Today we have part two of the sprawling Jack Kirby/Charles Hatfield roundtable organized for us by Jeet Heer. Featured participants include Jonathan Lethem, Glen David Gold, R. Fiore, Sarah Boxer, David Harvey, and Dan Nadel. Things really get going in this installment, as Hatfield's book comes into clearer focus—plus, there's a pretty wonderful digression into Philip K. Dick analysis.

Joe McCulloch stops in with his weekly roundup of the most interesting-sounding new comics. And longtime readers of Joe's will be happy to see the return of one of his more idiosyncratic enthusiasms.

Finally, Matt Seneca reviews the latest from cartoonist Benjamin Marra, Lincoln Washington: Free Man. Another writer for us, Sean T. Collins, independently sent in a review of a different Marra comic that we will run very soon. Marra's work is very appealing on different levels, but it is interesting and somewhat surprising to me how uniformly positive and celebratory the response to Marra's work has been. I don't think I have yet read a negative review! I'm not trying to criticize the books myself—I have enjoyed all of the comics by him I've read (I haven't yet read the title under review today)—but Marra's work touches on a lot of extremely sensitive issues, and it's not hard to imagine a less sanguine reaction. Maybe it's just that the kind of people who read these kinds of comics are generally speaking also the kind of people who are hard to offend. Though Johnny Ryan ... And here the suicide note ends in a scrawl.

The first MoCCA festival I've missed in something like a decade was held in New York this weekend, and from all reports I've heard, went pretty well. One panel I regretted missing was this one featuring local retailers, in which Comics Journal columnist Tucker Stone revealed that Bergen Street Comics is not planning to stock Before Watchmen. Which seems like a pretty gutsy move. I wonder if any other stores will follow suit.

And now for a few quick hits:

The Paris Review excerpts Kelly Gerald on Flannery O'Connor, cartoonist.

Moto Hagio has become the first manga artist to receive the Japanese Medal of Honor.

Noel Murray interviews Guy Delisle, and Michael Cavna interviews Marjane Satrapi.

Rob Clough reports on a recent Joe Sacco appearance at Duke.

And Françoise Mouly selects and discusses ten of her favorite rejected New Yorker covers, including the R. Crumb gay marriage image that made a bit of news last year.

5 Responses to Mayday

  1. Derik Badman says:

    In re Marra: Was talking at Mocca with someone about that. I get the feeling that everyone but me (and the person I was talking to it turns out) (I’ll note that I don’t find it offensive just… ugly and stupid, which perhaps is an offense to my sense of aesthetics) loves his work, but as my conversation partner pointed out, the positive reviews are from a pretty small group of people. And as others have noted, negative reviews tend to be pretty rare in the alt/art/indie comics scene. Personally, I found it more worthwhile to write about something I like rather than something I don’t. (Except for drive-by comments at blogs apparently.)

  2. Bizarro-Wuxtry is also only carrying it only for pre-orders. Turns out that I’ve got eight customers that can’t resist it, despite moral qualms expressed by most of them. Six of those want them all, while two wanted to pick and choose. I assume that I’ll get a few more folks special-ordering them later when they understand that I was serious about this, but that’s where we stand at present.

  3. That’s funny, Derik–I was gonna suggest you to Tim as a counterpoint. Anyway I think you’re right, that the pro bono nature of most alt/art comics criticism means that this is how people are spending their free time and mostly not getting paid for it, and it’s a rare breed who regularly wades right into stuff they don’t like under those circumstances. I know I don’t have it in me and never have. But when I worked for Wizard and reading and reviewing comics I didn’t like was part of my day job, I did it all the time, like half a dozen capsule reviews of undistinguished superhero comics a week for months and months.

  4. Derik Badman says:

    That sounds like hell, Sean.

    Didn’t Sartre write: “Hell is dozens of undistinguished superhero comics a week for months and months”?

  5. tucker stone says:

    Had no idea about Bizarro-Wuxtry. That’s great to hear.

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