§ The idea of a comic book on the front page of the New York Times Arts section would once have been unimaginable in comics circles, or at least something reserved for MAUS or WATCHMEN. But now it is for the worthy but under-seen UNKNOWN SOLDIER revival by writer Joshua Dysart which is getting this top-level coverage. The story explains the lengths to which Dysart went to research the tale, which is set in Uganda, a real-life world of long-term civil war, child soldiers and almost unimaginable savagery:

With his pitch accepted, Mr. Dysart visited the public library, pulled all the books he could find and combed the Internet. “There was a thin Wikipedia page,” he said.

Mr. Dysart decided that “if I was going to deal with the absolute worst aspect of these people’s lives, I was going to have to go there.” He visited Uganda in early 2007, months after a cease-fire was declared the previous summer. Mr. Dysart spent time with the Acholi and visited the cities of Kampala and Entebbe.

§ According to a recent podcast, CLERKS producer Scott Mosier and artist Jim Mahfood have sold an animated series to Disney. No more details yet.


§ A. David Lewis wants to know what you think of his new book, SOME NEW KIND OF SLAUGHTER. Really.

§ We didn’t get some of these, but you may like #3.

§ The audio of the recent Conversational Comics with Jessica Abel, Jason Little and Matthew Thurber is now online. The final one is this Saturday!

§ John Jackson Miller digs deeper into the question of what is Marvel Comics’ true birthday.

Comics back then were generally post-dated — like all magazines on newsstands, publishers didn’t want newsdealers pulling them off the shelves because they saw a cover date. Marvel was no different. But with Marvel #1, specifically, most copies actually have a black circle over the date, on the cover and inside, with November stamped on it. That suggests to me that they were probably really encroaching on the original October cover date — or, at least, they didn’t like the number of weeks left between the ship date and October.

§ Sean T. Collins’ series of interviews with the STRANGE TALES creators continues with Jason talking about Spider-Man.
» Dash Shaw
» Johnny Ryan
» Junko Mizuno
» Nick Bertozzi
» Peter Bagge

§ Comics Comics has been on fire lately, and when we tell you there is a post entitled The Dark Vision of Carl Barks by Jeet Heer, you will race over, right? While Heer is correct in his textual analysis of Barks’ sometimes harsh stories of materialists, judging the man too much by interviews from the twilight of his life, after his wife had died and various business deals had gone sour, isn’t entirely fair.

§ Vanguard is…Vanguard? Apparently there are two Vanguards, and even after reading this press release, we have no idea which is which or even who put out the press release.

§ Laurel Maury reviews the GN version of Fahrenheit 451.

§ The Ten Best Superman villains.


  1. Unknown Soldier, Volume 1: Haunted House
    9781401223113 144p. $9.99 (!!)

    According to Books In Print, there are:
    Vanguard Press (Owned by Perseus)
    Vanguard Press, Incorporated (Out of Business)
    Vanguard Productions (Clinton, NJ)
    Vanguard Audio Features, Incorporated (Birmingham, AL)
    Vanguard Video (Tulsa, OK)
    Village Vanguard, Incorporated (Atlanta, GA)
    National Vanguard Books (Hillsboro, WV)
    Vanguard Institutional Publishers (Santa Monica, CA)
    Vanguard Books (Chicago, IL Out of Business)
    Vanguard Books, LLC (Potomac Falls, VA)
    Vanguard Non-Fiction Books (Minneapolis, MN)
    Vanguard Publications (Boston, MA)

    “Vanguard” is the anglicized version of “avangarde”, from which “avantgarde” is derived.

    “AuVanguard” would be a clever solution.

    Of course, this involves Platinum Studios, so this might be a moot point.

    Compare with DC Comics’ Matrix/Helix imprint and the NBC/Nebraska ETV logo.

  2. My interpretation: Vanguard Productions issued the press release. The key sentences in the document are these:

    Having been brought up to date on the long established Vanguard in the publishing industry, Vanguard Animation chairman John H. Williams proposed an agreement between the two companies in which Vanguard Animation agrees not to publish using the name Vanguard and Vanguard Productions agrees not to use either of the names Vanguard Animation or Vanguard Films in regards to their own video/film/DVD projects. The agreement was signed on October 15, 2008. Announcement of the agreement was delayed while Vanguard Animation considered new names for their comics-related project.

    I haven’t found any sign that a new name for the “Vanguard Comics” joint venture has been publicly announced.


  3. “My interpretation: Vanguard Productions issued the press release…”

    Also, Vanguard Productions is the only entity listed in the “For More Information” part of the press release, which is another indicator that they’re probably the ones who issued it. Not exactly sure what to think of the use of one of these free-press-release websites to issue their news, though, but perhaps I’m just being elitist…

  4. I hate having to give info to read free online stuff.

    “According to a recent podcast, CLERKS producer Scott Mosier and artist Jim Mahfood have sold an animated series to Disney. No more details yet.”
    *scared* Other ‘mature-minded’ artists have done it, but unless Mosier and Mahfood have severly changed their sense of humour, I don’t see how they could make something for Disney! O.O

    § A. David Lewis wants to know what you think of his new book, SOME NEW KIND OF SLAUGHTER. Really.
    I really wanna know what this book is about, and not even a synopsis? O.o

    § We didn’t get some of these, but you may like #3.
    They were all easy to get! :)

    23 – Rambo, curing his anger
    22 – Terminator, eliminating the whole robots in military thing
    21 – the Matrix, if it can be read, why can’t they use it to ‘read’ who the one is?
    20 – Star Wars, Suffocating little anakin before he turns evil
    19 – Hellraiser, pinhead, he did that to himself, a self torture thing
    18 – Stand by me, no journey = no shennanigans
    17 – Edward Scissorhands, not loping off heads.
    16 — Home Alone, no need to go through all that with Real Security
    15 – The Ring, pausing and reversing the girl coming out of the tv
    14 — Men In Black, who not just minderase the alien?
    13 – The Amnittyville Horror, just condemn the place instead of selling it.
    12 – Nightmare on Elm Street, why not just move away?
    11 – Jaws, just poison the shark
    10 – Willy Wonka and the Choc Factory, just ask for a professional
    9 — terminator, Microsoft will kill the op os of the robots.
    8 – – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. iF they knew actual history…
    7 – Ghostbusters III, I think, the picture’s eyes were where the evil came from
    6 – 300, just surrender and live.
    5 – The Birds, why not decieve the birds (they are supposedly lacking in brains)
    4 – Big, If it was out of order, just sign will stop usage
    3 – Spiderman, Uncle lives, maybe he gets reward
    2 – The Little Mermaid, she went waaay too far to be with a human when this is a simpler method.
    1 – The Da Vinci Code. No code, just spell it out.

    § The audio of the recent Conversational Comics with Jessica Abel, Jason Little and Matthew Thurber is now online. The final one is this Saturday!
    *listening to this now* :)

  5. For Michael, (and anyone else).

    Some new Kind of Slaughter~or~Lost in the Flood (and How We Found Home Again): Diluvian Myths from Around the World by mpMann and A. David Lewis collects a number of flood myths from around the world into a loose jointed narrative. The earliest know flood hero, Ziusudra from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh functions as a kind of narrative thread. These are his visions during his own time on an ark. The Noah story features research into several religious traditions versions of the best known flood myth and is the longest story presented. two chinese myths are collated into a single story, and we invented a modern tale of a woman entering a flood zone in search of her family. These four tales are presented in greatest depth, but there are a number of other flood stories from around the world that are shown as brief “done in one” drops into the overall narrative.

    I will say no more, but hope that this will catalyze your interest in our book, which I think is different from anything else out there.

  6. Thanks for the link. It’s true that the interview I quote from was conducted when Barks was 1) very old and 2) rightly bitter about attempts to rip him off and in mourning over the death of his wife. On the other hand, he was also fully lucid and explicitly wanted to make these statements about his world view. In the same interview I quote from he told Donald Ault, “I think it’s important for your book that people know how I feel about this.” I think we have to take Barks at his word that what he was saying was important for an understanding of who he was.

    Also, nothing I wrote should be seen as me judging Barks adversely. Quite the revere, I think the darkness of his world view makes him a more interesting cartoonist. I implicitly compared him to Crumb, Ware, Barks and Samuel Beckett — high praise where I come from.

  7. Jeet, sure. That’s how he really felt at the end obviously. But it’s not the TOTAL picture.

    That said, I agree, Barks was no warm and cuddly humanist. The lasting power of his work is probably in his incisive exploration of a variety of bad character traits — greed (Scrooge), laziness (Donald, Gladstone), venality (Daisy).

    EDIT: having seen your addendum, we’re basically in agreement I was just pointing out that at the end of his life, Barks had had a number of reversals that hit him hard which contributed to this dark view, one which had always been there but now had no reason to be hidden.