First Things First

Pressing matters kept Tucker Stone from being able to finish his column for this morning, but he says it's on its way, so check back in a day or so, and it may be here.

In the meantime, we have an excellent new review for you: the great Eddie Campbell on Matt Baker. Here's an excerpt:

Baker was the master of a stylistic phase of comic books in the late 1940s, wedged in between the superhero and the horror comics, known to the fans and collectors as "good girl art," which is to say comics that constituted a kind of narrative version of a pin-up. That’s likely to put it more in the realm of kitsch than art, like a lower-brow version of girlie calendars. I’m sure it is to be explained sociologically as a form of reading that fed the tastes of a generation of young returning servicemen who were reading comic books when they were sent away and who weren’t sure what they were supposed to be reading when they were sent back except that they were now interested in sex. Why comic book fans might be fond of it sixty years later would take too long to figure out. The best one can say is that the period look gives it more of a charm than its more recent equivalent, but then that would be admitting that it looks dated. [...]

The more interesting, I would say mature, phase of Baker’s work falls between 1949 and 1955, during which time he specialized as a freelancer in romance for St. John’s line of comics.

I am glad that Campbell is spending more time with his own comics, but oh how I miss his blog!


—Heidi MacDonald reports on the ongoing troubles at Scott Rosenberg's Platinum Studios. Where comics are king.

—Editorial cartoonist and editor Matt Bors writes about plagiarism (self- and otherwise) in editorial cartooning, and includes examples.

—A throwaway 1977 story from Joe Kubert on how DC and Marvel comics are made.

—Brandon Graham knows how to blog.

—Reviews: Dustin Harbin on Ruppert & Mulot's Barrel of Monkeys, Christopher Stigliano on Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, and Jason Dittmer on Brubaker & Davis's Captain America.

—Finally, a couple of videos for your weekend: Quentin Blake on creating a story on the page (which I can't figure out how to embed here), and Bruce Parsons' short documentary on Jeffrey Brown: