§ Greg Burgas reviews AETHERIC MECHANICS, FISHTOWN, SLOW STORM, and several more:
This book from Avatar gets back to what I was ranting about in my post about November’s Previews. If you have something against Avatar because they began as a porn publisher, okay. If you have something against them because they let Ellis and Garth Ennis write stories in which people do horrible things to each other that they couldn’t do at Marvel, fine. But when Avatar publishes something good, should you hold it against them because of the other stuff they publish that you hate? The Apparat line allows Ellis to do one of the things that he does really well, which is re-imagine a world that is very much like our own but with significant changes that fall in line with old-school pulp fiction.
§ Sean Collins reviews An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories Vol. 2:
While not quite the world-beating effort that was its predecessor, this second Ivan Brunetti-edited anthology from Yale University Press still makes it difficult to imagine a more welcome addition to the bookshelf of a comics fan looking to expand her repertoire, or a non-comics fan looking to dive in head-first. If anything this installment casts an even wider net for contributions, roping in a greater number of cartoonists and even including such one-off, quasi- or literally anonymous outsiders as Elinore Norflus, Eugene Teal, and the author of Utility Sketchbook–the former pair being just two of a solid number of artists this particular comics buff had never even heard of.
David Finch, one of the world’s leading fantasy artists, is a fairly normal guy leading a fairly normal life.
§ Spout interviews animator Nina Paley, whose animated film SITA SINGS THE BLUES is showing at MoMA this week:
I’m one of those crazy free culture people who insist there are no original ideas; all creativity builds on what has come before. As an artist I pull stuff out of the hive mind, the culture that’s all around me. I’m so saturated in culture I can’t separate influences out, or keep track of each discreet one. Just as corals build complex structures from the calcium floating in the ocean around them, artists pull ideas and influences from the sea of culture, and organize them in ways that suit us.
But assuming your soiree demands more of you than just a quote from early 20th century Britain, you can always rely on the Tintin series by Herge. My cousin Amin’s biggest regret after escaping the Iranian revolution was leaving behind this collection translated in Persian.
§ A customer at Flying Colors turns in a 30-year-old sketchbook by a very young Tom Beland:
It’s a Tom “True Story Swear To God” Beland sketchbook from 1980. I’m still not 100% sure if Jeb wants to sell this book, or whether this is something that would hold a great deal of sentimental value for Tom Beland.
§ Stan Sakai reports on the annual CAPS banquet, which this year honored Bil Keane:
President Bill Morrison gave opening remarks, and Gary Owens acted as MC. Greg Evans (Luann), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Mell Lazarus (Momma & Miss Peach), Jeff Keane (Family Circus), and Glen Keane (Disney animation) were guest speakers. It was more of a roast with Cathy telling why all cartoonists should hate Bil Keane, and Jeff showing a sample of the Family Circus strip with hilarious new captions. Bil accepted the award and gave a speech of his own, saying, “It’s more than an honor to be here. It’s a damn inconvenience.” He also told us what he’s been doing lately: “I’m doing a lot of work for DAM–Mothers Against Dyslexia.”
§ Not comics or national tragedy? An episode of the new Clone Wars TV show will center around heroic acts performed by one Jar Jar Binks. The director attempts to defend this atrocity:
“To me, his character is almost right out of the classic Disney or Warner Bros. cartoons. He is not always completely ‘there’, he is clumsy and he seems to have a talent for making mistakes that really matter – sometimes in a constructive way, sometimes in a destructive way. I think it’s easy to be attracted by his innocent, childlike, naive side. He’s like a lovable, well-meaning friend – one you don’t want around when it’s a matter of life and death. But once you’ve lived through the crisis, you definitely want to invite him to the celebration party.”
That is one party we want to stay home for.