted 2:30 am PST | Permalink

October 23, 2006

OTBP: Great British Comics

posted 10:20 pm PST | Permalink

Are More Graphic Novels Being Pulled?

In addition to the usual analysis about how comics are judged differently because of the pictures involved, an article in the Kansas City Star about Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets being taken from shelves in Marshall, Missouri and made subject to a selections process that has yet to be formulated, contains this eye-popping moment:
The National Coalition for Censorship, which supported keeping the books in circulation, doesn't keep statistics about the number of challenges, but one official said she has seen more cases like the one in Marshall. Because the stories are told with pictures, many people automatically think they're meant for children.

"Because of that novelty in a way, there have been more challenges," said Svetlana Mintcheva, the coalition's director of arts advocacy. "... In a lot of cases, they're pulled."

Is anyone out there aware of additional cases?
posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 81st Birthday, Al Feldstein!

posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: LucasFilm Sends Cease- And-Desist Notice To Rich Stevens

It looks like the issue that drew LucasFilm Ltd's attention to Diesel Sweeties creator Rich Stevens is a selection of t-shirts by Stevens that LucasFilm believes reference trademarked Star Wars material, albeit in a slightly obtuse way in some cases. You can go here not just for the actual story but for links to the letter and a summary of Kieron Dwyer's related legal dance with Starbucks.

Some people see these issues purely in terms of free speech, although the distinctions that usually end up being in question are the use of trademarked things like logos, which tend to function more like intellectual property than a lot of items surrounding a film series and the like, and whether or not one should have the ability to sell the fruits of such appropriation, free speech-based or not. Plus it sucks wrangling with a giant, aggressive corporation, which ends it for a lot of people.
posted 10:05 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Meet Craig Yoe
Meet John Rose
MangaCast: YaoiCon 6 01
MangaCast: YaoiCon 06 02
Oni/Top Shelf Host Stumptown Party
Gerry Alanguilan's Full Komikon 2006 Report
Michael Kupperman TDTT #3 Release Party Friday

The Jewish Quarterly: Current Israeli Comics
Darick Robertson On Transmetropolitan References

Kirkland Library Explores Graphic Novels
Newsweek International: Mobile Manga A Hit In Japan
New Comics Section at Books-A-Million (via everybody)

Plan B: Paul Gravett
Wizard: Darick Robertson
Comixpedia: Shaenon Garrity
Winter McCloud: Jeffrey Rowland
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Todd Hignite
San Francisco Chronicle: Gene Yang
Nashville City Paper: Brian K. Vaughan
Marisa Acocella Marchetto As Significant Part Of Cancer Roundtable Chat

Not Comics
Cosplay Expands
Pluggers Submitter Profiled
Marketing Comics-Related Games
Milton Caniff's Big Security Breach

New Dinette Set Collection
Jim McCloskey Launches Blog
Comic Strip Network Adds Five Strips

Jog: Golgo 13 Vol 5
Dirk Deppey: Dork! #11
Dirk Deppey: Emma Volume 1
Leroy Douresseaux: Happy Feet
Dirk Deppey: The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb
Dirk Deppey: An Anthology Of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories

October 22, 2006

Denmark Tumbles On Worldwide Press Freedom Index In 2006… Guess Why

Reporters Sans Frontieres has released their 2006 annual report including this year's Worldwide Press Freedom Index (PDF), with summary stories and one's country's own placement being the focus of the press rollout thus far. Cartoon-related incidents are cited as factors in determining the relative press freedoms enjoyed in Belarus and Burma, while the Danish cartoons controversy became kind of its own category. Threats against the lives of the cartoonists in Denmark caused that country to go from a shared #1 to #19, while the negative reaction to local publication was a factor driving down the rankings of Algeria, India, Jordan and Yemen.
posted 10:22 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Garry Trudeau Profile

imageA massive, generally excellent profile of Garry Trudeau by Gene Weingarten was published over the weekend in the Washington Post's magazine. Using the reaction to the B.D. storyline as the starting point, it delves into just about anything and everything Trudeau, including what he and his male friends do on their version of guys' night out and -- astonishingly, given Trudeau's lifelong passion for privacy -- the effect of his wife's living with bipolar disorder on his work. It's a must-read, and unless Trudeau gives in one day and gives Gary Groth the interview he's been asking for for years and years, which doesn't seem likely, it may be the most insightful profile we ever get into the cartoonist's life and career.
posted 10:18 pm PST | Permalink

Komikero CJ: Post-Komikon, ISBNs

Three entries of interest on Gerry Alanguilan's Komikero Comics Journal site:

* Alanguilan's initial reaction to the second Komikon seems to be a very positive one. Alanguilan will pen a report for Newsarama, which he notes ran this two part series on comics in the Philippines.

* He followed that up with an extensive summing up of coverage and impressions regarding the convention, complete with video and award-winners.

* Apparently, the agency that gives out ISBNs in the Philippines is once again refusing to give them to comics, causing Alanguilan to seek clarification from the Inernational ISBN agency, a group I didn't know existed -- it makes sense, though -- and has me thinking of all kinds of James Bond-type jokes. My amusement is not shared by comics authors denied their ISBNs, I'm sure.
posted 10:14 pm PST | Permalink

Iranian Cartoon Places at Golden Smiles

imageI'm not sure why, but in the face of such bad news for cartooning overseas in 2006 (riots, holocaust cartoon contests, lawsuits by political figures), there's something sort of nice about an old-fashioned international cartoon contest story, such as this story about Iranian Shahrokh Heydari taking second place in the 5th cartoon exhibition in Belgrade, this year featuring comedians, with a portrait of the cartoonist and ace lyricist Shel Silverstein. Maybe it's the mix of places and people, maybe it's the whole idea of a news story about someone taking second place, I don't know, but it made me smile, which given the name of the thing, might be the point.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

“Je Suis Le Meilleur La Est A Ce Que Je Fais, Et Ce Que Je N’est Pas Joli…”


Panini's comics with French creators doing Marvel characters are upon us with Wolverine Saudade, and has an extensive article and sample art.

I don't think the above, random web site insta-translation makes any sense translated back into English, but I'm exhausted, so it was either that or a joke about the French translation of "bub" being "bub"
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Reminder: SPX Collective Memory

If you're looking for something to do with downtime this week, don't forget this site's Collective Memory entry for the Small Press Expo 2006. A lot of really good entries have gone up fairly recently, such as Rob Clough's massive news report for and Alvin Buenaventura's photo suite featuring some newer cartoonists and works that caught his eye. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 10:09 pm PST | Permalink

First Look: Fantagraphics Retail Space


This is weeks old, of course.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Jean-Jacques Sempe Profile

In a very good weekend for profiles (see Garry Trudeau, above) and short interviews (see Marjane Satrapi and Chris Ware, below), it might be easy to miss this succinct but accomplished sketch of Jean-Jacques Sempe's life now that Phaidon is publishing a number of English-language versions of his older books.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 43rd Birthday, Eric Shanower!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink on Corto Maltese’s Return

The comics business news and analysis site takes notice of Heavy Metal's listing of Ballad of The Salt Sea in its December line-up to say a few words about a new series launch, noting the immediate past publishing partner for the books in North America was NBM. Hugo Pratt's comic has long been a favorite of artists for its sublimely crafted take on 1930s and 1940s newspaper adventure-strip illustration.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: Tom The Dancing Bug Named Best By New York Press, September 27

posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Meet Pat Bagley
Meet Marjane Satrapi
Shonen Jump On Tour
CBR: Frankfurt Book Fair
Go Visit Rick Parker's Comics
Don't Forget The Masters Programs
Live Editorial Cartooning In Sydney
Estate Sale Feature Comics Held Over Weekend

Manga Cafes In Malaysia

WSJ: Hilda Terry, Michell Urry RIP (sub only)

Interviews/Profiles Randy Glasbergen
Houston Chronicle: Naif Al-Mutawa
Great Short Interview With Chris Ware
Great Short Interview With Marjane Satrapi
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Not Comics
Comics Can Help The Kids
Lansing State Journal on Dan Mishkin's Prose Efforts

Randy Bish Launches A Blog
Ian Rankin Hellblazer-Bound

Jog: 7 Brothers #1
Pravin Menon: Halo
Bill Sherman: Naruto Vol. 1
Jog: Latest 52, Desolation Jones #7
Nathalie Atkinson: Fall 2006 Round-Up
Eric Hanson: Chicken With Plums, Others
Erik Weems: Batman: Strange Apparitions
Wilma Jandoc: Once In A Blue Moon, Last Hope
Emily Gordon: Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life

CR Sunday Magazine

Go, Look: A Short (Guest) Interview With Hope Larson



Go, Look: Preview of Daybreak



Five Link A Go Go

* hours of fun running names through Jerry Bails' Who's Who

* buy stuff from AdHouse

* on display: The Pat Robertson and Friends Coloring Book

* go, look: Nickelodeon's Cited Best-Of Comics

* pretty nice Arthur Suydam sequence in a thread about his artistic worth


Go, Look: Joe Lambert


Life at the Center For Cartoon Studies from a student's point of view.


Go, Look: Canadian Comics Archived On-Line



First Thought Of The Day
October weather is sleeping weather.
posted 2:03 am PST | Permalink

October 21, 2006

Happy 53rd Birthday, Steven Grant!

posted 10:40 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

posted 1:14 am PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from October 14 to October 20, 2006:

1. Three significant passings: the strip pioneer Hilda Terry, the longtime Playboy cartoon editor Michelle Urry, the graphic memoirist Miriam Engelberg.

2. Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar announce their departure from L'Association.

3. Fantagraphics announces the opening of a Seattle Fantagraphics store.

Winner of the Week
Chuck Mason, for keeping on a story he could easily drop.

Losers of the Week
Anyone who was hoping for anything useful or interesting to come out of an editorial cartooning spotlight at the United Nations that stressed the responsibilities editorial cartoonists have (good) but basically defined this in terms of tempering opinion to meet public standards (bad).

Quote Of The Week
"One day in the late 1950s Robert Hughes was sitting in the offices of the Observer, an Australian magazine modelled on the London Spectator for which he did drawings and occasionally a book review, when the editor burst into the room and announced, 'I've just fired the art critic.' He followed this with a question: 'Anyone here know anything about art?' There was silence. The editor's eye fell on the youthful Hughes. 'You're the cartoonist,' he snapped, 'You ought to know something about art. Good. Well, now you're the f------ art critic.' And thus was his life's vocation decided." -- From Martin Gayford's review of Robert Hughes' memoir.

Crockett Johnson was born 100 years ago this week
posted 12:48 am PST | Permalink

Happy 50th Birthday, Paul Levitz!

posted 12:39 am PST | Permalink

October 20, 2006

Danish Cartoons Controversy Part II Winds Down; Arla On Boycott Costs

With a week between entries, it's safe to say that the second rush of activity regarding a video of Danish political party youth making Muhammed cartoons and the publication of a Muhammed-as-pedophile cartoon on a web site and in a magazine, all in the shadow of last January's violence and political turmoil following Muhammed cartoons being run in a Denmark newspaper, has run its comparatively limited course. All that remains is the talking and the first glimpses of possible legacy:

* Egypt President Hosni Mubarak questions how much Muslims have done on their own to damage the perception of Islam worldwide.

* Final tally of damages for dairy giant and boycott-sufferer Arla Foods: $68 million (USD); 50 workers let go.

* Here's an editorial explicating the "attack against Islam" theory that many feel will be the cartoons' greatest legacy: contributing to the radicalization of mainstream muslim political thinking.

* Here's a story on what I think will be an important, underreported legacy: some countries used the heat surrounding the Danish Cartoons violence to implement a way of legally barring the timely publication of controversial material, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

* Good news and bad news. The bad news is that the decision earlier this year by NBC's news division to not inform its readers as best it could as to the cause of worldwide political turmoil and riots by showing the Danish cartoons has led them in bizarre "fair is fair" fashion to also not show Madonna's fake crucifixion in a November concert telecast. One supposes this is partly so Christians don't riot in the streets and burn down all 23 of America's remaining music stores. The good news is this will keep the people watching Madonna's show from becoming measurably dumber by being exposed to that moment of bad art.
posted 2:15 am PST | Permalink

Cartoon Art Trust Awards, 2006

imageThe 12th annual Cartoon Art Trust Awards were announced at the annual dinner last night. According to this article in the Telegraph that gives new meaning to selective news reporting by only reporting on their own winners, Matt Pritchett won for pocket cartoonist and the Alex team of Russell Peattie and Charles Taylor won for best strip cartoon. Other awards decided on by the public were joke cartoonist, political cartoonist and caricaturist. The organization, which used to decide on all of the awards, also gives out a lifetime achievement award and an award for "the British character" called the Pont.
posted 1:50 am PST | Permalink

Fantagraphics Responds To Ellison Suit

Attorneys for Fantagraphics, Inc., Gary Groth and Kim Thompson have filed a response to the complaint filed by writer Harlan Ellison. In short, they offer a blanket denial to Ellison's allegations:
"Defendants deny generally and specifically each and every allegation contained in Plaintiff's Complaint, and each purported cause of action therein alleged. Defendants further deny that Plaintiff has suffered damage in the amount alleged, or in any other amount, as a result of any actionable conduct by Defendants."

I'm not a lawyer, but the substance of the rest of the response, which outlines 32 affirmative defenses, seems to be that
a) the actions identified in Ellison's complaint are subject to constitutional protections, most significantly freedom of speech;
b) Ellison's complaint did not provide sufficient substantiation of either malicious intent on the part of the defendants or damage sustained by the plaintiff, and
c) That existing civil code prevents Ellison from filing a suit of this nature in the first place.

The defendants conclude by asking that Ellison's complaint be dismissed with prejudice and that the defendants be compensated for their costs and expenses, i.e. attorneys' fees.

Johanna Draper Carlson has some commentary on the response at Comics Worth Reading, and a discussion thread has been opened at The Comics Journal's message board.

this entry was written and its placement decided upon by David Welsh
posted 1:46 am PST | Permalink

Zippy Helps Doggie Become Landmark


E&P story here; picture of plaque and photo here.
posted 1:34 am PST | Permalink

Scott McCloud Guest-Lecture Report

I've been enjoying the Rutland Herald articles about guest lecturers at the Center For Cartoon Studies because it's interesting to see how comics folk are described to a general audience. Here's the latest on Scott McCloud's appearance. A different report on the McCloud Family's time in Vermont can be found at the community blogging site for the Making Comics tour.
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

Draw George W Bush, Win $4000

posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink

October 19, 2006

Missouri Library Sets Policy Schedule

The Marshall Democrat-News reports that a new materials selection policy called for because of a request to remove Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets will have a public aspect to its formulation, with a schedule established for the next five Thursday evenings (skipping Thanksgiving).

thanks to David Welsh for his continuing attention to this story
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

David Johnson Leisk aka Crockett Johnson Was Born 100 Years Ago Today


* This weekend's centenary celebration at Stanford University. (thanks, Alvin)

* The Crockett Johnson Homepage

* Barkis
* Biography At Little Lit
* Don Markstein's Toonopedia
* Harold
* Entry
* Photo and Biography
* Photo Gallery
* Political Cartoons
* Selected Bibliography
* Wikipedia Entry
* Wikipedia Entry on Barnaby
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Go See Brian Chippendale
World's Least Likely SPX Link
Report on Alison Bechdel Signing
Finding Comics On Unicorn Mountain
Tom Moore To Give Keynote In El Paso
Report From Kevin Kallaugher Appearance

CBR: Laurell K. Hamilton
Newsarama: Andy Diggle
Blog@Newsarama: Dan Vado
Blog@Newsarama: Josh Fialkov
The Chemistry Set: Gail Simone
Blog@Newsarama: Andrew Dabb
Local Cartoonist Profile: Cory Thomas

Not Comics
Zits' Easter Egg
Passionella On Broadway
The Death of Aldo Kelrast
Newsroom Says No To Fatwa Stunt

Comic Book About Deposed Thai Leader
Colliton and McDonald Launch A Comic Book
Stefano Disegni Launches Web Site (via afNews)

Tim Cavanaugh: Lost Girls
Hilary Goldstein: Absolute Sandman

Miriam Engelberg, 1958-2006

imageMiriam Engelberg, the author of Cancer Made Me A Shallower Person: A Memoir In Comics, died Tuesday at her home in San Francisco, surrounded by friends and family.

The book was released in April of this year.

In the biography on her web site, Engelberg says she started doing comics after listening to a Peter Kuper interview, and originally thought she would write comics for someone else to draw. According to the Associated Press article, Engelberg worked for a non-profit organization called Compass Point and published a comic called Planet 501c3 about "the non-profit world." This year's Harper-Collins memoir arose out of Engelberg's habit of doing cartoons to relieve stress; the first cancer-related one came while waiting for test results and the book grew from there. The author found out that the cancer was spread near the end of the book's completion.

She is survived by a husband, Jim, and son, Aaron. Miriam Engelberg was 48 years old.
posted 1:55 am PST | Permalink

NEA’s X-Mas Offering: Cow & Boy

One of the newspaper comics traditions I love is that Newspaper Enterprise Association offers up a Christmas strip every year, a feature that newspapers back when I was kid ran on the front page or on the editorial page depending on the relative Scrooge-ness of the local editor.

I remember several years of starting the day by reading the Christmas feature (I think it repeated, but still) and ending it with the opening of that day's advent calendar door. The newspaper strip tradition is also one of the few things that comics do that make me wonder if they'll ever go to seasons and limited runs like television has with increasing fervor.

This year's offering is apparently a Cow & Boy adventure.
posted 1:42 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Nancy & Sluggo Comic Book


via Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin
posted 1:36 am PST | Permalink

October 18, 2006 Most Powerful Manga List offers up a "Most Powerful" list for North American manga industry personages to go along with other, related lists, something I haven't seen since someone did this for North American comics I think back in the mid-'90s.

Beyond all the usual problems with list-making, a power list for comics has the additional problem in that certain corporate entities tend to get so big that one always suspects that a true breakdown would be dominated by people at one or perhaps two companies. Plus, there's a chance for people to make a name for themselves that carries weight with the public that might not translate to power within a company or industry.

Still, it's a good article for those of us that are terrible at covering manga to make flash cards from which we can start to remember various major players, or to test ourselves by forcing us to come up with reasons as to why or why not the placement is justified. And, of course, people are talking about it.
posted 10:16 pm PST | Permalink

Lalo Alcaraz Responds To Boondocks’ Status With Week of The Beandocks


I'm not sure I can articulate why I find this interesting, but I sure have been reading them.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Naruto V.11 Short Of USA Today Record

Naruto Volume 11 fell a couple of weeks short of tying the longest run by tumbling off of the most recent USA Today's Top 150 list. Much like a record held by Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, it was held by the series' previous volume.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Fantagraphics Announces Mega-Mart

Fantagraphics Books has announced the opening October 21 of a retail store in the Georgetown (south central) neighborhood of the company's home city of Seattle. They're going to open the store in a low-key fashion at first, with plans to slowly ramp up to speed and have an official opening celebration in December.

imageEven better, Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds says the person running the store will be Larry Reid. Reid had Reynolds' current marketing and PR job with the company in the early 1990s, and is an outsized, larger-than-life character. Reid's a Seattle multiple-scene fixture going back what I guess would be a couple of decades now, and an extremely enthusiastic proponent of cartooning both when he's worked for the company and when he hasn't. Reid was the first PR guy that Fantagraphics had that was there a significant amount of time and that didn't seem forced into the job. He had a bonafide affinity for those Fantagraphics comics of the late '80s and early '90s that had connections to the growing "alternative" culture that Seattle spearheaded and of which he was a part (Hate, Eightball), and more than anyone gave the company a foothold with those kinds of fans. He's also an experienced event organizer and art show curator. His running a company-backed store could be pretty great. Or at least it could mean a few more Larry Reid stories.

I have no idea what Fantagraphics' thinking is in opening a store, but as a former Seattle resident I would have welcomed it when I lived there. Seattle has a few fine full-service comic shops, but it's never had that one alternative-specialty shop, the showcase store that would be the obvious stop for a high-profile comics tour or the after party for a museum opening. The closest things to such a store over the last 15 years, Fallout Records and Confounded Books, were admirable shops but smaller and less forceful a presence comics-wise than one might hope of a destination store.

The other thing that's interesting is that in a way this is putting a new face on an old story. People have always been able to shop in the Fantagraphics warehouse. It's just something the company never advertised. I must have steered 50-60 people visiting Seattle down to that building over the years. Most went to pick up copies of bargain material from the "damaged" room. Others went to check out stuff up close that never made it to their local shop. Nothing against the sensation of shopping while people all around you stuff envelopes and weigh boxes, but a Fantagraphics shop should make for a much more pleasant experience.

if you were under 30 in Seattle in the 1990s, there's an 83 percent chance you bought a slightly damaged copy of Hey, Buddy! at the Fantagraphics warehouse
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Mike Luckovich Signing In Atlanta
Tate Purchases David Shrigley Cartoons
CAM: An Evening With Patrick McDonnell
SF Chronicle Reviews Wunderground Show
NYCC Announces Round Of Mainstream Comics Guests

Author Calls Out Mark Millar?
DC/Beatfreakz Dispute Over Use of Logo

Wizard: Alan Moore
Newsarama: K. Thor Jensen
Newsarama: Jerry Robinson

Not Comics
A Short Film By Bob Fingerman
Time Top Installed In Vancouver
Steve Duin Eulogizes Comics Fan Designer
Which Superhero Is Your Favorite College Football Team?

Andy Diggle Takes On Hellblazer

Jog: The Vagabonds #2
John Allemang: Get A Life
Dan Traeger: Moped Army
David Welsh: Dragon Head, X-Day
Jog: WildCats #1, The Authority #1

Michelle Urry, 1939-2006

Word has begun to seep into comics news sources that legendary Playboy cartoon editor Michelle Urry passed away Sunday evening from complications due to cancer. Urry went to school at UCLA and worked in Los Angeles and New York before going to Chicago, where she was hired by Playboy as a typist in 1965. She was subsequently promoted to assistant cartoon editor and then cartoon editor.

imageThe Playboy cartoon editor position was one of the most powerful in the field. The magazine ran a lot of work, employed a wide range of cartoonists, paid extremely well, provided a secondary publishing opportunity in well-received book collections, and provided a high-profile platform for its artists, every from Eldon Dedini to Jules Feiffer to Chris Browne to Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder. In addition to those cartoons engaging sexual issues and behavior, Playboy frequently published pieces related to its interest in politics and culture, and the magazine under Urry's run became one of the great depositories of post World War II cartoon art.

In addition to her magazine and book work with Playboy, Urry also consulted about cartoons for magazines ranging from Good Housekeeping to Modern Maturity, placing work that matched each publication's very specific sensibilities. One well-known testament to her eye for cartooning excellence was recognizing the quality of the non-Playboy work B. Kliban had around his studio during a 1974 visit, and helping him find an agent and publisher in what would become that cartoonist's most significant career work. She was also an eloquent spokesperson and writer about the art form.

The Sequential obituary for Urry is excellent, with research provided by Jeet Heer.
posted 2:44 am PST | Permalink

Zozolala Top 150; Tardi Work At #1


The magazine Zozolala, which has a decent English-language section on their web site, has apparently compiled a list of the top 150 comics works for its 150th issue. Coming in at #1 is Jacques Tardi's Loopgravenoorlog, better known as C'Etait La Guerre Des Tranchees. The rest of the top 10 are:
image2. Maus (Art Spiegelman)
3. Blake Et Mortimer: Het Gele Teken (Edgar Jacobs)
4. De Chninkel (Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski)
5. Watchmen (Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons)
6. Een Deken Van Sneeuw (Craig Thompson)
7. De Dorpsgek Van Schoonvergeten (Didier Comes)
8. Een Contract Met God (Will Eisner)
9. Samber: Minder Is Meer (Bernard Hislaire, Balac)
10. De Incal (Alejandro Jodorowsky, Moebius)

That's a very impressive showing for Blankets.

above art from entry #10
posted 1:39 am PST | Permalink

RSF: Cartoonist Among Those Harmed In Increasingly Press-Hostile World

According to the latest round-up of violence against press by Reporter Sans Frontieres, the cartoonist Dhiaa Al Hajjar from the newspaper Al Sabah was shot and wounded in Baghdad on Friday. He is currently in stable condition.
posted 1:17 am PST | Permalink

October 17, 2006

OTBP: The Rejection Collection


thanks, Paul
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Get Well Soon, Dan Clowes!

One of comics' best cartoonists, Dan Clowes, is apparently a week and a day removed from open-heart surgery. I hope you'll join me in wishing him a safe and complete recovery.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Where Critics Come From

The anecdote about how Robert Hughes went from being a cartoonist to an art critic isn't the only funny story relayed in this review of Hughes' memoir, but it's the one that best relates to this site and it's conveniently up top.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Benefit Features Sale Of Original Art
Fall Wrap-Up And Twin Cities Scene Report
Preview of Lancaster (UK) Comic Convention
Meltdown Announces 13th Anniversary Party for 10-21

Comic Book Queers: Dale Lazarov

Not Comics
Doonesbury Features Fear Itself
Steve Ditko Yearbook Up On Ebay
Help Save The Dick Tracy Museum
Marisa Acocella Marchetto Sponsoring Mammograms

Greatest Cover Ever?
Viz Media's Bleach Rollout
Prince At Midnight Previewed
Sequart Launches Visual Previews
Nextwave Ends As Ongoing With Issue #12

David Thompson: Pyongyang
PW: Abraxas And The Earthman
Leroy Douresseaux: Daphne In The Brilliant Blue

CR News: SPX/ICAF 2006 Report

Bart Beaty attends this year's Small Press Expo [SPX] and International Comics Art Festival [ICAF] and comes back wondering about changes at the show and within himself.
posted 4:29 am PST | Permalink

Hilda Terry, 1914-2006


Hilda Terry, the pioneering cartoonist known equally for her long run on the strip Teena and becoming the first female member of the all-male National Cartoonists Society in 1950, passed away on October 13. She was 92.

Starting out as It's A Girl's Life and focusing on girls' reaction to World War II, the feature that would eventually become Teena was syndicated from 1941-1966, a healthy run that spanned the mid-20th Century heyday of teen comics. A former member of the Art Students' League of New York, Terry was early on a magazine cartoonist, and is said to have placed work in such high-profile outlets as Saturday Evening Post and the New Yorker. Terry's work on Teena displays the clarity and precision of magazine-style cartooning, which must have helped it stand out, particularly in its initial years when a more decorative style was still on display in several features. Teena was a King Features strip, and was licensed briefly to comic books (at Standard) as well.

Terry was a member of the Art Students League of New York, where she met her future husband Gregory D'Alessio, who preceded Terry in death. In 1949 D'Allessio submitted his wife's name for membership in the then all-male National Cartoonists Society, putting her on the ballot with magazine cartoonist Barbara Shermund. She was admitted a year later after much debate, and immediately set about bringing more female cartoonists into the fold. She later became an award-winning animator and pioneering contributor to sports-stadium aninmations, and pursued a variety of personal interesting until her passing.

Terry's web site can be found here, a professional site which it looks like she maintained or at least contributed to here, and her Lambiek entry here. Heidi MacDonald has a nice piece up, and a lot of the information above was gleaned from the preceding and Rich Watson's charming 2001 profile. RC Harvey's story of Terry's entry into the NCS may be behind a firewall here.

cartoon, uh, "borrowed" from the OSU site
posted 3:01 am PST | Permalink

Alex Cox Talks To New York Magazine

imageIn their "Ask a Shop Clerk" feature, New York's Denise Penny -- although at first I thought it was God -- asks retailer Alex Cox of Rocketship about what's to buy at his store. In doing so, they treat him just like any other specialty retailer that sells items some of which have to be explained a bit, but not delved into like the table items used in some secret society's sacred rituals. They even ran a photo (pictured) that includes a glimpse of Rocketship's mightly-stuffed, bookstore-style shelves.

We would like to recommend to Mr. Cox that when it comes to Halloween costumes, think of your boldly-depicted, iconic favorites at Harvey Comics.
posted 2:37 am PST | Permalink

UN Hosts Cartooning For Peace 10/16

The United Nations hosted a full-day conference called Cartooning For Peace: The Responsibility of Political Cartoonists yesterday. It was the fifth in their series of "Unlearning Intolerance" seminars and you can find a 2.5-hour webcast of the event here.

A decent round-up of the opinions offered up can be found here. It's hard for me to comment, since I agree with people a lot more politically strident than I am that the notion seemingly represented by Jean Plantu in the statement "We have a job to be more sensitive" is achingly dumb, and it's difficult to articulate why without bringing in some political detritus with which I don't agree.

Basically, though: the reason this seminar hits the wires is because of the Danish Cartoons Controversy. I object to the line of reasoning that casts what happened earlier this year as some sort of pure confrontation of First Causes -- Free Speech Vs. Religious Freedom -- as the historical record suggests that a very specific sequence of political moves played a critical role in the shape, size and severity of the riots, protests and political turmoil. This kind of summary thinking, divorced from vital detail, not only serves to alter history in a way that should put a knot in our stomachs, I believe it legitimizes a chain of permission that makes it more likely for this kind of thing to happen again.

So if we have to have a UN seminar on these matters, right up there with "We have a job to be more sensitive," if not supplanting it outright, needs to be some thinking along the lines of "Perhaps we should not participate in provocative editorial stunts without thinking through how that can be used to awful results." I might end up disagreeing with both notions, but at least one has a firmer connection to the awful reality of people dying over a set of cartoons.
posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink September DM Sales Figures

The comics business news and analysis site has their suite of articles on September Direct Market sales up now, including their sales estimates and analysis.

Dollar Trends
Top 300 Comics
Top 100 Graphic Novels

imageThe site notes that comics periodicals did really well last month in industry specialty shops, paced by Marvel's popular Civil War and perhaps goosed by an extra week, which unlike other five-Wednesday months meant five issues of DC's strong weekly-comic performer 52 instead of four. If you've not been paying attention, basically the periodicals market has been performing well for the last few months but has become increasingly identified with top of the line hits and events, with severe drops in circulation once you get out of the top 10 and top 25. This is buttressed by a steadily expanding graphic novels market, which tends to be split between big-names in periodicals and moderate performances from bookstore-hot manga series.

There's no reason to think that Civil War was going to take a sales hit by being slightly delayed. For one, retailers know comics fans rarely make good on their expressed displeasure when faced with new, shiny comics. For another, the delay was seen more as something that would potentially disrupt money flow and/or reduce the maximization of sell-through and build as opposed to costing the series a significant number of readers the way a longer delay would. So read any crowing on Civil War's performance with a skeptical eye.
posted 1:49 am PST | Permalink

October 16, 2006

Happy 48th Birthday, Bill Holbrook!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Ebay Policy To Have Impact On Comics?

Ray Cornwall at Why I Love Comics opines on how a new Ebay policy on pre-orders could have an effect on comics retailers' use of the on-line auction service to move product.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
TCAF Announces 2007 Dates
Doug Marlette To Visit Orange County

The Hurting: The History Of The Hurting III

Blog@Newsarama: Warren Ellis
Steve Duin On Mile High Comics Values
Apparently, Cartoons Can Drive Comics Sales

NPR: Guy Delisle
Wizard: Darick Robertson
Marvel Masterworks: Roger Stern
The Observer: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Not Comics
India's Comic Strip TV Show
Manga To Help Raise Classical Music's Profile
Comics To Be Used For Education In Indonesia?
Via Dirk: Lea Hernandez Benefit Auctions End Today

Virgin Recruits Celebrities As Authors

Steve Duin: Pride of Baghdad
Henry Chamberlin: Billy Hazelnuts
Leroy Douresseaux: I Am Going To Be Small
Alistair Jones: Tintin And The Secret Of Literature
Richard Rayner: Moomin, Abandon The Old In Tokyo

Missouri Newspaper Editor Blasts Fun Home/Blankets Shelving Solution

Chuck Mason, editor of the Marshall Democrat-News notes that last week's decision to institute a policy to look at what should be shelved in the library in Marshall, Missouri has one immediate and definite result -- the books in question, Fun Home and Blankets, are not shelved.
posted 3:50 am PST | Permalink

October 15, 2006

Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar Announce Departure From L’Association

imageThis is kind of tricky, and not just because of my usual lousy French. If I'm reading this piece at correctly, Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar have announced their departure from L'Association in a magazine called L'Express. Trondheim is a co-founder of the small and massively influential publisher along with Jean-Christophe Menu, Stanislas, Killoffer, Matt Konture and David B. David B left the company in 2005. This is probably a slightly bigger news story than usual because not only is Trondheim popular, he's the current Angouleme Festival president, one that is seen as emblematic for a generation of gifted cartoonists, so his decision to leave the company he co-founded in 1990 could be argued to be of a symbolic nature.

Where it gets kind of strange is in that original article's analysis. It seems to imply that cartoonists like Trondheim and Sfar, who have enjoyed measurable levels of success at larger publishing houses, need or at least are compelled to publish at such houses, many of whom developed imprints in aesthetic response to L'Association's rise, in order to receive their just due in areas like promotion and getting their work overseas and that this was probably a reason for the artists leaving L'Association. This analysis seems drawn less from statements by the two cartoonists than by their own take on general situations facing the market, a take which I believe -- and here I'm wandering pretty darn far from my base of knowledge, so bear with me -- is the basis of a long-standing disagreement between some members of the French press and L'Association's Jean-Christophe Menu.

imageStepping in to say these implied reasons are not true is Joann Sfar himself, who says that he left for a more fundamental reason: creative differences, in that the kind of comics he did at L'Association were more in line with Trondheim's conception of and presence within the company than with Menu's. Stressing his affection for those who remain, Sfar goes on to say that he always published through other publishers, so this isn't a case of someone being brought up solely by one publisher and then leaving them for another, and that there's nothing wrong as far as he can see with L'Association's set-up in terms of being promoted and fairly remunerated. This is followed by what seems like a classic of-course-you're- right/but-you-gotta-admit type response from the magazine.

Any way you slice it, this certainly is a huge change at a very significant comics publisher.
posted 11:21 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 43rd Birthday, Larry Young!

posted 11:15 pm PST | Permalink

Collective Memory: Small Press Expo ‘06

Reports should trickle in for the next week, but here's an initial sampling of reports, blog entries and photos from the just-completed Small Press Expo 2006 in Bethesda, Maryland.
posted 11:09 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 80th Birthday, Joe Sinnott!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

NM Campaign Cartoon Called Racist

imageA campaign flier being used by New Mexico state treasurer candidate Demesia Padilla in her run against James B. Lewis has led to charges of racism, New Mexico area media reported over the weekend. The cartoon in question depicts Lewis as "a grinning puppet in ill-fitting clothes with Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson pulling his strings," according to the Albuquerque Journal's description.

At 6 PM locally Sunday evening a poll at the Journal was running approximately 53 percent to 47 percent saying the cartoon was "objectionable." Padilla denied the cartoon was racially charged, pointing to her own identity as a Hispanic woman. The cartoon specifically refers to the issue of whether or not the Treasurer should be an appointed or elected position.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 62nd Birthday, Bob Hall!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Can Anyone Help Phil Lammi?

I received this letter from California's Phil Lammi, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Do you?
In 1972, when I was about 15, I used to collect folding comics from bubblegum I purchased from the local ice cream man. They contained poems in a sort of limerick style with a mildly acerbic tone. They featured hippie-like characters. They were on newsprint that was folded in half, three times. They came folded up and started like this:

You fix the motor in your car.
(Unfold once)
You fix the garden hose.
(Unfold again)
Since you're so good at fixing things,
(Unfold all the way)
Why don't you fix your nose?

Another one:

When I see you, time stands still.
My heart goes tick, tick, tock.
Although you're always dressed to kill,
Your face could stop a clock!

I collected, I think, all 54 or so, but threw them away years ago. Any idea by who they were drawn? I am trying to collect them now. Please advise if you recognize them.

This ring a bell with anyone? I believe he was sort of in the Bay Area when he was getting these. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Smokey Stover Archives


now more than ever
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Schulz Wall To Be Displayed
Brigid Alverson's MangaNEXT Report
Fundraiser To Honor Patrick McDonnell
Go See George Fondren's Comic Books
12 Winners Selected In JN Ding Darling Contest
Report From Ed Stein Speech at William and Mary
OSU Festival to Celebrate Milton Caniff's 100th Year

Gil Kane's Layouts For ASM #121
Editorial Cartoonists Bi-Partisan Penis-Joke Wise

Ranan Lurie Awards Loom
Another Comic Strip Survey
Fred Heyman Makes Wall of Distinction
Charlotte Paper Follows Up On Marshall (MO) Controversy

Wisconsin State Journal: Chris Ware

Not Comics
Worst Student Art Project Ever
Tokyopop Plans Film Adaptation Of Own Manga

New Candorville Book
Matt Madden Launches Blog
DramaQueen Acquires New Titles
Patrick McDonnell Releases Third Book From Little, Brown

Kevin Church: Sidescrollers
Gautam Ghosh: Ramayan 3392 AD
Andrew Dansby: Best American Comics 2006

October 14, 2006

CR Sunday Magazine


A Short Interview With Gerry Alanguilan



Go, Read: New York Times Reviews The New York/New Jersey Iteration Of The Masters of American Comics Show



Five Link A Go Go

* your 2006 Ignatz Award winners

* breathless report on James Owen at CCS

* even Rustle the Leaf has a blog

* someone named Ciaran Cross asked me for a link, and I am a swell, accomodating guy

* if you wondered where the Chris Ware NYT archives went, it looks like they're being rebuilt at the Independent


Go, Look: Gary Esposito's Fall 2006 Photos of Cartoon Art In Various Places Around London


Gary Esposito Writes:
Just got back from London and noticed a bunch of comic art in their underground, comic museums and political cartoon art galleries while walking around. So I took some snapshots and will pass them on to Mocca-NY as well, since I'm a member. I figured you might like them as well.

The cartoon art museum and the political cartoon gallery are great and are trying really hard to stay afloat, any support would be greatly appreciated.

* Cartoon Art at Underground Stops
* Political Cartoon Gallery
* The Cartoon Museum



Go, Look: Brian Hibbs Eats A Bug

The prominent retailer lost a comics-related bet. Eating here. Explanation here.


First Thought Of The Day
Is there a better season to work on projects old and new than the Fall? If you do it well, you've cleared the slate by Christmas, and you can take a few moments during the holidays and recharge. If you do it poorly, you can use the relative downtime for introspection so as how not to end up in that situation again.
posted 11:53 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 62nd Birthday, Cam Kennedy!

posted 10:25 pm PST | Permalink

October 13, 2006

If I Were In Bethesda, I’d Attend This

posted 11:32 pm PST | Permalink

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from October 6 to October 13, 2006:

1. Danish Cartoons Controversy 2: videotape of kids at a political party's summer camp making Muhammed cartoons + the printing of a cartoon showing Muhammed as a pedophile that appears in a politcal party's magazine and web site = protests at the Danish embassies in Tehran and Jakarta, a lot of denouncing from Muslim and Danish authorities, and worries that this is another nail in the coffin that is the radicalization of mainstream Muslim opinion. (Latest update)

2. The library in Marshall, Missouri deals with a request to remove Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets by, well, removing them -- but only until a policy is put into place to deal with what should be shelved and what shouldn't. Then they might be restored. Or not.

3. Gene Yang's American Born Chinese is nominated for a National Book Award, which some pundits claim is bigger than the Special Pulitzer awarded to Art Spiegelman's Maus. I think these people are insane.

Winner of the Week
Gene Yang

Losers of the Week
Two Danish young people in hiding because they made cartoons.

Quote Of The Week
"It's even got a fence around it!" -- creepy Anthony from For Better Or For Worse chooses a psychologically revealing best feature of his daughter's playpen dollhouse.

i would only build really weak robots, so if they pulled shit like this I could cuff them to the floor
posted 11:02 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

posted 8:09 am PST | Permalink

Danish Cartoons Controversy, Part II

The latest round of political activity and protests regarding a videotape of Danish political party youth drawing caricatures of Muhammed, and the publication of a piece of Muhammed art on a political party web site, echoes of electrifying world violence and turmoil from January to March this year over the publication of Muhammed caricatures last year:

* nice summary of events thus far, including the best summary I've seen yet on the Muhammed as pedophile cartoon, plus I think a smart note that today's prayers will likely have a significant effect on any further protests.

* a protest at the Danish embassy in Indonesia draws fewer than two dozen people.

* Denmark official on why it's impossible for the country to apologize for this kind of thing.

* Iranian embassy criticizes efforts of Danish government to suppress various forms of outrage.

* a conservative blog's views on how Muslims in Europe are changing the political landscape. How does this relate? The implication is that the cartoons whipped up a climate of fear, causing some countries to pass election laws that were more generous in terms of non-citizens.

* this writer suggests that however the battles may turn out, the war is already lost: mainstream Muslims are convinced that things like the Danish Cartoons are part of an effort to subjugate Islam, and have much more radicalized opinions than two or three years. This is scarily depressing, although lightened a tiny bit by the mental image of President Bush, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Pope texting each other.
posted 2:07 am PST | Permalink

Big Fun Comics Opts Out Of Diamond

imageThe fourth issue of Big Fun Comics, a lovely, magazine-sized anthology dedicated to well-drawn newspaper comics of the past is now available. The catch: after moving three issues through Diamond, the latest is only available through the American Comic Archives site directly or from

"It's probably a story you've heard before," Big Fun's Mark Schwartz told CR. "Relatively low demand, relatively high cost to produce and a steep discount that Diamond demands (around 65+ %) it's not worth my time. Going through a place like is a risk and clearly sales will be much lower but so will the cost to produce and distribute the magazine. We'll see what happens, but I don't see going back to Diamond as an option."

Issue #4 containes a complete Captain Easy story from Leslie Turner, a chapter from an extended Scorchy Smith story from Bert Christman, and 11 Lance Sundays from Warren Tufts.
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink

Jerry Belson, 1937/38-2006

Prominent television writer and screenwriter Jerry Belson passed away on Tuesday from complications due to cancer. As writer and comics historian Mark Evanier notes, the one-time writing partner of Garry Marshall was a prolific writer of comics in the early 1960s, penning several titles for Gold Key Comics out Western's west coast offices. This included The Flintstones, The Three Stooges, and Woody Woodpecker.

Belson was known in television and film circles as a stalwart of 1960s TV comedies, helping to develop The Odd Couple in addition to his prolific script work, and for penning quirky screenplays such as Fun With Dick and Jane and The End. He was 68 years old.
posted 1:52 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Nancy Link-A-Rama Up At Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin

posted 1:06 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Chris Butcher on Skipping SPX

This is a nice blog entry from the prominent blogger/retailer Chris Butcher on past Small Press Expos and why he won't be attending the one that starts today.

Here's the Washington Post preview for the show. The big change this year is the move from the Holiday Inn to an actual convention center, so we should pay close attention to first-hand reports on sales and traffic.
posted 1:02 am PST | Permalink

Comics Curmudgeon on Liz & Anthony


The Comics Curmudgeon is never better than when it's beating on For Better Or For Worse on the subject of the potential pairing of Liz and Anthony. I know about three or four people who are independently as dismayed as TCC, making Liz and Anthony's weird attempted-rape trial, not-yet romance by far the newspaper strip plotline in which people I know have some investment.
posted 12:55 am PST | Permalink

October 12, 2006

If I Were At SPX, I’d Do These Things


1. I would attend the Jules Feiffer programming. Jules Feiffer is one of the great living cartoonists, and every appearance of his should be treasured. He's an all-time great comics talker, too.

2. I would buy a piece of Tony Millionaire original art, and any other art I could afford. I could do this from home, but seeing the art in person I would be grasped by Mad Buying Fever, and spend the next half hour wondering how the hell I would get the thing home without damaging it.

3. I would take a slow walk around the room, looking at all the booths, taking as much time as I can, with one rule: I can't buy anything.

4. I would buy things on a second pass around the room, concentrating on mini-comics with high-end production values, but only from people who weren't annoying pieces of shit the first time around. I would also buy anything offered by Bodega Distribution (new Brian Ralph!) or Sparkplug.

5. I would buy Abraxas and the Earthman -- I would take a photo of Rick Veitch and every other cartoonist there from the 1980s generation, because their being at SPX is pretty awesome. They can move to a different facility if they want, but it's still Camp McCloud, and Scott is the Camp Director.

6. I would go to the Brian Chippendale panel. The North American comics readership has caught up to every Fort Thunder cartoonist except Brian Chippendale, who makes comics that seems like they crawled to the surface of another planet, were scooped up by a robot, and then brought here and printed.

7. If there is a Diamond address on Sunday, I would go to that. I would glare at people who wanted to ask endless variations of "Why won't you carry my book?" until they stopped raising their hands. I would ask something obnoxious, like about Diamond's rumored inability to get material to market as quickly as other book distributors. If they made a sour face, I would change it to a question about Donald Duck.

8. I would try to break bread with some old friends and with some new friends. And if the food's good, with an enemy -- I'm not proud.

9. I would take as many photos as possible to add to my morgue. I need to start doing more shows. With a working camera.

10. I would buy a copy of the first Moomin book. And whether you dig Moomin or not, please don't worry about getting the "book of the show." People want that joy of discovery and I-was-there status that comes with designating something the book of the show, but really what used to be a book of the show is now the book that few talked about before the weekend that took a couple of talky people by surprise so they designated it the book of the show. You're better off buying for your bookshelf three weeks from now than for the breakfast conversation this weekend.

11. I would take someone with me, and buy them a CBLDF membership, not because I was forcing them to engage in comics issues, but because it's a good way to give money to the Fund and their entreaties are professional and unobtrusive, so I know my friend wouldn't be bothered.

12. I would sit in the back of the Ignatzes and make jokes. I would remember the time Sam Henderson presented the mini-comic award by saying archelogists had discovered the first mini-comic, which he was allowed to bring to the show tonight, and then whipping out a copy of "Oog Hate Life" -- the only funny joke every made by a presenter at a comics award program.

13. Being in the mid-Atlantic region for the first time in a while, I would try to find a place for breakfast that served scrapple.

14. It would be cool to meet Matthias Lehmann.

15. I would choose an outdoor Sunday activity over an indoor Sunday activity.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Elzie Crisler Segar Died 68 Years Ago

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Chester Gould Day Report
Wright Awards on YouTube
E&P Profiles Masters Events
Meltdown's October Show: Dirge and Daily

NPR Visits OSU Cartoon Library
Derik A. Badman: Classic Herge
New Trend: Interactive Editorial Cartoons
The Hurting: History Of The Hurting Part II
Yang Nom Leads Bay-Area Book Award Presence

Brian Hibbs on DM at Comic Geek Speak

Wizard: Mike Krahulik
Boston Phoenix: Guy Delisle
Wizard: Brian K. Vaughan, Joss Whedon

Not Comics
Divorcing Your Newspaper
Review of Get Your War On Play
The Greatest Superhero Actor Ever
Sean Delonas Tries A Childrens Book
Help Send Colleen Doran To School By Buying Art

Special PDF Tie-In To DMZ
Why Some Strip Cartoonists Quit
Mangaka America Site Launces 10/31
Viz Media Announces New Pokemon Titles

Jog: Dork! #11
Erik Weems: Monster Parade #1
Neilalien: Dr. Strange: The Oath #1
Jon Jordan: Something To Build Upon (PDF)

If I Were In DC, I’d Go To This

posted 6:40 am PST | Permalink

Danish Cartoons Controversy, Part II

Today's update on a revival of political turmoil following the October Internet video upload of young people related to a Danish political party making cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed.

* Western news sources get a hold of this week's violence and political statements, putting things in a slightly less frightening context, such as how the protest at the Danish embassy in Tehran unfolded. Less scary than this headline, for instance.

* In fact, the embassy seems to be functioning normally.

* Danish muslim leaders decry a cartoon in a magazine and/or a web site owned by the same political party running the camp where the offending videos of cartoon-making were made.

* I'm sorry if anyone's head exploded trying to read that last sentence. Or the first one.

* A decent summary of attempts to politically negotiate the recent firestorm.

* The Copenhagen Post reports that hackers have hit various media and government sites in protest.

* If you're interested, these are the folks that are claiming responsibility for uploading the videos of the cartoons being made. It's weird to read this whole thing put out there as a failure of branding, but, you know, welcome to the 21st Century.
posted 4:23 am PST | Permalink

Graphic Novels Off Shelves In Marshall, MO; Evaluation Process In The Works


Dirk Deppey made the call so I didn't have to. From his Journalista:
As of 7AM Arizona time, no word had arrived via a decision made at last night's Marshall, MO Public Library Board of Trustees meeting concerning the fate of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets on the shelves, so I went ahead and called the kind folks at the Marshall Democrat-News to get the scoop. Here's what happened last night: In his opening remarks, the president of the library's Board of Directors announced a proposal to form a committee to devise a "material selection policy" to determine the guidelines used to select books for the shelves. The proposal was agreed to unanimously. Until the committee's recommendations are drawn, the two graphic novels will be kept off the shelves, and will be re-evaluated once there are guidelines with which to re-evaluate. And that, for the time being, is where the matter stands.

I had received a couple of e-mails form local folks that were dismayed by the board's decision, but if you think like the board for a moment this probably seems like a smart way to go about it. According to local media sources, despite a process by which local folks could complain about a book, no one could remember books being removed in the past on these sorts of grounds, so a better process could be useful. It remains distressing, because the books are not shelved until the time of their re-evaluation, which in a way means that for now the board gets to avoid making a decision and the heat that comes with it, but still gets the books off the shelves.

So: politically astute; discouraging result. And by putting the books into limbo, this mitigates the one positive thing about the way matters developed, that instead of some librarian making a summary decision and yanking the books, as we saw in California there was a public process involved that seemed to promise a quick resolution. Now, we're in limbo: a promise of a process. And the books aren't available.

The only odd thing about the above statement from Dirk is that I thought the library had a board of trustees and that the president was a woman, but it's hard to keep track of local committees.
posted 4:17 am PST | Permalink

Amptoons, Ownership and Site Traffic

This is kind of interesting, and I hope I have it straight: the cartoonist and prominent blogger Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand, negotiated a deal for his with one of those outfits that uses links on popular web sites to generally boost traffic and related rankings in one of those internet-alchemical ways that I don't understand (one such company buys space to put up links in an advertising box here on CR). This deal went further than some in that it actually involved the company purchasing the Amptoons site and then providing free hosting to the site's owner/founder, with the agreement that the content on the blog and in the cartoon section would remain under the control of Ampersand and the links on those pages would be the usual, inauspicious kind common to such deals. It turns out that some traffic is being driven to pornography, which doesn't sit well with the political and personal outlooks of many of the site's readers. Anyway, the blog posting about the whole matter can be found here.

I know this is only tangentially related to comics, but it's the first time I can remember anyone bringing up a potential downside to a pretty common Internet revenue technique, and it happened to include a cartoonist's site.
posted 3:52 am PST | Permalink

October 11, 2006

Go, Read: Jaime Hernandez Profile

image A nicer than usual and more comprehensive than necessary profile of the seemingly always underappreciated Jaime Hernandez, maybe 10 percent nicer because it treats him as an artist distinct from his brother Gilbert, as opposed to the Ricky Morton in comics' all-time tag team. Jaime promises a slightly easier road for Maggie in the near-future after the harsher recent stories. I like the supplementary material here, too. It's interesting to think that as good as the Locas book is, it contains neither "Spring 1982" or "Flies on the Ceiling," which are both phenomenal. Anyway, I don't have anything to say of value except I wanted to have enough words in this posting to run the kind of pitch-perfect panel the cartoonist drops into his comics with alarming regularity.
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink

You Learn Something New Every Day

Here's something I didn't know: the evangelist Greg Laurie, one of maybe a half-dozen people who can seriously be mentioned as potential successors to Billy Graham as America's best-known Christian preacher, once wanted nothing more to be a cartoonist and to that end exchanged letters with Charles Schulz, drew surfer cartoons as a kid, and even provided cover art to early Christian rock albums. You can find samples of his cartoons on his site, although to get more directly at the comics I'd suggest muting the music and not answering the "cell phone call."
posted 11:15 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 59th Birthday, Pat Brady!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Please Stop Laughing At Jesus

A recent Mike Luckovich appearance on CNN has riled up conservative-leaning media watchdogs, who note that anchor Miles O'Brien had the temerity to laugh at the cartoons being presented to him on a segment about editorial cartoons. One supposes all of the unfunny, exactly middle-of-the-road cartoonists were busy that day. This post has the best title, and provides a textbook example of political/media analysis driven by context and implication that's popular on both sides of the aisle when making the media and wider culture the Camp Mohawk to whatever one's personal Camp Northstar might happen to be.

Frankly, I thought we'd see a lot more of this this Fall. Although there seems to be a significant increase in newspaper letters pages about unfair or out-of-bounds editorial cartoons, very few have been presented on anything more than a local stage.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 41st Birthday, Dan Abnett!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Jack Kirkbride, 1923-2006

Jack Kirkbride, the longtime cartoonist of the Oldham Chronicle News whose work appeared in several newspapers at home and abroad including the Daily-Mirror as well as in magazines Punch and Private Eye, died suddenly last week at the age of 83. A veteran of World War II, Kirkbride stated his longest-running gig in the late 1950s and didn't become a full-time cartoonist until the 1970s. This archived obituary states that it took him 40 years to meet the lifelong goal of getting into Punch.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Pastis Was Inspired by Schulz
The Real Life Town Behind Abbie 'n' Slats

JR Lane Loses Freelance EC Position in Denton, Texas

Newsarama: Jeff Parker

Not Comics
People Love Marmaduke Remix
Schulz Collection Pegged At $200K
Newspaper Revenue Model Ignores Web Site

Christopher Butcher Moves Site
What The Duck Targets Photographers
Comics In The Classroom Re-Launches
Art of Jaime Hernandez Book Coming From Abrams

Gautam Ghosh: Devi
Jog: Monster Parade #1
Ray Ellis: Montauk Babies
David Campbell: X-Statix #24
Bill Sherman: Nat Turner #1-2

Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese Gets National Book Award Nomination

posted 6:54 am PST | Permalink

New, Video-Driven Danish Cartoons Controversy Sees Embassy Set On Fire

The Danish embassy in Tehran was set on fire by protestors, international news agencies report, as consternation spreads about videos depicting anti-immigration political party youth making Muhammed cartoons in August as part of a camp activity. Last year's publication of Muhammed caricatures in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten set off a major wildstorm of international protests, boycotts and violence, including dozens upon dozens of deaths. Other developments.

* a creative alternative to violent protest: draw the King of Denmark among pigs.

* Indonesia condemns the video.

* Danish muslims back away from reacting beyond denouncing the video.

* the context: a politically calcified, increasingly worried Europe?
posted 2:27 am PST | Permalink

Industry Eyes On Marshall, Missouri

imageExcept for a poll on the front page of the local paper's web site asking if those reading plan to attend -- at this moment, 74 to 17 against -- there's little in the way of media coverage locally or nationally to suggest tonight's 7 PM meeting of the Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees has become a serious lightning rod of opinion. As reported in comics circles late last week, tonight's meeting is a continuation of last week's hearing on a request by a local citizen to have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets removed from library shelves. The move has been opposed by organizations such as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund because of those works' literary value and the slippery slope of censorship that can come with designating non-obscene material as objectionable. Some on-line comics pundits and commentators additionally stress the fact that neither work can exactly be termed a stunning repository of filth, nor does either generally function in the way we expect prurient material to operate.

Noted writer about graphic novels in libraries Stephen Weiner (a librarian himself) sent CR an interesting set of comments about the story:
Thanks very much for reporting on the library controversy in Missouri. It will be interesting to see how the Board of Trustees responds to the complaints. I commend this library for making the issue so public and inviting input. If they do decide to remove the book, though, they might be setting a dangerous precedent for several parts of their collection, not just graphic novels. I'll be interested to see how this one evolves, but at least I believe the process is a good one as opposed to the way the controversy surrounding Paul's Gravett's book, Manga was handled, earlier this year. I should also note that I recommended librarians purchase Blankets in my books, The 101 Best Graphic Novels -- 2nd Edition, along with about half a dozen other reviewers.

I agree with Weiner that the way this is being handled -- a process to request a hearing, a hearing in at least two parts, a vote by local officials after receiving input at these hearings and through letters -- is encouraging from a process standpoint, and much preferred to simply yanking the book at first complaint like is done way too often. In helpfully providing me with background so that I can better understand the town's background in such mattters, a local newspaper editor stressed that this is the first issue of its kind at the library in his memory, and that while issues of state and national importance are debated in towns like Marshall, it's not typical for issues like this one to find their way to the public hearing stage. I hope that Marshall's board comes to an atypical solution, either keeping the books on the shelves as is, or finding a way to have them available that's suitable to their content and the expectation the Marshall community has for comparable literary works.

Related Local Link: such comics works as a sign of moral decay.
posted 1:54 am PST | Permalink Serge Ewenczyk Profile

The French-language comics news site profiles Serge Ewenczyk, the publisher of Editions Ca Et La and, if I'm reading this correctly, the editor of a new imprint called Peps at Albin Michel. The twist is that Ewenczyk is recognized by the interviewer as an expert on American comics, and considers the North American industry the most interesting in the world. Both his line and his imprint draw heavily on such works.

What follows is a snapshot of the American comics industry that seems smart and accurate and full of connections a North American reader might not think about. For instance, Ewenczyk cites personal, intimate works like those from Jeffrey Brown and Joe Sacco as favorites, but also quickly mentions how much he enjoys very personalized fantasies like Bone and Cerebus. He has a very broad, trend-heavy view of North American publishing -- changes in format, interest in the market from major publishers -- but also cites obscure favorites that he's brought into the publishing fold, like Joel Orff and Catherine Doherty. Future plans for Ca Et La include a new book from Damon Hurd and Tatiana Gill and a roll-out of Eddie Campbell's Alec books. Peps will publish the Degrassi Jr. High serials, Kazu Kibiushi and Richard Moore, among others.
posted 1:19 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: City Paper’s Comics Issue


If there's a better warm-up for the weekend's SPX, I don't know of it.
posted 1:08 am PST | Permalink

Chris Ware: Comics As Art, Ragtime, Composition, Single Images and Proxies

The cartoonist Chris Ware proves himself one of comics' most thoughtful interviews in a five-question piece related to his appearance at the Wisconsin Book Festival that's about as good as a short interview gets. It's even funny:
What preconceptions do you have of Madison and of your Wisconsin Book Festival audience?

Um, well, very little, other than I drove through Madison one day many years ago and it was something like "Everybody Smoke Pot Day" and there were kiosks and booths with all sorts of tie-dyed paraphenalia for sale, so that seemed like quite a friendly and inviting scene. I'm presuming that the civic leaders don't encourage these two Festivals to overlap, however.

Ware will have a conversation at the Festival with Marjane Satrapi a week from Saturday, to be taped for radio. The next issue of ACME Novelty Library looks like a late-November release.
posted 12:56 am PST | Permalink

October 10, 2006

Happy 91st Birthday, Joe Simon!


my source is CBG; there's also evidence that supports November 10 as the actual birthday, and 1913 as the correct year; if someone knows for sure, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)? thanks.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

William Messner-Loebs Update

It includes a nice photo. Two things pop out at me. The first is stressing that any long-term solution counts on the cartoonist receiving work, which I bet will at some point include a big collection of his 19th Century frontier adventure and occasional earthy comedy Journey. The second is that I've talked to a few mainstream comics folk in the last couple of years when the subject of Messner-Loebs has come up, and one thing that's interesting is that without citing the Michigan-based cartoonist and writer's problems in keeping a home and finding a work specifically, or in a critical way on any level, a lot of them speak of their time in the mainstream comics sun as limited and one or two even talked about making sure to use that window to buy and secure a home and put money back. That's not exactly an industry-altering sea change, but I wouldn't have been surprised if I had never heard a successful mainstream pro talk this way.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 54th Birthday, Jim Woodring!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Slate Profiles Scott Pilgrim

With a slideshow.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: Feiffer, Allen On NPR

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

What Purpose Do The Quills Serve?

This analysis of The Quills, a televised awards program for books that includes a graphic novels category, may seem familiar to anyone who's read a negative article or had a negative thought about North American comics industry awards: relatively few of the nominees in attendance, little proven impact on sales, not much in the way attention from the world beyond the hardcore industry watchers, and so on. The tiering of media credentials is a long way off for comics, though.

Oh, yeah: Naruto Volume 7 won the graphic novels category award.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Herblock Webcast Today
PWCW: MangaNext Profiled
MangaBlog on MangaNext 01
MangaBlog on MangaNext 02
Young Talents of Europe, South Africa Exhibit
Brians Vaughan and Wood at Rocketship Friday

Peter Bagge Wins Golden Toonie
PWCW: Profile of Midtown Comics
New Syndicate Targets Younger Readers

PWCW: Ed Brubaker
Bookslut: Neil Gaiman
Newsarama: Greg Pak
Newsarama: Jamie S. Rich
Newsarama: Bill Willingham
CBR: Norm Breyfogle, Chuck Satterlee
Newsarama: Marisa Acocella Marchetto
Dark, But Shining: Queenie Chan (via Dirk)

Not Comics
Part Of Me Was Hoping For Ice Cube
Gary Larson Tries To Save A Mountain
A Comics Reader For The Nintendo DS
Remake of Searle-Inspired Movies On Deck
Wow, Broom Hilda Is Completely Screwed Up

PWCW: Scholastic Signs Frank Cammuso to 4-Book Deal

Dirk Deppey: To Dance
Rob Clough: Various Minis
Derik A. Badman: Les Bijoux Ravis

Islam Group Decries Youth Muhammed Cartoons; Two Teens Now In Hiding

Further developments in reaction to the on-line dissemination of videos depicting political party youth in Denmark drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed:

* The Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 57-nation body, issued a statement condemning the video of the cartoons.

* In "duh" news, Danish business leaders would prefer it if there there were no economic repurcussions from this latest round of fevered reaction.

* It looks like a few Iranian politicians are calling for a boycott of Danish goods.

* A wire report that ran in a few places including the Washington Post says two of the teens have gone into hiding. Ten of the 12 original Danish cartoonists are still in hiding, more than a year later.

* Related: This blogger notes that Garry Trudeau's interview over the weekend with a Santa Barbara paper contained his thoughts on the Danish Cartoons Controversy; the blogger disagrees with Trudeau's take and launches his foot at the Doonesbury cartoonist's nuts in response.
posted 2:09 am PST | Permalink Report From Frankfurt

imageFrench comics news site has a breezy report up from last week's Frankfurter Buchmasse, one of the worldwide publishing industry's key events and an increasing place of interest for comics publishers. His observations as to the state of the comics market seem to be basically 1) the continuing international appeal of manga, 2) the growing attractiveness of select independent works like Persepolis and 3) an uneven market for traditional French comics albums with the positives coming from those that are supported by film and television. There also a bit to chew on in some of the more throwaway lines, like the notion that French series have switched from larger to smaller publishers in Germany or the perfectly sensible notion (only I hadn't thought of it before) that shows like this are less important to publishers that are locked into longer-running series as their main bread and butter. Lots of photos, too, including Jeff Smith and Chuck Rozanski.

Speaking of Smith, he blogged about the show and continues to blog about his signing tour in Europe, including occasional photos of his food. Link through the picture, which I think is from a comics shop in Bonn as opposed to the bookfair.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Adams’ Nine-Point Plan

This article uses the Nobel Prizes as a springboard to sing the praises of cartoonist Scott Adams' nine-point take on personal finance. What interests me about the financial plan is how it, like a lot of things I've read from Adams, is as clear and direct as what the best comic strip writing gives you.

Here's another profile of a businessman who says he learned important lessons from Adams. That's sort of a creepy photo, though.
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Everything Paul Conrad


Word of a forthcoming PBS special in early November throws a spotlight on Paul Conrad, an editorial cartoonist known for his blunt statements and his ability to make his point mostly through strong, well-selected imagery. An item about the show including a first-rate anecdote can be found here; the trailer for the show here; two Paul Conrad sites with tons of classic work here and here; current output accessible through the syndicate or through Daryl Cagle's site.
posted 1:07 am PST | Permalink

NCS Prez: Polls Arbitrary and Unfair

imageEditor & Publisher has picked up on a letter by National Cartoonists Society President Rick Stromoski decrying the use of polls to choose comic strip features for the newspaper funnies page. Some parts of Stromoski's reasoning may ring truer than others; I don't know anyone that really sees comic strip cartoonists serving the same journalistic function as a newspaper columnist, even a sports writer, an equivalency suggested by Stromoski. It would of course be a better world for the funny papers if strips reflected the considered, idiosyncratic choices of an individual editor rather than a kind of false consensus.

Speaking of oddball, arbitrary decision-making, check out this breakdown of strips by categories at This means it was someone's job to sit down and decide where "Geech Classics" went.
posted 12:27 am PST | Permalink

October 9, 2006

CBR: Comics Creators In Suits

Comic Book Resources has stop-to-be-shot photos from those oddball Scream Awards in LA the other night, including a couple of dressed-up comics creators. Poor Robert Kirkman looks like something of his is being held hostage just out of camera view.
posted 11:48 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Gary Panter Interview

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

SPX Programming 2006 Now Up

The programming for the forthcoming Small Press Expo offers up a variety of excellent, practiced talkers (Jules Feiffer, Tony Millionaire, Gary Groth, Dan Nadel, Ted Rall, Ivan Brunetti, etc.) and a Brian Chippendale interview, of all things. Looks lean and mean, and for the first time I sort of wish I was going. But only sort of.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Ed Stein To Speak At Dave Lasky's Alma Mater

The Hurting On The History Of The Hurting
What We Need To Tell Children About Comics

AP: Brad Meltzer
Bookslut: Brian K. Vaughan
Comic Timing Podcast: Evan Dorkin
New Zealand Herald: Naif Al-Mutawa

Not Comics
CR Role Model RW Apple Passes Away

DHC Announces Akira Club, Orion
Marshall Ramsey To Launch Podcast
Del Rey Acquires Le Chevalier D'Eon

Matt Paprocki: Halo
Brian M. Dunn: Making Comics
Jog: Abandon The Old In Tokyo
Jeff Vandermeer: Various Titles
Drew Sheneman: Rex Mundi #1
Chris Williams: Top Five Comics Podcasts
Ron Wynn: Charles Addams -- A Cartoonist's Life

CBLDF Sends Letter To Marshall, Missouri; Craig Thompson Statement

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has joined the National Coalition Against Censorship in a statement of support in letter form to the Board of Trustees at the Marshall Public Library in Marshall, Missouri regarding a comics matter currently on their agenda. As heavily reported late last week, on October 4 the library board held a meeting to hear arguments for and against the removal of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets, after a patron asked that this be done because of concerns that each award-winning, highly regarded book contained instances of inappropriate material.

Fun Home author Alison Bechdel declined comment, saying she would speak to the matter if the books are actually removed. Blankets Publisher Chris Staros acknowledged his company's concern on the matter, and deferred commentary for the moment to the CBLDF's letter. Craig Thompson replied to CR after being sent a link to local newspaper coverage on the October 4 hearing. "The article you sent gave me a good chuckle," the cartoonist e-mailed. "Then I felt sad for all those librarians out there that have to put up with endless puritanical demands for censorship and risk their jobs by introducing a graphic novel or two to the book shelves. Then I wondered if the USA will outlaw homosexuality, and if so, maybe I'll have a chance to date Alison Bechdel, because I'm pretty in love with her book..."

The CBLDF's letter follows. E-mail addresses and phone numbers are obscured; the letter is otherwise unchanged.
Anita Wright,
Board of Trustees
Marshall Public Library
Marshall, Missouri

October 6, 2006

Dear Ms. Wright --

On behalf of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund we strongly urge you to keep Craig Thompson's Blankets and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home in the Marshall Public Library. The books have reportedly been challenged by a member of the community who claims they contain "pornographic" images and are inappropriate for the library.

Removing these books because of objections to content is impermissible under the First Amendment. As the Supreme Court said in Board of Education v. Pico, the constitution does not permit "officially prescribed orthodoxy" which limits what people may read, think, speak, or say. The fact that we are confronted with images and not words does not make a difference -- the courts have ruled that images, like words, constitute symbolic expression and are protected by the First Amendment.

Constitutional issues aside, if depictions of sex were enough to make a book undesirable for a public library, there will be little left -- Ovid, Geoffrey Chaucer, Boccaccio, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Dorothy Alison, Toni Morrison, as well as a large number of art history books would be among the many offenders.

Graphic novels combine visual art with literary and cinematic techniques of storytelling. They constitute some of the most creative work in publishing today. Blankets and Fun Home are break out examples of how the graphic novel form is reinventing the memoir genre.

Neither one of the challenged books is legally obscene. To be obscene material must, taken as a whole, appeal to the prurient interest as well as lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The wide critical acclaim the books have received testify to their artistic value, whereas anybody who has read them is aware that they explore a range of important issues of which sexuality is only one.

Craig Thompson's Blankets chronicles a young man's coming of age in a rural, evangelical society. The book addresses topics of faith, abstinence, love, responsibility, and commitment from the point of view of a faithful young man who must make critical choices about those topics at the entry to adulthood. The book is beautifully illustrated with careful ink drawings. Blankets was named among the best books of 2003 by Library Journal, YALSA, Booklist, & Time. It has also won numerous national and international awards.

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, which came out just a few months ago, chronicles the author's childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, and examines her early family life in an emotionally distant environment. New York Times called it "[a] pioneering work... Bechdel's rich language and precise images combine to create a lush piece of work -- a memoir where concision and detail are melded for maximum, obsessive density." Fun Home spent two weeks on the NY Times non-fiction bestseller list, and is likely to be nominated for several literary awards.

Clearly, when they were ordered, the books met the criteria that form the basis for the library's collection development policy. Removing the books because of sexual content not only entirely fails to consider the indisputable value of books as a whole, but also ignores the library's obligation to serve all kinds of readers.

Whatever arguments might be advanced to justify denying minors access to non-obscene sexual content are inadequate to deny adults access to legal materials. As the Supreme Court has repeated on numerous occasions, "The level of discourse reaching a mailbox simply cannot be limited to that which would be suitable for a sandbox."

We strongly urge you to protect the rights of all readers to read and think freely, and to reject the notion that the choices made by any one reader may be imposed on any other. By keeping the books on the library shelves you will demonstrate respect for your readers and their choices, for the professionalism of the librarians who serve the reading public, and for the First Amendment and its importance to a pluralistic democratic society.


Svetlana Mintcheva
Arts Program
National Coalition Against Censorship
yyy-yyy-yyyyy ext yyy

Charles Brownstein
Executive Director
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Cc: Amy Crump
Library Director

The library board meets again on Wednesday evening.
posted 1:37 am PST | Permalink

October 8, 2006

Happy 68th Birthday, Russell Myers!

posted 10:20 pm PST | Permalink

Youth Muhammed Cartoons Lead to Travel Warnings, Denouncements

As some expected, it was the televised airings of Muhammed caricatures that have sparked a minor revival on issues surrounding last year's Danish Cartoons Controversy. But instead of the impending broadcast of the original images in a Norwegian documentary, it's amateur footage on Danish state TV showing youth members of the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party competing to draw mocking images at a summer camp last August that has people set on edge. Earlier today Denmark's foreign ministry asked Danish citizens to refrain from traveling to Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quick to condemn the activity, as did Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
posted 10:18 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 63rd Birthday, Mike Peters!

posted 10:16 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Garry Trudeau Interview

Garry Trudeau is famous for rarely giving interviews, which is a shame because he's really smart and provides interesting, succinct answers to almost anything thrown at him. In this piece that ran in the Santa Barbara Independent, Trudeau holds forth on everything from which president hated his material the most (Bush the Elder) to the Danish Cartoons Controversy to his own unlikely career to George Bush (the Younger) as an example of "a total breakdown in the meritocracy that we imagine supplies qualified choices for president."
posted 10:14 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 52nd Birthday, Mike Catron!

posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Scream Awards Give Nods To Comics

I'm not sure what to think of the Spike TV Scream Awards 2006, which were held Saturday and are to be broadcast tomorrow night. On the one hand, comic books are designated a genre equivalent to horror, sci-fi and fantasy, which is kind of like the 1974 way to look at comics, while some of the awards have names that would have made me cringe even at 12 years old, like "Fantasy Fox." On the other hand, it's always nice for someone to include comic books in a cross-media award salte even though few watching will likely have heard of any of the winners, and with time this may turn into a televised opportunity for comic book luminaries to show up and drunkenly yell things from onstage.

Comic book winners were:


There were some tangentially comics-related awards going to various superhero movies and Vampirella's boobs. Full list through the link.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 51st Birthday, Michael Netzer!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

24-Hour Comics Day Reports Trickle In As Participants Catch Up On Sleep

It looks like well over 1000 cartoonists worldwide participated in the 24 Hour Comic Day event over the weekend, trying to make 24-page comics in the compressed time period of the event's title, a creative exercise intended to change the perceptions of those involved towards the act of comics creation.

The 24 Hour Comic Day blog is the place to go for a kind of raw feed feel to the weekend, with various groups reporting in as the weekend progressed. Sequential collects reports from Canadian participants.

You can read about the history of the exercise here. When I lived in Seattle in the mid-'90s, I remember young cartoonists occasionally doing 24-hour comics together, although I'm pretty certain that's before there was a day. I seem to recall a funny story about a certain gifted cartoonist taking multiple naps and going out to dinner and still completing one before everyone else, much to the group's consternation, but that's probably apocryphal.

I always liked Neil Gaiman's.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 45th Birthday, Matt Wagner!


source: CBG
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Andy Mangels on Marvel’s Recent Weirdness Regarding LGBT Characters

Dirk Deppey points out this summary article by Andy Mangel on Marvel's recent apparent hostility and doubletalking regarding gay characters in their books and any policies about same. Dirk's analysis is worth reading as well. You know things are grim when Mangel can give us a hilarious line like this one, and it's somehow not funny at all.
"Minor characters Flatman and Living Lightning, both outed in GLA in mid-2005 have appeared in current Civil War books. They are not yet dead, nor tortured."

Mangels describes recent, baffling press work that sounds like there are two minds working at Marvel regarding what to do with non-heterosexual characters, and the inescapable fact that such characters as exist at Marvel tend to get killed. A lot. Including recently. Although with Marvel having one of its few name black characters killed a couple of weeks ago by a coalition of white authority figures using a cloned Nordic god as a weapon, it's not as if they seem really concerned about the unfortunate symbolism thing in any prominent category.

The weirdest development to me is a recent statement of canon that resolves western character Rawhide Kid having both gay and seemingly straight versions by favoring the heterosexual version. That does come across as a little over-concerned and odd, although I think Marvel has denied any and all lousy intentions. Dirk's right in that many of Mangel's points are loaded and that a lot of what comes across as lousy treatment is simply a narrative or two wrapped up in the demands of the superhero genre. On the other hand there does seem to be a lot of attention paid to finessing some minor plot points in books in a way that makes you go, "Would it kill them to have had that stay the way it is?" All together, it's enough to make the average wonder concerned about such issues wonder what the heck is going on.
posted 10:03 pm PST | Permalink

Future Terry Gilliam Comic Books?

imageA couple of people have picked up on this interview and its discussion of some Terry Gilliam work making it into comic book form. I would love to see a few Terry Gilliam books featuring his comics and cartooning work, or one kick-ass complete volume from all the out-of-print sources out there. I'd even be interested in checking out a high-profile adaptation of an unfilmed script or two. What comes across in that article, though, is how crass the Virgin Comics pitch reads as described by the cartoonist turned director. It's not that my sensibilities are offended by someone going to directors and saying, "Let's juice up any stuff you have in limbo and get you another deal" or whatever, but I just can't see this working as a viable publishing strategy for very long, or even as the best way to make decent comics in the short term.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Nickelodeon Loves Mark Martin

And they explain why.
posted 10:01 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Doug Wright Awards On YouTube
Jesse Leon McCann Hits Sioux City 10-14
Go, See: Dupuy and Berberian in Toronto, Montreal

Mike Peters on The Boondocks
Comic Strips Back to Being Boring Now?
Looking Back at Marvel's Star Wars Comics

Vovibum Opens Illustration Department
Local Shop Profile: The Outpost (Gainesville, FL)

Newarama: Mike Ploog Brad Meltzer
E&P: Stephanie Piro's New Projects
Bradenton Herald: Marcus Hamilton
Chicago Sun-Times: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Not Comics
Cartoonists Cover iPods
Meredith Hodges, RFD-TV Star
The Return Of The Action Suits
Matt Fraction Wants You To Vote
Jeff Garlin, Comic Book Collector
Trudeau Formally Announces Milblog The Sandbox
13 Years At Fantagraphics, Reynolds Finally Loses Mind

Manga Comes To Nepal
Act-I-Vate Fall 2006 Line-Up
DHC: 30 Years of Star Wars Begins January '07

Erik Weems: Creeper
Sarah Harvey: Cancer Vixen
Johnny Bacardi: Hammerlocke
Marc Singer: Doom Patrol #33-36
Marc Singer: Doom Patrol #37-41
Derik A. Badman: Phoenix Volumes 7, 8
Seattle Times: Books For Young Readers
Jog: Criminal #1, American Splendor #2, 52

CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Evan Dorkin



Go, Look: MOSE, By Adam Cohen



Five Link A Go Go

* go, read: lengthy, thoughtful profile of Sandra Bell-Lundy in Toronto newspaper

* go listen: Neil Gaiman appearance on Cranky Geeks

* I didn't know Comics Curmudgeon appeared at Wonkette

* go, look: Penguin Books covers

* from a link at Marc Singer's: lengthy appreciation of Morrison run on Doom Patrol posted in September


Go, Look: Jeff Smith in Frankfurt



Go, Look: Dash Shaw's Refurbished Site



First Thought Of The Day
If I didn't get comics for free, how many would I buy?
posted 12:07 am PST | Permalink

October 7, 2006

Happy 67th Birthday, Harvey Pekar!

posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 41st Birthday, James Sturm!

posted 10:05 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In A Completely Different State Of Mind, I Might Be Doing This


Good luck, everybody!
posted 12:16 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Brooklyn, I Would Go To Mark Newgarden’s Garage Sale

The mind boggles:
You and your friends are invited to a COLOSSAL Multi-Family GARAGE SALE! So big, it's practically an entire Flea Market!

This weekend! Saturday, October 7 & Sunday, October 8, 10am - ?

Selling selected items from years of crazy accumulation!

Collectibles, Antiques, Art Books, Kid's Books, Vintage Paperbacks, All kinds of Books, Old Magazines, Advertising, Comics, Paper Ephemera, Posters, Records, Record Players, Vintage Toys, Vintage Games, Projectors, Vintage Film Shipping Cases, 20's Oak A/V Projector Stand, Old Cameras, Electronics, Vintage Women's Clothes, 30's & 50's Kitchenware, Housewares, Eames Era Designer Chairs, Antique Linens, Fabric, 60's Moroccan Rug, Tables, Chairs, Homemade Stools, Shelves, Lamps, Clocks, Old Office Supplies, Antique Tractor Seat, Medicine Cabinet, Portable Wine Rack, Rocking Horses, Antique Child's Desk, Old School Chairs, Kitschy Paintings, Rude Vintage Gags, Antique Brooklyn Soda Bottles, like-new 70's TWA Flight Bags, religious Statuettes, Folk Art Butler Ashtray, Elephants, Mannequins, and too many Oddities to list!

Cheap prices for excellent stuff.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn @ 266 N8 St (& Havemeyer) on the corner (A.K.A. 18 Havemeyer Street)

By Subway from Manhattan:
Take the L train from Man. anywhere along 14th St. towards Bklyn. Get off at BEDFORD AVE. (1st BKLYN STOP). Subway lets out on Bedford & N.7th. Walk down Bedford to N.8th. Turn right on N.8th (towards BQE in distance). Walk past ROEBLING, DRIGGS Aves. to HAVEMEYER ST.

From NYC by car:
Take the Williamsburg Bridge. Drive outer section of bridge left in lane. After bridge DON'T go straight and DON'T GO LEFT onto the BQE ramp - veer SLIGHTLY left and take street exit ("S.5th-BROADWAY"). At light go left directly onto HAVEMEYER ST. Stay on Havemeyer until intersection with METROPOLITAN AVE. (Havemeyer St. is "interrupted" by METROPOLITAN Ave.) You need to turn right, then a very sharp left making a tricky semi-circle around island in front of church. Then a sharp right BACK ONTO Havemeyer. Proceed 2 more blocks straight ahead on Havemeyer.

From outside NYC by car from Queens:
TAKE BKLYN-QNS EXPWY (278 WEST). Take the METROPOLITAN AVE exit (exit number 32B). At bottom of ramp make cross Union Ave and make immediate RIGHT onto N8th St. Drive one block to Havemeyer St.

From outside NYC by car from Brooklyn:
TAKE BKLYN-QNS EXPWY (278 EAST). Take the METROPOLITAN AVE exit (exit number 32). At first light continue straight for 1 block. Make LEFT at second light (1 block) onto Union Ave (going UNDER BQE). Turn LEFT immediately onto Meeker (under BQE going in the opposite direction). Then make immdiate RIGHT onto N8th St. Drive one block to Havemeyer St.

De-Accessed from the collections of:
Mark Newgarden
Megan Cash
Beth Pearson
John Keen
Brian Dewan
Sydney Cash
& other veteran conservators

posted 12:12 am PST | Permalink

October 6, 2006

CR Week In Review


The top comics-related news stories from September 30 to October 6, 2006:

1. Danish Cartoons Controversy, one year later: cartoonists still hiding, major players claim no regrets.

2. Slave Labor announces its first on-line comic book offering.

3. Little Fibbs ends its run after two years.

Winners of the Week
The smart voters of Hartlepool, England.

Losers of the Week
American newspaper editors. Look, I know space is tight, and in some places the feature simply wasn't going to work, but 12 papers!!? It can't be about swinging for that Calvin and Hobbes fence every time up to bat, people.

Quote Of The Week
"Harvey taught me how to hustle!" -- Film director and cartoonist Terry Gilliam on his mentor, the late Harvey Kurtzman.

the dell "crisis on infinite earths" would totally kick the ass of the DC version
posted 11:00 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 56th Birthday, Howard Chaykin!

posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

If I Were In Philly This Month, I’d Be Looking at John Karpinski’s Stuff

Hopefully, this letter explains everything, because I got kind of lost.:
The card itself is for our participation in POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours). POST is an annual, two-weekend event when Philadelphia artists open their studios, galleries, and homes to the public. This year somewhere around 230 artists are participating. more information about POST can be found at...

The handwriting attempted to convey information about two juried shows associated with POST. Fortunately, we have e-mail. The exhibits are...

From The Studio III, curated by Lia Gangitano 9/28/06 - 10/25/06 The Center For Emerging Visual Artists, 237 S. 18th St., Suite 3A, Philadelphia, PA

Visions of Liberty, curated by the Exhibits Staff of the National Constitution Center 10/06/06 - 10/31/06 National Constitution center, 525 Arch Street, Grand Hall, Philadelphia, PA

I was lucky enough to get a piece in each show. The pieces are from my collaboration with book artist, Elysa Voshell (Harry & Zeke Go Fishing). Examples of the work should be viewable here, or at my website,

posted 10:07 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 52nd Birthday, Phil Yeh!

posted 10:05 pm PST | Permalink

Missed It: Fun Home, Blankets Targets of Marshall, Missouri Library Protest

The Marshall (MO) Public Library Board of Trustees held a public hearing on October 4 in order to hear arguments for and against the removal of graphic novel material from library shelves. This was after a complaint by local resident Louise Mills that Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets be stricken from the library because of inappropriate content regarding depictions of sexuality. The library has taken the position that to remove the books would put the library on the slippery road to censorship and open up their offerings to inspection from every single person who might see inappropriate material in a wide variety of material in a way that does not let the library fulfill their mission.

The board, which consists of people nominated by the mayor, okayed by city council and serving various portions of three-year terms, will reportedly make a decision at their next meeting on October 11.

imageHere's a local newspaper article about the meeting before it happened, and another article from the same source about the meeting after it happened. Ron Hogan comments before and after the meeting; the "before" entry places it in context of other book bannings. Here's additional coverage from Blog@Newsarama, Leila Roy, Edward Champion's Return of the Reluctant, Illustrated Fiction, Critical Mass, Bitch PhD, and The Beat.

Here is the related entry on Alison Bechdel's blog, where some of the responses are pointing out the proud tradition of potentially being on a banned book list.

panel from Blankets
posted 12:21 am PST | Permalink

October 5, 2006

Final Days, Paper Count For Little Fibbs

imageAlan Gardner over at the just-turned-one-year-old has updated his coverage of Little Fibbs calling it a day with vital info: the number of papers in which the strip ran (it never had more than 12) and its final days of publication: October 8 (daily) and October 9 (Sunday).

That means by the time the work week starts next Monday there will be no Wes Hargis and Hollis Brown in the daily newspaper. And that's too bad. I hope they consider a return at some point if they can find another feature. Little Fibbs launched as Franklin Fibbs in Fall 2004.
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

A Couple Of Quick Links On The Danish Cartoons OYL And Related Matters

* an article more specifically about the polling of Danish attitudes on various matters surrounding the Cartoons Controversy, one year later.

* Europe has developed a harder heart over the last year about dialogue with Muslim nations and the possibility of becoming more plural, with this year's Cartoons Controversy one of the causes.
posted 10:20 pm PST | Permalink

One Trip To The Door, Two Signatures



We live in amazing times.

posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Matt Madden’s 99 Ways Goes Audio

Here's a pretty cool little note from Matt Madden, talking about how a radio festival has adopted the principles set forth in his 99 Ways To Tell A Story.
"The THird Coast Audio Festival, an annual radio producer's convention in Chicago, ran a contest inspired in part by my book. I helped come up with the constraints for the call for entries and judged the four winning pieces along with the three organizers. I'll actually be flying out there at the end of October to do a slide show of my work and round table discussion with the winning producers at the festival."

The listing for the radio contest can be found here. It includes more information as to exactly how it works.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 48th Birthday, Mike Carlin!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Sean Phillips’ Illustration For Ed Brubaker’s Out of the Past Piece

It's surely nice-looking, and I'm encouraged that Ed Brubaker is one of those folks trying to restore the tradition of added content to comics periodical. If I were a 14-year-old Captain America fan that picked up a copy of Criminal #1 because Brubaker was involved, such an article could be a real eye-opening experience, maybe even an important one.

my apologies to the person that ran this first and gave my readers the idea to e-mail it to me
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Star-Tribune Profiles FallCon
Win Best American Comics 2006
WI Paper Profiles 24-Hour Comic Day Profiles 24-Hour Comics Day
Charles Boyce To Speak On First Amendment Panel

Six to Join Oklahoma Hall of Fame
Fan Vote: Top Ten Manga Of All Time

CBR: Scott Lobdell
Wizard: David Kellett
CBR: Robert Kirkman

Not Comics
Pretty Funny
Ask Shaenon Garrity A Question
Evan Dorkin Goes To The Comic Shop
The Joys of Having a Popular Phone Number
Marvel Adds Hulk, Iron Man to Financing Package

Patrice Pellerin to Soleil
Preview of Mangaka America
IDW Confirms Star Trek Line
Preview of Best New Manga Anthology

Shawn Hoke: Hicksville
Jog: The Winter Men #5
Marc Sobel: Love & Rockets #6
Jog: The Vault of Michael Allred #1
Derik A. Badman: Ghost of Hoppers
Tim O'Neil: Tales of Woodsman Pete
Johanna Draper Carlson: Sidescrollers
Frenchy Lunning Recommends Comics
Shawn Hoke: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Shawn Hoke: Missouri Boy, American Born Chinese
Bill Sherman: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2

Whatever Happened To Al Columbia?
posted 9:01 am PST | Permalink

Happy 84th Birthday, Bil Keane!

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Montreal, I’d Go To This

posted 5:49 am PST | Permalink

Conversational Euro-Comics: Is There Trouble Coming To The French Market?

By Bart Beaty

imageI spent last week in Paris, where I was giving a lecture to the French about the changing nature of the French comics market. I was politely received. But while I was there I met with a few cartoonists, all of whom kept suggesting to me the same thing: there's big trouble brewing in the French comics industry.

This isn't exactly news. At Angouleme this year, the Pirates Litteraires (the counter-Festival organized by L'Association, Cornelius, Fremok and others) ran a discussion explicitly asking if there was a crisis in the contemporary comics market, and artists have been hinting at problems for some time. But the sense of doom is becoming palpable, even if heads aren't exactly rolling.

What's happening? And what can we learn from it?

1. Take a look at these numbers. In 1995 there were 481 comic books of all types released in France, or just under ten per week. Today I received an email from an online BD merchant listing the 40 new titles available this week. And, actually, it's a slow week. In 2005, 2701 comic books were released in France, or more than 50 per week.

Now, 1995 was the height (depth?) of the last big BD bust, and 2005 the height of the newest production boom, but the disparity is disturbing. The one refrain I hear over and over from French cartoonists is this: "Your book has one week to make an impression, then it's swept aside for the next week's books." The sheer quantity of material being published these days (much of it manga, of course) has meant that even books from cartoonists with prominent names struggle for traction in a saturated market.

Walking through the local FNAC last week I noted two books that were the exceptions. Huge piles of Tardi's L'Etrangleur (now collected in album form from Casterman) filled the aisles, and even larger stacks of the 49th Spirou book were by the cash. The biggest names (whether artists or characters) can still get great promotion (there were enormous Spirou a Tokyo billboards throughout the metro stations too). Everyone else? They should perhaps consider writing Spirou. There seems to be money in it!

North American cartoonists reading this are probably thinking: "Welcome to our world." Have you seen a Diamond catalogue? Fifty comics is a slow week. And a week's worth of bookstore exposure? French books get bookstore exposure for a whole week? Indeed, the French market might still look pretty good in comparison. The fact remains that the comics buying dollar is now split 2701 ways, and there are more and more publishers jumping on the bandwagon every day. When your name is Tardi, or Herge -- whose books are back on the bestseller lists thanks to a joint effort with the daily newspaper, Figaro -- there is some question about the ability to carry on.

2. A second problem is more markedly corporate, namely the increasing conglomeration of publishers. Media-Participations, which now owns three different comic book publishing companies (Dargaud, Dupuis, Lombard) has recently run into tremendous opposition from within its own ranks when the editor-in-chief was let go, and a clearer focus on the bottom line installed. All I hear from Dupuis-published cartoonists are horror stories about a publisher primarily concerned with moving units, and whose corporate logic is destroying the proud traditions of a once-great publishing house, and the saga Dupuis-Media Participations has played out all year in a very public fashion.

The increasing corporatization of the field, which was, in any way, already highly corporate, may have serious long-term repercussions. The bigger the conglomerate (and Media-Participations is certainly huge, as is Rizzoli-Corriere-della Sera, owners of Casterman), the less likely they seem to be interested in courting the specialist stores that contribute to the great diversity of French comics production. Certainly, it is much easier to deal with several enormous accounts (FNAC, Virgin Megastore, Leclerc, than it is with hundreds of tiny shops. But if those shops go, wither the industry?

In Jade 5635U, a new humor anthology from Six pieds sous terre, there is a marvelous two-page strip comparing BD shopping at the megastore to ordering food at McDonald's (indeed, the piece was so witty that I not only forgot to buy a copy of the actual magazine but have also forgotten the cartoonist's name! Help!). This gag cut right to the heart of the issue of the need to protect what is called biblio-diversity. Further, because the so-called Jack Lang law in France makes it illegal to discount the price of books, small stores are able to compete head to head with the biggest players on issues like price. Nonetheless, the chains have obvious and enormous advantages relating to marketing, centralized ordering, and the support offered by publishers who may prefer the chains.

What will happen when there are only McDonald's left? Sure, you can order most comics from Amazon, but what if you no longer even know anything about the new comics that are available? I follow the French comics market more closely than most, and I missed one of the Donjon books on three separate trips to France -- and I follow that series!

Right now, North American publishers are rushing into the bookstore market at breakneck speed. More power to them. I argued for years on message boards and mailing lists that they should, and some of today's keenest exponents were yesterday's wariest cynics. It is great to see the switch. But when manga publishers start pulling titles out of the comic store market I start to wonder when North American publishers will similarly start to alienate the base that nurtured them, and I wonder what effect that will have.

3. The big problem of conglomeration is that it leads to over-production, making it harder for individual artists to make a living. The other problem is that it stifles the industry by stifling creativity.

After a period of tremendous experimentation and growth in the 1970s, the 1980s witnessed a devastating retrenchment, where publishers chased best-sellers by duplicating what they've always done. Very little of the resulting work was worth remembering, and the industry collapsed. It was revived by new voices -- the L'Association generation of small press artists and the manga invasion.

But more and more I hear from artists who meet tremendous resistance to change from the established houses. The manga generation wants longer stories? I'm sorry, we do 46-page albums here. Black and white is ok? I'm sorry, our albums are always full-color; it's a tradition. You have an interesting new take on storytelling? I'm sorry, Spirou and Fantasio are busy in Tokyo. Perhaps we're primed for the next big generational shift in comics, with this generation's L'Asso equivalents prepping their work in their ateliers. But after a long period of aesthetic expansion, there's a conservative tone starting to seep back in to things at the moment.

I can't shake the feeling that we're looking at the end of something. The collapse hasn't occurred. It may not even occur. There is no crisis. Yet. But the pieces are arranged in an alarming manner. We're peering over the precipice and something suddenly could push the industry over again. I'm not saying that it definitely will happen, but when I read bestseller lists filled with 75-year-old comics and the 49th and 50th volumes of the adventures of beloved characters I get this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.


Bart Beaty is the author of December's Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s (University of Toronto Press), and this site's "Conversational Euro-Comics" column.
posted 2:52 am PST | Permalink

Danish Cartoons Part of British Anti-Muslim Leaflet Campaign

This is the first time I've seen the famed Muhammed cartoon caricatures mentioned as having a secondary life as politically-charged speech beyond their initial publication in Jyllands-Posten last year and their subsequent, much-debated appearances in way too few sources of journalism around the world as protests and boycotts became severe in the first few months of this year. Whether or not this is an important development is a question I would think answered by the news hook of the article in which this mention appears.

This blunt editorial exhortation about the new television documentary dealing with the cartoons and everything that followed mentions that 10 of 12 of the original cartoonists have never come out of hiding.
posted 2:46 am PST | Permalink

LA Weekly’s Underappreciated Shops

imageThis brief article throwing the spotlight on two Los Angeles comics shops not magnificently stocked hosts of celebrity signings or cutting-edge boutiques hints at something that's hard for some of us to confess. As much as most comics readers adore the best comics shops, and if they live nearby will make them their regular buying point, and will visit them when they come to town, for a lot of us there can be as much appeal in comics shops that you don't hear about, because that's where you're likely to find a box of 75-cent 1981 2000 ADs, or a complete run of Thirteen Going On Eighteen. The chances of finding such a place are made a bit more difficult by the on-line auction era, and if we had to choose one over the other we'd keep the great stores, but I think there's a Wimbledon Green whispering in the ear of more of us than we'd care to admit.

I remember buying this comic for $1 last May; I don't remember the act of buying So Many Splendid Sundays. Am I bad person? Maybe.
posted 2:24 am PST | Permalink

October 4, 2006

Goodbye, Little Fibbs


It's been confirmed; Hollis Brown and Wes Hargis have decided to end their strip Little Fibbs, previously Franklin Fibbs, for lack of clients.

This makes me sad not just for the strip itself but for what it says about the ability of something a bit more subdued to make a go of it in the newspapers right now. And the strip itself would have been bad enough; I liked it. Franklin Fibbs/Little Fibbs will have run for just over two years by its conclusion.
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Newsarama: Alias Goes All-Christian

The comics news site Newsarama has an interesting news brief up this morning about the comics company Alias making the movie from a secular comics company carrying titles with Christian overtones (think Michael Landon) to a company making books for the Christian market with chances for potential crossover (think Kirk Cameron).

Upon its debut in 2005, Alias became perhaps the poster child of an independent comics simply not ready to publish regularly, with a series of embarassing delays on its initial titles despite an ambitious business plan that promised a lot of product. The company restructured late last year and landed a book deal with Christian publisher Zondervan, Newsarama notes.

The interest here is less Alias than what it potentially says about the Christian comics market. Christian-directed works are a healthy bookstore category, but also driven in part by a series of small store owners much more conservative in terms of what they'll carry than even the most stereotypical, Big-Two-locked-in comic book shop. It is also a category that has received a lot of attention by Christian publishers for the last few years, so it should be interesting to see what the upper limit of comics in that market will be. Also, my personal experience is that many Christian businesses are more generously capitalized than secular counterparts of the same size, which could be a huge advantage.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Newsarama: Neil Gaiman Interview


A longer-than-usual interview with Neil Gaiman at the news site Newarama starts with a forthcoming short-story collection but ends up touching on a variety of comics and comics-related subjects.
posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

Gordon Lee Back To Court Today

The CBLDF announced late last night that the case of Georgia v. Gordon Lee goes back to court this morning for a Hearing on Motions. The comics retailer faces two misdemeanor court of "Exhbition of Harmful Materials to a Minor," the remaining charges after seven others (including two felony counts) were knocked out in past hearings by the Fund and its legal representatives. The motions to be argued are a Motion to Dismiss based on the unconstitutionality of the State Harmful to Minors law, a memorandum in support of that motion, a Motion to Dismiss based on prosecutorial misconduct, and what the Fund lists as "two Demurrer and Motion to Quash documents; another motion to quash, and two procedural motions..."

The charges stem back to a single incident in 2004 whereby Lee accidentally put Alternative Comics #2, featuring incidental male nudity, into the hands of a customer while the store was participating in a local merchants' Halloween celebration. Things got weird and decidedly more contentious earlier this year when another minor was introduced by prosecutors as having been exposed to the material; this happened very late in the process.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 44th Birthday, Jeff Nicholson!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: The Pick-Up

A short film adaptation of the Mary Fleener/Patrick Moriarity comics story "The Pick-Up" can now be found on YouTube. Look for longtime Fantagraphics distribution czar Greg Zura in a bar scene. I think.
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Local Media Recommends Fallcon
CWA To Make Public Debut At SPX

How Blogs Can Lead To Manga, Too
Sennin Buroku Breaks 50 Serialization Mark

CBR: Sean Phillips
The Pulse: Rich Koslowski
The Pulse: Craig Thompson
Newsarama: Antony Johnson
Portland Mercury: Alan Moore
NY Daily News: Eric Shanower

Not Comics
Telltale Announces Sam & Max Pricing

The Probability Broach Begins On-Line Serialization
EW Gives In To Huge Demand For All Things Superman
Strip Re-Launch: TMS' Raising Hector Stars Latino Family

Jerome Maida: Blade #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Hicksville
Catherine Smith: Pride of Baghdad
Sheena McNeil: Never Made to Last
Bill Sherman: Golgo 13 Volume One
Sheena McNeil: Saihoshi the Guardian #1
Mary Borsellino: Essential Tomb of Dracula Volume 1

Brussels Journal: Danish Cartoons Controversy Mastermind Revealed

imageIf like me you wondered what the conservative on-line news and commentary source The Brussels Journal had to say about the Danish Cartoons Controversy with it being back in the news on the one-year anniversary of the cartoons original publication, you might enjoy reading this entire, lengthy post that primarily serves to dig a bit into the political maneuvering that took place between the publication of the cartoons in September 2005 and the beginning of violent protests in early 2006. This includes the notion that Danish Imams agitating overseas strongly suggested that the cartoons were part of an anti-Islam campaign run by Denmark's Queen Margrethe II rather than simply being misquoted in saying so. I also hadn't seen anything like the polls reported on at the bottom of the entry. Agree or disagree with Brussels Journal's political take on things, they were very focused on disseminating local news about the subject, and remain a valuable resource.
posted 4:26 am PST | Permalink

Start Crushing Your No-Doz Now: 24 Hour Comics Day Ready To Go 10/7

imageThis article in City Newspaper breaks down 24 Hour Comic Day events in the city of Rochester, New York. As this reminds us that no one sane gets up in the morning and decides right then to spend the next 24 hours making a readable comic book story, we direct you to the 24 Hour Comics Day site and the 24 Hour Comics Day blog to educate yourself on this fine Scott McCloud-inspired activity and, perhaps, find a place to participate with others in a group.
posted 4:07 am PST | Permalink

Marvel Names Philips International Head

Marvel Entertainment has named former 4Kids Entertainment managing director Simon Philips as president of its international division, various wire sources reported this morning.

Philips has held the 4Kids position since November 2003, giving him experience with brands like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Before that, he was CEO of Licensing Dynamics International, a media agency that concentrated on the world area for comics fascination the last few years, the Middle East and Mediterranean countries.

Unless I'm forgetting someone, this should finish Marvel's reload on major corporate positions following the departure this year of several key officers.
posted 3:46 am PST | Permalink

You Never See A Derek Bauer


Here's an article from the Financial Mail on comics art auctions featuring a style (editorial cartoons) and country (South Africa) that rarely gets profiled that way. I thought the conclusion was sort of interesting -- history dictates how these cartoonists will be remembered, as well.
posted 3:26 am PST | Permalink

Second Campus Cartoon Crisis of Fall

Although after last month's obviously semi-staged and whipped-up objection to Christian imagery in the University of Virginia's Daily Cavalier, it's sort of refreshing that this one's about idiotic football fans and a fat joke.
posted 3:15 am PST | Permalink

Happy 75th Birthday, Dick Tracy!


Today marks the 75th anniversary of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, the long-running, iconic comic strip featuring the plainclothes detective of the same name. The feature Dick Tracy has become well-known for a lot of things: a grotesque rogue's gallery so recognizeable and distinctive that Batman could appropriate the concept and people still think recognize it as being Dick Tracy's; the successful addition of soap opera tropes; violence so brutal and over the top that an Al Capp frying pan-subtle parody (Fearless Fosdick) worked on its own two feet; the successful introduction of advanced technology into the strip that not only predicted a future item or two but gave the feature a hook in iterations, like cartoons for kids, where relentless violence wouldn't really fly; and a bold, pleasing look that made strengths of some of comics' more rudimentary formal broad strokes, like variations in character design, the use of flashy, basic colors and a generally flat look to some of the art.

* Daily Cartoonist tracks today's tribute strips

* Infozine On Anniversary
* American Profile On Anniversary
* Michael Sangiacomo On Anniversary

* Official Web Site
* Wikipedia Entry
* Don Markstein's Toonopedia

* IDW's New Dick Tracy Collection Series

pictured: an example of Tracy's "shoot first, shoot more later" crimefighting philosophy
posted 1:29 am PST | Permalink

Tom Toles, Free Speech Champion

It says something about the uneasy state of press/government relations that editorial cartoonist Tom Toles speaking at a conference on the issue becomes news, but that's the world in which we live. Toles accurately points out that the key isn't the assurance of legal guarantees but evidence of the desired result: a skeptical, well-informed citizenry.

For a sign of the times article on the cartooning profession itself, this article seems consistently surprised that its subject is making a living doing cartoon art.
posted 1:17 am PST | Permalink

Sales Combined and Intertwined

imagePWCW has a new combined sales chart, although I have no idea how they're combining information from the Direct Market and bookstores or even what month this initial chart represents. My guesses would be 1) they use estimates from the Diamond sales charts combined with Bookscan info, and 2) this first list is from August. But hell if I know.

No matter how it was compiled, the inaugural list contained The 9/11 Report and Marvel's Halo Graphic Novel near the top of their respective stabs at best-seller status, which kind of suggests manga's dominance of the sales charts (Viz holding down five positions of ten) will be made even more ridiculously clear in future charts.

It's a bit more difficult to ascertain the effect of manga on the French-language sales charts, which this month experienced an assault on its top 20 by traditional art comics authors. It's worth noting that the first volumes of a re-issued Tintin series are doing well; they've been reduced in size from previous album-format; in the North American comics market shrinking your book would probably be considered a manga format thing -- although I don't know if these new books are quite that small.
posted 12:36 am PST | Permalink

October 3, 2006

Seattle Times Profiles Ed Brubaker


A few noteworthy elements to this newspaper profile above and beyond the simple fact that a new comic from a local comics writer can command a feature in a market of Seattle's size: the photo array that accompanies it, the amount of detail concerning the plots of Brubaker's books that writer Mark Rahner casually drops into the piece, and what looks like weekday as opposed to weekend placement.

above from Criminal #1. i couldn't justify the appropriation of the Times' photos
posted 11:25 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Maakies Cartoon Stills?

posted 11:20 pm PST | Permalink

Why I’m Not A Bankruptcy Lawyer

The distinction I was missing yesterday when reacting to the forthcoming Chapter 7 assets sale by the Byron Preiss book groups, a sale that includes several contracts, is that while people do indeed frequently have contract provisions allowing to take back their books in a bankruptcy situation, that's not necessarily the situation facing them here.

Cartoonist Henrik Rehr notes:
"In regards to the Ibooks contracts, I would assume that they do include a standard clause returning all rights to the creator in case of bankruptcy (at least mine on Tribeca Sunset does), but there is also another standard clause, stipulating that the publishing rights can be transferred to a buyer of Ibooks if the company is sold."

Rehr wrote in a subsequent note that it's his belief he could have enforced the clause if they had gone to Chapter 11, but not against the sale of the company's assets under Chapter 7, which is what's going on here.

Cartoonist and Publisher Nat Gertler points out:
"Your comment on the iBooks rights situation ('I'm suprised that with some of the big names involved that more of the contracts didn't include provisions for return if the publishing company went bankrupt.') misses one tricky point: such a provision would have dubious impact at best. A company in bankruptcy doesn't have the right to decide which assets go to whom, even if agreed on in advance. That's part of the bankruptcy situation.

"This is discussed with more precision (and by a lawyer, rather than just some publisher guy) here."

So color me less surprised upon hearing from these two guys.

Let me re-state I believe there may be precedent in place that regards book contracts differently than other assets in a way that favors the writers, and any comics authors out there concerned about the eventual outcome of this assets sale should look into what rights are available to them.
posted 11:15 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 51st Birthday, Chris Warner!


there is very little accurately dated, reliable information on Chris Warner available on the Internet, so there's a chance this entry is totally bogus. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Writer Warren Ellis To Attend CCI 2007
Sequential Tart: Dragon*Con Report 01
Sequential Tart: Dragon*Con Report 02
Daryl Cagle To Speak To Teachers' Convention

Comics as Informational Source
PWCW: More on Possible Little, Brown Line

PWCW: Brian Wood
Wizard: Ed Brubaker
Wizard: Matt Madden
Newsarama: Rick Veitch
Newsarama: Kurt Busiek
Chicago Tribune: Stan Lee
Sequential Tart: Ryan Claytor
Sequential Tart: Robin Brenner
Sequential Tart: Jeremy Arambulo

Not Comics
Fans Hate On Ghost Rider Poster
David Reddick on TV Commercial

Brad Guigar Hits 2K Mark
CBR: Sidescrollers Preview
Martin Offers Animated Cartoons To Overseas Publications

Tim O'Neil: 110 Per¢
Jog: Following Cerebus #9
Wizard Profiles The Gremlins
Leroy Douresseaux: Niger #1
Kevin Church: MOME Fall 2006
Allegro: Planetary Volume One
JoAnne Ruvoli: We Are On Our Own
Katherine Keller: Yaoi Hentai Volume 2
Richard Pachter: Lost Girls, 9/11 Report
Jenni Moody: The Devil's Panties Volume 1
Jocelyn Bothe: Y: The Last Man Volume 6: Girl On Girl

Say It Ain’t So, Franklin Fibbs


I don't know if the above statement in yesterday's comic is true or not. Since the strip is built around a main character who lies all the time, I'm not sure if I'd believe anything I'd read in the strip itself. Still, I don't think it would surprise anyone if Franklin Fibbs/Little Fibbs feature was indeed wrapping things up and going to comic strip heaven. It never seemed to gain the kind of foothold a strip needs to survive. No indication at Wikipedia or King Features that I can find. The site is down, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

I hope it's not true. I really like Little Fibbs. It looks different than any other feature out there, doubly so before its move to a more youth-oriented version last Spring (a move I believe was explained by saying the character had been a kid instead of an old man all along, and had just been lying about it). More importantly, it reads differently. Instead of wisecracks, piling on and silent panels, Fibbs has been all about sustained moments of rambling bemusement.

If this is indeed part of a final run, I commend creators Hollis Brown and Wes Hargis for using the turn of events as fodder for humor. When a strip I worked on ended, all I did was go to bed for 13 weeks.
posted 7:03 am PST | Permalink

More On Muhammed Cartoons OYL

* Here's another incidence of Flemming Rose declaring the publication of 12 Muhammed caricatures on September 30, 2005 was in the end a good thing, despite (or perhaps because) the protests and deaths that followed, followed by a strong assertion that self-censorship in terms of offending Islams continues unabated, and ending with a denial that the act of publication can or should be linked to any deaths. I always raise an eyebrow when people want to pick and choose the results that arise from their actions, although you can certainly construct a rational argument the way it's done here.

* Politics make me sleepy, but here's an analysis about the Danish Cartoon Controversy's political aspects.
posted 12:33 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Maxon Crumb Profile

imageA better-than-usual profile of Maxon Crumb in the San Francisco Chronicle goes past the surface oddities of the cartoonist and illustrator's idiosyncratic life and into the details that complete the picture: a life-saving friendship, descirptions of current work, how much money the artist brings in and in what manner he makes his living. I also like the matter-of-fact treatment of how Crumb came across in the Terry Zwigoff film about his brother, and the way a couple of the more colorful quotes seem coaxed out of him.
posted 12:18 am PST | Permalink

October 2, 2006

The Beat: Preiss Assets Go to Auction

Heidi MacDonald has a nice, concise report that assets from Byron Preiss Visual Publications/iBooks are to go to auction October 19. This supposedly includes a great number of book contracts. I'm suprised that with some of the big names involved that more of the contracts didn't include provisions for return if the publishing company went bankrupt. I'm also intrigued that with how quickly things went to Chapter 7 in early 2006, less than 10 months after the unfortunate 2005 death of Byron Preiss, that more authors didn't see the writing on the wall and negotiate for a release, which I believe is something I've read about authors doing. Of course, it's entirely possible with the speed of the move into bankruptcy that no one knew how bad things had become.

I would imagine with the prestige enjoyed by comics in the book market at this moment that someone out there will try to buy the line in an attempt to get into that business, maybe with a previously-known name involved, and MacDonald reports one company making a bid already. What should be interesting to watch is that I believe there's legal precedent that companies can't just treat contracts as a straight-up assets, and that a buyer has to at least make good on advances and royalties owed before they assume control of each contract. If a company is willing to make good in that way, then more power to them.
posted 11:38 pm PST | Permalink

Not Comics: Hieronymus Bosch Toys?


thanks, James Kochalka
posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink

Slave Labor Expands Download Effort With First Download-Only Offering

imageSlave Labor continues its modest, measured rollout of a downloadable comics program with its first series to be available only through download -- Whistles, the first comic book by cartoonist Andrew Hussie. Issues will cost $.89 each.

I think the things that are appealing about Slave Labor's recent move into downloadable comics are that 1) it's very matter of fact, which means they're not pushing against any technological limitations, and 2) it includes a wide variety of comics, which has to be helpful in terms of gathering information for future efforts as much as it works in favor of the program as it now exists. This continues to be worth watching.
posted 10:10 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Ivan Brunetti!

posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink

afNew: Comics Exhibitions in ‘44, ‘48

I liked this news brief because it hints that there's a bunch of folks fighting over this information, which for all I know could be true. Gianfranco Goria's site has a brief up that states that the first newspaper comics exhibits were in '44 and '48, with an international exhibition in 1948. Supposedly the second US convention had a catalog by Clark Kinnaird called Setting Straight Some Facts About the Origin of Comic Strips (Bob Beerbohm, of course, has a copy and reprints its text here.)

Supposedly these exhibitions stand in counter-evidence to claims a 1951 Brazilian exhibition was the first international comics exhibition.

I'm not sure why this amuses me, but it does.
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Rob Liefeld!

posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

Scott McCloud Talks Life on the Road

In this interview with Chris Mautner, Scott McCloud reveals one more misson on his family's tour in support of his book Making Comics.
"We took all of our stuff, put it in storage. We have no home. One of the honest to god purposes of the tour is to see all 50 states and make a final decision on where we want to live. We don't know where we're gonna live. We're house hunting."

I always thought Scott was smart: if my parents had taken me around the country for a year before getting a new house, I would have been grateful to settle down anywhere. If they had just moved without a tour beforehand? Complain, complain, complain.

Most of the interview talks about the book rather than the tour, to be honest, and it's the first time I can recall someone from the traditional comics-criticism end of the funnybook field (Mautner's written for The Comics Journal for about a decade) dig in.
posted 10:03 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Joel Pett at UK 10/9
Site Boosts Newark Masters Show
Collector Times: Dragon*Con 2006 Photos
Collector Times: Dragon*Con 2006 Report
So Much For My Evil Plans To Rob Mid-Ohio Con
Collector Times: Toronto Comic Fan Expo 2006 Photos
Collector Times: Toronto Comic Fan Expo 2006 Report
Evan Dorkin Reports From The Fantagraphics Art Show

Graphic Novels Find Way To High School
Tower Founder Out Before Thursday's Auction

Newsarama: Gene Ha
Sequential Tart: Scott Allie
Newsarama: David Gabriel
Sequential Tart: James Jean
CBR: Michael Oeming, Ivan Brandon
Coville's Clubhouse: Ethan Van Sciver
Boston Globe: Marisa Acocella Marchetto
New York Post: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Not Comics
Rejection Letter Archive Blade TV Series Not Renewed
Comics Recovered At Home Of Shoplifting Team Julian From Less Than Zero To Play Iron Man

What's Marvel Thinking Here? Dark Horse Manga Plans
Another Way to Customize Your Comics
Gorillaz Autobiography Gets 11/2 Release Date

Al Kratina: The Boys #1
Greg Oleksiuk: Fell #1-6
Josh Leto: Criminal #1 (via Criminal Blog)
California Literary Review: Silk Road to Ruin
Leroy Douresseaux: Tales of Woodsman Pete
Randy Lander: Criminal #1 (via Criminal Blog)
Kevin Church: Jonah Hex: Face Full Of Violence
Katherine Keller: Criminal #1 (via Criminal Blog)
Greg McElhatton: Criminal #1 (via Criminal Blog)
Don MacPherson: Criminal #1 (via Criminal Blog)

Mobs, Threats, Deaths and Few Regrets

imageThe Guardian has a nice, longish article checking in with major players one year and one day after the initial publication of caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammed, suggesting at one point that things may be slightly better off for some even after nine full months of protests, exports boycotted and, the saddest thing of all, 139 deaths worldwide.

I don't like the way it looks like this whole sad chain of events is going to be rehabilitated as a clash of intractable first-causes. To my view this underplays the role that specifically provocative and, to my mind, largely idiotic and irresponsible political manuevering played in fanning the flames that killed people. What we're getting now is the major agents repeating themselves, only this time with an assertion none of what happened is their fault.

Well, at least no one's putting the original cartoons on TV.

Oh. Shit.
posted 3:31 am PST | Permalink

Editorial Cartooning, The TV Show

This isn't comics, but it has to be mentioned because it's weird. In Egypt, Al-Akhbar Al Youm cartoonist Amr Fahmy has a TV show called Talaqat Saree'a (Fast Shots), that consists of the cartoonist drawing provocative cartoons and then showing them to guests in order to draw them into "hot dialogue."

Minus the cameras and celebrities and adding a couple of trips to the dean's office, this is pretty much the way I spent 9th grade English class.
posted 2:47 am PST | Permalink

This Site Raises A Hot Fry To The Good People of Hartlepool, England


Editor & Publisher records an affirmative vote for a statue of Andy Capp in creator Reg Smythe's hometown of Hartlepool, England.

Although Andy Capp was an accomplished strip that enjoyed worldwide success in paperbacks and syndication figures matched by less than a dozen features from the second half of the 20th Century, the lead's shiftless, thuggish and drunken behavior primarily towards a long-suffering wife on whom he cheats and occasionally engages in fistfights makes him a potentially tough sell in the posthumous honors department.

As one can see above, Capp also has to be the only strip character in comics history whose own book series titles occasionally painted him as a dangerous lout, stopping one step shy of stuff like "He Passed Out Seven Punches Ago, Andy Capp." I'm not even sure his name would get over on a strip submission today.

Admirably, Hartlepool's hometown pride and sense of humor negotiates such concerns with aplomb, and they have our deepest respect.
posted 2:19 am PST | Permalink

Yoshihiro Yonezawa, 1953-2006

Comiket founder and manga critic Yoshihiro Yonezawa died yesterday from complications arising from lung cancer. A graduate from Meiji University, he founded Comiket (also known as Comic Market or CM), billed as the world's largest comic convention, in 1975. Other than its size, the twice-yearly Comiket is known for its unique focus on self-published work, driven largely by parodies and other re-workings of existing manga as opposed to original work.

As a critic, Yonezawa published on the subject of girls' manga in 1991, on boys' manga in 1996, and on Tezuka's work in 1997.

Yonezawa will be buried on October 7. He is survived by a wife, Eiko.
posted 2:07 am PST | Permalink

What Huey Freeman May Soon Learn That Dick Tracy May Never Get To Know

imageA proper post about the 75th anniversary of Dick Tracy will have to wait until Wednesday, but scanning the tributes that appeared in some Sunday editions I ran across a interesting piece of information: the strip's in 52 newspapers. That may be worse than it sounds, as some syndicate figures don't count newspapers but sales; since dailies and Sunday are sold separately, you can say you have two clients when it's one paper that happens to be purchasing your feature seven days a week. I have no idea if that applies here or how many overseas clients the phrase "many others" describes.

My hunch is this doesn't make Dick Tracy a hugely profitable strip. Further, anecdotal evidence has begun to suggest that a lot of longtime features, creators long dead, are selling in that netherzone of 25 to 75 clients. Very few Blondies out there. Imagine a television landscape where local stations could choose to purchase a version of The Honeymooners (with Brad Garrett) or Sanford and Son (with Charles Dutton). I bet they'd have some buyers, I bet some of them would be good (most in a dependable sort of way), and I suspect that they'd make it tougher for lower-rated shows than for a hit like Lost.

I hate it when cartoonists use strips like Dick Tracy or Alley Oop as the reason they don't own a big house in Malibu; that's never been the case. But en masse and over time it's easy to see how this phenomenon might make things tougher for sustainable diversity below the fold. That's why features like Boondocks (if Aaron McGruder never returns) or the rumored-soon potential retiree For Better Or For Worse should be applauded when they come to an end that suits the creator, even when there's some money left on the table.
posted 12:40 am PST | Permalink

Go, Read: Garry Trudeau Interview's Betsy Streisand conducts a brief interview with Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau on the occasion of the release of The War Within: One More Step at a Time, the story of his character B.D.'s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after losing a leg in Iraq.

I find the book and its predecessor interesting because the acceptance of those books by the wider military and veteran communities makes it one of the few instances in popular culture where there's been a connection relating to Iraq that transcends traditional political party antipathy. For comics geeks, there's the fascinating notion mentioned here that more readers were freaked out that B.D. lost his helmet than lost a leg, a great example of how long-running comics can make use of symbolism. All proceeds from the book go to charity.
posted 12:24 am PST | Permalink

October 1, 2006

Go, Read: Independent Comics Coverage and Marjane Satrapi Interview


* Robert Chalmers talks to Marjane Satrapi. Although no one's keeping track, I think it's safe to say Satrapi is the best interview in comics right now, by a wide margin.

* Paul Gravett on Alan Moore and Lost Girls.
posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink

CAPE 2.5 Raises Money For Hernandez Family

First-person reports from CAPE 2.5, an art auction fundraiser with profits pledged to the family of Lea Hernandez, because of their recent house fire.

* Scott Kurtz

* Lea Hernandez

* CAPE Site Forum
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink

Quick hits
Exhibits and Events
Joe Sacco Mini-Tour Report
Daryl Cagle at Wabash College
IDW Panel Report From BotCon 2006
Review of Dr. Seuss Exhibit in Australia
Fokke and Sukke Are Unfortunate Names

Pete Marston Article: Maybe a Re-Run?
Dave Carter: Rumor -- Castle Waiting Comics Sales Don't Match GN

Chronicle-Herald Profiles GN Movement
Is This Really The First Gay Comic-Book Store?
Gigundus Christian Publisher Article Hits Client Papers

Newsarama: Brian Wood
Newsarama: Colleen Doran
Cox News Service: Brad Meltzer
The Independent Weekly: Ted Rall

Not Comics
CBR Reviews Sony Reader
Wired Reviews Sony Reader
I Have No Idea What This Is
Marvel Universe On-Line Feature
Viz Hits New York-Tokyo Music Festival

Bojan Redzic Site Launched
Retailer Richard Haynes Launches Comics Blog
David Welsh: Mouse Guard To End First Series With #6
David Welsh: NBM Publishes Nicolas De Crecy's Glacial Period
David Welsh: Last Gasp Publishes Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms

Vichus Smith: 52 #16
Christina Little: RE: Play
Rob Clough: Mine Tonight
Vichus Smith: Civil War #4
Leroy Douresseaux: 110 Per¢
Niko Henrichon: Pride of Baghdad
Andrew Arnold: Five Great New Works
Rob Clough: Various Sparkplug Comics
Rob Clough: Three Comics About Travel
Jonathan Mills: Claw: The Unconquered #4
Kevin Church: Superman: Up Up and Away
Rob Clough: The Best American Comics 2006
Dirk Deppey Suggests Indy-Reader Manga Scanlations

CR Sunday Magazine

Go, Look: Massive David Levine Gallery


I never noticed this massive on-line resource before, and just blew the better portion of an hour going through it.


Go, Look: Livon Jihanian



Five Link A Go Go

* not comics: James Owen's Prose Book Movie Deal (supplementary information: LiveJournal)

* I don't remember hearing about this Stan Lee interview from about 12-24 months ago.

* don't forget Seth's ongoing feature at the New York Times.

* after a slow start, there has been a surge of flickr photo sets covering the amazing-looking Wunderground show at RISD.

* a long, heartfelt (sort-of) analysis of the enduring sales power of character busts.


Go, Look: Tehri Ekebom



Go, Look: Jerry Grandenetti



First Thought Of The Day
I read a pile of 12 to 15 recent mainstream comics yesterday afternoon. That was a fun 19 minutes.
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink

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