Essay posts

A Weisinger Resources List Part One (of Three): Alter Ego

Posted by on October 19th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The Weisinger Resources List will run in three parts. We start with fanmag articles about Mort Weisinger, the man who reinvented Superman for the baby boomers.

A Ramble Through the History of Comics Criticism

Posted by on October 18th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The Comics Journal passed its 30th anniversary not so long ago, and I intended to take note of it by reviewing the book I'm going to review here. Serious criticism of comics may have gone forward without the Journal, but it's difficult to know where. The only other periodical devoted regularly to the comics was, back then — 30 years ago — the Comics Buyer's Guide, but it was then and is now essentially a cheerleader for the industry, not a critic of any of it. And ivy-covered walls would likely not be much help in fostering a serious comics criticism for general consumption: Academia has a penchant for drowning itself in self-indulgent obscurities in prose and thought. Like much theoretical scholarly endeavor, exploration of this sort is useful in its own peculiar, trickle-down way: Some of it legitimizes the art form as it eventually filters through to popular criticism, and, hence, to the makers of comics, thereby influencing not only the cultural acceptance of comics but the ways comics are made. But academic criticism is not intended for a general readership. Or even a "fan readership." No, it took Gary Groth and the Journal to kick-start serious critical writing about the comics. But we'd be mistaken if we believed there was no serious criticism before the Journal. There was. A good bit of it.

 

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Simon & Kirby’s Newsboys

Posted by on September 29th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
I've always been mildly discombobulated by the question of who inked Kirby. In the early years of their partnership, we've all assumed that Kirby penciled (because that's where the energy in the pictures originated, in the pencils, and Kirby was notorious for not wanting to ink his work (like drawing it twice, he'd say) and Simon inked. In various places, however, I've read that the only authentic Simon and Kirby collaboration, with Simon inking Kirby, was in the Blue Bolt stories, the first of their joint endeavors. Simon's contribution to the partnership was to write the stories and to market their product. Very soon, apparently, these assignments had elbowed any possibility of inking out of the studio, and the two recruited inkers from whoever was walking by the door, which, in those early days, included a lot of highly talented artists.

Greg Irons: In the Fire

Posted by on September 27th, 2010 at 1:06 AM
Bob Levin looks back at the life and art of one of the underground-comix movement's wilder imaginations.

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Comics and Childhood: An Overview

Posted by on September 24th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Ana Merino looks back and asks, "Where, in childhood, does the reading of comics begin?"

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Flotsam 2

Posted by on September 16th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
Karma — to some a burden as unfelt as the weight of the column of atmosphere over their head and shoulders, and to others (Sophocles' Oedipus for example) a crushing boulder of ruinous self-necessitation — is quite oppressive if one can relate to it only mechanically and intellectually, as something one "knows" to be true about oneself and must connive to suppress.

Flotsam 1

Posted by on September 14th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the career of Dr. Mabuse illustrate the grave but transitory realization of early 20th-century European society that the inmates had mutinied and control over modern science's continent-wide asylums had been usurped by the pathological: "Modern literature — prescriptions written by patients," remarked Karl Kraus.: Mein Kampf, The Ego and Its Own, The Third Reich, and the murderously wicked fraud Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Satoshi Kon, 1963-2010

Posted by on September 11th, 2010 at 8:23 PM
Satoshi Kon, one of the most gifted, innovative and searchingly intelligent artists working in the anime medium and the film world at large, died on the morning of August 24 from pancreatic cancer--at the age of 46.

The Gaming Scramble: TinierMe hits half-a-million U.S.-based users

Posted by on September 7th, 2010 at 7:33 AM
The gaming scramble for American fans of authentic anime.

Requiem for an Overweight

Posted by on September 7th, 2010 at 12:01 AM
My reaction to hearing that Cathy Guisewite was discontinuing Cathy was not unlike my initial shock at the news of bandleader Mitch Miller's death: Wait, Mitch Miller was still alive? It's easy to forget that family daily strips, like network TV shows and top 40 radio, are still running.

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