Let’s start out with two excellent essays.
§ Dan Nadel looks at Brush with Passion: The Art and Life of Dave Stevens and uses it as a springboard to examine the frustrations shared by several generations of artists:
So let’s back up for a moment. There was this thing that happened in the 1960s: Incredibly skilled, visually ambitious artists like Wood, Manning Toth, et al — men who were raised on pulp imagery and the classic American illustrators like Wyeth and Pyle — decided they wanted to do something “sophisticated”. They realized that despite the still-somewhat plentiful outlets (fewer than in the ‘20s and ‘30s, but still a few) for their work, they were never going to be free of the “juvenile” implications of their subject matter. These were guys who wanted to draw comics, but, given the circumstances (generational, financial, etc.) had nowhere else to go. They were, in essence, the last true work-a-day fantasy artists of the 20th century — still basically working for the pulps, at a high level for low pay.
§ And at The Walrus, Sean Rogers examines Seth, the cartoonist and the designer:
Make no mistake: this is Seth’s Peanuts more than Schulz’s. One of the drawbacks of Seth’s omnivorous approach to cartooning is that his admiration for his peers often compels him to incorporate their innovations into his own practice. Not so with his work as a designer, which remains sui generis: his take on Peanuts is the one through which most future readers will understand the strip, and with which future critics will have to wrestle. It is, in other words, authoritative. And that he presents us with a version of Peanuts that looks so brazenly unfamiliar should come as no surprise when we consider how ready he is, elsewhere, to discard, tweak, or wholly invent broad swaths of cartooning history.
§Seduction of the Indifferent rounds up Woolly Mammoth Covers and to the surprise of, perhaps, few, most of them involve woolly mammoths trampling ordnance of some kind.
§ News brief: According to numerous Twitter and blog posts, the Calgary Expo was very well attended on Saturday; guests were awoken that night by a fire alarm, and Sunday, it snowed.
§ Richard Krauss went to Stumpton 09, took lots of pictures of ‘tooners, and posted it all with tons of news and information.
§ For you old-timers out there: WEHT to Chris Ulm, an architect of the pre-Image comics scene.
§ At the Daily Cross Hatch, comic Timmy Williams on nerdlebrity comics:
I think there should be a publisher called Celebrity Comics and every famous person that comes up with some horse-shit comic series has to print it under there, so we can all be warded off by the logo, which should look like a big cancel sign or will maybe just be a big capital “NO!.” Maybe I’ll take a week some time and read this, Rosario Dawson’s comic, the one Nic Cage wrote with his son, and the one that guy from Heroes made, then shoot myself in the face.
§ Spurge posts a pretty sound The Top Ten All Time Best Comics Series.
The Swedish SPX just wrapped up, and Top Shelf attended with guest Jeffrey Brown, who got interviewed on a popular Swedish morning show called Nyhetsmorgon. You will learn much from this clip, including what Swedish morning TV hosts wear, and that you can show cartoons of people having sex on Swedish morning TV.