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Trouble with Comics

TWC News with ADD [010211]: Lose The Fear of Slipping

* Tom Spurgeon talks to writer-about-comics (and other things) David Brothers. And in “the best comics-related news I’ve heard all year” department, Spurge is also apparently planning to interview Dirk Deppey.

* Continuing his personal history of his life in comics, Tony Isabella talks about being wooed simultaneously by Marvel and DC during the 1970s.

* Steve Bissette and Dave Sim continue their now epic-length public discussion of creator rights and their personal experiences in the comics industry (part one) (part two) (part three) (part four) (part five) (part six).

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [010111]: How Binary You Look Today

* Tom Spurgeon is continuing to add entries to his regional comics scene list, and if you’re in one of the communities listed (or in one that isn’t but know of multiple comics folk in your area), you should get in touch with Spurge and make sure you’re on the list. One of the things I really dig about being on this, the comics internet is the thrill of seeing my name on this annual list. It’s like, I’m still here, you know?

* At Comics Alliance, Straczynski’s Superman gets the royal ass-kicking it deserves. Yet another overblown and undercooked example of the Fan-Fiction Age of Superhero Comics. What I wouldn’t give to wake up one morning and find out that Bendis, Straczynski, Meltzer, Johns and their ilk were never actually allowed to fuck up superhero comics they way they have, that it was all just a bad dream.

* Roger Green looks back on 2010. Wish I could say I am not more disillusioned with politics than I was a year ago, but 2010 was politically one of the most cynical and harmful years I’ve ever lived through.

* It’s the first day of 2011, a year which appears to my eyes to really look futuristic. Like if I look out the window I should see a flying car in the driveway, not my wife’s beat-up Chevy. As David Byrne noted a couple of years ago, “Nothing has changed but nothing’s the same, and every tomorrow will be yesterday.” Well, after a year that really tested my ability to deal with uncertainty and change, I’m ready for something different. And I hope I get it. And I hope you and yours enjoy a peaceful and prosperous new year.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [123110]: The Fury of the Uninvolved

* Longtime comic book writer, creator rights advocate and industry observer Tony Isabella explains the methodology he is using in his continuing career autobiography. He’s about to get into contentious territory, so it’s good that he is letting readers know exactly what he is thinking and how he is laying out the facts he is presenting. Having known Tony for years and having some small idea of where he’s going with at least some of this, I can almost guarantee you that a lot of hardcore corporate superhero “fans” who have nothing whatsoever to do with the industry, or the injustices Tony and countless others have suffered at its hands, are about to get righteously outraged at the truth about the North American sooperhero machine. For the rest of us, those interested in the truth about the history of the comics industry, this is absolutely essential reading, if not always pleasant to learn (see Wednesday’s Tony’s Bloggy Thing, in which the tragic story of DC colourist Adrienne Roy is recounted).

* Tom Spurgeon interviews Dee Vee’s Daren White. Dee Vee was a quietly awesome comics anthology, one you’ve probably never heard of, that contained great comics by names like Eddie Campbell, James Kochalka and many others. I came for the Kochalka and stayed for the general comics excellence. I haven’t read this interview yet, but as soon as I get myself settled this morning, this interview is first on my to-do list. Spurgeon’s holiday interviews are always a highlight of this time of the year, but honestly this year seems to have raised the bar to an intimidating degree. Just one great comics discussion after another, day after day. Thanks for making the season bright (and informative and entertaining!), Tom.

* Derik A. Badman runs down his best of 2010 list. Derik’s critical analysis is not quite like any other comics blogger, and his list looks pretty solid to me.

* Steve Bissette and Dave Sim continue their public discussion of creator rights and their personal experiences in the comics industry (part one) (part two) (part three) (part four).

* Short list of links today, the wife has errands for me to run. Happy New Year, and thanks for continuing to read Trouble With Comics. I hope you’ll be back for more in 2011.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [123010]

* Matt Seneca runs down ten comics he loved in 2010. Dude’s got good taste in comics, although it would take a profound and unlikely reshuffling of the laws of physics to ever convince me to read a Deadpool comic book.

* Tom Spurgeon interviews Dylan Horrocks, as his holiday interview series just gets more and more essential.

* Tony Isabella — one of the most outspoken and right-on advocates for creator rights — begins telling one of the definitive cautionary tales within that issue, his creation of Black Lightning. You’ll want to bookmark Tony’s message board and check back daily for upcoming installments of this story, which could very well change your perception of the corporate superhero comics industry.

* Steve Bissette and Dave Sim are having a very public chat (part one) (part two) (part three) (part four). This one could get very interesting. I remember well the Warren Ellis Forum incident that Bissette recounts, so damn, I must be old.

* Which reminds me, it was 11 years ago today that I first met and interviewed Barry Windsor-Smith. It was a memorable day for many reasons, including the fact that I got to meet and pick the brain of one of the smartest and most gifted comics creators of all time (not to mention a personal favourite comics creator of mine), George Harrison was stabbed that day, and it was less than 24 hours before the dreaded Y2K non-event occurred. The morning of the 30th I worked 5-11 AM at WABY (an all-news AM station) in Albany, met up with my friend Marshall for a quick lunch and then we hit the thruway to make the hour-long drive down to Barry’s studio. I ended up with something like four hours of taped interview, and had a mind-blowing time talking comics and more important issues with Barry, Marshall, and Barry’s studio manager Alex Bialy. At the end of this very long day, Barry treated Marshall and I to an incredible meal, Barry signed my copy of Opus Vol. 1, and we agreed that we would all talk again (which we did, many times). I drove back to Albany, where Marshall had left his pickup truck, and now it was something like 2 in the morning on 31 December 1999. I had to be at work at WABY again at 5 AM, so instead of driving an hour further north to Glens Falls to refresh myself, I just went to the radio station and tried unsuccessfully to take a nap. 5 AM came all too soon, and I zombied my way through my shift until I could finally go home at 11 AM, where I slept until evening, and then stayed up to watch the end of the world at midnight as the year 2000 was rung in. Needless to say, there was no catastrophe, the internet did not explode, airplanes did not fall out of the sky, and I went to bed, exhausted but quite pleased that my radio career and my interest in comics had intersected to allow me to have this amazing experience. Really the first time, but not the last.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [122910]

Welcome to a special “Understanding Comics” edition of TWC News with ADD.

* At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon interviews Jason Miles, “Operations/Editorial” for Fantagraphics Books. Miles explains the title and discusses publishing and his own experiences in comics.

* At World Famous Comics, Tony Isabella discusses the long history of DC Comics destroying the lives of the people who make the comics that allow them to exist as a corporate entity, and focuses on the sad and completely unnecessary tragedy of longtime colourist Adrienne Roy. This is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of North American comic book publishing, and the great, casual injustices the industry is capable of.

* At Comics Comics, Jeet Heer explains why you should be reading the autobiographical comics of David Collier, an opinion I thoroughly agree with, for precisely the reasons Heer lays out.

* At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson runs down her list of the Best Manga of 2010. Pay attention.

* Former Troublemaker Mick Martin plans to blog every weekday at Superheroes, Etc. for the first six months of 2011, and also plans to read more graphic novels with an eye to creating a Best of 2011 list at the end of the coming year. These two resolutions could combine to make for some fine reading for us all in the next half-year, my friends.

* Hey, while we all wait for Mick’s 2011 list, Bob Temuka is running down his top ten GNs of 2010 over on Tearoom of Despair, starting with #10, Wilson by Dan Clowes.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [122310]

* World Without Journalista, Day 01: Farewells and thoughts on the end of Dirk Deppey’s TCJ era from Johanna, Kleefeld, and Noah. There’s a Facebook page to register your appreciation and share your thoughts about Dirk and Journalista.

* My, that’s a big Bone.

* Awesome Fantagraphics warehouse find: Two Jack Jackson collections. I have God’s Bosom and it’s fantastic. Go buy some great comics before they’re gone again.

* It’s a good thing I subscribed to Robot 6’s RSS feed at Dirk’s suggestion, or I’d miss oddball weirdness like Miss Grundy having cancer, but apparently only in one of the two universes she occupies, like Schrodinger’s Cat.

* Uncomics: Paul Cornell on ebooks and illegal downloading. Lots of food for thought here, folks. Love the revelation of the reason publishers think ebooks should cost as much as a hardcover first edition. Fucking idiots.

Alan David Doane

Always Leave Them Wanting More

Leave it to Dirk Deppey to close out one of the very best comics blogs ever with one of his most essential posts ever. In his final Journalista, Deppey provides the usual significant links of the day and then goes on to create the most relevant, concise and useful list of comics-related links that could possibly be generated right at this very moment. And then he makes me cry just a little by honouring Trouble With Comics among the blogs he finds worthy. Then he coins the best and most resonant and accurate new term to describe what some fans and sites narrowly focus on, the “Direct Market reservation.” Fucking brilliant. Well played. RIGHT-FUCKING-ON.

Let me just say this and I’ll be done with it:

DIRK DEPPEY IS THE COMICS BLOGGING HERO OF 2010 AND SOMEBODY BETTER GODDAMNED WELL START PAYING HIM TO WRITE ABOUT COMICS SOMETIME IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.

Update: Please stop by Facebook and thank Dirk Deppey for Journalista.

Alan David Doane

Thanks and Good Luck to Dirk Deppey



After many years as one of the finest comics bloggers on the internet, Journalista’s Dirk Deppey has been laid off from Fantagraphics. In the world of comic book blogging, there is Neilalien, there is Tom Spurgeon, and there is Dirk Deppey. And then there’s everybody else. I know I speak for just about the entire comics blogosphere when I wish Dirk the very best in whatever he chooses to do from here, and with every molecule of my being, Dirk, thank you for all you did for comics both as editor of The Comics Journal and as Journalista’s guiding light. It’s no exaggeration to say my time spent reading about comics every day will be greatly diminished by the loss of Journalista. I hate that this has happened, and I can only hope that it results in something far better and more profitable coming your way in a very short span of time.

— Alan David Doane