Wrestling Fans

Today we have Steve Ringgenberg's obituary of Jerry Robinson. And, as ever, Joe McCulloch brings us the week in comics.

And so let's go for a stroll: Evan Dorkin posted some awfully nice looking "sketch cards" he did for the CBLDF. Over at D&Q there's another preview of Guy Delisle's upcoming book, Jerusalem.

Somehow I missed this incredible post about a 1944 nurse story by Jack Cole... or is it? I couldn't begin to tell you why I like this photo so much -- three guys, one photo, an anonymous office. It's a good set up. And on the same nerdy tip, here's an article over at the venerable Mindless Ones about The Daleks. Just the right dose for me.

I've enjoyed Brian K. Vaughn's comics quite a bit in the past, so the news of a new series is intriguing. All the more so since he's taking it to Image, which seems a good choice for someone who wants to own something.  Not comics, but same business model: David Berman, of Silver Jews, has begun posting the internal files of Gulas/Welch Wrestling Enterprises. Amazing.

Surviving the Season

Patrick Rosenkranz takes stock of the lot of today's comics business, by looking and talking to people at four prominent retailers: Meltdown in Hollywood, Desert Island in Brooklyn, Quimby's in Chicago, and CounterMedia in Portland, Oregon.

Frank Santoro recruits Gabby Gamboa for this week's "scene report," this time covering the San Francisco bay area.

And Comics Journal co-founder Mike Catron passes along word that he's just uploaded a four-part video featuring Jerry Robinson from San Diego in 2009:


Jordan Shrively has started a new Tumblr featuring cartoonist's studio spaces. So far profilees include Jim Woodring and Tom Neely.

Speaking of Woodring, last week he posted a video tutorial explaining how he draws Frank:

Series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden have released the full list of "notable comics" from The Best American Comics 2011. (Woodring is on it.)

Dean Haspiel has donated a huge number of minicomics to the Library of Congress.

Brandon Graham is interviewed over at Bookslut.

Tucker Stone begins a series of tournaments between comics old and new. His first entry puts a Michael DeForge story up against Tim Vigil's Faust. And based on his final judgment, I think Tucker's refereeing skills need work. This should be fun to follow.

Just so you know, a big internet-style king of the mountain-sized molehill fight is brewing in the part of the comics world that we tend to ignore here when we can: J. Michael Straczynski vs. Marvel editor Steve Wacker (with help on the sidelines from Mark Waid and Dan Slott). They are arguing about Spider-Man sales figures, in case you don't care to look into it further.

And finally, Jeff Newelt at Heeb magazine gets Al Jaffee to perform Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions live on stage.

Won’t See the Likes…

On the site:

Shannon Wheeler wraps up his diary in Portugal.

And in the comics world the big, sad news is that Jerry Robinson, longtime cartoonist, Batman artist, and tremendous advocate for creator's rights and free speech has passed away at the age of 89. We will have a full obituary shortly. In the meantime, we're pleased to re-present Gary Groth's definitive interview with artist from 2004. Chris Mautner conducted a more recent interview in 2010 for TCJ. And here is Tom De Haven's recent review of the reissue of Robinson's The Comics.

For more on Robinson I recommend Christopher Irving's profile at Graphic NYC, Alex Dueben's 2010 interview at CBR, which covers the recent Jet Scott and The Comics reissues, and the NY Daily News obituary, which covers the highlights of the artist's life.

In old-time-comic-book-companies-that-were-once-very-bad-still-are-and-we-shouldn't-be-surprised news:

-Laura Hudson scores an interview with Marvel editors on the lack of female titles/creators at the company.

-And there's a battle on at Archie over who gets to run that wholesome company. Somewhere Dan DeCarlo is smiling.

A Day on the Linking Streets

Today we have the fourth day of Shannon Wheeler's entry into the Cartoonist's Diary game, in which he tries to escape from New York, as well as Sean T. Collins's review of Levon Jihanian's Danger Country.

At other web sites:

Over at Comixology, the Journal's own Kristy Valenti writes about Richard Marschall's Sunday Funnies book.

I don't know how I missed this before, but legendary animator and cartoonist Gene Deitch has been posting a long series of memoirs, organized by different people he has known throughout his life. Like his son Kim, Gene Deitch has had a pretty amazing life, and knows how to tell a story. (The semi-recent "Deitch family" Journal issue is one of the best magazines you will ever read.)

Peter Blegvad, creator of the amazing comic strip Leviathan (another must read), created and appeared on a BBC radio play about memory loss last weekend, and there are only two more days in which you can listen to it for free online.

Mike Lynch profiles the semi-forgotten Punch cartoonist J.W. Taylor, posting lots of samples of his work.

In that same post, Lynch mentions that Percy Crosby's Skippy is one of the archival reprinting projects he'd most like to see published, and coincidentally, yesterday IDW announced they were going to do just that.

Secret Acres, Kevin Czap, and AdHouse Books have BCGF reports. The AdHouse one in particular is worth looking at, if only because of the off unfortunate news that Chris Pitzer had art stolen from him, and the chance that you might be able to help him recover it.

Two lists at the far ends of the critical spectrum from each other: Time's top ten books of the year (featuring Daniel Clowes and Kate Beaton), and the Poopsheet Foundation's list of the best minicomics of 2011.

I haven't listened to this yet, but Tucker Stone recruited two other Journal writers, Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca, for a podcast in which, I guess, they talk about comics?

And finally, something else I haven't been able to fully absorb yet -- the Mindless Ones' Doubtful Guest turns in a ginormous take on the current state of the direct market, and it looks to be the kind of lengthy link-heavy MO essay I like best from them.

Leave Them Wanting

Here's where we are:

Shannon Wheeler rolls up with Day 3 of his diary while Mike Dawson talks to Sarah Glidden over at TCJ Talkies.

Meanwhile, Josh Neufeld has a good and topical new comic up at Cartoon Movement about "two young Bahraini editorial cartoonists who found themselves on opposite sides of Bahrain's short-lived Pearl Revolution".

Writer Brian Wood posted some thoughts on the current market vis a vis digital distribution as experienced by a working professional in a few different areas of the market. He begins with:

Everyone I know loves comic shops.  Everyone I know who makes comics, especially creator-owned comics, is hurting, financially. EVERYONE is bleeding, its a bad time. So to what extent does digital as a publishing format represent an additional revenue stream, one on top of print sales through shops, one that can ease some of the suffering?

Over in what seems like a world of abundance, Noel Murray at A/V Club has a lengthy review round-up of titles including Someday Funnies, The Definitive Flash Gordon And Jungle Jim, Vol. 1 and Lost in the Andes.

And here are a couple BCGF reports from Drawn & Quarterly and Publishers Weekly.


Office holiday party last night, and the train home was brutal.

Not brutal? Joe McCulloch's always great column on the week in comics, this time with a mini-report of last weekend's BCGF attached.

Shannon Wheeler gives us day two of his diary, this time taking us with him to The New Yorker on cartoonist submission day.

Tom Spurgeon wrote a lengthy report on the Brooklyn festival, too, and Chris Mautner has a photo diary of the event of his own. If you see him, ask for a copy of his daughter's minicomic.

The digitalpocalypse for the direct market continues its approach.

The New York Times had three comics-related reviews in last Sunday's book section: one on MetaMaus, one on caricature (linked to an exhibit at the Met in New York), and one on R. Crumb's album covers.

A nine-year-old's correspondence with Hergé.

After a short break, Eddie Campbell is back with two new installments in his series on romance comics.

Another week, another enormous Alan Moore interview. Fatigue is setting in now. It's in three parts.

There is also a new interview with comics academic Roger Sabin and a conversation between Neil Gaiman and Shaun Tan.

And finally, Al Jaffee is profiled by CNN. (via)

Put Your Head on the Table

Top of the site today: Shannon Wheeler joins us for a week-long stint on Cartoonist's Diary. Shannon most recently published Oil and Water (written by Steve Duin) with Fantagraphics. He is the author of  I Thought You Would be Funnier and is well known for his character Too Much Coffee Man.

Well, The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival is all done. I was, as luck would have it, knocked out with the remainder of a bad cold, so it was all a bit of daze for me. But for everyone else all that's left are back aches, hangovers and a lot of comics. It was packed and cheery, and I was happy to get to spend some time with Tom Spurgeon, Phoebe Gloeckner and a few other long distance travelers. Sightings and stories of Jack Davis were legion. He was like a visiting dignitary who turned normal people into quivering fans; myself included. We'll have his conversation with Gary Groth and Drew Friedman on the site just as soon as we can. And of course I had the pleasure of launching Kramers Ergot 8.

Frank Santoro has filed a brief report already for which he mercilessly swiped my best pictures of the signing, so here's a few others from the fest.

The rock show Friday night was jammed and a ton of fun. Here's Gary, Devin and Ross tuning up. The next day Gary managed to draw excellent dinosaurs in copies of Kramers with his head down on the table.

Sammy Harkham and CF attempt "blue steel".

Here's a life TCJ (knights of the) round table: Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, Tim Hodler (with TCJ NJ-branch intern Ramona). 

And here's Tim with Matthew Thurber.

Sorry, that's all I have. It was busy!

Via Snarky McSnarkenhood comes a link to a piece of music written from Marc Bell's The Stacks.

And here's news of an exhibition featuring work by occasional comic book scripter and possible Kona writer, Lionel Ziprin.

Finally, in comics-is-often-gross news, looks like there's gonna be a Watchmen 2.

A Glass House & a Pile of Rocks

Today, we've got Sean T. Collins reviewing Matthew Thurber's 1-800-Mice, a book he told me he had expected to dislike. But, like a certain special Somebody whose birthday is coming up, Thurber rarely plays to expectations, and certainly didn't in this case.


The L.A. Weekly talks to Ben Jones, of Paper Rad and Problem Solverz fame, regarding his new gallery show. He's into old video games, it seems.

Tintinologist Michael Farr picks five titles he'd suggest to people interested in the character. And only two of them were written by Hergé.

I didn't know until Alan Gardner pointed it out yesterday, but Lynn (For Better or Worse) Johnson has been posting a long series of video podcasts, often involving advice on making comic strips and the creative process.

Robin McConnell of Inkstuds has published the full-length transcript of his great interview with Geof Darrow from last winter. If you never listened to that (or even if you did) this is worth checking out. Darrow's a unique figure. And it's always rewarding to read written-out versions of old radio programs. It's the way they were meant to be experienced. (I love you, Robin.)

Tucker Stone reviews a very early issue of The Comics Journal (#38, to be exact), and it's really smart, and good good fun for longtime Journal fans (or foes). My favorite part is where Tucker claims not to enjoy it when "critics criticize other critics," right in the middle of a lengthy post reviewing almost every page of criticism in a 33-year-old issue of TCJ. Maybe he just doesn't like it when the other critics might argue back... Seriously, this is great, and I hope he writes a hundred more like it. (I love you, Tucker.)

Matt Seneca has posted the last two days of his multi-part interview with cartoonist and would-be provocateur Blaise Larmee. These are smart guys (Seneca's easily the best under-30 comics critic I can think of), and it's worth reading, but by this point in the series, I'm beginning to get tired of the constant back-and-forth about whether or not comics are "cool"—especially since they seem to mean the word in the Fonzie sense, not the Marshall McLuhan one. I mean, imagine that Hitchcock and Truffaut (whose famous interview book I'm guessing is being referenced with "Larmee/Seneca") had spent half their time together talking about whether or not movies were cool. But when Matt and Larmee's talk veers in less conventionally teenaged directions, it gets much more interesting. (I love you, Matt.)

When I first came across Tom Spurgeon's annual Holiday shopping guide a week back, it was completely blank, and apparently had been posted without having been written. And so I forgot to go back and check to see if "Mr. Focus" ever decided to write it. Turns out he eventually did, and it's as mind-bogglingly wide-ranging as ever. I don't really give comics-related gifts to anyone (my family and friends are too cool to be into comics), but this is still a great read every year, listing plenty of obscure and/or overlooked material, whether or not you use the guide for its ostensible purpose. (I love you, Tom.)

Escaping Chilliwack

And here we go:

On the site today Sean T. Collins continues his column and introduces Noel Freibert, of Closed Caption Comics and numerous other crews. It's been fun watching Noel develop his work these last buncha years.

Elsewhere in the web-verse:

I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that this weekend is the big damn Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, which I co-organize with Desert Island & Bill Kartalopolous. And speaking of which the legendary (I know, overused, but actually apt this time) Jack Davis will be interviewed by Gary Groth tonight at The Strand, 7 pm. Then he'll have an art opening at Scott Eder Gallery on Friday, and on Saturday will be at the Fest. Davis takes NYC!

Just a few other links today, as it seemed a slow news moment or something. I found this list of Dr. Doom stories endearing. And, well, let's go less links and more, "here's some interesting stuff coming up": This anthology looks good, and features work from personal fave Megan Kelso and TCJ writer Katie Haegele, too. Evan Dorkin announced yesterday that he's going to be producing new work for Dark Horse Presents. I always like seeing Evan's work, and am psyched to see his Mike and Cheese collection, too. Finally, straight outta Canada, Marc Bell compatriots Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver are working on an animated film called Asphalt Watches and need some funding. Marc talked about the scene they're all a part of in yesterday's interview. Shayne and Seth say:

In 2000, we hitchhiked across Canada together. The animation captures our crazy journey, full of hilarious and amazing encounters. Using music and songs we make ourselves, alongside hand-drawn Flash animation, we tell the tale of making our way from a 7-11 near Chilliwack BC where a guy was hanging out with a knife in his belly... to meeting one of only "two real Santas" in the world outside Calgary... to barely escaping death near Regina SK. Our style is to turn real-life characters and settings into funny and poetic abstractions that depict the feeling and essence of what happened.

Sounds good to me! Anyhooooo, below is a preview. See ya this weekend, New Yorkers.

The Not-So-Great Game

We got a nice one for you today, Dan's interview with Mr. Hot Potatoe himself, Marc Bell. Here's an excerpt:

Sometimes I look at a work and won’t be too interested. The way I will respond is, “Well, they needed to throw a wrench in it.” They need to throw a wrench into what they’re doing, and maybe it would come out more interesting. The thing that I liked about doing collaborations is that someone is interfering with what you’re doing. I’ll be drawing something and then someone adds to it or they take it in a different direction or because it’s a different person, it’s kind of an interference. So I think that led me to try to interfere with myself in the way I’m working, like with drawing and collages and stuff, trying to create something more interesting by creating a bit of a problem that has to be solved.

Also on the site, Rob Clough reviews Melissa Mendes's Freddy Stories.

Elsewhere, there are a lot of links, too many for any one person to read in one day. You will have to pick and choose. I will try to help you decide when I can.

Dept. of Drug Abuse. Everyone will want to read Justin Green's thoughts on marijuana—comic strip included.

Dept. of Process & Comics History.
Adrian Tomine talked to Comic Book Resources about the latest issue of Optic Nerve, an abandoned graphic novel, and learning to accept classic comic-strip techniques as valid for his own work.

Blaise Larmee continues to make gnomic replies to Matt Seneca's questions in days two and three of their week's worth of interviews. On Monday I said that this discussion would be catnip to some and provoke blank stares from others. Today, I have to admit that I have had both reactions to the talk, often within the space of a few sentences.

Dept. of Cartoonists on Video.
Kate Beaton appeared on another Canadian internet video thing, and Drew Friedman showed somebody who calls himself "Mr. Media" how he draws. (I know I referred to Mr. Media the same way the last time I mentioned him, but it's really hard not to be surprised all over again every time I am reminded.)

Dept. of Grant Morrison Worship. Grant Morrison maniacs who haven't slavishly departed from the premises after he tried to pull a Pearl Harbor on us last summer will be interested in two Marc Singer-related items. Singer of course is a formerly very active comics blogger and academic who is now releasing a book called Grant Morrison: Combining the Worlds of Contemporary Comics. The Mindless Ones interview Singer at length about the book here, and Singer himself excerpts a section on his own site.

For those who aren't yet Morrison maniacs but want to become one for some reason, Chris Mautner provides a guide to his entire oeuvre.

Dept. of Alan Moore Talking at Length.
Moore talked to Fast Company about Harvey Pekar here (Top Shelf has more on the Moore/Pekar relationship), and his recent interview with The Independent has been republished entirely uncut here.

Dept. of Speaking of Uncut... Fantagraphics has published the complete R.C. Harvey essay on Pogo that was far too long to include in its entirety between the two covers of their recent Pogo collection (at least without losing some of the strip).

Dept. of Comics Internet Bashing. Tucker Stone goes on a tear near the end there, while Jones (O.O.T.J.B.) keeps things short and sweet.

Dept. of Pleasant Surprises.
I'm going to steer clear of the comments thread underneath it so as not to ruin things, but Noah Berlatsky's review of Ben Saunder's Do Gods Wear Capes? is really good!

It’s Today

Indeed it is. And like every Tuesday for the rest of your life, Joe McCulloch is telling you about this week in comics releases. He does this not because he wants to. No, he does it because he needs to. He can't help him. Joe is a great human comic reading machine.

Elsewhere in the comics world: Our own Frank Santoro, currently en route to NYC via the great Amtrak network, has announced another session of his comics correspondence course for March 2012. It's go time. Speaking of Frank, this blog seems plucked from his brain once upon a time. A chronicle of shitty 80s genre comics. Gotta love them. I know I do. You know else does? Jim Rugg. He has some fine holiday gift suggestions on his own blog! And James Romberger looks at Alex Toth's classic genre work of the 50s.

Some other fun things I've tripped over. Thanks to JH, I now can anticipate Dave Sim's next book. I remember Tim gave me Sim's collected letters (vol. 1) for my 30th birthday. I forgave him eventually, and now hope ol man Hodler will give me this tome for... Halloween 2012? Hanukah?

Finally, the great Spanish cartoonist Max has an exhibition up in Mexico. I love Max's transformation from new wave 80s dude to classic form-based artist these days.

Talking Turkey

Hello everyone, and I hope all our US readers survived the feasting and family. First up today comes a feature article on something you most likely weren't expecting to read about: Now You're Logging, an early graphic novel on the Canadian logging industry created by an outdoorsman and self-taught cartoonist. Brad Mackay has more.

And Frank Santoro's regular column plays host to Jacob Berendes's scene report from Providence, Rhode Island.


In anticipation of his on-stage interview with Mad legend Jack Davis this weekend, Drew Friedman presents an online gallery of the artist's work.

The Guardian, which seems to really be saturating their culture section with comics coverage lately, has two stories about comics and Occupy Wall Street: First, a not entirely coherent (but not necessarily wrong) essay by Ice Storm novelist Rick Moody, linking Frank Miller's work and political commentary to Hollywood propaganda, and second, a really surprisingly good short interview with Alan Moore about the prevalence of V for Vendetta masks at Occupy protests. (The enjoyability of the piece may be linked to the fact that he isn't asked for the five-millionth time to give his take on movies made from his books and/or current superhero comics.)

Here are outtakes from a profile of underground comics hero Spain Rodriguez.

Chip Kidd reviews a book about the Joker for the Wall Street Journal (and in a sidebar, gives a short list of his favorite books about Golden Age comics).

And finally, this will be catnip for some and provoke blank stares from others: Matt Seneca has just posted the first of a week's worth of posts reprinting an online conversation with the Young Lions cartoonist and internet personality Blaise Larmee.

Break Time

Well, it's almost that time and so we're taking a break. That's right, you won't have us to kick around or complain about for 4 whole days! Posting will resume, with a long sigh, on Monday November 28th.

Until then, "friends", we leave you with a fine interview with Anders Nilsen, as conducted by Hayley Campbell. Starting with his London tour stop, Hayley takes us through Anders' working process and then has him reflect on Big Questions as it happened via each cover of the series. And Sean T. Collins turns in a review of the latest installment of the always hilarious Tales Designed to Thrizzle.

Otherwise, well, I liked this analysis of Jack Cole's Playboy comics. No analysis needed of this awesome new Drew Friedman print.  I went to LA last week, but Chris Oliveros was there the week before me, and lived to tell the tale. And if he doesn't find LA, LA is gonna fine him. Ben Marra's Night Business is back for another issue. Finally, sending you off, Lisa Hanawalt's excellent Thanksgiving NY Times cartoon. Old medication. Perfect.

See you next week. Have a great holiday!


It's Tuesday, which means it's time for another edition of Joe McCulloch's This Week in Comics. In this installment, he starts things off with a mini-essay on a recent 2000 AD serial (in Judge Dredd Magazine, to be precise), Pat Mills and Clint Langley's American Reaper.

We also have a new webcomics column from Shaenon Garrity, an introduction to the works of longtime webcartoonist (and creator of Bruno, Little Dee, and Spacetrawler) Christopher Baldwin.

And Rob Clough reviews the comic book that's taken a lot of people by surprise this year, Ethan Rilly's Pope Hats #2.

Elsewhere on the internet:

1. Tom Spurgeon interviews Rich Tomasso, primarily about his (excellent) coloring for the new Carl Barks Library, but also covering his own recent cartooning.

2. In a terrific post, Paul Tumey and Frank Young gather a handful of examples of classic comic-book artists putting versions of themselves into their work, including Sheldon Mayer, Jack Cole, and Simon & Kirby.

3. Bob Layton announced on Facebook that the corporate atmosphere at Marvel has gotten so pervasive that he can no longer work for the company.

4. Evan Dorkin talks to the SF Weekly to promote his new Milk & Cheese collection.

5. Somehow I missed that Rick Altergott had started a new webcomic for Vice! As far as I am concerned, this is the big news of 2011 so far, folks.

6. Brad Mackay has an extensive obituary of Alvin Schwartz, the complicated man and comic-book writer who created Bizarro.

7. Book designer Peter Mendelsund has posted part two of his illustrated essay on the covers of Lolita that I linked to a while back.

8. Finally, I don't really know what this means, but since this recent bit of Occupy Wall Street-affiliated protest art features three cartoon characters, I figured I'd link to it and let you decide for yourselves.

Week’s Beginning

As you may have read elsewhere, cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman's young daughter, Rosalie Lightning, passed away last week. Tom and Leela's friends have created a fund for " to help with everything Tom and Leela are facing in this terrible situation.  Just to be clear, this is not an ongoing charitable foundation; it is a bunch of Tom and Leela’s friends passing the cup around to help them surmount the short-term challenges arising from this tragedy." Jon Lewis provides more context here. The link to the paypal link is here. Tim and I ask that you please consider donating to the fund.

Anyhow, on the site now:

Frank Santoro recruited Tom K. to write a scene report on Minneapolis

Jason Leivian reviews the roll playing game Cave Evil

Craig Fischer returns with a new installment of his column, this time focusing on... focus.

And elsewhere:

-A nifty profile of Spain Rodriguez.

-A memoir of Joel Beck by our frequent Roger Brand commenter, Tom Conroy.

-Oft-told but now with a new wrinkle: When Roy Lichtenstein "met" William Overgard.

-Ed Wood sleaze paperbacks!



Hugging the Shore

Today we bring you Prajna Desai's fascinating review of Kashmir Pending, a graphic novel about the political unrest in that region by Naseer Ahmed and Saurabh Singh, published in New Delhi in 2007 by a now defunct company called Phantomville. Desai covers an enormous amount of ground in this one—from the history of the Kashmir independence movement to the effects of imprecise dating to Joe Sacco's narrative strategy.

Elsewhere on the internet, Journal stalwart Chris Mautner turns in an excellent interview with Annie Koyama, founder of Koyama Press, over at Comic Book Resources. If you aren't already familiar with the story behind the creation of her company, you really ought to read it.

Another Journal contributor, Matt Seneca, also takes to the pixels of Comic Book Resources to write about one of Frank King's most famous Sunday Gasoline Alley pages.

And over at Comixology, still another Journal contributor, Tucker Stone, interviews Mark Waid at length about his writing stint on Daredevil, a superhero book that (not for the first time in its history) has something of a cult following going on right now.

Finally, I don't think we've yet mentioned Joyce Brabner's Kickstarter project designed to raise money for a statue of Harvey Pekar at the Cleveland Heights Public Library. There are lots of things to read and videos to watch about it here, if you're interested.

Table Breaking

Today on the site:

Chris Mautner talks to Art Spiegelman about MetaMaus.

Ryan Holmberg digs ever deeper and bring us a look at one strain of manga circa 1948-1957.


Not comics, but worth reading: Tucker Stone on Richard Stark (and The Bad News Bears).

An interview with Craig Thompson about orientalism and the critical reception of Habibi.

A fine comic by Louis Ferstadt, who was an early mentor to Harvey Kurtzman and a wonderfully elastic cartoonist himself.


Against the Grain

This morning, we present R. C. Harvey's formal obituary of Bil Keane, the Family Circus creator who passed away last Tuesday. An excerpt:

Asked whether comics are “art,” Keane said: “The comic strip is a brilliant form of art developed in America and now imitated in every country. More people see and appreciate this art form daily than ever see the expensive paintings tucked away in museums. I’m proud to be exhibited regularly in over 1,500 newspapers, and to have my work hung on what I consider the world’s most prestigious art gallery: the refrigerator doors in homes across America.” But he’s never entirely serious for long: “Some cartoonists jot their ideas down on the back of an old envelope,” he once said. “Some talk into a tape recorder. I talk into the back of an old envelope.”

In a new episode of TCJ Talkies recorded live at the Minneapolis Indie Xpo, Mike Dawson interviews MariNaomi and Noah Van Sciver.

And Rob Clough reviewsMichael Kupperman's illustrated novel, Mark Twain's Autobiography 1910-2010.

Elsewhere, people are continuing to react to "the Frank Miller incident." David Barnett at the Guardian gathers some of the responses and takes a look at the politics of Miller's comics. One reaction not included there comes from Neal Adams. It's unfocused but relatively sane. Finally, Jim Rugg and Frank Santoro have their own take:

More pleasant things to contemplate: author and minor television personality John Hodgman's interview with Newsarama about the comics he's been reading, Paul Di Filippo's review of Daniel Clowes's The Death-Ray, and the release of Bruce Wayne's medical records.


I'm in LA again. This time for a schizophrenic week of first launching the Odd Future book, Golf Wang, and then opening the Destroy All Monsters exhibition, Return of the Repressed. The former is "just" a book, the latter a 150-piece show I've been working on with Mike Kelley for a while now. It's gonna be a busy week. The only comics I think I'll will be whatever Ben Jones has lying around his guest room, though DAM member Jim Shaw has made some fine ass comics in his time.

Anyhow, let's see... on the site today:

Joe McCulloch gives us a nice week in comics complete with a look at the Kirby strip in Someday Funnies.

And elsewhere:

Tom Spurgeon files the one and only in depth obituary of historian Les Daniels.

Short one today, folks!


Display Copy

Good morning, everyone. Today we are very proud to publish Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith's tribute to the late Bil Keane:

... I also remember Bil Keane’s talk to the assembled crowd. It was flavored by what his generation would call “pretty salty language.” For the creator of such a family-friendly strip, his comments were a surprise–and a pleasant one. I began to realize these “old-timers” were not at all like the characters in their G-rated comics; they were people like me. Well, sort of.

Also, Sean T. Collins turns in a review of Megan Kelso's re-released Queen of the Black Black.

And Frank Santoro recruits John Porcellino to contribute a scene report from South Beloit, Illinois.

Speaking of Keane, Jeet Heer passes along this short profile of the man from a 2006 issue of the Tucson Citizen, which is sad but well worth reading.

At Robot 6, Kevin Melrose highlights another heartbreaking story, an insurance magazine profile describing the late-life plight of longtime comic-book writer Bill Mantlo, now in a nursing home, and never really fully recovered from the hit-and-run that injured him two decades ago.

Kate Beaton was featured on a CTV news story last week. There's always something pleasantly surreal about seeing cartoonists on television.

Paul Gravett profiles and interviews David B.

Matt Seneca interviewed Yuichi Yokoyama.

A cartoon Miller posted on his site last year: "Krypto-Fascist"

And of course, the big comics-related news going around the internet this weekend was the reaction to Frank Miller's pathetic commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement. (A choice bit of Miller's wordplay: "HAH! Some 'movement', except if the word 'bowel' is attached.") In one of those rare moments where I strongly disagree with him, Tom Spurgeon wrote a brief post calling the whole thing "deeply silly" and basically seeming to imply that Miller's words were better left undiscussed. (Though it's possible I'm misreading him, and Spurgeon just finds the whole situation distasteful, a position it's hard to argue against.) In any case, all of this sort of thing is fair game in my book. And while individual cases of embarrassing statements from major creators might disappoint me (not this time—while a lot of his early work still holds up well, I gave up on Miller years ago), overall, it's good to know more about where they're coming from. Kim Thompson wrote Spurgeon a letter taking strident issue with him about a different matter, Tom's characterization of Miller's politics. And if you haven't yet had your fill of the matter, the writer David Brin has used this occasion to publish a long explanation of everything he thinks is wrong (historically and politically) with Miller's 300.


On the site today:

R. Fiore ponders Will Eisner and PS Magazine.

It seems to me what PS represented something Eisner pursued throughout his career, the opportunity to create comics for an adult readership. Indeed, during most of its run it must have been nearly the only such opportunity in the comic book format outside of Little Annie Fanny, and as such is another tribute to Eisner’s savvy.

Rob Clough reviews Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant.

And elsewhere:

Alex Dueben offers a short but sweet interview with Seth.

Nick Gazin's comic review column at Vice takes on Carl Barks.

And over at D&Q there's news of Guy Delisle projects afoot.

The Low Jump

Today Ken Parille stops by with the latest installment of his column, this time gathering some thoughts inspired by the recent republication of Dan Clowes's The Death-Ray.

A brief excerpt:

This comic displays Steve Ditko’s crucial influence on the young Clowes, who was fascinated by Ditko-drawn and plotted Spider-Man issues. This influence has been at work throughout Clowes’s career, though often buried in his current ‘aesthetic unconscious’ in ways not always instantly recognizable. Both artists share an obsession with heroic and un-heroic action, frailty and ugliness, revenge and violence. According to Clowes, he has even turned into a Ditko character!: “Now I resemble The Vulture from the early Steve Ditko Spider-Man comics” (from Ghost World: Special Edition).

As you no doubt have heard, it was announced yesterday that Bil Keane, the Family Circus creator, passed away Tuesday at the age of 89. Here's the New York Times obituary. Lynda Barry posted a brief tribute to the cartoonist on her website—and had already been outspoken about her feelings for his work in interviews and comics during the last few years. Mike Lynch gathers Keane-related art from the National Cartoonists Society here. We plan to publish more on Keane in the near future.

Elsewhere, the 2011 top ten lists are starting to appear. Here's one at Amazon, and another at Publishers Weekly. Both of them seem to be doing their best to spread the love around and make sure as many publishers and genres as possible are represented, a goal that some would argue can conflict with listing the actual best books. But who goes to those places for recommendations anyway? I hope Martí's The Cabbie starts showing up on some of the lists that haven't appeared yet, but that might be asking for too much...

Speaking of PW, they just published a James Romberger interview with Gary Groth about the new Carl Barks Library.

Al Jazeera filed a video report regarding the recent bombing of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo:

The perennially under-discussed Richard Sala presents and explains an outtake from The Hidden on his blog.

And plans are underway to turn Alison Bechdel's Fun Home into a stage musical. I really want to make a Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark joke, but some part of me would hate myself if I succumbed.

Finally, and this is only very tangentially related to comics, the novelist and occasional comic-book writer Jonathan Lethem has written a much-discussed critique of the New Yorker critic James Wood, arguing more or less that Wood is a poseur and a snob whose literary judgements can't be trusted when discussing any fiction that can't be placed within a narrow band of genre. In other words, and to put it extremely simply, Lethem thinks that one reason (and maybe the main reason) Wood doesn't like his books is because his characters read comic books and take them seriously. I haven't read Fortress of Solitude, and so can't speak to the particular subject of his essay, but based on the many other Wood reviews I have read, Lethem seems broadly correct in his analysis.

UPDATE: Oh, and I forgot this link! Robert Crumb talks to Vice about a rejected cover for The New Yorker, and his strained relationship with the magazine since.

On the Run

Whoah, running late this morning so this'll be more or less a place holder. I'm cheating, I know. Sorry!

But! It's a good day at TCJ. We are debuting a new column by Charles Hatfield called KinderComics, all about comics for children. We're really happy to have Charles aboard and his ideas for upcoming topics are very exciting.

And the great Tom De Haven is back with a review of the first volume of the new Carl Barks Donald Duck reprint series.

Sidetrack City

Today we bring you the conclusion of Matthias Wivel's outstanding, confusion-clearing report on the crisis at L'Association. (Here's part one.) A few behind-the-web tech snags delayed us from posting this as early as we'd wanted, but I think you'll find that it's worth the wait.

Also, Joe McCulloch brings you his traditional weekly roundup of new comics, with a prefatory piece on religious propagandists Jack T. Chick and Fred Carter.

Oh, and the archives are picking up again. We've just posted Gary Groth's 1996 interview with Carmine Infantino.


Bhob Stewart on his old Topps colleague Art Spiegelman.

Paul Gravett on Battle of the Eyes.

And Daryl Cagle has continued to update his post from last week on the arrest of his daughter, the cartoonist Susie Cagle, at Occupy Oakland.