Trouble with Comics

TWC News with ADD [122010]

Hello, Happy Holidays and welcome to what might very well be the last TWC News with ADD (a double entendre if ever there was one) of calendar year 2010. I was fascinated to note that, a decade in, people finally started saying the name of this year in short form, as we did in the 1900s, (“Twenty-Ten” instead of dragging out the entire year as “Two-Thousand-And-Ten”). Frankly I thought this would happen in 2001, and I remember being the only person at the radio station I worked at then who would say “Twenty-Oh-One,” a losing battle for sure, and then 9/11 happened and I fought valiantly to be one of those people who said “11 September” instead of “Nine Eleven,” but obviously that battle was permanently lost. So it’s very rewarding to me to hear people saying “Twenty-Ten,” and I am sure by “Twenty-Fifteen,” there will be no one left saying “Two-Thousand-And-Fifteen.” Because, really, why would you?

* I don’t know that there was a comics article I enjoyed more this year than Tom Spurgeon’s personal tour through his favourite Wildstorm titles. Automatic Kafka never grabbed me (although Chris Allen loved it, it should be noted), but every other title on Spurge’s list is one of my favourite comics of the past 20 years, and like Tom, they’re comics I re-read often and will have as long as I have comic books in my house. I was especially pleased to see Tom views Warren Ellis’s long run from Stormwatch Vol. 1 #37 through all of Vol. 2 and The Authority #1-12 as being all of a piece, as this is usually how I re-read those comics. It’s a powerful pile of entertainment, to be certain. I’m a little amazed DC has never collected that entire run under one collection of trades, as it’s really how they should be read, and the Stormwatch stuff, in my view, is wildly under-rated.

* A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a promising young writer vowed to review every comic book John Byrne had ever worked on. Today at Trouble With Comics, Christopher Allen reviews John Byrne’s Next Men #1, a revival of Byrne’s ’90s creator-owned superhero effort. And the circle is complete.

* At his still-lovely new(ish) web site, Sean T. Collins looks in wide wonder at Renee French’s gorgeous new graphic novel H-Day (which I recommended in my holiday gift guide, in case you’re still looking for a comics-related last-minute gift that will keep on giving all throughout The Year Two-Thousand-And-Eleven).

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Winter Solstice, or any of the other many subsidiary holidays entirely derived from the Solstice, should that be how you choose to roll at your house. And Happy Festivus!

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [102810]

* Avoid the Future interviews cartoonist Kevin Huizenga: “The inner compulsion I have is to put together something with a kind of complex structure, with some complex arrangement of things that surprises me, or makes me feel like my favorite comics do.” More in the link.

* At Yet Another Comics Blog, Dave Carter runs down 10 random things about comics. Pay special attention to numbers 2, 8 and 10.

* Wow, the new collection of Busiek and Immonen’s Shockrockets in hardcover from IDW looks very pretty.

* Mark Evanier still hates Halloween.

* Check out the bargains in my Rent Sale Final Markdowns! Come on, let’s put this baby to bed.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [102710]

* Jim Lee talks to Publisher’s Weekly on the occasion of his 20th year making comics. His ultra-slick-but-still-kinda-awkward style has never been my cuppa, but I have to give him credit for running the imprint responsible for bringing me some of my favourite comics of all time, like Warren Ellis’s Stormwatch, The Authority and Planetary, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Sleeper and Alan Moore’s entire line of America’s Best Comics.

*  Read some comics! Download Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s Underground, the entire graphic novel, for free. Make sure you throw them a few bucks in the provided Paypal donation box.

* Scott McCloud’s micropayments paradigm seems to finally be upon us.

* I dig this Kevin Nowlan Daredevil commission, the penciled version moreso than the finished ink drawing, but both are really nice and perfectly capture the character.

* Yes, I still have some comics available in the Emergency Rent Sale. A huge thank you to everyone who has bought some comics or made a donation this week.

— Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [102510]

* At The Comics Journal blog, Jared Gardner thinks about the transition from floppy comics to hardcover serial editions, as we’ve seen with Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library and now Seth’s Clyde Fans.

* This is kind of Inside Baseball, but what the hell, it’s an amusing read about one of the hazards of reviewing comics: Johanna Draper Carlson recounts trying to ignore PR about a comic she isn’t interested in, at Comics Worth Reading. Comedy gold, Jerry.

* Nice introduction to the work of cartoonist Kevin Huizenga at Robot 6 (via Jaunty Sean T).

* At The Tearoom of Despair, Bob Temuka has some notes on Auckland’s Armageddon comic convention.

* At Comics Comics, Frank Santoro looks at the 9-panel grid as used by Dave Gibbons in Watchmen and Steve Ditko in Spider-Man.

* Uncomics: Forkbastard makes me hungry.

* Uncomics: At The ADD Blog, read my review of the important new book Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Human Sexuality.

Alan David Doane

TWC News with ADD [102210]

* At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon reviews Doug Wright’s Nipper: 1963-1964.

* Joe Queenan loves Peanuts: “Peanuts was always there as a touchstone and a balm. Unlike so many other venerated objects in US pop culture, it was sweet without being stupid, reassuring without being infantile. In the dark era in which it began, it served much the same function as I Love Lucy. The difference was it had brains.”

* Love and Rocktober! Jaunty Sean T. Collins reflects on the first two volumes of Love and Rockets: New Stories: “The problems in the story—Penny’s rampage, a breakout at a female supervillain penitentiary, a supervillainness out for vengeance, a Bizarro Ti-Girl—are all caused by women, addressed by women, solved by women, and have consequences felt by women. I actually think you might have a hard time getting this comic to pass a reverse Bechdel Rule, in fact.” More in the link.

* I know what you’re thinking, but I swear to God it wasn’t me.

Alan David Doane

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TWC News with ADD [102110]

* In a masterpiece of understatement, Tony Isabella addresses the drop in quality of recent Marvel superhero comics. I’d track the plummet back to Grant Morrison’s departure from New X-Men, but Tony’s been keeping up with things better than I have. Tony champions Chris Claremont’s X-Men Forever in the same piece, but Claremont’s bag of tricks stopped working for me around the time Paul Smith stopped drawing Uncanny. I do know that in the past decade, Ed Brubaker is about the only writer working for Marvel that I’d consider a truly talented writer. Maybe there are great Marvel comics I’ve missed in recent years; if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

* On the other hand, maybe Marvel is hot.

* As Love and Rocktober promises to spill over into November (yay!), Jaunty Sean T. Collins looks at one of the best single issues of all time, L&R Vol. 2 #20.

Alan David Doane

If you enjoy Trouble with Comics, please consider making a donation via Paypal and help us stay in Trouble.

TWC News with ADD [102010]

* Christopher Butcher presents a long, reasoned and compelling list of reasons why I’m really glad I didn’t go to the 2010 New York Comic Con. Given that Butcher is one of the driving forces behind the Toronto Comic Art Festival, the man knows whereof he speaks, and it behooves the NYCC people to listen. Comic book shows need to be about comics, first and foremost, or else, why bother? I’d give my left nut to be able to afford to go to TCAF or MoCCA next (or any) year, but I wouldn’t go to SDCC or NYCC if you paid me to, based on the available evidence suggesting I would be nothing more than aggravated and miserable throughout the entire experience, because so much of the focus is on things other than comic books and the writers and artists that create them. I try to get to every Albany Comic Con that I can because it’s affordable, it’s within easy driving distance, and it’s about comics.

* At Comics Comics, Jog looks at this week’s most interesting new releases. My pick of the week would be The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! published by Abrams ComicArts, a dense, entertaining  and informative collection of 1950s horror comics that includes a DVD of an anti-comics documentary from the same era.  At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon also takes his weekly look at the new release list.

* Comic Book Resources has a report on the Harvey Pekar panel at the recent New York Comic Con. The upcoming posthumous release Cleveland sounds nothing less than awesome.

* The Paris Review has a long interview with cartoonist R. Crumb (via Dirk).

* Uncomics: TWC’s Christopher Allen looks at Neil Young’s newest album.

* Uncomics: Remember to wear purple today.

Alan David Doane

If you enjoy Trouble with Comics, please consider making a donation via Paypal and help us stay in Trouble.

TWC News with ADD [101910]

* At The Comics Journal, R.C. Harvey looks at the history of comics criticism.

* Speaking of comics criticism, at Comics Comics, The Comics Comics Comic-Book Club takes a nuanced look at Alan Moore’s Neonomicon.

* A great gallery of Tom Sutton-illustrated covers, for one of the most underestimated publishers in comics history, Charlton Comics. (via Tom Spurgeon.)

* Speaking of Tom Spurgeon, here’s his take on the new Thor series.

* Uncomics: The original Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, answers some questions from her fans.

* Uncomics: Author and social critic James Howard Kunstler on the current state of the real estate market here in Los Estados Unidos.

* Uncomics: Tony Isabella notes that Bill O’Reilly is still a dick.

Alan David Doane

If you enjoy Trouble with Comics, please consider making a donation via Paypal and help us stay in Trouble.

TWC News with ADD [101810]

* Frank Santoro on grids in comic art, part 2. Focusing on the art of Chester Brown, Santoro notes “Chester was sequencing images one at a time on individual sheets of paper and ordering them on the grid – so it was very immediate, like writing. Chester wasn’t setting out to draw a complex mural-like pages – he seemed more interested to me in timing.” Much, much more in the link.

* Love and Rocktober Part Six drops, as Sean T. Collins weighs in on The Education of Hopey Glass: “For starters, this is a really weird and kind of silly thing to say about a comic book character, but I am straight-up proud of Hopey for becoming a teacher’s assistant.” Yeah, see, that’s precisely how Love and Rockets works! More in the link.

* The Albany Comic Con is Sunday. Roger Green will be there. I plan to be there. Will we see you there?

— Alan David Doane

If you enjoy Trouble with Comics, please consider making a donation via Paypal and help us stay in Trouble.