"What a bizarre day. I'm sitting here watching my email fill up with message after message from people from so many different times and places of my life, all congratulating me for the astonishing good fortune of receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Not to mention a flurry of texts and tweets, and I haven't had the energy to even look at Facebook." Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist Alison Bechdel (previously on MetaFilter: 1, 2, 3, 4) has won the prestigious MacArthur Genuis grant, giving her the opportunity to dig into her archives for a previous comic she drew in 2004 to conclude her reaction blog post. [more inside]
Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
Attack of the purse snatchers: gender and bag policies in U.S. comic book stores
What could a clerk at a comic book store possibly say to a new female customer to make her feel as alien and unwelcome as possible? Would it be some sort of overtly sexist slur, or an inappropriate comment about her appearance? Or could it perhaps be something as presumably innocuous as: "I’m going to need to take your bag before you go any further."
Most mainstream comics have a serious problem dealing with women. See Women In Refrigerators (previously). But DC seems to be doing particularly bad lately. Witness this conversation by
David S Goyer in which he compares She-Hulk to a porn star.(more She-Hulk info here and here) [more inside]
A lengthy interview with Alan Moore on the Gollywog ("a strong, likeable and positive figure"), his film Act of Faith and sexual violence, and the "herpes-like persistence" of Grant Morrison.
"You live now, Adam Ant, as you have lived many times throughout history, fighting evil wherever you may find it!"
The anti-Communist Captain America was ret-conned into being a crazed history graduate student named William Burnside who had himself surgically altered and then dosed with a flawed version of the Super-Serum, which drove him insane to the point where he saw communist sympathizers everywhere. The subtext isn’t particularly thick here: the “Commie-Smasher” was a paranoid wannabe, whereas the real Captain America is the “living legend of WWII” waiting in suspended animation during the Second Red Scare, who emerges back onto the scene with the arrival of the New Frontier and the Great Society. - Why Captain America Is the Progressive-Era Superhero We Need.
70 years ago today in Philadelphia, PA, a weirdo was born. He grew up in a spectacularly dysfunctional family, angry, alienated and beset by bizarre sexual compulsions, mostly involving girls with giant butts. But following those early years of bitter struggle, he became a celebrated cartoonist, musician and misanthrope whose controversial, hilarious (and just as often despairing) art transformed funnybooks and American society. His name is R. Crumb. [more inside]
Chris Sims' amazing pitch for the Superman/Batman movie: "A dang BOOM TUBE opens up, and who comes out? Every Superman and Batman we’ve seen in mass media for the past thirty years." (previously)
The Complete Marvel Reading Order is a website representing one man's attempt to figure out what order a picky reader should follow if attempting to reading the entirety of Marvel Comics' in-continuity canon. You can check the entire list, commencing with "Fantastic Four #1" from 1961, or filter on particular titles, characters, or story arcs. The site is highly customizable and also includes an active blog and links to two different site podcasts.
Comic book legend Carmine Infantino has died at the age of 87. Beginning his career in the early 1940's, Infantino created or co-created stalwart DC characters such The Flash, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Deadman. He also served as editorial director at DC, and added artists and writers like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Denny O'Neill and Bernie Wrightson to the company's roster.
A poster showing the evolution of Superman, 1938 - 2013. It covers the big guy's appearance in comic books, live-action, animation, Elseworlds and other comic book variations, and marketing and promo images.
In 2010, journalist David Axe spent a month in the Congo reporting on the Lord's Resistance Army. When he returned, he wrote a book titled "Army of God: Joseph Kony's War in Central Africa", illustrated by Tim Hamilton and edited by Matt Bors. The book first appeared online, but the paperback rights were acquired by publisher Public Affairs, with plans to publish an expanded edition in 2013. The deal included an advance, which was wired to Hamilton's account. That's where the U.S. Treasury department comes in. Specifically, The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). [more inside]
In 2010, Marvel Comics artist Steve Bunch posted an anonymous page to his blog that featured X-Men frontman Wolverine inexplicably encountering Queen frontman Freddy Mercury, an art submission originally sent to Darren Auck, then head of Marvel's art-correction team, in the 1990s. Portland-based comics artist Colleen Coover read Bunch's post, and in 2012 she decided to do something about it: she decided to recreate the page, adding color (both literal and metaphorical) to the meeting of these two (actual and arguable) mutants. Since then, other comic artists have decided to recreate the historic meeting depicted on that original, baffling/brilliant page: Some are magical; some are professional grade (pages one and two); some are prosaic; some are, frankly, adorable. Not all of them are on Coover's page. Do you hold the secret to this story? Coover would like to see your take: "I invite other artists to do the same, by which exercise we may one day come close to the fictional Truth of the matter."
"There’s a lack of pretentiousness to the word ‘comic book’ that I think suits the medium itself very, very nicely."
The NYT Book Review just named it one of the 5 best fiction books of the year. The AV Club helpfully posted a video to show you what happens when you open it. Actually, lots of folks posted videos to show you what happens when you open it. Other folks raved in print about the author and his career. The Comics Journal asked a dozen critics of the author's work to send in reviews; this one focuses on the role of disability in the narrative. This one notes the book "is in a very primary sense a comic about women and the private lives they lead, and it investigates more fully than any other comic I have ever read the way they age, fall in love, explore their sexuality, come to terms with compromises they’ve had to make as they’ve grown, accept their limitations, confront squandered ability, have children (or choose not to have children), marry (or stay single), and make sense of the world around them." You might find Chris Ware's Building Stories worth a look or two. Or fourteen. [more inside]
The Hawkeye Initiative Hawkeye drawn in some "classic" comic poses.
Jack Kirby Double-Page Spreads. A flickr set of double-splash-page spreads by the King of Comics.
Mike's Amazing World of Comics has a section called The Newsstand that lets you select a year/date/publisher and then view a collection of cover images from that time period. [more inside]
Paleo by Jim Lawson was a comic book series set during the Late Cretaceous and featuring dinosaurs as protagonists. It was in print between 2001 and 2004, but is now being "reprinted" as a webcomic. [more inside]
Little League is a Peanuts-esque webcomic about the Justice League (via Comics Worth Reading). The tone is alternately sweet, funny, and poignant. Because it's hosted on Tumblr it's a little awkward to work through the strips in chronological order. Start here.
Free Comic Book Day is back again! (Previously.) It's the one day a year when comic book stores in North America and around the world will be handing out free books -- mainly as an attempt to lure new readers to the genre. Some shops do signings, too. See you at the comic book shops on May 5th!
Looking MARVELous is a tumblr that provides comic book-inspired fashion based on Marvel comic book characters. You'll find not only popular characters, like Spider-man or Iron Man. Some of the inspired outfits come from lesser-known characters such as Squirrel Girl (who?) and Molly Hayes (umm?). Here is the full page version.
The Swedish Chef (Muppet Wiki) is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs for The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. An annotated list of every televised appearance of the Swedish Chef is after the fold... Børk! Børk! Børk! [Click here to view the thread translated fully into Mock Swedish] [more inside]
If Batman is a child's fantasy, then Spider-Man is very much rooted in being a teenager. When we're first introduced to Peter Parker in Amazing Fantasy #15, he's an outsider who feels isolated from everyone around him. He's miserable and resentful, but not because of some sort of defining tragedy, but because that's how you feel when you're a teenager. When he gets the one thing he wants -- the power that makes him stronger, faster and more popular than anyone else -- he promptly screws up and loses one of the only people that truly cared about him. (via Chris Sims @ Comics Alliance)
Wally Wood is most acclaimed for his comical comic books, mainly his acclaimed work for Mad back in its original, pre-magazine, 1950s incarnation. But his personal life was a drama verging on tragedy and culminating with his suicide in 1981. Only now, three decades later, is his story heading toward a happy ending, with a burst of renewed interest in his work.
A graphics heavy interview with J. David Spurlock, newly named director of the Wood estate, on the renewed interest in the artist and his work. [via] [more inside]
A graphics heavy interview with J. David Spurlock, newly named director of the Wood estate, on the renewed interest in the artist and his work. [via] [more inside]
Joe Simon, who along with Jack Kirby created Captain America, died today at the age of 98. [more inside]
Alan Moore discusses current use of the V for Vendetta mask as a symbol of protest. After Frank Miller attacks the Occupy movement (previously), another giant of the comic book world gives his own, rather more nuanced, view of the protests.
Frank Miller is a giant among comic book creators. He gave us The Dark Knight Returns, which rewrote the book on Batman and comics in general. He also gave us seminal versions of Daredevil, Batman, and Wolverine. His Sin City and 300 books are a triumph of design, if not subtlety. Lately, though, he's taken a different path. He recently released Holy Terror, which in 2005 was to have featured Batman, but now features a renamed stand-in fighting Al-Qaeda. It has been nearly universally panned as a piece of ugly, anti-Muslim propaganda. Last week, Miller blasted the "Occupy" movement on his blog, describing the participants as, "louts, thieves, and rapists," who, "can do nothing but harm America" and pointing to the looming threat of Al-Qaeda.
SuperTwins, starring Natalie Kim and Trevor Zhou, is a new webseries about a couple ordinary, mid-level superhero fraternal twins, Karin and Kai, who are always at odds with each other. When we meet this brother/sister duo, it seems they've fallen on not-so-super times. Can they become awesome again? Here's episode 1, SuperTwins Super Losers?
Arron Diaz of Dresden Codak (previously previously previously) has created new versions of both the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, complete with new origin stories and powers. I especially dig the explanation of kryptonite - scroll down to Metallo for the scoop. :
Lexi Alexander director of the so-bad-it's-legendary Punisher: War Zone gives an in-depth interview with Paul Scheer (with Patton Oswalt) for his podcast, "How Did This Get Made?" [more inside]
Belushi! No! That Yeezy's for real! Kanye plus Comics combines the lyrics of Kanye West with frames from superhero comic books. [more inside]
Comic Syrup. A Blog About Canadian Comic Books.
A Geek's Journal - 1976. What if there had been blogs in 1976? I would most definitely have had one and this might well have been it. This blog is based on my actual journal kept in 1976. Activities of a Geek in 1976 included: getting that week's comic books, going to the movies, attending a Paul McCartney and Wings concert, school pictures, and those freaks in Algebra class.
Comic book artist Gene Colan died on June 23, 2011. Colan began his comic book career in 1944, and after service in WWII went on to illustrate a wide range of comic book characters for both Marvel and DC. The artist might be best known for his 70 issue run in Marvel's Tomb of Dracula in the 1970's. Colan's lush moody style was also well-suited to Batman, as evidenced by his work on Batman and Detective Comics in the 1980's. Other titles and characters associated with Colan include Howard the Duck, Daredevil (including an 81 issue run from 1966-1973), Doctor Strange, and Captain America. [more inside]
The Invisibles and Hauntology: Amypoodle, a frequent contributor to the comics blog Mindless Ones (previously), has just completed an analytical appraisal of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles in light of Jacques Derrida's concept of hauntology. Critical analysis in terms of "ghosts", things that are both present and not present in a text, seems likely to be implicit as well in the forthcoming Supergods, Morrison's appraisal of superheroes as mythology.
The most recent issue of Superman, 712, was supposed to have a certain storyline, but it seems at the last minute, DC Comics decided to nix that storyline and instead publish a five-year-old story about Krypto the Super-Dog. These sorts of things happen, but Comics Alliance opined (with some help from direct sources) that the change was due to DC not wanting to feature a Muslim superhero (the original story had Superman aiding "Sharif", a Muslim superhero.) The theory is, after the brouhahae surrounding the Muslim Batman and Superman renouncing his American citizenship, DC is hesitant to add any more fuel to the "DC hates America" fire. "But," says comic-book muckraker Rich Johnston, "I have inside DC stories that are telling me the REAL reason the story got nixed." He claims it's not about Muslims, it's about...well, just see for yourself what it's allegedly really about.
An unfinished Donald Duck comic story, designed and roughed out with story complete, by Don Rosa! Written to promote the grand opening of Disney's MGM theme park, for one reason or another they dropped it before it could be completed. It's interesting because, in the comic book universe, Donald Duck isn't a movie star, but Mickey Mouse is -- so the duck seeks out his autograph. It even makes an explicit reference to a certain other duck....
Jeff Jones, comic book artist, science fiction and fantasy artist, and former member of The Studio, died today of emphysema and bronchitis. [more inside]
Meet Rob Granito, Professional
Comic Book Con Artist. Sure, his art is perhaps a little similar to other work, and yeah, his claims of industry contacts are pretty much made up, and he's been banned as a fraud from multiple conventions, but hey, a playa's got to get paid, right?
An interview with Chris Ware from May 2010 at the international Copenhagen comics festival. Ware is the creator of Acme Novelty Library and Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. (via kottke) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Neal Adams is one of the greatest comic artists, best known for drawing the most reprinted comic sequence and revitalizing Batman after the campy Adam West show . Now, Neal Adams is returning to Batman with a 12 issue mini-series titled Odyssey and six issues in, some are already calling the story " without hyperbole... the most insane comic book we have ever read ." While some might be shocked that the famous Adams seems to have lost his way and is acting a little crazy, Metafilter readers probably should have seen this coming
The Story So Far: Calamity of Challenge is a comic (plus ads) by Matthew Allison concerning a very different kind of superfigure: CANKOR. (possibly NSFW or at least lunch)
Animal Farm; or, a Short and Somewhat Political History of Comics in Poland by Tomasz Kołodziejczak, translated by Michael Kandel. More Polish comics info here.
The Sacrifice! Valve Software releases a 4-part comic that chronicles what happens to Francis, Louis, Zoey, and Bill at the end of the original Left 4 Dead. [more inside]