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











April 30, 2007


Not Comics: CCS Documentary Trailer

I was sent a trailer to a film documentary about the Center For Cartoon Studies, made by filmmaker Tara Wray. Here it is:

promotrailer_CCS_Documentary.mov

If it's any help, and it probably isn't, it opened in default mode on my computer's VLC media player. It looks like a fun movie about an intriguing subject. If you were to recruit an all-star team of comics' talking heads, Art Spiegelman and Steve Bissette would not only make the squad, they'd be in the starting line-up.

It looks like in the next few years we could see a half dozen or so documentary films on worthwhile comics subjects.
 
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Go, Read: Dave Lasky on John P

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I can't believe I didn't know about Lasky's blog until last week.
 
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Evangelicals Also Anti-Tony Auth Comic

Here's a round-up of evangelical Christian leader support on a strained media/cultural critique that spun out of the recent Supreme Court decision on partial-birth abortions: that some criticism of the decision, including a cartoon by Tony Auth, showed an anti-religious or anti-Catholic bias.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
I Really Like These New L&R Books

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Like the title says, I like the new re-packaging of the Love and Rockets library. It's one of those few re-issues, like the serialization of the Ed the Happy Clown story from Yummy Fur over the last couple of years, where I'm happy to buy them even though I have the work in multiple, previous formats. These new paperbacks are cheaper than the original trade series by I think about a third, the packaging is just as attractive as the classic Dale Yarger designs, and the books are serialized by artist from the start. They're more fun to hold and lend out and have on your lap than the giant books from a couple of years back.

My enjoyment of these books has a personal, ironic element in that I always wanted smaller books that contained single stories rather than, say, "Death of Speedy" back to back with "In the Valley of the Polar Bears." But these new groupings I seem to enjoy, even though the cut-off points are equally arbitrary. I think it's an issue of proximity. A lot of the short stories like "The Return of Ray D." seem to have greater heft when they're near stories on either side that comment more directly on the same characters and situations, whereas during the original serialization the ones that stood out the most were the more stand-alone stories, like the excellent "Spring 1982."
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Lebanon will pay the Danish government for damages to their embassy in Beirut, caused by protesters last year spurred on by the Danish Muhammed cartoons.

* one Australian writer looks at the future of retailing in that country takes a look at actions taken by Carrefour in the months after the Danish Cartoons controversy, and is none too pleased.

* a sign of progress or a re-ignition of last year's problems?
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, Ben Catmull!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Nat Gertler!

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Resolution Sought In NZ Library Matter

imageDavid Welsh sums up the latest in the matter of a mother's complaint about the availability of some manga volumes in a New Zealand library, which seems to be heading towards a solution that changes access. I'm not sure if they're talking about restricted, behind-the-desk access, which would be worrisome, or simply moving sections away from one another so there's no confusion by patrons or librarians, which would be sensible. Either way, barring more problems this seems a quick resolution.
 
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How Effective Are Comics Shows?

I can't always follow Von Allan's math in his two part post on exhibiting at APE, but I think it's kind of compelling to see someone that meditative about an experience that some people seem to take for granted, either positive or negative. I believe he's looking for feedback if you want to post something there.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Checker: BC 50th Anniversary Book

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In this golden era of reprints and collections it's hard to label anything anyone's last book, but Checker's forthcoming BC collection looks like the last one the late Johnny Hart would have worked on with a publisher before his passing. In this case, it's a best-of selected by the cartoonist. By the way: did anyone do better cover gags than Hart?
 
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Quick hits
Craft
Paul Pope on Crepax

Exhibits/Events
Video From APE
This Sounds Amazing
Quebec Festival Report
Expo for Teens Previewed
This Also Sounds Amazing
Report From Kids Convention
Willie and Joe Originals Dedicated
Phil Yeh to Hit Book Expo America
Graphic Novel Weekend in London
Georgia Paper Notes CBLDF Support of Gordon Lee

Industry
Hector Cantu Joins Heritage
Kids Love Manga (Prose Adaptations)

Interviews/Profiles
LA Times: Frank Miller
Freep.com: Erin D. Russell
Memphis Flyer: Joel Priddy
ActuaBD.com: Svein Erik Soland
The Mountain Press: Scott Stewart
Garrity on Day by Day: Worst In World
Philadelphia Inquirer: Steve's Comic Relief

Not Comics
Overgard Estate For Sale
Street Comic at Metabunker
Will Eisner Documentary Review
Homeless In Manga Cafes Figures
Charles Vess Goes to Stardust Screening

Publishing
Aaron Warner Ends College Strip
Boy Creates New Beano Character
MSNBC.com Updates Strip Offerings
More on Suspension of Monthly Jump
GayGamer.net Launches Comics Track
Cagle Adds Cartoonists (April 29 Entry)

Reviews
Jog: Korgi Book One
Paul O'Brien: Various
Mark Andrew: Alias the Cat
Matt Brady: King City Vol. 1
Andrew Ian Dodge: Beowulf
Paul O'Brien: Wolverine #53
Leroy Douresseaux: Blade #8
Paul O'Brien: X-Men: First Class #8
Leroy Douresseaux: The Midnighter #3
Leroy Douresseaux: The Midnighter #4
Leroy Douresseaux: The Midnighter #6
Al Kratina: Legion of Monsters: Man-Thing #1
Steve Duin on the New Rudolphe Topffer Books
Leroy Douresseaux: Warriors: The Lost Warrior Vol. 1
 

 
April 28, 2007


CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Nick Bertozzi

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*****

Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: great Fantagraphics at-the-office art post

* go, look: blog just full of comics art (thanks, Pam Noles)

* go, look: Jeffrey Mayer's site

* go, look: Little Fish PDF

* not comics: save the AJC book section

*****

Go, Look: Meirav Shaul

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
If they drafted cartoonists out of the comics-focused art schools the same way they drafted football players, and fans of various companies showed up in costume to root for their team's selections, and Shawn Hoke was like the Mel Kiper, Jr., I would totally watch that show.
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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April 27, 2007


CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 21 to April 27, 2007:

1. Brendan Burford named comics editor at King Features Syndicate.

2. Tony Auth blasted by pro-life group for what they felt was an anti-Catholic cartoon.

3. Complaint made about manga offered in New Zealand library.

Winner Of The Week
English-language Naruto fans, who found that this Fall they'll be swimming in trade paperback volumes from the internationally successful ninja saga.

Loser Of The Week
Newspapers. Again.

Quote Of The Week
"The same uneasy silence, interspersed with nervous giggles, arose earlier in the show when [comedian Will] Franken unveiled one of the better-known cartoons involved in last year's Danish cartoon controversy, Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban." -- Danish Cartoons Controversy, the stand-up years.

this week's imagery comes from pioneering comic book house Centaur Publications
 
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April 26, 2007


Friday Distractions: Comics Comic #2 Available As A Free Download

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Friday Distractions: Inside the Rooms of Italy’s Comics Bed and Breakfast

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this was sent to me in a couple of e-mails, which means someone else probably had it up today; I apologize to that person
 
posted 10:16 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Comic Strip’s Black Face Image Sparks Discussion of Appropriateness

imageThis Chris Muir cartoon's depiction of Hillary Clinton in blackface, a commentary on the presidential candidate's attempts to reach a black audience through things like inflections of voice during speeches that has been criticized by a wide variety of pundits. Here's one such article. Dirk Deppey at Journalista! has a veritable cowboy-style blogger drive today rounding up various emerging takes and opinions on the story (scroll down to Digital Media).

I think there are two thing worth noting about the issue. One is that this will be compared to a previous incident where a blogger put black face on a photo of Joseph Lieberman, which should make for some compelling distinctions between photos and cartoons and intent of satire. The other is I don't know Chris Muir or his basic set-up and situation, but I believe Day by Day is self-syndicated and gets most of his traffic on-line, where it's a well-respected veteran of the webcomics world. If that's the case, this might be the first time when a comic ended up in a story like this one without the traditional avenue for complaints through a newspaper and its advertisers or fear of losing clients through such a complaint. Okay, I admit that may only be interesting to me.
 
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Go, Listen: Comic Art at Boing Boing

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Naruto Book Publication Speeds Up

imageViz has announced it will release 12 volumes in the internationally mega-popular Naruto over a four-month period, a vastly accelerate production schedule. This will cover volumes 16-27. Publication of volume 28 in January brings with it a new direction for the series as the characters age two years between that volume and the one previous. ICv2.com, bringing the funny headline, has a round-up of the rest of Naruto-related material coming out this Fall.

Other than two thoughts -- one being that this aligns the volumes more directly with the material being serialized and/or the book series in other countries, the other being that this makes the Fall an event for Naruto fans when there are a lot of fans of the ninja saga out there with whom to have an event -- I can't really figure out exactly why they're doing this. If the enormously manga-savvy David Welsh and his talkbackers are any indication, I'm not the only one.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, Jan Mullaney!

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Go, Read: David Welsh on the Objection to Manga in New Zealand Library Story

David Welsh takes a second look at yesterday's story of a mother objecting to manga including volumes of Chobits and their being able to be checked out by children. It looks like the library already takes a bunch of rational steps towards ensuring that inappropriate material doesn't make it into children's hands and that the concerns of parents are recognized and dealt with, but that there could be some matters for concern regarding rules, say, that keep books off the shelves entirely.
 
posted 10:06 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 29th Birthday, Sean T. Collins!

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posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Gen-X Disdain Killed Captain America

Here's an article from Details about the recent "death" of Captain America in the Marvel comics that takes the incident seriously and uses it as a launching point for an extended rumination on folks born 1964-1980 and what heroism means to them. Writer Ed Brubaker is one of the main sources for quotes here. I think the article presses some its points -- I don't think anyone considers Matt Damon and Kurt Cobain and Pat Tillman in the same way, and the distinctions made between them are important -- but it's sort of nice to read a piece on a comics event that's a consideration of ideas rather than an analysis of its marketing effectiveness.
 
posted 10:02 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Professor Rifas

Exhibits/Events
Blog@Newsarama: APE Report
Report From Bill Griffith Lecture
Daily Cross Hatch: Ape Report 2
Mike Sterling Prepares For FCBD
Review of Black Comic Book Art Show

Industry
ISR: 2007 Eisner Nominees
Simon & Schuster UK Deal With Viz
Should Animation Count at the Pulitzers?
Your Comics-Related Benjamin Franklin Nominees
Graeme McMillan: Marvel's CA Strategy Cost Stores

Interviews/Profiles
Hour: Dan Piraro
CNN: Jodi Picoult
Kentucky.com: Minx Line
Salt Lake Tribune: Bill Galvan
Mlive.com: Benjamin Robinson
Newsarama: Top Ten From Top Shelf
Winterview: Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis
Fanboy Radio: Mike Manley, Danny Fingeroth

Not Comics
Mr. Punch on Stage
Charles Johnson Talks Superflat Concept
Mourning Hoke Bird Print Benefits Charities

Publishing
Lenore Hits Ten at SLG
Another Flight Vol. 4 Preview
Yuichi Yokoyma, More From PictureBox, Inc.
I Didn't Know Paul Pope Was Doing Something For Dargaud

Reviews
Xavier Guilbert: Soil
Brian Hibbs: Various
Shaenon Garrity: Parasyte
Matt Brady: King City Vol. 1
Joe Eskenazi: Mendel's Daughter
Elizabeth Chou: Optic Nerve #11
Erica Friedman: HaruNatsuAkiFuyu
Leroy Douresseaux: Zoo Force BBQ
Shawn Hoke: Mimi's Doughnuts 'Zine
Joe Milliken: Houdini the Handcuff King
Xavier Guilbert: Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators

 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Montreal, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the violent fall-out and legal persecution of journalists following the initial publication of the Danish Cartoons in 2005 became one of 2006's standard-bearers of awfulness in the worst year for modern media ever, says the IPI World Press Freedom Review.

* in a different sort of contextual exercise, one writer presents a list of things that sucked in '06: bird flu, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Danish Cartoons controversy.

* from SFGate.com comes this profile of Will Franken, a stand-up comedian and satirist for whom the Danish Cartoons controversy has led to a completely new, and apparently successful, comedic routine. Plus, the name of the profile's author may be the greatest name I've seen all week.
 
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Happy 93rd Birthday, Paul Norris!

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source: afNews
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Daryl Cagle on the Future of Print

The cartoonist and blogger Daryl Cagle has written a terrific essay on the bleak future facing print journalism (April 25 entry). It's a good read if you're not up on some of the basic problems in finding an on-line solution to the viability of the local newspaper, and has perhaps the best summary of the argument that newspapers aren't branded on-line and traffic is impossible to secure by simply showing up and doing what newspapers do best. That's one of what I'd say are the three big issues facing papers, along with lack of a comparable revenue model and an accelerating trend away from written news content.

Cagle gets into some even more interesting material when he talks about a few current trends in terms of their blind pursuit of solutions to problems that aren't defined enough yet to even have solutions.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Elijah Brubaker’s Site

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posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Manga in NZ Library Draws Complaints

This article about a New Zealand mother trying to force her local library into new, restrictive policies concerning what comics its carries because of material she found objectionable will likely crackle through the blogging rounds today. It's a slow day (knock on wood), and censorship issues bring out the lecturer in most of us.

I never know what to say about crap like this. On the one hand, the call for the library to never buy material like this is flat-out ludicrous. I also don't get the "I checked this out with a three-year-old's library card" thing. I had a library card before I could read, so I get that. But if an adult walks up and presents a library card, I hope that the librarian is going by the fact the person is an adult rather than what kind of card they have. Same with a kid and an adult's library card. The broad strokes of the article do make it seem like the complaining person is one of those overdramatic and strident people looking to pick a fight rather than someone following a thread of inquiry to its natural conclusion. I also don't buy the thought that the ultimate responsibility for reading material belongs anywhere but with the parent. Not anymore. Maybe not ever. I remember they used to carry some of the slightly less rapey John Norman books at my library, but I sure wasn't allowed to bring that stuff home.

On the other hand, it's possible there could have been more care in shelving this material or making it automatically available. Dirk Deppey says it's Chobits, which certainly isn't New Bondage Fairies, but it's also something I've seen labeled not for children. Some parents don't want their children seeing light but sexy situations or the occasional nipple, and I wouldn't presume to dismiss that. And while God forbid I ever live in a country with a "censor's office" to lug books into, if you have such a thing and they're designating the books for a certain readership, it makes some sense that there'd be an expectation the library would have done this as well. We don't know where the books were shelved, so maybe they had.

When I was a kid you couldn't check out library books outside the kids' room unless your parent signed a permission slip that said you could. Five years later my direct market retailer refused to sell me non-code comic books until he talked to my Mom and made sure it was okay. This didn't seem like a bad thing in either case. No sweeping policies were needed. It wasn't about ceding political ground, either; it was about not being jerky. Why isn't that a solution anymore?
 
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Happy 91st Birthday, George Tuska!

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The Beat: PW Blog Receives Letter; Will Not Write on Todd Goldman Affair

Heidi MacDonald mentions at the end of a news and notes section that the Publishers Weekly blog The Beat has received a letter from lawyers representing Todd Goldman on the subject of Goldman's accused plagiarizing, and as a result will not write on the matter. That seems to me kind of alarming. Cartoon Brew has a fresh post summarizing the situation and publishing what they feel are a few approximate relationships between various cartoonists' work and designs used by the apparel designer as his own.

Updated at 9:01 AM MT to reflect some confusion over the term "injunctive"; please note this item would likely not have been interesting enough in the first place to post without that term, but it's too late now

second update from 9:24 AM MT removed one day later due to my not having permission to post
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Kerry Gammill!

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Go, Look: Arabic Superman Article

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Quick hits
Craft
Blondie Gag Baffles O'Neil

Exhibits/Events
FCBD in Dayton
FCBD in Johnson City
Brett Warnock on APE
Design Show in Dundee in May
Daniel Sotomayor Exhibit in Chicago
Go See James Vance In Salt Lake City
Wizard: Hope Larson Spotlight From APE
Wizard: Socially Relevant Comics Panel From APE

History
Spider-Man Quiz
Stuart Immonen Digs Up Computer Ad
Top 5 Comic Book Stories All Superheroes

Industry
Alum Magazine Notes Bechdel Eisner Nod
Priest Recruitment Manga Artist Revealed

Interviews/Profiles
DrunkDuck: Ronson
The Pulse: Josh Neufeld
Newsarama: David Lapham
Broken Frontier: Gail Simone
Baltimore Messenger: Marty Day, Nick Borkowicz

Not Comics
Freelancers Have It Tough at Tax Time
Hirameki International Meets Retailer Resistance
People Are Going To Make Way Too Much Of This
My Favorite Recurring Tangential to Comics Story
Someone Should Send This Guy Some Kids' Comics

Publishing
Image Collects Silver Star
Flight Explorer Announced
Signe Wilkinson to Try Animation
SLG: Vasquez-Goldberg Comic Due In July
Mike Kupperman's Lemony Snicket-Related Gig
David Welsh Wants Your Shoujo Recommendations
New York Launches Comics Site Through Vulture Blog
Via Dirk Deppey: Jane Vogelein's Self-Publishing Guide

Reviews
Jog: 52 #51
Joey Manley: Planetes Vol. 1
Matt Brady: Heartbreak Soup
Bill Sherman: Yakitate!! Japan
David Welsh: Escape From Special
Geoff Hoppe: Batman Confidential #5
Graeme McMillan: Amazons Attack #1
Leroy Douresseaux: I Love Led Zeppelin
Don MacPherson: The Astounding Wolf-Man #1
 

 
April 25, 2007


This Isn’t A Library: New and Notable Releases to the Comics Direct Market

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Here are a few books that jump out at me from this week's probably mostly accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America. I might not buy all of the following -- I might not buy any -- but were I in a comic book shop I would likely pick them up and look at them, causing mean words and an angry stare from my retailer. Well, if he noticed.

*****

DEC060038 LITTLE LULU VOL 15 THE EXPLORERS TP $9.95
I am way behind on this series, and have been picking them up for cheap in bookstores, but were I in a big city with a lucrative job I'd be totally picking these up as they came off the shelves.

FEB072196 AGENTS OF ATLAS PREMIERE HC $24.99
This is Jeff Parker's re-fashioning of some of Marvel's holdover characters from that company's brief and occasionally deranged 1950s superhero revival period -- plus I think maybe some comics since then that purport to be set in that same time. For some reason, I don't think this is the period comic it should be because of some Marvel decision about people liking stuff more when it's set in the modern era. I always have problems with that kind of decision-making because once you commit to doing a comic about Gorilla-Man, to me you've kind of pushed away from the "maximizing profit" table. Although I don't know that I want a hardback or even a trade of this material, I'd certainly like to look at it and I have every confidence it's amusing, well-done superheroics.

JAN073613 CASTLE WAITING VOL II #6 $3.95
Linda Medley's serial presentation of her ongoing saga of everyday life in a fairy tale reality needs a boost of some sort to be a more satisfying package. It feels thin. Perhaps they could try more dedicated text pieces or guest essays or something? Still, I enjoy the cartoonist's work in this format more than I do in the books. Reading that last book, as good as it was at times, often felt like trying to get through three DVDs of a television show finished in an afternoon. Medley's too good a cartoonist to engage her work in any way less than totally flattering. For me, anyway, the comics work.

JAN073598 KING CAT CLASSIX HC (MR) $29.95
Book of the week. It's older material, and not exactly that for which he became internationally renowned, but most of the comics are still plenty endearing.

MAR073734 MICROGRAPHICA GN (MR) $10.00
Like a British TV show where she's playing an incapacitated crime-solver, Renee French is drawing so small here that all her usual sublime visual strengths don't make it to the page. The slight story is a nice reminder that in addition to her prodigious displays of craft she's also funny, and writes touching characters, and knows how to pace a set piece.

MAR073444 PROFESSORS DAUGHTER GN $16.95
Beautiful looking and extremely funny. It's the kind of book you read that totally messes with your perception of what light entertainment in comics should look like, it's that lusciously presented.

JAN073917 TO TERRA VOL 2 TP $13.95
Every time I look at this comic, a space opera very much of its time, I wish they could do a cover with a circular LP mark around the outer edges.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock.

If I didn't list your new comic, it's not because I missed it or that our tastes differ. It's because my dark masters are using me as a weapon against you.
 
posted 5:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Auth Accused of Anti-Catholic Sentiment

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The Catholic pro-life group Fidelis has blasted a Tony Auth editorial cartoon that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer last Friday that suggested the five justices that recently voted to uphold the ban on partial birth abortions were influenced by their faith. Fidelis was joined in their protest by The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Although I give the protesters credit for name-dropping Thomas Nast and some of the reactionary anti-Catholic comics of the 19th Century, my gut says that this isn't as dire a statement as is being read into it.
 
posted 3:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Barcelona Festival Awards

Awards given out at the increasingly important European comics show, the Salo Internacional del Comic de Barcelona, last weekend. Miguelanxo Prado, Howard Cruse, and Max were among the winners. My guesses at the Spanish are in the brackets.

FESTIVAL AWARDS

Gran Premio del Salo, en reconocimiento a toda una trayectoria profesional [Career Award]
Miguelanxo Prado
Premio a la mejor obra extranjera 2006 [International Work]
Ice Haven, de Dan Clowes (Reservoir Books)
Premio a la mejor obra 2006 [Work]
Bardin el superrealista, de Max (La Cupula)
Premio al mejor dibujo [Art]
Bardin el superrealista, de Max (La Cupula)
Premio al mejor guion 2006 [Scripting]
Bardin el superrealista, de Max (La Cupula)
Premio Josep Toutain al autor revelacion 2006 [Emerging Artist?]
David Rubin
Premio al mejor fanzine 2006 [Fanzine]
Barsowia
Premio a la mejor revista 2006 [Magazine]
Nosotros Somos Los Muertos
Premio a la divulgacion del comic [Promoting the Art Form?]
Toni Guiral

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Premio a la mejor obra extranjera publicada en Espana en el 2006 [International Work]
Stuck Rubber Baby de Howard Cruse (Dolmen)
Premio al autor revelacion espanol [Emerging Artist?]
Jose Antonio Bernal
Premio a la mejor obra de autor espanol [Work]
El Cazador de Rayos 3 (Dolmen/Siurell)
Premio al mejor guion de autor espanol [Script]
Los Reyes Elfos de Faerie de Victos Santos (Dolmen/Siurell)
Premio al mejor dibujo de autor espanol [Art]
Kenny Ruiz por El Cazador de Rayos 3 (Dolmen/Siurell)
Premio a la Mejor Revista [Magazine]
Dolmen
Premio al Mejor fanzine [Fanzine]
Gutter
Premio a la mejor divulgacion del comic [Promoting the Art Form?]
Alvaro Pons
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Catch Up: 288-Hour Comic Book

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This reminder that Kevin Cannon continues his rolling series of 24-hour comic book efforts is also the best place to jump into it at the point you need to depending on past exposure. I think Cannon's a talent to watch.
 
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Not Comics: How Abel & Madden Eat

Someday feature articles with folks who happen to be cartoonists starring in them will be so commonplace we won't think anything of it. Not yet.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
It’s Baseball All Over The Comics

As a sports comic fan, I'm excited about two forthcoming works by accomplished cartoonists profiling two great icons of baseball, and plan on buying and consuming both of them the moment they come out.

*****

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The second Center for Cartoon Studies biography for Hyperion will feature the great pitcher Satchel Paige, with The Golem Mighty Swing's James Sturm working with Rich Tommaso, one of those team-ups where you think about each cartoonist's past work and nod your head.

*****

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Via Flog! comes word on a promotional site put together by artist Wilfred Santiago for his forthcoming The Roberto Clemente Story, from Fantagraphics. Not only is this publishing news -- I know I hadn't heard about the title yet -- it's also worth noting the attractiveness of the site including its trailer when that kind of thing is still more talked about than done, and that the brief samples from the book look extremely promising.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

The Turkish cartoonist, animator and satirist Salih Memecan makes a distinction between laws governing cartoons and cultural notions that keep artists from provocation for provocation's sake, in a recent speech in New York. I'm not certain it's a notion that moves the conversation forward, but the fact that so many make that particular distinction probably should have shaped the discussion more than it has.
 
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Happy 80th Birthday, Albert Uderzo!

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Two Great Posts by the FPI Blog

Two excellent pick-ups at the Forbidden Planet International blog, one of the five or six I'd read without a blog of my own:

* cartoons from the Arab press decrying terrorism.

* Katie Miranda's blog.

While it would be easier to post the link and give them a shout-out credit, I like the way the context for each piece is given in those entries. Good stuff all around.

 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Peter Sanderson!

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posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Are There Fewer Mini-Comics Now?

Although I see the anecdotal, relative dearth of mini-comics at last weekend's Alternative Press Expo as just as much a sign of that show's changing culture, a reflection of what sells in the Internet-accessible world, and a swing upwards in homemade crafts just about everywhere as I do a referendum on the state of the mini, it makes perfect sense to me if there are fewer mini-comics being created than there used to be. I would imagine that a lot of the energy that used to go into making some kinds of mini-comics now goes into putting such comics on-line. That seems obvious in the way that blogs had a definite but unquantifiable effect on a certain kind of prose-driven 'zine.

I also think there are a lot of younger cartoonists working on trade paperbacks and for big companies that might still be making mini-comics in the market of ten years ago. Can anyone imagine another Kevin Huizenga lasting past issue #4 or #5 of Supermonster right now without a contract from someone? Still, I don't think it's the entire field. I actually get more mini-comics for review than I did two years ago, and unlike commercial comics forms there's no danger in mini-comics falling below a certain saturation point at which they alter their market in a way that drags others down. In the end, I wouldn't worry about it.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Paul Pope Draws a Robot

Events/Exhibits
Kevin Tobin Exhibits
Moomin Book Fair PDF
Go See Grady Klein's Art
GN on Display at Marlboro
Matt Madden in Upstate New York
Speakers Set For Reuben Weekend
Peter Sanderson on Spiegelman Talk
Eisner Nominations Through Manga Publishers' Eyes

History
Mark Evanier's Strange Kirby Tales
Stuart Immonen Points Out Older Ad

Industry
Superheroes in Muslim Countries
Jeff Smith Discusses Shazam! Sales
Update on Rejection Bingo Submission

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Minx Line
The Pulse: Jane Irwin
PWCW: Harvey Pekar
PopMatters: Jason Aaron
MangaBlog: Bettina Kurkoski

Not Comics
ANN on Yaoi Sales Campaign
Michael Chabon: Bad For Jews?
Don MacPherson on Kryptonite PR
John K. Interview and Animated Shorts

Publishing
Go, Visit: Loris Z.
Down With Cathy!
The Chubbos Launches
DrunkDuck Updates Site
Sheesh Joins Modern Tales
Ed Hall Re-Launches Halltoons
Action Philosophers Ends With #9
Ted Rall's Maakies Finally Published
NBM to Publish Bryan Talbot Art Book
Boy on a Stick and Slither to Comics.com
The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore Launches
The Strangest Damn Thing I've Seen All Week
New Alison Bechdel in '09; Less Bechdel Until Then

Reviews
Don MacPherson: Various
Jog: The Professor's Daughter
Geoff Hoppe: Brave New World #1
Brian Heater: Tales From The Farm
Graeme McMillan: God Save the Queen
Derik A Badman: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #1
 

 
April 24, 2007


E&P: Brendan Burford Named Comics Editor by King Features Syndicate

imageKing Features Associate Editor Brendan Burford has been named Comics Editor at King Features Syndicate, effective immediately. Burford had worked at King Features for seven years under Editor in Chief Jay Kennedy, who died last month in a swimming accident. Burford takes the Comics Editor title that Kennedy assumed before eventually becoming the massive syndicate's Editor in Chief. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, a cartoonist, and a former DC Comics employee, Burford is a longtime supporter of alternative comics who has exhibited at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon's Art comics festival with his a small-press anthology, Syncopated Comics. Burford has always been to my knowledge liked and respected by the strip cartoonists with whom he's worked, and in those circles has long been spoken of as Kennedy's likely one-day successor. As my super-crappy photo of Burford taken at last year's MoCCA Festival suggests, he is now one of the youngest executives in comics.

This makes me happy. I don't think King Features could have made a better choice, and Burford's selection shows in part how much the company valued Kennedy's way of approaching the comics syndication business.
 
posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Virginia Tech & Comics Update

* Scott Adams and United Media pulled a Dilbert cartoon with a serial killer reference. The article notes that some newspapers that prepare their pages in advance were not able to pull the accidentally poorly-timed cartoon.

* I actually thought we'd see more of this kind of thing.

* Cartoonist Eric Braden from Texas Tech's student newspaper explains a cartoon that offended some readers.
 
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Attend: Art For Animals Auction

image

I wanted to make note of the forthcoming art auction on behalf of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, organized in part by Sanctuary board member Dan Piraro, for a couple of reasons. One, it's a good cause. Two, there aren't as many opportunities to buy newer comic strip art as there are to buy older work, and the auction will feature several current cartoonists including Piraro, Garry Trudeau, Patrick McDonnell (I'd sort of just love to see a McDonnell original), Mort Walker, Carol Lay and Ted Rall. So if that's something that interests you, click through the image and bookmark that page. As always, I'll run a reminder the day of the auction itself.
 
posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: OSU’s Opper Project

imageWe've talked about the OSU Cartoon Library's Opper Project here at CR before, but this article at E&P can be followed to the cartoon-centric education initiative's supporting web site and its array of lesson plans and descriptive essays. Of particular interest is a biography of Frederick Opper himself, including a large selection of cartoons like the one from which the image at right was clipped.
 
posted 2:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Look of Books to Come

image

Drawn and Quarterly's forthcoming Moomin Vol. 2.

*****

image

RC Harvey's long-awaited Milton Caniff biography.

*****

image

The first volume of David B.'s Par Les Chemins Noirs.
 
posted 2:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sokwanele Political Cartoons

image
 
posted 2:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Tribune/Times Job Cuts

This article at E&P about massive job cuts and things like limited-time plans being offered at the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times is a good reminder of just how tumultuous in a sense the newspaper business that hosts the strip portion of the comics medium is right now. I also think that staff cuts right now tend to buttress the importance of on-line newspaper efforts, which is a shifting, complex puzzle the strips haven't quite figured out yet.
 
posted 2:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
SPACE Report
APE Report at SLG
APE Photos at CNet
APE Report at Wizard
Preview of JSU Exhibit
Port St. Lucie Con Report
APE Report at Newsarama
Wizard on Isotope Mini-Comics Award
Comics Comics on Issue Project Room
Flemming Rose to Appear at AAEC Event

History
Blake Bell: Steve Ditko Stories
Evanier Unearths Ancient Comics Ad
Happy 8th Birthday, Comics Worth Reading
Sterling Unearths Stupid-Looking Hulk Comic

Industry
Mike Gold: Death to Floppy
Wired on Eisner Nominations
Non Sequitur Pays Tribute to Hart

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Warren Ellis
Neil Gaiman Video Piece
Wizard: Duncan Fegredo
Newsarama: Warren Ellis
All The Rage: Warren Ellis
Newsarama: Alexa Kitchen
Wizard: Bryan Lee O'Malley
Comics Alliance: Bryan Talbot
PopPhoto.com: Aaron Johnson
SMU Daily Campus: Richard Neal

Not Comics
Heroes Plot Screws Watchmen

Publishing
Pibgorn Leaves Comics.com
Yaoi Press Launches Comic Books
Sarah Morean: The Building Opposite

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Paul O'Brien: Nova #1
Paul O'Brien: Loners #1
Dirk Deppey: The Salon
Chris Mautner: Death Note
Brigid Alverson: Canon Vol. 1
Paul O'Brien: Cable & Deadpool #39
Graeme McMillan: Various DC Books
Leroy Douresseaux: Feeble Attempts
Rob Vollmar: Genju no Seiza Vol. 1-3
Leroy Douresseaux: Densha Otako Vol. 3
Derik A Badman: Times of Botchan Vol. 3
Paul O'Brien: The Boy Who Made Silence #1
Jog: The Last Sane Cowboy and Other Stories
Shawn Hoke: I Walk With My Wife In The Evening
Mark Allen: Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol. 2
 

 
April 23, 2007


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Cagle on V-Tech Cartoons

Daryl Cagle has an essay out there about making editorial cartoons in the aftermath of things like the Virginia Tech shootings last week. He expresses sympathy for the editorial cartoonists on a daily deadline, suggests that sometimes the best avenue is to say nothing at all, and in what I found the most interesting part of his article talks about how a story that develops can lead into new topics for exploration.

In related news, I wondered two things in terms of comics when the Virginia Tech story kept developing. One was when comics would be brought into the pop culture influence discussion, which happened Thursday. The second is when someone would pick up on an international artist's inevitably severe treatment of the issue, and that's happened now, too. I'd like to lay claim to the hat trick and say I predicted the heavy analysis of editorial cartoon response, but that sort of surprised me.
 
posted 4:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Arthur Saaf, 1921-2007

Art Saaf, a comic book artist well-regarded both for his efforts during the first twenty years of the North American comic book industry and then again in the 1970s, passed away on Saturday due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 86 years old.

imageSaaf was born in Brooklyn. A comics fan and self-taught artist, he first started working in 1938 a few years before completing his formal art training in the early 1940s, putting him in comics at the birth of the form. He worked on a number of titles during World War II, and ghosted artwork for established artists. Among the characters with which Saaf found success during this period were Fiction House's Flint Baker, Clipper Kirk, and the iconic "jungle girl" Sheena. Despite being able to retain plenty of clients by transitioning to romance comics in the early 1950s, Saaf became from 1954 to 1968 a successful commercial illustrator both as a staff member at the Kudner Agency and then as a freelancer. He apparently kept his hand in on comics work, both with spot assignments assisting various friends and perhaps even the occasional freelance job. He started to work more openly and vigorously for companies like DC Comics starting around 1968, with assignments running the gamut from romance books (Young Love) to superhero comics (Supergirl).

Mark Evanier notes that in recent years Saaf had been unable to recall the details of his own career, and his son Steve Saaf was collecting this knowledge on his behalf, much of which finds expression on this site.
 
posted 3:24 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Isotope Mini-Comics Prize to Riffner

imageMax Riffner is the winner of the 2007 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics, taking the prize for his publication Quick Step, serialized on-line here. As attendance is required of the winner, no doubt the cartoonist was on-hand when the award was announced at Isotope's yearly party in conjunction with the Alternative Press Expo.

Past winners include Josh Cotter and Danica Novgorodoff.
 
posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Details on Manga Line at Vertical

I can't remember if Vertical's intention to start a manga line was officially announced previous to this article at Publishers Weekly or just one of those things that was talked about as a done deal long before it could be made public. But there you have it, and the article provides details: additional staff, the rough size of the line, who's doing the acquisition, and a few of the books/series that will be published. It all sounds great to me.
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 65th Birthday, Edmond Baudoin!

image
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Sites Receive Legal Letter About On-Line Kelly/Goldman Comments

Apparently sent by this guy; you can read the e-mailed letter received by Gary Tyrell at Fleen here. This is a follow-up to sites covering a case of admitted image appropriation by artist and apparel designer Todd Goldman from webcartoonist Dave Kelly, and the passionate commentary sections attached to this coverage.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: David Lasky’s “What Do Polar Bears Think About Global Warming?”

image
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Ward Sutton in Real Simple

For those of you who like those behind the scenes looks at the lives of cartoonists and other comics-folk, there is a short but heartwarming article on cartoonist Ward Sutton and his wife and manager Sue Unkenholz to be found on pages 296-297 of the May 2007 issue of Real Simple, describing their efforts to adopt their children, Yineth and Tavio. There's even a photo array on the second of those two pages. Make it your grocery store line-reading destination of choice today.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Percy Gloom Preview

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posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: APE 2007

Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2007 Alternative Press Expo (APE), held April 21 to April 22 at The Concourse in San Francisco, California.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

You should at least click on the Shaenon Garrity link for the APE Bingo card, which I figure my running here as a link would cross the line into stealing.

*****

Institutional
Convention Web Site
Host City
Location of Event

Blog Entries
A Bird Whose Feathers Have Been Plucked
A Comic A Day
A Comic A Day 2
Artnoose
Bearzbub
Bits O Stuff
Confessions of a Southern Boy in Yankee Land
Daily Cross Hatch
Doc Pop
Dorothy's Journal
Gramma Phizzle
Great White Snark
Idylush123
Imploder
Iwaruna.com
Ladyvanilla
Lee Hester
Lee Hester 2
Lexpress Production Log
Nick Mullins
Occlupanid
Pretentious Inc.
Ramblings of an Owlmoose
Ryuutchi
Shaenon K. Garrity
Shut Your Mouth When You're Talking to Me
Sip-Tea
SLG
Stelfton
Stelfton 2
Talifornia
The Savage Critic(s)
Trans Comicgeek
Tribe.net

Message Boards
The Comics Journal Message Board
The Engine

News Stories and Columns
Newsarama: APE Report
Wizard: Kevin Huizenga Spotlight
Wizard: Isotope Mini-Comics Award
Wizard:: APE Report

Photos
Acrofish
Blog@Newsarama
Brianewingdotcom
Cartoonists With Attitude
Christopher T. Fong
CNet
Drinks and Drugs
Habit Forming
Laughing Squid
Lee Hester
Lee Hester 2
Liveavatar
Malavagma
Nicole Lee
Peebot
Prawnpie
Shymuse
Wizard

Video
Truth Serum
Truth Serum 2

*****

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Dave K’s “Mall Chicks”

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I forget who tipped me off to this; I apologize to that person
 
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: New Southern Comics Out

Dave Lasky wrote in after picking up news of new comics from a few mini-comics stalwarts that live and work below the Mason-Dixon line. I'll defer to his cutting and pasting mastery:
image
I found these items on John P's site...

NEW JEFF ZENICK ZINE AVAILABLE! Those who know and love Jeff Zenick's great work will be happy to know that he recently released a new zine, it's called 12 Dreams, and features drawings based on old yearbook photos, along with quotes. It's 40 half-legal pages; I would send Jeff $5 and see what it gets you. His NEW address: Jeff Zenick- 645 McDonnell Dr., Tallahassee, FL, 32310 USA

Jenny Zervakis comic up at Urban Hiker.

And this Jenny Zervakis profile.

And while we're talking Southern American comics, I want to mention one of my favorite minis, Southern Fried... (this item comes from the silverbulletcomics site):

Southern Fried #9 out Now!
Posted: Tuesday, March 20
By: Darren Schroeder
Print This Item
Jerry Smith wanted us to let you know that there's a new issue of Southern Fried out. Issue 9 is a 28 page digest for US $3.00.

Send payment or trade to:

Jerry Smith
3344 Horner Dr
Morristown, Tn 37814 USA

I haven't seen new copies of comics from these folks in a few years so that's all welcome news. Thanks, Dave!
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Mike Baron on Writing

Exhibits/Events
More FCBD
Report From Bryan Talbot
Heidi MacDonald at Barcelona Event 1
Heidi MacDonald at Barcelona Event 2
Heidi MacDonald at Barcelona Event 3
Report from Cape Girardeau Convention
ECCC '07 Attendance; '08 Dates, Venue

History
Khalid Hasan Reads the Strips

Industry
ADD Picks the Eisners
Aislin to Accept Honorary Degree
Woman Hates Penis-Nose Cartoons
Garry Trudeau to Accept Honorary Degree

Interviews/Profiles
Wizard: Will Pfeifer
M&C: Albert Uderzo
ICv2.com: Joe Field
PopMatters: Lulu Eightball
AzStarNet.com: Stephen King
Comics Alliance: Nick Bertozzi
Comic Book Bin: Diana Schutz
Mexia Daily News: Geoff Johns
Paul Gravett: Francesca Ghermandi
The Collected Comics Library: Jeff Parker
TalkAboutComics.com: Jim Keplinger, Steve Musgrave

Not Comics
Helgi Davis Knows All
Aso Asks Royal to Read Manga
Oddest Non-Story of the Weekend
Manga-Style Cartoons Lead Church Recruitment

Publishing
Japan+: Manga Overview
David Welsh: Manhwa Overview

Reviews
Joey Manley: Popeye Vol. 1
Gina Ruiz: Kings In Disguise
Don MacPherson: First in Space
Brian Heater: Red Eye, Black Eye
Derik A. Badman: Hunter & Painter
Erik Weems: Detective Comics #831
Leroy Douresseaux: Shojo Beat Vol. 3 #4
Don MacPherson: DC's World War III Books
 

 
April 22, 2007


Art Saaf, RIP

image
 
posted 6:46 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Ohio, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Jon B. Cooke

image

*****

Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: first peek at what the Complete Pogo series may look like

* go, read: great Jim Blanchard interview at the bottom of this APE preview

* if you read a lot of comics culture stuff on-line, this will make perfect sense and be funny; if you read very little about comics on-line, this will make no sense, but still be sort of funny

* history lesson: I didn't know any of this about the Nedor characters

* missed it: Brian Hibbs talks about the first big ComicsPro assembly in Las Vegas


*****

Go, Look: Mimi's Doughnuts

image

James Sturm writes in:
My local newspaper, The Valley News, is now running, in its Sunday entertainment section, a full-color local strip by local cartoonist Marek Bennett. The strip runs in four local papers. Here's the homepage.

I was wondering if there are more strips like this around the country, ones that otherwise wouldn't be found (for me at least) unless first seen in print? Anyway, it's an interesting model...

*****

First Thought Of The Day
Does anyone else out there realize what they do for a living only during tax time when you have to write it down?
 
posted 12:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 21, 2007


If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

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posted 8:49 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 20, 2007


APE Preview: Buenaventura Press, Too

image

I received an e-mail this morning from Alvin Buenaventura of Buenaventura Press noting that they'd have plenty of stuff for sale at the Alternative Press Expo as well. And judging from this post that's making the rounds, they're coming loaded for bear. So visit them too, please. If you need one thing to look for, their recent Elvis Road is an amazing-looking object.
 
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

image

The top comics-related news stories from April 14 to April 20, 2007:

1. Walt Handelsman wins 2007 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, in part because of his animation work.

2. Comics retains an important newspaper market client in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; loses a longtime magazine market client in Dragon.

3. Eisner nomination list release kicks off North American comic book industry award season of Eisners, Wizard Fan Awards, Harveys, and Ignatzes.

Winner Of The Week
Fruits Basket.

Loser Of The Week
Zapiro.

Quote Of The Week
"I should also make up some kind of 'pedigree' name for this collection, like the, I don't know, 'Seaside Funnybooks in Cardboard Boxes Collection,' and price them accordingly. Plus, I can tell exciting stories about how the collection was acquired: 'Well, one day, a guy called and asked if we wanted to buy his comics, and we said 'sure, let us take a look at 'em,' and we saw he had some pretty good stuff, so we bought them. The end." -- Retailer Mike Sterling

this week's imagery comes from pioneering comic book house Centaur Publications
 
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
APE Preview: Things To Do List

imageA small convention suggestion list, slightly tailored for this year's Alternative Press Expo, in San Francisco on Saturday and Sunday.

1. Try to see Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman during one of their featured panel presentations. Both are excellent speakers, and neither one does a ton of shows away from the New York area. Or even there, really.

2. There's a lot of excellent programming generally, so keep on those schedules for something you'd 1) enjoy and 2) be able to use for a break from standing up down on the floor.

3. Since it's a small press-driven show, once you get settled in and do things like check with certain publishers for certain books before they sell out, take a deliberate walk booth to booth over the entire layout of the show. You'll likely discover something you didn't know was going to be there. Here's a nice resource for who's going to be there.

4. Go to a party/launch event/exhibition, particularly one of the social functions offered by one of the area's great comic book shops. Not only will events at Comix Experience, Comic Relief and Isotope be well-attended and almost certainly fun, even if they were to suck you could buy some more funnybooks and scope out these retailers' spaces.

5. Remember to look for stuff that might not be available from your hometown retailer or on-line. For instance, the cartoonist Renee French is going to be there at the Top Shelf booth, and I'm pretty certain she's bringing t-shirts.
 
posted 3:38 am PST | Permalink
 

 
APE Preview: Comics Shopping List

With the Alternative Press Expo (APE) kicking off in San Francisco tomorrow at the Concourse Exhibition Center and lasting through Sunday, it's becoming clear that the show will see the debut of a ton of interesting books and related materials. Some of them will be offered in various limited numbers, which usually means their formal debut will come a bit later but the publisher has had some copies shipped early from the printer to bring some attention to the book, to facilitate an appearance and/or signing, and, of course, to anger their direct market retailing partners.

You will do well by wandering the convention floor where all sorts of gems will reveal themselves, but here are a dozen books that are likely to be available at the show. I might not buy them all, but I'd certainly track them down to take a look.

*****

image

King-Cat Classix: The Best of King-Cat Comics and Stories, John Porcellino, hardcover, 382 pages, 1894937910 (ISBN), $29.95

*****

image

I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks, Edited by Paul Karasik, Fantagraphics, softcover, 120 pages 1560978392 (ISBN), $19.95

*****

image

Elfworld, Various Indy-Comics Superstars, 100-plus pages.

*****

image

House, Josh Simmons, Fantagraphics, softcover, 80 pages, 1560978554 (ISBN), $12.95.

*****

image

Windy Corner Magazine Vol. 1 #1, Edited by Austin English, Sparkplug Graphics.

*****

image

Bookhunter, Jason Shiga, Sparkplug Graphics, 144 pages, $15.

*****

image

Percy Gloom, Cathy Malkasian, Fantagraphics, hardcover, 150 pages, 1560978457 (ISBN)

*****

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Micrographica, Renee French, Top Shelf, paperback, 208 pages, 1891830937 (ISBN), $10.

*****

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First In Space, James Vining, Oni Press, paperback, 96 pages, 1932664645 (ISBN), $9.95.

*****

image

S'supermini, Tom Neely, Global Hobo, $2.

*****

image

Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations, Jeffrey Brown, Chronicle, hardcover, 108 pages, 0811858227 (ISBN), $12.95.

*****

image

Johnny Hiro #1, Fred Chao, AdHouse Books, 32 pages, $2.95.

*****

Everyone except Chronicle Books should be at the show for your direct-purchasing pleasure -- admittedly, I don't know where Elfworld will be headquartered, but it should be a fairly major "book of the show"-type book. The Chronicle book from Jeffrey Brown is one of many you can pick up at your finer comics shops on the floor of the convention.
 
posted 3:36 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Virginia Tech-Related Comics News

* whoever had "three days + the Punisher" in the pool wins.

* Asia Media Weekly has a Korea Times article about an editorial cartoon about Monday's mass murder that upset people in Korea and abroad.

* Neil Gaiman and Kathleen David are among many in the comics and science fiction fan communities remembering Jamie Bishop, a comics fan, digital media artist, and the son of science fiction author Michael Bishop.

* as is usually the case with a big story, Daryl Cagle's blog is the best place to track the general editorial cartoon reaction as well as subsequent reaction to those cartoons.

thank you, Nick Brunetti
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Mirai Chounaikai Preview

image

This preview of the next series from Cromartie High School creator Eiji Nonaka makes it sound pretty great.
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Wilkinson Wins Thomas Nast Award

Signe Wilkinson has won this year's Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club, the third such award for the Pulitzer Prize winner. The Overseas Club is old enough to be called "The Overseas Club" (1939, apparently) and is basically an association that works for international press freedom. Wilkinson is a cartoonist at the Philadelphia Daily News and her work is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distractions: Mural Video

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posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Joann Sfar Covers Cannes Festival

Matthias Wivel picked this up: in addition to Persepolis being in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Joann Sfar will be doing a journalism-type comic on the event, with promises of special access. That could be a pretty good comic.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, John Ostrander!

image
 
posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
$35,000 Grant to Drawn & Quarterly

Sequential brings news that the publisher Drawn & Quarterly has received a grant of $35,000 to "enhance its presence in the local community by operating a 'public space' for activities related to the publication of its books."
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 42nd Birthday, Evan Dorkin

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posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2007 Eisner Nominations Reactions

If you're interested in reaction to yesterday's announced nomination to the 2007 Eisner Awards, to be awarded this summer at Comic-Con International, you have a lot of choices: thankful individual nominee, thankful person who worked on a nominee, more superhero-centric site/board, more alternative comics-centric board, more indy comics-centric board, on-line comics news hub, esteemed comics columnist one, esteemed comics columnist two, lesser-known comics columnist, esteemed manga-savvy columnist one, esteemed manga-savvy columnist two, esteemed manga-saavy columnist three, newspaper industry bible, and the great Abhay Khosla.

Brigid Alverson has another round-up of links.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Dragon Magazine, RIP

image

News release here. I'm not a gamer nor am I familiar in any way with the tabletop gaming industry, but most of the comics shops I used as a teen were also gaming stores, and in my mind I always related Dragon to comics' same-era efforts to spawn magazines for itself, like CBG and The Comics Journal.
 
posted 3:01 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FCBD Dropout
ComicsPro Vegas Report
FCBD Also Cartoonists Day
Sunday Con in Port St. Lucie
The Unusual Suspects Launch Party

History
Junkgate

Industry
Is Editor Job For You?
Marvel, Sega Expand Deal
DC Runs Promotion Through MySpace.com

Interviews/Profiles
Daily Illini: Scott McCloud
Diverging Comics: Kazu Kibuishi
Harvard Independent: Kevin Kallaugher

Not Comics
Support Sick Illustrator
All-Time Comic Ad Rip-Offs
Real Funeral, Fictional Character
Julie Taymor Has No Respect For Continuity

Publishing
Ward Sutton Ends Feiffer Follow-Up

Reviews
Jog: 52, WWIII
Xavier Guilbert: Ax
Gina Ruiz: To Dance
Xavier Guilbert: Donjon
Alan Smason: Homeland
Al Kratina: The Loners #1
Jason Schueppert: Fun Home
Leroy Douresseaux: Tactics Vol. 1
Jessica Severs: The Dark Goodbye Vol. 1
 

 
April 19, 2007


Not Comics: Persepolis at Cannes

imageA few folks have e-mailed me to bring attention to the fact that the film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis will be in competition at Cannes, which I suppose is worth noting because of her direct involvement in the project and its obvious potential to break wider an already highly successful book if the film hits in the right way. I suppose that's true of many films from comics folks, but this one feels like different in a sense I can't quite pin down. It's due out in France and Belgium the last week of June, and I guess if successful could hit the U.S. as early as the holiday season.
 
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If I Were In Derry, I’d Go To This

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Your 2007 Eisner Award Nominees

From the press release:
The 2007 Eisner judges are librarian Robin Brenner (Brookline, Massachusetts), pop culture blogger Whitney Matheson (Pop Candy at usatoday.com), comics writer Christopher P. Reilly (Punch & Judy), retailer James Sime (Isotope Comics, San Francisco), and fantasy author/critic Jeff VanderMeer.

This year's judges made a few changes in the categories. In addition to splitting the Foreign Publication category into two in order to create a separate category for manga, they dropped the Best Serialized Story category, they reinstated the Best Humor Publication category, and they changed "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" to "Special Recognition."

Ballots will be going out in May to comics creators, editors, publishers, and retailers. The results will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 27 in Ballroom 20 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Best Short Story
* The Black Knight Glorps Again, by Don Rosa, in Uncle Scrooge #354 (Gemstone)
* Felix, by Gabrielle Bell, in Drawn & Quarterly Showcase 4 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* A Frog's Eye View, by Bill Willingham and James Jean, in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)
* Old Oak Trees, by Tony Cliff, in Flight 3 (Ballantine)
* Stan Lee Meets Spider-Man, by Stan Lee, Oliver Coipel, and Mark Morales, in Stan Lee Meets Spider-Man (Marvel)
* Willie: Portrait of a Groundskeeper, by Eric Powell, in Bart Simpsons's Treehouse of Horror #12 (Bongo)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
* Batman/The Spirit #1: "Crime Convention," by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke (DC)
* A Late Freeze, by Danica Novgorodoff (Danica Novgorodoff)
* The Preposterous Adventures of Ironhide Tom, by Joel Priddy (AdHouse)
* Skyscrapers of the Midwest #3, by Joshua Cotter (AdHouse)
* They Found the Car, by Gipi (Fantagraphics)

Best Continuing Series
* All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
* Captain America, by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting (Marvel)
* Daredevil, by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano (Marvel)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urusawa (Viz)
* The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)
* Young Avengers, by Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and various inkers (Marvel)

Best Limited Series
* Batman: Year 100, by Paul Pope (DC)
* The Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M, by Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier, and Ben Templesmith (Desperado/Image)
* The Other Side, by Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart (Vertigo/DC)
* Scarlet Traces: The Great Game, by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli (Dark Horse)
* Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident, by Tony Millionaire (Dark Horse)

Best New Series
* Criminal, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)
* East Coast Rising, by Becky Cloonan (Tokyopop)
* Gumby, by Bob Burden and Rick Geary (Wildcard)
* Jack of Fables, by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins, and Andrew Pepoy (Vertigo/DC)
* The Lone Ranger, by Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello (Dynamite)

Best Publication for a Younger Audience
* Chickenhare, by Chris Grine (Dark Horse)
* Drawing Comics Is Easy (Except When It's Hard), by Alexa Kitchen (Denis Kitchen Publishing)
* Gumby, by Bob Burden and Rick Geary (Wildcard)
* Moomin, by Tove Jansson (Drawn & Quarterly)
* To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel, by Sienna Cherson and Mark Siegel (Simon & Schuster)

Best Humor Publication
* Flaming Carrot Comics, by Bob Burden (Desperado/Image)
* Onionhead Monster Attacks, by Paul Friedrich (Hellcar)
* Schizo #4, by Ivan Brunetti (Fantagraphics)
* Tales Designed to Thrizzle, by Michael Kupperman (Fantagraphics)
* Truth Serum, by Jon Adams (City Cyclops)

Best Anthology
* Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, by Bill Willingham and various (Vertigo/DC)
* Hotwire Comix and Capers #1, edited by Glenn Head (Fantagraphics)
* Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, edited by Frederic Boilet (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Kramers Ergot 6, edited by Sammy Harkham (Buenaventura Press)
* Project: Romantic, edited by Chris Pitzer (AdHouse)

Best Digital Comic
* Bee, in Motel Art Improvement Service, by Jason Little
* Girl Genius, by Phil Foglio
* Minus, by Ryan Armand
* Phables, by Brad Guigar
* Sam and Max, by Steve Purcell
* Shooting War, by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman

Best Reality-Based Work
* Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
* I Love Led Zeppelin, by Ellen Forney (Fantagraphics)
* Mom's Cancer, by Brian Fies (Abrams)
* Project X Challengers: Cup Noodle, by Tadashi Katoh (Digital Manga)
* Stagger Lee, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix (Image)

Best Graphic Album--New
* American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
* Billy Hazelnuts, by Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
* Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
* Ninja, by Brian Chippendale (Gingko Press)
* Scrublands, by Joe Daly (Fantagraphics)
* The Ticking, by Renee French (Top Shelf)

Best Graphic Album--Reprint
* Absolute DC: The New Frontier, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
* Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley (Fantagraphics)
* Mom's Cancer, by Brian Fies (Abrams)
* Shadowland, by Kim Deitch (Fantagraphics)
* Truth Serum, by Jon Adams (City Cyclops)

Best Archival Collection/Project--Strips
* The Complete Peanuts, 1959-1960, 1961-1962, by Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics)
* Mary Perkins On Stage, by Leonard Starr (Classic Comics Press)
* Moomin, by Tove Jansson (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Popeye: I Yam What I Yam, by E. C. Segar (Fantagraphics)
* Walt & Skeezix, vol. 2, by Frank King (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Archival Collection/Project--Comic Books
* Abandon the Old In Tokyo, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Absolute Sandman, vol. 1, by Neil Gaiman and various (Vertigo/DC)
* Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969, by Dan Nadel (Abrams)
* The Eternals, by Jack Kirby (Marvel)
* Ode to Kirihito, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
* A.L.I.E.E.E.N., by Lewis Trondheim (First Second)
* De:TALES, by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (Dark Horse)
* Hwy 115, by Matthias Lehmann (Fantagraphics)
* The Left Bank Gang, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
* Pizzeria Kamikaze, by Etgar Keret and Asaf Hanuka (Alternative)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material--Japan
* After School Nightmare, by Setona Mizushiro (Go! Comi)
* Antique Bakery, by Fumi Yoshinaga (Digital Manga)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urusawa (Viz)
* Old Boy, by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi (Dark Horse Manga)
* Walking Man, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

Best Writer
* Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil (Marvel); Criminal (Marvel Icon)
* Bob Burden, Gumby (Wildcard)\
* Ian Edginton, Scarlet Traces: The Great Game (Dark Horse)
* Grant Morrison, All Star Superman, Batman, 52, Seven Soldiers (DC)
* Bill Willingham, Fables, Jack of Fables, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)

Best Writer/Artist
* Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin)
* Renee French, The Ticking (Top Shelf)
* Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets, New Tales of Old Palomar (Fantagraphics); Sloth (Vertigo/DC)
* Paul Pope, Batman: Year 100 (DC)
* Joann Sfar, Klezmer, Vampire Loves (First Second)

Best Writer/Artist--Humor
* Ivan Brunetti, Schizo (Fantagraphics)
* Lilli Carre, Tales of Woodsman Pete (Top Shelf)
* Michael Kupperman, Tales Designed to Thrizzle (Fantagraphics)
* Tony Millionaire, Billy Hazelnuts (Fantagraphics); Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident (Dark Horse)
* Lewis Trondheim, A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (First Second); Mr. I (NBM)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
* Mark Buckingham/Steve Leialoha, Fables (Vertigo/DC)
* Tony Harris/Tom Feister, Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC)
* Niko Henrichon, Pride of Baghdad (Vertigo/DC)
* Michael Lark/Stefano Gaudiano, Daredevil (Marvel)
* Sonny Liew, Wonderland (SLG)
* Steven McNiven/Dexter Vines, Civil War (Marvel)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
* Nicolas De Crecy, Glacial Period (NBM)
* Melinda Gebbie, Lost Girls (Top Shelf)
* Ben Templesmith, Fell (Image); The Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M (Desperado/Image); Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (IDW)
* Jill Thompson, A Dog and His Boy in The Dark Horse Book of Monsters; Love Triangle in Sexy Chix (Dark Horse); Fair Division, in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)
* Brett Weldele, Southland Tales: Prequel Saga (Graphitti); Silent Ghost (Markosia)

Best Cover Artist
* John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); The Escapists (Dark Horse); The Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
* Tony Harris, Conan (Dark Horse); Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC)
* James Jean, Fables, Jack of Fables, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)
* Dave Johnson, 100 Bullets (Vertigo/DC); Zombie Tales, Cthulu Tales, Black Plague (Boom!)
* J. G. Jones, 52 (DC)

Best Coloring
* Kristian Donaldson, Supermarket (IDW)
* Hubert, The Left Bank Gang (Fantagraphics)
* Lark Pien, American Born Chinese (First Second)
* Dave Stewart, BPRD, Conan, The Escapists, Hellboy (Dark Horse); Action Comics, Batman/The Spirit, Superman (DC)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #17 (ACME Novelty)

Best Lettering
* Ivan Brunetti, Schizo (Fantagraphics)
* Todd Klein, Fables, Jack of Fables, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall; Pride of Baghdad, Testament (Vertigo/DC); Fantastic Four: 1602, Eternals (Marvel); Lost Girls (Top Shelf)
* Clem Robins, BPRD, The Dark Horse Book of Monsters, Hellboy (Dark Horse); Loveless, 100 Bullets, Y: The Last Man (Vertigo/DC)
* Richard Sala, The Grave Robber's Daughter, Delphine (Fantagraphics)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #17 (ACME Novelty)

Special Recognition
* Ross Campbell, Abandoned (Tokyopop); Wet Moon 2 (Oni)
* Svetlana Chmakova, Dramacon (Tokyopop)
* Hope Larson, Gray Horses (Oni)
* Dash Shaw, The Mother's Mouth (Alternative)
* Kasimir Strzepek, Mourning Star (Bodega)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
* Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
* Comic Art 8, edited by Todd Hignite (Buenaventura Press)
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, Dirk Deppey, Michael Dean, and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael
* ¡Journalista!, produced by Dirk Deppey (Fantagraphics)

Best Comics-Related Book
* The Art of Brian Bolland, edited by Joe Pruett (Desperado/Image)
* Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress, edited by Harry Katz (Abrams)
* Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodle Book, by John Hitchcock (Octopus Press)
* In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, by Todd Hignite (Yale University Press)
* Wally's World, by Steve Sarger and J. David Spurlock (Vanguard)

Best Publication Design
* Absolute DC: The New Frontier, designed by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
* Castle Waiting graphic novel, designed by Adam Grano (Fantagraphics)
* Lost Girls, designed by Matt Kindt and Brett Warnock (Top Shelf)
* Popeye: I Yam What I Yam, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
* The Ticking, designed by Jordan Crane (Top Shelf)

Hall of Fame
* Ross Andru & Mike Esposito
* Dick Ayers
* Bernard Baily
* Matt Baker
* Wayne Boring
* Creig Flessel
* Harold Gray
* Irwin Hasen
* Graham Ingels
* Joe Orlando
* Lily Renee (Peters) Phillips
* Bob Powell
* Gilbert Shelton
* Cliff Sterrett
(Judges' Choices: Robert Kanigher and Ogden Whitney)
 
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Eisner Award Nominations Due Today

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This is to remind me to check my e-mail and get them up when they come in.
 
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Fruits Basket V.16 Hits USA’s #15

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Without a movie tie-in and reaching this higher point a couple of weeks after its debut, Fruits Basket Vol. 16 hits #15 on the USA Today book list, the highest charting manga ever on that list. It's worth noting that this is one of many manga series that grows in audience size as the series continues, which makes a certain amount of sense considering that a long, finite series of books that remain in print in perpetuity allows new readers to jump on at the beginning with a great deal of ease
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Steve Schanes!

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Zuma: Zapiro Lawsuit To Continue

Jacob Zuma, the former deputy president of South Africa and the current deputy president of the African National Congress, told the Cape Town Press Club that he plans to continue pressing his array of lawsuits against several journalists including the popular cartoonist Zapiro (Jonathan Shapiro). At issue is coverage of a rape trial concluded in May of last year in Zuma's favor, coverage that the politician believes defamed him. As much as cartoonists in African countries are under assault, this is the only case I know where it's a lawsuit rather than a restrictive law that some fear could have a chilling effect on prose and/or visual discourse.
 
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Happy 20th Birthday, The Simpsons!

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Everybody Out There Has An Opinion

* it looks like Fantagraphics' Eric Reynolds is down on the world in a week where being down on the world seems like a sensible option; looking at Ivan Brunetti art is certainly the most fun way I can think of to be depressed about the state of things.

* the writer Kevin Church reads the latest DC comics mega-event, the four-issue World War III, and suggests it reads like a scrambling corrective to their ongoing mega-event, the weekly series 52. Without knowing, I would imagine there are interviews with DC people out there saying that these are two completely independent events because of the consumer resentment that is voiced when purchase of one series can be argued to require the purchase of another. The more interesting notion to me is that there are storyline and character positioning correctives that need to be made at all -- of all the problems in putting together a 52-issue weekly series, isn't plot the one that could be worked out in advance?

* not comics: I was hoping this blog entry from Chris Moran on major film stars taking superhero movie roles had something new and specific to add to the discussion of how such films operate in the current entertainment landscape, but essentially it's an exhortation to approach these parts with a sense of humor. Plus, for a film blog it really misleads on a couple of points: George Clooney had not developed a serious film actor reputation at the time he did that goofy Batman film; Ed Norton has always acted in big-budget studio efforts, and it's where he got his start.

* the writer and cartoonist Shaenon Garrity offers up an interesting perspective on the subject of free on-line content as scab material, which considering how dumb that initial argument was is quite the achievement. Basically, Garrity reminds that there's a thin line between approaching a project in a way where you decide it's free and approaching a project in a way that you're simply providing free content for others to exploit for profit.
 
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Five From The Discount Bins

Purchased at Dave's Comics & Games, 1230 S. Solano Drive, Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 18, 2007:

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TOTAL COST: $4.25
 
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Go, Read: Three Well-Done Articles

A trio of interesting articles/posting about comics artists all of which have some sort of historical angle have surfaced this morning:

* Matthias Wivel writes a fun review of a William Hogarth exhibit at the Tate (their holdings), stressing "the richness of his visual ideas."

* The writer Pat Mills remembers his sometimes collaborator, the recently passed artist Massimo Belardinelli.

* In remember the late Brant Parker, Craig Yoe re-publishes some publicity photos and samples related to The Wizard of Id. If you're anything like me, it will make you want to put on a snappy white shirt and a tie and collaborate on an art project.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
I Know Joe Kimpel Re-Fashioned

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With their first class graduating exactly a month away, the Center for Cartoon Studies' Adam Steffaroni writes in to remind that the student-run site and store I Know Joe Kimpel has been updated, in what one would guess is a way that will now reflect multiple classes moving through the institution.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Eddie Campbell on a Page

Exhibits/Events
FCBD Preview
Brett Warnock Heading to APE
Bags and Boards Previews APE
Cape Girardeau Convention Preview
Olympia Comics Festival Changes Date
Go See Matt Madden and Jessica Abel in Naples

Industry
Webcomics Profiled
DC Looking For Editor
Snapshot of Vietnamese Industry

Interviews/Profiles
SFist: Larry Young
CBR: The Luna Brothers
Newsarama: Jason Rodriguez
Blog@Newsarama: Todd Farmer
Dark, But Shining: Bernie Wrightson
Edmonton Journal: Marisa Acocella Marchetto
SF Bay Guardian: Art Spiegelman, Francoise Mouly

Not Comics
Manga Leads to Wine Boom
Ted Rall on the First Amendment

Publishing
Objections to a VT Cartoon
Johnny Ryan Offers KKK #2
Environmental Comic to Self-Distribute

Reviews
Geoff Hoppe: 52 #50
Douglas Wolk: Army@Love
Graeme McMillan: World War III
RC Baker: Alias The Cat, Army@Love
Dirk Deppey: The Collected Toupydoops Volume One: Ground Floor
 

 
April 18, 2007


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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This Isn’t a Library: New and Notable Releases to the Comics Direct Market

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Here are a few books that jump out at me from this week's list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America. I might not buy all of the following, but were I in a comic book shop I would likely pick them up and look at them, potentially annoying my retailer.

*****

JAN070265 BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK TP $14.99
This is a collection of recent Matt Wagner Batman stories driven by the earliest Detective Comics appearances. If it's anything like the individual comics I've seen, it's very handsome, well-crafted adventure comics, and I would at the very least pick it up off the shelves for a look.

FEB070296 SPIRIT #5 $2.99
I haven't seen any of these since issue #1 because of my lack of proximity to a comic book shop. I liked the one I read: it was handsome and distracting, and seemed perfectly suited to the comic book format. I may be in a comic shop today, so hopefully they carry this so I can root around for some and catch up. I have no idea if it's working or not.

FEB071896 ROCKETO VOL 2 TP JOURNEY TO THE HIDDEN SEA $19.99
It's stylish-looking adventure comic book week! Frank Espinosa's first volume was like the Dell adaptation of the best 1960s animated TV show pilot that no one ever saw again after its initial airing. It's pretty, and it's raggedly energetic, and I'm not sure the story makes a lick of sense. This may not stop you.

DEC063831 ALEX TOTH EDGE OF GENIUS VOL 1 TP $25.00
See what I'm saying? This is apparently three years of early 1950s Alex Toth, back when he was one of a handful of guys that owned mainstream American comic books. I'll want this eventually, whether or not I grab it the first day.

JAN073805 ALIAS THE CAT GN $23.00
Kim Deitch is one of the greatest cartoonists in the whole wide world, and this material from his more recent comic book series work has the grand mix of show business past and obsessive show business worship present that fans of his have come to love.

JAN073975 DRIFTING CLASSROOM VOL 5 TP (MR) $9.99
The best manga series with a new volume out this week. I'm a few behind in the series, but Kazuo Umezo's 1970s horror classic is as good as advertised thus far, a mini pop-culture classic almost as much fun in terms of identifying seeds of its approach in modern comics and movies as for the story itself.

FEB073462 LOVE & ROCKETS VOL 2 #19 (MR) $4.50
There's no comic I love seeing on the stands more, and with Gilbert Hernandez maybe entering into what looks like another interesting transitional period in terms of his stellar career, one of the ten great series in comics history bears special watching.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock.

If I didn't list your new comic, it's not because I missed it by accident or that our tastes differ. It's because I hate you.
 
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Comics Touching on Political Issues

There are a few stories about comics touching on political or otherwise sensitive issues, all of which would be worthy of top-of-blog status on a given weekday, but I think are worth collecting here for the sake of exploration and comparison.

image* The last two days of Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury are gaining attention for the declarations outright that both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney be impeached, which I guess for some people crosses a line that makes it worth noting. I would suggest a just-as-interesting notion is that Trudeau is directly engaging the thought that his feature is relentlessly political and confrontational -- when considering the climate of the times, some people might see it as reserved.

* Matthew Bors takes note of Media Matters targeting a cartoon on a conservative site that features the Osama/Obama gag. Bors questions whether or not it's worth wasting time getting riled up about something like this, indicating that cracking down on blunt humor takes a set of tools out of the hands of cartoonists on all sides.

image* John Kovalic offers up one of the better blog entries on a common sentiment that the bulk of editorial cartoonists' initial cartoons on the horrifying incident at Virginia Tech are pretty lame, particularly those with a crying mascot. (Mason Adams points out you can get a local cartoonist's version by clicking on the get image button here, and that it's amazing Staunton has its own cartoonist.)

While like Kovalic I prefer the more serious cartoons, the problem with doing one of those is 1) it's hard to come up with a good idea on something so horrible so quickly, and 2) there's a significant number of people that will likely hate anything non-banal, probably tagging it as inappropriate. Daryl Cagle has some commentary from one such cartoonist in the April 17 entry on his blog, and throws in someone mad at a Johnny Hart-related cartoon for good measure.
 
posted 2:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
SNAC To Welcome Comics-Makers

imageAlthough I lack the context for making this call with 100 percent certainty, this Nicolas Anspach news article at ActuaBD.com feels important enough to point out. Apparently, at their meeting in May the Syndicat National des Auteurs et des Compositeurs (SNAC) trade union will make official a presence of comics professional in their midst. The article suggests this would be a boon when it came to things like negotiating aspects of the extended Dupuis/Media-Participations battle, and when advocating for specific legal protections. There's also some discussion over past attempts to organize that were steered towards different, perhaps less confrontational roles, and what this new effort might mean for such groups.
 
posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

If you're interested in the notion we suggested from the start of the violence that the Danish Cartoons Controversy would lead to more restrictive laws in many countries regarding the press and free speech, this article seems to engage that issue in a broad way that may place some aspects of the cartoon protests' contribution in proper context.

thanks to those that e-mailed
 
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Moments of Truth

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Moments of Truth: The Best of Bill Leak, Bill Leak, Scribe Publications, 92 pages, 1920769536 (ISBN), May 2007, $29.95
 
posted 2:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Kory Merritt Wins 2007 Locher Award

Kory Merritt from the State University of New York in Brockport has won this year's AAEC/John Locher Memorial Award, which goes to a college editorial cartoonist. Merritt's work appears in his university's The Stylus. Editor & Publisher notes Merritt will likely appear at this year's AAEC Convention in Washington, DC on July 4-7 to accept the award, with his trip paid for by the organization.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Thierry Groensteen!

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posted 2:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Three Well-Done Articles

It struck me that there were a few articles floating around the comics portion of the Internet that were worth pulling out and making special mention of in their own group posting, in the hope some of you might be that much more convinced to read them.

* There's a well-done, smart talk with the endlessly touring Scott McCloud at The Believer, kind of a model for short interviews, where a R.C. Harvey reference lets you know the writer came prepared.

* Mike Lynch has penned a thorough report of Jay Kennedy's memorial service, and includes a number of the funny stories told about the late, well-liked King Features editor.

* Editor & Publisher pulls the most important thought out of a recent interview with cartoonist Ray Billingsley and gets the proper reaction quote, as befits a publication of record.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Roger Salick!

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posted 2:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Gary Panter Interview

Every interview with the great Gary Panter is worth reading; this one reminds me that Fantagraphics is coming out with a Dal Tokyo collection later this year. I think I knew that, or it may have been such incredible news I immediately passed out and fell backward and hit my head and forgot.
 
posted 2:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Do You Know More About This Drawing?

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If so, Mike Sterling would like to hear from you, and I would like to read what you tell Mike Sterling.
 
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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FCBD PR
FCBD PR
D&Q@APE
OCX '07 Preview
Jeffrey Brown at GRSF
FPI Blog on Beetles Gallery Show

History
Long Tribute to 2000 AD

Industry
Writers on Writing Comics
Was He Supposed to Be an Example?
Comics Shop Okay Among Indy Book Scene

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Thomas Jane
The Pulse: Joel Orff
PWCW: Peter Kuper
PWCW: Dean Mullaney
Hogan's Alley: Johnny Hart
City Paper Online: Bill Griffith
Comic Book Bin: Richard Sala
Baker's Dozen: Carl Wyckaert

Not Comics
Don MacPherson: DC Is Kind Of Gross

Publishing
PWCW on Aurora
PWCW on 24-7 Anthology

Reviews
Jog: Superf*ckers #279
Graeme McMillan: Various
Brigid Alverson: Ohikkoshi
Review Suite at The Walrus
Aspi: Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2
Hervé St-Louis: Bart Simpson #34
Leroy Douresseaux: King City Vol. 1
 

 
April 17, 2007


If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Seattle Papers Renew Disputed JOA

In a surprise twist to the multi-year saga of two Seattle newspapers arguing over a joint operating agreement that one paper said was crippling them and the other said was their only way to survive, the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer agreed Monday to a revised deal that extends a version of the arrangement for the next nine year. In doing so, they avoid binding arbitration and settled all potential legal confrontations.

This story is important to newspaper strips because the dissolution of the JOA would have likely doomed the Post-Intelligencer. This would have meant the end to major newspaper exposure for two pages worth of comics features, the cessation of the P-I's dependable posting of its strips on-line (a top three web destination in terms of newspapers that feature comics), and by making Seattle a one-paper town would have cost features that sold to one publication or the other to keep it out of the other's hands, meaning even more efforts than just those on the P-I pages would have lost a crucial sale.
 
posted 4:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Brant Parker, 1920-2007

Brant Parker, the co-creator and longtime artist of The Wizard of Id, died Sunday in Virginia after a long period of poor health. He was 86 years old.

Parker was born in Los Angeles and studied at that city's Otis Art Institute, he worked for Walt Disney before and briefly after joining the Navy in World War II. He met eventual collaborator Johnny Hart when he judged an art contest in which the then-teenaged Hart had entered. Parker eventually moved from a job as an editorial cartoonist into a job at IBM.

imageThe Wizard of Id launched in 1964 as a second feature from then already-successful creator Johnny Hart in partnership with his friend and newspaper fresh face Parker. It has consistently been an excellent syndication performer, in addition to spawning a number of paperback collections. It was particularly popular in Australia. Like Hart's B.C. before it, the strip with Parker's art had a gag-cartoon simplicity that translated well into the smaller and smaller spaced afforded strips in the second half of the 20th Century. It also like many of that period's strips in that it featured less in the way of characters and more of an exaggerated microcosm of society through which a variety of set pieces could be run: the scared knight, the arrogant king, the besotted lawyer, the mistreated prisoner and even the domestic situation provided by the Wizard himself.

Parker won the Reuben in 1984 and the National Cartoonist Society divisional award for Humor Comic Strip in 1971, 1976, 1980, 1982 and 1983. He also collaborated on the strips Crock and Out of Bounds. Wizard of Id was also cited as a contributing part of Johnny Hart's 1968 Reuben win.

Parker passed along the full-time art duties on the feature to his son and assistant, Jeff Parker, in 1997. Johnny Hart continued working with the younger Parker until his own recent passing.

He is survived by a wife, five children, and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
 
posted 3:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
More on Walt Handelsman’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize Win Announced Monday

* Newsday congratulates their cartoonist on the occasion of his Pulitzer Prize win.

* the big story of this year's awards is that the projected finalists all had experience doing editorial animation in addition to their print cartoons. Editor & Publisher discusses Handelsman's personal experience with the new medium.

* this description of Handelsman's win drives the standard news story. Plus: video.

* the Detroit Free Press congratulates their finalist, Mike Thompson.
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Massimo Belardinelli, 1938-2007

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Various fan groups have reported that the Italian artist Massimo Belardinelli died last month. He was 69 years old.

Inspired by Disney animation, particularly the movie Fantasia, the artist began work on animated features through Sergio Rosi in the middle 1960s. His subsequent move into comics was partly based on a desire for individual artistic expression over the teamwork required by film cartooning.

Belardinelli was best known for a long run on British comics titles first through Rosi and then through Rome's Giolitti Studios, which the cartoonist had joined because of an upswing in demand for comics for the German market. Belardinelli's British work began in titles like Action and Battle, and then he became for a significant period one of the recognizable 2000 AD artists from its inception. He was that publication's artist on their Dan Dare feature in 1977, and then moved to serials such as ACE Trucking Co. and occasional contributions to features like Slaine. He spent much of the 1980s splitting time between Fleetway and designing an Asian theme park that never materialized. He told Ink his last significant comics work was for Fleetway's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics.

The artist stopped working for British comics companies when Studio Giolitti ceased to exist. After flirting with sculpture, Belardinelli spent time in more recent years painting.
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
USS Catastrophe Shop To Close

Kevin Huizenga has announced that the excellent mini-comics distribution agency The Catastrophe Shop will close down soon, and the site itself says it's no longer taking submissions (although that could be older). This makes perfect sense when you think of the increasing professional opportunities in other areas for USS Catastrophe members and emerging, excellent cartoonists like Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch, and if you keep in mind the enormously thankless task of providing for sale books from the mini-comics end of things. I still think someone with the proper mix of passion, patience and personal resources could really carve out a satisfying place for themselves in service of that part of the market, although the rewards would almost certainly be more quotidian than ever quantifiable.

I don't know if they're going to do a sale or if they're going to accept orders to a certain point and then stop or what, but I plan on bookmarking both Huizenga's blog and the shop site until I find out. Most of what they offer is worth exploring, and if you haven't read, oh, say, minis from Eleanor Davis or Matthew Thurber, then you're not getting the most out of comics that you can get.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Listen: Miriam Katin Interview

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posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Ant Blade’s Bewley Site

I'm not familiar with Anthony Blade's Bewley, but it's nice looking and its new site is about as attractive a cartoon site not based around daily blogging of the feature I can remember seeing, with nice animation worked into each page.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 72nd Birthday, Jiro Kuwata!

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posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Ben Dunn!

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posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FBI at APE
SLG at APE
Report From Doug Marlette at VCU
Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory to Open

History
Cartoon Create Family Bond
The Dr. Strange Series Run That Never Was

Industry
Seiun Comic Award Finalists
Doonesbury Claim Angers Right-Winger

Interviews/Profiles
Family: Dan Zettwoch
Daily News: Jodi Picoult
CBR: Marc Guggenheim
Newsarama: Abby Denson
AfterEllen.com: Terry Moore
Ottawa Citizen: Rob McLennan

Not Comics
Insult Laws as Attacks on Press
The Oddest Thing You'll See Today

Publishing
Dan Clowes Covers Frankenstein
Joe Gross to Go Comics Full-Time
Stuart Immonen's Comics Generator
David Welsh on Forthcoming Manga Titles
List of Book Publishers With Comics Interest
Ronald Reagan Biography Re-Scheduled for 09-07

Reviews
Zak Edwards: New Universal #1-5
Don MacPherson: Xombie Reanimated
Andi Miller: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Collected Toupydoops
 

 
April 16, 2007


Walt Handelsman Wins 2007 Pulitzer

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Ray Bradbury received a special citation.
 
posted 12:08 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
It’s Rarely About One or the Other

The formidable blogger Kevin Melrose recently assembled some opinion pieces by a few artists working in the OGN format, roughly defined in this case as formats longer than traditional comic book forms and released more like books rather than periodical. The artists seemed to be suggesting that doing that much work might not be financially tenable for a whole lot of people, something that seems to be borne out by various historical examples of how artists have found time to work on original longer form work (Alison Bechdel and Howard Cruse spring to mind).

What's important about this isn't the usual waved-hand judgments of which format is the future, which format is over, which format is dead, which format satisfies and which one doesn't. Such pronouncements are silly. I don't know why so many people in comics have a binary fixation, but if the history of comics teaches us anything it's that multiple formats and launching points are possible and profitable. The newspaper strip format has been in decline since the late 1940s for pity's sake, but there is still a significant number of people making a middle class or better living solely off the profits from that market. Should the strip market have been abandoned or neglected in the 1950s in favor of a big push for the new paperback market? Of course not. And no comics market should be abandoned or neglected or even pooh-poohed right now, let alone vastly profitable ones.

Instead, let us push for reform and exploration of all markets based on the value that is just below the surface in Melrose's posting: a market for an art form should be judged by its ability to serve its artists; if it doesn't work for the artists, it doesn't work, period.

The only thing that rivals the either/or fascination of comics culture is the bottom-line worship, the conviction that a huge runaway success in a market or with a company benefits everyone. This isn't always the case. If American comics culture hasn't learned that from its history, it is likely unable to learn anything at all. There are ways to structure an industry other than boosting the bottom line and hoping that artists will be taken care of, there are models whereby more artists and more creators can make a good living from the fruits of their craft and imagination. We only need to fight for them: for market diversity, for ethical contracts, for open and equitable access to the various marketplaces, for long-term health over short-term gluttony, against unethical practices even when someone profits, against lionizing businesspeople that exploit artists, against celebrating the bottom line for the bottom line's sake.

If comics is only willing to take the future it's given, it will be given the future it deserves. I doubt anybody wants that. Luckily, futures can also be shaped, at least in part.
 
posted 3:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Assemble: The Fluke Flyer

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I'm all for crafts, like this paper airplane PDF available from the good artists hanging out the recent FLUKE show.
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Benefit Book in Police Defamation Case

Matthias Wivel at Metabunker talks about the small-publisher driven benefit book Tous Coupables!, designed to bring relief to fines levied on the writer, cover artist and publisher of Vos Papiers! Que faire face a la police. All three actors were fined in a decision that included a description of the image as racially biased. Wivel blasts the lack of attention paid to the case in light of the Charlie-Hebdo trial, and suggests that French culture may see a difference in Free Speech rights when it comes to discussing the French police and Islam. Great short piece, with supplementary links worth following.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Looking For Information: Miracle Mike

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Does anyone have any information on the above strip, Miracle Mike and/or its creators, Larry Lawrence and Lee Miller? A writer named Silvano Mezzavilla is trying to find information after seeing the above samples in a collection of cut-out strips from the 1930s. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) You can get a closer look at the feature by clicking through the image.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Leonard Rifas!

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posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ICv2.com: March 2007 DM Numbers

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has come through with their usual array of lists, estimates and analysis regarding the performance of comic books and graphic novels in the Direct Market of comic and hobby shops.

Overview
Analysis
Top 300 Comic Books
Top 100 Graphic Novels

This month's most notable performance award probably splits itself between the just-dead Captain America and the frequently resurrected Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Captain America #25's in-story shooting of its title character and the resulting media flurry drove 290,000 copies into the market; Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #1 and its blessing by creator Joss Whedon as canon on par with the TV show put a non-Marvel, non-DC comic book into the top ten in "startling these days for sure" fashion. There is probably something to be said for both of these enjoying some measure of press status, but quantifying that is like grasping at phantoms. You could also point out that Dark Horse had a good month between Buffy's strong launch and the performance of movie of the moment crossover volume 300.

One thing that pops out at me is that there only two X-Men franchise titles in the top 20, but that may be because I'm of a certain age where X-Men franchise titles are a natural reference point.
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, Paul Rivoche!

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posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Pultizer Winner, Awards Nominees Due

The Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning will be named with other winners for the esteemed awards program at 3:00 PM ET today. I bet if you have major blogging skills you might be able to discern the winner, as the Pulitzers are sometimes leaked to winners a few days in advance, but I myself have no problem waiting until later today.

If I'm right in that the Eisner committee met over the weekend, the nominees for that should also be announced soon. If I'm wrong, never mind.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Prix de la Meilleure BD Adaptable 2007

imageSome days I swear this award for the comic that would be best adapted into a movie or television show exists only to make the comics purist in me grind his teeth, but at the same time I appreciate its upfront nature and unique perspective on the French-language comics market (you rarely see books from the festival lists repeated here). This year's award goes to Muchacho by Emmanuel Lepage.
 
posted 3:01 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FCBD at JHU
SPACE Panel Schedule
Greg Evans Out For Blood
Leo Baxendale Meets Nick Park
Bryan Munn: Quebec City Wrap-Up
Your Sports/Cartoonist News Item of the Decade

History
Michael Vance on Smilin' Jack
Monet: From Cartoonist to Artist
Paul Gravett on Manga's Impact on US
Does Religion Belong on Comics Page?
Frank Miller: So Big Projects He Didn't Do Are News

Industry
Iran Cartoonist Wins Prize
Six Hours at Comix Experience
Columbus Dispatch: GN Timeline
Phil Yeh's Latest Advocacy Project
Columbus Dispatch: Comics Growing Fan Base

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Larry Young
Glyphs: Alex Simmons
Pop Candy: Jodi Picault
Mr. Media: Ray Billingsley
Union-Tribune: Paul Norris
Various Folks: Peter David
Billings Gazette: Dave Crispino
themontclarion.org: Joss Whedon
The Norman Transcript: Joss Whedon

Not Comics
Literary Vs. Genre Fiction Essay

Publishing
KFS Launches Manga-Influenced Strip
Via Comics212.net: Rich Stevens on Publishing

Reviews
Jog: Golgo 13 Vol. 8
Jessa Crispin: Lost Girls
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Web Behrens: The Salon
Leroy Douresseaux: Lone Racer
Unknown: Kitchen Princess Vol. 1
Don MacPherson: Red Eye, Black Eye
 

 
April 15, 2007


Happy 20th Birthday, Comic Relief!

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posted 2:58 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With K. Thor Jensen

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*****

Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: another pretty Jordan Crane cover

* go, look: what Johnny Hart meant to many evangelical Christians

* go, read: roll call of first-time comics creators at The Engine

* not comics: how come none of the movie-obsessed comics sites ever talks about this remake of one of the four or five most successful comics adaptations of all time?

* best thing about Gary Friedrich lawsuit: possible fan-interest revival in Hell-Rider publisher Skywald

*****

Go, Look: Justin B. Williams

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
Every year during the NHL playoffs I don't care about hockey at a much higher, more intense level.
 
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 14, 2007


If I Were In Quebec City, I’d Go To This

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posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 7 to April 13, 2007:

1. Cartoonist Johnny Hart, RIP.

2. Gary Friedrich sues Marvel and related companies over Ghost Rider.

3. Artist and apparel designer Todd Goldman apologizes for appropriation of imagery from webcartoonist David Kelly.

Winner Of The Week
Kelly.

Loser Of The Week
The Danish Cartoons controversy, finally reduced to a whining point by American political commentators.

Quote Of The Week
"I also was floored by someone saying Americans have fewer opportunities now than in the past. To any female, non-white or openly gay person, this comment is completely insane. Only a straight white male coach potato who spends 6+ hours a day fucking around on the internet would dare to make this claim." -- Peter Bagge

this week's imagery comes from pioneering comic book house Centaur Publications
 
posted 1:21 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 13, 2007


Happy 58th Birthday, Dave Gibbons!

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posted 10:12 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Chuck Dixon!

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posted 10:08 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, Gerhard!

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posted 10:04 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near MCAD, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Iraq Con Seeks Prizes

Various tabletop gaming communities are supporting a U.S. soldier-organized gaming convention in Iraq by sending copies of the games, but if I'm reading the report in this post correctly, they might be able to use some related comics or trades as prizes for participants. There's an e-mail address in the posting through which I would imagine you could check on this with one of the con organizers. It would be nice if they had a major sponsor or two, as well, if anyone out there is connected.
 
posted 4:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distractions: King Cat Classic

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You have to scroll down a bit, but Tom Devlin has posted an older John Porcellino story on the Drawn and Quarterly blog from the forthcoming collection King-Cat Classix. It's not exactly like the work for which Porcellino is best known and rightfully lauded, but it's a cute, funny comic.
 
posted 4:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distractions: Mazzucchelli Art

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I've received a couple of e-mails about this page with a number of beautiful David Mazzucchelli pieces of art for sale, including a number sketches -- I'd seen some of these before, but not all of them. You have to scroll down a bit. If nothing else, you should immediately purchase a copy of Rubber Blanket #3, made available on that same page, if you don't already own and treasure one.
 
posted 4:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Iraq Con Seeks Prizes

Various tabletop gaming communities are supporting a U.S. soldier-organized gaming convention in Iraq by sending copies of the games, but if I'm reading the report in this post correctly, they might be able to use some related comics or trades as prizes for participants. There's an e-mail address in the posting through which I would imagine you could check on this with one of the con organizers.
 
posted 4:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
2007 Bedeis Causa Prize Winners

Via Sequential comes word of yesterday's Prix Bedeis Causa for 2007 from the Festival de la bande dessinee francophone de Quebec, a significant awards program for the art form in the comics-rich province.

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Prix Real-Fillion (Best First Album)

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Nicolas and Dans un cruchon, Pascal Girard (Mecanique Generale)

*****

Prix Maurice-Petitdidier (Best Foreign Album)

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Les petits ruisseaux, Pascal Rabate (Futuropolis)

*****

Prix Alberic-Bourgeois (Best Album Published Abroad)

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Les Nombrils, Pour qui tu te prends? Delaf & Dubuc (Dupuis)

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Prix Albert-Chartier (Contribution to Quebec Comics)

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Les Debrouillards


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Grand prix de la ville de Quebec: (Best Album)

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Paul a la peche, Michel Rabagliati (La Pasteque)

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I'm sort of confused about the Prix Albert-Chartier, whether it's given to the overall endeavor including its magazine or if they have a comics line somewhere that is specifically targeted -- sort of like if I heard about a comics award going to "Nickelodeon."
 
posted 4:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Todd Goldman Apologizes to Cartoonist David Kelly in Case of Art Appropriation

I made the idiotic mistake of waiting on a lawsuit to be filed or for a similar "away from the computer screen" resolution in the case of webcartoonist David Kelly having an image appropriated in nasty, obvious fashion by artist and apparel designer Todd Goldman, when lo and behold 1) Goldman inexplicably (to my mind) jumped the gun by issuing a public apology, and 2) the level of protest against Goldman driven by the webcomics community was enough to become a story in and of itself beyond the usual invective.

In a way the situation as it stands right now, with Goldman promising to transfer profits to Kelly or to Kelly's charity of choice, has similarities to another story that broke this week. In both cases the ability of on-line sources to quickly disseminate information calls into question a now-admitted instance of a longtime, widespread shitty practice. In both cases the ability to spin an explanation for this behavior becomes hampered by the widespread nature of the objection. I think that's encouraging, and I applaud everyone who took part in braver, smarter fashion than I did. I hope Kelly is able to pursue resolution to this matter in a way that completely satisfies him, and I hope this inspires further objections and provides solace during more difficult pursuits. Bookmarking the site suggested here might be a useful start.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, Francois Schuiten!

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posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Mike Lester Wins Sigma Delta Chi Award

Mike Lester of the Rome (GA) News-Tribune has won this year's editorial cartooning category in the Society of Professional Journalist's Sigma Delta Chi awards, given out Thursday. The awards praised the winner's newspaper for keeping a full-time editorial cartoonist on staff despite their relatively small size, a rarity in today's industry. Lester's cartoons can be seen here.

Speaking of awards, it looks like the Eisner Awards committee meets this weekend. And while I'll wait until Monday, if you're super-interested in the Pulitzer Prizes, those will start to leak later today.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
A Few Random Notes on Digital Comics

There's a lot of talk about digital comics in the air, from commentaries by Steven Grant and Augie DeBlieck to interviews with SLG's Dan Vado about his company's Eyemelt store to random notes of interests like Emo Boy moving from print to digital through Eyemelt. It has me thinking, and although I'm still drastically under-informed and not sure what I have to say makes much sense, I do have some initial thoughts.

* It's interesting to me that a lot of what gets argued on an issue like this is based on assertions of a rooting interest in either bottom-line revenues or in various facets of revenue distribution, interests I don't always share and question whether anyone should. For instance, if you believe in an ethical business outcome that values, say, an artist's control over her work and a fair shot of maximizing her profit off of it, you end up with a very different take on digital comics arguments which point to the bottom line as the overriding virtue.

* I can't for the life of me figure out why all the comics companies haven't pursued this more aggressively. All comic books should be available in digital form by now. When the notoriously conservative newspaper strip business is years ahead of you, you're moving too slow. My only guess is that media companies may be resistant to change by nature and it's only when an undeniably effective application drives the business in a certain direction that businesses follow. It's worth noting that what we have in comics right now isn't a breaking through a wall driven by a super-great way of reading comics that is years ahead of what we thought possible, but a slow thinning of a membrane in areas like speed of downloads and screen size that make reading comics through existing applications increasingly pleasurable.

* Another guess is that no one can figure out a cost that makes sense but still allows for the generation of equivalent -- or worthwhile supplementary -- revenue.

* I don't really buy arguments that companies should protect existing ways of doing businesses by not pursuing other sources for revenue. If comics companies made this their religion, we'd never have had all these wonderful trade paperbacks because reprinting a comic could be seen as cutting into back issues sales. Further, I find it hard to believe that the big comics companies have suddenly become solicitous and caring when it comes to a system with whom their historical relationship is a decades-long country music song of abuse and neglect. I can see it with the medium-sized companies, who are invested enough they could suffer a backlash (many smaller companies don't have enough of a foothold to be punished this way), but not the big ones.

* It could be that the big companies believe that pouring resources into a new market would be an overall negative. If the audience for digital comic books has a ceiling that falls short of current revenues, and yet that shift in revenue is enough to critically wound any number of comic book shops by taking away a certain percentage of business they need to survive -- a debatable notion, I know -- then in a few years you might have an overall negative. It could be that comic shops may be seen as a greater growth market than downloadable comics, either because of the Direct Market's specific virtues or perhaps even because of dysfunctions that serve the companies' bottom line. Even when a market is in historical decline you don't always abandon it, a lesson we've learned from newspaper strips' cautiousness in entering the digital arena.

* Even though he seems much more educated on this general issue than I am, my gut says to reject a notion from Steven Grant that seems to suggest some outcomes are inevitable. For one, I think this is less true in comics than in, say, music, because we haven't experienced a tipping point yet or the rush of momentum towards a certain outcome driven, say, by a popular application. I understand the argument that there's no use arguing with folks that what they're doing when they illegally download and there's a certain historical inevitability at work in widespread consumer values and buying patterns and that it's good strategy to stop pushing against the tide and start fashioning a surfboard in order to ride it. At the same time, I think public statements and pleas that run counter to widespread popular belief can inject a healthy dose of counter-argument that may help to shape future options.

* I do think you can tweak an emerging culture's assumptions. Ten years ago I spent some time every week on the Internet asking people to take down articles they had posted from my then-employer The Comics Journal, and in about 95 percent of the cases those people screamed bloody murder that I didn't understand how the Internet worked, and that they were doing me a favor, and what I was attempting was hopeless, and this was the future and so on. Today, while some blogs and message board posters may over-zealously cut and paste, you don't see entire articles reprinted the way you used to, and there seems a widespread assumption that if Dirk Deppey writes an essay, then it's the Comics Journal's right to have that on their site in a way that helps them sell advertising. I don't think that would have evolved the same way without the persistence of people objecting to what they were told was the universal culture.

* Except for that minority of people who can't stand to read any comics at all on the computers, and what assumes is another minority out there that all hate paper comics, the bulk of the argument has pushed far past the simple paper vs. computer screen binary. There are a variety of different comics-reading experiences, some of which are best served for people on a computer screen and some of which are best served on paper. There are also some where it doesn't matter. There are a lot of comics I'd be happy to get as a download -- I'd have loved to have seen that Captain America gets shot comic book the day it came out, and would be happy to have others around for research -- and a metric ton of comics I can't imagine buying that way. I think it's a more complex market than the way it's usually argued, and it's not one we may understand until ten years after companies and creators are fully invested in it.
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP/Missed It: Craphound #6

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Jordan Crane cover. Apparently this came out a half-year ago and I totally missed it.
 
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
An Interesting Form of Comics Advocacy

Read your comics in public; if someone asks you about them, give them the comic.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FCBD in Swindon Previewed
World's Longest Strip Headlines Festival

History
Expatica: Comics in Belgium

Industry
Family Buries Johnny Hart
Bil Keane Remembers Johnny Hart
Just Because You Don't Find Him Funny...
Subscriber-Only Christian Take on Graphic Novels

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Matz
Express: Bryan Talbot
Newsarama: Matt Fraction
Dr. Dobb's Portal: James Kakalios
InsideBayArea.com: Henry Manhoff

Not Comics
This Is Very Sweet
Muhammed Cartoons Used as Graffiti

Publishing
Fans Disturbed by New Archie
Gail Simone to Write Wonder Woman

Reviews
Patti Martinson: Titusville
Jog: All-Star Superman #7
Paul O'Brien: Fallen Son #1
Jiffy Burke: El Goonish Shive
Shaenon Garrity: Doing Time
Sheena McNeil: Punch! Vol. 1
Paul O'Brien: Omega Flight #1
Vichus Smith: Various DC Comics
Sheena McNeil: Secret Chaser Vol. 1
Christine Scott: Questionable Content
Sheena McNeil: Sensual Phrase Vol. 18
Leroy Douresseaux: Dragon Drive Vol. 1
Brigid Alverson: Black Sun Silver Moon Vol. 1
 

 
April 12, 2007


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

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Ali Dilem is Facing Twenty-Four Trials

That's how they introduce the Algerian cartoonist in this report on yesterday's gathering in Paris of international cartoonists to support the opening of the "Cartooning For Peace" exhibit there, and the casual nature of that description colors the article throughout. There seems to be something about that kind of stark reality that seems to have driven the conversation in directions less fanciful and self-involved than what I remember from a previous opening. In fact, most of the perspectives here, even the ones with which I'd likely disagree, seem thoughtful and considered. It therefore makes for a pretty good survey article about international editorial cartooning perspectives. I did blink twice that the writer expressed surprise that the cartoonists still reference the Danish Cartoons controversy -- an event that climaxed only 14 months ago.
 
posted 2:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Saul Steinberg Profile

imageI thought this was a first-rate, classic big-paper profile of the longtime New Yorker icon on the occasion of the "Illuminations: Saul Steinberg" exhibit currently showing at the Smithsonian Art Museum. Included are a physical description of the artist as "Groucho Marx condensed," a tribute to his facility, a talk about his lack of a place in art histories, an explanation for why that is, and, most humorously, Steinberg's opinion of the pineapple.
 
posted 2:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
E&P: BC’s Immediate Publishing Plans

Editor & Publisher has an update on the immediate plans for the late Johnny Hart's feature B.C.. Apparently, dailies were done up to April 28 and Sundays until May 20. Six weeks of dailies and Sundays selected by the family as a tribute to the cartoonist will extend the feature until June 9 and July 1, respectively. The new strips created by members of the family will continue after that.

Given that it's unclear exactly who will be working on the strip and in what capacity beyond it staying within the Hart family, and the rigors of daily production, a six week buffer seems smart. It's also interesting to note that Hart wasn't working ahead a significant amount on the strip, as I know some older cartoonists with non-topical strips sometimes work well ahead, one might guess to better negotiate any non-productive periods brought on for whatever reason. As I recall, Reg Smythe of Andy Capp had worked ahead more than a year at the time of his passing. That's an observation, not a criticism; certainly anyone contributing to a pair of strips for multiple decades would have developed a way of working that best suited their skills and temperament.
 
posted 2:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
D&Q Unpacks New King-Cat Roll-Out

imageThe April 11 posting at the Drawn and Quarterly blog describes their plans to debut King-Cat Classix, a best-of collection encompassing stories from the first 50 issues of the groundbreaking mini-comics series King-Cat Comics and Stories, at the forthcoming Alternative Press Expo. While it's not the first time John Porcellino's work has appeared in book form, it's a major project nonetheless, and one I'll look forward to buying. With his minimalistic approach and lyrical take on everyday life, Porcellino has become a massively influential cartoonist in addition to being a highly skilled one. It looks like he'll also be making a pair of appearances close in Colorado.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Troy Nixey!

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Go, Read: Three Short Interviews

* Author and comics writer Neil Gaiman makes an eloquent case for the support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in the middle of this interview at Wild River Review. There are one or two comics content-related answers, too.

* Forbidden Planet International has a solid interview up with Scottish cartoonist Malcy Duff.

* This short interview with librarian Miriam Desharnais of the Baltimore Public County Library is one of those things you can't imagine reading ten years ago, and one that's also encouraging for its content. Desharnais oversees the 'zine collection at that library's Cockeysville branch, which includes a number of handmade comics she's apparently picked up through Atomic Books and at the Small Press Expo. In the interview she talks about why such a collection can be important, and asked of her favorites displays formidable taste.
 
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Tanino Liberatore!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Scott Stantis in KC
Watch Brian Duffy Draw
Preview of Steve Bell Exhibit
Dylan Horrocks in Gainesville

History
Short History of Disney Comics in Finland

Industry
Mark Evanier on Legacy Strips

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Dan Vado
Esquire: Nicholas Gurewitch
Legion of Doom: Dean Haspiel
NPR: Matt Davies, Tim Kreider

Not Comics
Wonder Woman Milkshake Contest
People Keep E-Mailing Me This Iron Man Picture
Matt Fraction Talks About the Late Kurt Vonnegut

Publishing
Kevin Colden Launches Fishtown
Cagle Site Adds Burkino Faso Cartoonist

Reviews
Gina Ruiz: La Perdida
Sheena McNeil: Bambi
Al Kratina: Criminal #1-5
Brian White: V For Vendetta
Bill Sherman: Love and Capes
Sheena McNeil: Bleach Vol. 18
Graeme McMillan: Iron Man #16
Rob Vollmar: Seven Classic Manga
Ginger Mayerson: Ichigenme Vol. 1
Hervé St-Louis: New Avengers #29
Jason Mott: Punisher War Journal #5
Sheena McNeil: O-Parts Hunter Vol. 2
Sheena McNeil: O-Parts Hunter Vol. 3
Sheena McNeil: Galaxy Angel II Vol. 1
Erik Weems: Abandon the Old in Tokyo
Sheena McNeil: Millennium Snow Vol. 1
Scott Timberg: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Hervé St-Louis: Justice League of America #7
 

 
April 11, 2007


If I Were In Richmond, I’d Go To This

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If someone goes, please remember to ask him about the David Wallis book.
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn’t a Library: New and Notable Releases to the Comics Direct Market

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Here are a few books that jump out at me from this week's list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America. I might not buy all of the following, but were I in a comic book shop I would likely pick them up and look at them, potentially annoying my retailer.

*****

OCT060165 ALL STAR SUPERMAN #7 $2.99
DEC060188 ALL STAR SUPERMAN VOL 1 HC $19.99
One of the best superhero comics of the last 30 years, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman manages to combine a fairly straight-forward, imaginative story about the limits of the Superman myth as they exist right now with an homage to Silver Age storytelling with a running commentary about such storytelling's strengths and limitations. I think it's way more self-aware than people give it credit, but it's pretty enough and quirky enough to work on any level you'd like it to.

JAN073808 COLD HEAT #4 (OF 12) (MR) $5.00
Brian Hibbs' favorite comic series of 2006 has become one of my favorites. While Frank Santoro's art isn't for everyone, I'm in the camp that finds it evocative. I haven't yet processed exactly why I like it, but I'm enjoying the feeling I get from it of being lost in its waves junk media effects and ideas from the 1980s.

FEB073454 COMPLETE PEANUTS VOL 7 1963-1964 HC $28.95
Just because we've become accustomed to seeing these books twice a year shouldn't diminish our appreciation of the work's consistent excellence. One thing that's great about reading individual volumes of Peanuts is that you realize how crappy our conventional wisdom was regarding the series overall, and how it progressed. For instance, there's a lot of humor here that I thought Schulz moved away from by the end of the '50s. This volume includes an introduction by Bill Melendez which is really fun when it comes to describing how the animated specials started, and less so in an understandable way when it comes to his appraisal of the later works.

FEB073684 COMPLETE UNIVERSE OF DUPUY & BERBERIAN TP $55.00
I would really love to be in a comic book shop today and pick this up, and not just because the rarity of shops carrying this tome would likely put me in one of four fun-to-visit cities on a Spring day. Mostly, I'm just not sure what I'm getting here, and want to see the book for myself. Dupuy & Berberian are one of the world's great cartooning teams, probably ever, so of course it's of interest.

FEB073843 DR SLUMP VOL 12 TP $7.99
JAN073862 DRAGON HEAD VOL 6 GN (OF 10) (MR) $9.99
The two best manga series with offerings out this week. Dragon Head is one of those comics that sells moderately well in a baffling way, because it touches on all the usual points required of a big, genre-defining hit. Dr. Slump is Akira Toriyama's early, popular comedy work that is really fast and loose and silly in a way a lot of comics aren't anymore.

FEB073470 GARAGE BAND GN $16.95
A really solid offering from one of Europe's better cartoonists right now, this First Second-published story of group of youths pursuing the rock and roll dream only as far, for now, as getting a decent practice space and maybe letting a label to hear their demo, has enough in the way of universal relationships and the physicality that is expressed through music to appease fans seeking something familiar, and a touch of the kind of class and money issues that seem more specifically European for those who want a window on a different world.

JAN073618 MOME VOL 7 GN $14.95
This is the one book most comics fans need to buy this week, for a few reasons. First, Al Columbia begins a publishing comeback that should culminate in a massive art book with a sketchbook section here called "Chopped-Up People." Second, Lewis Trondheim's extended mulling over the issue of aging in comics "At Loose Ends" this issues features his correspondence with the just-passed Yvan Delporte and a lot of wonderful pacing and lovely imagery. There's a two-page glossary explaining people and some events that follows the story, but I didn't think it was necessary. Third, Eleanor Davis joins the line-up with a wonderful fable-like short story; Davis was 2006's out-of-nowhere emerging cartoonist for a lot of art-comics fans who saw her mini-comics for the first time, and it's great to see that her work continues to develop. Jog liked it as much as I did.

FEB073427 OPTIC NERVE #11 (MR) $3.95
The conclusion to Adrian Tomine's best story to date, and about as satisfying a comic book package as exists out there. Tomine even manages to get better letters than just about anyone.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock.

If I didn't list your new comic, it's not because I missed it by accident or that our tastes differ. It's because I hate you.
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* this is the first follow-up article I've seen -- which only means that it's the first English-language one to make the wires that I've noticed -- on the horribly violent riots in Nigeria that were attributed to the Danish Cartoons.

* this essay takes a rudimentary historical assignment made about those arguing some of the issues involved and uses the rhetorical tactic of claiming that language as a positive. This line about a newspaper's decision whether or not to re-publish the cartoons made me laugh: "The cartoons are both of poor quality, and stupid, so it was decided not to publish them."

* I don't think I've seen this strong a suggestion that a failed attempt to bomb a couple of trains in Cologne last year was due to the cartoons controversy, although there had certainly been hints.
 
posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Duke Lacrosse Cartoons

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Daryl Cagle frequently puts up themed groupings of cartoons on his massively-trafficked site. This series on legal troubles swirling around the Duke lacrosse team, a story that ran the gamut from a privileged student vs. abused townie feel early on to multiple accusations of malfeasance on the part of the prosecutor's office later, features the work of one cartoonist, Durham's Dennis Draughon. I enjoyed tracking the local viewpoint through one cartoonist, and it was also interesting to see lacrosse imagery yoked into visual communication this way, because if you're like me and grew up somewhere the sport wasn't played, it seems sort of exotic.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Baron Jacques Jonet, RIP

Baron Jacques Jonet, the current president of the massive media conglomerate Media-Participations, passed away on Saturday, April 7, according to a note discovered by ActuaBD.com. I usually make a mistake in this kind of summary writing across languages, but let me try my best: Media-Participations owns Dargaud, Lombard, manga-centric Kana, Dupuis, and a number of individual effort-driven publishing enterprises, allowing it to claim to be the #1 publisher of comics in Europe. Jonet was apparently involved with the negotiations arising from turmoil between the company and its 2004 acquisition Dupuis; the company's size and the way that officers like Jonet were part of the fabric of traditional European culture may have fueled some of the fears of Media-Participations' dominant-company status in terms of guaranteeing for the market the widest possible expression.
 
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Go, Look: New Mark Burrier Site

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posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Bill Griffith’s Tribute Cartoon About the Just-Passed Jay Kennedy

Editor & Publisher has a write-up and links about Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead tribute on Monday to his friend and former editor at King Features, Jay Kennedy. Griffith was the cover artist to Kennedy's The Official Underground And Newave Comix Price Guide.

Although it's probably just me, I haven't been able to get any of those links to work.
 
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Go, Read: The Doom Comic

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Diversions on a Wednesday Morning

* Did anyone design characters better than Jack Kirby?

* variations of this have been done before by cartoonists ranging from the Partyka gang to Kevin Huizenga, but it's always fun to have cartoonists drawing weird, staged confrontations for confrontation's sake.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
SDS Event Preview

History
This Made Me Laugh
Mourning Captain America
Comics Books' Seriousness

Industry
Go Comi! Re-Ups With DBD
Comics on the Phone Article #85

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Anjali Singh
PWCW: John Porcellino
The Jeffersonian: Brian Ralph

Not Comics
Eddie Campbell on Courtroom Art

Publishing
PWCW: Fox Atomic Slate
Viz Signs Publishing Partnerships

Reviews
Shawn Hoke: The Monkey and the Crab
Donielle Ficca: Boys Over Flowers Vol. 4
Donielle Ficca: Boys Over Flowers Vol. 5
Paul O'Brien: Avengers: The Initiative #1
Sheena McNeil: The Missing White Dragon
Sheena McNeil: Shakugan No Shana Vol. 1
Sheena McNeil: Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories
Sheena McNeil: The Drifting Classroom Vol. 5
Donielle Ficca: Inubaka Crazy For Dogs Vol. 2
Ginger Mayerson: The Sky Over My Spectacles
Sheena McNeil: Inubaka Crazy For Dogs Vol. 2
Ginger Mayerson: The Day I Became A Butterfly
Joey Manley: The Squirrel Mother and Other Stories
Sheena McNeil: Midaresomenishi: A Legend of Samurai Love
 

 
April 10, 2007


On Johnny Hart and Legacy Strips

The news cycle moves so quickly these days I'm not half done with an obituary when I see that news of cartoonist Johnny Hart's passing has moved past the life of the man into appraisals of obituaries some thought disrespectfully leaned towards the controversial aspects of his career and the news that the BC strip will continue. Editor & Publisher has a nice summary of the latter, including how this touches on the larger issue of legacy strips and whether or not strips that have passed on from their original creator are a good or evil in and of themselves in addition to whether or not they're harmful to the newspaper strip in general.

I'm one of those against legacy strips on the whole. I realize that some of them are very good, I'm fully aware that many of them are done because the creator wished for their feature to continue, and I know that in the end a significant audience would prefer to have an old favorite slightly if at all diminished than learn to enjoy a brand new offering. Aside for the affection we all hold for favorite works of art, there's a huge formal component about old strips versus new strips that people rarely bring up -- because you're only exposed to a small sampling of a strip a day, it takes a long time to grow accustomed to its characters and rhythms in a way that you've already absorbed with an older feature. Newspaper strip reading for many fans is a no-effort, modest-reward experience that is best if left as easy to access as possible.

Further, there's no way anyone can really prove that the newspaper page would be better off if strips died with their creators, other than pointing out a few that have and a general, logic-based hunch that, for example, audiences were more entertained by watching Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld than they would have been viewing his run playing Dobie Gillis. As ridiculous as that sounds, I think that's a pretty convincing way of looking at the overall issue. There's no way to keep any piece of art running past the death of its creators without a loss of vitality somewhere along the way, and when that decline defines a significant portion of your public face, it's bound to have a significant effect on the art form.

We have to remember that legacy strips are possible largely because of the conservative nature of the newspaper strip business, the way features bleed clients slowly as long as nothing drastically different happens on the page. And they are desirable in certain cases because of the tremendous amounts of money involved. That's why many cartoonists can shift a strip to other people, perhaps with the thought of continuing the strip after their passing, or perhaps so they can play more golf, run a related business or pursue another creative opportunity. But I think if you really look at what you're getting, even at best, the opportunity to negotiate a period of decline becomes an odd legacy to pursue. In most cases the collective memory focuses on the vital periods and puts the legacy there, not on the current product. Fantagraphics is collecting EC Segar's Popeye, not Bobby London's. The highlight reels don't show Joe Namath playing with the Los Angeles Rams.

All that said, I think there are some specific things to remember about this case. For one thing, after someone's passing is a totally unfortunate time to bring up a more general issue, because of the emotions involved, the reflexive desire that people will have to not let something die. I hope folks will remember how they feel about this issue and bring it up again at a different junction, say when papers have the opportunity to buy a new strip or keep Lynn Johnston's trapped in amber For Better or For Worse. For another, the BC strip has supposedly been a family effort for a while now, and I think that's been reflected in the strip itself. So I think in terms of adjudicating the artistic results we have to think in terms of that strip continuing, not the strip as it existed 1958-1965 or so. A third thing to remember is that to my knowledge Hart had a very close relationship with Rick Newcombe and Creators Syndicate, and I think everyone can be confident that they're facilitating his expressed wishes in a genuine, well-meaning way.

In general, however, I'm encouraged that people are having this discussion because the only way I see the legacy strip fading, perhaps continuing to fade from the certainty it was a generation ago, is for readers to value a dynamic, changing comics page that's the reflection of individual artists embracing the freedom that the comics medium brings, and for the continued growth of alternative ways to value and remember the strips that have reached their end. Talk about what we value and why we value it brings us closer to that goal.
 
posted 4:11 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Gary Friedrich Sues Marvel and Related Companies Over Ghost Rider Copyright

imageAt least that what's Reuters says. Apparently the suit was filed in federal court in Illinois on April 4, claims that Friedrich created the character three years earlier and then brought it to Marvel, that Marvel in its Magazine Management stage didn't register the work and thus the character returned to him in 2001, and that, in what one would guess is the bulk of the suit, managed the character poorly since that time.

I don't want to waste your time with a lot of fake-lawyer Internet-blowhard expounding on the various issues as if I have a clue, but a few things pop out at me. For one, I always thought that Roy Thomas and maybe Mike Ploog were credited with the character's creation. Two, if it continues, it strikes me that this could become really interesting in terms of delineating how some of Marvel's licensing deals work. Friedrich's claim of previous creation kind of pops out, too; I recall that this was part of the basis by which the late Dave Cockrum secured his final pension/deal with the company, so maybe that has an impact.
 
posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Eddie Campbell on Gasoline Alley

Everything Eddie Campbell puts on his blog is worth reading, but I particularly liked this summary of links and thoughts on Gasoline Alley. I think Campbell has it dead on where the heart of the strip's appeal lies, and what I think is even more remarkable is to realize this kind of work had a significant audience who valued to the point of holding dear that non-sensational reflection of life as lived.
 
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Go, Look: Eric Knisley’s Long Drawing

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a tiny portion of the really long drawing
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
E&P Sticks To Its Pulitzer Predictions

With one week left before they're announced, Editor & Publisher still has Walt Handelsman (Newsday), Nick Anderson (Houston Chronicle) and Mike Thompson (Detroit Free Press) as its editorial cartoonist category finalists.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, James Hudnall!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Scott Hampton!

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Not Comics: Will Eisner Documentary Schedule for Tribeca Film Festival

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posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Brett Warnock on ECCC
NYCEA Presentations Include Comics

History
This Peanuts Confused Him
Midnight Fiction Profiles Bob Vojtko

Industry
I Love Press Releases
AfterEllen: Lesbians Get Graphic
Has DC Suspended its Podcasts?
SLG to Offer "Facilitation" Services
Iranian Cartoonist Wins German Festival Prize
Graphic Novel Depot: GN-Dedicated Amazon.com Store

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Gail Simone
Courier Post: Ron's Comic World
The Valley Vanguard: Jason Nuttall
Canadian Academic All-Star Team-Up
Newsarama: Kurt Hassler, Rich Johnson

Not Comics
Missed It: New Kal Animation
Where Was This When I Was 11?
Women in Refrigerators Explained
I Have Nothing To Add But Personal Dismay
Carla Speed McNeill Faces Carpal Tunnel Operation

Publishing
Viz Media 2Q 2007
Missed It: New Split Lip
Go, Visit: Connie Dekker
Into the Dust Support Site
Poseur Ink: Never Heard of Them

Reviews
David Welsh: Elk's Run
Gina Ruiz: Castle Waiting
Greg McElhatton: Garage Band
Johanna Draper Carlson: Lucky
Mike Everleth: Hugs: Bloodpond
Leroy Douresseaux: Escape From Special
Paul Gravett: Various Books About Comics
Leroy Douresseaux: Shonen Jump Vol. 4 #7
Don MacPherson: Avengers: The Initiative #1
Jim Doom: Astronauts in Trouble: Master Flight Plan
 

 
April 9, 2007


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Greatest Love Story of Our Time

That would be the financial advice entity Motley Fool and Marvel, of course. The interesting thing to me about this article and the issue of Marvel's long-term economic growth generally is that a worldwide licensing strategy and theme parks and the like sounds exactly like Marvel's plans from 15 years ago, only this time the movies have made for a stronger launching point.
 
posted 5:58 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Tom Toles Cartoon Asserted as Racist?

imageI could be wrong, but I think seeing this cartoon at right (click through for a larger image) as racist simply because of Alberto Gonzales' ethnic identity is kind of a stretch. I actually thought the joke was that the preparation would have to be like this to make such rudimentary talking points last long enough to match the time claimed for it. Basically, though, it just seems to me in most cases like this there are usually a dozen or so explanations more likely than the cartoonist flipping his lid and making an unsavory joke. Cartoons take time; it's not a TV appearance where a slip of the tongue is possible.

The additional issue asserted here that this joke would have been seen differently if it were submitted by a conservative cartoonist sounds logical on the surface, like it's something that could happen, particularly if you see the world a certain way. Still, I'm not aware of actual instances where the public has ignored racially charged statements from a cartoonist based on political preference. Certainly a good amount of time was spent kicking Pat Oliphant in the nuts by people that didn't like the way he chose to depict Secretary of State Rice.
 
posted 5:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
ActuaBD.com on the Ex Libris Line

This article on the formation of a line at Delcourt called Ex Libris, intended to publish adaptations of literary classics under the direction of writer Jean-David Morvan, fairly reminds me of a Comic Buyer's Guide article in that a long history of comics adaptations is offered up as well as various details about the new imprint. The most interesting section explains how the books will be formatted in a way that will hopefully make them more explicitly amenable to be pressed into service as a teaching aid; if you think about it for a second, many of the more popular comics adaptations through the years boast a tenuous relationship to their originals.
 
posted 4:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Francois Clauteaux, 19XX-2007

imageAccording to a posting at afNews.info, Francois Clauteaux, a co-founder and driving behind the creation of the seminal comics publication Pilote, died on March 25. Although some of the on-line articles out there describe Pilote almost solely as an effort of comics creators like Jean-Michel Charlier, Alberto Uderzo and Rene Goscinny, others point to Clauteaux, a veteran of L'Oreal, and his desire to make a value-driven secular youth magazine that reflected French culture rather than the America of the American imports flooding the market, as a key factor. No matter the nature and degree of his involvement, Clauteaux was surely present and involved in the creation of one of the great publications in the history of comics around the world, and thus also important in terms of that magazine's significant early offerings like the iconic and massively successful Asterix.
 
posted 3:42 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

One of the unfortunate things when you spend time paying attention to an international news story of complexity and significance, like last year's violence and political turmoil surrounding the publication of Muhammed caricatures in a Denmark newspaper, is that you know at some point a castrated, dumb-assed version of the issues will be yoked and brought into service for some temporary advantage or other by the shameful American political argumentation industry. Here you go.
 
posted 3:29 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Books I Didn’t Know Were Coming Out

This site could stand a lot of improvement in the way it presents publishing news. By publishing news, I mean being a reputable, dependable and easy to access source for information on forthcoming comics releases, not just doing the occasional hype-driven shout-out from the body of the blog. Doing the beginnings -- even the first half-hour -- of work in that direction yields an avalanche of interesting books that are coming out that caught me somewhat by surprise, and since it should be a while before the site's publishing news resources are up and running, I thought I'd share some of the easiest to find ones here.

Plus it's fun to daydream about comics that are coming out.

*****

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For example, only through Jeff Smith's blog today did I learn about a forthcoming The Art of Bone book from Dark Horse. This should be worth getting because not only is Smith a really good artist, but his work on Bone seems stand-alone to me; I'm not aware of a lot of extra art, or where it might apply to the series, and I haven't seen a lot of his outside artwork, period.

*****

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I knew about To Terra and Song for Apollo from Keiko Takemiya and Osamu Tezuka at Vertical. If you had phoned or e-mailed, I couldn't have told you about Andromeda Stories and MW, the offerings to follow, even though they're due this year.

*****

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I've mentioned The Collectable Peanuts Box Set Classic Box Set, both for its re-presentation of some old, well-liked Peanuts-related books and its idiosyncratic way of spelling "collectible," but I somehow failed to notice the books come in a cardboard doghouse.

*****

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Did you know Marvel was going to extend its Omnibus series back into their monster comics with a 400-plus page release Amazing Fantasy Omnibus Volume 1? Because I sure didn't.

*****

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I also missed word that Fantagraphics is the publisher that will be doing Josh Simmons' long-awaited House. Simmons has shown flashes of brilliance in his comics thus far. Of the promising cartoonists under the age of 40, he may also be the most uneven. I have high hopes for this book.
 
posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
FLUKE Returns
Go See Jeff Pert
FCBD Approaching
FCBD Approaching II
FCBD Approaching III
Jeffrey Brown's UK Tour
Top Shelf 10th Anniversary Party in June

History
Flood! Art to LOC
Peanuts on Cover of Time
Is Comic Book Death Important?
CBR Celebrates 10 Years of Top Shelf

Industry
Karimzadeh Honored by UN
Local Strip Tryout Draws Ire
Marvel Licensing Partner Extends Deal
Editors Need to Be Careful With Comics

Interviews/Profiles
Wizard: Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale
ABC News: Ben Templesmith
Recordnet.com: Betsy Luntao
Scotsman.com: Martin Rowson

Not Comics
Backstory on CEO Dad
Rabbi Loves Superheroes
His Hair Has Its Own Web Site?
Paul Pope Recommends: Kiss Kiss Kiss

Publishing
Wired Eagerly Awaits Manga Bible

Reviews
Gina Ruiz: 300
Dan Hays: Jack Hightower
Miles Fielder: New L&R Books
Kathy English: Killed Cartoons
Kitty Sensei: Your and My Secret Vol. 1
Dread Central: 28 Days Later The Aftermath
Ammon Gilbert: 28 Days Later The Aftermath
Mark Allen: Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe
 

 
April 8, 2007


Johnny Hart, 1931-2007

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posted 12:31 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Sunday Magazine

A Short Interview With Nate Powell

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*****

Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: David Shrigley's drawings

* in the '90s, even Jesus' costume had shoulder pads

* comics Internet legend Rich Johnston wishes you a Happy Easter

* how cartoonists use Easter imagery

* when you can draw like Boardman Robinson, you don't have to be subtle

*****

Go, Look: Marco Corona's Blog

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*****

First Thought Of The Day
When Stephen Crane was my age, he'd been dead for 10 years.
 
posted 6:53 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 7, 2007


If I Were In Athens, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Bart Beaty Interview

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posted 12:51 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 1 to April 6, 2007:

1. Brenner Printing announces that they will no longer print hardcore pornographic comic books.

2. Glenat establishes Montreal-based publishing house.

3. David Wallis' Killed Cartoons accused of killing a cartoon.

Winner Of The Week
Mitt Romney! Maybe.

Loser Of The Week
Mitt Romney! Maybe.

Quote Of The Week
"I have also worked with, in pretty equal numbers, 'artists' who are complete fucking chimpanzees and need their hands held on a PANEL-TO-PANEL BASIS. Monkeys who are incapable of doing ANY sort of even basic storytelling because all they can draw are steroid heroes and strippers and have, apparently, never seen a telephone, a newspaper, or the St. Louis Arch, just to pick at random three things that I have seen my artists fuck up JUST THIS MONTH ALONE." -- Mark Waid

this week's imagery comes from pioneering comic book house Centaur Publications
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
April 6, 2007


Happy 67th Birthday, Claire Bretecher!

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source: lambiek.net, wikipedia; one letter-writer suggests it's April 17, but I can't find any on-line record that says so
 
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 27th Birthday, Hijinx Comics!

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More on Al Columbia’s Return

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This week's unexpected Al Columbia interview on Inkstuds was enough to dislodge some information from Eric Reynolds on The Comics Journal's message board: a sketchbook excerpt and then a short story in the next two issues of the anthology Mome. This in addition to a previously promised, giant art book. And, in the not comics category, a documentary.

If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Columbia, Paul Gravett's profile is the best place to start.
 
posted 5:52 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics News Story Update Bonanza

* Berke Breathed's contribution to an episode of America's Most Wanted has steamrolled from a mention here and there into the cartoonist-related feature article of the day.

* This PDF preview of James Sturm's America: God, Gold and Golems, in support of the book due in May, and this comics-format interview by Mike Russell with Brendan Douglas Jones of Breakfast of the Gods, in support of the current on-line strip, together beg the question: why in these graphic novel-happy times has no one ever reprinted Sturm's The Cereal Killings?

* Various political/media agencies continue to debate the question over whether Doonesbury's recent portrayal of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper will have any effect at all on conservative voters, and if so, what that effect might be. On the one hand, it's bad to give media figures a hook to talk about why your candidate of choice might suck; on the other, conservative voters likely to back Romney either ignore Garry Trudeau's strip or hold it in such contempt that being a target of its criticism is a badge of honor. There's a collision of ideas there that's really compelling, up to and including Trudeau's status as an unimpeachably liberal media source that may give him more currency in such attacks/defenses than his strip has traction with readers.

* In these 300 movie interest-heavy times, Dave Gibbons pops into Warren Ellis' The Engine to give news of specific interest to comics fans: he's working on a wrap-up to the Martha Washington saga on which he collaborated with Frank Miller. That will be a stand-alone story followed by a major collection.

* Bryan Munn analyzes news from earlier this week that French-language comics giant Glenat is setting up a publishing house in Montreal.

* Heidi MacDonald reports that superhero message boards are bristling with speculation at to why DC seems to be doing super-crappy, in part egged on by analysis run on her site. The thought that DC is doing slightly crummier than usual in terms of the Direct Market shouldn't surprise anyone who recalls that while the market is primed for mega-events, no one's been reliably able to transfer audience excitement from such events into regular titles for more than a couple of issues, if that. And that's where DC is right now. Exacerbating this is their choice to work with some folks on top books who aren't going to keep a rigorous, regular schedule. Given all that, some months are bound to look relatively awful.
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: New Life In Hell Book

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Will and Abe's Guide to the Universe, Harper Paperbacks, 84 pages, April, 0061340375 (ISBN), $12.95

It's hard to imagine an author with Matt Groening's profile would have the ability to release something off the beaten path, but if that doesn't describe his strip Life In Hell since its book collection-spawning late-'80s/early-'90s heyday, I don't know what does. This latest book should include some of the best work of the cartoonist's career.
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Book Fair Puts Porno In Kids’ Hands

A book distributor at the Bangkok International Book Fair was ordered to take certain comics off of its shelves after selling pornographic comics to children in cheap, bundled together groups. A complaint was made by the Foundation of Family Networks. What's sort of amazing to me is that while the parents are outraged there doesn't seem to be the automatic assumption that the Rung Wattana Panich people were sleazy criminals getting off on seeing this material in kids' hands. Also, that the booth itself wasn't closed. A potential explanation floated in the article is that the comics were purchased and repackaged for cheap sale without being inspected to a satisfactory degree. Separate actions from both the Fair and local law enforcement could follow.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distractions: Walt Kelly Art

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I've never seen this specific array of Walt Kelly comics, illustrations and animation-related art.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: McGruder Wins Peabody

Well, former strip cartoonist Aaron McGruder's television show has, but given the degree of his involvement I think that's pretty much the same thing. I'm not sure why that strikes me as worth mentioning on a comics blog, but my gut says to post it. Maybe it's for future reference for a trivia question that combines awards wins, like Todd McFarlane's Grammy. It's interesting to note that they won for the Martin Luther King, Jr. episode, which I thought was by far that first series' best offering.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distractions: Gasoline Alley’s Autumn Walking Strips 1923-1999

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I'm late to this, and it's about as far away from Autumn as you can get, but this site dedicated to Gasoline Alley's fall foliage strips is so freakishly awesome that I'm going to spend some time there this morning myself.

thanks, Scott Dunbier
 
posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Immonen on Tschumi

Here's a compelling post that I totally missed the first time around and which is now brought to my attention by an e-mail my mail server recently decided to spit out bottle in the ocean style: the artist Stuart Immonen looks at architect Bernard Tschumi and finds several comics-creator elements in his work. The comments on that piece are talking about this conference, happening in June, which sounds really cool.
 
posted 3:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Listen: Al Columbia Interview

In comics interviewing there are gets, there are great gets, and then there is putting up a long audio interview with Al Columbia.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Phil Frank
Go See Bryan Talbot
Report on Jay Hosler Presentation
Review of Saul Steinberg Smithsonian Exhibit
Five Minute Film of Tarantino/Grindhouse Cast at JHU

History
The War Through Cartoons
Happy 4th Birthday, Ferret Press/Panel Weblog!

Interviews/Profiles
SBC: Renee French
Newsarama: Brian Wood
The Hour: Cecil Castellucci
Jewish Exponent: Tony Auth
Jewish Exponent: The Labans
Commonwealth Times: VCU Trio
Asbury Park Press: Steven Breen

Not Comics
DJ Plans Comic Book
Radio Guy Giving Away Comics
Scholars Celebrate John Lent With Parody Journal

Publishing
Another Hybrid GN
Missed It: Librarianist Launch
Checker Updates Its Offerings
Henri Goldsmann Launches Site
Jamie Cosley Spends Week Being Funny
Sacco's New Harper's Comic Up For Subscribers

Reviews
Jessie Bi: Priape
Chris Mautner: Various
Jeff Lester: Empowered
Brian Heater: Alias the Cat
Xavier Guilbert: Hako-Bune
Brigid Alverson: Divalicious Vol. 1
Bill Sherman: Giant Robot Warriors
Johanna Draper Carlson: Breaking Up
Brian Hibbs: Madman Atomic Comics #1
Christopher Mills: Last of the Independents
Don MacPherson: Madman Atomic Comics #1
Alasdair: Last Sane Cowboys and Other Stories
 

 
April 5, 2007


If I Were In Toronto, I’d Go To This

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posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Conversational Euro-Comics: A Few Words on Remaining Prize Winners 04

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By Bart Beaty

In January, Angouleme festival goers were shocked when the prize for Best Album was awarded to NonNonBa (Editions Cornelius), the first time the award had ever gone to a manga. I was among those surprised by the decision, and I had to scramble to pick up a copy in Paris the next day since I had already passed up the option of buying this 415-page, 29Euro monster during the festival itself. Despite the fact that I generally love all things published by Cornelius, a publisher with exceedingly high selection and production standards, this really didn't seem to be my sort of thing. But given the stamp of approval by the Angouleme jury, I was swayed.

I shouldn't have been.

I've been absent from this site for the past couple of weeks not simply because it is the end of the academic term, because I was out of town, because my son brought home a nasty cold from daycare, but because NonNonBa is one of the dullest comic books I have ever read, and, having pledged to review all the Angou award winners, it was in a "must read" position. Maybe I'm not the right audience for this book, or maybe the jury is just smarter than I am, or maybe my expectations were raised too high by the prestige of the prize. Whatever the case, allow me to go on record as saying: I hated NonNonBa.

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It took me about eight days to read this book, forcing myself to read 50 turgid pages each day. During that time I often distracted myself by searching for information about the book online, with the vain hope that I would stumble across some clue as to why this book is so praised. What I learned is that Shigeru Mizuki is the beloved creator of GeGeGe no Kitarou, a manga series about youkai (Japanese spirits) that was originally serialized beginning in 1966. Adored in his native land, where streets are named for him and museums are dedicated to his work, Mizuki is far less known in Europe and the United States. He published in the cutting edge anthology Garo, and was one of the artists who defined a non-Tezuka way of doing manga. And he largely popularized the genre of storytelling featuring Japanese demons and spirits.

So far so good. But what has that got to do with NonNonBa? Well, NonNonBa is a break from his best known work. It is an autobiographical story about growing up in 1930s Japan, in which the author details experiences from his youth and his personal interactions with youkai. That is, the book is blend of youthful reminiscence and the type of soft horror for which the author is well celebrated. But as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't work.

Some will say that I am hardly the critic to complain about slow-paced or plot-absent comic books, and I will admit that I've championed more than my fair share of rambling works. But, in my defense, those works were always driven by unique visual sensibilities and expansions of the comics form. This is not the case with NonNonBa. Mizuki's work literally sucked the life right out of me. The story revolves around the domestic life of the young Shigeru, his two brothers, their friends, their parents and the people in his town. None of the characters is well developed or interesting, and the book relies on sentimental stereotypes at almost every turn. Divided into two sections, each part ends with the departure of a young woman. When one of them dies, it is not moving in any way because when an undeveloped stereotype passes in comics, it's not something that we feel with our hearts.

More problematically, the book has no forward narrative momentum at all. There is nothing that entices the reader to continue. Once you've read one short story about a young boy with a dull home life who talks to demons you've pretty much read them all. But this just keeps going and going. The art does absolutely nothing to hold the attention. I was impressed to learn that Mizuki lost his arm during the war and re-taught himself how to draw with his other hand, but that doesn't mitigate the fact that his pages are generally too wordy and stiff, that his characters lack dynamics, and that the entire work is extremely flat.

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Ultimately the problem here is that the book is simply its concept: an autobiographical work combining an element of the fantastic, a book that says "hey, youth is a magical time of imagination". Thanks, got it. NonNonBa really exists on a very shallow level where nothing further is made of that simplistic observation. Once you get past the obvious moral of the story, you realize that this big book is really paper thin.

I know that NonNonBa has been widely praised in France as an exemplar of new or serious manga, manga for adults, but I don't see it. Given the influence of manga in the French comics scene at the moment it was inevitable that a manga was soon to win the award for Best Book, but I really wish it hadn't been this one. In my opinion, two vastly superior mangas were nominated for this prize this year (Kazuichi Hanawa's Avant la prison and Hideki Arai's Ki-Itchi). I'm not sure why this proved more convincing to the jury beyond the fact that this one is so much more exquisitely packaged by Cornelius, and much more easily fits into some established French cartooning conventions because of its use of autobiography. As I've said, the book is magnificently presented by Cornelius, but in the end I was left with the feeling that the jury had, at last, seriously erred in picking this little known manga as its grand prize winner. Oh well, you can't win them all.

*****

NonNonBa, Shigeru Mizuki, Editions Cornelius, 2915492255 (ISBN), March 2007, 29 euros

*****

To learn more about Dr. Beaty, or to contact him, try here.

Those interested in buying comics talked about in Bart Beaty's articles might try here or here.
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Jonathan Lethem on Creative Ownership

A part of this interview at CityBeat with Jonathan Lethem asserts a potential connection between some passages in the author's new book and his doing a Marvel comic character originally penned by Steve Gerber, although the writer seems to suggest otherwise.
 
posted 3:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Saul Steinberg 100+ Piece Smithsonian Retrospective To Open Tomorrow

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posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Latuff and the Finkelstein Tenure Fiasco

This FrontPage magazine article has more than you're likely to want to know about the high-end political and academic shenanigans of Norman Finkelstein and his friendship with cartoonist Latuff, including the horrifying news that somewhere out there is a cartoon of Alan Dershowitz pleasuring himself.
 
posted 3:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Taiyo Matsumoto 101

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posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Glenat Quebec Open For Business

ActuaBD.com notes that Hachette has established Glenat Quebec as an associated publishing house in North America, that Christian Chevrier will be its president and Annie Ouellet its editor, and that its primary aim is to develop cartoonists from the talent-rich Quebec region for local and international French-language markets. According to the article, this has something that's been heavily in the cards since last year.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Kirby is Coming

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Mark Evanier makes an interesting point about the forthcoming Fourth World Omnibus series from DC Comics, collecting Jack Kirby's interrelated comics for the company in the early 1970s -- his creations New Gods, The Forever People, Mister Miracle plus a bizarre run on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen -- and a later graphic novel sequel: Jack Kirby really wanted to see this material in book form. His secondary point, more implied than overt, that DC should be able to make these books attractive given their recent track record for deluxe book packaging is well-taken, too.

The recent Hernandez Brothers books from Fantagraphics have reminded me that a great book design can be a wonderful thing now matter how fond you are of a comic book's original packaging, so I'm definitely interested in seeing how these turn out.
 
posted 3:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Princess Diana: Comic Book Hater

Via the increasingly invaluable Forbidden Planet blog comes this blog entry on a convention that took it in the chops when the Princess Diana funeral took place on the same weekend. For some reason, this totally cracked me up.
 
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Bums by Peter Bagge

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People tend to really like or completely hate Peter Bagge's features at Reason (click through the image for the latest), but no matter what any of you might think, I'm pretty sure "valuable bum secrets" is as funny a turn of phrase as I've ever read from the cartoonist.
 
posted 3:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Mike Keefe Wins Fischetti Award

According to Editor & Publisher, Mike Keefe of the Denver Post has won the 2007 Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition and its $4000 prize. Honorable mentions went to Clay Bennett (Christian Science Monitor, CSM News Service) and Steve Sack (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Creators). Keefe is a member of the Cagle Cartoons syndicate.

Keefe will receive the award at an award ceremony in Chicago on April 30.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Art Adams!

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posted 3:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Smart People Arguing Comics Art

* I went to artist Jesse Hamm's on-line essay about the tendency of many comics writers to make alarming visual mistakes in their scripts because I'd read in multiple places that Mark Waid had experienced a meltdown while arguing a counterpoint. Oddly, I think I agree with just about everything Waid had to say: Hamm came on really strong at his essay's beginning and I can imagine this triggering an involuntary "Screw you!" mechanism in a lot of people, no one has a monopoly and maybe not even a special advantage when it comes to skill with visual language, the production process thwarts a lot of the perceived advantages writers have in a traditional comics collaborative process, and so on.

Personally, I think Hamm's essay works better as a descriptive than as a prescriptive. I worked in collaboration with an artist for a few years, and I think if I had read Hamm's piece I might have been paralyzed with fear in a way that would have had a negative effect on that partnership. One of the great things about collaborating where those involved have different strengths is that you can rely on them as a corrective for bad choices in a way that enables you to work at a slightly more daring, engaged level. You don't want to be a burdensome partner, but I think it's a sign of a successful collaboration, not a dysfunctional one, for there to be the occasional conversation about a bad creative choice one or the other made, whether it's spatial staging or improvised dialog.

* Missed it: Daryl Cagle touches on the "A killed cartoon in Killed Cartoons" story in his mighty blog (April 2 entry), including a statement from Wallis that goes after some of the more extreme and what seems to be off-base criticism that he's suffered recently.

* Matthias Wivel retrenches a bit on his "Certain Tendencies in French Comics" argument, restating a few things in light of some of the better counter-arguments he's received. It's an interesting discussion, although I think there's still a distinction to be made between empty, beautiful works, and works that traffic in the visual language and values of comics art that has significant surface beauty.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Kevin Church Goes to Nashua

Industry
DHC: Booklist Loves De:Tales

Interviews/Profiles
Express: Rick Veitch
Dave Sim: Rob Walton
TV Interview With Matt Coyle
Sioux City Journal: Jim Anderson

Not Comics
Geeks Share Special Sense of Humor, Odor
The Phantom As Unregistered Voter Metaphor

Publishing
New Clamp Serial to Debut

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Andy Shaw: Elk's Run
Matt Brady: Shojo Beat
Cecily Israel: Runaways
Rebecca Buchanan: Aya
Katherine Keller: Off Road
Suzette Chan: Gilded Lilies
Graeme McMillan: Pyongyang
Lee Atchison: Boneyard Vol. 5
Rebecca Buchanan: Delphine #1
Rebecca Buchanan: Crazy Papers
Anita Olin: American Born Chinese
Lee Atchison: Regards From Serbia
Kim DeVries: My Most Secret Desire
 

 
April 4, 2007


If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn’t a Library: New and Notable Releases to the Comics Direct Market

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Here are a few books that jump out at me from this week's list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America. I might not buy all of the following, but were I in a comic book shop I would likely pick them up and look at them, potentially annoying my retailer.

*****

FEB072211 ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN VOL 8 TP $16.99
This is when Amazing Spider-Man went back to being another Marvel comic, after a run when it still had some leftover thematic oomph from its sterling character concept, after a run when it featured solid art from veterans like John Romita and Gil Kane and played out the more dramatic turns from its soap opera set-up, after a run when Lee and Romita made ASM a superhero romance comic more than any comics had been up to that point, after a run when Lee and especially Steve Ditko created one of the best serial comic books ever. Assuming no one out there is a big Will O' The Wisp fan, in which case this is a must buy, it's basically up to you whether 500 pages of standard, plodding Marvel Comics is worth pulling this off the shelves and placing on the back of your toilet. I own Essential Werewolf by Night, so I couldn't throw stones even if I wanted to.

FEB073085 CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL MANGA VOL 10 TP $10.95
You get to about volume 10 on a series and it's sort of recommendation proof. Anyone convinced to try Eiji Nonaka's straight-faced, frequently absurd satire of high school fighting manga should start with volume 1. Anybody out there for whom the release of a new volume is a good news has likely read nine volumes, seen a couple of the cartoons, and got the live-action movie through Netflix. I think a lot of Cromartie, so count me in on a new book despite the series tendency to sag for a couple of chapters every other volume or so.

DEC063960 ELKS RUN GN $19.95
I know nothing about the work itself, but this Americana/Horror series turned collected volume seems to have lived in state of perpetual recommendation on the Internet since 1985 or so. If I were in a comic book store, I'd certainly pick it up and look at it. This is the great advantage of comic book stores!

DEC063958 TEZUKAS BUDDHA VOL 6 ANANDA SC $14.95
Unless I've overlooked something, this is the best book out this week by a factor of ten hundred billion million.

FEB073887 ALTER EGO #67 $6.95
I like the current wave of superhero-centric magazines; their best interviewers and writers are on a par with anyone out there, and even when the publications aren't operating at the top of their game they serve an important role as providing first draft of history-type material in a place where it's easy to find. This issue: Bob Oksner.

*****

The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock.

If I didn't list your new comic, it's not because I missed it by accident or that our tastes differ. It's because I hate you.
 
posted 6:54 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* this article's tone seems to me a bit different than what you usually find on the general subject, but is also indicative of a growing sentiment that may seem obvious from the outside-in but takes a certain amount of cultural will to express within those countries. Their specific take as it relates to the cartoons is in portraying incidents of agitation with the cartoons as ostensible cause not as such but instead an opportunity seized on by an extremist group to further their agenda.

* anyone protesting expressions that tweak, ridicule or question religious practices is likely to be compared to the Muslim leaders who protested the Muhammed caricatures, like it or not. This article makes the case for differences in one such case, albeit a distinction that counts on taking the motivations behind the original publication of the caricatures at almost better than face value.

* I think this article mostly describes how South Park dealt with these kinds of issues rather than makes the case that how the show dealt with them was worth saluting, but it's always interesting to be reminded how Comedy Central chickened out.
 
posted 3:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Suzanne Gerber on Fumetto

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A nice write-up at Forbidden Planet sent me to Suzanne Gerber's blog covering the just-ended Fumetto in Lucerne, Switzerland. As promised, there are a bunch of pictures including a flickr stream, and a short interview with Peter Blegvad.
 
posted 3:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If It Happens, Please Let It Be A Sniper’s Bullet From The Red Skull

Just in case you thought that death as a promotional tool was a tactic limited to superhero comic books, hints dropped by Opus cartoonist Berke Breathed during a recent interview that Opus the penguin might shuffle off the mortal coil in the next couple of years drew a lot of attention, both asking the question, and likely answering it.
 
posted 3:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Charles Biro Gone 35 Years Today

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Go, Read: Chris Lanier on R. Crumb

One of comics' best and most infrequent critics engages one of the art form's greatest figures, as Chris Lanier takes a look at the "R. Crumb's Underground" exhibit currently running at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
 
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On Jacob Covey’s Beasts! Sell-Out

I think this article's confirmation that the Beasts! book curated by Fantagraphics art director is going into an expected second printing is worth noting for a few reasons, including the impression it has made on behalf of curator-designer Jacob Covey and the crossover between established art cartoonists and some of the quirkier, standard illustrators that bolster its line-up. I think the most important, however, is that it's a success with this kind of high-concept art book, and art books have been a major area of interest for the longtime publisher, particularly in the last five years or so.
 
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Happy 41st Birthday, Dave Johnson!

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Proust Adaptation Wins Literary Award

imageI'm on super-shaky ground with any story that makes me try to understand French, contextualize French literary awards and remember what little I know about Marcel Proust, but ActuaBD.com notes that Stephane's Heuet's adaptation into comics form of the Swann in Love portion of the Swann's Way portion of Remembrances of Things Past, which I believe is Heuet's fourth volume in the series, has won a general arts award. The prize in question is the Prix des excrivains du Sud and it's given to a work in any art form, this being the first time it's gone to a work in comics form. I don't have any basis to know if this is important or trivial, but I thought it worth a mention. NBM was publishing the English-language version of this series, last I knew.
 
posted 3:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Dan Roberts Signing

History
Lettering Roundtable
Happy Birthday, American Splendor!

Industry
Those Graphic Novels Sure Are Popular

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Alvin Lu
PWCW: Richard Sala
PWCW: Lyonel Feininger
The Gateway: Frank Cho
Socialist Worker Online: Jimmy Friell

Not Comics
New Grickle Cartoon
Kids Hate Classics, Love Comics
Lurid Details of UK Murder Leak Out

Publishing
PWCW on DC's Fourth World Books

Reviews
Eric Burns: Goats
Jog: Mineshaft #19
Wired: Optic Nerve #11
Sheena McNeil: Holmes #2
Sheena McNeil: Holmes #3
Sheena McNeil: Holmes #4
Tracey Gray: Wolverine #51
Sheena McNeil: Tony Loco #2
Wolfen Moondaughter: Kade #1
Ginger Mayerson: Jonah Hex #17
Ginger Mayerson: Jonah Hex #18
Ginger Mayerson: Jonah Hex #19
Mary Borsellino: Green Arrow #72
Lisa Lopacinski: Wonder Woman #5
Jenni Moody: The Walking Dead #33
Jenni Moody: The Walking Dead #34
Jenni Moody: The Walking Dead #35
Jenni Moody: The Walking Dead #36
Don MacPherson: Wonder Woman #6
Patti Martinson: Phonogram: Kissing With Dry Lips
 

 
April 3, 2007


Doonesbury Vs. Romney: Who Wins?

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Answering the question: "If you're made fun of by Garry Trudeau for running away from past, potentially unpopular stances, what is the message likely to hit with most people: the content of that criticism, or that you're the kind of person that attracts the criticism of left-leaning Doonesbury?" Okay, if it doesn't exactly answer that question, someone should.
 
posted 4:22 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Tribune Co. Deal Promises Change

Here's one of those stories that will probably have an effect on comics in some way, but in what exact manner no one as yet knows. The Tribune Company has accepted an $8.2 billion buyout offer from real estate baron and apparently quirky personality Sam Zell. This puts into conjectural play its comics-related media holdings as well as any and all strategies by media entities that have a relationship to comics. This includes major newspapers that purchase comics, its syndicate-held comics, and any editorial cartoonist that works on any of those papers. What seems likely to me in a making wild guesses while holding a cup of coffee way is that you might see some editorial cartoonist changes as an overall culture of cost-cutting hits the papers in question.
 
posted 4:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Sequential: Prix Bedelys Winners

The winners of the 2006 Prix Bedelys were announced last night in Montreal, an awards program that awards the best in comics published in Quebec the previous year.

*****

Prix Bedelys Quebec

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Paul a la Peche, Michel Rabagliati (La Pasteque)

*****

Prix Bedelys D'Or

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Les Petits Ruisseaux, Pascal Rabate (Futuropolis)

*****

Prix Bedelys Jeunesse

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Spirou et Fantasio a Tokyo, Jean-David Morvan & Jose-Luis Munuera (Dupuis)

*****

Prix Bedelys D'Or Honourary Mention

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Seules Contre Tous, Miriam Katin (Editions du Seuil)

*****

The prizes, given out since 1999, include a cash award of $1K, which I always say would totally reinvigorate the major United Stated-based comics awards. Munn explains that the Prix D'Or is decided by Quebec librarians, the Prix Quebec is decided by an association of bookstores and the Prix Jeunesse is decided by a jury of children.
 
posted 4:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Leslie Waller, 1923-2007

The author Leslie Waller, a popular thriller novelist that co-wrote It Rhymes With Lust with friend Arnold Drake, died in Rochester, New York, last Thursday. This Naples Daily News obituary gives Waller credit for screenplays of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Dog Day Afternoon, although I'm certain they mean novelizations of those films. The former crime writer at the Chicago Sun-Times partnered with the late Drake to pen the graphic novel It Rhymes With Lust, among the first to utilize that format and a book to be republished any second now by Dark Horse Comics. Waller was 83 years old.
 
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Dan Nadel’s Working Vacations Are Better Than My Imaginary Ones

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posted 4:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Brenner Says No to Adult Comics

San Antonio, Texas-based Brenner Printing has informed at least one of its clients it will no longer publish adult-related material. To my memory, Brenner has long been a go-to printer for a lot of this material because it's in the country and therefore you don't have any of the hassle that might come with bringing porn across a border, and because they've updated their facilities while remaining basically affordable, which means that companies remain compatible and can use them for parts of their line even if they're doing their other books elsewhere. Also, it's just been a longtime relationship for a lot of the affected companies.

I've always heard that finding a printer for adult-content comics can be a hassle for some publishers because unlike related works in prose form, employees at the printer are more likely to see the material in the process of doing the work.

Update: Kim Thompson from Fantagraphics sent in a a letter on the subject, which I'll move into the proper letters place tomorrow but thought was good enough to share in the body of the blog today.

Regarding: Brenner's refusal to continue to print X-rated material. Yeah, I got one of those calls as well. The HOUSEWIVES AT PLAY will have to find somewhere else to play, printer-wise. It's too bad, Brenner did a fine job.

What happened at Brenner is actually what has happened at a number of Bible-Belt or Midwestern printers, which is that although the owners and managers have no problem with printing X-rated material (the accusation I've seen that "the owners must have found religion" is actually false), a certain proportion of their employees do, and at some point it becomes such a hassle to organize shifts so that the anti-porn employees don't have to deal with it, or reverberating community disapproval becomes so strong (I could tell you stories about one of our former X-rated printers that would curl your hair), that it's just not worth it.

Particularly since X-rated material sales (and thus print runs) have been going down, down, down these past few years. So it's increasing hassle for decreasing rewards. If you're doing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of invoicing printing porn every week, you're a lot more liable to ignore whining from the staff than if it's just a few thousand here and there.

Incidentally, Brenner has said they will continue to print the EROS catalog because it isn't hardcore. (In order to mail through USPS we cover up the naughtiest of the naughty bits.) The employees just don't like the "ten-inch dicks springing out of the pages," in the pungent words of the Brenner manager who lowered the boom; a page where the ten-inch dick is covered up by a ten-and-a-half-inch black bar is OK, though.

Incidentally, we lost Hong Kong as a printer for X-rated (or even a lot of the R-rated) stuff over the last few years as the Chinese government tightened the screws on permissible material, so we've had to move to (mostly) Singapore to get our filth-with-a-spine printed -- or for that matter even LOVE AND ROCKETS books.

-- Kim Thompson

Thanks, Kim.

 
posted 4:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Chaland Would Have Been 50 Today

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posted 4:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 39th Birthday, Jamie Hewlett!

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posted 4:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Preview of MicroCon
Go See David Wallis
Go See Ben Katchor
Cartoonists in Malaysia
Best Event Headline Ever
AAEC Shifts Exhibit Focus
Win Lunch With Tom Toles
Jay Hosler in the Berkshires
Jay Hosler in Greencastle, Indiana

History
Uncle Wiggily Makes Comeback

Industry
David Welsh Comparison Shops
This Guy Hates Humble Stumble
David Reddick Expands Trek Offerings
Star-Bulletin on Manga Company Troubles

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Rick Veitch
Pulse: Tony Consiglio
The Ledger: Jodi Picoult
Jeff Chon: Ode to Kirihito
Sequential: Pat Thompson
Scotsman.com: Ian Rankin
Japan Times: Rieko Saibara
Comic Book Bin: Megan Kelso
Broken Frontier: Cecil Castellucci
Newindpress.com: Shugufta Khalidi
EveningTimes.com: Kieran Meehan
The News & Observer: Jorge Cham

Not Comics
Berke Breathed Hunts Them Down
Peanuts Sunday Gains $37K at Auction
The Kind of Cartoonist to Pretend You Are

Publishing
Comic Book Bin Introduces Themes
Wizard Anticipates Optic Nerve #11 Release

Reviews
Daphne Lee: Various
Jog: Alice in Sunderland
Jennifer Bratcher: Drain #1
Sheena McNeil: Dorothy #7
Bruce Kluger: Killed Cartoons
Katherine Keller: Criminal #5
Rachel Cooke: Alice in Sunderland
Xaiver Guilbert: Sergent Laterreur
Katherine Keller: Birds of Prey #104
Jenni Moody: Astonishing X-Men #20
Kevin Church: Houdini the Handcuff King
Johanna Draper Carlson: Yakitate!! Vol. 4
Kenneth Oppel: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Patti Martinson: Buffy the Vampire Player Season 8 #1
Shaenon Garrity: Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
Wolfen Moondaughter: Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight #6
Wolfen Moondaughter: Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight #7
Wolfen Moondaughter: Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight #8
 

 
April 2, 2007


Go, Read: Two Pros Discuss Lettering

I thought this exchange between Greg Rucka and Rich Starkings on the subject of lettering was interesting, and well worth your time if you're interested in production issues on mainstream American comic books.
 
posted 7:07 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

image* Apparently, the new book by David Wallis on Killed Cartoons had its own killed cartoon, probably the most famous killed cartoon of the last twenty years. Chris Lamb provides a sledgehammer quote.

* Matthias Wivel reports in compelling fashion on a follow-up cartoon on the whole affair by original caricaturist Kurt Westergaard -- he did the bomb in the turban one.
 
posted 4:18 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Today’s Publishing News Round-Up

* Paul Pope talks about shrink-wrapping his forthcoming Pulphope art book project, and what last-minute editorial decision helped the book avoid an adults-only tage.

image* Travis Charest is apparently off of the Dreamshifters Metabarons graphic novel project with Alejandro Jodorowsky that had been set up more than a half decade ago. In what seems to me an admirably straight-forward confession confirming the news that had leaked out in an interview, the artist admits to productivity issues regarding the project.

* The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has up a proper profile of Aurora Publishing, the American subsidiary of major women's manga publisher Ohzora setting up for business starting in June with titles under its own name and a yaoi-focused imprint called Deux. Ohzora had recently licensed through Dark Horse and Digital Manga, according to the article. One can throw a virtual rock and hit three bloggers opining on Ohzora bringing its more mainstream, slightly older audience-skewing books to American audiences and their chance for success in doing so.

* Like any proud papa, Eddie Campbell enthuses about his latest progeny.

thanks, Er Lern Loh
 
posted 4:16 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: ECCC

Links to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2007 Emerald City ComiCon, held March 31 to April 1 at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington. This will continue to be updated for as long as people .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

Institutional
Convention Web Site
Host City
Location of Event

Blog Entries
3D Burke
Aaron Albert
Brad Guigar: First Report
Brad Guigar: Saturday
Brad Guigar: Sunday
Brad Guigar: Reviews
Cryptie Art
Eric Gjovaag: Oz in ECCC 2007
Gordond
Grubb Street
Heidi Meeley: A Powerful Time
Heidi Meeley: Getting Sketched
Heidi Meeley: The Set Up
Heidi Meeley: Getting it Going on Day One
Heidi Meeley: Day One Continues!
Heidi Meeley: Day Two Dawns
Heidi Meeley: Arm Wrestling Oeming
Heidi Meeley: The Big Wrap up!
Heidi Meeley: The Links!
Japanese-cowboy
Jeff Parker Part One
Jeff Parker Part Two
Karine's April Drawing Challenge
Kirk Jarvinen: ECCC was a BLAST!
Laura Gjovaag Part One
Laura Gjovaag Part Two
Laura Gjovaag Part Three
Laura Gjovaag Part Four
November Notes
Rhymes With Drowning
Ruckawriter
Say Anything?
Schlock Mercenary
The King of Nowhere
Travels With Troll
Waffyjon
Writer's Addiction

Message Boards
The Comics Journal Message Board

News Stories and Columns
Comic Book Resources
Greg Hatcher
Seattle Times Preview Article

Photos
Gregory Perez
Smohundro
The Dog's Daddy
Toonhound

Video
Gail Simone arm wrestles Mike Oeming (YouTube)


*****

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

 
Go, Look: Optic Nerve #11 Signing

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Links That Have Nothing In Common, Except That They Were E-Mailed In

* Rick Veitch's Army@Love received an editorial at the LA Times. Egad! It's by Dan Neil!

* Kent Worcester writes in with the provisional programming schedule for this June's Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art arts festival. This year the programming will take place at the MoCCA space rather than in the Puck Building, which should prove interesting.

* Jay Babcock has posted the entire Alan Moore piece on pornography that ran in Arthur into Arthur's blog. He also says the magazine is not dead, as feared.

* Mike Catron has posted a brief video clip of the late Marshall Rogers at his site. Go, quickly; Catron says if the site goes down because of traffic it won't be back up until after tax time.
 
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OTBP: Witchcraft

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posted 4:08 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Please Consider Voting Tom Frame to the Eagle Awards’ Roll of Honour

I don't usually advocate for individual awards during awards program season, but it sure would be nice if Tom Frame were added to the "Roll of Honour" when the Eagle Awards winners are announced. Frame was the longtime letterer for the 2000 AD comics and other British comics efforts, a pioneer in blending old-fashioned and computer lettering techniques, and as great a contributor to the signature look of comics like Judge Dredd as any of the character's individual illustrators. He passed away last July. As other than Alex Toth the nominees have decades of good comics left to make, I'm hoping that you'll see fit to consider a vote for Frame. In fact, it's a good reason to fill out a ballot in the awards if you're on the fence about voting in the first place.
 
posted 4:06 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 54th Birthday, James Vance!

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posted 4:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
How Can a Comic Released in 1966 Be One of the Best Comics Out in 2006?

I received a couple of e-mails about yesterday's Top 50 comics list from folks that didn't share my enthusiasm for putting reprint volumes on a list of best works designated by year. Sorry to disappoint. I personally think one of the great things about comics is its approach to reprint works, and how they're re-contextualized as modern books in a way no other art form approaches. A Jules Feiffer reprint is a great book in 2006; the stories it collects were great stories -- or not -- in the years they came out. And so on. I think deep down I trust my ability to pinpoint which works feel like new editions and which works feel like new releases more than my ability to discern what's new and what's been reprinted from a different language or from a serial. Also, if I were to change now, my new lists wouldn't match up with my old lists.

But, if you're still mad at me, just print out yesterday's list, draw a big X through each the 18 reprint-related volumes and write in the following works on the bottom of the page: Babel #2, Baobab (series), They Found The Car, Casanova (Series), Love and Rockets (series), We Are On Our Own, Klassic Komix Club (on-line), Lost Girls, MOME, La Perdida, Making Comics, Mutts (strip), the editorial cartoons of Jim Morin, The Lost Colony (series), Castle Waiting (series), Delphine, Tales Designed to Thrizzle #3, and Nextwave: Agents of Hate (series). That should do it.

2006 was a wonderful year.
 
posted 4:02 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Steve Canyon Originals

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Via Boing Boing and therefore quickly to everyone else comes word of newly-discovered Milton Caniff originals and photos.
 
posted 4:01 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
NYCC Review
Wondercon Review
Wondercon Review
Here Comes Spider-Man Week
Jim Lee Scheduled for Baltimore Comic-Con

History
Neilalien's Dr. Strange Sales Numbers

Industry
Artist Wanted
Digital Manga Hiring
Jennifer de Guzman Vs. Fan Entitlement

Interviews/Profiles
The Pulse: Al Nickerson
Sequential Tart: Karen Ellis
Collector Time: Scott Chantler
Sequential Tart: Jim McLauchlin
Sequential Tart: Tim Bradstreet
Sequential Tart: Rafael Kayanan
Sequential Tart: Douglas Wheatley

Not Comics
Drinky Crow Cartoon 5/13
Best Movie Pop Song in 15 Years?
My Friends Send Me Strange Links
Don MacPherson: Justice League Season 2 DVD Review

Publishing
Apollo's Song Preview
New Print Narbonic Out
Postcards Support Site Launched
James Kochalka Launches Podcast

Reviews
Jog: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Koppy McFad: 52 #47
Graeme McMillan: Various
Paul O'Brien: Wolverine #50
Al Kratina: X-Men Annual #1
Koppy McFad: Green Lantern #18
Paul O'Brien: Ultimate X-Men #80
Koppy McFad: Wonder Woman #6
Leroy Douresseaux: Micrographica
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Leading Man
Don MacPherson: Guy Ritchie's Game Keeper #1
 

 
April 1, 2007


The Comics Reporter’s Top 50 Comics Publications for the Calendar Year 2006

Here are my choices for the top 50 books of 2006, an extraordinary and deep year in comics publishing. These are English-language books with the single exception of a webcomic (and thus accessible from North America) that I've been able to enjoy with rudimentary knowledge of French. I could rattle off another 25 books, series or single efforts nearly as good as the ones on this list, and there are a few books in the 40s that I could conceivably see in the top 10 if I were to approach the project in a slightly different way. It's that kind of year.

I realize that ranking art is silly, but I include the numbers because putting together a big list of books you like in alphabetical order is so easy to do, and so easily avoids the more difficult questions, I'm not sure it's worth doing. I really do value the #1 book here more than the others, and numbering them is the easiest way to communicate to you which works I think more of than others. I also feel like every so often you should make a list because it helps people to tell how much or how little they should on a day to day basis trust your opinion.

As for comics not on here: I'm pretty well read when it comes to comics, but I haven't read everything. I've also skipped a couple of serials that are difficult for me to access in favor of catching up with them in collected form (the New York Times Sunday Magazine material, most notably). In addition, I'm a bit behind on my traditional manga series reading, although in a year when so many works made a definite, sharp impression, it proved very difficult for series offerings to generally match that energy and impact and make it onto the list, so I'm not sure that made a big difference.

I'm also sure I just forgot a couple. (And to get the traditional warning out of the way: some of those selected are advertisers; many were selected despite never advertising with CR and making me cry; some advertisers weren't selected, for which I hope they'll forgive me.)

As always, I'm happy to try and answer any questions sent .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) as to particular entries and omissions. I'll likely ignore any raised eyebrow-style letters along the lines of "What about THIS COMIC, you stupid goon?" The nature of the exercise is that in most cases this comic or that comic just didn't make this list. I hope that you'll take the overall effort for what it's worth: one reader's impression of the best of an incredible year.

For other Best of 2006 lists, go to this Collective Memory entry.

*****

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50 -- Elmer (series) by Gerry Alanguilan, Komikero

In cartoonist and historian Gerry Alanguilan's series, sentient chickens march through domestic dramas and the larger, creepier saga of their sudden self-awareness, restoring to comics the independent comics formula of genre work, personal expression and attention to craft

*****

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49 -- Mourning Star, Kazimir Strzepek, Bodega

It's hard to tell if Mourning Star is a throwback to indy comic book world-building and the value of mixing genres in vibrant, old-school fashion or if it's a harbinger of a new wave of fantasy comics made for the post-Fort Thunder world. What it definitely is is funny, energetic and unpredictable.

*****

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48 -- All-Star Superman (series), Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, DC Comics

The most appealing part of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's compression of all of DC's 1950s and 1960s comics into a single storyline is its essential awkwardness, and how that's reminiscent of the way that Mort Weisinger and the other editors drove home these absolutely bizarre stories with a straight face, never letting up, until their stiff-upper-lipped insanity became a new baseline. All-Star Superman knows it is grand and ridiculous and that it's going to rattle at the far end of its own, limited messages, and is all the better for it.

*****

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47 -- City of Champions, Gilded Lilies, Jillian Tamaki, Conundrum Press

Although "The Tapemines" was this book's most ambitious effort, I adored the volume's initial short story, a tribute in words and (mostly) beautifully realized pictures to the great city of Edmonton, in all of its big-shouldered, hockey-obsessed glory. A strong book overall.

*****

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46 -- Solo #12, Brendan McCarthy, DC Comics

The end to DC's one-man single-showcase anthology title throws its spotlight on an under-appreciated artist who proceeds to do all sorts of horrible things to the milieu, the characters and the iconography, almost like he's holding the entire company hostage.

*****

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45 -- What Kind of Magic Spell to Use, Matthew Thurber, Self-Published Mini

The descriptive blurb reads, "The comic book which tells the history of the recording sessions of the Labryrinth soundtrack." It's even better than that sounds, and that sounds pretty awesome. The one mini-comic I remember above all others this year.

*****

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44 -- The Comic Book Holocaust, Johnny Ryan, Buenaventura Press

Johnny Ryan's cartoons are like the funniest notes you've ever been handed in the back of English class, except they're written and drawn by a comedic super-genius. The relentless idiocy of this offense-driven volume -- a source of humor in and of itself -- is leavened by inspired, mean, but in the end self-aware pairings and takes, like dragging Art Spiegelman into a parody of Super-Villain Team-Up.

*****

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43 -- The Perry Bible Fellowship, Nicholas Gurewitch, Self-Published (On-Line)

Still consistently funny; the art gets better all the time, and is always put to good use, by which I mean the potency that Gurewitch achieves with a visual adds to the effectiveness of the joke.

*****

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42 -- Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown, Drawn and Quarterly

The best comics reprint project in a long time, an immaculately designed series and almost enough all by itself to make me wish the arts-comics market was trending in the direction of single comics issues. The story is still a killer, too.

*****

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41 -- Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds, The Guardian (On-Line)

I may change my mind once I read the whole thing, but the periodic updates on-line left me aching to have it all in one place.

*****

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40 -- Sloth, Gilbert Hernandez, DC/Vertigo

Gilbert-in-one, which puts a greater emphasis on theme than character, and one of the best tributes to the toolkit of another artist's work (David Lynch) that you're likely to see in comics form.

*****

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39 -- Trauma on Loan, Joe Sacco, The Guardian (On-Line)

A situation specifically miserable and on the face of it absurd in so many, many ways that by the end of this short story the events manage to thwart Sacco's usually dependable, even-handed sorting of the facts, to fascinating effect.

*****

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38 -- Jimbo's Inferno, Gary Panter, Fantagraphics

The first in the recent great run of Panter works, now collected: a mystifying set of symbols and tableaux that you can ignore altogether for the acerbic point of view and incredible page design.

*****

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37 -- Little Fibbs, Hollis Brown and Wes Hargis, King Features Syndicate

One of the two or three best failed newspaper strips of the last 25 years, Franklin Fibbs/Little Fibbs ended with an appropriately self-deprecating series of cartoons mocking among other things their own desperate, mid-runswitch from old man to little kid protagonists. A strip never got more creative energy out of giving the finger to years of traditional panel rhythms and writing cliches, and I'll miss it.

*****

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36 -- Schizo #4, Ivan Brunetti, Fantagraphics

A lot less furiously desperate in the telling than was the case in past issues, Schizo #4 is a worthy addition to the small but potent oeuvre of a cartoonist many of his peers consider, with good reason, one of the funniest and smartest ever to contribute to the art form. Brunetti also made the world's most annoying format look beautiful and well-considered.

*****

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35 -- Passionella, Jules Feiffer, Fantagraphics

A sterling collection of Jules Feiffer's mid-career comics works, mainly for magazines in the last great period of American feature article publishing, including such gems as the title story and a brutal dissection of Superman that should have and sadly didn't close the conversation on analysis of that pop culture icon. I think the most amazing thing about reading Feiffer is that in terms of cartooning history he was so alone in what he was doing; in a world kinder towards comics output aimed at adults you can imagine entire schools and approaches in individual Feiffer stories, an industry that never was.

*****

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34 -- The Squirrel Mother by Megan Kelso, Fantagraphics

Kelso is our greatest working choreographer of cartoons, the way she makes her figures move and relate to one another while in conversation. She also possesses a fierce intellect that she applies to describing how we ascribe meaning to things just beyond ourselves, how we love those who are out of the room or completely out of our grasp.

*****

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33 -- Japan As Viewed by 17 Creators, Fanfare/Ponent Mon

Sturdy, frequently lovely and much more interesting for the sum of its parts and what it says about variations in artistic approach than its exploration of the subject matter.

*****

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32 -- Editorial Cartoons, Tom Toles, Washington Post

An editorial cartoonist at the height of his powers and, judging from the cartoon that brought on Toles' head the focused ire of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an artist at the height of his influence as well.

*****

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31 -- My Boy, Olivier Schrauwen, Bries

Even if the book's narrative didn't do it for you -- I found it delightful -- you had to admire the baroque presentational style ripped from comics more than 100 years old.

*****

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30 -- The Jean-Jacques Sempe Suite, Jean-Jacques Sempe, Phaidon

Sempe is the master of cartoons that depend on expanding context rather than serial progression, these four books (Everything is Complicated, Nothing is Simple, Sunny Spells and Mixed Messages), released at once as sort of a Sempe atomic bomb, comprise an assault on modern comics' over-dependency on set-ups and punchlines, and reveal a remarkably consistent cartoonist at opposite ends of his career.

*****

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29 -- Get a Life, Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian, Drawn and Quarterly

The degree of difficulty in making a comic about the worries and trials of a successful, tether-less person is to enormous for me to think about. The grace with which certain periods in life and certain pleasures are depicted could in less skilled hands easily overwhelm the book's core, could punch past an entire world of sensation and experience to make a tawdry, summary point.

*****

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28 -- The Fate of the Artist, Eddie Campbell, First Second

Playful and engaging, like the best late-night diner conversation about making art ever, Campbell rips through techniques and approaches in a way that makes the artist himself, despite his pen and ink doppelganger being absent from the storyline in a literal sense, the main character in a fascinating way.

*****

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27 -- Abandon the Old In Tokyo, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn & Quarterly

Having basically invented his own genre, Yoshihiro Tatsumi's stories collected in D&Q's second of three volumes of his work could have been self-satisfied exercises in staking out appropriate theme work and laying claim to certain subject matter. Instead, the stories here pulsate with the kind of bewildered, emotional intensity that connects these short stories to all great art, an unblinking look at the forces that cause us to act in ways against our more obvious interests.

*****

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26 -- Ganges, Kevin Huizenga, Fantagraphics/Coconino

The surprise of the year's first few weeks, the beneficiary of both the best new format innovation since 1993 in the over-sized Ignatz book and the sudden rush of realizing a major talent had emerged; the stories hold up as well, including the story "Glenn in Bed" and its protagonist worrying over mortality and love in the context of untold millions of couples in bed together throughout history, a conceit that in a less assured artist's hands might have been overbearing and precious.

*****

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25 -- Kramers Ergot Vol. 6, Sammy Harkham, Buenaventura Press

A suddenly mature issue so confident that many people strangely took its lack of awkwardness and incompleteness as a sign this was less exciting than past issues. The sheer number of quality comics on display, and the variation in approaches that Harkham encourages, will make this the volume readers will return to years from now.

*****

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24 -- Les Petits Riens, Lewis Trondheim, Self-Published (On-Line)

Beautifully water-colored and always well-observed, there has never been a comic more suited to its specific on-line presentation.

*****

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23 -- Ninja, Brian Chippendale, PictureBox Inc.

Both this year's great art object and its most revealing meditation on the nature of comics.

*****

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22 -- Ghost of Hoppers, Jaime Hernandez, Fantagraphics

The horror sequences, particularly a dog that lumbers toward a drunk, young Maggie, are as effectively staged as anything Jaime Hernandez has ever drawn. I don't know if anything the artist will do at this point will connect with readers the way his stories of teenaged lust and longing and self-identity managed to, but this is a somber, measured and ultimately optimistic reverie on getting older that should grow in reputation in years to come.

*****

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21 -- An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories, Ivan Brunetti, Yale University Press

A tastefully selected tribute to the comics short story poignant for its release in a graphic novel age.

*****

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20 -- The Great Outdoor Fight, Achewood, Chris Onstad, Self-Published (On-Line)

The forceful confidence Onstad brought to this storyline as it descended into madness was awe-inspiring. I've read strips where I didn't know what was going to happen next week, but I've rarely read one that had me guessing as to the content of the next panel.

*****

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19 -- Fun Home, Alison Bechdel, Houghton-Mifflin

Precise, lovely and humane, it shares with Maus and Persepolis a similar author's confidence and clarity of vision that when launched into the open marketplace made it a hit with wide swath of readers.

*****

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18 -- Absolute DC: The New Frontier, Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics

If The Dark Knight Returns was the last word in American superhero comics and Watchmen its death rattle, New Frontier is the final moment of clarity before the light leaves its eyes.

*****

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17 -- Billy Hazelnuts, Tony Millionaire, Fantagraphics

A book that feels like every copy should be taken off shelves and hidden in attics all over the world for playing kids to discover and treasure, and maybe the easiest narrative to get lost in all year.

*****

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16 -- Deogratias, JP Stassen, First Second

Likely the great surprise of 2006: a story of how the horrors of a destabilized society can rip someone's humanity to shreds, told without making overwrought claims on behalf of the society that existed beforehand or for those who ended up suffering the most.

*****

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15 -- Art Out of Time, Dan Nadel, Harry Abrams

The most joyful and funny of a great year in anthologies, possessed of a unique point of view: what happened to all of the outsider art before there was an outside, alternative or underground? It found expression in the mainstream, of course.

*****

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14 -- The ACME Novelty Library Vol. 17, Chris Ware, Self-Published

A first day of school with all of the false vibrancy in similar dramatic depictions drained into the floorboards, where the cartoonist's measured pacing works in perfect concert with an increasingly beautiful line.

*****

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13 -- Moomin: The Complete Tove Jannson Comic Strip Book One, Tove Jaanson, Drawn and Quarterly

The sign of its greatness is that there's nothing else like and yet it's familiar, like the greatest achievement from a whole class of 1950s and 1960s illustration-inspired cartooning that never found purchase anywhere else.

*****

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12 -- The Complete Peanuts (series), Charles Schulz, Fantagraphics

Prime-time Peanuts with any number of attendant joys to be found in the telling.

*****

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11 -- Walt & Skeezix Book 2, Frank King, Drawn and Quarterly

Still at this age raw and beautiful and surprisingly tender in a way that previous glimpses hadn't prepared us for and volume one had left us too stunned to hope for more.

*****

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10 -- The Times of Botchan (series), Jiro Taniguchi, Natsuo Sekikawa, Fanfare/Ponent Mon

The first few chapters of one of the best comics ever and one of the most uniquely told, with sterling craft and precision.

*****

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9 -- Curses, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn & Quarterly

A collection of the best work to date from the most important cartoonist to emerge since Chris Ware, the comics here are precise, soulful and extraordinarily kind.

*****

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8 -- Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, Anders Nilsen

A comic about grief and about art as a way to process grief; also the story of relationship told in its less than extraordinary moments. I found this comic perfectly pitched and restrained and, ultimately, heartbreaking.

*****

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7 -- Popeye Volume One: I Yam What I Yam, EC Segar, Fantagraphics

The welcome return of an old friend, and a prelude to even better comics to come.

*****

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6 -- Ode to Kirihito, Osamu Tezuka, Vertical

Storytelling mastery in service of a wild, improbable soap opera, with sideways steps into beautiful religious imagery and portraits of the human condition. The plot resembles a medical drama that careens into everything from action-adventure to horror, all told through Osamu Tezuka's great skill in creating effects whole cloth on the comics page, like a director that holds his own camera and improvises on set. There's nothing like it out there, and if you read it a dozen times I'm not sure you'll penetrate to the roots of the author's inquiry.

*****

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5 -- The Ticking, Renee French, Top Shelf

By far the best work of Renee French's career, in The Ticking she pushes the more sublime qualities of her picture-making into an array of effects more complex and eventually more satisfying than simply grossing the reader out. The story of an artist and his relationship with his father, The Ticking reflects our own, troubled life stories in that what happens is very specific while what it means is largely determinant on what we're determined to make of it.

*****

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4 -- Shadowland, Kim Deitch, Fantagraphics

A comic that jumped up from the weeds for many of his longtime readers, a darker counterpart to Deitch's Mishkin Saga that emphasizes the show business that preceded early animation and the business of nostalgia and historical inquiry that sprung up some years after that not-so-golden age. Deitch creates worlds of grotesques and then imbues them with a humanity based on their frequent, touching inability to ride roughshod over their more human desires; here he works even more gracefully with the inevitability of aging and regret.

*****

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3 -- Kerblog, Mazen Kerbaj, Self-Published (On-Line)

No other comic this past year had me as emotionally involved on a day to day basis as the comics of Mazen Kerbaj. Dispatches from a cartoonist in Beirut during the military attack by the state of Israel last summer, the frustration and disgust and fear and instability caused by the untenable situation fairly vibrated on the computer screen, single images of jagged faces wrecked with stress, or tableau designed to make a very specific point about family, safety and community. I don't know that it will hold anywhere near the same power collected or revisited that it had as an unfolding story, but in that extended moment it was an amazing reading experience.

*****

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2 -- Krazy & Ignatz 1937-1938: Shifting Sands Dusts its Cheeks in Powdered Beauty, George Herriman, Fantagraphics

I don't have anything new to say about Krazy Kat except that I find it beautiful and funny all over again every time I read it.

*****

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1 -- Kampung Boy, Lat, First Second

Town Boy may be a more sophisticated book, and a powerful scene or two in this book may have been excised between the earliest versions and the 2007 English-language edition from First Second. I still can't get past this story's beautiful tone, judiciously selected scene work, and the humane vision of a world that express itself in every aspect of its design and staging. Lat's classic comic captures all of the vibrancies with which children imbue their immediate surroundings, and the unimaginable, almost impossible to express joy of new discoveries and first friendships. I wish there 100 comics like it, and I'm overjoyed to have the one.
 
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Happy 18th Birthday, Comix Experience!

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 44th Birthday, James Robinson!

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posted 1:14 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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