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.)


Youthful Pages

I this last week of summer it's probably best if you stay inside and read comic books. Joe McCulloch is here to help you do that. And MariNaomi continues our most far-flung TCJ Diary in Ecuador.

And I've decided that today is British links day. That's right, my paltry handful of links will all relate to the land of the Queen. So:

-Remember the time Modesty Blaise was almost drawn by Handsome Frank Hampson? Me neither! In fact I have two unread Modest Blaise books on my shelf. Is it a good strip? I may never know.

-Whoah, I think Warren Ellis knows what I'm talking about.

-It's a profile of fans of the other Frank of British comics: Bellamy. Complete with some very nice, typically photo-realistic visuals.

-I love this "Stuff From Under the Stairs" Tumblr. Great British zines and comics magazines. It's just the kind of stuff I like sifting through, offering a enough of a glimpse to feel substantial but random enough to feel manageable. Here's a nice Hunt Emerson cover.

-And more buried 1980s: Some very handsome Paul Grist work for "girl's comic".

And that concludes this event. I hope to return to the kingdom soon.


Little Boy

Dan Nadel weighs in on the Dave Mazzucchelli Daredevil: Born Again Artist's Edition. It is frustrating how many great-looking but incredibly expensive comics are coming out these days.

MariNaomi is the latest artist to sit in our Cartoonist's Diary chair, and begins her week with a flight to Ecuador.

Frank Santoro has David Hockney on the brain, and is willing to share his thoughts.


—This weekend marked one of those rare occasions when a news event briefly captures the attention of the entire world, as they remember one of the greatest spectacles the world has ever known. I am talking of course of Rob Liefeld's Twitter feed. (I was away from the internet all weekend myself, actually, but this seems to be the only thing people are talking about now that I've returned.)

—Sadder news came with the announcement on the Cerebus Kickstarter page that a fire has destroyed many of the negatives for Dave Sim's High Society, delaying the digital edition of that book. It's been bad news for Sim fans all around considering that last week saw the final issue of Glamourpuss.

You may remember me linking to the Dave Sim fanblog A Moment of Cerebus a while back, when they first launched a rolling question-a-day interview with Sim they are calling "HARDtalk". Now they are looking for more questions to ask Sim, and requested that I pass along their desire to TCJ readers. If you have questions you'd like to ask him, feel free to leave your questions in the comments. Details are here.

—Robert Crumb continues to give short-take impressions of various public figures. This time around, he discusses Woody Allen, Charles Burns ("I'm not crazy about his stories, but I really like the art."), Philip K. Dick, Ward Kimball ("Kimball came to see me because he liked my work, he liked what I was doing."), Lincoln, Darwin, Hergé ("I much prefer Barks"), and Chris Ware ("You know, you kind of need to get a magnifying lens to read some of it, but that's okay, it's worth it."), among others.

—Finally, I've really been digging Simon Hanselmann's Truth Zone comics.


No Xomics

Welcome back. Tucker Stone has granted himself a vacation, so you'll have to live without his sweet, sweet kisses for another week. Instead we bring an interview with Bianca Stone by Alex Dueben. Stone occupied a niche in the small but growing area of poetry comics, which she explains as:

Sequential art that uses poetry as the text. But there are so many variations. Some examples are very abstract, some more traditional and more obvious they comic strips/graphic novel, with text that is clearly poetry (sometimes well-known published poetry). I use that term because it fits the best with what I’m doing. An artist named Dave Morris has been doing them for a long time, and actually published a book “Poetry Comics.” I was excited to find that, but it’s a much different thing than I was doing. I like how everyone who does it is very different. I use the term Poetry Comics for a much broader sense. I’m very interested in pushing against the limits of what a comic can be. There are so many aspects of the comic book, and the comic strip, that offers itself so readily to poetry. Things like panels, gutters, lettering; the conscious choices made regarding empty space on the page vs. the text; timing, line breaks, condensed language, etc. There’s so much to play with.


-Bart Beaty talks about his new book, Art vs. Comics. I'm betting on art.

-An unpublished 1970 interview with the late Joe Kubert.

-TCJ Diary all-star Pascal Girard is teaching a course about comics.

-A New Yorker post in which we learn things about the sacred origins of New Yorker cartoons from deep within the New Yorker.

-More cartoon secrets! This time about John Stanley's comics within comics.

-I can't take it anymore, there are so many secrets: Rob Liefeld is revealing his hidden thoughts about DC Entertainment. More entertainment in these tweets than in those comics.

And the most horrible secret of all: The time Stan Lee got naked. Warning: This photo will fuck you up for life.



Talking ‘Bout

Today, Rob Clough's High-Low column returns in an installment about Stanford University's Graphic Novel Project. An excerpt:

The noticeable rise of comics as a viable field of instruction at art schools, as well as the rise of comics-only art schools, has been well-documented over the past decade. What has been less discussed is the pedagogy of comics at traditional four-year colleges, though there have been a few schools here and there who have made the study and/or creation of comics a priority. Ohio State's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has made the school a center of comics research. The University of Florida has held symposiums about comics for some time now. Duke's extensive collection is notable for its focus on zines and the small press as well as mainstream comics. The University of Cincinnati has Carol Tyler on their faculty in the fine arts department. However, I've yet to see any school with such a particular and exhaustive focus as Stanford, with its Graphic Novel Project.


—Department of Interviews with Guys Named Matt. Editor & Publisher talks to Life in Hell creator Matt Groening, The Beat talks to Boy's Club creator Matt Furie.

—Department of Manga-related Interviews. Anime News Network interviews both the man behind Pluto and Monster, Naoki Urasawa, and hentai pioneer (he's often called the creator of tentacle porn) Toshio Maeda.

—Department of Comics Academic Interviews. Comics Grid talks to former Comics Journal columnist Bart Beaty on the release of his new, much-anticipated book, Comics vs. Art. I haven't read it yet, but anticipate that this book is going to spark a fair amount of debate during the rest of 2012.

—Department of Your Regular Check-in with Alison Bechdel. The Burlington Free Press has you covered this time around. It's a good one, though.

—Department of Sorta Comics-Related. Frederik Pohl remembers his longtime friend Harry Harrison, and his own role in convincing Harrison to leave his art career behind for prose.

—Department of Barely Comics-Related At All. Am I the only one who didn't know that Whit Stillman started out as an agent for cartoonists? And why does that blow my mind so much? It seems exactly the kind of job one of his characters might have.


Choking Hazard

Today on the site:

RC Harvey profiles Richard Thompson in light of last week's news.

Like all cartoonists—and everyone who draws—Thompson is forever engaged, drawing by drawing, in a continual search for the perfect line. Says he: “The perfect line would be some combination of Ronald Searle and George Herriman. But then, that line would be so perfect, it wouldn’t be human.”

In the age of the emerging stick figure, it is refreshing—invigorating—to see actual drawing skill lauded so loudly. But Thompson’s talent doesn’t end with his drawing ability: his lines, interesting and sublime in their simplicity and complexity, merely visualize the world he has created in Cul de Sac, which Cavna describes as “a sly, whimsical skip through suburban life with Alice Otterloop, her friends Beni and Dill, elder brother Petey and her classmates at Blisshaven Academy preschool. It’s all about sidewalk discoveries, childhood invention, parents and other authority figures who are one step behind the children’s antics. At summoning our early years, Watterson says, ‘The strip depicts all kinds of moments than ring true.’”

-The Italian cartoonist and illustrator Sergio Toppi has died. He was renowned for his sense of design and his precise, electric line. Lambiek has the best English-language summary of his career.

-Here's news of a newly discovered run of Jack Kirby daily comic strips.

-A nice local story about cartoonists Joe Giella and Al Plastino.

-Really good shapes in these old Beetle Bailey strips.

-It's Ed Piskor on the Gweek podcast.



Loose Change

It's Tuesday, which means it's time for Joe McCulloch to guide you through the new releases at your local comic shop. It's the only weekly consumer guide worth reading even if you don't plan on buying any comics.


—Last Friday of course brought the heartbreaking announcement that Richard Thompson plans to shut down his much-loved comic strip Cul de Sac, due primarily to Parkinson's related medical issues. Michael Cavna at the Washington Post has whole story. Our own Craig Fischer has posted an appreciation of the strip and Thompson. Stacy Curtis, the artist who took over inking duties on the strip this spring, talks about his experience working with Thompson.

—As you probably remember, last week also brought news that long-running British comics weekly The Dandy will be shutting down its print operation. Charlie Brooker, not a fan, thinks the decision was long overdue. (His analysis of what's going to happen with the digital edition seems a bit unlikely to me.)

—I usually don't like to run too much coverage of movies based on comic books, but when one of the filmmakers is the actual original cartoonist, I'll make an exception. Marjane Satrapi talks to NPR about Chicken with Plums.

—At least two new Joe Kubert appreciations deserve your attention: Rick Veitch remembers working with Kubert on Sgt. Rock backups, and analysis from our own Matthias Wivel.

—Mike Lynch has posted a nice collection of Bill Mauldin photos.