§ Brandon Graham has pretty much the best cartoonist diary ever. That’s his desk above.

I’ve got a string with clothes pins above my desk so I can keep an eye on all the pages leading up to the one I’m working on.


§ 50 pages of never-before-seen notes and layouts by all the greats for Marvel’s STRANGE TALES II? YES!

Marvel has graciously given us over 50 exclusive pages of sketches, inks, thumbnails and process images from the anthology series to give you a glimpse into the process of creators like Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Dean Haspiel, Ivan Brunetti, Farel Dalrymple, Frank Santoro, Ben Marra, Ivan Brunetti, Paul Hornschemeier, Edu Medeiros, and Paul Vella.

That’s Rafael Grampa’s Wolverine above…

§ Why someone DOESN’T read comics.

§ Tom Tomorrow reports that he’s moving his political comic strip from Salon to Daily Kos, and will be expanding DKos comics presence. It’s yet another step in the continuing obsolescence of the alt.weekly comic strip:

I’ve been quietly agitating for something like this for quite a while. These are difficult times for cartoonists, particularly those of us working in the subgenre of altweekly cartooning. The papers are still vital to my survival, and I’m grateful beyond measure to the many editors who continue to run my work in print each week — but the larger trend over the past few years has not exactly been encouraging. Too many papers have decided that they no longer have any use for this art form which grew in their stead, adapting itself entirely to their rhythms, and as that market contracts, there’s been no simultaneous expansion online. The niche that editorial cartoons filled in newspapers is almost entirely occupied by Daily Show clips online. Why do so few political sites feature political cartoons? Why did the Huffington Post, with verticals devoted to almost any topic you can imagine, never launch a comics section?

§ Over at PW, comics sage Jeet Heer looks at two competing tomes both called THE COMICS:

If, by chance, you’re planning on dressing up as Moses for a costume party, you might want to pick up two hefty new tomes which have similar titles and could easily double as stone tablets: Jerry Robinson’s The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art 1895-2010 (Dark Horse Books) and Brian Walker’s The Comics: The Complete Collection (Abrams). Heavier than the bricks that Ignatz hurled at Krazy Kat and only slightly less deadly in potential squashing power than the anvils that the Coyote tried to drop on the Road Runner, these books are big not only in size but also in scope. Both tell the century-spanning story of American newspaper comics from the early days of The Yellow Kid and Little Nemo to more recent funnies such as Mutts and Zits.

§ In light of the Joanne Siegel letter making the rounds, J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at a recent comic dealing with the legal underpinnings:

Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s latest issue of Comic Book Comics, a history of comics presented as a comic book series, dealt with the history of Siegel and Shuster’s dealings with DC over the ownership of Superman—as well as the similar difficulties that Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Jack Kirby had with DC/National and Marvel—and the Siegel and Shuster “story” hasn’t really been completed in real life, so it doesn’t really have a satisfying conclusion in their comic strip about it either (In 2008, judge Stephen G. larson ruled that the contents of Action Comics #1 revert to Siegel’s heirs, and, Van Lente wrote, “The full implications of that decision are still being worked out, but it seems to be in the heirs’ interest to work with the company,” since, “many of the elements considered crucial to the mythos have appeared since Action #1 and are incontrovertibly owned by DC”).

§ On the very very slim chance that you are not sick of Rob Granito by now, here is the official debunking site: LEGIT-O-MITE!. This reminds us of Unscrewed, a similar site that sprang up after the misdeeds of convention organizer/publisher Rick Olney were laid bare.


  1. “JOE: OK so what do you think made you stop collecting them. ”

    And that is part of the problem right there. Please, please please quit thinking that you have to collect comics in order to appreciate comics. There is a huge gap between reading and collecting, and these days the industry has been catering to the collectors – a small segment of the population – instead of trying to appeal to readers – a much larger, more diverse demographic.

    Yes, there will always be a segment of people who will want the hardback collection printed with real DNA from the creators, but the goal we’ve veered away from is the idea that reading comics can be a casual every day diversion for all sorts of people. Another form of expression for the types of material they like to read in other forms.

  2. @Bill I started buying comics (again) this year and mentioned that I was collecting them on Twitter which started off a bit of a debate about whether I was buying them to enjoy or not.

    I think it’s hard to move past the term “collecting” regardless of one’s motives for buying comics because they’re expensive, limited editions with collectible covers.

    So I don’t know how to buy/appreciate comics without thinking of the collecting aspect. Especially when missing a single issue means paying a mark-up.

  3. @ Bill The word collecting is deeply sewn into the industry of comics. When stories are COLLECTED that’s what forms the trade papers back. I honestly don’t know of many people that have ever just picked up one comic for a quick enjoyable and disposable shot of entertainment. No ones really rolling them up in their back pocket and moving along anymore. I can understand your view about not wanting the entire market to have only a collectors mentality. That’s fine. But to be sensitive on that one word and saying it’s a large part of what’s wrong with the current market doesn’t really work for me.

  4. What I’m concerned (not “worried”) about is the fact we have an industry that while growing monetarily (thanks to toy and movie licensing revenues) is also dropping in active population and demographics. I think part of the problem is everything has been geared toward “collecting” comics instead of reading them. Your simple statement exemplified that attitude, and I am certain that it was said in innocence.

    I have a major problem with an industry that charges more and more for comics each time I visit a shop. Parents don’t want to invest $4 for a comic for their kid. If the parents aren’t buying kids comics – Kids don’t get in the habit of reading them, and the industry collapses in on itself. They’ve built a moat around the castle and wonder why more people aren’t coming in…

    I’m not trying to pick on you personally, Joe. You make the point that no one is rolling them up in their back pocket anymore, but I have to say, “they should be!” Because once something becomes too precious it limits the market.

    The good news is that I think digital is helping immeasurably. People will be able to use their everyday e-readers and tablets and enjoy the comics experience. If they want to move on and collect print comics then great. The point is – like manga – digital readers now have a low cost point of entry to the world of comics. In Japan streets often have stacks of old manga people have thrown with their trash out to be recycled.

  5. Bill Cunningham says: You make the point that no one is rolling them up in their back pocket anymore, but I have to say, “they should be!”

    I’ve seen people mention that the big two should release newsprint anthologies. I’d be up for a disposable method of keeping up with what’s happening.

  6. @Bill Digital will hopefully helps that. But I think we can talk about TONS of stuff the industry does right and wrong. The collectors are already inside the market. I don’t think you’ll really see the disposable book pop up as a huge factor to grab people in. I don’t disagree with you on that idea, i just don’t see the companies putting money behind that idea, personally. I think that you have to reach outside that audience a bit. Instead of worrying about dividing the audience you have, take your great product and BRING new members into the market. For two companies that have TELEVISION NETWORKS I’d like to see some advertisement. Promote the product instead of syphoning ideas to promote in their other media. The digital age can help sales greatly and for exactly the reasons you’ve stated, but if no one knows those apps exist, it’s a wasted effort.

    EIther way I appreciate the discussion and your opinion.

  7. @JoeMulv – agreed. Why there isn’t an ad after every freaking episode of Smallville for the entire Superman family of comics is beyond me. It’s a missed opportunity probably brought about by some arcane footnote in someone’s contract somewhere.

    I do have to point to one small piece of anecdotal “evidence” that may help comics and it’s this: When books became available for cellphones there was an uptick in e-romance and erotica novels being sold. The reason cited was because people could read them in anonymity anywhere. They were convenient. They were especially convenient for women who didn’t want to put up with people making jokes while they were trying to read their Harlequins on the bus.

    Now if there were a mystery comic out there that would appeal to that genre’s readership – and they could get it on a device they already have – I think that could go a long way toward bringing aboard new readers. There’s an old ad saying that you don’t try and make a wine drinker taste your beer, you just try to get a beer drinker to try your brand and see if they like it.

    So with the opportunity provided by digital comics, fantasy, scifi, mystery, thriller, romance and other genre readers out there might ‘taste’ your comic and decide they want more.

    But it isn’t going to happen if they feel they have to make a huge commitment or expenditure.

    @Gamecouch – the LA WEEKLY is a large tabloid paper filled with ads and content and it comes out every week for free. Printed on cheap paper but with excellent pre-press work in evidence, it could be a model for something that stays in the print realm, but is attractive to new and old readers by being big and cheap.