Well, our e-mailboxes are full, and the results are clear: No one is happy! It seems like for one reason or another, everybody is upset about the comments section these days. Some people want us to ban a few perennially controversial commenters, others want us to stop deleting their "entirely tame" comments, and still others want us to shut the whole thing down entirely, possibly to replace it with an edited letters column. That last option sounds potentially appealing, but if possible, we'd like to keep the comments around. Because when comments threads really work, they offer one of the few genuinely unique pleasures of the internet, a dynamic conversation that can't be replicated with overly edited content. However, the threads haven't really been working quite that well so far. Because of generally good experiences in the past, we've probably been a bit too lenient with our moderation here, and have erred on the side of inclusion even when it has allowed a few notable threads to descend into name-calling and blatant trolling. There is probably no way of avoiding annoying or useless comments altogether, but maybe putting a few policies into writing can help a bit with our signal-to-noise ratio.
So starting today, the following commenting rules are under effect:
1. Comments which include ad hominem or abusive attacks on writers, commenters, or figures featured on the site will be deleted.
2. Comments which are racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive will be deleted.
3. Comments which stray too far from the topic at hand (especially when of a promotional nature) have a very good chance of being deleted. If you want to share a link, send it to Dan or myself, and maybe we'll post it. Otherwise, it better have something to do with the post or resulting discussion.
4. Comments designed to start or prolong unnecessary, unpleasant, and/or just plain ugly arguments (i.e., trolling) will be deleted.
5. Commenters who repeatedly post comments that are deemed abusive in one of these ways will be warned via e-mail. If they continue to post comments of an unwelcome nature, they will be given a week's suspension. If a third warning is necessary, the commenter in question will be banned pending further review.
That's it for now, though we reserve the right to add new rules if and when they become necessary. Remember, debate and discussion are welcome, but is important that these arguments stay civil. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or via e-mail.
As evidenced in my last post, when you're "in comics" there really is no escaping "comics." In "the biz," this is the phenomenon we call "Comics!" So who else resides on this tiny little island where I'm vacationing with my Rachel and her family? None other than Dean Mullaney, late of Eclipse Comics and now the man behind The Library of American Comics, who I met for lunch yesterday at Parrotdise, just down the road and around the corner. Anyhow, we're hoping to expansively feature some of Dean's upcoming books (his astounding Polly and Her Pals volume, complete with a killer essay by Jeet, was one of my top ten for 2010) in the very near future. Comics!
Speaking of which, as some of you know, Facebook is one my favorite places for off-the-cuff remarks by cartoonists young, old, and middle-aged. Facebook: It's a hole you must fill. You type and it appears. Facebook! Like going to the comic book store and talking to the shop owner, but without ever having to get dressed, go the comic store, and spend money. Jeet (Him again?! Oh Jeet!) tipped me off that on Facebook Joe Matt has had some words about Chester Brown's forthcoming book, Paying For It (hype alert: soon to to be the subject of major coverage here in May). Jolly Joe says:
In his latest book, my good friend Chester becomes a whore-monger...which is fine. My only problem (after reading an advance copy) was an inference that the only reason I don't follow him down the same whoring path is because I'm too cheap.... An implication that is unequivocally UNTRUE!! Yes, I'm cheap (rephrase: careful with my money), but I've also dropped somewhere between $15,000-$17,000 on a near complete collection of Frank King's fantastic comic strip, GASOLINE ALLEY, in the form of old newspaper clippings. (Sundays and dailies 1919-1951!) That being said, I'm also an extreme voyeur, lover of porn and compulsive masturbator. (Like I need to tell YOU!) I'm also (and I don't consider this a contradiction) a totally monogamous, hopeless romantic. (Just ask the ladies! Either of them!) I've never even ENTERTAINED the idea of frequenting prostitutes! I don't even want to meet or get near my favorite beloved porn stars!! No...just let me snuggle with my girlfriend, while reading Popeye and drinking an Americano, and I'm fine. ♥
Note that all of the people who commented on the post AND who have read the book (including the great Dylan Horrocks) disagree with Joe, which seems to have made him feel better.
Speaking of the oldest profession, comics, and Facebook, as you might know, the "great" Atlas/Seaboard properties are being brought back. Finally, more Wulf the Barbarian in stores. Phew. In honor of this ongoing occasion I bring you this choice quote from artist Alan Kupperberg, who worked in the Atlas/Seaboard office:
The publishers used to buy hookers for the distributors. One time, still at Marvel, Martin [Goodman] was down in Florida and Chip [Goodman] got ahold of Martin's little black book. He called a couple of the girls and said he wanted some freebies or the old man wouldn't employ them any more. The girls called Martin and finked out Chip. Who received a spanking when daddy returned home. A putz.
Like I said: Comics!
And now, a few links for your Friday:
National Lampoon has been on our minds again lately thanks for Rick Meyerowitz's excellent tome Drunk Stone Dead, and now comes news that the current owner of the franchise has been arrested for a 200 million-dollar ponzi scheme. Comics! I believe over at Comics Comics we once listed books we'd love to see from Nat Lamp. Top o' the list is Shary Flenniken. Well, Rick tells me that a Charles Rodrigues book may be in the offing from a publisher familiar to you and me. I would buy that. Twice! Also at the top of my personal list: A Bobby London Dirty Duck book, a Jeff Jones Idyll book (seriously, people, put aside your preconceptions -- that strip is rad), and a nice tidy collection of all the Russ Heath Lampoon work. (People: Remember Russ Heath. He's in tough shape. Think about buying a book or commissioning a drawing.) Sigh. Being a publisher and a historian and a blogger is a deadly combo for you, dear reader, since I spend a lot of time just dreaming up books. Luckily our patrons here at FB will be doing Nuts by Gahan Wilson, so that's good.
From Tim's comments yesterday I am stealing this link to a new Alan Moore interview. Alan Moore: The man you want to sit next to at a bar and talk about life with AND the man you want to talk about Ogden Whitney with (sorry Frank, it's true: at this stage I would rather talk to Alan Moore about Ogden Whitney. But you're still my man for Harry Lucey, Pete Morisi, and Marshall Rogers. Don't worry).
And that is all. I am now returning to my vacation. Please don't bother me. Unless it's you, Alan Moore, wanting to talk about Ogden Whitney.
First, a little cinematic/literary/comic-book mystery. Most of you will remember this scene from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2:
As everybody "knows," this whole dialogue was stolen nearly beat for beat from Jules Feiffer's comics-crit classic, The Great Comic Book Heroes. (I said so myself, back in one of the very first posts I ever wrote for Comics Comics -- kinda embarrassing to re-read for multiple reasons, lo so many years later.)
Or so it always seemed. Now things aren't so clear. As old CC readers will remember (and as one light-hearted fan will be particularly delighted to recall), I've been reading a lot of Pynchon lately. This binge didn't end with Gravity's Rainbow, but has now continued into Slow Learner and Vineland. (After 1200+ pages, I'm ready to take a break, so don't worry about me sharing whatever comic-book references may be found in Mason & Dixon until at least 2012.) Though there are certain very broad similarities in the way they both re-use tropes taken from popular and pulp genres, Quentin Tarantino's never struck me as the Pynchon type (he seems more like a Leslie Charteris man). However, the resonance between certain sections of Vineland and Kill Bill is startling. Namely, there's Vineland's blonde female ninja assassin DL Chastain, who can end a man's life by using an esoteric technique called the Vibrating Palm, or Ninja Death Touch—the victim doesn't feel it, "but a year later they drop dead, right when you happen to be miles away eating ribs with the Chief of Police." I'm not the first to notice these similarities, but one particular superhero-related congruence seems to have gone unremarked. You see, after this very Blood-spattered Bride-like figure is sent on a mission to kill a man who wronged her (and many others) years ago, she decides (à la Uma) that she'd rather just drop out of the whole assassin biz and start a new, less glamorous life. As she does so, she remembers an old, and eerily familiar, conversation:
"Superman could change back into Clark Kent," she had once confided to Frenesi, "don't underestimate it. Workin' at the Daily Planet was the Man o' Steel's Hawaiian vacation, his Saturday night in town, his marijuana and his opium smoke, and oh what I wouldn't give...." An evening newspaper ... anyplace back in the Midwest ... she would leave work around press time, make a beeline for some walk-down lounge, near enough to the paper that she could feel vibrations from the presses through the wood of the bar. Drink rye, wipe her glasses on her tie, leave her hat on indoors, gossip in the dim light with the other regulars. In the winter it would already be dark outside the windows. The polished shoes would pick up highlights as the street lamps got brighter ... she wouldn't be waiting for anybody or anything to happen, because she'd only be Clark Kent. Lois Lane might not give her the time of day anymore, but that'd be OK, she'd be dating somebody from the secretarial pool. They'd go out for dinner sometimes to this cozy Neapolitan joint down by some lakefront, where the Mussels Posillipo couldn't be beat. "So instead of being able to fly everyplace," her friend had replied, "you'd have to climb into some car you're still making payments on, drive on out, you, Clark Kent, to the scene of some disaster, blood, corpses, flies, teen technicians wandering around stoned, eyewitnesses in shock.... Superman never has to get involved with any of that. Why should anybody want to be only mortal? Better to stay an angel, angel." DL, more generous in those days, only thought her friend had missed the point.
So it's tough to figure out, right? Did Tarantino steal the dialogue from Feiffer, or Pynchon, or both? Or is it all just a set of crazy coincidences? I mean, David Carradine's original monologue is very close to Feiffer's, but connecting the Clark Kent/Superman idea directly to a blonde female ninja assassin seems so, um, unintuitive that it's remarkable that both Pynchon and Tarantino did it. My current theory is that Tarantino must have read this part of Vineland, then remembered the somewhat different Feiffer/Superman riff, and combined them together, but -- that's kind of complicated and implausible, and alternate suggestions are welcome. Figuring this out would be a good use of your time.
On to Comics Journal news:
Yesterday, Dan reviewed David Collier's Chimo, and Rob Clough introduced the latest incarnation of his "High-Low" column by looking at two recent releases from Revival House Press.
Also, don't miss designer Eric Skillman's behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming issue 301, which will be out very soon.
Thomas Pynchon isn't the only novelist who takes inspiration from the comics. Ishmael Reed, author of the essential Mumbo Jumbo, has a new book coming out next month, which sounds interesting. As he puts it in a recent profile: "Since I don't like the modernist novel in which the omniscient narrator smothers his characters to death with psychoanalysis, they called my characters cartoonish. So I made this new character of mine a cartoonist. I've always been in a dialogue with my critics."
So, as is probably obvious to many of you, we aren't above a little light theft ourselves, an kind of stole the idea of "A Cartoonist's Diary" from a recurring feature on The Paris Review's website. Now they have cruelly snatched the idea back, and this week, they are featuring New Yorker cartoonist Zachary Kanin. (Day two is here.)
Yes, I'm STILL on vacation. Or supposed to be anyway.
First some housecleaning. TCJ print edition subscribers take note:
-Login/passwords: Currently your pre-3/7/11 login and password info is not in our new system; it will be moved over very shortly. If you wish to comment within the site, please login via your own wordpress or intensedebate account, or just use the "open login" option.
-What's my subscription get me? Well, at the moment, the print edition archives are open to all. But soon, very soon, they will be subscriber-only. At that point we'll post weekly updates about which issues are available. Presently issues 27-36 and 38 are available. If you want to see what's available for yourself, you can click over to the table of contents for each issue. If it has a link to the print layouts, then it's available. If not, then it doesn't. But we'll update you as it evolves.
That is that. On to more pressing matters. Comics culture is alive and well down here. The Miami Herald Tribune is currently offering this fantabulous umbrella, spotted Sunday at the "Marathon Seafood Festival".
Also at the festival: The Saddest Garfield I've Ever Seen.
Last night in Key West there were numerous Spider-Man sightings. It seems Broadway has taken its toll on our hero, and he's now soliciting for tips. Tips for what? Whatever you want, man...
Apparently Spidey will take a beating for money. This, I think might be related to a Harmony Korine/James Franco film now in development.
And finally, in an odd attempt to appeal to hippy culture, Spidey is now also playing the sitar. Brendan McCarthy, please take note.
Now, your daily links:
Doug Wright Award nominees announced. This is the best awards presentation I've ever attended. For anything. Worth the trip to Toronto alone. Never mind the awesomeness that is TCAF. Also, Marc Bell is a juror, which means that for a few hours, in one city, all is right with the world.
If I dropped out of publishing and moved into, um, I dunno, anything else, the first thing I would do is buy this Justin Green drawing for sale via one of the causes of my current poverty. Reminder: Justin Green has a motherfucking blog. Now featured are three of his New Yorker comic strips. Green (can you tell I think he's one of the greatest living cartoonists in the world? I do.) also has this new site, which appears to be serializing fresh work, and an older site recently updated with an appreciation of the late comedian Chris Farley. If Justin Green is an avid Tommy Boy fan, then, well, I would put him at the #1 slot. "Dapper Dan's Movie Madness" alert: Chris Farley always makes me remember that David Spade used to not be annoying. He's pretty irritating now, but you gotta hand it to him for still having a career after all these years.
In new TCJ content today, we have a double dose of Joe McCulloch—not just the latest installment of his "Week in Comics" column, but also a lengthy review of cult legend Alejandro Jodorowsky's latest (if not necessarily greatest) addition to the Incal universe: Weapons of the Metabaron.
Jeet Heer has been spending time trawling through our archives over the past week, and reports back: "The early issues are a bit dry and ad-heavy but there are some gems in their like Carter Scholz's essay on Harlan Ellison, which is simply the best criticism of Ellison I've ever seen, admiring but not blind to HE's faults." Remember, unless you're a subscriber, access to the archives won't last forever.
New (to me) academic comics site The Comics Grid continues to publish worthwhilecontent you wouldn't find elsewhere online.
A spy sends word (and evidence) of an unexpected comics-related media appearance.
Congratulations to Amy Lockhart for meeting her Kickstarter goal, and thanks to all of you who contributed. This means more Dizzler for the rest of us.
David Collier's Chimo (and a related exhibit) is discussed in the McGill Daily. (Thanks again, Jeet!)
For those who take it personally when they hear people make fun of movies like The Dark Knight: Lance Mannion admits that he knows nothing of current comic books, but explains why he's somewhat leery about them, particularly in relation to his kids. Interesting in a reading-the-tea-leaves of public sentiment way, but unlikely (and not really designed to) change minds.
This is everywhere, but well worth your time: Seth dissects a segment of Ben Katchor's Cardboard Valise (and reviews the whole thing).
Finally, in non-comics news, Richard Harland Smith provides a guided tour through some of the best-known work of virtuoso movie poster artist Frank McCarthy.
Chris Mautner brings our attention to the end DC's Plastic Man archives, and asks a damn good question: When will we see more Cole reprints? DC and Mavel's treatment of their respective legacies seems to be a topic of much discuss these days. Sometimes it appears better, as with July's Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol. 1 from DC, and sometimes worse, as with this announcement. I really wish they, like Disney, would hand over certain properties to smaller publishers who are focused on publishing the history in a considered fashion. I know it'll never happen, but a guy can dream of a "Mort Meskin's Vigilante" book, can't he?
Speaking of things not-well reprinted: Here's some John Severin work in the EC style for Atlas.
I am an unabashed fan of Dungeon Quest, so this interview at (conflict alert!) Flog, was a pleasure.
John Hilgart concludes a month's worth of Jack Kirby posts at Four Color Process with a short essay.
And on this very site:
Do not miss Jeet Heer's debut of his column Comics Chronicles. And also, everyone should really be reading Jeet's introductions to the one trillion reprint books he writes for. Most recently, his Buz Sawyer intro explored the business behind Roy Crane's 1940s decisions. His quality actually manages to outstrip his quantity. It's scary. Put this man in a glass box for observation!
You missed him, didn't you? Admit it. So did we. He's back. Frank Santoro's Riff Raff began yesterday with a deep look at paper sizes, including demos from the man himself. Actually, put Frank in a glass box next to Jeet's for further observation. They can communicate with each other via 1930s Captain Easy Sunday pages.
Finally, Naomi Fry takes a look at the latest volume of Peanuts. May I be so bold as to recommend Naomi's September 2010 essay on Brett Easton Ellis over at N+1? It's a knockout.
Herewith my attempt at something Tim tells me is called "link-blogging". Look for a lot more of this in the future. Don't all cheer at once.
My Wally Wood obsession knows no bounds. I might also note that the Wood catalog published in Spain really is worth the money.
Zom, of The Mindless Ones, who have been kind enough to lend us Amy Poodle, takes a look at The Killing Joke, with typically thought-provoking results.
Allan Holtz brings us Old Boy Binks, a deeply obscure 1915-16 strip by the great Ed Wheelan, whose strip Minute Movies is a favorite of mine for its intense compression and flippant drawing. In his 1940s less-than-salad days Wheelan also drew for comic books, and must've wondered how the hell he got there, amidst all those amateurs.
This link is old for the internet, but I only just saw it: Gill Fox cover roughs and color guides over at Comic Book Attic. Fox, along with Harvey's Warren Kremer, was a great golden age workhorse, who could produce a package from the inside out. His production is, in some ways, as impressive as his artwork. Also, this is more evidence of what we might call the "Heritage Effect", because the auction house continues to uncover deeply obscure items -- things otherwise left in filing cabinets and certainly not available to gaze at in deep digital detail -- everything from Kremer cover roughs to Dave Berg unpublished comic strips. I don't think it's rewriting history, but in providing a somewhat random resource of unseen ephemera, it's deepening it significantly. I have to say I sometimes forget it's an auction house in the business of selling art, not necessarily archiving it. Oh, and fun fact: Gill Fox drew the classic pizza box art of the 1970s and '80s.
R.C. Harvey's monthly column, Hare Tonic, make its debut with a profile of Dick Locher, whose final Dick Tracy will appear on Sunday. I'm fond of Harv's take on newspaper strip cartoonists -- he gets at the day-in, day-out grind of it, and in this piece manages some great Chester Gould anecdotes, to boot. Vanessa Davis' final diary entry. Thank you Vanessa: You have set the standard by which all cartoonists must now procrastinate productively. And finally, Matt Seneca reviews City Hunter by C.F. Two in one week from the Seneca. We hope he never grows old and tired like the rest of us.
And this weekend: Watch out for Frank Santoro's TCJ debut!
The universally loved Joe "Jog" McCulloch turns in his first weekly report from the comic-shop front line.
And Vanessa Davis continues her week's worth of diaryentries.
Tucker Stone joins the Comics Journal team, and offers his take on the British war comic, Johnny Red: Falcons' First Flight.
Chris Mautner reviews the first three volumes of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Bakuman.
In other TCJ-related news, I forgot to link to possibly the most thorough take on the recent relaunch, from Sequential. (Thanks to Tom S. for the reminder.)
And Abstract Comics editor Andrei Molotiu posted a lengthy remembrance of his own experiences with this site's late (and apparently not entirely unlamented) message board.
Also, the RSS feed(s) should be working properly again, so subscribe away if that's your thing—and did you know that the Journal is on Twitter and Facebook? It is, and Dan and I are not exactly masters of the social media arts, so some of the more sadistic among you may enjoy "friending" and "following" and such, if only to watch us flounder.
In non-TCJ news, The Panelists has begun an interestingseries on Eddie Campbell and Daren White's The Playwright, featuring comments from the man himself.
Blog 2 Comm digs up Fredric Wertham's forgotten paean to fandom, The World of Fanzines. (Ignore the weird Archie opinions up top.) This reminded me of Wertham's rebuffed letter of enthusiasm to Graphic Story Magazine — the Bad Doctor had an ironic and too-little-remembered third act.
The novelist Charles Baxter wrote a compelling recent essay on bad reviewers, with several passages that called to mind a lot of what currently passes for online comics criticism.
For example, "To say that something is 'boring' is not a statement about a book, although the speaker may think that it is; it’s a statement about the reader’s poverty of equipment."
And: "A reviewer is entitled to any opinion at all, but he or she earns that opinion based on a description and a judicious citation of evidence. Otherwise, the reviewer is the literary equivalent of Michelle Bachmann, making outrageous statements simply in order to become famous. Is it too much to ask of a reviewer that he should know what he’s talking about?"
Finally, a word of warning to any excitable cartoonists out there, before they react to a negative review that we run.
I've been quiet (read: frantic) these last couple days, but Tim tells me it's my turn on "The Blog." I hope everyone is enjoying the old advertisements in issues 27-38 of the Journal. Comics used to be cheap. What? There's other stuff on this site? No one told me.
House cleaning dept: We're having a little trouble with our RSS feeds, but these are the links.
As Tim mentioned, we'll be using this space for all kinds of things. But today I want to mention some things that have run across my desk.
Paul "Pops" Karasik sent me a link to this hot new game inspired by a certain cartoonist whose work he poured his heart and soul into. Missing the point doesn't even cover it. But it takes all kinds, I guess. Rumor has it that the Nancy book PK is working on with Mark Newgarden is quickly taking on the properties of a masterpiece of comics theory and history. My very first interview in this hoary field was with Paul (and edited by Tim, of "Tim Hodler" fame, along with pal Patrick Smith), and that split my brain in two. It was through Paul that I met Mark, who then turned my brain to dust, and thanks to Mark that I met Gary Panter, who gently released said brain dust over a field of aging newsprint. So, really, my present state of mind is basically Paul's fault. All this from a link he innocently sent to me. Well, he'll never do that again.
Speaking of Gary, he needs help identifying an artist. I'd asked him who I should write about next, and, well, I'll let him explain: "There was another artist, lost to time, whose work looked like Jack Davis combined with Don Martin. Very crude yet confident. Maybe it was one of them but I think not. His monster comics occasional appeared in early '60s monster mags like Castle of Frankenstein. Maybe a Spanish name. Never saw the work again." He has me stumped, but I bet someone out there knows the answer. Have at it, people.
Anyhow, onwards: Did you know that Ben Katchor has a blog and a Twitter account? The blog is of particular interest because he seems to be posting his research into 19th and early 20th century picture stories. He's kind of publicly charting his own literary/aesthetic history. More, please, Ben!
In the credit-where-credit-is-due dept., Doug Harvey takes a look at a new claim on the origins of the iconic Rat Fink character, which, according to a recent book, was not, in fact, first drawn by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. The Rat Fink is one of the earliest icons of commercial cartoon grotesque -- right up there with Basil Wolverton's Lena Hyena cover for Mad.
I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting you're not following the excellent series of Jack Kirby panel examinations over at HiLobrow, but Glen David Gold's installment on Journey into Mystery #72 looks at a rare bit of comedic absurdity on a Kirby monster page.
Be aware dept: Maira Kalman is opening a retrospective at the Jewish Museum on Friday. Kalman being the wry and funny New Yorker cover artist, children's book author and rather brilliant picture story maker. I kinda think she figured out web comics pretty damn well. As Tom Spurgeon might say, everyone claims Maira Kalman except for comics.
And finally, conflict of interest alert (I publish Ben's work, but I'm not involved in this property): The Ben Jones animated TV show, Problem Solverz, will debut on the Cartoon Network in April. Here's a fresh trailer for it. I mention this because Jones is probably the first "underground" cartoonist of my generation to make this transition: A full fledged season of his own show.
Welcome back! As you can see, the site is continuing to grow—check in frequently to see what's new. Now that introductions are out of the way, let's look into things a little deeper.
For example, this blog: it's a work in progress. The current plan is for Dan and I to switch off days, usually highlighting content from the site at large, and linking to various posts of interest at other sites. Also, from time to time, guest bloggers will show up to post items that don't fit comfortably in any of the site's more formal categories. It should be fun. Let's find out.
For those of you who can't enough TCJ talk, more reaction on the site's makeover can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.
In regard to that last link: We appreciate the feedback we've received as to the perceived dearth of female contributors to the new TCJ.com. We're sensitive to these concerns, and simply ask that our readers not rush to judgment. We are still in the confirmation process with many great potential writers. Over the following weeks and months we will be publishing lots of content about female and male artists, written by both female and male contributors. As we said in our interview with the Comics Reporter, one of our stated goals for TCJ.com is to make the site "a place for a plurality of real, idiosyncratic, and conflicting voices." Obviously we can't have that without diversity in the genders of those voices. (By the way, if you have a suggestion for a contributor you'd like to see here, of any gender, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. The e-mailbox is always open.)
Okay, time for a tour of the site's new content. (Some of this is repeated from yesterday, but none of it should be missed.)
Hi there, and welcome to the new online Comics Journal.
So, what’s the deal here, anyway? First, let’s be clear: We’re editing the online incarnation of this magazine only. Gary Groth is the editor of the annual print edition (issue 301 in stores soon!), and Kristy Valenti is our editorial coordinator at the Fantagraphics home office. Michael Dean will be contributing to the site, and helping Gary with the print magazine. Our goal is to produce an online magazine about comics as a living medium. And yes, we’re closing Comics Comics. Or rather, we're putting it into cryogenic storage. It still lives where it always lived. The Comics Journal was a huge influence on both of us, and when Gary offered the opportunity to help shape it, the challenge was too good to pass up. So here we are.
This site is divided into several sections which will continue to grow over the days and weeks and months to come: Feature articles, including lengthy interviews, investigative journalism, and long-form critical and historical essays; regular columns on a variety of subjects; a steady stream of book reviews; thorough and easily navigated event listings; an ever-growing archive of The Comics Journal's thirty-plus years as a print magazine (by the end of 2011, each and every issue will be online)—this will be available in full to magazine subscribers only; and of course this daily blog, which will be a catch-all for short items, selective link-blogging, and a forum for guest voices and bad jokes.
We’re happy to announce all of our Comics Comics cohorts have come along with us. Frank Santoro’s regular column, Riff Raff, will debut this weekend; Jeet Heer’s Comics Chronicles later this week. Joe "Jog" McCulloch will continue covering This Week in Comics in his own inimitable style, and Nicole Rudick, Dash Shaw, and Jason T. Miles will also be contributing content in the coming months.
Our other columns include Grid by Ken Parille; What Was Alternative Manga? by Ryan Holmberg (first installment up now); Say Hello, by Sean T. Collins; High-Low by Rob Clough; Know Your New Yorker Cartoonists by Richard Gehr (also up now, and featuring a tremendous Sam Gross interview); Hare Tonic by R.C. Harvey; Funnybook Roulette by R. Fiore; and finally, A Cartoonist’s Diary, in each installment of which a guest cartoonist will invite readers in to observe five days in a working artist's life. (Vanessa Davis is up first.) We’re thrilled we are able to launch with such a talented bunch. Upcoming contributors to the site include Andrew Leland, Naomi Fry, Jesse Pearson, Tom De Haven, Shaenon Garrity, Matt Seneca, Chris Mautner, Tucker Stone, and Hillary Chute, with more to come.
As you can see, we already have some lengthy articles online (such as Bob Levin on Frank Frazetta, and Patrick Rosenkranz on the story of autobiographical comics), an exclusive preview of Seth's upcoming graphic novel, a batch of book reviews, and a ton of archival features, such as a selection of the magazine's greatest hits (which will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead), and, for a limited time only, free access to scans of the magazine's very earliest issues—don't miss the new introduction Gary has written for the first issue. There's a lot more than that here, so … look around for yourself!
Not to be too obvious about our ambitions, but we want TCJ to be the best source for tough-minded writing and thinking about the medium and we think we’ve assembled a team that can make that happen.
We’d like to thank Gary, Kristy, Michael Dean, Jacq Cohen, and everyone at Fantagraphics for taking this leap with us. Keep reading.
Dan and Tim
P.S. The old TCJ.com's content is safe and sound, and will be up and available again in the very near future.