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Windy

Today on the site Rob Clough reviews The End Of The Fucking World.

Originally published as a series of short minicomics through his own Oily Comics micropublishing concern, Chuck Forsman’s The End Of The Fucking World (TEOTFW) is an incredibly assured debut for an artist who’s been making huge strides since graduating from the Center for Cartoon Studies. Given how many excellent minicomics he’s made (especially in his Snake Oil series), I hesitate to call this book a “debut”, yet for many it will be their first exposure to Forsman’s work. Forsman’s main storytelling interests revolve around the aimless, most especially teenagers as they react to their parents. He has a knack for giving voice to a certain sense of ennui and desperation for connection and meaning, yet manages to do so in a way that avoids navel-gazing and static storytelling.

Elsewhere:

Marvel won a summary judgement against the Jack Kirby heirs.

This article is a depressing reminder of a vastly popular corner of comics, and its attendant opinions.

And in better news, musician and really great, overlooked cartoonist Michael Hurley is getting  voluminous coverage in the new issue of Arthur. It’s good to see something like this happen, and a reminder that there are still “discoveries” to be made.

Have a good weekend.

 

Color Blind

It feels good to have Frank Santoro back on the case. Today he continues to cover comics that have fallen through the cracks, and finding valuable material about the technical aspects of comics production even for those who might not be interested in these particular comics on their own. He also takes a look at early, indie-era Ed Brubaker:

I think the Beto and Chester influence in Brubaker’s early work is cool. I’m not trying to make a joke here. Have you ever read Lowlife? It’s interesting to see Brubaker change as he was making this early work. It’s like you saw the writer in there but weren’t sure how all that was going to come out. Brubaker seemed to work through his influences and then found his own voice on the other side – he didn’t try and sidestep them.

Elsewhere:

Rick O’Shay creator and Western cartoonist Stan Lynde has passed away. The Washington Post has an obituary. We should have more coverage soon.

—Lots of DC-based discussion out there right now. J. Caleb Mozzocco gathers up recent reviews and think-pieces on the company’s current creative direction. Robot 6 picked out the perfect quote (“We publish comics for 45-year-olds” — so that’s why I’m not into them lately — I thought I grew out of them, but they outgrew me!) from Paul Pope’s appearance at San Diego. Retailer Brian Hibbs is angry, and goes on at length, about the “staggering incompetence” of DC’s cover promotion for their upcoming “Villains Month”. For more vintage DC talk, see Marc Nobleman’s just-posted 2006 interview with the late Batman artist Lew Sayre Schwartz.

—In non-DC superhero news, The New Republic has an informed profile of the you-say-provocateur-I-say-troll comics writer and Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar. Noah Berlatsky comes around to at least one of Daniel Clowes’s comics: The Death-Ray. And Sarah Horrocks writes about how the state of the industry has affected professional colorists for the worse.

—I missed Hillary Chute’s essay comparing comics to poetry in Poetry magazine.

—Deb Aoki flagged a video of Osamu Tezuka biographer Helen McCarthy giving an 8-minute lecture on the history of manga.

—Chester Brown’s Paying for It features pixilated genitalia in the Indian version, and Devika Bakshi explains why in Open magazine.

—Jeffrey Gustafson writes about the ambitious “Time” webcomic from Randall Munroe.

—Columbia librarian Karen Green talks about her experience teaching a comics-as-literature class.

—And academic Paddy Johnston has a video slideshow examining the digital comics of Chris Ware (via):

 

Abiding

Today Paul Tumey continues his deep dive into the Lost Comics of Jack Cole.

As he was making his regular rounds in 1937 to the offices of various New York magazine publishers, selling a few cartoons here and there, Jack Cole may have begun to realize he needed to widen his scope in order to make it as a cartoonist. Fortunately for Cole, he was in the right place at the right time. A massive new market for cartoonists was opening up – the comic book. Originally a re-formatted book-like pamphlet reprinting of Sunday newspaper comics, the success of the idea generated such a growing demand that savvy entrepreneurs began to supply comic book publishers with original material.

One of these entrepreneurs was Harry “A” Chesler. His quirky, quotation-framed middle initial was an affectation, designed to make him sound more important. It’s said that Chelser sometimes told people the “A” stood for “Anything.” In 1935 or 1936, Chelser began congregating artists and writers into rented studio spaces and paying them small amounts of money to create material that he could then sell to comic book publishers, including Centaur, MLJ (later known as Archie Comics), Street and Smith, Fox and Fawcett. Some of the writers and artists who worked in the Chelser shops at one time or another went on to become legends in comics: Jack Binder (who later opened up his own shop), Otto BinderCharles BiroCarl BurgosLou Fine, Creig Flessel,Gill FoxFred GuardineerPaul Gustavson,Carmine InfantinoJoe Kubert,  Roy Krenkel,  Mort MeskinMac RaboyGeorge TuskaBob Wood, and – of course – Jack Cole.

Elsewhere, many things at once:

I liked this post about the perpetually underrated Chris Reynolds.

Paul Karasik’s graphic reporting has been very rewarding, like this one.

Don Simpson covers our own Frank Santoro.

Benjamin Marra has announced a new, very fun looking comic.

And Mick McMahon is my favorite 2000 AD artist, in case anyone asks.

 

 

 

 

 

Beneath His Powdered Wig

Today it’s time for Joe McCulloch’s helpful guide to the Week in Comics. As usual, before he gets to the service-oriented portion of his column, Joe takes the time to examine one of the more esoteric byways of comics history, and this time, he goes even deeper into the weeds than usual:

Published in 2007 by the Arbor vitae in association with art agency Taktika Muzika — an exhibition of the 322 photographs taken for the book toured at the same time — Cecil’s Quest is a very lovely 10.5″ x 8″ landscape-format hardcover, probably conceived as an art book as much as a comic, though it is certainly not a mere catalog of photographs. I am unaware of any prior comics works by Skála, though he has illustrated some children’s books, and is doubtless aware of the storytelling capacity of images arranged in a sequential manner. He appears to have done basically everything involved with the creation of the book alone, from the building of models to the shooting of photographs, probably including the English-language lettering, although a translator (Robert Russell) is credited, as well as a lithography studio which aided in the graphic design and (presumably) the physical development of the photographs.

Elsewhere, there are ten million links:

—Interviews. Alex Deuben interviews Kim Deitch, Inkstuds interviews Dash Shaw, Hero Complex interviews Wolverine co-creator Len Wein about the new movie, the New York Times asks New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff about his cultural interests, Houstonia magazine talks to Terry Moore, Benoit Peeters and François Schuiten talk to Naoki Urasawa (!), and the Paris Review blog talks to Lisa Hanawalt. Whew.

—News. The Billy Ireland Library has announced a potentially major new comics show, and the Sequential comics app from the UK has now launched in the U.S. and elsewhere.

—Uncategorizable. Faith Erin Hicks draws a diary strip from her time as a guest at Comic-Con, noted garbologist Tom Devlin digs through Michael DeForge’s trash, Tom Scioli revisits the work of Barry Windsor-Smith, Sam Henderson relaunches his website, Chris Mautner reviews the latest Mickey Mouse collection, and Frank Zappa collaborates with Robin, the Boy Wonder.

 

Slow Speed

Today on the site: Ryan Holmberg on a comics cafe in Mumbai:

“It’s in the suburbs,” I was told. But what this means in Mumbai is not what it means in the States. Despite the unpleasant realities of sprawl in America, there is still a lingering notion that the ‘burbs are between town and country, combining the best of both: convenience without crime and congestion, green and fresh air while still being plugged into the grid. Not so in Mumbai, where suburbs means, simply, at the fringe of municipal limits and, more importantly, relatively affordable real estate. It does not mean freedom from big city troubles, for while things might be more spread out in the Mumbai suburbs, with more big leafy green tropical trees, the traffic is worse than in town and the roads are a permanent wreck.

I begin with this to preemptively dissuade readers from thinking of Leaping Windows – India’s first comics café, located in Versova, near-ish the sea just northwest of the large and tangled “suburb” of Andheri – through the clichéd American lens of “comics in the suburbs.” Leaping Windows is very much an urban institution. Were it not, it could not exist. Despite being geographically inconvenient for most of Mumbai’s population, Leaping Windows has done well enough to inspire a second outlet in Bangalore. This is thanks to a diversified business model. It not only has a café with a full menu, free wi-fi, and a quietish place for locals to come and chat or work. It also has a library with a collection of some 2,000 comic books (counting only the trade paperbacks and graphic novels) that you can use for 30 INR an hour (that’s 50 cents in your Richie Rich dollar). It also has a membership program through which comics can be borrowed, delivered straight to your door (4500 INR for a one year, approximately 75 USD).

Elsewhere:

A chunk of Jeet Heer’s forthcoming book about Francoise Mouly is now online.

Also from Jeet, “a precursor to Steinberg?“.

This is an amazing set of Jack Kirby photos.

And Tom Spurgeon has some stats on young cartoonists.

 

 

Numbers Game

Today on the site we herald Tucker Stone’s return.

Elsewhere, it’s an all superhero + The Property links edition.

First, The Property — a book I enjoyed very much. It’s reviewed here and here.

Douglas Wolk writes about Before Watchmen; The Beat mentions it, and wacky comments ensue.

The “best” superhero/etc. covers of July courtesy of Paste.

Finally, I always have a soft spot for The Micronauts.

 

A Great Topic For a Panel Discussion

It’s Thursday, which means it’s Frank Santoro Riff-Raff day. This time, he reviews two new releases (Mare Odomo and Lala Albert) from Sacred Prism, and recaps last weekend’s Philly Alt Comic Con, which apparently included a lot of moments like the following:

Long, involved, raging conversations about Tony Wong were applauded, wait—that was just me talking loudly to no one in particular, I believe. The sound of one hand clapping.

We also have audio from Mark Waid’s interview of Russ Heath at San Diego.

Elsewhere, I only have three links, but they’re all good ones:

—First, Nat Gertler has an excellent historical post on the how and why behind Charles Schulz’s introduction of the character Franklin to Peanuts.

—Then, ICv2 has a two-part interview with DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. Turns out that despite what you may have heard about battles between editors and creators, fleeing creators, imploding Vertigo, etc., everything there is totally great right now.

—And finally, a half-hour interview of the great caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, conducted by Art Spiegelman in 2001 (via):

 

The Opposite of What You’d Expect

Good morning, everyone. Today, we are republishing “50 Years of Mediocrity”, a controversial 1998 article written by the cartoonist Sam Henderson, about his disappointment as a student at School of Visual Arts in New York, prompted by a celebratory issue of the alumni magazine:

Now we get to the work of students past and present. “A Day in the Night of a Comic Book Artist” is a portfolio of the best from Joe Orlando’s class. Orlando asked his students to show themselves at their drawing board, and his example can be seen. A young man looks in a mirror above his drafting table trying to get the right face for the page he works on. He is surrounded by tools, and in the background are visions of superheroes, aliens, and spaceships. The results are basically other versions of the same drawing. Most students draw the same lamp and chair but add slight variations like different angles or the ultimate SVA cartooning major’s wish-fulfillment fantasy— a bed nearby with a girl sleeping in it.

Fifteen years later, Henderson has a few regrets about how that story panned out, and so we also have a new article from him talking about how his attitude towards SVA has changed. Here’s a bit:

I heard secondhand how pissed off some people were about the piece. One faculty member (whom I didn’t know) apparently told his students not to read it. I trashed one artist who supposedly told someone at the comic store he worked at that he’d kill me if he ever met me. I knew a couple teachers socially who thought I was throwing them under a bus.

Elsewhere:

—Interviews with Superhero Creators. Grant Morrison talks at length with USA Today about the end of his Batman run and the beginning of his work on Wonder Woman. Also, longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont talks to Sean Howe about the new Wolverine movie, and not getting a mention in the credits.

—The Funny Pages.
Derf wrote a longer update about his previously mentioned firing by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and the end of his long-running strip, The City. Which led to a truly inspired rant on the Comic Strip of the Day site about the current state of newspaper publishing. Matt Bor continues his doom-’n-gloom tour, talking to Truthout about what he believes is the dying art of editorial cartooning.

—Money. Jim Keefe, artist on the Sally Forth and Flash Gordon strips, talks about how cartoonists should price their work. Gary Tyrrell talks about the latest Kickstarter controversies.

—Heidi Macdonald does a end-of-show recap of the winners and losers of Comic-Con, and catches the welcome and imminent re-publication of Katherine Collins’s Neil the Horse.

—Tim Kreider writes about designing book covers.

—A South Carolina Christian advocacy group has attacked the College of Charleston’s choice of Fun Home as one of several books recommended for incoming freshmen, calling it “pornographic.”

—Ben Towle enthuses about the French cartoonist Chaval.

—Tom Spurgeon has a very strong short review of Geneviève Castrée’s Susceptible.

—Jason T. Miles writes about the origins of his upcoming horror anthology Insect Bath (and has set up a preview Tumblr for it, as well).

—The Los Angeles Review of Books has a video interview with Sammy Harkham.