§ Is this the only account of the Ware/Groening/Barry/Feiffer summit at the Chicago Humanities Festival? Witness Todd Allen says it was more of a wake for alt. comics:

The level of pessimism at this panel was a bit depressing. Nobody was really suggesting alternate venues. I think it was Barry that compared comics to having a baby and wanting the baby to make money and pay the rent. Ware went a step further, saying “it’s a problem to make a living” and “do it for yourself, don’t expect to make a living.”

So there you have 3 out of 4 of alt weekly comics’ biggest stars of their respective periods saying you can’t make a living at it and two of them questioning whether you should try.

The death of alt-weekly comics strips comes despite the fact that local newspapers are holding their own in the ongoing media extinction. Maybe this is just because they don’t spend money on frivolous things like…comic strips.

§ Everyone is talking about teen-age Dave Sim’s take down of Jack Kirby:

I maintain, as I have for some time, that Kirby has little or no talent. His writing disgusts me even more than the early work of Gerry Conway. His creations seem to be of less than human quality.

We’d make fun but we didn’t much like Kirby when we were kids either.

§ Bart Beaty has an Angoulême update.

§ Sean T. Collins updates Con Wars with news of guests and so on.

§ A new Vertigo project by Carla Speed McNeil and Sarah Ryan? Sign us up!

§ When comic book writers try to be all dark and nasty with hoo hah and what not …the results are often…awkward and icky.


§ This should be in the news section, but Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz have launched a company to publish historical comics called History Graphic Press. Their initial release is entitled Civil War Adventure and as you can see there is an accent on the adventure.

§ Warren Ellis has posted several of his scripts online, and while we haven’t read these particular examples yet, we’re sure they are highly entertaining. Also he vows that Desolation Jones will come back someday.


  1. As Lou Copeland noted in a comment, other pro artists had much the same reaction to Kirby’s ’70s work that Sim did. It takes time and knowledge to appreciate various styles of art.

    Writing, on the other hand — It’s easier to recognize basic mistakes in storytelling, and harder to appreciate minor virtues. Snappy dialogue won’t save a story with an idiot plot or a faulty premise. Bad story content and excellent artwork will still result in an unreadable comics story.

    People might be more embarrassed at having youthful ignorance exposed when they praised things they should have criticized.


  2. I don’t care what anybody says, and I’m not claiming to be cool or prescient or even imbecilic for loving Kirby’s 70’s stuff — but I could remember those comics years later, whereas the writing from almost all of the hip young things in the then hip style quickly faded from my memory like soap bubbles. We can argue Kirby’s worth in those days up and down the turnpike, but his stuff had impact. Ditto Steve Gerber, a guy who a number of my funnybook-reading friends and I disagreed on back then because he wasn’t delivering the usual superhero kick.

    Also, while I’m not a fan of Sim’s work in general, and I can’t stand him personally, 17 is an age where you’re supposed to make piss and vinegar “I know I’m right” grand fanboy statements. These days the internet allows us to read silly statements of that order every five minutes from fans closing in on retirement. Can’t get too whooped up over this, even though I disagreed then and disagree now.

    I do like that he apparently thought Gerry Conway got his act together and became a fine writer back in the day. There’s another argument for the old folks to kick around.

  3. but I could remember those comics years later, whereas the writing from almost all of the hip young things in the then hip style quickly faded from my memory like soap bubbles.

    I read only Marvel comics in the ’70s with rare exceptions (Englehart’s DC work, for example), so I’m not sure what “hip young things” you’re referring to. The letterhacks back then, such as Macchio, Rodi, Gillis, et al., generally praised the same writers, for the same reasons. Conway was scorned because he wrote formula fiction — the “illusion of change”, grind out the easiest stories that can be written — that was recognized as such.

    IMO, the good stories that were written back then still read well today, whereas, for example, Claremont’s UXM stories read badly today because they were terrible back then. He wrote the same stories with minor plot variations over and over again — one could predict what he would have people say before reading the dialogue — but some people were too caught up in the coolness of the mutants to recognize that.


  4. Premiering tonight Nov 13th 10PM EST on
    my short film “Jaka @ Meltdown Comics” a “behind-the-scenes-look at the making of the animated Cerebus Film”.
    And yeah I remember Kirby getting a lot of flak -even from Fantagraphics i think for a while (though my memory might be wrong)…makes you wonder if the Sim flak will get forgotten about in time. Well, you never know:)

  5. I dunno, I think sometimes Sim says stuff just to be like, “Hey! Look over here! I’m doing something!” I mean, he seems like a reasonably smart guy – smart enough to know that some of the stuff he says will get a lot of reaction.