§ This appreciation of Cliff Sterrett’s great Polly and Her Pals says many of the right things:
More than 50 years later, it’s difficult to explain why Cliff Sterrett’s magnificent creation never quite took flight. To be sure, “Polly” was way ahead of its time. Sterrett’s surrealistic, quasi-cubist artistic style was a unique fixture on the funny pages. It led Al Capp (of “Li’l Abner” fame) to dub him the Picasso of the cartooning world. Recent comic historians have noted Sterrett’s genius and recognized the strip as a shining example of originality.
But this has probably the best author’s note of recent Sterrett appreciations: “Michael Taube is a columnist and former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”
A collection of the dailys of Polly and Her Pals is available in a new edition from Library of American Comics btw.
§ And here is an appreciation of Malibu, CA cartoonist Fred Purucker, who is 83 years young:
Just about anyone who reads The Malibu Times and keeps up with local issues has gotten a chuckle out of the political cartoon that appears each week in the paper’s Opinion page. The cartoonist has an uncanny knack for getting to the heart of the often complex, divisive issues that face the city. His cartoons use humor, boil issues down to their simplest components and at the same time generally leave little doubt about the creator’s own opinion. Meet 83-year old Fred Purucker—the man behind those cartoons for the past 14 years. In 2013 alone, he lampooned, among other things, the city’s decision to exchange Charmlee Wilderness Park for Bluffs Park, the chain store ordinance, the closing of Malibu’s Superior Courthouse, the new high school football field lights and a proposed tiger sanctuary.
§ Panel Patter is a newish comics blog with lots of excellent content. BOOKMARK Here’s Whit Taylor interviewing Mari Naomi, for instance:
Whit: Do you think that being an autobio cartoonist/writing candidly about your life makes people treat or view you and your work differently?
MariNaomi: Absolutely. For one thing, when many people review memoir, they tend to review the author’s life rather than the story and how it’s told. A lot of judgment gets placed on my lifestyle, whereas if I’d given it a fictional guise, I wouldn’t get the same criticism. I’ve talked to a lot of writers who do both memoir and fiction, and they all say the same thing. They could write about smoking a joint in a bathroom as a teenager and get a bunch of flack about it, but if their fictionalized teen character shoots heroin, no one bats an eye.
§ Here’s a review of D&Q’s collection of Michael DeForge’s Ant Colony :
The frequent cartooning references in Farber’s loose, impressionistic delineation of these two species made me think of Michael DeForge’s new Ant Colony, a book unbound by its ambition. Originally published as a weekly webcomic following the doomed insect nest—and what’s more termite-like than a compulsive drive to produce X pages every seven days?—this little bug scales some elephantine subjects, such as war, transgression, authority, family, decaying relationships, religious revelation and societal collapse.
§ And hey what about Michel Fiffe taking on All-New Ultimates???:
So what ultimately was the attraction to this job? Did you have any direct experience with the Ultimate line, or was this more a function of wanting to try your hand at work for hire superheroes and seeing how it felt?
I’ve been so used to writing and drawing my own stories that I wanted to work on collaborating with other creators, other actual human beings! I still work on “Copra,” so I can still get my control freak on, but collaboration has its perks. Plus, having the chance at putting my own spin on these characters was a creative challenge.
§ CCI, the folks who run Comic-Con have launched the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Club— sign up now. It may not help yuo get a badge but you may read some excellent graphic novels.
“Why do you want to talk about Eurasian nomads?” begins one volume of Astral Project. Why not? This manga wants to talk about not only Eurasian nomads, but New Guinea natives, CIA-backed psychic experiments, obscure jazz musicians, the art of Francis Bacon, human-computer symbiosis, “transparent people,” and September 11. And, of course, astral projection. It’s the Art Bell radio show in manga form. But in the end it’s not about any of those things, and even the central paranormal mystery provides entry not to a higher plane of existence, but to life back home on Earth.
§ An interview with Chang Kim founder of Tapastic, which aims to be the iTunes of comics:
Step by step we’re building a platform and a community for comics that brings us one foot closer to the next step. We’ve become home to over a thousand series and hundreds of thousands of regular readers in about a year. We have higher traffic than DC Comics and every other independent comic community and publishing platform. Readers and creator/publishers alike are happy with the direction we’re moving in and every day we gain more momentum.
§ Hey, there a new series of books collecting interview with cartoonists, and first up it’s Chester Brown.
§ Many people have mentioned this piece by Craig Fischer on the female characters in B.P.R.D. .
Hi, I’m Elaine. I’ve been drawing comics and making other art since I was five years old, and I’ve struggled with depression and social anxiety since I was 13. In 2002, I self-published my first comic book. Later that same year, I suffered a severe mental breakdown.
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.