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











April 30, 2009


Go, Look: Right Around Home

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another gorgeous re-run from ASIFA
 
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ICv2.com: Central Park Media Files Chapter Seven Bankruptcy Last Friday

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com notes that Central Park Media filed chapter seven bankruptcy last Friday. According to a knowledge of bankruptcy law gleaned on the back of cereal boxes, chapter seven is the liquidation one as opposed to the reorganization that is a part of a chapter eleven filing. The article makes the failure of the anime and yaoi manga pioneer sound like an issue of markets in which it excelled drying up, as debts accrued seem primarily focused on reach-out business that tend to get involved during a business slowdown -- a bank and a law firm. CPM had been in a diminished-employment half-state for a few years now.
 
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Go, Look: Warlord Of Io

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this is James Turner's new series at SLG; his previous projects were Rex Libris and Nil, which I liked very much
 
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Hearing The Adults Argue Late At Night

If I'm reading it correctly, a piece at ActuaBD.com hypes a forthcoming Nick Rodwell interview in the magazine Trends-Tendances about the relatively choppy waters in which rests the relationship between publisher Casterman and the organization that looks after the interests of Herge and his great creation Tintin, Moulinsart. Not only do I not have a dog in this fight, it's always hard to tell with certain ActuaBD.com articles who exactly believes what and what's exactly at stake -- the prose tends to get weirdly elliptical. Still, I think it's worth noting for a couple of reasons: someone believes there's a publishing arrangement which lasts until 2053, which I like because that's The Future, I'm mentally bookmarking the notion that Tintin hasn't enjoyed enough success in the international markets it's pursued, and I imagine you're going to see an increasing number of fissures between companies and rights-holders like this as the potency of certain licenses fades.
 
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Go, Look: Wolverine Loves Porn

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straight porn, that is; plus: what is Storm wearing?
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* I'm not sure that I linked to this part of Anders Fogh Rasmussen becoming head of NATO despite objections from Turkey that included but certainly were not limited to that the prime minister's conduct during the Danish Cartoons Controversy was suspect: President Obama's role in Rasmussen getting the position and some of the promises made for it to happen.

* here's a breakdown of a recent poll of attitudes held by Danish Muslims. I don't know the players to speak the accuracy of the polls, nor am I one to shake my fist at people who come at certain issues from a completely different worldview than I have, but I figure the more information the better.

* blasphemous libel even sounds awful.

* finally, more from Flemming Rose on the necessity that newspaper be allowed to publish things like the Muhammed cartoons. I agree with that principle, and we hosted those images on CR in order to fulfill our mandate as a news organization. I remain convinced, however, that the reason someone publishes upsetting imagery can be called into question, particularly when that something breaks with the primary role of the institution involved.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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OTBP: Department Of Art #1

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Go, Read: Detailed Fumetto Report

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via
 
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Go, Read: Sweden SPX Reports

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Lauren Weinstein, via

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Reprodukt Blog
 
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Go, Look: Gary Panter’s Zomoid

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I got this one on my own, Hodler, I swear
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* all-around swell guy Batton Lash's The Soddyssey, And Other Tales of Supernatural Law has been nominated for something called a Benjamin Franklin Award; you can read all about it and find appropriate links here.

image* following up on their good news regarding their doing a book with Imiri Sakabashira, Drawn and Quarterly runs a bit of work from another forthcoming translation, Susumu Katsumata's Red Snow.

* the critic Tucker Stone profiles Cold Heat by talking to Frank Santoro and making sure there's adequate focus on the contributions of Ben Jones.

* I never link to Mike Sterling's walks through the goofier, junkier aspects of Diamond's Previews catalog, but they're always fairly entertaining. Right now you could contend that there's a bit of edge to such posts in that Diamond has minimums for comics content but seems to find space for all sorts of bizarre crap, most of it related to superhero ephemera. That's not to say that these items don't have to play by the same rules, but that it might be worth noting every now and then that the DM as a whole finds more value in Batroc busts than in Sammy Harkham comics.

* translator and historian Frederik L. Schodt has won The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette award from the government of Japan. Former winner include Tommy Lasorda and George Takei.

* finally, speaking of comics snapshots, here's a line from a Dan DiDio interview that stuck with me mostly because it likely won't stick at all with the hardcore fans now used to this kind of routinely weird stuff: "Aquaman died in the Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis series after he had been transformed into the squid-faced mentor of the new Aquaman." Come to think of it, it's also pretty funny if Aquaman being alive or dead is a not-always-known thing among superhero comics fans so hardcore they're pestering Dan DiDio. Shouldn't he have enough market presence people know if the guy is alive or not? Maybe someone needs to do a site like this one for the Sea King.
 
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Happy 70th Birthday, Martin Lodewijk!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Jerome Jouvray!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Vanna Vinci!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Ben Catmull!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Nat Gertler!

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Quick hits
Craft
On Autobiography
Photoshop: Threat Or Menace?

Exhibits/Events
Dylan Horrocks Speech Report

History
Galactus Is Simple
This Is Funny Yet Mean

Industry
Writer Defends Self?
Seven Stages Of A Comics Critic
Reviewers Need To Edumacate Themselves

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jeff Parker
Newsarama: JMS
Newsarama: Alan Moore
Newsarama: Jason Aaron
Graphic NYC: Denny O'Neil

Not Comics
R Crumb Name Drop
Whatever They Want?
Early D&D/Marvel Swipes
Watch Shitty X-Men Cartoons
Christian Book Expo Canceled
Google And Authors Guild Extension

Publishing
FCBD Effort Leaked?
Sherlock Holmes Previewed

Reviews
Nick Gazin: Various
Chris Eckert: Various
Joe Iglesias: Pluto Vol. 2
Steve Duin: Kick-Ass #6
Andrew Wheeler: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Glen Weldon: A Drifting Life
Thomas Thorhauge: Apaches
Leroy Douresseaux: ZE Vol. 2
Lissa Pattillo: The Color Of Water
Sandy Bilus: Britten and Brulightly
Koppy McFad: Solomon Grundy #2
Danielle Leigh: Slam Dunk Vols. 2-4
Sean T. Collins: Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Dave Ferraro: Tokyo Boys & Girls Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Venus Capriccio Vol. 1
Greg McElhatton: Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol. 1
 

 
April 29, 2009


Oh, THAT Cartoon Of The Statue Of Liberty Holding A Big Ol’ Whip

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It was an illustration of this Frank Rich column, not a proper editorial cartoon, that gave conservative pundits a chance to fill air time earlier this week. Andrew Horton found it because apparently I sport the investigative capabilities of an addled lemur. The bonus is that it's by Barry "New Yorker cover of terrorist Obamas doing White House fist bump" Blitt.
 
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This Isn’t A Library: New And Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely 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 works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick up the following and look them over, after which it's on.

*****

DEC080161 ABSOLUTE SUPERMAN FOR TOMORROW HC $75.00
I always make a point to go look up the first time a prestige line publishes something where I have no idea what it is. The is the Brian Azzarello/Jim Lee Superman thing that was an unofficial follow-up to the Hush storyline over in the Batman books. All the exclamation points in the description make it fun to read out loud.

OCT080095 FINAL CRISIS LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #4 (OF 5) $3.99
I can't wait to see how Final Crisis turns out.

MAR098081 MUPPET SHOW #2 (OF 4) $2.99
This is the Roger Langridge muppet book and might be a hit so cross your fingers. Although I am reminded of that nursery rhyme that comes up when publishers keep claiming stuff gets sold out: "Sell out once, shame on the DM; sell out twice, marketing BM."

JAN090249 MAD MAGAZINE #500 $5.99
All hail the fifth 100th issue of the greatest comics series of them all. Look for one at your grocery store this week, if not your comics shop.

MAR094222 COLLECTED DOUG WRIGHT CANADAS MASTER CARTOONIST HC VOL 01 $39.99
Gorgeous book, gorgeous cartooning. Look at this PDF. To die for. Prestige purchase of the week, by a wide margin.

JAN094086 RASL #4 (MR) $3.50
As many books as I list up here as being in the Direct Market, and as much as I truly use comic shops to look at stuff they have that I'm not sure they want, this is the kind of book that makes the difference between a good trip and a great one. I really like Smith's book, have no idea where it's going, and am willing for him to take me wherever he wants.

*****

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 so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, 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. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I didn't list your comic, that's because now it's personal.

*****

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Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote Eisners

Eligible voters have until June 15 to vote in the 2009 Eisner Awards. More information, including directions to vote on-line, go here. The winners will be announced the Friday at Comic-Con International in a lavish ceremony to include a brief cameo by my Buffalo Bills face.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked

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* Tom Devlin at Drawn and Quarterly talked a bit about their planned childrens' book line on their blog. It's to be called D+Q Enfant, and given their art direction standards and general, displayed line-wide quality in the realm of comics, should be something to keep an eye on. That's going to be one of their offerings above.

* everybody gets excited about new book lines, but Devlin dropped another bomb yesterday afternoon, at least one I wasn't aware of. D&Q is doing a book with Imiri Sakabashira called The Box Man. Holy crap. I'll put one of the images at the bottom of this post so you can go "Holy Crap," too. I don't follow manga closely enough to declare with authority this is the first Sakabashira comic published in North America since a short story popped up in Sake Jock, but that would be my hunch.

image* the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com had a bunch of single-project publishing announcements on their site in the lat few days. The Del Rey and Cartoon Network alliance will result in comics featuring The Secret Saturdays. Last Gasp will be releasing a Junko Mizuno book with the awesome title of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu Vol. 1. IDW will be taking another stab at re-launching Fallen Angel.

* the emerging webcomics cartoonist Kate Beaton has a book now; there's a photo of it and everything. I thought it interesting that she may not have been keeping files when she first started. Anyway, you should buy one.

* the writer Katherine Dacey has launched a manga-focused review and criticism site, with one of those names that makes you wonder why no one's used it yet.

* I received a press release earlier today that said BrokenFrontier.com has relaunched with a new design and a focus on Web 2.0 capabilities. It didn't give the URL, but it wasn't tough to figure that out. The site looks nice. I don't really understand what the web 2.0 stuff means, but I never do. I didn't know that site was headquartered in Brussels, or I did know and forgot.

* finally, Brian Cronin's book from Penguin on various comics industry legends and rumors has reached the preview stage.

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DCD Not To Carry Classics Illustrated?

According to this press release by the people holding the Classics Illustrated license and releasing some of the previous iterations of the work in new formats, Diamond won't be carrying the resulting works because of what sounds like those books' performance vis-a-vis their new benchmarks for carrying material. Between this and MAD going quarterly, it's been a tough year for classic comics series brands.
 
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World Cartoonists On Drawing Obama

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Jacob Zuma Win Brings Press Fears

This article in the Globe and Mail says just about everything I was bookmarking articles to string together: Jacob Zuma's big political victory doesn't mean his press opponents are likely to back down -- check out April from Zapiro -- but does raise fears of more aggressive actions against the press.
 
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Go, Look: Lars Fiske

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Go, Look: Random New Yorker Cartoons

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Go, Look: Two By Matt Baker

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Go, Look: Two By John Forte

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* publisher Archaia Studios Press seems to be hiring for stability these days. Marvel adds Alan Fine to its Chief Executive Office team, which sounds like the entertainment company's version of that comic they do with Professor X, Black Bolt and Namor whose name I can't remember. As always, I'm a little nervous when Marvel makes another move up top because it seems like the vast majority of Marvel's post-bankruptcy success has been funneled to powerful men in suits rather than rank-and-file comics makers or those books' original creators.

image* I expected to see this kind of thing but maybe not so soon: one of the Savage Critics uses the brand-new Mark Waid interview as a window into what they feel is the inner life of DC Comics.

* here's something I thought we might see sooner: Scott McCloud's reemergence as a more frequent blogger leading to an exploration of the state of the more experimental webcomics that the cartoonist championed during his first sustained foray into the on-line world.

* I'm a little confused by articles castigating the New York Times for running a cartoon showing the Statue Of Liberty with a whip. For one thing, the fact that anyone would get worked up about something like that makes me want to go to bed for the rest of my life. More importantly, I'm confused in that the Times rarely runs comics, certainly doesn't have a cartoonist of their own, the cartoonist is never mentioned, and I can't find it. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

* a few of you have e-mailed me the link to this follow-up on the changes at BEA, from the publishing arm of the convention organizer. I also found this article kind of confusing. First of all, it seems to me either the Macmillan representative or Lance Fensterman isn't telling the whole truth about Macmillan not having a floor presence at this year's big book trade show: two entities not being able to come to a satisfactory arrangement really isn't the same thing as one of them deciding to do something different with their marketing money. It's one member of a couple saying "we had differences about the wedding" and the other saying "I decided I want to sleep with Tony from work from now on." Those statements look really odd in paragraphs right next to one another in an article about those decisions. Second, I honestly don't know what it means for Random House to change its booth space to feature authors more directly. I never had a problem finding authors at any booth during the BEAs I attended -- they were always right there.

* finally, Ted Rall would like to remind you that Ted Rall is awesome. (I enjoy Ted's writing and admire the uncompromising nature of his cartoons, but that first line cracked me up more than any cartoon I read this morning.)

2008 photo of Mark Waid by Whit Spurgeon
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, Marvano!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Andrea Accardi!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Olivier Vatine!

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Quick hits
Craft
Marjane Satrapi's Azrael
Sean Phillips Thumbnails

History
Galactus, You Card
Human Torch's Flaming Words
Thunderbirds: Darwin's Air Force

Industry
Get A Free Issue Of Hogan's Alley

Interviews/Profiles
Gear Live: Box Brown
Newsarama: Alan Moore
Daily Cross Hatch: Alex Simmons
Newsarama: Leah Moore, John Reppion

Not Comics
Origins Awards Finalists
Hollywood Vs. Swine Flu
Evan Dorkin Watches His Kid Read Comics

Publishing
Yeah, This Makes Sense

Reviews
John Mitchell: Baloney
Paul Di Filippo: Various
NPR Likes A Drifting Life
Nina Stone: Kick-Ass #6
Curt Purcell: Reading Comics
Don MacPherson: Buck Rogers #0
David Uzumeri: Detective Comics #853
Scott Cederlund: Detective Comics #853
Koppy McFad: Justice League Of America #32
Leroy Douresseaux: Maid War Chronicle Vol. 1
Lori Henderson: The Scrapyard Detectives #1-3
Andrew Mansell: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?
 

 
April 28, 2009


Michael George Bail Set At $2.5M

Macomb Circuit Judge James M. Biernat has set bail in the case of accused murderer and Michael George: $2.5 million. George's attorneys say the once-prominent Pennsylvania comics retailer and convention organizer can't post it.

Other conditions would include George -- convicted in March 2008 for murdering his then-wife in their comic book store in 1990 but then saw his request for a new trial granted in September -- wearing a tether, being confined to his mother's house, and traveling only to the doctor and to consult with attorneys.
 
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Go, Look: Paul Pope’s Adam Strange

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first installment from forthcoming Wednesday Comics project
 
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Another Staffer Leaves Wizard?

I'm told that Wizard Conventions Programming Director Adam Tracey quit yesterday, effective immediately. Same sources as before. It happened quickly enough that I wonder if some time would have to pass before we can say it actually took, but I imagine there will be confirmation one way or another by later today.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Maria Sputnik

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Noel Murray Posts On CR Series List

I'm flattered that Noel Murray of the AV Club took a few moments yesterday to respond to and comment on the CR Sunday Feature on all-time series. What's great about the responses there is that folks seemed to come at the list by suggesting I need to add one thing after another I love and value in comics, from Zot! to Bone to Usagi Yojimbo to daily comic strips. Even if I don't think they should go on that list, I'm very glad those things are valued by those comics readers as much as I value them. My thanks to Mr. Murray and the thread participants for the pleasure of reading their commentary.

I wanted to mention I'm in general agreement with Murray about what Love & Rockets to read first and how to read Cerebus without necessarily plunging into some of the more controversial aspects of the work right away.

imageIn terms of L&R, starting reading it with later issues has practical applications but also replicates the way a lot of fans first got into the Hernandez Brothers -- by catching up with the series after it had been going a while. Most of the people I know that are huge Love & Rockets fans started reading the book because the Comics Journal made them feel like they should or they responded to some surface aspect of it. Then, at some point during the initial stretch of issues they read, something clicked into place and they became totally obsessed with it. That was true for me, too. I started reading it because I liked Jaime's art in the color comics reprint Mechanics. The story in the magazine that captured my attention for good was "For The Love of Carmen."

imageWhen people talk about ways to explore Cerebus -- I'm a "go with High Society" guy, personally -- I think of a friend of mine who maintains for his own purposes that Cerebus died in issue #150. He bases this in part on simply not caring for what followed but also in that he believed the character had died in that issue back when it was initially serialized and that Sim was going to re-boot the series with a female aardvark in #151. I have no idea why he thought this; maybe Sim had said something about the male/female split in the series and my friend took him literally? I prefer to think he just made it up. I've never asked, and I hope he doesn't e-mail. The funny thing is you can certainly read Cerebus in that truncated way and have it work, although certainly not as the author intended. Cerebus dies after being awakened to something deep within his heart and then rashly committing a violent act in a world set against him sounds like the ending I would have written for the character at a certain age, that's for sure.

In terms of those responding to the list on CR, I think the one I should have considered to greater extent was American Splendor. It didn't even come to mind. This may have been my brain protecting me, because I'm not sure I even know what I think about AS right now. As I get older, I find myself liking Harvey Pekar's comics a lot when he was working with a really good artist, and not liking at all some of the other comics he's done, almost always with less significant artists. I know that one of the two respondents put a later Pekar work on an all-time great comics list; that work failed to make my top 25 for the year it came out. This is worrisome if not outright problematic when it comes to assigning Pekar a place in my personal pantheon. I'm clearly overdue figuring out what I think of the writer, whose place in comics history is assured. I should re-read his works as time becomes available.
 
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If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Bryan Lee O’Malley Posts Set Of Sketches From Calgary Expo

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Jeff Parker, Please Bring Back These Awesome Characters Immediately

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Go, Read: Lushly-Illustrated Article On Fleming and Von Eeden’s Thriller

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Thriller was one of DC's oddest contributions to the early days of the Direct Market. I've had two different pros tell me in the last year that it was important in part because there was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff on it at the time, which made it something wannabe pros could follow in that way as well.
 
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Go, Read: Rian Hughes Profile

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thanks, Marc A
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* drop whatever you're doing and go read this fantastically entertaining Mark Waid interview, if only to hear him talk about former employers."[Crossgen Founder Mark] Alessi was a spoiled eight-year-old with a checkbook, and he was the biggest bully I've ever met in my life -- and, coming from a lifelong comic book geek, that's one hell of an indictment." That's like the 20th best line in the piece. Too funny. (via)

image* that's a great title

* not comics: this is the best summary statement on Portfolio closing up shop you're going to read.

* the phrase "Smurfs in Vietnam" may make most of us think of some unaired, early-'80s sketch comedy bit, but in this case it's just that the popular Peyo exhibit that ran at the Centre Belge de Bande Dessine to record-setting audience has moved on to Ha Noi after a stopover in Romania. The article breaks down the simple and logical way the exhibit is organized.

* I'm told that Sweden loves Jeffrey Brown.

* for that matter, Malaysia certainly loves Lat, and there's a flurry of articles about a release of early work from the great cartoonist. The ones I had bookmarked are gone now, but this one comes up on a google news search. In addition to the absolutely awesome photos, I like how the cartoonist is up front about the nostalgia-buy aspect of having that book done.

* finally, anyone who's ever wanted to be a comics retailer and order all that fine product for your store should read Chris Butcher's two-part piece on going through the ordering catalog in real time. People who like funny stuff should read it, too. There's also some industry commentary worth noting. Butcher's indictment of a 1 in 250 special issue ordering incentive for retailers seems to me and my outsider's perspective as spot on. Moreover, that seems another clear piece of evidence that the bigger companies simply aren't thinking enough about these down economic times when deciding how to approach their markets.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Peter Pontiac!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Leeza Sei!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Greg Hyland!

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Happy 83rd Birthday, Bill Blackbeard!

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Happy 85th Birthday, Dick Ayers!

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Quick hits
Craft
Go See JMS
Noel Sickles Illustration

Exhibits/Events
TCAF/FCBD Crossover
Wake-Up Call In Calgary
Photographer Exhibit Report
Shaenon Garrity In Tokyo 01

History
Paul Pope Remembers
Galactus Needs To Suck It Up
50-Year-Old New Team Vs. 60-Year-Old Old Team

Interviews/Profiles
Sci Fi Pulse: Greg Sadowski

Not Comics
Ugh
Buy Captain America's Giant, Fat Head
For Earth Day, Write More Jungle Action

Publishing
Love For Bringing Up Father Project
I Always Thought Dancing About Architecture Sounded Cool

Reviews
Kinukitty: In The End
Sabrina Fritz: Various
MacKenzie: Unlovable
Richard Bruton: I, Toddler
Chris Allen: Cold Heat #5-6
Greg McElhatton: Color Of Earth
Paul O'Brien: Wolverine: Noir #1
Sarah Jaffe: Phonogram Vol. 2 #2
Leroy Douresseaux: Black Cat Vol. 20
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Chicken With Plums
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Sheena Queen Of The Jungle Vol. 2
Henry Chamberlain: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?
 

 
April 27, 2009


Go, Download: Dave Lasky Comic On Flu Pandemics and Preparation

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I always look to Dave Lasky in desperate times
 
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DC Out Of BEA; Expectations Down

PW comics culture blogger Heidi MacDonald caught something in one of that entity's newsletters which I'm grateful to have brought to my attention: BEA is shrinking in terms of exhibitors and attendees. That makes sense: the industry is shrinking, we live in a Internet-connected world that obviates the need for a lot of initial face-to-face meetings, and the religion of marketing has pretty much trumped any remaining belief in the industry structure, closed-door and personal connection idols of a previous civilization. Reviving useful structure would take way more work than one trade show is ever going to be able to muster, and might be a doomed game to begin with, so bringing on booth bunnies, cosplay and Colbert makes a kind of twisted sense.

The one thing I'd question is that BEA as currently constituted plays a significant role in building buzz, it's just that it's more the "Leonard Nimoy shows up in Austin to screen Star Trek" kind of buzz as opposed to the "people in the big exhibit hall going nuts at Comic-Con" kind of buzz. I'm not sure you can do both kinds under the same roof, and I'm not sure there's any way to replace the former once it's gone. It seems to me there's a sort of buzz that serves a book like Liar's Poker and a sort of buzz that serves Twilight, but I have to say "seems" because I don't have any qualifications to speak to those matters directly.

Maybe the silver lining is that in a few years I'll no longer have to read that same post every year from people that stuff themselves full of book industry freebies like a high school football team hitting the potato bar at Golden Corral, all in the service of feeding eBay and their own general acquisitiveness. Instead we'll get posts about how long the lines are and the way things were in the good old days.
 
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Missed It: Moebius Redux



jog caught it
 
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Go, Read: Involved Comics Fans Bailing On Some Of Their Serial Comics Buys

There was a post last Friday about comic book buying habits and the economy on Blog@Newsarama that's worth your time if you like to think about the state of the Direct Market of comics and hobby shops. A sequel about the sames kinds of fans adding to their buying patterns can be found here.

You can't pull too much out of a collection of testimony like that one: the kind of fan that jumps on-line to talk about their buying habits at a place like Newsarama's blog probably isn't a typical fan, no matter how much they assert to the contrary. There are also any number of factors that may keep anyone wishing to follow up from quantifying any anecdotal trend: the fact that comic shops mitigate any drop in interest by buying their books non-returnable is one huge factor; there are also statistical anomalies that can play havoc with gleaning some sort of meaning from overall numbers, like this year's Spidey/Obama comic and Watchmen sales must be huge factors on their respective categories' bottom line.

I think what's clear, however, is that there's a potential weakness in the shape of the current comics market in that it depends on making a lot of money from a relatively small number of buyers, as opposed to a market that wants to make a few dollars here and there from a much more significant number of buyers. That's a pretty sweet set-up when it's working, but when it's not all that healthy someone else is going to suffer. I'd suggest the dominant actors in the Direct Market aren't that interested in overall market health except where it conflates with individual corporate goals.

Any forthcoming restriction of the comics market now seems clearly tied into the overall health of the economy -- not on a one-on-one basis, and perhaps there's a limit as to how far down the hole comics will follow general economic fact, but the relationship is there. Even if things never get worse than they are this morning, we need to recognize that comics' major players didn't do much of anything to reach out to its business partners and perhaps nothing at all to make things easier for its fans. Instead, they raised prices to meet budget shortfalls, helped Diamond further restrict access to the marketplace, kept the same haphazard release schedules, and continued to limit the options of competitors in ways that further their stranglehold on this still-lucrative DM pie.
 
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Go, Look: Ivo K. Inks


 
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Go, Read: Dave Stevens & Nostalgia

imageDan Nadel has a short and fairly fascinating piece up at Comics Comics on his experiences reading Brush With Passion: The Life & Art Of Dave Stevens. Nadel seems intrigued by the late Stevens' apparent unhappiness with his artistic development, and what that means as expressed by an artist with his legacy, inclinations and place in a very specific sub-culture. It rattles apart fairly quickly, I think due to some specific ideological constructs Nadel brings to his portrait of those overlapping sub-cultures, a sweeping set of claims and emphases that I'm not sure he all-the-way earns. Even if you disagree with Nadel on specifics, I think there's something to be said for the example he provides in stepping back and realizing that so many artists with an interest in comics remain unfulfilled and that the culture that surrounds comics might play a role in enabling this long-lingering hopelessness.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Dudley

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Go, Look: Truck Bearing Kibble

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Go, Look: World-Wide Weirdies

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OTBP: Late Nights At Kinkos

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* in a move that I'm sure is in some way meant to provoke an all-out nerd war with McGill, Brad Mackay notes that, "Harvard University's Department of History of Art & Architecture has agreed to fund the 2009 Doug Wright Awards so that we can offer free admission to our May 9th ceremony at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Until last night, we were charging $5.00." So that's nice.

image* Chris Butcher suggests that Buenaventura Press print up Kramers Ergot Vol. 7 as three normal-sized comic books that together would cost $12. Hey, why not?

* the writer G. Willow Wilson will donate money to the Koru Foundation for ever copy of her book Air bought on Amazon May 1.

* an on-line comic soon to be a print comic is giving its readers one more chance to see the whole thing for free before the site shifts into preview mode.

* when you're late to a signing, Fantagraphics makes you carry around a giant placard of your comic art all day.

* not comics: if I'm reading this Joanne Kaufman article at the New York Times correctly, a problem with the Kindle is that it somehow robs reading of its look-at-me qualities.
It's a safe bet that the Kindle is unlikely to attract people who seldom pick up a book or, on the other end of the spectrum, people who prowl antiquarian book fairs for first editions. But for the purpose of sizing up a stranger from afar, perhaps the biggest problem with Kindle or its kin is the camouflage factor: when no one can tell what you're reading, how can you make it clear that you're poring over the new Lincoln biography as opposed to, say, "He's Just Not That Into You"?
I'm thinking another problem with the Kindle is that if I read something on the device that achingly stupid and react by barfing, I may damage expensive equipment as opposed to something I can pitch and replace.

* not comics: one would imagine it's harder to get upset about the seedy-looking comics adaptation when there has already been a full-on porn adaptation. As I recall, that was a semi-musical starring one of the girls from Meatballs. (Meatballs was a Bill Murray movie, not another porno.)

* not comics: the most disturbing review ever.

* finally, are we going to have another run on video comics magazines now? Because I'm about as camera ready as Edith Massey in Pink Flamingos.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, Lautaro Fiszman!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Jan Mullaney!

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Happy 64th Birthday, Roberto Bonadimani!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Benoit Laverdiere!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Sean T. Collins!

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April 26, 2009


CR Sunday Feature: The Ten All-Time Best Long-Running Comics Series

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By Tom Spurgeon

In a news item that went almost unnoticed in light of the change to quarterly publication status, MAD Magazine is celebrating its 500th issue. With the long-running serial comic book fading from existence, I think it's safe to say we will not see MAD's like again.

Here are my Sunday-Morning choices for the ten best comics series of all time. A lot of this is by caffeine-fueled feel. I'm not sure that I can present a clear list of criteria employed. I find myself wanting to work with long-time series, so that meant a baseline of more than 10 years publishing. I'm staying in North America -- no Spirou, no Garo -- although I was tempted to fake it. I looked at artistic achievement and historical impact as equally important factors and then worked from there in terms of folding in lesser factors like influence and uniqueness. This isn't a best-works list. I think more of Weirdo, for example, than I do six works that made this top ten. It's also not divorced from artistic considerations, so it's definitely not an industry-oriented list. Action Comics would have to be on that kind of list, and it's not on this one. I also wanted to have the list entire cover a great deal of aesthetic and historical ground, or at least as much as that would be possible as a later consideration.

Basically, I just wanted a nice snapshot of what comics series have meant to the art form and to those who enjoyed comics that way. What follows isn't perfect and may not even be defensible, but these kinds of exercises can't be the former and sometimes work better as the latter. I hope you enjoy it. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

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1. MAD (1952-present)
The legendary magazine and cultural touchstone brought satirical comedy of the "Everyone is Lying to You" variety to the masses, and hit a generation of media-savvy children right between the eyes. They then executed the crap out of that basic formula for decades, broadening slightly in terms of approach and sentiment but never straying far from what they do best. The initial run of Harvey Kurtzman-edited comics are as deliciously weird and inventive as their reputation, and the Al Feldstein era with its murderer's row of great comics craftsmen is as vastly underrated as any comic ever. At the height of its influence, MAD was The Simpsons, The Daily Show and The Onion combined. Three generations of American adults not only read some excellent comics in this magazine, they saw a great deal of an age-stratified pop culture through its lenses.

*****

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2. Love and Rockets, Vol. 1 (1981-1996)
The best long-running and organic artistic achievement in serial comic book form, the magazine-formatted Love and Rockets spanned the lifetime of comics' growth as an art form from debates over whether anyone would read a comic that was more than 50 pages long to the first major book distribution deals. The Hernandez Brothers inspired and outworked a greatest generation of comics auteurs. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are each among that handful of artists who must be given serious consideration when talking about the best cartoonists working. In Love & Rockets each created fictional worlds for the ages and used them as a vehicle for enormous artistic development, lapping the majority of their peer group. One so inclined could argue with seriousness a top 25 of American graphic novels where 1/3 of the titles listed came from this series.

*****

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3. Walt Disney's Comics & Stories (1940-1962)
I believe this was the most popular of the Disney titles. Choosing just one of the Disney series according to artistic impact is difficult considering there were great works spread out over a few of those titles. I'm told a lot of where you stand comes down to how what weight you give which works by Carl Barks. Walt Disney Comics & Stories featured a significant number of contributions from Barks (originals which I believe would continue for a half-decade into the series second iteration at Gold Key) focusing on the sublime Donald Duck ten-pagers, early cover work from Walt Kelly, reprints from Floyd Gottfredson, and Mickey Mouse stories by Paul Murry. The 20th Century was the comic book century and it was the Walt Disney century, and the combination of the two gave us some of the best expressions of both.

*****

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4. RAW (1980-1991)
The standard-bearer for adult expression in comics in the 1980s, RAW is clearly responsible for several subsequent developments within the art form. This includes but is not limited to 1) nurturing an important generation of artists that would become American alt-comix mainstays, 2) providing a first home for co-editor Art Spiegelman's foundational Maus, 3) bringing to American shores and putting in front of American eyes many of the best European cartoonists of two generations, 4) furiously messing with format to a liberating degree and, perhaps most importantly, 5) investing the entire enterprise with a sense of artistic legitimacy that could stand up to the most withering skepticism.

*****

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5. Zap (1968-2005)
Zap was the best-known comic series of the underground comix, and published heavy-hitters such as Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin and Robert Williams. You don't really need to say anything else. All of those cartoonists are great, Crumb in particular is a giant, and no anthology has No comic series better encapsulated a quality of expression one can earmark as belonging to a specific time. It's amazing how playful the comics in Zap could be, and how important some of the more ragged contributions and jam comics feel plopped into the middle of various quality short stories. There's going to come a point in the next 25 years where those paying attention to comics are going to have to decide how good and vital the best underground comix were as they begin to become untethered from living history and the weight they've been given as social agents backed by the self-flattery of a myopic yet statistically significant generation. My guess is we'll start that process with Crumb and Zap, and continue with the rest of that comic's line-up and on from there into that entire period of fertile expression.

*****

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6. Four-Color Comics (1939-1962)
This was to my mind the most mainstream of all mainstream North American comic books, from a time when comic books were very, very mainstream. Four-Color makes the list for the way it was set up to launch any number of titles, its success in doing so (including several Disney features) and its prodigious output. It is one hundred and eighty degrees removed from comic books as we understand and value them now: it published up to twice a week, it shifted features, it favored no particular kind of comic over another, and it went right after popular tastes like so many fast zombies loping behind a bus full of schoolchildren. It's the only comic book where looking at the covers feels like flipping through the channels on your grandmother's Philco, although its basic operation was so relatively inscrutable that a line in a wikipedia entry suggests that a crucial task of 1960s super-fans Don and Maggie Thompson was simply figuring out who did what in Four-Color and when, reverse-engineering a comic book TV guide. If it were around today I'm imagining a May 2009 where we might see comics on that singing woman, Somali Pirates, The Mentalist and LeBron James. But it isn't around today. It couldn't be.

*****

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7. Amazing Spider-Man (1962-present)
What would become Marvel's enormous influence seems to my eye better encapsulated in short bursts of creativity on specific titles and the relentless quality of its line in the mid-1960s than it does any of its long-running series. That said, Amazing Spider-Man was the Marvel comic that felt like an original Marvel comic book for the longest time. Crucially, its initial burst of creativity wasn't limited to a single run by Marvel art powerhouse Jack Kirby but instead saw three sustained, compelling periods: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's clever capsizing of the superhero genre, Stan Lee and John Romita's romance comic-influenced take on the personal woes emphasized in the original formula that attracted so many readers to its core ideas of responsibility and emotional investment, and the first significant riffs on the Marvel formula by creators including Romita, Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, where Spider-Man became a kind of issues-oriented soap opera focused on running commentary about superheroes and self-actualization in stories where, say, Gwen Stacy dies and then comes back to life in cloned form. It hasn't been as significant since, nor has it enjoyed recurring quality runs like Marvel's Daredevil series has, but Spider-Man's initial series of achievements is enough to earn it a place here.

*****

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8. ACME Novelty Library (1993-present)
We're at a point in comics history enough time has passed that people forget what a mind-bending achievement Chris Ware's one-man showcase series ACME Novelty Library was when it first debuted. Even its approach to format felt radical. If RAW played around with presentation, ACME punched right in the scrotum the notion that every issue of a single comic book series had to look like the others. The dozens of cartoonists following his lead is the title's most obvious contribution, but hardly its greatest. Its primary value is that it presented Ware's giant talent to enough of an audience to bring him thousands of hardcore fans. ACME also played with what people might conceive of when they thought of a serial title -- some issues of ACME ran a continuing serial, some published gathered-together gags, and the issues that come out today look like a book more than any comic book. Perhaps the most telling thing about ACME is that in the midst of serializing what should be another mighty collection one day, Ware can dream up a single-page that if it were the only thing he ever published people might still know his name.

*****

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9. King-Cat Comics and Stories (1989-present)
John Porcellino's mini-comic is beautiful and perfect just the way it is, and what that is is the greatest artistic achievement in the vast universe of handmade comics. It's basically one man's life story as told to an audience assembled by the whims of a crumbling, ephemeral marketplace, but it's also elegant, insightful comics.

*****

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10. Cerebus (1977-2004)
Although few comics readers know quite what to do with the content and themes of the book as they developed in its second half, Dave Sim's 300-issue achievement remains monumental in terms of scope and personal ambition, and is also noteworthy for the craft chops and unique storytelling solutions frequently on display. It's probably the most fascinating object among the great comic book series, by which I mean it's the only comic on this list I can imagine people wanting to read a collection of its letters pages or its editorials or its back-up features in addition to the several collections featuring the comics narrative. Cerebus served quite effectively as a vehicle for Sim's personal views and as a platform for the gospel of self-publishing as a viable business choice in the Direct Market-dominant 1980s and 1990s. I don't know yet what I think of it as an artistic achievement, but I greatly enjoyed huge swaths of it. The further away from its published conclusion I get the more I'm convinced that it's something special in terms of comics history, and the further along I get in my own artistic journey the more I'm certain that even if he doesn't realize it, Dave won.

*****

I also considered the following great series: Weirdo, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Sandman, Hate, Eightball, Bone, Frontline Combat, Optic Nerve, Fantastic Four, Action Comics, Detective Comics, Daredevil, The Spirit, Donald Duck Adventures, Yummy Fur, Classic Comics, Monster and Shonen Jump. No doubt I've completely spaced on a half-dozen mighty achievements of this type.

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

*****

Michael Grabowski

I would add American Splendor to your list. I don't think I've ever read a review that articulates precisely why Pekar's comics work, and the movie doesn't get this across either, and I sure can't explain it but there it is. He took the vision of underground comics and stripped it of its sensationalism and shock value but somehow he and his collaborators figured out how to make the absolutely mundane interesting to look at and read. Still. A lot of the artists usually work in a much less restrained fashion and it's been interesting and affecting to see what guys like Crumb, Stack, Sacco, & Haspiel can do when illustrating work that's outside their normal approach.

Pekar's publishing history has to say something positive about the book & comics publishing industry. His first Doubleday collection came out the same year at Pantheon's 1st edition of Maus, which means it was probably prepared completely independently rather than as a response to any trend. That he's enjoyed apparently good publishing relationships with a number of publishers in a few different formats suggests some kind of marketability that he has achieved for his work. The intersection between wider pop culture and Pekar's work (David Letterman and Paul Giamatti at one end, the odd play or opera at the other) has been interesting to see take place as at it all seems to have taken place on Pekar's terms (and produced its own entertaining sub-genre in Pekar's comics). Hopefully this is all another piece in the growth of comics as an accepted, expected mode of artistic expression for all manner of themes and styles.

*****

Ethan Heitner

My vote for inclusion on that list would be World War 3 Illustrated. While having only 40-odd issues out (39) makes it seem less impressive than the runs of hundreds your list includes, I would argue that WW3 very simply provides a home for comics that could not find a home anywhere else in the North American comics scene. I am continually curious why WW3 doesn't get more attention from the comics blogosphere.

*****

Mark Coale

I don't know if the runs are long enough, but how about: Morrison's Doom Patrol, American Flagg vols 1 and 2, Waid's Flash run, Rucka's Queen and Country, Wolfman/Colan Tomb of Dracula, Moore/Veitch Swamp Thing. Would you lump all the Grendels together as one big project?

*****

Buzz Dixon

It's hard/bordering impossible to argue against any of your choices, so I'll say I wish the list had gone up to twelve and that Archie (and attendent titles) and Classics Illustrated had been included.

Archie has varied in focus and quality over the years, the 1950s/early 60s stories bordering on the subversive on occasion, but at its heart it was what we wished our teen years were like or, for those pre-teen readers, what we hoped it would become. I think it's fair to say Archie & friends gave millions of kids a template for their future, and while acknowledging the importance of MAD and Zap, Archie provided a counter-balancing normalacy for many.

Classics Illustrated probably did a better job teaching the classics than the American public school system and on occasion they actually had some pretty decent art (I remember The War Of The Worlds and The Time Machine with great fondness). They certainly had more readers than the originals or Cliff Notes. They certainly made a lot of otherwise impenetrable plots clear.

*****

John Vest

When you're looking at the greatest long running series I guess the field does narrow quickly. As honorable mentions I'd include Captain Marvel and Plastic Man from the golden age plus Lee-Ditko Doctor Strange and Tales Of Asgard from the sixties.

I'd go with Fantastic Four over Amazing Spider-Man in the top ten. The characters' lives evolved through both series but much more dramatically in the 8 1/2 year breadth of the Lee-Kirby FF. The Fantastic Four aged perceptibly and there was a more sober tone in later issues with increased family responsibilities. As the group appeared more often in casual attire during the final issues it's almost as if they had transcended the superhero scenario and had been taken as far as they could go.

*****

Danny Fingeroth

I second what Michael Grabowski said about American Splendor. Harvey created his own sub-genre of compelling personal comics, which is even more impressive when you see how many people try something similar and don't succeed. Harvey makes it look easy -- which it ain't.

*****
*****
 
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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Ohio, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Naples, I’d Go To This

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

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Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: nice overview piece on Seth

* go, look: Stumptown Comics Fest photos

* go, look: Stumptown Comics Fest photos 02

* go, read: an interview with Jonathan Maberry

* go, look: SPACE photos
 
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FFF Results Post #161—Day Of

On Friday, CR asked its readers to "Name Four Comics (#1-4) You Wish You Could Have Bought The Day They Came Out And Then One (#5) You're Glad You Did Buy That Way. As A Bonus, If You Want, Explain The Reason Why For One AND ONLY ONE Of Your Choices." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Action Comics #1
2. Zap #1
3. Uncanny X-Men #104
4. Cerebus #1
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

I'm glad I bought a TMNT #1 the day it came out because I wasn't crazy about it so I sold it to a local collector/speculator a couple of years later and because of the financial windfall got to quit my summer job a couple of weeks ahead of schedule and goof around a while before football two-a-days started. That was a great summer.

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. MAD #1
2. Plastic Man #1
3. Strange Tales #110
4. Arcade #1
5. JIM #1

I bought JIM #1 based entirely on the cover image and it turns out that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover...

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Love & Rockets #2 (vol. 1)
2. Mad #11
3. Cerebus #14
4. Howard The Duck #1
5. Journey #1

I would really have enjoyed starting to read L&R with "Mechanics" instead of some of the lesser stories from the mid-teen issues that I first read later on.

*****

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Russell Lissau

1. Wolverine #1 (Miller/Claremont mini)
2. Amazing Spider-Man #252
3. 100 Bullets #1
4. The Crow #1
5. 100 Bullets #100:

I have the first two 100 Bullets tpbs, then about 50 singles, then the rest in trades. But I had to buy the final issue, both to support Brian, Eduardo, Trish and Dave's monumental achievement and to see how it all ended. I just couldn't wait.

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Longshot #1
2. Mage, the Hero Discovered #1
3. DC Solo #1
4. Deadline Magazine in the UK
5. THB #1

Yeah, I got to be in on the ground floor of Paul Pope's awesome series, but then an ex-girlfriend absconded with all the issues and it took me several years to replace them without paying too much of a premium.

*****

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Christopher Duffy

1. Wham-O Giant Comics thing from the 60s
2. Zap #1
3. Muppets #1
4. Love and Rockets #1
5. Nova #1

I wish I had bought Muppets #1 the first day it came out because it sold out and now all I can find are stupidly expensive "exclusive" Midtown Comics cover variant editions. Bleh!

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Amazing Fantasy #15
2. Showcase #4
3. Green Lantern Vol. 2 #76
4. Fantastic Four #1
5. DC Comics Presents #26

I had enjoyed the '70s Teen Titans revival for most of its brief run, and I liked Robin and Kid Flash from it and other books, so I was glad to see the 16-page New Teen Titans story in the middle of this issue. New Teen Titans quickly became one of my favorite comics, and for a while NTT #1 was probably the most valuable single issue in my embryonic collection. (DCCP #26 would have been more valuable, but I had carefully removed the NTT insert...)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Detective #1
2. Danger Trail (1950) #1
3. Animal Man #5
4. Showcase #56
5. American Flagg #1

I had given up comics during my senior year in high school and when I started reading again a year later in college, I had missed the start of both Animal Man and Sandman. While it was harder to get the first five or six issues of Sandman, I wish I had been reading Animal Man from the jump. The Coyote Gospel is still my favorite issue of Animal Man and started by 20+ year appreciation for Morrison's work.

*****

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Adam Casey

1. New Gods #1
2. Love and Rockets #1
3. Tales of Suspense #94
4. Whiz Comics #2
5. Ultimates 2 #1

I was working at a movie theater when Ultimates 2 #1 came out so I was painfully aware of the fact that movies that opened *that week* were being referenced in the comic and it put me off to the style of pop culture infused writing to this day.

*****

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Matthew Badham

1) 2000 AD Prog 1
2) Fantastic Four 1
3) Beano 452 (the debut of Dennis the Menace)
4) Watchmen 1
5) Ed 1 (by London-based cartoonist Sean Azzopardi)

If I'd bought Watchmen when it came out, then I might have an inkling of whether I really like it as much as the wider critical culture that surrounds the comic has persuaded me I do.

*****

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Jean-Paul Jennequin

1. S.O.S. Meteores by Edgar P. Jacobs
2. The Brave and the Bold #28
3. Les Taxis Rouges (Benoit Brisefer #1) by Peyo
4. Le Jardin fantastique by Raymond Poïvet
5. Uncanny X-Men # 94

Le Jardin fantastique is a book collection of the French science-fiction strip Les Pionniers de l'Esperance about a group of time and space adventurers. There were very few collections of the strip made and they had a very haphazard distribution. I used to see ads for the book in the publisher's weekly Journal de Pif when I was a kid in the 1960s but it was nowhere to be seen on sale. And the story looked so thrilling, with the heroes reduced to insect size and trying to find a lost friend in an ordinary garden, being menaced by giant -- to them -- spiders and the like.

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Amazing Fantasy #15
2. Whiz Comics #2
3. Weirdo #1
4. Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad #1
5. Ambush Bug #3

[Ambush Bug #3 was] my introduction to the lunacy of DC's Silver Age comics, plus it was hilarious to boot!

*****

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Alan David Doane

1. Love and Rockets #1 (pre-Fantagraphics)
2. Amazing Fantasy #15
3. American Splendor #1
4. Conan the Barbarian #1
5. Gates of Eden #1

FantaCo's gorgeous and way-ahead-of-its-time 1980s anthology title [Gates of Eden] was high on my must-read list the week it came out. What I wouldn't give for the never-published #2...

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1 - Action Comics #1
2 - Detective Comics #27
3 - Cerebus #1
4 - Pep Comics #22
5 - Deadbone Erotica (1971 Bantam edition)

The 1971 Bantam edition of Vaughn Bode's Deadbone Erotica was accidentally pulped with only a few volumes actually making it out of the warehouse and into stores and I got one!!!!!

*****

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Dave Knott

- Heavy Metal #1
- Watchmen #1
- Thorn: Tales From The Lantern
- King-Cat Comics #1
* Krayons Ego

I wasn't reading comics when Watchmen was originally came out, and thus have only read it as a complete package. That's a shame, because it seems Watchmen be a different experience when read as a serialized story in discrete chunks.

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Love and Rockets #1
2. The black and white, self-published Love and Rockets #1 (still don't have it)
3. Mad #6
4. Uncanny X-Men #94
5. Neat Stuff #1

I didn't buy an issue of Love and Rockets until #9, avoiding it for some reason, even when people at the comic shop I worked at kept telling me to read it. That comic flipped a switch in my head and shorted out some wires that needed to be done away with, it changed a lot of my attitudes about comics, what they could do and what could be done with them. I should have listened and tried it with the first issue.

*****
*****
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Kerry Gammill!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Jean-Louis Floch!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Charlie Kiefer!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Tor Bomann-Larsen!

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Happy 93rd Birthday, George Tuska!

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First Thought Of The Day

When you get older, you also lose nearly all desire to stay in other people's homes as opposed to just getting a hotel room.
 
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April 25, 2009


Next Week In Comics-Related Events

April 26
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April 27
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 18 to April 24, 2009:

1. Steve Breen wins the editorial cartooning Pulitzer at the beginning of the week and then picks up the Thomas Nast award at week's end.

2. Ascending South African political leader Jacob Zuma keeps up the pressure on the cartoonist Zapiro by suing him in court again.

3. Cartoonist Ted Rall laid off from his acquisitions editor position at United Media.

Winner Of The Week
Steve Breen is clearly the King of the Week, if not the year, but there's something nice about Yoshihiro Tatsumi sharing in the Tezuka prize for a gigantic, autobiographically focused cultural history.

Losers Of The Week
I'm a bit late on it, but these people.

Quote Of The Week
"Some of the noises coming from some of the [ANC Leader Jacob] Zuma faction are disturbingly similar to what was said by apartheid functionaries during those days. They think they alone can define the national interest and single out people who they see as opposing it." -- Zapiro

this week's imagery comes from one of the great underground comix
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Bethesda, I’d Go To This

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

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Naples, I’d Go To This

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Happy 41st Birthday, Cesare Buffagni!

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Happy 82nd Birthday, Albert Uderzo!

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Happy 36th Birthday, David Cerqueira!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Kimiko Uehara!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Luis Sopelana!

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The Great EC Comics Artist Johnny Craig Would Have Been 83 Today

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Happy 57th Birthday, Peter Sanderson!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Kevin Pyle On WWIII #39 Release Party 04-30-09 In NYC (PR) (4/24/09)
* Jason Leivian On The Full Of Pryde Event At Floating World Comics (PR) (4/23/09)
* Tim O'Shea On Learning Who Justin Chatwin Is (4/22/09)
* Victoria From Thanky On A Forthcoming Ron Rege Jr. Show (PR) (4/21/09)
 
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April 24, 2009


Friday Distraction: Andy Konky Kru’s Convention Drawings

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via
 
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Your 2009 Thomas Nast Winner

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The Overseas Press Club announced Wednesday that newly-minted Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Breen has won its 2009 Thomas Nast Award, given to the best cartoons on international affairs. Kevin KAL Kallaugher received a citation.
 
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Missed It: Greg Cook At CCS

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that's James Sturm being photographed at CCS
 
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Missed It: Italian Cartoonist Dismissed After Criticizing Administration’s Actions

imageIn one of those stories where you initially think there may be something more to it and then eventually resign yourself to it perhaps being exactly what it looks like and what it looks like is depressing, cartoonist Vauro Senese was fired from a state television show gig after doing a cartoon savaging one of the responses to the recent L'Aquila earthquake. The show in question was Annozero, hosted by Michele Santoro.

My thoughts fairly mirror the ones unpacked here, in that there's reason to believe this is solely about the political insult rather than any of the reasons given.
 
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Go, Look: Preview Of Darwyn Cooke’s First Parker Book At Publisher IDW

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click through the image; this material looks 50 times better at IDW's preview than it does in my jpeg and I bet it will look 50 times better than that in print, so I urge you to take the first step and have a peek
 
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And They Will All Live Like Cartoonists: The US Economy And Comics, Post #36

a few pieces on the tumultuous newspaper business, which is facing an all-time crisis in readership and revenue:

* the latest data shows an increase in overall newspaper site traffic and the time individual readers spend there. This makes sense to me as more core readers abandon print, by which I mean they're now creating customers for that material that are used to reading newspapers and spending some time doing so as opposed to attracting new readers who may not give a crap about newspapers at all.

* the New York Times is making vague promises it will explore pay models for on-line consumption, although there's no real reason to think that anyone out there has a strategy for this to work.

* the writer Warren Ellis earlier this week pointed out this article about the general state of newspapers vis-a-vis on-line opportunities. He did so with a grain of salt, which I will second with an option to upgrade to salt lick, but there's 1) an interesting way to frame the debate about newspapers' decline in there, as a supplier of services many of which have migrated on-line without enough in the way of a protest from the newspaper people, 2) a compelling way to take a second look at what newspapers do, by recasting them as something of a social community dominated by news and information experts. I find that fascinating because I come at newspapers critical of their adoption of service models over news models in the 1970s and beyond, while this analysis seems to accept that as a given in a way I'm not sure I can really argue away.
 
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Go, Look: She-Devil With A Sword

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negotiating the New Bodega archives makes me want to stab myself in the face, so be careful wandering off
 
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Jean Schulz Gives $1 Million To The Ohio State University Cartoon Library & Museum

Jean Schulz has donated $1 million to the Ohio State University's Cartoon Library & Museum in order to assist that entity in rebuilding its Sullivant Hall. The widow of Charles Schulz has also pledged another $2.5 million in matching funds. As I recall, Schulz gave Sonoma State a similar seven-figure give in 2006 or 2007 to aid its music program. Total renovation cost at the OSU facility is expected to reach more than $20 million.
 
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If I Were In DC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Naples, I’d Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Claudio Parentela

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Go, Look: Gene Hazelton’s Flintstones

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not all of them by Gene Hazelton, apparently
 
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OTBP: Bird Hurdler

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Go, Bookmark: Wednesday Ephemera Category at The Ward-O-Matic

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the on-line serialization of Rumiko Takahashi's Rin-Ne has begun.

* the one great thing about the newspaper and book industries dying is maybe after they're dead there won't be any fake-confrontational essays.

image* missed it: Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon is trying to raise money to restore the artwork in its possession, including 19 original drawings by Lute Pease. I hope you'll join me in considering a small donation, or at least spending some time staring at the scans of the Pulitzer Prize winner's originals. Here's a short news story.

* Michael Cavna notes that one thing State Of Play got right about the current condition of newspaper journalism is that there's no editorial cartoonist hanging out in its fictional newsroom. That's too bad -- I think it would have been funny to have Jeffrey Tambor or someone annoying the shit out of Russell Crowe's character. By the way, it's weird to hear these articles about State of Play as a semi-serious meditation even in an incidental way on the state of American newspapering. The BBC series -- which I very much enjoyed -- seemed a lurid, guilty pleasure romp with no pretension to saying anything about the state of journalism except that being a star reporter can net you a decent enough place Polly Walker will sleep over.

* this comment in a thread under a pretty typical "comic strips are square and stupid" post mentions something in passing that may be an actual, slight phenomenon of note. As much as people make fun of some of the creakiest soap operas and staler humor strips on the comics page, and as much as I personally believe the overall health of comic strips would be stronger if there had been an industry-wide move away from legacy strips starting in the mid-'70s, it has to be worth noting that in some markets it's easier for newspapers to get rid of the kind of 1970s-era hits that supposedly connected with boomers and broader audiences than the goofier, even older features that are frequently favorites of the Silent and Greatest generations.

* the best feature at Robot 6 is the Shelf Porn one that shows off people's comics collections and in their latest installment they reveal subject Christopher Day has an entire site devoted to cataloging his comics collection. This cracks me up because offering a premium site version of what you've just ogled is so porny.

* the esteemed letterer Todd Klein talks about the Amalgam logos.

* finally, there's an interesting article about a European print-on-demand service here that seems a bit sprawling to me and potentially not rigorously vetted claim by claim (there's a breathless quality rather than a challenging tone to the prose), but worth a read nonetheless. As is the case with a lot of people, my gut feeling is that the future of publishing will include some sort of POD element for smaller runs and stuff way in the back catalog and that this option will have some sort of relationship to on-line iterations of same. I'm not ready to say how that element will come together, and I might break with other people who think about this stuff in that I'll confess there's a possibility POD will become an option in a way that totally makes sense and be rejected by the market anyway.
 
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Happy 37th Birthday, Leonard Cachola!

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Happy 79th Birthday, E. Badia Romero!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Yves Swolfs!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Al Covial!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Rafael Boluda Vidal!

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Quick hits
Craft
Jason Miles Does Ditko
Paul Pope Draws Spock

Exhibits/Events
Radio Ramp-Up To TCAF
I Want To Go To Whatever This Is

History
On The Term Atlas
100 Bullets' Chicago

Industry
Happy 5th Blogiversary, Derik A Badman

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Dan Slott
CBR: Corey Lewis
CBR: John Layman
Mania: Chris Claremont
ComixTalk: Brian Brown
Newsarama: Rick Loverd
Wizard: Christopher Yost
Marvel.com: Mike Perkins
Newsarama: Ethan Van Sciver
CBR: Alex Ross, Edgar Salazar

Not Comics
On Shakespeare And Star Trek
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Childrens' Books

Publishing
The Ancient Age Previewed

Reviews
Andy Frisk: Ghost Rider #34
Miguel Syjuco: George Sprott
Grant Goggans: Albion: Origins
Don MacPherson: Blackest Night #0
Sarah Morean: Just So You Know #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Orange Planet Vol. 1
Andy Frisk: Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2
Ed Sizemore: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vol. 2
Grant Goggans: Showcase Presents Justice Leauge Of America Vol. 4
 

 
Go, Bookmark: Full Of Pryde Blog

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blog of Kitty Pryde pictures for forthcoming charity event; details here
 
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April 23, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Donna Barstow was nice enough to write in to say that she joined Slate last month as a regular contributor.

* this is astounding news, of course, because those comics are great, but part of me thinks we already knew about it. Maybe it's come to the point with all the reprints that I just assume everything I like is going to come out in one of these series.

* it looks like Tripwire may have finally found its niche, as a provider of up to a few glossy, high-end specials per year. The next one will focus on adventure comics.

* the longtime arts comics publisher Fantagraphics is rolling out their next catalog in on-line chunks like this one. Just about every project featured is of at least some interest. The unfortunate thing is I believe you have to just scroll until you find these, as I'm not finding a common tag.

* Matthew Loux has launched a Salt Water Taffy web site in support of the print books that will feature comics not in the print books.

* Kevin Maroney wrote in to inform me that the Skrull Kill Krew revival Marvel's released this week is written by Adam Felber. Apparently this is common knowledge. Felber's best known for being a panelist on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me. So I guess that means the series will be humorous.

* a little birdie wrote in to tell me that I almost had my wish that the freaking-out guy from the cover of Action Comics #1 really did almost have his own story but since the status of that original comic book is an important legal question right now DC went a different way with the issue in question.

* in addition to that boss-looking Paul Pope Spock comic, Jeff Bartoletti writes in to say that Chris Ware has a one-pager in May's Wired as well.

* here's a nice photo showing off Seth's design work on the forthcoming Nancy book from Drawn and Quarterly.

* the cartoonist Lea Hernandez is re-launching her Rumble Girls: RLO projects and needs subscribers.

* finally, AdHouse Books has details up on the third of their Process Recess series, art books they do with celebrated illustrator and comics cover artist James Jean. That should be out this summer.

*****

Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked is a way for Comics Reporter to organize and pay more attention to raw publishing news: what is coming out and when and what it might look like. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

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Your 2009 Maisie Kukoc Winner

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Vanessa Davis won this year's Maisie Kukoc Award for Comics Inspiration for work that was "at least partially hand-made" by the cartoonist. I'm not really sure for which one or ones she took the award, but Davis has been killing it lately, so I'm certain the award was deserved. The award was given out the Friday of the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland at Guapo Comics and Coffee, and there was a cash prize of $450. It is coordinated by Jesse Reklaw.
 
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It Was A Nice Run, Thanks Everybody

Please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please let this not be where things are heading.
 
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Diamond Reverses Decision On Flinch

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Gestalt Publishing Managing Director Wolfgang Bylsma wrote in after yesterday's posting about that company having their anthology Flinch canceled by dominant North American direct market facilitator Diamond Comics Distributor, Inc. He had good news: he'd been contacted by his account manager and was told that while the title had been auto-canceled for not meeting the new minimums, they were now going to carry it and they were very sorry about the initial snafu whereby Gestalt hadn't been informed of the cancellation.

So that's nice.
 
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Comics Employment/Movement Updates

* the best place for commentary on Ted Rall's departure from United Media is the comments thread at Alan Gardner's post on the news at his Daily Cartoonist. For some reason, it keeps threatening to devolve into the same, largely idiotic discussion about webcomics vs. traditional syndication that shows up a lot more than is necessary or applicable, but there's a lot of interesting stuff there beyond the trotting out of the usual pathologies.

* I have an e-mail in my inbox that was forwarded to me by someone I don't know that indicates longtime Wizard employee Karen Evora-Adamy is now running her own advertising agency called EVORA Advertising. Her list of clients includes Long Beach Comic Con, which is run by another former Wizard person, Martha Donato. That seems to me something that's either popped up or simply stands to benefit because Wizard canceled/suspended its LA show.

* another piece of employment news I forget to mention is that Milt Priggee is working with the new on-line Seattle PI. I think I have mentioned that former Daily News staffer Patrick O'Connor is doing some freelance work for the LA Times, but it can be noted one more time.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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Go, Bookmark: Grandpapier.org

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* Dessins de Valise, Rozenn Brecard

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* Bologna, Benoit Guillaume

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* Slipping, William Henne

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* Le Chocolat, Frederic Fleury

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* Bulu's 24-Hour Comic From Angouleme

Brian Moore sent an e-mail that made me realize I've never just linked to the site; I'll try to do so in a manner equivalent to Partyka
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Independent profiles mobile entertainment options including manga. I always grit my teeth when people make the point that their delivery system/genre/art form is cool and/or profitable by asserting that Shakespeare was some kind of medium-unspecific gadfly, and there's nothing in here that doesn't seem to me should surprise anyone, but it's a solid piece for sure and I'm happy for whichever cartoonists get to reach audiences this way.

image* here's a list of 25 greatest superhero romances. No love for Nexus/Sundra Peale, Zot!/Jenny Weaver or the game-changing Midnighter/Apollo. I also always liked Shang Chi and Leiko Wu as a couple, because they seemed deeply screwed up.

* the great Carlton Hargro picks Wolverine's greatest hits.

* Leigh Walton suggests that webcomics is part of a unique and growing approach to artistic expression generally.

* here's a way to look at all of the King Features Earth Day cartoons from yesterday.

* not comics: Gil Roth points in the direction of this list of forgotten or otherwise neglected Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, which I thought interesting enough I wanted to bring it to your attention, too. The only two I've read are probably the poorest choices on the list, concept-wise: the Drury and the Millhauser. No one's buying Martin Dressler because there are better Millhauser books, and I bet most of those copies were purchased at some point by somebody out there. And just because no one reads Advise and Consent anymore doesn't mean it didn't have millions of readers in multiple editions for about three decades. There's probably two copies in their respective bookshelves within a half mile of where you're sitting right now, between the Thurber and the Edwin O'Connor.

* not comics: this is adorable.

* not comics: so is this.

* finally, happy birthday, ninja turtles. I'm tempted to write an article at some point, but in a sense I think their legacy is clear: the worldwide licensing bonanza that began with principles of ownership and control fostered by the self-publishing movement, the Vinko Bogataj-style lesson of Tundra and the Xeric Foundation.
 
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Happy 32nd Birthday, DC Simpson!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jean-Marc Rochette!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Casty!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Luana Paesani!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Miguel Rep!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Edmond Baudoin!

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Quick hits
Craft
Drawing Dredd
Sean Phillips Inks
Steve Lieber Sketches
Daryl Cagle Builds A Cartoon
Love For Jaime Hernandez Cover Design

Exhibits/Events
SPACE Links
CCI Approaching Sell Out
Matt Maxwell At Stumptown
Tim Broderick Went To SPACE

History
Marvel Vs. Women
Cartoonists On Obama
Hey, It's Dave McKean!
Love for Early Englehart
Ketcham as Gag Cartoonist
Sandman More Political Than Initially Thought?

Industry
What Pre-Ordering Does
He Does Not Like You, Comic Book Shop

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Len Wein
BBC: Guy Delisle
PWCW: Scott Morse
CBR: Bernie Mireault
PWCW: Alex Simmons
Newsarama: Mike Carey
Newsarama: Jeffrey Brown
Graphic NYC: Simon Fraser
Blog@Newsarama: Robert Kirkman
Comics Waiting Room: Nathan Edmondson, Christian Ward

Not Comics
Don MacPherson Reviews A Pair Of DVDs

Publishing
Uptight #3 Previewed
Johnny Hiro Advance Word
Sneak Peek At D&Q's Nancy
Why Does Wolverine Need A One-Shot?
Mark Evanier Recommends Simon-Kirby Book

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
John Mitchell: Kaspar
Xavier Guilbert: Pluto
John Mitchell: Various
Scott Cederlund: 100%
Anne Ishii: A Drifting Life
Don MacPherson: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Matthew Brady: Shojo Beat
Brian Heater: The Bun Field
Andy Frisk: Ghost Rider #34
Vince Moore: Y The Last Man
Steve Duin: The Brinkley Girls
Leroy Douresseaux: Our Kingdom Vol. 6
Graeme McMillan: Detective Comics #853
Andy Frisk: Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2
Rob Clough: Cecil and Jordan in New York Stories
Brigid Alverson: Benny and Penny: The Big No-No!
 

 
April 22, 2009


This Isn’t A Library: New And Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely 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 works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick up the following and look them over, leading to feets and hands a'-plenty.

*****

JAN090111 BPRD TP VOL 10 THE WARNING $17.95
I know how idiotic it is to keep whistling "wow" when you get to a certain number on a title or trade series, but wow, there are 10 of these now.

MAR094364 KODT BUNDLE OF TROUBLE TP VOL 24 $12.99
And there's 24 of these. Has anyone ever written about this series simply as a long-time, successful publishing endeavor?

FEB092421 INVINCIBLE #61 $2.99
FEB092371 VIKING #1 $2.99
These are your high-end genre comics of interest this week; the Viking book is writer Ivan Brandon's new series.

JAN094226 TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #5 (MR) $4.50
I can't imagine in a week this light on substantial comics offerings that you couldn't find a place in your backpack or on your car seat for the latest issue of Michael Kupperman's great series.

FEB092517 SKRULL KILL KREW #1 (OF 5) DKR $3.99
Sooner or later, they all come back.

JAN094262 BEATS GRAPHIC HISTORY HC (MR) $22.00
I don't hold out much hope for this anthology of non-fiction comics as a lot of books like it have been pretty bad, but maybe I'll be surprised.

FEB094448 STONECUTTER HC $14.99
This is a Jon J Muth-illustrated adaptation of Chinese folkstory that as a project has inspirational literature aspirations. I'd really like to look at this if I were in a shop.

*****

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 so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, 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. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I didn't list your comic, it's because I'm mean.

*****

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What If Diamond Cancelled Your Comics Anthology And Didn’t Tell You?

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That's what one company representative claims happened. Gestalt Comics' Managing Director Wolfgang Bylsma wrote into CR earlier today to claim that their anthology Flinch was apparently canceled by Diamond Comics Distributor, Inc. -- by far the leading provider of books to the Direct Market of comics and hobby shops. What makes this stand out a bit in a year where a lot of small-press books have lost Diamond's support in accordance to their new minimums policy is that Bylsma claims Gestalt wasn't informed of this decision by Diamond but by the stores that Diamond had given this news. "I received an email from a retailer in Montreal asking why we were going ahead with our planned book launch in Melbourne, Australia when Diamond had canceled the distribution. Local retailers than confirmed for me that Diamond had informed them the title was canceled."

The publishers plan on selling the book through Amazon.com and perhaps Haven Distribution. That's Shaun Tan's cover above; other contributors include Justin Randall and Ray Fawkes.
 
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Go, Explore: Publishers That Tweet

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* hackers attacked the site selling prints of Kurt Westergaard's bomb-in-turban cartoon.

* I will never in a hundred years understand Flemming Rose's continued justifications for the initial publication of the Danish Cartoons. While the refusal of newspapers and other media organizations to publish the cartoons when what those cartoons looked like became a crucial, international news issue was clearly awful and disappointing on a billion levels, and we hosted them here as early as November 2005, I've always held that the initial publication was an action that had nothing to do with fulfilling journalistic principle despite occasional, specifics-free assertions to the contrary such as Rose gives in the linked-to article. It's hard for me to stomach the further assertion that this was a typical enterprise, and I flat-out disagree that any of these assertions should obviate that decision from criticism.

* the US will join several other countries in boycotting a UN racism conference where ideas will be bandied about that are in some ways influenced by the Danish Cartoons Controversy.
 
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Go, Look: Mark Siegel Enthuses Over Latest Volume Of Scott Pilgrim

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the hook should be obvious; it's fairly adorable
 
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Ted Rall Laid Off By United Media

The cartoonist, writer and editor Ted Rall has announced he's been laid off from his acquisitions editor position at United Media. He'd held the position since 2006. He runs through the strips he helped launch in the post through the above link. You also get his take on them. I'd say that the R Stevens signing was significant, as was that cartoonist's decision to return to the Internet full-time. My hunch is that the Keith Knight project The Knight Life is probably the feature that's performed the best in terms of exceeding initial expectations, but that entails a massive assumption or two on my part as to how it's doing reverse-engineered from PR-driven press. Anyway, Rall certainly increased the breadth in terms of kinds of people to which one could pitch, and I'm sad to see him go.
 
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Go, Look: Alex Raymond Draws

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Steve Breen Hits Nice Note In Dedicating Pulitzer Prize To Colleagues

I don't have much to write on this, just that I thought Steve Breen's reaction to his Pulitzer win thoughtful and appropriate, noting both the wounded state of his profession and the fact that he could one day join a lot of cartoonists he admires as a person let go from a staffed position. I prefer this to an angry bellow at the state of things, as an editorial cartooning Pulitzer is bound by the need to select an editorial cartoonist and doesn't really say anything triumphal about that group's overall value vis-a-vis other journalistic enterprises.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Ed Piskor Previews Wizzywig Volume Three (Fugitive)

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Go, Look: Two By Richard Thompson

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posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Carl Potts’ Blog

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posted 7:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the search for more information about deceased Punch cartoonist Robert Peacock has gone poorly enough I'd like to note his passing here in case that failure continues and a proper obituary isn't written.

image* so who among you had Buenaventura "we also make super-large, infuriating-to-some, hardcover anthologies" Press in the pool of name alt-comics publishers that would pick up the periodicals flag and charge up the hill with it? Put your hand down, you did not. I'll try to provide more details in the next Bundled, but BP just sent out a press release they're not only releasing six new comic books this year but they'll be doing things like bundling them in order to provide a better price point and potential buying opportunity. Their "Economic Stimulus 3-Pak" will be in June's Previews and will run $11.95 for Aviatrix #1 (Eric Haven), I Want You #1 (Lisa Hanawalt) and Injury #3 (Ted May). The books cost $4.95 apiece. There's definitely something going on when folks like BP and Sparkplug seem to be sticking with putting some traditionally-formatted comic books out there and the more established publishers seem to be moving away from that model for the part. What that something is, I couldn't possibly tell you.

* the writer Van Jensen takes a look at the latest Platinum filings and notes that the company is $20 million in the whole and beset by a number of struggles and woes. Some are entertaining; some are aggravating. There's a lot of gossipy grist for the commentary mill there and people like Gary Tyrrell are digging in to hilarious effect. I think the only news here is the extent of the losses, which would seem to me to speak against the conventional wisdom that the Platinum model would work if only one or two deals go through.

* "on-line action and adventure web site" should probably mean something other than what these people do.

* finally, I would assume this is more about publishing in general and not webcomics specifically, although I could be wrong and maybe it's even about both. The line in the "rebuttal" about four weeks before Miller could respond is funny, although it's hard to see that as a real shot. Who cares how long it takes people to publish? As always, I'm for every revenue model, not one over another, especially when that may be an artificial construction.
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 62nd Birthday, Tadashi Matsumori!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, Emiliano Simeoni!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 64th Birthday, Angelo Scariolo!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 39th Birthday, Bryan Hitch!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Larry Mahlstedt!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 62nd Birthday, Steve Englehart!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Inks
Creating Comics With DC
Comparing Characters, Pluto Vs. Astro Boy

Exhibits/Events
Dash Shaw Goes To College
Matt Maxwell On Stumptown Fest
Douglas Wolk On Stumptown Fest
Craig Thompson And His Amazing Friends

History
Ick
Legion Stickers
Steve Gerber Photo
Don't Believe Everything You Read

Industry
Another Day, Another Arrangement Secured by Marvel

Interviews/Profiles
Liza Donnelly Video
Newsarama: Mark Waid
Revolution: Noah Van Sciver
Graphic Novel Reporter: CM Butzer

Not Comics
Grandpa Danger
450,000 Self-Employed Bloggers?

Publishing
Jellaby Vol. 2 Out
Marvel's July Previewed
IDW's McManus Project Profiled
Cory Walker Does Some Invincible

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Various
Paul Constant: Various
Nick Mullins: Alan's War
Zak Edwards: Incognito #3
Zak Edwards: Young Liars #14
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Wonderland
Leroy Douresseaux: Naruto #37
Greg McElhatton: 20th Century Boys Vol. 1
Richard Bruton: The Girly Comic Book Vol. 1
Jeffrey Klaehn: Fantastic Four: World's Greatest
 

 
April 21, 2009


Go, Look: Barron Storey’s Journals

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thanks for the reminder, Robin McConnell
 
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Follow-Up On Steve Breen’s Second Editorial Cartooning Pulitzer Yesterday

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The day after the Pulitzer Prize announcement is always a happy one in editorial cartooning land, as fans of that art form rally behind the latest standard-bearer and the nominees are feted as well. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Steve Breen is this year's winner, his second before turning 40. Here's the annual "our guy won the award" article, one of the happier traditions around.

Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press and Matt Wuerker of Politico were the other nominees. Thompson is a classic multiple-nominations story, as this is his third. As Wuerker works for Politico.com rather than a standard daily and also works some with animation, that gives the category a bit of new media juice than an award to the more traditional Breen might have initially indicated.

Entries were down, aggregation sites were disqualified and on-line aspects to a story played a role in half the awards, says Editor & Publisher.

one of Breen's winning submissions
 
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: Edwenden Blog

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posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Jacob Zuma Sues Zapiro… Again

The Telegraph has an update on the current legal pressures from ANC party leader and probably next South Africa president Jacob Zuma directed at popular cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro. The compelling thing about this story over the long haul has been how the rise in Zuma's fortunes following the legal matters that instigated the initial barrage of cartoons has intensified the pressure on Zapiro. The linked-to article describes a coarsening in public rhetoric (including vague threats) and other media backing away from tacit support of the cartoonist. The article also describes the reason that Zapiro places a shower nozzle on the political leader's head, which has to be the best and meanest piece of visual shorthand in world cartooning this decade.
 
posted 8:12 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Oregonian Profiles Anne Cleveland

There's a nice coda to the recent passing of mid-20th Century cartoonist and illustrator Anne Cleveland at The Oregonian, where writer Margie Boule talks to daughter Susan Whitcher in order to fill in some of the biographical blanks in the public record. In addition to the compelling psychological profile aspects of the piece, we learn, for example, what her involvement with the New Yorker may have been: informally providing cover ideas, at least according to family members. Cleveland died on March 1 at age 92.
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
El-Shafee Court Date Changed To 5-12

A hearing for Egyptian cartoonist and publisher Magdi El-Shafee on charges of violating public morality was postponed from its initial April 18 date to May 12. Here's a succinct profile of the issues involved, drawing in part from a conversation with the cartoonist, which also describes some previous charges brought by the plaintiff against other people. I haven't read anything that makes me think there will be a positive outcome here: initial news stories cited some international pressure to protect these kinds of rights as a first step towards Egypt's greater participation in certain kinds of political arrangements, but I haven't seen anyone argue that recently.
 
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Go, Look: Creating The Everyday

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Your ‘09 Stumptown Trophy Winners

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The Stumptown Trophy Awards were given out last Saturday night at Portland's Stumptown Comics Fest. They are designed to reward exhibitors for their work and are voted on by those in attendance during Saturday of the show. They gave out a "Mystery Award" to Indigo Kelleigh.

The winners:

Outstanding Art
* Spike, Templar, Arizona
Outstanding Debut
* George Leon, Luchadores in Space
Outstanding Design
* Jeffrey Ellis, Historyonics: Stories Drawn from the Past
Outstanding D.I.Y.
* E. Stackhouse & N. Shahan, Brazilianoir
Outstanding Small Press
* George Leon, Luchadores in Space
Outstanding Writing
* Spike, Templar, Arizona
Outstanding Webcomic
* Spike, Templar, Arizona
Mystery Award
* Indigo Kelleigh

thanks, Shannon Wheeler
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Reich #6

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it's awesome that this is up to issue #6
 
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Cat Girl

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posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Panel Collective Exhibit Promotional Video On Vimeo


The Panel Collective Exhibit from Damned Kartunista on Vimeo.

that exhibit starts tomorrow here
 
posted 7:44 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two By Marshall Rogers

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posted 7:43 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Golden Apple chain is selling its San Fernando Valley location to Earth-2. I would imagine that's a good thing: losing stores almost always leads to some people making a clean break with reading comics, and the start-up costs would have to be easier with an existing store in almost any semblance of shape.

image* that whole goofy Minnesota Senate race has been worth it for this illustration by Drew Friedman.

* it's still April and Friday passes have been sold out at Comic-Con International in San Diego, joining earlier four-day pass and single-day Saturday pass sell-outs. Thursday and Sunday passes will likely go before the show starts, even though it's harder to build a trip to CCI around a single day two days away from the next available day, if you know what I mean.

* you know, Peter Bagge looks kind of cool with that beard. Also I'm afraid if I'm not complimentary he'll toss an axe into my back Howie Long style.

* enough people e-mailed me this link to a story about a fire in Northern Indiana comic book store that someone had to have it first, so my apologies there. I think the bigger piece of news is that Plymouth had a comic shop in the first place.

* I generally prefer smaller comics. While I suppose changing the size of comics is something that could end up being on the table as a future cost-cutting measure, I'm amused that the post is first and foremost about superhero comics fans being upset because their free comic book isn't the right size. Because that will totally be the case.

* look out, Obama/Spidey sales records!

* speaking of which, where's my Q.E.D. comic book, you jerks?

* the longtime Comics Journal writer and Robot 6 contributor Chris Mautner posts a list of cartoonists he'd like to see return to the comics form. I did a list like this once and half the people were still working. It's hard to enjoy rediscovering artists when they're mad at you.

* is there a particular reason a not-very-good even by the standards of such comics superhero graphic novel starring a third-rate character would rip its way up the Amazon.com charts like President Obama endorsed it on Oprah? I'm stuck between some sort of breezy chart manipulation in the name of "marketing" by one of its authors and this being a dire plot development on a new episode of Fringe. Mostly, I don't care.

* finally, there's a bit of Internet chatter about the latest round of bizarrely sexualized imagery on a) a project designed to be a Marvel Comics version of Sex And The City, which I'm tagging as the breakout comic book hit of 1998, and b) an ad that shows off Supergirl's boobs while not bothering to give the Teen Supreme a head, which I guess is smart in that no one can do a parody ad of something if you do it for real first. There's probably a joke to be made that in the Marvel Sex And The City the only one you get to see naked on a regular basis is Agatha Harkness, but I wouldn't mean it -- I just miss making jokes about HBO shows that everybody is watching. (Have you tried making an Eastbound and Down joke? Crickets!) Mostly these things just depress me. I don't know why these companies can't just eat the development cost of forgoing the easy cheesecake money for a while, and I don't understand how anyone over 17 could look at the Supergirl boob ad and think that's the best idea. On the other hand, I can't get too worked up about it, because these kinds of efforts from these kinds of companies don't really mean as much as people who have burrowed into that world tend to think.
 
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Happy 55th Birthday, Fabien Lacaf!

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Happy 67th Birthday, Dan O’Neill!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 46th Birthday, Jean-Claude Götting!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 37th Birthday, Jose-Luis Munuera!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 61st Birthday, Francis Masse!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Bill Hinds!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 68th Birthday, Pilarin Bayes!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Teri Wood!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Pencils
To Flip Or Not To Flip

Exhibits/Events
FX Report
Oulipo In NYC 01

History
Yo, Magneto
Drawing Blondie
Spock = Smooth

Industry
After Watchmen, There's... That

Not Comics
There And Back Again
Saturday Evening Post 01
Saturday Evening Post 02
Saturday Evening Post 03

Publishing
DC's July Previewed

Reviews
Jog: The Spirit (Film)
Paul O'Brien: Various
Wim Lockefeer: Sammy
Esther Keller: Gettysburg
Paul Di Filippo: Supermen!
Nina Stone: Wolverine: Noir #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Battlestar Galactica: Echoes Of New Caprica
 

 
April 20, 2009


Steve Breen Wins 2009 Pulitzer Prize

Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune has won this year's Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning, it was announced earlier today. Breen won the Pulitzer 11 years ago as a younger cartoonist with the Asbury Park-Press, and has been with the San Diego paper since I think 2001. Expect the articles about this year's slate of winners to make something of the Union-Tribune's semi-shaky financial status over the last several months. You might also see an article or two noting that Breen is a fairly traditional editorial cartoonist: on staff, syndicated (by Copley, I think), and with a strip (Grand Avenue) as opposed to someone working in a non-traditional style or making a lot of noise with animated versions of his work.
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2009 Tezuka Prize Winners

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The 13th annual Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize winners have been announced, according to a short piece at Anime News Network.
Sharing the Grand Prize -- an awards first -- is Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life and Fumi Yoshinaga's Ooku: The Inner Chamber.

Hikaru Nakamura won the Short Work Prize for Saint Young Men while the New Artist Prize went to Suehiro Maruo for Panorama Tokitan. I don't see a listing for a Special Prize winner, so I guess that wasn't awarded this year.

Drawn and Quarterly has released an English-language version of Tatsumi's massive autobiography/cultural history, while Viz is going to launch an English-language version of Yoshinaga's science fiction story this summer.

Winners will receive a cash award (Grand Prize winners approximately $20,000 USD; other winners half that) at a presentation ceremony June 5.

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Go, Look: Spirit Of Ecstasy

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posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2009 Bedeis Causa Winners

The Prix Bedeis Causa 2009, celebrating books released in Quebec from February 2008 to February 2009, were given out April 17 in conjunction with the Festival de la bande dessinee francophone de Quebec. The winners, in bold, were:

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PRIX REAL-FILLION (First-Time Creator)
* Maryse Chouinard, for Soeur mon ame (Monet editeur)
* Francis Desharnais, for Burquette (Editions les 400 coups)
* Yvon Roy, for Agaguk (Editions Adonis)

*****

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GRAND PRIX LA VILLE QUEBEC (Best French-Language Book Published In Quebec)
* Burquette, Francis Desharnais (Editions les 400 coups)
* Les Ravins, Philippe Girard (Mecanique generale)
* Voyage en zone d'exploitation, Louis Remillard (Editions les 400 coups)

*****

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PRIX ALBERIC-BOURGEOIS (Best Book Published Outside Quebec by a Quebec-Based Cartoonist)
* Les Nombrils Vol. 3: Les liens l'amitie, Delaf and Dubuc (Dupuis)
* Les Druides Vol. 4: La ron des geants, Jacques Lamontagne (Soleil Productions)
* L'ordre des dragons Vol. 1: La lance, Denis Rodier (Soleil Productions)

*****

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PRIX MAURICE-PETITDIDIER (Best French-Language Book Not Covered Above)
* Spirou, Journal d'un ingenu, Emile Bravo (Dupuis)
* Tout seul, Chaboute (Vents d'Ouest)
* Le Combat Ordinaire, Vol. 4: Planter des clous, Manu Larcenet

*****

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ALBERT CHARTIER PRIZE
* Magazine Croc, 1979-1995

*****
 
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Bill Mauldin Profile

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posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
NYT On xkcd Publishing Plans

The New York Times profiles the very young and very successful webcartoonist Randall Munroe of xkcd. Their focus seems to me very odd. Munroe's strip seems perfectly suited as a project that might eschew traditional book publishers for the print arm of a on-line merchandising agent, and I have to imagine his book collection has every chance to do extremely well under that arrangement. If someone in Vegas would like to offer odds, I'll take the print-run over.

Asserting some sort of game-changing status for such a move seems to me to invest traditional book publishing with a power and dominance in comics generally and collecting webcomics specifically it doesn't come close to deserving. It may also grant the Times the ability to "call" a cultural moment it hasn't earned, either. Looking at what you do well and finding the publishing platform that best suits your tastes and skills and ability to reach an audience is something people have been doing in comics for four decades now: it's what links Robert Crumb to Dave Sim to Studio Foglio. It's still early enough in webcomics history I look forward to any number of variations on publishing models shaking themselves to the surface in the years ahead.
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Five By Wally Wood

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posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Pirate Bay And Protests

There was a 1000-person protest in Stockholm over the weekend protesting the sentencing of two founders and two key personnel of the Pirate Bay web site. Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij (the two founders), Peter Lunde (programmer) and Carl Lundstrom (who provided funding) were sentenced to a year each in jail and ordered to pay approximately $4.5 Million USD in damages. The Pirate Bay did not host copyrighted content but brought folks' attention to it when it was hosted elsewhere.

I only have a couple of thoughts, which are very broad and not really informed by the specifics of this case. The first is that it's hard for me to accept that this isn't at least some sort of setback for folks who won't to conduct business in this way no matter how deliberately it's argued, if only that if the four were exonerated I bet it would have been seen as a huge victory -- and still will be if an appeal is successful. I'm also not sure that anyone with half a brain was ever claiming something like this might eliminate file-sharing, except maybe for those who want to point out in very strong language that it won't.

The second thought is the same one I always have. I just find faulty the logic frequently expressed that the existence of a market compels anyone to use that market, let alone that they must pursue a strategy that person A, B or C asserts or even assures will be the most profitable.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Cartoonist Self-Portraits

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the great Rudolph Dirks died 41 years ago today, and in looking for something on him I ran across this nice bunch of self-portraits from 2007
 
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Go, Look: Milla Paloniemi

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Go, Look: Blackout

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Missed It: Shaw/Kanin Jam

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posted 7:43 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this year's Pulitzer Prize nominations are imminent.

* so I guess there's a six-page Spock story by Paul Pope in the new Wired. I'm not sure what else I can say about that without feeling I'm getting out of some film studio's expensive car and helping push it up a hill, but it sure sounds cool. Everyone's comics pal Dustin Harbin did the lettering.

image* the much-respected David Lloyd talks about the coloring on V For Vendetta. Although the article provides the best summary of what he's getting at, I think, you should definitely click through and look at the stuff on Lloyd's site.

* not comics: Todd Marinovich = Rorschach

* there's an interesting article from Brian Hibbs here about his 20th anniversary as a retailer, including a couple of casual mentions of elements of that job I'm not certain that I even knew: that retailers would visit regional warehouses the night before new comics day to get a sense of the week and buy comics, and that you could still start a comics shop in the late 1980s with very little in the way of investment (I would have guessed that stopped being true about five years earlier).

* not comics: some days I worry about the big newspapers of record going out of business and some days I can't wait for them to go. This art piece is a peach: a super-shaky premise (even the three stars cited as exemplars of staying thin had fuller faces later in their careers), the more interesting examples even if you accept the premise are ignored (the puffy and never better Alec Baldwin; the scary-looking but still quite lean Nicolas Cage), and an ending that utilizes a fishy-sounding quote from a Hollywood publicity person as unchallenged truth. Hurry up, printapocalypse. (via Gil)

* I'd have to take a much longer look at the cartoonists that are still out there before I could safely agree with Daryl Cagle's view that the loss of editorial cartoonists means diminished choices in terms of style and approach. Loss of choices = less choices seems like unassailable conventional wisdom, but it could certainly be the case that the job losses have an effect on one school or another and that a harsh market might favor alternatives over a deep bench in a tradition or two. Also, a variety of styles might crop up as a market outcome in response to fewer staffed positions.

* hipster manga?

* I enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman's measured response as to the relative expense of his Absolute Sandman books. I also enjoyed looking at some Mike Allred art from his collaboration with Gaiman on a Metamorpho story.

* finally, the writer Mark Evanier has launched his project to restore Len Wein's comics collection; among other things, this post suggests you're not being as helpful as you think you are if you don't color in the lines on an effort like this one. If you can help in the way that they need helps, that seems to me a nice thing to do.
 
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Happy 77th Birthday, Artur Correia!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Guilhem!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Didier Kassai!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Paco Zarco!

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Happy 60th Birthday, John Ostrander!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Evan Dorkin!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Making Swears
Amazo's Fashion Sense
Kevin Huizenga Draws Buster Keaton

Exhibits/Events
Fanta's Stumptown Photos
C2E2 Opening Party Report
Go See Brendan McCarthy Exhibit

History
I Miss Pimp Stan
WWII-era Croatian Cartoonists

Interviews/Profiles
Newsarama: Seth
Wizard: Jeffrey Brown
Newsarama: Michael Golden
Occasional Superheroine: Chris Sims

Not Comics
JG Ballard, RIP
Barbie's Angry Grandpa
State Of Gaming Market
Joel Meadows Reviews Trek
Mike Sterling Liked The Spirit
Captain America Sleeper Trilogy Cartoons
My Garbagemen Don't Show Up Until 11 AM

Publishing
KFS Earth Day Event Wednesday

Reviews
Jog: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Sean T. Collins: Broken Bat
Sandy Bilus: Second Thoughts
Andy Frisk: Grunge Comics #2
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Don MacPherson: You Have Killed Me
Paul O'Brien: Rampaging Wolverine #1
Robert Stanley Martin: American Gothic
Leroy Douresseaux: Chicken With Plums
Richard Bruton: Cute But Sad Comics #5
Greg McElhatton: Batman Confidential #26-28
Leroy Douresseaux: 20th Century Boys Vol. 2
Mark Allen: Marvel: The Lost Generation #1-12
Leroy Douresseaux: Hey! Class President Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Best Political Cartoons Of The Year 2009 Edition
 

 
April 19, 2009


Copenhagen Studio Over Floden Pays Artistic Tribute To Batman’s 70th B-Day

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thanks to Thomas Thorhauge, who did the piece above
 
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Go, Look: Kevin Cannon On Creating His Graphic Novel Far Arden

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posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Matt Maxwell Tells Me A Story

On Friday I joked that if I were at the Stumptown Comics Fest I'd make Matt Maxwell write me a five-minute story featuring the words "Judge," "Dredd," and "prom." He surprised me by sending in the following.

*****

The punchbowl exploded. Twenty-five millimeter shell with thermoplas casing. Simulated raspberry vaporised, showering pockmarked and knock-kneed teenagers with a sticky mist. Dredd holstered his weapon, satisfied rictus tightening his lips.

"Something wrong, Judge?" asked Mrs. Jeffers. Tinkle of falling plastic shards, any of them sharp enough to cut someone by looking at them sideways.

"Too close. There should be a space of no less than eight inches between partners."

Aside from that, it was the quietest prom that anyone could remember.

*****

Thanks, Matt. Judge Dredd copyright to the Judge Dredd copyright holder. Please follow Matt's blog and his serialized comic. If you're at a con and see him, he does this instead of sketching.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Denver, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Orlando, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Ohio, I’d Go To This

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posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #160—Old-Fashioned

On Friday, CR asked its readers to "Name Five Specific Superhero Serial Storylines Of Which You're Fond (In Other Words, You Don't Have To Be Able To Make A Case For Them, You Just Have to Like Them)." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. "The Sleepers Trilogy," Captain America in Tales Of Suspense
2. X-Men Vs. Alpha Flight (Alpha Flight's First Appearance)
3. Iron Man Kills The Carnelian Ambassador
4. Shang-Chi and Company on the Island of Mordillo
5. Weird, Cross-Dimensional Crossover Story In Fantastic Four #160-163 Including Cosmic Hockey-Playing Alternate World Johnny Storm That I Still Don't Understand 30 Years Later

*****

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David Welsh

1. The Headmen/Nebulon arc in Defenders
2. The Brand Corporation/Serpent Crown arc in Avengers
3. Those back-up stories introducing Harlequin in Batman Family
4. The Manhunter back-up series in Detective Comics
5. The Calculator series of stories in Detective Comics

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. "Death Watch!" -- Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2
2. "Flesh of My Flesh" -- Master of Kung Fu #116-118
3. "Return to the Bowl Shaped World" -- Nexus #45-50
4. Swamp Thing in Gotham -- Swamp Thing #52-53
5. "Suddenly -- The Celestials" -- The Mighty Thor #283-301

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Rupert Thorne outlaws Batman and Robin while Bruce Wayne romances Silver St. Cloud, Detective Comics #s 469-76
2. The Justice League and Justice Society meet the Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice League of America #s 147-48
3. The Doom Patrol meets the Brotherhood of Dada, Doom Patrol vol. 2 #s 26-29
4. The Fantastic Four (along with Thor and Iron Man) face the Black Celestial, FF #s 337-41
5. Dr. Polaris traps Green Lantern at the North Pole, steals his power ring, and takes over Los Angeles, Green Lantern vol. 2 #s 133-35

*****

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James Langdell

1. Flash -- A sequence where Wally West disappeared mysteriously, and you hardly noticed because William Messner-Loebs made the supporting cast so interesting.
2. Green Lantern -- The issues (with numeric countdown titles) running parallel to the run of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
3. Captain Atom -- Sequence leading up to him getting out from under the blackmail threats by Col. Eiling.
4. Batman/Detective -- Storyline introducing Black Mask and the False Face Society (starting Batman #386).
5. Thor -- A spell preventing Thor from healing causes him to become gradually immobilized by injuries over several issues.

*****

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Russell Lissau

1. Uncanny X-Men in Japan (Claremont/Smith era)
2. All-Star Squadron battle Brainwave, and Green Lantern destroys the world
3. Daredevil: Born Again
4. Amazing Spider-Man: The original Hobgoblin arc (from the 230s until at least the 270s, I think)
5. Bloom County: Billy and the Boingers

*****

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Mark Coale

1. JLA/JSA v SSOSV (Justice League 195-197)
2. Reuben Flagg in England
3. Avengers -- "Celestial Madonna"
4. Starman -- Solomun Grundy arc
5. Iron Man -- Armor Wars I

*****

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Booksteve

1- Dr. Doom gets the Silver Surfer's Power in FF
2- Superman catches Virus X in Action Comics
3- Dr. Strange on the run from Mordo and Dormammu in Strange Tales
4- Steranko's Captain America run
5- Mike Barr's run with Alan Davis on Batman

*****

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Doug Gray

1. The Spider-Man storyline about the ancient tablet, Amazing Spider-Man #68-77 (art by Romita/Buscema/Mooney!)
2. The Golden Age #1-4 (Robinson/Smith)
3. Doctor Strange #59-62 (Doctor Strange vs Dracula)
4. "Who Killed Batman?" -- Batman #291-294
5. "Spidey Joins Doc Ock!" -- Amazing Spider-Man #53-57

*****

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Dave Knott

* The Monster Society of Evil
* Thor: The Great Surtur Saga
* Doctor Strange: The first journey through Dormammu's realm and subsequent battle with Eternity
* Kraven's Last Hunt
* Miracleman: Olympus

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1 - Captain Marvel (silver age) vs Thanos of Titan
2 - Captain Marvel (classic) vs the Monster Society of Evil
3 - "The Coming Of Galactus"
4 - Cannon
5 - Nick Fury: "Who is Scorpio?"

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Batman Year One
2. Captain Marvel vs The Monster Society of Evil
3. Defenders vs The Head Men.
4. The 70's Avengers vs. The Squadron Supreme bit. I think it was called the Serpent Crown Affair or something like that.
5. Captain America: Madbomb. Nuff' Said.

*****

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Scott Cederlund

* Dark Phoenix
* The original Ras Al Ghul storyline by O'Neil & Adams
* Jim Starlin's original Adam Warlock
* The New Teen Titans' Death of Terra
* The Kree/Skull War

*****

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Jeff Chanley

* ROM -- Total War
* Amazing Spider-Man -- First 6 issues of black costume
* Daredevil -- Typhoid Mary
* Detective -- Return of Hugo Strange
* Captain America and The Falcon -- The Secret of File 116

*****

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Gil Roth

* The Great Darkness Saga
* Korvac Saga
* Days of Future Past
* DD: Born Again
* Bats: Year One

*****

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Christopher Keels

* "The Defeat of Dr. Strange" (extended Mordo/ Dormammu/ Eternity serial in Lee-Ditko Strange Tales)
* "Musical Minds" -- Defenders vs. Headmen/ Bozos
* "Panther's Rage"
* Warlock vs. the Magus
* Thor... Frog!

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Crisis on Infinite Earths
2) Avengers: Under Siege
3) The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
4) All-Star Squadron: Origin of the Freedom Fighters
5) Suicide Squad: "Baptism of Fire"

*****

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Frank Santoro

* Daredevil "Typhoid Mary" run with Romita Jr
* Byrne FF's with Doom, late 250's?
* Ross Andru Spidey and Green Goblins (late 170's Amazing)
* "Mad Bomb" Captain Americas by Kirby
* Batman: Year Two

*****

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Rob Clough

1. The Celestial Madonna Saga (The Avengers)
2. Avengers Forever
3. The Headmen stories (Defenders)
4. The Roger Stern/Marshall Rogers issues of Dr Strange
5. The Roger Stern/John Byrne issues of Captain America

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Shrinking Violet is replaced by a Durlan imposter.
2. The Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
3. The Manhunters come for Green Lantern for blowing up a planet.
4. Dr. Strange goes on the run.
5. Riot at Xavier's.

*****

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Lou Copeland

1. Captain America: The Madbomb Saga - Jack Kirby
2. Captain Marvel & The Monster Society of Evil - Binder, Beck, & Co.
3. Miracleman: The Golden Age - Gaiman& Buckingham
4. Alan Moore & Alan Davis' Captain Britain arc
5. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight - Flyer by Chaykin & Kane

*****

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Chris Noble

* New Teen Titans Vol.2 #1-5 (Terror of Trigon)
* Legion of Super Heroes #290-294 (Great Darkness Saga)
* New X-Men #114-116 (E is for Extinction)
* JLA- Rock of Ages
* Superman Vol. 1 #307-309 (the Superman as environmental terrorist/ Krypton is a lie story)

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Zenith Book Three
2. 52
3. Millennium (with its crossovers, please)
4. Ultimate Spider-Man's Clone Saga
5. The Len Wein-written Deadman serial that jumped around a few titles

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) The Great Darkness Saga
2) Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight
3) Captain America as The Captain
4) Batman: Ten Nights of the Beast
5) X-men: Age Of Apocalypse

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Captain America defeats The Secret Empire, discovers the TRUE identity of their leader, and is so shocked, he abandons his star-spangled outfit and takes on the role of Nomad, the man without a country.
2. Batman, Hugo Strange, Silver St. Cloud, Boss Thorne, Deadshot, The Joker--yeah, THAT story.
3. Nick Fury and SHIELD vs. The Yellow Claw--which all turns out to be an elaborate chess game between Dr. Doom and one of his robots!! (I said it then, I'll say it now--"WHA?...")
4. The Defenders vs. The Headmen.
5. Supergirl vs. Bottle City of Kandor villainess, Lesla-Lar, in a story--Action Comics 278-285--that eventually leads up to Superman finally revealing his cousin's existence to the world (also personally notable as the very first serial I ever encountered reading comics).

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Avengers - Assault on Olympus (#281 - #285)
2. Spider-Man: Nothing can stop the Juggernaut
3. Avengers vs. X-men mini series.
4. Spider-Man vs. Wolverine: High Tide
5. Secret Wars

*****
*****
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Wim Swerts!

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Happy 62nd Birthday, Claude Laverdure!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Hideshi Hino!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Steve Schanes!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Martha Thomases!

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Happy 84th Birthday, Jim Ivey!

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is Mr. Ivey still with us?
 
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First Thought Of The Day

Do Christian nerds write fan fiction about the Apostles?
 
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April 18, 2009


Next Week In Comics-Related Events

April 19
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April 21
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April 23
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April 24
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April 25
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 12 to April 18, 2009:

1. A slight dip in DM sales in Q1 2009 can be spun either way you like: good news considering the general shape of US retail, the fact there's something of a pause between imagination-capturing mega-events and the reality of some structural improvements by Diamond just now settling in; dismaying news considering the continued ridiculous performance of Watchmen, taking into account a once-in-a-generation single-comic book sales figure with the Obama/Spidey effort, and acknowledging that the sales hit may have come at the top of the charts for an industry designed to maximize the potential of books at the top of the charts.

2. According to the latest round of numbers, IDW is the new #3 DM publisher.

3. Lee Judge, recently asked to become a part-time employee, wins this year's John Fischetti Award.

Winner Of The Week
Lee Judge

Loser Of The Week
Anyone expecting a big return on their 1990s collectibles now that bad times have come around.

Quote Of The Week
"I'm of the opinion that a baby's first word should be 'uh-oh', just so he or she learns early how quickly things can go south." -- Richard Thompson

this week's imagery comes from one of the great underground comix
 
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If I Were In Denver, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Orlando, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Berkeley, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Chicago, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Ohio, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Happy 49th Birthday, Darryl Cunningham!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Roger Salick!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Fred Niehardt!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Thierry Groensteen!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Jacq Cohen On Dark Horse's MySpace Talent Search at Stumptown This Weekend (PR) (4/17/09)
* Dustin Harbin On Mark Waid And Roger Langridge Attending HeroesCon 2009 (PR) (4/16/09)
* John Vest On The Magic Of Librarians (4/16/09)
* Devlin Thompson On The State Of Modern Newspaper And The Crappiness Of Old Ones (4/16/09)
* John Vest On Essential Dazzler Volume 2 (4/14/09)
* Jim Blanchard on the Trucker Fags in Denial Fine Art Print (PR) (4/12/09)
 
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April 17, 2009


Friday Distraction: Stedho

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Stumptown Comics Fest This Weekend

imageI was lucky enough to attend a portion of the Stumptown Comics Fest last year, and enjoyed my experience there very much. It's an exemplary small-press oriented regional comics show. I can't imagine too many people ever flying in for it, although many already do. Barring the show being taken over by the arts festival version of a comic book despot it's not like Stumptown need ever rely on exhibitors or attendees streaming over from Portland International: there are enough people in the area on both sides of the table to sustain such a show for years and years and years.

It's a good show just to attend and leave, which is something I appreciate more and more as I get older and time gets more precious and interests continue to diversify. If you're not from Portland nor all that familiar with it, it's a lovely city with a bunch of stuff to do on an almost neighborhood to neighborhood basis and the weather this weekend should be great. Here are some highlights of stuff I'd likely do at the show were I there.
* do anything Jeff Smith-related I could. Jeff's not only a really talented cartoonist, he's great at cons and has an easygoing rapport with his readers. I sometimes wonder how many more of these things Smith is going to do, so to get him at a smaller, regional show is a real treat.

* I would try my best to attend this double-fundraising effort tonight.

* I would submit my awesome mini-comic Shelton #5 to the Dark Horse myspace.com contest on Saturday and start my magnificent comics career with a bang.

* I would walk the entire show at least once, and look with great interest at any and everything that caught my eye. I would buy at least three things I hadn't heard of before.

* I would stop to talk to some of my favorite creators and comics folk that attend shows like this one: Craig Thompson, Hellen Jo, Scott Faulkner, Jen Ralston, Dave Lasky, Jim Blanchard, JR Williams, Eli Bishop, Jesse Reklaw, Dylan Williams, Elijah Brubaker, Brett Warnock and Tom Neely. I would ask Andrew Farago and Shaenon Garrity about that photo of them with Hayao Miyazaki. I would let Steve Lieber know what day I'd be leaving town so he could "forget" and offer to buy me lunch and show me the studio the day after that. I would pretend to laugh at Jeff Parker's jokes. I would make Matt Maxwell write me a five-minute story with the words "Judge," "Dredd" and "prom."

* I would accost local comics guru and gainfully employed proper newspaper man Steve Duin as he was roaming the aisles and when he least expected it.

* even though I might not spend all day, every day at the show, I would still try to attend as many of the parties as I could.

* I would consider for the 10,000th time moving to Portland, because that's actually a requirement, and then talk myself out of it.
Summer arrives with the MoCCA Festival in New York City, but Spring arrives tomorrow with Stumptown. Please everyone enjoy and avail yourselves.
 
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Go, Look: Cool Comics Places

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I'd put Palomar, Snoopy's Doghouse, and Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe on mine
 
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Go, Look: Ramona Fradon Horror

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Consider Buying From SLG Today

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SLG, one of the veterans of the indie comics market as currently constituted, announced a few days ago they're having a tax sale through today with checkout coupon "taxtime09." SLG is one of the few companies of its size to announce they've made business changes because of the economy, and head honcho Dan Vado has been forthright about the troubled waters and challenges SLG faces during this period of time. So if there's something you want from there, now may be a good time to go out and get it in any number of ways.

If you're not all that familiar with SLG, or need reminding here are some suggestions.
1) they publish Evan Dorkin, and whether you get his stuff in comic book or collected form, it's all worth having.

2) they've published James Turner (I'm not sure if he's currently doing anything) a funny cartoonist with a unique approach to visual representation that changes comic to comic. He's like some cartoonist that time-traveled from the early indy-comic 1980s, a period in which I think he would have had a much easier time finding an audience. I liked his series Rex Libris (top), but a better try-it one-shot might be the graphic novel Nil. His maps might make a nice gift for those that are into posters and prints.

3) the cartoonist Derf's Punk Rock and Trailer Parks was under-read last year and is an endearing coming-of-age story of the kind that filmmakers tend to follow their hit gross-out comedy by making.

4) enough people liked the Phil Elliott-drawn Contraband to the point that it's back on my reading pile and makes me think it may also have been under-read. It was written by Thomas J. Behe.

5) the illustrator Sonny Liew's art on Wonderland was fairly gorgeous, and it seemed like people mostly forgot about this series as it progressed.
I feel these are reminders more than they are suggestions; I wouldn't expect anyone to come to such a sale cold. There are of course many, many other books from the company that have their fans and adherents -- Skaggy the Lost, for instance. It could be worth poking around.
 
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If I Were In Orlando, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Denver, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: John Hendrix

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Go, Look: Dan Zettwoch Draws Beer

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Go, Look: Doom Ranch

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Go, Look: Sandrine Martin

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the artist Alex Ross is the first guest of honor announced by Reed Exhibitions at its 2010 Chicago show that already sounds like a sequel: C2E2. It's worth noting how Reed approaches its first big show in the Chicago area because Wizard Entertainment previously had the only Chicago-area humongous show, that company's flagship show, and there should be some fun to be had for industry insiders by seeing the strategies unfold guest-wise and wondering after what each announcement means.

image* the blogger Alan Gardner notes that Todd Clark's Lola has hit the ten-year mark and currently has 125 newspapers -- that may be clients instead of newspapers, you can never tell unless they make it explicit -- both of which are impressive achievements worth noting.

* not comics: some limited Cul-De-Sac animations on YouTube.

* there are a couple of floating news stories out there related to the economy that may not make for a full posting on same. The first concerns the implications of the bankruptcy of newsprint maker AbitibiBowater -- a company apparently named by Twiki from the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers television show -- should include some lower pricing in that market for a while and perhaps changes in regional pricing, suggests E&P. That bankruptcy seems to have been caused by a business outcome all-too-familiar to many of its clients: massive and unrealistic levels of debt placed on the company during earlier transactions with only a very debatable relationship to the effectiveness and success of their core business function.

* the second story is that newsroom employment is down to 1978 levels. This is astonishing to me because I can't imagine any scenario where with trends over the last few decades like the decline of newsroom-generated writing, the move towards casting newspapers into the role of service publications rather than news publications and the improvements in production employee to employee that should have come with the transition in wire services to computer systems and rise of the Internet, newsroom levels shouldn't have already been well under where they were in 1978. This hints at what I still feel are two little-discussed flip sides to certain lines of analysis about the tumble newspapers are taking: 1) the not nearly as effective as it should have been way that newspapers have employed the Internet and general computerization as tools, not just as a competing or perhaps cooperative publishing platform, and 2) the manner in which the years of double-digit profits allowed for bloat in newsrooms in addition to fueling the unrealistic expectations of owners and ownership groups which saddled many of those companies with unrealistic debt.

* the webcomics gathering point Girlamatic isn't dead, although one could argue that it's in more of a semi-animated state during this current transition than fully alive and active.

* this made me laugh.

* finally, Mr. Handsome McPerfect wants you to buy comics.
 
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Happy 27th Birthday, Robert Labs!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Noel Tuazon!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Jean-Pierre Gibrat!

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Happy 85th Birthday, Gerard van Straaten!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Roberto Goiriz!

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Happy Somewhere Between 62nd and 67th Birthday, Kazuichi Hanawa!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Ben Dunn!

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Happy 74th Birthday, Jiro Kuwata!

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Quick hits
Craft
Drew Friedman Can Even Draw Man Boobs

Exhibits/Events
Go See Warren Ellis
Humbug Event Report
Go See Mark and Sergio
Sakura Con 2009 Report

History
45-Year-Old Rogue Was Mean
Mark Evanier Busts Out A Photo
He Should Show Up For Work In The Spider-Slayer

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Matt Fraction
Inkstuds: Mike Dawson
Newsarama: Jeff Parker
Inkstuds: Jaime Hernandez
Jazma Online: Larry Marder
Newsarama: Lamar Abrams
Newsarama: Kim Dong Hwa
Indie Spinner Rack: Alec Longstreth
Segmented Interview With Paul Cornell

Not Comics
Dinosaur Pooping
Moomin Anime Opening
Our Dreams Come True
More Zits Motion Comics
Comics & Hollywood Roundtable
You Can Lose Your Google Listings?

Publishing
DC Is Gross
More Ward Sutton At B&N

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Remake
Greg McElhatton: French Milk
Leroy Douresseaux: Real Vol. 4
Kevn Church: Lost Kisses, Worms
CBR: Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan
Don MacPherson: Jan's Atomic Heart
Grant Goggans: Judge Dredd: The Pit
Richard Bruton: Captain Britain and MI-13: Secret Invasion
 

 
April 16, 2009


Missed It: Dark Horse And Image Gain Final Order Cut-Off Program Status

Dark Horse and Image will join Marvel and DC as participants in their Final Order Cut-Off program, which allows retailers to adjust orders on books at a much later date than standard ordering from Previews. Marvel's been doing this since 2003 and DC since 2006. I can't imagine any scenario under which offering Direct Market retailers the ability to make choices according to greater information would ever be a bad thing, although I'm sure someone out there can suggest something. I'd actually go so far as to say that this is the kind of move one hopes drives the industry during a potential down period: structural improvements to the delivery mechanisms and attention to details like, perhaps, release schedules within individual months that will make for an overall stronger market in the long run.
 
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Go, Read: Rick Veitch In Arthur

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the magazine, not the movie
 
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Not Comics: About Paying For It

This Special Report on charging for material on-line that's up at Editor & Publisher is pretty fascinating in terms of a snapshot of current thoughts on how newspapers might monetize certain aspects of web publishing. That said, I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. There are obvious things in there like the fact that you can actually charge more for advertising to a select audience than to a general one that are presented in a way that makes me doubt the seriousness of the article. As a survey, though, it seems effectively broad and discriminatory, and points out a lot of programs that seem worth noting.

Two things I'd like to see addressed as this debate develops. First, I'm always dubious that you can take as much away as people would like to from programs that run counter to conventional wisdom, because I think such programs have a uniqueness that are a specific benefit and may or may not translate to a new standard model. Second, I'm always unclear as to the standards we should use to judge such things. I mean, it's clear that some pay-models can work. For instance, if a South Bend newspaper were to put together a $15/year package to get an unbelievably informative on-line magazine about Notre Dame football, I could see that working: I'd buy it as a gift. I still don't know how well something like that has to work to be a serious contributor to the bottom line, or how that model might be different in order to be transferable. As is the case with webcomics boosterism, I think a sober appraisal of what's out there and what's working right now is as relevant as projecting isolated models into a bright, shiny future.
 
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Your 2009 Stumptown Comics Fest Trophy Award Nominees

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The Stumptown Comics Fest has announced its nominees for the third annual Trophy Awards. They are designed to recognize standout new works from creators exhibiting at the Portland, Oregon small-press show. They are voted on by attendees of the show on Saturday, April 18, and given out that evening at Cosmic Monkey Comics. The program may be best known for using recycled trophies. The nominees are:

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Outstanding Art
* Miriam Libicki, Jobnik!: An American Girl's Adventures in the Israeli Army; Fierce Ease
* Jason Janicki, Wayfarer's Moon
* Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* Mike Lawrence, The Salamander King
* James Williams, White Male Neurosis, The Journey of Quetzalcoatlus Book One, Drive In
* Spike, Templar, Arizona
* Kenan Rubenstein, Prologue
* Eliza Frye, The Lady's Murder
* Annie Murphy, I Still Live: Biography of a Spiritualist
* Scott Mills, Space Devil
* Natalie Nourigat, A Room of One's Own

*****

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Outstanding Debut
* Karn Piana, Autonoman
* Jason Janicki, Wayfarer's Moon
* Randall Kirby, Cop Comics
* Mike Lawrence, The Salamander King
* James Williams, Drive In
* George Leon, Luchadores in Space
* Justin Zimmerman, The Killing Jar, Dr. Holman's War
* Greg Fling, Smaller #1
* Philip Barasch, Hand Hewn
* Scott Mills, Space Devil

*****

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Outstanding Design
* Jefferson Powers, Intense: Tales From the PNCA Graphic Novel Intensive
* Jason Leivian, The Caterer #3
* Jeffrey Ellis, Historyonics: Stories Drawn from the Past
* Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* Justin Zimmerman, Dr. Holman's War
* Various, Shitbeams on the Loose

*****

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Outstanding DIY
* Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* Jack Maraglia, Sinister Press
* James Williams, White Male Neurosis, The Journey of Quetzalcoatlus
* Craig Schwartz, toonlet.com
* J. Maraglia & J. Hollenbeck, PDX Halloween Bazaar
* Greg Fling, Smaller #1
* Jeff Sharp, Caesar: A Lizard's Tale
* Corinne Mucha, My Alaskan Summer
* Kenan Rubenstein, Prologue
* Annie Murphy, I Still Live: Biography of a Spiritualist
* E. Stackhouse & N. Shahan, Brazilianoir

*****

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Outstanding Small Press
* Miriam Libicki, Jobnik!: An American Girl's Adventures in the Israeli Army, Fierce Ease
* Jason Janicki, Wayfarer's Moon
* Shaenon K Garrity, Narbonic Vol. 6
* Jefferson Powers, Intense: Tales From the PNCA Graphic Novel Intensive
* Spike, Templar, Arizona
* Jason Leivian, Diamond Comics #3
* Jeffrey Ellis, Historyonics: Stories Drawn from the Past * Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* Greg Leon, Luchadores in Space
* Jason McNamara & P. Braddock, The Martian Confederacy
* Justin Zimmerman, The Killing Jar
* Andrew Farago, Hufflepuff House
* Philip Barasch, Hand Hewn

*****

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Outstanding Writing
* Miriam Libicki, Jobnik!: An American Girl's Adventures in the Israeli Army
* Jason Janicki, Wayfarer's Moon
* Randall Kirby, Cop Comics
* Shaenon K Garrity, Narbonic Vol. 6
* Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* G. Xavier Robillard, Captain Freedom -- A Superhero's Quest for Truth
* James Williams, Book 1
* Corinne Mucha, My Alaskan Summer
* Natalie Nourigat, A Room of One's Own
* Spike, Templar, Arizona

*****

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Outstanding Webcomic
* Jason Janicki, Wayfarer
* Shaenon K. Garrity and Jeffrey C. Wells, Skin Horse
* Terry Toledo, Sid Love
* Craig Schwartz
* Daniele, The Cide
* Spike, Templar, Arizona

Shannon Wheeler serves as awards coordinator.
 
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If I Were In Naperville, I’d Go To This

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If I Were Near RI, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Olivier Texier

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Go, Look: Wayne Boring Superman Ad

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Go, Look: Armand Welcker

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Go, Look: Nervy Nat

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a new serial from Rumiko Takahasi will have its English-language debut on-line rather than in-print.

image* I was as surprised as Drawn and Quarterly's Peggy Burns that more people didn't react to that nice review of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life in the New York Times. That's a great get, doubly so for a book that doesn't have an easy pop-culture hook, and while I expected to be hammered over the head by mentions, I think I ended up reading three posts on it. Although CR doesn't really cover marketing in that way, there are plenty of sites that follow such moves -- sometimes with what seems like breathless wonder, other times with all the fake critical authority that the Internet allows -- that I guess aren't doing that so much anymore. An interesting coverage event to contrast against the Tatsumi review would be how people may or may not react to the fact of an article being done about a J. Jonah Jameson-related plot development in the Spider-Man comic books.

* as a one-time submissions editor of a different nature, it seems to me that an electronic submissions-only policy at a syndicate is mostly a bad idea, although I'm not sure I can articulate why. It just seems to me that delivering in print is still an important part of the newspaper comic strip, so having an artist that can display at least a bit of talent to that end would be preferable to one that can solely work within electronic means. In other words, I would imagine it'd be easier to teach someone how to upload strips than it is to find people whose work pops on paper and who are professional enough to work according to the seriousness a print submission requires.

* finally, after reading this, the longtime comics reporter Tom Heintjes asks if Dick Tracy has become a laughingstock -- meaning basically if Dick Tracy is no longer a priority in terms of making sure its artwork is first rate and well-done.
 
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Happy 77th Birthday, Roberto Diso!

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Happy 32nd Birthday, David Aja!

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Happy 81st Birthday, Gianluigi Coppola!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Fred Marschall!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Guy Counhaye!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Alexis Laumaille

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Happy 41st Birthday, Leo Arias!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Paul Rivoche!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Leonard Rifas!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Kim DeMulder!

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Happy 45th Birthday, Steve Haynie!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Periscope At Stumptown

History
Meeting Niles Caulder
Making Marvel Mayors

Interviews/Profiles
Bust: Nikki Cook
CBR: Alan Moore
I Thought We Were Still In His Early Years

Not Comics
AAAA!
Best Hobby Project Ever
Book Publishing Is Gross

Publishing
Addictively Readable Manga
Addictively Readable Manga 02
These Are Some Really Good Comics

Reviews
John Mitchell: Kaspar
Chris Mautner: Various
Andy Frisk: Action Comics #876
Sean T. Collins: Bonus ? Comics
Andrew Wheeler: Arcade of Cruelty
Craig Fischer: Patsy Walker: Hellcat
Johanna Draper Carlson: Wolverine: Prodigal Son
Greg McElhatton: Sandman Mystery Theatre Vol. 7
The Sizemores: My Mommy Is In America And She Met Buffalo Bill
Leroy Douresseaux: Star Trek: The Next Generation The Manga: Boukenshin
 

 
April 15, 2009


Now That’s A Killer Vacation Photo

"Hello, we're Andrew and Shaenon; please hate us."
 
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Analysts: March 2009 DM Estimates

The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com offers 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, this time for March 2009.

image* Overview
* Analysis
* Top 300 Comic Books
* Top 300 Graphic Novels

John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles is in the process of getting up his his own set of numbers up for March 2009, which you can find on his page devoted to that month.

The big news this month would be IDW assuming the #3 position over Image and Dark Horse, which is something that company had seemingly been aiming towards with a sustained, significant volume of production and a position it seems suited to sustain in the months ahead.

As for the market generally, this seems like an odd month to me. I'm not sure how I feel about the Q1 spin. The ICv2.com folks know more about comics numbers and business trends than I remember about events in my own life, but the analysis that "only" a five percent drop in the first quarter should be seen as encouraging puzzles me. There's a bunch of factors I'm not sure how to process and I can't tell if they did. The spin going into 2009 from most sources is that comics was specifically inured to recession -- so does that seem true or not true? The DM didn't have the obvious gaping wound going into 2009 like some industries such as bookstore sales had with a clearly wounded Borders. Other entertainment media have I believed slowed down previously existing declines or even set Q1 records. Also, I thought the DM had seen singularly awesome and not-soon-to-be repeated performances from Watchmen in trades and the Obama-Spidey comic in single issues. So I'm confused. Can someone out there at least answer the question of how bad it would have been if Watchmen sold at 2008 levels and Obama-Spidey hadn't spiked?

In general, the third month was noteworthy for no general comic book sales moving past the 100,000-unit measure in sales, which could be noteworthy in that the market seems primed to create such books. (It isn't exactly blockbuster season, it should be noted.) An issue of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk would seem to me a gift in such a market, too, sales that weren't likely to be predicated on a rise or fall from ones in the immediate past, but that's probably not true, either. I can't help but think both March and Q1 are bad news months, not good news months considering X, Y and Z. I don't think it's a dire hit, but I suspect that it may be one explained just as easily as explained away.

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Doug Wright Slideshow

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It May Not Be The Primary Cause, But It Certainly Can’t Be Helping Matters

There are any number of factors that have led to the ongoing downward spiral of the print newspaper business (and with it, one of the traditional homes for comics art in North America). With attractive, fascinating options out there to discuss such as the way certain publications were recently saddled with massive amounts of debt according to old profit margins, the rise of the Internet as both a competitor and difficult-to-use tool and the shift away by younger readers in particular from the sort of harder and more detailed news on which newspapers built their display-ad monopoly, it's hard to discern the impact newspapers simply sucking may have on their current plight. For example, this was a headline in the on-line version of a top five newspaper yesterday:

"Boston pitcher suspended for six games after MLB rule he tried intentionally threw a pitch near the head of a batter: MORE>>"

Not to get all cranky old man about it, but that's barely English. I write poorly on this site a lot of the time -- I killed Len Wein in a headline last week -- but it's baffling to anyone that remembers newspapers as recently as the '60s or '70s imagining one of these institutions lobbing that kind of fundamentally garbled turd onto its readers. When I wrote sports headlines in 1986 for a moderate-sized daily, three or four people looked at them before they were released.

I think if you polled a lot of people about newspapers, you'd find a lot of small things like this contributing to a slow bleed that weakens some of these publications' resistance to the bigger, more directly pressing issues. Little stuff like home delivery that lags far behind what 11-year-old kids provided in 1974, prominent columnists that spend a chunk of their time on TV or radio and as a result write pieces that don't reflect deliberation and first-hand sourcing, a move towards bigger art (photos) at the expense of contextualizing sidebars you used to see everywhere forty years ago. That stuff adds up.

Pointing out the headline led to a defensive retort led to a quick cancellation of the service.
 
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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: RASL #4 Previewed

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Go, Look: Appreciating King Aroo

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Go, Look: Lunatickle #2

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Go, Look: A Superkatt Story

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* hey, I liked this: Tucker Stone celebrates the conclusion of Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets by looking at a bunch of the writer's work here and there in other venues. That's good programming.

image* the writer and publisher Dan Nadel could use your help with Milt Gross. That's Dan on the left.

* so I guess that cartoonist Bryan Talbot adopted another artistic persona and released a book through NBM last year? It made one best-of list that I know of, Dan Kois'. I'm not sure why this is noteworthy, as I can think of nothing to be gained by a false artistic persona and people really aren't on their guard about that kind of thing. I guess it's a fairly extravagant stunt that many might find fun on that level.

* not comics: David Lynch animation (via Sean T. Collins)

* finally, here's a story from the Chicago Tribune about the difficulty of selling collectibles, including old comics, in hard times. It's about what you'd expect if you've spent any time around such markets and/or their players: most stuff isn't worth anything despite general, floating claims to the contrary; dealers will play hardball; for the most part the items in question need to have been treated as collectibles as opposed to something you use, and so on. The people that come across as most screwed are those that believe their stuff would be worth a lot of stuff someday because they purchased them during a time when that was the notion in the air.
 
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Happy 58th Birthday, Dick Maas!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Ivica Astalos!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Chantal de Spiegeleer!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Robert Luedke!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Patrick Larme!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Giuseppe Manunta!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Carlo Ambrosini!

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Happy 22nd Birthday, Comic Relief!

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Quick hits
Craft
Tim Hensley Letters

Exhibits/Events
KGB Bar Event Report
Scott McCloud Scheduled For TCAF
Comics Dinner Fundraiser at Stumptown
Buy Seats At Comics Dinner Fundraiser at Stumptown

History
Re-Jected!

Industry
SLG Is Having A Sale

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Alan Moore
Phawker: Craig Yoe
USA Today: Craig Yoe
Graphic NYC: Walt Simonson
Newsarama: The Pleece Brothers
Comics Worth Reading: Mike Pellerito

Not Comics
I Call Them Weekdays
Chris Onstad Moves To Portland

Reviews
David P. Welsh: Various
Richard Pachter: Various
Dwight Garner: A Drifting Life
Zak Edwards: Ignition City #1
Koppy McFad: Black Terror #3
Greg McElhatton: A Drifting Life
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Richard Bruton: Luke On The Loose
Johanna Draper Carlson: Bento Box
Nathan Madison: Marvel Zombies 4 #1
Sean T. Collins: Rumbling, Chapter Two
Leroy Douresseaux: Dogs: Prelude Vol. 0
 

 
April 14, 2009


It’s Like Wimbledon Green, The Movie


More Tales from the pile. from Richmond Biz Sense on Vimeo.

well, outtakes from the remake
 
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This Isn’t A Library: New And Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely 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 works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick up the following and look them over, leading to a long period of reflection on the owner-retailer relationship.

*****

DEC080034 DYLAN DOG CASE FILES TP $24.95
Dark Horse's occasionally European compilations have been one of the great secret joys in comics buying over the last 15 years, and this nearly 700-page chunk of comics would seem to fit that role really wall.

DEC080041 HERBIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 $49.95
And so the publishing event ends with a third volume.

NOV080072 PLANET OF BEER SC $14.95
I've always enjoyed Brian Sendelbach's work, and I'm delighted he has a book out now. And that's pretty much all I have to say.

JAN090075 WONDERMARK TP VOL 02 CLEVER TRICKS STAVE DEATH $14.95
Another in Dark Horse's successful line of trades from popular webcomics, I think less than a year after the first one, which seems to indicate that one sold well.

DEC080194 100 BULLETS #100 (MR) $4.99
Congratulations to the 100 Bullets team on the completion of their 100-issue run.

DEC080212 100 PERCENT HC (MR) $39.99
This is a new hardcover of an admirable Paul Pope effort, stuffed with lots of extras.

FEB090252 AIR #8 (MR) $2.99
I think I would have lost a bet on this reaching an eighth issue, so congratulations to the creative team.

OCT082289 GODLAND #27 (RES) $2.99
FEB092434 WALKING DEAD #60 (MR) $2.99
FEB092529 CAPTAIN AMERICA #49 $2.99
JAN092558 INCOGNITO #3 (MR) $3.50
FEB098016 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #11 2ND PTG LARROCA VAR $2.99
This week's mini-suite of well-liked, serialized genre comics. That Walking Dead comic has been good recently in that I have no idea where it's going issue to issue.

FEB092463 SUB-MARINER COMICS 70TH ANNIV SPECIAL #1 $3.99
I have no idea what this is beyond what's obvious from the title, but I'm always interested in whatever Marvel's doing with the character so I suppose I'd pick it up. I like Bill Everett's comics enough I'd be more disappointed by fewer pages of reprints.

JAN094393 ALEX TOTH GOES HOLLYWOOD SC $25.00
DEC084249 BEST OF SIMON & KIRBY HC $39.95
I didn't know what either of these were, either, but with those heavy-hitters involved I'd have to take a look. The Toth/Hollywood book is a Greg Theakston production made up of these stories. The Simon & Kirby volume is the first in Titan's expanded Simon and Kirby library series. Please don't let comics shops die.

OCT084199 STUFF OF LIFE SC GRAPHIC GUIDE TO GENETICS & DNA $14.95
This gets my vote for weird project of the year, a basic lesson in genetic and dna told through the prism of an alien scientist lecture his supreme ruler.

FEB094288 ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING SC $12.95
This is comics-driven book to help young people make comics. It looks nice; I heard more about it when it was its earlier stages than I've heard about it recently.

FEB092653 ESSENTIAL DAZZLER TP VOL 02 $19.99
Volume 2? Really?

*****

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 so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, 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. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I didn't list your comic, it may be that you're a smelly felly.

*****
*****
 
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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is selling 1000 signed and numbered copies of his bomb-in-turban Muhammed cartoon for $340 apiece. The money will go to the International Free Press society. Please build your own joke with the made-up word "blasphemeBay" in it.

* the writer and editor Ezra Levant's book is re-opening for debate his treatment by human rights and citizenship commission after putting the Danish Muhammed cartoons in his Western Standard.

* Hans-Peter Geissen tries to puzzle out why people became so upset about the Danish Cartoons, both in the "looking at the cartoons" sense and the "how did this become such a big story" sense.
 
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This Is Sort Of Interesting, Just Not For The Reasons Its Producers Think


Brett's Comic Book Pile from Richmond Biz Sense on Vimeo.

I liked this for its glimpse into a comic book operation's warehouse space (one of them, anyway) and for its acknowledgment that comics shops are using their collectibles stock in creative ways in order to float through a period of economic uncertainty. That matches the anecdotal feedback I've been receiving from a number of comic shop owners. I also just like hearing people that are really into selling comic books talk, as much as this kind of person is foreign to my existence and the background music may be driving me nuts. The article seems to suggest some downturn in the collectible's market, but I'm not sure how true that is: pulling your books because you can't receive the margin you want on eBay could mean a lot of things. The figure given for loss of volume is pretty alarming, though, but certainly the claim of an 80 percent isn't reflected in the national market, so I'm not sure what to make of it.
 
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Missed It: Lee Judge Wins Fischetti

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Lee Judge won the 2009 Fischetti Award winner for excellence in editorial cartooning last week, Editor & Publisher reported last week. Judge's win follows the honor going to a couple of Mikes: Mike Keefe (2008) and Michael Ramirez (2007). Judge is affiliated with the Kansas City Star and won for the above cartoon, originally published in February of last year.

Judge recently went part-time with his paper.
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Latest Copper

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Go, Look: LaGuardia Reads Funnies



thanks, Dean Haspiel

about
 
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Go, Look: Two By Richard Thompson

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Go, Buy: Trucker Fags In Denial Fine Art Print Signed By Blanchard and Goad

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it's even fun to type; click through for full web image
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* former newspaper publishing industry bible Editor & Publisher calls attention to Daryl Cagle's recent interview with laid-off cartoonist Robert Ariail. It's interesting to me and perhaps indicative of something that it's with Ariail's departure from his long-time position that we're finally going to see a straight-ahead platform for his cartoons.

image* he's the best there is at what he does, and what he does is draw Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adaptations. (sent to me by everyone)

* the cartoonist Evan Dorkin talks about drawing a "lost scene" for the Turner Movies promotion and ponders going to see the Humbug event at The Strand.

* not comics: I'm not all that interested in this week's Amazon.com listing story but I did appreciate David P. Welsh calling attention to a quote about the value of multiple sales platforms as a way to disallow the entire possibility of one vendor's potential peccadilloes becoming market reality.

* administrative note: maybe it's the economy, but I've received dozens of e-mails recently from people pressing for some sort of direct PR boost for their various professional projects outside the standard review, interview or "publishing news" coverage. I'm afraid I don't really do that kind of thing, and I don't do a lot of stuff that if looked at sideways resembles that kind of thing. I apologize for not being of more use to many of you. I love receiving your PR, and wish you all the best, but please understand if I pass on giving you the help you seem to think you deserve.

* not comics: I think this article is nonsense, and although I appreciate someone wanting to sell their book I never thought of Editor & Publisher as the kind of publication that provides authors these sorts of platforms. Oh, well. Anyway, there's good writing and bad writing, and referencing is a tool that can be employed effectively or poorly, just like the rest of one's tool set. I can't imagine the most accurate, generation-friendly reference in the world would genuinely improve any article on Tim Geithner; I also can't imagine blasting them out of text employed by some of the more engaging news commentators helps anything, either. Just a non-issue. Or, as Murray might add, "The man said it was a non-issue."

* finally, while I enjoy watching Chris Butcher beat on the NYT comics-related lists and the likely screwed-up methods for compiling them, I came at my own dismissal of them from another angle. Since the Times wasn't sharing their methodology, and as their coverage for the vast majority of the time they've paid attention to comics has been made up of not-very-serious enhanced press releases in service of the major publishers, I just didn't see the announcement of their lists as something that should be extended coverage. So I haven't. I'm always open to having my mind changed, but all I've read about the lists since their initial announcement is people giddy about getting to use the New York Times best-selling author appellation, general bafflement about some of the individual results, and Butcher repeatedly kidney punching his best guess at how they're making this particular package of sausages.
 
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Happy 35th Birthday, Hyung Min-woo!

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Happy 55th Birthday, Katsuhiro Otomo!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Dave Gibbons!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Dan Clowes!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Tais Teng!

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Happy 86th Birthday, Christian Mathelot!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Vincent Sauvion!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Lee Woo-young!

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Quick hits
Craft
Dan Covers Dave
This Made Me Laugh
David Lasky Thanks You

Exhibits/Events
Pics From ECCC

History
On Fan Entitlement

Industry
Starstruck Event To Benefit Gene Colan
Jeff Smith Reacts To Farel Dalrymple Drawing His Characters

Interviews/Profiles
VOA: Art Spiegelman
ComiXtalk: Brian Brown
Pascal Blanchet Talks Music
Daryl Cagle: Chris Houghton
Long Video Enki Bilal Interview

Not Comics
Derek Weiler, RIP
How To Make Neil Gaiman Coffee
Starlog Ends Decades-Long Publishing Run
James Vance's Movie Rental Counter-Suggestion

Publishing
On Another New Mutants Project

Reviews
Jog: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Rob Clough: MOME Vol. 14
Jared Gardner: I Saw You...
Zak Edwards: Ignition City #1
Richard Bruton: Batman #686
Chris Allen: Swallow Me Whole
Koppy McFad: Black Terror #3
Koppy McFad: Teen Titans #69
Zak Edwards: Pride & Prejudice #1
Kevin Church: Britten and Brulightly
Leroy Douresseaux: Gimmick! Vol. 6
Leroy Douresseaux: Train Train Vol. 1
Paul O'Brien: Wolverine: Weapon X #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: You Will Drown In Love
Mark Allen: Anne Steelyard: The Garden of Emptiness, Act One: An Honorary Man

 

 
April 13, 2009


Karbala Cartoon Exhibition Raid Galvanizes Discussion Of Free Speech Within Iraq

An Iraqi parliamentary committee meeting yesterday in Baghdad became the forum for discussion of a raid last week in Karbala, where an artist claims his cartoon lampooning Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was taken from an exhibition. Artist Salman Abid told international press that his aim was not ridicule but political satire. The area's governor, Amal-Din al-Hir, claimed that Abid and area press are wrong to say that the cartoon was seized, stating that the exhibiton was put on without local authorization. Abid countered that his house was searched on the same day as the exhibition.
 
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I Am Jealous Of Comics People I Know That Get To Go Cool Places

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City of Glass adapter Paul Karasik went to a festival in Northern Italy celebrating Paul Auster.

*****

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The majority of the Comics Comics crew hit Switzerland for this year's Fumetto, which they talk about and provide photos in documentation of here, here, here and here.

*****
*****
 
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Everyone Loves A Local Library Sale

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This is work from the early 1970s. I was always baffled by these as a kid because when it came to saying where the material came from they would reference another set of books. It also strikes me as humorous how you read different things in Peanuts when you get older. Like there's a sequence in here where Peppermint Patty comes to stay with the Browns and she ends up sleeping in Snoopy's doghouse. What I didn't get when I was a kid is how funny Schulz made the Brown kids' dull lives, as all they do is watch TV and eat cold cereal.

*****

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It's amazing how well these paperback versions of MAD have done over the years, and how they hold up despite the severe reformatting that took place in their creation. Many folks have as their primary access to these specific works the paperbacks rather than the magazine. Every bathroom in the nation should have at least one.

*****

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This was the belle of the ball: a first-edition printing of David Breger's third (I think) book. Not that the first-edition means it's worth anything. Breger was widely published and there's little demand for his work today, so I can't imagine the book's worth a dime. I just think it's a cool-looking little package. I believe Breger gets credit for coining the term "GI Joe."

*****

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This is one of the later editions of this book, which I picked up to go in the gift drawer and because I was dazzled by a cover that looks like it was lacquered.

*****

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I bought this joke book for the illustrations.

*****

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I'm not sure exactly what this is, but I figure it's early Jeff Danziger work with more of a local perspective than the angrier, punchier work by which he's become more recently known. It's always great to see these weird, regional books.

*****

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Everybody likes and frequently forgets about John Callahan.

*****

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I didn't have any of these albums, French or English.

*****

Total price: $2.80

*****
*****
 
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Easter BC Fails To Enrage People

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it's early, though
 
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A Few Quick Words On Eisner Noms

imageI wanted to draw attention to a few Eisner Award commentaries I missed last week. Our own David P. Welsh touches on the matter of manga's place in those awards, which was widely discussed and you can get into it from that post of David's if you want. Evan Dorkin talks about the awards in general -- my general take is close to his -- and notes the lack of consideration generally afforded the Hernandez Brothers. Gary Tyrrell notes that the on-line category probably needs to get nailed down a bit over the next few years.

I share Dorkin's general reaction, and was also surprised by nothing for RASL, which I think is really good so far, and Aya of Yop City, which is appealing in exactly the way I thought most Eisner nomination panels tended to reward and is gorgeous besides. I'm also disappointed in the lack of a nomination for the best book ever written about a cartoonist, Bob Levin's Most Outrageous, although its subject matter is such I understand why people aren't exactly hugging that one to their chest.
 
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Go, Look: Reflection Of Death

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Go, Look: More Best Of 1945

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Go, Look: Submarine Fun

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Go, Look: Oswald In Easterland

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Bristol International Comics Expo has sold out, and Comic-Con International will soon sell out of its individual-day tickets. In fact, Pam Noles wrote in to say CCI ran their usual full-page ad in the LA Weekly but did so earlier than ever because of the impending sell-out. It's good to hear these comics-related businesses are doing well, although it sort of makes sense this early into an economic downturn that they would: they tend to be a good value if you can afford it, and people can still afford it.

image* from a link at the bottom of my inbox comes this selection of Jeff Jones Idyl strips.

* do you recognize this face? I've always liked that guy. I've always thought they should do an entire comics story about that guy, unless it's been done already.

* not comics: I watched Punisher: War Zone over the weekend, where Dominic West tries to answer the question, "How bad an accent do I have to do to have a shot at pissing away five prestige television seasons' worth of goodwill in one go?" Someone's going to get that '80s thing down sooner or later, but it sure wasn't this movie. Some of the violence was fun, though, like Frank Castle using a LAW to blow up a parkour-performing baddie mid-air. I thought the lead actor was scarier in the scenes that were supposed to be from before he went bonkers and started killing people.

* this piece of comics-related humor by one-time comics reporter supreme David Astor is worth it just for the "read more" designations.

* here's another solid link that's been resting in an e-mail I had yet to look at: Marc Weidenbaum made of Pulse! cartoon features should bring back memories of a time when that was one of the two or three solid, dependable gigs in comics. I'd buy a trade of that stuff, I think. Updated: D'oh! (thanks, Heidi)

* this is fairly adorable.

* finally, I missed this: Steven Grant has good advice up for folks looking to break into the comic book business. Basically, he suggests the best way to start making comics is to start making comics. I agree with that. I'm not as certain as Grant seems to be that the bigger companies use creators that have come to their attention through independent work in order to woo their personal audience to a Paladin mini-series or whatever. I do think they want to see a certain quality in the work, and count on the experience of being able to make comic book X to help their learning curve when it comes to comic book Y.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday, Francois Schuiten!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Herr Seele!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Dario Adanti!

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Happy 57th Birthday, Dennis Janke!

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Quick hits
Interviews/Profiles At DarkHorse.com, Mostly 2006-2009
DarkHorse.com: Scott Allie
DarkHorse.com: Scott Allie
DarkHorse.com: Gabriel Ba
DarkHorse.com: Gabriel Ba
DarkHorse.com: Gina Biggs
DarkHorse.com: Eric Powell
DarkHorse.com: Simone Lia
DarkHorse.com: Glenn Barr
DarkHorse.com: Stan Sakai
DarkHorse.com: Chris Grine
DarkHorse.com: Chris Grine
DarkHorse.com: Kat Sapene
DarkHorse.com: Gerard Way
DarkHorse.com: Gerard Way
DarkHorse.com: Kevin Rubio
DarkHorse.com: Dean Motter
DarkHorse.com: Akiko Ikeda
DarkHorse.com: Philip Simon
DarkHorse.com: Kazuo Koike
DarkHorse.com: Tycho, Gabe
DarkHorse.com: Arvid Nelson
DarkHorse.com: Arvid Nelson
DarkHorse.com: Joe Lansdale
DarkHorse.com: Larry Marder
DarkHorse.com: Mike Mignola
DarkHorse.com: Mike Mignola
DarkHorse.com: Mike Mignola
DarkHorse.com: Joss Whedon
DarkHorse.com: Diana Schutz
DarkHorse.com: Rob Simpson
DarkHorse.com: Kanako Inuki
DarkHorse.com: Denis Kitchen
DarkHorse.com: Tony Cipriano
DarkHorse.com: Mark Wheaton
DarkHorse.com: Paul Chadwick
DarkHorse.com: Dustin Weaver
DarkHorse.com: Rick Remender
DarkHorse.com: Rick Remender
DarkHorse.com: Randy Stradley
DarkHorse.com: Bruce Campbell
DarkHorse.com: Drew Melbourne
DarkHorse.com: Yasuhiro Nightow
DarkHorse.com: Yoshitaka Amano
DarkHorse.com: Gilbert Hernandez
DarkHorse.com: Gilbert Hernandez
DarkHorse.com: John Jackson Miller
DarkHorse.com: John Jackson Miller
DarkHorse.com: Rob Reger, Buzz Parker
DarkHorse.com: Rick Remender, Mat Broome
 

 
April 12, 2009


Next Week In Comics-Related Events

April 14
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April 15
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April 16
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April 17
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April 18
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April 19
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from April 4 to April 11, 2009:

1. Mainstream comics writer Len Wein and family survive house fire that guts their home and costs the life of a dear pet, underlining the relative fragility of existence for even successful comics industry freelancers and the irony of this happening a month before a $130 million dollar movie featuring Wein's co-creation opens to the public. Friends rally behind the said-to-be appropriately-insured creator and fans promise to help him restore a lost library of works.

2. Wizard Entertainment head honcho buys Big Apple Con, bringing him into direct competition with Reed Exhibitions and its New York Comic-Con and raising questions about why he bought it himself rather than through his company, which shed a couple more employees.

3. A woman was arrested for threatening cartoonist Eiichiro Oda. Unlike what you might guess if you were asked to fill in the blanks on such a story in 1993 or so, it was economic factors and not something in the cartoonist's work that was driving the threat-making.

Winners Of The Week
Major Eisner Award Nomination Boost-Receivers include Skim, Dark Horse and Thor.

Loser Of The Week
Michael George, the prominent retailer and convention organizer, whose retrial on murder charges was likely delayed, along with it the question as to whether he should receive bail while waiting for the process that is driving the delay.

Quote Of The Week
"While it is true that one of Turkey's objections to his candidacy was his handling of the cartoon crisis, another issue has been equally important: the fact that the Kurdish television station ROJ TV has been transmitting from Denmark for four years." -- Matthias Wivel

this week's imagery comes from one of the great underground comix
 
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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Katrina Weidknecht On Craig Yoe At The Comic Book Club (PR) (4/11/09)
* Matthias Wivel On Turkey's Objections To Anders Fogh Rasmussen As NATO Head (4/11/09)
* Chris Butcher On Filling Out The TCAF Guest List (PR) (4/11/09)
* Ng Suat Tong On CR's Archives (4/11/09)
* Tim O'Shea On CR's 2009 Eisner Nomination (4/11/09)
* Tom Williams On SPACE 2009 (PR) (4/11/09)
* Michael Aushenker On Cheap Serial Comics (4/6/09)
* Cyrus Marriner on Potential Viruses at the Free Comic Book Day Site (4/6/09)
* Ben Towle On Whether That Media Rate Judgment Against The Comics Charity Was New In Any Way (4/6/09)
* Comics For Cures On Their Annual Sketch Card Auction (PR) (4/6/09)
* The RAW Junior Folks On The Harry Bliss Tour (PR) (4/6/09)
* Lino Gorlero On Being Wished A Happy Birthday (4/6/09)
* John Simons On Comicpalooza's Guest List And Basic Information (PR) (4/6/09)
* James Langdell On The CR Week In Review Covers (4/4/09)
 
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FFF Results Post #159—Must-See

On Friday, CR asked its readers to "Name Five Events In Comics Narratives That, Were You In That World, Would Send You Scrambling To YouTube Looking For Footage." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Hulk and The Thing Fight All Over New York City
2. Superman Dies
3. Cowgirl Vicky Lane Wins Title From Rena Titanon
4. Captain America Shot and Killed
5. Whatever That Goofy Superhero Awards Show Was in the Luna Brothers' Ultra

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Music videos by Dazzler
2) Spider-man revealing his secret identity to the media
3) The Superman vs. Muhammad Ali fight
4) WWII footage of Captain America and Red Skull
5) Security camera footage showing embarrassing moments of any Gotham city vigilante

*****

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Chris Opinsky

1. Death of Superman
2. The Baxter Building having been shot into space
3. The Coming of Galactus
4. Captain Stacy dying in Spider-Man's arms
5. Maybe an obvious pick but: the YouTube clip from Kick-Ass

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Miracle Man #15
2. Hulk and Thor fight.
3. The superhero scrap at the end of Final Crisis
4. Death of Superman
5. Superman vs. Mohammad Ali

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1 - Any appearance by Galactus
2 - Any appearance by Gorgo
3 - Any appearance by Little Annie Fanny
4 - Any appearance by Sally Forth (Wally Wood's character, not the comic strip)
5 - Any appearance by Keiko Kamen

*****

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Tim O'Shea

1. When the Avengers Found Cap
2. Black Bolt speaking
3. Batman knocking Guy Gardner out with one punch
4. Beta Ray Bill defeating Thor
5. When Tom Beland first met Lily Garcia

*****

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Adam Casey

1. Newsreels of the Justice Society fighting in WWII
2. The Great Cow Race
3. Omni-Man v.s. Invincible
4. Kira killing Lind L. Taylor
5. A Booster Gold hosted infomercial

*****

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John Vest

1. Galactus stepping out of his spaceship for the first time in New York.
2. Howard the Duck's press conference when he was running for president.
3. Matt Murdock defending the Hulk in court.
4. Doctor Strange and Clea at Time Square on New Year's Eve when Nightmare shows up with dinosaurs and ancient warriors.
5. Reed and Sue publicly announcing their engagement.

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Penny Century's marriage to Herve Costigan (wonder what the dress looked like?)
2. Snoopy speech at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and the riot that ensued
3. Popeye establishes the One-Way Bank
4. Silver Surfer, Galactus and the Watcher at the Baxter Building in the Trilogy
5. Any of Dr Wonmug's televised time machine adventures of Alley Oop -- they all would end up on the net.

*****

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Richard Pachter

* Giant squid lands in NY and kills millions.
* Darkseid's minions run amok during Final Crisis.
* Obadiah Stane takes over Stark Industries
* Supergirl revealed to the world
* Fred Hembeck destroys the Marvel Universe

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Those two brawling bruisers in DESTROY! that demolished Manhattan
2) Galactus arriving on Earth for the first time in FF 48-50.
3) The Spirit blasting off for the moon
4) Superman announcing the existence of Supergirl to the world
5) Superman splits in two (Superman Red and Superman Blue)

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. The Sisters of Death appearing over Mega-City One.
2. Superman wrestling that big bull angel in San Francisco.
3. Charlie the ship's pilot droid battling the Terra-Meks in Northpool.
4. Spider-Man fighting the Fly across the NYC rooftops while handcuffed to J. Jonah Jameson and a bomb.
5. The 1969 episode of "Explain My Mystery" which invited Dr. Who to appear as one of the panelists. That is, if the BBC in the comic strip universe didn't erase that episode.

*****

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Russell Lissau

1. Galactus lands in New York and battles the FF (the first time)
2. The Eiffel Tower comes to life (Umbrella Academy)
3. Spider-Man unmasks
4. Iron Man unmasks
5. The Bat-signal is turned on for the first time

*****

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David King

* Earth Blows up (Legion of Super Heroes #38)
* Moon Blows Up (LSH #?? [prior to explosion of earth])
* Yeti Footprints from Tintin in Tibet
* Mack White's Lee Harvey Oswald comic in Hotwire #1
* Archie beating off those guys so he could make time with Betty (I mean, I wouldn't exactly *scramble* to see it, but it might be funny if I chanced across it)

*****

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Gary Usher

1. The Fantastic Four Roast
2. Galactus sets up shop atop the Baxter Building
3. The first public appearance of Superman in 1938 car lifted over his head and all
4. The wedding of Superman and Lois Lane
5. Birdland by Gilbert Hernandez (oops, wrong You****)

*****

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Chris Randle

1. The Clash at Demonhead violently break up at Lee's Palace
2. Howard the Duck accepts presidential nomination
3. Crusty sailor Popeye opens unorthodox one-way bank in response to economic crisis
4. Magneto takes a lot of drugs, goes crazy, wreaks destruction on New York City
5. Chicago-area cartoonist Ivan Brunetti goes on killing spree

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Flesh Garden and Dale Light watch as an alien creature prepares to devour Dr. Noah Zark.
2. Little Orphan Melvin reveals why she calls Daddy Peacebucks "daddy."
3. Teddy-and-the-Pirates and Half-Shot watch Burma Shave perform "St. Louis Woman" in an Oriental nightclub.
4. Washed ashore on an island, the boss of the Black-and-Blue-Hawks is confronted by the leader of the revolution.
5. After discovering he's Clark Bent, Lois Pain stomps over Superduperman 'cuz he's still a creep.

*****
*****
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Toren Smith!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Olivier Berlion!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Zidrou!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Ashley Holt!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Lee Myung Jin!

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Happy 28th Birthday, Rafael Albuquerque!

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Happy 72nd Birthday, Bachs!

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Happy 66th Birthday, Juan Sarompas!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Roberto D’Arcangelo!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Antonio!

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Happy 36th Birthday, J. Scott Campbell!

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Happy 37th Birthday, Troy Nixey!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Tanino Liberatore!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Gary Martin!

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First Thought Of The Day

I think I'd like it just fine if the digital/print-on-demand revolution ends up in a place I'm allowed to build my own trade paperbacks.
 
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April 11, 2009


Metabunker Names Best Of 2008

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Matthias Wivel, Thomas Thorhauge and Henry Sorensen at Metabunker have named their best comics for 2008. It's an admirable list and an engaging article. If this is the last critics' list for that year, the general enterprise has ended on a very good note.

Comic Of The Year
* La Guerre d'Alan Vol. 3/Alan's War, Emmanuel Guibert

List Of Ten
* Flesh and Blood Comix, R. Crumb
* Explainers, Jules Feiffer
* Operation Mort, Shigeru Mizuki
* Chasseur Deprime, Moebius
* Gary Panter, Gary Panter
* Le Tricheur, Florent Ruppert & Jerome Mulot
* "Chechen War, Chechen Women," I Live Here, Joe Sacco
* Bottomless Bully Button, Dash Shaw
* ACME Novelty Library #19, Chris Ware
* Travel, Yuichi Yokoyama

Disappointment Of The Year
* Kramers Ergot 7, Various

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Missed It: Paul Madonna’s Inauguration Sketchbook 2009 From All Over Coffee

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James C. Langdell explains: "I mentioned in email several weeks ago that the SF Chronicle was doing different "extras" each day leading up to their anniversary (if they make it that far...). There was a beautiful page of artwork from Obama's inauguration that was featured one day, but did not seem to appear at the web sites for either the artist (Paul "All Over Coffee" Madonna)or the newspaper.

I see that there's a web page at the Chronicle's site with the artwork published that day. This made a powerful impression in print, at the full width of the newspaper page. Online, it's still worth a look."
 
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Woman Arrested For Threats To Oda

imageA woman was arrested earlier this week for threatening the manga creator Eiichiro Oda, according to a short report in Japan Today. The medium of choice was e-mail, which is so dopey it sort of makes one feel sorry for the person doing it even though such threats are an abominable thing and can't be stomached on any level. The article reports that the reason for the threats is that the accuser's husband had been let go from Oda's studio.
 
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Go Look: Monsters & Dames

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well, a couple of them, anyway
 
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Shamus Acquires Big Apple Con

Wizard dropped a press release yesterday declaring that Gareb Shamus, their founder and CEO, has acquired the long-running Big Apple Con and will run it as a Fall show starting this year. This will make it the only bigger Fall show in the city: Reed Exhibitions' New York Comic-Con has announced it will move into a Fall iteration from its previous winter dates, but will do so starting in 2010.

This story hits on a number of interesting, eyebrow-raising points. Shamus made the purchase and not Wizard, which will likely make some people look at this as a potential exit strategy and landing point for Shamus if Wizard continues its several-month shrink and multiple-enterprise closure period. It marks an acquisition for Shamus after his Wizard Entertainment has stepped back from shows in Los Angeles and Dallas due to economic concerns, which is interesting in terms of what kind of show might still be viable where. It puts the Shamus/Wizard camp as much as they operate together into more of a direct competition with Reed, which will also soon have a Chicago show that will jostle for Windy City superiority with Wizard's flagship show there. It also in a historical sense marks a move into the New York market for Shamus that several years ago many thought was an inevitable development for his company. Much has changed in intervening years.

Wizard reportedly continued its massive purge of personnel from 2007 levels by letting go of, I'm told by sources, Vice-President/CFO Ed DuPre and Associate Editor Brett White. A previously announced move of the entire company into its New York City sales offices is forthcoming.

Video Game Expo, who had previously announced a partnership with Wizard World Philly, will expand that arrangement to include the Chicago Wizard show and the New York Shamus show. Current Big Apple Con producer Michael Carbonaro will stay on with the new show. Wizard provided Benji DeJohn (Show Manager) and Joe Favorito (Media Contact) as contact persons related to the show.

Related, sort of: This is very funny if you're a hardcore industry inside-joke person.
 
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Go, Look: David Lasky Design

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Collective Memory: ECCC 2009

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archived
 
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Go, Look: Two By Alfredo Alcala

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Go, Look: Nightmare Flight

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Go, Look: Draw Comics

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Go, Look: Cartoon Flophouse Blog

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* if you didn't notice, I couldn't get on the site from Tuesday evening until late yesterday. We apologize for the delay in bringing you up to date material, and will endeavor to use the experience to help make any delays in the future much shorter ones. As a bonus, those of you paying attention this week now know what the site will look like the first few days after I die in my sleep.

* Mark Evanier had a pair of updates from Len Wein, whose family was burned out of their home on Monday morning. It looks like one nice thing that the larger comics community will be able to do for Wein is to help restore his massive library, particularly of works created by Len Wein.

image* influenced by forces including but not limited to a nascent Team Comics impulse and an unwillingness to believe something I liked that much could be that bad in movie form, seventeen-year-old me wrote one of the only two or three positive reviews in the American press of the 1986 Howard The Duck movie, finally available in all the popular home formats. Keith Phipps at Slate takes a second look at the film, which quickly turns into an extended meditation on Steve Gerber's comic book. You sort of have to have been reading and paying attention to comics before 1986 to know just how much that movie eviscerated the comic book's reputation.

* the writer and prominent comics blogger Kevin Church looks up what pops up as popular searches for the name "Kitty Pryde" and then makes a Mr. Yuck face.

* the talented cartoonist Adrian Tomine in his World Without Borders interview gives a couple of interesting pieces of advice: start small, and say no to as many interviews as possible. Tomine seems to think it would benefit many comics authors not to sign that big contract until they're ready, and joins a growing number of cartoonists and comics makers who are making less and less time for interviews. I'm not sure I can blame them: they don't seem to move books and may indeed hold within them the perils of speaking in an off-the-cuff fashion. Except mine.

* I agree with most of this. Alfred and Bat-Mite are definitely additional advantages for Batman, though.

* not comics: Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson has passed away from complications arising from cancer. Arneson had to sue the Dungeons and Dragons people for some of the proper co-creator status he always deserved in spirit and probably deserved via much more money. When I paid attention to the American comics industry and American gaming industries at the same time for a brief amount of time, Arneson always seemed to me to be a lot like similarly, justifiably disgruntled creators in the mainstream comics realm from over the years. I don't know if that's a comparison that would hold up to severe scrutiny, but it felt the same.

* I can't wait for Percy Carey's list of comics-related businesses that seem determined to stay small-time. That would be interesting to read, as I can't think of a one.

* speaking of interesting reads, Eric Reynolds digs up a great quote from a 1996 interview with Chris Oliveros in Jeff Levine's Destroy All Comics, one of two magazines trying to outflank The Comics Journal in the mid-1990s. (Destroy All Comics focused on a lot of new artists they felt weren't being covered and was more unabashedly enthusiastic about supporting them; Crash seemed to think the Journal didn't browbeat its interview subjects enough). The nut of the quote is that Oliveros couldn't even conceive of a time that when comics authors did works for the book market without serializing them in comic book form first; now that's basically all he publishes. I always say this, but a relative success scale really favors a lot of smaller concerns. If in 1996 you had asked Chris Oliveros and Kim Thompson to describe a wished-for market for 2010 and Marvel and DC executives to do the same, I bet Oliveros and Thompson's description would be a lot closer to the market they have than the mainstream executives' would be to the market they have.

* not comics: Fantagraphics reports that Unlovable has been picked up by Urban Outfitters for display in a suite of stores. That could be interesting or a footnote; I have no idea.

* finally, I'm not much of Bomb Queen fan, but let's make one thing clear: no child needs Silas Marner.
 
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Happy 49th Birthday, Eric Warnauts!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Koichi Tokita!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Esdras!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Giuseppe Barbati!

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Happy 42nd Birthday, Donald Soffritti!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Massimo Rotundo!

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Happy 34th Birthday, Scott O. Brown!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Matt Kindt!

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Quick hits
Craft
On Re-Coloring Moebius
Sho Murase Advertising Art (Via)

Exhibits/Events
ECCC 2009 Report
Webcomics In Toronto Report

History
Bring Back L-10!
On Sekoswky-Era JLA
Tuska Iron Man Kind Of Porny
Oddly-Constituted Collectors' Packs

Industry
Darwyn Cooke Holds Court
Marvel Announces Retailer Resource Center

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Larry Young
Bookslut: Jules Feiffer
Newsarama: Greg Rucka
Newsarama: Jason Aaron
Newsarama: Eric Trautmann
Savage Critics: Adam Knave 01
Savage Critics: Adam Knave 02
Savage Critics: Adam Knave 03
2000 AD Review: Jonathan Oliver
That Humbug-Related Mr. Media Interview
Graphic Novel Reporter: Gene Luen Yang, Derek Kirk Kim

Not Comics
I Like The Look Of These
The Death Of Mr. Service
Man Shoots Himself During Watchmen
Some Days I Don't Understand The Internet

Publishing
First Look At The Nobody
Introducing Solomon Stone
The Color Of Earth Previewed

Reviews
Tucker Stone: Various
Grant Goggans: Albion
Jeffery Klaehn: Seaguy
Richard Bruton: Coraline
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Sean T. Collins: Supermen!
Cecil and Jordan in New York
Tim O'Neil: Flash: Rebirth #1
Grant Goggans: Apollo's Song
Greg McElhatton: In The Flesh
Robin McConnell: Asterios Polyp
Sean T. Collins: Batman: Year 100
Leroy Douresseaux: Toko Kawai's Cut
Grant Goggans: James Bond: Polestar
Sandy Bilus: X-Men & Spider-Man: #1-4
Andrew Wheeler: Three By Jeffrey Brown
Johanna Draper Carlson: Honey Hunt Vol. 1
Andy Frisk: Batman: Battle For The Cowl #2
Andy Frisk: Superman: World of New Krypton #2
Johanna Draper Carlson: Tilting At Windmills Vol. 2
Sean Kleefeld: Memoirs Of An Occasional Superheroine
 

 
April 10, 2009


Friday Distraction: Inside Woody Allen

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I prefer the earlier, funnier strips
 
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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Happy 52nd Birthday, James Hudnall!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Bill Marks!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Scott Hampton!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Jacques Loustal!

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April 9, 2009


If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Marino Neri

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April 8, 2009


Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Chris Ware's "Jordan W. Lint" continues its serialization in Virginia Quarterly Review, which was also the home for the publication of newer material collected into last year's Breakdowns re-issue. You can read a couple of pages from the fourth installment here.

image* a new issue of Miriam Libicki's jobnik! is out, taking up where the graphic novel leaves off.

* many of you may have already known this and it's probably appeared in solicitation copy somewhere by now but MOME is going to serialize T. Edward Bak's Wild Man starting with issue #15. That should be good. I don't know which issue is which, but that one should be out pretty soon. And a serialized Fuzz & Pluck story will indeed begin with issue #16, confirms co-editor Eric Reynolds.

* finally, here's a nice interview with Top Shelf co-publisher Chris Staros about their 2009 publishing plans: the Lemire collection, Alan Moore book and Eddie Campbell project I've talked about at length, but how about an all-in-one omnibus of Marshal Law stories? I like it.

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked is a way for Comics Reporter to organize and pay more attention to raw publishing news: what is coming out and when and what it might look like. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Go, Buy: Tom Neely Art Sale

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Hanther!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Erica Raven!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Nicolas Guenet!

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April 7, 2009


Your 2009 Eisner Award Nominees

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The Eisner Awards earlier today released its list of nominees for the 2009 iteration of its long-running program. They are:

Best Short Story
* Actual Size, by Chris Ware, in Kramers Ergot 7 (Buenaventura Press)
* Chechen War, Chechen Women, by Joe Sacco, in I Live Here (Pantheon)
* Freaks, by Laura Park, in Superior Showcase #3 (AdHouse)
* Glenn Ganges in Pulverize, by Kevin Huizenga, in Ganges #2 (Fantagraphics)
* Murder He Wrote, by Ian Boothby, Nina Matsumoto, and Andrew Pepoy, in The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror #14 (Bongo)

Best Continuing Series
* All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
* Fables, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Andrew Pepoy, and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
* Thor, by J. Michael Straczynski, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, and various (Marvel)
* Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

Best Limited Series
* Groo: Hell on Earth, by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier (Dark Horse)
* Hellboy: The Crooked Man, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
* Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
* Omega the Unknown, by Jonathan Lethem, Karl Rusnak, and Farel Dalrymple (Marvel)
* The Twelve, by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston (Marvel)

Best New Series
* Air, by G. Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker (Vertigo/DC)
* Echo, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
* Invincible Iron Man, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)
* Madame Xanadu, by Matt Wagner, Amy Reeder Hadley, and Richard Friend (Vertigo/DC)
* Unknown Soldier, by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli (Vertigo/DC)

Best Publication for Kids
* Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kabuishi (Scholastic Graphix)
* Cowa!, by Akira Toriyama (Viz)
* Princess at Midnight, by Andi Watson (Image)
* Stinky, by Eleanor Davis (RAW Junior)
* Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)

Best Publication for Teens/Tweens
* Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children's Books)
* Crogan's Vengeance, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
* The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin, by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh (Scholastic Graphix)
* Rapunzel's Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale and Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury Children's Books)
* Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)

Best Humor Publication
* Arsenic Lullaby Pulp Edition No. Zero, by Douglas Paszkiewicz (Arsenic Lullaby)
* Chumble Spuzz, by Ethan Nicolle (SLG)
* Herbie Archives, by "Sean O'Shea" (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)
* Petey and Pussy, by John Kerschbaum (Fantagraphics)
* Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers, by David Malki (Dark Horse)

Best Anthology
* An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Vol. 2, edited by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press)
* Best American Comics 2008, edited by Lynda Barry (Houghton Mifflin)
* Comic Book Tattoo: Narrative Art Inspired by the Lyrics and Music of Tori Amos, edited by Rantz Hoseley (Image)
* Kramers Ergot 7, edited by Sammy Harkham (Buenaventura Press)
* MySpace Dark Horse Presents, edited by Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn (Dark Horse)

Best Digital Comic
* Bodyworld, by Dash Shaw
* Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil
* The Lady's Murder, by Eliza Frye
* Speak No Evil: Melancholy of a Space Mexican, by Elan Trinidad
* Vs., by Alexis Sottile & Joe Infurnari

Best Reality-Based Work
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story, by Frederik Peeters (Houghton Mifflin)
* Fishtown, by Kevin Colden (IDW)
* A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child, by Rick Geary (NBM)
* What It Is, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album -- New
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Paul Goes Fishing, by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
* Swallow Me Whole, by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
* Three Shadows, by Cyril Pedrosa (First Second)

Best Graphic Album -- Reprint
* Berlin Book 2: City of Smoke, by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Hellboy Library Edition, Vols. 1-2, by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
* Sam & Max Surfin' the Highway Anniversary Edition HC, by Steve Purcell (Telltale Games)
* Skyscrapers of the Midwest, by Joshua W. Cotter (AdHouse)
* The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite, deluxe edition, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba (Dark Horse)

Best Archival Collection/Project -- Strips
* The Complete Little Orphan Annie, by Harold Gray (IDW)
* Explainers, by Jules Feiffer (Fantagraphics)
* Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press Books)
* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles (IDW)
* Willie & Joe, by Bill Mauldin (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project -- Comic Books
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
* Creepy Archives, by Various (Dark Horse)
* Elektra Omnibus, by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz (Marvel)
* Good-Bye, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Herbie Archives, by "Sean O'Shea" (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
* Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
* Gus and His Gang, by Chris Blain (First Second)
* The Last Musketeer, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
* The Rabbi's Cat 2, by Joann Sfar (Pantheon)
* Tamara Drewe, by Posy Simmonds (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material -- Japan
* Cat Eyed Boy, by Kazuo Umezu (Viz)
* Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
* Naoki Urasawa's Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
* The Quest for the Missing Girl, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Solanin, by Inio Asano (Viz)

Best Writer
* Joe Hill, Lock & Key (IDW)
* J. Michael Straczynski, Thor, The Twelve (Marvel)
* Mariko Tamaki, Skim (Groundwood Books)
* Matt Wagner, Zorro (Dynamite); Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* Bill Willingham, Fables, House of Mystery (Vertigo/DC)

Best Writer/Artist
* Rick Geary, A Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Lindbergh Child (NBM); J. Edgar Hoover (Hill & Wang)
* Emmanuel Guibert, Alan's War (First Second)
* Jason Lutes, Berlin (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Cyril Pedrosa, Three Shadows (First Second)
* Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Acme)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
* Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Mark Buckingham/Steve Leialoha, Fables (Vertigo/DC)
* Olivier Coipel/Mark Morales, Thor (Marvel)
* Guy Davis, BPRD (Dark Horse)
* Amy Reeder Hadley/Richard Friend, Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* Jillian Tamaki, Skim (Groundwood Books)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist
* Lynda Barry, What It Is (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Eddie Campbell, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard (First Second)
* Enrico Casarosa, The Venice Chronicles (Atelier Fio/AdHouse)
* Scott Morse, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! (Red Window)
* Jill Thompson, Magic Trixie, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Best Cover Artist
* Gabriel Ba, Casanova (Image); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Jo Chen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity (Dark Horse); Runaways (Marvel)
* Amy Reeder Hadley, Madame Xanadu (Vertigo/DC)
* James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
* Matt Wagner, Zorro (Dynamite); Grendel: Behold the Devil (Dark Horse)

Best Coloring
* Steve Hamaker, Bone: Ghost Circles, Bone: Treasure Hunters (Scholastic Graphix)
* Trish Mulvihill, Joker (DC), 100 Bullets (Vertigo/DC)
* Val Staples, Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon)
* Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse); Body Bags (Image); Captain America: White (Marvel)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)

Best Lettering
* Faryl Dalrymple, Omega: The Unknown (Marvel)
* Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! (Renaissance)
* Scott Morse, Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! (Red Window)
* Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
* Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, Michael Dean, and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael
* Comics Comics, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (PictureBox)

Best Comics-Related Book
* Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, by Todd DePastino (Norton)
* Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens, edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner (Underwood)
* Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second)
* Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (Abrams)
* The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, by David Hajdu (Picador/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Best Publication Design
* Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! designed by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)
* Comic Book Tattoo, designed by Tom Muller, art direction by Rantz Hoseley (Image)
* Hellboy Library Editions, designed by Cary Grazzini and Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
* What It Is, designed by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Willie and Joe, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)

*****

The Eisners will be awarded during the weekend of Comic-Con International.

*****
*****
 
posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn’t A Library: New And Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's largely 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 works listed here. I might not buy any. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would more than likely pick up the following and look them over, triggering an extended crossover.

*****

AUG080039 HARVEY COMICS CLASSICS TP VOL 05 HARVEY GIRLS $19.95
One of the strange things if you're a certain age about a volume of comics coming out starring "Little" characters (Dot, Lotta, Audrey...) is that you realize how many Harvey comics you read when you were a kid and how much you didn't mind that many of them featured girl characters in the lead. Mostly, though, it's the volume... It's like there was something that turned Avengers comic books into unique items of regard that never quite hit that stack of 350 Harveys you and the other members of Cherokee cabin consumed at summer camp. This is how all comics used to work.

DEC082268 SWORD #16 (MR) $2.99
FEB090105 BPRD BLACK GODDESS #4 (OF 5) $2.99
JAN090285 NORTHLANDERS #16 (MR) $2.99
Your well-regarded action-adventure serial comics of the week, although I think Sword may be well-regarded only by me and since it's a light week my reemergent comics shop habits would have me looking at something like Northlanders, which I remember being solid and entertaining but haven't looked in on lately.

FEB094289 COLOR OF EARTH GN $16.95
I'm reading this right now and still have no idea what it is. I'll ask my comic shop clerk, Isaac Internet. Okay. Uh huh... Apparently, it's the first part of a three-part translation of a Korean work: First Second's first translation from Asia, I think, and that alone may be worth a look from some of you . I can assure you that the first 10 pages are good.

JAN093930 AND THERE YOU ARE GN (MR) $15.00
This is the one I'd be most curious to pick up and handle were I able to get to a full-service comic shop. The cover (reproduced at the top of this post) looks nice, and my gut impulse is to reward AdHouse for sticking to its publishing guns when there are definitely companies in and especially out of comics are turtling up a bit. In other words, I would give this one every chance, and that's a great thing about comics shops. Here's a preview I haven't looked at yet.

JAN092368 POPGUN GN VOL 03 $29.99
One of the better series in the giant assault of color comics school of trade collections, and one I'm looking forward to digging into. I think this has the Mike Dawson superhero brother battle, which amused me when I saw it on-line.

OCT080048 GANTZ TP VOL 04 (MR) $12.95
JAN094494 SLAM DUNK GN VOL 03 $7.99
Two manga series of interest. I greatly enjoy Slam Dunk whenever I get to read it, and it's better in book form because the progression in skill set is portrayed in painstaking fashion. We're going to see every dribble, every drill, so we might as well see a chunk of them at a time.

FEB094257 SHORTCOMINGS TP (MR) $14.95
Finally, if you're looking for a sure thing, there's what I'm guessing is a softcover version of Adrian Tomine's most recent work, a funny and surprisingly affecting story that holds up to multiple readings.

*****

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 so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, 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. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I didn't list your comic, you should take it personally.

*****
*****
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
More On Len Wein’s Home Fire

* here's the official police report. (thanks, Scott and John) The note includes the cause of the two-room fire and the jaw-dropping estimation of contents at $4000, which can't be a reflection if initial anecdotes about lost original art turn out to be true.

image* you can read from a lot from Harlan Ellison and various comics folk on Ellison's messageboard-driven site about the family of Len Wein and the fire that destroyed their home and killed a favored family pet. Ellison describes in a post made at approximately 9:15 last night the loss of Wein's massive art collection and various other objects and mementos collected during his long career, nearly all of which are irreplaceable. Ellison also mentions that insurance should restore everyone involved to an amenable housing situation.

* Wein's friend Mark Evanier talks about the fire here and here.

* while there's little that needs to be done for Wein right at this moment, if there arises a situation where people might provide assistance I hope that it's made public and that folks will be generous on his behalf. It might be worth it for some of you to bookmark Wein's web presence in order to keep track of this.

* I further hope that perhaps the folks behind the new Wolverine movie can be convinced to lend a hand seeing as they're working with one of Wein's creations and he's been a genial advocate of their work with the character.
 
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Michael George Bail Denied For Now

As a result of a decision to retry the Michigan murder conviction of prominent Pennsylvania comics retailer and convention organizer Michael George being moved to an appeals court for review, the presiding judge will wait to rule on whether or not the accused will be able to receive bail until that new hearing or related movement. George had be pressing for bail based in part on claims of failing health. The move into an appeals court so that they can reconsider the decision made to retry George may delay the general proceedings about six months. George's lawyers plan to seek other avenues for that motion.
 
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Another Cartoonist Loses Staff Position

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Editor & Publisher confirms that was indeed Tom Meyer on the buyout list leaked into a smattering of media blogs several days ago. Mayer's last day was Friday. He had been with the paper since 1981, and plans to continue cartooning as a freelancer. Editor John Diaz pays tribute here.
 
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
New Case Filed Re: Stan Lee Media

This press release states that a new suit has been filed against Stan Lee and his current company POW Entertainment in regards to a loose confederation of parties that has formed around the argument that Lee assigned rights to the Internet company bearing his name during its creation and then later negotiated a personal settlement with Marvel based on an interest in his co-creations at that company that should instead go to Stan Lee Media because of that previous assignation. Please keep in mind that this is PR. My thoughts on this story is that we long ago reached the point where it doesn't matter if there's enough legitimacy in an argument to sway whomever the interested parties try to browbeat in e-mails or to whomever will give their arguments the platform of an article, but whether or not the actual lawsuits work and return money to the SLM holders as intended. This is another step in our knowing this.
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
More Writing On Frank Springer

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There were a couple of pieces of note that I didn't see until after yesterday's obituary for Frank Springer. I liked this personal reminiscence from writer James Vance that gets into some of the lesser-known corners of the late artist's career. Mike Lynch generates enthusiasm for the breadth of Springer's career, and digs up a few NCS-related photos and artwork.

I apologize for the potential offense in the title of the above comic book, but his run of covers on the Dell comic was some of his most enjoyable work
 
posted 8:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Another Essay On Monetizing Webcomics

I intensely disliked this essay from Todd Allen on monetizing webcomics. It presumes or asserts a lot of things that I think aren't true. I could hash some of those out, but I'm not sure that should be up to me. I'd suggest the bigger danger in the piece is that it just sort of failes to meet what should be the minimum standard of expectations for such articles at this point in the on-line comic's development. Jeremiads about a coming storm may have worked in 2002, but today's essays demand specifics. If you're suggesting a whole new model for players to endorse based on a current model or series of same, shouldn't there be some figures available about who is making money, how many of these people there are, and how they're doing it? Without specifics, what we get is less of a cogent argument and more of a late-night rant at the hotel bar. I think we may be better off with a full night's sleep.

The reason numbers are important is that we're talking about a potential shift in terms of overall business strategy, or at least the inclusion of a entire new set of revenue streams. Choices made might limit and define the next round of choices. Anecdotal evidence of a few people doing well or assurances that a few more are doing better than they used to? That just doesn't cut it, not for the degree of change asserted as necessary, and not for the chasm of need for new models to try and new thinking to apply. Enough broadly-defined success stories to fill a Reader's Digest story will never be a convincing fulcrum for paradigm change.

That doesn't mean that each individual story isn't wonderful, and that the growing viability of certain options isn't terrific. I'm all for all of it. I make a living on-line, too. I'm delighted when other people use a similar opportunity as the cornerstone of an effective business model. But asserting anything as inevitable, let alone an epochal shift, just seems to me to miss the point. I was also making a living on-line in the last couple of years of the last decade when we were told that the models paying us at that time would be the dominant ones sooner rather than later, that there was no turning back, and that we were going to see an extinction event for other ways before the first Bush mid-terms. It didn't happen.

I guess I don't see the need for -- or wisdom of -- either/or arguments. Not anymore. Print's in trouble and there are opportunities online. That's been a story for 12 years now. I'm not convinced anyone needs to argue it ever again. Every single publisher of comics I know thinks about how to best utilize the on-line avenues available to them. Most of them have since the late 1990s. A few folks in that business were thinking about it before that. So do cartoonists who currently derive a significant amount of income from potentially endangered revenue models. Heck, my mom's friends ask after making money on-line.

I want better arguments. I've always found it odd to criticize people who make millions and millions and millions of dollars year-in and year-out for how they manage the overall bottom line based on a small, cherry-picked sample and a lot of portentous language about the future. Let's face it: If you get to name as your side all the strategies that have worked for webcomics people no matter how small the sample or how many people it's failed or how many crappy strategies there have been against an industry you get to define in terms of the most egregious future potential failure of which you can conceive, you're going to win that argument every time, in every business.

What the rise of on-line revenue models should teach us isn't a certainty in one way over the other but a lesson in the capriciousness of all revenue models. The sustained howl wrapping itself around some publishing enterprises as they crash and burn isn't necessarily a wail that other revenue streams where neglected. It could just as well be the shudder of a sobering realization concerning how those enterprises were taken for granted and abused to the point they became unsuccessful. It could be a lot of things. For me it's an eye-opening series of moments where we learn that certain revenue models were never as sturdy as anyone thought. I believe a clear vision of the landscape five years from now is still very much in flux. Current models in vogue may develop a downside or a limitation we haven't seen yet. New models are almost certain to emerge. Allen's essay allows that something as rudimentary and as still relatively untested as Warren Ellis' framework for presenting his Freakangels alters the conversation. That's not a world where all the animals have been named. Even in the much more stable general footing of years past, comics makers would rifle through a half-dozen primary revenue models and are still looking for more. I think we should support them all and consider the idea that things may never settle down, that the new way of doing things is new ways of doing things.

If webcomics advocates are going to insist to fight this supposed battle for hearts and minds where a little less shoe-smacking on the podum would likely reveal everyone agrees with them and is paying just as much attention as they are, they should at least have the good sense to go house to house, and nail down some specific figures and some specific numbers and some specific models. Maybe that group of doing comics will win and set a new standard for the next 40 years, maybe it's a series of new models to join the old ones, all of which have a chance to blink in and out of existence in six months' time. Either way, I think we'd have a better foundation than we do right now, a better dialogue.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near A Computer, I’d Listen To This

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posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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Go, Read: Uncle Milt

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Go, Look: Blue Tracer

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Go, Look: Best Cartoons (1945)

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Go, Look: About Space

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posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I believe the Eisner Award nominations are imminent.

* the writer Sean T. Collins notes that Jeffrey Brown has been writing about process lately. If I remember my recent press releases correctly, Brown's new book is out today.

* I'd wish Greg Stump a happy birthday today, but I have no idea how old he is, so he has to settle for a line in this post. Sorry, Greg!

image* for no particular reason, here are a few suggestions from last week's call for fun webcomics that came back after the supplemental list went up: Space Girl, Chester 5000 XYV and the comics that occasionally pop up on old andy pandy. I'd never heard of any of these and they're all accomplished work of one type or another. The second is naughty, if that makes a difference in your wanting to click on it.

* here are some comics reviews from the editor of St. Louis, Bryan Hollerbach.

* did I miss this? Because that's a crappy way to find out you're out of a job.

* finally, because Diamond's new minimums left open whether or not Xeric Foundation winners will get automatic access or merely special consideration to be carried in the all-important Direct Market catalog Previews, I thought I'd publish a recent positive-experience letter from cartoonist Felix Tannenbaum here:
Here's the story of one Xeric Winner's experience with Diamond and the new minimum order system.

I won a Xeric grant in May of last year and was able to get my GN (
Chronicles of Some Made) printed and finished by the winter. I had heard that Diamond was pretty rough on small press stuff so I never bothered to research how they worked. However, I was approached by one of their representatives at APE last year, and he encouraged me to submit my book and an application to Diamond, which I did.

imageIn December they agreed to distribute
COSM to retailers in April of this year, and then the news came in about the new minimum orders. I was very anxious about not making the minimum. Even though my book is a GN, it is a modestly priced one, and if I was to meet the new minimum order I would've had to sell about a thousand copies, which was of course very unlikely. The purchasing brand manager who I was dealing with let me know that the new minimums wouldn't start until the month after, but I would still have to contend with the old minimum order which would mean I would need to sell a little over 500, which of course, is also unlikely.

However, he told me that the guidelines are held much stronger for floppies that have a longer print run; so long as I had a "reasonable amount" of sales, they would distribute the order. So I crossed my fingers and waited.

COSM was in the February issue of Previews. I distributed some free copies through Diamond to retailers in order to let them know about it (unhappily, I did have to pay for this service which seems a bit unfair, as retailers get the book for free and any sale is pure profit, but i digress). In addition to that I received some favorable reviews at a few online comics sites.

In March I got a purchase order from Diamond -- only 220 were sold, but they are distributing them! I am not entirely sure if this is because of the Xeric, or because I barely made the deadline before the new minimum,or because I have a graphic novel instead of a floppy; but they will be on sale on April 29th, and if I understand correctly,
COSM will continue to be listed in previews.

So that is one guy's experience. I had prepared myself to be disappointed by my experience with Diamond, but they have been upfront, prompt and very helpful to me. I hope I am able to sell a whole crap load of comics with them!
Felix Tannenbaum can be found on-line here. It's a new era at Diamond with a rolling reaction to various recessionary pressures and some of the above may have occurred under different policies and/or sensibilities, but I thought it worth putting out there.
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 36th Birthday, Benoit Springer!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 84th Birthday, Roger Lecureux!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 36th Birthday, Timo Wuerz!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 36th Birthday, Relom!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 69th Birthday, Claire Bretecher!

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posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Extensive FLUKE Round-Up
Gail Simone Signs In Dublin
Craig Thompson At Stumptown

History
On Comic Foundry

Industry
It's Now Your Local Bookstore
How To Buy From Aurora's Big Sale
Young Lady Donates Her Manga Collection to Library

Interviews/Profiles
Bookslut: Gabe Fowler
The Daily Cross Hatch: Arnold Roth 01
The Daily Cross Hatch: Arnold Roth 02
The Daily Cross Hatch: Arnold Roth 03

Not Comics
Ask Neil
He Loves Punisher War Zone

Publishing
Happy Birthday, New CBR!
Marvel Is A Very Diverse Company
Should He Change His Sweet Format?
Buy Warren Ellis' Comic Because He Has Rickets

Reviews
Julia Keller: Various
Sandy Bilus: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Paul O'Brien: X-Infernus #1-4
Koppy McFad: Dead Romeo #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Amour #5
Don MacPherson: Nevermore #1
Kevin Church: Just So You Know #1
Joe Gordon: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Jeff Lester: Seaguy: The Slaves Of Mickey Eye #1
Leroy Douresseaux: Strawberry 100 Percent Vol. 8
Leroy Douresseaux: Wolverine: Prodigal Son Vol. 1
Koppy McFad: Batman: Battle of the Cowl -- Man-Bat #1
Leroy Douresseaux: The Evil Inside #5">Leroy Douresseaux: The Evil Inside #5
Leroy Douresseaux: Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Vol. 10
 

 
April 6, 2009


Len Wein And Family Survive House Fire At Wein Home Monday Morning

Scott Edelman was nice enough to send word that longtime editor and writer Len Wein had half of his house burn down earlier today. All humans survived, but the home's dog was a victim. Apparently this comes from longtime friend Harlan Ellison -- I haven't seen anything to confirm or counter this rumor and at this posting, I think I'm the first comics site to have it so no help there, either. Wein may have lost a number of original art pieces, and as he is currently working as a freelancer so this setback may be difficult for him to absorb like it would be for many folks.

Update: Confirmed.
 
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Frank Springer, 1929-2009

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Frank Springer, a talented illustrator who contributed work to a wide variety of comics works over a long and prolific career, passed away on Thursday in Maine from causes due to prostate cancer. He was 79 years old.

Springer was born in Queens. A fan of the great magazine illustrators of the 1930s and 1940s, he earned an art degree from Syracuse University in 1952. Springer was then drafted and served a tour of duty in the US Army where he was diverted from infantry training into a sting making maps and doing other commercial-style art work while stationed at Fort Dix. He was granted his release in 1954, and moved into freelance art work. From 1955 to 1960, he assisted cartoonist George Wunder on Terry and the Pirates, a few years removed from its World War II heyday, but still one of the most beautifully drawn of the comic strip dramas.

He moved into comic books in the early 1960s, working on a number of covers and interior pages for publisher Dell on books throughout that decade. This included titles Big Valley, Ghost Stories, Brain Boy, Charlie Chan, Tokay, Jungle King and Flying Saucers. His cover work in particular embraced a wide array of approaches, from simple figure drawing that popped out against some of the primary colors utilized to more traditional paperback book-style science fiction paintings.

imageIt was a side project published in 1965-1966 that would become his signature work: a largely satirical, and as much as copious nudity and abuse of said naked person is sexy arguably sexy adventure serial for The Evergreen Review called Phoebe Zeit-Geist, done in collaboration with Michael O'Donoghue, who would go on to become a vital figure in comedy writing at National Lampoon and NBC's Saturday Night. franchise. Evergreen Review was owned by Grove Press, who would publish a book version of the work in 1968, making Phoebe one of the very first works of its type published in a traditional book format.

He would as "Lance Sterling" do Frank Fleet And His Electronic Sex Machine for Evergreen Review, serialized in 1969-1970. This time he was working with "Dick Strong," which I'm guessing was also a pseudonym.

In the late 1960s he began to work for DC Comics, beginning an almost two-decade run for the bigger mainstream American comic book companies as a pencil artist and inker on a variety of second-run titles, such House of Mystery and the "Dial H For Hero" feature at DC; Spider-Woman and Transformers for Marvel. His work with Frank Robbins on a smattering of World War II superhero titles were about as close as the Noel Sickles/Milton Caniff approach to comics art ever had a workout in the pages of mainstream comics. Springer also worked on a number of projects from companies that aspired to the market decision held by the increasingly dominant Big Two, including Atlas/Seaboard, Charlton and Continuity.

The '70s were a particularly busy decade as Springer also returned to newspaper comics with runs on Rex Morgan, MD, Marvel's short-lived stab at an Incredible Hulk feature and Virtue of Vera Valiant. He was perhaps most famously during that period a contributor to National Lampoon's comics efforts, working under a variety of pen names for the bulk of the magazine's newsstand life. I believe his entry into National Lampoon was re-teaming with O'Donoghue on the fondly-remembered Tarzan of the Cows. He would go on to collaborate with a number of that publication's talented writing contributors, such as the late Doug Kenney.

Offers from Marvel and DC began to dry up for Springer in the late 1980s, a move on their part that Springer would later say he didn't regret as much as a similar youth movement may have hurt friends and more devoted comic book people such as Don Heck. In recent years, Springer rediscovered painting, worked on the occasional newspaper effort, did illustration for clients such as Sports Illustrated and did commissioned drawing work for fans. He and his wife moved to Maine in 1995 after several years on Long Island. They had planned on a return to the area before the cartoonist fell ill.

Springer was president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1995 to 1997, having become involved with the group in the late 1980s. He was an active and founding member of its famed Long Island chapter "The Berndt Toast Gang" and won divisional NCS awards three times.

Frank Springer is survived by a wife of 52 years, three sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a sister. A memorial service to be held in Long Island is in the planning stages.

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posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sandra de Haan

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The Rotterdam-based cartoonist Sandra De Haan has translated 26 of her comics into English in order to increase the size of her audience. It worked on me, at least.
 
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Michael George Re-Trial Likely Delayed

The Michigan Supreme Court has put the fate of prominent Pennsylvania retailer and convention organizer Michael George into the hands of an appellate court for the time being, calling for a full hearing on whether or not an original murder conviction of his then-wife in 1990 should be reinstated. The conviction had been set aside by Macomb County Judge James Biernat, citing prosecutorial misconduct and the emergence of new evidence. Next up for George is a decision on whether or not he might be released from jail pending the next course of legal action.
 
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Danish PM Named New NATO Head

imageAnders Fogh Rasmussen was named the new NATO chief over the weekend, over a series of public objections made by a few NATO members and led by Turkey, who as late as Thursday night were said to be blocking Rasmussen's ascension to that post. The reason for those objections was a perceived insensitivity to Muslims underlined by his actions during the 2006 Danish Cartoons Controversy. The new NATO head spoke earlier today about keeping those general concerns in mind as he goes about performing the duties expected of him in that position.

I'm a little confused that Rasmussen gets painted as such as hard-line free speech advocate, because my memory is that he was fairly moderate during the actual run of riots and protests -- not in a way where anything said about him is untrue, but it seemed to me he negotiated that period in a way that a different set of actions/statements could be emphasized if someone went back and collected that information. My memory could be faulty. Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, him I remember being adamant throughout, and remains so today.

The irony of Turkey driving a protest based on an event related to cartooning when their Prime Minister seems to cuff them about the head and body with lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits is probably lost on every single person not a huge comics nerd.

photo copyright World Economic Forum and used under this arrangement. At least I think I'm doing that correctly.
 
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Go, Look: Nick Mullins’ Re-Launched Web Site And Re-Worked Comics Story

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From Mr. Mullins: "I just redid my site and put the blog on the first page. I've also decided to repost the comic I've been working on, Carnivale: A Kit Kaleidoscope Story. I've been working on it for years and posting pages as I complete them. But then after about 40 pages, I decided to redo the first 20. I posted some of the revisions on my site. I thought having both versions up was potentially confusing, so I decided to just put the final version in one place to avoid confusion."
 
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Missed It: Ben Templesmith Makes A Cover, Photographed In Stages

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Missed It: April Fools Little Lulu

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Go, Look: True Chubbo

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not safe for life
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's difficult to imagine a context where this newspaper editor that dropped a comics section doesn't come across as a total douchebag. Leaving out a section of the paper was a firing offense when I was a teen working on them, a lot of people in that industry are out of work right now without ever having done something that dumb and why an editor would poke at a readership that really likes and depends on a section of their newspaper is beyond me. Besides, it was the papers themselves that embraced the "we'll provide an array of services" over the "we'll provide exquisite journalism" model, so it's not like they should whine about being held to a standard into which they tossed themselves willingly and seemingly overjoyed to count on high profit margins until very recently. I wish I subscribed so I could cancel. Seriously, this stuff matters: as much as those trend articles about going on the Internet or whatever hold true, I bet if you talked to former newspaper readers one by one that tens of thousands of them would cite a bad article that insulted a local sports team for no reason or a 4-H picture caption that mis-ID'ed a bunch of kids or a paper "boy" who roared by in a truck and never got the paper more than six inches past the curb.

image* I missed this: John Porcellino's Thoreau at Walden won first place in the graphic novel category March 24 at something called the New York Book Show, organized by the Bookbinders' Guild of New York. Into The Volcano and The Good Neighbor Vol. 1 were the second and third place books, respectively.

* not comics: Roger Ebert writes a lovely reminiscence about working at the Chicago Sun-Times in the 1960s and 1970s, the last great age of the newspaper as redefined in the 20th Century. Some comics-obsessed idiot tries to goose him into telling a Bill Mauldin story in the comments, to no avail. My new theory is that newspapers were doomed when things quieted down -- the loss of the bell system (for importance of story coming across) and ticker tape/paper feeds in the wire room, the obsolescence of pneumatic tube systems, the silent computer keys... I miss them all.

* not comics: I'm not certain why this needs a boycott instead of a decision just not to buy the overpriced whatevers, but god bless anyone who has time to do that kind of thing these days. In general, I think pricing is important not because there's a point at which customers need to be satisfied because they have the option of free, but because pricing should not have to carry an infrastructure it doesn't require.

* one of the advantages of working with an established publisher is you receive the advocacy and attention of their publicity department, or at least that's what people assert. Some people say it's the only advantage. This makes it that much odder that so many publicists flat out suck.

* finally, I would assume this is pretty good general advice about how to break into mainstream or semi-mainstream comics, with the caveat that established professionals in other fields do seem able to leverage themselves into a comics-writing gig without having done any comics before. I would also suggest "be awesome," because if you're only just as good as the worst person doing comics they already have that person and don't need you. As much as a certain subset of fan complains about the closed shop of American comic books, I've never known of a completely undiscovered major talent doomed to the sidelines the way I've met sublimely skilled actors, authors and musicians.
 
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Happy 38th Birthday, Olivier Bramanti!

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Happy 51st Birthday, Mix & Remix!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Mark Askwith!

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Happy 27th Birthday, Hijinx Comics!

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Quick hits
Craft
Dave Lasky Is Still Drawing For Charity
D'Israeli On Mega City One Architecture

History
On Fat Cobra
Sheena Vs. Tentacles
Mike Sekowsky JLA Art
Contrasting Money Shots

Industry
Evan Dorkin Recommends

Interviews/Profiles
Pulse: Jonathan Baylis
Newsarama: Jason Aaron
Another Twitter Interview: Daryl Cagle

Not Comics
Calling It A Career
Devin Flynn and Gary Panter Perform
Johanna Draper Carlson Goes To The Museum

Publishing
Guttergeek Reboots
Return of Kinniku Man
Book Publishing Is Gross
Book Publishing Is Gross
Book Fair Sales Hold Steady
The Eternal Smile Excerpted
Azumanga Daioh to Yen Details
Richard Bruton on Return Of Classics Illustrated

Reviews
Jog: Various
Jog: The Boys #29
Tucker Stone: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Arthur Smid: BodyWorld
Leigh Walton: Fight Or Run
Greg McElhatton: First Time
Johanna Draper Carlson: Maid Sama Vol. 1
Chad Nevett: Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye #1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Strangeways: Murder Moon
David P. Welsh: My Mommy Is In America And She Met Buffalo Bill
 

 
April 5, 2009


Frank Springer, RIP

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CR Sunday Feature: Ten Avenues For Buying Comics As Used Books

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By Tom Spurgeon

This is another post in a short series about buying comics during a recession, personal or worldwide. There may be more at some future date. Earlier installments were about emancipating yourself from the more extravagant inefficiencies of buying every week at the comic shop on point and about finding bargains via back-issue serial comics buying. While I was more interested in exploring the value of certain webcomics right now, the last two pieces on recommended comics on-line could also be seen as advice for consumers who are looking to find cheap or free sources of comics reading.

imageThe great thing about re-focusing your comics reading from once-a-week purchases to a variety of strategies is that it opens up avenues both new from a single line of comics-buying, you can begin to explore comics-related purchases from a variety of locations. Some of them are new -- like your computer. But some are old. In the 1970s and early 1980s, before comics shops proliferate, a lot of comics buying to supplement one's newsstand habit was done at garage sales, flea markets and occasionally the used bookstore. The way a fat person can always buy shoes at a thrift shop, the comics fan has always been able to hit the humor section for books that if they aren't comics are likely to involved cartooning in some sense. Digging through bookstores is still great, when you can still find them, and of course most used booksellers are on-line now. The one web site were I've spent the most comics money over the last several years isn't Midtown Comics, or The Beguiling, or Mile High Comics, or MyComicShop.com, or Global Hobo or even Amazon.com, even though they're all great sites. What's received most of my money is abebooks.com, the used bookstore inventory compiler, with occasional side trips into other, sometimes overlapping sites, like bookfinder.com and even Amazon's used books listings.

The great thing is I've yet to spend more than $10 on any single book, and most of the time I spend less than $5. Just as eBay has made a liar of many back-issue comic book mark-ups, on-line compilation listings for used books has revealed that many books exist in many different stores, and just because one store has it for $8.99 doesn't mean another won't carry it for $1.

I recommend that you add used bookstores to your mental list of places to find comics, cartoons and related materials. I think your comics purchasing may become richer for it. Here are ten types of books I look for every so often when I hit a bookstore's front door or I'm looking for a specific kind of reading experience on-line.

*****

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Vintage Gag Cartoon Collections
This is classic used bookstore buying, because not only were there a ton of such books published but they were the most natural fit into any bookstore's "humor collection." There are compilations, of course, but I like specific authors and look out for them as much as possible. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of such cartoon books, but a few of my favorite are: Rowland Emett, the Punch cartoonist eventually turned 3-D sculptor and model maker, who drew several lovely books featuring cartoons about trains; Syd Hoff, whom I like for his ubiquity -- if you went to 10,000 lakehouses in 1968 and opened 10,000 baskets on 10,000 porches, it's likely 9800 would feature at least one Syd Hoff book pressed up against its lattice-work. Chon Day was about as skilled as they come, and even has a feature character that will help you narrow your decision-making: the Brother Sebastian cartoons. Ted Key's work on Hazel isn't just great fun to look at, there was a lot of it so much of it is cheap and it's one of the never talked about great cross-over successes in comics history. Finally, Virgil Partch has managed to remain cool despite being very popular, a more impressive feat than you might imagine with very, very picky and sometimes status-conscious cartooning fans.

There are hundreds of similarly-skilled cartoonists out there, all waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

*****

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The Great New Yorker Cartoonists, As Designated By My Dad
In my New Yorker-deferential household growing up, there were four New Yorker cartoonists considered head and shoulders above the rest of them and by virtue of this had their own bookshelf in the living room. Luckily, all four were published in book form with great frequency, in volumes that would add to anyone's bookshelf take on comics and cartooning, today or 100 years from now.

Charles Addams' work had a wonderful look that no one's ever quite been able to capture, but what might surprise a lot of people reading the actual cartoons is how frequently funny they are. James Thurber could barely draw in the traditional, angry-John-Buscema-fan-on-the-message-board sense, but his cartoons were almost always amusing and his voice came through. Most of his books contain a suite of cartoons, and there are some that are driven by the artwork -- he's also remained in print, so a lot of later iterations of those books are super, super cheap. Saul Steinberg's mighty coffee table books like The Passport were as much a part of Midwest middle class sophistication as season tickets to the local symphony orchestra. There are cheaper books of this late, walking dictionary of approaches to cartooning out there, too, but the bigger ones are well worth it. Peter Arno shoots waves of handsome cartoon-making through history and out the pages of his always attractive books. His work was like regular cartooning dressed up in a tuxedo. I'm not always sure how his cartoons of sexually-tinged goofery will play to modern audience, but I always find him funny and "happy asshole" gags like the above I think translate very well.

*****

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All the Other New Yorker Cartoonists
I think George Price, Jean-Jacques Sempe and William Steig would make most great-cartoonists lists not assembled by my dad, but there are also a ton of compilations out there and any number of individual books. I like George Price more than I love him, but the cartooning is wonderful. I tend to look at Steig more through his children's book illustration, so I won't get into him here. For Jean-Jacques Sempe, master of remove, I recommend the woefully under-appreciated Phaidon books of recent vintage more than the old stuff, but there's a certainly a ton of cheaper material out there to be sampled. I've had friends yell at me concerning what they feel is my completely undeserved affection for Sam Gross, but that cover pictured above features what may still be my favorite title for a gag-cartoon collection ever. In general I feel Gross captures as effectively as anyone ever did that more morbid, world-deflating sense of humor that think of when I think of William Shawn-era New Yorker. (The newspaper's equivalent is Jim Unger.) Helen Hokinson has a few books out there to be picked up, which is interesting in that she's a cartoonist of great historical interest that rarely gets more attention than this kind of nod. I like her sense of humor, though; it's not one you see anymore and you kind of have to adjust certain presumptions to take it as it was likely intended.

*****

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Cartoon Books, Collections That People Don't Think Of As Collections, Proto-GNs
By far the richest category in terms of its relation to comics and number of great works, there are simply dozens of books that we would called graphic novels or extended narratives were they to come out now but came out from book publishers as gag books, kids' works, comic strip collections or even novelty gift items. Edward Gorey is one of those great cartoonists to collect beyond his tremendous sense of humor and lovely overall look in that both the stand-alone books and the Amphigorey compilations are equally worth your time. One of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic about Richard Thompson's newspaper strip Cul De Sac is that I pretty much summarily dismissed his very, very funny Richard's Poor Almanac collection that came out a long while back. Worst call ever. RPA's not only a good book but a fairly compelling snapshot of the region of the country which Thompson calls home. Comics publishers are starting to dig into the catalog of Raymond Briggs, but any number of his books are still out there to be picked up and have the reader declare, "this was a comic book," on the way to just liking them.

The great and mighty B. Kliban was with Edward Gorey the comics that I shared most with friends going up. They were accessible, adult and funny. While I believe any and all Kliban-related posthumous publishing plans remain up in the air, I get the sense that a number of publishers would have done a giant book of as much comics-material they could stuff in as possible if that were currently possible. A gigantic figure of modern comedy. Many of the woodcut artists like Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel have been published once or twice in modern iterations that may be much cheaper to find than the original, rare copies. The great Abner Dean was ostensibly a humor cartoonist but his work was weird and their artistic message often extended beyond individual cartoons to a series or group -- he was an unforgettable talent. Finally, the late Anne Cleveland's best work was an extended meditation on life in Japan made up of mostly single moments, and yet the overall effect is greater than the sum of its parts. It's Better With Your Shoes Off was also published like 8 billion times, which means some edition should be affordable.

*****

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Art All By Itself
This is another category where you could list hundreds and hundreds of books, but it's probably worth remembering just how many illustrators near and dear to the collective comics zeitgeist have works out that are easily available. Boris Artzybasheff may have done his best work for magazines, but I've seen a book here and there worth picking up. Some of Al Hirschfeld's books I think cross the line into explorations of a scene or a place in a way that they essentially function as comics. Although caricature represents in some folks minds a completely different approach to visualization that has little to do with cartooning, I think there's a lot to be learned by looking at all those lines and some of the design solutions. Ralph Steadman's work is dear to an entire generation of art fans and first-person journalists, and that it communicates to both groups in equal measure seems to me the secret of its success.

There are like 10 billion others. I guess what I'd say here is that don't let thinking about the comics buy keep you buying supportive material featuring art minus any and all narratives.

*****

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Kids Books Done By Cartoonists
Sometimes there are stand-alone kids books that are little sought-out by comics people but seem to me perfectly suited for them. I don't know why one of these new parents in a position of pride at an alt-comics companies has yet to steal the idea of Tony Fitzpatrick's Max & Gaby's Alphabet and done either a many-artist or series of single-artist alphabet primers. Who wouldn't want to buy that? I recommend the William Steig-drawn children's books to everyone, as well as Lorenzo Mattotti's and Richard McGuire's: there's a quality to the art that transcends any disconnect between you and the intended audience.

For the most part, however, I think this is a category of books that you're better off getting into on your own. If you're a fan of a particular cartoonist, do yourself the favor of searching one of the bookstore engines for any kids' books they might have done. I found some really cool-looking Jack Davis history books this way, like Meet Abraham Lincoln. It's not exactly the same as reading their comics; it's more like seeing favorite film actor on stage: a potentially great experience in and of itself and filled with insight you can take back to your reading of their comics works.

*****

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Out Of Circulation Comics Collections
There aren't a whole lot of straight-up comics collections that were much more prevalent on bookstore shelves that the DM-focused publishers haven't gone back to either help comic shops feature them or re-publish them themselves for that market. Works from Lynda Barry and Matt Groening pretty much qualify -- although I could see both having work come out in a huge chunk from specialty publishers as soon as the near-future, whether working from existing relationships or forging new ones -- and their books are consistently great. The one that popped into mind, however, was Michael Dougan, who had two books published I believe in the post-Maus, post-Watchmen late '80s and early '90s brief flourishing of such comics: East Texas and I Can't Tell You Anything. They were some of the better comics out there at the time, and all but forgotten today.

*****

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Comic Strip Books
Again, this is an extraordinarily broad category, with hundreds of books to buy from dozens of cartoonists. Comic strip paperbacks were a stable of new bookstore humor sections for several decades and can be found in almost every library sale or book show coast to coast. I tend to focus on three areas. First, I enjoy picking up the collections of 1960s comic strips like Tumbleweeds, Andy Capp and Wizard of Id, funny strips that became less funny later on and that because their artists came from gag cartoons the reproduction at a smaller size in these books tends to flatter rather than distort their work. Second I'm also fond of collecting -- if they're really cheap -- books that I have in more serious form elsewhere but just like the formatting of the older volumes. I really love how Doonesbury was collected in the 1970s by Holt, for instance, before switching to a larger, multi-color format of which I'm much less fond. Third, used bookstores are a great place to pick up strips that didn't quite hit on the national level, like Tom Toles' Curious Avenue, Sam Hurt's Eyebeam and if you're really lucky William Overgard's exquisitely odd Rudy (collected as Rudy in Hollywood). I suppose suggesting you round up books made redundant in other parts of your collection may work against this post's anti-recession usefulness, but there's a treasure of material out there, and I love reading strips this way.

*****

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Editorial Cartoonists
Like comic strips, this is an enormous category but one that I think yields a lot of great results in used bookstores as opposed to merely collecting this material new. I split it up into three categories: older editorial cartoonist like Enemy of Hitler David Low, more modern editorial cartoonists such as the late Herbert Block, and less-published editorial cartoonists like Oliver Harrington. Almost every editorial cartoonist of note has had work featured in an accessible bookstore-ready format, if only for purchase at the local or regional level, so be diligent in your searches and you'll likely come up with something. Even in the case of someone like the much-published Herblock, I think the opportunity is for the books with more modest publishing aims, those that seek a snapshot of a year or time as opposed to some sort of broad take on someone's entire career. There are also, of course, compilations and best-ofs out the wazoo. I'm afraid I don't care for those, but you might.

*****

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Marvel And DC Comics Cheapies
While I've stayed away from material that can and I hope will be purchased in the world's great comics specialty stores, I do have a great deal of success finding individual volumes of the mainstream companies' cheapo lines (Marvel's Essential; DC's Showcase Presents) through these sites and in these places. I wanted to mention that here because unlike a lot of the great comics out there, these books function more like used books than as collectibles. If you're buying some Werewolf By Night comics in black and white and with some dodgy reproduction as might be the case with a brand-new volume of the collected version, I can't imagine you're going to freak out too much about some wear on the spine.

*****
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If I Were In Luzern, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Albany, I’d Go To This

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Five Link A Go Go

* go, look: Erik Weems' review of Uncle Scrooge #326

* go, look: Eye Of The Gods

* go, look: Captain Spectre

* go, look: people sometimes send me t-shirt PR

* go, look: Sandy Bilus' review of Love Is A Peculiar Type Of Thing
 
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FFF Results Post #158—Hoops

On Friday, CR asked its readers to "Create a basketball starting lineup using five different comics characters -- they don't actually have to play basketball. Optional: describe your team." This is how they responded.

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Wash Tubbs
2. Captain Easy
3. Alley Oop
4. Popeye
5. The Spirit

I'd have Tubbs and Easy as a fertile Stockton to Malone scoring base, Alley Oop at the three spot because there's clearly a high-flying game in there somewhere, The Spirit as an undersized Dave Cowens-type center because he takes a beating like nobody's business, and Popeye for his indomitable competitive spirit and so I could go to his press conferences.

*****

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Mike Baehr

At first I hated this topic but then I thought of a good team.

* Alarma (center)
* Olive Oyl
* Pipo
* Peppermint Patty
* Susie Derkins (good aim with a snowball)

*****

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Eric Reynolds

1. Mr. Fantastic
2. Elongated Man
3. The Flash
4. The Blob
5. Nightcrawler

Flash would play point and dish it in to the stretchy guys. Set the Blob up on defense in the paint like a more effective late-era shaq in Mike D'Antoni's offense -- dude can draw charges like nobody's business. Nightcrawler would wreak havok on both ends of the floor and I'm not sure you can call a halfcourt violation on a guy who never technically crossed halfcourt.

*****

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Tim O'Shea

Madrox (imagine his man to man coverage)
Batroc the Leaper (This French man can jump)
Taskmaster (Just have him watch Sportscenter before the game, he'll learn a new move every time...)
Stilt Man (C'mon that's obvious)
Unus the Untouchable (No defense can touch him)

*****

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Richard Pachter

1. Plastic Man
2. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)
3. Elongated Man
4. Bouncing Boy
5. Jimmy Olsen (as Elastic Lad)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Superman
2. Hawkman
3. Captain Marvel
4. Red Tornado
5. Martian Manhunter

I just want to see them play ball 50 feet off the ground.

*****

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Lou Copeland

Probably a boring entry for it's one stop shopping , but I doubt you can beat the original 5 member Kirby/Lee X-Men team.

If only Ron Shelton were hired to direct the X-Men films...

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Plastic Man
2. Mr. Fantastic
3. Machine Man
4. Spider-Man
5. Night Crawler

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Jesse Quick
2. Scarlet Witch
3. Sue Storm
4. Big Barda
5. Rita Farr

PG -- you must have a speedster play the point
SG -- Wanda would use her hex power on the other team to miss shots
SF -- When needed, Sue could cover up the other team's basket with a force field
PF -- Barda could likely rebound like she was Dennis Rodman
C -- Elasti-Girl would always win the jump ball

****

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Buzz Dixon

1 - Dave Hamper
2 - Mr. Fantastic
3 - Plastic Man
4 - Elastic Man
5 - Popeye

Dave's already an NBA draft choice in the Safe Havens comic strip, though he is weak on defense. Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man, and Elastic Man? Duh. I also think Popeye would give great after game interviews, but I pick him for the floor fights.

*****
*****
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Tom Tomorrow!

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Happy 26th Birthday, Joey Weiser!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Art Adams!

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First Thought Of The Day

I was bet-a-finger certain that the phrase "insane alcoholic girlfriend" would return way more than two hits on Google.
 
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April 4, 2009


Next Week In Comics-Related Events

April 5
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April 10
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from March 28 to April 3, 2009:

1. Gary Brookins out at Richmond Times-Dispatch.

2. Clearly, something is up with Gemstone and Disney; firings confirmed, finality of publishing separation poo-poohed.

3. Sun-Media Group moves into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Winner Of The Week
Dave Lasky

Losers Of The Week
Fans of editorial cartoons in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. As I recall, it wasn't that long ago the newspaper had two cartoonists working there.

Quote Of The Week
"I don't do enough panel jiggering, or fool around enough with panel shape and size and order, mostly because I'm easily confused by things like that and I don't want to drag my readers down with me." -- Richard Thompson

this week's imagery comes from one of the great underground comix
 
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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Luzern, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In GA, I’d Go To This

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Dave Johnson!

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Happy 46th Birthday, Laurent Hirn!

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Happy 35th Birthday, Sander Gulien!

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Happy 29th Birthday, Guillaume Martinez!

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Happy 47th Birthday, Simon Bisley!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Bob Rozakis!

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Your Say, Our Platform: LOC Highlights

* Dustin Harbin On Frank Cho and Brandon Peterson Coming To Heroes Con 2009 (PR) (4/1/09)
* Laura Hudson On Cosmic Monkey's Forthcoming 24-Hour Event April 12 (PR) (3/31/09)
* Daniel Vonegidy On The Lack Of Wondermark In The Webcomics Round-Up (3/31/09)
* J. Caleb Mozzocco On Why I Didn't Immediately Get Lots Of Webcomics Suggestions (3/31/09)
* Tom Hart On This Year's KGB Annual Easter Graphic Novel Reading (PR) (3/30/09)
* William Baker On EMU's Comics Show And Reception (PR) (3/30/09)
* Vito Delsante On Geoff Johns' JHU Store Appearance 04-01-09 (PR) (3/28/09)
* Annie Murphy On Annie Murphy's Release Party (PR) (3/28/09)
 
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April 3, 2009


So I’m Pretty Certain That’s Not Really Me Trying To Poison Your Computer

I think someone hacked my facebook account, as when I jumped on to change my photo my status update had a link in it -- I don't do status updates. I don't really do much of anything with it, to be honest. This is weird, because I click on nothing. So, um... sorry? I assume this probably hit the e-mail as well. So pretend it's like the 8th grade dance and everybody please have nothing to do with me for a while.
 
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Friday Distraction: Kevin Nowlan Art

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Another Cartoonist Loses Staff Position

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This time it's Gary Brookins, who had been at the Richmond Times-Dispatch since January 1979. Like a few others that have been hit by this epochal transition in the newspaper business, this is one of those surprises that is now sadly much less of a surprise. If you had asked me three years ago to write down names of cartoonists who wouldn't lose their staff positions under any circumstances, Brookins would have gone done on my piece of paper somewhere in the top twelve. A widely-syndicated editorial cartoonist, I believe he still also draws Pluggers and works on Shoe with Chris Cassatt.
 
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Your 2009 Shuster Award Nominees

A gigantic list of nominees was announced for the 2009 Joe Shuster Awards, honoring work done in 2008 by Canadian creators. They are:

*****

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ARTIST
* Marc Delafontaine, for Les Nombrils T.3 (Dupuis)
* Dale Eaglesham, for Justice Society of America #12, 14-15, 18-22 (DC Comics)
* David Finch, for Ultimatum #1-2 (Marvel Comics)
* Karl Kerschl & Serge LaPointe, for Teen Titans: Year One #1-6 (DC Comics)
* Jacques Lamontagne, for Les Druides T.4 (Soleil Productions)
* Steve McNiven, for Amazing Spider-Man #546-548, Wolverine #66-70 (Marvel Comics)
* Steve Rolston, for Emiko Superstar (DC/Minx), "Familiar" in House of Mystery #4 (DC/Vertigo), You Ain't No Dancer #3 (New Reliable Press)
* Stephen Sadowski, for Avengers/Invaders #1-7 (Marvel Comics/Dynamite Entertainment), Superpowers #0 (Dynamite Entertainment), Jack the Lantern: Ghosts #2 (Castle Rain Entertainment)

*****

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CARTOONIST
* Gregoire Bouchard, for Vers les Mondes Lointains (Paquet)
* Darwyn Cooke, for "Chapter X: The Greater Good" in Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1, The Spirit #12 (DC Comics)
* Francis Descharnais, for Burquette (Les 400 coups)
* Jean-Paul Eid, for Des tondeuses et des hommes (La Pastèque)
* Michel Gagne, for "The Saga of Rex" in Flight Vol. 5 (Ballantyne Books)
* Faith Erin Hicks, for The War at Ellsmere (Slave Labor Graphics)
* Jeff Lemire, for Essex County Vol. 3 (Top Shelf)
* Seth, for "Thoreau MacDonald" Kramer's Ergot Vol. 7 (Buenaventura Press)
* Dave Sim, for Glamourpuss #1-4, Judenhaas (Aardvark-Vanaheim)

*****

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COLORIST
* Jean-Francois Beaulieu, for G.I. Joe: America's Elite #31-36, Voltron: A Legend Forged #1 (Devil's Due), Marvel Zombies 3 #1-3, Wonderful Wizard of OZ #1, X-Men: Divided We Stand #1, X-Men Legacy #215 (Marvel Comics)
* Blond, for Team 14 #1 (Digital Webbing), Freshman: Summer Vacation Special #1, Magdalena/Daredevil #1, True Blood: The Great Revelation, Witchblade: Takeru Manga #11-12 (Image/Top Cow), Ultimate Fantastic Four #50-59 (Marvel Comics), Beyond Wonderland #4, Grimm Fairy Tales 2008 Annual (Zenoscope)
* Chris Chuckry, for Brave and the Bold #17-18, Countdown to Mystery #4-8, Simon Dark #4-7, Two Face: Year One #1-2 (DC Comics), Air 1-5 (DC/Vertigo), G.I. Joe #0 (Devil's Due), Comic Book Tattoo (image), Amazing Spider-Man #546, 565-567, newuniversal: Shockfront #1-2, The Twelve #1-8 (Marvel Comics)
* Maryse Dubuc, for Les Nombrils T.3 (Dupuis)
* Nathan Fairbairn, for Fear Agent #21 (Dark Horse), Pilot Season: The Core #1 (image/Top Cow), Civil War: House of M #3, Guardians of the Galaxy #1-3, Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust?, Wolverine: Origins #31, X-Men: Divided We Stand #2, X-Men: Kingbreaker #1, X-Men Legacy #217, X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1, 3, Young Avengers Presents #1 (Marvel Comics), Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #3 (Oni Press)
* Lovern Kindzierski, for Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1-2 (DC Comics), The Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons #1-2, Coraline (HarperCollins), Giant-Size Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics)
* François Lapierre, for "Gedeon et la bete du lac" in Contes et legendes du Quebec (Glenat Quebec), Magasin general 4 (Casterman)
* Dave McCaig, for Star Wars: Dark Times #11-12 (Dark Horse), Action Comics #861-863, Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge #1-3. Joker's Asylum: The Penguin #1, JSA Classified #35-37 (DC Comics), Family Dynamic #1-2, House of Mystery #4, Northlanders #2-8, 11-2 (DC/Vertigo), Broken Trinity: Angelus #1, First Born: Aftermath #1, Pilot Season: The Core #1 (image/Top Cow), Fantastic Four Cosmic Size Special #1, Secret Invasion X-Men #1-4, Ultimate Iron Man II #3-5 (Marvel Comics), Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #2 (Oni Press)

*****

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WRITER
* Ian Boothby, for Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #14, Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2008, Futurama #35-39, Simpsons Comics #136, 141, 148, Simpsons Summer Shindig #1, Simpsons Super Spectacular #7 (Bongo Comics)
* Cecil Castellucci, for Janes in Love (DC/Minx)
* Darwyn Cooke, for "Dragster Riot starring Robin the Boy Wonder", "Wonder Woman and Black Canary" Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1, Superman Confidential #11 (DC Comics)
* Maryse Dubuc, for Les Nombrils T.3 (Dupuis)
* Ray Fawkes, for The Apocalipstix (Oni Press)
* Francois Lapierre, for "Gedeon et la bete du lac" in Contes et legendes du Quebec (Glenat Quebec)
* Mariko Tamaki, for Emiko Superstar (DC/Minx), Skim (Groundwood Books)
* J. Torres, for The Family Dynamic #1-3, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #11, 13, 17-19, Teen Titans Go! #51-55 (DC/Johnny DC), Wonder Girl #5-6 (DC Comics)

*****

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COVER
* Adrian Alphona, for Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season Two #1 Variant (Marvel Comics)
* Darwyn Cooke, for The Spirit #12 (DC Comics)
* Marc Delafontaine, for Les Nombrils T.3 (Dupuis)
* Dale Eaglesham, for Justice Society of America #14 Variant (DC Comics)
* David Finch, for Amazing Spider-Man #572 Variant (Marvel Comics)
* Philippe Girard, for Les Ravins (Mecanique Generale)
* Niko Henrichon, for Hostile T.1 (Dupuis)
* Steve McNiven, for Kick-Ass #1 Variant (Marvel Comics)
* Dean Motter, for Mister X: The Condemned #1 (Dark Horse)
* David Sim, for Glamourpuss #4 Zombie Variant (Aardvark-Vanaheim)

*****

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WEBCOMIC
* Kate Beaton, for Hark! A Vagrant
* Michael Cho, for Papercut
* Lar De Souza & Ryan Sohmer, for Least I Could Do, Looking for Group
* Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, for Moving Pictures
* Karl Kerschl, for The Abominable Charles Christopher
* Gisele Lagace, for Menage A 3
* Ramon K. Perez, for Kukuburi, Butternut Squash (w/Robert Coughler)
* Cameron Stewart , for Sin Titulo

*****

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PUBLISHER
* Aardvark-Vanaheim
* Arcana Studio
* Conundrum Press
* Drawn & Quarterly
* La Pasteque
* Les 400 Coups/Mecanique Generale
* Red 5 Comics
* Udon Entertainment

*****

A few special awards have yet to announce their nominees; hopefully we'll notice when those announcements are made and be able to run the information. Through the link you can find the long list of contributors to each list. The list gave the French and English words for each category, which I didn't feel necessary to replicate although I do believe in keeping the titles untranslated if that's the work that's nominated.
 
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Chaland Would Have Been 52 Today

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Dave Lasky Is Cartoonist Of The Year

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I mean that generally, but I guess I should also point out that a similar position has been staked out by the nice folks at Cartoonists Northwest, who named the well-liked, well-regarded cartoonist the winner of their Golden Toonie Award for Cartoonist of the Year 2008. I think but I can't quite be sure that pat winners include Peter Bagge and Shary Flenniken. The other awards for this year were as follows

* Illustration: David Lasky
* Syndicated Cartoonist: Jan Eliot, Stone Soup
* Best Writer: Mark Monlux, The Return of Stickman
* Web Comic: Mark Monlux, The Comic Critic
* Continuing Work: Keith Curtis, Crater on the Moon
* Ink in his Vein Award: Kevin Boze, The Virgin Project
* Best of the Northwest: Jeff Hawley, for a May 2008 cartoon
* Most of the Northwest: Jeff Hawley, for all the times he won the monthly "Best of the NW"
* Creative Clay Creation, Liam Austin and Bill Morse (Tie)
* Most Creative: Mark Monlux
* Best use of Props: Monica Spykerman
* Best Effort: Pat Lile

I remember them being very, very nice and extremely supportive of cartoonists working in the area. The awards are given out every year at a banquet.
 
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Go, Look: Eli Bishop Sketchblog

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And They Will All Live Like Cartoonists: The US Economy And Comics, Post #35

* the comics business news and analysis site has a short article up on the Borders bookstore chain having one of those investors' phone calls, and paints as hopeful a picture of their future as you're likely to find in the last half-year or so. According to the piece, some segments of the store have done well, a reduction in inventory may be helping, the chain may try a kids' graphic novel section, and financing has been extended into April 2010. It's not like such phone calls are done with the thought of providing a doom-and-gloom picture, and even if you don't know anything about the book business (I sure don't) it's hard to rectify competing statements that seem to be suggestion a reduction and inventory and having all the books their competitors do, but it's a different spin on recent news.

* I wanted to make note of moves at the Richmond Times-Dispatch above and beyond its direct impact on the editorial cartooning world because it feels pretty typical in terms of what's going on out there. In other words, even the papers with strong regional identities may be susceptible to some flailing about right now.

* Hearst executives and benchmark-setters have been clamoring after severe cost cuts sector-wide for a while now, but this article makes clear the reason: an almost 20 percent job in advertising revenue in 2008, a potentially more severe drop in 2009. As has been pointed out before, Hearst owns some of the most comics-friendly newspaper out there -- the now on-line only Seattle PI, the Houston Chronicle with its massive set of comics in print and on-line, and the San Francisco Examiner which was still running a popular local-only strip until the recent death of that cartoonist.
 
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Go, Look: Cherry Blossom Time

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Chicago Comics Retailer Eric Kirsammer Named To ComicsPro Board Of Directors

Well-regarded retailer Eric Kirsammer was named to the Board of Directors for the ComicsPro retailer advocacy group, it was announced earlier today. Kirsammer's a good choice because of his place in the volatile Chicago retail market, his experience getting through the last tough period for comics when some of his competitors did not make it to the other side, and the twin experiences of having a full-service comic store and a specialty comics/'zine shop, Quimby's. I'm sure Quimby's all by itself has a series of problems that might benefit the wider industry by being put out there, or at least shaping retailer policy generally. Kirsammer replaces Ben Trujillo of Star Clipper Comics, who will use the extra time in his schedule on his story and his retailer POS system Moby.
 
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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Oakland, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Luzern, I’d Go To This

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

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

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Vermont, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Greatest Team-Up Ever

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Go, Look: Scales Of Death

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Go, Look: Culture Corner Archive

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Go, Look: Apache

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the Emerald City Comic-Con kicks off tomorrow, and brings with it a kind of semi-busy Spring convention season that's mostly strung together with volunteer gigs as opposed to must-attends. The ECCC is in that enviable space where it's still growing and people are still more excited about it this year than they were the day before, so that should be a good vibe con. I have to imagine that the only thing that would be bad is if there was light attendance, but conventions have done well in this down economy. Plus, there are bargains to be had.

image* missed it: fans of the alternative comic book might be pleased to hear that an issue of Jordan Crane's Uptight is at the printers. It's pretty much come to that, hasn't it?

* erudite puppet Bully and I share a great deal of affection for late 1960s Avengers, the first comic book that functioned in a way were the comic both existed in a universe larger than themselves and benefited from that fact. It was full of great Buscema/Palmer art, besides. That Roy Thomas-written run of comic books is one that functions best as a comic book series -- I don't think I could convince my Mom of the differences in quality between it and another well-crafted superhero comic of the time, but I don't think it would take much to convince a someone who's read as many comics as I have that they were at least pretty good.

* an abstract comics blog has been launched in support of a forthcoming Fantagraphics anthology covering that same group of comics. This is good, because I'm not sure most people have any idea what they're talking about when they say "abstract comics."

* not comics: these shoes designed by Ben Jones would make some fine summer slips.

* I like to think he keeps it around the house to come up with snappy comebacks after Batman schools him with some sort of brutal put-down during Justice League meetings.

* finally, the Comics Comics crew reports in from Fumetto, the Swiss comics gathering that despite Frank Santoro's efforts to locate a long box full of 25-cent Slash Marauds somewhere in city limits remains the most Euro-riffic of all the European comics festivals. Plus it looks like this.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Hideki Mori!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Mark Nevelow!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Robbert Damen!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Chris Roodbeen!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Adolfo Usero!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Daniel Ceppi!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Rene Lehner!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Jamie Hewlett!

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Gallerie Lambiek has him born in 1962 in Mexico, which I mention because that's the biggest discrepancy I've ever seen
 
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Happy 40th Birthday, Micahel Aushenker!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sean Phillips Sketches
Sean Phillips Paints (Partially)
Darryl Cunningham's Dalek Oz Invasion

History
On Y The Last Man
Is It Sad That I Miss These?
Remembering Bert Christman

Industry
Denise Oswald Joins Soft Skull
Education of Hopey Glass Nominated At Barcelona

Interviews/Profiles
Pop: John Byrne
Wizard: Jeff Parker
Ink Studs: Nate Powell
Newsarama: Annie Wu
Newsarama: Dan Didio
Newsarama: Jeff Parker
Newsarama: Rick Veitch
Newsarama: Ed Brubaker
Newsarama: Joe Quinones
Mania.com: Steve Englehart
Ink Studs: Paul Hornschemeier
Newsarama: Jesse Blaze Snider
Newsarama: Keith RA Decandido
Short Video Profile Of Jerry Robinson
Vancouver Courier: Paul Hornschemeier

Not Comics
Book Publishing Is Gross
Book Publishing Is Gross 02
J. Caleb Mozzocco On Kids' Books

Publishing
New Licenses For DMP
Incognito #3 Previewed
More Rumbling Previewed
X-Men Go Dark This Summer

Reviews
Chris Sims: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Chris Mautner: Various
Arthur Smid: Bodyworld
Don MacPherson: Various
Sean T. Collins: Supermen!
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Supermen!
Bob Duggan: The Wolverton Bible
Nathan Madison: Flash: Rebirth #1
John Gustafson: XXX Scumbag Party
Greg McElhatton: Luke On The Loose
Kevin Church: Love Is A Peculiar Thing
Leroy Douresseaux: Princes Princes Plus Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Seekers Into The Mystery
 

 
April 2, 2009


My Computer Is Acting Funny: Until It Isn’t, Please Enjoy The Following Video


Kramers Ergot in Brooklyn from james gaddy on Vimeo.
 
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If I Were In Luzern, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: How I Make Comics

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Go, Look: Joey Weiser At Partyka

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Go, Look: Alessandro Tota

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Go, Look: Bronze Age Artists

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the nerd Bronze Age, that is
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this is the only one of yesterday's April Fool's postings where I got back more than one e-mail asking me to go check out this amazing news story.

image* not comics: Hulu.com just added a pair of the Mr. Moto films to its not-very-extensive film library. Now my love of all things John P. Marquand and most things Peter Lorre can do battle with my considerable reservoir of contempt for Hollywood ethnic casting. I have no idea why I'm sharing this with you kind folks, but there you go.

* finally, Scott Kurtz and Darrin Bell talk about Twitter.
 
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Happy 56th Birthday, James Vance!

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Happy 40th Birthday, Daisuke Igarashi!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Jean Sole!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Daniel Shelton!

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Happy 54th Birthday, Mike Barreiro!

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Quick hits
Craft
Mike Manley Paints
Chris Butcher Colors
Sean Phillips Sketches

Exhibits/Events
Big Goscinny Exhibition
Belgian Comics Exhibit Report
Marjane Satrapi Speech Report

History
On Sensational She-Hulk

Industry
Kevin Huizenga's Top 5
Do What You Can For S. Clay Wilson
Watchmen + Naruto = Another Chart

Interviews/Profiles
PWCW: Larry Young
CBR: Mike Carey, Peter Gross
Student Life: AJ and Ben Trujillo
Colorado Springs Gazette: Geoff Johns

Not Comics
Cartoonists With Guns
Rickey Purdin's Shelf Porn
Plenty Of Time For Bullshit
Juvenile Adults Hate April Fool's
Family Circus Maps The Universe

Publishing
Yikes
DC Launches News Blog
Catching Up With Evan Dorkin
Johanna Draper Carlson: Camelot 3000
He Has No Idea When Book Is Coming Out

Reviews
Thomas DePietro: Humbug
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Chris Mautner: A Drifting Life
Kiel Phegley: Bif Bam Pow #1
Matthew Brady: Monster Vol. 18
David Uzumeri: Irredeemable #1
Ed Sizemore: Dragon Eye Vols. 3-6
Danielle Leigh: Black Lagoon Vol. 5
Don MacPherson: Irredeemable #1
Don MacPherson: Soul Chaser Betty
Leroy Douresseaux: Slam Dunk Vol. 3
Esther Keller: Adventures In Cartooning
Andy Frisk: The Invincible Iron Man #12
Andy Frisk: Justice Society of America #25
Marc Alan Fishman: Garfield Minus Garfield
Tim Callahan: Urasawa X Tezuka Pluto Vol. 2
Andy Frisk: Captain America Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1
 

 
April 1, 2009


Go, Watch: The Making Of The 2009 Fluke Anthology


 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied and Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I have no particular reason to stick a scan of Luba's cover on top of this post except that it's a monster book that's basically beginning its long drop as I write this and I consider Gilbert Hernandez a future Greatest Living Cartoonist.

image* Doug Gray wrote in on a slightly different matter and let drop that he's been working on comics cult-classic and famously aborted series Eye of Mongombo again. I of course strong-armed him into letting me release early details here: he's re-written up to issue #5 from the previous series and wants to have the second half written and artwork started by the end of the year, hoping for eventual one and done book publication.

* speaking of folks that have been gone for a while, I have a note next to my computer that Jack Katz has a new book coming out. I have no idea if it's true or if it is where the hell I would have learned about such a thing, but 1) that would be awesome, 2) please let it not be telepathy.

* Update: BobH writes in to say: "You have to wonder about an industry where Jack Katz can have a new book scheduled to come out from a major organization like the Hero Initiative and someone who runs a major site about comics is only vaguely aware of it...
APR090843 THE HERO INITIATIVE LEGACY GN(W/A) Jack Katz
Jack Katz, creator of the epic, independent series, The First Kingdom, has teamed with The Hero Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to helping out comic creators in need, to bring you Katz' new graphic novel Legacy. Following the death of Gavin LeClare, the family fortune -- $70 billion dollars -- is bequeathed not to the family, but to one Silvia Alogo, an unknown Hispanic woman that doesn't speak English. Enter Barney Barrett, insurance investigator, brought in to unravel the mystery of the LeClare estate. What Barrett discovers could make or break the LeClare family fortune -- and the evidence he uncovers could have deadly consequences! A tale of corporate greed, family betrayal, love lost, and love found, Legacy is told in the classic style of Hogarth, Eisner, and Foster. 100pgs SRP: $14.95."
I was right: that sounds awesome! Thanks, Bob! Screw that uninformed idiot running the major comics site, whoever he is.

* Arthur is serializing Farel Dalrymple's sequel to Pop Gun War on-line.

* Tom Neely is releasing a small collection of his comic strip poems called brilliantly ham-fisted.

* look at the Melvin the Monster book one of D&Q's army of interns is reading. I know I'm not setting any records for advance news this time out, but: pretty!

* speaking of our friends to the North, did you know that the next book in D&Q's Petits Livres series features Lynda Barry's near-sighted monkeys (see below)? If I knew this, I forgot it.

* an author's note in a recent issue of Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze indicates that he and Skottie Young will be adapting the second book in the Oz trilogy, The Marvelous Land of Oz for Marvel; the mainstream comics publisher is currently serializing in eight parts their shot at Wonderful Wizard of Oz. That's probably common knowledge in a lot of place but not places I'm likely to go.

* finally, it's been brought to my attention that two more cartoonists have confirmed it's likely they'll not be working in the traditional comic book format for the conceivable future: Seth, for whom it's noted in the biography that appears in the new Doug Wright book that his Palooka-ville will be changing to a hardcover format; and Ted Stearn, who said on Inkstuds that future adventures of Fuzz and Pluck might appear in MOME. I suppose I could be reading the Seth thing incorrectly, but I thought it worth noting. That is one dead format.

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posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: CR Fully Endorses The Following Six-Point Save San Diego Plan

From a Union-Tribune web site reader and commenter comes an excellent list of suggestions to make San Diego a better place to visit. I think any four of these would put an end once and for all to any talk of Comic-Con International moving to Las Vegas, and as someone who visits San Diego for 1/122 of the calendar year I call for it be adopted immediately:
"Its true, San Diego is getting killed by Las Vegas on Conventions. Miami Beach and Orlando too. Just wait till New Orleans comes back and they will kill us again.

"San Diego need to:

Legalize Prostitution
Legalize Weed
Legalize Gambling
Last call for Alcohol 6am.
Open San Diego to the Modeling industry.
Legalize topless beaches.

"I am dead serious, we need to be a town that is actually fun (I agree, shamu are 3 rolled tacos great but come on) cause we are dying.

"Do the 6 point plan above, and San Diego will be one of the best places on earth."
We agree, and would also like to propose this person be put in charge of comics for a couple of years as well.
 
posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Trial Of Egyptian Graphic Novelist Magdi El-Shafei Imminent; Criticism Abounds

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The trial of author and publisher Magdi El-Shafei over the content of his graphic novel Metro is set to begin April 4 in the midst of a cascade of protests by human rights organizations. El-Shafei is accused of "publication and distribution of publications contrary to public morals" under two articles of Egyptian penal code. The trial, to be held at Cairo Misdemeanor Court, could end with the author and publisher being imprisoned up to two years.

The case first received attention when police broke into the Malamih publishing house owned by El-Shafei and cleared local bookstores of the book, touted as one of the first graphic novels aimed at an adult Arabic audience. He was charged two days later with what he'll face in court starting Saturday.

Human rights organizations such as the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information protest both the specific case brought against El-Shafei as well as the general idea of a literary work being brought before a criminal court. They also cite the fact that the charge has come from a public prosecutor as particularly dangerous.
 
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
He Holds With Those Who Favor Fire

Todd Allen points out a not-completely unlikely "doomsday" scenario for printed comics in 2009. It's described as a perfect storm, but unlike the series of interconnected events hitting newspapers right now this seems more like one of Dagwood Bumstead's sandwiches: a bunch of stuff stacked on one another. They could all happen or none of them could happen. It seems to me that we're still in some sort of recessionary period that hits a company owned by Steve Geppi harder than it hits a company owned by Chris Oliveros, so something peculiar is going on and I'd consider everything fragile enough to be on the table in terms of future lousy outcomes.

What's distressing to me is that there seems to be enough money and health for people to be investing in the future and fortifying the present. This would be a great time for Marvel and DC to shatter once and for all their culture of haphazard scheduling in a way that would make it easier for their books to move through the market. It would also be a good time for a joint program even if it ran on nothing but combined good will that was designed to take advantage of peculiarities of a down economy (lots of people out of work, cheap rents) to encourage the opening of direct market stores where there aren't any. It would be a good time to figure out the long-term need or lack thereof for cheap, entry-point serial comics as a feeder mechanism and as a significant market that serves the hardcore fan. What where getting instead is nonsense like a Batman & Robin variant endeavor seemingly designed to boost a top-end comics sales figure in order to seize a win in the shadow contest of month to month DM market share and PR battles. It's to shake one's head in wonder.
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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