The one about Dave Sim

200802271447What do I think of Dave Sim? I think he’s one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists. You can use that as a pull quote, like this.

“One of the world’s greatest living cartoonists.”
–Publishers Weekly

Go ahead. It’s true. Through 30 years of Cerebus he proved himself a craftsman, writer and artist with a vision unsurpassed. His comedic timing, inventive storytelling, expressive lettering, humane, nuanced characters, and epic world-creation…all unsurpassed.

Like many great artists, Dave Sim is also a complex, nuanced human being. But alas, he’s also something of a philosopher, and as most agree, as Cerebus went on, it became increasingly engrossed with these philosophical concerns, to the detriment of storytelling dynamics.

And the bottom line is that, just as the anti-Semitism of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Richard Wagner will always be an asterisk to their great artistry, so will Dave Sim’s narrow-minded philosophical concerns always provide the asterisk to a great career.

That’s the short version. If you want more…plunge on, brave, brave Concorde.
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Jeff Smith on whether he tastes great or is less filling

200802271426New York Mag’s Vulture bloginterviews Jeff Smith today and they bring up where he sees himself on the spectrum of comics:

[Q:]This fall, a mini-debate popped up on comics Websites about the Best American Comics anthology. Heidi MacDonald, who writes the Beat, asked why more of the comics in that book didn’t tell great stories, and she specifically cited you as the kind of writer who is conspicuously absent from anthologies like this. And the debate about Bone in particular is continuing even this week. Do you think that there really is still a great split in the comics world between art comics and pop comics?

[A:] Yeah, I do. I’m not sure I’m too concerned about it. When you work in comics, you’re kind of used to lines in the sand. From the time you’re a kid, you’re kind of raised in this either/or type of a mind-set with comics: If you like Marvel comics, you can’t like DC comics. If you like superhero comics, you can’t like indie comics. There’s kind of like — I believe — a false dichotomy which puts a Chris Ware at one end and Bone at the other. But I don’t think one is more valid than the other. What are you going to do? It’s high art versus low art. You’ve got Chris Ware, who is Beethoven, and you have me. I’m the Beatles. One’s not better than the other. They’re just making different music.

If this doesn’t settle it, this isn’t the internet.


Movie update: Norton Hulks out, Armie Hammer Jr. IS Batman again!

§ While IRON MAN has been everywhere from the Super Bowl to Lost, this year’s INCREDIBLE HULK movie has had relatively little publicity. This may not be a bad sign: one theory we’ve heard is that Marvel wanted to concentrate on IRON MAN and was waiting to roll out Hulk materials. It looks like this might be started, as Empire has a few pictures in it’s new issue. Including the above of Edward Norton about to Hulk Out.

§ Those of you who were in deep mourning that the Justice League movie seemed to be one of the tragic victims of the writer’s strike can now rejoice and click heels as you walk down the street. Verily, it has risen again:

Scribes Kieran and Michele Mulroney are busy polishing up the script, which is expected back at the studio in several weeks, and the cast has been advised to keep training for their superhero roles. Director George Miller is in pre-production in Australia.

Adam Brody, cast as the Flash, is the biggest star in the superhero lineup. Rapper Common nabbed the Green Lantern role; other roles went to lesser-known thesps such as Armie Hammer Jr. (Batman) and Megan Gale (Wonder Woman).

According to Variety, WB was anxious to get the movie schedded again because it, like many other studios, has a 2009 movie drouth due to the strike, with only WATCHMEN, TERMINATOR 4 and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE on tap for the year, and two of those (guess which) are risks.

Jean aces Spectrum again

The winners in the 15th annual Spectrum Awards for the best uin Fantastic art have been announced, and James Jean was once again the big winner, with a Best in Show, and #1 in the Comic’s category. John Jude Palencar won the Grand Master Award, The complete list:

Gold Award: JOHNNY YANOK (“Resurrection of the Blood-Zombies From Beyond²/
client: Headless Spectre Records / art director: Doktor Viktor Von Kreep)
Silver Award: BROM (“Hellbent” / client: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. / art
director: Brom)

Gold Award: SAM WEBER (cover to THIRTEEN ORPHANS by Jane Linskold / client:
Tor Books / art director: Irene Gallo)
Silver Award: STEPHAN MARTINIERE (cover to CITY WITHOUT END by Kay Kenyon /
client: Pyr/Prometheus Books / art director: Lou Anders)


Gold Award: JAMES JEAN (cover to FABLES #66: The Good Prince/ client:
Vertigo/DC Comics / art director: Shelly Bond)
Silver Award: ADAM HUGHES (cover to CATWOMAN #75 / client: DC Comics / art
director: Mark Chiarello)

Gold Award: DANIEL DOCIU (³Defeated Dragon² / client: ArenaNet/Guildwars /
art director: Daniel Dociu)
Silver Award: DANIEL DOCIU (³Carnival Season² / client: ArenaNet/Guildwars /
art director: Daniel Dociu)

Gold Award: A. BRENT ARMSTRONG (“The Mummy Revisited” / bronze)
Silver Award: AKIHITO IKEDA (“Heart of Art” / mixed media)

Gold Award: PHIL HALE (“Interpreter² / client: Playboy Magazine / art
director: Tom Staebler)
Silver Award: KURT HUGGINS & ZELDA DEVON (“Singer² / client: Polluto
Magazine / art director: Adam Lowe)

Gold Award: ROBH RUPPEL (“Hot, Dry, & Deadly² / client: Broadview Graphics /
art director: Robh Ruppel)
Silver Award: LARRY MACDOUGALL (“Rainy River” / client: Underhill Studio /
art director: P.A. Lewis)

Gold Award: OMAR RAYYAN (“The Apple²)
Silver Award: BROM (“Black Coast² / art director: Arnie Fenner)

Ce422D Detail

JAMES JEAN (cover to FABLES #67: The Good Prince / client: Vertigo/DC Comics
/ art director: Shelly Bond)

GRAND MASTER AWARD (presented by the Spectrum Advisory Board)

This year’s jury consisted of Daren Bader [artist/art director for Rockstar Games/San Diego], Tim Bodendistel [art director/Hallmark Cards], Frank Cho [artist], Kelley Seda [artist], and Justin Sweet [artist].

UPDATE: The continuing obsession with sales figures

The Great Bookscan debate continues. Rich Johnston has helpfully leaked the actual chart so everyone can play along at home. ADD, Brian Hibbs and Dick Hyacinth all weigh in with second third or 99th rounds — to be honest we’re beginning to get flustered and lose count.

We would agree that the argument over the definition of terms like mainstream, indie and art is getting a little silly, and everyone’s pre-existing conditions are making themselves heard loud and clear, as when ADD turns this

Also worth considering is how perception of Bone has changed over time. When it first debuted, it was so different, so much better than the vast majority of comics, that I think one might have been justified in lumping it in with Eightball or Yummy Fur (I know I did, back in my late teen years). Today, with the massive success of the Scholastic printings and the sheer number of similar works (many inspired by Jeff Smith), it’s harder to classify it that way.

into this

Dick Hyacinth looks at the Bookscan kerfuffle, and is sharp enough to understand exactly why Bone is an art comic, which some people you would think would know better weren’t able to quite wrap their brain around.

It’s getting so we’re almost ready to turn it all over to the brave few like John Mayo and John Jackson Miller who just crunch numbers on a higher, Euclidian plane.

Just to beat out own hobby horse again, yes, we know that Bookscan figures don’t tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be used to paint a much-beloved graphic novel as a failure just because it sold “only 5000″ copies according to Bookscan. The point is that D&Q and Fantagraphics are publishing very successful books that are selling healthy amounts of copies even though they sell “only 5000″ copies on Bookscan. In that regard, this piece from Slate by Daniel Gross from a few years ago is must reading: Why writers never reveal how many books their buddies have sold.:
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ICv2 Conference announces panels

Speaking of NYCC, ICv2 has just announced the line-up for their annual pre-show conference. You can see the whole thing at the link but the panels are as follows:

1:00 p.m. ICv2 White Paper — Inside a Growing Category

1:45 p.m. The Battle for Talent

3:00 p.m. Graphic Novels and Tweens

4:00 p.m. Buyers Panel — Graphic Novels, the Next Three Years

Panelists include Dan Buckley, James Killen, Betsy Mitchell, Bill Schanes, and many more you can read about in the link. It’s certain to be just as essential as it was the first two years.

News about Newsarama

Newsarama and the New York Comic-Con announced a partnership yesterday. A couple of people read this as an “exclusive”, but apparently it isn’t. Other websites and even bloggers can still report on panels and make videos and whatnot. What’s interesting is that until we read the PR we had no idea that Newsarama was “the leading authority for expert commentary and analysis of the global comic book industry.” News and interviews, sure, but “analysis”? That isn’t the first thing we would have thought.

Speaking of Newsarama, it’s been interesting to speculate on the effects of the Imaginova purchase. We hear that ad rates have gone up quite a bit, and it is definitely a shock to see ads for waterless toilets and telescopes on a comics site. But otherwise, everyone seems to be sitting down and catching up just like before.

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