§ Know your cartoonists: Atlas Obscura’s Lauren Young has a long article about Marie Duval, the 19th century cartoonist who drew the wildly popular comic strip Ally Sloper, after taking it over from her husband.
When Ally Sloper grew into a comic celebrity in the 1860s and late 1870s, Duval had become the sole artist behind the mischievous character’s world. She is among the earliest female comic artists, and has even been dubbed “Britain’s only 19th-century female caricaturist,” by art historian David Kunzle. In contrast to the refined artistry of both male and female cartoonists of the time, Duval’s drawing style was rugged and full of slapstick humor.
§ Yesterday’s show stopper article was David Harper going very long form at The Ringer with The House of ‘The Walking Dead’, a long history of Image Comics.
Liefeld took out an ad in the September edition of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, an industry paper. It was for a comic called The Executioners, with emphasis on the x. It was the first time the name “Image Comics” appeared in print.
“Marvel kind of flipped the fuck out,” Larsen said.
“[X-Men editor] Bob Harras read him the riot act,” said Valentino. “That he’d never work in comics again, that they would sue him if he was profiting off of the X-franchise.”
“It didn’t scare Rob, it just pissed him off.”
§ Comics Alliance also has a lot of Image based content for their 25th anniversary.
§ A couple more reviews of Vanessa Davis’s Spaniel Rage; Paste’s Hillary Brown lauds its groundbreaking content:
Drawn in 2003 and published a decade ago, Vanessa Davis’ Spaniel Rage is the kind of slim book that has an impact out of proportion to its size, similar to Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference. Instead of innovating on sequential-art form or function, Davis’ casual diary comics draw from her time in New York and reveal a warm, familiar voice. She has a lot of free time. She goes out. She works at a crappy job. She sits around in her underwear. The collection showcases a storytelling ease between her writing and drawing; the confessional vulnerability doesn’t come off as self-serving or calculated (even the impression of nonchalance). Can that naturalism be taught? Probably not. Davis has done better and more complicated stuff in the years since (see her other autobiographic collection, Make Me a Woman), but Spaniel Rage holds an amazing freshness 12 years after it was published.
§ But younger critic Ray Sonne wasn’t as impressed.
Vanessa Davis’ Spaniel Rage mostly chronicles her one-drawing-a-day diary comics from 2003 to 2004. Now over 10 years old, these drawings are practically historical, living in a very different time where few people had heard of Barack Obama, Manhattan was an affordable place to live, and Twitter hadn’t been invented yet. If you were a young adult around Davis’ age during this time, this book might be comforting and nostalgic. But if you’re outside of that demographic, especially if you’re younger, it probably won’t have the same emotional hook.
§ At Smash Pages, Brigid Alverson rolls out a new column “highlighting comics and graphic novels that shed light on issues in the news.” First up: Sarah Glidden.
What kind of misconceptions did you have about journalism before you started?
I think I didn’t realize how messy it was and how uncomfortable it is, and that there’s no way to do it right, where you’re just clean, no one is getting hurt, and where you feel 100% positive that you did the right thing. Journalism is an uncomfortable profession, and it needs to be. There’s no other way to do it. Even making this book, just the act of turning people into characters. You’re editing. You’re taking the scenes that you think are important, and that may not be their experience of the same time, even if you were all there together. That’s something you should know, but it is hard.
§ Christian Hoffer talks about putting together the new comics news newsletter, MNT.
As you and most of your readership is probably aware, there are a lot of complaints about “comics journalism”, ranging from the lack of actual journalism done in the field to the fact that sites are moving to models that leverage quality content with… fluffier articles in order to pay the bills. Personally, I think about 75% of the complaints about what we do is more related to the demands of trying to keep a site alive and its staff paid. Running a website isn’t cheap and once you hit a certain traffic level, the costs of running a website go up exponentially even if you’re only paying your staff a portion of ad revenue instead of the per article rate they probably deserve. And if you want to actually generate revenue, you need content (like clickbait) that drives hits. People whine and moan about listicles and slideshows, but those products are necessary evils for bigger sites. One of the things that Steve, Megan, and I all have in common is that we all either ran or assisted in running comic websites in the past. And I think all three of us understand the time and work that comes into carving out a small niche in what’s already a crowded field. We were all looking for something “different” to do, but a website and all the work that entails wasn’t it. So, we decided to try a different format.
§ Speaking of The MNT, the first issue is done and available as a free sample for those who wish to contribute to the Patreon campaign. It’s great – with a fine essay by The Beat’s own Rosie Knight – but no bylines? I guess that was a stylistic choice.
§ Speaking of Steve Morris, one of the troika behind The MNT, he has one of his new long form career spanning interviews up, and the subject isJimmy Palmiotti:
I think the two things that sell your work to companies is firstly your actual work being good; and secondly the way you act and treat the people you work with. I was brought up to respect others, and to never badmouth the people I work with in public, and try to add to that by being a dependable person that really cares about the books I work on. Adding to that, Joe and I cultivated a friendly idea-sharing community that didn’t play sides and celebrated the artform and the people creating the books we love. My career has always been about doing the best work I can, and working with my crew and not against them; and people know this, editors respect this. At the end of the day, they know if I am upset at something it is because something isn’t working, and not out of anger. Life is about building relationships, and after managing to work in this field for over twentysomething years, I have made a lot of friends along the way. These are people who, even if I left comics one day, I would still be friends with for life.
§ I did not know that that horrible sounding anti-trans movie The Assignment was based on a French comic, but Johanna Draper Carlson did, and she reviews the comic.
§ Blastr has The 11 graphic novels you must read this February.
§ An English language, breezy account of the Angoulême festival just passed.
The throngs of spectators at Angoulême’s main theatre have no trouble appreciating the cultural significance of the ninth art. Crammed into the main auditorium, they are watching enthralled as artist Fabian Nury demonstrates how he illustrates for Silas Corey, a series of comic books in the detective genre. The tricks of his trade are being projected onto a large screen above the stage.
§ The art school RISD has chosen Walker Mettling as a 2017 Artist Fellow. Mettling is the head of the micro-publisher Providence Comics Consortium.
§ Excitement is still growing for fall’s comic con in Pocatello.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.