Rigid Lego Set

Gordon Bailey, one of the founders of The Nostalgia Journal (the fanzine that eventually became The Comics Journal), recently passed away.

Gordon Francis Bailey Jr., a contributor to early comics fandom in north Texas, passed away July 13 after a brief illness, according to his sister, Katherine Bailey. Gordon Bailey was part of The Syndicate — himself, Larry Herndon, Joe Bob Williams, and later Mark Lamberti — a group that created The Nostalgia Journal in the summer of 1974. TNJ ran for 26 issues before it was acquired by Gary Groth and Michael Catron of Fantagraphics and became, first, The New Nostalgia Journal and then The Comics Journal. Bailey helped organize early conventions in north Texas and Oklahoma, and wrote about some of them in Trek in Texas — The 1970s Star Trek Conventions, one of his 18 self-published books.

Bailey was born July 21, 1956, lived most of his life in Fort Worth, Texas, and died a few days shy of his 60th birthday at Harris Medical Center in Fort Worth, the same hospital where he was born. He graduated from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth and attended North Texas State for a year.

He fell in love with journalism in the ninth grade and though not eligible to take the journalism course, he sat in on the classes anyway and was appointed editor of his high school paper while still a junior. His first magazine was The BiWeekly Bomb — which was eventually banned by the high school administration. He collected comics, Mad magazines, and movie memorabilia throughout high school. Those loves persisted throughout his life. At 17 he published his first fanzine, Comic Fantasy Quarterly.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—In comics form, Ben Juers writes about abstract comics and Sasaki Maki.

For abstract comics to be effective, they have to escape both the chronic status anxiety afflicting their medium, and the temptation to guide the reader's eye too methodically and mathematically.

—As the much-needed compendium Meat Cake Bible sees release, Sean T. Collins interviews the great Dame Darcy.

Because I was raised on a ranch in Idaho and I was the oldest with only younger brothers I was naturally outdoorsy; I still am, with all my sailing adventures. I didn’t want to be considered prissy, and I did nutso things like ride horses through thunderstorms bareback, kicking the horses to run and jump over barbed-wire fences. But I also wanted to wear Victorian lace dresses all the time and have tea parties with my dolls. I was vehement about being girly in a family where I felt like I had to fight against everyone trying to negate and marginalize the fact I was a girl.

So to escape and rebel, I put on my lacy white petticoat, my lipstick, and my glitter heels and ran to the faggiest place anyone could go, a fine art school in San Francisco, when I got a scholarship to the San Francisco Art Institute. Growing up that way, how did I have the chance to become anything else than the loud horrible passionate hardcore feminist that I am today? Love it or leave it, Patriarchy. It’s how I be.

—For The New Yorker, Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan writes about the Berlin-based Indian cartoonist Sarnath Banerjee.

Banerjee’s success as a graphic novelist is, itself, a product of forces that have taken hold in the New India. As economic growth has fostered a new middle-class Anglophone reading public, interest in genre fiction has exploded. Indian readers of English can today find homegrown works of chick lit, techie lit, detective fiction, even what the scholar E. Dawson Varughese has called “crick lit”—fiction about cricket. India has long had a small but vibrant tradition of comic-book publishing, exemplified by the popular Amar Chitra Katha series, but today most major and independent Indian presses publish in the genre, while others are entirely dedicated to the graphic form. And, where popular titles of the past tended to depict Indian gods, fables, and folklore, today’s artists are interested in exploring the experience and contradictions of living in India now. When Banerjee’s first book, “Corridor,” about the patrons of a secondhand bookstall in Delhi, was published by Penguin Books India, in 2004, it was heralded as the country’s first graphic novel. In fact, that distinction belongs to Orijit Sen’s 1994 book “The River of Stories,” which chronicled the controversial construction of dams on the Narmada River. But, while Sen’s book was published with the help of an environmental-action group and had a limited release, Banerjee’s books, published by Penguin and HarperCollins India, have given momentum to a new generation of Indian graphic novelists.