Happy 80th birthday, Steve Ditko


AND — news of amimportant retrospective by Blake Bell

On his 80th birthday, Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the June 2008 release of the first critical retrospective of Steve Ditko, the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man.

[Covers taken from the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Index.]

Zuda reax

The early reviews on DC’s new webcomics initiative are in, and as with most things on the internet, they are full of complaints, some legit, some subjective. We have our own complaints: Yuck, we HATE GODDAM FLASH! Bloggers all hate Flash because we can’t link to it.

Which leads us to the fact that you can’t read the strips at the regular size (wacky, unreadable lettering strikes again) and MUST go to the fullscreen resolution to read them. They do look awesome in the fullscreen mode, but we noticed something interesting about this mode: there is no room left for ads. That plus no direct linking…hm, HOW is this thing supposed to make money? Maybe it isn’t? A possible design flaw.

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Classic Comic Strips Month

200711020236We totally missed the announcement, but luckily Johanna caught it! In an historic example of détente, Fantagraphics, D&Q, Checker and IDW are teaming up! For Classic Comic Strips month, and an oversized promotional sampler:

This full-color 11″ x 17″ tabloid is a spectacular showcase of some of the finest comics art of the last century and a collector’s item in the making! Designed like an old-time classic newspaper comic strip supplement, Comic Strip Masterpieces will feature superb reproductions of some of the very finest Gasoline Alley, Dick Tracy, Krazy Kat, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Steve Canyon, Terry and the Pirates, Dennis the Menace, Flash Gordon, Yellow Kid, and Popeye strips, including many stunning full-color Sunday pages! There will also be a “sequel” of sorts to the hugely popular Unseen Peanuts (an annotated spread of Peanuts strips from the upcoming ninth volume of Complete Peanuts that have never been reprinted since their original newspaper release almost 40 years ago), as well as biographical notes on the cartoonists, a checklist of classic comic strip reprints, and more. Reading Comic Strip Masterpieces will be like traveling back in time to an era when comic strips were actually good!

Dramacon 3 cover

Glomp Me
Svetlana Chmakova announces that Volume 3 of DRAMACON is in the can and coming out in about a month.

Image Comics in 1992!

Time machine! Or at least someone with a VHS in 1992. Not Blog X begins an examination of Image Comics and links to the 1992 CNN report on the founding of Image Comics. Dig the hair and such titles as RETIEF on the stands.

Before becoming its own full-fledged company, Image began as an imprint of Malibu Comics. Youngblood, the comic that would become Image’s first release, was announced as a three-issue mini-series in October 1991. Before Youngblood was announced, Marvel’s lawyers apparently squashed Liefeld’s previous attempt to publish a title called The Executioners through Malibu. The Image name actually didn’t exist yet, and there’s no indication in the early announcement that anyone else would be joining him. In fact, looking at the Usenet discussions from this era, most people didn’t believe that he was even leaving X-Force in order to do this title.

The video mentions “EIGHT” image Creators — who was the eighth man??? (The Image Founder are considered to be seven: Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, and Whilce Portacio, whose book never quite came out.) Jesus, it’s like the missing replicant! Was it Dale Keown? Or someone…else.

LIT GRAPHIC at Norman Rockwell Museum

Big show next weekend: “LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel” opens at the Norman Rockwell Museum and runs from November 10, 2007 through May 26, 2008. The musem is located in Stockbridge, Mass. The complete press release is here, but excerpts are below:

Lions released from a zoo in war-torn Baghdad; a mother’s battle with lung cancer; an American expatriate searching for her identity in Mexico- serious subject matter for any medium, but particularly so for a new wave of critically acclaimed and commercially successful long form comic books. In these illustrated stories, called graphic novels (a mostly grown-up version of the comic book), themes explored include culture, society, and current events, and topics range from heart-wrenching to thought-provoking to risqué. A fascinating new exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, “LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel,” examines the history, diversity, and tremendous popularity of this phenomenon considered by many to be a comics renaissance. On view from November 10, 2007 through May 26, 2008, the exhibition features over 146 artworks by 24 contemporary graphic novelists and historic practitioners of this ever-evolving art form.

“Comics are a language- and it’s a visual language,” observes graphic novelist Mark Wheatley. “It cuts across cultural barriers and national barriers. The language of comics is something that a man in Dubai can understand as easily as a man in Chicago.”

“LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel” examines the development of sequential art through its practitioners. Their work continues to suggest new ways of seeing: wordless narratives by 1920s woodcut artist Lynd Ward and modern-day commentator Peter Kuper; revolutionary underground comix by R. Crumb and humorous, personal “Girl Stories'” by Lauren Weinstein; the visual thrill of works by “Mad Magazine” co-creator Harvey Kurtzman and “Breathtaker” co-creator Marc Hempel; and the pioneering art of Will Eisner (“Contract with God”), Dave Sim (“Cerebus”), and Terry Moore (“Strangers in Paradise”). The exhibition features original book pages and studies, sketchbooks, and videotaped interviews with graphic novelists.

“‘LitGraphic’ offers a fascinating look at the development of a highly-influential art form through a talented new generation of visual storytellers,” notes Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “Many artists throughout history have employed the use of sequential storytelling, including Norman Rockwell. You can see this in a number of Rockwell’s most well-known paintings, such as ‘The Gossips’ and ‘Day in the Life of a Little Boy,’ as well as in quickly-sketched cartoons and doodles.”

A full slate of programs and events are planned, including the opening, and various events with Peter Kuper, Jay Hosler, Tim Callahan, Andrew Wales, Sarah Saerno Thomas and Marek Bennett. Details in the jump.

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Torpedo Comics launches

Nerdlebrity news! SYSTEM OF A DOWN drummer and big time comics fan John Dolmayan has launched — no, not a line of comic books. That is so 2006! Instead, he’s started Torpedo Comics, an Internet-based retail store which carries some 15-million items — comic books, toys, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, superhero action figures and other comic book-related memorabilia. Sounds ambitious and the picture gallery has that Raiders of the Lost ArK vibe,

If you’re a collector, a comics voyeur, or just looking for a unique holiday gift, be sure and peruse the virtual pages of Torpedo Comics, as Dolmayan has something up there for everyone in every price range.

* If you’re a vampire buff or a fan of the new smash hit film “30 Days of Night” starring Josh Hartnett, Torpedo Comics offers the original graphic novel that the film is based on. Sold elsewhere for about $75, Torpedo is discounting the full-color, hardcover book for $55.
* “Star Wars” toy collectors – you can own the FAO Schwartz Exclusive Imperial Shuttle Tyderium for only $149 – it’s selling on eBay for $225.00.
* Currently, the priciest item available at Torpedo Comics is the Young Allies, Issue #1 comic book. This particular item is acknowledged as the one in the best condition on the planet, and can be yours for only $75,000.

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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits around the world

200711012315§ The NY Daily News profiles…Jeffrey Brown?

But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Brown’s comics. His sketchbook-style graphic novels are not all about parodies of eighties cartoons like “The Transformers.” His autobiographical works exhibit a raw, intimate look at his relationships through anecdotes from his everyday life.

§Brian Wood guest blogs at Blog@Newsarama from Lucca, Italy!:

I will just say that to say this is the best convention I could have imagined is an understatement. Lucca is a medieval walled city and the convention is literally everywhere – tents are set up in every main street, in every piazza, and in beautiful ancient churches and you stroll around as you please. It’s the most beautiful location ever, and combined with the European outlook on the art of comics and an espresso bar every 50 meters, I never want to leave. Even the worst of the cosplay feels elegant. 25,000 people visited the con today, and they are hoping for a total for the 4 days of over 100k. Lucca is the largest European con next to Angoulême.

When do we get to go to Lucca? (frowny face.)

§ Can comic books stop terrorism? Gee, we sure hope so!

§ Otaku begs Japan to take foreign-made manga seriously.

§ They’re making comic books in Scotland! Is there no end to the miracle of this so-called “universal language”?

§ Douglas Wolk is interviewed at kottke.org:

DW: “Comics culture” has always been a little bit tough for me to grapple with, partly because I’m looking at it from the inside. It’s a culture that’s immersed in comics and their history and economics and formal conventions, to the point where it can be difficult to read comics casually: you almost have to adopt (or work around) a certain cultural mode to pick up something with words and pictures and read it for pleasure, and that’s annoying. On the other hand, the culture of comics-readers does privilege deep knowledge, and in its eccentric way it’s deeply committed to being hospitable to newcomers; we care about this stuff a lot, and we like the feeling of being a community.

§ Roz Chast talks about ALPHABET, her collaboration with Steve Martin, and cartooning in general:

When you come up with those cartoons, do you get an image in your head first? What’s your starting point?

It really varies. Probably most of the time I have a more verbal idea, like something that’s funny, or something I’ve heard, or some funny thing that happened to me, gives me an idea for something else and that’s a verbal kind of thing. But sometimes I’m just doodling, and I’ll draw one of those end-of-the-world old men, and then suddenly I’ll see an idea for a cartoon once a picture is sort of there.

Shooting War tour hits England


Dan Goldman is off to England for some events promoting the new published version of SHOOTING WAR:

Monday Nov. 5, 1:15pm
Live Radio Interview
Books Café, BBC Radio Scotland

Monday Nov. 5, 7:15pm
Live Television Interview
Channel Five News’ Evening Show

Tuesday Nov. 6, 7:00pm
Live Talk at Comica 07 Festival
Institute of Contemporary Arts

BTW, you can read an excerpt of SHOOTING WAR at Vulture.

Hollywood Briefing: Strike, Rock, Fincher, etc.

§ It’s on! Mark Evanier live blogs from the WGA meeting.


§ Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, has been linked to the upcoming Shazam movie, but during SOUTHLAND TALES promos, he revealed that he would be playing…Black Adam! Now admit it, you saw that one coming, right?

§ The animated PERSEPOLIS film has won another award, the Sutherland Trophy — this one at the 51st annual Times BFI London Film Festival.

The animated adaptation of Satrapi’s graphic novel, which gives a girl’s-eye view of Iran’s Islamic revolution, was recognized as “most imaginative first feature” screened during the two-week festival. The jury described the “Persepolis” as “an astonishing and courageous film, which captures a universal story with real style and is irreverent, fresh, witty and also heartbreaking.”

We smell Oscar!

§ Today’s comic book optionDavid Fincher on THE KILLER, a European crime caper from 1988:

The graphic novel was written by Matz, whose real name is Alexis Nolent. The author works for Ubisoft, one of France’s biggest videogame companies. Luc Jacamon illustrated the novel, which was originally published in France in 1988 by Casterman and debuted in the U.S. as a 10-issue series published by Archaia Studio Press.

§ We missed this yesterday due to our blogging layoff, but Joss Whedon’s comics writing time is about to be tragically curtailed by his new TV show…la dee da! : DOLLHOUSE, starring Buffy’s Eliza Dushku as part of a team of operatives who can be imprinted with any memory or personality. Dushku’s character will begin to achieve self-awareness, however, and you can bet that will conflict with the globe spanning adventures. Whedon is interviewed in the link at E Online.

§ Oh and speaking of SOUTHLAND TALES, which has a key graphic novel tie-in, Vulture has a brief review:

Our editor’s one-sentence review, dazedly delivered over the phone immediately after viewing Richard Kelly’s magnum opus: “It was like watching Howard the Duck with a high fever.”



Today is my second favorite holiday!