Clowes on Frankenstein

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A new round of Pengiun Classics with covers by comics-types is on the way, apparently; the first to be revealed, Dan Clowes’ Frankenstein!

Link via Flog:


Ward Sutton writes to say he is wrapping up his SUTTEN IMPACT strip which ran in the Village Voice among other places.

In the last couple weeks I made a big decision: to retire my Sutton Impact comic strip. I began the strip 12 years ago and the Village Voice picked it up 9 years ago. My final strip is out today:,sutton,76368,9.html

I’d been thinking about this for some time and although it was a hard decision to make, once I made it I felt liberated, energized and excited.

Many factors led to the decision, not the least of which was the weekly deadline stress every Friday. Getting my Fridays back means 52 more work days a year to devote to new projects and branching out artistically in new directions.

After making the decision, both the Art Director and the Editor tried to sway me back and to change my mind, and that meant a lot. Many cartoonists have been fired/dropped from the Voice over the years and my exit really worked out in an ideal way. I hope to keep creating cartoons for the Voice, but not on any regular, weekly schedule.

APE unfolds


CORRRECTION: Oops, we told you we were blotto — that was a 3-year-old poster. Info and graphics corrected.

We’ll be away during this weekend’s Alternative Press Expo so we won’t be able to make all our usual “going APE” Jokes and our coverage must be a bit perfunctory. The guest list is incredible from Art Spiegelman to Kevin Huizenga. Some company doings:

SLG/Slave Labor

There are lots and lots of parties, but to see them all you will have to go to the JUMP:

Ce Apesigning
[Read more…]

Spider-Man 3 opens in Tokyo

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Spider-Man 3 had its world premiere in Tokyo the other day — the first big American movie ever to debut outside the US.

“Spider-Man 3,” the latest and possibly last film in one of the world’s most successful movie franchises, premiered on Monday with thousands of screaming fans cheering stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

Launching the sequel in Japan, home to a huge community of superhero comic fans, rather than the United States, was seen as a shrewd push into the faster-growing international market that could help boost box-office revenues.

Over the next week and a half, the film will also have gala openings in London, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Stockholm in a marketing plan aimed at seeing “Spider-Man 3″ do as well at the box office as its predecessors, which collectively grossed $1.6 billion (800 million pounds).

The LA Times has a long analysis of the film, which cost a mere $250 million:

“Spider-Man 3″ proves that Maguire can take a punch from a big fist made of sand. But the real risk is whether an American superhero with two hit movies earned by fighting off bad guys in the canyons of Manhattan, can remain a blockbuster draw in the international markets that are often more important to Hollywood’s bottom line.

“Who knows,” said Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer, when asked how long the Spider-Man franchise can be extended. “It’s so expensive.” Of course, “Spider-Man 3″ is more than a movie. It is also a video game, a soundtrack and a bunch of other marketing hooks.

Stringer ordered the movie to premiere in Tokyo ahead of its May 4 U.S. opening to underscore his determination to make the point in Japan that the company should be as celebrated for its movies, music and video games as for its screens and consoles.

“In the digital age, who knows what came first: the content or the hardware, the chicken or the egg,” said Springer to the Tokyo audience before the curtain rose.

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Reviews are rolling in at AICN.

MEANWHILE, an even more interesting plotline is arising, regarding the rumor of Sam Raimi directing THE HOBBIT after Peter Jackson and New LIne parted ways. EW says it might just be true.

Raimi went on the record for the first time about his potential involvement in the project during an exclusive interview with EW’s Steve Daly for the magazine’s Summer Movie Preview issue, on newsstands Friday: ”Peter Jackson might be the best filmmaker on the planet right now. But, um, I don’t know what’s going to happen next for me right now. First and foremost, those are Peter Jackson and Bob Shaye’s films. If Peter didn’t want to do it, and Bob wanted me to do it — and they were both okay with me picking up the reins — that would be great. I love the book. It’s maybe a more kid-friendly story than the others.” (If Raimi were to take on a complex, intense project like The Hobbit — the rights to which New Line/MGM only has for a limited amount of time — it could force Columbia to either push back its production schedule for Spider-Man 4 or find a new director for the franchise.)

Spidey 4? Look, Sam…NO WAY. You need to make EVIL DEAD 4!!! It is time! No more farting around! Leave those hobbits alone.

Venture Bros. news

First, the Venture Bros Season 2 dvd is on sale this week.
Next, to celebrate, and raise some vacation money, Jack Publick is ebaying off 14 pieces of his original art for the DVD. Links and more pictures in the link.

[Thanks to Kenneth Plume for the link]

Handelsman wins Pulitzerl

Walt Handelsman has won the 2007 Cartooning Puliztzer “For his stark, sophisticated cartoons and his impressive use of zany animation.” It was his second win in the category (He also won in 1997.) Ray Bradbury and John Coltrane were awarded special Pulitzers. Mormac McCarthy won the fiction prize for The Road.

Editor and Publisher had more on his win:

A late-2005 crash course in Web animation helped Walt Handelsman win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning today.

“I submitted 10 still cartoons and 10 animations,” said the Newsday of Melville, N.Y., staffer, adding that “the judges mentioned the animation” when they praised his 2006 portfolio of work.

Handelsman taught himself animation starting in November 2005 and then had the first of his many animations posted on in February 2006. “I worked so hard on those things,” said the cartoonist, when reached this afternoon by E&P.

RIP Brant Parker

Parker Wizard
Wow, they’re going fast. ‘Wizard of Id’ cartoonist Brant Parker has died at age 86, Parker of course collaborated on Id with Johnny Hart who passed away last week. Parker had given up drawing the strip some time ago and died in a nursing home.

The Kingdom of Id sprang to life in a New York hotel room when Parker and Hart papered the walls with two-dozen Wizard panels. After touring the impromptu gallery, a syndicate executive bought the strip.

Launched in 1964, Wizard appears in more than 1,000 newspapers.

Hart was already drawing the Stone Age strip B.C. when he sought out Parker to help wring humor from the Middle Ages. They had met in 1950 when Parker, an artist for the Binghamton Press newspaper in upstate New York, judged a high school art contest that Hart had entered.

While Parker drew the Wizard pictures, Hart came up with the gags that they refined together.

“It’s two different kinds of thinking, always,” Parker told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. “The trick is to find two people who are basically alike. … We both enjoy the same kind of humor, so it’s been a great relationship.”

Both B.C. and The Wizard of Id will continue under the auspices of Hart and Parker family members.

Speaking of Hart, there’s a nice report of his funeral here:

With a mixture of laughter and tears, hundreds of mourners said goodbye Friday to Johnny Hart, a man who was as well known for his generous Christian spirit as he was for his world-renowned comic strips.

Hart’s funeral, held at the Nineveh Presbyterian Church, included the testimony of family and friends who described the “B.C.” comic strip creator as an eternal child with a heart of gold.

“Johnny Hart loved children,” said Pastor Emrys Tyler, who officiated at the ceremony.

Hart, a devout Christian and a Sunday school teacher at the small country church for more than 15 years, died last Saturday after suffering a stroke in his Nineveh home. He enjoyed nearly every aspect of life, Tyler said, and made those he knew feel like a celebrity


Just a few more Sunderland bits

Part1Panel1Bob at Four Realities reports on last nights Bryan Talbot talk in Toronto:

Most of his presentation then looked at individual pages of the new book and discussed how they fit into the larger picture of either the history of Sunderland, the history of Carroll or the history of comics, occasionally adding some details and anecdotes that didn’t make it into the book. He also talks a bit about his work process and artistic choices, like where he deliberately evokes the styles of some older comics as it seems appropriate for the scene (Jack Kirby for the Battle of Hastings, Herge’s TINTIN for his trip to Morocco, 1950s “Boy’s Own” British comics for the heroic tale of Jack Crawford, Sir John Tenniel at various times, of course, like the adaptation of “Jabberwocky”). He also talks a bit about his artistic process in this book, which is heavily based in digital manipulation of images to get various effects, with a step-by-step look at how he took an image of the boat that Alice Liddell travelled to America on, added waves, smoke and birds and tinted it for final use. Some other interesting anecdotes on the production include how he got permission for use of photos of the Bayeux Tapestry with some product placement and how he sampled the colouring of some old comics to make the Jack Kirby inspired segment more authentic. There are several dozen interesting asides like that.

Plus, Everyone has been linking to this review of ALICE IN SUNDERLAND done in the style of the book and so will we.

Format discussion continues

Will the future belong to the pamphlet peepers or the book buyers? The debate continues at Matt Maxwell’s blog:

So, just jump in and do pamphlets and not worry about the trade, since it’s all a sunk cost. Well, that’s great, only in this marketplace, monthlies tend to shed sales pretty regularly (assuming you’re an indie, and even if you’re one of the big guys.) Of course, you still have to come up with a way to pay for the initial content that you want to print up. Which leads us right back to the issue of paying creators enough so that they can keep the bounty of ramen and head cheese flowing (or tofu if you’re vegan…or hate head cheese, like myself). I suppose there’s a potential solution in creators simply being offered advances, but the publishers would have to make enough money to actually do that (and really, most of them can’t afford even the most basic advertising, he said, looking over Diamond’s rate sheets for pages in PREVIEWS.)

But we can’t grow the market until we have some money to spend to grow the market. Man, my head’s beginning to spin here.

ToonBrew looks at the Online Oglers:

Yes, this could be done online, but the ability of webcomics to gain a following by sticking to fairly traditional formulas seems to have enticed all but a few artists to do nothing pump out the same old stuff, perhaps with a “fuck” or two thrown in for good measure. That word makes their comics 26% better, after all. I don’t think I’ve seen a single full page layout on the web that was anything more than a mind-numbing extension of the already mind-numbing 3 panel talking head strips. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to see more artists really taking advantage of the infinite canvas. The only other direct “problem” with pamphlets posed in the article, is that “no one seems to want to try it” in the United States. This obviously is not a compelling reason why no one should try it. The problem is that the comic industry has always been enslaved to tradition. That’s why webcomics are still not nearly as big as they could be.

More at Crocodile Caucus and The Comics Reporter.

News and Notes

106906Reaganlg§ Whatever happened to the rest of Hill andWang’s non-fiction graphic novel series, we were wondering just the other day. WEll, ICv2 answers the question:

Hill and Wang plans to release Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography, written by Andrew Helfer (Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography) with art by Steve Buccellato and Joe Staton in September, after it was originally announced for last November (see “Three Non-Fiction Graphic Novels: From Hill and Wang”).

The lines first offering, the (/11 Report graphic novel adaptation was a best selling, and we hear the Malcolm X book did well, too.

§ Sequential reports on last week’s Festival de la bande dessinee de Quebec .

§ Devil’s Due is hiring:

Devil’s Due Publishing is currently hiring for the position of Webstore and Inventory Manager to build upon an already established 6 year online store and pick up and run with the newly available position.

§ Danielle Corsetto is running GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS licensing herself again.

I recently re-acquired the licensing rights to Girls With Slingshots from 360ep, the company I signed with a few years ago. This was a mutual break that was made because, basically, I can’t do simple math. The contract was for 36 months, and for some reason my mental calculator told me that 36 months = 2 years.

So I started planning to have the rights back in my hands this year, before I realized that our contract wouldn’t be up until much later! Fellow art majors, do yourselves a favor and take a math class before you go into business for yourselves. ;)

That said, I’d like to extend a big “thank you” to the 360ep team for getting me started and giving me a ton of confidence in myself!

§ Listen to WE ARE ON OUR OWN’s Miriam Katin on NPR’s Studio 360:

Miriam Katin was only a toddler when she and her mother hid from the Nazis in the Hungarian countryside. Now, more than 60 years later, she’s turned their harrowing story of escape and survival into a graphic memoir called We Are On Our Own.

The Beat goes best with a mocha

We came across this comment from Vivian Hadding Visual Storyteller on The Beat and it is perhaps one of the nicest comments we’ve ever received:

Then there’s Publisher’s Weekly The Beat, “The News Blog of Comics Culture” by Heidi MacDonald. This is a huge site dedicated to reviews and the latest news on comics and their impact around the globe. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa and plan to be here awhile as well.

Thanks, Vivian. Our beverage of choice for writing The Beat is Vietnamese instant coffee, but whatever floats your boat.

We’re off to the continent today, and so today’s posting are sure to be error and typo-riddled. Apologies in advance.