Post on Demand

Today on the site, R.C. Harvey returns with a look back at Ted Shearer, creator of the pioneering Quincy strip.

Shearer also freelanced illustration work and cartoons to newspapers and magazines. Before long, he was making the rounds of magazine cartoon editors’ offices in New York every Wednesday, “Look Day,” when cartoonists living in the area submitted their offerings in person. And he worked in animation for a while as an inbetweener. But when he first approached an advertising agency, he ran up against the kind of wall African Americans often ran into in those dismal days (and still do).

“When I gave my name over the phone in arranging for an appointment, I suppose they figured that ‘Shearer’ was Irish. But when I showed up for the meeting and the receptionist saw me, she went into an inner office and made me sit out in the reception room for an hour. When I finally did get in to see my man, he went through my portfolio in about three seconds and then said, ‘If there’s anything, we’ll let you know.’”

We also have Austin Price's review of the latest from Gipi, Land of the Sons.

Italian comics auteur Gipi’s novel Land of the Sons feels at first like something of a small revolution for the post-apocalyptic story. “On the causes and motives that led to the end, entire chapters of history books could have been written. But after the end, no more books were ever written,” reads the epigraph, and though this very novel would seem to contradict Gipi’s own insistence (for what is Land of the Sons if not a kind of history book of this place and time?), for a time he seems to be actively trying to refute literary critic Jame Woods’ insistence that the post-apocalyptic story is “necessarily paradoxical… As long as language can be used to recount the worst, then the worst has not arrived” by presenting a story that exists post-language.

Yes, it’s true that the father of the titular sons keeps a journal, but from the opening portion of the novel he and his sons – our protagonists – move through their post-cataclysmic wasteland of bayous using little else but barked monosyllables when they deign to speak at all; it is not rare for a page or two or even three to pass in total silence. And why shouldn’t it be, when the boys’ own father refuses to teach them how to write even though he himself keeps a journal, when he communicates with them almost entirely through violence and threats that seem designed to beat the language out of them entirely?

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Nick Meglin, longtime editor of Mad, has died. We will have an obituary soon. In the meantime, there are many remembrances online, including these by Sam Viviano and Mark Evanier.

Emil Ferris's My Favorite Thing is Monsters has won the Lambda award for best graphic novel.

Last Friday, ComiXology and Amazon announced comiXology Originals, a new line of comics to be available both digitally and via print-on-demand.

[UPDATED TO ADD:] For anyone who doesn’t already know, last weekend, the cartoonist Brandon Graham had something of a social-media meltdown, and published a comic on his Tumblr responding to various allegations that have been made against him; he calls it a “diss track,” and in it he attacks some of his critics. His defense seems to have provoked an almost universally negative reaction. The comic is easy to find if you want to read it, as are the various criticisms against him. We are looking into the situation, and hope to report more soon.

—Reviews & Commentary. Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds took to Twitter to explain what the comiXology/Amazon move mentioned above may mean in a broader sense.

If you value high-quality printing and diverse books, today's amazon/comixology announcement is concerning. Amazon's print-on-demand offers exactly one paper stock option, two finishes (matte/gloss), limited trim options, and paperback only.


Amazon's end game here is clear. They eventually want their proprietary P-O-D tech to fulfill as much consumer book demand as possible, & these exclusives are a way of conditioning comics fans to this process, so we publishers will eventually conform our business.

Reynolds continued his thoughts on Twitter in a second thread as well.

If you don't have a healthy skepticism of Amazon, you should, regardless of Comixology. Ask a Seattleite that doesn't work for Amazon.

Brian Nicholson reviews Margot Ferrick's Dognurse.

Margot Ferrick’s new comic, printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press, has an obvious difference with her book Yours, published by 2D Cloud last year: There’s pictures. Not totally coincidentally, I like it more. I like her drawings, for one, but also, Ferrick’s work seems specifically about emotions- big, uncomfortable, overpowering ones, relationships that are not necessarily healthy, and the use of drawing to depict a physical world gives readers a way to be more objective about what they’re seeing. Yours is pretty much all lettering, a sort of comics equivalent to the form of the love letter. In the act of reading, we feel our way along with it, in an intimate, experiential way. It’s a unique comics experience, but for me it feels somewhat one-note. When her words work in tandem with her drawing, it seems like we’re not just being given feelings, but are presented with the task of making sense of them. I think this is harder, and consequently more rewarding, though certainly I know others will differ as to the latter point.

—Misc. Michael DeForge shares Steve Ditko's reaction to his own bootleg Spider-Man comic from a few years back.

That 'free' spider-man comic is another example of anti-story and art, anti-property rights in every way and the practice continues and spreads and to be accepted.

It's the "Dumbing Down" and "Deviations Up".