Journalista for March 3, 2010: The nature of the medium

Posted by on March 3rd, 2010 at 8:45 AM




“Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any manga fans or fellow manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all manga. This is the nature of the medium.”

– cartoon plagiarist Nick Simmons


“Well, that settles it, doesn’t it? Nothing appeases a group of fans like a guy telling him that he’s sorry about how totally wrong they are.”


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Steve Whitaker art ©2010 the Estate of Steve Whitaker.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Eric Chase, attorney for convicted “obscene manga” collector Christopher Handley, discusses the case at length in an open letter.

  • R.C. Harvey reports on Australia’s Stanley Awards for cartooning, and looks back at Pat Oliphant’s days as an Australian cartoonist.

  • Rob Clough reviews a pair of minicomics by Colleen Frakes.

  • Rich Kreiner reviews the fifth issue of pop-culture magazine Royal Flush.

  • Kent Worcester investigates the comics art of Steve Whitaker.

  • Anne Ishii returns with examinations of a Shigeru Mizuki biography and a two-volume collection of Osamu Tezuka erotica.

  • Not comics: Donald Phelps examines the career of actor David Wayne: one, two.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Noah Berlatsky responds to Ng Suat Tong on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, while Richard Cook reviews a variety of horror comics.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • The Denver Post has just cut 22 strips from its comics page, according to Michael Cavna.

  • Kodansha, one of the largest Japanese manga publishers, lost ¥5.7 billion (roughly $68 million) last year.

  • Jim Milliot notes that WorldColor, the printer formerly known as Quebecor, “cut its net loss from $944 million to $154 million.”

  • “The mobile manga provider NTT Solmare announced on Thursday that the publishers Shonen Gahosha Co, Takeshobo, and Mag Garden are launching three manga magazines for mobile phones in Japan, and they intend to expand their electronic book initiatives overseas, including in North America.”

    (Link via Simon Jones.)


  • The Hot Topic/Kawaii Not cartoon-theft dust-up turns out to be a wacky misunderstanding, reports Gary Tyrrell.

  • Digital-comics software company Longbox places its bets on “Ready For Prime Time“.

  • Reed Business Information has sold its publications Library Journal and School Library Journal, both of which have made serious efforts to include graphic novels in their book coverage.

  • Tim Heard explains how the fundraising site is changing the ways in which self-published cartoonists are publishing their work in print.

  • Kiel Phegley talks to lawyer Michael Lovitz about issues raised in the Nick Simmons plagiarism scandal.

  • Christopher Butcher runs down the February edition of Diamond Previews (one, two):

    Sorry i got a late start, I was actually finishing my Marvel numbers. Did you know that, not counting posters, Marvel has 215 line items of product this month? Lots of variant covers in there, but it all takes time to count, and rack. I checked the previews order from 3 years ago and there were only 113 line items. They’ve doubled their output in 3 years, which is… well, it explains why there’s so little space on our shelves. But, and here’s the kicker, we’re only ordering about 15% more Marvel books total. A 90% increase in line items for a 15% increase in sales. That’s fucked-up.


  • Nancy Crawley discovers that most comic books printed after 1990 have little-to-no collector value.

    (Link via J. Caleb Mozzocco.)


Joe McCulloch: New this week

A look at the best-sounding books scheduled to hit the comics shops today.




  • Christopher Irving on Scott McCloud

    Panel from McCloud’s well-regarded superhero fantasy, Zot!, ©2010 Scott McCloud.


    A conversation with the cartoonist behind Understanding Comics.


  • John Seven on Howard Cruse

    The author of Stuck Rubber Baby discusses the new edition of his critically acclaimed novel.






  • Tom Spurgeon on The Family Circus: 1960-1961

    “I can’t imagine anyone not finding Keane’s harried suburban family members at least appealing on some basic, human level. It’s also surprising how many of those initial observations, the gags, are sturdy enough to be recognizable today: both across the years and as the basis for the same joke being told over again in, please forgive me, future episodes of Family Circus.”


  • Michael Lorah on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    “Superb. Really, it’s just superb.”






  • Charles Hatfield: In our own image, after our likeness

    “Crumb’s Introduction to Genesis describes the project as “a straight illustration job,” as if to head off expectations that his treatment might be a radical adaptation or satirical hatchet job. Bear in mind that readers outside the orbit of comics may not know of Crumb’s reputation for dutiful adaptations of found texts (Boswell, Sartre, Kafka, etc.) and may expect comix hijinx served up with a subversive wink-nudge; I bet Crumb wanted to foreclose that kind of reading right off the bat. But saying that his Genesis is “straight illustration” is misleading. It’s right insofar as Crumb faithfully sought to subserve the text, observe its details, and bring it to life, but it’s wrong because it soft-pedals the role that Crumb’s own tics, preoccupations, and imaginative graphic input play in the project. It is still a R. Crumb comic, after all.”


  • Shaenon Garrity: Ten years of minicomics

    “These are the people who make me happy about comics. Not the enfants terrible who burst out of the woodwork with spectacular, fully-formed Great American Graphic Novels, although they’re fun too. The creators who keep plugging away, getting better, trying new things, always loving comics. Admittedly, I like these guys because I’m one of them. But I love watching cartoonists develop.”




Comics and Art


  • Pedestrian: Mana Neyestani

    Grampa confesses to everything in this cartoon, ©2010 Mana Neyestani.


    Recent panels by the Iranian cartoonist

    (Thanks to Kellie Strøm for e-mailing me the link.)


  • Online comics: Sandra de Haan

    Sequence from “Hair,” ©2010 Sandra de Haan.


    A collection of English-language strips by the up-and-coming Dutch cartoonist.

    (Link via Athena Currier.)




Comics Culture


  • Robyn Chapman: Fort Thunder reborn in Queens

    “I highly recommend visiting The Silent Barn. The energy of the space is contagious.”




Events Calendar




  • March 3 (Ahmedabad, India): Writers Andy Diggle and Denise Mina will speak at the National Institute of Design — I have no further details, I’m afraid. Details here.
  • March 3 (New York City, New York): A host of Girls Comics writers and artists descend upon Jim Hanley’s Universe on 33rd Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • March 4-7 (Bologna, Italy): The Bilbolbul International Comics Festival takes over the city and turns it into a Land of Cartoon Dreams, with a guest list that reads like a who’s-who of Eurocomics. Wish I was there. Details here.
  • March 4 (Washington DC): Cartoonist Kyle Baker and scholar William H. Foster II will discuss the graphic novel and its African-American practitioners at Howard University’s Blackburn Auditorium on Sixth Street, from 3-5:30PM. Details here.
  • March 5 (Rocky River, OH): Frazz cartoonist Jef Mallet will speak and sign books at Century Cycles on Detroit Road, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • March 6 (Austin, TX): STAPLE, the independent media expo, takes place at the Monarch Event Center on North IH-35, beginning at 11AM. Details here.
  • March 6 (Greensboro, NC): Cartoonists Matt Kindt, Ben Towle, Michael Watkins and Lyle Pollard will appear at Acme Comics on Lawndale Drive, from 10AM-7PM. Details here.
  • March 6 (Chicago, IL): A series of signings and appearances supporting the Strange Tales anthology take place at Challengers Comics and Chicago Comics, beginning at 1PM. Details here.
  • March 6 (San Francisco, CA): An opening reception for Game Over III, a videogame-oriented gallery show featuring work by a number of cartoonists, takes place at Giant Robot on Shrader Street, from 6:30-10PM. Details here.
  • March 6 (Los Angeles, CA): An opening reception for the Covered art show takes place at the Secret Headquarters on Sunset Boulevard, from 8-10PM. Details here.
  • March 7 (Sacramento, CA): SacCon, which focuses on comics, toys and anime, takes place at the Scottish Rite Center on H Street, from 10AM-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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