Author Archive

That’s All, Folks!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Read Comments (35)

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

Labels: ,

2 x 2


Friday, February 25, 2011

Read Comments (4)

1. You’ve doubtless seen mention of this already, but on the off chance you’ve ignored the links, you should definitely make some time this week to check out’s Kirb Your Enthusiasm, a series of posts by various writers deconstructing single panels from all stages of Jack Kirby’s career. I haven’t read a bad one yet, but special notice so far should go to Dan, Gary Panter, and Annie Nocenti.

2. The Onion’s A.V. Club has revamped its regular “Comics Panel” feature.

Labels: , ,

Mindless Pleasures


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Read Comments (48)

As of one week ago today, I finally finished Gravity’s Rainbow. Now that I’ve read the whole thing, I can more responsibly ponder the Frank Miller question. While I’m still not a fan of the actual cover he produced, I also still think his selection makes a lot of sense: there’s a ton of comic-book imagery in the novel, and many of Miller’s themes (militarism, noirish overcomplicated plots, skeezy sex, fascism) are present. The more focused and disciplined Ronin-era Miller would probably have done a better job, but that was clearly not in the cards. In any case, let’s move on from Miller — it is more fun to speculate about other cartoonists who might have worked even better.

Assuming you wanted to stick with a modern-era superhero artist, Howard Chaykin is one obvious (and arguably more apt) choice. The late Jack Cole, who is referenced often in the story itself, would have been pretty much perfect, though obviously he was unavailable for cover duty. While we’re dreaming, Jack Kirby initially seems like a good fit, but there’s a certain nobility in even Kirby’s saddest comics that would be far out of place in the corrupt, fallen world of GR. That thought leads, of course, to perhaps Kirby’s greatest descendant, Gary Panter, who is ultimately the one and only obvious choice for the assignment.

But there’s no reason to restrict this game to just one book. (more…)

Labels: ,

Cartoon Polymaths


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Post Comment

If you haven’t already heard about this, you need to know: Occasional Comics Comics contributor Bill Kartalopolous has curated an amazing-sounding show, which will hold its opening reception at Parsons tonight. The show features the works of such artists as Winsor McCay, Tony Sarg, Saul Steinberg, Mariscal, Richard McGuire, Paper Rad, and Kevin Huizenga. If you live in the New York area, you should go.

Full info here.

Comics Enriched Their Lives! #21 (a/k/a Comics That Never Were #4)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Read Comments (6)

Of note are [Milo Manara‘s] two collaborations with Federico Fellini (a comic book enthusiast and a cartoonist himself), both in the director’s final years. The first, Viaggio a Tulum, appeared in 1986; the second and final one was supposed to be a completed version of Il viaggio di G. Mastorna, the movie Fellini had attempted to make during most of his career (the autobiographical 8 1/2 refers to the director’s failure to start the production of this very film).

Curiously, due to Fellini’s illness and a bizarre printing accident when the comic was serialized in the magazine il Grifo, even the comic book version was left unfinished. The next two installments would have told of Mastorna’s travels in the afterlife, but due to a printing mistake, the word END appeared at the bottom of the last page of the first episode. The always superstitious Fellini then decided it was a good place to stop and withdrew from the project. Il viaggio di G. Mastorna is to this day considered by many Italian film critics the most famous never-filmed movie in the history of cinema.

—Simone Castaldi, Drawn and Dangerous: Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s

Labels: , , , , ,

CCCBC: Neonomicon #3


Friday, January 28, 2011

Read Comments (19)

Did you find this spider anywhere inside Neonomicon 3? I didn't.

Let’s start this meeting of the CCCBC by pointing newcomers to previous entries so as to get up to speed, and then leap right in to a SPOILER-filled synopsis: (more…)

Labels: , , ,

New Values


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Post Comment

Weather conditions are delaying today’s post, but something will be up later. In the meantime, check out photos from Frank’s show.


Best Online Comics Criticism 2010


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Read Comments (20)

About a year ago, Ng Suat Tong invited me to help judge his annual online comics criticism event. Not seeing a good reason against it at the time, I agreed. (As you may remember, Frank participated last time around.) It was definitely an imperfect exercise, but I knew that going in. More on that later.

First, the winners, as listed by Suat here. (He also provided commentary on the panel as a whole and some of the runners up.)

1. “The Other Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”, by Jason Thompson (6 votes)

I was apparently the only judge who didn’t vote for this article, which surprises me. Not because Thompson’s article is poor—in fact, I think it is a fine overview of an exotic (to Americans) cultural subject—but because it doesn’t seem to me to be criticism at all. The closest thing to a critical judgment that I can find in the essay comes in the summing-up statement: “In short, although a few artists like Moto Hagio write serious stories about the consequences of incest and child abuse, most manga and anime creators flirt with incest for kink, comedy and emotional effect.” Not exactly an electrifying insight.

Still and all, if this had been a competition designed simply to identify 2010’s best writing about comics on the internet, I may well have voted for this. But it wasn’t, and I didn’t.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comics Enriched Their Lives! #19 and #20


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Read Comments (8)

Okay, these are both gimmes, basically, but since there are two of them, maybe that’s the equivalent of one solid post. Plus they’re both literary, so you know this is some well thought out bloggery.

First, in the immortal words of Paul Hardcastle: 19.

Rocketman, like comic books, is assembled by the Raketen-Stadt in order to serve Their designs. When he no longer serves Their ends, They dismantle him. But fragments of him survive in Pynchon‘s text. No one who reads Gravity’s Rainbow will forget the legend of Rocketman, the greatest preterite super-hero of the postmodern world. For a moment, he defied Their will and fought for truth, justice, and the Pynchon way.

—H. Brenton Stevens, “‘Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s . . . Rocketman!’: Pynchon’s Comic Book Mythology in Gravity’s Rainbow

I haven’t actually done more than skim that essay yet, by the way, as I am currently nearing the halfway mark in Gravity’s Rainbow, and don’t want to spoil things for myself. From a cursory perusal, it looks like Stevens may miss or downplay some of the subtler comic-book connections going on, such as the repeated Plastic Man references, but more knowledgeable others (and a future me) are better positioned to determine that. I will say that at this point I better understand why Thomas Pynchon tapped Frank Miller for the cover, a move that no longer seems intentionally perverse, but rather extremely apt—I just wish Miller hadn’t ultimately turned in such a relatively restrained image.

And now, 20:

At first I was read to. My grandfather had taught Greek and Latin at Columbia, and he read to me from a book that had abbreviated versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad—plus a lot of classic fairy tales, which, as you know, are extremely disturbing. Then I began reading on my own. I read mostly Westerns. My parents approved of that, because at least they were books. But when I got into comic books, they disapproved. I would read them by flashlight under the covers. No one realized in those days that 1930s Action Comics and DC Comics, Superman and Batman, would become legendary in American culture. They taught me a great deal about narrative—lots of invention and no pretense of realism.

—Harry Mathews, interviewed in the Spring 2007 issue of The Paris Review

Also no real surprise, considering the various Ou-X-Po connections, but there you go.

[Tip of the hat to DB for the latter.]

P.S. I finally got a copy of Neonomicon #3, so anyone interested in the CCCBC should find and read a copy before next week if you want to follow along.

UPDATE: Since I posted this, I found a more up-to-date and comprehensive article about Pynchon/comics connections online at The Walrus, written by Sean Rogers. I recommend it and you can read it here.

Labels: , , , ,



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Read Comments (3)

Snow has kept me away from computers and comics and home for a very long time now — I have nothing to say about funnybooks this week. I briefly considered just giving up, and suggesting that we celebrate the new year with an old video, always worth re-watching:

Luckily, Tom Spurgeon has just interviewed a Comics Comics team member, Mr. Jason T. Miles, sparing us all from that indignity.

You can read their conversation here, and I don’t have to fake a post! This is a true Christmas miracle.

Labels: , , ,