Today Bob Levin visits us with one feature comprised of two book reviews, both on under-recognized cartoonists: R.L. Crab and Erik Nebel.
R.L. Crabb, an ex-newspaperman and rock band lyricist, the author of about 20 comix, and a contributor to a dozen others, is a word guy. Scablands, his latest, is available from the author (P.O. Box 313, Nevada City, CA 95959).
Crabb is writing in the present, but a spat of recent deaths has led him “to gather up the fragments of my life.” Most tellingly, his parents, who had been secretive about their life, had passed, leaving an unfillable hole in his and motivating his wish “to lea ve something of myself behind.” The result is an assemblage of stories, most of which occur in eastern Washington state 20 years ago but enlivened by rollicking recollections of the Bay Area, between 1984 and 1990, and Atlanta in 1973. Star-quality pizzaz is achieved by references to gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson, porn film moguls Jim and Artie Mitchell (none of whom actually appear), and that “shadowy figure of myth and legend,” the cartoonist Dan O’Neill, who does. Spiritual depth is provided through dippings into, extractions from, and reflections upon Drummers and Dreamers, the tale of Smowhala, a 19th century prophet among the Wanapuni Indians.
And George Elkind reviews The Bad-ventures of Bobo Backslack.
The big news is that, in something of a surprise, Marvel and the Kirby family have reached a settlement. The story, what little there is, is here. And Tom Spurgeon reacts. We will have our own coverage shortly. Here's a great tribute to Kirby's DC work of the 1970s via this post of Forever People original art.
In yet more art showcase news, here's Jamie Hewlett's uncollected and perhaps final comic strip series, Fireball.
Another nice comic over at The Nib, making great use of the screen scroll format.
Scroll into the comments of this Facebook post for some fine John Porcellino commentary. And look out for our forthcoming interview with John by Sarah Boxer.
Finally, hey, another Steve Ditko Kickstarter. I love Steve Ditko, but does it strike anyone else as odd that these publishing efforts rely on from-scratch crowd-funding each time? Usually a sound publishing model allows for future books to be planned. But hey, sound business and comics usually don't go together. Sadly.