Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spider-Man and Obama - a missed opportunity editorial

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

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

Stan Lee AND Zombie comics at Comic Riffs

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

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jillian Tamaki illo for NY Times today

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

Rob Ullman's Richmond Magazine strip

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

Library of Congress Swann Fellowship applications due next month

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

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

Greg Bennett notes Robert Goodin's blog

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

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

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


original art available at:

More on Harvey Pekar's opera

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

Stan Lee interview on Comic Riffs blog tomorrow

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

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

Political humor CFP in DC

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

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

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

Proposals are due by January 17, 2009.

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

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

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

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

Spider-Man and Obama cover at Annapolis store

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

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


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

Monday, January 12, 2009

More on Jeff Kinney and Wimpy Kid

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

Mark Wheatley interview

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

Say what?

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

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

Comic Riffs calls cartoonists on Bush

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

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

More on Pekar's opera

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

Pekar, Feiffer and Jaffee interviewed in NYC

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


New York, January 11, 2009

From Danny Fingeroth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hero Initiative charity selling memberships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By John Judy

ACTION COMICS #873 by Geoff Johns and Pete Woods. It’s the “New Krypton” finale featuring the fate of 100,000 peeved Kryptonians. What could go wrong?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. Okay, there’s some hearts and flowers in this one, but what you really care about is that THIS IS THE ONE WITH BARACK OBAMA ON THE COVER!!! Yes, the one that all the stupid mainstream media has been talking about, getting all the straights excited to get a copy even if they use it as a dartboard in their unfinished rec room/meth labs. Point being: If you’re a regular reader and want to be sure you get a copy of this book you should contact your Favorite Retailer immediately to arrange a set-aside. Or just buy the non-Obama cover. This one will no doubt be on E-Bay quickly to squeeze the feebs who think it’ll be worth $$$ someday so brace yourselves. And rest assured Marvel will have a second printing out in a couple of weeks.

BONE COLOR EDITION, VOL. 9: CROWN OF HORNS SC written and drawn by Jeff Smith. Collecting and colorizing the final six issues of Smith’s epic comic fantasy, this is fine addition to any bookshelf. Great fun for all ages and one of Time magazine’s Top Ten Graphic Novels of All Time. Recommended!

BPRD: BLACK GODDESS #1 of 5 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis. Agent Liz Sherman’s been kidnapped and it’s up to her fellow BPRDers to get her back! That should be good for a few dust-ups and knockings of the heads. Plus gators. Angry, hungry gators!

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI:13 #9 by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk. The gang’s in Hell after being betrayed by that rat Captain Midlands. Also Meggan is back (honest!) and the Black Knight faces some personal discomfort. This is a much better book than you old EXCALIBUR readers might think. Give ‘er a spin!

FACES OF EVIL: PROMETHEUS #1 by Sterling Gates and Frederico Dalbochio. The guy who once defeated the JLA all by his lonesome is back at his old tricks. This time will the heroes stay defeated?

FINAL CRISIS #6 of 7 by Grant Morrison and His Band of Renown. Darkseid, Apokolips, New Gods, Anti-Life, Monitors, Multiverse… Oops. I think I just leaked the script. Sorry.

PUNISHER WAR ZONE #5 of 6 by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Frank and his drugged out stoolie just had their car machine-gunned to bits by a mad Yuppie and his vengeful Mafia zombie-clone. Does it get better than this? No, it does not. Read it!

RASL, VOL. 1: DRIFT SC written and drawn by Jeff Smith. The first trade edition of Smith’s bad-boy, dimension-hopping art thief includes and extra three-page scene that got cut from the regular comic. Add to that the larger 9”x12” page dimensions and you’ve got one handsome bit of graphic novel goodness. Recommended.

SOLOMON KANE #4 of 5 by Scott Allie and Mario Guevara. At last, the Puritan Punisher is fighting a guy who turns into a wolf! Come on! Give it a look! It’s good!

TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA HC written and drawn by Shaun Tan. Fifteen short stories from the award-winning creator of THE ARRIVAL. Teens and up.

Maryland creator Mike Imboden profiled at Pulse!

See "MIKE IMBODEN RAISING THE FIST OF JUSTICE," Jennifer M. Contino, Comicon's The Pulse (January 6 2009).

Zadzooks on Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings

This week's column is mostly about toys, but has a bit about comics at the end - "Gandalf the Grey and Indiana Jones," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Wednesday, January 7, 2009.

Paul Richard on Walt Disney's fine art status

Here's an excellent article - although when these start appearing, you have to worry about the art form having ossified -
"UNDER WALT'S SPELL: Disney Is No Mickey Mouse Figure in the World of Art" By Paul Richard, Special to The Washington Post, Sunday, January 11, 2009; M06. Given the 'fine art' pieces that Richard quotes, which cover a period of 40 years at least, I suppose that argument is already over about Disney.

Maryland animation festival reported a success

See "Annual cartoon fest draws young and old," By Ashley Andyshak, Frederick News-Post Staff January 11, 2009.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

That Darn Toles ... continued

More Toles Is the Solution
Washington Post (January 11 2009)

As with many of the world's complex problems, a solution may be so simple that it is overlooked. Take, for example, The Post's declining print circulation. The obvious solution is to simply chain Tom Toles to his desk and force him to produce not one but two editorial cartoons per day, seven days a week. Problem solved. Subscriptions will skyrocket. The Post is giving Toles way too much time off.

-- Dean Harger


Dame Darcy exhibit in DC

The Post reported yesterday that Dame Darcy was in town for exhibit opening, and I missed it. The exhibit continues though: Also at the gallery is "Gasoline," featuring works by Dame Darcy, creator of the comic "Meat Cake." The show features work from Darcy's "Gasoline" graphic novel. The shows open tonight with a reception that includes a performance. (After the opening, an after-party is slated for Comet Ping Pong). Free. 7-10 p.m. (Dame Darcy will perform music at 9). The show runs through Feb. 7. Civilian Art Projects, 406 Seventh St. NW. 202-347-0022 or

Comics and movies

As longtime readers of this know, I have a running list of movies and tv adapted from comics that I publish as a book annually (theoretically at least, as I'm still doing the index to 2008's edition).

A couple of things to note this morning:

My buddy Bart Beaty's new book got an excellent review. The book is David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, By Bart Beaty, University of Toronto Press, 138 pages, $16.95. The review is "Good director, bon directeur," BY PIERS HANDLING, Toronto Globe and Mail Update January 8, 2009. Handling says, among other things, "Beaty does a superb job dissecting, interpreting and unpacking all the key moments of the film, revealing the tools a filmmaker, working at the height of his powers, brings to his canvas."

And then there's the Watchmen movie - "Studios Try to Settle ‘Watchmen’ Dispute," By MICHAEL CIEPLY, New York Times January 10, 2009. Cieply writes, "Mr. Karasik, joined by lawyers for Warner, had asked a court clerk on Friday if the judge would conduct a hearing in chambers, because they planned to discuss what he called “settlement issues.” The clerk conferred with Judge Feess, then returned to say that the judge would insist on a session open to the public." Hahahahaha! Good for the judge.

Cul de Sac sums up the end of the holidays

Richard's Jan 10th Cul de Sac strip absolutely captures the end of the holidays feeling that I'm having as I face taking down the Christmas tree and outside ornaments today...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Geppi luncheon talk covered.

"Steven Geppi: Hard Work Gets Noticed," Jack McLaughlin, HBL Editor, Harford Business ledger 12/26/08. This was linked to from Scoop which is Diamond's weekly collector's e-newsletter.

Former U of MD cartoonist Jeff Kinney and Wimpy Kid profiled in NYT

Appearing on Sunday, but we've got it for you early - "Jeff Kinney: A Profile of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ Author," By JAN HOFFMAN, New York Times January 11, 2009 and "Hapless Boy Wins Eager Friends," By JAN HOFFMAN, New York Times January 11, 2009. If you get the paper, as I do, you'll have to remember that this is in the Style & Fashion section for some reason.

Fredericksburg, VA letterwriters slap around editorial cartoonist

Here's a couple of letters sent to the Fredericksburg (Virginia) Free Lance-Star about Clay Jones - Your cartoonist is not funny, FLS! and Throwing shoes at a president isn't funny.

'Waltz with Bashir' interview on Washington Times

See "'Waltz' with Ari: Israeli documentarian looks at first Lebanon war," Sonny Bunch, Washington Times Friday, January 9, 2009. The movie opens here on the 16th the article says. Anyone want to go see it?

Weingarten's Chatalogical Humor chat on some comics

Here's some comments on comic strips from Gene Weingarten's January 6th chat that mirror some of the concerns of this blog lately:

2D, color on Sunday: You once called 9 Chickweed Lane "reprehensible." Why? Is it the pseudo-sophistication? The unbearably snotty and phony way the characters speak? The lack of chins?

While we're there, have you followed the latest story, in which Amos and Edda finally have sex? I wonder: Is this the first time a character has lost his or her virginity ("maidenhood" in the strip) in the comics?

And finally, I had to laugh when I saw this,* in which McEldowney whines about the cruel realities of deadline to explain why the loss-of-virginity storyline is on hiatus.

Gene Weingarten: Interestingly enough, we appear to be watching the deflowering of Cory this very week in "Watch Your Head."

Liz, can we link to one or two? Watch Your Head: Jan. 3 | Jan. 5 | Jan. 6


comic,AL: What's your opinion on the "pseudo-affair" plot line in Sally Forth? Although it would be scandalous, and since the strip is called "Sally Forth," unlikely, for Ted to take Aria up on her offer I think it would be a huge improvement to the strip for him to develop a backbone. Otherwise I think Sally will just say "walkies!" and he will follow her home like the good dog that he is.

Gene Weingarten: I am annoyed by possessiveness in marrige, so I am annoyed by this plot line. Having said that, it is an interestingly ambiguous dynamic, and I respect the writers for it: Nothing is "going on," and yet both parties are disturbed. So is, in fact, something "going on"?

To me, the great part of the Sally Forth storyline is Sally's ma constantly intimating that Ted is a woman.

*one of our famed local comic strip artists was also caught short by his syndicate deadlines, but worked through a family vacation to stay on time...

Spider-Man and Obama

As is the case with pretty much every other major news media outlet, The Examiner has a blurb on Obama being in an upcoming issue of The Amazing Spider-Man (p. 10 in the 1/9/08 edition). The story originally ran in USA Today.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jan 11: Mo Willems at Tysons Barnes & Noble

Thanks to Our Man Thompson for the tip that Mo Willems will be at the Tysons Corner Barnes and Noble store on Sunday, Jan 11th at 2 pm.

Richard Thompson on 2009 at The Beat

See Heidi MacDonald's "The Beat’s Annual Yearend Survey, 2009 Edition: Part 1," The Beat blog (January 5).

Richard's about halfway down. I haven't seen any other Washington-area types yet.


Shadow artist obituary

As a kid, I loved the Shadow... the radio show, the pulp (Pyramid was reprinting them with Steranko covers), the DC Comics (Kaluta!)... Edd Cartier, one of the last links to the original pulps, died last week. The best obituary I've seen appeared today in "Edd Cartier, 94, Pulp Illustrator, Dies," By WILLIAM GRIMES, New York Times January 8, 2009.

Warren Craghead exhibit in Charlottesville

Gallery owner Rob Jones sent in the following PR about his Warren Craghead show in Charlottesville:

The Dot and The Line
Drawings by Warren Craghead and Brian Mallman
Migration: A Gallery
Charlottesville, Virginia

This show's opening is past, but it will remain up until the end of January.

Here are a couple of reviews: (- this link leads to a post with a free downloadable Craghead book - Mike).

Rob Jones
fresh air art blogging

Jan 12: Mo Willems at Politics and Prose

The cartoonist and children's book author will be at Politics and Prose on:

Monday, January 12, 4 p.m.
Mo Willems
Emmy, Caldecott Honor, and Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal-winner Mo Willems is back with a new hero: Wilbur, the naked mole rat, who likes to wear clothes. Clothes allow Wilbur to let his imagination run wild, but what will Grandfather naked mole rat do when he discovers Wilbur’s secret? Ages 3 and up

Wondermark and Frisky Dingos in today's papers

The January 8th Onion has another special Wondermark strip by David Malki in it - a strip about the Onion dropping its comics. This one's probably not going online either so get your copy of the Onion now, or send me a pitiful begging note asking me to clip one for you.

Also, in the Express, Stephen Deusner explains what a Frisky Dingo is - a cartoon on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim that made it into a couple of DVDs, but isn't being renewed.

Comic Riffs' Cavna interviews Peters over coffee lawsuit

This is really a stupid lawsuit, and my wife laughed when I told her about it, but Michael Cavna, being a good journalist, interviewed Mike Peters about it (well she laughed at Peters' gag and then kept going): "'Mother Goose & Grimm' vs. Juan Valdez--The Lawsuit," By Michael Cavna, Washington Post Comic Riffs blog (January 8, 2009).

Jan 16: The World of Anime Fandom

CONTACT: Chris Wanamaker, (202) 262 2083
DC Anime Club and Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan Present:
The World of Anime Fandom

DC Anime Club and Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan Present “The World of Anime Fandom” on Friday January 16, 2009 at 6:30pm. This event is in celebration of the one year anniversary of the monthly Anime screening series held at the JICC.

During this event DC Anime Club will explain via a power point presentation about the World of Anime Fandom from what is Anime (Japanese Animation) and Manga (Japanese Comics), special anime conventions that are held around the US to explanations for all the parents who wonder why they’re child is so in awe about Anime and Manga.

This event will also feature the new DC Anime Club dancers who will perform a dance routine based upon popular Anime Films and will be dressed in hand made costumes.

Attendees of this event who come in costume will receive a prize.

This event will be held at the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan located at Lafayette Center III 1155 21st Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-3308.

Seating for this event 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 Japan Information and Culture Center website at or visit DC Anime Club website at

About DC Anime Club:
DCAC was established in 2003 to introduce and educate people in the Washington,DC area about East Asian culture, through viewing and discussion of Japanese animation (also known as anime) and Japanese comics (manga). DCAC is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, contributions to DC Anime Club are taxed deductible to the extent allowable under the law.

The club also works to provide a positive, alternative activity to the youth in the area by exposing them to foreign culture, encouraging artistic expression and creativity, and providing opportunities for participation in community activities and leadership.

In addition to our weekly meetings, the club holds an Annual Art Show, an Annual Costume fundraising event, and visits local schools to do presentations on anime. The club also works with the Smithsonian Freer Gallery and DCAsian Pacific American Film Festival on their anime screenings, and has helped locally promote performances for Japanese bands such as Puffy Ami Yumi and Pine am. DC Anime Club was founded by Chris Wanamaker (President), Jules Chang (Vice President) and Craig Vaughn (Sgt in ARMS) on Saturday June 5, 2003. We have a strong membership that continues to grow -- most of which are teenagers.

About Japan Information and Culture Center:
The Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) is the cultural and public affairs section of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C. Our primary role is to promote better understanding of Japan and Japanese culture by providing a wide range of
information, educational services and programs to the public. The JICC is located on the lower level of the glass-enclosed Galleria at Lafayette Centre III in downtown Washington, D.C. Its facilities include a research library, a 152-seat auditorium, and a 1,500-square-foot exhibition gallery where a wide variety of events sponsored by the JICC are hosted throughout the year.

Christopher Wanamaker
DC Anime Club President
202 262 2083

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Another virgin gone

After 9 Chickweed Lane's characters experienced their shared joy, perhaps it was inevitable that others on the comics page should lose their virginity as well. Today's example is apparently Watch Your Head with a 27-second life-changing moment.

And while I don't want to take over Comic Riffs role, I can't help but note the flat-out sincere insincerity of Wiley's Non Sequiter today.

Bash Magazine publisher profiled at City Paper

Randy spotted this blog post in which the Bash Magazine publisher is profiled - "Talkin’ Bash," Posted by Andrew Beaujon, Washington City Paper's City Desk blog Jul. 28, 2008.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Jan 9: Toles' band in Journopalooza at National Press Club

He'd probably sign the Obama post-election cartoon if you brought it...


A new favorite small publisher - Fanfare / Ponent Mon

Deb Aoki was manning (womanning?) Fanfare / Ponent Mon's booth at SPX this year and I recognized her from her photo on Since I really enjoy her writing and interviews, I stopped to talk. The company sells manga, frequently created with Franco-Belgian collaborators, and I'm coming a bit late to them, I think. She recommended some titles to me and I bought a few more so over the next week I'll feature reviews of five of the company's books:

Boilet - Peeters
Translation: Vanessa Champion and Elizabeth Tiernan
Pages: 152
US Price: $18.99

Disappearance diary
Hideo Azuma
Translation: Kumar Sivasubramanian & Elizabeth Tiernan
Pages: 200
US Price: $22.99

The Ice Wanderer and other stories
Jiro Taniguchi
Translation: Elizabeth Tiernan and Shizuka Shimoyama
Pages: 240
US Price: $21.99

The Walking Man
Jiro Taniguchi
Translation: Stephen Albert
Pages: 152
US Price: $16.99

various authors
Translation: Vanessa Champion, Elizabeth Tierman and Shizuka Shimoyama
Pages: 256
US Price: $25.00

I've finished 3 of the 5 so far, and I liked these so much that I'm going to add the entire company line to my pull list at Big Planet Comics - something I've done in recent years with First Second (still going ok) and Toon Books (eh). I like a lot of what Top Shelf and Drawn and Quarterly publish and you should definitely check out their lines if you're not already, but not everything they publish works for me. On reflection, I think I'm getting most of what Cinebook is putting out too.

Jan 27: Material Culture Forum, "Collecting Popular Culture" Smithsonian event

This sounds interesting and on target even if they don't mention comic art. Thanks to Jeff Reznick for the tip. Jeff's venturing into the world of comics scholarship by writing a review of a Peanuts exhibit for the next issue of IJOCA.

Material Culture Forum, "Collecting Popular Culture"

The Smithsonian Forum on Material Culture invites you to attend its 83rd Quarterly Meeting “Collecting Popular Culture,” at the National Portrait Gallery, Donald W. Reynolds Center, 8th and F Street, NW on January 27, 2009.


GALLERY TOUR: 3:30-4:15pm, “Ballyhoo! Posters as Portraiture” lead by Wendy Wick Reaves, Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Portrait Gallery, 2nd floor west, open and free to all

PRESENTATIONS & DISCUSSION: 4:30-6:00pm, McEvoy Auditorium, sub-level 1,

Welcoming Remarks by Martin Sullivan, Director, National Portrait Gallery

Moderated by Wendy Wick Reaves, Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Portrait Gallery

“Imported Textiles, Local Meaning,” Bryna Freyer, Curator, National Museum of African Art

“Ray Guns, Spaceships and Action Figures: Outer Space in Popular Culture,” Margaret Weitekamp, Curator, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

“But Is It History?” Ellen Roney Hughes, Curator, Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment History, National Museum of American History

WINE RECEPTION & INFORMAL DISCUSSION: 6:15-7:00pm, Multipurpose Rooms, 1st floor, open and free to all

BUFFET DINNER & DISCUSSIONS: 7:15-8:45pm, Kogod Courtyard, open to all by reservation, $30.00 per person

To reserve a place for dinner, please email Stephanie Hornbeck at To pay for dinner, please send a check made out to “Smithsonian Institution,” for $30.00 per person, to Stephanie Hornbeck, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012 Room 1109, MRC 708, Washington, DC 20013-7012.

For questions about this event, please contact Stephanie Hornbeck at 202-633-4615.

Dave Astor interview

Boy, I miss Dave's work for Editor and Publisher. See "Talking Comics with Tim: Dave Astor," by Tim O'Shea, Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog January 5, 2009.

Blade's Year in Cartoons issue

The current Washington Blade (January 2nd), on the newstands until Thursday, has two tabloid pages of 28 of Paul Berge's cartoons from the past year, making this the most complete 'year in cartoons' I've seen to date. ... although they're all generally on topics of interest to a homosexual newspaper of course...

Comic Riffs interviews Tim Rickard on Brewster Rockit

See "The Interview: 'Brewster Rockit' Cartoonist Tim Rickard," By Michael Cavna, January 6, 2009.

I like this strip. I got to say hello to Rickard at HeroesCon this year and asked about buying original art, but he draws figures in any old way and then photoshops them into a strip format. Sigh. Technology marches on.

Here's another recent interview with him for you: "Episode 60 - The Tim Rickard Interview," Comics Coast To Coast Tuesday, 23 December 2008.

More on Wondermark and Onion comic strips

David Malki has a blog post confirming that Wondermark is leaving the Onion. He writes:

In late 2006, the satirical newspaper The Onion launched a comics page in its print edition (currently available free on newsstands in 10 metropolitan areas). I was thrilled to feature Wondermark on that page in every market, and for about two and a half years, the comic ran in 700,000 papers every week.

Now, however, the Onion comics page is going away. The issue appearing on newsstands in a few days will be the last to feature a Wondermark strip.*

The asterix is because he did a special strip for the Onion this week which isn't on the website. I'm not going to reproduce it here, because heck, if he wanted you to see it, he would have put it on HIS website.

Look at those numbers though - 700,000 papers per week. And they can't afford to keep in some syndicated strips? Hopefully Malki's resulting move to the MCT Syndicate will pay off for him though.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cul de Sac picks up Oregon paper

See "New comics debut in News-Review," Vicki Menard, The News-Review January 5 2009, for the thrilling details as Our Man Thompson's empire continues to grow.

New York Times on Spirit movie posters

This is buried on the Times' website, but it's pretty interesting - "Inside the Layers of a Print Campaign," New York December 25 2008 - the poster campaign is discussed while alongside the posters themselves load. The last poster shown made it into comic book stores, or at least Big Planet, but I didn't get any of the earlier ones. Hint, hint.

Luann is coming to DC!

Luann is coming to DC! Hopefully Toni the firewoman will stop by too. Nobody's visited us since the Family Circus last fall.

Spider-Man strip reboot explained

Michael Cavna touched on Spider-Man's suddenly lacking a wife in Comic Riffs last week, and I can't be bothered to explain it so here's Graeme McMillan to do so for anyone following the strip in the Post. Brian Steinberg at the Examiner just posted on this as well, and appears as cranky about it as I am.

Onion dropping comic strips?

In the January 1 issue of the Onion, Wondermark by David Malki has a strip that says "In three weeks, The Onion will cease printing a comics page." Malki suggests visiting his website and signing up for having the strip emailed, but that's just not the same as reading the paper, is it? DC is one of the two or three places to have a print copy of the paper - it's in New York City, and possibly still in Madison, WI.

Other strips on the next-to-last page are Shannon Wheeler's Postage Stamp Funnies (recently collected by Dark Horse Comics, as was Wondermark), Red Meat by Max Cannon (fugitive from the City Paper and soon homeless again apparently), The Spats, Ziggy (in Spanish... what a waste) and P.S. Mueller's panel.

Earlier in the paper is Ward Sutton's fake editorial cartoon, nominally by 'Kelly.'

Where in the world is ComicsDC?

Well, nominally we cover a small mid-Atlantic area in the United States, but apparently people pop in from all over. I've got a couple of maps in the lower right corner, and the one from ClustrMaps just added statistics by country - which I find amazing. I'm not sure what I'm doing to attract people from all over the world, but thanks for reading! Here's the numbers for our recent 3/4 of a year - from April 2008 when I put the map up, until now.

United States (US) 45,193
Canada (CA) 3,622
United Kingdom (GB) 3,028
Germany (DE) 1,068
France (FR) 816
Australia (AU) 787
Spain (ES) 672
Italy (IT) 600
India (IN) 573
Netherlands (NL) 469
Brazil (BR) 464
Philippines (PH) 364
Mexico (MX) 306
Japan (JP) 278
Belgium (BE) 250
Sweden (SE) 245
Poland (PL) 243
Turkey (TR) 241
Indonesia (ID) 236
South Africa (ZA) 234
Malaysia (MY) 211
Denmark (DK) 210
Singapore (SG) 203
Argentina (AR) 181
Finland (FI) 165
Switzerland (CH) 158
Norway (NO) 157
Russian Federation (RU) 157
Greece (GR) 155
Ireland (IE) 151
New Zealand (NZ) 144
Portugal (PT) 143
Thailand (TH) 139
Romania (RO) 131
Israel (IL) 131
Austria (AT) 127
Saudi Arabia (SA) 118
Chile (CL) 117
Serbia (RS) 110
Hong Kong (HK) 102
Korea, Republic of (KR) 101
Hungary (HU) 92
China (CN) 89
Czech Republic (CZ) 87
Croatia (HR) 87
Egypt (EG) 79
Peru (PE) 79
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 76
United Arab Emirates (AE) 76
Colombia (CO) 63
Pakistan (PK) 62
Europe (EU) 62
Cote D'Ivoire (CI) 55
Taiwan (TW) 49
Bulgaria (BG) 49
Slovakia (SK) 46
Vietnam (VN) 45
Nigeria (NG) 45
Ukraine (UA) 45
Venezuela (VE) 38
Puerto Rico (PR) 38
Guyana (GY) 36
Morocco (MA) 35
Slovenia (SI) 29
Lithuania (LT) 27
Costa Rica (CR) 25
Macedonia (MK) 24
Kuwait (KW) 23
Qatar (QA) 22
Trinidad and Tobago (TT) 22
Estonia (EE) 21
Ecuador (EC) 21
Sri Lanka (LK) 20
Dominican Republic (DO) 20
Latvia (LV) 19
Lebanon (LB) 18
Bangladesh (BD) 18
Guatemala (GT) 17
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) 17
Malta (MT) 17
Jamaica (JM) 17
Uruguay (UY) 17
Algeria (DZ) 15
El Salvador (SV) 13
Jordan (JO) 13
Oman (OM) 12
Ghana (GH) 12
Tunisia (TN) 11
Nicaragua (NI) 10
Barbados (BB) 10
Georgia (GE) 10
Bolivia (BO) 10
Panama (PA) 10
Netherlands Antilles (AN) 9
Iceland (IS) 9
Asia/Pacific Region (AP) 8
Luxembourg (LU) 8
Sudan (SD) 8
Kenya (KE) 8
Senegal (SN) 8
Cyprus (CY) 7
Belarus (BY) 7
Palestinian Territory (PS) 7
Togo (TG) 7
Yemen (YE) 6
Macau (MO) 6
Guam (GU) 6
Montenegro (ME) 6
Mongolia (MN) 6
Mauritius (MU) 6
Bermuda (BM) 6
Moldova, Republic of (MD) 5
Albania (AL) 5
Benin (BJ) 5
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (LY) 5
Bahamas (BS) 5
Brunei Darussalam (BN) 5
Maldives (MV) 5
Bahrain (BH) 5
Reunion (RE) 4
Honduras (HN) 4
Martinique (MQ) 4
Burkina Faso (BF) 4
Kazakstan (KZ) 3
Armenia (AM) 3
Malawi (MW) 3
Virgin Islands, U.S. (VI) 3
Syrian Arab Republic (SY) 3
Cayman Islands (KY) 3
Gibraltar (GI) 3
Fiji (FJ) 3
Nepal (NP) 3
Saint Lucia (LC) 3
Paraguay (PY) 2
Iraq (IQ) 2
Azerbaijan (AZ) 2
French Polynesia (PF) 2
Guinea (GN) 2
Guadeloupe (GP) 2
Namibia (NA) 2
Uganda (UG) 2
Greenland (GL) 1
Botswana (BW) 1
Mozambique (MZ) 1
Aruba (AW) 1
Cuba (CU) 1
Cape Verde (CV) 1
Cameroon (CM) 1
Virgin Islands, British (VG) 1
Northern Mariana Islands (MP) 1
Myanmar (MM) 1
Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN) 1
Mali (ML) 1
Somalia (SO) 1
Seychelles (SC) 1
Kyrgyzstan (KG) 1
Zimbabwe (ZW) 1
Cambodia (KH) 1
Rwanda (RW) 1
Gabon (GA) 1
Turkmenistan (TM) 1
Suriname (SR) 1

Bob Staake wrote in the other day after I posted something about him, and noted how long he's been in our paper - "17 consecutive years on the Style Invitational -- and over 25 with the Post." That's amazing. Here's 3 Style illos from the past year that caught my eye and got clipped.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cameroonian and Marylander cartoonist Issa Nyaphaga's exhibit in NYC

Issa's sent me the following press release about his new exhibit:



January 4 - February 6, 2009
Opening reception Friday, January 9th from 5 to 9 PM

ARTBREAK GALLERY is proud to present the work of ISSA NYAPHAGA, an international artist/activist who is working on global issues with FREEDIMENSIONAL here in NYC.

ISSA began his career working as a political cartoonist and reporter in a weekly satirical newspaper in his home country of Cameroon, Le Messager Popoli. His opposition to the political regime in Cameroon led him to several trips to jail in 1994 for his publications. In 1996 he escaped from his country to seek asylum in France, where he began collaborating with the famous photographer Jacqueline Hyde, a former assistant to Man Ray.

Being known as an activist devoted to the issues of refugees and immigrants, ISSA NYAPHAGA was invited on June 16, 2001 to20speak before the French National Assembly on the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees for the U.N.H.C.R. He also co-founded the organization JAFE (African Journalists in Exile), which defends and protects journalists in danger, and in 1999 he co-authored Comment la France traite l'asile politique (L'Harmattan ed.), a book
that deals with political asylum in France and analyzes the exile experience.

As a way of remaining in contact with his native country ISSA founded the Association "HITIP" (Hope International for Tikar People), which contributes to the development of rural areas in Cameroon, especially in the cultural exchange, health and education sectors.

ISSA NYAPHAGA is currently participating in a three-month residency program in NYC with the HARLEM STUDIO FELLOWSHIP. He is one of many emerging black artists who followed the last presidential election campaign in the US very closely, which then inspired him to produce the body of work in this show.

"As a political cartoonist I was censured and jailed. Today, after 12 years in exile, I seek to examine contemporary society with an expression that transcends the primary function of caricature. For me, drawing cartoons has always been about examining current events in newspapers, and transferring this expression onto a huge canvas or into an installation gives me immense pleasure," explains ISSA.

As part of his 'URBAN WAY' project, on the night of the reception ISSA will be performing on stage with live music.

The show will run from January 4th to February 6th.

For more information go to , or

195 Grand Street
2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 302 1021

Seth, Tomine, Neely illos among others in today's NY Times Magazine

Seth, Tomine, and Neely have illos among others in today's NY Times Magazine in this article - "Risk Mismanagement" - click on each page at the bottom to see the next set.

Jillian Tamaki illustrated a book review and a few days ago, J.D. Salinger.

Last week, David Hajdu eulogized Will Elder in "His Mad World," By DAVID HAJDU, New York Times Magazine December 28, 2008.

OT: Another review of Losing Everything

Here's another review of Losing Everything by my friend David Lozell Martin: "A novelist's harrowing journey," REVIEW BY PETE CROATTO, Bookpage, January 2009.

And on a more chipper note, the Post recently ran a story about Wonder Book and Video in Frederick, MD which has sold me a few comics and cartoon things over the years.

Another Luna Brothers interview online

"Keeping The Sword Sharp: Talking to the Luna Brothers," By Vaneta Rogers, Newsarama 30 December 2008 .

The Year According to Toles came out last week

Whoops. December 28th, p. B8 for anyone who kept the paper.

Since all of his Post cartoons are online, I guess it doesn't matter much.

But, hey, look - the Post is selling a print of his post-Obama election cartoon for $30; a bargain compared to the $200 for the signed one.

And although I'm poking fun at them, more power to them for figuring out more ways to make money and keep paying a cartoonist. Personally I think they should do a collection for each year of Toles' cartoons through a print-on-demand service. No upfront cost besides the intern time to put it together and I'd buy one each year.

Bennett's Best catchup

Zadzooks was on a videogame last week so I'm not linking to it, but here's 2 of Greg's recommendations:

Bennett's Best for the week of December 21
Zadzooks Blog
January 02 2009 7:39 PM BY JOE SZADKOWSKI

Back to the 80s when the world was young, and so were Greg and I as he selects Mister X and American Flagg!

Bennett's Best for the week of December 28
Zadzooks Blog
January 02 2009 7:55 PM BY JOE SZADKOWSKI

Shanower's return to Oz and 30 Days of Night here.

Cul de Sac picked up in Knoxville

See "Four new strips replace low finishers in News Sentinel cartoon lineup," By Susan Alexander, Knoxville News Sentinel Sunday, January 4, 2009.

OT: Dilbert interview

Since most of the comics news blogs are on holiday hiatus, I'll link to something that has nothing to do with our stated purpose - here's an interesting interview by my friend Chris Mautner, "'Dilbert' creator reflects on 20 years of cube life," Patriot-News January 2 2009.


By John Judy

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #582 by Dan Slott and Mike McKone. Spidey’s gotta settle the Molten Man’s hash and save Harry Osborn. Because that’s his job. Very specialized. Not just any insect-themed jamoke can do it. This is a Dan Slott story so it’s a cut above the rest. Read and see.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #21 by Jane Espenson and Georges Jeanty. Harmony the vampire attacks Andy Dick! The contest for Best Comic of 2009 is now officially over! Written by Mutant Enemy stalwart and “Battlestar: Galactica” scribe Jane Espenson! Recommended!

DC UNIVERSE ILLUSTRATED BY NEAL ADAMS by Neal Adams and Others. If you’re looking for any Adams DC material not already collected in Batman, Deadman or Green Lantern/Green Arrow trades it is probably in this book. Beautiful stuff. Recommended.

FACES OF EVIL: GRUNDY #1 by Scott Kolins and Geoff Johns. A one-shot exploring the story of DC’s indestructable swamp-monster Solomon Grundy. Everything you ever wanted to know and more! Gotta look!

HAUNTED TANK #2 of 5 by Frank Marraffino and Henry Flint. The comic that dares to ask “Can a black tank commander and his undead Confederate Army Great-great-great Grandfather put their differences aside if it means killing lots of non-Americans?” This should be Eddie Murphy’s next movie.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #9 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca. Tony Stark has pretty much screwed up the entire world. Captain America is dead, SHIELD is defunct and we just got reamed by a bunch of green alien shape-shifters. Now Tony is persona non grata everywhere. He’s sort of like George Bush in a suit of armor, but more sympathetic. Anyway this issue has Tony trying to escape Everyone.

NO HERO #3 of 7 by Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp. There’s a new superhuman in town and he’s looking…. Well, pretty darn strange actually. Having your mind cracked like an egg will do that to a person, even more so if it’s Warren Ellis making the omelet.

SANDMAN DREAM HUNTERS #3 of 4 by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell. It’s the monk’s turn to plead with the Dream King for the life of the fox. Problem is, that Dream King? Real jerk sometimes…

SECRET SIX #5 by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. Okay, it’s gonna be a trick bouncing back after most of the team was poisoned last issue and that freaky serial killer “Junior” begins closing in, but these crazy kids have moxie and that counts for a lot!

WALKING DEAD #57 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard. The zombie killers continue their trek to Washington D.C. Seems to be the thing to do this January. Also the 9th WALKING DEAD trade paperback HERE WE REMAIN comes out, collecting issues 49-54. Weeks like this make a person glad to be alive and not eating human flesh! Not for kids.

X-MEN: NOIR #2 of 4 by Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero. This series has me hooked like an adamantium claw with its crazy alternate universe X-folk spouting pulp tough-guy dialogue and acting like the “Gangs of New York” with super powers. Highly recommended!

Beeler cartoon picked in Time's top 10

Scott R wrote in noting that one of Nate Beeler's editorial cartoon also made Time's Top 10 List. Good work, Nate.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Beeler cartoon picked in Wired blog's top 12

Nate Beeler's cartoon is number 12 here: "Our 12 (Or So) Favorite Techy Cartoons of 2008," By Jose Fermoso, Wired's Gadget Lab blog January 03, 2009.

Telnaes, Pett's USA Today cartoon on Slate's top 50

At least according to "On the Slate: The Best Editorial Cartoons of '08," By E&P Staff December 30, 2008. I gave up clicking through the one cartoon per page that Slate offered up.

Luann about to visit DC?

Possibly for the inauguration?

Reason's website review of The Ten Cent Plague

See "Friday Mini Book Review: The Ten Cent Plague," Brian Doherty, January 2, 2009. Reason's based in DC, just north of Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave for those of you who were wondering.

2008 COMICS IN THE REARVIEW (aka Quick Reviews)

by John Judy

This past year saw no shortage of excellent comics work in spite of a dry-spell of inverse-proportion in quality movie adaptations. (I’m looking at you, “The Spirit” and “Punisher War Zone.”)

“The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” may have brought a few curious citizens through the doors of our nation’s comic shops, but if they came back for more it’s likely due to some of these titles being on the shelves:

AFTER 9-11: AMERICA’S WAR ON TERROR HC & SC by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. The team behind the excellent 9-11 REPORT graphic adaptation now presents us with its tragic sequel. While the creators strive to be fair to all concerned the Bushies come off almost as badly as they deserve. Hey, misleading a nation into a bankrupting, unnecessary war will do that sometimes! Highly recommended for 4,149 reasons as of this writing.

AL JAFFE TALL TALES HC by Al Jaffe. Collecting 120 installments of the world’s first and last vertical newspaper comic-strip from the veteran MAD artist who gave us “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” and the folding back-cover gags of about a million issues of MAD. Very cool stuff.

ALL WE EVER DO IS TALK ABOUT WOOD GN written and illustrated by Tom Horacek. A collection of Horacek’s morbidly funny single panel cartoons. Definitely for fans of Charles Addams, Edward Gorey, and Ivan Brunetti.

AMERICAN FLAGG: DEFINITIVE COLLECTION VOL. 1 HC and SC written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin. Collecting the legendary first 14 issues of the series that put Howard Chaykin on the map. Twenty-five years in the making this one’s finally coming out from Image.

AMERICAN WIDOW HC by Alissa Torres and Sungyoon Choi. A powerful, autobiographical account of Torres, a woman who lost her husband and the father of her unborn son in the attacks of 9-11. About as far from escapist fantasy as you’re going to get. Recommended but too intense for younger readers.

APOCALYPSE NERD SC written and drawn by Peter Bagge. Kim Jong Il has nuked Seattle (just go with it) and now software engineer Perry and his friend Gordo struggle to survive in the aftermath. Dark humor and adventure from the creator of HATE and THE BRADLEYS.

ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE BOOK 1 HC by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson. Collecting the first eight issues of “The Dark Age”, the story of Astro City in the seventies when the Silver Agent got whacked. Great stuff, too infrequently seen on the weekly racks.

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli. Imagine a darker version of the Disney movie “Sky High” and that’s what you’ll find in this on-going title about young heroes being registered and drafted into their nation’s service, mental and moral fitness aside. Early issues are now available in trade paperback.

THE BAKERS: BABIES AND KITTENS HC written and illustrated by Kyle Baker, the Greatest Cartoonist of All Time. Two cats are adopted into Kyle’s home against his wishes. Hijinks ensue. Beautifully drawn hijinks. Recommended especially if you have kids who like bedtime stories of hapless daddies.

THE BOYS by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. This notorious series continues chugging along just fine since DC Comics dumped it for being a little too close to home in the superheroes it skewers. Anyway, it’s Garth Ennis and if you enjoyed his PREACHER series back in the day you’ll enjoy this as well.

CAPTAIN AMERICA by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Technically this title hasn’t featured the real Cap since Brubaker “killed” him in March 2007, but Bucky the long-lost boy sidekick and his amazing friends have been providing very respectable entertainment since then, a feat I wouldn’t have thought possible but for the talents of the creative team. Good stuff for teens and up.

CLOUDS ABOVE SC written and illustrated by Jordan Crane. A book-length, all-ages adventure of a boy and his cat. Originally a HC release in 2005 this paperback edition contains five pages of new material. Very cool with appealing qualities for young and old alike.

COMIC BOOK COMICS by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. A bit of hyper-stylized graphic non-fiction from the geniuses who gave us ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! This time their target is the History of Comic Book Publishing in America! So far in 2008 we’ve enjoyed #1, “The Pulps” and #2, “Our Artists at War” featuring the early WWII adventures of Siegel and Shuster, Simon and Kirby, Stan Lee and Walt Disney! Previews can be found on the company website if you need more proof of this title’s wonderfulness. Look for the next two issues in early 2009!

THE CREEPY ARCHIVES, VOL. 1 and 2 HCs from Dark Horse Comics. Collecting the first ten issues of this classic horror anthology magazine. At eight stories per issue you’re looking at some quantity here in addition to the quality one associates with such creators as Archie Goodwin, Gray Morrow, Alex Toth and others of that era. A pair of Must-Haves for those of us who love this stuff.

CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Brubaker’s passion for noir culture in all its forms is infectious. This series traces the paths of multiple generations of dangerous losers in a city that breeds them. There are currently three trade collections out: LAWLESS, COWARD and THE DEAD AND THE DYING. All are recommended but be advised they do not contain any of the back-up text pieces featured in each of the individual comics. For those ya gotta buy the funny books. Fortunately they can be found at comic shops near you for a reasonable few bits.

THE DANGEROUS ALPHABET HC by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly. A dark romp through the alphabet with pirates, sewer-monsters, and organs in jars! Highly recommended for fans of Gahan Wilson and the like. Great for kids who need literacy and a good scare!

DAREDEVIL by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark. Brubaker continues putting the blind lawyer of Hell’s Kitchen through his paces since taking over from Brian Michael Bendis in 2006. This title is about as noir as a comic about a guy in red tights can get, but it’s interesting to see how many twists the creative team can put on a character whose challenges have for some time been more psychological than physical. Smart super-heroics need not be an oxymoron as this comic continues to demonstrate.

DOOM PATROL, VOL. 6: PLANET LOVE SC by Grant Morrison, Richard Case and Friends. The final collection of Morrison’s surreal work on DC’s original misfit super-heroes. From back in the days when Grant was forced to tell stories that could be followed by the nearly sober.

EC ARCHIVES HARDCOVERS by Bill Gaines and Company. These full-color collections from Steve Geppi’s Gemstone Publishing have been a real delight for fans of The Forbidden as well as those merely curious to see what could be so subversive in a comic that it would warrant hearings by the U.S. Congress. This year saw the publication of CRIME SUSPENSTORIES, VOL. 1; WEIRD SCIENCE, VOL.3; and TALES FROM THE CRYPT, VOL. 3. Great stuff.

ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR HC written and drawn by Alison Bechdel. The best strips from the past eleven volumes of DTWOF, plus sixty new ones not previously collected. Twenty-five years worth of funny, opinionated, challenging stuff. Recommended, especially for Mormons and inaugural preachers.

EX MACHINA by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris. We’re currently about 80% through the run on the story of Mitchell Hundred, the fictional Mayor Of New York and ex-superhero. This continues to be extremely smart story-telling for people interested in American politics, New York history and what it would be like to talk to machines. Seven volumes of trade paperbacks currently available at finer comic shops near you.

FELL by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith. The stand-alone stories of Detective Richard Fell, a cop banished from his home city for some yet-unknown breach of conduct. The first trade collection FELL, VOL. 1: FERAL CITY is now available. Teens and up.

FREAK BROTHERS OMNIBUS SC by Gilbert Shelton. Just like you remember them! Although if you can remember them you were probably doing something wrong… Wait, what was I saying...? Recommended.

THE GOON written and drawn by Eric Powell. This brutal supernatural comedy adventure draws you in with scraps of dialogue that justify their existence outside of any context whatsoever. It helps to know the backstory of Powell’s violent anti-hero but it’s not essential for enjoying the demented ride of this multiple-Eisner award winning series. Currently available in one hardcover and six softcover collections.

GREEN LANTERN by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Mike McKone. In brightest day, in blackest night, Johns and his rotating crew of artists have completely reinvigorated this character as the lead in a huge sci-fi space opera with a touch of police procedural. Lots of trade collections can help you get up to speed, just be sure they have Geoff Johns’ name in the credits.

HARVEY COMICS CLASSICS VOL. 3: HOT STUFF SC by Various Creators. Collecting over 100 tales of comics’ original Little Devil, the Demon in a Diaper: HOT STUFF! A perfect gateway for all age groups into hardcore Satanism! A great follow-up to the earlier Harvey collections of CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST and RICHIE RICH. Appropriate for all ages, but especially five year-old boys who can’t get enough of this stuff before bedtime.

HARVEY PEKAR: CONVERSATIONS edited by Michael G. Rhode. A treasure trove of interviews with the creator of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, spanning the years 1984 through 2007. Full disclosure: I’ve known editor Mike Rhode for a number of years and have written for his excellent website That said, I’ve never liked the creep and would not recommend his book if it weren’t a superb bit of scholarship about a significant creator in the American comics scene. Check it out.

HOLMES GN written and illustrated by Omaha Perez. Author Perez explains it best: “What if Sherlock Holmes is constantly out of his head and Watson’s not much better off, the Dr. Gonzo to Holmes’s Raoul Duke?” Teens and up.

HOLY SH*T!: THE WORLD’S WEIRDEST COMIC BOOKS HC by Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury. What it sounds like: Dozens of examples from all over the globe of the most bizarre, hilarious, disturbing curiosities ever to appear in sequential-graphic form. Sadly such a work can never be a definitive edition because Rob Liefeld and Frank Miller continue to publish new material. Worth having anyway.

HOUDINI: THE HANDCUFF KING SC by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi. An informative episode from the life of the world’s most famous magician/escape artist. (Go away, Blaine, we’re not talking about you. Ever.)

HOW TO DRAW STUPID SC by Kyle Baker. For anybody who ever wondered how Kyle Baker does it “and how you can too!” Sadly there is nothing in here about how to get the next issue of SPECIAL FORCES on the rack. Still recommended because Baker is a gol-darn genius!

HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS HC by Steve Gerber and Many Worthy Collaborators. Like Marvel couldn’t have done this while Gerber (1947-2008) was still alive… Recommended anyway because this is really great stuff. As close to the subversion of the underground comix as mainstream super companies ever got. R.I.P. Mr. Gerber. You are missed.

I SHALL DESTROY ALL CIVILIZED PLANETS: THE COMICS OF FLETCHER HANKS SC by Fletcher Hanks and Paul Karasik. A collection of the weirdly brilliant Golden-Age comics of Hanks, followed by the sad epilogue in which Karasik tracks down the artist’s only surviving relative to learn of his ultimate fate. Disturbing but moving stuff.

IMMORTAL IRON FIST by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja and Others. Since 2006 the crew on this book has taken a character who was mostly a C-lister and built an extremely credible mythology around him. Danny Rand, the Living Weapon of Kun-Lun and possessor of the Iron Fist, has turned into an interesting guy with a history and legacy going back quite a ways. The occasional peeks into the past and future of individuals entrusted with the Fist don’t always have a direct bearing on the main story, but they add to it in little ways that make the whole saga more enjoyable. We’re now up to three trade paperbacks and the on-going monthly if you’re just joining our program.

INCOGNEGRO HC by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. Part-Mystery, Part-History describes this story of a light-skinned Northern black man passing for white (“going incognegro”) to investigate his brother’s arrest in the virulently racist Mississippi of early 20th century America. A great story that oughta be an HBO movie at least.

JLA/AVENGERS SC by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. Finally one of the biggest of Big Fights is collected in affordable, bookshelf-friendly, trade paperback form. From the days when Big Event comics didn’t suck and/or take all year to come out. Recommended for all ages.

JUDENHASS GN by Dave Sim. The creator of CEREBUS takes on the holocaust and its cultural and historical roots. Most interestingly Sim issues a challenge to every creator working in comics today to produce his or her own work on the holocaust as an expression of indebtedness to the American Jews who created the comics industry. It’s a thought-provoking idea, although I’m not sure I’d want Frank Miller in his current state to attempt such a thing. Like Miller, Sim is one of those rare creators whose gifts in one area stand in contrast to a baffling dysfunction in others. Regardless, this work stands on its own as a worthy addition to holocaust literature.

KIRBY: KING OF COMICS HC by Mark Evanier. Years in the making, this is Evanier’s tribute to his former boss and long-time friend, Jack Kirby, the guy who co-created the foundations of the Marvel Universe and a lot more. Already going back to press, this book is a must for all subjects of The King. Highly Recommended.

KYLE BAKER’S NAT TURNER HC & SC by KB. Collecting the complete run of Baker’s wordless comic biography of Turner, the charismatic leader of an early American slave rebellion. Violent in places but okay for teens and up.

LIBERTY COMICS: A CBLDF BENEFIT BOOK by Various Creators including Brubaker, Ennis, Cooke, Evanier, Phillips and Millar. Featuring original stories from the worlds of CRIMINAL and THE BOYS with lots of other goodies from today’s top creators. If you love comics and hate censorship this is your book!

MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST CRIME COMICS SC edited by Paul Gravett; written and drawn by Many People including Eisner, Moore, Gaiman, Spillane, Chandler, Krigstein and pre-21st Century Frank Miller (before he went insane)! Twenty-five of the best crime comics ever published. Mammoth has also issued collections (by different editors) of Best Horror, War, Zombie and New Manga Comics, but this is the one I personally had to buy.

MAN OF ROCK: A BIOGRAPHY OF JOE KUBERT SC by Bill Schelly. Tracing the life and work of the 82 year-old living legend of comics. Includes interviews with the artist, his family and colleagues going back to 1938 when he got his first job in comics at age twelve.

NEIL GAIMAN’S CORALINE GN by NG and P. Craig Russell. The story of a little girl who goes exploring in the wrong house. It was text with illustrations. Now it’s the opposite. (Also it’s an animated movie with Dakota Fanning.) P. Craig and Neil: Always a winning combination.

NORTHLANDERS by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice. This Vertigo title is actually a series of stories about (you guessed it!) Vikings (or Northlanders) and that Special Way they have of interacting with other cultures. The first arc, (“Sven the Returned”) now available in trade, was set a thousand years ago in the bleak world of the Viking village Grimness. Prince Sven, a prodigal son, returns from the Holy Land to claim his inheritance. Hijinks ensue. These bloody, fascinating adventures draw the reader in with their depictions of how desolate and empty the Vikings’ world was back then and how one determined outsider could change the entire order of such a place.

PUNISHER by Garth Ennis and Collaborators. Ennis supposedly wrapped his run on the character this year but has already come back for the six-issue PUNISHER WAR ZONE miniseries. Hopefully there will always be one more twisted Frank Castle anecdote rattling around the Ennis brainpan.

RASL written and drawn by Jeff Smith. The end of 2008 left us three issues into this intriguing sci-fi crime series about a bad scientist who takes up inter-dimensional art theft for fun and profit. Smith is taking his time, doing things his way just as he did with his earlier signature piece BONE. So far RASL is looking like a worthy follow-up.

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

SCALPED by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera. My favorite comic: The story of F.B.I. Special Agent Dash Bad Horse’s return to the Indian reservation he thought he’d escaped forever. This is a dark crime series that quickly becomes addictive as Bad Horse stares deeper and deeper into his personal abyss. Grown-ups only. Three trades out for those needing to catch up.

SCRAMBLED INK HC by A Bunch of Dreamworks Animators. A collection of stories illustrated by the folks who brought you “Shrek” among other things. There’s a preview over on the Dark Horse website and it looks beautiful.

SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST HC written and illustrated by Joshua Cotter. Observations of childhood isolation and existence in the American Midwest. With giant robots. Eisner Award- nominated.

SOLOMON KANE by Scott Allie and Mario Guevara. A five issue series from Dark Horse starring the only Puritan that Ed Brubaker’s ever been a fan of! “Castle of the Devil” is an adaptation of an original tale by CONAN creator Robert E. Howard. The art is reminiscent of Michael Zulli’s colored pencil art on the last SANDMAN collection so that should give older fans an idea of how sharp it looks. This one is off the beaten path but well worth the journey.

THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Mike Perkins. This five-issue series is the first chapter of Stephen King’s epic end of the world story and the strongest graphic adaptation of King’s work I’ve ever seen. It appears to be the first arc in a series that will complete the entire novel. Hopefully Marvel Comics will be able to keep this creative team all the way through.

STAN’S SOAPBOX: THE COLLECTION SC by Da Man. Collecting every one of Smilin’ Stan Lee’s interstitial manifestos from 1967 to 1980. These were the monthly asides that made a generation of fans feel like Stan Lee was standing right behind us, whispering in our ears even when he usually wasn’t. Best of all, this book has been published to benefit the Hero Initiative ( ), a charity for older comics creators in need. A great work for a great cause and a true geek “Must-Have!”

STREETS OF GLORY by Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer. A mini-series told in flashback about the closing days of the Wild West. Extreme graphic violence, but good for fans of Garth Ennis and Clint Eastwood. Not for kids.

STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY SC by Harvey Pekar, Gary Dumm, and historian Paul Buhle. A non-fiction account of the rise and fall of one of the most ambitious and controversial activist groups of the 1960s. For grown-ups and interested parties. A very well-timed publication, although I have to admit it is a bit preachy and all over the place narratively. If nothing else it provides a cautionary tale against the idea that self-righteousness alone will carry the day.

THOR by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel. This latest revival of Marvel’s resident Thunder God has been receiving well-deserved praise. Between Straczynski’s steady, deliberate pacing and Coipel’s clean, dynamic art this is the best run of the Odinson’s adventures since Walt Simonson’s. The first six issues are now out in trade.

THOREAU AT WALDEN HC by John Porcellino. A graphic adaptation of Thoreau’s writings by the creator of KING-CAT COMICS AND STORIES, published by the always inspirational Center for Cartoon Studies. This one’s already getting good reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Teens and up.

THUNDERBOLTS by Warren Ellis and Company. For some reason Marvel entrusted one of their titles into the devious care of Warren Ellis with delightfully heinous results. These stories have been collected in two paperback volumes, FAITH IN MONSTERS and CAGED ANGELS.

TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN HC written and drawn by Alex Robinson. A really fun fantasy about a grown man sent back in time via hypnosis to the 1980s to relive high school. Hey, it worked for Batman in the fifties!

TOP TEN SEASON TWO by Zander Canon and Gene Ha. Four more issues of quality time with the good peace officers of Neopolis. Amazingly good stuff even without Alan Moore at the Sergeant’s Desk.

THE TWELVE by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston. What if 12 Golden-Age heroes did the Captain America trick and thawed out of deep-freeze in the modern world? And what if they had all sorts of quirks and character flaws typical of their times? And what if they were beautifully drawn by one of the best artists working in comics today? This 12-issue maxi-series has broad appeal for Golden-Age and Modern Age fans alike.

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION: A GRAPHIC ADAPTATION by Jonathan Hennessey and Aaron McConnell (with a little help from James Madison). A very well-received and engaging study of a certain document that’s kept our nation up and running (for the most part) for 200-plus years.

UNKNOWN SOLDIER by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli. Author Joshua Dysart spent a month in Northern Uganda doing research for this new incarnation of Kanigher and Kubert’s classic war hero. This relatively new series has already made an impression for its unflinching look at the humanitarian disaster in which the action is set. Child soldiers, religious mania and political apathy bring about a Western doctor’s psychotic break and the rise of a new “Immortal G.I.”

WACKY PACKAGES HC by Topps. A tribute to the product parody stickers that outsold baseball cards for a while back in the seventies. Featuring an interview with artist/fan/legend Art Spiegelman.

WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard. The ongoing saga of the last humans alive after a zombie plague wipes out civilization. Imagine if the Romero movies never ended. Incredible suspense and continuous surprises derived from the systematic breaking of formula. You never know who might die (or worse) next. A guaranteed gut-punch per issue. Too intense for kids, but engrossing for older readers.

X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT by Greg Pak and Carmine Di Giandomenico. This five-issue series reveals the life of the young Magneto living in pre-WWII Germany before he gained his powers. It’s a somber story, made more so by the absence of the usual superhero tropes and a solid historical setting. Greg Pak sheds light on the Nazi abuses that shaped an innocent kid named Max Eisenhardt into the murderous extremist he became. The creative team deserves credit for elevating what could have been a vulgar trivialization of the holocaust through their dramatic restraint and attention to historic detail. It rises above its spandex origins as only the best superhero books manage, making this very much worth a read.

X-MEN: NOIR by Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero. Now what if the X-Men had been created and written by pulp crime novelists back in 1930-something? Imagine Mickey Spillane writing Wolverine! This one is a pure guilty pleasure with scenes like Police Chief Magnus pistol-whipping Irish gangster Black Tom Cassidy, chiding him “I have to tell you again, I'm sending you to Irish Hell, Blackie. You won't like Irish Hell, Blackie. There's no whiskey and all the women hit back.” How can anyone resist?

Y THE LAST MAN by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. The series ended in January 2008 but is now available start to finish in paperback and hardcover. The saga of the Last Man on Earth excelled past its cheesy sci-fi premise with issue one and never looked back. A real masterpiece worthy of sitting beside WATCHMEN and SANDMAN on bookshelves everywhere. If you like this as much as Everyone did check out Vaughan’s current on-going series EX MACHINA.

Friday, January 02, 2009

David Hagen exhibit coming to Arlington?

David Hagen is reporting that an exhibit of his work is coming to Arlington this spring. I've left a message on his blog asking for details. Good news!

Richmond's Velocity Comics top 10 picks for 2008

"Top 10 Comics of 2008 - Velocity Comics," Brick Weekly January 02, 2009. I haven't been to this store? Anybody have? The list is much lighter on superheroes than I'd expect at a mainstream store.

County fair superhero prizes merchandising

100_1783 Hulk Spider-Man and Superman balloons

I liked this photo enough to start playing around with it making Zazzle stuff - Available as a postcard -
or a mousepad -
or a poster -

January hardcover sale at Big Planet Comics

All hardcovers will be on sale in Bethesda and Georgetown all month and select ones in the other two stores.

4908 Fairmont Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

3145 Dumbarton St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

426 Maple Ave. East
Vienna, VA 22180

7315 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740

Thursday, January 01, 2009

KAL's New Year's Day cartoon

Blogs and websites of my friends part 3

Kathleen's Tiz Herself Flickr photos site - lots of lovely pictures especially of churches and museums.

New Year's Day sale at Big Planet Comics

If you're a Comicsvore* like I am, you didn't get everything comics-related for the holidays that you really, really needed. Big Planet Comics is ready to help. For their January 1 sale, take 20% off everything in the stores. How can you go wrong?

4908 Fairmont Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

3145 Dumbarton St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

426 Maple Ave. East
Vienna, VA 22180

7315 Baltimore Ave.
College Park, MD 20740

*coined to describe me by cartoonist and comics writer Darko Macan

Happy New Year from ComicsDC!