§ Chris Mautner details early 2009 releases from Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly and if you don’t see something there that makes your heart go pitter pat, you are definitely in the wrong place.

§ Rob Clough‘s My Top 50 Comics of the Year pretty much covers it, I think.

§ Brian Cronin’s monthly spotlight looks at a Month of Writing Stars from Michael Kupperman to Jen Van Meter and beyond.

Kids Map Lr
§ Eric Reynolds explains how John “Petey and Pussy” Kerschbaum is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over the holidays John Kerschbaum sent me an amazing poster that he recently completed for NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a Family Guide/Map of the entire museum with seemingly every artifact in the museum drawn into it, a maze of detail that would make Will Elder proud and that will spellbind kids in ways that I bet the Met has trouble doing sometimes, unfortunately. Cartoons to the rescue! The bad news is, an online version doesn’t exist (yet). The good news is, the poster is actually available for free at the museum. Just ask for a “Family Map” at the main info desk in the Great Hall. At some point there should be a swanky version available for sale in the gift shop and an online version as well.

There’s also a link to an online kid’s map that Kerschbaum drew, from which the above illo is taken.

§ RIP West Coast Secret Stash. Kevin Smith’s LA comics store is closing, as the DVD store it’s housed in is closing its doors:

The Los Angeles location has had a hard time staying afloat since opening a few years ago. In 2007, the Westwood location was shut down and moved into the popular DVD store Laser Blazer. But now the economic downturn has forced Laser Blazer to shut the doors. Here is a quote from Ron, the manager of Laser Blaser on Newsaskew:

“We gave it our best shot and we’re sorry to see another great comic book shop leave L.A. It has been a pleasure taking care of all of Kevin’s fans. If you haven’t been in yet, it’s your last chance to see The Stash and say your goodbyes. All Stash merchandise will be discounted 20% until the final day.”

The store closes for good on January 11.

§ Darcey McLaughlin at Geek World looks back at ’90s comics economics.

§ CBR talks to Abram’s ComicsArts imprint editor Charles Kochman :

“I came over to Abrams to broaden my editorial initiatives by first identifying a triumvirate of seminal comics artists,” Kochman explained. “To me, those are Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner. I think you can pretty much draw a through-line from those three and show how most subsequent comics artists working have been influenced by all or one of them.”

§ Ian Goodwillie at Pop Journalism explains How to Read…Graphic Novels with a list of starting points…Sadly, he misspells the name of one of his picks.
§ ComicsCareer talks with B. Clay Moore

§ Finally, over at Cinemablend, Katey Rich proclaims We Need More Female Superheroes!

Last year may have been yet another year of the superhero, with both Batman and Iron Man capturing the hearts of moviegoers. But it was also the year of the women. No, not The Women– thank God. Women came out in droves to see movies specifically targeted at them, and made Mamma Mia! and Sex and the City far, far bigger hits than anyone would have anticipated.

So why not blend the two– a female superhero! It’s not exactly a novel idea. Wonder Woman was a TV success years before other superheroes got big, and even this decade some lady heroes have gotten their own vehicles. OK, OK, most of the female superhero movies were awful, but are we really going to let Elektra and Catwoman be the final word on chicks who kick ass?

…but then Josh Tylerputs a damper on thigns by explaining We Don’t Need More Female Superheroes

Even Wonder Woman was only a success because men supported her. The old Wonder Woman television show was a hit because men tuned in. Men tuned in because Wonder Woman was hot and watching her rope bad guys with her golden lasso fulfilled some sort of hot chick, dominatrix fetish fantasy. Wonder Woman may be a girl, but her audience was never really comprised of women. Sure women may tune in from time to time, just as women go see movies like Spider-Man and The Dark Knight. But they are not and never will be the primary audience for those films. Catching bad guys is not a common female fantasy. Ask most women which movies they’re most looking forward to in 2009 and odds are that it’ll be something starring Julia Roberts. Ask men what they’re most looking forward to, and I guarantee Julia’s name will not be uttered.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Men and women simply have different interests. Men are interested in action movies with heroes blowing things up and saving the girl. Men are interested in imagining themselves as ass-kicking heroes. Women are interested in movies about relationships and romance and love. Women are interested in imagining themselves finding the right guy and dancing till dawn. Little boys play with guns, little girls play with dolls. Neither version of play is superior to the other, it’s just different. Nobody is out there trying to force men to get interested in movies about romantic weekends in Paris, so why are we so dead set on forcing women to get interested in movies about beating people up? There’s something unintentionally sexist about it, it’s as if we’re saying women’s interests are somehow inherently inferior, and to be validated they must instead find ways to be more like men.

Darn. Got my hopes up there for a minute.


  1. So I wonder what Josh Tyler thought about the success of Erin Brockovitch…wherein Julia Roberts goes out and catches the bad guys.

  2. And then there are guys like me who, while flipping through the cable channels, happened across “28 Dresses” (didn’t know the title until after it was over) and sat and watched and enjoyed it. Then, while flipping after that was over, came across the ending of “Sleepless in Seattle” (where the elevator closes and the camera pans away from the Empire State Building) and got misty eyed while Jimmy Durante crooned.

    Some guys will watch Wonder Woman because she’s hot. Some women will watch The Dark Knight because they like action.

    But, I have one question… if women don’t like action heroes, then why was Tomb Raider such a popular video game? Was it from guys getting a sick thrill from playing the role of a hot superheroine?

  3. “…odds are that it’ll be something starring Julia Roberts.”

    Ha ha no.

    I’m not saying that hideously gross generalizations don’t come from kernels of truth, but at least update your prototypes, dude.

  4. Poor Josh. He seems to be operating under the delusion of knowing how the entirety of the opposite sex thinks.

    What’s interesting to me is that female superheroes have the potential to be awesome for girls and women but because they’ve always operated in the realm of perceived male power fantasy, they haven’t been able to truly fulfill that potential.

    I… I will have to give this more thought.

  5. I know right, Evie! It’s like when comic artists try to convey a female character’s youthfulness by putting her in a midriff-baring shirt. Girls don’t dress like that anymore! I think they might be under the impression that noticing something about women once per decade is enough.

  6. Excellent piece! I agree that there is a lack of unique female characters in comics. I’ve always been partial to Domino from the various incarnations of X-Force but doubt that anything good will be done with the character if translated to the screen in any capacity.

    I checked out the Popjournalism post from Ian Goodwillie based on his name. That just can not possibly be his real name…

    Anyway, I like his picks but there are a couple of other ones I would pick as essentials before Planetary. And as for spelling Cerebus, he corrected the error and noted that he made it in the comments below the piece. Incidentally, you did spell the word “things” wrong in the sentence “…but then Josh Tylerputs a damper on thigns by explaining We Don’t Need More Female Superheroes”.

    I’m sure there’s a joke here about throwing rocks at other people’s grammatical glass houses as well as my perpetuating such a rock throwing competition…