It's July 26th, 2019, and we seem to be no further away from a United States of America where everyone is inspired to "make great art," or whatever imaginary silver lining we're supposed to search for in this diarrhea hurricane we're forced to inhale.
Good ol' Ryan Flanders here, with a new column providing a weekly dose of links relating to our beloved and embattled art form called "comics." Who am I? Who are you? Who isn't us? Most of you probably don't know me; some of you might know me as "the MAD Magazine guy." What I know is I like comics in all forms — I bet we even like some of the SAME comics! Yes, us! You and I. We should talk about them.
I hope to share valuable stories, info and images that will fill your weekends with blissful, sequential-art-loving joy and cancerous, comment-spewing rancor. I won't have it all — there's a lot going on — and I don't have all the answers. (For example, I am woefully under-informed about manga, but I do love how quickly those characters start sweating. I can relate!) Please give me what-for in the comments, and share anything you're into that I might have missed. Let's build this thing together, eh?
• Alan Moore is done making comics, as the final issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest has been released. This is a big deal, and when I heard it was happening I felt I should care more than I did. It isn't exactly the same as the Rolling Stones not making new music, but, well. I'm probably being a hypocrite; I've enjoyed so much of what Moore has written, and I'm not obtuse about his outsized influence. But, frankly, I gotta admit I was okay with it. Then our fearless editor Tucker suggested I read Abhay Khosla's self-described "extra-ramble-y" analysis of the final LOEG issue and what this era of Moore's work means on macro, micro, Big Picture, small potatoes, world-on-a-platter, I-lost-my-poor-meatball levels. So I did read that, and now I want to go back and pore over everything from Alan Moore, or at the very least the damn League books. I also want to delete the second through fifth sentences of this paragraph, but what's dunzo is dunzo.
The Guardian has a more direct and career-encompassing essay on some of that Mooresian influence mentioned above.
(For what it's worth, I do not give one wiry British beard hair about The Rolling Stones. I'm not even bothering to check if I should capitalize the "t" in "The Rolling Stones.") (ED. You are.)
What, I say, what else is happening out there?
• Paul Krassner has died. His magazine The Realist published the work of many prominent cartoonists, illustrators and comics-makers. TCJ has remembered him, and The Daily Cartoonist showcases a selection of bold (at the time, at least) artwork from various issues.
• Via The Beat, Jillian Tamaki will be providing mentorships to two cartoonists. This is an exciting (and unprecedented?) opportunity to learn from someone who knows what the hell they're doing, to say the least. The deadline is August 15th.
• Speaking of deadlines, you better apply to Comic Arts Brooklyn by July 31! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh
— Comic Arts Brooklyn (@ComicArtsBklyn) July 23, 2019
• Chelsea Saunders has been named the winner of the 2019 Locher Memorial Award by the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. She's become known for her smart, nicely-drawn work for The Nib and others.
• The National Cartoonist Society has completely revamped their website.
• Wowee wow wow, a video tour of the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont! I've seriously always wondered what it was like in there. I'll never wash these eyes again.
• Mark Millar's Netflix-backed imprint will be releasing all four issues of his new Chrononauts miniseries on the same day, which I would imagine is directly inspired by the streaming giant's own binge-friendly television model. In my opinion, this model is a hugely adverse factor in American culture's increasing lack of opportunities to enjoy shared experiences, but it's an interesting approach to selling individual comics. This could eliminate some of the reader fatigue and sales attrition most monthly titles face, while pleasing those people who like floppies but have become readers who "wait for the trade" so they can ingest the entire story at once. What it's not doing is getting readers back in the comic shops every four weeks. As seen on CBR.
• Flanders Favorite ™ Arthur Adams is finally getting a Marvel Monograph, and it's only going to cost about twenty bucks. That's a great value, that guy puts down a lot of lines. Via Bleeding Cool.
• Lale Westvind announced the completion of the 86-page(!) Grip, Part 2 as well as a collected edition including the first issue. Great news for schmucks like me who missed getting a copy of Part 1.
• Here's a lovely piece by James Sturm for The Paris Review about an under-appreciated 1930 book by William Gropper, including a brilliant exploration of the pre-history of the format. To hopefully whet your appetite, the article's title is "A Graphic Novel before the Term Existed."
• Graydon Carter, of Spy and Vanity Fair fame, has launched a magazine/newsletter hybrid called Air Mail. Why am I sharing this here? Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and longtime cartoon editor of The New Yorker is...shocker...the cartoon editor at this new venture. Maybe you can sell him a cartoon! For now, he's got Barry Blitt. Anyhow, Slate is unimpressed with the whole endeavor.
• More from The Daily Cartoonist, who shares a number of cartoons of Mark Twain by Bill Watterson, created before his famous newspaper strip debuted. Now this is a mashup I can get behind!
• Do the Cartoonist Kayfabers ever sleep? Their latest video includes a look at some crazy original art by Joe Vigil, the lesser-knowm brother of Faust artist Tim Vigil.
• Please catch up on this blatant case of discrimination and censorship in Texas, in which comic book writer Lilah Sturges' planned talk at Leander Public Library was canceled only two hours ahead. The CBLDF, ACLU, and other organizations are involved in supporting Sturges.
Aren't you tired yet, Flanders? Let's wrap this up!
• Finally, significant comics-adjacent news broke on Wednesdsay that Neflix has canceled Lisa Hanawalt's critically and culturally-adored Tuca & Bertie after one season, as Hanawalt herself revealed in a Twitter thread discussing what the show meant to her and its audience.
Hanawalt, of course, has a history as an acclaimed cartoonist and illustrator before joining the animation industry. Many comics luminaries jumped to the show's defense, which you can find in the responses to Hanawalt's thread, alongside notable television critics like The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum.
I am seriously bummed at Tuca and Bertie not getting a second season. It was one of the coolest debuts this season & I was really curious to see where it would go.
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) July 24, 2019
Apparently T&B's cancellation is due is the work of...algorithms? Okay. Meanwhile, Amazon has renewed comic book adaptation The Boys, based on the Garth Ennis/Darick Robertson satire, before an episode has even aired. Does Amazon not use algorithms? Or could the renewal decision be based on how many people added The Boys to their watch list? Outside looking in, I feel like this is another reminder that no one really knows what they're doing, not even Netflix, which is often seen as a lifeline to endangered...errr...properties. Personally, I read as much as I can by both Lisa and Garth, and I'd much rather see wholly original episodes of a brand new show by her than a watered-down version of something of his I can read in trade paperbacks. (Maybe that's why I'm not getting gigs writing about TV for The New Yorker.)
The real reason I'm sharing all this TV talk is so I can walk out this week's door with some happier Hanawalt news, back in the comfort of Comicsland: The Hollywood Reporter shares Drawn & Quarterly's announcement of I Want You, a collection of Hanawalt's indisputably hilarious early mini-comics to be published next year. I love those little books — true Flanders Favorites™, every one of them. I think they're not very easy to get ahold of, so this book's publication will be a fine thing.
See you in seven.