Monday, March 15, 2004

Notable Links for 03/15

OK, never let it be said that I am above self-promotion here: if you want to see what I thought of Ezra Claytan Daniels' "Changers", go here, courtesy of our good friends at the Poopsheet.

Did any of you have an interesting weekend? No, me neither.

And hey, Alan David Doane: you should check out Mark Millar's run on "Swamp Thing" from the mid-90's. It was the one that closed out the title. It was damn good, and a far sight better than 95% of everything Millar has since written. It's not just warmed-over Moore, 'K?

* So this month's market share numbers have been released, and it's bad news for everyone who isn't Marvel Comics. In particular, its worth noting that not only is Image well below the arbitrary 5% mark necessary to keep their place at the head of the "Previews" catalog, but going strictly by unit share Dark Horse is below 5% as well (and just 0.05 points shy of falling off in dollar share as well). Considering the dire consequences for either publisher if they keep these numbers down, this is certainly something that bears watching. If Diamond gets to renegotiate with Image anytime soon, they're fucked. Anyone know when they are due for renegotiation?

Anyway, you can see the numbers here, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

* I have an indifferent relationship to Markisan Naso's "All The Rage." On the one hand, I love gossip just as much as the next guy. On the other hand, Naso often gets stuck playing second fiddle to Rich Johnston's "Lying In The Gutters", sort of a GoBot to Rich's Transformer. Sometimes he comes up with some good stuff, though, like this week's examination of a recent kerfluffle between Kurt Busiek and... oh, come on, like you didn't know it'd be Rob Liefeld. Pretty much every controversy that doesn't involve The Comics Journal has to involve Rob Liefeld, doesn't it? Its like, not just the law but a good idea or something?

Anyway, catch up with the fun here, courtesy of Silver Bullet Comics.

But, you know, come to think of it, Johnston just hasn't been very interesting lately either. Ever since he got scooped on the Whedon/X-Men thing, he just hasn't had a lot to say, and he's spending a lot of time plugging his own projects. I know he knows more than he lets on, and I also know why he doesn't say it, but man, if you only pass on rumors that its "OK" to print, how does that make you any more interesting than any of the stupid sites that just publish the straight press releases? I know, I know, its a fine line to draw between showing all your cards and never getting any cards dealt to you again (on account of being a blabbermouth) - but that's what happens when you become a rumor columnist, I guess. Walking the razor's edge, man.

Besides, I would never plug my own work, now would I?

* Courtesy of the ol' Wifey-Poo: here's the latesy volley in the continuing effort to stop government censorship in the United States. As the man says: "Join the campaign for free speech today and cast your vote for the first amendment." I can't think of a better possible use for your time, can you?

* Just when you thought the United States' comic industry was closed to new talent - this comes along. Well, never let it be said that Tokyopop doesn't like good publicity. (Link courtesy of the Pulse.)

* DC Comics is doing a reader survey here. Interestingly enough, there seems to be actual awknowledgement that children are not the primary audience for most books these days - perhaps we shall soon see an end to incongruously placed candy ads in mainstream DC books? Wait, comics fans are still fat...


Thanks, folks, I got a million of 'em.

* Park & Barb (Lien-)Cooper convene on the subject of whether or not comics - specifically superhero comics - are for kids. I'm not entirely convinced, but they do a pretty good job - if this was a trial this would be only the first round of discovery, but a good round nonetheless. Read all about it here, courtesy of Silver Bullet Comics.

* RK Laxman, described as "India’s greatest cartoonist", has recieved India's YB Chavan award. Read about the award here (link courtesy of the Times of India), and then go here , where Laxman tells a funny story on the fickle nature of cartooning fame (link courtesy of Mid-Day).

* Ted Rall speaks up about his recent dismissal from the Times Online here (I know its a few days old but I missed it, OK?). He makes some salient points, and regardless of your feelings for the man its hard to dismiss his notions as entirely paranoid. I happen to think we're in some scary waters here as well, folks. Link courtesy of Infoshop.

* What's up with all these politicians decrying political cartoons lately? Really makes you wonder. Anyway, the Mayor of Sudbury, Ontario is mad about this cartoon, and he's not content to stew quietly. Links courtesy of the Toronto Star.

* Nathaniel R. Creekmore, cartoonist for "The Babbler", at Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tenn., has won the annual Scripps Howard Foundation award for journalistic excellence for his comic strip "Maintaining," which offers commentary on everyday campus life. The award, which includes $5,000 and the Charles M. Schulz Award trophy, is discussed here (link courtesy of WVEC). Yahoo! Finance has a closer look at the awards here.

* Is Matt Groening the King of the Cartoonists? Well, if you're going simply based on how much money they've got, I'd say that would be a big 10-4. Anyway, Groening talks about his early career and his relationship with fellow cartoonist Lynda Barry here (link courtesy of The Oregonian.)

* Johanna Draper Carlson has updated Comics Worth Reading, and she reports back on Viz's "Hot Gimmick", DC/Wildstorm's "Stormwatch: Team Achilles" (which you might recall I wrote a pretty glowing review of myself about a week ago), and she wins the Internet Medal of Valor for wading through a pile of books from Moonstone Press here.

* Also courtesy of Ms. Carlson, we have news that comicdom's own Lea Hernandez is featured in this week's "Parade" magazine feature on "What People Earn." There's a link to the article here but it doesn't seem to have the actual content online. Lets just say - Ms. Hernandez earns a lot less than you'd hope. How many of our cartoonists live below the poverty line?

* Jerry Bittle, creator of "The Geech", was posthumously honored by the Wichita State University Alumni association for his achievements as a cartoonist and an illustrator. Read more here (scan down a bit), courtesy of

* Project: Linus ain't no horror movie, its an attempt to get warm blankets into the hands of sick children. Read more here, courtesy of the Reedsburg Times.

* The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks to Mark Heath about his new strip, "Spot the Frog", here.

* Hey, I had no idea cartoonist Ben Katchor was involved in the production of a new musical called "The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island". It's true, though, and you can read about it here, courtesy of The New York Times.

* Does artistic appreciation begin in youth, with cartoons? Its a good question. Link courtesy of the Tuscaloosa News.

* Joseph Szadkowski of the Washington Times takes a look at the new "Swamp Thing" relaunch as well as examining a number of other salient points in the comics industry here.

* Noel Murray reviews the first volume of Fantagraphics' "Complete Peanuts" for the Onion's AV Club here. Meanwhile, USAToday tackles the book here. I hope Fantagraphics printed a bunch, because I have a feeling its going to be the company's best selling title right out of the gate.

* Comics legend Harvey Pekar reviews a pile of recent jazz reissues - and a calypso record to boot - here, courtesy of

* The Saginaw News talks to up-and-coming strip cartoonist Jay P. Fosgitt here.

* "A cartoonist from Peterborough is making her name on both sides of the Atlantic at the age of just 15. Sarah Louise Woodard has had work printed in two publications in England and the States and is thought to be one of the youngest cartoonists in Britain." Read more here, courtesy of iTV.

* You want to talk about stretching a metaphor past the point of cruel and unusual punishment? Check out James Lucier's recent column about John Ker - er - Superman. Link courtesy of Insight on the News.

* This is funny (but it helps to remember that in the UK "Dennis the Menace" is an entirely different, and far more mischevious, character than the innocent cowlicked moppet we know here in the States). Courtesy of Random Perspective.

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