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That Time of Year

Today we are publishing my interview with Charles Burns, in which we discuss Sugar Skull, his slow working methods, learning not to censor himself, and much more. Here's a sample:


That was another thing [Todd] Hignite included in that In the Studio book — it has a bunch of different drafts you did of a picture of a ghoul, I don’t know what it actually is.

Sure, yeah. That’s it, I forgot. That’s actually a fairly good — that’s just a single image for a cover, but it would be similar for working a page. Breaking down a page and figuring it out. But that’s kind of the way I work.

What was amazing about to me was how much it changed and it’s not like it ever was a bad drawing, but in some ways the early version was just so different and so less interesting than where you ended up at in the end. I know that’s the goal, but it still almost feels like you have to have faith in your own ability to eventually get it right – you don’t worry about too much at first.

That’s something really important, for me anyway. And that’s the way that I write as well. It’s not sitting down at a keyboard and writing a script and thinking, oh shit, what’s the next line? I sit with cheap notebooks or cheap sketchbooks and just fill them up with ideas and maybe pieces of dialogue and bits and pieces. I keep circulating through all those notes. Go back to those notes. So nothing feels cut in stone or permanent. It all feels like it’s open and I can move in any direction that I want.

It’s starting with a lot of information and slowly, slowly distilling it down to something that’s concrete. So maybe that says something about my personality that I’m very cautious and very careful about all that stuff, but I don’t have the kind of brain that can sit down and write beautiful dialogue and a beautiful story. There’s people who certainly can do that work really quickly and just do amazing work, but I don’t have that facility unfortunately. I wish I did, but I don’t.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. In a move that presumably stems from the recent legal settlement, Marvel has begun printing creator credits for Jack Kirby on many of its titles.

J. David Spurlock The Wallace Wood Estate is suing Tatjana Wood over the possession of some Wally Wood art.

—Interviews & Profiles. Aeon has a lengthy profile of Alan Moore.

Alex Dueben interviewed both MariNaomi and Simon Hanselmann.

—Reviews & Commentary. For the NYRB, Sarah Kerr reviews the big two recent books on Wonder Woman.

For Hyperallergic, Dominic Umile reviews the new Tim Lane collection.

—Funnies. Study Group has published a whole slew of Halloween-related webcomics.


One Response to That Time of Year

  1. So (quoting from the court document at Comicsbeat) John Robinson signed over all “interest in the work, property, copyrights, trademark rights and royalties” to Spurlock’s company. He was paid with the promise to receive “duplicate copies of any publications made” by Spurlock’s company WWP “subsequent to the date of this assignment”. That is, he was not paid at all, and at best (at some undetermined point in the future) with perhaps $100 worth of hypothetical merchandise which at the time did not exist.

    This looks bad even before the lawsuit against Tatjana Wood for original art worth several hundred thousand dollars, which Spurlock now claims is included in the assignment.

    Spurlock says (in the document) that he “became aware” of the 150-200 pages of Wood artwork in possession of Tatjana Wood “while working on a biography of the life of Wallace Wood called ‘Wally’s World'”. The book was published in 2005. WWP was established in 2011. The Robinson assignment was executed on February 23, 2012. At this point, Spurlock was aware of the potential value (“between $2,000 and $35,000 per page”) of the artwork in Tatjana Wood’s possession. Yet Robinson was paid, in essence, nothing.

    This is just from reading the court document, which may not reflect the entirety of the business proceedings.
    But the assignment and the consideration given according to the court document is so obviously one-sided that in some jurisdictions its legality would be open to question.
    It would be worth some research to find out more about how this deal was made, and if Robinson was aware of what he was signing over.

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