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











July 31, 2015


If I Were In Boston, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Tampa, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: An Australian Cartoonist Explains Brooklyn

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Go, Look: All Things Hank Chapman

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Go, Look: Strange Tales #87

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July 30, 2015


OTBP: Birthday

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Go, Watch: Alison Bechdel On Seth Meyers

I hadn't heard about this at all, but Bechdel is one of the great ambassadors for comics and it's great to see her appreciated in public as many time as she's ever interested in doing this kind of appearance.
 
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Go, Look: How Not To Get A Cartoon In The New Yorker

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

image* the writer Brigid Alverson profiles an attempt by Cartozia Tales to round up funding for the last few issues by using existing inventory as a sales inducement.

* this Shea Hennum article about the failure to cover a prominent manga story also has a webcomics element worth reading.

* I can't find a link, but Ivan Salazar sent out a press release on the 30th noting the move of 1700 single issues to the Kindle store as part of a double-move: renew their relationship with comiXology, begin a relationship with Amazon and its Kindle platform and the single-issues level. Update: thanks to comiXology for noticing my dilemma and providing that link.

* here's the Archie Digital Comics page, if you wondered about their options more generally.

* finally, as expected this year's TopatoCon keeps adding exhibitors and looks to be a sizable presence on the calendar from its opening show.
 
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If I Were In Boston, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Tampa, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: The Many Ghosts Of Dr. Graves #1

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* happy 7th birthday, Comic Riffs!

image* Todd Klein on Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland #4. Scott Cederlund on Hellboy In Hell #7.

* someone e-mailed this excerpt of a Warren Ellis article to me. Starting with finished art and then cutting it open and figuring out how it was made is always a good idea if someone is wishing for a long career in doing any kind of creative work. Copying is good, too, if the component parts are easier to figure out.

* Shawn Starr talks to Steve Blatchford.

* old gunslingers are nearly always great characters, so it's nice to see Star Wars dig into one of the great blank canvasses in its closet.

* I linked to this panel transcript once already, but it's kind of amazing the number of casual insights into Japanese publishing so having run across it again I'll recommend it again.

* finally, apply here for Genghis Con.
 
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Go, Look: Dogs And Wi-Fi Mini

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Festivals Extra: Denver Group Announces An Alt-Show Called DINK For March 2016

imagePeople are drooling over photos of the Sherman Street Event Center, the space being used for a new indie/alt show launching in March 2016: DINK (Denver Independent Comic And Art Expo). The first version is set for March 25-26 in that great American city, and is brought to you by two veterans with ties to the extremely successful Denver Comic Con.

That's a city that could use a good show like this one if it comes off: there are a lot of creative people there, but the city is isolated enough that it frequently gets flown over when it's time for a tour.

I love that part of the country and hope to attend if it proves to be a good show.
 
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Go, Look: Kevin O’Neill Pin-Ups

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Festivals Extra: We’re In The Final Hours For CAKE’s Cupcake Award Entry Cycle

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I probably run too many articles on this specific award, but I'm fond of awards that both make sense in terms of who's giving it and offers real stuff. I would think these would be all fine things to have if you're a cartoonist of a certain age. You have scant hours to apply.

 
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Go, Look: The Lost World

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July 29, 2015


Go, Read: Shea Hennum On Attack On Titan’s Story Vs. Star Wars #1 News From A While Back

imageShea Hennum has a well-timed article here comparing a story about the Attack On Titan property from Hajime Isayama having 2.5 million copies of its 15 volumes in circulation and the reaction to Marvel attaching a one million sold number to a Star Wars comic when they relaunched that franchise under its own banner a while back. The one million sold into the direct market was a deeply qualified number, including a substantial purchase for a bundled-together gift package and an ice planet's worth of cover incentives. Hennum also brings in an analysis of heavily-circulated web comics.

I'm not sure beyond Milton Griepp that anyone covers numbers-related stories in broader, reliable, workmanlike fashion; I don't link to any numbers in a systematic way at this point, and I tend to shy away from number stories even when I might think they're important because I lack the tools and skill to vet them properly. I hope I can get better at covering comics this way. I should have covered both of these stories as best I could but covered neither which puts me way behind even those that covered the Star Wars over the Attack On Titan. Ideally, I imagine they both should be covered. Selling one figure into one market doesn't necessarily inform how another figure sells into another market. The formats are even different. You can't accept the publisher's narrative on the Star Wars on its face and you can't countenance the idea that manga sales into a bookstore market isn't a comics story.

So what do I think? While the Star Wars sales seem to indicate the continuing ability of bigger publishers to game their numbers in the direct market and perhaps even manufacture a hit from a solid performer by tying up so much non-returnable money into a single segment, the Attack On Titan sales figure strikes me as positive story that properties that hit with a fan base can be significant publishing events across a series, and that this can be sustained over time with a lot of emphasis at the front of a line. It suggests that Attack On Titan is a legitimate item of curiosity and perceived source for quality comics from North American readers, where the Star Wars comics number seem more like an shotgun wedding with a lot of bells and whistles pushing us to a pre-arranged outcome matching a certain kind of reader with a new comic book that brings a familiar version of prefigured thrills. It should be intriguing how -- and if -- interest is sustained in the Star Wars comics, which isn't at question with the Attack On Titan, or at least not as big a question. There's also a nearly concurrent release schedule with the different languages, which is not how the big hits of the '00s always worked. It would also indicate to me that anime shows need to be covered more effectively for publishing news, which isn't a sorting mechanism I've previously employed.

I'm also always interested when one of the young comics-makers in the manga tradition has a big hit, mostly in contrast to the American model where that's much less common. Not so much the case with Star Wars, which seems like it's been around since 1845. Then again, I should have picked up on all of this a while ago.
 
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Go, Look: Interior Art Pages From Spider-Man: Fever #1-3

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* someone pointed out that until reminded I failed to list the San Francisco Zine Fest. That's actually one of the biggest events for a certain kind of qualifying comic, and it should be on everyone's radar.

* this poster up on the SPX tumblr represents the most of this year's special guests as I've seen in one place. There are a number of very talented younger cartoonists here, as appropriate to their theme of cartoonists that started to publish and produce after 2000. I'll be there, and if you're into comics I hope that's one of the shows you either do routinely or make room to do at some point in your comics-reading life.

* at some point, Hawaii shows are going to become a thing, right? Like I find myself attracted to shows now depending on where they are; it's only SPX where that doesn't play a factor and SPX environs at leat pony up plenty of restaurants.

* finally, these postcards are really cute and a clever way of advertising the Lakes show.
 
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Go, Look: JP Leon Images Mini-Gallery

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Rob Clough on The Hospital Suite and King-Cat Comix & Stories #75. Chris Randle on Fragments Of Horror.

* Mike Lynch profiles Aaron Fine.

* I'm glad The Beat caught this because I sure didn't: a campaign on behalf of Norm Breyfogle heavy on the comics that were coming out during the main thrust of his career.

* Ed Piskor draws Rorschach.

* not comics: there will be many articles and thinkpieces about the exploration of sexuality depicted in The Diary Of A Teenage Girl. If the movie depicts this in anything close to the same forthright, thrilling manner of the book, these may all be thinkpieces worth reading. I greatly look forward to seeing the movie.

* this looks like several free articles about comics, which is something I want to mark so I can come back and explore it more thoroughly when I can.

* here's a resource for writing more effectively about comics art. I'll be reviewing it myself, as I have a lot of shortcomings in that area.

* I love the idea of this kind of cataloguing. In fact, I think organizing these visuals spatially with a defined sense of what the difference between those images entails pretty much makes them comics, even though we won't see them as such.

* I'm not sure that I ever provided a link to this Fusion-published series of cartoonist responses to same-sex marriage going national via the Supreme Court decision. My apologies if that's true.

* not comics: Lisa Hanawalt participates in this discussion of the credit sequence for Bojack Horseman.

* finally, go here to see a delightfully filthy cartoon illustration by Laura Park.
 
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Go, Look: Michael Driver

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Ted Rall Blasts Former Freelance Client LA Times

I think you can start with Ted Rall's vigorous defense against the charges made that led to his firing, here. You might have to move between some links, go back and forth and pick up some old threads, and you have to account for the primary voice, but the gist of it is there. The other important pair of documents is this combo piece featuring Rall's in-question opinion piece and the editor's note up top that Rall freelance relationship with the publication has ended.

I don't think I would have fired Ted Rall based on the LAPD's complaints, but I sure would have subjected future opinion pieces to greater scrutiny. If you hire someone to do freelance you should probably be starting from a position of confidence and trust in that person. Let's face it, though: this is not good. No, the recording doesn't 100 percent prove everything in the way that we're taught on legal dramas they have to be proved -- and you can cast aspersions at the act of recording, the keeping of the recording, and the gaps and so on -- but none of it supports Rall's side of the story. It doesn't seem like there's a shouting crowd (or they got quiet when people spoke), it doesn't seem like the cop is rude and abusive (he might have smirked), there's no appearance of another cop that saved Rall from citation (it doesn't even seem like he was saved from a citation).

Also, it makes perfect sense to me that if someone filed a complaint a recording would be kept and stuffed in a file somewhere, far more than I find it believable that Ted Rall suffered a version of Stockholm Syndrome based on a five minute incident in which he was certain of his innocence. Also, people at the beginning of a year misdate things; if they're making stuff up to protect their asses they tend not to misdate things. And so on.

There's also it seems an omission or two in Rall's full blog response, such as no mention he was allowed to speak to a reporter that investigated the claims, just not the deliberating committee at the Times. I thought it strange he was left out of the loop entirely, but he wasn't. He could have been. I know that at papers where I worked, a staffer might be treated to a full sitting committee like this but a decision to work with a freelancer or not (Rall talks about his "position," but I think he was just a freelancer) would be left to the editor that assigns work. This seems like treatment ahead of the curve.

I once lost a freelance gig that was super important to me at the time because my assigning editor distrusted me on a couple of deadline issues. I think he did so super-unfairly but after my initial "screw you" impulse I realized I didn't want to work for him, either. It happens. I hope Rall continues to find work with editors that support and believe in him, and that he in turn supports and believes in them. Clearly that's no longer the case with Rall and the Times.
 
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OTBP: Ritual

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This Isn’t A Library: Notable Releases Into 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. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

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JUN151278 MELODY STORY OF A NUDE DANCER GN (MR) $22.95
This was a big seller for D+Q at San Diego this year, and I think should do well for them overall. It's the case of a market and a readership finally catching up to an intriguing work. Chris Oliveros was talking my ear off about this book 15 months ago.

imageMAY150886 CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND HC $29.95
One of the great joy of summer at the comics shop is picking up sizable work from talent that's new to you. This is the best book of that type this week, an Alternative Comics-distributed work from the Floating World nation in their Risk-Board like empire. Here's a nice look at those pages. Summer is where comics fans fall in love with creators, so look out.

MAY150085 LOBSTER JOHNSON A CHAIN FORGED IN LIFE ONE SHOT $3.50
JAN150673 CASANOVA ACEDIA #3 (MR) $3.99
APR150649 LAZARUS #18 (MR) $3.50
APR150554 SEX CRIMINALS #11 (MR) $3.50
MAY150528 SOUTHERN BASTARDS #10 (MR) $3.50
Here are your serial comic books of interesting, starting with the regular appearance of a Mignola-verse book -- this one features Troy Nixey and Kevin Nowland, so that is going to be one handsome comics. The latest Casanova will almost certainly be one of the sharper looking works on the stands right now; I'm having fun with this recent cycle, although I wonder how quickly it's going to have to end up moving by the time the story ends. Lazarus has become a fun book; I like it best when I don't mull over the politics, not because of their orientation but because I think the comic works best focused on its affecting lead. This is the issue of Sex Criminals with a Bryan Lee O'Malley variant and one copy out of several having a drawing from one of its creators. The story continues to bounce around in "recruitment of hero" mode, which is a fun thing on which to riff. Southern Bastards continues to do what it does very well; there's something about the way the book is concerned with a variety of different perspectives in a kind of overlapping horribleness that I find most interesting of all.

OCT140937 HAWKEYE TP VOL 04 RIO BRAVO $17.99
A rare quality mainstream superhero comic not best collected in trade form, but I'm sure plenty have anyway. I'd like for this comic to be done for about six months before I go back and figure it out a bit, and it looks like I'll have my wishes.

APR151501 LEAF HC $24.99
APR151499 NOT FUNNY HA HA HC $16.99
Two standalones from Fantragraphics. I've only read the second, a wry telling of two stories revolving around abortion, and even then only a part of it has been consumed. Hopefully it will do some social good as well. The first is from a Chinese artist.

MAR158553 COMPLETE CHI SWEET HOME TP VOL 01 $24.95
JUN151475 GOODBYE CHUNKY RICE PANTHEON ED NEW PTG $15.00
JUN151436 PHOEBE GLOECKNER DIARY OF TEENAGE GIRL GN REVISED ED (MR) $18.95
Books out again after a while, all worthy of a second read or maybe even multiples if you can stand it. There is a lot of Craig Thompson being released right now, which should make the launch of his Space Dumplins that much more interesting.

MAY150435 WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED #46 YOUTH ACTIVISM & CLIMATE (MR) $7.00
WW3 is always of interest. If you store carries it, you have a good store.

JUN151419 POSTERS OTOMO KATSUHIRO GRAPHICS DESIGN SC $69.00
It's hard for me to imagine anything on this week's list matching the fun of a big graphic design book featuring Otomo's work; my understanding is that there's an English translations of the big interview in there, too, which should make it easier for some to buy. I don't think we talk enough about Otomo as a foundational talent.

APR151505 DEMONS & ANGELS HC VOL 02 CLAY WILSON (MR) $34.99
Patrick Rosenkranz has been the star writer about comics over the last half-decade, recording and publishing like mad his take on the underground comix era even as those men fade from the world and their comics fade from view. His best subject is S. Clay Wilson, who with the shift in attitudes about what makes good or responsible art has suddenly become the most interesting of that generation of artists. I'm so grateful these books exist.

*****

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 failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

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Go, Look: Demented Golden Age Flash Story

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July 28, 2015


By Request Extra: Steve Hamaker Launches Plox Crowdfunder

imageMy personal gaming experiences ended at a tabletop role-playing session in 1982 and never had a serious digital, on-line element despite the occasional visit to the world of whatever in decidedly non-ambitious ways a couple times a year since. Steve Hamaker's PLOX still feels real according to my projected experiences I might have had in that milieu had I stuck around. I can imagine being one of its older, weary supporting cast. The strip is convincingly set in Columbus, my new home.

Hamaker, known best for his color work during several years at Cartoon Books, is one of the cartoonists that enters into a crowd-funding stage during a point in his work's development where publishing would be beneficial both as a way to reward older readers with a permanent milestone and as yet another way to build incremental momentum for the project entire. I've been terrible with the By Request column as I make my shift into concurrent publication, but I didn't want to miss out on driving some attention to Hamaker's solo work.
 
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Go, Look: Will Laren

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So One Week Past The Launch Of The CR Patreon And My Entire World Of Comics Has Changed

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Above is a version of Dustin Harbin's logo for the forthcoming The Comics Report, a new web publication made possible by this site's Patreon campaign. Any consideration you can give it at this late date I'd greatly appreciate. Here is this site's longer piece on what we're trying to do.

I should have the zero issue of The Comics Report out near this week's deadline if not right on it. It's been since the TCJ with the David Mazzucchelli and Ivan Brunetti covers that I tried to put together a comics magazine in less than one week's time, and back then I had a lot of stuff in the can and a lot less on my plate otherwise. Still, I think #0 will be a quality read, I think it will facilitate our finding a basic template, and I think the #0 status will allow that issue to focus on a couple of artists that maybe don't always receive the kind of attention they should. It's all Batman starting with issue #1, so don't get comfortable.

I'm getting visual help from Jessica Campbell on the first few issues because she is a quality human being and I will have more fun browbeating her into accepting payment than anyone else I know that's good with InDesign.

I have never been good at the beginning of anything, but I hope to come close with this and appreciate in advance what I hope is your patience in finding a magazine that has the best chance of what we want it to do over the long haul. I'm very excited.

We took notes last weekend from an editorial board made up of random Comics Reporter readers, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I thought you folks came up with a lot of great ideas.
 
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Go, Look: Shintaro Kago As Referenced On Tumblr

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Please Tell Me About Any August 2015 Releases

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It's a deliciously lazy month, and I'd love to hear about comics you know will be arriving on shelves during that 31 days. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

It's harder and harder to tell these days when exactly US books are coming out -- there are a few August 2015 entries on Amazon that will be out in shops today. Any help is appreciated. I want to drive some attention to next month's books.
 
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Go, Look: Kirby Collage Pieces

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By Request Extra: Pat Moriarity Could Use Some Extra Sales

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Due to a minor but work-interrupting injury to his wife, the great cartoonist Pat Moriarity could use a doubling up of his monthly income for the next eight weeks or so. If you've ever wanted to buy something from him now is the time. He keeps original art for sale here and here. His originals are super-great looking, so if you're in the mood, avail yourself. You'll be doing a good thing for one of comics' finest citizens.
 
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Go, Look: Splash Pages From Giant-Size Marvel Comics

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Go, Look: Midnight Tales

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Johanna Draper Carlson on Love Stage!! Vol. 1. Emilia on The Photographer. James Kaplan on Wolf #1.

* I don't have much interest in alternative versions of well-known superheroes, but I'm sort of intrigued by how popular they are considering that the core properties in some cases are weaker than they've been in and the use of alternative versions more and more frequent.

* this article is pretty typical of hardcore fan derision for constant reboots of Spider-Man, and the perception that this keeps these corporate characters from developing, as opposed to that just being a part of being a corporate character. I do think that the spread of these character across several titles for several years and constantly rejiggering them for a specific audience really weakens the characters for anything except short term, broad media projects. I'm not sure the owners really care about anything but, though.

* not comics: I'm not usually one for writing-advice posts, but this one from Mark Evanier about emotional controls seemed pretty well-stated to me, if your interest in writing involves being prolific in a way that leads to various professional opportunities.

* Michael Cavna looks at some Cosby cartoons.

* Abhay Khosla wonders out loud at the support writers are showing artists in an age where writers are well-treated at the artists' expense. This site did mention the variou structural choices made by companies that put artists into a bad position in terms of being followed by readers, although we didn't go very far down that road. It seems obvious to me if you want to produce so many issues a year and stress the transference of story elements to film and TV that writers are going to be treated as primary talent at times, but maybe it deserves additional exploration as if nothing is obvious.

* Tim Young talks to Lucy Knisley. Brian Cronin talks to Tom Mandrake and John Ostrander. Paul Gravett profiles Sung-Hee Kim.

* finally, Gary Tyrrell addresses a critic of Dean Trippe's long-delayed crowd-funding fulfillment.
 
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Go, Look: Teaching Comics

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Go, Look: I’m A Cop! #2

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July 27, 2015


Go, Look: Original Art For Uncle Bob’s Mid-Life Crisis

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

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Go, Look: Strange Suspense Stories #19

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I'm grateful to Sean Kleefeld to cover the Patreon. To be clear, if I make a certain amount of money, I really do hire columnists to cover areas in which I'm weak. That would have to be a level at which I wouldn't mind failing to take home the 1000 an issue a full bank of columnists would cost, even if I were being super-cheap about it.

image* Todd Klein on Storms At Sea. Rob Clough on Miseryland. Todd Klein on Superman #41.

* this profile of besieged Malaysian cartoonist Zunar is pretty open about the fact that the hysterical reaction to his work by government officials has made him a worldwide arts celebrity. Thanks, jerks.

* this isn't comics, but it's horrible. The thing is, we live in a culture that if these folks were caught the cry would go up against serious punishment because it would be seen as an overreaction. I think it's deliberate, ugly act of harassment and constitutes a public danger by taking cops off of the street for duration of the prank.

* animated Cerebus. Do they even offer portfolios anymore?

* finally, David Robertson takes up for Al Williamson, an artist who frequently worked in commercial contexts where he was under-appreciated.
 
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Go, Watch: A Hans Rickheit Short Starring Cochlea & Eustachia


 
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Go, Look: Tumblr Mail Episodes 1-3

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1, 2, 3
 
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Go, Look: Strange Tales #90

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July 26, 2015


Go, Read: Essays Of Note From Chris Butcher, Michael Hill

I have two essays saved to read again this week after intriguing first-reads.

image* Chris Butcher writes about the relationship between the sales of manga and the sales of all-ages material. I disagree with most of what I read that first time through. Claiming the success of Raina Telgemeier as manga's, even in oblique fashion, feels to me like a last cry for manga triumphalism. That was a way of looking at comics in the '90s into the '00s that insisted manga was going to be the absolute dominant and defining market force in the US for decades to come, imagined a lot of enemies where they didn't really exist and made suggestions like complete and radical format change for North American publishers or the withdrawal of all money from direct market store support. It seems to me there was a lot of "othering" manga from pro-manga advocates, too, and while imagining it was subconscious resistance to female audiences that kept people from a full and mighty embrace is appealing rhetoric, that's a really specific construction to connect so many people with vastly different backgrounds and approaches to the medium. To me and a lot of writers I know, a lot of industry people I know, manga has always been and continues to be one of the great traditions of comics, and worthy individual efforts have been celebrated as such when encountered. Has that process of acceptance and publication and adoption been slower across the board than a super-enthusiastic fan of manga as its own thing might want? Sure. It's been slow for European comics, too. It's been slow genre to genre within English-language comics. And yes, there are one-true-religion superhero and American comics fans, always have been and always will be, but they're mostly dopes.

* Michael Hill argues Jack Kirby's consistency in terms of claiming credit for the achievements of Marvel Comics in the 1960s, and dissects the idea of the Marvel Method to an extent rarely seen. There's also some fun stuff in there about Kirby re-using past material in a way that makes it look that much more like Kirby was driving the car. I happen to believe Jack Kirby was the primary authorial voice of the 1960s Marvel Comics as a line and the dominant voice on the titles on which he worked. I also think Stan Lee's contributions were considerable in both of those ways and in a few others. I don't feel like arguing either every single time one of them comes up, and I've written about it plenty, so please spare me any contentious e-mails this time around. I just don't have the time this week. I love articles like Hill's. So much injustice has been done I welcome corrective. I am confident that most roads lead to the King, and with 2017 right around the corner I think we as an industry and culture can work to claim, in positive and forthright fashion, a space for Kirby in the firmament of 20th Century imagination.
 
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Go, Look: Lapone Art

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Collective Memory: SPACE 2015

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #10

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Go, Look: Blackstone The Magician

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* grateful to Gianfranco Goria for writing about the Patreon.

image* Rob Clough on a little pile of mini-comics, including Reich #12. David Harper on the ten best Image comics of the moment.

* this Oliver Sava article on artists receiving credit is quite interesting, and I'd say necessary in terms of correcting general oversight and sloppy crediting. He has most of the reasons down why writers are favored, although I might additionally emphasize that 1) writers might look to other writers, 2) comics are increasingly seen as default narrative vehicles which is a way of looking at comics where people might favor their conception of what a writer does, 3) there's the Stan Lee thing where value of comics in a mainstream context is how they can be transposed into other media which in many cases might favor the writer's contributions.

I think in most cases it's pretty shameful not to credit contributing artists of all types. I also think there are exceptions where one might wish to look at single voices within a team framework. That can be done for a writer or for an artist or for a colorist or for an editor, even. I strongly feel the main genius of most prestige TV shows is what they've done for acting, and the performances drive the best of these shows, but I don't think it's a shot at James Gandolfini -- or even the other writers involved! -- to refer to The Sopranos as David Chase's show for a certain kind of piece. I think if you have respect for artists in general, of all types, positive and respectful ways suggest themselves in nearly every case.

* the writer Matt Fraction has his own thoughts on the aforementioned crediting issue here. I wish him all the best in what I can only infer is a rough current situation.

* not comics: I'm bad at figuring out this kind of thing, but two readers wrote in after Comic-Con to say that some of the "Flaming C" work posted by Conan O'Brien's TV show featured work by Mark Marek.

* finally, Abraham Riesman talks to Ales Kot. Tim O'Neil talks to Jon Morris. Zainab Akhtar talks to Kris Mukai.
 
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July 25, 2015


Rounding Into A New Way Of Working: CR Patreon Update

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So this was a crazy week for me and this site, as we begin to develop a new way of approaching my work in comics. I have a breakdown of desired featured interviews through the end of the year and a big list of interviews for the site I'd like to see done as well. The issue #0 material is imminent. I'm thinking of concentrating on feature material for that one. The #0 issue will help us settle into font and basic design choices.

My job right now is to diminish the learning curve as quickly as possible, hopefully to a non-noticeable standard. Judging by past efforts at TCJ, with the Wildwood strip and with this site, I've never been one to come out and just kill it Groucho-style from the opening number. I think #0 will be good, and give you and idea of what's to come, and be a bit quirky because of its "0" status, but I'm more fully confident #1 will be better in addition to being more complete and future issues will reine that until I get my sea legs underneath me.

This site solicited some opinions as to coverage areas. I was surprised by how smart they were across the board; I thought we'd get more goofballs. Because I hope The Comics Report will be a practical magazine, I want to make sure that lines of communication are open at all times in terms of things folks would like to see engaged, approached and examined. I'm thinking we might even get an old-fashioned letters column going.

Thank you so much for your patience as we've worked through this week's campaign. Starting next Saturday, really the only thing that matters is the result, both in that developing publication and right here at the traditional CR. If you've joined us, thank you twice. Comics in 2015 should be joyful and exciting and eager to stand up to the challenges that it faces. I look forward to covering the next thrilling few years, as best I'm able.

myself and my brother Whit on Thanksgiving 1987, during that three weeks in the late 1980s we were allowed to wear penny loafers without socks. Please forgive me. Columbus friends will note in the corner of the image my current sofa.
 
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Go, Look: Derf’s Pekar Park Dedication Photos

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Go, Bookmark: Roger Langridge’s LFCC 2015 Sketches

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

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FFF Results Extra: Suggestions For The Comics Report

On Friday, CR readers were aked to "Name Five Things You'd Like To See Covered Or Engaged In This Site's Concurrent Magazine-Style Companion Project, The Comics Report." This is how they responded.

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Stephen Harrick

1. Daily comic strips in the 21st century
2. Adaptations of comics in other mediums (film, stage, clothing, toys, food)
3. Specific collections at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
4. Comics and higher education (how the two are intertwined, pedagogy of comics, cartoonists working in academia)
5. Marie Severin

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Iestyn Pettigrew

1 - A character's history of publication, Groo for example. When he began, where he's been published, whether those have been collected, what difference you can see between publishers/eras etc.? Use it as a way to discuss both the works and look at the context for publication, including print runs.
2 - Creator histories, a great example (for me) would be Howard Chaykin. This would follow not just their career in comics, but also all their time outside of comics. Early engagement with comics. Main influences. Companies they worked with, styles they've written, best works and what's available with summaries of what's available. Where they worked when not in comics.
3 - This is a harder one to segment, but would be something along the lines of trends/ themes or genres in comics. This would be something that headlined ideas, the first published romance comic, influential creators on the genre, creators outside the genre heavily that show its influence (for example, early Marvel comics and their romance angle that made them different to DC). This could also open up to be about publishers - I'd love a history of Vortex comics for example, or Aircel, or Blackthorne.
4 - last one would be to have an individual creator provide their own 'Comic family tree' (although influences may be outside of comics) -- what did they begin reading, who did they begin copying, who made them want to create comics, who helped them to create comics, where can their early work be found, who are their contemporaries and who are their heroes. Finish with their top 5 things to see to understand where they are coming from.

I think these would both be fascinating and have long legs. They'd also help open up comics to new customers. Imagine someone searching for Raina Telgemeier and finding an article that dissects her history with comics and lists all of her early inspirations. Or someone who has found a bunch of art comics from Fort Thunder that has blown their mind being led back through the history of that group and what influenced their work.

I also love in-depth interviews with people like Mark Evanier who have been comics lifers who have worked across multiple mediums, with varying amounts of immersion in the industry and for a wide range of publishers.

Final suggestion -- scene reports, whether international scenes -- Comics in Tibet 'A History' or 80's mini comics "The Highlights."

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Ryan Sands

1. TV Animation, how it finances (and brain drains) indie comics
2. Studio Proteus / Eclipse (Early History of English Manga Publication)
3. Mickey Zacchilli
4. Regional comics shows & expo culture in Europe
5. Twine and cartoonists working in video games

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Important Comics Works Without An Immediate Commercial Context
2. Early-Generation Comics Shops
3. Rowland Emett
4. Comics Art Education
5. Micro-Trends In Publishing

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Non-narrative comics and fragmentation
2. A history of comics criticism
3. Marcel van Eeden
4. The practice of exploitation in comics and the consequences for the artform
5. Aged people and their representation in comics

*****

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Michael Carens-Nedelsky

1. CBR, Ask Alonso, the responsibilities of comics journalism, and how Marvel responds to critique/controversy
2. Sana Amanat -- what does her new position entail? What is it like to be a comics editor at Marvel today?
3. Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool, and when leaks are responsible journalism or not (riffing off of the Marvel October leaks)
4. G. Willow Wilson
5. Matt Fraction/David Aja/Annie Wu's Hawkeye -- its impact, why it took so long to come out, and a deep read

*****

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Brian Moore

1. The Working Life of Cartoonists - their financial successes and struggles. Insurance, pensions, crowdfunding, grants received, etc.
2. Micropublisher Profiles - personnel, books published, a typical business day
3. Claire Bretécher
4. Cartoonist's Bookshelf - Cartoonist X, what books are you currently reading and how do they relate to your writing / drawing?
5. International Comics in English - what's in print now? (E.g. IDW's Corto Maltese books, classics available digitally via Izneo, the new http://www.europecomics.com/, etc.)


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Mike McGhee

1. Important Comics Works Without An Immediate Commercial Context -- Leaving this present to emphasize its importance. I would love to see inclusion of Web material (Connor Willumsen, et al) as a solid component.
2. Interviews? No one person, really, though maybe some people from the Pinis' era, of declining health. The dynamics of those still active at that age are interesting.
3. This might be a longer-term project: a survey of the fragmentation of comics reporting and how/how well these groups of outlets are serving the industry/artform... You/Heidi, ComicsNCola/ComixCube, Nrama/CBR, ICV2/Sktchd, etc... very interested in watching as surveys and data transparency begin to really impact the comics news landscape.
4. If anything, I'd love to see you facilitate long-form discussion and soft interview with more than one creative at a time.
5. Some form of "Go, Look" roundup, with more than one image posted...This may become cost-prohibitive if you ever move to print, though.

* Maybe a quarterly "Mainstream Weather Report," in the vein of that Nu52 roundup you did as DC was sunsetting that initiative? Something encompassing what's slowly becoming a Big 6 environment, but focused on how the Editor-Artist-Writer balance of power is fluxing...
* Part of me would love to see some reportage discussing the moves on the Executive made as part of these players keeping their jobs, but that may be too activist for your tastes.

*****

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Brian Hibbs

I don't like ranking or listings, really, but here's stuff I'd love to see covered in longer form:

* Early DM pioneers and stores. Probably anything before Marvel/HWD, really.
* NEW retailers. Love to see a Q&A with each store that opens (ha!)
* What's the success/failure rate for Image books -- how many people lose their shirts, how many do better than they could from "big two" page rate type deals?
* Anything and everything relating to the economics of comics and starting and succeeding in a career in comics. Like, how many students do the various schools graduate each year. What happens to these kids? How many get careers? How many just end up with debt and nothing to show from it? Or... how about following up with Xeric winners?
* Who is the person (people?) who engaged in fractional patreon donations (yours is currently ending in 26 cents) -- what are they thinking? Is it just a joke to them? Are the service fees killing any value that person brings?
* What about early distribution? How about an interview with Bud Plant, or someone like that? What does Ivan Snyder (of HWD) think about the current distribution landscape (if he's still alive?) Etc.

*****

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Roger Langridge

1. Crowdfunding and Comics
2. Digital comics piracy -- ethics, mechanics, solutions (or not)
3. Social media and comic creators' relationships with it
4. Mick/Mike McMahon -- his art, his influence
5. Newspaper strip archives -- who's doing what, what's out there, what's absent, the nuts and bolts of restoring old strips for print

*****

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Mike Pfefferkorn

1. Efforts to archive files of writers, artists, and publishers
2. The evolution of the "average" comic consumer, what that meant for the past, and what it means for the future
3. Winston Rowntree
4. Why some comics are universal, and others are not, and why that changes
5. How your affection for a medium is tied to what you were exposed to in your formative years

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. The Art of Comics as Reflections of the Arts, Society, Politics, and Technologies of their Times
2. Transformative Moments, Movements, and Theories in the Development of Comics
3. Relationships Between the Visual Form and the Narrative Substance of Comics
4. In-Depth Interviews with Artists about their Influences (Beyond Mere Name-Checking)
5. Honoré Daumier

*****

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Patrick Watson

1) Comic shop fallout from the distributor wars of the mid-90's.
2) Creators that started in the 80's from Pacific, Comico, First, Eclipse.
3) Gil Kane.
4) African-American creators at Marvel and DC in the 70's-80's.
5) a profile of the SAW group.

*****

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Buzz Dixon

1. Outsider Comics (comics by people not plugged into fandom, much less mainstream publishing)
2. The History Of Comic Arts Instruction (from Kubert to Stan Lee's How To Write Comics pamphlet)
3. The Losing Side (comics from the Soviet Union, Axis powers in WWII, etc.)
4. The Threads Of Overlap (i.e., how did specific creators such as Otto Binder, Mickey Spillane, Alfred Bester, etc. influence other media / genres they worked in & what were thematic links in their work)
5. DIY Comics Related Media (amateur films, filk songs, etc; set 1980 as cutoff point re contemporary efforts)

*****

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Rob Salkowitz

1. Developments in international comics, particularly in unexpected places
2. Deep-dive critical reviews of selected comics from time to time
3. Grant Morrison
4. Hybridization of traditional comic styles and genres
5. 1st generation original graphic novels from 1960s-80s

*****

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John Platt

1. Regional comics hubs (Portland, etc.)
2. Archival struggles to reprint older comics (Cerebus, A Distant Soil, etc.)
3. Comics from the Eighties or Nineties that deserve a fresh look in the context of today's state of the art
4. Whatever happened to...?
5. Steve Bissette

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Walter Dickinson

1. Realities of making a real world income producing comics for the existing market.
2. Successful revenue models for webcomics publishers.
3. Educational comics.
4. Joey Cavalieri
5. State of comics publishing in foreign markets.

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Garry Trudeau... Now that it is pretty much over, a career long critical evaluation is needed.
2. The GLUT of Reprints --
3. How art movements (Fort Thunder...) are now shaped in the modern connected world.
4. An update of Bart Beaty's Old column. ( What's been translated and what's still missing)
5. Critics Forum: A re-evaluation of the top 100 Of the past decade (especially with the reprints of once-ignored creators like Whitney, Gottfredsson, Price, Gruelle, Rogers, Hanks)

*****

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RJ Casey

I missed FFF, but didn't sleep last night and had a lot of ideas. Some of these are solid, others not so much, but I wanted to get them out there:

* Translators -- I'd like to learn about translators of manga and other foreign comics. How do they translate, but keep the complexity and nuances of the original work?
* Agents -- Illustrators and comic creators that have agents and what purposes, responsibilities do they have.
* Current state of humor in comics
* Comic programs in schools like CCS and Kubert -- What are some of their benefits and hindrances?
* Nickelodeon Magazine -- Chris Duffy bringing people like Deitch, Ryan, Henderson, and Sala to work on kids comics and the publication's huge influence with comic creators in their 20s.
* Children's Book Illustrators -- Which comic creators have found work in that field and which ones have left comics to pursue children's books?
* Guido Crepax, Adam Buttrick, M.K. Brown, Ricardo Delgado
* Why do critics go at Marvel/DC/Image with a muckraking angle instead of leaving "mainstream" comics totally? Why do people who seem disgusted with corporate companies continue to buy them?

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Business practices of comics retailers
2. Library collections
3. Ongoing industry comparisons among American, European, & Japanese markets
4. How to improve/enhance comics journalism across the board
5. Ryan Estrada

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context explained here

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Reel Of Animated Work To Be Featured At Lakes Show


Inio Asano Profiled At Lucca 2013


Kengo Hanazawa Profiled At Lucca 2013


Alberto Montt Wacom Commerical


Oneindia Covers Tom Moore's Passing


Sandrine Revel Profiled
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from July 18 to July 24, 2015:

1. Recent money tussles at Charlie Hebdo develop into a potential compromise point: the company won't be restructured to employee-owned, but by-laws will drive profits back into the company rather than immediately being processed by the shareholders.

2. Comic-Con provides a bigger industry-attention hangover than it has the last few years, with potential stories from the show perhaps still on the to-track-down lists of some of the industry's attentive writers. This site didn't publish its own bullet-point report until last Monday.

3. SPACE, one of the veteran shows out there (like SPX it developed out of a stop on the 1990s Spirits Of Independence tour), pulls off a very challenging 2015 show. This includes an original host hotel that closed after the convention had been booked there.

Winner Of The Week
Organizer Bob Corby, of SPACE.

Losers Of The Week
Those of us that loved the absurdity of Stan Sakai being played across the Eisners stage to the tune of "Sexual Healing." It's apparently not true, and structurally not possible given the song choices.

Quote Of The Week
"It's true that in France sales are kind of plateauing, and the number of releases also. It's a stable situation, but as a businessman you're always looking for extra sales, extra profit. So that may have played a part. The main thing is that I've been trying to supply an international dimension to my company for years. Again, print is very difficult for that. It's too risky, too complicated. Digital may open a big door for us. I wanted to be the first to open that door." -- Guy Delcourt

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the comic image selected is from the brief but notable 1970s run of Seaboard/Atlas

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July 24, 2015


Go, Look: Jess Johnson Art

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Patreon Campaign Update: Now I Have To Make Stuff

imageI wake up once again grateful and energized by the Patreon campaign for this site, taking the form of a concurrent, magazine-format publication called The Comics Report.

Heidi MacDonald wrote about the campaign here; I interviewed about it here.

I'm beginning to work on both the more loosely constructed bonus #0 issue and the first issue #1 and am taking requests here. Continuing thanks to those that have supported and endorsed, and those that are considering it.

drawing of me by Daniel Spottswood
 
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If I Were Near Alhambra, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Akron, I’d Go To This

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

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

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Happy 30th Anniversary As A Published Pro, Mark Waid!

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Thanks To All That Participated In This Week’s Patreon Launch

imageThis site has a Patreon now to facilitate the development and dissemination of a magazine-style, concurrent version of The Comics Reporter to be called The Comics Report. It will also help stablize the efforts made on this site, which should continue on a daily basis uninterrupted and undiminished.

I am greatly humbled by the positive response, from friends and particularly a group of stellar professionals who did me the honor of not just supporting but endorsing the campaign publicly. Thanks to all of you that did so, or otherwise joined up or even thought about doing so. It's up to me to make a product that justifies your interest, and I look forward to the challenge.

The Patreon campaign is here; the longest description on this effort including alternative support mechanisms to using Patreon is here. I hope that you'll consider it, and/or consider supporting other voices you find particularly valuable.

As I put together how we're going to do this, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
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Not Comics: Random Hiroshi Manabe Mini-Gallery

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By Request Extra: Carol Tyler Clears Family Home

The great Carol Tyler is having an auction noted here in order to clear various items of value from her childhood home. Her World War II father Charles Tyler and the lingering effect his non-diagnosed and untreated PTSD had on his family was the subject of her three-volume work You'll Never Know (soon to be one-volume under a different name), and some pieces in the sale might be familiar that way. Mr. Tyler died of complications due to cancer.

There's some amazing pieces being offered, and some comics, too.
 
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Go, Look: The Muck Monster

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July 23, 2015


Go, Read: Michael Dooley On Trump

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* an endeavor to collect the best of The Nib seems to have gathered a bit of momentum heading into the halfway point, between the initial surge and the one that hits the last few days. I think it's important that one succeed as a sign of support for future projects from that bunch of cartoonists, but if it doesn't succeed it's the fighting you want second.

* Gary Tyrrell points out that according to a reliable formula for predicting success, that Bors-driven crowd-funder will be close.

* finally, Lions Forge Comics is getting the publisher-launch treatment by comiXology. That means a bunch of their titles are currently being offered at a sale price. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with anything they do beyond knowing about their passion for securing deals to do licensed comics.
 
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If I Were In Los Angeles, I’d Go To This

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If I Were Near Martha’s Vineyard, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: This Magazine Is Haunted #14

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on Alice In Murderland Vol. 1. Rob Clough on Stroppy.

* Fiona Smyth, Fiona Smyth, Fiona Smyth.

* not comics: another two-paper town bites the dust. Two-newspaper towns are a fading historical element that at one point allowed for a lot of strips to make money: two options in one market always beat a single option.

* Dave Richards talks to Jason Aaron. Brigid Alverson talks to Mike Baron. Jim Vorel talks to Bill Willingham. Andy Oliver profiles Lucy Bellwood. Oliver Ristau and Shawn Starr talk to Alex Degen.

* a bunch of European comics publishers are getting together to assist each other along on a push in to the US market.

* this list makes no sense to me.

* my favorite writer about comics, Bob Levin, graces us with a piece on one oddball subject: Fogel's Underground Price & Grading Guide.

* finally, here's Sarah Horrocks on why porn by its nature might distort a standard critical inquiry.
 
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July 22, 2015


Go, Look: King Terry Images Mini-Gallery

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* this series of photos from Jillian Tamaki taken during a year spent in large part on the road is pretty great.

* the show of which I'm a part, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), has announced its dates through 2019. This doesn't get done a whole lot but a combination of a giant council of supporting institutions and Ohio State home football games makes it a requirement for us.

* this article is fascinating enough to be worth its own bullet point here as opposed to simply being a collective memory entry: Ben Templesmith set up at a location remote to the convention center and conducted all of his regular con business at his own speed and at a much lower cost than he would have had to pay setting up inside. I don't see any reason why this couldn't catch on with a lot of people, although classically counter-con efforts have a low capacity in terms of those that can be involved, and I have no idea if the con would even want to try and do anything about it.

* finally, Kevin Huizenga provides an illustrated report from Autoptic's committee meetings.
 
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Go, Look: Art Hunt 102

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Go, Look: Blue Beetle #1-2

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #6.

* the arts writer and longtime alt-industry mainstay Robert Boyd is getting back into the publishing business with Exu Magazine. It's mostly not comics, but the comics choices are interesting: fellow Texans Mack White and Scott Gilbert. Boyd writes about the project here and has an Indiegogo campaign going here. That's not a crowd-funder but an advance orders mechanism. Boyd made sure he had enough money in the bank to pay everyone and pay them well before proceeding.

* the cartoonist Molly Ostertag muses on working at home over long periods of time and how to keep productive.

* David Harper talks to a small group of retailers about their business. It's such a small group that it's hard to extrapolate anything, but the results are interesting nonetheless.

* a visit to the Valiant editorial offices.

* Jim Lee and Dan DiDio do one of those annual summer interviews with comics business news site ICv2.com. Start here. There's an interesting couple of graphs on their problems with talent relations and what they're doing about it, and Milton Griepp presses them a bit on their resetting their retailer terms to match Marvel which many consider a step back from the previous arrangement (an idea with which the DC executives seem to agree, although they see it as conforming to industry standard).

* meanwhile, the third member of the DC editorial trinity, Geoff Johns, reached out to Tony Isabella.

* finally, Deb Aoki presents a Gengoroh Tagame-featured panel from TCAF.
 
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Thank You Very Much, All Of You That Participated In This Site’s Patreon On The First Day

imageWe launched a patreon and corresponding paypal campaign yesterday, discussed in some detail here. My inbox has since been a parade of encouragement (official score: 212 to 2) and a long list of names of people I admire or didn't know existed, which has been equally fun. I've already started work on issues #0 and #1 of The Comics Report. It's very exciting; I'm thrilled for this opportunity.

One question that's come up is whether or not I plan on doing the gathered-together format edition just for Patreon subscribers forever, or if I will do a public launch for people to, say, buy single issues as it occurs to them. I don't have any plans to do a public pay-for edition right away, but it sounds like something I might pursue in the new year if 1) things go well, 2) the product feels like it will work that way, and 3) I can price or format things in a way that people that pledged continuing support will benefit greatly in comparison to people that are coming at it outside-in. I'm also not averse to eventually doing a paper edition if someone wants to partner with me way down the line. Both approaches would fit into the outreach part of this site's mission. At this point, though, I can't say.

One of the reasons I didn't do milestones with the Patreon campaign is I wanted to let what I'm able to do, and get better at doing, dictate how that aspect develops. The Comics Reporter was developed with roughly that same philosophy. If Jordan and I had stuck to our original conception of the site, we'd have the random comics news post every day and basically nothing else. I found I could do more and so I did. Hopefully, the same will happen with this new, concurrent edition.

I hope you'll consider supporting this campaign if you haven't yet. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 
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Go, Bookmark: Baroque

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Go, Look: Time Bomb

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Festival Extra: That Music Playing Stan Sakai Across Stage At The Eisner Isn’t What I Thought It Was

Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada wrote into CR to say the music that played Stan Sakai across the stage for the Best Lettering award could not have been the Marvin Gaye song "Sexual Healing" because that wasn't an option for the show's producers of all the music options they had. It sounded like the Gaye song to five people sitting in my immediate section, but of course I'll take Estrada's word for it. One hundred percent. My apologies.

Estrada implied in the same correspondence she might be able to find out what song that was. I only thought that it was funny, although that moment did tie in to a little bit of broad reaction from some folks that said they were distracted at times by the music. I thought those comments worth noting because of generally how technically smooth that show was.

Also, the first sentence of this post was really fun to write.
 
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OTBP: An Honest Performance

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Charlie Hebdo Will Reinvest All 2015 Profits Back Into Company

The tussle over Charlie Hebdo's financial future has reached a potential reconciliation point, this Wall Street Journal articles reports. The company, down to two major shareholders, stands to be extremely profitable after high interest in the satirical publication following the Muhammad cartoon related murders in January. There had been a push to give ownership to all of the paper's employees as a sign of the risk being embraced by working there; that looks like that won't happen but that all of its profits for 2015 and later a significant chunk of profits will be reinvested back into the company.

What I didn't know is that it looks like after other incidents, dividends were paid but only to the company's limited shareholders.
 
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Go, Look: Alberto Montt

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This Isn’t A Library: Notable Releases Into 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. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

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FEB150412 WALLY WOOD EC COMICS ARTISAN ED TP $49.99
MAY150426 TIM GINGER TP (MR) $19.99
This week is a bit all over the place, which would make for a fun 45 minutes or so exploring the new books around the store. IDW has a strong week with a number title. Two that jump out at me right away are a Wally Wood book in their other "AE" format, the "Artisan" Edition, which means high end reproduction and the closest to the original publication as possible even if that doesn't mean all the kind of complete color xerox of original that you get with Artists Editions. Wood's an important artist, though, and I wonder sometimes if he isn't one of those whose subject matters is so 20th Century that we're seeing our last flashes of interest in his career. The other IDW book is from their Top Shelf imprint, which functions as a separate publisher in terms of presentation to the Direct Market. Tim Ginger is Julian Hinshaw's book set in New Mexico, which is almost always a fun place to see depicted visually.

imageAPR150985 IT WILL ALL HURT #2 (MR) $8.00
MAY150066 ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #10 $3.50
MAY150652 MAGNETO #20 SWA $3.99
MAY150015 MIND MGMT #35 $3.99
MAY150212 GRAYSON #10 $3.99
MAY150178 SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #12 $3.99
MAY150170 PREZ #2 $2.99
MAY150550 WOLF #1 (MR) $4.99
APR150874 ALL NEW HAWKEYE #4 $3.99
The serial comic books also seem scattered. When I'm in a comic store and I don't see one of the big-hitters or one of my personal favorites, I drift a bit and there's plenty of opportunity to do that here. No one's in a better drawing place than Farel Dalrymple and I encourage you to buy everything he's doing right now including this print edition of his on-ling Studygroup effort. The last Elfquest series is up to double-digits, the Magneto titles is nearly two full years' worth of monthly comics in and Mind MGMT is up to issue #35... I mention books like that because you hear about them and never buy them and suddenly they're performing month-in, month-out in a way you occasionally want to poke in and see what's going on. Here's three from DC: Grayson was one of the sleeper hits for the company before its recent course/title correction, Sensation Comics runs in counterpoint to the regular and sometimes controversial Wonder Woman title, with an on-line first component, and Prez was one of the more enthusiastically received of this latest wave. I'd likely take a look at all three. Wolf is your higher-than-usual profile Image debut of the month, and All New Hawkeye remind you it's still out there even as we all begin to finish up the Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth version of the character.

APR150316 FABLES TP VOL 22 (MR) $17.99
I believe this is the last one, in a form that seems like it would be the way folks encounter it, with its appeal to fantasy prose readers and this being a nice way for a library to offer the work. There was a point about five years ago where this series seemed drastically under appreciated in terms of its marketplace and fan achievements, but it seems like the publishers and its fan base have taken care of some of those deficiencies since. I liked my occasional drop-ins into the work just fine even though it's not for the reader I am now; I probably would have been a much more devoted reader at a different time in my life for sure. It also feels like the end of an era a bit in terms of these sprawling, ambitious series at the big companies, but that might have ended a long while ago.

MAR150346 ERIC POWELLS THE GOON CHINATOWN ARTIST ED HC PI
A third IDW book of interest, Eric Powell's well-liked Goon comics given Artists Edition form. That should be really attractive, plus it seems timely in that the series is due some reconsideration overall. These don't get enough penetration to force a full investigation back into work, but it can get a few fans excited again and people in general taking another look.

MAY151683 AWKWARD GN $11.00
MAY151684 AWKWARD GN HC $24.00
This is a near-250 page dose of original comics work from Svetlana Chmekova of Dramacon, as good a pick in the pool of potential break out stars as she is arguably the kind of creator that doesn't deserve to have potential anywhere near her name at this point. It's a middle-school comedy.

FEB151464 BABY SITTERS CLUB COLOR ED GN VOL 01 KRISTYS GREAT IDEA $10.99
I'm guessing Scholastic saw a few slots on the bestsellers charts that didn't have Raina Telgemeier's name on them and decided that this had to be rectified. That sound snotty, but it makes perfect sense to have new editions of earlier work from an author that has since become this powerfully popular. I don't think this work is as good as the work derived from the author's own experience, but I have to imagine there are enough Telgemeier fans out there that will be happy to have more work from a favorite artist no matter how people might compare them.

MAY151509 ZENITH HC PHASE FOUR $25.00
I lost track of how this project was coming out around 1974 or so, but it's one of the key superhero texts from its time period and occasionally quite fun.

MAY151359 FANTE BUKOWSKI GN $12.99
MAY151645 SUNNY HC VOL 05 $22.99
Someone pointed out that Noah Van Sciver's portrait of a loud, unpleasant, pretentious snob is funnier if you imagine it being the quiet, thoughtful and seemingly egoless TCJ editor Tim Hodler, an approach I like because it's actually a vastly vastly more obscure experience than the vaguely obscure one that is simply reading the book as text. Van Sciver can tell a joke on the page and is kind of endlessly fussy and prolific in a way his comics pulsate with life and an eagerness to please that was more familiar to series comic books of a generation ago. It's a good looking presentation, too. Sunny is Taiyo Matsumoto's slice-of-life stories of orphans where an earlier volume was a semi-surprise Cartoonist Studio Prize winner over at Slate. I like the weird energy that comes when a powerful cartoonist, frequently given over to very dramatic presentations of tableaux, tries to slow things down and capture ephemeral moments of emotion and life as observed. It's the best mainstream manga out this week, at least to my eye. There's at least one more volume to go.

*****

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 failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: A Pair Of Katzenjammer Kids Sundays

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Go, Look: Vengeance Of The Armored Arm

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on First Love Monster Vol. 1. Daniel Elkin on Big Pussy. Todd Klein on Comic Book People 2.

* Andy Yates talks to Eva Cabrera. Tim Hodler talks to Nick Sousanis. Michael C. Lorah talks to Jason.

* I didn't get to a "By Request" column this week, but for that column I was tracking two crowdfunders that have since met their goals. You might want to participate or at least check out why they did well: Aki In Tiko by Barry Linton; Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide To Life At Sea by Lucy Bellwood. Congratulations to both authors.

* Sarah McIntyre updates on her campaign to bring notice to book illustrators.

* it fairly thwarts my linking, but I've been having fun seeing sketches from Darryl Cunningham's Marvel Comics-related sketchbook via his twitter feed. Ther are a lot of choice artist/characters match-ups there like Hunt Emerson and Thor.

* finally, I went back and read Ben Towle's wrap-up of last month's Heroes Con at a friend's suggestion. It reminded me how much I like blog reports and how much detail just doesn't get into Facebook posts and a series of tweets. I really like, for instance, the sideline with Craig Hamilton and a look at his auction art.
 
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July 21, 2015


The Comics Reporter Announces New Patreon, New Spin-Off Publication

imageI'm doing a Patreon starting today.

I've been dissatisfied with the way I've been able to cover comics for more than a year now. I've had The Comics Reporter down to manageable 18 hour a week cycle since about 2006, but I've noticed that has increasingly meant a lot of stuff has gone uncovered. It takes longer than it used to to find out what's out there. There are more interesting creators and worthwhile comics than ever before, there is more going on everywhere within the industries that serve them, and information generally is much more scattered than it was in 2004, when CR started.

There's no way I could countenance bringing on free or degraded labor to help me keep up. Comics has an exploitation problem we all should be working to end, not perpetuating. I also couldn't stand the thought of just asking you straight up for money to do something I've been doing all along. There's something that seems slightly unfair about that, even though a big part of this is that more resources will allow me to stabilize what I do with the site on a daily basis.

So what to do?

I'm also unhappy like I think a lot of people are with the general thrust of what gets covered and why in comics; I certainly include myself in this. It used to be what people said about comics industry coverage is that it did the day to day pretty well, but what we really need is long-form investigative journalism. We still need long-form investigative journalism. But do we really do the basics anymore? I'm not sure I do. I find myself increasingly at a loss when it comes to basic reporting and arts writing. What's coming out. Who's been hired. Where things are taking place. Who is doing what to whom and why it's important to take notice. Why it's crucial to figure out what's good as opposed to what's great and why it's the honest effort to do so that matters more than the end result.

If journalism is the first draft of history, a lot of comics history over the last decade has been carved with a stick into the sand on a beach, instagrammed if we're lucky.

I think part of this current quandary is that an enterprise as marginal as journalism and arts writing that serves a cash-poor industry will tend to adhere to the latest technology in order to stay relevant. The current, social-media driven Internet does a lot of things very well and other things poorly. I would like to do some more writing and facilitate more coverage that maybe doesn't reflect what's going on in my twitter feed, or where it doesn't seem that someone has bought something before or buys something after the article is read for that writing to matter.

Comics is an amazing art form and it has never been more amazing than right now. I'd like to create coverage that matches what comics has to offer.

I'm going to try and do a monthly publication -- The Comics Report -- that reflects my best ability to put together a PDF-style magazine. I plan on keeping The Comics Reporter much the same as it always has been. I think I can make site and magazine independent reading experiences with very different purposes, experiences that key on what each form has to offer. I think this will lead to better coverage, and I hope it may serve a growing need for a way into comics that doesn't count on your full immersion every second of every day. I hope it becomes destination coverage.

Everyone that signs up for the Patreon at $2 or over will get the next month's issue: starting on September 1 with #1 (there will be a scattered "bonus issue" #0 on the first of August; it will be cool). You can also just send me the cash direct via pay pal for a sub as long as you want one. (send me an extra dollar, too: so $25 for a yearly; $13 for six months, etc.).

Anyone that wants to pay me more than that will get my stunned thanks and a really good Christmas bonus. I'm excellent at presents.

If you've enjoyed The Comics Reporter as a reader and want to support its stabilization and continued existence, this is a way to do that.

If you're an advertiser that's supported us, I hope you'll continue to do so. Thank you. We wouldn't have made it this far without you and we can't move forward in your absence. We'll be in touch about the advertising you'll get in the new place for all your support of this one. I think you'll be pleased.

I plan to account for every penny spent, and hope that how I use the funds will encourage you to continue supporting. I thought about doing goals and milestones, but that's not usually how media projects develop in the best way. The more money I get, the more I'll do. I do plan on hiring a few more columnists and to use them more regularly if it goes extremely well.

I'm a comics lifer. Comics is the best art form going. It's an honor to be one of those that gets to communicate that to other people, and to advocate on behalf of its great artists and fine industry-folk. With your support I think there's much more that can be done, in a way that's thoughtful, articulate, forthright and entertaining. I'll do my best not to let you down.

Patreon:
http://www.patreon.com/comicsreporter

Paypal Direct (If You're Not Comfortable With Patreon For Whatever Reason, Or Wish To Do One Big Payment):
comicsreporter@gmail.com at Paypal.com

I am also more than delighted to take any good-wishes or job-well-done donations from anyone that doesn't wish to be involved with any of the subsequent stuff. That would also be through the paypal address; just say as much, and god bless you.

I will also take a check at the address listed on this site via the links across the top.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for the update posts, and to help solve any glitches you notice in the system. If anyone supporting wants to suggest a feature interview subject or three, I'm all ears.

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July 20, 2015


Tom Moore, RIP

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Go, Look: Kubert School Scholarship-Benefiting Tarzan Art

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Go, Look: Mysterious Suspense #1

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Go, Look: Baw Chi Chi

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein discusses lettering the Delirium character from Sandman.

* Martin Dupuis on The Killing Joke. Brian Cronin on Avengers #275, or at least one plot point from that issue. Abhay Khosla on Ant-Man.

* Brittany Nader talks to Derf.

* the longtime retailer and blogger prime Mike Sterling writes about comic shops and credit cards.

* there's a new Giant-Man in town. I've always been confused why the various Giant Men aren't a bigger deal. It seems like one of the primary wish fulfillment deals in superheroics, to be really tall, and comics does that particular illusion really well.

* finally, Tony Millionaire draws Cerebus.
 
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July 19, 2015


A Few, Brief Notes About Comic-Con International 2015

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What follows are some personal notes about attending Comic-Con International in 2015. They are my own observations, as honestly as I can put them forward. I run a show now in Columbus, Ohio called Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, which adds to the number of things you should take into account when processing the following with an active, engaged and skeptical mind.

My thanks as always to my brother Whit for providing all of the photos that will by mid-morning accompany this article, and for CCI's David Glanzer in acting as a point person for the show and answering all my dumb questions. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

* I had a good time, and from my vantage point Comic-Con International 2015 seemed like a successful if low-key show.

* this seemed like a really well organized convention. Part of that likely derives from the fact there were multiple off-site incidents and moments of general craziness in 2014. This year seemed quiet in comparison. Part of that feeling was just what I was seeing: the crowd seemed pretty well spread out, all things considered, whenever I stopped and paid attention. And it was never in my face unless I stopped and thought about it. I never had problems crossing the road to the convention center, the lines into the big rooms seemed at 2003 levels, and I have a hard time finding a photo my brother took where it's bonkers crowded. This fits into a theme of this year where shows and cons seem to reap the benefits of paying attention to basic issues and problems. I mean, it still required an effort to make my way around, but never had one of those moments where things felt wrong. That usually happens up to a half-dozen times a convention. Kudos to Comic-Con for keeping things flowing, or at least fooling me into thinking they were.

* so here are some thoughts, presented in rough, chronological order.

* I flew out to LA a few days early to hang out with friends and family, and to relax a bit. I drove down to the show on Thursday morning and left Saturday late afternoon. I do this because with the intensity of the convention calendar, my financial situation and the increased cost of going to San Diego, I just can't afford to do the whole show right now. I think it's getting more expensive again, and maybe not gradually. Checking my hotel receipts, the hotel I booked the exact same way two years ago at $192 was roughly $310 a night. Parking at the hotel was $45 up from $24. I had a meal just last year fixed at $19.95 that was $24.95 this year. It all creeps up on you.

* I love driving down that first day, though. I don't toy shop and now that Image is having their Expo a week early the only reasons for me to be in San Diego on Wednesday are extra work, socializing or just added vacation time, all of which are available to me in LA. Driving down starting in the dark is fun and dramatic, and it allows me to bond in nostalgic idiocy with my older brother. It feels like an adventure: a mild and sedentary one, but an adventure nonetheless.

* the traffic wasn't even bad, and it was awful in 2014. There was a bottleneck about an hour up the road from downtown San Diego, but that was at best a fifteen-minute delay. In a preview of being on the ground at the show, I never even got the sense from the other cars that these were con-goers the way I did the year before.

* I recommend the drive to anyone... it's even fun to stop for a breakfast somewhere along the way. If you get into your hotel early that just means you're first in line for a phone call whenever your room is ready.

* we parked way off site again. I'm pretty sure that's not kosher, but it saved us $90.

image* the first people I saw from the comics world were Jacq Cohen and Anna Pederson. This was the first time in three years that my first sighting wasn't Craig Yoe. Apologies to Craig, but total upgrade.

* stayed at the Hilton Gaslamp, my favorite of the closer-up hotels. It was quiet and serene in the lobby for most of the weekend, and our room was severely large. I pretty much like all the hotels now, but those years when I'm overweight it is super-convenient to be as close to the show as the Hilton Gaslamp allows. Plus it's just nice. The staff has the right mix of "happy to see you" and "we're all in this together." I had a long discussion with a waiter there who was San Diego local. We talked about the convention in the 1970s and gentrification in the downtown starting in the 1990s. I liked watching the hotel staff hit the windows to check out a fabulous costume or two, calling over their friends.

* I did have a bizarre and unpleasant encounter with one hotel employee that I will take to the Hilton people in the form of a complaint, but it was in every way other than that a great stay.

* the third comics person I saw was Michael DeForge, who stared right at me glassy-eyed and didn't remember our encounter when I saw him again 36 hours later. It was creepy. I asked him Patreon advice later that weekend, and we talked about his taking the first steps towards becoming old (the first step is someone younger calls you old). I'll be long gone before he actually needs the bulk of that conversation, so all the better to get it done now.

* registration flew. I had my only encounter with a weird, fussy security guy of the entire weekend when I was asked to get out of the aisle to pin on my nametag. He was right and I was wrong. I traded my oversized bag featuring some sort of Teen Titans thing I was going to send my business partner when a sad looking little boy asked me to trade. He probably e-bayed it.

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* this guy was there. I'm not sure it's right to have Cthulu-encounter like terror at times like these, but there I was.

* and then... then I was sort of just on my own for the next couple of days at the show. I wasn't moderating anything. I didn't have a story to write other than this one. I took about a half dozen business meetings for my new gig, but even those were social and merely to set up other, future business meetings.

image* the first thing I did was say hi to that swathe of show that encompasses the kind of comics I read most, where I caught up with everyone from Peter Birkemoe to Ben Marra to Peter Bagge to the possessor of the best smile of the show, Tracy Hurren.

* after that, well, I went to panels. A lot of panels. Twenty minutes at a time mostly. Some people, like Kelly Sue DeConnick, I saw multiple times, like she was teaching in my major. Mostly, though, I have flashes of memory of things I saw that I never saw anything close to it again, all of which are super-pleasant and genteel memories. Bob Layton talking about working for Wally Wood. The new Spirit team talking about their comic book and Eisner himself, a mighty row of comic strip collection folks talking about their efforts now several years in and what there's left to do. A Herb Trimpe Artist's Edition popping up on screen. Steve Lieber talking about doing humor Leslie Nielsen style. The First Second cartoonists talking about single pages of their choice. Seeing Susan Kirtley at the back of a panel and talking about her school's new comics focus. Running into Charles Hatfield not once but twice, as he digs into his forthcoming Kirby art show. Apologizing to Scott McCloud. Apologizing to Scott Dunbier. Apologizing to random people named Scott. Seeing a bit of Kevin Nowlan's panel. Catching nearly the entirety of the Tamakis' spotlight, a happy minority by gender.

* seeing that many different avenues of comics making talk in articulate fashion about what they do and why is about the best time I can imagine, and it's an experience that's best realized at San Diego. So yeah, I had a good time.

* I've always recommended pop-ins, although this year was extreme. Just make sure you sit at the edge where you're not a visual distraction if you know you're going to leave, and in the middle if you know you're not. Move quickly and with authority. Never an excuse to spend any time in most of the lines out there.

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* there are enough really good cartoonists still attending San Diego that I still miss people. I didn't see Anders Nilsen here. I saw Steven Weissman briefly, with his son, I think.

* my brother and I had dinner that night at a nearly empty local Italian restaurant of the kind I would have waited to get a seat for a half hour were this a decade ago. A lot of the local restaurant more than a block up were easy to walk into. This was it. It was just fine, too.

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* one thing I'd never done before -- not in the non-Horton Plaza location, anyway -- was the Scholastic party, which this year as has been the case recently was at the Palomar Hotel. That was pretty great, and about as many top tier cartoonists as I would see all weekend not at the Eisner Awards. Caught up with Andrew Aydin -- very near the end on March Vol. 3 with how to do another volume or related book seemingly still up in the air. I saw the colored, complete book for Craig Thompson's Space Dumplins for the first time, and it's astonishingly pretty. I look forward to reading it. I've been reading Craig since almost his first comics, I think. Craig has moved to LA and seems happy about the change in scenery. Chris Duffy and I did a verbal post-mortem on that nice book of World War I poetry adaptations he edited. I sweated a lot near Chris Butcher.

* there was a child at that party, perhaps CeCe Bell's, who was asking very deeply considered questions about comics and cartooning of the adult guests. I'm not sure there was anyone there for him to talk to, really, not on that level.

* that was the party where I had my yearly conversation about Jim Shooter. That's my weirdest tradition, but I think it's happened ten years in a row now. Never instigated by me.

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* the CBLDF party afterwards was very packed, the most I'd ever seen. Good, friendly, fun crowd, too. Talked to Kiel Phegley, recent recipient of first teaching position in his field of expertise (go Hurons) and Tom Neely at length. Spent some time with Milton Griepp. I'm told it was the Fund's best party ever. It felt like it.

* I was told that it was a great weekend for the Fund in general, raising-money wise. Jen Vaughn worked their table, and it was nice to catch up with her.

* Friday was more panels, and they've all run together at this point. I talked briefly to Jim Hudnall on the show floor about his recent travails; he looked very dour, and I hope things get better for him. Miriam Libicki seemed to maybe not be killing it as she did on the floor last year sales-wise. It's such a risk for the small pressers given all the costs. Larry Marder gave me a signed book and we reminisced briefly about the 20 year anniversary of the panel where everyone yelled at Larry Marder for Image going with Diamond. He pointed out that despite what we thought at the time, most everyone was still around. I imagine I have fonder memories of that weekend (my first panel! exciting!) than Larry does.

* talked FU Press with Gary Groth, and he seems to be having fun with that line. They're doing a couple of projects from cartoonists I admire very much, and Gary's found a worthy subject for the next big print TCJ lead interview. The Greg Stump book Disillusioned Illusions has to be the strangest book anyone had on sale at that show. I hope to interview Stump this week.

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* caught up with Jaime Hernandez and Eric Reynolds and Johnny Ryan, and met Leah Hayes before the Eisners. Johnny Ryan was a week out from his cartoon show's debut and I'm guessing that's already happened in the time I've been sick since the con. It would be the greatest thing for Johnny Ryan to have a successful TV show, and with Dave Cooper also heavily involved that's a double-bonus if it works the way it looks it might. Let's hope, anyway.

* a lot of the show feels like touching base, face to face encounters where a kind of information transfer that just doesn't happen for men of a certain age online. A survey of physical clues... like noticing how someone looks when they smile or how they walk between panels.

* This year's Eisners clocked in at 2:38. I tried to live tweet it, but it was so fast-moving at times that this was an actual challenge. It's a much better show for not being so agonizingly long and full of dead space. One person I know wondered out loud if the show's pacing kept people from responding as strongly to individual moments. That's tough to stay, although there were no standing ovations that I could tell. The speeches, starting with a bearded Stan Sakai for lettering, were all earnest and bordering on adorable. A number of people weren't there to pick up their awards, perhaps most disappointingly the Hall Of Fame winners Frank Miller and John Byrne, both of whom I thought might have a Michael Jordan-level speech in them. The big winner of the night was Winsor McCay, across multiple projects. Gene Yang winning best writer was greeted with an audible gasp, not because anyone dislikes Gene's work but because it seemed like there had been a consensus building around Kelly Sue DeConnick. Lot of strange science fiction show TV actors.

* a few folks later wondered out loud about the jaunty lead-in music-wise to the memorials section of the show, and for the choice of "Sexual Healing" as a play-across song for Sakai.

* I was slightly disappointed that Don McGregor's acceptance of a Bill Finger award wasn't extended across multiple pages.

* the weird thing about the Eisners this year is that they did an almost mid-ceremony switch. The first half, with the late 1970s mainstream comics Hall of Famers and another win for Blacksad, seemed traditional and maybe even a tiny bit illustration heavy. The second half, starting with Yang, shifted to all-ages comics authors like Raina Telgemeier and the team behind Lumberjanes. I thought it was a pretty solid slate overall, but I honestly have no idea how the awards could split in half like that.

* congratulations to my peers at Comics Alliance on their win.

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* Sergio Aragones seemed to be high-energy, which is great. I saw him a couple of times away from those awards and thought there was a familiar spring in his step.

* it was Sergio that got to talk his way out of Bernie Wrightson's no-show. That led to some pretty bleak rumors by the next morning (Wrightson has had some recent health issues), but it turned he had just fallen in his room.

* Jonathan Ross killed like a pro should kill in that room. It was a smart, textbook performance, working in a lot of material from early in the show and making sure not to punch down. That was a very professional Eisners all around, and there were a lot of happy winners of those on hand. One person pointed out to me that every time she sees Raina Telgemeier she seems more comfortable in her role as a category-defining, best-selling cartoonist and if that is true I am all for it.

* saw Eric Kirshammer of Chicago Comics after the show. I really like that guy; he was my retailer for only a brief time. He mentioned that Chicago Comics and longtime, high-profile employee Eric Thornton had parted ways amicably earlier in the year, and told me that Gabby Schulz had turned out to be a great hire so far at Quimby's. (He replaced Edie Fake.)

* the artist David Aja introduced himself after the show and could not have been nicer. I hope that guy had a great weekend.

* I congratulated a sheepish Denis Kitchen on his Hall Of Fame selection. He seemed genuinely surprised.

* I finally caught up with a bunch of cartoonists I hadn't seen yet in the lobby of my hotel. One cartoonist was confused by the whole San Diego experience, the contrast between the overwhelming interest in film and TV and toys and the much more modest although still very nice interest in the kind of work she did. I mention this mostly because it was at that point that I realized how much of my show had been pure comics... I saw no celebrities, had very little difficulty getting around, and saw a ton of comics makers and comics makers only. It was pretty great, and it's fun that that kind of show is still possible in San Diego.

* this is probably where I should mention that I was exhausted to the point of being sick the entire weekend, and as a result could barely talk. My apologies to nice people like Eric Shanower, Rob Salkowitz, Jenni Holm, Steve Ringgenberg and Chris Roberson who each seemed paralyzed for a few seconds by the nonsense that tumbled out of my mouth at one time or another. That is a bad weekend not to be able to carry on a conversation. If anyone out there thought I was mad at them, or upset about something, I sure as heck wasn't.

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* learned of the actor Roger Rees' passing right before bed. He was a favorite actor of my brother's, and I remember fondly that jaw-dropping, nine-hour Nicholas Nickleby production that was eventually televised. For some reason it felt like hearing about a much beloved in high school cartoonist.

* had my final breakfast of the show with a friend of recent vintage and traded recent personal life stories. Comics people are very resilient.

* more panels. Saw an Image panel where they had cosplayers stand up for a round of applause after everyone had finished speaking, which is really good PR. There was some significant grumbling about the cosplayers on the floor, that they were particularly in the way this year (which I don't believe) and that many were charging money for photos (which I sort of do believe) despite not having a booth or formal merchant set-up at the show. Cosplay seemed down to me, maybe 20 to 30 percent across the board. I wasn't the only person that thought that.

* in fact, the two groups I noticed most this year were Hollywood people, or what I was guessing was general creative class people milling about, and then high-end consumers, if that makes any sense. I always forget how much people come to that show to buy.

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* it was great to be around Ed Piskor enjoying himself with a big, hit book. Here he is with two other cartoonists of the moment (or one of the moment, one about to be): Ben Marra and and Ed Luce. That's one panel I forgot until now, a non-fiction comics panel with Calvin Reid moderating Jen Sorensen, Ed and Peter Bagge, all of whom were funny and super-articulate even if there never developed that second gear of back and forth conversation. I saw the writer Brian Doherty at the panel; he's now living a bit east of LA and plots his return.

* I began to head out right after the interview with Guy Delcourt transcribed here. As mentioned, there was a smashing G. Willow Wilson signing going on at comiXology at the same time. Got to meet and clear up some things with David Hyde (all from my end; Hyde seemed every bit the hardworking pro to me).

* impressions... I think the operational elements discussed early were really important. Another year of widespread mini-calamities, even outside of the show's purview, would have been rough.

* I think studios are also rethinking how to use the con, just as publishers are thinking about publishing news announcements, in the post-ubiquity-of-Twitter world.

* speaking of which, there wasn't a ton of comics news compared to recent years, but there was plenty. The announcements that caught my eye were the Kramers Ergot new volume with Fantagraphics and the Delcourt digital translation news that came out week of show, the crush of Vertigo titles announced for the fall, and a new book from Raina Telgemeier having some of the impact and attention a book from a cartoonist with her sales history should have. The Tarzan variants done by a wrecking crew of mostly mainstream comics art talent for a Joe Kubert School scholarship auction were very nice looking. I'm sure there are other stories I'm forgetting, but it's hard now with everyone announcing everything all the time.

* a lot of comics people were talking about San Diego in terms of winding down or diminishing their involvement there. Some of that is natural; it's just not a show most cartoonists under 45 can afford to do without being a guest or having a publisher foot the bill, and that only comes every few years if that. Some of it did seem to hint at a further fraying of the comics fabric. NBM wasn't there this year -- although Papercutz was, completely with smiling Terry Nantier (you'd smile, too, if you moved that many units).

* I still think we're getting to a place in the near future I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the big core alt/art players take their leave, if only Top Shelf, perhaps consolidating their presence with parent company IDW. It's not like the show ends if that happens, not at all, but that kind of loss would be something like the loss of retailer Comic Relief; it changes the whole show for a chunk of people, to a slight but significant degree. Say 15 percent. I'm not even sure the con can do anything about it.

* I'd never seen Kate Beaton original art before. She works at a fairly standard size, but landscape-style and all in one corner, which is fascinating. They're really nice-looking pages, too. Totally lovely. The Jillian Tamaki pages are still the ones that people were gushing over to me without my prompting, same as last year.

* my brother and I joked about selling our badges, but chickened out. It would have been easy to find a buyer; people were working it like a 1970s heavyweight championship prizefight. One rumor had 40,000 people in those adjacent areas. That strikes me as absurd, but I'd believe eight to ten thousand for sure.

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* Whit and I stopped by on our way out of town to say hi to Anne Ishii and Graham Kolbeins at a Massive show in a bar north and east of the convention center, a bar I think built to deny anyone parking. That's them to the left of Chip Kidd at their Fantagraphics signing earlier on Saturday. They did well at the event -- I heard some other off-site stuff wasn't that well attended -- and it's great to see them when they can afford to do a comics show, which of course is only part of what they do. I hope we'll get some comics-focused announcements from Massive in the near future.

* I heard about... let's say one and half pending big-time publishing deals, including one that may not come off but if it does it will be stupendous. It's also nice to hear people still excited about working with certain artists, certain works of art.

* Whit and I piled into his car with very little incident and arrived back to LA early enough to eat Mexican in NoHo, listening to the kind of Saturday evening live band where the musicians triple up on instruments. There was a ballgame on. The 1999 version of me might have been bummed to miss that nice, last night on the beach or an alt-industry party, but the beaches are empty of cartoonists as far as I know, and the alt-/art- folk on hand might have a hard time filling a party-sized room.

* I never stayed up past 1:00 AM.

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* A Quiet Moment
* Anna and Jacq
* Aieeee!
* Tracy Hurren
* Anders Nilsen
* 10 Years Of Graphix Parties
* Alex Cox, Deputy Master Of His Funnybook Domain
* Eric Reynolds asks Johnny Ryan while he always has to work blue
* Sergio! Sergio! Sergio!
* Roger Rees in Nicholas Nickleby, 1980
* Ed Piskor, Ben Marra, Ed Luce
* Graham Kolbeins, Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd
* photographer Whit Spurgeon and a friend; that's the first selfie this report has ever won (below)

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Go, Look: Alan Kupperberg, RIP

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Go, Look: Madeline Kloepper Images Mini-Gallery

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Go, Look: City Of Light

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July 18, 2015


CR Newsmaker Interview: Guy Delcourt

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imageI was one of several journalists offered an interview with publisher Guy Delcourt at the 2015 version of Comic-Con International. The reason for his availability was a newly announced deal between his company and the digital comics service comiXology for the latter to provide a significant amount of translated work to English-language audiences. It's a deal that speaks well of comiXology's under-appreciated strength in the French-language market, one of the accomplishments they've since leveraged into their current place of significance within the digital comics world. We spoke in one of comiXology's rooms built into their booth as a major G. Willow Wilson signing came to life outside the booth, a few yards from where we sat.

I rarely do interviews at shows like Comic-Con as I'm usually too distracted and tired to be as articulate as I need to be, but I wanted to meet Delcourt after hearing about him for several years and I think this story an intriguing one. I'm grateful to David Hyde for granting me the opportunity, and to Delcourt for his patience with how I pronounced the names of French cartoonists. -- Tom Spurgeon

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TOM SPURGEON: You're a part of this story, or at least how it's been presented to US press. You have a unique position within French comics publishing. You own Delcourt; it's not owned by a media conglomerate.

GUY DELCOURT: No.

SPURGEON: How does that position make a deal like this one more attractive or perhaps easier to do? What is it about your position in the French marketplace that makes you the first publisher to strike such a deal?

DELCOURT: It's easier in terms of speed of decision. I met David Steinberger three and a half years ago. We hit it off very quickly. I was convinced by his vision for expanding the field of comics through digital. His willingness to go to Europe and give us better access to the digital world, with a whole way of doing things... what is the system called? Guided view. The guided view system. I thought that very efficient. Very clever. And so I wanted to be the first French publisher to sign with them. So we did that, what, within two months. My being independent helps decisions get made quickly.

SPURGEON: Can you talk a bit more about what was attractive to you about comiXology as they came into the European market, what was there that wasn't being offered by a European digital company? Why isn't there a European comiXology?

DELCOURT: There are a number of European companies of course selling digital comics. The fact that comiXology specializes in comics, that they have the guided view system, that puts them above the rest, I think. Their experience in the US with digital comics, in a place where they are much more popular than they are in France, that was attractive in order to increase our sales. It's still a very small market, less than one percent of our sales. [laughs] Very small. To me, they're a good guide with which to expand into digital comics.

SPURGEON: I talked to a couple of booksellers who were confused about what might be offered in this new deal and when, so I wanted to take that directly to you. Will Lewis Trondheim's line, Shampooing, be part of that initial offer, or are they planned for an early stage of release with this program?

DELCOURT: No. We have chosen a start, and what I mean as a start is 150 books for each year. We have a two-year program so far. We have comics geared towards an adult readership. One line is entertaining comics, I would say: horror, sci-fi, fantasy; things that are generally familiar to Americans but done in a different way, perhaps, with a different touch. The artwork may be very detailed, the French-sized pages are bigger than US-sized. There's a different approach, a richer approach to art. And we have graphic novels, also geared to adults. But of course that's only part of our catalog.

Trondheim's books are not there yet because I think he's one of the creators who are a little cautious about digital comics. My hope is that this will help convince him and other creators in France that going into digital is a good thing. It's certainly timely for us because I've been trying for years to have more and more books available in English in America and it's been very disappointing so far. It's been very limited.

SPURGEON: Why do you think that is? I know there are people all throughout the French-language industry who would love to see deeper penetration into the English-language market, and I'm even aware of a push at the ministry of culture level for BD to have the same level of penetration here as manga has. Why in general do you think we haven't seen that broader effort catch fire here?

DELCOURT: First of all, manga is very marketed. It's a whole bunch of work, with a lot of similarities, and it's propelled by movies, television series, anime, whatever. That's not the same of France. France is more of an industry, more a collection of individual stories and books than a big group. That's one big difference. The other thing is that the French-sized album in print is so different than the US-sized comics that it's difficult to penetrate. I think that comic book shops don't know what to do with them. They don't fit into their racks. They're not easy to market. Because they are series, there's a risk in taking volume number one, number two, number three. If it catches on with number four, you have to buy back issues, which may not be easy because print runs aren't great. There are cultural and technical differences that have made it difficult. Digital, of course, makes everything different.

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SPURGEON: You mentioned Trondheim and other cartoonists as being reluctant to enter into digital... does that mean the cartoonists you're bringing over with the groups of 150 books, does that mean they're pro-digital cartoonists? What has been the reaction with the cartoonists that are participating?

DELCOURT: Because of the way we work with artists and also because of the laws in France, we have to ask each individual if they agree. [pause] It's a lot of work, yes. [laughter] Some are immediately enthusiastic, like Jean-Luc Sala, the writer of this Iron Squad and others. Others have been a little reluctant. Others are completely scared of digital. For us, it's great, because it's an ongoing process to talk to them. We learn from examples. Once we get going, I'm sure there will be people jealous of the first books in English.

It's my hope that more and more we'll be at ease with digital comics. Most are enthusiastic because having your books available in English is great. You reach six times, seven times as many people as in France, and you're reaching professionals in movies and in TV, individuals that may want to adapt your work.

SPURGEON: The conventional wisdom about the French-language market over the last 15 years is that the market is oversaturated on a title-to-title basis, and that as more and more books are published this has an effect on driving down the sale of individual books even as the industry overall may gain. Does this play into your desire to find another market for these books? Is this an advantage you can offer creator to creator, book to book, this ability find extra sales per project? Is that a motivation for you in seeking out this deal?

DELCOURT: It's a very good question. It may have played a role. It's true that in France sales are kind of plateauing, and the number of releases also. It's a stable situation, but as a businessman you're always looking for extra sales, extra profit. So that may have played a part. The main thing is that I've been trying to supply an international dimension to my company for years. Again, print is very difficult for that. It's too risky, too complicated. Digital may open a big door for us. I wanted to be the first to open that door.

SPURGEON: Let me ask you about print. Is there any worry at all that digital ends certain opportunities for print? I know that some booksellers worry because sales might be limited in print overall, that a move to digital may remove opportunities for them to work with select titles and authors that do well in their individual stores. Are you in any way giving up on certain print initiatives in the US?

DELCOURT: Not at all. First of all, what is true is that we have so few books available in print in the US that economically... yeah. We cannot let that hinder us from doing what we're doing. On the other hand, my hope is that digital editions of our books will make more US publishers more aware of them. I was talking to one of them just an hour ago. I said, "Hey, I would be glad to do print editions of some of our most successful books." In a way, digital editions work as a market test, to see what works best. For those, print editions could be envisioned with US publishers. So I'm sure we'll gain something from this.

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SPURGEON: If I remember correctly, you guys do the print editions of the diary comics by Bastien Vivès.

DELCOURT: Oh, you're very knowledgeable. Thank you. Yes. We do.

SPURGEON: Is there a chance a deal like this drives digital-to-digital publishing for you?

DELCOURT: It's a strange world. One of the first we're doing, Josephine by Pénélope Bagieu, was initially done on a blog. She's a most famous French blogger, you know? Then it was turned into print. Now we have it digital in the US. I think it says a lot about how flexible we have to be now.

SPURGEON: Do you ever see a day where you don't have print in there somewhere?

DELCOURT: I don't. At least in France, I absolutely don't, I think. Digital is still under one percent of our global sales. It's really small. I see that growing of course, but I don't see print disappearing. We have so many great bookshops. Comic shops and the best book shops have never done better in France. The middle is kind of down, but the best book shops are thriving. I see the market as remaining strong in print, complemented by digital. In the US, I'm too new to the game to say.

SPURGEON: How are you handling all of that translation work? I should know this, but is that coming from you guys?

DELCOURT: It's from us. Not in-house, but we hire translators. We are used to translation problems because we translate so much work into French. Whether it's Bone, or Walking Dead, or Hellboy or Star Wars or Chris Ware's books. We're used to the demands of good translation, which is very difficult. We hired American born translators. We have the translations checked by other translators to make sure it flows well, and we continue working on them because with digital you can improve a translation even after release! If a sentence doesn't ring true, we'll change it. We're talking about that right now. Nothing's ever perfect. We will always improve translations.

SPURGEON: I'm not sure how much you can or are willing to talk about this part of it, but do you have specific expectations going into this deal, and are any of those expectations structurally present in the deal you made with comiXology? Do you need to see a certain level of sales? Is that part of your contract? If not, is that part of the way you look at this deal moving forward? Do you have a figure in mind to judge how this is or isn't successful?

DELCOURT: We do, of course. We cannot go blind into this. We have a business plan, I should point out, based on very reasonable numbers. That's something we worked out with comiXology. One reason this deal couldn't have been made without comiXology is we did need their expertise in deciding which titles might work. We asked them to make sales provisions... but low key. [laughter] We also know we have to stay in the market at least two or three years before assessing if it is working or not. Success, if it comes, will not come overnight. So we're prepared for a very long run, for this to be a very long term commitment. It's very important to us. The US comics culture is very important to France... we're moving into a more global comics culture. French creators are influenced by comics creators and also the same movies and tv shows and novels everybody is watching from all over the world. While there are still individual voices, I think there is a common ground that is stronger and strong now.

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SPURGEON: When you are putting together your group of comics for this program, did you exclude any comics because they were too French?

DELCOURT: My fear was that some of them would look too French, especially in translation. [laughs] That's why we have those two lines. We have entertainment, mainstream comics. [Taps Iron Squad comic sitting on the table.] Like this. This could have been in the US, in a way. It's robots, big robots in World War 2. [The Curse Of The] Wendigo by Charlie Adlard, who's famous in America, it is a World War I story with monsters. Promethee is a mystery thriller in the vein of Lost. I think books like that American readers will find familiar ground, with again, of course, some personality.

imageThe graphic novels, they are more like independent films. Come Prima is a story of two brothers traveling from France to Italy to see their dying father. Josephine is a book of a young Parisien girl, nowadays, facing life and is similar to Sex And The City, in a way. Not the same city. [laughs] But it could be because Pénélope Bagieu is now living in New York City. So it's French but we hope it's universal because of the feelings, the emotions are universal.

SPURGEON: Do you see a time when your acquisitions people are seeking out comics in part for their ability to work in multiple markets?

DELCOURT: That would be great. [Spurgeon laughs] That would be a great side effect. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but of course: having a global vision could allow us to be working with international artists. Again, the example of Charlie Adlard. We have a contract for him to produce new books in France: the title is Vampire State Building. [laughs] Isn't that great? You can see the concept there. He is going to do that whenever he has time away from The Walking Dead. The international approach is already here on some level. We hope to expand on it.

SPURGEON: Let me close with a convention question. You and I are sitting in a literal back room built into a booth...

DELCOURT: Back room dealings! [laughter]

SPURGEON: What is your impression of this year's Comic-Con and how it's worked for you to facilitate and publicize this deal?

DELCOURT: It's really comiXology's push. I'm very grateful to them. It was made possible because we have such a great understanding. We've signed an exclusive deal with them, and they've given a lot of thought to marketing and publicity. We know we have to be visible or we will die. Fifteen times I've been to San Diego and this is my best time because I feel I have a strong purpose.

*****

* Delcourt at comiXology

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* photo and covers provided by David Hyde; Delcourt logo and Bastien Vivès comic scrounged up by me
* my brother Whit recorded this; he's swell and you should follow him on Twitter

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OTBP: Brandon Graham As OOSA Featured Artist

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If I Were In North Bend, 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 Columbus, I’d Go To This

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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Derf On How To Remain Human


A Brief Piece With David Horsey


Chester Gould On To Tell The Truth


2007 File Piece On Artist Lars Vilks


Cute "Cartoonable Moment" Feature


Congressman John Lewis In San Diego
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from July 11 to July 17, 2015:

1. Comic-Con comes and goes with the usual, mostly positive reports laced with worry over the future of the show as a comics show. The publishing news across the board was pretty strong, even as some publishers move off of that weekend and start using social media driven strategies to find a place for their own announcements.

2. Raina Telgemeier and Berke Breathed announce new offerings within 24 hours of one another; two hugely popular cartoonists with signature, industry-defining hits.

3. Matt Bors leaves Medium with a kickstarted, hardcover best of The Nib being a first step to editorial independence across the board.

Winner Of The Week
Scholastic's "Graphix" imprint: 10 years celebrated at Comic-Con; arguably the biggest news coming out of Comic-Con weekend, any medium, with the announcement of next year's Telgemeier book.

Losers Of The Week
Fans hoping to see Bernie Wrightson accept his Eisner Hall Of Fame trophy from 2014 at this year's Eisner's, a really nice thing the Awards program tried to make happen. It didn't due an unfortunate and relatively minor accident suffered by Mr. Wrightson. He later received it on the con floor when he returned to the show. Still, it was a lovely thought.

Quote Of The Week
"Is that Sexual Healing?" -- my brother to me watching best lettering Eisner winner Stan Sakai being played across the stage.

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the comic image selected is from the brief but notable 1970s run of Seaboard/Atlas

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July 17, 2015


Go, Look: Another AdHouse Books Road Trip

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If I Were In Brooklyn, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In North Bend, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Pinellas Park, 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 Columbus, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Thunderbolt #54

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Harvey Awards Sends Out Clarifications Over Vetting Process

I got a strange e-mail from the Harvey Awards today which read they were like in full defense mode about a couple of awards. Here's the text.
July 17, 2015

The Harvey Awards would like to address questions posed by the comics press and other concerned parties since the release of The Harvey Awards Final Ballot.

The Harvey Awards were formed over 28 years ago with the intent to enable the creative community to honor their peers. The Harvey Awards administrators, as well as fans, retailers, and convention professionals, have no vote. That is the guiding principle of the nomination ballot, and we work very hard to maintain that vision.

As with all Harvey Award categories, "Most Promising New Talent" and the "Special Award for Humor" are selected through the voting of the comics professional creative community exclusively. Beyond a publishing date in 2014, we provide no eligibility guidelines for works in these categories and, as such, we continue to rely on the judgment of our voters, and not impose arbitrary limits.

Our vetting process also leaves us confident that all nominations in the Best Original Graphic Album category are indeed eligible, containing enough new and revised material to meet the category definition.

The Harvey Awards committee is open to suggestions from the professional community and we welcome the input. As we do every year, we will review the Harveys voting process and identify areas where improvement can be made.

Thank you,
Paul McSpadden
The Harvey Awards
I'm guessing from what's provided there that there were objections to some of the nominees. I can't hazard a guess as to what the Special Award For Humor objection might be, because humor tends to be considered wholly subjective, but I'm guessing the others at play here are nominations for Steve Bryant (working for about a decade) and Jen Van Meter (working approaching two decades) as most promising new talent, and maybe the Athena Bryant Compendium, which contains work going back to I think 2006, as an original graphic album.

The explanations are that 1) they have a vetting process that provides assurances that takes care of one of the objections and 2) they don't have a vetting process at all except what the voters bring to the table and that explains some of the others and kind of binds their hands in terms of fixing things. That's an interesting strategy.

This kind of thing is indeed one longstanding weakness of the Harveys: by counting on the voters to do the primary sort and vote that is nominating, you're counting on those folks as a group and whoever might be marshalling energy behind certain choices to make rational decisions. They never do. This usually doesn't get expressed in terms of bizarre nominations in terms of elgibility but it certainly does in terms of nominations that very few people have heard of and that others might not consider even arguably award-worthy. I don't see much you can do here except maybe just make a hard rule out of the New Talent thing for future years. On the other hand, it is very exciting to think we're all up for the newcomer award every time out.
 
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Go, Look: 50 Shades Of Plastic

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Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On Recent Publisher-Retailer Changes

Brian Hibbs has a nice article up here on his perception as a retailer on how policies have recently changed at both DC and Marvel. It's enough of a maddening latticework of moves and efforts that some of what's going on Hibbs can only surmise from the impact on how his business is asked to do things, but it's as good an on-the-ground view as we're likely to get.
 
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July 16, 2015


What This Friday Needs Is Some Golden Age Madness

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Collective Memory: CCI 2015

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this article has been archived
 
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Go, Look: Walt Kelly’s Goblin Glen

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Festivals Extra: SPACE Billy Ireland Tours At 4 PM And 5 PM

There's an announcement I missed until about five minutes ago that those coming into Columbus for the SPACE show have to be at the library at either 4 PM or 5 PM today, Friday the 17th, to get one of the tours. The museum is closed over the weekend while swapping out shows, so these are the only times the tours are being offered. It's well worth your time if you haven't done it.
 
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If I Were In San Francisco, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: The Peacemaker #4

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* great to see Bernie Wrightson did receive his Eisner Hall Of Fame trophy, even if it was a full year and two days later than originally intended.

image* Desiree Rodriguez on Starfire #1.

* Zack Smith talks to Kate Beaton. Eric Diaz talks to Grant Morrison. Dan Berry talks to Ryan Sands.

* Mike Sterling reacts in positive and only slightly guarded fashion to Berke Breathed returning to his Bloom County feature. I'm all for artists doing whatever they want with the things they own, and look forward to seeing if he can develop a voice in completely different times.

* Chris Butcher writes about all the baby conventions out there and how proud that makes him.

* not comics: don't remember where I got this link but the idea of citizen-archivists may end up being important in comics in the decade or so after the institutional collections begin to coalesce. I don't have a good read on it, though.

* AJ Kuenzi waves goodbye to the Fraction/AJa/Hollingsworth/et al version of Hawkeye, a paradigm shifter in terms of tone and approach.

* finally, Jeet Heer argues that making superheroes out of the recent superheroes-for-adults tradition is a very shallow pool from which to bring to life a lot of work. I always if this material isn't for kids, anyway -- there certainly seem to be enough children in the grim and gritty superhero movies I see.
 
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OTBP: Three From Cara Bean

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Go, Look: Captain Atom #83-84

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July 15, 2015


Go, Look: Very Early Barry Smith Marvel Comics Pin-Ups

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* TCAF has announced 2016 dates, one week later than their usual Mother's Day perch.

* the next several weeks constitute a break for many convention-attending professionals; some will aim at Wizard's show in Chicago, others at Autoptic, but a big will set their sights on SPX, Baltimore or NYCC as their next time out to a show. It's a good thing, too; there are a lot of comics to be made.

* for many folks, though, there are one or two shows to do that maybe don't always pull national headlines: this weekend I'll be set up at SPACE here in Columbus.

* finally, Michael Cavna talks to Jeff Smith at Comic-Con International in part about the forthcoming CXC Festival.
 
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Go, Look: Patrick Kyle Profiled

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

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Go, Look: New Winsor McCay Adds To Barnacle Press Site

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* David Brothers writes on Marvel having a hip-hop themed variant covers month despite having no announced African-American talent working on its books, or at least having yet to announce any as they roll out titles post-Secret Wars. It's shameful that a company of Marvel's size and influence is that unyielding in its hiring practices. I can't follow some of the writers out into analysis as to what a mega-corporation does or doesn't care about, because that seems a weird place to place one's focus, but I think companies can change and that any move in a more inclusive direction makes for better results over the long haul.

image* Andy Oliver on There's No Bath In This Bathroom. Mark Dickson on Transference #1. Rob McMonigal on Adventures Of Nilson Groundthumper And Hermy. Rob Kirby on three mini-comics. Scott Cederlund on Bravo For Adventure.

* a few copies of Lizz Hickey's Jammers have become available.

* so I guess Batman is a god now, a god of information. I find this later version of the Batman weird in that he seems to me sort of feckless and ineffective despite having this huge army of fellow-traveling superheroes on which to call. DC basically cheats a bit with all of their superheroes in ascribing to them a reputation earned before the stories in which their current existence actually occurred.

* "kid, I'm sorry I said I want to kill your dad, but I still totally want to kill him."

* go, read: a brief history of Comics Nerd: A Brief History.

* Paul Gravett on learning to read from comics.

* not comics: who doesn't love a mad movie project? It's also nice to hear that big movie studios sometimes don't know exactly how they want to use Comic-Con, either.

* Gary Tyrrell's piece on the return of Bloom County notes just how much that feature had an impact on the first generation of webcomics makers, and thus webcomics more generally.

* finally, Ben Towle draws from Jack Kirby.
 
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Go, Look: Grant Reynolds Draws For His Friend’s Band

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via
 
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By Request Extra: The Nib Is Being Collected Into A Giant Hardcover

Here. I'd say this doing very well would be the first step to Matt Bors' editorial hand gaining independent purchase.
 
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Go, Look: Service Smiles

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there are some unfortunate, dated images in here
 
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July 14, 2015


Go, Look: I Am Lonely Will Anyone Speak To Me

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This Isn’t A Library: Notable Releases Into 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. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

MAY151306 POETRY IS USELESS HC (MR) $29.95
It's a smaller week than usual for books that I like, I suspect because many of the books I read were frontloaded for Comic-Con International. This strikes me as one of the stronger releases this month: a massive collection of Anders Nilsen sketchbook pages, full of jokes and insight. It strikes me as the kind of thing you read over several summer days, perhaps in a central location.

imageMAY150516 ISLAND #1 (MR) $7.99
MAY150515 INVINCIBLE #121 $2.99
MAY150522 REVIVAL #31 (MR) $3.99
MAY150530 TREES #11 (MR) $2.99
MAY150082 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #133 $3.50
MAY150030 DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #12 $4.99
MAY150036 GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #7 $3.99
MAY150039 USAGI YOJIMBO #147 $3.50
MAY150313 GODZILLA IN HELL #1 $3.99
MAY151470 KAIJUMAX #4 $3.99
MAY151150 LUMBERJANES #16 $3.99
MAY150259 ASTRO CITY #25 $3.99
There seems a significant number of comic books this week, with a few headliners and a lot of strong performers. The answer to "what is Brandon Graham doing next?" is answered in part with the anthology he's editing and to which he's contributing, Island. It's also a sign of how flexible Image can be with a talent they'd like to support. Invincible is closing out some longrunning storylines before doing a well-publicized flashback effort this Fall. It's fairly remarkable how well that comic has aged when a lot of similar solo (or near solo) world building efforts can hardly sustain ten issues. Revival is a rare Image "mid-lister" solid-performing and with its fans although not in the rarified altitude shared by their most popular comics. Trees is the stately Warren Ellis/Jason Howard book, and it's rare to get this many issues from Ellis on anything right now. There's your Mignolaverse comic, followed by my wanting to check in on this latest iteration of DHP a dozen issues in. I always look at Sergio Aragones and Stan Sakai, and that would be the case here as well. Godzilla In Hell kicks off with a James Stokoe issue and I bet will do very, very well. Kaijumax is Zander Cannon's monster book. Lumberjanes puts out a sixteenth issue the week after winning a pair of Eisners, and Astro City puts out a 25th twenty or so years after winning a lot more.

MAR150083 ABE SAPIEN TP VOL 06 DARKNESS SO GREAT $19.99
This is your Mike Mignolaverse comic in trade paperback form. I'm a devoted floppy guy with the Mignolas, but I think I might have made the wrong choice.

MAR150344 SUPERMAN ATOMIC AGE SUNDAYS HC VOL 01 1949-1953 $49.99
I like that IDW has been supplementing its artier efforts with these superhero crowdpleasers, if only because comparing approaches in less brand-conscious days is a blast. I don't think this period has even been reprinted, and god knows the comics themselves were something of a blast during this time period.

APR151500 DORFLER HC $22.99
Here's a Fantagraphics standalone from a largely unknown talent, devoted Midwesterner Jeremy Baum. I have it but I haven't look at it yet; I was told about a year ago that Gary Groth was particularly interested in this work.

APR151745 INCREDIBLE HERB TRIMPE HC $34.95
Let the Herb Trimpe tributes begin! Some of you might be waiting for the Incredible Hulk-era Artists Edition, if only for how Trimpe's pages and covers looked when he was working in close proximity with Marie Severin. This is text and art, and a more standard way of remembering a big-time mainstream figure like the artist.

MAY151395 DIVINE GN $19.99
This the Brothers Hanuka working on a long form project together, and holy crap there are some stunning moments in there. I'm going to have to take a firmer read to get a handle on how good the story is, but it was hard not to push through the volume panting and salivating the first time 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 failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Bogeyman #3

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Morten Harper talks to Bastien Vives. Reed Beebe talks to Brett Schenker. Alex Dueben talks to Sophie Goldstein. Mark Connery talks to Marc Bell. Shea Hennum talks to Guy Delcourt.

* Ron Goulart remembers Leonard Starr with a formal obit.

* Jog on Fragments Of Horror.

* I have a bunch of stuff that's been sitting in my bookmarks folder for a while, and I think it's time to get get that stuff out there rather than hold it for a bigger article. Plantu was acquitted for the cartoon he did of Pope Benedict having sex with a child. The dispute over the Comic-Con name is going to court. You know how I feel about that one. On the one hand it seems absurd to be able to have rights to the phrases "Comic-Con" but on the other it really does seem like some shows are trading on the goodwill and branding built up by the San Diego show. I assume this wil be decided by actual law instead of "people arguing on the Internet" law. That very nice and talented man Gene Luen Yang won an award at the ALA conference in San Francisco before he ruined all those betting pools in San Diego. Hillary, Peggy and Tom. Congrats to Mark Parisi, and god help us all. Seriously.

* this link swiped from Dan Nadel takes you to a Seymour Chwast store.

* finally, Mike Dawsonberry talks to Tom Hartberry and Dylan Horrocksberry about Silly Daddy.
 
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Go, Look: Chris Monroe

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abandoned blog; fan page; comic strip
 
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Your 2015 Harvey Awards Nominees

imageThe nominees for the 2015 Harvey Awards were announced earlier today via press releases. They are named for the late Harvey Kurtzman; they are selected in both rounds via open voting by those involved in comics from the creative end. 

Ballots are due August 31 with the winners announced at Baltimore ComicCon, September 25 to September 27.

The nominees are:

*****

Best Letterer

* Aubrey Aiese, LUMBERJANES, BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)
* Deron Bennett, HACKTIVIST, Archaia Black Label (BOOM! Studios)
* Ed Dukeshire, THE WOODS, BOOM! Studios
* Jack Morelli, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE, Archie Comic Publications
* Josh Reed, DAMSELS IN EXCESS, Aspen

*****

Best Colorist

* Elizabeth Breitweiser, VELVET, Image Comics
* Jordie Bellaire, MOON KNIGHT, Marvel Comics
* Laura Martin, ARMOR HUNTERS, Valiant Entertainment
* Dave Stewart, HELLBOY IN HELL, Dark Horse Comics
* Matthew Wilson, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, Image Comics

*****

Best Syndicated Strip Or Panel

* DICK TRACY, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services
* DILBERT, Scott Adams, Universal Uclick
* FOX TROT, Bill Amend, Universal Uclick
* GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, Universal Uclick
* MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate

*****

Best Online Comics Work

* ALBERT THE ALIEN, Trevor Mueller and Gabriel Bautista, albertthealien.com
* BATTLEPUG, Mike Norton, battlepug.com
* GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS, Danielle Corsetto, girlswithslingshots.com
* SPACE MULLET, Daniel Warren Johnson, space-mullet.com
* THE PRIVATE EYE, Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente, panelsyndicate.com

*****

Best American Edition Of Foreign Material

* BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, Drawn & Quarterly
* BLACKSAD: AMARILLO, Dark Horse
* CORTO MALTESE: UNDER THE SIGN OF CAPRICORN, EuroComics/IDW
* THE COLLECTOR, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* THE KILLER OMNIBUS Vol. 2, Archaia/BOOM! Studios

*****

Best Inker

* Roger Langridge, JIM HENSON'S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* Danny Miki, BATMAN, DC Comics
* Mark Pennington, ARMOR HUNTERS: BLOODSHOT, Valiant Entertainment
* Joe Rivera, THE VALIANT, Valiant Entertainment
* Wade Von Grawbadger, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics

*****

Best New Series

* BITCH PLANET, Image Comics
* LUMBERJANES, BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)
* MS. MARVEL, Marvel Comics
* SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Image Comics
* THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, Image Comics

*****

Most Promising New Talent

* Steve Bryant, ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM, Dark Horse Comics
* Daniel Warren Johnson, GHOST FLEET, Dark Horse Comics
* Chad Lambert, Kill Me from DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
* Babs Tarr, BATGIRL, DC Comics
* Jen Van Meter, THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Special Award For Humor In Comics

* James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
* James Asmus & Fred Van Lente, THE DELINQUENTS, Valiant Entertainment
* Ryan Browne, GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS, Image Comics
* Fred Van Lente, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
* Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics

*****

Best Original Graphic Publication For Younger Readers

* JIM HENSON'S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* LUMBERJANES, BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)
* SISTERS, Scholastic-Graphix
* SPONGEBOB COMICS, United Plankton Pictures
* THIS ONE SUMMER, First Second Books

*****

Best Graphic Album Previous Published

* HIT: 1955, BOOM! Studios
* MOUSE GUARD: BALDWIN THE BRAVE AND OTHER TALES, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* RAI VOLUME ONE: WELCOME TO NEW JAPAN, Valiant Entertainment
* SIX-GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios
* THE LOVE BUNGLERS, Fantagraphics

*****

Best Anthology

* DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
* IN THE DARK: A HORROR ANTHOLOGY, IDW
* LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, Locust Moon Press
* MASTERFUL MARKS: CARTOONISTS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD, Simon & Schuster
* WILD OCEAN, Fulcrum Publishing

*****

Best Domestic Reprint Project

* HARVEY KURTZMAN'S JUNGLE BOOK: ESSENTIAL KURTZMAN VOL. 1, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse Books
* STERANKO NICK FURY AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. ARTIST'S EDITION, IDW
* THE COMPLETE QUANTUM AND WOODY CLASSIC OMNIBUS, Valiant Entertainment
* VALIANT MASTERS: H.A.R.D. CORPS VOLUME ONE: SEARCH & DESTROY, Valiant Entertainment
* WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK AND UNCLE SCROOGE: THE SON OF THE SUN (DON ROSA LIBRARY VOLUME ONE), Fantagraphics

*****

Best Cover Artist

* Mike Del Mundo, ELEKTRA, Marvel Comics
* Francesco Francavilla, AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE, Archie Comic Publications
* Jenny Frison, REVIVAL, Image Comics
* Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics

*****

Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation

* BACK ISSUES, Comic Pop
* COMIC BOOK CREATOR, TwoMorrows Publications
* HEROES OF THE COMICS: PORTRAITS OF THE LEGENDS OF COMIC BOOKS, Drew Friedman, Fantagraphics
* MASTERFUL MARKS: CARTOONISTS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD, Monte Beauchamp, Simon & Schuster
* TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE ULTIMATE VISUAL HISTORY, Andrew Farago, Insight Editions

*****

Special Award For Excellence In Presentation

* ARMOR HUNTERS, Josh Johns and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment
* HARVEY KURTZMAN'S JUNGLE BOOK: ESSENTIAL KURTZMAN VOLUME ONE, John Lind and Philip R. Simon, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse Books
* LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, Andrew Carl, Josh O'Neill, and Chris Stevens, Locust Moon Press
* JIM HENSON'S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, Scott Newman, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* THE VALIANT, Kyle Andrukiewicz and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Best Graphic Album Original

* ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM, Dark Horse Comics
* JIM HENSON'S THE MUSICAL MONSTERS OF TURKEY HOLLOW, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* SECONDS, Ballantine Books
* THE WRENCHIES, First Second Books
* THIS ONE SUMMER, First Second Books

*****

Best Continuing Or Limited Series

* AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE, Archie Comic Publications
* DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* SAGA, Image Comics
* SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Image Comics
* THE VALIANT, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Best Writer

* Jason Aaron, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Image Comics
* Jen Van Meter, THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE, Valiant Entertainment
* Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA, Image Comics
* Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* G. Willow Wilson, MS. MARVEL, Marvel Comics

*****

Best Artist

* Clayton Crain, RAI, Valiant Entertainment
* Roberto de la Torre, THE DEATH-DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE, Valiant Entertainment
* Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
* Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics
* Jillian Tamaki, THIS ONE SUMMER, First Second Books

*****

Best Cartoonist

* Steve Bryant, ATHENA VOLTAIRE COMPENDIUM, Dark Horse Comics
* Howard Chaykin, BLOODSHOT #25, Valiant Entertainment
* Farel Dalrymple, THE WRENCHIES, First Second Books
* Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studios
* Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comic Publications
* Andy Runton, X-O MANOWAR #25, Valiant Entertainment

*****

Best Single Issue Or Story

* ARMOR HUNTERS #1, Valiant Entertainment
* "Breaking Out", DARK HORSE PRESENTS #35, Dark Horse Comics
* JIM HENSON'S THE STORYTELLER: WITCHES #4, Archaia/BOOM! Studios
* MULTIVERSITY: PAX AMERICANA, DC Comics
* RAI #1, Valiant Entertainment

*****

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*****
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Go, Look: Junkwaffel Images Gallery

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July 13, 2015


Go, Read: Basil Wolverton On Cartoon Sounds

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If I Were In Portland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Irwin Caplan

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posted 5:10 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* one of my favorite thinkers about comics, Philip Nel, walks us through Maurice Sendak's will.

* Todd Klein on Justice League #41, Astro City #23 Back Issue #80 and Astro City #22. I missed this one. Rob McMonigal on Stray Vol. 1. Mike Sterling on Superman #41, although my hunch is he'd probably hesitate to call it a review. Shawn Starr on This Is A Brick Wall, How It Happened and Elsa. Rob Clough on some mini-comics. Henry Chamberlain on Disillusioned Illusions. Johanna Draper Carlson on Bravo For Adventure. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of DC comics. Mark Dickson on Mulan Revelations #1.

* screw sitting next to Peacemaker on a bus.

* I don't know if I remember to link to an article about Danielle Corsetto's visit to CCS, but if I didn't, here you go.

* here are 50 'zines from queer people of color.

* Andrew Wheeler talks to Noelle Stevenson and Todd Casey.

* finally, Brian Cronin picks his five favorite superhero origins. That Dr. Strange story is a peach. Batman's origin facilitates a lot of what's interesting about his characters, but I always thought it didn't really nail it, which is why people are constantly tweaking it or expanding it.
 
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Go, Look: Tillie Walden

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CCI Publishing News Round-Up: Comics Stories That Caught My Eye

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Here's a brief round-up of publishing news stories that have caught this site's attention in and around the week of the mighty Comic-Con International. Hopefully, this will be updated for every day of the convention. My organizing principle will be the last name of the principal person involved, or company. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully by Monday this is a fat little wallet of comics publishing happenings.

*****

* DC and IDW plan on a crossover between their Batman '66 title and IDW's comic starring the characters from the 1960s TV show The Avengers. No creators are mentioned in the one article I've seen.

image* comiXology announces a distribution deal with Delcourt, bringing their enormous library into North American hands in a way that mirrors a publishing deal and might have implications for how that work and other French-language work is received here.

* the Vertigo imprint at DC Comics announced a giant battery of titles to be introduced in a months-spanning run of new #1 issues. Darwyn Cooke, Gail Simone and Gilbert Hernandez are among those involved; the mainstream coverage is focusing on a new Lucifer series, which will support/be supported by a new TV show version.

* Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto will be doing a Chewbacca series for Marvel.

* Scott Dunbier confirmed during the Artists Edition panel that IDW would be doing a second Kamandi AE, with issues #11-16. He admits this isn't a surprise for those readers that noticed a "Volume One" on the cover of the first one.

* there will be a Star Wars crossover event called Vader Down. Creators involved include Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, Salvador Larroca, Mark Brooks and Mike Deodato.

* veteran alt-comics publisher Fantagraphics sent out a press release right before Comic-Con confirming they would be publishing a ninth volume of the generation-defining (as much as that's a possibility anymore) Kramers Ergot anthology. That's the one edited by cartoonist Sammy Harkham where every volume after three has been something of a publishing event. The ninth volume will boast the usual all-star line-up.

* another round of Lady Killer from Dark Horse, this time a solo writing effort for artist Joelle Jones. That one starts in March.

* DC will be doing one of those Earth One books for their Aquaman character, by Francis Manapul.

* the writer Grant Morrison has been named Editor-In-Chief at Heavy Metal. He will also be working on Multiversity Too.

* Oni Press announced three new projects at their spotlight panel: Over The Surface, Natalie Nourigat; Another Castle, Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau, The Mighty Zodiac, J. Torres and Corin Howell.

* an army of new series were announced at Image Expo the week before the show, including the cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley writing a comic book called Snotgirl.

* Matt Rosenberg, Alex Segura and Gisele will be introducing the Ramones to the Archie characters.

* Raina Telgemeier announced that her next book for Graphix will be Ghosts, and that it will be out in Fall 2016.

* Lucas Turnbloom and Greg Grunberg will be doing Dream Jumper with Scholastic. They project that as a series. A lot of their presentation at their party last night was focused on imminent work from the Holms and from Craig Thompson.

* Boom! announces Cyanide And Happiness trade just ahead of the big show. If you're unfamiliar, that's the webcomic from Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, and Dave McElfatric.

*****

* I'm going to do one more of these, as I'm sure there's weird ones I missed and there's a 40 percent I missed something super-major. There are also some panels I need to seek out and sort out, like Milestone's. It's odd the way PR people release stuff to the media now, it's really all over the place. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

*****

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Go, Look: More Marvel Color Guides

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Assembled Extra: From Matt Bors Comes A Sure-To-Be Developing Story Over The Next Several Days

Matt Bors joined Berke Breathed as the second cartoonist to make a slightly vague but potentially industry-shifting statement via on-line tools over the weekend. The talented cartoonist and organizer of on-line efforts on behalf of cartoonists wrote this site to say, "FYI, quit my job and am launching a Kickstarter for a Nib book this coming week." In a follow-up, Bors left what he'll be doing next up in the air beyond that, but a potential relaunch of The Nib with new backers isn't out of the question.

We'll see how that develops as things settle down after a busy and distracting San Diego season. Whatever Bors does is of definite interest. If he's joining Tom Tomorrow in the potential highly lucrative crowdfunding effort, that's one thing; it's another if he's going to be doing something else more generally in the days and weeks ahead as his publishing efforts have shifted a bit in recent weeks more generally. I assume a lot of this will be settled between now and this year's AAEC convention, and that the first thing to watch for will be the Kickstarter.
 
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OTBP: On The Graphic Novel

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July 12, 2015


Go, Look: Manu Larcenet Art

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Go, Read: Anti-Gay Video Pilloried In Opinion Piece

This is fascinating, although the article about what is apparently a anti-gay rant by a cartoonist confused me as much as it made me furrow my brow. I can't tell if Aymoon El Magnoon is the name of the YouTube channel or the cartoonist (I think maybe the former) or who the hell is responsible for the accompanying video. I can't even be sure how some of it is intended. The essay that goes with it doesn't really dig into what's going on as much as it just starts wailing on its excesses and general shittiness. I guess I found it interesting from the idea of cartoon culture being in lockstep with a certain cultural bias; I always thought that would be the best editorial cartoonist show at the Billy Ireland, all the cartoonists on the losing side of history.
 
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If I Were In Ruskin, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In SF, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Robespierre

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Michalis Limnios talks to Pat Moriarity. What a fun cartoonist Moriarity is.

* Paul O'Brien on Uncanny Avengers Vol. 1. Johanna Draper Carlson on War Of Streets And Houses. Jessica S. on In Real Life. Alex Hoffman on Saint Cole. Chris Schweizer on 555 Character Drawings.

* not comics: here's a bunch of gifs from movies made by that physical-acting genius of the 20th Century, Buster Keaton. Keaton did all of these things live, which is impressive in and of itself, but the stunts were almost always funny and moved the story along in some small way. There's a comics connection in that we forget that one of the joys of early cinema was just watching people run around and do, this depiction of physical activity. I think it's worth going back and seeing what art forms like comics did very well during surges in popularity in order to make sure that the medium is still connecting that way, or if they aren't, there's potentially a good reason.

* I see a lot of these comic book cover process posts, but rarely for a comic as old as this post features (Crime Patrol #11) and even more rarely for an all-time personal favorite of mine like that one is. That cover breaks a bunch of comic book cover rules, but it does so joyously and to handsome effect.

* finally, Stuart Warren rings the bell for comics scholarship.
 
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Go, Look: Various Images From Early NYC Comic Shows

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The Real Winners Of Comic-Con: Raina Telgemeier, Scholastic, Booksellers And Raina Telgemeier Fans

Today at Comic-Con International Raina Telgemeier announced the title of her next book for Graphix, the Scholastic graphic novels imprint through which her Smile, Drama, Sisters and contributions to the comics version of the Baby-Sitters Club have sold millions of copies as a group.

The titles of the Fall 2016, full-color book will be Ghosts, and Telgemeier describes it on her site as: "Eleven-year-old Catrina and her family are moving to the small coastal town of Bahía de la Luna because her younger sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but she tries not to complain because she knows Maya will benefit from the clean, cool air that blows in from the sea. As the girls settle in, they learn there’s something a little spooky about their new town..." (Now you really have to click through because I took it for use here.)

I can't imagine a better conclusion to a Comic-Con to have the best-selling cartoonist of the moment announce her latest work like that.
 
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Go, Look: One Of The Wonders Of The World

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Assembled Extra: Bloom County Returns As A Webcomic

There isn't a whole lot of information over at Daily Kos on this, but I learned about this over the weekend and know it's true: Berke Breathed is doing another iteration of his Bloom County feature, in what looks like an on-line only feature. Should be fun.
 
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July 11, 2015


Go, Look: Maria Camia

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Go, Look: Bred Rohloff

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Go, Look: Pedro Alejandro Ramirez

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If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I’d Go To This

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

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Go, Look: Darling Love #2

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FFF Results Post #424—Better Late Than Never

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Four Comics You Waited What Seemed Like A Long Time To Read, And One Comic, Perhaps Against All Hope, You're Still Waiting To Read. This is how they responded.

*****

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Rick Vance

1. Vagabond Vizbig #12 (pictured)
2. The most recent arc of Hunter X Hunter
3. One Punch Man physical editions in English
4. Pax Americana
5. The new Otomo and Miyazaki comics that both look to be on their own kinds of infinite hiatus.

*****

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Adam Casey

1. Runaways Volume 3 digest (it was in between printings and impossible to find back in 2005)
2. Ex Machina #50 (pictured)
3. Sabrina #2
4. Non-player #2
5. Playboy's Trump -- The Complete Collection

*****

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Michel Fiffe

1. Night Business #4 (pictured)
2. DORK #8
3. Savage Dragon #122
4. Dark Knight Strikes Again #3
5. The Pogostick #3

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. The Winter Men Winter Special
2. Planetary #16 (pictured)
3. Black Kiss: XXXMas Special
4. Transformers VS G.I. Joe #5
5. Desolation Jones #9

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Fantastic Four #255
2. Planetary #26
3. The Monkey King #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
4. The New Warriors #61
5. Mirror Walker #2 (issue #1 pictured)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Nexus #99
2. Planetary #27
3. Pogo Vol 1
4. Fables #150
5. Stumble Inn/Herriman's Hoomins (pictured)

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Multiversity: Pax Americana #1
2. Big Numbers #3 (pictured)
3. Secret Wars #4
4. Habibi
5. Ganges #5

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Camelot 3000 #12 (pictured)
2. Avengers #97
3. Nonplayer #2
4. The Complete Barnaby
5. Underwater #12

*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: How To Grow Mushrooms

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Jackie Estrada On Bernie Wrightson’s Eisner No-Show

Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada told CR early this afternoon that Bernie Wrightson had a physical incident that kept him from last night's ceremony... Her best information is that Wrightson would be back at the show today, where they hoped to present him with his 2014 Hall Of Fame honor. Wrightson was unable to attend the 2014 ceremony because of health issues.

If better information presents itself I will relay it in this post.

Update: Wrightson apologized on his twitter feed for missing Saturday entirely; vows to be back at the show tomorrow.
 
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Go, Look: Be Sure You’re Right

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July 10, 2015


Your 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Winners

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In a lavish ceremony last night at the Hilton Bayfront, the 2015 winners of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards were named. The awards were well-attended; I think that's the first time in a few years I remember the ceremony adding a significant number people over the course of the show. In a strange shift in voting trends over the course of the show, what looked like a show that might be dominated by traditional choices such as the latest Blacksad and iconic late 1970s Marvel superhero creators moved into comics-for-young-people territory with what most considered a surprise win for Gene Luen Yang as Best Writer and a well-received win for Raina Telgemeier in the writer/artist category, both up against solid slates. The Locust Moon-published Little Nemo project and Lumberjanes seemed the night's big winners.

A run of lovely, earnest speeches were broken up by funny, professional turns by the team of Orlando Jones and Michael Davis and then the solo act that is Jonathan Ross, who closed the show.

The show went buy at what seemed like a really bouncy clip, and finished at about 2:38, I think.

Winners by category, in bold:

*****

imageBEST SHORT STORY

* Beginning's End, Rina Ayuyang, muthamagazine.com
* Corpse on the Imjin! by Peter Kuper, in Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World (Simon & Schuster)
* Rule Number One, Lee Bermejo, in Batman Black And White #3 (DC)
* The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Max Landis & Jock, in Adventures of Superman #14 (DC)
* When the Darkness Presses, Emily Carroll, self-published

*****

BEST SINGLE ISSUE (OR ONE-SHOT)

* Astro City #16: Wish I May by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson (Vertigo/DC)
* Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)
* Madman in Your Face 3D Special, Mike Allred (Image)
* Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 (Marvel)
* The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)

*****

BEST CONTINUING SERIES

* Astro City, Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson (Vertigo)
* Bandette, Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)
* Hawkeye, Matt Fraction & David Aja (Marvel)
* Saga, Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image)
* Southern Bastards, Jason Aaron & Jason Latour (Image)
* The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, & Stefano Gaudiano (Image/Skybound)

*****

imageBEST LIMITED SERIES

* Daredevil: Road Warrior, Mark Waid & Peter Krause (Marvel Infinite Comics)
* Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
* The Multiversity, Grant Morrison et al. (DC)
* The Private Eye, Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate)
* The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman & J. H. Williams III (Vertigo/DC)

*****

BEST NEW SERIES

* The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Image)
* Lumberjanes, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box)
* Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (Marvel)
* Rocket Raccoon, Skottie Young (Marvel)
* The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION FOR EARLY READERS (UP TO AGE 7)

* BirdCatDog, Lee Nordling & Meritxell Bosch (Lerner/Graphic Universe)
* A Cat Named Tim And Other Stories, John Martz (Koyama Press)
* Hello Kitty, Hello 40: A Celebration in 40 Stories, edited by Traci N. Todd & Elizabeth Kawasaki (VIZ)
* Mermin, Book Three: Deep Dives, Joey Weiser (Oni)
* The Zoo Box, Ariel Cohn & Aron Nels Steinke (First Second)

*****

imageBEST PUBLICATION FOR KIDS (AGES 8-12)

* Batman Li'l Gotham, vol. 2, Derek Fridolfs & Dustin Nguyen (DC)
* El Deafo, Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams)
* I Was the Cat, Paul Tobin & Benjamin Dewey (Oni)
* Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
* Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse, Art Baltazar & Franco (DC)

*****

BEST PUBLICATION FOR TEENS (AGES 13-17)

* Doomboy, Tony Sandoval (Magnetic Press)
* The Dumbest Idea Ever, Jimmy Gownley (Graphix/Scholastic)
* Lumberjanes, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box)
* Meteor Men, Jeff Parker & Sandy Jarrell (Oni)
* The Shadow Hero, Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew (First Second)
* The Wrenchies, Farel Dalrymple (First Second)

*****

BEST HUMOR PUBLICATION

* The Complete Cul de Sac, Richard Thompson (Andrews McMeel)
* Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. by Jim Benton (NBM)
* Groo vs. Conan, Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, & Tom Yeates (Dark Horse)
* Rocket Raccoon, Skottie Young (Marvel)
* Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber (Marvel)

*****

imageBEST DIGITAL/WEB COMIC

* Bandette, Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
* Failing Sky by Dax Tran-Caffee
* The Last Mechanical Monster, Brian Fies
* Nimona, Noelle Stephenson
* The Private Eye by Brian Vaughan & Marcos Martin

*****

BEST ANTHOLOGY

* In the Dark: A Horror Anthology, edited by Rachel Deering (Tiny Behemoth Press/IDW)
* Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, edited by Josh O'Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens (Locust Moon)
* Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, edited by Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd, & Graham Kolbeins (Fantagraphics)
* Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World, edited by Monte Beauchamp (Simon & Schuster)
* To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War, edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark (Soaring Penguin)

*****

imageBEST REALITY-BASED WORK

* Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)
* Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories, MariNaomi (2d Cloud/Uncivilized Books)
* El Deafo by Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams)
* Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
* Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, Nathan Hale (Abrams)
* To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War, edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark (Soaring Penguin)

*****

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM -- NEW

* The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, Stephen Collins (Picador)
* Here, Richard McGuire (Pantheon)
* Kill My Mother, Jules Feiffer (Liveright)
* The Motherless Oven, Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
* Seconds, Bryan Lee O'Malley (Ballantine Books)
* This One Summer, Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (First Second)

*****

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM -- REPRINT

* Dave Dorman's Wasted Lands Omnibus (Magnetic Press)
* How to Be Happy, Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)
* Jim, Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
* Sock Monkey Treasury, Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
* Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (McElderry Books)

*****

imageBEST ARCHIVAL COLLECTION/PROJECT -- STRIPS (AT LEAST 20 YEARS OLD)

* Winsor McCay's Complete Little Nemo, edited by Alexander Braun (TASCHEN)
* Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1933-1935, Hal Foster, edited by Brendan Wright (Dark Horse)
* Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, Tove Jansson, edited by Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Pogo, vol. 3: Evidence to the Contrary, Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly & Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
* Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, vols. 5-6, Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein & Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

*****

BEST ARCHIVAL COLLECTION/PROJECT -- COMIC BOOKS (AT LEAST 20 YEARS OLD)

* The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set, edited by Gary Groth, with Mike Catron (Fantagraphics)
* Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist's Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Trail of the Unicorn, Carl Barks, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Son of the Sun, Don Rosa, edited by David Gerstein (Fantagraphics)
* Walt Kelly's Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics, vols. 1-2, edited by Daniel Herman (Hermes)
* Witzend by Wallace Wood et al., edited by Gary Groth, with Mike Catron (Fantagraphics)

*****

BEST US EDITION OF INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL

* Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Blacksad: Amarillo, Juan Diaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)
* Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn, Hugo Pratt (IDW/Euro Comics)
* Jaybird, Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen (Dark Horse/SAF)
* The Leaning Girl, Benoit Peeters & Francois Schuiten (Alaxis Press)

*****

BEST US EDITION OF INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL -- ASIA

* All You Need Is Kill, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Takeshi Obata & Yoshitoshi Abe (VIZ)
* In Clothes Called Fat, Moyoco Anno (Vertical)
* Master Keaton, vol 1, Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, & Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ)
* One-Punch Man, One & Yusuke Murata (VIZ)
* Showa 1939-1944 and Showa 1944-1953: A History of Japan, Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda & Yu (Yen Press)

*****

BEST WRITER

* Jason Aaron, Original Sin, Thor, Men of Wrath (Marvel); Southern Bastards (Image)
* Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel (Marvel); Pretty Deadly (Image)
* Grant Morrison, The Multiversity (DC); Annihilator (Legendary Comics)
* Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image); Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)
* G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
* Gene Luen Yang, Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse); The Shadow Hero (First Second)

*****

imageBEST WRITER/ARTIST

* Sergio Aragonés, Sergio Aragonés Funnies (Bongo); Groo vs. Conan (Dark Horse)
* Charles Burns, Sugar Skull (Pantheon)
* Stephen Collins, The Giant Beard That Was Evil (Picador)
* Richard McGuire, Here (Pantheon)
* Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)
* Raina Telgemeier, Sisters (Graphix/Scholastic)

*****

BEST PENCILLER/INKER

* Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
* Mike Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
* Frank Quitely, Multiversity (DC)
* Francois Schuiten, The Leaning Girl (Alaxis Press)
* Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
* Babs Tarr, Batgirl (DC)

*****

BEST PAINTER/MULTIMEDIA ARTIST (INTERIOR ART)

* Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen, Jaybird (Dark Horse)
* Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
* Mike Del Mundo, Elektra (Marvel)
* Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad: Amarillo (Dark Horse)
* J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo/DC)

*****

imageBEST COVER ARTIST

* Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics Darwyn Cooke Month Variant Covers (DC)
* Mike Del Mundo, Elektra, X-Men: Legacy, A+X, Dexter, Dexter Down Under (Marvel)
* Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie (Archie); Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight (Dark Horse); The Twilight Zone, Django/Zorro (Dynamite); X-Files (IDW)
* Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
* Phil Noto, Black Widow (Marvel)
* Alex Ross, Astro City (Vertigo/DC); Batman 66: The Lost Episode, Batman 66 Meets Green Hornet (DC/Dynamite)

*****

imageBEST COLORING

* Laura Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
* Nelson Daniel, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Judge Dredd, Wild Blue Yonder (IDW)
* Lovern Kindzierski, The Graveyard Book, vols. 1-2 (Harper)
* Matthew Petz, The Leg (Top Shelf)
* Dave Stewart, Hellboy in Hell, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, Shaolin Cowboy, Aliens: Fire and Stone, DHP (Dark Horse)
* Matthew Wilson, Adventures of Superman (DC); The Wicked + The Divine (Image), Daredevil, Thor (Marvel)

*****

BEST LETTERING

* Joe Caramagna, Ms. Marvel, Daredevil (Marvel)
* Todd Klein, Fables, The Sandman: Overture, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC); Nemo: The Roses of Berlin (Top Shelf)
* Max, Vapor (Fantagraphics)
* Jack Morelli, Afterlife with Archie, Archie Betty and Veronica, etc. (Archie)
* Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)

*****

BEST COMICS-RELATED PERIODICAL/JOURNALISM

* Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
* Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke (TwoMorrows)
* Comic Book Resources, edited by Jonah Weiland
* Comics Alliance, edited by Andy Khouri, Caleb Goellner, Andrew Wheeler, & Joe Hughes
* tcj.com, edited by Dan Nadel & Timothy Hodler (Fantagraphics)

*****

imageBEST COMICS-RELATED BOOK

* Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (4 vols.), edited by M. Keith Booker (ABC-CLIO)
* Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton, Greg Sadowski (Fantagraphics)
* Genius Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, vol. 3, Dean Mullaney & Bruce Canwell (IDW/LOAC)
* What Fools These Mortals Be: The Story of Puck, Michael Alexander Kahn & Richard Samuel West (IDW/LOAC)
* 75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen, Roy Thomas & Josh Baker (TASCHEN)

*****

BEST SCHOLARLY/ACADEMIC WORK

* American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife, A. David Lewis (Palgrave Macmillan)
* Considering Watchmen: Poetics, Property, Politics, Andrew Hoberek (Rutgers University Press)
* Funnybooks: The Improbable Glories of the Best American Comic Books, Michael Barrier (University of California Press)
* Graphic Details: Jewish Women's Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews, edited by Sarah Lightman (McFarland)
* The Origins of Comics: From William Hogarth to Winsor McCay, Thierry Smolderen, tr. by Bart Beaty & Nick Nguyen (University Press of Mississippi)
* Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay, Katherine Roeder (University Press of Mississippi)

*****

imageBEST PUBLICATION DESIGN

* Batman: Kelley Jones Gallery Edition, designed by Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios (Graphitti/DC)
* The Complete ZAP Comix Box Set, designed by Tony Ong (Fantagraphics)
* Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, designed by Jim Rugg (Locust Moon)
* Street View, designed by Pascal Rabate (NBM/Comics Lit)
* Winsor McCay's Complete Little Nemo, designed by Anna Tina Kessler (TASCHEN)

*****

In addition to the awards above, four individuals were named to the Eisner Hall Of Fame. Here is this year's nominees slate, with those entering the Hall Of Fame via vote in bold:

* Lynda Barry (1956)
* John Byrne (1950- )0
* Chris Claremont (1950- )
* Howard Cruse (1944- )
* Kim Deitch (1944- )
* Matt Groening (1954- )
* Denis Kitchen (1946- )
* Frank Miller (1957- )
* Francoise Mouly (1955- )
* Paul S. Newman (1924-1999)
* Bob Powell (1916-1967)
* Lily Renée Peters Phillips (1925- )
* Frank Robbins (1917­-1994)

They join the judges' choices, Marjorie Henderson Buell (1904-1993) and Bill Woggon (1911-2003).

*****

A number of awards affiliated with the Eisners were also given. The Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award went to Packrat Comics of Hilliard, Ohio. The Russ Manning Promising Newcomer award went to Jorge Corona and Greg Smallwood in a tie so rare they didn't even have two physical awards to give out. The Bill Finger Award went to John Stanley and Don McGregor. The Clampett Humanitarian Award went to a stunned Bill and Kayre Morrison.

Remembered in a tribute to those that passed over the last year were Sharon Sakai, Jeremy Dale, Lurene Haines, Seth Kushner, Gary Owens. Stan Freberg. Roger Slifer, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Dexter Taylor, Stan Goldberg, Irwin Hasen, Leonard Starr, Herb Trimpe.

*****
*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Carol Tilley, Comic Book Crusader


Gado Mwambempwa Gives A TED Talk


Breezy Presentation Of General San Diego Con Madness


Jae Lee Draws And Inks


A Jews And Comics Panel Whose Name Messes Up My Coding
 
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Go, Look: Matt Reints

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OTBP: Stargazer

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

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If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I’d Go To This

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Not Comics: Jana Heidersdorf

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Stay, Look: Images From Next Year’s Kramers Ergot Vol. 9

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July 9, 2015


CR Newsmaker Interview: Sammy Harkham, On The Announcement Of Kramers Ergot Vol. 9

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*****

imageI met the cartoonist and editor Sammy Harkham at a Comic-Con International either late in the period of my working at Fantagraphics or just after. I was younger then; Harkham was legitimately young. His Kramers Ergot series was on its first or second issue then. When the fourth volume of the anthology dropped in 2003, it was one of the stand up and notice moments that comics wasn't going to let the previous decade's industry-driven frustrations rob the art form of its momentum. Thoughtful and consistently of a high quality on the page, Kramers has gone on to become what many feel is the signature anthology of its time, reaching its buzz apex with volume 7, the famously tabloid-sized issue.

A discussion of potential covers and an Amazon.com listing have let it slip that a ninth volume of Kramers is imminent, with Fantagraphics as its publisher. I could not be happier to talk to Harkham about this major life's work of his -- and a bit about his own comic, Crickets, which this year saw a very strong fourth issue -- on Comic-Con weekend, the coverage of which sometimes strays a bit far from comics for my taste despite the con remaining a very effective comics show.

I exchanged e-mails with Harkham and then tweaked the result for flow. -- Tom Spurgeon

*****

TOM SPURGEON: This is a pretty standard interview question, but did you have any idea when you started that you might still be doing this anthology? Did you have that kind of ambition for it?

SAMMY HARKHAM: I like making Kramers Ergot, so despite whatever difficulties faced from issue to issue, I realized a couple years ago I would like to keep doing them for awhile. I think what evolves are the methods. I want to spend my creative time on my own strip. And I know my strip gets shortchanged when doing an issue of Kramers. So I changed the methods. Previous Kramers were put together by asking a specific group of artists to contribute and then working with the individual artist on what that would be. For one artist that might mean a 24 page story. For another it might mean a series of one pagers and sketchbook pages, etc. Then I spend up to a year just keeping track of people and seeing how it all fits. I didn't heavily edit, and only occasionally rejected stuff. I made sure to just ask the right people.

After #8, I decided to treat Kramers Ergot like a magazine: so a (fairly) open submission policy, the right to reject stuff, the right to edit material. It was no accident that RAW was so good and holds up so well and it did things very much in that way. And there were benefits this way: 1)I could ask a wider group of people, so the chances of getting something great from someone I barely was aware of but intrigued by were much higher. 2) I didn't need to chase people down and remind them of deadlines, since I wasn't waiting on any one person and would only work with what arrived. 3) I could treat it like a hobby for two years and only work on it like a gardening project and could focus more attention on my own comics. 4) While there was a deadline for the specific issue, I made clear to potential contributors that the submission door is always open. That means work will hopefully always be coming in and Kramers can come out whenever a new issue is ready, which is hopefully more frequent. 5) I think its good for cartoonists to have as many options as possible as to where to send work for publication, especially short stories. Kramers is now one more place.

imageSPURGEON: Was there a moment during Kramers' publishing history during which you kind of knew you were onto something special, something that at least within the small world of comics was unique and memorable? I and some other close watchers of the comics industry remember the release of Vol. 4 as being something of an event.

HARKHAM: Yeah, I don't know about that. I think there are great comics and great cartoonists out there and it is exciting to create a context since none really exists, or the ones that do exist I feel no kinship with. If you do that well, it's a bit magical because you are making aesthetic and philosophical connections between disparate work, and an undefinable feeling emerges, creating a whole better then the parts.

Kramers 4 was a good issue, as it was mostly led by the nose. And I didn’t bite off more then I could chew in the design and layout of the book. I think the big visual inspiration was Kim Hiorthoy’s first monograph, where it felt very very matter of fact and tactile and that book gave me the inspiration to leave out things I didn’t feel I understood well, things like page numbers, typography, introduction/editor notes, and mechanical design. In exchange, I had the content pages drawn as comics, the cover ran without a title, and there was no copy on it or in it beyond the bare essentials. That felt right because I was working within my means. It aimed low. but the majority of the work was good and there was a lot of it, and all that together probably resulted in a fun book for the reader.

SPURGEON: Would you agree that you've become more interested in shaping a specific kind of reading experience as the series has progressed? I think that was a hugely underrated aspect of the last one, the way the presentation kind of dictated how the work was received, and even what work went in there. Is that presence something we continue to see in Vol. 9?

HARKHAM: Yes. More than ever I think its important to let the work dictate the overall form and feeling of the object. Since I asked so many people to consider submitting, I didn't let myself think about what the finished book will be. I wanted to make those decisions once I had enough work submitted and accepted. It was super hard even just coming up with a page size to give to potential contributors, but I opted for 9 x 11.75 because that seems like an optimal reading and looking size up to 300 pages, and could be good as hardcover or softcover. Once the majority of the guts were locked, I could start looking at it and thinking about what all this feels like and how it should be presented (hardcover? soft? dust-jacket?edge tinting? etc.).

The last two issues of Kramers were formed with a format ideas at the outset -- with number 7, it was to do something at 16x21, in the tradition of old newspaper comics and with number 8 it was to do something pretty cold and angry and somewhat almost generic. They were both hard books to edit since it was about finding work to fit into a preconceived mold. Strangely, the great work I got for this new issue all felt aligned in some way, so the job, at its most basic, is to forefront that through the order of the stories and the design of the book.

SPURGEON: Do you have any thoughts about the changing context in which Kramers has been published? It used to be that anthologies were galvanizing documents for a specific generation or group of cartoonists, but that this was then underlined by watching individual artists make their own way and make their own comics... I get a less a sense of this now, and in fact there are many, many more anthologies now. What role does Kramers have and do anthologies have in terms of the overall marketplace, do you think? Could we use more anthologies? Fewer?

HARKHAM: The short answer is I think an anthology of quality is a great thing unto itself and that comics are a wonderful short form.

But the long answer is I think I look at anthologies a little differently than you. I love how they age as these great time capsules of a moment and sensibility and often of a region. I never really looked at anthologies as launching grounds for careers, but maybe you mean as avenues to discover work, which I agree with. I love the history and tradition of cartooning and looking at anthologies made in the past I am most struck by a beautiful sense of what cartooning is, as a medium. And Kramers Ergot is very much made in the spirit of that, to gather what I think is beautiful in comics past and present and gather it all together and present it well and say, "This is what we are today." To create a good context for them so the reader can engage it in the best possible way.

One of the more exciting things about an anthology is the context it creates. It contextualizes what all this stuff is within the wider culture. I think the last issue of Mould Map was absolutely stunning in this way. I think bad anthologies are bad not necessarily because of the work they include but how they present it. They do a disservice to the cartoonists by obscuring and muddling up their work with bad decisions. I don't relate to much of comics wider culture or the subcultures its often linked to -- illustration, pop culture, animation -- but at the same time I relate very much to the history and variety of the medium. It's my bread and butter.

Kramers Ergot is my continual attempt at creating a context that makes sense to me. And that's maybe a better answer to your earlier question about continuing to make these books. It's because of a profound love of the medium and I don't see that going away.

As to marketplace, if you mean economically, Kramers Ergot would not exist from that angle. it doesn't make enough money for anyone to justify its production. but like most of publishing, which is not lucrative, its still useful and necessary. I also don't think I agree with you that there are a lot of anthologies. maybe so, but few of quality. I am eagerly looking forward to Brandon Graham's Island. there are comics on the internet, but the internet is contextless. It's an ocean.

And lastly on "why," I am very much interested in figuring out a model to pay cartoonists a respectable page rate to do their work. it feels like the time is right for a non genre based semi-regular comics anthology to come out to the news stands. raw was on the way to being that, but Art and Francoise are bigger and better than that and couldn't be contained. Hopefully, soon, I will have figured it out. I think it is really necessary.

imageSPURGEON: You told me something in Portland that you and some of your peers in comics might have overthought how best to make comics, and that maybe it's still all about just completing work and getting it out there on a regular basis. Is that a fair encapsulation of your view? Can you course-correct, is there an element with Crickets and with this new KE volume of just getting to work?

HARKHAM: Yes thats about it. I talk to cartoonists and you get a sense of scrambling to figure out ways to make it work, financially, once they seem to have developed a fairly good sized readership, a solid publisher, and some positive "buzz." It seems the best you can do, the best combination you can hope for starting out, is to be able to do work of high quality fast. If you can do that, you have a chance in comics. Most are either too slow, or they release a lot of work but of middling quality.

I am genuinely in awe of anybody in the comics industry who makes their living from making comics. That's a wonderful thing. What I think the rest of us do, is at a certain point, you begin to scramble and to find ways to make it work I need an - agent! I need to do a topical graphic novel! A memoir! I need to do a web comic! But once you exhaust yourself thinking about what you did wrong, what could you do better, it really is about producing the work and just releasing it, and trusting that it will find whatever audience there is for it, naturally. You can't look at the success of another cartoonist and assume you can copy it. So therefore, just do the work and things fall where they fall.

You can look at a successful non-genre cartoonist, like Chris Ware, and it's as simple as it gets as far as a "plan." He drew Jimmy Corrigan one page a week -- it ran in weekly papers. When he had enough material for a comic book, it came out as a comic. Then when it was all done it came out as a book. I think thats as good a model as any, with the web being the equivalent of the weekly paper.

So I don't think cartoonists should worry about finding a way. If anything, they have a tendency to get in their own ways and make things incredibly complicated. Very few people will have the readership of Ware, so I am not taking about making a living now, I am talking about a system to keep engaged and working on comics. I am tempted to think cartoonists are like fiction writers, who also rarely make a real living from their work, but there is institutional support in the other arts thats are not in place in comics. People love the story of carver sitting in his driveway writing at his dashboard after work, but it's not true. Talented writers are often recognized and encouraged and supported very early on. The more of that in comics the better. Until then, I think its healthy to expect nothing, do it because you love the process, the medium, and the great people it puts you in contact with. That's enough.

SPURGEON: The fact that I saw you at one of the 18 billion shows we have in a year makes me wonder if you had any thoughts about all of those conventions. You certainly have benefited by being able to debut work to a roomful peers, but is there too much of a good thing? Are we asking cons to step in for a kind of distribution and day to day industry that just doesn't exist?

HARKHAM: No, they are fine, they contribute positively to the overall industry. They build community and relationships and that's important for a lot of people unto itself and maybe, just maybe, that could lead to financial opportunities as well. I had a revelation a couple years ago at HeroesCon in North Carolina, where I loved walking around the show, and looking at old comics and fanzines and watching guys like Kevin Nowlan and Brian Bolland draw commissions for customers, but at the same time I also made no money as an exhibitor. And i realized that just because I love a certain subculture -- in this case comics fandom circa 1978 -- it doesn't mean they will love me back. And vice versa. as I said earlier, I don't relate to any of the current comics cultures, so shows are not superimportant to me or my process. But I think they are important for many artists, where they do relate to the other work being exhibited and the general vibe of those scenes.

SPURGEON: Fantagraphics isn't a new player. What does that company do right now, what role do they play and what do they bring to the table, that makes them an attractive partner for you on this?

HARKHAM: I think about Kim Thompson every day, and I don't know what Fantagraphics is now without him, so there is an unknowable element with working with them. Obviously, my identity and life path was completely formed by the company as a reader in the mid-'90s, between The Comics Journal, the new comics they published, and the reprints.

imageI am friends with Eric Reynolds but we hadn't worked together 'til Josh Simmons' Black River book, which I designed. He was very open to exploring whatever notions we had on that project. it was after that that I thought maybe Fantagraphics would be ideal partners for Kramers. They are at this point a well-oiled machine in regards to promotion and distribution, and I am intrigued by using that machine for a book like Kramers. And they give their authors creative control (often too much control I think!).

I spent over a year considered my options, and I think Fanta offers the best of all worlds. Doing the book with an art book publisher had certain benefits, but they wouldn't sell more copies and it would annoy me the book would be in the art section of the stores. I considered self-publishing it since thats the best bet to pay good page rates, since I would hand sell the majority of them. But a friend made a nice point that Kramers has a wide readership and self publishing would only narrow that, and in this current climate of Kickstarter where people forgo the casual browser and instead focus on maximizing dollars out of the core fan base, that seemed wrong.

Kramers Ergot has never been published by a company as big as Fantagraphics, so I am excited to work with them and see what we can do. I also feel very comfortable positioning the anthology within the Fantagraphics family, as I love their history, and think they are the best comics publisher in the world right now.

SPURGEON: How long can you continue to do Kramers? How do you mark their effectiveness, the differences between volumes? If this one works, do you have a hunch as to why that will be? How do you even measure the success of a book like this one?

HARKHAM: Man, all these questions are big questions. [Spurgeon laughs]

I will continue to do Kramers as long as I am interested in comics. There is always work, older stuff that is out of print or new stuff you feel isn't getting just due that you want to stand behind. It's a good side project for me. The frustrating thing with editing an anthology is you are only as good as the contributions. So I ask 60-80 cartoonists to contribute and I work with what I got. There are people, Shary Flenniken for example, who I call every year and reject me every year. I start with a huge list of ideas and it morphs and shifts with what I can get in the time frame we have. I just try to make it as good as possible.

If it works, its because people trusted me and sent me great work and I delegated right. I measure the success of a book like this by copies sold and when I finally look at it for the first time in a couple years and it works for me at that remove.

*****

* Kramers Ergot Vol. 9, Edited By Sammy Harkham, Fantagraphics Books, softcover, 250 pages, March 2016, $45.

*****

* cover to KE Vol. 9
* photo of Harkham by Whit Spurgeon, 2009, at HeroesCon
* KE Vol. 4
* image from Crickets #4
* the Black River book Harkham designed
* cover to Crickets #4 (below)

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: Savannah Storm

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Go, Look: Last Week’s New Yorker/DnQ Comic By R. Sikoryak

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Not Comics: Helena Hauss

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* I wish I could say that I've had some encounter with paradigm-shifting on-line news, but most of what I hear is pretty straight-forward. Comixology, who made a big splash last year with its Amazon.com announcement and forceful push of its Submit program, had a much quieter panel on Thursday, the questions from the audience being more from users with particular wants.

* this isn't in any way to denigrate their big content-driven story, the signing of Delcourt. I'm going to have to figure that one out a bit, but it does play on the fact that 1) the BD publishers in general (supported by their ministry of culture) has long wanted a more significant push into North American markets and this could facilitate that, and 2) it does recall the fact that one thing Comixology did when it was jostling for position with a bunch of other competitors was plant a significant service flag in European soil.

* I'd go talk to more webcomics people set up at Comic-Con, but those people terrify me.

* Spike Trotman, a significant and important user of on-line crowdfunding mechanisms and always worth a listen in general, will be speaking in San Francisco today. If I weren't so tired I'd make some joke about how far away the outer rooms of the San Diego Convention Center are.

* finally, Greg Hunter has debuted a new podcast which will be made available through TCJ.com. Bookmark and listen accordingly.
 
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If I Were In San Diego, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: More Hooks Devlin

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Go, Look: Blue Bolt Comics #3

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on The Nature Of Nature. Alex Hoffman on Lydian. Shannon Ozirny on The Princess And The Pony.

* totally missed this Kyle Baker cartoon turned tote from a week ago.

* finally, a bit of not comics: Todd Brendan Fahey talks to Mark Frauenfelder about the 'zine stage of Boing Boing. It's a good interview, doubly so if you didn't know that Boing Boing had a 'zine stage.
 
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July 8, 2015


Koyama Press Releases Previews Of Fall Closser And Mai Books

Annie Koyama and Ed Kanerva of Koyama Press released previews of two of their Fall books this morning: Black Rat, by Cole Closser; See You Next Tuesday by Jane Mai. They will be released in September and November respectively, and we're pleased to present those pages here during Comic-Con International week. -- Tom Spurgeon

Koyama announced its Fall line-up in April.

*****

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* Black Rat, Cole Closser, 9781927668245, softcover, 160 pages, September 2015, $15.
* Publisher's Description: "Black Rat is the sleeper in the shadow, the wanderer in the woods. He walks between worlds and travels through time -- slaying monsters, solving mysteries and philosophizing with his fists amidst a barrage of butchered quotes and borrowed styles in a series of seemingly disparate, sometimes violently visceral vignettes."

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*****

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* See You Next Tuesday, 9781927668252, softcover, 128 pages, November 2015, $12.
* Publisher's Description: "This collection of diary comics features the ennui and wee of twenty-something Jane Mai whose emotions and art traverse the high and low. Moments of visual poetry and heartbreak are interspersed by bad body hair and bathroom disasters; much like life."

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Read: Annual Cartoon Issue Of Seven Days Is Out

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It's one of the great traditions and one I wish would catch on with more alt-weeklies than already do it: Vermont's Seven Days has their annual cartoon issue up and ready to go. They do some nice collaborative things with that issue, so it's not just a straight up content dump.
 
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Go, Look: Black Kiss Covers Gallery

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Malaysian Cartoonists At The Far End Of Industry Heat Death

I read this wire piece on veteran Malaysian cartoonists for the novelty of reading something about cartooning in that part of the world that wasn't the depressing spectacle of Zunar being sued or harassed by an army of ding-dongs in that country's judicial and police systems. I found it entertaining and affecting all on its own. It's basically a portrayal of what's happened to four cartoonists once their industry took the best of parts of them and then faded in the face of growing technology and the popularity of other media. It's sort of like what very well could have happened in the US in the 1990s if there wasn't this significant hardcore fandom and pernicious arts element to the industry here. The individual stories are sometimes funny -- at one point there was apparently a movement in Malaysia to make cartoonists into singers, which I hope to God happens here -- but the overall melancholy seeps through.
 
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Go, Look: Last Week’s New Yorker/DnQ Comic By Debbie Drechsler

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Go, Watch: Kate Beaton Video Over At Time Magazine On How To Make It As A Cartoonist

This is quite nice: great placement, enjoyable video. There's no better spokesperson for comics than Beaton, specifically so for the act of making comics when you realize her story is that she just started doing what she does and the audience came to her.

It's difficult for me sometimes to think of people not being at least a little bit excited about what's happened to comics over the last 20 years when they see something like this. There's so much work to do, but the extension of matter-of-fact acceptance for what highly skilled comics-makers of all types do, a cultural pass that used to be reserved to a few high-income bracket practitioners from the strip world and a half-dozen editorial cartoonists, that seems incredibly healthy to me.
 
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Go, Look: Herluf Bidstrup

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The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* as you read this, Comic-Con International is either about to be underway or is underway, people are standing in lines, and many comics people are trying to cross the street and not having a lot of luck in doing so. Here's hoping for a safe time and every story by Monday being a publishing one.

* if you're interested in the show I'm running, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, aka CXC, stop by the Cartoon Books booth and pick up one of our postcards. Or stop me and ask. Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer should be able to talk your ear off about it as well.

* CXC put out two press releases this week and their combined final special guest list is up at the main site. One of those press releases announced a con within that con: Sol-Con: The Black And Brown Comix Expo 2015.

* SPX has started announcing guests according to its stated theme for this year of focusing on 21st Century cartoonists. They'll do many more announcements like this one. I think they may have done a second one, but I can't find it sitting here in the dark in a hotel room on a Thursday morning.

* hopefully by now I'll have thrown the spotlight on this via a "Go, Look" entry, but in case I didn't or you missed it, Hero Complex ran some lovely older photos of the San Diego Con. One thing that the big show shares with the comics industry is that a lot of those initially involved were very young, so 40 to 45 years in you still see them running around the place or recent memory lingers.

* I sort of forgot that Conan O'Brien is going to be in San Diego. I wonder if that will be noticeable. One thing that's happened over the last few years is that the Hollywood stuff in particular has spread into downtown in a way that takes venues and restaurants away as an option for others to use. There's an element of being a comics person there of having to scramble a bit if you run into that kind of thing, like a restaurant closed down you walked six blocks to see. It's an interesting aspect of the show now, and another measure of its success.

* here's a report from the Kids Read Comics festival up in Michigan.

* people are excited about a KFC comic book, and why wouldn't you be? I don't know how wide a splash something like that would make but it's a perfect score in terms of hitting a specific cultural impulse that favors humorous, kitschy nostalgia. Ken Parille points out that the image has negative connotations as well. I can't imagine that was intentional, but yikes.

* finally, Mark Evanier relates a funny anecdote about the late Shel Dorf.
 
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If I Were In Los Angeles, I’d Go To This

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

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Go, Look: JW McGurk

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Inaction Comics #1. Sean Gaffney On Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 14, Toradora! Vol. 7 and Fragments Of Horror. Henry Chamberlain on Herald: Lovecraft And Tesla Vol. 1. Johanna Draper Carlson on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 14 and Cartoon Guide To Algebra. Alex Hoffman on The Oven.

* Kelly Thompson writes about the role of humor in getting her onboard with certain comics, which isn't something that usually gets considered in terms of mainstream comics.

* J. Caleb Mozzocco discusses Wonder Woman's latest costume change.

* Michael Buntag is running multiple black and white convention photos under its own tag.

* there were no surprises on this list of ten best comics shops in Los Angeles, which was actually a little sad -- I was hoping to find a place I hadn't heard of yet. Still, that's a bunch of great stores and one of the reasons that the Los Angeles area can make a claim for being the capital of US comics.

* finally, Philip Smith looks at 1998 in Indonesian comics.
 
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Go, Look: Photo Gallery From The Recent World Of Shojo Manga Show At The Billy Ireland

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Go, Look: Strange Trip

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Go, Read: Reuters Report On Greek Cartoonist’s On-Line Harassment

Dina Kyriakidou at Reuters has a report up here about the cartoonist Arkas receiving hostile message for cartoons made that touch on Greece's intense economic crisis right at the moment. This may seem like just another Tuesday to some American cartoonists, political or not, but the author uses it to explain how these kind of hostile reactions seem to be part of the political process now, to the point that a party official had to issue a denial that they were involved in an organized way.

One big issue to track for 2016, and not just in cartooning, will be how political parties and individual agents try to control on-line reaction, reinforcement and revenge as a political tool. There's very much a "fuck that guy" ethos in political discussion and the culture generally right now from both sides that leads me to think that just about anything short of physical reprisal will be on the table in terms of reaction to opinion.
 
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Go, Look: Last Week’s New Yorker/DnQ Comic By Gilbert Hernandez

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July 7, 2015


This Isn’t A Library: Notable Releases Into 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. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

APR150457 BACCHUS OMNIBUS ED GN (MR) $39.99
I very much love the first big Eddie Campbell book that Top Shelf did, the one featuring all of the Alec for the very basic reasons I think there's a bunch of great comics in there. My hopes for the first Bacchus volume are a little less concerned with staggering greatness on every page but also that fun sense of discovery where you look at someone's work in a different way for getting to read a bunch of it at once. Between this book and the Drawn and Quarterly foot-shattering tome, you won't have to leave your hammock until Labor Day.

imageMAY151059 MOWGLIS MIRROR GN (MR) $8.00
This was the best new comic I've read thus far this year, and it's been a good year for comics. It's even an attractive -- and very affordable for what it provides -- art object. One thing that's great about Olivier Schrauwen's work that's true here is how uncomfortable and unsettling the work; it just doesn't fit within any expectations I have for a comics story. This is a fine follow-up to last year's top-five-of-2014 work Arsene Schrauwen. There's not cartoonist I look forward to reading more right now.

MAR150091 CREEPY PRESENTS ALEX TOTH HC $19.99
I've lost track a bit on the Dark Horse hardcover collections of horror material, particularly on books like this where it's a break from numbered collection. That said, there's no comics artist in history that is more interesting to see work through visual solutions than Alex Toth was, and the Warren work was almost always in the top 25 percent of scripts on which Toth worked. That seems like a nice price point, too.

MAR150022 HIGH CRIMES HC $19.99
This is the collection of the most lauded Monkeybrain serial that isn't Bandette. Happily, it's a very different kind of comic altogether, and I think a collection might actually outperform the serial in terms of putting the names of its creators, Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa, on the lips of fans -- they're already on the radar of those who hire and publish. I'm looking forward to reading it all at once, even though that's not a genre in which I normally traffic.

APR150260 BATMAN THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA TP VOL 02 $12.99
Jiro Kuwata can be your favorite Batman artist and no one should ever complain to you. I just sort of enjoy these comics for their rambling narrative ease and fun design, as opposed to some sort of accidental disquisition on manga or even as a Batman Object.

APR158516 DARTH VADER #1 GRANOV 4TH PTG VAR $4.99
The fourth printing is worth noting. I'm greatly interested to see how many of the Marvel Star Wars books can make it into a third or four year. They've set themselves quite the task, which is working a very specific conception of Star Wars but also finding enough in terms of the way of rich story that doesn't get boring or it doesn't feel like padding between the "real" stories, the movies. I'm dying to know how it will turn out.

MAY151466 FANTASY SPORTS GN VOL 01 $19.95
I'll look at anything Sam Bosma, and this is I assume a continuation/conclusion of the comics that saw light a few years back as Fantasy Basketball. This is one of those nice-looking Nobrow hardcover, which I'm sure will be hard to miss.

APR150305 WILL EISNERS THE SPIRIT A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS HC $49.99
FEB150841 KING SIZE KIRBY SLIPCASE HC $200.00
As is the case with the aforementioned Alex Toth, it's hard not to want every single thing published with work from Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. That Kirby hardcover volume is 800 pages plus of work from a variety of eras and is likely quite something, even if you're like me and prefer to collect him in original comic book form barring some special flourish (like the Artist's Editions size and original art focus). The Eisner seems more like a gift book in that it seems broader than a hardcore reader intended project, more a survey of the character, even, including work down with him by other comics-makers. I'd still look, though, that's for sure.

APR151047 ARCHIE #1 BLANK SKETCH CVR $3.99
APR151045 ARCHIE #1 BRITTNEY WILLIAMS CVR $3.99
APR151046 ARCHIE #1 CHIP ZDARSKY CVR $3.99
APR151028 ARCHIE #1 COLLEEN COOVER CVR $3.99
APR151037 ARCHIE #1 DAVID MACK CVR $3.99
APR151030 ARCHIE #1 EISMA CVR $3.99
APR151031 ARCHIE #1 FRANCAVILLA CVR $3.99
APR151032 ARCHIE #1 GENEVIEVE F T CVR $3.99
APR151043 ARCHIE #1 GREG SCOTT CVR $3.99
APR151035 ARCHIE #1 HACK CVR $3.99
APR151036 ARCHIE #1 HASPIEL CVR $3.99
APR151027 ARCHIE #1 J SCOTT CAMPBELL CVR $3.99
APR151033 ARCHIE #1 MICHAEL GAYDOS CVR $3.99
APR151039 ARCHIE #1 MIKE NORTON CVR $3.99
APR151038 ARCHIE #1 MORITAT CVR $3.99
APR151040 ARCHIE #1 ORDWAY CVR $3.99
APR151041 ARCHIE #1 RAMON PEREZ CVR $3.99
APR151026 ARCHIE #1 REG STAPLES CVR $3.99
APR151042 ARCHIE #1 RON SALAS CVR $3.99
APR151034 ARCHIE #1 SANFORD GREENE CVR $3.99
APR151044 ARCHIE #1 T REX CVR $3.99
APR151029 ARCHIE #1 TANIA DEL RIO CVR $3.99
Our retailers are too smart now for variant covers to poison direct market retail, so I'm actually happy when they're done occasionally because 1) I can imagine in many cases a comics fan wanting a certain cover and 2) a lot of people I know get an extra gig. This seems sort of silly, though. In fact, I'd sort of argue that if it's going to take stunts like this to get a foundational-shift effort like continuity-style Archie comics going, it may be that more thought needs to be given with how these books are going to be presented in the non-stunt way that will eventually need to sustain the project.

imageMAY151362 CRICKETS #4 (MR) (NOTE PRICE) $8.00
MAY150084 ABE SAPIEN #24 $3.50
MAY150885 CHEER UP ONE SHOT (MR) $5.00
MAY150502 SAGA #30 (MR) $2.99
MAY150508 WALKING DEAD #144 (MR) $2.99
MAY151468 INVADER ZIM #1 $3.99
If you count the Schrauwen as a comic book, the appearance of Sammy Harkham's latest make this the best alt-comics format week in a few years. As it is, it's a really good one. That's a solid offering from Harkham, in the news this week for the Kramers Ergot Vol. 9 announcement. Cheer Up is Noah Van Sciver's attempt to do a comic a lot like the underground-influenced ones from the 1990s. That should be fun. After that we get the Mignola-verse book, which we always point to not just because I read those comics but because they're consistently available in a way I think makes them really good citizens of the Direct Market. Saga is a big, big seller right now; that's another transitional issue. I bet retailers are happy when that's one on the list because I bet it pulls a few customers into the store that may not show up all that frequently between issues. Walking Dead #144 is another transitional issue as their recent storyline heats up. I think this is where one of their collection series will end, on this issue, and the pay off between issues #145 to #150 should be something considering how they kind of orient that comic towards extra sales. Invader Zim I'm mentioning because I agree with its publisher that there's some potential life in that project, which is 15-20 years old by now.

MAY151447 IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME SWANNS WAY GN $26.95
This is a sizable WW Norton publication of Stephane Heuet's ongoing adaptation of Proust. Adapting Proust always seems to me a slightly more advance way of reading Proust, such are the challenges and rewards there. A brief look over at Jog's description -- I swear I don't do it a lot -- indicates supplementary material out the wazoo.

MAY151201 MOOSE GN (MR) $17.00
This is the Max De Radigues comic which was one of the highlights of the short-lived but still-missed (by me) serial comics clusters phase of Oily Comics' young life. I greatly enjoyed them that way. I believe it was collected for one of the European markets, which is probably the production basis for the way it's going to be presented in this form. You see the effortless-seeming visual appeal in the cover.

MAY151750 HIRSCHFELD CENTURY PORTRAIT OF ARTIST & HIS AGE HC $40.00
One thing on my "I wish comics would do this list" is to lay claim to Al Hirschfeld as a comic-makers in addition to his legendary status as a caricaturist. A lot of his books, and hell, even the theater drawings, can be viewed as comics with the narrative simply being the exploration of the theater world at different stages of its existence. Some of his earlier book projects were even closer to standard-narrative comics that way. As always, it's likely a marvel to look at even if you don't get bogged down in definitional terms.

*****

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 failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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Go, Look: All-Stars #2

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Festivals Extra: Eisners Unveils Related Media Driven Presenter Line-Up

The Eisner Awards has released its list of presenters for Friday's show. It's very genre-TV show driven, I think more than any other presentes slate ever, although there are a few comics people in there. I think that's a viable strategy and with Showtime hosting I wondered if there might be a slight move in that direction. I mean, I don't really have a horse in that race, I just think it's interesting.

I will be in attendance third row from the back drinking beer and watching on the big screens, my Eisner home for the rest of my days. I'm in it to see the creators of my childhood go into the hall of fame at this point. As for the yearly awards, I hope for all first-time winners because it's a nice thing to win one of those. The only category about which I've heard open speculation is whether or not Kelly Sue DeConnick will win the Best Writer Eisner, and I think that's a possibility. In my former category before recusal, I have no idea who's going to win although I would have lost a colossal bet made six years ago or whatever their first year was that Comics Alliance wouldn't have at least one as of yet.

I'm also rooting for Jonathan Ross to be funny, which seems a pretty safe bet.
 
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If I Were In Minneapolis, I’d Go To This

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

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Go, Look: A Few Stories From John Stanley

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Alex Hoffman on Miseryland. Andy Oliver on Bimba #2 and In The Frame: 2012-2014. Jason Wilkins on Russian Olive To Red King. Sean Gaffney on Non Non Biyori Vol. 1 and The Isolator Vol. 1.

* Greg Hunter talks to Josh Simmons.

* this discussion between Matthew Meylikhov and Eric Stephenson of Image is interesting in that it catches Stephenson right before the latest Image Expo and thus provides a snapshot as to he sees and is willing to present that key comics company. Positioning Image might be easier in terms of its relationship to Marvel and DC than it is to everyone else, in that Marvel/DC lack a creator-owned element that rewards creators at a certain level of sales the way Image's deal does. The other contrasts may be just as strong, but I suspect they're trickier to present in public.

* here are some photos from that Fantagraphics garage sale from a couple of weeks back. When Fantagraphics used to have a much bigger warehouse operation -- before letting Diamond handle a substantial part of that business -- there were a lot more damaged copies and a lot more bargains for employees doubling up with their work-there discount.

* finally, I want to separate Craig Fischer's dig into the Fraction/Aja/et al Hawkeye series from the rest of the reviews, mostly for its length but also because he mentions that the comic book -- a fun one -- was a pleasure he denied himself by boycotting Marvel for a few years over their treatment of the Kirby Family. Also, with the last issue of that series imminent, the examination is timely.

 
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Go, Look: Salt Soap

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Sedition Case Hearing Against Zunar Moved To September

The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who has spent years fighting for a reasonable expectation of free political expression for his cartoon, sent along this update on his next court hearing. This time he's being tried under a half-century old Sedition Act, with a jail sentence possible.
Court Update - New date is 9th September 2015

The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today had adjourned my case to another date -- on 9th September 2015, pending a decision by the Federal Court in a separate case which challenged the constitutionally of the Sedition Act 1948.

I was charged with nine charges under the Sedition Act over tweet postings that criticized the verdict of Anwar Ibrahim. The total maximum penalty is 43 years jail term.
As always, I'll state that I just see this as an ongoing, rolling travesty more to do with political resentment than any sort of principled application of law, even stupid law. I hope for the best outcome possible.
 
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Go, Look: Last Week’s New Yorker/DnQ Comic By Diana Obomsawin

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July 6, 2015


Maryse Wolinski Files Complaint Over Charlie Hebdo Security Issues

One of the elements of the Charlie Hebdo murders on which I've seen little reporting is that on the practical matters involved with the assault and aftermath: how decisions were made on both sides to pursue certain strategies, and how they were carried out. I'm sure that material exists in the crush of coverage, I just haven't run across it in the normal course of things.

I note, then, with some interest that Georges Wolinksi's widow Maryse has filed a civil suit regarding what she called the "Security Failures" of January 7, including why there was only one officer assigned to Charb of the four on his detail and why bicycle officers were sent in response. The prime minister's calm approval of the case and the explanations that will follow interests me, too; he states he hopes the investigation will run its course and that the widow deserves to know the truth that her plaintiff status may help her ascertain.
 
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Go, Look: Grzegorz Przybys

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Bundled Extra: Notes On Last Week’s Image Expo

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* so Image Expo was last week and I sort of missed it because I'm not very good at my job right now. That will change, but we're on the tail end of that period. So let's talk about it for most of the column.

* Image Expos are that publishing house's mini-cons that kind of serve as a PR hub for each round of publishing announcements. It's smart because they can move it around to a date where they can then kind of own the PR cycle, and then supplement it at a big show like SDCC and NYCC or have those announcements serve as talking points on the floor.

* I haven't seen anything in the reporting that suggests there's a lot that went on last week in terms of the scene of it. That's worth noting because at one point that was almost the entirety of the news coming out of the show: a photo taken one year where people used the symbolism of a specific photo to criticize the company. I saw nothing like that this time. It seemed like a well-rounded group in terms of diverse backgrounds and different places in their careers.

* I like Eric Stephenson, and think he's done a very good to excellent job at Image (I'm hedging because I haven't done a deep study of it). I enjoy his keynote addresses, and I think they're wonderful polemics. This is the 2015 version. I would quibble with his history because I'm a quibbler, but I'm happy that he does provide historical context for Image's creator-owned aspect; sometimes it's assumed Image invented that, and as Stephenson notes, that's wrong. What's Stephenson's speech is really good at is in showing how advantageous that deal can be for creators that a) can sell over a certain amount and/or b) are set up in a way to pursue deals in other media. I think that's the way Image is set up AND historical circumstance. Image worked astoundingly well during the early 1990s industry swell because the high end numbers were crazy and the opportunity for those to go independent projects given the right hype was well established. Image works well right now because you can generate significant profit relative to mainstream rates for modest to good sales and you're free to make your own media deals. For people that can't sell to a certain number of copies or who aren't interested in deals with other media, that a whole different conversation. I bet someone with a book to book knowledge of the company might be able to piece together whether or not Image has a consistent, through-line history of developing hits that don't come with some sort of creative imprimatur from the mainstream comics companies.

* for a summary, of all the things I've read I prefer this gallery of straight up PR over reports from the Image Expo floor.

* I think the most important two stories in a publishing news sense are the last two listed. Bryan Lee O'Malley writing for Leslie Hung's art, Mickey Quinn's color and Maré Odomo's lettering and design on a project called Snotgirl set in the world of fashion blogging. Every known in that last sentence breaks sharply with the typical genre comic company press release. Also, O'Malley is a considerable talent and built up a lot of goodwill with comics fans that hasn't begun to dissipate. In other words, I think an O'Malley project would be welcome with a significant amount of anticipation and happiness no matter what that project might be, and this one sounds promising -- mostly by not sounding like anything else. I also think this is an area to explore for Image. Like if they don't have something brewing with Raina Telgemeier, say, I hope that such a phone call was at least considered. The Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin news announced catches my eye in similar fashion because that's a high profile webcomics project that Private Eye thing they did and Image has never quite cracked that, despite that seeming to be a generally good area for both themselves and Dark Horse. Having them do a Walking Dead story is also stand up and notice just because it's a rare thing now, but kind of reminds me of the inducement quality that working on early Image books had for a few independent creators.

* I'm sure there are fans of all of the projects. Some of them sound clever to me; some don't. I'm not sure if Ringside (Joe Keatinge, Nick Barber, Simon Gough, Ariana Maher) is the first smart mark wrestling comic, but one seems overdue. It's hard for me to say which television-pitch sounding series sounds better than the other one with a lot of their line, and I have that reaction when I read their comics. Image seems to me a company without a lot of critical darling performers or exquisite fan favorite middle listers; the books that sell the best seem to me mostly the best-selling books, perhaps more than any genre-focused company in the medium's history.

* a few projects announced caught my eye for specific reasons beyond "hey that might do well." Getting Kaare Andrews on board to do a book is a nice get for them, and they should very much make a big deal out of someone's first time the way they seem to in the PR. It seems to me that Image has been the majority causal factor for a definite talent drain at both companies because of the financial opportunities the Image model provides, and, I'm sure, the creative issues involved. It would be nice to see the writer Gail Simone back in front of a strong-selling title that didn't have a giant corporation attached lamprey-like to its jugular. The book announced with Cat Staggs, a houswife/hitman Freaky Friday switcheroo, isn't really up my alley, but all that means is that the execution has to be there and comics is a medium of execution over conception. Jason Aaron working with artist R.M. Guerra and colorist Giulia Brusco on a savage bible stories book called The Goddamned has the benefit of falling more in line with a more sharply conceived public branding element Aaron can offer that maybe Simone can't right now. I've enjoyed the work of the artist Tula Lotay in collaboration with Warren Ellis, so it's nice they're working together again on a book called Heartless. This phase of Ellis' writing career where he kind of moves in and out of various projects like the actor Jon Hamm taking on supporting roles all over the place intrigues me. It makes sense for the long term to sometimes have periods that aren't tear-down-the-sun major projects, and the resulting books are much more amenable companions for me than the latest book Mark Millar is shouting at me is the greatest work in all of mankind. The last book that I took note of on the list is the Steven T. Seagle collaboration with Jason Adam Katzenstein on Camp Midnight. Seagle keeping his hand in in comics by writing projects of varying size and vastly different genres is another career path that makes sense to me. He's quietly became a very versatile comics-maker.

* that's about it, really. It seemed lacking to me in terms of the big names of this particular Image era, but it's nice to see what sifts to the surface when you explore that kind of list. I think that company's in a pretty good place right now. I'd love to see them break out of their reliance on genre-with-a-twist book on their lower end, but what moves they've made in areas other than that haven't always worked out. They're going to be in the catbird seat for a while because of their deal in the context of this specific era, and the ideal career that many in mainstream comics feel is out there for them and which company many feel gets them closer to it. I hope Image remains ambitious.

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If I Were In Tampa, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: DC Comics Splash Pages From July 1975

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* over at The Beat, here's a report on Comics In The Turkic World.

image* Alex Hoffman on Sleepwalking. Rob Bricken on All Star Batman And Robin. Scott Cederlund on Blubber #1. Rob McMonigal on Fantasy Sports #1 and Ei8ht #1-5. James Kaplan on Material #1-2. Andrew Weiss on Atomic War. Tom Murphy on The Weight #1-2.

* Frederik Hautain talks to Robert Sammelin.

* James Whitbrook notes that retailers have received a massive at least basic information dump on its titles going forward. My first impression is that Marvel may be starting to feel the Image talent bleed a bit; that's not the loaded line-up front to back, particularly in terms of writers, that the company enjoyed three years ago. Other than that, you could tell me this was a list of books from the last time they changed everything and I wouldn't argue with you. It's all in the execution, though.

* the CBLDF is offering a new t-shirt designed by Brian Wood.

* Tom Murphy previews Jennifer Hayden's new book.

* finally, Michael Cavna canvasses some political cartoonists as to who in the primaries -- with an immense number of semi-serious to serious candidates in the mix -- they might like to draw over the long haul.
 
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Go, Look: Trevor Alixopulos Draws After Bob Lubbers

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one of my favorite Internet things in a while
 
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Atena Farghadani’s Lawyer Details Handshake Experience

It's hard not to let your jaw drop right to the ground reading about the experience the lawyer of artist Atena Farghadani had after being arrested for shaking his client's hand: two prisons, multiple interrogations, a total of four days swept out of his world and into that of the prisoner. One hopes that this builds both regional and international pressure in terms of the unreasonableness of the court in this case, and that that would somehow benefit Farghadani. Every day this continues is a real punch in the gut for civilization that any victor at this point would be tempered.
 
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Missed It: Emily Carroll Interprets Neko Case

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Missed It: Kenyan Cartoonist Terry Hirst, RIP

imageDoing a deep google search on an unrelated topic, I discovered that I had totally missed the recent passing of the dean of Kenyan cartoonists, Terry Hirst. The British-born Hirst transitioned from secondary school education to university-level education and then into cartooning in the tumultuous 1960s into 1970s period for the country. He helped establish Joe, likely the leading satirical magazine for East Africa during its publishing heyday. Its reach was far enough that there's a story out there that Ghana-born cartoonist Frank Odoi one day simply showed up at the Joe offices, ready to join them in their work.

Hirst helped establish a line of kids comics in the 1980s, based on Kenyan folk tales, and later was a pioneer in educational comics-making. The entire time he served as a mentor for multiple generations that have followed, a return in many ways to his educational roots. What little I know about African cartooning and comics making suggests he will be greatly missed by many whose lives he directly touched.

Hirst was 82 years old.
 
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Go, Look: Last Week’s New Yorker/DnQ Comic By Michael DeForge

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July 5, 2015


Go, Read: Brigid Alverson On Tokyopop’s Not Really A Comeback

There's a good article up on Comic Book Resources by Brigid Alverson about the recent announcement of grander publishing plans by Stu Levy for his Tokyopop company. As Alverson notes, Tokyopop suspended its publishing operations in 2011 after a few years of being dragged behind the manga stampeded they helped instigate, and since then has slowly worked its way to the point where titles can be announced and a request for portfolios can be made.

As Heidi MacDonald sums up here survey-style, there is still a lot of resentment over the shape and nature of Tokyopop's one-time contracts for original comics content, so bad that they're the stuff of which legends are made in an industry that routinely exploits free labor. Alverson wonders if there are signs in Tokyopop's slow build back to full publishing that might indicate a different direction, but she seems more optimistic than most. The proof will be the contracts themselves.

Certainly there are still plenty of talented young people dying to sign over rights for a chance at a comics career, whatever "comics career" means. A parade of successful talents complaining about their treatment may signal "they're successful talents now" more than it will "that was a miserable experience that should not be repeated." In today's industry it may be enough to find a level of exploitation that works rather than forego it all together. Levy may have been away from the big publishers table for more than four years now, but a lot of factors have played a part in holding a seat for him.
 
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Not Comics: Laura Callaghan’s Dante’s Inferno Series

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Comics By Request: People, Projects In Need Of Funding

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Dame Darcy joins the legion of artists and comics-makers deriving part of their living from Patreon. I'm sure I'll join them someday myself.

* the Sunday Comics project continues its crowd-funder; it does seem it's lagging behind a bit but there's a ton of time left. In fact, most big projects I've followed seem to have surged late rather than early, at least the recent ones I've been following. I note that the artists are donating work for a first issue, so a model where the artists are paid after this first issue seems like it will take a ton of money. Here's the PR on that one. SundayComicsPR.pdf

* the crowdfunder for the last volume of Gunshow seems to be moving along at a solid clip.

* if you're headed out to San Diego, keep two of the traditional comics charities in mind: The Hero Initiative and the CBLDF.

* here's that Nexus-related crowdfunder that caught my eye in the heads-up stage.

* Chris Sims profiles the crowdfunder being attempted by skilled veterans John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake.

* finally, Box Brown is having a moving sale. Help out Box!
 
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Go, Look: Adi Granov Images Gallery

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Go, Look: An Al Jaffee-Illustrated Kids Gag Book

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Howard Chaykin remembers Leonard Starr.

image* Richard Bruton on SAM Volume Two: Robot Hunters. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on Saved By The Bell.

* Michael Cavna and Sara Duke talk about Benjamin Franklin as a media-savvy, cartoon-conscious cultural maestro, including but not limited to the might "Join, Or Die" segemented snake cartoon that kind of brought at lot of political issues to a blunt point. Duke, from the Library Of Congress, spoke about a similar Franklin effort last week.

* praise for the new DC Comics-published portrayal of their Midnighter as single, sexually active and comfortably so.

* Mike Luckovich breaks the law.

* over in the CBR family of blogs, Greg Hatcher writes about the role of comfort-food reading, and how Nexus is one of those comics that does that job for him. I think the thrill of the familiar is a positive impulse. Getting to know a work intimately reveals secrets that a one-night stand will not.

* astute observer of mainstream comics in particular Carla Hoffman examines the newness and differentness of Marvel's line. I find these reconfigurations kind of off-putting as an older fan and not in a way that I'm turning up my nose but in that I don't pay enough attention so that all of these changes confuse me. With the necessity of revolving art teams on most title due to publishing more than 12 times a year, I can't even really follow artist/writer teams the way I used to. I'm so not the audience, though.

* finally, a not-comics item: Roman Muradov provides an illustration for the Criterion edition of Day For Night.
 
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July 4, 2015


Go, Look: Cuppy

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Go, Look: A Richard Corben Gallery

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Go, Look: Ariel Olivetti Images Gallery

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If I Were In Scotland, I’d Go To This

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FFF Results Post #423—From The Racks

On Friday, CR asked readers to "Name Five Sources For Comics You've Bought Off Of A Magazine Rack." This is how they responded.

*****

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Adam Casey

1. MAD
2. New Yorker
3. Playboy
4. Cracked
5. Harper's Magazine (pictured)

*****

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Philippe LeBlanc

1. Safarir
2. Delire
3. Fluide Glaciale (pictured)
4. Lucky Peach
5. Hazzlit

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Bananas (pictured)
2. MAD
3. Cracked
4. Chicago Reader
5. Nickelodeon

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. Heavy Metal
2. Strapazin
3. Comixene
4. Slapstick
5. Warrior (pictured)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. National Lampoon
2. Playboy
3. Eerie
4. Walt Disney Comics Digest (pictured)
5. Planet of the Apes

*****

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Jim Wheelock

* Boy Illustrated
* Big Daddy Roth (pictured)
* Sick Magazine
* Grump Magazine
* Harpoon -- The American Humor Magazine

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Help!, 1963
2. Evergreen Review, 1965
3. Cavalier, 1965
4. The Realist, 1972 (pictured)
5. Comixscene, 1973

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. Epic Illustrated
2. CARtoons (pictured)
3. The Rook
4. MAD
5. National Lampoon

*****

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Michael G. Pfefferkorn

1. Eerie
2. The Spirit (pictured)
3. Comix Book
4. Bizarre Adventures
5. Planet of the Apes

*****
*****
 
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The Comics Reporter Video Parade


Gigant Teaser


Carlisle Robinson Video


Al Capp On Firing Line


A Lorenzo Mattotti Documentary From A Couple Of Years Back; Can't Understand A Word, But The Art Shown Is Stupendous


Stan Lee At This Week's Ant-Man Premiere
 
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CR Week In Review

imageThe top comics-related news stories from June 27 to July 3, 2015:

1. Leonard Starr passed away. One of the last great creators of lavishly illustrated soap opera comic strips, Starr had a long career in various worlds of cartooning, including working on a classic strip (Little Orphan Annie, which he did successfully from 1979 until 2000) and applying his massive skill-set to kids' animation.

2. The city of San Diego and Comic-Con International announce that their summer show will return to the city for two more years, through 2018. It wasn't unexpected, and the extra years should allow both entities to better gauge the progress San Diego will make over the next decade in expanding their convention space.

3. A conservative governor's joke about shooting a cartoonist -- made to the son of that cartoonist -- becomes part of a list of outsized behavior that may lead to that governor's impeachment.

Winners Of The Week
Thrillbent, picking up Strangers In Paradise. Lot of good weeks for a lot of people out there, actually.

Losers Of The Week
The entire comics community, for not better appreciating just how amazing the art form's regular output is right now. There may be just as many great comics as there were five to ten to twenty years ago, but there are far more high quality ones. I wonder sometimes if that gets lost in both the industry's adherence to a very specific kind of Internet discourse and the economic rewards system that still favors disposable higher-profit publications.

Quote Of The Week
"They all work for me." -- Chico Caruso

*****

the comic image selected is from the brief but notable 1970s run of Seaboard/Atlas

*****
*****
 
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July 3, 2015


Go, Look: Old Photos Of San Diego Comic-Con

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You Should Read James Robinson’s Response To Strong Criticism Of A Transgender Plot Point In Airboy

It's here. I'd reprint it but that always seems unfair, even in a case like this.

imageWriter James Robinson, artist Greg Hinkle and Image Comics were all criticized late last week for a storyline in Airboy that is set within the transgender community. For those of you unfamiliar, the new series presents a Pirandello-style take on the material, where the old Hillman character comes to life and interacts with the writer and artist who are characters in the comic. Robinson is portrayed as an awful person bottoming out; Hinkle is portrayed as a slightly kinder soul passively marching along with the parade of excess. My understanding is that the scene in question involved putting the Airboy character in a social milieu where he interacts with transgender people and upon realizing this reacts strongly in conservative, denigrating and unappealing fashion. The criticism is that despite none of this being treated as an endorsement, both the portrayal and the idea that the community should be recruited to play such a role in such a story in the first place add to the already significant burden that community faces.

I think this kind of push and pull is so, so necessary, and I'm grateful for it. This is even though I'm one that argues -- partly because of my position of significant privilege making it easier for me to do so -- that there's a place in the world for portrayals and narratives and representations in art that are deeply hurtful and/or plugged into dire social consequences. That is never a roadblock to criticism, which I adore. A loud reaction to art and call for rejection and change, that's valuable speech that can be learned from just as the art in question may have something to say. I get a little uncomfortable when these stories boil down to our appraisal of someone's sincerity, perhaps because I'm completely unable to make that call, but getting that reaction out there? Getting to hear from a James Robinson on an issue of such delicacy? Letting people know that both disagree and, perhaps most importantly, that never thought about it, that portrayal even in satire is an issue of crucial urgency for many groups? That only adds to our ability to be human.
 
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Go, Look: Vintage RBCC Covers And Pages

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OTBP: Thinger Dingers

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Go, Look: Igor Kordey Images Gallery

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If I Were In Seattle, I’d Go To This

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If I Were In Scotland, I’d Go To This

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Paolo Piffarerio, RIP

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Go, Look: Slow Death Funnies

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July 2, 2015


Go, Look: It’s a Great Time To Be A Brazilian Cartoonist

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* the well-regarded illustration site Today's Inspiration has begun publishing again after a lengthy hiatus.

* Christine Marie talks to Steve Blatchford, the man behind ZCO.MX, a web site devoted to alt-comics that seems to be taking working cartoonists' projects that don't have another home, giving them a home, and allowing for the possibility that revenue can be generated on their behalf. It's a really interesting site, I haven't covered it enough, and I'm looking forward to reading Marie's itnterview.

* finally, Richard Bruton takes a long look at the comics of Mark Kalesniko, which are now available on-line. Kalesniko was published in print by Fantagraphics while I worked there and for quite some times afterwards -- he still might be -- and as I recall was a particular favorite of publisher Gary Groth.
 
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If I Were In Scotland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: The Beyond #25

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* J. Caleb Mozzocco on The Brave And The Bold #1-6. Alex Schubert on Blobby Boys 2. Rob Clough on The Late Child And Other Animals. Matt Seneca on Crickets #4. Greg Hunter on Pope Hats #4. Hillary Brown on Stroppy. John Kane on a bunch of different comics. Johanna Draper Carlson on So Cute It Hurts Vol. 1.

* Sean Edgar talks to Cameron Stewart, who may be doing with Batgirl what Mark Waid did with Flash two decades: transform a significant areas of the mainstream landscape from a well regarded title solidly with reach beyond its pure sales performance. This close to an Image Expo where you subsequently read a lot of people define the range of comics as being mainstream to high-end genre work, I'm grateful for the qualifier mainstream here, and don't think there's an implied criticism at all in using that term in that way.

* Bob Temuka writes about reading through the bad times.

* I don't think in terms of OEL manga; I'm from the "it's all comics just different traditions" camp. Similarly, it would be weird for me to think OEF to denote work from an Italian or OEBD to denote comics that owe a lot to the way French-language comics have approached things. I might be wrong, but there it is. There sure are a lot of fun comics on this list, though; I can imagine this being a list of comics about which young me would be over the freaking moon if my life were time shifted thirty years into the future. I'm a fan of a majority of these titles as is.

* finally, Emily Gosling writes about Endless Journey the new not-comics project from the great Tom Gauld.
 
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Go, Look: Pow

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San Diego Mayor’s Office Announces Extension For CCI To 2018

I think everyone expected this. I did, anyway. Two years is an interesting number. I honestly don't know they're better served by any other possible arrangement, which changes the negotiations a bit -- now it's about lost opportunities and revenue left on the table as opposed to risk of flight. At the same time, the way the San Diego government ebbs and flows on wanting to work on their convention center in a way that would benefit the convention, two years from now the situation could completely reverse.

I hope this arrangement came with something about how the city can better manage the downtown events that happen at the same time; that strikes me as a kaleidoscope of potential tragedies.

Here's the PR.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 2, 2015

CONTACT:
Charles Chamberlayne at (619) 453-9911 or Chamberlayne@sandiego.gov

NEWS RELEASE

Mayor Faulconer Announces Comic-Con Will Remain in San Diego Through 2018

San Diego, CA -- Today, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Comic-Con International announced the popular convention will remain in San Diego for 2 more years, through 2018.

"Fans near and far can rejoice that their favorite superheroes and celebrities will continue to gather under the San Diego sun," said Mayor Faulconer. "San Diego and Comic-Con are a natural pair and we're both extremely pleased to continue our four-decade partnership. And San Diego residents can take heart knowing that the world-famous convention will continue to pump tens of millions into our economy to support local jobs, street repair and neighborhood services."

"We've grown up in San Diego and we're excited to have reached an agreement that will keep us here through 2018," said Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer. "We worked hand-in-hand with Mayor Faulconer, hoteliers and the tourism industry which will allow us to continue delivering our dynamic convention in America's Finest City."

Comic-Con had only made arrangements to stay until 2016 before today's announcement. Mayor Faulconer's office worked over the last several months to help facilitate the discussions between Comic-Con International, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Convention Center and local hotels. The strong partnership is important in securing the amount of hotel rooms and convention space necessary to successfully host the more than 100,000 attendees in San Diego each year.

Comic-Con International is the convention center's largest event of the year and is conservatively estimated to generate $135.9 million regionally and $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city. The revenue directly benefits residents by funding city services, including street repair, parks and libraries. Comic-Con also showcases San Diego on an international stage through television and media coverage.

Since the 1970s, Comic-Con has been a main attraction among the City of San Diego's events. The first three-day Comic-Con was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel, where over 300 attendees packed the hotel's basement featuring programs, panels, film screenings and more to celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

This year's convention kicks off with a preview night on Wednesday, July 8 and continues through Sunday, July 12. This year marks the 46th year for the event, making it the country's longest continuously-run comics and popular arts convention.

# # #

Charles Chamberlayne
Press Secretary & Senior Advisor
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Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer
City of San Diego
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C: 619.453.9911
O: 619.533.6396
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Disclosure: This email is public information. Correspondence to and from this email address is recorded and may be viewed by third parties and the public upon request.
Preview night is a week from yesterday.Preview night is a week from yesterday.

 
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Go, Look: Asela De Silva

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July 1, 2015


The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* it's all San Diego Con right now for the folks that I know, except perhaps the Image Expo focused folks. That specialty show is happening today. I like those Expos; they allow Image to seize a calendar day in a way that really impresses upon a certain element of fandom that these are important things to know. Other sites will do live coverage -- another victory for Image -- but I'm going to settle for a publishing news round-up tomorrow.

* Torsten Adair has a nice overview up of changes at the Marriott that could very definitely have an impact on Comic-Con International if it stays in San Diego for the next several years. They're adding a lot of event space, it looks like.

* speaking of Comic-Con International a third time in as many starred items, the mayor's office in San Diego circulated a "hold the inches" (newspaper talk, you pervert) e-mail this morning, likely an announcement about the con's status after 2016. I think they'll stay together.

* finally, add one more item in that San Diego-ly direction: the programming's up now. I'm slow to catch up on this because for the first time in 20 years I'll be doing no panels at the con. My reign of mediocrity is at an end. I'm a combined relieved and feeling like I've been put out to pasture. At any rate, I will spend all of my days at the show in these panels, and I'm always glad for the still-strong comics presence there that people turn out.
 
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If I Were In Scotland, I’d Go To This

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Go, Look: Carnak

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Michael Buntag on Noah.

* not comics: Jim McLauchlin looks at the Disney purchase of Marvel and asks if it's been worth it. It seems that the answer is such a resounding yes that you don't really have to quantify a whole lot of anything. I would imagine the only counter-argument is that Disney is now tied into movie releases that reflect a formula that each in its own way is past an earlier prime: superheroes, Pixar, Star Wars. This leaves other studios to pick and choose according to newer models, like Universal has. Of course, the Hulk of Universal's all-star 2015 movie rollout is Jurassic Park, the same kind of older property Star Wars and Spider-Man seem to be.

* I've mentioned this once before but I was led to the link again; who wouldn't want a panorama-style effort with a lot of variations being offered, all from Tom Gauld.

* Kyle Baker draws the greatest television character of all time and the 41st.

* Mark Frauenfelder enthuses over the Artist's Edition of Kamandi, with a ton of art used to help supplement his point.

* finally: Papercutz turns ten, which is a stop and go "Whoa" moment. I would have guessed four to six years. I'm glad Mike Lynch caught that, because Papercutz has sold a lot of books the last ten years and doesn't get credit for that as much as they should. That's a very successful imprint.
 
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Go, Look: Eavesdropper

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Go, Read: Michael Cavna On Reactions To Danby Vs. LePage

Michael Cavna at the Washington Post has a smartly written survey piece here covering various reactions to Maine Governor Paul LePage making a joke about shooting Bangor Daily News cartoonist George Danby -- a joke made to the cartoonist's son. This includes a Danby cartoon incorporating related imagery and censure from the AAEC.

It all makes sense to me that people should react strongly and negatively to the story; it seems required. The joke is in clear, bad taste generally and in specific bad taste given the violence and disruption that some cartoonists have faced in recent months, up to and including the shooting murders of the Charlie Hebdo staffers. I'm not sure how deep a story it is; it may not point out much more in terms of a broader issue other than the governor being something of a crass goofball. It is definitely a weird and distasteful flourish in the history of relationships between political figures and those that cover them in cartoon form. May it become history sooner rather than later.
 
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Go, Look: Self-Esteem Improvement Plan

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Go, Look: The Animation/Cartoon War, From Israel To ISIS To Iran

Robert Mackey has the broadest of survey articles up here at the New York Times about recent cartoon and animation-making in the wider Middle East by various geopolitical participants basically on the subject of ISIS, yet with so many partnerships and claims thrown in a lot of other topics are roped in. It's worth knowing about and seeing as much of it as you can; the article is lighter on the conclusions that other English-language articles have brought to the table.

The one line of reasoning that comes out in a lot of these articles is to take a line of cartoon-making and seeing it as a truer expression of the country's soul than another avenue of speaking out, or another political opportunity taken. Nation-states are usually a bit more complicated than that, and can contain with its borders multiple aims and designs and shortcomings and flourishes. Tread carefully.
 
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Go, Look: Marvel Summer Annual Cover Gallery

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