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

June 5, 2008

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* not comics, but a story we've been tracking: newspapers making up 41.4 percent of total Sunday circulation have joined the Yahoo Alliance, basically because of their ad platform.

image* in great news for comic strip fans, Fantagraphics has snatched up reprint rights to two more major projects: another iteration of the Hal Foster Prince Valiant strips, with better production values than the already-pretty-good version that at one time made up as much as 10 percent of Fantagraphics' yearly sales (I'm going by memory here; let's just say it did very well for the company at the time). Also: Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy, Roy Crane's vibrant adventure strip and love letter to America's brief, youthful period as the new kid in an aging, international world. That strip is a favorite of mine, and I once obsessed over it to the point I had a dream I was producing an Adventures of Hercules-style syndicated television show version of it starring Fred Ward as Easy and Michael J. Fox as Tubbs. (Someone should still do one of those, with similar but not-ancient actors.) Just an entertaining, wonderfully drawn strip.

* the longtime editor Andy Schmidt has joined IDW, one of the only houses where you could actually say they've been a bit editor-light. Schmidt will oversee the company's GI Joe efforts.

* speaking of comic strips and IDW, that company begins its reprints of Little Orphan Annie this month. I'm not sure how long it took for Harold Gray's strip to get good, but when Little Orphan Annie was good, it was really, really good. There's nothing in comics quite like it: a first-rate decency fantasy and soap opera drawn by a master of stark cartoon visuals. Don't let memories of Andrea McArdle drive you away from one of comics' great treats.

* finally, I meant to write about this yesterday but was distracted by something shiny on my television and forgot: the comics news portal Newsarama has undergone an extensive re-design, which one assumes is the outcome of the business partnership they announced earlier this year. I would imagine that the primary upgrades are those that facilitate more video and more comics previews, but that more people will focus on the front page because that's the point of entry. I was a fan of the old Newsarama look because it allowed for a snapshot of the latest headlines without moving the browser up or down; I'm that lazy. I imagine that general fan conservatism will bring out other people that claim they liked the old site and the new one is poopy. This new look makes much more sense, though, and allows them to keep a potentially popular feature up top and in front of both hardcore and casual fans' eyes.
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink

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