At New York Comic Con last weekend, the Q&A for a panel on LGBT representation in comic books included a question about Romani representation. Writer Peter David responded with a story about a Romanian tour guide telling him that Romani parents break their children's legs to make them better beggars. He retold the story on his blog, saying further, "Apparently the only thing that matters is the sensitivities of activists, and if you take issue with actions that the people they represent have taken, then clearly there is something wrong with you." [more inside]
It's the 15th annual Free Comic Book Day! Today is the day for the comics-curious to visit a comic book store and get their very own free comic book. Over on the Monkey See blog, Glen Wheldon offers a roundup with reviews of all the free comic books available this year. [more inside]
When io9/Gizmodo writer Katharine Trendacosta asked "What Is Your Favorite Single Comic Book Panel?" she got plenty* (including some 2-panel to full-page sequences, but we'll overlook that). Some were classic moments, some iconic motifs and others just something else, but the largest number were funny... comic books being comedic (NOT just Deadpool and Squirrel Girl and often unintentionally), so she posted a follow-up with her picks for The 30 Funniest Single Panels in Comic Book History and got even more in the comments. [more inside]
Gold Key Comics once put out the call to young aspiring artists to submit drawings of monsters, some of which were featured in issues of the publisher's various comics. Here's two example pages (and a Monster Museum page), and here's 47 monsters' worth of submissions: 1 2 3 4 5 pages, another two pages, nine more monsters and one duplicate. And here's some big duplicates of eight of them, and a hi-res duplicate page at the end of Lancelot Link Secret Chimp #6. If you can find any others, please post them in the comments. [more inside]
The State of Comic Book Retail - David Harper's latest comics industry survey shows bricks and mortar comic stores to be in a surprising period of opportunity and change. But are there now too many comics?
Vanity Fair profiles Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of the comics Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly, and Bitch Planet.
Cyborg isn’t just an emasculated man, but an emasculated black man, and as one of comics’ higher profile black superheroes — starring in his own movie in distant 2020 — the unspoken fact of his castration is demeaning. The racist narrative of black man as sexual threat is served by the idea of a character who is rendered heroic in the same event that symbolically renders him sexually unthreatening. (Genitals do not define gender or sexual power, but they are often tied to an individual’s relationship with their sexual, gender, and cultural identities.) The Re-Masculation of Cyborg asserts that DC Comics may be correcting the problems that blogger Robert Jones Jr. identified in his essay Humanity Not Included: DC’s Cyborg and the Mechanization of the Black Body.
Wham-O (previously) revolutionized the circle, the torus and the sphere, but they once did something innovative with the humble rectangle: Wham-O Giant Comics (alternate ad here), intended to be a quarterly magazine but ultimately the only issue released by the company. You can read it in its entirety here and read critiques of its contents here. It's an anthology whose contents run the gamut of genres, so if you don't like a story, you can just skip to the next. Of particular note are Radian and Goody Bumpkin, drawn by Wally Wood (previouslies).
Scans leaked from next week's issue of the Marvel Comic All-New X-Men have revealed that original member Bobby "Iceman" Drake is gay. While the character has been written as straight for the past fifty years, some readers have read otherwise between the panels. Director Brian Singer sees parallels in the movies. [more inside]
"There are many ways we can envision women's liberation if we try. Since we total more than half of the world's population, our experiences as women intersect with almost every other struggle against systemic oppression. The lessons learned are personal and political. Tapping into this well can sometimes seem like an infinite journey: where does one start? Well, with comics, of course!" 19 Comic Characters Who Embody Women's Liberation, Ad Astra Comix [more inside]
"Despite scant funding and resources, London’s Feminist Library is turning their 40th year into a celebration of storytelling, history – and, hopefully, sofas." Stephanie Boland at The New Statesman, 'She blinded me with library science': why the Feminist Library is more vital than ever. [more inside]
"Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is one of my favorite comics of moment, with two kick-ass female leads and no shortage of Asgardian humor. Currently, A:AA is being co-written by Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett, with art by Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. It focuses on Thor and Loki’s long-lost sister, Angela, who was raised by the Angels, and has been causing all sorts of trouble now that she’s back in our worlds. Angela travels with a woman named Sera, and the most recent issue gave us some insight into both Angela and Sera’s backstories."
"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.
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]
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....
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]
Jabberwacky, A Free Comic Book about the Middle Ages (sort of) from Wide Awake Press (also available in pdf or cbz format) [more inside]
Manly Wade Wellman is probably best known for his eerie tales of Silver John, stories of a traveling balladeer and the weirdness he encountered in the southern Appalachians. Wellman was also an avid student of southern folklore and mountain music. His associations with Bascom Lamar Lunsford and Obray Ramsey served as inspirations for the Silver John character. In addition to his macabre tales of the American South, Wellman was an award-winning mystery author (beating William Faulkner for the prize) and ghost wrote Will Eisner's The Spirit while Eisner was in the army. [more inside]