Ta Da

Well, Tim has gone on vacation for a week, so hold on the furniture around here -- traditionally I somehow go off the rails right about now.

Today Caitlin McGurk and John Porcellino discuss I Never Liked You and Summer of Love with Mike Dawson.

And Glenn Head checks in for day four of his diary.


Very sad comics biz news: Bergen Street Comics, my local store and home to TCJ contributors Tucker Stone and Matt Seneca, has announced it is closing. I really enjoyed that store -- everyone did a great job there. Excellent selection, neighborhood-oriented, and very friendly. Everything you could want in a comic book store in 2015, really. My best wishes to everyone there.

Hey, I haven't seen this yet: Mould Map 4 coming soon!

And here now, and hopefully in stores everywhere is The Complete Hairy Who Publications. Go out and get it. I'm extremely proud of it.


The Tantrum

Today on the site Glenn Head joins us for another installment of his good life diary.


Congrats to Roz Chast on her continuing run of amazing-ness.

I always thought Founding Fathers Funnies was some of Peter Bagge's best stuff. Now it's being collected. Hurrah.

Here's a handy list of literary magazines with CIA connections.

The late illustrator David McLimans is profiled by Steve Heller.




Joe McCulloch has his usual guide to your Week in Comics!, with spotlight picks including a children's graphic novel from Craig Thompson and a superhero-ish manga called One-Punch Man.

And Glenn Head is back with day two of his week contributing our Cartoonist's Diary feature. In this entry, he remembers learning from his father in 1968 what it means to be rich.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. Guernica talks to Gilbert Hernandez:

[Luba has] mellowed with age. I’ve seen that most people change as they get older. At a certain age, people start to explore different areas of their personalities. So I did that with Luba; I decided to make her as complex as I could. A lot of her rage had come from defensiveness. She’s the same person now, but she doesn’t have the outbursts that she used to. Although those [scenes] were probably really enjoyable for the reader, I had to move on. That’s difficult, because she’s probably the best-written character I’ve created.

The Lady Collective website interviews publisher Annie Koyama about life in her twenties:

My first job when I was of legal working age was in a women’s clothing store in a suburban mall. I certainly didn’t fit in as the store sold spongy, synthetic clothing to middle-aged women. Customers would pee in the dressing room wastebaskets and I’d have to take the wastebaskets downstairs down a long, dark corridor to get to the washrooms. I was making some of my own clothing at that time so needless to say, I never used my employee discount.

Adrian Tomine on his new New Yorker cover:

I think it’s kind of beautiful and hilarious to see people eating their organic kale and quinoa salads while gazing across the opaque, fetid water.

—News. You may have seen some online reaction to this story about a few incoming Duke freshmen declining to read Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. I think those students are making the wrong choice, myself, and hope they change their minds, but it is worth noting, I think, that this isn't a book that's part of their curriculum -- it's intended to be optional -- so I'm not sure this is actually worth much consternation. Students finding an excuse to avoid optional summer reading is a pretty dog-bites-man story.

—Not Comics. Kate Beaton picks her ten favorite "warrior princesses" from history.

—Misc. Frank Santoro wants to buy the house next door and turn it into a comics school. Read his explanation here.


What’s the Right Fight

Today on the site:

Cartoonist Glenn Head joins us for a diary this week. His new book, Chicago, is out now.

A significant Jack Kirby exhibition is opening today. Co-curator Charles Hatfield spoke to Tom Spurgeon about it yesterday and here's a preview.

I liked this birthday wish to Ernie Bushmiller.

And finally, Wired has everything you need to know about hijacking of the Hugo Awards for science fiction.



Today, Rob Clough returns to the site with an extremely enthusiastic review of Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing's children's comic, Flop to the Top:

Working with her cartoonist husband Drew Weing (no stranger to comics for kids) in a style that's closer to Davis' hand on her adult comics but still unlike anything either has done before, Flop To The Top is the single best book in the entire Toon line. It is a perfect marriage of line, color, shadow, dialogue, and message. There's a gag or multiple gags on every single page, with a high concentration of background eye-pops adding extra laughs but not cluttering up the narrative. The gags continue to build in lockstep with the emotional narrative of the book, culminating in a well-earned moment of sincerity mixed with humor that is rare.

And sadly, today also marks the fifth and final day of Rina Ayuyang's week drawing our Cartoonist's Diary feature. Thanks, Rina!

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The LA Times released a strongly worded, lengthy response to Ted Rall's recent complaints about his firing. The Times hired its own audio experts, conducted another review, and stands by their decision. Ted Rall disputes their account here, claiming that the Times statement is "a blizzard of misdirection, trivialities and distractions." If you are interested in the case, you owe it to yourself to read both carefully and decide on your own who's creating the blizzard.

In the end, this was a freelance position, and a news organization has the right (and even the obligation) not to hire anyone whose credibility they distrust; Rall's other contention, that the paper let him go on the behest of the police, is much more serious. I have not yet seen any strong evidence of this presented by Rall, but then again, that's something presumably difficult to provide. Barring the revelation of new evidence, choosing who to believe on this seems to come down to a judgment call. [EDITED TO ADD: But see this too.]

—Interviews & Profiles. Nicole Rudick visits Aidan Koch at her studio for The Paris Review.

Unless I'm mistaken, we neglected to link to last week's episode of Fresh Air featuring Phoebe Gloeckner.


Matchy Matchy

Today on the site, Rina Ayuyang checks in with day 4 of her diary.


A lengthy audio interview with the great Roz Chast on the occasion of her exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

I missed this suite of recent Charles Burns drawings.

And Rick Obadiah, co-founder of 1980s indie comics company First Comics, has passed away.


We’re All Emotionally Bankrupt

We've got a double dose of comics for you today. First, Leslie Stein, the artist behind Eye of the Majestic Creature, who reviews the film adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl in the form of comics.

And then Rina Ayuyang is her, with the third installment of her week's residence in the Cartoonist's Diary spot. Today, she asks her mom to go with her to the museum.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Ignatz Award nominations have been announced for this year. I may have missed it, but I haven't seen much controversy online about the picks.

I don't normally post promotional preview stuff like this, but I can't help myself when it's Jaime Hernandez on Archie.

—Reviews & Commentary. Yesterday, Dan linked to one of the two Peanuts essays going around online this week. Here's the other one, by Kevin Wong at Kotaku, arguing that Peanuts got ruined when Snoopy started fighting the Red Baron and light whimsy became the main focus. That's an old, popular argument -- I remember a big cover feature in the New York Press making the same claim at length some fifteen years ago or so. The opposing critical side argues that people place too much emphasis on the "dark" elements of Schulz's work because dark subject matter is irrationally considered more adult and sophisticated. Of course, in actual fact both sides are wrong/right, and Peanuts contains multitudes, and did so from beginning to end. There's light whimsical humor from the very earliest strips. Wong mentions the following strip from 1995 (long past the beginning of the Joe Cool era), but dismisses it only on the basis that it's not a "fully-formed joke." Well, it made me laugh out loud when I opened to it in the latest Complete Peanuts volume.


Anyway, it's not hard to cherry-pick weaker or stronger strips from any era to make your case. But arguing that Peanuts isn't good in later years because Snoopy doesn't act like a real dog seems a little beside the point.

More importantly: it's obviously all right to prefer one era or tone over another. (In fact, my particular taste in Peanuts isn't that far off from Wong's, though I'm much more impressed with Schulz's consistency.) But one of the great strengths of the daily newspaper strip is its flexibility. Schulz knew exactly what he was doing.

Whit Taylor recommends three sites that feature feminist comics.

I don't believe we've linked to the relaunched Trouble with Comics site yet. Here's a post where the members discuss the concept of the "perfect comic shop" that demonstrates the site's strengths nicely.

And finally, Shaenon Garrity considers the prospects for a post-Fables Vertigo.



Today we have Joe's week in comics and the second day of Rina Ayuyang's cartoonist's diary.


The big story of the week is the New York Times report on Amazon's corporate culture. And Jeff Bezos, of course, has responded.

Over the weekend the Los Angeles Review of Books ran a story comparing Schulz and Watterson's approach to the merchandise around (or not) their strips.

And The Hooded Utilitarian ran a piece about early movie superheroes.