Journalista for Feb. 24, 2010: There is a problem you see, you know the problem is me

Posted by on February 24th, 2010 at 9:49 AM




“The deeper the penetration of more diverse voices in comics, the better, as far as I’m concerned. I love Unknown Soldier, and I like Luke Cage, but those shouldn’t be the only stories we see. Sometimes it’s nice to read about some kids hanging out at their local equivalent of Makeout Point, or reading about Jack Johnson, or anything other than the stories we’ve all heard a million times. Black character vs racists? Boring. Black character educating a kid on good music? Bring it on.”


“A successful DC is a good thing for comics in general, I believe.”


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A bit of housekeeping: As much as I’ve enjoyed it, I think it’s time to finally put this whole “Johnny Bacardi” thing to bed. For the record, I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that I was “boycotting” his website until David Allen Jones, a.k.a. “Johnny Bacardi,” began freaking out because I hadn’t given him a link lately. After that, I couldn’t link to him without ruining the joke… well, until last Friday, anyway, when someone else with an overinflated sense of entitlement jumped into this blog’s comments section to berate me for not giving her the link she was sure she was owed.

(For the record: If you’re going to run an unsourced story connected to a former employer who’d fired you after months of rumors that you and she were constantly locking horns, I’m likely to wait for confirmation from a second source before running with it, as I have no desire to be entangled in what could turn out merely to be someone’s longstanding vendetta. Nothing personal — and I hasten to add that I have no idea whatsoever what Heidi MacDonald’s motives actually are, but I feel duty-bound to keep things like this in mind when considering what to list on this blog.)

Anyway, after that, this whole Bacardi thing just looked so innocuous by comparison that I figured I should say something. And now I have. My apologies to Jones for dragging it out like this, but… well, it was kind’a funny…

(And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m an asshole. It still doesn’t mean that I’m going to let some other asshole tell me what to write.)


From Mesmo Delivery, ©2009 Rafael Grampá.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Gary Groth reflects upon the extent to which “artistic mid-life crises” prodded genre cartoonists to explore their indy side.

  • Rob Clough reviews the first two issues of Mike Dawson’s new minicomics series, Troop 142.

  • Gavin Lees reviews Rafael Grampá’s Mesmo Delivery.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • “E.W. Scripps said Tuesday that it is ‘exploring strategic options’ for United Media Licensing, the character licensing operation of its syndcate service United Media,” according to Editor & Publisher. United Media handles the licensing for such properties as Peanuts and Dilbert.

  • Publishers Weekly reports that the acquisition of a college bookseller and sales from the Nook e-book reader helped the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain offset weak sales in the third quarter.

  • ICv2 presents a conversation with IDW Publishing CEO Ted Adams (one, two and three), touching upon digital comics, the market for licensed titles and the state of the Direct Market:

    In the direct market things seem relatively stable although I do feel like the direct market has always been primarily a home to sell superhero comics. I feel that over the last six or twelve months that it’s really become a place to sell superhero crossover comics in a way I think is more extreme than it’s been in the recent past. Direct market sales are relatively stable but I am concerned that we are really getting to the point where we are selling a really niche-y product. I do have some concern about that from a long term perspective. It’s not terribly new information from the standpoint that the direct market has almost always been there just to support superhero comics. I feel that within that niche of superhero comics we’re getting even more niche. I do have some concerns about that.


  • Sean Kleefeld speaks with Wowio/Platinum Studios executive Brian Altounan about that whole “going public” thing. As Johanna Draper Carlson points out, the big news here is probably the claim that all of Wowio’s back-royalty debts have now been paid.

  • Heidi MacDonald corrects an earlier story concerning Steve Geppi’s current plate of legal difficulties.

  • Christopher Allen weighs in on what is clearly the most important issue in comics,’s site design.

  • Fun fact: 90% of the comic books in Taiwan’s National Central Library are Japanese.

    (Link via Simon Jones.)


Format WarsTM crystal-ball disaster… uh-oh!

  • “Apple has started to ban many applications for the iPhone that feature sexually suggestive material, but the surprise move has some developers up in arms over a perceived lack of consistency.”

    Related: Chris Meadows examines the e-book angle.


    Screenshot from a commercial for the Apple iPhone, currently running in the U.K.


  • Rich Johnston presents evidence that Apple is, in fact, aware of the potential for digital comics on the iPhone.

  • According to Steve Jordan, a German court has ordered the file-trading website RapidShare (“considered one of the primary sources of pirated texts worldwide”) to better police copyright violations by its users.

  • Steve Kolowich reports that a pilot program at several major universities has left a majority of students less-than-enthusiastic about the Amazon Kindle as a replacement for the printed page.

  • There are all kinds of interesting tidbits in Jason Boog’s ongoing coverage of the Tools of Change e-publishing conference in New York City (one, two, three and counting).





  • Henry Chamberlain on Bob Fingerman

    The Beg the Question author discusses his new book, From the Ashes.






  • Tom Spurgeon on Little Nothings Vol. 3: Uneasy Happiness

    “What keeps Little Nothings from becoming dull — and there were a couple of sequences in this book (the mouse; Fiji) that were probably the least engaging of the entire series thus far — is that [Lewis] Trondheim is an immensely successful artist, seems to have a stable personal life, and comes across as a fairly affable, reasonable person.”


  • Greg McElhatton on Smile

    ©2010 Raina Telgemeier.


    “From Nintendo to the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, it’s a vivid flashback to an earlier time in both Telgemeier’s life as well as my own. This is a sharp, strong book that I hope does gangbusters in terms of sales.”






  • Kimberly Cox: 21st-century stories and art

    “My cousin, Travis, told me recently that he was starting to view modern day comic books as soap operas. There are still some he likes but mostly, the big publishing houses release the same story, with the same characters in the same predictable plot.”




Comics and Art


Before we begin, a request.


Genesis, ©2009 Stephen Scott Young.


A blog entry by Charley Parker, highlighting the work of artist Stephen Scott Young, reminded me of a revelatory interview that I’d once read with with director and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, the master craftsman responsible for filming many of Spike Lee’s movies. Asked why his images of African-Americans were so drop-dead gorgeous, Dickerson noted — and I’m paraphrasing badly from memory here — that there was a big difference between photographing Caucasians and people of African descent. He said that while the former subjects often required little more than a basic understanding of form, shooting the latter required a good cameraman to think a great deal about tonal gradations and contrast, and that many white photographers and cinematographers not only lacked experience at such things, they didn’t even understand why such concepts were important, and that the resulting work all too often suffered for it.


Detail from one of my own attempts at doing justice by a black subject, ©1994 me, me, me!


It should go without saying that this is just as germaine to illustration and cartooning as it is to film and photography. Given that this is Black History Month, therefore, I thought I’d take a moment and ask any black artists and art aficionados who might be reading: Can you recommend websites that discuss African portraiture, and how best to apply the tools available to an artist in producing better such art? I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read comic books by white artists who utterly failed to properly depict black characters, and while I’d love to post a big list of links that might allow such artists to better understand what they’re doing, I’m not sure that I’m up to finding the best sites — hell, as you can probably tell by the above drawing, I’m little more than a dilettante on the subject myself. If you can help, please e-mail me at or post a link in the comment section. If you have a website of your own, give me a link to that as well, so I can post it when I credit you for the assistance.

Thanks in advance for any consideration you can offer in this matter. Let’s get on with the day’s art links, shall we?


  • Brian Hughes: Coober Skeber #2

    Detail from Seth’s cover for the issue.


    Two stories and a set of sample pages from the infamous “Marvel benefit issue” of the 1997 art-comics anthology.


  • Out of This World: “Bride of the Falcon”

    Panel from The Sinister House of Secret Love, ©1972 DC Comics.


    Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia draw a gothic-romance thriller.




Comics Culture


  • Tom Richmond: 2009 Reubin nominees announced

    Congratulations to Stephen Pastis, Dan Piraro and Richard Thompson.


  • Press release: Small Press Expo announces new executive committee

    “Karon Flage, who oversaw SPX’s successful move from its old facilities to the new, much improved, Marriott Convention Center, is stepping down as Executive Director and will take over the position of Treasurer. Jeff Alexander, the previous Assistant Executive Director, is now the new Executive Director. Warren Bernard will now assume the roll of Assistant Executive Director, as well as maintaining his position as Media Coordinator.”


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    There are anti-smoking ads that inadvertently make the habit look more attractive… and then there’s this.

    (Link via Ann Althouse.)


  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:

    ©1983 D.C. Thompson.


    And now, a generous sampler from the U.K. children’s comic The Topper.


Events Calendar




  • February 24 (Chicago, IL): Paul Hornschemeier will read from and discuss his work at the University of Chicago on Ellis Avenie, from 4:30-6:30PM. Details here.
  • February 24 (New York City, NY): The West-Coast launch party for the new Popgun 4 anthology takes place at Jim Hanley’s Universe on 33rd Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.
  • February 24 (Los Angeles, CA): The West-Coast launch party for the new Popgun 4 anthology takes place at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard, from 7-10PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • February 25 (London, England): The Losers‘ Andy Diggle and Jock make an appearance at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue, from 6-7PM. Details here.
  • February 26 (Los Angeles, CA): Penny Arcade co-creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik will be signing books and meeting readers at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • February 26 (New York City, NY): A launch party for the latest issue of the agitprop anthology World War 3 Illustrated takes place at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art on Sullivan Street, from 8-11PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (New York City, NY): The New York Comic Book Marketplace will be held at the Penn Plaza Pavilion on Seventh Avenue, from 10:30AM-7PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (London, England): Pat Mills and Clint Langley make an appearance at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue, from 1-2PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (New York City, NY): The Center for Cartoon Studies will present an evening of workshops and book signings at Queens’ own Silent Barn on Wyckoff Avenue, beginning at 4PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (Washington DC): Act-i-Vate members Dean Haspiel, Jim Dougan, Simon Fraser and Joe Infurnari will be signing books and meeting readers at Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue, beginning at 6PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (Morris Township, NJ): Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell will be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for a proposed planned canine activity center and dog park, held at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s Haggerty Education Center from 7:30-9:30PM. Details here.
  • February 27 (Toronto, Ontario): Cartoonist Guy Davis will discuss horror comics at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street, from 7:30-11:30PM. Admission is free. Details here.
  • February 28 (Toronto, Ontario): The Toronto Comicon takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street, from 11AM-5PM. 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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12 Responses to “Journalista for Feb. 24, 2010: There is a problem you see, you know the problem is me”

  1. That was such a great rationalization that I want more! I’m dying to know why you didn’t link to my interview with Diane Nelson, who hasn’t fired me yet so I guess I don’t have any beef with.

    Also, since you have an encyclopedic knowledge of my career going back a decade (yeah it was that long ago) maybe you can use your vast wisdom to fix the shitty way your website looks in Firefox.

  2. DerikB says:

    Looks fine to me in FF (3.6; MacOS10.5).

  3. Dirk Deppey says:

    Derik: As everyone else I know using a Mac — including Fantagraphics staff — has already told me, and as can be seen (ironically enough) in the very screenshot that Heidi posted.

    Heidi: I love the way your every comment demonstrates the fact that you don’t have a single vindicative bone in your body. What on Earth convinced me otherwise, I wonder?

  4. Noah Berlatsky says:

    Dirk has probably sabotaged Heidi’s computer. He is nefarious like that.

  5. joshfitz says:

    Site looks fine to me on Safari, and Firefox. And for the record, the new Beat looks exactly the same as TCJ on my Mac. This volleying is entertaining probably not enough to get a look on Johnston’s site though.

  6. The fact that you think this is good web design makes me question whether anyone there has a tasteful bone in your body. But I’ll withdraw from the fray now, since you can’t beat a self-admitted asshole at his own game.

  7. Dirk Deppey says:

    The funny thing is, The PNG image files on The Beat don’t show up on my browser; all I see is a big wall of text. (I’m running Ubuntu/Firefox 3.5.7, in case Heidi’s curious.)

  8. Dirk Deppey says:

    Oh, and for the record: No, there isn’t a single tasteful bone in my body.

  9. patford says:

    Can someone please explain what all this business about web design is?
    Let’s see I regularly look at Journalista, TCJ, Comics Reporter, and Comics Comics. They all look about the same to me. It wouldn’t even occur to me that they look good or bad or even could look good or bad.
    Is it true that a web page can be beautiful? And why would anyone care?
    It’s all blocks of text mixed with illustrations.
    I don’t come to these places looking for beauty, it’s information I’m looking for.
    If I want to see a beautiful web design I go outside in the garden, and look for a spider. Preferably early in the morning when the web is hung with dew.

  10. chyde says:

    if there is a stupider long running internet feud than the constant pissy back and forth bs that goes on between Deppey & Macdonald, then I really don’t want to know what it is. If you two wanted to prove unequivocally that the comics blogosphere was the province of cranky unprofessional juveniles with little restraint, you couldn’t do much better than this endless horse crap. Grow up, for christ’s sake.

  11. Dirk Deppey says:

    But… but I only threw the even-numbered punches…!

  12. jbacardi says:

    Well, hell. NOW what am I going to piss and moan about?

    It had been a long time…I just figured it was something I said or didn’t say well enough, and adjusted my ego accordingly. After a while, it just got to be something I’d write in a kinda reflexive way, like Rodney Dangerfield and his wife, please.

    Anyway, thanks.