Archive for August, 2010



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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For me, and I admit I have specialized taste, the best news coming out San Diego was the announcement that Fantagraphics is going to reprinting Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips, which really was during the 1930s one of the great adventure strips. This will be hard for anyone who hasn’t read Gottfredson’s work to believe, but his Mickey Mouse was as rousing as Roy Crane’s Captain Easy and as rich in invention as Barks’ longer Duck stories.

Given the track record of Fanta’s excellent design and editorial team, I’m confident that Gottfredson is in good hands. A word of advice: I’d suggest that Fanta recruit Kevin Huizenga to write an intro for one of these books. Huizenga has a keen appreciation for Gottfredson’s cartooning, as can be seen in this tribute page from Or Else #3. Huizenga, by the way, is completely right about Gottfredson’s profusive use of sweat drops. Gottfredson must have been the sweatiest cartoonist ever (close second: Dan Clowes).

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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (9/1/10 – Wild Dreams)


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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Above we see Marshall Rogers, among the ‘star’ superhero artists of the late ’70s/early ’80s, at his most transformed. This is from Cap’n Quick & A Foozle, his one and only longform project as a writer/artist, although Rogers actually took the credit of Director; this was, I suspect, partially in homage to the Warner Brothers cartoons that provided no small inspiration, but it also highlights Rogers’ understanding of himself at the head of a band of collaborators, including scenarist/colorist Chris Goldberg, and additional colorists René Reynolds & L.J. Chapin. As you might guess, there’s a lot of emphasis on color in this thing, ranging from odd, hazy translucent effects to washed-out blue & green over pencil shading, to – ah, see above. I don’t think Eclipse would publish anything quite so anxious and out-there again until Floyd Farland, Citizen of the Future.


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Frank’s Soapbox #5


Saturday, August 28, 2010

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Noel Sickles sketches

Reading My Love recently has got me thinking about naturalism in comics. What do I mean by the term naturalism? That’s what I call a bare boned observational (from life) drawing style. It’s not dissimilar from documentary illustrations published in newspapers before photography was affordable. A modern equivalent would be court sketches. And in comics the examples that come immediately to mind are Noel Sickles, Alex Toth and Jaime Hernandez. A clear, observational drawing style based on a study of life as it appears to the naked eye. Stylized, yes, but accurate to life in proportion and feel. (more…)

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A Few Notes on Not So Funnyman


Friday, August 27, 2010

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A little more on Siegel and Shuster this week. Funnyman—a six-issue series and short-lived newspaper comic, 1947-49, featuring a character who fought villains with pranks and gags—was Superman creators Siegel and Shuster’s last grasp at something all their own. It didn’t go so well. The feature is partially reprinted and extensively written about in Thomas Andrae and Mel Gordon’s recent book Funnyman: The First Jewish Superhero. It’s an odd entry in our current boom, situated less as a comic book of its time and more as an example of Jewish humor and the changing social mores possible for the artistic duo to capitalize on. (more…)

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CCCBC: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard (Part 1)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Welcome to the preseason for 2010′s Comics Comics Comic-Book Club, which will feature a discussion of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s new series Neonomicon. Before getting to that, though, it probably makes sense to start with Alan Moore’s The Courtyard, the 2003 two-issue miniseries to which Neonomicon is a sequel.

Garth Ennis, of Preacher and Punisher fame, introduces the comic with some effusive praise:

Here he is now with his latest effort, ably assisted by Antony Johnston and drawn by the always excellent Jacen Burrows: Alan Moore’s The Courtyard. And yes, it’s brilliant, and yes- sob- he’s as good as he ever was, but what The Courtyard really does is confirm the effortless quality of the man’s talent. A story bursting with ideas and characters and nice lines and spooky twists, enough to keep most writers occupied for a couple of years—but where just about anyone else would stripmine a concept like this to death, what does Alan devote to it? Forty-eight pages, no more.

Actually, Moore actually didn’t even devote that many pages to the concept, because Moore is not in fact the author of this comic (more…)

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There’s Money In Comics


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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1. In 1947 Stan Lee was virtually unknown, except to the few perverse readers who paid attention to the credit lines of 3rd rate knock-off comics. But Marshall McLuhan, who himself was years away from fame, had a great radar for what was happening in popular culture. He noted a 1947 issue of Writer’s Digest where Lee wrote an article arguing “There’s Money In Comics” (which turned out to be very true for Lee, although much less true for Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko). In his 1951 book The Mechanical Bride, McLuhan used Lee’s article as a jumping off point for talking about middle- and low- brow art.


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Comics or Not Comics?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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As always, there is only ONE right answer! It is a moral imperative to keep our categories clear, and our aesthetic bloodlines pure.

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