Essay posts

Garth Ennis’s Knights of the Sky, Part Two: Condors: “Gentlemen: I hate you all.”

Posted by on January 20th, 2011 at 12:01 AM
"Condors," a selection from the second volume of Garth Ennis's War Stories, finds four combatants — two from each side — hiding in a crater during intensive shelling. The setting is the battle of Ebro, toward the end of the Spanish Civil War. As the four are stuck together, unarmed, for hours, they each tell their stories and, naturally enough, argue about the war of which they are a part.

Garth Ennis’s Knights of the Sky, Part One: The Phantom Eagle

Posted by on January 19th, 2011 at 12:01 AM
In this six-part essay, Kristian Williams tracks Garth Ennis' treatment of aerial combat across various titles. In Part One, he looks at War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle, which places the classic Fawcett/Marvel hero in World War I, and stresses how badly his heroic ideals and his peculiarly American arrogance clash with the nature of a big, bloody, pointless war.

Reading Comics with Your Android

Posted by on January 17th, 2011 at 12:01 AM
In November, I finally joined the cult of the smartphone. I’m not the type of guy who’s usually on the bleeding edge of technology, nor am I one to become an early adopter of anything (other than comics, of course), but when Verizon’s release of the Droid X coincided with my contract expiration, I decided to take the plunge.

Magazine Cartooning Not Quite Par Excellence

Posted by on January 3rd, 2011 at 1:00 PM
Instead of a text piece about cartooning or cartoonists, the editors have in recent “cartoon issues,” including this one, published an article about a comedian, thinking, apparently, that since cartoons provoke laughter, anything that provokes laughter is suitable fodder for the “cartoon issue.”

Another Redheaded Ending Part 2 of 2

Posted by on December 28th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
R.C. Harvey concludes his two-part essay on the end of Brenda Starr by filling in some details about the strips' creator and her successors.

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Another Redheaded Ending Part 1 of 2

Posted by on December 27th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The first of a two-part elegy by R.C. Harvey on the passing of the the Brenda Starr comic strip.

Lang Syne Both Old and New

Posted by on December 23rd, 2010 at 12:01 AM
For as long as anyone can remember, the Newspaper Enterprise Association has served up a special three-week holiday comic strip to subscribers to the NEA package. In the December 1981 issue of Cartoonist PROfiles, Ernest L. “East” Lynn was among several NEA officials who were surveyed for comment on the Yuletide custom. Lynn was dean of comic art at NEA from 1924 to 1964, and he said the Christmas Strip had started before his time. And that would make this year’s offering at least the 86th return engagement. But Lynn was probably wrong.

Looking back to move forward: A few good gift books

Posted by on December 21st, 2010 at 5:32 AM
Given such dire prognostications for the near future, it may be better, or at least more fun, to look back at a few of 2010’s gift-worthy Japanese pop culture pubs.

Defining Comics Again: Another in the Long List of Unnecessarily Complicated Definitions

Posted by on December 20th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The traditional definition of comics is the one conjured up by Coulton Waugh in his book Comics (1947). He says comics consist of three elements: (1) sequence of pictures that tell a story or joke, (2) words incorporated into the picture usually in the form of speech balloons, and (3) continuing characters. The last item snatches at sophistry. It's there under false pretenses. Its function is purely rhetorical — to eliminate anything that came along before the Yellow Kid, the most conspicuous of the combatants in New York's newspaper circulation battles of the 1890s. The Yellow Kid was seen as the first comic strip character mostly because he was a highly visible and successful commercial enterprise — the commercial aspect establishing the value to newspapers of comic strips

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Cool Japan chilled: Censorship rules Japan

Posted by on December 15th, 2010 at 7:10 AM
Any of you remember the 'Comics Code' in America, effectively shutting down the most creative comics artists in the US in the 1950s, as aptly recorded by David Hadju in The Ten Cent Plague? For the sake of all of us, let's hope it doesn't happen in Japan.

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