Journalista for Dec. 9, 2009: Cracker Jack prizes

Posted by on December 9th, 2009 at 6:33 AM




“The thing about the JLA, DC, and McDuffie situation is that it is what is wrong with mainstream comics in miniature. It was an eye opener for me. What is important is not the stories, not growth or evolution, but the trademarks. The characters are what matter. As long as Hal Jordan makes a giant boxing glove and is the manliest man ever, as long as Superman has a spit curl, as long as Wonder Woman is in that stupid looking costume, things are okay. What is important is that books with these characters are on the shelves, because if they are on the shelves, they might get noticed, and if they get noticed, we get a movie or money or a game or something.”


“I guess Cracker Jack prizes are going to be the new holo-foil covers.”


A reminder: There’s a jury-rigged RSS feed available for this blog, but it’s temporary. Once everything settles down and ¡Journalista! is relocated back to its usual “” address, a new feed will be made available, and the temp one will stop working.

Also, anyone who’s sent me e-mail in the past four days should be advised that I’ve only just gotten my account up and working again last night, and it’s going to take me some time to work my way through the backlog. My apologies.

Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Gavin Lee reviews Carol Swain’s Crossing the Empty Quarter.

  • Noah Berlatsky reviews the second volume of Fumi Yoshinaga’s ?oku: The Inner Chamber.

  • Rob Clough reviews John Hankiewicz’s Asthma.

  • Shaenon Garrity takes on the latest controversy surrounding DC Comics’ mammarific superheroine, Power Girl.

  • Roland Kelts wonders at companies out to destroy the future of online distribution.

  • Rich Kreiner proposes a pair of books for your best-of-2009 list.

  • R. Fiore ponders semantics.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • Rich Johnston reports that Dynamite Entertainment will attempt to make good on the debts owed to creators by Dabel Brothers, whose IP the former has just acquired, despite the fact that Dynamite is under no legal obligation to do so. Johnston also speaks with Devil’s Due publisher Josh Blaylock about his company’s difficulties in paying money owed to freelancers.


  • Digital manga is one of the principal forces driving iPhone sales in Japan, according to an analysis by Peter Farago.

    (Link via Simon Jones.)



  • More bad news for gay cartoonists: The last two locations in the Lambda Rising bookstore chain are set to be shuttered.



  • Child’s Play, the annual charity drive organized by Penny Arcade co-creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, has already raised over a million dollars to buy games and entertainment for hospitalized children.


  • C&RL News, the newsletter of the Association of College and Research Libraries, discusses how the the Portland State University Library acquired the archives from Dark Horse Comics in 2008.

    (Link via the Daily Cross Hatch.)



  • According to Sean Kleefeld, retail pioneer and archivist Robert Beerbohm is recovering nicely from his recent hip surgery, and is hard at work on a book about the history of the Direct Market.


  • Gag cartoonist Rob Smith Jr. discusses his worries for the cartooning industry in tough economic times:

    “I have friends with houses in foreclosure and another who is a stock boy at Big Lots. All my cartoonist friends are having trouble,” said Smith.



  • Matt Maxwell, Johanna Draper Carlson and Charles Yoakum offer further commentary on the possible marketing strategies behind DC Comics’ recently announced Earth One series of graphic novels.



¡Journalista! continues after this commercial message.





  • Calvin Reid on Joe Sacco

    The Footnotes in Gaza author discusses his new book.



  • Tokyo Scum Brigade (one, two) on Kazuo Umezu


    The first two installments in a serialized interview with the twisted genius behind The Drifting Classroom.

    (Above: first-graders prepare to leap to their deaths in this sequence from The Drifting Classroom Vol. 4; ©1974 Kazuo Umezu/Shogakukan, Inc., English translation ©2007 Viz Media, LLC. Link via Ryan Sands.)







  • Richard Cook on Filthy Rich

    “But if Filthy Rich doesn’t exactly reinvent the crime wheel, it’s far more than a rehash of earlier works. [Writer Brian] Azzarello knows how to craft a pot-boiler, and this story moves briskly even as it throws a few surprise twists at the reader.”


  • Greg McElhatton on The Year of Loving Dangerously


    “One thing you pick up very quickly is that The Year of Loving Dangerously is in some ways less a straight forward story, and more a series of justifications for past actions.”

    (Above: sequence from the book, ©2009 Ted Rall and possibly Pablo G. Callejo.)


  • K.C. Carlson on Bloom County: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

    “You would think that reading several hundred strips (almost 300 pages!) of a series desperately fighting to find its unique identity would be a tedious undertaking. It is not.”







  • Jennifer de Guzman: The outsiders

    “There’s always some group that is destroying the integrity of the comics community, it seems.”


  • Geoff Grogan: Illusion vs. design

    Why the art of Richard corben works differently than does the art of Alex Toth.

    (Link via Sean T. Collins.)





Business and Craft


  • Jason Thibault: Submission guidelines omnibus listings

    Summarizing the submissions guidelines for pretty much every comics publisher in the United States and Canada.

    (Link via Mike Lynch.)


Comics and Art


  • A Journey Round My Skull: Lorenzo Mattotti’s The Raven


    Excerpted images from the Italian expressionist cartoonist’s recent collaboration with rocker Lou Reed.

    (Above: one of the illustrations, ©2009 Lorenzo Mattotti.)


  • Kurutta: Makoto Takahashi’s The Rows of Cherry Trees


    “It is like reading yuri/sh?jo blueprint: two rival girls competing for the love of a upperclassman (also a girl), a widowing mother, bullying, ballet, namedropping of classical music, huge sparkly eyes and the most expressive planels you’ve ever seen. Who is this man, what else has he done, where can I find some more?”

    (Above: image from the series, copyright information unknown.)


  • John Adcock and Barnacle Press: Ella Cinders


    Adcock offers a brief history of Bill Conselman and Charlie Plumb’s classic newspaper strip, while Barnacle Press presents a fine selection of examples from the strip.

    (Above: excerpt from the April 19, 1926 episode.)





Comics Culture


  • Rich Johnston: Angoulême Comics Festival 2010 selections

    58 of the best comics published in the French language this year. Wim Lockefeer offers commentary.


  • Calvin Reid: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

    Another report from last week’s gathering in New York City.


  • New Kosova Report: Cartoon contest in Kosovo

    “Last Friday, the Xhemajl Berisha cultural center, located in the historically cultural-rich city of Prizren in Kosovo, will host the fifth edition of the Comic and Caricature contest, a representation in which the subject’s distinctive features are exaggerated.”


  • My Confined Space: Comics Code Authority pamphlet

    “A fascinating chapter in the history of censorship and a pivotal one in the history of the American comic-book industry.”

    (Link via The Ephemerist.)


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    As a longtime insomniac, it occurs to me that the streaming radio station Cryosleep — offering “zero beats guaranteed” ambient music — may be the only thing on the Internet as physically necessary to me as food. There have been many, many days when I couldn’t get to sleep without it.


  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:


    Diane DiMassa presents knee-jerk, heterophobic revenge fantasies as you like ’em, with Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist.

    (Above: Our heroine bravely wages war against strawmen in this sequence from the strip, ©1991 Diane DiMassa.)


Events Calendar




  • December 9 (San Francisco, CA): Paul Hornschemeier and Jay Ryan will appear at Giant Robot San Francisco on Shrader Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.
  • December 9 (New York City, NY): Mad Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee will speak at Columbia University’s Schermerhorn Hall, beginning at 8PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • December 10 (Edinburgh, Scotland): Dark Entries writer Ian Rankin makes an appearance at Forbidden Planet on SouthBridge Street, from 5-7PM. Details here.
  • December 10 (Berkeley, CA): Paul Hornschemeier and Jay Ryan will appear at D. King Gallery on Fulton Street, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • December 11-13 (Somewhere in Belgium): I don’t read Flemish, so I can’t tell you much about Strip Turnhout save what’s available at the Forbidden Planet Blog and the event’s homepage.
  • December 11 (Providence, RI): Al Columbia will be signing books and meeting readers at Ada Books on Westminster Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.
  • December 11 (Chicago, IL): Jeffrey Brown, Chris Burnham and Gabriel Bautista will be on-hand for a fundraiser for the educational group Reading With Pictures at Chicago Comics on Clark Street, from 6-9PM. Details here.
  • December 11 (Portland, OR): Paul Hornschemeier and Jay Ryan will appear at Goodfoot Gallery on Stark, beginning at 6PM. Details here.
  • December 11 (Manila, Philippines): A gallery opening and launch party for new books on Botong Francisco and Francisco Coching takes place at the National Museum of the Filipino People on Agrifina Circle, beginning at 6:30PM. Details here.
  • December 12-13 (Austin, TX): It’s a Webcomics Rampage this weekend at Dragon’s Lair Comics on Burnet Road. Details here.
  • December 12-13 (Stafford, TX): The Houston Comic Con happens at the Stafford Centre on Cash Road. Meet Rob Liefeld, dude! Details here.
  • December 12 (San Francisco, CA): Webcomic-Con 2009 takes place at the Cartoon Art Museum on Mission Street, from 11AM-5PM. Details here.
  • December 12 (Los Angeles, CA): Steve Niles, Whilce Portacio and Doug Sirois will appear in an “all-star holiday spectacular” at Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue, from 11AM-5PM. Details here.
  • December 12 (Santa Rosa, CA): Rabbits Against Magic creator Jonathan Lemon serves as the cartoonist-in-residence at the Charles M. Schulz Museum on Hardies Lane, from 1-3PM. Details here.
  • December 12 (Seattle, WA): The Fantagraphics Bookstore celebrates its third anniversary with Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Paul Hornschemeier, Dame Darcy, Femke Hiemstra and more, from 6-9PM on Vale Street. Details here.
  • December 13 (Clifton, NJ): A small comic-book expo takes place at the Clifton Community Recreation Center on Main Avenue, from 10AM-4PM. Details here.
  • December 13 (Toronto, Ontario): The Toronto AnimeCon takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street, from 11AM-5PM. Admission is $10. Details here.


Want to see your comics-related event listed here? Email a link to and let me know. Please include an online link to which I can send people for more information. No sales-only events, please — it’s nice that you’ve marked things down at your store or website, but I won’t be listing it here.

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