First, today we have the third part of Paul Tumey’s excellent series on the forgotten comics of Jack Cole:
As Cole stepped up his game, probably for economic reasons as much as artistic, his stories became increasingly weird (and therefore, entertaining) expressions of a singular world view – one that had both genuine mirth and lengthening shadows that hinted at a dark side to the prankster inventor.
Consider his manic four-page screwball farce published in the March 1939 issue of Funny Pages (Volume 2, #2) entitled “The Fatal Suicide.” This story appears to be the first of perhaps dozens of instances in which suicide appears in his work. When one knows that Jack Cole took his own life in 1958, it’s impossible to escape the ominous foreshadowing presented by the shrill suicide gags in this story. “I’m tired o’ just killin’ time,” the seemingly murderous villain cackles on page one, amid nighttime rain, lightning, and thunder.
One must be careful not to read too much into such things, but a smiling, suicidal man with a a dagger in his heart and a comic book in his hands undeniably resonates with what we know of the man who created this story. A black and white complete version of “The Fatal Suicide” can be found in The Best of Jack Cole, edited by Greg Theakston (Pure Imagination Publishing, 2006).
Yesterday, we also posted Brian Nicholson’s review of the very interesting-looking QCHQ, by Jordan Speer:
…Nowadays it takes a small army to manufacture a blockbuster: Thousands working to render a spectacle of explosions and violence at a scale impressive enough to dwarf a sense of the human, and so satisfy a mass audience’s adjusted-for-inflation sense of what is expected for their ticket price. In times like these, one talented person working with diligence can use tools widely available and create work unimaginable at any point prior in human history. Such work feels subversive just by existing in dialogue with the world. While early Pixar shorts were demonstrations of the software they had available to them, designed to seek investors, Jordan Speer is able to work on his own, and use the smooth plasticine surfaces provided by CGI to critique the corporate culture that maintains its power through computer technology, and fills the world with plastic.
And today we have a new review, George Elkind on Billy Mavreas’s Tibonom:
[It] is one of those works of art determined to move beyond its own bounds—casting, through mood, tone, and implication, a specific kind of spell. The collection of silent strips, serialized mostly in a yoga magazine some years back, is held together in each installment less by narrative than through an air of formal consistency and thematic focus: the title character, labeled “boy priest,” seems to be a kind of tweenage druid, and navigates the world alongside a faceless, catlike creature referred to in Joe Ollmann’s introduction as Lifeform.
—Reviews & Commentary. On Twitter, Jeet Heer put together an intuitively plausible hypothesis regarding how Steve Ditko’s didactic stories may have been a response to his work for the mafia-tied Charlton company.
Richard Thompson talks about creating characters.
—News. Ted Rall has been abruptly fired from Pando Daily less than a month into his employment there.
—Crowdfunders. Todd Allen’s book on the economics of digital comics has already met its Kickstarter goal but may be of interest to some readers.
—Interviews. Paul Hornschemeier talks Hollywood in the latest episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.