Sunday, November 02, 2008

That darn Agnes

Pope Trashed
Washington Post Saturday, November 1, 2008; Page A13

At first I thought I must have misread the "Agnes" comic strip you published Oct. 29. How do you justify publishing such a vitriolic attack on the beloved Pope John XXIII? The comic frivolously associated him with a 12th-century mass murderer.

Anti-Catholic slants seem to be acceptable in The Post. Would you have allowed such a mention of a figure from another religion?

-- Jean Shema

Friday, October 31, 2008

Good stuff in today's papers

"Godzilla's Older, Creepier Cousins: Beings Such as Filth Licker Haunt Japanese Culture," By Blaine Harden, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, October 31, 2008; A01. This is about creatures called yokai, who are apparently roughly equivalent to goblins and boggarts. Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are a married couple have written a book about them, when not translating manga.

The animated movie Fear(s) of the Dark was also reviewed in "Gripped (at Times Loosely) by Fear," By Neely Tucker, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, October 31, 2008; Page C06.

Meanwhile in the Post's Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna's interviewed a bunch of cartoonists about the election including locals Telnaes, Sorenson, and Wuerker in "Who'll Win the White House? Cartoonists Issue Their Predictions" as well as decidedly non-local Garry Trudeau in "Obama Wins? Yes, 'Doonesbury' Calls the Election!"

And on Disney's direct to video movie and Fairies product line is "Disney Hoping 'Tinker Bell' Spreads Fairy Dust on Sales" By BROOKS BARNES, New York Times October 31, 2008.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Comics articles in Thursday's papers

The Washington City Paper has reviewed the film Fear(s) of the Dark - it's animated, and based on the works of famous cartoonists Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire.

Steve Niles' Cal McDonald and Criminal Macabre artist is interviewed in "ZADZOOKS: Nick Stakal's lifelong love of art," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Thursday October 30, 2008.

New Ware and the Joker are "Bennett's Best for the week of October 26," Zadzooks Blog October 30 2008.

The Onion has a hilarious article on Bazooka Joe which is now online, and an interview with comic book store owner, writer and filmmaker Kevin Smith which is.

OT: Phil Jupitus' latest BBC interview with Zippy

Since I've linked to the others, here's Phil Jupitus' October 28th interview with Zippy's Bill Griffith.

Eiserike on Ultimate Spider-Man

I owe Josh a review of his comic book that I picked up at SPX but haven't had a chance to read yet. In my defense, I haven't read anything I picked up at SPX yet, including athe minicomics. So instead of the review, read "Column: For the love of Spider-Man and Mary Jane," By Josh Eiserike, October 30, 2008.

Someday soon I hope to get around to reading and reviewing some of the books from SPX including Josh's and some manga from Fanfare that I both bought and was kindly given by Deb Aoki who writes about manga for

Chance visit in DC causes lifetime of collecting

See "Political cartoons inspired alumnus; Michael Kahn, a UCLA graduate of 1970, boasts an extensive collection of more than 75,000 images," by Max Schneider, Daily Bruin Tuesday, October 28, 2008.

The article begins, "Michael Kahn remembers the moment he fell in love with political cartoons... The UCLA alumnus, who graduated in 1970, was studying in Washington D.C. and while visiting his professor’s apartment with his class, he saw something that struck a chord."

OT: Ask Bob Mankoff, the New Yorker cartoon editor a question

The New Yorker cartoon issue is shipping now, although I haven't looked at mine yet. They've got some online features including a selection of Luckovich cartoons and a Bob Mankoff Q&A. I had a drink with Mankoff once, along with some other cartoonists. He's got a keen appreciation of humor and cartooning as well as a very good grasp of the economics of cartooning.

Questions for Bob Mankoff

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor, takes questions about the November 3, 2008, Cartoon Issue, the Cartoon Caption Contest, and drawing for the magazine.

Submit questions for Mankoff here; he will post his answers later in the week. Your questions may be edited for length and clarity, and
will be answered at The New Yorker’s discretion.

Gaiman's The Graveyard Book - Politics and Prose book of the week.

Politics and Prose's BOOKS OF THE WEEK
(20% off through 11/5)

“It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will…take a graveyard.” And so the living baby, Nobody (Bod) Owens, is adopted and raised by the folk of the graveyard. They grant Bod “Freedom of the Graveyard,” teaching him to pass through walls and see in the dark, just like the dead do. Bod encounters adventures and dangers in the graveyard, but the greatest danger lurks just outside its gates: the man, Jack, who murdered Bod’s family and intends to finish the job. Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman weaves a creepy tale for all ages and any time of year in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (HarperCollins, $17.99). Ages 9 and up. • Heidi Powell

Nov 23: David Rees at Busboys and Poets

Here's the slightly edited (to take out a review copy offer and modify an F-word that a filter might choke on) - I plan on going to this. Rees has been in DC a lot, but I've never been able to make it to see him. Busboys and Poets is a cool place too. And note that bit about Rees putting his profits into land mine removal - wow.

Are you planning your post-election elegies for the Bush regime yet?

David Rees, creator of the infamous Get Your War On cartoon, will be making people laugh at Busboys and Poets (1025 5th Street, NW (5th and K), Washington DC) on Sunday, November 23, at 6pm.

Check out the latest animated strip at the Huffington Post blog:

In the aftermath of 9/11, when experts and citizens rallied behind President George W. Bush and his worldwide "War on Terror," a scrappy internet comic called "bullshit" on the whole undertaking and never looked back.

It's taken years for conventional wisdom to catch up to Get Your War On.

David Rees's infamous cartoon—which went on to be serialized in Rolling Stone, adapted for the stage, and animated—isn't just a caustic analysis of American foreign policy. It's also an emotional kaleidoscope of American life and absurdity, from October 9th, 2001, when American bombs first fell in the poverty-stricken, terrorist safe haven of Afghanistan, to 2008, when bombs continue to fall in the poverty-stricken, terrorist safe haven of Afghanistan. (There's some stuff about Iraq in the middle, too.)

Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008 illustrates better than any artist, politician, or pundit the true state of America's soul--its violence and its compassion.

And it's f*cking hilarious.

"Riotous and principled."--Washington Post

"Brilliant."--USA Today

"[T]he Thomas Nast of the internet."--Comedy Central

"[H]ilariously deadpan fatalism . . . a surprisingly articulate expression of our anxieties."--Newsweek

"Rees [is] a phenomenal cult hero."--Variety

"A glorious excoriation of our post-9/11 loony bin."--New York Times

"The most original cartoon to emerge since . . . well ever. Raw, enraged, sardonic, hilarious, despairing, and impossible to pigeonhole."--Rolling Stone

About the Author:
David Rees was working a crummy magazine job when Operation: Enduring Freedom inspired him to make his cartoon Get Your War On. The satire about the war on terrorism became an Internet phenomenon—sales of the two GYWO books have raised almost $100,000 for land mine removal in western Afghanistan, it has been published in British, French, Spanish, and Italian editions, and it has been adapted for the stage by the Austin theater company the Rude Mechs. His comics have appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, the Guardian, the Village Voice, and the Nation. He currently lives in Beacon, NY.

Sun, Nov 23, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Busboys and Poets
1025 5th Street, NW (5th and K), Washington DC
Come Get Your War On with David Rees at the 5th and K location of Busboys and Poets (DC). David Rees will presumably be reading from his newly released book, Get Your War On, or he could also be talking to us about... whatever he wants. You'll never know unless you check it out! It's at Busboys and Poets @ 5th & K 1025 5th Street NW Washington, DC 20001 for more info, the Busboys' website:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dec 6: Grave of the Fireflies anime at Freer

Gorgeous Entertainment Presents New Anime Masterpieces Film
"Grave of the Fireflies" at the Freer's Meyer Auditorium

Washington, DC-Anime Masterpieces, a new series highlighting the best in Japanese animated feature films, presents "Grave of the Fireflies," Saturday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m., in the Freer Gallery of Art's Meyer Auditorium. The film is followed by a panel discussion with leading authorities on the subject of Japanese animation, or anime.

Produced by New York-based company Gorgeous Entertainment, the series is aimed at enhancing the understanding and appreciation of the Japanese art of anime. At each screening, audience members are given study guides containing essays by eminent scholars of Japanese pop culture and animation, which are supplemented by numerous images from the film.

Major support for the series is provided by the Japan External Trade Organization. Arrangements for the screening are also made possible by Central Park Media, the U.S.-based distributor for the film.

The winner of several international film awards, "Grave of the Fireflies," written and directed by Isao Takahata, chronicles the experiences of two children as they valiantly struggle to survive amidst the ravaged landscape of Japan during World War II. It is considered by many critics as one of the most moving anti-war films ever made. Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert calls the film "an emotional experience so powerful it forces a rethinking of animation."

The panel discussion features Pulitzer prize-winning historian John W. Dower, author of "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II"; Japanese literary authority Susan J. Napier, author of "Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle"; and manga and anime historian Frederick L. Schodt, author of "Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics."

The next scheduled screening of "Grave of the Fireflies" is Feb. 11, 2009, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The next film in the Anime Masterpieces series is "Tekkonkinkreet" and is available for screenings courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment beginning January 2009. For more information, visit or contact Kenji Kono at (212) 398-7145 or e-mail at

Up to two free tickets per person to the "Grave of the Fireflies" screening at the Meyer Auditorium will be distributed one hour before show time. For a listing of all featured films, please visit

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the National Mall. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries, the public is welcome to visit For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

# # #

1050 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20013
Metro: Smithsonian

Editor and Publisher on what a great guy Dave Astor is...

...isn't it a shame they had to lay him off? Here's the article - "Astor Hailed on Departure from 'E&P' After 25 Years," By Greg Mitchell, October 29, 2008. No word yet on whether or not they gave him a gold watch along with the push.

Washington after a new young President, almost 50 years ago

Ger Apeldoorn has posted Washington Frontier Sketches by Ed Fisher reporting on DC after Kennedy's election from Help #10... ...the more things change...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NY Times article suggests cutting newspaper content may not help circulation

Those who aren't just downloading the Joker pumpkin pattern may recall that in reporting on Dave Astor's firing I suggested that reducing the content of a publication wasn't a good way to keep readers. Here's a NY Times article in which that point is made by people paid to know these things:

Analysts have warned in recent years that by offering steadily less in print, newspapers were inviting readers to stop buying. Most papers have sharply reduced their physical size — fewer and smaller pages, with fewer articles — and the newsroom staffs that produce them.

“It just seems impossible to me that you’re cutting costs dramatically without having some impact on the editorial quality of your product,” said Peter Appert, a newspaper analyst at Goldman Sachs. “I can’t prove that this is driving circulation, but it’s certainly something that if I were a newspaper publisher would keep me up at night.”

Knight Life hits the Sunday Post

Comic Riffs has the story of how it's replacing Opus.

The incredible shrinking Examiner cartoon

The Washington Examiner, Nate Beeler's home paper, has cut the size of its editorial cartoons in half again to about 3" x 4" - tiny in other words. They've got Nate doing a full cover color caricature for the front of the Sunday tabloid (and two other editons), but inside you can barely see the cartoon. When the paper started a few years ago, Nate's cartoon ran at about 1/3 of a page and they had two pages of comic strips which are now gone. I'm sensing a trend...

KAL illos in Washington Post Health section

Our Man Thompson may be gone from the Post's Health section, but today they've got two illustrations by the incomparable KAL. One is online.

Weingarten on Doonesbury and judging people by their comic strips

Two weeks of the Chatalogical Humor chat by Gene Weingarten leads to a couple of interesting observations on comics.

From Tuesday, October 14, 2008:

Gimmeabre, AK: I agree that Sarah Palin is singularly unqualified to be Vice President, let alone President. And I also grit my teeth whenever some yahoo starts spouting off about the sanctity of "family values." But I think Gary Trudeau went waaaay over the line in Sunday's "Doonesbury." Now, I know you are a regular worshiper at the Church of St. Gary, but since when is "stay-at-work mom" (which I think most people call, "working mother") pejorative? And who told Trudeau that Palin's last pregnancy was unplanned? And was the shot at Palin's pregnant daughter really warranted? Come on, Gene; man up, and admit that your hero blew it this time. Doonesbury, (Oct. 12)

Gene Weingarten: I had no problem with the shot at Bristol; Palin made Bristol a subject of public discussion, and the "family values' Republican mantra makes it germane. I wondered about the other things, too, though. And after I saw your posting, I emailed Garry about it. Here is his answer:

I believe that Palin has said herself that Trig was a surprise. Certainly her choosing to hide her pregnancy for many months suggests she didn't find it convenient. But planned or not, I regret including that detail for another reason; since Palin is married, it has no bearing on "family values". It's value-neutral, and I should have left it out.

"Stay-at-work Mom" is just a play on the "Stay-at-home Mom", once viewed as morally superior in family values universe. The general point, of course, is that conservatives have used family values as a bludgeon against liberals for many years, and that the general messiness of Palin's family life has complicated that line of attack. What Mark is saying is that despite our best intentions, life DOES happen, and as he makes clear in the last panel, he doesn't exempt himself. To him, the death of sanctimony is something to be celebrated.

and from October 28:

Washington, D.C.: My friends and I have been discussing: Is there any one book, movie, or TV show, that having as a favorite is an automatic deal breaker? What interests would prove to you that someone is totally unfunny, has a different worldview, and that this relationship would never work?

Some say "Da Vinci Code" as a favorite book is a deal breaker. The best example I've come up with is ruling out someone whose favorite television show is "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Gene Weingarten: Dan Quayle's favorite movie was, famously, "Ferris Beuller's Day Off."

I judge people by their taste in comic strips, where there are obvious and cliched deal breakers. But there are also subtle red flags. I'm worrying about someone who claims to like "Prickly City" or "Mallard Fillmore."

DowntheDrai, IN: Gene --

What was your reaction to Sunday's "Doonesbury?" I have trouble with this whole "attack Joe the Plumber" thing. For all you, I or Trudeau knows, Joe's a great plumber -- or maybe a terrible one -- but why should we care? The cartoon comes across as just a vicious personal attack on the guy for having the temerity to disagree with Obama.

So I figured there must be a deeper point being made -- some metaphor about the candidates -- but if Trudeau is trying to suggest that one of them will prove to be an inept bumbler who doesn't know what he's doing -- well, Obama's the one without the track record of accomplishment, but somehow I don't think that's where Trudeau was going.

Was this funny and I just missed it? Doonesbury, (Oct. 26)

Gene Weingarten: Yes, it was funny and you just missed it. First off, you need to understand that because of Sunday comic deadlines, Trudeau must have punched this out in minutes, the day after the last debate, when it became manifest that Joe the Plumber was not a licensed plumber.

Is this fair satire? Yep. Why? Because Trudeau knows exactly as much about Joe the Plumber as McCain apparently did before he hauled him out to be the CENTERPIECE of his failing, desperate campaign. McCain had already created this ridiculous stalking horse, and Trudeau is doing exactly what his job is: Exposing the hypocrisy behind it.

It doesn't matter whether Joe is a competent, unlicensed plumber. He's a caricature, and McCain made him one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Louts on Onion AV Club comment board attempt to tear down Cul de Sac

Noel Murray reviewed Our Man Thompson's first collection in "Comics Panel: October 27, 2008," concluding "Once Thompson gets into a groove, he produces one of the few strips around where nearly every individual panel is standalone delight… A-"

The first comments bash the strip around, but then more literate defenders come on strong. Although really, who cares? Besides Richard, that is. Don't read the first comments, Richard!

Catholic University has a comics collection... who knew?

Of course, they're all issues of a Catholic comic - Treasure Chest, which had some pretty good art. See "CUA Archives Holds Comic Book With First Known Depiction of Black President," by Justine Garbarino, Catholic University's The Tower October 27, 2008 for the link between Obama and Nostradamus.*

*A new rumor! You heard it here first!

That darn Washington Post

Even its Sunday comics are liberal! if only it's editorial page (with the notable exception of That Darn Toles) was...