Tomato Can

Joe McCulloch is here with his usual Tuesday guide to the Week in Comics!, running down all the most interesting-sounding comics new to stores. This week, he particularly highlights Barbara Yelin's Irmina and, of course, Chester Brown's much anticipated Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus.

This week marks the release of a new work by Chester Brown, and with it a volume of supplementary text unseen in Canadian comics since Cerebus closed up shop at century's dawn. Over approximately 97 pages at the rear of the book, we are treated to an Afterword, Acknowledgements, notes on the comics, a 20-page addendum comic, notes on the Afterword, notes on the addendum comics, and then notes on prior notes, along with a 55-item Bibliography... or so it is in the uncorrected proof Drawn and Quarterly sent me. Maybe he's added more. As a reader, I tend to put each portion of the animal to use, and in this sense, coupled with the 'seriousness' of the religious topic, I think the book will be received as sort of a hybrid work, as was Brown's preceding Paying for It. It probably should be. Nonetheless, in the spirit of Christian charity, I will suggest that you -- the I-will-now-presume-sympathetic reader -- temporarily excerpt your initial experience with the book to the preceding 170 (or so) pages of comics, because they function in much their own self-sufficient manner, and actually register as far more pleasing without the interjection of the artist's prose reflections.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

Riad Sattouf's Arab of the Future has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Mark Evanier remembers the just-departed Leonard Brenner, former production manager and art director of Mad magazine.

"The Beard" (that was his nickname) didn't write or draw articles in the same way as most MAD contributors you could name but he touched almost every page between 1958 when he joined the magazine and 1995 when he retired. Aside from publisher William M. Gaines, Lenny's name appeared on MAD's masthead more than anyone else's.

—Gil Roth interviews David Leopold, biographer of Al Hirschfeld.

Hirschfeld is an artist who discovered what he wanted to do early on, and works at it his whole life and gets better and better at it.