Monday, December 31, 2007

More bad news from City Paper?

The December 28th issue doesn't have any comics in it, except for local cartoonist Ben Classen's Dirt Farm. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this will carry into the new year as a cost-cutting measure. The Blade seems to be having similar issues, and certainly hasn't realized that Bechdel's gone back to bi-monthly for Dykes to Watch Out For, if they're even still running it.

On the positive side, they did hire Harvey Pekar-collaborator and nice guy Ed Piskor to do an illustration.

So the new year may bring far less reason to pick up two of the local free papers...

Local comic book contender John Reed

photo by Darrow Montgomery for the City Paper.

Catching up on some reading before the new year, I see John Reed of Alexandria was featured in "Shock and Draw: Jon Reed is suddenly a rising star in the world of superhero comics," by Josh Eiserike, Washington City Paper December 21, 2007. Reed is competeting in a Comic Book Idol contest.

Something to do on Jan 1

At the Renwick Gallery near the White House, the exhibit "Going West! Quilts and Community" has a Comics Quilt, circa 1935, with a bunch of comics characters sewn into it. It's on loan from the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer.

Another option would be the Uncle Scrooge and Carl Barks show that opened right before Christmas at Geppi's Entertainment Museum. I plan on seeing that in January myself.

Jan 1: Big Planet's New Year's Day sale

Bethesda's Joel P reports: Tuesday, January 1st, from 12-5. Everything in the store 20% OFF!

Jan 19: 3rd annual D.C. Counter Culture Festival

Cartoonist Matt Dembicki writes, The D.C. Conspiracy will hold its third annual D.C. Counter Culture Festival at Dr. Dremo's on Sat., Jan. 19. It'll be especially meaningful because Dremo's will close the following week. (I've been fillin' my pint glass there since it opened in 1993. It's a local institution.) For a list of vendors (comics, crafts, wares, etc.), bands and other entertainment (tribal bellydancers, freak show, etc.), visit There's no admission fee.

I'm going to try to make it this year!

Richard Thompson covers Post Magazine

See his blog for the story. I'm behind on reading the paper again which is why this post is a day late, but I'm looking forward to seeing this.

Comics Research Bibliography updated

My co-author John Bullough updated our Comics Research Bibliography over the holidays. We went from 18,500 citations to 23, 880 in our neverending battle to aid research on comic art. I don't check the email account listed on the site anymore due to literally thousands of pieces of spam, but feel free to post comments and suggestions here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


By John Judy

(NOTE: Comics are once again delayed two days because of the holidays. Happy New Year!)

30 DAYS OF NIGHT, VOL. 8: RED SNOW written and drawn by Ben Templesmith. Y’know, at first I was going to snark about how the vampires’ current prey seems to be dead horses, but then I noticed this was by the guy who drew the first “30 Days” series. This one’s set in Russia circa 1941 and looks very much worth a read. Recommended.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #10 by Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty. Willow and the Buffster meet a demon while Dawn confides to Xander how she “filled out” and then some. Recommended.

DOCTOR SOLAR MAN OF THE ATOM VOL. 4 HC by Various Creators. This volume collects issues #23-32 of the original series, plus a guest-shot in “Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #14”, thus completing the entire Silver-Age run of this early Gold Key/Wilson hero.

DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #4 by Warren Ellis and Ivan Rodriguez. It was solicited for October of last year and sucks a lot less than the Avatar Press website which sucks quite a bit. Featuring a variant wrap-around cover and a 1-in-15 variant cover, which is the sure sign of a great (and highly collectable!) comic.

END LEAGUE #1 by Rick Remender and Mat Broome. From the creator of “Fear Agent” comes this new series about the last superheroes on earth and their quest for the hammer of Thor. Good thing mythological figures are public domain, eh? This one has a preview up on YouTube. Worth a look.

ESSENTIAL POWER MAN AND IRON FIST VOL. 1 SC by Lotsa People including Chris Claremont and John Byrne. “It’s so dark… I can barely make it out… is it…the Bottom of the Barrel?! What’s it doing up there?”

GRAVEL #0 by Warren Ellis & Mike Wolfer and Raulo Caceres. Okay, it’s “co-written” by Ellis which historically means the soggy cocktail napkin was handed to the interns to decipher and a room full of lemurs to type up. That said, it has a rave from Garth Ennis in which he says “It’s like someone made a comic just for me.” That and the art by “Crecy” co-creator Raulo Caceres elevate this to a must-read for the week. Recommended.

NORTHLANDERS #2 by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice. Prince Sven the Viking is back home and looking to square accounts with the uncle who’s taken all his stuff. It’s like “Hamlet” if Hamlet had less depression, more A.D.D., and no mommy issues. Recommended, but not for kids.

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #4 of 10 by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple. An interesting series featuring a new take on the classic Steve Gerber cult hero. Possibly it will read more smoothly in trade but for now it’s a good read for those who like a slow build.

PATH OF THE ASSASSIN VOL. 8: SHINOBI WITH EXTENDING FISTS SC by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima. From the guys who gave us “Lone Wolf and Cub”, it’s more stuff like that! For ages 18 and over!

POWERS VOL. 11: SECRET IDENTITY SC by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming. Collecting issues #19-24 featuring the adventures of two homicide cops in a world of super-heroes and trademark Bendis patter.

PRIDE OF BAGHDAD SC by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon. Finally in soft-cover for all us cheapskates out here in Comicsville! From the gifted creator of “Ex Machina”, “Y the Last Man”, and “Runaways” this is the story of four lions who escape from the Baghdad Zoo after a 2003 bombing raid. Highly recommended unless you live in San Francisco. (Too soon?)

TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE #1 of 6 by Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl. Pretty much what it says, notable for the vaguely manga look to the art and the scripting being done by the writer of the animated Titans series. Worth a look.

THUNDERBOLTS #118 by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato. Dark Speedball beats up his shrink. Super-heroes are about the wish-fulfillment, kids…

ULTIMATE HUMAN #1 of 4 by Warren Ellis and Cary Nord. Finally a comic book about Chuck Norris! From now on there are no comic shops. There are only Chuck Norris shops! (Actually it’s about Iron Man fighting the Hulk. Don’t tell Chuck.)

UNCANNY X-MEN #494 by Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan. Hockey goalies dream of being padded like this latest X-crossover. Just remember: It’s this comic that helps make “Criminal” possible. (C’mon, you bought all the others….)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Zadzooks on Satchel Paige

A review of James Sturm's new book, among others at "Double Paige narrative looks at baseball, racism," By Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times, December 29, 2007. He also looks at a Daredevil collection and JG Jones' 52 covers.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Persepolis snubbing DC?

Anyone have any idea if we're going to get this? It opened in a lot of the rest of the country on Christmas day, but I've seen nothing about it being in DC.

Bits from the Examiner

Today's paper has The Best of Beeler 2007 in it, 5 cartoons. I don't think I agree w/ the editor's choices, but check it out and see what you think.

Also, Sam and Max was a comic book back in the day, and it was selected as the year's #1 videogame on page 21.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dec 28: Big Planet Vienna CBLDF fundraising party

Randy T sends along this missive

Just a reminder we are closed on Christmas, and will be getting new books on FRIDAY this week because of the holiday. So we’ll be open 11-7 Wed and Thurs, but 11-8 on Friday when the new comics come in.

PLUS: We will also be hosting a special party Friday from 5 to 8 pm for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The Fund is a non-profit that supports the First Amendment and raises money and legal assistance for comic book creators and retailers who are unfairly targeted by people who often think that “comics are just for kids.”

Their website is if you want to read more about some of the outrageous cases they’ve had to fight against.

CBLDF members will get an additional 10% off anything they buy during the party, and the first 50 members will also get a free gift bag with lots of limited stuff, and Big Planet will donate 10% of the proceeds during that time to the fund. (You can also sign up to be a member during the party - a yearly membership is only $25.) Plus, the party will be hosted by former Big Planet Vienna manager, and now CBLDF Fundraising Manager, Elizabeth Schreck!

Have a good break, and see you all later this week!

Jared Smith

Big Planet Comics - Vienna

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zadzooks last minute gift ideas

See "Superheroes on alert to rescue procrastinators," By Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times December 22, 2007

Comics bits in Sunday's Post

The undersung greeting card cartoonist gets a piece in the Jobs section - see
"They Wish You a Merry Christmas Card: Writers and Artists by The Thousands Craft Holiday Greetings," By Vickie Elmer, The Washington Post, Sunday, December 23, 2007; K01

and it turns out there really is something in Cinderella's castle in Disney World. See "At Disney World, a Real Cinderella Story," by Eve Zibart, Washington Post Sunday, December 23, 2007; Page P05

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weingarten on Post's comics shenanigans

In his December 18th Chatalogical Humor chat, Gene Weingarten said,

"Yes, I hate the new Sunday comics squeeze, too. It's bad and I hate it. And I hate that Weekend is losing Tom The Dancing Bug, one of the few remaining strips with a brain.

Hate, hate, hate.

with reader responses of an outpouring of love for Tom the Dancing Bug, and:

Hate, Hate, Hate: Opus has been shrunk to one quarter of its original size. Need reading glasses......

Get down to comics and smack the individual responsible!

Gene Weingarten: They don't listen to me.


Washington, D.C.: Tom the Dancing Bug is going away?! I'd cancel my subscription if I had one. I certainly won't get another subscription now. I had been considering going Friday through Sunday only, but not anymore. What's going in his space? More crap to entertain the dozen kids in the area who don't watch tv nonstop?

Gene Weingarten: I dunno. I am upset.


Bethesda, Md.: Why is Weekend dropping Tom the Dancing Bug? That's the smartest strip around. Can't they move it to Outlook or somewhere else? Should we riot?

Gene Weingarten: I would never personally endorse a riot. In fact, inciting to riot is a crime. So I would never personally endorse RIOTING. But some action is in order short of rioting.


Tom the Dancing available Thursday on -- in color no less.

Gene Weingarten: Noted. Boy, I hate posting this. DON'T READ THE POST, READ SALON!

Friday, December 21, 2007


By John Judy

(NOTE: Friday, not Wednesday, this week for comics. L)

ACTION COMICS #860 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. There’s mad doings in the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes! Recommended for anyone who needs more time-travel continuity to keep up with! From the powerhouse scribe of the JSA!

AL WILLIAMSON READER VOL. 1 SC by Al Williamson. A great collection of stories and art from a comics and fantasy illustration legend. Recommended.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #545 by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada. It’s the final chapter in which Spidey must sell his marriage to the Devil. Note to younger fans: If you see anyone laughing in the comics stores this week it means they are, or have been, married.

AVENGERS INITIATIVE #8 by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli. The first batch of recruits are about to graduate even as a new bunch is coming in. Humor and adventure mix perfectly in what is probably the best series to come out of Marvel’s “Civil War.” Recommended.

BATMAN #672 by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel. There’s a Third Batman out there killing cops! Hmmm, maybe he’s tight with the Third Kryptonian over in the Super-books? Nah, not going there. And who’s the second Batman in all this? Gotta look.

BLACK PANTHER #33 by Reginald Hudlin and Francis Portella. Lotsa great fights on the Skrull Gangsta World in which it becomes apparent that Skrulls have almost no imagination. It’s like a world of Rob Liefelds who can shape-shift…

BRAVE AND BOLD #9 by Mark Waid and George Perez. The Book of Destiny has been opened! Looks like someone’s not waiting for the movie! Recommended for everyone who loves the Silver-Age as much as Waid. Try it, whipper-snappers! It’s good for ya! (Cough, wheeze, hack…)

CAPTAIN AMERICA #33 by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Winter Bucky versus Iron Man! With a final panel we all knew had to come. Good stuff!

CAPTAIN MARVEL #2 of 5 by Brian Reed and Lee Weeks. Okay, I’ll admit it: I am completely stumped at what Marv sees in the old painting. Guest-starring Ms. Marvel and an old painting.

CRIME BIBLE: FIVE LESSONS OF BLOOD #3 of 5 by Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark. “The Lesson of Greed” guest-starring Vice-President Cheney and the Haliburton Gang! Buy every copy, because no one else deserves this comic but you! Recommended.

DAN DARE #2 of 7 by Garth Ennis and Gary Erskin. The pilot of the future is back on the job, Ennis-style! Imagine “War Story” set in space. Recommended.

DAREDEVIL #103 by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. DD actually stands for “Down and Dirty” as Matt Murdock fights his way to Mr. Fear and the cure to his wife’s madness. Recommended.

DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER OMNIBUS COMPANION HC by Frank and Friends. If Miller breathed on it before it hit the newsstands it’s probably in here. From the glory days before Miller went Hollywood/Nuts, back he still recognized the word “No.” Recommended.

GIANT SIZE AVENGERS SPECIAL #1 by Lotsa People. It’s 55 pages, plus re-prints!

GREEN LANTERN #26 by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone. The GL Corps gets a shake-up with the arrival of the Alpha Lanterns. Intriguing….

HELLBLAZER #239 by Andy Diggle and Leonardo Manco. Refugees from Sudan are bearing a package for one known only as “The Laughing Magician.” Wonder who that could be? Leads into a three-parter marking the 20th anniversary of this flagship Vertigo title. Recommended.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #37 by Jim Shooter, Francis Manapul, and John Livesay. Wow, nevermind the story in the book. The real “gotta-look” is Jim Shooter returning to the title he first wrote back in the mid 1960s when he was thirteen years old. Wow.

MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 #3 of 5 by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips. It takes a slugger like Kirkman to make good zombies scare you more than bad zombies. Not for kids but otherwise recommended.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN-AGE HUMAN TORCH VOL. 2 HC by Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Basil Wolverton, and Mickey-friggin-Spillane! Golden-Age epics from 1941-42, collecting HT #5-8. Torch versus Sub-Mariner versus Hitler and…GAH!! Just read it while your brain pops and sizzles to the classic excellence contained herein! Highly recommended!

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL.5 HC by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. Collecting Spidey #41-50, plus Annual #3. This one has the first appearance of future Mrs. Spidey, Mary-Jane Watson. “Face it, Tiger…”

PUNISHER #53 by Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov. Okay, after the last page of the previous issue you know this one’s gonna be savage, out of control mayhem, right? Not for kids, highly recommended.

SATCHEL PAIGE: STRIKING OUT JIM CROW HC and SC by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso. A fictionalized account of the legendary ball-player’s life, from his early days to the peak of his career in the Negro Leagues. Highly recommended, as are all of Mr. Sturm’s other works. A preview is available online at

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: BATMAN TEAM-UPS VOL. 2 SC by Dennis O’Neil, Bob Haney, Neil Adams, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo, and more. Collecting B&B #88-109. Crack cocaine for Silver-Agers. Fun stuff for all ages. Recommended.

STEVE RUDE: ARTIST IN MOTION HC by Steve Rude and John Fleskes. Limited to 1000 copies this book explores the work and philosophy of a master illustrator who still considers himself an “art student.” If you haven’t treated yourself to anything wonderful lately, now is the time. Highly recommended.

THOR #5 by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel. The return of a character who’s been through some changes. If I were Thor I would be having some serious oogies after this issue. Pretty art.

ULTIMATE POWER #9 of 9 by Jeph Loeb and Greg Land. They promise it’s ending this week, hopefully with a big ol’ fight!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #117 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. This is the final battle between Ultimate Spidey and Ultimate Gobby! For now! Honest! I wonder who wins?

X-MEN #206 by Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo. Okay, so now we know the Mutant Killer Jesus Baby is cute and has the super-power to make Cable mute. Also there’s a mutant-eating dog loose who really needs someone to go Old Yelller on him. And could anyone on the X-teams who isn’t a traitor, please raise your hand? Are they only taking the stupid telepaths now?

Plus, PREVIEWS by Diamond and Marvel. The future is now!

AP article on growing acceptibility of comics in Express

The Express has an AP article on comics courses featuring quotes by Carol Tyler.

Richard Thompson's HeroesCon invite

Noted Arlington cartoonist Richard Thompson is among the recently announced guests for Charlotte, NC's HeroesCon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My next project

Earlier this year, I posted this Film & TV Adaptations of Comics list here, and attempted to update it on the fly. That didn't work all that well, so I'm going to self-publish it through later this month. It's all-revised (anyone know anything about Jewel of the Gods, a possible South African comic) and with a new index will be over 130 pages long. It's a listing of basic information for comic strips, comic books, manga/anime, pirated characters, fan films and the like. Details to follow.

Wash Post apparently doesn't get any favorable letters about comics

Or doesn't run them if it does. In "Your Pique Grows While Your Comics Shrink"
Saturday, December 15, 2007; Page A19, the two letters about the comics read:

My family's peaceful, serene ritual of reading the Sunday morning paper together is in jeopardy. You see, it works this way: My wife gets the front page first, I get the Business section first and the two kids split the Sunday comics. Then the sections are exchanged. Everybody is happy.

Now, in one fell swoop, The Post threatens the very tranquility and quality family time that we've come to cherish every weekend. Whose featherbrained idea was it to "combine the two comics sections into one convenient section"? Convenient for whom? Now our Sundays will be filled with bickering, battling and brawls as my wife and I will be relegated to mediating the battle for the single comics section.

-- Eric Fremont

The Post has made a major error by reducing to squint-size the comics we readers have come to love.

I do not exaggerate when I say that I have had to buy a large magnifying glass to figure out what in the world is going on with the many characters I know so well. And before you dismiss this as the grump of an old fogey, consider that my eyesight is 20/20.

-- Wes Pedersen
Chevy Chase

OT: Metropolitan Museum of Art commissions Sorel

Edward Sorel's done an ad for them, "Home is Where the Art Is." The New York Times had a black and white print of it on the 14th and online there's a teeny-tiny version.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Washington Times on Disney DVDs

See "Media Room" Washington Times December 14, 2007 By Kelly Jane Torrance. She discusses the complete Donald Duck shorts dvds as well as Oswald the Rabbit. Did you know that Disney traded an ABC sportscaster for the return of the Oswald rights a few years ago?


By John “Support the WGA!” Judy

Wishing you and yours a Super Saturnalia and a Fine Festivus!

ACTION PHILOSOPHERS VOL.3 GIANT-SIZED THING SC by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlevey. The final trade (for now!) of this great series collecting issues 7-9 for a well-deserved spot on your bookshelf. Funny, informative, and highly recommended.

ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #2 by Joss Whedon, Brian Lynch, and Franco Urru. Okay, Urru’s art isn’t terribly appealing to me but it’s great to see these characters again and the first issue laid the groundwork for an amazing “New Season” of adventures. Recommended for all Whedon addicts and fans of the “Angel” ensemble.

DETECTIVE COMICS # 839 by Paul Dini and Don Kramer. Wrapping up the whole Ras al Ghul resurrection thing. Honest.

EX MACHINA #33 by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris. Mayor Hundred finally meets the Pope and learns how volatile a mix religion and politics can be! (Don’t tell Huckabee, Romney, and the kids. They’re fun to watch.) Always recommended.

GRENDEL: BEHOLD THE DEVIL #2 of 8 written and drawn by Matt Wagner. A bloody return for Wagner’s signature character, an amoral super-human crime-boss/novelist who pretty much can kill anyone who gets in his way. And he does! Thus, the mystery is: “Who is stalking the most dangerous man in the city?” Recommended.

HELLBLAZER: BLOODLINES SC by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Friends. Collecting a number of devilishly good tales from issues 49, 52-55, and 59-61 in which JC gives the First of the Fallen what fer! Among the best runs this series has ever had. Recommended.

IMMORTAL IRON FIST #11 by Ed Brubaker , Matt Fraction, and David Aja. There are intrigues a-plenty as “Capital Cities of Heaven” keeps the action coming on every level. Very enjoyable, great art, no doubt to be one heck of a trade edition. Read it now anyway. Recommended.

INCREDIBLE HULK #112 by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and Khoi Pham. So while they’re figuring out how the new Red Hulk thing is gonna work we get to watch Hercules and the smart Asian kid dance with SHIELD. Has a nice Steranko tribute cover by Arthur Adams.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #16 by Dwayne McDuffie and Joe Benitez. Okay, ya remember that girl-Flash from the Tangent Universe of the nineties? Well, I do, not that I’m proud of it or anything. Anyway, she’s here and it looks like some of the other Tangent kids are along for the ride. Could be worse. Could be those “Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating…” characters. Thanks, Multi-verse!

MIGHTY AVENGERS #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho. Lots of wacky, Ultron-smashing action and the Sentry discovers an ominous new power. Plus, The “Bendis-Thought Balloon” romance continues!

MARVEL MASTERWORKS RAWHIDE KID, VOL. 2 HC by Stan Lee, jack Kirby, and quite a few other impressive folks. Collecting RAWHIDE # 26-35 from the days before the Kid was out of the closet! Fun for all ages!

NEW X-MEN #45 by Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, and Humberto Ramos. Okay, I’ll be honest, I never read this book and have no idea if it’s great or typical X-fare. I mention it only because supposedly we can learn what happened in last week’s X-FACTOR here. And that, Virginia, is why everyone loves big cross-overs! Do as you see fit.

SHE-HULK #24 by Peter David and Shawn Moll. She-Hulk is living in a trailer park with a Skrull. So that’s one accounted for…

SPECIAL FORCES #2 of 6 written and drawn by Kyle Baker. The beautifully drawn second chapter in Baker’s dark satire of our military’s darker policy of recruiting the mentally and emotionally unfit for duty. If Baker had made this up it might be offensive. Sadly, the truth behind the fiction can only leave us grateful that some in the comics community are addressing it. Highly, highly recommended.

SUPERMAN #671 by Kurt Busiek and Peter Vale. Insect Queen is back! What? You want more? It’s Insect Queen!

WALKING DEAD VOL.3 HC by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The deluxe edition collecting issues 25-36. NOT for kids. Kirkman continues some of the most interesting Universe creation that doesn’t involve super-heroes. Recommended for those who like their horror dark and thoughtful.

WOLVERINE FIREBREAK ONE-SHOT by Mike Carey and Scott Kolins with a back-up story by Macon Blair and Vasilis Lolos. Two done–in-one Wolvie shorts, both of which are a lot better than what’s being done in his two regular titles lately. Good reads.

WOLVERINE ORIGINS #20 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. To all the kids out there who worry that having no discernable talent whatsoever may be an impediment to writing comics professionally, Daniel Way provides hope.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tom Toles' favorite Washington space

Actually I really agree with him on this, although I have a lot of favorite spaces. It's the bonsai collection at the Botanic Gardens - see "Conversation Pieces" by Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, December 14, 2007; Page WE25. The Daumier pieces he mentions are actually sculptures in the National Gallery of Art's West building in the ground floor sculpture area.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

South African fine art animator William Kentridge

Kentridge is speaking at the Kennedy Center tonight, right now. So you're missing that. But you can read this article about him in today's Express - Glenn Dixon's "African Elegies: William Kentridge's animated films move into the concert hall," Express (December 13 2007).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

OT: Interesting comic book contest

I got an email today from a Simon & Schuster marketer, asking me to mention her new project here. While I'd like to think I'm not for sale (cheaply), the novelty of the idea appealed to me. Accordingly, here's Leah Wasielewski on the contest:

I’m a marketing manager at Simon & Schuster, and I’m working on an exciting new blockbuster novel by N Y Times bestselling author, Matthew Reilly. Titled The 6 Sacred Stones, this is the sequel to 7 Deadly Wonders. Reilly is redefining the thriller for the 21st century with novels that rival video games and Hollywood blockbusters for pulse-racing, non-stop action.

We have a fantastic contest I’d love to share with you. It’s called our "Create a Comic Book for 6 Sacred Stones Contest"—in it, consumers are invited to create comic books based on chapter 1 of the book (we have a free excerpt online). In order to be eligible to enter, entrants must create a comic book that is no longer than 20 pages.

One Grand Prize will be awarded: Winning comic submission will be included in the mass market edition of 6 Sacred Stones to be published in January 2009.

Here is the full set of rules:

Perhaps some of our DC-area creators will enter - it's probably a good bit of publicity for the winner. I haven't heard of anything like this before, and I think it's showing the growing popularity of comics. I'd be glad to hear from anyone about that they think.

Zippy a tounge-in-cheek Crumb homage?

Today's Zippy was about the joy of tape-dispensing machines - the same subject that Robert and Aline Crumb did a comic on in the New Yorker's putative cartoon issue a few weeks ago. My guess is it was a tip of the Zip to the Crumbs.

American U Prof Wenthe's graphic novel class

Michael got a press release yesterday. I'd take his course if I could.
Source: American University
Released: Mon 10-Dec-2007, 12:50 ET

Graphic Novels Reach Academia

Newswise — Graphic novels, comic books’ grown up counterpart, have gained popular appeal in the last five years thanks to blockbuster Hollywood movies based on graphic novels like 300, Sin City, Ghost Rider and V for Vendetta. Now they have a place in academia. American University literature professor Michael Wenthe has brought the medium to the Department of Literature with a course titled, "The Graphic Novel."

“This definitely is a time when comics in general, and graphic novels as a species of them, have found a lot more general acceptance,” said Wenthe, who also creates comics along with graduate school friend Isaac Cates. “It would not have been nearly as easy to teach such a course 10 years ago, in part because there’s been an explosion of really good material in the last 10 years, but also because the wider public discourse about comics has gotten a lot more nuanced.”

An expert in medieval literature, Wenthe introduces students to the literary characters in graphic novels that find their roots in medieval literature and even the works of Shakespeare. The class has 13 required books including Jimmy Corrigan—the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, a 380-page exploration of the bleak life of a middle-aged man and his family’s 100-year history of withdrawal and loneliness. Also required are Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home, Joe Sacco and Christopher Hitchens’ journalistic Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia, Lynda Barry’s award-winning 100 Demons, and the complex City of Glass, written in part by Paul Karasik, who visited the class.

No longer relegated to the ever-ridiculed comic book store, graphic novels delve deeper into the human experience, rarely feature a superhero and are now popping up with regularity in libraries and book stores. Many graphic novels have even garnered major literary prizes, including the American Book Award. Wenthe is not the only academic teaching the virtues of comic books. Wake Forest University Sociologist Saylor Breckenridge has researched the subject, studying the relationship between comic books and popular culture.

Wenthe was trained in medieval literature at Duke, Harvard, Oxford, and Yale. His primary research interest – aside from graphic novels – involves international literature of King Arthur, and his current book project has the working title Arthurian Outsiders: The Dynamic of Difference in the Matter of Britain.

American University ( is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the U.S. and nearly 150 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

OT: John Lent interview

My friend John Lent was interviewed about the International Journal of Comic Art earlier this year by Steve Black, a librarian at the College of St. Rose. Black's transcribed the interview and put it online.

Nate Beeler featured in Cagle newsletter

As we mentioned, Nate Beeler of the Examiner is now syndicated by Cagle. Today was the second time he was the featured cartoonist in Cagle's email newsletter.

Feb 15: Swann Fellowship in Caricature and Cartoon

Applications for the Swann Fellowship in Caricature and Cartoon are due Feb. 15, 2008. The Swann Foundation makes an annual award of up to $15,000 to support scholarly graduate research in caricature and cartoon. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited M.A. or Ph.D program in a university in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. Access guidelines and application at:
Contact Martha Kennedy with questions at 202/707-9115 or email

Martha H. Kennedy
Assistant Curator, Popular and Applied Graphic Art
Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas decorating with Richard's Poor Almanack

Saturday's Post had another fun 'do-it-yourself' panel by Richard Thompson. So I cut out the Christmas Curmudgeons and decorated my computer at work.(click on picture for larger version and for extra credit, find Michael Kahn lurking in the background)

The panel didn't come with a manger or anything so I had to make my own tree. Richard discussed the genesis of the panel on his blog - read the comments.

I think he should sponsor a contest for the best decorating scheme.

Marvel might have an image problem

Every once in a while, a Washington Times comes to hand and I read the comics and editorial cartoons. Here's one by Combs of Tribune Media Services that struck me today.
Perhaps most people wouldn't notice it, but as you can see the skull on the kid's shirt is clearly the Punisher's emblem.
The average non-comics reader would probably have heard of the two failed movies, the second with John Travolta, but the Punisher's been around since the early 1970s. He's from the time when Dirty Harry was in the theaters and The Destoyer and The Executioner were in men's novels.

I have no idea if this is drawn from life and some mass murderer really wore a Punisher t-shirt, or if the artist just liked the image, or what, but it seems like Marvel might end up with some image problems if cartoons like this one continue.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mike Dirda goes "Snap Ploobadoof" for Don Martin

See his review, "The cartoonist who made Mad magazine truly mad for more than 30 years" By Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page BW11.

(Actually that's the sound of Wonder Woman's bra opening)

Smithsonian curator wrote comics

See "A Local Life: Silvio A. Bedini: Collector and Scholar Pried Loose History's Secret Gems," By Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, December 9, 2007; Page C07. Anyone know any more about these?

NoVA's Luna Brothers interview and Zadzooks

See Luna "Brothers Hone Storytelling Acumen on Sword," by Matthew McLean, December 4, 2007

and today's Zadzook's column is "Paranormal forays in 'Bleach,' 'X-Files' DVDs," By Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times December 8, 2007.


By John Judy

ART OF P. CRAIG RUSSELL HC by Himself. A sweet hardcover exploring Russell’s career from the beginning through today, including the artist’s personal favorites. Makes a great gift! For yourself!

ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #4 by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard Tough week for the reluctant murderer/hero with fur. Recommended.

BAT LASH #1 of 6 by Peter Brandvold, Sergio Aragones, and John Severin. A fresh look at a classic DC Western hero by A-List creators. Gorgeous art by Severin. Recommended even if you’re not into Westerns.

BLACK ADAM THE DARK AGE #5 of 8 by Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke. This gore-soaked epic continues as we see how far an obsessed super-man can go and still consider himself a hero. Not for kids.

BOOSTER GOLD #5 by Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens. The time-travel series that doesn’t suck asks “Can Booster go back and prevent the Joker from shooting Batgirl?” So far this has been a great bunch of comics. Give it a look. Recommended.

BOYS #13 by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. When super-heroes explode, who ya gonna call? Always highly recommended. NEVER for kids.

BPRD: KILLING GROUND #5 of 5 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis. Wrapping things up on this latest Mignola Monster Mystery.

CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD: THE LAST ENEMY GN by Garth Ennis and Rob Steen. Aussie Pope Jacko dispatches his killer eunuch to whack Danny the anti-Christ. How are you possibly not gonna look? NOT for kids, highly recommended.

COUNTDOWN & STUFF by Everyone Who Was Available. #20 plus ARENA, plus RAY PALMER/RED SON, plus THE ATOM. DC sez “Gimme all yer money, punk!”

CRIMINAL VOL. 2: LAWLESS SC by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. If you’re a noir addict this is the week for you as we welcome this second collection of hard-hitting underworld tales from Brubaker/Phillips, as well as the criminally under-read SCALPED #12. (See below.) Highly recommended.


ELEPHANTMEN: WAR TOYS #1 of 3 by Richard Starkings and Moritat. Africa and China are at war, fighting in Europe. Because what goes around comes around. It’s even better when it comes around with huge, genetically-mutated animal soldiers. Gotta look!

FANTASTIC FOUR #552 by Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier. Big fights with Doc Doom, droids, and maybe a Skrull…? They’re out there you know.

GREEN LANTERN #25 by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Ethan Van Sciver. A double-sized issue wrapping up the Sinestro Corps War in style!

HATE ANNUAL #7 written and drawn by Peter Bagge. The latest on Buddy Bradley, plus the first re-printing of Bagge’s “Bat-Boy” strips from the late Weekly World News. There may be more but Fantagraphics’ website sucks almost as much as Avatar’s so I really don’t know.

MODERN MASTERS VOL. 14: FRANK CHO by Eric Nolen-Weathington. A book about a humble guy from Maryland who loves to draw monkeys, dinosaurs, and Lynda Carter. Read it and learn more!

NEW AVENGERS #37 by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu. The Hood gets spanked. That didn’t take long. Skrulls?

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #14 Matt Fraction and Cory Walker. Kraven the Hunter’s kid can punch out the Rhino. If it happens in comics it must be true.

SALVATION RUN #2 of 7 by Bill Willingham and Sean Chen. Imagine the world’s worst super-villains all in one place. Now imagine it’s not the Republican National Convention. Fun stuff from the writer of “Fables.”

SCALPED #12 by Jason Aaron and John Paul Leon. The best comic you’re not reading concludes its first story-arc. So read it already! Highly recommended. Not for kids.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL. 3 SC by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino, and Others. Collecting the original series #37-60. Classic Silver-Age Fun! Great for all ages! Recommended!

STREETS OF GLORY #3 of 6 by Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer. Colonel Dunn takes a posse of mercenaries on a hunt for Red Crow, the Apache terrorist/evil-doer who doesn’t appreciate all the freedom the white man wants to bring him. Not for kids. Recommended.

ULTIMATE IRON MAN II #1 by Orson Scott Card and Pasqual Ferry. Orson Scott Card comics trivia: If three people read this book that’ll be three times more than are reading “Red Prophet.” (Not counting the editor.)

ULTIMATES 2 HC by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. It’s got the whole second year, plus extra stuff. Basically crack in comics form. Lots of violence, some adult situations, not for younger kids.

WALKING DEAD #45 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Who’s gonna die this issue? Flip a coin. Highly recommended, NEVER for kids.

WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY VOL.1 SC by Gail Simon and Neil Googe. Collecting the first six issues of this clever and under-appreciated series about a town where super-heroes go to retire. Or at least try to… Recommended, especially if you like strong female leads.

WOLVERINE #60 by Marc Guggenheim and Howard Chaykin. The art’s kind of pretty.

WONDER WOMAN #15 by Gail Simone and Terry & Rachel Dodson. WW goes Old-School as she thumps Nazis like they oughta be thumped! Plus there’s dire doings on Paradise Island! Recommended!

X-FACTOR #26 by Peter David and Scot Eaton. Still hunting that mutant-killer Jesus-baby. Also, time travel happens. Big X-book cross-overs are the best. Always have been, going back decades especially at high altitudes in a tent full of smoke.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Berryman award named for DC cartoonists goes to Breen

Clifford Berryman, the dean of Washington cartoonists, and his son and fellow cartoonist Jim, are largely forgotten, but there's still a national cartooning award named for them and it's just been award to Steve Breen. See "National award for U-T's Breen," By Michael Stetz, San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER, December 6, 2007.

Bits from the DC papers

In the Onion, we have Rabin, Nathan. 2007. Score one more: Futurama is back, in disappointingly familar form. Onion (December 6).
online at

Dale Rawlings and I have letters on Rob Ullman's dismissal in Savages!
Washington City Paper (December 7, 2007): 11

and finally in the Express, there's a wire story on the resurrection of the stop-motion puppets from Rankin-Bass's animation Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and their triumphant US tour.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

December 8: 'Princess of Manga' Rumiko Takahashi films

The DC Anime Club is showing a marathon of Takahashi films including Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha (the manga of which I'm reading now). Martin Luther King Jr. Library on 9th and G Sts, NW, noon to 5 pm, free.

OT: Nick Thorkelson & Harvey Pekar in NYC

Nick (who did the cover to the Interplanetary J... below) wrote in to say:

CUNY is hosting a promotion Monday night for SDS: A Graphic History, which has a story by me in it, that I will be presenting. Harvey Pekar, who wrote most of the book, will be there too. Here's the link, if you know anybody that might be interested: (and if you want to see the comic I wrote for this, it's online at Http:// ).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wash Post cancels Tom the Dancing Bug UPDATED

Ruben Bolling just sent me this press release:

December 5, 2007

The Washington Post to cancel “Tom the Dancing Bug”

The Washington Post’s Weekend section has decided to drop Ruben Bolling’s weekly comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” as of the end of the year. The Weekend section has a new editor, Tracy Grant, who said that it was canceled for space reasons, and that her staffers did not object.

Ruben Bolling is extremely disappointed: “I feel that the strip has a special relationship with the readers in DC. The Washington Post is one of my earliest clients, and when they took on the comic strip, no other daily newspaper was running it. They took a big chance on me, and I hope that it continues to pay off. I get tons of emails from Post readers, and at my last appearance at a DC bookstore, there was a line out the door.”

However, Bolling said that the decision to drop the strip is not irreversible. “Tracy Grant did say that the cancelation is not written in stone. If she comes to feel that it was a mistake, she would reinstate the comic.”

“Tom the Dancing Bug” is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate to about 50 newspapers, and also appears in See


Boy, how much more can the Post do for (rather to) us this week? Sunday they announced a shrunken Sunday comics section with smaller strips and Wizard of Id dropped, and now this. It makes me reconsider being a subscriber, I must say.

Ms. Grant's contact information should be Again, the Post is attempting to shrink to be interesting, and it's not working - literally half the reason I bother looking at the Weekend section is Tom the Dancing Bug (the other half is the museum review page since they dropped the stamps column years ago. Actually I read Eve Zibart's restaurant reviews too - and I really stopped paying attention to Weekend a year ago when they dropped their independent movie reviews in favor of rehashed Style section ones).

I was talking about this last night - why do newspapers offer their readers less and less and then act surprised when they lose readers? Why not offer more? Say an annual compilation of Cul de Sac Sunday strips in a collectible booklet? Or a full-spread cartoon map of DC? Make the comics section into a collectible comic book (and not reprint 1960s Spider-Man stories like the Examiner and Marvel did)? Or make it bigger and pay a cartoonist to stretch his imagination? Put some manga in the comics - something only available in the Post? Do something that people would like to have and keep and buy the paper for?

Danny Hellman illo from Sunday's Post's Source

He's got a nice, clear style.

INTERPLANETARY JOURNAL OF COMIC ART: A Festschrift in Honor of John Lent repost

INTERPLANETARY JOURNAL OF COMIC ART: A Festschrift in Honor of John Lent is now available.

Editor's note - The first issue of the new InterPlanetary Journal of Comic Art (or IPJOCA as we call it around the virtual office) is now available. We are proud to invite you to the 43rd indispensable academic organ published by JOHN LENT MULTIMEDIA ENTERPRISES. All are personally hand-edited by our founder and publisher JOHN LENT, and we remind you that any suggestions of forced labor or involuntary servitude were completely dismissed in Temple University grad students v. JOHN LENT FAMILY CONGLOMERATE. This issue is slightly late, and we apologize for that. Editor JOHN LENT was traveling widely with stops on Pluto, Venus, Charon, Deimos and Phobos, Antarctica, Cyprus, Monte Carlo and the French Riviera, interviewing aging cartoonists and presenting learned discourses on the history of comic art. LENT's presentation on Pluto, "Which came first? The planet or the dog?" was particularly well-received and will appear in a future issue of IPJOCA. IPJOCA is a proud successor to the Colonial Journal of Comic Art, the Union Journal of Comic Art, the Confederate Journal of Comic Art, and the Imperial Journal of Comic Art, as well as the continuing flagship International Journal of Comic Art.

Actually, IPJOCA is a work of satire and parody, published on the occasion of John's seventieth birthday in 2006, give or take a few months. Since 1960, John has published, taught, and lectured widely on comic art, and since 1999 has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of the academic International Journal of Comic Art. In March of this year, John served on the Pulitzer Prize Nominating Juries in Journalism. John has published over 70 books and 800 articles on comic art, mass communication and Asian studies.

John's colleagues in the comic world have come together to create a tribute book, and to present it to him on April 6th at the Popular Culture Association meeting in Boston. The fully-illustrated book features a front cover by cartoonist Nick Thorkelson, and a back cover by Ralph Steadman as well as 100 pages of witty articles.

To order your copy for $10, go to; to subscribe to the International Journal of Comic Art, go to
and follow the instructions.

Table of Contents

Lent Knows – cover by Nick Thorkelson

Seqart Scholarship across the United Planets: A Brief Survey - Josty Ketew (Randy Duncan)

ICAF Times – comic strip by Roger Sabin & C. Hill

"Domus inferna Sancti Guthlaci": A Rediscovery of the twelfth-century narrative of "The Saint and the Money Pit" - K. A. Laity

ICAF Round-table: 'The Contribution of John Lent' - Rogerius Sabinis

Give It Up For Lent! – cartoons by E.C. Lockett, from ideas by Sabin & Rhode

The Exegesis of John Lent's Exegesis: A Postmodest Explalicinalysis of John Lent's Comicological Scholarship - Dr. Solomon Davidoff

Cartooning on Venus: A Problematic Field - Michael Rhode

Cheroots of the Gods: Ancient Contact with Talking Animals from the Stars - Er'q Vondan Iken (Steve Thompson)

Letters - Fusami Ogi

From the X-JOCA Family Archives - K.A. Laity

Men's Comics are from Mars, Women's Comics are from Venus: A Visual Exploration - M.O.D.O.C.A. (Barbara Postema)

A Dozen True Facts about Fredric Wertham That I Will Only Reveal For John Lent - Bart Beaty

Japanese Comic Art History's Mystery Bearded Figure - Ronarudo Suchuwaato (Ron Stewart)

Battle of the Titans: The Great National Geographic - New Yorker Cartoon Rivalry - Cathy Hunter and Michael Rhode

Out of this World (…and back again…) – autobiographical comix by Craig Fischer

Animated Yoga - Cathy Hunter

News - Fantagraphics Books Searches for Saints - Ana Merino

Obituaries - Therian Blackenshort, Theban political cartoonist - Mark C. Rogers

Faded Star Column - Rad Signal by Weary'in Ellis -Michael Rhode

Book Reviews
Leonardo da Vinci, The da Vinci Codex - Trina Robbins

Purty Pitchers All In A Row: A Review of The Interplanetary Comic Art Bibliographies of JOHN LENT Comprehensive Companion Series - Dr. Solomon Davidoff

Martianorum Mangorum Universalis Historia - Marcus Titus Pellitterius (Marco Pellitteri)

Exhibition and Media Reviews
The McDuck Collection: World's Greatest Collection of Rarities, Duckburg Museum - Michael Rhode

Disney Planet Amusement Facility, the dwarf planet formerly known as Pluto, Sol system - Gene Kannenberg, Jr.

Corrections - Leonard Rifas

Anticipatory Errata - Charles Hatfield

Comic Art Bibliography - New Resources in the Field - Michael Rhode

So Who is JOHN LENT really? - Xu Ying

Contributors' Self-Serving Biographic Blurbs

The Serious Art of Laughter – back cover by Ralph Steadman

Cartoons in Hay-Adams Hotel's Off the Record bar

Last night I had dinner with Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist blog, Post relationship cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker and, oh yeah, Richard Thompson. A good time was had by all, I think and Alan will be posting pictures on his blog (link to the right) at some point. But perhaps of interest to local readers is the cartoons hung in the Off the Record bar in the Hay-Adams hotel on 16th St, NW just off of Lafayette Square. Ed Vallaton's late-1960s caricatures were in a David Levine vein, and were the most numerous. I don't know anything about Vallaton, but the people were recognizable even 30 years later. It was a bit weird seeing a bunch of dead politicians and still recognizing them. Also on display were caricatures by Ron Coddington - these may have been slightly better drawn, albeit in the big-head manner, but I recognized less of them.

A few random pieces were scattered around - two of Richard's color cartoons, dedicated to Art Wood, and what appears to be some pages from Puck or Judge. But of the most interest are 15 color caricatures of presidential candidates and politicians that the bar has rented from Richard. There's John Edwards, Hilary Clinton, George Bush, Karl Rove, Barack Obama, and others, all framed next to each other in a 5 x 3 grid. Very cool. Again, watch Alan's blog.

In this picture from the bar's website, we're looking into the room from about where Richard's cartoons are. The ones directly ahead on either side of the fireplace are Coddington's and they're flanked by Vallaton's.

Gerald Scarfe interviewed; Matt Wuerker linked

The Politico's cartoonist Matt Wuerker pointed me to this last night in a bar. Riz Khan of Al-Jazeera based here in DC interviewed Gerald Scarfe in September. The 17-minute interview is really quite interesting. Check out Matt's cartoons as well - I apologize for not linking to him earlier, but I didn't realize he had a page on the Politico website. Matt appears on Al-Jazeera too, but I haven't found any of those links yet.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Thompson's back on track for Post domination

Richard's got an illo in Tuesday's health section of a racketball match - the first in a couple weeks, I think. So he's back up to appearing three times a week, although Cul De Sac is STILL not in the daily paper.

BTW, I had dinner with him - check the Daily Cartoonist blog.

One of those Benoit ads was in Tuesday's Post... the bottom of the front page of the business section. It shows an elegant couple preparing to hand over the keys to a valet who's dressed as a race car driver.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Nick Anderson on front page of Post recently

I got a bit behind in my newspaper reading and missed the fact that Houston editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson appeared on the front page of the Post lately, and in fact, had more cartoons in the paper than Toles.

Of course that was because one of his animated editorial cartoons asked a question at the Republican debate and the Post repro'd a screen shot - see "Republicans Get Own Mixed Bag of Questions, Sans Snowman" By Jose Antonio Vargas, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, November 29, 2007; A06.

Onion recommends Cul de Sac

See "Strip-Off: Girls & Sports vs. Cul De Sac," posted by: Noel Murray on the Onion's blog December 3, 2007.

Go Richard!
Sling that ink!
Go for 100 papers!
So financially you'll be in the pink!

Shawn Belschwender also out at City Paper

December 30, 2005 City Paper.

The editor confirmed this in a comment under the Rob Ullman post. Shawn's been illustrating News of the Weird for about twenty years now - he was the George Washington University's Hatchet comic strip artist around 1987. I don't know if he does any other cartooning anymore.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ted Benoit ads

This is late, but Capgemini has been having Ted Benoit art in their ads that run in the Post business section; they've also been running far larger in the NY Times biz section. I think there are 5 pieces of illustration alternating - a lumberjack, a moonscape, a racing scene... their website has a pdf press release about the ad campaign with one of the images embedded in it.

Manga for the foodies

Lisa Cherkasky, whose hand is seen most often in the Washington Post's Food section, has turned said hand to looking at manga when she takes a quick look at Kitchen Princess.

OT: Barry Blitt's Fantastic Four parody in NY Times

This is off-topic, but it's an amusing caricature of the self-declared presidential candidates.

Junot Diaz wants to be the Sub-Mariner

In "Imagining the Holidays," Washington Post Sunday, December 2, 2007; Page BW08, the Book World asked Junot Diaz, "IF YOU COULD SPEND A HOLIDAY WEEK AS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER , WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?"

He picked Sub-Mariner, King of Atlantis, a Marvel Comics character. Click on the link to read why.

Post's Source section has list of best comics AND Danny Hellman

See "The A List: Titles That Earned the Top Grade From Our Reviewers This Year," Washington Post Sunday, December 2, 2007; Page N03.

Also, did I mention that Danny Hellman's illustrating the Source's advice column? He had a good one today which I think was the third he'd done. I think I mentioned this already.

Feiffer covers Blume

I noticed in Aladdin's Lamp bookstore, the children's bookstore in Arlington, that Jules Feiffer has done a cover for a Judy Blume book. So I got a shot of the standup and also one of the graphic novel shelf in the bookstore. There was some atypical stuff there including Boyd's Chester the Crab's Comix with Content and a couple of manga Shakespeare books which I bought.

I'm going to call this one a Secret History of Comics as I doubt that most Feiffer collectors know about it.

Wash Post does us another favor - Stop already!

Today's Zits was shrunk so the Post could inform us that it's shrinking the comics section as a favor to us. The following isn't online so I've typed it all (emphasis beyond the title is mine):

To Our Readers:

The Sunday comics will look a little different beginning next week. A new page design will allow us to combine the two comics sections into one convenient section with nearly all of our extensive offering of comics, puzzles and features.

To accommodate the more compact layout, "The Wizard of Id" strip and the "Hints From Heloise" column will no longer appear in the comics section, and the size of several of our larger comics as well as the Samurai Sudoku puzzle will be slightly reduced. Heloise can still be found in the Tuesday Style section, and "The Wizard of Id" appears on daily, including Sunday.

All of the other Sunday comics and features will remain, including the Mini Page, although some will be located on a different page than you're used to. We hope you'll find the combined section easier to navigate. We welcome your feedback. Write: Comics Editor, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071; email or call 202-334-4775.

So, if I'm reading this correctly, for our convenience, they've reduced the section, dropped Wizard of Id, and shrunk the rest. I don't understand why they just couldn't move the puzzles to say... the Magazine Section... and leave the comics, but that's why I'm just a blogger. Also, I don't really understand why editors think that actually offering you less in the paper you pay for will make you more inclined to buy one. Perhaps someone can explain this to me?

What a great week for comics in DC! As with Rob Ullman's situation, I'll be sending a letter to the Post, suggesting that Less is not actually More and that 1984 is well in the past. And it appears that Cul de Sac will not be moving to the Sunday section either, and presumably not appearing during the week.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Clarendon Barnes & Nobles comics specials and manga pictures

The Barnes & Nobles in Clarendon has some remaindered books of interest:

Stan Lee's Amazing Marvel Universe by Roy Thomas, with audio commentary by Stan Lee - $7.98

Superman Sunday Classics 1939-1943 hardcover - $6.98

Misunderestimated and Overunderappreciated - George W. Bush editorial cartoons - $9.98

Pictures of the manga section follow.

OT: DC needs one last Spirit section

From Bob Andelman's Mr. Media list (which is very interesting - Bob interviews cartoonists and other media people weekly). And I've bought all of The Spirit Archives - DC's done a great job with them and the material is first rate as one would expect from Will Eisner.

I don't know if you're a collector of the original printed SPIRIT newspaper sections, but on the chance that you might be, I wanted to ask if you could help with a search I'm conducting for a scan of one specific Spirit Section. I'm currently working on the 24th volume of THE SPIRIT ARCHIVES, which will complete the collection of the published Spirit Sections (it contains all of the sections published in 1952), and for the 8/31/52 episode, "The Last Man on the Planet Moon," I don't have a copy of the original printed section that I can use to reconstruct the color for the book. I have copies of every other section's original color, but on this one all my regular sources have come up empty -- Bill Blackbeard, Denis Kitchen, Diamond and OSU are all missing this one section, and Heritage Auctions and eBay have also came up dry. So I'm writing to see if you might have a copy of this original printed section in your collection which you'd be willing to make color xeroxes or color scans (even a relatively low-resolution scan of 150 dpi is good enough to get the color info from) of the four pages for me to use, and, if not, if you know of any other collectors who might have the section whose contact info you could pass on to me. Please let me know.

Scott Nybakken

Zadzooks mostly on toys this week.

See "G.I. Joe American Hero teams up three new sets," by Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times December 1, 2007.


(Happy Hanukkah!)
By John Judy

(Support striking WGA members! Bring ‘em dreidels!)

AVENGERS INITIATIVE ANNUAL #1 by Dan Slott and Chris Weston. Secrets revealed and the new Liberty Legion makes its first (and last?) appearance. Dan Slott: Always Recommended.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN:SAGA OF THE SUPER-SONS SC by Bob Haney, Murphy Anderson, Dick Dillon, and Others. For fans of a certain age this complete collection of the adventures of Clark and Bruce Juniors is a Must-Have. Check it out, whipper-snappers!

BLACK SUMMER #4 of 7 by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp. Last issue Tom Noir got shot by a tank. In the aftermath of a presidential assassination, who’s next?

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Georges Jeanty. Wrapping up the “Faith” story-arc with appropriate fisticuffs. Highly recommended.

COUNTDOWN: ARENA #1 of 4 by Keith Champagne and Scott McDaniel. Big Bad Monarch has the heroes of 52 universes fighting each other. I’m guessing at some point they figure out “Hey, there’s 52 universes of us and one of him.” Too easy?

THE ESCAPISTS HC by Brian K. Vaughan and Various Artists. The story of how three guys end up with the publishing rights to The Escapist and what ensues. From the universe of Michael Chabon’s “Kavalier and Clay.” Crack cocaine for geeks.

HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS #2 of 5 by Christos Gage and Mike Perkins. A fun little diversion into an alternate universe that kinda got wiped out over a year ago.

INFINITE HORIZON #1 of 6 by Gerry Dugan and Phil Noto. It’s the Odyssey set in the Middle East today, the story of a soldier trying to get back home. Gutsy stuff.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #15 by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes. Last round of the JLA versus the Injustice League. And isn’t “Injustice League” right up there with “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” and “Masters of Evil” in terms of true self-knowledge and acceptance? Royal Flush Gang, call your office.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #11 by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, and Dale Eaglesham. It’s the “Kingdom Come” Supes and the cosmic treadmill. It’s like the KC sequel never even happened! Recommended for that alone.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 9 HC by Stan Lee, John Romita, John Buscema, and Jim Mooney. Collecting the original AMAZING issues #78-87. “Thwip!”

MS. MARVEL #22 by Brian Reed and Aaron Lopresti. Carol Danvers’ old costumes on parade! Also she fights the Brood, which I guess every hero is required to do if they finish their assignment early.

NORTHLANDERS #1 by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice. In which a callow Viking learns how hard it can be to go home again, circa 1000 A.D. This one’s getting a lot of good buzz, but is NOT for the young ‘uns. Certainly worth a read for the elders.

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #3 of 10 by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple. A David Lynch-y take on Steve Gerber’s cult hero from the seventies. Not for everyone but worth a look if you like your heroes a little different.

OVERMAN #1 of 5 by Scott Reed and Shane White. Hard sci-fi noir set in the art-deco Pittsburgh of 2135. Gotta be a step up, right?

POPEYE VOL. 2 WELL BLOW ME DOWN HC by E.C. Segar. The early stuff from 1930-32, including the first appearance of J. Wellington Wimpy, collected here by the good folks at Fantagraphics who are really quite wonderful at this. Recommended.

SIGNAL TO NOISE 2nd EDITION HC by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The classic graphic novel re-issued for you lucky punks who missed the early nineties. Lots of extras in this one, worth it even if you already have a copy. Recommended.

THE TWELVE #0 by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston. A seriously fun revival of some long-forgotten Golden-Age heroes from the days when Marvel was Timely and Stan Lee was still an office gopher. Chris Weston has a real talent for stuff like this, as he demonstrated a few years back on the JSA/ALL-STAR mini-series over at DC. Looks like this could be a real winner. Also contains three stories which I’m betting haven’t been reprinted anywhere until now. Recommended.

ULTIMATES 3 #1 of 5 by Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira. Season Three begins with a murder at Avengers..I mean, “Ultimates” Mansion. How ‘bout dem apples, mister?

UNCANNY X-MEN #493 by Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan. “Baby, baby, who’s got the Mutant-Killer-Jesus-Baby???” Part Whatever of Whatever.

WHAT IF? CLASSIC VOL.4 SC by Everyone. Original series #21-26. In-sane….

WONDER WOMAN SERIES 1 ACTION FIGURES including Agent Diana Prince, Circe, Donna Troy as Wonder Woman, and WW herself. Designed by Terry Dodson.

WORLD WAR HULK: AFTER-SMASH #1 by Greg Pak and Rafa Sandoval. Cute title. For the WWH completists out there. Also features the first appearance of the new Goliath. So there’s that….

Friday, November 30, 2007

Comics, comics everywhere

click on the image for a larger, readable view.

I was with my daughter's 4th grade trip to Jamestown today and saw the accompanying editorial cartoon on display in the museum. It's the original for "How Jamestown Was Saved For Posterity" by Fred O. Seibel, Richmond Times-Dispatch May 13, 1938. I don't know Seibel's work, but it's certainly competent enough and it was nice to see the art prominently displayed.

We'll flag this one with a SHoC label as I imagine Seibel's mostly forgotten.

Toles smacks Post 's Obama coverage

See "'Wash Post' Cartoonist Mocks Own Paper Over Obama Story," By Greg Mitchell, with Dave Astor, E and P Online November 30, 2007.

This was actually useful as I had no idea what today's cartoon referred to before reading this. However, it's worth noting that last week's Doonesbury strips referred to the same issue, and might be useful to look at for anyone interested in this issue.

Ullman dropped by City Paper - time to write in! UPDATED

Rob Ullman's posted on The Comics Journal message board and on his own blog that he's been dropped from illustrating the Washington City Paper's Savage Love column. Rob's cute drawings are one of the best things about the City Paper and I encourage you all to write to them. All of these illustrations are from recent issues of the CP - great, aren't they?

The following is the letter I sent to them at earlier this evening:

I am very sorry to hear about the decision to stop using Rob Ullman to illustrate the Savage Love column. Ullman's illustrations are a large reason that I pick up the City Paper and recommend it on my blog about comics in Washington. Combined with the much smaller size of the remaining columns, this gives me much less reason to read the Paper or to recommend it to people. I hope you will reconsider this decision promptly and return Rob's illustrations - they make a column that can be a bit over the top much more amusing.

The managing editor has written in with a comment below, and suggests you write your own letter to have more of an impact so please follow his advice. Hopefully Rob will be back with no interruption and we can raise a glass in thanks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Schulz bio cartoon in The Onion

"Kelly" (aka Ward Sutton) has a cartoon in the Onion on the stands now, "Happiness is a warm dose of truth (at last)" about the Michaelis biography of Schulz. Couldn't find it online though... I'll describe it. People are throwing copies of Peanuts books in the trash can while Charlie Brown says "Suddenly I don't feel like such a LOSER after all," while holding up a newspaper headlined, "New Schulz Bio exposes cartoonist to be a lonely, pathetic philanderer" while 'Kelly' says, "Mr. Success, the original blockhead," in the lower right corner.

Secret History of Comics with Richard Thompson's mother

Seriously. Richard's mother Anne Hall Whitt wrote an autobiographical book The Suitcases, a moving story about being orphaned with her two sisters during the Depression. I read it over Thanksgiving weekend, and found it very touching. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say it all appears to have worked out well in the end, but it was pretty harrowing getting there. It was a good book to read around Thanksgiving since she gave you something to think and be thankful about. Copies of the book can be found on Amazon and other book sites. Oh, and it's illustrated by Richard, but in a non-cartoony art style that you wouldn't recognize.

Actually, this might make a good graphic novel, Richard...

Gurewitch and Perry Bible Fellowship in Express

See "Fellowship of Absurdity: Nicholas Gurewitch releases a new volume of comic strip-oddities [online title - Fellowship of Absurdity: Artist Nicholas Gurewitch]." by Scott Rosenberg, Express (November 29, 2007)

Gurewitch will be appearing at Atomic Pop in Baltimore tonight. If anyone goes to this, I'd like a signed copy of the book and will reimburse you. Late notice, I know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OT: New Yorker cartoon issue out and going...

The November 26th issue turned out to be the Cartoon Issue which gets earlier every year. I just got the first December issue in the mail, so if you want the Cartoon one, better go to a newsstand soon. It's got a nice Bruce McCall cover gag on recycling, Gahan Wilson, and "how do you get your ideas" cartoons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Secret History of Comics courtesy of Warren Bernard UPDATED

Here's two pieces in three images from Warren's collection that deal with forgotten works by famous cartoonists.

Percy Crosby for the January 1924 Telephone News from the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania

A Bill Mauldin booklet.

The Mauldin booklet should be reproduced in one of the new Fantagraphics books, courtesy of Warren.

Randy T finds more local creators and their websites

Randy T's found more local creators and their websites for us somehow (I have no idea how he did this) but cautions: Please note though that this was based on information available some time ago and creators do tend to lead a nomadic life, so some of these folks might not still be in the area!

Anthony Flamini (Writer for Marvel Comics)

Sara Grace McCandless (Writer for Dark Horse)


Katie Bair (Writer/Penciller/Inker for Antarctic Press)

Pat Carlucci (Penciller for Angel, Entity Comics)

Frank Cho (Writer/Penciller for Marvel, Image, Small Press Expo, Caliber, Insight Studios, Dark Horse, DC, AAA Pop Comics, America's Best Comics, Exhibit A Press, NBM, Dynamite Entertainment)

Brian Clopper (Writer/Penciller for Alternative Comics, Small Press Expo, Caliber, Fantagraphics, Amazing Heroes Publishing, Slave Labor)

Michael DeVito (Colorist for Arcana Studios)

Scott Edelman (Writer/Penciller for Marvel, Charlton, DC)

Lurene Haines
(Writer/Penciller for Marvel, Malibu, DC, Caliber, Fantagraphics, Literacy Voluteers of Chicago)

Mike Imboden (Writer for Digital Webbing Presents)

Alfred T. Kamajian (Penciller for DC)

Sunny Lee (Penciller for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, AiT/Planet Lar)

Jamie Noguchi
(Colorist for Marvel)

Saul D. Orihuela (Colorist for Marvel, Image, DC, King Syndicates, Hasbro)

John Harris Staton (Writer/Penciller for Alternative Comics, Insight Studios Group, Fantaco)

Jim Warden
(Writer for Marvel)

John Watkins-Chow (Writer/Penciller for Blink Comics, Lightning Comics)

Lawrence Watt-Evans (Writer for Marvel, Palliard Press, TeknoComix, DC)


Marty Baumann (Writer/Penciller for Day One Comics, Image, Cartoon Books)

David Bovey (Penciller for Labyrinth)

Jerry Carr (Penciller for NBM)

Steve Conley (Writer/Penciller for Image, IDW, Day One Comics, Bardic Press, Small Press Expo, Peregrine, Funk-o-Tron)
(Boy, Astounding Space Thrills was a great comic - bring it back, Steve!)

Otis Frampton (Writer/Penciller for Viper Comics)

John Gallagher (Writer/Penciller/Inker for Dark Horse, Eternity (Malibu), Sky Dog Press, Small Press Expo, Peregrine)

Khalid "Iszy" Iszard (Penciller for NBM)

Mal P. Jones (Writer/Inker for AiT/Planet Lar, Speakeasy)

Laurie J. Kronenberg (Colorist for Marvel, DC, CrossGen)

Jonathan Luna (Writer/Penciller for Marvel, Image, Desperado)

Josh Luna (Writer for Image)

Nathan MacDicken (Penciller for Jitterbug Press, Small Press Expo)

Shawn Martinbrough (Writer/Penciller/Inker for Marvel, DC, Comico, Dark Horse)

Ken Meyer, Jr.
(Writer/Penciller/Inker for Marvel, Entity Comics, Caliber, DC, Amazing Heroes Publishing, Avatar, Comic-Con Int'l, Megaton, Visual Anarchy (CFD), Fantagraphics, Image, Desperado)

Pop Mhan (Writer/Penciller/Inker for Marvel, Maximum Press, DC, Image, Dark Horse, TokyoPop)

David Napoliello (Writer/Penciller for Peregrine, Small Press Expo, Exiled Studio)

George T. Singley (Writer for Image, Speakeasy)

A Charlie Brown Christmas reflections in Times

See "An enduring Christmas gift," by J.T. Young, Washington Times November 27, 2007. The family's watching it right now, of course.

Futurama bits in today's papers

Both free papers ran articles on the direct to dvd return of Futurama. Scott Rosenberg wrote one for the Express - see "Back to the Drawing Board: 'Futurama'." The one in the Examiner was an AP story. The Express also ran a little feature on A Charlie Brown Christmas which is on in seven minutes.

Bruce Guthrie on Mid-Ohio Con

Hellboy, photo by Bruce Guthrie

Guest columnist Bruce Guthrie has written a report on Mid-Ohio Con:

I attended the Mid-Ohio-Con in Columbus, Ohio last weekend. I used to go to the show a decade or more ago when it was in Mansfield, Ohio and I hadn't been back since then but they still send me postcards.

If you've never done the Mid-Ohio-Con, it's a nice little show. It doesn't have that many special guests but it's low-key enough that you can actually talk to them.

This year, one of the guests of honor was to be Margot Kidder, who had played Lois Lane in the Superman movies, and that sounded pretty cool given what I had heard about her bi-polar issues. Other people I was looking forward to were Sergio Aragones (Groo, MAD Magazine), Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean), Noel Neill (the original "Lois Lane"), Mark Goddard (from "Lost In Space"), Dave Dorman, Mark Evanier, and Steve Rude.
Tom Batiuk of Funky Winkerbean, photo by Bruce Guthrie

There was no appearance by local boy Jeff Smith ("Bone") but I did get lost in his neighborhood one night...

As far the convention itself was concerned, they thought their headliners were Doug Jones (who played Silver Surfer in the most recent Fantastic Four movie), Arthur Suydam, Rich Buckler, Gary Friedrich, Michael Golden, Arvell Jones, Tony Isabella, Keith Pollard, Roger Stern, Herb Trimpe, and Rob Wilson.

Well, long story short, Margot Kidder didn't make it. They said she was working that weekend up in Canada. Anyway...

The two-day ticket to the show was all of $15. Columbus is pretty quiet over Thanksgiving so I got a Motel 6 room for about $35/night. I was willing to walk a couple of blocks for parking -- parking on Saturday cost me $2 and parking on Sunday was free. And gas at the local Costco was $2.78.9. Okay, so I'm cheap. Deal with it.

All right, so back to the show. It featured two program tracks -- 10 sessions on Friday and 8 on Saturday. Being photo-obsessive, I hopped around to most of the sessions. (Pictures from the weekend are on my web site at ) [editor's note - 6 pages of them!]

Sergio Aragones, photo by Bruce Guthrie

Over a quarter of the sessions involved Mark Evanier. He handled a birthday interview with Noel Neill, a panel discussing reprinting all of the comic strips from Pogo (Carolyn Kelly -- Walt Kelly's daughter -- was there for that), a Groo panel (with Sergio Aragones), an interview with Steve Rude, and a roast for Maggie Thompson (editor of the Comics Buyer's Guide). He's working on a biography of Jack Kirby who Evanier had served as an assistant to. You check out his Wikipedia entry and he's written for a number of television series -- including the third Bob Newhart series "Bob" and a variety of, well, kind of crappy cartoons. He's got Emmy nominations for that but he's on strike now along with the other TV writers. This is one interesting guy! He's got a wonderful, dry sense of humor and an amazing memory.

I ended up chatting with quite a few of the people including Mark,Sergio Aragones, Steve Rude, Noel Neill, etc. If you've never met Sergio before, do so! He's got a sparkling personality. And he draws so quickly and with such detail -- truly a marvel to watch.

One conversation was with Craig Boldman who was manning a booth for the National Cartoonists Society (Great Lakes Chapter) and the OSU Cartoon Research Library. In that capacity, he had been involved with the 2007 Festival of Cartoon Arts which our own Mike Rhode had attended just last month. A friendly guy, Craig's someone who likes to know everyone's name and home city when he talks to you. I told him I was from Silver Spring and he said Kim DeMulder was from around there too (Bethesda). He also told me there was an artist at the show who was from around me. It turned out she was from Harpers Ferry. Well, no, not *that* near me...
Craig Boldman of NCS, photo by Bruce Guthrie

Some of the panels were better than others. The most popular ones -- "Horror you? Fine by me!", "Superhero Trivia Challenge", and "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" -- were the least appealing to me. Most of the remaining panels were half-filled at best. I think all of Mark's fit into this category. This isn't a criticism of Mark.
Realistically, he represents the old guard in comic-dom -- Wikipedia mentions he's "the documented administrator for the official Walt Kelly Pogo site" -- and at San Diego, he often chaired sessions for golden age comic book folks. I asked him if he liked newer comics and he said, except for the ones he writes, he doesn't read them at all anymore. I asked if that was because he was stuck on the comics he grew up on. He said that might be part of it but he said most of the comic books these days have lost their emphasis on storylines. He also says they're too hard for most people to pick up anymore since they're usually confined to specialty shops. I'm a little younger than he is but I agree with him -- all of his panels were of interest to me.

There was a panel with three science fiction-related performers -- Mark Goddard (Major Don West in "Lost In Space"), Sarah Douglas ("Ursa" in Superman II), and Scott L. Schwartz ("bad guy" in a variety of shows -- even his web site promotes him as the ultimate bad guy -- including Bruiser on the three Oceans Eleven films). Mark and Sarah commented a lot about why you should pay them for their autographs because they don't make residuals for
their shows. Well, sorry folks, but you're not making buckets of money in part because you're mostly doing bit parts, often in shows that weren't that great in the first place. Personally, I used to watch "Lost In Space" as a kid but, unlike "Andy Griffith", "Gunsmoke", and "Combat", I don't think the show holds up very well and I have zero interest in watching the episodes again.

Sarah Douglas talked about working with Marlon Brando and how he never remembered lines. They'd put his scripts within eye shot using teleprompters and text stuck on fence posts, foreheads, etc. She said for "Last Tango," his lines were written on the naked body of the actress he was making love to. I know George Clooney is similar -- doesn't remember lines -- and Noel mentioned that the Perry White actor usually had the lines written on the papers he was always shuffling on his desk.

Bruce with Sergio Aragones

Anyway, that's about it. I enjoyed the show. I don't know what the attendance was -- after San Diego, everything is small. There were a higher percentage of people in costume than I'm used to seeing at the Baltimore and San Diego cons. I can't say much about the dealer room since I don't shop for comic books anymore -- they looked pretty busy so I guess things were good in that department.