Today on the site, cartoonist Noah Van Sciver interviews Tom Gauld about Gauld's new book, Mooncop.

What does a typical day go like for you? Are you drawing everyday?

I share a studio with six other illustrators and designers, in a building with lots of other creative types. I work best in the morning so I try to get to my desk for 8.30am, the studio is usually very quiet until 10am so I try to get stuck into drawing straight away. People will filter into the studio throughout the morning and I chat a bit, but I try and focus on work in the mornings. We often go out for lunch at a local cafe. Sometimes I think I'd get more done if I was locked away in a room on my own, but I do enjoy the company. In the afternoons I'll draw some more and aim to finish by 5pm so I can get home to the family. If I've got a lot to do I might draw a bit more at home in the evening or make a few notes about an idea.

I aim to draw every weekday, but sometimes I get caught up in admin or emails or orders and the day gets away from me. When that happens I'm always a bit annoyed with myself because I know I should have done an hour's drawing at the beginning of the day when my mind was clear.

When you’re working on a story how much of it is open to improvisation? I mean do you tightly script everything out before drawing the final comic and stick to the script, or are you ever drawing the final comic and thinking “Oh yeah, and then that’d be funny if this happens…”

I do quite a lot of planning but I don't write out a whole movie-style script at the beginning.  Mooncop started as a tiny 20-page mini comic which I drew in pencil in an afternoon. I liked it but thought I could make more of the story and setting. So then I started sketching my ideas about the characters and the setting and writing scenes, sometimes typing on the computer and sometimes as scribbly writing and thumbnails.  When I felt I had enough scenes I drew the whole thing in pencil and had a few people read it, then I edited it a bit and then inked it all. All through the process I was tweaking and changing and adding, but not really improvising. 

I'm not sure that this is the best technique for making a graphic novel, I feel like for my next book is like to have a bit of a looser process. Though I don't know quite how.


Dash Shaw's My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is getting lots of attention for its Toronto debut. Here's a fine profile.

Raina Telgemeier's new book, Ghosts, is covered on NPR.

Alan Moore recommends books over at the NY Times Book Review.

I'm missing yet another SPX this year, unfortunately, but Frank Santoro isn't, and he's offering workshops with some of the festival's special guests. 



Today, comics historian Ron Goulart is here with the eighth installment of his column on Connecticut cartoonists. This time around he focuses on a Oskar Lebeck and a trio of cartoonists all working for Whitman/Dell.

Oskar Lebeck, editor, writer, cartoonist, settled in New York’s Westchester County, just across from the Connecticut border, along with his family, in the late 1930s. And he, with help from some neighboring young cartoonists, developed some of the bestselling comic books of the 1930s and '40s. These included Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories, The Funnies, Looney Toons and Merry Melodies, Popular Comics, Crackajack Funnies, Super Comics, Little Lulu, Animal Comics and Fairy Tale Parade.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. For The New Yorker, Nat Segnit profiles Alan Moore.

Now that revisionist interpretations of the superhero genre are the Hollywood norm (in large part thanks to Moore), he has abandoned the form. “I would rather do things that nobody wants,” he said, of his decision to spend the past decade on a metaphysical, postmodern novel. “It’s the most interesting thing to do, to find the areas of culture that are not being paid attention to.” Characteristically, with “Jerusalem,” he has refused any intervention from his publisher. “What I wanted was to do something that was so completely unmediated and undiluted. I thought, I don’t want anybody making helpful suggestions.”

Incidentally, Moore claims to be retiring from comics. (Again.)

Over at CBR, Alex Dueben talks to Melissa Mendes.

When I was a student at [The Center for Cartoon Studies], I tried to get fancy with layout sometimes, but soon I realized that’s not for me and it doesn’t make sense to do that with the stories I do. I let go of that and started just following my instincts. It’s kind of like when you’re writing prose and you know when to end a paragraph. The panels are as much a part of the story as the drawings and the words are, and they all have to work in harmony, otherwise I think the reader gets taken out of the story. “Lou” wouldn’t make sense with lots of fancy shaped panels and grids because there are a lot of just regular everyday moments, and I try to be very straightforward and real in my stories. “The Weight” and “Freddy Stories” are the same.

—Reviews & Commentary. For The Nation, David Hajdu reviews Daniel Clowes's Patience.

The plot, like that of a vintage Hitchcock thriller such as Vertigo or Rear Window, is fairly complicated, tightly planned out, and ultimately incidental to the psychological content. There are two main characters, each nicely developed and flawed but also sympathetic: Patience, a young wife and mother with a sordid past, who is murdered by page 13 of the 180-page book; and Jack, the young husband and father who starts the story as a weak-willed loser, lying to his wife about being promoted to a dispatcher’s job when he’s really handing out porno flyers on the sidewalk. The second chapter jumps ahead 17 years, to a time that Clowes neatly evokes with the retro-future shorthand of elevated trains, women with blue skin, and men in caped outfits straight out of one of artist Al Plastino’s visions of the 30th century in the Legion of Super-Heroes comics from Clowes’s youth.

For Comics Workbook, Sacha Mardou writes about the transgressive openness of Julie Doucet.

When I was in high school a girl from another grade bled through her skirt and obliviously walked through the teenage crowd. A female teacher came up behind her with her sweater outstretched, tied it around the unsuspecting girl’s waist and hustled her away. There it was the biggest fear in all my years of high school in plain sight. I saw it! It happened to that girl I saw, it can happen to you too, teenage female! Never relax, never let down your guard! And…OH JULIE, you can’t do that! You can’t grow to King Kong proportions and drown the streets in your inky period blood whilst on the rampage for a box of Tampax. You just can’t do that!


Last Week Behind

Today on the site, Annie Mok interviews Tillie Walden.

ANNIE MOK: So The End of Summer is getting re-released?

TILLIE WALDEN: It went out of print and it’s getting a bigger edition.

MOK: With extra material?

WALDEN: There’s gonna be a little prequel strip. We’re gonna redo the design of the book, redo the covers. I can see the prequel strip on my desk right there.

MOK: What’s it like to revisit this story, which is this fairy tale, Little Nemo-esque story—there’s a big cat in it named “Nemo.” What’s it like to come back to this world?

WALDEN: It’s surprisingly enjoyable! I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to re-engage with the story because once you finish something, you tend to put it away and lock it up. I thought that it would be gone from me. But sitting down and re-drawing the backgrounds and the characters, I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s why I did this book, it’s really fun!” It makes me want to draw old characters and look back at other things. I can only do it to a certain extent. I can do this short prequel strip, but I don’t have a sequel in me.

MOK: I always wonder about that stuff, I’ve never done that, except for my memoir comics which are sequel-y. Thinking of stuff like Hellboy and Peanuts, I wonder about a connection to characters over a long period of time.

WALDEN: I always wonder about people who work on something for like, ten years. I haven’t even done comics long enough for that to be a thing for me yet. It seems like a crazy ride.

MOK: How long have you been making comics?

WALDEN: I’ve been making comics for three, four years. Three years seriously, there was an extra year for my senior year of high school where I was just kind of learning.


Well, tonight in NYC you can come visit me at my exhibition of Hairy Who artist Suellen Rocca's 1965-1969 paintings and drawings at Matthew Marks Gallery. AND you should go see the excellent new Ben Jones exhibition at The Hole. Ben, always one step ahead, has basically re-configured what comics can be in a gallery setting.

The Comics Workbook Composition Contest winners were announced. 

Bill Griffith talks on Gromophoney Baloney.

Seth Tobocman does a Reddit AMA.

Tom Spurgeon reviews Cometbus 57.

Finally, here's a new bit on Glen Baxter at the NYRB.




Today, not long after the welcome publication of Peter Bagge's Complete Neat Stuff, John Kelly looks at Bagge's even earlier work.

I'd like to take a look at some of Bagge's earlier work, specifically some never before published or very little seen pieces that were done during the period just before he began Neat Stuff. In his introduction to the Neat Stuff box set, Bagge writes that in the early/mid-'80s he had a meeting with Fantagraphics and approached Gary Groth with two separate ideas for books; the first was to have Fantagraphics take over the publishing of Robert Crumb's Weirdo anthology, which Bagge was then editing, and the second for an unnamed all-ages and kid-friendly humor anthology, which would be along the lines of MadThat project never happened, but some materials were created for it, some of which made their way into Neat Stuff and Weirdo, while others never went beyond the idea stage and have gone unpublished and unseen before this article. 

Bagge's co-editor for that proposed anthology was New York cartoonist David Coulson, who now lives in Pittsburgh. Most of the images shown here are from Coulson's collection, with the exception of the Comical Funnies cover at the end of this piece.  I recently spoke with Bagge and Coulson and asked them to share their memories of the pieces and of the times in which they were created.

And we also have a new review by Rob Clough, of German cartoonist Christoph Mueller's first full-length English-language comic book, The Nincompoop #1.

Mueller's skill as a draftsman and illustrator is top-notch; he's one of those cartoonists who can draw in a naturalistic style and can draw anything convincingly. His hatching adds intensity to every page, his palette is tasteful and restrained, and he can go cartoony or psychedelic as the story demands. The sheer virtuosity of Mueller's drawings is remarkable.

Thankfully, Mueller brings a lot more to the table than just drawing skill. Mueller has noted that his two biggest influences are Robert Crumb and Chris Ware. The hatching and density of Mueller's drawings are straight from Crumb, while his design, color sense, and lettering style come from Ware. That said, his actual stories owe little to either cartoonist and reflect an artist who above all else is a humorist. That's especially true in "Freezing To Death In Durham", which is the best comics convention story I've ever read. Mueller flew out to my city for the inaugural Zine Machine festival, along with a number of other Mineshaft contributors, and the way he managed to describe true events while adding layers of what I can only call Gonzo cartooning had me laughing as hard as I have at any comic this year.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. Paul Gravett profiles the French cartoonist (and collaborator with Jodorowsky and Jerome Charyn) François Boucq.

Drawing came naturally to the self-taught Boucq (rhymes with Luke), born in 1955 and raised in Lille, the second of four boys. His father ran a plumbing company, his mother traded in antiques. Boucq contributed artwork behind the scenes to the local theatre and designed huge-headed figures for the city’s street carnival. He became fascinated with drawings that blur the borders between the everyday and the extraordinary that can lurk beneath the surface. “Why do you stop drawing? Because everyone draws, even before writing. Drawing is a way of testing everything you say to yourself when you are a child. It’s only later, insidiously, that we’re taught to write. And that puts us into another universe. Anyone who carries on drawing resists that and can keep on experimenting.”

In recent episodes, the Comics Alternative podcast has interviewed Dash Shaw and a trio of 2dcloud creators (MariNaomi, Gina Wyndbrandt, Will Dinski).

io9 talks to Grant Morrison about his editorship at Heavy Metal.

As I’ve had to admit before, to my shame, I wasn’t a big fan of Heavy Metal at all when I was younger. I remember when it came out I was really impressed with the artwork, the Moebius stuff and [Phillip] Druillet and those guys. Although I loved the artwork, I just hated the stories. I was a real snob about stories; I kind of grew up on American comics and expected certain things to happen. So, for me, I was always kinda let down by the stories.

—Reviews & Commentary.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Charles Hatfield takes a critical look at Scott Bukatman's new book about Mike Mignola's comics, Hellboy's World.

Hellboy’s World promises Mignola’s brainchild an afterlife of a different kind, in university classrooms, in academic comics studies (a mushrooming field), and on the bookshelves of brainy comic fans with an appetite for self-directed study (also a sizable demographic). Happily, Hellboy’s World doesn’t seek to elevate its subject to some remote plane of disembodied thematic analysis, but instead seeks to understand Bukatman’s own pleasure in the Hellboy comics, and to explore what makes those comics, and comics in general, intimate spaces of dizzying imaginative play. Hellboy’s World is a very brainy encounter with the visual and material pleasures of the comic book as readable object.

For The Rumpus, Monica Johnson writes about Cathy G. Johnson's Gorgeous.

Gorgeous (Koyama Press, 2016) could easily be an epic long-form graphic novel. It is a compact work of tension-building and timing, it’s about action and openness. Each panel is a battlefield of graceful aggressiveness, and capoeira-like draftsmanship. The smokiness of Johnson’s push-and-pull pencil strokes will make you question why anyone would ever want to use ink in comics.

At Salon, Scott Timberg writes about the rejuvenated Bloom County, and talks to our own Chris Mautner in the process.

Breathed, for what it’s worth, says the only two strips he’d read before starting his were “Doonesbury” and “Peanuts”; this may, at least in part, explain his strip’s originality. “There had been fantasy strips, like ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Pogo,’ “ said Chris Mautner, who writes for Comics Journal and The Smart Set. “But they didn’t have the goofy, weird quality. [“Pogo” creator] Walt Kelly would never have had things like ‘the anxiety closet,’ or the characters forming a heavy metal band. Breathed struck me as someone who was very tickled by the absurdity of ‘80s culture.”

For The Atlantic, Asher Elbein writes about Marvel's treatment of Jack Kirby.

Marvel’s “Kirby Week” covers all of [Kirby's artistic accomplishments] in glowing fashion. But the articles all gloss neatly over the other side of the story: namely, the fact that Marvel fought a decades-long battle to keep Kirby from claiming creative and financial control over his creations, culminating in a legal dustup with his heirs that very nearly landed in front of the Supreme Court. The story of Kirby’s struggle with Marvel is also one of the most public examples of the lengths to which even the greatest of creators had to go in order to get credit—and compensation—for his work.

—News. Image Comics has announced that it will move to Portland, Oregon.

Image plans to relocate its staff of more than 20 people to the Montgomery Park Building in northwest Portland by early next year, adding its $50 million in annual sales to Portland’s already booming comics industry.


Afternoon Summer

Today on the site, Robert Boyd brings us a review of the comics-themed Cometbus 57.

Aaron Cometbus has been creating his zine,Cometbus, since 1981. He’s best known for his writing about punk rock—he was an early participant in the East Bay scene—and his hand-lettered text.  Despite the conceptual proximity of zines and small press comics, Cometbus has never covered comics all that much or featured them. One exception was issue 39 from 1997, which was done completely by punk rock cartoonist Bobby Madness (and it was great—Madness hasn’t gotten the due he deserves).

What makes his latest issue unusual is that it’s all about comics. The subject is a series of 14 interviews with cartoonists and people in the comics world in New York City. Cometbus, who is originally from Berkeley, apparently lives in New York now and is evidently familiar with many of his interview subjects socially.


Mould Map 6 has been announced, and this time it's an exhibition, not a book. Sounds great. 

Over on Patreon, Chester Brown strongly disagreed with my take on Pascin.

Here's a tour of a great-looking comic art exhibition in Frankfurt.

Here I am with Dash Shaw last week, talking about Cosplayers:


Laugh Finder

Today we bring you part two of Robert Elder's examination of Ernest Hemingway as portrayed in the comics.

Part 2 takes us through Hemingway’s cameos, parodies and homages in comics such as Superman, Weird War Tales, Lobo, Jenny Sparks, Simpsons Comics and a slew of foreign titles. At the end of the article: an interview with Dave Sim about his sexually-charged take on Hemingway in the “Form & Void” arc of Cerebus.

We also have Katie Skelly's review of the first English-language publication of Leiji Matsumoto's space opera Queen Emeraldas.

Starting in the mid-1970s, Leiji Matsumoto created a slew of space operatic manga that would establish the visual vocabulary and storytelling tropes that make his work instantly recognizable. Queen Emeraldas falls between Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 in Matsumoto’s manga chronology, and looks at one of the legendary figures of his self-dubbed Leijiverse, the willowy (but deadly) Emeraldas. The first of two volumes, this installment introduces us to the ghost-like titular spaceship and its captain, Emeraldas, who prior to her individual stories began as a sort of female counterpart to Matsumoto's Captain Harlock character. Equal parts space pirate and existential wanderer, Emeraldas travels the galaxy seeking kindred spirits and purpose. She also functions as both judge and executioner along the way, killing those who cross her and taking special, almost maternal, interest in fellow travelers whom she deems worthy.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. The Pittsburgh City Paper profiles Ed Piskor.

Piskor is huge even for Seattle-based Fantagraphics, a leading independent-comics publisher that’s home to such stars as Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes. “Ed is our biggest breakout star of this decade,” writes Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds via email.

The series has changed its creator’s life: While he’s been cartooning full time for years, Piskor says, “The hip-hop comic is popular enough that I’m able to design my career.” (Other bennies: getting to design, for his Japanese publisher, Presspop, new action figures of his all-time favorite group, Public Enemy.)

At CBR, Alex Dueben talks to Leslie Stein about her new book. (Incidentally, it's heartening to see that the rebooted CBR is keeping talented people like Dueben and Brigid Alverson working.)

I think the main goal in this book was to strip away all the detailed work I did to hide my poor cartooning faculties. So, okay, how do I do that and make it part of the narrative that is useful?

Halfway through the book, Larry encounters a depression that strips her of all details. Then, I had to see if I was good enough to make what I think of as Hernandez-style black and white work.

A Case for Pencils catches up with Paul Karasik.

I once owned a Laugh Finder device and could use a new one (hint hint), only highly-personalized. The original Laugh-Finder (created by cartoonist, Dan Runyon, and sold by an outfit called the Cartoonists Exchange of Pleasant Hill, Ohio) was a rotating paper disc that cartoonists (more likely: “would-be Cartoonists”) could spin to spontaneously link up Characters, Places, and Accessories (Grim Reaper : Desert Island : Whoopee Cushion) thus providing cartoonists with several million possible comedic scenarios. I could save a lot of time with a Laugh-Finder grown from my own, personal DNA. Without it, I spend a lot of time staring, staring, staring at blank sheets of white paper.

Heidi MacDonald interviews Alan Moore about his long-awaited novel, Jerusalem.

His empathy for his characters took a dangerous turn when he wrote the chapter based on Lucia Joyce (daughter of James Joyce), who died in a mental institution in Northampton, which is written in a complex invented language. Moore had to take over a year off from working on the book when he finished this section. “At the end of it, I couldn’t think in English for a few days. I was kind of mentally and linguistically nuked.” Yet “the torturous mind-bending part of it was actually the part that I enjoyed the most. It took me almost two years to recuperate from it. But it was ecstatic and probably the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever written.”

—Reviews & Commentary. At Maclean's, John Semley writes about the metaphysical aspects of Jerusalem.

The centrality of an artist to Jerusalem’s plot, as not only a key character but the one [...] charged with presenting the action of the story to the reader, further speaks to Moore’s interest in the philosophy, physics and aesthetics of fourth-dimensional thinking. Indeed, as Linda Dalrymple Henderson—author of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art—writes, the concept of an extra dimension (or dimensions) existing outside of perceivable material reality was “primarily a symbol of liberation” for visual artists of the late-19th and early 20th centuries.

And Adam Roberts psychically inhabits Uncle Scrooge.

You wanted Pixar to include you in an intensely moving pre-credits sequence tracing how you fell in love as a young duck and married but never had kids and then she got sick and slowly died and everyone in the cinema is weeping, actually weeping heartfelt tears, as you turn into this cantakerous old geezer from the sheer bereaved psychic pain. But Pixar is a separate commercial arm, you're told, and ducks like you don't belong there, its strictly the ludicrous and humiliating for you.


Recent Reading

I did some reading and note-taking recently. Mostly just notes here.

Pascin, Joann Sfar, Uncivilized Books


This is a look at the painter Pascin in Paris in the 1920s. Sfar has a fine cartoon line but he’s not a terribly good cartoonist based on what I've read in English. As illustration, these drawings are fine approximations of, one the one hand, Crepax eroticism and on the other, Grosz weirdness. But they don’t have any narrative urgency or discipline. There's no sense of the page as a whole, and how a scenario might shift from panel to panel, and Pascin’s body language is generic.  Think about the nuances of Gabrielle Bell, Sammy Harkham, Lauren Weinstein and other masters of cartoon naturalism. Sfar just doesn't have that kind of talent and so Pascin never comes alive as a character on the page.

Sfar seems to relish some weirdly unironic bullshit about the “outrageous” bad boy artist, but the problem is that nothing here is outrageous. Pascin the character is literally and figuratively a cliche: a sex crazed momma’s boy thirsty for trouble. And while one could certainly turn the "bad-boy" genre inside out, Sfar doesn’t even attempt it. For a book so focused on early 20th century "masculine" endeavors like whoring and drinking, this book seems oddly impotent.

Cosplayers, Dash Shaw, Fatagraphics.


There is layer upon layer upon layer in Dash Shaw’s latest book, Cosplayers. It’s called “Perfect Collection” -- an homage, as Joe McCulloch tells me, to the subtitles given to early VHS and manga collections in the 1990s. This book collects, and in some cases reconfigures, everything, and even adds bonus images and new covers. Everything a collector could want.

Briefly, it’s the story of Verti and Annie, two friends between high school and college, who make films and cosplay. They cosplay and attend “Tezukon” and go to a comic book store. There is a wonderful parallel to Ghost World in this book — except cynicism is replaced by idealism, and the two friends are inside of a culture, not outside of it. And the culture is comics. Everything around the world of the medium — fans, scholars, store owners — the only thing missing is the artists (except Tezuka, seen here as an ethereal idol). And that’s amazing. That very act of leaving out the artist makes the book fully about the experience of loving comics as spaces to inhabit without any authorial expectations or dictates. 

All of the characters in this book either are or become fans. Baxter, a comics scholar, winds up a fan prostrating himself before his creative god. The final story in the book, “Escape from Nostalgia World”, is my current “favorite work about comics”. A comic book store owner who bares a remarkable resemblance to Jerry Moriarty first uses Cold Heat (close to my heart) and then Kirby’s 2001 to demonstrate the force of the narrative images, the transformative power of them, and the possibility in turn, for altering them. Maybe the most powerful thing here is the altering of them — as costumes, as collage material, as, tellingly, Ed Piskor has masterfully done with Hip Hop Family Tree (with which Cosplayers shared space as a Free Comic Book Day Comic), the tools for telling an entire history. This is an incredibly insightful love letter to comics and fandom. It should be treated as a teachable text.

Christmas in Prison, Conor Stechschulte, Crepescular Archives.


I really enjoyed this as a physical book experience. It is object-specific in a way few comics this side of Chris Ware really are. Between thick silkscreened covers are pages printed in various ways, in various colors, but each keyed to the appropriate subjects. A boy gives an odd monologue; a head emerges from water; a book (this book?) is opened and read. Each of these moments contains elements and objects that repeat, and, as the book ends, literally bleed through from one side of the page to the other. Reading becomes remembering and tracking. The visual motifs interlock and grow over the course of the book into a structure of idea nodes connected by taut narrative ropes. By the end I felt like I could open the book at any point and begin again. We’re never told what we’re seeing (though frequently it appears as though we’re watching a surveillance film). or where it’s all happening. Instead we have to let the structure build and then climb through it again and again, discovering new ideas as we go. A wonderful project.


The Larger Story

Today on the site, we have a new column by Ken Parille, which will delight grammar enthusiasts and annoy everyone else (maybe in a productive way). It concerns copy editing in comics.

6. The comics page is like the poetry page. Poets enjoy a freedom with mechanics that prose writers don’t — and the same is true for cartoonists. A cartoonist may decide, consciously or otherwise, that she needs a two-period ellipsis in one speech balloon and a seven-period ellipsis in another because “it reads right,” a tactic that makes sense. These panels by artist Mark Connery use poetry-like line and panel breaks, dividing and reorganizing words and ideas in the manner of poets such as e. e. cummings:


Similarly poetic, Aidan Koch’s The Whale employs open-ended, unpunctuated lines:ak7. A cartoonist’s overall approach can make the notion of consistency irrelevant. Ben Jones’s comics gleefully violate all manner of prose rules. He magically transforms mistakes into ‘not mistakes’ by the Power of Jones.


What he can do, however, others often can’t. But why is it OK in this case and not another?

We also publish a review by Rob Kirby of Jon Allen's Ohio Is For Sale.

Jon Allen’s Ohio Is For Sale, a “funny animal” comic for mature readers, originally appeared in a series of minicomics, highly regarded by those lucky enough to have chanced upon them. In the spirit of Simon Hanselmann or Tedd Stearns, Allen traces the adventures of anthropomorphic heroes as screwed up and self-destructive as Hanselmann's Megg and Mogg, and as haplessly trapped in the twists and turns of fate as Stearn’s Fuzz and Pluck. Allen’s cast is every bit as funny: his droll comic timing and assured, slightly eccentric pacing enlivens any standard “burnout roommate” tropes he draws upon, making for a highly entertaining read.

Ohio's protagonists are three post-high school roommate bros: Patrick, a feline prone to existential longing; Leonard, a floppy-eared dog who acts as a sounding board for Patrick—and is basically up for anything; and Trevor, a rather vacant cat with little on his mind beyond hanging out and watching television. The trio live in a state of perpetually delayed adulthood in a ratty house complete with a refrigerator stocked with only beer and ice cream. In between slacking off they routinely get into all sorts of big trouble.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. The San Francisco Chronicle checks in with the Cartoon Art Museum.

When the museum lost its lease on Mission Street last year after its rent doubled, it was easy to assume the story had ended. But if anything, the 31-year-old institution — the only one in the western half of the country dedicated exclusively to comics, cartoons and animation — has been more visible in San Francisco.

“Busy is good. It absolutely beats the alternative,” says [Andrew] Farago, who continues to work as the museum’s curator. “We didn’t just want to sit around and wait for things to happen. You can’t let people forget that you’re still around, and still doing your work.”

—Awards. The Cartoonists Rights Network International has announced that this year's Courage in Editorial Cartooning award will go to the Iranian artist Eaten by Fish.

This year’s recipient, whose pen name is Eaten Fish, is an Iranian national, currently interned in the Manus Island detention camp in Papua New Guinea. This notorious detention center is funded and overseen by the government of Australia.

Various human rights groups have spoken out against the Manus Island camp, with the UN recognizing that indefinite detention and the practices employed in the camp constitute ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment’ and break the UN Convention Against Torture to which Australia is a signatory.

—Reviews & Commentary. Shawn Starr reviews Michael DeForge's Regarding Quicksand.

Regarding Quicksand opens on a wide shot of the sole character adrift in an unknown body of water, untouched. We only see the man's entire figure twice, once on the first page as an establishing shot, and then as the last panel of the story. He is alone, scared, and flaccid in that first shot and surrounded, contemplative and erect in the last. What surrounds him, and what causes these changes in his body, beneath the surface, is the crux of the comic. Told in a deadend [sic?] tone DeForge explores each and every feeling the man encounters, but in a way that the images being shown and the words being said are taken to a fantastical extreme. Shifts in the current, floating debris and mud turn into slugs crawling into the man's ear and mermaids biting his neck like little vampires.

—Not (Exactly) Comics. Morgan Meis writes about the work of painter Nicole Eisenman (which should be of interest to comics fans).

Stylistically, [The Session] verges on being a panel from a cartoon strip. A figure resembling Eisenman herself reclines on a couch at her analyst’s office. She has dirty bare feet and a hole in her pants. She clutches desperately at a box of tissues as she weepingly shares tales of woe to her analyst, who jots down notes in a chair nearby. A vase near a bookcase at the left side of the painting is shaped like a phallus. It is a cute and gently self-mocking painting, but not obviously the stuff to put the contemporary art world on notice.

On second glance, however, even a relatively “light” painting like The Session is making a strong argument about what painting can and should be. The painting represents real things in the real world (books, chairs, vases, clocks, etc.). It is figurative (Eisenman likes to paint the human form). It is narrative (the painting shows an experience of misadventures on the analyst’s couch to which plenty of people can relate). Representational, figurative, narrative painting has existed ever since the dawn of painting as an art. But it has been out of critical favor for quite some time now. Only recently has the tide begun to turn. So, the story of Eisenman’s success is tied to a larger story. That story is the journey of painting over the last hundred and fifty years.