Wednesday, December 17, 2008

OT: Kirk Anderson's new book of political cartoons

Political cartoonist Kirk Anderson wrote in (and note that Washington Post connection!) so I'll give him some electrons too (and coincidentally, here's an editorial he wrote that I just ran across):

My new book, Banana Republic: Adventures in Amnesia, is a collection of the weekly, quarter-page cartoons of the same name that ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune for years, a sort of serialized graphic novel in a mainstream family newspaper. The fictional banana republic of Amnesia parodies America's War on Terror. More information is below and at the website. I have been a political cartoonist for 20 years, including eight as the staff editorial cartoonist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. My work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Onion, Newsweek, and hundreds of other trusted publications around the world.

- Adventures in Amnesia -
the small backward Third World nation with hearts of silver and mines of gold

BANANA REPUBLIC follows the mischievous death squads and hilarious junta hijinks of Amnesia, a zany Third World dictatorship that is the polar opposite of America! In Amnesia, Generalissimo Wally engages in roughhousing practices we would consider unconstitutional in our own country, such as torture, warrentless surveillance, and imprisonment without charge! Why, even secret prisons are not unheard of! Unlike the advanced American system, the Amnesian regime only serves the wealthy elite, not the peasant classes; in fact, politicians openly take money from wealthy businessmen with direct financial stakes in pending legislation! From the Amnesians' overflowing prisons to their state propaganda, from their crippling foreign debt to their questionable elections, from their privately contracted paramilitaries to their millions without basic health care, you'll be chuckling, "Thank God WE don't live in a banana republic!"

"Kirk Anderson is an outrageously bold and talented cartoonist. [Banana Republic] entertained me hugely... a hilarious education in recent history." – Howard Zinn, historian and author of A People's History of the United States

OT: Mark Doeffinger cartoon blog

This one came over the transom a few days ago. I don't know Mark, nor where he's based, but with the market for a lot of cartoonists imploding, I figured there's no reason not to use a few electrons to try to help:

I just started a website which is also a blog of my cartoons. I update my cartoons 5 to 6 days per week. The address of my website is:

The cartoons are, I hope, witty and clever. If you like my cartoons, I would appreciate it if you would tell your readers about my website. I have been drawing cartoons for many years.

Many thanks.

Mark Doeffinger

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The It's a Small World Department

My correspondence buddy Wim Lockefeer (we trade comics ephemera and stamps) has put up his best of the year list and on it is Chris Grine's Chickenhare: Fire in the Hole. Our Man Thompson sat next to Chris at HeroesCon this year so we talked to him quite a bit. I wholeheartedly agree with Wim's endorsement - I bought both of his books for my daughter.

That darn Oliphant... and the Post too!

Bygod, the Post isn't coordinating its editorial page, its syndicated editorial cartoons and its news reporting! For details, see "Forty miles (and some fuel): Oliphant and Washington Post ignorantly smear GM and plug-in hybrids," by Joseph Romm (Guest Contributor), Grist 15 Dec 2008. Cartoons aren't meant to be funny apparently, but should be educational and truthful without exaggeration. We should call them something else maybe. Any suggestions?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shrek the Musical reviews

This just seems like a bad idea to me, but then again I didn't like the movies.

"The Belching Green Ogre Has a Song in His Heart," By BEN BRANTLEY, New York Times December 15, 2008

"Here Comes 'Shrek.' Hold Your Nose," By Peter Marks, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, December 15, 2008; C01

and here's Bloomberg News just to be different: "Lovable Shrek, Fiona Animate Broadway’s New Cartoon," Review by John Simon.

Best Wishes to Greg McElhatton

ComicsDC sends our Best Wishes to Greg McElhatton, who had some surgery today. I usually only run into Greg once a year at SPX which he's worked on. It's amazing how spread out the DC comics community can be.


By John Judy

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #581 by Dan Slott and Mike McKone. So how did Harry Osborn come back to life anyway?

AVENGERS INITIATIVE #19 by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli. Okay, so the Skrull invasion ended a week or so ago but some of these titles are still catching up with the Big Fights and such. Watch Dan Slott make it work. It’s eerie.

BEANWORLD HOLIDAY SPECIAL ONE-SHOT written a drawn by Larry Marder. Dark Horse Comics gives us the first new BEANWORLD in over a decade. Reads a bit like LITTLE NEMO. Looks a bit like nothing else. Not saying you should alter your consciousness before reading but neither am I saying you shouldn’t.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #20 by Jeph Loeb, Georges Jeanty and Eric Wright. A Buffy comic inspired by the Buffy animated series that never was. And yes, you can detect a distinct SCOOBY-DOO influence.

DARK REIGN: NEW NATION #1 by Lotsa People. Basically giving you the lay of the new Marvel Universe, post-Skrull, in the Age of Osborn.

DCU HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2008 by Various Creators. Your yearly anthology of all-ages fun. Makes a great stocking stuffer!

EX MACHINA #40 by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris. A stand-alone story of Mayor Hundred’s search for a biographer who can do graphic novels. Such a cool series. Recommended.

GHOST RIDER #30 by Jason Aaron and Tan Eng Huat. League of Extraordinary Ghost Riders? Ghost Rider League of America? The X-Ghost Riders? There’s more than one is what I’m getting at here…

HELLBLAZER #250 by Lots of Amazing Talent. Featuring five tales of John Constantine and the holidays. Your must-have Vertigo book of the month!

MIGHTY AVENGERS #20 by Brian Michael Bendis and Khoi Pham. The Wasp is dead. We’re almost certain of it. Set your resurrection clocks… NOW!

PUNISHER MAX #65 by Gregg Hurwitz and Laurence Campbell. Punisher versus Jigsaw in old Mexico. The fur will fly. Not for kids.

PUNISHER WAR ZONE #2 of 6 by Garth Ennis and Tony Harris. Ma Gnucci is challenging Jigsaw for the title of “Punisher Foe Who Remains Alive Beyond All Reasonable Expectation.” It’s Ennis so expect depravity on a Roman scale. Recommended.

SPIDER-MAN: NOIR #1 of 4 by David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky. Based on the excellence of X-MEN: NOIR I’m already calling this the coolest alternate universe in years! Iconic Marvel characters done up thirties gangland style. “Wid great power dere comes watchya call yer great responsibility, see?” Recommended!

SUPERGIRL #36 by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle. SG’s dad, Zor-El, just got kryptonite-lasered through the heart. Hope he’s okay.

THUNDERBOLTS #127 by Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre. The old order changeth. The hard way. Will Songbird survive Bullseye’s undivided attention? Gotta look!

WALKING DEAD #56 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Kirkman/Adlard trees bear strange fruit. Brrr… Not for kids. Recommended.

X-MEN LEGACY #219 by Mike Carey and Phil Briones. Professor X versus Juggernaut. This could be a real short issue….

Noon Today: Washington Post Chat with Blind Comic Artist

Andre Campbell and David Rowell
Comic Artist; Washington Post Magazine Articles Editor
Monday, December 15, 2008; 12:00 PM

Andre Campbell's vision is severely limited, which hasn't stopped him from pursuing his dream of making it as a comic book artist. But will he ever see success?

Andre Campbell, president of Heritage Comics HSQ, and Washington Post Magazine articles editor David Rowell will be online Monday, December 15 at 12 noon ET to discuss Rowell's cover story, "Comic Book Hero."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boys of Steel author pics

Marc Tyler Nobleman was in town yesterday to sign his children's biography of Siegel and Shuster, Boys of Steel. This was just a signing with no remarks, but I did ask how he got Ross MacDonald as the artist. It was the publisher's idea. Worked out well, I think. He's hoping to do a book on Batman writer/artist Bill Finger too.
100_6601 Nobleman Boys of Steel

100_6602 Nobleman Boys of Steel

Aftertime Comics store

100_6609 Aftertime Comics
Since 1985, Aftertime Comics has been in Old Town Alexandria on the end of King Street closer to the subway. It's a small store as you can tell from the photos, but they've always crammed a good assortment of comics and books into it. When I stopped in yesterday, I found some obscure stuff:

You Are Maggie Thatcher by Hunt Emerson and Pat Mills
Fandom: Confidential by Ron Frantz
Don Rosa Collection II: The Adventures of Captain Kentucky (Swedish edition!) by Don Rosa

This isn't stuff you could find in most comics stores, including my store, Big Planet. Joel Pollack, founder of the BP chain wrote in to say, "Aftertime is an amazing use of space. Great store, and you can quote me on that."

The address is 1304 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-548-5030.

100_6608 Aftertime Comics

100_6606 Aftertime Comics

100_6605 Aftertime Comics

100_6607 Aftertime Comics

President Bill (not Clinton)

At a used book store yesterday, I ran across President Bill by William L. Brown. This panel used to run in the Washington City Paper in the late 1980s - the Bill is not Clinton, but Bill of Takoma Park, MD who is chosen at random to be the president. Bill's pretty left-wing and had some odd ideas about how to run a country. Brown's artwork was done on scratchboard, leading to a woodcut-like look. The book has an introduction by Jules Feiffer. The story holds up okay, especially after the past 8 years.

Brown still does illustrations every once in a while for Washington papers.

Big Planet on USA Today's Pop Candy blog

I didn't even know that Pop Candy blogger Whitney Matheson was based in DC, but she's moved to New York and has a list of things she misses about DC - one of which is 24. Well-organized shelves at Big Planet Comics.

Somehow I never ran into her and I'm sorry I missed her.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bettie Page in Post and Times

Bettie Page was a pinup model who was rediscovered by a later generation of comic book fanboys, particularly Dave Stevens, the Rocketeer cartoonist. Here's some articles about her:

"Bettie Page, Queen of Pinups, Dies at 85," By ROBERT D. McFADDEN, New York Times December 12, 2008.

"Bettie Page; '50s Cheesecake Icon Revered as Queen of Retro Kitsch," By Joe Holley and Matt Schudel, Washington Post Staff Writers, Saturday, December 13, 2008; B05.

"Bettie Page Let Us Peep, Perchance To Dream," By Stephen Hunter, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, December 13, 2008; C01.

"An Appraisal - Always Comfortable in Her Own Skin," By MANOHLA DARGIS, New York Times December 13, 2008.

That darn Toles, continued

Another winning letter to the editor!

Balancing Toles
Washington Post December 13 2008

Here's a suggestion: Why not use a conservative cartoonist a couple of times a week, as a supplement to Tom Toles?

If that doesn't appeal to you, perhaps you could at least find some neutral cartoonist who might dilute the harsh liberalism of Mr. Toles's agenda.

-- Jim Welch


Editorial cartoonist Rob Tornoe laid off

The Daily Cartoonist is reporting that editorial cartoonist Rob Tornoe was laid off. Rob isn't based around DC, but he has provided us with tips. The DC article says he's working on a freelance career and I wish him the best of luck.

Today: Beatles animator in Frederick, MD

Animator Ron Campbell will be in Frederick, MD today - see "Beatles cartoon artist to write, tell stories at rock show," By Lauren LaRocca, Frederick News-Post December 12, 2008 which gives this information:

If you go

What: “100.7 The Bay Classic Rock Art Show”

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Where: Town Mall of Westminster (in front of Belk), 400 N. Center Drive, Westminster

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pentagon and Marvel propaganda comic books program questioned

"Exclusive: Pentagon Pro-Troop Group Misspent Millions, Report Says," By Noah Shachtman, December 12, 2008. These comics, credited to AAFES, are sometimes available at Walter Reed. They're not good. As I read this article, the comics in particular are not a problem, and it's the whole program instead.

Thanks to Tim for the tip.

Zadzooks interviews Joshua Ortega; Baltimore City Paper's Krall interviewed

"ZADZOOKS: Writer's career in high gear," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Thursday, December 11, 2008.

Also I've been noticed Daniel Krall's work in the Baltimore City Paper - here's an article on him "Up and Coming: Daniel Krall," By Chris Arrant, 10 December 2008.

Post's Source section has list of best comics

This year's list - "The Best Books, CDs, Comics, DVDs and Video Games of 2008," Washington Post Sunday, December 7, 2008; N05.

Reminder - Nobleman speaks on Boys of Steel on Saturday.

I'll be there.

Bechdel, Delgo, Shag and Azur reviews in today's papers

Although the Blade ran Dykes to Watch Out For for years, albeit badly running it years out of date (literally! They were running pre-election cartoons a year after Bush was in office), you'd never know it now. They did run a minor review of the last book today though - "Blah-battling books: Sedaris, Bechdel collections perfect tonics for holiday blues," KATHI WOLFE, Washington Blade December 12, 2008.

Meanwhile the animated film Delgo, which had a really bad trailer in my opinion, isn't getting good reviews either:

"'Delgo': Colorful but Convoluted," Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Friday, December 12, 2008; WE30.

"Something Rotten in the State of Jhamora (Ask Freddie Prinze Jr.)," By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS, New York Times December 12, 2008

French animation comes off slightly better than the Atlantans did:
"'Azur & Asmar': Less Is More," Jen Chaney, Washington Post Friday, December 12, 2008; WE30.

Finally, Shag, who does 1960 cartoony-type paintings and had a show here in DC a couple of years ago that I liked, has one in NYC now - "Art in Review," New York Times December 12, 2008. It's on the second page of the reviews.

Sunday Post magazine on blind comic book artist

See "Comic Book Hero: Andre Campbell's vision is severely limited, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his dream of making it as a comic book artist. Will he ever see success?" By David Rowell, Washington Post Magazine Sunday, December 14, 2008; W08.

From Off the Streets of Cleveland Comes ... Harvey Pekar's opera

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

The Interview: Pixar Animator Angus MacLane

By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog December 11, 2008;

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My local Borders is pushing Watchmen

Sorry for the crappy quality of these cellphone photos. I just got it and don't quite know what I'm doing. I think you can tell that the Borders at Baileys Crossroads, VA is making a major push on Watchmen though. They've also recently separated the 'graphic novels' from the manga.

Local cartoonist Eiserike on the price of comics

"The tipping point is $4 for a comic book," By Josh Eiserike, December 11, 2008.

Posy Simmond's new book recommended

My friend Chris Mautner recommends Posy Simmond's new book (which I loved) in "Graphic Lit: Tamara Drewe," Panels and Pixels blog Wednesday, December 10, 2008. I think she's got 3 books available in the US now and you should buy them all.

Remember when the Post's Weekend section used to run Tom the Dancing Bug?

Yeah, me too. I actually read the Weekend section back then. Of course they also ran separate movie reviews and not Reader's Digest versions of the Style section ones. Anyway, here's Bolling on creating the strip that we won't see in print this week: This Week's Comic -- And It's Origins, In Excrutiating Detail, December 02, 2008

Staake tops Time's list

Art Cafe (really?), Bob Staake's webmaster, wrote in to remind me that Staake's New Yorker cartoon was picked as the year's best magazine cover by Time Magazine.

I must say, Staake can work in a bunch of styles. This cover is nothing like what he does for the Post on Sundays, and I've got some of his how-to books which are well-worth having.

Jan 9: Tom Toles on stage and t-shirts

See "D.C.'s 'Journopalooza' Tickets Go on Sale," By E&P Staff, December 10, 2008 for details and Journopalooza's site for the tickets and t-shirt sales and the Suspicious Package section for more information on Toles' second career.

Dec 15: KAL on stage in Baltimore

From "Pan & Praise: Put a wrap around Christmas," By Emily Campbell, Jessica Novak, Examiner Staff Writers 12/11/08:

» Stoop Holiday Hoopla: The phrase “holiday high jinks” usually makes me vomit. But in the hands — or rather mouths — of seven Stoop Storytellers such as cartoonist Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher and Mayor Sheila Dixon, their true, personal stories of holiday high jinks should amuse, entertain or at the very least make you feel better about your own personal lows during the most wonderful time of the year. Details: 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore; $20; 410-783-8021;

French animation in DC

See "Azur & Asmar," By Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper December 12, 2008 for a review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Richard Thompson's Obama line of clothing

More money to spend!

I'm getting the button though.

Speaking of lewd comic strips... 9 Chickweed Lane cartoonist deflowers characters

One of the strips I really like that's not in Washington papers has had some hot moments lately. The main characters of 9 Chickweed Lane, Edda (the girl) and Amos (the boy) rather obviously lost their virginity during the week of November 4th. IIRC, their virginal status was a main point in the news a couple of years ago. However, no one else picked this story up and I thought I might be way off in spite of strips like November 8th.

You can follow the whole story, including the voyeurism of the whole city of Brussels (November 13th) and quickies in the men's room (November 24th), at this link. It'll take a while to load.

Bob Harvey confirmed the story on his subscription website's Rants and Raves column.
Bob wrote:

McEldowney displayed the same surpassing skill in October and November, when Edda and Amos succumb to the inevitable. McEldowney handles this delicate matter with great humanity and comedic agility. He's an authentic storytelling master in the medium. No one can surpass him; Trudeau has, on various matters, equaled McEldowney in skill, subtlety and flair, but no one has surpassed him...

The visual device by which McEldowney depicts the deflowering of Edda and Amos is sheer genius—entwining hands. Breath-taking...

...Yet Chickweed Lane is in fewer than, oh, 70 papers. The rest of America doesn't know what it's missing.

When I asked McEldowney about this episode, he e-mailed back: "I'd been thinking about this sequence for a long time, mainly because the characters were edging that way all on their own. A lot of reader commentary has erupted over it, in particular warring camps representing love and romance vs. morality (with a smattering of concern over cartoon characters as role models). Me? I just think it is fiction, two characters, and a story. Getting away with it has been the tricky part. Not a word was ventured by my syndicate, United Feature, much to their credit—and it must have caused them moments of concern. The thing is, the story is not over yet. I'm still
tiptoeing along the tight rope."

I like this strip. We need it in the Post. And then they can censor it.

Weingarten's chat on 38-year-old Dennis the Menace panel

Gene Weingarten's chat yesterday had quite a bit on a 38-year-old Dennis the Menace panel and it's possible racism.

The cartoon is here.

The poll based on the cartoon is here.

Here's Weingarten and his chatters on the cartoon. For what it's worth, Weingarten's right, the gag is ok, but just ok.

Missing Option in Survey: The first question does not provide an option for those of us who didn't find the cartoon offensive in the slightest.

Gene Weingarten: We don't care about you.


Postraci, AL: I can't imagine the cartoonist intended the Dennis piece to be hurtful, but it is hard to believe that in 1970 someone could be so ignorant and/or oblivious as to be unaware that this was in bad taste. In comparison, consider the character of Franklin in Peanuts who was introduced about the same time, maybe even a bit earlier. Clearly black, but drawn and scripted without any stereotyping characteristics at all.

Gene Weingarten: Franklin debuted in 1968. The amazing thing is that his race was, to my memory, never mentioned. He was just another Peanuts kid.

It was an intelligent and gracious act by Schulz. He once got a letter from a southern newspaper editor asking him not to put Franklin in a schoolroom with white kids.

Franklin always sat in front of Peppermint Patty in the classroom. Schulz never changed that.


Race Relatio, NS: It was 38 years ago, which puts me in high school, but I remember that cartoon. I don't think I remember any other Dennis the Menace cartoons, since it was the Garfield of its day, still running in a lot of newspapers though never funny, clever or insightful at all. I remember my jaw dropping. I could visualize it even before using the link to confirm my memory.

By 1970, we'd come a long way since Amos and Andy were played by white guys on the radio in the 30s. All in the Family premiered just one year later, with George Jefferson as a regular character, so the sensibilities of the times had most certainly passed Hank Ketchum by even in the cultural arena. And this was seven years after the I Have A Dream speech, and two years after Memphis. It was appalling then, and it's appalling now.

Gene Weingarten: It was appalling then, yep. Ketcham had to issue an apology, though it was grudging and half-hearted. See next post.


Curacao, Netherlands Antilles: The absolute worst thing about that comic in the poll is that it JUST ISN'T FUNNY.

I mean the punchline is delivered in such a way as to totally trip over the joke. I mean that if it were delivered correctly, the joke can't even aspire to a "Family Circus" level of lame humor. I mean that even if I were like a KKK member or something, I wouldn't see the laughs in saying "This other kid runs faster than me!"

The only way that joke works is if you find the drawing laugh-worthy. Since I found the drawing horribly offensive, I hope you'll agree with me that this may well be the unfunniest strip I've ever seen on the comics page.

Gene Weingarten: Now, I disagree with this, and with most of you in the poll.

I believe that if Ketcham had drawn Jackson as a normal kid, this cartoon would have not only been acceptible, but pretty darn good. A worthy punchline, and one with a little bit of a social punch.

I'm not sure I've seen, or would have seen by then, a joke relying on confusion between "race" as ethnicity and "race" as running. Imagine a slight tweaking of this comic:

Let's say that Ketcham had drawn it -- as he has been known to do -- in two panels, not one. And in the first, Dennis says that he has a "race" problem with Jackson (again, who looks normal.) And in that first panel, Henry Mitchell looks concerned. And in the second panel, Dennis elaborates: Jackson runs faster than he does, and Henry looks relieved.

Pretty good comic! Raise the specter of something bad, defuse it, make the point that kids don't see race. That is actually what Ketcham was ham-fistedly TRYING to do, though he failed spectacularly.

But even without the two-panel treatment, the joke would have been the same, had Ketcham drawn this thing with a modicum of sensitivity.

What you would be left with was the question of whether it was insensitive to trade in the racial stereotype that black people run faster. I think I could have defended that, because that interpretation would be in the mind of the reader.

I know. Y'all disagree with me on this.

Dennis: Gene, people don't disagree with you on the comic. People aren't getting the pun.

Gene Weingarten: Is that it? Did people not get the "race" pun?


David Mills: I do kinda disagree, Gene... except that your two-panel alternative improves the joke a whole lot. It also improves it as social commentary, becoming about the father's discomfort.

Gene Weingarten: Right. True. I still think it would have worked, though. Just less well.

Post review of Little Spirit: Christmas in New York

Tom Shales didn't like tonight's new animated Christmas special Little Spirit: Christmas in New York. You can read why here. Should you still be curious about the movie, here's a video interview with one of the animators.

John Alvin exhibit at ArtInsights

This just came in from Leslie. ArtInsights is a nice gallery out in Reston - they've got a lot of cool things on the wall. For example, last time when I was reviewing Chiarello's Negro Leagues show, I saw an original Snow White cel. Cool stuff.

In addition to the following PR, Leslie writes that she's put some video interview footage on the web as well:

Here are the links to the 4 segments of the John Alvin interview:

and I think they got a young hipster to set up a myspace page.


December 10th, 2008

Leslie Combemale


Reston, VA - ArtInsights Animation and Film Art Gallery, one of the only three galleries worldwide to represent original art of top cinema artist John Alvin, has curated a show of original art highlighting the career of the famed illustrator, who died unexpectedly on February 6th of this year. The art is representative of his estate, and includes graphite concept and mixed media originals, as well as limited editions and interpretive works from a variety from the over 200 movie campaigns on which he worked. In addition to Star Wars, art from Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, The Lion King, Blade Runner, Darkman, Mulan, Dragonheart, Band of Brothers, and other film campaigns he influenced, on will be in the show. There will be art available for purchase. The exhibit will be on display through February 6th.

John Alvin is responsible for some of the most famous movie posters from the last 30 years, including E.T., Blade Runner, The Lion King, and Young Frankenstein, as well as more than 130 other films. He created art for numerous Star Wars film promotions and events. "The sale of art by John Alvin has very much effected the popularity of celebrity and film inspired art in the fine art market. John's career has influenced many of the illustrators and cinema artists working today, as they themselves will tell you", says Michael Barry, co-owner of ArtInsights. "He was collected by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Mel Brooks from the beginning of his career." His partner, Leslie Combemale, adds, "In the years we worked with John, we became close friends, but our respect for his place in film art history also continued to grow. We are sad for his loss as a friend, and as an artist. We are so proud and honored to have this retrospective of his career in our gallery." As part of the tribute, there is also an interview conducted by Leslie Combemale filmed in 2007 that is being released for the first time. Ms. Combemale says, "I never thought it would be the last interview he would do. John and I just did it for fun. We are putting the interview on YouTube so the greatest number of fans and film lovers can see it."

John Alvin worked as an illustrative artist in the film industry for over 35 years. He came into prominence by creating the art for the poster for Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles in 1974. He went on to design art for many films including E.T, which won the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards grand prize, and is the only movie art honored with the Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films. He has created more images for Spielberg films than any other single artist, including the poster art for "Empire of the Sun", "The Color Purple", "Always", "Jurassic Park", and, of course, "E.T". He also created a lot of specialized work for George Lucas and the "Star Wars" saga. Mr. Alvin's "Star Wars Concert" and "Star Wars Tenth Anniversary" posters are among the most collectible Star Wars art on the market today. Additionally, the Smithsonian Museum exhibited Alvin's "The Phantom of the Paradise" as one of the best posters of the 20th century. Later in his life he created exclusive images of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Alien, and Predator, among others, that were used for limited editions. John Alvin's name belongs to a short list of cinema art masters whose works have become icons in Hollywood's history.


ArtInsights, established in 1994, is a privately owned gallery located in Reston Town Center, in Virginia. With their collaboration with John Alvin, they added the art of the cinema to their specialization of creating and developing collections of animation art from Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, and all other major studios. With more than 30 combined years of experience in the animation art field, owners Michael Barry and Leslie Combemale work closely with individuals and corporations to ensure the integrity of their collections. ArtInsights is Virginia's only animation gallery and is the only gallery in the Washington Metropolitan area authorized to represent Warner Bros. and Hanna Barbera animation art to the public. They also have exclusive rights to sell original illustrative art by Harry Potter book cover artist Mary GrandPre, Heroes of the Negro Leagues artist and DC Comics art director Mark Chiarello, and Marguerite Henry and Phantom Stallion book cover artist John Rowe.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tatulli of Lio interviewed by his syndicate

Lio's one of my favorite strips in the Post. Universal editor John Glynn just posted 14 questions in "And now ... a very special interview with Mark "Lio/Heart of the City" Tatulli," December 8 2008. Tatulli speaks very well of Our Man Thompson's Cul de Sac therein.

Lewd melons joke in Luann

Actually I liked yesterday's Luann strip and its melons joke, but I'm sure that Greg Evans lost a bet somewhere along the line and had to do it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

OT: Francoise Mouly's Holiday Reading

Here's another essay from the Book Reporter blog: "Francoise Mouly: Holiday Reading," December 8 2008.


By John Judy

30 DAYS OF NIGHT: TIL DEATH #1 written and drawn by David Lapham. The old guard vampires are thinning out the new herd of reckless punks and one of them has gone to ground. What could go wrong? The creator of STRAY BULLETS and YOUNG LIARS brings his uniquely twisted perspective to the universe, post-Barrow.

ACTION COMICS #872 by Geoff Johns and Pete Woods. The original Creature Commandos are back. How great is that? Recommended.

ASTONISHING X-MEN: GHOST BOXES #2 of 2 by Warren Ellis, Clayton Crain and Kaare Andrews. Dark, dark alternate future stuff from that nice Mister Ellis, just the way you like it. Recommended.

BPRD: WAR ON FROGS #2 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and John Severin. The Bureau takes on Frog-Monsters, drawn by comics legend John Severin!

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13 #8 by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk. Really clever super-team adventures in the English way. Worth a butcher’s, wot?

FINAL CRISIS #5 of 7 by Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones and Carlos Pacheco. Evil is triumphant! Anti-Life holds dominion over all! Kegger at Darkseid’s! Whoooo!!!

FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS #4 of 5 by Greg Rucka and Philip Tan. If you’re a fan of Rucka, the Spectre and/or the new Question you’ll feel bad if you don’t read this. Hot Spear of Destiny action!

HERBIE ARCHIVES, VOL. 2 HC by Shane O’Shea and Ogden Whitney. Collecting issues #6-14 of the original Fat Fury, Herbie Popnecker, the most powerful endomorph ever to walk the Earth. Fun for all ages!

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes. A new arc that “integrates” the heroes of the much-missed Milestone Comics heroes into the mainstream DCU. For those of us who were there in the nineties this is very cool stuff indeed. Recommended, especially for those who like our super-teams visually distinguishable from an Elks Club meeting.

PUNISHER: WAR ZONE#1 of 6 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Maybe it was the excitement of the new movie but these crazy kids just couldn’t stay away from comicdom’s favorite pistol-packin’ vigilante! Or maybe it was the money. Nonetheless, it’s Ennis back on PUNISHER. Gotta look! Not for kids.

SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. So let’s talk about the New World Order in which psycho-villain Norman Osborn runs everything…

TRANSFORMERS MAXIMUM DINOBOTS #1 by Simon Furman and Nick Roche. Really this is just a reminder to myself to pick one up for my kid. Love those dinobots!

WATCHMEN #1 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Hey look! That new movie on the internets already has a comic book adaptation! Seriously, it’s a reprinting of one of the most important comics in history at its original 1986 cover price. Beyond recommended.

WOLVERINE: FLIES TO A SPIDER #1 by Gregg Hurwitz and Jerome Opena. Wolvie chops up some bikers for New Years. A tradition is born!

WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ #1 of 8 by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young. Bringing the L. Frank Baum classic to sequential paneled life! Good for all ages!

The Interview: "Mutts" Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell

By Michael Cavna, Washington Post Comic Riffs blog December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Crumb exhibit is excellent. But...

(Photos by Aaron Igler, from the ICA website)

We drove up today, had excellent cheesesteaks (is that one word?) at University City's Abner's Cheesesteaks, and then walked around the UPenn campus to the Institute of Contemporary Art for the last day of the R. Crumb's Underground exhibit. They didn't allow us to take pictures, but there's some on their website. The exhibit was originally curated by Todd Hignite and "coordinated at the ICA by Associate Curator Jenelle Porter."

The exhibit, which closed today, was fantastic... or at least the artwork was. The exhibit proper I was less happy with. Pieces were arranged in orders that weren't apparent - neither historical, nor by purpose, nor by media. Judging from the 4-page handout, which says, "Rather than a chronological retrospective, this career-spanning exhibition is organized around specific underlying themes and ideologies" which it then lists as 'Young Crumb,' 'Crumb Draws Crumb,' 'Counterculture,' 'Collaboration,' and 'Old-Time Tunes.' However none of the sections of art in the two cavernous rooms were labeled with these headings, nor were the brief descriptive paragraphs on the section in the brochure included in the actual exhibit. The pieces, except for those published in comic books, were frequently only labeled with the title and media so one could not necessarily place them in context. I happened to recognize two of his New Yorker strips done with his wife Aline, but many other viewers less familiar with his work wouldn't have known where "Fashion Week in New York" and "Cheering Global Villagism" were done for, facts that are relevant in terms of the lessening of some of Crumb's more scatalogical tendencies in the two strips. Interestingly, the artwork was uncolored which was something of a surprise to me as it appears in color in the magazine - my companion and I wondered if Crumb supervised the coloring or if it was done on a computer without him. Crumb's color New Yorker cover of Eustace Tilley as a young punk was included in the show, again without its publication information.
100_6571 Entrance to Crumb Exhibit, PhillyEntrance to exhibit
In spite of these cavils, the exhibit was filled with fantastic pieces, many loaned by Eric Sack. Included were napkins from restaurants that Crumb drew on, which have been the subject of several of his recent books, an Oog & Blik comics publisher's folder he drew a self-portrait on, the back cover of Zap Comix 0, "Early Jazz Greats" watercolor on paper paintings for a card set, his Patton strip which was also in the Masters of American Comics exhibit, Little Wonder Hot Book (1969) - a minicomic with Spain and S. Clay Wilson, original Mr. Natural pages from 1968-1969, the metal printing plate from Zap Comix 0, "Angel Food McSpade" and "Meatball" strips from Zap, and pages of jam comix and posters. A small case of published versions of his art included Zap Comix 1, 0 and 2, Help, Gothic Blimpworks, an American Greeting Card "Season's Greetings" from 1965, and 3 specimens of the unpublished comic he created with his brothers (as seen in the Crumb film).

More art highlights included a complete Fritz the Cat story from 1965, a 1987 Christmas card by Crumb, his wife and daughter, a CBNDI Belgian comics museum poster original and a sketchbook circa the 1960s. One wall had original artwork for comic book covers including Arcade #3 with a pasted-in Zippy by Bill Griffith and the book, R. Crumb's Head Comix. Crumb's work was generally only slightly larger than the published version and he seems to usually work 1 1/2x up. His style evolved somewhat during the 1960s, but by the end of the decade he'd settled into essentially the same one that he uses today although it's obvious that he takes more time and effort on his art now. Much of the material in the show came from a fine art gallery that presumably sells the artwork for him.

The exhibit was a fantastic overview of Crumb's career, even if sadly lacking in information on him. This trend towards treating comics artists solely as fine artists seriously misinterprets the essentially commercial component of comic book publishing, even in the undergrounds that Crumb worked in. However, anyone who likes his work would be well-advised to see the next site it travels to. The exhibit, as stated, was accompanied at the ICA by a four-page brochure and a poster was available for purchase.

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers movie? UPDATED

Did you know there was a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers movie? According to Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics, Gilbert Shelton's underground comic was adapted into a live action short, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Acquire a Groupie. This was around 1971 by a DC-area filmmaker whose company was Reel Meat. Joel did the promo art and showed it to me today. The filmmakers were Bill Pace and Celia Symbarski aided by Joel Jacobson. The actors were Jeff Wolfe as Fat Freddy, Tom Scott as Freewheelin' Frank, and Dave Eisner as Phineas. Bill Pace would be the only one likely to own a copy, Joel thinks. The movie disappeared when Shelton pulled his approval of the license.

Zadzooks back to toys

"ZADZOOKS: Silver Savage and Despero action figure reviews; Surfer is Savage to help Hulk," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times December 3, 2008.

And Bennett's best is Sgt. Rock and Umbrella Academy:

Bennett's Best for the week of November 23, Zadzooks Blog November 30 2008, By Greg Bennett.

Also on the blog are videos for "VIDEO GAME INTERVIEW: ESA's Mike Gallagher".

Off to see some Crumbs

A friend suggested we ride up to Philly to catch the last day of the traveling Robert Crumb show, so that's where I'll be today. If I don't already have someone reviewing it for IJOCA, I'll write one and post it here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

New York Times' comics gifts recommendations

It's tomorrow's news, but see "Holiday Books: Comics," DOUGLAS WOLK, New York Times Book Review December 7, 2008. I'm in agreement with the second half of his recommendations and although I haven't read 'Swallow Me Whole' yet, I do have it.

Al Rio's 2008 Wonder Woman postcard

The artist Al Rio sends out a postcard to people who will send a digital picture of them with it back to him. This year he drew a nice Wonder Woman card. I got mine in the mail and just sent him back the picture below.

100_6551 Al Rio Wonder Woman Special bonus points go to anyone who can name the books with it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Finding Bash on DC's streets

The editor's pointed out some new Bash information to me...

You'll notice the work of Sean Ford and Jeff Lok, both new to BASH. Sean's story ("Waiting for your Bro") along with 25 pages from Only Skin and a nine-page story called "Disappearing Kids" will be posted on the December Comic Calendar between the 7th and 10th. The continuation of Jeff Lok's Sam n' Dan will be posted the 16th-18th, 13 pages in all.

Here's their distribution list, which is not completely up-to-date, and has a few [modifications by me]:

Washington, D.C.:

18th and U Duplex: 2004 18th Street NW
American University at Nebraska Avenue/New Mexico
Art Gallery Grille at 1706 T Street NW
AU/Tenleytown Avenue Metro North
AU/Tenleytown Avenue Metro South
Brookland/CUA Metro
Bus Stop at 12th Street and H Street NE
Bus Stop at Ward Circle/Massachusetts Avenue
Capitol South Metro
Caribou Coffee at 1400 14th Street NW
Chinatown Gallery Plaza Metro: 7th and D Stree NW
Cleveland Park Metro: North
Columbia Heights Metro North
Convention Center: 7th and Mt. Vernon Place NW
Convention Center: 9th and Mt. Vernon Place NW
Corner of 28th and M Street NW [this one's gone - it was the one I used!]
Corner of Wisconsin and M Street NW
Cosi at 14th and H Street NW
DC Government 12th and U Street NW
Dunn Loring Metro
Dupont Circle Metro: Connecticut and Q Street NW
East Falls Church Metro
Eastern Market Metro
Farragut North Metro: L Street and Connecticut Avenue
Federal Center Metro: 3rd and D Street SW
Federal Triangle Metro: 12th NW
Five Guys: Wisconsin Avenue @ Dunbarton Street NW
Foggy Bottom Metro
Friendship Heights Metro: 5230 Wisconsin Avenue
Friendship Heights Metro: Wisconsin @ Western
Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro at 9th and 6th Street NW
George Mason University Bus Stop
[Georgetown, Wisconsin at M, in front of PNC bank]
Georgetown University Hopital: Washington Circle at 23rd Street [actually George Washington]
Georgetown University Hospital 3800 Reservoir Road
Howard School of Business at 2600 6th Street
Howard University Bookstore: 2225 Georgia Avenue
Howard University Metro at 7th Street
Howard University: 6th and W Street NW
Judiciary Square Metro
L'Enfant Plaza Metro: 7th and MD Avenue SW
L'Enfant Plaza Metro: 8th and D Street SW
McDonald's 169 18th Street NW
McPherson Square Metro: 14th and I Street NW
McPherson Square Metro: 15th and T Street NW
Media and Public Affairs: 805 21st Street
Metro Center at 12th & G Street NW
Metro Center Metro: 11th and G Street NW
Mt. Vernon Square: 7th Street Convention Center
Navy Yard Metro: M Street and N.J. Avenue SW
PNC Bank: Wisconsin Avenue at M Street NW
Post Office: 2300 18 th Street NW
Potomac Avenue Metro: Potomac Avenue and PN Avenue
Safeway 1747 Columbia Road NW
Smithsonian Metro: 12th and Independence Avenue SW
Starbucks 1203: 19th Street @ M Street NW
Starbucks 1501 Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle
Starbucks 1600 U Street at New Hampshire Avenue
Starbucks 1801 Columbia Road NW
Starbucks 700 Connecticut Avenue at R Avenue
Starbucks at 1429 P Street NW
Starbucks: 7th and E Street NW
SunTrust: 1369 Connecticut Avenue at Dupont Circle
Takoma Park Metro
Tryst Lounge at 2457 18th Street NW
U St/African American Civil War Memorial at 13th
Van Ness/UDC Metro: North
Van Ness/UDC Metro: South
Waterfront Metro: 4th and M Street SW
Woodley Park/200 Metro


Ballston Metro
Braddock Road Metro
Clarendon Metro
Courthouse Road Metro
Crystal City Metro
Eisenhower Avenue Metro
Huntington Metro: Lower
Huntington Metro: Upper
Kings Street Metro
Pentagon City Metro: Borders Side
Pentagon City Metro: Ritz Side
Rosslyn Metro
Springfield Metro
Van Dorn Metro: Bus Side
Van Dorn Metro: Kiss and Ride Side
Vienna Metro: North
Vienna Metro: South
Virginia Square Metro
West Falls Church Metro

Montgomery County, Maryland:
Bethesda Metro
Medical Center Metro
Silver Spring Metro
White Flint Metro
Wheaton Metro

Prince George's County, Maryland:
College Park Metro
Route 1 College Park (two locations)

OT: Blog by an artist friend

A work buddy, Navjeet Singh Chhina, has started a blog for his work. Navjeet says he's influenced by cartoons. The paintings he's got up so far show Indian Gods and Gurus.

Punisher and Bat movie bits from today's papers

Unsurprisingly, nobody appears to fond of the Punisher: War Zone movie. I must confess that I don't understand the popularity of the character, but I'm sure it ties into a thread that runs through the Shadow to Dirty Harry to the Mack Bolan novels and then into the comics. Anyway, here's some articles.

"A Comic-Book Avenger Strikes," By A. O. SCOTT, New York Times December 5, 2008.

"A Glut of Punishment,"
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post Friday, December 5, 2008; Page WE28.

"DVD's Lack Of Ledger May Leave Fans Cold," By Jen Chaney, Washington Post Friday, December 5, 2008; Page WE32 on "The Dark Knight" Batman movie.

And surprisingly enough, New Yorker and New York Times (Science section, on Tuesdays) cartoonist Victoria Roberts did the cover of the Post's Weekend section. No pic online that I see.

OT: Bill Willingham's most important book

There's nothing to do with Washington in this essay, but I like Willingham's work and have since he was writing about undead superheroes a long time ago. So check out the Book Reporter's blog for Bill Willingham's most important book.

And here's more info from publicist Nicole Bruce about the larger project which is neat:'s Author Holiday Blogs

Many great writers share that their path to publishing started by being a voracious reader. To celebrate this season of giving --- and getting --- more than thirty authors are sharing their favorite memories of giving or receiving a book at the holidays on the Author Holiday Blog. For example, International best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark reminisces about the books that she was overjoyed to find under the Christmas tree during her childhood, while her daughter and co-writer, Carol Higgins Clark, theorizes that her most popular character, private detective Regan Reilly, may have had her roots in books given to her as a young girl. Meanwhile, Wendy Corsi Staub tells us why Christmas always means Little Women to her.

Upcoming blogs include a piece by Francoise Mouly, who reminisces about the intimate experience she shared over a comic strip with her now-husband, cartoonist Art Spiegelman, during the early stages of their relationship, and how that event forever changed the way she approached the solitary act of reading. Head over to each day until Christmas to read these essays and others from David Baldacci, Laura Pedersen, Ad Hudler, Kristin Hannah, Garth Stein, M.J. Rose, Mary Kay Andrews and more.

The blogs can be read each day at:

Dec 8: Swann fellow speaks on Civil War prints

Just a reminder from the Library of Congress -

Of possible interest to those in the Washington, D.C. area -- an invitation to a public lecture by Mazie Harris, Swann award winner, on Civil War era chromolithographs created by Henry Louis Stephens, a major illustrator and caricaturist for Vanity Fair. Her talk, entitled, "A Colorful Union: The Development of Union Patriotism in Henry Louis Stephens’ 1863 Chromolithographs," will be on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, at noon in Dining Room A, 6th floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately I probably can't make this one.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dec 13: Marc Tyler Nobleman in town for Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman

Marc Tyler Nobleman writes in,

I will be signing my latest book, Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman , in Alexandria, Virginia, at Hooray for Books on Saturday, December 13, at 2 p.m. The book is aimed at people ages 7 and up, though I have read it to my 4-year-old (the first time was against her will but she did voluntarily ask for it again at least once). Boys, girls, geeks - all welcome.

As of now, it is my only DC-area appearance so I hope you can overcome the short notice, skip that nap, and stop by!

Also, please forward to any friends who may be interested and, if you are willing, post for your DC/VA network on Facebook.

Best, thanks, and hope to see you,
Marc Tyler Nobleman

I bought this when it came out and enjoyed it a lot. Ross MacDonald's retro-style artwork is excellent too. I'm going to try to be there for this. Thanks to Casey Shaw of USA Weekend for the tip and the contact info!

Dec 16: Gag cartoonist Mort Gerberg in town

NEXTBOOK Public Programs presents Mort Gerberg

Last Laughs: Cartoons About Aging, Retirement...and the Great Beyond
December 16, 7:30 pm
$9; Discount Member Price $6
Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW

Longtime New Yorker cartoonist Mort Gerberg has assembled an all-star cast of gifted and popular cartoonists to join him in this exclusive collection confronting, illuminating and celebrating the inevitabilities of life. Everything from cloning to cryogenics is tackled with humor and pathos. Gerberg has written, illustrated or edited nearly forty books, including his textbook, Cartooning: The Art and the Business. Gerberg will discuss his most recent collection as well as demonstrate his drawing process. He will also touch on his upcoming book The All-Jewish Cartoon Collection.

Reprinted from Review

"Be careful about taking this book on a long plane trip. From page to page you'll chuckle, you'll guffaw, you'll be seized with hysterical, uncontrollable laughter. Fellow passengers will be curious and you'll say (with tears streaming down your face) it's all about age and death. Fellow passengers might ask for a change of seats. You won't mind one bit as you become more and more helpless with laughter."
-- Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and Teacher Man

Click here to purchase tickets.

Thanks to Casey Shaw of USA Weekend for the tip!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The fall 2008 International Journal of Comic Art

Ok, back to the fall 2008 International Journal of Comic Art issue that clocks in at 872 pages. Editor & publisher John Lent wrote an introduction to it in which he highlighted the current issue and also looked back at the past 10 years of publishing. Here's some of John's introduction:

This issue marks the tenth anniversary of the International Journal of Comic Art, and fitting the occasion, is packed with informative, entertaining, and even some provocative articles and reviews. Two symposia are offered, one of 14 articles on women and cartooning worldwide; another, the fifth installment of the “Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series,” featuring Seetha Srinivasan of University Press of Mississippi and Bi Keguan of China.

A couple of granddaughters of famous cartooning personnel provide insights gleaned from primary sources about their grandfathers. Nicky Heron Brown (nee Wheeler-Nicholson) refutes statements made by David Hajdu about her grandfather, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, one of the “inventors” of the modern American comic book in the 1930s. Her article is especially welcomed as perhaps the first of a number of expected published accounts of the Major’s career planned by his family. Carolyn Wong contributes a second article on her grandfather, Huang Yao, a Chinese cartoonist who worked throughout East and Southeast Asia for decades; she unearthed new findings about his World War II work which supplement the article on World War II Chinese cartooning Xu Ying and I wrote in 10:1.

This anniversary issue is also enriched by an interview with Nakazawa Keiji of Barefoot Gen; a comprehensive “family tree” of educational comics by Sol M. Davidson (with help from his wife, Penny), many of which are culled from their collection; an analysis of Burmese political cartoons published in exile, written by Lisa Brooten; and articles or reviews written by cartoonists -- Trina Robbins and Matt Wuerker of U.S., Frank Hoffmann and Marlene Pohle of Germany, Ġorġ Mallia of Malta, Raquel Orzuj of Uruguay, and Arcadio Esquivel Mayorga of Costa Rica. It is the first time Burma, Costa Rica, Malta, and the Indian Ocean were featured in the International Journal of Comic Art. Besides articles on the American “Popeye,” Maus, Johnny the Homicidal Killer, Sin City, “Feiffer,” Captain America, war comics, and political cartoons, others in this issue dealt with Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Europe more generally, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

So that's what you get in the current issue. Here's what the ten year period saw overall:

At least two articles (Fredrik Strömberg on Sweden and Fabio Gadducci on Italy) were developed into monographs by their authors, and many other articles were reprinted in books and very frequently cited in the scholarly literature. The journal is known worldwide, gracing the shelves of 111 university libraries, comic centers, art institutes, museums, and comics publishers in at least 20 countries; some of them are British Library, Library of Congress, Victoria & Albert Museum, Serieteket (Stockholm), Centre National de la Bande Dessinée de l’Image Bibliotheque (Angoulême), New York Public Library, Ivy League universities (Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale), MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Georgetown, School of Visual Arts, and University of Chicago.

We take pride also in the quantity of production. In 20 issues, the International Journal of Comic Art published 493 articles, including 16 symposia [see list], 71 book reviews, and 141 exhibition reviews, the latter very ably handled by Michael Rhode. The total number of pages was 9,198. At least 357 different authors (151 in Vols. 1-5, 206 in Vols. 6-10) wrote articles;* some of them had multiple contributions. Sixty countries were written about individually and others were treated less exhaustively in regional treatments on Africa (2 articles), Asia (1), East Africa (2), East Europe (1), Europe (3), Francophone Africa (1), and Latin America (1). The most articles dealt with North America (U.S., 179; Canada, 6) with 185; Europe (107), Asia (100), Latin America (40), Africa (31), and Australia/New Zealand (14). Nineteen countries of Europe were featured in articles, followed by 14 each for Africa and Asia, nine for Latin America, and two each for North America (U.S., Canada) and Australia and New Zealand. The top ten countries with articles were U.S., 179; Japan, 45; France, 24; England, 23; China, 18; Russia, 14; Spain, 13; Australia, 12; Brazil, 11, and Argentina, 9.

He wraps up with a list of special issues in case any of these are of interest to you (we're working on a plan to get the out of print issues back into print):

List of Symposia

10:2 “Women in/of Cartooning: A Symposium” -- edited by John A. Lent (14 articles)
“Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series, Part V” -- (2 articles)
10:1 “Biff! Bam!! Crikey!!! A Comics Conference in Scotland, 2007 -- edited by Christopher Murray (10 articles)
9:2 “Gallery Comics: A Symposium” -- edited by C Hill (4 articles)
“Egyptian Cartooning: A Symposium” -- edited by John A. Lent (4 articles)
9:1 “Kibyōshi: The World’s First Comicbook?” -- edited by Adam L. Kern (7 articles)
“Cartooning in Australia: A Symposium” -- edited by John A. Lent (6 articles)
8:2 “Racial Identity: A Mini Symposium” -- edited by William Foster, III (4 articles)
8:1 “Ever-Ending Battle: A Symposium” -- edited by A. David Lewis (8 articles)
7:2 “Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series, Part IV” -- edited by John A. Lent (5 articles)
7:1 “Late/Post-Soviet Russian Komiks: A Symposium” -- edited by José Alaniz (10 articles)
5:2 “Spanish Comics: A Symposium” -- edited by Ana Merino (10 articles)
“Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series, Part III” (4 articles)
5:1 “Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series, Part II” (4 articles)
4:1 “There at the Beginning: Early Days of Comics Scholarship”
(“Pioneers of Comic Art Scholarship Series, Part I”) -- edited by John A. Lent (9 articles)
3:2 “Latin American Comic Art: A Symposium” -- edited by John A. Lent (10 articles)

Today's Thompson acquisition

Just one today - School Success: The Inside Story by Peter Kline and Laurence D. Martel. The front and back cover is by Richard. Otherwise this is of no interest.

Another one that just has a little bit of cartoon reprints from Richard's Poor Almanac (before the 'k' addition) is May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of American Humor by Michael J. Rosen.

No new comics today

Due to Thanksgiving, new comics come out on Thursday this week.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

OT: Von Allan interview at Collector Times

Honorary ComicsDC'r Von Allan's got a new interview online.

Express on Casarosa and Delisle

Here's Scott Rosenberg on two good books The Venice Chronicles and Burma Chronicles - "Around the World: Graphic Novel Travelogues," Express December 2, 2008.

OT: Frank Cammuso interview

Brian Heater's got it at "Interview: Frank Cammuso Pt. 1 [of 2]," Daily Cross Hatch (December 2). I hung around with Frank a little at both Baltimore and SPX as he's a friend of Richard's. Also, years ago at SPX he and I stood in line for ... who? I can't recall anymore. Anyway, I've bought all his current books and you should too.

Our first guest ComicsDC logo

I was touched, touched I say!, when I got this logo in the mail today from cartoonist David Hagen who found this blog via Our Man Thompson's (thanks, Richard!) and now says he's a faithful reader. David's kindly granted me the use of his drawing, saying "Yes, it's yours to do with as you wish. I'm seeing coffee mugs, sweatshirts, and baseball hats in time for Xmas!"

Having had sooo much fun drawing stick figures on a computer lately, I asked about his technique and he replied, "I draw the line art on paper and scan it and then add the color in photoshop. Snap, crackle, pop!"

To thank him for his kindness, I suggested he start a blog too, instead of working on a promotional website for his freelance cartooning. Pulling out all stops, I cited our mutual friend Richard's success - "He did his on a dare and now look at him! He's a successful, almost award-winning cartoonist, and I'm sure he'd agree that he owes it all to his blog." David immediately rose to the bait and started Hagen Illustration. Demonstrating a true instinct for cartooning success, his first post features actual cartoon nudity!

This guy's going to go far, and you might have seen him here first.

Thanks again, David! The products you mentioned are on Zazzle now... each with a credit line to you as well.

Breaking news: Tom Toles in concert, Dec 8th

Bruce Guthrie just sent this in -

The WP's replacement for Herblock is in a band called Suspicious Package.

They're playing at DC IV at 9th and U on Monday night. The performance of mostly rock covers starts at 8:30 but they're having a grin and greet at 7:30.

Today's Thompson acquisitions

Two new acquisitions to my Richard Thompson library arrived today - BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! by Carol Diggory Shields and Richard Thompson and BrainJuice: Science, Fresh Squeezed! by Carol Diggory Shields and Richard Thompson. I commend them to you.

Bob Staake, the Post's Style Invitational cartoonist

Here's a nice, if short, interview with Bob Staake, the Post's Style Invitational cartoonist. Staake's moving into children's books as well as New Yorker covers, but he's got some interesting how-to books out as well, iirc.

See "G FORCE | BOB STAAKE: He's got it covered," Boston Globe November 27, 2008.

Universal Press Syndicate starts a blog, emails me about it eventually

Got this today from Kathie Kerr who does PR for Universal (the blog started in early November so we have to play catch-up) presumably due to my continued mentioning of their client, Our Man Thompson:

Inside the doors of Universal Press Syndicate are a lot of smart people, but they’re busy, so the rest of us have started a blog on the inside workings of a syndicate. While that might sound as exciting as a digestive disorder, the blog may be of some actual value to cartoonists looking for tips on how to become syndicated and for die-hard comic fans who want behind-the-scene glimpses of today’s comics. Go to and the next sound you hear will be that of an UPS editor giving you the uncensored truth about comics and the syndicate, while giving thanks for his/her job.

I like the idea of this, as let's face it, Comics Syndicates are strange and mysterious places - they're called Syndicates after all. Has anything light and open ever been called a Syndicate? No.

One complaint - the posts don't identify who they're by so you have no idea whose brother is buying Johnny Ryan Garfield art. [update: Alan at the Daily Cartoonist says it's all by comics editor John Glynn].

Update 2: KK, I was just kidding about the late notice!!! Come back!

Dec 7: Comic book show in Tysons

Tysons Corner Monthly Comic Show

Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at the Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Department.

Show opens to the public 10am to 3pm

Special Guest – Jo Chen

Cover artist for Runaways, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity: Better Days, and many other titles.

She is appearing on behalf of

For more information visit CapiCons Comic & Pop Culture Show website

Monday, December 01, 2008

Quick links to reviews

My friend Chris Mautner on my friend Bart Beaty:

From the vault: Unpopular Culture
Panels and Pixels blog Sunday, November 30, 2008, regarding “Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s” by Bart Beaty University of Toronto Press 320 pages, $29.95.

And somebody I don't know on Our Man Thompson:

Graphic Novel Fridays: Cul De Sac
by Alex Carr
Amazon's Omivoracious blog November 28, 2008

Dec 12: The Girl That Lept through Time anime

DC Anime Club and Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan Present:

The Girl That Lept through Time

The DC Anime Club and the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan Present The Girl That Lept through Time on Friday December 12, 2008 at 6:30pm as part of the Anime/Live Action Series based upon Manga (Japanese Comics).

When 17-year-old Makoto Konno gains the ability to, quite literally, "leap" backwards through time, she immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps. However, she soon realizes that changing the past isn't as simple as it seems, and eventually, will have to rely on her new powers to shape the future of herself and her friends.

The screening will be held at the Japanese Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan located at Lafayette Center III 1155 21st Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-3308.
Seating for the screening of The Girl That Lept through Time is limited and attendees are encouraged to rsvp by sending an e-mail to

This program is free and open to the public. For more information please visit the Japanese Information and Culture Center website at or visit the DC Anime Club website at

Harvey Pekar book review!

And it's even by someone I don't know!

Harvey Pekar Conversations, Tom Bredehoft, Village Grouchy blog, Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Marc C Rogers (whom I do know) is reviewing it for the next issue of the International Journal of Comic Art. Speaking of which, I got the current Fall 2008 issue, 10:2, which clocks in at 872 pages! Something that massive needs its own post.

Dec 4: Illustrator exhibit opens in Rockville

Casey Shaw of USA Weekend reminded me that this exhibit is opening:

-VisArts at Rockville Exhibition: "TURNING THE PAGE: the fine art behind illustrations" and "THE ART OF THE BOOK" ­ December 4, 2008-February 21, 2009

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, December 4, 6:30-8:30pm
115 Gibbs Street #300
Rockville, Maryland 20850

I'm not sure if the opening is open to the public, so check first. This is a really nice space and I'm sure the exhibit will be good.

ComicsDC logo - 2nd shot

Ok, here's the second attempt.

comicsdc logo2

The photo is one from the 1890s from the National Museum of Health & Medicine - see their flickr site for the full-size image which shows the unpaved road out front of the Capitol.

Bash #5 is out; website has new comic calendar

Jonathan Hampton, Managing Editor of BASH Magazine wrote in today to say, "I'm writing to let you know that BASH #5 is out and about in the D.C. area. Likewise, our BASH Comic Calendar for December has been posted. The calendar is our online distribution mechanism for our print comics and web-only features. We're at work getting additional content for the calendar. Enjoy!"

I'll be scoring my copy tomorrow as well as the ones I pick up for comics libraries around the country.