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Staggeringly Stupid

Today on the site, Joe McCulloch is here with his usual guide to the Week in Comics, and his spotlight picks include new books by Malachi Ward and Noah Van Sciver.

Also, Monica Johnson returns with a review of Pierre Maurel’s dystopian science fiction, Blackbird.

What would happen if our government banned self-publishing? I mean, it’s easy to imagine a world where the government attempts to restrict or censor internet content—in part because we currently live in that world—but printed works? Come on now. So when French Parliament outlaws self-publishing in Pierre Maurel’s dystopian Blackbird, it’s a reminder of a time—at least in the U.S.—when published material was actually thought to be a weapon of influence. Think the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on obscenity that lead to censorship of underground comics, or the era of The Comics Code Authority. The printer mightier than the sword, as it were. The imagined world in Blackbird is simultaneously sentimental and dismal as it reminds us of the potential power of small, independently-produced works, but then ultimately shows us how easily the government can extinguish that power. I fear that this book will come and go without the props or the critique it deserves.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Commentary. Abhay Khosla has written a long critique of DC co-publisher Dan Didio.

How would we describe the editorial culture at DC under Mr. DiDio?

I think there’s evidence in support of those who would use the phrase “Editorial Chaos.”

Here’s one of the most promoted New 52 creators Rob Liefeld talking about why he left DC in 2012: “Massive indecision, last minute and I mean LAST minute changes that alter everything. Editor pissing contests… No thxnjs.”

Or there was the time that DC editorial in New York “stepped in” to alter a comic handled by DC Entertainment in California — after its contents had been promoted in TV Guide, which was reported by Wired.

Or there was a report in April 2014 of Mr. DiDio stating at a retailer summit that he couldn’t tell them about a September event because “only about half the teams have been confirmed” at that late date, adding also that a 3d cover promotion from the year before had lead to DC destroying “125,000 copies due to blurry proofs and some had cover dimples due to heating issues in production.” Long-time readers might remember an article written by Brian Hibbs covering that 3d cover situation — an article entitled “The staggeringly epic incompetence of DC Entertainment.”

If this Bleeding Cool report regarding the new DC comics initiative, DC Universe: Rebirth, is correct, and from all appearances it is, DC’s editorial strategy has now been reduced to straight-up trolling. Those critics responding to this as a positive or even promising move are either stunningly cynical or staggeringly stupid.

—Misc. Michael Dooley at Print has gathered various tributes to Darwyn Cooke from comics figures including Gilbert Hernandez and Rian Hughes, among others, along with a generous selection of Cooke’s art.

The Paris Review is running work by Glen Baxter this week.

—A/V. The Society of Illustrators has posted video of a panel moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos and featuring Austin English, Aidan Koch, and Blaise Larmee.

And at The Strand, Katie Skelly talked to Simon Hanselmann:

 

Big Moon

Today on the site, Matthias Wivel weighs in on Chester Brown’s latest, Mary Wept over the Feet of Jesus, focusing on theological issues.

In Brown’s world, Paul is the villain of the piece, telling the Corinthians that “the body is not for prostitution but is set aside for the Lord” and thus censoring Jesus’ much more accepting line on the issue (p. 177–178). It is clear that Jesus did not condemn prostitutes anywhere in the Gospels, and we might therefore with reason extrapolate that he did not disapprove of sex for pay (although we cannot say whether he gave it much thought either). It is further reasonable to assume, as Brown does, that worldly prejudices and social mores informed later interpretations of Jesus’ words, not least in the case of the Evangelists. What does not follow automatically, however, is that Mary was a prostitute, but Brown is most intent on proving just that. This is the more fundamental reason for his retelling of the stories of the four women mentioned initially: Matthew included them in his—unusually female—genealogy of Jesus along with Mary, according to Brown because he wanted to slip the truth of Mary’s profession by the censors of his day—you know, those who were intent on furthering the idea of the Virgin birth.

I am not a theologian, nor am I a Bible scholar—I am not even Christian—but I think I know a contorted argument when I see one.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Over at The Smart Set, Chris Mautner’s also taking on Chester Brown.

The best hint of Brown’s offbeat take on spirituality can be found in “The Twin,” a short story collected in The Little Man compendium. An adaptation of a Gnostic text, “Twin” depicts a young Jesus meeting his “twin brother” (i.e. the holy spirit), and ends with the two kissing and then meshing into one being, the sacred and the profane combining to make a whole, newly self-aware person.

But it is in Mary Wept that Brown’s interest in Gnosticism, Biblical studies, and re-examination of traditional Christian doctrine comes to the fore. Designed to look like a little chapbook or pocket Bible, the cover image features a yoni or vulva-shaped center panel, the inset of which shows Jesus’s feet and a slow drip of liquid posed above exactly where, as critic Ng Suat Tong notes, the clitoris would be. Meanwhile, two phallic snake heads adorn the upper corners. While the imagery is subtle, it is also clear to the reader that we are a long way from Picture Stories from the Bible.

Sean Rogers has been busy, turning in a tribute to Darwyn Cooke at The Walrus:

Cooke, like Toth, devoted much of his creative energy to the cheap-jack, low-stakes world of corporate comics, where distinctive vision and personal style are not always valued commodities. Cooke, like Toth, bristled. His early projects—a Batman psychodrama from 2000, a revisionist take on the Justice League—would sometimes take years to come to fruition. Such delays arose partly because Cooke wanted to handle both the writing and drawing—a luxury the big companies rarely afford even to established auteurs anymore—and partly because he refused to be beholden to “continuity,” the editorial policy that dictates that each superhero character comes saddled with decades of inviolable history. Unlike Toth, however, Cooke did manage to steer ambitious, innovative projects through that recalcitrant system. The most significant of these was the six-issue, 400-plus-page, Eisenhower-era epic DC: The New Frontier (2004).

As well as brief reviews of Kramers Ergot 9, Aidan Koch, Rebecca Roher,

For more than a decade, editor Sammy Harkham’s Kramers Ergot anthology has been a standard-bearer for the newest, best crafted and most provocative pieces in comics. The latest instalment is a phone-book-sized behemoth, featuring more than three dozen contributors. Its prickly assortment of short gags and dense longer stories all seem united by a seething anxiety, distressed by violence and preoccupied with the past. Dash Shaw’s tale of Union soldiers raiding a “secession house” during the U.S. Civil War is elegant and morally murky, for instance, while underground legend Kim Deitch’s flashback to a massacre of intelligent monkeys is nutty and vaudevillian.

At The Paris Review, Robert Pranzatelli writes about the Belgian cartoonist Max de Radiguès.

When Max de Radiguès began making comics, he had never taken drawing lessons. “I loved to draw but wasn’t especially good at it,” he explains. “I quickly stopped trying to draw in a realistic way and went for an efficient one.” He wanted the reader to understand instantly what he was trying to convey, and as he pursued this goal, his drawings became simpler and simpler. Now, after more than a decade, and with a rapidly growing list of published works, he has begun, he says, “putting in more details and more backgrounds”—though nothing too elaborate; he still wants readers to be caught up in the stories rather than in intricately rendered, virtuosic panels.

—Interviews & Profiles.
Meg Lemke talks to Tom Hart about Rosalie Lightning.

When you experience something like this, it would have been easy to become self-destructive or numb. I wanted to let it be a part of me, not to deny it.

 

Social Media Dreams

We’ve got two new reviews for you today. First comes a review by Sarah Horrocks of Blutch’s tale of ancient Rome, Peplum, which is the debut second release from New York Review Comics.

Peplum starts at the far reaches of the Roman empire, following an exiled squad of adventurers descending into a cave to find a goddess rumored to be imprisoned there. Finding her neither alive nor dead, they remove her from the cave, and are immediately cursed with the cravenness her visage induces in them. One dies of fever. Another finds his face eaten away by strange pustules. Madness overtakes the group, and in the end a lone figure stands atop a blood pile of murderous death. This man, goddess in tow, and bearing a resemblance to Martin Potter from Fellini’s Satyricon (1969), proceeds to go on a series of adventures throughout Ancient Rome that remix and refigure Petronius’ original work.

The effect is as alien as the original text, but in many ways much more brutal and violent. If Fellini’s adaption used the romantic cocksmanship at the heart of the original novel to depict a dreamlike bacchanalia of science fiction-like excess, Blutch blunts those ambitions into wild-eyed madness, interrogating the crippling obsession that the sublime experience induces within its possessed. If Fellini is the ecstasy of the high, Blutch’s Peplum is the hunger of purgatory.

Second is Rob Kirby’s review of Sick, the new graphic memoir from Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl).

In his writing and art, Schulz offers brutally frank self-assessment worthy of R. Crumb at his most lacerating; grim, grotesque imagery that often metastasizes into Cronenberg-esque body horror, and scathing outrage toward American societal inequities that any hardcore anarchist or hard-left political cartoonist would appreciate. In Sick, Schulz doesn’t just spill ink, he spills blood and guts: bright, red & squishy, in operatically grotesque, often nightmarish drawings. He depicts the title illness in full-scale body-horror mode, which in turn triggers an intensely self-loathing self-examination, which in turn bleeds into a scathing indictment of the American body politic. It’s a challenging 82-page primal scream, like a performance art piece—the kind Karen Finley was famous for in the ’90s—in illustrated form, viscerally tearing apart all the personal and social filters we construct like armor, to keep ourselves going, to stay sane.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. The University of Chicago has posted video of an interview of Daniel Clowes conducted by Daniel Raeburn, whose Imp #1 is still one of the very best pieces of writing ever to have been published about the cartoonist.

Michael Cavna at The Washington Post spoke to series designer Seth about the final volumes of The Complete Peanuts.

“Today, it seems like a no-brainer,” Seth says of collecting Schulz’s entire works. But more than a dozen years ago, he says, it still seemed like a no-go. When Seth worked with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth years ago on a Comics Journal project, he tossed out the idea like a distant wish: If anyone ever published the entire catalog of “Peanuts” strips, Seth said, he’d love to design it.

Then one day, out of the blue, the call came. Seth and Groth were soon traveling to “Peanuts” headquarters in Santa Rosa.

Our most recent contributor to the Cartoonist’s Diary feature, Sara Lautman, recently spoke to Sophia Foster-Dimino.

When I quit working corporate I was making my life more difficult in many ways, but I had faith (unfounded or not) that it would be beneficial for me. It’s very scary, especially for someone prone to instability, to take away routines, obligations, easy opportunities to socialize, security, creature comforts, job sponsored healthcare… but my thinking (and this is just a vague possibly superstitious conviction) is that by forcing yourself to get these difficult circumstances under control, you lay the foundations of your own stability, and prove to yourself that you’re capable of weathering this scarier life, which will prevent you from freaking out during worse crises down the road. And a comparatively more sheltered life wouldn’t have accomplished that.

—Commentary. The Doug Wright Awards has posted two tributes delivered at this year’s ceremony: Seth on Darwyn Cooke

He was very mouthy and inappropriate, and i would say even pushy. These are qualities I respect.

and Jeet Heer on Alvin Buenaventura

I still can’t believe we’re living in a world without Alvin Buenaventura.

—News. A class action suit has been filed against the Emerald City Comicon for not paying their volunteers.

A class action lawsuit has been filed by a former Emerald City Comicon volunteer—the organization calls them “minions”—alleging that the convention violates labor laws by treating their volunteers like employees, but failing to pay them.

The suit, filed in King County Superior Court on May 16 by plaintiff Jerry Brooks and naming ECCC and three members of the Demonakos family as defendants, alleges that as many as 250 people may be among the class.

 

Early Morning

Today on the site, Markisan Naso contributes a lengthy obituary and tribute to the late Darwyn Cooke.

Darwyn forged a solid career in animation, but he became restless in his thirties. His childhood dream of becoming a comic book artist weighed on him. He looked back on his life and considered what really made him happy. There was only one answer: drawing comics. He decided he needed to try and make that long-time dream a reality, so he headed to the DC offices again with new work under his arm. He pitched Batman: Ego. Nothing came of it. Darwyn went back to being an animator and worried that his window for becoming a comic book artist was nearly closed. But then one day, nearly four years later, he received a call from Mark Chiarello who had been newly hired as art director at DC. Chiarello found his pitch for Batman: Ego in a pile of story ideas. He called Darwyn and asked if he wanted to do the book.

Batman: Ego was published in 2000 and it marked the beginning of Darwyn’s brilliant career in comic books. He burst on the scene with an art style that was unlike anything else. It is distinct and bold in the tradition of Jack Kirby and Alex Toth, but also honed by time spent as a graphic designer and animator. Darwyn’s art felt retro and modern all at once, and his skilled line work conveyed an exhilarating honesty and joy in the characters he drew. He was a breath of fresh air to the comics industry.

Elsewhere:

The gents at Secret Acres report back from TCAF as only they do.

Ben Marra offers 10 rules for drawing.

NY Mag discusses Geoff Johns’ new position at the newly-created DC Films.

Michael Cavna on how the Complete Peanuts project came to be.

 

Nearly All Canadian Today

Today, Paul Tumey is here with another dip into forgotten comics history. This time, he takes a look at the screwball comics of Gus Mager.

Charles Augustus “Gus” Mager (1878-1956)  is known primarily for his Sunday newspaper comic Sherlock Holmes spoof, Hawkshaw the Detective, which ran off and on from 1913 through 1947. But there’s more to Mager — lots more.

Mager was a gifted humor cartoonist who held his own with with the likes of George Herriman and Jimmy Swinnerton, creating over 30 strips that are genuinely charming, beautifully cartooned, and totally forgotten by today’s audiences. Mager’s delightful drawings and goofy comedy remain fresh and interesting. Mager’s comics contain the same sort of greatness we find in the more famous newspaper humor comics, such as Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes — an intelligent mind having a great deal of fun with cartooning. However, his career is not well understood, and perhaps this is partly the reason his work has not received much attention. The comics of Gus Mager are ripe for rediscovery and appreciation.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Commentary. The Doug Wright Awards site has posted the text from Seth’s “Giants of the North” speech honoring Canadian cartoonist James Simpkins.

I think it is safe to say that Jasper the bear was Canada’s most recognizable cartoon character of the 20th century. Just how well-known he is today is debatable. Certainly if you are over 50 years old or live near Jasper Park then you will instantly know his face. However I suspect he is fading away from younger generations. That’s a shame really. He was a character with a lot of quiet charm about him much like his creator, James Simpkins.

Simpkins was a part of a small group of cartoonists, mostly starting out in the 1950’s, who helped define the young pop-culture of Canada. Peter Whalley, Doug Wright, Len Norris, Walter Ball, Jimmy Frise—these names are fading away as their work grows dusty on the shelves of neglected second-hand bookstore humour sections.

—Interviews & Profiles. Julia Wright at Vice checks in with Kate Beaton.

Instead of doing the big city thing—say, paying $5,000 a month for a windowless basement apartment and an hour-long commute—last December she moved to Mabou, Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island. Claims to fame: low-lying mountains and ocean vistas, great getaway for Americans looking to flee Donald Trump, home of the Rankin Family. But while the former coal-mining community, population 1,200, is definitely picturesque, Beaton remains iffy on the glossy, official tourism depictions of her hometown.

“The tourism industry tends to manufacture a nostalgia for this untouched experience,” Beaton says. “The TV ads, they use all this beautiful music, these colourful scenes, all that ‘wouldn’t you love to get away here?’ stuff. But for the people who live in those houses and do those things, life is hard. Services keep getting cut. They’re places the government just crushes.”

Quill & Quire talks to Michel Rabigliati, who apparently plans to stop making Paul books.

After 17 years, he says his latest book, Paul Up North, a story of first teenage love and heartbreak, will be the last to feature his alter ego, at least for now. “My wife and I have been divorced for three years. My dog is dead, my mother’s dead, my father’s ill – my life is really changing and I’m not in the mood to tell that kind of story anymore. I have to do something else.”

The Guardian profiles novelist Philip Pullman, focusing specifically on his graphic novel work.

Why are the British are so queasy about comics? “I think it comes from Pope Gregory the Great in 580 something,” says Pullman unexpectedly. “He said, what words are for the reader, pictures are for those who cannot read. But what that pronouncement did was to set up a hierarchy of esteem, so to speak: if you were clever you had words; if you’re not very clever you have pictures. That has remained almost unchanged for over 1,500 years.”

That can’t be the whole story. After all, in the US, Japan and France graphic novels are popular, and even respectable. What’s our problem? Maybe the puritans had something to do with it,” Pullman suggests. “The iconoclasm and the destroying of the statues and stained glass. The sense that these are vain fripperies and we should go back to the purity of language without pictures. I’m just guessing.”

CBC’s Q show interviews Lisa Hanawalt.

 

Bass Trouble

Hi there, today Joe McCulloch brings us your weekly dose.

Elsewhere:

David Betancourt pays tribute to Darwyn Cooke on The Washington Post site.

Good news: The National Cartoonists Society has released a lengthy video profile on Mort Drucker. I love watching artists draw.

Ng Suat Tong examines the visual aspects of Alan Moore’s Providence comic book.

Did I know about this Chester Gould appearance on TV? Dunno. Here it is. H/T Paul Tumey.

Finally, here are your 2016 Doug Wright Award winners, announced over the weekend at TCAF:

Best Book: Dressing by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)

Spotlight Award: Dakota McFadzean for Don’t Get Eaten By Anything (Conundrum Press)

Pigskin Peters Award: New Comics # 6 & 7 by Patrick Kyle

Giants of the North Hall of Fame: James Simpkins (1910 – 2004)

 

 

A Bad Year

Today on the site, we are republishing The Comics Journal‘s 2007 interview with Darwyn Cooke, conducted by Markisan Naso.

NASO: So we talked a bit about your first work, the New Talent Showcase, and how you went to New York and sold that. But you didn’t really get comics work until 15 years later. So what happened?

COOKE: Well, like I said, back in that time there was no FedEx or e-mail or FTP sites or anything like that, so it quickly became apparent that I could not really make a living doing comics unless I was New York-adjacent. That led to art direction and design and that was something I pursued wholeheartedly for several years. What happened was, in my very early 30s, I finally took stock. You slow down a bit and go, “What the hell am I doing, why am I doing it, and is it what I want to do?” The answers to these questions did not make me very happy. I was doing advertising, and I wanted to do more with what I had. I had a lot of different avenues open to me, I suppose, at that point. Looking back at when I’d last been really happy, before life complicates your life, I had to go back to those summers when I was a kid, thinking, “I’m going to be a comic-book artist.

So I thought, “You know what? This is probably my last chance to take a shot at this. I was worn out from the work I’d been doing and the way I’d been carrying on, so I took a break and that’s when I put the pitch for [Batman] Ego together. So this would be like ’94. I go to a Chicago convention. Again, like I said, in my life when I’ve wanted to do something I’ll just do it and then take it wherever I gotta take it to show people, and figure it out from there. So I get down to the show, and of course, this was the year of the big Image boom. So I’m the last thing in the world anybody wants to actually buy, a guy who draws like Alex Toth! I couldn’t have picked a worse time.

NASO: Yes … Liefeld you are not [laughter].

COOKE: Oh hey, I can remember at that show, I was in line with a girl who was a colorist, I was just chatting her up and hanging in the line, the line was for Will Portacio and he was doing portfolio reviews. He looked at my work and he [laughter] was trying to explain to me how to do the kind of work they do. It was a bad year for me to be out there with that stuff.

We also present a tribute to the late French anarchist cartoonist Siné, written by his friend and colleague Dror.

Siné is a self-made political activist, whose very strong opinions are forged out of rage, integrity, instinct, and also a natural-born allergy to every kind of authority, whether it comes from the police, the army, the boss, the church or the State. His first spontaneous political involvement is in favor of the Algerian independence, and against his own French government. His style is a change from “funny little cartoons.” He is aggressive and violent; condemns, mocks and ridicules president De Gaulle, the army and France’s colonialism, while supporting the armed resistance of the Algerian people. His pride is to be hated by a growing number of L’Express readers. […]

May 1968 in the streets of Paris, Siné smells the scent of the revolution he was expecting, during the student uprisings. Against police brutality, but also because traditional newspapers, parties and trade unions are too shallow for his enthusiasm, he decides to create a new journal, L’Enragé, to support the revolution. L’Enragé becomes a university for cartoonists later to become famous in Charlie Hebdo (Cabu, Gébé, Reiser, Wolinski, Willem) but, then again, he is too radical for his time and the journal folds after only twelve issues. Original editions of Siné Massacre or L’Enragé are available on eBay, but the publisher who would make a book out of them today would deserve a Pulitzer Prize, or an honor medal for courage! Although he briefly collaborates with them in the 1970s, Siné refuses to join his friends in the satirical newspapers Charlie Hebdo or Hara-Kiri, which he finds funny but ugly, and not political enough.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Early Saturday morning, the highly regarded cartoonist and designer Darwyn Cooke passed away after a battle with cancer (shortly after his illness was publicly revealed last Friday). Here is the obituary in the Los Angeles Times. There have been many tributes online, including one from TCJ contributor Tucker Stone, who also reprints an interview he conducted with Cooke. Tom Spurgeon gathered an enormous collection of Cooke images. We will have fuller coverage soon.

Last Friday afternoon also saw the release of a statement from DC regarding recent allegations of sexual harassment.

DC Entertainment strives to foster a culture of inclusion, fairness and respect. While we cannot comment on specific personnel matters, DC takes allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously, promptly investigates reports of misconduct and disciplines those who violate our standards and policies.

As part of our ongoing effort to provide an equitable working environment, we are reviewing our policies, expanding employee training on the topic and working with internal and external resources to ensure that these policies and procedures are respected and reinforced across the company.

—Interviews. Terry Gross interviewed Daniel Clowes was an episode of Fresh Air.

I find that when I’m talking in front of my son, I find that I try to say what I really feel rather than some version of myself I would’ve had in my 20s where I had some pose that was just, “I want to be contrary.” … I want him to know what I actually really feel and what are my real values. And you find yourself kind of [thinking], Do I believe in this? Is this an actual opinion of mine, or is this just some masked thing I’m trying to put out to the world?

I found it was very profound in that way. I sort of became more myself in a certain way.

—Reviews & Commentary. Rachel Miller writes about recent comics from Eleanor Davis, Rebekka Dunlap, Nola Lee, and Lauren McCallister, in something of a roundabout response to Monica Johnson on this site.

—Misc. Zak Sally has begun a Patreon to fund a new graphic biography of Philip K. Dick.

this is a project i have been knocking around in my head and note/ planning form for somewhere around 15 years. i have always known that the time and effort needed to actually do this book justice would take a concerted and sustained effort on my part that is well beyond my “normal” practice (i.e get it done whenever you can, fitting in work time between work that actually pays the bills).
i feel like that’s the single largest factor that has kept me from attacking this project, over the years: “when and how am i gonna find the time to do this right?”

 

The Ghouls Are Out

Today on the site, in honor of Friday the 13th, Bob Levin brings us an account of the scariest EC artist, Graham Ingels originally written for the never-published catalog for an EC exhibition opening today. I gotta say, with Wally Wood and Johnny Craig (and everyone has their little canon), Ingels continues to astonish me. The sheer weirdness of his drawing is organic and exceptional — really can’t be approximated. It’s just a few steps beyond what anyone would consciously decide to do. Here’s Bob:

Gaines would call Ingels “Mr. Horror.”  Stephen King saluted him in his short story “The Boogeyman,” for his ability to “draw every god-awful thing in the world – and some out of it.”  The cartoonist Jim Woodring once considered Ingels’ work “the product of a diseased mind or something”  And me, in retrospect, I fingered him as “The Little Richard of Comics.”  I mean, when rock’n’roll came in, if you were in a car, with your parents, and the radio station you’d selected erupted  with “A-wop-boppa-loo-mop.  A-wop-bam-boom,” your taste – your intelligence – your entire way of being became suspect. Same with Ingels and comics.  His work caught you the most evil-eyed, purse-mouthed grief. 

In Ingels’ world men were weak or avaricious, imbecilic or maniacal, and women sluts or hags.  They populated fetid swamps, decaying mansions, moldering dungeons.  Their bodies drooped and distended; their features melted and dissolved; their muscles strained agonizingly; their limbs angled impossibly. Every part of them reflected horror.  They bore bony, elongated, clawed fingers,  over-sized, over-sharp teeth, lust-filled, hate-filled eyes.  They were regularly buried in the rain, and, from the mud, repeatedly arose, rotting, drooling, seeking revenge.

The elements scourged Ingels’ panels.  Blackness enveloped them. Their word balloons bore jagged edges or dripped.  The lines which enclosed them, instead of imposing order, wavered.  Hands groped beyond them; phones dangled past them; The Old Witch’s warted chin drooped over their edge.  Faces spun within them: on one side in one; straight up in the next; on the opposite side in the third.  Long shot alternated with close-up.  Points-of-view shifted, from floor to ceiling.  The viewer lost hold on the ordinary.  There was no solidarity, no consistency, no principle to cling to.  Everything decomposed – like those corpses seeking revenge.

Elsewhere:

I think this is comics-related, in so far as it relates to Frank Santoro and also Danzig’s own comic book line, Verotik: The Misfits are getting back together.

Ryan Holmberg previews his upcoming Breakdown release, Katsumata Susumu’s Anti-Nuclear Manga.

Here’s a kind of funny post from Drew Friedman about R. Crumb sitting in Nike’s Mark Parker’s place and looking at Friedman’s original art for a story about Crumb. Got all that?

Oh, this is a groovy old Siegel and Shuster strip.