That’s All, Folks!


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Monday, March 7, 2011


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Dear Readers,

It’s with mixed feelings that we have to say goodbye to Comics Comics for now.

We’ve been offered a great opportunity to be co-editors of The Comics Journal online, and after five very rewarding years of editing Comics Comics, we feel it’s time to try something new. With the infrastructure and resources of TCJ, we’re confident we can explore the medium with even greater depth and verve.

Comics Comics will remain online, exactly as it is, but there will be no further posts, and we will be closing comments in a week or so as well. We want to thank our co-founder, Frank Santoro, our founding publisher, Laris Kreslins, and our contributors, Jeet Heer, Joe “Jog” McCulloch, Nicole Rudick, Dash Shaw, and Jason T. Miles, our amazing design team, Mike Reddy and Ray Sohn, and all the many artists and guests. Most of all, we want to thank you the readers, for your attention, your comments, and your support.

Please join us, and all of the Comics Comics contributors, over at The Comics Journal.

Thanks so much again.

Dan and Tim

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Ogden Whitney Goes Kirby!


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Saturday, March 5, 2011


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A very Whitney top panel - but look at the figure on the right at he top. That's a total Kirby pose.

Two-Gun Kid #117 reprints an Ogden Whitney story from the same series years before. “Three Rode Together” (originally appeared in Two-Gun Kid #89) is a very Jack Kirby looking Ogden Whitney effort. There’s no listing for an inker on the indicia – so I’m left to assume Whitney inked himself on this one. It’s really heavy-handed Marvel style inking compared to Whitney’s ACG work. You can imagine editor Stan Lee telling Whitney to make this western look like the other issues of Two-Gun Kid – meaning make it look like Kirby.

It was fun for me to discover this comic in the quarter bin. I’d never seen it. Dan was like, “Oh, yeah, I have some of those. I think that’s some of Whitney’s last professional work.” I was startled at how “3-D” looking the pages are in comparison to Whitney’s “flat” space in most of his ACG work. Whitney is famous for his flat, stage-like compositions in Herbie and in his romance comics work. So, it’s really odd and somehow thrilling to see Whitney’s compositions go “in” to the panel. He seems to be imitating Kirby’s layered approach. Y’know what I mean – when Kirby has a strong foreground, middle ground and background all in one panel. Read More…

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The Mid-Life Moment in Alternative Comics


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Friday, March 4, 2011


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Mid-Life by Joe Ollmann

Over at the National Post, I have a review of Joe Ollmann’s new graphic novel  Mid-Life (click here to read).

A few ancillary thoughts:

The Mid-Life Theme. As can be guessed from the title, Ollmann’s book is about a mid-life crisis. Has anyone noticed how pervasive that theme has been in recent graphic novels? I’m thinking here of Clowes’ Wilson, Collier’s Chimo, Jaime Hernandez’s The Education of Hopey Glass (and the triptych of stories in Love and Rockets 3), Ware’s Acme 19 (and arguably “Jason Lint” or Acme 20, which covers the characters whole life year by year but where the central life-defining actions take place in mid-life). Perhaps related is Brown’s Paying For It, which I haven’t read yet, also hinges I’m told on a pivotal  life-decision the cartoonist made in mid-life. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the mid-life theme is so pervasive. The generation of alternative cartoonists that now dominate comics were all born in the late 1950s or 1960s and are now facing mid-life themselves. Seth’s an interesting anomaly since it could be said that he cartooned like a middle-age man even when he was young. But Seth is relevant here because he once said that he hoped his audience would grow old with him. That’s what seems to be happening with alternative comics and their audience.

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Ink Panther podcast


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Thursday, March 3, 2011


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Mike Dawson called me on the computer and talked with me about comic books and jobs. Lots of rambling color commentary from your friendly neighborhood blabbermouth – little ol’ me, Frankie Dee. Frankie D. Wop.

Check it out here.

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Cartoonists That Never Were: G.K. Chesterton


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) is a bit of a shadowy figure in contemporary cultural memory. There is, to be a sure, a Chesterton cult which cherishes him as a sage but most people have only a small glimmer of his various achievements as a novelist (The Man Who Was Thursday), detective story writer (creator of the Father Brown stories), intellectual sparring partner of G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells, religious apologist (The Everlasting Man), and literary critic (The Victorian Age in Literature and other books).  

Chesterton was also a cartoonist, as I was recently reminded while reading an essay by Wilfrid Sheed. Chesterton had studied art as a young man and worked as an illustrator before becoming a full-time writer. His cartoons are a bit hard to come by. I’ve seen some here and there in The Chesterton Review and a few of the books, but could only find one online. (The image pasted above.)

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Jane Russell, RIP


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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Jane Russell, who died last Monday at age 89, will be remembered fondly for many reasons: her full-bodied sexiness, her saucy performance as Marilyn Monroe’s co-star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, her various turns as a comic foil for Bob Hope. But comics fans will also remember that she was one of the many Hollywood stars that Will Eisner recruited in his work (Lauren Bacall was an especial favourite). Russell’s erotically charged performance in the 1943 movie The Outlaw, a film in which her cleavage was much on display, was hugely controversial in the 1940s. In the Spirit section of Sept. 1, 1946, Eisner transformed Russell into Olga Bustle, “the girl with those big, big eyes.” Farewell, Jane Russell: your movies will continue to entertain the world, as will Eisner’s affectionate parody of your early persona.

 

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Awkward Word Balloon Placement in Early Comics


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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Herriman's Major Ozone, Sept. 29, 1906

As an addendum to my McManus notebook, I’ve been collecting examples of reverse-order word ballooning, that’s to say the tendency of early cartoonists to occasionally have word balloons read from right to left rather than the reading protocol that’s easier in English (from left to right).

A few examples of what I’m talking about:

George Herriman, Major Ozone, Sept. 29, 1906:

Major Ozone: “What! And shut out that fine fresh air? Never, Captain, Never!!”

Captain: “Major,  you’d better close your door – it may storm tonight.”

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