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

December 4, 2007

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* our condolences to Patrick McDonnell and family on the loss of their dog Earl, an inspiration for McDonnell's highly successful Mutts and its long-time recognized muse, as well as a frequent guest in profiles and stories about the cartoonist. Earl was 18 years old. Anyone inspired to give on Earl's behalf to a charity selected by the McDonnells will find that information through the link.

* if you academic or potential academics out there haven't seen it yet, there's a religion in comics conference this Spring in Boston being co-hosted by A. David Lewis, and he's putting the call out for papers.

* imagethe image at right is "Heat Vision," as interpreted by Bob Kessel in his Pop Unintentional series.

* more praise for Tom Toles' cartoon late last week castigating his own Washington Post for an article many believed was there to stir up outlandish rumors dogging the presidential candidate Barrack Obama in the guise of being an article about the effects of outlandish rumors on campaigns.

* one of the more interesting mainstream stories you can track through various blogs and sites is fan and reader reaction to a recent Spider-Man plotline where the devil-in-underpants character Mephisto saves Aunt May in return for the allowing him to take Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson away. This satisfies what many people believe is a long-simmering insistence from Marvel editorial that the marriage ages Spider-Man, makes him harder for young people to relate to, and generally restricts certain storytelling ideas. In general, I don't like backseat driving vast entertainment conglomerates, and it's fine line between criticizing such moves as narratives and doing just that, nor would I personally care if Spider-Man were to marry Leiko Wu, leave New York, gain a robot arm and spend the next three years of stories fighting the Badoon. I'm not being mean, it's just that my lifetime Spider-Man tank is pretty much on "Full." Still, it's interesting to at least note how strange some of the underlying cultural notions in play can be on a shift like this one, and how divorced comic book plotlines can seem from what makes those characters popular crossover success stories. Here are Valerie D'Orazio, Sean T. Collins and Christopher Bird.

* add the Catholic Church to the list of organizations using custom-made comic books in an attempt to deal with a specific aim, in their case combating a social ill.

* this has to be the lengthiest "Off the Beaten Path" profile I've ever seen, although the subject of the comic does seem compelling.

* Hey, Wizard is hiring.

* the New York Times picked up on the New Jersey paper illustration of the governor story, concentrating on its digital manipulation aspects.

* this is a long, rambling analysis of Peanuts and Krazy Kat, or Peanuts through Krazy Kat or something like that. There may be other stuff in there, but I couldn't get all the way through it. I do admire any paper that runs something this freewheeling in an age of, to use the cliche, easy sound-bites and jacket quotes.

* this short post seems to me in a lot of ways the perfect embodiment of the collection of views you hear a lot against moves like Marvel and DC are current making against sites that enable downloads of comics material, complete with things asserted as true that 1) no one really knows (how many people have what motivation) and 2) are highly questionable or depend greatly on specific context (stating that comics sales are down).
posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

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