In a review of Donald Duck; The Old Castle’s Secret, K.C. Carlson explains a bit about why the work of Carl Barks has such staying power:

I’ve read this story before, so I’m not surprised that I recall some things about it. But I’m remembering everything exactly as I read it before — not just dialog word-for-word, but details in the artwork (like the empty extra-large suit of armor that belonged to Sir Roast McDuck, who holds not a sword or a spear but a knife and fork). But here’s the thing — I’ve only read this story twice before. The last time was 30 years ago (when it was collected by Another Rainbow), and the time before that probably another 15 years back, when I read it as a child. Yet I remember clearly every detail about it. Such is the power of Carl Barks’ work. His storytelling is designed to appeal to youngsters as well as folk who are as old as Scrooge. And it has that way of burrowing into your brain, and staying there forever, once you read it. Which is great for people like me, who can barely remember the comics I read last week!

¶ I neglected to link to Secret Acres’s TCAF report, with bonus Breeders guest appearance, but now I did.

¶ Writer Brian Wood has some tips on avoiding the sedentary life of the writer, which involves grueling but effective cross-fit training. I know I’ve said this before, but just sitting down for hours at a time is bad for me you. Or as the great pitcher Satchel Paige, who pitched effectively in the major leagues until he was 59, put it, “Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.”


¶ A nice interview with Youth In Decline publisher Ryan Sands, including why he calls his company Youth in Decline. The first issue of Frontier is slim but mighty.

¶ A report on the annual East Coast Black Age of Comics show :

Held in the city of Philadelphia, the site of the first independently produced black comic book, All-Negro Comics, created by Orrin C. Evans in 1947, for the last 11 years, ECBACC has paid tribute to this legacy promoting the work of both veterans and up and coming African American comics creators. Yumy Odom, founder and president of ECBACC, Inc., recalled, “I started a network back in 1990, ’91 when I put together a little compendium of about 15 or 20 comic artist who did not know each other and I liked them. And from there we started to meet and talk. And about 10 years later, in 2002, right here in Philadelphia we had the first convention.”

Luke Pearson 101. The talented creator of the Hilda kids comic has also done a cover for The New Yorker recently.

¶ Speaking of the UK, The Guardian has discovered webcomics. I was too mentally frail to read this article, which espouses scientific theories about webcomics. Perhaps you can explain it to me.

¶ This is old but it’s really good: Jeet Heer explains why Gilbert Hernandez is finally getting his due—Beto 101 if you will.

Gilbert Hernandez, who this spring publishes two new books, is one of the great artists of the other America, the country that is only fitfully and incompletely acknowledged by cultural custodians. For more than three decades, he has been writing and drawing an epic cycle of comic-book stories that give us a new geography of American culture by showing us the waves of migration that tie states like California and Texas to their Spanish-speaking southern neighbours.


  1. Well, the Guardian piece turned out to be an excuse for the blogger to interview the creators of his favorite webcomic, EXTERMINATUS NOW. The interview was routine, but a link to an article about the decline of printed comics–Daniel Kalder thinks that superhero comics are (expletive deleted):

    No: the truth is that mainstream American comics have become a bizarre ghetto for ageing nostalgics who can’t let go of the characters they loved as 8 year olds. They want stories featuring superheroes originally intended for children’s entertainment that 30 and 40something males can appreciate. This is a phenomenon covered in Howe’s book, and readers who think of Nick Fury as the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers movie may be startled to learn that a few years ago the print version of the agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. throttled an enemy with his own intestines. Howe doesn’t mention the time a naked, miniaturized Ant Man emerged dripping from between his wife’s legs, declaring “Your turn.”

    And this, in turn brings us back to where we came in — why are big publishers churning out serious books on comics now, when sales of the comics themselves are in long term decline? Ironically, I suspect that this Golden Age of historical surveys represents another aspect of the mainstream comics industry’s senescence. Who, after all, is the audience for gossip about comics legends such as Steve Gerber, Jim Starlin or Jim Shooter? Why, it’s 30 and 40something males who were collecting in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. You know, people like Jonathan Lethem, and Michael Chabon, and me. That said, if you were around in those days then Howe’s book certainly is a lot of fun.

    What can someone point to in current Marvel and DC comics to counter Kalder’s opinion of them?


  2. The trouble with ignoring opinions such as Kalder’s is that his willingness to express that opinion means that other people share it. People scorn superhero comics in ways that they wouldn’t think of scorning other genres. Saying “Well, that’s your opinion” or “To each his own” isn’t a defense. People should be able to point to the storytelling virtues of superhero comics and cite them convincingly, without using the existence of WATCHMEN and a few other works to justify the whole genre. Were one to cite, say, DC’s BLACKEST NIGHT as good entertainment, Kalder would say that thinking BLACKEST NIGHT was good only proves his point.

    Glaringly obvious negatives can’t be handwaved away.


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