Some Weekend Viewing


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Thursday, September 2, 2010


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Guess!

You should stay inside this weekend and enjoy some nice, fun comics!

1) Brian Chippendale’s new weekly web comic, Puke Force, has launched over at PictureBox. Check it out, and remember, “read it like a snake”. Brian’s 800-page If ‘n Oof will hit stores and subscribers in early October!

2) Tom Kraft has just unleashed the new version of his web site, What if Kirby. It’s a massive collection of original Jack Kirby art, beautifully scanned and silhouetted, and viewable at various magnifications. Forthcoming features includes notes from scholars and inkers, as well as some text from yours truly. Congrats to Tom — a super generous dude and good company when we were at Fumetto. There are other sites with hi-res art (like Heritage), but this is the first dedicated to a single artist, complete with annotations, etc. To me, this is the beginning of an invaluable resource. A particular favorite of mine is this collage from 2001.

3) I’m pleased to pass along some Johnny Dynamite news: Movie interest in Johnny Dynamite has been stirred by a Max Allan Collins screenplay based on his and Terry Beatty’s graphic novel. Collins and Beatty are the kind copyright holders of the Johnny Dynamite characters and stories, including those featured in Art in Time. My thanks for their support.

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DC Hardcore


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Friday, June 25, 2010


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View from my podium.

Attention citizens of our nation’s capital! I’ll be addressing you tomorrow, June 26th, on the subject of Art in Time, at Politics and Prose!

Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Saturday. June 26: 6 pm

Slideshow and gab-fest.

Read a “hometown boy” interview here because you need more of me, me, me!

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Arguing with Art In Time


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Monday, June 21, 2010


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Buy this book already!

I’ve been reluctant to comment on Art in Time not just for the obvious reason (a glaring conflict-of-interest!) but also because like the best anthologies it is a book that I feel I have to live with for many months before I can properly appraise its value. I’ve talked before about the anthologies that have meant the most to me and one common trait they have is that I keep going back to them, keep learning from them, and have gained a deeper appreciation of the way they were put together from my 5th or 6th reading rather than my initial impression.

Having said that, I’m pretty confident that Art in Time belongs in the small pantheon of great comics anthologies. Art Out of Time was a distinguished book but the companion volume is an improvement in almost every way: the artists and the excerpts are more thoughtfully selected and hang together better, and Dan’s writing on them displays a new level of engagement and insight.

There is one quality of Art in Time that really sets it apart. Rather like Ben Schwartz’s recent Best American Comics Criticism anthology, Art in Time is a fun book to argue with because the some of the editorial decisions are counter-intuitive. Provoking arguments is a sign of an important book, one that challenges your preconceptions.

For me, the most important argument-provoking decision Dan made was to include four underground cartoonists   (Sharon Rudahl, Michael McMillan, Willy Mendes, and John Thompson) in a book largely devoted to commercial adventure cartoonists. I have to say, if I were the editor I would done it something much more conservative: two books, one devoted to the commercial cartoonists (Marsh, Morisi, etc.) and one devoted to unjustly ignored cartoonists from the classic underground age (say from 1968-1980).

But Dan wants to shake up our sense of history. I’ve taken the issue up with him during a panel in TCAF and he’s made the point elsewhere as well but in essence he’s challenging the view of old fogeys like me who see a major epistemological break between the world of commercial comic books and the world of the undergrounds. For Dan, it is all comics, and the formal properties that unite Marsh and Sharon Rudahl (for example) outweigh the social, cultural and economic divide.

There is obviously an element of truth to this. Robert Crumb, to pick one example among many, learned how to draw comics by reading and imitating the works of Carl Barks and John Stanley. And some of the commercial cartoonists were interacted, socially and aesthetically, with the counterculture. Wally Wood is the best example but even someone as straight-laced as Will Eisner, who was doing comics for the Pentagon, re-thought his career when he saw the undergrounds. Eisner’s whole return to comics came about because he was impressed by the new freedoms won by underground cartoonists. Or to pick an even more unexpected example, Barks praised Crumb’s work.

Still, and this might be a testimony to my age and the extent that I was formed intellectually in the 1980s when the divide between commercial comics and the alternative press was especially large, I’m not sure I fully buy the argument Dan is making in Art In Time. It seems to me that the undergrounds did represent a fundamental break with the past. I’m not sure if I can define it in words, but the best underground comics (Crumb, Deitch, Spiegelman, Justin Green) cut deeper into human experience than any of the commercial cartoonists, no matter how good they were, ever did. The experience of reading an underground comic is different from reading a commercial comic book. Even with the best commercial comics, you have to make allowances or read between the lines to find the spark of individuality.

As I said before, though, the mark of a good book is that it makes you argue with it. By that criteria, Art In Time is a very good book indeed.

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Art In Time news


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Monday, June 21, 2010


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Our own Dan Nadel spoke with Chris Marshall over at
Collected Comics Library. Check it out, True Believers-
slack off at work early with this one. Why are you at work anyways? It’s summer!

Collected Comics Library Podcast #274

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L.A. Rumble


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010


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Jaime Hernandez, Johnny Ryan, Sammy Harkham: Three men who know some shit about comics.

Barbara "Willy" Mendes, Sharon Rudahl and John Thompson bask in the adulation.

By now the legend of the Art in Time L.A. event at Cinefamily has probably not reached you. Basically, thanks to Cinefamily and Sammy Harkham, I gathered a pantheon of great cartoonists under one roof for an early evening gab fest and book signing. Johnny Ryan interviewed Lawrence (Real Deal) Hubbard; I interviewed John Thompson, Sharon Rudahl and Barbara “Willy” Mendes, and Jaime Hernandez screened the fabulous A Letter to Three Wives, after which Sammy briefly interviewed him. Books were signed, beer was consumed, and after all that I ate an enormous corned beef sandwich at Cantor’s. But! It was not without its moments, best of which was a fairly intense exchange between Hubbard and Mendes. Anyhow, lucky for you, dear readers, I recorded the whole thing the first two panels in a single take. There’s a brief dead zone between the Hubbard/Ryan panel and the Art in Time panel, but let it roll. It’s worth it. The recording picks up with Johnny introducing Lawrence. Enjoy.

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Johnny Ryan interviews Lawrence "Real Deal" Hubbard.

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Like a Stud


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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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Sunday: Art in Time in L.A.


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Friday, May 28, 2010


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It'll be Like This

L.A. denizens:

This Sunday I’m having an afternoon book launch for Art in Time, featuring conversations with both contributing and like-minded cartoonists. We will be covering everything from Real Deal to Illuminations to Love and Rockets. Come on down — I promise a very unusual event.

Sunday, May 30
5 pm – 9 pm

Cinefamily

611 N Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, 90036
$10

Adventurous Cartoonists & Far-Out Comics

In celebration of his new comic anthology Art in Time: Unknown Comic Books Adventures, 1940-1980, art director/editor Dan Nadel will present an afternoon of book signings and conversations with notable cartoonists about the impact of adventure comics on popular culture. First, Dan will begin with an overview of adventure comics — from crime to cavemen, and back again! Next up, “Angry Youth”/”Prison Pit” author (and Cinefamily cover artist) Johnny Ryan interviews Lawrence Hubbard, co-creator of the raw ‘n riotous comic series “Real Deal”, set against the backdrop of a crime-ridden South Central. Later, join underground greats Sharon Rudahl, John Thompson and Barbara (Willy) Mendes in a panel discussion on their work, and on the milieu of 1960s subversive comics! Wrapping up the show is “Love And Rockets” co-creator Jaime Hernandez presenting a screening of the 1949 Joseph L. Mankiewicz classic A Letter To Three Wives, followed by a discussion with Jaime on the film, moderated by cartoonist Sammy Harkham.

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Matt Fox’s Inky Depths


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Sunday, May 23, 2010


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Matt Fox’s work (of which you can see more in Art in Time) has many virtues, not least among them his inking. Here’s a very nice scan (snagged from Heritage) of a page from Journey Into Mystery 101 (1964). This is Fox inking over Larry Leiber. Nothing against Leiber, but his work was never terribly distinctive. Fox takes a pretty generic set of panels and amps them up to operative heights. Look at that final panel — it’s grotesque and visceral. Something I’m struck by in his comics work is that he seemed to be drawing without thinking about reproduction; there’s a tremendous amount of detail here — textures, shadows, volumes — that would simply disappear in the printed piece. And while someone like Basil Wolverton compensated for his inkiness with broad comedic compositions, Fox just crams in the detail — each panel it’s own complete picture. This makes sense, as Fox came from the pulps, but it certainly is an awkward meeting of sensibilities. Fox was of the same generation as Virgil Finlay, and was coming at comics with a distinctly “old world” sensibility. I wish I knew more about him. I’ve heard his family is somewhere in the tri-state area, but I’ve never been able to locate them. If you’re out there, do drop me a line! And for you, dear readers, here’s some more Matt Fox. Bhob Stewart has the only recollection of the man himself that I’ve ever read, and there is tons of great art here.

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Tawkin’ Art in Time


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Monday, May 17, 2010


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Now let's REALLY talk comics...

Here I am in Switzerland lecturing about Art in Time. Are you tired of hearing about Art in Time yet? I’m flogging it hard. Anyhow, listen below to hear me flail about as a I try to explain things to foreigners! Allow the intro music to vibe with you, man.

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Also! Yet another book release event: Come join me at Desert Island in Brooklyn on Friday, May 21st, 7 – 9 pm.

Desert Island
540 Metropolitan ave
Brooklyn NY 11211
(718) 388-5087

I will be signing books and the esteemed critic Richard Gehr will be grilling me about all things Art In Time! All of this beginning at 7 pm.

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Jeet, Seth, Evan and a Mountain of Comics


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Thursday, May 13, 2010


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Last Sunday at TCAF (aka the best comics festival in North America) I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Jeet Heer, Seth and Evan Dorkin on the ins and outs of editing/designing/publishing/consuming comics history. It begins with Evan lamenting the lack of proper old radio fandom. Note: I forgot to ask one crucial question: Complete editions vs. “Best of” editions. Not to late to chime in, gents. Anyhow, audio is below. Enjoy.

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