Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/31/2007 05:53:00 PM :

       Six Days of Dara - day 3

Happy Halloween!

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  Posted by Dara on 10/31/2007 01:19:00 PM :

       Depressing sales figures

Over at The Beat, Marc-Oliver Frisch looks at the September sales figures for DC comics.

Man, is it a generally depressing read. Batman and Superman titles sell in the 40-50K range. Titles like Jonah Hex and Blue Beetle are dipping down into 15K. And outside of Fables and Y: The Last Man (which is ending), most Vertigo title are doing horribly. The big names like 100 Bullets and DMZ have fallen below 12K, while even big name creators like Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, and Rick Veitch can't carry books as their respective books are in the 5-7K range. Now, I know most Vertigo books do better in longterm TPB sales than in monthlies, but this is still pretty bad.

Jeez, all I can say is I'm glad I'm not trying to put food on the table for my family working in this biz.

Sadly, All-Star Batman and Robin is still the best seeling Batman title, despite the ridiculous delays, terrible reviews, and a loss of nearly 2/3 of its readers since the first issue:

6 - ALL STAR BATMAN & ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER

07/2005: All Star Batman #1 — 261,046 [306,976]

09/2005: All Star Batman #2 — 178,592 [184,962]

12/2005: All Star Batman #3 — 162,993 [166,218]

05/2006: All Star Batman #4 — 160,401

————————————–

09/2006: –

10/2006: –

11/2006: –

12/2006: –

01/2007: –

02/2007: –

03/2007: –

04/2007: –

05/2007: All Star Batman #5 — 114,302 (-28.7%)

06/2007: –

07/2007: All Star Batman #6 — 105,991 (- 7.3%)

08/2007: –

09/2007: All Star Batman #7 — 100,582 (- 5.1%)

—————-

6 months: n.a.

1 year : n.a.

2 years : -38.3%


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/30/2007 09:56:00 PM :

       Six Days of Dara - day 2

That's right. High intensity, baby.

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 10/30/2007 08:31:00 PM :

       Cartoon Research Library Presentation

Carol Tyler
Sepia Tome: Telling Dad's World War II Story
Thursday, November 8, 2007
4:00 pm
Free and open to the public
021L Wexner Center, 27 West 17th Avenue Mall
Adjacent to the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library


Comic artist Carol Tyler will discuss her upcoming book Sepia Tome: Telling Dad's World War II Story. Tyler's comics first appeared in Weirdo and Wimmen's Comix twenty years ago. Since then she has contributed to numerous comics anthologies and published two solo works, The Job Thing in 1993 and Late Bloomer in 2005. Late Bloomer presents a rich and powerful collection of Tyler's autobiographical comic stories beautifully published in color by Fantagraphics.

In the introduction to Late Bloomer, Robert Crumb writes, “She is tops, in my book, one of the best artists alive and working in the comics medium. She has fine aesthetic instincts... Her drawings are always pleasing to look at, warm, delicate, inviting. Yet the content, the stories, are all about gritty reality, the hard struggles of common, everyday life.” For more information about Carol Tyler, see her website: www.bloomerland.com.

Tyler’s presentation is co-sponsored by the Cartoon Research Library, Project Narrative, Department of Women's Studies and the Department of History's Harvey Goldberg Program for Excellence in Teaching.

This event is part of Storytelling 2007: A Celebration of Graphic Narrative, a special year of events and exhibitions celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of master-storyteller Milton Caniff, the founding donor of the Cartoon Research Library. Caniff was the creator of the comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon.

Parking available at the Ohio Union Garage.

For more information, see http://cartoons.osu.edu.


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Monday, October 29, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/29/2007 08:01:00 PM :

       Six Days of Dara - day 1

This one's for the ladies! It's my birthday week, so I'm treating you all to a little something special till the big B-day on Saturday.

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  Posted by Dara on 10/29/2007 07:12:00 PM :

       It Came From An Old Comic Book

This one's for Craig:



(from Marvel Spotlight on Red Wolf, November 1971)

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  Posted by Dara on 10/29/2007 08:13:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Last week's page was tough to guess. Let's see if this one is a tad easier...



(click image to UHHRsize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007, 10/22/2007)

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Friday, October 26, 2007
 
  Posted by Craig on 10/26/2007 09:15:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine



Daredevil Special #1

My disappointment at Gene Colan’s non-appearance at this year’s MidOhio Con is tempered somewhat by the fact that I did get to meet the man many moons ago, back when I was in high school. He turned up at some small show here in Columbus (this being back when MidOhio was held further north each year) and I got his signature on a Howard the Duck as well as this particular issue of Daredevil. I dusted the annual off recently for a review here on the blog, and all I can say is… I’m sure glad I got that Howard the Duck signed.

Colan’s art is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but to me Daredevil has always been Marvel’s honorary DC series. Like Iron Man and Thor, he lacks a compelling backstory to support the basic concept of the character, and he has the added burden of the most absurd rogue’s gallery—a bunch of losers who would fit right in with the Rainbow Raider and Calander Man. I’ll confess that the Ann Nocenti/Romita Jr. run on the series is actually among my favorites ever (a head-bending road trip guest starring everyone from the Inhumans to the Silver Surfer), and Frank Miller made some of the Best Comics Ever during his stay on the series, but I’m bewildered that Daredevil was ever around for 150 issues for Frank to find a home.

Swinging through the city in his bright red garb and his wisecracking swashbuckler persona, Daredevil filled an obvious niche: his was the comic to buy when there wasn’t a new Spider-Man book on the spinner rack. The brooding vigilante of Frank Miller’s era is far removed from the happy-go-lucky swinger who quotes Jackie Gleason as he charges into battle:

And here’s how a busy crimefighter gets the energy to battle injustice: Nutriment capsules! Gee, Daredevil, I wonder how your girlfriend ended up being a junkie…

This annual assembles the best of the worst of DD’s arch-foes for a 39 page fight scene. The only villain in the group with any street cred, Electro, is borrowed from Spider-Man, and his costume design isn’t exactly one of Steve Ditko’s finer moments. The plot centers around Electro trying to get DD’s villains together all at once to defeat him; unfortunately, they’re all very lame so it’s a one-sided yet seemingly endless fight scene. Here’s the run down:

The Matador!
Dressed like the Village People’s version of Pete Best, his method of attack is to throw his red cape over someone’s head before attempting to beat the tar out of them. I don’t know what else to add about this guy, except for this panel which has some, as Dara puts it, "sweet super-villain dialogue."


Leap Frog!

Scuba fins with giant springs attached to the bottom; surely the most embarassing super-villain outfit ever. The guy I grew up next door to who tried to rob the Groveport Pharmacy disguised with a scuba mask (while his sister was ringing up customers) had a more sinister M.O.

Okay, wait for it…

Stilt-Man!

The secret to his longevity is that he’s actually the most menacing member of DD’s rogues gallery, even if that is kind of like taking the gold at the special olympics. He’s the only villain in this issue who merits his own splash page, even if it betrays the basic flaw in his premise. His stilts move him farther away from the target, making DD harder to hit! If he had simply adopted the identity of “Gun-Man,” he might have made a name for himself.

Gladiator!

Okay, his deadly whirling blades actually do make him a threatening figure, but he chooses to hang out with this bunch, so he can’t be much more than an eighth grade shop teacher gone bad. His prison cell must have some nice bookshelves.

Maybe Stan was being smarter than I’m giving him credit for here; this was the perfect book to lure in DC Comics readers who were used to seeing Ace the Bat Hound and “Boxing Glove Arrows”, sort of a transitional comic to draw them into all the really good stuff he was writing. That’s the only way Daredevil makes sense.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/24/2007 10:06:00 PM :

       It Came From An Old Comic Book



Now with 30% more boobs!

(from Ghost Rider #37, Aug. 1979)

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  Posted by Dara on 10/24/2007 08:58:00 PM :

       Nad Shot

File under "people with too much free time on their hands"...or "there's a blog for everything under the sun, isn't there?"

Nad Shots, a blog dedicated to shots to the groin, compiled from various comic books!



(via boingboing)


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/23/2007 05:53:00 PM :

       Sure,Why Not


Some really nice work I stumbled across on over at Juxtapoz. Check out Dave Kinsey's site. The profile on Juxtapoz covers his show at BLK/MRKT Gallery in Culver City.

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Monday, October 22, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/22/2007 06:58:00 PM :

       Alright you blockheads..

Warm up you're tivo's kids, the Charles Schultz documentary's on the 29th of this month (on American Masters). Maybe it'll be better than the documentary on Alex Toth.


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  Posted by Dara on 10/22/2007 07:17:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

This week’s "ethnically confused" page comes your way courtesy of fellow Panelist Craig Bogart. As he puts it: "[The artist] nails Sulu and Uhura's likenesses in closeups, but apparently the colorist wasn't going by the same photo references [the artist] used..." Guess away!



(click image to REOOWWersize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007)

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Sunday, October 21, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/21/2007 01:00:00 PM :

       Live at Leeds


The lovely Lisa sent me word that the prints made their journey to England alright. The print show will be up at the Travelling Man Coffee Bar in Leeds. For more info go here. The coffee bar serves up graphic novels and lattes. A model that I think would be interesting to try stateside as well.

She's also heading up the Thought Balloon Festival in Leeds. Interesting mix of indie and mainstream.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/20/2007 05:32:00 PM :

       Caniff Reception at the Thurber House..

While lurking at the Ogre, I bumped into a volunteer from the Cartoon Library. Sweet lady. We struck up a conversation about the festival. She had her shopping list with her. What I found out was that the one free event tied to the Cartoon Festival falls on Thursday night. A reception for the Canniff show at the Thurber Center Gallery. Whether this is true or not I have no confirmation. The reception runs from 6-8pm (per the posted schedule).


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  Posted by Tom on 10/20/2007 01:18:00 PM :

       Spaceknight- a benefit for Bill Mantlo


A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to donate some art to help out Bill Mantlo. A writer from the old days of Marvel. I remember him fondly from Rom and he also penned the Micronauts I believe. He was in a pretty bad car accident in the early nineties which left him in a Brain Injury nursing home. Probably for the rest of his life. If you can, come on out to Floating World on December 6th. Art by Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, P. Craig Russell, Sal Buscema, Steve Ditko and others.

thanks,
Tom

SPACENIGHT - ROM TRIBUTE SHOW
A Collection Of Digital Prints & Original Art To Benefit Bill Mantlo

DECEMBER 6TH, 2007 - 1ST THURSDAY OPENING, 6-10PM
FLOATING WORLD COMICS
20 NW 5TH AVE 101
PORTLAND, OR

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Friday, October 19, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/19/2007 08:44:00 AM :

       Craig Yoe and his ilk can go to hell

Ok, the last thing I'll say on this whole Craig Yoe douchebaggery (to borrow a great phrase from Tony)...

1) Even IF he were the GREATEST artist THAT EVER LIVED, that's STILL a pretty arrogant, shitty thing to say about how everyone else sucks and they shouldn't be allowed into SPX and they're RUINING the show. I mean, seriously, where do you get off? How about coming down off your ivory tower and joining the rest of us unwashed masses, your highness?

2) If art is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of comics (as one guy on that TCJ thread posted, writing is "a distant second") then go to any one of a thousand little art galleries across the country and buy yourself some pretty prints and recruit people for your magazine. Save your soul the unbearable, crushing pain of having to look at bad zines at SPX. I can't believe at this point in the evolution of comics, we're still having this debate over which is more important, art or writing. (hint: individual tastes may vary, but they're BOTH important in making a great comic)

3) SPX (or SPACE or APE) are not going to get RUINED!!! because newer, less seasoned artists are trying to get a handle on their craft. That's the WHOLE POINT of shows like that! I can't speak to the other two, but the quality of work at SPACE has been consistently getting better and more impressive over the last 5 years that I've been attending. Talk about raising the bar, there are folks doing amazing comix these days that were unheard of in the small press circles just a few short years ago. And I was overwhelmed at SPX at the number of good looking, interesting, unique books that I didn't even know where to start. No creator (artist or writer or musician or whatever) is going to become better by practicing their craft in a vacuum. You have to put yourself out there, take the sting of the criticisms, expose yourself to what others in your field are doing, and come out a better artist because you've picked up new tips and tricks, new insights, new methods, or just simply new inspiration.

4) Natural selection weeds out the really bad artists. SPX is EXPENSIVE! Trust me, no sane creator is going to shell out those table fees, hotel costs, gas, food, parking, and other miscellaneous costs just to sit at a table for two days and not sell anything. Unless they're independently wealthy, and/or mentally unstable, and/or masochists, most of the "shitty" artists are going to either a) decide shows like this are not for them, or b) work to get better for next year.

The end.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/18/2007 07:10:00 PM :

       Out this week: CDFTotHaN #1

Just picked up a copy of Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1 at the store. Written by yours truly, adapting Cory's short story, "Anda's Game". Interior art by Esteve Polls, cover by Sam Kieth. Gotta hand it to IDW, they've got great production values, as always. The cover has a nice glossy treatment on the computer screen, making it pop.

I did a quick read-through and compared it with my script, and it was quite faithful. There's one tiny lettering mistake (different balloon shape than I intended) but overall they did a good job of cramming in all the text without obscuring the art by much. My only complaint with the book is that the colors are a bit muted and dark, but that's just me being nitpicky.



Comic Pants already has a short but favorable review up.
"A thought-provoking story, with great looking visuals by Polls, and the usual high production quality from IDW make this one to check out."

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  Posted by Dara on 10/18/2007 07:07:00 PM :

       Quote of the week

"If you do a book at Image you aren't paying for Todd McFarlane's balls." --Erik Larsen

From this interview explaining some of the misconceptions about how the Image business model works.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
 
  Posted by Matt Kish on 10/17/2007 02:53:00 PM :

       A few personal thoughts on SPX

This was my first time at SPX, period. I’ve attended and exhibited at SPACE many times and visited MoCCA twice, but SPX was brand new to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a lot of thoughts at the show and on the long drive home, but a lot of questions too. Some of that changed on Monday morning when I read this post from Craig Yoe on The Comics Journal message board:

“just back from spx. good times. but, on the other hand, real bummed by all the crapola, just got a very few books. what to do? get a megaphone, show up and yell "learn to draw!!!"? or what about spx or mocca or ape sponsoring an alternative alternative comics convention in addition to their regular shows that's juried. or a "rock concert festival" type approach where, say 25 good cartoonists show, sell and talk about their work. or...?!?

but, why are the people who can draw attracted to superheroes or animation. in addition to some artists liking those forms it's money i suppose. yes, why is the quality of these alternative shows so dreadful? maybe it IS because they let anyone who can find their way into a kinkos in the show. and, folks, badgering me and handing me a free bookmark with more shitty art on it ain't gonna do it . i'm not gonna buy your shitty-assed poor dead tree. LEARN TO FUCKING DRAW!!!!!”


It’s currently 8 pages long and still growing. I thought long and hard about what he wrote. At first, I was stung. No one wants to feel like they’re stinking up the joint with their crappy comics, and I was worried I must have looked like an idiot. But then I remembered that Yoe stopped at my table once, looked at several books for a decent length of time, and then stopped by a little while later for a second look. I don’t think he would have stopped for a second look at something he thought was total garbage, so I’m hoping he saw at least something in my work that showed promise even though he didn’t buy anything.

Personal assessments aside, I just don’t think I agree with him. At SPX there were a lot of top tier publishers like Fantagraphics, Drawn and Quarterly, AdHouse Books and Top Shelf that were selling the cream of the crop. Excellent stuff on those tables, and easily the best of the show. Then there were some less visible but still excellent publishers like Sparkplug, PictureBox Inc and Bodega and they also had some really solid offerings. And then there were some top notch artists like Tom Neely (“The Blot”), Roger Langridge (“Fred the Clown”), Jon Lewis (“True Swamp”), the whole Partyka crew (Shawn Cheng, Sara Edward-Corbett and Matt Weigle), the Closed Caption Comics collective, and the Critical Citadel group. All still very talented and putting out great art. The abundance of Ignatz nominations in that group bears this out well. After that you had the rest of us. Artists and cartoonists of all shapes and sizes and levels of ability, peddling everything from free, tiny, crappy stapled minis to beautiful books with good art, high production values and full color covers. The variety was quite incredible and a joy to experience, even with the garbage that was on some of the tables.

Yoe seems to be arguing that the presence of this group of amateurs is just ruining shows like SPX and, by extension, a real danger to comics. At some point I believe he makes the assertion that the presence of so much of what he considers garbage is polluting the art form and actually keeping more talented artists away from shows and away from trying comics altogether. That seems like a real stretch to me.

Overall, his opinions just seem horribly elitist and he keeps hammering away at this notion that comics is Serious Business and everyone better clean up their fucking act. I’m not even sure where he gets some of his ideas. For example, he seems to assume that everyone who had a table at SPX thinks of their work as equal to every other exhibitor. That’s a really stupid thing to think, and I sure as hell didn’t feel like that. My table was in the same section as Tom Neely’s and Sparkplug Books’ and I know that their stuff is a zillion times better than my own. Hell, I was in the same room with Kim Dietch and there is no way I think I’m anywhere near his level. I would never assume that just because I could come up with the table fee and that Tom Neely could come up with the table fee that somehow we were standing on equal ground artistically.

Second, he goes on at length about how absolutely no one at SPX that is not somehow already working for Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly can draw. And he extends that by asserting that none of these amateurs can or will accept any kind of criticism. I can’t speak for others, but I know I have a lot of weaknesses as an artist and there is a long way for me to go before I am even semi-decent. I’ve never thought I was above criticism, and in fact I have always sought it out and welcomed it. I would always rather have someone be brutally honest with me about what’s not working in my comics than to be gladhanding me and telling me I am the greatest. Lots and lots and lots of people looked at my comics at SPX (and at SPACE, many times in the past) and then put them down and walked away without buying. I wasn’t angry, upset, hurt or full of judgment at all. I just figured they didn’t like what I was doing, they were looking for something different, or they didn’t think I was very good. It’s not a big deal, and I understand my limitations. And on the few occasions when someone at a show has offered me some constructive criticism, I have been grateful for it. Like I said, I know I can always get better as an artist.

Finally, he seems to have some real anger toward those he thinks are just crapping it out. In one sense, I agree. I don’t want to pay even $1 for some stapled piece of shit someone drew on their 15 minute break at the secondhand bookstore. And yes, at SPX there was a little bit of that and for some reason those creators seem absurdly proud of what they had done. Or not done. But you know, it really doesn’t piss me off that much. I’m not losing sleep over it. I just walk past that stuff and look for something better. No big deal. I don’t think that stuff is ruining SPX or SPACE or MoCCA or Fantagraphics or comics in general, and I sure as hell don’t think that it’s scaring away other talented artists from trying to make a comic.

I think shows like SPACE, MoCCA and SPX are a great thing. I like the juxtaposition of the kings of the field, like Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly, with the up and coming minor leaguers and the little guys that are doing it for the love and the fun. After all, as was mentioned abundantly in that message board, it is more or less impossible to make a living doing non-superhero comics. There is just no money in the indie scene, and even artists like Tomine, Clowes and Burns are doing illo work for magazines in order to earn a livable income. If anything, Yoe’s hardass approach, demanding total sacrifice for some sort of goal that won’t pay the rent, buy clothes, put food on the table, put gas in the car, and provide health insurance seems even more likely to scare away new artists then a few shitty minis at some small press shows.

So now, a few days after the show, I feel really energized by SPX, and more excited than ever to draw and make comics and above all work hard at getting better. I sold between 35 and 40 of my books and traded or gave away another 20 to 25, so that’s a lot more Spudd in some interested reader’s hands. I’ve already gotten a couple of emails from folks who bought my stuff and the correspondence has been helpful so far.

So if by having a demanding full time career as a librarian, spending as much quality time as possible with a wonderful wife who means the world to me, hanging out with friends whenever I can, and doing the best possible job I can drawing comics and pictures in what little free time I have remaining is infuriating, pointless, and ruining art, then I guess I am guilty. That won’t stop me from doing it, and I’m never ever crapping it out or mailing it in, so that’s that.

Those are a few of my thoughts. I’ll have some more personal reflections by this evening on my own blog so check 'em out.


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  Posted by Dara on 10/17/2007 01:05:00 AM :

       Lifelike: The dishes are (finally!) done

Good god almighty, it's done! I just resized the last graphic and typed up the last sentence for the 14 intro pages that will be preceding each of the stories in the Lifelike graphic novel. Tomorrow morning I'll e-mail everything to IDW and breathe a sigh of relief. Tomorrow night I'll drink a celebratory adult beverage, and crash into bed.

By the way, check out the swank ad IDW will be running in the back of their November and December books:

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/16/2007 07:18:00 PM :

       S.P.X. `07 wrap-up

Some really awesome posts on the show.

via the Comics Reporter..

"17. Much of crowd at this show was very attractive, a point that should be made often and loudly. This extends to many of the creators as well, both male and female, and not just in comparison to what most people in comics look like either. I don't know how else to put this -- whatever your preference, there was some grade-A tail on display, in extremely close proximity to social lubricants and hotel rooms, and you crazy kids should be out there ticklin' and slappin' and makin' it happen."

Other one's I enjoyed..

Steve Hamaker
Raina Telgemeier
Liz Bailie
Dean Trippe

Thoughts Dara & Matt?

If Friday has notoriously been a slow day, why haven't they gotten the hint and move it to a Saturday/ Sunday slot?

*on a related note, APE has announced that their show next year is moving to November.

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  Posted by Dara on 10/16/2007 01:50:00 PM :

       The Beat laments the lack of "best" in Best American Comics

Back on October 1, Tom wrote this short but precise post right here on our blog about what's wrong with the Best American Comics anthology.
"2007 sees absolutely zero content from the mainstream world. I'm not asking to include an excerpt from Civil War, but damn people."
I just read Heidi MacDonald's longer essay on this same subject over at The Beat. And she echos Tom's complaints. BAC has become an elitist, narrowly-focused art snob haven. Heidi's main beef with the The 2007 volume - edited by Chris Ware - is that it only includes "realism" at the expense of, you know, storytelling.
"While I enjoy wallowing in the misery and pointlessly of the Real, the problem here, I think is that the history of great literature is full of the UNREAL and that’s what missing from The Usual Suspects. Like I said, it’s not that there’s anything in this volume (unlike last year’s odd batch) that doesn’t belong, it’s just that it’s all so, so real.

Ware arranges the contents as a journey from non fiction to fiction, but by the end we’ve only gotten to Dan Zettwoch’s account of the historical Louisville Flood. Whoa, buddy, easy there – that’s just one step removed from Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer !"
It's an excellent essay, and she makes some great points. I consider myself a fan of a wide variety of works within the comics field. There's a time and a place for the silly escapist thrill of Hawkman, and a need to have works like Maus and Jimmy Corrigan to offset the superhero domination of the American comics market. But in the world of BAC, there's no middle ground. It's all navel-gazing, angst-filled autobiographic realism. No room for the likes of Concrete, Hellboy, Criminal, Bone, Grendel, Ex machina, Y, or DMZ. I like this particular quote from heidi:
"Stan Sakai and Sergio Aragones are national goddamned treasures. Any club that won’t have them, I don’t want to be in."
It's too bad that with the rising popularity and acceptance of graphic novels and the sequential art medium, the divide between "art" comics and "mainstream" comics keeps growing, and the polarizing of the comics field leaves a lot of great works lost in the no man's land in between.


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  Posted by Tony on 10/16/2007 08:28:00 AM :

       blink twice for *awesome*


"The Menagerie," a two-part Star Trek Original Series event, will play on the big screen Nov. 13.

Theaters at Lennox 24 and Easton Town Center will show the two-part episode, according to StarTrek.com.

"The Menagerie" was the only original two-parter in the original series. It shows Spock hijacking the Enterprise to deliver the ship's previous captain, Capt. Christopher Pike, to Talos-IV. Talos-IV is a forbidden planet; visiting it carries the death penalty.

"The Menagerie" was born as a way to reuse footage from Star Trek's original pilot, which featured Capt. Pike and a whole different Enterprise crew. Spock was the only character to make it from the original pilot to the actual series. The Nov. 13 "Menagerie" has been digitally remastered, including new CGI special effects and the orchestral re-recording of the show’s theme music.

Animated Kirk wishes it was one of his episodes, but he's going to man up and support it anyway.



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Monday, October 15, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/15/2007 08:30:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Ok, back to sequential art. Try your hand at this page:



(click image to gangsterize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007)

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Sunday, October 14, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/14/2007 04:01:00 PM :

       Between Bad Relationships


November will be a time to hit Gallery Hop for me. Which is rare, because Columbus only has a handful of galleries worth a damn. One of them is the Mahan. Cleveland based artist Derek Hess helps kick off the Mahan Gallery's reopening on November 3rd. Mahan's brand new local is at 717 N High St (near Buttles & High).

Not in time for the Hop: Coming in November is Jack Earl (my cousin-in-law) to the Sherrie Gallery. His work floats between pop-surrealism and sculpting likenesses of my Uncle Roy. Roy's became one of his iconic figures that pops up in the diarama's, busts, and figurations he does. The piece to the right is one of his. He rarely does Columbus so this will be a treat. If you're really in luck you'll get to meet Farlie who's a real trip. Kind of hard to live up to a guy who has pieces in the Smithsonian and the Columbus Museum of Art.


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Saturday, October 13, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/13/2007 08:50:00 AM :

       Quick SPX thoughts, day 1

The drive down to Bethesda took about 7 hours yesterday. Saw a couple of interesting things on the way:

  • A fully panted barn which served as an ad for BarnArtist.com
  • A lighted sign outside a doctor's office just off the highway that advertised the urologist's business, with huge lettering that read Vasectomy.com
  • A convoy of insanely long open bed trucks carrying these huge propeller looking things that must have been 60 or 70 feet long. My best guess is they were props for wind turbines. Pretty cool.


Ok, on to the show. First of all, big thanks to friend and fellow Panelist Matt Kish for helping me unload the car and carry the books to the convention hall. I'm not sure what I was expecting at the show, but the more I looked around the more I'm convinced that SPX is just a larger version of SPACE. Sure, there are bigger name creators, and the big name indy publishers like AdHouse and Drawn & Quarterly set up here, but the vibe and crowd and mix of creators is very much like SPACE. There are small hand-crafted minis, silkscreened covers, but also more mainstream indy books. Not that any of this is bad, just different than what I was expecting.

Friday was pretty slow, as expected. In fact, from 2 pm (when the show opened) till around 5 or 6, the only people checking out the tables seemed to be the other exhibitors. I finally made a few sales after 5 when attendees started to trickle in. I hope today will be better.

Ok, my fanboyish moment of yesterday: I stood in line to get my copy of the Bone one volume edition signed (as well as Hanna's vol. 1 of the Scholastic color reprint of Bone.) He was only signing from 7-8 and asked for a $10 donation to the CBLDF, which is cool. Anyway, Jeff was very friendly, chatting with all the fans. When I got up to the table, he looked up at me and said "you look familiar..." I mentioned that I'm also from Columbus and that we had chatted briefly several years ago when he came out to a couple of the informal "comic creator drink ups" at The Char Bar. He remembered rtight away and asked me how my comic projects were going, so naturally I told him about the Lifelike graphic novel coming out in December. He proceeded to do a little Bone sketch in my book, with the inscription "Best of luck with Lifelike!" I don't normally get "starstruck", but I have to admit that whole encounter was pretty damn cool. And Jeff is one of those comic creators that I respect for their amazing talent, work ethic, and body of work.

Ok, gotta go setup for today's show. Catch y'all later...

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Friday, October 12, 2007
 
  Posted by Tony on 10/12/2007 08:54:00 AM :

       Curses, foiled again.

It's a sad thing when science outpaces science fiction.

I'm reading a collection of Larry Niven short stories, including one called "The Alibi Machine." In it, home teleportation machines have become as common as telephones. Niven carries the telephone metaphor pretty far: You "dial" to get to a new location, and you have to transport to an airport to go "long distance." The teleporters are called "displacement booths."

The story -- as will become apparent -- was written in 1973. It centers on a person using a displacement booth to nip in to a location, commit a murder, then beam out without being caught. Teleporting away from the scene is considered the perfect alibi.

It would have been the perfect little sci-fi myster, except for one thing: Larry Niven didn't reckon on a little thing called Caller ID.

Curses, foiled again.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/11/2007 09:52:00 PM :

       All packed and ready for SPX

I'll be leaving in the early morning for SPX. This'll be my first show as both attendee and exhibitor. Wish me luck.

Oh, and fellow Panelist Matt Kish will have a table next to mine. Sweet.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/09/2007 10:01:00 PM :

       Not for the timid..



Finally my eyes can stop bleeding red and black: Brawl#1 is on the shelves begining tommorow. One of many web to print stories from the Act-I-Vate gang. The crazy fun of Dean Haspiel's Billy Dogma which in my mind is the new Madman. In fact, I'm digging it more than the current Madman. Also in the issue is Panorama, which I haven't checked out. I stare at the screen so often at work and home that honestly I can't read many comics on the web. Especially if it's over a couple of pages worth.

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  Posted by Tony on 10/09/2007 03:03:00 PM :

       do you like to be scared?


The Columbus Indieclub Halloween Spooktacular, a showcase of independent horror films, will take place from noon-6 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 14) at Studio 35.

The 3:45-6 p.m. bloc will include "A Thousand Words: Bloodline," a nasty little piece of business that includes grip work from yours truly. Sit next to me and I'll tell you where I was standing during each murder scene.

Cost is $5. They'll sell you a seat, but of course you will only need the edge.


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Monday, October 08, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/08/2007 08:45:00 PM :

       Make us rich: buy "PANEL 9 From Outer Space"

File under "better late than never..."

I finally added the 9th volume of our beloved PANEL anthology to the Ferret Press store. The theme of this issue is an homage to the cheesy B-movies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. PANEL 9 From Outer Space features 40 black & white pages of stories, with honest-to-gosh old-fashioned 3D front and back covers! A pair of 3D glasses are included for free!



So head on over to the store and grab yourself a copy. Only $3, plus a buck for postage. What a deal!

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  Posted by Dara on 10/08/2007 12:05:00 PM :

       Comic book publishing dollars and cents

In his latest Comic Book Publishing Follies column at CBR, columnist Todd Allen looks through Platinum Studios' SEC filing and comes up with some numbers that I find interesting:
"Let me oversimplify the contract for you. For a flat fee of $50,000 plus $3,000 for each comic property listed, plus 10% of "Net Revenues," Top Cow agrees to distribute up to 60 Platinum titles, plus up to an addition 24 Kiss titles through Diamond..."

So what does that translate into?
"Now, let's do a little math. Last time I saw one of Platinum's Kiss comics in a shop, it had a cover price of $2.99. That means Platinum would get 40% of that ($1.196) from Diamond for each comic purchased. If we assume Platinum released a full 84 titles, the maximum called for in the agreement with Top Cow, the flat fee comes out to roughly $525.24 per book, so the listing fee per book (and lettering in the case of 2 books/month) would be roughly $3525.24. It would take the full revenue from roughly 2948 comics priced at $2.99 to pay off that listing fee. And that's before the print bill comes into play."
Of course it's no secret that Platinum isn't in the business of publishing comics (i.e. making money from publishing) but rather selling the options of their properties to movie studios. So I'm sure they're taking a loss on most of their printed books, hoping that one will bring in that big Hollywood money.

Pretty risky business plan. Then again, they did quite well in this area last year by earning $1,000,000 option fee and a $450,000 "first-look agreement". But as Todd points out in his previous column, "they burned through almost $1.5 million dollars in the first half of 2007..." so it's anyone's guess if their gamble will pay off longterm.

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  Posted by Dara on 10/08/2007 08:05:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Here's an easy one for ya:



(click image to She-Hulersize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007)

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Sunday, October 07, 2007
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 10/07/2007 09:09:00 PM :

       OSU Cartoon Library Film Screening

Here's what looks to be an interesting film screening later this week.

Caveman: V. T. Hamlin & Alley Oop
(Max Allan Collins, 2005)

Wed, Oct 10, 2007 | 7:00PM
Film/Video Theater

Directed by Road to Perdition writer Max Allan Collins, Caveman examines the career of V. T. Hamlin and the creation of his long-running comic strip Alley Oop.

First appearing in 1932, the strip follows the prehistoric character Alley Oop, his pet dinosaur Dinny, and the citizens of the kingdom of Moo. Featuring interviews with Will Eisner and longtime Hamlin assistant Dave Graue, the film provides a wonderful depiction of the process of producing comic strips in the 20th century. Along with the graphic novel Road to Perdition, Collins has written numerous novels and comic strips, including a 15-year run on Dick Tracy. (53 mins., video)

Cosponsored by Ohio State’s Cartoon Research Library in conjunction with Storytelling 2007 and the 2007 Festival of Cartoon Art being held October 26–27 in Columbus. Please visit http://cartoons.osu.edu for more information.


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Thursday, October 04, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/04/2007 07:25:00 PM :

       So you're tabling at a con..

Reading over Von Allan's interview, I think it's a helpful perspective for those publishing non-'mainstream' work. His views pretty much mirror mine on promotion at shows and reflect the current state or missteps in promotion in the comics industry.

There's been alot said about con etiquette on boards, columns and blogs. Here's some things I've learned along the way.
  • True! You will eat most of the trip and expense.
  • Yes, it is a good idea to have some variety on your table with the merch. How many books should you take? A new show you've never been to before, I'd say 50 or 60 of any given book. If you've actually sold thru or traded away all these books. Pat yourself on the back and buy a steak dinner (or vegetarian equivalent.) you've had a good show. Next year, up the quantity a little ( I wouldn't go over 20 extra personally). Shows like SPX: folks will buy prints, buttons, and shirts. Original art I would only take if you have the space.
  • Don't eat your base cost per mini/comic. Figure out how much it cost per book (xeroxing it, incidental supplies, etc.) then up it by 60% to 70%. On the off chance a retailer passes by and buys some books, they take a discount of 1/2 off cover. Screw the mentality that you should give the comics out for free. Trading's cool but if you want to give out free comics: start a webcomic.
  • Pre-screen shows if possible before tabling there. Ask around. Go to a con you're thinking about (tabling at) if possible and get the vibe for the show. If the work you do is getting well recieved by similar folks, this might be a good show. Straight up tunnel-vision: if you're thinking of tabling at a mainstream show, know that the majority of fans going only care if you're working on Superman. It's potentially going to be rough going if you're work is on the experimental side. If it's local (within a reasonable driving distance) or if you know someone in town (to crash at) it'll soften the blow.
  • Lastly, try to have some fun. Avoid trying to be that carney barker that con goers dart away from. At the same time, be respectful, smile and say hi to people. Make eye contact but don't be too pushy. Eventually you'll be able to read people with time. Whether they're into your work or just browsing.
Good luck.

*On SPX. Keep this in mind: SPX has an open bar ( or at least they did when I went) dispensing drink tickets to all it's exhibitors. Good for wine, beer, soft drinks, bottled water, etc. The after parties are actually fun mixers. Where it is entirely possible to chat it up with the likes of Charles Burns, and yeah even Ian Harker (puzzled? guess you never roam tcj.com) in a relaxed setting.

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  Posted by Tom on 10/04/2007 07:20:00 PM :

       Bone's got a six pack?!?


No this isn't another pic of Haspiel or Pope. This is one of a few reference shots taken by Jeff Smith for the upcoming RASL. Smith is a big believer in hands on reference for his work. From visits to foreign countries to Old Man's Cave, it helps to flavor his work.

Though when I breeze thru these pics, I think I need to start working out.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 10/03/2007 09:11:00 PM :

       CDFTotHaN #1 reviewed before you can buy it

Steven Grant reviews CORY DOCTOROW'S FUTURISTIC TALES OF THE HERE AND NOW #1 a couple of weeks ahead of its ship date.
"I can appreciate the point behind the story, and Naraghi does a decent job adapting it, but..."

There's always a but. Click to read the rest.

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  Posted by Tom on 10/03/2007 07:39:00 PM :

       OSU Cartoon Festival guest change.

Sean emailed this to all of us but I thought I'd pass it along on the blog.

The OSU Cartoon Library has announced that Jules Feiffer, Guy Delisle and Mark Siegel have canceled their appearances at the Bi-Annual Cartoon Festival. Fear not. Also in the same press release it was announced that Arnold Roth, David Saylor (creative director for Scholastic), and former hometown boy Paul Pope will be at the fest.

The event is a whopping $150 for three days. (included are meals, a commemorative tote bag aaaaaaaaaaaaand c-a-t-a-l-o-g) Or if you're lucky enough to be a senior or student, it's $25. Spaces are shockingly still available for this event. Show runs from the 25th-the 27th. If you can swing it (or know a student ;)) it's worth it.

More info at the website.


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 10/03/2007 09:39:00 AM :

       PANEL Vol. 1 Review

It ain't pretty, but Optical Sloth has reviewed the first PANEL anthology. Also, a reminder that this issue is being serialized on the Panel_Comix ComicSpace page.


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Monday, October 01, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 10/01/2007 10:39:00 PM :

       Best American Comics antho: You're on notice!

As Matt's touched on in his blog, I'm kind of annoyed by the BAC anthology on premise and execution. This year's anthology and last year's anthology both include material not published during the time frame given. Which for 2007's, it was anything published between August 2006 and August 2007. I'm looking in the back of this and the previous anthology. We've got content that came from 2004 to 2007.
While taste is arbitrary to the editors, I would at least stick to the rules given on the outset. Stuff not published from August 2005-06: work included by Megan Kelso, Erik Shanower, Craig Thompson, a swipe from Ex-Machina, Kirk Wolfgang, Gabrielle Gamboa, Jamie Hernandez, J. Bradley Johnson, etc. The samplings were at least balanced. Drawing from the worlds of mainstream and art comics.
2007 sees absolutely zero content from the mainstream world. I'm not asking to include an excerpt from Civil War but damn people. Why Sophie Crumb? an excerpt from All Star Superman or The Escapist was better than that. Carol Lay's book Late Bloomer was bloody awful. Why include that? Whatever happened to making stuff up? Y'know fiction. Why Paper Rad?? One of the most overrated cartoonists from the art comics scene I've ever seen. Looks great on a refrigerator. Is Gilbert Hernadez's entry another reprint from a story in the eighties?? Why don't we include Peanuts? That was reprinted in 2007 and 2006. Jeffrey Brown??? Aaaaaaaaaagh!
There is some good content within. I'm sure the target bookstore audience won't even care. If the editor's feel that the content of the given year was so lackluster, why not trim it up instead of padding it up. Some of the stories contained within did go on longer.


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  Posted by Tony on 10/01/2007 02:25:00 PM :

       whither esposito

The New York Times takes a look at celebrity blog commenters.

Not bloggers. Blog commenters.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 10/01/2007 12:49:00 PM :

       Nearer, my Dara, to thee

This weekend the floor plan and table assignments for SPX were released. I am sitting at table F 10 with my good friend Stephanie Wu, both of us SPX first timers.

But lo and behold, who is at table F 9A, a mere 3 feet to my left? Why, that would be Dara Naraghi! Seriously, of all the people to end up sitting almost next to, it's Dara. Nice!

Dara, I'll do my best to make sure I don't ruin any of your sales with a bunch of talk about shirtcocking and constant attempts to cuddle with you.

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  Posted by Craig on 10/01/2007 10:39:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine

A coworker told me he used to read comics and was thinking of checking back in with some of his favorite characters. I happened to have with me a book that I had picked up earlier that day while browsing a comic store; the Free Comic Book Day edition of the new Justice League of America #0. When I asked a couple days later what he thought of it, he hemmed and hawed until I told him “yeah, I thought it sucked, too.” The issue was typical of what I see on the stands; one chapter of a six-part storyline immersed in continuity references that would be lost on a newcomer, decompressed so that the plot strives to build anticipation without actually delivering any substantial story. Did the publishers really expect this piece of crap to make a new comic reader of anyone? I don’t think that’s what they had in mind.

The FCBD events have been staged around major movie releases as if the typical moviegoer might be aware that comics are still being made, and would want to go out of their way to seek out a comic store the day after seeing Spider-Man 3. Only someone working in a comic store could tell me if they see a lot of new faces after one of these events, but I’ll wager the answer is no; I’ve referred to “Batman movie people” so maybe there actually are “Rise Of The Silver Surfer people,” but somehow I doubt it. Given the impenetrable nature of the issue I sampled, I would expect that the function of the “holiday” is to try to promote brand switching among regular comic readers.

How would they do it if they were really serious about attracting neophyte comic fans? Maybe by producing a comic featuring a couple prominent characters in an original story and putting it directly in the hands of people who wouldn’t encounter a comic under normal circumstances—maybe by delivering it to the doorstep of half the people in a given city. Kind of like what Marvel did back in 1979 when Spider-Man and the Hulk showed up at my house.

Spider-Man vs. the Hulk Special Edition

Check out the blurb underneath the logo: “Advertising supplement to Columbus Dispatch.” One glorious morning a Marvel comic got slipped into the Sunday newspaper that landed on the front porch of everyone who wasn’t reading the Citizen-Journal, an edition unique to our fair city. A cursory online search suggests this comic actually appeared with variant covers for three different cities—Columbus, Chicago, and (I think) Denver. Our version strikes me as the best, even if it is an obvious cut-and-paste job: I suspect that’s an Al Milgrom Hulk alongside a Sal Buscema Spider-Man.

While not exactly the counterculture folk heroes these characters had been a decade previous, Spider-Man and the Hulk were still quite visible. Besides their monthly comics (which could be found in most grocery or department stores—just imagine!), each had a syndicated newspaper strip and a television series. This issue is one big bundle of cross-promotion and is obviously geared towards readers more familiar with the characters from other media; the Hulk’s alter ego is introduced as “R.B. ‘David’ Banner” and goes through the entire issue grunting and growling like Lou Ferrigno’s version, without uttering a single “Hulk will smash!”

The comic is sixteen pages long; four ad pages and one page for an origin recap, leaving 11 story pages to stage “the battle of the century,” as the cover says. Each character gets a couple pages of introduction as we see a wandering R.B.D. Banner get in a jam that causes him to turn green, while Peter Parker briefly deals with juggling a class schedule with superheroing before spotting the Hulk wandering onto campus to start a ruckus.

Spider-Man gets a spotlight moment with a recreation of a scene from a Steve Ditko issue from bygone years. The classic comic had an eight-page sequence showing Spider-Man buried under a ton of rubble in a flooding underwater base with a life-saving serum needed by Aunt May lying just out of reach. Our hero ran the gamut from despair to grim resolve before mustering the strength to free himself; this comic recreates the scene, condensing it down to two pages as he is buried under rubble while the Hulk’s rampage continues. Sure, it’s a ripoff of the older book, but Sal draws it so beautifully I can’t help but love this sequence. I don’t know who wrote it, (the comic has no credits) but I'll guess it was either Stan himself or someone aping his melodramatic flair. Besides obviously being pencilled by Sal Buscema, I think that’s Al Milgrom again on inks.

Marvel’s best stories were the ones with a dose of real-world relevance injected into them, and this one aims to provide some of that; unfortunately, there apparently wasn’t a whole lot of controversy in the public discourse around 1979…

Is this a great comic? Well, no, but it has a certain charm, and it was a heckuva better effort to draw in new readers than what they’ve tried to pass off lately. I was just surprised it didn’t come with a disclaimer stating that Jonah Jameson in no way represented any member of the Wolfe family.

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  Posted by Dara on 10/01/2007 07:33:00 AM :

       Today only on shirt.woot: Paul Horneschemeier

Hey, look what today's t-shirt on Shirt.Woot is: a Paul Horneschemeier design. Doesn't Tom have one of these?



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  Posted by Dara on 10/01/2007 07:14:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

This week's page:



(click image to foxerize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007)

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