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Comics A.M. | Scottish city to create Bash Street to honor Beano strip

Bash Street Kids

Comics | The Dundee, Scotland, city council has approved a proposal by publisher DC Thomson to name a street in the city’s west end to honor the Bash Street Kids, stars of the long-running comic strip in The Beano. Dundee already has statues honoring comic characters Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx. [BBC News]

Comics | Laura Sneddon continues the New Statesmen’s week-long series on comics with a look at children’s comics in the U.K., including the digital relaunch of The Dandy, the continuing popularity of The Beano (which sells a respectable 30,000 copies per week) and the new kid on the block, The Phoenix. [New Statesman]

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Omaha returns for an encore

Chris mentioned Omaha the Cat Dancer in passing in his six x-rated comics you can read without shame, and by happy coincidence, NBM Eurotica has the full seven-volume collection in the latest Previews for $75, or $15 less than the cost of buying the volumes individually. An old favorite of mine, Omaha may be the first furry comic, and it’s notable for Reed Waller’s curvy art and Kate Worley’s imaginative scripts. It also has a special place in comics history: Published by Denis Kitchen’s Kitchen Sink Press, Omaha the Cat Dancer was one of the comics the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was originally formed to defend, according to the official Omaha timeline. Unfortunately, both creators suffered health problems in the late 80s and early 90s, and the series ground to a halt. They agreed to finish the story in 2002, but Worley was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in 2004. NBM has been publishing collected editions for a few years, so this offering is not entirely new, but the price is a good one. They have a preview (NSFW and over 18 only) on their website, and the official Omaha the Cat Dancer site (which is a bit tamer but still has nudity) is a wealth of background information.

And there’s more good news: Worley’s husband James Vance has been working with Waller on a sequel, which is currently being serialized in Sizzle magazine and will hopefully be published by NBM in 2012, according to NBM’s Terry Nantier.

Art imitates life: Beetle Bailey and The Legacy

Beetle Bailey like you have never seen him before!

Beetle Bailey like you have never seen him before!

This post has been making the rounds for a few days, but here it is in case you missed it: Shaenon Garrity has unearthed a Finnish (or maybe Swedish—see the comments) collection of Mort Walker’s “adult” Beetle Bailey comics, in which the normally unstated sexual dynamic of, say, General Halftrack and Miss Buxley is suddenly made explicit. (There’s more talk than action in the examples Shaenon displays, but it’s probably not safe for work.) After attending the National Cartoonists Society’s annual meeting and attending a 60th anniversary retrospective of Beetle Bailey at the Cartoon Art Museum, Shaenon comments,

Both these events reminded me of an oft-ignored truth: newspaper cartoonists tell the best and most dirty jokes. It all gets bottled up over the course of a year drawing squeaky-clean family humor and bursts like the Hoover Dam over drinks at the NCS cocktail reception. And of course everybody, at some point, draws R-rated sketches of their characters.

… which brought to mind Andrew McGinn and David Neitzke’s graphic novel The Legacy, in which an aspiring graphic novelist inherits his father’s comic strip and decides to torpedo it by making it more and more salacious—unlike Walker, he sends the strips to the syndicate and the editors send them out for publication. The difference between the two is the difference between a seasoned professional and a new talent; the “outrageous” strips in The Legacy seem to be trying too hard (although the other parodies of newspaper strips are dead-on), while Walker’s characters seem natural and unforced, just saying out loud what you know they have been thinking all these years.

Start Reading Now (but only if you’re over 18): Filthy Figments

Bound, by Gina Biggs, one of the launch titles at Filthy Figments

Bound, by Gina Biggs, one of the launch titles at Filthy Figments

Gina Biggs is the creator of the super-girly romance webcomic Red String, so it’s not surprising that when she turns her hand to porn, she tags her site “The Sweet Spot for Smut.” Biggs is teaming up with Jennie Breeden (The Devil’s Panties), Robin Edwards (Cardboard Angel), Amy Stoddard (Patches), Kittyhawk (Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki) and Megan Gedris (I Was Abducted by Lesbian Pirates from Outerspace) to launch Filthy Figments, a subscription-only adult webcomics site. For $4.99 a month (discreetly recorded on your credit card statement with the verbal equivalent of a plain brown wrapper), subscribers get access to 100 pages of all types of adult comics, plus about 30 pages a month in new material, doled out in weekly updates.

Biggs, Edwards, and Stoddard are all members of the Strawberry Comics collective, which focuses on teen-friendly shoujo manga comics, so it does seem a little strange to see the sample of Biggs in adult mode. Strange… but sort of nice. Gedris is the edgiest one of the bunch, and it will be fun to see what she comes up with. The collective caters to a variety of tastes, but the fact that they describe them as hetero, yaoi, and yuri suggests that a manga sensibility will prevail.

(Found via Comics Worth Reading. I talked to Gina about her tamer work at Robot 6 last year.)

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