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What’s the Good of Anything?—Nothing!

Today, Rob Clough reviews the Runner Runner anthology. Here’s some of what he had to say:

Greg Means is well known for his “Clutch McBastard” zine alter ego as well as for editing the exquisitely designed Papercutter anthology. Runner Runner was his contribution to Free Comic Book Day 2012 as well as a staple at his convention tables. Far from a throwaway freebie, this lean minicomic has a killer lineup of excellent work. It seems like Means will be concentrating on Runner Runner as far as his anthologies go, as he’s discontinued Papercutter and Nate Powell has announced he is doing a comic with Al Burian for this year’s Runner Runner. The anthology is mostly comprised of West Coast cartoonists, including a number from Means’ home base of Portland, Oregon. As such, it’s an excellent sampler of the most experienced cartoonists from that scene (as well as a smattering of other good cartoonists) who are mostly known for their minicomics.

Elsewhere:

—Avi Steinberg has a great short review of Maurice Sendak’s last book on The New Yorker website, linking it to Sendak’s first unpublished book, which he created as a child.

New progress seems to have been made in the age-old quest to find the secret origins of MAD magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman. (John Adcock has more.)

The New York Times profiled a day in the life of comiXology CEO David Steinberger, written just before the Marvel promotion that knocked out the site’s servers for two days.

—Michael Barrier has a short essay on Walt Kelly, illustrated and explained through publicity photos taken for a Chuck Jones-directed Pogo animation special.

—Paul Di Filippo reviews Lynda Barry’s Freddie Stories, Glen Weldon reviews Ben Katchor’s Hand-Drying in America, and Craig Fischer reviews Bernie Krigstein’s Messages in a Bottle.

—Maren Williams at the CBLDF blog writes a short history of the end of Australian comic-book censorship.

—Via Twitter, Erik Larsen argues, “If you need to include an arrow to tell readers which panel to read next your page is a failure. It should be obvious.” Which seems more or less like a comics equivalent to “invisible style.” And like invisible style in film, its use-value depends on what kind of comic you are making.

—For his day job, Chris Mautner profiles a local comic-book collector.

—Not Comics: What a great photograph. I know it’s hipper these days to dig Keaton and disparage Chaplin, but I don’t care what you say. City Lights, man.

—Also Not Comics, But Closer: Here’s the trailer for a new documentary about a group of artists not so dissimilar from cartoonists, sign painters:

(via)


15 Responses to What’s the Good of Anything?—Nothing!

  1. I have also found that Chaplin fans are far less likely to disparage Keaton in return. Probably because we’re not being hipsters about our love ;)

    (For the record, I like Keaton too, but Chaplin is my silent king.)

  2. Lou Copeland says:

    “I know it’s hipper these days to dig Keaton and disparage Chaplin, but I don’t care what you say. City Lights, man.”

    Same with Tex Avery over Chuck Jones. Bah.

  3. Joe McCulloch says:

    Harry Langdon & Charley Bowers are the hipster Chaplin & Keaton.

  4. patrick ford says:

    Actually the “I like Keaton and Chaplin is overrated” bit is a stale ’80s NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS style posturing. Sort of a “hipster credo” attitude where only bands people have yet to hear of are cool.
    By the ’70s Keaton’s films had been in eclipse for quite awhile, but Chaplin’s were still fairly easy to see if you wanted to.

  5. Brad Mackay says:

    Justin Green — creator of The Sign Game (one of the best workplace strips of all time) — is featured in that Sign Painters doc.

  6. Tim Hodler says:

    Yes, I meant to mention that. Thanks, Brad!

  7. R. Fiore says:

    You realize, of course, that there’s no way in the world Helen Keller could have any idea what Charlie Chaplin did.

  8. Briany Najar says:

    Someone would have told her via whatever means that he was a man of the people etc.

  9. Briany Najar says:

    So anyway, whenever someone mentions Chaplin I have to reel out this quote of him, cos it’s about them comics what I likes:

    “I started the little tramp to make people laugh because those other old tramps, Weary Willie and Tired Tim, had always made me laugh.”

    So, people who go to that kinema are mugs cos comics is the best.

    http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein/chaplin/dev-of-tramp-as-icon.html

  10. Lou Copeland says:

    Maybe she liked his song “Smile,” so he graced her with one.

  11. Briany Najar says:

    “If you need to include an arrow to tell readers which panel to read next your page is a failure. It should be obvious.”

    Other symptoms of a dysfunctionally contrived comics page include:

    1) Use of the written word;
    compounded by,
    Having speech bubbles instead of discrete captions underneath the panels;
    compounded by,
    Having pointers on a speech bubble to indicate which figure should be associated with it;

    2) Dependancy on the depiction of behaviour associated with “humans”;
    compounded by;
    Use of recurrent and recognisable “characters”;
    compounded by,
    Deploying those characters and their circumstances to the determined purpose of provoking sympathy or emnity;
    compounded by;
    Having the characters sport brightly coloured costumes, exaggeratedly moral behaviour and names that indicate their special qualities;

    3) Dependancy on temporality;
    compounded by,
    Relying on the concept of pictorial space;
    compounded by,
    Use of linear perspective.

    Now, children, how many more can you think of?…
    Yes, Peggy, colouring across the the holding lines is very wrong, good suggestion!
    What about when draughts-people do contour lines instead of following Ingres into tonality?
    Very naughty! Like heathens! Bad!

  12. Lou Copeland says:

    Nevermind. I forgot she was deaf too. And here I was thinking I could get a job patching continuity holes for the big 2.

  13. Can’t wait for that Sign Painters movie!

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