Examining "Rebirth's" Treatment of Legacy & Promise of a Less "Grimdark" DC Universe
Retailing | After opening its first physical store in November in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon is reportedly planning hundreds more. The news came from Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of real-estate investment company General Growth Properties, who revealed Tuesday in an earnings call that, “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400.” An Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” The retailer’s Seattle store, called simply Amazon Books, stocks between 5,000 and 6,000 titles. [The Wall Street Journal]
Creators | Daniel Clowes talks about Eightball, his hate mail, and the Shia LaBeouf affair: “I mean, I don’t hold a grudge. I don’t think about it that much. But I don’t think what he did was really forgivable. I don’t know that it matters that much if he’s apologizing or whatever. I just hate the idea of anybody doing that to some young artist who couldn’t hire legal representation. I’m sort of the one guy who could deal with something like that, and it would be really possible for somebody with his amount of money and power to just crush some poor young artist if that happened to them, and I would hate to see that. So I don’t think it’s something that needs to be forgiven; I think it’s something that always needs to be thought of as just a horrible thing to do.” [Vulture]
Political cartoons | Cartoonist Milt Priggee stands by his editorial cartoon, which appeared in the Kitsap (Washington) Sun, depicting a recently slain toddler as an angel and “America’s gun culture” as the devil. Priggee and the newspaper’s editor have come under fire from the public and from the grandfather of the 2-year-old, who accuse him of using a tragedy to score political points. Priggee said his goal was to get people to think critically about gun culture: “A cartoon is a simple machine to make the reader think, not joke. It’s not a comic strip, it’s not entertainment, and this is where newspapers have fallen down. They have not taken any kind of opportunity to educate the public because a lot of times people come to an editorial cartoon and they say, ‘Well there’s nothing funny about this. Why is this in the newspaper?'” [MyNorthwest.com]
If you thought teaser images and announcements of announcements were strictly the domain of superhero publishers, think again.
Fantagraphics Books raised the subject of Daniel Clowes’ next graphic novel with a teaser image posted on its Twitter page:
Legal | Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a cartoon he claims depicts the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoonist, Mohammed Sabaaneh, denied that on his Facebook, saying, “The intention was not to represent the prophet. [It was to] symbolise Islam and its role of disseminating light and love on the human race.” It was a reaction to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, not an attempt to imitate them: “My point was to defend religion in the face of attempts to distort it, by using the same means: a caricature,” he said. The newspaper that ran the cartoon, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, apologized and stated that the cartoon was not supposed to be an image of Muhammad. Sabaaneh, who spent several months in an Israeli prison on charges of “contacts with a hostile organization,” has been summoned by the Palestinian Authority for questioning. [Middle East Eye]
The first is Batter Up, Charlie Brown, another in the series of Peanuts collections organized around a theme, rather than chronologically. It’s due in April, just in time for Opening Day. As Tom notes, this must mean that last year’s Christmas-themed book went over pretty well, and he also points out that the 65th anniversary of the strip is coming up in 2015.
Next up is The Complete Eightball, collecting the first 18 issues of Daniel Clowes’ comic in a deluxe format, two hardcover volumes in a slipcase. Eightball has been collected before, but not like this: In addition to the prestige format, the new edition, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of Eightball‘s debut, includes material that has only been published in the original comics. Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds told Spurgeon there is “a not-insigificant amount of strips that for whatever reason, Dan never wanted to collect.” The book will also include additional commentary by Clowes, making it sort of the director’s cut of Eightball. Watch for it in August 2014, and start saving now, as the list price is $95.
Finally, there’s Buddy Buys a Dump, the latest collection of Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley comics, and the first to appear in seven years. The 144-page book will include some previously unpublished material, and the expected publication date is in April.
On the hard-charging TCJ.com, cartoonist/commentator Michel Fiffe recently wrote a piece looking at the unique comics format of one-creator anthologies. He delves into the origin of the format in the underground comix movement of the 1960s all the way to modern success stories like Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library. What he finds is just how rare the laser-like focus needed to create these works are, and how even successful ones have trouble keeping up with the success of their creators.
“It’s a publishing sensibility that may have had its moment in the sun decades ago, but it’s never really been a dominant point of interest for cartoonists,” Fiffe explains in his introduction. “That’s not surprising; carrying the weight of multiple narratives issue after issue is not particularly alluring to those who just want to draw cool stuff for a page rate, or for those who just want to tell their stories one book at a time.”
To clarify, one-creator anthologies are series in which one creator writes and draws all the stories. It’s related but distinct from one-creator series that carry one over-arching narrative like Jeff Smith’s Bone or Brandon Graham’s King City in that it’s a collection of short stories with little or no connective tissue besides the common hand that creates it.
The Death-Ray (Drawn and Quarterly): I have two distinct reasons to be exceedingly grateful to Drawn and Quarterly for republishing Daniel Clowes’ 2004 comic book Eightball #23 (originally published by Fantagraphics) as a bound hardcover album, bearing the title of the comic’s full-length story.
The first is highly personal. While I greatly enjoyed reading the issue in its huge, newspaper-sized, stapled format, as soon as I finished, I was faced with a problem: Where on earth do I put the damn thing? Obviously it wouldn’t fit in a long box or on any of my bookshelves, either laid flat or standing. If I simply set it on an end table or a coffee table, not only would it take up a lot of space, but it would collect dust and need regularly dusted. And it wasn’t like I had a lot of comics of similar size—only Lauren Weinstein’s Goddess of War, really—so I couldn’t stack it up with my other gigantic comics in a corner somewhere.
Ultimately, I stuck it in an oversized shipping envelope and hid it in the space between a bookshelf and the wall of my apartment, although even there it bothered me, as I knew it was there. And, of course, every time I moved I would pull it out, look at it, and realized I’d have to find a place to keep it in my new apartment as well, before I ultimately would decide to hide it behind a bookshelf in my new place. (It occurs to me now that while Clowes probably didn’t plan that experience for me, it does replicate the feelings of some of the characters in the story, who come into possession of something they can’t really get rid of, but can’t have others know about and have to secretly store for years).
Yeoman’s work from Ken Parille: The comics scholar and critic today celebrates the 10th anniversary of his Daniel Clowes Bibliography, a ridonkulously extensive run-down of virtually every comic, book, short story, illustration, art exhibition, and more to which the Eightball/Ghost World/Ice Haven/Mister Wonderful/Wilson/The Death-Ray cartoonist has ever contributed. From a list of every story from Eightball to a comprehensive collection of links to interviews with and articles about Clowes, it truly needs to be seen to be believed — definitely a helluva resource for anyone interested in the career of one of comics’ finest.
In the year spanning Fall 2009 and Fall 2010, the Grand Old Men and Women of Comics unleashed what strikes me as an all but unprecedented onslaught of major graphic novels. Joe Sacco and Footnotes in Gaza. Robert Crumb and The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Gilbert Hernandez and High Soft Lisp. Daniel Clowes and Wilson. Jim Woodring and Weathercraft. Kim Deitch and The Search for Smilin’ Ed. Chris Ware and The ACME Novelty Library #20: Lint. Lynda Barry and Picture This. Charles Burns and X’d Out. Joyce Farmer and Special Exits. Seth and Palookaville #20. Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez and Love and Rockets: New Stories #3. Stretching from the underground comix era of the mid-to-late ’60s all the way through the great alternative-comics wave that first crested in the early ’90s, the O.G.s arrived en masse to show the whippersnappers how it’s done.
Unsurprisingly, the creators themselves seem aware of this, too. In the interviews with Daniel Clowes and Jaime Hernandez that closed out his excellent annual Holiday Interview Series, Tom Spurgeon got the two comics legends to talk a bit about their peers. In addition to talking about how the cancellation by their creators of Los Bros Hernandez’ Love and Rockets Vol. 1 and Peter Bagge’s Neat Stuff and Hate spurred him to continue his own Eightball series beyond the point where it was a practical mode of delivery for his comics, Clowes addressed the recent wave of major comics from his generation very specifically:
I’ve been anticipating this since Daniel Clowes teased it at the Alternative Press Expo in October … Tom Spurgeon broke the news this morning that Drawn & Quarterly will release a hardcover version of Clowes’ The Death-Ray next fall.
Much like Pantheon did when they repackaged Clowes’ Ice Haven as a stand-alone hardcover, the book will repackage and re-release an issue of Clowes’ Eightball — issue #23, which came out in 2004 and starred the outcast-turned superhero. The Death-Ray has also been optioned for film by Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite Productions, with Chris Milk attached to direct
“The Death-Ray is one of the most perfect and fully realized comics of the past decade and it is nothing short of the highest honour to publish,” said Chris Oliveros, editor-in-chief and publisher of Drawn & Quarterly in the press release. “The story of the alienated Andy is drawn and written to perfection with Dan’s signature subtle humour, stylistic eloquence, and understated social commentary–showcasing all of the hallmarks of why Dan is one of the preeminent cartoonists of the comics medium.”
You can find the entire press release after the jump.
The movie Paul stars Shawn of the Dead alumni Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two British comic fans who run into a real-life alien on the way to Comic Con (Jonah Weiland spoke with them about Paul on the CBR boat during the real San Diego Comic Con this past summer).
The movie poster for the UK was recently released, and it features the two stars and their alien friend … with Pegg sporting an Eightball shirt with Daniel Clowes’ popular Death Ray character. Unfortunately, according to Fantagraphics, the shirt isn’t available to purchase, but maybe if the movie is a hit or when the Death Ray project Clowes hinted at during his APE panel comes out, we’ll see them on the rack.