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Today at the Comics Journal, we're sharing a 22 page look at Nobrow's Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage. I first heard about this book when one of the people (not a Nobrow employee) who worked adjacent to it condescended to me about how he'd already read it, and hadn't realized how good Nobrow was until he had read that specific book, and why hadn't I told him about the book before? (At the time of this conversation, I had not worked at Nobrow for 16 months and had never heard of the Darwin book.) As I was listening to him and nodding and wondering how soon I could leave the conversation and go anywhere else in the world, I realized that he must think that I care to be this nasty--he must think I want something, to talk like this? But I had just said "hi", you know, trying to buy time to surreptitiously look at his name tag. Never figured that one out. Comics is a weird business.

Today's review comes to us from Josh Kramer, and he's taking a look at Brian Fies A Fire Story, the extended hardcover edition of Brian losing his house in a 2017 California wildfire, which he had previously described in a webcomic.

On the first page, after Fies’ name, an asterisk leads to text at the bottom that reads, “but not to his usual standards.” This caveat makes the deft cartooning and vulnerable storytelling that follows all the more impressive. But it also begs the question, what would this be like if it were up to Fies’ standards? The full-length graphic novel version, also titled A Fire Story, came out this March from Abrams ComicsArts. And not only is the book inspired by the original webcomic, it is more or less a faithful recreation.

Over on Facebook, you can find an impressive collection of Alberto Breccia images. If you'd like to see them without Zuckerberg's involvement, there's two exhibitions--one in Argentina, one in France--that'll solve that problem for you. For more information 0n that, John Freeman has you covered.

Over on Tumblr, our very own Matt Seneca has launched a webcomic edition of his Infinite Prison--according to him, you've only got a couple of weeks to read it, so get cooking.

RIP, Kazuhiko "Monkey Punch" Katou. The manga creator most known for Lupin III reportedly passed away last week

 

Lumpen

Today on the site, TCJ stalwart Bob Levin takes a look at Andrew Whyte's recent book about Maxon Crumb, Art Out of Chaos.

Whyte comes across as someone who has seen enough art to be confident in his own judgments. He considers Maxon’s writings to be “complex” and “intriguing,” “alien” yet “erotic.” He finds his visuals “extraordinary,” “perceptive... and original,” “provocative and profound,” rich with “foreboding,” demonstrating “arrestive inventiveness” and mastery of “composition, detail and technique.” Most impressively to me – since it underscores my own shortcomings – is his ability to get beyond Maxon’s externals and, while avoiding none of them, relegate them to a place where they do not interfere with his gaze. He views Maxon’s deviations from the norm no differently than most of us would another’s choice of eyeglass frames.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Nominees for this year's Doug Wright Awards have been announced, and include Michael DeForge, Hartley Lin, John Martz, and Fiona Smyth.

Slate and CCS have announced the winners of their annual Cartoonist Studio Prize: Keiler Roberts for print, and Lauren R. Weinstein for online.

—Reviews & Commentary. For The New Yorker, Stephanie Burt reviews Tillie Walden's On a Sunbeam.

The big, densely plotted volume has all the virtues of “Spinning,” plus the scale, the sense of wonder, and the optimism intrinsic to what’s called space opera or science fantasy. (Think “Star Trek” and Starfleet Academy.) As with “Spinning,” it can be hard to equal in prose the comic’s inviting, spare line work, use of black-and-white, and expressive qualities. (Walden can make one pen stroke on one character’s face equal two pages of dialogue.) “On a Sunbeam” is at once a queer coming-of-age story, a story about how to salvage lost love and youth, and a multigenerational story about how to thrive in a society that does not understand who you are or what you can do. It is the kind of story that adults can and should give to queer teens, and to autistic teens, and to teens who care for space exploration, or civil engineering, or cross-cultural communication. It is also a story for adults who were once like those teens, and the kind of story (like the Aeneid, but happier) whose devotees might occasionally return to it, hoping for divine advice from a randomly chosen line, or panel, or page.

At The Nation, Jillian Steinhauer writes about Mark Dery's biography of Edward Gorey.

For 33 years, Edward Gorey rented an apartment in Manhattan. The author and artist hated New York City, but like so many others, he had moved there after college to embark on a career. The one-room apartment, at 36 East 38th Street, was Gorey’s refuge, his “cabinet of wonders, bohemian atelier, and Fortress of Solitude rolled into one,” as the cultural critic Mark Dery puts it in his new biography, Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey. The place was crammed with books, art, and miscellaneous objects that Gorey had collected, often memento mori. These included a real mummy’s head, which, by the time Gorey lost his lease in 1986, was sitting on a shelf in a closet, wrapped in brown paper. When he was away in Cape Cod, as the story goes, Gorey asked some friends to pack up his things for him, but they managed to miss the head. Instead, the super found it.

“I got a call from a detective at some precinct or other who said, ‘Mr. Gorey, we’ve discovered a head in your closet,’” the artist recalled in an interview. Gorey responded, “Oh, for God’s sake, can’t you tell a mummy’s head when you see one? It’s thousands of years old! Good grief! Did you think it took place over the weekend?”

Nicholas Theisen writes about the ethics of scanlations.

I’m back on my bullshit, because the whole discourse surrounding the “wrongness” of scanlation that I constantly see on social media, frankly, drives me bonkers, in part because people on “either side” of the issue never seem to be asking the useful questions or speaking from a shared set of facts. The anti-scanlation crowd is largely made up of people who either are professional translators or work in publishing, in other words those who directly benefit from the existing copyright regime. If I were being more fair, perhaps I would describe this group as those who have firsthand knowledge of the negative impact of scanlation in the manga distribution economy. On the other side we have the, if not pro-scanlation, then at least scanlation agnostic who speak almost solely from the perspective of readers and consumers in a market economy. In other words, the “two sides” are arguing from two completely different realities.

And I say manga distribution economy, because whether the two sides like it or not, the licit and “illicit” trades in translated Japanese comics are not wholly distinct entities. They are, in fact, inextricably linked to one another.

—Interviews. NPR interviews Cathy Guisewite.

—RIP. Gene Wolfe.

 

Cruel-sing

Today at the Comics Journal, we're starting off the week with the National Cartoonists Society--by speaking with Steve McGarry, the current president of the NCS Foundation, one of the key players in the recent attempts to rebrand the NCS to keep up with the next generation of creators.

You have a wide range of people at the festival – Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Ed Brubaker and Joyce Farmer, Lewis Trondheim and Dan Clowes. A lot of people that most would not associate with the NCS.

We’re trying to show this is a broad church. I think the perception of the NCS is that it’s old white guys who make comic strips – and it’s not. Part of this outreach is to change that perception. Look at who we have as members. Look at whose art we’re celebrating. Look at the exhibitions. I did a history of soccer at the National Football Museum in the UK last year so it was easy for us to basically replicate that here, though it has more LA Galaxy and US soccer, but it’s basically the history of soccer. We’re celebrating 90 years of Popeye which is ubiquitous. We have a French exhibition where they re-imagine classic comics figures as females. That exhibition addresses the under-representation of women in comics. Look at our guest list. We’re trying to be as inclusive and broad as possible. To try and dispel some of these myths that have grown up around the NCS. There is a disconnect between the online comics community where there are cartoonists who rail against these old dinosaurs. I think all cartoonists – probably without exception – are comics fans. Anybody that does good work appeals across the spectrum. The medium might have changed but good work is still good work whether it’s done by a 95 year old or a 15 year old. One of the selfish aspects of this is to present the NCS and put a spotlight on it and what we’re doing and who we are. At the same time we’re entertaining the public.

Our review of the day is a delightful one, from Darryl Ayo--it seems to be his debut for us, if the system we use to track your name can be relied upon. That seems hard to fathom, but maybe it is. He's here with a look at Wasted Space #8, from Vault Comics.

So if you’re me and you’re reading this comic book which could not be more random if you tried—the eighth installment of a serial that you are unfamiliar with—and you’re hoping to just dive in feet first? It pretty much works. The two parallel storylines of this issue both deal with repercussions of events that occurred in previous issues. One guy had his arm ripped off and another guy is coping with having murdered his own father. I get the impression that, for the long-term fans of Wasted Space, this issue might be a let-down in terms of action. Both stories in issue 8 are just people talking about how sad they are. Nobody gets dismembered or murdered. 

Over at Atomic Junk Shop, Edo Bosnar does a rundown of 2005's attempt to update Archie comics. Back in 2005, that consisted of hiring 80's super-hero artists and adapting licensed YA novels form the 90's. Not sure why that genius plan failed to take off.

Over at Bleeding Cool, they've got a great rundown of Sean Murphy's recent complaint that people should stop complaining. Why is it that every time a real man tells it like it is (with no filter), the result is always whining about what other people are saying on social media? My check engine light has been given me a hard time ever since the catalytic converter was stolen, and I would love it if a real man would come along and help me figure out whether it's the oxygen sensors or not. But all the tough guys in comics seem to spend the majority of their time rewatching super-hero movies or complaining incessantly about what other people do on fucking twitter.

 

We May Already Be Too Late

Today on the site, Sloane Leong returns with the first in a series of features, in which she interviews her fellow residents at the Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême. First up is Rebecca Roher.

Sloane Leong: So the first thing I’m going to ask is what you’re working on, and what brought about the project.

Rebecca Roher: I’m working on a project called One Hundred Year-Old Wisdom, where I’m interviewing near-hundred-year-olds about their keys to long life, their histories, and how they live today. I’m making comics based on the interviews. It’s framed as if I am a news reporter for a fictional TV network. I really like the reporter voice, you know like, “Hello, I’m reporting live–”

[Chuckles] yeah.

I think it’s very humorous and a nice way to frame it and also, I was really inspired by the videos you see of reporters visiting old people on their hundredth birthday asking, “What’s your secret to long life?” and the hundred year-olds are like, “I eat oatmeal every day and stayed away from men.”

And Joe Decie wraps up his week with Day Five of his excellent Cartoonist's Diary.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Arizona Republic checks in on Gahan Wilson.

Gahan Wilson has a way of looking at the world and he reflected it in his cartoons.

An elevator in a corporate building that eats people.

Two aliens viewing earth, predicting, "Another decade or so and it will be warm enough for us."

A doctor telling a skeleton patient, "We may already be too late, Mr. Parker."

His work was playfully sinister and clever. Each cartoon made a point. The horrors of war. The destruction of the planet. The indignity humans inflict on one another.

Gahan's cartoons appeared regularly in Playboy for 50 years and in Collier's, The New Yorker and National Lampoon.

At 89, Gahan is still drawing pictures, but he doesn't publish them anymore.

Vice has excerpts from Alex Jones's deposition in the Matt Furie/Pepe the Frog case.

Moments before the impassioned speech, Jones admitted that, at first, he didn’t understand the cartoon frog at all. “I get most memes,” Jones said. “But I just didn’t understand [Pepe the Frog.]” Much of the deposition consists of Jones alternating between saying that he doesn’t care much about Pepe and discussing the finer points of the frog, like noting that his forehead looks “like a butt.” At one point, Jones says that if he loses the case, it would be “like [being made to make] a payment to the Statue of Liberty or something when we’re talking about liberty.”

—Reviews & Commentary. At openDemocracy, Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia writes about the recent Twitter spat between Jim Carrey and Mussolini's granddaughter over one of Carrey's cartoons, and some of the political context.

Recently, the comedian posted a crude drawing of fascist leader Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci ­– disfigured and hung upside down as they were in their deaths. Notoriously, Mussolini and Clara’s bodies were left virtually unrecognizable after an Italian mob got hold of the bodies after their executions. Carrey captioned the image: ‘If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta’. Carrey’s warning is two-fold: 1) fascists are on the losing side of history and 2) fascism’s end is particularly horrific.

—Interviews & Profiles. For no particular reason, I have never listened to a full episode of Studio 360, but the latest episode features Cathy Guisewite (as well as novelist Frederic Tuten, author of the comics-adjacent novel Tintin in the New World).

 

Longsharks

Today at the Comics Journal, it's time for Tegan O'Neil's latest installment of Ice Cream for Bedwetters. This time around, she's used Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta's Vision series as inspiration to discuss the impact of 9/11, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Hickman's Secret Wars, Stan Lee, the infamous Comics Journal canon issue and comics criticism. Buckle in.

It’s a terrible thing to be a critic out of a feeling of resentment or anger at the object of your critique. Especially when the feelings aren’t even inspired by the work itself but simply a negative reaction to the enthusiasm of someone else taking joy in comics. I hardly want to live down the reputation of critics as choleric firebrands who never leave the house and bathe less often than they should - but, I mean, yeah. 

It’s not all comics fault. They didn’t ask to be the most intense relationship of my life.

Today also sees the latest installment of Joe Decie's Cartoonist Diary. Today's installment is painful, honest and elegant. Thank you Joe.

Our review of the day comes from Leonard Pierce. Here's looking at Ghost Box, from John Pading and Shigeharu Kobayashi.

Ghost Box first saw the light of day last year with a successful Kickstarter, and it’s now making its way to direct sales via Frank Comics, the imprint run by its creators, artist John Pading and his co-writer Shigeharu Kobayashi. It’s a quasi-sequel to their 2012 book Princess Calabretta, with which it shares not only characters and DNA but a hyperactive mélange of pop culture influences. Pading’s art style is vivid and cartoony, and while it’s not the most accomplished, it’s very well suited to the material, which benefits from the kinetic, colorful nature of his work. The script, on the other hand, is rather a mess: ideas come and go, events explode and spill over with no real rhyme or reason, and most of the appeal of the narrative comes from the fact that it throws its story developments, such as they are, at you with such wildfire rapidity that you give in to its admittedly good-natured energy more or less out of exhaustion.

Over at Smash Pages, Alex Dueben can be found speaking with Finnish cartoonist J.P. Ahonen about his heavy metal family comedy, Belzebubs.

Over at Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver speaks to Anna Readman about her comics work. Oliver had previously referred to Anna as "the future of British comics". The art by Readman illustrating the interview makes a pretty effective case for Oliver's claims.

Anytime a new Brian DePalma movie appears on the horizon, I think of old Kim Thompson remarks about DePalma that I'd caught wind of, years after they'd been made, via comments made by other people. I wonder what his level of anticipation would have been for Domino, which was reportedly such a terrible experience that the film director has sworn off the country of Denmark. 

 

 

Not Secure

Joe Decie's week creating our Cartoonist's Diary continues, and is predictably drawing raves. Here's Day Three.

We also have an excerpt from Kat Verhoeven's Meat and Bone, soon to be released by Conundrum.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—At the Washington Post, Michael Cavna checks in on Olivia Jaimes and Nancy.

That creative energy has resulted in a 400 percent spike in “Nancy” traffic on GoComics.com compared with the year prior, says the syndicate. And sales have nearly doubled since Jaimes inherited the strip, with its client list nearing 140 newspapers.

That popularity is fueling other “Nancy” projects. Two books are due out in the fall, a board game is in the works, and the syndicate says it is finalizing a deal with a major streaming service for animated entertainment.

—Crime and music writer Michael Gonzales reflects on the childhood inspiration he drew from horror comics.

In truth, though I was young, I was already writing on the Olivetti typewriter I got for Christmas the year before and somehow convinced myself that writing scripts was next logical step. Nick Cuti was also the creative force behind the pamphlet sized instruction booklet The Comic Book Guide for the Artist-Writer-Letterer. Produced by Charlton Comics, the booklet broke down the format and mechanics of the work in a language that was straight forward. After reading the book a zillion times (it’s only 35-pages long, I wrote Cuti a letter at Warren gushing over his own writing and telling him that I too wanted to be a comic book scribe.

Two weeks later, I was surprised when he wrote back offering encouragement. “Even if you do want to become a comic book writer, you must read more than comics,” he advised. Although I was already a fan of the strange tales of Roald Dahl, the aesthetic I developed from the horror comics sent me straight into the frail arms of Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe.

—I'm pretty sure that we have not previously mentioned the Ink Logging Tumblr set up by Zack Soto, which includes short reviews and writing on comics purchased by various cartoonists and writers, including such TCJ-affiliated critics as Chris Mautner and Joe McCulloch (aka Jog). But we should have.

—The Verge has an oral history of webcomics.

Ryan North, Dinosaur Comics: Top lists were kind of like traffic Ponzi schemes. You’d put a link on your comic that said: “Click here to vote for me,” sending people to their page. In exchange for clicks, you got to the top of their list. It felt very performative, so I stopped doing it.

The first comic I read was Achewood, which is probably the best webcomic ever. It didn’t have a links page, so I thought Achewood invented webcomics. Mine was the second webcomic on the internet.

I was in a college entrepreneurship class, and a month into a group project, our group hadn’t done anything, so I just decided to put comics online.

I cut little T. rex silhouettes out of construction paper and put them up around campus with the URL on them. I’m very tall, so I could jump and get them up where the janitorial staff couldn’t reach. When I heard people in the cafeteria talking about Dinosaur Comics, I thought I was being pranked. I guess the way I got early readers was… vandalism?

—Jon B. Cooke has started a new podcast, and his first guest is Robert Crumb, on to discuss Weirdo.

—French designer Jean-Philippe Bretin discusses his redesign of Yuichi Yokoyama's Outdoors.

To design a layout for Yuichi, whose work is already so full of bold vivacity, proved a challenge for Jean-Philippe. He researched previous cover designs for his other publications, including Kazunari Hattori’s cover for Room which focused on “simple and powerful typographic compositions”, drawing out the pictorial qualities of Kanji. He also studied Yuichi’s éditions Matière which uses skilfully coloured extracts from Yuichi’s illustrations over the past ten years.

Alternatively, Jean-Philippe utilises the “raw content” of the comic artist’s powerful visuals to inform his cover design. Experimenting with different design tones to play on the book’s materials, his final design consists of a book jacket that complimentarily sits against the jade green, typographic cover. “The cover of Outdoors plays with some recurring elements seen throughout other manga covers” says Jean-Philippe. While it features a shiny dust jacket and dense text, each element has in fact had, a shift in format.

—RIP Seymour Cassel.

 

The Next Life

Today at The Comics Journal, we're pleased to introduce--well, that's probably not the right word. Welcome? There we go. We're pleased to welcome Whitney Matheson aboard, with her first piece for TCJ. She's spoke with Box Brown about his new book Cannabis, his current work methods, and more. There was no discussion of footwear, or its financial value.

Cannabis doesn’t focus on pop culture like your previous books. Is this topic something you’ve been interested in for awhile?

Cannabis is more of a lifelong obsession. I was arrested for possession when I was 16. I didn’t see this as an opportunity at the time — it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me — but I got to go through the legal system, being handcuffed, that whole thing.

Wow. What year was that?

This was 1996. And what I found out in my research, actually, was that in 1996 the number of people arrested for cannabis doubled. In 1995 there were 200,00 people arrested for cannabis laws, and in 1996 there were 400,000. So I just got caught up in that. But going through probation and urine tests and seeing how people of color are treated differently from white kids in the middle-class suburbs … I got off probation on good behavior in four months. At the time, I was happy, but you know, in high school kids would get busted for underage drinking, and they didn’t get arrested. Their parents would get called, and that was it. I just saw that as a huge hypocrisy, and since then, it’s never been far from my gaze.

It's also Day Two for Joe Decie, bringing that Pay It Forward philosophy into action with his story of what happens when his life comes upon a non-Decie related sock.

Over at Sequart, Dr. David Sweeney goes long (this article is only the first part!) on super-hero costumes in the comics of Warren Ellis. The site also has published an extensive article by Matthew Kirshenblatt on Herbert Crowley--that's the kind of counterprogramming that we like to see.

Over at Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver spoke at length to Laurel Pettit, whose enthusiasm for the artform's potential is as tangible as her skill.

Our pal Dominic Umile takes a look at Qiana Whitted's recently released EC Comics: Race, Shock & Social Protest, as well as some of the legendary comics the book discusses.

Over at Women Write About Comics, Nola Pfau does an old school here's-the-stuff-I-bought round up following her trip to Emerald City Comic Con.

Over at Smash Pages, Alex Dueben can be found speaking with Diana Chu about her music and Dante focused issue of Ley Lines.

While the MoCCA Festival took place this weekend, the focus of the comics community was turned towards Craig Thompson. Sometime last week, Uncivilized Books released a mock-up design for a box set of Craig's still-to-be-released comic series, Ginseng Roots. The design, featured below, was immediately criticized for Orientalist content--a criticism that has circled Thompson's work for years, including in our 2011 roundtable on the book, and by The Hooded Utiliarian's Nadim Damluji, who challenged Thompson about this aspect of his work directly--and within hours, the design had been taken down by the publisher Tom Kaczynski (who is also currently writing a column for TCJ) who then issued a public apology.

 

 

Picture Book

Today on the site, Frank M. Young is here with an interview he conducted nine years ago with the late Harvey Pekar, among the last the writer gave. In it, they discuss collaboration, Pekar's problems with Israel, and how the American Splendor movie affected his career.

How do you communicate your ideas to the various artists that illustrate your stories? Do you give them a lot of notes?

Yeah, well, I put notes on paper, and then I’ll call them up. I talk to everybody on the phone. I’ll go over the story and tell them what I’m looking for. And I always say, “Look, if you run across something that you can’t understand, or if it’s illegible, just call me. Or I’ll call you in a couple of weeks if I don’t hear from you, just to make sure everything is fine,” you know?

That’s an important part of my communication that a lot of people don’t see. And if it’s a real long piece, I’m dealing with somebody maybe quite a few times. Like if it’s a graphic novel. I’m working on this graphic novel now about how I lost faith in Israel [Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, published posthumously by Hill & Wang, 2014]. You know, I’m Jewish, and I write about when I was a little kid, and all I heard was Israel’s side of the story from everybody. Everybody in my family, and my friends, and their family... You just heard one side of the story. And then if you believe you’re one of God’s chosen people, that’ll settle things for you, sure.

As time went on, and I became independent, and I formed my own ideas, I got pretty upset with Israel. I’m at a point now where I think that their foreign policy is self-defeating. All this for nothing, you know. First of all, the Arabs have a beef, but nobody wants to hear about it. Which was that the whole Middle East used to be under Turkish control and the Turkish empire. But the Turks were stripped of all that Arab territory after the First World War. Provisions were made for everyplace else, like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. It didn’t happen overnight, but there were provisions made for self-government. But in Israel’s case, everybody was hyping the hell out of their position, and talking it up... politicians and everything like that. So the British had a mandate at the League of Nations: “take care of Israel until there could be a vote on it in 1947 in the UN.” And instead, war broke out in ’48, and the Jews won the war. People around here, in the United States, where Arabs were mistrusted, as they still are today. People said, “Well, good for the Jews.”

The Palestinian Arabs got treated worse than any of the other Arabs. They didn’t even have a stab at self-government That was one of my points; that [point] takes a long time to develop. And then their use of force… it’s one thing if you use force and you really gain something. I’m not for going out and having a war, or anything like that, but if you’re going to have a war, it should get you something. And these wars that Israel’s fighting, they’re going to have to keep on fighting them as long as they exist, unless they change their policy. I went into a lot of detail, and I did a lot of research on it. Then I sent it into the editor, and the editor wanted me to restructure it, and in the mean time I got together with a real good illustrator. His name is JT Waldman.

Also, Joe Decie joins the ranks of the artists who have contributed to our Cartoonist's Diary feature. Here is his Day One.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Cartoonists Rights Network International won the Index on Censorship's 2019 Freedom of Expression Award.

The network was instrumental in the release of graphic novelist Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé who was imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea on bogus counterfeiting charges because of his criticism of the country’s president and government.

CRNI tracks censorship, fines, penalties and physical intimidation (including of family members), assault, imprisonment, and even assassinations. Once a threat is detected, CRNI often partners with other human rights organisations to maximise the pressure and impact of a campaign to protect the cartoonist and confront those who seek to censor political cartoonists.

Cartoonists are frequently targeted by authoritarian governments and lack the protection offered by unions or large media organisations, therefore external support is crucial.

—At The New York Review of Books, Joel Smith writes about Saul Steinberg's The Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth, a collection of drawings Saul Steinberg made between 1954 and 1960, reached bookstores too late for the 1960 Christmas market. Its consequently dismal sales gave the forty-six-year-old artist his first dose of public indifference. A Romanian by birth who had found overnight success at cartooning in 1930s Milan, Steinberg had arrived in New York in 1942, preceded by a run of mailed-in work for The New Yorker that laid the ground for instant and enduring American acclaim. Irritated though he was by his book’s flat reception, he might really have been more in the mood to ponder a flop (which he said left him feeling “as flattered as Stendhal”) than to add another conventional success to his total. “I admire more and more people’s literary qualities,” he would write to his friend Aldo Buzzi in 1962. “I mean the possibility of recounting a fact or making a true and proper observation. Most people transform things that happen to them into things read in the newspaper. Those who don’t know how to tell things are scary.”

The Paris Review excerpts an autobiographical piece by Mark Alan Stamaty.

—As reported by Food & Wine, Bazooka Bubble Gum is bringing back the Bazooka Joe comics.

“A few years back, we re-launched Bazooka Bubble Gum, reinvigorating the brand for kids who may not have been familiar with the eye-patch wearing Bazooka Joe or the brand’s place in America’s pop culture landscape,” Matt Nathanson, Bazooka Brand Manager, told me. “Yet even as Bazooka continued to thrive with its new look, we have never stopped hearing from our passionate consumers who longed for the Bazooka bubble gum of their past. Those classic Bazooka Joe comics clearly have a special place in the hearts and memories of so many fans. We are always listening to our fan, and are incredibly excited to bring back the Bazooka fans remember!”

Nathanson says that a lot of effort went into choosing which comics to bring back as well. “We began by diving into the Topps vault to find the original Bazooka Joe & His Gang comics… Believe it or not, some of these assets hadn’t been seen for decades,” he explained. “We selected 48 of the best comics from the 1970s and 1980s—all with Bazooka Joe’s trademark (and maybe a bit off-beat) sense of humor — to include in our new throwback package.”