Journalista for May 12, 2010: I am not your friend

Posted by on May 12th, 2010 at 1:50 AM



“The hardest thing to crack into is the world of underground comics in Japan, not because they are hard to find but because there is so much it’s almost impossible to find a point of entry. There are tons of stores selling d?jinshi but, without exaggerating, 90 percent of it is either porno or parody — or parody-porno. As cool as it is to see Darth Vader having sex with Luke Skywalker, I really wish I could find more substantial stories. There are only so many naked Harry Potter pictures you can see before you just lose interest.”


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From Kick-Ass, ©2010 Mark Millar and John S. Romita.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Gavin Lees and Simon Abrams offer a point/counter-point on the merits of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s exercise in superhero decadence, Kick-Ass.

  • GutterGeek‘s Alex Boney reviews three recent Vertigo titles: the first issue of iZombie and the first two issues of American Vampire.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Ng Suat Tong reviews Dan Clowes’ Wilson.

  • It just occured to me that almost half of my “link via” notations lately track back to Twitter. I’m not sure if that means anything, mind you. Just an observation.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • Calvin Reid is reporting that manga publisher Viz Media has laid off as many as 60 staffers yesterday — roughly 40% of its work force. Gia Manry offers commentary.

  • Swedish illustrator Lars Vilks — notorious for a sort-of-cartoon depicting a dog with the head of Islamic prophet Muhammed — was subject to an attempted assault at Sweden’s Uppsala University. He is reportedly uninjured. A video shot of the incident has of course already made its way to YouTube.

  • Wikimedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has surrendered some posting privileges after an uproar over his decision to remove a number of what he considered “pornographic” images from the Wikipedia website, including illustrations from entries devoted to the notorious manga/anime lolicon genre.

  • Brigid Alverson offers a context-laden recap of the apparent death of manga publisher Go! Comi.

  • Wim Lockefeer recaps Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo’s legal actions over Hergé’s Tintin in the Congo.

  • For this week’s low moment in comics “journalism,” we now turn to Troy Brownfield’s interview with illustrator and professional scumbag Pat Lee, already in progress:

    Nrama: Pat, it’s true that you have what can be considered a controversial past. With a renewed visibility on this project, are you expecting controversy in return? And how would you answer your critics?

    Lee: I am aware of the controversy to some degree and I respect what everyone has to say. I understand people’s anger towards the past and I’m not going to challenge them. People make mistakes, I’m just as human as everyone else is. However, I’ve always enjoyed drawing comics and I respect any and all comments, bad or good — everyone has the right to speak their mind! But I’m still going to continue drawing comics and do what I love.

    At which point, the matter is promptly dropped.

    To understand what makes the above-quoted softball exchange so egregious, take a moment and check out actual comics journalist Rich Johnston‘s link-filled refresher course on Lee’s long history of malfeasance and screwed-over employees.

    “A controversial past” — Jesus Fucking Christ, Brownfield. Did you lose your spine in a car accident or something?

    (Hat tip: Marc-Oliver Frisch.)


Today’s Format WarsTM report

  • An iPhone app by mobile software developer Dale Zak, which allowed users to read webcomics through an RSS feed, was removed from circulation after Zak was “flooded by angry artists upset that their content was being consumed by the app.” Lauren Davis unpacks the various controversies and ethical arguments surrounding the app.

    (Link via Jeff Lester.)


  • Michelle Maisto catches word that computer giant Hewlett-Packard, which recently purchased the portable-computing pioneer Palm, will use the company’s Web OS to fuel a new line of tablet computers.

    (Link via Craig Teicher, who notes, “if this HP tablet does indeed come out, that will mean there are no fewer than four operating systems motoring the available tablets — iPhone OS, Android, Windows, and now Web OS — which makes for a lot of incompatible apps, and lots of versions of the Kindle app that Amazon has to churn out. Sounds potentially confusing.”)


  • “Smartphones based on Google’s Android mobile operating system have outsold Apple’s iPhone in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2010, according to a report by research firm The NPD Group.”

  • Brigid Alverson discusses webcomics formatting and presentation.

  • Why Digital Rights Management is a terrible idea for the consumer.

    (Link via Brigid Alverson.)


Joe McCulloch: New this week

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



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Graphic NYC




  • Christopher Irving on Jaime Hernandez

    Detail from the cover of Love and Rockets Vol. 1, #24.

    Catching up with the Love and Rockets co-creator.

    Related: Steve Bunche speaks with Todd Hignite about his book, The Art of Jaime Hernandez.






  • David Brothers on King City

    From King City Vol. 1, ©2007 Brandon Graham and Tokyopop, Inc.

    “In King City, Brandon Graham takes those big moments, the ones that knock your socks off and rock your world, and turns them on their ear. They aren’t just the big shots, the ones meant to make you pump your fist. Things as inconsequential as half-formed, post-coital thoughts or two guys hanging out are treated with the same amount of attention, and care, as a Lovecraftian monster striding through the center of the city.”









Comics and Art


  • Tim Hensley: “NSFW”

    ©2006 Tim Hensley.

    “For a long time I had saved among my paperwork a xeroxed rant of the type usually found stapled to telephone poles that was given to me by my friend George Woods. His girlfriend at the time worked downtown under what was then the B of A skyscrapers in a mall bookstore and was given multiple copies by the author himself, a Balwant Singh Choudry. I’ve always enjoyed the neural telemetry and meticulous/hopeless documentation found in these sort of tracts. It’s as if the author feels so forsaken that he overcompensates by imagining he is under relentless scrutiny.”




Comics Culture


  • Deb Aoki: Manga outside the mainstream

    Transcript of a panel held at last weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival, moderated by christopher Butcher and featuring Aoki, Erik Ko, Dan Nadel, Jocelyene Allen and Ryan Sands.


  • Christopher Butcher: Toronto Comic Art Festival photos

    Speaking of which, here’s a nice list of links.


  • Shannon Drucker: Graphic novels at Dartmouth

    “While many Dartmouth students are studying works of the traditional canon in their English courses this term, the 47 students enrolled in English 67.5 have the opportunity to study a more unorthodox literary form: the graphic novel, more affectionately known as the comic book. The course, titled ‘The Graphic Novel’ and held at the 2A hour, is taught by English professor Michael Chaney.”


  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    Jason Calacanis explains why no one — absolutely no one — should trust Facebook for any reason whatsoever.

    Strangely enough, I set up a Facebook account a few days ago, despite having followed the various content swipes, privacy screw-ups and partnership backstabbings in the tech press for the past few months and, in theory, Knowing Better. My reason: Too many lifelong friends using the service that I wanted to stay in touch with*. That said, I’ve made it a point of giving the site as little personal information as possible, and I’ve installed Google Chrome as a sort of “condom browser” for visiting Facebook without allowing it to connect up with other sites I visit through a devious use of cross-marketing and browser cookies. I only visit the site with Chrome, and never use Chrome for my “real” Web surfing. We’ll see if it works.

    * Which, before you ask, is why I’m refusing all “friend” requests. I’m there for five or six people, and that’s it. My real social-networking site of choice is Twitter, where you’re more than welcome to follow my excess blogging compulsion, if you like, and if you can tolerate my periodic attempts to alienate followers with gay and/or conservative-leaning content. (I’ve chased six people away so far! Hahahahaha!)


Events Calendar




  • May 12 (New York City, NY): Dan Nadel and Chip Kidd will talk comics on-stage at the Strand Bookstore on Broadway, from 7-8PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • May 13 (New York City, NY): The Luna Brothers will be signing books and meeting readers at Midtown Comics on Lexington Avenue, from 4-6PM. Details here.
  • May 13 (San Francisco, CA): Daniel Clowes makes an appearance at Booksmith on Haight Street, beginning at 7:30PM. Details here.
  • May 14 (Los Angeles, CA): Daniel Clowes will offer a presentation and sign books at Skylight Books on Vermont Avenue, from 7:30-9:30PM. Details here.
  • May 15 (Vienna, VA): A launch party for the new anthology Trickster: Native American Tales takes place at Big Planet Comics on Maple Avenue, from 2-4PM. Details here.
  • May 16 (Portland, OR): Dan Clowes makes an appearance at Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, beginning at 7:30PM. 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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