Today, Frank Santoro returns to his Riff Raff column, after a few months traveling the world as an ambassador of comics. Now, he’s back,and talking about his most recent trip, to the Entreviñetas Festival in Colombia:
I think, for me, what was most exciting about Entreviñetas was that the audience in Colombia seems hungry for comics—and are coming to the table with very few pre-conceived ideas as to what comics are and who they are supposed to be for. There were lots of younger people. During a panel discussion on the topic of what the “graphic novel” term means, a teenager asked, “Doesn’t graphic novel just mean ‘more expensive?’” I had to laugh. It made me think about all the “Comics versus Art” discussions in the States over the last thirty years as somewhat meaningless. I mean, I guess if a kid in the U.S. asked the same question at a panel I might think the same thing—but listening to the question translated from Spanish into English into my earpiece, I just burst out laughing.
And Paul Tumey is here to talk about Patrick McDonnell, with a review of The Mutts Diaries. Tumey admires the strip, but is disappointed by the book:
Mutts, Patrick McDonnell’s sweet, smart comic strip has joyfully chased its tail across the funny page sections of newspapers and book collections for the last two decades. The strip, written and drawn by a cartoonist who co-wrote a deeply admiring biography of George Herriman (Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, 1986), has functioned both as a daily treat and as a deconstructed, minimalist heir to Herriman and Krazy Kat.
Even though Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts comic strip is sublimely designed to work on multiple levels, it comes perilously close to losing its charms in the dumb, exploitative packaging employed in The Mutts Diaries, a collection that Andrews McMeel Publishing has created to launch its AMP! Comics for Kids imprint (what amperage or amplifiers has to do with comics, I’m sure someone will let me know). The mid-sized, cheaply priced trade paperback is, as the accompanying press release informs us, “a collection tailored for middle-grade readers.”
—Interviews. Oliver Sava conducted a super-enjoyable, lengthy interview with Simon Hanselmann.
Michael Cavna spoke to New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly about nominated for the Thurber Prize.
Alex Dueben talked to Charles Burns.
—Reviews & Commentary. MariNaomi, who recently put together the Cartoonists of Color database, has written an article for cartoonists who want to include characters of (a different) color into their work, and talked to artists like Keith Knight, Whit Taylor, and Elisha Lim about their own thoughts on the matter.
—Kirby vs. Marvel. A few of the stronger analyses of the recent settlement and its implications so far (we will have our own soon) have come from Charles Hatfield, Alison Frankel at Reuters, and Kurt Busiek.
—History. Smithsonian magazine has another big article about Wonder Woman and William Moulton Marston written by Jill Lepore.
Phil Nel visits the home of Crockett Johnson.
Scholar Frank M. Young remembers researching comics history back in the days of microfilm.
—Misc. Finally, and for some of you maybe most importantly, Jack T. Chick has released an app.