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Lopsided

And we’re still back!

Rob Clough gets things underway this morning with his review of Seth’s G.N.B. Double C, one of the artist’s lighter “sketchbook” comics, in the vein of Wimbledon Green.

Linkblogging’s gonna be a little weird for a while, since we’ve been gone for so long and so much material has been missed and/or is already ancient in internet terms (by the way, spending no more than fifteen minutes a day using a computer and/or reading the internet is a highly recommended way to spend a week or two, if you can swing it). But here are a few highlights from recent days that are worth taking a look at if you’re so inclined.

Joe Sacco has a new story out at Caravan magazine, about Dalit villagers in Upper Pradesh. It looks to be available in print form, as well. (Courtesy Ethan H.)

Steven Heller, the former New York Times art director who gave Bill Griffith his first job in comics while working for Screw, writes a brief profile of the artist for The Atlantic. I’ve been slowly making my way through an advance copy of Lost and Found, and I think it’s really gonna be revelatory for a lot of people.

Here’s a brief video interview with Maurice Sendak for the Tate, in which he tells people who want a sequel to Where the Wild Things Are to go to hell:

There’s also a three-part video interview with Art Spiegelman from Angoulême that was posted recently. I haven’t watched it yet, but plan to do so as soon as it’s feasible.

Friends and family of the late publisher, cartoonist, and writer Dylan Williams have started a memorial site for him.

The Rumpus interviewed Adrian Tomine.

Domingos Isabelinho reviews the recent Carl Barks collection.

Finally, I really liked this Eddie Campbell blog post.

 

Happy, Merry, Rested

Happy New Year. We’re back and getting into the groove here. Today on the site we bring you Frank Santoro’s epic Motorbooty retrospective. I remember finding the magazine at Tower Records, where I found many good small press things, and it blew my mind. It was like it arrived from mars to make me happy. Well, Frank’s gone back and interviewed the man behind the content and posted numerous images, too. Dig in. If that’s not enough Santoro for you, then check out his year-end post from Sunday. As ever, no matter the holiday, there is Joe McCulloch with his first “This Week in Comics” of 2012

And today we’re also re-publishing Gary Groth’s 1998 interview with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator and Tundra and Heavy Metal publisher Kevin Eastman. It is so damn long, and so intense, that we had to break it into two parts and add a selection of letters that came in in response to the piece. In it, Eastman explains all about the Turtles, money, losing a ton on Tundra, friendships, ethics, and so much more. It’s one of the all-time great TCJ interviews in its portrait of one man’s journey into the heart of comic-dom. Part 1. Part 2. The letters.

Why, you might ask, are we only just now gifting you with this bounty of history, gossip and financial ruin? Well, Eastman’s been in the news a bit lately. He’s auctioning off his studio and its entire contents on eBay (the video must be seen) and is doing a series of events at Meltdown Comics in L.A. So, now’s the time…

Speaking of Tundra, Steve Bissette is oft-mentioned in the Eastman interview, and he posted a brief note about the status of his 1963 comic book series and his relationship with Alan Moore.

Anyhow, it being the end of the year and all, there were a ton of year-end best-of lists. Sean T. Collins, AV Club, Robot 6, Comics Alliance, Tucker Stone/Flavorwire, Matt Seneca, and probably a million more. But those stuck out.

And of course no holiday season is complete (well, at least for me and Tim) without Tom Spurgeon’s interview series. They are all worth reading, but for me the highlights were: Todd DePastino on the author’s work on Bill Mauldin. I agree with Tom that Wille & Joe: Back Home was one of the very best books of 2011 and DePastino is a game and lively conversationalist; TCJ-contributor Chris Mautner giving a big picture view on recent developments in art comics; The Secret Acres publishers Leon Avelino and Barry Matthews were very candid about the publishing life/vocation/spirit, and smart besides. Any interview with Kim Thompson is a hoot, and I confess that one of my favorite perks of working for TCJ is getting to bug Kim about stuff as frequently as he lets me. Tom, as usual, asks all the right questions. Ethan Rilly produced one of my favorite comic books this year, and I know nothing about him, so his interview was a treat. All right, that’s enough about Spurgeon! We love him too much.

Elsewhere on the internet you will find TCJ-contributor Ryan Holmberg’s latest piece, a review of A Drifting Life, quite fascinating. And wait until you see what he has later this week. Charles McGrath wrote about Tintin in the NY Times. Robot 6 has steamrolled into the new year with a ton of new content, including interviews with Tom ScioliSammy Harkham, and a ton more. And fresh off the internet is The Beat’s Year-End Survey part 1 and 2011 in review.

And finally, the great British illustrator Ronald Searle has passed away. He was famous for his curling and darting line, and cutting observational wit. The Guardian has a brief obituary.

 

 

Holiday Break

Well alright, dear reader, that’s (almost) it for TCJ online in 2011! Here’s our year-end post. Have a great holiday. Posting will resume Tuesday, January  3rd.

 

 

A House Divided

Well, folks, we’re starting to close things out for the year here, but we’ve still got a few items in store for your 2011 reading year.

This morning, we present the great and inimitable Bob Levin’s reflections on the one-of-a-kind “lost” anthology The Someday Funnies, which it probably wouldn’t be too much to say he had some part in bringing to print, if only for revitalizing interest in the book through his great piece,“How Michel Chouquette (Almost) Assembled the Most Stupendous Comic Book in the World”, which you may remember from TCJ issue 299. Here, from Levin’s new piece, is a brief explanation of just what he means by stupendous:

In 2004, it was suggested I write about Michel Choquette and The Someday Funnies, a veritable Lost Dutchman’s lode of comic history. The story, as it had come down over three decades, was that Choquette had been commissioned in December 1970 to produce a 20-page cartoon history of the 1960s for the May issue of Rolling Stone, and that he had tuned that into a contemplated several hundred-page book on which he spent nine years, receiving in the process contributions from William Burroughs, Salvador Dali, Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Tom Wolfe, while squandering so many advances from so many competing publishers that he had made publication impossible. Then, the story spreaders said, he and the art he had collected vanished.

Our other offering this morning is my co-editor Dan’s review of the same book.

 

In the Air

First up,

On the site: Rob Clough on Papercutter 17.

Next up, a guest writer takes the wheel:

When Dan Nadel hit town it was an easy task to slip him a wipeout pill and slide him into the penetrator chair. After that pulling his thoughts out onto the chalkboard upload was as simple as peeling a banana. Today’s Nadel brain reads smooth, a baby’s bottom,

“I consider a parking ticket a badge of honer. In fact I am proud to have collected two of them whilst whisking about The City today before my trek north. North, where the ice giants live. North, where the water is clear, fresh, untouched by mongrel man. North, where Santa Claus greedily gobbles up the wishes and visions of youth, grown obese on the exchange of dreams for plastic, the exchange of hard earned cash for the unwanted sock/clock/pet rock. Out on the highway I commanded my Honda Not a Civic, sitting low, dancing past traffic jams like a mouse in the mall(food court). A cigarette lounges lazily on my lips. Just kidding hahaha. I don’t smoke mom. But every travel writer knows that a cigarette is the portal to romance. The smoke a shield to block interaction, no, incarceration by the unworthy out to latch onto a man with a mission.  The haze obscures the gaze and when you can’t see past your nose you’re left with nothing but the imagination to reveal a path. Me? I choose imagination over reality any day. I choose the untrod lands. Give me a freeway to Providence and I’ll take the drainage ditch. In fact, that’s why I spent half the day upside down dangling in the stern grip of the seatbelt, my small two door passenger car wedged within the calloused arms of a poplar tree off 95 not so far from Groton, Connecticut. A town with a name that sounds and smells like cheese. Sounds and smells define a man. I sound, I smell. I survive. Thank the gods no one stole the tape deck, I’m reaching for Slayer Decade of Decadence, no need to hear the sirens call my name.”

-Brian Chippendale, live from the arm of the penetrator

 

 

 

Lack of Action

Joe McCulloch, exhaust contrails still streaming off him from his recent Inkstuds appearance, delivers a look at the week in comics, as well as an extended take on the title he claims was the best superhero relaunch of 2011. His answer will probably surprise—not to say baffle—you.

And Sean T. Collins takes on the final issue of MOME.

Elsewhere:

One of my favorite regular events of the holiday season has begun: Tom Spurgeon’s annual series of extended interviews with comics figures. Yesterday, he put up the first one, a long discussion with Art Spiegelman. Today he put up the second, talking to Tom Neely, Emily Nilsson, and Virginia Paine about the future of Sparkplug.

Paul Gravett presents a translation of his own French (!) essay on Joe Sacco.

Chris Pitzer celebrates nine years of publishing AdHouse. That is a hard number to believe!

Derik Badman gives us his short list of the best webcomics of 2011. He has very unusual and individual tastes, and these are probably all worth at least looking into.

Luc Sante has written a brilliant brief bio of the French crime author Jean-Patrick Manchette, best known to American comics readers for his collaborations with Jacques Tardi.

Finally, Spanish comics scholar Pepo Pérez takes the McLuhan/Baudrillard approach to analyzing Frank Miller’s politics (not those of this year but of a decade ago).

 

Aesthetic Pacing

Today we have a bit of c. 1995 Harv: A profile of cartoonist Betty Swords. And if that’s not enough for you, click over to Mike Lynch’s site to read Swords’ profile of Virgil Partch, as printed in the 1962 issue of Pro Cartoonist & Gag Writer. Also onboard is Rob Clough’s review of the anthology Gay Genius.

Speaking of history, here’s a profile and a video of Irwin Hasen over at The New York Times. Not to far south of Hasen was artist Joe Brainard, who made his own kinda comic-based work.

In TCJ-related news, Tim, Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca talked with Robin McConnell for nearly two hours on Robin’s year-end Inkstuds. This is fine entertainment. And Jeet Heer writes about Herge.

Finally, Tom Spurgeon has an obituary of Eduardo Barreto.

 

The Wind Down

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for comic books. As I’m sure most readers of this site know by now, Joe Simon has died. Steve Ringgenberg has written an extensive obituary of the man for us:

If Joe Simon had only created Captain America back in 1940, he would still be a comic book legend. However, Simon’s career lasted for decades and encompassed the creation of dozens of memorable characters and thousands of pages of stories and art. Simon, both with and without his partner, Jack Kirby, was an innovative writer, editor and artist, responsible for some of the most influential characters and trends in comic book history. He was nothing if not versatile. Indeed, it’s impossible to consider Joe Simon’s career without looking at the entire history of the comics business, since he was there almost from the industry’s inception.

Also, Gary Groth interviewed Simon for the Journal in 1990:

GROTH: How did you see yourself? Did you see yourself as an artist, or was it more of a job that you were just lucky enough to get?

SIMON: Oh, no. We saw ourselves as artists. That’s all. Just artists.

GROTH: But even though you saw yourselves as artists, you didn’t think the work would really have any lasting value.

SIMON: No. We thought that the comic books were at the bottom of the heap. On the totem pole we were the lowest rung. Matter of fact, a friend of mine at an advertising agency once told me that. And the truth of the matter is that nobody remembers this guy any more, but everybody remembers someone like Kirby.