Oh Boy

Today's a doozy, starting with the great Joshua Glenn (forever beloved for the late, lamented Hermenaut) on the long-awaited arrival of Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo collection. Here's an excerpt:

The weekly strip first appeared in the L.A. Reader back in the liminal year 1983—the final year, that is to say, of the Seventies, which began in 1974. The postindustrial era had arrived, and Panter gave us a future scenario in which nothing is created except graffiti, and everyone is in search of spare parts: mechanical and bodily. Like the abandoned highways and buildings of Dal Tokyo, the strip’s four-panel format is a hollowed-out shell—to be repurposed, misused, and abused however the squatter-artist sees fit. Some weeks, Panter uses his four panels to tell a serialized, Flash Gordon-type adventure; other weeks, he spreads a single scene or image or explosion across the entire frame; and in recent years, the chaotic action of the strip has subverted the very idea of a linear, delimited format. There is a desultory plot to Dal Tokyo: one as meandering and bemused, and as liable to follow a minor character right out of the scene for a long spell, as a Richard Linklater movie. “I’ve just got way too many leads to follow up,” Panter has explained, “and I’m happily chasing them in all directions.”

We also have the debut of a new artist in our Cartoonist's Diary feature, the legendary John Porcellino! Day one chronicles a road trip from the top of Illinois to Gainesville, Florida. What would he be doing there?

And finally, as the more diligent Comics Journal readers already discovered this weekend, Frank Santoro published another installment of his "New Talent Showcase", this time reviewing comics by Derik Badman, Clara Bessijelle, and A. Degen.


—The most obvious big news this weekend was the announcement of this year's Harvey Award recipients. Kate Beaton and Daredevil cleaned up their respective categories. Congratulations to the winners.

—Ken Quattro has unearthed a lengthy 1953 conversation between Joe Kubert, William Gaines, and Al Feldstein regarding the creation of 3D comics.

—Least predictable development yet? Today marks the online debut of new installments of Wendy & Richard Pini's Elfquest, at one of the world's most popular sites, Boing Boing. (As mentioned before on this site, the entire print run of previous Elfquest comics is available for free.)

—Frank Young continues to do valuable work, digging up the rarest John Stanley comics in existence. This time, it's possibly his strangest, Linda Lark, Registered Nurse.

—Douglas Wolk discusses Judge Dredd with superhero academic Ben Saunders.

—Rob Clough previews seven publishers you might want to seek out at this year's SPX, which takes place this weekend in Bethesda. As previously noted, this year's panels and guest slate look pretty amazing.


You Needa

It's the end of the another week. We made it! Tucker Stone and co. want to sing you into the weekend.


Tucker and fellow TCJ galley workers Joe McCulloch, Matt Seneca and Chris Mautner talk about comics even MORE with their voices! I have yet to listen to this installment (I like to wait until I have a long car ride or need to pass the time while I'm trying to read comics) but apparently it covers my favorite mini comics in a while, End of the Fucking World. That's a fine comic. I like Forsman's lean and elegant style, and reading it in little chunks has been satisfying. It's not easy making the couple-on-the-run plot interesting, but Forsman omits a lot, which lets readers fill in the gaps and engage with the implied ambiguities. Annnyyyhooo...

Elsewhere, I have some Dapper Dan Super Movie news! This is a trailer for a Metal Hurlant series that never happened. I know one man in Brooklyn who shed a little tear when he saw this. And, yes! A Wonder Woman series. I want to be able to turn on my TV and only see superheroes. Then we will gradually turn this site into an episode recap orgy. Elsewhere in the mountaintops of entertainment, here are some "poorly translated" James Bond comics. Fine likeness, though.

Finally: I love Tomi Ungerer's work. What a genius. Here's a profile. This weekend he'll be in Toronto at Little Island Comics.



Need More

Today, Rob Clough reviews Dan Zettwoch's long-awaited Birdseye Bristoe (which we previewed back in May). Here's an excerpt:

It’s telling that Dan Zettwoch’s full-length solo debut, Birdseye Bristoe, is touted on the cover as “An Inventions and How-To Book.” He’s never been an artist whose stories are driven by narrative. Instead, he likes to show his audience schematics, maps, instruction sheets, and cut-away drawings that nonetheless reveal something about the people who are building them. What’s odd about this book is that there is a narrative, but it’s almost entirely buried in an avalanche of diagrams that doubles as a tour of the non-town in which the story is set. If a reader is careful, he is provided with every clue as to what is happening and why, but Zettwoch gives nothing away for free, so to speak. As a result, it took me a couple of reads to figure out what was going on, beyond a simple collection of the usual clever Zettwoch drawings.


—Tom Spurgeon alerted the internet yesterday to Dylan Williams's recently posted Comics Art interview with Fred Guardineer (which includes excerpts from Guardineer's diary comics). I am grateful not only for seeing this material again, but also for being reminded of that Williams tribute site in general, which I had somehow lost track of, but is packed with excellent stuff, and well worth exploring.

—A lawyer named Bob Kohn opposed to the proposed Apple/e-books anti-trust settlement has recently filed an amicus brief explaining why, and done so in the form of a five-page comic. You can read that brief, and Kohn's story, here. I'm not sure I buy Kohn's reasons for doing this in comics form. He says he was asked to boil down a twenty-five-page prose argument to five pages, and couldn't see a way to get enough information in to five pages, but comics form helped, because pictures "tell a thousand words." Of course, nearly every one of the pictures he actually used is just one person sitting next to another, talking, so I'm not sure what information was being added visually here. But considering that the New York Times and Bloomberg have already reported on this, passed along his argument, and made his story go semi-viral, Kohn may have a larger point on comics' effectiveness. I doubt as many people would have read a more conventional brief.

—Danny Best has exhumed John Byrne's infamous courtroom testimony in the late-'90s Marvel vs. Marv Wolfman suit over Blade.


Doctor’s Orders

Hi there, today on the site we welcome new contributor Kim O'Connor, who writes about Gabrielle Bell's new book, The Voyeurs:

In Bell’s hands, comics are poetry’s cool little cousin, all slippery meanings, feats of peculiar punctuation, and the unfortunate tendency to namedrop the likes of Bertolt Brecht. She avoids the threat of pretension that’s implicit in all of those things with well-timed flashes of humor and a vague distaste for anything she can’t do on the Internet.

Elsewhere online...

-It's a Chris Ware-palooza this weekend, and just the start of the season of Building Stories.

-Heidi MacDonald covers a long and appalling instance of trolling.

-Kevin Huizenga makes a few notes about an architecture comic.

-Seneca and Witzke continue to discuss the DC series Solo, this time covering Damion Scott's installment.

-Here's a very fine Michael Kaluta / Carson of Venus narrative from 1974.

-Finally, from 2010 one of the last substantive Ray Bradbury interviews.



Welcome Back

We hope our North American readers enjoyed Labor Day, and that those of you overseas didn't mind too much the day off from comics reportage and criticism. We're back with Joe McCulloch and his weekly column—this time shining a spotlight on the immortal (so I'm told) Jack T. Chick.

Elsewhere on the internet:

—As Heidi MacDonald caught, WNYC has been posting audio from the 1954 Senate hearings on comic books and their purported links to juvenile delinquency. It's in two parts.

—Continuations & Conclusions. The second part of the Brandon Graham interview Dan linked to last week is now up, as our parts two and three of John Porcellino's materials & process posts.

Journal columnist Jared Gardner has reviewed Joe Sacco's Journalism, and (via Tom Spurgeon) the secret origin of another Journal columnist, Charles Hatfield, was recently revealed by his brother Scott, in two blog posts.

—Matthias Wivel writes on recent David B.

The Guardian has the first review of Charles Burns's The Hive I've seen in the wild.

—Gabrielle Bell appeared on a comedy podcast.

—Andrew Rilstone overthinks Superman as only he can.

—The Sean Howe Marvel Tumblr is the gift that keeps on giving.


A Case of the Labor Daze

Tucker Stone is back from vacation, but has been having some problems getting his internet connection to work, so his column will be in a little later than usual this morning. [UPDATE: It's here.]

In the meantime, MariNaomi has the last day of her Cartoonist's Diary, continuing her tour of the Galapagos Islands. Thanks, MariNaomi!

And Rob Clough has some very strong praise for a new anthology, Trubble Club #5, going so far as to dub it "the Sistine Chapel of jam comics."


—The great John Porcellino takes to his blog to share his materials and process, with a promise of more to come.

—Kevin Melrose at Robot 6 caught Dave Gibbons talking smack about the widely reviled font Comics Sans. Gibbons gets a pass on this, since apparently the font was at least partially based on Gibbons's lettering work on Watchmen, but generally, making jokes about Comics Sans is like mocking ... how do I put this without getting into trouble? It's way too easy, and very unnecessary, let's just say that.

—The Westfield Comics Blog interviews Crockett Johnson biographer Philip Nel and former Journal news-gatherer Eric Reynolds about the upcoming reprints of Johnson's Barnaby strip.

—Vice magazine has a profile of Real Deal Comics.

—And our own columnist Ryan Holmberg unearths an unpublished review of Andrei Molotiu's Abstract Comics he originally wrote for Art in America.


Like, Sick Sick Sick?

On the site:

The very funny cartoonist Sam Henderson drops in with the news that Comics Aren't Just For Eyes Anymore.

The one common ground all cartoonists have is a self-deprecating narcissism. We all take turns talking each other off building ledges. At the same time there’s a desire to be seen and liked by everyone. That’s why I’ve decided the best venue for my own work is through performed readings, with my comics projected on slides. However, I don’t have the same charisma a stand-up comic would. I don’t aspire to be on Saturday Night Live or in movies. At 43, I feel I’m too old to be “paying my dues.” I’m nervous talking to people one-on-one, but I don’t have the same fear getting up and talking in front of an audience. I could even be naked if I had to. (I have no idea what circumstances would require that, though.)

And MariNaomi continues her travels in Day 4 of her diary.


-Here's a preview of the great Seymour Chwast's adaptation of The Odyssey.

-Some beautiful Alberto Breccia work here.

-A solid Brandon Graham interview in which he ruminates a bit.

-Our own Sean T. Collins wrote a comic about cocaine psychosis and David Bowie. Check it out.

-Drawn & Quarterly loves Anders Nilsen, who boldly submitted his high school art for examination.

-Finally, I'm incredibly excited about this new Ron Rege Jr. book, Cartoon Utopia. Ron is one of our very best cartoonists and it's been too long since we've had new material from him.




If there's one complaint we here at hear more than any other, it's what happened to Dapper Dan's Super-Movies reviews? The answer, of course, is that Dan had a kid, which means he didn't spend a whole lot of the summer in theaters. But never fear, because the great R. Fiore has you covered, and uses his new Funnybook Roulette to pin down The Dark Knight Rises:

In thinking over my dissatisfaction with this particular moviegoing experience I am of two minds. On the one hand the leaden seriousness these superhero movies (and this “franchise” in particular) coat themselves in detracts from their enjoyability. On the other hand I can’t say for sure that their makers’ belief that this factor is a key element in their success with people other than me is wrong. I feel my position is further eroded by the fact that they did get me into the theater. As I am one of those people who will go to some of the superhero movies but not all of them, a key demographic for the success of one of these movies, it is difficult for me to argue that the strategy didn’t “work.”

MariNaomi continues her week in residence here as our Cartoon Diarist. Today: Cat scratch fever!


—Our own Chris Mautner takes to the pixels of Robot 6 to list and describe his six favorite Cul de Sac characters. If you know Chris, you know he does this with anything (six favorite Portuguese cartoonists, six favorite commenters, six favorite clerks at Pathmark, etc.), but usually he keeps his findings to himself, so this public disclosure is a rare privilege for you and me.

—I don't believe we've previously mentioned the fact that our own Sean T. Collins has ventured into the world of genuinely viral internet stardom for his recent comic-strip collaboration with Andrew White, but you can see in the Huffington Post that it's true.

—Pappy, one of the best internet excavators of old comics around, brings out an old Spirit story skewering Al Capp, Chester Gould, and Harold Gray, and speculates a bit about the motivation for its creation.

—James Romberger reviews a new book about the under-appreciated Marie Severin.

—It looks like the A.V. Club is taking their patented TV-recapping strategy and applying it to comic-book series, starting with The Walking Dead. I am still processing this.

—Graeme McMillan ponders what it means that Image is looked on as a great place for up-and-coming cartoonists to make their name, and as a great place for cartoonists to publish their creater-owned series after having made it, and wonders why anyone is going to DC and Marvel for work at all. Obviously the situation is more complicated than that (and less -- one obvious factor not mentioned in his piece: money), which McMillan acknowledges, but I do think he may be pointing to a real upcoming problems for the Big Two. If the Direct Market falters, what will DC and Marvel be able to offer their creators that the other smaller publishers won't?

—Finally, there are only a few days left for Floating World to raise the necessary funds for their planned experimental arts and comics festival in Portland, The Projects. Yay, Kickstarter! (I'm the nice one.)