Journalista for Jan. 4, 2010: On and on and on

Posted by on January 4th, 2010 at 9:52 AM




“Free Comic Book Day is a strange thing. In theory it’s great, but it really does rather fall down, year after year, with the quality of the comics on offer. In fact, it wouldn’t too much of a reach to say that the only time it’s really worked properly for the last few years was when Gerard Way debuted his excellent Umbrella Academy […] and actually succeeded in getting new readers in through the doors. But although the idea behind Free Comic Book Day is a good one, it’s getting increasingly difficult to look at comics like that one and be able to reconcile the idea of Free Comic Book Day being something designed as an outreach to new readers.”


“All the facts point to this move having been one of 10 possible 2010 announcements for keenspot, 3 of which involved projecting webcomics on the moon.”

PvP cartoonist Scott Kurtz (in comments)


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(Above: The hands! The hands! Panel from “…Corrector” as published in Ditko Package, ©2001 Steve Ditko.)

The news? Remember, you were warned…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • Cartoonist and illustrator David Levine died last Tuesday at the age of 83, due to “prostate cancer and a subsequent combination of illnesses.” Levine was one of the giants of 20th-century political illustration, and his work was a fixture in the New York Review of Books. Tom Spurgeon offers a full obituary for Levine, while fellow political cartoonist Steve Brodner provides a remembrance.

  • French cartoonist Gilbert Gascard, better known to BD readers as Tibet, died last evening (Google translation) at the age of 78. Gascard worked in a variety of outlets including Tintin Magazine, where he created the funny-animal Western series Chick Bill.

  • Comic-book creator and Aircel Comics founder Barry Blair died yesterday from a brain aneurism.

  • As you’ve doubtglessly already heard, Friday night saw a failed assassination attempt on Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists behind the Killer Danish Muhammed Cartoons. Matthew Campbell described the scene:

    An axe-wielding Somali extremist broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard on Friday night as the 75-year-old cartoonist was looking after Stephanie, his five-year-old granddaughter.


    He did not have time to collect the child from the living room before locking himself into a “panic room”, a specially fortified bathroom. He said the assailant had shouted “swear words, really crude words” and shrieked about “blood” and “revenge”, as he smashed the axe in vain against the bathroom door.

    The as-yet-unidentified assailant failed to break into Westergaard’s panic room, and was shot and apprehended shortly thereafter by Danish police. Westergaard’s granddaughter was unharmed.

    (Above: the cartoon that put Westergaard in danger.)


  • “DC Thomson editor Bill Graham — whose credits include Starblazer, Warlord and Spike and had a long and varied career with the Dundee-based company — has just retired,” according to John Freeman.

  • Detroit News editorial cartoonist Larry Wright is retiring.

  • Marvel Entertainment shareholders have approved Disney’s buyout of the company.

  • ICv2 notes that “Two large investors have accumulated substantial positions in Barnes and Noble stock in the last two months […]”

  • During court procedings in his ongoing legal battle against the San Diego Union-Tribune, editorial cartoonist Steve Breen told a judge he believed he would lose his job “if he went ahead with a comic strip he was planning to do with Steve Kelley, former U-T cartoonist, who had earlier departed the paper on bitter terms.” Say, guess why Breen’s suing the Union-Tribune?

  • Good news: sold more e-books for the Kindle on Christmas than they did physical books.

  • Bad news: Dan Goodin reports that the proprietary format used to “secure” digital-rights management for the Kindle has been cracked by hackers.

  • While we’re near the subject: Bonnier R&D presents a speculative video about “the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by our design partners at BERG.”

    (Above: screenshot from the video. Link via Joe Gordon.)


  • The Motion Picture Association of America “won a summary judgment against BitTorrent indexing site IsoHunt for inducing copyright infringement.”

  • Rich Johnston offers a short look at developments in India’s mobile-phone comics market.

    (Johnston also revisits an old story, about an alleged comics-art scammer who seems to be up to his old tricks.)


  • Still more Rich Johnston: In France, a second hand book dealer purchased the impressive collection of late Angoulême Comics Festival co-founder Claude Moliterni, cherry-picked a few items, then tossed the rest into the street.

  • According to John Jackson Miller, 2009 sales in the Direct Market were slightly down from 2008.

    (Above: color commentary from The Rack, ©2009 Kevin Church and Benjamin Birdie.)


  • Marc-Oliver Frisch presents his estimates for the DC Comics’ month-to-month sales to Direct Market retailers, now adjusted for November. Matthew Murray does the same for select non-Marvel/DC genre comics.

  • San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs discusses how his shop, Comix Experience, did in 2009: one, two and three.

  • Adventures of Julius Chancer creator Garen Ewing looks back at the distribution and sales of his latest book.

  • Marc-Oliver Frisch and Brian Wood discuss the possible meaning behind a set of sales figures — the comments section is the highlight, here.

  • Montreal retailer Paul Stock proposes an enforcement system for DM street dates. A.G. Holliman and Ilan Strasser have more on the subject.

  • Print-on-demand skeptic Simon Jones is pleasantly surprised by a new POD service.

  • Andrew Wheeler looks at e-book pricing.

  • Brian Heater speaks with Heidi MacDonald about the past year’s events in the comics industry.

  • Cory Doctorow explains how the fight over ownership of digital documents will decide the future of the book.

    (Link via Fred von Lohmann.)


  • A reminder…

    …the business of the New York City corporate-comics industry is still boobsocks.

    (Above: a naked woman in body paint. Also, a detail from Alex Maleev’s cover to Spider-Woman #4; ©2010 Marvel Characters, or Marvel Entertainment, or maybe just “Disney.”)


  • By contrast, at least Japanese prurience spans a greater demographic spectrum: Canned Dogs brings word of a new comics magazine in Japan devoted to stories about cross-dressing boys.

  • Not comics: Bob Temuka provided me with my favorite geek epigram for the month of December:

    The bits that make many geeks cringe are the bits that make their grandparents laugh. If you hate the slapstick, you hate your grandmother, and what sort of fucker hates their grandmother?




  • Brian Heater (one, two) on Carol Tyler

    “Carol Tyler isn’t a member of the original comics underground, a fact that she’s quick to point out. Sure she’s the same age, and she’s got a picture of her sitting on Robert Crumb’s lap — oh yeah, and did I mention that she’s married to Justin Green? In an artistic sense, however, she’s a child of the ’80s — the titular late bloomer of her 2005 short story collection.”

    (Above: panel from You’ll Never Know Book One: A Good and Decent Man, ©2009 Carol Tyler.)


  • Alex Dueben on John Allison

    The creator of Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery discusses his work.


  • Matt Adler on Gene Colan

    “There are a select number of artists who can truly lay claim to having been a part of the building of cultural icons from the ground up. Gene Colan numbers among them.”

    (Above: Colan’s cover to Howard the Duck #8.)







  • Andrew Wheeler on Logicomix

    “Ever so often, there’s an object lesson that proves the saying so many of us like to make: that comics aren’t just for adventure stories, that they’re suitable for any kind of story.”



  • Abhay Khosla on Blue Beetle

    “The finale of BLUE BEETLE is a persuasive essay for fans, written in invisible ink for the hardcore, whose point is this: ‘You are wrong about Blue Beetle. Some of you may complain that we got rid of the old Blue Beetle but change is inherent to this character. You are wrong because the characters who should care the most — the previous incarnation’s closest friends — accept this character as being the true Blue Beetle. And so, you should accept him, too.'”

    (Above: panel from the series, ©2009 DC Comics.)







  • Shaenon Garrity on Raymond Briggs

    “This is probably common knowledge on the other side of the Atlantic, but Raymond Briggs is one of the greats.”


  • Jeet Heer: Notes on the Midwestern School of comics

    “What I’d say is that the tradition of Midwestern comics brings together various strands: partially regional tradition of vernacular, low-key literature (the line of George Ade, Sherwood Anderson, Ring Lardner) with its focus on small town life, partially from the low church Protestant tradition of plainness, partially out of the Chicago Tribune‘s populist stance.”


  • Steve Ditko: The ever unreachable

    Not comics: The Spider-Man co-creator writes for Andrew Breitbart’s conservative culture-site, Big Hollywood. Isn’t “Steve Ditko on the Internet” one of the signs of the Apocalypse?





Business and Craft



  • YouTube: Mort Drucker on making comics

    The master humor cartoonist and caricaturist demonstrates and discusses his creative process.

    (Above: screenshot from the video. Link via Mike Lynch.)





Comics and Art


  • Pappy: Herbie #1

    Let’s start the year with a pair of treats, shall we? First up is the first issue of Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney’s cult-favorite surrealist series, in its entirety.

    (Above: sequence from “Herbie and the Dragon’s Tears,” ©1964 Best Syndicated Features, Inc.)


  • Frank Young: Fletcher Hanks’ Moe M. Down

    Let’s follow that up with a previously unknown story by one of the comic book’s earliest iconoclasts.

    (Above: splash panel from Great Comics #2, ©1940 Great Comics Publications.)







  • Comic-Convention Memories: 1975 San Diego Comic-Con recordings

    Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Will Eisner, Jerry Siegel — there’s a fair amount of dross among these streaming-audio files, but a few genuine moments of interest as well.

    (Link via Mark Evanier.)


  • YouTube (one, two, three and four): The animated Don Martin

    See, I just posted four links entitled “The animated Don Martin” and you haven’t clicked one of them yet. What the fuck is wrong with you?

    (Above: screenshot from one of the cartoons. Hat tip: Sean Kleefeld.)




  • Youtube: Japanese chat-show hosts re-enact scene from Nana
  • YouTube: How Rorschach stole Christmas
    (Link via Neatorama.)


Comics Culture


  • Joe McCulloch: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

    The concluding half of a two-part report on the recent event.


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    Ten ways to flirt with a nerd:

    A male nerd is just as likely to make a first move as any other dude. The key difference, however, when it comes to nerds, is that you may not recognize what he’s doing as making a move. For example, if a hunger policy expert comes over and, out of the blue, starts telling you about food insecurity issues in rural Texas, he’s probably hitting on you — but just doing it very poorly.


  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:

    Here’s a tender moment from Kou Yoneda’s yaoi series, No Touching At All.

    (Above: panel from the comic, presumably ©2010 Kou Yoneda.)


Events Calendar will return once evidence surfaces of events to calendar, or I stop being too obtuse to notice.


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