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Today on the site, Mel Schuit reviews the latest from Lisa Hanawalt, Coyote Doggirl.

Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl follows CD and her trusty steed Red through a tireless journey of separation, inner-healing, and good-old fashioned Western revenge. We begin the story with CD and Red being pursued by three dogs on horseback, though we have no context for the pursuit and CD doesn’t seem keen to provide readers with one. Instead, her one-sided conversations are observational and stream of consciousness, and they provide a superficial but witty look at the thoughts of a cowboy whose daily interactions are limited to talking to a horse.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

I just got back from a week on a lake by the woods without checking the internet even once, so I am blessedly free of almost all knowledge of what happened in comics last week, except for the small amount I was able to glean from an hour or so of research and a telephone call with Tucker last night. So I apologize that the links will be few today. I'll try to catch up on the highlights I missed, and should be all caught up soon.

—Reviews & Commentary. Over at Smash Pages, Brigid Alverson reports from this year's Graphic Medicine Festival in two parts. It is nice to see that Whit Taylor, who covered the festival for us four years ago, is now a keynote speaker.

Over at the consistently impressive Inks blog, Craig Fischer writes about the influences he sees in Ben Passmore's Daygloayhole.

Daygloayhole begins with the apocalypse in media res. The opening splash is a mélange of smoke, crumbling buildings, and long-lasting screams represented by massive word balloons extending to the near-bleed of the vertical panel borders. Giant whistling cockroaches scuttle by, while “Mad Maxy marauders” and “dystopian subterranean cannibal societies” point to a self-aware “lame ‘90s vision of the future.” The most common visual element of the early pages of Daygloayhole, however, are silver obelisks that explode from the ground—“their lacquered fingers jutting from under piles of florescent gravel”—to loom over the landscape. This whirlwind of inexplicable cataclysmic events hints at another major influence on Passmore: B.P.R.D., the Mike Mignola-masterminded series about the slow end of Hellboy’s world from the point-of-view of humans only dimly aware of the reasons for Doomsday.

Michael Dooley writes about the New York Times's recent controversial coverage of comics.

The New York Times got it wrong about the highly hyped Batman #50 with its description of the caped crusader’s nuptials to Catwoman. Hordes of fanboys went batshit crazy, seriously shocked and outraged that the surprise dénouement to a storyline that they’d been following for 49 issues was revealed three full days before the comic book’s official release. The writer, George Gene Gustines, later apologized, admitting that “We should have given more thought…” about whether to include the reveal in the headline, regardless of the fact that his feature had been cheekily tucked in the “Style” section’s Vows column. But then, the Gray Lady hasn’t really given much thought, much less respect, to the medium – which it regularly, dismissively, and, well, incorrectly refers to as a “genre” – since comics’ inception well over a century ago.

Over at his Facebook page, Rick Veitch writes about his experiences self-publishing via Amazon's POD service, CreateSpace.

With seven titles released via CreateSpace since 2015, I’ve been cogitating over what I like and don’t like about about the system. The basics are pretty simple; its a Print-On-Demand scheme that includes distribution and fulfillment through amazon. Let’s start with what I like:

1) There are no upfront production costs except the sweat equity of producing the comic.
2) The system is easy to learn.
3) Per unit costs for B&W books are quite reasonable.
4) No inventory to manage.
5) Immediate availability on Amazon USA and Europe.
6) Printing and binding is very good for Print-On-Demand.
7) Direct deposit of royalties.
8) When they screw up they quickly make it right.
9) The backlist remains available indefinitely.
10) Books are dated when printed.

—RIP.

 

Rawk Salt

Today at TCJ, Paul Buhle is here, with Spain Rodriguez in tow. It's time for a big heaping of comics criticism: class is in sesh.

The origins of Spain’s artist-political saga find their proper scholar in this volume, as they will not be found elsewhere. Rosenkranz wants us to learn, at close range, about the artist’s background (his father was of Spanish descent) and his upbringing in Buffalo, a good tough town with a long history of an avant-garde underground (the most famed of lesbian oral histories WHAT'S THE NAME, long since become a textbook for college classes, traces that side of Buffalo social history) and a unique motorcycle culture as well. The Road Vultures, with a couple dozen young members in the later 1950s and early 1960s, encompassed a sympathy for radical rebelliousness in ways that no organized Left was prepared (then or now, I think) to appreciate. Perhaps it was the long history of local, industrial class conflict taking a new shape amidst factory shutdowns. Perhaps it was the James Dean image of the youthful rebel, a narrative actually cultivated in Hollywood by Communist screenwriters on the run from the FBI. Or perhaps the Road Vultures, motorcycle fanatics who liked to swing their fists when challenged, found their way toward political sympathies thanks to Spain himself, the charismatic youngster and art school dropout encouraged by his mother to draw.

Autoptic is here: the comics arts festival of Minneapolis that will feature the heaviest potential contingent of the TCJ.com you can find outside of...well...nowhere, now that I think about it. There's a couple of regular columnists who will be there, i'll be there, and if you go to NYC, it's just Tim, a man alone. So come on by the show, you'll recognize me as the guy who is holding an Eisner in one hand and about to take your money with the other.

2001 goes HOJO: I admit, I have a hard time believing something this glorious is real. But maybe it is and I'm the asshole. It just seems too perfect.

The Comics Bulletin's review of Georgia Webber's Dumb is a solid look inside a comic I quite liked. Daniel Gehen has that for you.

 

 

Bring On Dredd

Today at TCJ, we've got some deep dive theorizing, courtesy of R.C. Harvey. This time around, Harvey's Hare Tonic column is taking on one of comics great unanswered (and unanswerable) questions: "Who Invented Milton Caniff's Most Famous Character?" That character is, of course, The Dragon Lady, the pirate that launched tens and thousands of lazy, offensive stereotypes, whose name is mostly regarded now as insulting shorthand for whenever a man feels threatened by a woman. Where did she come from? Harvey's on the case.

Speaking of cases, the legal world has once again found its way to comics. Legal watch! 

*Gerard Jones, who wrote a bunch of DC Comics back in the day, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for the possession of child pornography. 

*Although I have not been successful with getting IDW's help setting up interviews with their artists since taking on this co-editorship with Tim, I have been able to read weeks of press releases about what had seemed like a never-ending series of musical chairs in their upper corporate positions: and now it seems that some of that might have been a prelude to what Bleeding Cool is referring to as a #MeToo lawsuit. First came an article confirming that Lisa Bloom--a lawyer who has been on both sides of multiple high profile celebrity lawsuits, including ones involving sexual harassment--had been hired by a former IDW employee, and then yesterday Bleeding Cool claimed that "close sources" alleged the allegations are being focused on Publishing President & Publisher Greg Goldstein, one of the few IDW executives who hadn't spent the past month updating their LinkedIn profile. 

*The above tweet seems to be, so far, the only public mention of a rumored defamation lawsuit brought by cartoonist Cody Pickrodt against multiple figures in the comics scene, including TCJ contributors, well known publishers, cartoonists and others, all of whom are allegedly being accused of defaming Mr. Pickrodt last year, when a swell of condemnations regarding the cartoonist began circulating on Twitter. The condemnations--some of which are still readable by simply searching for Pickrodt's name--are not at all dissimilar from the sort of language that surrounds multiple other cases of alleged sexual harassment, but if this lawsuit is real, that would be a bit of a twist. TCJ has reached out to multiple individuals reportedly involved in the above events, but as of yet, none have responded. More, as they say, to come.

(Except for the Gerard Jones thing, that one is a done deal.)

 

The Bronos Quartert

Today at TCJ, we're pleased to welcome the always on point Irene Velentzas back these digital pages, with her look at Marguerite Dabaie's The Hookah Girl. 

Dabaie's work manages not to take itself too seriously despite covering difficult issues. Dabaie’s gentle hand and delightful humor makes her collection incredibly robust. Her style shifts from that of a detailed woven tapestry to a simplistic comic math equation. She adopts whimsical narrative vehicles like game boards and paper dolls, shaping them to fit her narrative style. Dabaie’s initially controversial chapter “Should/Am” speaks to the dangers of caricaturing a culture by caricaturing that very culture. “Should/Am” displays the Arab woman as a number of stereotypes, showing how controversial and disparate such projections onto the female Arab are. Using the cut-out paper-doll template as a visual motif, Dabaie simultaneously suggests that such views of Arab women as humble and holy mothers, strong revolutionaries, and tantalizing sexual seductresses are as flimsy and two-dimensional as the paper itself. However, this same motif underlies her own cultural concern that Arab women are culturally secondary to men – a familial problem she struggles with in trying to assert her own identity as an artist and facing fears of inconsequentiality and failure.

Over at SyFy, you'll find one of those oral history pieces on The Death of Superman story arc: something tells me you'll know if you're the target audience for this one. I am, and even though I grimaced a little bit when the panel countdown lead up got referred to as a "subtle" piece of design, it's a pretty entertaining look at a moment in pop culture that has no chance of ever being recreated.

Over at Conundrum, they're announcing deals like they're going out of style: but deals never go out style.

At Women Write About Comics, you'll find an all-too-brief interview with long time web cartoonist Stan Stanley. I'm 100% in the tank for people younger than I am, even as I know they, at best, want me dead and possibly on fire, but there's a decent portion of my interest that is dedicated to finding out what happens to an artist after they've been clocking the hours for a while--when being the trendsetter wears off, when the news cycle moves along--and this conversation fits the bill nicely.

The New Yorker is the place to go if you'd like to see an excerpt of Lisa Hanawalt's upcoming Coyote Doggirl, which drops next week.

 

Nothing Behind The Eyes

Today at the Comics Journal, AJ McGuire is here to spread the gospel of Now, making for the sort of back-to-back Eric Reynolds related content that feeds conspiracies. 

The comics in Now do look different than the ones in Mome, but the difference has more to do with the changes in taste of the new generation of cartoonists than in any editorial direction. Dan Clowes and other 90’s alternative cartoonists’ influence were felt all across Mome, but they're practically non-existent in Now. Both thematically and stylistically the influence of the big Alternative cartoonists has receded as a dominant force. A comic in Mome like Paul Hornschiemier’s “Life With Mr Dangerous”, with its listless protagonist muddling her way through bad relationships, a dead-end job, and self-loathing felt like a relic on a recent re-read. It’s likely that no cartoonists with work in Now would list Peter Bagge as an influence, but he was clearly a major one for Kurt Wolfgang’s comics in Mome, with their rubbery armed characters getting into mischief and lazing about. There is little self-loathing in any of Now’s comics, and Now issues #1 - #3 might contain the least amount of cross-hatching of any non-genre comics anthology series published in the last 40 years. The one thing Now is best at is showing exactly how much the comics canon has been blown open in the last ten years.

Elsewhere, the organizers of CAKE would like up-and-coming artists who could use some financial assistance in putting together a mini-comic to apply for the organization's Cupcake Award. The information on how to do that is right here, as well as the submission guidelines.

2dcloud is about to put out Leif Goldberg's Lost in the Fun Zone, so now is a good a time as any to watch this short video and get amped.

 

 

His Brother’s Corpse

Today at TCJ, a week of absence begins: the absence of Tim Hodler, that is! He's off on vacation somewhere with his family, worshipping Satan or whatever, I wasn't actually paying attention. It's you and me all week. Traditionally, Tim going out of town and leaving Dan the reins all week meant chaos reigned--amongst other examples, Dan on his own resulted in "sell your boots", which, if you're old enough to remember what that means...well, you should probably get a life. So should I! I doubt the same thing will happen this week, but I'll give it a shot.

Our opener piece today is a six thousand word doozy: and it actually features Tim, so consider it your methadone. You may remember that a recent announcement regarding Amazon's latest move into original comics content was met with derision by Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds via Twitter--well, Tim got ahold of Eric and unpacked that derision. There's  a lot to chew on:

But what that’s hiding in your view is an attempt to take over the market and become a monopoly. Am I right about that’s what you’re saying basically?

I guess so, basically! For the last twenty years people have been complaining about Diamond having a monopoly on the direct market, and what we’re looking at here is Amazon having a monopoly on the entire retail economy of our country [laughter], if not globally. So it’s like, you know, let’s have some perspective about that, right?

At least know what you’re doing.

Yeah, at least just know what you’re dealing with. I think I am approaching it from a moral point of view, but I’m not even necessarily advocating smash the state or whatever, I’m just saying let’s just be up front about this and acknowledge that I can’t just compliment comiXology for publishing a couple of comic books when I know that there are these broader ramifications. And I feel like I have a semi-unique vantage point on it, by being a publisher that has worked with Amazon literally from day one, in the city of Seattle.

Today's review comes to you from Tegan O'Neil, who is here with a look at David B's latest, Hasib & the Queen of Serpents, from nbm. As Tegan puts it, it's another exercise in perfection: 

You could blow up a page of Hasib and the Queen of Serpents – any page, it really doesn’t matter – on an overhead projector and conduct a line-by-line audit if you so desired. What does this line do? Is everything in order? Ah, I see, it is precisely this width for exactly this length, everything appears to be in order. What a wonderful index finger!

Over at Inkstuds, there's a fine episode up featuring Sloane Leong, who you may know from right here, but are as likely, if not more so, to know her from her excellent comics.

This brief piece about Elfquest shout-outs by Claire Napier is a solid piece of theorizing, as well as a startling reminder that there was more than one issue of Norm Breyfogle's Prime.

There's only one way to celebrate Bob McLeod's birthday, which is to look at pictures of old super-hero comics he inked over at Diversions of the Groovy Kind. 

 

Remember the Maine

Today on the site, Rob Clough reviews Soviet Daughter, a hybrid memoir/biography by Julia Alekseyeva about her Russian-born great-grandmother.

The subject of Julia Alekseyeva's biographical comic Soviet Daughter, her great-grandmother Lola, left her life savings to her great-granddaughter. However, Alekseyeva's real inheritance was Lola's memoir, which she instructed her family not to read until she died. Khinya "Lola" Ignatovskaya was born in 1910 and lived through the Soviet revolution in her native Kiev. A first-person memoir of an average citizen who lived through the twentieth century and beyond (she died at the age of a hundred) is interesting enough on its own, but a memoir of Soviet Russia from the point of view of a Jewish woman is especially fascinating. Alekseyeva ties Lola's narrative to hers, bluntly stating that she never felt close to any family members except her great-grandmother. She weaves autobiographical interludes between chapters of Lola's story, creating a tapestry that unites the narratives of two kindred spirits.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Harvey Award nominations have been announced. They've drastically slimmed down and revamped their award categories, somewhat bafflingly including a movie & television award. It's disingenuous of me to say baffling, as the reason is obvious: they envy the cultural currency of superhero movies, and don't have confidence in their own medium.

—Interviews & Profiles. NPR's All Things Considered continues to talk to cartoonists. This week, it's Thi Bui.

"I'd heard a lot of the stories growing up, and the stories were pretty heavy, and I would often hear them at times when I wasn't ready, so I had this kind of heaviness that I grew up with, and I wanted to make sense of the stories." Bui says she struggled with those stories of war and trauma and hardship, that they cast a shadow over her life. Then she had a son, and that experience shifted the way she approached The Best We Could Do. "I think that maybe if I had done it as not a parent, I might have been happy to just dwell in my trauma, but with a baby in hand, I was really concerned with not passing on that trauma myself, and so I needed to filter stuff out so I could pass on something cleaner."

—Reviews & Commentary. Dominic Umile wrote a short report of the Sue Coe exhibition currently on view at PS1 in New York.

Coe, “who has worked at the juncture of art and activism to expose injustices and abuses of power,” has been to approximately 40 slaughterhouses around the world, arranging reporting trips through contacts in the meat industry. At the PS1 show, the drawings and paintings that stem from this project are expectedly nightmarish, rife with dark and ghastly scenes of assembly line carnage. Animal innards are strewn about, and each depiction of the dungeon-like settings is spattered with black, blood-like pools of Rembrandt printer’s ink. Steel drums in her large-scale canvas Slaughterhouse, Tucson (1989) brim with severed pigs’ heads. Pencil roughs of New York City’s meatpacking district, Abu Dhabi, and slaughterhouses in Detroit accompany the finished Porkopolis pieces at the museum, and Coe includes quotes from floor workers in observational notes jotted beneath the paintings.

Tablet has published an oddly formatted, mostly negative dialogue/review of Michael Kupperman's All the Answers.

One problem is that Kupperman never really got the goods. Even before Joel, the father, was overrun by senility, he was a terrible interview, repressed and reticent and terrified of introspection. Kupperman the author gives himself a lot of grief for betraying his father by writing this book, but the truth is that he’s a model of filial piety. When writing about his father and grandmother, he basically sticks to what he knows or what he can reasonably surmise. Which is a gracious thing to do, but it keeps him, and his readers, far from the terror at the heart of his story. Especially given that his father is too far gone to read this book, Kupperman could have ventured imaginatively into his father’s psyche, rooted around in there, and returned to draw some pretty scary scenes.

Over at HiLobrow, Gary Panter shares his enthusiasm for The Outer Limits.

The first interdimensional swell-headed alien to appear was David McCallum, who played Illya Kuryakin, a very hip blond heartthrob, on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It was thrilling and odd to see the ultimate cool spy-show dude appear with a giant brain, extended fingers, shiny star-man skin and the pained glistening expression of a misunderstood creature — out of its element, come to town to wreak physics-modifying havoc. I was so excited and did see a few more episodes, but my favorite shows seemed to always coincide with church service times, so that I could only see the first couple minutes of something like The Outer Limits before being whisked off to The Angry God Show. Damn!

 

High on Liar

Today at TCJ, Brian Nicholson is here with a review of Alex Graham's Angloid, one of Kilgore's most recent releases.

This visual language feels like a direct communication method, in the manner of the "letter from a friend" feeling you get from a certain type of zine, but also seems to contain a degree of objective distance, which seems related to the Be-Ings' observational perspective. The comedic tone is closer to what you see in screwball comedy than the essayistic intimacy that defines the sense of humor you normally get from people writing about themselves. The voice is neither self-righteous nor self-deprecating. It never feels like Alex Graham is trying to score points of sympathy with the reader for the way people mistreat her theoretical stand-in. There's a sequence where a boy Angloid dates plays in a rock band with lyrics that can be interpreted as misogynist, lamenting a girl with "daddy issues," but the book never highlights this as villainous: If you see it that way, there's a joke there, but the neutrality of the storytelling seems to understand why a dude that dates Angloid might have reason to be wary and judgmental.

We at the Comics Journal support this man in his efforts.

Over at Manga Tokyo, there's a brief piece about manga piracy that claims the practice is responsible for 1.3 trillion yen in damages. 11 billion USD?

CNN ran a piece on Dubai's only spot to get Funko Pops. Here that piece is!