As you no doubt know by now, Matt Groening announced earlier this week that he’s bringing his long-running weekly comic strip, Life in Hell to a close.
If it hadn’t felt like it already, Groening’s announcement certainly signals the end of an era, in this case that of the alt-weekly comic strip, a product Groening, along with Lynda Barry and Gary Panter, pioneered back in the early 1980s (OK, Feiffer was the true pioneer but let’s for argument’s sake let’s play along with my faulty thesis). Together, they showed hungry cartoonists a way to earn, if not a living wage, at least a regular paycheck, and many people — Keith Knight, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling — followed in their wake as more and more urban areas developed their own version of the Village Voice and L.A. Weekly. Whether it was for financial reasons or (as I suspect) an ever shrinking readership, Groening’s exit, confirms what many have long suspected: That market, thanks largely no doubt to the Internet, has disappeared.
Four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves … welcome to day three of our holiday gift-giving guide, where we ask comic pros:
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
A great big thank you to everyone who helped us out this year, including the ones who’ll be showcased tomorrow. Be sure to come back then for our big wrap-up!
1. The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crisis. Leela helps Maggie deal with school bullies. Homer and Bender go drinking. England invades the USA. Come on, you need this.
Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery. The most ludicrous and wonderful supporting character from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol got his own miniseries, and it’s just now being reprinted for the first time. I loved this miniseries when it first came out, and I’m gearing up to love it all over again.
Starstruck. The great Lee/Kaluta sci-fi epic, now between two robust hard covers. I should declare an interest: I wrote the intro. But I did that because it’s awesome beyond the feasible limits of possible awesomeness.
2. A Very Peculiar Practice, season 2. Wow. Just how much of my life right now is ’80s nostalgia? I think I need to get some professional help. Probably from Duran Duran.
Mike Carey has written numerous comics (and a few novels) over his career, including Lucifer, My Faith In Frankie, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Hellblazer. He currently writes X-Men: Legacy and The Unwritten.
Welcome once again to Food or Comics? Every week the Robot 6 crew lists what comics we’d buy if we had $15 to spend, if we had $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we’re calling a “Splurge” item.
So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15 …
The obvious choice seems to be the newest and final volume in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour (none of my local comic stores are getting the book until Wednesday, the stinkers). I’ve been a fan of the series for awhile (http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_holiday_interview_101/) and am anxious to see how it concludes. (Unfortunately, I don’t actually have $15 of real world money to spend this week, so I’ll have to wait another week or two.)
Is it possible to make devil horns with a four-fingered hand? I guess we’ll find out when The Simpsons/Futurama/Life in Hell creator Matt Groening curates this May’s All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in Minehead, England. The lineup, hand-selected by Groening himself in the usual ATP curated-festival fashion, includes such avant-rock notables as Iggy & the Stooges, Coco Rosie, Built to Spill, Panda Bear, Deerhunter, Daniel Johnston, the Residents, Boredoms, the Raincoats, Amadou and Mariam, and Shonen Knife.
This isn’t the first time ATP and Groening have hooked up: The animation and alt-weekly legend (and one-time music critic) also ran a 2003 festival in California that boasted performances from the Stooges, Sonic Youth, Spoon, the Shins, !!!, the Mars Volta, Mission of Burma, Modest Mouse and Cat Power. (You can buy a CD compilation from that show here.) He’s a hip dude, is what I’m saying.
The 2009 San Diego Comic-Con kicks off with preview night on Wednesday, July 22 and runs through Sunday, July 26. If you are a publisher, creator, retailer or any other kind of exhibitor who would like to let folks know about any special plans you have for the show (panels, signing schedules, exclusives, debuts, etc.) drop me an email and I’ll run it here.
Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Things From Another World have teamed up to create a set of limited edition cards by various comic creators that will be handed out by various publishers, the CBLDF and TFAW. The original artwork for the cards will be auctioned off at the con, with proceeds going to the fund. Contributors include Mike Mignola, Phil Hester, Eric Powell, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, Steve Lieber and many more.
Panels | Although the official programming schedule hasn’t been released yet, a few companies have started sharing their panels via press releases and such. Thursday at the con brings a panel on Disney animator Walt Stanchfield, who is profiled in a new book called Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes.
Also, FOX TV has released their schedule. They’ll have panels dedicated to the Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show (a Family Guy spinoff), 24, Futurama and Bones. They’ll also have Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku on hand to introduce a never before seen episode of Dollhouse. And they’ll have a panel dedicated to their new show Glee, where they’ll show another episode. You can watch the first one on Hulu; it is hilarious.
Interestingly enough, the release doesn’t mention Fringe, but there will be a panel with several members of the cast.
With the New York Comic Con coming up Feb. 6-8, we’re posting information on the various things fanscan do and see at the show. If you’re a publisher, creator, retailer or otherwise exhibiting at the show, feel free to drop me an email with your plans for the show.
• The NYCC blog Medium at Large has more details on the Joss Whedon/Dollhouse preview panel, set for Sunday at 12:45 p.m. ET, which is currently being advertised on the CBR home page. They’ve also announced they’ll be showing the next Futurama movie, Into the Wild Green Yonder.
• Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler is bringing Valentines to the show:
I will be at NYCC next weekend with tons of Love and Capes stuff. I’ll have new Valentines featuring Mark and Abby. Kind of like Ralph Wiggum’s “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” one. I’ll be selling the complete run of LNC, the trade, sketchbooks, t-shirts and pins. And I’ll be doing commissions all weekend, too! If you come by the booth, too, you may see a glimpse of the new promotion I’ll be doing for Mark and Abby’s upcoming wedding.
If people aren’t going to be able to attend, they can still go to my site and print out the LNC Valentine and give it to their Special Someone. While there, they can enter the Love and Capes Valentine’s Day contest. You can win some books, a set of matching t-shirts, and even some chocolate. That contest ends February 2nd, so time is running out. (But that way you’ll get the goodies before Valentine’s Day.)
For more info, visit www.loveandcapes.com or http://www.loveandcapes.com/love-and-capes-valentine.html for the contest info.