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Anything But the Comics

Slow news day here…

On the site today: Joe McCulloch’s Week in Comics and Day 2 of Tom Scioli’s Diary, going ever deeper into Angouleme.

Elsewhere, Michael Kupperman will be on The Best Show today on WFMU (via). And we missed this earlier, but Kim Deitch wrote a fine tribute to his first publisher, Joel Fabrikant. Over at 4th Letter! David Brothers has a discussion on comics piracy with an active comments section. And congrats to Dave Kiersh on getting his graphic novel funded.

 

 

 

 

Lighting Out

Dan Nadel talks to the artist Jim Shaw about his most recent book, comics, and their relationship to his own work. A brief excerpt:

After seeing the Sistine Chapel and thinking how radical a piece of art it was and so wanting to work in the figurative, I realized that comics are one of the only art forms where the figure has any legitimate use, so I’m glad to be working in it.

The artist behind American Barbarian and Godland Tom Scioli begins his week writing our Cartoonist’s Diary. It takes place in France.

Frank Santoro continues his West Coast tour, and writes about ice skating with Snoopy.

And Kristian Williams reviews Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s Batman vs. Robin.

Whew, lots of stuff today. Okay, and elsewhere, Journal columnist Rob Clough picks his top fifteen books of 2011, Alan Moore writes a column for the BBC on Occupy Wall Street and V for Vendetta, and Greg Hunter at Big Other writes about how recent Marvel-related events have colored the way he reads Michael Chabon’s new short story. (Jeet Heer had similar misgivings in the comments section of this blog.) Finally, Tom Spurgeon delivers twenty-one thoughts on the Before Watchmen announcement.

 

Two Fridays

Today on the site: Eddie Campbell reviews Young Romance: The Best of Simon and Kirby’s Romance Comics and highlights the themes and art styles embedded in these oft-overlooked comics.

And elsewhere, yesterday’s interview subject, Matthew Thurber, turned in a culture diary for The Paris Review. And of interest to comics readers, HiLobrow has opened a publishing imprint specializing in “Radium Age” science fiction. It looks good. Details here. In other publishing news comes the announcement that Seth will be illustrating Lemony Snicket’s upcoming series of autobiographical novels.

And finaly, the deluge of sad news for comic book creator ownership continues. CBR has the story, sourced from Daniel Best, of Gary Friedrich’s shameful treatment by Marvel in regards to his creation of the contemporary Ghost Rider character. And via Tom Spurgeon there’s news of a lawsuit involving payment for the original artist of the hugely successful Walking Dead comic book and TV series.

 

The Arcana of It All

Today, we are proud to present Rob Clough’s exhaustive interview with Matthew Thurber, the artist behind 1-800-MICE, What Kind of Magic Spell to Use?, and Ambergris. Here’s an excerpt from when Rob asked him about his recent collaboration with Benjamin Marra for the Smoke Signal anthology:

That pairing was actually Gabe Fowler’s idea. He matched us up together [and] he proposed the idea and he proposed the movie. I was like, “Oh no, I can’t–I’m gonna hate Transformers. Maybe I can do it on something else.” So I went and saw Super 8 and I was like, “Oh that was pretty good, but it wasn’t so stupid that you could really satirize it.” Then I finally saw Transformers, and I was like, “Holy shit!”

And later, discussing the themes behind 1-800-MICE:

We’re all part of the ecosystem with all the animals and plants and all the man-made stuff. If you try to think of the big picture, it’s overwhelming and scary. I guess that’s why my book is ultimately—underneath all the funny stuff— about being non-didactic, that we’re all part of the ecosystems. Different characters in the book are aware of different aspects of it. Even the people who are trying to control it think they’re doing the right thing. Aunty Lakeford really believes that if she proves that the banjo’s origins are in Africa, then that will help, that’s gonna help.

And elsewhere on the great internet:

Edward Sorel is profiled by local news channel NY1. Sorel: “They wanted me to do a cover about how the press was treating Nixon unfairly. I said that’s too much. I’ll sell out, but there are limits.” (via)

Our columnist Jared Gardner has a new book just out called Projections: Comics and the History of Twenty-First Century Storytelling. Henry Jenkins has just posted the first installment of a multi-part interview with Gardner here. Another excerpt:

I don’t think this book would have made any sense to write had it not been for what we affectionately call the golden age of comics reprints, a period of publishing that has seen long-lost newspaper comics and comic books returned to print. I am fortunate to have daily access to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum here at Ohio State, but until recently without such privileged access extensive reading in historical comics was virtually impossible. Of the comics I focus on extensively in the early chapters in the book–Happy Hooligan, Mutt & Jeff, Krazy Kat, Superman, Spider-Man, R. Crumb’s underground comix, etc.–almost all are now available in accessible reprint editions. The big exceptions here were Sidney Smith’s The Gumps and Ed Wheelan’s Minute Movies, pioneering serial strips from the 1920s, but I am now working with the Library of American Comics to get one and possibly both into an affordable reprint edition in the near future.

Art Spiegelman appeared on BBC Radio 4 earlier this week.

Someone calling himself Mr. Media has interviewed Bill Griffith. (I know I’ve mentioned Lost & Found several times here already, but it’s good–you should read it!)

And apparently, like so many other literary luminaries, Douglas Adams first saw his words in print after writing a letter to the editor about comics.

 

Smart Warming

Today: Bob Levin returns to us with a piece on Yiddishkeit the book and the culture. As usual, you get more than you think and learn more than you know.

And elsewhere, good people:

Pal and Professor at Washington University Douglas Dowd has begun a new publication called Spartan Holiday, which I enjoyed very much. It’s a picture story travelogue, elegantly blending drawing, type and image in the finest Pushpin Graphic tradition. This issues finds Doug in China, drawing as he goes. Good stuff and great to see this tradition being revived as a regular thing. Speaking of St. Louis, there’s a whole lotta Zettwoch in this photo preview of Dan’s upcoming book Birdseye Bristoe. I bet Dan, being a fellow Dan, likes these Gene Ahern comics, too. Nice to see Paul Tumey inaugurate a new blog.

Oh my goodness, there are no women in this comic book store reality show! Can you believe it? I mean, Kevin Smith’s movies are so much about understanding between genders! I am shocked! And in more heartwarming news, Alan Moore did what sounds like a cool video chat in support of Harvey Pekar.

 

Odds & Ends

I kind of feel like after Craig Fischer’s column on horror comics from yesterday, we don’t need to publish anything else this week. At the very least, I don’t want it to fall through the cracks, so give it a read soon if you haven’t done so already.

New today, we have the usual Joe McCulloch Tuesday feature: This Week in Comics!, this time featuring a bit on the top about ’00s Joe Kubert. Joe also made a guest appearance this week over at Douglas Wolk’s Judge Dredd site, in which the two discuss everything from Garth Ennis to comic-book ethics to Before Watchmen. (There’s some overlap.)

We also have Rob Clough’s review of Sharon Lintz’s Pornhounds 2.

Elsewhere, Michael Chabon is mining comic-book history in his fiction again, and has a story in this week’s New Yorker that is partly based on the relationship between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

At the Brooklyn Rail, Bill Kartalopoulos has a typically well-informed and informative review of the new Joost Swarte collection.

And the mysterious Illogical Volume of the Mindless Ones has a complicated response to Grant Morrison’s Batman comics (and his recent dubious statements about Siegel & Shuster). Of course, it’s unclear if complicated responses are what Morrison deserves—though as Joe M. pointed out over at Wolk’s place, Morrison is the only DC creator we know of (besides Kevin Smith, ha ha) to have publicly turned down working on Before Watchmen. So at least there’s that.

 

Yo Yo Yo Yo

Happy Monday. We’re please to announce that we’ve begun a little partnership with The Rumpus. Thanks to Paul Madonna, The Rumpus will feature a couple of TCJ pieces every month. This doesn’t really affect you if you’re already reading this, but we’re pleased and excited.

On this very site Craig Fischer brings you a beast of a post that takes a Skywald horror comic as its base and expands from there. Love it.

And in more internal news, Fantagraphics OGs Preston White and Mike Catron have returned to the fold. Tom Spurgeon has the lowdown and an interview with Mike. Welcome back, guys!

Ok, now we’ll leave our own orbit and go… elsewhere:

Some “living my life” posts to link to here… Paul Karasik doing it up in AngoulemeJessica Abel on moving to France and making career choices, Lynda Barry on what we remember, and Kyle Baker on the creative life.

Rub the Blood editors Ian Harker and Pat Aulisio got the Inkstuds treatment. I confess that I don’t really understand the Rob Liefeld nostalgia thing, but one man’s Paul Gulacy is another man’s Rob Liefeld (and yes, it’s only men), so, y’know, I get it in the abstract. Man.

And the pages from Rokuro Taniuchi’s 1948 children’s comic The Magic Underground Castle at 50 Watts is pure joy.


 

Everything Is All Right

The great Tucker Stone reviews the latest mini-series from the Mignola-verse of Hellboy & Co., B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia. That title’s a mouthful.

As are the titles of the upcoming Watchmen prequels. Like Dan, I don’t have much interesting to say about this development. It’s dumb and mean, but not surprising by any stretch. Eric Stephenson from Image said most of what needs saying, in a blog post that has seen much deserved traffic.

This is a good comics Tumblr. Great links pretty much every day.

This find from a Cerebus-related Tumblr is a real treasure. “I have to credit all the research that I did on Oscar Wilde for convincing me that I don’t want to be like that [almost universally acknowledged as the greatest conversationalist of his day]. If I can end my life with a large body of completed works and a reputation as a cantankerous old hermit I’ll consider my time well spent.” It makes you wonder about paths not taken. If Dave Sim hadn’t gotten interested in Wilde, he might have become one of the greatest raconteurs of our age! Actually there are a few things I’d dispute from Sim’s comments. Wilde wrote far more than just “one really good play and one really good short novel”—even if he’d never written anything other than his essays, he’d probably still be read today. Also, I wonder about whether it really makes sense to value the written word over the experienced moment. Obviously the written word is better for us—we can read it. But surely it’s not wise to only produce for posterity. The appropriate example here may be Ozymandias (not the character from Watchmen, which is apparently impossible to escape).

Our own Kristy Valenti writes about Chester Brown and Craig Thompson as purveyors of “Dick Lit” over at Comixology.

And Frank Santoro comic-book layout workshop hits Mission:Comics & Art tonight. A must-see if you’re in the San Francisco area.