§ Let’s face it, there’s a lot of bad news out there, a lot of S.A.D. is kicking in as the days get shorter, and it’s a hectic time of year. What better to brighten up your day than pictures via SAME HAT! SAME HAT! of UMEZZ FEST ’08 featuring famed Japanese manga-ka Kazuo Umezo (DRIFTING CLASSROOM) and friends doing…bizarre things.

§ The Scotman shows national pride as a local writer has killed off Batman:

Scottish writer Grant Morrison has penned a dramatic new instalment of the Dark Knight’s adventures, called Batman RIP, in which fans will see “the end of Bruce Wayne” as Batman.

The storyline, which was due to reach its climax in the latest issue of the Batman comic, released today, is said to see Wayne so shaken by a secret from his past that a new Batman must be found.

§ Tony Millionaire talks about The Drinky Crow Show at CBR:

Is it satisfying, seeing your comic strip become a cartoon on TV?

It is because when I saw the first tests for the show, I really didn’t like it at all. But then I thought, I got to really make this look as much like the strip as possible. So we did a process where you take the CG models and then put the drawings on top of them. So that my drawing style, my actual drawing hand, is seen throughout the show. So you really see my drawings moving a lot.

§ Tpull examines the continuing fascination with World Leaders Who Read Comics and digs up some quotes from Ronald Reagan:

Wallace: You read the comics in the morning?

Mr. Reagan: Yeah.

Wallace: Spiderman is your favorite – then the sports pages, and then you get to the serious stuff. True?

Mr. Reagan: No, it’s really from the comics to the serious stuff without the sports pages in between. I haven’t got time for those anymore. But I’m also a voracious reader, and never without a book, and to me the worst type of Hades that I could think of would be to be in a hotel room someplace for overnight and not have a book to read.

4436-Thumbw-495-C§ The fact that cartoonist Abby Denson (TOUGH LOVE: HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL) has written a Spider-Man story pretty much shows that my work here is done. The art by Colleen Coover is also trendsetting.

§ Kristy Valenti looks at the drawings of director Jean Cocteau:

It seems to me a study of the pen-and-ink drawings and caricatures by the French artist Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), most easily available in the out-of-print but not-too-expensive used collections Dessins (Drawings) and Erotic Drawings by Jean Cocteau, could add something to the critical conversations surrounding cartooning as calligraphy (as per Ivan Brunetti and Lynda Barry), poetry and comics (as per critics Bill Randall and Gary Sullivan), cartooning and the continuous line (as evinced by the art of Saul Steinberg) and comics and queer studies (Cocteau was homosexual/bi).

§ A report on a talk by chronic self-deprecator Chris Ware and Seth:

Instead, the Chicago artist will try to convince you that he’s a “bad writer” who has had some “lucky breaks,” as he described himself to a theatre full of his admirers on Saturday afternoon.

Those fans — more than 100 of them — chuckled and shook their heads in disagreement as the self-effacing Ware called himself a “hideous-looking specimen” (he’s not) and called his writing style “antiseptic, constipated, dry and bland” (it’s not).

§ Over on his LJ, Brian Wood talks about whether there would be a change in tone in DMZ, now that GWB is o-u-t:

Iraq is very important to DMZ, not just how it connects to us as Americans, but how the struggling government there is, well, struggling. I’ve felt for some time now that DMZ has more in common with the Maliki government than it does with anything else, and I’ve been increasingly looking to that for inspiration for future storylines. I don’t expect that to change.


  1. My impressions of Jean Cocteau have been colored a bit unfavorably by John Richardson’s take in the Picasso biographies. Cocteau and Picasso had quite a history together, and in the books, Cocteau comes off as a bit of a toady.

    In Cocteau’s defense, perhaps anyone’s light would look dim when standing next to Picasso.

  2. When I was doing some supplemental research, I found a whole book on Cocteau’s relationship with Gide.

    I can’t actually compare Cocteau with Picasso, personally; it seems a little apples and oranges to me, because Cocteau was really all over the place — film, poetry, novels, criticism, drawing, painting, poetry, essays, ceramics, theater design, sound design — and his stuff is comparatively light and aesthetically pleasing to me. The other thing I think of too is that Cocteau lived a long time, was amazingly prolific, got the cute guy (not that his life didn’t have tragedies, but much less so than Picasso’s, I think), and was reasonably honored by The Establishment (he received the highest honor for an artist in France), which I think makes him less interesting a figure historically and contributes to what his biographers kept complaining about: that he wasn’t “taken seriously” enough, I guess by contemporary art historians and critics.

    (Which made me think about the writing of one of Cocteau’s literary peers, Collette, because she also had a similar career trajectory, and she’s not considered very important in the contemporary U.S. literary field, but I love her work.)

  3. Kristy:

    I don’t mean to compare Cocteau directly with Picasso. If you read the Picasso biographies by John Richardson, it’s clear (at least according to Richardson) that Cocteau idolized Picasso and courted his favor.

    Somewhat off-handedly, I believe that Richardson states that Cocteau was in love with Picasso.

    Also, Richardson doesn’t seem all that impressed with Cocteau. That is more what I meant in the first post, as Richardson may have seen Cocteau in a lesser light when blinded by the brilliance of Picasso.

    Cocteau was also a target of the surrealists, led by Andre Breton, to the point that performances of plays/ballets he had a hand in were disrupted by heckling.

    To be fair to Cocteau, he is not the only person of prominence that comes under the critical eye of Richardson. Gertrude Stein, for one, is not presented favorably.

    Kristy,if you ever read this multi-volume set (I hope Mr. Richardson–who I believe is in his eighties–is able to see the project through to completion), I’d like to hear of what you think of this depiction of Cocteau.

  4. It’s very interesting to me the way your previous exposure to the way Cocteau was depicted by another person’s biographer has colored your perception of his work, because I’ve been thinking a lot about biography lately (I edited a couple this year).

    It’s actually funny that you brought up Picasso in the way that you did, because in my original draft of the column, I went into this long story about how my 17-year-old self felt pretty rebellious about picking Cocteau, because like 25 out of my 30 other classmates picked Picasso or someone “easy” like that (someone there was lots of books on in the school library, and someone where there were some pretty basic things you could talk about in your high-school level paper) whereas I had to be different and make a lot of extra work for myself by picking someone I had to travel 45 minutes away (to the closest state college library) to research. I think your reaction is awaking a bit of the same impulse in me now — hey people, look over here, there’s something different and less explored!

    Between my day job and my freelance gig, I don’t have a lot of time for fun reading, but I’ll put those books on my “maybe someday” list.

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