§ Johnny Bacardi pens an elegy to the way ahead of its time THRILLER by Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor von Eeden. . A panel floats above.
§ Although everyone is tired of SPX reports, this one seems to have drawn out lots of larger picture thinking, or at least it did on Comics Comics. Frank Santoro:
What am I saying? I’m saying that the lesson of the “small press” is that one can hone one’s personal voice within a support group of like-minded folks without making fatal concessions to the larger marketplace. And in these days of 500-page graphic novel debuts, it’s an important lesson. I could go on and on, but I think it would be like preaching to the choir.
§ ALSO, Dash Shaw points out that alt.comix is just as often interested in adventure as introspection:
But I fear that the panel was interpreted as a statement that “alternative” cartoonists having affection for “mainstream” comics is noteworthy or unusual or “new” somehow. It’s not. “Alternative” cartoonists bemoaning the abundance of boring, mundane mostly-autobio work is a false feeling to me. There are a lot of autobio “real life” stories, but they’ve always been dwarfed by the pseudo-“mainstream” genre work, even outside of Marvel and DC. Look at Oni Press and Slave Labor Graphics and Antarctic Press and Caliber Comics and Tundra and on and on. Look at the Hernandez Brothers. Look at the wave of alternative comics in the nineties… Zot (which somehow looks both really dated and also pre-Tezuka reprint boom ahead-of-its-time,) Bone, Kabuki (don’t forget that Scarab spin-off series!), Madman, THB (fucking Escapo! still lookin good a decade later,) etc.
Keep your eye on the comment thread on this one!
§ It was a busy weekend in the blogosphere. Several writers at the Savage Critic observed Read Comics All Day day, and Abhay read DAR: A SUPER GIRLY ETC., the spunky slice-of-life comic about spunk and anal sex, among other things.
The good episodes of DAR are about sex. Moen employs the same circular-headed cartoon characters with dot eyes, the same cute-driven style that Jeff Brown or Dave Heatley use— all of them softening their sex comics with a certain amount of adorable. Which sounds like a good idea, unless you start dwelling on Stephen Jay Gould too much.
And from there he’s off to the races with neoteny, infantilism, and cupcakes.
People keep asking me for some huge conclusive statement about its completion. For me, it was completed some two and a half years ago, when I wrote the final script. John and Laura have done their usual worldbeating work on the last issue, but I could barely bring myself to proofread it. It’s a book I associate with bad times: protracted illnesses, big arguments (I remember John and I once threatening to quit over some idiot move to take Laura off the book, and I vividly remembering arguing for John’s job when DC wanted to fire him over his taking on ASTONISHING X-MEN), my physical collapse and months in bed, and my dad’s long illness and eventual death. All of these things are intertwined with PLANETARY for me, and make it difficult to enjoy the moment. I’m just glad people won’t ask me about it anymore.
§ Evan Dorkin is selling things on eBay, and there’s a pretty good chance they are horribly, horribly cool.
§ Tom Spurgeon offers a nice look at four comics that bear rereading, two of which we also reread quite a bit.
§ Not comics: The Guardian celebrates the 20th birthday of the Billy Bookcase, or as it’s known around here, “The Building Blocks of Life.”
The Billy is prolific. There are more than 40m of these minimalist marvels in existence and 3m more are sold every year. Incredibly, the perennial bestseller was designed by Ikea’s fourth ever employee, Gillis Lundgren. I favour the white, 80cm x 202cm versions myself, 21 of which line two studies and a dining room in my house – that’s approximately 150 metres of shelving for God knows how many books – with another handful scattered round the kitchen and in the spare room.
Left, the rare and elusive “Blue Billy.”