Garbage Day

Today, we bring you the final day of Jen Lee's week contributing our Cartoonist's Diary. Thanks, Jen!

And Greg Hunter is here, too, with a review of Garth Ennis and John McCrea's The Demon: Hell's Hitman.

The issues collected in Hell's Hitman, dating to the mid-'90s, are not much of a talking point, even among fans of the issues’ writer, Garth Ennis, and they're probably best remembered as the birthplace of Tommy Monaghan, later the title character in Ennis's Hitman series. DC released this collection with little fanfare, perhaps to coincide with Ennis's recent All-Star Section Eight series, a belated Hitman spin-off surrounded by little fanfare itself. Ennis and Etrigan make for a counter-intuitive pairing; the Demon speaks in verse, precluding the scenes of between-fight bullshitting that fill Ennis titles like Preacher. (The release may also be part of an effort to put as many Garth Ennis collections on the market as possible before the Preacher TV series premieres.) Ennis himself admits in his author's note at front of the collection, "I see some things I don’t like, but an awful lot more that I do.” In short: Hell’s Hitman is an especially weird bit of back-catalog excavation, both in its narrow appeal and its wild vacillations in quality.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. Gilbert Hernandez is the latest guest on Inkstuds.

Alex Dueben talks to Jeff Nicholson about coming out of retirement for Through the Habitrails.

I was just not getting enough returns for the energy. Which is hard to really quantify. It's not just financial. Some form of success whether it's financial or fan reaction or critical acclaim. There are different degrees of success. Something could sell really well like "Ultra Klutz" #1 and make lots of money. Something could get really awesome reviews like "Habitrails." Something could have a cult status. I don't know, but there's a threshold where you need a certain amount of whichever form of success it is to make up for the fact that you're making comics on the evenings and the weekends.

Xavier Guilbert talks to Dragonhead creator Mochizuki Minetarô about a new story, Chiisakobe.

When I’m drawing, even if I’m not conscious of it, the situation of Japan always seeps through. It’s like I was feeling with my skin what is happening around me, in Japanese society. When I was working on Dragonhead, there was the Kôbe earthquake in 1995, and that tragic event probably influenced the narrative of this manga. Prior to that, there had been the bursting of the bubble economy in Japan, during which everything which was highly coveted became worthless overnight. There was nothing left for us, and for me it was as if invisible monsters where hiding out in the world.

—News. Ted Rall is suing the L.A. Times for defamation.

The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also contends that The Times fired him unfairly.

Hillary Manning, a spokeswoman for The Times, said in a statement that Rall's allegations in the lawsuit were unfounded, adding: "The Times will defend itself vigorously against Mr. Rall's claims."

In sad news, Zainab Akhtar, who runs the valuable and well-liked Comics & Cola blog, has announced that she will be shutting down her site at the end of the month, citing racism and sexism in the comics community.

—Misc. Mental Floss has published an oral history of the Garbage Pail Kids, featuring Mark Newgarden, Jay Lynch, and many others.

Newgarden: Arthur Shorin was the final word at Topps, period. So the line was probably drawn depending on whatever Arthur had for breakfast that morning.

[John] Pound: Religious elements didn’t fly. One little gag sketch had a little kid like Moses receiving GPK stickers instead of the Ten Commandments tablets. Then things, gags that were suicide-related, like someone hanging themselves, you didn’t want to promote that as something kids might do or try.

Steve Kroninger (Freelance Artist): There was one of a kid in an oven. It was a sketch from Mark or Art. It got painted but didn’t get final approval.

Newgarden: I don’t believe we ever put a baby in an oven.

—Technical. It has come to my attention that several people have sent me emails over the past few months which I never received. I believe the problem has now been fixed, but if any of you have sent important emails and never heard back about them, please resend. Thanks.