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A Girdle with a Pouch

Today at TCJ, we've got Day Three of the Karl Stevens Cartoonist's Diary. In today's installment, Karl goes to a baseball game.

Elsewhere, the developments in the ongoing social media annoyance/terrorism campaign grouped under the term #comicsgate continues to showcase more of what seems like a near infinite supply of the same brand of knuckle-dragging stupidity that goes along with any campaign whose only real message is one of whining complaint. Be it a harassment campaign circling around Darwyn Cooke's widow, multiple con-artist-led crowdfunding campaigns for comics no one will ever enjoy, an endless cycle of arguments that demand one immerse themselves in never-ending strings of social media updates, unreadable blog posts & supremely boring youtube videos involving people who are indistinguishable from an eye-rolling 9-year-old simply so you can understand what in the fuck they're all talking about and, most recently, a guy sending a picture of his asshole to another guy he dislikes online. 

I agree with Tom on this one--there isn't much to say about the people involved in this particular subset of "the culture". Like the gamergaters that seem to have served as their inspiration, comicsgate is the last cry of a dying breed. They've already been replaced by the millions--not hundreds of thousands, millions--of children who have been reared on Raina, Yang & Kibuishi, by the tweens and teens who bleed Viz. They're going to be offensive, hateful, and annoying while they sink, but even the most lazy of searches of their hashtags sees each of their attempts at insurrection drowned out by a chorus of people who, while they occasionally seem to only marginally care about comics and art, at least recognize that racism and homophobia behaviors to be shamed. This has been coming for a while, this reckoning--and it will probably be a little bit louder, and a lot bit stupider, while people like Ethan Van Sciver and Richard Meyer bleed it for whatever money it has left.

For what it's worth? More power to them. The sooner those guys burn out the financial core of this dipshit movement, the better. None of this has resulted in better comics, better writing about comics, or any good jokes. It's just eaten up lives, time and talent that could've been spent doing absolutely anything else, while ensuring that a large portion of interesting people spent way too much time online being batted around by a firehose of annoyance. And no, just to be clear, I don't mean the recent string of second-tier superhero freelancers, end-of-career bloggers and Image pitchmen who have made copy and pasting empty platitudes their latest attempt to brand themselves in a more appealing fashion so they won't be swept out of the door with the creeps when all those aforementioned millions who are growing up on comics, manga & middle-grade fiction that actually treats them like human beings with lives of value start deciding what the next wave of art is supposed to look like. The interesting people are the critics who didn't try, the artists who walked away, and the collaborations between groups that couldn't happen because of the constant poisoning of the well that comes from being a part of an industry that waits until the last minute, every fucking time, to get off its ass and make a moral choice to tell these losers to go a long time ago. 

 

Dimensions of Time

Another big day on TCJ. First up, Cynthia Rose returns with an excellent and thorough look at the life and career of Peyo, best known as the creator of the Smurfs.

The Smurfs are global stars as big as Tintin. Like him, too, they're a merchandising miracle. Yet even Hergé told their author he should forget about doing comics. So how did a dreamer with no obvious talents end up fathering world-famous icons? That's the secret revealed in Peyo, currently on show in Paris.

The Smurfs were invented by Pierre "Peyo" Culliford (1928-1992). Though he was born outside Brussels, both his father and his grandfather were English. Their family tree had one exotic sprig – an 18th-century pirate by the name of Robert Culliford. But Pierre's own father, naturalized a Belgian, was thoroughly bourgeois. He installed his wife and three children in a spacious home, shared with not one but both sets of grandparents.

Pierre was the family's youngest son, initially known as "Pierrot." But an English cousin mispronounced this nickname into "Peyo." Peyo was a sociable child who loved sports and storytelling. Every Sunday, after lunch, he would stage a play for his family. These productions always had historic themes, inspired by Hergé's Tintin or the U.S. comics in Mickey and Robinson.

Yet there was something sinister in the Culliford home. Peyo's father was suffering from a mystery illness which, over several years, slowly paralysed him. One night when he was seven, Peyo was called to tell him goodbye. As the boy kissed his father's face, he realized it was cold.

He looked for solace in music, drawing, and the Boy Scouts. But while the Scout choir was happy to make him a soloist, Peyo's art teacher told him he had "no talent at all."

We also have the second day of Karl Stevens's tenure creating our Cartoonist's Diary. This installment features a terrible joke.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. This year's nominees for the Ignatz Award have been announced.

—Interviews & Profiles. For Smash Pages, Alex Dueben talks to Geof Darrow.

It’s nice to have an open horizon. I can do anything. Once I’ve committed myself, that fantasy goes away. I’m so easily distracted. I’d never seen Game of Thrones, but when my daughter was home from school this summer we started watching. I wanted to draw Game of Thrones. Then I saw John Wick and was like, I want to draw John Wick. Mad Max will be on and I want to draw Mad Max. That’s why I stay away from the Marvel movies. I’m afraid if I watch them I’ll want to draw Thor. If they’d let me. Once I start a comic I go, I wish I’d decided to do that John Wick idea instead. [laughs]

The most recent guest on the RiYL podcast is Ivan Brunetti.

—Reviews & Commentary. Over at Print, Michael Dooley writes about Hillary Chute's Why Comics? and reprints several passages from it.

“Comics shape time by arranging it in space on the page in panels, which are, essentially, boxes of time. … Panels are how the cartoonist gets to experiment with presenting time, with duration and motion. … McGuire multiplies and layers panels, each of which represents a different time frame, within the same space on every page, opening up dimensions of time. One page depicting 1949, which is about breaking as a general matter, features a spatialized smattering of verbal insults from the 1940s to the 1980s and also, terrifyingly, water pouring into the room’s window, suggesting a totally destructive natural disaster in the year 2111.”

 

Behind the Sly

Over the weekend, we published our obituary of Russ Heath, who passed away last week. It's an extensive, insightful piece on the artist, his career, and the choices that he made by Michael Dean.

If, for much of his career, Heath found himself recreating the Second World War over and over, it wasn’t so much because military conflict was his cup of tea, but because his style grew more out of the tradition of illustrating than that of cartooning. The war-comics genre was rooted in realistic details that were unnecessary in the world of Superman. Heath was able to capture those details so well that his comics actually undermined the glamour of war. In an essay written for the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention booklet, editor-writer Archie Goodwin wrote, “You believe Rock and Easy Company’s nightmare moments of battle. And believing those, you also believe the quiet and reflective ones when the madness of war is questioned or commented on. Russ Heath’s artwork has made it too damn real not to.”

That isn't all. Today, we'll share with you more on Heath, via an interview between him and Gary Groth that has never seen publication. Stemming from a conversation in 2008, the two get into Heath's work for Playboy, Warren, Blazing Combat and more, as well as a laundry list of artists that, along with Russ, shaped the American identity of comics. That's great and all, but I, like you, just want to know if Gary is going to follow up on the story told below about Al Jaffee.

What was your relationship with Al Jaffee?

I never met Jaffee up until that time, I don’t believe. And we became good friends, joking around, living in the same room in that apartment, or close to it. And I remember going out to his house one time on a weekend for a barbecue in the neighborhood and met all his neighbors. They all used to just wander around — one of them’s got ice cubes, one of them’s got meat, and they have a barbecue. And he took us out on his little motorboat.

I guess that marriage broke apart. He was hysterical. His lawn was about four or five inches long and his wife had been after him, so he goes down in the basement, disappears for a couple hours. Suddenly we hear this engine start up and the doors prop open to the basement, outdoor doors. And he comes out of there with the thing going full blast. He had taken a washing-machine motor out of his wife’s washing machine and grafted it into the thing and that’s how it was running.

Grafted it into a lawnmower?

Yeah. Took his regular lawnmower and made a power mower out of it. [Laughter.] I don’t know what the hell she did her wash with after that …

So it wasn’t a power mower to begin with?

No. Anyway, he was complaining that the mower didn’t work and so he went down and took the motor out of his wife’s washing machine, grafted the thing in there and came up with a thing running like crazy.

And created a power mower. I didn’t know he was that handy.

Well, ask him about it.

And the day isn't done there. Today begins a new five day stint of Cartoonist's Diary, this time with Karl Stevens. (We previously reviewed Karl's book The Winner back in May.) Today, he's dealing with his feelings about aging, by displacing them onto observations about a longtime friend. Relatable!

Finally, I'm no connoisseur of WTF moments in superhero comics, but I still feel disappointed in myself for not being aware of this particular moment in Green Lantern comics, because it sure would've been a fun one to have brought up way more often than necessary.

 

Not Too Much

Today on the site, Tegan O'Neil reviews Paige Braddock's Love Letters to Jane's World.

Suffice to say, Jane’s World was a bit of a trailblazer. When United Media picked up the strip in 2001 it was hailed as the first gay-themed work to receive distribution by a national media syndicate. The strip is far more humble in focus, if not execution, than such a consequential bit of trivia might have you believe. Jane’s World focuses on the love lives of its main cast with the same bald matter-of-factness that the residents of Apartment 3-G gather to discuss their fresh kills. That accounts for much of the charm. Braddock’s queer characters inhabit a world where their desires and needs are considered just as significant and just as worthy of fulfillment as anyone else’s. The unspoken premise remains that the strip and Braddock don’t and shouldn’t need to explain to their non-gay readers why or how they should care about gay people.

>If that seems obvious, imagine for a minute being gay and having literally every piece of mainstream media representation be ham-fisted tragedy porn written by people whose good intentions often mask the fact that they regard queer folk as exotic animals to be petted, pitied, and packed away to limbo once their Very Special Story Of Intolerance has been told. The joy at the heart of Jane’s World is the idea that there are actually places where gay people can just be themselves without having to justify their own existence to one another. That goes not just for the community inside the strip but the community of real-world readers who embraced the strip on account of seeing themselves reflected in its panels.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—The Guardian profiles Lisa Hanawalt.

She describes Coyote Doggirl as a “revenge fantasy”: the story sees Coyote being pursued because she maims a man while he assaults her. “The scene where she’s getting assaulted – or nearly assaulted – is not that sexy. And I think sometimes when we see these things in movies, they’re very sexualised and the female body is shown as this treasure that’s being pillaged,” she says. “And it’s kind of gross.”

Despite Hanawalt’s interest in women having control over their own narratives, she never wants her work to be didactic. “I never set out to make overtly political work where the moral is very clear. I think it should always be a little muddled. Even in this book, [Coyote] gets revenge on the bad guys. It is very violent, when she lashes back at her attacker. But I don’t think violence is the right answer. I think it complicates things for her.” The book’s original ending was going to be a bloodbath, but she toned it down. “That kind of represents who I am, and what I believe about the world, a little better,” she says. “So I changed it.”

—Over at Smash Pages, Alex Dueben talks to Ariel Bordeaux about the comics she's posting on Facebook.

My friend and mentee Anna Sellheim, who I got to know when she chose me as her advisor at the Center for Cartoon Studies, was doing Hourly Comics Day. In one of her strips she mentioned me and wished that I would do more comics and texted it to me. I happened to be home with my son who was sick and I felt weirdly motivated by that. Okay, I’ll accept the challenge. [laughs] It was already noon by the time I got the text and she said, just write down a bunch of notes and draw the comics later, so I did them all later that night and the next day.

—And the Washington Post covers Art Spiegelman's MacDowell Medal win.

“The increased cultural prominence of comic art and its once-wayward practitioners can largely be laid at the feet of a single artist: Art Spiegelman,” Pulitzer-winning author and MacDowell Colony chair Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”) said in a statement. Chabon and MacDowell Colony executives will present the medal.

 

Vandal Salvage

Today at The Comics Journal, Martyn Pedler sits down with L. Nichols, whose Flocks is garnering a healthy amount of praise in the run up to its September debut. The two also touch a bit upon the genesis of Ley Lines, which he calls "a fine art fan comic".

I was reading an interview you gave years ago where you talked about “coming out as a Christian”. Do you feel like you get different responses now?

No, people are always surprised! Especially in intellectual circles. People are atheist or agnostic, and that’s fine. I would never try to convince anyone else of my own beliefs. I’ve always felt a very strong feeling that there’s something more, something better. My conception of God isn’t “angry father-figure in the sky who’s going to smite you dead”. It’s more like an interconnected consciousness of all things. That’s horrible – I sound very New Agey – but whatever. I’ve always felt connected, and that connection can happen in a lot of ways. All religions have some aspect of it, and it depends on the culture they’re in as to how those aspects are manifested. I guess that ties into how I always try to see the viewpoints of other people. Even people who I don’t agree with. There are people now I’m just banging my head against, like Trump supporters. I cannot figure it out. My mom is a right-wing conspiracy theorist – and I can’t! There’s a certain point where my compassion turns to bafflement.

Our TCJ review of the day comes from Matt Seneca, who stopped everything he was doing, including his marriage, the second he got the opportunity to review the new Jim Woodring: Poochytown!

No, I mean that when the bombs have fallen and our society’s returned to dust and you're as likely to find a comic book riffling in the wind on a stretch of washed out freeway as you are in the husk of yesteryear's L.C.S., the gestures and concerns of Woodring's weird ass fantasias will seem just as vital and engaging as Chris Ware or Brian-Michael Bendis's mannered evocations of the now will seem archaic and irrelevant. Woodring uses the medium of cartoon drawing to gesture at something ineffable, permanent. His books will last because they transcend their times. 

Over at Your Chicken Enemy, Rob Clough reviews three recent releases from Kilgore Books--Noah van Sciver's Blammo #10, Emi Gennis' Baseline Blvd & Robert Sergel's September 12th. Rob's take on Blammo is particularly astute.

Our friend and yours, Abhay Khosla, on a comic whose blurb seems expressly designed to ensure the maximum repellence possible.

Over at The Daily Dot, Gavia Baker-Whitelaw took a look at the Cody Pickrodt story, examining how it has so far played out differently than other #metoo cases.

 

 

Grim Business

Alec Berry has written a thorough report on the defamation suit recently filed by small-press publisher and cartoonist Cody Pickrodt against several women who accused him of various charges including rape and sexual harassment, as well as against other members of the comics community who posted about the allegations online.

Cody Pickrodt, a small-press comics publisher and cartoonist — who has been accused of rape, sexual harassment, anti-Semitic remarks, and withholding payment of royalties to artists whose work he’s printed — has filed a defamation lawsuit against 11 individuals who either made those allegations or denounced Pickrodt while commenting on them.

The defendants include the cartoonists Whit Taylor, Laura Knetzger, Emma Louthan, Emi Gennis, Ben Passmore, Hazel Newlevant, Tom Kaczynski, Jordan Shiveley, and Morgan Pielli, as well as writer, editor, and publisher Josh O’Neill, and comics critic Rob Clough. The complaint also lists Kaczynski’s business, Uncivilized Books.

“These are false claims,” says Pickrodt's attorney, Joe Carbonaro of Carbonaro Law in New York City. “He’s really suffered as a result of this. He’s lost clients. He can’t really network within the comic book community, as you can see.”

Pickrodt demands damages be reimbursed at an amount of no less than $2.5 million for cause of emotional and mental distress. The defendants have under a month to mount a legal response or they forfeit.

Two additional aspects of this story should be noted. First, the defendants are in the process of setting up a group crowdfunding effort, which we will report on when it is ready. Second, many people have asked if this is a case the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund should be involved in. After we published this story yesterday afternoon, the CBLDF has released the following statement:

We're aware of the concerns regarding this case, have been and continue to be in contact with the affected parties, and are providing assistance to the extent that our charter permits. We're unable to provide further detail, in accordance with our policies.

We will keep you informed of any updates on this story as they arrive.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. The New York Review of Books has published an essay by Ryan Holmberg about Katsumata Susumu's Fukushima Devil Fish, out from Breakdown Press.

Art changed in Japan after the tsunami and nuclear meltdowns of March 2011. So did art history—or at least it should have.

As the black waters of the tsunami receded from communities along the Pacific Ocean coast in northern Japan, and the fallout settled upon the nuclear boomtowns and farming villages of eastern Fukushima, social engagement flourished across the arts, both in fields where one would expect it (like documentary filmmaking) and in those traditionally allergic to sensitive issues (like contemporary art).

That the disasters ushered in a new era in Japanese culture is widely recognized. That they also inspired a reappraisal of what had been made in the past is only partially so. Within weeks, scholars, publishers, and activists began to offer an array of previous responses to industrialized fission in Japan. Inevitably, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were on people’s lips. While protesters cried, “No More Hiroshimas! No More Fukushimas!” pundits repeatedly asked, “How could the only country to suffer nuclear attack become one of the greatest supporters of atomic energy?” Classics of disaster fiction, like Sakyo Komatsu’s Japan Sinks (1973), about the archipelago breaking in half from a massive earthquake, and Katsuhiro Otomo’s sci-fi dystopia Akira (1982-1990), about psychokinetic superkids in a post-atomic holocaust Tokyo, were praised anew as prophetic.

Yet much of this retrospection ignored a basic fact: very few of Japan’s many disaster-fantasy masterpieces have anything to do with nuclear power plants, nor with the dangers of building a dense, highly industrialized society along the seismically hyperactive Pacific Rim.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Alex Miller reviews Hillary Chute's recent collection, Why Comics?

In a style reminiscent of Raymond Williams’s The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence, Chute’s monograph seeks to celebrate “what comics does best” by establishing a critical genealogy of the medium’s development. Chute’s history, however, is not the history that begins with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creation of Superman and concludes with Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel and the subsequent “superhero-ification” of all things marketable. Instead, Why Comics? focuses on the evolving capacity of independent comics to represent experiences that have historically been relegated to the margins of popular culture. In pursuit of this goal, Chute deploys a thematic approach to the lives and works of a variety of now-canonical cartoonists who began their careers on the margins of both society and the industry.

For Vice Sports, Corbin Smith writes about a fifty-year-old sequence of baseball-themed Peanuts strips.

The story begins with our hero, Charlie Brown, standing on the baseball mound, the site of so many of his most profound failures. For those not familiar, in his ill-defined neighborhood team’s structure, Charlie is, seemingly because he is the only person who wants it, his team’s manager and pitcher. He is not very good at either task, getting lit up in strip after strip, for year after year, occasionally suffering the pure indignity of a line drive hitting him and knocking all of his clothes off, while the rest of his teammates—including his dog, the consensus best player—just kind of don't give a shit. There's a very simple reason for this grim outlook: you don't make the finest work of comic art of the latter half of the 20th century by writing a comic where the main character gets what he wants, you do it by distilling your tremendous depression into a daily comic strip aimed, presumably, at children.

Robert Boyd writes about Yvan Alagbé's Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures.

It's taken more than 20 years for the USA to catch up with this masterpiece, with New York Review Comics publishing Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures in English with a new story as an afterward. These stories of migrants from third world countries seem more urgent than ever, although for Americans the situation is a little different. We didn't have, as France did, a vast African empire. Alagbé was born in Paris in 1971 of Beninese parents, and lived for three years as a child with his family in Benin. His stories are often about undocumented workers from Africa who end up in France. However, the stories don't exist to make a political point, even if such points are inherent in the stories. Alagbé is not a polemicist. His work is too subtle and inflected with modernism to be propaganda.

—Interviews. For Africa is a Country, Lily Saint talks with UCLA historian William Worger about his archive of comics sponsored by South Africa's Apartheid government.

The production process, as you explain on the UCLA Library website, tells an interesting story of collaboration between the Apartheid government, the CIA, American-based DC-Comics artists and writers, and anthropological focus groups run in South Africa.

Yes, I want to go back and learn more about how these were created. Eschel Rhoodie, the Secretary of the Department of Information, describes how anthropologist Bettie van Zyl Alberts ran focus groups in South Africa before they were made, ostensibly to assess how these comics might best appeal to readers in rural and urban areas. The American DC-Comics artists (most notably the illustrator Joe Orlando) made the drawings for the comics. Oddly, under the injunctions of the South African government, they were tasked with drawing black South Africans to look different, somehow, from American comics’ depictions of black Americans. This of course begs the question: How do you make people look more African than African-American? Is there a memo somewhere that says if you change the image in a certain way you can make characters look more African than African-American?

Finally, at the Beat, Heidi MacDonald speaks to artist JG Jones about his his break from comics, spurred by his struggle with blood cancer.

This is kind of a weird disease and I was undiagnosed for a while. In the initial stages your bone marrow is hyper proliferative. It makes too many blood products, red, white, platelets. Way back when I was doing Final Crisis, I remember times where I was almost passing out at my drawing table. I would go to sleep and just sleep for hours and hours. It was really wrecking my deadlines. But I thought it was over work and I didn’t think much of it. Then I found out [I was sick] just in a routine physical. I had a blood test and it was so thick that it took 15 minutes to get a vial of blood out of me.

[...] So it’s a really rare disease but I think a lot of people go undiagnosed. The outcome of having blood like that is usually a stroke or heart attack, which happens a lot when it’s not diagnosed. So I just got a lucky break that it was caught.

 

Born Inside This Thing

Today at TCJ, we've got a nice long conversation with Judith Brodie, the curator of the National Gallery's "Sense of Humor" show. Austin English took the helm for this one:

A show of works on paper, Sense of Humor, is currently on view at the National Gallery, and runs until January 6th. It's an exhibition anyone interested in cartooning should make note of. Work by George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Saul Steinberg, and others are on view, as are prints by Francisco de Goya, Leonardo da Vinci, and William Hogarth. Comic art is rarely on view in major institution. This exhibit becomes, in this way, an important opportunity to view works by the masters of the form in person, alongside major figures in caricature like Hogarth. Herriman on display with Hogarth provides a moment to confront the first gestations of cartooning alongside the mediums rich fulfillment.

 

The Chicago Tribune (rightly) got to feature Marvel's latest big hire: Eve Ewing, the notable Chicago poet and academic who most recently won an Alex Award for her Haymarket poetry collection, Electric Arches. Ewing will be writing a new ongoing series for Marvel, Ironheart, based around a character created by Brian Michael Bendis during his run on the Iron Man character. We blogged about an earlier campaign from November to make this very thing happen if you're interested in how it came to be.

 

If you had been anxiously waiting to find out what happened next to the guys from Meltdown Comics following their announcement of a vaguely defined "online venture" mentioned back when they closed their store in March, wait no more: it has something to do with a Home Shopping Network for generation Z, Lebron James' money, and Aaron Levent, who--as described in a now understandably timed piece--left his trade show empire behind days after Meltdown closed their doors. Like Meltdown's historic decision to accept Bitcoin (famously covered in a Publishers Weekly article called "The Future of Retail" a few months prior to them embracing the future of being closed), i'm sure this has the potential to be successful.

 

Over at Your Chicken Enemy, site editor Daniel Elkin has an early look at Tara Booth's Nocturne, an upcoming release from 2dcloud.

When it’s all said and done, Tara Booth’s new book, NOCTURNE, published by 2dCloud [sic], is, at its heart, a dirty joke told in long form for 64 wordless pages of painted images that almost garishly swirl with undulating blues and reds that highlight Booth’s knack for self-mockery and heartfelt exploration of both the mundane and the surreal. In its telling, though, Nocturne touches upon issues of consent, sexual politics, gender norms, insomnia, pharmacology, and communal living. Even with all this, though, Booth has created a book that ultimately ends on a note of acceptance, joy, and positivity.

 

Over at The New Yorker, Francoise Mouly had a brief conversation with Nora Krug about Krug's upcoming graphic novel on World War II. 

Did anyone refuse to talk, or give you answers you felt were inaccurate? If so, how did you deal with that?

Nobody refused to talk to me, even people I encountered during my field research, people I had never met before in my life. Inaccuracy was a problem when it came to some of the wartime stories that had been told over the course of generations in my family. For instance, there is a rumor that my maternal grandfather’s mother had been Jewish, and that that same grandfather had hidden his former employer, who was Jewish, in a garden shed during the war. I tried as much as I could to get to the bottom of those claims, but don’t believe that they are true. I suspect that they were a by-product of the guilt my family felt after the war—stories that made living with the shame a little easier.

 

Back

Today on the site, Mel Schuit reviews the latest from Lisa Hanawalt, Coyote Doggirl.

Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl follows CD and her trusty steed Red through a tireless journey of separation, inner-healing, and good-old fashioned Western revenge. We begin the story with CD and Red being pursued by three dogs on horseback, though we have no context for the pursuit and CD doesn’t seem keen to provide readers with one. Instead, her one-sided conversations are observational and stream of consciousness, and they provide a superficial but witty look at the thoughts of a cowboy whose daily interactions are limited to talking to a horse.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

I just got back from a week on a lake by the woods without checking the internet even once, so I am blessedly free of almost all knowledge of what happened in comics last week, except for the small amount I was able to glean from an hour or so of research and a telephone call with Tucker last night. So I apologize that the links will be few today. I'll try to catch up on the highlights I missed, and should be all caught up soon.

—Reviews & Commentary. Over at Smash Pages, Brigid Alverson reports from this year's Graphic Medicine Festival in two parts. It is nice to see that Whit Taylor, who covered the festival for us four years ago, is now a keynote speaker.

Over at the consistently impressive Inks blog, Craig Fischer writes about the influences he sees in Ben Passmore's Daygloayhole.

Daygloayhole begins with the apocalypse in media res. The opening splash is a mélange of smoke, crumbling buildings, and long-lasting screams represented by massive word balloons extending to the near-bleed of the vertical panel borders. Giant whistling cockroaches scuttle by, while “Mad Maxy marauders” and “dystopian subterranean cannibal societies” point to a self-aware “lame ‘90s vision of the future.” The most common visual element of the early pages of Daygloayhole, however, are silver obelisks that explode from the ground—“their lacquered fingers jutting from under piles of florescent gravel”—to loom over the landscape. This whirlwind of inexplicable cataclysmic events hints at another major influence on Passmore: B.P.R.D., the Mike Mignola-masterminded series about the slow end of Hellboy’s world from the point-of-view of humans only dimly aware of the reasons for Doomsday.

Michael Dooley writes about the New York Times's recent controversial coverage of comics.

The New York Times got it wrong about the highly hyped Batman #50 with its description of the caped crusader’s nuptials to Catwoman. Hordes of fanboys went batshit crazy, seriously shocked and outraged that the surprise dénouement to a storyline that they’d been following for 49 issues was revealed three full days before the comic book’s official release. The writer, George Gene Gustines, later apologized, admitting that “We should have given more thought…” about whether to include the reveal in the headline, regardless of the fact that his feature had been cheekily tucked in the “Style” section’s Vows column. But then, the Gray Lady hasn’t really given much thought, much less respect, to the medium – which it regularly, dismissively, and, well, incorrectly refers to as a “genre” – since comics’ inception well over a century ago.

Over at his Facebook page, Rick Veitch writes about his experiences self-publishing via Amazon's POD service, CreateSpace.

With seven titles released via CreateSpace since 2015, I’ve been cogitating over what I like and don’t like about about the system. The basics are pretty simple; its a Print-On-Demand scheme that includes distribution and fulfillment through amazon. Let’s start with what I like:

1) There are no upfront production costs except the sweat equity of producing the comic.
2) The system is easy to learn.
3) Per unit costs for B&W books are quite reasonable.
4) No inventory to manage.
5) Immediate availability on Amazon USA and Europe.
6) Printing and binding is very good for Print-On-Demand.
7) Direct deposit of royalties.
8) When they screw up they quickly make it right.
9) The backlist remains available indefinitely.
10) Books are dated when printed.

—RIP.