Little Fellas


The tables are turned as Dominic Umile reviews Sam Henderson's most recent book.

Even as Scene But Not Heard is confined to rigid set of what’s usually 16 panels per page in this 6” X 9” book, Sam Henderson’s hilarious strip swirls and sputters uncontrollably, percolating with riotous energy and wordless pandemonium. The 128-page collection mines back issues ofNickelodeon Magazine, to which the New York-based cartoonist began contributing in 1993 under comics editor Anne Bernstein. Henderson’s work ran in the magazine until 2009, when the nationally distributed Viacom-owned kids publication abruptly folded. While he freelanced for Bernstein and subsequently for co-editors Chris Duffy and Dave Roman, the Scene But Not Heardcreator also snagged a full-time day job as a writer and storyboard director on the immensely popular television seriesSpongeBob SquarePants beginning in 2001 (Duffy would go on to helm the print comic property), and earned an Emmy nomination for his efforts. Sandwiched between contributions from Craig Thompson, Art Spiegelman, Ellen Forney, and more, Henderson’s Scene But Not Heard was the longest-running strip in Nickelodeon Magazine’s 159 issues.

Tove Jansson is the subject of a very good BBC profile.

If you're in Toronto this weekend this Seth/DeForge/Smyth/Heer event looks good.

FirstSecond has some advice on submitting manuscripts.

Nobrow, previewed.

16 Responses to Little Fellas

  1. Dave Hartley says:

    The BBC also made a fantastic documentary, about Tove Jansson.
    Currently on youtube :
    Moominland Tales

  2. Oliver 1000 says:

    Are 1st Second the people who got attention for the other submission “advice” a while back where they basically said “most of you suck and you better get used to it”? Because I find their “tough love” approach to PR hilarious, given the quality of work they publish — all Top Shelf-ish cutey bunny animation style, no content worth a single damn, etc. They aren’t exactly FBI or D&Q. I realize standards have collapsed all over the place, and this sort of twee drawing and indulgent “geek” subject matter is now the new norm – OR ELSE, YOU MEANY – but heyzeus, give me a break. I miss the 90s, when these sort of comics would have been either roundly ignored or looked upon (rightly) with scorn,

  3. I know you’re used to comics companies all publishing a wonderful brown rainbow of similar shit, but their subject matter is pretty varied.

    But if you want to still divide up the publishers that don’t focus on violence ‘n’ tits for babymen for some reason: Think of them as Fantagraphics without a single Hernandez or a famous comic to reprint.

  4. Oliver 1000 says:

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, and neither do you.

    I’m not “used to comics companies all publishing a wonderful brown rainbow of similar shit” whatever that might mean, and I’ve probably been around comics 20 years longer than you.

    Nor did I suggest anything about liking violence or tits as a point of comparison. RE: The Hernandez Bros — I pity anyone who can’t see their genius (if that means Harvey Pekar was a dull fucking moron, so be it.)

    As for 1st Second, I meant what I said, difficult as it might be for you to believe it, and as butthurt as it might make you and and an entire generation of tumblr&etsy-twerps feel (and of course we all know FEELING is so much more important than thinking or. God help us all, JUDGING.) I think they suck. The vast majority of their comics fall on the “cutsey” side of the dial, and that does not interest me in the slightest. Their stuff also invariably falls on the right side of the PC fence, and I see little to zero chance taking or genuine personal exploration. Boring.

  5. Andy says:

    Ah yes, First Second, publishers of Battling Boy, multiple Eddie Campbell and Lewis Trondheim books, and Emmanuel Guibert’s Alan’s War, those noted schlock merchants.

    I realize the average Comics Journal reader hates kids and teenagers, but come on.

  6. Andy says:

    So this tantrum is about anger about a comics company not catering to your old man tastes? Well, I guess if you’re going to have a hissy fit about someone else’s tastes in comics, the Comics Journal is the place to do it.

    You know that “political correctness” is what regular people just refer to as “correctness”, right?

  7. Oliver 1000 says:

    Paul Pope is junk, he thinks he’s the Jim Morrison of comics. Eddie Campbell outside of From Hell is junk, and he’s a dickhead to boot (as is his daughter). Trondheim is limp, does nothing for me, don’t care. Alan’s War is nicely crafted, but still war porn, I think I’ve seen enough of that.

    Again, I said nothing about kids or teenagers. I said I hated “cutesy” style. You guys are the ones equating those two variables.

    If you don’t believe there exists a POV/agenda called “political correctness” then I have nothing more to say to you. It has existed in one form or another for about 500 years, even more so the last 150 years. As for its relation to the publisher at hand, wake me up when they publish work as diverse and challenging as Bagge, Ryan, Crumb, Doucet, Brown, etc.

  8. Ben Humeniuk says:

    It’s probably worth noting that, while First Second isn’t strictly Macmillan’s Young Adult Graphic Novel imprint, they do intentionally publish a lot of YA material. I think I see Oliver’s point- when it comes to YA work, your mileage may vary. However, I would point out Gene Yang’s Boxers & Saints duology as an example of FS’s quality. It’s bracing, nuanced stuff, with some surprisingly sophisticated formalistic properties. It also got a National Book Award nomination last year, which is no small feat.

  9. …and I’ve probably been around comics 20 years longer than you

    Does this claim give you a boner whenever you make it?

  10. Andy says:

    Yep, old man.

    I have nothing more to say to you either, because it’s clear you’re the type of dude who makes inflammatory comments and then acts shocked and irate when people call you out because “political correctness gone mad!”

  11. Andy says:

    It is kind of funny that it’s ok on TCJ to talk as much garbage about a mainstream publisher as you want but the moment you say you don’t like someone who doesn’t publish cape books, shit’s down.

  12. Andy says:

    How does he know that you aren’t like, an immortal who has been reading comics since the 1890s?

  13. Oliver 1000 says:

    So we’re down handjobbing each other? Cool. Enjoy your “My Little Pony” comics, you deserve them. Peace out, ‘dawg”.

  14. James says:

    In this case as in the others where my fellow old farts are yelping about their superiority in this site’s comments sections, longevity doesn’t guarantee any sort of expertise at all. Plus, political correctness is usually about someone making an effort to try NOT to be an asshole, which is what most people who complain about PC are. The dismissal of Paul Pope is pretty dumbfuck too; the only thing I’d say is that his work isn’t improved but rather ruined by the flat dead digital coloring and lettering and way-too-small formats that a certain publisher imposes on all of their books.

  15. Andy says:

    I’m saddened that Oliver’s “I fucked your mom and/or sister” comment was deleted.

  16. Mike Hunter says:

    I’d say the negative reaction against “political correctness” is not because people use it as a tool of awareness to minimize their own negative attitudes, but for smug, more-PC-than-thou condemnation of others.

    Thus, we get gems like “Abraham Lincoln was a racist!” (Never mind than he did more from blacks than a billion of these condemnatory, ultra-enlightened types ever would.)

    Or, when an argument is described as “lame,” the speaker is frothingly attacked for “denying the humanity of handicapped people.”

    Indeed, “political correctness” was negative in its usage from the outset:

    In the early-to-mid 20th century, contemporary uses of the phrase “Politically Correct” were associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between formal Communists (members of the Communist Party) and Socialists. The phrase was a colloquialism referring to the Communist “party line”, which provided for “correct” positions on many matters of politics. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,

    The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.
    —“Uncommon Differences”, The Lion and the Unicorn Journal
    (From the Wikipedia entry for the term)

    That loathsome racist and sexist attitudes may mask their ugliness by depicting themselves as bad-boy “politically incorrect” hardly invalidates people’s reactions against the absurdities that PC-ness can descend to.

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