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











August 31, 2010


Go, Look: Drew Friedman’s Art-Selection Happy Birthday To The Great R. Crumb

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Comics Distribution To Be 37 Percent Less Randomly Goofy Starting In 2011: Day-Early Shipping

I guess I'm not on the Diamond press release address list, but the best, most succinct write-up including the announcement I've seen is here.

I want to hold off a bit and survey the reaction before I talk about it a bit more, but it sure sounds like a positive to me. For the uninitiated, this means that all comics stores (as opposed to a select group of qualifying larger stores) will have the option of getting the comics intended for Wednesday sale on Tuesday, which should better facilitate the turnaround of comics to stands, improve familiarity with product, and allow stores to better deal with problems in a shipment. Recent trial balloons in terms of individual comics being held -- such as one for the "dead week" late in 2009 -- have assuaged long-standing fears of dozens of retailers pushing for an advantage by releasing the books to select customers a day early. The aging of the retail base -- and the corresponding ability to see long-term benefits over short-term ones -- and fewer shops crowding urban centers (I don't have the science on this, but there sure aren't five comic stores in Seattle's university district any longer) may have once been the case probably contributed as well.

Does anyone think it's funny that this news was not held until the release date?
 
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Go, Download: Dan Raeburn’s The Imp

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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's 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 if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would sweep into the store, cloak in hand, take off my mask and declare, "I have arrived."

*****

JUL100069 AMAZING SCREW ON HEAD & OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS HC $17.99
JUL100073 BALTIMORE PLAGUE SHIPS #2 $3.50
JUL100072 HELLBOY THE STORM #3 (OF 3) $2.99

That is a lot of Mike Mignola-related material. He's become sort of a mini-publishing mogul, at least as far as comics lets you do that before you start breaking out the sweatshop floorplans.

MAR100143 UMBRELLA ACADEMY POCKET WATCH & STATUE SET $129.99
If I were going to be beat up for owning one nerdly object, I would hope it was a pocket watch. A fez wouldn't be bad, either.

JUL100110 BRIGHTEST DAY #9 $2.99
Do do sales relative to the last event series prove once and for all that comics fans would rather see characters die than brought back to life?

APR100462 KING CITY #11 (MR) $2.99
People are going to be digging into back-issue bins after this one for a while to come.

JUL100598 TASKMASTER #1 (OF 4) $3.99
I like a villain where the secret to defeating him is to not let him take video of you on his camera phone.

JUL100615 THOR FOR ASGARD #1 (OF 6) $3.99
It feels like there's something wrong with the market where folding extra series into the publishing mix makes sense give the relatively modest numbers these series are selling. It's like if TV somehow made it worth one's time to do multiple series spin-offs of shows like According To Jim. Wouldn't we think it strange if there were four According To Jim series and one-offs going at the same time? I think we would.

JUL101038 AMULET SC VOL 03 CLOUD SEARCHERS $10.99
More people may read this book than any three other books on the list combined.

JUL100741 ANTHOLOGY PROJECT HC VOL 01 (MR) $24.99
Humorous description of comic.

JUN100998 DRUNKEN DREAM & OTHER STORIES HC $24.99
The class of this week's offering, an engaging selection of stories from a very talented creator. The history, but the stories just work as weird, little stories.

JUL100890 LIFE & TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK HC VOL 01 (AUG090745) $24.99
I don't understand what permutation of this work is being published and at what point and where it all fits in with past publication efforts on this material, but it's really good stuff. If I were in a comic shop, I'd totally be checking this one out.

JUL101162 STITCHES GN $15.95
I had no idea that a paperback version of last year's well-liked and well-regarded book was due. Well, here it is. I like this cover better.

*****

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, that's because I'm busy being fearful of the new realities of comics publishing.

*****

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Go, Look: Val Mayerik’s Tribute Painting Of His Friend, The Late Steve Gerber

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Gerber's actually on the right; I just thought that was a splendid-looking Howard. Click through for the full image.
 
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R.P. Overmyer, 19??-2010

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Darryl Cagle reports that cartoonist RP Overmyer has passed away due to complications from diabetes.

Overmyer was a longtime LA-based cartoonist and designer. His newspaper clients included LA Weekly and the San Jose Metro Weekly; his animation employers included Fox and Universal Studios.

He may be best known for his Hollywood Dog feature, which was nationally syndicated in its current, political-cartoon form since I believe January 2006 and included the Los Angeles Times among its clients. The feature was originally a comic strip for the Los Angeles Reader, was trademarked for t-shirt production in 1989, and was briefly the basis for a television show in the post-Simpsons 1990s. That show appeared in 1993 and feature Simpsons utility performer Hank Azaria as the voice of the title character.

A large gallery of Hollywood Dog movie-still parodies can also be found on the Hollywood Dog site. Another panel strip by Overmyer called The Gray Area, copyrighted for 2000, can be found here in animated form. A large commercial art gallery indicates the breadth of Overmyer's career as a designer and illustrator; I think this may be a poster/print of Overmyer's.

Overmyer's last cartoon appeared through syndication partner Cagle on August 10.

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Go, Book: Jack Burnley Ruled

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Oskar Forsgren, 1986-2010

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The Swedish cartoonist and illustrator Oksar Forsgren has died, according to word passed along by Joakim Gunnarsson and confirmed in the comments thread by someone speaking to a family member.

imageA young cartoonist who was beginning to score professional opportunities in illustration and in comics, Forsgren placed work long-running and now defunct children's publication Bamse. He won the professional class cartooning contest held by the magazine Herman Hedning for two comedy series entries, Hundliv and Ledans Lustgard. He placed illustrations and comics in the Vasterbotten Courier and provided advertising-related drawings to a company called Stockholm Design.

In his blog, Forsgren talked about a variety of projects both picture-books and comics amid a torrent of posts detailing anecdotes from his personal life, analyzing other cartoonists, and even describing a rejection or two. He cited Blankets as a favorite comics memoir.

A service will be held on September 17.

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Go, Look: Young Wally Wood Art?

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Go, Look: Not Brand Ecch! #3

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

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Go, Look: John Romita Fantasy Art

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Go, Look: Funnyman #4

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Go, Look: The Walnuts

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Go, Look: Dagwood Comics #47

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Gary Tyrrell picks up on some good news -- the Ted Rall/Matt Bors/Steven Cloud cartooning team is out of war-torn Afghanistan and into politically torn but decidedly much safer Iran. That's nice to hear.

image* as if solely to please me, TCJ offers up a short talk between Anne Ishii and Johnny Ryan on Detroit Metal City.

* are two Batmen better than one? I think every town in the DCU should have at least two Batmen: one to fight crime, and one to get hit in the balls.

* even better than a conference in conjunction with NYCC would be to announce such a thing in a timely enough fashion that the folks who don't live in New York City who have to make their travel arrangements more than five weeks in advance could have attended -- doing so automatically just in case there's a conference could put you in town a day early with nothing to do (as was the case with the conference-less CCI this year). Luckily, no one covering comics lives outside of New York.

* he still talks like this at times.

* I kind of enjoyed this look at the Harvey Awards' best new talent winners. Not a Starland Vocal Band, Christopher Cross or Milli Vanilli in the bunch.

* this is really cute if the reference comes easily to you, and still pretty cute if you have to have it explained to you.

* finally, I'm saving up this Guardian profile of Posy Simmonds until I make a really good cup of coffee.
 
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Happy 64th Birthday, Rick Parker!

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Quick hits
Craft
Retailer Envelope Art
Gabriel Hardman Sketches

Exhibits/Events
Go See Kim Deitch
Brett Warnock Reports From Minneapolis

History
It Was A Good Two Years, Mike
On Action Comics Weekly #603

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jen Wang
CBR: Fabian Nicieza
Washington Post Frank Cho
Associated Press: Mort Walker
Washington City Paper: Rafer Roberts

Not Comics
I'd Never Leave The Tardis
A State Should Be So Lucky

Publishing
New Leon And Beyond
New Webcomics From Howard Hardiman
Paul Pope Surprised Richard Bruton, Too

Reviews
Dave Ferraro: Various
Rob Clough: Werewolf!
Sean T. Collins: Set To Sea
Andrew Wheeler: Low Moon
Andrew Wheeler: Weathercraft
Greg McElhatton: The Playwright
Sean Gaffney: A Drunken Dream
Kumar Sivasubramanian: Various
Kumar Sivasubramanian: 2001 #2
Alex Carr: The Amazing Screw-On Head
Matthias Wivel: Vent Frais, Vent Du Matin
Kumar Sivasubramanian: Jonah Hex #50
Richard Bruton: The City Of Shifting Waters
Rob Clough: The Complete Peanuts, 1977-1978
Grant Goggans: The ABC Warriors: The Meknificent Seven
Kumar Sivasubramanian: GI Joe Comics Magazine #1-4, 6, 13
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 30, 2010


A Massive Essay On The Concept Of Free

imageJust kidding! It's still summer. I'm not going to bore anyone with a long essay on the pay-model vs. free-model debate and all its various business and cultural permutations, even though the massive set of cascading issues flared up over the weekend via comments by Mark Waid at the Harveys and a privately-directed rebuttal by Sergio Aragones. Not while there are matinee movies to see and rivers to tumble down in one's inner tube. If you want to read around on the matter, though, let me suggest a few things.

* first of all, to my reading Sergio's criticism wasn't as much an indictment of the various give-it-away-for-free models in and of themselves but a warning as to the ramifications of such models for the wider industry in which they continue to take hold. You can't just point at a list of people making money that way and saying, "See? It works! Sit down, you appealing yet clearly fearful-of-the-future giant of our industry!" It's a different argument. To pretend there are no ramifications to the introduction of a new set of reward models seems to me as dubious as pretending that there aren't people seeing varying levels of success with said models.

* second, we're working from a lot of incomplete information. The things we don't know about these new models -- how many people can sustain themselves that way, how much they're dependent on pushing against pay-for models, what the expectations are for top earners over time -- may outweigh what we do know. This uncertainty provides rhetorical benefits to both sides, incidentally. There's also a lack of information about where the money goes in a lot of the long-existing models.

* third, I think it's perfectly reasonable to decide that the extremists on both ends of protection/free arguments are douchebags, that Superman and Mickey Mouse should have fallen back into the public domain around noon yesterday but that those people that scan entire comics and put them up on-line should be discouraged and dissuaded. Beware anyone who brings 2002 Internet argumentation confidence to these issues on one side or the other.

* fourth, beware overvaluing the inevitability argument. Some things are inevitable, other aren't, and most things develop from a combination of the actual inevitable things about them and the choices made by people one way or the other. If what seemed inevitable were always so, comic books would have ceased to exist three times between 1958 and now.

* fifth, please keep in mind creators rights elements to this discussion. If you believe that creators have the ultimate right to decide how to conduct business on their own behalf, and this right to self-direction should be honored, you get rid of a lot of the dorm-room presumption that comes from what I consider a warped view of the primacy of consumerism.
 
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Go, Look: Michel Fiffe’s BCC Finds

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I love it when people examine a comics convention in terms of the books and comics purchased there. It's not only visually interesting, but it reminds us what was once the primary reason a lot of folks visited such shows, and perhaps even in this age of on-line back-issue ordering and Amazon.com still do: to find comics they can't find in their local shops. Anyway, the belle of the ball of the images posted is a Bob Haney/Alex Toth story, but it's so short I didn't want to draw any attention away from it by re-posting a significant percentage of it here.
 
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Go, Read: George Herriman LAT Profile

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CR used to spend a considerable amount of time draw attention to the "local cartoonist profile" -- you don't usually get them from the major papers, though, and they tend not to be done about those long gone
 
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The Continuing Potency Of Naji al-Ali

What's striking about this long article discussing various accusations against political authorities on the general issue of suppressing Palestinian demonstrations is that one of the events that led to the protests being staged was apparently something in memory of the cartoonist Naji al-Ali, who was assassinated in 1987 in London. I'm probably being hyper-sensitive, but it's weird to me that al-Ali would be the subject of such a memorial about a month after the anniversary of his death. This leads me to think it's a pretty potent symbol that can be used as the reason for a demonstration in a floating, capricious way like that. I'm likely wrong.
 
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Go, Look: Kirby Birthday Tributes

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Carsten Juste, Kurt Westergaard and Flemming Rose are still on the official al Qaeda death list, the Copenhagen Post reports. It's done so casually it's easy to ignore, but this kind of thing proves that it's arbitrary, grinding politics as usual. On a list made up because of rigid, principled religion objection, Westergaard wouldn't be singled out of all the cartoonists.

* posters seeking to get their viewers to "lighten up" have been ripped down from some of the places they were hung around Auckland. Included among the equal-opportunity offerings are posters featuring the Pope as a pedophile and Muhammad as a suicide bomber.

* so apparently a new Flemming Rose book will include the cartoons; this article looks at potential Danish industry ramifications.
 
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Go, Look: Read Comics In Public Day

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Go, Read: Snoopy’s Hopack

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Your 2009 Harvey Award Winners

This year's Harvey Awards, honoring work completed and published during the calendar year 2010, were given out this weekend in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con.

A humanitarian award named after the late Dick Giordano and a lifetime achievement award bearing the name of the Hero Initiative charity were also given out at the ceremony, hosted by the cartoonist Scott Kurtz.

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

[Editor's Note: I think that's Janson inking Romita Jr.; if it isn't, someone please tell me and direct me to some Janson-inked ASM!]

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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BEST NEW SERIES
* Batman And Robin (DC Comics)
* Chew (Image Comics)
* Irredeemable (BOOM! Studios)
* Sweet Tooth (Vertigo/DC Comics)
* Unwritten (Vertigo/DC Comics)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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)

*****

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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 Huizenga (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)

*****

1st ANNUAL DICK GIORDANO HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR
Tim Sale, Jerry Robinson

THE HERO INITIATIVE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Walt Simonson

*****
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Go, Look: The Best Kinds Of Comics Are Henry Wallace Comics

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Louie Lou

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warning: potentially unfortunate racial/ethnic depiction
 
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Go, Look: Dagar The Invincible

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Go, Look: Li’l Tomboy

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Go, Look: Varying Shades Of Wood

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* if I'm reading this correctly, the Leclerc family has started a foundation devoted to modern art and comics, which may involve the employment of the family's massive collection of original art and a building/some property they're currently not using.

* the artist -- and comics author -- James Romberger has written a long post about the failure to properly credit comics illustrators as authors of the work they're helping create.

image* every year when CR's randomly selected Jack Kirby art tribute goes up on the King's birthday, there's one panel or one sequence that ends up blowing me away. As I recall, last year it was this weird three-panel sequence of people leaving Darkseid behind done in a way that made Darkseid look like a divorced dad watching a station wagon full of kids heading back to their mother. This year it's a single panel from I believe the first Hulk adventure where Kirby has the monster lurching off into the distance at story's end. The choice to have the Hulk pitch forward in the second panel instead of continuing to rumble square-shouldered and Tor Johnson-style towards the horizon is inspired. You get this sense of the monster hurt, suffering: he looks like Lawrence Tierney leaving the scene of a horrifying car accident, not some super-powered body-builder raging off into the night. But the anger is there, too, a fury that makes arms and legs work when they maybe shouldn't. It's easy to understand why Rick Jones would want to follow him: the Hulk looks totally jacked up. Hell, I want to follow him. Kirby communicates most of this with a choice or two of what he's going to show and then a few lines on that left leg to really plant it in the ground. Compare that to the end of the last Hulk movie where with all of this history available to them and tens of millions of dollars we get a CGI cartoon doing parkour through the rubble, and if you're like me you'll shake your head in amazement at the unmatched original. Long live the King of Comics.

* the writer Chris Mautner suggests how to read Harvey Pekar.

* the artist Frank Santoro writes eloquently about the value of naturalism in comics art.

* not comics: Stephen Frears' adaptation of Tamara Drewe is opening up in theaters sooner rather than later this Fall. Advance word is that it's an art-house crowd-pleaser; I hope this means that the book will be a presence in shops through the Fall shopping season.

* Paul Gravett profiles Viz.

* finally, the critic Richard Bruton talks enthusiastically about the late Mike Parobeck, a very talented early practitioner of the "cartoony" style of mainstream adventure comics making and someone worth seeking out in quarter bins and back-issue sales if you like that kind of art and that kind of story.

 
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 67th Birthday, R. Crumb!

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posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 64th Birthday, Jacques Tardi!

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posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Ken Bruzenak!

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posted 2:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
History
His Vampirella Letter
Doom: Better With Pimp Cup
Deciphering The DC Universe
Discussion Questions For Wally Gropius

Interviews/Profiles
Flog!: Charles Schneider
Newsarama: Dan Jurgens
Newsarama: Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore
Robot 6: The Kyoto International Manga Museum

Publishing
Preview Of Parker/Hardman Hulk
Someone Please Publish This Awesome Book

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Jen Vaughn: Don Flowers
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Leroy Douresseaux: RIP, MD
Grant Goggans: Beasts Of Burden: Animal Rites
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 29, 2010


Go, Read: Honk And Wave

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 11:25 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 50th Birthday, Mark Heath!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #224—WACs

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Writers About Comics You Like That Aren't On CR's Home Team Of Tom Spurgeon And Bart Beaty." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dan Nadel
2. Gary Groth
3. R. Fiore
4. Donald Phelps
5. Bob Levin

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Gary Usher

1. Gary Groth
2. Paul Gravett
3. R.C. Harvey
4. Dale Luciano
5. John Wells

*****

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Richard Pachter

* Tim Callahan
* Douglas Wolk
* Heidi MacDonald
* Kelson Vibber
* Robby Reed (Kirk Kimbal)

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J. Colussy-Estes

1. Shaenon Garrity
2. Abhay Khosla
3. Dirk Deppey
4. Jason Thompson
5. Tucker & Nina Stone

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Justin J. Major

1. Roy Thomas
2. Mark Evanier
3. Mike Sterling
4. Tom Katers
5. Bully, The Little Stuffed Bull

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Tom Mason

* Gary Tyrrell @Fleen
* Mike Sterling
* Heidi MacDonald
* Lew Stringer
* Bully

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Michael Grabowski

* Eddie Campbell
* Dave Sim
* Jeet Heer
* art spiegelman
* Seth

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John Vest

1. R C Harvey
2. Ron Goulart
3. Douglas Wolk
4. Steven Grant
5. Rob Clough

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Jude Killory

1. Kent Worcester
2. Frank Santoro
3. Jeet Heer
4. Todd Hignite
5. Donald Phelps

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Douglas Wolk
2. Tucker Stone
3. Jog
4. Greg Hatcher
5. Tim Callahan

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Grant Goggans

1. Alan David Doane
2. Dan Nadel
3. Dave Merrill and Shaindle Minuk
4. Hillary Brown and Garrett Martin
5. Johanna Draper Carlson

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Mark Coale

1. Jess Nevins
2. Heidi MacDonald
3. Paul O'Brien
4. Steven Grant
5. Tim Callahan

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Robert Stanley Martin

1. Carter Scholz
2. Rob Rodi
3. Caroline Small
4. Gary Groth
5. Noah Berlatsky

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Chris Keels

* Carter Scholz
* R. Fiore
* Joe "Jog" McCulloch
* Jesse Fuchs
* Tom Crippen

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Dane Martin

* Blaise Larmee
* Jason Overby
* Mark Kausler
* Frank Santoro
* Jesse McManus

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John Platt

1. Douglas Wolk
2. Rob Clough
3. Stephen Bissette
4. Peter Gutierrez
5. Booksteve

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Brian Moore

1. Shaenon Garrity
2. Jog
3. Lewis Trondheim (I'm thinking of his "At Loose Ends," published in MOME)
4. Eddie Campbell
5. Jeet Heer

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Aaron White

1. Noah Berlatsky. He's like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead.
2. Tom Crippen. Ditto.
3. Matt Seneca.
4. Frank Santoro.
5. Joe McCulloch, natch.

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Johnny Bacardi

Current favorites include, in no order other than when I thought of them:

1. Joe McCulloch
2. Bill Sherman
3. Scott Cederlund
4. Evan Dorkin
5. David Brothers

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Matt Silvie

* Bob Levin
* Shaenon Garrity
* Rob Clough
* Kent Worcester
* Ng Suat Tong

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Frank Santoro
2. Todd Klein
3. Frank M. Young
4. Sarah Morean
5. Bully

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Tony Collett

1. Dirk Deppey
2. Brian Cronin
3. Greg Hatcher
4. Beau Smith
5. Robert Greenberger

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Dan Nadel
* Tim Hodler
* Frank Santoro
* Joe McCulloch
* Brian Chippendale

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. Frank Santoro
2. Derik Badman
3. Jog
4. Charles Hatfield
5. Gary Groth

*****

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William Burns

* Joe McCulloch
* Abhay Khosla
* Mark Evanier
* Alan Moore
* Scott McCloud

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Mark Evanier
2. Josh Fruhlinger
3. Valerie D'Orazio
4. Mike Sterling
5. Scott Shaw!

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Diana Tamblyn

1. Heidi McDonald
2. Frank Santoro
3. Jeet Heer
4. Alan David Doane
5. Chris Butcher

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Thanks to everyone that participated. Judging from the quality of these photos, I subconsciously hate everyone in my peer group. Sorry, peer group! Please imagine everyone 150 percent more attractive.

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posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 28, 2010


Jack Kirby, The King of Comics, Would Have Been 93 Years Old Today

Jack Kirby, the mighty heart of the American comic book industry, would have been 93 years old today. Below is a tiny, even insignificant sample of his awesome image-making power, many of which were culled from around the Internet, for your ruminative and reflective pleasure. Long live the King.

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 21 to August 27, 2010:

1. Tom Hart and Leela Corman announce intention to open Florida-based cartooning school.

2. Besieged cartoonist Molly Norris concedes she's under FBI protection.

3. Daryl Cagle blasts a government official for using an altered version of one of cartoons.

Winners Of The Week
The students that will learn in this setting.

Loser Of The Week
That guy.

Quote Of The Week
"Comics...you know I love you, but sometimes I fucking hate you."-- Kiel Phegley

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

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posted 12:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 54th Birthday, Benoit Peeters!

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posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 39th Birthday, Joann Sfar!

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posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 35th Birthday, Elijah Brubaker!

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posted 12:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 12:05 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 27, 2010


OTBP: THP Comics From Mars #2

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this popped up earlier this week on the AdHouse site; I had no idea such a thing was coming out
 
posted 12:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Molly Norris Interview

There's a dollop of boring political talk buoying this interview about Molly Norris, the cartoonist whose reference to a "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" idea in a cartoon she made became a cause against her will and put her on a death list. I can't imagine anything in the world I care less about than whether or not this poor woman's plight reflects poorly on Seattle-area liberal politicians -- I think that what has happened to Norris should be of equal concern to all Americans regardless of political perspective. (The writer also suggests a reasonable alternative theory than one breaking across political lines, that Seattle is a city where no one deals with anyone else's problems, almost as a point of pride.) Still, shame on any politician that hasn't reached out to her, no matter how they lean. There's also a little bit of silliness where instead of saying they met at a coffeehouse that won't be named for her safety the writer puts it as "a secret, undisclosed coffeehouse" which sounds like they're meeting in a Starbucks in the nuclear fallout shelter underneath the Greenbriar in 1962.

And yet, all my bitching and moaning aside, I'm grateful Norris was willing to talk to someone, and I'm grateful that it was published so that maybe she can get help and support beyond the FBI protection she's received. The fact that an army of gleeful dumbasses had their little free speech stunt and this woman suffers for it the rest of her life is a painful reminder that Jyllands-Posten had their free speech stunt that started a chain of events they couldn't control and people died because of it. How about no more stunts for a while?
 
posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Unfinished Dik Browne?

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Shueisha: Year-End Losses For First Time

According to a post at Anime News Network, major Japanese publisher Shueisha reported that it lost $49 million USD during its most recent fiscal year, ending May 31, 2010. It was the first time the publisher had ever announced year-end losses, and the fourth year in a row it had announced declining revenues.

Culprits were believed to be a decline in real-estate holdings and a singificant drop in advertising revenue. Magazine and book volume sales rose.

Shueisha joins Kodansha (November 2009) and Shogakukan (February 2010) as publishers showing a loss in recent fiscal years.
 
posted 11:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Fight-Filled MOKF #22

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posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
My Cage Fails To Sustain Syndication

In a pair of interviews following announcing the news via I believe social networking tools, My Cage co-creator Ed Power talks about the details of his strip's failure to find enough syndication partners to make it viable for King Features to continue on with it. Power says that the feature suffered the modest drop a lot of comics saw during the worst days of the still-ongoing newspaper industry crisis, but that in the case of My Cage, this pushed them from the holding-steady-and-gaining-momentum ranks and into the now-on-life-support level (mid-forties to mid-teens). I think that particular development makes the story more than another strip failing to catch on -- the cost to many newspaper strips right now from everything going on in the economy generally and newspaper industry specifically seems to be either a small bump downward or an inability to take that next, logical client-generating step.

The last syndicated episode of My Cage runs October 31.
 
posted 11:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Chris Sims Recommends Five Image Comics For The iPad

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: USA Today Starts Reorganization Towards Mobile Content

It's hard to judge which news story concerning re-organization type initiatives are actual news and which ones received too much emphasis due to the current financial difficulties facing that industry. Reading this one felt like being punched in the comic by a pre-teen, as opposed to being punched by an adult or a robot from the future, so I'm going to mention it here. Apparently, USA Today is in the first stages of a massive reorganization that will orient what it does away from a print paper -- or even its equivalency on-line -- and towards the production of news content for mobile device. This will institute not just layoffs but a restructuring of how they do things editorially, moving away from the current sectioned-paper approach. I lack any perspective on where USA Today stands in the overall landscape of things -- I can remember a survey from 1985, but I hope to God those truths no longer apply -- to the extent I'd feel comfortable making a broader statement, an industry statement, but as far as the history of that publication, it sounds potentially huge. I'm also a fan of the Life section editor heading up the new editorial operation, because it's hilariously what every grumpy old man and newspaper lover would predict.
 
posted 11:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Can You ID This Art?

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posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Joker And Lex

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Etta Kett & Parody

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Three Mouseketeers #3

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Go, Look: Our Love Story #18

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Image joins the customized downloadable application for various digital platforms crowd.

image* some mainstream comics talk worth noting: Jonathan Hickman and Tom Brevoort talk about killing one of the Fantastic Four; a person with the semi-terrifying name of Gavok writes about that thing that writers sometimes do where they'll tease future stories in a single panel that either don't take place or seem odd when the book is canceled and/or moves in another direction.

* a first look at Hope Larson's A Wrinkle In Time.

* not comics: Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I only lived one place where Blockbuster was more viable option than laughable one, and my memory of that particular location is that it was a big pain in the ass that paid its lousy employees nothing. I would also suggest that those weird vending machine rental dealios were probably as big if not bigger a deal for Blockbuster and its multiple copies of current hits strategy as any of the on-line options were.

* I forgot to link to this relatively long thinkpiece on Steve Gerber's comics featuring the Man-Thing character.

* the Small Press Expo (SPX) has announced its programming slate, which I believe is assembled wholly and not just in part by Bill Kartalopoulos. I think it's important for show of this size to have a rigorous programming dimension, because the room itself is pretty small compared to big comics shows -- if you want to spend a day at an SPX or MoCCA Festival rather than a couple of hours, programming needs to be a part of it. It looks like a good slate of stuff, with a bunch of quality spotlights.

* not comics: the BBC has a Scott Pilgrim-related slideshow up coinciding with the film's opening in that country.

* finally, the Comics Comics Comic-Book Club has settled onto Alan Moore's The Courtyard for its new book.
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 32nd Birthday, Matt Wiegle!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 64th Birthday, Denis Kitchen!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Phil Hester!

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Quick hits
Craft
On Cliffhangers

Exhibits/Events
Minneapolis Indie Xpo Report

History
Wertham Was Right
On The Professor's Daughter
Doctor Strange As Quick Thinker

Industry
Tubby's Biggest Fan
This Guy Can't Stop Buying Comics
How Frequently Should Kids' Comics Appear?

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Rick Remender
Inkstuds: Sonja Ahlers
Mr. Media: Denis Kitchen
Daily Cross Hatch: John Porcellino
TFAW: Daren White, Eddie Campbell
Graphic Novels & Manga: Josh Neufeld

Not Comics
Wait... That's Bob!
She Saw Scott Pilgrim
Scott Pilgrim On-Set Photos
Ed Sizemore On Satoshi Kon
Avengers West Coast Rap Mixtape

Publishing
What Looks Good In October
Panels From A Comic Book I Never Heard Of

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Matt Seneca: Various
Byron Kerman: Elmer
Peter Suderman: Ex Machina
Richard Bruton: Moomin Vol. 5
Lori Henderson: Bakuman Vol. 1
Andrew Wheeler: The Playwright
Sean T. Collins: Second Thoughts
David L. Ulin: Drinking At The Movies
Steven Thompson: The Thin Black Line
Sean Gaffney: Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 2
Greg McElhatton: Dungeons And Dragons #0
Michael C. Lorah: The Newsboy Legion Vol. 1
Richard Bruton: The Dreams Of Secret Cinema
Dan Nadel: Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Daughters Of The Dragons: Samurai Bullets
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 26, 2010


Go, Look: A Tubby Adventure

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend it's Baltimore, a well-regarded regional con with I believe pretty much a strict comics focus. As you can tell by following that link, the Harveys will be named as well during a ceremony in which emcee Scott Kurt is expected to kill as much as he did last year.

* Ford is making a donation to the Hero Initiative through its participation at the Baltimore Con.

* a new small-press show has been announced for Pittsburgh, if a bit too late for me to drive over from Indianapolis.

* an interview by Matthew Brady with Wizard Entertainment head honcho Gareb Shamus has people like Heidi MacDonald and Laura Hudson actively commenting on some of the ideas engaged. I'm a comic culture nerd and can babble about this stuff for hours, but let me try to boil it down to a couple of points.

First, yes, Wizard is being slightly gross in appropriating the name "comic-con," or one of its near-equivalents, and in doing so it is certainly drafting behind the highly-publicized Comic-Con International in providing a very minor-league version of the Hollywood portion of that show to regional audiences. That they're doing this and see nothing even potentially wrong with it because maximizing one's financial success trumps all such considerations should surprise no one, and is so unsurprising it's barely worth noting. It's Wizard, for pity's sake.

Second, whether or not there's an opportunity at such shows for comics companies, I think it's one of those things that's probably technically true in some arguable sense but is so problematic in the real world it's not worth considering like it's a real issue. Sure, someone who is local to one of Wizard's shows might benefit greatly from coming out and setting up in artist's alley -- that seems like a no-brainer. A commitment from an actual comics company is a much different beast. That kind of commitment involves time and planning (and thus resources diverted in-house) and money spent to hopefully make back money or provide some other kind of measurable positive. An ongoing commitment involves that level of management and financial attention every year, and if you're lucky you become more efficient and better at doing so and maybe win back some time and money that way. In other words, it's not the kind of thing anyone decides upon because a group of on-line folks apply winning Internet argument logic to the abstract positives of some imaginary new audience.

Wizard had a decade-plus to build relationships with comics companies. Right now, those relationships have deteriorated to the point where companies won't even head to their biggest show. When it once again becomes practical to attend those shows, and the negatives outweigh the positives, companies will likely start going back. If there's anything weird going on, it's that the Kings Of The Comics Bottom Line are insinuating that a different standard should be applied. Me, I'm extremely disinterested in that kind of show, and the less relevant it is to comics the less I'll feel compelled to write about it and the happier I'll be. I genuinely wish everyone in comics luck who finds such shows useful, and I'll continue to pay attention to see if anything happening at them is worth noting, but for now I'm going to treat those for what they are: largely irrelevant to the industry and beyond so to the art form.

* here's Brady's con report, by the way, focusing on books he found in the show's artists' alley.
 
posted 11:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Satoshi Kon Imagery Being Posted At Same Hat Tumblr

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posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Classic Otto Messmer

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Regarding Tawny

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posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Superman #135

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Smash Comics #71

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Reconsidering Bob Brown

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Sara Pichelli’s Girls

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the current issue of Crikey? The last issue of Crikey.

image* here's a 2009 interview with Brendan McCarthy.

* not comics: sometimes when you're frustrated with the comics industry, it's good to reach out and see what's going on in other industries, even if it's just to affirm that people write self-congratulatory gibberish about issues for those media as well. One topic that seems to bring out the worst in writers of and about prose is the ongoing perceived literary novel crisis.

This post is pretty typical of the species, assigning solely to literary novels the virtue of making people feel connected to other people, blaming the lack of a critical support structure for the fact that literary novels don't move the way they did in 1965 according to the anecdotal evidence of one person's grandmother, blaming 9/11 for somehow diverting coverage away from books (I don't remember this), and assigning the longtime Upper East Side literary fixture Paris Review the role of populist groundswell-maker.

Here's the question I always have. If people have been kept from literary novels of tremendous virtue, should one's response be to paint a picture of how this is so through a gossamer-thin web of self-flattering, vaguely asserted reasons, or could that time be better spent simply naming five such masterpieces that this amazing set of coincidences kept from us, and then allowing us to see through their specific example a) that they were worthy of being put into that class, b) that what they assert happened is exactly what was done to them? I don't feel connected to modern literary novels at all right now, but I suspect it's less that 9/11 diverted me from certain ingrained shopping behaviors than it is that the one to three I try to read each year have just not been very good.

* Joe Matt explains the history behind the Peanuts parody book he did with Chester Brown and Seth.

* Shaenon Garrity offers up an intriguing reading of Cathy. I should mention that while I did speculate that many of Guisewite's fans may have found her public persona confusing -- Garrity suggests it was refreshing -- I was speculating on the number of people that might have had this reaction, not the existence of that reaction. That's something other folks communicated to me through the years and is also something I believe I read at least once. It's not something that would have occurred to me on my own.

* the One Piece series has apparently sold 20 million copies in Japan so far in 2010, quadrupling the series volume sales of second-place Naruto.

* finally, Borders lost its CFO. I like to imagine a boardroom in panic and someone says "what does our CFO suggest we do" and then the camera pans over to an empty, spinning, leather chair.
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 31st Birthday, Francis Manapul!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Catching Up With Todd Klein's Reviews
Todd Klein: The Ghoul
Todd Klein: Batman #700
Todd Klein: Moomin Vol. 5
Todd Klein: Legacies #1-2
Todd Klein: Neonomicon #1
Todd Klein: Daytripper #5-7
Todd Klein: Brightest Day #0
Todd Klein: Batman & Robin #13
Todd Klein: Batman: Odyssey #1
Todd Klein: Adventure Comics #12
Todd Klein: Drawing Down The Moon
Todd Klein: Madame Xanadu #22-23
Todd Klein: Legion Of Super-Heroes #1-2
Todd Klein: The Return Of Bruce Wayne #1-3
Todd Klein: Locke & Key, Welcome To Lovecraft
Todd Klein: Love And Capes: Going To The Chapel

 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 25, 2010


Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* ICv2.com is one of many sites to pick up on D+Q's formal declaration to distribute Chris Ware's 20th anniversary issue of ACME Novelty Library, one of the greatest comics series in history.

image* this announcement has been everywhere, but in case you haven't seen it: gifted cartoonist seeks publisher.

* D+Q will be publishing Adrian Tomine's Scenes From An Impending Marriage in early Spring 2011. That should be a treat.

* retailer Mike Sterling talks about an interesting piece of recent Marvel advertising that foreshadows a plotline in a forthcoming issue of Fantastic Four (I swear those "for" words weren't on purpose). One thing Sterling almost mentions but really doesn't is that the "oh, they're doing that again" effect is balanced against a "oh, Jonathan Hickman's doing his version of that" effect.

* despite the fact that few folks wanted to see the movie in theaters, a lot of the Scott Pilgrim books have been sold, and I imagine this boxed set will do well.

* the cartoonist Nate Neal has launched a web site in support of his new book from Fantagraphics, The Sanctuary.

* the wrestler and children's book author Mick Foley is apparently going to write a comic book series.

* it looks like young European indie cartoonist Bastien Vives share with some of his same-age North American cartooning peers the desire to make straight-up fantasy genre comics part of his overall output.

* this interview with cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley suggests that he doesn't quite know what his next project will be, he already has a few concepts to choose from if he goes in that direction, and that it probably won't be something related to Street Stupid.

* finally, two solidly-established webcomics bid their readers farewell: Ellerbyisms and The Everyday. Congratulations to both cartoonists on lengthy, honorable runs and best of luck in all future endeavors.

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Go, Look: Fermin Solis’ Blog

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Satoshi Kon, 1963-2010

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Satoshi Kon, the Japanese animation director best known for the wildly idiosyncratic visual style on display in films like Paprika, died early in the morning on August 24 from complications due to pancreatic cancer. A burial service has been performed for the family only.

imageKon was born in Kushiro in the Hokkaido district. He attended Musashino College Of The Arts, for painting initially and then for illustration, graduating in 1987. He began his career as a cartoonist while still in college, placing his first work in Young Magazine in 1985 and seeing his first book published by Kodansha in 1990. After school Kon also performed some editing work for Young Magazine, during the midst of the initial serialization for the legendary Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo. This brought him into Otomo's radius, and he went on to work on World Apartment Horror (he's credited with the live-action movie's story and with the adaptive manga). According to a 2008 interview with Anime News Network, working on the Otomo-written Roujin Z was Kon's foundational work in animation, providing for his subsequent career both in terms of an initial workplace experience and in meeting people with whom he would later collaborate.

Kon moved more fully into filmmaking through screenwriting, debuting on screen with the "Magnetic Rose" section of the anthology Memories (1994). He made his directorial debut in 1997 with the well-received Perfect Blue. Settling into home at Studio Madhouse, for whom he served as a staff director, he would go to make a series of critically well-regarded movies: Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), and what will likely be considered his masterpiece, Paprika (2007). He also created the television show Paranoia Agent (2004).

Less is known about Kon's career as a manga creator, but he authored and/or worked on multiple series. His English-language wikipedia entry lists: TorikoKaikisen (1990), World Apartment Horror, Seraphim and Paprika, Dream Children. According to manga-knowledgeable retailer Chris Butcher, none of Kon's manga have been licensed for translation into English.

Kon was working on his fifth film, tentatively titled either The Dream Machine or The Dreaming Machine.

According to a post by Ryan Sands, Kon was diagnosed as terminal in May. He wrote a short farewell message soon after, which he translates as ending as follows: "With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen. Goodbye now."

Satoshi Kon was 46 years old.

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Go, Look: John Byrne Draws REH

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Go, Look: Mr. Justice

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Not Comics: Elizabeth Harbour

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Go, Read: Superboy #122

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Go, Read: Lord Jim

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Go, Look: Secret Origins #21

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Go, Look: Cookie #5

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* this Walker Bean-related window display looks tremendous.

image* there's a short piece up at the French-language comics clearinghouse ActuaBD.com about the difficult position that comics aimed at kids may be put into trying to balance hitting with their appropriate age group and a few larger marketing issues that may keep them from doing so.

* not comics: "August Is Not The Best Time To Visit Baghdad"

* Mike Lynch provides a model invoice for cartoon-related work.

* how can this not be everyone's favorite, short news item of the day?

* Kiel Phegley talks about the recent Chicago Wizard show from a super-appropriate point of view: the comics he bought there. That used to be why people went to conventions, to buy all the comics they had no chance of getting at home. He sidesteps any serious commentary about the state of the show but as his post starts funny and finished funny, he should be forgiven everything except maybe that tepid endorsement of Ganges #2.

* Stan Lee meets Marshall McLuhan.

* people are going to link the crap out of this if they haven't already, but Bully shows us what you do if the news cycle is slow: you double-down on the length of time spent on features, like this one about the period of time between fads arriving on the scene and when they make their way to Archie and the Riverdale gang.

* finally, is it my imagination, or does this cover make the Mark Millar's forthcoming publication look like a lost issue of Comic Foundry?
 
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Happy 63rd Birthday, MW Kaluta!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Steve Conley!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Elaborate DC Super-Cover

Exhibits/Events
Minneapolis Indie Expo Report

History
Everybody Poops

Industry
Barnes & Noble Has Weak Quarter
The Editorial Cartoon Is The Opinion Of The Editorial Cartoonist

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Judd Winick
PWCW: Craig Yoe
CBR: Bryan Talbot
KEXP: Peter Bagge
Gutteral: Bryan Lee O'Malley

Not Comics
Sergio's Head On Futurama
The Beat Ponders Comment Threads

Publishing
On Lightning Girl Loves Rocket Boy

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Xaviar Xerexes: Brain Camp
Wendy Grossman: Logicomix
Andrew Wheeler: BPRD: 1947
Richard Bruton: XIII Vols. 1-2
John Lucas: The Artist Himself
Michael C. Lorah: High Soft Lisp
Michael C. Lorah: Penny Century
Greg McElhatton: Moving Pictures
Bill Sherman: Tank Girl: Skidmarks
Grant Goggans: Bloom County: The Complete Collection Vol. 2
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 24, 2010


Go, Look: Charles Rodrigues

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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's 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 if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I would grab basket and red cloak and skip my way to four-color heaven.

*****

APR100040 LITTLE LULU TP VOL 24 SPACE DOLLY & OTHER STORIES $14.99
But after "Space Dolly," will any other story really satisfy?

FEB101008 DANGER GIRL DLX ED HC $50.00
This is like seeing a once-powerful baseball player advertised for the local card show. A ballplayer you never, ever liked, not even for a second, but still.

JUN100391 GUARDING THE GLOBE #1 (OF 6) $3.50
JUN100572 CAPTAIN AMERICA #609 $3.99
APR100461 INVINCIBLE #74 (MR) $2.99
JUN100872 MUPPET SHOW #9 $2.99
A little parcel of mainstream comic book in familiar genres from the usual group of well-admired creators. There's also a Muppet Show trade out this week.

APR100966 NORMAN PETTINGHILL BACKWOODS HUMORIST HC $39.99
The strangest and perhaps greatest book I saw at last month's Comic-Con International. It's like it was art designed by a tree full of elves that don't quite get human publications.

JUN101076 A D NEW ORLEANS AFTER DELUGE SC $16.95
I wonder why this is coming out now? Oh, yeah.

JUN100707 CEREBUS HC VOL 02 ALTA SOCIEDAD SPANISH ED $40.00
I had no idea these existed. Or if it's just this volume, "this existed."

APR100396 ARCHIE CLASSIC NEWSPAPER COMICS HC VOL 01 $39.99
Bob Montana! Comics I've never seen before! Comics I've never seen before by Bob Montana!

JUN101147 CHI SWEET HOME GN VOL 02 $13.95
I'm not sure about the price point, but I enjoyed the first volume in that way you could see people that aren't you liking it, if that makes any sense.

MAY101019 COMPLETE PEANUTS BOX SET 1975-1978 $49.99
MAY101018 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 14 1977-1978 $28.99

I thought the latest volume was really strong, full of odd Peppermint Patty stories and a lot more bold and confident than I remember the strip at the time. Plus the Alec Baldwin intro was pretty good, too.

Update: Some of the comics coming out this week you won't get to see until next week because something broke down.

*****

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, that's because I'm more interested in CR as another vehicle for people to interact with corporate properties than I am in actually doing anything with comics.

*****

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Go, Read: Hot Wheels #4

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My Hometown Has 3 Comics Shops

Here's something I just realized the other day. Barring recent closures my hometown of Muncie, Indiana -- the fabled "Middletown, USA" of sociological studies, Tom Slick cartoons and Steven Spielberg movies -- has three comic stores within city limits: Bob's Comic Castle, Alter Ego Comics and a store called Heroes For Sale. That has to count for something, although exactly what I'm not quite sure. Certainly the symbolic aspect of the country's representative small-city hanging in there with multiple stores seems like a good thing. I'm going to take it as a positive, anyway.

Muncie's a typical modest-sized former Midwestern industrial city that's hanging in there economically on the employment capabilities of its school system, its university and its hospital. It's not Detroit, but there are neighborhoods where you could take a photograph that might fool someone into thinking it is. In terms of comics, Muncie didn't really develop a shop of its own until the mid-1980s, and even then it was buying its comics from an Indianapolis shop rather than with a distributor account of its own. Until about five years ago Muncie tended to support one-and-a-half stores: one that functioned and then one in decline or down to a spinner rack or two. Three shops -- if they're all functioning at any level whatsoever -- seems worth noting.

I think if an industry aspect to comics is going to continue to be a part of those things that service the art form as opposed to letting emerge a kind of post-industry that subsists on nothing but movie development deals and kickstarter-funded pass-alongs, multiple Direct Market store openings needs to be a huge part of that. And maybe in places that don't get a lot of attention paid to them, this is already happening. Maybe.
 
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Go, Look: Cameron Stewart’s Girls

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Go, Read: ICv2.com’s Annual Interview With DC Head Editorial Honchos

The hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a three-part interview (why it's three parts, I have no idea) up with Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. It's a pleasant interview, but the two guys are almost willfully obtuse, so I'm not sure there's a whole lot in takeaways.

imageA quartet of things struck me, nothing major. Dan DiDio states that only 25 percent of their comics are over $2.99. I can't tell if this is true, at least at an initial glance. For one thing, if you count their publishing lines generally certainly the vast majority of what they publish is over $2.99, which is part of but not all of that particular criticism. But even in the more generally understood "these are $2.99; these are $3.99" straight-up comic book count my look at five or six weeks sees it more in the 40-45 percent range. Maybe I just picked non-representative weeks. At any rate, the logic there is wrongheaded. If moving only part of your line to $3.99 has a proposed effect, that makes it a more potent result than if it's the whole line driving it.

Two: both men offer up a feeling of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" satisfaction with the state of the publishing line, which seems odd to me. I'm not the biggest mainstream comics expert out there, but I can't imagine not having a single title over 100K in a summer month isn't extremely worrisome, I can't imagine that the performance of recent content-driven initiatives isn't a further worry, and I don't think of them as having a particularly strong roster of creators right now so I'd be flabbergasted if they didn't think talent development a concern.

Three: it's sort of odd that editors working at this level of power and influence in comics publishing would find it surprising that a concept like The Losers -- a creator-driven, single-plotline effort -- would do better at the bookstore with a movie coming up than a more general license like Jonah Hex. That's been the rule all along, hasn't it? That's their own rule in part with Watchmen, right?

Four: I think it's great that DC is going to have a big, massive on-line role-playing game starting this Fall; that could be a whole lot of fun for a lot of people. I don't understand how that drives readers to the comics except in the broadest terms, and it's a bit of a downer to hear that plans seem to consist of little more than a tie-in comic book. I swear I'm not one of those marketing back-seat drivers, but it seems to me the last six or seven years of DC hires and maneuvers were made in part to best capitalize on an opportunity like this new game may be. Then again, if I had the answer to how best to do that, I would have been one of the people hired.
 
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Go, Read: You’ve Got Me—And How!

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If I Were In Chicago, I’d Go To This

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Go, Read: Comics From TV Shows

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*****

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Go, Read: The Brute #1

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Go, Look: Nobody Likes The Owl

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Go, Look: Demented Tom And Jerry Comics From The Great John Stanley

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Daryl Cagle rightfully blasts a Lt. General for appropriating a piece of his art for work purposes and then changing it to suit his needs. I'm not sure I see it automatically as an indictment of the entire administration or even as a thoughtcrime (in that I imagine most people watching it were likely to see it as an altered cartoon more than as Cagle's endorsement, if they thought about it all), but it's still not right. If nothing else, someone should cut him a check.

image* Alec Longstreth talks about character, background and color schemes in the best process-oriented post I've read today. Okay, it was the only one of its type I've read today, but I still liked it.

* I enjoyed speaking to Dick Giordano very much over the years, enjoyed his art work, and I never heard anyone speak poorly of him during his long and distinguished career. Still, I'm a little baffled that he would have a humanitarian award named after him, and nothing in the promotional materials I've seen gives me a sense as to why that's a match.

* the writer Kristy Valenti takes in ladies' night at the fine Seattle neighborhood comics store Comics Dungeon. Sounds like a good idea to me.

* finally, a bit of potential good news of the not comics variety: newspaper industry bible Editor & Publisher asks if the bloodbath experienced by free weeklies over the last few years has become more of a blood spongebath. The dire news facing media publications of all kinds has been reported in an almost intoxicating swirl of portent, madness and doom that it's been easy to miss that it may just be a matter of a lot of these publications finding a level that works, and that part of the problem this time around is that these businesses are run with a sometimes-constricting expectation of a certain kind of profit.
 
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Happy 69th Birthday, Jim Scancarelli!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Scott Lobdell!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Keith Knight!

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Quick hits
Craft
Sketching Nova

Exhibits/Events
Bell, Trudeau, Rowson In Edinburgh

History
On Action Comics Weekly #602
On Wonder Woman And Mainstream Comics For Kids

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Ed Park
Pop: Gene Colan
CBR: Rutu Modan
TFAW.com: Sean Michael Wilson
Washington City Paper: Marc Nathan
Talking Comics With Tim: Stuart Moore

Not Comics
I Should Hate This But I Don't
Teaching Art To Anime/Manga Fans
Lady From Spirit To Star In New Doomed Comics Movie?

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Richard Bruton: Days
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Andrew Wheeler: Mister O
Jenny Bement: Sea Bear And Grizzly Shark
J. Caleb Mozzocco: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 23, 2010


King-Cat Comics & Stories #71

imageCreator: John Porcellino
Publishing Information: Spit And A Half, mini-comic, 28 pages, 2010, $3.
Ordering Numbers:

On the cover of the new King-Cat, a cartoon version of Noah Van Sciver admonishes the more familiar depiction of mini-comics legend and tour-mate John Porcellino for his recent choice of covers. "It doesn't matter, man," Cartoon Van Sciver says when asked what should go on the cover, "Just, please -- no more buildings or plants." The great thing about the cover as executed is that Porcellino is both following Van Sciver's advice (the two of them are front and center) and not following it at all (there are both buildings and plants in view). It's a lively cover, however, much different in tone than the recent pieces Van Sciver criticizes.

The reason for the energy in that cover and throughout the mini entire may be that Porcellino, famously having split time in his adult life between suburban Chicago and Denver, has relocated to Gainesville, Florida, the one-man advance squad for Tom Hart's forthcoming comics school. He talks in plain language about the move, and even draws the new critters he comes across. This newfound enthusiasm balances nicely against a few ruminative, sad and slightly obtuse one-pagers as well as a pair of very funny stories about Porcellino coming to terms with putting in evidence the fruits of his class. You know it's a brand new day\when John P. starts making the equivalent of white trash jokes – class doesn't seem to come up a whole lot in King-Cat and even a written essay about Denver then and now fails to address why someone in the arts might not wish to see a city gentrify. It becomes more expensive to live there.

My initial reaction to the issue was as all over the place as the mini itself. I enjoyed the variety of material, and I thought it looked lovely, like it was even printed with more care. And yet by concentrating on the here and now, and letting the past seep in around the edges, Porcellino has created a comic I could see him doing 20 years from now. In the parlance of mainstream comics, King-Cat #71 is a good jumping-on point: most of what Porcellino does well is in evidence, and you can share with him any comics coming out of this new experience just as readers in the past have explored Denver and Hoffman Estates through his eyes.
 
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Go, Look: Tony Salmons Art Array

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Tom Hart Announces Gainesville, Florida Cartooning School Set To Open In 2011

imageThe cartoonist and comics educator Tom Hart sent out an informal e-mail over the weekend thanking fellow educators and one assumes other comics-involved people here and there about the launch of his planned Sequential Artists Workshop. The educational institution is set to open in Gainesville, Florida some time in 2011. "The SAW is certainly starting from James Sturm's CCS model but I don't expect it to mirror that for too long. I don't know what to expect but beginning this project has been on my mind for years and [Hart's wife, the cartoonist] Leela [Corman] and I looked at each other (and our new daughter) during this most recent winter and agreed: what are we waiting for?" Hart wrote. A first hint at faculty was also in the note. Noting that the couple and their daughter plan to move to Gainesville by Fall 2011, Hart mentioned, "John Porcellino is already there and will be easing in the programming while I'll be doing some administrative stuff up here."

The institution-to-be's web site has already launched.

image from site by Vanessa Davis
 
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Go, Read: Online Masters’ Forty Best Comic Books For The Classroom

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insert joke about kid hiding calculus book in copy of Persepolis here
 
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Furor Over Danish Manga Exhibit Related To Images Of Children Depicted In A Sexual Fashion

imageThe Anime News Network post has pretty well captured for comics-savvy folk all the information the local media coverage has to offer on an exhibit at a media museum in the reasonably sizable town of Odense that features erotic manga that includes fictional children -- or fictional creatures that may look like children -- being depicted in a sexual manner. Titles include Swing Out Sisters, Bondage Fairies and Juicy Fruits.

Two things worth nothing. One is that no explicit sexual acts are being shown, and the other is that such depictions are apparently permissible -- at least for now -- under Danish law. This hasn't stopped both psychologists and politician expressing their objections, and for the exhibit curators to stress that the images are presented for discussion about the power of media, the kind of tack that while genuine and just tends to infuriate the other side of such discussions.

that's a Bondage Fairies example, not necessarily anything that's in the show
 
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Go, Look: Those Boss Chester Gould Character Sheets That Pop Up Every Now And Again

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Profiles In Comics: Beaton, Callahan

* I like this Kate Beaton profile by Whitney Matheson because it's little more than "Kate Beaton is awesome! Read Kate Beaton's comics!" Then again, what else do you need? I have to imagine a lot of Matheson's readers would very much like Beaton's work.

* there are many things to say about the late John Callahan. Here are two. First, I don't think I've seen a lot of cartoonists who generated as many tribute posts and articles at such a sustained pace for weeks after passing away. I think part of it is that people wanted to think about Callahan a bit before writing about him. Second I don't think I've ever seen an odder bunch of generated "related articles" as the ones I've seen for Callahan in posts like this one.

* as a bonus profile -- meaning I don't want to rewrite my post title -- I present to you Sajjive Balakrishnan, who has maybe underlined the difference between cartoonists in North America and places like India for all time by mentioning that the tax agent/artist actually goes by the name "the fat cartoonist."
 
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Not Comics: We’re All Just Working To One Day Put All Of Our Comics In A Two-Story Bookshelf Tower

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via Gil Roth
 
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Go, Look: Four-Color #162

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Go, Look: Jumbo Comic Book

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Go, Read: Cosmo The Merry Martian

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Go, Look: Tim Holt #20

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Happy 45th Birthday, Chris Bachalo!

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* congratulations to Dean Haspiel on his Emmy win. That's awesome. He writes about it here.

image* missed it: the 20th anniversary of Yves Chaland's passing, which took place about a month ago. If he were still around today, he'd be only 53.

* not comics: I broke my remaining comic books down into 18 boxes, which I'm distributing to random people who wrote in. Thank you everyone for so many nice e-mails. I hope to be back in touch with everyone, but there were a couple hundred of you, so it may take a while. If you wrote me a note that said something like "Hey, I'd like some free comics... but the real reason I wrote is that I built a robotic Captain Easy and we're performing I'm Not Rappaport at the state fair" maybe send me that part of the note again?

* Frank Santoro has more to say about My Love.

* if I had to guess from a list of about 350 cartoonists which one was going to do a week-long tribute to Cathy in their strip, I wouldn't have said Darrin Bell until about attempt #210, which of course makes it that much more interesting.

* this post of new, cartoonist-drawn Penguin Classics covers is nice because you get the central image and the entire design.

* finally, are you having a nice Monday? Colleen Doran will rectify that with word about local municipalities taxing and or charging fees for on-line, comics-related ventures.
 
posted 11:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 58th Birthday, Terry Austin!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
Doug Wright Draws Violence

Exhibits/Events
Go See Scott Edelman
An Evening At Chapel Hill Comics

History
On Steranko's Nick Fury
On Jose Luis And Alberto Salinas

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: Sean Michael Wilson
ActuaBD.com: David Mazzucchelli

Not Comics
Middle-Earth Travel Paintings
The Great R. Fiore On Popeye Cartoons

Publishing
October Releases Previewed
Guarding The Globe Previewed

Reviews
Nick Gazin: Various
Kate Dacey: Gabby & Gator
Ryan Cecil Smith: Shakariki!
Bob Greenberger: Networked
Richard Bruton: Berlin And That
Rob Clough: These Things Happen
Jordan Magill: Dungeon Quest Vol. 1
Shaenon Garrity: Peepo Choo Vol. 1
Domingos Isabelinho: Chronographie
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Dreaming
Dan Nadel: Our Hero: Superman On Earth
Sean T. Collins: The Man With The Getaway Face
Greg McElhatton: Sandman Mystery Theatre Vol. 8
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Harley Quinn: Preludes And Knock Knock Jokes
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 22, 2010


25 Emblematic Comics Of The ‘70s—A Lengthy First Draft In Partnership With CR’s Readers

By Tom Spurgeon

imageA discussion of the 1970s Marvel superhero saga "Panther's Rage" between Tucker Stone and David Brothers launched ten days ago led me to ask the CR readership in this space last Sunday about emblematic comics of the 1970s, works that are deeply and wholly of that time -- not just as a novelty items or fannish milestones but in terms of how we understand the form. This is the list that was developed from their suggestions.

It's not a list of the best comics of that decade or even the most influential. There are omissions that would likely drive a number of comics fans nuts. I did include one novelty comic book on the list, but I did so because I thought it was the one that did the best job of all those books of telling a memorable story. Otherwise, for the sake of this list there's a line in the sand for a lot of those works that ends up being pretty hard to cross. For me, comics like Star Wars #1 or the Death of Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man have come to mean more as ideas or concepts or covers or editorial moves or shared fan history than they represent memorable contributions to the form.

A lot of people suggested a lot of superhero comics. Heck, a lot of you suggested nothing but superhero comics. I only ended up with a few on the list. I've read every comic suggested. I nearly always discounted superhero comics that I've read that I couldn't remember now, that haven't stuck with me as a reader. I like a quality run of adventure comics as much of the next guy, and it was a mainstream comics decade, but I don't think that automatically makes many of those runs noteworthy. A comic that may seem special from the context of works almost exactly like it may simply seem less so if all genres and all different kinds of books are included in that examination. In the end, I just had to make some calls, and I'll include two or three of the more compelling cases at the end of the list that didn't make it in.

So to answer my own question, were I a future librarian approached by a sequential arts student with a term paper to do on the 1970s, I would point to the following pile of publications and tell them "This is what comics looked like then; this is what comics were like." -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

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* A Contract With God, Will Eisner, A Stand-Alone Book Publication Comprised Of Four Stories
Will Eisner created the graphic novel the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America -- by which I mean in no way except one that granted commercial continuity between what he did and everything yet to come. That's more than enough. The sentimentality of the four short stories presented -- all of which take place in a special world of Eisner's creation where it rains with overwrought emotion -- is sometimes hard for a reader not accustomed to it to swallow. There's no denying the urgency and seriousness with which the stories are presented, though, an in making the intent of the author a significant part of what defined the graphic novel, Eisner did the art form a massive favor.

*****

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* American Splendor #1-4, Harvey Pekar and Various, Issues Of A Comic Book Series Self-Published By Pekar
American Splendor would continue in one form or another for three full decades after the 1976-1980 period, and you might be able to argue that Pekar went most of that first period without even basic recognition from a natural, initial audience that would come to him slowly in the 1980s. Still there's no denying the quality of the best pieces in the very first few issues, particularly those with Robert Crumb, and the autobiographical elements made these comics about the '70s in a very revealing way. During a period in comics history soaked in the fantastic and almost wholly given over to characters with corporate sponsorship, Pekar planted a flag deep in a territory some fans didn't even know existed.

*****

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* Arcade, Various, An Anthology Series From The Print Mint
A repositioning of the anthology away from a market-driven need or even an auteur editor's efforts into more of a group statement by a bunch of artists with a shared sensibility, something every major book of its type would evince at least in part from this moment. Plus there are any number of fine artists here; the book managed to get all of its generation's lifers into one place.

*****

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* The Early Chapters Of Barefoot Gen, Keiji Nakazawa, A Serialized Comic From I Believe More Than One Publisher
One of the first manga to penetrate into the consciousness of international audiences, the nature of the direct, cartoon-reminiscent art style took some people by surprise, and the constant negotiation of styles that would dominate the early years of Eastern comics in the West had begun. There's no denying the kick in the stomach that was the story, in any style or language, perhaps best realized in a scene when our protagonist carries his family members remains from one place to another in a bucket.

*****

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* Cat, B. Kliban, A Stand-Alone Book From Workman
It's baffling that one fine Tim Kreider essay is all the laudatory writing from modern sources that seems to exist on the great B. Kliban. Kliban was the funniest cartoonist of the decade, edging out Shelton and Trudeau. His cartooning was rich and beautiful. He also put into constant play a kind of muffled rage at the world's absurdities that punches you right in the heart 40 years later. He was equally great encountered one cartoon amongst many or in his powerful book collections. Those books were absurdly popular outside the realm of hardcore comics fans, and influenced everyone from a range of political cartoonists to some of the best newspaper strip cartoonists 1980s-on.

*****

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* Breakdowns, Art Spiegelman, A Collection Of Comics From Belier Press
Art Spiegelman's early career effort has become synonymous with formal play, but squint just a tiny bit and you can easily see Breakdowns as the first of the one-man anthologies that came to challenge the one-cartoonist/one-series model by which the North American comics reading world began to make room for something other than licensed character kicking at or joking with one another.

*****

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* Corto Maltese, Hugo Pratt, A Variety Of Comics Featuring The Same Character And Setting
Corto Maltese began in the 1960s and stretched into the 1980s, but Hugo Pratt's great achievement seemed most at home in the 1970s when even the republication of earlier work could win major awards. Pratt built the series the old-fashioned way, through a variety of different-sized stories drawing out different aspects of the lead character and different permutations of his own cartooning skill. It was the decade's fondest, finest look back.

*****

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* Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau, A Newspaper Comic Strip And Collection Series
It's hard to remember this now, but the popularity of Doonesbury in its early years, when its cancellation could lead to hundreds of upset people actively mad at the local newspaper, will likely never be seen again. Trudeau's great strength in his later years was the size and versatility of his cast. Here he's still building the repertory company, but nearly half the core players are inspired and his ongoing, subtle suggestion that everyone is connected to every issue if only by seeing the grotesqueries involved on a television screen got the audience involved as well.

*****

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* Elfquest #1-5, Wendy and Richard Pini, A Self-Published Comic Book Series
Only five issues of the self-published pioneer came out in the 1970s, but it's still the property's best story, or at least is most raw, and that people responded to those elements so strongly is what I think makes it an emblematic comic of that time. The story of a people driven from one home to another is stuffed with sex and death and second-guessing and loads of regret, none of which really smooth out as gracefully as Wendy Pini's art would have you belief. Pini examines sexual desire as it relates to personal merit and the ability to choose one's own mate, which if not a comfortable line of inquiry -- there are some outright creepy elements involved, especially when you learn more about the elves later on in the series -- it is at least all Elfquest's at that point in comics history, and the kind of personalized take on genre that only became possible for comics in that decade.

*****

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* "Panther's Rage" In Jungle Action, Don MacGregor and Various, Storyline In A Marvel Comics Series
I said all I wanted to say about this one last time out, but it's essentially the kind of character resuscitation through the prism of comic book realism that provides a model for a significant portion of comics done today.

*****

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* Heavy Metal, Various, An Anthology Comics Magazine
I'll defer to Joe "Jog" McCulloch here: "Not to be confused with Star*Reach before it or Sabre after -- i.e., comics that put themselves out as bridging the gap between underground freedom of aesthetics and mainsteam popular appeal (or, whatever was left of it by that time). No, Heavy Metal effectively slashed out a third path via its ad hoc, often mind-boggling array of European serials, presented so as to afford the reader no comfort whatsoever.

"It lightened up later on, but whole issues of the '70s Heavy Metal would be nothing but random extracts from the middle of stories, many of which probably weren't all that straightforward to begin with. There would typically be no context, no Last Issue..., no particularly substantive information about the artists - hell, most of them were credited by their last names only, like you ought to know already. That was the key. It could be a baffling, off-putting magazine, but every issue screamed out that there's a whole world of comics out there you've never heard of, weird and awesome comics they've kept from you, shit you've never seen - we're just here, on your newsstand, so you can learn it for yourself. And a lot of people did."

*****

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* Howard The Duck, Steve Gerber and Various, A Marvel Comic Book Series
Steve Gerber's disheveled masterpiece of a mainstream comic book series came out at time in the country's and its industry's history that its singular status was magnified almost 1000 times. Thus it was -- maybe still is -- given credit for inventing things in comics that it only did very well.

HTD triggered the most heartfelt reaction from you guys. Critic Rob Clough: "Gerber may be the emblematic 70s writer: acidic and bleak in outlook, he was of the generation directly influenced by superhero comics. Even though his ambitions seemed larger than that particular stage, he always seemed limited to working in genre comics, even as he twisted and warped the readers' conception of what that meant… Being paired with a ridiculously versatile and quirky craftsman as Gene Colan made these books especially memorable."

Will Pfeifer: "It's tough to top Howard the Duck for sheer 1970s-ness. Not only did Gerber and company touch on many of the trends of the era, but the whole comic had a certain downtrodden scruffiness that somehow still feels like that decade -- specifically the Ford/Carter years."

*****

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* Ici Meme, Jean-Claude Forest and Jacques Tardi, A Serialized Story Then Collected Into Album Form From Casterman
This grand effort by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Claude Forest may seem like an extravagant oddity now, but it gets credit from some for igniting a wave of alternative voices in a French-language comics industry whose mainstream had the added appeal of actually making its creators popular and wealthy successes. Even if you don't like the tune -- and while it's a song I could personally listen to every day, I know many people couldn't -- at the time I have to imagine that many comics readers weren't even aware that the medium could play some of these notes.

*****

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* Jack Kirby's Fourth World Saga, A Cycle Of Various Comic Book Series With Overriding Themes And Plotlines From DC Comics
Still the grandest of all the post-Marvel superhero comics, despite some beautiful efforts in the last 30 years by some of the smartest and most talented creators out there. Writers and artists still make Fourth World stories, too, latching onto the bombast and the (mostly) killer character concepts and designs. If you read the original comics now, what comes through much more than the sum total of Kirby's masterful and shameless mythological appropriations is a sly, somber, and thorough dissection of the superhero concept. It is the only superhero book ever that fundamentally distrusts fight scenes, that offers up multiple characters whose values comes from avoiding fights. As one may suspect, it's a cycle of comic books about war, particularly the winning and the losing of them.

*****

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* Jim Starlin's Warlock Comics, Strange Tales and Warlock, Issues Of Comic Book Series From Marvel
"I'm sure you've already gotten this a dozen or more times, but Starlin's Warlock stuff is more 70s than Hotel California, even." -- Sandy Yeah, that about sums it up. Jim Starlin's superhero space odyssey practically sweats its decade of origin from every pore; it's like being stuck in a room with a Black Oak Arkansas album playing as you sit in a barcalounger, surrounded walls, floor and ceiling by 350 fuzzy carnival posters of Shaft shaking hands with Richard Nixon. I'm pretty sure that if you ate pop rocks and chugged a coke your skin turned the exact shade of green as Gamora's and that if you wore your mood ring for 180 days in a row Pip The Troll's face appeared on it and asked you for a beer.

In a way, Starlin's work was a continuation of the pop culture conscious work of Marvel's previous decade, only this time the culture being folded into the punching and hitting and displays of power was broken, weird and untrustworthy. You can spend hours puzzling through the comics playing "Was this Jim Starlin's version of that?" and enjoying yourself the entire time.

*****

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* Lone Wolf And Cub, Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, A Serialized Story Also Collected Into Serial Book Form From Futabasha
Super-rewarding adventure comics with a killer hook and an accessible yet uniquely different way of depicting power action on the comics page. It influenced everyone important to that area of comics from the early 1980s-on. It was also one of the first comics were its cross-media efforts were as important in the discovery of its value for many fans as the original comics were. As Bart Beaty reminded me recently, Lone Wolf And Cub also boasts one of the medium's best series endings.

*****

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* Slow Death #1-10, Various, Issues Of A Comic Book Series
I'm not sure I'm the person to make the case for the significance of Slow Death, but when I think of the change in underground comix in the 1970s and the greater reliance on genre transformation and taboo approaches to subject matter, it's the series I always think of. I'm sure I'm not the first one to point out the irony of the name given where undergrounds went this decade. There are some astounding artists in here.

*****

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* Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams, An Over-Sized One-Shot Comic Book Story
As mentioned in the opening, the 1970s were a decade of format tweaks and novelty comics, a mad scramble to replace the audiences shedding the traditional comic book and weekly spinner rack visit. The historical importance of these strategies can't be overstated. The big companies' commitment to the Direct Market was inspired by years of frustration doing anything and everything but making such a commitment. Marvel was apparently saved outright by the Stars Wars license. And so on. The vast majority of the efforts inside those books, however, ran the gamut from grimly competent to weakly discouraging.

This over-sized book sporting Neal Adams art, greeted with some contempt at the time of its publication, may in retrospect be the best book of its class. Not just the cover, not just the concept, a surprising amount of this one's actual narrative sticks in the memory: Superman's hilarious umbrage out of Ali suggesting he's earth's champion, the training sequence between the two heroes under a red-sun light in a kind of folded-time training space, the capture of Muhammad Ali's boastful rhyme-making in panel-to-panel progressions, that shot of Superman being led off on a stretcher, the Man of Steel using Ali's rope-a-dope to fight an alien armada… it's an unabashed kids' comic, operating out of a little kid's "What If?" logic, and because of it the comic serves both icons well. These days, with a corporate license to protect and the fragile egos of tens of thousands way-too-invested fans to assuage, Ali would likely take it on the chops at least once just to show the rest of the world who's boss.

*****

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* The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers #1-5, Gilbert Shelton, Issues Of A Comic Book Series From Rip-Off Press
For most of the country, the 1960s didn't hit until a few years into the 1970s, and even then what was going on in places like San Francisco and New York in sharply contrasting, staggered waves of social development were fairly grandfathered in as a soft veneer of broad counter-cultural expression. The Freak Brothers survived their own adventures and the disintegration of the Underground Comix market with equal aplomb.

Or, as XXXX xXXX put it. "The counterculture/mainstream issue again, but this time from the counterculture side. Q. What do we do now that the 60s are over? A. Get high and read comic books!" Indeed.

*****

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* The Man, Vaughn Bode, A Stand-Alone Comic From Print Mint
I wanted to include Vaughn Bode somewhere on this list, whose entire style may actually trump that of every single other cartoonist when it comes to a look that screams 1970s! 1970s! 1970s! The all-too-infrequent critic Matt Seneca suggested this stand-alone story, and that's fine with me.

*****

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* The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, Edited By Bill Blackbeard And Martin Williams, A Stand-Alone Book Collection
Definitely the greatest and most influential reprint work in comics history -- Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic-Book Heroes comes in a distant second although that's really all about the essay -- the Smithsonian book reunited tens of thousands of readers with great work they had either never seen before or had viewed only in terms of second- or third-generation copies being squeezed out on the current comics page. It was for comics as if in film TV had come along and had somehow never shown an old movie until doing so all at once via a dedicated channel that fired up in 1978. The table of contents is basically the classic comics reprints section of your full-service major bookstore, and that's not an accident.

*****

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* Tomb Of Dracula, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, A Comic Book Series From Marvel Comics
The most entertaining of the the horror-tinged adventure comics folks put out in the 1970s despite being the heaviest downer of a story ever put on a spinner rack. It gets the nod over the well-crafted Swamp Thing because I could remember a couple dozen Tomb moments and not a single story from the swamp monster series. As suggested, Tomb of Dracula captured not just a few classic horror archetypes in '70s clothing, not only added a few restless and vocationally-challenged opponents to the mix, it somehow captured the bleak outlook of a generation coming of age under the threat of a massive nuclear exchange as life's final chapter.

*****

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* Trots and Bonnie, Shary Flenniken, A Strip Appearing In National Lampoon Magazine
Great comics in weird places was a hallmark of the 1970s, as the industry's decay was in evidence even more than it is now, and the massively uneven National Lampoon's hosting of Trots and Bonnie feature made for probably the oddest marriage of great comics work to publication out there that decade. Idiosyncratic, fearless and attractive, it may be the same of our current industry that no one's done a super-fancy big reprinting of one of the few works that offers nearly every reader out there some element of discovery.

*****
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* X-Men #94-128, Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum And John Byrne, Issues Of A Marvel Comic Book Series
This was the first hit in comics fandom (its sales success until the mid-1980s is debatable) after the nadir of 1970s newsstand sales troubles and its concurrent adherence to old ways of publishing nearly brought to an end the mainstream comic book as we know it. Just being the first hit of modern superhero comics fandom might be enough to recommend it, as would being the most successful re-launch of an old concept with new characters. X-Men crystallized a lot of what was entertaining about 1970s superhero comics into portable formula: the plunge into outright soap opera, the slow-burning subplots where it didn't matter if they were resolved or not, the mysterious characters whose backstory was doled out Lost-style in inconceivably tiny, logic-defying increments, the way that the superhero's mission was recast for all time as one of noble struggle as opposed to good winning the day over evil. It also introduced us to the soon-to-upstage-everyone Wolverine, as inexplicable a character to comics as the Fonz was to television sitcoms. Danny DeVito's star-turn on Taxi a possible exception, never have more young people enjoyed someone with that much back hair.

*****
*****

A few of my own that I left out after further consideration:

* Reg Smythe's Andy Capp ran years before and years after but was inexplicably popular during the 1970s, to the point that an American television network was for a time considering a recurring animated short feature to run on their evening news. In the end, it didn't seem to represent anything about the time but that people in that moment in time seemed to love drunk mean people.

* counter to its reputation, Peanuts had a glorious 1970s, bold and confident, and was deservedly the world's most popular newspaper strip. Yet its 1960s were slightly better and significant parts of other decades were just as good. The best way I can put it is that Peanuts transcended the 1970s.

* I thought about finding an editorial cartoonist that really nailed the Nixon years, but doing so would have violated my own rule that a run of cartoons had to be good enough that it made an impression before I asked myself the library question. I would have started with Pat Oliphant.

* While I'm pretty certain I'm leaving those three off the list, I'm also struggling with the Green Arrow/Green Lantern "realism" stuff, competing shojo manga series (I heard back from absolutely no one on manga), and Les Frustres, all of which I'll either add to the archived draft or explain in detail why I didn't.

*****
*****

A lot of good cases were made for various comic books from you guys that in the end I didn't use.

* Joey Manley suggested the Death Of Gwen Stacy issue of Amazing Spider-Man as something prefigured the "Women In Refrigerators" trend. I had a hard time discounting this one because it was a pretty good comic book story -- Spider-Man lets Green Goblin die -- in a pretty good run of comic book stories (there's more than one comics critic out there that thinks the original clone saga that this issue made possible is among the best superhero comics of all time). I hate to say it, I've always thought the reaction of fans to Stacy's death was a fan's reaction rather than a reader's reaction; she just wasn't that memorable or interesting a character, although the visual was superb. I think a lot of fans deep down would admit that as readers they felt more mid-story when Captain Stacy died than when Gwen did, although maybe not until they stopped being mad at being asked. Manley also suggested more of the black and white newsstand magazines, just kind of that whole group of comics generally.

* Kim Munson suggested Star Wars #1 and the series that followed. That's an important industry milestone but I can't muster any argument for the stories themselves, although I'm sure someone out there loves them to death and thinks them profound.

* Steven Solomon pointed out that the heady stew of 1970s superhero comics were exposed as being of their time by the Hernandez Brothers, whom he says " cracked open the way that we all accepted the superhero genre so completely that in Gerber's words, our minds were approved by The Comics Code."

* Alistair Robb wrote that as a Brit Mighty World Of Marvel was right up there with 2000 AD in terms of defining that decade from his point of view.

* Gabe Carras suggested the Secret Empire/Nomad stories in Captain Americaby Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema and the Silver St. Cloud stories in Batman (or another of the Batman comics, I can't recall) by Englehart, Rogers and Austin. Those are both entertaining superhero storylines, but they're not transcendent or noteworthy in any way to me except being better than most of what was out there.

Those Captain America stories have this interesting thing going where the troubles of the world are subsumed into standard superhero tropes "Oh, no! Henry Kissinger is a secret super-villain! Quick! What does this mean to me and my costume-wearing ways!" And that's been done a lot since and is kind of smart besides in that it keeps the story on message. I hate to say it, but the work doesn't really speak to me past that. Although, you know, big Roscoe fan.

* John Vest suggested Star*Reach, as did a number of other folks. I understand the title's importance and it was certainly of its time, but it's hard for me to figure out anything in there that kind of breaks out. I know Star*Reach; I can't feel Star*Reach.

* Kenny Penman suggest the work with which I'm least familiar in the whole bunch, although I pulled it for this article. Marvel Premiere 9-14, Dr. Strange 1-5 (or 1-14).

"This Englehart run again takes a relatively minor character and takes him away from the way he was being used in things like Defenders and returns him to the worlds within worlds of the Ditko comics and adds a little real magic along the way. These comics got me back into comics as an 18 year old (was actually issue 12 by which time Colan was doing the art) as they seemed to open up a philosophical debates that were very pertinent to the times and seemed like nothing that had gone before. I think you could fairly argue that these comics had a huge influence on the material that would later be produced by UK writers such as Alan Moore and Grant Morrison."

I'm not that big a fan, although they're solid comics.

* Jeff Matthews says that the Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson effort Manhunter "took sequential art to a different level." I'm not sure I'd agree, although I like the way it folded over martial arts movies into comic books, a 1970s contribution to that genre if there ever was one.

* Bob Greenberger suggested Conan the Barbarian #1-24 "Watching Barry's art grow in style and sophistication while Roy grew more comfortable with Robert E. Howard's character and gave us the first new genre in comics in years." I think those comics have a greater reputation than they deserve because they were on such a lonely island, surrounded by superheroes. The work itself has its imaginative flashes, but seems to me more rough than inspirational.

* Grant Goggans suggested Battle Picture Weekly. He's probably right.

* Jay Willson suggested a number of superhero comics and other mainstream comics efforts that I thought were good but not necessarily emblematic: the Daughter of the Demon run in Batman, the Spider-Man and Superman team-ups, Wally Wood's JSA work, Comic Book, Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu, Killraven, and Englehart's Avengers/Defenders saga. I think these are all of the time, and if the list were expanded many of these would make it. The Avengers/Defenders crossover has certain ramifications for the way comics are done now, although as a little-boy collector at the time the overwhelming experience my comics-reading acquaintances and I had about those book is panic at being able to find them in the spotty distribution channels of the time.

* Matt Seneca suggested Chandler: Red Tide. I think if I expanded the list so that it room for interesting failures, this one might find companionship with some of the comics already on the list.

* the comics writer Joe Casey came up with an interesting one: Avengers #105-150, Steve Englehart, Bob Brown, Sal Buscema, Don Heck, George Tuska, George Perez, "Here's what Englehart in particular did: He set a template for superhero team book storytelling that's still be followed to this day. It was decidedly different than the relentless, pile-it-on storytelling that Kirby mastered in the 60's. The template is as follows: start small, slowly build through various action plots and multiple character subplots that lead to a grand finale, then start all over again small and build it all up again. Englehart did it at least three times during his run, and he did it first."

* Kevin Church suggested Omega The Unknown, which is very '70s although it's an incomplete work to my mind and I think this allows people to maybe read more into it than actually would have been there had it been finished. Big Numbers works like that, too.

Thanks to all that participated! No fair complaining if you didn't participate, but I can't imagine that will stop you. I will mull over this piece for a week or so before sticking a final version into the archives.

*****
*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: 2011 AdHouse Calendar Process Post From Mr. Joseph Lambert

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If I Were In London, I’d Go To This

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Happy 55th Birthday, Will Shetterly!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 47th Birthday, Jimmie Robinson!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 46th Birthday, DG Chichester!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 30th Birthday, James McShane!

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CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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FFF Results Post #223—Copies

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Characters You Like That Were Created In Large Part To Reflect Back On Some Other Character." This is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Bat-Mite
2. War Machine
3. Beppo The Super-Monkey
4. Lieutenant Marvels
5. Sand Superman

*****

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Evan Dorkin

1. Bat-Mite
2. Supergirl
3. Streaky the Super-Cat
4. Reverse Flash
5. Wonder Tot

*****

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Dave Knott

* Beta Ray Bill
* Harley Quinn
* Kid Miracleman
* Poopdeck Pappy
* The Grey Spy

*****

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Matthew Craig

1. The Midnighter (The Batman)
2. Greyshirt (The Spirit)
3. "Ultimate" Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man)
4. Crafty Coyote (Wile E. Coyote)
5. King Mob (Grant Morrison)

*****

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Ian Sampson

1. Nova (The Human Rocket!)
2. John Stone, Agent of S.T.O.R.M.
3. X-Factor
4. Beta Ray Bill
5. Roger, the Homunculus

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Braniac 5
2. Fearless Fosdick
3. Professor Zoom
4. The Lieutenant Marvels
5. Kid Miracleman (that bastard!)

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Spooky
2. Bizarro
3. Ms. Marvel
4. Mon-El
5. Professor Zoom

*****

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Uriel A. Duran

1) Bizarro
2) Reverse Flash
3) Man-Bat
4) Black Adam
5) All those rainbow Lantern Corps

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham
2. Silver Age Supergirl
3. Miracleman
4. Supreme
5. The Crime Syndicate of America

*****

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Chris Duffy

1. Mary Marvel
2. Connor Hawke Green Arrow
3. Cyborg Superman
4. Goose Rider
5. John D. Rockerduck

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Luther Ironheart
2. Kid Miracleman
3. Hyperion
4. Lone Goat and Kid
5. Jack Knight Starman

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. America Beeny
2. Rescue
3. Damian Wayne
4. Zatanna
5. Midnighter

*****

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Bill Matheny

1) Uncle Marvel
2) Comet the Superhorse
3) Snoopy's brother Spike
4) The Reverse Flash
5) The Injustice Society

*****

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Tony Collett

1. She Hulk
2. Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham
3. Composite Superman
4. Spider-Girl
5. Krypto

*****

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John Vest

1. Bizarro #1
2. Super Goof
3. Zippy's brother Lippy
4. Uncle Marvel
5. Ol' Sod Sack

*****

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Danny Fingeroth

1. Scarlet Spider
2. Clark Kent
3. Venom
4. Goody Rickles
5. Toro

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Beta Ray Bill
2. Supergirl
3. Kid Flash/Flash (Wally West)
4. Green Lantern John Stewart
5. Steel (John Henry Irons)

*****

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Joe Schwind

* Lippy
* Hellboy Junior
* Chubby
* Fin Fang Four
* Sven Hoek

*****

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Fred Hembeck

1. Little Archie
2. Bizarro
3. Nomad
4. The Squadron Supreme
5. Reverse Flash

*****

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Grant Goggans

1. Judge Death
2. Wonder Tot
3. Duela Dent, the Joker's Daughter
4. Jack Knight
5. Zipper Harris

*****

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Nat Gertler

1. Miracleman
2. Moon Roach
3. Fearless Fosdick
4. Donna Troy
5. Beta Ray Bill

*****

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John Platt

1. Bizarro
2. Brainiac 5
3. Superman of 2956
4. Spider-Ham
5. Mrs. Modok

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern
2) Owlman
3) Spider-Kid
4) Zatanna
5) Namora

*****

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Art Baxter

* Plexus
* Rerun
* The Magus
* Mrs. Pruneface
* Professor Zoom

*****

7. Bizarro #1!
e. Bizarro Lois Lane!!
&. Bizarro Clark Kent!!!
587. Bizarro #587!!!!
X. Htrae!!!!!

Bizarro Dixon

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*****

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Rich Tommaso

1. Gnat Rat - Batman
2. Groo The Wanderer - Conan The Barbarian
3. Enid Coleslaw - Hopey Glass
4. Miriam Capaldi - Maggie Chascarrillo
5. Bat Bat - Batman

*****

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J.E. Cole

* The Metabaron
* Prophet
* Miracle/Marvelman
* Fighting American
* The Midnighter

*****

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Jude Killory

1. Chris Ware's Superman
2. Spike, (snoopy's cousin) Peanuts Schultz
3. J.H. Williams Batwoman
4. Death-Sandman
5. Kramer from Kramers Ergot 6-Paper Rad

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Moon Roach
2. Marvelman/Miracleman (as used by Moore)
3. Kid Miracleman (ditto)
4. Jimmy Corrigan's father
5. the Superman figure in Ware's Jimmy Corrigan comics

*****

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J. Colussy-Estes

1. She-Hulk
2. Bizarro Superman
3. The Squadron Supreme
4. The Mockingbird/Hawkeye relationship (which wouldn't exist without Green Arrow/Black Canary)
5. The last is a toss up between Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Batwoman (the newest incarnation)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. Thunderstrike
2. Kristoff Vernard (formerly known as Kristoff von Doom and Dr. Doom)
3. Ben Riley
4. She-Hulk
5. Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost

*****

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Sean T. Collins

1. Bizarro
2. Black Adam
3. The Reverse Flash
4. Venom
5. Any and all non-Green Lanterns

*****
*****
 
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August 21, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


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via
 
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CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 14 to August 20, 2010:

1. A cartoonist in the capital city of Yemen may have been detained along with work product, ostensibly for his progressive views.

2. Influential, comics-experienced editor Anjali Singh to Simon and Schuster.

3. CBLDF names new legal counsel.

Winners Of The Week
Your 2010 Ignatz Award nominees

Loser Of The Week
The Direct Market comic book.

Quote Of The Week
"I need you to know how much I loved you and I'll always miss you." -- Laura Park

*****

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

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

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

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If I Were In MN, I’d Go To This

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Happy 81st Birthday, Marie Severin!

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CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 20, 2010


Friday Distraction: Joe Shuster’s Final Interview (The Toronto Star, 1992)

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* Wizard's Chicago show is going on as this post rolls out. August in Chicago is a great time for a comics convention. It's removed enough from San Diego that pros who might attend both aren't exhausted. There's almost nothing to do in the Midwest events wise right before school starts again, so moving a Chicago show from the over-programmed July 4 to mid- to late-August should work. Chicago's a great comics-reading town and a great mainstream comics-reading town, so you can sort of tailor a show that way. The whole region is under-served with comics shows to the point you might be able to entice people to drive in for one or two days out in the Chicagoland suburbs. A lot of people in Chicago prefer to go out to the suburbs than head downtown, which is an advantage it might have over the Reed-run C2E2.

The problem I'm guessing is that Wizard has seemingly infuriated or frustrated so many comics people that what you're left with is a pop-culture show with comics elements -- while the comics folks in attendance might do very well, there's no institutional oomph to the convention: it will always have a hard time shifting out of first gear until the industry part of the comics industry comes back.

At any rate, I fully expect this to be a well-attended show, with reports all over the place in terms of how exhibitors have done, and reported attendance figures that have little to do with reality. Just like most years.

* the Minneapolis Indie Xpo, a one-day show featuring stalwarts of the small-press comic scene like John Porcellino, kicks off tomorrow. That sounds like a fun show, and one perfectly appropriate to that enjoyable city during one of its non-horrifying weather months.

* next week is the well-liked Baltimore Comic-Con. Comic Book Bin has the panel schedule.

* finally, one of my few comics- and sports-minded friends noted to me via e-mail that now with Brett Favre back in Vikings camp, Comic-Con International choosing between various post-2012 host cities is now the entertainment world's biggest decision-based soap opera. As it's already been a month since the decision-making process was tabled for the 2010 Comic-Con, I wouldn't be surprised if the announcement came next week. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised for it to go another six months. Nothing would surprised me at this point.
 
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Go, Look: Here We Rest

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Yemen Cartoonist Kamal Sharef Detained?

I'm not seeing a whole lot of confirmation on this post by someone monitoring Yemen News named Jane Novak, and it's far outside of my comfort zone in being able to tell you what's legitimate and not, but the article itself is ominous. It claims that progressive-issues cartoonist and organizer Kamal Sharef was taken from his home, along with work product and tools, because of his stands on political issues in the country such as women's rights. Apparently this came in conjunction with a more publicized incident whereby a journalist critical of certain political outcomes was arrested.
 
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Go, Look: Mon Mort

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Patrick Cauvin, 1932-2010

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The prolific novelist Claude Klotz, better known by his pen name Patrick Cauvin, died on August 13 from complications due to cancer. He was 77 years old.

Born in Marseilles, Klotz earned a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne and for several years as a young men taught French in secondary schools in and around Paris. In the 1970s, burning with frustration of France's role in Algeria, Klotz began a series of violent thrillers under his own name. A few years later, he adopted Patrick Cauvin in order to writer romantic novels, such as his best-known work E=MC2, mon amour. He continued on this bifurcated career path for as long as he would put words on paper, shocking fans from both worlds by the occasional work that might seem more at home in the other tradition.

The French-language comics and news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com notes that Klotz worked on several comics projects in his career. As was the case with his prose career, he worked with collaborators on his first comics effort, scripts for Morris and Lucky Luke. He worked with Enki Bilal in the late 1980s on de Hors Jeu, a futurist sports book, and using his real name wrote two books for Max Cabanes in the 2000s in the Bellagamba series. The last two books were described as perhaps more lighthearted than some of the author's other comics works. The comics works were considered part of his branching out into other media from the more strict one-a-year novel-writing days of the 1970s, and the work with Bilal is considered by fans of the author a labor of love.

His prose work -- over 30 novels thus far -- will continue to be published for one or two volumes posthumously.

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Go, Look: Classics Illustrated Covers

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* according to wire reports from late Thursday, a Dutch appeals court fined the Arab European League approximately $3200 USD for publishing a cartoon that denied the Holocaust. The group had published the cartoon for just this purpose, saying at the time that it would expose double standards in society in terms of who was offended. A court had exonerated the group in April; this was part of the appeals process.

* that region of Nigeria where over 100 people died in riots related to the original publication of the Danish Cartoons? Violence continues there almost unabated, and authorities this week may have put a stop to some of the worst yet.

* a survey in Denmark shows just how deeply the 2005 publication of the Danish Cartoons and its extended aftermath has changed life and outlooks in that country.

* the political furor surrounding former wannabe Jyllands-Posten blower-upper David Coleman Headley and his testimony about the 2008 Mumbai incident grow murkier by the day.
 
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Go, Look: Alex Toth Obscurities

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

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

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Go, Look: Bongo & Bop

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Go, Look: Doomsday+1 #3

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Go, Look: Smash Comics #43

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Go, Read: My Love #6/#36

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Tim Hodler leads a discussion on the auteur theory in comics.

image* the writer and reviewer David Brothers talks about writing black characters in mainstream superhero comics and provides a sample that breaks one of his rules but does so in such stylish fashion that he doesn't care.

* that Panther's Rage discussion moves into a part three.

* seriously, this new trend of sending me personal messages on Facebook about your Event listing in addition to your Event listing? All it gets you is blackballed. Tagging me with pictures or with comments that don't exist except to get me to read something that hypes your Event? Same thing. Contact information is on the site, and nothing there suggests you press me via social networking tools. I greatly, greatly, greatly appreciate being informed as to what's going on, but I only need it once, and I appreciate the respect inherent in your letting me decide what I can use and what I can't.

* Gary Tyrrell muses on the Ignatz webcomics category nominees in terms of when they were made/published.

* did I see a review of the new Superman original graphic novel effort by Brian Hibbs that's no longer up at Savage Critics, or am I slowly going crazy? He didn't seem to like it very much.

* finally, a symphony of Aacks.
 
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Happy 52nd Birthday, Daniel Torres!

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Happy 38th Birthday, Sean Kleefeld!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Carol Tyler
Hey, Chicago Con Is On
Comics At Edinburgh Book Festival

History
Praise For Bob Lubbers

Industry
Get Me Anything But
Song Of The Ethical Pirate
Cartoonist Studio Adds Six

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Greg Pak
Inkstuds: Tim Hensley
The Wright Opinion: Matthew Southworth

Publishing
Clint Calling For Submissions

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Matthew Brady: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: Ghostopolis
Ed Sizemore: Bakuman Vol. 1
The Comic Book Club: Various
Grant Goggans: Howard The Duck
Richard Bruton: Betelgeuse Vol. 2-3
Lauren Davis: Drinking At The Movies
Sean T. Collins: Al Burian Goes To Hell
Matthew Brady: Neil Young's Greendale
Matt Seneca: The Last Days Of Superman
Kate Dacey: The Qwaser Of Stigmata Vol. 1
Greg McElhatton: House Of Five Leaves Vol. 1
Shawn Daughhetee: Thor The Mighty Avenger #3
Alex Carr: The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crisis
RC Harvey: Captain America: The Man With No Face
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 19, 2010


Why Is MoCCA’s Forthcoming Al Jaffee Exhibit Being Funded Via Kickstarter?

It was one of the more curious announcements to stroll down the comics news highway in quite some time. That the Museum Of Comics and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) was doing an exhibition featuring the work of Al Jaffee shouldn't surprise: Jaffee's a much-beloved, well-regarded, recent Reuben winner with a dollop of name cachet due to his years of work for MAD Magazine. His more general and traditionally little-discussed wider comics industry background has increasingly come to light with the growing attention paid to Jaffee during these lion-in-winter years. An exhibit at the museum's New York City-based space would be right in line with a rediscovery and appreciation of all things Jaffee. It would fit the museum's mission statement and tendency to do well with cartoonists featuring a New York creative and/or publishing hook.

imageWhat seemed strange is that a museum that's been around since 2001 would choose to employ a Kickstarter page on the exhibit's behalf. Launched to come to an end on September 15, the page has of this writing raised 445 of 3000 hoped-for dollars, to be employed in a variety of ways on the show's behalf. While it's not unheard-of for a mature organization to use the fundraising mechanism, and a search for museums making use of the site yields a healthy number of similar projects, Kickstarter tends to be used in comics by smaller organizations such as self-publishers. As the Museum was recently criticized by con organizer Dustin Harbin for the high table costs at its fundraiser comics show the MoCCA Festival, the appearance of the Kickstarter page for the Jaffee show brought to the forefront questions as to why the museum felt it necessary, and what that choice might mean as to the group's overall financial profile.

According to current MoCCA chairman Ellen Abramowitz, a variety of factors came to bear on their decision to use the fundraising site. "The opportunity to do this show with Al Jaffee was brought to us with an abbreviated time frame," she explained to CR. According to Abramowitz, this made traditional fund-raising options such as soliciting from members and grant applications less attractive than working what she termed "the very exciting, very populist Kickstarter fundraising platform." Clearing up some potential confusion regarding the dollar amount and the Museum overall role in organizing the Jaffee show, the Chairman said that the Kickstarter page was not the entirety of their efforts on behalf of that particular show, and that if the goal isn't met they plan on doing the exhibition, only perhaps in an abbreviated form and perhaps even at a later date.

Asked about the potentially troubling spin that a Kickstarter page could put on the museum's overall financial picture, Abramowitz again cited the short turnaround between pitch and opening night on the planned exhibit and the site's ability to fulfill that need. "As mentioned above, each exhibition has its own fundraising plan. This show was presented to us on relatively short notice and Kickstarter is an ideal vehicle for raising funds for small, popular projects in a brief time frame," Abramowitz said. She then went on to cite the museum range of programming options including a long list of offerings in the museum's recent past, including the organization's Master Classes, and several events such as Keith Mayerson's NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition show.

Future uses of the Kickstarter mechanism by MoCCA will depend on how this one succeeds or doesn't, and the circumstances regarding its potential employment down the line. "Potentially, if the opportunity presents itself," said Abramowitz of the possibility. One area where the on-line funding tool could be used without the museum having to make a decision first is if a curator were to include the site in plans to launch a show as a way of convincing the museum to get on board. Abramowitz admits this possibility, but characterizes it as not likely. "We are alway interested in hearing new ideas for exhibitions projects and events," she told CR. If they already have funding attached to them, that is very helpful, though it is the overall quality of the proposal that matters most. Many exhibits do not have any funding."

More on September 15.
 
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Go, Look: The Perilous Path

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* here's some really good news. Well, maybe not news as much as I wondered about it and e-mailed a few people and only afterwards realized it's probably in a catalog somewhere. Anyway, from what I understand the talented Wilfred Santiago has turned in the pages for his biography of Roberto Clemente, 21, and the book will be published to coincide with Opening Day 2011. I've been looking forward to that one for a while -- from the date on the above image, maybe five years?

image* continuing today's theme of idle thinking, here's something I either didn't know or forgot: Jesse Reklaw has apparently collected his mini-comics series Ten Thousand Things To Do into a 384-page book, going at the cheap price of $20. This is not only cheap for 384 pages, but these are densely-packed pages, and at one point Reklaw even has a code going that gives you more information. If you're only going to buy one old-school, look at what's around me, life-documenting, autobiographical comics work this year or next, make it this one.

* so I guess Marvel is ending its current Daredevil comic book. I have no idea if that means anything or if it's business as usual. I can't imagine they're done with the character, although I guess it would be nice if someone out there could go in a different direction than the "Varying Shades Of Miller" approach they've been exploring -- with success -- the last dozen years. I wouldn't expect another Karl Kesel-style take on the character, but even an Ann Nocenti spin on things might let that character breathe a bit.

* the license for the Angel concept and characters is moving from IDW to Dark Horse. Dark Horse currently does the Buffy books.

* did I fail to mention that Richard Thompson has altered the direction of his well-received comics blog to more directly comment on ongoing strips? If I didn't, I should have.

* finally, Darryl Cunningham has sent along the cover to the US edition of his Psychiatric Tales, which I believe isn't due until 2011.

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Go, Look: Emile Bravo Art Blog

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Your 2010 Ignatz Award Nominees

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The 2010 Ignatz Awards ballot has been released by the good folks of Small Press Expo. The awards program is held during SPX weekend, which this year means a September 11 ceremony in North Bethesda. This is the fourteenth presentation of the awards.

This year's panel of nominating judges were Anders Nilsen, David Kelly, Rob G, Josh Cotter and Trevor Alixopulos. The awards are voted on by attendees of Small Press Expo.

*****

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Outstanding Artist
* Eddie Campbell, Alec: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Sized Omnibus) (Top Shelf Productions)
* Al Columbia, Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Fantagraphics Books)
* Mike Dawson, Troop 142 (self-published & http://troop142.mikedawsoncomics.com)
* John Pham, Sublife #2 (Fantagraphics Books)
* Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)

*****

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Outstanding Anthology or Collection
* The Hipless Boy, Sully (Conundrum Press)
* Lemon Styles, David King (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* Masterpiece Comics, R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Red Snow, Susumu Katsumata (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Ten Thousand Things to Do, Jesse Reklaw (self-published)

*****

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Outstanding Graphic Novel
* The Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty (Buentaventura Press)
* Market Day, James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia (Fantagraphics Books)
* Summit of the Gods Vol. 1, Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Years of the Elephant, Willy Linthout (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

*****

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Outstanding Story
* John Wesley Harding, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, Joe Daly (Fantagraphics Books)
* Market Day, James Sturm (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Monsters, Ken Dahl (Secret Acres)
* Turd Place, The Hipless Boy, Sully (Conundrum Press)
* Untitled, Mome Vol. 16, Laura Park (Fantagraphics Books)

*****

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Promising New Talent
* Rina Ayuyang, Whirlwind Wonderland, (Sparkplug Comic Books & Tugboat Press)
* Rami Efal, Never Forget, Never Forgive (Studio Namu)
* Blaise Larmee, Young Lions (self-published)
* Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)
* Matt Wiegle, The Orphan Baiter, Papercutter #13 (Tugboat Press)

*****

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Outstanding Series
* Ganges, Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics Books)
* King-Cat Comics & Stories, John Porcellino (self-published)
* Sublife, John Pham (Fantagraphics Books)
* Summit of the Gods, Yumemakura Baku and Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson (self-published)

*****

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Outstanding Comic
* Blammo #6, Noah Van Sciver (Kilgore Books)
* Eschew #2, Robert Sergel (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* Flesh and Bone, Julia Gfrörer (Sparkplug Comic Books)
* I Want You, Lisa Hanawalt (Buenaventura Press)
* Sublife #2, John Pham (Fantagraphics Books)

*****

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Outstanding Mini-Comic
* Don't Drink from the Sea, Lille Carre
* Rambo 3.5, Jim Rugg
* Stories by... Vol. 1, Martin Cendreda
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson
* Water Column #3, Josh Frankel

*****

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Outstanding Online Comic
* Callahan Online, John Callahan
* I Think You're Sauceome, Sarah Becan
* The Lesttrygonians, Stephen Gilpin
* Reliable Comics, David King
* Troop 142, Mike Dawson

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Neal Adams Batman Covers

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Bors And Rall Start Afghan Cartooning

Michael Cavna at Comic Riffs has a nice profile up about Matt Bors and Ted Rall beginning their cartooning from Afghanistan, in a much talked about, Kickstarter-funded trip. I mention it here in the hopes that you'll join me in bookmarking where appropriate as opposed to waiting on sites like this one to mirror developments in what they're doing. I'm not sure that's a news function, although the trip itself certainly is. From my vantage point, I'm hoping there will be no news concerning the trip until I can mention that it's completed.
 
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Go, Look: Mickey, Jan And Drew

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If I Were In Montreal, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Horrid Interlude

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Go, Look: Don Rosa’s Captain Marvel Jr.

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Go, Look: The Phantom Stranger #4

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Go, Look: Top 10 Power Man Moments

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* it's a blast to watch prolific reviewer Richard Bruton's face melt with his first exposure to John Porcellino's comics.

image* just to show it's a generally slow month for comics news around the world, an advertisement featuring the Asterix characters celebrating at a McDonald's is causing cultural critics to gasp and writers to knock out what is a pretty standard, easy article. This is one of those stories where the issues get argued as absolutes when they're really fluid: it's a bad advertisement not because you shouldn't do such things but because it generates upset feelings from a segment of the audience that might like to eat a hamburger without being reminded of the cultural invasion aspects, or to flip the emphasis is being asked to help decide the legacy of the later Asterix efforts without having to puzzle through the corporation's intentions. The other thing that's weird is that I expected Tintin to appear in something like this first, what with the Jackson/Spielberg movie and all.

* Mike Lynch draws attention to JD Crowe's post about the economic misfortune inflicted upon those in the path of BP's oil spill.

* a plot development in a volume of One Piece has Lori Henderson considering the nature of that kind of narrative progression.

* I'm not a fan of quick and easy plugs, but I think this may contain the best story Jaime Hernandez is ever done.

* not comics: Leonard Riggio has increased his holdings in Barnes and Noble in anticipation of an ugly fight over the value of the stock.

* finally, Evan Dorkin talks The Beetle. I liked him, too, for mostly the same reasons. Also, it's my memory that for a while early on they deferred to him a bit in the comics as if he were a particularly tough and nettlesome opponent, which I can't imagine happening now.
 
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Happy 66th Birthday, Skip Williamson!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Stefano Gaudiano!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Gene Ha!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Josh Cotter!

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Happy 31st Birthday, Josh Fialkov!

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Quick hits
Craft
Gekiga Spider-Man?
Author Self-Portraits Everywhere

Exhibits/Events
Chris Butcher Endorses Two Indie Shows

History
This Surprises Whom?

Industry
Contracts Benefit All Sides

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Paul Cornell
CBR: Arvid Nelson
CBR: Marc Sumerak
TCJ: Marc Legendre
Avoid The Future: Darryl Cunningham
Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs: Aaron Shaps
Talking Comics With Tim: Daryl Gregory

Not Comics
That's Not A Bad Living

Publishing
This Book Is Very Entertaining

Reviews
Glen Weldon: Set To Sea
Michael C. Lorah: Fogtown
Kristian Williams: Crossed Vol. 1
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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If I Were In Minneapolis, I’d Go To This

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August 18, 2010


Analysts: July 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 July 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.

There are a couple of reasonably sizable news stories here. First, while Marvel was able to massage a hit out of its X-Men re-launch with a new numbering, a ton of promotion and a slew of variant covers, not much else seems to be hitting with stores in the big way you come to think of comics hitting in the middle of a summer season. This includes DC's current event series, Brightest Day, which failed to crack 100,000 sold. This brought about a reverse of a recently-noticed ongoing trend where comics were outpacing graphic novels in terms of month to month vitality: in July, comics were down overall compared to 2009, while graphic novels were slightly up. I still ask: where are the publishing-line innovations that should have been spurred on by new ownership and, in one case, management?

Second, all of the Scott Pilgrim books did very, very well -- no doubt feeling the impact of interest as the last book in the series came out and to coincide with anticipation for the movie version. I hope that there isn't the typical drop that comes after a movie is released, successful or not, in that I would like to see comics have as many hits not directly connected into a film version as possible.
 
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Go, Look: Robert Sergel’s Comics

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CBLDF Names New Legal Counsel

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has announced its new legal counsel, Robert Corn-Revere, a First Amendment expert with both publication and litigation experience. Corn-Revere replaces long-time counsel Burton Joseph, who passed away on March 31 of this year. Corn-Revere is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine. His clients past and present include CBS, the MPAA, the National Association of Broadcasters, Viacom, A&E Television Network and Playboy.
 
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Go, Look: Four With Woozy Winks

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Go, Read: Greg Cook On William Steig

imageMy first recommendation to combat any case of the late-summer too-close-to-comics blues is to take a vacation. If that's not possible and you're still feeling more irritated than invigorated by the art form my second recommendation is to pick one of the past or even modern giants of comics and cartooning and look at as much of their stuff as you have in your library or as you can find on-line. There are opportunities for this practically everywhere you look. Drawn and Quarterly has for sale their collection of Joe Sacco's non-Safe Area Gorazde Bosnian comics out that's been my companion for a week now, Heidi MacDonald reminds us that Jordan Crane is posting Abner Dean, and the Boston Phoenix has a lovely article up on the late William Steig by the talented cartoonist and arts writer Greg Cook. It's amazing to me how reluctant comics and cartooning fans are to claim Steig despite decades of laudatory work in a variety of different expressions.
 
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Go, Look: Tower Comics Covers

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Go, Read: Rina Piccolo On The Traditional Newspaper Strip Business

imageThe cartoonist Rina Piccolo has listed multiple reasons why "Newspaper Comic Strips Are Not Dying." It's actually a better piece than that more provocative and slightly misleading title promises, in that it's really just a point-by-point case as to where newspaper comic strips are right now from Piccolo's perspective: still hugely profitable for some, a living or part of a living for many others, a harder place than ever to break in, and only one component among many in approaching comics as a career. It's about a billion times better than the pathological shrieking that usually tends to pass for discussion on the various issues involved, and I recommend it even if you strongly believe in one or the other side of the viewpoint that tends to see this issue in dueling opposites. (via a bunch of you)
 
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Go, Look: Marvel Magazine Sub Ads

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Go, Look: Josie #21

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Go, Look: Weird Comics #13

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Go, Look: UFO Flying Saucers #10

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Go, Look: Spy Smasher #2

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Random Comics News Story Update

* Jeet Heer examines Seth and Chester Brown as late-born Canadian nationalists.

* the writer Graeme McMillan has a longish post up about how the reputation of certain comics can keep people from reading them, both out of intimidation and from the fear that you won't like it and thus the people who do will look down on you. Even if you don't agree with his theories, his description of kind of poking around Love & Rockets and then having it click for him after a certain length of exposure to the material will be familiar to a lot of fans of that work.

image* speaking of Love & Rockets, everyone is ogling this fun Jaime Hernandez cover for the second go-around of the Marvel alt-comics creators doing versions of their characters series Strange Tales.

* cartoonist and blogger Mike Lynch tells a story about a form of presentation that was all but lost to the popularity of a digital form, but then made a comeback: the record album. Before he's swarmed with nerd lawyers, Lynch isn't trying to make a strident point but just suggesting "you never know."

* Ralph Bakshi/Wally Wood team-up.

* deadline reminder one: the next issue of Best American Comics.

* deadline reminder two: the Isotope Award For Excellence In Mini-Comics.

* deadline reminder three: TCAF 2011.

* if you think the comics industry is in a bad place here, it sounds like things are worse in Angola.

* finally, the great Bob Levin sent along this link to a psychological examination of conventions, specifically Comic-Con. I sympathize with the power that finding yourself in a community that actually gets your jokes can have; that was my experience going to work at Fantagraphics. However, I think the biggest shift isn't from isolation with an on-line component that just doesn't have the same effect to a convention experience that provides community, but a two-pronged effect where the convention experience consummates the on-line friendships and relationships already established.
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Brian Bendis!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Kevin Church!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Chris Allen!

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Happy 33rd Birthday, Jenni Rope!

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Happy 27th Birthday, Lilli Carre!

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Quick hits
Craft
November 2010's Coolest Covers

Exhibits/Events
Comic Book Academy

History
Acquiring Neil The Horse
Mark Evanier On Returning To Comics

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Jason
CBR: JM DeMatteis
iFanboy: Brian K. Vaughan
Comics Alliance: Eddie Argos
Caustic Cover Critic: Bob Fingerman

Publishing
ArcaMax Picking Up More Titles

Reviews
Rob Clough: Elephant Man #1
Sean T. Collins: The Airy Tales
Robert Greenberger: Ghostopolis
Michael C. Lorah: Ides Of Blood #1
Rich Kreiner: Joe The Barbarian #1-6
Johanna Draper Carlson: The Spirit #4
Kate Dacey: How I Made It To Eighteen
Richard Bruton: Chimpanzee Complex Vol. 3
Nina Stone: Justice League Of America #249
Greg McElhatton: The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Matthew Brady: Billy Hazelnuts And The Crazy Bird
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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If I Were In London, I’d Go To This

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August 17, 2010


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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's 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 if I were anywhere near a comic shop, nothing would stop me from picking these up and rubbing their covers all over my face.

*****

JUN100011 1 FOR DOLLAR HELLBOY SEED OF DESTRUCTION $1.00
JUN100012 1 FOR DOLLAR USAGI YOJIMBO $1.00

I'd want to check these out as potential giveaways, but I have to imagine most fans have seen this material and either already embraced it or walked away.

MAY100040 LITTLE LULU PAL TUBBY VOL 01 CASTAWAY OTHER STORIES $15.99
If they didn't have you at "Tubby," I'll never get you at all.

MAY100222 EX MACHINA #50 $4.99
That is a very fine anniversary for this title to reach, and I think it's one that fans of adventure comics will go back to for a while.

JUN100270 FABLES #97 (MR) $2.99
This one is about to hit one of those grand anniversaries. Wow. I think if I had had to guess I would have said it was only about 70 issues in.

JUN100453 BULLETPROOF COFFIN #3 (OF 6) (MR) $3.99
JUN100472 TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD #13 $3.50
FEB100404 WEIRD WORLD OF JACK STAFF #4 $3.50
Three from the "genre comics with a number of fans" pile. The Paul Grist stuff is funny if you think of him doing these re-launches to capture a bigger audience and then him doing comics that are quickly just as inscrutable as last time out. I sure enjoy them, though.

MAY100193 SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE DOOM PATROL TP VOL 02 $19.99
This practically has to be good, right?

MAR100952 GROTESQUE #4 $7.95
MAR100953 INTERIORAE #4 $7.95
MAR100954 NIGER #3 $7.95
APR100967 SAMMY THE MOUSE #3 $7.95

This summer's four new Ignatz releases from Coconino/Fantagraphics, and examples of one of the great comics formats of the last 15 years. I liked the Sammy The Mouse book the best, but they're all beautiful.

JUL101060 SAN FRANCISCO PANORAMA COMICS SECTION TABLOID FORMAT $10.00
This is the comics section from the McSweeney's effort to put out a local newspaper, which initially wasn't being sold separately. A bunch of art-comics regulars on point.

MAY101031 UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN GN $13.99
A quick and fun little kids' story set in a fantastic world, with real-world elements creeping in on every side -- as opposed to the other way around.

*****

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, that's because someone put up a mosque near the ground zero of my heart.

*****

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Go, Look: Carl Hubenthal Gallery

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whoa
 
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Anjali Singh To Simon and Schuster

Anjali Singh will join Simon & Schuster as a senior editor next month, according to various reports in the book trade. Singh is best known in comics circles for her acquisition of runaway comics and literary hit Persepolis in 2003, for Pantheon. She also edited Epileptic, The Rabbi's Cat and La Perdida for the imprint.

Singh moved to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in I believe late 2006 in what was a very high-profile hire. She edited the 2008 Frederik Peeters book Blue Pills, which was not a hit. although the short version of her resume included in this week's article notes that she has always worked on literary fiction as well as comics and that comics was never the entirety of her editorial purview. In addition to prose, Singh also had at least one hybrid comics/prose work planned while at the company. She was let go from HMH in late 2008 when the publisher made cutbacks. A statement in the hiring stories notes that graphic works will be among those areas in which she's looking to acquire for Simon & Schuster.

(thanks to those who sent in a link)
 
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Go, Look: Dan Tootin

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So What Are Editorial Cartoonists Doing With The Ground Zero Mosque Story?

imageAs always, Daryl Cagle provides the wonderful service of allowing cartooning and comics fans a chance to look at a single issue through a number of cartoonists' perspectives and also maybe glean some information about the state of that particular expression of cartoon art. It's a fascinating bunch of cartoons, and although I'll leave the bulk of the interpretation up to the individual reader, a few things leaped out at me: 1) relatively few cartoonists seem to be engaging the subject, which makes perfect sense -- if I could avoid doing one I would; 2) the only cartoonists with multiple takes on the subject were Jimmy Margulies, whose regional proximity makes that make sense, and Mike Lester, whose transformation over the last few years into maybe the most dependably strident conservative cartoonist in print would explain his attention to the subject; 3) no one's nailed the issue yet with that kind of alternative-perspective cartoon that is the medium's greatest strength, although Mike Luckovich's effort is admirable in that respect.
 
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Go, Look: Strange Tales Covers

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Do We Need More Cartoons On Media?

The thought that any more analysis need be given to the media as an agent within politics is fairly remarkable given that issues like media bias, how something plays and even process fairly dominates any television news story that makes it out of the first hour of who, what, when and where. Still, it's hard not to see something in a Guardian letter-writer's plea for blunt cartoonists like Steve Bell to re-arrange their opportunities to "shout back" at insulting politics so that the other half of that question and answer equation is included in the blame. I'm just not sure how it can be done without the kind of self-regard loop that such coverage creates.
 
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Go, Look: More Powerhouse Pepper

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Go, Look: Phantom Stranger #3

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Go, Look: Marvel Spotlight #31

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Go, Look: Four Color #1006

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Go, Look: Grimm’s Ghost Stories #2

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* there's been a bunch of scorecard-keeping, not crucially important to my eye back-and-forths in the Siegel Family/DC case. The hobby business news and analysis site has the most terse and time-saving round-up.

image* this post about the early business cards and promotional materials being put out there by 1980s comics company Comico is a lot of fun.

* from the "nobody's really done that yet, have they?" files comes word that Rina Piccolo is illustrating random tweets.

* Comics Comics lets us know about the on-line publication of Jonathan Rosenbaum's essay on the movie Crumb, now part of its Criterion packaging. There was a time when Jonathan Rosenbaum was very important to the writer of this blog, I think more for the way he perceived the world of film rather than for the content of his reviews.

* I believe it's Trina Robbins' birthday today. She's opted out of the single-post birthday wishes here at CR, but that doesn't mean if you know her you shouldn't double-check to see if I'm right and maybe drop her a line.

* Brigid Alverson points out that Ben Bova isn't doing anyone a favor by advocating for literacy and then trashing an entire form of expression within a medium based on conjecture and limited examples. My counter-examples wouldn't be the same as Alverson's, but no one should have to argue that there are comics with levels of characterization much deeper and more profound than those in Valley Of The Dolls. That's just stupid. Also, I think 1968 Dick Cavett wants his humorous bad book example back.

* I haven't been following this story, but the headline is a best-of-year candidate for sure.

* finally, I always enjoy the "Nobody Favorite" posts at Armagideon Time; this latest is a bit off the beaten path, and I enjoy its discussion of the ongoing youth's quests of trying to marry superhero comics to role-playing games.
 
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Happy 54th Birthday, John Romita Jr.!

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Happy 41st Birthday, Tom McLean!

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Andy Helfer!

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Quick hits
Craft
Josh Cotter Works Blue

Exhibits/Events
Otakon 2010 Report

History
Avengers Math
Remembering CMX
Mike Sterling Shakes His Finger
This Guy Hates The New Batman Costume

Industry
Win A Copy Of RIP MD

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Eric Wallace
Sean Azzopardi: Josceline Fenton
Washington City Paper: Tony Rubino

Not Comics
Zippy The Musical?
Tony Millionaire Covers Elvis Costello 02
An Excellent Homemade Halloween Costume Choice

Publishing
DC In November
X-Men #3 Previewed

Reviews
Kiel Phegley: Murderland #1
Richard Bruton: Tank Girl: Skidmarks
Sean Gaffney: School Rumble Vols. 14-16
Kristian Williams: Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 16, 2010


Go, Look: Joe Sacco’s Portrait Of The Cartoonist As A Dog Owner

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Go, Look: Uptown Rule

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In Case You Like Me Were Wondering About One Piece Sales Vs. Asterix

imageThis article at the French-language comics news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com suggests that the performance of current world comics sales champion One Piece does indeed surpass the initial sales and initial printing figures enjoyed by the highest-selling Asterix albums. I'm not sure that it answers total sales over years and years and years -- but the initial rush to sales seems to clearly fall to the manga. If I'm reading the figures correctly, the latest volume in the Eiichiro Oda pirate series sold 1.8 million copies of its 3 million-plus print run in a single week just past. I'm not sure what to make of these huge-sellers, although if either of these were a North American phenomenon we'd be flipping out about them.
 
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Go, Look: Nick Cardy At Marvel

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Go, Look: Wallace Tripp

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SLG Sets Up Fund To Defray Costs Already Spent On Costly Legal Matter

In a remarkable letter penned by SLG's Dan Vado, the company is asking its fans to help defray costs incurred during a recent series of legal back-and-forths over "a certain gun heiress," which I and I guess everyone else out there is taking as a reference to their 2009 comic about the Winchester Mansion, called Winchester. That's an active museum with an active Winchester family member in charge, so it sort of makes sense.

One thing that's different about Vado's plea is that he promises they won't be fighting an extended battle on this one -- he says the company can't -- but that they want money to pay for legal communications made thus far, costs that already number in the five figures. The reason why, Vado suggests, is that they will run into operational difficulties if the bills remain the way they are right now, or if they grow. Vado's an honorable publisher from everything I know and has always been honest about his company's super-thin margins.
 
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Go, Read: Brandon Graham Interview

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Go, Look: Air Fighters Covers

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Go, Look: Marvel Romance

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Go, Look: The Brave And The Bold #1

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Go, Look: The Phantom Stranger #2

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Random Comics News Story Update

* for a long and funny backstage-on-the-comics-page post, you can't really do better than this longish one from Stephan Pastis about Cathy Guisewite.

image* David Brothers takes up where Tucker Stone left off in a roundtable devoted to the "Panther's Rage" storyline in the 1970s Jungle Action comic book.

* Scott Cederlund compares and contrasts the Scott Pilgrim series with Love and Rockets.

* not comics: the box office news on the first weekend of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is in. I don't know anything about Hollywood box office returns and I no longer have the energy like so many seem to have to pretend that I do. It seems safe to say that the movie didn't hit the way its makers and studio had hoped right out of the gate, and that no one really knows the reason why or this kind of thing wouldn't happen. I had a brief discussion about SP with a couple of more Hollywood-oriented people when I was in Southern California. As it turned out they had just seen the move. One of them liked the film but thought that it might have some trouble scoring decent box office because it was aimed at a young adult audience that had yet to embrace a film and make it their own in that way. "This summer?" I asked. "Ever," said my pal.

* not comics: I do always get a little sad with how much more invested comics fans are with the box office of movies based on comics than they are with invigorating a system that might sell more comics. I'm additionally depressed by the entire industry's nerd-pressed-against-the-glass fixation with movie success over publishing success. Anyone who has anything invested beyond curiosity in the box-office success of a film that doesn't feature a family member, a friend, or themselves needs to take a long walk around the block; those that like to crow about someone other persons' perceived setbacks can keep walking. I felt the strutting after Dark Knight came out to boffo box office equally silly and largely irrelevant to comics in the long run, too.

* vote early, vote often, vote Inkwells.

* writer Mark Evanier's serious, somber, sober advice on issues concerning freelance work for comics, with the added bonus that they've already been used as direct pieces of one-to-one advice.

* finally, audio from television interviews done at the 1974 Comic-Con? Yes, indeed.
 
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Quick hits
Craft
More Self-Portraits
Jeff Koterba Talks Process

History
Covered In Bees
Neal Adams Told Him To Give It Up

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: David Steinberger
Comics212: Jim Zubkavich
Newsarama: David Lapham
War Rocket Ajax: Paul Tobin
Graphic Novel Reporter: Dan Goldman
The Blog From Another World: Will Dinski

Not Comics
James J. Kilpatrick, RIP
I Would Watch This Show If It Were Called Hot Marshall

Publishing
HJ Ward Book Previewed
Webcomics She's Reading
You Should Definitely Scream
Glad I'm Not Reading Mainstream Comics Right Now

Reviews
Paul Gravett: Various
Paul O'Brien: Various
Alex Carr: Weird Sister
Frank Santoro: My Love
Michael At FPI: Sweets #1
Greg McElhatton: Three #1
Kate Dacey: Lycanthrope Leo
Ng Suat Tong: The Playwright
Rob Clough: Second Thoughts
Sean T. Collins: Curio Cabinet
Chris Mautner: Artichoke Tales
Greg McElhatton: Moomin Vol. 5
Beth Davies-Stofka: Felix The Cat
Rob Clough: Melvin Monster Vol. 2
Noah Berlatsky: Female Force: Oprah Winfrey
Brian Heater: The Golden Collection Of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Comics
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 15, 2010


Panthers, Rages, & Emblematic Series: What Were THE Comics Of The ‘70s?

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A mention of the "Panther's Rage" storyline in Jungle Action this week at CR as one of the emblematic works in comics in the 1970s brought with it some e-mail. Most of the correspondence engaged what that designation meant in terms of an overall endorsement of the Black Panther-starring comic book. The answer is it really doesn't. I think it's entirely possible for a comic to be of a time or a place or an era in a way that derives from a judgment or series of judgments distinct from a more ruthless, straight-up appraisal of that work's quality. It's the way with film and music and prose, too. I think more of Ry Cooder's Boomer's Story than I do The Eagles' Hotel California, but the latter is one of the first albums I think of when I think of 1970s pop music and the former is not. Evincing positive qualities will help any work remain relevant long enough for people to consider and re-consider its place in various made-up critical firmaments, but it's not a sole requirement, and the formula does not necessarily apply in reverse: being important to a time, a place or a movement likely won't impart quality that's not already there.

I think the "Panther's Rage" storyline in Jungle Action is a key or emblematic work of its decade because it has all of the qualities that came to define a major form of expression within mainstream comics, and it came out during a decade when multiple works began to lean in that direction. As described, "Panther's Rage" sounds like a book that could be solicited today. It's driven by prose. The art is allowed a level of freedom of design and depiction because of the presence of that prose. Its storyline is the result of sitting down and thinking through the logical, "real world" implications of past narratives (an African king teaching in Harlem is a king that has abandoned his subjects). There is a shift in tone to the more serious and somber. It borrows elements from outside genres (horror, mostly) to thwart expectations inherent to the main genre (the superhero story). The plot's progression is both a play against outside forces and a reconsideration of the protagonist's basic character concept, so that when the former ends the latter is in a different place. It is also essentially a graphic novel -- a long story with a beginning and an end -- and it targets a little-used character with perceived grander qualities in an attempt to rehabilitate them for future stories. My personal reaction to "Panther's Rage" is that it's a sweetly ambitious, clunkily-told superhero saga where the cape-and-costume confuse the stabs at more serious, more directly relevant plot points. Answers to question of royal obligation and nation building are never likely to be found in a march of dinosaurs or a spiked-belt fight near a waterfall. Its potential influence or at least its presentation in almost full flower of a powerful formula that would dominate the field for decades makes it a hard story to dismiss, though. If it's not a road map, it's a sign of things to come. "Panther's Rage" is either vastly influential or terrifyingly precocious, or both. Either one would be enough to put it on the decade's must-considers.

So what are some other works like that? If you were a librarian in 2612 working at the Grand Library Of Comics located on a floating platform above the city of Des Moines, and a student from Neil Gaiman Academy came to you wanting to know what comics in the 1970s were like, what works would be on the shelf you walked them over to see?

Let's build such a list. Send me one selection. Send me two. Send me three. (But don't send me more than three.) Make them comics that are remembered for being read rather than simply as novelty publishing events or collectors' events (we'll save the number ones and first appearances for another post).

I'll add your selections to this post with your name on it, whether or not I agree or disagree, and call attention to the final result when we're done. So what specific publications or specific series are the emblematic 1970s comics? And if you have time to write or sentnence or two, why? Here are three from me.

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1. "Panther's Rage," Jungle Action #6-18, Don McGregor, Gil Kane, Rich Buckler, Billy Graham, et al; 1973-1975.
"Panther's Rage" prefigured nearly every element of the modern superhero comic book, from its focus on a "secondary" character to its shift in tone to making a part of its plot a reconsideration of the character itself and its place in the wider Marvel Comics world.

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2. Arcade, Edited by Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith, 1975-1976
The first modern anthology, bridging the underground and alternative generation with a shared sensibility rather than an editorial imperative. It featured nearly every major young talent of the time that would become a comics-lifer.

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3. The Holt, Rinehart and Winston Doonesbury paperbacks, Garry Trudeau
This was the best presentation of the decade's finest newspaper comic strip. In a pre-Internet age getting the paperbacks was just about the only way for most folks to see all of Trudeau's comics in a way that allowed one to follow the longer narratives or just keep track of Trudeau's already exponentially expanding cast. They are near-perfect little books, especially when the main storyline contained therein crackled.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
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Not Comics: My Brother Whit Interviews Voice Actor Kevin Michael Richardson III

imageKevin Michael Richardson III and my brother Whit Spurgeon -- this site's primary photographer -- were college classmates at Syracuse University that headed to Los Angeles to make their fortune 20 years apart. A mini-reunion was too much for them to pass up, especially on their representative companies' dimes, so they got together at the W San Diego where Richardson, a mega-successful voice actor, had been set up to do a number of interviews in support of projects like The Cleveland Show. My knowledge of Richardson's career in voice-over acting was very limited but I do remember his live-acting participation in maybe the finest television show of the last quarter century, and so I gladly sent my ace reporter/older brother on a fact-finding mission. It sounds like they had fun catching up. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

WHIT SPURGEON: My editor wanted me to ask you up front, Kevin, if we can expect a Homeboys In Outer Space reunion?

KEVIN MICHAEL RICHARDSON: [laughter] Tell him I don't think so! [laughter] You know what, I might do it! [laughter and coughing] I might do it if it was a... [laughter]. It all depends. James Doohan has passed away, so... Oh God, and Flex [Alexander], I bumped into him. Who knows, man? You know what? If somebody approached me about it and said they want to do it, and the money was good, that's a very strong possibility.

WHIT SPURGEON: Hey, made for TV movie!

RICHARDSON: That's brilliant, that's brilliant. Just when you thought you forgot, they pull you back in! Oh, that's funny.

WHIT SPURGEON: I was stunned that there were 21 episodes of Homeboys.

RICHARDSON: Yeah, you know what, you're right, I can't believe that, I didn't know that they'd made a whole season. A couple of them are out there, and I have no idea where they are.

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WHIT SPURGEON: I was checking you out on IMDB today. Reading your IMDB profile is exhausting. You've got more credits than Wallace Beery.

RICHARDSON: I don't know who puts it up there. I think there might be a few of them that are inaccurate. There's another Kevin Richardson in the union. But I did oversee it at one time a little while ago, because I really don't look at it often, and yes, most of them are me. Yes. Absolutely. There's about two or three where I go, "Well, I never did a Living Single," or something like that. "That wasn't me." But, yes, 99.9% of them? Definitely. I do get around.

WHIT SPURGEON: You've had a hell of a voiceover career in particular.

RICHARDSON: It's good, it's been good. It's Tourette's and schizophrenia, really. You're just going "BLBLBLBLBLBLBL!" behind the microphone. It's basically left-brain. It's just rambling.

WHIT SPURGEON: I read something about you getting Cleveland Jr. [on The Cleveland Show] because you were doing another voice for the show and they said, "Kevin, can you come in here and give us your take on this?"

RICHARDSON: Right, right -- they'd cast me as Lester first.

WHIT SPURGEON: And which one's Lester?

RICHARDSON: Lester Krinklesack [Spurgeon laughs] is the redneck neighbor that lives across the street.

WHIT SPURGEON: With the 500-pound wife.

RICHARDSON: Yeah, Kendra. [In Lester's voice] "Yep, that's me! And this is my wife." [resumes normal speaking voice] They didn't even think about me for Junior. But they said they weren't having too much luck, so they called me in. We were in there in the booth.

Seth [McFarlane] and Mike [Henry] and Rich were in the room, and they said, "Kevin, what would Cleveland Senior sound like as a 12- or 14-year-old boy?" So I incorporated that with the voice I did for ER when I played Patrick -- he had the football helmet, was mentally challenged?

WHIT SPURGEON: Sure.

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RICHARDSON: So I used that voice with him, and that's how we got [in Cleveland Jr. voice] "Daddy, will you wipe me?" [resumes normal speaking voice] You know, that kind of voice.

WHIT SPURGEON: I feel like some childhood memories may have also been involved in that.

RICHARDSON: Yeah, yeah. Yeah! (Laughs) Ay-yi-yi!

WHIT SPURGEON: How did you break into voiceover?

RICHARDSON: I had a commercial agency, CESD, a talent agency out of LA. I was with them in New York, so I became an affiliate when I moved out here -- to LA in '91, not San Diego; LA. I found out they had a voiceover department. This was when it was reel-to-reel, and not digital like now. They were like editing the voiceover auditions, and I heard this character.

I stopped and said, "What is that?" And they, at the time, Donna Davies, God Bless her, she's passed on, said, "Oh, this is our Voiceover Client Demo." I go, "What?" "You know, our demo." I said, "You mean like animation and voices and stuff like that?" She goes, "Yeah." I said, "People get paid for this? There's a market for this?" They're like, "Yeah." I said, "Well, I can do this!"

I kept telling them, "I can do this." And they were like, "Well, it's very hard to get in, you have to study, and it's this very tight circle of people who do it." And I basically said, "Look, guys, just send me out." And I literally did this for about a year. I guess to shut me up, they sent me out. One of the first things they sent me out, I got -- and it just snowballed from there.

WHIT SPURGEON: Did you read comics as a kid?

RICHARDSON: Oh Yeah! Heck, yeah!

WHIT SPURGEON: Do you still read them?

RICHARDSON: Only if I'm at a buddy's house who has them.

WHIT SPURGEON: What were your favorites?

RICHARDSON: Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, and I kind of was getting into the Uncanny X-Men a little bit. But the Hulk and Spider-Man were definitely my favorites. Fantastic Four was kind of cool. But... Spidey, Hulk.

WHIT SPURGEON: In a ballroom dancing contest, who would win? The Hulk or Superman?

RICHARDSON: Superman! [Laughter].

WHIT SPURGEON: Defend your answer! Because you know, I've heard that the madder Hulk gets, the more graceful Hulk gets. [laughter]

RICHARDSON: I don't think there would be much of a ballroom dance floor after he stopped! [laughter] Superman's lighter on his feet.

WHIT SPURGEON: In a contest of eating canned hams, who would win?

RICHARDSON: Hulk! Without taking them out of the cans! "Hulk need iron!" [laughter]

imageWHIT SPURGEON: I'm looking at the breadth of your credits. You played Nick Fury.

RICHARDSON: I think I did, you're right, Young Nick Fury.

WHIT SPURGEON: You have been on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. God bless you for being on Flapjack, I think it's the weirdest childrens' cartoon ever.

RICHARDSON: No comment.

WHIT SPURGEON: You played Barney Rubble on Harvey Birdman. You've played the Joker, Darkseid.

RICHARDSON: Ah, I loved it.

WHIT SPURGEON: You're perfect for Darkseid.

RICHARDSON: Yeah, you're right. It was like a little short stint, a good friend did it before me. But I do remember that, yes. The Joker, I loved playing the Joker.

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WHIT SPURGEON: Here's one that jumped out at me. Porco Rosso. You did some of the American voiceover work for that?

RICHARDSON: Yes. You know, I still haven't seen it.

WHIT SPURGEON: You've still never seen it? You've done a Miyazaki film! That's like the crowning achievement in the world of animation.

RICHARDSON: Everybody tells me that!

WHIT SPURGEON: Now given the number of voiceover gigs you've done... which voices do you prefer? Do you prefer the original characters that you create from the ground up? Or would your rather work on established characters, no matter if they bring a certain degree of expectation or baggage with them?

For instance, when you're playing the Joker, do you feel the weight of what fans think the Joker should sound like?

RICHARDSON: With the Joker, I really worked on that. I tried to make it my original take on him as much as possible. With the help... I mean, do you think I was doing somebody else, or was it original? Honestly.

WHIT SPURGEON: Honestly, I thought it was very original. I guess the question is, do you ever feel that pressure? When you're playing someone like Nick Fury or something, are you thinking, "Oh boy, all these Nick Fury fans..."

RICHARDSON: Sometimes once in awhile you do, you're like, "OK, what do they expect me to do?" But I just come up with it naturally, and most of the time they seem very happy with that.

I like the characters that are more organic. The ones you've got kind of step in and do what they want, or exact sound-alikes, it takes away from the originality and what you want to bring to the character. I'd much rather do characters that I helped create. But it's cool. Hey, if you wanna pay me, fine.

WHIT SPURGEON: Do you have a preference for comedy or dramatic voiceover work?

RICHARDSON: Comedy's a lot more fun. But wait a second now... What would you call The Batman?

WHIT SPURGEON: It's more drama than comedy. There are comedy elements to it.

RICHARDSON: It was a lot of fun playing the Joker, because it was highs and lows, and because of his insanity. It was fun playing him. Comedy? I love doing it because I'm making people laugh. But drama? I love the intensity and freaking people out. Especially whenever I recorded the Joker. That was just... I got a kick out of that. Because these people would look over at me, look at me during the recording, you know, the executives and the other cast members, you know, you see this 300-pound brother doing this like, voice of the Joker and, like, getting all insane and crazy... I could see in their eyes that a couple of them were really freakin' scared (laughs) and freaked out! And you know what? I kinda liked it! [laughter] You know, not that I was gonna do anything, but it was cool.

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WHIT SPURGEON: Is there any comics character that you haven't played yet, vocally, that you'd love to get your teeth into?

RICHARDSON: I haven't thought about that. Right at the moment? Vic Stone -- Cyborg -- I always wanted to play Cyborg. Anybody else? Power Man: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. And Shaft. If they ever do the animated Shaft, I would like to do that. And sing the main theme.

*****

Whit Spurgeon is a writer, actor and photographer living in Los Angeles.

*****
*****
 
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 57th Birthday, Paul Gulacy!

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posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #222—Comic Shops

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name The Five Comic Shops You Know About That Are Closest To Where You're Sitting Right Now." Here is how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Dave's Comics And Games (Las Cruces)
2. Charlie's Comic Books (Tucson)
3. Heroes and Villains (Tucson)
4. R-Galaxy (Tucson)
5. Fantasy Comics (Tucson)

*****

Bryan Munn

* The Dragon, Guelph ON
* Big B Comics, Hamilton ON
* Carry-On Comics, Waterloo ON
* Lookin for Heroes, Kitchener ON
* J&J Cards and Collectibles, Waterloo ON

****

Will Dinski

1. Big Brain Comics (Minneapolis)
2. The Source Comics and Games (Falcon Heights)
3. DreamHaven Books (Minneapolis)
4. Comics College (Minneapolis)
5. Double Danger Comics (Minneapolis)

*****

Gil Roth

* The Joker's Child
* Time Warp
* Zapp!
* Fat Moose
* Comics Explosion

*****

Marc Arsenault

1. A Space Cat (San Jose)
2. Comics Conspiracy (Sunnyvale)
3. Kinokuniya (San Jose)
4. Hijinx Comics (San Jose)
5. Lee's Comics (Mountain View)

*****

Hisham Zubi

1) Guapo Comics & Coffee (SE Portland)
2) Excalibur Comics (SE Portland)
3) Cosmic Monkey (NE Portland)
4) Things From Another World (NE Portland)
5) Future Dreams Books (SE Portland)

*****

Will Pfeifer

1. Top Cut Comics , formerly Tomorrow is Yesterday (Loves Park, Illinois)
2. Clyde's Comics (Rockford, Illinois)
3. Challengers Comics (Chicago, Illinois)
4. Westfield Comics (Madison, Wis.)
5. Capital City Comics (Madison, Wis.)

*****

Max Morris

1. One Stop Comics- Oak Park IL ( Best Back-Issues)
2. Quimby's, Chicago IL (Best Mini's and Indies)
3. Chicago Comics, Chicago IL ( Best People)
4. Comic Relief, Berkeley CA ( Best Best)
5. Comix Experience (Best Memories)

*****

Kim Munson

The Comics Outpost (SF)
Cards & Comics Central (SF)
Giant Robot (SF)
Al's Comics (SF)
Coastside Comics (Pacifica)

*****

Stefan Dinter

* Karstadt - World of Comics (Stuttgart)
* Verleihnix Comics (Stuttgart)
* Comicladen Stefan Brenner (Stuttgart)
* Sammlerecke Nurtingen (Nurtingen)
* Terminal Entertainment (Karlsruhe)

*****

Gary Dunaier

1. Jim Hanley's Universe (New York)
2. Midtown Comics, Times Square (New York)
3. Midtown Comics, Grand Central (New York)
4. Cosmic Comics (New York) (not to be confused with the "Cosmic Comics" in the American Splendor movie where we first meet Joyce Brabner)
5. Chameleon Comics (New York)

*****

Michael Grabowski

1. ComicsQuest (Lake Forest, CA)
2. Comics, Toons & Toys (Tustin, CA)
3. Hi De Ho Comics (Laguna Beach, CA)
4. Meltdown Comics (Los Angeles)
5. Golden Apple Comics (Los Angeles)

*****

Tom Cherry

1. Bob's Comic Castle (Muncie)
2. Alter Ego Comics (Muncie)
3. Heroes For Sale (Muncie)
4. Reader Copies (Anderson)
5. The Danger Room (Anderson)

*****

Russell Lissau

1. Comix Revolution (Mt. Prospect)
2. Dreamland Comics (Libertyville)
3. Comix Revolution (Evanston)
4. Keith's Comics (Schaumburg)
5. Graham Crackers (Wheaton)

*****

Art Baxter

1) Fat Jack's Comicrypt (Philadelphia)
2) Brave New Worlds (Philadelphia)
3) Atomic City Comics (Philadelphia)
4) Locust Moon Comics (Philadelphia)
5) South Philly Comics (Philadelphia)

*****

Ted Dawson

1. Richard's Comics & Collectables (Greenville, SC)
2. Borderlands (Greenville)
3. The Tangled Web (Spartanburg)
4. Planet Comics (Anderson)
5. Front Row Seats (Taylors)

*****

Paul Dwyer

1. Bizarro-Wuxtry (Athens)
2. Criminal Records (Atlanta)
3. Oxford Comics & Games (Atlanta)
4. Great Escape Comics & Games (Marietta)
5. Teahouse Comics (Sandy Springs)

*****

Michael Dooley

1. Comics Factory... my fave: great store, staff! (Pasadena CA)
2. Meltdown... good for appearances, other events (Los Angeles CA)
3. Nostalgic Books and Comics... recent discovery (Alhambra CA)
4. Hi De Ho... but I haven't been there in decades (Santa Monica CA)
5. Golden Apple... haven't been back since Bill died (Los Angeles CA)

*****

Andrew Mansell

1. Rebel Base (Charlotte, NC)
2. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find (Charlotte)
3. Dave's Comics (Fort Mill, SC)
4. Spandex City Comic Book Lounge (Charlotte)
5. Lucky 13 Comics (Rock Hill, SC)

*****

Thomas Scioli

1. Phantom of the Attic Oakland (Pittsburgh)
2. Copacetic Comics (Pittsburgh)
3. New Dimension Comics (Pittsburgh)
4. Phantom of the Attic Monroeville (Pittsburgh)
5. Duncan Comics (Pittsburgh)

*****

Chris Pitzer

1. Velocity Comics
2. Nostalgia Plus
3. Stories
4. Chop Suey
5. Richmond Comix

*****

Mike Everleth

1. Secret Headquarters (L.A.)
2. Golden Apple (L.A.)
3. Meltdown (L.A.)
4. Hi De Ho (Santa Monica)
5. Earth 2 (Sherman Oaks)

*****

Stergios Botzakis

1. Comics Exchange (Knoxville, TN)
2. Organized Play (Knoxville, TN)
3. Sci-Fi City (Knoxville, TN)
4. Collector’s Universe (Knoxville, TN)
5. S & G Comics and Collectables (Sevierville, TN)

*****

Matthew Craig

1. Infinity & Beyond, Shrewsbury
2. Another World, Wolverhampton
3. Nostalgia and Comics, Birmingham
4. Forbidden Planet, Birmingham
5. Magic Labyrinth, Leicester

*****

Scott Cederlund

* Keith Comix (Schaumburg)
* Dreamland Comics (Schaumburg)
* Westlake Cards, Comics and Collectibles (Roselle)
* Too Many Comics (Glendale Heights)
* Tom's Comics (Elgin)

*****

Danny Ceballos

1. Power House Comics (Appleton, WI)
2. Chimera Hobby Shop (Appleton, WI)
3. House of Heroes (Oshkosh, WI)
4. Toy Man Comics (Oshkosh, WI)
5. Stargate Comics and Cards (Green Bay, WI)

Full Disclosure: sadly, I've only been to the shops in Appleton

*****

Michael May

1. The Source Comics and Games (Falcon Heights)
2. Uncle Sven's Comic Shoppe (Saint Paul)
3. Double Danger Comics and Collectibles (Minneapolis)
4. Big Brain Comics (Minneapolis)
5. Dreamhaven Books (Minneapolis)

*****

Ali T. Kokmen

1. Cosmic Comics (New York, NY)
2. Roger's Time Machine (New York, NY)
3. Forbidden Planet (New York, NY)
4. St. Marks Comics (New York, NY)
5. Jim Hanley's Universe (New York, NY)

What can I say? New York's blessed with a comparative surfeit of comics shoppes...

*****

Chad Nevett

1. Border City Comics (Windsor, Ontario)
2. Rogues Gallery (Windsor, Ontario)
3. Comic Book Collector (London, Ontario)
4. Heroes (London, Ontario)
5. Worlds Away (London, Ontario)

*****

Grant Goggans

1. Swayze's Comics (Marietta)
2. Dr. No's (Marietta)
3. The Great Escape (Marietta)
4. Titan Games and Comics (Woodstock)
5. Titan Games and Comics (Smyrna)

*****

James Langdell

1. Lee's Comics (San Mateo)
2. Isotope Comics (San Francisco)
3. Lee's Comics (Mountain View)
4. R&K Comics (Sunnyvale)
5. Illusive Comics & Games (Santa Clara)

This being such a wide-radius list of locations is a sign both of how many local comic shops have closed down in the past two decades (or comics/games places dropping comics) and how fewer comics I buy in the course of a year now.

*****

Marc Sobel

1. Midtown Comics
2. Forbidden Planet
3. Gotham Comics
4. Jim Hanley's Universe
5. The Time Machine

*****

Walter Hudsick

1. Zanadu (Seattle, University District) (about a mile)
2. The Dreaming (Seattle, University District) (less than a mile)
3. Comics Dungeon (Seattle, Wallingford Neighborhood) (about two miles)
4. Dreamstrands (Seattle, Greenwood Neighborhood) (about a mile and a half)
5. Zanadu (Seattle, Belltown) (about four miles)

*****

Justin J. Major

1. Graham Crackers Comics (Wheaton)
2. Graham Crackers Comics (Naperville)
3. Graham Crackers Comics (Downers Grove)
4. Unicorn Comics & Cards (Villa Park)
5. Graham Crackers Comics (St. Charles)

*****

Douglas Mullins

1. Midtown Comics (x3) - Manhattan
2. Jim Hanley's Universe - Manhattan
3. Forbidden Planet - Manhattan
4. Rocketship (R.I.P.) - Brooklyn
5. Desert Island - Brooklyn

*****

Jamie Coville

1. Bookland (pre-orders only, very little on the racks) - Kingston.
2. Action Packed Comics - Kingston
3. 4 Colour, 8 Bit - Kingston
4. Comic Cave - Brockville
5. Action Packed Comics - Belleville

*****

Mike Lynch

1) Jetpack Comics (Rochester, NH)
2) Shadowgear Comics (Exeter, NH)
3) Jumpgate (Portsmouth, NH -- closing 8/27)
4) Time Out for Comics (Kennebunk, ME)
2) Casablanca Comics (Portland, ME)

*****

Philip G. Smith

* Zanadu 1 (downtown)
* Zanadu 2 (U-District)
* Comics Dungeon
* The Dreaming
* Fantagraphics Bookstore


*****

Dave Knott

In order of distance from my workplace in downtown Vancouver.

* Golden Age Collectables
* ABC Book And Comic Emporium
* The ComicShop
* RX Comics
* Gotham Collectibles

*****

Carl Walker

1. First Aid Comics, Hyde Park (the quarter bin has some singles with missing covers, on my first visit I got a free contemporary GI Joe issue for some reason)
2. Graham Cracker Comics, The Loop (overheard an Indian American woman in her 30s rediscovering the joy of the Archie comics she read as a girl; never bought anything there myself)
3. Chicago Comics, Lakeview (most thorough store I've seen in my life, went there because Noah Van Sciver said [http://nvansciver.wordpress.com/] I could find his Blammo there)
4. Brainstorm, Wicker Park (sells almost everthying, well, post-Crisis at $1 each, and also sells videos)
5. Quimby's, Wicker Park (more of a general "indie" bookstore I think? could've also gotten Blammo here, haven't been yet)

*****

Robin McConnell

1. Luckys Comics
2. Rx Comics
3. The Comic Shop(the store that Diana Schutz worked at years ago)
4. ABC Book and Comic Emporium
5. Golden Age Collectables

Six months ago, this list would of been very different. Sigh to stores closing.

*****

Dean Milburn

1. Downtown Comics - Castleton (Indianapolis)
2. Comic Carnival - Glendale (Indianapolis)
3. Comic Carnival - West (Indianapolis)
4. Downtown Comics - West (Indianapolis)
5. Downtown Comics - Downtown (Indianapolis)

*****

Mark Coale

1. Captain blue hen comics (newark de)
2. Comics store (lancaster pa)
3. Showcase comics (media pa)
4. Frankenstein comics (woodbury nj)
5. comix connection (york pa)


*****

Tony Collett

1. Reader Copies (Anderson, IN)
2. DeePuppy Comics (Indianapolis, IN)
3. Downtown Comics (Indianapolis, IN)
4. Comic Carnival (Indianapolis, IN)
5. Vintage Phoenix Comics (Bloomington, IN)

*****

Scott Dunbier

* Sky High Comics (San Marcos)
* Invincible Ink (San Marcos)
* Comics-n-Stuff #2 (Carlsbad)
* Artifex Entertainment (San Diego)
* Southern California Comics (San Diego)

*****

WP Books

1. Comics Outpost (San Francisco)
2. Amazing Adventures (San Francisco)
3. Amazing Fantasy (San Francisco)
4. Al's Comics (San Francisco)
5. Comix Experience (San Francisco)


*****

Buzz Dixon

1. Galaxy of Comics (Van Nuys)
2. Earth 2 Comics (Northridge)
3. Continental Comics (Northridge)
4. DJ's Universal Comics (Studio City)
5. Golden Apple (Los Angeles)

*****

Gavin Lees

* Arcane Comics (West Seattle)
* Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery (Georgetown)
* Zanadu Comics (Downtown Seattle)
* Dreamstrands Comics and Such (Greenlake)
* Comics Dungeon (Wallingford)

*****

Jamie S. Rich

1. Floating World Comics
2. Bridge City
3. Excalibur Comics and Cards
4. Things from Another World (Sandy Location)
5. Cosmic Monkey

*****

Nat Gertler

1. Mik's Comics (Oxnard)... although online sources are now telling me it's called Jon's Comics, so either something changed or I'm confused.
2. Ralph's Comics Corner (Ventura)
3. Dream World Comics (Simi Valley)
4. Collector's Paradise (Winnetka)
5. Earth-2 (Sherman Oaks)

*****

Richard Melendez

1. Gecko Books (Honolulu)
2. Other Realms (Honolulu)
3. Jelly's (Honolulu)
4. Collector Maniacs (Honolulu)
5. Jelly's (Aiea)

And that, quite literally, reflects all the comics shops on the island of Oahu, with only one of them (Gecko) truly specializing in comics.

*****

I apologize for the lack of art; I had planned on including logos for representative stores, but the quality and availability of images was way too spotty. When FFF started only about every third results post had art, so just pretend like it's 2006.

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

 
August 14, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Alberto Breccia
Uploaded by pointgmagazine. - Discover more animation and arts videos.
via


via


Saying "Hello" To the Patrons of Forbidden Planet from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.
via


via


 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 7 to August 13, 2010:

1. The 200th day of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda's disappearance is marked by a protest and a seminar.

2. Cathy Guisewite announces plans to end Cathy in October.

3. Lulu Awards definitely on.

Winner Of The Week
Clearly this guy.

Losers Of The Week
These folks. All sides. Nobody wins here.

Quote Of The Week
"DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS NEWS MEANS TO SYNDICATED CARTOONISTS? I SHOULD GO GET DRUNK NOW!! -- Rina Piccolo via

*****

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

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

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

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posted 11:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 60th Birthday, Gary Larson!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 67th Birthday, John Costanza!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Comics Reporter Hero: Harvey Pekar

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Fiercely proud of becoming a nationally published jazz critic at age 19, and, as Tim Hodler points out, a critic just as much if not more than he was a memoir writer when working in comics, Harvey Pekar was a role model when it came to doing the work and when it came to stand up for it.
 
posted 10:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 13, 2010


Friday Distraction: Kris Mukai

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posted 12:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Everett Raymond Kinstler

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posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
SA Cartoonists Protest Media Bill

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A group of 29 editorial cartoonists representing the cream of South Africa's vibrant editorial cartooning field have signed a group petition protesting the proposed "Protection of Information Bill and Media Tribunal." They have since posted the above graphic and information relating to their displeasure about the bill to a dedicated web site and are encouraging its re-posting on as many individual sites and Facebook pages as possible. According to what I'm reading, a suggestion has been made that this the codification of a general bias against free expression of media, which has been particularly harsh on cartoonists in the recent past. I also imagine that this protest is basically a rallying point for debate about the bill.

A full list of the signatories, "from Andy to Zapiro," can be found at the above link.
 
posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Little Lulu #135

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posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Read: Oni Press Profiled

One of the LA Times business writers talks to Oni's Joe Nozemack about the film development end of their business as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World hits in various movie theaters all across North America. I didn't know they were doing the own film development, although that recently struck me as a natural move for a lot of these publishers to take that haven't done so thus far. I'm not sure of a trend: I know of at least one company that is moving in that direction from their current set-up, but I think there are relationships and structures all over the place, and it would be hard to track a move in any one direction.

Anyway, as Nozemack points out, a movie can certainly drive business to a stand-alone book or series, and it has here. I'm very happy that people are getting a chance to read O'Malley's work in greater numbers in addition to experiencing Edgar Wright's film version. As was pointed out on CR before Comic-Con, it's also seems to me a positive that O'Malley gets to be near the center of all the excitement about the movie's opening, and I think this is largely if not solely due to Scott Pilgrim being something he created and controls, as supposed to something he inherited and tends to, or something he gave to someone else for the sake of making some sort of ill-defined "career move." I hope cartoonists with similar hopes and dreams will keep his example in mind.
 
posted 11:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Harvey Pekar’s “Untitled”

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Random Comics Photos

For the life of me, I could not figure out this article's intentions on an initial read-through. A short interview with an interviewer of the late James Simpkins, it does discuss his work and the iconic Jasper the Bear, but the interview itself was nowhere to be found. Then I got to the end of the piece and saw the photos included, and thought they'd be worth a pull-out post here. There's not a ton of portrait photography for cartoonists of a certain generation, let alone at various times in their lives, so it was nice to see these. Another set of photos that crossed the desk today is Sarah McIntyre's from a recent gallery show opening. Folks across the ocean look a lot happier to be at their openings than North American cartoonists tend to look at theirs.
 
posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Headline Comics #31

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posted 11:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Ghost Manor #13

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: The Phantom Stranger #1

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Brother Power, The Geek

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: A Strange Tales #1 Story

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I liked Alan Gardner's take on the fallout from Cathy leaving newspapers, and agree with a lot of it, too. He makes a great point that one reason editors like trial runs and contests is because it gives them content for free.

image* Tucker Stone kicks off what is apparently going to be a multiple-critic examination of the seminal mid-'70s "Panther's Rage" superhero storyline that ran in Jungle Action. Suppressing my disappointment I wasn't invited to participate, I'm looking forward to reading what these younger folks have to say. I read the comic book serial the way God intended such serials be read: from the spinner rack at Marsh Grocery Store. While it confused and delighted me back then, the way I see it now is as a dry run for a lot of what they do with superhero comics these days: logically working through plot points, a grittier approach than the previous take on the character, a lot of words, ambitious page layouts, and finally even more words (this was Don McGregor, after all), all in service of a second-tier character in need of a makeover. Plus it had dinosaurs and I think zombies.

* hey, Rob Rodi is writing comic books again. Rodi is like the Sidney Moncrief of writers about comics, and I've liked the one or two actual comic books he's written that I've read.

* finally, the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has carved out a bit of space for themselves in terms of following the latest in bookstore business shenanigans that may or may not have an effect on the comics business that flows through those outlets. Here's their latest, about an ownership war at Barnes and Noble that unfortunately comes at a time when the business is doing okay, it's just that the stock prices are a bit down.
 
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Happy 50th Birthday, Bret Blevins!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Shannon Wheeler!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Donna Barr!

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Quick hits
Craft
A Jim Starlin Cover In Detail
Leland Purvis Makes A Self-Portrait

Exhibits/Events
Prepare For For Better Or For Worse Exhibit

History
On Poison Ivy

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Christos Gage
Inkstuds: Drew Friedman
FPI Blog: Tom Humberstone

Not Comics
Seth Conquers All

Reviews
Jog: Various
Rob Clough: Wilson
David Welsh: Various
Lori Henderson: Jump
Jason Thompson: Kazan
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: Various
Kate Dacey: Color Of Rage
Greg McElhatton: Three #1
Whitney Matheson: Various
Matt Seneca: Ulysses Vol. 1
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Set To Sea
Sean T. Collins: A God Somewhere
Matthew Brady: Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6
Erin Jameson: Doctor Who Annual 2010
Ed Sizemore: Power Girl: A New Beginning
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 12, 2010


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

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I think there may be no conventions this weekend. Next weekend is WW Chicago, about which I'll have a lot more to say then.

* the great John Porcellino is going back out on tour, I believe with the cartoonist Noah Van Sciver. Scheduled stops in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Denver.

* a collection of E.B. White's essays about living on a small farm in Maine at the onset of World War II, One Man's Meat, suggests a different way of looking at the big comics conventions. In one of the book's better short pieces the writer bemoans the encroaching presence of dude schooners, converted boats that provide land-favoring citizens an approximate of the experience of being sailors the same way the more popular and enduring dude ranch has facilitated the lifestyle dipping of wannabe cowboys. Under this construction, comic conventions become dude junkets, where the vast majority of us all pretend to be connected entertainment industry insiders on one side of the aisle or another for a weekend. Or, if one prefers, Darth Vader.

* finally, here are CR photos from this year's Comic-Con International featuring people I don't know. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Identified as Miles Baker of The Beguiling, TCAF

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Unidentified Person 02

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Unidentified Person 03

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Unidentified Person 04

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Unidentified Persons 05 and 06

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Unidentified Person 07

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Identified as Jim Balent, Artist

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#9 Identified as Scott Brick; #10 Identified as Adam Byrne

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Unidentified Person 11

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Identified as Ray Fawkes, artist and cartoonist

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Identified as Matthew Loux, Cartoonist

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Go, Look: Scream Test!

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Ten Initial Thoughts About Cathy’s End

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Yesterday it was announced by her syndicate that Cathy Guisewite was ending her strip Cathy after 34 years. This was accompanied by an interview where Ms. Guisewite declared that she was doing so to spend more time with her family. I don't think you have to like the strip -- and some people detest it -- to congratulate the cartoonist on her long and successful run, and to wish her the best of luck in all future endeavors. Here's what came to mind when I heard the announcement.

1. Before I even thought to congratulate the cartoonist or even wonder after why she was making this move, I'll be honest: the first question that popped into my head was "Holy crap: how many papers is she in?" The answer according to the syndicate is approximately 1400. That is the most papers having a spot open up without a legacy replacement since... Calvin and Hobbes, maybe?

2. However, the landscape is a lot different right now than it is when Watterson pulled the plug on his strip. For one thing, with prices being what they are and newspapers being in the state they're in, the biggest competitor for that slot may be "not replacing it with anything."

3. I'm also not sure -- and I'll be fascinated to see what they do -- how the syndicates are lined up for a natural replacement. My dad was a newspaper editor, and on those occasions when a strip was pulled from the syndicate end or had grown older in a way it might be considered lame or old-fashioned by the readership, he and his staff liked to consider a strip filling that same general role. They had their comics pages designed like a television network: with strips that might have special appeal to different groups. Cathy may have been the strip most sold as a woman's feature in the history of the comics page, abd I'm not sure I know anything that's strongly identified in that same way that might receive a natural boost. Six Chix? Betty? Tina's Groove? That last might be a possibility for a replacement sales push. Rina Piccolo's a strong cartoonist, and that's a strip that might seem new and fresh without being so new and fresh you don't know if it has any staying power whatsover. Maybe Greg Evans could move Luann ten years forward?

4. Cathy's legacy will be difficult to ascertain for a while. It was hugely popular, particularly in its first few years, and hit strongly with women who saw something of themselves in the lead character. It also enjoyed an enormous push-back from people who thought the character's obsession with food and dealing with mom-fostered guilt trips and landing a husband (not to mention she ended up with Irving, who would have been too schmendricky for notorious marry-below-herself icon Liz Patterson from For Better Or For Worse) were not exactly in the spirit of feminist empowerment. It's my understanding that the Peter Bagge/Robert Crumb parody Caffy was up on the bulletin board in the Chicago NOW offices for a while, likely the only comic by either cartoonist ever to be posted in such a place.

image5. A lot of people also had problems with the strip's craft elements, which never got better and never had anything quirky design-wise to them to ameliorate the lousier qualities. I was always very disturbed by the characters' hands, which looked fingerless and deformed. It was always distracting. I think most people skate right by that stuff, but it was definitely more ammunition for those who don't, and I think limited the range of certain things Guisewite might try.

6. I'm no Cathy scholar, but I wonder if Cathy didn't suffer a bit by the choice Guisewite made to slow down the strip and keep the character roughly the same age. Aging her might have given the author more material to work with over the years, and what I remember being charming about Cathy was the occasional generational stuff slightly outside the food and boys and job and mom stuff. Like I seem to remember she was one of the inspirations for the Big Chill group of friends and her characters obsessed over the movie for a couple of weeks back when it opened (the 14th Century, I think). Having her marry so much later in life might have been more poignant, too. Backseat driving other people's strips, particularly those who can afford solid gold shoes, is kind of silly, I'm the first to admit. But I think the character was iconic for one generation of women strip readers for one particular stretch of years, and going for the younger readers I'm not sure worked out as well as sticking with her own generation might have. It's probably not a very good example, but it's the only one that comes to mind: my mom stuck with Cathy Guisewite for about five years; she stayed with Ellen Goodman for more than twenty.

7. Cathy Guisewite was quite the comic-strip star at the height of her career: attractive, personable, a fine feature interview. I'm not sure how many times she appeared on the Tonight Show back when that meant something, but it was enough I'm sure it will appear in the first paragraph of her obituary. It's hard for me to think of any cartoonist today being that same kind of recurring guest.

8. Ironically, I think those Tonight Show appearances confused many of her fans, who were honestly baffled by the image of this rail-thin, amusing and glamorous woman and could never quite rectify it with the chubby, neurotic newspaper strip character. I'd like to put that all on the fans and suggest they just couldn't understand how an author might be different from her character, but I seem to remember that Guisewite did her own share of kvetching about Cathy-type things in person, in a way that made you think she really shared that worldview. I know that this divergence had an impact on people of my immediate acquaintance and how they viewed her.

9. Another thing I seem to remember about the strip that may or may not ring totally true upon examination is that the relationship between Cathy and her mother may have been something of a curiosity at the time -- there just weren't a whole lot of relationships between adults and older adults that weren't humorous or unexamined, and there was some satirical edge to Cathy and her mom, at least within the range of topics with which Guisewite chose to deal.

10. I urge every paper that is looking for a replacement to consider Cul-De-Sac. I think it's the finest strip going with a client list short of where it should be, but it really needs to sit in your paper for a while to have the best chance for people to pick up on its rhythms. It's not the kind of strip that benefits from replacing something that's been running and that has fans that could demand its return.

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Go, Look: Creepy #58

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

image* received a concerned note from the publisher of Kurt Westergaard's book via Matthias Wivel that I was wrong in passing along information published that the bomb-in-turban cartoon created by Westergaard would be used as art in the making the cover of his forthcoming autobiography. That is not the case, and I should have known better as 1) half of the stories about Danish cartoons-related things are just soaked with lies, 2) it was completely insane to think that art would be used. I apologize. To the right is the actual biography cover, which looks nice. As I mentioned before, I haven't been real big on the books coming out of the original controversy, and I hold high hopes that there will be a lot of interest to read in this one. I think Westergaard has conducted himself honorably, although I know other people disagree with me.

* apparently, there's another story going around that the book will also contain 35 Muhammed-related cartoons, which is also not the case.

* because of the degree of disinformation out there -- like smog in LA -- I suppose we have to take this with a grain of salt, but a story in The Ottawa Citizen likely plucked from the somewhere indicates that the Danish Cartoons newspaper Jyllands Posten has erected a physical barrier around its building in order to better protect itself from terrorist reprisal.
 
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Go, Look: More Suburbs Cartoons

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Black Conservatives Renew Depiction Protest Complaint Against NAACP

imageYou can read the full details of the latest PR/piece of specific political advocacy here, and it's a pretty self-explanatory piece of grinding -- I don't feel anyone making this complaint is really upset about the NAACP not stepping up for them. On the other hand, I have no idea why any advocacy group would make distinctions of political origin if only because it seems like lousy strategy leading to just such a political opportunity as has arisen here. The only comics-related thing I noticed is that I wasn't aware of the Jeff Danzinger complaint excerpted here the way I was with the complaints against Ted Rall and Pat Oliphant.
 
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Go, Look: Flash Lightning

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Go, Look: Mourn For The Thorn

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Go, Look: More Crime Not Paying

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Go, Look: I Always Liked Ann Margrock

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Go, Look: Salesman Sam

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* is it totally naive and/or clueless of me to figure that Scott Pilgrim was going to be made available on as many platforms as possible in anticipation of the movie? I've just never been able to see it as a bad thing to meet people at their point of interest.

image* longtime convention organizer Dustin Harbin elaborates on his criticism of MoCCA's table prices. He has a point in the sense that he's describing his reaction as an artist and according to principles he believes should apply to shows. In another sense, those things work according to pretty stringent market realities -- there's a way of thinking that you can't charge too much for a table that sells, as the table not selling would be the only thing that defines it as costing too much. It's an interesting set of issues. What gets in the way is that comics people tend to do things according to momentum and tradition and self-wounding desire as much as making clear choices based on financial prudence.

* I hear from a source I swear is not his company's blog that Gary Groth did very well at Graphic, which is a good sign for that festival as Gary had maybe the least "star power" of anyone involved.

* not comics: the writer-about-comics Brigid Alverson gives publishers some practical web site advice. I guess the old saw of if they were interested in practical advice their sites probably wouldn't operate that way applies, but the article provides a lot to chew on. You know what freaks me out? Newspaper web sites where you can't find where the newspaper is based. That's like half of them.

* not comics: this sounds like a good night in front of the TV screen, but maybe not for the reason being advertised.

* Deb Aoki publishes the transcript from the on-line piracy panel at Comic-Con International, one of a handful of industry panels at the show this year not tied into someone's product offering (and this one sort of comes close in a sense): intro, one, two. I haven't looked at the transcript but I was in the audience and it seemed like a pretty good 101-type panel, and I liked how the panelists viciously crushed various scanlation apologists that spoke.

* this is cute; this is gross.

* finally, aren't we just all a little past Reading Comics In Public? I like pictures of Anita Pallenberg and everything, but it's no longer 1998. I saw a lady my Mom's age reading a comic book at the gelato store a couple of weeks ago, and it didn't seem odd to me at all. (via The Beat). If you are participating, let me suggest the comic I most like to read when I'm riding the bus.
 
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Happy 28th Birthday, Chris Sims!

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Quick hits
Craft
Paul's Montreal
Todd Klein Designs A Cover

Exhibits/Events
Scott Pilgrim Party Photo Gallery

History
Where Batman Really Is
John Buscema Drew The Classic X-Men?
Is There Really A Bad Guy Named Atrocitus?

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Rina Piccolo
CBR: Peter Milligan
Newsarama: Ande Parks
Newsarama: Judd Winick
Newsarama: Corey Lewis
Comic Riffs: John Romita Jr.
PWCW: Sean Michael Wilson

Publishing
On Yen Plus
On Vagabond
Comics For Science Fiction Fans

Reviews
Robert Boyd: Various
Chris Mautner: Sappo
Nina Stone: Girls #7-10
Greg McElhatton: RASL #8
Sean T. Collins: Fandancer
Richard Bruton: West: Justice
Kristy Valenti: Make Me A Woman
Steven Vanoeveren: Pim & Francie
Johanna Draper Carlson: Otomen Vol. 7
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Wisdom: Rudiments Of Wisdom
 

 
CR Is Moving Its Studio Space, And Won’t Get Mail Sent To The Old One

Starting right now, The Comics Reporter is changing its phone number and moving its studio to a new address. My experience having lived in this part of the country for a few years now is that only about 25 percent of anything sent to the old address after September 1 is going to reach me, so please change that contact information and please consider forwarding a link to anyone in your office that might need to change theirs as well. Thank you.
 
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August 11, 2010


Cathy Guisewite Retiring Cathy 10/3

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Many more thoughts on this tomorrow. But for now: 1) congratulations to Ms. Guisewite; 2) it's really the first thing that popped into my head and yours: about 1400.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* of all the Fall 2010 advance copies cluttering my desk and hard drive right now, the one I'm most looking forward to finally devouring is this new Renee French hardcover -- 200 pages!

image* the French-language comics news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com has a longish post up about the forthcoming DC history from Taschen. The best thing about the write-up is the story about Taschen's early years and their initial marketing strategy, but if you're looking forward to the very expensive volume you might be interested. I'm certain it will be very attractive, but I'm worried that Paul Levitz is way too close to the subject matter for the book to have even just that tiniest critical edge that should be demanded of anything likely to be taken so seriously, no matter who's doing it. Hey, I hope he proves me wrong. Writing about the book should be fun no matter how it turns out.

* this interview with Viz Senior Vice President and General Manager Alvin Lu talks about their publishing plans in mostly broad terms, such as the fact that the overall volume count may drop as much as 100 books from the recent, steady production pace.

* treating this book's hype as seriously as this article does is pretty ridiculous, although I think there was a time when Lee could have written a potentially compelling book about comics art. You could make the case that of all the Golden Age and Silver Age editors, Lee had the best taste in those he favored with work. You could also argue that because Marvel was so small at different points in its long and tortured history, it was on Lee a lot of the time to boil down and communicate to artists how they should be working in a line "look" was called for, as he apparently did in the early days of the superhero boom.

* I suppose after San Diego we'll see even more announcements like this one of books that sound like they have no place in the market whatsoever.

* finally, I'll just take this coy post by Tom Devlin as evidence that they're doing an edition of Brian Ralph's daybreak, probably at some point next year. Even if it doesn't happen I'll get to use the art below.

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“Fulfill Our Reasonable Demand”

There are photos, videos and news reports galore covering yesterday's protest on behalf of cartoonist/journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, who went missing two hundred days earlier just before this year's Sri Lankan presidential elections. It is believed that writing for a regional on-line news hub may have driven some source to remove his frequently critical voice from the last couple of days ramping up to the vote. At final count, at least seven journalism advocacy organization lent their support to the 200-day reminder. The missing man's wife, Sandya, made an appearance. Among the new information shared is a charge that government officials spread disinformation that Eknaligoda was in hiding to drive negative reaction to the government. You also might notice that the rhetoric involved is very aggressive, asking outright the government return Eknaligoda rather than simply provide a better, more thorough explanation.

Because this was a planned protest and seminar, there is plenty of official YouTube footage for the disseminating.






 
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Richard Langlois, 1941/42-2010

The influential and historically significant comics scholar Richard Langlois passed away on July 19 following a short struggle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

Langlois received a BA and then an MA in literature. If I'm reading his French-language obituaries correctly, he began teaching in 1968 on what would become two tracks: at both the Universite de Sherbrooke and at the post-secondary vocational college also bearing the town's name. The latter job he kept until 1997; the former until 2000.

Langlois taught the first course on comics in Canada in 1970, and continued teaching such courses for the remainder of his academic career. His "cours sur la Bande Dessiné was not only groundbreaking in and of itself, it was approved by the Ministere de l'Education due Quebec a few years later and thus became the model for such courses in Canada and for other institutions seeking to build comics courses of their own. Such courses could be placed within literature, art education and education curricula. One gets the sense that Langlois approached it first as a permutation of literature. In a survey article by John Lent called "The Winding, Pot-Holed Road Of Comic Art Scholarship," Langlois is quoted briefly about comics as literature that suggests a two-pronged approach to the subject matter: first, as a test of the concept whereby you get rid of words from a work yet still consider it literature; second, where the effects engendered by comics are an equivalent to effects you see from literature.

The initial comics course also apparently reflected Langlois' own interest in comics: it had an American and a French component, for example, and it gave Tintin pride of place within the various works studied. He was an enthusiastic correspondent of Herge's in the cartoonist's later years, and was generally what seemed like a helpful presence in the lives of any number of cartoonists and comics scholars, whether in one of his classes or not.

He curated several comics shows during his career, including a pair of formidable-sounding exhibits in 1982: one featuring the original art of Edgar Jacobs; and another on Quebecois comics that traveled. In 1998 he enjoyed another apparent exhibition two-for: a show focused on cartooning in Quebec and another on Albert Chartier. You can get some idea of the breadth of his love for comics through a relatively short list of material with which he was looking to part when moving from a larger house a few years ago.

In recent years Langlois remained a mentor figure and a valuable resource for any number of creators and writers. This article at ActuaBD.com suggests that he did some work for that publication, primarily or perhaps just initially on the subject of American comic strips.

He is survived by a wife of 45 years, Louise Lee, and two daughters, Christine and Nathalie.
 
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Go, Look: John Callahan Gallery

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Maybe The Most Important Story In CR History: Can Anyone Identify This Urine-Writing Cartoonist?

A NY Daily News story about that Jet Blue attendant who flipped out on a landed plane and ignited the inflatable raft to make his getaway has this anecdote a few graphs in:
"The best workplace drama I witnessed involved a newspaper cartoonist who'd quit to travel the world, giving his apartment, his car and his job to his friend.

A year later, he had second thoughts and showed up in the office one morning -- drunk -- demanding his job back. His boss refused, and the cartoonist promptly relieved himself on the floor, spelling out 'F--k you.'"
What the hell? Does anyone know who this is? I'm thinking it has to be someone who does his own lettering, so TK Ryan is out (admit it, you were totally thinking TK Ryan, too). Also, I want to know if the "u" and "c" were employed or if maybe the cartoonist naturally spelled it "F&!k you" or something "newspaper-friendly" like that. And what was the medium involved here? High shag? Was there maybe a snowbank in the editor's office? This may be the greatest comics mystery ever. Who was the peeing cartoonist?
 
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Go, Look: Nobody Likes The Ultra-Man

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Go, Look: The Space Kidettes

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Go, Look: A John Stanley Comic?

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Go, Look: Slap Happy Pappy

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Mike Lynch has a nice link round-up on the Afghanistan trip being taken by Matt Bors, Steven Cloud and Ted Rall. The jokes about "if you have to, leave Ted" from several weeks back aren't as funny now that they're all on their way, and we wish their safe return.

image* Matthew Surridge has a little history post up on the initial Conan The Barbarian comics. I do think that Conan's reputation as a startling direction for comics at the time has a lot to do with the way comics was so not-mindful of anything other than what was going on in the exact area that interested the reader, and how the whole medium had been re-defined in terms of its superhero history.

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a short post up saying that Top Cow has hired comic store co-owner Atom! Freeman to be their direct market liaison. He will split time between the Top Cow gig and the things he does for his retail operation.

* Grant Morrison is almost always interesting, but I've never been more confused about any phase of his career than the one that involves him doing a bunch of Batman comics.

* Dustin Harbin looks at MoCCA and wonders about the price they're charging for tables.

* just a massive craft post here from Gareth Ewing: bookmark, save, savor.

* finally, one of the most prolific comics bloggers on the Internet still hasn't found work and could use a donation.
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Jim Lee!

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Quick hits
Craft
Bryan Lee O'Malley Draws Emma Frost

Exhibits/Events
A Laboratory For BD
CCI International Graphic Novels Panel

History
That Wasn't Warren Tufts

Industry
Daddy's Home Killing In Canada

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Christos Gage
CBR: Tom Sniegoski

Not Comics
More Chris Butcher In Japan
If This Is The Future, I'm Doomed

Publishing
On King City
This Post Headline Made Me Laugh

Reviews
Kate Dacey: Various
Michael C. Lorah: MW
Rob Clough: Revolver
David Brothers: Genius
Richard Pachter: Various
Rob Clough: The Living Cain
Andrew Wheeler: Brain Camp
Richard Bruton: Catland Empire
Matthew Brady: Moving Pictures
Johanna Draper Carlson: City Of Spies
Matthew Brady: A Sort Of Autobiography
Amanda Potter: The Best American Comics 2010
 

 
August 10, 2010


Peaceful Protest For Prageeth Eknaligoda Today; Followed By Seminar

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pictures here; please join us in wishing for support and comfort to his family
 
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Go, Look: What Is Shadrach Stone?

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this is one of the better devoted blog-based promotional sites I've seen; for whatever reason, comics hasn't generated as many such efforts as you'd think
 
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This Isn’t A Library: New And Notable Releases To The Comics Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's 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 if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I'd scramble over any and all impediments to view the following.

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APR100049 FLASH GORDON COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES HC VOL 01 $49.99
I would assume this is the 1950s material, which I recall is mostly okay and not much beyond that. I'd still take a look-see to make sure.

APR100399 FELIX THE CATS GREATEST COMIC BOOK TAILS HC $34.99
I'm uncomfortable with this rash of old-timey collections which claim to be the best or greatest material and then gives the reader nothing in the way of assurance through discussion of process that they were put together to yield that result. Hopefully, this is one that runs counter to that trend.

FEB100390 ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #24 $2.99
JUN100476 WALKING DEAD #76 (MR) $2.99
JUN100598 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #29 $2.99
Three series entries from two writers in which CR is generally interested: Robert Kirkman (the first two) and Matt Fraction (the third one). I think that may be it for Kirkman's attempt at a '70s style monster title filtered through cartoon superhero sensibilities, but I thought it's been it for a while on that one and they keep rolling out. In Iron Man, as I recall, on of the subplots is that they're building a rocket car.

JUN108016 AVENGERS CHILDRENS CRUSADE #1 (OF 9) 2ND PTG CHEUNG VAR $3.99
I don't understand how titles like these are part of any long-term publishing strategy that doesn't involve publishing as much material as one can get away with before individual series slip into non-profitability.

MAY101032 AL WILLIAMSON ARCHIVES SC VOL 01 $19.95
I don't even know what this is, but I know I want to see it.

JUN100888 BONE TALL TALES HC $22.99
JUN100889 BONE TALL TALES TP $10.99
One of Jeff Smith's spin-offs from the original Bone cycle follows its predecessor into the land of Scholastic cosmetic makeovers and republication aimed at its audience of young people.

MAY101176 DOROHEDORO GN VOL 02 (MR) $12.99
MAY101181 VAGABOND TP VOL 32 (MR) $9.95
MAY101177 NAOKI URASAWA 20TH CENTURY BOYS GN VOL 10 $12.99
MAY101178 OOKU INNER CHAMBERS GN VOL 04 (MR) $12.99
That is one fine week for serialized manga.

*****

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'm no good.

*****

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Go, Look: Little Lulu #134

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posted 11:50 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* Kurt Westergaard is publishing an autobiography, maybe the one book about this whole mess that I'd want to read, the quality of the books being equal. As if to make sure a few as possible bookstores in the world will carry it, Westergaard is putting his controversial Danish Cartoon -- the bomb in turban one -- on the cover. Maybe they can sell it as the scariest Christmas present ever.

* one-time wannabe Jyllands-Posten building blower-upper David Coleman Headley continues to have a huge impact on India/Pakistan through his testimony as to what he supposedly did at the best of whom in doing advance scout work for the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. The biggest ripple this week flowing from his statements to US and Indian officials is the US and UN declaring Ilyas Kashmiri a terrorist and declaring that the group Harkat-ul Jihad Islami is a terror organization.
 
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Go, Look: Great Curt Swan Superman

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Ticonderoga Cartoon Museum Closing

Upstate New York's Ticonderoga Cartoon Museum is apparently closing its doors at the end of August, a local report says. Museum director Stan Burdick is donating his 700-piece collection to Pittsburgh's Toonseum in September. The museum has been running the basement of a local community building for six years, and before that was in another town's hall for six years. The article claims the collection includes art by Neal Adams and Frank Frazetta, although I'm not sure from looking at pictures if that means originals or not; I would assume it does. The addition of the Burdick collection will push the Pittsburgh group's holdings over the 3000 mark.
 
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Go, Look: The Man From The Moon

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Go, Look: Man Of War #2

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Where Syfy Movies Come From

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Thor #280

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I always thought the design for Hyperion was underrated. I never met anyone that looked like Superman, but I must have played football and wrestled against about 80 dudes that looked just like Hyperion.
 
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Go, Look: Murder Incorporated #1

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* RC Harvey talks about gag strips doing story sequences related to the BP oil spill.

image* the painter and poet Tony Fitzpatrick continues to use Facebook to roll out his series of larger-than-life characters.

* six or seven things she knows about Popeye.

* if you were going to read just one comics-related story all day, you should make it this interview with Drew Friedman. I hope to God before I die that all the stories I end up telling add up to be as good as the stuff Friedman tosses out there in a single response. Sheesh.

* Chris Butcher on Goji Ishihara.

* I think the entire funnybook industry agrees with Hulk just about now.

* great sifting-through-what's-out-there catch by Johanna Draper Carlson, who makes a pretty convincing case DC is backing away from announced plans to focus a significant minority amount of publishing energy on OGNs.

* finally, Heidi MacDonald has a post up about somebody in a sort-of comics-related business crowing about exploiting young freelancers. The comments section brings it back to comics pretty solidly. As long as people don't care, nothing will be done. And people in comics really, really, really, really, really, really just don't care about moral and ethical business practices.
 
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Happy 53rd Birthday Scott Bukatman!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 55th Birthday, Eddie Campbell!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Frank Quitely

History
Gone Surfin'
On Spider-Man: The Lost Years
Countdown Of DC Moments Begins

Industry
Go See Cubs Game With Brian Azzarello For Charity

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Karl Kerschl
CBR: Brian K. Vaughan
Newsarama: Judd Winick
Talking Comics With Tim: Chris Samnee
Seattle Times: Fantagraphics, Rosebud Archives

Publishing
Wolverine Goes To Hell

Reviews
Richard Bruton: Goblin Hall
Kristy Valenti: Color Comics
Greg McElhatton: Northlanders #30
Grant Goggans: Slaine: Demon Killer
Sean T. Collins: Cyclone Bill & The Tall Tales
J. Caleb Mozzocco: X-Men: SWORD -- No Time To Breathe
 

 
Several Hundred Of You Want Free Comics

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Thanks to everyone that responded asking after the last few boxes of the doubles and toss-aways I'm getting rid of before moving my studio. You killed my e-mail account, that's for sure. I'm particularly happy to hear from so many of you after my whiny, manic-depressive rant.

I'm going to read every e-mail today, see what the box situation is with the giveaway pile and then will pick that many recipients randomly and be back in touch. Thank you so much; I really appreciate the help.
 
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
August 9, 2010


World Media Organizations To Bring Attention To Prageeth Eknilagoda

According to a battery of PR-driven wire stories rolling out today, something called the Alliance of Media Organizations will stage a protest tomorrow to commemorate the 200th day since the disappearance of Sri Lankan cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Eknaligoda went missing on January 24th, two days before the presidential elections, likely for work he was doing for the Lanka-e-News organization. The family -- he has a wife and two sons -- has been routinely frustrated in trying to get the authorities to take the missing man's case seriously. At first they were told there was no manpower because of post-election security needs, than they were paid what seemed like polite lip service in terms of actually digging into what happened, and now they seem to be getting no support at all in part because the case is older now. That many believe the authorities that need to investigate the case are politically aligned with those that committed the deed certainly complicates matters, but makes it no less heartbreaking for the folks that just want to know what happened to their husband and father.

Other news organizations have pledged their support, and I will post something here at CR tomorrow as a reminder of the 200-day anniversary. I encourage other comics-related blog and sites to do something similar: he was in the informal worldwide fraternity of cartoonist and comics people, and he was likely murdered, and the family deserves so much better than how they've been treated.
 
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Go, Look: Williamson And Krenkel

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Another Win In FOL Revival Effort

Various posts at a variety of comics blogs -- like this excellent one from Brigid Alverson -- have noted that the Friends Of Lulu and its interim board feel confident enough to confirm that the once-thought-to-be-in-trouble 2010 iteration of their yearly awards ceremony is definitely a go. The ceremony takes place at October's Long Beach Comic Con, and you can find the links for places to vote through that first link there.

That article, incidentally, also points towards Valerie D'Orazio's goal-setting list for the new initiative, the very cheery, ambition and manifesto-like Comics Revolution 2012. If that gets some traction I'll comment, but I in short think advocacy within any art form always comes down to the two-pronged goal of excellence in art/ethics in industry, and that I tend not to care about other goals as much.
 
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OTBP: Lutefisk Sushi D

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One Inventive Way To Get Around A Photo Ban: Send A Cartoonist

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It's hard not to smile at the Plymouth Herald's solution to a photo ban made by the Southampton Football Club in an attempt to get news organizations to buy team-sponsored pool photo: editor Bill Martin sent local historian and cartoonist Chris Robinson instead. I think the results work, although admittedly I'm a comics nut. I can understand why you'd run them with a long explanation as to the issues involved.

I surmise from writing a couple of obituaries the last few years that English newspapers used to employ artists in this fashion on a semi-regular basis, particular at the lower levels, although in those cases it was always portrayed as another way a paper could get coverage out of the popular local club -- like you would run the results the day after the game and then the day after that you'd get the cartoonist's take on the game. As anyone who's lived in, say, Chicago, where similar non-comics tricks are used to get seven-days-a-week coverage on the bears, it's easy to see how this could work. Come to think of it, I would have loved a full-page of a cartoonist on the Bears every week; I would have bought the Tribune or the Sun-Times based on that. Although, again: comics nut. Still, it would be pretty cool.
 
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Go, Look: Swingin’ Mike Murdock

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Hero Initiative Names Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson To Disbursement Board

From a press release comes word that veteran comics makers Howard Chaykin and Walt Simonson have been named to the Board Of Directors for Hero Initiative, the charity that provides aid to older cartoonists in need. I think this is good news. Not only are both cartoonists smart guys in addition to being talented writer/artists, and not only are they generally well-liked and admired (as far as I've ever heard), I think that there will be a lot of people from their generation that may need the assistance of Hero Initiative and other charitable outlets in the next ten years or so, and I think having guys on the Board of Directors will help the transition from the early, roots-level comics creators to the those who came along when there was less of an industry to count on for a certain kind of income if you were sticking around the art form.

It's also interesting to note that Howard Chaykin's biography as folded into the press release notes his contribution to the graphic novel via a bunch of 1970s long-form comics projects he did. You'll get no argument from me.
 
posted 11:35 am PST | Permalink
 

 
MoCCA Festival Registration Opens

I'm not sure why this deserves its own post as I don't tend to do this for other shows, but it's been a tradition here to note when the Museum Of Comic And Cartoon Art has for download its exhibitor application and what they're charging for tables. The PDF application is here; the tables are as follows:

MoCCA Member Full Table: $360
General Full Table: $399
MoCCA Member 1/2 Table: $210
General 1/2 Table: $250
Student Full Table: $295
Student 1/2 Table: $177
(students must submit valid student ID with application)

Those prices only last through the remainder of 2010, so apply early and often. The show in its newly dug-into Spring slot will be held April 9-10 next year.
 
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Go, Look: Cicero’s Cat

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Go, Look: The First CDNP Story

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Go, Look: Lancer #3

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Go, Look: Helen O Troy

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posted 11:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Matthew Brady pulls out various panels from Black Blizzard, with minimal commentary.

image* Paul Gravett, as unpredictable a writer as exists in comics' top-tier, profiles Oliver Frey.
* if you were going to ask me what one comics-related thing you should read today, barring a story that breaks between Sunday night and Monday morning I'd say you could do much worse than this measured review of the new book about Vince Colletta, The Thin Black Line. I'm not sure I'd follow the book's author all the way out into projected collective daddy-issues analysis as Nadel seems to suggest, but it wasn't a book I considered reading at all until reading this essay.

* Gregory Noveck, the guy who had the unofficial title of spearheading DC Comics' efforts in the Land Of Hollywood before the company decided that other people should be that either instead or in addition to Mr. Noveck, has left the company to return to film producing. As far as I can tell, no one had any other result in the pool.

* I can't imagine any construction of comics history where CrossGen was a major player except in fostering more "what the hell is going on over there" than any other publisher of its time, but it's good that someone spoke to ex-staffers about Marvel being asked by its corporate parent to revive some of those titles. Although I bet that would have gotten over to bigger effect in comics if they had just had a bunch of those characters show up and beat crap out of the Avengers one issue.

* Frank Santoro tells a slightly depressing story.

* finally, is that cover on the left 25X more interesting to look at than the one on the right despite all conventional wisdom about comics cover, or is it 50X more interesting?
 
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Happy 43rd Birthday, Josh Neufeld!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Ted Stearn!

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Happy 53rd Birthday, Rick Leonardi!

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Happy 59th Birthday, Bob McLeod!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Posy Simmonds!

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posted 11:05 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Quick hits
Craft
On Typos And Quality Control

Exhibits/Events
Matt Maxwell's Con Reports Are Worth Pulling Out

History
On Akira
Loving Those Pulp Roots
Nemesis Is A Crappy Title
On The Great Eddie Campbell

Interviews/Profiles
CBR: Tom Brevoort, Axel Alonso
The Press Democrat: Craig Schulz

Reviews
Paul O'Brien: Various
Abhay Khosla: Various
Sean T. Collins: The Witness
Erica Friedman: Peepo Choo Vol. 1
 

 
August 8, 2010


Jaime Hernandez Is Still The Man

Twenty years ago, the summer of 1990, I must have read "The Death Of Speedy Ortiz" something like 85 times. No joke. Over and over again, in that crappy apartment on the bus line that my DUI made a necessity, in between walking to the grocery store or that rare sojourn to a movie theater to see Ford Fairlane or Exorcist 3. Every single goddamn time, "Death of Speedy" made me swoon.

imageOf the artists that meant the world to me when I was young enough that lots of artists meant the world to me, Jaime Hernandez is the only one I know of that can still kill me dead with his newest and latest. Your mileage may vary, but Jaime's three-part story in the latest Love and Rockets brought to mind the same sweep of romance and regret and pursuit of all that's sweet in life as much as battered and broken insides allow that I remember all too well from the summer between my junior and senior years in college, when I would have put everything about my wonderful life on hold to climb into a black and white comic book for a little while. There are three or four panels in this newest effort worth some cartoonists' entire careers.

The more I think about it, the more I believe the solution to everything people find dissatisfying about Comic-Con International is that we drop all the nonsense we've been doing to please ourselves to focus on making that the best weekend imaginable for the Hernandez Brothers, for they are truly remarkable and we can hardly claim to deserve them.
 
posted 1:49 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
The Funniest Thing I’ve Seen All Day

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Mark Tatulli's author photo for his new Calvin & Hobbes-reminiscent Lio book There's Corpses Everywhere. After this photo, of course.
 
posted 1:45 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Can I Give You Some Comic Books?

I used to give out free comics every Christmas. I figured that anyone whose on-line pattern of stops on a Christmas Day included The Comics Reporter had to be a frequent visitor of the kind I'm enormously grateful to have reading the site. So I would put up a post early on the holiday morning that anyone who wanted a free box of my doubles and throwaways could just send me an address and sooner or later I'd try to get them something. It worked great at first. I gave out over 90 boxes in the first three years, probably 20-25 comics each, working off the toss-outs in my own collection and the then-massive number of doubles I would get in the course of receiving review copies. (I don't believe in giving away review copies unless they're doubles, but as much PR personnel turnover as there was the middle of last decade I got a lot of doubles.) Icing on the cake, I received about 20 lovely thank-you notes the first time, and diminishing numbers of same the next two yuletides. I greatly appreciated them.

imageThe fourth year I sent out about 35 boxes. I got back two notes thanking me… and eight complaints. The complainers all told me the same basic thing: that they thought they were going to get a better class of free comic book. One e-mail I remember went on and on about how accepting my freebies was an intellectual exercise for this guy in trying to figure out the kind of comic books CR received, and thus my critical profile, and I was clearly just giving him the dregs and had somehow ruined his new year. I double-checked, and I had definitely made it clear that year the same way I had the other years that what I was going to send out was a lot of random doubles and stuff I weaned from my collection proper. It wasn't going to be Jack Kirby-era Fantastic Four, Fort Thunder mini-comics, and my copy of Outbreak Of Violets. I keep those, and when I get a double it usually goes to a friend. What I had to offer was 99 percent everything else. I have to admit: the complaints upset me a bit, and I spent much of January that year vacillating between going on a follow-up tour of physically visiting certain people to scream at them in person and quitting the freebies dispersal. Fearing lawsuits and readers much, much fitter than I am, I gave up on the freebies.

I'm in the process of moving my studio. This has freed up about 10 boxes of comics. I've had a difficult time finding places that will take the kinds of comics I'm willing to give. I still managed to move most of them, though, the vast majority through personal contacts. (Anyone waiting for me to write an article about getting rid of comics that you can then use in dumping your own extra stock, you're out of luck, unless "foist them on your classmates from seminary" somehow applies.) That still leaves me with about four boxes of comic books. There's a range of stuff in them, although it leans towards superhero stuff of the bodies plastered with coral variety -- just like always. For instance, the pile I'm looking at right now has copies of a DC mini-series that basically read like the Anti-Life Equation in comic book form to me on a recent re-read, a 2001 #1, and some crime comic books in a cartoony style from Image I've since bought in trade form. The usual.

imageI'd love to give them to somebody. It has to be an adult, because I'm not sorting them for dirty comics -- you'll have to do that, if it's important. It's not the work involved, it's that I'm porn deaf, and I'd likely miss something that would get us all three minutes on Fox News and a phone call from Charles Brownstein. I'd love it to be someone I don't know that well or that doesn't participate in things like Five For Fridays, I have no idea why and please don't let that stop anyone. I'd particularly love it to be someone who maybe hasn't bought as many comics as they used to for vocational reasons and wouldn't mind be surrounded by a bunch of lovely, silly, goofy, messed-up North American funnybooks to sort through, maybe read, maybe toss with impunity if they don't like what they're seeing. In other words, I'd love to send someone a box or three of crappy comics who could appreciate such a thing right now in a way that goes beyond just wanting free stuff, and could articulate why in a couple of sentences in an e-mail to me. Is there anyone interested? Otherwise I'll just toss them, even though it's against my religion.

I'm afraid this has to be US-only; it costs too much to send things anywhere else anymore

Update: Okay, please stop sending these now. Thank you. I'll read them soon.
 
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Go, Read: Mark Gruenwald Video

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thanks, Michel Fiffe
 
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Go, Look: Boxes Of Comics

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posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 86th Birthday, Gene Deitch!

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If I Were In Philly, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Sydney, I’d Go To This

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

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posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
FFF Results Post #221—Reality

On Friday, CR Readers were asked to "Name Five Extended Moments In Comics History You Wish Had Been Documented On Film As They Were Happening." This how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. The Formation of Image Comics
2. Wally Wood's Final Years
3. Formation Of The Comics Code
4. Tundra
5. Michael Fleisher Sues The Comics Journal

*****

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Ben Schwartz

1) FDR's first year in office, starring Harold Gray.
2) Pulitzer v Hearst for The Yellow Kid (silent, as directed by Mack Sennett).
3) Todd McFarlane plotting an issue of Spawn.
4) EB White and James Thurber repeatedly sending Thurber's first cartoon down the hall to Harold Ross and Rea Irvin, who repeatedly rejected it and sent it back, until Ross finally gave in and ran a Thurber in the New Yorker about a year later.
5) Joe Franklin's libel suit over Drew Friedman's "The Incredible Shrinking Joe Franklin."

*****

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Thomas Scioli

1. Jack Kirby at the drawing board.
2. The 1960s at the Marvel Office.
3. Barry Windsor Smith's alien abduction/time traveling experiences.
4. Steranko's escape artist career.
5. Siegel and Shuster's attempts to find a publisher for Superman.

*****

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Frank Santoro

1. Roy Crane's revamping Wash Tubbs and introducing Easy
2. Marvel Bullpen during the "New Universe" era
3. Pat Boyette at Charlton
4. Deadline magazine
5. Toronto comics scene in the '80s

*****

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Paul Dwyer

1. Founding to dissolution of Fox Feature Syndicate
2. Founding to dissolution of EC
3. Vince Colletta's inking of Jack Kirby in the '60s
4. The underground comics scene in the late '60s
5. Dave Sim's life from issues 1 to 300 of Cerebus

*****

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Michael May

1. The Rise and Fall of CrossGen
2. Marvel explores new genres during the Bronze Age.
3. DC vs. Captain Marvel
4. The Charlton Comics Story
5. The History of Archie

*****

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Michael Grabowski

1. Heroes Held Hostage: The Battle over Jack Kirby's Marvel Art
2. Silver Pages: Lee, Kirby, Ditko, and the Rise of Marvel Comics
3. The Making and Unmaking of Big Numbers
4. The Quick Life and Drawn-out Death of Self-Published Comics
5. Shock Successtory: EC Comics in the 50s

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. The plotting of Fantastic Four #48-50
2. Frank Miller selling his vision of The Spirit to the Lions Gate Producers
3. The Editorial Meetings that finalized the TCJ Top 100 of the Century
4. R. Crumb drawing sometime during his 3-month long "Electric haze"
5. The editorial meetings about the Swamp Thing/Jesus Christ cross-over

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. The series of falling-outs between Alan Moore and DC Comics
2. The first couple years of the Marvel Bullpen
3. Mort Weisinger's treatment of his employees
4. The bull sessions where creators fleshed out characters/back-story for GI Joe and Transformers
5. The Bill Gaines/Harvey Kurtzman/Al Feldstein triangle at EC Comics

*****

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Robert Clough

1. R.Crumb's arrival and subsequent rise to fame in San Francisco.
2. The day-to-day grind of the Eisner-Iger shop.
3. Bill Everett, Carlos Burgos, etc doing an entire Torch/Namor comic over one weekend in an apartment, racing to beat a deadline.
4. Gloria Steinem, Terry Gilliam, et al working with Harvey Kurtzman as part of his editorial staff at Help!
5. Any of Mary Fleener's stories of dealing with lunatics, like the recent "The Judge" from Hotwire #3.

*****

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Justin J. Major

1. Steve Ditko's Introduction to Objectivism
2. William Moulton Marston's development of Wonder Woman
3. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's pre-war relationship
4. Jim Steranko's time playing guitar in Philly alongside Bill Haley & His Comets
5. Mark Evanier's time as a production assistant to Jack Kirby

*****

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Don MacPherson

1) The creative summit that led to the death of Superman
2) The day Jim Lee told his Image partners he was leaving
3) The inter-company collaboration of DC Vs. Marvel/Amalgam Comics
4) The life and death of CrossGen Comics
5) The first meeting leading to the Disney/Marvel deal

*****

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Scott Dunbier

1) Winsor McCay's Vaudeville tours
2) EC Comics
3) The formation of Metal Hurlant
4) The early days of Underground Comics
5) The Studio (Kaluta, Jones, Wrightson and Smith)

*****

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Mark Coale

1. Teenage Jim Shooter telling his parents about being hired to write the Legion.
2. The first time Steve Ditko read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.
3. The history of the Rutland Vermont Halloween Parade.
4. The first Eisner Awards.
5. My first panel I moderated at Comic-Con, because I can't remember everyone who was on it and any of the details.

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Jim Woodring: the teenage years
2. Robert Crumb reading his first Harvey Pekar script
3. Marvel's lawyers strategy meeting on how to defeat the Kirby heirs
4. Matt Groening meets Lynda Barry
5. George Herriman inking and coloring his last Sunday page

*****

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James Langdell

1. Creation of Cerebus issues #1-#300
2. Air Pirates & Disney
3. Stan and Steve creating that first run of Spider-Man issues
4. Planning, pitching, creating, launching the unexpectedly humorous Justice League series
5. Tracking a Sunday page of "Little Nemo" through being plotted, drawn, press processed, printed, delivered as a newspaper, preserved over the decades, through the process of reproducing it in a deluxe 21st century book that would do justice to the original quality.

*****

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Tony Collett

1. Siegel and Shuster's creation of Superman to publication in Action Comics #1
2. Marvel Comics in the 1960s
3. Jack Kirby's tenure at DC Comics in the 1970s
4. Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck Lawsuit
5. The direct market from creation by Phil Seuling to becoming a viable market

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. The home life of William Moulton Marston
2. The Pre-MAD EC Bullpen
3. The MAD Bullpen
4. The coalescing of the original underground comix scene in San Francisco
5. David Sim draws Cerebus

*****

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Robert Stanley Martin

1. 1986
2. The Rise and Fall of the Undergrounds
3. The Lee-Kirby-Ditko Era at Marvel
4. Behind-the-Scenes with Big Numbers
5. Carole Sobocinski's Tenure as TCJ Managing Editor (including its aftermath)

*****

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Jamie Coville

1. The meeting between CMAA and Stan Lee after the Spider-Man drug storyline and the changing of the comics code.
2. Phil Sueling getting charged for selling Zap Comix #4 and the formation of the Direct Market.
3. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko create the House of Ideas at Marvel.
4. Every single time the CCA wanted changes made to a comic book.
5. Jim Shooter. From about 1983 until he left Marvel.

*****

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Sean Collins

1. The decline and fall of Bill Jemas
2. Fort Thunder
3. DC Comics under Dan DiDio
4. Fantagraphics 2003
5. The Comic-Con organization deciding whether or not to stay in San Diego

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

 
August 7, 2010


The Comics Reporter Video Parade






Scott Crawford: Comic Book Costume Designer from Eric Homan on Vimeo.
via


Comic Book Culture from Eric Homan on Vimeo.

Comic Book Culture Part 2 from Eric Homan on Vimeo.

Comic Book Culture Part 3 from Eric Homan on Vimeo.
via


via


via


via


via


via
 
posted 4:00 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
CR Week In Review

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The top comics-related news stories from August 1 to August 6, 2010:

1. Harn Lay wins Hellman/Hammet award.

2. Oh, Brother dedicated web site launches.

3. Ghost Rider lawsuit will continue in federal court.

Winner Of The Week
Robert Ariail

Loser Of The Week
Maziar Bijani

Quote Of The Week
"I'm a life long believer in the words of the First Amendment." -- new CBLDF board President Larry Marder

*****

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

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

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posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 47th Birthday, Sasa Rakezic!

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posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Happy 53rd Birthday, Paul Dini!

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Sydney, I’d Go To This

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posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink
 

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

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If I Were In London, I’d Go To This

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Comics Reporter Hero: John Simon

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Sometimes the meanest and funniest guy in the room wins.

 
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August 6, 2010


Friday Distraction: Comic Book Cartography

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* I am told that The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo went from a two-day to a one-day show a while back. It was planned for September 25 and 26. Now it just September 25. So do go September 25. Don't go September 26.

* not a ton on the calendar this week in terms of traditional cons: there's apparently a moderate-sized one in Pittsburgh. In terms of events, this thing in Sydney looks conceivably really cool. They want to make it an every year thing, too.

* this site's coverage of July's Comic-Con International has been archived. All that means is I put the final report and the daily reports in one place and added more photos to the dailies. The "collective memory" entry is archived separately, here. I will continue to add entries to the CM as time and contributions from the readership allow.

* most of the heavy-hitters in the comics industry commentary class have come through with articles on Comic-Con International by now: RC Harvey, Douglas Wolk, Heidi MacDonald, Mark Evanier, Augie De Blieck Jr. among them. Wolk's was something of a back and forth with this piece by Lev Grossman. Heidi MacDonald's comments thread may be worth a look if you're interested in experiencing the stark split in attitudes towards the show from a certain cross-section of comics readers and professionals.

* speaking of Comic-Con coverage, the line in my report about feeling surrounded by film and TV at this year's show received way too much play. I blame crappy writing on my part. What received practically no mention at all was the bulk of what I wrote: that I greatly enjoyed the show, that the comics programming was solid to superb, that were was a ton of publishing news to report if you actually reported that news instead of writing another article about lack of coverage, that the film/television feel to the show made it weird not bad, that this feel came as much if not more from the absence of the mainstream comics' companies attention to publishing and a bit of a collapse of comics coverage from the comics and mainstream press and the MIA status of a central retail presence than it came from the fact that a bunch of people wanted to see the Chuck panel or score a Supernatural bag or whatever, and that where CCI is right now is an understandable confluence of events given recent industry events and people should stop playing the blame game. Instead, there was a lot of talk about a ruined show as if some star chamber of organizers out there was actively working to make CCI less satisfying to certain groups of fans. It is to sigh.

* one odd bit of lingering feeling I got from this year's coverage is that the comics community surely has a collective psychosis about Comic-Con International. Some would say that's always been true. If that's the case, it's worse now. My hunch is that what we're seeing is an expression of fear and dissatisfaction with the way the industry is rewarding (or not rewarding) the bulk of its professional class at this moment in time, as a lot of the criticism is status-, access-, reward-, and recognition-obsessed. But who knows? I've just never seen so many flatly illogical, hysterical, outraged, and silly reactions to a funnybook show. Some people complain about there not being a focus on comics at Comic-Con but do so in a way that indicates their own attention is anywhere but comics. Heck, people who don't even go to Comic-Con are angry about it and critical of it. The criticism I understand, the anger… not so much. Being pissed off at the idea of someone standing in a line somewhere to do something you wouldn't do is just sort of weird. A number of those in a privileged position at the show -- savvy, well connected, badged-up -- seem to take so little advantage of the opportunities on hand yet complain about being overbooked anyway. So color me baffled. My new take is that if Moto Hagio had a good time, and apparently she did, that's good enough for me. I'm personally grateful that a show that shouldn't be for me anymore had so much to offer my intense interest in comics that I could have pieced together another two days of enjoyment and enlightenment out of what I had to skip. I'll shut up now for fear of providing another pull quote for people with whom I strongly disagree on a variety of levels. But yeah, good show. Good comics show.

* the next issue up for Comic-Con is where it will spend the next bundle of years 2013-on, an announcement that when made official I will no doubt miss for several hours. I am pro-San Diego. It's the city I'd most rather visit and I suspect that some of the solutions offered by the other cities aren't the slam dunk they assert. I guess we'll see.
 
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Go, Bookmark: Ed Piskor Re-Launches Wizzywig; New Drawing, Formats

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Iranian Cartoonist Launches Holocaust Denial Web Site Holocartoons.com

imageAccording to a story that's been on the wires but seems driven by posts to any number of blogs, most importantly the New York Times', the conservative, anti-reform cartoonist and Holocaust denier Maziar Bijani has a new web site devoted to a certain portion of his work. Holocartoons.com for now seems to contain some of the cartoonist's previous work of an anti-Jewish nature, which includes a set of illustrations for a 2008 book on the subject of the Holocaust and a book of anti-Jewish caricatures that came out last year.

The NYT post notes that the site launch is troubling more for its country of origin than the fact that some moron is making cartoons on the subject: the denial of the Holocaust seems to be more or less a foundational aspect of Iranian foreign policy these days.
 
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Go, Look: Marvel And TV

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this one impresses me because the connections are quite bizarre
 
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Leef Smith On Potential Weaknesses In The Direct Market

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Leef Smith

Thanks for taking the time to respond thoughtfully and intelligently to Joe's email. And I definitely do see the need for a critical voice in a industry that does tend toward boosterism from all angles. I'm sure you appreciative on some level of Joe's willingness to offer a different perspective. We all are certainly coming at these very interesting issues and retatiling climate from very different views of where the industry stands and where we suspect it may be headed.

I certainly don't have the perspective that either of you fine gentlemen have, both from a retailing viewpoint or from a blogging viewpoint. But I'm happy to be a point of contention and a part of the debate. I'd love to be able to share where I see things and some of my own perspective.

imageI've actually only been open 11 months now, and even in this economy I've had increases in my gross sales every month with the exceptions of January and March. Anecdotally, many of my customer are people that haven't read comic in years and get very excited to see my store and my selection of books. And I totally grant that 60-70% of my sales are still comics with a spine, and building a customer base for monthlies is slower and a more difficult proposition, but certainly not impossible. In a very tech-savvy San Francisco, there is still, and I think will always been a desire for printed material, especially where the artwork as a printed medium is still a vital part of people's interest in sequential art.

Now you might be tempted to sight my example as an isolated example in a literary/art saturated urban environment, and there could be some truth to that. But you might not also be aware that Mission: Comics & Art is only one of three new comic book retailers within relatively close proximity in a city that could be said to be an already saturated in comic book stores. However, each of the newcomers, myself, Neon Monster and Caffeinated Comics are pursuing rather different business models, and attracting rather different customer bases, while also sharing a smaller subset of customers, and generally doing quite a bit to help building a bigger pie rather then just slicing it thiner. Are we doing it perfectly? Of course not. Will we all survive? Maybe not. Do we need to react to the larger trends comic buying trends, and our own local customer tastes and buying habits? Absolutely! Can what's happening here in San Francisco be used to draw conclusions of general retailing trends? I'm not sure. But I think all three stores are doing more then just providing a "fun store". We are all in the process of re-inventing and changing the perception of what a comic book store is. And I don't think we're alone. My perseption is that there's quite a few new retailers doing new exiting things. Take a look at Red Sky Comics - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Merced-CA/Red-Sky-Comics/134610327255 and Hero's Landing - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Merced-CA/Red-Sky-Comics/134610327255. And I'm sure there's more exciting retailers out there who are finding new ways to build profitable and sustainable small busieness.

From where I sit, and from what I see, it is a very dynamic environment for both new and longtime retailers. I think Brian over at Comix Experience would certainly agree, especially with his recent experience with the Scott Pilgrim Vol 6 release.The Internet is certainly changing things for retailers, and one thing I'm seeing is that retailers are getting a great opportunity to build a greater, more localized sense of excitement and community around comic books. This is something that the best forums and digital readers are never really going tot be able to provide. And that's something I hear from my customers too. but I'm still rather new, and only slowly inching toward being in the black financially. But making any progress in the current economy I think does a lot validate some of Joe's point about there being some very good news out there for retailers.

I absolutely appreciate the analysis and the space for critical voices, but from my own limited perspective and exposure, I also see a need for better researched and more quantitative analysis beyond just convention discussion and anecdotal examples. I absolutely respect your perspective, just as I do Joe's. Whatever the reality is, I'm sure is much more complex and probably more interesting than any of us can imagine, which certainly goes to your point that the the health of comic retailing is going to be an important story to pay attention to in the months, and years to come. I look forward to continuing to follow your coverage and hope you're able to give the story the attention it deserves.

*****

Tom Spurgeon

Leef, I appreciate the letter, but this just seems like more of the same to me.

imageThis isn't about whether or not there are awesome stores like yours out there. I really don't understand what seems to me a simplistic, defensive mentality that interprets my post -- and "critical" is being really broadly employed here -- that way. The post in question wasn't about the awesomeness of stores collectively or individually; it's about what I perceive as potential fragility in the Direct Market spurred by multiple real world events and buttressed by what I'm hearing off the record. To be clear: I rejected you as an example for the point Joe was trying to make because I was talking about the second half of 2010, not the middle of 2009. I would also reject Hero's Landing as an example because it opened in 2009, not the second half of 2010. Red Sky Comics at least opened in 2010, albeit not the half I was talking about, but the thought of it representing some sort of overall gain in the marketplace I'd also reject because it basically grew out of the ashes of a previous store.

Please note that this is not a referendum on your awesomeness, or the awesomeness of these other two stores, or the awesomeness of the store in Hattiesburg that Joe mentioned that was more directly on point, or all the great things that go on in the Direct Market.

I also reject the implication that my post was somehow lacking because it wasn't a 25,000 word treatise with hard numbers that engaged the entire market as you and Joe would have me engage it. Some days you write an article like that -- although I've never had much luck getting retailers to divulge hard numbers -- some days you can't, and some days you build what analysis you can from the not-for-attribution words of sources you trust, again, to buttress multiple real-world examples.

Leef, I could end up being really, really wrong, and the second half of 2010 sees a massive economic recovery led by the opening of 400 new comic book stores. Or maybe things don't change at all, in which case the possibility for weakness didn't end up being as important as its reality. We'll see. For what it's worth, I hope I'm wrong, not you. But I don't regret putting it out there, not at all. And if I'm wrong, I promise I won't demand you recognize all the other awesome things I do. I'll just be wrong.

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Go, Look: James Stokoe’s Galactus

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Colleen Doran Beats Up A POD Service

Longtime self-publisher, artist and cartoonist Colleen Doran looks at how a specific POD service presented itself to a colleague and then slowly, using multiple examples, kidney punches it to death. The takeaway is to be careful how you approach using self-publishing services, and to make sure that you get value for what you're paying. One might think that a self-publisher would always apply the "can I do this myself better and for cheaper" standard to using a business' services, but I think that's the difference between an earlier generation that sought out self-publishing mechanisms for various reason and today's self-publisher that might only be in it because it's the only viable alternative -- in other words, what was once an option to being published had become an option to not being published, and there are people that will use that as a leverage point to sell you on services that are poorly executed and that you don't need.
 
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Go, Look: Kaspars Groshevs

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If I Were Near San Jose, I’d Go To This

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

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Go, Look: My Greatest Adventure #21

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Go, Look: Beware #10

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Go, Look: Chamber of Darkness #3

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Go, Look: Songs Of Pogo Art

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* please take some time to check out the press release information for a benefit auction that will benefit CAPS, Ralph Reese and Russ Heath.

* the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com has a short post up on graphic novel Bookscan numbers, which are surprisingly manga-light. Well, surprising at first glance, but understandable at full read-through.

image* I know almost nothing about French-language webcomics beyond Trondheim's Les Petits Riens and a couple of other high-profile examples. This article seems like it may be more of a grind against the Joe Shuster awards than a proper survey article, but I'm thinking it may also provide information about some French-language web stuff out there.

*One Piece Vol. 59 has an initial print run order of 3.2 million copies. Imagine what they could squeeze from the market if they renumbered it as a #1!

* go, bookmark: one of CR's favorite writers about comics, Charles Hatfield, has launched a site in support of his upcoming superhero symposium.

* not comics: congratulations to the makers of the Jeff Smith documentary The Cartoonist on their emmy.

* I'm not sure that I knew there was a Peanuts Memorial Orgy, although now that I've been made aware of it this morning through multiple e-mails, I can sort of see why. It lacks the skill and the awe-inspiring context of Wood's much more famous Disney piece.

* comics from another world, in a sense.

* finally, Heidi MacDonald points out in a reading of an option-related press release both that there hasn't been a film made (yet) from one of those "comic book properties" from companies that seem to be interested in publishing comics book more in theory than in practice, and why those companies may not care that this hasn't happened yet (option money spends like movie money). It's a good set of points to make generally, although I get enough of those Radical comics in the mail that I'm not sure I'd be comfortable saying they're the same kind of company as a Platinum, say, whose actual comics are few and far between.
 
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Happy 59th Birthday, Ed Hannigan!

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Quick hits
Craft
Where's Adolf? (Scroll Down)

History
On 300

Industry
Help The CCBC Pick A Comic

Interviews/Profiles
ANN: Moto Hagio
BBC: Ian Culbard
Newsarama: Belle Yang
Inkstuds: Denis Kitchen
Torontoist: Michael DeForge
Comics Alliance: Jonathan Hickman
Washington City Paper: Ryan Claytor

Not Comics
Great Article Or Greatest Article?
Report From Gen Con's Opening Day
Mike Sterling Gets Head Start On My In-Hell To-Do List

Publishing
On 2000 AD In The U.S.
This Headline Made Me Laugh
Moomin Vols. 4-5 Printing Errors
Gabrielle Bell Joins What Things Do
On Fantagraphics' Herriman Sketchbook Strips Book

Reviews
Abhay Khosla: Various
Johnny Bacardi: Various
Sarah Boslaugh: Various
Comic Book Club: Various
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Grant Goggans: Gone Pogo
Jason Thompson: Iron Wok Jan
Kate Dacey: ES: Eternal Sabbath
Greg McElhatton: Age Of Heroes #3
Sarah Boslaugh: The Last Airbender
Chad Derdowski: Prince Valiant Vol. 2
Rich Kreiner: The Complete DR & Quinch
Lori Henderson: 20th Century Boys Vol. 9
Buzz Dixon: The Big Book Of Barry Ween
Michael Whose Last Name I Don't Know: Scarlet#1
Andrew Wheeler: Gahan Wilson: 50 Years Of Playboy Cartoons
 

 
August 5, 2010


Bart Beaty Reviews Art Spiegelman Collaboration With Dance Troupe Pilobolus

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By Bart Beaty

It's said that you can't dance about architecture, which raises the question of whether you can dance about comics. Or, more accurately, dance as comics.

The CIBDI in Angouleme offered a few comics-themed dances this year, and both Vincent Fortemps and Thierry van Hasselt have done comics in conjunction with choreographers in recent years. Still, the combination remains so rare that I hopped on a plane to New York when I learned that Art Spiegelman was working with the dance troupe Pilobolus on a new piece titled "Hapless Hooligan In 'Still Moving'." I saw the show Monday night.

The dance was one of the five performed that night, and it probably ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 minutes. The work is broken into a series of chapters and it tells a very slight story: boy meets girl, boy loses girl to a thug (who might also be the devil), thug kills girl, hero joins girl in death.

Formally the piece is divided into parts that take place behind a screen, parts that take place in front of it and parts that are a hybrid of the two.

The dance begins behind the screen with the shadows of the dancers projected upon it. This has several storytelling advantages. First, it allows the integration of animation -- as when Hapless is tormented by a flying, lightning-firing eyeball, and speech and thought balloons that recall some of the devices common to Spiegelman's work. Second, it allows multiple performers to convincingly play the same role in consecutive panels that are projected onto the screen. This is used to great effect on several occasions in which the performers dance in tandem in front of and behind the screen so that the audience sees both the characters and their 'shadows'. This was timed so nicely that the first time it happened I was briefly fooled into thinking I was see actual shadows being cast.

One other effect that was nicely done was the play with scale. By moving closer to the light source the dancers altered their size relative to each other.

That said, there were things that didn't work as well. The design of the panels and comics storytelling placed limits on the movement of the dancers that didn't seem productive and which eliminated many of the impressive tour de force acrobatics on display in the other works. In the performance that I saw it was clear that the house was composed of a dance crowd there to see a Pilobolus show not a comics crowd there to see a Spiegelman production and "Hapless Hooligan" didn't seem to give them the type of dance they were looking for. Several of the post-intermission pieces got much more enthusiastic receptions.

I left thinking that it was an interesting attempt to hybridize to art forms that are almost never thought of in conjunction. In many ways it was quintessentially Spiegelman: jazz-infused, irreverent, self-aware and concerned with interrogating the limits of form. I'm glad that I saw it.


 
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Missed It: Danny Hellman Draws Mad Men Cast For Boston Phoenix At X-Mas

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these are from last year, but since the X-Mas episode of Season 4 just aired, I thought it would be okay
 
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Harn Lay Wins Hellman/Hammett Grant

imageThe Thailand-based Burmese cartoonist Harn Lay is among 42 creators in 20 countries that have been awarded a Hellman/Hammett grant for 2010 by Human Rights Watch. The grants, which have been given out since 1989 after a financial contribution from the estate of Lillian Hellman, go to to writers that have had their work suppressed by their governments. Up to $10,000 per honoree may be given. This year, as in past years, some of the winners aren't named for fear of reprisal.

Lay was honored for his work on the opposition paper The Irrawaddy, where he has published over 1500 cartoons, many in protest of Burma's military regime. He fled the country following the 1988 student demonstration, and lives near the Thai-Burmese border.
 
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Go, Look: On Sale Now

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Kerala Varma, 1924-2010

The Indian cartoonist Kerala Varma, better known to his fans at Kevy, passed away in the southwestern port city of Kochi on July 23. He was cremated on the same day. He was 86 years old

A well-established cartoonist who was an active participant in cartooning organizations, Varma grew to prominence for a series of pocket cartoons called Bharat Darshan that were published from the early '60s into the '70s. During the Indian Emergency (1975-1977), Varma drew cartoons critical of Indira Gandhi and was imprisoned. Varma was also well-known for his cartoons critical of Jawarhalal Nehru. He was considered a brave cartoonist by several of his colleagues.

According to a profile in New Indian Express Varma was falsely imprisoned, accused of sketching Gandhi on the walls of Delhi.

He held a variety of staff positions from his first at Sankar's, a weekly publication, and later at Eastern Economist. He won a cartoon fellowship with Kerala Cartoon Academy in 1996. He retired from a position at Delhi Cartoons to his wife's home in Tripunithura. A final pair of cartoons, still politically-oriented, appeared in 2008 and 2009 in New Indian Express.

He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, and was preceded in death by his wife of many years.
 
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Go, Look: More Fred The Clown

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A Little Bit More On Board Changes At The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

ICv2.com probably has the most succinct wrap-up of the changes at the CBLDF board announced yesterday. I was wrong to suggest that litigator Dale Cendali joining the board was to replace outgoing Board president Chris Powell -- Powell remains on the board. Other than Cendali's presence on the board as a signifier of the board's moves to increase its participation in and relevance to the wider Free Speech advocacy world, it's hard to find an angle here worth pursuing via interview or follow-up question.

I believe you can still count on one hand the number of female members of the Board in its history, so there's that, but that would be considered a good thing or not a thing worth noting at all, depending on your point of view. It may be worth mentioning that Cendali was I believe the winning lawyer on the Mutant X/Fox/X-Men case, although I'm trying hard to figure out how that applies to anything much past trivia at this point. I also believe DC recently hired her former law firm as its lawyers in the ongoing Siegels case, but again, it's beyond me how that might transcend trivia. As for the new president, Marder's a well-liked, recently re-entrenched member of the comics professional community, a noted proponent of comics' free speech rights and has administration experience. Joe Ferrara and Powell remain on the board to continue the Fund's ongoing outreach to the comics retail ranks... yeah, I got nothing.
 
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Not Comics: Alex Schomburg Covers

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If I Were In LA, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Planet Comics #37

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Go, Look: Hulk’s Rogues Gallery

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Go, Look: Super-Mystery Comics #6

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Go, Look: Andrea Tranquilli

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via
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* everyone who has read his work has suspected Jim Woodring is a genius, and those lucky enough to meet him have had this confirmed. Now it's official, with the great cartoonist and artist receiving a Stranger Genius Award in literature. Like the best awards, it comes with a cash prize, which I'm sure will be put to fascinating use.

image* I suspect that most of D+Q is on vacation, but they're still posting some nice content, including these beautiful photos of Doug Wright's studio.

* not comics: a lot of things irk me about this story, starting with the fact that a $27K-$30K starting salary for someone college-aged isn't all that horrible of a thing. There are people in comics who would kill to average that over their entire career. Also, I know a lot of experienced journalists who would take a job at that pay level right now.

* good for them. Plus, they'll be able to buy a boat when they sell story rights.

* there's always a good 20 minutes to be had when Steven Grant's foundational on-line comics column Permanent Damage makes one of its intermittent returns.

* finally, via Sean T. Collins comes Brian Ralph putting together what looks like a Daybreak book cover.
 
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Happy 57th Birthday, Steve Mitchell!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
Go See Dave Kellett
Go See James Sturm
Go See Charles Burns, Chris Ware

History
Jeet Heer On Harvey Pekar

Industry
I Did Not Know This
4thletter! Enjoys Best Month

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: J. Torres
Robot 6: Phil Foglio
Newsarama Edwin Huang

Not Comics
Cool Band Merchandise

Publishing
One Of The Shadowland Books Previewed

Reviews
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Various
Jenny Bement: The Light #1-4
Kate Dacey: A Drunken Dream
Grant Goggans: Dial H For Hero
Greg McElhatton: Uncanny X-Men #526
Greg McElhatton: Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain
 

 
August 4, 2010


Larry Marder New CBLDF Board Prez

Powell steps down, the Beanworld creator steps up, a non-comics person named to fill position on board.
 
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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked

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By Tom Spurgeon

* I didn't want this one to get caught in the rush of Comic-Con news: a new Jimbo mini by Gary Panter. (via) I guess Gary releases these mini-comics as a build-up to a bigger Jimbo book, the future existence of which is also fantastic news.

image* from John Vest comes word that the latest Steve Ditko publication with Robin Snyder, The Cover Series is now available.

* missed it: so apparently, the new Deadpool #1000 features various wacky Deadpool stories created by alt-comics luminaries such as Peter Bagge and Michael Kupperman. That totally escaped my attention.

* plucked from the hobby business news and analysis site ICv2.com comes word of several projects that escaped my attention when announced at or around Comic-Con International: Abrams will publish Harvey Pekar's last book, Yiddishkeit; Image is doing a comic series from the Chinese novel and graphic novel effort Daomu, although heck if I know what a concentration on transmedia storytelling has to do with the comic itself; Tokypop will publish Ghostface, a five-volume series by Min-woo Hyung (Priest) in Spring 2011; Viz is repackaging Death Note; Stan Lee Comics announced its first batch of books; this site noted the new Rocketeer work but likely failed to mention a revival of John Byrne's Next Men; Dark Horse announced a solid line-up of creators for three new Robert E. Howard-related projects; Top Shelf will have the second new LOEG installment out next year; sounds good.

* First Second is serializing a story that originally appeared in Tugboat Press' Papercutter series.

* finally, Tom Neely said something in San Diego I should have mentioned then but only just thought about it now: his collaborative project with Aaron Turner, The Wolf is still planned for a release, probably this Fall. That one's had a couple of release dates since being announced back in January 2009. Here's the art from the postcard that Neely gave me with more information on it, that I've since lost.

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Go, Read: Sammy Harkham Profiles The Great Richard McGuire

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More On Zunar’s Legal Challenge

The Centre For Independent Journalism has come out in support of the legal challenge being made by the cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) and the publisher Malaysiakini. As noted at CR last week, the cartoonist and the publisher filed separate applications for legal review of a ban on two of Zunar's books: 1Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun. The plan as announced in the initial press release seems to be to press the government on free speech issues and on their claim that the publications needed to be removed from the marketplace because they would incite danger with the public, Zunar going so far as to say he would ask the authorities to point out any past riots caused by his work.

A follow-up piece by Patrick Saw writing to a news and view site covering Malaysia points out how the government actually uses multiple agencies to dampen free speech, in a seeming arbitrary way.

CR recently received an e-mail from we believe the cartoonist thanking CR readers for their general attention to his fight by reading our posts and following the links back to local coverage.
 
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Go, Look: Munson Leroy Paddock

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this comic is amazing-looking
 
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Missed It: Robert Ariail’s New Gig

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I'm not sure if this story completely escaped my attention or if I just didn't notice the details the first time around: the longtime editorial cartoonist Robert Ariail has contracted with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal for cartoons five days a week. This isn't exactly news in these times, as there's an abundance of talent on which newspapers can call. What is news is the extent of the relationship and the fact that the newspaper has announced their intention to bring the two-time Pulitzer finalist on full-time when the economy improves. Ariail has worked for The State, another prominent South Carolina newspaper, for a quarter-century before that relationship ended, so he's already up on local and regional issues. Although the ideal would be a straight-up hire to begin with -- there's no way of knowing if the economy will improve, although it's likely, and it may not improve for newspapers -- I like the idea of a newspaper investing in a talent like Ariail because they can, and looking to the future. I hope other papers out there take the same chance.
 
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Go, Look: The Flies

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Larsen Impugns McFarlane’s Hotness

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Crisis at Image Headquarters as cartoonist Erik Larsen has slammed the essential handsomeness and fundamental lady-appeal of fellow company founder, the toy czar and cartoonist Todd McFarlane.

In a statement made following McFarlane's recent loss in court to writer Neil Gaiman over rights to characters derivative of other characters to which Gaiman had previously won a court decision, Larsen suggested that the all-female jury was won over by Gaiman's charming English accent, his tousled hair, his all-purpose leather jacket, his pouty lips or maybe just the first of those four things. This led to much umbrage being taken -- a run on umbrage, shelves empty of umbrage. No word yet as to how McFarlane feels about this assault on his physical appearance, which could be described as something along the lines of a slightly less intense older brother of Christian Bale more into sports than screaming at the technical crew.

Okay, I'm kidding. It's troubling for a prominent comics figure to make a sweeping statement about the ability of women to function in civic roles that's just soaked in chauvinism, and it should be called out. Laura Hudson on point.
 
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Go, Look: Dunja Jankovic

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If I Were In, Glasgow, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Phoenix #2

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Go, Look: Four-Color #573

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Go, Look: Yet More Sherm

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Go, Look: One Man’s Haul

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Go, Look: Four-Color #280

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* the comics business news and analysis site ICv2.com notes in promoting its latest publication that periodicals rather than graphic novels have helped stave off the recessionary trends facing comics. I may be thinking in way too unsophisticated a fashion, but I have to think that graphic novels have suffered a bit because of the spike that Watchmen sales provided until the second half of 2009, and I wonder after the effect of raising prices on the success enjoyed by stores with serial comics.

image* if you're a French comics site profiling Paul Pope, this is definitely what you should call your article.

* not comics: two of you sent in this Matt Blind post analyzing the latest in the pissing contest over what will be the eventual outcome for the troubled but not seemingly horribly troubled except maybe on paper Barnes and Noble. It's only tangentially related to comics, but a certain string of events could take that tangential nature and make it into a spear that stabs comics and other publishing businesses right in the heart, so it bears watching.

* a success story featuring a webcomic cartoonist... this time, not in North America but in Korea. I don't know as much as I should about webcomics in North America; what I know about webcomics in Europe or Asia could be worn as a necklace by Little Cat Z. The cartoonist being profiled does evince a familiar disdain for middle-aged people, so that's comforting.

* I'd worked ahead far enough on birthdays that I'd forgotten that one day I'd have to start doing them again -- that day came August 1. So I missed some birthdays, like Danny Hellman's. Sorry to put a little bummer into anyone's big day that got used to seeing the announcement at CR.

* finally, movie with mostly generic major story device has multiple antecedents in all art forms shocker.
 
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Happy 34th Birthday, K. Thor Jensen!

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Happy 43rd Birthday, Robert Pope!

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Happy 44th Birthday, Charlie Adlard!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Franco Saudelli!

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Happy 60th Birthday, Mike Gold!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Rick Norwood!

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Quick hits
Exhibits/Events
CAPTION 2010 Report
Go See The Car Engine Drawing Show

History
Another Great Joker Panel

Interviews/Profiles
Robot 6: Phil Foglio
About.com: JuYoun Lee
Comic Riffs: John Layman
About.com: Bryan Lee O'Malley

Reviews
Rob Clough: Various
Steve Bunche: Dreadstar
Justin Giampaoli: Reich #7
Sean T. Collins: Prison Pit Vol. 2
Nina Stone: American Vampire #5
Andrew Wheeler: King Of RPGs Vol. 1
Richard Bruton: Melvin Monster Vol. 2
Johanna Draper Carlson: Suppli Vols. 4-5
 

 
August 3, 2010


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

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*****

Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's 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 if I were anywhere near a comic shop, I'd be all over the following.

*****

JUN100039 BALTIMORE PLAGUE SHIPS #1 $3.50
If you come to the eyes of the savvy industry reporter -- or me -- without being a know property, it helps to have a weird-ass name that makes folks go look it up on the Internet. This is the first issue in a limited series adapting Mike Mignola's prose novel. Mignola's basically holding up about 30 percent of why non-superhero fans go to the comics shop looking for serial books, and this looks like another well-crafted comic. For stumping me the cover goes below.

JUN100037 HELLBOY THE STORM #2 (OF 3) $2.99
I imagine this is pretty good, too.

MAR100041 TARZAN THE JESSE MARSH YEARS HC VOL 06 $49.99
I know this is good. I'm on Dark Horse's automatic comp copy list for this series and this series only, and I can't get enough of looking at it. Your mileage may vary with some of the stories, but they're probably way more solid than you remember or imagine.

JUN100160 BATMAN ODYSSEY #2 (OF 6) $3.99
This super-bizarre Batman comic featuring the work of legend Neal Adams is well on its way to becoming an oddball legend; I haven't felt as discombobulated reading a comic book since Dark Knight Strikes Again #1. He actually managed to duplicate on paper the feeling I used to get when I smoked pot and became certain every single sentence from every other person's mouth was a quote from a movie.

JUN100193 MAGOG #12 $2.99
Remember when Billy Reese had to stay inside during recess because he'd fight anybody else who wanted to be Magog?

MAY100188 MAGOG LETHAL FORCE TP $14.99
Hopefully a collection of the comics adaptation of Magog's USA Network show starring Rob Estes. Probably a collection of several issues from the series.

MAR108117 DAVE STEVENS THE ROCKETEER ARTISTS ED HC PI
Judging from the reaction to Stevens' work at the Eisner, there remains a significant reservoir of good will surrounding his life's work in comics, collected here shooting fro the original art at size -- one of the most absurdly indulgent and therefore awesome books of the year.

JUN108078 SEA BEAR & GRIZZLY SHARK #1 2ND PTG $4.99
I don't know if the cover will be different on this second printing, but I liked the baby being eaten.

MAY100581 CAPTAIN AMERICA #608 $3.99
JUN100642 CASANOVA #2 (MR) $3.99
JUN100605 SHIELD #3 $2.99
Three Marvel serial comics boasting inventive writers, if you're into that kind of thing.

MAY101029 ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING ACTIVITY BOOK $7.99
A supplement to the textbook/exhortation executed in exactly the same style as the comics in the previous book.

MAY101024 CHLOE GN (A) $10.95
Filthy, filthy comics by Hans Rickheit, under Fantagraphics' little-used Eros banner.

MAY100990 EDEN GN $16.95
MAR100913 JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY NANCY HC VOL 02 $29.95
Two great ones from D+Q in their post-con push to get those summer debuts onto comics shelves. The second book is self-explanatory; the first is work from Pablo Holmberg, previews of which have popped up here and there.

MAY101108 JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #300 $10.99
Happy anniversary to comics best face-puncher. Long may he never quite catch on.

*****

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, at least you weren't with last week's group that wasn't listed at all.

*****

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John Callahan, 1951-2010

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John Callahan, the quadriplegic cartoonist whose work savaged the hypocrisies of everyday life including the realities of his own condition, died Saturday, July 24 in Portland, Oregon. He was 59 years old.

Callahan was adopted while still a baby, into a family that eventually gave him five siblings. He suffered from child abuse brought upon him from a presence outside of the family -- a female teacher -- and drank starting at the age of 12 in part as a way to ameliorate the pain of that experience. The young Callahan loved to draw; he loved to drink more. He would continue to consume copious amounts of alcohol up until and well after the incident that put him in a wheelchair, giving up alcohol in his late 20s. His experiences with alcohol later became one of the foundational subjects for his art and writing.

Callahan lost the use of his arms and legs in a traffic accident suffered at the age of 21, on July 22, 1972, in Los Angeles -- a day Callahan would later recall in graphic detail following an evening he couldn't even remember at the time. There followed an extensive period of rehabilitation, six months in length, before Callahan was released into a series of state institutions. He would eventually get kicked out of one of them for over-drinking. He sobered up after reaching rock bottom trying and failing to open a bottle of valium, an experience he would later describe in heartbreaking detail. Part of Callahan's sobriety apparently involved attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, at least early on.

imageSome articles on the cartoonist suggest Callahan took to making comics as a way to negotiate the post-accident landscape, an impulse similar to the one that led him briefly into classes for counseling at Portland State University. The obituary in the Willamette Week by Chris Lydgate suggests a more standard progression: The newly sober Callahan entered PSU to study English and like so many cartoonists with less colorful personal backgrounds began to publish work in a school publication, this one called Vanguard. The cartoonist and animator Bill Plympton recalled meeting the young cartoonist in one of the many obituaries written after Callahan's passing. Callahan came into Plympton's class in the late 1970s to show him some work; Plympton talked about seeing past the crude linework and grasping the vast reservoir of talent making itself known in that work. Callahan found his first regular gig outside of school in David Milholland's Clinton Street Quarterly publication, no longer in existence. Anecdotes related after his passing indicate that Callahan was submitting those same cartoons to several publications, local and national, at least by the early 1980s. By one count, he would publish in over 200 newspaper and magazines over his long and productive career. His client list would eventually include such publications as Hustler, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Harper's and the New York Daily News.

The subject matter of Callahan's cartoons was often cruel, slightly bizarre gag-work featuring morose or even macabre activity, much of it especially in the first half of his career featuring people with disabilities. The initial reaction to those strips was frequently driven by someone's negative take on the very idea of the subject matter -- it was a time period when a lot of cartooning worked hard at the outer edge of breaking taboos for the sake of breaking taboos, frequently without the wit and ultimate truth-telling of Callahan's work -- followed by the complaining party finding out that Callahan was in a wheelchair himself (he drew not with his mouth but with both hands placed on a pen) and perhaps working their way towards a different conclusion. Callahan would continue to garner plaudits and significant criticism through the duration of his career, twin sides of a coin that fascinated the cartoonist in terms of seeing how his work settled in with all different types of people. His fans and admirers believed Callahan's matter of fact treatment of people with various handicaps humanized them, as opposed to treating them as a class of persons that needed to be treated delicately, or, as was frequently the case, not representing them at all.

Above and beyond his chosen subject matter, Callahan was recognized as a first-rate funny person, lauded in his lifetime by a range of creative people from Dave Barry to Gary Larson. He was seen as a brave comedian who communicated his view of a world with the same force and direction he used to charge down the street in his wheelchair, where so much about the fragile, ridiculous and stridently unfair elements of the human condition spoke directly against the enormous amount of extraneous nonsense so many in a position of relative luxury carry around. John Callahan made cartoons that might make you shriek if you recognized yourself, and might make you take a second look if you saw someone you knew but hadn't deeply considered.

Callahan was an emblematic Portland cultural figure, a well-known local who negotiated his downtown neighborhood environs for years, interacting with as many folks as possible. He was the Portland cartoonist for a local citizenry that may to this day lack any sense of the large comic book creative community within its borders. His work was published locally by the alternative weekly Willamette Week since 1983, again sometimes to plaudits and sometimes to bitter complaints. Their affectionate obituary suggested Callahan likely received more letters of complaint than every other person in the history of the publication combined. Callahan was passionately eulogized by a number of Northwest press outlets, and remembered fondly in the on-line communities surrounding those publications.

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A key moment in Callahan's career was the 1989 publication of his autobiography from William Morrow, Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot, and the subsequent popular trade paperback from Vintage in 1990. Don't Worry brought Callahan's lacerating, honest approach into prose form via its exploration of his debilitating accident, his alcoholism, and the narrative provided by the adopted cartoonist's search for his birth mother. It's hard to imagine any better book about a cartoonist or comics figure. That book gave a certain weight and credence to the way Callahan approached his cartoons, and likely helped make his cartoon collections a presence in bookstores in the decade-plus to come when there were very few gag cartoonists appearing on those shelves.

Callahan became one of the quietly successful cartoonists in bookstores. A variety of his collections and related projects were widely available during a period where most cartoonists from the usual sources -- such as The New Yorker -- were published intermittently or not at all. His books included Digesting The Child Within And Other Cartoons To Live By (1991), Do Not Disturb Any Further, Do What He Says! He's Crazy!! (1992), I Think I Was An Alcoholic (1993), the amazingly-titled The Night, They Say, Was Made For Love: Plus, My Sexual Scrapbook (1993), What Kind Of God Would Allow A Thing Like This To Happen?!! (1995), Freaks Of Nature (1995) and Get Down!!: Dog Cartoons (2002). The Best Of Callahan was released by Ballantine in 2003. In addition to the more standard cartoon books -- not that much of anything about Callahan's work was standard -- and the autobiography, the cartoonist penned a children's book called The King Of Things And The Cranberry Clown (1994). "Cranberry Clown" was an appellation used for the red-haired Callahan.

Two TV series based on Callahan's work were made: Pelswick (2000), a more traditional show about a boy in a wheelchair which aired in Canada for which he wrote and served as executive producer, and Quads (2001), which also aired in Canada, I believe Australia and spent some time in rotation on the Adult Swim chunk of programming. Quads shared some of the more daring elements of Callahan's gag cartoons, and remains available on DVD. A five-minute animated adaptation of I Think I Was An Alcoholic made in 1993 featured Callahan doing a voiceover.



In later years, Callahan pursued different avenues of artistic expression. His cartoons changed subject matter slightly to reflect less of an interest in his own condition and perhaps his feelings towards women, and more a wider variety of agents and actors. He released a CD called Purple Winos In The Rain in Fall 2006. That collection of music featured songs; Callahan wrote the music and lyrics for each song. According to a brief mention on his wikipedia page, Callahan was working on an art project featuring a mix of portraits and nudes, works from which were being shown periodically at galleries.

imageWhile Callahan enjoyed a full career somewhat outside of the cartooning mainstream, he enjoyed the patronage of other talented people: the actor William Hurt was the first to buy rights to Callahan's life story. Robin Williams wrote an introduction to Callahan's wonderfully-titled Will The Real John Callahan Please Stand Up and for a long time was developing a movie based on the cartoonist's life. The comedian Dave Attell visited Callahan as part of the Portland episode of his well-regarded Insomniac television show on Comedy Central. Larger-than-life musician and sometimes-actor Tom Waits made a cameo experience on Purple Winos. Gus Van Sant was another figure interested in a Callahan movie, or at least met with the cartoonist and took notes for a project of some sort. A documentary about his life called Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel was completed by Dutch filmmaker Simone De Vries and made its premiere in February 2007 at the Portland International Film Festival. According to an anecdote that made the rounds after Callahan's passing, the writer and performer Kinky Friedman had contacted Callahan about opening his show on July 27 of this year, Callahan having provided the illustrations to Friedman's Texas Hold 'Em (2006).



The family reported to the Oregonian that the cartoonist's death was related to infections suffered due to his wheelchair bound status, while another report suggested these maladies had intensified during his last year following a 2009 surgery. Callahan entered the hospital on July 22, was briefly moved to a hospice on the morning of July 24 and then returned to the hospital where he died shortly thereafter. A friend of Callahan's said the cartoonist suspected his life was coming to a close, and was able to make some goodbyes before the ambulance came. A Catholic funeral service -- one of the cartoonist's final wishes -- was held for Callahan late last week. He was cremated.

Callahan is survived by his mother, five brothers and sisters, and 11 nephews and nieces.

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Go, Read: Graveyard Ghosts

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Go, Read: Lucy Van Pelt Turns Evil

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Joe Field Of ComicsPRO On A Potential Story For Fall 2010 Being Direct Market Retail Weaknesses

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Joe Field
ComicsPRO President
Flying Colors Comics
Concord, CA


I read with interest your "Five Comic Stories You Can Bank On (Sort of)," and wanted to give another perspective on your last point about comics retailers. In San Diego, ComicsPRO's "Retailing in the Digital Age" and "So You Want to be a Comics Retailer?" panels were very well-attended. SRO for both. I was actually concerned prior to the "So You Want...?" panel that attendance might be lower due to a soft economy, all the talk of dollars moving to digital, etc. But attendance was up significantly from last year and enthusiasm for opening new stores was, too. On top of that, our ComicsPRO's Mentoring program is going strong with nearly 50 new and "pre-retailers" (in 19 states!) receiving the benefits of being mentored by more established retailers.

imageI know it's difficult for you to name names... but for the life of me, I couldn't come up with "two huge names" in comics retail that are teetering toward closure. Granted, I'm not privy to the financials from any other retailer in this business, but as tough as the general economy has been over the last few years, the closure of stores here and there can't be wholly unexpected.

On the plus side, there are new stores opening that deserve attention, too. Tuesday August 3, a ComicsPRO mentored retailer, Barry Herring of Southern Fried Comics, opens for business in Hattiesburg MS. Also take a look at the cool things that Leef Smith is doing in San Francisco's Mission district with Mission Comics & Art, another ComicsPRO mentored retailer. These are two new comics retail stores--- among a good number of others that ComicsPRO has been nurturing -- opening in challenging times and doing innovative things. It's not all gloom and doom. Far from it!

As for your "over 55" comment, even I'm not quite there yet and I am usually among the more senior retailers among ComicsPRO members, who tend to be among the most progressive retailers in this industry. The fact is that every small business has its own "life-cycle." Those that continue to evolve can greatly extend their viability and profitability, while those that get buried in debt and fail to adapt to a changing business climate will speed their own demise.

There are lots of issues for us to confront. There are indeed "price increases and continued horrific scheduling strategies" -- but there isn't any evidence that comics specialty is losing any significant ground. In an economy where many businesses are experiencing 20% drops, the fact that comics have been off by just 5% in the last year or two -- even with those continued horrific scheduling strategies, should be construed as good news.

When so much attention is being paid to online strategies -- and that's to be expected when all the journalism in this industry is from online writers -- the fact that storefront comics retail is rock solid should be highlighted and applauded.

Best!

PS -- One more thing worth adding: Jamie Coville recorded the "So You want to be a Comics Retailer?" panel in San Diego. It is archived at this location.

****

Tom Spurgeon
Editor, The Comics Reporter


Hi, Joe. I appreciate you taking the time to read the article, and for taking the additional time to respond.

There's not a lot in terms of our disagreements that can't be summed up as you believe one thing/I believe. Three quick things: I reject the general implication that every time someone is critical about something they should cast around to see if there's anything that can be said that's positive. That's how you teach Sunday school; balance for the sake of balance from the perspective of the criticized is more useful in creating attentive bible students than it is in writing an essay. I'm certain the next time I write positively about comics retail -- like my recent event coverage and a subsequent store profile, both from LA -- you're right there to make sure I tease out something negative. Second, I never said any businesses were teetering; that's an inference on your part. I was careful with my language there on purpose. Third, while it's great that the store is opening up in Hattiesburg this week, Mission and Comics has been open since either late 2008 or very early 2009, and while it seems like a fun store, I'm not sure that its opening has bearing on the state of openings and closures in the second half of 2010. I mean, there are lots of awesome stores out there. So what?

Let me pull one more thing out: your implication that there's a bias against DM stores in favor of coverage of on-line sales mechanisms because many of the writers work on-line is insulting and beneath you.

imageMostly, though, I'm kind of baffled why retailers meet anything I write that's critical of any facet of the Direct Market with such forceful, blanket and frankly not always very convincing rebuttals. Whether it's Brian Hibbs employing his dubious math-fu to suggest that the Direct Market leads in a category the vast majority of its members have never carried and which is now all but dead, or Amanda Emmert proclaiming that women feeling uncomfortable in comic stores isn't as big an issue as some people think because, in part, some women will complain about anything, or you in blanket fashion denying every problem suggested in my post except the one where the Big Publishers screw you over (and thus no retailer is, or retailers collectively, are at blame), it just seems like dug-in, old-fashioned, comics-culture, "I'll argue it until I get at least a draw" contrarianism. At least this time around I didn't get those e-mails warning me off the subject because my "support from retailers" might erode. Whatever that means!

But seriously, what's up with the defensive crouch? How on earth is a critical article tantamount to taking a position of "all doom and gloom?" Do you have a self-critical apparatus? Is ComicsPRO simply a booster organization that does things like impugn others' motives and make empty proclamations that things are "rock solid"? If asked, could you name five specific areas at which the Direct Market should improve, things at which you and your fellow retailers have outright failed, not somebody else? I could do that for this site specifically and comics journalism generally, and have talked about those factors here at the site on multiple occasions. Why can't you guys? It's one thing that outright confuses me about comics 16 years in, retail and elsewhere. What is it about comics people that we're afraid to release real sales or (when it's appropriate) income figures, where publishing moves that seem to under-perform disastrously by the estimates we do have are met with a "that's right what we expected/you don't know anything about the business" harangues, where it's the comics event itself that conspires to keep the journalists from covering it with greater vigor? Why can't we be self-critical?

I'm a big supporter of comics shops, Joe, and by all accounts you run one of the good ones (as do Brian and Amanda). I think if comics shops didn't exist and one were suddenly to appear we'd be freaked out at how awesome it was and folks would fly cross-country to see it. When I think the DM and its members are being unfairly criticized, I've always said so. I may be the only industry commentator with an alt-comics pedigree that's never argued an inventory litmus test for shops. But you have to understand: part of my support has been and will continue to be writing criticism. That's what I have to offer. I hope that in the future those essays and comments can at least be received in the spirit that I write them -- or even thoroughly rebutted with that in mind. Yes, Joe, I do think there are some specific, potential weaknesses in the Direct Market right now, and that there's a very good chance those weaknesses could become a wider issue by year's end. You don't. I could be wrong: but just for content of the argument, not in making it.

PS -- ask your membership for those big names; that's where I got them.

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Go, Read: More Of Little Lulu #133

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posted 11:40 am PST | Permalink
 

 
(Very) Brief News Story Updates: Friends Of Lulu, Ghost Rider, OneManga

A smattering of brief, almost single-sentence updates to evolving stories have flashed across the Internet in the last few days:

Friends Of Lulu Secures Interim Board
Good news for the potential survival of the decade-plus old comics reading advocacy group posted at Occasional Superheroine: Valerie D'Orazio, the organization's most recent past president who was kind of left holding the door open for a new group of offices that never arrived, was able to announce four interim officers. The four, given first names only in the announcement, will hold the offices of Interim Treasurer, Interim Director of Communications, Interim Membership Secretary and Interim Recording Secretary. D'Orazio had previously announced that if movement was not made in the direction of resuscitating the organization, she would take steps towards dissolution.

*****

OneManga.com Removes Scans
According to a brief and informative post at the CBR news blog Robot 6, the notorious scanlation site OneManga.com removed all scans from their site by an agreed-upon deadline. A flurry of scan posting activity between the announcement of the removal and the removal itself had put the outcome somewhat in doubt. The site will continue to post lists and series information not linked directly into scans. A consortium of publishers have started to target sites like OneManga.com in an attempt to reduce the reach of the fan-driven versions of their source material, a move that has some questioning whether or not it's possible to make a dent in their availability. Scans found at OneManga.com were at the top of several google searches for various popular manga.

*****

Friedrich Ghost Rider Case Continues In Federal Court
The Gary Friedrich case seeking to secure the copyright to the Ghost Rider character currently published and controlled by Marvel will continue in federal court, says the writer's attorney Charles S. Kramer. The lawyer claims a recent court ruling against Friedrich only hurt the case's progression in state court. Further, he claims that the federal portion of their lawsuit was always "the main part of our case."
 
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Go, Look: Encounter By Wood

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Go, Look: More Suburban Cartoons

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Go, Look: Rocketman

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Go, Look: Forbidden Worlds #87

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Go, Look: Terry-Toons Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* my favorite post/article of the day so far: Craig Fischer remembers John Callahan.

image* one thing a lot of folks at comics companies used to do -- I'm not certain they do it anymore -- is take vacations right after or even during Comic-Con International if they're not having to attend. Here's a photo-driven report from Chris Oliveros that has little to do with comics but has enough of Chris poking around bookstores and running into Mafalda I can recommend it here. It's like a guest-sequence from Little Nothings except with photos.

* in Newsweek of all places can be found a lovely, short profile of the comic book illustrator Lily Renée Philips.

* one of my favorite comics-interested journalists, Steve Duin, interviews a favorite comics historian, Patrick Rosenkranz, as part of his profile of the new Rand Holmes collection Rosenkranz has done for Fantagraphics. That is an astounding-looking book, one of those miracles of the current comics boom where everything logical says a book like that can't be published but there it is.

* in brightest day, in blackest night, no variant copy of Super-Villain Team-Up will escape my sight... (via Mark Burrier)

* finally, here's a pretty standard big-author profile of Neil Gaiman, in Australia for that cool-sounding performance of an unpublished story with new Eddie Campbell art.
 
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Happy 44th Birthday, Marc Weidenbaum!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Gianfranco Goria!

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Happy 61st Birthday, Reed Waller!

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Quick hits
Craft
Kirby Is Killing Him
The Trinity Mural Covers

Exhibits/Events
Set To Sea Party Pics

Industry
Mike Sterling Talks Deadpool Sales

Interviews/Profiles
LA Times: Taschen
Newsarama: Marian Churchland
Talking Comics With Tim: MK Reed

Publishing
On Moresukine
On Good Dog, Bad Dog

Reviews
Brian Hibbs: Various
Kate Dacey: Various
Rob Clough: Various
Rich Kreiner: Various
Cliff Froelich: Various
Matthew Brady: Various
Rob Clough: Ganges #3
Kelly Thompson: Revolver
Paul Di Filippo: Temperance
Sean T. Collins: Exit Wounds
George Elliott Clarke: Newave!
Josh Flanagan: Stuck Rubber Baby
Richard Bruton: The Bluecoats Vol. 3
Michael C. Lorah: Wonder Woman #601
Matthew Brady: Werewolves Of Montpellier
Johanna Draper Carlson: Hyde And Closer Vol. 1
 

 
August 2, 2010


Dedicated Oh, Brother! Site Goes Live

imageKing Features has launched its site devoted to their new Oh, Brother! strip offering from Bob Weber Jr. and Jay Stephens -- Stephens being a name familiar to 1990s art comics fans and 2000s cartoon watchers, Weber holding down prime kids gag-oriented real estate on the newspaper page for years and years now. As discussed here Sunday, this is a big deal because instead of keeping the feature's web presence tethered to the syndicate site and any newspaper sites that want to pick it up, they're following a broader, Wimpy Kid-style initiative designed to build the brand with the desired, young readership. I have no idea if it will work, and a lot depends on the overall execution, but any syndicate strategy that recognizes value outside of the core business and services provided is a great thing. In the meantime, no matter who you are, it's just fun staring at Jay Stephens' art.
 
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Go, Read: The Moon Hoax

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Go, Read: Summer Symposium At Angouleme Focuses On… Transmedia?

This two-part report from the French-language comics news clearinghouse ActuaBD.com covers the Universite d'ete de la BD that took place in Angouleme in early July. What may be surprising to many casual French comics enthusiasts is that the topic was the very business-friendly notion of transmedia, or the making of business across media, and its impact on comics. Basically, it's the kind of thing you find in room 57d of Comic-Con given the full symposium treatment. I don't know if it's the article or if it was the sum total of the presentations that caused it, but I didn't see much in there that didn't sound pretty banal. The notion that because video games are so popular that there's some sort of danger that the video game become the central expression of a multiple-platform property has to be right up there with pre-season football in terms of things I don't care about, but I admit it's sort of intriguing to learn that people all over the world are noodling over such loosely-defined subject matter. I don't know, I look at how many media in which Gasoline Alley stuff appeared and I have to wonder if these ideas are as new as these speaker like to claim they are.
 
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Go, Read: A Voyage To The Moon

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Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* I'd say it's safe to say that every single thing being written about wannabe Jyllands-Posten destroyer David Coleman Headley's testimony to Indian authorities about his scouting work for the Mumbai attacks is going to be soaked to the bone with political bias, but it makes for very compelling reading and the idea that Headley might be pushing an agenda through his plea-bargained access to certain officials always seemed to me a possibility.

* I didn't know this was possible, but a Florida church group has found to make this year's 9/11 more awful than ever. The link that interests me is the idea of Koran burning as a sort of super-sized Muhammed drawing.

* this barely relates, the New Statesman uses the cartoons as a springboard to discuss the British devotion to satire generally and cartooned satire specifically. Where this articles falls down a little bit for me is that I don't remember the British being extra-shocked by the Danish cartoons, let alone that they felt this way from some deep reserve of appreciation for their rich cartooning traditions. Mostly I remember British authorities taking the hammer to a younger generation of Muslim leaders who led protests -- justified or not, I have no idea -- without much dismay or turmoil present in any form. It's true that cartoon satire should be at the heart of every healthy democracy; I'd say any healthy modern nation.
 
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OTBP: Kus! #7

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I’m Only Into Shelf Porn For The Articles

I wish that were true, but in the ten thousand photos I've pored over of people's home comics shelves, this is the first time I can recall seeing an article about roughly the same subject matter. I'm not familiar with the person being profiled, but I'm fond of anyone who describes their funny book collection as "70 ft of comics." (thanks, Marc Arsenault)
 
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Go, Look: Graphic Novelty

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Go, Look: Cartoonists Of 1925

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Not Comics: On Roy Krenkel

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Go, Look: More Barney Google

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Go, Look: Jack Kirby Thor Covers

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* via e-mail from Jason T. Miles comes the rest of the recent Fantagraphics personnel moves: Martin Bland will take over Miles' old positino as "Director of Sales/Circulation Manager as Miles moves into the job of "Production Manager/Editorial." Bland's been with the company for 13 years, primarily as shipping manager.

image* not comics, but, you know, pretty: cartoonist Jordan Crane has some post-Con prints ready to sell.

* the best news story that Comic-Con crushed? A man facing the death penalty takes time from a surprise e-mail sent to a newspaper to request they keep his favorite comic strips. (thx, Justin J. Major)

* I want to pull this one out so I remember to get to it myself: Robert Boyd, a fine critic in his own right, reviews Best American Comics Criticism.

* not comics: this is funny enough on a bunch of levels I don't want to find out if it's true or not.

* finally, a flurry of great links courtesy of Devlin Thompson: a great-looking superhero themed book cover; a bunch of freakishly gorgeous art from an old Disney songbook; MAD letterhead; a MAD rejection letter; a Marvel promotion at the White House (is that Jonathan Frakes playing Captain America?); another entry analyzing obscenicons; a wonderful Bill Watterson letter and a certificate putting a kid into the Supermen Of America. Thanks, Devlin. I'm sorry I let them stack up!
 
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Happy 46th Birthday, Danny Hellman!

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Quick hits
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History
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Reviews
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Johanna Draper Carlson: Various
 

 
Go, Read: Jillian Tamaki’s CCI Report

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August 1, 2010


CR Sunday Feature: Five Comics Stories You Can Bank On (Sort Of)

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The calendar year splits into two easy halves: January-June; July-December. Many businesses split their year at the July 4 holiday; many households according to the school year with a long summer break between. Comics splits its calendar into before Comic-Con International and after Comic-Con International. Even those industry members the most wiped-out from the weekend before are gearing up for a return to the grind tomorrow morning. What develops in 2010’s part two will depend on unforseen events more than any other factor -- litigation, deaths, economic drift, challenges for and against free expression -- but there are a few stories that seem almost certain to flower before the winter holidays.

1. Comic-Con's Big Move. This one had better happen soon, or I quit. My hope is that the Big Show stays in San Diego, but a little voice tells me it's going to be Los Angeles. Based on my record as an industry psychic, this is great news for Anaheim. I honestly don't know anything about what's going to happen. My hunch is that it's always been San Diego's convention to lose, but as the deadline has been rolled forward again and again San Diego may actually be losing it. I can't imagine the basic pitches of Anaheim and Los Angeles have changed a whole lot in recent months, while the kind of initiatives that San Diego has been putting together seem to me the kind of thing that might change in status all the time.

It seems as if the hold-up may be the San Diego hotels' collective unwillingness to pledge to behave in a more friendly fashion in terms of rooms made available and the prices charged. But that's only a guess, probably a very wrong one. I prefer San Diego because I think it's the best place to go and enjoy such a show, especially as I get older and the idea of four evenings straight standing around in a hotel bar loses more and more of its always-dubious luster. In addition, none of the other locations is close to being a sure thing in terms of solving what folks perceive of as CCI's problems. I guess we'll see. You can't say it hasn't been a compelling process.

2. The Other Big Move. I'm guessing DC will move to Burbank. A couple of people tell me this is a done deal, but as the sports journalist Bill Simmons is fond of pointing out, there's the done deal where your friend tells you he's getting married, and the done deal where he and the bride-to-be show you a ring and mail you a save-the-date. We're in the tell-you-he's-getting-married phase of this story and I won't 100 percent believe it's going to happen until the city of Burbank slips a (power) (flight) (costume-holding) ring on DC's proffered finger. Many of the pros and cons of whether such a move should take place have been discussed to death. Two little talked about timely factors that may play a role are 1) pro-Burbank move folks trying to get this done before Green Lantern box office receipts get a vote, 2) it's my understanding that Time-Warner can't get rid of extra real estate it has in New York before abandoning a bunch more of it.

While the Internet-era news cycle will place a huge premium on rushing this news out when it's finally official, all the truly compelling developments would come after such a decision. Aside from the enormous historical factors involved in one of the industry's big two leaving New York in significant, perhaps total fashion; aside from the how this puts the publishing division in all but open service to the task of developing film-driven mega-properties; I think there's a chance this could significantly alter DC's core personality and culture because future employees will come from tanned, aggressive Southern Californians interested in backdoor access to the film industry as opposed to pasty, meek New Yorkers angling for a monthly box of free funnybooks. I've not always been a fan of how film and television people make comics publishing decisions or how Type A personalities within comics companies can sometimes press their agenda with an effectiveness that exceeds their collective merit, so this could be make for a huge change in how that company operates five, six, ten years from now.

3. The Launch of the Dedicated Oh, Brother! Site. King Features is launching a site revolving around its Bob Weber Jr./Jay Stephens feature Oh, Brother!, an on-line move based roughly on the digital example of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. I don't think anyone expects it to work that well, but if it works at all it could make for a big step forward in general syndicate on-line strategies.

The crucial thing about that is that it's conceivably an evolution in strategies that would come in a timely enough fashion for it to be replicated or built upon. The syndicates have been so slow in terms of deciding how they want to do things on-line that some of their best ideas -- King Features' newspaper partnership initiative, for one -- have sprung into being a couple years after they could have best been put to use. In fact, the Internet has been more mirror than vehicle for the traditional syndicates: the fact that none of the decisions made in the last dozen years, good or bad, can be shown to have had a uniquely positive dramatic effect on any single feature just shows you how sweet the syndicate business model has been and in many ways continues to be. Anyway, I have high hopes for this new take, both because I like the way the feature looks in my limited exposure to it and this attempt on its behalf sure beats some of the other things those businesses have tried.

4. The One-Year Anniversary Of Diane Nelson's Hire. I don't study the mainstream comics end of the business as closely as some, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how DC has changed at all from a publishing perspective since the hire of Diane Nelson and the months-later installation of the Jim Lee-Dan Didio-Geoff Johns triumverate as basically her lieutenants. The books feel exactly the same to me, as the major storyline initiatives still seem to swing wildly between boring (even laughably pompous) high-concept takes that count on readers agreeing that the core DC characters are awesome going in and these weird, "realistic" storylines that read like snuff film screenplays. Their talent development efforts seem they've stayed exactly where they were in 2009, and they've closed more publishing programs than they've opened. A full digital commitment still seems a long way off. I don't know, I like many of the DC people, I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, and maybe I'm just missing all the game-changing moves they've been making, but as of now I'm not seeing much of anything on the publishing end that makes me confident of the future.

I guess a look back at the Disney purchase of Marvel will be on some reporters' to-do list as well, but after it was clear they'd be somewhat hands off with that company's successful publishing division, the idea that there would be changes seemed to settle in on DC only. The Marvel-related TV announcements are about what many folks came to expect, and the superhero movies continue their march forward.

5. This Fall's Election As A Minefield For Editorial Cartoonists. It may just be my opinion, but I woke up the other day and looked at some editorial cartoons being done out there of a political nature and my only thought was to be glad this was never my calling or the natural outcome of my skill set. There have been some fine topics for editorial cartoonists this year, primarily the everyone-hate-big-evil-businesses, target-rich environment of that awful BP oil spill and the sort-of-news celebrity evisceration carousels surrounding Tiger Woods and then LeBron James. I think all that goes out the window with this Fall's mid-term elections, however, as my-team/your-team sectarianism and widespread media distrust/overall-message dissonance aren't just in the air, they are prominent campaign strategies. In other words: there's an enormous amount of bullshit out there, and a widespread distrust of anyone holding a shovel. Good luck, guys.

6. How Healthy Is Comics Retail? One item of discussion amongst the industry folks I talked to in San Diego was the loss of retailers in traditionally strong comics markets such as New York (Rocketship's closure has been public and well-covered), and circumstance inherent in the business outlook of at least two huge names in comics retail that may see them head out the door sooner rather than later. This is worse news than usual not just for the obvious reason that comic shops generate business as well as serve demand, but also if you believe geographical coverage is an issue (as I do).

It's take your pick of portents: the absence of a vital retailer selling new comics at Comic-Con the way Comic Relief used to underlines the notion that owner of the majority of comics' best shops are getting older, there's never a guarantee that these businesses change hands without causing major differences in what they're able to do, and I'm not sure there are enough up and coming retailers to play the same role as the generation of retailers now in that 55 and over club. Price increases, continued horrific scheduling strategies, a ridiculous and inflexible start-up model, over-publishing and the slight discombobulation that is likely to arrive with an upswing in attention to digital comics strategies are making things more difficult for the system just at the time when everything should be done to make things easier. As second downswing in the economy will likely drive lot of folks to reconsider what they do, and comics seems less likely to escape a second generally fallow period coming so quickly on the heels of the first. If enough holes start to appear in the retail fabric, changes could be forced on the industry, like it or not.
 
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Go, Read: Paul Gravett On Dave McKean

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In Case We Forget: Safe Journey

Ted Rall announces the much-publicized trip to Afghanistan kickstarted into existence and involving three alt-editorial cartoonists, begins late today for himself; Matt Bors and Steve L. Cloud will join him ten days from now:
Hi! Just a heads-up to let you know that I am heading off to India Sunday night. On August 11th I will meet fellow cartoonists Matt Bors and Steven L. Cloud at the Dubai airport. We'll fly together on Somon Air to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, take a day to purchase supplies (water and Chocobars), and then enter northern Afghanistan north of sometimes-Taliban-controlled Kunduz on August 13th. We plan to be in the country for a month and will exit via the Zaranj-Zabol border crossing into Iran. We have all the appropriate visas we need.

Of interest from a cartooning standpoint should be my experiment in real-time cartoon journalism from a war zone. Every day I will send at least one page of comics back to the States via satellite modem. Among others, they will appear at EurasiaNet.org, the Los Angeles Times, Boise Weekly, and Boston's Weekly Dig, and of course my own blog (rall.com/rallblog).
Our best wishes for a safe return.
 
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If I Were In Oxford, I’d Go To This

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Happy 51st Birthday, Mark Newgarden!

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Happy 79th Birthday, Tom Wilson!

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I Still Like This One

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click to make bigger; never did that and wanted to try it out
 
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FFF Results Post #220—Harvey

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Harvey Pekar Artistic Collaborators You Liked That AREN'T Robert Crumb And One Cartoonist You Wish Could Have Worked With Him." This how they responded.

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Gary Dumm
2. Joe Sacco
3. Gerry Shamray
4. Frank Stack
5. Ralph Steadman

*****

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Chris Arrant

1. Dean Haspiel
2. Garry Dumm
3. Ty Templeton
4. Ed Piskor
5. James Stokoe

*****

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James Langdell

1. Joe Zabel & Gary Dumm (as an art team, they really grew on me as a voice for Pekar)
2. Paul Mavrides
3. Frank Stack
4. Chester Brown (damn, I wish they had done more with each other)
5. Bill Watterson (a fellow Clevelander, it could'a happened)

*****

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Tony Collett

1. Gerry Shamray
2. Drew Friedman
3. Scott A. Gilbert
4. Dean Haspiel
5. Jack Kirby

*****

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Gary Usher

1. Gerry Shamray
2. Spain
3. Mark Zingarelli
4. Michael T. Gilbert
5. Jacob Kurtzberg

*****

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Stergios Botzakis

1. Frank Stack
2. Dean Haspiel
3. Gerry Shamray
4. David Collier
5. Curt Swan

*****

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Marc Sobel

1. Josh Nuefeld
2. Dean Haspiel
3. Joe Sacco
4. Lance Tooks
5. Jaime Hernandez

*****

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John Vest

1. Gilbert Hernandez
2. Spain
3. Gary Shamray
4. Val Mayerik
5. Jeff Levine

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Alison Bechdel
2. Joe Sacco
3. Ty Templeton
4. Ed Piskor
5. Kevin Huizenga

*****

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Rob Clough

1. Josh Neufeld
2. Ed Piskor
3. Frank Stack
4. Joe Sacco
5. Dan Clowes

*****

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Elijah Brubaker

* Willy Murphy
* Bob Armstrong
* Rick Geary
* Ed Piskor
* Souther Salazar

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Sue Cavey -- artist for the great story, "Alice Quinn"
2. David Collier
3. Frank Stack
4. Dean Haspiel
5. Jack Kirby

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Joyce Brabner
2. Gary Dumm
3. Spain Rodriguez
4. Chester Brown
5. Harvey Kurtzman

*****

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Domingos Isabelinho

* Frank Stack
* Drew Friedman
* Gerry Shamray
* Chester Brown
* Stan Drake

*****

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John Platt

1. Ty Templeton
2. Rick Geary
3. Richard Corben
4. Ed Piskor
5. P. Craig Russell

*****

topic suggested by Gil Roth

*****
*****
 
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