Journalista for July 14, 2010: Nothing to prove

Posted by on July 14th, 2010 at 1:20 AM



“It would have pleased Harvey Pekar, I think, that his passing yesterday was noted in every media outlet from the New Yorker to EW, and not just because they made a movie about him, but as a literary figure [of] worth and stature.”


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From Harvey Pekar’s Dean Haspiel-illustrated autobiography The Quitter, ©2005 Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Rob Clough offers an appreciation of the late American Splendor creator, Harvey Pekar.

  • Kenneth Smith returns with the seventh of nine installments in his “Cave of False Consciousness” series.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Richard Cook discusses Wonder Woman’s new costume.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • “Ken Penders, who wrote the Sonic the Hedgehog series for Archie Comics for over a decade, is claiming he owns the rights to the stories he wrote and the side characters he created. Not surprisingly, Archie Comics is disputing the claim.”

  • News of the death of Harvey Pekar has now circulated widely, and the obituaries are pouring in. As expected, Tom Spurgeon has the definitive version, but the sheer volume of news reports is staggering. Here are obituaries from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, the National Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, the Irish Times, the BBC, the CBC, CNN, NPR, MTV, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Catholic Online, the New Music Express and All About Jazz. The L.A. Times‘ website also featured no less than three tributes, from David Ulin, Victoria Looseleaf and Dean Haspiel. The Atlantic took the occasion to highlight an old interview with Pekar. Who else could summon the same respect from Rob Zombie, Anthony Bourdain and the Cleveland Jewish News but Harvey Pekar?

    In the course of its obituary, the New York Times quoted Pekar from a 2009 conversation in Interview Magazine: “There was a tremendous amount of things you could do in comics that you couldn’t do in other art forms — but no one was doing it. I figured if I’d make a try at it, I’d at least be a footnote in history.” Even without the degree of attention his passing has garnered, I’d hardly call Pekar a footnote to anything.

    Further commentary from Matthias Wivel, Eric Reynolds, Calvin Reid and Mike Rhode.


  • AdHouse Books has launched a small-press distribution service, AdDistro.

  • PvP creator Scott Kurtz is abandoning Image Comics to release his work as a self-publisher:

    Sales through brick-and-mortar stores are declining and online sales are increasing. Readers who discovered PvP in comic shops have shifted from monthly readers to online readers, and their buying habits have changed. The monthly floppy is selling less and the trade paperbacks are selling more.


  • ICv2 presents its estimates for June sales to Direct Market retailers. According to the market analysis, combines pamphlet-and-book sales were up by a percentage point over June of last year:

    A 21% jump in graphic novel sales, the best year over year comparison since June of 2008, made that possible; periodical sales slipped 4% vs. the previous year period.

    Here are the top-300 charts for comic books and graphic novels.

    (Right: Cover to yet another New Avengers #1, the top-selling funnybook in comics shops for the month of June.)


  • The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is among the organizations joining a legal battle against a new Internet-censorship law in Massachusetts.

  • Heidi MacDonald looks at the landscape for digital-comics sales.



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Graphic NYC




  • Alan David Doane on Harvey Pekar

    “I loved Harvey Pekar’s comics, and I was lucky enough to get to tell him that during the course of this interview, conducted around the time his hardcover Vertigo graphic novel The Quitter was released.”





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Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics




  • Katherine Dacey on Trickster: Native American Tales

    “The twenty-one stories in this ‘graphic collection’ focus on the tricksters of Native American myth: coyote, rabbit, raccoon, and raven. For each contribution, editor Matt Dembicki paired an artist with a Native American storyteller, compiling tales from tribes across the US, from the Yup’ik of Alaska to the Penobscot of Maine, the Navajo of New Mexico, and the Winnebagos of Nebraska.”


  • John Seven on Stuck Rubber Baby

    ©1995 Howard Cruse.

    “Cartoonist Howard Cruse put his time and energy into only one complete graphic novel in his career — and if you have ever read Stuck Rubber Baby, it’s apparent why. Cruse’s book is an exhausting, emotional journey — and this bleeds through in every detailed line on every character’s rendering in every panel of the book. The intensity of Cruse’s emotional investment in the characters and story hangs on every bit of the work. It’s harrowing enough to be a character in the book, but I can’t imagine being its creator.”






  • Kristy Valenti: Pump up the volume

    “It seems to me that many women enjoy their protagonists at top volume, i.e., shouting at the top of their lungs, mostly in two situations: the tell-off and/or the confession of love. I imagine it’s a form of wish fulfillment: the pleasure for the reader lies in the release of repressed emotion, and/or the freedom of saying exactly what is on one’s mind, without the usual consequences. Being right. Being listened to.”


Comics and Art


  • Comicrazys: Rick Griffin in Zap

    From Zap Comix #3, ©1968 Rick Griffin.

    You don’t look at this stuff, you drink it in…




Comics Culture


  • Chip Rossetti: Comics and Graphic Novels Emerge in the Middle East

    “For the moment, the Arabic-language comics industry is still very small: the number of graphic novels originally written in Arabic (rather than translated from other languages) can almost be counted on one hand. However, that looks likely to change in the next few years, as writers and illustrators from the region are finding new creative outlets and developing comics as a popular art form, not only for YA readers, but increasingly for adults.”


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    Screenshot from Tarkovsky’s enigmatic 1972 science-fiction film, Solaris.

    All of brilliant Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s films are now free and online for your viewing pleasure.

    (Link via Warren Ellis.)


Events Calendar




  • July 14 (Berkeley, CA): A release party for Derek McCulloch and Greg Espinoza’s Pug will be held at Comic Relief on Shattuck Avenue, from 4-8PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • July 15 (Portland, OR): Join Dylan Meconis for a release party and sighing celebrating the new book Family Man at Floating World Comics on Fifth Avenue, from 5-8PM. Details here.
  • July 15 (New York City, NY): Celebrate the release of the new book Black Comix: African American Independent Comics, Art & Culture at Madame X on Houston Street, from 6-11PM. Details here.
  • July 15 (Portland, OR): El Vocho author Steve Lafler makes an appearance at Reading Frenzy on Oak Street, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • July 15 (New York City, NY): Bill Kartalopoulos speaks onstage with R. Sikoryak at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art on Broadway, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • July 17 (London, England): Doctor Who comics authors Una McCormack, Gary Russell and Oli Smith will appear at Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue, from 1-2PM. 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. (Note: Under no circumstances will I link to a Facebook page. Seriously, what idiot “advertises” their event solely on a website that requires registration to see the advertisement?)


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