On the Run

Greetings.  Still on the road, post-APE.

Full link blogging and smart-ass remarks will resume Wednesday.

On the site today:

Kim Deitch takes us to the end of his musical road (for now). It's been an honor having Kim with us and, best of all, he'll continue to do some writing for TCJ in the coming months. If you have yet to dive in, now's the time. All twelve installments are just a click away.

and of course Joe McCulloch captures the week in comics, which is, in this busy fall season, yet another big one.



Ok people, stick with us, Tim's on vacation this week and I'm traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York. So... we'll keep it brief.

On the site:

Frank Santoro posts a Pittsburgh overview, including a scene report by guest writer Ed Piskor, a gag cartoon (weekly) by Michael DeForge, and a startling Storeyville original printing discovery. Frank is also looking for an intern in New Mexico, so, kind people, click over and dive into Frank's world.


Craig Fischer joins us with his new monthly column Monsters Eat Critics. We're thrilled to have him onboard, and here's a taste of his first paragraph:

I hope that “Monsters Eat Critics” sounds like the title of a Z-grade science-fiction movie, because I plan to write about genre comics, including science-fiction comics, rather than the alt-, art- and mini-comics so ably covered by other TCJ critics. Let me make clear, though, that I’ll be saying little about contemporary superhero comics, because I’m bored by the ones I’ve read and have nothing to express about them beyond a shrug and an annoyance that hype like “The New 52″ gets so much attention, even negative attention, on comics blogs. Even though future columns will discuss creators who simultaneously labored in and transcended the superhero genre—we’ll trot Kirby out for obligatory analysis, if only to rile Pat Ford—I don’t care about superheroes or the superhero-driven business of American mainstream comics. I’m looking for art in other genres, and I’ll begin with one of the most artistically accomplished genre comics of the last ten years, Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto (2003-2009).

See ya soon!


All right, let's get ready for the weekend with a new review by Rob Clough of The Collected John G. Miller. I have to admit, I don't think I'd ever heard of Miller before, but Rob's piece really makes me want to check him out.

Elsewhere: In an editorial that reflects an obvious love and knowledge of comics history unusual for a newspaper columnist, Samira Ahmed at the Guardian argues that as Albert Uderzo retires, Asterix should be allowed to do so as well.

The excellent book designer Peter Mendelsund interviews Chip Kidd about his working space, for the "From the Desk of..." series.

Gahan Wilson deserves a statue. I haven't yet read this interview with him, but I plan to do so as soon as I get a chance today.

Kate Beaton fans have a lot to read and listen to today.

Tom Spurgeon has a solid-as-usual review of the recent Alex Toth anthology Setting the Standard. My mother isn't really a big comics reader. I mean, she reads the funny pages in the paper, but that's basically it. I don't know what it means, but the last time she came to visit, she picked up this Toth book from the coffee table and tore through it in a couple days. (She was also a big fan of Benjamin Marra's Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd.) Go figure.

Flavorwire has a good interview with Daniel Clowes regarding The Death-Ray.

Meet Us Out There

Today on the site we have an interview by our own Frank Santoro with cartoonist Jesse Moynihan, whose handsome new book, Forming, has just been released from Nobrow (via Adhouse here in the U.S.). Frank writes:

Jesse Moynihan is a force. Storyboard artist, writer, cartoonist, webcartoonist, blogger — he’s everywhere. Jesse will be at APE in San Francisco on October 1st and 2nd. Go say hi and buy something from him.

On the subject of APE, I'll be there this weekend with PictureBox and Matthew Thurber, who I'll be chatting with publicly Saturday at 1 pm. At 3 pm that same day (phew) I'll be moderating a discussion with Daniel Clowes and Adrian Tomine. And tonight the New York Art Book Fair opens. So you're in luck on both coasts.

And speaking of Clowes, here's a good interview with him on the occasion of the new edition of Death-Ray.

The Wall Street Journal has a nice story up about Toon Books and the great illustrator Hilary Knight.

Nick Gazin has a new column up over at Vice, with yet more about Monsieur Clowes.

Bhob Stewart has a good anecdote about working with inker Syd Shores on one of his last jobs, featuring the underrated Wally Wood-style artist Wayne Howard. A fine trifecta.

It's always a good moment when there's a new True Swamp comic strip.

Colleen Doran's character designs for Betty and Veronica. Very cool. Via.


Today on the site, big content week continues with a long interview that Gavin Lees conducted with the sui generis Scottish art team Metaphrog.

Also, Sean T. Collins reviews Prison Pit: Book Three, the latest release from our last interview subject, Johnny Ryan.

Elsewhere, Rob Clough presents his thoughts on the latest issue of Love and Rockets.

And David Brothers and Graeme McMillan offer the first two substantial reviews of Frank Miller's Holy Terror I've yet seen. They're both tremendously negative takes, but probably because of the book's subject matter, they avoid the yuk-yukking of most Miller-bashing. I expect a lot more of this kind of thing.

Also, interesting that this and Habibi are coming out on the same week, and so close after the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. It's hard not to compare them as long-gestating responses to those events, even if they are only (in the case of Habibi) indirectly so.

To the Coast

Today on the site:

As usual, Jog brings us the week in comics as only he can see it.

And elsewhere around:

-The great Italian cartoonist Sergio Bonelli (Tex, Dylan Dog) has passed away. We'll have further coverage soon.

-Tom Spurgeon reviewed Ludovic Debeurme's Lucille and wrote an excellent obituary of Jack Adler.

-Harry Mendryk posts a note that The Simon and Kirby Library: Crime is on its way, and has some nice looking pix to as well.

-Eddie Campbell points us to an archive of the (unknown to me) 1980s small press duo Biff.

-Tim O'Shea interviews Michael Kupperman over at Robot 6 about his new book Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010.



The Days Are Packed

Good morning, & welcome to another week of comics talk.

First, Ken Parille performs another comic-book dissection, and this time his laboratory frog is the spearhead of DC's bold new 52 initiative, Justice League #1. As Ken put it elsewhere: "Normally I write about comics I like and try to explain what's interesting about them. This time I take a different approach."

An energized Frank Santoro's back to layouts, and comparing two of his favorites: Gilbert Hernandez and CF.

And Chris Ware has just released a comic story available to be read only on the iPad. I haven't read it yet, but Sean T. Collins has, and he has a review for you right over here.


Michael Dooley allows Percy Crosby's daughter a platform to discuss her father's views on politics, peanut butter, and organized crime.

The Paris Review posts a report from the Friars Club release party of Drew Friedman's latest collection of old Jewish comedian portraits.

Brendan Burford has good taste.

Jacque Nodell talked with Jim Steranko about his only romance comic, and reprints the color guides.

And finally, don't forget that the Dylan Williams Divine Invasion art auction is still going on. There is some beautiful work for sale. [Jason T. Miles is running another eBay benefit auction for Williams's family, too.]

Making Friends

A big day on the site today, with enough reading material to carry you through the weekend and well into next week!

First we have Jesse Pearson's riveting (if I do say so myself) interview with Johnny Ryan, in which we learn more than I ever thought possible about the cartoonist. This is a must. Jesse begins:

There has never been an alternative comics artist who makes work that’s more divisive than Johnny Ryan’s. Shit, piss, farts, dicks, and pussies are his vanilla material. When he really gets rolling, he’ll deal in rape, murder, genocide, 9-11, AIDS, baby fucking, and the end of the world. The style of art in his humor comics—all cute and cartoonish—both undercuts and ramps up the disturbance factor. It’s dizzying.

And it gets even better from there.

And then we have Kim Deitch's eleventh installment of his memoir, in which he swerves into opera and gardening:

Our place had a nice bay window with plenty of sun, and for a period Sally had gotten into growing all kinds of different things. One day she took a shot at germinating some pot seeds from my current stash. I wasn’t relying on pot to draw all that much anymore, but I was still smoking the stuff. Well, that particular experiment was a roaring success and I soon took it over. It seemed to have awakened a latent farmer within me.

Well, friends, what more could you want? I will not direct you anywhere else -- I refuse -- because this should be enough! And it is!

The Castle of Incoherence

1. After speculating about how Disney is going to respond to working with the anarchic and unprofessional employees of Marvel (i.e. "small talents with big egos"), Jim Shooter posts his contracts from Marvel in 2002 and DC in 2007. (via)

2. The much-missed Jeet Heer emerged briefly from the chaos of new fatherhood and several large projects to e-mail me a link to this appearance from another Journal fan favorite:

Heer also wrote this recent review of Michael Kupperman's new Mark Twain book.

3. Are old-fashioned maps (the kind with sea monsters and dragons) comics? Not really, but it may be hard for some to pinpoint exactly why when confronted with a few of the images in this short illustrated history of them.

4. Brian Chippendale takes on the New 52 at DC, reviewing the new Justice League and Animal Man titles, as well as various Marvel, independent, and manga titles.

5. Finally, there's something of a debate going on right now regarding the coherence (or lack of same) of the action scenes in recent blockbuster films. Jim Emerson started it off with this excellent video essay critiquing a chase sequence from The Dark Knight.

In the Cut, Part I: Shots in the Dark (Knight) from Jim Emerson on Vimeo.

A.D. Jameson defends the scene here, claiming that Christopher Nolan and his collaborators are trying a new and visceral approach to cinematic action that doesn't rely on narrative coherence.

All of that is interesting but not obviously related to comics. Except that it reminded me of many of Frank Santoro's arguments over the years (here's one) regarding the disappearance of the "classical" (for lack of a better word) cartooning style that was notable for its clarity, and was once evident in the work of everyone from the masterful Milton Caniff to the perennial critical whipping boy Don Heck. Nowadays, American action comics are almost all just big explosions, pointless decapitations, and impossible-to-parse (or believe) battle royale splash pages. Drawn in "photo-realistic" style, of course, so as to denote seriousness (not unlike how Nolan is supposed to be presenting a new "realism" in superhero films).

I don't have a coherent theory as to why this is so, beyond a general coarsening of the culture. Or at least the culture of this particular kind of action story. The normal thumb-sucking answer is to blame it on video games, but you don't actually see the same incoherence in your typical Xbox boss fight, so I don't think that's it, unless video games have simply spurred filmmakers and cartoonists to desperation due to lost market share. Further investigation is required.

Like The Man Said

Today on the site:

Hayley Campbell reads Nate Powell's Any Empire against an extraordinary backdrop and asks a few questions.


Jack Adler, the noted production man at DC Comics from 1946 to 1981, has passed away. Mark Evanier has a summary of Adler's career. Adler was responsible for the stunning look of DC covers in the 1960s, innovating in color and texture.

Our corporate overlords report that Linda Medley is selling original pages from the yet-to-be-published Starstruck mini-series Galactic Girl Guides. Worth a look for the scans alone.

Sean T. Collins has "Fifteen observations about Craig Thompson’s Habibi. This is the first real response to the book I've yet seen.

Jog's pal Peter Milligan is interviewed about his work for DC's 52, specifically Red Lanterns, and says:

I suppose one of the main aims of this book is to take what have hitherto been monomaniacal bad guys and turn some of them at least into something more rounded and more compelling.

Gotta start somewhere!

Over at the Forbidden Planet blog there's a report on an exhibition of work by Maurice Tillieux, whose Murder by High Tide is one my favorite books of this year, even though I'm still trying to figure out a way to write something intelligent about it. Click over for some juicy photos and good info.

And here's one of my favorite Jack Kirby stories -- 1958's The World is Ours.

Finally, I'll be giving a talk Thursday night at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art at 7 pm, with artist John Haddock. Come and heckle me if you're near Scottsdale, Arizona.

What Goes On

Joe McCulloch brings you another edition of his column, the only weekly comics buying guide that matters.

Kim Thompson explains the back story behind that mysterious photo comic from last week. It involves a very young Mark Gruenwald.

Another interview with Maurice Sendak, this time at the New York Times.

Matt Seneca innovates a new way to perform criticism online, starting a site just to demonstrate what he means for this dissection of a short Jerry Moriarty piece.

Stephen Bissette writes a follow-up post to his recent essay on not wanting to draw your graphic novel.

And this is old, but new to me: Kim Munson has posted the three Sundays of Lil' Abner in which Al Capp parodied Charles Schulz's Peanuts. (via)

Cartoon Learning

It's a new week.

Yesterday Frank Santoro announced the beginning of a cartooning correspondence course. He says:

There are a lot of cartooning courses and classes available right now. CCS, SVA, and SCAD – but I want to do it differently: a one-on-one 8-week correspondence course over phone, e-mail and snail mail. I’d like to use the work and development for a book about making comics. I’m going to focus specifically on advancing your understanding of layouts, color, contour line drawing, and printmaking for producing comic books. The 8-week class is $500. This class is limited: only ten students will be accepted.

I would apply just to learn from the maestro, but he'd never take me. Anyhow, Frank's also posting some beautiful drawings on his own site, like this one.

And today we bring you the latest from R.C. Harvey, this time exploring a curious byway of comics history and education via the story of Max Eastman. Harv begins:

Whilst wandering lonely as a cloud in a foreign clime some years ago, I toured a couple nifty dusty old bookstores (the dust was a big part of the nift) and chanced upon a tome called Enjoyment of Laughter, a 1936 opus by Max Eastman. It was the author’s name that stopped me. Wasn’t Max Eastman, I asked myself, the editor of the rabble-rousing socialist magazine, The Masses, back in the 19-teens?

And elsewhere:

-Tom Spurgeon's moving, thorough obituary of Dylan Williams.

-Via Eddie Campbell, an excellent essay about the cartoonist Glenn Dakin by Rich Baez.

-Daniel Best explains why the team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito was important.

-Not comics: This long piece about Alex Katz is a good look at an aging artist, manly competition, and the way one atmosphere of the art world functions. It pertains here mostly because of how it applied to artists in any medium, and because Katz remains, in many ways, an artist whose sense of line and figure is applicable to cartoon drawing.

Long Week

This morning, we bring you a new installment of Sean T. Collins's column on up-and-coming cartoonists, this time featuring L. Nichols.

We also plan to continue adding new remembrances to our collection of tributes to Dylan Williams as they come in.


Alan Gardner comes out in favor of the newspapers who have pulled Garry Trudeau's recent Doonesbury strips previewing material from the new Sarah Palin biography, but I have a hard time understanding why, based on the strips published so far. This is pretty tame stuff.

Rich Baez writes a long post about the often overlooked Glenn Dakin. (via Eddie Campbell.)

Finally, you might have seen the photo comic made by a very young Kim Thompson that is currently making the rounds online. Or maybe you've been reading his most recent dream journals. What I want to know is if this is the same Kim Thompson whose heretical letter was published in Captain America 194 in 1976?

(Thanks, Sean Howe.)

Strange World

Today we're giving the site over to Dylan Williams. We are posting the first handful of a series of tributes we hope to continue, as well as an unpublished 2008 interview with Dylan about his relationship to punk rock. We want to thank everyone who contributed, and especially Chris Cilla, an author whose masterpiece-to-date, The Heavy Hand, was recently published by Sparkplug, for turning around a wonderful portrait of his friend and publisher in record time. And I speak for Tim when I extend our deepest condolences to his friends and family.


Zak Sally has written a lengthy and very moving piece about Dylan at The Comics Reporter, where Tom continues to collect links to other tributes and remembrances.

Most other links would seem rather silly, so instead I'll offer two by artists that Dylan  completely schooled me on:

Here's a wonderful page of original art by H.G. Peter (it was Dylan who was responsible for Peter being in my book Art in Time) translated into Spanish.

And here's a link to a trove of great Mort Meskin stories -- ditto the above.

Thank you, Dylan.

Exit, Pursued By a Bear

This morning sees the debut of another episode of TCJ Talkies, this time featuring Mike Dawson's interview with the cartoonist and podcaster Alex Robinson. It was recorded at last weekend's SPX.

We also have another review of Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill's latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume, this time by Sean T. Collins. It was written before Charles Hatfield had turned in his review, and so shouldn't be viewed as a direct response.

As far as other links go, I believe we neglected to mention that the winners of this year's Ignatz Awards have been announced.

Gabrielle Bell gives an interview with Comic Books Resources regarding her recent month of webcomics and her work on Mome, among other things.

Frank Young takes a look at John Stanley's use of violence.

Patrick Marfort reviews The Comics Journal #301.

I hadn't realized that novelist Ishmael Reed actually took classes in cartooning to help with his most recent book, much less that he'd since become a regularly published cartoonist himself.

Finally, Tom Spurgeon continues to collect links to online stories and remembrances of Dylan Williams, well worth reading. Stay tuned for our own coverage as the week continues.

It’s Tuesday!

On the site today:

Shaenon Garrity relates her own experiences with Kickstarter.

A couple of months ago, I needed $10,000 to self-publish a big omnibus collection of my webcomic Narbonic. By way of explanation, I am not one of your big-name webcartoonists. At this point people are vaguely familiar with my work, but I’m not one of those folks with half a million page views and people queuing up to buy t-shirts with my characters’ hip and witty comments printed on them. I have a moderate but very devoted (and very entertaining) audience, and I am in no danger whatsoever of making a living from my comics.

Joe McCulloch, who, this weekend, via SPX, finally stayed long enough in one place to really get talking, brings us the week in comics.

And Rob Clough brings us a review of Lewis Trondheim's book Little Nothings Vol. 4.

More later, people. Forgive the short entry.


We just returned from SPX, which was the first convention of its kind I ever attended, and which still seems to me to be the one I always have the most fun at. (I still have never gone to TCAF, though. And the Brooklyn festival probably has a higher percentage of comics & art that I am interested in and wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. But I live near NYC, so that doesn't have the same out-of-town event feeling.) Anyway, though I missed seeing Frank Santoro and various other people who didn't make it, this was one of the most fun and successful-seeming SPX shows that I can remember. We will have further and fuller coverage of the event in the near future.

News of the death of longtime show fixture Dylan Williams could not help but cast a pall on things. He was an inspirational figure to many, and a champion of deserving work that was often almost impossibly uncommercial. Chris Mautner at Robot 6 has gathered some of the online tributes from people in the comics world who knew him (here is another), and I expect there will be many more coming. [Tom Spurgeon is collecting links about Williams here.]

Today on the website, we bring Steven Brower's examination of the dream comics of Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, and Mort Meskin.


Amazon's Omnivoracious reviews the latest issue of The Comics Journal.

Stephen Bissette shares how he responds when people ask him to draw their graphic novels.

Maurice Sendak talked to the Paris Review in advance of his upcoming book.

Mike Rhode at Washington's City Paper interviewed many of this weekend's exhibitors, including Craig Thompson, Keith Knight, etc.

Last week, Kevin Huizenga did a brief but good online q&a with the Fantagraphics website.

Dylan Williams, R.I.P.

Dylan Williams, cartoonist, writer, and publisher of Sparkplug Comic Books, reportedly passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was one of the defining figures of the contemporary independent comics world, and beloved within it. He will be greatly missed.

A benefit art auction to help pay for his medical costs is ongoing.

SPX Bound

We're packing up the two-door sedan and heading down to SPX. You'll see me at the PictureBox booth with Matthew Thurber. Our official SPX correspondent, Nicholas Gazin, will be wandering the halls for two solid days in search of good stories. That's right, while I loll around behind the table and Tim bobs in and out, Gazin will be assembling the "real" story. I'll also be presenting an Ignatz Award with Brian Ralph, who tells me I'm to play his "straight man."

Anyhooooo, Rob Clough has a handy list of 10 Cartoonists to Seek Out at SPX. Me, if I wasn't grumpily selling books all day I'd be attending some killer sounding panels and talks. I mean, there's solo panels with Roz Chast, Diane Noomin, Jim Woodring, and Johnny Ryan, not to mention a lecture by Kim Thompson on Jacques Tardi. Damn.

That said, if you cannot fulfill all your comic book dreams this weekend in suburban Maryland, be sure to read Kim Deitch's latest installment of his memoir, in which he discusses research, booze, SF, and Portland.

And, as we're prone to say, elsewhere online:

-I missed this: Abhay Khosla and Mark Sable discuss Mat Brinkman's Multiforce. It's a surprising read.

-You can never have enough Jack Cole.

-And the NY Times on the late, great George Kuchar.



Good morning, all. Today, we bring you Rob Clough's lengthy interview with the Troop 142 cartoonist and popular podcaster Mike Dawson. A brief sample:

It is true that Chris and I went there with two other friends, and also sadly true that we were the only four mopes at the resort not hooking up with anyone. We took that vacation at a time when we were all single. We all lived in the city, had decent jobs, and some money to spend. We thought it would be a great time. Honestly, Hedonism was a skeevy place to spend a week. Yes, a lot of the details from the story are based on things we saw or experienced. [...] The steroid guy in the story who yells at Christopher Vigliotti and his friends for not scoring, and then brags about having unprotected sex in the hot-tub, that guy was real too. He was the one who had figured out that the thing to do was book a ten-day trip, because that way you'd get two batches of guests at the resort to hook up with, since most people were there for one week. Really, almost every character in the story is based on the people we encountered down there. While the trip was a bust for me and Chris, it gave us a lot of story material.

In sadder news, the underground filmmaker George Kuchar has died. Although his primary reputation derives from his films, Kuchar also had a lot of ties with the comics world, both as a friend of such figures as Bill Griffith and Art Spiegelman (both of whom appeared in his movies) and as a cartoonist and contributor to Arcade himself. If you aren't familiar with his work, I strongly suggest tracking down a recent documentary made about Kuchar and his twin brother Mike, It Came From Kuchar. If you subscribe to Netflix, it is available for streaming right now. This is required viewing for anyone interested in underground art (as are Kuchar's own movies).


Today on the site:

Jared Gardner returns to TCJ with his new monthly column, The Attic, in which he'll explore historical finds buried deep in the figurative Attic of comics history. We're excited for this one, as Jared is really bringing "the stuff". Welcome, Jared.

And Kristian Williams turns in a review of Liar's Kiss.


I'm looking forward to this book, and I hope you are, too. Plus: David Lasky! Anyhow, The Carter Family... coming soon.

Gordo was a good strip, and these are excellent examples.

Tucker Stone is writing about Cable comic books (not TV; the character) from the early oughts. This should be interesting. Wait, it already is.


Back to School

I hope all of you had a good weekend. We spent the last few days holed up in a retreat in upstate New York, plotting out new ideas and directions for the website, & are now energized and ready to go. A sneak peek into our plans: In a few months, we are going to entirely reboot the site, creating new costumes and backstories for all of our columnists and reviewers, and generally revamping the Groth-verse into a faster-paced, "Twitter-style" "hub" for a new larger and younger audience raised on video games and sudoku. Every day the site will be redesigned and relaunched as a "#1," and readers will have the opportunity to sign on and compete with each other to become the "mayor" of their favorite stories! Lots more ideas like that are in store, but we don't want to give the whole game away, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, Frank Santoro checked in this weekend with his latest column (and Michael DeForge cartoon).

Austin English turns in a short interview with the very unusual and original cartoonist Warren Craghead.

And as he does every Tuesday morning, "Jolly" Joe McCulloch previews the Week in Comics.

Some links:

1. The artist and former retailer Dustin Harbin turns in a much-discussed list of "Fifteen Thoughts on Digital Comics". It is thoughtful and worth engaging with. One caveat I have is that I keep seeing many commentators on digital publishing (both in terms of comics and of "regular" books) claiming that the "largest costs" of traditional publishing come from the physical process itself (i.e., the paper, the printing, etc.). In many cases, that just isn't so -- the largest costs come from all of the things you still may want to do with digital (i.e., hiring and maintaining editorial departments, publicity, etc.). This is worth keeping in mind!

2. The Kirby-net now sometimes seems nearly as big as the comics-blogosphere in general. Its latest big story is Rob Steibel's excellent illustrated examination of "Kirby Crackle."

3. There also seems to be something of an online revival of Cerebus talk as well, as indicated in this Journal as well as by writers such as Tim Callahan. The Hurting's Tim O'Neil has now entered the arena with the first part of what looks to be a long examination of how Cerebus is read today.

4. Greg Baldino reviews issue 301 of The Comics Journal over at Bleeding Cool.

5. In a must-read blog post, Eddie Campbell responds to a claim in a review of his work in TCJ 301. The reviewer claims that he could spot where Campbell relied on assistants in Alec. [UPDATE: Please see the comments at that post for an explanation of the error.]

6. Finally, wunderkind Matt Seneca has some thoughts on the new publishing initiative at DC Comics.

We’ll Wear White as Long as We Want

Kim Deitch is back with another installment of his memoir via music. It is now the late '60s, the underground era is in full swing, and after working at the East Village Other for a while, Kim decides to head west. A disclaimer:

Before resuming I should say this: Drug taking, by myself and others, really peaks in this chapter. It isn’t something I’m proud of or a thing I endorse. But it is the way it all happened.

Also, Rob Clough reviews MK Reed and Jonathan Hill's Americus.

Elsewhere, and catching up after a lousy week at doing this job, more links than you can read:

1. A fun Jay Lynch (and Ed Piskor) comic about the day Lynch and R. Crumb went to visit Chester Gould in Chicago. [I forgot that Dan already linked to this! Sorry, folks.]

2. For some reason, it never really occurred to me how young Lynda Barry must have been when she was creating the strips found in Girls + Boys, etc. This picture of her at a signing for the book makes clear immediately what my inability to draw obvious conclusions from things like years and dates did not. Those are some really funny comics.

3. Jack Kirby interviewed on the radio for his 70th birthday. Don't miss the end of this, when Stan Lee calls in and they argue over who did what. [Hat tip to S. Howe.]

4. There are two comics pieces by Noel Murray over at the AV Club right now, one a "primer" on newspaper comics that is fairly solid in a conventional kind of way, and the other a remembrance of the long-running erotic anthropomorphic-animal soap opera comic "Omaha" the Cat Dancer. (I have never read a single issue of Omaha, or the comic that is always somehow linked to it in my mind, Cherry Poptart. And have never really felt like I was missing anything. Is this genre-blindness or good sense?)

5. Tom Spurgeon turns in a rambling but insightful piece on DC's recent "relaunch." It is obviously far too early to say with any definitiveness whether or not DC's strategy will "work," or even what "working" actually means (the bigger problem), but two things I can say with certainty: the publicity was everywhere (even NPR), and there were big noticeable crowds in and outside stores in New York. Does it go without saying that the comic itself (Justice League #1) was just serviceable (if stupid and unmemorable)? Does it matter? Probably, after a few weeks, when the publicity boost dies down. Maybe some of the other new titles will be more interesting? If not, I can't see how this is really much of a change over the old way of doing things.

6. A short but fun interview with Jim Woodring.

7. A very nice review of the new issue of The Comics Journal.

8. Dan Clowes won one of this year's PEN Center Literary Awards.

9. The cartoonist Michel Fiffe writes a long and much-linked-to essay over at the Factual Opinion regarding the intersection between independent and alternative comics and more genre-oriented superhero and sci-fi material. (One factual caveat from the D&Q Twitter feed.)

Summer’s End

Today on the site:

Kipp Friedman brings us his story of growing up with a case of comic book fever, aided and abetted by his brothers Josh and Drew.

And Charles Hatfield is back, and that's always a good thing. As is his review of the most recent installment of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Click over to The Panelists to see what Charles did on his summer vacation.


-There's a big relaunch of DC comic books right now! If you're interested, here's some info. I've somehow managed to not pay any attention, which seems fine.

-Adam McIlwee tries to untangle some questions of online identity and finds himself tangled up.