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











November 30, 2006


If I Were In Philly, I’d Go To This

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Chris Butcher Asked Me To Post This

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Alan Moir Wins Walkley Cartoon Award

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Alan Moir of the Sydney Morning-Herald has won the cartoon award at this year's Walkley Awards For Excellence for the above cartoon. The Walkleys are the most important Australian journalism awards; the ceremony last night was punctuated by a journalist physically facing off with a politician, which sounds way more entertaining than North American awards shows.
 
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Iraqi Artist: “Now We Are Frightened By The Non-Existence of the State”

According to this entry at The Editors Weblog, Le Monde has conducted an interview with cartoonists and friends Khoudaïr Al-Hemyare of Al Sabah and Yasser Abdulrahim of Al-Sabah Al-Jedida. They describe the restrictions that they faced under Hussein, but also the fear and chaos that exists in the country at this moment.
 
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Go, Read: Eric Drooker Profile

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This article from Swarthmore's student paper spotlights a recent visit by the socially conscious painter and sometimes-cartoonist Eric Drooker, who talks about his work as an activist. I don't have a thing to add, but I thought it was an interesting take on an interesting artist.
 
posted 2:43 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: Karen Berger On Minx

The comics business and news analysis site ICv2.com does a nice jobb with Senior Vice President of DC Comics Karen Berger in an interview about DC's forthcoming teen girls' line Minx, particularly in allowing her to elaborate on some bizarre statements that surfaced in other coverage. Berger could have been pressured harder on the issue of whether or not DC thinks they can drive some female readership traffic to comics shops through this imprint. She basically says it would be nice, but doesn't offer up how this might happen or what if any parts of their highly-publicized marketing effort will benefit comics shops. My barely informed guess is that DC doesn't think this is going to happen, and will be squarely focused on bookstores, but doesn't want to say so out loud.
 
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Happy 36th Birthday, Johnny Ryan!

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source: Lambiek.net
 
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Sort of Comics Macro-Business News

* the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com notes a WSJ report that Japanese mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo has paid $34.5 million for a stake in Kakokawa Holdings, a sign of the seriousness with which comics content for mobile phones is likely to be treated in the months ahead.

* Houghton Mifflin accepts a $1.8 billion buyout.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Keith Giffen!

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Dave Astor on Editorial Cartoons And Plagiarism In The Age Of The Internet

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has republished with permission a long piece by Editor and Publisher's Dave Astor on the subject of editorial cartoon plagiarism given the digital avenues for doing so embodied by the Internet. It's a good piece, mostly because Astor explores a lot of reasoning that doesn't match up with the obvious answer of "Yes! Of course it does!" Among those observations are that the Internet helps catch plagiarists and a fascinating piece of analysis that the broad type of cartooning needed to keep jobs and hit supplementary markets in particular drive cartoonists to the center, and with everyone at the center, more copying via group-think becomes likely.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Brian Basset!

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at least one source has him a year or two older
 
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Wizard Fires Editor In Chief McCallum

Word has quickly spread throughout comics that Wizard Entertainment has fired Pat McCallum, currently a Senior VP and the magazine group's editor-in-chief -- if that wasn't McCallum title with all of Wizard's publication, the longtime editor certainly played that role. McCallum was an original staff member of the successful magazine enterprise.

The best summary is here, although you should click through to the CBR article they say is first. As both pieces point out, Wizard has pruned staff twice already this year, once in various mid-level positions for budgetary reasons and once its convention team of Stewart Morales and Gabe Fieramosco.

I've heard from no one at Wizard about this or their business in general since maybe 1994, but it occurs to me that the longtime superhero-driven magazine exists in an interesting place right now.

Without any idea how the magazines are doing sales-wise, which may be dependent on superhero movie-related appeal anyway, I would imagine two factors that might potentially be having an impact on the print publications: the highly-focused comics Internet, which isn't at all unique to anything Wizard publishes, and the leviathan-type battle over the last few years revolving event comics, basically DC's rolling event series (Crying Superman, Dead Superboy, Weekly Elongated Man) vs. Marvel's grim potential baseline-jiggering efforts (Psycho Scarlet Witch, World O'Mutants, Loose Metaphor War), which is sort of unique to Wizard, as a major print magazine, anyway.

Remember: the growth of the bookstore market hasn't meant a major decline in traditional Direct Market comics sales; there's been some modest growth there, I believe moreso recently, and, more importantly, there's been some really intense effort focused onto that market in the last two, three years, sparked by a more aggressive DC Comics.

Because there are two players in American mainstream comics, Marvel and DC, and their current, shared strategy is going for top of the line event status in the same market, and because it's a market penetrated by very few advertising vehicles, I would have to imagine that means everything Wizard does can be analyzed according to a we got it/we didn't get it model. Wizard only has one cover, and unless they're super-skilled editors that make this an absolute priority, one company is likely to get more pages, or more articles of a certain size, or more articles placed within the magazine at a certain point front to back. As someone who negotiated a tiny version of that in a past job, that sort of coverage pressure regarding major advertisers has to make editorial jobs at Wizard very, very difficult, and likely more so these days.* Overall, I don't envy the next person to sit in that seat, and am amazed that any one person could hold onto such a job for as long as McCallum did.

* again: I don't know the cause for the departure. Official word is due later today, and there are far more invested, smarter sources for mainstream comics news and analysis than this site.
 
posted 2:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Paul Conrad 12/10
Con In Fort Walton Beach 12/16
Report From Scott McCloud Tour Stop
Birmingham International Comics Show Preview
Another New Jersey Museum, Another Comics Exhibit

History
Solid NYT Obituary For Dave Cockrum

Industry
Kyle Baker Moves To Image
Fun Home Makes NYT 100 For '06
Matt Fraction on Great Comics Shops
Newbury Comics Negotiates Music Woes

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Marc Andreyko
Newsarama: Neil Googe
Winter McCloud: R. Stevens
The Hindu: Christian Cailleaux

Publishing
Vertical Plans Song For Apollo
Steven Grant Analyzes Minx Imprint
The Engine Messboard Analyzes Minx Imprint
WW Norton to Do Late-Period Eisner Instructional Work

Reviews
Don MacPherson: Batman/The Spirit #1
Brad Curran: Grant Morrison Comics He Didn't Like
Jog: Nextwave #10, Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage #1, Batman/The Spirit #1

 

 
November 29, 2006


BD Awards Season Swings Into Full Gear

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* ActuaBD.com reports on another of the major awards of the season, that Le Grand Prix RTL has gone to Christophe Chaboute for his serial killer story Henri Desire Landru. Other books up for the award were:

* Le Retour a la Terre Vol. 4, by Par Ferri and Larcenet (Dargaud)
* Le Combat ordinaire Vol. 3, by Larcenet (Dargaud)
* Les Petits Ruisseaux, by Pascal Rabate (Futuropolis)
* Messire Guillaume, by Gwen de Bonneval and Mathieu Bonhomme (Dupuis)
* Un homme est mort, by Kris and Etienne Davodeau (Futuropolis)
* H. H. Holmes Vol. 1, by Par Fabuel and Le Henanff (Glenat)
* Erminio Le Milanais, by Behe, Laprun, and Surcouf (Vents d'Ouest)

Organized in coordination with the Angouleme Festival and Les Centres Leclerc, Le Grand Prix RTL is, as I understand it, a booksellers' award.

Picture through the link, accompanied by a lot of text talking about how shy Chaboute is.

*****

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* L'Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bandes Dessinees, (ACBD) has awarded its Grand Prix 2007 de la Critique to Pascal Rabate's Les petits ruisseaux. Rabate apparently also won in 1998.

The other nominees were:

* Pourquoi J'ai Tue Pierre?, Alfred and Olivier Ka (Delcourt)
* Le Photographe V3, Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefevre (Dupuis)
* Abdallahi V1: Dans l'Intimite Des Terres, Jean-Denis Pendanx and Christophe Dabitch (Futuropolis)
* Lucille, Ludovic Debeurme (Futuropolis)

Go here for an interesting, bi-lingual exchange between nominee Ludovic Debeurme and Bart Beaty about Debeurme's book Lucille.
 
posted 9:01 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Jules Feiffer Profile

There's a nice profile of Jules Feiffer here, which briefly mentions a part of the weekly/daily comics experience that doesn't get talked about very often: the awesome feeling of being in a long-time, respectful, engaged discussion with a large number of at least minimally like-minded people.
 
posted 8:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Zak Sally On Popeye

imageThe musician, cartoonist and publisher Zak Sally has a really nice piece up on Thimble Theatre and Fantagraphics' new, astounding-looking six-volume series that I think bears focused attention. Sally does as good as job as anyone with these kind of introductory-to-an-artist articles, and there's plenty of detail work and observations for more learned fans as well.

I think post-Popeye Thimble Theatre was a top five comic of all time, and, as Sally points out, its virtues are lusty, visceral and almost immediately apparent.
 
posted 12:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Making Comics Chapter 5.5

imageScott McCloud has put up an on-line extension to chapter five of his Making Comics, on the subject of "issues associated with creating color art and panel layouts for screen display." It's nine pages of comics and seven pages of notes.
 
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Go, Read: Stan Sakai In Europe

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Capetown Book Fair Adds Comics Space

History
JH Williams III Looks Back at Chase
Library Reflects At Launch of GN Collection
MU's Underground Holdings May Benefit From Grant

Industry
Virgin Comics Profiled
Cybils Nominate Wide Range of GNs For Two Awards
Press Club of Dallas Gives Katie Award To John Branch

Interviews/Profile
Fleen: Spike
Newsarama: Rob Schrab
Forbidden Planet: Kellie Strom
Naoki Urasawa at Kyoto Seika University
The Capital Times: Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Publishing
Round-Up On Minx Imprint
Sea of Red Ends With Issue #13
Matt Madden's 99 Ways to Japan
Matt Madden's 99 Ways to L'Association
Rob Cabrera Comments on Silo Roberts' Ending

Reviews
Steve Duin: Fun Home
Carlo Santos: Train Man
David Welsh: House of Sugar
Chris Mautner: Ode To Kirihito
Brigid Alverson: Kamui Vols. 1-4
 

 
November 28, 2006


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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CRN: Mana Neyestani Seeks Asylum

I had no idea much of this had happened, particularly as half the reports a few months ago said that Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani was not being released before a trial and likely sentence related to a cartoon that upset members of Iran's Azeri minority back in May, but apparently the cartoonist fled to Dubai in September and is now in Europe seeking formal asylum through the United Nations. It makes me happy to know that he got out before a second stint in jail, this time following a sentence, and I hope his also-jailed editor and his family somehow made it out, too. I also hope the UN does the right thing and grants Neyestani's request.

In another international news story featuring a cartoonist, Amnesty International has just released a report on the Maldives, which includes a section on cartoonist Ahmed Abbas.
 
posted 2:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Scott Pilgrim Magazine Strip and A Developmental Sketch

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I liked this. This was e-mailed to me, which usually means it's been pretty well linked-to.
 
posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Report: Aussie Cartoons & Anti-Semitism

I found this report compelling for its look at national instances of anti-Semitism over a 12-month period. As anyone who read the recent accounts of Paul Rigby's passing and marveled at the number and depth of the written memorials can guess, Australia has a very rich and serious tradition of editorial cartooning. So claims of exhibited bigotry through cartoons is likely to be a big deal. The sometimes razor-thin line between making a strong political statement and making an ethically untenable one proves fascinating.
 
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Silo Roberts Ending

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According to this article about one subscribing newspaper finding a replacement in Frazz, Rob Cabrera has asked his syndicate to pull the plug on his Silo Roberts, with the strip ending December 6 -- although I'm guessing that's the newspaper's end date, as Wednesday would be a weird day of the week on which to end a syndicated run. As I recall, the initial syndication push a couple of years back for Silo Roberts stressed the professional stand-up experience enjoyed by Cabrera. A comic strip industry rule of thumb is that only one of three strips enjoy a run longer than a year.
 
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Luciano Bottaro, 1931-2006

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The highly prolific creator of numerous original series as well as a significant body of work with Disney Comics, cartoonist Luciano Bottaro passed away on Saturday, days after celebrating his 75th birthday. A cartoonist who explored a wide range of approaches within his chosen style, his career began in 1949 as an artist for Lo Scolaro; he also drew satirical cartoons for La Domenica del Corriere and La Domenica Quiz. Bottaro began a decades-long relationship with Italian Disney comics in 1951. For the publisher Alpe, he created "Pepito" and several other series.

The pirate adventure "Pepito" became the anchor of his own magazine in 1954, which included Bottaro-created series "Saturnino," "Pop e Fuzzy," and "I Postorici." He also created a number of series for Bianconi. He founded the Bierreci studios in 1968, employing younger artists and briefly publishing a magazine, in addition to work for various publishers, including the Disney studios. Bierreci closed in 1985, after which the cartoonist continued on various projects as a solo freelancers.

The biography on the cartoonist's web site describe a husband and father of two daughters, and a man who enjoyed a number of outside interests including the culinary arts. And whether or not it's a trick of translation, that same article speaks of Boattaro's death in terms of something being extinguished, which seems to me a wonderful way to think of a creative person's passing.

sources: Lambiek.net, the cartoonist's web site
 
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Go, Read: NYT Presents Clamp 101

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The New York Times profiles CLAMP -- Satsuki Igarashi, Apapa Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi and Ageha Ohkawa -- in classic "interesting to know they exist even if you don't like the work" style, one of the things that the Times still does well.
 
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Jose Varela Posts $75,000 Bail

The cartoonist who closed down the Miami Herald Building last week by barricading himself in an editor's office with what looked like a gun and making threats as to what he might do with it, is free this morning after posting bail yesterday. The article notes that he's been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, which is strange only in that it was a toy gun. Although the initial claim was that Jose Varela acted to expose a conflict of interest at the Herald's publications regarding the treatment of Cuban exiles, news over the weekend described Varela as someone motivated more by personal troubles than political concerns.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Jerry Ordway!

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Peter Kuper In Oaxaca Updated

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Compelling first-person comics journalism from Peter Kuper, now with updated entries.
 
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Berryman Honor to Steve Sack

Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has been named the Berryman Cartoonist of the Year in conjunction with the prestigious National Press Foundation awards. The Berryman honor is one of the highest an editorial cartoonist can receive, particularly given their relationship to the NPF awards. Previous winners include Ann Telnaes and David Horsey.
 
posted 2:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Dave Cockrum X-Men Splash

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Fun image posted from the end of the late Dave Cockrum's first run on Uncanny X-Men, featuring a ton of cool superhero costume designs. Click through the image for a better look.
 
posted 2:01 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Mid-Ohio Con Report
MoCCA Art Festival Grows Into Upstairs

Industry
Tokyopop's Alan Payne Moves To IDW

Interviews/Profiles
Lavender: Robert Kirby
Paul Gravett: Hyun Se Lee
Newsarama: Karen Berger
Nevada Appeal: Brian Crane

Publishing
CSI Comics Profiled
LA Times Profiles Aldomania
Latest Seven Seas Acquisitions
Nogeun-ri Tragedy Comes To Comics
Fruits Basket Concludes In Japan (Via Dirk)

Reviews
Jog: Rock Bottom
Vichus Smith: Civil War #5
Erik Weems: Deathnote Vol. 1
News-Observer Staff: X-Mas Picks
Dave Sheneman: Action Comics #844
Johanna Draper Carlson: Project Romantic
Neel Mukherjee: Comics For X-Mas Season
Johanna Draper Carlson: Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess
Johanna Draper Carlson: X-Factor #13, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #12 and Doctor Strange: The Oath #2
 

 
November 26, 2006


Yemeni Editor Sentenced To Year In Jail For Publishing Muhammed Cartoons

A court in Sanaa, Yemen has sentenced Editor-in-Chief Kamal al Aalafi to a year in jail and has shut down his newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam for six months, because of the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammed that originally ran in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. The editor will appeal, and the UPI and BBC reports say he has been released on bail to do so. According to the BBC article, two other Yemeni editors and their publications -- the Yemen Observer and Al Hurya face similar charges. The former is an English-language paper and the latter is an Arabic-language publication. All three were brought to court back in February and charged with publishing blasphemous drawings during the height of political turmoil and protests regarding the cartoons' publication in Denmark.

As usual, there is some disagreement as to particulars: this article says that the editor was taken directly to jail.

On a slightly more positive note, or at least a more measured one, Gihan Shahine of Al-Ahram Weekly looks at the lingering effect the Cartoons Controversy has had in Denmark.
 
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Go, Read: Eddie Campbell’s Blog

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Smart cartoonist and smart content, smartly illustrated; Christmas comes early this year.
 
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Go, Read: Dan Buckley Interview

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a long interview up with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, which is worth reading less for any contentious throw-down moments (there really aren't any) and more just to hear what one would guess is Marvel's basic perspective on various publishing and promotional issues.

The most appealing parts of the piece arise out of the fact that Buckley backs away from usual industry -- and Marvel -- hyperbole, or at least its most obvious rhetorical excesses, for more of an it is what it is, shrugged shoulder positivism: that efforts to put comics in big chain stores like 7-11, for example, aren't explosive but are worth doing, or the notion that the Dabel Brothers partnership will be fine with Marvel even if it doesn't bring in female readers but just brings in readers, period. This may be the first time in a Big Two interview a company's skill with superheroes is seen less as proof of superheroes as the One True Genre than as a hedge to explain that other areas of the business are less developed and will perform differently as a result.

Marvel's relative conservative nature in both senses of the meaning (censored nudity, incremental on-line policy) will likely rankle some, talk of "loading the product in" to coordinate with their movies won't gain Buckley a comics-as-art award anytime soon, and the publisher's explanation for delays in the Civil War crossover event may not satisfy a shop owner whose store experienced a dissipation in sales momentum, but Buckley's voice seems very much the voice of someone having a good year.
 
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Go, Read: Jack Ruttan at Expozine ‘06

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posted 8:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Trudeau’s Sandbox Update

This is the first time I've seen a news article comment on content found in Garry Trudeau's The Sandbox military blog; the commentary includes Trudeau's take on the matter and the suggestion that the cartoonist-backed effort could expand in the years ahead.
 
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Go, Read: Rare JFK Comic

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In Case You’ve Been Away…

Various events of importance taking place over Thanksgiving weekend:

* The Miami Herald Building was evacuated for a period late last week when cartoonist Jose Varela showed up at a Spanish-language adjunct and, claiming to have a gun, barricaded himself in an editor's office. He initially said the problem was a conflict of interest the paper had with Cuban exiles to which he wanted to bring dramatic attention, but the portrait that appeared over the weekend was of a personally troubled man. The stand-off lasted roughly two hours. Editor & Publisher profiles Varela.

* Two important figures passed away: pioneering fan writer Dr. Jerry Bails (b. 1933) and key Uncanny X-Men artist Dave Cockrum (b. 1943).

* In towns all over America, college freshmen returned home for the first time since August and in the course of the long weekend went to one or two of the strangest social functions of their entire lives, featuring all of the same people they had seen under completely different circumstances just 13 weeks ago.

* The annual CR Holiday Shopping Guide for 2006 gave a few people a few moments of welcome distraction, while potentially aggravating several people not mentioned in its various lists, suggestions and recommendations.

* DC Comics announced the Minx imprint through their willing PR satellite, the New York Times, and comes dangerously close to suggesting that for the first time, teen female readers will now have comics to read. It's actually quite safe to make pronouncements about teen female comics readers, as they're all too busy reading manga to notice.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Paul Guinan!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Willie And Joe
Michel Kichka Exhibits In Instanbul
Review of Master of American Comics Exhibit

History
Top Five Thanksgiving Comic Books

Industry
Critic Names Fun Home One of 2006's Best
Spiritual Books List Includes Sandman, Pride

Interviews/Profiles
Toronto Star: Scott Chantler
Victoria News: Robin Crossman
News & Observer: Cory Thomas
Lenawee Connection: Tom Waltz
Boston Globe: The Unshelved Team
San Antonio Express-News: John Branch
News & Observer: Patty and Terry LaBan

Not Comics
Report From Paul Rigby's Funeral

Publishing
Indianapolis Star Trying Reader-Initiative Cartoons

Reviews
Jog: Seven Sons
Jog: In The Studio
Jonathan Baylis: 52 #1-26
Marc-Oliver Frisch: The Boys #1
Marc-Oliver Frisch: Deadman #1
Michel Faber: Great British Comics
Don MacPherson: Enigma Cipher #1
Bill Sherman: Reiko The Zombie Shop
Marc-Oliver Frisch: Martian Manhunter #1
Erik Weems: The Case of Madeleine Smith
Jog: 52, Casanova #6, Punisher: War Journal #1
Richard von Busack: Best American Comics 2006
Marc-Oliver Frisch: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
Dan DeLuca: Brunetti and Moore/Pekar Anthologies
 

 
Dave Cockrum, 1943-2006

imageAccording to an internet posting from family friend Clifford Meth, the comic book artist Dave Cockrum, whose work on the Uncanny X-Men title laid the foundation for that property's pop culture icon status, passed away this morning from complications due to diabetes following a few years of serious and at times grave illness.

Cockrum was born in Oregon; his father was in the United States Air Force and the family frequently moved as a result. Like many children with parents in the military, Cockrum began reading comics at an early age.

Cockrum was a well-known artist in the potent fanzine circles that developed in the 1960s and early 1970s. His many contributions included work for Star-Studded Comics and Fantastic Fanzine. It looks as if Cockrum pursued his art even while serving in the Navy for six years following graduation. Howard Groth, the father of the publisher Gary Groth (who was then an active force in fan publishing circles), related an anecdote for the forthcoming We Told You So: Comics As Art that indicated Cockrum wore two hats.
Somehow through the mail, [Gary] ran into a guy named Dave Cockrum. Dave Cockrum was an artist. Gary used a Dave Cockrum drawing as a cover for one of his publications. Dave Cockrum was a sailor in the Navy, stationed out in Guam on a Polaris submarine tender. I was working for the Polaris program. I went to Guam and handed the issue to Dave Cockrum aboard that ship. He was quite thrilled with that. No one else was getting hand-delivered Fantastic Fanzines.

After leaving the military, Cockrum worked for Warren Publishing and as an inker to DC Comics artist Murphy Anderson. He received his first series assignment on the "Legion of Superheroes" feature, but eventually left DC for work at Marvel after a dispute about original art (he would later return).

In 1975, Dave Cockrum and Len Wein co-created the new team of X-Men, Marvel's mutant superheroes in the comic book of the same name. At that point in time, the X-Men were perhaps the least popular of Marvel's initial burst of Stan Lee-Jack Kirby collaborations. Before Wein, Cockrum and Editor Roy Thomas initiated their revival, the title was a reprint comic book running old X-Men stories rather than brand new ones, about as low as a comic book could sink in the mid-'70s. For some of the new X-Men characters, Cockrum used designs that had been in his notebook and likely intended for the Legion assignment before his departure. Cockrum provided cover and interior art for Giant-Size X-Men #1, then again for X-Men #s 94-105 and #107.

Although the feature did not achieve top-of-company success until well after Cockrum left, the artist's designs, building on an approach first seen on the Legion title, were as appealing as any group of characters ever created for the company. The X-Men co-creations in particular are some of the few from that period that can be said to hold their visual own with the Marvel designs of Jack Kirby and John Romita.

It's easy to underestimate Cockrum's penciled art in the book itself. Cockrum's penciled interiors on those first few issues of the "new" X-Men were dark and appealingly dramatic; in keeping with the book's more serious themes, the evocation of superpowers in the stories was often depicted as dirty and painful, and his characters were for the most part weathered adults instead of smooth-faced children -- in a time near the end of the Cold War when that distinction mattered. Cockrum gave those first few issues of X-Men a sumptuous, late-'70s cinema style that separated the book from the rest of Marvel's line, and superhero comics in general. Reading those X-Men comics felt like sneaking into a movie starring Sean Connery or Sigourney Weaver, not simply like flipping on the television. Uncanny X-Men really felt new and different, almost right away, and Cockrum's art was a tremendous part of that.

Cockrum's figure drawing proved just as memorable and I think significant as his design work. Cockrum favored handsome men and women. He drew one spooky and vastly underrated Wolverine (Cockrum drew the reveal that the claws were in the character's armsm not his gloves). His Nightcrawler -- one of his co-creations in the group, along with Storm and Colossus -- held shadow and color in such an appealing way it became the artist's signature character.

Cockrum returned for a brief but solid run on Uncanny X-Men following the famed Chris Claremont/John Byrne partnership on the title, and would create the original graphic novel and series The Futurians, first at Marvel and then, briefly, with a company called Lodestone. An attempt to push that project into movies and other areas of the entertainment business occupied the artist in recent years.

In 2004, Cockrum became seriously ill and was the beneficiary of aid from a number of fellow writers and artists including the aforementioned Clifford Meth and the artist Neal Adams. An auction on his behalf raised $25,000, and Marvel began to pay the artist for his work in co-creating the successful X-Men franchise, an arrangement that one hopes might be repeated in future years with different artists.

Dave Cockrum is survived by a wife, Paty, as well as an ex-wife, a son and two stepchildren. He was 63 years old.
 
posted 8:27 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Preview of Beasts!

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*****

Go, Look: Map of Mongo

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*****

Five Link A Go Go

* this PR-driven piece on DC's new Minx imprint seems badly researched in spots and comes close to propagating an asinine conceit that DC is the first company to target a female teen readership, but the marketing partnerships involved are worth noting and some of the talent talked about has done quality, interesting work in the past. The line has been a long time coming for a comics effort: people were talking about working on books involved on the floor of San Diego Con, 2005.

* start at retailer Chris Butcher's article and click through on his links for initial industry commentary on the Minx line, including that of one of the noteworthy talents involved, Andi Watson, and a list of the books.

* a review of Gabrielle Bell's Lucky in the Boston Globe

* the Act-i-vate crew interviewed on Indie Spinner Rack podcast

* a review by Holland Cotter in the NYT of the African comics exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem

*****

Go, Look: New Eden Strips

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*****

Go, Look: Magdy El Shafee's Comics

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*****

First Thought of the Day
Yesterday at the grocery store as I got into my car the person next to me finished loading their trunk and then casually pushed their shopping cart out of the way and out of mind... and right behind my car, as if I didn't exist. It's Christmas season!
 
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November 24, 2006


If I Were In Montreal, I’d Go To This

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thank you, Matt Forsythe
 
posted 11:57 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Don’t Forget The CR Shopping Guide!

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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 18 to November 24, 2006:

1. Editorial Cartoonist barricades himself in editor's office with (fake) gun; causes Miami Herald Building to be evacuated; eventually arrested. At issue: paper's treatment of Cuban exiles.

2. ACBD presents Grand Prix de la Critique nominees.

3. October numbers show event-driven comics can hold market even without original event. Also, trades are increasingly expensive and mostly action-adventure or outright superhero-oriented.

Winner Of The Week
Signe Wilkinson, calendar girl.

Loser Of The Week
Shahid Mahmood, who may never receive the answers he's looking for.

Quote Of The Week
"Kramer hates you!" -- Aaron McGruder reportedly yelled this at a heckler during an on-campus speech at the University of South Florida.

I guess Danny Glover really was too old for that shit
 
posted 11:42 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Black Friday and Beyond: Shopping Advice For Sophisticated Comics Fans 2006

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Miami Herald Building Evacuated After Editorial Cartoonist Claims To Have Gun

The Miami Herald Building was evacuated by police earlier today after editorial cartoonist Jose Varela of El Nuevo Herald walked into his newsroom this morning, with an item many thought was a gun, and barricaded himself in his editor's office. El Nuevo Herald is a Spanish-language newspaper located on the sixth floor of the Miami Herald Building.

The exact nature of Varela's effort to "take over" the newspaper are unknown, although it's believe that Varela objected to the newspaper's coverage of Cuban exiles.
 
posted 6:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Sneak Peek: Micrographica

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Renee French writes in: "Here's an example of the size of the original drawings. They'll be printed on panel per page of a 4.5 x 5 inch book from Top Shelf, out in May."
 
posted 3:19 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Jerry Bails, 1933-2006

Dr. Jerry Bails, a pioneering comics historian and pop culture scholar known to many as "The Father of Comic Book Fandom," died on Wednesday night in his sleep from a heart attack.

A member of the first generation of little kids to engage the comic book format in its initial, full pulpy flowering, Bails stayed passionate about his favorite childhood feature, the multiple superhero team-up "Justice Society of America," even as he picked up advance degrees. Bails corresponded with prominent comics figures such as Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox both in pursuit of older issues of the magazine he enjoyed so much, and for the return of the feature, or at least something much like it, to the publishing schedule.

imageBails published Alter Ego #1 in 1961, one of the great tent-pole events of comics fandom, putting many devoted comics fans in touch with one another and setting off a wave of similar ambitious homemade publications, while also shaping a core comics fandom that would interact with and then, in many cases, move into the comics industry themselves. His work with Howard Keltner and the resulting indexes of Golden Age comic books have served as primary sources for study and subsequent inventory efforts on an aspect of publishing and pop culture history that had it waited many more years, probably would have been lost.

Bails, along with a handful of other fans he helped influenced, helped to form comics' core audience, provided a connection between readers of the Golden Age comics and the newer superhero comics that helped smooth the way for older readers of modern comics, advocated for specific characters and title concepts, provided a self-publishing model that inspired a younger generation of eventual comics pros, and, I think at least, embodied a kind of core values regarding superhero comics and past works of same that would define American comic book readers through the end of the 20th Century. Almost three generations of people that read comics, at some point in their relationship to the art form, acted like or at least thought and felt like Dr. Jerry Bails.

Bails would eventually give Alter Ego to his friend and fellow fan Roy Thomas -- they met through mutual correspondence with Gardner Fox -- who in turn ended it when he joined Marvel Comics as perhaps the key figure in their late-'60s and early '70s solidification. A Thomas-led revival of the magazine currently sits on the stands, devoted to comics history, a history of which its founder is now a full part.

A needs-to-expand Wikipedia entry for Bails can be found here; there is a lovely excerpt from Bill Schelly's The Golden Age of Comics Fandom here; Mark Evanier has an obituary here. Schelly has a photo of Bails with Howard Keltner here. I love the part of the Schelly excerpt where Bails figures his fanzine will be affordable because of the probable small number of like-minded fans -- not many publishing efforts get off the ground in part because of forecasts of modesty.

Dr. Jerry Bails was 73 years old.
 
posted 12:19 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 23, 2006


Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Small Show Schedule For SE Missouri

Interviews/Profiles
WSJ: Ray Bradbury
CBR: Mark Haven Britt
Cinema Blend: Joss Whedon

Not Comics
The Gateway: Brad Meltzer
Griffin and Sabine Not Graphic Novels
Post and Courier Endorses DailyInk.com
Cities Promote Manga/Anime Attractions
Comics: Another Reason to Ditch Newsprint

Reviews
Chris Mautner: Books About Comics
Erik Weems: The Case of Madeleine Smith
 

 
November 22, 2006


CR Holiday Magazine

Happy Thanksgiving

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There's very little about this cover that isn't awesome.

*****

Go, Look: Red Eye, Black Eye Preview

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*****

Five Things To Be Thankful For

* free, funny content about crappy, old comic books

* illegal scans of Master Race

* the never-ending delight of the "Where's My Money, Honey?" panel

* the life-affirming adventures of Black Aquaman

* archival film footage of Frank King drawing Gasoline Alley

*****

Whatever Happened To Colin Upton?

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Letter received November 1, 2006:
Hi Tom, it's Colin. I was web searching searching under my name and it popped up a couple times on your column, nice to know I haven't been forgotten! I just wanted to mention [my] web site has moved and is now:

Upton's Universe

but it's kinda out of date, if you want to find out about the new stuff (including a whole bunch of new mini-comics) check out my blog:

colinupton.blogspot.com

Thanks for mentioning me!

I believe it was Eric Reynolds over at the Fantagraphics blog that mentioned running into Colin recently, and it's good to see that Colin is still out there interested in comics.

*****

Not Comics: The Gods Are Adorable

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
It's probably just my getting older and crankier, but I get a real end-of-civilization vibe out of people not being able to walk ten yards to put their shopping carts up.
 
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Conversational Euro-Comics

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Signe Wilkinson: Woman Who Dares

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The cartoonist Signe Wilkinson has made the Library of Congress' annual "Women Who Dare" calendar, which I mention a) because that a singular honor no other cartoonist is likely to receive anytime soon, b) reason to run a Signe Wilkinson cartoon and link through that cartoon to her recent work, c) some good news heading into a holiday.
 
posted 12:47 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: October DM Sales, Analysis

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has released their estimated figures and articles regarding Direct Market (comics and hobby shop) sales for October 2006.

News
Analysis
Top 300 Comic Books
Top 100 Graphic Novels

imageMarvel's Civil War tie-ins drive their sales without an actual issue of Civil War to be sold; DC's weekly 52 series continues to perform in strong, steady fashion. I would have lost any bet available to me about 52's performance past the first dozen or so issues. Has DC announced a follow-up weekly title that starts when 52 ends? Because that would totally make sense.

The performance of DC's recent Fables hardcover proves quite formidable as well, selling well more than half of a comic book issue, with a much higher price point, bookstore sales, and a longer sales period.

Most of the other numbers seem pretty common to me: 1) there's still a huge drop-off as you move down comic books in the top 40, which I and maybe no one else finds worrisome, 2) there are only around 10 comic books that break into the top 100 not from the two big superhero houses, 3) amenable genre rather than price point seems to drive interest in graphic novels/trades, and 4) manga remains a consistent but definite sub-category in terms of buying interest, which is strange only in that it so completely dominates bookstore sales.

Update: A couple of folks have written in to say that DC already has another weekly planned, to be called Countdown and supposedly to be written by Paul Dini. I should know better than to make conjecture about a side of the business I don't cover as closely as I should! Anyway, as I said above, it makes sense.

a strong-performing Ultimate X-Men trade indicates the thrust of the DM is still codpiece-led
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Terry Gilliam!

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November 21, 2006


Aaron McGruder Speaks at USF: “I Got Sick of the Strip and Sick of Politics.”

Speaking at the University of South Florida, cartoonist and now animated show producer Aaron McGruder of The Boondocks let fly with one of the reasons he stopped doing the syndicated strip: he was sick of the strip and sick of the relentless nature of politics and unchanging nature of the political landscape, such as the idea, endlessly repeated, that President Bush was, you know, stupid. He also mentioned that the cartoon version allows his work to better find its target audience and that if the strip does return, it will be on-line.

McGruder did not return to his once 300-client strip following a six-month hiatus that ended earlier this Fall. Leaving is a decision I admire, and although he maybe could have worked with his syndicate more closely to perhaps give them a better shot at retaining those papers, in the end no cartoonist should be asked to artificially extend themselves past their point of interest and contractual obligations. It's not like I have the same job I got just out of school.
 
posted 11:58 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 66th Birthday, Roy Thomas!

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posted 8:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
New Teaching Material Posts at NACAE

* Andrei Molotiu's History of Comic Book Art Syllabus

* Art Baxter's The Complete Peanuts: Study Guide

thanks, Ben Towle!
 
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, David Wenzel!

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posted 8:08 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Gilbert Shelton, ‘60s Texas Dissident

There's a fun article called The Spies of Texas up at The Texas Observer that details the findings in recently discovered 1960s University of Texas campus police files. Among those findings was evidence of what writer Thorne Dreyer calls "the complex political and social currents that were washing over the campus four decades ago," basically the files on counter-culture figures in the area. Among those figures is cartooning great Gilbert Shelton.

thanks, Robert Boyd
 
posted 8:06 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 50th Birthday, Ron Randall!

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posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Matt Fraction Signing Today
Peanuts, Pogo Upcoming At CAM
ComicsPRO To Meet In April In Vegas

History
Steve Thompson Explores WW Photo
Greg Theakston Profiles Alex Toth's Early Career

Industry
Benign Profile of IDW
ABC News Profiles Manga Boom
Libraries Late In Adding Graphic Novels

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Mike Allred
Newsarama: Mike Carey
Newsarama: Marc Guggenheim
Missed It: Alan More on Fanboy Radio

Not Comics

Richest Fictional Characters
Joke On Frank Miller's Spirit Poster
Ontario Lt. Gov. Learned to Read From Comics

Publishing
Mark Millar Script On-Line
Readers to Substitute For Editorial Cartoonist

Reviews
Michael May: The Ticking
Don MacPherson: Outlaw Nation
Rob Clough: Various Periodicals
Jeff Swindoll: Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East
Brian Cronin: How To Make Money Like a Porn Star
 

 
2007 Grand Prix de la Critique Nominees

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The Association des Critiques et Journalists de Bandes Dessinees have announced the five finalists for the Grand Prix de la Critique 2007, one of the more notable French-language comics awards, and one without a strong North American equivalent. There are many, many more awards to come over the next eight to ten weeks.

They were:

* Pourquoi J'ai Tue Pierre?, Alfred and Olivier Ka, Delcourt
* Le Photographe V3, Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefevre, Dupuis
* Abdallahi V1: Dans l'Intimite Des Terres, Jean-Denis Pendanx and Christophe Dabitch, Futuropolis
* Lucille, Ludovic Debeurme, Futuropolis
* Les Petits Ruisseaux, Pascal Rabate, Futuropolis

Previous winners include Craig Thompson (Blankets) and Etienne Davodeau (Les Mauvaises Gens).
 
posted 3:49 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Local Cartoonist Profile: Joelle Jones

imageI wanted to note Steve Duin's profile of the Portlant artist Joelle Jones in the Oregonian because when Duin's take is combined with the commentary by Dark Horse Comics' Diana Schutz this has to be the most foreboding depiction of a local artist I've ever seen.
But while leading two discordant lives is a grand Portland tradition, it's something of a doorstop when opportunity knocks. 'That girl needs not to be tending bar. She needs to be drawing all the time,' Schutz said. 'And she's at that point in her life where it could go either way. She has talent... but if you don't develop it, you wind up tending bar. Or having children.'

Yikes!

It's obvious where Duin and Schutz are coming from, and it's true that most artists reach a point where they develop or fade away. It still amused me as a strategy for a profile.
 
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Little Mandolins And Perhaps A Cape

The only thing that's revelatory to me about this Johanna Draper Carlson analysis of an ex-DC employee's description of how the high-selling 2004 Identity Crisis series came to be is that it makes it look like DC Editorial was more of a participant in its creation than I had thought.

For those of you lucky to miss it, Identity Crisis was a seven-issue superhero mini-series whereby the ugliness stakes were raised in the more traditional, old-fashioned DC Superhero Universe of Batman and Superman by taking a minor but reasonably well-liked non-powered character, the Nora Charles-like Sue Dibny, having her raped and later murdered. This allowed for 1) "emotionally-ravaged" Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), which is about as appealing to me, at least, as "consumed-by-revenge Ralph Malph," 2) a murder mystery, albeit one solved by goofing around with an even less important character, 3) some bizarre plot moves (as I recall: brainwashing) enabled by the crime that not only artificially harshed things up for the ongoing DC soap opera but explained away lighter-in-tone comics of the 10-20 years past, 4) throwing a temporary wrench into the unquestioned rightness of the DC superhero model that would of course be removed from the gears in a later mini-series and 5) a lot of standing around talking and speechifying about heroism and limits, with Superman even pulling some Iron Eyes Cody rolling tears action on one of the covers, the greatest moment of comic book camp since Jimmy Olsen stopped wearing dresses.

The series was, of course, a big success. It led to the current cycle of event comics series at the top of the sales lists, which may or may not be a good thing in the long run.

In the end, the only thing learning about DC's editorial involvement in Identity Crisis tells us is that popular writer Brad Meltzer probably didn't create his comic out of whole cloth backed by complete creative freedom, which given the result's sweaty-palmed goofiness in my opinion benefits the reputation of popular writer Brad Meltzer. As for the rest of it: cynical, manipulative mainstream comic book companies with an eye on the bottom line and a willingness to play to some pathetic aspects of the overall readership -- this is hardly new, and has been a part of comics since the first time they chained Wonder Woman to a giant penis substitute and made a Batman bad guy's calling card a grotesque form of post-mortem rictus. If it feels new, it may be because there still are very few answers that explain making art of that type that aren't 10,000 times more cynical than the art itself.
 
posted 2:31 am PST | Permalink
 

 
European Festivals News: Lucca, Blois

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The cartoonist Paul Karasik has a fine report up from the Lucca Comics & Games festival; Lucca's a show with a long pedigree and a reputation for reflecting mainstream public tastes. Karasik went last year, so he can compare and contrast on that level, too.

ActuaBD.com has the festival winners from the recent BD Boum 2006, in Blois.

Grand Boum 2006 (award for body of work): Baru
Prix NR (award for author in range of daily newspaper): Luc Brunschwig & Etienne Le Roux, La Memoire Dans Les Poches
Les Medailles en chocolat sont attribuees (beats me): Isabel Ribeiro & Leo, Jean-Paul Salis, Philippe Thirault
Prix Ligue de l'Enseignement-Jeune Public (Album For Ages Six To Nine): Emile Bravo, La faim Des Sept Ours Nains
Prix du Conseil General (Album For Ages 10 to 15): Bruno Gazzotti & Fabien Vehlmann, Seuls
Prix Region Centre (I have no idea): Ludovic Debeurme, Lucille

Additional awards given out during the Festival can be found in the original article, as well as links to material and people honored.
 
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Yahoo Newspaper Deal

Since it's increasingly clear in a kind of "the sun is warm" way that the traditional newspaper business as we've come to know it over the years is in the "Hindenburg in Lakehurst" phase of its history -- a folksy telling of that tale can be found here -- it's important to note those moments that feel historically important, like Seattle shifting from a two-newspaper to a one-newspaper town, or King Features offering its DailyInk.com subscriptions. After all, newspapers are one of the great and still immensely profitable platforms for popular comics art.

Yahoo following Google into the newspaper partnership business is another such important story, I think because everyone realizes that while the deal starts with classifieds, it extends into all sorts of areas such as search mechanisms that flatter local media content.
 
posted 2:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Big Gary Larson Profile

imageAn interview with someone more than ten years out of the public spotlight containing the phrase "Our species is rife with greed, war and destruction" sounds like it could be one of those unfortunate post-retirement rants captured by an enterprising reporter. Happily the USA Today profile and interview of The Far Side's Gary Larson proves to be a more-than-decent portrait of the former decade-defining cartoonist, how he spends his time and some of his money, and his worries about the environment seen from multiple vantage points.

There's also some fine detail work. Among the figures tossed out is 350,000 in copies sold of the $135 complete collection, which is jaw-dropping, and $2 million a year expected from the once-ubiquitous calendars. It's hard to believe almost a dozen years has passed since Larson called it a day.

A more specific news piece on a 2007 Far Side calendar that will benefit a wildlife conservation fund can be found here.
 
posted 2:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Meet Brian Crane at WNCC
Kyoto International Manga Museum Opens 11-25

History
Wire Story Tells History of Alley Oop

Industry
Brit Students Start Manga-Focused Store With Grant $
Proposed Law To Ban Depictions of Youth Sex In Manga

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Andy Kubert
NZBC: Paul di Filippo
Paul Gravett: Enki Bilal
Wizard: Grant Morrison
Newsarama: Marv Wolfman
Newsarama: Rick Remender
Charles Schulz on YouTube ('97)

Not Comics
China Issues Snoopy Stamp
Frank Miller The Spirit Poster
Public To Select Borgman's Best
Amputee Author Praises Trudeau

Publishing
Madman to Image
ADV Acquires Sgt. Frog
Paper Swaps Four Cartoons
Bill Sienkiewicz Launches Site
Joint Paul di Filippo/Jim Woodring Project

Reviews
Jog: Ohikkoshi
Christina Koh: Bus Gamer
Burl Burlingame: The Other Side
Jog: Welcome to the N.H.K. Volume One

 

 
November 20, 2006


Go, Read: Chris Ware New Yorker Cover, Story and Audio Holiday Bonanza

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posted 3:37 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 19, 2006


Shahid Mahmood Still Seeks Answers

The Toronto Star delves into problems with Canada's no-fly list with a profile of Shahid Mahmood, the architect and part-time cartoonist denied a ticket in 2004. Mahmood still has no answer as to why that denial took place, as Canada supposedly had no such list and the airline denies using an American one. Mahmood also has no idea what the cause of his being on any such list would be, although perhaps it's related to cartoons he's done critical of American foreign policy.

If you're like me, the part of the article that will make you grimace at the screen is the implication that Mahmood is building his file through the act of asking why he has a file in the first place.
 
posted 9:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Rian Hughes!

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source: CBG
 
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Italian Cartoonist Alessandro Gatto Interviewed About Holocaust Cartoon

The European Jewish Press interviews Italian cartoonist Alessandro Gatto in aggressive fashion about his cartoon entry into the recent Iranian holocaust cartoon contest. It's short enough that subjects are barely broached, but the topics are so dramatic that even just bringing them up will likely set the mind racing, whether or not you think Gatto has a point, or if he's dangerously arrogant about the transcendently communicative powers of art, or both.

There's also a descriptive line early on that reports "For his drawing, Gatto received three gold coins, a cup and an honorable mention from Iranian organizers." For some reason this strikes me as funny, sad and bizarre, and probably not in the most culturally sensitive way, either.
 
posted 8:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Guy Davis!

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source: CBG
 
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Another Editorial Cartoonist Out?

I adore the secretive nature that drips from this article that posits that the Los Gatos Weekly Times laid off editorial cartoonist Steven DeCinzo on November 10. The article notes that DeCinzo has such a low profile he doesn't even have a web site, that no formal statement was made by the paper, and that the paper plans to use RJ Matson going forward.
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Jill Thompson!

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ComicsPRO Discussion Continues

In a short posting last Monday about DC Comics giving $5000 to the retailer group ComicsPRO, I wondered out loud about what I considered a smallish membership figure of 80 retailers with 120 storefronts. I asked for commentary. Several retailers were nice enough to write me, some for attribution.

Christopher Butcher's comment can be found in the original link. Joe Field and Kenny Penman comment here. Up today is Amanda Fisher.

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Amanda Fisher, Owner, Muse Comics & Games, Missoula

I just saw the posts on Comics Reporter about ComicsPRO, and I'd like to give you some background information as well, if I could.

For the size of the membership, ComicsPRO hasn't been officially up and running much over a year (the first memberships were due for renewal in July) as we did our first major announcement of the organization at SDCC in 2005. The last nationwide comic book trade association was PACER, and I'm not sure how long that association officially lasted, but it was over 5 years and they topped out at a membership of under 80. We're just starting out, and already have more members to begin with than any other official organization that has existed for comic book retailers (there have been several regional collectives over the years as well). Traditionally, getting comic book retailers together to do more than just talking hasn't been easy--which is why a trade association has been in the general discussion so long but there hasn't been a long-standing one to date. While I'm happy that our membership is constantly growing, I'm proud of the retailers who have already begun to work together to improve all of our businesses.

When it comes to the non-US members, as Joe already said, to get any sort of discounted benefit we need members and volume first to negotiate the deals. We had many US retailers from the CBIA forum join to create the organization before we could get the credit card processing or health insurance deals that we have now. As our membership grows larger, our power to get better discounts than the ones we have will of course increase. We are still working to increase our list of benefits to members beyond the two that get mentioned, and we'll always continue to do so. Our focus will come from the make up of our membership, but we will strive to create benefits to improve the businesses of comic retailers in any country.

As for the website, we don't have our articles and bylaws listed to scare or confuse potential members; we have very basic ones listed because we are a not-for-profit trade association and we were advised to make those available publicly. We have a button on the start page for a list of member retailers, though it isn't complete yet since it's an opt-in feature and we're still receiving member replies!

The work done for ComicsPRO is all entirely volunteer, so you won't be seeing any board members kicking it in fancy hotels. You will see them giving many hours of their time every week to help push a trade association forward, and they do so because they believe that retailers really can benefit from working together.

In our first year and a half of putting together the organization, starting a membership, negotiating what benefits we do have, planning retailer programming at San Diego Comic Con and appearing at other conventions, we have sent introductory mailings to several hundred retailers, telephoned, met with at cons, and come into the stores of many more. Joe and Brian have written many times in Comics & Games Retailer urging retailers to join, Chris Powell has personally appeared at Diamond Summits and comics conventions, and we've advertised ourselves at conventions and retailer gatherings around the country. Sadly, though, that doesn't mean that we've been able to invite each store individually, though I'm sure as we get more volunteers and resources, we'd like to!

We haven't had any time, yet, to develop a slant for the organization, but if we do develop one it will come from the membership and I would again like to encourage any retailer who wants a say in the direction of this trade association to be invovled in it! We have a basic framework now, but the bylaws, the board members, and the programs will change and reflect the decisions of our members over the years. We have our first election coming up at the 2007 meeting, and the current board is now working on new nominees and the call for interested potential board members--now is a good time to get involved and take a leadership role!

Because I do the administrative paperwork for the association, I get to interact with many of the members personally and I'd like to say again that I'm proud of and always impressed by so many of the retailers in this industry. I know that there are many more progressive, thoughtful and hardworking retailers who aren't members yet (as evidenced by who writes to your site) and our goal is to get all of them involved, so please consider this an invitation for all of them to join.

If any retailers would like to receive more information about the association, or if they have any questions about the programs, please contact any of us who are involved!

The board members are:

Joe Field, Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Michael Drivas, Big Brain Comics, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Chris Powell, Lone Star Comics, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Gary Dills, Phoenix Comics, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Brian Hibbs, Comix Experience, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

And myself,
Amanda Fisher, Muse Comics, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Thanks, Tom, for asking the questions.

*****

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 37th Birthday, Stephanie Gladden!

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posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Signe Wilkinson at Guilford
Ralph Steadman Interview Described
Scott McCloud at Drexel 11/30 Previewed
Bob McCausland Honored During Apple Cup Weekend
Nashua Telegraph Profiles Providence: Wunderground

Interviews/Profiles
Kitsap Sun: Stephan Pastis
Wizard: Kristian Donaldson
Kitsap Sun: Chad Carpenter
Harvard Crimson: David Rees
The Australian: Osamu Tezuka
InsideBayArea.com: Gene Yang
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Marjane Satrapi
The Dartmouth: Center For Cartoon Studies

Not Comics
Nerds Are Book Thieves
Guardian Reviews A Winter Book
Calvin Trillin Not Interested In Comic Books

Publishing
Invaders From The North Launches Site
Is The Museum of Lost Wonder A Graphical Novel?

Reviews
Wil Moss: Fall Books
Sterfish: Batman: Child of Dreams
Leroy Douresseaux: Are We Feeling Safer Yet?
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Kazimir Strzepek

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*****

Go, Look: Bill Wray's Site Portfolio

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Five Link A Go Go

* check out Jargol's comics shop map

* comics-interested The Drama closes its doors

* watch for it/order it in advance: cool cover on next Arthur featuring 12,000 word essay from (about?) Alan Moore on (and?) pornography (11/16 posting)

* not only does Lewis Trondheim's blog feature some great-looking art, but that fade effect that encourages keeping up is pretty great, too

* your ubiquitous comics culture link of the week: Jack Chick/Galactus parody

*****

Go, Look: Herval

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Go, Look: Graham Annable Blogging

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
Did anyone else get confused when they were a kid thinking Rev. Robert Schuller (of Crystal Cathedral fame) and Charles Schulz were the same person?
 
posted 12:37 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 17, 2006


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This…

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posted 11:19 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
... And Then I’d Go To This

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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 11 to November 17, 2006:

1. Motions to dismiss denied in Georgia v. Gordon Lee; CBLDF begins preparation for 2007 trial.

2. One of the uglier incidents linked to the Danish Cartoons Controversy -- perhaps without reason -- winds down.

3. Fantagraphics files motion to strike lawsuit filed by Harlan Ellison.

Winners Of The Week
Fans of the popular 1980s indy-comics superhero Nexus.

Losers Of The Week
Rafika Tagi and Samira Sadagatogli

Quote Of The Week
"It's also my chance to reinvent the character of G'Nort." -- In comics, even in the smarter interviews like this one at Wizard with Howard Chaykin, that spends time speaking respectfully and informatively of the late, great Gil Kane, may contain within them moments that remind you that comics is one step away from being daffy.

it's one thing to gun people down from behind; it's quite another to do it while talking smack
 
posted 10:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Alan Moore!

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everybody has 1953 except CBG with 1952
 
posted 8:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Newark, I’d Go To This

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posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Rene Sterne, 1952-2006

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The artist Rene Sterne died on Wednesday in the Grenadine Islands, according to a report at ActuaBD.com and a posting at his web site. He was 54 years old.

Sterne was perhaps best known for his art on ten albums of the Adler series, a World War II-era adventure with I believe some romantic overtones as well. The story was drawn in part from travels taken by the artist with partner Chantal De Spiegeleer when he was a teacher. That work began serialization in 1985 and collection in 1987. Sterne was currently working on La Malediction des Trente Deniers, an album planned for extension into a second that was to use characters, settings and story background from Edgar P. Jacobs Blake and Mortimer series, from a script written by Jean Van Hamme.

Sterne's web site contains a great deal of art from his career, and is well worth a visit.
 
posted 3:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Fantagraphics Files Motion To Strike Harlan Ellison Suit On Multiple Grounds

By David Welsh for The Comics Reporter

At Journalista, Dirk Deppey has announced that the legal representatives for Fantagraphics Books, Inc., Gary Groth and Kim Thompson, filed a motion November 14 to strike the lawsuit filed September 7 by Harlan Ellison. The motion, copiously documented with supporting exhibits, addresses the individual components of Ellison's complaint. (The defense team had previously successfully sought a change of jurisdiction from the Superior Court of California to the United States District Court -- Central District of California.)

(Standard disclaimer: I'm not an attorney.)

The defense asserts that the remarks triggering Ellison's complaints of defamation don't meet the legal standard for that term and are in fact protected under First Amendment and California law because they are:
a. "subjective expressions of opinion or rhetorical hyperbole"
b. "substantially true"
c. "related to, and fairly report the contents of, an official government proceeding."

As for the claim based on Ellison's right of publicity, the defendants claim that "the use of plaintiff's name was not a commercial use as required to create liability for misappropriation."

The Summary of Argument section of the motion makes for interesting reading. The defense asserts that use of Ellison's name on the cover of The Writers does not meet the Right of Publicity standard as that use was intended to "accurately describe the contents of the interview anthology," and that the piece is of public interest, documenting as it does "a discussion between two luminaries of the comics world." Additionally, the defense asserts that use of the interview in The Writers constitutes fair use of the material as a matter of public interest, negating the Right of Publicity claim at California civil and constitutional levels.

The motion also posits that challenged characterizations of Ellison's actions with regards to a previous lawsuit filed by Michael Fleisher against Ellison, Groth and Fantagraphics, triggered by the interview reprinted in The Writers, are substantiated by public record of that suit.

The suit is covered in the upcoming Comics as Art: We Told You So, a history of Fantagraphics compiled by Tom Spurgeon and Fantagraphics Art Director Jacob Covey. The defense asserts that the characterizations of Ellison's behavior during the Fleisher lawsuit "accurately capture the 'gist' or 'sting' of the actual facts surrounding Mr. Ellison's conduct." Hence, they're heavily tinged with opinion but not actionably defamatory.

Supporting exhibits filed with the motion include court documents and communication related to the Fleisher lawsuit, relevant excerpts from The Writers and Comics as Art, and an entry at Heidi MacDonald's The Beat blog with subsequent comments from Ellison where he seems to acknowledge a desire to "whomp Groth upside the head." Perhaps providing fodder for a future exhibit motion, Kim Thompson has started a discussion thread on the defense's latest move at The Comics Journal's message board.

It's kind of startling to me that the apparently casual (if sometimes heated) conversation of blog comments can be brought into a legal action. But if a message board thread can result in a novel, a film, a television series, and four manga adaptations, I suppose anything is possible.

A hearing on the motion to strike is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 11 in the Courtroom of the Honorable Audrey B. Collins in Los Angeles.

This entry was written and placed by David P. Welsh as a favor to this site, without editorial intrusion
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Jeff Smith In Lucca

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Click through the image above to read Bone's Jeff Smith conclude his European tour blogging with a long post about his stay in Lucca in and around their comics festival; Smith turns out to be an excellent travel blogger, with tons of photos and a pleasant travelogue tone. This is also great because I'd been looking around in vain for a Lucca report in English to link to, because it's a still-important if more old-fashioned European convention. Smith points out one reason that the graphic novel and manga assault might be compelling to European comics readers -- the traditional strength of the very rigid album format.
 
posted 2:58 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Paul Conrad Draws Smoking A Pipe

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posted 2:09 am PST | Permalink
 

 
International Cartooning Great Paul Rigby Remembered By Press And Peers

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A number of additional links about the life and death this week of Australian-born cartoonist Paul Rigby, whose award-winning cartooning was available to newspapers where Rigby held staff positions in Perth, Sydney, London, and New York, have begun to crop up after the more formal obituaries yesterday:

* Daryl Cagle's blog, November 15 and November 16 entries
* Editor & Publisher
* New York Post
* The Australian
* The Border Mail
* The West Australian
* Western Australia Business News
 
posted 1:31 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Nexus Coming Back

The surprise of artist Steve Rude's recent self-publishing schedule announcement is that previously-reported storyline disagreements between himself and Nexus writer Mike Baron have been rectified, and a version of the indy-comic superhero through which Baron and Rude made their names will join the more recent The Moth and an anthology title on Rude's plate.

imageThe interesting thing about this announcement, at least to me, is that while the Nexus name still carries with it some interest (thus this post and others), particularly for fans who were around to enjoy his adventures in serial comic form from Capital and then First in the 1980s, my understanding is that the property in its 1990s Dark Horse mini-series iteration saw declining sales. And while that sounds like I'm being mean, I'm actually impressed that in a media landscape where most "returns" of this sort are a repackaging either explicitly or seemingly barely concealed in the hopes of a wider media deal. This is more about making comics, which is nice. And certainly the character is still around through a high-end reprint offering (pictured), which indicates a passionate interest on a certain level that should serve a new comic. If anything, a smaller fanbase means that self-publishing makes a lot more sense -- you can count on fans seeking out the title, and you get to keep a higher percertage of monies received on the title.

I would also think since this has an air of a last go-around on the title that the stories may have a more dramatic soap opera edge than the series in an open ended run might have enjoyed. And, as always, Steve Rude is an artist of integrity, interest and skill.
 
posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Graphic Novelists To Present At Bryn Mawr

History
Garrison Keillor On Superman
Football Gag 50-Year Anniversary Was 11/16

Industry
Brian Hibbs: Selling to Civilians; Marvel Ads

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: David Aja
Wizard: Warren Ellis
Wizard: Niko Henichon
Nerve: Marjane Satrapi
Newsarama: Mark Millar
Deseret News: Dave Sim
ComicBloc: David Peterson
Newsarama: Bart Thompson
Forbidden Planet: Mara Joustra
Tales of Wonder: Jim McLauchlin

Not Comics
Crumb Suite For The Piano
Cool-Looking Jason Miles T-Shirt Design

Publishing
Next Jason Cover
DC Claims 2nd Printing for Action Comics #844

Reviews
Jog: Blade #3
Bryan Munn: Gilded Lilies
Shaenon Garrity: Monster
Christopher Butcher: Shirtlifter #1
Ryan Rutherford: Godland, Rocketo
Don MacPherson: Birds of Prey #100
Michael Fischetti: Superman Confidential #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Yakitate!! Japan Book 2
Christopher Butcher: The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 1
 

 
November 16, 2006


Azeri Journalists Jailed For Reprinting The Danish Muhammed Cartoons

Two journalists have been found guilty in an Azeri court for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed from Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper that led to riots earlier this year.

Writer Rafika Tagi and editor Samira Sadagatogli were sentenced to two months in a detention facility under the official charge of "using their profession to stir up racial hatred." The cartoons were re-run in Senet on November 1 in support of an article by Tagi entitled "Europe and Us," critical of Islam and Muhammed. Protestors had reportedly demanded death sentences.

This article -- with different spellings on a couple of the names and mention of a two-year sentence -- makes some interesting points: that Azerbaijan is a Western ally in the war on terror; that it is one of only two Muslim countries to send troops to Iraq, that the current political climate is that of resistance to radical Islam, which many feel is an import from more highly politicized countries; and that Sadagatogli had apologized on Azeri television.
 
posted 8:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Georgia v. Gordon Lee To Trial in 2007

imageThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) announced last night/this morning it's learned that last summer's motions to dismiss Georgia v. Gordon Lee have been denied, with a trial on deck for early 2007.

Prosecutors had filed a second indictment against Lee in July after earlier and suddenly alleging the facts of the case had changed, primarily that there were now two minors involved in a Halloween 2004 giveaway that saw Alternative Comics #2 accidentally given out as part of the civic event.

The CBLDF will now prepare for trial after a lengthy ramp-up during which they successfully rid the comics retailer of five of the seven original counts, including the felonies faced. The Fund announced that $72,000 has been spent so far.

Please consider donating to the Fund in support of the case. This is terrible law, poorly applied, with horrific ramifications, stemming from an incident that in a better world would have been handled with a phone call and judicious use of a family trash can. In addition to their web site, you can donate by calling 800-99-CBLDF, or by mailing to 271 Madison Ave, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10016.

On a brighter note, I hadn't noticed until now that Nick Bertozzi's The Salon, pages of which were reprinted in Alternative Comics #2 and were susquently the subject of the complaint, has a release date and a few pages -- for adults! -- up for perusal.
 
posted 8:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Gene Yang’s Night Out at the NBAs

Photo and report here. Gene Yang's American Born Chinese lost its divisional tussle at the National Book Awards to a book with a ten thousand word title. Yang's was the first comic nominated for this award.
 
posted 6:32 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Paul Rigby, 1924-2006

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The Australian editorial cartoonist Paul Rigby, aka "Rigby," a fixture at the New York Post and New York Daily News during the 1980s and a revered figure in his home country of Australia, died last night following a massive heart attack earlier Wednesday. He was 82 years old.

Born in Melbourne, Rigby began worked as a commercial artist at the age of 15. He later became a veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force and served during World War II in the African and European theaters. He progressed from illustrator to full-time editorial cartoonist by 1952. In the 1960s, Rigby joined the ranks of his country's most-honored cartoonists, winning Walkley Awards (the Australian equivalent to the Pulitzer) in 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1968 and 1969. His cartoons, marked by a super-lush, almost luxuriant approach to the visuals, were published in both Perth's Daily News and Sydney's Daily Mirror.

In 1969, Rigy headed to London to work for Rupert Murdoch and then back home before heading off to New York, again to work with Murdoch, in what was supposed to be a six-month stint that ended up lasting several years. He worked for the Post until 1984 and then the New York Daily News until 1992, a period during which he won a New York Press Club Award (1981), and a Newspaper Guild Page One Award (1982). One of the most-traveled cartoonists of his generation, Rigby settled down in Margaret River, Western Australia.

A "Lion In Winter"-style profile can be found here. A lovely gallery of work from the artist at the height of his powers can be found here.

Burial plans are pending. He is survived by a wife and a son, Bay Rigby the cartoonist.

caption: "And another thing, your Majesty, it was murder for Yoko at love-in time."
 
posted 5:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Wizard’s Man Of The Year: Joe Quesada

Marvel Comics' driving force gets the superhero-focused Wizard magazine's year-end award for his role in driving the latest top-end direct market (hobby and comics shops) sales revival with the Civil War crossover.

In your face, Muhammed!
 
posted 5:17 am PST | Permalink
 

 
100% Sell-Through Now Guaranteed

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I'm pretty sure the last book to cover-blurb from this site was Wimbledon Green.
 
posted 4:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Thank You, Mr. Mailman…

Comics I got in the mail yesterday:

image* The new ACME Novelty Library, Chris Ware
* ARCs for Aya and Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds
* Curses, Kevin Huizenga
* Ninja, Brian Chippendale
* Paperclip Komics #1, Henry G. Anima II
* Popeye Volume One: I Yam What I Yam, EC Segar
* This Will All End In Tears, Joe Ollman

A bunch of recent comics for $.25 each, including serial work from Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, and Brian Bendis.

If anyone out there would like to disagree with me when I say comics are the greatest things ever, I will fight you.
 
posted 4:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
James Sturm at Appalachian State 11/30
Kambiz Derambakhsh: Tehran Exhibit 12/15
UC Riverside Panel May Touch on Danish Cartoons

History
The Robert Ripley Story

Industry
E&P on AAEC's Fight Against Blogger Cartoon Abuse

Interviews/Profiles
OhMyNews: James Buchanan

Not Comics
The Cranberries Have A Cartoonist?

Publishing
Blue Dragon: The Manga
Big Head Press Announce La Muse

Reviews
Davida Marion: Lost Girls
Don MacPherson: Civil War #5
Erik Weems: Batman #655-658
Erik Weems: Superman Confidential #1
Sterfish: Lions and Tigers and Crocs, Oh My!
Johanna Draper Carlson: Alec: How to Be an Artist
Johanna Draper Carlson: Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators
 

 
November 15, 2006


If I Were In Berkeley, I’d Go To This

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posted 4:34 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Questions on ComicsPRO Revisited

In a short posting Monday about DC Comics giving $5000 to the retailer group ComicsPRO, I wondered out loud about what I considered a smallish membership figure of 80 retailers with 120 storefronts. I asked for commentary. Eight retailers were nice enough to write me, but only three for attribution. Christopher Butcher's comment can be found in the original link. Below are the other two, including Joe Field's, which I guess counts as sort of an official response. Thanks to everyone who wrote in to hash out the issues with me.

*****

Kenny Penman, Director Internet Sales, Forbidden Planet International

I think i share many of the issues that were expressed by Chris Butcher regarding what it means to non-US based retailers in that the things that look like they would have real value - Health insurance and Credit Card processing assistance and discounting simply won't apply to overseas based business. I'd also point out that I don't think we have ever actually been approached to join - which makes one feel that the organisers of CPRO themselves haven't yet seen a big advantage for those not in the US. I read most of the comics mags and trade publications, perhaps i'm blinkered to them but I don't remember seeing that much advertsing presence.

As you yourself mention - mentoring is I suspect considered a pretty flawed concept for all the reasons you state. We have had many ex-employees leave and set up stores over the years - I have no real problem with that - it's the way the world works - but do you want to put all the tools of your business in their hands? Where is the gain? A stronger retail market for mainstream comics with more stable players? Perhaps, but if the mainstream comics pie is finite - and given artifically produced fluctutations it surely is -- aren't you just potentially cutting of your own potential customer base? Oh, and those who have left us to set up on their own - some went on to run excellent shops, some failed.

I also find the CPRO website opaque and a little draconian in it's rules and regs. I understand that you can't run an organisation without rules but i'd rather be sold on the concept by a listing of the retailers who had joined up (something i can't find easily anywhere on the site) and their endorsements, than the fact you can be drummed out for all sorts of reasons and lots of talk of making your payments. Given that many comics store owners will be non-joiners by nature I doubt this sounds attractive. It takes a certain maturity, I think, to read articles and bylaws and see past them being the trappings of 'the man' to the fact that the goals of the organisation would be worthwhile.

I also think that there is a definite slant towards mainstream comics - which is all well and proper, as that is where the sales are, but shouldn't the organisation be looking to provide services where it would really count, in growing the non-mainstream market. I think anyone can be a retailer of mainstream comics, I think it is a lot harder to see a route through indy and small press comics but that may be where the future of the business lies. Given the aging demographic for mainstream superhero comics and the success of stores like the Beguiling and Meltdown who appear, to me at least, to walk a path unfamilar to many of the CPRO directors that seems a possible shortcoming. Of course everything in time could be covered by a focoused organisation.

I think if I was a US retailer I would have joined up, if for no other reason than the directors of CPRO include Joe Field and Brian Hibbs - who with Free Comic Book Day and the Marvel late ship settlement have done as much for the US retail comics community as the rest of us put together - are people who deserve your support. They have pulled rabbits out of hats before - they may well do again.

Of course the problems come when the directors no longer stay at the Holiday Inn when they go to San Diego but use the Four Seasons (i'm not sure if either are in SD actually but you get my point) as representatives of CPRO. Then there will be many worrying that an organisation set up for the benefit of all, gives perks to the few. My position on that being is if they brought us all 1/2% increase to our discounts they could stay at the Four Seasons everywhere.

*****

Joe Field ComicsPRO President, Flying Colors Comics, Concord CA

Thanks for posting the link to the ComicsPRO press release. Now to address your concerns and questions:

"... the organization has at the approximate one-year point "more than 80 member retailers comprising nearly 120 storefront locations." That seems kind of low to me, especially given the unique status of the organization."

First, and I'll take the heat for it, ComicsPRO has not done a good enough job asking retailers to join. Board members have made phone calls and talked with other retailers at cons and trade shows, but we haven't had nearly enough sign-ups yet. On the other hand, ComicsPRO already is largest ever comics' trade group, including previous efforts by the Direct Line Group, Comic Book Retailers International and PACER (Professional Association of Comic Entertainment Retailers, if I'm recalling correctly).

"Is it the mentoring program that keeps people away?"

I really doubt it. Part of our mentoring program was the panel we did in San Diego, "So You Want to Be a Comics' Retailer?". We had standing room only at that panel, and at least with the prospective retailers I talked with one on one, none of them were currently comic shop employees wanting to strike out on their own.

The ComicsPRO mentoring program is all about trying to grow the number of "good" stores, to give prospective retailers the info to make solid business decisions about opening a comics' specialty store.

"Is it the $300 per year dues?"

The dues could be an issue, but our benefits definitely make the dues an investment, not an expense. ComicsPRO retailers taking advantage of our preferential credit card processing deal report saving their dues in as little as the first month alone. Some are saving in the low four figures per year on the credit card plan.

"Do people think they'll join later when the organization is bigger and more effective in a kind of monkey's-paw logic?"

There will always be fence-sitters, those who wait for something to become big before they jump in. There are those who will also create new reasons not to join. Others are simply not joiners. And, as Chris Butcher did point out, our benefits are primarily for U.S. retailers at this point. Not by design, but most industries (credit card processing, health plans, etc) don't have one-size-fits-all programs for all of North America.

"Why wouldn't a store want to join up?"
Whatever reasons you may hear from retailers, there are a few primary reasons why retailers wouldn't join:

1) They haven't been asked. If anyone wants to be asked, just send an e-mail to info@ComicsPRO.org, and we'll be happy to give you a call to get in the group, OK?
2) There's a "What's in it for me?" mentality. Many retailers still don't realize that unless we start working together in substantial ways, our specialty market will not move ahead the way it should. We need to do a lot of work now to secure the future of the specialty market for all retailers.
3) ComicsPRO is very much a grass-roots' effort. We really want members who actively want to work for progress in the specialty retail sector. Maybe the prospect of being asked to do something active with their membership does scare off some retailers.
4) Retailers are by nature control freaks. In our stores, we're all chiefs and none of us is an indian. It's tough for many control-freak retailers to trust an organization to represent their interests. I have to tell you, though, in the formative stages of ComicsPRO, the board has been all about doing selfless work for the service of fellow retailers, in the hopes we can make a difference for all specialty market comics' retailers.

*****

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
posted 4:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: John P.‘s “Ten Records”

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You might have to scroll around a bit after clicking through the image, but even the John Porcellino features they're probably right to take out of the forthcoming book are worth that kind of small hassle.
 
posted 3:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
A Little Interview Round-Up

Three amusing interviews brought to my attention this morning within five minutes of each other:

* John Kricfalusi on cartooning... and the ladies.

* Howard Chaykin on Gil Kane... and the proper way to disrespect Kyle Rayner.

* Robert Mankoff on ping pong... and bowling.
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Herb Trimpe To Mid-Ohio Con

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I know Herb Trimpe's decision to attend a convention in Columbus after earlier opting out isn't really news of the kind this site generally concerns itself, but I'll take any opportunity to post one of Herb Trimpe's cool-looking Incredible Hulk covers, which I enjoy as one of the better efforts in that second, underrated wave of effective Marvel cover art (aka Marvel's last period of effective cover art) featuring folks like Jim Steranko, Neal Adams and Barry Windsor-Smith.

I believe Trimpe's covers may have been heavily art-directed by Marie Severin, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that. It doesn't help matters I couldn't tell a Marie Severin-drawn Hulk cover from a Marie Severin-designed, Herb Trimpe-drawn Hulk cover if my life depended on it. They're all fun to look at, though.
 
posted 1:32 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Thoughts Department

Analysis and commentary I'll likely regret later:

* In a way, I'm impressed if Wizard World: Texas really did break into five figures attendance-wise, as a) no one's figured out how to do a Fall show yet, and b) that division of Wizard's business has been operating without its main organizers since they were let go after Wizard World: Chicago. Drawing 50 percent of projected crowds is never a good thing, but a) those are old-regime projections and new-regime attendance figures and b) Wizard has always overestimated attendance in its relentlessly laughable pre-show hype so if we were to hold that standard as an expectation, every Wizard con has been a crushing failure.

* You know, the convention division of Wizard Entertainment sure ain't healthy. The loss of momentum it used to stake a place in the comics convention business seemingly at odds with the slow, tidal shift in comics represented by manga's rise and the success of comics in bookstores can be traced through its abortive attempt to find a place in the Southeast to hold a show and all the way back to getting snaked by Reed Exhibitions on putting up a New York show, a move that seemed at one point the inevitable Next Big Step for the superhero-focused company. But the situation sure ain't hopeless, either. Not yet. When you fail to do really fundamental things to support your events, like make a focused effort to lock into place local and regional press coverage, there's always a chance to set things onto firmer ground by ensuring such things get done. The key for Wizard will be not getting caught up in having the biggest conventions around, and stabilizing each stop as a worthwhile regional show. Another key: pressing their advantage as a better overall place for comics retailers, a notion that was all the talk in 2005.

* DC hires Sue Pohja into Rich Johnson's vacated position. I think this may give DC a full hand when it comes to a restructured sales and marketing division of which efforts to overhaul and refocus began about 22 months ago. What jumped out at me, though, when reading ICv2.com's mini-inquiry in their article as to how exactly how Pohja would be working with "toys and collectibles" is how this kind of promotion plays to her displayed bookstore strengths in any way. Could DC's retaining certain non-comics parts of their business within their walls and not elsewhere in the Time Warner empire ultimately hinder publishing specialists?

* I think I support the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists' effort to crack down on the use of editorial cartoons by bloggers. I sure hope the AAEC shares my take on "fair use," though, or I'm likely to butt heads with them. But yeah, running an editorial cartoon to just run an editorial cartoon or to run an editorial cartoon as an illustration for an article about, for instance, an issue shared by cartoon and article, those things aren't really covered.

* I can't find a way to spin Platinum naming former Top Cow and Wizard mainstay and current Hero Initiative head honcho Jim McLauchlin as Editor-In-Chief of its on-line and print comic books division into snark without dredging up now-standard material about its phantom comics production as the publisher that pursued movie deals without the hassle of actually making comics. Even though I can't imagine I'll personally care for a lot of the material that results, for some strange reason I find myself wanting Platinum to publish rather than not to publish. And with that goal in mind, McLauchlin's a more than solid choice.

* I did, however, puke something yellow onto my arm when I saw that McLauchlin's 13 years in the business makes him a "longtime industry vet." I haven't felt old quite like that since someone mentioned Joyce Hyser is 48. Thanks, Milton!
 
posted 1:17 am PST | Permalink
 

 
AP Summary Piece on Marshall, Missouri Challenge to Pair of Graphic Novels

imageThere's nothing new in this Associated Press piece on the debate in Marshall, Missouri whether or not to have Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Craig Thompson's Blankets on their shelves despite brief elements that may not be suitable for young children, but it's nice to have all of it in one place. The fact there is an AP article on the matter underlines the importance of the story, which the piece places in suitable context: libraries and graphic novels are a new relationship, an important one for each group, and one that was inevitable given libraries' pursuit of non-prose materials and comics' literary flowering. With that in mind, at one point a challenge to comics material was bound to break a little more widely so that the issues of suitability and what a library should do with graphic fiction and how we approach unfamiliar art could be explored. Here we are.

The article is way too evenhanded to dig into the merits of the "pornography" claim, the seemingly two-pronged nature of the objection as stated in the quote from the objecting party, and unfortunate things like the fact that as much as you can have a fair and open process, having such a process gets those books off the shelves if only for the duration of said process -- whether or not that's a laudatory or limiting stance is up to the individual reader.
 
posted 12:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
1939 Dandy Reprint Draws Complaint Because of Multiple Racist References

The BBC reports on a reader complaint reaching DC Thomson over their reprint of a 1939 annual. According to the complaint, from a Winston Walker, the comic contains the word "nigger" and minstreals in black face. Mr. Walker was joined by the Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance in calling for the annual to be removed from stores.

DC Thomson's response seems to be an extremely measured entreaty that says original work shouldn't be altered and that the work was of its time; further, people know this doesn't reflect current values. They are buttressed by "Dundee-based comic expert Douglas Hill," which, if I can be allowed to interject, may be the greatest description of anyone, ever.
 
posted 12:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friedel Stern, 1917-2006

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The pioneering Israeli cartoonist Friedel Stern died October 29 in Tel Aviv, sending into mourning generations of fans as well as cartoonists who learned from her duing a 30-year teaching career. The cause was cardiac arrest. Stern was 89 years old.

Born in Leipzig, Friedel came to Palestine in 1938 to take agricultural classes, thus missing out on the horrors of the Nazi regime that would end her mother's life. Stern served with the British Army in Palestine during World War II. After the war, she staked out a career in illustration and cartooning. She published in newspapers and magazines, depicting daily life through her unique perspective as a German Jew and as a multi-lingual observer of the mass waves of immigration into Israel. She published books, became a well-known educator and was a lively speaker.

Well known for her personal vitality, she was apparently a regular visitor to the BD festival in Limoges. Her obituary reports that Stern was awarded the Dosh prize two years ago for outstanding caricature. In 2005 she showed work in Leipzig's "Karicartoon Biennale," a show she attended reluctantly but gave in as it marked the 60th anniversary of the freeing of the concentration camps.

Her caricatures are to be archived by the Association of Israeli Cartoonists.

cartoon titled "Adam and Eve (Do You Remember?)"
 
posted 12:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Stephff Exhibits In Thailand
PWCW: Golden Age Of Comics Panel Report
Report From Belly Dancing/Comics Convention

History
Morbius Is Lame
In Praise of Bill Mantlo
Another Round of Jim Shooter Rehabilitation

Industry
PWCW: Earth2 Shop Profiled
Tom Batiuk Wins Cancer Society Honor
PWCW: Gigantic Graphic Novels Profiled
Massud Shojaei-Tabatabaii Wins Syrian Contest


Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Steven Grant
The Pulse: Daniel Schaffer
Newsarama: Kevin Church
Scotsman.com: Frank Boyle
Newsarama: Grant Morrison

Not Comics
Why Mike Bullock Writes Comics
Comics Characters Conquer Culture

Publishing
Profile of New Trek Comics Effort
How A Marvel Comic Book Is Made
PWCW: Larry Gonick's 2007 Publishing Plans
E&P Profiles Lowell Sun's Community Comics Page

Reviews
Dana Rae: To Dance
David Welsh: 12 Days
Leroy Douresseaux: Happy Feet
Bill Sherman: American Splendor
Derik A Badman: The 9-11 Report
Jog: The Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M #4
Rebecca Swain: Absolute Sandman Volume One
 

 
November 14, 2006


Priest Murder During Cartoon Protests A Mistake, Says Convicted Youth At Trial

Testimony was released earlier today in the case of a 16-year-old Turkish youth that shot and killed Roman Catholic Priest Father Andrea Santoro at the height of tensions caused by protests and political manuevering due to the publication of Muhammed caricatures in a newspaper in Denmark. Apparently, the youth testified that he wished only to scare the priest by shooting a Jesus icon on the wall behind him while he prayed.
"I meant to shout 'Allah-u Aqbar' (Allah is Great) and frighten the priest by shooting the Jesus icon on the wall. The priest was praying at that moment. I closed my eyes with my hand and fired the gun with my other hand. When I realised that I shot the priest, I was shocked, and I asked myself 'Did I kill the man?' and felt deep regret," said the boy according to an excerpt of his testimony published by the daily Sabah.

The court did not find this or other evidence convincing, and found him guilty last month and sentenced him to 18 years and ten months. The boys' parents are appealing.

As the article notes, no direct links were found between the cartoon protests and the murder. Even if the only connection was in the timing, the news that a priest had been shot by a Muslim youth was one of the stories that definitely gave last February's more directly cartoon-related political efforts and public protesting an even more terrifying end-of-the-world vibe than they might have had otherwise, and I think had an influence on the tenor of press coverage for several days there.
 
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Marc Weidenbaum Promoted At Viz

imageMarc Weidenbaum has been named Vice President, Magazines and Editor-in-Chief of Shonen Jump Shojo Beat. The notice at ActiveAnime.com seems to point at his success with a series of magazines spotlight Naruto as a major accomplishment of Weidenbaum's time at Viz. He has previously held the position of Managing Editor of Shonen Jump and Editorial Director. If I remember my brief convention conversations with Weidenbaum, he's a genuine fan of the cartoonists featured in Viz's magazines, which is usually a beneficial thing when it comes to sustaining sales success over time.

Weidenbaum may be best known to hardcore North American comics enthusiasts as the longtime editor at Tower Records' Pulse! responsible for some of their strong comics content in the 1990s; the harder than hardcore may even remember an early comics-focused site/blog that given the strength of Weidenbaum's writing when it appears would certainly have become one of the highly-trafficked ones if continued. A comics version of this would have been boss.
 
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Maldivian Press Freedoms In Context

With Ahmed Abbass serving a six month prison sentence for statement made two years ago in a magazine article, readers might be interested in a snapshot of struggles for press freedom in the Maldives. I like how some of the abuse comes down to the relatively small size of the nation, as in everybody knows everybody, and sending message through unrelated acts, as in everybody knows everybody's friends and family. Jailing on the magazine statement when what was at issue were the cartoons is what might have happened to Abbass.
 
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It’s A Comics Interview Round-Up!

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* Despite a description that makes it sound like you're getting content from the future, I think I may have totally spaced out on this Faster Than Light podcast featuring Grant Stone talking to Eddie Campbell about The Fate of the Artist, but Campbell's one of the fine comics conversationalists out there, and there's a lot to talk about with that book. Plus an R. Crumb review! What could be better?

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* There's a solid interview with Monte Beauchamp of Blab! at a place called Get Underground, which I like most of all because of its accuracy in tracing the vocational aspects of working in and around comics and illustration: the sense of doing this project, than that project, than changing it, than working here and then here. You don't usually get to see that kind of career path with someone who's not primarily a comics creator, and Beauchamp's is certainly distinguished.

image* Patti Edgington at The Grand Rapids Press gets a jump with one of the big publishing stories of next year -- Lynn Johnston's retirement of For Better or For Worse -- with a focused interview. Johnston spoils April's character arc, and says she still has plans for the characters, just not soap opera with them aging in real time. The scramble for the 2000 open slots when Johnston puts her successful strip to rest should certainly be something to watch, with or without a kind of re-run offering from Johnston as some people take her hints here.
 
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Happy 33rd Birthday, Anders Nilsen!

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Latest Batch of Xeric Recipients

One of the Great Things In Comics, the Xeric Foundation, announced the latest recipients of its donation designed to encourage self-publishing by making self-publishing possible on a specific project. Some figures via the PR:

* Total Given Out: $25,606 to six projects.
* Total Given Out (Lifetime): $1.75 million (includes the charitable donation portion of the Foundation)
* Next Deadline: January 31, 2007
* Next Review Date: March 1, 2007
* Web Site

Grant Recipients:

* Joel White -- Bronzeville
* Gregory Corso -- And How
* Aron Nels Steinke -- Big Plans
* Toc Fetch -- Kids of Lower Utopia -- V6 No 1 -- Of Softdoor Scout Finnagain and Daffodil Dash Eleven
* Joshua Hagler -- The Boy Who Made Silence
* James Vining -- First in Space

I took one look at the name "Gregory Corso" and decided not to google links for fear it would drive me insane. Sorry. Heidi did, though.

Also: Vining's book was subsequently picked up by Oni Press, so he will apparently not use grant funds.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go Meet Girls & Sports
Cartoon America Report
Newsarama: Wizard World Texas Report

Industry
FoxTrot Most Popular In Pittsburgh
Fell Format Now Tagged As Slimline
FoxTrot Spelled Without Space, Reporter Learns
Detroit Free Press Profiles Christian Comic Books

Interviews/Profiles
Paul Gravett: Hugo Pratt
The Pulse: Kazimir Strzepek

Not Comics
Trend In Editorial Cartooning: Animation

Publishing
Freshmen II To Launch DrunkDuck.com
Marvel's New Universe Revamp Previewed
Mary Lawton Subs On Rhymes With Orange

Reviews
Dan Traeger: Shatter
Leroy Douressseaux: Ra-I
Chris Butcher: Kampung Boy
Johanna Draper Carlson: Pinned!
Hervé St-Louis: Birds of Prey #99
Polash Larsen: The Fate Of The Artist
Paul Gravett: Al Williamson Adventures
Johanna Draper Carlson: Dramacon Book 2
Johanna Draper Carlson: Totally Spies Books 1 and 2
 

 
November 13, 2006


ComicsPRO Gets $5K From DC Comics

imageA couple of people e-mailed me a link to this press release reprinted at The Pulse announcing DC Comics' mid-four-figure support of Comics Professional Retail Organization (ComicsPRO). I'm all for the big companies supporting industry institutions, and I'm all for the basic aims of ComicsPRO as they've been described to me by various core members, all folks whom I like and admire.

That being said, the most interesting part of the release to me is the fact that the organization has at the approximate one-year point "more than 80 member retailers comprising nearly 120 storefront locations." That seems kind of low to me, especially given the unique status of the organization. Is it the mentoring program that keeps people away? I know that a lot of retailers anecdotally describe mentoring less as a chance to get a store in Silver City, New Mexico where there hasn't been one in ten years and more of a way that ex-employees end up with comic shops down the street. Is it the $300 per year dues? Do people think they'll join later when the organization is bigger and more effective in a kind of monkey's-paw logic? Are comics shop owners just not joiners? Or is it something deeper, perhaps a mistrust that a single unified voice is going to do some stores as much good as others?

I'd love to hear from anybody who has ideas about this, either on or off the record. Why wouldn't a store want to join up?

And if that's not a low number, and I'll happily take angry or not-angry letters to that effect as well, doesn't a slow build or one with a ceiling speak directly to the viability of ComicsPRO's first stated goal, as a basis for "retailers to speak with a single, strong voice on important industry issues"?

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

Christopher Butcher, Manager of The Beguiling in Toronto, Canada:

The last time that I was approached for membership, in a non-specific "hey you should join up!" sort of way, there seemed to be no benefit for non-American retailers. The focus going forward was on developing benefits very specifically for American retailers as well, and aside from providing a seemingly worthwhile organisation with operating capital I couldn't figure out what I as a Canadian retailer would get with my membership dues. For U.S Retailers though the financial benefits definitely seemed to be there, so I'm kind of puzzled as to why their membership is only at 80 retailers.

*****
 
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Mizanur Rahman Re-Trial on Charge of Inciting Murder Confirmed In News

Although Crown authorities declared outright their intention to do so at the time of Danish Cartoons protest Mizanur Rahman's conviction of race hatred charges last week, this morning's wire reports made it official: the 23-year-old web designer will be re-tried on the incitement to murder charge that resulted in a hung jury the first time around.

Beyond the dramatic nature of such a trial, I think these outcomes are important to the wider story of the Danish Cartoon Controversy because it shows that the emphasis of at least one government's reaction to protests has less to do with the abstract principles of what the press will and should allow and the proper way to treat mamber of different religions and more to do with direct political realities of the blowing up kind. For a lot of people, this means when someone calls for attacks on home soil it puts them in the mind of, well, actual attacks that have happened on home soil, not how the rhetoric builds off of a newspaper suite of cartoons several months earlier. This Daily Mirror editorial, agree or disagree with it, unpacks that position pretty forcefully.
 
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Missed It: Lio’s Sales Achievement

imageI blew right past this story about Mark Tatulli's Lio feature reaching the 150-client sales mark when it first appeared, but on second read-throught I think it's worth noting for a few reasons. One, successful strip launches are becoming tougher and tougher -- there are ton of reasons why, but I do think it's specifically hard right now. Two, Lio's journey hasn't been all smooth sailing, and there were definitely papers that dropped it. So for it to grow past its approximately 100-client launch says a lot about the strip's strengths; it's not just benefiting from outside factors. Three, I find it remarkable that these kind of sales figures and comparisons are part of a formal press release, which I think says something about the way coverage of the strip business has changed in the past few years.
 
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Non-Western Culture As Basis Of A New Comic Book Publishing Line Update

* This meditation on Indian comics effort that almost reads like a puff piece for Virgin Comics but actually never mentions that company's name has a couple of between-the-line moments: the first is an admission that other culture have a huge head start and you therefore may not be able to force your way to a comics tradition no matter how much PR you have at your disposal, and that Virgin may be looking at Devi as their flagship.

* The AK line of Middle-Eastern superheroes will switch from pamphlet to graphic novels only, ICv2.com reported late last week. While the immediate reaction might be to call this another nail in the coffin for traditional comic book formats, my gut tells me it's more a sign of rejection of AK's not-great comics on a content basis, with the default position being the trade format (your other two options are to go to the Web or to have a Platinum-style stable with more plans for publication than actual publication), which offers better economics at such low sales interest.
 
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OTBP: Glomp

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Issues of this Finnish comix anthology, including this latest, can be found at Rick Bradford's Poopsheet shop.
 
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Joey Manley Announces WCN Free

Joey Manley is offering a free iteration of his Webcomics Nation hosting service through a link found in this lengthy post, a post that might be in a few places by now, I'm not certain. According to the post, this is possible in part because of plummeting prices for bandwidth and storage, and because Manely wants to see his site assume the rough status of a LiveJournal or a Flickr.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Doug Murray!

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source: CBG
 
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Library Material Selection Meetings Underway In Marshall, Missouri

A couple of readers have written in to remind that there are indeed now weekly meetings concerning the Marshall, Missouri library, with weekly updates as to their progress. The library board came up with the solution of meetings to determine a material selection policy because a patron asked that Craig Thompson's Blankets and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home be removed from the shelves for brief, frank moments of adult or near-adult initimacy or intimations and suggestions thereof. This effectively removes the books from the shelves during the process, but also allows for a deeper consideration of what should and shouldn't be there, which may lead to a more considered apprecation of the graphic novels' literary merit as opposed to a "comics book with what in them? what? what?" summary decision.

David Welsh has followed this story closely since its top-of-blog-updates time in the sun a few weeks back.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibitions/Events
Keith Knight In Seattle 11/16
Mike Luckovich Loves His Job
WonderCon Firms Up Guest List
Review of Australia's Tezuka Show
Gamal Hennessy To Speak In Albany
Report From SCAD's Comics Art Forum
Strip Contingent Headed to Mid-Ohio Con
New York Comic-Con To Host American Anime Awards
I May Have Subconsciously Missed This One On Purpose

Industry
Growth Of A Manga Shop In Guam
Publisher Plans Free Furry Comic Day

Interviews/Profiles
Wizard: Ed Brubaker
OC Register: Ruben Fernandez
Contra Costa Times: Gene Yang
Jim Borgman Praises Jeff Stahler
Grand Rapids Press: Tony Benedict

Not Comics
Strangest Spin-Off Ever
Jack Palance As Darkseid?
Missing Woman Found At PA Comic Shop
Doctor Needs To Update Her Diet Metaphor

Publishing
Aaron Taylor Has A Blog
Beano Annual Under Assault By Dr. Who
Boldman, DeStefano Tapped For WWN Feature
Single Asian Female Boasts Of Unique Perspective
Simon Jones of Icarus Analyzes Lost Girls To Canada

Reviews
Mark Allen: Iron West
Myles Smith: Big Fat Little Lit
Don MacPherson: Bullet Points #1
Don MacPherson: Action Figure #1
Bill Sherman: PhD: Phantasy Degree
Kenny Penman: Buenaventura Press Round-Up
Chris Watson: The Long Chalkboard and Other Stories
 

 
November 12, 2006


CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Preview of Wednesday's Brian Chippendale and Julie Doucet Book Launch
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*****

Go, Look: Massive Profile of Dark Horse in NYT
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*****

Five Link A Go Go

* the cartoonist Joe Matt has a very cheerful MySpace profile

* awwwww...

* count me among those that had no idea Karl Wills had a blog

* no one can resist the charm of these Manolo Prieto color book designs that start a third of the way down the page (link so widespread, it had to be Drawn!)

* by measure of widespread popular acclaim, the comics-related link of the week

*****

Go, Look: Darwyn Cooke's Criterion Covers
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*****

Go, Look: Syd Shores Cover Gallery
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*****

First Thought Of The Day
I'll admit keeping rolls of toilet paper in the bar fridge until just before use probably wasn't the best idea I ever had, but I would have been a lesser man for not giving it a go.
 
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November 11, 2006


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from November 4 to November 10, 2006:

1. Mizanur Rahman found guilty in London for inciting racial violence in Danish cartoons protest last February.

2. Moroccan authorities criticized for visits to family of cartoonist no longer living in the country that happens to be contributing illustrations to newspaper critical of Moroccan political corruption.

3. Lost Girls clears Canadian Customs.

Winners Of The Week
Comics readers.

Losers Of The Week
Anyone who went to the comics shop featured in this article who might have had some fond memories spoiled.

Quote Of The Week
"Now if you'll excuse me, I've got 41,000 wounded soldiers coming over to the office and I've got to get the coffee and donuts ready." -- Editorial Cartoonist Randy Bish with a humorous response to criticism of a Purple Heart cartoon he did.

this is a top five comic book title
 
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Happy 63rd Birthday, Dave Cockrum!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Lewis Trondheim!

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November 10, 2006


And Now A Few Words About Comics, Two of Them Being Holy And Crap

So I'm looking at my inbox about 1:30 this afternoon, and I like anime, and I like a lot of the cartoonists who are going to be making appearances, and I really like con guest lists and support cons in general, and I adore giveaways and babies and TV deals and I even like Spider-Man movies, and I promise they'll all find some room here at the site but HOLY FREAKING CRAP A BUNCH OF GREAT COMICS ARE OUT. Look! Look! Look! Tell me there are three better experiences than going to the store or a web site or your mailbox and having a chance to read the following:

*****

A Super-Classy Presentation of a Top 10 All-Time Comic

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Popeye Volume 1: I Yam What I Yam, EC Segar, Fantagraphics, $29.95, 1560977795

On top of the strip's overall awesomeness, Popeye is the third greatest character of all time and Wimpy is the greatest, although I'm not sure Wimpy shows up early enough to make this book. Thimble Theatre is such a great strip that after reading it you'll distrust all other art forms for hours after you close the book, because surely they cannot be as absorbing and funny and weird and great as Thimble Theatre.

*****

A Major, Popular Cartoonist Returns With New Work

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Elle Humour, Julie Doucet, PictureBox, $39.95, 1584232463

How many questions about today's comics industry and comics community shenanigans can be answered, "I don't care; where's the new Julie Doucet book?" Pretty much all of them.

*****

A Fun Book From Someone You've Never Read Before

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The Mourning Star, Kaz Strzepek, Bodega, $13, 0977767914

A Cobalt 60 for the post-Fort Thunder generation.

*****

It wasn't even five years ago when one of these experiences in a month or two was a rare enough thing you went to the comic shop the second you heard about any one of them, no matter how tired or poor you were. You just went. Today, you not only have the above, you have substitute examples for each of the above, you have Ignatz books and hand-sewn comics, you have a half-dozen or so decent mainstream serials, you have upscale re-formattings of rock solid mainstream performers, you have people offering up Dick Briefer reprints out of left field, you have a Brian Chippendale comic to go buy, and you have dozens of manga series worth sampling. It's all quite ridiculous, thank you very much. It's all quite wonderful, too.

It's easy to forget that the foundation for everything else that's important about comics are works of art that enlighten and entertain, not simply whatever news makes it to the top of yell-about-it mountain. These are pretty amazing times. Enjoy them. Read a comic!
 
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Mizanur Rahman Found Guilty In London’s Danish Cartoons Protest Trial

Ripping through wire reports comes news that Mizanur Rahman was convicted Thursday in London for "using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behavior with intent to sti racial hatred." The offense took place during a protest of the Danish Muhammed cartoons last February, in front of London's Danish embassy, where the 23-year-old graphic designer called for soldiers to return from Iraq in body bags, and for attacks to be made on Europe reminiscent of the September 11 attacks on New York City. Signage from the over 300 people protesting introduced as evidence called for beheadings.

British authorities will seek a retrial on a second, deadlocked charge of inciting murder. Rahman apologized for his behavior earlier this week, but this seemingly failed to impress a jury asked to look beyond their personal interpretation of events to see if serious crimes were committed.

This story is important a) because it's the first major conviction of someone involved in a Danish Cartoons protest of which I'm aware, and 2) I think it will allow people writing the histories to say that the protests were an excuse to attack western governments about more general, and perhaps more self-interested, concerns.
 
posted 1:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Who Would Be On Reggie’s Side?

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This extremely long interview with Archie Comics' Michael Silberkleit marks his answers as if coming from "Archie," which certainly means the corporation but comes across, at least subconsciously whenever I looked at it, as if we're hearing from Archie himself. It ends up being an odd and tightly-wound discussion, whether or not that was the intention, totally on message. It's funny that a company that has a reputation for making comics like it was 1957 would generate an interview that reads the same way.

Also: RIP Archie's Jalopy. I didn't know.
 
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Go, Read: Marvel Summary Analysis

I thought this Business Week article on Marvel's third quarter outlook was smart and to the point: both the positive and negative viewpoints are represented, and we're told where money is coming from and where it will come from next.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Neil Gaiman!

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Fantagraphics Invites You To Its Store’s Grand Opening On December 2

Fantgraphics will celebrate the grand opening of their Seattle store on December 2, with an appropriate line-up of art, guests, musicians and related comics events in the city. The store, already opened in an unofficial way, is worth tracking for its slightly different retail model and for its potential role as a comics show hub in the Pacific Northwest's biggest city. They're hoping some of the NW comics people will attend beyond those right in Seattle itself, so heads up. You could build a shopping weekend around it, and I'm pretty sure that a comics publisher cannot refuse a personal request made on the day of their store opening.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Very Funny Cartoonists Visit CCS
Photos From Drew Friedman LA Signing
Washington Post Reviews Cartoon America
Gene and Kim Deitch Tomorrow In New York

History
Webcomics 101
Bill Sherman On The Lure Of Manga

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Stan Sakai
The Pulse: Raina Telgemeier
Kevin Smith Chats With Stan Lee

Not Comics
Sandman! Venom! Hugging!
Comic Shop Car Crash Update
I'd Go Here If They Had A Sofa
Alan Moore to Voice Himself On Simpsons
Dame Darcy's Death By Doll West Coast Tour

Publishing
Styx Taxi Joins Chemistry Set
Pixelstrips.com Switches To Free
Viz Announces Conclusion of Ranma 1/2
Even Joe Matt's Publisher Notes Time Between Issues

Reviews
Jenni Moody: Ra-i
Ally Melling: The Boys
Alice Doyle: Roureville
Sheena McNeil: Bleach Vol. 15
Donna Bowman: Making Comics
AV Club: Comics of Note 110906
Jog: Eternals #5, 52, Wisdom #1
Sheena McNeil: Galaxy Angel Vol. 1
Jenni Moody: Tail of the Moon Vol. 1
Sheena McNeil: Haunted House Vol. 1
Sheena McNeil: The Drifting Classroom Vol. 2
Bob Minzeheimer: Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life
Leroy Douresseaux: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
 

 
November 9, 2006


Why Angouleme Is Still Angouleme

imageAs big as other festivals in other countries get, and as much as I love them all, I'm thinking Angouleme is still the only comics show where you're likely to see newspaper articles and lengthy comics press follow-up dissecting the color choice, design elements and potential hidden messages in a Lewis Trondheim-prepared poster for the event.
 
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Details on Cartoonist Ahmed Abbas’ Prison Sentence In The Maldives

This Asian Tribune article has specific details about the six-month prison sentence being served by cartoonist Ahmed Abbas in the Maldives, as well as plenty of contextual detail regarding the political harassment and general governmental crackdown in the region. Apparently, Abbas cliams not to have been served a summons for the trial in which he was convicted in absentia of "disobedience" for a statement he made critical of an "elite police unit." His situation came to light after wire services picked up on his arrest last week after being refused asylum and safe passage by a local UN office.
 
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Subtleties of Kerry Comment Cartoon Fail To Impress Wounded Vet Group

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While you and I might look at the above and see editorial cartoonist Randy Bish of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and see a comment on the towering mudheadedness of John Kerry's recent statement on education and Iraq by suggesting this sort of extreme statement is either implicit in what he says or can now be said for him against his expressed desire, the PR director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Ray Funderburk, sees someone making fun of the medal and its 40,000-plus recipients.

Daily Cartoonist assembled this first. Editor and Publisher had something this morning. The cartoonist responds in humorous fashion. All three sources give details of Funderburk's letter. The job of big paper editorial cartoonist become more like that of the small-town reverend with each passing day.
 
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November 8, 2006


Go, Read: Little Lulu Comic

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There's a 40 percent chance I've already linked to this, but I don't care.
 
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Lost Girls Clears Canadian Customs

Top Shelf sent out a press release yesterday that the relentlessly sexual Lost Girls has been cleared for importation into Canada. The text:
Top Shelf Productions is pleased to announce that the Canada Border Services Agency (Canada Customs) has formally cleared Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls for importation into Canada.

In a thoughtful letter from the agency, dated 27 October 2006, the CBSA stated that the "depictions and descriptions are integral to the development of an intricate, imaginative, and artfully rendered storyline," and that "the portrayal of sex is necessary to a wider artistic and literary purpose." They concluded with "Its importation into Canada is therefore allowed."

We're very grateful to the Canada Border Services Agency for their enlightened decision regarding Lost Girls, as well as to our Canadian attorney Darrel H. Pearson (of Gottlieb & Pearson) for helping us prepare the documents necessary to request a formal review of the work.

What this means is that the book will now be available to all Canadian retailers and fans as soon as the new printing arrives at our distributor (Diamond Book Distributors) in mid-December. This new printing will likely sell out in a single day, so please be sure to put your orders into the Diamond system as soon as you can, to make sure you get the copies you need.

It strikes me that it's gone extremely well for Top Shelf with Lost Girls thus far -- knock on wood -- to the point where any delays in getting books to certain markets because of potential litigation or going through a legal process has actually served the rolling print cycles of the book. A year ago there was backroom talk around comics that Top Shelf should publish Lost Girls under a dedicated new company's name or at least use different warehouses for storage it was considered such a potential hot potato. It's kind of amazing how it's turned out.

ICv2.com goes into the logic behind the request and gives a by-third-printing tally for Lost Girls at 40,000.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Bill Mantlo!

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Missed It: Darrow Art to Princeton

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Over 1000 pieces of original art done by Whitney Darrow Jr. have been donated to Princeton University, in what is turning out to be a stellar week for cartoonist bequests to various high-end universities. The donation breaks down about 70-30 in terms of book illustrations against cartoons. There was a blog report a couple of weeks back that has a more aggressive take on the cartoonist's career. Darrow was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduated from his hometown college in 1931, two years before beginning his 50-year relationship with The New Yorker.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Wizard World Texas Previewed
George Schneeman Showing in Brooklyn

Industry
Manga In Germany
Wired Re-Publishes Gene Yang's Response

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Andi Watson
Bookslut: Rebecca Dart
PWCW: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Seattle Times: Wonder Woman
Tribune-Democrat: Shaun Boland
Payvand: Marjane Satrapi's 4-Part Series?

Not Comics
'Cause Drugs Are Wack
PDX Schools So Bad Doonesbury Piled On

Publishing
Rius Releases Latest: Votas Y Te Va
Wilson Place Comics Signs With DBD

Reviews
Donielle Ficca: Aegis
Jog: Project: Romantic
Mike Kendrick: Making Comics
Sheena McNeil: Dorothy Volume 1
Jocelyn Bothe: Testament: Akedah
Lee Atchison: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
Colleen Mondor: Deogratias, Other War Books
Jocelyn Bothe: Exiles Volume 1: Down the Rabbit Hole
Wolfen Moondaughter: Gun Street Girl: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
 

 
Your Irregular Danish Cartoons Update: Bombs, Kuwaiti Boycotts, Apologies

* It's not the political version of delayed stress syndrome that sees Kuwaiti politicians agitating for a complete severing of ties with Denmark. The publication of caricatures of Muhammed by the newspaper Jyllands-Posten a year ago September was significant, but this is also pretty clearly linked to a much more recent video of political party youth drawing caricatures and a cartoon of Muhammed as a pedophile in a web site and magazine suggesting a continuation of the insult.

* Speaking of delayed reactions, the wires this morning are filled with iterations of this semi-lengthy report on how some Danish Muslims now say that the discovery two months ago of a serious bomb plot aimed at Denmark are making things more difficult in this, the post-Danish Cartoons Controversy world. Heinous bomb plots do tend to be tricky PR-wise.

* Mizanur Rahman apologizes for strong statements made during a London protest of the cartoons earlier this year, statements that have led to his arrest and trial. The Rahman trial is important as one of our few windows into how the various worldwide protests developed on the ground.
 
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Go, Look: Election Day 2006 ‘Toons

imageClick through the Steve Sack cartoon at left for one of Daryl Cagle's invaluable round-ups of editorial cartoons by subject matter: this one on Elections 2006. What's interesting to me is that the big story -- past the general disillusionment cartoons like Sack's that are seemingly becoming more popular with every vote -- was a process story, that of the undependable voting machine. There's a nicely written, linked-out piece from Jim Borgman making the rounds about the practical difficulties of doing a cartoon on election results, but it strikes me that doing more general cartoons or taking on overriding issues might be a safer bet for papers that a) might not have a hotly contested election (my area doesn't) and b) want to avoid further damaging its relationship to readers after a sensitive loss. I watched and read a lot of national coverage, and it doesn't seem like they were too eager to dive into local issues of contention, either.
 
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NYT Profiles Jean-Jacques Sempe

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There's some nice stuff in here about Phaidon's acquisition of the Jean-Jacques Sempe books.
 
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RSF: Morocco Authorities Harassing The Family of Cartoonist Khalid Gueddar

I find this Reporters Sans Frontieres report on police visits to the family of cartoonist Khalid Gueddar, who no longer lives in Morocco but happens to draw cartoons that are critical of Morocco, just as spooky as they intimate it is, in a funny until you think of happening to you and yours way. In addition to citing a recent cartoon accompanying an article about potential corruption in Morroco vis-a-vis the drug trade, the article also points out that Gueddar has a history of working for publications that do meet with the approval of Moroccan authorities.
 
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Salon Profiles Kevin Huizenga’s Curses

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Douglas Wolk's piece isn't groundbreaking or anything, but I surely do like Kevin Huizenga.
 
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Random Publishing Notes Of Note

* Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Literary Agency has sold UK rights for Jar of Fools to Faber & Faber, with an option for Berlin. I'm not aware of a ton of Faber & Faber comics, but they used to publish Rowland Emett's collections. Given the obsession that some people have with accessible, done-in-one comics reading experiences, it's surprising that Jar of Fools doesn't receive more attention that way.

* DC adjusts the Transmetropolitan trade formatting. I suffered a small brain seizure trying to parse out the details, but I think it's that they want a more solid book at the top of the series to help sell future volumes, and in doing so they also fixed the back-end a bit to make things more standard.

* Kitchen, Lind & Associates signed three more clients: the Harvey Kurtzman estate, Jim Lawson, and Bryant Paul Johnson. This happened right before SPX, but Denis Kitchen's e-mail set-up and my e-mail set-up seem to really, really hate each other.

* Professionals posting at Warren Ellis' The Engine talk about their 2007 plans.
 
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Lucca Festival 2006 Report and Regrets

imageThe 2006 edition of the Lucca Comics and Games Festival has just passed; this was the 40th anniversary of partnership between convention and town. It's one of the bigger festivals in the world, and may be familiar to comics fans in a footnote-ish way as a place where American mainstream artists in particular have gone over the year to experience the European market. If I'm reading it correctly, this piece by Claude Moliterni is kind of humorous from an outsider's perspective as it marks how the show has blown up but has perhaps some of those special moments of advancing the understanding of the art form from years past, and more personal interaction with the artists. Before: bringing underground comix to Europe! Now: kids in costumes! That's an unfair reduction, of course, but it's interesting to think of a European show dealing with those kinds of regrets, and to mark the differences in how they do so.
 
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We Told You This Year Ends Right Now

Another top ten of 2006 graphic novels list, this time from Amazon.com:

1. American Born Chinese
2. The Last Christmas
3. Fun Home
4. Abandon the Old in Tokyo
5. Billy Hazelnuts
6. Lost Girls
7. War Fix
8. The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
9. Revelations
10. Ohikkoshi

By the way, does anyone else think a more aggressive Amazon.com could have had a much bigger slice of the comics pie if they had acted a certain way at a certain point?
 
posted 12:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 7, 2006


I Still Have “The Byzantine Empire”

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If you've ever wondered what a Time-Life Series of Great Graphic Novels would look like -- and who hasn't? -- it would probably look something like the above. If you can buy these volume by volume at the grocery store, I'm moving to Italy.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Woodstock's Dick Tracy Day Report
Marvel Then And Now Ticket Prices Announced

Interviews/Profiles
Fleen: DJ Coffman
Wizard: Matt Wagner
ICv2.com: Rich Johnson
Newsarama: Gail Simone
Newsarama: Jimmie Robinson
Local Shop Profile: School of Comics

Not Comics
Find A Typo, Get Ted Rall's Signature
James A Owen Visits The Center For Cartoon Studies

Publishing
DHC In February 2007
Boys' Comic: Vs. Diabetes
BlogCritics Recommends Future Books

Reviews
David Welsh: Ode To Kirihito
Tracey Gray: Wolverine #47
Dorothea Cantero: Wildcats #1
Marc Singer: Seven Soldiers #1
Paul O'Brien: Seven Soldiers #1
Julie Gray: Genshiken Volume 6
Lisa Fary: Ramayana 3392 A.D. #1
Katherine Keller: Subculture of One
Tracey Gray: Wolverine: Origins #7
Suzette Chan: The Wandering Stars #1
Katherine Keller: Superman/Batman Annual #1
Dorothea Cantero: The New Avengers: Illuminati #1

 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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Former English Comics Retailer Picked Up In Famous DNA-Related Murder Case

Ronald Castree, a former retailer who owned the apparently now-closed Arcadia Comics in Ashton-under-Lyne and Rochdale, has been linked through DNA evidence to the 1975 Lesley Molseed child murder. As the article describes, the Molseed murder became famous for its heartbreaking outcome as a miscarriage of justice regarding the person tried and convicted for the crime of raping, then stabbing to death the little girl. Castree, who may have been still involved with comics through selling books on Ebay, was picked up Sunday morning.

If you can stop reading before the end of the article, you have more willpower than I do.
 
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ICv2.com: Marvel By The (3Q) Numbers

imageICv2.com analyzes Marvel's third quarter report, so 1) you don't have to, and so 2) you can read something other than Motley Fool's 2985th article on the company. It looks like they pick up on all the good stuff. Sales were up but so were expenses so profits are down. Expectation were managed yet again so there's a stock boost. Licensing down because we're midway in between Spider-Man movies and nothing else has really captured the public's attention that way. Publishing up because of an event comics strategy with the periodicals and a trade paperback division that has greatly benefited one guesses from there actually being a trade paperback division at Marvel that's no longer simply an abandoned supply closet somewhere. We learn that toy division expenses are up becaue they're operating it on their own before Hasbro takes over, but not why toy sales were up, exactly. But they were.

So... yeah. That's Marvel. The year 2007 should be interesting because Marvel has played that managing expectations card awfully well, or at least it seems that way to me, but next year they can't say "We don't have a Spider-Man movie out" to manage expecations because one will be out. Not everyone sees the next six months of no news before the bigger movies start to hit as a positive.
 
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Matt Wuerker Gets Capitol Leader Gig

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists reports that Matt Wuerker will be the staff cartoonist at the The Capitol Leader when it launches later this month.

As seemingly 9 out of every 10 editorial cartoonist stories is about a firing, and every 99 out of every 100 stories about a newspaper market is about something being closed, and Wuerker has spent the last 157 years as a full-time freelancer, this is clearly the most unique and rarest story in the history of comics.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sheldon Goes Solo

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On-line comic strip site launches aren't a huge deal in and of themselves, but Dave Kellett's Sheldon has been part of both Blank Label Comics and Comics.com, and he's a veteran who is likely to seek out a place for himself that he feels best serves his work, so the change is worth noting.
 
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More 2006 Comics And Art Awards

* Artist Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows and various Marvel efforts culminating in a run as artist on the Mighty Avengers spin-off, was awarded two Haxtur Awards at Gijon's Interational Comic Convention in Spain last month. Cho won Best Artist and Best In Show. He was nominated for Best Cover Artist and Best Humor.

* Not comics exactly, but the artist James Jean won the artist category at this year's World Fantasy awards. You can check out the list on the top of their web site, or a report from Irene Gallo indicating she accepted the award on Jean's behalf, a report that also includes a description of the art show.

* Patrick McDonnell and Wiley Miller had children's books on the recent "Teachers' Picks: Best of 2006" in Parent & Child. McDonnell's book is Just Like Heaven and Miller's The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil.
 
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OTBP: The Arrival

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Eddie Campbell says Shaun Tan's book is "the graphic novel of the year."
 
posted 1:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 6, 2006


Quick hits
Interviews/Profiles
SFist: Shannon O'Leary
Jackson Sun: Rethel Miller
Ottawa Citizen: Harvey Pekar
Ottawa Citizen: The Chuckle Bros.

Publishing
Tokyopop Launches Trinity Blood Franchise
Marvel Wishes All News Items Were Like This One

Reviews
Vichus Smith: 52 #20
Lee Atchison: Fables #54
Lisa Fary: Elephantmen #1
Erick Weems: Jonah Hex #13
Lee Atchison: Mouse Guard #4
Michael Vance: Happy Hooligans
Mary Borsellino: Omega Men #1
Ginger Mayerson: Jonah Hex #7
Ginger Mayerson: Jonah Hex #8
Don MacPherson: The Midnighter #1
Don MacPherson: Scout Volume One
Tracey Gray: Giant-Size Wolverine #1
Dorothea Cantero: Fantastic Four #536
Dorothea Cantero: Fantastic Four #537
Bill Sherman: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
Wolfen Moondaughter: Eberron: Eye of the Wolf
Suzette Chan: Mendacity: One Woman's Ordeal
 

 
UN Refuses Help To Ahmed Abbas

This is officially Not Comics, as the work involved in getting the popular Maldivian cartoonist the jail sentence in question were prose articles rather than comics art, but it's worth noting that Ahmed Abbas was denied refuge and safe passage by the local UN officials. This speaks to some potentially even darker times ahead in countries where outspoken artists may put some stock in being able to leave if things get bad. Abbas cartoons for Minivan Daily and Dhivehi Observer.
 
posted 5:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Daryl Cagle Communicates With Holocaust Cartoons Contest Winner

imageThere's a nice letter exchange on Daryl Cagle's blog (November 6 entry) about the recent Iranian Holocaust Cartoons contest, via letter from that contest's winner, Derkaoui Abdulleh. He also links to this article that's so blunt and nasty on a couple of issues that it almost reads like the Onion's version of the article, primarily curator Masoud Shojai saying they will have similar contests annually "until the destruction of Israel." I also hadn't known that the museum where the exhibition took place was the former Israeli diplomatic mission. Anyway, Cagle has provided the enormous service of reprinting the cartoon and giving Abdulleh a platform.

As much as I've been unimpressed with the slippery logic coming from the show's organizers about their overall aims, I'm sure there are many artists like Abdulleh that participated as a genuine expression of laudable beliefs.

Cagle has been on fire lately, with this and his very accurate and welcome warning about the crappy deal being offered to cartoonists by CNN.
 
posted 5:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Industry Reacts to Hassler Leaving Borders to Join Johnson at Hachette

I don't have anything uniquely worthwhile to add to widespread industry reportage that Kurt Hassler, the graphic novel buyer for Borders Group and ICv2.com's #1 Most Powerful Person in American Manga, will leave his current position to become co-publishing director with former DC VP Rich Johnson at Hachette's Yen Press comics imprint. I really don't. I recognize the size and power and scope of the people and the effort in a story like this -- major book trade player hires major book trade personages to helm new imprint focusing on hot category -- but beyond re-emphasizing the obvious with lots of adverbs I'm not sure what else there is to say.

One thing that strikes me that's probably more grousing than analysis is that the news arrives completely absent of anything about Yen Press' potential aesthetic viewpoint. This kind of take on comics has certainly been on the increase and is probably a disappointment to me only because I'm emotionally stunted and have a teenager's hang-ups about the value of art. In fact, some days I think I may end up standing outside the next New York Con in my Lloyd Dobler trenchcoat holding copies of Late Bloomer over my head. Anyway, the Yen Press line seems set up with the leeway to publish whatever's popular, and one thing you can say about Hassler and Johnson is that within those parameters neither man seems to have ever displayed a bias against anything that will serve the bottom line. A clear editorial point of view or lack of one guarantees nothing in terms of the final result, but there's a thin line between art and art product, and it's becoming thinner in comics all the time.

Another thing that strikes me is that Hassler wouldn't likely leave his current position for a line with an expressed "concentration" on licensed manga were there not potentially successful series out there to be licensed. I was always a bit suspicious of summary judgments from manga pundits that all the good stuff was tied up as those proclamations always came bundled with warnings that competition for licenses will increase, and you can't really increase competition over something that's not at least a little bit in play. I have no doubt that increased competition and other elements of the current licensing landscape will color the nature of what the imprint will publish, but it's nice to be reminded that everything's not totally locked up, at least not yet. I'd love to hear what Yen's angle will be, though, regarding the acquisition of such licenses, what they might be looking for, but I suppose that will have to wait.

The final thing that pops into my head is that while I'm appreciative of hearing opinions that this will change bookstore shelving perhaps more than publishing, as both Hassler's direct and indirect influence will be lost, I don't how much stock to put into them. My doubts stem from the fact that I suspect bookstore shelving would have been different two years from now even if Hassler had stayed in his position at Border's, in that there a ton of factors in play that have nothing to do with Hachette's newest hire -- yet another surge in the number of titles, how the make-up of titles already shelved might facilitate changes in shelving (like age, for example), better bookstore programs at more publishers, basic readership trends and so on. "This changes some stuff and others not so much" is a lot less appealing than declaring "this changes everything," however. So we recognize, but we also wait and see.
 
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OTBP: The Stones: A History in Cartoons

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I think I just like the fact that Bill Wyman collects cartoons about himself.
 
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The Year Ends When We Say It Does

Publishers Weekly has released their best-of year-end staff picks for 2006, including a comics category. The picks, which focus on brand-new work or at least work that has been collected for the first time in book form, were as follows:

* American Born Chinese
* Can't Get No
* Curses
* Dragon Head Vol. 1
* Fun Home
* Ghost of Hoppers
* Lost Girls
* Making Comics
* Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness
* The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation

A few things leapt out at me: only one translated manga, no repeat publishers that I can tell off the top of my head, and an entry for The 9/11 Report that comes closer to saying, "this is a book that exists" than it does "this book is among this year's best." Also, To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel made the kids' non-fiction picks list.
 
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November 5, 2006


Did You Know This Man?

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If you knew the great Andre Franquin, afNews says that a new exhibition is looking for you.
 
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Site Update: Reviews Rolling Out

After a couple of brutal but very truthful comments that the review portion of the site has been lacking, we've reinvested some time in making at least one review gets up every weekday. Here are our last nine:

* Premillenial Maakies (11/3/06)
* She's A Marvel (The TV Broadcast) (11/2/06)
* Wunderground: Providence, 1995 To The Present (Catalogue) (11/1/06)
* The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey (10/31/06)
* Wisdom From The Batcave (10/30/06)
* Bardin The Superrealist (10/27/06)
* Klezmer Book One: Tales Of The Wild East (10/26/06)
* At Home On The Earth (10/25/06)
* Manga Claus (10/24/06)

I don't know if we're quite where we want to be quality-wise on a day-in day-out basis, but we're getting there. And on the days the writing's not as sharp as hoped for, those reviews are still better than the perfect ones I imagine doing that exist only in my head. They're easier to read, anyway. Thanks to everyone who has been patient with that section this year, and thank you for your continuing patience as we continue to improve.

Also, we're continually compiling reviews from around the Internet for this section:

* 2006 Review Round-Up (10/12/06)

which we hope to have stuffed with reviews by the end of the year. Please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) any 2006 reviews you know about!
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Gregory Mardon!

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Crime And The Comic Book Shop

The owner of a hobby shop in Roselle, Illinois shot and killed a robber on Friday. The owner was wounded in the arm by return fire. The assailant was a 40-year-old man who was on parole for an armed robbery 12 years ago. The owner was treated and released from an area hospital. Some extra good news: the police decided after looking at what the man was carrying (duct tape and handcuffs) and reviewing the security film that the use of force in the incident was justifiable, and declined to charge the store owner. The shop owner's gun was properly registered.

As a nod to a gentler time, a near-40-year-old that picked up three mainstream superhero comics from a Tom Thumb in a Dallas suburb without paying for them received a citation for shoplifting. The confrontation between store employee and the shoplifter proved non-violent.
 
posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Lucca Festival Report
Report From Mike Luckovich Speech
ABC News Reviews Cartoon America
Longer Review of 2006's Stumptown
Review of Wake Forest's Schulz Exhibit
OK Paper Reviews Johns; Previews WWT

Industry
SpazDog Comics Opening 11/11
Another Comics Survey's Results
Car Crash, Flood Will Not Defeat Store

Interviews/Profiles
Ed Stein on Hugh Haynie
Newsarama: Josh Eiserike
Comic Foundry: Gene Yang
Comic Foundry: Jamie S. Rich
News 10 Now: Marisa Acocella Marchetto
Joplin Independent: Frederick Burr Opper

Not Comics
Paul Conrad PBS Show Debuts Tuesday
Gawker Notes Similarities in Yaoi Articles
Yaoi Scares and Disturbs Christian Columnist

Reviews
Lee Atchison: Devi #3
Lee Atchison: Devi #4
Jog: Seven Soldiers #1
Tracey Gray: Claws #3
Sheena McNeil: Dorothy #5
Sheena McNeil: Dorothy #6
John Mullan: City of Laughter
Katherine Keller: Criminal #2
Chris Mautner: Kramers Ergot
Jog: Superman Confidential #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Kickback
Johanna Draper Carlson: Lost Girls
Vichus Smith: Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
Web Behrens: Pride of Baghdad, The Other Side
Johanna Draper Carlson: Love the Way You Love
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Complete Copybook Tales
 

 
Happy 68th Birthday, Jim Steranko!

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CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Gabrielle Bell

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*****

Go, Look: Adam Cohen's Scott Adams Riff

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Most of us upon hearing of Dilbert creator Scott Adams' troubles to keep his speech thought, "This somewhat bizarre malady is deeply unfortunate; I'm glad Mr. Adams has recovered." When Adam Cohen of MOSE heard, he thought, "This somewhat bizarre malady is deeply unfortunate; I'm glad Mr. Adams has recovered. Say, I bet I could get a week of strips out of this."

I kid. Adams' situation did pique Cohen's interest, though. He asked permission of Adams to do some strips about the situation and says the cartoonist gave him his blessing not ten minutes later.

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday

*****

Five Link A Go Go

* Ex-Fantagraphics Employees Around The Web, Part I

* Ex-Fantagraphics Employees Around The Web, Part II

* Ex-Fantagraphics Employees Around The Web, Part III

* Ex-Fantagraphics Employees Around The Web, Part IV

* Ex-Fantagraphics Employees Around The Web, Part V

*****

Go, Look: Naomi Nowak

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*****

Go, Look: Kubert Short Stories For Kids

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
Does anyone else out there have a hard time turning off their fans for the winter because they can't sleep without the white noise they provide?
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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November 4, 2006


If I Were In Michigan, I’d Go To This

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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from October 28 to November 3, 2006:

1. Danish cartoons protest trial begins in England. The question: how much of the protests earlier this year were a genuine reaction of outrage over a Danish paper publishing caricatures of Muhammed, and how much were they about local agitators using the incident to their own ends?

2. Former DC VP Rich Johnson goes from looking into a line at Hachette to running one, Yen Press, along with former Borders Group buyer Kurt Hassler. The focuse will be licensed manga, but initial press promises a full array of works.

3. Harvard cartoonist has work retracted and is suspended from the paper, setting off a lot of speculation over whether this should be done or not, and what really constitutes copying between cartoons.

Winner of the Week
L'Association, with a public vote of confidence by popular author Marjane Satrapi after the recent departure of two important creators.

Losers of the Week
Organizers of the Holocaust Cartoons Contest in Iran, scrambling to portray a show no one gave a crap that was supposed to expose the hypocrisy off the West through massive protests, as a victory of some sort for censured speech that, really, no one is out there censuring.

Quote Of The Week
"Then the main event came outside to give the store his blessing: Stan 'The Man' Lee, who walked out to thunderous applause. Stan definitely had the vibe of 'Please don't make me actually talk to any comic book fans today,' which is not to say that I blame him." -- Mike Everleth on the re-opening of Golden Apple's Melrose store (in a different place on Melrose).

just a great cover
 
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November 3, 2006


Happy 31st Birthday, Zack Soto!

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posted 11:49 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Berkeley, I’d Go To This

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posted 3:26 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Issues Behind Danish Cartoons Tension

Or... why Mommy and Daddy fight.
 
posted 12:57 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Previews, Profiles and Promotionals

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Gerard Way

*****

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Nikhil Singh

*****

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Renee French

*****

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Dash Shaw

*****

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Jesse LeDoux in Beasts!
 
posted 12:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 2, 2006


Harvard Cartoonist Plagiarism Update

The story of a Harvard Crimson cartoonist accused of copying a number of jokes and stagings from published editorial cartoons for her ongoing cartoon column has been pretty ill-served by blog-style Internet coverage, as the story has developed over the stretch of several days, in drips and drabs, and a lot of the reporting has become news because it represents "reaction" and "public opinion" on the matter.

But let's muddle through. Here's an editorial from the paper making explicit what the cartoonist faces, including the possibility of re-applying for the gig. This has been seen by some as a retraction of the paper's original position, but the original decision was so muddily expressed I wouldn't hold them to it.

The Harvard Crimson was actually able to get the cartoonist on the record (she was MIA until this morning as if she were a deposed Latin American head of state), and the explanation given by the cartoonist states that only one cartoon was copied. I guess that means all the other coincidences of staging and joke-making were just that -- although only one is mentioned by name, so maybe it's only the two cartoons talked about in any sense. It's hard to tell how people negotiate these kind of Q&A's.

I think this story has become a semi-big deal only in that it's a slow news week, cartoonists love to talk about themselves, cartoonists are naturally contrary, and the situation highlights a genuine split in attitudes towards such situations, as even some professional cartoonists think the proof is less than compelling, the overall overlap is no big deal, and that a cartoonist working with similar imagery and jokes as a bunch of pros is a failure of the editorial culture as much as that of the cartoonist.

Like I've said in the past, I think a lot of accusations of copying in comics are achingly dumb, particularly strip cartoonists where you have 100-plus features working in humor and gags are bound to be repeated. However, similarities in a high percentage of more timely jokes, similarities that extend to staging, should be taken a bit more seriously, and I think that action is warranted. I know that when I worked for a newspaper 20 years ago as a student if my response for publication had been that I only openly plaigirized the one writer, but the others it just happened, I would not have been allowed to write for that paper ever again, and probably would have been fired. And nothing mean is meant by that; I likely would have exchanged my own young-person foul-ups for this one in less than a minute. Hopefully, all the needed lessons have been learned.
 
posted 11:37 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
R.K. Sloane (early 1950s)-2006

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Word has slowly seeped out that the artist and cartoonist R.K. Sloane died in a Los Angeles hospital October 20, one source describing the cause as recently-diagnosed lung cancer. Sloane was perhaps best known as a popular painter of luridly-colored outsider art-type scenes, and a as a poster artist, but he was also known as an artist behind Ed Roth's late '80s/early '90s Rat Fink Comix and as the maker of several short comics works, to my memory mostly in the 1980s, including a stand-alone anthology from Starhead. You can find samples of his short comics work here.
 
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
AP On Holocaust Cartoons: Winning Cartoon Was Not Published In Iran

According to this story by the Associated Press, the winning cartoon announced this week for the Iranian paper Hamshahri's Holocaust cartoon contest wasn't published in Iran. The article gives you a hint of the issue drift for the contents away from exposing hypocrisy in Western journalism and more about the expression of the artists involved, including modern political parables and ugly historical revisionism.
 
posted 8:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
ST SPX Report 01
ST SPX Report 02
ST SPX Report 03
Yaoi Con 6 Profiled
Brett Warnock on Stumptown

Industry
Did DC Undersell Tim Sale?
Diamond To Focus On Kids Books
Comic Books In Multiplexes... In India

Interviews/Profiles
The Pulse: Naomi Nowak
Exclaim!: Alison Bechdel
Chronogram: RO Blechman
Sequential Tart: Gene Yang
Sequential Tart: Batton Lash
The Hamilton Spectator: Roy Carless

Not Comics
Dilbert Weasel Awards
Buell Papers To Harvard
Chris Genung: Marvel Editor For A Day
Reviewer Re-Lives Magic of Comics Through Videogame

Publishing
Van Jensen In Praise Of Events
Marshall Ramsey Releases New Book
King Features Syndicate's Next Launch
Kids Encouraged To Make Comic Books
Fantasy Author Tad Williams Given Aquaman

Reviews
David Taylor: RUSH
Nicolas Labarre: Donjon
Shawn Hoke: Trains Are Mint
Tom Mohrman: Pride of Baghdad
Lee Atchison: Artesia Besieged #2
Dorothea Cantero: Amazing Spider-Man #529
Dorothea Cantero: Amazing Spider-Man #530
Dorothea Cantero: Amazing Spider-Man #531
 

 
Mizanur Rahman’s Danish Cartoons Protest Trial Begins; Four Arrests

Four arrests outside the beginning of the trial of Mizanur Rahman pushed the legal proceedings up a few pages in the local newspaper and international media reports. Police were injured. Rahman is on trial for stirring up racial hatreds and soliciting murder during a February 3 protest over the Danish Muhammed cartoons.

The trial is important for followers of the cartoon story because it speaks to the issue of how much the protests earlier this year were fueled by a reaction to the blasphemy represented by the cartoons themselves, the lack of apology afterwards and what that said about the treatment of Muslims in Denmark, and how much this issue was taken and run with by local organizers and leaders to serve aims perhaps not solely and directly related to the cartoons' publication.
 
posted 4:24 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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someone say "hi" to Ben Schwartz for me
 
posted 12:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In DC, I’d Go To This

Library of Congress exhibition "Cartoon America" opens today. Since they're the Library of Congress, they're far too cool to provide art, but apparently this is going to be selection from the Art Wood collection in their extensive holdings.
 
posted 12:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
November 1, 2006


More Cartoons On The Campaign Trail

* Nevada City resident Monte Schulz wonders if it's arrogance or ignorance that led national backers of John Doolittle to use Peanuts imagery in an attack ad aimed at Doolittle opponent Charlie Brown. In general, this has been a really bad campaign season for strong attacks on local candidates from national sources, which allows the candidates some wriggle room to deplore the ad while still benefiting from its strong message.

image* The Guardian profiles La Face Karchee De Sarkozy a 150-page satirical rip into the life and times of interior minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, which if the article's right is really rare for that political landscape.

* Sometimes cartoon art can be used to confuse the crap out of people. Or maybe just me.

* In New Mexico, a candidate behind a cartoon accused of being racist a couple of weeks back has made her own dissatisfaction with a cartoon she says is sexist part of her campaign. A cartoon from last June. But it's not a rhetorical ploy or anything.

* Did the Danish Cartoons Controversy open the door to political expediency through portraying Muslim leaders as unsophisticated and immoral? One article thinks it over.
 
posted 8:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com Looks At Bookscan

What they find is the usual dominance of the category by manga, but also a slightly bigger array than usual of titles from various companies sprinkled throughout the top 50, including a third week from Cancer Vixen.
 
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 79th Birthday, Steve Ditko!

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posted 8:08 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest Winners

The Moroccan cartooniost Abdellah Derkaoui won Iran's Holocaust Cartoon contest, various wire services are reporting. Derkaoui is a verteran of interational cartooning competitions; you can see an entry for which he won a citation of excellence in a Canadian contest here. Second place was a tie between a French cartoonist and a Brazilian. Third prize went to an Iranian. The first place prize was worth $12,000 and the second $8,000 -- officials denied the government sponsored the awards, but would not say who was.

A description of the winner can be found at Persian Journal:

Derkaoui's cartoon shows a crane with a Star of David sign, putting up blocks making a wall separating the Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, from Jerusalem. The wall has a gate, shown in the distance, that looks like one at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where Jews were incarcerated and killed.

The story here isn't the contest itself, but the shifting rationale behind the awards. Other than a few official UN folks squawking about it, and some press coverage from those of us invested in the wider story of Muhammed protests earlier this year, Iran's contest mostly bored the shit out of those few people in the world that have cared to acknowledge it exists. And because the contest's purpose was initially announced as exposing hypocrisy in the West's position against cartoons that blaspheme -- "You don't think cartoons against Muhammed are a big deal but I bet you'll flip out if we assemble cartoons about the Holocaust" -- I don't see any way to look at these awards except as an embarassment and failure for its organizers.

The spin, though, that only started to emerge when this show opened, is that this is a taboo-breaking exhibition and a victory for those who wish to criticize current Israeli politics (as many of the entries, including Derkaoui's, did) or question the Holocaust itself without censure. Nice save, but the worldwide reaction of shrugged shoulders and yawning indicates that if there was some line to be crossed, this show that was even poorly attended by locals sure wasn't the agent to do it. Reading the wire reports, I found myself saying "Oh, shut up" out loud to every quote provided. Not in a "Damn you, truth-teller" way, but the way you talk to a person at the conference table babbling incoherently.

And because the world press finds any and all potentially upsetting depictions taboo, the art can't even speak for itself.
 
posted 8:06 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 35th Birthday, Jason Richards!

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posted 8:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Analysis: Wizard’s Convention Moves

You may nor may not be familiar with the just-announced slate of Wizard Entertainment conventions for 2007 and 2008.

2007
Wizard World Los Angeles: March 16-18, 2007
Wizard World Philadelphia: June 15-17, 2007
Wizard World Chicago: August 9-12, 2007
Wizard World Texas: Nov 2-4, 2007

2008
Wizard World Los Angeles: April 12-14, 2008
Wizard World Philadelphia: May 29-June 1, 2008
Wizard World Chicago: June 26-29, 2008
Wizard World Texas: November 7-9, 2008

Most of what I'm reading and hearing from folks on the phone and in e-mail about the schedule focus on two worthy areas of interest: 1) Wizard won't be trying to extend into the southeast for a while after being burned when plans for an Atlanta show in 2006 leaked and some disputed dates were brought into the equation and creators rallied around Charlotte's Heroes Con, 2) Chicago in 2008 is being moved into late June/early July perhaps in order to no longer exist in the shadow of San Diego's Comic-Con International, the success of which has perhaps made WW Chicago a) skippable in the wider scheme of things, b) a hangover con of burned-out creators, c) a wild gathering of drunk people barely holding onto their sanity after a summer of weekends spent at various comics events.

I don't disagree with either take, but some additional things jump out at me: 1) The fact that you can manipulate some of these convention's schedules by a month or so -- I'm looking at Los Angeles in particular -- seems to me to indicate that none of them have truly captured the attention and imagination of their region in a way that you might have hoped by now, 2) WW Philly moving back seems to be leaving an even wider window for Heroes Con, 3) WW Chicago moving to June/July puts it more in touch with the old Chicago Con's traditional July 4th holiday weekend scheduling, which did sort of seem to work for that part of the country, 4) This may be wishful thinking on my part about how many younger people attend, but moving WW Chicago out of August moves the convention away from schools reopening, Fall sports team practices and last weekend of the summer family planning. When I was a teen and we road-tripped to Chicago, we didn't go back to school until after Labor Day. Now kids where I grew up go back to class August 10-15. I know if it had been in September when I grew up, I never would have attended.

The positive, then, is that these all seem like sensible, logical moves.

The negative is that the moves seem a bit more necessary than I bet the move-makers would like for them to be. My gut feeling is that what we're seeing is fallout from the Atlanta fiasco, but also weakness in what until this year seemed like momentum in Philadelphia and Chicago and anticipation for an LA show. It's nothing I can prove, but I honestly felt as an outside observer right after those three shows took place this year that the momentum enjoyed by Philly and Chicago dissipated and that LA didn't live up to expectations. If you had said a year ago that the Wizard show with the fewest questions was Texas, no one would have believed you. All in all, Wizard's results call for a conservative slate, and hard work ahead trying to make those shows a success before building on them... or cutting even further.
 
posted 8:03 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Wally Wood Died 25 Years Ago Today

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posted 8:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Golden Apple Re-Opens

Here's a first-person report on Golden Apple's Melrose flagship re-opening at a new location about a mile down that Los Angeles street. Stan Lee did the ribbon-cutting honors. Golden Apple is an important store for all sorts of reasons -- its size, its location, its longevity, its clientele, and particularly its history of dealing with creators -- so just about any major move they make should be noted.

For a retail location that's had a much crappier week, read about the Atomic Comics Mesa store location, the car that crashed through its storefront, and the water pipe that burst flooding the place. Yow.
 
posted 8:01 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Meet Julie Larson
Wizard World Announces 2007, 2008 Slate

History
Mark Evanier's Trivial Comic Book History
Joe Sinnott's Long-Time Wife Betty Passes Away

Industry
Bollywood/Comic Book Connection
Millar and Hinds Win Special Award
Scholastic's Janna Morishima to Diamond
Steven Grant on Gene Yang's NBA Nomination

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Ed Brubaker
Newsarama: Dean Haspiel
Newsarama: Greg Topalian
Dark, But Shining: Michael Gambos
Danbury News-Times: Simon Boughton

Not Comics
Not The Lead I Would Have Used
Scholastic At Home Offers Marvel Club
There Is Now Officially Too Much Writing About Comics

Publishing
Josh Blaylock's Dream Job
DC's March/April Collected Edition Plans
Tokyopop Launch Combines Novels, Manga
The Beat: Unpublished Bob Sikoryak Cartoon
Batman: The Long Halloween Gets Absolute Edition

Reviews
Erik Weems: Creeper #3
Brian Cronin: Missouri Boy
Jog: The Midnighter #1, 52
John Sutherland: Pride of Baghdad
Leroy Douresseaux: Judas Volume 1
Shawn Hoke: Chewing Gum in Church
Jog: Chickenhare: The House of Klaus
Shawn Hoke: The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb
Shawn Hoke: Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality
 

 
Go, Read: Zak Sally Interview

imageThis interview with La Mano 21's Zak Sally at Pitchfork Media proves to be a nice profile and a quick peek at publishing news surrounding his company, including word I hadn't heard yet that Sub Pop will be among those distributing La Mano's books. My ignorance is partially because I've been really lousy about checking out the La Mano site, which includes that news and a nice write-up of this year's Small Press Expo.
 
posted 3:41 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Political Comic Book Under Fire In WA

I've been a fan of political campaign comic books since one fetus looked at another in the mid-'80s classic Tip O'Neil's Tip Sheet and proclaimed "Phil Sharp says we're not people."

Here's the story of the latest effort from Washington political figure Larry Countryman; there's some dispute as to the funding involved.
 
posted 1:56 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Walt Disney Bio Excerpt

imageSalon has an excerpt up of Neal Gabler's new biography of Walt Disney. I don't cover cartoons here at CR as a natural extension of comics: it just doesn't interest me, and I don't think exploring the link is necessitated any more than covering motion pictures on a photography site would be.

But: this is Walt Disney, and the Disney company has had an enormous impact on comics, including but not limited to these three fundamental ways: as a source for a worldwide licensed comics juggernaut, as a place many great cartoonists found work once upon a time, and because Walt Disney himself is the embodiment of the mogul-artist myth to which nearly everyone in all entertainment fields aspired at some point or another, including a ton of people in comics.

I'm not immersed in cartoons so for all I knew this biography has a stinky reputation, but I figure checking out a few pages might be of interest no matter what the buzz is like.
 
posted 1:32 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Download William Moulton Marston’s FBI File in PDF Form

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posted 12:59 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Jim Demonakos Leaves Image Comics; Joachim Regout Leaves Slots at Glenat

* Like most people in some press capacity in comics, I received an e-mail Monday evening from Jim Demonakos at Image saying he was leaving his position as the company's Public Relations and Marketing co-ordinator, to be replaced by former Xeric winner Mark Britt. I was way too intimidated by the standard disclaimer about use to report on this in the blog here (plus I forgot). Comic Foundry spilled the beans.

* Editor Joachim Regout, the head of Editions Caravelle and the man behind the imprint Paris-Bruxelles has left Glenat, and will now devote his time to the kids-focused Asteline magazine and related efforts on-line and in print. Leaving a high-profile, solidly-backed position for a project of his own in an increasingly calcified market will likely gain Regout many admirers if it succeeds.

I think both Paris-Bruxelles and Editions Caravelle were high-profile, still-new efforts -- Paris-Bruxelles designed to reintroduce traditional books into the market, Caravelle a themed publisher of new series -- making this a bit more interesting than the standard departure, but I'm kind of flailing in the dark on that one.
 
posted 12:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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