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











July 31, 2010


The Immonens’ CCI 2010 Video


I thought this one worth pulling out from the usual parade
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade


via


Gene Luen Yang: Keynote - Breaking into Graphic Novels & Comic Books Conference from hclib on Vimeo.
via




via







via (thanks, Abhay)



via; thanks, Scott Edelman
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

image

The top comics-related news stories from July 24 to July 30, 2010:

1. Comic-Con International enjoys another banner year, an appropriate high point in this "year of the convention."

2. Zunar files suit in Malaysian court to continue fight for right to express himself.

3. A final countdown for Friends Of Lulu?

Winners Of The Week
Your 2010 Eisner Award Winners

Loser Of The Week
Lack Of Proportional Response Man

Quote Of The Week
"SDCC is still a great convention for shopping for original comic art, or old comic books, or new comics, or meeting small press and mini-comic creators, or meeting old favorite creators or watching them talk, or seeing the trade show megaofferings of the big companies; it's still all those things it ever was, plus some more, and more people know about it and are trying to enjoy it. In some respects this is counterproductive, making it a little harder for all of us to enjoy what we came there for; but to condemn SDCC for its success is an unlovely, slam the door behind me mentality not worth endorsing." -- Brian Doherty

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Breaking: Judge In Gaiman/McFarlane Case Terms Dark Ages Spawn, Domina And Tiffany As Derivative

image

The linked-to article is a hoot. If you haven't been following this, it's basically the latest paragraph in the latest chapter in the long-running Todd McFarlane/Neil Gaiman dispute over characters Gaiman created and McFarlane made use of in his combination comics/toy empire. Gaiman won the initial dispute over the initial set of characters, but then McFarlane introduced characters that seemed a lot like those characters -- too much, the judge now says. There will likely be 18 billion more days in court before this is all done, but maybe McFarlane will surprise us.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 10th Anniversary To Narbonic!

image
image
image
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Oxford, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Portland, I’d Go This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 29th Birthday, Jog!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 33rd Birthday, Leinil Francis Yu!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 35th Birthday, Alex Holden!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Gary Barker!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Anton Ego

image
Great pen name, impeccably dressed, and appropriately intimidating, Anton Ego inspires most for his great film moment where a taste of ratatouille launches him back in time. It's a scene that could belong to any comics critic holding in his hands the latest title in a series or featuring a character hardwired into his youth.
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 30, 2010


Friday Distraction: Dangle Sketchbook

image

thanks, Brad Mackay
 
posted 12:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: John Stanley Art

image
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
MEMRI On Erdogan-Era Turkish Comics

imageThe Middle East Media Research Institute has a lengthy yet mostly easy-to-follow article on the noxious practice of Turkish politicians using that country's courts to seek action against political cartoonists. They mention the most powerful person who has pursued (and won) legal action against cartoonists, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his lawsuits because of the deep mental anguish he's felt after being portrayed as some sort of animal. Thankfully, none of the suits seems to have greatly reduced the flood of satirical and pointedly political material coming out in various Turkish publications. I can't say enough laudatory things about cartoonists who put themselves at risk for principle and to practice what should be a fundamental right to making one's opinion known.
 
posted 11:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Patton

image
 
posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Walt Kelly Draws Bugs

image
 
posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: CCI 2010

image
this article is now archived; link through the image
 
posted 11:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Ragman

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Athens, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 11:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Americommando

image
 
posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Batman Family #20

image
 
posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Captain Marvel #50

image
 
posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Rackman

image
 
posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* FPI sorts out the Guy Delisle blog situation. It's not a very dramatic situation, but you get to look at Guy Delisle art so it's all good.

image* Craig Thompson and Fabio Moon conduct the most genial blog war ever.

* I would imagine that if you were to follow only one link today, you might want to make it to this post featuring a letter Charles Schulz sent to Walt Kelly in 1954. If you have time for a bunch of posts, all of the links that Chris Butcher provides today are to fresh, off-the-beaten-path web locations.

* the comics historian and pride of Champaign, Illinois RC Harvey talks about death in comic strips, bringing into the conversation Bill Blackbeard's argument that death made adventure strips possible.

* so apparently the Frank Miller Batman vs. Al Qaeda project Batman: Holy Terror will feature a Batman-like character and come out from another publisher. I don't mind what that does to the comic, but I know I'm going to be sick of reading analysis that focuses on that character really being Batman.

* Dan Nadel writes in positive fashion about two recent Dark Horse reprint volumes.

* I like industry super-veteran Eric Reynolds' post about Comic-Con International so much I'm pulling it out here as well as featuring it in the Collective Memory post. It's very calm, very rational, very Reynolds.

* not comics: the Library of Congress just sent out a press release on the occasion of their posting this massive set of jazz-related photos.

* finally, Gene Yang pees pants; readies Frog Man tale.
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 44th Birthday, Chris Sprouse!

image
 
posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 55th Birthday, Tom Ziuko!

image
 
posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Love For Fantagraphics Inkpot Winners

History
Gross
Death By Smurf
On Alex Schomburg

Industry
Kate Beaton Selling Prints Now

Not Comics
New BWS Print
Playlist For Temperance
Boilerplate Gets Film Deal
Heidi MacDonald Loves Ikea Catalog

Publishing
On Ectopiary

Reviews
Jeff Lester: X-Men Forever
Michael C. Lorah: Revolver
Jason Green: Code: Breaker Vol. 1
Gabe Bullard: The 120 Days Of Simon
Kevin Church: Batman: The Widening Gyre #6
Greg McElhatton: Rabbi Harvey vs. The Wisdom Kid
Michael Whose Last Name I Don't Know: Shadowland #1
Sean T. Collins: Paper Blog Update Supplemental Postcard Set Sticker Pack
 

 
July 29, 2010


Go, Look: EC Staffers

image
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Stanley’s Rootie Kazootie

image
 
posted 12:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Shazam! #19

image
 
posted 12:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: George Metzger Pages

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Evil Cornucopia

image
 
posted 12:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Tom And Jerry #148

image
 
posted 12:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: 711

image
 
posted 12:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Gojin Ishihara

image
 
posted 12:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* sorry about the erratic posting recently; I've been on vacation. Okay, not really. That's an awesome-looking place, though.

image* Johanna Draper Carlson is first out of the gate with an analysis of the difficulties facing the probably-about-to-be-euthanized Friends Of Lulu advocacy organization.

* not comics: the hobby business and news analysis site ICv2.com brings word of various licensing announcements for Phil Foglio's Girl Genius property, another seeming success story for the open initial release model made possible by the Internet.

* not comics: I think the language of this post about Top Cow teaming with a film company to develop a property will become commonplace as more and more comics companies contribute to the development end of things.

* I quite enjoyed the idea behind this essay from Michael Cavna, connecting John Callahan to Harvey Pekar as favorite-son cartoonists linked to specific places.

* wait, the Hero Initiative charity is using a budget person whose name they don't know?

* the funny thing about Therese O'Neill's article on graphic novels for people who hate comics is that as much as I like the books she recommends, the one I want to read most is the imaginary bad one she describes in the first paragraph. It sounds awesome.

* finally, several of you sent along this Wil Wheaton essay about Comic-Con from over at Techland. He has more of an investment in nerd culture as its own thing than I do, but it's an intriguing point of view.
 
posted 12:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 41st Birthday, Ted May!

image
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Lovern Kindzierski!

image
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Baru!

image
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
That IS A Creepy Cover

Exhibits/Events
Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6 Release Party Video

History
And Sometimes It's Pretty Much A Penis

Industry
Don't Tease Reviewers
Special Offer On The Playwright

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Robert Kirkman
Good Comics For Kids: Lark Pien

Not Comics
DC Universe On-Line Trailer
Mike Sterling's Awfulness March

Publishing
On War Is Boring
Anticipating Certain Marvel Comics

Reviews
Steve Higgins: Revolver
Matthew Brady: Various
Justin Crouse: CBGB #1
Brian Heater: Ghostopolis
Byron Kerman: Gogo Monster
Kate Dacey: Hyde & Closer Vol. 1
Justin Giampaoli: Funny (Not Funny)
Lori Henderson: Paradise KissVol. 11
Andrew Wheeler: Legion Of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
Sarah Boslaugh: The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia
 

 
Turks Launch Handala Contest

I tell this story a lot and probably have on this blog as well: when I got my first job working for a newspaper, I was assigned to the sports department and given the stats page. My first night I ran the results of what the dropped-off letter told me was the state karate championships. I felt good about this choice until seven days when I got another list of results for that weekend's state karate championships. I soon found out there was an event carrying that name and claim just about every other weekend. I always think of the 27 Indiana State Karate Championships when I read about International Cartooning Contests, which baffle me for their frequency and for the fact they always honor cartoonists I've never heard of.

Perhaps a newly-announced contest honoring murdered Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali will find traction with the press and public that other efforts haven't? If nothing else, Al-Ali's fascinating story is always worth a re-read and a reminder?
 
posted 11:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Kodansha Fined Modest Amount For Using Man’s Image In MangaAcc

According to a short report at Anime News Network, the Tokyo District Court ruled that the Zero-sen manga created by Atsushi Kase violated a man's wrights by using his likeness without permission. The publisher was fined a little over $6K. At issue was the use of a fashion magazine photograph featuring the plaintiff. That image will be replaced in any and all future publications featuring that story.
 
posted 11:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 28, 2010


Comic-Con 2010: A Final Report

image

* here are my final thoughts on Comic-Con International 2010. I could stew on these for days and potentially come up with something a bit better, but in the spirit of the late Harvey Pekar I'm going to get it down on paper and deal with the consequences then.

* I think my lingering memory from Comic-Con International 2010 will be the cast of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World on stage to present the first three Eisner Awards. The tiny men and women of that talented movie ensemble -- let's be honest, Brandon Routh was the only one who appeared as if he could ride all the rides at Disney World -- could not have looked less like they wanted to be there. Routh and a few cast members most people in the audience never heard of did the actual card reading and envelope opening. The rest of the actors stood there with blank stares on their faces -- most memorably the well-placed-for-video Jason Schwartzman. The actors left quickly, no doubt to parties of the kind popular mainstream comics writers have in recent years complained to me the Eisners kept them from attending. Now, I don't think I would have thought about it again, but afterward and for the next couple of days, about a dozen total comics people that were in attendance groused in my direction that the more popular cast members (basically Schwartzman and Michael Cera) ceding card-reading duties to others when the Eisner audience wanted to see them and not the lesser-known cast members was somehow disrespectful. That's an idea that even if true carries its own potentially ugly baggage about the way people should behave towards comics, people that don't have the same investment as the person shooting resentment their way. So it wasn't a flattering encounter on either side, although I think it was a telling one. No one needs to be automatically happy that a group of film actors are taking a moment to support a creator whose work they've interpreted (and have a PR moment besides); no one needs to be automatically upset if in doing so that group of performers doesn't act the way one imagines they should.

* CCI 2010 was a strange show. It was a pleasant one, with several surprises, but it was odd. I had a fantastic time, but I sense that others didn't, and that things are slipping in directions that may vastly reduce the value the show has for me and others like me.

* personal experience and intuition is a tough pair of strategies with which to analyze Comic-Con. Let's face it: nothing says the show shouldn't change under my feet. I'd have to be an egomaniac to think that a gigantic pop-culture event would be best served catering to the whims and exhortations of a 41-year-old comics obsessive. One thing that has been made more real to me in 2010, the year of the convention, is that conventions generally and Comic-Con specifically operate according to that old cliché: several thousand different experiences, all of which generate their own legitimacy. There are people that go to Comic-Con that do nothing but work on their costumes, or play games, or track down non-comics illustration, or fill their sketchbooks, or look for boutique toys. It's hard not to be churlish in making suggestions that might hamper someone else's experiences for the sake of making more universal my own.

* not that it's going to stop me.

image

* so what was the source of the show's underlying, odd feel? I know that blanket pronouncements are a dime a dozen with these events, so I apologize for what's about to happen, but I have to say that it simply felt to me like the energy shifted to the movie end of things to the point it permeated the show experience even if one has no interest in movies. I say this as a guy whose last movie panel was 10 years ago when I stopped to tie my shoes in one, and as someone who reports almost solely on comics stuff when he's on site. For the first time at Comic-Con in 16 years, I felt surrounded by the film and television industries. I felt like I was attending the comics portion of their show. When I left for the day I felt like the film and television tracks had set the agenda. If I were to casually communicate to anyone who might ask via e-mail how I spent my day, I explained it to them in terms of pushing away from the other end of the exhibition hall rather than embracing the one I love. There are a lot of reasons that film and TV has become so dominant there. It's not just proportion. So many comics companies are movie companies now, first and foremost; others act that way for a long weekend; articles speak solely in cinematic terms. The shift might be best seen in the comics coverage in mainstream sources, both in the pity fuck nature of a lot of it and the fact that most of the comics stories end up being movie and television stories, too. Chew isn't a surprise publishing hit, it's a surprise publishing hit with a fast-track option. The Walking Dead isn't the series that's kept a lot of serial comics buying alive in comics shops and has made a superstar comics writer of Robert Kirkman, it's AMC's The Walking Dead. And so on. Film and television has become the medium through which we understand and communicate the cultural potency of things that aren't film and television, and that can't be healthy.

* the tendency to think in terms of other media speaks to a recurring theme in many of my conversations with comics folk. A lot of people are worried about the comics industry's ongoing fade. I hear this even from those for whom comics is an industry that hasn't served them particularly well. One cartoonist told me that he wants more than anything in the world to be able to sell comics. Not an option on a comic. Not licensing based on a comic. He wants to sell enough comics to be able to make it an ongoing, respectable, self-sustaining concern. Another cartoonist put it even more strongly, saying that if you were using your comic to lead people to buy something else, you were selling that something else, not comics. He was sick of hearing from those who manage to sell t-shirts or prints based on a comic, or a movie option based on a comic's cinematic promise, extolling these admittedly very real achievements as if they were a direct reflection on the comic rather than the t-shirt itself or the value of the license. Now, I'm not sure that argument would hold if you examine it with the bug-eyed scowl of the Internet pseudo-lawyer, and I think there's always going to be some value in selling things near something you create that does reflect on the creation. I also imagine most people who find a mechanism to keep publishing simply don't care if it has two mostly divorced avenues. But you know what? I find making comics for the sake of selling comics a thrilling way to think. Whatever happened to a focus on being able to sell these things? Why have we given that up? Why in the midst of the greatest explosion of excellent comics the art form has ever seen have we been so quick to settle for modest returns and so desperate to look elsewhere for profit?

* that being said, the biggest comics news story of the show in my opinion was not any one individual piece of book news or anything to do directly with movies but the rash of new publishing announcements, new imprints and new lines. I like and respect many of the people involved, but this is a totally ludicrous trend. The existing comics business infrastructure simply can't handle as many more books as seem planned, and the digital market is so woefully under-developed there's almost no chance for something to flower there as of yet. More than ever this is publishing towards a movie deal, towards one hit justifying the industry-weakening and life-unsettling chaff of 100 failures by those whose investment maybe isn't full time and heartfelt, towards plotting an additional and successive goal of a career in mainstream comics where then you can maybe make some money that in reality is one of the world's toughest games of musical chairs. It's madness, and because the infrastructure is skewed due to obsolete Distributor War agreements, these moves don't just have dire consequences in and of themselves but punish everyone, industry-wide. It needs to stop.

image* the floor of the show looked mostly the same to me, definitely so from about First Second all the way down to artist's alley. The biggest difference was right past the art comics publishers. There was no anchor area to send people. There was no Comic Relief at all. Bud Plant there at a reduced size from years past. I swear to God this is a true story: Someone walked up to me after the International Graphic Novels panel (Milo Manara, Moto Hagio, Emile Bravo, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen) and said they only had an hour left at the show -- was there one place they could go to buy the books talked about by the panelists, including their own? I had to direct them to a few publisher booths and hope they had time to find everything they wanted. Ugh. Until the digital world operates at a rate of sophistication where at the end of a panel moderators can direct people to a virtual place they can buy all of a panelist's books at a special price arranged for people at that panel, or when con-goers can sit at breakfast at Saturday morning and click a link whereby the books that interested them will be bundled and waiting on the floor, and I think barring economic setbacks that day or something like it will come, the con needs an anchor retailer or three. I hope they will consider finding one and make convincing them to exhibit a priority through any and all of the soft-influence means available to them. If that's not viable, maybe they would grant a temporary license to someone to do a only-exists-at-the-con store with all of the guests' books in it and all the Eisner nominees.

* the crowd never got as bad on the comics end of things as in past year, but people were buying stuff, at least according to my slightly-over-double-digits sample survey and what I've read since the show ended from people like Chuck Rozanski. The comics dealers to whom I spoke seemed a lot less worked up than in years past; there was much less of that feeling where you felt the dealers were hustling to maximize their profits in a way that makes you tense when you're shopping at those booths. I know a couple of people who bought comics early in the convention for what seemed like Sunday prices. One reported that the retailers seemed a lot more flexible in taking a counter-offer than in years past. I love having the convention experience of buying comics, so I hope that this represents a bounce-back year and the various exhibitors with old comics to sell have figured out a strategy to make that work on their behalf.

* on the other hand, three different people I know who buy original, older art complained in almost the exact same words that that particular market is a little overpriced right now. If you ever wanted to buy a Ditko or a Kirby or a Wood, you've hopefully already made this purchase. A couple of folks selling more modern comics art -- like classy Peter Birkemoe at The Beguiling -- reported decent although nowhere near record-breaking business from both new customers and yearly patrons (that may have changed given the floor hours since I asked them that question). I'm sure individual experience varied. I also heard that enough retailers were on hand to buy up remaining stock from a number of publishers who didn't wish to ship a lot of books home, which is always a worry considering how that element of convention business has changed since the days one or two gentlemen would seep through the publishers like someone on the grocery store game show where you keep dumping items into your cart.

* so in other words, between this and the daily reports a mostly positive image of sales floats to the surface: several book sell-outs, several almost book sell-outs, and so on. That's a good sign. As much as Comic-Con has changed in the last few years in a way that makes the marketing end of it difficult to gauge, companies still understand a bottom line, and as long as the trip is even slightly profitable, I can't imagine wholesale bailing out.

image

* I do feel there is definitely some tentativeness in how the marketing end of it works. I think the broader marketing implications of Comic-Con are easy to figure out and are very real, no matter how hard to measure. I strongly suspect it's good to have a presence at a big show if you can afford it, that it's a further good for relationships with certain talent, and that's it's even an overall positive to have cartoonists representing themselves on panels and meeting press and meeting other cartoonists. I had several people tell me they were reconsidering a cartoonist or making it a bigger point to check out their work after seeing them on a panel or running into them during a signing. Vanessa Davis was someone people kept asking me about, for instance. I don't think a lot of traditional comics fans followed the Tablet comics as closely as they might have a print work. But if you think about it for a second, who wouldn't want to at least try a Gene Yang comic after meeting Gene Yang? That guy's nicer than your memories of your kindergarten teacher. Who wouldn't treat a reading of Carol Tyler's latest with a sense of discovery and respect after hearing her talk in passionate, forthright and funny fashion? Who wouldn't want to pick up Iron Man or Casanova at least once after seeing Matt Fraction play a filthier-mouthed, comics-centric Spalding Gray?

* Fraction's performance piece -- apparently he also did in the same club where Snoop Dogg performed a day later, which is sort of nuts -- reminds me that one thing that was a positive at this show is that we've finally reached a saturation point where more people do something with visuals at their panels than don't. That's not to say that old-school panels can't be great -- Peter Bagge being interviewed by Jason T. Miles was as fun a panel as I saw all weekend, and I always enjoy when Pete swoops down from the Pacific Northwest to remind everyone he's one of the funniest men in comics -- but I think if you're going to have programming take place in the context of the tremendous leeway afforded other industries' panels where you get to routinely lock eyes with beautiful people, it's worth trying things like Seth's oft-performed visual essays from 2009 or Carol Tyler inviting people out on the balcony to talk after her panel or Craig Yoe's post-panel "tea party" or Fraction's performance piece or even the well-honed insult-throwing of the panelists sitting on the Best Of/Worst Of manga hour. I know after WonderCon I personally never want to see dudes in turned-around baseball caps going straight to audience questions ever again. Some people enjoy that kind of thing, of course, but I think panels can be more than a few publishing announcements and the audience being tolerated for the other 47 minutes. Social media is going to drive changes to a lot of panels as that reaches its own saturation point the next few years, but creative solutions between now and then have to be welcome. Comics is the best art form and should have the best panels.

image

* back to the floor. As far as the big display areas, Marvel's booth was one people talked about a bit. It featured the forthcoming Thor movie's throne of Odin. I guess this was the actual throne from the film set. If you measure booths solely on memorable visual impact, that one was a hit. I didn't know what the hell it was until almost 12 hours after I saw it, but I sure remembered the damn thing. At the same time, there was something slightly sad about it: the reduction of a culturally significant publishing movement into a novelty photo opportunity on the Atlantic City boardwalk. I think people liked it because it was big and gaudy and if you were so inclined you could indulge in the look-at-me self-regard of getting your photo taken on a hit convention set piece. But was it a Comic-Con booth for the ages? No. It doesn't even connect to anything significant from the comics. No one to my knowledge has ever looked back on their childhood and thought, "When I was a kid I dreamed of sitting on Odin's throne" and no kid without serious issues is going to think that leaving next year's movie. I'm leaning towards "it was stupid," even by the relative standards of an event that once offered "half-naked woman under glass." I look forward to DC's giant Sit-Behind Perry White Desk in 2011 and Archie's giant Stand-Behind Pop's Soda Shop counter in 2012.

* by the way, the only thing that keeps me alive when walking to the eastern end of the hall -- the non-comics end, or, as I heard it called, "the popular end" -- is the paralyzing tension between wanting to kill myself and not wanting to die until I kill everyone else in the room first. It can't be helped in the main. That's where the more popular booths are. Spreading out those booths would likely be a disaster on a lot of levels. In the end, there's just no way to screen guests in terms of what they're going to the convention to see. You know what would be nice, though? If the con forbade the use of video screens when the booth doesn't have a space within its borders to watch that screen. Any company that decides to extend its display space into where I have to walk, that's a company I want to see fail.

* speaking of companies I've wanted to see fail, CrossGen is apparently making a comeback. Some of the Disney-owned comics will see new publishing life at their funnybook division, aka the House That Jack Built. This was not the biggest announcement of the show, but it was sort of the funniest. Everything I've said about the cramming of more stuff into a comics market that's already over-saturated with product applies here. Still, I guess that's what's to be expected in this day of corporate synergy. Some days you see a flood of comics people being offered jobs in animation, which is great for those creators. Some days you get more Sigil. Also what struck me is that this counted as an announcement. Is it my imagination, or have the publishing announcements made by the Big Two since they made their big ownership and operation moves a while back been really lame? I don't know that I could pick a single maneuver by either company that seems like an exciting, brand-new direction that couldn't have happened under either old regime.

* a surprising amount of industry chatter within my limited range about the big companies. There's still worry expressed that the move to digital is going to discombobulate how people are paid to make comics, that a lower price point may gut page rates. There was a lot of talk about various big comics companies questioning their commitment to comics shows like CCI. This is something that came up at 2 AM one morning, but isn't the big worry if DC moves to Burbank that the company will start filling up with horrible Hollywood people, socially adept ladder-climbers with an eye on getting into or back into the film side of things and even less of a feel for publishing than the worst of the current crew?

* I don't know if I've mentioned this already, but the best theory I heard about the popularity of big bags is that they play into the desire by many con-goers to embrace the infantile. Being an adult and holding a giant bag is akin to being a child and holding a regular-sized bag: the Lily Tomlin school of embracing one's youth. Given the number of folks well over 40 that looked like they were dressed for recess -- I'm an unkempt slob, but I do manage to wear long pants away from water -- there may be something there.

* let's talk a bit about San Diego the city. First, I want to repeat my statement made during the show that I both appreciate the people of San Diego and the businesses that benefit from Comic-Con putting a best foot forward in order to maybe help keep the show and I also feel terribly, terribly sorry that it's come to that. I have something just short of withering contempt that such a significant portion of the comics community has such a self-confidence problem -- or a just plain mean problem -- that they're somehow delighting in this display of concern over future lost income on the behalf of local businesses. Seriously, does anyone who goes to a Pharma conference get pissy on their blogs for weeks afterwards if they feel the local service staff didn't show enough interest in off-site validation service trends or whatever? I still feel that San Diego hospitality workers are collectively a much better host than Comic-Con attendees are guests. One morning during breakfast I watched two groups of con-goers storm the buffet from which I was eating and inspect it closely, and, well, loudly, in terms of its suitability as a place for them to spend their money. They were acting in a way that should have been left behind in middle-school, just completely unsocialized and rude. Two different groups in the space of 20 minutes. If San Diego does lose the show, there's certainly going to be a lot of anecdotal Pepto-Bismol to soothe the economic sock in the gut.

* maybe I was just looking in the wrong places, but it seemed like there were a lot more homeless closer to the hotels than I've seen in ten years, and lot of storefronts abandoned that were filled just a year or two ago. There were also no cranes in the skyline as was the case five years ago when the city looked like the final wide shot of War Of The Worlds. All of this indicates to me that San Diego is on the 1:00 or 1:30 hand in relation to the high noon of urban renewal they've seen in the last 15 years. Just an observation, don't know if it's true.

* that said, I'm still astonished that con-goers treat 7th avenue like some sort of invisible force field. San Diego has developed a section of downtown that seems to repel convention-goers. I ate in two restaurants a bit east of the main Gaslamp action, both of which had walk-in and sit tables available at 8 PM, neither of which had entrees over $12, and neither of which had another table with what seemed like con-goers sitting at it. The mind boggles, especially when the third longest line I saw the entire weekend was at Richard Walker's Pancake House. Every morning when I walked down seventh and then over to sixth and then finally to fifth I saw multiple parking lots with plenty of places open at 9:30 to 10:00 AM. One parking lot on Sunday at 9:30 AM, located half the distance from the show my old and not very healthy self was walking, had one car in it. It seems to me that downtown San Diego can more than handle the outlying hotels and day-visit parking, and deal with the Comic-Con nighttime crowd, if people will just spread themselves out a bit.

image

* it may be that I'm just getting old and I'm taking extra delight in being able to sit down, but it seems like the last couple of years the programming has been consistently strong, and stuffed to the brim with watchable events. You can read about the panels I attended in the daily reports. I concluded this was an abundance of riches when I realized that on Saturday, you could spend three hours in the same chair and see talks with Jillian Tamaki, Peter Bagge, and Gabrielle Bell in rapid-fire fashion. That's a good day all by itself. I must have attended parts of 20 panels, no kidding, and I could create a full, awesome day out of ones I missed: Matt Fraction's Sunday spotlight with Bill Hader and his aforementioned performance piece, Keith Knight's spotlight panel, the comic strip reprint panel, the comics publishing panel, the comics criticism panel, the Milo Manara spotlight, the Jack Kirby panel, the ComicsPRO meet-and-greet, this year's Quick Draw with Bil Stout and the Scott McCloud moderated talk with James Sturm about the Center for Cartoon Studies. And that's working from memory.

* one thing that struck me in the panels is how serious so many of the panelists were about making art. Not glum-serious, but lack-of-bullshit, this-is-important-to-me serious. It was a good year for panelists across the comics spectrum that chewed on the questions asked and came up with honest answers. I've seen so many glib and smarmy panels over the years that the earnestness in the air at CCI 2010 was a more than welcome change. There was only one panel I saw that felt contrived and desultory to me, where the participants came across as if they saw the programming schedule and were like, "Ugh. A panel. Well, if I have to." It stuck out like a sore thumb.

* another thought about the convention: one thing I wish attendees and professionals would abandon is automatically blaming the con for things that are clearly the result of their mandate running wild. That's not to say the buck doesn't stop wherever their offices are, but I think there could be some sympathy for simply expanding what you do if people are interested. We're all victims in some way or another of this rapid growth in attendance and attention. I think it's best to keep in mind that the surge is a relatively recent and sudden phenomenon. There's going to be some scrambling. Every year brings with it a new group of solutions and a new set of problems. The shelf date on new ways of conducting business can be extremely limited. For instance, a press thing: a couple of years ago when companies started having events and PR opportunities off-site at hotels, this seemed like the greatest idea in the world to me and my small circle of Fourth Estate pals. You get to take a break from the main show and go to a place where the people you want to learn about have your full attention at the same time they have yours! And yet this year I know a number of my press buddies when asked to trudge off site treated it like an invitation to throw that whole day right in the toilet. There are so many small events to attend and small deadlines to hit that taking the time to go to the W or wherever for a single interview struck many as crazy. The point is, everyone is still adjusting. I know I am.

* by the way, James Sturm pointed this out to me and he's right. Is there any more amusing guest of Comic-Con than King Features' Brendan Burford? He's one of the ten most powerful guys in comics, one of maybe five guys in North America whose interest in you can all by itself make your career. There are people who would climb over their mothers to have five minutes of his time. Plus he's super-nice and smart and funny. But instead of being mobbed or constantly hassled, Burford wanders around the show chatting to people that he knows, picking up a couple of books here and there, seeming to all assembled like another young-looking comics fan with a bemused, tired half-smile on his face. He's like the Don Rosa of comics executives. It's hilarious.

* other than Berke Breathed being convinced that a lot of people adored Bloom County -- he told me that his spotlight panel's crowd was the easiest and most receptive audience he ever had; plus it was standing-room only -- I couldn't really track any strip news beyond Burford saying that Dustin continues to pick up paper and five or six people asking me if I've seen the new Jay Stephens-drawn, Bob Weber Jr.-written strip Oh, Brother. The traffic at the NCS table seemed pretty light, although maybe I stopped by during lean times.

image

* to take this back to comics, I thought there were a number of intriguing publishing announcements. As much as I'm depressed by the piling on of publishing initiatives to the relative detriment of distribution and sales issues, and as much as the movie-centric focus of so many comics announcements further sends me to bed early to have a good cry, there was good news for those of us that just want awesome comics to read. Fantagraphics winning the Floyd Gottfredson stakes is great news for a lot of reasons, but mostly because when Gottfredson was in his adventure-comics prime that strip killed it for weeks and weeks at a time. Both D+Q announcements they released here I think are promising: I've wanted to see more of that Mimi Pond work for a while now, and Shikeru Mizuki making it to North American shores is, as Chris Butcher points out, huge news. Top Shelf has this near-army of of quality books coming out. Marvel continues employing its deep writers' bench in a variety of ways. Fantagraphics isn't denying they may tackle Franquin after having some success with Jacques Tardi. Abrams is going to do that Someday Funnies book Bob Levin wrote about in the Journal, and is hanging in there with the Carter Family book. It looks like a lot of compelling work to come.

* one thing that may not be public knowledge and that I think is really telling about Comic-Con is that Fantagraphics was thinking about not announcing the Gottfredson books for fear of being lost in an assumed wave of publishing news at the show. Instead of being lost, the Mickey Mouse series was one of the showpiece news items, the kind about which you read supplementary interviews and post-acquisition analysis. It just goes to show you that everyone is still feeling out the way the show works best.

image* I'm sure there are other, small memories I'll want to put in this paragraph. Sam Gross of all people came up three times in three different conversations over the weekend. It's not like I minded. I love Sam Gross. I Am Blind And My Dog Is Dead may be one of the greatest collection titles ever. I had two different conversations about there still not being a definitive Trots And Bonnie collection. During one of them a pair of young, talented cartoonists admitted they'd never heard of Shary Flenniken. Someone fix that, please. This was the year I started to be grateful just seeing guys near my own age still working in comics in some capacity. I checked off everyone on my See Them At CCI bingo sheet except Moritat and Paul Sloboda. That said, there was a frightening number I didn't see at all, and others I lost track of halfway through the show like they weren't ever there in the first place. Emile Bravo was gracious, funny, and a fascinating guy to watch hold court. I suspect that of the major international guests Bravo came closest to surviving the convention rather than enjoying it, but he's a total pro. CCI 2010 was the kind of show where a new Kevin Huizenga book is out and it doesn't get mentioned until 5000 words in. Having to take books on the airplane and being forced to pay for a second piece of luggage or an overweight/overstuffed first piece changed more buying habits than I think anyone would care to admit.

* so enough with the con. Bring on the post-con announcements: DC in Burbank, CCI's location starting in 2013, CR's studio move. It should be an intriguing August.

* my personal thanks to all those (including one person in particular) who were so nice and supportive -- a special shout-out to Team CA for being so gracious on Friday night -- and a thank you to my brother Whit for taking most of these photos and a ton of others, besides. The best encounters of the weekend were hearing from smart-seeming people that read and appreciate the site and wanted to tell me so. Thank you. You don't know what an encouragement that kind of thing can be.

* oh, yeah: a guy got stabbed in the face with a pen, too. And in the end, it wasn't all that big of a story. I told you it was an odd year.

*****

photos by Whit and Tom Spurgeon

*****

any additional thoughts on the show will be published in this site's "Four-Color Festival" column

*****

image

*****
*****
 
posted 12:50 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: The Little Sew-And-Sews

image
 
posted 12:40 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Friends Of Lulu May Start To Dissolve Starting September 2010

I don't have any commentary right away and I think this deserves a full point-by-point examination, but Valerie D'Orazio has come forward on the diminished state of the outreach organization Friends Of Lulu, suggesting that if no one step up to the plate and take it off her hands by September that she will place a pillow over its head and gently apply pressure. I've never been all that big a fan of the organization, but certain folks for whom I have respect have been invested in it at various points in its history, and a last chapter bears watching.
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Peter Wheat

image
someone needs to publish these
 
posted 12:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: John Updike, Cartoonist

image
 
posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Early Jack Cole

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Brave And The Bold #91

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Sir Thomas Cycle

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Nobody Likes Maggott

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* aiee!

* I don't know Jason Netter and I like both Jimmy Palmiotti and Larry Young, but this interview with Netter about his new, aggressively-scheduled line of graphic novels makes it sound pretty awful from where I sit. Those books are going to have to be super, super good in order to find a place in the currently over-saturated DM and book market, or to drive and then sustain a new market in places like Wal-Mart, but the articles about it keep leading with these broad plans instead of speaking to, you know, content. Does anyone not involved with such a venture really sense that there's this hidden reservoir of awesome graphic novels out there just waiting for a publishing opportunity? Does anyone not involved with such a venture think it likely the books won't look like those in the half of the Image pile that stay in the Quebecor box the longest? I'd love to be proven wrong.

image* Michael Cavna profiles Steve Breen, making news for his BP oil cartoon efforts.

* the radio show Snap Judgment talks to a number of creators about the superheroes they created as children. You can do audio or video (or both) with that one. (thx, Jon Adams)

* Brian Heater writes a mournful piece on the closed comic store Rocketship.

* the series on female literary figures Peter Bagge talked about in San Diego is off to a rousing start. Unless this is a second one, in which case it continues its momentum or something.

* finally, one of the more amusing feuds in comics continues, as Didier Pasamonik and the news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com take a ton of shots at L'Association and JC Menu through coverage of the publishing house's anniversary. Pasamonik uses such elliptical language that it's hard for me to follow him, but the snark comes through. I tend to side with Menu and L'Asso in this particular set of skirmishes, by which I mean every single time, but it's somehow satisfying to know these kinds of rhetorical battles happen in other comics industries.
 
posted 11:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 50th Birthday, Jon J Muth!

image
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 29th Birthday, Miriam Libicki!

image
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 43rd Birthday, Will Pfeifer!

image
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 65th Birthday, Jim Davis!

image
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Robert Pollard's Show
Berlin And That Exhibition Coverage

History
On The Alley Kids

Industry
Vault Of Midnight Profiled

Interviews/Profiles
Good Comics For Kids: Jimmy Gownley

Not Comics
The Comics Labyrinth
More Walking Dead Cast Videos

Reviews
Seth Peagler: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Abhay Khosla: Wally Gropius
Greg McElhatton: Bikeman #1
Grant Goggans: Adventure Comics #516
Xaviar Xerexes: Welcome To The Dahlhouse
Richard Bruton: The Sound Of Drowning Vol. 14
Bill Sherman: Graphic Classics: Edgar Allen Poe
Sean T. Collins: The Comics Section From Panorama
 

 
July 27, 2010


Zunar Files Suit Against Comics Ban

In news that broke across the wires yesterday, we learned that the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar -- the Malaysian citizen known as Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque -- has sued to lift the ban on his comics publications that were banned under a public order ruling. Zunar claims, with the support of the international free speech communities, that this is an attempt to keep the political conversation those cartoons constitute out of the public eye. In his statement to the press he said he plans to challenge the public order logic on its face, asking the government to point out past riots caused by his cartoons. We wish all support to Zunar in his fight.
 
posted 1:15 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Less Obvious Ditko Motifs

image
 
posted 1:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Micronauts #20

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Little Lulu #21

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Cry Hitler Cry

image
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: 1972 Comic Art Calendar

image
one of the five all-time great art posts; I fall for it every time
 
posted 12:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Editor Mike Dean's introduction is distracting and silly -- it's not 1983, you can cover multiple stories on-line and many people do -- but an International Blog aggregating service or hosting service or whatever its final shape will be is an awesome idea and exactly the kind of service the Journal should be pursuing and providing. Congrats to the Journal on a ground-breaking venture. I hope it comes off half as good as the one I'm envisioning in my head. Very exciting.

image* as I think everyone and their mother suspected, although with all respect to a moderately-sized publisher like Oni and the way one approaches giant print runs these days, the latest and last Scott Pilgrim comic sold out of its initial, 100K print run. I hope every attention is paid to SP as publishing success story, even as that success has become intertwined with anticipation of the movie.

* the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com has an interview up with David Glanzer that's must reading for industry-heads even if you don't go anywhere near a "Collective Memory." I believe him when he says he thought there would be a decision on 2013 by now. It seems to me that it all comes down to whether or not San Diego steps to the plate, as that seems to me the only part of the story that could still be developing, if you see what I'm saying. I'm unabashedly pro-San Diego, even as I wonder if my opinion should mean anything at all.

* you've all seen this, right?

* I've been enjoying this list-like series of appreciation posts over at 4thletter!, partly because they're disconnected from the right-now impulse that a lot of comics blogs suffer through, and partly because the opinions expressed are very different than my own -- both the topics selected and how they're analyzed. Here's the latest group of links on comics series: Winter Men, Children Of The Sea, Hellblazer, Battlefields and BPRD.

* finally, Steve Bell writes a very funny short post about all the young cartoonists waiting for him to die, and how he's using that impulse to take a holiday.
 
posted 12:20 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 70th Birthday, Ernie Chan!

image
 
posted 12:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 72nd Birthday, Pierre Christin!

image
 
posted 12:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
James Stokoe Makes A Splash Panel

Exhibits/Events
Go See Joe Sacco

History
Indeed
Nick Fury Rep As Diversity Icon Threatened

Industry
D+Q Loves Their Interns

Interviews/Profiles
Dan Clowes On NPR
Who Was Harvey Pekar?
Evening Magazine: Ellen Forney

Not Comics
Congratulations To Employee Aaron

Publishing
New Packaging For Death Note
Mike Sterling On More Watchmen

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Ed Sizemore: Cthulu Vol. 1
Matthew Brady: Octopus Pie
Lori Henderson: GestaltVol. 6
Stella Matutina: Castle Waiting
Carlton Hargro: Superman #701
Greg McElhatton: Kobato Vols. 1-2
Matthew Brady: A God Somewhere
Richard Bruton: The Sign Of The Four
Sean T. Collins: Neighborhood Sacrifice
Grant Goggans: The Complete DR And Quinch
 

 
July 26, 2010


John Callahan, RIP

image
 
posted 6:09 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Notes From The 2010 CCI Floor

image

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2010 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements -- I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* it's weird to think that there's actually news-cycle pressure to make this the final report on CCI instead of the last daily report; I'm not certain that's a good thing and I suspect that's a bigger shift in perception than anything Comic-Con seeks to do with its branding.

* if you disagree with anything I'm about to write, I may have to stab you in the eye.

* too soon?

* Sunday is kids day, which means a lot of programming focused on children's entertainment properties and a lot of parents holding hands with smaller versions of themselves. I saw a prominent retailer at the train station greeting his family and small child to sweep them over to the show, I'm guessing for the day. It was really adorable. It's not like I'm going to experience a bunch the bulk of the kids' programming, but there were a lot more kids visible at the show for sure, even in the funnybook sections.

* one thing I noticed for the first time is that the tags for kids had a last name or even more frequently a generic "kids pass" designation instead of a name, which I guess makes sense because you don't want kids clearly labeled in a way that might allow someone outside of their family to exert influence on what he or she is doing by employing their name. I guess there may be another reason for this, but that's the one that popped into my head.

* I saw the writer Joe Casey for a brief moment; he took several moments while we were talking to add his signature to various Ben 10-related comics that kids brought up. He had a new Godland hardcover out, which despite having a couple of interviews with the creators taken from this site is worth a look. He's still in his "disguise" from WonderCon, which I can only describe as "second series of Life On Mars, the BBC version." We talked a bit about comics and proportion, how there are all sorts of paths a creator can take in comics and that the danger may be more in assuming the value you place in a specific vocational goal is the value someone else should place in that something. One man's lifetime gig is another man's first step up the ladder. One editor's prize gig offering may be a lifeline to one creator and an insult to another.

* there wasn't really any Man of Action news that fits naturally into this site, although I guess they're assisting on production of a new animated iteration of Marvel's Spider-Man, which is sort of interesting if it becomes a trend. Given that Peter David is doing a bunch of Young Justice cartoon scripts, it looks like it might.

* one thing I completely forgot to mention is that Alvin Buenaventura was at the show, selling a bunch of Buenaventura Press prints and a ton of his personal art collection. I avoided Buenaventura Press' booth most of the weekend and didn't really say anything worth a damn when I visited because I just sort of felt sad that the business venture had folded and also felt guilty that I didn't do more to be supportive. So I mumbled a lot. It was just as stupid in person as it looks typed out here, believe me. I wish Alvin all the luck in the world, I'm thankful for his time as a full-bore comics and print publisher, and hopefully he'll keep a hand in with a project or two.

* another subject that kind of ended up sprinkled throughout the day was the desire that some of the younger creators had to be mentored in some fashion, and how despite the social media era in which we now live many creators felt like there were barriers between established creators and those starting out that simply didn't exist twenty years ago. Back then, you could mail a creator your work through an address in a publication and there was a chance you might develop a relationship with that creator based on their considering the work and perhaps finding it appealing; now it's one of 14 links they received that day, many of which just wish for a commercial endorsement.

* I don't know if I mentioned that Fantagraphics expected to sell out of their Moto Hagio books by the end of the day, and had very few on hand Sunday morning. That's good news. I'm told through secondary sources that the great cartoonist had a fine time at the show -- something that some people close to the effort of bringing her over worried after -- and I can give first-hand testimony to the fact that she was certainly funny and charming. What a delight to share a weekend with that creator, even in the smallest ways. Also, I can't emphasize this enough, she was kind of hilarious, pointing out on one panel that not only did she learn structure from watching The Patty Duke Show but she had given this a ton of thought and was willing to go into it in great detail if anyone wanted her to, pointing out on another that she got in trouble for some of her earlier stories for killing children characters but that once she found the right publisher she's been killing children ever since, and employing variations of a joke throughout that if she had known that a certain plot point had upset a reader years and years later she never would have made that creative choice.

* the new Vanessa Davis book with her strips from Tablet, which I believe not looking at 4 AM is called Make Me A Woman, looks pretty great on a first glance. I had two different creators walk up to me after taking a peek at the book and ask me "who the heck is that?" questions, which is always a good sign.

* Dylan Williams of Sparkplug told me that they had a really solid show, and that things improved once they adjusted their location on the floor.

* I ran into David Glanzer and when I asked him if he was surviving the onslaught of news about the eye-stabbing fight in the big hall I had to specifically bring up the subject matter of what I was referring to as "the big story." I don't think he was acting. Anyway, he was still in the mode of taking his clues from the police rather than placing a Comic-Con spin on things. He looked like a man on the fourth day of a four-day supershow. I have to imagine there's a certain amount of relief for all the Comic-Con staffers heading into the home stretch, although as I recall they have a lot of post-show work and analysis of the show just past to do even in those years that don't involve deciding on the show's future host city.

* one thing I want to write a bit about tomorrow is that I wish people were more careful in assigning maliciousness to things about the show that don't quite work. There are some bizarre structural issues in play right now with Comic-Con that I don't think get enough analysis.

* speaking of big issues, I caught a New York Times article about the pressure to move the show, which I can't find right this second but brought up the interesting point that the studios might like it in LA simply based on the cost of exhibiting in San Diego. I thought the article was kind of bullshit, frankly, in that it used an anonymous source that might easily be influenced by one of the cities bidding on the show, and more importantly made the huge assumption that ideally the show should grow until it can't grow no more, which I'm not sure should be the goal of Comic-Con.

* let me put this another way: when all is said and done with the decision on where to place the show, how many of those factors will grow out of the concern of the comics publishers? Because frankly, I'm not really upset if the film studios have to pay more money than they want to for the convention they only fully discovered a few years ago.

* I saw Jonathan Ross talking into his watch, but I can't tell if that was for effect or if he really has some sort of Dick Tracy-style device.

* I went to the Digital Piracy panel, but I didn't learn much I didn't already know. There was some interesting rhetoric about how those against scanlation are at a disadvantage because they're being forced to fight against an expression of love on behalf of the fans. There was another idea floated by one panelist a couple of time that it's arrogant for fans to assume they know better than editors and creators, which I don't think is as good an argument as ultimately creators and those to whom creators assign the job have the right to make bad decisions, or, really, any decision they want. Also, that whole group hilariously crushed some of the question-askers in a way you usually don't see at a show like that one.

* I took Amtrak to Los Angeles at 1 PM. I'm going to have to qualify my recommendation of Amtrak for future trips. It's kind of tough to get on the San Diego train during any of the busy days, as it involves a significant standing-up wait and potential delays that it seems are common to that short run. You sure don't want to count on making it back to LA by a certain time, that's for sure. My brother and I passed the time in line by playing a game of "Yep, That's The Line." It's where people leave the train station proper, look at the line with dawning horror, and then try to find ways to talk the Amtrak people to let them up front. Usually to no avail.

* a stab at a convention report tomorrow. I've run out of time for today.

*****

Comic-Con International is done for 2010; a broader, summary report will appear on CR tomorrow and a collective memory should appear tomorrow to run through the rest of the week
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Steranko Special Effects

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Shop Visit: Secret Headquarters In Los Angeles, California

image

By Tom Spurgeon
Photos By Whit Spurgeon

I'd been looking forward to visiting Los Angeles' Secret Headquarters for some time. It had popped into existence after I was visiting Los Angeles on a more regular basis than I do now, so I have no history with the store the way I do Meltdown or even Golden Apple. Here are some brief and I'm afraid not-very-penetrating observations, accompanied by photos of the place by Whit Spurgeon.

*****

image
image

I think the unique feel that many ascribe to Secret Headquarters comes from multiple sources. The first is the lighting. The second is all the dark wood and personal library-type shelving that dominates the infrastructure of the store's main room. The third and probably most under-appreciated is the sweeping through-lines that the store offers door to back wall and then again from the business desk to the front of the store. I've talked to people that don't think much of the store's look, or that at least think people overstate its attractiveness. One person I spoke to at Comic-Con even called it a "dumpy room." I liked it, though I think there's a lesson in remembering that this is a local store. When I asked what the big seller was it wasn't some hand-stitched comic from Utah, it was The Walking Dead.

*****

image
image
image

While we were in the store, a parent and child used the leather chairs up front to look over a few potential purchases. I would imagine it's nice to have a seating area for the people that don't want to shop as much as for those that do. The table was stacked with an array of comics, one imagines to attract a reluctant, tag-along shopper, and the whole section was near the hardcore local 'zine material, another area that non-comics buyers tend to find attractive.

*****

image
image

A couple of the major shelving areas from a distance. In comic shops, books on a shelf provide atmosphere, are decorative and serve as a place for shopper to interact with individual books, all at the same time.

*****

image
image
image
image
image
image

Some of the shelving at a close-up, including a lot of what my brother and later referred to as "pull outs," or comics that are shelved in little groups and then scattered throughout the store. I got two completely different vibes from walking around. The first is that all the bookshelves reminded me of being in a very, very big personal library as opposed to a more formal retail establishment. The second is that looking at a variety of material displayed in a variety of ways reminded me of walking around a classic neighborhood used bookstore, the exact kind that are blinking out of existence right now.

*****

image
image
image

I liked how there was a bit of idiosyncratic weirdness going on up at the part of the store where customers bought their goods. (That is indeed one of the owner/operators sitting behind the cash register and desk. While I was there, a kid bought himself a couple of Transformers comics and something from one of David Petersen's Mouse Guard series, which shouldn't be notable but sadly is.

*****

image
image
image

Buried treasure in the form of original art and prints hung up in the store's small back room. There were two by Al Columbia: a color print of which apparently one copy was made, and a sublime black and white sketchbook-style drawing.

*****

image
image
image

I like inexplicable, stupid-looking decorations.

*****

image
image

Some unsold art still on the walls from cartoonist Vanessa Davis. That which has been sold has already come down, I'm told.

*****

image
image

Most shops have something to sell other than comics.

*****
*****
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Best And Worst Manga As Selected By Experts’ Casual Poll: For Your Potential Reading/Avoiding Means

On Thursday at Comic-Con, an all-star panel of manga critics met at the invitation of Manga: The Complete Guide author Jason Thompson to discuss the Best and Worst of Manga, 2010. The panelists were Thompson, Shaenon Garrity, Deb Aoki, Chris Butcher and Carlo Santos; I sat at the podium and hit the button that brought covers up on screen. It was a packed crowd, lots of younger people, and a ton of folks writing stuff down. I realized when I saw the people writing down the various choices that this was something that could maybe benefit people like me that have only heard of 33 percent of what was discussed and only read maybe one of four or one of five, if that. The "wish list" might also give some enterprising publisher out there an idea.

The discussion was broken down into several areas. There was a lot of back and forth. The last choices in the "best international" and "worst" categories were somewhat controversial, and individual panelists broke on about three or four of the best-of choices. Mostly it was nice to be on a panel so focused on the reading of comics.

*****

image

Best Manga (All-Ages/Teen)
* Chi's Sweet Home
* Clover/Cardcaptor Sakura
* Cat Paradise
* Karakuri Odette
* Kekkaishi
* Kingyo Used Books
* Megaman Megamix
* Twin Spica

*****

image

Best Manga (Grown-Ups/Adults)
* 20th Century Boys/Pluto
* A Drifting Life
* Black Lagoon
* Detroit Metal City
* not simple
* Oishinbo
* Ooku
* Red Blinds the Foolish/An Age Called Blu
* The Summit of the Gods/A Distant Neighborhood

*****

image

Best Manga (International)
* Nightschool
* Peepo Choo
* The Color of Earth/Water/Heaven
* Twilight

*****

image

Worst Manga
* .hack (all of them)
* Maximum Ride
* Orange Planet
* Red Hot Chili Samurai
* Togainu no Chi

*****

image

Most Anticipated Upcoming Licensed Title
* A Drunken Dream
* Ax
* Ayako
* Cross Game
* Genkaku Picasso
* Not Love but Delicious Foods
* Strange Tale of Panorama Island

*****

image

Wish List
* Atagoul
* Kami no Shizuku
* Otoyomegatari
* Saint Young Men
* The Music of Marie
* The Rose of Versailles
 
posted 6:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: El Largo Tren Oscuro

image
this is a few years old, but is nearly out of print
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 06

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Carnival Of Death

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Captain Science #1

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 56th Birthday, Lawrence Watt-Evans!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 57th Birthday, Bob Pinaha!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Tucker Stone at ComiXology
* S'notroversy!
* Takes All Kinds
* The Best Comics of 2009
* The MoCCA Archipelago: 2010
* So the Sentry Does What Now?
* In Addition to Being a Deep Person
* Description Is a Myth: Weathercraft
* Who The Hell Matthew Murdock Thinks You Are
* Transcript of Unaired A&E Special On Cliff Chiang: Part One
* Transcript of Unaired A&E Special On Cliff Chiang: Part Two

 

 
July 25, 2010


Notes From The 2010 CCI Floor

image

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2010 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements -- I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* best update on the Hall H eye-stabbing here. Kudos to the fates for having what was an inevitable violent outbreak regarding the high-pressure seat occupation strategies at Comic-Con be reminiscent of the famous junkie's needle to the eye that got Wertham all fired up. I'm not totally interested in the story as a story, but it bears tracking how it goes down over the next few days. It also goes without saying that or the rest of the con there should be a considerable amount of tension in the air regarding any potential second violent incident. A fistfight at 2 PM today, say, or a girl being pushed down the last seven stairs somewhere at 4 PM, they would make this more a trend story instead of an isolated incident one.

* maybe the greatest news of the con, made during a panel I was going to moderate, then didn't: Fantagraphics will be doing a Complete Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse. The fascinating thing about this is that I can't think of a strip outside of Thimble TheatrePopeye that changed more in its history, and certainly not anothere one that changed so much under the same cartoonist. When that strip was on, it was a great, great adventure strip. The first volume will be out next year, and Gary Groth is spearheading the project.

* another one of interest because it's an odd project in certain ways as well is a planned Rocketeer comic series (and, one guesses, resulting trade) from IDW. The press release is unclear whether it's an anthology or a team-created book; the first approach would be more likely and reflect more common practice. They certainly name a slew of heavy-hitting mainstream talent. A portion of monies earned go to charity. It's weird only in that this kind of thing is usually described as a tribute book where this specific one announcement seems to hedge on that a bit, maybe to get some juice as simply more Rocketeer stories. I don't know, it seems like in everything but in rigorous tribute form that property has passed on.

* more Alex Raymond from IDW, too. That's nice.

* spoke to AnnaMaria White at IDW briefly; she's fired up about her summertime promotion, which I guess allows her to focus on press over a combination of press and retail. It's actually kind of nice to see the promotional/marketing teams at comics company expand and settle into place. You forget about this kind of thing sometimes, but the con for someone like Jacq Cohen at Fantagraphics is likely a big deal as she settles into a certain part of her PR duties and has to put on display the interpersonal part of it while hopefully benefiting from the planning aspects. We focus so much on the importance of Comic-Con to people making a one-hour presentation or a single appearance that we sometimes forget it can be a crucial show for a lot of people working in company infrastructures.

* spoke to a Hollywoodish person focused on the potential development of comics properties for a quarter hour or so. As long as I leave it a blind item, I don't think she'd mind me saying that the landscape from their viewpoint has become more difficult as companies sign various first-look proposals. Another person e-mailing in said that they wouldn't be surprise if you see a few companies employing more of a Dark Horse approach and doing initial stages of development themselves, maybe through a single employee.

* I stopped by the Boom! booth to congratulate newly-installed Editor In Chief Matt Gagnon, who was in informal portfolio review mode. I was curious to hear the other day that the company planned to work with sometimes-beleaguered cartoonist William Messner-Loebs, but it turns out they already had worked with the writer and I had just missed it. Discussed Messner-Loebs' Journey with a younger cartoonist the other day, who really loved the atmospheric art and strange narrative rhythms of the frontier project. I can't imagine IDW sold a lot of their collections, and would recommend those of you that love the romantically ambitious comics projects of the past put that one on their shelves.

* ran into Rantz Hoseley of Longbox on the convention floor. He could say much more than broad generalities, but he assures me that by the end of the con season his on-line comics reading enterprise will have at least one major league partnership in terms of embedding its technology. He also suggested there's a long way to go before the competition between various strategies gets settled.

* here's a bit of big-deal publishing news -- well, to me and people who like roughly the same kinds of comics I like -- that escaped my attention until Charlie Kochman mentioned it in passing, but I guess was covered by Calvin Reid earlier in the show: Abrams plans to publish a finished version of Michel Choquette's legendarily incomplete and slightly doomed anthology The Someday Funnies in the second half of 2011.

* you know what subject has come up unbidden about a half dozen times over the weekend? Robert Kirkman's new project where he plans on giving an opportunity and some direction to new creators in return for an (I think) unnamed level participation in their projects. As described, it seems like the opposite of how Image is set up and not really related with how Kirkman established and developed his career, either. I want to wait for some articles and interview from people who know mainstream American comic books better than I do before I comment in a loaded way, but it certainly caught my attention and that of some other folks.

* something that no one has talked to me about but has certainly caught my interest is the sheer number of different imprints and lines planned, with every reason to believe that they'll make good -- at least at first -- on their publishing goals. I'm not against new work, but it doesn't seem to me if you sat down with a team of problem-solver and set to work with the comics industry that anyone's solution would be to release a ton of new product through the current infrastructure.

* by the way, the Calvin Reid link from earlier also has a rough sketch of planned layoffs/cutbacks related to Del Rey Manga.

* my panels went really well. Gabrielle Bell seems incapable right now of giving an evasive, easy, canned answer to any question, no matter how dopey or ill-timed that question may be. I admired how honestly conflicted she seemed on issues, how none of the answers were trite. She says she's about two-three years away from seeing a graphic novel published, which she described as a series of short vignettes about a single person's life, but definitely interconnected in a more novelistic way than simply a collection of short stories might be. On the international graphic novels panel, Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Milo Manara, Moto Hagio and a late-arriving Emile Bravo all spoke in broad strokes about the economic and personal ramifications of the long-form comics option, and what it's like to develop a readership outside of your borders. That Saturday afternoon all-star, generically-named panel is always a tough one because of the projected unfamiliarity most of those in the audience likely have with a portion if not all of the participants, but they were all funny and consistently humble. Plus Kathryn Immonen resisted throwing an ice water glass at my head when I asked not one but two impossible to answer, 15-ellipse questions that made no sense, for which I'm greatly appreciated. One fired-up person after the panel proclaimed that awesome talent like the assembled should be in Hall H. "People have no idea how great these cartoonists are!" he bellowed. I'd agree for sure. Thanks to everyone that participated or came out.

* Deb Aoki was nice enough to deliver back to me my convention watch. Thanks, Deb.

* in general, all the people at the panels were super-nice, and I think everyone with whom I sat on a panel was really appreciative of the attention. Milo Manara's translator told me that Manara never flies, so that coming to the convention was a big deal. The cartoonist was also apparently worried that no one would show up at his spotlight panel or have any interest in him at all, so when his panel was packed and people came up to him all weekend, those things constituted a very pleasing development. He also seemed touched to receive an Inkpot from the convention.

* one bit of publishing news that might have slipped through the cracks: Peter Bagge said during his panel that he's working for Reason again, and although he hasn't signed a contract for doing so he wants to do and plans on doing a series of biographies about popular female figures in the literary world in the first half of the 20th Century and how their lifestyle and professional choices either overtly or in backwards-fashion suggest a libertarian philosophy.

* one nice thing about Bagge's panel is that a lot of it was aimed backwards at the whole Newave/Weirdo component of the alt-comics revolution, and how much that whole group of cartoonists seems to be vastly underrated.

* more than a few people approached me to suggest the mood of the convention is subdued this year, with nothing yet jumping out at people in a unique and memorable way. I'm not yet sure how I'd characterize it, especially not on a Sunday morning where my every impulse is to stay and bed and skip going.

*****

the show runs from July 22nd through July 25th
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Amazing Photo Array From Late-‘80, Eary-‘90s JHU

image
it's a Facebook thing, I'm afraid
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 35th Birthday, Dan Shahin!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Jon Lewis!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Chip Bok!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Ray Billingsley!

image

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 


 
Happy 61st Birthday, Alex Wald!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Ted Benoit!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 69th Birthday, S. Clay Wilson!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 24, 2010


Stabbing In Movie Area Of Comic-Con?

Various sources are reporting a pen-to-eye stabbing in Hall H or a similar large space during Comic-Con International earlier today. I'm not hugely interested in the story, given this site's focus on comics, but it's bound to have repurcussions in terms of issues like the frustration felt by people that are desperate for seats at the show to certain big-time movie panels. Given the number of people at the show, the pressures felt, and the maturing of the show in terms of attention to issues like this; something was bound to happen sooner or later. Depending on how ugly the facts are when they form out of the stew of rumors and speculations and eyewitness accounts that exist right now, there could be structural implications for Comic-Con as well. A wait and see story rather than a get the facts out now now now story, so let's all pay attention to it.
 
posted 6:29 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Comics Reporter Video Parade














 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Notes From The 2010 CCI Floor

image

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2010 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements -- I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* CR was told this morning by Drawn and Quarterly Associate Publisher Peggy Burns that the publisher has acquired North American English rights to Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and NonNonBa by the legendary Shigeru Mizuki. In the press release, Chris Oliveros called Mizuki "one of the greatest living cartoonists" and praised his range as a storyteller. A towering figure in the gekiga movement, Mizuki is nearly 90 years old. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is the author and veteran's autobiographically tinged account of a Japanese infantry unit during the closing days of World War 2. NonNonBa is sete in the period of the author's early 1930s childhood, when games of war dominated the Mizuki's neighborhood and dreams of creating his own worlds drove his personal creativity. Mizuki is a widely, internationally published figure -- the cartoonist's life is the subject of a television show -- and the two books fit right in line with D+Q's approach to translating manga.

* that news being said: what a strange, long day.

* I'm still sensing that odd mix of generally casual crowds, nothing ever super-packed on the comics end of the floor but definitely always people around, with sales ahead of what those crowds look like. There are huge exceptions, of course, and my sampling could not be less impressive. One thing that I heard from folks that I managed to corral into such a discussion is that some stuff sold out they didn't expect to sell out -- perennials in some cases, a random piece of merchandise among many such pieces in others.

* just for information's sake, one of the few places I received details on what was selling was the Fantagraphics table: the new Love & Rockets, piles of the new Moto Hagio book, and sell-outs on the second Prison Pit volume and two different shipments of the Blake Bell book about Bill Everett. That Prison Pit book is an awesome-looking thing, with a shiny cover the shiny part of which was I believe suggested to Johnny Ryan by Tim Hensley.

* speaking of Hensley, I spoke briefly to my old employer Gary Groth, whose news of son Conrad attending college next year -- a year early, which is awesome -- was the news of the show that made everyone in the 1990s Seattle scene at CCI feel older than Methuselah. I don't think Gary would mind if I mentioned that we talked at one point about the day to day grind of making comics when he suddenly waxed rhapsodic about a recent period in the office where a bunch of their recently well-received books came through the door, everything from Wally Gropius to the new Cathy Malkasian stand-alone work Temperance (they reprinted her fine Percy Gloom recently). It's always nice to see some recognition of the fact that no matter where you sit in relation to the work, there's an astonishing array of material coming out in a lot of comics' various forms of expression.

* one of the nice people in comics, Peter Birkemoe not only owns iconic North American retail establishment the Beguiling but runs a well-respected original art sales business from the store. At conventions, there's a road version of that business, this amazing pile of folders you can flip through featuring some of the best alternative comics artist going. Birkemoe said that sales were brisk and one solid performer at the show so far was Jeff Lemire, whose fan base he described as significant and enthusiastic.

* I asked representatives from about eight to ten comics organizations or rough equivalents (people on the floor representing themselves in two cases) about the level of interest in media in what they were doing, if they were able to set up interviews and if people were coming to them for stories. Most of them indicated opportunities to arrange supplementary media coverage like interviews, especially if they reached out to people that were going to be on hand, but that most of the media coverage of what they were doing took the form of media walking up to them during show hours. Gina Gagliano of First Second made the great point that it might not always be the goal of a publisher or related comics entity to be covered at such a show -- you might not have anything brand-new you want to talk about, and you might be focusing on the consumer/sales end of the show.

* Chris Staros is writing again. Every third installment will be related to his comics company. You may remember that the Top Shelf co-owner got his start with an annual about comics called The Staros Report.

* had a great discussion with Keith Knight about his recent trip to a school whose black students objected to one of his cartoons. While most of the media -- myself likely concluded -- were castigating the students for being satirically challenged, Knight took the generous view that something sounded suspicious and that there might be a wider context for the complaint that made the misinterpretation more understandable. And through his meetings with various groups and individuals on campus, that's exactly what he found out. The bloggy version of the store is here.

* I have to mention this: Shannon Wheeler has a magnificent beard. It's like someone put it on his face with magnets and a plastic wand. I think light bent around that beard. Wheeler was back in the small press area after taking some time away from CCI, which cost him access to devoted floor space. He said he was having a blast, though.

* watched a really strong run of panels. Moto Hagio was a delight; intelligent and funny, with fans that clearly adored her (there were about 125 total in attendance). She told a great story about wanting to kill off characters when writing for a magazine aimed at elementary school students and having that worked rejected. She finally found a publishing home for that material, about which she declared something along the lines of "And I've been killing people ever since." Carol Tyler was as amazing as you could imagine: hilarious, solicitous of audience members who asked some absolutely heavy questions, somewhat delightfully prickly at times. The thing I liked about her the most is that she seemed to think about every word Gary Groth asked her and tried to answer each one honestly. That's also the first panelist I can remember suggesting to the audience they all go outside and continue their discussion when the panel ended. Saw an inter-generational panel about putting yourself into your comics that was split reasonably evenly by gender and generation. Howard Cruse gave the fullest answers, Gabrielle Bell the most conflicted and Jillian Tamaki the big surprise only because I'd never seen her before -- she seemed smart, she was definitely funny and she gave forceful answers. Stuart and Kathryn Immonen focused on their new Top Shelf at their panels but were happy to answer superhero questions, too. Kathryn suggested more Hellcat in her future, which I don't think was news to anyone other than people like me that may read that material but not follow superhero publishing news super-closely.

* it wasn't until that group of panels were over that I realized I watched like four hours in a row of overlapping panels featuring great female cartoonists and comics makers.

* the Berke Breathed program was packed, one of the big rooms on the traditional end of the center, and it's wonderful to see Mr. Breathed wake up to the fact of just how many comics readers, specifically of a certain generation, really adore Bloom County. It seems like he was pretty defeated at one point regarding his own comics work, and the IDW books and resulting attention have helped counteract those feelings.

* I ended the my panel day with stop-in on the Sean Phillips panel -- who mentioned that if WildStorm had kept its Star Trek franchise when they had it a long time ago, he probably wouldn't have done Sleeper --

* the Eisners were a weird night for me in that CR won its category, which stunned me and for which I'm very grateful. I think I sat there with a shocked look on my face holding the award at just the point the awards program began to sag a tiny bit, so I was the only one at my table and the table next door that thought the program went quickly.

* the big news for me that I'm not sure a bunch of folks caught: that was the first Eisners Eric Reynolds could recall where Fantagraphics was shut out, and he's been going to these things for almost 20 years.

* as for what I remember of the show: Thomas Lennon, Chip Kidd and Peter Bagge were funny; Thomas Jane was odd and funny; big nights for Jill Thompson, David Mazzucchelli, JH Williams III and everything Scott Dunbier edits; the Scott Pilgrim cast looked like "Superman and His Various Tiny Children, All By Mothers Whose Names Begin With L's"; Peggy Burns gave a classy couple of speeches and displayed a touching amount of affection for winner Yoshihiro Tatsumi; there is still something of a reservoir of sadness regarding Dave Stevens' passing a couple of years ago; Tony Millionaire looks imposing as hell in a tuxedo. A significant portion of the audience and the VIPs left early, but that's been the case the last couple of years.

* the highlight of the evening may have been the Chris Claremont/Milo Manara presenting team, about which one can borrow the old joke: "One of them couldn't speak English and the other one was Milo Manara."

* finally, a whiff of publishing news: if I understood a couple of side comments at their table correctly, it seems to me as if Fantagraphics may take another shot at publishing Franquin.

*****

the show runs from July 22nd through July 25th
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2010 Eisner Award Winners

image

The 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were named last night in a lavish ceremony at the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego. The winners are as follows in bold.

*****

BEST SHORT STORY

* Because I Love You So Much, by Nikoline Werdelin, in From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the 3rd Millennium (Fantagraphics/Aben malen)
* Gentleman John, by Nathan Greno, in What Is Torch Tiger? (Torch Tiger)
* How and Why to Bale Hay, by Nick Bertozzi, in Syncopated (Villard)
* Hurricane, interpreted by Gradimir Smudja, in Bob Dylan Revisited (Norton)
* Urgent Request, by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

*****

BEST SINGLE ISSUE (OR ONE-SHOT)

* Brave & the Bold #28: Blackhawk and the Flash: Firing Line, by J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz (DC)
* Captain America #601: Red, White, and Blue-Blood, by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)
* Ganges #3, by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics)
* The Unwritten #5: How the Whale Became, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* Usagi Yojimbo #123: The Death of Lord Hikiji by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST CONTINUING SERIES

* Fables, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy et al. (Vertigo/DC)
* Irredeemable, Mark Waid and Peter Krause (BOOM!)
* Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
* The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

*****

BEST LIMITED SERIES OR STORY ARC

* Blackest Night, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Oclair Albert (DC)
* Incognito, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)
* Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ Media)
* Wolverine #66-72 and Wolverine Giant-Size Special: Old Man Logan, by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, and Dexter Vines (Marvel)
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

*****

BEST NEW SERIES

* Chew, John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
* Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick, art by Tony Parker (BOOM!)
* Irredeemable, Mark Waid and Peter Krause (BOOM!)
* Sweet Tooth, Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC)
* The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION FOR KIDS

* Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, Jarrett J. Krosoczeka (Knopf)
* The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury)
* Tiny Tyrant Volume One: The Ethelbertosaurus, Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme (First Second)
* The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Abrams ComicArts/Toon)
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower, and Skottie Young (Marvel)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION FOR TEENS

* Angora Napkin, Troy Little (IDW)
* Beasts of Burden, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)
* A Family Secret, Eric Heuvel (Farrar Straus Giroux/Anne Frank House) * Far Arden, Kevin Cannon (Top Shelf)
* I Kill Giants, Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura (Image)

*****

BEST HUMOR PUBLICATION

* Drinky Crow's Maakies Treasury, Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
* Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me, And Other Astute Observations, Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
* Little Lulu Vols. 19-21, by John Stanley and Irving Tripp (Dark Horse Books) * The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet the Muppets, Roger Langridge (BOOM Kids!)
* Scott Pilgrim Volume Five: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, Brian Lee O'Malley (Oni)

*****

BEST ANTHOLOGY

* Abstract Comics, edited by Andrei Molotiu (Fantagraphics)
* Bob Dylan Revisited, edited by Bob Weill (Norton)
* Flight 6, edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Villard)
* Popgun Vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride, and Joe Keatinge (Image)
* Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays, edited by Brendan Burford (Villard)
* What Is Torch Tiger? edited by Paul Briggs (Torch Tiger)

*****

BEST DIGITAL COMIC

* Abominable Charles Christopher, Karl Kerschl
* Bayou, Jeremy Love
* The Guns of Shadow Valley, David Wachter and James Andrew Clark
* Power Out, Nathan Schreiber
* Sin Titulo, Cameron Stewart

*****

BEST REALITY-BASED WORK

* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Footnotes in Gaza, Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Holt)
* The Imposter's Daughter, Laurie Sandell (Little, Brown)
* Monsters, Ken Dahl (Secret Acres)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frederic Lemerier (First Second)
* Stitches, David Small (Norton)

*****

BEST ADAPTATION FROM ANOTHER WORK

* The Book of Genesis Illustrated, R. Crumb (Norton)
* Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation, adapted by Michael Keller and Nicolle Rager Fuller (Rodale)
* Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, adapted by Tim Hamilton (Hill & Wang)
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
* West Coast Blues, Jean-Patrick Manchette, adapted by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)

*****

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM -- NEW

* Asterios Polyp, David Mazzuccheilli (Pantheon)
* A Distant Neighborhood Vols. 1-2, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Book of Genesis Illustrated, R. Crumb (Norton)
* My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill, Jean Regnaud and Emile Bravo (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

*****

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM -- REPRINT

* Absolute Justice, Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithewaite (DC)
* A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Josh Neufeld (Pantheon)
* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
* Essex County Collected, Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
* Map of My Heart: The Best of King-Cat Comics & Stories, 1996-2002, John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

BEST ARCHIVAL COLLECTION/PROJECT -- STRIPS

* Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Bringing Up Father Volume One: From Sea to Shining Sea, George McManus and Zeke Zekley, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW)
* The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics)
* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
* Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum, Walt McDougall, and W. W. Denslow (Sunday Press)

*****

BEST ARCHIVAL COLLECTION/PROJECT -- COMIC BOOKS

* The Best of Simon & Kirby, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, edited by Steve Saffel (Titan Books)
* Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin et al., edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman et al., edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures, Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Abrams ComicArts/Toon)

*****

BEST US EDITION OF INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL

* My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill, Jean Regnaud and Emile Bravo (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)
* Tiny Tyrant Volume One: The Ethelbertosaurus, Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme (First Second)
* West Coast Blues, Jean-Patrick Manchette, adapted by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
* Years of the Elephant, Willy Linthout (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

*****

BEST US EDITION OF INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL -- ASIA

* The Color Trilogy, Kim Dong Haw (First Second)
* A Distant Neighborhood Vols. 1-2, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Oishinbo a la Carte, written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki (VIZ Media)
* Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ Media)
* Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)

*****

BEST WRITER

* Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon)
* Geoff Johns, Adventure Comics, Blackest Night, The Flash: Rebirth, Superman: Secret Origin (DC)
* James Robinson, Justice League: Cry for Justice (DC)
* Mark Waid, Irredeemable, The Incredibles (BOOM!)
* Bill Willingham, Fables (Vertigo/DC)

*****

BEST WRITER/ARTIST

* Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter (IDW)
* R. Crumb, The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Norton)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Terry Moore, Echo (Abstract Books)
* Naoki Urasawa, Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka (VIZ Media)

*****

BEST WRITER/ARTIST -- NONFICTION

* Reinhard Kleist, Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness (Abrams ComicArts)
* Willy Linthout, Years of the Elephant (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) * Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)
* David Small, Stitches (Norton)
* Carol Tyler, You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man (Fantagraphics)

****

BEST PENCILLER/INKER OR PENCILLER/INKER TEAM

* Michael Kaluta, Madame Xanadu #11-15: "Exodus Noir" (Vertigo/DC)
* Steve McNiven/Dexter Vines, Wolverine: Old Man Logan (Marvel)
* Fiona Staples, North 40 (WildStorm)
* J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)
* Danijel Zezelj, Luna Park (Vertigo/DC)

*****

BEST PAINTER/MULTIMEDIA ARTIST (INTERIOR ART)

* Emile Bravo, My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Mauro Cascioli, Justice League: Cry for Justice (DC)
* Nicolle Rager Fuller, Charles Darwin on the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation (Rodale Books)
* Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children's Books)
* Carol Tyler, You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man (Fantagraphics)

*****

BEST COVER ARTIST

* John Cassaday, Irredeemable (BOOM!); Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
* Salvador Larocca, Invincible Iron Man (Marvel)
* Sean Phillips, Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon); 28 Days Later (BOOM!)
* Alex Ross, Astro City: The Dark Age (WildStorm/DC); Project Superpowers (Dynamite)
* J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)

*****

BEST COLORING

* Steve Hamaker, Bone: Crown of Thorns (Scholastic); Little Mouse Gets Ready (Toon)
* Laura Martin, The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures (IDW); Thor, The Stand: American Nightmares (Marvel)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Alex Sinclair, Blackest Night, Batman and Robin (DC)
* Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella Academy, Zero Killer (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Northlanders, Luna Park (Vertigo)

*****

BEST LETTERING

* Brian Fies, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Tom Orzechowski, Savage Dragon (Image); X-Men Forever (Marvel)
* Richard Sala, Cat Burglar Black (First Second); Delphine (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Adrian Tomine, A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

BEST COMICS-RELATED PERIODICAL/JOURNALISM

* Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
* Comics Alliance, edited by Laura Hudson
* Comics Comics, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (PictureBox)
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth and Michael Dean and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

*****

BEST COMICS-RELATED BOOK

* Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel, Annalisa Di Liddo (University Press of Mississippi)
* The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)
* The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga, Helen McCarthy (Abrams ComicArts)
* Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater, Eric P. Nash (Abrams ComicArts)
* Will Eisner and PS Magazine, Paul E. Fitzgerald (Fitzworld.US)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION DESIGN

* Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC)
* The Brinkley Girls, designed by Adam Grano (Fantagraphics)
* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
* Life and Times of Martha Washington, designed by David Nestelle (Dark Horse Books)
* Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, designed by Philippe Ghielmetti (Sunday Press)
* Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? designed by Neil Egan and Brian Fies (Abrams ComicArts)

*****

The Eisners are selected by eligible voters, namely comics industry people and creators, after a juried nomination process. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.

*****
*****
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 75th Birthday, Pat Oliphant!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 31st Birthday, Mark Andrew Smith!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Steve Stwalley!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 52nd Birthday, Bob Greenberger!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Clark Kent

image
Clark Kent's ability to place himself in the center of every story makes him a fundamental inspiration to Generation Blogger, so much so we can forgive him making "reporter" the opposite of "being cool and awesome like Superman."
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 23, 2010


Friday Distraction Two: Prisoners Of Gravity Will Eisner & Spirit Episode







suggested by Paul Di Filippo
 
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Friday Distraction One: Ernst Haeckel

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Notes From The 2010 CCI Floor

image

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2010 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements -- I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* first, some personnel news that hasn’t made the sites: Jason T. Miles has a new position at Fantagraphics, moving over from a store liaison and inventory management role into editorial and production managing. Miles did assistant's work on the Humbug project Fantagraphics did in 2009, and shepherded the Jim Woodring FCBD effort through production as well.

* the comics area seemed really light traffic-wise to me, or, more to the point, it never seemed dangerously stuffed with people the way it had in past years at one time or another. That’s super-anecdotal, though, just my personal observation. I spoke with a small sampling of five publishers and four creators selling and six of them said they were doing pretty well sales wise. That’s going to vary wildly person to person, though.

* my new Comic-Con when you're over 40 mantra: "I'm not getting older, I'm getting weaker and less able to recover."

* Blake Bell sold his allotment of Bill Everett books today by the end of his signing period (Fantagraphics will have a few more on hand for the weekend) and had his photo taken at the Fantagraphics books with Lake Bell, who is disturbingly good-looking.

* only a couple of comics-related TV/Film deals pop to me, solely because of the implications for the publishing houses involved. Oni has signed a first look deal with CBS television studios, which seems to me the kind of thing that would benefit the comics partner if there's money involved and if talent looking to place work with the publisher wants to know their stuff will be looked at in that fashion. That latter consideration works in a much more open fashion at Image, where many of the creators can be nudged into admitting their projects make little to no money, so the success Chew has enjoyed as a surprise publishing hit and now soon-to-be television series has to be heartening for creators seeking to place work there.

* a couple of people asked me if I thought the security was any better. I think it's not so much a leap forward from last year as a gradual improvement over the last few. It's to be expected, too -- when the country experiences economic hardship, the quality improves in terms the people willing to work certain jobs. The comics industry has benefited from the disappearing editorial and art director jobs in the same way that I’m imagining security firms have a deeper talent panel from which to deploy event personnel.

* took in the last half-hour of the Jeff Smith panel, I'd say about 175-200 in attendance. Smith's always been great with his panels, and he was as laid-back and easy-going as ever. He predicted that next year Warner Brothers would have news concerning the Bone movie in development, and he had only seen a few seconds of animation amidst a number of character design sheets, all of which he liked. One person told me that watching Jeff Smith speak makes you wonder why anyone has ever been scared to speak before an audience, he's that confident.

* one thing that came out of the Smith panel that may make me reconsider Bone: I'd always stayed away from seeing Bone as having too many autobiographical elements; that just seemed too facile of an interpretation. But Smith actually described Kingdok as someone who gave himself over to "the system" in the form of the locusts. That makes me wonder if there's a vocational aspect of some sort throughout Bone.

* saw Brendan Burford on the floor of the show. I congratulated him on the strong launch for Dustin. I don't think he'd mind me passing along that the strip is in 150 papers now: a victory in any market and a miracle in this one (everything after the colon is me, not Burford). He called the artist Jeff Parker one of the hidden heroes of comic strips.

* Burford also talked up the Oh, Brother strip King Features is doing with Bob Weber, Jr. and Jay Stephens, an old alt-comics favorite for people near my age. What they're doing is apparently a devoted site launch for that strip, following the model of Wimpy Kid, which will feature the strip and a bunch of related games and activities. Anything with Stephens' visual imprimatur is bound to loo pretty great, and it's totally worth nothing that KFS is doing a kind of launch no other syndicate's ever done.

* had an interesting meeting with Jordan Verzar, the music promoter who helped put together this forthcoming event, and hopes to make it a continuing, yearly effort. We talked about comics a bit, and one thing he said I thought was fascinating was that as a group the Australian comics outlets have almost no back-issues stock; it's just not a part of the funnybook-buying experience down there as he's experienced it. So for him the west end of the con floor was a kind of pulpy nirvana even if it seems to some of us like an area in decline, and he admitted to buying a big stack of comics only a half day into the show.

* stopped by the Dumbrella panel, which was very well attended with what seemed like a number of hardcore fans. What came across to me from the five cartoonists on the panel is that there was very little overlap in terms of style, approach, or the business mechanisms by which they were trying to facilitate their comics. I think there's an assumption of a kind of monolithic standard for those cartoonists, like "they all sell t-shirts," and that just isn't true.

* caught a significant portion of the Tom Palmer panel. Mark Waid is an excellent panel moderator, but with his encyclopedic knowledge of comics and cartoonists like Tom Palmer, that makes sense. Palmer was an elegant-looking guy, like John Hurt with a fuller head of hair. None of his answers were rote answers. When he was questioned if he had any moral qualms about inking the violence in Kick-Ass he replied in a way that almost indicated that he couldn't have understood why anyone could have such an objection if the material were clearly marked and labeled and headed for an intended audience, which is not always what you get from guys who have worked in the American mainstream for as long as Palmer has. He also noted the camaraderie of people in the comic business, how there are easy relationships from people based on respect for the work being done and the shared experience of deadlines and creative pressures. Good, solid comics panel.

* the James Sturm panel was in the part of the convention that I hadn't been to since my backpack and all my stuff was stolen a few years back.

* James Sturm was surprised to win an Inkpot, the convention's award. That's a handsome little statue. I assured James of some of the big names who were given the award in years past and he lit up with surprise.

* Sturm is without surprise a really interesting speaker. He talked about getting back on-line recently after his off-line experiment for Slate Magazine, and how catching up with the vanity google searches for reaction to Market Day turned a kind of miserable everyday routine into 30 minutes of study and read, concentrated fun. Really great crowd, about twice the size I would have expected given the location of the room and the murderer's row of similar spotlights that same horror. Brendan Burford asked if Market Day and the Internet experiment indicated a distrust towards new technologies and how they discombobulate practicing artists, but Sturm stated that wasn't true at all.

* one thing Sturm said that intrigued me was that he was going to compress an old, failed graphic novel attempt about a year in the life of art students in to an effort for the NY Times Funny Pages when that was a going concern. He chose a Fall slot over a Spring one, and the feature was canceled in the Summer. Why I make note of that is that some folks assumed that they just ran their course in terms of cartoonists they wanted to work with, where it seems like it was much more of an overt cancellation, with work in the pipeline and everything.

* I don't have a link, but Marvel made its official Strange Tales Vol. 2 announcement. I'm glad all those cartoonists are getting a payday, and I hope they have a good time.

* the Best And Worst Of Manga 2010 panel was a blast, maybe more so because my moderating basically consisted of playing Vanna White with the powerpoint "next image" button. I've made a full post of their recommendations and please-avoids which will roll out on this site Monday. Very funny people and a very passionate audience -- I wish there were many more panels with as much excitement about the experience of reading comics as that one.

* I heard some complaints from fellow comics reporters that there wasn't more media coverage of comics from people at the show. I don't know, maybe this obnoxious to say out loud, but it seems to me if you're media and you don't think there's enough coverage of comics, maybe just do more coverage of comics? There are a few movie stories with a definite comics component, but a lot that aren't, and a story about a lack of coverage isn't the same thing as just doing some coverage. People like Chris Staros, Ross Richie, AnnaMaria White -- they're all dying to talk to you.

* finally, the OTBP recommendation of the day again comes from the Sparkplug row -- Livon Jihanian's mini-comic Danger Country Vol. 1, which fits nicely into the new school of fantasy comics that everyone's enthused about these days. Clean art, compellingly-paced cartooning, nice little character designs -- what more could you want in a convention mini?

*****

the show runs from July 22nd through July 25th


 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Great Angelo Torres

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: New Sam Henderson Minis

image
i have five in front of me: Applesauce In Your Ears, Half-Eaten, In Other Countries They Consider It A Delicacy, School For Nerds and No, You Hang Up; $2 apiece; try mwhistle@aol.com for ordering information
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 05

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Crack Western

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Powerless Power Ring

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* if you only follow one comics link today, make it this one to a Ben Schwartz article about Los Angeles as a one-time alt-weekly comics haven.

* comics folk describe a music festival that welcomes practitioners from other art forms.

* via Daily Cartoonist, Garry Trudeau talks about 40 years of Doonesbury for the forthcoming 40. When is the surge of appreciation for Trudeau's career accomplishments going to start? I'm guessing soon, maybe with that book.

* sometimes I read an article that's ostensibly about comic books and even though I know all the individual words I don't understand what it means.

* this is a better than average cartoonist profile, of Dominick Sileo.

* I didn't know they let Tom Toles rant in prose like this.

* finally, the ramifications for Steve Breen's attempt to do BP oil cartoons in BP oil, should that kind of thing catch on, are slightly more disturbing than I'd like to think about on a summer Friday morning.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 30th Birthday, Calista Brill!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, Kelley Jones!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Mike Vosburg!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Rob Clough's Reviews
Rob Clough: Smile
Rob Clough: Tranz
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rob Clough: Reich #7
Rob Clough: Hicksville
Rob Clough: Young Lions
Rob Clough: Mineshaft #35
Rob Clough: Flesh and Bone
Rob Clough: Dungeon Quest
Rob Clough: 1-800-MICE #4
Rob Clough: Undeleted Scenes
Rob Clough: Yasha Lizard #1-2
Rob Clough: On The Odd Hours
Rob Clough: The Honduran Coup
Rob Clough: American, Eh? #1-4
Rob Clough: Graphic Classics Vol. 18
Rob Clough: Dungeon: Twilight Vol. 3
Rob Clough: A Home For Mister Easter
Rob Clough: Super Spy: The Lost Dossiers
Rob Clough: Shitbeams On The Loose Vol. 2
Rob Clough: New comics from Melissa Mendes
 

 
July 22, 2010


Notes From The 2010 CCI Floor

image

The following are notes and observations gathered on the floor of Comic-Con International 2010 in San Diego, California. For immediate reactions to what's going on from hundreds of people, I recommend an appropriate search or multiple such searches on Twitter. For mainstream comics and panel coverage in general -- this being a key event for publishing news announcements of the mainstream comics variety -- I recommend Comic Book Resources and then Newsarama. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* let's start our CCI coverage off with a formal publishing news announcement. Drawn and Quarterly through associate publisher Peggy Burns have informed CR they've acquired rights to a book from cartoonist Mimi Pond called Over Easy, which they describe as "a coming-of-age story of a young artist, set against the backdrop of the burgeoning punk-rock scene and moral disenchantment of the late 1970's in Oakland, California, an environment in which she must sort out the good and the bad in the people she comes to love." Tom Devlin found the book for the company.

imagePond is probably better known for her television work -- The Simpsons, Designing Women, Pee Wee's Playhouse -- and her humor writing generally than she is for her cartooning, but the LA-based Pond is a full-blown, fully-realized cartooning talent. In fact, hardcore comics fans may recall the work that appeared in Best American Comics 2009 before any of her work in other fields. That's where I'd seen the name. Fine print: Paul Bresnick of the Bresnick Agency represented Pond. D+Q acquired worldwide rights which means FSG in the US, Raincoast in Canada and various international rights to be negotiated by their person at TLA.

There's nothing more exciting than news of forthcoming comics of interest, even at a big cross-media show. I'll dig around and see if I can post one or two more such announcements as the show grinds on; if anyone out there at the show or not at the show has such an announcement, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

* I stopped by the Abrams booth for a check-up on the Young/Lasky Carter Family book. The folks working the booth say the book has been rescheduled for Fall 2011, and indicate that the song rights situation that delayed its printing from the original ballpark figure of I believe first half of 2010 haven't been all the way resolved -- or at least that's how I took their statement that they won't be publishing the book if the rights situation isn't rectified by then. If I hear anything else about this book, I'll let you know. I'm a huge Dave Lasky fan, and I'd really like to have a bunch of pages of his work under a nice big-publisher cover.

* saw Brian Ralph for the first time since Heroes Con 2008. His toy debuts on the floor of the show today. He was over at the First Second booth and amazingly, he and Gina Gagliano both swear that Ralph is still working on his First Second book and that First Second intends to publish it when it is done. I think without knowing for sure that Ralph's book is the only one from the official publishing line launch announcement that has yet to be released.

* a couple of cartoonists near the First Second booth enthused over a work called Anya's Ghost, from Vera Brosgol at First Second in Spring 2011.

* I think I disappointed Scott McCloud when I informed him that when I said Harvey Pekar looked drawn and inked when everyone else is sketched I was really referring to how he looked to me. It is a useful metaphor for talking about Harvey in a bunch of ways, now that I think of it, but at the time I was just thinking he was a striking guy visually.

* saw Chris Butcher and got to talk a bit. He says that not only do they believe that 2000 people showed up for the Scott Pilgrim midnight book launch festivities in Toronto, but that well over 800 bought a book and went through the line to get it signed.

* I saw Roger Langridge in the Pro Help line, who despite suffering problems with his flight out seemed as cheerful and unflappable as ever.

* talked to the CBLDF's Charles Brownstein on my way away from the lines, and he seemed fired up for the show. The Fund's announcement of an expansion in their educational efforts seems to me a key part of their growth from a wholly reactionary organization to one with a wider mandate and multiple ways to see that take effect in comics. That doesn't mean that every individual initiative will be successful, but it does indicate they'll be moving in that general, expansive direction for some time to come. Their board will be meeting I think this morning, so maybe some extra news will come of that.

* not comics: Kurt Busiek has signed a movie deal for Astro City: not its first apparently, but what sounds like a solidly-structured deal. I met and spoke briefly and casually with the guy who worked on that deal from Kurt's end, Nick Harris. I asked him if Comic-Con was more a place he made deal or a place he maintained relationships and he maybe not surprisingly said both. He cited the simple fact that he has so many clients in the same room as a wonderful advantage to doing what he does.

* the ubiquitous giveaway item of the night was a Burger King-style paper Galactus hat. I can't imagine wanting to see them all weekend, but I suppose we will. They're kind of cute.

* it too me all the way until the next morning to figure out that Marvel's floor display was Odin's throne from the Thor movie. So I guess you can have your picture taken as Odin. If I weren't so tired, I'd manage some sort of joke about poking one's eye out first.

* BOOM! announced a trio of Stan Lee-related projects, building on IDW's use of the pre-CCI time period to get a jump on the PR in the same way that first big box-office movie opening the first weekend in May seems to do pretty well. I like all of the talent involved, and maybe I'm just missing something, but this doesn't seem like a big deal to me. The characters seem as generic as any of the characters that Lee's been involved with in the last decade or so, and while just about any book can be well-executed to the point that's it's worth picking up, I don't see how this is an announcement worth covering until the books in question hit a certain level of quality and are worth talking about that way. At best, it's a clever way for BOOM! to expand its superhero offerings and work with some of those kinds of creators.

* Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe made an interesting point about his store's successful TCAF show: one of the reasons you have it every year as they plan on doing for the immediate future is because it costs less in time, energy and money to keep the momentum going year to year than restarting it every other year. Makes sense to me.

* Preview Night's buzz book in the art comics set was the astonishing looking Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist, from Fantagraphics. My God, that thing is odd-looking and wonderful.

* Alex Chun -- editor, writer, art collector; he's the one who did that series of slightly risque gag cartoon books with Fantagraphics a few years back -- made an interesting suggestion when we were talking about original art. Chun, who knows a thing or two about art himself, suggests that the current comics art market relies too much on a familiarity via nostalgia that's just not going to communicate once a specific generation dies off. I think I sort of agree with him. Where I'd break with him is that while I think something like a John Romita Spider-Man page might be priced the way it's priced right now because of the nostalgic impulse, but you don't know if his art might come back into favor or if he has a style that might see a renaissance, plus there's always going to be at least some interest in good-looking pages. It's hard to deny that there will be a decline in interest in a lot of art by artist when the original fans cycle out, though -- that's been the case in a lot of collectible art.

* lot of interesting talk about the con itself. I still get the sense that a lot of the comics publishers suffer through Preview Night rather than celebrate it, despite a best face forward. A lot of folks were very easy to talk to at their booths because they had relatively little going on, and for the kind of publisher that isn't doing item exclusives or maybe isn't even set up to try some comics news or product equivalent to an exclusive thing, it's basically another night of a draining show without a huge boost in terms of a unique audience. It was argued a couple of years ago that there are people on the floor Preview Night that are in panels or lines the rest of the weekend, but it doesn't seem to translate into big crowds on the comics end. It's here to stay, of course.

* I've heard three different rumors about different stories being held until after Comic-Con so as not to get crowded out, which is sort of a fascinating notion. Plus the stories could be pretty good if they come off.

* this is what I get for reading that Iron Man Mandarin annual instead of the LA Times on the bus yesterday: their profile of DC Comics includes the notion that they may move to Los Angeles -- which is one of the stories the person I e-mailed last night (upon hearing a rumor in a bar) believes will be announced after Comic-Con and is all but a done deal. That's one of those articles where comics folks are going to rush to get the announcement out -- and as you can see, I'm as guilty as anyone in projecting the possibility of said announcement -- but what's going to be fascinating is how that move would take place. I can't imagine too many people from New York not coming out to LA a) in this economy, b) for the chance to integrate themselves into wider entertainment opportunities just as their company will be doing, but I can also imagine a scenario where certain folks simply aren't invited.

* another tried-and-true con complaint that raised its head again from three different people is that the massive sell-outs favor an audience of obsessives that is not necessarily the audience for comic books, and certainly not art- indy- or alt-comics. The idea being that the kind of person who is able to plan for a show six months out is usually a TV show fan, or a superhero comics fan, and the kind of comics and art whose patrons are a couple of guys sitting in Silverlake who two weekends ago had a conversation along the lines of "Hey, Comic-Con's in a couple of weekends. We should go" are going to be less well-served as the show matures in that direction. I'm sympathetic, although I'm not sure what can be done other than to identify CCI as a certain kind of show with a certain kind of fan and adjust your exhibiting habits accordingly. Some day I'd like to see someone try an off-site comics show that shared rather than simply absconded with the patrons of the operating show, a kind of "if you can't get into comic-con you can see some of the best comics talents here" situation that also honored CCI badges. But I also like it when people drive off cliffs in old movies.

* one thing that irritated the crap out of me personally was the notion that seemed to be floated by a number of folks I talked to and read about enjoying the solicitousness of San Diego's citizens and business people a little bit more than usual -- that we as con goers should somehow extract some measure of satisfaction from the desire San Diego has to keep the show and that we're finally getting our due as a contributor to their culture and economy. This seems slightly ugly to me. San Diego people have always been hugely nice, in my opinion, much nicer as a whole behavior-wise as hosts than the con-goers I've seen over the years have acted as guests. I don't expect anyone who lives and works here to be excited about the exact nature of my visit, although the genuine well-wishes, the ones you imagine don't come from a manager's directive, are always nice. I have no idea what yawning chasm of self-worth exists in the comics community that we're now supposed to take special delight in worried people nervously kissing our ass.

* speaking of things that make people nervous, I'm hearing a lot of rumbling about troubled Direct Market retailers in a bunch of cities. This isn't exactly a stable group of businesses to begin with, and you always hear stories, especially at Comic-Con, but I don't remember this many about this many "name" establishments.

* ran into Michael Dooley, freshly into his new gig doing comics- and illustration-related blogging at Print. He recently attended an illustration show in Pasadena he promised broke down into controversy, so I'm looking forward to catching up with that.

* I think Jordan Crane told me it was okay if I mentioned Fantagraphics is bringing the comic book showcase for his work, Uptight, after the next issue. I love Crane's comics, and one can see them on-line now, but I thought that was a particularly potent package in comic book form. It's just not something that comics structurally encourages right now.

* every day should end with me on a shuttle bus listening to two guys with thick New Jersey accents talking loudly about their extravagant original art and sketchbook purchases. Not every Comic-Con day. Every day.

* finally, something OTBP to go see: I really like Shawn Cheng's artwork and prints; they're very beautiful. He's sharing a table with Tom Neely right around the corner from Drawn and Quarterly: 1630. You should at least go stare at the prints; even if they're largely out of your price range, they're something to see. He has some of the Partyka minis available as well, which should be very affordable and are of definite visual interest as well.

*****

the show runs from July 22nd through July 25th; photo of Mimi Pond by Wayne White
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Great Teddy Tizzy

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: The Devastator #1

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 04

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Oil!

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Work Girls Of London

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm not certain how much news outside of Comic-Con International will be generated in the next couple of days, and I'm further suspicious of my ability to get on-line where I can find out about such stories, but let's assume there is and I can and see if we can have another couple of days of Random News.

* okay, here's one: One Manga is essentially shutting down.

* and here's another: Kevin Melrose on Alan Moore rejecting a deal to get Watchmen back if it allowed for prequel and sequel works. Huge kudos to Melrose for 1) choosing not to adopt the "Alan Moore is an ungrateful crank" line of logic that's hugely unfortunately seeped into way too much coverage of the writer's moves recently; 2) reminding us all that Moore was screwed by DC on the firewall promise with the ABC line, undergoing a number of hassles that he was promised he would not face in putting his stamp of approval on that already-shaky move. The thing that kills me is that a sequel and a prequel for Watchmen are being sought by people at DC in the first place. This doesn't seem to me like out of the box publishing thinking; this seems to me like sad, typical all the way in the box corporate media thinking. I don't want a prequel to Lawrence of Arabia, I don't want to see a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird and I like Watchmen just the way it is as a singular expression of potent pop culture, thank you. I'm still waiting for something cool and unusual to be announced from the new DC regime.

image* missed it: cartoonist, historian and all-around anchor for the potent comics scene scattered throughout the Philippines Gerry Alanguilan has a new site up devoted to his comic book series -- and soon to be SLG graphic novel -- Elmer. I liked Elmer for a lot of reasons, but I bring it up here quite a bit because I wish the art form and the industries that serve it generated more highly idiosyncratic works like that one.

* not comics: I haven't watched it yet, but this site would seem to have a trailer up for the forthcoming Tamara Drewe. Here are three early reviews: Box Office Magazine, Cinematical and The Telegraph. Here's Posy Simmonds talking about the adaptation.

* Johanna Draper Carlson writes about the potential move of "New Comics Day" from Wednesday to Tuesday ("New Comics Day" is the day that comic books are delivered to the Direct Market shops). She makes a good point that the moving the day to line up with DVD and book releases may be a bad idea branding-wise, but that anything that allows retailers to process their books in non-insane fashion, as they're doing right now, may be an overall good. I pretty much agree with that dichotomy, and find frustrating the inability of comic shops to get behind a practice that would generally improve their industry.

* the writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction are suggesting that someone put a stopwatch on a famous group of hateful Christian protesters to find out how much time they're going to spend this weekend objecting to the idol worship of Comic-Con and then that as many folks as possible donate money to a non-hateful charity as if the haters were soliciting it by the minute like a little kid doing a walk-a-thon. The thought is that you make their appearance and all time spent during their appearance drive money going to a charity that they would likely not approve of. I'm going to make such a donation, and I'll post the time here so you can maybe do so. I'll also hope to find time and inspiration to pray for those people, because they seem very lost, and maybe you will, too.

* finally, three people have sent me slightly naughty pictures of Wonder Woman in the last few weeks, but this is the only one that's stuck around in my Inbox. I have no idea why.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 41st Birthday, Shawn Nyland-Hoke!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Ng Suat Tong At Hooded Utilitarian
* Love And Monkeys
* Review Of The Unwritten #5
* Review: Dan Clowes' Wilson
* Original Art: Conspicuous Consumption
* Original Art: A Short Note On Hal Foster
* In Search Of It: A Response To A Review Of Potential
* Fun Home: Technically Speaking On The First 86 Pages
* Some Thoughts On The Limitations Of Action In Comics
* Old Wine In New Wineskins: An Analysis Of Streak Of Chalk
* Old Wine in New Wineskins: The Gospel According To Chester Brown
 

 
July 21, 2010


Go, Look: Vanessa Davis On Harvey Pekar For Tablet Magazine

image
this has been thoroughly linked, including here, but I wanted to draw special attention to it before the attention abyss that is CCI opens beneath our feet
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image

*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt 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 since I was in a comic book shop this week, I took in the following.

*****

APR100039 GROO HOGS OF HORDER TP $17.99
I'm not even sure I know which Groo story it is, but Sergio Aragones' cartooning is of perpetual interest.

MAY100265 AIR #23 (MR) $2.99
MAY100576 ATLAS #3 $2.99
Two recently made redundant comics series, although the conventional wisdom should be marveling over both creative efforts making it as far as they did rather than their preparing to shuffle off the spinner rack coil.

APR100437 PUG GN (RES) $14.99
I'm not exactly sure what this is, but it's published in an odd book format and will therefore garner use of my pick up and look muscle groupings. I'm easy like that.

MAY100419 WALKING DEAD #75 (MR) $3.99
APR100438 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 12 LIFE AMONG THEM $14.99
Timing and maybe a little bit of television versus film will make the Walking Dead part of San Diego more mellow than the Scott Pilgrim part, but Robert Kirkman's zombie comics -- in singles and in trades -- represent one of the four or five finest engines churning on behalf of comics stores right now. The newest storyline should be shifting into uncomfortable places after a few issues of holding steady.

MAY100696 FANTASTIC FOUR BY JONATHAN HICKMAN TP VOL 01 $15.99
A subtitle consisting of one's name and one's own number count would seem to me a fine tribute to a mainstream comics run; Hickman's Fantastic Four is about as well-regarded and hidden away as mainstream comics get right now.

APR100706 CEREBUS GUIDE TO SELF PUBLISHING EXPANDED REG ED $18.00
The thought of how Dave Sim's advice book from 12-13 years ago might clash with modern conventional wisdom on same makes this a pick-it-up and look-at-it item; if it follows through on promises of a Sim update for on-line media, even more so.

APR100934 MOOMIN COMPLETE TOVE JANSSON COMIC STRIP HC VOL 05 $19.95
The final volume of Drawn and Quarterly's super-classy, super good-looking and super-revelatory reprinting of the comic strip version of Tove Jansson's beloved Moomins.

MAY101089 SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 06 FINEST HOUR $11.99
As a publishing event that touches as many comics bases as possible, this last in a series is a very big book coming out at exactly the right time.

MAY101235 ALTER EGO #95 $7.95
I can't tell if this or CA is going to win the Eisner; probably this. It depends more than usual on which groups voted this year.

APR101022 TREASURY 20TH CENTURY MURDER HC VOL 03 TERRIBLE AXE MAN $15.99
These Geary books are always of interest. That title kind of pops, doesn't it?

JUN100779 ALAN MOORE NEONOMICON #1 (OF 4) (MR) $3.99
MAR101104 MONDO URBANO GN (MR) $11.99
FEB101096 TROLL KING GN (MR) $14.95
Three great, very strange publishing-project reasons to love the Direct Market. A new Alan Moore comic book effort from Avatar, a collection of Brazilian self-published comics about rock-and-roll, and an intriguing-looking Swedish comic that's part of Top Shelf's wider "invasion" made up of books with a similar pedigree. This is also why the best way to interact with comics involves a comic book store, because you'd want to have your hands on all of these before deciding if you wanted to buy them.

MAY100912 RASL POCKET ED TP VOL 01 (MR) $17.95
Seven issues of Jeff Smith's giddy, portentous RASL get small.

*****

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 here, I blame an early case of con crud.

*****

image
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Seduction Of The Innocent

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* apparently one of the comics you'll be able to find this weekend at Comic-Con International is the latest from David King, a 40-pager called Lemon Styles. Information here. Dylan at Sparkplug should be able to hook you up, and the cartoonist will be on hand as well. King is really talented and vastly under-appreciated.

image* Jason T. Miles' zine/minis distribution company Profanity Hill has added a bunch of new comics-related material including, their press release says, from the following: "Peter Bagge, Douglas Bagge, Ingaletta Basher, Philip T. Basher, Jim Blanchard, Bruce Carleton, Steve Cerio, Chris Cilla, Max Clotfelter, Crypts, Jeremy Eaton, Dennis P. Eichorn, Austin English, G. Fling, CansaFis Foote, Kelly Froh, Jim Goad, Marianne Goldin, Adam Grano, Stefan Gruber, Kailynn H., Gretta Harely, John Holstrom, J. Bradley Johnson, Josh Journey-Heinz, Chris Kegel, Kinoko, Emily Litjens, Jesse McManus, Donna Mathes, Jason T. Miles, Pat Moriarity, Jason Overby, Karn Piana, Rev. Ivan Stang, A Wood Storm, Ron Rege Jr., Tony Remple, Josh Simmons, R.K. Sloan, Matthew Thurber, Roy Tompkins, John Trubee, Nico Vassilakis, Ken Weiner, Dennis Worden and Gary Wray." Sounds worth a visit to me.

* Image partner and Walking Dead/Invincible writer Robert Kirkman has a new imprint, Skybound, which will hope to replicate the success Image has enjoyed through Kirkman's books by enabling new writers and artists to bring their similar dream projects to the field. The curious thing about the announcement is that Kirkman will participate profits-wise in what develops through the imprint, which is more of an "Image Classic" approach than it is a "Image Central" way of doing things.

* the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com reports that the new Scott Pilgrim volume has a first printing of 100,000.

* also garnering some CCI buzz will be the formation of Jason Netter's Kickstart Comics, with editorial guidance from Larry Young and Jimmy Palmiotti. The comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com offers up a succinct write-up. I like Palmiotti and Young, and I'm not going to begrudge anyone's creative opportunities, but I'm skeptical in that I don't think anyone on planet earth woke up this morning and thought, "You know what the comics market really needs? Four more graphic novels a month, all with an eye towards becoming properties fit for screen and television set." While there's always room for exemplary work in any industry serving any art form, making their having to be awesome the de facto standard of a new company and its new works in order to simply function in a super-crowded market puts a lot of pressure on all those involved.

* I nearly missed this press release from Nat Gertler and About Comics: they'll have a collection of the Salimba comics by Paul Chadwick and the late Stephen Perry for sale in October.

* there should probably be a rule that in order to re-do some classic superhero storyline you should be old enough to have been alive when it came out, and I'm not sure Ben McCool qualifies when it comes to The Korvac Saga. Actually, I'm just kidding, those weren't even the best comics and I have no problem with corporations re-assigning work if they want to. Two things that story did very well, though. One was having these gigantic superhero battles take place in a quiet, suburban neighborhood, which I loved as the kid. A second was that the overall story gave us this sense of what it was like to be one of those superhero teams in terms of losing track of threats and events. Plus everybody died. Seriously.

* Bongo is launching its new web site at some time today in conjunction with the start of Comic-Con International.

* bring on the 2009 Nostalgia Effort!

* the CBLDF is doing another issue of its Liberty Comics, with contributions from various upstanding creators designed to raise money for and awareness of comics' First Amendment issues.

* it seems like it's been a while since there's been a John Carter comic, but I'm probably forgetting something. Anyway: here that is.

* there will apparently be a Tiny Titans/sort-of Li'l Archie crossover.

* I'm sad to hear that Jeff Parker's efforts with the Atlas-era superhero characters have come to an end. Or at least the primary title has and at least it has for now. It's amazing they continued on for as long as they did, given the market, but still, there haven't been so many readable superhero adventure comics in the last five years that you'd want to end one on some sort of abstract principle.

* I'm happy to hear about an Axe Cop/Dr. McNinja team-up.

* finally, Sean Phillips provides a sneak peak at cover art for the forthcoming comics adaptation of Let Me In, the Americanized version of the fine film Let The Right One In.

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Total War

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Three Industry Issues To Launch CCI

With Comic-Con International getting its start tonight via the show's "Preview Night" festivities, there are a few stories worth noting in terms of general industry issues going into the calendar-defining show.

* it's been a crazy-enough week that I probably already linked to this in one of the Random News posts -- in fact, I'm sure of it -- but Johanna Draper Carlson's round-up of commentary and posts on the possibility of moving New Comics Day back a day or so for various reasons (more time to stock shelves, better coordination with video and book markets) is worth a review.

* Brian Hibbs attended a DC-run meeting with Direct Market retailers on their digital initiatives. I don't follow much of his analysis and don't agree with many of his proclamations, but it's an intriguing article from the standpoint of putting Hibbs' view out there.

* there's a just-out-of-the-spotlight discussion among retailers through ICv2.com on the issue of DC going ahead and throwing in with the $3.99 price point. I'd suggest that an equally important part of this story is that DC with its new leadership followed a very old pattern of letting Marvel stake out a business decision within the market and then eventually capitulating to the direction Marvel chooses. This would be a decent strategy if it somehow shielded DC from criticism, but it seemingly doesn't.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Tony Di Preta

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Haley Burqa Cartoon Raises Eyebrows

imageAn editorial cartoon posted to Robert Ariail's site depicting South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley in a burqa has attracted some general political interest; the fascinating thing is that it's difficult to figure out who's exactly upset to what extent over what exact part of that cartoon. In fact, the way that article on the Fox site has been written, you don't even know how this might intersect with Nikki Haley's political profile more generally. It's more like the cartoon set of keyword signals on someone's google news search than that anyone has made a significant complaint, ironic in that a google search is exactly how the cartoon will be seen more widely in blog posts like this one. Ariail says the cartoon is about political revelations rather than anything to do with Muslim culture.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Flesh And Bone

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 03

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Unspoken Love Story

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Strength Of Man

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the FPI blog pays tribute to comics industry survivor Tripwire. Serious, I think Hero Illustrated and some form of Amazing Heroes were still being published when Joel Meadows and the gang got started. They have a new issue out for Comic-Con.

image* while I am on the floor of Preview Night trying to find a Supernatural bag for a friend of a friend, and likely failing miserably to make this happen, the smart comics people out there will hit the boutique toy section in search of Fort Thunder alumnus, educator and graphic novel maker Brian Ralph's first attempt at a toy. There's a process blog for the toy right here. The funny thing is, Brian doesn't know where it's being sold, so this sort of makes it Con Buried Treasure -- if you ask me.

* Frank Santoro riffs on last week's new comics.

* Jonathan Ross profiles and then interviews Jim Steranko. Apparently, Mr. Steranko only sleeps for two hours a night.

* here's a list of Top Ten Walt Simonson Thor covers.

* another CR favorite in a day full of CR favorites, Darryl Cunningham writes in with this blog post where one of the writers at the Guardian picks favorite medical-related graphic novels. That's a pretty good list.

* here's a discussion between Alex Wood and Robert Crumb that's gone up on The Official R. Crumb Site as part of their plans to provide more content at that resource.

* James Owen draws The Spirit.

* I received a bunch of links from Joe Keatinge: a summer reading list at Neon Monster (illustrated by Marian Churchland), and three reviews/profiles of recent comics material at the same site (Weathercraft, Black Jack, Wilson).

* finally, Timothy Callahan talks about working with non-comics readers on comics and what their impressions are when they dig into this material.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 49th Birthday, Mark Parisi!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 62nd Birthday, Garry Trudeau!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, Bill Knapp!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Kristy Valenti At ComiXology
* Family: Daddy Cool
* Boys' Love: Henry & Glenn Forever
* What I Did on My Christmas Vacation
* You Needed Me: Fruits Basket Part One
* You Needed Me: Fruits Basket Part Two
* I Hunt Giants. I Find Giants. I Kill Giants.
* You Know Your Friends are Always There
* Lit Major Confidential: Masterpiece Comics
* Brainless: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
* Fierce: A (Brief) Chris Achilleos Appreciation
* Girls Don't Make Passes at Boys Without Glasses
* Everything in its Place: Emerald City Comicon 2010
* The Marvel Fumetti Book, or, Thank God we Have Blogs For This Now
* Cheerleading for Dummies: Colleen Frakes' The Trials of Sir Christopher
 

 
1 Day Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 20, 2010


Over 2000 People At Scott Pilgrim Launch Party At The Beguiling

image
these Paul Hillier pictures, including the one above, are nuts
 
posted 9:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Several Notes On The Scott Pilgrim Volume Six Event At Meltdown Comics

image

By Tom Spurgeon
Photos By Whit Spurgeon

Thanks to a fortuitous blend of circumstances, I was able to attend an hour or so of the publisher-promoted international book launch for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6, by stopping by one of the participating stores: the mighty Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. Scott Pilgrim seems like a perfect fit for the store, which actively cultivates a customer base more oriented towards the bulk of comic books by their place on the spectrum of choice rather than they are by the weight of what's being published in terms of overall sales. With high ceilings, a back room, and a small outdoor area, Meltdown also seems like it would be a nice place to have a comics-related event. Here are a dozen or so notes and observations on what I saw:

image

* the line was pretty big the whole time I was there. I arrived at the store right before the moment at midnight when the book was officially for sale. At that time the line was probably about 140-150 people long. When I left the line had cycled through at least once and was still about 60-70 people long. At its longest it went about two or three stores east down Sunset. At its smallest it still went well outside the doors. People were allowed in to shop or to attend to other Scott Pilgrim-related activities, but all the buying had to be done by getting in line.

* so yeah, I didn't buy anything. Hey, I'm old.

image

* the line was split pretty evenly between male and female patrons, and, as it was pointed out to me right before I left, people that were over 30 and people that were under 30.

* they had more than enough books. When I said, jokingly, "I hope you have enough books" it was met with the icy stare of the etiquette officer after one tries to fist bump the queen. They expect to sell a ton at the event and throughout the weeks ahead. Meltdown's done extremely well recently with Wilson; ongoing best-sellers in trade form include The Walking Dead and Scalped. I kept hearing "Scout" when they said "Scalped," which I have to admit was really confusing for a few moments there. Although they do well with single-issues of ongoing series like that, it was indicated to me that the bigger audience is for the trades, that the audiences switch over to a trades strategy almost as a group.

image

* I did not make it in time for the costume contest, but there were a dozen -- maybe more -- young women dressed up as characters from the comic. There were probably just as many young men but they didn't leap out at me, perhaps for working with the more subtly-designed characters. I believe that the above person was the winner and that the poster was a prize.

* the back room area included a live streamcast that apparently had thousands of people checking in, a stage where I saw only one guy perform, several posters, a chalkboard, and a door opened into a backyard area.

image

* the most attractive thing for a lot of folks about the backyard area was that they were selling food -- there was also a food truck out front, now that I think of it, but I don't remember it being mobbed. CR contributing editor and photographer Whit Spurgeon liked the food so much he made me eat a bit of something delicious and spicy wrapped in a tortilla. It was a nice enough night a lot of patrons were out chatting, shooting the breeze. There was a definite pleasant quality to the event.

image

* spoke to owner Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, whose time I greatly appreciated because he looked extremely busy. Most of what we talked about was unrepeatable industry chatter, at which I sort of stink, but I don't think he'd mind if I shared that he said at one point that he thought the country's general economic woes may have hit comics shops across the board a little harder than some owners let on. "If anyone tells you things are going great, they're probably lying," he summed up. The state of Meltdown he characterized as extremely solid, though, which is good news. If there was anything different about the store it was that it looked even more open as there are no longer glass cases breaking up space in the northeast quadrant of the store. Plus there's some gaming material now. I love some of the boutique stores that have sprung up, but Meltdown is still an obvious national flagship contender for its generally snappy appearance and impressively broad range of comics for sale. I go every time I'm in LA.

* one guy off the street sidled up to me and asked what the line was for. I told him the last Scott Pilgrim book, and he said he knew what that was and immediately left.

* I didn't know a soul there past Gaston and one or two members of the staff I sort-of recognized, which when I thought about it, is as it should be. One of the hardest things for people in comics to do is to conceive of a comics culture or industry in which they have no part whatsoever. Nearly everyone at some point or another uses "comics" to describe their part of the funnybook elephant. It's always good to be reminded there are worlds of experience outside one's own. It's not a scene, it's an art form.

image* I spoke to one of the Meltcomics podcast (the Meltcast) guys -- I'm 99.99 percent sure it was Chris Rosa (Sorry, Chris!). Nice-seeming, smart-seeming guy. He said the funniest thing about a store like Meltdown: that because of their particular audience and the types of books the staff champions, they're hugely surprised when a lot of books get canceled because they sold very well at their store. He cited the Paul Cornell Captain Britain series as one they sold by the ton that didn't seem to catch on with too many other shops, and spoke highly of Jonathan Hickman's Marvel books (Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the Brubaker/Phillips http://www.comics.org/series/29795/covers/Criminal as serial comics that he suspects do as well there as in any shop in North America. Anyway, I just like the thought of a store confused when something goes under because they sell a ton of it.

* the Meltcomics podcast will be set up in the Marriott lobby to try to get some recording time in during Comic-Con, so keep an eye out for them. I am entering the world of comics podcasts the same way my mother used to enter the water from a beach -- inches at a time -- so I'm no expert on who's good and who isn't, but I thought they did a nice job with Hope Larson the other week. You know, you'd think that CCI might think of setting up a podcaster's/broadcaster's alley in one of the pavilions or something for that kind of pre-Super Bowl media tour experience. This is sort of what Jonah Weiland and CBR accomplish with their boat rental, and while that has a fancy element to it -- and a leaving the show for a moment element to it -- you'd think a ramshackle area where you could do like ten recordings in a row would work for a lot of PR people and the media folk involved. Just a thought.

* because someone I know will ask: yes, Meltdown still has cartoonists working in their studio space -- four of them, to be exact.

* to sum up, I was expecting half the crowd and half the energy, so I was pleasantly surprised in all ways but one: I wanted to buy some other comics but the line was too daunting and now I have to go back. And actually, that's not bad news at all. I love visiting shops like Meltdown. It's great after the news about Rocketship last week and the kind of unsettling nature of that shop's abrupt closure -- I think there was a shop closure out here in LA as well -- to see one of the big-name stores doing well, selling a book that a group of people obviously cherish.

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Mort Meskin

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Pre-CCI Personnel Moves: BOOM!, Marvel

Two companies announced key personnel moves heading into Comic-Con International, although both are of the "name existing people to new positions" variety as opposed to the "new person joining the company in a way that might have an effect on that company's entire culture" variety. At BOOM! Studios, Mark Waid has been promoted from Editor-in-Chief to Chief Creative Officer, with Matt Gagnon taking the Editor-In-Chief position. Gagnon is credited in the BOOM! press release with finding some of the new talent they've put to work on their line of comics. Over at Marvel, CB Cebulski has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President, Creator & Content Development at Marvel Entertainment. He will report to Publishing COO Jim Sokolowski. Cebulski has been working for a few years on talent development and from the sounds of the PR this promotion increases the scope of his influence in this areas within Marvel.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gill Fox’s Torchy

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2010 Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award Nominees List

imageThe ComicsPRO blog has a list up of nominees for this year’s Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. Past winners aren’t eligible. The multiple-step process by which stores are nominated and the winners are selected is described through the link. The nominees are:

* A Comic Shop, Aaron Hoaland & Jason Blanchard (Winter Park, FL)
* Acme Comics, Jermaine Exum & Mark Austin (Greensboro, NC)
* Astro-Zombies, Mike D'Elia (Albuquerque, NM)
* Atomic Comics, Mike Malve (Chandler, AZ)
* Challengers Comics and Conversions, Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush (Chicago, IL)
* Comic Book Ink, John & Sarah Munn (Tacoma, WA)
* Comic Bug, Mike Wellman & Jun Goeku (Manhattan Beach, CA)
* The Comic Vault, Matthew Sardo (Chicago, IL)
* Comics & Vegetables, Yuval Sharon, Danny Amitai (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
* The Dragon, Jennifer Stewart (Guelph, Ontario)
* Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, David Wheeler (Austin, TX)
* Green Brain Comics, Katie & Dan Merritt (Dearborn, MI)
* Lightning Comics, Tim Boal (Coeur d'Alene, ID)
* Not Just Comix, David Easter (Park Hills, MO)
* Packrat Comics, Jamie and Teresa Colegrove (Hillard, OH)
* R-Galaxy, Rick & Maritza Keefe (Tucson, AZ)
* Travelling Man, Nabil Homsi (Manchester, England)
* Up Up & Away, Kendall Swafford (Cincinnati, OH)
* Vault of Midnight, Curtis Sullivan & Steve Fodale (Ann Arbor, MI)
* Warp 1 Comics and Games, Dave Bryenton & James Steer (Edmonton, Alberta)
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Neely Covers Comics To Give You The Creeps (Collector’s Edition)

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 02

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Alex Toth’s Vanguard

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Bad Mood Funnies

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there's always a chance I'm misreading a news story in France, but if I have this one right, the youngest son of Peyo is appearing on a reality show. He looks exactly like someone who should be appearing on a reality show.

image* this should probably go in the "Bundled" column, but Fantagraphics posted a first look at Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Vol. 3.

* in case you missed it, there was a bunch of Comic-Con related coverage in this Sunday's LA Times. I only gave it a read-through once on the commuter train from Claremont, but I was disappointed in that it seemed more a set of talking points than an actually article. The main talking point, of course, is the "Hollywoodization of Comic-Con," which I generally think is kind of a canard. It was a little bit sad, because I usually like the Times Hollywood coverage and I'm down with their comics coverage more often than not, too. I'm still waiting for that one writer to really grab that whole Hollywood side of Comic-Con by the throat and write the revelatory article. I don't even have a firm grasp as to how that side of the show operates, let alone the backstage stuff that seems to me like it could be fascinating.

* speaking of Comic-Con, here's six announcements the Robot6 guys would like to hear. I'd like to hear four of them. The other two? Eh.

* Geoff Grogan has announced a sale in order to try and replace a roof on his barn.

* here's a link that will take you to the recent Denis Kitchen talk with Charles Brownstein.

* Devlin Thompson has been sending in a ton of stuff lately, all of it good, all of it deserving better than this starred mention on a round-up: the Maud the Mule story; a photo of a model, Bob Kane, and art that Bob Kane likely did not make; two posts on the use of symbols for cursing in comics; and maybe the greatest painting I've ever seen, followed by the greatest letter.

* Mike Rhode would like you to know that comics and stamps have a longer history than you'd expect.

* Diana Tamblyn swears by this recent Jules Feiffer interview, although I'm only 80 percent sure this link she provided takes you there.

* finally, Douglas Wolk thinks out loud about digital comics and some of the nuances to the display space provided through that avenue of distribution.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robert Weaver

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robert Fawcett

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Robert McGinnis

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Moto Hagio

Industry
Where Are D&Q's Interns Now?

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Matt Kindt
Talking Comics With Tim: Jeff Lemire

Not Comics
The Goon Movie Footage

Publishing
DC In October
Too Much Deadpool?

Reviews
John Seven: Various
Douglas Wolk: BodyWorld
Kate Dacey: Peepo Choo Vol. 1
Grant Goggans: The Golden Age
Matthew Brady: The Signifiers #1
Greg McElhatton: Bakuman Vol. 1
Techland's Comic Book Club: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: The Sylvia Chronicles
Justin Crouse: The Bulletproof Coffin #1
Rob Clough: Tales Designed To Thrizzle #6
Glenn Perrett: The Complete Peanuts, 1975-1976
Daniel Von Egidy: Parker: The Man With The Getaway Face
Sarah Boslaugh: Robert Bloch's Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper #1
 

 
2 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 19, 2010


Go, Read: The Unwanted

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CCI Putting Off Future Host City Decision Until After The 2010 Show

An intriguing article appeared on the San Diego Union-Tribune site last Friday: Comic-Con International officials have put off until after the 2010 show their decision as to what city will host the event for the next group of years after 2012. What intrigues me is that officials cite a reason -- the potentially and, if so, inexplicably recalcitrant behavior on the part of San Diego hotel officials to say whether or not they'll comply with a request to cap hotel room rates offered to Comic-Con guests at a certain price point. This is a tricky area, since I don't begrudge certain hotel rooms to charge a lot of money at certain points in the process as much as I regret things like their keeping rooms off the grid entirely. At the same time, I think it's totally bizarre that there would be any delay on any request at this particular juncture in negotiations. My personal preference remains San Diego for the qualities it provides the show that can't be duplicated elsewhere, let alone improved. I also guess that a weekend of shameless tipping by Comic-Con attendees would be the biggest way they could sway the town, although I'm not certain most con-goers care or if they do care aren't backing another city. Also, and let's be honest, "shameless tipping" isn't in the con-goers' collective utility belt.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Lightning Bolt Show

image
(via)
 
posted 10:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
HRW Slams Malaysia Over Press-Related Issues Including Zunar Ban

I'm never certain these things mean a whole lot in the grander scheme of things, but it's heartening to see the organization Human Rights Watch include the bans of cartoonist Zunar's books and magazines as part of an ongoing series of rights violations that must be stopped. I had no idea Malaysia had just been re-elected to the UN's Human Rights Council, and I encourage groups like HRW to keep the pressure on.
 
posted 10:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Marley Zarcone

image
 
posted 10:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Alt-Comics: A Pekarian Drabness?

imageThese articles are dumb when comics bloggers who barely have two adjectives to rub together write them and they're dumb when writers for the Guardian with a full armory of verbiage at their disposal write them. Despite the fact that a number of examples in his own article repeatedly counter the notion that there's a narrowing of tone or theme in non-mainstream US comic books -- it made me smile to see Cerebus sneak in there -- there's all sorts of convenient examples out there of the range of alt-comics that get passed over that I think it's very fair for him to know about. While I wouldn't expect the writer to be familiar with publishing houses like PictureBox and AdHouse, it's worth noting that his primary examples come from cartoonists associated with Drawn and Quarterly and the big hit for D+Q before its big hit with Dan Clowes' Wilson was Lynda Barry's exuberant and entirely cheerful What It Is. Fantagraphics' big release of the moment is from Jim Woodring, whose work doesn't have much in common at all with Adrian Tomine. I personally think Seth's George Sprott exists in a land far, far away from what, say, Jordan Crane is doing in Uptight, but if you don't, that doesn't mean that in making your point you should get to drop the comics that provided a cleaner break with the "mopey" stereotype.
 
posted 10:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Travelers Of Space

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Sometimes Cartoonists Surprise You

1) This is a lovely little story that has very little to do with the fact that Doug MacGregor is an editorial cartoonist, but I'm not certain I care.

2) When I clicked on this interview with Gene Weingarten of Barney and Clyde, I expected a lot of jokes -- he's a humor writer -- but I didn't expect him to be able to get an "inside Natalie Portman" joke past the newspaper's good-taste sensors. Fine work, that. I also love how not same-age appropriate using Portman is.
 
posted 10:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 10:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were Near This, I’d Go To It

image
 
posted 10:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 10:10 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 10:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Chapel Hill, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Those Berserk, Super-Busy Dick Dillin Justice League Covers

image
 
posted 9:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Bugged

image
 
posted 9:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Kuti Kuti #16

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Vintage Sleaze 01

image
 
posted 9:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the words you've been waiting for all your life and didn't even know it: K. Thor Jensen interviews Deepak Chopra.

image* Ed Piskor sent along a couple of fascinating posts in the last week worth sharing. Here's a much linked-to piece about comics action where the cause and result take place withing a single panel and much less-traveled one about Dick Tracy: The Space Years.

* if I'm understanding the PR and PR-driven news postings correctly, Dirk Wood has joined IDW in a newly-christened marketing position and AnnaMaria White has received a promotion. Congratulations to both.

* Heidi MacDonald is doing her yearly round-up of pre-CCI PR at The Beat.

* Rich Johnston suggests that there were tweaks to a reprinted Arthur Suydam comic that cloud sexual orientation issues in a way unflattering to the tweakers.

* not comics: two of the remaining comics films of interest coming out in the months ahead are European in origin: Luc Besson's adaptation of the Adele Blanc-Sec books and Stephen Frears' take on Posy Simmonds' Tamara Drewe. Here are two articles about the latter I have yet to read.

* I can't imagine anything more generally useful than the occasional snapshot of comics in the Philippines provided by Gerry Alanguilan.

* finally, from the depths of my recovered e-mail comes some buried treasure:
1) an interview with the artist Dan McDaid.
2) a note about Marvel's move in the 1950s to ride out the wave of anti-comic book sentiment.
3) a link to the Copenhagen comics festival site where you can read the festival's thank you and perhaps figure out how to score the boss Chris Ware poster they used to promote the show.
4) a report from Matthias Wivel about that same show.
5) an initial post about Ryan Claytor's forthcoming tour, individual dates for which I'm going to put up on the site after posting this note.
6) an interview at Graphic Novel Reporter with Matthew Dembicki and Michael Thompson.
7) an advance item that's probably not so advance anymore on Hive #4.
8) that Vince Colletta HOF historical curiosity letter that everyone else gave to you immediately but I have let age like fine wine.
9) a Michel Fiffe post on some Gary Panter album art.
10) a profile of Jules Feiffer by John Seven.
11) a review of the latest Kim Deitch from the same source.
12) a pair of reviews for Dave Lapp's Children Of The Atom.
13) a contest/game offering by a site in conjunction with Comic-Con International, I think for those who aren't going.
14) photos of creepy semi-related-to-Marvel cakes.
15) a preview of the new Tripwire, hearty survivors of recent comic book industry history.
I'd say wait until next time for this lively CR feature, but I'm horribly embarrassed to have all this material hidden in my e-mail and am desperately hoping there won't be a next time. To that end, I'd like to mention I switched the base account for my primary tomatcomicsrepoterdotcom e-mail address from tomspurgeon010atmsndotcom to comicsreporterathotmaildotcom -- just in case you were using the MSN address for some strange reason. My apologies to all concerned for the past transgressions and future snafus.
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, John Kovaleski!

image
 
posted 9:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 49th Birthday, Terry LaBan!

image
 
posted 9:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, Luke McDonnell!

image
 
posted 9:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Bob Burden!

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 60th Birthday, Richard Pini!

image
 
posted 9:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Inio Asano
On Eiichiro Oda
Prose Vs. Comics
On The Gorgeousness Of Maurice Vellekoop's Work

Exhibits/Events
Evanier Fired Up For CCI 01
Evanier Fired Up For CCI 02
From Comic Con France 2010
I'm On The Same Page With The Chrises

History
On Hansi
On Alex Schomburg
Buy Russ Manning Art
Favorites From Big John

Industry
Video For Strip Stamp Release

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Kurt Busiek
Suicide Girls: Steve Niles
A Nickel's Worth: Michael Jantze

Not Comics
Superman, You Are No Doctor
Thor: You're Not Really A Doctor, Either

Publishing
El Vocho, Baby!
Don Martin Book Going Cheap 01
Don Martin Book Going Cheap 02

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
John Seven: Various
John Seven: Market Day
David Brothers: Revolver
Richard Bruton: The Art Of Pho
Rachel Cooke: Psychiatric Tales
Kumar Sivasubramanian: Wilson
Snow Wildsmith: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1
Snow Wildsmith: Afterschool Charisma Vol. 1
Steve Bennett: ... And Die Largo Winch Vol. 6
 

 
3 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 18, 2010


Please Go See My CCI Panels

image

Thursday, 3:30-4:30 Spotlight on James Sturm -- Comic-Con special guest James Sturm has created award-winning graphic novels for early readers (Adventures in Cartooning), young adults (Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules), and grownups (The Golem's Mighty Swing, Market Day) and co-founded the country's finest cartooning school (The Center for Cartoon Studies). Come join James during this rare Comic-Con appearance! Room 26AB

Please note: I'm not listed here but James asked me to do it and I'm showing up. I'd e-mail James to double-check but he's off-line until, you know, whenever.

if you have a question you'd like me to ask James, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

image

Thursday, 4:30-5:30 The Best and Worst of Manga 2010 -- It's been a wild year for manga, with new publishers springing up while old ones fade away, and sometimes it seems like the one constant in life is that One Piece will go on forever. Join our five panelists -- Deb Aoki (manga.about.com), Jason Thompson (Manga: The Complete Guide), Christopher Butcher (The Beguiling), Tom Spurgeon (comicsreporter.com), Shaenon Garrity (Skin Horse) and Carlo Santos (Right Turn Only) -- as they talk about the best and worst manga of the last year, the manga they want to see translated, and the most anticipated upcoming releases. Room 3

if you have a question you'd like me to ask any of these panelists, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

image

Saturday, 1:00-2:00 Spotlight on Gabrielle Bell -- Join Comic-Con special guest Gabrielle Bell (Cecil and Jordan in New York, Lucky). Gabrielle Bell has been featured in McSweeneys, Vice and The Believer. The title story of her most recent book, Cecil and Jordan in New York has been adapted for the screen by Michel Gondry in the triptych Tokyo! She is currently serializing her Ignatz award-winning autobiographcal comics Lucky online. Gabrielle Bell will present a slideshow and discuss her work with Tom Spurgeon (www.thecomicsreporter) Room 3

if you have a question you'd like me to ask Gabrielle, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

image

Saturday, 3:30-4:30 International Comics and Graphic Novels -- Comics are popular the world over and Comic-Con always includes an impressive gathering of worldwide talent. Journalist Tom Spurgeon talks with special guests Moto Hagio (Japan: Drunken Dreams), Emile Bravo (France: My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill), Milo Manara (Italy: Click!), and Kathryn and Stuart Immonen (Canada: Moving Pictures, Russian Olive to Red King) about graphic novels with a more international flavor.

Please Note: that I'm doing this panel and not doing the comics reprints panel, as they overlap. Andrew Farago will do a far better job with the reprints panel that I could hope to.

if you have a question you'd like me to ask any of the stupendously talented cartoonists on the panel, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
4 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #219—In The Hall

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Future Eisner Hall Of Famers." This is how they responded.

*****

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Evan Dorkin (pictured left)
2. Jaime Hernandez (pictured right)
3. Howard Chaykin
4. Gilbert Hernandez
5. Neil Gaiman

*****

image

Evan Dorkin

1. Jaime Hernandez
2. Gilbert Hernandez
3. David Mazzucchelli
4. Walt Simonson
5. Al Jaffee

*****

image

Robin McConnell

* Chris Ware
* Sammy Harkham
* Eddie Campbell
* Kim Deitch
* Gary Panter

*****

image

Marc Arsenault

1. Brandon Graham
2. Paul Pope
3. Brian Chippendale
4. Taiyo Matsumoto
5. Brian Ralph

*****

image

James Langdell

1. Neil Gaiman
2. Mike Mignola
3. Denny O'Neill
4. Tom Palmer
5. Rick Veitch

*****

image

Mark Coale

1. Jill Thompson
2. Stan Sakai
3. Todd Klein
4. Karen Berger
5. Grant Morrison

*****

image

John McCorkle

* Charles Burns
* Walter Simonson
* Adrian Tomine
* Chris Claremont
* Peter Bagge

*****

image

Don MacPherson

1) Harvey Pekar
2) Kate Beaton
3) George Perez
4) Jim Aparo
5) Dick Giordano

*****

image

Jamie Coville

1. Marty Nodell
2. Carl Burgos
3. Steve Gerber
4. Dick Giordano
5. Yoshihiro Tatsumi

*****

image

Kian Ross

1. Chris Ware
2. Alan Moore
3. Harvey Pekar
4. Scott McCloud
5. Chris Claremont

*****


image

Justin J. Major

1. Mark Evanier
2. Dirk Deppey
3. Tom Spurgeon
4. Mike Sterling
5. Bully The Little Bull

(If you can get a Pulitzer for criticism)


*****

image

Scott Dunbier

1) Kyle Baker
2) Bill Watterson
3) Dave Stevens
4) Michael Golden
5) Mike Mignola

*****

image

Jude Killlory

1. Jessica Abel
2. Klaus Janson
3. Jim Woodring
4. Charles Burns
5. Jacques Tardi

*****

image

Johnny Bacardi

1. Harvey Pekar
2. Walt Simonson
3. J.H. Williams III
4. Mike Mignola
5. Jerry Grandenetti (well, if I had anything to do with it...)

*****

image

Gary Usher

1. Gary Groth (not a chance, but should be in there)
2. Jenette Kahn (Is MW Nicholson really a more important executive? He's in)
3. Dave Sim (should already be in, but may take awhile)
4. Carol Tyler (her work will eventually win over voters)
5. Kim Deitch (big block of underground cartoonists may hit in one year! Like the EC guys)

*****

image

Fabrice Stroun

- Matt Brinkman (for works 2010 - the future)
- C.F. (for works 2010 - the future)
- Igor Kordey (for his 2001-2003 Marvel stuff)
- Klaus Janson (as an inker, for having made so many mediocre artists from the last 35 years look fucking awesome)
- Gary Panter (for having taken over Kirby's title as the only true KING OF COMICS)

*****

image

Mark Robert Bourne

1. Mark Gruenwald
2. Jodorowski
3. Mark Waid
4. Alan Moore (Accepted by Sacheen Littlefeather)
5. Sal Buscema

*****

image

Sean T. Collins

1. Frank Miller
2. Alan Moore
3. Brian Michael Bendis
4. Paul Levitz
5. Joe Quesada

*****

image

Greg McElhatton

1. Rumiko Takahashi
2. Scott McCloud
3. Eric Shanower
4. P. Craig Russell
5. Lynn Johnston

*****

image

Scott Cederlund

* Walt Simonson
* Joe Sacco
* Dave Sim
* Kyle Baker
* Eddie Campbell

*****

please note: I deleted two entries with Ogden Whitney and Art Spiegelman, respectively, as they are already in the Eisner HOF

*****
*****
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 17, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


via


via


Anders Nilsen interviewed by Royal Jelly from John Orlow on Vimeo.
via


comics-related only in that I once had a pig named Thor and I went on YouTube looking for pig videos because I suddenly missed him



via




via


via


via
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

image

The top comics-related news stories from July 10 to July 16, 2010:

1. Writer Harvey Pekar, a comics generation of one, passes away.

2. Cartoonist Molly Norris named as potential target by radical Muslim cleric.

3. First half of 2010 in DM sales resembled the first half of 2009.

Winner Of The Week
The Harveys, with a very respectable nominees slate.

Losers Of The Week
Unless I'm missing something, CCI-attending Twilight fans expecting something close to last year's programming.

Quote Of The Week
"First LeBron, then Pekar, and now Steinbrenner: it's like the Cleveland version of The Watchmen". -- Gil Roth

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 35th Birthday, Jeffrey Brown!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 34th Birthday, Brian K. Vaughan!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 59th Birthday, Ned Sonntag!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 72nd Birthday, Hermann!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
5 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Chris Hitchens

image
The writer, essayist and Joe Sacco fan Christopher Hitchens sports admirable hair and a laudable reporter's British-Character-Actor type fleshiness, but he's inspirational for comics bloggers everywhere when it comes to crafting an entire career around one article, which he writes over and over again: "I Hate This." He blames God, we blame Marvel Comics.
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 16, 2010


Friday Distraction: Guide To Bill Blackbeard Holdings At SFACA

image
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Shahid Mahmood, Air Canada Settle

It's one of those news items that was around just as comics blogs of all shapes and sizes began to proliferate on the Internet in a way where stories would flash across several sites at once: editorial cartoonist Shahid Mahmood's quest for justice after being denied travel on Air Canada for reasons they couldn't explain. Because of the settlement, we may never know if it was a case of mistaken identity, some sort of horrible post-9/11 profiling gone wrong, or even outright concern for the content of his cartoons. Still, if after this many years Mahmood is satisfied, perhaps we should be as well.
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Supers Legal Overview

image

I have yet to dig into Paul Slade's bigger-than-usual article on the recent legal travails surrounding key, core superhero titles at the big mainstream companies. So I can't recommend it to you other than for the serious of its intent and what looks like a lot of attention to source material. Still, a totally worthy topic and one suited for a long Friday afternoon.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Evan “Doc” Shaner

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: AdHouse Starts AdDistro

An article from the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com sent me scrambling for the appropriate blog posting on AdHouse's own site whereby the company has announced it's become a small distributor in terms of carrying like-minded stuff. In AdHouse's case this is work from Nobrow Press, Koyama Press and the artist Malachi Ward.

AdHouse owner Chris Pitzer is smart to tie this news up into a PR bow and putting it out for people to unwrap, and it's certainly a move novel to his company, a boutique comics publisher to reckon with any out there. On the other hand carrying of fellow travelers by comics publishers is a tradition in alt-comics stretching back to the last day of the undergrounds. Why it's important now is 1) the aforementioned development of Pitzer's company, 2) alt-comics suffers from a perception that there's not enough worthwhile work to fill up sections of stores or, more importantly, the bottom of shopping bags on each and every Wednesday, and thus as many hands as you can present on deck for retailers to inspect is a beneficial things, 3) the fact that a partnership like takes place in a variety of places -- on-line, directly between shops and publishers, at conventions hand-selling -- as opposed to the day when publishers banded together mostly around the most beneficial catalog listing.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: French Superhero Comics Covers Curated Into A Single Post

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* G. Willow Wilson writes about Molly Norris, the cartoonist targeted for execution by extremists for coming up with the idea of "Draw Muhammed Day." I agree with a lot of what she has to say about the way certain kinds of rhetoric work, but the way she describes Norris it's as if Norris really planned out the event and then backed away from it as opposed to having made a crack that to my ear has more in common with some sort of folksy sentiment along the lines of "Wouldn't it be better if the Air Force had to have a bake sale and the schools got all those billions...?" than a serious suggestion or creation.

* India's officials are now openly accusing their Pakistani counterparts of helping to coordinate the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, according to intelligence they've gathered from apparent Mumbai location scout David Coleman Headley. Headley plead guilty after being linked to Mumbai, but was arrested primarly for a plot to blow up the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published the original Danish Muhammad cartoons. Maybe I've watched too many spy movies, but it seems to me someone whose job it was to foment chaos in a specific region would be a dubious source of testimony in terms of sensitive political information that could throw that area of the globe into chaos.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Handwriting Diagnosis

image
thanks, ed choy moorman
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Collective Memory: Harvey Pekar, RIP

image

*****

Commentary and reaction around the Internet to the passing of Harvey Pekar (1939-2010).

*****

Institutional
* IMDB Entry
* Lambiek.net Entry
* Wikipedia Entry

Audio
* Boppin' With Pekar
* Comic Book Galaxy
* Conversation With Jared Gardner At OSU, 2007
* The Sound Of Young America
* Interview With Fresh Air About The Quitter (2005)
* Interview On NPR (2003)
* Interview Including Joyce Brabner On NPR (2003)
* Interview On Fresh Air (2004)
* PC Mag After Hours

Blog Entries
* ADD Blog
* Alibi.com
* alicublog
* Alison Bechdel
* America's Drunkest Nobody
* Anodyne
* Anthony Bourdain
* Art And Design, NY Times
* ArtsBeat, NY Times

* Barry Crimmins
* Bill Kartalopoulos At Print
* Blog Talk Radio

* Carole Wallencheck
* Charles W. Hatfield
* Cinematical
* Comedy Central Insider
* Comic Book Candy
* Comics Comics 01
* Comics Comics 02
* Comics Comics 03
* Comic Riffs
* Craig Fischer
* CultureMob
* Culture Monster

* Daily Cartoonist
* Dark Horse Comics
* Dave Ex Machina
* Dave Lasky
* David Hajdu In The New Republic
* DC Comic Books Examiner
* Dean Haspiel 01 * Dean Haspiel 02
* Dennis Perrin

* Elijah Brubaker
* Entertainment Daily
* Eric Reynolds

* Famecrawler
* Forbidden Planet International

* GalleyCat

* Hairballs
* Hero Complex

* indieWIRE
* Inside The Multiplexer
* io9

* Jacket Copy
* James Urbaniak
* Jamie S. Rich
* Jeff Smith
* JH Williams III
* Johnny Bacardi
* Josh Neufeld
* JSOnline

* Kevin Church

* lemondrop
* Limerwrecks

* Mah Two Cents 01
* Mah Two Cents 02
* Mark Evanier
* Metabunker
* Mike Everleth
* Mike Sterling

* New York Press
* Nick Abadzis
* NPR

* Pat Moriarity
* Paul Hornschmeier * Peter David

* Rick Cleveland At Huffington Post
* Rob Clough
* Robert Boyd

* Sam Henderson
* Scott McCloud
* SFGate
* Splash Page
* Spliced

* TCJ.com
* The Beat 01
* The Beat 02
* The Chronicle Of Higher Education
* The Daily Cross Hatch 01
* The Daily Cross Hatch 02
* The Daily Cross Hatch 03
* The Daily Cross Hatch 04
* The Frisky
* Time Out Chicago
* Toby Radloff
* Tom Devlin
* Trouble With Comics 01
* Trouble With Comics 02
* Trouble With Comics 03

* Underwire

* VH1.com

* Warren Ellis
* Weather Head
* World Of Wardcrap

* zippycart

Message Boards
* TCJ.com

Miscellaneous
* A Comic From Charlie Beck
* A Comic From Dave Lasky
* A Comic From Vanessa Davis
* A Commentary By Pekar On NPR Re: Valentine's Day
* American Splendor Movie Site
* American Splendor On Stage
* Archive Of Articles For Weekly Wire
* Archive Of Articles For Austin Chronicle
* Article in In These Times About Appearance On Late Night With David Letterman
* Article Written By Pekar For Bass Player
* Feature On WKSU About Who Is Harvey Pekar?
* Images From American Splendor
* Interview With Gary Groth (1993)
* Interview With Walrus Comix (Date Unknown)
* Nick Abadzis Draws Harvey Pekar
* Profile By Jack Baney (2003/2004-ish?)
* Profile In LA Times (2003)
* Top 6 Harvey Pekar Quotes

News Stories and Columns
* ActuaBD.com
* afNews.info
* Animation Magazine
* AOL Online
* Associated Content
* Associated Content 02

* Backstage
* BBC
* beliefnet
* Bleacher Report

* Chicago Tribune
* CityPages
* Cleveland.com
* CMR
* CNN.com

* Dayton Book Examiner
* Digital Spy

* Empire Online
* Entertainment Showbiz
* E! Online
* EW.com
* Exclaim.ca
* extratv
* eyeweekly.com

* Fanhouse
* FOX8

* Global Comment
* GoErie.com

* ICv2.com
* IGN.com

* JoBlo.com

* KansasCity.com

* Long Island Press
* Los Angeles Times

* Macleans
* Michael Malice At Mediaite.com
* Montreal Gazette
* Movie And Television Arts
* MTV.com

* National Post
* Nonsensical Words

* OnDeadline
* Opposing Views

* PLAYBACK:stl
* Public Broadcast News

* Sandusky Register
* Screencrave
* Seattle P-I

* TheCelebrityCafe.com
* The Daily Page
* The Daily Page 02
* The Independent
* The News
* thenewschronicle
* thestar
* The Takeaway
* The Zeitgeisty Report
* Toronto Sun
* True/Slant

* UPI.com
* USA News Week

* wagerrun.com
* Washington City Paper
* WCPN.org
* WKSU
* WLTX.com
* WNYC.org
* WSJ.com

* Zimbio

Photos
* Appearance At YIVO (2009)
* Photos At Cleveland Plain-Dealer
* Signing With Michael Malice

Twitter
* Matt Fraction 01
* Matt Fraction 02
* Phil Hester
* Searching The Term Harvey Pekar

Video
* 10 Questions With Harvey Pekar
* American Splendor Trailer
* Anthony Bourdain Show Segment
* An Interview At Penn State University
* Coventry Road 01
* Coventry Road 02
* Coventry Road 03
* Coventry Road 04
* Coventry Road 05
* Coventry Road 06
* First Appearance On Letterman 01
* First Appearance On Letterman 02
* Intrusion Into News Show With Letterman
* On Collecting Jazz Records
* On The Josh McCutchen Show

*****

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

*****

image
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Weird Fantasy Covers

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Beat: Rocketship Closes Doors

Heidi MacDonald follows up nicely on New York comics scene gossip to report that the well-regarded Brooklyn-based Rocketship has closed its doors -- whether temporarily or for good is as yet up in the air. Its owner says the shop is at the end of an initial, five-year lease and the owners haven't decided whether to press forward or not. It's pretty much all there in Heidi's post; I don't need to play parrot.

One thing that interests me, though, is that notion that five years of a retail establishment -- or any comics business -- may be all that the owners or managers or those otherwise involved want out of that specific endeavor. That may seem like fast-talk to some people, but something about it appeals to me and I think speaks to the way people tend to shift careers in the 21st Century. While one hopes for a model of countdown retail that involves something other than an ending with the doors locked and a lot of inventory inside you can see from the outside windows, I think the general idea could be pursued. The model whereby you need huge amounts of money and half a person's life before you even consider pursuing selling something seems to me horribly restrictive. My town wouldn't have a single bookstore, only one of its ten restaurants, a third of its coffee shops and half its mechanics if a similar restriction on retail existed in those industries. It reminds me when Kitchen Sink went under and Fantagraphics nearly collapsed, and there were people in the comics world that suggested that a multiple-decade run doing something as eclectic and odd as making art comics or underground comix was somehow a failure because it didn't go on forever. It may just be something in our superheroic DNA to expect this of our industry's businesses.

On a less abstract note, I hope things work out positively for those involved according to whatever it is they want to do.
 
posted 6:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Black Magic #50

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: ‘75 Marvel Splashes

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gideon’s Vision

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Captain Action

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* a Southern California radio station is going to replay audio of the Los Angeles stageplay version of American Splendor later today. They're doing it totally temporary media, too, without it being archived somewhere, so you're going to have to do a bit of work to give it a lesson.

image* Chris Butcher has a nice piece up about the new Vertical series Twin Spica and the disconnect between its natural audience and the audience towards which the cover seems to be aiming. I kind of almost don't look at covers at this point -- I do very little buying in shops, for instance, an activity that employs a significant amount of cover examination -- but taking a second gander at this one, I think he's right. I wasn't completely sold on the first volume, but I found the second one intriguing and I hope it finds an audience. Of course, one depressing thing that gets masked by an earnest retailer making the complaint is that in most place the cover will have to do all the selling.

* this made me laugh. This, too. This, on the other hand, made me feel better about the planet I live on.

* Daddy's Home has sent its characters to confront the Gulf Oil Spill -- not the spill as an intractable problem but as an event.

* not comics: he's had a fine career, but I'm thinking my fifth grade neighborhood kids' club might have had a shot at taking down Kevin Bacon.

* Dylan Williams praises CC Beck's writing, and links to some of it on the Internet. I concur that some gathering-up of his work should be a priority, although I'm not certain how much there is.

* I do appreciate that comics is a big enough tent that people can construct all sorts of meaning in terms of what's important to how they see comics, even when I don't understand what they're getting at.

* Wizard sent out a press release this morning saying they're starting a Spring-season New York convention, May 6-8. I don't have any idea off the top of my head what this means for the ongoing convention war, which hasn't been much of a fight on their side, anyway. If I can figure something out, it will be in the next "Four-Color Festival" column installment.

* finally, Robot 6 has a metric ton of Batman-related news. That's probably too much Batman-related news, in the sense that such a big icon should ostensibly be a steadying influence on a line (or the way you expect bad NFL franchises to make a lot of midweek news but the successful teams to run silent and run deep), but there it is. Of interest to me is that Grant Morrison will leave Batman And Robin at issue #18... I suppose they'll continue the title although I'm not sure it has much of an identity beyond the creators that have worked on it already, all under Morrison's direction.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Pierre Wazem!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
'70s PM&IF, DOD
On Adam Warren
Jordan Crane Makes Prints
Johnny Ryan Covers The Mercury

Exhibits/Events
Volunteer For The CBLDF At CCI

History
Thor Walks Across America

Industry
Win A Know Prize
Dwane Powell To Be Honored
Sandy Bilus: Twin Spica Vol. 1

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Bryan Q. Miller
Itchykeen: Daniel Moyer
Inkstuds: Philippe Girard
Comic Book Brain: Daniel Boris

Not Comics
John P. Shoots Nature
That's A Fine-Looking Tattoo

Reviews
John Seven: Market Day
Nina Stone: Nana Vols. 20-21
Paul Di Filippo: Rip Kirby, Vol. 2
John Seven: Stuck Rubber Baby
Jason Thompson: Dungeon Quest
Sean T. Collins: MOME Vols. 17-19
Damian Vandenburgh: Weathercraft
Brian Warmoth: Batman And Robin #13
Lori Henderson: Antique Bakery Vols. 1-4
Brian Warmoth: Werewolves Of Montpelier
Dan Nadel: It Was The War Of The Trenches
 

 
6 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 15, 2010


Go, Look: Roger Langridge’s Frankenstein Meets Shirley Temple

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Douglas Wolk at Techland offers up a concise guide to enjoying Comic-Con International. Basically, he suggests focusing on a few, achievable things you want to do and just going with the flow for the rest of the time. That's pretty good advice.

* Robert Trate at Mania.com also offers a CCI survival guide. The best feature of this one is a breakdown of how you might pack a backpack. Trate and his readers look like they enjoy different things at the show than I do, so I found those parts fascinating as well.

* I have to admit, I think it's nice that Robert Kirkman and Bryan Lee O'Malley are due big, crazy weekends at CCI tied into comics work they own and control; I think a weekend-long display of the virtues of that arrangement is a positive for comics. I mean, it's nice when a big corporation has a big corporate movie for you to enjoy, but I like those projects where if you stare back you can see the primary creator fully invested -- figuratively and literally -- as opposed to perhaps the latest caretaker who may even be paid for those "handling" duties more than original creator was rewarded.

* speaking of corporate movies, the Green Lantern film is the cover subject of the annual Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con issue. I assume a trailer is in store. I would assume that if there is a trailer, the relative buzz it creates will be compared to the fan enthusiasm generated by whatever Marvel-related properties bring to the show, which will include the casting announcement for the Bruce Banner part in their Avengers film. That's right: dueling hype-perception spun by giant corporations. Man, I would hate working in the movie business.

* all that said, if the Tron footage is any good, that one could steal the weekend.

* here's an article that appeared last week on Travel Planners and the unpopular switch in reservation schemes. I think the article makes note of what really pissed people off, although they don't emphasize it: that people felt the system was executed in unfair ways, granting some people better rooms than some folks who submitted earlier. Comics fans hate unfair things more than just about any other subset of people. The article also underlines some structural problems, such as the fact that no one wants to stay anywhere but in the downtown area (which makes sense), but fails to mention something we all know to be true: that a lot of people feel entitled to stay within a couple of blocks of the show (which doesn't make sense) and see their inability to make this happen as a shot at their status either within the community or as a person in x-industry covering a comic book show. Having no status, I've stayed all over the county, from 200 feet away from the convention center to 45 miles, and it's never made a huge difference to my bottom line when it comes to enjoying CCI. Other folks' experiences are obviously different.

At any rate, I think the big problems with the TP hotels system this year were that 1) it obviously didn't work fairly just on a functional level or the perception of such was so widespread it's the same thing, 2) it subsequently took control out of the hands of a lot of type-a personality-bearing folks that when denied lodging in recent years could at least scramble to plan b as opposed to ceding control to some weird waiting list. A combination of this year's deposit strategy and previous years' ability to get on the site every single day between the first day reservations were available and the show itself and see whatever has been returned to the site the moment it gets returned would have worked a lot better, and the approximation of that the last couple of weeks has been an improvement. There are long-term problems even if the show stays in San Diego that the article doesn't mention -- having hotels offer up all of their rooms, perhaps keeping them under a certain price for the long-term good of the show -- that are just as important to the show's future, no matter where it ends up.

* this week's not-CCI posting: Heidi MacDonald has mostly guest-announcement related press releases for Baltimore Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con.

* Larry Marder reminds us of an important CCI event: the CBLDF auction.

* finally, here's a broadly-focused, local-media newspaper article on the convention and what's at stake with its forthcoming announcement as to location.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Stanley’s Howdy Doody

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* sentences in the attempted arson of Lars Vilks home. I'm not sure if this is totally correct or not, but a two-year and a three-year sentences seems to me more than what observers believed the two accused young men could get. Vilks was not an original Danish Cartoons cartoonist but an artist who made a kind of scribble drawing of a dog with Muhammed's head in the extended wake of the 2005 incident and 2006 riots, casting his lot in a certain way for better or for worse.

* could the reprinting of the Danish cartoons in a Norwegian newspaper be what got Norway on the al-Qaeda anti-valentine list?

* this still seems to be the primary article on Molly Norris being named as a potential target for reprisal by an American-born Muslim cleric. No threats at the paper to which she contributes, FBI warning her, no comment on additional law enforcement protection. There was a blog posting up Tuesday that for the life of me I can't find now that used testimony from a neighbor to suggest there might be some provided protection, but even when I could find it it sounded tenuously sourced.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
You’re A Good Dog Yes You Are

image
via
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Olivia Walch Wins WaPo Contest

imageMichael Cavna at the Comic Riffs blog has announced that the winner of the newspaper's "Next Great Cartoonist" contest is 20-year-old William and Mary student Olivia Walch. She'll have a month's worth of strips published in the paper's Style section this fall, receive a $1000 prize and garner a mountain's worth of publicity and attention. Although I'm a little dubious as to the title of the contest and the ability of anyone to match its inherent expectations, I thought Walch was the best of the finalist batch in that she had a unique voice, displayed the ability to mix up her visuals, and had a baseline style that's both familiar yet would distinguish her work on the page. The Sunday gag up top in the page linked through her name frankly kills. Plus, her youth suggests significant potential yet to be tapped.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Supersnipe (1942)

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two Obscure Strips

image
image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In Boston, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: King Looey The Lion

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Zounds Of Silence

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Ghost Sketches By AH!

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Dave Eggers would like you to know that print is not dead. I think he has a point -- a lot of the newspaper collapse was due to a lot of publications growing used to having high single figure or double digit growth in profits every year and a general bloat across the board in terms of staffing.

image* the writer and reviewer Johnny Bacardi has posted some smooth-looking pin-ups from Tim Truman's Scout series.

* dueling Superman. Speaking of which, there has to be something in here somewhere about wishing for one's own death.

* not comics: I forgot to congratulate Dean Haspiel on the work he did that snared an Emmy nomination. Congratulations, Dean.

* the always-impressive Jim Woodring draws our attention to an art-focused monies-raised type site of the kind that seem to be quite popular right now.

* here's a write-up on medical issue graphic novels, focusing a bit on Brian Fies' work.

* Bryan Lee O'Malley posts information on a bunch of Scott Pilgrim events related to the release of the final volume in the book series and the subsequent movie premiere.

* finally, Dan Nadel reviews Asgardian fashion.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Kelly Sue DeConnick!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 39th Birthday, Chris Cilla!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Jeff Parker
Dylan Meconis Designs Characters

Exhibits/Events
Win Lunch With Geoff Johns

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Kurt Busiek
CBR: Jonathan Maberry
CBR: Larry Young, Jimmy Palmiotti

Not Comics
Tarkovsky's Films Now On-Line

Publishing
A Webcomic For Neilalien
Thumbs Up For Heroic Age

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Seth Peagler: Various
Tucker Stone: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Brian Warmoth: Poseur #3
Brian Warmoth: Sweets #1
Sean T. Collins: The Troll King
Todd Klein: American Vampire #2
Greg McElhatton: The Royal Historian Of Oz #1
Grant Goggans: Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files Vol. 1
 

 
7 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 14, 2010


New Round Of Xeric Grant Winners

The Xeric Foundation has released a list of its most recent comics-related grant recipients. The Peter Laird-founded fund is giving out $32,761 to seven projects this time around. The Foundation is coming up on its 18th birthday.

* Margaret Ashford-Trotter -- Thunder in the Building #2
* Jason Brubaker -- reMIND
* Jonathon Dalton -- Lords of Life and Death
* Wei Li -- Lotus Root Children
* Jed McGowan -- Lone Pine
* Ansis Purins -- Zombre #2: The Magic Forest
* Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton -- Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny! Book 1

The next deadline is September 30, 2010.
 
posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* a new site for Trains Are Mint.

* count Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic among those webcomics offering a print edition.

image* the great Kyle Baker shows off a cover image for a new Deadpool comic he'll be doing with David Lapham. I think if it weren't the other 721 reasons I feel old within the context of the comics industry, the popularity of Deadpool would do it for sure.

* JK Parkin reads the tea leaves and suggests the emblematic 1990s comic book series Creed may see a return, a collection, or both.

* oh, just get home already.

* Marc Ellerby is bringing his autobiographical webcomic to a close.

* the writer Kurt Busiek talks about the Jack Kirby-related project he'll be doing with Dynamite.

* the great John Porcellino provides a name -- From Lone Mountain -- and the rough parameters for the next D&Q book collection of his legendary mini-comic King-Cat Comics And Stories.

* in what is rapidly becoming the most writer-intensive update of this kind in CR history, Warren Ellis shows off the cover to a forthcoming collection of work he did with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

* finally, the writer Paul Cornell talks about a forthcoming Knight and Squire mini-series, which sounds like the kind of thing I'll be buying in mid-2012 for a dollar each -- not the quality of the comic, but the limitations of the market -- but also sounds like it will be fun.

image
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Harvey Pekar Images

image
 
posted 11:20 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image

*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt 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 this week, I'd spy out on the some of the following.

*****

DEC090244 ABSOLUTE PLANETARY HC BOOK 02 $75.00
I suppose this is very beautiful in that format at that size. Do comic book stores have a hard time selling big-ticket items that are available on-line at a discount? That must sound like the dumbest question in the world, but it just re-occurred to me that that might be kind of difficult.

MAY100170 MAGOG #11 $2.99
Remember when we used to sit on the porch all summer long, drinking lemonade and reading copies of Magog?

APR100216 RED TORNADO FAMILY REUNION TP $17.99
I have no idea what's in this book, so please nobody involved take this personally, but the phrase "spinner rack in Hell" is the first thing that popped into my head.

MAY100219 SUPER FRIENDS #29 $2.99
There's a Super Friends comic? Is it frustrating and they never fight anybody? Because that was Super Friends when I was a kid.

MAY100149 SUPERMAN #701 $2.99
Oh, just walk home already. Batman's struggling to come back from the dead, Superman's walking around aimlessly and Wonder Woman's lost her memory. Sounds like spring break at Pompano Beach, 1992.

FEB100199 VIKING PRINCE BY JOE KUBERT HC $39.99
If I remember correctly, Viking Prince was the first feature DC launched after the institution of the comics code and was the last major that Joe Kubert drew a lot of before loosening up his style. I also remember the stories were kind of pedestrian. Wouldn't mind picking this one up and looking at it, though.

MAY100394 JENNIFER LOVE HEWITTS MUSIC BOX TP VOL 01 $19.99
Had to read that title twice.

MAY100361 RICHARD STARKS PARKER MAN WITH GETAWAY FACE (PRELUDE) $2.00
This was a pretty cool little story super-compressing the second Parker prose book. I had this one out on the table for a few weeks after picking it up at WonderCon and it was super-popular with folks around here.

MAY100470 BULLETPROOF COFFIN #2 (OF 6) (MR) $3.99
The first issue of this one looked really nice, and is the latest in the Image (not really a) line of legitimately funky boys comics.

FEB100400 ORC STAIN #4 (MR) $2.99
And here's the team captain of that line. This funkily-drawn series has been difficult for to sink my teeth into, if I'm going to be completely honest about everything. I'm sure I'll come around.

APR100451 CHEW #12 (MR) $2.99
The most recent indy-comics hit. If you had this one in the pool, you are wagering in an extraordinarily arcane pool.

MAY100464 SWORD TP VOL 04 AIR (MR) $14.99
I like the Luna Brothers. They make very earnest comics. Is this the last one? I missed the last comic book. If you see me in San Diego, don't tell me what happens.

FEB100921 CATALOG 439 BURLESQUE PARAPHERNALIA SC $22.99
I can't tell if this is really cool-sounding or if that title reads like an unfortunate google translation.

MAY100703 INVADERS CLASSIC TP VOL 04 $29.99
I'd have to pick this one up to be sure -- the point of this column, of course -- but this book could feature some really cool Frank Robbins art. Frank Robbins drew everyone pulsating and sweaty, which is how I always imagine World War II. The only thing I'd wonder after is I swear I bought a complete run of 1970s Invaders comics for less than $30 like a year ago.

MAY100607 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #28 $2.99
MAY100684 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN PREM HC VOL 04 STARK DISASSEMBLED $19.99
Double-dose of Iron Man. It's one of two superhero books I'm irregularly buying right now in serial form and would buy with greater deliberation if I were anywhere near a comics shop.

FEB100594 MARVEL ART OF JOE QUESADA HC $49.99
This would be hilarious if Quesada couldn't draw at all.

MAY100625 THANOS IMPERATIVE #2 (OF 6) $3.99
Why couldn't they have just left Thanos alone, happy and married to Franka Potente?

MAY100829 COMIC BOOK GUY THE COMIC BOOK #1 (OF 5) $3.99
I'm not going to say it, but I'll admit I was tempted.

APR108138 MOME GN VOL 19 (PP# 922) $14.99
This is a really good issue, leaning more towards Eric Reynolds' "I edited Dirty Stories and my own comics can be terribly frightening" side than his art comics side. Some very potent, troubling short stories and some unorthodox yet beautiful-looking comics art.

FEB108422 PLAYWRIGHT HC (MR) $14.95
APR101089 PLAYWRIGHT HC (MR) $14.95
Eddie Campbell and Daren White and I've been anxiously awaiting this one for a while.

MAY101089 SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 06 FINEST HOUR $11.99
Hello, this week's wholly-deserving press attention and sales juggernaut. I hope Bryan Lee O'Malley's having a blast. Edit: I just had a couple of retailers writing in to remind that this isn't going on sale until next week, and even then only in early fashion to the stores doing a midnight sale Monday night next week. So you won't be able to buy one this week I still want to make note of it, so this stays up. Plus if you're like me you may blow off going to the comics shop until next Monday night anyway.

*****

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 here... well, are you certain you wanted me to?

*****

image
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Harold Gray In Nemo

image
via
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Veteran Cartoon Sparks Controversy

image

Newspaper industry bible Editor & Publisher has a short piece up on cartoon that ran in a California daily about a congressional candidate and veteran who lost an eye in Iraq. The above cartoon was taken by many who complained as mocking the candidate's war wound. This led to an apology by the editor.

There's a lot that's weird here. For one thing, I can't find the name of the cartoonist anywhere. His name may be... Richard? While I guess it's admirable that the newspaper take the brunt of the blame in this case instead of foisting it on the cartoonist, and the fact that the editor's a veteran like the congressional candidate may help sell the apology to a certain kind of reader, it seems a sign of the times that this cartoon is treated as if it naturally generated itself from an institution as opposed to being someone's statement. There's also some usual scary stuff about the way we as a nation fail to process ideas we don't like through anything other than an opportunistic set of strategies seeking to gain political or cultural advantage, and the fact that this wasn't as much an honest local reaction as a pressed-for national one. To me, sometimes a dumb cartoon is a dumb cartoon, and sometimes it's a majorly insulting and contemptuous cartoon and sometimes it's just sort of silly and unfortunate, and sometimes it's just a cartoon, and it'd be nice if we could have such conversations over the propriety of such things outside of the national grind for political and economic dominance.
 
posted 10:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Slow Death

image
 
posted 10:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Analysts: June 2010 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 June 2010.

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

John Jackson Miller at The Comics Chronicles has begun his analysis of the month here.

I think that second Miller link takes you to the most intriguing thing about the estimates month, as John's post talks about first half of 2010 numbers (steady as compared to last year) and the increasing dominance of top publishers for material outside of the top slots. If you have any interest in raw numbers at all, I'd read that one.

I'm still concerned about a "middle class" of solid performers -- comics that are neither pressed-for hits at the top of the charts nor accrued place-setters of one or two orders here and there further down the charts. There's been a slip of about 10,000 copies at the #25 position from 2009 and 2008, for instance. I can't claim much more than a hunch that such books mean what I think they mean, that they're books that exist outside of two ways at the top and down in the depths of the charts that shops gets goosed into buying copies of that which they maybe don't sell. How's that for cogent analysis? At the very least I would suggest that it denotes the kind of market we have when there is a stable mid-list and when there seems to be less of one.

As far as individual titles go, the one that jumps out at me is the continued success enjoyed by Image's Chew series, this time out with a super-solid graphic novels sales number on its second collected volume. That's a great title to ask people in the industry about because they usually offer up some strange theory as to why it sells and then they see the confused look on your face, shrug their shoulders, and say, "People just like it."
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Rick Griffin In Zap

image
 
posted 10:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Viva Monsters!

image
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 9:40 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Warren Kremer’s Stumbo

image
 
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Google Doodles

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Alex Nino

image
 
posted 8:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Destroy My Enemy

image
 
posted 8:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* most people know by now that the CBLDF now takes part in free speech advocacy outside of defending comics people from crappy laws, as a way of improving the rights landscape in general, right?

image* there's nothing better than seeing pages out of Dustin Harbin's sketchbooks. Okay, there are a lot of things that are better, but it's still pretty fun to see Dustin's sketchbook pages.

* Brigid Alverson is always right.

* I liked celebrity travel host and food author Anthony Bourdain's over the top send-off to Harvey Pekar. I think it was heartfelt in its hyperbole, and you could do worse than comparing Pekar to Emile Zola and Joseph Mitchell as chroniclers of specific cities in specific times. That made me stop and think even though I don't agree with it. CBR should offer him a column.

* some of my friends think every French comics album looks like the one at the top of this article. Not some of them: all of them.

* the idea of lost interviews may seem kind of weird, but there are a lot of damn interviews out there.

* not comics: attention all movie studios: please send more flip cameras. Thank you.

* I have a semi-amusing "morons watching Diana Rigg on TV" story, if anyone wants to hear one.

* finally, I really like that jacket.
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 76th Birthday, Gotlib!

image
 
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 49th Birthday, JK Snyder III!

image
 
posted 8:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 83rd Birthday, Mike Esposito!

image
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 6th Birthday, Jog The Blog!

image
 
posted 7:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 34th Birthday, Alex Cox!

image
it's a repeat, but it makes me laugh
 
posted 7:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
beatmatch
On Naoki Urasawa
Nice Langridge Sketch

Exhibits/Events
At Grandma Zapp's
Go See Kurt Busiek
Go See Raina Telgemeier
Peter David On Shoreleave
There Will Be Moomin At San Diego
Go See T. Alixopulos Material At CAM

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Nick Lowe
Itchykeen: Will Dinski
Itchykeen: Eric Schuster
Newsarama: Keith Giffen

Not Comics
No One RSVPs Anymore
Buy A Print From Theo Ellsworth

Publishing
Ask Manga Mom
Books To Budget For

Reviews
Chris Allen: Various
Brian Hibbs: Various
Kate Dacey: Various
Matt Seneca: Casanova #1
Todd Klein: The Atomic Knights
Matt Seneca: Batman Odyssey #1
 

 
8 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 7:20 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 7:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 13, 2010


Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010

image

By Tom Spurgeon

"Comix are words and pictures... words and pictures... you can do anything with words and pictures..." -- Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar, a writer and critic whose comics output was dominated by mundane stories of everyday life as lived by the author in Cleveland, Ohio, was found dead in his home early July 12 by his wife, Joyce Brabner. An autopsy by Cuyahoga County officials will seek to reveal the exact cause of death.

Pekar was an influential figure for multiple generations of comics creators. His initial comics as published in his own American Splendor bridged the artistically fallow time period between the fall of the undergrounds and the rise of alternative comics. He was a key early and relatively successful self-publisher who forged a path for a number of creators whose fortunes became a single publication tied to their name and creative skill. His force of personality, quick wit and combative nature made him a formidable presence both within the comics industry, and, starting with a platform provided by NBC's Late Night television show, the wider entertainment industry. A 2003 film about his life and work bearing the same title of his magazine won widespread acclaim and became one of the most critically lauded comics-related movies in a decade stuffed with them. Best known for his short stories, Pekar became a surprise, key player in the literary graphic novel movement upon the 1994 release of the book-length Our Cancer Year, in collaboration with Brabner and artist Frank Stack. He continued to collaborate and create until the very end of his life, with several projects ongoing and multiple conversations with editors about the wave of work to come after that, some discussions taking place within days of his passing.

imageHarvey Pekar was born to Polish emigrants Saul and Dora Pekar on October 8, 1939. Harvey, his parents, and a younger brother lived above the small grocery store his parents owned and operated. His physical exploits and displayed ability to protect himself as a young man became the subject of a later, significant book project. Pekar graduated from high school in 1957 but dropped out of Case Western Reserve University due to anxiety over a math requirement. He served in the US Navy and upon return home worked menial labor jobs before scoring a civil service job at Cleveland's Veteran Administration Hospital. He worked there, the eventual setting for many of his comics, until retirement in 2001. Pekar also began to establish himself as a writer, published nationally as a jazz critic at the age of nineteen. He would continue to write criticism through his career, for a variety of outlets, in comics, prose and through spoken word. Some would argue that the comics for which he would eventually become best known were a form of criticism as well, both depicting and commenting on the age in which he lived.

Pekar fell into comics through a friendship with cartoonist R. Crumb, who lived in Cleveland during the early '60s working for greeting-card giant American Greetings. Pekar would in the early 1970s become inspired to write his own comics, utilizing a stick figure layout for his scripts that he would then give to artists for illustration purposes, a working method he would use throughout his career. Both Crumb and fellow underground Bob Armstrong expressed interest in potentially drawing Pekar's comics, which seems, in turn, to have provided Pekar with the drive to seek publication.

"I began corresponding with Harvey in 1972, several years prior to the debut of American Splendor," Denis Kitchen told Comics Reporter. "I still have all the correspondence, which I just quickly pulled to establish some time frames. His first pitch to me (6/72) was, 'You know any artists looking for stories? I can't draw but I write great stories, chock full of redeeming social value. Like I do stuff about how I fought my way up from Cleveland's tough East side to become a world renowned jazz critic. Just ask Crumb & up & coming Bob Armstrong & they'll tell you how deep I am.'"

Kitchen continue to correspond with the all-but-unknown writer (a one-pager with Crumb called "Crazy Ed" marked Pekar's comics debut in a 1972 issue of People's Comics. "We had a tough time figuring out who he should collaborate with," he said. "It took a while. The first work I accepted wasn't until 1974: one with Gary Dumm ("How'd You Get Into This Bizness Ennyway?") and one with Bob Armstrong called "Don't Rain on My Parade." They appeared, respectively, in Bizarre Sex #4 and Snarf #6. I also used him in my Marvel experiment, Comix Book, Bop and a later Snarf. Pekar also worked with Willy Murphy during this period and, through eventual long-time collaborator Dumm, Greg Budgett. Pekar's relationship with Kitchen would extend into the early 1980s. By that time, Pekar had found what would become his finest vehicle.

imagePekar published the first issue of American Splendor in 1976. The mid-1970s were a transitional time for comics. Both the Marvel superhero comic revolution of the 1960s and the underground comix movement of the late '60s and early '70s had reached diminishing returns, at the very least in relation to their initial, respective bursts of energy. Each industry was also facing massive distribution difficulties through the decline of the newsstand as a place for cheaper periodicals and the disruption by law of the once underground comix-friendly headshop. Publishing on his own didn't just secure for Pekar unfettered access to the comics page, he could enjoy a slightly greater profit margin from individual issues as well as control print runs in a way they wouldn't rapidly exceed actual demand. Pekar stated in 1993 that he published 10,000 copies of each issue of American Splendor selling approximately 75 percent of each print run in its first year.

With stories mostly free of sex and violence and not all interested in the general breaking of taboos for the sake of seeing them broken, Pekar's comics were also a safer bet than many non-mainstream comics of its era for early comic book shops, many of whom in the first half of the 1980s operated under an ethos of carrying as many comics being published as possible. Most comic shops may have not taken a chance with Pekar's work, but some that did ended up doing very well with the offbeat magazine. Fellow Clevelander Tony Isabella told CR that Pekar had a sizable local audience through the emerging Direct Market. "By the time the third issue came out, I had bought a comics store in the heart of downtown Cleveland. I ordered a minimum of 50 copies of each new issue, which I soon raised to an even hundred. I kept all the back issues in stock as well. Add up the new sales and the back issue sales and American Splendor was selling as well as X-Men for me."

Pekar was also able to hand-sell his comics directly to fans at places like the Chicago Comicon. While even taken together these various sales avenues were never enough to take Pekar away from his day job, in the hardscrabble world of non-traditional comic books Pekar was able to establish a reputation as a fighter and survivor. Fans felt they could count on American Splendor and anticipated new issues no matter how they might attain them. He also became, unlike many of the underground cartoonists, a member of the North American comics professional community -- attending many of the same shows, having his comics racked in the same shops, vying for attention from the same fan press. Larry Marder remembers a Harvey Pekar who was light on his feet. "Back in the old days of the Chicago Comicon, nighttime dances were fairly common events with DJs and sometimes live bands. Most pros, myself included, were too futzy to get on the dance floor. But not Harvey. That cat had some serious moves. All in a '60s sort of way but I can close my eyes and see Harvey sorta low to the ground, Joyce [Brabner] across from him, Harvey's skinny arms and legs undulating in a perfect groove with the beat as if he were actually part of the music. I knew that Harvey's brain was filled to the brim with knowledge as a lifelong collector and writer about music. But until that moment I didn't now just how in tune his body was with it, too."

Perhaps most importantly, through the first several issues of American Splendor Pekar forged relationships with a cadre of artists, including specific relationships that would extend through the bulk of his career. Most of the artists reacted positively to the experience of collaborating with Pekar. "It was a true joy for me to work with him," early American Splendor artist Gerry Shamray told Comics Reporter "I was flattered that he trusted me with his stories and was open to any suggestions I made on how to illustrate them. I will always remember him with fondness that he treated me as an equal in the creative process. He actually made me feel like a real artist and I never wanted to disappoint him."

American Splendor would publish roughly once a year during its initial run. Pekar's attention to distinct personalities and the elements of life as lived that he once termed the other ninety-five percent of human experience that doesn't get covered in media and art garnered him significant attention from fellow professionals and astute comics readers as the issues continued to come out. "For me the most important thing in the early '80s was that there was so little one could point to in the 'ComicsForGrownups' world we hoped for and dreamed of," Neil Gaiman told Comics Reporter. American Splendor was one of those books one discovered and then gave to friends going 'See? Like this.' I picked it up because I was a Robert Crumb fan, and then stayed because I loved the little slices of life. So perfectly observed and expressed."

image

"Quotidian tales of moving furniture, collecting records, small talk during work breaks, sneaking into movie theaters: nothing ever seems to really happen," critic Tim Hodler describes American Splendor to CR. "None of it should work." Hodler sees a key to understanding much of Pekar's American Splendor work in terms of the way the writer deals with the importance of unique and idiosyncratic voice. "In 'Grubstreet, U.S.A.,' [American Splendor #6, 1983] one of dozens of stories Harvey Pekar wrote about the struggles of the writing life, Harvey -- somehow it seems wrong to call him Pekar -- reflects on a showing of My Dinner with Andre: 'That was a good movie. I c'n see how we relate to each other's work. We both like to do things about people talking.' Like a lot of Pekar's criticism, and many of his comics are works of criticism, disguised as stories, this at first seems a bluntly obvious observation, and simple to the point of dullness. And yet, also like much of Pekar's criticism, it points out something too easily forgotten: American Splendor, above all else, was about talk, and preserved the voices -- often in expertly rendered, Twain-esque dialect -- of people too often overlooked by artists -- layabouts, janitors, greasers, Nam vets, waitresses, jazz freaks, grad students -- and through them made poetry out of even the most mundane encounters."

imageFor critic Robert Boyd, this attention to language arose from a personal quality of Pekar's that served him extremely well as a comics writer. "Pekar was a really, really good listener. He's in all his stories, but much of the time, the stories are about other people. Sometimes they are stories that other people tell him, but often they are things he has witnessed and maybe played a small role in--but that primarily deal with other people. So he really isn't narcissistic. On the contrary, he is constantly observing and importantly, listening. He is trying to get the words just right." Boyd places Pekar on a continuity for comics that includes several great strips of the newspaper's 20th Century heyday. "Pekar seems to have realized that the undergrounds equal total freedom, but undergrounds were full of unrealized potential," Boyd told CR. "It seems a cliche to say it, but the notion that a comic could be about everyday life was a forgotten fact when Pekar started doing them. There were still some newspaper strips mining this territory, but the golden age of Gasoline Alley or The Bungle Family was forgotten." For Boyd, the class-conscious quality of Pekar's stories, their focus on details of is life, distinguished them from much of what had come before. "His concept of doing realistic short stories and vignettes was a radical move. Basing them on episodes from his own life was unheard of. There was Binky Brown, but I think it was really a different kettle of fish. And, outside of Spain, I can't think of a writer with as much class consciousness as Pekar. A key story -- and I am going from memory -- in this regard is Working Man's Nightmare. Pekar is dreaming, and in his dream, he can't remember what his job is. The importance of that paycheck from the VA pops up over and over, as well as his keen sense of being working class when comparing himself to some of his bourgeois colleagues in so many of his stories."

The cartoonist Seth was another reader that felt deeply about the early American Splendor issues, and cites Pekar's decision to depict everyday life and his success in doing so as key. "In time I came to see that Harvey was transmitting the texture of real living experience in a way that no one had done in the comics medium before this time -- not Crumb, not Lynda Barry... not even Justin Green," he told CR. "It wasn't just that Harvey was focusing on the mundane or the folksy. That would be much easier than what he actually did. No, Harvey managed to get down on paper much of the feeling we have of actually being alive in a day to day manner. I think he did this best in those early years--those first ten years (or so) of American Splendor --when a lot of his work dealt with loneliness. For comic books this kind of work was a genuine revelation."

Pekar's life changed dramatically in the 1980s, even as issues of American Splendor continued to be released in almost clockwork fashion. He met his third wife, Joyce Brabner, in 1983 after she wrote Pekar asking after an issue of American Splendor. They were married soon after they began dating, and Joyce became a presence in Pekar's comics in the 10th self-published issue of the magazine. She can be seen staring balefully at the dishwashing-challenged Pekar as the cover's text mirrors old-time romance comics in its breathless worry over the fate of their union. Brabner would become a recurring presence in any and all stories that dealt with Pekar's current life, and they enjoyed a reputation as one of comics' couples most fiercely protective of one another and each other's work. It also in some ways changed the tenor of his work, making Pekar less lonely and isolated, and taking away an element of his autobiography whereby the examination of his life's details to some readers seemed to touch on the subject of his bottom-line worthiness for domestic happiness.

image

Two collections of American Splendor work came out from Doubleday in 1986 and 1987, placing Pekar squarely into the fight for wider cultural and literary acceptance for comics, although at this time the movement was perhaps based more on a smattering of noteworthy works like Pekar's rather than a rising tide. Although the exact dates remain unknown to me, I believe it's the publication of the first Doubleday volume that preceded Pekar's first appearance on the popular Late Night program hosted by David Letterman -- I think it's in the host's hands at the top of a pile of other comic books when Pekar is introduced. More important than the exact date of that appearance is that Pekar became a popular and somewhat controversial guest during that show's most potent run as a pop culture powerhouse. His quick wit and the general intensity of his personality helped satisfy Letterman's penchant for unpredictable television. The appearances apparently helped Pekar sell more books, and generally raised his profile. Host and guest would later clash over the criticism Pekar wished to foist upon NBC owner General Electric in perhaps his most famous guest shot, criticism which he then turned on the host when frustrated in his attempts. Despite the impression sometimes left that this was Pekar's final TV appearance, Letterman and Pekar had enjoyed enough of a rapprochement that he later appeared on Letterman's CBS program.

In the midst of these television appearances, producing more issues of American Splendor, and of course working his day job, Pekar wrote an intermittent column and some reviews for The Comics Journal in the second half of the 1980s and into the very early1990s. He used the platform to call attention to comics work he felt noteworthy and generally advocating for the medium's untapped potential. His short run of articles was book-ended by two major interviews in 1985 and in 1993, the second showing a writer solicitous towards the struggles of fellow comics creators and praising the work of creators doing work somewhat close to his own. In 1989 Pekar was a name-in-title subject of one of the new breed of book-length academic study of comics through the prism of popular culture, Joseph Witek's Comic Books As History: The Narrative Art Of Jack Jackson, Art Spiegelman and Harvey Pekar from the University Press of Mississippi.

The 1980s early 1990s yielded three noteworthy theatrical adaptations of Pekar's work, a tribute to the memorable character of Harvey Pekar that had been created in the pages of the comic and Pekar's attention to unique quirks of dialogue and interpersonal relationships. The first was a small production in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1985. The second was an adaptation by the writer Lloyd Rose for staging in Washington, D.C. The third was a year-long staging of an adaptation by Vince Waldron that ran in Los Angeles that featured comedic and voice actor Dan Castellaneta as Pekar. The last of those garnered some significant media attention at the time; a memorial running yesterday on the LA Times web site from Victoria Looseleaf indicates that the show may have had an earlier, more modest run and that Pekar was not all the way pleased with the results. Pekar was also at one time reported to have been writing a theatrical version of his comics.

In 1990, American Splendor ended its remarkable self-publishing run, Pekar's greatest contribution to the history of the medium. A continuation of the publication's numbering ran into issues published with Tundra (#16) and then Dark Horse (#17), but most fans see those as addenda to one of the great comics series. Pekar's impact upon comics saw any number of autobiographical cartoonists making comics while citing American Splendor as a primary influence.

"There's no question that Harvey Pekar set the tone for confessional comics, for good or ill, in that he established that there was no experience too ordinary or too mundane to be the subject for a comic strip," critic Robert Fiore told CR. "Whenever you see an unfiltered verite comic strip about everyday life with no clear narrative form imposed upon it, that comes from Pekar. In a sense it's a reaction to the idea that comics were naturally a form for outlandish fantasy." For Fiore, American Splendor had an influence not just on autobiographical comics in the 1990s but on the general alternative comics movement of the previous decade that would eventually flower into today's art comics. "The most important effect of Pekar's work was in breaking down the reality wall, and I think he was instrumental in that. If you'll remember the first of the second generation art comics you'll see an assumption that comics had to be sugar coated with some sort of genre trappings. See for instance the early Love & Rockets with BEM and the Mechanics stories, or the private eye trappings of Lloyd Llewellyn. You see a gradual process of cartoonists realizing that these trappings were unnecessary, that you could get away with naturalistic comics about real life. I think the example of American Splendor had a large part in emboldening cartoonists to do that. Recall that this period in the late 1980s was also the time when Pekar was having his David Letterman reluctant celebrity period, which I think sent the message that grown up material could get you notice in the larger world. I don't know if you'd have a book like Fun Home if Harvey Pekar hadn't blazed that trail first."

One cartoonist who felt a more direct influence was Pat Moriarity, whose 1990s series Big Mouth went so far as to reference American Splendor conceptually by flipping the premise and having Moriarity draw stories presented to him by collaborative writers. One of those writers was Pekar. "Harvey Pekar wrote the first story of my first comic book and helped me get started as a cartoonist, and for that I'll be eternally grateful." Moriarity told CR. Like many of the collaborators who made some of their earliest comics with Pekar, Moriarity was appreciative of the opportunity that working with the writer provided. "He saw something in me that no one else did, considering that I had hardly been published anywhere at the time… Harvey Pekar sported a gruff exterior that masked a kind and generous soul."

imageIn 1990, Pekar was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. The harrowing course of treatment that followed, set against the backdrop of Brabner's growing involvement with international political activism, became the subject of Our Cancer Year. That stand-alone graphic novel from Four Walls, Eight Windows -- with whom Pekar also published another anthology and would later release a collection of his work with Robert Crumb -- was one of several book-length graphic novels to appear in and around the calendar year 1994. As much as any book of that era, Our Cancer Year was not only a formidable work on its own but spoke to the promise of the North American comics industry that they might one day be able to sustain that kind of significant, serious comics output season to season. Frank Stack's artwork, which at times turned Pekar's pain into a kind of rapturous dance of lines across the page, proved to be an intriguing match for Pekar and Brabner's straitlaced, matter-of-fact tone, suggesting the feverish nature of a long-time malady as well as ably depicting the physical changes felt by the writer. Neil Gaiman: "I think Our Cancer Year is one of the Big Important Graphic Novels. It's heartbreaking and optimistic and so remarkably life-affirmingly human."

In 1998, Pekar and Brabner became the legal guardians for nine-year old Danielle Batone, making the couple a more traditional family unit and putting that much more pressure on the near-retirement writer to continue to get work and provide for the things needed by a child they were now raising as their own. The changing market for alternative comic books during the 1990s period of distributor upheaval and a subsequent market reset saw publisher Dark Horse -- as safe a haven as any as far as those things were measured -- pursue a strategy of single-issue, one-shot comic book publications featuring the American Splendor name. Among his best collaborative partnerships during that time were those with two cartoonists whose own comics were informed by Pekar's general political awareness and his approach to a protagonist marching through landscape: Joe Sacco and Josh Neufeld. Another collaborator from this period was Jim Woodring, who praised the writer in a note to CR. "He was very easy to work with; he sent these layouts with all the dialog and stick figures... stick figures like a child might draw, totally devoid of sophistication. I kept one and cherish it." Pekar never lost his personal touch with his artistic collaborators. "He seemed to like the results," said Woodring, "made me feel good about my work."

image

The partnership with Dark Horse was sought out by Pekar. "In 1992, Harvey called me up, completely out of the blue, and asked me if I'd be his editor," Diana Schutz told CR. "We didn't know each other very well at the time, but Harvey knew I liked his work. I think I flew into Mike Richardson's office to give him the news, and so Dark Horse published fifteen issues of American Splendor over the next ten years." Like many of Pekar's collaborators and editors, Schutz became quite fond of the writer over the course of their working relationship, and considered him a friend. "He'd always painted such an unglamorous picture of himself in his comics that I was surprised to discover just how gentle a person Harvey really was. Which is not to say that he wasn't stubborn and opinionated, because he could be both. And he certainly didn't brook any bullshit. But it was that gentle core that allowed him to appreciate the small, honest moments of everyday living and to write about human frailties and foibles with a generosity of spirit that is uncommon -- and undervalued."

The 2003 film adaptation of his life and comics, American Splendor won the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic films at that year's Sundance Film Festival, and became one of the best-reviewed films of that year. It mixed documentary footage of Pekar with a dramatic portrayal of the author by the actor Paul Giamatti and helped boost Pekar's public profile even further. It won the Writers Guild of America honor for best adapted screenplay, and lost a similar award for which it was nominated at that year's Academy Awards. Some might note the irony of the film losing that award to the well-regarded adaptation of JRR Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, the kind of fantasy that came from a very different creative heritage than Pekar's life work. The film American Splendor remains perhaps the most uniquely structured and highly regarded films based on a comic book series in the still-current decade-plus long trend of such movies, and its greatest achievement may be in that it serves as a solid recommendation for those wishing a Harvey Pekar primer.

Pekar seemed to pursue as many film-related possibilities as were presented to him, including on-line journal writing -- Pekar had been and continues to be cited as a kind of proto-blogger, achieving on the comics page what some people writing blogs pursued on-line, although it's not a description that flatters the breadth and depth of his creative output -- which was suspended when the money ran out. A collection of the Dark Horse comics Unsung Heroes appeared the same year the movie came out, as did a more general book collection from Random House featuring a movie-related cover and a comic from the DVD packaging of the film called My Movie Year a landscape-formatted comic that was one of the rare Pekar efforts using a different page structure.

image

The last several years of Pekar's life saw him embrace a wide variety of projects, both under the American Splendor umbrella and without, some engaging social justice issues with which the writer had always been interested. One publishing home was DC Comics and its various imprints. 2005's The Quitter, a ruminative story about Pekar's younger years drawn with matching vitality by Dean Haspiel, marked Pekar's return to the full-length bookstore-ready comics work that he had established as a market presence a decade earlier with Our Cancer Year. The market had changed since then, and the work was greeted with the flurry of press interested granted any popular prose author's new book. As was the case to varying degrees with a lot of Pekar's later work, artist Haspiel cites the assignment as having reestablished his own career in comics. Two short runs of American Splendor comic books followed, with a mix of collaborators old and new, including a hefty number of alternative comics stalwarts and mainstream comics stylists in DC's sphere of influence: Darwyn Cooke, Ty Templeton, Rick Geary, Richard Corben, David Lapham and Gilbert Hernandez among them. The second run was even subtitled "Season Two," a nod to the short bursts of mini-series model that had come to dominate North American comics publishing. The two runs of DC comics were collected as Another Day and Another Dollar, respectively.

The last part of the previous decade saw Pekar take more opportunities to work on comics outside of the American Splendor banner: Students For A Democratic Society: A Graphic History (2008), The Beats (2009) and Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation (2009) were noteworthy titles released during the last few years. "If there was a drift in later Pekar, it was toward social history and away from his personal story -- note that Crumb left personal history to go in a different direction," editor and Pekar collaborator Paul Buhle told CR. "Harvey was eager to embrace all sorts of things that were not new to him, as a personal autodidact learner, but new in terms of him scripting. I collaborated by making things possible, I guess. Even when he was -- in my view -- mistaken on some particular, he had his own opinions, carefully developed."

Hill & Wang Editor Thomas Lebien told CR that in editing Pekar during his later years he expected to encounter the irascible personality but never did, saying that any back and forth was practical in nature and focused on making the book better. "Harvey Pekar was smart and I learned to treasure how intelligent he was. It came across in his writing. He would come up with an idea, you'd toss it back to him with comments, and within a week he'd have surrounded himself with stacks of books on the subject, learned what he didn't know already, and start reading his revised script to you. That was the joy and pain of editing Harvey. You'd say, 'I think you need to go into that in greater detail,' and in a couple of days he'd have done it, but he'd want to read the revision out loud to you. As hard as it was to edit his handwriting, editing his reading voice was harder."

imageAnother late-period collaborator, Ed Piskor, describes a man he says he loved to make laugh who remained intensely interested in how his work was received. "Something others might find interesting, which I found fascinating, was that he really, really, cared about what reviewers had to say about his books. After years of reading his comics I guess I imagined that he was nonchalant about how he was perceived. With the books that we collaborated on, he would either go to the library to check out what people had to say about our work, or (since he didn't know how to work a computer), he would call me up and I'd find a stack of reviews online and read them to him over the phone. Sometimes he would start getting loud as he defended what we did, like I was the guy who wrote the review. He would never let any of them go to his head if they were overly nice."

Despite a vigorous appearance for a man in his sixties and a vegetarian diet, Pekar was not free of health problems in his later years. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and was a sufferer of various maladies such as high blood pressure and asthma, much of which became grist for his later comics stories. In a post for the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex blog published late on July 12, collaborator Haspiel cited Pekar's health problems as a motivation for his making art, stretching back to his parents suffering from Alzheimer's and fears that would be his own fate.

imageThe discovery of a local Cleveland artist named Tara Seibel led Pekar to create work with her that was then published on-line; this in turn led to an ambitious suite of web comics called "The Pekar Project," edited by Jeff Newelt in conjuction with comics-savvy Smith Magazine. Pekar was provided with a rotating series of regular artists and encouraged to make comics for the Internet. Once again, Pekar was working with people that were largely new to comics, a role that collaborator Joseph Remnant suggests he enjoyed. "I think he got a kick out of helping younger artists, perhaps as his way of paying forward what people like Crumb did to help him out when he was first starting out," he said to CR. Remnant described Pekar as a no-bullshit personality frequently doing comics in his head, and as a supportive collaborative partner. "I think if he thought you were good enough for him to use as an illustrator in the first place, then he already trusted that you would make good visual decisions that were appropriate for the story. And he did seem to become even more comfortable with me as an illustrator over time. I remember one of the first stories that I did for him, he was very concerned that I get the right subtlety of the facial expressions in a story that was essentially two people talking. I think I nailed that story pretty well and after that we didn't really have discussions like that anymore."

In his final years, Pekar began to be appreciated for the model he provided younger creative people of a working writer and creator. During his a 2007 appearance on the Travel Channel television show No Reservations, Pekar was lauded by host Anthony Bourdain as an artistic embodiment of Cleveland whose work, he was certain, would be read a hundred years in the future. In Cleveland, Pekar was considered a hometown figure of renown for years, a role that deepened in poignancy as in the 2000s that Midwestern city and so many like it suffered yet another debilitating period of economic misfortune. Pittsburgh-based cartoonist and critic Frank Santoro told CR that Pekar's regional identity came through to him as a fellow artist. "I will say that as a 'rustbelt' guy, Pekar was able to communicate directly to me and the values I grew up with. His dedication and responsibility to his work. And to treat it as work, not as fancy or as divine gift. Work. You do comics? Great, well, what's your real job? To me, that is the attitude in a rustbelt town. So Harvey was able to articulate what it was like to grow up with a certain set of values and mores and how to continue to live with them as opposed to freeing oneself from them which is what most get to do when they leave the rustbelt for the big city. He articulates the difficult position of the blue collar artist. I wept during the movie when they had that party for him at the end."

Harvey Pekar won an American Book Award in 1987 for the first Doubleday anthology, and shared a Harvey Award with Brabner and Stack in 1995 for Our Cancer Year. The first ten issues of the self-published American Splendor were named en masse to The Comics Journal's Top 100 Comics Of The 20th Century, Pekar joining Harvey Kurtzman, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore on the short list of comics writers cited as the driving creator on their recognized works, and with Spain Rodriguez as one of only a few autobiographical comics-makers. Pekar's obituary ran on the front page of July 13's Cleveland Plain-Dealer, his name and comic were both trending topics on the micro-blogging site Twitter on the day of his passing, and tributes on-line numbered in high hundreds hours after news of his death was released. It was a display off affection and respect that several people told CR Pekar would have enjoyed immensely.

Seth eulogized the writer as a key figure in comics history. "The underground cartoonists were a generation -- a group of artists who knocked down the walls between art and commerce, shattering the traditional shape and meaning of a comic book. Later, the 'alternative' cartoonists came along -- or whatever you wish to call my generation of cartoonists -- who wanted to produce comics as a legitimate art medium. But in-between these two generations there was Harvey. A generation of one. Probably the first person who wanted to use the comics medium seriously as a writer. Certainly the first person to toss every genre element out the window and try to capture something of the genuine experience of living: not just some technique of real life glossed onto a story -- not satire, or sick humour or everyday melodrama -- but the genuine desire to transmit from one person to another just what life feels like. That's the highest goal of art in my mind… I still think Harvey was right: it's getting at that quality of real experience that counts. His work was an enormously influential turning point in the history of the medium. It was a terrible shock to hear he was gone. I can only suspect that the impact and influence of his work will only grow in the decades to come."

imageCartoonist Joe Sacco placed his longtime collaborator in the company of comics royalty. "It helped that he couldn't draw, that he approached the medium as an outsider, as a voracious reader of prose," Sacco wrote CR. "He recognized that the medium had the potential to examine the human condition directly, and he threw himself into proving it and getting others to believe it. The best of his stories about day-to-day life -- about his loves, his obsessions, his work, his hobbies, his neuroses, his illness, his successes, his failures -- were powerful examples of what comics could be. Crumb, Griffith, Spiegelman and others also were pivotal in preparing the ground for the rest of us, but Harvey was an essential component in that underground mix; it is hard to imagine what comics would look like today without his ground-breaking, autobiographical explorations."

Harvey Pekar's long career was one of professional accomplishment and occasional personal frustration. "You also get a sense in his stories of his horribly conflicted feelings that he didn't just go all in and become a full-time writer," said Robert Boyd. Added Diana Schutz: "Harvey always believed in the potential of comics as literature and never understood why the market continued to produce and promote pulp fiction. I don't understand why his comics didn't make him a lot more money -- and he didn't understand that either. He was a guy ahead of his time, and I wish I could have done more for him." Alison Bechdel, speaking for a generation of readers, described the virtues of his comics in simple, straight-forward terms. "I discovered AS in college, and loved how it wasn't really 'about' anything. I don't think I appreciated at the time that in its anti-heroism, its anti-drama, it was very much about something. The beauty of Harvey's work was his compassion for the alienated schlub in all of us, and of course, sadly for Harvey, his utter authenticity. His pain was all too genuine, and I'm sorry he had to carry it around so long."

"I feel like Harvey can't die," cartoonist Phoebe Gloeckner wrote CR. "Harvey and Joyce once visited my house on Hallowe'en. While I was out trick-or-treating with my kids, Harvey sat on the porch and gave out candy... there were other people at the house -- a few of my friends -- all I remember is that everybody loved Harvey, whether they knew his work or not. He seemed so happy, sitting on the porch swing in the near-dark, laughing and talking and handing out candy. He was incredibly generous and kind."

Cleveland's Harvey Pekar, the writer who changed comics with his personality and his pen, was 70 years old. He is survived by Joyce Brabner and Danielle Pekar, is likely survived by at least one former wife and may or may not be survived by a younger brother.

my thanks to all the quote providers and especially Gerry Shamray for sending along the image at top

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: An Hour With Hourman

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Funnyman

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Neal Adams Batman Covers

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Early Joe Kubert

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Another Pogo Sunday

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* leave it to Comics Comics to come up with the most interesting Harvey Pekar-related link.

image* apparently the way to get me to read a comics-related article in German is to put a picture of a Shane Simmons comic in it. Turns out that it's a very interesting article with one of Germany's most important retailers, Uli Profrock, who also translates work like Simmons' into German.

* a comics fan and occasional reviewer breaks down the Blackest Night comics into a readable order if you only include certain series. When I was a kid it didn't get much more complicated than figuring out in which annual Zatanna was going to appear next.

* I got lost in Philly once. My rule for accuracy in comic book settings is that the creators should try as hard as the writers and fact-checkers on Frasier did when it came to using Seattle street names. In other words, any location-setting should be arguably possible or they should rattle off enough names that sound familiar I stop caring. But if you're going to make an event out of going to Philadelphia, they're going to pay attention in Philadelphia.

* the real thing that jumps out at me in that post is how boring that Superman in Philly comic book sounds. I sympathize: Superman is an old character and it doesn't help that they've aged him at an increased rate by putting him in so many comics the last 20 years. I don't know that I could come up with anything new to say about the character -- I'd probably shrink him and have him race Mr. Mxyztplk across the world on sentient hotdog motorcycles, or have him go on a reality show run by Lex Luthor wearing a blonde wig -- but if you're not bringing in new readers (and those kinds of comics really aren't) then the readers that remain are going to be really damn bored by most pedestrian, casual fan friendly plots, even solid, TV-ready ones.

* it's always fun to read an Alan Moore interview.

* Marvel offers another one of those book swaps that I maybe don't fully understand and that seems to enrage people who like DC Comics. I think the only reason I want to understand them is that it enrages people, and I could use some more of that on my side. If I had to guess, I'd say the previous offer was saying "Our competitor sold you a bunch of crappy comics; send us some back for some real comics" and that this one says "Since Deadpool is wacky we can make a joke at our own expense; send us some of our own crappy-selling comics for copies of this special Deadpool." Me, I never wanted to blow up the entire Direct Market and go back to spinner racks more in my life.

* not comics: Barnes & Noble enacts poison pill measures to stop a hostile takeover.

* finally, these panels and pages from a Lorenzo Mattotti soccer comic sure are pretty; they've been almost everywhere during the World Cup, but the FPI scans are as good as I've seen.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 54th Birthday, Paul Karasik!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 68th Birthday, Tom Palmer!

image
I believe this is Tom Palmer cuffing some Gil Kane pencils to the floor; I apologize if I'm wrong
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 70th Birthday, Mike Ploog!

image
it may also be Mr. Ploog's 68th birthday
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 79th Birthday, Ernie Colon!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Stan Sakai
Lane Milburn Draws

Exhibits/Events
Bob Greenberger On Shore Leave Con

History
Spidey Has A Grave Fetish

Industry
Brian Fies On Harvey Nominations

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: John Porcellino
Newsarama: Will Carlton
Newsarama: Charlie Huston
Talking Comics With Tim: Matt Kindt

Not Comics
Kris Straub = Satan
Jordan Crane Makes A Print
That's A Nice-Looking Work Area

Publishing
KC Star Picks Up Five Comics
Kurt Busiek Talks About Comic He Has Out
Cliff Chiang Talks About Comic He Has Out
Jason Aaron Talks About Comic He Has Out

Reviews
Matthias Wivel: Rebetiko
Grant Goggans: The Mystic Hands Of Dr. Strange
Matt Seneca On A Panel With The Batmobile In It
Brian Heater: Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars In Brooklyn
Greg McElhatton: Octopus Pie: There Are No Stars In Brooklyn
 

 
9 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 12, 2010


Harvey Pekar, RIP

image

All condolences to Mr. Pekar's family, friends and collaborators. Upon hearing the news, I posted the following on Twitter, which by request I'll re-post here:
Harvey Pekar was a key figure in the transition from underground to alternative comics, the self-publishing movement, the rise of graphic novels at prose publishing houses (Our Cancer Year was in the Class of '94 -- the preview year for the way comics are now), and, over time and in a bunch of ways, the wider cultural acceptance of comics.

He was also a great writer, so admirably and fiercely protective of his reputation that he's never been given the work-by-work appraisal, discussion and strong debate he deserves. He did great work with great artists -- his comics with Crumb are remarkable -- although the Pekar that exists in my head is drawn by folks other than the superstars with whom he worked.

I'm not sure how to describe his presence, but it was formidable no matter if you were lucky enough to have his interest and support or if your only encounters with him were his trying to talk you up issues-wise on a purchase of American Splendors at the old Chicago con. Harvey Pekar looked fully-drawn and inked when everyone else was sketched.

I appreciate how consistently blunt he always was about the financial component of writing, in an industry that keeps quiet about that kind of thing he was really loud. One Harvey Pekar comic was a better, more bracing guide to what it's like being a writer than 1000 soft-pedaled magazine articles. He was like the uncle that pulled you aside at graduation and told you the unvarnished truth.

Vastly under-appreciated is the display of values in Pekar's work, stories that would spotlight someone else's display of virtue and his hearty endorsement of it -- acts of friendship or generosity, a session of intense conversation, small kindnesses. There was a strong civics component to American Splendor, a number of comics that were simply about getting along with one another.

It is impossible to describe how important Pekar was to a generation of comics readers who sought something outside the overwhelming fealty to genre by the big publishers, how strongly his worked clashed with the dominant ethos, how instructive it was to be caught up in his quotidian travails and realize those things could carry you along as much as any other kind of art. Thank you, Mr. Pekar."
A full obituary will appear on CR tomorrow.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Graham Nolan’s Art Work

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* only one today, but it's a doozy: the radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has placed Molly Norris on a list of people he'd like to see killed for their crimes against Islam. Norris was the Seattle-based cartoonist who in response to the censorship that settled around the television show for their recent Muhammed-related program suggested "Everybody Draw Muhammed" day in tongue-in-cheek fashion in one of her cartoons. When people began to take that proposal seriously, sponsoring such an event through Facebook, Norris declined to endorse that formal effort and tried as best as she could to back away from the entire enterprise. Apparently, none of that matters to al-Awlaki.

Other cartoonists were named on the Las Cruces-born al-Awlaki's lists from the Netherland, Sweden and Great Britain, but I have yet to see them named in any of the news reports. This article suggests that there is already an increased security presence around Norris.
 
posted 7:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Scott Hallett

image
via
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your 2009 Harvey Awards Nominees

The nominations for the 2009 Harvey Awards have been announced. The most notable thing about this year's nominations, which are drawn from the voting public and this year involved a heavily promoted on-line component, is that no small publishing effort rushed the show with a coordinated campaign to get enough people to vote for it. In other words, I've heard of almost every nominee this year, with the exception of one two books from Abrams, a company that is all over these awards. At the same time, it's worth mentioning that there's no real surprise small-boutique-arts publisher party crasher, either, the kind of thing that injects some juice into such awards.

The final ballots are available through that initial link. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Baltimore Comic-Con in late August, Scott Kurtz hosting. Kurtz was funny last year, so hopefully he'll be funny again.

*****

image

Best Writer
* Jason Aaron, Scalped (Vertigo/DC Comics)
* Geoff Johns, Blackest Night (DC Comics)
* Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Volume Three: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
* Mark Waid, Irredeemable (BOOM! Studios)

*****

image

Best Artist
* Robert Crumb, Book of Genesis (W.W. Norton)
* Guy Davis, BPRD: Black Goddess (Dark Horse Comics)
* Brian Fies, Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
* David Petersen, Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (Archaia Studios Press)
* Frank Quitely, Batman And Robin (DC Comics)
* JH Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

*****

image

Best Cartoonist
* Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter (IDW)
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Volume Three: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
* Roger Langridge, The Muppet Show Comic Book (BOOM! Studios)
* David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Seth, George Sprott (1894-1975) (Drawn and Quarterly)

*****

image

Best Letterer
* Chris Eliopoulos, Franklin Richards: Son Of A Genius stories (Marvel Comics)
* Brian Fies, Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
* Thomas Mauer, Rapture (Dark Horse Comics)
* David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Richard Starkings, Elephantmen (Image Comics)

*****

image

Best Inker
* Oclair Albert, Blackest Night (DC Comics)
* Steve Ellis, High Noon (Zuda/DC Comics)
* Klaus Janson, Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel Comics)
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Volume Three: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
* Mark Morales, Thor (Marvel Comics)

*****

image

Best Colorist
* Brian Fies, Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
* Steve Hamaker, Bone: Crown Of Horns (Graphix)
* Laura Martin, The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures (IDW)
* David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Dave Stewart, BPRD: Black Goddess (Dark Horse Comics)

*****

image

Best Cover Artist
* Jenny Frison, The Dreamer (IDW)
* Mike Mignola, Hellboy: The Bride Of Hell (Dark Horse Comics)
* Michael Avon Oeming, Mice Templar: Destiny, Part One (Image Comics)
* Frank Quitely, Batman And Robin (DC Comics)
* JH Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)

*****

image

Best New Talent
* Kevin Cannon, Far Arden (Top Shelf)
* Rob Guillory, Chew (Image Comics)
* (Abrams ComicArts)">Reinhard Kleist,"Johnny Cash: I See A Darkness (Abrams ComicArts)
* Nathan Schreiber, Act-I-Vate: Power Out
* Matthew Weldon, New Brighton Archeloogical Society (Image Comics)

*****

image

Best New Series
* Batman And Robin (DC Comics)
* Chew (Image Comics)
* Irredeemable (BOOM! Studios)
* Sweet Tooth (Vertigo/DC Comics)
* Unwritten (Vertigo/DC Comics)

*****

image

Best Continuing Or Limited Series
* Beasts Of Burden (Dark Horse Comics)
* Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (Amulet Books)
* Ganges ( Fantagraphics Books)
* Invincible (Image Comics)">Invincible (Image Comics)
* Scalped (Vertigo/DC Comics)
* The Walking Dead (Image Comics)

*****

image

Best Original Graphic Publication For Younger Readers
* Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse (Graphix)
* Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Volume Three: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
* Grown-Ups Are Dumb (Hyperion Books)
* The Muppet Show Comic Book (BOOM! Studios)
* New Brighton Archeological Society (Image Comics)
* 3-2-3 Detective Agency (Amulet Books)

*****

image

Best Anthology
* Act-I-Vate
* Flight Vol. 6 (Villard)
* Popgun Vol. 3 (Image Comics)
* Strange Tales (Marvel Comics)
* Wednesday Comics (DC Comics)

*****

image

Best Original Graphic Album
* Asterios Polyp by David Mazucchelli (Pantheon)
* Book Of Genesis by Robert Crumb (W.W. Norton)
* George Sprott (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Footnotes In Gaza by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan Books)
* Stitches by David Small (W.W. Norton)
* Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies (Abrams ComicArts)

*****

image

Best Previously Published Graphic Album
* AD: New Orleans After The Deluge by Josh Neufeld (Pantheon)
* Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
* Graveslinger by Shannon Denton, Jeff Mariotte, John Cboins & Nina Sorat (IDW)
* Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Mice Templar Vol. 1, by Bryan J.L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming (Image Comics)

*****

image
image

Best Syndicated Strip Or Panel
* Cul-De-Sac by Richard Thompson (Universal Press Syndicate)
* Foxtrot by Bill Amend (Universal Press Syndicate)
* Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley (United Feature Syndicate)
* Mutts by Patrick McDonnell (King Features Syndicate)
* Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis (United Feature Syndicate)


*****

image

Best Domestic Reprint Project
* The Best Of Simon and Kirby by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; edited by Steve Saffel (Titan Books)
* Humbug, conceived and edited by Harvey Kurtzman and created by Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth; edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics Books)
* Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond; edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW)
* The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures by Dave Stevens; edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* The Toon Treasury Of Classic Children's Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Abrams ComicsArt)

*****

image

Best American Edition Of Foreign Material
* The Art Of Osamu Tezuka: God Of Manga by Helen McCarthy (Abrams ComicArts)
* Manga Kamishibai by Eric P. Nash (Abrams ComicArts)
* The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier LeFevre and Frederic Leerier (First Second)
* Pluto: Urasaw X Tezuka by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (Viz Media)
* 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa (Viz Media)

*****

image

Best On-Line Comics Work
* Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
* High Moon by Steve Ellis, David Gallaher and Scott O. Brown
* Power Out by Nathan Schreiber
* PVP by Scott Kurtz
* Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart

*****

image

Special Award For Humor In Comics
* Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, Beasts Of Burden (Dark Horse Books)
* Jeff Kinney, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Volume Three: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
* Roger Landridge, The Muppet Show Comic Book (BOOM! Studios)
* Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim Vol. 5 (Oni Press)
* Andrew Pepoy, The Adventures Of Simone & Ajax: A Christmas Caper (ComicMix)

*****

image

Special Award For Excellence In Presentation
* Art Of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius Of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)
* The Brinkley Girls: The Best Of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons From 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics Books)
* George Sprott (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
* The Rocketeer: The Completed Adventures by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Secret Identity: The Fetish Art Of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster, edited by Craig Yoe (Abrams ComicArts)
* Wednesday Comics, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC Comics)

*****

image

Best Biographical, Historical Or Journalistic Presentation
* Alter-Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
* Art Of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius Of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)
* The Best Of Simon And Kirby by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; edited by Steve Saffel (Titan Books)
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, Michael Dean and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics Books)
* Underground Classics by James Danky and Denis Kitchen (Abrams ComicArts)

*****

image

Best Single Issue Or Story
* Alec: The Years Have Pants by Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
* Asterios Polyp by David Mazucchelli (Pantheon)
* Ganges Vol. 3 by Kevin Huizinga (Fantagraphics Books)
* George Sprott (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
* Jonah Hex #50 written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, artwork by Darwyn Cooke (DC Comics)
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
* Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies (Abrams ComicArts)
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: House Of Hammer #6

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Wally Wood Portfolio

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Four Color #33

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
OTBP: Spooner Collections

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: NC Wyeth’s King Arthur

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Chris Sims explores previous DCU/Sandman crossovers in light of news that the Death character will be making an appearance in an issue of Action Comics.

image* Paul Gravett on the new-found respectability afforded British comics.

* there is a good deal of material on Inez Townsend in the comments section supporting a post reprinting/profiling her comic, Gretchen Gratz.

* my cheat sheet of comics-related panel listings for Comic-Con International 2010 has all four days of programming up now and while things may change I'll use something like it on the floor of the show as I don't have the kind of Internet calendar/scheduler skills to make use of an electronic option. That's a lot of potentially good panels, especially given the multiple interests the show has. You could make a pretty good day's worth of panels out of panels that you'll have to skip due to being at other good panels.

* Kurt Busiek answers his mail.

* former critic and I'm guessing still a writer Jesse Fuchs writes in with a link to this Internet phenomenon picture of about six months ago, only wondering why Sally instead of Lucy is paired with Schroeder?

* nobody discourage Eric Reynolds from doing this.

* manga specialist Kate Dacey recommends five works of shojo manga that are in her opinion underrated.

* finally, seeing this post by Mike Sterling makes me realize I've likely reached the limits of my lifetime's allotment of Swamp Thing comics. Maybe one the size of a very thin wafer. But that's it.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 29th Birthday, Jon Vermilyea!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 40th Birthday, Phil Jimenez!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Pretty
On Doug Mahnke
Casey Jones Losing It
Steve Bissette Draws The Demon
Todd Klein On Creating Latest Print 02

Exhibits/Events
Go See Dave Lasky
Go See Mark Evanier At CCI
Mitch O'Connell Opening Photos
Go See Ryan Claytor On The Road

History
More On Freedom Fighters

Industry
Evan Dorkin's Major Mistake
A Survey Of Digital Distributors

Interviews/Profiles
I Prefer The Other Kind
Newsarama: Justin Aclin, Ben Bates

Not Comics
His Perfect City
Lunch Box Heaven
Elijah Brubaker's Prints
Notes On SP Soundtrack
Congrats To Trudeau/Pauley On 30 Years

Publishing
So You're Getting Published?
An Exquisite (Corpse) Webcomic
Amulet Vol. 3 And Copper Banners
Buy A Criminal Deluxe Edition From Sean Phillips

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Sean T. Collins: FCHS
What They Are Reading
Byron Kerman: Spectrum 16
Matt Seneca: Chandler: Red Tide
Timothy Callahan: Shadowland #1
Sarah Boslaugh: Dungeon: Twilight Vol. 3
Ed Sizemore: Avatar: The Last Airbender Manga
Johanna Draper Carlson: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1
Abhay Khosla: Mario Acevedo's Killing The Cobra: Chinatown Trollop #2
 

 
10 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jim Woodring Homage

image
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 11, 2010


The First Questions I’ve Ever Had Regarding The Twilight Phenomenon

image

So if there's no spotlight programming for the Twilight books/movies at Comic-Con 2010, and the only related programming offerings are 1) an urban fantasy panel that references Twilight in its description, 2) a "Girls Gone Genre" panel with a producer from the movies on it, 3) a fan-fiction group meeting, does this mean that there's going to be a bunch of Twilight fans roaming around Comic-Con having booked the trip expecting to see Robert Pattinson on a panel or whatever? If so, is that the most tragic thing ever, the most potentially problematic thing ever or just sort of funny? Am I missing some pertinent fact? I'm probably missing something here. Maybe the search engine for the programming is broken? .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

above: the cast of the recent super-popular Twilight movies
 
posted 5:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Facebook Find: 1940 Frank King Strip

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Dancin’ In The Dark

image
 
posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 42nd Birthday, Dirk Deppey!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Mark Zingarelli!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
11 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #218—Minis

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Individual Mini-Comics, Runs From Mini-Comics Series, Or Mini-Comics Series That You Hold In Some Measure Of Esteem." This is how they responded.

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Supermonster, Kevin Huizenga
2. Fireball, Brian Ralph
3. Non, Non, Non, Lewis Trondheim
4. King-Cat Comix And Other Stories, John Porcellino
5. Albuquerque Ben, Richard P. Butler

*****

image

Adam Casey

1. Cynical Man, Matt Feazell
2. Carl is the Awesome, Marcos Perez
3. Full Sanction, Joe Mochove and Rusty Rowley
4. Journal of MODOK Studies, Robert Newsome
5. Shiot Crock, various

*****

image

John Platt

1. Turtle, Keep it Steady!, Joseph Lambert
2. Jape, Sean Bieri
3. The Amazing Cynicalman, Matt Feazell
4. Suzi Romaine, Ted Slampyak
5. Puma Blues #24 1/2, Stephen Murphy and Michael Zulli

*****

image

Austin English

1. China Guy by Greg Cook
2. jessica by Jason Overby
3. The "book of" series by Gabrielle Bell
4. Pretend by Fiona Logusch
5. Snapshot by Jeff Levine

*****

image

Chris Eliopoulos

1. Peter's Muscles, Michael Deforge
2. Mermin, Joey Weiser
3. The Intrepideers and the Brothers of Blood, Tim Sievert
4. Tower Quest, Lamar Abrams
5. Hey Nickname, Anthony Clark

*****

image

Nat Gertler

1. Some Words Albert Likes -- Scott McCloud
2. The Amazing Cynicalman -- Matt Feazell
so naturally ... 3. Zot 10 1/2
4. When My Brother Was God (creator names forgotten, sorry)
5. Bubble Funnies -- an early-'80s gum-and-a-little-comic set that featured both Marvel and Archie characters (in separate issues, alas). The roughly-simultaneous DC-characters-and-candy minicomics release was more creatively impressive, but the Bubble Funnies were coolly teeny.

*****

image

Robert Martin

1. Yummy Fur, Chester Brown
2. Jape, Sean Bieri
3. The Amazing Cynicalman, Matt Feazell
4. Artbabe, Jessica Abel
5. Deep Girl, Ariel Bordeaux

*****

image

Gary Usher

1. Cranium Frenzy (series) Steve Willis
2. Outside/In (series) Steve Willis, et al
3. Comix Wave Digest Clay Geerdes
4. travel diaries Jeff Zenick
5. various minis Jim Conatser

*****

image

Jacob Lyon Goddard

3 Very Small Comics, Tom Gauld
Col-Dee, Jordan Crane
Yummy Fur, Chester Brown
Chrome Fetus Comics, Hans Rickheit
Tijuana Bibles

*****

image

Chris Rice

Love Eats Brains -- Dash Shaw
Surreal School Stories -- Dan McKinnon & Terry Wiley
True Story Swear To God -- Tom Beland
Atom Tan -- Jamie Hewlett & Phillip Bond
Manya -- Kris Dresen & Jen Benka

*****

image

Rob Clough

1. Low-Jinx, edited by Kurt Wolfgang
2. Ironclad, by Dan Zettwoch
3. Badly-Drawn Comics, by Martha Keavney
4. Errand Service, by Will Dinski
5. I Still Live, by Annie Murphy

*****

image

Johnny Bacardi

1. Flytrap, Sara Ryan
2. Cynicalman, Matt Feazell (bet everyone will name this one)
3. Elmo Jenkins series, Dave Puckett
4. Meet Pandora Arcana, David Allen Jones
5. Zombie Jamboree, David Allen Jones

*****

image

John Martz

1. Phase 7, Alec Longstreth
2. Calamity Coach, Aaron Costain
3. Blar, Drew Weing
4. Small Victories, Jesse Jacobs
5. Anything by JP Coovert

*****

image

Aaron Costain

1. Big Questions, by Anders Nilsen
2. I Will Bite You, by Joe Lambert
3. Phase 7, by Alec Longstreth
4. Rumbling, by Kevin Huizenga
5. Heaven All Day, by John Martz

*****

image

Lou Copeland

1. Hunter & Painter - Tom Gauld
2. Blar - Drew Weing
3. That Crazy Guy - Jack Chick
4. LowJinx #2 - Edited by Kurt Wolfgang
5. Vengeance at Cackling Mountain - Shawn Cheng

*****

image

Michael DeForge

1. Redbird by Dan Zettwoch
2. Pig Tales by Jessica Ciocci
3. Milky Way Shuffle by Chris Eliopoulos
4. Blar by Drew Weing
5. Mat Brinkman's assorted mini comics

*****

image

Jonathan Baylis

1) Big Questions by Anders Nilsen
2) Just So You Know by Joey Alison Sayers
3) Three Very Small Comics by Tom Gauld
4) Binibus Barnibus by Robert Gooden
5) Phase 7 by Alec Longstreth

*****

image

Gabe Fowler

1. National Waste, Leif Goldberg
2. Slime Freak, Carlos Gonzales
3. Capacity, Theo Ellsworth
4. Windy Corner Magazine, Austin English
5. Closed Caption Comics, various

*****

image

Andrew Fulton

1. Mandy Ord's recent run of one-panel-per-page minis, particularly "Birthday Bitch" and "Nana Shower"
2. Ben Ridder's circa-1997 minis, very much in particular "Salmon Boon"
3. The most recent of mp fikaris's "Froth"
4. "Vengeance at Cackling Mountain" or almost anything out of Partyka
5. Pat Grant's "Lumpen" series. (The Last Share House)

*****
*****
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 10, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


via


via


via


via


via


not comics; beautiful


Kate Beaton's Hark A Vagrant- Dude Watchin' With The Brontes from Squadron B on Vimeo.


Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant!- Case of the Two Watsons from Squadron B on Vimeo.


Kate Beaton's Hark A Vagrant- Beethoven from Squadron B on Vimeo.


via




TOON 062510 from TOON Books on Vimeo.
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

image

The top comics-related news stories from July 3 to July 9, 2010:

1. Victor de la Fuente passes away, making a third and final incident for those who see 2010 as the symbolic end of the great comics illustration era.

2. Devil's Due leaves Diamond because Diamond taking monies owed off the top of payments; accuses distributor of malfeasance.

3. Fort Thunder members reunite for new issue of Monster to debut at SPX.

Winner Of The Week
Giorgio Forattini, standing up for his work.

Loser Of The Week
I imagine this guy who got stabbed by an ersatz Old Man Wolverine thinks he had a shitty week.

Quote Of The Week
"The Interview was not a happy invention. It is perhaps the poorest of all ways of getting at what is in a man." -- Mark Twain

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In MN, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 47th Birthday, Ben T. Steckler!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Gerard Jones!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 38th Birthday, Simone Bianchi!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 46th Birthday, Sandra Chang!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
12 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Brenda Starr


Red State Girl: Brenda Starr's take on the life as a journalist as a series of dotty adventures and exotic, g-rated love affairs is not only aspirational but provides a constant reminder that people in the American Midwest -- where Brenda ruled the comics pages -- sometimes latch onto really, really strange stuff.
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 9, 2010


Friday Distraction: A Run Of Comics-Related Columns At Savage Critics By Jog

image

once the best, most consistent writer about comics on-line; these days a diminishing presence: remember what we've been missing
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Mickey Mouse Profiled

image
via Joe Schwind
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Something I Didn’t Know: J.N. “Ding” Darling Started The Conservation Stamp

imageIf you've never run into the conservation stamp world yourself you probably remember the competition for artists to have work chose for such stamps mentioned in the movie Fargo. Either way, it's a world on the decline, which means not only are the stamps themselves down to the first such kind, the Federal Duck Stamp, but a world of local fundraisers and portions of centered around wildlife art with the stamps as a kickstarter is slowly slipping away as well. This article takes the measure of the fading enterprise. What I didn't know is that the stamp was originally lobbied for by J.N. "Ding" Darling, the well known editorial cartoonist and conservationist of the first half of the last century. We may only be a few years or couple of decades removed from local conservation art but we're getting close to a century away from the time when an editorial cartoonist could win over congress on the behalf of a favorite issue.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Missed It: Artist Kevin Nowlan’s New Mutants #51 Hate Mail

image
via Michel Fiffe; thanks, Michel
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Michael Cavna Talks To Garry Trudeau About Strip Utilizing The Word “Bitch”

I'm a sucker for any article about Garry Trudeau's continued work within and without Doonesbury with members of the Armed Forces, which includes this lengthy post from Michael Cavna discussing with the cartoonist the use of the phrase "Sgt. Bitch" in a recent strip. The implication seems to be that Trudeau's advocacy has purchased him some space to use language like this, particularly in that a previous use of the b-word caused some papers to flip out a little bit. I wouldn't want to put too much into that, as context is everything and papers are used to dealing with Doonesbury some 40 years in, but it's a compelling idea and the general relationship cartoonist to military continues to fascinate.

Wait, I guess someone did object: the update says that Newsday pulled the strip.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: A Bunch Of Webcomics From Ty Templeton

image
another gift from Michel Fiffe
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Indictments In 2009 Ben Novack Killing

According to a New York Times article out yesterday, Westchester County prosecutors have indicted four people including the wife in the 2009 death of Ben Novack, Jr.

The reason this case popped up on comics blogs last year is that Novack was a significant collector of Batman memorabilia. I remember receiving a couple of letters from folks disturbed how significantly this colorful aspect played in articles about the end of a man's life. If you maintain a level of sensitivity along those same lines while you're reading the very sordid, True Crime-style article, you'll see how that fact plays into the coverage in multiple ways. According to my unofficial count, the Batman-collecting aspect of Novack's life is used to as a baseline descriptive to make him seem sort of odd, as a sign of common-man eccentricity that subtly plays against his distinguished and monied past, and as a potential murder motive introduced by his wife, the plausibility of which depends on a dim view of the comics collecting hobby generally. It's sort of fascinating, really.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Bookmark: DC Multiverse

image
I knew the day would come when I found a nostalgic comic book web site too densely packed with information for me to figure it all the way out; this site fairly kicked my butt. Your mileage may vary.
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Monsters And Heroes

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Doom Foiled!

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Giant-Size MOKF #1

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Dr. Drew’s Secret Files

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Snow Job!

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* via Sean T. Collins, Chris Ware in GQ on book cover design.

* St. Louis Magazine profiles Jim Lee. I didn't realize that certain elements of the Image story as communicated are still part of the template, so that was interesting.

image* I'm not sure what the hell is going on here, but I certainly enjoy a post about events from years ago with people in costumes in it, and no matter who you are you gotta love that kid jumping in in the bottom corner.

* the official PR for this year's Eisner Awards is out. Voice actor Maurice LaMarche will join Bill Morrison as co-host. I think he'll be there to make fun of everyone who doesn't have as cool a name as Maurice LaMarche, which, let's face it, is just about everyone.

* this post by Robert Stanley Martin on Frank Frazetta sure generated a ton of responses, although I'm not fond of that newest page of comments first posting style. I don't feel any desire to read a bunch of new stuff about Frank Frazetta right is minute, but you folks aren't me!

* I totally missed this comic by Johnny Ryan. Wow. I think he and Josh Simmons should do a flip comic, although I'm also afraid what might happen if pages from their recent comics' efforts were to touch.

* where do you get your ideas from?

* David Brother criticizes the current Marvel strategy with the Fraction/Ba/Moon series Casanova. This kind of thing doesn't bother me anymore, so it's difficult for me to wrap my mind around it.

* "... and then Gary Groth ran into the room and beat the crap out of everyone."

* I guess this is a pretty good list of definitive comics starring the character Daredevil, although the kids today need to find it in their hearts to give some love to Wally Wood. That Daredevil #7 looks better than ever.

* the PictureBox site is now officially open. It doesn't look that different to me than last week about this time, but I guess it's official now and wasn't official then.

* finally, Imprint has an interview with Craig Yoe up.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 84th Birthday, Murphy Anderson!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Indians
A Page By Brian Fies
More Thoughts On Al Williamson
On Making The Enchanted Letter
That Second One Is A Total Howl

Exhibits/Events
It's Bryan Lee O'Malley's CCI

History
Nazis Are Stupid
That Does Sound Nice
Superman Research Question

Interviews/Profiles
Inkstuds: CC Colbert
CBR: Mark Andrew Smith
Itchykeen: Kevin Cannon
Comic Book Brain: JT Yost
Itchykeen: Reynold Kissling
Itchykeen: Ed Choy Moorman
David Wasting Paper: Colleen Coover

Not Comics
I Like This Shirt
This Made Me Laugh
That Is One Ugly Record
Mark Evanier, Paul Chadwick and Watergate

Publishing
Thorsday
Hey, More Mutants
Notes On School Rumble
Moomin-Related Updates
Death To Make Rare DCU Appearance

Reviews
Seth Peagler: Various
Matthew Brady: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Chad Nevett: The Boys #44
Michael C. Lorah: Stuck Rubber Baby
Kevin Pasquino: Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Christopher Allen: Wizard Guest-Edited By Mark Millar
Kumar Sivasubramanian: How To Self-Publish Comics... Not Just Create Them #1-4
 

 
13 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 8, 2010


Go, Look: The Great Outdoors

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* it's pretty much all-CCI, all-the-time, from here until the 26th or so.

* the big item of the week thus far is that Comic-Con has begun to put its program schedule up, which they do on a day-to-day basis I imagine to snare more coverage. You can find the first day here. Even though they offer searchable tabs like "comics" I always feel the need to break it down into a comics-focused, names-only, descriptions-are-for-newbies short list which I eventually print and carry in my pocket like someone's grandpa. I've started building that here. It looks like the usual full-on Comic-Con assault. Hey, Tom Palmer!

* the official PR for this year's Eisner Awards is out. Voice actor Maurice LaMarche will join Bill Morrison as co-host.

* Heidi MacDonald at PW has kind of a combo last "CCI may leave San Diego" story if you've been following it all along/first "CCI may leave San Diego" story if you're just now locking in on the event. It's pretty good; I would disagree with some of the nuances and emphases, some of the values behind some of the words selected, but that's no surprise -- every writer's different. I like the show in San Diego but as I'm in my early forties I'm developing a completely different orientation towards such shows generally that makes it harder for me to look at the issue with necessary remove. I could huff and puff and say that if it were to end up in Anaheim I'd have no interest in attending, but I'm not sure I can gauge my future interest in such shows that way. I need to hear the actual announcement before I think on things any further; I've exhausted my ability to conditionally approve or disapprove of CCI's moves.

* btw, if CCI wants to make their decision about the future location of the show with enough time for it to be processed before the show instead of along with the show, I'd say they'd have to do it by next Wednesday noon.

* maybe they could take a page from LeBron James and announce it during an hour-long special on Syfy? I would totally watch that.

* it looks like Travel Planners has tossed their rooms back up for availability through the site, with the one difference being that because deposits are involved now if you're switching rooms instead of adding them you're going to have to do that on the phone with them. At any rate, I've been looking at them every day for the last week, and certain decent hotels have flashed as being available, basically almost all of the ones out of immediate walking distance but also a few that are: the Westgate, the US Grant, the Embassy Suites and the Doubletree have all come up on searches. I've stayed in all of those hotels and love the first two in particularly for the old-school hotel experience they offer.

* some nice person on Twitter asked me about enjoying San Diego microbrews, which is a great question because 1) San Diego prides itself on the variety and excellence of its area microbreweries, 2) cartoonists and comics fans are mostly drunks, 3) I'm a gin and tonic guy in the summer so it's never occurred to me to suss this out. If someone has better advice .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) but basically what I'd suggest is a) if you have a car and an inclination to drink microbrews -- with someone remaining sober to operate the car, naturally -- you can google up a storm of them all over the region and make an evening/day/lost-weekend of it, b) downtown and walking and intent on a one-stop location you're kind of limited to a Karl J. Strauss location above Broadway of the classic regional microbreweries, c) my take is that because California makes it kind of easy for that kind of thing, a lot of the bars and restaurants will carry a smattering of beers from various local microbreweries like Stone, Pizza Port and Lightning as a kind of value-added thing -- this includes bars like those at the Hyatt and the Hilton and many of the restaurants. Here, for example, are the places you can find at least one beer from Lightning. So you just might ask wherever you end up!

* btw: I haven't been there for a few years, but that Karl J. Strauss restaurant used to be a great place for away-from-most-folks happy hour drinking for people in the hotels along Broadway, like the Bristol, Sofia, Westin San Diego or Westin Horton Plaza.

* just to get in some non-CCI material, here's an article about a kids-focused con somewhere near Charlotte. That seems like a pretty fun way to organize a show. Also, I do mean to cover other events in this columns, so here's a piece about a recent B'Wana Spoons art show featuring toys that ran in Tucson, Arizona.

* finally, I'll try to have a full listing of similar things close to CCI, but apparently there's an art benefit show for a fund with Shel Dorf's name on it that will run at 10th and G through the weekend. Art shows a great springboard event after dinner and before you go schmoozing or partying somewhere, so I'm always happy when someone has one going in the downtown area.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Grant Morrison Documentary Clip Over At MTV Site

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Florida Mother Accuses Manga Of Causing Mental Problems For Her Teen

Both ICv2.com and Brigid Alverson have write-ups on an incident whereby a mother accused manga that her teen swiped from a library as being a contributing cause of mental issues suffered by that young person, and further indicted all manga for having the potential to do the same. These claims were made in a public meeting, although it looks like library and city officials have looked into the matter with a degree of rational thought in dispensing their public duties and sensitivity to the mother's plight. I do wonder given the nature of manga sales and a potential dip in their desirability and thus the ground-level reasoning of "we stock this because people want it" if that might eventually change the way such incidents are handled, but I guess that's something we'll have to see rather than something on which we'll learn anything through speculation.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Covers

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Jim Woodring At AV Club

I know this is going to sound banal, but I just sort of liked this interview with Jim Woodring and I want to recommend it to you. My memory is that Woodring has done a few astonishing interviews, and this isn't one of those, but the piece in AV Club in support of Weathercraft reminded me of what it's like to talk to Jim Woodring, and I can't say every interview I read achieves a similar effect. I greatly enjoyed this snippet about a documentary film about his life and work: "I've heard from people who have seen it that it's a fairly accurate portrait of me. I've also heard it's an unflattering portrait of me, which is probably good. I think you have to be suspicious of anything that makes someone look too good."
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: On The Witch’s Dog

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
First Degree Murder Recommendation Made In Stephen Perry Case

It's a short and concise article that hit the wires: the police that investigated the grisly murder of animation and comics writer Stephen Perry are recommending first degree murder for James William Davis, one of a pair of Perry acquaintances that became immediate persons of interest as it became clear Perry was victim of foul play. The recommendation is based in part on the purchase of bleach police believe was intended for use in cleaning up the act. Davis maintains his innocence.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Hell-Rider #2

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
part of the problem with running your event pub solely through facebook is that your graphics are small and can't be blown up
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Quest For The Diamond Egg

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Torchy #3

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kirby’s Davy Crockett

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Believe It Or Not! #57

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Johanna Draper Carlson follows up on a story she pursued about the Friends Of Lulu and their standing with the IRS.

image* this post put a smile on my face: Bhob Stewart has the text of the legendary letters exchange between Carl Barks and some dedicated fans, and the story behind the missives.

* the cartoonist Dustin Harbin returns with work for you to see after a post-Heroes Con, pre-quitting Heroes Con leave of absence from his comics-posting habits.

* I'm not certain how it got into my bookmarks folder, but check out all the cool-looking stuff to buy from Ron Rege, Jr. While I'm at it, this new signed print from Todd Klein and Bill Willingham is also easy on the eyes.

* Paul Pope draws the Beatles.

* the firecracker-hot JH Williams presents a recent Wonder Woman cover and some sketches for your old costume viewing pleasure.

* two pass-alongs via Devlin Thompson from the sites Letterheady and Letters Of Note: a killer page of Captain Marvel club stationery; a note from Mickey Mouse to a concerned doctor. Thanks, Devlin.

* finally, I love the thought of anyone putting a RASL cover image on a cake. I love the photos, too.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 47th Birthday, Whilce Portacio!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 51st Birthday, Stan Woch!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 92nd Birthday, Irwin Hasen!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Richard Corben
Elijah Brubaker Sketches

Exhibits/Events
Dave Cooper Exhibit Report
Go See Chris Butcher At CCI

History
Comics News May 1929
I Strongly Agree With This
Remembering His First Comics Job
Fond Memories Of Cyborg Superman
Musing On Uncle Sam And The Freedom Fighters

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Don Kramer
CBR: Chris Claremont
Newsarama: Jim Woodring

Not Comics
Reflections On Reflections Of A Super-Hero

Publishing
DC Women Kicking Ass

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Solanin
Kate Dacey: Kaze Hikaru
Brian Heater: Weathercraft
Lori Henderson: Itazura na Kiss Vol. 1
Michael C. Lorah: Prince Valiant Vol. 2
Christopher Allen: 1st Issue Special 01
Greg McElhatton: Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites
Sean T. Collins: Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey
 

 
14 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Reminder: Web-Comics Auction For The Gulf Coast Still Live

image
 
posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 7, 2010


Go, Bookmark: Pizza Island

image
this is the studio blog for Julia Wertz, Sarah Glidden, Domitille Collardy and Karen Snider; I am fond and/or terrified of them all
 
posted 10:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

image

By Tom Spurgeon

* hey, there's a new Louis book coming out. Looks like it will hit comic shops in October.

image* the biggest potential news I heard this week was from a reliable source that the Fort Thunder gang had reunited to do a new issue of Monster that will be on sale at Comic-Con through attendee and contributor Brian Ralph. Included are all your Fort Thunder favorites like Brian Chippendale and Mat Brinkman. The only thing that would keep this from happening would be a) the printing doesn't happen in time for the book to make it to the show, b) my source is seriously screwing with me and this book doesn't exist at all. Either way, I'll cry. Monster was the closest thing to a house comics anthology for the legendary 1990s arts collective, and they are the only comic books I ever had stolen from my home. UPDATE: Just received e-mail from second source swearing that the new issue of Monster does exist, but it won't be out until this Fall's SPX. It seems there were troubles in getting the now-scattered Fort members to send their work in in reproducible form on the deadline needed for CCI. It was probably easier when they were all under the same roof. Let's hope it stays in 2010 until at least tomorrow breakfast.

* it's probably official by now. I'm glad to see Jeff Parker getting a bunch of opportunities at Marvel. He's done consistently good work for them. It also occurs to me that one place where Marvel pummels DC right now is the relative depth of each company's writing rosters.

* Fantagraphics has four new Ignatz-format books out for summer 2010, including a third volume of Sammy The Mouse. This is great news if you simply love the format, like I do. With Casanova officially making its debut as a standard serial comic book today, you could also say that of the two major breaks in serial comics formats that came out about three-to-five years ago it looks like the fancy, more expensive model beat out the fewer pages/background material/cheaper price point model. With the format for the Ignatz working in multiple market I'm not sure it was ever a fair fight, and of course it wasn't a fight at all, but it does say something slightly depressing about the direction of the comics market.

* the Dork Tower comics are returning. Those comics seem to sell well in a lot of shops that can't be bothered to carry too much outside of a very limited purview of cape and scowl funnybooks, so I always imagine that ten years from now there will be alt-cartoonists that will cite that series as a primary influence. Not that this matters to the many fans of the book that just want to read new issues.

* somehow, this site for an artist named Gwen Turner making a comic called Domestic Bliss got stuck in my bookmarks. I think it's because I couldn't quite find my way around the site but the comic looked promising. Or maybe I just like the name "Gwen."

* one of the few comics-related announcements coming out of the big ALA meet-up in the nation's capital was a new line of children's books and graphic novels spearheaded by David Dabel

* I suppose the availability of a bunch of Tokyopop books through a popular downloads site is a publishing news story, although it's hard to see much momentum building behind that price point.

* finally, Oh, Brother, the new syndicated comics feature effort by Bob Weber Jr. and Jay Stephens has debuted after a short formal ramp-up period and months of industry backroom talk. It's already one of the five best-looking strips in the paper. Not that anyone should be surprised. Ask your local paper to look into buying it.

image
 
posted 10:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Kari Sihvonen

image
 
posted 10:05 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image

*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt 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 this week, I'd look at enough comic book it'd be sort of like a party, but only if the party were measure not in the quality of social interaction but in me looking at comic books.

*****

MAR100045 BPRD TP VOL 13 1947 $17.99
MAY100044 HELLBOY THE STORM #1 (OF 3) $2.99
It says something about the health of this property in comic books that you can have a new trade volume and the first issue of a new mini-series out and it seems more like a typical week than it feels less like one. I had someone tell me they wanted to be a fan of this character and his world just because they'd be well-served by so many comics coming out.

APR100165 BATMAN AND ROBIN #13 $2.99
MAY100135 BATMAN ODYSSEY #1 (OF 6) $3.99
I think we're in the penalty minutes [jase with Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin series, in that solid creative teams remain on the book but it could all go away with a whistle. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe he's in it for the long haul. Batman Odyssey is Neal Adams' return to the character he once made memorable shirtless and hairy-chested. I'm not sure about the details. You know, shirtless and hairy-chested Batman would make a great and deeply disturbing Halloween costume if you have the front-rug.

MAY100278 SWEET TOOTH #11 (MR) $2.99
MAY100238 TOM STRONG AND THE ROBOTS OF DOOM #2 (OF 6) $3.99
DEC090409 GODLAND #32 $2.99
MAR100432 KING CITY #10 (MR) $2.99
APR100474 WALKING DEAD #74 (MR) $2.99
MAY100649 CASANOVA #1 (MR) $3.99
MAY101077 SMURFS #1 SMURFNAPPER $1.00
MAY100621 THOR MIGHTY AVENGER #1 $2.99
JAN100469 WEIRD WORLD OF JACK STAFF #3 $3.50
Here's a bunch of stuff that someone out there that I've read has made the case for being above-average and worth possible inclusion in your serial-comic, "bag full of pop-culture" buying habits. Or at least a pick up and look, according to the terms this feature has set forward. Of perhaps special interest are the first re-colored, re-presented Casanova book and a sneak-preview Smurfs book that will either further tantalize or perhaps dampen the interest of the average North American reader (memory being stronger than reality with some folks). That Thor book is the Roger Langridge-written, Chris Samnee-draw all-ages title, which means it could a) be well-written, b) look great, c) feature an adorable teenage-looking thunder god with nice hair. Although if I had to buy one I'm probably enjoying King City the most out of that entire group.

MAR100240 BLACKEST NIGHT HC $29.99
And thus the dance between the last mainstream comics event and my wallet begins, with an opening offer of $30 from the comic book company and a counter-offer of "He'll read it at Barnes & Noble" from my wallet.

MAY100641 X-WOMEN #1 $4.99
Perhaps the embodiment of a "pick up and look at it" comic book, this is Milo Manara's effort with Marvel's line-up of iconic funnybook ladies. If you ever wanted to know what an X-Men film directed by Blake Edwards in 1987 starring a crew of unsettling, signifying-as-attractive, slightly not-human women would have been like, you're as likely to see it here as experience it anywhere else.

APR101129 NANA TP VOL 21 (MR) $9.99
I'm still several volumes behind on this popular and addictive series, although I guess from reading around that this is a potential ending point and is the last one at least for now. The author had been laid up.

APR101011 TINTIN IN THE CONGO HC NEW PTG $24.95
This is a facsimile edition of Herge's troubling early book, currently working its way through French courts in terms of its depictions being so unfortunate that it can be potentially legally quantified.

*****

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 here, you have every right to be sore.

*****

image
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Early Comic Book Covers

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* when artist Lars Vilks made a cartoon with Muhammed's head on the body of the dog, who knew where notoriety might lead? He first became a cartoonist, which is a rather misleading read of his career; then the Swedish artist became one of the Danish cartoonists in all but technical reality, especially in terms of being accosted and defamed and lumped into general criticisms of such cartoons (his coming well after the initial Danish cartoons). Now, according to the opening day of a trial against two brothers seeking to burn down his home, he's Islam's greatest enemy.

* this is one of those "frame of reference" articles that may only interest me, but a photo-shopped montage featuring an Islamic leader as a Catholic official has stirred regional religious passions along the same lines as the 2005 Danish Muhammad cartoons. The closer parallels here are the political maneuverings around the accusations, not so much the accusations themselves.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Early Peanuts Ads

image

via
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
DDP Leaves Diamond; Accuses Distributor Of Malfeasance In Fees, Costs

Graeme McMillan has an interview up with Devil's Due Publishing President Josh Blaylock that attempts to unpack the logic behind their leaving an exclusive agreement with Direct Market distributing giant Diamond. It's kind of a mish-mash of answers and assertions and justifications, but what Blaylock seems to be saying is that Diamond is withholding money to pay down old Devil's Due fees and returns costs and that 1) Devil's Due disputes the extent and origin of such charges, strongly alluding to Diamond warehouse mismanagement and 2) paying these fees and costs is smothering the company cash-wise to the extent Blaylock feels justified in going to a system of direct-to-store sales and working with competing distribution company Haven in order to free up the cash necessary to operate the company and pay talent. He terms what Diamond is doing as a garnishment, although I think that would be a garnishment only if Diamond somehow got the money that Devil's Due was getting from an outside source, like their Haven money or a personal source of income.

This is weird news all around, and the fact that no one will talk exact figures with this kind of story kind of spins the whole thing off into a world of competing not-pristine reputations and broad allusions of general malfeasance that maybe couldn't be proved with a time machine. I think there are two keys. The first key is whether or not the fees Diamond has been charging are legitimate; but since DDP has essentially walked up and left the room rather than challenging those payments within Diamond's framework, we may only find out whether these were reflective of actual returns or the alluded-to fruits of warehouse incompetence if there is further legal action on Diamond's part to recoup that money. The second key is whether or not a strategy of direct store sales and working with a smaller distributor gives DDP any chance at all in making enough money to pay freelancers and absorbing any additional costs that may come their way -- or return their way if, say, Diamond presses their claim. My hunch is probably not, although merely keeping the company alive long enough for a white knight to appear might be a way out of things as well. I'm always a little disturbed when I hear about past expected business success being necessary to keep current business operations going, because I think that sidesteps the obligations of the publisher to provide or have access to a reserve of capital, but it's not like that's a rare thing in comics, either.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Jack Davis

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Afrodisiac Book Wins 2009 AIGA Nod

imageThis is all through the publisher, and I lack a background when it comes to the book design world to provide appropriate context, but apparently the AdHouse Books effort Afrodisiac was selected by the group AIGA -- which they say means "the professional association for design" even though the letters don't match up -- as one of the 50 best-designed books for the period January 1 to December 31, 2009. Again, according to the publisher's letter, this means the book will be part of the group's "searchable visual database" along with others cited, it will be part of an exhibit in New York that will then travel, and it will enter a couple of collections organized by their winning this honor.

I think that's a fine-looking book, and I enjoyed the comics inside by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg, so any honor it wins is okay by me. The publisher also mentions that the book sold out of its first printing and books from a second printing should be available in a couple of weeks.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Aparo/Orlando Spectre

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: I Love You

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Beetle Bailey #62

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Gene Byrnes

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Vernon V. Greene

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* hey, Mike Manley! Where's that Wizard World Philly report? You're killing me.

image* here's the first part of a promised two-part article about Wally Wood and the origins of Warren's Creepy magazine. This came to me in an e-mail, which usually means someone had it first. I apologize to that person.

* where to put most of your word balloons, to make things easier for you and the reader. (I hope Bryan Lee O'Malley does a bunch of these.)

* the cartoonist Thom Zahler talks about what it's like to be behind the table at Comic-Con. I worked behind a table for 30 minutes one time, and then Gus Norman came by and offered to get me into trouble and off I went, never to work behind one again. I got yelled at twice in those 30 minutes, though, and a guy that looked like Benny Hill sporting a squirrel tail asked me if Fantagraphics published any furry porn. I could tell he smelled like a pencil eraser, even with a table stacked to the nines with issues of Grit Bath, Pressed Tongue and Rollercoaster separating us. A full weekend of that would have broken me, and my hat's off to all you table warriors out there.

* commercial interlude: I guess CCI has been doing some four-day pass contest-style giveaways and plans to do more through the advertisement on top of this column and others like it elsewhere. The PR is here.

* this headline made me laugh.

* Jim Kingman writes about the late 1970s DC Comics Explosion/Implosion, an event that fascinates me the way that all news stories just out of my memory's reach fascinate me.

* the talented Kristy Valenti's nice-as-all-heck note reminds me that I have got to stop writing parts of this blog while I'm high.

* here's a link to the sale of a Paul Pope limited print with enough other Paul Pope content you'll have fun if you like Pope but don't feel like buying a print.

* I would kill for more specific scene reporting like we get out of a couple of the Portland blogs, from the New York folks and from Mike Rhode in the Greater DC area.

* the comics writer and cartoonist (people forget Nancy) Jerry Scott on his influences.

* finally, John Calnan is alive.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 26th Birthday, Noah Van Sciver!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Rick Hoberg!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Alternation
Power Lines
On Amanda Conner
David Hahn's Storyboards
Jeet Heer On Comics Interviews And Interviewers

Exhibits/Events
Go See Bob Greenberger

History
E&P Mystery Features

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Peter David
USA Today: Matt Fraction
Newsarama: John Ostrander

Not Comics
Tony Best On Hey, Good Lookin'
Chris Butcher Went Back To Japan
A Pretty Good Interview With Actor Jason Segal (via)

Publishing
Kill Shakespeare #3 Previewed
Marvel's Shadowland Thing Previewed

Reviews
Matt Seneca: Various
Nina Stone: Pluto Vol. 2
Nick Smith: Special Exits
Richard Schwartzman: Reich
Todd Klein: Incorruptible Vol. 1
Grant Goggans: Fantastic Four: Unthinkable
 

 
15 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Facebook Find: Gary Baseman & Color

image
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 6, 2010


Go, Look: The Young Knight

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
I’m The Best There Is At What I Do And What I Do Is Watch NCIS Reruns

A 73-year-old man in a suburb of Joliet, Illinois, apparently attacked a rival with a glove that made one of his hands sort of look like he was popping Wolverine-style claws -- or at least enough like one that a local beat reporter got to write a more-amusing-than-usual article. The Sabretooth to our Wolverine was hospitalized, and probably fails to see any humor in this at all.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More Barney Google

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Brigid Alverson On Comics Apps Developer Hacking iTunes

Brigid Alverson has a smart, concise write-up on a news story that completely avoided my attention: an iTunes hacking event over the weekend that's sort of funny on the face of it (you need to hack people's accounts to get them to buy comics), not-so-funny if it's you (having money stolen from you is rarely funny), and that no matter who you are may have longterm consequences for comics-related on-line commerce. It's far better than anything I could do even working from her links, so I hope you don't mind my sending you there.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Dell One-Pager Onslaught

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
New Book Gives Insight Into Moulinsart View Of Herge’s Tintin Au Congo

imageThis article at French-language comics clearinghouse and news site ActuaBD.com was more difficult to read than most. Some of the graphs lurch really close to pure opinion and a seething, contemptuous one at that; some of the sentences are just hard to parse, period. My takeaway is that Le Soir and Moulinsart have published a book on the 50th Anniversary of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo's independence from Belgium that digs into Herge's early work including Tintin Au Congo and attempts to describe both the errors he made but also Herge's own attitude towards various aspects of the work and attempts to alter such work at a later date. This would seem to me -- and I'm not sure the article totally agrees -- valuable for any documented facts its journalist-author brings forward but also for the small-p political aspects to releasing such a book and the snapshot it provides of a certain point of view regarding the work currently at legal issue but also Herge's work generally.

I have no idea what I feel about the issue yet. I find the images repulsive but I'm all for the public's right to unfettered access to repulsive art. It's when I ask myself what people are actually defending here that things get weird, because I don't get the sense it's solely a legal principle but rather some obtuse "you're not the boss of me" thing that leads people to diminish or dismiss feelings in which they somehow feel invested despite themselves.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Captain America’s Secret Origin By Messrs. Thomas And Robbins

image
I could spend the rest of my life apologizing to the comics gods for the times as a child I hated on Frank Robbins' magnificently loopy, kinetic, everybody's crazy-looking, people sweating right through their three-piece suits, people spitting giant loogies version of Captain America -- look at Cap punch that guy's spine in two directions!
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Things Are Different Down Under

Here's an article flipped 180 degrees from how such articles usually go: Sally Jackson of The Australian note the rigorous delight with which Australian cartoonist have greeted Prime Minister Julia Gillard, basically because they feel she's fun to draw and that her nose and attention to variations in hairstyle give them something to latch onto. This is far cry from the usual US/Canada article, almost an election tradition, where cartoonists whine and grouse about the new person being almost impossible to draw in a humorous way. The fact that Gillard doesn't seem to me any more or less cartoonish than the standard North American politician makes me wonder if this isn't just something about the way Australia's cartoonists are oriented.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Castiafore Affair

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Marvel’s Post-Disney Animation Strategy Meets Expectations

This is basically a puff piece on Marvel's animation strategies following its acquisition by Disney -- there's even time taken to talk about how awesome the new bosses are -- but it seems worth noting that much of the early speculation about the potential of Marvel animation as a worldwide content provider on some content-hungry media platforms that aren't on-line seem to be coming true, at least for now. It's also worth noting that Marvel is going to partner with high-quality local animation companies for a project or two per market, which is an extension of their strategy in growing the company in the post-bankruptcy, pre-Disney era.
 
posted 6:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Igor The Archer

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Floating People Affair

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Nobody Likes Razorback?

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Animaldom

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* your "if you have time for only one feature today" of the day: Matt Seneca has a big interview up with Shaky Kane at his review site Death To The Universe.

* that's assuming you've already watched this.

image* from Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo, the League Of Extraordinary Atlas Babes.

* the person who gave Wonder Woman a cultural boost by featuring her prominently in on magazine-of-the-moment Ms., Gloria Steinem speaks to the point about the Wonder Woman reboot -- the new costume reveals some silly biases; the story as described reveals severely limited thinking.

* whoa, these Steve Bissette sketches look pretty great.

* Jeet Heer talks about why we need criticism. It's a fine post, as is most everything Heer puts on-line, and I agree with the general notions involved even if I would prefer to phrase it that criticism has value rather than we need it. On the other hand, it occurred to me the other day that on a certain fundamental level I don't care if any of my writing is necessary or not, I'm still going to write. I feel blessed to have a modest audience, and if it were possible I'd spend the next ten years doing nothing but thanking them, but I've never felt I was made legitimate by an audience. I'm not really phrasing that very well, but I mean it in a very benign way so whatever way you can read that and not be mad at me, that's probably closest to what I mean.

* this made me laugh.

* not comics: for me the faithfulness issue with movie adaptations was settled when Peter Jackson's boys' adventure version of The Lord Of The Rings turned out to be entertaining and made a ton of money. Faithfulness isn't a factor, and it's pretty much always fanboy self-aggrandizement to suggest that it is.

* finally, the web-comics auctions to benefit the Gulf Coast have begun. Bargains abound.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 57th Birthday, Joe Zabel!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 59th Birthday, Christy Marx!

image
I've seen other dates given
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 60th Birthday, John Byrne!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 63rd Birthday, Katherine Collins!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Himalayascape
On Chris Bachalo
Go See Sean Phillips
Darryl Cunningham Makes Art
John Hankiewicz Draws From Life

Exhibits/Events
Brigid Alverson At ALA

History
Boobs
Lynx Fans, Represent
Your Monday Panel 18
Your Monday Panel 19
Back When Lucy Played Nice

Industry
This Display Of Patriotism Hurts My Eyes

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: JH Williams
USA Today: JH Williams
Newsarama Jill Thompson
CBR: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Talking Comics With Tim: JD Arnold And Rich Koslowski

Not Comics
Ghosts For Sale
Buy Stuff From Harlan Ellison

Publishing
Happy Anniversary, Todd Klein's Blog

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
Sean T. Collins: Werewolves Of Montpellier
Greg McElhatton: Afterschool Charisma Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Usagi Yojimbo #129
Ed Sizemore: The Manga Biography Of Kenji Miyazawa
 

 
16 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Right-Click: The All-Time Greatest Comics-Related Desktop Image

image
the Bat-Butt, from Batman Forever; via
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 5, 2010


Go, Look: Seuling Con Art

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Neither Siegel Nor Shuster: Is Robert Seymour The True Patron Saint Of Victimized Cartoonists?

image
Probably, although I bet if you go back far enough you'd find that tribal leader Aktuk got extra venison for popular cave paintings, venison that should have gone to poor, mate-less Ook.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Jack Cole’s Crime Comics

image
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Victor de la Fuente, 1927-2010

image

The Spanish cartoonist Victor de la Fuente, perhaps best known for his Westerns and revered in European comics circles as one of the great artists working in the mainstream adventure tradition generally, has died. The French-language news and clearinghouse ActuaBD.com is reporting the news based on a blog posting by Francois Corteggiani. Corteggiani was one of a long list of all-star writers to work with late artist. Word to mainstream media came from Spain's Federacion de Instituciones Profesionales del Comic.

De La Fuente was born in 1927 in the town of Riocaliente. He became active in comics while still a teen in the early 1940s, finding work through the Lopez Rubio studio. His early clients included the magazines Maravillas and Chicos.

A move to Chile in pursuit of advertising illustration work (he would also live in Argentina) facilitated both his first work for a publisher outside of Spain -- comics giant Dell -- but also co-launching the magazine El Peneca. By the time he left South America in the late 1950s, he was ready to work for publishers that included the UK's Fleetway and DC Thompson.

imageIn the late 1960s, either De La Fuente's ambitions deepened, his opportunities for more significant work increased, or some combination of both. With Victor Mora he did 12 episodes of a western called Sunday, dipped back into illustration and then roared back with the influential Haxtur, which first appeared in the magazine Haxtur but was also one of the initial stand-alone successes in Spanish cartooning. While he did a few short stories for Warren, including short stories related to longer European works like Haxtur, he became best known for westerns like Amargo and on historical titles like Charles de Gaulle. He placed the fantasy work Haggarth into the influential A Suivre in the late 1970s, and began a very popular series, Les Gringos, with Jean-Michel Charlie in 1979. In the 1980s he completed a short but well-received run of episodes in the popular and established Tex Willer series, and continued original work with top-line writers into the 1990s.

This obituary in the Spanish press mentions as the cartoonist's virtues a naturalness of the figure placed into a specific environment, the use of small lines to indicate movement or potential movement, detailed background work and a clever approach to narrative.

De La Fuente received the Yellow Kid Award from the Festival of Lucca in 1980 for his work on Les Gringos and in 2006 won the Grand Prize at the International Comic Fair in Barcelona, in recognition of his long career. An unexpected homage came earlier this year when Panini released four unpublished De La Fuente comics intended for various British genre magazines under the title Diario de guerra: Victor de la Fuente.

The artist suffered through several years of illness, and passed away on July 2 in Le Mesnil Saint Denis, the French village where he had lived for almost 40 years. He was preceded in death by his two artist brothers, Ramon and Chiqui. Victor de la Fuente was 83 years old.

image
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Little Lulu #92

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Coffin Cartoonist Slams Footballer

This is a story that may only interest me, but I was happy to see Giorgio Forattini slam the Italian World Cup team member that criticized his cartoon showing the defending champs -- who failed to qualify in the top 16 after preliminary matches -- as a set of coffins. Apparently Simon Pepe was so upset by this depiction that he accosted members of the press traveling with him to see if any worked on the same newspaper, and wished a similar coffin-related fate on the cartoonist. Forattini reiterated his suggestion that the Italian team played like cadavers and tossed in a pretty good "millionaire athlete"-style slam for good measure.

Other than just finding the cartoon mean and funny, and beyond being grateful for a cartoon-related World Cup story that didn't involve how assiduously African cartoonists were expected to flatter the Ghanian squad as a continental representative, there's probably something to be said of how this relates to editorial cartooning generally in a world where celebrity increasingly defines the parameters of news and the degree of importance we place on individual stories. Playing a sport in crappy fashion for a couple of weeks is probably not enough to garner an equivalency with death; then again, that's the news we cover and nobody's crying for the celebrity that suffers a bad opinion or fifty.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Uncle Sam #1

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Sherman’s Lagoon Crew Beats Aquaman, Namor To The Gulf Region

I don't have anything to say about this feature story, I just sort of wanted to type that headline. Three things leap out at me. The first two are from the story itself. One is that cartoonist Jim Toomey thought the oil flow would be stemmed well before his work -- with a six-week lag time -- saw publication. Two is that he sort of found it hard to be funny about the incident, which I think is understandable. The third is that despite the fact this is a three-week storyline ending July 17, I don't see it in the Sherman's Lagoon viewer. Maybe I'm nuts, but I can't find it. Given the oddness of the general coverage of the incident, a non-existent response storyline might be almost too perfect, although I'm probably just missing something.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Freedom’s Star

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: “... And No Birds Sing!”

image
I love that title!
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Horror Of Candle Lodge

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Luckless Liars

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gus The Grocer

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the writer Mark Evanier remembers his first comic book convention and reminds us through a barrage of names that "significantly responsible for the birth of the modern comics industry" is another reason we pay attention to them even now. The July 4 weekend date is to comics conventions what the Thanksgiving night date is to professional wrestling -- a date that used to be just perfect for the biggest shows for a lot of reasons that no long apply, but a lingering memory in that a certain generation of folks will always link the two.

image* the PictureBox site has relaunched. You can read about it here or just dive in.

* the other 16 panels.

* Wilson reviewed at length in the New York Times Book Review.

* Anime Shower sounds like the greatest book to have out on one's coffee table maybe ever. Also, the publisher recommends this interview with Clowes.

* I totally missed the point of this early Schulz gag the first time around, but it's a funny one.

* from the same source, how Chris Ware is spending his summer vacation. "Re-watching each version of Day Of The Triffids" is beginning to look a little less ambitious every day.

* not comics: as much as I think about such things (not really), and as much as I think it has anything to do with the comics (it doesn't), I agree with the Spin-Off On-Line crew that it would be nice to have someone attempt a Wonder Woman blockbuster-style movie. I don't see why a good one couldn't be done. It's a beautiful-woman, super bad-ass movie with a little Greek gods thrown in. Someone smart should be able to get two hours out of that.

* I've bookmarked it for a rainy day, but don't let that stop you from enjoying Paul Gravett's piece on war comics right now.

* finally, an all-star panel of writers about manga present the 10 best manga you're not reading. I did surprisingly well against this list, which sort of made me sad. I'd like more books to discover, after all.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 33rd Birthday, Chris Butcher!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 34th Birthday, Steven Goldman!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 52nd Birthday, Bill Watterson!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Ed McGuinness
Josh Cotter Sketches

Interviews/Profiles
4thletter!: Ian Brill
Inkstuds: Keith Jones
Inkstuds: Simon Gardenfors

Not Comics
Scott Edelman Dreams

Publishing
DC Comics In September 2010
Graphic Novels After September 2010

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Graeme McMillan: Various
Christopher Allen: Various
Grant Goggans: Daredevil Vols. 5-7, 9
Johanna Draper Carlson: Toy Story #4
Sean T. Collins: Closed Caption Comics #8
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Muppet Show#6-7
Erin Jameson: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Sarah Boslaugh: Dungeon: The Early Years Vol. 2
Greg McElhatton: Benny and Penny: The Toy Breaker
Johanna Draper Carlson: Archie: The Best Of Dan DeCarlo, Vol. 1
Johanna Draper Carlson: Archie Americana: Best Of The Seventies Vol. 2
 

 
17 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Facebook Find: Fantagraphics Shoots

image
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Facebook Find: DC Comics 1978

image
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 4, 2010


Happy 13th Birthday, Fanfare/Ponent Mon!

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 59th Birthday, Chip Sansom!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
18 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #217—Hear Me

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Characters From The Comics Whose Podcast You Would Regularly Download." This is how they responded.

image

Tom Spurgeon

1. Rick Jones
2. Studs Kirby
3. George Sprott
4. Jimmy Olsen
5. Billy Batson

*****

image

Michael Carens-Nedelesky

1. Spider-Man, peter parker identity unknown to public, so must speak about civilian life cryptically. I imagine we get a good sense of it just from his constant narration boxes.
2. Wallace Wells, with guests from the whole Scott Pilgrim Gang; half nerd chat, half relationship advice
3. Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
4. Ben Ulrich, for reasoned commentary on superheroes and politics.
5. Jonah Jameson, for insane commentary on superheroes and politics.

*****

image

Michael Grabowski

1. Alec MacGarry
2. Fred Hembeck
3. Huey, Duey & Louie
4. Hopey
5. Amy Racecar

*****

image

Grant Goggans

1. Mark Slackmeyer
2. Oliver Queen
3. Roy Race
4. Jack Knight
5. Doctor Doom's "Voice of Latveria"

*****

image

Michael Dooley

1. Cheech Wizard
2. Dirty Duck
3. Mr. Natural
4. Sammy Smoot
5. Zippy

*****

image

Evan Dorkin

1. Reid Fleming
2. Howard the Duck
3. Takashi Kamiyama of Cromartie High School
4. The Crypt-Keeper
5. Mr. A

Very tempted to list Black Bolt, but I don't think he's do more than one podcast. And that one would be short. "HELLO, FOLKS --" BOOOOOM!

*****

image

Chris Duffy

1. Jack Ryder
2. Dave Clark
3. Granny Goodness
4. Forsythe P. Jones
5. Willie Lumpkin

*****

image

John Platt

1. Lex Luthor
2. Stephen Strange
3. Cal McDonald
4. Veronica
5. Cheech Wizard

*****

image

Eric Knisley

1. Isabel "Izzy" Reubens
2. Paste Pot Pete
3. Big Bear
4. Any character in any comic by Jason
5. Jimbo

*****

image

Joe Schwind

* Flakey Foont
* Dan Pussey
* Franky (The Goon's pal)
* Mr. The Toad
* Mole Man

*****

image

J. Colussy-Estes

1: Johnny Beyond (1963's Dr. Strange. But he seems more likely to have a podcast than either Strange or Zack Soto's Dr. Galapagos)
2: Hopey Glass
3: Mark Slackmeyer
4: Jack Ryder (I'd probably yell at the podcast a lot)
5: Aquaman (but only the one from the animated Brave & the Bold)

*****

image

Adam Mix

1. Schroeder from Peanuts
2. Snapper Carr
3. J. Jonah Jameson
4. Ma Hunkel (hopefully it would be about fashion!)
5. Ebony

*****

image

Tom Bondurant

1. Scott Pilgrim
2. Mark Slackmeyer
3. Booster Gold
4. Squirrel Girl
5. Margo McGee

*****

image

Bill Matheny

1) Snapper Carr (60's version)
2) Buddy Bradley
3) Milk and/or Cheese
4) Goody Rickels
5) Smurfette (The stories she could tell...)

*****

image

Douglas Wolk

1. Venus (from Agents of Atlas)
2. Swifty Frisko
3. Amadeus Cho
4. Bernard Mergendeiler
5. Petalwing

*****

image

Rob Clough

1. Lisa Leavenworth
2. Sam Zabel
3. Ben Urich
4. Jack Knight
5. Cameron Chase

*****

image

Joseph Elliott-Coleman

1: Elijah Snow
2: The Hulk
3: Motoko Kusanagi
4: Corto Maltese
5: Mort Cinder

*****

image

Matt Silvie

1. Henry Hotchkiss
2. George Cecil Hamilton III
3. Feldman
4. the Empty Skull Gang
5. Albuquerque Ben

*****

image

Danny Ceballos

1. Linus Van Pelt
2. Ernie Pook
3. Little Orphan Annie
4. Doctor Strange
5. Black Jack

*****

image

Kian Ross

1. Ray Dominguez
2. MODOK
3. Enid Coleslaw
4. Spider Jerusalem
5. Beast

*****

image

Tom Mason

1960s Lois Lane
Lloyd Llewellyn
Ben Grimm
Jughead
Reuben Flagg

*****

image

Ali T. Kokmen

(1) Roy Raymond (doing a podcast of esoteric, true news stories)
(2) Uncle Scrooge (podcasting on finance/economics)
(3) Sandman (Morpheus, of course, doing a podcast of wondrous storytelling)
(4) Dream Girl (a podcast of precognition! )
(5) Ray Palmer (hosting a physics/science podcast)

*****

image

James Langdell

1. P. T. Bridgeport
2. Mr. Natural
3. Alfred Pennyworth
4. Madame Xanadu
5. Schroeder

*****

image

Aaron White

1. Galactus
2. Valentina
3. Ignatz the Mouse
4. Sir William Gull
5. Barney Google

*****

image

Matthew Craig

1. Jesse Custer
2. Ben Urich
3. Wonder Woman
4. Jake Jordan, The Manhattan Guardian
5. Dr. Henry McCoy

*****

image

Marc Mason

1. Dazzler
2. Puppy and Armpit (from Cool Jerk)
3. Hughie (from The Boys)
4. Katchoo (from Strangers in Paradise)
5. Darkseid

*****

image

Jason Michelitch

1. Spider Jerusalem
2. Lord Julius
3. Cowboy Wally
4. Terry Downe
5. Alec MacGarry

*****

image

Tom Cherry

1. J. Jonah Jameson
2. Jack Knight
3. Dollar Bill
4. Alice Otterloop
5. Milk and Cheese

*****

image

Chris Marshall

* The Jimmy Olsen Photo Journalism Podcast
* Dagwood Bumstead's Mustard or Mayo Show
* Andy Capp's Adventures In Narcolepsy
* Jim Corrigan's Old Time Radio Hour
* Barry Allen's This Week In Track

*****

image

Don MacPherson

1) Jack Knight
2) a joint Spider-Man/Human Torch podcast
3) Dream Girl
4) Howard the Duck
5) Snapper Carr

*****

image

Andrew Mansell

1. Mark Slackmeyer
2. Mezzrow
3. Zenith
4. Tank MacNamara
5. The Recorder

*****
*****
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 3, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade






via




via


via


via


via


via
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

image

The top comics-related news stories from June 26 to July 2, 2010:

1. DC shuts down its dedicated Zuda site and folds program into other on-line initiatives.

2. Danish prosecutors charge man accused of attacking cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in his home in January with multiple charges, including terrorism.

3. Apple rejects another Tiger Wood-related cartoon app.

Winner Of The Week
Zunar, badass.

Losers Of The Week
Italy's national team.

Quote Of The Week
"Okay, I have lots of reaction to this costume. First of all, I'm saddened to see my favorite Amazon back with ginormous balloon boobs after she's been drawn so beautifully and with respect during Gail Simone's run. Then of course, there's that the costume is just plain lame, not even a throwback to the 1990s, more like the 1980s. But most important: would DC let anyone change Superman's costume like that? Batman's? You don't mess with an icon."
-- Trina Robbins

*****

today's cover is from the 1940s-1950s mainstream comics publisher Avon

*****
*****
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 45th Birthday, Joey Manley!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 48th Birthday, Tom Heintjes!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 73rd Birthday, Russ Cochran!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
19 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Lois Lane

image
Lois Lane somehow managed to survive starring in 137 issues of the most humiliating comic book ever published to become a feminist icon and career model despite never quite getting right the really big story with whom she shares a break room.
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 2, 2010


Friday Distraction: News Of Yore

image
I link to these snippets of old syndicate news from Stripper's Guide every now and then, but they're also a blast to read in major chunks
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

Another single-item update, another doozy: wire reports blew up earlier this morning with news that Denmark prosecutor Joergen Steen Soerensen has charged the Somali man who entered Kurt Westergaard's home in January with terrorism and with trying to kill one of the police officers that came to the scene. As you may recall, this is the infamous Panic Room attack, in which the 74-year-old cartoonist, the most famous of all the cartoonists to caricature Muhammed in the infamous Danish Cartoons Controversy, hid in a panic room while the man tried to break in with a knife and an ax. Westergaard's granddaughter hid in another part of the house.

The 28-year-old attacker, whose name is shielded from publication by Denmark law, was shot in the leg as he tried to escape. He has since been linked to the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The man denies all such connection and says he was only trying to scare Westergaard.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: DC Vs. Victor Fox—The Testimony Of Will Eisner

image
well, there goes my weekend
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Japan Expo Awards Winners

The French-language comics news and clearinghouse ActuaBD.com has a brief report up from the comics part of Japan Expo Awards, given out to various forms of artistic expression including comics at the beginning of the festival. As manga's role at Angouleme has not grown to match its market share, some folks believe that the Expo is a bigger event for those comics in Europe. Also: the reporter seemed to really hate the ceremony, basically accusing it of lifelessness, although there's not a ton of detail. The winners by category are:

image
Prix d'Honneur (Honor Award, For Body Of Work)
* Tsukasa Hôjô: Cat's Eye, City Hunter; Nicky Larson

*****

image
Prix du meilleur Shônen Manga (Best Shônen Manga)
* Black Butler, Yana Toboso (Editions Kana)

*****

image
Prix du meilleur Shôjô Manga (Best Shojo Manga
* Otaku Girls, Natsumi Konjoh (Editions Doki-Doki)

*****

image
Prix du meilleur Seinen Manga (Best Seinen Manga)
* Ikigami, Motorô Mase (Editions Kaze)

*****

image
Prix de la meilleure édition (Best Archival Publication/Overall Presentation?)
* RG Veda Edition Deluxe Clamp (Editions Tonkam)

*****

image
Le Prix de la critique Asie-ACBD (Critics' Prize)
* Pluto, Naoki Urasawa after Osamu Tezuka (Broche)

*****
*****
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Edda Strobl

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bill Aucoin, 1943-2010

imageBill Aucoin, the artistic manager for the band KISS who refined that group's devotion to comic-book style personae including one of the more successful celebrity crossover efforts during one of American comics publishing's most troubling down periods, died on June 28 due to complications from prostate cancer. He is acknowledged as a key player driving much of the band's unlikely, massive success, garnering them their first major record label deal (with Casablanca), supporting them via his own financial contributions (which he recouped via a greater than usual management fee) and fostering an identity above and beyond the music by making a big deal of the band members' various face-painted, on-stage characters by doing things like confiscating film of them without the makeup on. In less sophisticated times when it came to the media coverage of pop culture, the line between fantasy and reality was much more easily blurred. The end result was a heady stew of half-rumors and larger-than-life acting-out that gained the band fans from kids who might generally accept the theatrical aspects as having some real-wold grounding as well as those teenage and older fans who might have a greater appreciation for the grandeur and humor of KISS' naked pursuit of riches, celebrity, and the fruits of arena-rock era traveling-show depravity.

Part of the onslaught of contests and publicity stunts was a pair of comic books from Marvel in 1977 and 1979. The first -- Marvel Comics Super-Special #1 -- was hugely successful both in terms of sales and media attention, and was a concrete boon to a company outright struggling with chaotic newsstand sales and high returns. "Stan Lee, the main man at Marvel, was really good to us. And to have the guys as superheroes in comic form made sense," Aucoin said in an undated interview. Aucoin remains as likely a candidate as anyone for the much-remembered promotional idea for that first comic that the members of the band mix their own blood with the red ink. "For the first special, we mixed in Kiss' own blood with the red ink. We took this to the printing press, and poured it in ourselves." Aucoin was also one of those who believed the blood-infused ink was redirected to an issue of Sports Illustrated and never made it into the comic book at all.

Aucoin was 66 years old.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Under The Sea

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Local Media Interview With Doonesbury’s Garry Trudeau

image

It's material that might be covered in the second or third section of a Gary Groth interview were Garry Trudeau to ever do one, but for now we have to take bits and pieces where we can about things like where the cartoonist grew up and how he's oriented towards those places still. Trudeau is in the Saranac Lake area using some of the facilities his family has there to hold a symposium on the veterans' issues on which he so strongly advocates. Those issues aren't only hugely and obviously important in and of themselves but from a comics standpoint have come to be the dominant signifier of Doonesbury in its fourth decade of publication, an achievement most folks paying attention to comics has yet to stop and consider in its breadth and depth.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Richard Corben Movies

image
Domingos Isabelinho sent me this link; thanks, Domingos
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

image
 
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Coo Coo Comics #28-03

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sherm Falls In Love

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Gunnvor The Sorceress

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Haunted Millionaire

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden are near to completion on How To Read Nancy and need some archival help from some of you nice folks.

image* holy crap, it's Kevin Huizenga's next book!

* not comics: Marc Webb's Spider-Man IV: We Make You Feel Really Old. Seriously, Even If You're Like 25 This Will Make You Feel At Least A Little Bit Old has its Peter Parker.

* for some reason, I stopped visiting Robert Boyd's site for a while. I do that sometimes. He's had a bunch of intriguing comics-related blog posts up lately, including this one on abecedaria, this one on the comics of artist Ali Fitzgerald, and this one on comics at a local art space. Sorry, Robert. Sorry, everybody.

* Mr. Boyd also recommends this essay by Max Weintraub on "Representing The Holocaust Through Comics."

* before you take off for the holiday weekend you'll definitely want to download this interview with Kim Thompson about Jacques Tardi and take it with you. Kim knows way more about European comics and speaks way more languages than any podcast titan you'd care to name.

* the writer and critic Ken Parille analyzes a recent piece of accidental fumetti.

* the cartoonist Darryl Cunningham provides references on his recent strip about homeopathy.

* finally, the artist Gene Colan is putting up a bunch of pages from Captain America #601 for sale. Some of the best artists I know own an original Gene Colan.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Eight By Richard Thompson

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Ghosts
Rot Room
TV Dinner
Ted Dawson Draws Old-Timey Wonder Woman

Exhibits/Events
Drinking And Inking Returns
Mark Evanier On Transit At Comic-Con

History
That IS A Cute Scene
DC Is All About The Pants
Subtle Schulz Expressions
Five Random Wonder Woman Pictures

Industry
She Is A Bad Fan Customer
He Is A Bad Comics Blogger
Bob's Professional Life Updated
I'm Not Sure What 2/3 Of These Words Mean

Interviews/Profiles
Word Balloon: Jason Aaron
Tall Tale Radio: Piers Baker

Not Comics
Dear Nancy
Well, That's Just Adorable
Puzzle Agent Is Now Available
They're Doing A Film Version Of Yellow Wallpaper?

Publishing
Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1 Previewed
Praise For New Rocketeer Edition From IDW
Rick Veitch Talks About Work He's Recently Done

Reviews
Nina Stone: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
The Comic Book Club: Various
Sarah Morean: Batcave Beach #1
Chris Sims: Invincible Iron Man Annual #1
Todd Klein: Astro City: Dark Age Vol. 4 #2-4
Marc-Oliver Frisch: Werewolves Of Montpellier
 

 
20 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
July 1, 2010


The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: News On Cons, Shows & Major Events

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* nice catch by Sean T. Collins that Marvel has ended their officially relationship with the Wizard Entertainment shows as currently constituted. Collins also notes with some bemusement that Wizard is still claiming attendance figures for its shows that no one else on earth believes are true.

* Michael Cieply has an article up on the Hollywood/Comic-Con connection at the New York Times that I was informed was some sort of "why the hell are they still going to Comic-Con when it doesn't directly lead to your having a hit" article, but on actually reading it seems much more fair-minded than that. The truth is that marketing people have no idea what's going to work most of the time, and now that taking something to Comic-Con might be argued to work for a few pictures, it makes sense that some people are going to try it. I think that's about as deep as I'd go with the analysis, except maybe to point out that once something gets established there are sometimes strategic reasons for pursuing a marketing strategy that have little to do with marketing strategy, such as giving a troubled film a vote of confidence or showing a certain director or producer support. I imagine there are as many reasons to have a film at Comic-Con as there are films.

* Bob Greenberger read the same article I did, and has a longer and more rational reaction. He points out like I do that CCI has had non-comics movie-related stuff there since the beginning, although he goes further and names a name of a film that was screened there to start buzz.

* this is going to sound dumb, because I'm not really a film guy, but it struck me writing those last two posts that I used to like sitting at the back of some of the movie panels and checking out an entirely different vibe and I sort of miss doing that at Comic-Con. Not a lot, but still. I think this film was the last film where I was still able to walk in and grab a seat for a minute. Now I don't even see the film stuff beyond sometimes spying various movie and TV people in random places.

* part of the Daily Cross Hatch interview with Dustin Harbin will get into his leaving Heroes Aren't Hard To Find and HeroesCon. In the latter position he had been like the alt-comics host to end all hosts, so I know a lot of cartoonists will take note of that departure.

* as expected, tickets and hotels have been made available as the convention approaches, primarily, I think, from people that canceled before a non-refundable period kicked in. The ad at the very top of this column should take you to some of it, and tooling around on the CCI web site should take you to the rest of it. CCI sent out an e-mail yesterday morning directing people to the CCI hotel reservations part of the Travel Planners site. There are any number of hotel rooms away from downtown, and a couple hotels -- the US Grant, the Doubletree -- in downtown. The US Grant in particular is a lovely hotel.

* I don't know if I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but this bit of "Comics Is A Small Multiverse" information recently came to mind again: the strip cartoonist Richard Thompson attended at least one convention at the University of Maryland... organized by future Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth.

* finally, I'm not sure of much of anything going on convention-wise this weekend out side of Anime Expo in LA, which probably means I'm missing some giant European convention. This is sort of noteworthy in that July 4 used to be the weekend of the big Chicago show -- that's changed forever since then. I guess being nostalgic for a show on that date is like being nostalgic for Thanksgiving evening wrestling extravaganzas. It's just a different world, now.
 
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Early Stanley Little Lulu

image
 
posted 10:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Jerm Ghanian Flag Cartoon Hits Nerve

image

The confluence of this year's World Cup taking place in South Africa, a region of the world rich with influential cartoonists, and the World Cup itself as a step back and smile subject for the myriad of nations competing (the worst showing at the World Cup would seem to be less depressing than the destruction of all life in the Gulf Of Mexico) seemed to promise some sort of breakout cartoon or a dozen. Other than a cartoon stuffed with coffins to represent the lifeless Italian team that pissed off one of that team's members, the first one to make a news impression is the above redrawing of the Ghanian flag by South African cartoonist Jerm -- placing all of Africa at the center of the flag in a way that represents how nations all over the continent might rally behind the remaining nation that calls it home. I would imagine Ghana has to keep advancing for the cartoon to steamroll, though.
 
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Woman Wonder

image
Every major change in an iconic superhero's life should come with a check-back at whatever Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder might have done with them. "Woman Wonder" is one of their best because it nails the super-troubling parts of that character's appeal in a way it's hard to shake.
 
posted 9:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* only one this time out, and from a tangent to the main Danish Cartoons story, but a fairly major development in that tangent: the pair of brothers accused of setting fire to the home of artist Lars Vilks, in part because of a cartoon sketch he drew with Muhammed's head on the body of a dog, were formally indicted on charges of arson yesterday. The rigor of the case against the two brothers would be humorous if not for the intentions involves.
 
posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Flash Gordon #1

image
 
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Apple Rejects Cagle Woods App

Daryl Cagle reports that Apple has once again rejected a Tiger Woods-related cartoon iPhone app, confusing in that Apple had recently supposedly refined their policy away from an injunction against the ridicule of public figures the way it's practiced by editorial cartoonists like Cagle and those in his syndicate.

I think Sam Diaz has a balanced summary of both Michael Cavna's call to arms and the forces that have driven him to make that call -- I don't know too many people sympathetic to the cartoonists' position that have described the motivation for Apple's initial policy in positive terms. He's also right in describing the importance of these devices as avenues of distribution, and in pointing out that the overall goal needs to be pressing Apple into consistency and clarity in terms of policy as opposed to fighting over each instance of denial that seems to offend our inner sense of what that policy needs to be.
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Quaking Horror

image
 
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Funky Winkerbean May Have Died In That Auto Accident After All

imageSo I guess the ongoing storyline in Funky Winkerbean has potentially cast him in a fuzzy purgatory devoid of human contact, kind of like the newspaper cartoon pages themselves these days. Okay, that crack makes little to no sense, but it seemed like some attempt at a joke was required there. Anyway, not since Gasoline Alley a few years back -- and, for that matter, the highly dour Funky Winkerbean itself for a few years now -- has the potential death of a major character been turned into an ongoing narrative. I fully approve. Kill them all.

A side entertainment here, of course, is to enjoy the agitation expressed by the writer originally covering this as a story, a common ailment for writers once they start biting into storylines.
 
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Mr. Magoo One-Pager

image
 
posted 6:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: More 1974 SDCC Photos

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Two By Wally Wood

image
I'll get over my current Wally Wood fixation soon; thanks for bearing with me
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Space War No More

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: I Wake Up… Screaming!

image
 
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* DC Comics has shut down its Zuda Comics site and has folded some of those comics it's produced thus far and the entirety of the general publishing mission into elements of its new on-line digital initiative, according to a terse press release this morning. There is a post about the future of Zuda here that explains the move, which to me seems basically moving away from the standard on-line/free/community building model that Zuda shared with a lot of standard webcomics and towards a more general use of on-line publishing utilizing its brands. They do have a bunch more titles planned, but I'm not sure how these have any pride of place within the overall DC efforts -- I guess they could also be rebranded as Wildstorm or Vertigo efforts if they don't remain Zuda efforts -- and I'm not sure how moving from a free model to a pay one benefits such efforts. Zuda had recently dumped its contest-submissions process and had yet to announce a new submissions process. The person who e-mailed me about this suggested without saying so outright that creators were told only this morning, which would be alarming on one hand but since it means it was immediately leaked sort of understandable.

* speaking of on-line initiatives, I thought this had already been reported, but I guess I was wrong: Dark Horse is taking its on-line magazine Dark Horse Presents back into its own web site, along with a more direct blogging news presence. It had previously been in the virtual Detroit that is MySpace.com.

image* the cartoonist Theo Ellsworth spent the other day playing print fairy.

* the retailer Brian Hibbs' latest round-up review includes a bit on that Mark Millar guest-edited issue of Wizard that I'd completely forgotten was coming out. Hey, if nothing else, Wizard's remaining readers get to consume this Wally Wood 101 article.

* we're glad to hear that the writer Peter David is feeling better and we agree with his advice about any and all serious pains. Like any pain that would make you feel bad if a tiny loved one had that same pain, go get checked out.

* an excellent one from Renee French.

* Larry Marder talks about the children's comics exhibit he co-curated; as does Stan Sakai, who has work in it.

* Techland has begun their Scott Pilgrim book club as a lead-in into the film.

* Johanna Draper Carlson asks if people are buying fewer comics in a recession. I think I am, for sure.

* if you stop and think about it, Crystal is the ultimate exchange student fantasy.

* finally, the fine comics and pop culture blogger Steven Thompson is starting a little transcription business on the side. I've never done business with Steven, but I know he's nice and I bet he's fair and responsible. Someone providing those services that's not a transcription business focused on legal or medical documents could be a very, very nice thing.
 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 28th Birthday, Lee’s Comics!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 61st Birthday, Mike Baron!

image
 
posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Cincy Comic Expo Report
Go See Paul Hornschemeier

History
Love That Schroeder Face
Mark Evanier Remembers Joseph Messerli
This Guy Really Hates Wonder Woman's Costume
A Look At The Sekowsky Wonder Woman Costumes

Industry
Manga Jiman Competition
Sterling Buying Another Comic Book

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: David Finch
CBR: Paul Cornell
Viceland: Noel Freibert

Not Comics
Rick, Dude, T-Shirt
My Favorite Headline Ever?
Get Well Soon, Mr. Hitchens
Conspiracy Angle To Wonder Woman Changes?

Publishing
Jason Preview
FPI Most Wanted
Translate This Fine Book, Please
JH Williams Talks About His New Work Out
Paul Cornell Talks About His New Work Out

Reviews
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Kate Dacey: Pineapple Army
Todd Klein: Masterpiece Comics
Richard Bruton: Good For Granny
Greg McElhatton: Two Italian Guys
David Brothers Recommends Floppies
Grant Goggans: Strontium Dog: Blood Moon
Sean T. Collins: Shitbeams On The Loose #2
Brian Heater: Billy Hazelnuts And The Crazy Bird
 

 
21 Days Until Comic-Con International

image
 
posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Daily Blog Archives
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
 
Full Archives