§ David Brothers wrapped up his Black History Month posts, a fine survey of a number of excellent cartoonists.
§ Speaking of excellent cartoonists, Tim O’Shea talks with Matt Howarth<, whose GN THE DOWNSIZED is coming this month from AdHouse:
My mind is prone to pursue strangeness when it comes to storylines, and in the real world there are strict guidelines (i.e.: laws of physics or social conventions) that act as limiting parameters. In storytelling, the writer is supposed to focus on an aspect of humanity as the crux of the tale…but my personal inclination is to get lost in the weird trappings that surround the characters, whether it be an alien world or a completely unrealistic scenario. I struggle to guide humanity back into the story, but often find myself constrained by the indigenous situations. Political or theological ramifications of our time have little bearing on a character’s motivations if they live on a gas giant planet halfway across the galaxy a few hundred years in the future.
Howarth — best known for THOSE ANNOYING POST BROTHERS — is one of a number of still-active idiosyncratic cartoonists who made their first mark in the indie world of the ’80s, ando find themselves, perhaps, in a world they helped inspire but don’t always benefit from — folks like Steve Lafler, Bob Burden, William Messner-Loebs, and so on. I suspect these fine creators don’t exactly have retirement incomes planned from their ’80s/’90s comics work, and it’s a bit sobering.
§ Speaking of ’80s comics, IDW has been putting out some collections of some of the best of the offbeat pleasures of the era, like FISH POLICE and STARSTRUCK, and the most hilarious, REID FLEMING, WORLD’S TOUGHEST MILKMAN. These books haven’t gotten very much press or blogosphere chatter but they are all very good comics, now in snappy hardcover editions. It truly is the best time to be a comics reader.
§ Ads for Nazi paraphernalia in Marvel comics of the ’70s? Absolutely, Dara Naraghi points out.
§ Over at the changing-even-as-we-speak TCJ.com Rich Kreiner was unimpressed by the Neil Gaiman guest edited BEST AMERICAN COMICS volume, finding it too middlebrow, generally. That reminded us that Alison Bechdel is guest editing the next edition, which should be worth watching, as she’s much more of an outsider to any “school” than many of the previous guest editors. BTW, even if the individual volumes have been hit or miss, it is notable that this series has been continuing for six years now.
§ A Facebook group has sprung up to suggest that writer/all-around-comics-enabler Jimmy Palmiotti should appear on The View. It’s probably one of the day’s most pleasurable pursuits to imagine a chat fest between Palmiotti and Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar. What other cartoonists would be great on the view? Neal Adams? Jason? Lynda Barry? Let’s all play this game.
§ BTW, we were trying to think of some notorious comics crazy person for that last bit but couldn’t come up with a name that didn’t seem mean. (Yeah we’re softies.) Who is the Charlie Sheen of comics?
§ A nice review of the Cartoon Polymaths show with pictures.
§ Speaking of Jason, the Norwegian comics great, you have been reading his reviews of Audrey Hepburn movies, haven’t you? Here’s his take on PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES:
I’ve already talked about two Quine movies, The Notorious Landlady, which I didn’t like and How To Murder Your Wife, which I wasn’t even able to finish. The guy knows how to point the camera in the right direction but doesn’t seem to have much of a visual sense. And based on this film he’s not too good with the actors either. This is the first Audrey Hepburn film I’ve seen where she’s actually a bit annoying, her mannerisms turned up to eleven. But maybe the director asked her to do that Audrey Hepburn thing. William Holden is also normally an sympathetic actor, here he’s just trying too hard. The two of them work on the script, then we see them as actors in that movie, only for Holden to scrap that idea and try something else. After half an hour it gets tiresome and there’s still an hour left. If the movie within the movie had been exciting it might have worked. But in the end they decide it’s just silly hackwork. So why exactly have we been watching it?
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.