The Build Up

Today is day three of the great John Porcellino's Cartoonist's Diary. This time, he goes looking for gators.

Also, Rob Clough reviews the first issue of an all-woman British anthology, The Strumpet.


—In the Gary Panter department, James Romberger conducts a really nice, sharp interview with him for Publishers Weekly, and Jason Sack has a much shorter, but also nice interview with him at Comics Bulletin. On top of all that, Matthias Wivel, once (and future?) European correspondent here at the Journal, and supreme ruler of the Metabunker, translates and republishes a 2005 review of Jimbo's Purgatory as the first an installment of his "Comics of the Decade."

—If you want to ask Dave Sim questions (and considering all the recent events surrounding him, who wouldn't?), don't forget to take the opportunity we presented to you a few weeks ago, and leave a question in the comments here.

—In very welcome news, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has announced a new Dylan Williams Collection of small press and self-published comics.

—Top Shelf just launched their annual $3 sale. I don't generally like linking to those kinds of things, but there are so many potential good deals at that it seems a shame to let self-imposed, inconsistent principles get in the way.

—I missed this Alison Bechdel interview on getting old published at Jezebel last week. It doesn't look like the Bechdel interview onslaught that began this spring is slowing down much at all. So it's nice that she's such a good talker.

—The Rumpus interviews former Get Your War On cartoonist David Rees, one of the iconic webcartoonists.

—For Cul de Sac's fifth anniversary, Richard Thompson published a few early strips from before he figured things out.

—It's a fast-moving story, but apparently the sedition charges against Aseem Trivedi will be dropped. He is out on bail already.

—Nick Gazin talks to Johnny Ryan about his attempt to pitch an animated series with Dave Cooper.

—Robert Boyd reminds us all that Lynda Barry is currently selling original art real cheap on Etsy.

—This post on the New Yorker/Facebook "Nipplegate" incident is being linked to everywhere else on the internet, so I guess I should too. I'm doing it out of a sense of duty, not enthusiasm, though. (I do like Karen Sneider's cartoon.)

—Stephen Bissette teases some very interesting sounding Steve Ditko/Eric Stanton revelations in his review of the new Craig Yoe Ditko collection.


For Shame

It's Tuesday so your uncle Joe has some words for you. And John Porcellino rolls into Day 2 of his Diary.

Elsewhere in the world:

-TCJ-contributor Nicole Rudick on the artist Jess over at The Paris Review.

-The international cartoon news is the story of political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi in India.

-A comparison between two versions of The Little Engine That Could.

-Tim's old Comic Books Changed Their Lives is back, here, with this story about Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.

-The great John Pham opened a show, with Rob Sato, at Giant Robot 2 in Los Angeles. Nicholas Gazin has the report.

-And finally, Renee French has started a weekly comic strip over at Study Group.



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.