§ Nice Art: John Patrick Green has a new book out this week Hippopotamister, and it’s a really gorgeous and charming book from the Teen Boat creator. It’s about a hippo who leaves the zoo and tries to get a job, and all that entails. ***


§ What’s that you say? I will be moderating a talk with Green on Tuesday May 17th, 6 pm at Books of Wonder? So I will! Everyone come on out!

§ I would urge everyone in the business of making comics to check out this Buzzfeed article 19 Comic Books Perfect For Turning You Into A Comics Reader which was crowd sourced from Buzzfeed readers. I think each selection was chosen by a sole reader, but it’s also just about as basic a list as you can get c.2016 except they left off Fables. Also if you are wondering if “The New Comics” are a thing, yes they are.

§ Speaking of the New Comics, here’s a very positive profile of the Valkyries, the organization of female comics shop employees and owners.

Through social media, Bulloch helps create a positive and upbeat presence for the community by discussing comics, posing questions of the day, helping connect people with friendly comic shops and offering recommendations for comics that people should check out through the hashtag #ValkRecs. “It’s a way to show, ‘Hey, this is one of our members, and here’s what she likes, and here’s what she’s telling people in her shop that they should check out this week.’ It’s sort of like what we do in our shop every week when people come in and say, ‘What’s new? What’s good?’ except we’re telling [almost] 5,000 [Twitter followers] all over the world about it,” Bulloch said.

This piece is a bit triumphal but that’s because that’s what Valkyries do: they’re triumphal.

§ This is just the saddest thing I’ve ever read. National Book Award winner and Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates made enough money in royalties to buy a brownstone for his family, which, in New York real estate terms is like…oh man, it’s the ultimate. But he has decided he can’t move in there and live there because of all the publicity about his purchase, which revealed his address and more:

But no one keep secrets in Brooklyn. A few weeks after we bought, another friend sent an item from a local blog gossiping about our possible purchase. We didn’t expect to live anonymously. We thought there might be some interest and we took some steps to dissuade that interest. Those steps failed. Last week, the New York Post, and several other publications, reported on the purchase. They ran pictures of the house. They named my wife. They photoshopped me in the kitchen. They talked to the seller’s broker. The seller’s broker told them when we’d be moving in. The seller’s broker speculated on our plans for renovation. They rummaged through my kid’s Instagram account. They published my home address.

§ While on the subject of uniquely New York stories, the L train, which connects hipster central Williamsburg to the mainland (actually the island of Manhattan) will be shut down for two years because of damage to the tunnels from Hurricane Sandy. It’s a good thing there are absolutely no costs to allowing climate change to go on unchecked! Anyway, even without shutting down, the L is a commute of misery and woe, and Lucio Zago is doing what anyone would do when faced with unbearable horror and making a graphic novel about it:

“Williamsburg Shorts” depicts the tale of an unnamed girl’s trip to Manhattan on the L during which she misses a train, gets pushed and shoved on a platform, and trapped in a stalled train car.  During her commute, the girl — who is anonymous like the thousands of other L train riders who use the line daily are to each another — lets her imagination travel far beyond the crammed subway car. She explores the neighborhood’s rich history, looking into the stories behind landmarks like the Williamsburg Bridge, the Domino Sugar Factory and McCarren Park, according to author and graphic designer Lucio Zago.

§ Trouble with comics asked John Porcellino about his convention plans and he answered, explaining that a severe illness after DINK forced him to scale back quite a bit, something a lot of people are doing:

Ask any cartoonist who’s spent time on the road the last few years, and every one of them will tell you: The amount of time and travel that artists are expected to endure to make the convention rounds is untenable. Cons are (can be) fun, and it’s still a blast to meet your fans and friends face to face. I personally still get a kick out of standing behind a table covered in comics and seeing what happens. But the toll this is taking on cartoonists is very real. For me to attend DINK (a one and a half day show) required a day of prep time, two days of travel, doing the show, two more days of travel, and then two days to overcome the lack of sleep and food. Even if I do well at a show the amount of money I make could usually be made up by staying home and doing a few pieces of commissioned artwork. The truth is driving cross country to sell a $5 comic to someone is pretty much the most inefficient method of comics distribution there is.

§ Desiree Rodriguez gives thoseWalgreen’s Wonder Woman cosmetics a test drive.

§ Another long running comics blogger is going on indefinite hiatus, in this case Alan Gardner of The Daily Cartoonist. It’s getting tough out there folks.

§ Joe Gross suggests that comic book movies are making comic books worse, which if you’re looking at big two comics, sure things. IF you’re looking at Tumblr, indies and small press, or the bookstore, this is the Golden Age

If anything, since the first Spider-Man movie crossed the $300 million mark back in 2002, superhero comics have, on the whole, stagnated. One is reluctant to point to a direct causation, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … What was once a form that prided itself on being fast, cheap and out of control is now intellectual property worth millions, subject to the sort of five- and 10-year planning that would impress an aging Soviet. Title after title that Marvel (Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men) and DC (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) release reads as if it were pre-approved from the TV and movie side of things.


§ Speaking of comic book movies, everyone is making a list of the best comic book movies ever, these days. I’ll get right to the point. The best comic book movie is AMERICAN SPLENDOR starring Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis (aka Tony Stark’s mom.) It’s not only a perfect evocation of the comic and the comic’s creator, but an inspiring film about traversing life’s uncertainties and miseries with humor and maybe a little hope. Here are the other best comic book movies:

2. (tie) Superman
Spider-Man 2

4. Guardians of the Galaxy

5. (tie) A History of Violence
Ghost World
Scott Pilgrim vs The World

8. (tie) Iron Man
The Dark Knight
X-Men: First Class

Okay, do we have that straight now?

§ Because there have been SO VERY MANY COMIC BOOK MOVIES (13 in the MCU alone!!!) we are now entering the postmodern era of superhero movies, which started with Deadpool and continued with the theme of “Oh man, they knocked down some buildings and there were PEOPLE in there” seen in Civil War and Batman v Superman, and now the superhero sitcom starring wonderful Vanessa Hudgens called Powerless has been ordered for a series.

Hudgens plays Emily, an insurance adjuster who specializes in damage caused by superheroes. She becomes a hero herself after standing up to the big shots after an especially messy fight.

The show is from DC and so I guess sort of set in the DCTVU? Every time you moan about DC’s movie blunders, remember they rule broadcast TV.

§ Marvel has a new Wasp! Probably because there is going to be a movie called Ant-Man and the Wasp, so Joe Gross was right! You can read about it in this spoilerish link but it’s a kind of H +/- {J} = N? kind of thing.

§ Gone but not forgotten Jonah Weiland talks to Gilbert Hernandez about Twilight Children and also the upcoming comic-book format Love and Rockets:

So we did that for a few years and then the market was changing with graphic novels and collections, and bookstores seemed more appealing than only comic stores, because you can do both with graphic novels. We thought about it for a while but the trouble is you gotta put out a lot of pages. So for several years Jaime and I put out a 100-page book, which is 50 pages each, and that was fun at first because you could really spread out. You could do long stories, you could do two issues of one of those books and collect it, you got a book. But then it started to get tiresome, it really did, and we missed comic books. We grew up with comic books, I liked the fact that you could go every several weeks to the comic store and get the new issue of whatever you like. And indie comics are a little slower, but the idea that “Love and Rockets” will come out as a comic book again and more often, different covers, you get to see the cover, “Oh, new issue of ‘Love and Rockets!'” That’s fun. And Jaime prefers it, he prefers to do shorter bursts of energy coming out often. And I have to agree with him right now. I got a little bored with the long book. It was a little too labor-intensive. It was more about finishing it than enjoying it. Now we’re gonna give that a try for a while and see how that goes.

§ There’s a lot of unrest in Artist Alley these days and you can read about the latest battle in short form here, as Aldrin “Buzz” Aw finally had enough with the ripoff artists who trace other peoples work and sell crappy prints of it.

“I lost it on someone today at Wizard world Minneapolis. After a full morning of dealing with sea of print vendors disguised as artists hocking cheap shitty prints made from downloaded images, My friend Troy Dontee brought me over to this motherfucker’s table to check out the artwork he has on display. Every single piece of art was printouts of other artist’s work,He had work from every artist imaginable from Neal Adams, Andy Brase, Bisley , Deodato Jr. Greg Horn, Adi Granov, Romita Jr. to Simone Bianchi. “I went off on the motherfucker with a long string of shaming words and obscenities, and all he can say was it’s fan art. It took every ounce of strength from me not to twist his fucking head off. There is still tomorrow…it may still happen.”

Wizard World did the right thing and ejected the tracer, whose now-removed websites related how his work deals with his own ongoing mental illness. Nothing is ever simple, is it?

The simmering complaints and ongoing battles in the artist alleys across the nation are a phenomenon that deserves much more than a bullet point in a link round-up but I don’t have time for it at the mo. Suffice to say the war is well underway and battles are being fought on many fronts. 

§ Headline of the day: Graphic novels: not just for kids Correct!

••• When I first typed this I wrote “hoppo” instead of “hippo” and even though my spell check caught it, that would have been a great typo.


  1. So on the one hand we have a link to an article arguing comic book movies have made superhero comics worse. But on the other hand we have a link to an article on 19 Comic Books Perfect for Turning You into a Comic Book Reader, of which 8 are Marvel superhero comics published within the era of big comic book movies, plus a couple more from DC.

  2. That’s a good list of movies; not a clunker in the bunch. But IMHO no list of the best comic book movies is complete without Josie and the Pussycats!

    (And my own personal list would find room for Road to Perdition and likely Persepolis. Oh, and Akira too.)

  3. I like that the recommendation list didn’t include Fables or Walking Dead, since both are so incredibly overrated.

  4. The list of 19 comics is insanely narrow.
    Wow, a grand total of 1 comic that wasn’t sci-fi/fantasy.
    What about comic suggestions for people who aren’t already 3/4s of the way to geek?

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