Journalista for Jan. 15, 2010: False dichotomy

Posted by on January 15th, 2010 at 8:51 AM




“I am a writer and I work in publishing (at a company that has published a sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, the comic series Wonderland), so I’m of two minds about this. One mind is definitely larger than the other — and that is the part that disdains a lack of literary integrity and produces works that have little value beyond the monetary. But the other part is the part that knows how difficult it is to make money writing and publishing books and thinks, Well, it’s better than starvation wages, right? My larger mind keeps answering, No, not really, and that’s a false dichotomy, anyway.


“I have a rule in KING CITY that is — anything I come up with that is fun but doesn’t advance the plot, I try to give more priority and pages than something that does advence the plot.”


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Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Gary Groth presents the third installment of his 1995 interview with master caricaturist David Levine.

  • Jared Gardner examines Top Shelf’s recent capitalization deal.

  • Gavin Lees reviews the new hardcover edition of Justin Green’s pioneering underground comic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary.

  • As always, R.C. Harvey covers the funny pages.

  • And over at Hooded Utilitarian, Vom Marlowe reviews Kaori Yuki’s supernatural-manga gothfest, Godchild.

Somewhat TCJ-related, if you squint a bit: Matthias Wivel, one of the judges behind the recent “Best Criticism of 2009” list, explains his choices.

(Above: David Levine’s caricature of Lillian Hellman.)

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • Tahawwur Hussain Rana, held in police custody since October of last year on suspicion of assisting a plot against Kurt Westergaard over the Killer Danish Muhammed Cartoons, was formally charged yesterday with “helping an old friend from military school in Pakistan plot the deadly attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008.”

  • 21 major Japanese publishers “are set to form an electronic book publishers’ association next month in a bid to counter the expected launch of Amazon’s Japanese-language Kindle e-reader.”

  • Rumors of Editor & Publisher‘s death seem to have been premature.

  • Diamond Comic Distributors has released its lists of the top 500 graphic novels and the top publishers by market share in sales to retailers in the Direct Market.

    Anime News Network notes:

    The Diamond rankings may not reflect the overall sales rankings at all bookstores throughout North America. The direct market accounts for only a small percentage of all manga sold in North America. Tokyopop’s then VP sales and distribution Steve Kleckner said in 2005 that direct market sales make up only 12 to 15 percent of Tokyopop’s total manga sales.


  • A series of Nathan Fox illustrations for a New York Magazine article about John Edwards has stirred up some sort of controversy, or something…? I’d pretend to have read the piece, but that requires me to actually give a shit. Nice art, though.

    (Above: Elizabeth Edwards, as rendered by and ©2010 Nathan Fox.)


  • …aaand Zapiro’s at it again.

  • According to Rich Johnston, former Marvel Entertainment frontman Bill Jemas is one of the executives behind Valiant Entertainment, Inc.

  • A reminder: The deadline for junior- and senior-year college students wishing to apply for the Jay Kennedy Scholarship is February 12.

  • ICv2 examines a study on the digital piracy of books. As with all such things, a grain of salt should probably be taken.

  • Matt Blind presents his first set of 2010 estimates for online sales of graphic novels.

  • Laura Hudson surveys retailer reactions to Marvel’s “get something out of those crappy Blackest Night comics, like a crappy Seige comic” promotion. Elsewhere, David Brothers breaks down this latest skirmish between the Big Two, and Johanna Draper Carlson contemplates the two faces of Marvel.

  • Carlson also rips into comics-publisher-cum-cheesecake-factory Zenescope Entertainment for exploiting young women rather than actually paying their models.

  • Lori Henderson asks: “Is e-ink worth it?”

  • How do you make North American comics fans jealous? Just send Christopher Butcher to take photos from random Japanese bookstores.



¡Journalista! continues after this commercial message.




  • Alex Dueben on Harvey Pekar

    The American Splendor author discusses his recent online experiments.







  • Sean T. Collins on What Had Happened Was…

    “[Domitille] Collardey’s stories–actually, that’s too strong a word–reminiscences about her move to Brooklyn, her visit to San Francisco, her interview with Francoise Mouly, her conversation with her Holocaust-survivor grandfather, even her very life story aren’t revelatory, or (with one obvious aforementioned exception) even memorable on their own terms. What they are is a showcase for her art, and she’s got some serious chops.”


  • Chris Sims on Love and Capes

    “The interplay between a superhero and a non-powered love interest is something that’s as old as superhero comics themselves, but in all the years of Lois Lanes, Iris Wests and Mary Jane Watsons, it’s rarely been done as well as it is in Love and Capes.”

    (Above: panel from an unidentified issue of the series, ©2010 Thom Zahler.)







  • Shaenon Garrity: Wizard, Dec. ’94

    “Comics will break your heart, said Jack Kirby, and sometimes the comics world gets me down. I read bad webcomics and depressing graphic novels and stuff about zombie Green Lanterns, and I start to ask myself why I’ve been rotting my brain with funnybooks all these years. That’s when it’s time to turn back to the good old days of adolescence, the golden age when I first became a comic-book junkie, to bask in the remembered glow of happier times.

    “No, wait. That’s a terrible idea.”


  • Joe Pollack: Big Planet, a history

    Big Planet Comics founder, Joel Pollack, is a life-long Washingtonian and a life-long comics enthusiast. Here’s his story.

    (Link via Mike Rhode.)





Comics and Art


  • Shannon Wheeler: Nihilarity

    This morbidly funny series of gag cartoons is quite good.

    (Above: cartoon ©2010 Shannon Wheeler. Link via Larry Cruz.)







  • Comics-related podcasts

    • Panel Borders‘ Alex Fitch interviews comic-book legend Howard Chaykin (25.7MB).
    • Eddie Campbell on Fanboy Radio (13.5MB), the podcast of choice for Wolverine fans across America? Isn’t that like matter and anti-matter touching, or something?
    • The Collected Comics Library‘s Chris Marshall speaks with Fantagraphics’ Kim Thompson, who discusses the translation and sale of European comics in North America (50.2MB).
    • Cartoonist and minicomics distributor Jason Miles joins Chris McConnell on this week’s episode of Inkstuds (55.7MB).
    • Another week, another episode of Mike Dawson and Alex Robinson’s Ink Panthers Show (44.4MB).
    • Finally, The Comic Cast has your weekly dose of comics review and discussion (43.7MB).

    All podcasts are in downloadable MP3 audiofile format.


Comics Culture


  • Anita Kinney: Learning from Bendis

    Did you know that Brian Michael Bendis was teaching the art of writing for the comics at Oregon’s Portland State? Well, now you do.



  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:

    Your cheesy romance comic for the week.

    (Above: sequence from Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #12, ©1950 Harvey Comics.)


Events Calendar


This Weekend:


  • January 16 (San Jose, CA): The San Jose Comics Fest takes place at the SLG Art Boutiki and gallery on Market Street, from noon-5PM. Details here.
  • January 16 (Washington DC): The DC Anime Club will be hosting a manga-drawing workshop at the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Library on G Street, from 3-5PM. 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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