Journalista for March 15, 2010: Why I work here

Posted by on March 15th, 2010 at 11:38 AM




“Due to my almost complete ignorance of the manga publishing industry and the editorial strictures that guide it, and my pitiful lack of guile in these matters, I was insufficiently aware of how timid and craven our editorial choices should’ve been!”


“I note that while I love Fantagraphics, their new manga line, and their Peanuts and Pogo collections, I still think Gary Groth is a jerk.”


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Welcome back to ¡Journalista! — your home for cheery imagery in a drug-positive environment.

Sorry about that.


Detail from a cartoon by and ©1992 Nina Paley.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • From The Comics Journal #269, Matt Thorn’s interview with shojo-manga pioneer Moto Hagio: one, two, three and four.

    Just in case: Shaenon Garrity explains why Hagio is awesome, which at this point is something that you should already know.


  • Kent Worcester presents an edited transcript of a 2009 on-stage discussion with Tom Kaczynski.

  • M. Thomas Inge presents the first installment of a two-part look at the satire of Harvey Kurtzman.

  • Rob Clough reviews Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions #12, Naomi Nowak’s fantasy comic Graylight and a batch of Sam Spina minicomics.

  • Also reviewing Naomi Nowak’s Graylight: Ian Burns.

  • Rich Kreiner reviews Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile.

  • Robert Stanley Martin reviews the war-comics anthology Blazing Combat.

  • Gavin Lees reviews New British Comics #2.

  • Tom Crippen reviews a pair of superhero comics.

  • R.C. Harvey covers the funny pages and keeps track of the editorial funnies, and he does it all for you.

  • GutterGeek‘s Jared Gardner reviews C.C. Colbert & Tanitoc’s Booth, while Alex Boney discusses the Siegel//Warner/DC Comics copyright affair.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, meanwhile, Caroline Small interviews animator/cartoonist Nina Paley (one, two) about the challenges that she faced with her film Sita Sings the Blues, and of course this leads into a roundtable discussion on copyright and free culture (one, two, three, four and five), wrapped up with a sampler of Nina Paley cartoons.

  • Not comics: R. Fiore on Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Shaenon Garrity on the prospect of her husband’s humiliation.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • UOL News (Google translation) is reporting that cartoonist Glauco Villas-Boas and his son were shot dead last Friday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, first thought to be victims of an attempted robbery and kidnapping. Glauco, a cartoonist for the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo since 1977, was 53 years old; son Raoni was 25. Rich Johnston has the latest details in the investigation.

    (First link via Gianfranco Goria.)


    Barclay-drawn panel from “Spurned,” originally printed in Complete Love; ©1954 Publishing House Inc.


  • Trina Robbins brings word that golden-age comics artist Violet “Valerie” Barclay died on February 26, at the age of 87:

    Born in Manhattan Nov. 5, 1922, Barclay attended the School of Industrial Arts, after which she went to work as a restaurant hostess for $18 a month to help support her mother and two younger brothers. In an interview with Jim Amash, from Alter Ego #33, she describes how Mike Sekowsky, who had gone to school with her, found her working at the restaurant in 1941, and “decided to save (her) from this life of degradation as a restaurant hostess” by finding her work as an inker at Timely comics for $35 a month.

    Tom Spurgeon has further reading.


  • Two Americans, Colleen Renee LaRose and Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, have been detained in an investigation into a possible murder plot over cartoonist Lars Vilks, in retaliation for a drawing featuring the Islamic prophet Muhammed’s head on the body of a dog.

  • Totally missed it last week: The weekend before last saw a glitch in the Amazon pricing system, which relabeled a bunch of expensive hardcover comics collections (notably from Marvel) as being marked ridiculously far down in price, some below cost. Johanna Draper Carlson (one, two) has the basic round-up.

    So far, just a wacky anecdote, right? Well, it stopped being funny for many more people after the online-retail monolith pulled all “buy” buttons from the product pages of books distributed by Diamond Book Distributors, the apparent source of the glitch, affecting publishers from Image to Top Shelf and all points in-between. Adding insult to injury, the glitch is reported to have turned up at Barnes & Noble’s online store as well.

    J.K. Parkin speaks with affected publishers Dan Vado and Chris Pitzer, while Todd Allen offers a bit of back-of-the-matchbook math to estimate what the financial damage might look like.


  • The Barnes & Noble bookstore chain has reportedly refused to carry Molly Crabapple’s new book, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, declaring it “too pornographic.”

    (Link via Kevin Melrose.)


  • In response to yet another internet-tax threat, Amazon has suspended its associates program in Colorado.

  • Box Brown explains how he used Kickstarter to finance his latest collection.

  • Mad Magazine goes bi-monthly, and may yet survive us all.

  • ICv2 presents its estimates for February sales to Direct Market retailers. So sayeth the market report:

    Comic sales in comic stores were down slightly in February, with a 3% decline vs. the year ago period. Graphic novel sales were up 1% vs. February 2009, the first increase since March of 2009 […]

    Here are your top-300 funnybook and not-funnybook book charts.


  • Kiel Phegley chats with First Second’s Mark Siegel and Calista Brill.

  • Jason Miles talks to Sparkplug Comic Books owner Dylan Williams.

  • Heidi MacDonald speaks with Rantz Hoseley about the digital-comics software package Longbox.

  • Yoshitoshi ABe and a host of other cartoonists are criticizing a proposed “virtual kiddyporn” ban currently being debated in Japan.

  • Valerie D’Orazio offers four tips for marketing comics to women.




  • Bob Minzesheimer on Jules Feiffer

    “My life is like a comic strip: short breaks between panels, the briefest of breaks.”


  • Vera Penêda on Guy Delisle

    “I’m just a normal guy wandering around. I collect information and mix it with my impressions.”






  • Xaviar Xerexes on Brainfag Forever

    “It’s very self-revealing with a great deal of painful honesty in it. Artistically it’s all over the place and in that sense it’s an overview of Beaty’s life as a comic artist as much as the comic itself is an overview of his life in general.”


  • Rod Lott on High Soft Lisp

    “This is the stuff of soap operas, minus the melodrama. [Gilbert Hernandez’ new collection] comes loaded with palpable emotions and heaps of honesty, even amid a cartoony backdrop.”


  • David Welsh and Deb Aoki on Bunny Drop Vol. 1

    Two looks at Yumi Unita’s story about the trials and rewards of parenting.







  • Brian Boyd on the origin of comics

    Like most other people passing this link around, I haven’t read it either.

    (Link via Jeet Heer.)




Business and Craft


  • Steve Whitaker and Co.: The Worm’s-Eye View of Comics

    Handout minicomic for a children’s cartooning class, now available as a PDF file.

    (Link via Bugpowder.)


  • Tyler Page: How much is this going to cost me?

    What self-publishing cost Mr. Page, recounted for your edification.


Comics and Art


  • Pappy: “The Strange Case of Flattop’s Conscience”

    From Dick Tracy Comics Monthly #131, ©1958 Chicago Tribune.


    A big ol’ Dick Tracy classic and it’s just a click away! Good way to start a Monday, isn’t it?


  • Harry Lee Green: 1920 cartoons from Judge Magazine


    “Ninety year old humor, including a spectacular full page cartoon by Raggedy Ann creator Johnny Gruelle, and a very early cartoon by Gardner Rea.”




Events Calendar




  • March 15 (Pasadena, CA): Gary Panter will lecture and attend a reception at the Pasadena City College Art Gallery on Colorado Boulevard, beginning at 7PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • March 16 (Albany, NY): Jules Feiffer will give a Seminar at 4:15PM, followed by a lecture at 8PM, at the New York Stae Writers Institute. Details here.
  • March 16 (Ann Arbor, MI): David Carter moderates a discussion on the graphic novel, featuring participants Phoebe Gloeckner, Jim Ottaviani and Eric Rabkin, at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Library Building on University Avenue, from 7-8:30PM. Admission is free. Details here.
  • March 18 (Washington DC): Jules Feiffer makes an appearance at Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue, beginning at 4PM. Details here.
  • March 18 (San Francisco, CA): Paul Pope makes a presentation at the Cartoon Art Museum on Mission Street, with doors open at 6:45PM. $5 suggested donation. Details here.
  • March 19 (Auckland, New Zealand): Hicksville author Dylan Horrocks will attend the launch of a new edition of his book at the High Seas on Beresford Square, beginning at 6PM. 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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4 Responses to “Journalista for March 15, 2010: Why I work here”

  1. patford says:

    Dirk, Perhaps I missed it in the various articles, so forgive me if this has been answered.
    Will the Fantagraphics Manga books present the stories formated as “front to back,” left to right as seen in the Barefoot Gen reprints, or will they use the traditional Oriental format.
    If I read Japanese I’d never bother to look at a translation, but seeing as how I don’t the use of Asian written language format in a book which has been translated into a Western language strikes me as an affectation.

  2. Noah Berlatsky says:

    They’ll keep the original formatting according to the press release I got.

    Switching the art can screw things up in surprising ways. It made nonsense of important plot points in Parasyte, for example, to name one example off the top of my head.

    And, you know, if Matt Thorn wants to keep the art unflipped, that’s good enough for me.

  3. patford says:

    I’ve only read the Gen books (nine to this point) and several things by Tezuka. All of them have been in a western format.
    I can see how switching to a right to left orientation could completely not work for certain “cinematic”
    effects, but I either haven’t noticed any in the few things I’ve read or the images have perhaps been edited in some way.
    I can see where many things an artist like Krigstein employed wouldn’t work if arranged right to left, for example a multi-panel tier which share a common panoramic background which the characters move through left to right.

  4. Dirk Deppey says:

    I can’t speak for Matt, who made the decision, and I should note that I haven’t discussed the issue with him, but: Hagio’s work makes an artful use of layouts that, while minimalist — she’s one of those artists who started out with a giant bag of tricks and winnowed them down to the necessary essentials over the years — nonetheless take advantage of the medium in ways that might be diminished if the pages were flipped. Reversing the work wouldn’t be as tricky as, say, reversing Kyoko Ariyoshi’s Swan*, but it poses the sort of aesthetic questions that I suspect are much better dealt with by not flipping the art at all.

    * Imagine the issues raised by redesigning Chris Ware’s work to be read right-to-left, and you’ve got the nightmare that would be flipping Swan.