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The Ghost Artist

Lew Sayre Schwartz, most well-known in comics circles for the many pages of Batman he drew as a ghost artist in the “golden age,” has passed away at the age of 84. In a tribute to his friend, Eddie Campbell writes: “Lew was my rainbow-bridge connection to the great age of American cartoonists, a world full of larger than life characters, who all seem much further away now that Lew has gone.”

Also new to the site, another excerpt from the long awaited (and nearly mythical at this point) issue 301, this time Tim Kreider’s essay on Dave Sim’s Cerebus. That’s right. Gary made him read the whole thing. This is really great stuff. Here’s a taste:

Dave Sim is the single most passionate and outspoken advocate of his own work, and also its most reductive and unreliable interpreter. Having finished his magnum opus, he seems unable to let go of it, and continues to hand down authoritative misreadings of the work that do it a serious disservice. He tries to rationalize the kinds of inconsistencies and contradictions that are only inevitable in a work that was written month by month over 30 years; he issues contemptuous dismissals of (female) characters who might have seemed to the reader to have had some depth and complexity; and he sometimes makes assertions that are clearly contradicted by the text. It raises the troubling possibility that what seemed like Cerebus’s literary quality may only have been so much projection on the part of its readers. What’s more likely is that Sim, like a lot of artists, is less than fully conscious of what he’s doing and is the last person who should be consulted about the meaning of his own work.

And of course, Joe McCulloch is here with the latest installment of This Week in Comics—this time taking a detour to study José Ortiz and Bruce Bezaire (I’ve never heard of him either).

Elsewhere:

After a year’s hiatus, Brian Chippendale returns with superhero comics analysis. This time, he’s mostly worried about renumbering, and the X-Men.

Douglas Wolk writes about the iPad’s possible threat to the print comics market’s bottom line for Wired.

Journal reviewer Tucker Stone, Abhay Khosla, and a bunch of the other writers at the Savage Critics are discussing the big “summer events” at Marvel and DC.

Somewhere in your internet browsing recently, you probably came across the story about medical researchers counting the number of head injuries found in Asterix. And then, if you’re anything like me, you probably thought, that’s kind of a stupid thing to count for a medical study… could there possibly be a legitimate scientific reason to do that? Then you started thinking about what you’d get for lunch. Anyway, it turns out that me and you aren’t the only ones to doubt that medical paper’s importance. One guy’s even angry about it.


8 Responses to The Ghost Artist

  1. Ryan says:

    Speaking of the mythical TCJ 301, I just received an email from Amazon informing me that it won’t be shipping until August. I thought I read on this site recently that it would be shipping early July? What gives?

  2. Paul Slade says:

    I really want to read the rest of that Cerebus essay, so please stop previewing 301 and just put the damn thing out already! Does Amazon’s August date mean TCJ subscribers won’t be getting their issues in July either?

  3. Ryan says:

    This is disappointing, to say the least. From Amazon:

    Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

    Gary Groth “The Comics Journal #301″
    Estimated arrival date: August 08 2011 – August 10 2011

    We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

  4. Dan Nadel says:

    We’re told that it’s now late July/early August. Subscribers can contact Stephanie Hayes: shayes (at) fantagraphics (dot) com.

  5. Paul Slade says:

    Amazon originally listed September 2010 as a publication date for 301, presumably based on the information Fantagraphics put out at the time. I’m sure I’ll still love it to bits when I finally get to see a copy, but you do realise that makes it a yearly publication that’s very nearly a year late?

    I know the website has no control over the print edition, I know all the stuff about the forced redesign and the wish to satisfy all the accumulated orders in one go, and I’m sure none of this is easy. But unless Gary and Kim tell me they’ve already got 302 waiting at the printers, I think it might be time to downgrade the Journal’s promised frequency to “occasional” for this new incarnation.

  6. Michael Grabowski says:

    Hey, Tim and Dan,

    One of the casualties of the tcj.com relaunch was the disappearance of the 3 part interview with Gerhard that was posted in February. Seems to me it’s timely to upgrade that to “From The Archive” status on the upper right so that it will come up in the current Search feature.

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    It’s a little more difficult than it might seem, and in the meantime it comes up in Google and elsewhere:

    http://classic.tcj.com/alternative/sean-michael-r

    Right now we’re focused on pulling together the print archive and we’re on a good roll. When that’s done, we’ll double back for whatever is able to be pulled in.

  8. patrick ford says:

    Bob Kane, the second biggest liar in the history of comics.

    My personal favorite Bob Kane quote (From Batman and Me).

    “To take a break from the demands of drawing comic books, I relax by painting in the style of Rembrandt.”

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