BLOG

Stumble Year

Mike Dawson’s got a new episode of TCJ Talkies up, this time interviewing the cartoonist Box Brown about starting up his own publishing venture, Retrofit.

And Emily Flake is in day three of her Cartoonist’s Diary week. Now it’s exercise time.

Three of our regular contributors—Joe McCulloch, Matt Seneca, and Tucker Stone—have appeared on the Inkstuds radio show to talk about comics for three hours. I haven’t been able to listen to this yet, but with that lineup I’m sure it’s fantastic.

Speaking of podcasts, I don’t think we’ve mentioned yet that Comix Claptrap is back, and has a good interview with Tom Hart about starting up SAW in Gainesville.

Bill Kartalopoulos reviewed the latest Kramers Ergot anthology over at Print, and Brad Mackay reviewed Someday Funnies over at the Globe and Mail.

Fan blogger Colin Smith has an interesting post about reading Seth’s It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken and realizing that at lot of the biases and prejudices he’d always attributed to Seth weren’t actually in evidence.

Via Frank Santoro, here‘s Rob Liefeld.

Okay, I guess this is settled then. Things like that make me depressed about comics’ position in the world. Then I remember that every other art form tends to get the same belittling treatment (Arthur beats Macbeth as our greatest literary king!), and the depression becomes more general.

 

It’s a Discovery

Today on the site: Emily Flake’s week-long diary continues as cartoon-submission time rolls around at The New Yorker. And the irrepressible Joe McCulloch brings us his week in comics.

Elsewhere… Jan Berenstain, of The Berenstain Bears, passed away. The Forbidden Planet blog pays tribute to Brett Ewins. And two from Comics Alliance: Douglas Wolk on the great Gilbert Hernandez book, Birdland and a round-up of last weekend’s announcements from Image Comics, which is becoming a  go-to place for well-done and creative (and creator-owned) genre material. I don’t think many people would have predicted Black Kiss 2 back in 1994. Huh.

 

Up the Hill Again

Eric Buckler interviewed Wilfred Santiago, of 21 and Pop Life. Here’s an excerpt:

I have worked in the industry non-stop since the 1990s, to varying degrees of failure. It went from “no way do I want to write” to “let’s give it a shot” to actually doing it. Unlike working with someone else’s script, there’s no linear method when I work on my own. That is to say I write while I ‘toon, and I ‘toon while I write. So the most important step is editing–what’s left on the page before going to the printer and into the sweaty hands of readers. I do believe writing has improved my cartooning. I don’t think it’s an accident that some of the best cartoonists are writers. I’m not putting myself in that group but I strive for it.

Brandon Soderberg reviews the first issue of the new Bulletproof Coffin mini-series.

Emily Flake reports for duty on her first day as our latest cartoonist diarist. Things start well, with a trip to the dentist.

And yesterday, in his latest column, Frank explained how he got home after his lengthy west coast tour.

Elsewhere, John Porcellino names some of his favorite comics of 2011. I always like it when people save these lists for late winter/early spring (see Rob Clough’s on this site from the other week).

The Guardian has a nice profile of Tomi Ungerer, and gallery of some of his art. I’m hoping this is a sign that, as with Maurice Sendak over the past year, we are suddenly due for a million interviews with him.

And Françoise Mouly has a Tumblr.

 

Photo Finish

Today on the site Kristian Williams reviews The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks:

Future Shocks collects some of Moore’s earliest humor work from 2000 A.D. (the magazine, not the year). Most of the stories are short, just a couple of pages, but some combine to make up a longer, ludicrous arc. Though they date from the early eighties, they feel like they belong to an earlier era: the humor is a little like the early Mad — oddball and mocking — often mixed with the morbid twist-ending of old E.C. comics.

And elsewhere on internet… Tom Spurgeon offers a modest proposal that we writers-about-comics link creator’s names to their creations when writing about whatever the latest iteration of those properties. It’s a good idea, and one that can build the idea of those linkages to, one hopes, will highlight the debt we owe to those artists.

No transitions here: This is a Hodler link special: Plastic Man in Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow; TCJ contributors Joe McCulloch and Tucker Stone write about some recent movies. J. Caleb Mozzocco on the book Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist

A final reminder: Your applications for the Santoro Correspondence Course are due today! Frank also has some comic-making format options up here.

Last but not least, fave local comic shop and culture producer Desert Island is celebrating its 4th anniversary tonight with a blowout party from 7 to 9 pm. On the docket: Beer and 20% of everything. 540 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn NY 11211.

 

Distortion Field

It is such a pleasure when a new R.C. Harvey column comes in. Today, we bring you his thoughts on the primary artists behind Barney Google: Billy DeBeck, Fred Lasswell, and John Rose. A short sample:

Barney’s eyes stayed the same size for as long as he appeared in the strip, but the rest of him didn’t. When the strip started, he was as tall as his wife, but he shortly started losing altitude, and by 1921, Barney was a gnomish wart, a scrunched-down jot of his former tittle, a pipsqueak mote of a homunculus—a perfect comic runt of a character who looked as outlandishly funny as his obsessions were fanatical.

And there are way too many things worth linking to recently for some reason. I’m not going to get to them all, but here goes.

On Tuesday I mentioned going to the Met to examine portraits of George Washington. I also went to visit the “Infinite Jest” exhibit of caricatures there, which I recommend to anyone in the New York area over the next week. David Bromwich has a well-considered review in the New York Review of Books, and my wife stole a blog post idea from me about it here.

In a recently posted letter to his employer, Al Hirschfeld, one of the few 20th century caricaturists in the show (and Bromwich is right when he says the selection gets pretty shaky post-1800), demonstrates how to ask for a raise.

Devlin Thompson finds a Chris Ware anecdote regarding Battlestar Galactica glasses that is too strange not to be true.

Michael Dooley posts some great Alan Takemoto images from the forgotten Japanese American underground Gidra.

Rob Clough takes mild issue with Sean T. Collins’s review on this website of Ryan Standfest’s Black Eye.

Matt Seneca likes it when Roy Crane draws women getting spanked and men getting punched.

Kate Beaton’s Tumblr post q&a of advice to aspiring cartoonists has been deservedly getting a lot of link attention elsewhere, but on the off chance you haven’t read it yet, you should.

Via Forbidden Planet, here are video interviews of Joe Sacco and Craig Thompson being interviewed at Angoulême.

For Hero Complex, Neal Adams pays tribute to Kirby, Lee, and Ditko.

Maira Kalman fills out a questionnaire.

And finally, video from Richard Thompson’s appearance at last fall’s National Book Festival.

 

Interest in Context

Today on the site: Shaenon Garrity on Jenn Manley Lee’s Dicebox, color and web comics in print.

Elsewhere it’s a mixed assortment of linkage:

Chris Oliveros went to New Dehli for India Comic-Con. Zander and Kevin Cannon, David Burnett and Oleg Terenchuk have started Crowded Comics, a new web site with which readers can supply the captions for editorial cartoons. Other readers have supplied 1.2 million dollars for a reprint program for the web comic Order of the Stick. That’s a lot of dollars. The Beat breaks it down. Younger readers (or rather, their parents) will want to check out Johanna Draper Carlson’s preview of forthcoming releases from Toon Books. And readers of all kinds, of my kind, even, should know of the graphic novel finalists for the LA Times Book Prize.

“I Will Bite You! And Other Stories” by Joseph Lambert (Secret Acres)
“Celluloid” by Dave McKean (Fantagraphics)
“Finder: Voice” by Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
“Congress of the Animals” by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
“Garden” by Yuichi Yokoyama (PictureBox)

Ross Campbell has been making interesting comics for a while and now he’s part of the Liefeld-verse revival. Here’s an interview. In old comics news, here are a couple of excellent stories by Dick Ayers at his goriest.

And finally, hey, don’t forget to sign up for Frank’s correspondence course. Enrollment ends this week. That means you. And you. And you, too.

 

Holiday’s Over

Those of you who aren’t American may not know that the United States has a day set aside every year for its citizens to celebrate “the Presidents.” That national holiday was yesterday, and Dan and I spent it in the approved fashion. (I visited the portraits gallery in the new American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and inspected the Gilbert Stuarts, and Dan set out his collection of memorial plates from the Franklin Mint.) This is why there was no new content up. But everything is back on track now.

Today, as every Tuesday, Joe McCulloch shares his thoughts on the most interesting-sounding new comics of the week.

Frank Santoro has the final installment of his West Coast tour diary—this time hitting Fantagraphics home territory and including cameos from many Journal fan favorites, as well as a stop in Vancouver to visit Brandon Graham and Inkstuds host Robin McConnell. By the way, this is the final week to sign up for Frank’s upcoming cartoonists’ correspondence course—head this way if you’re interested.

Speaking of Journal contributors, Sean T. Collins has recent reviews of Optic Nerve 12 and Onward to Our Noble Deaths. And Tucker Stone has his usual round-up of comics reviews. I like how he’s been including more older titles in his column recently—this time, he features Plastic Man and Lone Wolf & Cub.

Eddie Campbell was interviewed on video at Angoulême, and, later on his blog, discovered a couple secret “drawing references” used by Sheldon Modoff for his Batman comics.

Tom Spurgeon worries about the long-term (and short-term) financial health of the comics field and its participants, and Bryan Munn ponders previous attempts at unionization within comics, and the possibility of starting a new union now. (Those are the two must-read non-TCJ posts of today, I’d say, if you’re going to pick and choose.)

At the fairly new website Weird Fiction Review, Edward Gauvin compares David B.’s Littlest Pirate King with the prose story that inspired it, Pierre Mac Orlan’s “Roi Rose”.

Finally, Robert Crumb is in India, and Rodrigo Baeza has gathered links to local news coverage worth reading.

 

You’re the Best Around

As is his wont (and his annual duty), Rob Clough has chosen the thirty best minicomics of 2011.

And now we say goodbye to Tom Scioli, whose final Cartoonist’s Diary entry is up today.

Elsewhere, the Frank Santoro/Brandon Graham Inkstuds interview that Dan mentioned yesterday is now online, and you can listen to it here. And speaking of Frank, did we ever link to this video of his recent Mission appearance?

excerpts from frank santoro’s comic book layout workshop from chris anthony diaz on Vimeo.

Following up on another lead from Dan’s post: One of our greatest comics-scan bloggers, Pappy, brings us a Joe Maneely classic this morning.

Alan Bisbort has a truly must-read interview with Bill Griffith.

I don’t want to link to any more Before Watchmen commentary if I can help it, but the artist James Romberger maybe gets an exception. Or at least he asked me nicely enough. He writes about the project, and the original’s controversial rape scene, here.

David Brothers tries to figure out whether some scanned & pirated comics may have come from someone at Marvel itself.

Finally, Tom Spurgeon gathers up the most recent developments regarding the Marvel/Ghost Rider/Gary Friedrich situation, and makes some very cogent remarks about it. The whole thing seems more confusing to me each day, and definitely bears continued attention. [Let me clarify that a bit—I am confused about exactly what Marvel hoped to accomplish with the $17,000 counter-suit, whether Marvel is actually expecting to get it, whether it’s meant to be a shot across the bow, or has just been misunderstood — or both. On the larger questions of whether or not Marvel has been behaving properly towards Friedrich, I have no doubt: they haven’t been.]