Posts Tagged ‘Inkstuds’

That Inkstuds Book


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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The new Inkstuds book

As Jog mentioned last week, the Inkstuds book is now in stores. Jog avoided saying too much about it for conflict of interest reasons, and I have even more conflicts than he does. I wrote the introduction to the book, which also includes the transcript on an interview with me, Dan, and Tom Spurgeon.

But Comics Comics has a long and noble tradition of **ahem**Dan Nadel**ahem** shameless self-promotion, so I’ll say a few words. It’s a very handsome book, amply illustrated with examples of the cartoonists work. And to his credit Robin McConnnell has interviewed many cartoonists who have rarely if ever been questioned about their work (notably the great Ted Stearn). Finally and unexpectedly, the interviews read very well in print. Even though I’ve listened to many of the interviews before, I’ve found that when I read them I pick up on nuances that I missed as a listener. So if you’re interested in contemporary comics, I’d suggest picking up the book.

Here’s an excerpt from my intro:

Among the many comics interviewers, the best were Verne Greene, John Benson, Arn Saba, Gary Groth, and Todd Hignite.  In the early 1960s, Greene, who then drew the strip Bringing Up Father, hosted a radio program on WRVR in New York City where he chatted with peers like Chester Gould and Roy Crane, getting them to share in the secrets of their craft. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Benson conducted path-breaking interviews with comic book artists such as Bernie Krigstein and Gil Kane, where they spoke honestly about the commercial limits of the form and their artistic ambitions. In the 1970s, Arn Saba, then a young cartoonist with an enviable gig at CBC radio, interviewed such venerable comic strip masters as Hal Foster, Floyd Gottfriedson, and Milton Caniff, catching them in the twilight of their career…..

I’ll add a regret that I didn’t talk about Tom Spurgeon as one of the great interviewers, since he’s done some really deft quizing of both mainstream comics artists, and a wide range of contemporary art cartoonists and also writers about comics. I know from my own experience, that Tom is a really acute reader whose questions are like x-rays in the way the lay bare the insides of a book. 

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Talking Comics Criticism


Friday, October 22, 2010

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Dwight Macdonald: one of Gary Groth's heroes

On the Inkstuds program earlier today, Gary Groth, Ben Schwartz and I talked about comics criticism with Robin McConnell. The pretext was Ben’s recent anthology of essays and interviews on comics. You can listen to the show here. The discussion ran all over the place. Among other topics discussed:

1. The transformative  role played by Gil Kane in getting people to talk about visual storytelling as well as literary narrative, and in general Kane as a spark for comics criticism and enthusiasm about comics.

2. The difference between art and entertainment.

3. The importance of destructive criticism (with discussions of the relative merits of Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, and Dwight Macdonald). I wish I had remembered to mention John Metcalf, who belongs in this tradition.

4. The seductive dangers posed by Mencken’s style.  Again, I wish I had remembered Christopher Hitchens’s great sentence about the impact of Mencken on some of his dimmer imitators: “No wonder, then, that in his ill-tempered and misanthropic shape, [Mencken] has been adopted as a premature foe of ‘PC’ by the rancorous crowd of minor swells who put out the American Spectator. ”

5. Why Mark Beyer, David Collier and Kim Deitch need critical champions (although Gary mentioned that there is an essay by Gary Giddins on Deitch’s work. I had no idea that this essay existed and will now have to track it down).

6. The reputational status of Eisner and Spiegelman.

If you are interested in these and related topics, listen to the show.

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“I’m Only Talking to Three of You Guys”


Friday, July 30, 2010

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Michael DeForge, Brandon Graham and our own Frank Santoro do some fun comic shop talk with Robin McConnell on the latest Inkstuds podcast. Consider this a CC-approved way to procrastinate from whatever life is imposing on you right now.

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Like a Stud


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

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Not in Art in Time: L.B. Cole. He was awesome. And! John Stanley's editor in the 1960s.

Kill your morning by listening to an interview over at Inkstuds. Listen to me rant on about Art in Time and other matters of the heart. Robin is always a fine host.

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John Stanley Notebook


Thursday, March 18, 2010

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Little Lulu #19

Along with my friends Frank Young and Gail Singer, I just recorded an Inkstuds episode devoted to John Stanley. You can listen to it here.

And below are some excerpts from my John Stanley notebook:

 Stanley as Lulu. Month after month, Lulu had to improvise a story to please that pesky small-fry Alvin. Lulu was adept at spinning out burlesque yarns featuring stock characters – poor girls, kings, witches — and coming up with new scenarios for them to enact. Wasn’t Lulu’s plight the same as Stanley’s? He was on a story tread mill, he had to keep running to make the kids happy, there was no let up or relief for nearly thirty years.

Mummy as Enabler. Is it too much to see Melvin Monster as an allegory about child abuse? Melvin’s always under the threat of violence, sometimes death itself. His chief persecutor is his father, Baddy. The name says it all: Baddy equals bad daddy (a pun related to Blake’s nickname for the God of organized religion: Nobodaddy). Melvin’s mother, Mummy, is all wrapped up in the Egyptian manner. That means she has no eyes to see what is happening. She turns a blind eye to Melvin’s situation. That’s the way it often is with abusive families: one parent is violent, the other a blinkered or self-deceived enabler.


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Jason T. Miles interview


Saturday, January 16, 2010

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Our newest contibutor, Jason T. Miles, spoke with Robin McConnell over at Inkstuds. It’s a really good interview. Both the interviewee and the interviewer are in good spirits. Thanks for the name-check, Jason. Listen to it here.

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Going Faster Miles an Hour


Friday, December 18, 2009

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I’m not sure why Robin McConnell chose this image to illustrate the “Best of 2009” Inkstuds radio show — we never ended up discussing Blackest Night, even though I read all five issues to date in preparation. (Fellow show guest Sean T. Collins, apparently a sadist, chose it as a potential topic.) Robin, Sean, Chris Mautner, and I did end up talking about a bunch of other 2009 highlights, though, and if for some reason you haven’t had your fill of comic-book blather this holiday season, you can listen to the show yourself here.

Actually, I kind of wish we had had the time to cover Blackest Night, which isn’t really good, but does represent a kind of ultra-meta-state-of-the-comics-industry symbolism that is almost impossible not to appreciate on an abstract level, whether or not it’s worth reading. (It isn’t, unless for “scholarly” purposes.) Then again, the subtext (or is it just text?) in question is pretty obvious, so it’s not like anyone needed a bunch of pointy-headed critics to draw it out.

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Never Praise A Cartoonist


Friday, December 11, 2009

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On several occasions John Steinbeck extravagantly praised Al Capp, calling him the “best writer in the world.” How did Capp repay this kindness? He tried to seduce Steinbeck’s wife. Or at least that’s the story former Capp assistant Stuart Hample tells on the Inkstuds radio program, available here. Very much worth a listen.

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Lauren Weinstein interview


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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Check out this interview with Lauren Weinstein over at Inkstuds Radio. I’ve yet to listen to it but I’m sure it’s great, Lauren’s always got something insightful to say about Art, and Life, and the World. And after globe-trekking around Midgard the last few months to various comics festivals, I’ll bet she’s got some funny new stories to uncork.

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Follow-up for Frank


Monday, May 18, 2009

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If you want to listen to the TCAF “Post-Kirby” panel Frank mentioned in his last post, the audio has been posted by Inkstuds.

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