Slow Improvement

Good morning. We have two new pieces for you this morning. First, a previously unpublished interview with Zap contributor and Furry Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton, conducted in 2012 by Patrick Rosenkranz. Here's a brief excerpt from that:

SHELTON:I don’t suppose you have a copy of Zap #1 printed by Charles Plymell, do you?
ROSENKRANZ: No I sure don’t.
SHELTON: You know the underground comix price guide says that’s worth $10,000.
ROSENKRANZ: A friend of mine sold one recently for $12,000 to the CEO of Nike.
SHELTON: That’s amazing.
ROSENKRANZ: One time I was in [Don] Donahue’s office in 1972 and he had a whole box of Plymell Zaps and I asked him how much are you selling those for? He said 10 bucks apiece and I remember thinking at the time, “Who would pay 10 bucks for that?” I should have bought all 30 of them, if I had 300 bucks.
SHELTON: You’d be wealthy today. If you tried to sell all 30 at once, it would probably bring the price down.
ROSENKRANZ: There are some that were damaged in the fire at the Opera House that have also become highly prized collector’s items now.
SHELTON: Because they’re damaged?
ROSENKRANZ: Yeah, because they’re charred.
SHELTON: That was a busy day at Mowry’s Opera House.

And then we also have a review of the new IDW collection of the 1940s Wonder Woman newspaper strip, written by Tim Hanley. Here's a sample of that:

The first week of strips was light on Wonder Woman. They were set in a newspaper office, with an editor keen to get the scoop on the new female phenom. Wonder Woman popped up briefly in each strip, saving a baby from a fire or stopping a runaway car, but most of the space was devoted to the increasingly frazzled editor.

It was an odd beginning to a strip that had a very specific purpose. Before becoming a comic book writer, Marston was a psychologist whose research led him to believe not only that women were superior to men, but that a matriarchal revolution was inevitable. He created Wonder Woman as "psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world." She was a way to get young readers used to the idea of a powerful woman, and thus pave the way for this revolution.

Giving Wonder Woman only two lines in the first week of strips seems like an ineffective way for Marston to further his cause, but week two launched into a detailed account of her origins that was chock full of matriarchal messages. The strips were an almost exact recreation of Wonder Woman #1. At first glance, it appears that Peter had simply reused the art, but almost every panel was actually an entirely new drawing based on, and often superior to, a panel from Wonder Woman #1. After years of drawing Wonder Woman and her world, Peter's comfort with the material showed in his more confident and detailed artwork.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, I hope you like interviews:

—Reviews & Commentary. Adam McGovern takes a look at Marguerite Van Cook & James Romberger's The Late Child and Other Animals.

Novelist Adam Roberts reviews Charles Burns's Sugar Skull.

Ivan Brunetti explains his latest New Yorker cover.

—Best Of lists. The Guardian has their Best of 2014 list. So does the A.V. Club (whose own comics coverage in general has improved dramatically this past year). Frequent contributor Rob Kirby has his top ten minicomics and top ten non-minicomics. Zach Hazard Vaupen offers a top-ten digital comics list.

—Interviews & Profiles. Both Boing Boing and CBR have interviews with Here creator Richard McGuire.

Alex Dueben talks to Olivier Schrauwen.

I always enjoy the Gary Panter episodes of Inkstuds.

The Toronto Star talks to comics scholar Bart Beaty about his new book and Archie comics.

Kevin Huizenga's on Make It Then Tell Everybody.

Off Life speaks to Isabel Greenberg.

The New Republic talks to the Danish editor Flemming Rose about the infamous Mohammad cartoons he published in 2005.

Gilbert Gottfried (!) has Drew Friedman on his latest podcast.

Chris Mautner talks to Zak Sally.

—Video. Here's the trailer for the She Makes Comics documentary: