§ Comics scholar Charles Hatfield has curated an exhibit of art by Jack Kirby, now on display at CSU Northridge:
Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby | California State University, Northridge:
Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby
August 24 – October 10, 2015
Saturday, August 29 4-7 p.m.
Monday, August 31 – 10 a.m.
Saturday, September 26 – 1 p.m.
§ And Tom Spurgeon chatted with Hatfield about the exhibit the comic scholars organization he’s involved with —The Comics Studies Society—and so on. But mostly about Jack Kirby, who remains a singular and titanic figure;
HATFIELD: To be around so much Kirby work, and to handle it, is like a dream. It’s dizzying, really. Coming back to the collages for a moment, seeing the fragility of those pieces in person, and seeing the marks of history on them — the fact that some elements are so small and frail, or that glue leaves its traces decades after, that to me was poignant. Also, seeing up close the difference in scale between pre-1968 and later comic book originals was a revelation: it enabled me to think about the physical process of drawing, and how Kirby and his peers had to adjust to production demands that they often had no control over. To see just how much the work I love was shaped by practical and contingent factors — that’s so revealing that it’s almost disconcerting. More than anything, though, the sheer physical encounter between Kirby and the boards, and of course the physical handiwork of his inkers and letterers, too, that’s hit me powerfully with this show.
§ Warren Ellis chatted with Publishers Weekly about his self publishing exploits:
Ellis’s reasons for self-publishing were based on a variety of concerns—most notably the feeling that his publisher probably wasn’t interested in “a ragtag collection of talks I’ve given in basements and sheds across the Northern Hemisphere.” In fact, his editor at FSG, Sean McDonald, was supportive of his decision to self-publish, Ellis says. The author also raised the question of volume: “No publisher is going to soak up the number of short stories and essays I find myself wanting to write.” His first indie title was Shivering Sands, a collection of short pieces published through Lulu in 2009, two years after the publication of Crooked Little Vein. Ellis says he sees self-publishing as an outlet for shorter works that will support the profile of his traditionally published titles. “Certainly a few of [my friends] still consider self-publishing to be a small-time, second-rate way of doing things,” Ellis says. “But, hell, sometimes that’s all you’ve got.”
§ My Fellow Corto Maltese cultist Zainab Akhtar examines those Joan Sfar/Christophe Blain pages which have been floating around. t seems this superstar duo was working on a revival of Corto, but the Corto rights holders hired Blacksad’s Juan Diaz Canales and artist Ruben Pellejero to do the job:
I cannot come up with enough superlatives to bestow on Christophe Blain’s work, and IDW’s rejuvenated, large-format, black and white editions of Corto Maltese have made me a new fan of the dashingly cool sailor, too, so this turn of events is of significant interest to me (I’m trying to be professional here; my interior monologue is more along the lines of ‘Christophe Blain!! We could have had Christophe freaking Blain doing a Corto Maltese book!!’). What I find most curious is the apparent disparity in direction not only between the two projects, which is fair enough, but in terms of creative teams. As far as pedigree and name-recognition goes, both Sfar and Blain are on a different level to Canales and Pellejero, which would be a big factor in relaunching/producing new comics for something as widely popular and acclaimed as Corto Maltese.
True, true…Blaine and Sfar would produce something stunning and wild; the also talented Canales/Pellejero duo (below)will produce a fine adventure comic which reminds people of Corto Maltese. And for licensors…sometimes that’s the sensible route.
§ These are old links, but in case you missed them, a couple of rearview mirror looks at Peanuts. Writing for the LA Review of Books, Luke Epplin compares Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson in their embrace or disdain for “selling out”—despite the often cynical and effusive licensing that one has often seen for the Peanuts characters, the comic strip itself has never lost its majesty. On the other hand, I remember, I think, Seth (who is one of my favorite cartoonists) complaining about the Peanuts cartoons one time, and…I dunno those are okay too. At Kotaku, Kevin Wong charges How Snoopy Killed Peanuts—another familiar theme, this one how Joe Cool and the Red Baron are supposed to have turned Peanuts into a shallow shell in its last decade or so. Most commenters have pooh poohed this once common notion. I say, go buy some of the last Peanuts reprints from Fantagraphics and decide for yourself.
§ Also an old link fine artist Jim Shaw took his daughter to Comic-Con and has many observations. Also, wow I dd not realize Ramona Fradon was 88!
§ I se that Shaenon K. Garrity has left Scribd and is now writing about comics and stuff for io9. Finally a areason to read io9 every day.
§ In this generally positive review of several recent graphic novels from Boom! Studios, nt sales.) points out that they have a rather odd release program for their collections:
The first volume of Lumberjanes was released a full year after the series debuted and contained only four issues, a puzzling decision for a book that has gotten a lot of publicity, but doesn’t have very impressive single-issue sales numbers. (It’s impossible to gauge just how well Lumberjanes single issues sell because digital sales numbers aren’t released to the public, and a book with such a strong online presence probably does much better in digital sales than print sales.) Lumberjanes Vol. 1 was Diamond’s 10th best-selling trade paperback of April and was No. 7 on The New York Times best sellers list, and Boom! Box could have capitalized on those sales and brought more people to the single issues if it released the first collection before Lumberjanes #5 hit stands.
§ Rick Obadiah, the co-fonder of 80s publishers First Comics, has passed away, and that made me feel very old.
§ While tooling around the internet I chanced upon this piece by CCS alum Max Riffner on How to Draw a 50 Page Comic in One Month. I suspect many more of you will need that information than one would hope.
§ Apparently Stephen Amell, the buff and athletic star of Green Arrow, appeared at SumerSlam and was able to defeat Stardust. Impressive.
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.