Reid Fleming and David Boswell are two of the great legendary figures of the 80s black and white comics boom – Canadian born cartoonist Boswell created an enduring character in the irascible delivery man Reid Fleming whose bellicose shouts — “I thought I told you to shut up!” — and hostile approach to dairy deposits made him an angry everyman hero. The character became incredibly popular during its ’80s run, and a big studio movie was contemplated, with Boswell writing the script, until the project reached a film exec who didn’t get the unique, absurd humor of the comic. The rest, as they say, is a cartoonist’s life.
At the recently concluded Small Press Expo in Bethesda a very cool thing happened. A bunch of awards were presented to several talented, unique cartoonists who are turning out though provoking, beautifully crafted work, influential work. The winners were all popular and well deserved. And they all happened to be women. It was a thing, for sure, and much talked about. What struck me, first off, was just how strong the work was–Sophie Goldstein’s multi leveled future history of a world where having a baby became a rebellious act, Emily Carroll’s mastery of horror and structure, Eleanor Davis’s powerful examination of self-sabotaging quests for self-esteem in many settings.
The other thing that struck me was the contrast with the other conversations I was having at the show. Talking with people I used to work with in the “mainstream” comics industry about the long lists of men who would never have given Goldstein, Carroll or Davis a shot at telling their stories. Because they are women, and those people didn’t think women could make good comics.
Peter Bagge is prolific and hilarious, a very good combination in a cartoonist. He’s been running short one page historical comic strips in recent issues of Dark Horse Presents and his own series Apocalypse Nerd, and these will be collected in the one shot Founding Fathers Funnies. Bagge is all over the humor of the great people who founded our great nation, and i’m sure it goes beyond cherry trees, kites and wooden false teeth.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Watchmen, The Outer Limits, and some old sci-fi you probably weren’t planning on reading.] At the end of Watchmen, a television set in the background announces a rerun of The Outer Limits episode “The Architects Of Fear.” This was a reference to a creative debate that occurred behind the scenes between writer […]
This weekend’s new superhero movie is Fantastic Four, not to be confused with Fantastic Four or Fantastic Four Or even The Fantastic Four The 1978 cartoon version famously substituted a robot named H.E.R.B.I.E for the Human Torch. Although the reason given for years was that networkexecs children would set themselves alight during play, given everything […]
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first human being to achieve Earth orbit, effectively winning the space race. At NASA, scientists sighed, poured more coffee, and redoubled their efforts. In New York, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four. With a new FF movie coming out, readers and fans […]
In his latest weekly video, Cerebus creator Dave Sim reveals that an anonymous donor has agreed to leave a bequest of $500,000 to The Cerebus Trust Fund. So it turns out someone really likes Cerebus! And Sim need no longer worry about money for getting his comic The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond published, and […]
As I’m probably too fond of saying, each year’s San Diego Comic-Con represents the end of comics’ fiscal year, and we’re now in a new cycle of sales, renewal and looking forward to the next thing. Although the con was not that memorable on its own, it did mark a new plateau in the direct sales era for comics penetration into the mass media, and for having a variety of voices and genres that the medium has probably has never been seen before.
This situation, while far from ideal, still represents a dream come true for a lot of us who have been toiling in the comics industry for a while. I remember as if it were yesterday sitting in various comics industry think tanks in the 90s wondering WHAT could be done to expand the audience for comics, how to bring in genres that weren’t superheroes, and how to overcome the tyranny of the “32 page pamphlet” as it was dubbed by either Kurt Busiek or Marv Wolfman, depending on who you ask. These tasks seemed daunting at the time, and it actually took 25 years to get to a place where it could be argued that its true, and everyone at those meetings is a certified old timer now.