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Watch a Giant Image Grow

Joe McCulloch’s final Week of Comics! column in its current form has grown “too insane” to publish this morning (according to Joe — I’m sure it’s great), so we have one more day to savor our wait for the finale. In the meantime, we have a new review by Rob Clough critiquing Ethan Rilly’s Pope Hats #5.

Much of this story is about personal agency when faced with a culture that steamrolls indecision. Fran’s integrity and lack of interest in playing the game of climbing the ladder (in part because she is too busy keeping herself busy to even notice that there is a ladder to climb) draws the attention of the scheming partners of the firm, with the mammoth Marcel Castonguay being the shrewdest and weirdest. Rilly has firmly settled into his own mature style, utilizing a cartoony, clear-line approach similar to that of Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie. There are dot eyes, single lines for mouths, and in the case of Castonguay, blank circles for eyes a la Daddy Warbucks (by way of the Kingpin). That character’s bulk plays a key role later in the story that emphasizes the larger-than-life nature of the character. The design for Fran herself is elegantly simple: perpetual pony tail, dowdy sweaters, slightly slumped shoulders, and a facial expression that rarely changes. That seeming blankness belies the stewing turmoil within, but it also allows the other characters to fill in what they want to with regard to Fran. Her only seeming friend at the firm turns on Fran when she learns that she is about to get a massive promotion, thinking that Fran is a schemer like everyone else.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. At The New Republic, Jeet Heer celebrates Jack Kirby’s centennial.

The superhero stories Kirby created or inspired have dominated American comic books for nearly 75 years and now hold almost oppressive sway over Hollywood. Kirby’s creations are front and center in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his fingerprints are all over the DC Cinematic Universe too, where the master plot he created—the cosmic villain Darkseid invading earth—still looms large. It was Kirby who took the superhero genre away from its roots in 1930s vigilante stories and turned it into a canvas for galaxy-spanning space operas, a shift that not only changed comics but also prepared the way for the likes of the Star Wars franchise. Outside of comics, hints of Kirby pop up in unexpected places, such as the narrative approaches of Guillermo del Toro, Michael Chabon, and Jonathan Lethem.

If you walk down any city street, it’s hard to get more than fifty feet without coming across images that were created by Kirby or inflected by his work. Yet if you were to ask anyone in that same stretch if they had ever heard of Kirby, they’d probably say, “Who?” A century after his birth, he remains the unknown king.

At the New York Review of Books (all the big magazines keep poaching our talent), Ryan Holmberg reviews Kazuto Tatsuta’s Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

[This book] occupies a unique position in the history of comics. It is probably the first work of journalistic comics in the world to supersede its prose counterparts as the most popular source on its topic. In the case of Ichi-F, that topic is the cleanup and decommissioning work at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the local name of which (“F-1,” flipped to “1-F”) gives the book its title.

The publisher of the English edition, Kodansha Comics, however, has opted to call this 550-page tome of dry, detailed reportage a “graphic memoir,” presumably because autobiography seems the easiest way to sell literary-minded comics outside the young-adult market these days. The original Japanese subtitle describes the manga instead as a “rōdōki,” literally a “record of labor,” putting more emphasis on the work itself than the person doing the work. The difference might seem trivial, but it speaks to many of the things that Ichi-F both succeeds and fails in doing.

On his Facebook page, Derf too celebrates Kirby, looking back at the newspaper strip he created with Dave Wood and Wally Wood right before “the Marvel Age.”

This is the story of “Skymasters of the Sky Force,” the failed comic strip that inadvertently led to the creation of the entire Marvel Universe and all the superheroes you know and love and are currently making billions and billions for Disney Inc.

In 1956, Jack Kirby’s self-owned publishing company, Mainline Comics, went bankrupt and closed, and Kirby and his longtime creative partner Joe Simon went their separate ways. Dr. Wertham and the comic book witchhunts had devastated the industry. Half the smaller comics publishers simply closed up and concentrated on less-controversial products. Industry leader EC Comics was forced to shut down. For reasons unknown, Wertham had included Simon & Kirby’s four Mainline titles in Seduction of the Innocent, even though these titles contained nothing objectionable. It’s one of Wertham’s many unexplainable stances. Simon and Kirby had invested their own savings in Mainline and lost everything. Kirby was a free agent and desperately looking for work… and his options in ’56 were few.

Domingos Isabelinho names his 32nd favorite comic, Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde.

We’ve already seen how important this book was to establish alternative comics in general and the graphic novel artistic movement (and I say this following Eddie Campbell) in particular. We can identify Joe Sacco’s later style: the Célinesque captions continue flying around, so to speak, the Breughelesque detail is all over the place, except… in Joe Sacco’s self-portrait. He’s the only caricature that still remains. He put himself in his reportage comics to follow two traditions: the underground tradition of autobio comics (three names come to mind: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Robert Crumb, Justin Green – whose Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary should definitely be in my list), the tradition of the New Journalism (and three names come to mind too: Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson). Since the beginning (and I mean “Cartoon Genius” in Yahoo # 1 – October 1988) that Joe Sacco drew himself with opaque eye glasses, but, in that story, he wasn’t half as cartoony as he is above. I don’t really know why he does it, but I suspect that he’s following Scott McCloud’s smiley face theory, according to which readers of comics find it easy to identify with simple cartoony faces than to complex portraits (add naturalistic backgrounds and… voilá… total immersion). This is absurd, of course, but enough about what I don’t like in Joe Sacco’s work. What I really like is that he gives a voice to those who have none in the Western media circus. And does so not with popaganda, but by being a really fine reporter.

Finally, Sarah Horrocks reviews Dark Nights: Metal #1.

If you asked me why I don’t care about superhero comics, this comic is pretty much what I’d conjure up as an example of why. I’m too old to give a shit about which of these palette swaps dies and then is resurrected or what worlds collide. And I don’t care about good versus evil in these basic cop versus robber terms. I’m not a child. But like I’m reading JRJR/Williamson and Nocenti’s Typhoid Mary comics this week, and thoroughly enjoying them. And it’s not because I give a shit about Daredevil. It’s because there’s actually shit on the page to react to. There’s great art to inspire you. And the writing is in big bold terms, but it has a certain soap opera quality. It’s not ironic. It just says what it means and is all about these sappy triangles of people. It works. It doesn’t matter that it’s a superhero comic. It’s just a great comic. I think what I want from superhero comics now, doesn’t have anything to do with them being superhero comics. It has to do with the two biggest companies putting the most resources behind their comics, I expect to see a quality of work, particularly artistically that I can look at and just be in awe and be like “never in a thousand years could I draw that”. I think people don’t respect the art in these things anymore because the styles artists have adopted don’t scare people, don’t put them in awe. And honestly neither does the writing. People read these things and they are just like “oh man, I could do this” which is cool, I mean I’m one of those people. But it’s not healthy in terms of the sort of reverence the top artists in the comics game should demand.


—Interviews.
The most recent guest on Process Party is Jim Rugg.

 

Back for More

I’m back from vacation and I’m rested and ready for comics! Let’s start with a Bob Levin review of Belgian Lace from Hell, the final volume of the S. Clay Wilson three-book biography/monograph:

But the primary reason for my disgruntlement lies with my and Rosenkranz’s differing philosophies about writers’ responsibilities.

Originally presented as a “documentary-style biography,” (or so read the back cover of Heartland), “Mythology” became, with Angels, a “biography retrospective” and, by Lace, a “retrospective” only. The result is that it often reads like a slightly textually enhanced, cut-and-pasted oral history. Take Lace’s first (“The Art Biz”) and last (“Legacy”) chapters. By my count, “Biz” has 15 paragraphs written primarily by Rosenkranz and nearly double that (28)  quoting others speaking about Wilson. (Additionally, there are seven paragraphs from letters written by Wilson and 15 paragraphs quoting him speaking to unidentified interviewers.) In “Legacy,” a final assessment of Wilson as an artist and person, Rosenkranz provides one brief, introductory paragraph, followed by 21 paragraphs quoting members of Wilson’s circle – and three paragraphs I wrote 22 years ago

Elsewhere:

Today is the centenary of Jack Kirby’s birth. The Jack Kirby Museum is celebrating with a few days of events in NYC. 

Dash Shaw now has original art for sale at The Beguiling. from his film, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea. Here’s the listing and Dash explains all in the video below.

In more commerce news, Gahan Wilson has launched a web site.

 

 

Slob Story

Today on the site, Ryan Holmberg is here with another of his excellent manga analyses, this time, an examination of the work of Yuichi Yokoyama and his use of audiovisual abstraction.

When composed in a certain way, a comic book is something like a Walkman. Of course, comic books (by which I mean any bound volume in the comics medium) lack electronics, and there is no drawn and printed software independent of the paper hardware. You’d be hard-pressed to pick up actual sound waves from its drawn images. Nor will you find a jack to plug in headphones and pipe a soundscape into your ears. Yet no one can deny sound’s place in comics, with their BIF BAM BOOM, pulverizing crashes, and blood-curdling screeches. You, the reader, are the hardware. The speakers are lodged in your throat. Leakage may occur from your mouth, though most of us are capable of keeping the sounds to ourselves, or at least to a soft lip murmur.

Since dialogue, vocal outbursts, and sound effects are represented only visually in comic books – that is, through writing or emanata – it is not the ears but the eyes that are the comic book readers’ audio tape heads. In that sense, the Walkman is the wrong technology. We need something with a moving image or simulation thereof. Old portable handheld televisions once were the best analogues, or perhaps the Game Boy and its spinoffs, though now we have smartphones and thus the entire audiovisual universe in the palm of our hands. Maybe comic books are precocious in that sense: They were our first portable audiovisual entertainments. They were the first medium to allow us to transport a conjunction of sound and movement (albeit virtual) from one room to the other, from indoors to outdoors, from home to coffee shop or train seat.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. After 62 years, The Village Voice is ending its print edition. Among many other things, the Voice has historically been known for its association with many prominent cartoonists, from Jules Feiffer to Lynda Barry to Tom Tomorrow to, currently, Lauren Weinstein. Apparently, it will continue to publish online. Esquire has gathered short statements from various prominent former Voice staffers, including the aforementioned Tomorrow:

It’s incredibly trite to say it, but it really does feel like the end of an era. But the Voice is a symbol. The Voice is huge. I don’t live in New York anymore, so I don’t read it regularly, but it feels like I just got the news somebody I used to be involved with passed away.

—Interviews & Profiles. Speaking of Lauren Weinstein, she is the subject of a good but short and very clickbaity-titled interview at Kveller.

How do you balance working, having a family, and creating art without going crazy?

I am crazy! I have no balance. I work on art like a maniac but I do it because i truly love it. I am also a slob. The best times are when I’m really present doing one thing or another. Like going on a walk with my daughters and really being there and not checking my phone.

Also, I have learned the fine art of phoning it in… that just forcing yourself to finish something and get it out into the world is often enough.

—Misc. Gilbert Hernandez has found an old cache of the original self-published first issue of Love & Rockets, and is selling them for $200 apiece.

Finally, Mike Lynch has gathered a bunch of old Jerry Lewis-related comic book covers.

 

Cartoons Didn’t Seem Like a Good Business

Today on the site, we are republishing John J. Pint’s 1990 interview with Rius, the great Mexican cartoonist who recently died.

PINT: Eventually your political cartoons got you in trouble, didn’t they?

RIUS: They accused me of being a communist. It was the time of the Cuban revolution and I was clearly in favor of Castro. Suddenly, three or four newspapers dropped me. It reached the point where nobody would take my cartoons and I figured I’d have to leave the profession and dedicate my life to selling soap. Cartoons didn’t seem like a good business! That was when I ran into a friend who did comic books. He suggested I write one of my own and the result was Los Supermachos.

PINT: Los Supermachos is hardly a typical comic book. How did you come up with that particular style?

RIUS: True, there weren’t many precedents for comics dealing with political subjects. The only one I knew of was Pogo. I can’t say I was exactly inspired by Pogo, but it did help me develop a formula for dealing with politics and characters symbolizing certain social classes in Mexican society.

PINT: It seems to me your use of these stereotyped characters to produce a kind of documentary on a well-researched theme can only be called unique.

RIUS: Well, I spent a long time analyzing U.S. comics and I noticed that they were, in part, used to politicize people, to convince them that the “American Way of Life” was an ideal way to live. Lots of comics were dedicated to attacking communism—for example, Steve Canyon, Dick Tracy, Li’l Abner, Captain Marvel. They actually indoctrinated people who didn’t realize they were being indoctrinated. So, I thought, maybe I can fight fire with fire, jump out of the trench, catch some of their grenades and throw them back. I wanted to turn the comic book into a teaching medium, from a politically leftist point of view.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. April Bernard writes about Hilary Knight, Eloise, and a current exhibition.

One feels that Knight’s line drawings, which display more movement, verve, and surprise than most actual animations, must have had something to do with that acerbic turn. What Knight captures is the essential misfit quality of Eloise. Gleeful, greedy, prone to random acts of violence—although she is never malicious—loquacious and haughty, this is no mere six-year-old; she is scarcely human, and not especially female. Knight drew her with an unpretty imp’s face; wind-blown hair; a pleated skirt held up by suspenders over a white blouse, pink ballooning underpants (very important, as she is often upside-down), rucked-down bobby socks, and Mary-Jane shoes with the straps flying. Standing, she thrusts out her modest pot-belly above spindly legs, cutting a figure that certainly does not resemble what plump children really look like.

Brian Nicholson writes about a collection of Don Simpson’s unfinished Border Worlds.

Don Simpson is best known for his superhero parody comic, Megaton Man. It seems pretty bleak to have the vast majority of your work be in the well-trod territory of superhero parody, but before Border Worlds was back in print, he had to suffer the double indignity of his second most-famous work being a porn comic done under a pseudonym. Its title? Wendy Whitebread, Undercover Slut. If you haven’t heard of either of these, that’s totally reasonable: I bring it up to gesture at the idea that it seems pretty unreasonable that, with a library like that, he wouldn’t have finished Border Worlds. But that’s the market.

Print hosted an online roundtable of artists (including Ward Sutton, June Brigman, and David Cowles) talking about the influence of Jack Kirby.

June Brigman
I didn’t get into comics until I was a freshman in college. My boyfriend (now husband), collected comics and was a big Kirby fan. I was majoring in art, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I remember looking at an issue of the New Gods. There was a panel with Lightray on a balcony with a woman. Orion is ranting, but all you see is his shadow and the deck furniture lifted off the ground by his cosmic rage. It was a scene more epic than anything Michael Bay has ever done. I think that’s when I realized the genius of Kirby.

 

The Sun Went Out

Today’s a day I’ve been dreading: Joe McCulloch’s penultimate This Week in Comics! column. As always, it’s a must-read. Enjoy it while you can. More on this later…

I was reading Robin Snyder’s newsletter, The Comics!, and I came across a letter from an artist and editor of a comics magazine from years ago. He was suffering from ill health, and had gone into assisted living. He had dvds to watch, and some collections of old comics to read, but he didn’t think he could travel anymore, as he’d often liked to do. What we are given when we are young, he wrote, is taken when we are old. Elsewhere in the newsletter it was written that the correspondent had died only months after the letter was sent. Eager to learn more about the man’s work, I googled his name; the first hit was a Wikipedia page, which insisted he was still alive. Presumably, nobody editing Wikipedia had noticed he was dead. It was sad, these circumstances – sad a little. But what is sadder, I know, is the placing of my faith as an observer in the idea of technological platforms as an arbiter of reality, and a means, thereby, to guess at preeminence. To gauge existence, subconsciously, as a sport of scramble over obscurity; to gamify your words as appealing and unappealing. God, to trust that you will be memorialized beyond the tangibles of love known to you. This chimera of becoming visible – and trusting, thus, in the zookeepers shoveling its shit.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Nate Pieckos shares his cartooning-related health concerns on Twitter, and strikes a nerve with every active cartoonist over thirty-five.

—The most recent guest on the Process Party podcast is Juliacks.

 

See the Bells Up in the Sky

R.C. Harvey is here to commemorate Dick Locher, the longtime political cartoonist and Dick Tracy artist.

One of the nation’s great cartoonists is dead. You can deny it if you want. I tried. But it didn’t help. Richard E. Locher, 88, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease Sunday, August 6, at Edward Hospital in Naperville, the Chicago Tribune reported. He had lived in Naperville for more than 45 years.

“Dick was one of the best cartoonists in the nation,” said Tribune Editor and Publisher Bruce Dold. “He was also one of the nicest people who ever walked through the Tribune newsroom. I most admired the richness of detail in his drawings. His work was funny and incisive, and his message often carried a hard pop, but his artwork was always incredibly elegant.”

For almost thirty of his four-plus decades as a cartoonist, Dick Locher simultaneously went after corruption and criminality among politicians in his political cartoons and slightly more overt outlawry in the Dick Tracy comic strip.

Locher was one of the merest handful of newspaper cartoonists who did both editorial cartooning and comic strip cartooning: he started doing political cartoons for the Chicago Tribune in 1972; he inherited the iconic cops-and-robbers comic strip a decade later. He drew them simultaneously for 28 years, rendering the strip in a markedly different style than his editoons.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. The latest guest on Inkstuds is Ben Passmore, and the latest guest on RiYL is Katie Skelly. And Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer appear on the Graphic Policy podcast to discuss their anthology, Mirror Mirror II.

—Reviews & Commentary.
Caleb Orecchio talks about being inspired by Eleanor Davis.

I’m not trying to preach or sound like I have THE answers, but what I like about Davis’ recent book is the fact that it is drawn. It’s not inked with a brush with every stroke carefully crafted and feathered. It’s just drawn. Ever seen a Brian Chippendale comic? He just draws them (mostly). Crumb? Moebius? (Conflict of interest warning:) Frank Santoro? Just drawn. I like “professionally” inked comics and comics where traditional craft is essential, but there is an immediacy that is stripped at every step of the process. It’s like going acoustic, once you add a drum kit, you have to turn up the volume on everything else and the intimacy gradually is drowned out.

Susan Doll writes about the connection between Charlie Chaplin and the cartoonist Ralph Barton.

On May 19, 1931, Ralph Barton shot himself in the temple, committing suicide at age 39. He left a suicide note, which he labeled “Obit.” In the note, he singled out his third wife, Carlotta Monterey, as the only woman he had ever loved, though he had cheated on her. She had caught him in the act and divorced him. By the time of his suicide, “his angel” Carlotta had married renowned playwright Eugene O’Neill. Though Barton does not blame Carlotta, or say anything negative about her, the O’Neills were embarrassed and irritated by his comments, which were recounted endlessly in the press. I can’t help but think that Barton had intended this outcome for reasons he took to his grave. Carlotta’s associates speculated that Barton resented the actress for marrying someone more successful than he was.

 

I’m a “Twitter”

Rob Clough is here today with a review of the latest in a long line of cancer-related comics memoirs, Teva Harrison’s In-Between Days.

Prior to reviewing Teva Harrison’s cancer memoir, In-Between Days, I want to provide a bit of context. Both of my parents died from cancer. I have worked in a cancer center for the last 28 years, not usually directly with patients, but quite often. So I tend to hate cancer narratives that use words like “heroic” or otherwise apply exceptional qualities to those who are afflicted with the disease. Cancer does nothing to elevate the character of someone who suffers from it; in fact, what it tends to do is reveal character in a dramatic way. Interestingly, those who suffer from the worst kinds of cancer (metastatic, inoperable, etc) tend to be the most understanding, kind, and introspective patients. Those with the easiest-to-treat kinds of cancer tend to be the most melodramatic and demanding.

The three best memoirs I’ve read about cancer are the rawest and most honest emotionally, revealing the ways in which cancer turns the lives of the patients and their loved ones upside down. Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, and Frank Stack’s Our Cancer Year is fantastic, as it offers a quotidian, painful look at how cancer and chemotherapy can cause horrible side effects and affect mental status. Miriam Engleberg’s Cancer Has Made Me a Shallower Person is hilarious in the face of her ultimately fatal disease. Sharon Lintz’s cancer stories in her Pornhounds comic were also unsparing, sharply observed, and funny. Harrison’s book isn’t as good as any of those comics for a variety of reasons, but it’s still bracing, powerful, and achingly honest.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Michael Cavna wants people to read The Onion‘s Stan Kelly (Ward Sutton).

A visual stroll through the Kelly collection is like a meta-history lesson in editorial cartooning before sardonic subtlety became fashionable. Kelly’s illustrations, reflecting wading-pool deep takes on the news, are larded with labels (“today’s no-good teens,” “today’s troop haters,” “benevolent America”) that skewer the worst practitioners of the art form. Kelly sees himself as a political “king of comedy,” but in truth, he is as deluded as Robert De Niro’s bad stand-up Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy.” He would have been painfully mediocre at best in his own era; in our era, he is laughably hackneyed.

Paul Gravett reviews Guy Delisle’s Hostage.

As a graphic novelist, presented with mainly a lone, often inactive protagonist and a minimum of settings and props – a series of mostly bare rooms (in one case a claustrophobic closet), a light bulb, a creaking door, a clicking latch, a mattress on the floor, a radiator to which his left hand gets handcuffed, a bucket, a window – Delisle draws each day in cycles of subtle variations, like minimalist music or a staging of a Beckett play. Christophe is his main focus, observing him from moment-to-moment immediacy to extended or indeterminate periods. The time elapsed between three wide-screen panels on one chilling wordless page could be minutes, hours or days. Delisle will also shift his viewpoint, sometimes allowing us to look out through Christophe’s eyes, other times visualising in cartoon shorthand above his head his fanciful escape strategies or his distracting ritual of alphabetic French military history.

Brian Nicholson enthuses over Daria Tessler’s Cult of the Ibis.

Mostly-silent storytelling, taking place in a fantasy gothic-architecture world, that seems inspired by German expressionist film. It’s about an occultist getaway driver who, after receiving the loot from a bank robbery that falls apart, orders a build-your-own-homunculus kit and goes on the lam. I remember watching the trailer for Baby Driver and thinking “yes, that does look fun and well-made, but it also looks like every movie that has ever been made.” This is like a variation on that, if made by Jan Svankmajer.

Sam Riedel writes about representation in the work of Simon Hanselmann.

On the still-uncommon occasions that transfem characters show up in fiction (and aren’t two-dimensional stereotypes), they’re often forced to be virtuous because they represent all trans people everywhere. Who wants to be represented by a douchebag? Other marginalized communities also suffer from this tendency, an unintended consequence of “diversity casting” that maintains structural whiteness, cisnormativity, and so on. It’s what made The Good Place so novel; cis women behaving badly in a nuanced way is still itself a rarity. Trans literature is still a niche within a niche, making characters like Maria — the drug-addled, backwards-looking protagonist of Imogen Binnie’s Nevada — almost unheard-of. Since our stories are so often misunderstood, there’s an implicit demand that we be shown in the most palatable light, but that robs our stories of the all-important shades of grey.

 

Everywhere I Go

Today on the site: Anne Ishii reviews Hirohiko Araki’s Manga in Theory and Practice:

I was initially drawn to the Japanese edition of Hirohiko Araki’s Manga in Theory and Practice because of the two dudes looking like they were about to kiss, on the cover. They looked like sophomore versions of the Joestar family Araki is best known for creating, and I thought this was a pretty major coup of transition from homosocial straight to homosexual as far as mainstream manga was concerned.

Unfortunately for at least this reviewer, Araki doesn’t come out, nor do his characters. No cool ‘ships…no secret past in yaoi. Manga in Theory and Practice is the practical vehicle for manga knowledge that its title advertises and Viz’s English edition provides a more sober cover and its raw translation is for better or worse, un-calibrated for American readers.

Hirohiko Araki was born in 1960 and has Type B blood, which I learned from Men’s Non-No (a populer Japanese men’s lifestyle magazine), which is to say Araki isn’t just a cartoonist but a sort of media personality; unusual in a camera-shy mangaverse. Yet his ability to talk about himself is a good indication of how unique he is and makes his style immune to imitators. Araki doesn’t teach you how to draw like him, but he does give us a clear picture of how he himself consumes manga and related media (anime, action films). His guide to manga comes replete with hand-drawn bullet journal-style progress charts, digital clip art, and samples of beautiful and wild storyboards from his best-known JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, which all demonstrate to the reader what they need to know about one very specific kind of mangaka: Hirohiko Araki. To a JoJo megafan…reading this book will not be unlike going to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company; just fine for someone who wants shrimp and maybe for Mikelti Williamson if he’s feeling blue, but it will be a real treat for die-hard Forrest Gump fans.

Elsewhere:

The Ignatz Award nominees have been announced. 

Here’s the PR:
The nominees for the ballot were determined by a panel of five of the best of today’s comic artists, Neil Brideau, Glynnis Fawkes, Sara Lautman, Trungles and David Willis, with the votes cast for the awards by the attendees during SPX. The Ignatz Awards will be presented at the gala Ignatz Awards ceremony held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 9:30 P.M.

Beginning this year, there will be ten Ignatz Award categories as the Outstanding Anthology or Collection will be separated into two different awards:

  • Outstanding Anthology recognizes a book or other collection of selected writings by various writers usually in the same literary form, of the same period, or on the same subject. e.g. a book of comics by various cartoonists selected from several books by many cartoonists.
  • Outstanding Collection recognizes a book of selected writings from various sources by an author of the same theme or various themes. e.g. a book of selected short comics from various books by the same cartoonist.

Additional information about the nominees can be found at http://www.smallpressexpo.com/spx-2017-ignatz-awards-nominees.

Once again we want to thank our our friends at comiXology for sponsoring the Ignatz Awards. Information on comiXology and their self-publishing portal Submit can be found at https://submit.comixology.com.

Outstanding Artist

  • Pablo Auldadell – Paradise Lost (Pegasus Books)
  • Emil Ferris – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagrahpics)
  • Manuele Fior – The Interview (Fantagraphics)
  • Karen Katz – The Academic Hour (Secret Acres)  
  • Barbara Yelin – Irmina (Self Made Hero)

Outstanding Anthology

  • ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators from Prism Comics – edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery (Stacked Deck Press)
  • Comic Book Slumber Party’s Deep Space Canine – edited by Hanhah K. Chapman (Avery Hill)
  • ELEMENTS: Fire – An Anthology by Creators of Color – edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)
  • POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology – edited by Joamette Gil (P&M Press)
  • Spanish Fever: Stories by the New Spanish Cartoonists – edited by Javier Olivares & Santiago Garcia (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Collection

  • Boundless – Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • The Complete Neat Stuff – Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
  • Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2 – Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
  • Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us – Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota (Oni Press)
  • Time Clock – Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Graphic Novel

  • Band for Life – Anya Davidson (Fantagraphics)
  • Eartha – Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)
  • March: Book 3 – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Tetris – Box Brown (First Second)

Outstanding Story

  • Diana’s Electric Tongue – Carolyn Nowak (self published)
  • March: Book 3 – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • “Small Enough” from Diary Comics – Dustin Harbin (Koyama Press)
  • “Too Hot to Be Cool” from Elements– Maddie Gonzales – (Beyond Press)

Promising New Talent

  • Kelly Bastow – Year Long Summer (self published)
  • Margot Ferrick – Yours (2D Cloud)
  • Aud Koch – “Run” from the Oath Anthology (Mary’s Monster)
  • Isabella Rotman – Long Black Veil (self-published)
  • Bianca Xunise – Say Her Name (self-published)

Outstanding Series

  • Chester 5000 – Jess Fink (self-published)
  • Crickets – Sammy Harkham (self-published)
  • Frontier – edited by Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline)
  • Maleficium – Sabin Couldron (self-published)
  • The Old Woman – Rebecca Mock (self-published)

Outstanding Comic

  • Canopy – Karine Bernadou (Retrofit/Big Planet)
  • Libby’s Dad – Eleanor Davis (Retrofit/Big Planet)
  • Public Relations #10 – Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Rolston, Annie Wu (1First Comics)
  • Sunburning – Keiler Roberts (Koyama Press)
  • Your Black Friend – Ben Passmore (Silver Sprocket)

Outstanding Minicomic

  • The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs – Celine Loup
  • Our Tale of Woe – Keren Katz & Geffen Refaeli
  • Reverse Flaneur – M. Sabine Rear
  • Same Place Same Time – Ann Xu
  • Tender Hearted – Hazel Newlevant

Outstanding Online Comic

AND:

This clip of David Letterman on Howard Stern talking about Harvey Pekar has been making the rounds. 

The Atlantic has an article on colorists and letterers in comics. 

What Dan Clowes learned in college.