We’ll Wear White as Long as We Want

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:

1. A fun Jay Lynch (and Ed Piskor) comic about the day Lynch and R. Crumb went to visit Chester Gould in Chicago. [I forgot that Dan already linked to this! Sorry, folks.]

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.

6. A short but fun interview with Jim Woodring.

7. A very nice review of the new issue of The Comics Journal.

8. Dan Clowes won one of this year's PEN Center Literary Awards.

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.)


Summer’s End

Today on the site:

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.

-Adam McIlwee tries to untangle some questions of online identity and finds himself tangled up.




Boil Water Advisory

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.

3. Comment 53.


Sunny Daze

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.

Also on the site, the Hurricane-proof Joe McCulloch's week in comics.


Continuing today: If you're in Portland, please go buy some comics and books and whatever from Floating World for the its Dylan Williams benefit sale.

Ed Piskor has a wonderful comic strip version of the day Jay Lynch and Robert Crumb met Chester Gould.

And, via MG comes this link to some funny/disturbing paintings.



Hurricane Delay

Hi there,

If you're seeing this it means that both Tim and I are without power temporarily. Regularly scheduled posting will resume... shortly!

-Ye Eds



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!

And Sean T. Collins reviews Kevin Mutch's Fantastic Life.


-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.


Show and Tell

Ken Parille is back with another entry of his Grid column today. Topic: Independent-era Steve Ditko. An excerpt:

We have yet to appreciate Ditko the philosopher, Ditko the comedian. Many readers lament the artist’s move away from the formulaic superhero story into the uncharted terrain of the philosophical comic. “Why couldn’t he do something more like, maybe, Spider-Man or Doctor Strange?” wonders the bemused fan when confronted with medium-reinventing works like 1969’s “The Avenging World” or 1975’s “Premise to Consequence.” Readers puzzled by Ditko’s independent work or frustrated with its Ayn Rand-based politics should take a hint from the spirit of these comics: read them with a black sense of humor.

Also, Matt Seneca reviews the first issue of Michel Fiffe's Zegas:

Main character Emily Zegas opens the book by telling us, “I realized the apocalypse wasn’t a romantic concept.” She makes a good point, but we’re forced to take it with the gargantuan grain of salt that the accompanying picture provides: hand-painted waves of ochre and magenta swirl majestically over a flooding cityscape, masses of tiny featureless human figures gesture skyward, and the heavens split with beams of brilliant rose-colored light. It’s about the most romantic rendering of the apocalypse imaginable, not to mention a bold declaration of visual purpose.

1. James Sturm writes for Slate about the process of trying to get cartoons (examples given) into The New Yorker.

2. Drew Friedman curates an online mini-gallery of Basil Wolverton and Wally Wood covers for Plop!

3. The Harvey Award winners were announced.

4. Dan filled in for me earlier this week, so I didn't have to comment on Grant Morrison's Rolling Stone interview. His comments on Chris Ware and the Comics Journal were baffling, though I feel like others have done a solid job making sense of them, mostly by squinting, switching around adjectives and proper nouns that aren't there, and being generous. But really, generosity is probably the way to go with a dumb phone interview like that, that shows some signs of heavy-handed and possibly meaning-altering editing anyway. Even if not, it was obviously tossed off.

Still and all, in light of the interview, Rodrigo Baeza dug up a pretty funny blurb from GM's past, and then goes on to rightly point out that Morrison's comments on the treatment of Siegel and Shuster, in his new book and in repeated interviews, are both more considered and more disturbing than anything in this particular sideshow.

5. Finally, John Porcellino draws a page of Kirby/Lee's Fantastic Four, and shares what he learned from doing so.


Better Days

Today on the site, a true meeting of the minds: Joe McCulloch interviews Alejandro Jodorowsky. Sample:

Yes I collaborate in the foundation of Metal Hurlant with my ideas and revolutionary texts like “The sexual life of Superman” where I was describing the Superman ejaculations so strong that the sperm going through the woman vagina, the whole body, the head and went away exploding the head and destroying a skyscraper.

Yep, you'll want to read that.


The great Dylan Williams, a comics stalwart for nearly two decades, and a real inspiration for all of us small publishers, could use some help to pay for his cancer treatment. I'm sure the attention is mortifying, but let it be said that Dylan and his company, Sparkplug, have quietly kept the DIY spirit alive. As a publisher you look for other publishers to, well, look up to. Dylan is one of those people. Dylan is also an incredible comics historian whose work on Mort Meskin, Alex Toth, Bill Blackbeard and others has been groundbreaking. So, go buy a ton of books from Sparkplug. They're affordable and they're damn good.

I can recommend the following:

The Heavy Hand by Chris Cilla: One of my absolute favorite graphic novels of the last few years. Fucking brilliant and damned brave. Essential to any comics library. Seriously.

Service Industry by T. Edward Bak: Formally inventive, funny, wrenching, personal comics.

Fleep by Jason Shiga. Just plain brilliant on every level. Shiga at his confounding best.

Windy Corner, edited by Austin English: Wonderful, heartfelt zine on comics.

Orchid by Huizenga, May, et al. One of my very favorite anthologies of all time.

It Lives by Ted May: It's Ted May. That means laughs and perfect cartooning.

Tales to Demolish by Eric Haven: Absurdist adventure comics lushly rendered.

Go. Buy. Good. Comics.