§ A fond fare-the-well to John Jakala who is hanging up his blogging pants, at least for now.

After three and a half years of blogging here, I’ve decided it’s time to call it quits. My output was never prodigious: in 3.5 years I only managed just over 400 posts, which puts my blog’s developmental maturity much lower than its calendar age. The fact that I could only muster seven posts in the last five months of 2009 is pretty clear evidence that my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. One of my personal blogging benchmarks was that if I ever went a month without posting anything it was time to start thinking about shutting things down. And December 2009 came and went without a single post from me, so here we are.

Jakala was one of the early, must-read orange-rimmed Sand Dollar template blogs along with Kevin Melrose and Graeme McMillan, and he was great while he was at it. The latter two have gone on to fame and fortune as big-time bloggers, but Jakala has found…peace. Now if we could only find out what happened to Dick Hyacinth, we’d be happy.

§ Do you mean that now you have to watch four video interviews with Dan DiDio to find out what is going to happen next?

§ Meanwhile, here’s a video of the great Mort Drucker drawing things. Unfortunately, it is a trailer for some educational videos which must be purchased, but when viewed as a trailer should give some satisfaction .

§ Chris Butcher argues very persuasively for 10 manga that changed everything and #1 and #2 are Dragonball and Cardcaptor Sakura. We’re on the edge of our seat for the rest of the list!

There have been thousands of manga released in North America over the past 10 years, but I believe the following 10(-ish) manga were the milestones of the decade, the most important works to be released in English. Depending on how detailed (or long) I wanted this article to go, I could pick 25, 50, 100 manga that serve as milestones, indicative of the industry and the medium and what was and whats to come. But I think I’ve picked 10 manga that paint the most vivid picture of the medium so I’m going to go with those–part of the fun of making lists like these is seeing where opinions differ, and what’s important to the writer (me!)

§ Tim O’Shea talks with Chris Wisnia, whose Kirby monster pastiche comics have been charming us for a while now.

And I had a friend who was into comics, and Kirby got brought up, and I began doing my griping rant about how I couldn’t stand his work, and I gave all my reasons, and all the reasons I gave for thinking the art was awful, he was going, Yeah, and using it as a reason that he loved the art. And I began realizing that, after studying art in school, none of these reasons were really valid to me anymore. Because you realize that photo-realism and all that isn’t what makes art “art.” And I started looking at Kirby’s work with a whole new eye. And his work is so absolutely dynamic, and full of energy. Now, I find, anything he did, it’s just magical to me. I love nothing so much as reading Kirby comics.

§ The fine fellows at The Savage Critic are wrestling with the year just past, and it’s a back and forth match, with many reversals — that year is wiry and knows a lot of holds. The topic at hand is whether this or that branch of comics is boring or not. Jeff Lester has an analogy:

To put it another way: if you were a fan of candy, and you ended up locked in the biggest candy store in the world, and were able to eat as much as you wanted, would you then turn around later, and blame the candy for not tasting as good as when you were first locked in? Would you suggest something had clearly gone wrong later in the candy production process since the stuff you were eating now was making you feel ill but the earlier candy hadn’t? Obviously, aesthetic experience doesn’t map to sensual experience in such an easy one-to-one way but aesthetic oversaturation is possible as anyone who’s been to Burning Man or the Louvre will tell you.

David Uzumeri says comics? Boring? No Way, José!

2009 was, for me, a banner year for superhero comics. I read a metric truckload of stuff, all of which lacked any sort of childhood-nostalgia pull for me – I was a DC kid, not Marvel, and now Marvel accounts for a solid 75% of my cape pull. I might be a Grant Morrison devotee, and the year started off kicking to me with the conclusion of Final Crisis; while I know there’s a whole bevy of criticisms leveled against it, some fair (inconsistent art, somewhat inaccessible, released in the wrong order by the publisher) and some unfair (IT DOESNT MAKE ANY SENSE MORRISON IS ON DRUGS WHAT A FUCKING HACK SOMEONE FIRE HIM UGGGGGGGGGGGH). What really struck me about that comic was the last issue, where Nix Uotan gives Mandrakk a sonning, and for all intents and purposes Morrison himself walked onstage in the comic and told creators to go for broke with all the wacky, outlandish, fun shit available in the superhero milieu and comic medium.

§ Hypergeek looks at the year ahead.

§ As does Newsarama, in a post focusing on creators that has a lot of great people on it, although it’s kind of unintentionally funny in spots:

Our second repeat from last year’s 9 To Watch in 2009 is cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley. His work on Scott Pilgrim turned heads and topped critics list, and the six-volume series is aiming for a conclusion in 2010. O’Malley came into comics with years working in webcomics, before doing his first big work drawing a volume of Hopeless Savagers. That quickly propelled him to his first graphic novel, Lost at Sea. The 2004 debut of Scott Pilgrim cemented his name in the comics industry, putting him on the frontline of the emerging next generation of independent comic book creators. As he finishes up Scott Pilgrim this year just in time for the movie adaptation from director Edgar Wright, the next question on everyone’s mind for Bryan is “What’s next?”

§ Noah Berlatsky seems to be saying something about blogging here, showing that the kind of breakneck schedule you need for power blogging doesn’t always leave time to figure out exactly what you’re saying. Blogging is hard sometimes.

§ Hey whatever happened to the Next Issue! guys? Blogging is hard!

§ Oh here’s a “Best comics” list from The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit.. We told you that since Variety went behind a paywall, we would be linking more to THR, and it’s true!

§ The 2009 roundup by Marc-Oliver Frisch really made us want to read DARK REIGN: ZODIAC!

§ Martyn Pedler at Bookslut looks at Peter Milligan’s Shade the Changing Man

§ Shocking cartoonist facts: Last year, Faith Erin Hicks had to give up going to movies in order to afford her Urasawa fix.


  1. Hey Heidi. The one sentence version is: “Blogging is neither less durable nor less worthwhile than writing a book.” Then there are pages of examples.

    Thanks for the link!

  2. Hah! I am RIGHT THERE with Hicks and the expensive Urasawa addiction … in fact, right now I’m getting caught up on Monster, and am nearly finished with the latest set of four volumes I picked up just days ago. SO GOOD!

  3. Thanks, Heidi and Matt!

    Heidi, for some reason your line “Jakala has found…peace” reminded me of the ending of TDKR. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that any future blog of mine will be the equivalent of TDKSA.

    Matt: And also with you. (Ahhh! Catholic school flashbacks!! Ahhh!!!!)

  4. re: Butcher’s article, not sure how ‘important’ and game changing, Dragonball and Cardcaptor Sakura were, but some of the stories that came from the books were very enjoyable and both art and writing were entertaining and well executed. :)