§ Artist Paul Ryan passed away over the weekend at age 66. A popular and prolific creator, he had long runs on Avengers, Avengers West Coast, Quasar and especially Fantastic Four which he drew for five years. Most recently, he worked on the Phantom comic strip. He drew some iconic comics, including the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. But he was definitely one of the hey Marvel artists in the 80s and 90s, with a clean, readable style that put the characters first.
Brian Cronin has a longer remembrance of his work here. At one point, Ryan drew two books a month, a workload more reminiscent of a different era; but his work never suffered. Condolences have been rolling in everywhere remembering him as a friendly man and consummate craftsman whose work defined an era of Marvel comics.
Paul Ryan's art was such a ubiquitous part of my life starting from childhood i thought he'd live forever.
he drew everything right. RIP
— tom fowler (@tomfowlerbug) March 7, 2016
I grew up on Paul Ryan's art. He was the Fantastic Four for me growing up, and it's really sad to hear of his passing. Rest in peace.
— David Harper (@slicedfriedgold) March 7, 2016
Comic book artist Paul Ryan passed away this weekend. We lost one of the good ones. I will miss his art and smile. Rest In Peace, brother.
— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) March 7, 2016
Marvel is saddened by the passing of artist Paul Ryan and offer our condolences to his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/oJGo11Uu9F
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 7, 2016
§ Jason Shiga has drawn a new choose-your-pwn-path story in the manner of his classic Meanwhile for the anthology Comics Squad.
I admit it. I was a little reluctant at first. The schedule of a daily webcomic has been all consuming and adding a baby to the mix just about did me in. And of course there was the very real prospect of choking, embarrassing myself publicly next to some of my favorite cartoonists of all time. But opportunities like this just don’t come along every day. They pay by the piece (not by the page) so if I was smart, I’d have just knocked out a 12 page story and called it a day. But being an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur of course I had to max it out with a 20 page interactive comic, almost a third of the length of Meanwhile. It was rough. I had to sneak back to my studio after Kazuo went to sleep almost every night for months. But in the end, the piece is something I’m really proud of.
§ Chris Mautner examines the work of Michael DeForge, particularly his latest one, Big Kids, which is perhaps Deforge’s first masterpiece.
§ Julia Gfrorer has a new minicomic called Dark Age which will be on sale at MoCCA Fest, but you can preorder it at Etsy. The cover is a little bit NSFW but it’s lovely, so click over to see it.
A new minicomc zine about young love and early humans, innocence, claustrophobia, and the imprecise boundary between the sacred and profane. Xerox printed on red text weight paper, 22 pages, $5.
§ A lot of stuff will be going on at WonderCon, and here’s a round-up of exclusives, specials and events that we know of thus far. Programming rolls out later this week.
§ MUST READ. Zack Davisson, translator of Shigeru Misuki, among other Japanese cartoonists, reveals Confessions of a Manga Translator, a long piece that explains how translating Japanese is incredibly difficult because of…well you need to read this piece. It’s complicated.
I have a secret to tell you. If you’re ever been particularly moved by a line of dialog in a manga I translated; if something pithy spoke to you in some way, or had some meaning to you; if you thought something was cool or inspiring, or even if you laughed at a joke—that was probably me, not the original cartoonist. It’s disappointing, I know. But I submit for you the Rule of Rubin. It comes from Jay Rubin, translator of the best-selling novels of Haruki Murakami and one of the most notable modern Japanese-to-English translators. Rubin said in an interview: “When you read Murakami (in English), you’re reading me, at least 95% of the time.” When I saw that, I nodded knowingly in agreement. And shuddered a little. Someone had finally said it. That’s the secret. The Rule of Rubin. When you read the words in a comic—the actual words, mind you—you’re reading me, at least 95% of the time.
§ We’re having quite an amazing election season, even by the standards of the Internet world. But we’ve been there before, even in the comics. The Guardian draws our attention to the now nearly 20-years past struggle in Warren Ellis and Darrick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan, between The Beast and The Smiler:
Get ready to have your stomach turned by the picture of our political life Transmetropolitan offers. Spider Jerusalem is the antihero: a shaven-headed, heavily inked journalist who spends much of the story wearing only pants (he’s not an easy character to forget). Jerusalem is something of a homage to Hunter S Thompson, but also a portrait of his creator Warren Ellis – a political activist who can’t resist calling out the powers that be on their brands of bullshit. Today, we don’t have a Spider Jerusalem working for a major newspaper: we have an army of them causing trouble on social media. Criticised by writers and celebrities for its “mob mentality”, Twitter has taken on journalism’s job of speaking truth to power, precisely because it gives free rein to exactly the kind of passionate outrage shown by Spider Jerusalem. Those wanting it restrained should be very careful what they wish for. Jerusalem is pitched against two major political opponents through Transmetropolitan’s 60-issue run.
Twas ever thus.
§ Over the last day or so Kelly Sue DeConnick used the hashtag #visiblewomen to retweet scores and scores of women comics artists. It’s been Storified here and click through for some great work.
§ Finally, some very good advice
via Imgur. via Chip Zdarsky who has reclaimed this particular piece of brilliance.
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.