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Kong

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!


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