Journalista for May 20, 2010: Swansong

Posted by on May 20th, 2010 at 2:11 AM



“Did DC Comics really kill off Ryan Choi and cut the CMX line dead during Asian American month?”


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Muhammed receives his first revelation from the angel Gabriel in this 1307 illustration from Persian author Rashid al-Din’s book, Jami’ al-Tawarikh (“History of the World”), now housed in the Edinburgh University Library collection.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Kristian Williams‘ examination of the poctorial representations of The Picture of Dorian Gray continues.

  • Rich Kreiner reviews Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings: Uneasy Happiness.

  • Rob Clough reviews Mineshaft #25.

  • As always, R.C. Harvey covers the funny pages.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Bert Stabler looks back at the history of feminist performance art.

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • Today is Draw Muhammed Day, and the smell of backlash is already in the air: “A Pakistani court has issued a ban on the social networking site Facebook after a user-generated contest page encouraged members to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.”

  • Will people please stop buying the Chaos Comics library? Seriously, some things just shouldn’t be nostalgia-fetish objects.

    Click image for larger version. Our heroine watches on in horror as a fellow dancer realizes the severity of her injuries, in this two-page spread from the third volume of Swan, ©1976 Kyoko Ariyoshi.

  • Simon Jones rounds up online reactions and offers commentary over the coming demise of CMX Manga.

    Incidentally: The real tragedy here is the fact that CMX still had six volumes to go in serializing Kyoko Ariyoshi’s ballet drama, Swan, quite conceivably the most formally daring children’s comic ever drawn. Working hot on the heels of the revolution in shojo manga in the early 1970s, Ariyoshi’s daring page compositions skillfully blended imagery and structure to evoke mood, motion and emotion like few other cartoonists before or since — I can almost picture sweat flying from her brow as her pen leapt across the board, setting new benchmarks for innovation that cartoonists would spend the next three decades trying (and failing) to match. These days, we in the West lionize Bernard Krigstein and Jim Steranko’s all-too-brief bodies of work for things that artists like Ariyoshi did as a matter of course for thousands of pages at a stretch. Every practicing cartoonist should own at least two volumes of Swan.

    Despite an ill-considered outburst on my Twitter account a couple of days back, I’m grateful to the folks at CMX/WildStorm/DC Comics for sticking it out long enough to publish a full fifteen volumes in a series that must have sold, oh, tens of copies per book. It’s a shame that we won’t see Swan‘s conclusion, but thank you nonetheless to all involved for continuing to produce translations for as long as you did.


Today’s Format WarsTM report

  • Willie Tong reports that the manufacturer Foxconn will ship 24 million units of Apple’s latest iPhone 4G, with shipments starting in June. Dwight Silverman offers commentary.

  • Google’s Android operating system was the fourth-bestselling cellphone OS in the first quarter of 2010 by unit, surpassing Microsoft’s Windows Mobile in market share, according to a Gartner Research report.

  • Amazon announces a Kindle app for Android, due for summer release.

  • “This summer Barnes & Noble, Inc. will launch PubIt!, a publishing platform to help indie publishers and authors sell books at Barnes & and the Barnes & Noble eBookstore.”

  • Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Giffith on online comics:

    I like the way comics look [online], a little fuzzy, but it’s in a pleasant way. […] It’s more about tone than line. That’s OK with me.



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Graphic NYC




  • Noel Murray on Grant Morrison

    “[…] I think the only way you can get something out is to invest some real emotion into it, which means you’re already writing about what’s going to happen to you, whether you know it or not. That’s why I’m always surprised when people talk about writer’s block. Because to me, it can’t be stopped. Every news item you see, every thought you have, every strange soap-opera event that happens in my life can be translated into a story and make that story mine. So for me, all that stuff… that’s me, that’s my life. That’s where the engine comes from to write it. I don’t only get it from books.”


  • Corey Mintz on Jim Rugg and Matt Kindt

    Q: How do you wedge a comic-book discussion into a food column?
    A: By inviting a pair of cartoonists over for dinner, of course.






  • Katherine Dacey on The Times of Botchan Vol. 1-4

    Sequence from the third volume, ©1987 Jiro Taniguchi and Natsuo Sekikawa.

    “Despite its historical ambitions, The Times of Botchan is best read for its quieter moments. Jiro Taniguchi creates intimate scenes that require little or no dialogue to convey their nuance: two acquaintances walking silently through a snowing streetscape, Natsume working in his study. Small details capture the transitional nature of the period, and speak volumes about the characters’ ambivalent relationship with the West, with some embracing European dress, others flatly rejecting it, and most, like Natsume, striking a compromise, combining a yukata with a button-down shirt and bowler hat.”






  • Peter Richardson: Bernard Krigstein, the last of the EC visionaries

    “Krigstein was invited to bring his folio up to the offices at 225 Lafayette Street and by the end of the meeting walked out with one of the most inappropriate jobs Gaines could have ever chosen for a man of Krigstein’s abilities.”

    (Link via Steven Thompson.)




Comics and Art


  • Comicrazys: What Was Bugging Ol’ Pharaoh?

    ©1964 Warner Press, Inc.

    Look! Adults! Drawn By Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts!




Events Calendar




  • May 20 (Madison, NJ): Paul Levitz will be signing books and meeting readers at Dewey’s Comic City on Park Avenue, from 5:30-7:30PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • May 21-23 (Copenhagen, Denmark): The Copenhagen International Comics Festival takes place at Øksnehallen on Halmtorvet, although given my knowledge of the language and region, I’ve probably gotten that wrong somehow. Details here.
  • May 21 (Copenhagen, Denmark): The Contemporary Comics Symposium will be held at the University of Copenhagen on Karen Blixens. Details here.
  • May 21 (New York City, NY): Dan Nadel will discuss and sign copies of his book Art in Time at Brooklyn’s own Desert Island on Metropolitan Avenue, from 7-9PM. Details here.
  • May 22-23 (Bristol, England): The Bristol International Comics and Small Press Expo opens its doors at the Ramada Bristol City Hotel on Redcliffe Way. Alas, tickets have already sold out, so forget I said anything. Details here.
  • May 22 (Seattle, WA): Jim Woodring will give a slide presentation and sign books at the Fantagraphics Bookstore on Vale Street, from 7-8PM. Details here.
  • May 23 (Portland, ME): The Maine Comic Arts Festival takes place at the Ocean Gateway on Thames Street. 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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3 Responses to “Journalista for May 20, 2010: Swansong”

  1. […] Creators | Peter Johnson examines Bernard Krigstein's earliest work for EC Comics. [Cloud 109, via Journalista] […]

  2. […] is Fantagraphics. They’ve tasked shôjo scholar Matt Thorn with establishing a manga imprint, and Dirk Deppey was just bemoaning the fact that Swan would go unfinished. I’m not asking them to start over again, and Swan’s Shueisha origins might be tricky for […]

  3. […] a master thief (inspired by Robert Plant at his 70s, sexy best) and the detective set to catch him. Dirk Deppey over at The Comics Journal mourns Swan will be without an end and makes a great case for why it’s still worth […]