Archive for July, 2010

Athens, Georgia and Mr. Weing

One of the comics I read on my way home was Drew Weing’s Set to Sea. I’d been seeing pages of it on Drew’s website for awhile but reading it in book form was a delight. Highly recommended.

If you’re in Athens, Georgia tonight (Friday), you can get a copy from the author himself at the release party from 5-8pm.

Funny thing is, when I thought to make a remark on how Athens is landlocked and checked Google maps to see if Athens was indeed landlocked, I discovered that there is no label in Google Maps for Athens!

See for yourself.

WTF, Google Maps??

[UPDATE: There actually is an explanation—and it's not what you might expect.]

What Things Do

Jordan Crane has a new website up filled with great comics called What Things Do.

It includes stories by Crane himself, as well as art by USS Catastrophe alumni like Kevin Huizenga, Ted May, and Dan Zettwoch.

Crane’s recent Vicissitude (above) is a good place to start. Cool storytelling and a zillion well-placed spot blacks.

[Thanks to Alec Longstreth for catching this morning's crazy typo, "Justin" Crane. Oy. Senior moment there.]

The House that Patience Built

Back home from Comic-Con!

It felt like a very forward-looking Con to me, despite all the worries about impending doom in various markets.

Both Sky and Winter were among the thousand or so led by Edgar Wright out of Hall H on Thursday to see one of the first public screenings of you-know-what. Have yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it.

The four panels I was on went off without a hitch. After the fourth on Saturday, I talked for a long time to two teams of iPad comics creators about the challenges of that new platform, and was reminded of how young the mobile space still is.

Speaking of young, Ivy and I got to meet Juni Kibuishi for the first time (above—and yes, Ivy’s hair is purple again!). I watched his eyes watching everything and was reminded how unpredictable each generation of creative minds can be.

Raina Telgemeier’s terrific all-ages Smile sold out at the show. We talked at the First Second dinner about the dozen other subjects that deserved the comics treatment and what a difference Raina’s personal touch and wise storytelling choices made.

Of the hundred thousand plus who descended on San Diego last week, maybe a few hundred were aspiring young artists or writers making the journey for the first time.

It’s easy for a dedicated young artist to believe that if their work is good enough, it’ll rise and rise until they’re the ones at the Hall H microphones (or at least Ballroom 20) and it’s their characters being painted on the side of the Bayfront Hilton.

It’s also easy, after a few years of frustration, for even the best young cartoonists to believe that the system is rigged, and no matter how hard they work, there’ll be enormous obstacles put in their way that have nothing to do with the quality of their stories and art.

Both are true, of course. Good work will rise to its level AND the system is rigged. Which is why, if you want to find a common denominator among the success stories at San Diego, it’s patience.

For example, bookstore buyers don’t always understand Telgemeier’s Smile. The children’s comics market in bookstores is still immature and the obstacles for new authors are numerous and frustrating. But as soon as kids actually got their hands on the book (often through book fairs), it became a big hit. The book itself made all the difference.

One of the iPad hopefuls I talked to was Robert Berry whose Ulysses adaptation was originally rejected by Apple for nudity. It’s a smart, well-designed work that was nearly killed in the cradle, but its future actually looks pretty bright now that Apple was embarrassed into reversing their decision. Joyce’s legacy may deserve part credit for the reversal, but the quality of the work will carry it from here on.

And Scott Pilgrim for YEARS couldn’t get shelved in one of the biggest book chains in America. The “system” was truly rigged against it. Yet here we are.

Will Eisner insisted again and again that CONTENT would always drive the industry and the art form. No matter what happened at the retail, publishing, or distribution levels; it was what happened on the page and in the panels that would make all the difference.

I believe it more every year.

Hello, Desk.

Home from Con.

Failed to get a post up today, but look for a big post with lots of rambling, sentimental thoughts tomorrow.

See you at COMIC-CON!

We’re off!

Those panels again:

Thursday 11:30-12:30
Spotlight on Kurt Busiek— I moderate a panel with my old pal Kurt, the guy who got me into comics in Middle School. Room 8

Thursday 1:30-2:30
Beanworld and the Leguminous Life of Larry Marder!— I moderate another great panel with another great friend and artist. Room 4

Friday 4:00-5:00
James Sturm and Scott McCloud, A Center for Cartoon Studies Conversation: Understanding, Making, and Teaching Comics— I join James Sturm for… Well, I guess the title tells it all! Room 7AB

Saturday 11:30-12:30
Will Eisner, The Dreamer— Several of us take the stage to talk about the life and work of one of the greatest comics artists of all. Room 4

More detailed descriptions here.

Back to regular blogging Tuesday, July 27. Have a great week, Everybody.

Drawing your Attention to Drawing your Attention

Great post by Aaron Diaz on Focal Points.

[via several people, including Kate Beaton, but I think the first was an email from Spencer Greenwood]

#23… #16… #12… #11… #9… #6… #5…

Yeah, I know I talk about this book too much as it is, but when you read phrases like “midnight releases” you know you’re looking at something special.

Vol. 6 was #23 on Amazon this morning. Not too shabby.

In other news (although, I suppose the photo is related), I need to link to this story, just for the the title.

[Edit to add: As of the following morning, it's been holding steady at #12 [UPDATE: #11!] [UPDATED UPDATE: #5!!] surpassing ALL Twilight books!]


Tonight (Friday) at 7:30 pm Pacific Time, KCRW will be reprising the original 1991 radio play of American Splendor with Dan (so-much-more-than-Homer-Simpson) Castellaneta in the role of Harvey.

Castellaneta’s Harvey actually precedes the movie, but it’s equally delightful in its own way. We got to see a live performance with Harvey and Joyce in the audience (at San Diego, I think it was) and we all just loved it.

It’ll be live on air and streaming only, so set a timer if you want to hear this terrific production. Thanks to Heidi for the alert.

And, of course, if you appreciate great radio and want to support it, here’s your annual reminder that KCRW is probably the best station on the planet right now and can always use a little help.

Wanna Help Jim Woodring Build a Big-Ass Pen?

When one the greatest cartoonists of our time decides he wants to build a seven foot long dip pen, y’gotta answer the call!

Check out the video. It’s actually a terrific idea and worth the Herculean effort it will take to pull it off.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have Jim’s gorgeous new book Weathercraft yet, well… what are you waiting for?

link via Fantagraphics.

“The Future of Comics” is on MySpace?

Well, okay, probably not.

But Dark Horse has a new Bee comic by Jason Little so off to MySpace we go!