Jared Gardner returns to TCJ with his new monthly column, The Attic, in which he'll explore historical finds buried deep in the figurative Attic of comics history. We're excited for this one, as Jared is really bringing "the stuff". Welcome, Jared.
And Kristian Williams turns in a review of Liar's Kiss.
I'm looking forward to this book, and I hope you are, too. Plus: David Lasky! Anyhow, The Carter Family... coming soon.
I hope all of you had a good weekend. We spent the last few days holed up in a retreat in upstate New York, plotting out new ideas and directions for the website, & are now energized and ready to go. A sneak peek into our plans: In a few months, we are going to entirely reboot the site, creating new costumes and backstories for all of our columnists and reviewers, and generally revamping the Groth-verse into a faster-paced, "Twitter-style" "hub" for a new larger and younger audience raised on video games and sudoku. Every day the site will be redesigned and relaunched as a "#1," and readers will have the opportunity to sign on and compete with each other to become the "mayor" of their favorite stories! Lots more ideas like that are in store, but we don't want to give the whole game away, so stay tuned...
In the meantime, Frank Santoro checked in this weekend with his latest column (and Michael DeForge cartoon).
Austin English turns in a short interview with the very unusual and original cartoonist Warren Craghead.
And as he does every Tuesday morning, "Jolly" Joe McCulloch previews the Week in Comics.
1. The artist and former retailer Dustin Harbin turns in a much-discussed list of "Fifteen Thoughts on Digital Comics". It is thoughtful and worth engaging with. One caveat I have is that I keep seeing many commentators on digital publishing (both in terms of comics and of "regular" books) claiming that the "largest costs" of traditional publishing come from the physical process itself (i.e., the paper, the printing, etc.). In many cases, that just isn't so -- the largest costs come from all of the things you still may want to do with digital (i.e., hiring and maintaining editorial departments, publicity, etc.). This is worth keeping in mind!
2. The Kirby-net now sometimes seems nearly as big as the comics-blogosphere in general. Its latest big story is Rob Steibel's excellent illustrated examination of "Kirby Crackle."
3. There also seems to be something of an online revival of Cerebus talk as well, as indicated in this Journal as well as by writers such as Tim Callahan. The Hurting's Tim O'Neil has now entered the arena with the first part of what looks to be a long examination of how Cerebus is read today.
4. Greg Baldino reviews issue 301 of The Comics Journal over at Bleeding Cool.
5. In a must-read blog post, Eddie Campbell responds to a claim in a review of his work in TCJ 301. The reviewer claims that he could spot where Campbell relied on assistants in Alec. [UPDATE: Please see the comments at that post for an explanation of the error.]
6. Finally, wunderkind Matt Seneca has some thoughts on the new publishing initiative at DC Comics.
Kim Deitch is back with another installment of his memoir via music. It is now the late '60s, the underground era is in full swing, and after working at the East Village Other for a while, Kim decides to head west. A disclaimer:
Before resuming I should say this: Drug taking, by myself and others, really peaks in this chapter. It isn’t something I’m proud of or a thing I endorse. But it is the way it all happened.
Also, Rob Clough reviews MK Reed and Jonathan Hill's Americus.
Elsewhere, and catching up after a lousy week at doing this job, more links than you can read:
2. For some reason, it never really occurred to me how young Lynda Barry must have been when she was creating the strips found in Girls + Boys, etc. This picture of her at a signing for the book makes clear immediately what my inability to draw obvious conclusions from things like years and dates did not. Those are some really funny comics.
3. Jack Kirby interviewed on the radio for his 70th birthday. Don't miss the end of this, when Stan Lee calls in and they argue over who did what. [Hat tip to S. Howe.]
4. There are two comics pieces by Noel Murray over at the AV Club right now, one a "primer" on newspaper comics that is fairly solid in a conventional kind of way, and the other a remembrance of the long-running erotic anthropomorphic-animal soap opera comic "Omaha" the Cat Dancer. (I have never read a single issue of Omaha, or the comic that is always somehow linked to it in my mind, Cherry Poptart. And have never really felt like I was missing anything. Is this genre-blindness or good sense?)
5. Tom Spurgeon turns in a rambling but insightful piece on DC's recent "relaunch." It is obviously far too early to say with any definitiveness whether or not DC's strategy will "work," or even what "working" actually means (the bigger problem), but two things I can say with certainty: the publicity was everywhere (even NPR), and there were big noticeable crowds in and outside stores in New York. Does it go without saying that the comic itself (Justice League #1) was just serviceable (if stupid and unmemorable)? Does it matter? Probably, after a few weeks, when the publicity boost dies down. Maybe some of the other new titles will be more interesting? If not, I can't see how this is really much of a change over the old way of doing things.
9. The cartoonist Michel Fiffe writes a long and much-linked-to essay over at the Factual Opinion regarding the intersection between independent and alternative comics and more genre-oriented superhero and sci-fi material. (One factual caveat from the D&Q Twitter feed.)
Kipp Friedman brings us his story of growing up with a case of comic book fever, aided and abetted by his brothers Josh and Drew.
And Charles Hatfield is back, and that's always a good thing. As is his review of the most recent installment of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Click over to The Panelists to see what Charles did on his summer vacation.
-There's a big relaunch of DC comic books right now! If you're interested, here's some info. I've somehow managed to not pay any attention, which seems fine.
Sorry about this week's Hurricane Irene-related delay in comic-book coverage. Other than the contaminated Essex County water supply, it looks like pretty much everything related to the East Coast branch of the Journal is back on track now. We hope all of our affected readers came out okay.
Today in his column, Ryan Holmberg takes a break from documenting the history of alternative manga, and focuses on the immediate and lasting effects of Japan's massive tsunami and earthquake on the manga industry, both in the form of manga reportage about the events, and the actual physical destruction of manga. A sample:
Fans searched Tohoku high and wide to read the newest chapter of One Piece in the March 19 issue of Jump. To find a copy, one man drove from Sendai to Yamagata (over an hour by car when roads are clear and fuel plentiful), bringing it back to Sendai, and lending it to a bookstore owner, who posted on his shop window a sign saying “Read it here!! Shōnen Jump March 19th issue, no. 16. One copy available.” Word spread quickly. Kids biked in from over 10 kilometers. More than 100 kids came to read that single issue.
And Mike Dawson returns with another episode of his podcast series, this time interviewing the cartoonist and publisher Tom Kaczynski.
Links-wise, I'm a little behind on my internet reading, but here are a couple to tide you over until I get back up to speed.
1. Elsewhere on the internet, the indefatigable Rob Clough reports and provides commentary on his top fifty comics of 2010. Always solid stuff, and plenty of titles that almost anyone not named Rob Clough probably missed.
2. Some lucky ones among you will already own copies of the minicomic in which these mutated strips originally appeared, but the rest have only read about them.
It's Tuesday. Summer is coming to a close, which means, at least for me, a return to the Fall book fair circuit. In honor of that, and to explain a significant new move by the Library of Congress, we have an interview with historian/collector/SPX-maestro Warren Bernard.
Today we bring part 8 of Kim Deitch's memoir. This is the best one yet and Kim promises it's only getting better. Here's a bit:
The concert was mayhem. You literally could not hear the band. I didn't really know what I was going to do with myself now that I was back, but I was sure I did not want to go back to art school. I wasn't even sure I wanted to be an artist anymore. After drifting through a couple of low-end jobs, I somehow ended up working for a posh nut house in White Plains: New York Hospital. I could write a whole book about that place. Suffice to say, if this is what things were like in a high-end laughing academy, I'd sure hate to see what was going on in a low-end one!
-Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat was beaten and his arm broken by security forces on Thursday. The Washington Post has coverage.
-The web site Bleeding Cool released the rather odious terms ComiXology is asking retailers to agree to in exchange for the use of its platform. It's yet another example of the industry killing itself from within, one that dovetails with this interview with Jim Lee and Dan DiDidio at which, shows the clueless cynicism at work in the company.
-And the store Floating World Comics is staging a benefit this weekend for Dylan Williams. There will be great art and books to buy and all the profits are going to help with Dylan's treatment. Tom Devlin summarized why so many other publishers and editors respect Dylan and Sparkplug. Go read that and then go buy some comics.