Are cartoonists doomed to die poor and homeless while pirates dance on their graves?

Even as the economy shows fitful signs of flickering back to life, the comics economy, which was “too small to fail” to really take much of a hit during the Great Recession, is still puddling along, under capitalized, under-recognized and with even the greatest cartoonists prone to spells of belt tightening. Comics have been traditionally immune to the effects of a recession—”cheap entertainment does well in bad times!” we’ve heard time and again—but the corollary is also true: Economic boom times rarely touch comics.

During the late ’90s and the first boom, one of the greatest eras of general prosperity in American history, comics were going through their WORST slump since the end of newsstand distribution, with sales numbers so low executives were crying over them. And then, paradoxically, comics began to do better even during the mini-recession following 9/11 and the end of the bubble.

Judge to Archie co-publisher: "Stay away!"

The ugly legal battle between Archie Comics co-CEO’s Jon Goldwater and Nancy Silberkleit has escalated in recent weeks with new legal filings. And now a judge has banned Silberkleit from going anywhere near Archie’s offices or contacting any of the employees.

YALSA reveals Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2012

The influential Young Adult Library Services Association has just released its list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens for 2012, comprising 56 titles that “meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” The last ranges from Mangaman to Troop 142 toEvolution: The Story of Life on Earth. There’s also a Top Ten list as follows:

Wilco produces new Popeye cartoon for "Dawned on Me" video

Much loved indie band Wilco is back with a new video—their first in 12 years—which doubles as a new Popeye cartoon. Directed by Darren Romanelli and art directed by Frank Caruso, the video recalls the classic Fleischer Bros. animation.

The Shadow and Garth Ennis – A Review of the First Script

One of the questions you ask when you hear about a new Shadow comic is “what kind of take are they doing?” Another is “how serious will it be?” And then there’s “how faithful is it to the source material?” As it happens, I’ve had a chance to read the script for The Shadow #1. I can’t speak to Aaron Campbell’s art — I haven’t seen that yet. I can, however, tell you what the tone and the take are going to be.

Not for the easily offended: the art of Jason Karns

Artists Jim Rugg and Benjamin Marra have gone spelunking on the internet and discovered a fellow named Jason Karns, whose art is violent, sexualized, and mind bogglingly lively in that post-Al Feldstein/Mars Attacks/Dario Agento/Herschell Gordon Lewis way. Karns is interviewed at TCJ and here’s his blog — WARNING VERY VERY NSFW — which previews his flagship title: FUKITOR.