Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Post's obituary for Minnie Mouse's voice

Russi Taylor, voice of Disney's Minnie Mouse and 'Simpsons' staple, dies at 75 [in print as Emmy-nominated actress voiced Minnie Mouse for 3 decades]

David Levine and Chuck Jones at National Portrait Gallery

by Bruce Guthrie


Yesterday, I checked for updated pieces at the National Portrait Gallery. The David Levine of Lee Iacocca is no longer on display.  But upstairs in the 20th Century American exhibit are four of his original pieces -- Steve Jobs, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jimmy Connors and Jerry Seinfeld. 

And if you go up to the Bravo floor, they still have that wonderful Chuck Jones and his characters sculpture by Paul Moore.  The piece is not all that easy to photograph because it's bronze in a reflective plastic-y box but I gave it a shot (so to speak).

Bruce Guthrie
Photo obsessive


Kevin Smith at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in November is sold out

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "When You Can't 'Buy In'."

From DC's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock:

"When You Can't 'Buy In'"

It isn't just that Kamala Harris has the gall to straight-up rip off 
the name "Medicare For All" for her hack-ass healthcare proposal, nor 
is it just the convoluted, typically technocratic Rube Goldberg nature 
of her grand plan, nor the fact that it builds on the "success" of 
Obamacare – a healthcare policy written by the Heritage Foundation. 
It's the fact that Kamalacare involves the health insurance industry – 
the heart of the very problem we're trying to eliminate.

And don't get me started on all her talk about "buying in" – basically 
no different from Obamacare, where people who are already struggling 
are forced to have "some skin in the game", in the words of our 
beloved ex-President.

Oh, and it's going to be phased in over ten years. Ten years. Fat lot 
of good that's going to do for all the people having to crowdfund 
their surgeries and are being gouged for their insulin right now.


Kamala Harris, "My Plan For Medicare For All", 07.29.19

"Kamala Harris' new health plan: 'Medicare for All' — with private 
insurers", Politico 07.29.19

The Post reviews J. Michael “Joe” Straczynski's new biography

As an abused child, he took refuge in superheroes. Then he made a career out of them. [in print as Surviving a dad as toxic as kryptonite].
By Chris Klimek
Washington Post July 30 2019, p. C4

The Post on live-action Dora

'Dora' fan Isabela Moner didn't leap at first to play the explorer as a teen

Word Balloon podcasts by John Suintres of interest

This has nothing to do with ComicsDC, except I did a book about Harvey Pekar - that you can still buy ...

Comic Books Harvey Pekar's Legacy with Dean Haspiel and Josh Neufeld

July 10, 2019

Cartoonists Dean and Josh just started a new podcast Scene By Scene where they breakdown the Harvey Pekar film American Splendor . We also talk about their current projects and where they see the comic market going.

...but this talks about Rafer Roberts' new comic book

Comic Books A New Mike Norton Moment

Word Balloon July 22, 2019

Mike is back to talk about bring his web comic Battle Pug to Image Comics as a monthly in September. Plus Grumble with Rafer Roberts, his thoughts on the creator owned Market and why he stopped his political comic strip Lil D

Local Raven writer Kami Garcia interviewed at San Diego Comic-Con

INTERVIEW: TEEN TITANS: RAVEN creators Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

The Beat catches up with the Teen Titans: Raven creative team

PR: Small Press Expo 2019 International Special Guests

For Immediate Release

Contact: Eden Miller

Small Press Expo Announces International Special Guests for 2019.
Bethesda, Maryland - July 30, 2019
Media Release - Small Press Expo is proud to announce the first group International Special Guests for SPX 2019. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables, over 20 programming slots and additional hands-on workshops to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics. Additional Special Guests will be announced soon.
SPX 2019 is honored to have the following creators as International Special Guests to this year's show:
Aimée de Jongh
Aimée de Jongh (1988) is a comic author, animator and illustrator from the Netherlands. After drawing a Dutch daily newspaper comic called "Snippers" for nearly five years, Aimée decided to change the direction of her career entirely. Now focusing on graphic novels and graphic journalism, Aimée has reached an international audience for her work. Her debut graphic novel "The Return of the Honey Buzzard" won the Prix Saint-Michel and was adapted to a feature film. In her recent comic works, Aimée does not shy away from social and political subjects. During a visit to the refugee camps in Greece, she made the comic "Europe's Waiting Room" to draw the attention to the poor living conditions of the refugees. Her new graphic novel "Blossoms in Autumn" is a taboo-breaking book about love and sex after 60, written by the acclaimed Belgian comic author Zidrou. The book reached third printing in France in only three months time, and won the Silver Japan International Manga Award 2019. Her upcoming graphic novel is "TAXI!": an autobiography about taxi rides all over the world.
Kenny Rubenis
Kenny Rubenis (1984) is one of the Netherlands best known cartoonists. His popular comic strip "Dating for Geeks" is published daily in the country's largest newspaper "Metro", and is read by close to a million people every day. To date, 9 collections of the strip have been published and the 10th book in the series is coming out later this year. 

"Dating for Geeks" details the lives of 7 nerdy characters. There's Jasper, who's searching for true love (and mint condition comic books) with the help of dating-consultant Yvon, there's geeky couple Renee and Edward who have just moved in together and now have twice as many collectables, there's hopeless romantic Claire, not so much looking for a Prince Charming on a white horse, but more for a Doctor in a bright blue box and there's Jeff, your typical gamer who isn't really looking for a girlfriend, but more for someone to play "two player games" with, if you know what I mean. And finally the author himself is one of his own characters. A little bit dumber, more insecure and less charismatic than in real life. 

The first proper translated Dating for Geeks comics will debut at SPX this year.
José Quintanar
José Quintanar is an artist working on narrative drawings, comics, and books. He has released several full-length graphic novels and artists' books including Conociendo a Jari, Grundfunken, Fartlek and Culto Charles. His drawings have been published in The New York Times, Nieves, Vice, Esquire, kuš! Komikss, Fulgencio Pimentel, Editions Misma, Fosfatina and many more. His work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Paris, London, Rotterdam, Madrid, Porto, and Berlín. José is also a professor at Willem de Kooning Art Academy of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and a Ph.D. Student at Universidad Politecnica Madrid, where he researches narrative structures and artists' books. Recently, his short stories have appeared in several issues of Now: The New Anthology, from Fantagraphics. 

Yann Kebbi
Yann Kebbi was born in Paris in 1987, and studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs. His paintings and illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post and elsewhere. Most recently, he collaborated with writer Viken Berberian on the graphic novel The Structure is Rotten, Comrade. He lives and works in Paris.
Typex is a Dutch illustrator and graphic novelist. A graduate of the Amsterdam College for the Arts, his work has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. He has illustrated numerous children's books and has published some of his own. Typex is the author of the acclaimed graphic biographies Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol and Rembrandt, both published by SelfMadeHero. He lives in Amsterdam.
Jérôme Tubiana
French writer and researcher Jérôme Tubiana first met the former Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohammed El-Gharani in N'Djamena in 2011, two years after his release from the notorious camp. They met every afternoon for two weeks, after which Tubiana turned their conversations into a diary piece for the London Review of Books. Now, in collaboration with Mohammed El-Gharani, he has written a graphic novel: Guantánamo Kid. Illustrated by French cartoonist Alexandre Franc and endorsed by Amnesty International, this landmark work of graphic non-fiction tells the astonishing true story of one of the camp's youngest detainees, who was held and abused for seven years without charge or trial.
Small Press Expo (SPX) is the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together more than 650 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. The expo includes a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year's guests.

The Ignatz Award is a festival prize held every year at SPX recognizing outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning, with the winners chosen by attendees at the show.

As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries. For more information on the Small Press Expo, please visit
Small Press Expo
P.O. Box 5704
Bethesda, Maryland

Cavna on the voice of Minnie Mouse

She was the voice of Minnie Mouse. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse. That's how their romance began.

Washington Post July 30 2019

Monday, July 29, 2019

Catching up with the Post: graphic memoirs, Rowland Emett, Aladdin, the Lion King, and NC Wyeth

Four of the best graphic memoirs of the year — so far

[in print as A sampling of the most engaging illustrated memoirs published this year]

Air and Space Museum used to feature flying machines of the strangest sort [in print as This beautifully useless, imaginative flying machine was no figment].

Washington Post July 28 2019

What do Broadway's 'Aladdin,' 'Mean Girls' and 'Book of Mormon' have in common? Director Casey Nicholaw. [in print as A directorial genie behind four curtains].

Washington Post July 26 2019, p. Weekend 18-19.

'Lion King' has been clouded by intellectual property controversy for 25 years. Here's the story behind it.

[in print as Circle of life or rip-off? Remake renews dispute].

Washington Post July 27 2019, p. A11

Saturday, July 27, 2019

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest

By RM Rhodes

2019 is the year of endings. Lost amongst the hype surrounding the endings of Game of Avengers Wars franchises is the ending of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the heavily metafictional comic series by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. The first issues of the first volume were published in 1999, which means that this series has been running on and off for two decades.

The conceit of LOEG (as it is often shortened) is that every character (and the majority of the settings) are from some piece of fiction or another. Clearly, this involves a great deal of research, and part of the fun of the series is trying to identify who everyone is. Jess Nevins has been making annotations of the whole series, and his page does a great job of helping the reader catch all of the references. The annotations are not strictly necessary, of course. Alan Moore is, in addition to everything else, a commercial writer and he knows how to keep the story going for readers who can't be bothered to look up all of the Easter Eggs that he throws in.

Named after Shakespeare's last play, the final volume of LOEG is entitled The Tempest, and the last episodic installment was published in mid-July. As with everything that Alan Moore produces, the name was not chosen lightly. The original play is about the wizard Prospero giving up his magic and destroying his books. Being a fictional character, Prospero shows up in this volume as well, but his appearance is heavily based on Alan Moore himself, which makes it fitting that this volume is also Alan Moore's final goodbye to comics. This is very much him breaking his toys and going off to do something completely different.

For the majority of the series, the stories were all set in the past. It was not until the final issue of the previous volume, 2011's Century, that the characters were brought to the present day. The Tempest picks up mere days after the end of Century, and the protagonists are still picking up the pieces from the end of the previous story. Because it’s the end of the series, I’m going to shy away from anything more than a high-level plot synopsis.

The main characters are Emma Peel (from the Avengers TV show), Wilhelmina Murray (from Dracula), and Orlando (the transgender character based partially on the book by Virginia Woolf). Their principal protagonist is James Bond (who is never named, but it’s clearly him). There’s also a nice bit of business with the various other people who have played James Bond over the years. The interactions between these two groups are intimately wrapped up in everything that has come before in the series. A series that has been publishing sporadically for two decades and only has a handful of volumes is allowed to have a degree of continuity that recommends readers to start at the beginning.

The Tempest turns fully into the conceit of an entirely fictional universe, ultimately bringing about the end of the world. This makes sense because a lot fiction set in the far future posits some version of the end of the world around the beginning of the 21st century. As such, this story wraps up plot lines from the entire series and contains major revelations that upturn everything that the reader thought they knew about the story to date.

Apocalypses and end-of-the-world situations figure prominently in a lot of Alan Moore’s fiction. Some version of the idea has shown up in almost everything he’s done. This includes Captain Britain, Miracleman, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Swamp Thing, From Hell, Lost Girls, Promethea, Providence, and Jerusalem. It’s almost easier to find stories by Moore that don’t end with some form of apocalypse – personal, worldwide, or something in between.

In this case, the apocalypse is literal and a good portion of the plot turns on that destruction. The characters (and, thus, the readers) find out more details about the how and why of this ending was always inevitable. Along the way, the various characters settle scores and tie up a variety of loose ends. It’s a rousing romp of a story that travels all over the world, seeing places and doing things.

One of the things that makes this volume interesting is that every one of the six issues is formatted slightly differently. The first one is an homage to Classics Illustrated. The second one is an homage to science fiction comics of the 60s and 70s. The third is an homage to the romance comics of the 50s and 60s. The fourth is an homage to the venerable British children’s comic The Beano. The fifth is an homage to old EC-influenced horror comics from the 50s and 60s. The sixth is an homage to the British anthology comic 2000AD.

In some cases, the homages are only surface and don’t show up in the interior of the issue. The last issue features very strong 2000 AD homages in the interior, including the little credits box that looks identical to the original. Alan Moore cut his teeth writing for 2000 AD, so the homage feels a lot more heartfelt than some of the others.

Thanks to the wonderfully talented Kevin O’Neill, these stories are all over the place in an interesting and refreshing manner. A good portion of the story is told in one or two page stories that tell an entire storybeat. Each of them could stand alone as a solo story, and each of them is visually distinct, but they all tie into the larger plot in a very creative way. There’s an entire issue that contains extended visual homages to Jim Steranko’s run on Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD from the mid 60s, which is appropriate considering the spy motifs wrapped around the principal protagonist.

All in all, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a great series for people who want to get into comics but aren’t entirely certain about the whole superhero thing. The first volume leaned vaguely in that direction because the mainstream English-language comic book market is heavily dominated by that particular genre and any attempt to survive (much less thrive) in that environment had to market to the superhero buying demographic. However, by the time of The Tempest, Alan Moore has long since abandoned any concern or interest in picking up those readers. Part of that has to do with the changes to the comic book marketplace, but another part has to do with the fact that Alan Moore is a self-confessed cranky old man who is no longer interested in writing for that audience. More power to him.

From that perspective, LOEG in general (and The Tempest in particular) is a fascinating work from an elder statesman of comics who defined the shape of a lot of the comics material that is currently being produced – including a corporate-driven sequel to his most famous standalone work, Watchmen. As his final work, The Tempest serves as a very fitting epigraph to his entire comics career, marking a graceful ending to what is clearly one of his most personal visions.

The vast majority of people that have heard of LOEG are only familiar with the title because of the awful movie from 2003. If you are one of those people, but you liked the concept, you probably owe it to yourself to go out and pick up the first volume. If you liked that book, buy the rest because you’ll enjoy the whole series. The Tempest will be waiting patiently at the end, waiting for you to get caught up. The journey is worth the effort.

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Weldon reviews The Boys

Superhero Satire 'The Boys' Doesn't Have Much New To Say, But Says It Loudly

NPR on Catwad and on comics collections

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "Tears In Rain (Time To Die)"

"Tears In Rain (Time To Die)"

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Fabrications on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched debunked "scoops" glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

All those duds will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die.


"Only thing Mueller 'brought to life' today was what a dud Russiagate was & what a joke Democratic Party has become. Dems sound like unhinged lunatics calling clickbait/stolen emails an 'invasion' & spouting a series of debunked (some even by Mueller himself) 
conspiracy theories." –Aaron Maté on Twitter, 07.25.19

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Today - Saturday: Anime for All at Library of Congress

Select a date and time
1:00 PM
11:00 AM
10:00 AM

"Anime for All," a celebration of East Asian culture, mythology, pop culture and inspiration, will be held Thursday, July 25 through Friday, July 26, in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The film screening — along with a collection display of rare Japanese graphic art, a panel discussion on the emergence of Japanese hip-hop and a live Studio Ghibli performance — will showcase the evolution of Japanese storytelling traditions that have been transformed into modern forms of expressions and overall pop-culture fandom.

The events are free and open to the public. Tickets are available for some of the "Anime for All" activities, but are not required. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this event-ticketing site for more information and to secure your ticket. Entry is not guaranteed.

Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26
Thursday, July 25, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, July 26, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Whittall Pavilion, ground floor "Anime for All" Display
This display will trace the history of Japanese graphic arts, storytelling and warriors into the modern day. Visitors will see examples of handwritten scrolls from the early 19th century that feature illustrations and descriptions of swords crafted by 13th-15th century masters like Awataguchi Yoshimitsu, as well as multiple volumes of "The Legend of Gallant Jiraiya," an epic mid-19th century tale that follows the adventures of a ninja with magic powers. These beautifully illustrated books have influenced numerous later works, including the manga/anime series Naruto.

Visitors will also see woodblock prints depicting the fierceness and power of samurai, including a print of two figures grappling on the roof of Hōryūkaku Tower. Also on display are comic books inspired by historic Japanese figures and stories, including Usagi Yojimbo and Samurai Penguin, woodblock prints of an Edo-period depiction of the Tanabata festival, and more.

Thursday, July 25, 2 p.m.
Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor
Film Screening
"Okko's Inn," a film by anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, presented by GKIDS. This film is rated PG. Visit this event-ticketing site for more information.

5:30 p.m. — 6:30 p.m., Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor
Samurai, Hip-Hop, and History: A Samurai Champloo panel
Join EyeQ, a Florida-based emcee, entrepreneur and performer, as he moderates a conversation with artists Shing02 and Substantial about the music of Samurai Champloo and the intersection of music, culture and history in Japan. Free and open to the public. Tickets are available, but are not required. Visit this event-ticketing site for more information.

7 p.m., North Lawn
BYTES & BEATS: Shing02 and FAT JON Substantial and Marcus D
Samurai Champloo 15th anniversary event
Shing02 and Fat Jon headline a unique concert celebrating the best of African-American and Japanese, eastern and western cultures combined. The lineup pairs some of the most exciting and relevant influencers in the anime-inspired hip-hop and lo-fi hip-hop universe with emcees who worked directly with groundbreaking composer/producer Nujabes on the hit television show "Samurai Champloo."

Tickets for this performance are available via Eventbrite, but are not required, on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and to secure tickets, visit this event-ticketing site. Entry is not guaranteed.

Presented as part of the Library's Summer Concerts on the Lawn series.

Friday, July 26
1 p.m. – 2 p.m., LJ 119, First floor Jefferson Building
Kihara Hirokatsu and Diana Garnett

In this program for children and their families, Studio Ghibli writer, producer and director Kihara Hirokatsu will discuss his experience in Japanese anime production and the inspirations for Totoro and other animated films. Together with singer and voice actress Diana Garnett, Hirokatsu will share the joys of creating an animated film. Free and open to the public. Tickets are available, but are not required. Visit this event-ticketing site for more information.

The series will conclude on Saturday, July 27 at 10 a.m. in the Washington Convention Center with a panel discussion featuring Library of Congress experts on various ways Otakon audiences can connect with the Library of Congress and its resources. An Otakon 2019 ticket is required for attendance. For more information on Otakon, visit this site (