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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (9/5/12 – The Envy of the Lambs)

People often ask me, “Joe, why does the top part of your column always seem to focus on goof-ass foreign shit and old men when you could just as easily be devoting space to young, hungry artists challenging the boundaries of comics expression?” My reply is always the same: “Stick to the four corners of the search warrant, officer, and anyway – there’s new Jack T. Chick to read!” It works every time, because the 88-year old Chick maintains an enviable rate of production, gracing us with a fresh 22-page comics tract at seemingly every instance of doubt in the presence of the divine to occur anywhere in the English-speaking world, although I’m pretty sure This Was Your Life! has been translated to every language.

Among his most recent is Satan Comes to Salem, which sounds like a late ’60s Hammer pic, but actually speaks to Chick’s current practice of comics. As with the works of Steve Ditko — a similarly prolific artist of the same generation — Chick enjoys highlighting gatherings of people as laboratories of unrest and misinformation. The foggy background in panel one perhaps suggests the limitations Chick’s age has placed on his craft, though the gormless chump with the striped shirt and stubble remains the perfect means of delivering a brisk lecture on the Salem witch hunts, with no regard paid to the likeliness of the opinions duly expressed by the characters. None is needed; we can see in this dude’s face that he needs a good talking to, and Chick remains quite fine at delineating guileless expressions that nonetheless retain some individuality.

I also love the looming Satan in panel two; Chick’s barked-to-the-President’s-chair narration — which, in his younger days, would probably be delivered by some enlightened in-story soul unto the ignorant, though now the membrane between character and author is thin — sets him up as a rather jaunty, globe-hopping type.

To the unacclimated, this new comic might seem unusually self-reflective; after all, here we see the Satanic-minded children of Salem slinging Bible verses with citation, as bedrock a sign of grace in Chick’s world as HAW HAW HAW denotes the wicked. But pay attention to the page I’ve posted up top: bloody Roman Catholic abuses are emphasized in proximity to the demon, and from there is revealed yet another manifestation of a century-spanning Chick concern: the repulsion of false doctrines, characteristic of a knowingly extreme worldview opposed on nearly all sides. The devil has many guises under Chick’s pen, and many of them wear the vestments of religious and political authority, the more seemingly similar to Chick’s own perspective the better for rebuke.

Great devil in that crowd of faces in panel two. I do wonder, though, about language like “Chick’s pen.” Recently, there’s been something of a letterboxing effect to Chick’s art, so that it’s bordered at the top and bottom by fairly severe blocks of text. I don’t think Chick employs full-fledged ghost artists — his look seems a bit too idiosyncratic to train someone without a noticeable shift in visual style — but I imagine all that text can be entered in by any number of studio assistants, and subsequently swapped out or corrected or translated without a lot of sweat. This is also the rationale for uniform digital lettering in superhero comics, but those are products of commerce; time-saving techniques as potentially employed here would doubly serve the ‘mission’ of Chick to promulgate his comics across the globe, to ensure an ease of access that posting everything on the web and leaving comics on park benches and creating mobile apps collectively works toward.

But it does still feel to me, old-school as I am, that the future’s caught up.

As the comic goes on, Chick’s art recedes more and more into mesas of text. It occurs to me that some of the more clip art-y bits of image — the faceless God, let’s say, or the Mean Catholic above — can easily be swapped out from comic to comic, as the more boilerplate messages apply themselves. It’s like the little pray-for-your-soul text page at the back of all the older tracts has begun to creep forward into the comics themselves, a notion of the contemporary smacking of the pre-Chick standard of text-only religious tracts. And who’ll pick those up from the cafeteria drop point? Yet as much as I hate to admit it, the older I get the older I find Chick as well; maybe all the art that came before is a statement on the ephemeral nature of flesh, and art, as Tarkovsky once remarked, as a harrowing of the soul and preperation, finally, for life’s end.

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PLEASE NOTE: What follows is not a series of capsule reviews but an annotated selection of items listed by Diamond Comic Distributors for release to comic book retailers in North America on the particular Wednesday, or, in the event of a holiday or occurrence necessitating the close of UPS in a manner that would impact deliveries, Thursday, identified in the column title above. Not every listed item will necessarily arrive at every comic book retailer, in that some items may be delayed and ordered quantities will vary. I have in all likelihood not read any of the comics listed below, in that they are not yet released as of the writing of this column, nor will I necessarily read or purchase every item identified; THIS WEEK IN COMICS! reflects only what I find to be potentially interesting.

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SPOTLIGHT PICKS!

A Chinese Life: Yes, comics are such today that 700-page magnum opuses can come and go with nary an acknowledgement from the professionally interested. I’m not convinced I haven’t mentioned this book before in this column. Granted, I’m also not convinced I haven’t opened this column with exactly the same joke as today’s, but it’s more worthwhile talking about this book, actually an omnibus collection of a 2009-11 French-language series from manhua artist Li Kunwu, working with co-writer Philippe Ôtié. The obvious point of comparison is Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s 2009 A Drifting Life, a similarly lengthy, conversational story-of-a-man-that’s-the-story-of-a-place, though Kunwu’s approach to life in the People’s Republic of China from ’49 onward is more focused and structured, and a good deal more prone to little flights of brushy fancy; it’s a good-looking book. From London’s SelfMadeHero, though distributed abroad now by Abrams, hence my confusion over prior listings. Preview; $27.50.

Message to Adolf Vol. 1 (of 2): A moment of perspective – the first Osamu Tezuka series ever released in its entirety in the English language arrived in 1995-96, less than twenty years ago. The project was titled Adolf, a five-volume Viz series released via their Cadence Books line of graphic novels, no doubt with an eye toward separating genuine pioneer Tezuka from the kiddie roots of his style: these were books, drawn from a serial positioned near the end of the artist’s career, 1983-85, its forum a weekly news magazine. There’s plenty more material of all sorts out there now, so maybe the particular blend of pulpy thrills and memories-of-facism’s-rise present in this re-titled, re-translated, re-collected 648-page Vertical hardcover edition of the stuff is due some reassessment. Two men share the given name of der Führer, their fates bumping up against the magnitude of history; $26.95.

PLUS!

Aya: Life in Yop City: This much-admired slice-of-life drama from writer Marguerite Abouet and artist Clément Oubrerie wrapped its French run in late 2010, so Drawn and Quarterly is adopting a new release strategy – release the three extant English-translated volumes in this 382-page color package, then blow out all the to-be-translated stuff in a second volume (Love in Yop City) later this year. It is, of course, based on Abouet’s recollections of youth in the Ivory Coast of the 1970s, and embodies a certain ideal of polished ‘mainstream’ adult comics from continental Europe. Some pages; $24.95.

Heartless: I know absolutely nothing about the comics collected in this 128-page Conundrum Press release, though I am aware of artist Nina Bunjevac from Mineshaft magazine and some Le Dernier Cri projects. It appears to be an English-language edition of a 2011 Serbo-Croatian collection, which Paul Gravett enjoyed. It looks pretty striking. Introduction by Jay Lynch. Samples; $20.00.

Wet Moon Vol. 6: Yesterday’s Gone: I do, however, recognize Ross Campbell and his graphic novel series from Oni, a horror-spiked student relationship drama ongoing since 2005. Campbell is presently (among other things) serving up confrontational superheroine visuals in the Image series Glory — the first collected volume of which is also set to drop this week — but the Comics Comics old-schoolers love him best for this. Extensive preview at the official site; $17.99.

People Around Here: Another Conundrum publication, a follow-up to Toronto artist Dave Lapp‘s 2008 Drop-in, an account of time spent working at an inner city youth arts center (Dylan Williams reviewed it here). This one’s a collection of observational strips culled from assorted publications, with new stuff too. Samples; $17.00.

American Comics Group Collected Works: Adventure Into the Unknown Vol. 1 (&) Forbidden Worlds Vol. 1: Boy do I wish I had the money for all these PS Artbooks hardcover collections of pre-Code horror comics. Unlike the publisher’s similarly extensive line of Harvey horror reprints, however, there’s no promises for less-costly softcover editions for the ACG stuff. Five issues in each, running to 288 pages; $47.99 (each).

Fashion Beast #1 (of 10): Just yesterday, Gosh! London debuted Kevin O’Neill’s cover art to Nemo: Heart of Ice, a self-contained League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-off project — apparently a 48-page hardcover book, hopefully at European album size, as that’s basically the direction the series has been going in lately — and the next proper comic book to be written by Alan Moore. Meanwhile, Avatar Press, recent home of Moore’s & Jacen Burrows’ Neonomicon, reverts to its prior role of producing Alan Moore-approved comics adaptations of things Alan Moore has done that are not comics. This one’s an original (unproduced) screenplay Moore wrote in 1985 from a story by Robert Boykin, Malcolm McLaren and himself; it’s apparently a melding of the life of Christian Dior with the Beauty and the Beast fable, though all I’ve read of it is online criticism (“…pretty dreadfulit must be a first draft, but I don’t think it could be rescued by any number of re-writes.”). The adaptation is by frequent Moore/Avatar facilitator Antony Johnston, with art by Facundo Percio of Warren Ellis’ Anna Mercury. Preview; $3.99.

Black Kiss II #2 (of 6): The latest issue of an ongoing Howard Chaykin sex ‘n history series from Image, recently graced with a scintillating advance review: “…scenes depictedmay fall foul of UK Customs’ regulations on the importing of indecent and obscene material.” YOW! Breathy language from the august crits at Diamond UK, which will not, apparently, be distributing the series to the United Kingdom. Well, I’ve still got six or seven American police officers in my apartment, and all of them agree that Black Kiss II is top-notch reading for domestic fans of omnisexual tentacle beasties banging their way across the dreamscape of 20th century pop culture; $2.99.

Incognito: Classified Edition: Speaking of secret histories (though considerably lighter on the tentacles), here’s one of those big, thick hardcover collections the Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips Marvel/Icon series get after a while, this one compiling both runs of their 2008-11 dark superhero/pulp adventure guy villain-style project, which I don’t think ever quite got the hype of your Criminal or Fatale, though its genre licks got it some market traction. Expect the usual stack of extras to go with it; $44.99.

Prince of Cats: Meanwhile, over at DC/Vertigo, Ronald Wimberly — artist of the publisher’s well-received 2008 comics biography Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm — has prepared a 144-page color variant of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, set in a fantasy Brooklyn and focused on the character of Tybalt, with all dialogue purportedly written in iambic pentameter. Samples; $16.99.

Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 9: As always, there’s a wide selection of less weighty manga than up above — Bakuman sees its 14th volume from Viz, for instance — though admirers of cat mangaka Konami Kanata’s particular brand of kitten whispers will want to know that Vertical’s release of the series is now up to pace with the Japanese editions, leaving new installments in the artist’s hands. It’s 160 pages in full color; $13.95.

The Monsters’ Monster: Not the only children’s storybook-type hardcover thingy around — Toon Books has the latest from Geoffrey Hayes, with Benny and Penny in Lights Out! — but I’ll draw some attention to this 40-page Patrick McDonnell project with Little Brown Books for Young Readers, in which a bunch of little monsters create a big monster that’s actually very nice; $16.99.

Crockett Johnson And Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature: Finally, your book-on-comics for the week, a 368-page Philip Nel critical double biography from the University Press of Mississippi, no doubt encompassing the creation of Barnaby but obviously not restricting itself to that when there’s politics and literature and many disciplines to examine. Cover art by Chris Ware, who will be talking up Barnaby with Nel, Dan Clowes, Mark Newgarden and others at SPX in a little over a week and a half; $40.00 ($70.00 in hardcover).

CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: People often ask me, “Joe, why don’t you write substantively about the Fantagraphics and PictureBox releases you rudely shove into the bottom of your column?” My reply is never quite the same, since it’s damn rare to see a release like Dal Tokyo, a 220-page compilation of Gary Panter strips accumulating since 1983 in U.S. and Japanese forums, making this tour of Texas-Tokyo Martian terraforming a bona fide adventure into manga fusion, if drawn as only Panter can. I’d say more, but the cops totally snatched my copy – this thing’s been in the works since circa The Flames of Gyro, or so it feels; $35.00.

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50 Responses to THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (9/5/12 – The Envy of the Lambs)

  1. Joe says:

    Aren’t Chick Tracts drawn by Fred Carter now?

  2. Both the new Vertical edition and the old Cadence Books edition spell it “Adolf” (it’s even on the cover you posted!).

  3. Joe McCulloch says:

    Some are, but a lot of his work seems to go into The Crusaders (the full-sized comic book wing of the Chick empire) these days…

  4. Tony says:

    Hey look, Barnes & Noble has spilled the Humanoids beans again. Three new releases for December:

    A separate super-deluxe edition of the first album of the Incal? Maybe the first of six, one for each individual album?

    A reprint of Weapons of the Metabarons, maybe in a bigger format as it’s 5 dollars more expensive than the first printing from last year?

    And something called “Eros Gone Wild”? Another super-oversized super-deluxe beauty?

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/humanoids-inc-?sort=DD&size=30&keyword=humanoids%2C+inc.&store=book

  5. Tim Webber says:

    I though you might be interested in the reason for Dave Sim cancelling Glamourpuss (as featured on last week column):

    “So, now I walk away from my almost totally silent audience of 2,400 and prepare to stave off complete oblivion with the 1,140 Kickstarter pledge partners. Wish me luck.”

    The full text of Dave’s editorial to the final issue of Glamourpuss can be found at A Moment Of Cerebus.

  6. Allen Smith says:

    I think Dave Sim should become a Fantagraphics cartoonist. Let Gary pay the printing bills and Dave can just sit and let the dough roll in.

  7. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    I’m pretty sure Fred Carter drew some tracts too. But damn, those Crusaders comics are great.

  8. Joe McCulloch says:

    If anything, some of Carter’s newer tracts have been going in the opposite direction as Chick…

  9. Antek says:

    I second that Sir it’s brilliant on so many levels!

  10. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Wow. And it appears that Carter has indeed been busy with newer Crusaders issues, including this timely entry:

    http://www.chick.com/catalog/comics/0118.asp

    And up to six (!) volumes in the Alberto series now. I only have the first one.

  11. Joe McCulloch says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of weird; when Alberto ended in ’88 (without quite wrapping its storyline/harangue) it seemed like The Crusaders as a whole was finished… until Chick & Carter abruptly revived it in 2007. I guess it had to be abrupt, it’s not like they’re gonna issue a press release to Comic Book Resources or anything. Anyway, a new issue shows up every two years or so, which is about right for an alternative comic book… it’s a mellower thing these days, more ‘education’ than communist sex tapes and cannibal Satanists, although there’s a pretty funny bit in the one you linked to with mayhem-minded Mormons surrounding a woman in a phone booth like some George Romero bible study…

  12. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    True story: when I first started buying Crusaders comics (after reading Cat Yronwode’s excellent “Blackhawks For Christ” review many years ago in the Journal: http://www.tcj.com/the-comics-journal-no-50-october-1979/) at the Million Year Picnic in Cambridge MA, the people behind the counter treated them almost like underground comix. They weren’t displayed on the shelves and they seemed very reluctant to sell them to me. Which made them all the more desirable of course!

    To this day, they’re less known than the tracts, which one can find basically anywhere, for no money.

  13. Don Druid says:

    @Daniel C. Parmenter

    Wow, and that October 1979 issue opens with an editorial welcoming DC’s decision to license its characters to alternative publishers.

    Off-topic, but I’d love to read the story of how we got from there to here, if anyone knows it . . . and if it’s in any way interesting.

  14. Tony says:

    I’m willing to bet that “Eros Gone Wild” is this:

    http://www.humano.com/album/35828
    http://www.humano.com/ibd/994

  15. Joe McCulloch says:

    Woah, Cabanes – there’s another blast from the past. To think we’re potentially getting stuff from him, Chaland and Liberatore (albeit an art book) in the space of a few months…

  16. Kim Thompson says:

    I’d be perfectly happy to repackage the CEREBUS material in a more bookstore-friendly format than those fucking phone books and give the material the new lease on life it (or at least the first two thirds of it) so richly deserves. (For the matter, I’d love to do the same for Ditko’s MISTER A and AVENGING WORLD, whose self-imposed exile to those crummily-produced virtually-self-published undesigned things is a genuine tragedy.) Heck, such repackaging might very well pay Sim enough that he could spend the next several years drawing up whatever the hell he wanted in terms of new projects and not have to worry about making a dime off of them in the interim. (If he’s got too much of a terminal hatred for us, I suspect IDW or Top Shelf would step into the breach too.) But I think he’s too deep into his Final-Station-of-Dave-Sim-the-Martyr narrative to even consider such an idea.

  17. Charro says:

    I must agree things could have have been different. Could anyone understand his insistence on espousing and debating what is an extremely conservative philosophy to a comic book audience? How could he not realize there are far more effective avenues to take this message. Why is it that he let this crusade, along with his self publishing ideals immolate his entire career/enterprise. It seems obvious there are far more effective audiences to speak to than a the comic book fanbase over feminism. Though I don’t agree with him, he could have directed this obsession into another medium, like say a blog and gotten a far better audience. It is unfortunate he could not seperate this matter from his instincts as a self publisher. Instead he further insulated himself from the industry and his audience, by not attending conventions all because somebody called him a misogynist. How is this a smart business model for a self publisher in the 21st century? Is this self- destruction in the guise of obstinacy? An inevitability that this same resolute will power that created 300 issues of Cerebus, could work against his enterprise?

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  19. Tony says:

    Right???

    But the most amazing thing to me is the lengths they’re willing to go to reprint Moebius in every possible format… An 80 dollar edition of the first (of six) individual Incal albums! That shows once again that they’d be all over the rest of the classic prime Moebius gold if it wasn’t stuck in legal limbo.

  20. TimR says:

    What’s so obviously wrong about the “phone books”? I never got into Cerebus in a big way (I do want to go back and read the early issues and give it a chance some time) but going to comic shops in the 90s, I always kind of had an affection for those things. I liked the idea of this big slab of collected comics in an economical format. By contrast, while many current reprint projects are quite pretty, I’m a little blase towards them even if I had the money to fork over.

  21. Kim Thompson says:

    I’d be fine with reading a well-done, interesting comic that espouses a (to me) lunatic and loathsome point of view, and I think many comics readers would agree. If I objected to misogyny in my entertainment I wouldn’t have a big pile of Sam Peckinpah DVDs at home. (And MISTER A is a great, great comic.) The post-“Tangent” CEREBUS’s sin was being impenetrable and boring. GLAMOURPUSS’s sin was being half unreadable, half fascinating but so inside-baseball its audience barely clawed its way into four figures. (By the way, I was one of the 2,000 or so paying customers on that one.) I think Sim could reinvent himself just fine if he did a comic book or graphic novel that people wanted to read, cf. Jeff Smith moving smoothly from BONE to RASL. He is also such a skillful cartoonist by now he could probably take a break from auteurdom and work with a writer to give himself a break (and get himself a nest egg) — cf. Colleen Doran or P. Craig Russell. But none of that would fit the martyr “I’m just too good for this fallen world” Sim is now taking to its inevitable conclusion.

  22. Don Druid says:

    @

    Tony

    :

    What exactly is the legal issue with Moebius?

  23. R. Fiore says:

    “Could anyone understand [Sim’s] insistence on espousing and debating what is an extremely conservative philosophy to a comic book audience?”

    Who else was going to listen to him?

  24. Dominick Grace says:

    Can’t really disagree with anything you say here, sadly. He’s an immensely talented cartoonist who could easily (I believe) continue to get comics-related work–but not without compromising on his views (by which I mean in this instance his views on things like contracts, the right to reprint material, etc.), and I don’t think he’s likely to do that. Heck, I’d buy any new comics work he did. I bought glamourpuss up to the end.

  25. Kim Thompson says:

    The phone books, with their massive girth, total lack of any explanatory or contextual material on the back cover, and basic production values, are virtually designed to keep CEREBUS within the confines of the direct-sales market generally and CEREBUS fans specifically. They’re kind of the last manifestation of the graphic-novel-as-serialized-comics-bound-together syndrome of the 1980s. It’s completely impossible to imagine any potential new reader picking up a copy at a Barnes & Noble and making any fucking sense of it whatsoever… or for that matter Barnes & Noble stocking it in the first place.

  26. Don Druid says:

    It’s interesting in how it dovetails with the debate over exactly what Kickstarter is for.

  27. Paul Slade says:

    I have seen the odd Cerebus phone book at Barnes & Noble (or maybe Borders way back when), but the particular volumes they chose always seemed to have been selected entirely at random. Not an appealing prospect for the casual browser though, I’ll grant you.

  28. John Lundberg says:

    I stopped reading after “Going Home” (and I mostly just suffered through that), and I never picked up “Glamourpuss”. But if Sim were to draw any coherent new story (his own or scripted by someone else), I would buy it immidiatly

    Really made me wonder now… What would someone who has never heard of Sim or “Cerebus” think flipping through, say “Jaka’s Story”, or any of the phonebooks?

  29. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen a few of the phonebooks at book stores, but again, seemingly chosen at random.

    I would argue that of the set, High Society is the best candidate as a “standalone” volume, even with all of its in-jokes and references and I could easily see it outliving the rest of the series and providing future scholars the opportunity to explain to readers the significance of Moon Roach etc. à la The Annotated Alice.

    The lack of explanatory material is indeed bothersome in the phonebooks, especially since the earlier Swords of Cerebus volumes had lots of explanation and background, along with various extra goodies (e.g. the “Prince Silverspoon” strips, etc.)

    OTOH, to their credit, the wraparound covers on the phonebooks are beautiful.

  30. Don Druid says:

    And it’s a little more than a “conservative” or “anti-feminist” philosophy – it claims the existence of New Age-style male and female “life forces”, with the female “life force” cast as inherently destructive and parasitic. I think I can safely say: those aren’t claims that most conservatives would agree with, and Sim has to be well aware of that.

  31. Nenad says:

    Phonebooks are fine, but they are not the best presentation of Cerebus material. I would love for someone to publish the complete cerebus in a slightly better designed format and on a better quality paper with proper introduction, art pages and all sorts of extras. I actually did ask him 12 years ago if he would consider publishing it like that in a more permanent edition, but he said he was fine with phonebooks and that they keep pretty well. I must admit that I really liked a few phonebooks that I read, but I was reading them from library and lost interest in keeping up with the series. I am not sure about his views as I did not read later volumes. I remember that they were rather controversial. I think I would be interested in reading them regardless of those… You may disagree, but I actually prefer reading something that will challenge my view of the world.

  32. Nenad says:

    Looks great. They are really digging up some gems from Les Humanoides archives. Hope they sell well and they continue with these oversized beauties.

  33. John Lundberg says:

    Well, I never read the last 40 or so issues, but judging from what came before I really don’t think there’s much there that will “challenge” anyone’s world view. I remember being confused, mostly, and sad. Very sad. But I can’t remember ever feeling like any of Sim’s ideas “challenged” me. And I loved Cerebus. I was a total fan. Up until, somewhere around issues 160-170 I guess, when things began to feel… uncomfortable. I don’t know how else to describe it. And then it just got worse.

  34. Charro says:

    That may well be, though I imagine from the range of various internet groups there were be some niche for his views. Just on youtube you can find some really strange theorists out there. Better than having to subject his supporters to sign a petition to clear his name of misogyny, or else punish them with having no more convention appearances. Though I admire his art, I did not understand what he hoped to achieve by advocating views to a readership who may not be interested or passionate in these issues.

  35. Don Druid says:

    Perhaps “challenged” in the way someone might delicately describe encountering a stranger or an old friend driven to frenzy by a manic episode – an unexpected event in the normal course of the day.

    I suppose it’s unfair to call it ‘unexpected’. Well before that issue, I began to wonder if Sim had friends and family who were keeping an eye on him, and if they were reading his book. This is all very old stuff now, I know. But given the audience for Cerebus, I felt (bizarrely, inappropriately) almost personally responsible for its creator’s well-being, and I know I wasn’t alone among his readers at the time.

    I think his recovery to the point of putting out a project like glamourpuss is nothing short of miraculous. I’ve known a couple people in my life who have written pieces that remind me of Cerebus #186 – who not only wrote such pieces but expected me to be enlightened by them . . . none of those people are in any shape to write anything right now.

  36. Kim Thompson says:

    To specify, I didn’t mean fannish, explanatory, DVD-special behind-the-scenes anecdotal stuff, but just the kind of blurbs and contextualization that enable a reader coming onto the books cold to get some sort of sense as to what they’re about and why they matter. (And maybe even just a short introductory page setting up the world and basic characters in each one.) I think that by the time you get to the last third it’s mostly impenetrable gibberish and the most editorially savvy attempts at presenting the material wouldn’t work, but much of the rest is complex but coherent and just in need of the kind of small pre-orientation some judiciously written back cover copy, or maybe a foreword, could bring.

  37. Paul Slade says:

    I’ve submitted a link to this thread to the “Questions for Dave Sim” section at Moments of Cerebus. Who knows, Kim, maybe he’ll take you up on your offer.

  38. Art Baxter says:

    Dave Sim was so evangelistic and dogmatic about self-publishing back Cerebus’ heyday that the only way he could possibly deal with a second party publisher today would be for him to denounce his self-publishing manifesto and become a heretic.

    I’m sure no one wants THAT.

  39. Tony says:

    There are foreign editions of Cerebus done by “second party publishers”. How is that different?

  40. Kim Thompson says:

    The dynamics of the marketplace have changed so fundamentally that something that made (relative) sense 20 years ago doesn’t necessarily make sense today. The market has turned decisively against pamphlets and against self-publishers, and that’s just a reality. The battlefield is littered with the corpses of self-publishers. A sensible person adapts to reality.

  41. Kim Thompson says:

    Yes, in fact Sim swore at one point he’d never allow foreign versions of CEREBUS because it would be outside his control, but has since amply relented. Which I think is perfectly reasonable. I’d hate to be shackled to positions I took 25 years ago.

  42. Eric Reynolds says:

    I thought the Alex Raymond / Stan Drake serial in Glamourpuss was the most compelling thing going in periodical comics the last two years. I was bummed to learn it was ending. I would love to publish the finished book.

  43. Art Baxter says:

    Over the long haul, when it comes down to dogmatic true believers vs. pragmatists, pragmatists usually are the the ones that survive and thrive. Adapt or die.

    I was unaware of Sim using foreign publishers. Seems like the wise thing to do.

    I’m kind of sorry Sim’s younger self shackled his older self to 300 issues of Cerebus when 150 or so seemed perfectly sufficient (at least to me which was around when I jumped ship). From what I gather the last 150 issues didn’t seem to serve him especially well.

  44. Tony says:

    I want to change my bet on “Eros Gone Wild”, because Humanoides Associes has just announced this:

    http://www.humano.com/album/35770

    A 300 page collection of an erotic anthology, composed of short stories, that they published 20 years ago. Funnily enough, both Jean-Claude Forest and Max Cabanes are participants but they’re just two among the all-star roster of writers and artists congregated for the occassion:

    http://www.bedetheque.com/serie-4313-BD-Fripons-collectif-Humanos.html

    Alexandro Jodorowsky, Philippe Druillet, Philippe Caza, Enki Bilal, Jean-Pierre Gibrat, Paul Gillon, Mezzo & Pirus, Miguelanxo Prado, Fred Beltran, Loustal, Arno, Baru, Blutch, Igort, Edmond Baudoin, Suehiro Maruo, Victor De La Fuente, Horacio Altuna… among many others.

    Also, the tabloid-sized super-deluxe individual edition of the first INCAL album is 99.9% confirmed by virtue of the announcement of its French counterpart, and we know how Humanoids work simultaneously in both sides of the Atlantic:

    http://www.humano.com/album/35824

  45. mateor says:

    I think the news of the fire to be absolutely heart breaking. I loved Going Home. I pretty much loved it all, although there is plenty of reasns for people to skip the exegesis, that I understand.

  46. Paul Slade says:

    “Next Week At TCJ.com: ‘Dave Sim’s Response To The Fantagraphics Offer.”

    That’s the promise made on this Moment of Cerebus page:

    http://www.momentofcerebus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-fantagraphics-offer.html

  47. John Farwell says:

    ‘good germans’ were ‘sensible people’…
    the ‘dynamics of the marketplace’, like the very weather itself, is the consequence of human engineering.
    conformity supports what passivity enables…
    it’s a post-sense world…
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=31252

    ***

    http://www.truthout.org/111308R
    ‘I talked to you about the difficulty I invariably have translating “libèral” into English and how I have settled for the descriptive, but inelegant term “neo-liberal free market.” You are no longer using the term in French, but using “capitalist.” How do you define the term “capitalist”?

      Yes, it’s true that many people use this term “capitalist” all the time, but no one now ever says exactly what it is.

      I define capitalism as an ideology according to which:

      • First of all, all human motivation is reduced to maximizing each individual’s personal self-interest

      • Secondly, market mechanisms only are considered the legitimate over-arching arbiter between individuals’ competing self-interests.

    ***

    the material is the first priority. like children.
    ‘survival’ is otherwise meaningless. (should we prescribe ‘viability’ for all foetuses?)
    ‘survival’ not only isn’t enough, it beggars definition. the concept, as practiced, defeats its own supposed purpose.
    even so, survival practiced another way -one may call it finessing the difference -still amounts to the same conformity, the same priority, albeit a smaller (‘non-market’) ‘market':
    http://zuma.vip.warped.com/rozz-tox.txt
    Capitalism for good or ill is the river in which we sink or swim, and stocks the supermarket.

    if the ‘battlefield’ is ‘littered’ (litter??) with such ‘corpses’, let us honor them and not disrespect such ‘unsensible’ humans. the honor roll is long and distinguished. -depending on one’s values.

    at the time panter wrote the rozz-tox manifesto, matt howarth opened a door for me to a room that held a mountain of the most fabulous works, none of which had any price tag whatsoever. all ‘mail art culture’ works. how does one assay that mountain? his own works were equally fabulous to me. subsequently, thanks to ted white and the later B&W explosion, he ‘survived’. i honor that, but i also honor as well, and more, the path not taken. i would say the same for gary panter.

    who is and who is not a walking corpse is a matter of perspective and opinion. all i know is where we are now and what got us here. i think the history of the last 30 years speaks for itself. in even our very weather (of every sort). even as gary panter suggested, reality speaks and spoke for itself. it is not sensible. being ‘sensible’ is not adapting. make your own reality or reality will make you. or put another way, is it sensibility needing to be more clearly defined or sanity itself? doing the ‘sensible’ thing these days is patently insane. the very worst advice, and either oblivious or disingenuous.

    procreation, like money, is not the meaning of life but a means to the end, in hope that at some point original creation will occur. when the former overtakes the latter, the account is overdrawn. (gee, the history of the rockefeller family comes to mind…) pointless survival is blindly detrimental, and antagonistic to hope, redemption, or any other point.

  48. Joe McCulloch says:

    SECRET MESSAGE FOR BLOOD & THUNDER WEEKEND READERS: It seems the entirety of The Crusaders is now available in digital form at two bucks a shot via iTunes, along with various other Jack T. Chick-written comics. I hear the Black Pope looks best on the iPhone 5!

  49. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Wow! Interesting news indeed. Thanks!

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