§ Comics of Yore #1: Chris Mautner looks at the legendary FLEX MENTALLO:
Flex Mentallo was a four-issue mini-series published by Vertigo Comics back in 1996. It was written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, a team more recently responsible for All-Star Superman, a series acclaimed by every Internet comics pundit from here to Earth-7 (including yours truly) as the best superhero saga in recent memory, amen and hallelujah. Flex Mentallo is a better work though, perhaps because it isn’t as reliant on the many decades of Superman mythos and can thus move about a little more freely.
§ Comics of Yore #2: At 4th Letter, guest blogger Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett looks at MARVILLE:
Let’s back up a second. Marville is based on a bet between then-President of Marvel Bill Jemas, and Peter David, who was writing Captain Marvel at the time. The most details I can find on why the bet came about has something to do with self-referential writing: Jemas claimed David’s book was too insular and thus its sales were plummeting. It kicked off a promotion called “U-Decide”. Captain Marvel would be renumbered to 1 again, David would make it more accessible to people unfamiliar with the character, and it would be put up against Marville, Jemas’ entry into a competition of sales numbers. (Ron Zimmerman somehow wedged himself into this contest with Ultimate Adventures. Not a single person knows why.) In the long run, David beat out his competition handily, going on to 25 more issues after the reboot, as opposed to a combined 13 (if I’m kind… technically it would only be 12, more on this later) from his opponents.
§ Comics of Yore #3 : Hyacinth/Collins go a few more rounds on BLACK HOLE:
Dick Hyacinth here. In case you’ve forgotten, Sean and I both reviewed Black Hole for our first posts here at the Savage Critics (Sean’s post, my post). It seemed kind of silly to have two reviews of a four year old (or twelve year old, depending on how you look at it) comic on the site without something or another to tie to the two together. So over the course of a week of emailing, Sean and I discussed Black Hole and each other’s reviews. We examine gender, genre, eroticism, the horrors of adolescence, and a host of other issues after the break.
§ Comics of even More Yore: Mark Evanier looks at Humbug:
Finding themselves out on the street, Kurtzman and his artists decided to start yet another humor mag, this time financing it out of their own pockets. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time…and it might have been, had they known how to publish. Instead, they designed their new magazine, Humbug, as a cheap package — comic-book sized but without the interior color and with a higher price tag than comic books of the day. The smaller size ensured the magazine would be placed on the comic book racks, not over near magazines of similarly adult appeal…so potential buyers couldn’t find it at their newsstands. That is, if it even got to their newsstands. Another grand mistake was to hook up with a particularly weak (and perhaps not totally honest) distributor. The whole thing was a disaster that lasted all of eleven issues.
Note: But ah, what 11 issues! Kurtzman, Jaffee, Elder…at the height of their powers. Fantagraphics has just released a gorgeous two-volume slipcased reprint of all 11 issues of Humbug, and it’s really quite a treat.
§ Dean Haspiel goes to visit Walter Simonson:
Walter opened a closet door and said “Herein lies 36-years of my life,” as we became witness to a monument of comix gold, stacked top to bottom, with pages of his original artwork. We got to hold and ogle the original art from his classic MANHUNTER collaboration with writer, Archie Goodwin. We perused original CAPTAIN FEAR, STARSLAMMERS, THOR art, and a sneak peek at THE JUDAS COIN, Walt’s new, upcoming graphic novel from DC Comics. That, and sketches and childhood comix on type-writer paper from his earliest days. The walls were filled with famous paintings, illustrations, and original comix art from the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Mike Mignola, and Howard Chaykin, among others.
§ At CBR, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti talk JONAH HEX:
Justin Gray: Absolutely not. A western surviving this long in this kind of market is a testament to the character and his appeal. I feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to tell the kinds of stories we want and to work with so many talented people in the process. It is great that there is room for mainstream comics that don’t follow the superhero mold and give readers other genres to enjoy.
Jimmy Palmiotti: Honestly, we have had some 12-issue runs of books that never got to #13, so getting to #25 was a milestone for us. Getting to #50 is just insane to even think about. That said, what better way to celebrate a 50th issue than to have a double-issue by one of our favorite artists, Darwyn Cooke?
§ Tim O’Shea interviews the Cartoon Art Museum’s Andrew Farago:
§ Paul Kupperberg’ s latest column is up at ComicsCareer.Com:
I have had ideas — major ones for entire books, minor ones that solved a current creative conundrum — triggered by a word, a thought, a picture, a scent. Ideas are all around, in the air, along with oxygen, nitrogen and all the other ‘gens’. They’re squatting beside that face you spot on a bench or riding the subway. They’re hiding between the lines of a newspaper article. They’re bobbing against the shores of a writer’s subconscious like trash washed onto the beach by the tide. Not every idea is a gem. Please, don’t ever think that. That’s death for a writer. The old truth got to be so old because it’s so true, hackneyed though it may have come to sound: “Kill your darlings.” You’ve got to be willing to sacrifice the best sentence ever written by a human being in any language if it doesn’t fit or is a detriment to what you’re writing. The moment you find yourself thinking, “Gotta save this sentence/paragraph/image/metaphor” is the moment you should be hitting the delete button.
§ Over at the Pulse, Jen Contino presents Tips for getting noticed for independent creators.