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Mouse Breath

Today, Faith Erin Hicks continues her week on A Cartoonist’s Diary, today depicting her post-Stumptown reverie.

Elsewhere:

—Ng Suat Tong released his annual survey of the “Best Online Comics Criticism” of the past year, including several mentions of works printed on this site. This is the first time I can remember being previously familiar with everything chosen (besides the year I helped judge, naturally), and also the first year that I largely agree that most of the picks deserve recognition. I remember past years featuring more adventurous, and just plain more choices, but I also remember past years featuring more clunkers, so maybe the two go hand in hand. Matthias Wivel weighs in on the selection here.

—The Beat has gathered audio from a selection of panels held at last weekend’s TCAF Festival.

—The only reason I don’t link to Rob Clough’s blog more often is that he’s so prolific that doing so would quickly become a full-time job. But maybe today’s a good day to remind readers of his other gig. Recent entries include a review of Abel & Madden’s Mastering Comics and Robyn Chapman’s Drawing Comics, and a roundup of recent minicomics.

Jonathan Winters was also a cartoonist?!

—And finally, Jon Longhi talks to Robert Crumb (via):

 

Rescue

Today we have Day 3 of Faith Erin Hicks’ Diary. And Robert Kirby reviews Lilli Carré’s Heads or Tails.

Even better is “The Carnival,” a gorgeously colored 32-page story that unfolds with mesmeric dream logic. Like Madeline, the hero of the piece, Henry, is a salesperson (his line is cars). He plods through life listlessly until one night when he impulsively skips town for a few days. On a whim, he stops at a carnival and meets a nameless woman with a young boy in tow (who upon closer look resembles Henry). Though Carré leaves the woman’s role ambiguous—she may be aligned with some elemental or supernatural forces, especially considering the memorable manner in which she exits the story—it is clear that she sparks something in Henry: sexual desire, to be sure, but perhaps also the ability to dream of a life less prosaic – or even the ability to dream at all. Subtle and ambiguous but not opaque, Carré leaves the story particulars and ultimate meanings for the reader to suss out, inviting a re-read or two.

Elsewhere:

It’s a slow news day…. Tardi and Luc Besson fans will be happy to know that The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is getting a proper DVD/Blu-Ray release. This is a good relic. And I sure like that Emil Gershwin (yes, the same Gershwin).

And here’s the Doug Wright Awards video:

 

 

Hateball

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s Joe McCulloch day, and today he’s got not only highlighting the Week in Comics‘ most interesting releases, but also writing in depth about the creator of some of the most uncomfortable manga ever made, Suehiro Maruo.

It’s also the second day of the Cartoonist’s Diary of Faith Erin Hicks. Today, she’s on the way to Stumptown.

Elsewhere: Not so much.

—Devlin Thompson at Bizarro Wuxtry has some great photos of Peter Bagge and Daniel Clowes’s Hateball tour, which took place twenty years ago.

—Chris Mautner isn’t that big a fan of Bazooka Joe comics. Go figure.

—Graeme McMillan notes that despite Marvel’s recent claims, Avengers: Endless Wartime is hard to justify as “Marvel’s First Original Graphic Novel.” Does the phrase “graphic novel” really have such fetishistic power that it’s worth making bald-faced lies like that?

—And finally, Jeet Heer takes to the Globe & Mail to review Gilbert Hernandez’s latest two books.

 

Loonies and Toonies

On the the occasion of their seventy-fifth release, I talked to the two of the editors behind The Library of American Comics series of books.

Mullaney: Those rights are what we, as individuals, make them. The issue is totally separate from legal rights. From a publisher’s perspective, if I want to reprint Alex’s Zorro comics, I need to pay a licensing fee/royalty to John Gertz/Zorro Productions, who owns the trademark to the character and the copyrights to those stories. If, on the other hand, I want to reprint Alex’s comics for Standard or Lev Gleason, the work is apparently in the public domain, so no licensing fee or royalties are due. If the original publisher failled to register or renew the copyright or that publishing entity no longer exists, anyone is legally free to reprint the stories. In the course of my long career in comics, I have made the personal decision that — in the case of public domain comics in which there is no rights holder requiring a fee or royalties — I would pay the artist or the artist’s direct heirs. I still have letters of appreciation from Jerry Siegel, Jack Katz, Reed Crandall’s sister, Ellie Frazetta, and other creators whose work I reprinted in the 1980s and 1990s and for which I paid them.

These “moral” rights run parallel to a previously obscure part the 1976 Copyright Act, which allows artists, under specific circumstances, to reclaim the rights to their work after 35 years. The intent of the law is to allow creative people a second chance to own material they sold to a publisher earlier in their careers when they may not have had fair leverage. I think we can all agree that very few comics artists in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s understood what they were signing away – or even IF they signed anything away. It seems to me that if we are in favor of Siegel, Shuster, and Kirby trying to reclaim their rights, then we should similarly should pay them for reprinting that earlier work. In my book, it’s all the same thing.

Elsewhere:

I’ve been at TCAF all weekend selling books. So while two days in the midst of comic-dom would have you think I’d have plenty to say… it doesn’t. TCAF was an excellent show for me. The Hernandez Bros were a big focus, which was great. There’s a new edition of Chester Brown’s The Playboy, with additional notes, new lettering and a whole format reconfiguration. Brown’s reworking of his text is so rigorous that each edition is a new work, which is exciting. What else… here are your Doug Wright Award winners, from the PR:

Best Book: The Song of Roland, by Michel Rabagliati

The Spotlight Award (aka “The Nipper”): Nina Bunjevac for Heartless

Pigskin Peters Award: Hamilton Illustrated, by Michael Collier

Held as a feature event of the 2013 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), the evening also saw Albert Chartier inducted into The Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

The winners were decided by a jury that included: Joe Ollmann, Pascal Girard, Jonathan Goldstein, Natalia Yanchak and Julie Delporte.

And Tom Spurgeon interviews Ryan Sands, who had two much talked about debuts at the show.

 

 

 

Long Con

Tucker Stone and Abhay Khosla are here with their Comics of the Weak column. Tucker got a fan letter with advice, and duly turned over a new leaf; Abhay’s serving up the same stale negative attitude as always. Maybe they need to get together and talk about this.

And today is the final day of Joe Ollmann’s week running A Cartoonist’s Diary. There was a whole complicated schedule around this last entry, based on what Joe promised was going to be an incredibly exciting trip to New York City. As you’ll see, things didn’t go that way exactly. Anyway, this has been a great week for the feature, so thanks, Joe!

Elsewhere:

—Interviews. James Romberger talks to Michael DeForge. Rugg, Lex, & Piskor talk to Jeff Smith. SCPR talks to Gilbert Hernandez, and so does KNPR. In advance of TCAF, Forbidden Planet talks to reps from three companies, SelfMadeHero, Fantagraphics, and Blank Slate.

—Criticism. Ng Suat Tong reviews Fraction & Aja’s Hawkeye. Charles-Adam Foster-Simard reviews the Art Spiegelman “Co-Mix” exhibition in Vancouver. Chris Randle reviews Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season.

—News. Sports Illustrated writes about the influence of the manga Slam Dunk on the popularity of basketball in Japan. P. Craig Russell remembers Dan Adkins. (via) Tom Tomorrow delivered his Herblock acceptance speech:

—Misc. Miriam Katin went to Canada and drew comics. I learned that ulta-hard-boiled crime novelist Peter Rabe also wrote and drew an illustrated humor book about motherhood! Apparently the Man of Steel soundtrack is a little downbeat and a writer at The Guardian is complaining about it. I continue to be amused at the way the complaints of comics nerddom from a decade or more ago become the complaints of everybody else as the entire world of popular culture slowly devolves. I also continue to be amused at pictures of old celebrities clearly not enjoying comic books.

 

Whoah

Today Joe Ollman continues his diary with Day 4.

The longtime cartoonist Dan Adkins has passed away. Adkins was known for his sleek drawing for comic books including T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Dr. Strange and genre mags like Argosy and Amazing Stories. He was also perhaps Wally Wood’s finest assistant, working for the older artist in the 1960s. We’ll have a full obituary soon.

Elsewhere:

I’m not sure what this is, but it’s delightful.

Inkstuds host Robin McConnell has a lengthy report on his visits to recent comic book conventions.

PW looks at our publisher Fantagraphics’ digital moves.

A Neal Adams oddity throughout the years.

 

By Correspondence

Today we bring you Nicole Rudick’s interview with the artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook, two of the creators (with the late David Wojnarowicz) of one of this year’s most impressive books, even if it is a reprint, 7 Miles a Second. Here’s an excerpt:


The third part wasn’t completed until after his death. How did you manage it?

Romberger: When it came to the third part, I had a lot less to work with. David had given me the gist of what he wanted, which was “I want to show myself at the current time, mourning the deaths of my friends, but then in the end it’s a beautiful day and I’m happy to be alive.” But by the time I actually got to sit and draw this thing and edit it—after David’s death—there wasn’t anything like that in his texts. There was no beautiful day, so the book ends with him dying.

He had done this really magnificent bit of writing that was in part of the Artist’s Space book that had gotten him in so much trouble with the NEA, and he had told me, Draw me huge on Fifth Avenue. By that time, what I remembered being on Fifth Avenue was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and David had once gone with Act Up to protest the church’s stand against public health and homosexuality, while mass was going on, so it made it sense to make Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s and to draw him smashing it. These were decisions I had to make, but they are true to what his intent would have been, as close as I could approximate.

Did he think there would really be a happy ending to the third part? Or that there would be something good to end it with?

Romberger: In a way it’s a vulnerability we all feel—no one really sees themselves dying and if David had been able to hold on another year or two, perhaps the combination therapy that was developed within a couple years after he died might have saved him. A lot of people were brought back from the brink of death, and it is incredibly tragic that due to actions of people like David and others in Act Up—actions that got the medical establishment to loosen up on the approval of drugs trials—a lot of the work on AIDS and cancer was accelerated. And yet so many people died because things were being held off.

Van Cook: People were starting to be diagnosed and become ill, but that was something David wrote to us about in a letter—I’m rejecting that particular view of life and I’m going on to this brighter path. He didn’t want to be celebrating death and darkness anymore, as an artistic trope. He didn’t want to go down that artistic road, he wanted to go somewhere else. So even when things happened to him later on, he had embraced that more hopeful aspect.

Joe Ollmann is still in the middle of his excellent Cartoonist’s Diary this week. In today’s entry, he talks about his father’s recent death.

Elsewhere:

—It’s not strictly speaking comics-related, but it would be strange not to take note of film and special-effects pioneer Ray Harryahausen’s passing. Journal columnist Charles Hatfield has posted a tribute.

—Chris Ware drew the Mother’s Day cover for The New Yorker, and wrote a mini-essay for the site about the holiday.

—The New Yorker’s site also has a short video interview with Dash Shaw.

—Sean Howe tags a Deadline story about the “absurdity” of some of the actors who appeared in The Avengers getting only $500,000 bonuses after the movie’s success. I wonder if there is anyone else being overlooked in these arrangements?

—Boing Boing has begun publishing stories from Dennis Eichhorn’s old Real Stuff comics, which is great news for me.

—The Dylan Williams Reporter site has reposted Williams’ 1995 interview with Seth. It’s a lot of fun to read the early interviews with major artists over there.

—The Beat talks to L Nichols.

—Finally, Curt Swan’s letter to a young Jim Shooter.

 

Botched

It’s Tuesday so it’s Jog’sDay. And Joe Ollman’s diary rolls into day 2.

Elsewhere:

Here’s a lengthy exquisite corpse comic.

The comics symposium MIX is coming up, and there’s a call for papers.

Abhay Khosla writes the Iron Man 3 review for you.

A trip through Seymour Chwast’s rejection pile.

Writer about comics Gene Kannenberg, Jr on typography.

Here’s the beginning of multi-author a celebration of Matt Wagner’s 1980s alt-superhero, Grendel.

Matt Wagner: “The Hunter Rose version of Grendel was the first comic book character and narrative I ever developed. I wanted to feature the villain/anti-hero as my title character, a motif that just wasn’t done in the commercial comics of those days.

“After I moved my attentions to developing my first color series, Mage, I began to hear back from readers, asking me whatever happened to the story I’d abandoned in Grendel. So, I adapted that narrative to fit into 4-page segments as a backup feature in Mage.

“The result was that I had to really stretch my storytelling sensibilities and find a new and innovative way to tell that tale, little realizing that motif would become a hallmark of Grendel throughout its long history.”

And a bit of news on my end, the cartoonist Blutch has canceled his appearances in North America.