Timely Comics

Joe McCulloch is talking about a blast from the weird past today, Michael Zulli & Stephen Murphy's Puma Blues, which is being republished/continued by Dover Publications, until now not much known for comics publishing outside things like their reprints of Lynd Ward and the like. (Dover actually just announced a whole new line of graphic novels, and you can see more details in this Publishers Weekly report from Calvin Reid.) As usual, Joe also has a guided tour of this week's most interesting-sounding new comics releases, and spotlights Kerascoët & Hullbard's Beauty in the process.

And then we have Jeremy Sigler's review of Dash Shaw's new Doctors. Here's a bit of that:

Set in the future, the story is about a wealthy woman, Mrs. Bell, who slips at a public swimming pool, hits her head, and dies. As the narrative unfolds, we discover that upon her death, Mrs. Bell’s corpse has been displaced from the conventional morgue and brought by two so-called doctors—Dr. Cho and his daughter Tammy—to a creepy Brooklyn basement where, with the help of an assistant named Will, they attempt to head off Bell’s spirit in the afterlife and convince it to return to life.

The doctors claim to be rescuing Mrs. Bell before her post-death “fade to blackness,” but it takes quite a lot of deception and coercion to pry her away from her fairly cushy stay in the afterlife.

Meanwhile, we sense that business is not going so well for Dr. Cho’s pioneering practice. The finicky machine they use to enter the afterlife is an aging dust-covered computer, outfitted with equipment vaguely reminiscent of vintage electroshock therapy. At one point, Dr. Cho blows the dust off the tangled wires in his computer’s hard-drive to get it going again—a wink at the classic dystopian sci-fi world run by obsolete machinery from all eras. Fearlessly, Tammy lays down on her back, side by side with the corpse of Mrs. Bell, allowing her living brain to be hooked by cables to the dead brain of the corpse—the connection creates a portal between life and death. And this is how the therapy is administered.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Supreme Court decided not to review the Shuster estate case against Warner Bros.

At Boing Boing, Monte Beauchamp explains the idea behind and presents excerpts from his recent book, Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World.

—Reviews & Commentary. The previously skeptical Paul Constant has very strong praise for the new edition of The Best American Comics, guest edited by Scott McCloud. Zainab Akhtar likes Brandon Graham's Walrus.

And TCAF co-founder Chris Butcher weighs in on the recent online debates surrounding cosplay and changing convention culture, and his post will probably drive a lot more discussion. Here's a brief excerpt:

I think Denise Dorman’s railing against the ‘instagram’ generation is hilarious but actually has a point–she’s just not using the best terminology to describe what is an actual phenomenon–before 5 years ago, no one (in their right mind) would go to a show thinking that they were an ‘attraction’ without buying themselves an exhibition space, a booth, an artist alley table, something. However, in the last few years the number of people who think that a badge (whether paid for or comped) entitles them to an audience within a convention space is on the rise dramatically. It’s been pegged as cosplayers, and honestly there are more cosplayers at shows than ever, and more professional cosplayers who are going to shows to make money and build an audience. Cosplayers attending shows as businesspeople, who aren’t contributing to the economy of the show.

But professional cosplayers (and I think there’s an important distinction there between people who cosplay and people who earn money cosplaying) are literally nothing compared to the other social media personalities who have begun to call comic-conventions theirs. Where previously you had nerdlebrities like Wil Wheaton building a social media empire out of their cred, today’s social media personalities have amassed huge followings through their postings, videos, and photos on YouTube (largely) and other video and media services. They are the product, they have 100,000, 200,000, 300,000 subscribers on social media, and they announce that they’re going to COMIC-CON X and all of their fans should meet them there. It’s easy to see how that’s a boon for a convention looking to sell tickets… they get a crazy-popular ‘guest’ and they don’t have to do any of the work of actually bringing this personality as a guest. The dude with the media badge AS the thing being covered. But tell me that a fan motivated to go to a comic show to see a dude who talks about shit on Youtube is gonna buy the same way, at the same level, as the fan motivated to go to a comic show because she likes comics.