WATCH: "Fantastic Four" Power Up In New Promo Spot
Passings | Frank Cummings, an artist for the comic strip Blondie, has died at age 55, according to a posting on Blondie.com. No cause of death is given, but this obituary (in Italian) states he had a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Cummings started his career as a commercial artist and self-published his own satire magazine, JAB. Later on he illustrated the newsletter of diet and exercise guru Richard Simmons and did movie parodies for Cracked. He joined Blondie in 2004 as an assistant to head artist John Marshall. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Publishing | Former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz has debuted an “occasional” column on the retail news and analysis site ICv2. [ICv2.com]
As we noted on Wednesday, multiple Eisner winner J.H. Williams III designed the packaging for Blondie’s upcoming album Ghosts of Download. But his art is also used in the new lyric video for the first single, “I Want to Drag You Around” (this week’s Record of the Week on BBC Radio 2).
Check out the video below. Ghosts of Download goes on sale May 13.
One of the common comments when people see the work of J.H. Williams III is that it looks like fine art. It is, and as it turns out he has some fans in Blondie. This week the rock band debuted the packaging for its upcoming album Ghosts of Download, and it features a expansive set of artwork that Williams created exclusively for the release.
“The package design is a unique one, there will be two albums in one package – featuring the Ghosts of Download album along with another album of Blondie’s greatest hits newly recorded, and a deluxe version with all kinds of extra goodies,” he explains on his website. “I did all of the design work for Ghosts, while the Hits portion was done by someone else. I worked on every visual aspect of this release, from concept, to cover design, to booklet design, and all the same for the Vinyl Double LP. There are different pieces or alterations for the CD versus the vinyl, and the same situation for some foreign versions of the release – GO COLLECTORS GO!”
Awards | Brian Crane (Pickles), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) have been nominated for the 2012 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, presented by the National Cartoonists Society. [National Cartoonists Society]
Awards | Nominations are being sought for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, which will be presented July 19 at Comic-Con International during the Eisner Awards ceremony. The deadline is April 5. [Comic-Con International]
Dagwood Bumstead, the disowned heir to a locomotive fortune who’s lucky if he can make it to work on time, has entered the race for the White House. Sure, he’s a bit late, but what else would you expect?
His campaign kicked off in Thursday’s installment of Blondie, the comic strip created in 1930 by Chic Young and now co-written by his son Dean. “Because everybody is having such conflicted opinions about the presidential candidates this year, we thought we’d have some fun in the comic strip and have Dagwood run for president,” Dean Young said on the comic’s website. “As we all know, the road to the White House can be very bumpy and, in his typical bumbling fashion, Dagwood takes a rather convoluted route.”
With Election Day on Tuesday, Dagwood’s run against President Obama and Mitt Romney will be a short one. But he’s already found time to squeeze in a nap.
Conventions | Coming up this weekend: Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, featuring special guests Todd McFarlane, Neal Adams and Marv Wolfman. Attendance is expected to reach 60,000, which is a pretty big number for such a convention that’s only in its second year. [Hero Complex]
Conventions | James Sime, owner of Isotope Comics and one of the organizers of MorrisonCon, talks about, well, Isotope Comics and MorrisonCon, and what it was like translating the world of writer Grant Morrison into a comics event: “The *promise* of MorrisonCon is this crazy, life-altering weekend where you’re plugged directly into this swirling world of brilliant ideas, offbeat interests, mad obsessions, and personalities who fire Grant’s creativity. We had to make that promise real, to translate as many improbable concepts and even random off the cuff Morrison riffs as possible into the tangible world. To render all that into nightclubs and hotel rooms and meeting space chairs and places for awesome humans to meet and mingle. We all agreed, it just wasn’t worth doing unless we could live up to that promise, to truly make something worthy of the name MorrisonCon… and go far beyond it.” [Three If By Space]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
As we head into Christmas, I’m saving my pennies for last-minute presents. That said, if I had $15 to spend, I’d run towards Memorial #1 (IDW, $3.99), the debut of the new fantasy series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis. I admit to having sneaked a peak at this particular present, and I really enjoyed the tone, which is somewhere between Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who and some of Neil Gaiman’s work. I’d also grab Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (DC, $6.99), the collection of what was supposed to be the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman, Inc. series before the relaunch; I’d enjoyed Batman Incorporated a lot, and am ready for more of the weird, retro-but-somehow-off series again, especially with lovely Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham artwork.
If I had $30, I’d also grab Fantagraphics’ Jason Conquers America ($4.99), a collection of some of the cartoonist’s work that’s so far gone unseen in the US, along with pin-up tributes from fans like Mike Allred and Rich Tommaso. My nostalgia would then compel me to grab Defenders: Coming of the Defenders #1 (Marvel, $5.99), a reprint of the original stories that launched the fondly remembered (and just relaunched) non-team. Hulk groove on old comics.
Were I to ask Santa for something to splurge on, I might go completely left-field and ask for John Byrne’s much-maligned Spider-Man: Chapter One TP (Marvel, $34.99), which I’ve never actually read, but have a strange fascination with. Would that make me naughty or nice?
With fans chomping at the bit to see J.H. Williams III return in the new Batwoman series this September, you might get your fix first in your local record store iTunes. Last week it was announced that the California-based artist is working with legendary post-punk band Blondie for artwork on an upcoming album.
This matchmaking was done by San Francisco comic store owner James Sime of Isotope Comics. Sime is a regular on the Bay Area music scene, and finagled himself and Williams backstage at a recent Blondie show. Sime tells a heartwarming story on the Isotope blog of a impromptu moment of mutual admiration between Williams and the band members of Blondie. That chance meeting turned into business, as their full-on collaboration was announced for a deluxe edition of Blondie’s new album Panic Of Girls. No word yet on when this will see the light of day, but now you have one more reason to tune in to Blondie.
Go over to Williams’ own site to read his thoughts.
Creators | Takehiko Inoue announced he’s placing his award-winning samurai adventure Vagabond on hiatus because of ongoing health problems. The manga has been serialized since 1998 in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning magazine and collected in 32 volumes; 31 of those have been released in the United States. Inoue will continue to work on his basketball manga Real, which is released at the more leisurely pace of about one volume per year. [The Eastern Edge, via Journalista]
Publishing | Todd Allen looks at moves by comics publishers to partner with OverDrive to make single-issue comics available to libraries as e-books: “With some 11,000 libraries being supplied digital material from OverDrive, this market offers a significant chance to get comics in front of new readers. According to the July 2010 sales estimates at ICV2, the Marvel Adventures version of Spider-Man sells 6,347 copies; Marvel Adventures Super Heroes sells 4,564. For a small publisher like Moonstone, the chance for more exposure is even greater.” [Publishers Weekly]
An analysis of six of the most popular nationally syndicated comic strips over the course of a year shows that women appeared less than half the time and when they did the gag was on them, said Daniel Fernandez-Baca, a UF graduate student in sociology. He presented his paper at a meeting of the American Sociological Association this week.
“When they do appear, for the most part, women don’t say anything funny or act humorously, but merely set up the joke and allow men to create the humor,” he said.
Other than being a straight man or foil to the laugh-inspiring male character, women were used mostly to reinforce certain humorous stereotypes, such as the harried or henpecking housewife, Fernandez-Baca said.
“Other research on comic strips typically looks at where women are portrayed – in the kitchen, in the work force, inside the home or out in the world at large,” he said. “This study goes a step further by asking why women are in comics in the first place and how they contribute to the humor of the situation.”
There is a certain circularity to this study, a logical flaw that should disqualify it as serious research: Continue Reading »