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Reenactment

Today Aron Nels Steinke is here with the fourth installment of his week drawing the Cartoonist’s Diary feature.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Phoebe Gloeckner. One of the great side benefits of the release of the film adaptation of Diary of a Teenaged Girl is the slew of great interviews with Gloeckner. Two particularly good ones come from Sean T. Collins at the AV Club and Whitney Joiner at The Rumpus. But even shorter ones, like Nancy Updike’s at The Muse, are strong. Laura Miller writes about the book and movie over at Slate.

—Interviews & Profiles. It’s Nice That talks to Françoise Mouly about New Yorker covers.

In Print, Steven Heller talks to Nick Sousanis about Unflattening.

Jeremy Dalmas has a short talk with Ariel Schrag.

—News. The imprisoned Iranian artist-activist Atena Farghadani has deservedly won CRNI’s 2015 Courage in Cartooning award.

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is calling for an independent investigation of the LAPD/LA Times/Ted Rall situation.

The Seattle Weekly has named Ellen Forney best cartoonist in Seattle.

The 2015 Kirby4Heroes campaign to raise funds for cartoonists in need has launched, and the LA Times has a story about it. The group is run by Jack Kirby’s granddaughter, Jillian Kirby, and her goal this year is $20,000.

 

Segment

On the site today:

Day 3 of Aron Nels Steinke’s diary.

And here’s R.C. Harvey on the great Otto Soglow.

His first published effort in a freelance illustration career, however, was earlier, for Lariat Magazine, a cowboy pulp.

“Soglow had never been out of New York,” reported the King Features promotional booklet Famous Artists and Writers, “but his cowboys were real authentic.”

Soglow once said he found his first job by thumbing the telephone directory and writing down the names of all the publications. Said he: “I took a handful of drawings and started to call on publishing houses. I started at the Battery and worked my way uptown from there. The following day, I started from the street I left off the previous day.”

When he got to 34th Street, he landed a job for a publisher of cheap pulp magazines (perhaps Lariat Magazine). “I received seven dollars for my first published drawing,” he recalled for Jerry Robinson inThe Comics. “From then on, I decided to become a cartoonist.”

By 1925, when Soglow joined the art staff at the New York World, he had abandoned illustration in favor of cartooning. At the World for about a year, he produced a series of satiric comic strips; he also continued to freelance, contributing cartoons to Life, Judge, The New Yorker, Collier’s, and other leading magazines.  On October 11, 1928, he married Anna Rosen; they had one daughter, Tona (whose name was composed of the last two letters of her parents’ names).

Elsewhere:

The Safari Festival in London is coming up next week, and here’s a bit about its organizers, Breakdown Press.

Longtime editor/cartoonist Mort Todd discusses Cracked and his Charlton revival.

Look, horribly colored vintage Jack Kirby art published by the new Heavy Metal! As a wise man once said, even in death Kirby keeps getting fucked. Often by people who sing his praises.

 

Fire

Joe McCulloch has your weekly guide to the most interesting-sounding new comics in stores, plus some thoughts on Dragon Ball Z.

The nostalgia I felt watching the film had really nothing to do with anime or manga; I’d never even watched Dragon Ball Z on television. No, what struck me was how much this movie felt like an old Marvel superhero comics Annual, cramming a whole bunch of characters together for a ‘big’ (yet somehow also low-stakes) story set in active continuity but not especially effective thereupon.

And Aron Nels Steinke offers the second installment in his week as our Cartoon Diarist.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Over at The New Republic, Jeet Heer wonders if the best comics are made by auteurs or collaborators.

Rob Clough continues an informal series of reviews on autobio comics with a piece on Corinne Mucha.

Greg Reese writes about Guy Colwell’s Inner City Romance.

—Interviews. Someone calling themselves Neonpajamas talks to Jon Vermilyea.

Zack Smith talks to (Christopher) Priest about Black Panther.

—Money. This is a lot of money.

The most dedicated critic in alternative comics, Rob Clough, is raising funds.

 

Random Images

Hi there, I’m back from a week away. Let’s plunge in:

Chris Mautner reviews Marc Bell’s Stroppy.

Taken at first glance, Marc Bell’s cartoon universe seems to be a persistently sunny anthropomorphic place, a magical, happy-go-lucky world (or worlds) where everything from the food on your plate to the landscape is capable of coming to life and greeting you with a smile and a handshake. Bell’s comics are stuffed to the gills with adorable, oblong creatures that crowd his panels in the best Elderesque, “chicken fat” manner.

But for all the visual liveliness and good humor, there’s a good deal of danger and malevolence present as well. It doesn’t take much, for example, for the cheerful little creatures to get stepped on, squashed or eaten, or for seemingly decent characters to run afoul of random calamities. Bell’s protagonists can seem just as easily plagued by anxiety as they can be blessed by a divine nonchalance.

And Aron Nels Steinke joins us for a week of diaries.

Elsewhere:

Tom Spurgeon interviews Glenn Head.

My show, What Nerve!, which is now in its last week, got a very nice write-up in the New York Times and a thoughtful essay over at Hyperallergic.

Best things I’ve gotten in the mail lately dept: The Boring Room by Yoshiharu Tsuge. A bootleg (I assume) translation of this incredible story, perfectly packaged in zine format.  And no, I’m not telling. Terror House No. 2 by Sammy Harkham. If beautiful may be used, that’s what this collection of horror images is. Also, bonus Beardsley-like drawing of a flaccid penis by, I guess, Sammy. It’s an easter egg in this DVD? A message from Dr. Freud?

 

Big Night

Nate Patrin makes his Comics Journal debut this morning, with a review of the first issue of Brandon Graham and Emma Ríos’s new comics anthology magazine, Island:

In the heady late-aughts days of Brandon Graham’s WordPress blog Royal Boiler, he’d freely post sketch pages, previews of upcoming work (typically King City panels), and personal work anecdotes — but he’d also act as a curator. Each post usually included a bunch of scans of comics he’d found in stores or somewhere online: old-school manga, bandes desinee, comics from the ’80s black-and-white indie boom, or whatever high-profile recent releases caught his eye, all with his own personal notes on what he liked about the character design or line weight or background detail. Like Scorsese in film and Questlove in music, it seems like Graham’s the kind of artist who seems as intent on preserving and advocating for his medium as he is in adding to it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews. Phoebe Gloeckner talks to Vice.

But was it painful to write the book at all? Did you, at times, feel you had been victimized, either when you were going through “the situation” or afterwards?
I realize that as a teenager I didn’t really have a lot of the experiences that other teens have. I didn’t have a teenage boyfriend, a real one, and I couldn’t tell most of the people I knew that I was having any relationship [at all]. My mom would say, “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”–it sort of cut me off from my mother. I was basically alone. There were no adults that I could talk to at all about anything. I kind of mourn that. I kind of missed a certain part of growing up. I had something else, but I never shared innocence with a kid.

And then, after everyone found out, I was told that I shouldn’t talk about it. In my mind I wasn’t dwelling on anything–I was telling this story. Probably because I was always told not to tell it, and I was like, why the fuck can’t I tell it?

—Commentary & Reviews. Derf Backderf strongly defends Ted Rall against the Los Angeles Times.

Rob Clough finds himself underwhelmed with Lucy Knisley’s Displacement.

At Hazlitt, Pilot Viruet advocates strongly for Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s Bitch Planet.

—Funnies. Steve Brodner “live-doodled” the first GOP debate last night.

 

Ends & Odds

Robert Kirby is here this morning with a review of the collection of Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy.

The complete collection of Jillian Tamaki’s popular webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she drew over four years beginning in 2010, melds a satire of Harry Potter-type magical fantasy tropes with real-world teenage drama and observational comedy, shot through with dreamy, poetic surrealism, straight-talking truths, and existential angst. That’s quite a mix of genres and tonal qualities; the fact that it all works so seamlessly is a testament to Jillian Tamaki’s great skills as a writer and artist. Tamaki channels the everyday concerns of teenage years with hilarity, heart, and deadly accuracy.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Roger Cohen at Vanity Fair has a lengthy profile of Charlie Hebdo, focusing on the problems presented when an anticapitalist publication is suddenly infused with enormous amounts of money.

It is of course easier to take a detached or critical view of money when one does not have any. With millions have come machinations. Charlie Hebdo is now 40 percent owned by the parents of the paper’s murdered editorial director and cartoonist, Stéphane Charbonnier, or “Charb.” Laurent Sourisseau, the writer and cartoonist known as “Riss,” owns another 40 percent. Eric Portheault, the finance director, owns the rest. Their shares, once worth little or nothing, are suddenly worth a lot.

Many Charlie staffers are unhappy at this tight concentration of newfound wealth. In an extraordinary manifesto published by the daily Le Monde in late March, they declared, “We refuse that a handful of individuals take control, either total or partial, in absolute contempt for those who make and support” the paper. The 15 signatories asked, “How are we to escape the poison of the millions that, through exceptional sales and also donations and subscriptions, have fallen into the pockets of Charlie?”

Heidi Macdonald at The Beat reports on a new arrangement between SPX and Nickelodeon in which convention attendees will have the chance to be evaluated for a potential animation deal.

—Interviews & Profiles. Paul Gravett writes about Keiji Nakazawa, creator of the great Barefoot Gen. (Coincidentally, Last Gasp has just launched a Kickstarter in the hopes of publishing a new hardcover edition of Barefoot Gen.)

Emily Neuberger at Word & Film interviews Phoebe Gloeckner, just as the film adaptation of her Diary of a Teenage Girl is about to be released.

W&F: Few works in any medium chronicle the awakening female sexuality. Did you want specifically to address this?

PG: Frankly, I’ve never written a book or a story or drawn a picture with the idea of addressing anything in particular. The confusions and emotions engendered by experience are what drive me to create.

Alex Deuben talks to Eddie Campbell about his return to Bacchus.

—Podcasts. The two most recent episodes of Inkstuds feature Marc Bell and Emma Rios. The two most recent episodes of Make It Then Tell Everybody feature Simon Hanselmann and Ryan Sands. Comic Books Are Burning in Hell returns from a long hiatus to discuss new comics by Gilbert Hernandez and Adrian Tomine.

 

Next Page

Today, we have a new episode of Mike Dawson’s TCJ Talkies podcast. This time around, the great cartoonist/editor Sammy Harkham talks about an under-the-radar European import from a few years back, M. Tillieux’s Murder by High Tide.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. A site called BizNews.com has a lengthy, career-spanning interview with the most prominent cartoonist in South Africa, Zapiro.

I applied to, it was accepted, at the school of visual arts [sic] in Manhattan – it was my first choice. And that was because Art Spiegelman, the great Art Spiegelman who did Maus, the Holocaust story in graphic novel form – about his own relationship with his father and his father and mother survived Auschwitz, and this had also changed my life to read that book, so that’s where I went. And a weird thing happened – on the day I arrived, I went to sign up, and that was the thing of course I was the most excited about. And they said: “Oh, Art Spiegelman? He kind of hasn’t taught here for about a year.”

Oh dear.

So I was devastated for about a day and then regrouped, and thought there happened to be Will Eisner and Harvey Kurzman – two absolute giants of cartooning who are teaching here, so I’ll go to their classes and I loved that, and after a year of study there – I was doing really well now, really nailing all the courses and the school gave me a huge exhibition in New York and at a place that they normally reserve for the alumni of the school. And the head of the school happened to be named Rhodes, by the way, he comes up to me and he says is there anybody you’d like to meet. And I say: “Well there is, come to mention it.” And I told him the story about Spiegelman and he was very, very embarrassed and he immediately set up a meeting and I ended up doing an independent study with Spiegelman for a semester.

For The Guardian, Cece Bell talks at illustrated length about how she made her children’s graphic novel, El Deafo.

—Misc. The next volume of Best American Comics will be guest-edited by Jonathan Lethem, and will feature a cover by Raymond Pettibon. Pretty solid choices there.

—Reviews & Commentary. Rob Clough reviews Sarah Laing’s Let Me Be Frank.

At Comics Alliance, writer J. A. Micheline announces a personal boycott of Marvel, based on recent controversies and longstanding minority representation issues. Leaving rhetoric aside, her stated demands—Marvel hiring three Black writers and using three LGBTQ lead characters—don’t seem unreasonable as personal cut-off points, especially considering Marvel’s size and cultural footprint.

 

Online Access Restored

Joe McCulloch is here with his usual Tuesday-morning guide to the week in interesting-sounding new comics. He also expounds at length about one my own favorite manga titles: Kōji Aihara & Kentarō Takekuma’s Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. An excerpt from the middle:

In this way, Monkey lacks the call to arms or the righteous sarcasm you might expect from an American satire; instead, its characters accept the terrain as given, and move to analyze it, without any gesture toward affecting change. It is, nonetheless, not a kindly study: the core joke of Monkey is that manga, as a commercial art, can be understood fully — indeed, mastered — through the adept clicking together of pre-made commercial parts; there is no shame in swiping poses or ideas from other artists, as comics is fundamentally a language of shared symbols, which can only realize meaning through simple variations on repetitious usage. This is illustrated most vividly through likening the desirous components of “ladies’ comics” (from which josei would later distinguish itself as a less porny manifestation) to falling Tetris blocks, but the machinations of shōjo romance are likewise compared to the rigid formalities of sumo wrestling, while the sexual conquests of a seinen erotic comedy hero are presented as conveyer belt sushi – very mechanical! With the wave of a finger, Takekuma observes that no other type of young men’s manga is relevant: everything boils down to the immediate gratification of desire by the most streamlined means.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. A Moment of Cerebus republishes an essay by Bill Watterson on George Herriman’s Krazy Kat.

Duncan Mitchel writes about the exploration of stereotypes in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.

RJ Casey writes about Dan Zettwoch.

—Interviews. CBR talks to Kate Beaton.

—Misc. There’s a new issue of the UK-based comics magazine Off Life available, in both print and digital form.

Joost Swarte did the cover for the latest New Yorker. He is also apparently launching a new magazine of his own.

—Video. Alison Bechdel appeared on the Seth Meyers late-night talk show last week.