Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading, where we all sit around the virtual coffeehouse and talk about the books we’re currently enjoying (or not as the case may be). Our guest this week is Wilfred Santiago, author of the soon to be released biography of Roberto Clemente, 21. Look for an interview with me and Santiago about his new book in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click on the link below to see what he and my fellow Robot 6ers are reading this week.
Publishing | The 60th volume of Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga One Piece sold more than 2 million copies in its first four days of release. It’s the first book to move more than 2 million copies in its first week of sales since the Japanese market survey company Oricon began reporting its charts in 2008. As we reported last week, this volume’s 3.4 million-copy first printing set a record, and propelled the series past the 200 million-copy mark. [Anime News Network]
Editorial cartoons | Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies has been laid off by the Gannett-owned Journal News in White Plains, N.Y. [Comic Riffs]
Publishing | Abrams has made three comics-related promotions: Susan Van Metre to senior vice president and publisher, overseeing all comic arts books as well as Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books; Charles Kochman to editorial director of Abrams ComicArts; and Chad W. Beckerman to creative director, overseeing design for all comic arts books as well as Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books. [Abrams]
This has to be the book title of the year: The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! The good folks at Abrams ComicArts have put together a pretty swell little trailer for this collection of pre-Comics Code horror and crime comics from the ’50s, edited and contextualized by Jim Trombetta with an introduction by Mr. Goosebumps himself, R.L. Stine. You can gather a couple of salient points from the video: 1) These things really were almost unbelievably lurid and gross, especially when you consider the relentlessly wholesome state of pop culture in general at the time; 2) Based on the video’s snippets from an anti-comic book TV report called Confidential File, which is included in its entirety on a DVD that comes with the book, men in suits took this stuff way too seriously back in the day.
Having been an art major in college, I associate Abrams with slab-like, beautifully produced art books of great intellectual and physical weight. In the back of my head, I expect their comics to be equally ponderous. But not so! If there’s one thing the Abrams line has, it’s variety. Their recent and upcoming books include a hardback, slipcovered edition of the Archie Marries… graphic novel, Audrey Niffenegger’s seriously literary The Night Bookmobile, historical tomes like The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read! and Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Jason Shiga’s choose-your-own-adventure book Meanwhile, and the lively kids’ graphic novel Hereville. Something for everyone, in other words. If there’s a book that seems really Abrams-y, in my older conception of their line, it’s The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death.
Naturally, the Abrams folks will be at SDCC, holding down the fort at Booth #1216. Full schedule, including signings and panels, is below the cut, and if I were going, I’d make it a point to stop by.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
Today it’s time (long pat time actually) to take a look at one of the most influential and undisputed masters of the comics medium, Harvey Kurtzman.
Having introduced the comics-reading public to such obscure or long-forgotten creators as Herbert Crowley, Fletcher Hanks and Walter Quermann in his seminal book Art Out of Time, editor and publisher Dan Nadel opted to try something a little different for his sequel, the recently published Art in Time.
While the new book, like its predecessor, does feature a number of barely-known or long-forgotten golden age and underground cartoonists (Sam Glanzman, John Thompson), it also offers a new look at some familiar and in some cases already well regarded figures, in the hopes of either giving scholars and fans a chance to reconsider their artistic abilities (as in the case of Mort Meskin and Pat Boyette) or re-examine their work in a new light via previously unregarded material (John Stanley, Archie artist Harry Lucey, Wonder Woman artist H.G. Peter)
I had the opportunity to talk with Nadel over email about the book and its rather specific goals recently. Though he was in the midst of celebrating all things Jack Kirbyish at the Fumetto Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, he was kind enough to take the time to offer some thoughtful, considered responses to my flailing questions, for which I am ever grateful.
How did Art in Time develop and did it change at all in conception as you worked on it?
The first idea was actually to take well known artists like Kirby, Ditko, Everett, et al and show their lesser known work. This became a little less interesting as the reprint boom took hold. By less interesting I mean not necessary. I tend to think of books as being necessary or not necessary. And then, when necessary, as being well done and useful, or badly done and destructive. Anyhow, as an outgrowth of my publishing activities, and as a kind of strategy of moving away from any perceptions about Art Out of Time, I began to look at adventure comics a lot, particularly crime stuff like Pete Morisi and Harry Lucey. And then I thought of the underground stuff I like and realized (again — maybe I’d forgotten? I don’t know.) that what drives my “scholarly” (or whatever) interests was pretty much the same as what drives my publishing interest, i.e. in my head CF and Bill Everett are pretty much on the same playing field. So I latched onto the broad idea of “genre” comics and then went a little micro and focused on an idea of “adventure” that can include gumshoes and psychonauts and utopians. Then I really dug in and had some fun.
MoCCA is just around the corner—tomorrow, actually—and the cards and letters are still rolling in from folks who plan to be there. Top Shelf is kicking things off tonight with a Swedish Invasion party, and they will be debuting their new lineup of Swedish graphic novels as well as James Kochalka’s SuperF*ckers, Matt Kindt’s Super Spy (vol. 2): The Lost Dossiers, Jeffrey Brown’s Undeleted Scenes, and Dodgem Logic, edited by Alan Moore. Guests will include Alex Robinson and Kevin Cannon.
Art book publisher Abrams jumped into the comics world with both feet last year with their new ComicsArts imprint. What do they have lined up for 2010? Poking around their Web site, I was able to figure out their plans, both via the imprint and their children’s line. They’ve slowed down their output a little but still have a rather impressive array of titles coming out. Fer instance:
Continuing our countdown of (in our opinion, obviously) the most important and influential comics of the past ten years, here’s the second half of our list, from #15-1. If you missed it, you can read part one over here, with an explanation of how we put the list together and the (admittedly somewhat arbitrary) ranking. Can you guess what made number one? (hint: it’s not one of the books sampled in the collage above.) Read on to find out!
The holidays are a time for family, food, fun and, of course, the spirit of giving. I thought I’d check in with the members of the Robot 6 crew to see what comic-related gifts they received this year, along with any they gave as presents. Feel free to share anything comic-related you gave or got this year as well.
Tom Bondurant: I got The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics (Abrams Comicarts), selected and edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. A good bit of Carl Barks Duck work, from what I can tell. My parents gave it to me.
Here at What Are You Reading, we don’t let a little thing like a holiday weekend keep us from our comics, no sir. Nor do we stop blogging about them.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is scholar and critic par excellance Craig Fischer, whose musings on comics can be regularly read on Thought Balloonists, the blog he shares with Charles Hatfield.
To see what Craig and everyone else is currently reading, click on the link. And don’t forget to let us know what you’re reading this week as well.
Welcome to What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is none other than the highly esteemed Eddie Campbell, author of the autobiographical Alec series, as well as the mythological Bacchus and co-conspirator with Alan Moore on the acclaimed From Hell.
I had originally interviewed Mr. Campbell about a month ago in anticipation of the release of his whopping big Alec omnibus collection, The Years Have Pants, so this is more of a What Were You Reading than a What Are You Reading, but I nevertheless think you’ll be intrigued by his selection. Look for the rest of my interview with Campbell to show up here at Robot 6 either later this week or next.
Click on the link below to continue reading.
The weeks go by so quickly now. Welcome once again to What Are You Reading. Our special guest this week is fellow CBR contributor, former Wizard staffer and interview expert Kiel Phegley. Kiel just got back from MoCCA with a passel of books and he’s eager to talk about them, as is the rest of the Robot 6 crew. Don’t forget, though, to let us know what you’re currently reading in the comments below.
The art book publisher Abrams came out of the gate running this year with their new Comicarts imprint, which featured titles like Craig Yoe’s discovery of naughty Joe Schuster art, Secret Identity. What delights will the offer for the second half of the year? How about a new book by Alan Moore? Yes, it’s true; click on the link to find out more.