Saturday, January 31, 2009

Whoops, I'm probably not buying all of Cinebooks titles this year

More PR over the e-transom based on previous posts. Cinebook publishes good stuff and is worth checking out...

Cinebook to publish 8 new series, 46 titles by Mediatoon in English in 2009

Canterbury, Kent, 26 January, 2009 – For many English-speaking readers, knowledge of European comic books is limited to the popular characters Tintin and Asterix.

Since the end of 2005, Cinebook has worked to become the premier publisher of the Franco-Belgian Ninth Art in English in markets dominated by American superhero comics and Japanese manga.

Olivier Cadic, editor and creator of the publishing house based in Canterbury, England and in Northern California, has announced that it will further develop the Cinebook catalogue in 2009 with the addition of eight new series: “Billy and Buddy,” “Buck Danny,” “The Chimpanzee Complex,” “Insiders,” “The Bellybuttons,” “Orbital,” “Pandora’s Box” and “Spirou & Fantasio.”

They join the series “Lucky Luke,” “Iznogoud,” “Blake & Mortimer,” “Thorgal,” “Largo Winch,” “Aldebaran,” “Alpha,” “IR$,” “Lady S,” “Scorpion,” “Biggles,” “Cedric,” “Clifton,” “Ducoboo,” “Melusine,” “Papyrus,” “The Bluecoats,” “Yakari” and “Yoko Tsuno,” already being published by Cinebook.

All of the series, 46 Dargaud-Dupuis-Lombard titles and one Casterman title, will be published in new English editions in 2009 by Cinebook.

“We’re investing to introduce to the Anglo-Saxon world the numerous European talents of the Ninth Art,” declares Cadic. In 2008, almost half of Cinebook’s album sales were in Europe (46%) and one-third in North America (31%). Cinebook, which is present throughout the world, also sells in the South Sea Islands (10%), Asia (10%) and Africa/the Middle East (3%).

The foreign rights of publishers Dargaud-Dupuis-Lombard are marketed by Mediatoon Distribution. At the beginning of January 2009, Mediatoon and Cinebook signed a new five-year contract for each of the 27 anticipated series, providing for publication of one to six albums per year by series.

For Sophie Castille, director of Mediatoon’s Foreign rights, this agreement constitutes the most important partnership between a publisher of Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées (BD) and an English-language publisher: “In three years, Cinebook has emerged as the premier worldwide publisher of Franco-Belgian BD in the English language. Mediatoon is delighted to be associated with the emergence of a big, new international name in BD.”

These and other Cinebook titles are distributed:

In North America, by National Book Network Distribution, Inc. (NBN),

In Europe (except France & Benelux), by Turnaround Publisher Services,

PR for new book on X-Men in the movies

This came over the e-transom today, presumably due to that bibliography of comics and film that I'm selling over there on the right.


Are you a fan of the X-Men storylines that led to the blockbuster movie trilogy?

Mutant Cinema: The X-Men Trilogy from Comics to Screen examines the history of X-Men comics and how they were adapted and changed for the screen. The book is written by Thomas J. McLean (Variety, Newsarama), a life-long X-Men fan as well as a Hollywood insider.

Published by Sequart Research & Literacy Organization, Mutant Cinema is now available exclusively from Diamond Comic Distributors and the Previews catalog (order code FEB094600). Also, it sports a cover by award-winning artist Kevin Colden (Fishtown).

The book is the definitive unauthorized study of the popular movie saga, including:
• The history of X-Men comic books;
• Detailed scene-by-scene examinations of each film and the comic book stories that infuse every aspect of the movies;
• The development process for each film, including behind-the-scenes stories, interviews with the screenwriters, and details on omitted scenes and storylines;
• Previous adaptations, including early cartoon appearances, the successful 1990s animated series, and initial attempts to bring the mutants to the big screen;
• Critical and fan receptions of each film, plus box-office performances; and
• What the future may hold for the franchise.

"The films gave Tom a great reason to examine some of Marvel's best-known comics," says editor Mike Phillips. "He didn't disappoint. Almost every scene in the trilogy was spawned by some classic storyline, and Tom brings all of those connections to light."

Not only is Mutant Cinema (softcover, 6x9 in, 320 pgs, B&W) accessible to comics and movie fans alike, it's the essential guide to the films for both die-hard fans and newcomers.

Again, the book is available only through Diamond Comic Distributors and the Previews catalog (order code FEB094600). Any comic book store can order one for you, but don't assume that your store will order a copy unless you ask.

Note: The author is available for interviews. If you're interested, please reply to this email.

Legal Disclaimer: X-Men and related characters are trademarks of Marvel Comics. This book is not endorsed by either Marvel Comics or 20th Century Fox.

About the Publisher: Sequart Research & Literacy Organization is a non-profit devoted to the study and promotion of comic books as a legitimate art.

OT: Superheroes Around the World Survey

To help further humanities research, I note that on the comix-scholars list there was... (the following is quoting Dr. Reinhard) discussion a couple weeks ago about the influence of American superheroes in different countries -- and to investigate how much anime/manga characters are seen as superheroes -- I created this survey in my spare time:

The goal of the survey is for people from around the world to tell us what they think a superhero is and what superheroes mean to them.

I would love your help in both filling out the questionnaire as well as distributing it far and wide to get as many different people from a range of different countries to take it. Please feel free to post the link anywhere you like, and refer any questions to me at my professional email address of

CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, PhD
Virtual Worlds Research
Roskilde University
Department of Communication, Business, and Information Technologies
Building 43.3
Kommunikationsvej 1
DK-4000 Roskilde

Comic Art Indigene exhibit coming to Washington

Curator Tony Chavarria sent me a note yesterday regarding the Comic Art Indigene exhibit that had been out west:

During its production, we had interest in the show as a traveling exhibition so we designed it to serve in that function. Its first stop will be at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC this March. The opening will be on March 6th and unfortunately that is all the information I have at the moment. Regrettably there is no information on NMAI's website either although this should change as the date comes closer.

When I have more details I will send them on and hope you might have a chance to see the exhibition.

So, this is the first comics exhibit for 2009 that I know of (Herblock should be at LoC later in the year) - I'll be sure to check it out. If anyone wants to do a group visit, chime in on the comments.

Harvey Pekar Opera is tonight

NPR has a good story about it too.

Leave Me Alone!, a Jazz Opera by Harvey Pekar and Dan Plonsey, to Premiere at the Oberlin Conservatory Of Music and via Webcast on Jan. 31, 2009

American Splendor Icon Pekar Focuses His Sardonic Wit on the Everyday Struggles of Avant-Garde Artists, with Music from Cleveland-born Composer and Saxophonist Plonsey

OBERLIN, OHIO (December 10, 2008) —The iconic underground comic book author Harvey Pekar will make his operatic debut at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Leave Me Alone!, an autobiographical jazz opera. A collaboration by two Cleveland natives, the opera combines a libretto by Pekar with music by saxophonist and composer Dan Plonsey. Leave Me Alone! depicts the lives of its creators in quotidian detail while asking big questions about the place of cutting-edge art in our society. Amidst the demands and interruptions of day-to-day life, Pekar and Plonsey wonder, how can artists carve out time for their creative work? More importantly, they ask, how do we cultivate a society that is receptive to the avant-garde? The opera, which is presented by Oberlin in cooperation with Real Time Opera, will receive its world premiere in a free performance on Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel. The performance will also be streamed live to an international audience online at

Finney Chapel is located at 90 N. Professor Street in Oberlin, Ohio, just 40 minutes southwest of Cleveland.

"There ought to be a place for cutting edge work," says Pekar, who believes that many major cultural institutions have shirked their responsibility to support contemporary art and challenge audiences. "I thought there wasn't much out there being said about this, and I wanted to open up some discussion."

Called "the blue-collar Mark Twain" by Variety, Pekar is best known for his autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, in which he elevated the mostly mundane details of his life as a working-class Clevelander to the level of art. The series won the American Book Award and a film adaptation took top honors at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. Composer Plonsey, who was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, has been a lifelong proponent of new music, and has founded several new music series in and around his current home in El Cerrito, California.

"The opera, simply put, is the non-fictional account of its own creation," says Plonsey. In the story, Pekar and Plonsey engage in discussions about music, the state of the avant-garde, and the creation of the opera itself from their Cleveland and San Francisco Bay Area living rooms. A taped conversation between Pekar and comics illustrator Robert Crumb provides an additional perspective on the opera's themes. The wives of Plonsey and Pekar, Mantra Ben-ya'akova Plonsey and Joyce Brabner (who portray themselves in the production), enter the plot, as does Josh Smith, the opera's music director. Oberlin Conservatory students will also be involved in the production; four singers will double the protagonists on stage and an ensemble of six jazz musicians will back them in the pit, playing alongside Plonsey and Smith.

Plonsey and Pekar are deeply committed to the notion that art transcends distinctions of class and hence ought to be available to all. Accordingly, both the live performance and the webcast of the opera will be offered free of charge. Those wishing to support the production may do so by purchasing a comic about the opera, written by Pekar and illustrated by Joseph Remnant, at The comic is available as a signed, limited-edition print ($300) or digital download ($5). Visitors may also purchase a cell-phone ring tone featuring Harvey's inimitable voice ($5) on the site.

Performers and Production Team
Several of the performers in the opera will play themselves, including Dan Plonsey, Harvey Pekar, Mantra Ben-ya'akova Plonsey, and Joyce Brabner. Oberlin Conservatory and College singers Patty Stubel '09, Kate Rosen '11, Joanna Lemle '10, and Christopher Rice '10 will double the characters on stage; students, including dummer Noah Hecht '10, trombonist Aaron Salituro '11, saxophonist David Schwartz '12, and trumpeter Gregory Zilboorg '13, will also play in the band.

The production team includes Paul Schick, executive producer for Real Time Opera; Josh Smith, musical director; Associate Professor of Opera Jonathon Field, stage director; Robert Katkowski, set designer; Barry Steele, lighting designer; Victoria Vaughan, stage manager; and Dan Michalak, musical preparation. The webcast will be produced with help from Oberlin professional staff and students, including Associate Dean of Technology and Facilities Michael Lynn, Director of Audio Services Paul Eachus, Director of Networking Barron Hulver, and Technology Consultant Todd Brown.

About the Librettist: Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for his autobiographical comic book series American Splendor. Pekar began self-publishing the series in 1976, at the urging of friend and noted illustrator Robert Crumb. Unique among comic books of the time, Pekar's stories documented the minutiae of his daily life: working as a file clerk in the VA hospital, grocery shopping, or simply searching for a lost set of keys. In 1987, Pekar was honored with the American Book Award for his work on the series, and in 2003 American Splendor was adapted as a movie to widespread critical acclaim. An avid record collector, Pekar began his writing career as a book and music critic, with a particular interest in jazz. His reviews have been published in the Boston Herald, the Austin Chronicle, Jazz Times, Urban Dialect (Cleveland), and Down Beat magazine. Pekar's commentary for public radio station WKSU, starting in 1999, won him several journalism awards, including the 2001 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing. Pekar was a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman in the late 1980s; his infamous on-air criticism of General Electric got him temporarily banned from the show, although he did make two more appearances in the early 1990s. In 2001, Pekar retired from his job as a file clerk at the local VA Hospital. He lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife Joyce and their foster daughter Danielle.

About the Composer: Dan Plonsey
Saxophonist and composer Dan Plonsey was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Drawing inspiration from musicians as diverse as Sun Ra and Charles Ives, Plonsey's music defies easy categorization. "No doubt," writes All About Jazz, "Plonsey is a creative soul who possesses a Renaissance spirit." In recent years Plonsey's instrumental work has focused on large ensembles of mixed instrumentation and ensembles of multiple saxophones. His more than 200 works for large and small ensembles include commissions from Bang on a Can, the Berkeley Symphony, and New Music Works in Santa Cruz. He has written numerous operas, including three collaborations with Paul Schick of Real Time Opera. From 1994-99, he was the resident composer and chief librettist for Disaster Opera Theater in El Cerrito, California, where he currently lives. He also founded the weekly Beanbender's creative music concert series in Berkeley, which is ongoing on an occasional basis. Plonsey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and music from Yale University and a Master of Arts degree in composition from Mills College. He has studied composition with Martin Bresnick, David Lewin, Anthony Braxton, and, more briefly, Roscoe Mitchell and Terry Riley. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Mantra and their two sons, Cleveland and Mischa.

About the Director: Jonathon Field
Jonathon Field is one of America's more versatile and popular stage directors, having directed more than 100 productions in all four corners of the United States. He served as artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland for six seasons, where he presented the operas of Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti as well as the Ohio premieres of works by John Adams, Mark Adamo, and Philip Glass. Several of Field's productions for the Lyric Opera of Chicago were so successful they were repeated at the Illinois Humanities Festival with Stephen Sondheim as keynote speaker. His productions for San Francisco Opera's Western Opera Theatre and Seattle Opera have played in more than 20 states. Over the past eight years Field has directed 10 productions with the Arizona Opera, being deemed by the press "their most perceptive stage director." In February 2007, Field directed—at Oberlin and at Miller Theatre in New York City—the critically acclaimed U.S. premiere of Lost Highway, a dramatic music theater work by noted Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth based on the David Lynch film. This is Field's 11th season as director of Oberlin Opera Theater.

About Real Time Opera: Artistic Director Paul Schick
Under the artistic direction of Paul Schick, Real Time Opera (RTO) has presented world premieres of new operas in New York, San Francisco, and New England, where the company is based. In 2005, RTO premiered Feynman (2005), a chamber opera by composer Jack Vees, with a libretto by Schick, about Nobel Prize-winning physicist and cult figure Richard Feynman, with SO Percussion as the pit orchestra. The opera premiered at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and was reprised in Brattleboro, Vermont at Dartmouth College, in Concord, New Hampshire, and in New York at the Knitting Factory. A future online production of Feynman from Yale is in the planning stages. RTO's debut production, in 2003, was Korczak's Orphans by composer Adam Silverman and librettist Susan Gubernat. Based on the life of Polish pediatrician, orphanage director, and Holocaust martyr Janosz Korczak, the opera was also performed by New York City Opera on their VOX Festival of new American works. RTO's second production, Hawaiian Tan Ratface, a quasi-opera by John Trubee, premiered at San Francisco's Studio Z in 2004. Schick is librettist and producer of the forthcoming music-dance-theater piece A House in Bali by composer Evan Ziporyn, scheduled to premiere in Bali, Indonesia, followed by an international tour, in 2009. As an administrator, Schick has worked with Opera North, Boston Lyric Opera, the American Gamelan Institute, and the composers' collective Frog Peak Music. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hamilton College and a Master of Philosophy degree and PhD in musicology from Yale University.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865 and situated amid the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College since 1867, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. The Conservatory is renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber and has been pronounced a "national treasure" by the Washington Post. Oberlin's alumni have gone on to achieve illustrious careers in all aspects of the serious music world. Many of them have attained stature as solo performers, composers, and conductors, among them Jennifer Koh, Steven Isserlis, Denyce Graves, Franco Farina, Christopher Robertson, Lisa Saffer, George Walker, Christopher Rouse, David Zinman, and Robert Spano. All of the members of the contemporary sextet eighth blackbird, most of the members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and many of the members of Apollo's Fire are Oberlin alumni. In chamber music, the Miró, Pacifica, Juillard, and Fry Street quartets, among other small ensembles, include Oberlin-trained musicians, who also can be found in major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world. For more information about Oberlin, please visit

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 8 p.m.
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Real Time Opera present
Leave Me Alone!
Libretto by Harvey Pekar
Music by Dan Plonsey
Josh Smith, music director
Jonathon Field, stage director
Live on stage:
Finney Chapel
90 North Professor Street
Oberlin, Ohio
Oberlin Conservatory 24-Hour Concert Hotline: 440-775-6933

OT: NYTimes on Dean Haspiel

My friend Dean's got an interview in tomorrow's New York Times February 1, 2009 - "The Voice: Beyond ‘Peanuts’," By GEORGE GENE GUSTINES.

Ron Evry salutes Don Martin

Virginian comics historian Ron Evry wrote in today to highlight his podcast of readings of copyright-free fiction:

Today I posted the THIRD annual Gorilla Suit Day story in Mister Ron's Basement (links to the previous two are on the page), in celebration of Mad Cartoonist Don Martin's holiday gift to the American people...

The link to the story is at:

It is called "Gorilla Romance" and was written by W. L. Alden back in 1893.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Swann Fellowship at Library of Congress deadline approaching

Feb. 13 is the deadline for receiving Swann Fellowship applications here at the Library. The Swann Foundation awards up to $15,000 annually to a qualified graduate student applicant (or smaller awards to several) to support scholarly work in caricature and cartoon. For guidelines and application forms, please see . Email if you have questions.

Martha H. Kennedy
Associate Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4730
Ph.: 202/707-9115 Fax: 202/707-6647

OT: Washington Post essay contest repost

More shameless shilling as I repost this from last week:

I got a letter a month or so ago from someone at inviting bloggers to enter their "What does it mean to be a Washingtonian?" contest. They've posted entries online now for voting and mine is "An Intellectual Playground." I've read about 1/2 the essays so far, and I'm pretty impressed with most of them. A few of us strike the same tone of appreciating the cultural opportunities in the area, but since you're reading my blog, you should vote for me. Thanks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Richard Thompson's current reading list

Our Man Thompson has a list of what he's reading on "The Blowhard's Reading Corner," Cul de Sac blog Wednesday, January 28, 2009. He kindly gives a shout-out to my Pekar book, but I don't feel at all compelled to say that you should all immediately click through this link to BUY HIS CUL DE SAC BOOK. Not at all.

He also had a very funny post earlier this week on his pen nibs. Again. I believe he's trying to create a collector's market for his used nibs.

Obama takes lessons from Conan; Washington establishment slow to follow

Pick up the Onion that came out today or see "Obama Disappointed Cabinet Failed To Understand His Reference To 'Savage Sword Of Conan' #24," Onion January 27, 2009. It's better in print of course.

Riffs interviews Adams on Dilbert

Quick post as I'm on the way out the door - "The Interview: 'Dilbert' Creator Scott Adams" Michael Cavna, January 29, 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jen Sorenson was at the Inauguration and didn't even call

She did blog about it however - Inauguratin' and This Week's Strip: "Seen at the Inauguration"

More info on Bamn wrestling comic

Troy Allen wrote in this evening about the Gazette story (that I linked to earlier today) on the wrestling comic book called "Bamn" which he writes along with two artists. He says:

"Bamn" is an action/comedy about a collection of backyard wrestling misfits who are getting bullied by their high school's amateur wrestling team. The misfits bump into a washed-up, former pro-wrestler named "Bamn." Bamn realizes the backyarders need to defend themselves and takes them under his wing, providing them with most important thing they'll learn in their final year of high school: Manhood.

The series is scheduled to be 8-parts and issue #1 is currently available at The book will soon be available at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, Md and Alliance Comic and Games in Silver Spring, MD.

Additionally, we will be at SPX and the Baltimore Comic Con this year.

You can find out more about us at

I'll be stopping by Alliance to get a copy in the next few weeks, in the spirit of Support Your Local Cartoonist (an unmade James Garner movie).

New study on superheroine breast-size issued by DC thinktank

See "Study: Comic Book Superheroines 'Improbably Busty'," CAP News January 28 2009.* The same site is reporting on a new, grittier Dark Archie movie.

*this is satire, but Sequential Tart used to run a great column entitled 'Bizarre Breasts' by colorist Laura Dupuy.

Local guys publish wrestling comic book

See "Comic book creators drawn together with a ‘Bamn': Trio launches their first comic through independent publisher," by Jeremy Arias, Gazette (January 28 2009). Jay Payne, 25, of Chevy Chase, David Dean, 25 of Silver Spring and Troy Allen, 28, of Hyattsville were photographed at Alliance Comics in Silver Spring, where I'll bet you can buy the comic book which is a "chronicle of a down-and-out professional wrestler who decides to mentor a group of high school backyard wrestlers."

International Journal of Comic Art's new blog

It's not going to be a thrill-a-minute at the new IJOCA blog, but editor/publisher John Lent and I will try to keep you up-to-date as to the status and content of the new issues and anything else you need to know.

OT: American Library Association lists of graphic novels

See "2009 Great Graphic Novels for Teens" which is "The list of 53 titles, drawn from 154 official nominations, ... presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting." Of their "2009 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens," I have 3 and have read none of them. Sigh.

Ward Sutton illo in Post Food section

Cartoonist Ward Sutton who turns his hands to quite a few things did an illo of a diner for the Wednesday, January 28th Food section in the Post. It's not online.

Post folding Book World, reports NY Times UPDATED

For the latest foolishness from the Post, see "Washington Post to End Book World as Stand-Alone Section," By Motoko Rich, January 28, 2009. Why, why, do they expect people to buy the paper?

Thanks to Tim for the tip.

The Post, scooped by the Times, has an article on their website confirming it now.

Schmucks. Tim the tipster says he's canceling his subscription. I don't really want to get into this, especially since everyone else is, but papers make no money online, don't pay for themselves by subscription, but rely on ad revenue which is proportionate to readership. So by cutting content, which affects both the physical and online papers negatively, they expect to increase readers how?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gaiman's Newbery Medal

Neil Gaiman won a Newbery Medal yesterday for 'The Graveyard Book,' which is a fun little novel about a boy whose family is assassinated, but he's protected by ghosts in a graveyard and grows up there until he becomes a Young Adult and wants to go out in the world - where the assassin is still waiting. The Post and the Times have stories about it: "In Fine Spirits: Newbery Judges Take Shine to Friendly Ghosts Of Gaiman's 'Graveyard'," By Bob Thompson, Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, January 27, 2009; C01 and "‘The Graveyard Book’ Wins Newbery Medal,"
By MOTOKO RICH, New York Times January 27, 2009

The Post also has a minor piece about Bush's caricature being in The Palms restaurant even though he never ate there.

Monthly February comic con postponed until April

This email came out today or yesterday...

Feb 8 CapiCons Show Postponed to Apr 5

Unfortunately, the Sunday, Feb 8 show had to be postponed to Sunday, Apr 5. Sorry for the inconvenience. The Capital Associates schedule resumes on April 5.

This is the one at the Dunn Loring fire station in Tysons.

Cartoon mascot exhibit at Johns Hopkins library

Reproduced in full, from Johns Hopkins' website:

New exhibit at MSE Library captures birth of the Blue Jay
JHU Gazette, January 26 2009

Grauer's Blue Jay: A Hopkins Tradition, an exhibit of Blue Jay memorabilia from journalist, author and editorial cartoonist Neil A. Grauer, opens at the MSE Library on Wednesday, Jan. 28, and runs through May 25.

Since the 1920s, the mascot of The Johns Hopkins University has been the feisty Blue Jay — sporting black-and-blue plumage to match the school's athletic colors.

For more than 40 years, the most popular portrayal of that mascot has been the cartoon Blue Jay created in 1966 by Grauer during his student years as a cartoonist for the university's student newspaper, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter.

The exhibit is drawn from the Grauer Blue Jay Collection, a 1996 gift from Grauer to the Sheridan Libraries of more than 50 items. On display are his original sketch of the Blue Jay, drawn on the back of a 3x5 index card; numerous other original drawings; and lacrosse caps, T-shirts, posters, cups, an umbrella and a travel bag, all printed with the Blue Jay logo.

Several items from Grauer's personal collection are also exhibited, including a pair of Nike limited edition sneakers created for members of the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse championship team.

Grauer has drawn the Blue Jay for numerous JHU athletic teams, the Alumni Association and the Pep Band, and still draws the Blue Jay on request. A 1969 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences, he is now a senior writer in the Editorial Services Division of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Marketing and Communications.

The exhibit is located on M-Level of the Eisenhower Library and may be viewed whenever the library is open.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New York Times on Diamond Distribution's new restrictions on small press comics

See "Selling Grows Rougher for Small Comics Publishers," By GEORGE GENE GUSTINES, New York Times January 27, 2009.

Politico on editorial cartoonists and Obama

Alan Gardener found this Politico story before I did - "Cartoonists draw blank on Obama" By DAVID MARK, Politico 1/26/09 - but I ask "where's Matt Wuerker, their own political cartoonist? Is he not having trouble drawing Obama so he got left out?"

Or perhaps this is a stringer's article.

OT: Post's Washingtonian essay contest

I got a letter a month or so ago from someone at inviting bloggers to enter their "What does it mean to be a Washingtonian?" contest. They've posted entries online now for voting and mine is "An Intellectual Playground." I've read about 1/2 the essays so far, and I'm pretty impressed with most of them. A few of us strike the same tone of appreciating the cultural opportunities in the area, but since you're reading my blog, you should vote for me. Thanks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


By John Judy

(Happy Year of the Ox!)

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE SC by Gene Luen Yang. An award-winning trilogy of intertwining stories from an Asian-America perspective, now available in softcover. Good for tweens and up. Recommended.

AVENGERS INITIATIVE #21 by Christos Gage and Humberto Ramos. The evil cyborg Thor clone is back from the dead and ready to… well, probably die again because he was never much of a long-term planner. As they say, “There are old cyborg Thor clones and there are bold cyborg Thor clones, but there are no old, bold cyborg Thor clones.” Okay, I made that up. Sorry.

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1 by Matt Wayne, Andy Suriano and Dan Davis. The companion comic to the hit Cartoon Network series, suitable for all ages and (brace yourselves) a Batman comic currently featuring Batman! I like that it’s written by a guy named Wayne. Seriously, that’s just cool.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #46 by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Bucky America and the Sub-Mariner go to China to rescue the original Human Torch’s corpse from the commies. As well they should!

CRIMINAL, VOL. 4: BAD NIGHT SC by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Jacob, the widower, ex-forger and hapless cartoonist of “Frank Kafka, Private Eye” has a bad night or three. Featuring dark secrets, triple-crosses and more brutal cops than you can shake a plumbers helper at. Highly recommended.

DAREDEVIL #115 by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. It’s good old-fashioned DD beats up a ton of ninjas action! For them that likes it!

FANTASTIC FOUR #563 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. The Thing gives his girlfriend a big rock. Shaddup.

FINAL CRISIS #7 of 7 by Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke. The end of the multiverse-shaking event that has been almost completely ignored by every other title in the DCU. But at least Barry Allen’s back.

FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS #5 of 5 by Greg Rucka and Philip Tan. In which we find out if the Spectre is finally gonna ghost-up and smack Vandal “Cain” Savage so hard his mark falls off. Fingers crossed.

GARTH ENNIS BATTLEFIELDS: DEAR BILLY #1 of 3 by Garth Ennis and Peter Snejbjerg. A nurse during the Japanese invasion of Singapore finds herself with a chance to revenge herself. What to do? What to do? Recommended.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #23 Geoff Johns, Alex Ross and Dale Eaglesham. Having finally dispensed with the not so al-powerful Gog, the JSA is faced with the return of Black Adam and his undead wife Isis. Lotsa fights.

MARVELS EYE OF CAMERA #3 of 6 by Kurt Busiek and Jay Anacleto. Cancerous shutterbug Phil Sheldon meets the grim-n-gritty types of the Marvel Yoo. Yeah, that’ll help with the positive visualization. “Phil, imagine the cancer is a punk and you’re the Punisher…” Actually a very fine comic, especially for a sequel. Read MARVELS and then give it a whirl.

NEW AVENGERS #49 by Brian Michael Bendis and Billy Tan. Luke Cage has made a deal to get his kidnapped daughter back. The terms are not great.

NORTHLANDERS #14 by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly. The slaughter of Ragnar’s Viking occupiers by the native Irish rebel Magnus continues. Recommended.

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES GN written and drawn by Ben Templesmith. I’ll let Mr. Templesmith speak for himself on this one: “All 43 ( well, technically 42, but Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms ) plus, technically, I think the 44th as well will be in time for printing. A portrait each, plus some facts. Especially about some of the lesser known ones. Damn some were sick/quirky/weird bastards.” Highly recommended.

PREVIEWS by Marvel and Diamond Comics. Let the veils of time and space be parted that we may see the comics racks of three months hence! Like a crystal ball you don’t need to worry about the cat knocking over!

PUNISHER WAR ZONE #6 of 6 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The final issue. Duck and cover!

THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS #5 of 5 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins. Ladies and gentlemen (those of you who aren’t dead from the super-flu), meet Randall Flagg, the Dark Man, the Walking Dude, the Hard Case. You need to read this.

STREETS OF GLORY SC by Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer. Garth’s violent meditation on the death of the Old West and the illusory nature of its icons. Not for kids.

UNKNOWN SOLDIER #4 by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli. Dr. Moses leaves his old identity further and further behind as the need for the Soldier in him grows greater. Brutal stuff, not for kids. Recommended.

February 13-15: Katsucon 15 anime and manga festival

On February 13-15th, Katsucon 15 anime and manga festival is in Arlington's Crystal City at the Hyatt Regency. As of this writing, they have slightly less than 3,000 spaces open, or half what they started with, so get cracking! The cost appears to be $50.

Ari Folman interview on 'Bashir' in Post

See "Film 'Can't Change The World': 'Bashir's' Ari Folman Draws Conclusions About Conflict," Robin Shulman, Washington Post Sunday, January 25, 2009; M02.

Nanoman, by DC natives, available now

Got an email today from editor Arthur Delaney which reads, the first issue of a fully professional NANOMAN is now for sale on IndyPlanet:

Our artist, Jon Reed, was the winner of the 2008 Comic Idol contest at the NYC Comic Con last year. He's absurdly good.

We'll be exhibiting our story at the Con this year as well.

Sal Buscema, ace Spider-Man artist, interviews

Back in the 1970s, it seems like every Marvel Comic I bought was illustrated by Sal Buscema. Today he lives in Northern Virginia, and I keep hoping to meet him. The Spider-Man Crawl Space website interviewed him and put up 3 podcasts this week.

Podcast 55: Honoring Sal Buscema with Guests Stan Lee, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Roy Thomas and Danny Fingeroth
January 13 2009

Our first guest of 2009 is artist Sal Buscema. He just celebrated his 40th year at Marvel Comics. He also holds the record for the longest penciling stint on a Spider-Man comic. He drew 104 issues straight of the Spectacular Spider-Man title. To honor Sal for this accomplishment we invited a few of his friends along. On the podcast we have Stan Lee, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Roy Thomas and Danny Fingeroth.

Podcast 56: Honoring Sal Buscema with Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz
January 15 2009

We continue our interview of legendary Spider-Man artist Sal Buscema. He’s joined by writer Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz as we answer questions live from people around the world. We talk about artistic tips, spider-clones and our favorite female, Spider-Girl!

Podcast 57: Honoring Sal Buscema pt 3 with Tom DeFalco & Ron Frenz
January 18 2009

We wrap our conversation with artist Sal Buscema. In this last half hour we answer your written message board questions. Some of the questions range from Sal’s thoughts on Amazing Spider-Girl getting canceled, funny experiences at comic book conventions, and why the Hulk is his favorite character to draw. His buddies Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz are along the ride for the show.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Local ace comics photographer Bruce Guthrie on tv

Bruce Guthrie, my buddy who's shared his comics photographs on this site, has gotten almost 1/10 of his fifteen minutes on tv recently when he shot 2500 inaugural photos.

Superhuman Resources new comic by NoVa expat

I'm on a borrowed computer because mine got wormed last night (while trying to watch the Inaugural concert on HBO!) so I'm keeping this short. Here's some PR that just came in, along with two interviews with cartoonist Ken Marcus for more background - "Ken Marcus - Super Human Resources," by Christopher Moshier, Dec 3, 2008 and "MARCUS' SUPER HUMAN RESOURCES TEAM," by Jennifer M. Contino, Comicon's The Pulse November 25 2008.

I have a comic due in stores in late February from Ape Entertainment. It's called Super Human Resources. It's about the HR department of the world's greatest super team.

We've gotten a lot of good press (quotes below) But I'd love to know what you think of us. Your blog is a lot of fun. A recent discovery of mine.

What does this have to do with DC? I’m from DC. Northern VA. I’m in Richmond right now.

I would love a mention or review on the blog. I can dream, right?

Thanks so much for your time.

"If you ever had a job, Super Human Resources is FUNNY. If you ever liked superheroes, Super Human Resources is VERY FUNNY."
- Joe Kelly (Spider-Man, Action Comics, JLA, Deadpool.)

"This might be the funniest comic book Man has ever produced. Highly recommended and I give it an A."
Jeff Marsick, Newsarama Best Shots.

"When being funny isn't enough in an industry chock-a-block with genre-humor yarns, what a new series needs is character. And that, sweetly, SHR has in spades. Oh, and the comic is really damn funny."
Dave Baxter, Broken Frontier

"Just when you think all possible avenues of the super-hero genre have been covered and recycled to death, a work like this sneaks on by to yank out your funny bone and hit you over the head with it."
Richard Caldwell, ComicNews.Info

"Super Human Resources is one of the best Indy books I have seen this year and by far the funniest!"
Eric, The

"It's ridiculous. It's lunacy. It may just be the single most entertaining comic book you'll ever read. And no, I'm not blowing things out of proportion."
Keith, Staff Picks. Diamond Previews.

3 local 'Waltz with Bashir' Israeli animation reviews

The City Paper has the more substantial one - "Distended Animation: Waltz With Bashir and Inkheart seek release through fantasy," By Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper January 23, 2009. The Express interviewed the director though -
"What Happened: Ari Folman's 'Waltz With Bashir'," by Christopher Correa, Express January 22, 2009. See also "Oscar-nominated 'Waltz With Bashir' shows wounds of troubled region," By Sally Kline, Wshington Examiner Movie Critic 1/23/09.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OT: George Pelecanos at Arlington Library

This will be good - I've seen Pelecanos multiple times and he's always interesting. With crime writers like Denise Mina and Ian Rankin doing comics, perhaps it's oly a matter of time...

Author Event: An Evening with George Pelecanos
Mon Jan 26, 2009, 7pm
Arlington Central Library Auditorium, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington, Va.
Esquire magazine calls George Pelecanos "the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world." Join him at Arlington Central Library for a discussion of his work including his latest crime noir, "The Turnaround." Pelecanos also wrote extensively for the critically hailed HBO series "The Wire." Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Rob Tornoe inauguration toons

Rob and I were never able to meet up, but he's got 6 inauguration cartoons on Daryl Cagle's big site where he's got a blog.

Kal and Cavna were at the Inauguration too

KAL made two short films at the Inauguration yesterday - you can see them through his blog here and here. The second one, on the Economist website, I'll embed here as I'm not sure his link will last.

Comic Riffs writer Michael Cavna's got some very nice sketches of his experiences online too.

And there's a cool video of amateur SuperObama art on the Economist too.

Dame Darcy exhibit reviewed in Examiner

Surprisingly (to me at least), Dame Darcy's exhibit is reviewed quite positively in today's Examiner - "There’s nothing like Dame Darcy," By Chris Klimek, Washington Examiner 1/21/09.

Update to Big Planet customers

The comic books are in! Please disregard the message posted previously.

Note to Big Planet customers

Joel Pollack says, "UPS delays due to Inaugural events, may result in a delay for comics appearing on our racks until mid-afternoon Wednesday, and that's a best-case scenario. Please bear with us, and join us as we welcome our new President to town."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wordless comics bibliography available now

Some years ago I helped put together a bibliography of wordless comics that was published in the International Journal of Comic Art 2:2 (Fall 2000). Today questions about those comics were raised on the comix-scholars list with some people sending in suggestions about titles. I pulled up my old list to take a look at it and decided to make an update available.

I whipped up a corrected and updated version of the 2000 version of the list I had and stuck it on at as Stories Without Words: A Bibliography with Annotations 2008 edition. You can download a pdf for $1 (it wouldn't let me set it any lower), or buy a print version for $10.00.

Dave Horsey reflects on Civil Rights

Dave Horsey hung around in Falls Church rather than downtown on Sunday, but reflected on Washington and the struggle for Civil Rights - "Novus ordo seclorum," by David Horsey at January 19, 2009.

If I can descend to editorializing, it's been a long time coming. I feel good about my country and what it stands for - life, liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness - for the first time in a long while.

Comic strip characters in DC for Inauguration

Verne from Over the Hedge probably gets the closest although Prickly City did ok too. The Rudy Park cast apparently hasn't heard that all the highways from Virginia are closed - maybe they're coming from Maryland where the roads stayed open? Secret Asian Man is watching it on tv.

And Curtis is in trouble! I never realized he lived in DC before, but he just took a bus into town so he must.

Ted Rall's coverage of President Obama's first day

Monday, January 19, 2009

OT: Links to friends of Mike continued

Sacha Adorno - Communicator - my buddy Brian Biggs significant other, about whom he writes "Sacha is a writer, who mainly works for non-profits. I suppose you'd call some of it public relations. When you get materials, reports, fund-raising materials, and other ephemera from your local museum, private school, hospital, etc, she is the person who writes it. She went freelance last year and is looking to expand outside of the Philadelphia area, as far as clients are concerned."

Brian's an artist and cartoonist so here's his site too -

Dave Horsey at Dupont Circle Starbucks at 6 pm on Monday

Pulitzer winning cartoonist Dave Horsey will be at Dupont Circle Starbucks at 6 pm on Monday for a meeting with other Seattlites in town for the ceremonies. Caution: the native Seattlite is reported to be "cold, distant and not trusting" according to this article featuring alt cartoonist John Roberson.

There's no way in Hades that I will anywhere near the District today (except for living 5 miles from downtown) so I won't be at Starbucks although Horsey's work is great.


By John Judy

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 (Second Print Obama Appearance) by A Simple Comic Book Company That Just Wants All Your Money. Check out the comic that has poor old Erik Larsen feeling soooo upset and doesn’t cost 75 bucks on E-Bay. BTW, the lead story by Waid, Kitson and Farmer is pretty great. And the back-up does have Obama giving Spidey the “terrorist fist-jab” even if it’s written like one of those old Hostess snack cake ads. Treat yourself. At cover price, of course.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #584 by Marc Guggenheim and John Romita Jr. This one has all the answers to all the questions raised in the past year’s worth of Spidey titles! Who is Menace? Who is the Spider-Tracer Killer? Why couldn’t retailers get all the Obama covers they could have sold last week? (Okay, how about MOST of the questions…)

ASTONISHING X-MEN #28 by Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi. Did Cyclops really cut off his own head? Did Armor really kill a crippled Wolverine by cooking him over an open fire? Will any of this stuff ever be acknowledged in mainstream X-book continuity? It’s a week of questions at the House of Ideas!

DARK AVENGERS #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato Jr. Who are they? What do they want? And how long will it take Bendis to tell us? More questions!

FACES OF EVIL: DEATHSTROKE #1 by David Hine and Georges Jeanty. Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator, the guy whose name can never be bad-ass enough, is making a comeback with a Face so Evil he has to hide it behind a mask, even though that mask just screams out “Punch me on the right side! That’s where I’m completely blind!” Just sayin’…

FINAL CRISIS: SUPERMAN BEYOND #2 of 2 by Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke. It’s Grant Morrison and it comes with 3-D glasses. For most people that should be enough.

GARTH ENNIS’ BATTLEFIELDS: NIGHT WITCHES #3 of 3 by Garth and Russ Braun. Concluding a brutal series about the dust-ups between the Nazis and the Russians back in the day. Not for kids or anyone else still wishing to find anything glorious in war. Recommended.

GREEN LANTERN #37 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. In which we ask the musical question “Why don’t the Red Lanterns die of anemia from all that blood they’re vomiting in every single panel?!?” Not a great power, Red Lanterns!

HELLBLAZER #251 by Peter Milligan and Giuseppe Camuncoli. PioneeringVertigo author Milligan takes his turn at the plate with the life and fortunes of John Constantine. The storyarc “Scab” begins here. This one’s an absolute “Gotta-Look!”

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #29 by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes. Hats off to McDuffie for bringing back Starbreaker, the galactic vampire who devours solar systems for snacks! Few things compare to the pleasure of seeing a villain you haven’t seen since you were a kid reading the original JLA title back in the year 19… Ah, nevermind.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #21 by Dan Slott and Khoi Pham. Wow! Hank Pym is back wearing his dead wife’s clothes, dating her robot clone and it sure looks like the Scarlet Witch is back from the Phantom Zone or Trans-Bagelburg or wherever they stuck her! And Dan Slott’s at the helm! Yet another “Gotta-Look!” Recommended.

PUNISHER: FRANK CASTLE MAX #66 by Duane Swiercynski and Michel Lacombe. It’s “D.O.A.” Punisher-style! Some punks dose Frank with poison and tell him he’s gotta dance if he wants the fix-it juice. Stupid punks… Note the new title distinguishing this book from the one where Frank’s shooting capes with stolen Skrull artillery.

RUINS #1 by Warren Ellis and Cliff & Terese Nielsen. A reprinting of Ellis’ 1995 thumb in the eye to MARVELS, in which every one of the Marvel Universe heroes meets a horrible, depressing fate. Both issues collected here. For some reason there’s always a new generation that wants to read this story. Enjoy.

SPIDER-MAN: NOIR #2 of 4 by David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky and Carmine DiGiandomenico. It’s the story of Spidey told as if he had lived in Depression Era New York. For lovers of all things Pulp and Parker.

THUNDERBOLTS #128 by Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre. The beginning of a new arc, a new order and a new creative team on a book that shows you how fun it can be playing The Bad Guy.

UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #2 by Matt Fraction and Mitch Breitweiser. Focusing on the life and loves of White Queen Emma Frost. Okay, maybe love isn’t the right term here.

X-FACTOR #39 by Peter David and Valentine Delandro. Siren and Madrox enjoy a blessed event. Wait, that was nine months ago. Now they’re just having a baby.

X-MEN: LEGACY #220 by Mike Carey and Scot Eaton. Rogue’s back.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rob Tornoe in DC for inauguration too

Rob Tornoe, cartoonist for Editor and Publisher's online site, tells me he'll be in town for the inauguration. He's the second editorial cartoonist I know of coming in to observe and do direct cartoon journalism - Dave Horsey was mentioned here yesterday. Anyone else?

Baltimore's Closed Caption Comics in NYC

Baltimore's Closed Caption Comics has a show at a gallery in New York City through early February.

Richard's Poor Almanack previews the inaugural parade

Yesterday's Richard's Poor Almanack previewed the inaugural parade. Now you can skip it and stay home and warm, or go to work and do something productive.

Beeler's Obama caricature covers Examiner

Today's free Washington Examiner has a big caricature of Obama by editorial cartoonist Nate Beeler.

Zadzooks on Prince of Persia video game

Another videogame this week - ZADZOOKS: Prince of Persia review: Heroes must save Persia," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Wednesday, January 14, 2009.

At some point, videogames moved into the field of comic art, with the increased quality of their animation. I'm not sure what point that was, or when they'll move back out of it, but I do know that not enough attention is being paid to the animation art in them.

Catching up on Greg Bennett's recommendations - "Bennett's Best for the week of January 11," Zadzooks Blog January 14 2009 - The Walking Dead and... Secret Invasion? Nah, he's got to be kidding.

The previous week - "Bennett's Best for the week of January 4," Zadzooks Blog January 14 2009 - was Runaways and Incognito.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dave Horsey in DC too

In addition to all the comic strip characters coming to DC, Dave Horsey is here as well. The ex-presidential candidates from Scott Stantis' Prickly City just arrived as well.

Spider-Man and Obama bits

Erik Larsen, Savage Dragon cartoonist, feels that Marvel Comics got the idea of putting Obama on the cover from him, since he did it in the fall.

And in the first case of comic book store profiteering I've heard of, Past Present Future Comics, 1387 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach, FL was charging $49.95 for the Spider-Man comic book according to blogger Rick Christie, who bought one, not appearing to realize that the book will be worth $8 or so in a month - flip it now Rick!

Florida seems to have some issues with trademarks as well, as we can see in this add from the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, although they reported that their local store sold out of the comic.

Pekar's upcoming opera - more information

See "Harvey Pekar Talks "Leave Me Alone!" Opera," by Michael San Giacomo, Guest Contributor, Mon, January 12th, 2009 which also has a downloadable audio file of Pekar and Crumb. For those who want to read more about Pekar's love of music, my book of interviews has a bit on that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

OT: Comic museum and library news

Readers may have noticed a certain interest of mine in libraries and museums of comics. Here's two new articles - "Andrew Farago, Cartoon Art Museum Gallery Manager/Curator" and on a new collection given to U Penn - "Passion for comic books," By Ruth Rovner, Delaware County, PA Daily Times Friday, January 16, 2009/

OT: More fashion in comics

Years ago, Isaac Mizrahi did an expensive booklet series called Sandee the Supermodel. Last year, there was an exhibit on superhero fashion (or lack thereof) in New York. And now the press release that follows points out this new Italian book which seems interesting... AND has another cartoon picture of Obama!

Available in the best bookstores as from February 2009
aleXsandro Palombo
XI years of dreamlike color

The fashion world portrayed in the incisive and brilliant illustrations of aleXsandro Palombo in a poetic and colorful universe, surreal and provocative in a new book in the series "Chic et Simpliciter" from Hazard Editions. The first catwalk-book ever.

VANITAS, INSHALLAH is a veritable illustrated tale, extravagant and provocative right from the title, which leads into the imaginary and poetic universe of aleXsandro Palombo, revisiting eleven years of his creations: colors and memories, places and icons, slogans and insights.

A journey into the world of fashion in which real and surreal pursue each other along the lines traced by one of the most original and surprising talents in Italian and international fashion, a succession of illustrations with an unmistakable line that conveys with utter simplicity the thoughts and inner world of the artist, an endless moving archive, a gallery of relics and surreal hypotheses, precognitions and fantasies.

One hundred unpublished plates, composing a hymn to the poetic of color and epitomizing Palombo’s whole development, enable readers to experience a dream called fashion between imagination and provocation.

Accompanying readers on this adventure is Vanitas, the clown whose task is to act as a guide to memories and dreams, until the fateful moment of the fashion show in which the journey culminates. And it is at this point that Vanitas reveals Palombo’s new creations in the world’s first illustrated fashion show.

The reader becomes a privileged guest who can share the rituals of fashion - the show and favored guests, backstage and the catwalk, the creations and provocations, models and fashion writers…

As in a powerful snapshot, Palombo’s rapid, profound line illustrates the vices and virtues of the fashion world, building up with scathing irony to a surprising finale.

The power of the pages illustrated by Palombo needs no commentary and for this reason the volume contains no critical texts but only a series of intimate and private presentations written by those with a close knowledge of his personality, rich and intuitive, retiring and reserved.

This volume reveals the dreams of Palombo as illustrator and narrator of anecdotes, revealing an artistic temperament, unknown even to those who follow carefully his many-sided activities, which he has always maintained complete reserve.

He does so in the simple language of dreams, of fantasies that are joyous and sad, rich and allusive, original and profound, while always preserving that elusive and unrepeatable element which is a trait of his style.

The publisher Giovanni Miriantini declares: "I at once realized I was dealing with a great artist. His illustrations, graphically and chromatically perfect, create a sort of interplay between earthly and celestial, human and divine."

Founded in 1986, Hazard Editions is distinguished by the high quality of its publications in the field of comics d’auteur and artistic illustration. Its publications include works by authors such as Dino Battaglia, Enki Bilal, Silvio Cadelo, Philippe Druillet, Federico Fellini and Milo Manara, Hans Rüdi Giger, Dave McKean, Leiji Matsumoto, Lorenzo Mattotti, Sanpei Shirato, Josè Munoz, Posy Simmonds, Jacques Tardi and Osamu Tezuka.

The series "Chic et Simpliciter", devoted to great fashion illustrators, over the years has brought out volumes devoted to Maddalena Sisto, Ruben Toledo, Antonio Lopez and François Berthoud.

OT: Mautner's Dilbert interview

Chris Mautner has posted his entire interview with Scott Adams on his blog and it's really interesting.

Thompson and Cavna - together like never again

Cavna at Comic Riffs has Our Man Thompson's deep reflections on Bush's departure - and hopefully that'll be the last time we see them reflect on Turdblossom's nom-de-guerre bestower.

And remember you can still buy Richard's drawing of FD Obamavelt on stuff too.

Curtis joining Luann in DC for inauguration

Curtis is apparently joining Luann , the Rudy Park cast, and Verne in DC for Obama's inauguration. The Post is raising its price from 75 cents to 2 dollars on Tuesday, so perhaps the strips are getting an extra cut and can afford the trip.

Nah, I didn't think so either. Maybe they're all crashing with the Cul de Sac gang.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Press Release

For information, contact:
Sophie Song
President of Centennial High School Anime Club

Officially called CHS Otaku Fest 2009

Ellicott City, MD January 11, 2009 – Centennial High School Anime Club is pleased to announce that it will be hosting its first ever anime convention on April 25th, 2009 called CHS Otaku Fest.

This one day convention is a celebration of all things anime and otaku. Our activities will include 1) Anime and Japanese movie screening 2) Discussion panels and workshops hosted by fans 3) Video Game room and tournaments 4) Masquerade 5) AMV contest 6) Dealer’s Area 7) Artist Alley 8) Asian food and Snacks 9) Crazy Otaku Challenges (i.e. Ramen Eating Contest, Haruhi Dance Competition, etc) 10) Cosplay Photo Areas (visit our cosplay meet up thread on the forum) and 11)Live Band performance (Local bands). Other activities may be announced over time.

Those interested in attending, becoming a sponsor, dealer, panelist, selling your art or advertising with us or anything else please visit our website at or contact General information about the convention on the bottom.

About The Centennial High Anime club: This organization is an entirely high school based club with about 40 active members. The club has been an establishment in the school since 2005 and is gaining membership annually. It is a place for otaku to gather and meet while relaxing and discussing anime and the community at large. Our elected leadership is always looking to expand the club’s reach, educate our members and get them involved in the otaku community. We’ve recently begun hosting public events and we have high hopes for this con. Our current leadership, President Sophie Song, and other organizers for this event have been with the club since its founding and are excited to see it expand.

Otaku Fest information
Date: Saturday April 25th, 2009
Time: 9:30 am to 9:30 pm
Location: Centennial High School
4300 Centennial Lane
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Registration fee: $15 before April 5th and $20 after. There is a $3 discount to groups of 10 or more ($12 per person before 4/5/09 and $17 after 4/5/09). At-the-door registration is $22.
For additional information visit:

March 5: Book of Esther comic art exhibit

Sayeth Edward Gunts in the Baltimore Sun:

5. Biblical art: From March 5 to July 26, the Jewish Museum of Maryland (, 15 Lloyd St.,will present Drawing on Tradition: The Book of Esther as Graphic Novel. It's a retelling of the Book of Esther in comic-strip form by artist J.T. Waldman.

Comics Riffs checks in with Stantis and Luckovich

Cavna continues his roll by getting comments on post-Bush political cartooning from Mike Luckovich and Scott Stantis - "Cartoonists Bemoan the Bush Buh-Bye (Part 2)," By Michael Cavna, January 15, 2009.

Ullman, Ullman, Ullman, Ullman, Ullman

Five illos by Rob Ullman in this week's (January 15) Washington City Paper, one of which is the traditional scantily-clad girl that we got used to seeing when he illustrated Savage Love. One's on Obama-influenced menus. One's on the difficulty of counting attendees when the Park Service refuses to do it for you. Unfortunately one is just a broom and another is a Masonic symbol. Still, it's good to see him in there again.

Even Federal Computer Week's cartoonist is doing inauguration cartoons

John Klossner, in a post "You’re new around here, aren’t you?" Federal Computer Week's John Klossner blog Jan 13, 2009, does a couple of inauguration cartoons while noting, "Having never lived in the greater Washington, D.C., region, I've never experienced a presidential transition on the streets. From the stories I've heard, it sounds like every August/September in a college town (an experience I have had), only with better dressed people and less drinking (I'm referring to the college town). I imagine it helps that this happens only once every 4 or 8 years. Is it like giving birth, where you forget the pain, allowing you to go through it again?"

Yeah, it's something like that, John.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers 1971 film - more on the lost short

Freak brothers
Joel Pollack's original art for the movie poster. Thanks to Joel for letting me use it (and then giving it to me!)

I spoke with one of the men behind the movie The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Acquire a Groupie (USA: Reel Meat, ca 1971) tonight after Joel Pollack passed along his contact information. Joel Jacobson called and we talked about his role in creating the short film. The amateur live action short was originally approved by Shelton, although his permission was later revoked. The filmmakers were Bill Pace and Celia Symborski, aided to a large extent by Joel Jacobson who did much of the actual production work. The actors were Jeff Wolfe as Fat Freddy, Tom Scott as Freewheelin' Frank, and Dave Eisner as Phineas.

Mr. Jacobson told me how he got involved in the project.

“I was producing films, actually freelancing. I ended up making education films, but I was doing freelance editing and camera work. I owned everything, all my lights, and sound gear, and I had an editing room in my house. I had a whole bunch of stuff so I could work with an assistant if I needed to.”

“As a kid, I remember seeing the entire Captain Marvel series in Atlanta, GA around 1942 at the neighborhood theater. That was the serial I saw every single chapter of. The Janus Theater showed the entire Batman serial end to end all the way through around 1965.”

“Prior to 1971, in 1969 I did a thing on the Counter-Inauguration with the Yippies demonstrating against the real inauguration of Nixon. That was shown at the Circle Theater, although I didn’t make any money on it. Sometime in the 1970s I started producing stuff.”

He wanted to help Pace and Symbarski because he thought he’d give them the help that he would have liked to have gotten as a young filmmaker. He essentially shot the film for them, using his equipment including sound equipment, lights and a Steenbeck film editing machine. They shot the film in Takoma Park, MD, “where Bill and Cel worked at Maggie’s Farm, a head shop, as well as being students at the University of Maryland, so a lot of the props probably came from there.” This wasn’t an official school project for them though. Eventually he realized that he was doing a lot of the work for them, which to him meant they wouldn’t mature as filmmakers, so he stopped doing so much (which appears to have led to some tensions).

“The show itself didn’t really follow the comic strip faithfully.” Instead of the Princess and the pea ending of the comic strip, “We ended up with the guys taking a toke on a bong. What I did was, I shot the guy and then I shot the scene without the guy, and then I had vibrating thing like a jew’s-harp make a sound, and then the guy vanishes to the bwoooiiing sound when taking a bong hit… It drew a really big laugh.”

Eventually they had to scratch out “Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.” on the release print after Gilbert Shelton objected. The movie was shown to the public though. It was shown at Biograph Theater by Alan Rubin, one of the theater owners.

“They used to have something called Expose Yourself where people would bring films to show. Bill and Cel showed up on Alan’s night and asked if they could show it, and Al said yes and showed it that night. They thought they’d have to go through a procedure, but Al just set up a 16mm projector and showed it right then.” It was shown several times.

Neither he nor Joel Pollack know what happened to Bill Pace. Mr. Jacobson noted that Bill Pace always “carried a wine skin with him and always had a buzz.” Celia Symbarski died after a motorcycle accident. Neither man knows if any copies of the film survive.

Another entry for the Secret History of Comics. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the film, please contact us!

[1/27/2020: Symbarski corrected to Symborski, per Joel Pollack].

Spider-Man and Obama - a missed opportunity editorial

Marvel completely shot themselves and comics retailers in the collective foot by the way they handled this. I stopped at Big Planet at lunchtime and the phone was ringing off the hook with people calling for the Obama cover of Amazing Spider-Man 583 - which Big Planet didn't have due to the way Marvel released it. Marvel isn't going to make any money on the secondary market for these, and most retailers won't either.

What if you invited people to a party and then didn't actually have it? That's pretty much what Marvel did here, leaving all kinds of money in people's pockets instead of providing the comic book that they did want. It's no wonder that comic books are in trouble, with sales falling year after year, if this is the way they market them.

Stan Lee AND Zombie comics at Comic Riffs

Cavna ups the Washington comics blogger ante by getting Stan Lee to talk about Obama meeting Spider-Man - "Obama the Comic Superstar: Stan Lee Explains All..." By Michael Cavna, Washington Post Comic Riffs blog January 14, 2009. I think it's a little unfair because he can say he's from the Washington Post...

But he's not writing about the type of zombies you'd expect from visiting a comic book store where there's at least 2 good-selling zombie comics, one of which deserves to be (Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead) and the other which is just a bad idea even if it makes money (Marvel Zombies). Cavna writes about strips that are either done by dead people (Peanuts) or continued by other hands (Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Hagar). And he's got another neat chart.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jillian Tamaki illo for NY Times today

Jillian Tamaki's been doing illos for NY Times for a while and there's one in today's Science Times section.

Rob Ullman's Richmond Magazine strip

Every time I pick up the City Paper, I miss Rob's illos for Savage Love. In fact, I barely bother to glance at the column anymore. Rob's got a new gig, Traffic & Weather, which appears to be a weekly online strip, for Richmond Magazine. Kudos to Journalista! for noticing it.

Library of Congress Swann Fellowship applications due next month

Feb. 13 is deadline to receive Swann Fellowship applications. Up to $15,000 is awarded annually to a qualified graduate student applicant or smaller award(s) to several to support scholarly research in caricature and cartoon by the Swann Foundation administered by the Library of Congress. For criteria, application forms, and list of funded projects, please see Email if you have questions.

Martha H. Kennedy
Associate Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4730
Ph.: 202/707-9115 Fax: 202/707-6647

Greg Bennett notes Robert Goodin's blog

Greg Bennett forward Robert Goodin's message about his new blog to me. Since Greg has excellent taste, I'm noting it for you, and planning on buying The Man Man Who Loved Breasts tomorrow:

I've just launched a blog called Covered that has an artist redrawing a comic cover in their own style. Participating artists will come from the fields of comics, animation, graphic design, and galleries from all over the world and some will be well known and some not so well known.

Please check it out and feel free to leave feedback in the comments section. I just ask that you be civil.


original art available at:

More on Harvey Pekar's opera

This blog post talks about how Robert Crumb ties into Harvey's libretto - "Harvey Pekar's jazz opera to be performed this month in Oberlin," by Michael Heaton/Plain Dealer Reporter, Monday January 12, 2009.

Stan Lee interview on Comic Riffs blog tomorrow

Michael Cavna has snaffled up another great interview - Stan Lee will be ... um quoted, he's already been interviewed... tomorrow!

And Michael's actually drawn something for his blog, mocking Sally Forth's poor husband Ted. Nice chart though!

Political humor CFP in DC

A call for papers announcement courtesy of ComicsDC buddy Jeff Reznick. Although this says it's in DC, it appears to be run by the University of Southern California?

ASA--Political Humor in the post-9/11 Era
Location: District of Columbia, United States
Call for Papers Date: 2009-01-17 (in 4 days)
Date Submitted: 2009-01-08
Announcement ID: 166146

Political Humor in the post-9/11 Era:
Papers on all aspects of political humor and satire are welcome: stand-up, visual and cartoon humor, film and television, etc. Papers focusing on humor and 9/11, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Guantanamo, Dick Cheney, or any other political question of the era are welcome. Focus should be on humor in the 2000s from an American or cross-cultural perspective. Comparative pieces discussing connections between another era and the 2000s will also be considered.

Proposals are due by January 17, 2009.

Lanita Jacobs-Huey
Department of Anthropology
Program in American Studies and Ethnicity

Luann is coming to DC, but so is everyone else...

Luann is coming to DC, but so is everyone else ...except for her buddy Delta whose idea it was.

In the meantime, we also appear to be getting Verne, the turtle from Over the Hedge and the entire cast from Rudy Park.

Spider-Man and Obama cover at Annapolis store

This letter came over the e-transom today; I think Annapolis is close enough for real comics collectors, don't you? By the way, those three links are the most I've seen for a comics store - the Web 2.0 idea is spreading.

Not sure how close you'd consider Annapolis in relation to the DC area, but we will have a good number of the Obama cover on hand, to at least last us through the week (I might be overly optimistic about this though). Just wanted to give you the heads up after seeing your blog post on this big event. We plan on tomorrow being a very big day here at the shop.


15 Old Solomon's Island Rd
Suite 102
Annapolis, MD 21401

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on Jeff Kinney and Wimpy Kid

The former U of Md cartoonist was featured in USA Today to go with the weekend profile in the NY Times. See "'Wimpy Kid: Last Straw' opens another 'gateway' to reading," By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY January 12 2009. At the end of this article, one of the five series he recommends to get kids reading is Calvin and Hobbes. I always liked the Encyclopedia Brown books he also suggests and recently picked some up for my daughter (who reads Wimpy Kid too).

Mark Wheatley interview

Marylander Mark Wheatley is interviewed by Amanda Sheriff (I think) about his new e-strip in "Lone Justice: Crash! -- Free Scoop Preview," Scoop (January 9 2009). The article begins, "Scoop covered EZ Street when it debuted, when it concluded, and when it made its limited edition print debut, so it only makes sense that we'd also feature the spin-off "created" by the main characters of the previous story when it became its own graphic novel, right?

Say what?

If that doesn't exactly make sense – and we're not voting either way – here's how it worked out: In EZ Street, creators Mark Wheatley (Mars, Breathtaker) and Robert Tinnell (The Black Forest, Feast of the Seven Fishes) told the story of two brothers who were creators in the worlds of comics and film. Intermingled with the story of the brothers was the story the brothers were attempting to create, Lone Justice."

I completely missed the print edition. Did anyone see it?

Comic Riffs calls cartoonists on Bush

See "What Will You Miss About Bush? Top Cartoonists Tell Us," By Michael Cavna, Washington Post Comic Riffs January 12, 2009.

Michael's got quotes from some local cartoonists too like Might Matt Wuerker and Terrible Ann Telnaes... oh, wait, this isn't my wrestling blog...

More on Pekar's opera

See "Cleveland’s chronicler of the mundane is going avant-garde with an opera at Oberlin College," Cindy Leise, The Chronicle-Telegram January 11 2009.

Pekar, Feiffer and Jaffee interviewed in NYC

These should be good. I've never met Jaffee, but Feiffer and Pekar are fun to hear.


New York, January 11, 2009

From Danny Fingeroth:

The YIVO Institute presents one-on-one interviews with three titans comics, whose work has had seismic effects on the general culture.

Al JAFFEE, JULES FEIFFER, and HARVEY PEKAR will be interviewed by comics writer and critic DANNY FINGEROTH.

YIVO’s “Comics and the American Jewish Dream” series kicks off WEDS. JAN 21 at 7:00 pm with:

"The MAD, MAD, MAD (Jewish) World of AL JAFFEE"

A graduate of New York’s High School of Art and Design, JAFFEE worked as an editor, writer and artist for Stan Lee at Timely (later Marvel) Comics during the 1940s. In 1955, Jaffee joined “the Usual Gang of Idiots” at MAD Magazine, where he’s been a mainstay ever since, entertaining generations with his Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions and Mad Fold-Ins. Join us as JAFFEE provides snappy answers to provocative questions about his art and life, including his new book, Tall Tales (Abrams).

About Danny Fingeroth:
Series curator and moderator DANNY FINGEROTH, a longtime writer and editor at Marvel Comics, has spoken about comics at the Smithsonian Institution and The New School. He’s the author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero (Continuum) and The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels (Penguin).

Wednesday, January 21, 7:00
The YIVO Institute For Jewish Research
15 West 16th Street / New York, NY 10011

Series Continues With
JULES FEIFFER: Tuesday, February 3, 7:00 P.M.
HARVEY PEKAR: Tuesday, February 17, 7:00 P.M.

ADMISSION TO PROGRAMS: $25 / YIVO members: $18 / students: $12
FOR TICKETS: Call 212-868-4444 or visit WWW.SMARTTIX.COM

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hero Initiative charity selling memberships

To go along with my Comic Book Legal Defense Fund membership, I've joined Hero Initiative which is now offering memberships. Hero Initiative helps down-on-their-luck comic book creators. Different levels of membership can be purchased through this site.

NY Times on Waltz with Bashir and Radical Children's books

"Children of the Left, Unite!," By CALEB CRAIN, New York Times Book Review January 11, 2009 reviews Julia L. Mickenberg and Philip Nel's Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature (New York University, $32.95) which features Syd Hoff and Walt Kelly.

"The Peacemaker: Questions for Ari Folman," Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON, New York Times Magazine January 11, 2009 is more about Folman than his animated movie.

And Gene Yang's Prime Baby comic strip is still appearing.

"Where can I get the President Obama meets Spider-Man comic book?"

People who know I collect comics have been asking me about getting copies of Amazing Spider-Man 583, the President Obama meets Spider-Man issue, coming out this Wednesday. The issue will have two covers - one of which features Obama (pictured on right) and one regular issue which does not (pictured below). All of the stores listed here will have gotten the regular issue as part of their normal ordering process and should have copies of that for sale. Marvel Comics made getting the Obama cover more difficult by first not telling retailers that it would be a special issue, and then offering the two covers and requiring retailers to buy a certain amount of the standard cover before they could order the Obama cover.

Marvel's website has a story on the comic - "Marvel Team-Up: Spidey/Obama Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker talks about the Webhead’s historic meeting with president-elect Barack Obama" By Matt Powell, 2009-01-09.

In my first real act of reporting, I've called some local stores to see if they'll have the Obama meets Spider-Man cover.

Laughing Ogre stores in Lansdowne and Fairfax (near Burke) are going to be your best bet. One of the clerks, Frazier says, "We're taking reservations, but will only have so many." Drew, the assistant manager, told me, "We're limiting people to two copies at first to make sure that everyone who wants a copy will get one. It was a special order thing so you had to be on top of it."

Alliance Comics is in Silver Spring (the store that used to be Geppi's back in the day) and Bowie, MD. Troy Allen of the Silver Spring store says "Marvel dropped this on people at the last minute and our orders had already been placed so we're hoping to have enough to get through the day and then they'll probably fast-track the reprint, if the Death of Captain America is any indication." Some of the people in the store are working on their own comic book as well, so check back for more details.

Big Monkey Comics has been reserving comics for people who have been calling in and hopes to have some to sell on the rack - Assistant Manager of the DC store James Rambo says, "We've been reserving copies and have gotten a ton of reserves. We're definitely going to have to get extra copies in."

Beyond Comics of Frederick and Gaithersburg, MD has enough to cover to their subscribers and a couple of extra copies because "Marvel didn't release news about what would be in the issue until the after the initial order, and then had a very short reorder period" during the week before Christmas.

Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics's Bethesda store said, "Marvel, in their infinite wisdom, made it impossible for us to get a reasonable number of copies of the Obama cover. We will try to fulfill subs with the Obama cover, but cannot guarantee it. We will be getting the Obama cover second-prints, hopefully on January 21."

Fantom Comics in Tenleytown and Union Station will have just the regular Spider-man issue, which still has the story featuring Obama, and hopes to have enough copies for people to drop in and buy them.

Barbarian Book Store is in the Wheaton Triangle, but does not appear to have a functioning website and the telephone number I found on the web goes to a payphone.

Any other stores in the area who would like to let me know about their plans is welcome to write in:

For those who like to collect this type of comic, Obama met Savage Dragon last fall and also appeared before the election in a biographical comic book. And as Randy noted last week, the free alternative comics Bash Magazine that's on the streets now has an Obama caricature by Halbert as the cover.