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§ Nice art: Above the Timberline  by Gregory Manchess is described as a “painted novel.” As you can see, it’s kind of a graphic novel but with 120 paintings and the script below them. Hybrid! Anyway the art is very, very nice if you like polar bears and dirigibles and adventure. The story is about a young man searching for his long lost explorer dad and a lost city buried under the snows of a future frozen Earth.

When it started to snow, it didn’t stop for 1,500 years. The Pole Shift that ancient climatologists talked about finally came, the topography was ripped apart and the weather of the world was changed—forever. Now the Earth is covered in snow, and to unknown depths in some places.

In this world, Wes Singleton leaves the academy in search of his father, the famed explorer Galen Singleton, who was searching for a lost city until Galen’s expedition was cut short after being sabotaged. But Wes believes his father is still alive somewhere above the timberline.

Fully illustrated with over 120 pieces of full-page artwork throughout, Above the Timberline is a stunning and cinematic combination of art and novel.

The art will be on display at the Society of Illustrators, with an  Opening Reception set for on Thursday, September 28th.

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§ Ya know I never wrote about the TCJ vs Craig Yoe thing from last week. You only get the finest, coldest takes here with your kibbles! I wrote an intro for one of Yoe’s Weird Romance collections; I’m friends with Dan Nadel; and The Comics Journal and I go way, way back, so I can’t really pick a horse. I will say its far from the first time I’ve heard a comics scholar complain about Yoe’s reprints. I’ve also heard Yoe complain about lots of things as well, however.  These people are picky. I did have two takeaways:

  • There seemed to be a lot of specific charges against Yoe’s reprints, method of picking books, and allusions to other, finer projects cancelled because a Yoe book got there first. Specifically, a project by TCJ.com co-editor Dan Nadel is mentioned. I don’t think you need to pick on poor RJ Casey to see where this animus came from. And Casey was on a fool’s errand. The way to win people over to an anti-Yoe sentiment – which didn’t happen, as far as I can tell – would have been a NEWS story laying out the charges etc. In other words, if the Journals one time newwshound Michael Dean was still around, this MIGHT have had some bite. As if anyone cared about the squabbles of would be comics academics in these days of fire and flood.

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  • Speaking of “if only Michael Dean was here!” the real excitement over this post was the chance for the denizens of the old Comics Journal message boards to reunite for one last hurrah. Kinda like The Expendables. Or Space Cowboys. Or Cocoon. Yes, this is how we used to internet. But what this thread really revealed is that comics populism has driven out comics elitist by a huge margin. The support for cheap/reasonably priced reprints of old public domain comics was overwhelming, drowning out the “but her lack of scholarly material!” cries. A few old timey Fantagraphics supporters came down on the side of more rigorously researched and written (and complete) collections, but what might be termed the middle ground of comics supporters didn’t give a hoot. And the youngs at Comics Twitter didn’t care at all. The audience for reprints of bad-to-bizarre 50s comics is mostly oldsters and parents. Today’s comics enthusiasts aren’t the least bit interested in scholarly presentations of old comics that reinforce colonialism and mid-century cultural appropriation. Nor should they be.

§ The REAL scandal at TCJ.com is co-editors Nadel and Tim Hodler trying to fill in for Jog on the weekly comics listings. In an outing that made Anthony Scaramucci’s tenure at the White House look sedate, Nadel managed to air his dislike of Trondheim and European bio comics while praising The DC Super Friends Joke Book because his kid would like it. As performance art it was top notch! I have a feeling this duo may last about as long as The Mooch.

§ The writer of the Black Panther comics penned a really great essay that you must read at The Atlantic.

§ Here’s another old timer rant that got some play this week, former DC editor  Martin Pasko complaining about these kid editors today.  I’m sympathetic to this rant because it’s painfully obvious that most editors at the Big Two are not really allowed to stretch their wings to develop their own voices, but are mainly tasked with finding warm bodies to fill out the latest event, and persuade creators to carry out editorial vision for reboots. But I think if you look OUTSIDE the superhero realm there are quite a few decent editors out there at places like Scholastic and First Second, and so on. Are you getting my drift? There are some good editors on this list, for instance. And they are very far from the school of editing handed down from Julius Schwatz and Mort Weisinger, and that’s a very good thing.

§ Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker apparently tweeted that if there was ever a sequel to “San Junipero” it  would have ot be a graphic novel.  “San Junipero,” if you are unaware, is the beloved neo-classic episode with a (SPOILER) extremely rare happy ending. Brooker is, like everyone smart and talented, comics-friendly, so who knows…

§ In the most utterly predictable “TOLJA!” of all times, Disney’s announced streaming service will carry Star Wars and Marvel movies, because why bother having a streaming service otherwise? Those Ultimate Spider-Man reruns ain’t gonna be enough to get folks to fork over $10 a month.

“Star Wars” and Marvel comic-book movies will be included in the service, making it the only way to stream those movies on demand in the U.S. as part of a monthly subscription. (So, not on Netflix.) A price hasn’t been announced yet. The service is expected in late 2019 after Disney’s current deal with Netflix expires. Previously Disney announced the inclusion of just Disney and Pixar movies and Disney TV shows. Adding the “Star Wars” and Marvel movies could make the new service appealing to teenagers and adults, not just families with young children. The Marvel movies include the “Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchises.

§ Apparently they are making a real, authorized comics adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.  Israeli director Ari Folman is spearheading the project:

In a bid to preserve interest in the Holocaust by future generations, the Anne Frank Foundation unveiled the first authorized graphic novel based on the teenager’s famous diary penned in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. The 148-page adaptation, which is to be published Sept. 18 in France and in some 40 languages worldwide, was presented to journalists in the French capital Thursday by the book’s illustrator, David Polonsky from Israel, and its screenwriter, the Israeli film director Ari Folman, who is working on the first full-length authorized animation film based on the graphic novel. The graphic novel, which was developed in cooperation with the Anne Frank Foundation — the organization that Anne’s father, Otto, entrusted with preserving her memory — contains colorful illustrations both of realities described in the book, including the teen’s difficult relationship with her mother and sister, and her dreams and fantasies. One full-page drawing, based on Anne’s writing about wanting to become a journalist, shows an older Anne sitting at her desk with framed newspapers in the background, including a Life magazine cover featuring a picture of her.

§ This is where I’d normally post this image, but I’m afraid people won’t take the Holocaust, a real event that happened where Nazis killed more than 6 million people, seriously.

§ Headline of the day: Success! GEEKS Comic-Con Gets Rid Of Petting Zoos Apparently, some cons in the UK had petting zoos with meerkats and snakes who did not look happy and were confined to small cages. This animals at comic cons trend is one that needs to be nipped in the bud. Cons are not the place for zoos, petting zoos or non service animals!

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§ Think Progress profiles white supremacist’s favorite cartoonist, Ben Garrison. It must be said, this guy is good – at least in terms of fever dream imagery and execution. He seems to be a little confused about other things:

When asked about the SPLC’s comments, Garrison described them as “utter bunk and sactimonious pap” which he would gladly ignore. “I’m a conservative and anyone conservative is automatically labelled as ‘far right’ by them,” he said. “It’s similar to Hillary arbitrarily deciding the Pepé the Frog is a symbol of Nazi hate speech. Pepé is a symbol of freedom of expression and various emotional and political states by a vast number of young people from all political persuasions.”

No.

§ Austin’s ling running indie focused Staple!  is this weekend!

Now in its 13th year, Staple! Independent Media Expo is set to deliver a high-wattage lineup of panelists and guest artists as it makes its debut at the Millennium Youth Complex in East Austin this weekend. The comics convention, which features more than 200 exhibitors, also includes a full slate of panels and an arcade, according to event organizers. A two-day conference that runs Saturday and Sunday and features seven hours of panels, the expo’s new location will allow for more space than in previous years, founder Chris “Uncle Staple” Nicholas said. “We were able to add about 28 tables to the floor plan and it’s going to work out really well,” Nicholas said. “The complex itself has a huge parking lot. … The roller skating rink is where all over our exhibitors are going to be setting up, and then we’ll be using the theater for all of the panels and presentations.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. Younger editors have it tough. I know a few of them at DC and their jobs sound awful for little pay. Mostly, they’re under-paid project managers who do everything in their power to keep their projects coming out on time and spend all day being yelled at and being given excuses. I can say from all their stories, Dan Didio sounds like a decent boss as far as execs go.

    I lost all interest in TCJ.com once Deppe left. The Jog write-ups were fun, but everything else on there was too stuffy and pretentious. Dan Nadel is a really good guy, though. Love him. Craig Yoe is insufferable. Yoe will go 0 to 100 in seconds if you don’t totally agree with whatever his opinion is. Any hit pieces on him, he’s earned by being a jackass to anyone he doesn’t think can help him.

  2. For all the wild, forehead-smacking imagery in the Ben Garrison cartoon, the part that I find funniest is Trump looking fit and heroic.

  3. I had thoughts about the TCJ/Yoe thing (because I’m an outlier young’un like that) but they mostly boiled down to “People sure do take their restoration preferences personally, don’t they?” I mean, I get feeling like your already small market has been undercut by an inferior product, or being a member of that audience feeling like you have been robbed of a superior product (I am myself a part of Team Meticulous Pixel-by-Pixel Restoration), but welcome to the public domain.

    Admittedly, I know next to nothing about the financial formulas that go into deciding what to publish in either sector, but if a commercial publisher like Fantagraphics comes to the conclusion that there would be miniscule or negative ROI on a fancy reprint project, mightn’t they team up with a university press like Ohio State or Mississippi that at least don’t seem quite as hampered by such market forces?

  4. Did we ever get an explanation for IDW announcing a Complete Mr. A collection and then word later coming that it wasn’t happening?

    I’m curious if the Yoe Ditko reprints played a role, or if it was just Ditko’s usual reluctance to do business with any publisher but Robin Snyder.

  5. I love restored reprints in principle, but find the price too high; $50 in Previews per volume of scanned and restored public domain comics?? Wowee.

  6. It takes something special to shoehorn the term “cultural appropriation” into what amounted to a de facto defense of Yoe — a person who slaps his own name onto the cover of other people’s work (and in a larger font than the actual creator no less).

    Yes indeedy.

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