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Today Rob Clough reviews the hard-to-describe comics project, Dog City #2:

Dog City is part anthology, part art object, part stunt, part value-added merchandise, and all comics. What makes it more than a stunt is the overall quality of the comics within, which range from good to excellent. The concept behind Dog City is to put a lot of different comics and art objects into the hands of readers without simply jamming them all into a single anthology. So it begins with a screenprinted box that has a couple of comics on it and inside of it, and tissue paper used for packing that also has images on it. There are beautiful, dog-related “art cards” (small prints) by Caitlin Rose Boyle, as well as a poster by Christina Lee and patches by Ian Richardson. While these are not relevant to the project’s status relating to comics, they are part of the overall aesthetic of hand-printed, tactile objects.

Editors Juan Fernandez, Luke Healy, and Simon Reinhardt are all students at the Center for Cartoon Studies who extended their reach a bit for this project. In addition to the above items, there are also eight minicomics, a minicomics anthology, and a magazine about comics. CCS is certainly represented, but not just by current students. Faculty member Steve Bissette, for example, reprinted and reformatted “Sand Papel”, a story he did for another CCS anthology called Tales of San Papel. Bissette hasn’t done many comics in recent years, but this one is very much in line with the sort of scratchy, gritty horror comics he did so well in the past. Reformatting the comic to landscape and keeping it to just two panels per page allowed the story to breathe a bit more and creep into the reader’s consciousness.

Elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary.
Rob Clough has also begun one of his occasional one-review-a-day months on his blog. Matt Leines reviews some vintage Paper Rad. Sarah Horrocks begins a multi-part essay on Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph. Abhay Khosla writes about several newish releases. Then he looks into my brain.

—Interviews & Profiles. James Sturm celebrates Ed Koren. Xavier Guilbert has posted his TCAF interview with Tagame Gengoroh. I always enjoy the mini-biographies on HiLobrow. Here they tackle Milton Caniff. Dennis Kitchen talks Will Eisner.

—News. The National Cartoonists Society has announced its Cartoonist of the Year Reuben Award nominees.

—Misc. Gary Tyrrell writes about former web cartoonist John Campbell’s controversial Kickstarter essay (for lack of a better way to describe it). Jim McLaughlin writes about the financial side of the comics convention business.

 

Flash

Today on the site, Matthias Wivel reports on the Angouleme Grand Prix award process. and talks to Louis Trondheim about it.

Elsewhere:

Cincinatti has a fine stash of early Dr. Seuss cartoons, but they’re not on display.

Chris Mautner on Prison Pit and Ant Colony.

An interview with colorist Matthew Wilson.

The D&Q Blog on Beautiful Darkness, which Joe McCulloch wrote about here.

 

Looking

Frank Santoro’s back from France, and sharing the comics he got over there.

Elsewhere:

—Sean Howe has posted three snapshots (1, 2, 3) from what was reportedly the first museum exhibition of underground comic art, curated by Bhob Stewart. Michael Dooley at Print has a short appreciation of Stewart.

—Chris Butcher of TCAF and The Beguiling has a two-part interview at Guys With Pencils.

—Kristy Valenti found a great old Kim Thompson quote on what’s-wrong-with-comics, published in a 1983 issue of Heavy Metal.

—Rich Tommaso is selling original art.

—Bill Watterson drew a movie poster.

Alfred Le Petit caricatures.

 

Hoovers

Today on the site Bill Pearson remembers Bhob Stewart. And we’ve posted Bhob’s classic obituary of Wally Wood.

Elsewhere:

Michael Dooley on Bhob Stewart at Print Magazine.

This new book on anime history sounds great.

Gerry Giovinco on Dark Horse Comics history.

Not comics: TCJ-contributor Naomi Fry has an excellent review of The Wolf of Wall Street over at the LARB.

Ron Rege is opening an exhibition in LA this weekend. Looks great.

I didn’t know about the Bosko comic strip.

Mimi Pond is going on tour for her forthcoming book.

Hey, excellent Lane Milburn comic strip over here.

 

Skippy

Joe McCulloch is here to help, with his weekly guide to the most interesting sounding new comics releases, and an essay on pre-Tezuka manga by Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama.

Elsewhere:


—News.
R.I.P. historian/writer/cartoonist/editor/filmmaker/etc. Bhob Stewart. Expect more coverage at this site soon. In the meantime, Potrzrebie, his long-running blog, is a treasure trove of the kind of cultural information most readers of this site would be interested in, and gives a hint at his wide-ranging interests.

Kevin Melrose writes about some of the reaction to South Carolina lawmakers’ efforts to withdraw funding from two colleges for including gay-themed books in their curricula (one of the books is Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.) Heidi MacDonald writes about fundraising efforts for Bill Mantlo, spurred on partially by the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The Hollywood Reporter writes about the legal conflict between Disney and Stan Lee Media. Robyn Chapman has launched The Tiny Report, a site/blog devoted to “micropress” comics.

—Interviews & Profiles.
BuzzFeed talks to Hayao Miyazaki. Brigid Alverson talks to Charles Forsman about the new Oily Comics Spring Bundle offer. Heidi MacDonald interviews scholar Paul Gravett. Tell Me Something I Don’t Know interviews Copacetic Comics owner Bill Boichel.

—Digital. Diamond Digital is shutting down, and Brigid Alverson provides analysis. Ryan Estrada sold his comics through comiXology Submit, and shares the economics of it. Bruce Lidl talks to Chris Ross of Top Shelf about their decision to offer DRM-free graphic novels.

—Reviews & Commentary. Noah Berlatsky and Shaenon Garrity write about Bloom County. At Flavorwire, Kevin Nguyen tries to pick what comics he’d add to the literary canon.

—Giving Opportunities. Worthy comics bloggers Rob Clough and Mike Lynch are both asking for financial help.

—Funnies. John Porcellino shares some old sketchbooks.

 

Roof Damage

Well, it’s Monday and so I’m back. Hi. Today we have the indefatigable Paul Tumey on one slice of the giant cake that is all things Rube Goldberg.

The current dusty, dim current understanding of Rube Goldberg and his work is evident in the comics history books and websites that mention him. Sadly, many of these are riddled with errors. Peter Marzio’s 1973 biography, Rube Goldberg: His Life and Work contains a error-filled list of his cartoon series that has led subsequent scholars into fields of confusion.1 Marzio’s book also asserts that the first full-fledged Goldberg invention cartoon was published November 10, 1914, an incorrect statement that has been repeated in numerous articles, books, and websites for the last 40 years. In actuality, it appears that Goldberg published his first invention cartoon July 17, 1912 — more than two years earlier.

The first known Rube Goldberg invention cartoon, originally published July 7, 1912

The first known Rube Goldberg invention cartoon, originally published July 7, 1912

The errors about Goldberg’s work have, on occasion, been off not just by a couple of years, but entire decades. For instance, Brian Walker’s comprehensive and authoritative survey of the history of the American newspaper comic strip The Comics: The Complete Collection (Abrams ComicArts 2011), reprints a Goldberg invention cartoon from 1930 with the dating “c.1910s.” It’s also identified as a “daily panel,” when it actually was from a biweekly series that appeared in a nationally distributed magazine, Collier’s Weekly.

In all fairness to hard-working cultural historians, getting one’s arms around the scope and particulars of Rube Goldberg’s career is no easy task. Rube, that cartoonist with the mind of an engineer, was more interested in the next idea than he was in drawing a concept out, exploring every nook and cranny. Thus, for most of of his career as a newspaper humor comic strip creator from 1909 to about 1938, Rube made a new and different comic strip every day. He had several series, like Foolish QuestionsSilly Sonnets, and I’m The Guy which he randomly returned to as he pleased.

Elsewhere:

The great Anya Davidson has a new ongoing comic over at Vice.

Tom Spurgeon on the recently deceased writer-about-comics Bill Baker.

Paul Pope talks about his forthcoming Escapo reprint.

Nice Lynch art, Tom K.

I used to like to collect issues of Ballyhoo. Here’s a particularly racy edition.

 

Problem

Server problems this morning prevented me from completing today’s usual blog posting, but we have reposted a classic interview of Shary Flenniken, conducted by Robert Boyd and originally published in issue 146 from 1991. Here’s a sample:

BOYD: You told me that the underground comics didn’t pay any money, that National Lampoon paid good money.

FLENNIKEN: They paid $25 a page, similar to what Fantagraphics is paying now.

BOYD: I know. Although they sold a lot more than we sell.

FLENNIKEN: It’s really sick, isn’t it?

BOYD: Well, I don’t know if anyone was getting rich off of it.

FLENNIKEN: Back then?

BOYD: Yeah. There’s no underground comics millionaires or anything.

FLENNIKEN: Robert Crumb would have gotten rich if he hadn’t been such a bozo.

BOYD: And Gilbert Shelton … what I mean is, I don’t think there’s someone getting rich off of other people’s labors.

FLENNIKEN: No. Gilbert had a thriving business, as far as I know. He was using his own ability as a base. I think it was great. I’m sure that there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t know about, how they ran their business, the fact that they bought that web press …

BOYD: Yeah, that is insane.

FLENNIKEN: And they had a real business. They had a bunch of people who were employed and motivated, and Gilbert was consistently wonderful. A bunch of great people who all got along and were wonderful people. And the whole thing functioned so well! They were buying houses, which was pretty good, especially at that time.

BOYD: I was just saying that it’s not like people at Print Mint or Last Gasp became millionaires printing comics and paying starvation wages.

FLENNIKEN: No, it wasn’t that, but there was definitely … I never did like the artiste attitudes. I disagreed with that. It was mostly people with outside incomes saying that your art has to remain pure, don’t think about money. Which is like saying, “You can’t join our club if you care about how much you’re getting paid.” This is a real thing.

BOYD: It’s a real thing now, believe me. It’s not gone away.

FLENNIKEN: Yeah, and there’s Artie Spiegelman, who — and he still does this, and I really like this guy — yet he makes his money from Topps gum cards and tells people that they should work for him for free to stay pure. I think, as a feminist, I just don’t believe in volunteer labor. That’s just the way it is. See, I come out of all this political stuff and … the whole communist ethic, this whole ethic … it’s not like I was in a serious communist situation, but I hung out with people who felt that you should be fed by the state, and you should work because you love your work. My feeling is that if you really love comics and cartoonists, and you really believe that comics are art and comics have value, then you will try to do what is best for everybody. You don’t ask people to starve for their art. My Air Pirates buddies said, “You gotta go out and get a book deal. You’ve gotta go on your own, you know.”

 

Deep Blip

Today on the site our friend Ryan Holmberg is back with a look at an unexpected body of comics work.

Even if you know only the first thing about postwar Japanese art, the name Shinohara Ushio (b. 1932) should be familiar. He’s the spunky bantam-weight with the mohawk who, in the early 1960s in front of flashing cameras and copy-hungry journalists, interpreted action painting as a sport, wrapping sodden rags around his fists like boxing gloves to decorate sheets of paper and cloth swatches with a series of oversized black and white splats. The “rockabilly painter,” as he was called, was featured many times in tabloids and on television as a representative of the new wave of Japanese youth.

Elsewhere:

Here’s an excerpt from a rare profile of Mark Beyer.

This is a cool post about Spanish comics.

I’ve never seen these Moebius/Dune storyboards.

The LA Times Book Prize nominees have been announced.

There’s some kind of kerfuffle with a Denver comic book convention.

Lock up your long boxes: Frank Santoro is headed to Columbus in March.

Hey, good ol’ Desert Island is having a 6th anniversary party here in Brooklyn.