Thursday, May 31, 2018

Baltimore Sun on Geppi's Museum closure and transfer to Library of Congress

Geppi's Entertainment Museum to close as comic and art collection heads to Library of Congress

Chris Kaltenbach
Chris Kaltenbach
Baltimore Sun May 30 2018
http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bs-fe-geppis-20180529-story.html

Jeffrey Thompson illustrations in a new fantasy novel

I was reading The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp, a fantasy novel about magicians and luck gods in New Orleans this week, and thinking something looked familiar about the interior illustrations.



It turns out that they're done by Jeffrey Thompson, of Baltimore. For many years, Jeff was the Wednesday staff at Big Planet Comics Bethesda and I've followed his illustration career for years. It was a good feeling to see these illustrations in a brand new book. I didn't photograph them all, but the Tarot Card concept is integral to the plot.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and I've seen it compared online to American Gods which seems reasonable. I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Nell Minow profiles the National Cartoonist Society's annual meeting

JK Snyder III on his art for 8 Million Ways to Die

Go Behind the Scenes of IDW's Eight Million Ways to Die Adaptation (Preview)

John K. Snyder III

New comic on Nepal from International Monetary Fund

Nepal: Into and Out of the Grey

A story about Nepal's journey to address money laundering – how it navigated the various obstacles it faced over the years to meet international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Script by Joe Procopio and Amit Khetarpaul
Art by Steve Conley and Rick Veitch of Eureka Comics

Scoop on Geppi donation; Geppi Entertainment Museum closing

Steve Geppi Makes Multi-Million Dollar Donation of Comics, Pop Culture Items to Library of Congress

Scoop May 30 2018

http://scoop.previewsworld.com/Home/4/1/73/1012?articleID=213163


From the article:


In light of these items moving to the Library of Congress in the coming weeks, GEM will be open to the public for the final time, from 10 AM to 6 PM on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Admission that day will be free of charge.

PR: Geppi Makes Multimillion Dollar Donation to Library of Congress


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Geppi Makes Multimillion Dollar Donation of Comic Books, Pop-Culture Memorabilia to Library of Congress


(Hunt Valley, MD) — (May 30, 2018) — Diamond Comic Distributors President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen A. Geppi has made a multimillion dollar donation of more than 3,000 items from his personal comic book and pop culture collection to The Library of Congress.
Geppi's gift encompasses comic books, photos, posters, original comic book and comic strip art, newspapers, pinback buttons, and other rare, vintage pop culture artifacts including the original Plane Crazy storyboards that document the creation of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse.
Items are expected to go on display at the Library of Congress beginning this summer. The move represents a huge next chapter in one of Geppi's long-held dreams.
For more than a decade, the material has been on display at Geppi's Entertainment Museum (GEM) in Baltimore and includes Big Little Books, Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., R.F. Outcault's The Yellow Kid printing blocks, and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.
With the acquisition of these items by the Library of Congress, GEM will close its doors in June. Its last day open to the public will be Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 10am to 6pm. Admission that day will be free of charge.
When Geppi's Entertainment Museum opened in 2006, it was the natural next step in Geppi's lifelong passion to share comic books and popular culture in general with the widest possible audience.
"I've been an evangelist for comics since I picked up my first issue of Batman at the age of five. Since then, I couldn't help but share my excitement, first with my brother, then my family, and then my friends. I remember thinking 'This stuff is great! I can't wait to share it with so-and-so.' After that, each step along the way has really preceded from those initial impulses," Geppi said.
In GEM, Geppi achieved a previously unparalleled execution of his vision, but after more than a decade in its historic Camden Yards facility, it was apparent to him that to reach even more people with his message, he was going to need to go bigger. This led to a meeting with Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who Geppi knew from her time heading up the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. From there, things moved relatively quickly.
"The Library of Congress is home to the nation's largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings," said Hayden. "The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide."
The Library holds more than 140,000 issues of approximately 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s. The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands, the first comics featuring Batman and other iconic characters, such as All Star Comics #8, the first appearance of Wonder Woman. The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the origin and first appearance of Spider-Man, along with the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for the issue. According to The Library, The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues.
"I've been blessed to make my living from something I love for decades, and further blessed to be able to share these treasures with others. The idea of how many more people will get to see this material under the auspices of The Library of Congress invigorates my mind with a multitude of possibilities. I definitely have other plans for the future as well. Besides, it's not like I'm going to stop collecting," said Geppi.
For the official Library of Congress press release about Geppi's donation, visit https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-18-072/library-receives-donation-of-popular-art-valued-in-the-millions/2018-05-30/

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Steve Geppi, owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, Maryland, shows off his collection, May 22, 2018. Photos by Shawn Miller.
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***

ABOUT DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS (DCD) — Diamond is at the nexus of comics and pop culture. Based in Hunt Valley, MD, DCD is the world's largest distributor of English-language comic books, graphic novels, and related pop-culture merchandise, serving thousands of retailers worldwide. For more information, visit Diamond on the web at www.diamondcomics.com.

ABOUT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

© 2018 Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. All rights reserved. Diamond, the Diamond logo, Diamond Books logo, and PREVIEWS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Diamond Comic Distributors in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective copyright owners.


Comic Riffs on Geppi donation to Library of Congress

Library of Congress acquires its largest donation of comic books ever


Washington Post
Comic Riffs blog May 30 2018
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/05/30/library-of-congress-acquires-its-largest-donation-of-comic-books-ever/

Library of Congress Receives Valuable Comic Book, Popular Art Collection from Steve Geppi


Library of Congress logo

NEWS from the LIBRARY of CONGRESS


May 30, 2018

Largest Donation of Comic Books in Library History Includes the 
Original Storyboards for the Creation of Mickey Mouse
      The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi has donated to the nation's library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.  This multimillion-dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials, and select items will be on display beginning this summer.

      The Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts has been on public display in Baltimore, Maryland, for the past decade and is a remarkable and comprehensive assemblage of popular art.  It includes a wide range of rare comics and represents the best of the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1970) and Bronze (1970-1985) ages of comic books.  The mint-condition collection is also noted for its racially and socially diverse content as well as the distinctive creative styles of each era.
      The collection also includes motion picture posters and objects showcasing how music, comic book characters, cultural icons and politicians were popularized in the consumer marketplace.  Among these are Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Outcault's The Yellow Kid printing blocks and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.

      One signature item in the collection represents the birth of one of animation's most iconic characters. Six rare storyboards detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney's 1928 animated film, "Plane Crazy."  It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced, but the third to be released, after sound was added, in 1929.  "Steamboat Willie" was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be theatrically released, on Nov. 18, 1928, which marks its 90th anniversary this year.

      "The Library of Congress is home to the nation's largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings," said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. "The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide."

      "When I began collecting comic books as a young boy and then in earnest in 1972, I would have never dreamed that a major portion of my collection would find a home at the Library of Congress, alongside the papers of 23 presidents, the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson's library," said Geppi.  "This gift will help celebrate the history of comics and pop culture and their role in promoting literacy."

      Geppi is the owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, based in Baltimore.  A fan of comic books as a child, he later began seriously collecting them and turned his passion into a series of pop culture businesses.  Over the years, Geppi amassed one of the largest individual collections of vintage comic books and pop culture artifacts in the world.  

      Geppi will continue to be an active collector and will be considering other donations to the Library of Congress in the future.  "I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship," said Geppi.  

      The Library holds more than 140,000 issues of about 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s.  The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands; the first series featuring Batman and other iconic characters; and All Star Comics #8, which introduced fans to Wonder Woman.  The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which tells the origin story of Spider-Man, and the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for that issue. The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues.

      The Serial and Government Publications Division maintains one of the most extensive newspaper collections in the world.  It is exceptionally strong in United States newspapers, with 9,000 titles covering the past three centuries. With more than 25,000 non-U.S. titles, it is the largest collection of international newspapers in the world. Beyond its newspaper holdings, the division also has extensive collections of current periodicals (40,000 titles), comic books (13,000 titles) and government publications (1 million items). The collection of comic books is available for research use by scholars, collectors and other researchers in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.  More information can be found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/coll/049.html.
     
The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day.  International in scope, these visual collections represent a rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor—science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history.  More information can be found at loc.gov/rr/print/.

      The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
# # #
PR 18-072
05/30/18
ISSN 0731-3527



June 18: Juana Medina at Takoma Park Library

Juana Medina - Sweet Shapes — at Takoma Park Library (MD)

Monday, June 18, 2018 - 7 p.m.

The author of 1 Big Salad and ABC Pasta has concocted a new and delicious way to learn about shapes. As you walk through this sweet forest, you'll find crispy rice wolves, jelly bean butterflies, lemon tart goldfinches, and macaron owls. If you look hard enough, you'll even find a recipe for chocolate-covered strawberry foxes. Medina, a RISD graduate and Corcoran College of Art teacher, brings each page to life with joy and whimsy. Sweet Shapes will captivate the attention of the squirmiest young learner. Ages 0-5

 

Takoma Park Public Library (MD)   101 Philadelphia Ave   Washington   MD    20912

June 16-August 12: Ralph Steadman exhibit at American University



American University
Museum at the 
Katzen Arts Center
June 16 - August 12


Opening Reception
June 16, 6-9PM

free and open to all


Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective

Originally curated by Anita O'Brien at the Cartoon Museum, London, the Ralph Steadman Retrospective offers phenomenal insights into the genius of one of the world's most acclaimed artists. This exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through Steadman's prolific career of more than sixty years, from the sketches he created as a student in the 1950s to present day pictures.

The retrospective showcases Steadman's legendary collaborations with maverick Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson; his illustrated literary classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island; and the inventive books he authored such as I Leonardo and The Big I Am. There are also illustrations from his children's books, which include No Room to Swing a Cat and That's My Dad, plus artworks from his travels with Oddbins Wine Merchants and his iconic packaging for Flying Dog Brewery.

Gallery Talk: 
Saturday, June 16, 5PM


Space is limited. If you end up on the waitlist, please know that we will release as many seats as possible in the lead-up to the event. Sign up for the waitlist in order to receive our updates. Register here 

Ralph Steadman, 'Don't Draw Ralph! It's a filthy habit...' HST. Self Poortrait, 2006. 
Courtesy of Ralph Steadman Art Collection

Sunday, May 27, 2018

That darn Mark Trail, Judge Parker, and Candorville

No, this 'Candorville' strip isn't making fun of homeless people [in print as Stripped of context].

Dalal Musa, Falls Church

Washington Post May 26 2018

Critics of 'Mark Trail' and 'Judge Parker' have it all wrong [in print as Into the sinkhole with criticism of this comic].



The Post checks on Charlie Hebdo

A terrorist attack turned Charlie Hebdo into a revered institution it never sought to be [in print as France's awkward avatars of free speech].


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Post on Thanos' grip in Infinity War

Annapolis' Third Eye Comics profiled at TCJ

Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award photos online

Bruce Guthrie has his images up at http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_05_22E1_RFK_Awards and you can see Ruben Bolling accepting his award for Tom the Dancing Bug's stellar past year. He starts here and goes through the next 6 images. Ruben then is at the reception here and some pictures with John Glynn of Andrews McMeel Syndicate follow.

As always, the humanitarian and social justice awards are a sobering yet hopeful event.

PR: Naval Institute Press Launches New Graphic Novel Imprint

ANCHORS AWEIGH!
Naval Institute Press Launches New Graphic Novel Imprint

Naval Institute Press, the vaunted publisher of military histories and classics like The Hunt for Red October and Flight of the Intruder, announced today that it is diving into the world of graphic novel publishing.

Launching in Fall 2018, Dead Reckoning will publish full-length original graphic novels and collections of classic comics with a special focus on military and naval history, military and naval biography, general history, and stories of the high seas. With both fiction and nonfiction narratives, Dead Reckoning will expose a new audience to exceptional stories of service both past and present. Whether bringing to life true stories of heroism or plunging into the real-life complexities of
national security through the safe confines of fiction, Dead Reckoning will bring a unique new voice to the established world of graphic novel publishing.

“The audience for comics and graphic novels has been growing for years. As that audience has expanded, there has been a growing demand for a greater variety in terms of the books being published,” said Gary Thompson, lead editor at Dead Reckoning. “From Harvey Kurtzman’s Frontline Combat to Doug Murray & Michael Golden’s The ‘Nam, war stories have represented some of the highest quality storytelling the medium has to offer. We feel now is the time to make military themed comics a vibrant genre again and to introduce a whole new generation of graphic novel readers to the power of these stories.”

The U.S. Naval Institute, of which the Naval Institute Press is the book-publishing arm, has always had a mission to “provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to global security.” With graphic novels, the Naval Institute can push forward its mission and achieve its goals of enhancing the understanding of the contributions of the services and keeping alive the lessons of military history for current and future generations. This highly accessible format lets the Naval Institute Press reach a whole new audience for its mission.

“People have an intense interest in history,” said Thompson. “But even the most dedicated history
enthusiasts can miss out on fascinating events because they can only be found in dense academic texts. With Dead Reckoning, we aim to provide a wide array of entry points for historical events all over the world, using thrilling narratives that can put readers in the very shoes of the men and women who serve. Of course, we will also have a number of fiction titles that not only use these historical events as a backdrop but also convey the feeling and experiences of the men and women involved in these conflicts. I’m sure our readership will be a mix of people looking to learn more about particular events and people who are simply looking for entertaining stories in graphic novel form.”

Publishing consultant Sven Larsen believes the launch of Dead Reckoning is a significant milestone in the emergence of graphic novels in the mainstream publishing world. “Graphic novels were once the ‘red-headed stepchild’ of the book publishing industry,” noted Larsen. “Now they’re the fastest growing part of the book business. Seeing a house as prestigious as the Naval Institute Press begin publishing in this medium confirms that the category is here to stay and reminds us that there remains a wide variety of stories still to be told. I’m sure future students of graphic novel history will look at the launch of Dead Reckoning as one of those milestones that’s indicative of the medium ‘coming of age’ and tapping its full potential.”

The new imprint will launch with an initial list of five titles and then expand to 10-12 titles per year in 2019. Subject matter ranges from infamous settings like World War I and the Vietnam War to more recent conflicts like the war in Afghanistan as well as memoirs and biographies. Thompson notes that this is just the beginning for the imprint. “With all of history to draw from, readers will see a tremendous variety of subjects and settings for our books,” noted the editor. “We’re not even limited by events that actually happened. It wouldn’t surprise me if at some point we end up publishing a military-themed science fiction graphic novel or something equally innovative.”

“In navigation, a dead reckoning is a way to figure out where you are by taking a previously known position and then advancing it. That’s what we’re looking to do here—take what readers have previously known and enjoyed about war comics and use that to create what’s next for the genre.”

ABOUT DEAD RECKONING
Dead Reckoning is a publisher of graphic novels and an imprint of the Naval Institute Press, located in Annapolis, Maryland. It publishes nonfiction and fiction with a special focus on military and naval history, military and naval biography, general history, and stories of the high seas. It is committed to publishing new and established talents from the worlds of both independent and traditional comics while bringing the rich complexities of history and military service to an enthusiastic, sophisticated readership. http://www.deadreckoning.org

ABOUT NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS
The Naval Institute Press is the book-publishing arm of the U.S. Naval Institute. The Institute, established in 1873, is an independent, non-profit, membership association for sea service professionals and others who share an interest in naval and maritime affairs. http://www.usni.org

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "The Last Donut"

From DC's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock:

"The Last Donut"
http://sinkers.org/stage/?p=2519

So, yesterday, Democratic Party hacks Chump Schumer and Nancy Pelosi proudly unveiled a vague, tepid economic reform package called "A Better Deal". It's kind of adorable, really, the way the Democratic leadership is suddenly discovering the crushing income inequality in the US and, in typical lame-ass Democratic fashion, tries to claw its way back to relevance with Left and progressive voters.

And that slogan -- dear god, how many focus groups did it take to come up with that, anyway? "A Better Deal" -- man, that just inspires the living hell out of me.

11x12 inch medium-res color .jpg image, 812kb


Support Team Cul de Sac by donating artwork


Heroescon (June 15th-17th) is right around the corner. Guess what folks, it means it is time for me to ask for more wonderful donations for this years Drink and Draw! Which will be held on the night of the 15th after the shows activities are over for the day. Shelton Drum and the crew will be announcing the location soon over at https://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/

I met Richard Thompson at Heroescon in 2008. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's a year later and in 2010 we started Team Cul de Sac to raise money for the Michael J Fox Foundation. So far we have raised over $241,000 bucks and I would really like to break the quarter million dollar mark this year.

What can we use? Original published art is always wonderful! We also love any art that you would like to produce for the event that you have been inspired to do this year.

Maybe you have a new book out and would like to send a few copies with sketches in them?

Maybe you want to do a live painting at the event for us?

Maybe your publisher would like to donate other books for us to sale at our booth?

Remember every penny we raise goes to The Michael J Fox Foundation for research. Not a penny goes to the overhead of the operations.

I need donations by 8th of June. Remember to send a business card/ contact info so we can promote you and your donation!

Our address is

Team Cul de Sac
C/O Chris Sparks
54 Herron Ave
Asheville NC 28806

If you have any questions, please email us at teamculdesac@gmail.com



Monday, May 21, 2018

Ann Telnaes apparently launches a weekly comic strip

DD Degg of the Daily Cartoonist picked up that Ann Telnaes apparently has launched a weekly comic strip named Mo at GoComics - https://www.gocomics.com/mo

Here's the description on the website:

Mo is a weekly comic about two women who work as a waitress and bartender in the shadow of the nation's capital.  In a tense political climate with a relentless 24-hour news cycle both women try to go about their daily work day as best they can and deal with the stress in their own ways.  


Facts about Mo:
Mo is the waitress.  She's usually frazzled, disorganized and just trying to get through the day.  She follows the president on twitter, which just gets her more stressed out.  She's also an insomniac.

The bartender is the opposite of Mo. Watches the news with a cool detachment. In control, never seems to get frazzled about anything.  Which doesn't mean she's not beyond getting angry and she doesn't suffer fools gladly.

Mo

Mo


The Bartender

The Bartender

Gaithersburg Book Festival cartoonists in photos

Bruce Guthrie has put his pictures online.

Poe and Van Gogh: Deborah Heiligman, Gareth Hinds: http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_05_19K1_GBF_PVG


Graphic Biographies: Michael Kupperman, Julian Voloj:
http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_05_19H3_GBF_Biographies


Science Comics Series: Joe Flood, Falynn Koch, Dave Roman:
http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_05_19J3_GBF_Science


Space and Aliens for Early Readers: Paul Noth, Jonathan Roth:
http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_05_19J5_GBF_Space

May 26: Little Free Library with Avengers theme opens in DC

Little Free Libraries are essentially free-standing boxes with free books in them. You can take a book, but also donate one.

It will be here:

WASHINGTON DC – Launching May 26!
Upshur Recreation Center
4300 Arkansas Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20011

More details here: https://littlefreelibrary.org/readers-assemble-introducing-9-marvel-avengers-themed-little-free-libraries/

New Herblock exhibit at Library of Congress

On Exhibit: Herblock Looks at 1968

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Catching up with Sage Stossel for Mother's Day in The Post

Inside Moebius Part 1


by RM Rhodes

There is a vast gulf between the way English speaking audiences and French speaking audiences regard the comics artist Moebius. English speaking audiences know him primarily as “that Heavy Metal guy” who produced a number of visionary science fiction works and eventually drifted off to get work in Hollywood. The books that were translated into English went out of print in the 80s and are his other works are only now starting to show up in English. But there are an awful lot of single images of his floating around on Tumblr.


One of the more famous illustrations by Moebius

To French audiences, Moebius was the artist on Blueberry in the 60s who went by a different name and went on to help found one of the most influential experimental comics companies of the 70s. He drew a phenomenal amount of beautiful work in a variety of different genres. But his most commercial popular work would always be the westerns that he worked on in his youth – the work that he had spent his life rebelling against.

Details like this are important if one wants to get the most out of the recent translation of Inside Moebius, published by Dark Horse in 2018. It’s a beautiful hardback printing of what is essential an autobiographical comic from one of France’s dearly departed comics heroes. Moebius died in 2012, and these began publication in French in the early 2000s, so they are not new, just new to an English-speaking audience.
The Foreword to the first volume of Inside Moebius is written by Isabelle Giraud, his widow, and awkwardly describes the origins of this book in such a way that it would be easy to miss it. The Translator’s Notes in the back of the book provide some of the context, as well. However, what these notes fail to mention is that Inside Moebius is, first and foremost, a metafictional story. As with all metafictional stories, the more references the reader can understand, the better the story becomes.

In 1999, Moebius decided to stop smoking pot after decades of consumption. However, he was worried about a corresponding loss of creativity so he decided to produce a drawing a day for seventy days. He chose the desert as a repeating motif because Desert B sounds like désherber – the French verb for “pulling weeds” or “de-weeding.” From there, the project became known as 40 Jours Dans le Desert B or Forty Days in the Desert B.

From 40 Jours Dans le Desert B

The illustrations that Moebius did during this period are beautiful – among his best work. They show the clean, confident lines of a master who is obviously enjoying himself while he works. They were published in a limited edition collection called 40 Jours Dans le Desert B, which was the obvious title. The subtitle was la stratégie de la démence, which translates as the strategy of dementia.
As beautiful as the books were, the print run was relatively small. Copies of the book go for hundreds of dollars, but Moebius didn’t see that money.

In 2001, Moebius started making diary comics. He had experimented with the form before, in a short story called La Deviation, when he was very clearly enjoying psychedelic narcotics. This is his first extended return.

Moebius diary comics from the early 70s

Inside Moebius is, then, a follow-on to a basically unobtainable product that heavily informs what the reader is holding. The introduction makes a game attempt to provide some of the things to watch out for, but in my opinion, it shirks some of the foundational information that gives an English-language reader the ability to enjoy the depth of the book. 

Moebius diary comics from the early 2000s

For example, the story starts with Moebius struggling with a Blueberry script. Other characters of his – Arzach and Major Gruber – show up to laugh at his frustration. If you knew who any of those three characters are, congratulations for being more informed than the vast majority of Americans. A canny reader could deduce that these are fictional characters, but may not have enough contextual clues to pick up on the fact that these are existing properties and not something made up for the sake of the story. Moebius expects that you will know these things, otherwise why are you bothering to read his diary comics?



Blueberry is a character from the western comic by the same name that first brought him to public attention in the 60s and early 70s. Originally written by Jean-Michel Charlier and published episodically in Pilote magazine, Blueberry is arguably Moebius’s best known work and most commercially successful. Most of it is done under his legal name Jean Giraud. He stopped working on Blueberry in 1974 because he wanted to explore the kind of work that he was producing under the name Moebius. In effect, Blueberry is the property that he desperately wants to leave behind.

Unfortunately, we are told that an elder Moebius is struggling with the knowledge that a new Blueberry book will sell more copies than a limited edition art book like 40 Jours Dans le Desert B (although the specific title isn’t mentioned). This struggle becomes the early driver of what could charitably be described as plot.

Arzach is one of the original characters Moebius experimented with when he first started drawing comics that seemed to straddle a line between science fiction and fantasy without really caring that such a divide mattered or even existed.



Major Gruber is the main character from an early masterpiece by Moebius – Le Garage Hermétique, translated into English as The Airtight Garage. Like Inside Moebius, The Airtight Garage was composed in one to three page segments and only had a loose thematic connection holding the episodes together. This makes it difficult to summarize The Airtight Garage, but the art is fantastic. Inside Moebius shows a better degree of control, but its structure is naturally a callback to that seminal work, for those that know what to look for.

From The Airtight Garage

A younger, cockier version of Moebius, from the early 80s, shows up as well. By that point, Moebius had quit high profile jobs to go create a publishing company with his hippy artist friends, dragged into designing movies with (and without) Alejandro Jodorowsky, but had not yet drawn the Silver Surfer for Marvel, which means that he had not yet tried and failed to conquer American comics markets.

These characters mingle with the older Moebius character. They sit and chat and eat dinner together, like something out of a Fellini film. Perhaps not coincidentally, Fellini provided the introduction to the Moebius special published by Heavy Metal in 1982.



One of the most notable things about Inside Moebius is the lack of polish on the art. Moebius was well-known for working in a variety of art styles, switching back and forth between them fluently, sometimes on the same page. Fans hoping to see beautiful psychedelic illustrations are likely to be disappointed. This is Moebius enjoying the looseness of cartooning and not sweating the small stuff. In fact, if you want to learn what a master cartoonist considers to be essential lines on the page, Inside Moebius is a great textbook.

The fact that the original diaries date back to 2001 becomes obvious when Moebius comments on the events of 9/11 and has an extended conversation with Osama Bin Laden (who died a year before Moebius did). Geronimo also shows up to compare and contrast his terrorist methodologies with Bin Laden. Another character from The Airtight Garage makes an appearance as well.



Even if you have more interest in geopolitics than the antics of an old master farting around with characters you’ve never heard of before, the book contains a very entertaining take on what were, at the time, considered to be Very Serious subjects.

If you consider yourself to be a fan of Moebius, this book is an essential work that your library would be incomplete without. Part two is due out in early June. I’m very much looking forward to picking up a copy.

__________________________________________________________

Why is this here? It's a long story. Mike Rhode first introduced himself to me when I first started vending at SPX. Over the years, we've talk to each other at Comic conventions around the DC area and never quite get around to sitting down for lunch. 

When I moved to Arlington two years ago, I didn't realize that Mike lived within a mile of my building. Nor did I realize that he lived next door to my girlfriend's friend from college. We also discovered, by accident that we work two buildings away from each other, because we work in adjacent organizations. The world is a very small place, sometimes. 

It really feels that way when I run into Mike at the local farmer's market. Naturally, that's when I pitch him article ideas. I'm reading the entire run of Heavy Metal in public (in blog format) because I happen to own the entire run of Heavy Metal. This means that I'm engaged in an ongoing study of the magazine. In addition, I have a diverse and idiosyncratic reading list that tends towards the weird corners of comics history. Sometimes one circumstance or another results in long articles that I don't really have anyplace to put. Mike has been gracious enough to let me publish them here.

In summary: this is an article about comics from someone in the DC area. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ignorant Bliss 70: Tom King at Fantom Comics November 2017

Ignorant Bliss 70: Tom King at Fantom Comics November 2017

 

Here is the recording of the Q&A I hosted at Fantom Comics in Washington DC where I talk to my friend Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King (Mister Miracle, Batman, The Vision, Sheriff of Babylon, Omega Men). We talk about all his works at the time from the current Mister Miracle and Batman to Vision. Enjoy!

Follow my guest on social media:

https://twitter.com/TomKingTK

https://www.facebook.com/tomkingauthor

https://www.instagram.com/tomking_tk/

Amazon Author page – https://www.amazon.com/Tom-King/e/B0066F3XJS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524621299&sr=8-1

July 26: Mark Wheatley art on exhibit in Pittsburgh

Comic Riffs talks to John Cuneo

The New Yorker's cover shows Trump playing golf through the 'swamp'


Washington Post
Comic Riffs blog May 14 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/05/14/the-new-yorkers-cover-shows-trump-playing-golf-through-the-swamp/

The Post on Deadpool

'Deadpool 2' is a study in … kindness? [in print as Kill with kindness: Deadpool fights against despair].


Express May 18 2018, p. 28
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2018/05/18/deadpool-2-is-a-study-in-kindness/

'Deadpool 2' is painfully self-referential. And that's why it's absolutely perfect. [in print as Deadpool's pledge: Eviscerating comedy].


Washington Post May 18 2018, p. Weekend 23
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/deadpool-2-is-painfully-self-referential-and-thats-why-its-absolutely-perfect/2018/05/14/64ca087c-53f5-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html


'Deadpool 2' does not care about your feelings. That's what makes it work.


Washington Post Comic Riffs blog May 15 2018
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/05/15/deadpool-2-doesnt-care-about-your-feelings-and-thats-what-makes-it-work/
 

Ignatz Award submissions for SPX due to Dan Stafford by June 1

From SPX's email from Dan Stafford:

I wanted to remind you that all Ignatz submissions MUST be postmarked by June 1, 2018 to be considered for consideration. That gives you two weeks! You can do it! 

Here's all of the pertinent info: 

1. Send six copies - five for the jurors, and one for the Library of Congress (how cool is that?) 
2. Submitted work must have been published between 6/1/17 and 5/31/18
3. You must fill in this submission form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rH-LJhzq8IPHGunH_M1CC1rnI9lhx17frJFDsJsOm-s/viewform?edit_requested=true) to ensure receipt and review of your work
4. All physical copies should be sent to: 
Ignatz Awards
c/o Dan Stafford
5010 Quebec St. 
College Park, MD 20740

All of our submissions guidelines and rules can be found at our new website, www.smallpressexpo.com

AND - I have a new email address. I am now at dan@smallpressexpo.com, so feel free to reach out with any questions/comments/concerns/compliments. 

Thanks, and we can't wait to see everything! 

Dan