§ Blutch, Blutch, Blutch. French artist Christian Hincker, aka Blutch is a cartoon god in Europe, but known only to Euro comics experts here. The new New York Review of Books edition of PEPLUM is his first long work to be translated into English. It’s no easy reader; a mystical narrative that takes element from the Satyricon and mixes them with Blutch’s own obscure iconography, the effect is like watching a foreign movie from the 60s or 70s – lots of stunning vistas and a search for meaning. But it’s a beautifully drawn, evocative book. The Paris Review has reprinted translator Edward Gavin’s intreduction to the book and it gives a good survey of Blutch for Beginners:
Part of this may be traced to the book’s origins. When he began serializing Peplum in 1996, Blutch was a talent to watch, a twenty-eight-year-old admired for his expressiveness of line and his experiments with dream logic and surrealism (“half Jacques Demy and half Buñuel,” he called them), but he was not yet a hero to a generation of cartoonists, and more than a decade from taking top prize at Angoulême, France’s largest comics festival. He had already shown himself to be a stylistic virtuoso, but still wore his influences—Will Eisner, Daniel Goossens, Morris (creator of Lucky Luke), Jean-Claude Forest (creator of Barbarella)—on his sleeve. Fresh off a successful run at the satirical revue Fluide glaciale, he turned to another publication instrumental in making Franco-Belgian comics the art form it is today: the aptly named À suivre (Stay tuned), which in its heyday had hosted the talents of Moebius, Jacques Tardi, Hugo Pratt, Muñoz and Sampayo, Peeters and Schuiten.
There’s a preview here, and I’ve taken the liberty or reproducing a few pages below.
§ Frank Santoro is selling some art by Chris Ware to help fund his Comics Workshop in Pittsburgh.
§ Sean Kleefeld went to SPACE in Columbus and had thoughts.
I say all this, in part, as a way to look at the convention landscape more generally. The larger shows with pop culture stars from TV shows and movies draw a lot more press generally, and the local shows you might be more familiar with frequently consist of mostly dealers selling comics out of old long boxes and action figures in plastic Ziplocks. But there’s a noticeable and growing market for shows like SPACE. I think Corby was on the leading edge of that type of show, and we’ll be seeing more of these in the near future. Shows where the focus is independent comics and creators. Not people selling prints of Spider-Man clinging on to a TARDIS, or Superman saving the Enterprise, or whatever. But people who want to tell a story through comics. People who have a passionate desire to relay their story in comics form.
§ This should be its own item, but I’m lazy: the American Library Association has once again released a lit of the Most Challenged Books of the last year and two comics made the listL Fun Home, a perennial threat to clean thinking, and Habibi, by Craig Thompson, a new entry. John Green’s Looking for Alaska was the most challenged book, however, showing that the more kids want to read a book, the more dangerous it is.
§ The library report also revealed that more and more librarians are acquiring digital content, surprise surprise:
The value of certified school librarians continues to grow as administrators and teachers seek education resources to better serve tech-savvy students. For example in 2010 only 35 percent of school librarians indicated they were acquiring digital content. By 2015, that number had increased to 69 percent. This trend is reflected across a variety of formats, particularly databases, ebooks, periodicals, videos and games.
Libraries continue to strive to support digital equality. Multiple studies increasingly point to the fact that individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds do not have equal access to high-speed Internet, digital tools, or opportunities to learn how to use digital resources. As a result, they are less able to compete for 21st century careers, participate fully in civic engagement or even advance their own personal learning and interests.
§ Here is a very long piece on one woman’s experiences as a cosplayer, professional cosplayer and “booth babe.”
§ I missed this news item: Bendis has teased that he’ll return to writing a Jessica Jones book after Civil War wraps up. People can be annoyed that Bendis is dog-in-the-mangering (look it up) Jessica Jones, esp with her Netflix success, ut you know what: she’s his baby, and it’s cool that Marvel respects that.
§ As CinemaCon wrapped up yesterday, 20th CEntury Fox electrified the assembled theater owners by bringing out Vanilla Ice to perform his
only greatest hit in a new version that supports the upcoming films Ice Age Collision Course. In the interest of hastening the end of the universe, here it is.
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.