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It’s a Six

It’s Tuesday so that means Joe McCulloch has stayed up late to deliver you the finest new releases of the week.

All around the internet:

A-J Aronstein on Daniel Clowes, with a diversion into comics criticism.

Bob Mankoff at The New Yorker issues a mea culpa and follows a nice history trail.

The great Michael Doret on working on a DC Comics history book logo.

Jonathan Rosenbaum has posted his introduction to the phenomenal new Peanuts Sunday strips collection.

Glen David Gold has posted a mini-essay on a stunning new Jack Kirby art acquisition.

Sit back and enjoy the Shigeru Sugiura mash-up video.

And here’s another damn video. This one of the new Ruppert and Mulot book, which must be ripped to be read.

 

Song & Dance

Today, Ryan Holmberg is back with a longer look at the comics rental libraries of Mumbai:

Upon publishing the interview with Leaping Windows Comics Café, I was informed by an elder Indian that rental bookstores – locally called “circulating libraries” – are not uncommon in Mumbai. There used to be more, I was told, but there are still some out in the suburbs, though they deal mainly in books in Hindi and Marathi (the local language) rather than in English.

Online searching turned up more than a dozen scattered across Greater Mumbai, some of which are actually in the heart of the city, near railway stations and major intersections. These latter seem to be mainly older businesses, hanging on since the 1950s and 60s. I am also told that, out in the suburbs, a number of “paper marts” – paper recycling shops – have begun doubling as lending libraries, redirecting not only junk books and magazines that come their way, but also cartons of cheap remainder books. I have heard – though I haven’t seen them – that there are book vans that show up in certain neighborhoods once every three days or so, with blinking LED lights and megaphones tootling jingles.

All of which is to say: borrowing books for a fee, beyond the familiar institutions of private and municipal libraries, is neither a new nor rare thing in Mumbai.


Elsewhere:


—News.
Responding to the recent online controversy Dan linked to last week, Brian Wood has released a statement. His accuser Tess Fowler responded soon after.

The opening of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum seems to have been a huge success, at least judging by reports. Sean Kleefeld has a three-part post on it.

Retailer/columnist Brian Hibbs has written an editorial on the disquiet he and many felt upon hearing about the Fantagraphics Kickstarter that quickly gets derailed into a rehearsal of an old Hibbs hobbyhorse regarding serialization vs. books. Matt Wilson at Comics Alliance wonders if the fundraiser was the start of a new trend and wonders if it’s workable.

The Autoptic festival in Minneapolis is having a crowdfundraiser of its own.

—Reviews & Criticism.
Robert Boyd reviews Jim Woodring, Gilbert Hernandez, and minicomics. Whit Taylor on Noah Van Sciver’s Saint Cole. Bilge Ebiri is disappointed by the new Bill Watterson documentary. Mary Kinney writes about the bewilderingly popular Homestuck. Erik Davis has a short & sharp appreciation of Alan Moore up at Hilobrow. Holland Cotter at the New York Times reviews the Art Spiegelman Co-Mix show at the Jewish Museum and calls for more museum comics exhibitions. (If you’re in the New York area, I strongly recommend attending that show.)

—Interviews.
David Samuels has a long, very good interview with Art Spiegelman at Tablet. The Atlantic talks to Alison Bechdel about her reaction to the Fun Home musical. Tom Spurgeon talks to Gene Luen Yang. The Allie Brosh/Hyperbole and a Half media juggernaught makes it The Hairpin

 

Tons

Today on the site: Shaenon Garrity has written an obituary of Joey Manley.

“He was that rare kind of person that comes along in the comic industry,” says Cat Garza, one of the first artists Manley recruited to Modern Tales and one of many for whom that business relationship developed into a permanent friendship. “The kind that publishes newcomers without thought to whether or not the work is lucrative, the kind that puts people together and builds connections.”

Dirk Tiede, another longtime Modern Tales artist, says, “He gave so many young, talented, yet previously unknown creators a chance and a voice in what has always been a difficult and sometimes hostile industry. He put a professional face on webcomics at a time when they were laughed at by the mainstream comics scene. He stood up for us.”

And we have a review by Daniel Kalder of The Strange World of Your Dreams.

And elsewhere:

Zainab Akhtar reviews a bunch of new comics.

D & Q previews a fetching new comic.

Heidi MacDonald on harassment and the comics industry.

Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox talk about Dogs of War.

The cover of Mad #21: Dissected.

Oh, and no Tucker this week, but here’s a little Comic Books Are Burning in Hell: A special Neil Gaiman episode.

Finally, what I  have long waited for: A Wigglemuch Tumblr.

 

Don’t Look Now

We’ve got two columns for you this morning. First, R. Fiore, who contemplates Jeet Heer’s Françoise Mouly biography, In Love with Art. Here’s a snippet:

At this point is there any more important editor in periodical illustration than Françoise Mouly? With so many erstwhile venues for illustration being driven online, where any illustration is rendered into spot illustration, The New Yorker could be the big time all by itself. Unless Spiegelman comes into the office with her we have to assume this is an adventure without him. The New Yorker cover of the William Shawn era was essentially wallpaper, the perfect decoration for the better kind of dentist’s office. (Not least because it didn’t matter how old the magazine was.) The New Yorker cover of the Mouly era is not only more topical than it used to be, but is also frequently a one-image narrative. The ultimate Mouly-era narrative cover is Adrian Tomine’s November 8, 2004 cover: A young man and woman spot each other reading the same book in subway trains going in opposite directions, and not only have not encountered but will lose each other in a second’s time. (Though it would have been a hell of an advertisement for Chance Encounters classifieds if they had them.) The effect is to put the cartoonist at the center of the world of illustration.

And then Frank Santoro stops by to reflect on last weekend’s CAB show, and then very briefly interview Alex Schubert, the creator of Blobby Boys:

Frank: How was CAB?

Alex: Man, I was in a bad mood the whole time. I stayed in an Airbnb, and it was the fucking shittiest place I’ve ever seen. I opened the door, and the doorknob fell off. Broken glass and cigarette ashes everywhere. I’m not joking when I say that I cried a single tear.

Elsewhere:

—CAB Reports. There are too many of these to link to, but three that you might find interesting can be found by Mary Kinney, Andrew White, and Secret Acres (who have cleverly capitalized on their always-popular con report posts by sneaking in ads for their upcoming books). There’s also a comics-con exhibitor survey taking place right now at Devastator magazine, for those interested in participating.

—Miscellaneous. CBR interviews Trina Robbins about her latest (and apparently last) history of women in comics, Pretty in Ink. Richard Bruton reviews Oliver East’s Swear Down. Bill Everett biographer Blake Bell picks his ten favorite Everett covers. And not-comics but potentially interesting to those readers familiar with modern-day manga, James Polchin reviews an exhibition of Japanese Edo-period erotic art at the British Museum.

 

Preeeeesenting

Today on the site: Rob Clough reports on the MCAD and the Minneapolis comics scene.

I was excited to attend Autoptic this year in part because it gave me a chance to meet and sample the work of a number of cartoonists in the burgeoning Minneapolis scene. Certainly, I was already well aware of the work of cartoonists like Zak Sally, Anders Nilsen, Rob Kirby, JP Coovert, Max Mose, Tom Kaczynski, and Will Dinski. I’m also quite familiar with small publishers like 2D Cloud (helmed by Raighne Hogan and Justin Skarhus) and Grimalkin Press (run by Jordan Shiveley). It’s not a coincidence that most of these cartoonists were part of the show’s steering committee. I was most curious to delve into the work of lesser-known local artists, particular current and former students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). Sally and Nilsen both teach at the school, which boasts about fifty students majoring in cartooning out of about seven hundred undergraduates.

And Sean Rogers reviews Rage of Poseiden by Anders Nilsen, also from Minneapolis.

To be curious about human life, but to abjure human actors: Nilsen revisits this technique in his latest book, Rage of Poseidon. Rather than birds, however, this time out the artist uses mythic figures to inquire into the peculiarities of human behavior. Nilsen culls his cast of characters from Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions, but he endows these deities and patriarchs with all-too-human failings, and thrusts them into the contemporary world. So in these stories, Poseidon rages, God sulks, and Athena goes on a bender, while Jesus drives a pick-up and Bacchus holds court in Vegas. Where Nilsen’s birds were trivial creatures with weighty concerns, his gods are ponderous beings with trifling cares.

Elsewhere online:

The Atlantic talks to Alison Bechdel about the transformation of her book, Fun Home, into a musical.

Robert Boyd on some recent books from Drawn & Quarterly.

Publisher Ryan Sands talks to illustrator Sam Weber.

Here’s a nice interview with cartoonist/artist Leif Goldberg.

PW has a photo gallery from last weekend’s CAB, weirdly serious picture of me included.

It’s Paul Karasik’s current comics reading. In Italian.

The great Hayao Miyazaki is apparently drawing a samurai manga.

The Beat reports on the latest comic-related graphics on Uniqlo garments.

And finally, there’s another major comics show in Manhattan, this one of cartoons by the artist Ad Reinhardt. Here’s a walkthrough with the curator and teacher Robert Storr.

 

 

Entomology

Joe McCulloch has the highlights from the Week in Comics for you today, attached to an essay on two comics he picked up in Brooklyn last weekend.

Elsewhere:


—Reviews & Criticism.
Martin Wisse looks at Joe Keatinge & Ross Campbell’s Glory. Janean Patience continues his series on Matt Wagner’s Grendel. Richard Bruton on Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth. Bob Temuka looks at the new Sandman. Wait, what decade is this?! Pádraig Ó Méalóid plumps for Lance Parkin’s new biograpy of Alan Moore, Magic Words. Finally, Ng Suat Tong entertainingly comes out against plumping in all forms, making his customary move of preceding one of his own brief reviews with a lengthy list and condemnation of other critical takes on the same subject. This time, it’s Michael DeForge. He definitely has a valid point or two: I was just coincidentally thinking myself the other day that there had been much less in-depth criticism of DeForge than you’d expect, given his stature; and the tendency for reviewers of all kinds to use language reminiscent of publicity blurbs has been rightly lamented for a century. That said, it is amusing to note that once again, Suat is undisturbed by imagery that literally every other human commentator finds gross, and then blithely assumes that their disgust must be feigned. Different strokes indeed. Anyway, I always enjoy and learn from Suat in myth-puncturing mode, no matter how clinically, narrowly he practices his iconoclasm.

—Interviews & Profiles.
Matt Bors, the preeminent political cartoonist of his generation (and about whom I expect a consensus-skewering examination from Ng Suat Tong any day now, gets a short tribute at Time magazine. Joseph Glass talks to Paul Pope. The New Yorker blog talks to Gene Luen Yang. Tom Spurgeon talks to Gary Groth about the Fantagraphics Kickstarter.

—Unclassified. On her blog, Alison Bechdel responds to the recent stories about four Swedish movie theaters instituting an official version of the Bechdel test.
—Miscellaneous.

 

That’s It

Today on the site:

A 2006 interview with the late Joey Manley by Dirk Deppey.

DEPPEY: You started with Modern Tales and you’ve got a core of, I believe, four or five sites, depending on how you want to classify Webcomics Nation, but I’m not really sure how. Is it more of a portal, or is it a service to cartoonists?

MANLEY: Webcomics Nation represents me trying to get out of the middleman business and get into the service-bureau business, because it’s (A) more profitable, (B) less work and (C) more useful to more cartoonists. Modern Tales was constructed along traditional magazine-publishing lines where, you know, there’s an editor who selects content, pulls it together in a meaningful package and then charges customers to read it and takes the money that the customers pay and splits it among the creators. Now, that last part is a little untraditional because a traditional magazine just pays a flat rate for the use of something. But the Modern Tales model is a lot of work, a lot of accounting and managing and picking and poking, especially because the business grew much more quickly than I ever thought it would, and became a much more important part of everybody’s life who is involved with it than I ever expected. The day before we launched, I hoped that maybe we would have 150 subscribers in the first year. We had 700 subscribers at the end of the first week.

DEPPEY: Really?

MANLEY: Yeah. It’s not growing at anything like that pace anymore, for a lot of reasons having to do with the price of bandwidth dropping, and with the explosion of more comics. You know, when I launched Modern Tales, it was still possible to name all the creators who were doing high-quality, interesting work online within a 10-minute period. That’s no longer possible. There’s been this explosion. So the elitism of the Modern Tales brand isn’t really sustainable in the current environment, which is why we’re shaking things up again. The Webcomics Nation model works much better in the new environment — there doesn’t have to be this middleman in there touching everything all the time, cartoonists can just do their thing. Modern Tales couldn’t possibly grow as fast as webcomics is growing. Webcomics Nation can.

And Dominic Umile reviews The Fifth Beatle.

Brian Epstein glides about in artist Andrew C. Robinson’s era-appropriate composite of cinematic framing and psychedelic overtones, clad in conservative blue or brown pinstripe suits. Each panel’s impossible Valley of the Dolls-like gloss — occasionally dressed in an effect that reproduces a color camera filter — owes to Robinson’s paint-first, digital studio-second methodology. He sets Northern England in a striking rain-blanketed swirl of blues, mossy green, and unfriendly damp alleyways, and The Fifth Beatle’s first few pages unfurl near the River Mersey, where an early Beatles gig is cross-cut with a harrowing encounter along the Liverpool South Docks. Epstein approaches a young seaman under the misconception he’d been flirted with and is “beaten…badly,” as recounted in the novel. Robinson’s whirlwind of punches and sharp kicks comes to a head with Epstein limping away, bleeding all over a discarded issue of Mersey Beat.

Elsewhere:

Well, it was a busy CAB weekend and I’m exhausted. I had a good show. It was smooth and sales were solid. There are a couple of brief reports up here and here. And here’s Tom Spurgeon on the highlight of the weekend for me: Art Spiegelman’s retrospective exhibition.

Self-interest alert: Brian Nicholson on INFOMANIACS.

Philip Nel on the Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign.

And here’s another worthy Kickstarter campaign: Mould Map 3.

 

 

 

Train I Ride

Joe McCulloch is back for another round this week, with a lengthy interview with Jean-Pierre Dionnet, the comics writer and co-founder of Métal Hurlant and Les Humanoïdes Associés. They discuss the gamut of his career. Here, Dionnet discusses the very early days of Métal Hurlant:

So suddenly, everybody in a new generation is connecting. I didn’t know that a new generation was waiting to do the next thing. They came from everywhere. As said the Nietzschean philosopher Bruce Willis, about his movie Die Hard, you only come at the right place, at the right moment, one time. An all-new generation, mostly in science fiction at the beginning, but after, some of them were singers, artists, whatever. Some came with dirty drawings, and I took them the same way I used some sex to sell; then we stopped showing sex, because we knew it was suddenly okay – we were kids. Some were waiting for the flying saucers to come to earth.

Me, I had no point of view. In my head, I was like Elric of [Michael] Moorcock, a servant of the chaos. Some were communists, but they were Stalinians. Some were near the right – I mean the extreme right, but not in what they brought me. It was funny. So my idea was that my taste was not important. What was important was that the stories were well done, that those people were convinced – I would publish them. The tone of the magazine would come from a mix of everything.

And here’s where he discusses how US editors adapted Métal Hurlant into Heavy Metal for the American market:

I made a big mistake, because I said I don’t want to colonize America, so let’s say that it would be good if you can put some American stuff in also, maybe 10 or 20 percent. What I didn’t know is that all the editors – Julie Simmons was the daughter of [National Lampoon co-publisher] Matty Simmons, and Ted White – were great with science fiction, but had very bad taste in art, like a lot of science fiction people. They began to have stories by people I don’t like. Aside from [Richard] Corben, who I published first. Aside from Kaluta. I was very naïve, I’d say maybe you could give stories to Spiegelman, to Crumb, to Moscoso. And they didn’t want to work with those people. Art was starting RAW at the time, and didn’t need to, but I think that most of them would have accepted to have, let’s say, a comics section in Metal at the time.

One fun thing to do with this interview is to count the number of actual questions Joe asks. This is great stuff.


Elsewhere:


—Interviews.
The San Francisco Gate talks to Joe Sacco about The Great War. Paul Gravett talks to Hong Kong alternative cartoonist Chihoi. Dan Wagstaff talks to Gene Luen Yung. Mike Lynch interviews Brian Moore. At CBR, Paul Pope talks Battling Boy. Ryan Cecil Smith stops by Inkstuds.


—Reviews.
Sarah Horrocks reviews Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios’s Pretty Deadly. Tom Spurgeon reviews Hellen Jo in Frontier #2. Colin Smith lists 27 comics that fail the Bechdel test.

—News. Tom Spurgeon asks some questions regarding Fantagraphics’ first digital-only comics release, Richard Sala’s Violenzia. Middle East scholar Juan Cole ponders the possibilities of Marvel’s planned reboot of their Ms. Marvel character into a Muslim-American superhero.

[UPDATE: It is being reported that Joey Manley, the founder of Modern Tales, passed away last night. Many people are leaving tributes on his Facebook page. Shaenon Garrity wrote about her own experiences with Modern Tales on this site earlier this year.]

That’s it for today. Time for CAB.